Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Need More Than Tom Jones Songs

Here’s another post about my marriage, my myriad insecurities, my infertility and my cat that I’ve thinly disguised as a humourous anecdote to mildly entertain you. I generally intend to steer my blog clear of the conversational icebergs that are all of the above (see also: my weight, other people’s weddings, work) for fear my readers might think me banal and average.

And yet.

I also generally intend not to eat Snickerses and chips.

So.

Andrew and I babysat for my boss last week. "Why are you babysitting for your boss?" asked Gimme. "Umm..." I said. "I had the same in work" said Andrew. He'd told someone that he couldn't go to the pub because he was babysitting his wife's boss' son. I don't know why neither of us thought to say that we'd offered to babysit because my boss is a friend. Or why we'd mentioned that she's my boss at all. Sometimes I forget that not everyone works in an office like mine.

I had the best time. The baby screamed and balled his little fists, refused to take his bottle and then scuttered his nappy so magnificently that I had to wring the yellow squits from his babygrow into the sink and then scrub and scrub at it with soap and water til my hands were blue and the babygrow was still a squittish yellow. I left it in a pile by the washing machine, along with the shirt and pants he'd puked on (his own) and the rug from the couch (don’t ask).

Andrew had taken him home to our flat for an hour while he waited for me to get in from work. I trudged across town through the barricades and bus cancellations, imagining the two of them cuddling with the cat on the couch, burping and gurgling, a happy little trio. Sometimes I want a baby for Andrew so much that I wish he hadn’t married me. He will make a wonderful father. So imagine my surprise to arrive home to find that the baby was apoplectic, and Andrew looked close to tears himself. "I can definitely see the silver lining in not having one" he said. “The cat’s hiding under the bed”.

We decided to get him home, hoping that the short drive there might lull him if not to sleep then to a state of not-screaming. It worked, and he was like a different child once we got him there. Smiling, chewing my hair, making those ack ba ab ba ba ba noises that babies make. Squealing with delight when I blew raspberries on his belly. "HE LOVES ME!" I said to Andrew, who was still struggling to bring all his paraphernalia in from the car. "I mean, he's probably just happy to be home" I said, backtracking hastily when I saw that Andrew looked put out. What I actually meant was "HE LIKES ME BETTER THAN YOU! IN YOUR FACE!" Babies never prefer me to Andrew. Nor do small children. If we were to survey a representative sample of adults (and I am not suggesting that we do, so please don't express opinions either way in the comments) I am confident that he would top that poll too. He's just more personable.

I spent the rest of the evening playing with the baby and making him laugh, sending photos of him to his mother’s phone and (unbeknownst to me at the time) making her cry. When he destroyed himself and the soft furnishings with his nappy ‘splosions, I had Andrew wipe him down and then I gave him a bath. He kicked his chubby little legs in delight, and I got him settled into bed happy and asleep in no time. I felt wonderfully smug and just the tiniest bit guilty. I have always worried that if we were to have kids, I would be the bad cop. Andrew is affectionate and indulgent, and I am a cranky, houseproud nag. But I worry needlessly; it seems that all goes out the window when I have something small and cute that I can manipulate into loving me. Into loving me the most. I do the same with our cat. When he’s to be kicked out of the bedroom at night, I have Andrew chase him off. When I get up in the morning I let him in and give him a cuddle and a gravy breakfast.

We’re going away on holidays in a few weeks time, and Gimme’s offered to babysit the cat for us. To catsit our cat. Whatever. He didn’t so much offer as acquiesce; at the time of asking he was at the wrong end of a double mattress on a narrow staircase while I was helping him move house, so you could argue that he didn’t have much choice. Whatever. “What if he loves him more than me?” I asked Andrew one tired and emotional evening. “What if he doesn’t want to come home?” “He will” laughed Andrew. I sniffed, unconvinced. “Maybe if I just give them dry kibble to feed him instead of those gravy pouches that he loves and then I give him nothing but pouches for a week when we come back?” I asked. "Sure, Pussycat" said Andrew, laughing at me again.

I'd be the worst kind of mother.

8 comments:

Tim Footman said...

Babies are vile. Get a Tamagotchi.

Rosie said...

the cat would only be jealous.

Karen said...

I look after my niece in the week while her parents work. Most days I send them a quick email to let them know that she's grand and eating her dinner etc. And everyday she IS grand and DOES eat her dinner. So I put that in the email. Only - that's not exactly what they want to hear.

"She never eats her dinner for us," they reply sulkily.

"What do you mean she played with her bricks happily for an hour, she doesn't do that for us, it's all out war to try to get her to play with her bricks," they reply beligerently.

There's me trying to let them know their kid isn't pining for them, and there's them desperately wishing she WOULD pine for them. You can't win!

I've learned to tone it down a bit now though. Throw in a few 'God it took me ages to settle her for her nap' and 'Don't talk to me about projectile vomit' comments, just to make them feel a bit better.

But every day, despite cuddling up to me all day and giving me hugs and loves and pretending I'm number one, when Mum and Dad come to get her at 5pm, her little face lights up and she throws herself bodily at the door to get to them.

So your cat will still love you the most, don't worry.

Ps: And I hope to God blogging about weddings, marriage and my insecurities isn't banal. That's all my blog is ever about! Banal is all I've got!

Rosie said...

i think the scuttery babygrow by the washing machine probably reassured them that it wasn't all giggles and snuggles.

no need to worry about the content on your blog, a chroí. you have the charm to carry it off.

speccy said...

Other people's babies are the business. Mine were grand of course, except for the colic and the sick and the tantrums and the long, long nights. They're ok now. Most of the time.

A said...

"Sometimes I want a baby for Andrew so much that I wish he hadn’t married me."

Oh Rosie! This made me cry. What a line.

And I haven't cried for DAYS. I was doing so well.

KFS said...

C'mere to me now Rosie, and I'll tell you a story about babies and the way they do occur.
Myself and the missus were waiting for two years for an auld pregnancy. And by waiting I mean waiting vigorously. ahem. But we got there,
and when our darlin daughter was 9 months old we were ambushed by another pregnancy. The bastards.
My mate Dean discovered his missus was pregnant when he got back from the sperm count place. He went to get his numbers counted becuse they had been going at it without success for a couple of years. Turns out its not like on tv and you're supposed to bring your stuff in a jar with you, so you dont have to crank one out in the car in the parking lot. Live and learn.

Rosie said...

see, i'd been told (when i was tearfully whingeing to a bechildered friend about how kids always love Andrew more than me) that other people's children are like another species, but that i'll undoubtedly be a wonderful mother to my own.

i have good, patient friends.

it makes me cry too, A.

good to know about the sperm tests, KFS. that could have been mortifying. we'd already had the "will you come in with me?" talk.