1. Long gone are the days of asking out-of-town guests to arrive laden down with contraband (six bottles of Whispering Angel, please mum), now it’s all about Ella’s Kitchen pouches with meat, snacks from Organix and outfits from Tesco or Next. Extra points for sacrificing space in order to bring a year’s supply of Pampers Premium pull-up nappies.
2. Swimming lessons started at three months old. And not in the local scuzzy leisure centre, home of verruca socks and chilly changing rooms, but inside at the balmy Mina A’Salam or at your friend’s pool with a private instructor from Speedo. And you get professional underwater photos taken, obviously.
3. You think your child’s speech isn’t developing as fast as you’d hoped. Turns out that they're actually fluent in the nanny's native language.
4. By simply asking what nursery a fellow mum has chosen you can accurately ascertain where they live, what their salary bracket is and what they have for dinner.
5. The various UAE mum facebook 'support' groups are a constant source of entertainment (FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!), information you never realised you needed and a seemingly endless supply of second-hand Jumperoos with the music “not working, but it’s annoying anyway, haha”.
6. The sprog’s first haircut and first pair of shoes are not only recorded for prosperity with a branded photo, but cost the same as yours.
7. You realise that your friend’s kids have never flown economy, and you’ve never been upgraded…
8. You can only dream of knowing exactly where in Dragon Mart to find party essentials (“I know they sell glass sweetie jars somewhere...”), adorable children’s furniture (“I’m sure I saw some Eames knock-offs back there”) and plastic fencing for creating the perfect kiddie cage. Nail this, and you’ll have friends here for life.
9. You massively underplay the amount of school research you’ve done, number of applications submitted and the sheer scale of administration bribery you’re willing to try.
10. The pros and cons of every soft play area in town can be debated for hours with your mum friends: “Yes, Cheeky Monkeys at J3 has a great toddler area, but the car park spaces in the basement are WAY too small for the Pajero”.
11. You have a Bugaboo travel case for smuggling back extra luggage every summer, know exactly where and when to book the flight home to score the best seats and space for your under-two, and don’t travel without a GroBlind.
12. You know where to buy not only baby Camelbaks, but the spare mouthpieces. The holy grail.