Monkey see, Monkey Woo.
‘Oh Lexy you must be so proud!!! He is gorgeous, he is absolutely beautiful, don’t you think?’
I am sat on a hospital bed 23 hours post hell on earth. My arse is in tatters, I’m terrified of having a wee and my legs are the size of individual century old oak trees. (Or those yellow tubes you see on building sites. They really did look like those yellow tubes. You know the ones that they slide rubbish down? The ones that, as a child, I used to think were actual slides the builders used to dismount the scaffolding, hence me telling anyone who would listen, aged 5, that when i grew up I wanted to work in construction. Anyway I digress. That is what my legs looked like.)
Why is all the weight still here? It was supposed to drop off?! I shake my bingo wing dispassionately and try to focus.
‘What?’ I accidentally spit out. ‘What was that?’
It is visiting hour. The deathly warm post natal ward is crammed full of crinkly pink and blue helium balloons and over excited grandparents shrieking and clapping and slurping at NHS luke warm tea. There is a metal bin directly adjacent to my head. If one more person slams it, they will have to transfer me from the Hormonal fatty ward (as I have come to know it) to the maximum security moose on the loose ward as I will undoubtedly stab them with my plastic, soggy curry fork.
In spite of all this going on around him my freshly brewed boy is laid in a heavenly, snuggly and beautiful bundle on my big fat lap. He is bloody gorgeous. His features are scrunched up in to a tight ‘Don’t mess with me or I will kick your arse’ face and he is bright orange. The labour was as heavy going on him as it was for me. (He is honest to god the most orange baby you ever saw. But it is ok. They are bringing a sun bed in for him later and I fully intend to get under it with him. I could do with a bit of colour myself.)
‘I said,’ my best friend repeats, ‘you must be so proud. He is bloody gorgeous.’
Proud? Is she on glue? Proud isn’t how I would describe myself right now. AT ALL! Knackered, half the woman I once was, Amazed, transfixed, confused, tired, in pain, shocked, terrified, and a little bit angry (hormones) probably sums half of what I am feeling now. But Proud? Proud? Proud of what? It wasn’t like I had a choice in the matter! He had to be born, he had to come out, even though I changed my mind half way through and tried to get up and go home, and there is no lying here, I was a full on wimp. No, no I am not proud. I am in shock. I am a wobbly, thirsty mess.
‘I really am proud’ I state loudly (what was I supposed to say?!) ‘I cannot believe I made him. He is so perfect.’
‘I can’t believe it either to be honest,’ she shakes her head in amazement, ‘he looks absolutely nothing like you, he is his dad all over don’t you think?’
That was the first time ever, myself and my bestest friend in the whole wide world had a little fall out. I was hormonal. I was in pain. I was fatter than a beached whale at the end of seal season and I was at the very start of the emotional rollercoaster of a lifetime.
At which point I burst out crying and she hugged me fiercely. (I did say little fall out.)
Turns out she did me a favour. She was simply preparing me for what was to come. Every visitor, every midwife, every stranger who saw the three of us together , every check out girl, every family member, every random woman in the street, would share with me their opinion. He looked nothing like me. Was I sure he was even mine?
‘Oh he looks just like his dad – Sorry Lexy.’
‘Oh he is the IMAGE of the Irish one – sorry Lexy’
‘My god he is just like daddy isn’t he Lexy?’
‘Ha! If you hadn’t birthed him I wouldn’t be too sure he was even yours, sorry Lexy!’
‘WOW! Is he even yours? Does he look like his dad? Sorry – random mother who looks like she may kill me.’
It always ends the same way. We will make a joke about how he looks nothing like you, break your heart in to a million pieces (a touch dramatic maybe) but none of it matters because we finish by saying Sorry. Essentially we can say what we want as we are putting a sorry at the end. (I have so many uses for this!! OY troll face, you are a slutty bitch – Sorry shitforbrains. (Names have been changed to protect all involved.)
‘Oh he has his dads EVERYTHING doesn’t he? He doesn’t look a bit like you at all! –Sorry Lexy.’
I have dealt with it now though. It doesn’t bother me at all. Go on say it, it’s ok. He is his dad all over, I know. Don’t be sorry. It saves on a paternity test. Not that we would need a paternity test. This isn’t some dodgy episode of Jeremy Kyle or anything. I am not sat here in a pair of jeans six sizes too small for me (liar) with my muffin top on show (liar) for all the world to see while smoking crack cocaine, beating up my husband, shagging my brothers girlfriend, punching my mum and letting the dog breast feed the baby. (Where do they find these people?) and besides, the last thing I need is another man shouting at me, telling me I should be ashamed of myself (really Jeremy? Really? Do you think they will be at this point?) No, don’t be sorry, when you laughingly tell me MY SON looks nothing like me, because whether he looks like me or not he is still MY SON. I don’t mind you telling me he looks NOTHING like me over and over again. Why would I? It’s not like I went through 65 hours or labour or anything. It’s not like it makes me want to slap you across the face or anything, (..and breathe…)
‘My god, he is a mini Irish One isn’t he? All he needs is a beard!’
He is a boy. My son is a boy. I am glad he looks like a man. I am sure if he looked like me he would have been even more stunning than he is now, but whatever. Don’t be sorry. It’s fine. Really it is. I don’t mind at all. Everyone says the same and that is ok. Honestly. It is fine; his dad is ok looking I suppose. I mean I fancied him enough to have his baby. So Addison should be fine.
Have you noticed though? He has my hands. Look! Look at his hands and then look at mine. You see? We have the same hands. So it is ok that he looks like his dad because he will always have my hands, and some people say he has my eyes too, but whatever. You know I don’t mind either way. He is gorgeous so you know, don’t be sorry. I am totally at one with the fact he looks like his father. It doesn’t bother me at all ok? Shall we move on?
(Is it just me that finds this rude and thoughtless? I mean, im not being funny but I did all the work. It would be nice if he looked a bit like me you know? I incubate, create and birth and daddy gets all the glory? It would be nice if the ODD person said he looked like me you know? I would know you were lying but it would make me feel better!)
But whatever. He has my hands, and his dad is good looking so it’s fine. No, honestly it really is. I may have 5 stitches in my arse, but don’t be sorry! My son is gorgeous. And just like his dad, like you said. But he has my hands. Have you seen his hands? And his feet! He has my monkey feet too. He is such a lucky boy! By the time he is sixteen he will be able to change channel with his big toe.
It’s a gift, it really is.
And anyway I have a fix for this problem.
I am mother. I can fix anything.
In the next few days I intend to copy my sons every move. So if he doesn’t look like me, I will eventually begin to look like him.
What do you think?
I think it will work.
Now, let me just stick some fish finger in my ear, yoghurt up my nose and we are good to go!