Sunday, 16 December 2007

Confessions of an errant blogger...

I know. I am a bad blogger. Never the most prolific even at my creative blogging height, I have now sunk to a new low of, er, none.

Even my husband has forgotten their existence, and my potential readership has fallen to three, depending on the availability of those particular family members.

Father Blogmas most certainly will not be popping down my chimney this year.

However, in my defense, I haven't stopped blogging entirely. I have a burgeoning folder of half-written posts; witty one-liners hanging in mid air; the unfinished baby-related anecdotes and exasperated mental meanderings of a sleep-deprived new(ish) mum.

Not to mention the many partially written posts that have never made it out through my fingers but still circulate in some shady part of my ransacked brain, only to emerge during bouts of insomnia, appearing as the support act to my fear of abandoning Iris to childcare, and a collapsing property market.

Also in my defense, m'lord, I have been sucked into a veritable maelstrom of babydom. Day-shift blurs into night-shift, with a two hour reprieve for housework and 'me' (well, 'tv and wine') time. One step forward soon mutates into five steps back, little islands of 'this isn't so hard', turning into rather larger land masses of 'oh, shit!'.

Excuses made, I bid you a very merry festive season, and hope to be back to my (ahem) prolific best very soon. Mum.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Tutti Frutti

Another floret of broccoli my love? Some mashed potato? What, another carrot? Baby giggles and a warm glow of pride as Iris bravely treads into the world of solid food fill my daydream.

A violent retch brings me back to the real world; thank goodness I opted for the plastic cover with my little girl's highchair.

Well this wasn't in the Government's guidelines - I waited until nearly 6 months, I breastfed, I bought Annabel Karmel and some overpriced gourmet ice-cube containers - my daughter however, is following her own set of rules, and unfortunately I can't quite make out what they are. Something about being a fruitarian and wanting to breastfeed forever.

So much for being a good cook - having been cajoled by hubby into a state of slightly smug complacency about my abilities in the kitchen, I was unprepared for the brutal honesty of a baby's unblemished palate.

Steamed vegetables, lovingly moulied - blaaaar, ick, sssppuggh - mixed with a little home-made fruit puree - eeeuuugghhh, retch. Desperation strikes; petit filou? sssplatt. Hipp Organic, Plum? Lick, lick, moment for thought - ssthhhwpp.

Iris has decided that Innocent smoothies are quite nice, yoghurt is ok, but vegetables and cereals are bad bad bad. Bibs make her cry and spoons have this strange effect of making her clench her mouth shut and adopt an owl-like turn of the head.

In my more tired moments, I do wonder whether Iris has inherited an 'am I fat?' gene from me, or has chewed one too many copies of Grazia in the bathroom and is aspiring early to the size zero phenomenon.

In my more sane moments however I am hoping that this is just the first 'phase' (of no doubt many) she will pass through on her way to healthy adulthood.

Right, just off to whisper 'food is good, food is good' to her while she sleeps....

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Nappy chatter

Little did I realise the fascination that bowel movements would hold for me at this stage of my life.

Posh leather handbags, yes; manicures and pedicures, of course; the perennial appeal of Top Shop, oh yes, but poo?

This has particularly come to light in the last couple of weeks as my daughter has begun to discover the joys of her first fruit purees.

Iris' change in routine has now become a regular topic of conversation between my husband and me, particularly as we cuddle her writhing little self at night as her tummy tries to work out what on earth butternut squash is doing in amongst her regular tipple of breastmilk.

However I think I may have taken this mutual interest a step too far. Upon the arrival of a particularly challenging movement this morning, I felt compelled to share the news with hubby. Not fair, after all, for him to miss out through being at work!

Snapping off my marigolds, I rushed to the phone.

"Helloooo, it's me. So, the poo arrived! My god it was everywhere, I've had to strip the room and wipe down everything, you should have seen it..."

Keen not to miss out any details, I only noticed the silence on the other end once I'd finished.

"Er, are you still there? where are you?"

"Actually I'm just about to buy my lunch"

"Oh, sorry. Well, just don't go for any sticky looking dahl, ha ha. have?"

Poor hubby - I forgot that life in my new mum bubble isn't always as scintillating to those in the real world as it is to me.

Thank goodness for the other new mums I'm about to meet up with - nothing like a good chat about bodily fluids over tea and a cupcake!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Me and my girl

I'm not sure if it's the change of season, or the approaching half year milestone that Iris will reach in less than a month now, but I have been feeling rather reflective of late.

As I look back at the last 5 months it really seems that we're a world away from those first apprehensive weeks of parenthood, with its gush of hormones and first ravages of sleeplessness.

Firmly out of the newborn and young baby stage, Iris now seems to me like a proper little person, morphing more into herself every day. I feel like I'm witnessing a da Vinci process, with my milk working as the metaphorical chisel, chipping away at her pre-formed self.

And it really is such an amazing process with new expressions, noises and movements emerging every day.

I think what I find most incredible is the shift from the pure, unconditional love and need of a mother and baby, to a more mutual emotional balance borne of actually knowing one another. I suppose this is a round-about way of saying that it feels like a relationship now, but one that is more rewarding and touching than I could ever have imagined.

And while we have been keeping each other busy recently - a week in Norfolk, baby cinema, trips to town and visits with Iris' many cousins, not to mention a heavy cold (Iris) and renewed sleeplessness (me) - the best moments have really been when we have just been hanging out together.

Just the simplest of things have become invaluable - a smile, a giggle, a cuddle - I don't think I can describe how happy it makes me, and how privileged I feel to be nurturing this new person.

Me and my girl, my girl and me - sigh. Right, I'll now climb off my chocolate box and give my rose-tinted sunnies a rest!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Iris' big day out

Having avoided public transport and the hubbub of London for the past 4 months, the time had finally come last Friday for Iris to discover the world outside East Dulwich.

Slightly dazed from a night of sleeplessness spent foreseeing the many beartraps awaiting us, I got us ready.

New dress for Iris, new top for Mummy - check;
New 'about town' buggy for Iris - check;
New, more urban, changing bag for Mummy - check;

This was turning out to be an expensive adventure.

Our first date with the real world was at the Ritzy in Brixton for a nice soothing knit flicks session. As it happened, the Bourne Ultimatum at full volume may not have been the best choice. On the plus side, I actually got there on time; it was so loud the babies' wailing was reduced to a pitiful mime; hubby was VERY jealous.

On the downside, no breakfast and crucial cinematic moments missed due to wiping Iris' biggest poo ever off her, me and the seat (err, second row middle-ish in case you're wondering, and sorry if you didn't read this in time!).

Soothing session over, we attempted a trial run on the escalators at the Department store over the road, in search of a much deserved caffeine fix. Important lesson in not travelling up escalators backwards learnt, and also that Iris isn't keen on Cafe Nero.

At this point I'm feeling like the woman from the Sure ad, only without the Sure. My promise to visit hubby's work place in Euston now feels like a mad hormonal gesture. Nonetheless, my NCT pals see me onto the underground lift and we're off again. Having learnt not to travel UP the escalators backwards, I try out my luck going down. I now know anything backwards is definitely a bad idea. Several vertiginous and sweaty minutes later we're on the tube and off to Euston.

And actually it's not that bad - once familiar stations flash by while Iris snoozes and I try and remember what it was like to be carefree.

Before long we are at my husband's work reception. By now Iris and I are somewhat dishevelled, smelly, overtired and hungry. But we made it, and that makes me strangely proud. Our urban debut now over, my husband beams as he introduces our daughter to his workmates, and I realise what a privilege it is to be her mother and his wife.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Ode to a shoe

Gleaming silver, sharp and high
you carried my weary limbs
in fine form, detracting even from my eye,
red and shrunken as it then was.

Resplendent shoe, how I love you...

Every girl's best friend, I was
lucky to call you mine, and shirk
awhile the dirty nappies and weight
of motherhood angst.

Resplendent shoe, how I love you...

Job done, you now reside back
in your cardboard home,
awaiting your next calling
to bring instant glamour and joy.

Resplendent shoe, how I love you...

[Sorry, couldn't resist a quick dip at the altar of my lovely new silver stilettos, and prose just didn't seem lyrical enough - sigh - right, as you were...]

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

L'Ennui, la nausée and quelques bêtes noires...

Having recently returned from our first holiday 'en famille', I feel compelled to add a little continentalism, if not existentialism, into my post.

We were supporting the planet (and supposedly our sanity) by spending a week away in the UK; deep in the cotswolds to be more precise. Very beautiful it was too. And wet. And rather chilly actually. Oh, and WET - did I mention that?!

Actually with hindsight we were very lucky to have had electricity, water and dry clothes/furniture for the week. At the time though, we overlooked this 'luck', and instead felt a little miffed at missing out on the cloudless skies and balmy nights of southern Europe.

Iris also felt a little put out it seemed, and decided to revert to her newborn feeding status. I like to think it was due to a growth spurt, however I have a sneaky feeling she may have inherited her mum's urban leanings and was comfort eating.

On the plus side we thoroughly muddied our new walking shoes ambling through some damp but glorious Gloucestershire countryside, introduced Iris to livestock (I have a whole new affinity with dairy cattle), enjoyed some lovely roaring log fires and exchanged 'good mornings' with Jilly Cooper (not best known for her existentialism admittedly).

On the downside the week culminated with me suffering exhaustion, hubby suffering from cabin fever and us all smelling of sick as poor Iris succombed to a rural tummy bug.

And the bêtes noires? Well aside from my new maternal neuroses, they manifested themselves as an army of slugs, marshalling the kitchen and living room at night (rather slimy underfoot as I found out on one of my nocturnal milk rounds, eeeuugh).

Oh how we will laugh, one day, while sipping cocktails in some sultry exotic destination....

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

We are not alone..

After (another) day of being held hostage in my own home by a) Parcel Force and b) the weather, I discovered that I had unwittingly been hosting a small party in the living room.

A very small party for very small furry guests. MICE.

Conscious of the need to remain calm and practical, and defy the stereotypical female reaction for the sake of my young daughter (never too early to learn etc etc), I yanked her off my breast, hopped over the sofa in one surprisingly athletic leap, and raced upstairs.

It's all a bit of a blur, but I seem to remember that one of us was squealing loudly, the other weeping hungrily. Or was it the other way round? Anyway, from the safety of the first floor, I called my husband. So far, so stereotypical.

Selfishly not answering his mobile while cycling home in the hail, I decided to assume the worst. We were under attack, the threat level had suddenly risen to critical, and all social events planned at home would have to be cancelled for the foreseeable future. I broke the bad news to my NCT ladies in a slightly hysterical email.

'Tomorrow's tea cancelled due to rodent infestation.'

My rather wet husband returned home to see me banging on the first floor window and mouthing 'M O U S E' while pointing jaggedly at the ground. In retrospect I think I may have looked slightly mad; he was certainly relieved to find I hadn't in fact developed an unforeseen medical complaint, and was in fact bravely protecting our baby from enemy invaders.

Needless to say, hubby felt I may have over-reacted. He has promised to buy poison in his lunch break today, and has reassured me that I really have nothing to fear. I put on a brave face and promised to be more rational. Which is why I am writing this from the barstool in the kitchen and am meeting my NCT ladies in Cafe Nero later.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Call me Coco!

My daughter is now 10 weeks old and is no longer content to be merely cooed over and gazed at with exhausted adoration. She wants entertainment and she wants it NOW.

I feel like an unrehearsed candidate on our own private talent show - Has Mummy got Talent? - as I wheel out my props each day and try my hardest to distract, cajole and amuse.

LOOK Iris, I'm a bird/monkey/snorty non-descript animal!

LOOK Iris, I'm an addition to your playmat you didn't know was there, up HERE, up HERE, look at my funny face!!

LOOK Iris, who's that pretty, pretty girl over there? (Cue mirror) It's you, yes it is, it IS, no over don't cry, oh dear.

LOOK Iris, here's DOTTY the lady bird, crackle crackle, jingle jingle...isn't she colourful, isn't she FUN!! No? oh dear.

Sometimes Iris humours me with a beautiful beaming smile and I think, "yay, I've made it, I'm FUNNY!!". Then other times - in fact probably the majority of the time - she is the Simon Cowell of babies and just looks wearily away.

I've developed a whole new respect for those annoyingly young and bubbly CBBC presenters. I especially admire in retrospect the fairy that turned up to entertain the toddlers at my niece's third birthday party last year - she may have been rather large and manly for the tutu look, but she kept the children amused for ages.

I wonder if there's an NVQ in nursery rhymes, lullabies and toy usage that I could sign up for. That's another thing, the only songs I seem to know the words to are Christmas carols. Tonight for instance was Good King Wenceslas - a little aseasonal, but made a welcome change from humming the theme tune to Dallas, or the countless other made-up tunes we seem to come up with.

The strange thing is, Iris seems just as amused at me struggling with her nappy at 5am, as she does when I'm in full clown mode several hours and a coffee later. But then, maybe she's laughing AT me, not WITH me...

Ah well, a laugh's a laugh, and I'm discovering that, despite my new mum angst, having fun is actually quite fun.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Weight a minute..

God I'm slow. It's taken me 8 weeks and 3 days to work out that the cake-eating breast-feeding weight loss phenomenon is actually an urban myth spread by NCT devotees to encourage vain new mums to feed au naturel! Or so I reckon.

There was I, assiduously devoting myself to post-natal cake and chocolate eating, and waiting for my extra weight to miraculously vanish. I was ready. My jeans were ready. My fingers poised over my old dress size on my next online order. But no, I have remained at stubbornly the same weight for the past 3 weeks.

Actually, last week I did lose 2 lbs, although to be honest this was mainly due to missing meals while playing foot chauffeur to my daughter. The bored anorexic demons inside my head leaped for joy at this promising start ("yay, miss more meals, miss more meals", they urged...), however my sensible self knew this couldn't last, and I was reunited with the missing lbs yesterday morning.

Hmm. So, on to the next phenomenon then. I took my new MBT trainers on their first outing last Friday (for the uninitiated Masai Barefoot Technology, or as I like to think of it, [new] Mum's Bottom Trimmers). Pacing round Dulwich Park with a slightly smug bounce, I felt sure I was on the road to muscle recovery. Unfortunately my bounce wained somewhere between the ice cream van and the pond, as I limped to a bench with a fine pair of blisters (and yes, ok, a Lemon Sparkle).

I haven't felt this over-nourished (I'm resisting the 'F' word) since I was recovering from glandular fever at 16 and self-medicated with carob peanuts. A little over-zealously.

Right, time to dust off the gym ball, swap the cupcakes for ricecakes and get a bit more realistic about my body prospects. Yep, any time now. Very very soon.

Er, Minstrel anyone?

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

I've started so I'll ....

I knew there was something I should have mentioned at my six week check-up yesterday. I think I have baby-stupor.

I haven't actually had time to google the condition, but then that's part of the problem. My mind seems to be several steps behind my actions (or is it the other way round?). Anyway, as I reach for the laptop in a moment of snuffly calm, I instantly forget what it was I earnestly planned to research/write/send.

Um, ah yes, the parasol for the buggy, now I'm sure I ordered that more than 14 working days ago; no that's right, my finances, must check them very soon, as soon as I have googled this very important issue which I just can't quite remember....

Somehow I always end up on Top Shop online, as a comfort default, hoping that the 'new in' page will jog my memory.

Nice jacket! Oh yes, my blog, must...hang on, what colour is that top? ooh perfect.

Or maybe it's not 'baby-stupor', maybe it's a new condition linked to amnesia - a post-natal case of 'jamais-vu' absent mindedness. Or perhaps early Alzheimer's.

Write a list, you cry. Well yes, good point, however I seem to have started several, and keep finding the wrong one for the moment. The other day I purposefully pulled out my list in the middle of Sainsbury's and came to a bit of a standstill.

Thank you cards - must write before people forget what we're thanking them for, and in fact, who we are.
Clean toilets
Return emails
Cut Iris's nails..again
Write shopping list

Turning up at the surgery yesterday, I tried to remind myself of the various symptoms and medical idiosyncrasies I had saved up for the occasion:


On the plus side (for some future anthropological study that I'll forget to take part in) I do now understand the success of daytime TV (10am, strangely drawn to Jeremy Kyle's rough charm; 11am, Fern and Philip, not so bad after all, quite nice really....ah, at last, a question I know the answer to, albeit a multiple choice one; 1pm, lunchtime news, bit taxing; 1.40pm, hoorah! Neighbours, my favourite..).

Oh dear, I have officially self dumbed-down. Must try my hardest to retrieve some of my previous mental substance. Will add that to a new list, along with fizzy water and nappy sacks.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, www.topsh......

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Baby Bootcamp

Whilst Iris was putting me through my paces this morning, as she does every morning, it occurred to me that the only other place where you could expect such harsh training conditions might be on joining the armed forces.

I've never seen myself as a potential Sandhurst cadet, and on the basis of my progress so far, that is probably just as well.

Although I'd like to think I react well to constructive criticism, under the fire of screamed and incoherent orders I seem to be a sorry 'yes' woman, in danger of turning into a quivering wreck as I struggle to keep up.

Pick me up, NO NOT LIKE THAT; put me DOWN, no over THERE, stupid!

FEEEED me; Enough! can't you see I'm full??!

Change me, haha now change me again while I wee on you.

WAKE UP LAZY, time for night manoeuvres - NOOOOH, leave me alone, CANT YOU SEE I'm trying to SLEEP?!

OK, 1 minute to get ready and make the bed; nope too late time for ME again!

Hold it RIGHT there or I'll unleash my weaponry on you.....

And it's no mean arsenal either; projectile vomit (ok it's only milk but pooled in your bra? not good), piercing screams at eardrum level, sleep deprivation, favouritism (bestowed then quickly withdrawn!) toxic bottom bombs; not to mention the more subtle but scary ones like holding her breath, turning puce and impersonating a gargoyle for no apparent reason, and trying to convince the neighbours that we actually run a small torture camp in the back of the house.

I did manage a small rebellion yesterday though - on the premise of filling up her top and tail bowl I snuck off and spent 5 minutes straightening my hair and eating chocolate while shouting soothing words of reassurance across the landing (water's nearly hot, coming sweetheart...).

I can see what she's doing. She's trying to break me so she can rebuild me into the kind of person she'd like to see representing her as a mother. Tough job but I've signed up now and desertion is not an option.

Friday, 4 May 2007

All hail Iris!

My beautiful baby girl Iris is 3 weeks old today - she insisted on hanging on a week extra to make her grand appearance on Friday 13th, heralded by a suitable amount of horror film-style pain and gore (ok, I exaggerate, although I can only assume the beauty of childbirth referred to by various supermums must allude to the relief of it finally being over!).

Amazing how fast time whizzes by in a blur of poo, sleep deprivation and bad tv - I feel like a newborn party-goer, tip-toeing home each morning at dawn smelling like baby milk instead of too many cocktails, and boosting myself into each new day with a strong peppermint tea instead of a double espresso/redbull.

Seems like a lifetime ago since my last post, and those bored last days on the sofa - an Iris atheist then, I still worshipped at the alter of Desperate Housewives box sets and Top Shop options - ah the young naive me! Now I have been fully baptised into my new faith of All Things Iris.

And I am suitably in awe. Just this lunchtime a package arrived from baby Top Shop, addressed to her, with no card or sender details. I can only assume she has learnt to log on and order online, and am immensely impressed both by her taste in dresses and digital dexterity.

All hail, Iris.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Are we nearly there yet???

Yesterday I woke up full of the joys of spring (albeit at an ungodly hour), this morning however I just woke up feeling bored.

Everything bored me, from the prospect of getting up, to staying in bed, to visiting the bathroom for the umpteenth time to making tea. Even coming downstairs was boring, making a banana smoothie incredibly dull, watching 3 episodes of Desperate Housewives a drag.

In fact all the things I looked forward to doing on maternity leave had suddenly lost their appeal. Could it be that old adage, too much of a good thing..? Or is it my hormones preparing me for the refreshing change of splitting in two to release a new human into this (boring) world??

What I really wanted was to go on an exotic holiday, a really long run, a skydive, or throw myself into a bumper car and hit everyone on the circuit REALLY hard. But the reality is that I'm stuck in a bit of a vacuum of not knowing, watching my baby have seemingly much more fun than me on the inside, while on the outside I want to sit in its pram and throw out all the toys.

Sort of like having to wear sensible orthopaedic shoes when you really want to wear Manolo's..

Perhaps this is the last opportunity for my baby to hold me hostage, while I lamely bleat from the backseat (well, sofa), "Bump, are we there yet, are we nearly there yet Bump??".

Sunday, 8 April 2007

I choose...pineapple

Perusing the options of ways in which to bring on labour, I'm struck by the fact that they seem to fall into two categories. Raunchy vs mundane.

1. (Hot?) sex and/or nipple tweaking;

2. Floor cleaning (the old fashioned way, no magimop solutions here) and/or hoovering;

I find it hard to believe the same person came up with both lists -more likely a helpful husband the first and his equally helpful mother the second. (Or perhaps that's unfair - this is the 21st century after all - more likely a frustrated wife and mother the first, and an OCD metrosexual husband the second..)

Oh and not forgetting the curry (better combined with the more raunchy option list 1) and pineapple (on sticks??) which tucks neatly into the more mundane option list 2) (on account of its astringent qualities I'm thinking).

Mind you, perhaps these options are more interchangeable than I first thought; take the floor cleaning for example - who's to say it wasn't the same person after all, helpfully providing some saucy role play to get things going? Remove the clothes and a prolonged and vigorous session on all fours may well fit better in the first option list. Equally the curry could then be eaten off the floor afterwards as a sort of post-all fours edible cigarette.

Which leaves nipple tweaking and hoovering - hmm. Well in our house my husband is the hooverer (or should that be carpet-manager?), so I would probably just have a token metre squared to 'pretend' hoover over and end up with a bald spot. Surely though it's not actually the hoovering that helps - all that noise would more likely than not just scare poor baby back in than entice it out - it must be more to do with the rocking motion, which could actually be done anywhere.

It's a nice day, I could go into the garden perhaps and rock back and forward for twenty minutes with optional arm stretch (or nipple tweak?). On the plus side, fresh air, sunshine, birdsong; on the down side neighbours presuming:

a) heavily pregnant new neighbour has developed nasty mental illness;
b) heavily pregnant new neighbour practices previously unseen Eastern exercise routine;
c) heavily pregnant new neighbour has foot stuck and needs urgent assistance (and is obviously comforting herself with a little nipple tweaking).

No, this all seems fraught with unsavoury possibilities and the need for copious amounts of Gaviscon. And it is Easter. I think instead I will stick to a nice stroll in the park and a (pineapple-flavoured) ice lolly. You never know, the sound of the ice-cream van alone may well be enough to encourage Bump to hurry out into the world..

Saturday, 7 April 2007

NCT bake-off

So having had my initial scepticism about joining an NCT group appeased by meeting a group of seemingly nice and 'normal' couples, all equally nervous and unknowing about the perils of what might lie ahead along the path of parenthood, I think I may have encountered an early setback.

A few days ago I popped over to one lovely new mum's house to meet with a few of my new grown up friends. I, perhaps to compensate for my lack of maternal skills, baked some cookies in the morning a la Bree Van de Camp to take along. Bound to be impressed with that little display of domesticity I thought, clever way to delay the discovery of my inevitable future inadequacies in this scary new world. Tupperware in one hand, nearly-40 week bump in the other, I made my way in the sunshine, all suddenly right in the world.

"I brought cookies!" I proudly exclaimed and made my way through to the kitchen. The cookies were not the star of the kitchen nor the afternoon, needless to say. Another lovely lady had whipped up some Belgian chocolate mousse in little individual containers; the hostess had prepared fresh berries to accompany the luxury goods she had bought (ok, not home-made but they were 'Taste the Difference', and it was her house!); and to top it all, the most recent new mum arrived bearing her 6 day old daughter, a very small stomach and a home-made treacle tart!

OK so not exactly a tortuous afternoon all in all, however it did make me realise, as I politely turned down the opportunity to hold tiny babies or eat any of the goodies on offer, that perhaps being Bree wasn't going to be so easy after all. Perhaps I'm more of a dippy Susan, or frazzled Lynette. There was I thinking that I'd left the world of competition behind me for a few months, and in reality I think I have instead entered an even more combative one. I think to qualify for a good end of year maternity report, not to mention in-year bonus, I'm going to have to be a lot more resourceful. Hmm, food for thought while we await the arrival of Bump.

On the plus side, I still had some cookies left to offer my hubbie as he came home early for the long weekend. At least he appreciates my new-found domestic prowess. Or was that just the sugar-rush?

Friday, 6 April 2007

Everyone loves a bump..

So here I am teetering on the dawn of motherhood and feeling reflective about the power of 'the bump'.

There is an amazing quality to a bump which makes normally eye contact-shy london folk start up the most intimate of conversations in public places. I have noticed this is also directly linked to the size of the bump; over the past few weeks interest has increased exponentially as my bump has grown. "Now that's a big one..", "can't be long now..", "is this your first?", "my wife's just had one of those"; all typical openers leading on to conversations normally reserved for those 7 minute chats in the doctor's surgery.

Of course bumps in themselves don't normally lead people to be quite so friendly - a bump on the head, back or, er..any other part of the body, especially a rapidly growing one, leads straight back to foot shuffling and eye avoidance. No, there has to be a small alien growing within the bump to stoke the interest of others and make you suddenly feel a bit 'special'.

Conversations typically range from the predictable to the surreal, leaving you questioning your/others' hormone levels/sanity. For example:

(John Lewis, Wednesday): Interested Other (male): "my wife swears by that swaddling blanket", Me: "Oh really? Oh good"; (10mins of baby talk later) Interested Other: " you really have to shove it on to the breast when it opens its mouth, much less painful", Me: "hmm, easy for you to say.."

(Black cab back from John Lewis, Wednesday) Interested Other: "So, do you know what it is?", Me: "um, I'm hoping a baby...but who knows, could be a giraffe, ha ha!"; Interested Other: "Ha, and what flavour, do you know?", Me: "er, strawberry??"; Interested other: "Ha Ha", Me: ", keep the change".

Which brings me back to the teetering. Today I have reached the peak of my 40 week journey and in many ways feel I have 'arrived' - hoorah, job done, hard slog over, you did it!! And it does feel like an achievement - all those weeks of reading what to expect next with a mix of horror and excitement in books that would be better entitled 'The Freak in You', and attempting to manage the hormonal and physical assault course of a trainee mum-to-be.

However, as one trip to NCT will tell you, this is nothing compared with what comes next..which as hard as I try I just cannot imagine. For now it's still just me and Bump, Bump and me, (oh and hubbie too of course, and 'new boyf' pillow which has had more loving than husband over last couple of months), and the unsolicited bump-love of strangers.