I’m sitting in a room surrounded by nothing. The erstwhile terribly comforting clutter which used to fill my office has now been tidied, thrown out, “re-distributed” or otherwise hidden. I’m a man in the middle of a mass-migration: me into the shed, my son into the (biggest, but I’m not bitter, really) room in the house, new squirt to be isolated into the sound-proofed box-room, only to come out when he/she is sensible, interesting and can fend for him/herself.
Being aware of the space around me – that feeling of change you get when you move house and go around it one last time to check you haven’t left any socks, suits or pianos in the empty rooms – is really starting to make the whole new baby thing feel very real. With that reality, I’m suddenly finding lots of memories are returning. I’m not big on memory – that’s what computers and lists are for – but it’s just come back to me, for example, that there was a period of time during the dark days of the first 6 months when I used to have earplugs hidden under my side of the bed.
Now, before you go thinking that I’m one of those “works all day, therefore I’m entitled to a good nights’ sleep, woman, and while you’re at it where’s my damn supper, stop moaning, nothing wrong with the missionary position?” type husbands – I’m not. I’m big on getting up, helping with feeds, sharing the tiredness, sympathising about sore nipples, breast pumping and all that stuff.
The fact that I had earplugs, however – not just any earplugs, but sneaky ones that I used to pop in when Rach wasn’t looking – says a few things to me in the cold light of day which I’d only admit to my nearest and dearest:
1. I was obviously stupid, because everyone knows earplugs don’t work,
2. I’m actually a bastard – the worst kind, because I masquerade as a caring kind of guy,
3. I should watch out because I have also been known to wear an eyemask, and not many marriages are built on the sexiness of sensory deprivation
In my defence: at the time, these factors disappeared into the blur. In fact anything sensible disappeared into the blur. There was a night, for instance, when I set up my laptop screen saver just in front of the Moses basket because I thought Dan would like it. Another night when I spent hours downloading and editing a heartbeat sound so I could leave it playing next to his cot. And don’t mention the projecting mobile Disney light thingy which I bought from Mothercare. Then too I was convinced that it would be the answer to all our problems. Only later did it become clear that Dan couldn’t see nearly far enough away for him to give a shit about the picture of Tigger dancing on the ceiling, and that actually he found the whole projection thing more unsettling than calming.
So the question is: have I learnt any kind of a lesson?
Maybe ask me at 3am in a couple of weeks as I strap my eye/ear combo on, plug in the lappie and power up the projector…