Without the lipstick, I’m Jen, Mam of 3, ready to kiss foreheads and pain away without leaving a trace. Besides, Ziggy finds lipstick “creepy”. He has a morbid fear of coming near me if I’m wearing any. I try to explain that someday he’ll love girls with lipstick and he is adamant that he won’t cause, “it’s just a stupid idea to paint your face”, plus he doesn’t fancy stupid people. This delights me. I go on to tell him I agree, “Brains are beautiful Ziggy, especially in bright, open minded, curious girls… like your sister Millie.”
Stop talking Jennie.
I instantly realise this sounds all kinds of wrong. I’ve bamboozled his little 6 year old brain. He smiles and continues to break up his Lego. At least he can always rely on Lego to make sense.
I’m coming out of the haze of the newborn early days and thinking about the future; going back to work, nights out with alcohol without expressing, spontaneously saying yes to unplanned evenings! This is both exciting and terrifying.
You see, I’m a bit squishy still. My body feels like playdough. My shape is in here somewhere, but it’s like I bought something lovely and they gave me extra. This happened when I got my first car too. The salesperson should of said “Here is your car, congratulations you don’t have to walk anywhere anymore. Here’s your keys and an extra stone and a half that you’ve inherited, due to an immediate and sudden drop in all physical activity. Drive safe!”
I finally now understand where people were coming from when the new U2 album downloaded onto their iPhone for free. I get it, they were unhappy because it felt like an invasion of space and an extra they hadn’t bargained for.
It’s a storage issue for me too really; I have surplus folds on my back, a pouch hanging out on my lower belly and let’s not mention the size of my boobs. They are so big now, that even my nursing bra is sagging, begging for mercy at the weight of the load. Who knew you could have a uniboob? At least you can thread away a unibrow!
I know it’s superficial and base to think this way. My body grew life, is nourishing life. I am truly thankful. Women’s bodies rock the kasbah.
But, to be honest, almost 5 months in, I also really want to see my waist again and wear tops that aren’t sensible and made for quick access for a hungry baby.
Also, I’ve noticed that when I talk to other humans now, I largely don’t make any sense. I am literally lost for words, can’t find the simplest turn of phrase. I usually resort to miming and talking about the whatchyamacallit and the thingy! Or, painfully, I get over excited about chatting to adults other than my partner in crime, I end up over-sharing and frightening them. All of these things are nothing new, it’s just they’ve reached a whole new level.
I fear, on a night out, I will be the embodiment of the stupid girl that paints her face. The one Ziggy talks about.
Strangely, both impediments can happen simultaneously. At my very first Baby Massage class, I arrived late in a fluster. I began to try and set myself up as fast as I could. But for some bizarre reason, I began to give a running commentary of what I was doing, out loud, to the rather startled group.
I had a lot of layers on. So, I began to sweat profusely. All before 10.30am. The whole time I was thinking – Stop talking Jennie.
I finally did.
Turns out I exhausted myself; I was sleep deprived and getting ready and arriving late made my blood sugar peak. I was out of juice. Which was unfortunate, because when she asked me my name and my babies name, I gave the wrong name. I didn’t even notice until I looked down at my sticker that said Jennie + Ziggy + Smiley face. Wait, that’s not Babybear’s name?
Then, when they were moving around the circle during the icebreaker, I actually thought, I should just go with Ziggy. Sure, why not? They don’t know any different, they already think I’m stone mad, besides I’m all outta explaining power.
Nope, I might want to come back again, I rationalised. I have to do something.
So, I decided to try and peel off the sticker slowly and discreetly to rewrite Babybear’s name. Turns out, stickers on velvet make a really, really, reh-eeeeeeeaaaaaalllly loud sound when being removed. I interrupted the whole class again and had to explain that this sticker did not, in fact, display my son’s name. Cue perplexed faces. But have no fear, I continued, it’s not a random name either, I’m not crazy, it’s my other son’s name! To which one of the other women said, “You’ve another son…oh I thought he was your first.”
Yes, I was so conflustered and frazzled that I appeared a newbie, unsure, unconfident mother. I had to stop myself from explaining, ‘You have me all wrong, it’s not because I’m a Mama I’m like this. I’m kinda like this regardless.’ But then I thought that might not help my case.
To be fair, the 2 women who ran the class couldn’t have been nicer plus, it was fancy free. What a brilliant service. I did go back. I just took a really deep breath before I entered the room and everything was tickety boo!
But, I know it’s time to step into the crack of light and let the sunshine of the adult, responsible world in. I need to get out more, without Babybear, and just be me, with a slick of Ruby-woo lippie to ease the transition.
But actually, the biggest thing about moving on is you have to acknowledge that you’re saying goodbye to something. And that is the crux of it. I want to freeze time. I’d hang onto my extra 20% body mass, verbal constipation and TMI’ing if it meant standing still for a little while longer. Not just to freeze time with Babybear, but to be fully present and mindful with Millie and Ziggy. Once I go back to work, my brain becomes all about childcare, batch cooking and a million pockets of tiny other things fighting for attention. It’s a lot harder to just be in the moment, as much as I try. That’s life, we all know that, but if i’d one genie wish- that’s what I’d do!
But, then reality hits and i remind myself, babies aren’t just for maternity leave. Someone needs to feed and water them.
Plus, I don’t want to give them back – so, onwards we go!