Well, it’s been a challenging fortnight of woe and dismay in the Postnatal household, of the type that will become funny only with a heftier dose of hindsight than the calendar has yet supplied. Rather than recounting our latest tribulations, I’ve realized that plenty of the most absurd things I’ve done in the new-baby haze don’t need all that much explanation. So here’s my greatest-hits rundown of the remaining most obviously Ridiculous Things I’ve done, over which we can pass mostly in silence:
#21: I melted my breast pump. Before I got a microwave sterilizer, I used to boil my pumping kit to sterilize it. The general scatterbrainedness induced by sleep deprivation and a little human Tamagotchi that required my full attention at random intervals meant that I simply forgot I had the hob on. I came back to a boiled-dry pan filled with lightly smoking plastic pump parts. The eery new half-melted forms they had assumed made me wonder whether Salvador Dali ever sterilized a breastpump.
#22: And then a few weeks later I did the exact same thing a second time.
#23: …. And then a third time.
#24: The best part is that it wasn’t even actually my pump. Sorry Jools. It’ll be returning to you as good as new though, as all the parts have been replaced. Three times, in fact.
#25: I impressed random strangers by turning up for buggy bootcamp in the park at three weeks post-partum, complete with towel and water bottle, but then underwhelmed them pretty considerably by having forgotten to bring the baby’s changing bag, and having to borrow a nappy for The Bee from one of the other mums. “Don’t worry,” she assured me. “It’s baby wipes that I tend to forget.” I then had to admit that I had forgotten those too.
#26: In fact, on reflection, showing up to buggy bootcamp was also a Ridiculous Thing to do in that I was at the time waiting for a hospital scan for a suspected hernia.
#27: I wore clothes inside out. And often realized this, but didn’t care enough to do anything about it.
#28: I went out one time with odd Converses on; one grey and one black. That could totally be a Thing, but it’s harder to convince people that you’re doing it deliberately when the rest of your look consists of inside-out clothes with sick on them. (See above.)
#29: I offered to leave the ten-day-old baby in her pram outside a pub, so as not to inconvenience other patrons. I meant that I was going to stay outside with her rather than cramping out the pub’s interior with my behemoth of a buggy, but when the landlady asked in as many words “What sort of mother are you?!” I started crying.
#30: I didn’t ask the GP for a routine PND scan at my postpartum health check, even though I thought it would probably show I had PND, because he didn’t offer and it seemed socially awkward to ask.
#31: The reason he didn’t offer was probably that I had exponentially increased his desire to get me the hell out of his consulting room by bringing along my two-year-old to my postpartum check, who had spent most of the examination demanding “WHAT’S THAT MAN DOING?” in tones of increasing belligerence and alarm, to the point that he had asked her to stand quietly on the other side of the room. And apparently expected her to comply, like someone who had never met a two-year-old before.
#32: I joked about putting the kids on eBay to the health visitor, the one person who could actually have taken them off me and put them in local authority care.
#33: I let my friends make a music video starring my three-week-old as a miniature beatboxing champ.
#34: I strafed a stranger with stray breast milk. Luckily, it was another mum who was also breastfeeding, in the mum-and-baby room at a shopping centre, but I am just waiting for this debacle to repeat itself in less congenial circumstances. I’ve got my driving test next month and am 80% sure that some series of unfortunate events will conspire to ensure I somehow lactate on my driving examiner.
#35: I spent a day obsessively moving the summer-born baby out of draughts that were totally imaginary.
#36: Not 48 hours after the draughts balagan, I forced my other half to tour the entire city in search of an electric fan so I could sit the baby next to it because I was worried she was getting too hot.
#37: I let a toddler poke The Bird in her fontanelle.
#38: I let a dog lick The Bee’s face.
#39: I conceded that “‘J’ is for watch” just to avert an incipient toddler tantrum while nursing in public.
#40: And in fact, I nonetheless redefined ostentatious breastfeeding by taking a hungry baby to a wedding. I’d decided that I didn’t want to shell out for a formal nursing dress, so just wore an old cocktail dress that I was sure I could feed in easily enough. Of course, to feed, I had to pop out of the top of the dress, which was probably alarming enough by itself for the many stern-looking venerable relatives in attendance. I also found on arrival at this (church) wedding that everyone else was dressed quite formally, in dark and neutral colours. My dress was hot fuschia pink with a puffball skirt. No one else had bare shoulders or bare shins, let alone bare breasts. The baby started to cry for a feed while we were all sitting in the pews, which were arranged facing the aisle so that fully half of the congregation was obliged to cop an eyeful while I tried to latch him on. Thankfully he quietened down once he was on. Or at least he did until the bagpipes started. It turns out that even the most placid of young babies, who normally feed implacably through even the greatest of dramas, can make an exception for bagpipes.
Maybe I should’ve arranged this list as a bingo card. But is anyone out there willing to confess to having matched any howlers like these?
Image credit: Jes on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mugley/2594318333/