Time: 5.30am or so
Day: Any day you like (but I don’t)
Venue: The place where the baby and I are sleeping, which is not, in fact, my bed.
Pad, pad, pad, go the little feet, coming closer.
Stumble, stumble go the little legs, falling over my feet as I frantically wave him to the side where the baby is not.
“Morn-side, please,” goes the completely unnecessary stage whisper.
Je. Sus. Christ. [I rarely take the name of the lord in vain, having grown up with a mother so old fashioned that I couldn’t even say “God!” without getting a Look, and having moved to America where in fact such things are often frowned on, and having two small children now who will repeat anything they hear, especially if it’s juicy and unusual and seems to be naughty. Viz, to wit, the four-year-old who turned to me in front of our new neighbours the other day, just as the lovely lady was pouring us some lemonade as we watched my husband borrow their lawnmower to cut the grass at the new house, and exclaim: “What the heck is going on here?!” because his friend at school has started to say it. Anyway.]
What is wrong with you? Can’t you stop for one second to look where you’re going and see where the baby is before you trample all over us and wake her up, when she’s only just gone back to sleep after her 5am wakefulness and session of mumeet?
Okay, okay, here it is. [Gingerly rolling over, praying baby doesn’t rouse, longsufferingly offering up other side to voracious child.]
Stop poking me. Stop pinching me. Don’t even think about touching the vicinity of the other one. This one’s yours. The other one is sacrosanct. In fact, all of me is sacrosanct, except that one bit you’re currently orally mauling. Get that hand down. Down. Off me. Away. Why are your nails so sharp? Hasn’t anyone cut them recently? [Oh right, that would be my job.] They’re sticking right into me. Get your pointy knees out of my tummy. My bladder has been full since 4am and it’s not getting any emptier, since if I had gone to the bathroom before you appeared the baby would have woken up and called out and that might have hastened your appearance, and now that you’re here I can’t even move to look at the clock because my bodily presence is the only thing keeping the warm ball curled up at my back in a horizontal and inactive condition, and if I move at all she might realise that it’s not my front and therefore her instant access has been cut off and – worse! – given to the opposition, and then she would immediately demand it back and all hell would break loose.
This is really very uncomfortable… Hmm. That seems to have been a dream, because I’m not currently staying in a boarding house on the coast of England with two cats who can’t be left alone and a very very short (like, a-head-on-shoes short) landlord. I must have dropped off there, against all odds.
Maybe it’s late enough to cut him off now. That’s it, you’re done. I hope him up there in the bed that is supposedly also mine has had enough sleep, because that’s it for him. [Rolls over. Luxuriates. Baby wakes up.]