Thursday, 15 November 2012

You'll never walk alone

I'm so freaking tired that the other day I forgot I live in Italy. I was walking down the street and was surprised to hear a woman talking on the phone in Italian. Seriously. I thought I was in England. Of course, I say I was 'walking down the street' and you imagine me strolling down a sunny Corso Vercelli, perhaps pausing to admire some simple yet glamorous scarf in a shop window. Think again. The last time I 'just' walked down the street was over two years ago. I'm usually lugging/pushing/cajoling/dragging a combination of baby, toddler, push chair, shopping bags, nappy bag, toys, dirty tissues etc etc and not quite managing to simultaneously hang on to a few remaining grains of sanity. I'm loaded up like a mummy mule and usually either chasing Isabel as she flies round the corner on her scooter or yelling that no, she cannot lay down in the middle of the pavement outside the supermarket and pretend to go to sleep. It's not big, not clever and probably won't be funny for at least another 15 years. So no, I never 'just' walk down the street. In fact, I popped out to get takeaway pizza for G and I a few nights ago when both kids were in bed and realised that I no longer know how to walk without a pushchair to hang onto. I stumbled all the way there and back like Bambi with concussion. I felt dizzy, lightheaded, like I was going to just float up into the sky with nothing to keep me anchored. It was a relief to have to carry two large, awkward pizza boxes back home.

Of course, this is utterly irrelevant because I AM NEVER WITHOUT THE CHILDREN. Until you are a mother, you can't comprehend the concept of never being alone. This brings to mind a text conversation I had with my mum when I was pregnant with Isabel. G and I were in a restaurant but he had stepped out to make a phone call and left me by myself so, instead of looking like a lonely abandoned pregnant lady, I texted my mum.
Me: Hi, the scan went well, all's ok. We're out for dinner. You alright?
Mum: Great news. We're fine. What are you eating?
Me: Ribollita [yum]. G's just outside on the phone, left me on my own - typical!
Mum: You're pregnant, you'll never be on your own again!
Me: Ha - lovely :)
Now, three years and two babies later, I can't believe how sweet I thought that sounded.

Last weekend I actually managed to convince G to look after both children (both!) for a couple of hours so I could get my hair cut. It was as if I'd asked him for a kidney transplant. I had to 'book' him a week in advance and then send daily reminders. On the day itself I had to get both children up, fed, dressed and the nappy bag restocked while he sauntered around in his boxer shorts munching on an apple - all of which left me exactly 15 minutes to shower and dress myself, have breakfast and literally run to the hairdressers.
It goes without saying that he doesn't really like my haircut.
'It's very short,' he said 'but as long as you like it, that's all that counts.' (he should enter the diplomatic service)
'Do you know what?' I replied 'I've given my body and my sanity for this family, the least you can do is leave me my hair.'

I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding for THREE years. My pre-children jeans and tops look like doll's clothes. Even my feet have got bigger. When the kids go to bed I sort the laundry and I haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep for over six months. My hair is quite possibly the only thing I still exert any control over. The least he can do is leave me my hair.

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