20 February 2009

A real boy

Bruce is currently out on his first independent excursion with our son, which means that for the first time in six weeks I have the place all to myself. They’re only going down to the comic shop, so in lieu of inviting scads of local teenagers on Facebook to come over and trash the place, I’ve opted for the simpler pleasures of writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee. I’m sure there are other, better activities I could be engaged in that require both hands and the absence of screaming (showering, cleaning, sleeping, eating a messy curry) but I’m a creature of habit, so.

The day before last, Bruce took some banked time off work and we went out to have Hartley’s hearing tested (passed!) and also to register his birth. Lately we’ve been taking him out for entire afternoons, and so long as he is in his front-facing baby carrier, we’re able to board busses, browse the shops along the high streets, sit down to lunch and return home with nary a peep out of him.

He picked the registrar’s office in Islington (the furthest he’s been from home, in other words) to spark a debate about our little agreement, however, and Bruce and I regarded our screaming bundle in mute astonishment as he exercised his little lungs in the chilly air and passersby scanned our faces for telltale signs of a deviant or neglectful parent.

I always imagined that when my kid lost his shit in public, my Super Mummy persona would emerge and I would intuitively jump into action, which I was mostly right about, except the actions mainly involved grinning and shrugging and digging around impotently in the change bag for some magical hush potion, none of which solved the problem. Luckily he managed to calm himself down by the time we reached the bus stop, but it will be a dark day in North London when it’s for real and I am alone with him on some form of packed public transport during rush hour. Because he can really belt it out when he puts his mind to it.

Look at me here, an adult alone and in possession of two or more sex toys, a television and a cupboard full of hot drinks and what am I doing? Writing about the baby. It really is an all-consuming role, though, this parenting thing, and some days I wake up and wonder if I will ever again be able to eat breakfast and take a shower in the same morning, or watch an entire episode of Big Love without turning to Bruce and giving him the Is that the baby? look or, hell, go out for an afternoon or evening on my own.

But by then he’s already squirming and grunting and indicating that I should feed him or pick him up or change him already for heaven’s sake and I don’t have long to ponder these things. Though I finally understand what it was my mother was trying to protect me from all those livelong teenaged years. How on earth do teenage mums and single parents do this? Don’t answer that, I’m just being silly. I’ve come down with the flu again, which will add another challenge to the week ahead, as though I needed one.

Bruce just called to say that he was minutes from home, so I guess that’s time. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to write here again, though I suppose half the fun of having a blog is finding the time to write in it, yes?


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got a bit of time to yourself and even more glad that you chose to share it with us via your blog.
Kids lose their shit in public at all ages and times, so gird yourself. I am currently in charge of a very willful three-year-old whose favorite trick is to sit down and refuse to budge - at home, in the park, wherever - which means I frequently have to pick him up and transport his screaming form - it provides me with a good physical workout and I've learned to ignore the "Is that woman abducting that poor child?" stares and just keep moving.

Anonymous said...

Just writing to confirm that, from what I remember, it is all-consuming, and it is overwhelming. And it will get easier, in the way that you will be able to take showers again. And, as Lass says, they do all misbehave in public at some point, so don't worry -- everyone's been through it. But as you already know, they're a lot of fun, and when they're asleep they look like angels.