Life's a bastard...but sometimes it lets up

The life and times of an ordinary Dublin girl. Follow her journey as she finds out working from home really ISN'T about watching Oprah all day and that perhaps men aren't really all bastards.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...

FORGIVE me readers, for I have sinned. It has been weeks and weeks since my last post and my only excuse is that I've been working my (flabby) arse off and also, I've had no idea what to write about.

Do I tell you about my stint minding my tiny niece and how I have 'the fear' that I'm going to be a terrible mother?

Or how about how I've in a way gone back to my old job because they can't seem to let me go, and I equally can't seem to make the break?

Or should I tell you about being recognised in the street on two separate occasions by punters who read my column?

Perhaps you would like to hear about my upcoming trip to Canada?

But seeing as how Pure Cork Boy left such a heartfelt plea on my last post urging me to 'write something funny' I thought I'd at least try to oblige, so I guess I'll tell you about minding my niece and will write on the others another time. I can't guarantee it'll be funny, but at least it's a post, so that'll have to do for now.

Babies cry, who knew? It was my sister's birthday and wanting it to be a special occasion, she and my brother-in-law booked me weeks in advance for the big night, so I duly turned up at the allotted time, to coo over the baby in her tiny tiny tiny pink socks.

"Right, so the bottles are in the fridge, the soothers are over there, there's extra bibs here, there's where the nappies are...and over there is the secret infra-red NannyCam which will record every move you make so if you so much as look at my baby in the wrong way, I'll hunt you down to Chinatown," my sister said. Well, she may not have said that last bit about the NannyCam or Chinatown, but it was implied by the vicious grin she gave me as she walked out the door.

The baby and I waved them off (they hired a limo doncha know, rich bastards) from the front door and then turned and went back into the sitting room. As if sensing that I was now alone and vulnerable, the baby opened her mouth and made a sound that I can only liken to the sound innocent people make when they're being massacred by religious fundamentalists. Staring me straight in the eye, she continued to make 'the sound' pausing only for breath and to tug at my glasses.

Several minutes of me going 'right, er, what's wrong with you then eh?' and 'huggy buggy luggy muggy luggy huggy, who's a lovely girl' didn't seem to calm her down so I decided she must be hungry and set about heating up a bottle, while trying to stop her falling to her death from my arms (I tried to put her down, trust me, she was having none of it).

So anyway, after the bottle was administered, she seemed content enough, and so, desperate for a wee, I popped her in her play pen and legged it upstairs. I barely had my zip down when she started up again, so I dashed downstairs to check, whereupon she stopped and became a perfectly happy baby. I went back up to the loo and this time was mid-flow when I heard 'the sound' again and had to make a run for it once more. This time when I got downstairs, she was propped up on the couch watching Eastenders, I swear to God...well, ok, maybe she wasn't doing that, but the raised eyebrow she threw at me implied it. I could see her little baby brain thinking 'oh, we've got a live one here'.

After I finally managed to finish my wee, I sat her up on the couch in a bid to try to entertain her, when I noticed her little eyes were drooping (I will say, it was kinda cute) so I figured I'd put her up to her cot for a nap, sure wasn't she grand now, she'd be out like a light.

I was too cocky.

No sooner did we enter her room than she started roaring in protest and trying to make a bid for freedom, as if she was a pint of Bass and I was Bertie Ahern. There was no way she was going into the instrument of torture formerly known as her cot and that was that. It turns out the only way she wanted to sleep was to be put in her buggy and rocked.

For hours.

Mid-rock I managed to work my mobile phone from my jeans pocket and call my friend, who has previously said he doesn't want children, to tell him that I now heartily concurred. He wasn't at his desk, so I left a somewhat garbled message on his machine apparently along the lines of 'Jesus Mary and Joseph why is she crying. My arm is sore from this rocking. I don't want kids...well, I do...but not ones that make noise. Or move.'

She seemed to like the rocking though as she slept for a while, before demanding to be changed (who knew something so small could produce such a huge amount of.....waste product?) and then sucking down her last bottle of the evening like it was going out of fashion. Some more rocking later and she was out for the night.

I looked at myself in the mirror, sweating, red-faced, disheveled, covered in baby powder and milk and thought....sterilization, it's the only way. I was too exhausted to do anything other than sit (and even that was an effort) and couldn't even find the remote to higher the volume on Will and Grace.

If four hours minding a baby can reduce me to a snivelling wreck, can you imagine what I'd be like with one of my own? How do parents do it? How do mothers or fathers look after a baby day in day out and in most cases do a day's work on top of that? Why aren't the streets full of weeping parents covered in baby sick sobbing and trying desperately to smuggle themselves onto planes to the nearest deserted island?

Is it perhaps that others have that 'touch', a maternal or paternal spark that the babies feel, whereas I don't? Or could it be that the old cliche is true, and it really is different when they're your own?

Either way, I think I've definitely established that I'm not ready to have a baby yet and when (or if) I am, I'll be going for the quiet, shy, retiring ones who are content to lie in my arms looking pretty, while Mammy watches her stories.


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