The sleeplessness is back again. Last night I lay in bed and wrestled with it for hours; tonight I promised myself if it came back I would do half an hour in bed then get up. Now I’m breaking the rules by having ‘screen time’ (it only enhances the wakefulness, apparently), but a book and I are just not going to agree right now. I’ve had four hours. Maybe my baby is trying to get me ready for what’s to come. I’m reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s “Love in the time of Cholera“. It’s one of those classics that you know you should read, I love the characters, but it is it suitable for baby brain? The sentences are long and torturous for my new simplified mind, which is sometimes enjoyable in a novel, but in this case just interrupts the suspension of belief. It seems I am never just in the story but instead reading a piece of writing. Reading as a writer is often like that, but it is just not what I need right now. Having read many extracts for courses over the years, I wonder how much is Marquez himself, and how much is translation. It’s a little like watching an Arnold Swarzenegger film with a dubbed voice. I mean, I’ve watched Arnie movies in spanish and korean, and I have to ask, are you really getting it?
We had thai with friends last night. I was busting for a nice meal out after two weeks away with “what’s the quickest road to dinner” farm cooking for most nights. Trouble is, it’s just sitting there. You’d want to make sure you REALLY want that meal when you’re pregnant. After all, you’re going to be tasting it 57 times. Broccoli was back on the acceptable list last night and tasted good, thai steak (crying tiger) and pork belly resulted in a run-out-of-the-restaurant reaction. It was even hard to sit at the table and smell it.
So enough about me, this post is actually about hub-in-boots. Blame the intro on 5am brain. When hub-in-boots first got the news, he seemed pretty disconnected, nonchalant even. He didn’t say a great deal beyond the initial reaction. A week or so later, he seemed to be spending an awfully long time on his computer. With men, this often only means one thing….but no, it was not internet porn, it was volvos. Hub-in-boots was processing the news in the only way he knew how : he was planning a change in car. He was a little furtive about this. I only realised when he’d left his laptop on and I need to look something up.
Now Hub-in-boots drives an old Mazda (eunos) Mx-5 convertible, in bright blue. He is not a volvo kind of guy. I shudder at the thought. But apparently, if you’re a new expecting dad, this is what you should look up. Wtf? After laughing at him uproariously for several weeks, I’ve kind of got used to the obsesssive googling of car sites. I google “risks of spotting in early pregnancy”, he googles “volvo”. Men have simple worlds. I read housebrick sized What to Expect if you’re expecting, he reads articles on car safety. I think, just quietly, he’s trying to find the perfect vehicle that can meld his Clark Kent with his Superman. He wants to be the man about town in the funky vehicle with a life; he needs to be a man who is comfortable his newborn is safe. With no money, it’s not an easy ask.
I’ve tried to explain to him that my four door focus sedan is perfectly fine for gumby and associated paraphenalia, and that if I am breastfeeding there just aint gonna be much time that’s he’s off on his own with bubs for quite a while whilst I am out on the town shopping and laughing it up. So as long as we have one car that does the trick, he can keep pooncing about in his convertible. But no, new identity, new car. I think I’m finally getting it, after laughing at him for weeks.
Well this week we’ve had a development. Someone out there in marketing world is very clever. They’ve realised out of all the equipment and bits n bobs you buy for bub, the pram is most like a car. That’s why they have brands of pram that also come in formula one cars. You may not own a McClaren, but here’s a McLaren pram. You’re chasing the dream, mate.
And all of a sudden, up the farm on holidays, taking shelter from the heat outside at lunch, I start getting these funny comments from the table, as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I struggle to get along on the couch:
“Have you seen these?”
“Bugaboos. They’re really funky.”
“What?” I know perfectly well what a Bugaboo is (I’ve never seen one), but I’m a little astounded we’re having this conversation. “Yes. They’re a pram the price of an airfare to Venice. D at boxing was going to get one, and S at boxing said if he got the latte holder attachment, she’d never speak to him again. I think he got it.”
“No no, they’re not prams, they’re travel systems”
WTF? I am instantly texting my mum and sister. I have to share this hilarious and slightly out of body hub in boots moment.
“I can’t decide between the black and red, it’s really funky, and the black and tan. oooh. There’s yellow!”
what are we, fighting some kind of IRA war here? Black and tan? We’re down to colours? Yellow? That’s your ferrari you’re talking about, not your pram. That’s a ferrari yellow.
“I really like this one, the Cameleon. Have a look. It’s really funky. It’s got that thing, that bassinet, so you can transfer gumby without waking them. It’s a good idea. Look, there’s a slide show. It shows you all the different configurations” Like a convertible.
“Ok babe. Sounds good. They seem a bit cheaper on Ebay.”
“Yeah. I like em.”
I return to Gabriel Marcia Marquez, and he returns to Ebay. 15 minutes passes.
“Well that’s pretty cool”
“What’s that babe?”
“Toni Collette had one. A Cameleon. See, she got the red and black. I told you it was funky.’
So you’re telling me we care what Toni Collette had, pram wise. okaaaay. Who are you again?
“Oh. But Naomi Watts had one. She STUNK in King Kong. Maybe we can’t get a Cameleon. Might have to be a different Bugaboo.” stunned silience. “OH well that ruins that plan. Claudia Schiffer had one. You know if she married Brains from the Thunderbirds, she’d be Claudia Schiffer-Brains?” hub in boots is back to bad jokes and laughing hysterically at his own humour. Sounds like he’s still in there.
“Have you got that other pregnancy magazine? See, this chick here got a Bugaboo, and she really rated it. Where did that other magazine go?” ok this is getting really weird now. He’s on holidays, he has the latest edition of Octane, and he’s reading Cosmo pregnancy magazine. Seriously WTF?
The pram googling went on for several HOURS.
I think I’ve figured it out, though. I think for women, there’s a baby growing inside you. Sometimes you may not believe it’s real, but every burp, fart, stretching pain, dizziness, everything won’t let you forget it. So you read books about what is happening in there. There’s nothing to see, from the outside yet. Apart from weird boob and spots like a teenager (yuk).
But for men, in the early days, unless their holding hair back while the little woman is projectile vomiting, there’s not a lot going on. It’s not that real. The hearbeat, that’s real. The ultrasounds are a little “oh look at the freaky sea monkey, it has a tail”, it’s not that real. So maybe, just maybe, men make it real through the stuff they’re going to need. Comments such as yeah, that red and black one, I can see me pushing that, well I guess that’s hub-in-boots making the whole experience real.
Hilarious? Sure, Touching? You bet. But real.