Monday, 29 June 2015

Newsflash-Mother has time to paint own toenails!

Piglet is asleep and I have just managed to snatch a few moments to afford myself the liberty of painting my toenails.

I now look, with my lurid red toenails, like a woman who never wears anything but trousers and a woolly hiking fleece, who has suddenly put on a dress for the first time in ten years, to the astonishment of all her friends and colleagues: in other words, out of place.  And clearly I should be sleeping.  I mean, last night Piglet barely slept a wink.  He just kept waking up, wailing and reaching for the boob, coming off, rolling over and then starting the whole process over again an infinite number of times, until the sun was literally coming up and I couldn't bear to look at the time, knowing that it was bound to be ten minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

The weird thing is, I'm not remotely bothered.

In the past, when circumstances conspired to make me lose large chunks of sleep, either by long flights or long nights drinking inadvisable alcohol/energy drink combinations, I was like a crazed wild animal, attacking anything and anyone who stood in the way of a nice comfy bed.  But now, even when the alarm goes off and I have to drag my barely living carcass out of bed and make breakfast, heaving the still sleeping Piglet into his Bumbo seat as he bleats in protest and remonstrates with me about my being the Worst Mother Ever by flailing his arms up and down angrily, I am strangely calm and serene, when any other mortal being-or even nearby inanimate object-who behaved this way would have me praying for their imminent violent death.  I blame breastfeeding for turning me into this weirdly placid creature.  It must be the hormones.  Either that or motherhood has turned me into Martin Luther King, but without the bravery.  I am fearful of anything and everything that might cause harm to Piglet.  Except random bits of stale toast on the carpet.  Or the mouthfuls of toilet roll he insists on eating (one has to pick one's battles, otherwise I will shortly turn into my mother, yelling "NO!" and launching herself across the room every other nanosecond to rescue Piglet from the nearest plug socket or library book).

And so it is that at the shocking time of 9.45pm I find myself still awake and wondering whether I should be putting some sleep in the Great Sleep Bank that regrettably doesn't exist (if only I had been able to stock up on sleep during pregnancy.  God knows I tried), or whether I should be making the most of these precious few moments of baby-free time to paint my fingernails as well.  Or like, change the world or something.  Or write a novel and become brilliant at making my own clothes and baking prize-winning cakes.  Or start a multi-million pound business importing cherry-blossom flavoured alcopops from Japan.  You know, all those things you think would be great to do while the baby's asleep.

Or perhaps they would be better done at 4am, when he wakes up.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Catching a Train with a Baby

It seems that it is becoming increasingly impossible to write this blog.  Piglet is either awake, in which case he is trying to grab the laptop and/or one of the many other things he is Not Allowed to Touch (TV remote, plug socket, anything that isn't one of his toys or my collection of books and DVDs, which I have long since sacrificed at the altar of Anything For A Quiet Life) and then shrieking, going all rigid and flinging himself around when they are taken away from him; or he is asleep, and I cannot leave him in case he wakes up and rolls off the bed.

He is, it goes without saying, never happy with anything, unless it involves ripping books to shreds and eating them, dragging my mobile phone along the floor while I am trying to speak to my mother on it, or physically attacking the television.  He is currently doing the latter.  I'm pretty sure all the guidelines for How to Bring Up an Emotionally Secure and Intellectually Stimulated Youngster say no TV before the age of two, but as my mother would say, it never did me any harm.  At least I don't think it did.  For all I know every single fault in my personality could be directly traced back to time spent watching Playschool in 1982.

Over the weekend I took Piglet to Bristol.  Until now, I had never felt any desire to own a car and drive around in it, but after several journeys to Bristol and back on the train, the prospect of several hours driving down the M4 are beginning to look extremely appealing.  This is because I would then not have to endure any of the following:

Piglet doing a poo on the train.
The dreaded journey down the escalator at Paddington with the pushchair (yesterday I was bold enough to ask a member of TfL staff for help, and practically got shouted at for my trouble-"I'M ON MY OWN HERE!"  I thought I was going to be lynched by angry commuters after being held single-handedly responsible for the next tube workers' strike).
A man walking past while I was breastfeeding Piglet and remarking "aww how sweet," followed by "you're making me hungry now!"
A full scale battle with the pushchair involving several passers by, trying to fold it down and squeeze it into a luggage rack before abandoning the whole idea and leaving it in the buffet car to act as a makeshift table for yokels drinking cider out of cans.

Well, at least it gives me something to write about.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

These are my peeps


If I went to bed Right Now, I might get the full eight hours, time spent waking up to soothe a fretful Piglet aside.

But I am not going to go to sleep right now, because I am writing this.  And the glow of the computer screen is going to adjust my hormone levels, apparently, so that everything goes out of sync and I end up wide awake and wired as one of the Happy Mondays at the Hacienda in 1989, unable to sleep for three weeks.

And this is what it has been like every night since I last wrote on here, and that is why I never do.  Sleep wins out every time.

On Saturday Piglet went to his first birthday party. Not his own, obvs, as he is only ten and a half months.  The venue was a thing called a baby cafe.  In Islington.  We don't have such things in Wembley, as no one would be so shamelessly middle class as to actually name their business a baby cafe, instead of something much more sensible, like a soft play centre, or Cafe Nero, even if it ends up as the former due to the preponderance therein of both babies and coffee.

Anyway, you can imagine what it was like walking into this baby cafe.  

In short, it was a peculiarly upper middle class version of Hell.

There were women in Thai fishermen's pants of baggy denim with elasticated waists; there were bespectacled middle class men strapping on special trainers designed specifically so that feet don't slide off the pedals whilst cycling (doubtless with the baby being pulled along behind in one of those little baby-tents): there was eggs benedict being eaten; there were flat whites being drunk out of glass cups with no handles (rather precariously, given the surroundings, clientele and overall theme); there was a selection of tasteful wooden toys strewn across the floor, and with few exceptions, every parent in there, I am delighted to report, at least looked older than me.*

It was like walking in a dazed and confused state out of a mine in which you had been working for the last twenty five years as a pit pony and suddenly seeing the sun, blinking around for a second wondering what had hit you, and then deciding it was all rubbish and going blind.

These are now my peeps, I found myself thinking in wonderment.  THESE ARE MY PEEPS.  I am one of THEM.

I am that woman in the fisherman pants, who just wants to be comfortable whilst lugging a baby around in an organic sling (in my case, they were Topshop leggings.  I do have a shred of dignity).

I am that man on the bike with the baby-tent, regaling a nearby collection of mothers with the triumphant words "I bet you're all wondering what THESE SHOES are for, aren't you?"

I am the one who replied "I already know.  I used to be really into cycling."  And then, with a sigh, "used to," as though life as we know it is now over for all of us.

I am definitely all the women still breastfeeding children old enough to go to secondary school.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my life.  These are my peeps.

*This does not mean they were.  I am of the opinion that I look about seventeen.  The mirror suggests otherwise, and that somewhat alarmingly I may in fact have inherited my father's terrifyingly accelerated rate of ageing, but I'm pretty sure it's lying.