Friday, January 30, 2004

I was in a pub with my friend Speff today and a strange thing happened. It's the sort of thing that's always happening to me.

We were sitting there having some quality girly time together will some very un-girly chat. I'd just declared that the problem with Tony Blair is that he lives in Tonyland while the rest of us are stuck in the real world when a strange man stopped in front of our table. He stuck his hand out towards me and said a word that I didn't understand in a heavily-accented voice. I begged his pardon and he repeated himself and added that the strange word (which I wont attempt to spell) was his name. I realized that he wished to shake my hand.

So we shook hands and I told him my name. He said it was a pretty name - it's ok, but nothing special. He said that I was pretty too - I'm not. Then he went on his way, apparently happy with the conversation. I think he was Dutch but that doesn't make it any more explicable.

As I've said, this sort of thing is always happening to me. Not exactly the same but similar. Does this happen to all women or am I some sort of weirdness magnet?
Friends can be such a worry.

I have friends who are not talking to other friends. Usually because the two friends are too similar. I have another friend who is drinking too much, probably because of stress. Everyone is worried but they all respect him too much to talk to him about it in much detail. I have a couple of friends who will occasional surface and come round and visit or phone and will keep in contact for a few days or weeks and then disappear again. Sometimes for months.

Perhaps I'm not a very good friend. It's not something that comes naturally to me. I've had to learn it out of books and by observation. Keeping friends is an act of will for me. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It's strange how these things can come on you suddenly. I was so angry last night I just had to get out. I wandered round the dark, freezing, wet streets for half an hour before I gave up and went home to watch TV.

I was angry because I never get to be angry anymore. I never get to rail and shout and throw things. I can't even say what I real feel. My beloved seems to be taking up all the angry room. There's no space for me to be angry in. It's particularly unfair because he's not really very good at being angry. He doesn't enjoy it and he can't control it. He's just not comfortable with it. Which is probably why he's so damn angry all the time.

I know it's just the stress and the guilt and all that new parent stuff. But that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I have to keep biting my tongue because everything I say sounds like an attack to him. A question becomes an accusation. A statement becomes a challenge. And the worst thing is he's not even enjoying it. I know people who would be having a whale of a time if they were acting like him. He just feels even more guilty.

I can't even stay properly angry at him for long. I don't have room to.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

I had a charming conversation with my brother the other day. He told me that I was being unreasonable asking my parents to babysit once a week. He told me to 'think of the petrol costs'. He told me that I shouldn't really be going to a Kung Fu class so I didn't need them to come babysit. He finished off by telling me that I'm a bad mother and that I ignore my baby.

Of course when I write it out like that he seems so reasonable so let's look at the back story.

My parents love my little girl so much that I can't stop them coming round. All I did was to try and impose some order on their visits. If they're going to be in and out all the time they may as well be doing something useful.

It's true that I'm not really what most people think of as a 'Kung Fu Fighter' and I'm really not very good. However I try very hard and that's all my Sifu asks. The exercises that we do are exhausting and extremely painful but they are my one hope that I'll still be around when junior is having babies of her own. If I work really hard I might even be fit enough to help. My body is like one of those small manufacturing plants we used to have in this country before Thatcher got her hands on us - permanently on the edge of collapse. I'm doing what I can to stave of that collapse.

So my brother comes along and tells me that I'm being self indulgent and selfish by having plans beyond the age of 40. Of course his real problem is probably that both I and my Beloved both manage to have 'things to do' on a Tuesday and he doesn't. It's ironic both of us cooped up in the house with the baby 6 nights a week and the once night a week we do have something to do happens to be the same night.

We're really very bad parents. We haven't yet given up all hope of a conversation outside baby stuff.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Walking the girl.

My little girl walked today. My baby walked. Just a few steps but she did it twice. And my beloved wasn't there to see it. We were visiting my brother and my Mother and Father were there too but my beloved had stayed at home. So he didn't get to see his little girl walk.

And I didn't even have the camera out. More proof that I'm an idiot. I'm just an idiot with a high IQ.

It wont be long now before she's running everywhere. It hardly seems any time at all since we had to carry her everywhere and support her head and she slept all the time. She's less than a year old, so it is hardly any time at all. I just feels like it should be longer. It's not fair to have so many changes in such a short time.

I have to get up in the morning and take her to the family centre. I have no idea how I'm going to manage. I never know how I'm going to manage.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

How did I get here?

I have two minds. The one that I always had and the one that is a mother. The one that is a mother never stops being a mother even when I am asleep and no matter how hard I am concentrating on something else.

When my baby is asleep I could almost pretend that things were back the way they used to be but the moment there's a loud noise my mother brain switches itself back on. Even if she's asleep at home with her Grandparents baby-sitting and I'm in the pub. I can't switch off. I can't rest properly. I wonder how long this goes on?

But I still don't feel like a mother. I feel like I'm looking after her for someone else and sooner or later they're going to come and take her away. But I don't want to giver her back. Even though I'm confused and I don't know what to do and I don't even feel like she's mine I still can't bare the thought of being parted from her.

You'd think I'd be used to it by now. She's over 10 months old. She's been in the world longer than she was in me. I'm surrounded by evidence of her. I can't walk two feet without standing on, or tripping over, or walking into something of hers. The feeling of unreality just gets worse. Maybe it's because she's so good. I don't feel like I deserve her. If she was a squaling, screaming, shitting, destroying thing I'd have no doubt that she's real.

Let me tell you about parenthood, well, motherhood - I've never been a father. The very first thing that happens to you when you give birth, after they give you your new baby to hold, and while you are exhausted and full of weird hormones is that the midwife asks you two questions. These questions make no sense at all unless you have done some pre-labour research and there is no obvious right or wrong answers. The questions are:

"Do you want a managed third stage?" and
"Do you want your baby to have a vitamin K injection?"

Now women gave birth for millions of years without either of these. On the other hand there's no reason why you shouldn't have them. A 'managed third stage' is an injection that makes the placenta detach and your womb contract so it can be delivered easily. Vitamin K is something that babies apparently need. They did tell me what babies need it for but I was off my face on endorphins and entonox at the time. They have to ask if you want it because the preliminary report into an Australian study a few years ago suggested that the injection might be bad. The final report said that it wasn't bad and on the contrary was good.

So that's motherhood. Being asked incomprehensible questions with no 'right' answer by someone who probably knows better than you do while you're exhausted and preoccupied.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Another strange day today.

Back on the diet (low carb, high protein, not the Atkins but something for my health). Not yet lost the will to live. I expect that will happen tomorrow.

Some good news on the phone this morning. Well, perhaps it's good news. It's too soon to tell. It may mean that the present catastrophe has been averted. Lucky us. I wonder what the next catastrophe will be.

There is always another catastrophe waiting in the wings. Things can always get worst. As long as you are still breathing there is no such thing as rock bottom because you can always fall further.

Too tired. I should try writing this thing in daylight.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I keep looking for signs that this year is going to be better than last year. So far no luck. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Maybe I should be looking at the small things. Maybe last year was so foul because of an accumulation of small errors.

I'm too tired to be doing such heavy thinking.