Thursday, 28 April 2011

Creepy crawly

For a long time, I was convinced that Lumpy was never going to crawl. He had no interest in crawling, I told myself. It's undignified. Babyish. He would go directly from sitting to walking, with none of this crawling nonsense in between.

This assumption was based in part upon Lumpy's utter lack of interest in mobility. For months, he had an almost Zen-like calm, and would sit happily in the same place for long stretches of time, playing contentedly with whatever was within arm's reach. I worried, initially, that I was responsible for this inertia by putting all his most desirable toys near to him, and that, as a concerned mother, I should actually be encouraging him to move by leaving them tantalizingly out of reach. But no. Even when I placed the mirror-earred rabbit (best for chewing and admiring oneself in) or the plastic castle, complete with king, queen, knight, and wizard (also very good for chewing and generally flinging about) out of reach, he still just sat there. Initially, he would flail towards the distant toys to check that he definitely could not reach them, and then he would just sit. And think. About all the concertos he would compose just as soon as he got his hands on a piano, no doubt. Or a new theory of quantum time travel. Or boobs, possibly.

But let's be honest here. It was not just Lumpy's seeming delight in being static that made me plump for the 'he'll go straight to walking theory'. The real reason was competitive mothering.

I try not to be one of those awful mothers. I really do. I try so hard not to compare Lumpy to other babies; not to freak out when they're performing backflips and tightrope walking while Lumpy sits there drooling in the corner. I strive not to boast about all of his many, amazing achievements, like the three or four giant poos he is capable of producing on a daily basis; the speed with with he can mainline raisins (hand to mouth: 0.734 milliseconds); or his psychic ability to puke all over himself only when I have left the house without a muslin. Astonishing though these skills are, I nobly maintain my silence around other mothers. I don't want them driven so wild with jealousy that they throw their own babies in skips, do I?

But when the crawling issue comes up, I always, always find myself saying, 'oh, I think he'll just go straight on to walking, you know. He just doesn't seem interested in crawling. I'm sure he could crawl, if he wanted to. But he's so much more interested in standing. Very advanced he is, really... Have I told you about his poos? Look, I saved one from earlier...'

So imagine my surprise when this happened.

Ha. wotch me defie you alls withs my unexpected crawlings. Particularly when nakedz.

So. Crawling. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should point out that it is not the most coordinated, elegant crawling that has ever been performed. In fact, it is more reminiscent of a wounded soldier desperately dragging himself from the battlefield. But still. My little Lumpy can crawl.

Walking? Pah. Completely overrated.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Working girl

I had my first day back at work this week. And it was... surprisingly enjoyable. I feel as if I shouldn't admit that, in case it exposes me as the evil baby-hating witch that I clearly am, but there you go. It was refreshing to actually use my brain for the first time in many, many months (dust actually fell out of my ears as the rusty old cogs started to grind again), and also deeply satisfying to be able to sit down and focus on one thing for more than half an hour, knowing I wasn't going to be interrupted by a demanding bratling at any moment. That's what I think is the most draining aspect of looking after a baby - the fact that you are constantly on call, and the minute you start trying to do something, thinking that surely they'll stay asleep for the next fifteen minutes... waaaaaaaaaaaah, there it is. They know, I swear. They know when you're poised over a mixing bowl, having just embarked on an overambitious culinary project; when you're naked in the shower with shampoo in your eyes and a razor about to slash your ankles open; when you've finally closed your eyes to attempt some sleep; when you're attempting to write a witty and entertaining blog po...

Sorry. Had to rush off there and fluff Lumpy's hair. Where was I? Oh, yes... work, right? A good thing, yes?

So I went into work, wearing proper trousers and not covered in baby sick and everything. It was only a KIT day (which sadly doesn't mean I got to play with the car from Knight Rider, but is rather more boringly a Keeping In Touch day. I do think a lot could be gained by allowing post-natal women to hang out with The Hoff, and will be suggesting it to the relevant authorities at the first opportunity. But for now, it just means you get to go into work for up to 10 days without ending your maternity leave. Yaaaaaaaaawn. I'd look dead good in a Baywatch bikini, too. Honest.)

Work had not changed much in my absence. This is because I work somewhere that hasn't really changed for the last few centuries, and darn well won't be changing for the next few hundred, thank you very much. They just about accept computers, but that's it. I managed to log in to my own magic haunted typing box (after about 45 minutes and a few calls to the surly nerds in technical support), eventually hunted down my email, and then spent a pleasant few hours pushing some words around, putting them on a spreadsheet, then taking them off again. It was just like old times. And no one demanded to suck on my boob or expected me to scrape and flick their poo down the toilet. Remarkable!

Lumpy was being looked after by Grandma Badger, who he clearly loves far more than me, because she pays him lots of attention and will happily sit cuddling him all day and not waste time doing pointless stuff like washing nappies and cooking dinner. He was utterly underwhelmed when I came home, and seemed to think I'd just been in the loo for a most of the day.

So it all went rather well. I'm aiming to do a day a week until I go back properly at the end of May. At which point it will all go horribly wrong because Lumpy will have to go to - choke, sob, waaaaaaah (that's all me, not him) - nursery, where they will clearly poke him with sticks and generally torture him. And I will sit at my desk and alternately weep and drool onto my keyboard until it short-circuits and burns the whole office to the ground. Which will frankly serve me right for thinking I can have it all.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Weighty issues

I porked up good and proper when I was pregnant. It was slightly bizarre - every time I stepped on the scales, there it was, like magic: another pound. One for each week of pregnancy, in fact. A big, lardy 40 pound in total. Luckily, my midwife didn't weigh me at any point, or she would probably have had me harpooned immediately. I even managed to get through my ridiculous hospital admission without being weighed at any point, which was quite an achievement, since they seemed hell bent on testing me and the in vitro Lumpy in every way possible, strapping us to any machines they could lay their hands on (I'm sure I was tethered to a vacuum cleaner for a couple of hours at one point).

This was all very lucky, as I have a near psychotic phobia of being weighed. I am, putting it politely, a solid unit, and weigh a fair old heft, even without an invading giant fetus and all the trimmings. I like to think that a good amount of this poundage is muscle, what with my glorious past as an international athlete, but to be honest a lot of it is now simply lard. And cake. Lots and lots of cake.

Though fairly horrifying, my weight is generally pretty stable, so it was unnerving in the extreme to experience this steady continuous gain. The thing is, I didn't eat any more than usual (I eat a great deal usually, so it wasn't really necessary), and I stayed just as active as I always was: cycling to work and back every day, gymming, weightlifting, swimming, shark wrestling, unarmed combat, etc. etc. In fact, so active did I stay, that strangers felt compelled to voice their concern about my level of activity and its effect on the unborn Lumpy. I punched them in the face, naturally. Then ate them. I needed the extra protein, what with all the steroids I was taking to maintain my Miss Universe physique.

I knew that I needed to put on a certain amount of weight in pregnancy - there's a bloody person growing inside you, for god's sake. And persons are big and heavy. But 40 pounds? I was guessing that Lumpy wasn't going to weigh 40 pounds. If he was, I was in big, big trouble, and a natural birth was probably out of the question. So for some reason, my body had decided I clearly wasn't porky enough already and it needed to lay down a great deal of extra lard. And there was nothing I could do about it. I genuinely believe that I could have eaten nothing but a lettuce leaf every day, and still put on a pound a week. By some form of fat osmosis. Probably.

I got quite worked up about it, to be honest, convinced I would be stuck with an extra 20 pounds (at least) for the rest of my life. Probably entirely on my arse. And I have enough trouble getting my arse into trousers (and through doors) as it is. A future of wobbly, strained leggings awaited me. Woe, doom, and gloom.

Or not, as it turned out. Because after the Lumpy emerged, the exact opposite happened. On the day of his illustrious birth, I lost a stone, so that was 14 pound taken care of. Then every day after that, another pound was gone. It was like magic, particularly because by now I really was eating my body weight in pick and mix, chocolates, and CAKE pretty much constantly. But still, the weight came off. By two weeks, I'd lost 28 of the 40 pounds, and started to wonder whether this magnificent loss would continue, and I should be contacting modelling agencies to establish my career as a waif-like supermodel. Sadly, that was not to be, as after that I started to drop a mere pound a week, then every two weeks. By about five months, the lot was gone, and I was back to pre-pregnancy weight. And all by the power of sweets and sitting on the couch. Magic!

Which is why it makes me bluster and blather with rage when you get bollocksy advice like this gets broadcast, as if pregnant women are stupid fatties who need to be told not to mainline Big Macs the minute they get a positive test. Because, if my example is anything to go by, you don't have much choice about the weight you gain when you're pregnant. You can be as active as you like, weigh yourself as often as you can, and eat perfectly sensibly, and the weight will still go on. Then it'll come off. Probably. All part of the wonderful mentalness that is baby spawning.

Having said all that, I'm still not 100% sure I'm the same shape I was before this whole nonsense took place. Having a baby around sort of limits your gym time. So I've signed up to do a two-mile swim in Windermere in June, and a one-mile one in the Thames in July. Hopefully I won't die. At least the lard will help to keep me afloat. As long as their aren't any whalers around...