7up (1) aero (1) agrarian outrage (1) amy chua (1) Artemis Fowl (2) Asterix (1) Astrid Lindgren (1) astroturf boots (1) bakugan cards (1) batwing top (1) bikini wax (2) birthday party (4) biscuity (1) books (3) bronze (1) camping (2) car (1) childrens books (1) chocolate (2) Christmas (1) Cork (1) crafty (1) cringe (5) crisps (1) daft (1) David Roberts (1) disbelief (1) dog (1) doll (1) doorbell (1) Dublin (1) ebay (1) Emil (1) Eoin Colfor (1) family life (5) ferry (1) first communion (2) food flasks (1) football (1) Four Tales (1) funny (1) garland fluffing (1) Gertie (1) git (1) glamour (1) glass (1) goldeneye (1) goose pimples (1) Goscinny and Sempe (1) gossip (1) graphic novel (1) heels (1) His Dark Materials (1) HMV (1) hockey (1) holiday (2) homework vouchers (1) hotel (1) humor (2) humour (4) husband (2) iphone (1) Irish authors (1) Ivor the engine (1) journey (1) Kenneth Grahame (1) Laksa soup (1) Lego (3) Little Golden Books (1) map (1) Mary Muphy (1) massage (1) me (2) meatballs (1) medal (1) Mole (1) moron (1) mother (2) movies for kids (1) Mrs Beazley (1) Muckross Park (1) Mum (2) mummy blog (1) music lessons (1) mutha (1) My name is Luka (1) Nicholas (1) nightlife (1) nintendo ds (1) Noodles (1) nursing home (2) online shopping (1) parenting (4) parking (1) Parrot Park (1) penance (1) Philip Pullman (1) pizza (1) pool (1) pores (1) postman (2) rain (3) rainbows (1) Ratty (1) recorder (1) Robert Ingpen (1) rock and roll (1) rugger hugger (1) salespeople (1) San Diego (1) school (2) Scooby Doo (1) scoop (1) Secondary School (1) self-conscious (1) shampoo (1) Skulduggery Pleasant (1) Smile (1) Smyths (1) Snapp and Snurr (1) Snipp (1) snob (1) soft play area (1) southside (1) space hopper (1) speech therapy (1) speedos (1) spiderman (1) Spongebob (1) sports (1) sports day (2) surf (1) Suzanne Vega (1) swimming (2) swimming lessons (3) tent (1) The Legend of Spud Murphy (1) The London Eye Mystery (1) The Wind in the Willows (1) The Wire (2) thong (1) tiger mother (1) tired (1) Toad (1) toes (1) togs (1) toilet (1) tracksuit (1) travel (1) Under the Hawthorn Tree (1) upper arms (1) walking (1) wave (1) Wicklow (1) wind (1) Wrath of the Titans (1) young adult fiction (1)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

getting the baby to sleep, going to a coffee shop with a large pram

Very, very slowly I moved one arm out of the cot and levered the rest of my medium sized self onto the bed. I closed my eyes and felt the sheet under the duvet, trying to guess if it was an expensive, high thread count or a cheaper one.  A skill I have been working on for a while, trying to argue the case for spending more money on sheets. (I can actually feel the difference!) These arguments always take place in my head, between me and what I imagine my mother would say.
Of course the polyester content helps keep the shape and you don’t need to iron.
Polyester! Mum!
Marks and Spencers sheets do wear incredibly well.
Marks and Spencers! Mum!
I’ve had these ones for donkeys’ years.
In my head I win the argument. One hundred percent cotton seems cleaner somehow. And why bother ironing sheets anyway? 

Using detailed knowledge of the bed springs, I was easily, completely silent. Every time I did this move I thought of Catherine Zeta Jones in a film set in a Scottish castle.   It was about training Catherine (who wore a slinky catsuit) to rob a famous jewel. Or something like that. Sean Connery was her mentor. She had to wiggle her way around a lots of tiny red laser lights without touching them, in silence and full make up, under Sean’s admiring gaze. I enjoyed feeling for a brief moment, like a stunning actress who looks fabulous in a cat suit. However, my skills were of the more maternal nature. Producing vast quantities of breast milk, knowing how to move silently, never forgetting a nursery rhyme. Being able to teach a baby to go to sleep without a breast in his mouth is not yet one of my accomplishments. Being able to teach him to sleep in his cot without me crunched up beside him, crippled with pins and needles and singing nursery rhymes one ceding ceaselessly into another, is'nt either. Still, though, I glanced back at the little pudgy wrist, the clenched baby hand, he is so beautifully perfect.
 I looked at the floorboards. It was the ones that were still all in one piece that didn’t creak. Those with joins that had been cut and lifted to fix the central heating made noises, causing baby to shift and begin the slow but inevitable rise to a roaring crescendo.
I walked, one foot in front of the other, staying on the same quiet board and got out of the bedroom, closing the door with the practised ease of an internationally renowned thief. I had forty minutes at most. Time was of the essence. What to do? Put the clothes on the line or hang them inside on a rack? Clean the kitchen floor or have a cup of tea, three slices of toast and marmalade and luxuriate in carefully hidden Grazia magazine? (I have to hide it because if not my husband would read it, loudly commenting
“I really don’t see how that could be comfortable?” or “I don’t see any scars, what are they talking about? I think she looks great.” )
This ruins the surprise of the stories on me, and sullies the freshness of the magazine with crumbs. I like to open it, be surprised and then dive in, luxuriating in New York, London and Los Angeles. I read every page carefully before turning, thus squeezing each ounce of entertainment out of it. I never, ever skim. Skimming is only to be done in the hairdressers. There the magazines are often a month or so old and I hav'nt paid for them. At home, Grazia, for the first day at least, was precious. So, my husband is only allowed look at it in supervised silence and he finds this difficult.
 “Divorced!  I suppose that’s not surprising. Oh sorry! Sorry! I’ll shut up!”
“Hmmm.  A singer whose wife is a model is playing away? Now who could that be?”
I make the magazine last two days. The first day it is carefully rationed. My morning cuppa is accompanied by the main celebrity stories and the make up section, followed by my absolute favourite “you the fashion jury”. Day two is devoted to the rest of the scandals. Under arm hair visible at premier! Diva wears flat shoes! Body language tells the truth: lack of trust revealed in careless use of elbows!  And lastly comes the holiday section. The Maldives, St Lucia, Neckar Island, (all useful food for thought for next summer’s getaway.) Horrifying stories about incest and honour killings are left until day three.

Coffee Shop
I was on a tight schedule. I was meeting my friend Aine for a coffee. Meeting for a coffee was one of those things that was simple before this baby. I had an easy year with one child in school and one in pre-school, when popping out for an hour or two in the morning was not a problem. But now it once again involved a lot of preparation and even when that was in hand there was the constant pushing pram with the right hand and holding doors with the left foot. I was quickly coming to the conclusion that the next time a coffee at the kitchen table would be the easier, more comfy option. So many times I leave the house feeling smug, with a smiling, freshly fed and changed baby and realised on reaching the corner that I have forgotten something.  Returning to the house to remedy this  means slowing pram to a stop which annoys baby who then becomes red faced and snotty. I  then leave house again with loud baby and promptly meet three neighbours in a row.  The first smiles and says the inevitable “you have your hands full there!” the second commiserates “it’s not easy is it?” and the third waves and walks quickly away from the noise. I wonder sometimes if I will ever bump into anyone on the many occasions when the baby is either sleeping or smiling and I appear relaxed and managing life well. Unlikely.

The waitress smiled and asked if I wanted a table. 
Yes. One table, two chairs and a large parking bay for my pram. Please don’t hate me because I have a pram. She trailed through the coffee shop to the back, passing singletons, eating slices of black pudding, tomato halves, toast, sausages and rashers. Things weren’t looking too good baby wise. No sightings thus far of any wriggling children, no buggies, no noise. “ Is here ok for the pram?”  The waitress motioned to a space beside the toilets. Why is the famous Irish welcome never extended to children in restaurants?  Who really wants to leave a sleeping baby beside a constantly banging toilet door and then pay for the privilege? It is so blissful on holidays to see, on entering a coffee shop or restaurant, the sight of smiling Italians, Spaniards and Americans, talking to the kids, amusing them, seeming to actually like them. “I can leave it here, thanks; it will be easier when he is beside me. I gestured to a space between two tables. She nodded nervously and I manoeuvred the pram into the spot. The waitress was nice though, compared to the man who came out from behind the counter.   “What Mary is trying to say” he said a pained voice “is that you block two tables if the pram goes there.” Glasses, grey face, grey teeth. Why? Why are people like this? I nodded curtly and knew, just knew that I would have my usual Walter Mitty experience soon and think of the perfect response too late. 

I did too, later that afternoon. “As far as I can see there isn’t anyone sitting at those tables. I, on the other hand, am an existing customer. I exist! Now what about looking after the comfort of the real life customers, rather than the ones who are currently only in your head?”

Anyway, I put the pram where he told me to, sat and seethed for a minute and then got up, did a six-point turn with the pram and skulked out.( It always takes me about two days to recover from a confrontation anyway so maybe it was just as well.) I met Aine at the door and bolstered by her company barged into a much smaller café and was accommodated pretty well. We ordered delicious scones with jam and cream and she told me all about her microdermabrasion. In a nutshell the process was a little bit uncomfortable, she had a red face for a full day afterwards and then glowing results. Very interesting. All in all a successful morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment