Two days ago I met a friend for lunch and as I rushed back from the toilets to the store café where we had arranged our little tete a tete an old lady in large glasses and wide brimmed hat shuffled towards me,
‘Love’ she whispered pointing to my behind, ‘you’ve got your knickers stuck in your tights’
I flushed red and it wasn’t from running ‘Thank you’ I mumbled distractedly unhitching my skirt and walking head erect, dignity intact into the café, thankful for the kindness of a stranger and her private mission to save me from the inevitable embarrassment I would have been subjected to, had I queued for coffee and croissant with one nylon clad thigh and more than an inch of buttock exposed to the public.
I walked over to the table where my friend was bouncing my baby on her knee and shimmied into the seat beside her, leaning sideways I revealed in hushed tones my awkward faux pas with my skirt and the woman in tweed who had kindly (and probably with some amusement, if the twinkle in her eye was anything to go by) spared me the shame of waiting in line for a coffee with my bottom (and not long having had a baby unflatteringly large pants) on display for all and sundry, conscious that it was something I would no doubt not have been made aware of until an outbreak of sniggers prompted me to search for the source of amusement.
I know from past experience that stuff like putting on a pair of trousers/jumper inside out with labels (sometimes price tags) proudly but obliviously on display – or the dreaded boob spillage (oft when one has performed a quick breastfeed and forgotten to pack one boob back in tightly enough) that it is generally either a smirk or elbow nudge between strangers that gets you thinking, alerts you that something is not quite right about your appearance, that perhaps when baby pushed their milky hand into your face early morning and smudged your lipstick so you look as though you have been sucking on an ice lolly, or have it smeared around your chin so you appear just a touch more manic than you did when you woke at four in the morning, that it is wise to double check the mirror before leaving the house and wiser still to check again on route to your destination.
At the cafe my friend stifles a giggle ‘the amount of times I have done that’ she confesses ‘but not found out until later’.
‘Yes’ I smirk, but baby brain seems ever more present when you are rushing to appointments or trying to get things done. How often in the early days and weeks following the birth of my daughter I struggled to remember what page I was on, as one task merged into another. Nappy change – feed – nappy change – feed – load washing machine – change bed covers – nappy change – feed and so on and so forth.
Autopilot as any mother will attest quickly sets in and I adapted there is no manual for colic, feeding on demand and a sleep routine to rival our most nocturnal of creatures ‘the owl’ although I am guessing Mr and Mrs owl sleep during the day refreshed and rejuvenated ready for the night shift. So I have reached the conclusion that there is really no shame in fumbling for the light switch an hour after retiring to bed and being so tired that you put baby’s nappy on back to front, or that whilst fumbling for the light switch and zoning in on the ‘dirty’ nappy bleary eyed and half asleep you plunge your hand into a squidge of poo, that you put your knickers in the oven instead of the washing machine (I didn’t by the way but I am assured by a fellow parent that this did happen).
There is license to be dipsy to greet the postman with a cheesy dozy smile and hair that makes him wonder if you have just plunged your fingers into an electric socket. There is license to do so because sleep deprivation is just the start, my little bundle of joy has started teething, just when the night routine was improving its become Groundhog Day all over again.
Despite the lack of sleep and having my bio rhythms turned upside down by a milk crazy baby, it is also an amazing wonderful journey, my chocolate box of memories to save for when my daughter grows up, whereupon I shall mentally unwrap each one savouring the flavour, the luxury of each and every one.
Now, why is my phone in the fridge?…….