Tuesday, 25 August 2009

My vagina, My nemesis, My past – Part Two

She hands me a mirror and says “Have a look and if there’s anything you want me to do just let me know.”

I think it unlikely I will want her to wax or pluck me anymore than she already has done. My legs look as if they have measles and my groin is speckled with bloodied pores and feels as if it is on fire. I am left clutching a mirror. There is no getting away from it. It’s time to look at my vagina.

I’m supposed to be looking at the quality of the waxing but I couldn’t give a shit to be honest. I’m much more interested in the quality of my womanhood. It looks pretty much as it has always done except that the smooth V shape at the bottom has been replaced by tiny overlapping layers of skin which I know is where the delightful nurse stitched me up. Nobody but me would know the difference. I doubt that even Lorel who has seen me up close and personal, countless times, under bright lights would even notice. But I know and that’s enough.

As I leave the salon it’s hard to believe what I have been through in the short space of time that has elaspsed. I have been called ‘babe’ approximately two thousand three hundred and seventy eight times and confronted two of my biggest fears: my post baby vagina and the best friend who betrayed me. Thankfully I have managed to conquer both with the same poise and acceptance which are of course, the real qualities of my womanhood.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

My vagina, My nemesis, My past - Part One

A few weeks ago I posted a piece called And when did you last see your vagina? Well, for some reason I never got round to looking at my vagina, but with my holiday looming and my body becoming ever more flocculent, I booked myself a 2 hour waxing session (full leg, underarm and Brazilian) with the best beauty therapist in the world, Lorel.

Lorel can look you straight in the anus and pluck out the last stragglers without so much as blinking. The fact that I am legs akimbo and she can see what I have had for breakfast is neither here nor there. This is why I travel miles from home to her salon.

The last time Lorel saw me was a year ago when I was about 8 months pregnant and I came for a Brazilian wax and a pedicure. I had heard that far from giving off a sluttish image, midwives are actually grateful for the clearer view that the Brazilian brings to the proceedings. I had promised Cupcake that it should have grown back a bit by the time she had to look at it which made her feel much better as she has never been a fan of the Brazilian.

It’s sunny, it’s Saturday and I am childless. Naturally there is a spring in my step. As I am nearing the salon I can see a figure sitting in the window and although she is shadowy, confused by the sun reflecting off the glass, I know instantly that it is her. I have often dreamt of this moment, although it was never supposed to be like this. In my dream I am standing in a friend’s kitchen, at a cocktail party, holding a cosmopolitan and looking effortlessly amazing. She is talking to me and I am smiling and it suddenly occurs to me that she has tricked me. Somehow she has made me like her again. I feel the anger rise up within me and suddenly I am smashing my cocktail into the side of her face brutally and mercilessly.

In reality, as I approach the door to the salon all I can think about is how I look. It’s not great but I have looked a lot worse. I have, at least, lost my baby weight but this is outweighed by a bad hair day and my skin is far from flawless. And then amongst all this competitive vanity I remember the really important things. I have amazing friends, an amazing family, a fabulous partner and a gorgeous son. Who gives a fuck about her and about what she thinks of me? I walk through the door as bold as brass. Fate has not dealt me the kindest hand but neither has it dealt me a blow.

The salon is miniscule. There is little chance of avoiding her and all seats are taken. I walk up to the desk with my back to her and when the receptionist addresses me I tell her “I have an appointment with Lorel”. I know that she will recognise my voice. I can almost feel her eyes burning into me. The receptionist gesticulates towards the women sitting behind me and says that I can have a seat in a minute, when these ladies have …….and then I lose what she is saying because my mind is racing. I do not want to turn around. I know there are no free seats. “OK” I respond. I fumble in my handbag for what feels like an eternity. I don’t even have a phone to go outside with and make a pretend phone call because it is at home, broken. Out of the corner of my eye I sense that she has got up and is now standing behind me. The receptionist tells her that she can use a tanning booth in a moment. At this point I go to sit in the seat she has just vacated. It is still warm. I take up a magazine turn my body away from her, gazing out of the window. The receptionist asks her name. She does not give it and I know why. If I hear that surname this pretence will have to cease as she is literally the only one in the country with that surname. I bury myself in the speculations of Brad and Angelina’s break up. I am praying for her to go. Suddenly I feel someone standing close to me. I am holding firmly onto the magazine so that it does not betray my trembling hand. I hear her voice.

“’Scuse me darlin’” she says and pushes a magazine that she has been reading into the rack at my feet. I do not raise my head but I move my leg so that she can complete her manoeuvre with ease. She turns and walks away. The air between us is thick with knowing. Suddenly Lorel appears and says “Hi!” come through. I take refuge in the waxing room, thankful that by the time I emerge, hairless and feeling as if someone has rubbed me with a scotch bonnet chilli, that my nemesis will have disappeared back into my past again.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Victoria Sponge joins 'The Ungrateful Pregnant Bitches Club'

Today’s blog is dedicated to Victoria Sponge, Mr. Sponge and Little Sponge. May you all live very happily and healthily together. Seriously though, you need to stop reading my blog because it is hazardous to the health of expecting parents……..

I have this friend called Victoria Sponge. She is petite and blonde and is never without her high heels. She has a husband who, despite lacking a little hair, is about as good a husband as a woman could get. They have been trying for a baby for some time. Whilst everybody around them got pregnant without really meaning to - literally tripping up and falling on dicks and procreating - the Sponges have been plugging away at it, boring themselves with it, driving themselves crazy with it and experiencing all the high and lows that such a task involves. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them as their friends offered them platitudes and promises and irritating advice (the Sponges literally crossed the word ‘relax’ out of their dictionary). We were all guilty of it. But what do you say to two people who you really love, when they desperately need some hope? It’s fair to say that at times they thought it would never happen.

And then finally it did. For Victoria Sponge keeping this a secret was an act of sheer heroism. She managed it though, for about 10.5 weeks until she threw up into her boss’s wastepaper basket.

When you have wanted something for so long, dreamt about it, imagined it and prepared for it, the only thing that can come after attaining it is disappointment. Disappointment!? I hear you cry! Surely not! Well, you know me well enough by now to know that this isn’t going to be a gushing piece of prose about the wonder of creation. So quit now if you can’t take the heat.

After the joy of telling her close friends, the low of the morning sickness began to set in.

“This is the beautiful thing?” she asked me. “This is what I’ve been praying for?”

Well Miss Sponge, now you are forcing my hand. Here are a few more irritating, unwanted pieces of advice from a well-meaning friend.

The only people who consider pregnancy ‘a beautiful thing’ are people who aren’t experiencing it, or have never experienced it. No pregnant woman goes around cooing and thinking ‘this is such a beautiful thing’. Like hell they do! They go around thinking the following things:

1) I feel horribly sick- I think I might die
2) I am fat, I have nothing to wear – I want to die
3) I need to buy flat shoes – I will look frumpy – maybe I should think about dying?
4) I have spots/heartburn/flatulence – I can’t leave the house - people will think I have died.
5) I need to piss constantly – I am using my Jamie Oliver saucepan as a chamber pot – my husband will die when he discovers this.
6) I am so angry - I want to kill everybody – you could die next!
7) I am so tired - I never want to get out of bed – have I died?
8) I have a rash that is only fuelling my anger issues – EVERYBODY IS GOING TO DIE!!!
9) I am so constipated that I could blow at any moment – death by shit explosion now looming!
10) I am constantly horny but who on earth would want to fuck me considering the above list and once I have given birth will my husband ever go down on me again? My vagina will die! Of neglect!!!

Believe me – this is the potted version. I have left a lot of stuff out. The danger is that you start to hate yourself because you believe that you are supposed to be grateful for being pregnant. You’re not. So, let yourself off the hook. If you start feeling guilty now you’re going to feel like that forever. After the pregnancy guilt comes the mother guilt and that’s even worse. It’s a never ending guilt trip. It’s absolutely normal to not want to be pregnant and you are not bringing bad stuff on yourself by wishing that you weren’t pregnant.

Look on the bright side. There are a few measly perks to pregnancy:

1) You don’t always have to queue up for tourist attractions.
2) If you’re lucky, people give up their seat for you on public transport.
3) You can blame everything on your hormones (even murder) and people will forgive you.
4) People smile at you more often.
5) Your local greengrocer may start to give you free fruit.

So, absolve yourself of all guilt. Try not to punch those who tell you "You're glowing!" when you know it’s constipation and badly applied blusher; and feel safe in the knowledge that millions of women just like you don’t actually enjoy being pregnant either.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Buttercup says...get the fuck off my baby!

“Whoring”: A term that refers to meeting and going on ‘dates’ with other mums whom you have met through baby related websites.

I have this friend called Buttercup. She is blonde and like a little ray of Sunshine. I met Buttercup from my whoring on the internet. On the day I met Buttercup, I was really whoring it big time because I was doing two in one day.

The first time we met we got ever-so-slightly-tipsy and it’s been a great friendship ever since. I can phone her up and say “I’ve accidentally sliced off my child’s finger nails.” And she would go “Dude?” and be totally cool and non judgemental about it.

This is the e-mail she sent me this morning:

“Why is it when you have a baby, complete strangers on the bus feel the need to talk to you and touch your baby? I don't know where they have been. They could have swine flu…..? Who the hell are they? I don't touch their faces. Why should they touch my baby’s face? I want to tell them to piss off. I want to be able to say “Please don't breathe on my baby....don't even look at it, let alone touch it!”

This makes Buttercup sound completely irrational. She isn’t. She is actually one of the most relaxed ‘mums’ I know.

I can hear you thinking, “Jesus if that’s one of the most relaxed mums she knows, imagine the how bitchin’ the uptight ones are?” But we all have our down days, don’t we?

At the time Buttercup was having a down day she didn’t realise it. She was just ‘getting on with it’. She was juggling a billion things and trying to cope with being on a London bus, on one of the hottest days of the year with her cranky baby and a well meaning but totally incomprehensible Scottish woman.

“I was sweating like a bitch, exhausted from running around all day and trying to have a life by having lunch with some friends from out of town. I managed about 4 spoonfuls of food before the baby kicked up. Typical.

And so this woman is giving me unwanted advice on how to dress a baby in the heat - going on and on and on. She’s squeezing his cheeks and pressing her face up to his and breathing all over him and tickling him under his chin and telling me how hot he is. My blood started to boil and I wanted to shout at her.

“Yes, it's too damn hot. I can't understand a fucking word you are saying but I do know this. My baby is cranky for a whole host of reasons, but one of those reasons is most definitely because you are all up in his face.

In two hours time I have to get on another disgustingly hot bus, in peak-hour traffic to go do a presentation for college. In the meantime I need to collect a prescription so that my son can eat without throwing up. I need to get home, shower, feed my baby and tell my husband all the things he needs to do with the baby while I am out and hoping to god they both survive.

When I get home tonight, despite being hungry and tired, I need to start packing pack six weeks’ worth of shit because in two days I’m leaving the country with my Asian husband and mixed race son to visit relatives, some of whom have ‘race issues’.

When I have done everything and finally get into bed, I then have to get up every three hours in the night to feed my son before I start all over again tomorrow!

It may not be clear to you but I am doing my best to be a good mother. Yes, I know my baby is hot. I too can feel the searing heat. However, my baby is dressed in 100% organic, fair-trade fucking cotton which I paid through the nose for, lady. Now get the fuck off my baby!!!”

The moral of this story is: Strangers, you never really know who you are messing with so get the fuck off the baby.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I am a shitmuncher once more

“Shitmuncher: Somebody who works 9-5, a commuter.”

When I started this blog my aim was to write a light-hearted account of modern motherhood. Something humorous, irreverent and somewhat tongue in cheek.

Well; for the past week I’ve sat at my computer every fucking day typing away and nothing light-hearted or humorous has come into my brain. This is because I am officially a shitmuncher and it’s horrendous. I really didn’t think about how tough things would be as a working mother. I want my fucking old life back - the one where I blew bubbles and walked round the park for a living, drank, blogged, and felt smug as I watched the shitmunchers marching to and from their dismal jobs.

This has all gone horribly wrong.