The last 2 weeks of pregnancy number 2, in stages. 

Sheer physical enormity…

Breasts rest on belly, belly rests on thighs, thighs spread to fill any flat surface unfortunate enough to be bearing my considerable heft.

I now walk with the gait of The Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Weirdly mobile joints make standing up more of an exercise in trying not to look like a weeble.

Due to the unfamiliarly large volume I now take up, my belly bumps into everything and everyone, gets spilled on, wet from standing too close to sinks, grazed regularly by things like toilet cubicle doors (manoeuvring into those has now become a fifteen-time-a-day chore) and gesticulated into by colleagues.

Rage glorious rage…
My all pregnancy-long even temperament this time around has been lovely, I’ve floated around, donut in hand feeling accepting of others and unusually tolerant. I’ve let things wash over me at work, showed understanding and empathy when people have muscled in front of me on the tube and generally had a long fuse.
Over the past week my hormones have undergone the “two weeks to go” change and the main symptom is that I now take extreme pleasure from fantasising about kicking people down escalators. All I want to do is go through my daily commute screaming in people’s faces and hurting anyone who comes within 12 inches of me, which, because I get the Northern Line, feels like EVERYONE IN LONDON.
The heavily pregnant rage has set in, I have NO fuse and I am scared. I am scared for my poor husband who put a plate in the wrong area of the dishwasher the other night and I am scared for my fellow commuters who don’t realise the danger they are in on a daily basis.
Veering between desperation to go into labour and sheer terror of going into labour…
I know what it involves, I know it hurts like nothing I have ever felt before. It is a kind of inhuman pain that turns normal women into demons. I remember clawing rampantly at the window in the admissions ward the first time around growling in a terrifying, possessed voice “if this window opened I would be jumping out of it, get me drugs, please just give me some drugs!“.
I sit at my desk thinking about this and the fact that I will have two children soon – two. Two children under two.
I shudder inwardly and try to block the images of a toddler tantrum, newborn screaming tag team, supermarket trips from hell and general double death worry that will occupy the next what, 4 years of my life…
The next minute I am googling “how to give yourself a sweep” and scoffing pineapple until my mouth bleeds.

Toddler sh*t just got real 

Just over a year ago I was back in my old job, every day my calendar was rammed from 8 til 6:30. I would spend my days running round, fixing issues, managing a large team, juggling politics, it was a full on job…what I’d give for one day back there now – for a goddamn break! 

Now on a normal day, I have maybe one thing to do and the rest is flexible. Today I had four things to do and I swear to GOD it was more stressful than the time all our servers went down and it was (kind of) my fault. 

All because I had a toddler (demon) to take round with me. Today she was so bad that I actually looked up whether there was a full moon. 

First we went to the supermarket where she so badly didn’t want to hold my hand that she lay on the floor in the middle of the aisle (she has never seen another child do this. Is this a trick these beasts are born with?) Then she gets up and throws some bananas on the floor. Then she turns and runs so fast out of the front door that I have to throw the basket down and run full speed after her. 
Next we went to a friend’s for coffee. First she threw the dolls on the floor, then she banged a coaster repeatedly on the polished table. She ate Mr potato head’s eyes for ten minutes and then had a total meltdown because I wouldn’t let her eat the knob of the radiator. We left. 
She napped which I thought might solve the problem. I deftly got food past her flailing arms and turning head into her mouth and we set out again. 
We went for a meeting at the kitchen showroom where she ignored the box of toys and instead tried repeatedly to run out of the automatic doors into the car park. Thwarted, she lay on the floor in the middle of the showroom. I got her onto my knee using cheese and herb puffs which she mashed into my knees and the desk. She spent the remainder of the time belligerently kicking the desk and writhing to get down, like something possessed. I was answering the consultant’s questions as quickly as possible whilst trying to contain my daughter’s thrashing limbs but the woman just kept stopping and gaping at me with undisguised horror. 
Later, registering at the doctors, she did a quick scan of the room, saw the bin marked “clinical waste” and headed straight for it. How? Just HOW did she know that was the most disgusting thing in there? Someone please tell me. Back and forward we went, her running off towards the box of sharps covered in strangers’ blood, me bringing her back to the chair. 
I ended up giving her my phone out of sheer desperation to listen to that crack song from Frozen (I swear to God it contains subliminal messaging to make kids want Frozen merch), I got my phone back to see she’d somehow emailed a You Tube link to a Taylor Swift video to a random guy I worked with for about a week 9 years ago. 
We finally got home, and after intermittently splashing all the water out of the tub and trying to drink/inhale the water and choking dramatically, I got her into bed. 
My husband gets home and I mention that I’ve spoken to the nursery about her start date. 3 days a week, starting in a fortnight.
He says “but you don’t have a contracting job yet” 
I’ll let you guess my response. 

“A dog licked my baby’s mouth” and other horrible stories

Yesterday I met up with a friend who is basically Mary Poppins mixed with Supernanny. And she reminded me what a lazy, crap mum I am.

“The jelly looked fun!” She said hopefully, referring to the photo I sent her after the last time we met. I’d felt so guilty that I hadn’t done a single thing on her list of “fun activities to do with kids” that I immediately picked the least messy sounding one and did it the next day.
Except that it was messy. So very messy and…just so messy. I’d selected sugar free jelly in the hope that it would be less sticky but alas it was as sticky as a MOFO and went All. Over. Everything.

Later that evening as I scraped jelly out of the crevasses of the high chair, off the walls and from under the fridge (how the hell?!) I thought “maybe I’ll try the baking idea tomorrow…or actually maybe I’ll do the painting instead…”. I didn’t do either and I’m still finding that damn jelly places. I had to get the mop out. I dislike housework.

Instead, the next day we drew on the fridge in whiteboard markers for, like, ten seconds. And that’s when I realised it, she’s 1 year old – she doesn’t give a sh*t about drawing on the fridge. And she didn’t particularly like the jelly. I put it down in front of her and she touched it tentatively with one finger and then sat back and looked at me like “er Mum are you sure about this? You’re usually pretty up tight about me throwing sh*t all over the place”. I just smiled and said “dig in” but she knew, and I knew. This was going to be no fun really. It’s like when your husband says “no, no honestly it’s fine, we can watch Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” and you know that he’d prefer to be watching something with a lot more killing and a lot less cabaret, so you spend the whole film thinking “I bet he’s hating this” instead of chuckling at the whimsical banter and marvelling at Sandra Bullock’s amazing bone structure.

Yesterday my Mary Poppins friend asked if I’d been to any music classes yet. I said “no but I’ve got a list of them off a new friend I made!” (I’d ticked “make a new friend” off my list that week and it was so big that I hadn’t bothered doing any more tasks after that). Then she asked if I’d been to the library for stories yet. I said “er, no”. “But it’s at the end of your road!”.

“Ok, have you been swimming?”. I hung my head. “No”. I was ashamed.

On the way home I bumped into my fourth local friend and we had a 5 minute chat and arranged a coffee date. That’s when I realised the reason I haven’t been to any activities alone yet. I’m a follower. I’m a total follower. I do things people suggest but I rarely suggest anything myself. This is why I’ve been more concerned with making new friends in my new town – so they can suggest things to do and I can agree to do them. That is how it must be.

Later that evening whilst I was putting on a puppet show with a zebra and a lion (the zebra explaining to the lion why he shouldn’t be eaten) amid peels of laughter from the baby, I decided 2 things. 1 If neither of us enjoys messy play, then there’s no need to force ourselves into it just because other mums are doing it. We’re more into physical play. We run after each other, play hide and seek, catch, fetch and go out walking. We splash in the bath until 50% of the water is on the floor. This is fine, in fact it’s my favourite part of the day. We like water. Water isn’t sticky.
We dance in front of the mirror to my “running” (LOL!!) playlist, she loves nothing more than admiring her little reflection bopping away, complete with range of hilarious facial expressions. We have the same taste in music, she crawls over to the iPod dock and flicks past the rubbish ones herself. We play “feed the scary monster” at the baby gate every day (rice cakes, me crawling up the stairs to the gate, her laughing hysterically and feeding me pieces of soggy rice cake).

The second thing I decided was that I’m the same type of mum as I am type of person and I think my daughter likes our little bubble the way it is. Let me explain. I don’t have birthday parties and I hate being the hostess. That’s why I don’t suggest things and why I married the world’s most popular, and sociable man and the funnest person I know – so he can deal with that stuff for both of us.
I have 4 friends-with-kids here after 3 and a half months. If I make a new friend every month then I’ll go to plenty of things (but only if they suggest it, there’s no use pretending). In between dates we’ll be happy with our own mirror dancing, monster feeding, chasing each other round the dining table brand of fun.

And a final thing. Because we are like two little peas in our own pod, when deciding if my daughter would like to do something in future, I’m just going to think “would I like to do it?”. An example from today is that a lady asked if my daughter would like to stroke her small, reasonably cute dog. “He’s very good with kids, he never bites” she said. So I lead my daughter over, she looks at me like “mum? What the hell?” And just stares from me to the dog and back in disgust. Then in one quick motion the thing jumps up, puts its paws on her shoulders and LICKS HER ON THE MOUTH. My daughter and I both stumble back in utter revulsion, me saying “eeeeeewwwwww def con 3! pass the baby wipes” at the same time the dog owner says “aaaawwwwww he’s giving you a kiss!”.
I looked at my daughter for the final verdict. She started crying. Agreed. I thought lets go home and hand sanitiser your face.

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Toddlers: the best stage ever?*

I have a toddler. Over night she decided she now walks. Everywhere. Though scared at first (afore warned as I was by friends with older children) I can say I’m heartily loving this stage**.
Today we went to Tesco and though it took an hour and a half to buy seven items, she walked and walked and walked some more. She stopped to poke at/try to kiss other toddlers, she investigated everything in her eye line, she grabbed a strange man’s leg, she was enthralled by the whole experience. Back home I decided to clear out her old clothes and she toddled back and forth between rooms, picking up items that were previously chewable but have now become lethal when held in her mouth whilst walking.
Come bedtime my previously rampant tot just fell asleep on the bottle. Just fell asleep, right there, on the bottle.
It’s a miracle.
I mean, I’m currently looking after her full time, but this toddler stage is a doddle! I can’t imagine how her insistence on walking is going to get annoying when I actually have to be somewhere, it will definitely be a breeze when she starts running and I’m definitely not worried about the day there is traffic and she decides that holding my hand isn’t fun anymore…***

* I know it’s not
** We are on day 3
*** Scared. So scared.