THE SUFFOLK SECTION
Bonjourno. Four months in and nine weeks after the birth of Dottie Dot the Full Stop it is time to take down the New Home and New Baby cards and admit that nothing is very 'new' any more. K's new job is four weeks in and I have survived. He seems to like it. I think. I get a very descriptive 'Yeah it's all right' when I enquire as to his daily grind. I still don't like him being away all day and being tired when he is home but he is resolutely refusing to gain 10 stone so that we might be able to claim disability benefits for being too fat to work. Such a shame because I am dangerously close and I think with five children we could really rake it in. He keeps wittering on about self respect but I'm totally over that.
So, that is all old. What is new is the pool. It is up and running and quite frankly fabulous. I realise that this is all quite temporary as it is just the novelty of it all but the children are loving it. It is really helping with the summer holidays which I think I might have found even more taxing if it wasn't for the fact that for hours on end they can amuse themselves in our back garden. Mother is still very concerned for their lives as we don't have a 'walk on' cover at the moment but as Cybs can stand up in it and Dot can't currently move I am less worried than I was. Only today mother was telling me how I would be aghast at the cost of a funeral. Because naturally, if we lost a child, THAT would be what we would be most worried about.
Although the pool has claimed one victim - I managed to drop the exceedingly heavy wooden beam which forms part of our temporary cover, directly on to my foot. The pain was pretty magnificent. I have become a bit of a pompous twit about pain since Dot's birth. I have been known, on one or two occasions, to tell the child making a big fuss about some pain I deem trivial to 'try giving birth to a baby bottom first'. However, the pain of the beam on my foot was pretty close. I managed with nurofen and frozen peas initially, but after a few days the swelling and the pain hadn't subsided enough to enable me to walk properly so I took myself off to A and E. On what turned out to be my final morning without any older children thanks to a delightful sick bug which started the summer holidays a few days earlier than planned. Cybs was FINALLY enjoying a full morning session at nursery after an epic two months settling in period. I have become firm friends with a number of 3 and 4 year olds, mainly girls, who have watched me breastfeed Dot twice a week, every week for a whole half term. Lily, Sophia, Josie - we are all great mates - I was entrusted with their dolls, told of their weekend activities and moving house excitement whilst they waited patiently for a 'turn' with Dot. Never has a child been so gently eased in to a few flipping hours without their mother.
So, I spent my only and final few hours of the summer term having an x ray and awaiting the results. I breastfed and waited. I was secretly hoping that someone might object to me breastfeeding. I have always hoped for this. Just so I could reply with some witty and scathing retort - although I would probably do what most other people do and clam up and feel embarrassed. The problem I have with breastfeeding in public is not nipple flashing or worrying about other people being offended or upset at seeing my unwieldy infant trying to latch on to my giant boobs, my worry is trying to abide by the fat person's code - not upsetting normal sized people by revealing my unholy amount of fatty flesh. Being fat brings on a whole new aspect to public breastfeeding. It can make the whole thing quite a spectacle - although the recent addition to my wardrobe of breastfeeding tops thanks to a very generous friend who gifted me all of hers, has gone quite a long way towards simplifying the process.
It's not just when I am feeding actually. I do not enjoy being fat, but I enjoy eating lots. Post baby and in the middle of full on breastfeeding mode, I can't stop eating. I think it is a disease. Abiding by the fat persons code becomes harder and harder. Especially in the heat. Some days I worry more than others about it. Some days I cover all but the socially acceptable parts of my body - ankles and lower arms - and some days I throw caution to the wind and reveal my upper arms and lower legs (gasp). In the past I have assumed I am a lot thinner than I actually am post baby - I realise now that this was because I didn't have a full length mirror when we lived in London. The best mirror in the house was in the bathroom and the sink unit cleverly covered my lower body, so I never realised the true horror. In this house there are a number of full length mirrors and one is opposite Dot's changing unit so I will suddenly catch a glimpse of myself before I have a chance to breathe in or pose in a way that softens the blow. It is probably for the best - it does stop me eating the whole pack of biscuits and only eating half a cheesecake at a time.
Luckily, the foot was not broken. Just badly bruised. Thank goodness. The idea of being here without the ability to drive is unfathomable. And no one asked me to spare their blushes by covering up my boob or my stomach. People are usually too polite to make a fuss anyway. Last week I took Bea for a physiotherapy session back at the hospital (boring issue with leg pain) and managed to replace the wrong flap on my breastfeeding top in my hurry to stand up when Bea's name was called, so I accidentally greeted the lovely student physio with my nipple poking out, loud and proud, as if a feature of the top. Luckily he seemed largely unphased and I acted as if nothing had happened as policy dictates, and quickly replaced the correct flap and bra over the offending boob and we managed to get through it without note.
The summer holidays at home on my own are something I have never tried before. I have always run away to Suffolk to enjoy a bit of a break from all the cooking, cleaning and childcare. However now that we are in Suffolk I have nowhere to run. I am here and in charge of five children all day, every day. K now works six days every other week as well, so it is pretty full on. Hence yet another long silence from me. The silence of the evenings with just the whirring of the machines is something I crave for most of the day and doing anything else but eating and falling asleep is asking too much. I spend almost all day saying 'in a minute', 'hang on', 'wait', 'IN A MINUTE', 'don't fight', 'stop fighting', 'get off me', 'you cannot be hungry I fed you five minutes ago', 'no', 'I said no', 'I SAID NO', 'who's done this??!' and 'IN A BLOODY MINUTE'. I have largely given up with worrying what is right and wrong with raising children and just try to keep them alive. (purely to save on funeral costs). They get up and come downstairs before I have finished feeding Dot
I am missing my friends so much at the moment. It has been four months now and the reality of not having them around all the time is setting in. I am very lucky to already have lots of shiny new friends, it's not that I am lonely, it is just that I miss my grubby old friends being nearby and the ease of the friendship. I am not able to keep up with almost anything I want to at the moment as I seem to be permanently trying to achieve things and not managing and before I know it a whole day has gone by again. This includes updating this, writing thank you cards, emailing/writing to friends and trying to keep the old folks from over the road in London up to date with 'their' babies who have up and left them. I am lucky that a lot of good pals have made the trip up here already and more are planned so I do not fear being forgotten or losing a friend, and obviously lovely FB keeps me up to date with most things, but there is no replacement for seeing someone every day or every week, or popping to their house for a cuppa or meeting for lunch etc. I know it is still early days in my 'new' life and eventually it will all fall in to place and soon feel 'old' but even planning birthday parties is a whole new ball game here. Although I am quite friendly with Cybs' pals from nursery, I don't know the parents at all so wasn't properly able to organise her party before the end of term which means she has a fairly random mix of children attending her party tomorrow. Only two of the children are even vaguely her age. Not that she will care. There is a bouncy castle and bunting and a lot of children so she is unlikely to notice. Oh! There will also be balloons. You will all be relieved to know that I have managed to locate a local balloon person who will deliver all that we require in the way of helium filled celebratory shapes. The first party kicks off tomorrow and then it's the first birthday of the season for Cybs before we leave for two weeks at the coast. I can't wait. I don't think I have ever looked forward to a holiday more. For one thing I will finally have K back for two weeks. I may even find out how is job is going.
I shall update you all as soon as the opportunity next presents itself. If it does.
Until then. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx