28 November 2008

2posh 2push

Over the last 24 hours, I have had one fight involving two editors, four bouts of crying and three hours of sleep. I am so wired, I almost feel like I could do it again today. A rather dramatic end to my penultimate week of work before maternity leave, and probably not the best way to usher in a weekend of antenatal classes, but there you have it.

More redundancies at work have been made, and someone I legitimately do not like - on a personal or professional level - has been given the boot. No part of me feels like celebrating though, because the axe is indiscriminate and the few colleagues that have made my life in corporate Britannia bearable are leaving too. It makes me wonder if I’ll be walking into a sea of brand new faces when I return next year.

There is so much to do and buy and prepare for before the baby arrives and I’m not sure how we’ll finish everything alongside Christmas, which we’re spending in Hertfordshire. I’ve got four baby books and two parenting ones on the go, and I’m desperately hoping that the essential pieces of information will sink in before I have to do something like, oh I don’t know, pick him up. What on earth do you do with these things?

I know what to do with toddlers – you just follow them around all day, making sure they don’t put small objects in their mouths or run headfirst into the edge of a coffee table until they exhaust themselves and fall asleep on a pile of Lego. But an infant? I vaguely recall tipping a Cabbage Patch doll out of a pram as I tried to wheel it down the grassy knolls of our front lawn, and holding my nephew Christopher as though he was a small sack of gunpowder or a spun-sugar light bulb. I don’t remember what I did next in either scenario.

They say it’s different with your own child, and by ‘it’ I do hope they mean ‘everything,’ because when I see a baby coming my way, my instinct is to hold it at arm’s length and then pass it on to the next interested party. It’s something to do with the drool and the vague waft of brussels sprouts emanating from their nappies. That and the cockeyed way they size you up, like they are trying to determine whether or not you would absent-mindedly leave them in a shopping trolley at the grocery store if this relationship progressed beyond a cuddle and - once they see that yes, probably you would - the way they tense up and scream in your face.

Even if I get past the squeamishness and the not knowing what to do, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m off the hook. What if the baby triggers my latent obsessive compulsive tendencies and I start to panic if we’re five minutes late for his mid-morning nap or he hasn’t fed enough by my stopwatch and uncanny sense of mammary weight to volume ratio? Or worse – what if I find parenting incredibly dull? It’s a good job these fears don’t kick in until after implantation, or we’d be very limited as a species, numerically speaking.

Also good on the things list: Bruce. He’s very excited to meet the little guy and keen to get started, bless him. Last night the baby was pushing his foot into my side and making it shudder like an overripe jell-o mould and Bruce was poking back and talking to him like he was already in the world with us. I still have trouble making that leap - I guess because if I thought about it too hard, it would probably dawn on me that I am housing a small person in my mid-section that will one day want to vacate the premises. And there’s only one way out of there. Two if you’re posh.


Anonymous said...

I know you're my wife and everything and I'm probably supposed to say nice things, but you really are an amazing writer. I'm lucky to have you. xx

Anonymous said...

your husband is right.

i can't wait to meet the little one & to see you two again.


Anonymous said...

You are going to be a great mum. Not only is your husband lucky to have you, so is your little one. I wish very much that I could be there to go through this with you. I'm so excited for you.

Anonymous said...

You married a smart man.
And something tells me you that as soon as you lay eyes on the wee new person, you will know exactly what to do.

pk said...

Brussel sprouts? You should be so lucky.The two of you make the world seem very sweet, so I hope they smell of treacle.