Today we got ‘baby-bombed’. Again. This is when a total stranger approaches at great speed, usually cooing loudly, and GRABS, or in more extreme cases, KISSES your baby without asking. On this particular occasion it was an older lady, hunched over double, so she advanced unseen below my eye line. Her gnarled hand, long nails painted a venomous red, reached out for Bella’s (let’s face it) generous thighs and she gave them a vigorous squeeze. Then she went for the classic one-two manoeuvre. Her rouged face came closer and closer to Bella as if in slow motion; I could see the saliva frothing at one side of her mouth, a thicket of wiry hairs on her sagging chin and a light dusting of dandruff on her shoulders. Then came the moment of truth. She KISSED Bella on the cheek. KISSED HER. How is that OK? Would you go up to another consenting adult on the street, jiggle their legs then plant a smacker on them, whilst making unintelligible noises only dogs can hear? No. You’d get punched or possibly shanked. Definitely told to f**k off. So why is this OK with a baby?
Baby bombing is an all new hate for me, and since having Bella I have found a host of new things that either annoy me or please me that never did before. Things that never even got onto my radar pre baby. Admittedly this is probably exacerbated by my emotions being somewhat closer to the surface than ever before, “mum-motions” if you will.
So, my new HATES:
TOP of my list, especially since Bella has developed stranger danger and separation anxiety. The typical M.O. of a baby-bomber is to swoop in all loud and high pitched, grabby fingers outstretched. On one hand I am pleased that complete strangers find Bella so cute they can’t help but touch her. But on the other (and this one wins) I also hate it because you don’t know WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN. And she regularly loses her shit during the thigh jiggling. Who wouldn’t – if someone came up to me and started pinching my (also generous) thighs I would weep for a week.
There was a period when Bella would not nap in the house. We would put her in her lovingly prepared, warm cot in her painfully expensive sleeping bag and she would shriek like she was lying on a bed of nails wrapped in a cat o’ nine tails. During this period she would JUST get off to sleep when inevitably the postman would ring the doorbell. ARGHHHH. Cue rabid squalling from the nursery. Eventually I disconnected it.
Now the Underground has never been a favourite, it’s not like if asked what I was doing today I would answer “oh just ride the Bakerloo line for a few hours, maybe jump off for some quality time on the Jubilee, feel the dirty breeze in my hair – BOOM”…but with a baby the tube is beyond tedious. There are a handful of accessible stations (stations that are entirely useless for any normal journey), no one stands up for you even with a passive aggressive British DEATH STARE directed at them, you develop guns of steel carrying the pram up 1000s of stairs and it is always hotter than an actual circle of hell.
The pavements of SW17
So I have spent many a day pounding the pavements of Tooting and surrounds, and have come to the conclusion that they are not in the least bit pram friendly. They may even inspire me to write a STRONGLY WORDED EMAIL. For a sleeping baby they are the equivalent of a new fairground ride: The Baby Boneshaker. It is effectively like going off-road, I need me a Land Rover not a buggy.
My new LOVES:
Smell of Baby Poo
This will sound weird, and it’s not at fetish level, but I love the smell of baby poo. Why? Because it means she has BEEN. This is what six weeks of constipation did to me, six weeks of watching Bella strain and strain, her face puce, her eyes watering, her little hands shaking, all simply to produce a series of dry dusty rabbit pellets.
Before Bella I was well on my way to becoming a coffee snob. I didn’t feel safe unless my coffee came from an independent establishment where Barista was a PROPER job, where there were ironic captions from lesser known beat poets on the walls and where everything was made from burnished wood, even the cups (yes I would put up with lip splinters to feel confident in my cortado). I even once trialled a bean that had passed through a weasel first (yes pooed out and turned into a latte, yum). But now I am all about a simple Costa. It has baby changing as standard, it has room for a battalion of prams and you can stay for hours without being evicted. What more could any mum want?
Actually any animal print. I always have been a fan, but was never entirely convinced I could pull it off. But now I am obsessed with it, for both Bella and me because it is the best pattern for covering up a multitude of food based sins. Those grubby little avocado hand marks don’t even show up on a leopard print blouse, and the sweet-potato vom just blends in to the tiger print onesie.