I have increased my efforts to show interest in the procurement of the family car. The weekend saw me sitting on the forecourt of a second hand car sales garage, entertaining the baby whilst the man of the house carried out an examination of excruciating detail on a dull looking vehicle. The one year old soon grew dissatisfied and I pulled out the big guns – peekaboo over the passenger seat. Emboldened by my success, I thrust a toy whale through the hole in the head rest which produced purple faced hollering from the one year old. By the time the man of the house returned from his test drive, I was in the back seat, singing manically aeroplaning a spoon loaded with baby food into the face of the child, who leered horribly with lentil smeared teeth. My efforts paid off. Following my lead, the man of the house voluntarily asked about the date of the ultrasound scan. A small but important return on my investment.
Now that the man of the house has decided to stay and face up to his parental responsibilites, he has thrown himself into the only niche of family life where he feels truly at home, procuring us a family car. For hours at a time, he sits with his nose pressed up against the screen of his phone, now and then thrusting it at me demanding my opinion on yet another bland, hearse like vehicle. I do not even drive and my input into the sourcing of a car big enough for 2 small kids and 1 big dog extends only as far as ‘nice colour’ and ‘looks tatty’. In fact, my involvement in the purchase of the dad mobile closely resembles his involvement in the pregnancy: brief; reluctant; disinterested.
The one year old did not sleep last night. At all. The man of the house and I are so tired we can barely keep the dribble in our mouths. The dog’s face hangs loose and haggard. The one year old charges about the living room, destroying the baby proofing and hooting triumphantly.
The baby is in bed. How long that will remain the case demand to be seen. She has just discovered walking and the limitless possibilities that brings. Waddling across the tiny living room,a great expedition to such a small person, brings the reward of being able to throw herself like a rugby player into the dog’s bed forcing him to sprawl across the carpet with an expression of one greAtly affronted. The small, uninspiring house feels crowded already and the practicLitiez of squeezing another busy little being into it feels impossible. The man of the house sits watching sport on the telly, stubbornly silent on the question of whether he will stay and tolerate both of his offspring Or leave and be a sheepish weekend father. Things look gloomy and yet I find myself wondering about the back ache I have. Is it worse than with the last pregnancy? Have i become so elderly that my bones are crumbling? Or is it the start of a miscarriage? And if it is, how do I feel? Relieved? I should, life with 2 would be so much more stressful, financially crippling. But I can’t feel releieved, only vaguely anxious and strangely sad.
Middle class. Rapidly passing the point where I can deny being middle aged. Apparently unable to conceive without fertility treatment. Apparently pregnant. How on earth did this happen to me? I have a wonderful, exhausting 1 year old daughter that I suffered all manner of indignity and treatment to have. He father and I have had so little sleep we have barely spoken let alone had sex. Yet I am pregnant. My partner is so horrified by the prospect that I have offered to release him from his domestic prison. So I am middle aged and facing life as a single mother. How has this happened? I am muddle class. It should not be me.