It’s my birthday. I’m now 364 days from officially entering the Middle Age. I’m thinking about erecting a giant countdown clock in our front room or maybe the driveway, so I don’t waste the precious remains of my dwindling vigour and energy.
I haven’t got off to the best start, though. It’s not even my fault. The rest of my little nuclear family has been struck ill with a vicious cold and cough.
The books on my bedside table are coated in a thick layer of dust. This weekend, I’ll probably read a few sports pages while I’m cooking the roast but more than ever I’m completely reliant on the radio for mental stimulation.
Little Buddha’s colic is pretty bad and some nights she rages from 7pm until midnight. During the week, the Duchess does the night feed but lately I’ve also had to get up most nights to soothe Boy Wonder, who is unusually – but understandably – unsettled.
Little Buddha is 10 days old. Here are some reflections:
- As the opening sentence shows, we’re currently measuring her life in days. Soon we’ll move to weeks and in the spring we’ll probably start using months. It won’t be until her second birthday that we’ll count in years, and even then we’ll qualify it with halves and quarters.
1st February, 9.40am
I’ve escorted the Duchess to the antenatal ward at St James’s for a ‘stretch and sweep’. The Second Coming is five days late, so the docs want to try and push things on a bit. When we got to full term plus seven days with the Boy Wonder, the Duchess had one of these procedures and later that night, a few hours after we’d fallen asleep, her waters broke and we left our house as a mere couple for the very last time. So, as much as the Duchess is dreading the discomfit of having a stranger prod and agitate her cervix, part of her hopes history will repeat itself. She’s nervous when we enter the treatment room but the consultant is lovely – the NHS in all of its human glory – and helpfully tells her that she did an excellent job giving birth to the Boy Wonder after 36 hours, and should expect an easier ride this time. The Duchess accidentally calls it a ‘Sooty and Sweep’, which lightens the mood. The nurse remarks that the Duchess doesn’t seem to have any stretch marks, despite the size of the bump. I retort: ‘That’s because she’s spent about five grand on luxurious oils and creams. We can’t afford a cot or a buggy but her skin sure is smooth.” We all laugh and after 30 seconds of obvious pain, the Duchess rights herself and we leave together strangely buoyant and optimistic.