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Suburban Fairy Tale

 

171Once upon a time, on the edge of the city, in a land pretty much like everywhere else, there lived a Mummy.  From the outset, she was a pretty ordinary Mummy, with scruffy hair and a wobbly tummy. She spent her days tidying her house, but it was never tidy. She spent her days feeding her baby, but he always needed feeding again. She spent her days drinking her cup of tea, but it never got finished. She spent her days rocking her baby to sleep, but he never slept enough. She spent her days trying to do other things too, but they never got done.

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Stuff I Don’t Have To Do Now I Have a Baby

The face of my freedom

It can be all too easy at times to mourn the things that are no longer available to me now that there’s a baby on the scene. Like long showers, being spontaneous and a decent or even half-decent night’s sleep.

For the moment at least, late night partying is well behind us; we might still be up at 3 AM and there may even be a bottle and the occasional vomit involved, but the circumstances are altogether quite different. Lazy mornings relaxing together are replaced by tag-team parenting at the weekend and begging, pleading and blackmailing for an extra 10 minutes of shut-eye in the week. This baby lark hasn’t half changed things around here.

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All Day and All of the Night

If you're happy and you know it...

10:30 PM

Go to bed; don’t pretend you don’t want to.

OK, I will go. I hope the baby sleeps tonight, he drank all his milk, the temperature is right and I said a prayer. I bet he will sleep. I’ll just do some reading.

GET THE HELL TO BED

12:00 MIDNIGHT

Already? Throw me a bone here, baby.

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Letter To My Inner Idiot

IMG_3774Dear Idiot,

I am writing this for your own good, for our own good really. I know you don’t think you are an idiot, which is kind of one of the main issues, and why I have deemed it necessary to take action. You actually seem to fancy yourself as a bit of a smarty pants with your time saving ideas, stupid lists and unrealistic expectations. But let me be clear, you are a fool. And it’s about time someone told you – other than your husband, who we both know rarely gets a fair hearing.

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Write on, Mummy*

writingA clever and insightful philosopher type person once said,

If you wish to be a writer, write

(Epictetus)

I think that’s what he said anyway. I have since had a baby, and lost half my memory and two thirds of my brain cells.

It took me a while to get down with that ever so famous and wise quote though. I sort of resented it.  It’s all very well, I would think, making it sound so simple. But where do I get the time? The inspiration? The chance to research? It was different for these Greek Philosophy fellows. They didn’t have an office job, a full social life and two series of Mad Men backing up the Sky Box. I’m a bit too busy to just write.

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Shush! World… Don’t wake the baby

Silence please everyone - it sleeps

Heavily pregnant and blissfully ignorant, I sat chatting to my Mum about the practicalities, as I saw them, of having a baby. I was very clued up you see, having browsed several forums, read some pamphlets and flicked through a baby book. I blithely explained, ‘You see, Mum, nowadays babies must sleep in the same room as you at all times, so I will carry him or her around in its bouncer while I do jobs and watch TV, or in its pram while I’m out and about. That way the baby will sleep better anyway, being used to every day sounds and noises and I can just get on with what I’m doing.’ I had it all sussed.

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Attack of the Baby

photo (14)Put simply, babies are experts in attacking their parents from day dot. Mums in particular seem to bear the brunt of their aggression, having their appetites, energy levels, bladders and stomach muscles used and abused before we’ve even met them. But, like vampires, we invited them in so really can’t complain. They were just doing their thing and we were generally, pretty happy to accommodate.

As newborns, the attacks may become less direct, but are still at large. Their marks can be clearly evidenced under and around the eyes of all new parents – again, Mums especially.

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As Long as You’re Happy

20140713-151733-55053732.jpg

Today you screamed and shouted until I sat you on my knee
I only wanted to use the toilet, by myself, for 40 seconds
I think you expect me to ignore my basic bodily functions
It’s quite hard to wee with a climbing 1 year old attached, by the way
Well, as long as you’re happy, I told you
The look you gave me said, obviously.

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Can a home ever really be Baby Proof?

The name's Mouse, Danger Mouse

I was terrified of the day my baby would start crawling. Our house, which, prior to having a baby seemed a perfectly reasonable place to reside, now resembled a Field of Danger and Bad Things and I couldn’t imagine any other way of keeping him safe than camping out in the garden.

I responsibly consulted my baby book, nearly fainted with shock and anxiety at just how lethal the average home appeared to be, tried to throw away our plants (poisonous, who knew?), and was eventually told by my husband to calm the hell down; so instead, I hid the bleach, bought a couple of stair gates, and crossed my fingers.

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The Upsides to a Rogue Baby

Exhibit - Rogue

So, to speak truthfully, I’ve had moments of wishing my baby was a bit more chill, and a bit less feral. You know, the kind of baby who will lay contentedly kicking away in Mum and Baby yoga, before peacefully dosing off in time for me to do my post natal stretches and take a moment for myself.  Not so much the kind of baby that leaves me to attempt said stretches stood on one foot whilst simultaneously rocking, feeding and trying to remember if I turned the hob off.

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Feed and Let Feed

photo (12)This week, Jamelia, the woman who sang a few pop songs 14 years ago, told the nation, or at least, anyone watching Loose Women, that people who choose not to breastfeed were selfish, and that it should be made compulsory. Putting aside, like she obviously did, feeding problems, the Mother’s health and social and family pressures; Jamelia’s comments are of course just silly words, by a silly ego, that thankfully have no chance of being implemented. But, they are out there now. They are in the news, on the radio station, being written about (like now for example!) and it’s another judgment, another slap in the face to people – for whatever reason, who aren’t breastfeeding. Another lecture, another nudge, to let you know, in case you didn’t already, that, according to them, you’re not getting it quite right.

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