Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mad Woman In Residence

Oh dear. We told everyone at Stay and Play we are moving house and they had a leaving party for us!

It was lovely, people brought cake, they made us a laminated picture montage of all the activities we'd done, they even signed a card.

But now our move has been delayed a week and I feel like we can't go back.

What would they think if we turned up again?!

Maybe they were relieved to see the back of us, what with me gabbling non-stop about not having done any packing and her spilling forth a tsunami of dribble all over the playmats and toys, with not a tooth to show for it.

Or they might think I'm some mad woman who makes up stories about moving house just to get attention.

They say two of the most stressful things you can do are have a baby and move house, and going out to different groups are part of what has been keeping me sane.

Ever since she arrived on the scene I have begun to feel slightly unhinged.

I have taken on the role of narrator in the crazy little pantomime that is our daily life.

Walking down the street, around the supermarket or in the disabled loo with baby changing facilities, I describe my each and every action to my daughter, all in a high-pitched and over enthusiastic voice. Sometimes even in song.

I point out the sights; "That building used to be owned by The Masons before they sold it to be turned into luxury flats. Masons look like regular men but they have funny handshakes and take part in strange rituals." Vital information for a four-and-a-half-month-old.

Or I discuss my personal agenda with her; "You must remind Mummy to fetch her new glasses from Specsavers and buy some milk, okay?!"; "Do you think Daddy would like pasta for supper? Or do you think he'll be fed up of it by now?"

And of course most often I use our one-way conversations to excuse myself to the people around us; "Don't cry darling, we've only got three more stops before the bus gets home and then you can have some food. It really isn't my fault we got stuck in traffic and I don't know why you're so hungry - I only just fed and changed you before we got on. I'd love to pick you up and cuddle you to keep you quiet but this bus driver seems to have some sort of death wish on corners and it would be very dangerous."

The latter begins in an attempt at a calm and soothing voice, becoming increasingly frantic and hysterical as we get stuck at yet another red light and she invokes the primal scream.

My reputation as the mad woman who talks to herself is probably sealed by the fact I now seem to find it impossible to stand still, and begin rocking back and forth whenever she starts griping, even though she is in the pram. I am pretty sure I have even found myself swaying from side to side in queues when she is perfectly happy.

This constant chatter with a person who can't talk back means I am immediately grateful every time any adult engages me in conversation.

But why, when you have a small child who can't speak, do people address every question to your baby?

"Hello, you're a sweetie, aren't you? How old are you?"

Seeing as I have already lost most of my social faculties you'd think I might snap back, "She is four months old, she can't talk."

But instead I dutifully enter into a bizarre, third person, sing-song conversation on behalf of my daughter.

And now we have officially 'left' Stay and Play I can't even have the same old chats about sleep patterns and weaning and remarking how much everyone's baby has grown in just one week.

We will have to spend the next two weeks sitting in the park drinking free Waitrose coffee and diving into a bush every time we see a buggy we recognise.

That should make my status as the local mad woman official.
Pink Pear Bear
Pink Pear Bear