I always thought those kids in movies who ask for explanations about every tiny detail of life, you know the 'why is the sky blue?' type of questions, were caricatures. As it turns out, they're NOT. Seven days of unrelenting why questions (what are you doing Mummy; WHY are you doing that Mummy; Why Mummy, why, why????) and I was starting to see the grey hairs multiplying before my eyes. Add to this a complete and utter dearth of naps and follow it up with a backyard birthday party and all the necessary organisation that goes with it, and I was dead on my feet by Sunday night. And I haven't written a word for almost a week. Have barely read anything either.
The most significant tome I've read this week is The New Baby, an old Little Golden Book that has travelled here from my mother's house. Published in 1972 it did provide some moments of levity, and could simply not be read to Princess Three without hysterical laughter and sarcastic side remarks. Apparently pregnancy and childbirth were very different in the seventies. Such as;
- Women didn't show. The mother in this book is looking winsomely svelt in her immaculate house dress just a day before she goes into labour.
- Childbirth was just like a pleasant trip away, a mini-break if you will. Mother-to-be has plenty of time and good humour to kiss first born child on the cheek and say 'I'm going to hospital to get your baby brother or sister. Back in a jiffy.'
- Men were useless. I know what you're thinking, but in the 70's it was profoundly true. Father-to-be sits on the couch happily smoking a pipe of all things while poor unfortunate wife is off on her mini-break, probably screaming obscenities and cursing his name, dreaming of the future when man responsible for said torment is hooked up to genital electrodes so he can share the unimaginable agony. Can't believe that law still hasn't been drafted.
- It was considered a good idea to kick older sibling out of his cot just a day before new baby was brought home. Said child would then be nothing but thrilled to be getting a new bed, not at all resentful at being usurped from his position.
- When baby arrives at home (with mother looking just as svelt and immaculately put together as she did the day before labour) and all the focus is on said baby, older sibling is not the least perturbed by the intrusion in his life. He happily offers to help Mummy with his baby sister, even suggesting he can bath her. Methinks he is secretly planning an 'accidental' drowning about now.
- 70's babies sleep like angels, free of cholic, bouts of inexplicable screaming and midnight nappy changes. This enables serenely relaxed new mother to go on with her needlepoint and housework uninterrupted (while presumably secreting away her little blue happy pills, without which she knows she will simply cease to exist).
Clearly this book was set in Stepford country. Since I was a 70's baby, I'm starting to think my mother had it easy. What did she have to complain about? Thirty years ago, nothing went wrong, motherhood was a breeze. See what I mean about the sarcastic side remarks?
Still, I don't think I'd want to have such an eerily perfect kind of life even if I could.
Perhaps I'll feel differently in 3.5 weeks.