You are a potato, but I love you.
‘If there was one thing you could have done differently or better in the lead up to having Addison, what would it have been?’ Shamoo the pregnant whale asked of me while trying to maintain the serious look in her eye and struggling not to lose her cool as she slowly and repeatedly sunk in to the sofa before floundering around in an attempt to free herself. She literally looked like a harassed and fed up, beached, sea mammal. It was like Free Willy dinner theatre.
‘I would have used a condom.’ I replied looking up, considering ringing Greenpeace and trying to surreptitiously un-stick discarded bogey, that seemed to be welded on, from my right eyebrow.
‘No, Lexy, come on,’ she puffed, beginning to lose her cool and blinking like an escaped mentalist as sweat poured down her forehead and began to pool in the suitcases under her eyes ‘stop trying to make me laugh and be honest, I am not in the mood for jokes, I need help here!’
It is at this point I stopped picking the remains of Addy’s crusty nostril lining from my face and looked up at my oldest friend aghast. Make her laugh? Not in the mood for jokes? What is funny about that? I wasn’t trying to be funny! Can she not see what I am being forced to do in a public place here? She may be struggling to stay afloat on that sofa but I am struggling to stay afloat in life for god sake!
‘Lou darling, I am sat in front of you picking Addison’s crusty nose droppings from my eyebrow! I had full conversations with at least 6 people this morning and the whole time I have had lumps of baby snot stuck to my face! Which part of ‘I would have used a condom’ do you find amusing?’
We both glared at one another for a second in a stubborn truce, before collapsing in to giggles at the absurdity of the situation. Pregnancy and motherhood is magical alright. It magically transforms you from woman to potato in one fail swoop. (Round, dense and covered in crap – just in case you couldn’t figure it out.)
‘Do you want me to ask behind the counter and see if they have a spare JCB or tractor lying around to help winch you from that sofa?’ I asked fighting hard to hide my amusement at her predicament
Before you start to think I am a total bitch here, I am honestly not being overly harsh. We have a love hate relationship. The entire time I was pregnant she referred to me as Madam Hippo in a comedy French accent. She would dance up to me, taking the Mickey, her lithe body twisted and contorted in to all sorts of amazing angles, while I sat like a Christmas pudding on the sofa, she would poke me with her finger ‘does madam Hip-po need a mud bath to cool down?’ she would ask before shimmying away in a cloud of thinness cackling like the cow bag she is. Seriously. I am just getting my revenge.
‘Oh go on then,’ she laughed, her belly wobbling while with every giggle ‘and while you are there ask them if they can find you any deodorant, you smell like a skanky tramp!’
Excellent come back, she is a sly minx. She goes for my weak spots. I knew I should have showered at 3 o’clock that morning during the 8 minutes of peace I had while Addison slept soundly. Stupid of me really to instead, try and get some sleep myself. Addison is also a sly minx and also goes for my weak spots. I often wake up with tiny toy cars wedged in my mouth or raisins tunnelling their way down in to my inner ear, Co-sleeping has its benefits but sleep definitely isn’t one of them.
After we had moved from the sinking sofa and were sitting comfortably, well as comfortably as we could manage with an 8 month old bump sharing a table with us (basically meaning I was pinned up against the hard tile wall, with the table so close to my chest that my underwire has been made completely redundant as the table was was now fully supporting my saggy boobs, unable to breathe never mind move my elbow enough to lift a cup, and meanwhile she was slouched in front of me, her legs raised comfortably on another chair out in front of her and stretching and yawning like a new-born deer) she once again asked me if there was anything I would change or do differently.
‘So come on,’ she said seriously knowing there was no escape for me now ‘give a girl some decent advice…’
I couldn’t escape and she knew it, but her being my best friend, she also knew it wasn’t a question I could have answered nonchalantly and without thinking.
‘Can I come back to you on that one?’ I asked seriously, ‘You have 5 weeks remaining before you turn in to a loaded potato wedge and I am assuming you don’t mean the I would have bought more muslin cloths type advice, although I would have, so can I have a think about it and come back to you?’
‘Yes’ she sighs dramatically as I stretch my neck forward and just about manage to lick the top off my cappuccino ‘shall we go? I feel claustrophobic here.’ (!?!)
Lying in the bath last night trying to wash the smell of tramp from under my armpits and remove teething poop from my behind my tonsils, I began to rattle the question around my brain.
I can honestly say, I don’t think there is anything I would change, other than the obvious winning of the lottery, smaller hips and a night nanny, because my experience has been my experience and even with the at times debilitating post natal depression chasing me through every stage of his first year, I have managed to relish and enjoy those special moments between me and my boy. I have learnt more in the last year than I have learnt in my entire life, and every day I literally learn something new.
Like yesterday as an example, I went for a ‘private’ check up at the Dr’s surgery. Due to nursery being incompetent and a total let down, I ended up having to take Addison with me. Having a female type examination is bad enough without adding to the mortification, a playful toddler who is intent on looking up the dr’s skirt while mummy is lying on the table legs akimbo. The busy, irritable Dr ended up plonking him, with an evil glint in her eye, on to my stomach, mid check, and asking me to ‘keep an eye on him here, I won’t be a moment.’
Thus meaning that while she is digging around down there, attempting to find the lost treasure of Azerbaijan, Addison is attempting to stick his strangely huge fist, up my nose while at the same time, trying to prise my mouth open with his paddle feet, so he can play his brilliant fun new game, which involves him spitting directly in to my mouth.
Bad planning? I think so. Smear test from hell? Definately.
Lesson learnt? Absolutely.
No woman is an island, BUT some women, (me) are multi-tasking goddessess. (Whether we like it or not.)
So, Louise, in answer to your question, no. There is nothing I would do differently, other than finding a child minder for my smear, but yes there are a few things I would do better if I could turn back the clock.
I would spend more time planning and less time worrying about planning. I would eat more, try to laugh off the tiny errors I made (don’t puree sprouts with banana, the banana won’t mask the taste) and look in the mirror a lot less in the early days. Nothing good came of it. I would rely on my friends a little more, accept their help and definitely not watch the WSPCA advert during a bout of the ’baby blues’, as I ended up giving an entire months maternity pay to a three legged donkey in Sudan. I would accept my ‘potato’ baby brain status and allow extra time in to my plans for the numerous trip ups, mess up’s, spillages’, embarrassments and accidents I cause on a daily basis.
And that is just in week 1.
So Louise, I hope this kind of answers your question, as I now have to run; I am off to the Priory for an assessment ahead of the intensive day patient treatment starting for my post traumatic shock from having a baby. (Joking. Kind of.) If I can be of any more help, please don’t hesitate to ask, and maybe some of my readers can help a little more than I have?
Is there anything you would do, dear readers, be it as simple as buying more crisps for the early days or smaller baby gros’s for the 8 stone baby you thought you were having, who turned out to wiegh 6 pounds, or something as monumental as moving house, making sure you have petrol in the car for when the contractions start or hiring Brat Pitt as a butler, that you think may help Shamoo on her quest with the baby orca? Any advice is welcome.
My old enemy, post natal depression is perched on my shoulder waiting to strike me down again so I really should be going. I can feel him there grinning evilly getting ready for his entrance in to my heart, but little does he know I am ready with a big wooden spoon and a week’s worth of exercise and positive mental meanderings to bat him away with.
Be gone be gone you demon of stupidity! Soon you will be vanquished for good!
If I manage to not head butt the Dr, inadvertently grope the receptionist’s bum or maim a passing goat somehow and do manage to end up feeling a little more human, I will keep you posted.
Click click, spoc spoc, may the spud be with you.