Updated: Sep 14, 2021
Three months before my thirtieth birthday, we decide it is time to get a child. My husband is thirty-five but in no hurry. He finds the concept of purchasing children strange. I remind him all our friends have bought one. It's perfectly normal now.
Each night, I scroll through websites, adding children to baskets. Removing them. Changing my mind about what they should look like. How they should behave. Should we choose a quiet and calm child? Or loud and energetic? I continue to encourage him. He is unsure. But I am bored.
We don’t go on holiday anymore, flying was banned years ago. We don’t go out to restaurants or pubs – there are too many unknown germs. We hardly go outside. It’s too hot, too dry and sticky. I remember how it used to be. Ten, Twenty, Thirty years ago. Before the virus, before we became so accustomed to working from home. I remember rainy summers, last minute deals to Italy and Majorca. Searching for heat. Basking in it. Everywhere is hot now. We would simply melt if we ventured any further than Northern France.
Eventually he agrees. Let's do it. Let's get one.
On one condition, he adds. Please don't spend all your time with it. We still need to have some time for each other.
So we do our research. He helps now. Together, we read reviews on the internet. Look at price comparison sites – we don’t want to be ripped off – but we want to pay enough to ensure the child is non-faulty and right for us.
The one we find is brand new, with six-year-old features and personality traits, which I read on Mumsnet is the perfect age. She has black hair that is stated online as 'real human hair', easier to style than synthetic, apparently. Her eyes are an unusual, light blue. Made out of glass with a layer of a plastic-based gel. She is described as chatty, but polite. She contains a heat-up pack inside, for 'a real cuddling experience'.
The reviews are mostly fine, with the exception of a one-star review at the bottom of the page:
‘TERRIBLE PURCHASE. HEAT PACK BLEW UP AND SET FIRE TO THE SOFA.’
I disregard this. There’s always at least one negative review, and usually it’s down to the owner not following the instructions. The company is legit. They provide a six month guarantee and an upgrade in two years.
I add my credit card details, and click 'buy'.