Saturday, 20 February 2016

Criminally Mumsy

I nearly felt the long arm of the law this week, and it was during something as seemingly harmless as trundling round the neighbourhood with little miss for an afternoon walk.

While we call a modest maisonette in an in-betweeny bit of town home, a mere ten minutes of pavement-pounding gets us into seven-figure-salary territory: millionaires' rows of mansions and farmhouses often with impossibly pretentious or infuriatingly ironic names (I've lost count of the amount of sprawling Mock Tudor piles which are a 'cottage' in their owner's eyes).

It's these parts of the neighbourhood which I like to trudge round when I take little miss out for a walk in the pram, partly because they're the most scenic routes but mainly because I want to imprint in her mind from early on that these are just the kind of houses that she might want to buy for her doting parents to eke out their twilight years when she's rich and famous.

This week, I made the mistake of turning down a particularly Arcadian avenue boasting extensive driveways and oodles of old world opulence.  When I got to the end of the road and realised the route I wanted to take lacked a pavement, I had to turn around and give those halcyon homesteads a repeat viewing.

Then I spotted the police car inching towards me.  The officers were driving slowly and keeping a watchful eye on me and little miss, as if they were trying to work out whether I was a harmless down-and-out who had simply got lost or a more unsavoury individual staking out the well-heeled neighbourhood or trying to peddle narcotics and designer knock-offs out of my baby's pram.  I can only assume that some local dowager looked out of her parlour window and didn't like the look of the wild-haired woman shuffling down her road with her equally shifty sprog.

I probably hadn't done myself many favours on the 'respectable or riff raff?' front, given that I was wearing a battered, buttonless parka, maternity yoga pants and grubby trainers, crowned with a mumsy mane of lank, unbrushed hair.  As I got closer to the car I was trying to work out what I could say to stop the police from bundling us away, pram and all, or slapping me with a trespassing fine on a par with the local homeowners' salaries.

Luckily it didn't come to that in the end, as the car sidled past me, only stopping one further time when we had turned out of the road to check that we were well and truly exiting the neighbourhood.

Maybe I'll wear a Barbour, twinset and (fake) pearls if I want to chance my arm at blending in down that road again.  However, I think people sometimes don't understand that when you're a relatively new mother, getting dressed and leaving the house is an achievement, and your first priority isn't making yourself look immaculate but finding some clean clothes that fit and getting your baby out of the house in the tiny window between naps, feeds and mini-meltdowns.  Perhaps if the police do ever collar me for trespassing well out of my comfort zone and salary bracket, I should maintain innocence and just hand over little miss.  She's the sleep thief after all!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Tummy bugger off

The past week has not generally been a keeper.  It began innocuously and ironically enough, with me looking in the nappy drawer and thinking: 'Oh, we've got plenty, they'll see us through the next fortnight or so.'  Then the tummy bug hit, and we must have gone through at least a week's worth in under two days.

Little miss has had a few minor ailments in her first half year of life, but this has been the longest-running, most challenging and messiest to date.  When the constant churn of runny nappies started, we assumed it was a side effect of finally mastering eating more than half a spoonful of the lovingly prepared purees we've been proffering over the last few weeks.  I never thought I'd say this, but I started to miss her pre-bug nappy habits, even the evening up-the-backers which she usually likes to do in the Jumperoo.

After four days, during which I really should have bought shares in Pampers and Metanium (poor little thing got a nasty nappy rash), a doctor checked her over and said she had most likely caught a tummy bug which had been sending local kids to the surgery in droves.  We were assured that we were doing everything right and both bug and rash should pass within five to seven days.

Eight days later, an out of hours GP said that the previous doctor may have been a little over-ambitious.  'It'll be more like ten, sounds like rotavirus.'  Fortunately, little miss is fully up to date with vaccinations.  Unfortunately, her dislike for medicine meant that about 90 per cent of the rotavirus vaccine coated her cheeks and chin rather than actually being ingested.

Hubby and I are resigned to spending the majority of the next couple of days hunched over the changing mat; little miss, meanwhile, seems none the worse for it bar a bit of soreness and sleep disruption, and has played her usual lovable pickle spiel throughout.  And, because every (shitstorm) cloud has a silver lining, she has started to say 'Mama' constantly, whether she's playing, feeding or batting me round the face when I take her into our bed in a desperate attempt to steal a few more minutes' shuteye.  She probably has no idea what it means yet, but the fact that it's directed towards the wild-haired, worn out woman changing the fifteenth nappy of the day means an infinite amount to me!