‘I’m not sure that we should go,’ said Mother, uncertainly.
No, I wasn’t either. In fact, I was absolutely seething that my parents were considering a night out without me.
And perhaps more than considering it. I watched as Mother struggled aggressively with the tight trousers which she was pulling on. With lots of wheezing and whining, she managed to get them just over her knees and then stopped, the material refusing to budge very much higher.
‘I’m stuck,’ she declared plaintively. I wasn’t sure that I could help her out of her dilemma, at least not physically. ‘Get a pair of scissors and cut them off,’ I suggested, loudly, so she could hear. ‘They’re utterly horrible anyway so you’ll be doing yourself a favour.’
As usual, Mother just ignored me. ‘And now the baby’s crying,’ she exclaimed, a little tearful herself.
She hesitated a moment, looking as if she didn’t know whether to try and pull the trousers on or off, before deciding that actually, she did want to wear the blood-restricting garment. ‘Urrrrrgggggggghhhhh,’ she shouted, as she lay on the bed, tussling with the fabric ‘Nnnnnnnnggggggghhhhh.’ Her declarations had a familiar echo to them. I had a feeling I had been privy to similar groans once before, when they had punctuated my arrival from Baby Land, almost two months previous.
‘Ta-dah!’ she exclaimed at last, her face red and sweaty, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. ‘Look at that. Back in my old skinny trousers, just like old times,’ she added, smugly.
I suspected that the ‘old times’ to which she referred had been childhood, the nasty trousers were that small. I also wondered if I should point out to her that the zip wasn’t done up but it seemed Mother already had a solution for that particular problem, pulling on a long shirt which more than covered up the gaping hole at the front of her trousers.
Mother’s trousers (actual size)
‘You wouldn’t think I’d just had a baby, would you?’ she asked her reflection in the mirror, fishing, no doubt, for a compliment.
Yes, you would, I thought, because that’s all you ever go on about. I am a huge fan of myself and there are few things I enjoy more than talking about myself to my good friend and teddy bear RoRo. But even I was getting fed up of all the ‘baby talk’ in the house. Every aspect of me was a hot topic. Just the other day, Mother had spent a good hour on the phone describing, in some great detail, a blemish on my skin and whether it had been caused by being too hot/too cold/milk/washing detergent or a bug. ‘I caught myself scratching,’ I declared, annoyed, to Mother’s deaf ears, unable to stop her as she ploughed on with her ill-informed surmising. By the time Father walked through the door, Mother had convinced herself that I was suffering from a very rare and as yet undiscovered skin disorder.
‘You look lovely,’ whistled Father, walking in from the bathroom.
It was a shame the same couldn’t be said about him. He had managed to tame that beast on his head which he called hair but he had clearly had a struggle when removing the bristles from around his mouth. There were bits of bloody tissue dotted all over his cheeks, and a big rough patch of fuzz; it looked as if he had got so far in his de-hairing efforts before giving up.
Mother shared my horror at his look. ‘Whatever happened to you?’ she asked, aghast.
‘My razor broke,’ he replied. ‘I had to use one of yours.’
Mother shook her head. ‘It’s a sign,’ she said, ominously.
All day, Mother had been talking about ‘signs,’ indications that she shouldn’t go out. First there had been my slight cough this morning. ‘That’s it. She’s coming down with something. I can’t leave her.’ Then it had been the weather. ‘It looks like snow,’ she’d intoned, gloomily, looking out the window at the bright blue sky, illuminated by a radiant sun, the warmth from which I could feel even through the double glazing. And finally, there had been the phone call from Grandma.
‘Well that’s that then,’ announced Mother. ‘Mum’s sick so she can’t babysit. We’ll have to stay in,’ she added, her face full with relief.
But Father was having none of it. ‘Ask your cousin,’ he suggested. She’s great with kids. And besides, we need a night out.’
Again with that comment, it had become their mantra over the last few weeks. ‘We need a night out.’ ‘We could do with getting out for the evening,’ and ‘I’m absolutely bloody desperate to go out and drink my body weight in wine.’ I did not understand their obsession with getting out, and indeed, without me. I am excellent company; easy-going, fun to be around, my needs few and easily-fulfilled. I was fairly certain that their little jaunt would be a massive flop without me in tow.
‘How do we look?’ asked Father, his arm flung around Mother, both peering into my crib.
I glanced at them. I say ‘glanced’ but several seconds had passed by the time I had turned my head from side to side to view my parents in all their glory. I hesitated; should I be honest or complimentary? I decided to be honest, otherwise a lifetime of having to be untruthful beckoned. ‘Not bad, but not great,’ I began, gently. ‘You both look like you haven’t slept in several days. And Father, that shirt is clearly gaping. I’m not sure that your fellow diners will want to look at your pasty chest during their starters. And Mother, I don’t know from whom you learnt to apply make-up, but I can only deduce it was from a clown. If I was you, I’d go back in the bathroom and start again.’
‘Ahhhhhh,’ cooed Mother. ‘She says we look lovely. Thank you darling,’ and before I could protest, she was pulling me into an embrace.
Downstairs, as my parents stood on the threshold, ready to leave, it struck me how young and nervous they looked. They seemed awkward and anxious and uncomfortable and I was surprised by a feeling of affection washing over me.
‘Oh bugger off you two,’ trilled the lady whose presence I had, hitherto, been oblivious to. ‘Go and enjoy your evening. You damn well need it,’ (oh, for goodness sake). ‘Us girls will be fine,’ she added, coercing my Mother and Father out the door in a flurry of kisses, and tears, in Mother’s case.
‘Right then,’ she began. ‘We’re going to have a nice, quiet evening, and you’re going to be a good girl, aren’t you darling?’
I vaguely recognised the lady. I remembered her as the mother of the baby I had met, several weeks ago. She was ok, as I recall, not a bad sort. Having said that I didn’t like the way she was holding me. Her arms weren’t as cosy as Mother’s. I let out a small whimper.
‘Oh dear. I think someone’s hungry.’
I forced down a little bit of milk. ‘Blimey,’ remarked the lady. ‘Someone’s got quite the appetite.’
I didn’t know who this ‘someone’ was who the lady was referring to. I was trying to work this conundrum out when I realised what was bothering me.
I wanted to lie on my playmat and look at myself in my mirror.
I let out a firm scream to let the lady know.
‘Uh-oh, someone needs a bum change.’
I let the lady know that she was wrong in her assessment with a loud screech. ‘I want my mirror,’ I announced, as clearly as I could. It came out a little bit like ‘nnnnngggghhhhhdddduuuurrrrr.’
‘Ah I think someone needs a cuddle now,’ she suggested. I noticed beads of sweat gathering on her forehead.
‘I don’t care what someone needs,’ I squealed. ‘I want my mirror.’
‘Here,’ she said, grabbing my good friend and teddy bear RoRo. ‘Here’s your toy.’
‘He’s not a toy, he’s my best friend’ I said, sternly. But alas, even the lovely RoRo couldn’t lift my mood.
‘I want my mirror.’ I snapped.
‘Whatever do you want?’ exhaled the lady, a hint of impatience in her voice.
‘I’ve just told you,’ I replied, annoyed.
The lady picked me up and walked around with me. We went out into the garden. Up the stairs. Into the kitchen. Into the dining room. She sang songs to me. She ‘shhhhhhushhhhed’ me. She stroked my head. She rubbed my back. All the time I was letting her know how I felt with a loud cry.
‘Oh I give up,’ exclaimed the lady, at last, lying me onto my playmat where my mirror hung.
‘Thank you,’ I said in one final burst of noise, before lying back and admiring my reflection viagra a prix bas en france.
As I pondered my image, it dawned on me that Mother or Father would have known what I wanted within moments. They would have somehow known what my cry meant. Perhaps they were starting to understand me….
When I opened my eyes again, Mother and Father were peering into my Moses basket, their eyes bright and watery.
‘We’ve missed you,’ said Father.
‘It wasn’t much fun without you,’ added Mother.
It was as I suspected. The evening had been a flop without my company. I was pleased and allowed myself a small smile as Father pulled me gently into his arms.