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Sunday, November 13, 2011

seeing the midwife who delivered my baby in Dundrum

I saw the midwife who delivered my baby in Dundrum last week. It was just a flash of her face as she walked in the opposite direction and my first impulse was to turn and run after her. Then hug her and insist on paying for anything her heart desired. She was such a wonderful midwife. From the moment she said (as I leaned against a corridor wall, breathing through my nose) “Yep. You’re in labour alright.” to the time she broke it to me that no, the contractions didn’t get any easier after my waters broke, she was supportive, capable, calm and cheerful. She smiled a firm no when I pleadingly suggested an episiotomy and I knew throughout those long hours that I was blessed her night shift and my labour coincided.

But before turning I hesitated. She might be sick of mothers bothering her while she shopped. Maybe I should leave her be? And then I remembered something else about the labour. Something that was swept to the back of my mind as soon as it happened and only popped (or pooped) up again in Dundrum last week.

Not long after I started pushing I noticed her getting some of that hospital papery sheet stuff, and putting it on the bed under me. Yay! I thought, this must mean the baby is nearly here! Oddly though, she didn’t say anything about seeing a head or any words at all to suggest the end was nigh. So I was puzzled until the next wave of pain washed over me and just concentrated on getting through it.

Once the contraction passed there was a funny silence, and I waited for someone to congratulate me on getting the baby’s head what felt like about a foot down the birth canal. Again, no one said a word and I heard a papery rustling.   Out of the corner of my eye I saw my husband wave his hand in front of his nose saying “phew! I don’t know how you do this job!” and she smiled, chuckling “I know!” 

So yeah, I thought I'd just keep going, and headed in the direction of the car park.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What age?

I relaxed my boycott on toddler groups yesterday. Its not that I was avoiding them for any high minded reason, just purely because I had my fill of the pre school social scene. However, once again I have a toddler in the house and he deserved a chance to give it a try. After a few minutes there, I realised I was finally the mother of the child who got stuck in, played with the toys and simply enjoyed himself. I have previously been the mother of the child who ran insanely around the church hall like a nutter, the mother of the child who sat on my knee resolutely ignoring all the toddler toys around him and the mother of the child who prompted a “kind” observer to irritatingly say “Your son is trying to put play-doh in his eyes. I just thought you’d like to know.”

As my youngest joyfully lay back in the ball pool, I looked around at the other mothers. There were two on the couch having a chat not really worth eavesdropping.
 “And my friend just told me she is pregnant! She’s so pleased!”
“That’s amazing.”
And another at a table with two small kids. She was giving off those smiley, lonely, desperate vibes, guaranteeing the couch pair was not going to include her. Ignoring all the signs, in she waded, asking
“Is your sons top from Tesco?”
The couch mother cautiously nodded.
“My tiny girl has one like it in pink! It’s so cute!”
The pair skilfully moved their eyes away from her, and kept chatting in low tones.

The lonely mum took a few minutes to recover and moved on to me.
“What age?” she said, gesturing to my boy, smiling as if she thought he was adorable. Which, I then remembered, is how mothers look at other peoples kids in toddler groups. Now that I am hardened by school and soccer and Fitzone, other people’s kids are generally the enemy in my book. Oh god, I thought, I’m going to have to start smiling at them again. The little ones at least.

When I was in my thirties, with a double buggy and an obsession with Boots baby aisle, I was a toddler group junkie.  No one was going to say my boys were under stimulated. I even attended an Irish speaking group for a while, hoping, I suppose, that someone would lapse in to English every now and again. But they were die hard gaeilgeoirs and never did. I had one conversation (one sided) where a woman wearing what could only be described as a “guna” told me that she and her husband locked their bedroom door every night. Or she could have said they held their bedroom door open with a clay box? I wasn’t sure but nodded knowingly anyway.

In the end I had an epiphany. Walking out of a group where everyone knew everyone except me and I was offered that “moving away” smile too many times I realised I didn’t have to do it anymore. Pushing the double buggy against the wind we went home, put the telly on and gave in to The Den. Jakers, Pickme and Scooby Doo. Better than any Fisher Price tool bench.

But this fourth baby has me back in the zone. Now however, instead of magnanimously giving the sought after plastic hammer to someone else bawling child, I’m going to keep it and give it to my own smiling one. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

mid term break

Mid term break. Here is how it was for me.

We always go to the Marathon. Always do a bit of cheering and “Keep going!”ing. My parents were joggers and it has been an annual thing for me since I was eleven. And this year it was an even bigger deal. My two best friend’s husbands were running, there was going to be free face painting at our local Centra and the day fell on Halloween, which meant the kids were in excited form from the start.

We got there as the 3.30 balloon went by. With so many people running I was surprised we even spotted Lorcan, but there he was, right on time and doing fine. Then we had about twenty minutes before Kevin was due so I agreed to find the face painter. There were four of them at a table on the footpath and about six people ahead of us in the queue. Every once in a while I tried to peer at the road to see if I could spot Kevin.  As time went by it became clear I was going to miss him but had promised the face paint, so I stayed put. Finally we were at the top of the queue and my six year old was on a stool explaining what colour dragon he wanted to be.

“Excuse me!” I looked up to see a very angry man beside me. “She was next!” He pushed past me, marched up to my son and told the face painter that it was not his turn. She acquiesced, the mans' daughter sat down and my little boy came meekly back to me. I said in a loud voice not to mind the very rude man. Then he came over again and continued saying forcefully that I had deliberately skipped the queue. I protested that I hadn’t and hadn’t even seen his daughter but there was no stopping him.  “Just because you didn’t see her doesn’t mean she wasn’t there!” he shouted and I finally realised that the best thing to do was not to argue.  As well as that I was painfully aware that all around me were other parents I half knew from school and now I was the mother involved in a loud fight about free face painting. So I shut up, we got the dragon done and I returned to the sidelines, shaking a bit.  

And needless to say I went over the whole thing hundreds of times in my head for the rest of the day.

In a desperate attempt to have an uninterrupted cup of tea, I put one boy on the Xbox, one in a highchair with a penguin bar and two giddy boys into the shower. Just as the kettle boiled I saw water dripping through the light fitting in the kitchen.

I went to a playground with my four kids plus one playmate. Met my friend, a lovely mum whose son has played with mine many times. To my great discomfort today he decided to ignore her son and play with his other friend. We had an extremely awkward chat while I gave him filthy looks, which he ignored.

Went to Tesco. Everyone behaved, mostly due to the three bags of cocktail sausages, (a euro each) three bread rolls (finished by the time we got to the checkout) and three cartons of strawberry milk (not sure about the price. At that stage I was way too frazzled to check). As we headed out to the car with the full trolley, my eight year old ran ahead and was the first to open his door. Smack, it hit the car beside us and I looked in to see a teenager sitting in the passenger seat. She looked at me and then back at her phone.  Figuring she was either texting her Mum to say their car had been damaged or texting her friends about boys, I prayed for the latter.  

While loading the boot I had a quick glance at her car. There was a noticeable scrape and he had definitely taken the paint off. I heaved a sigh. Why couldn’t one week pass without my having to face a moral dilemma? Although now I am not being completely honest. There was no dilemma. I threw the food into the boot, got my euro back for the trolley, jumped into the driver’s seat and put my foot on the accelerator.  
“Mummy!” came a horrified shout from the back seat “the car is moving and I don’t have a seatbelt on!”

Well, that’s tomorrow. I’m hoping for a quiet, uneventful day. A break. As it is after all, mid term break.