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 I’m resurrecting really old pieces and if you can sense a theme, so can I. But I didn’t when I wrote it my dusty old pieces all those years ago.

 

Give mummy’s bladder a break, will you hon? I’ve been up twice already and in my condition that means a half hour trek to the loo.

I know you come along for the ride, but I have to carry the load. I didn’t realise that doing what came naturally would lead to lugging baggage around for nine months – without letup.

No, I’m not interested in training for the event. I’m hanging out for the Motherhood Diploma course or the Postgrad and Undergrad degrees. Motherhood is an important job. It’s a career choice I’m not expected to stumble through uninitiated. Am I? Your elbow, hon – please get it out of my pancreas, I don’t remember writing punching bag on my job description.

Motherhoo0d is a little like the Freemason’s secret signs and symbols. You don’t get to find out what they are till you graduate form the sisterhood to the society of motherhood. When it’s all too late, everyone has stories.   

‘You’ll just die,’ I’m told. ‘Twenty four hours it took. That hyperventilating they teach you at the ante-natal classes didn’t help much. I begged them to just get him out!’

That was my friend Gloria’s contribution to my education. Gloria has three children, hon. Do you think women develop selective amnesia when they become mothers? If they advertised the joys of pregnancy do you think we’d be down to population zero?

Your cousin, Sam looked so adorable when I visited him in hospital. He was in his mummy’s arms as she fed him. There was cot on a stand right next to the bed. It all looked so peaceful and natural. I didn’t bat an eyelid when your Auntie Irene said: ‘Your turn.’ Great idea, I thought, watching the dear little thing being placed back into his cot, sleeping peacefully.

Can’t wait to get back to normal, I told Auntie Irene. My belly button is ready to spring a leak. She laughed. I seem to be her main source of amusement lately. Welcome to the club,’ she said – ‘where normal is crawling out of a cosy bed several times a night to feed them, to check on why they are crying, to check on why they aren’t crying.

One friend says I should feed on demand, another says it’s important not to let a five kilo bundle take over my life. But your grandma happily informs me that it’s what children specialise in. ‘And – no swearing, no drinking, no smoking,’ she adds.

My life’s over.

No more staying up till five in the morning, unless it’s for a five am feed. No more impulsive trips unless it’s a trip to the doctor for colic, measles or mumps. Shit, shit, shit, shit. Might as well use it all up while I can.

If I don’t get out of the swearing habit there’s no moral high ground for me is there? It’s funny how the rules change on the other side of motherhood.

This is going to be a new experience for us both – your debut and mine. You will be kind won’t you? You won’t ask too many hard questions, like ‘why do I have to eat broccoli if I don’t like it?’ Or ‘everyone does it, why can’t I? I’ll have to phone grandma and get her to take the mother’s curse off. ‘I hope your children treat you the same way that you treat me.’ She used to say that a lot. Hindsight

Seven days to go. It doesn’t leave me nearly long enough to catch up on my sleep. Your auntie advises me to take advantage while I can. She has come into her element since you’ve arrived on the scene. She was the one who warned me about morning sickness. Your auntie was right, but she needn’t have been so pleased about it. The bathroom basin and I were such good friends for three months that I can point out its every flaw. Grateful as I am that it was there for me, you won’t find avocado green outfits in your wardrobe.

My body stretches every which way like those distorted mirrors at Luna Park. I don’t know who I am anymore; my brain has gone along with the ride

To think that I’ve always wanted Marilyn Monroe breasts. Who would have guessed that Roseanne-thighs came with the package!

There’s a stranger in the mirror. There’s a stranger in my womb. Will I know you when we meet? Can I love a stranger?   

If I told you I looked like Elle MacPhersonj would you believe me, hon? Never mind, I’ll explain when you’re in your teens, Just add four kilos of my already bulky bulk to each breast and you’ll get the picture. Mummy is a milking machine with a stomach. Mummy’s seen too much of her stomach lately and not enough of her feet.

They were such nice feet once, lovingly pampered with bath salts and lotions. I used to polish the p9nkies a different colour every week. They’re probably horrors now, all talons and chilblains. I’m not sure they are there any more.

Daddy and I have your room ready. Put the finishing touches to it today. I’ve been painting a mural on the wall opposite your cot. It’s a teddy bear’s picnic. Daddy wanted a Carlton theme – but what does he know. Besides, I’m doing the work, so I get the say. He had to be satisfied with a beanie and a football.  We’ve got the cot, the drapes, the nappies and I still can’t believe in triple 0 singlets. How are you ever going to fit into them? 

Your daddy’s a bit demented. Last week he enrolled you at an exclusive school and kinder. He calls it lateral thinking. I see it as softening of the braincells. Anticipated parenting seems to reduce a person to feeble mindedness.

Parents love babies even before they know them. Did you know that? Even before they’ve done anything worthy of this love. You certainly haven’t done anything for me except give me constipation and stretch marks, so don’t expect much from me. But your father is besotted, so give him a break, won’t you? He’s such a fool. Don’t go barracking for Collingwood, will you? Don’t give him cheek if one day he asks where you have been and why do you smell like a brewery.

Your daddy is the eternal optimist. I worry about globalisation, economic rationalism and the work for the dole scheme. What sort of a world is that to bring you into, I ask, but daddy says it will all pan out in the end, that; it always does. Your daddy is a dreamer. Maybe you should stay where you are. If only I could extend your leas for a few more years.

Who are you, hon? Are you daddy or a-re you me? Take the best and leave the rest, that’s my advice.

Daddy carries that scan of you in his wallet. But then he hasn’t turned into a whale or had his organs re-arranged to suit the new tenant.

No. Not yet. I’ve got another week to get myself together, so don’t you be in such a hurry honey boy. You’re safer where you are, believe me. Outside, you’re stuck with the hole in the ozone layer, drugs and politicians.

Politicians are a kind of shark hon. Better wait till you’re stronger before we talk politics. Stay pu8t, I tell you. And stay away from the drugs. I’m not incubating you for nine months just so that you can waste yourself.    

Your grandma’s knitting madly – caps, jackets, leggings Slow down, I said, there’s enough there to clothe quintuplets.  But that’s her privilege she says. It’s her turn. She’s done the time and served her apprenticeship, so she can have all the fun and I can do the disciplining. I tell her that’s not fair and she laughs. Grandma is playing it up for all she’s worth.

No, it’s not Brahms’ Lullaby, This is Bob Dylan. Like him? This one’s for me. I need to remember that soon I will be two people – your mummy and myself. Dylan was an inspiration to me in my teens, hon. He taught me  to rebel against the establishment – my parents, the government, everything adult. I suspect that when you arrive you’ll find that I’ve gone over to the other side.

We’ll be mates, won’t we? You’ll tell me everything and I will always protect you. Except how will I do that when you come home from kindy and say that Scott or Peter or your best friend, Josh won’t play with you. Your face will scrunch up and we’ll both find it heartbreaking, I’ll distract you with an ice-cream or a hug,. And at high school – some bimbo will think you’re not cool enough to go out with and you’ll love her so much that it hurts. As your dad would say, things will pan out. Here’s hoping.

What are you doing?

No, don’t, I’m not ready to be responsible for somebody else’s life. It’s not time yet. Haven’t you heard a word I’ve said. Don’t – I’ve got a week to go.

Shit, shit, shit, SHIT!

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Knock, Knock

    • Men just worry about different things, Bruce. Both my boys when they heard the glad news worried about a bunch of things including were they. going to earn enough to support an extra human being and were they going to be good dads seeing that they knew nothing about parenting. (They turned out to be brilliant dads.).

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