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Manatee Portrait


Cor blimey, missus – it’s been a loooooong time. Turns out that having a baby and a toddler – TOGETHER – takes up a fair bit of time. So where were we?

Right. I’d had Felix, she was, y’know, okay and all. I’d got over the whole birth thing without tremendous trauma, and Teddy was being very noble about giving up his only child status. Noble, brave Ted.

Fast-forward a few months, and things have moved on a little. Felix is massive. Vast. The bastard offspring of Rubens and Beryl Cook. The nurse who administered her jabs described her thighs as “juicy”. Having first had a very slender Ted (of whom health visitors would express worry and send me into spirals of self-doubt about my dried-up witchy old breasts not producing enough food for him. Bloody bloody BLOODY health visitors), this has been one of the best gifts Felix could have ever given me. Her lard. So, this has resulted in me feeling a lot more calm, and a lot happier that she won’t starve to death. A bit of formula in the afternoon tends to keep her topped up too. (Having a baby? Try combined feeding. Honest. It’s the future. The kind of future in which you have a plump child; the kind of future where you might be able to leave your baby in the care of another for more than 45 minutes; the kind of future where you can get PISSED. Lovely, lovely future.)

Meanwhile, Teddy has turned into some kind of blathering genius. Overnight, he went from pointing gormlessly at cars and saying, “want” to pointing gormlessly at cars and saying, “can’t reach that, mummy.” He sings to us (tunelessly). He tells us what he’s been doing at nursery (largely vehicle-based). He recites whole passages of Tabby McTat (he’s a busker’s cat, and his meow was LOUD and STRONG). And all of this is spoken in a pastiche Italian accent, like he’s stepped out of a slighltly racist 1970s sitcom: “Give-a me-a car”. Odd.

And alongside his geniusness, he has further blossomed into possibly the prettiest child I’ve ever seen in my whole life. That kind of makes the whole motherhood thing a lot easier to handle. And it definitely makes all the rest of his crazy development an easier pill to swallow. No-one told me about the biting – that wasn’t mentioned at NCT. Great bloody chunks he’s ripped out of my arm. And do you know the really irritating thing about it? He’s still a fussy little bugger with just about every single food group aside from cake – but apparently human flesh is a goer. Anyhoo, I forgive him everything, because he looks so damned cute in a hat.

And finally (because I can hear a snotty Kraken stirring), it looks like I’m going to have to change the name of this rather beautifully designed blog (I know, I know – it looks horrendous. This is what happens when you’re married to a designer. It’s like that whole thing about cobblers’ wives going barefoot – designers’ wives are an embarrasment on WordPress) – because very shortly, I am going to be an Employed Person. Don’t worry! I’ve still got plenty to moan about! It’s only a short-term contract! But along with employment comes, it transpires, massive, baggy, bone-shaking guilt. The Genius and the Fat One will be left to fend for themselves, while I swan about in Chanel suits, smoking fags and wearing lipstick. None of that is strictly true, of course (I’ve not worn lipstick for decades) , but that’s how it makes me feel. Guilt, guilt, awful awful guilt. More of that next time, I’d imagine. Pip pip.