Argh. I have inadvertently trained Piglet to gaze blankly at the television as if in a hypnotic trance.
Unfortunately, this does not only happen during In the Night Garden. This was not supposed to happen. I was supposed to be an earth mother, all joss sticks and babywearing, giving birth blissfully in a bathtub surrounded by candles and incense, then holding the baby aloft as if he was the future leader of a pack of lions in a Disney musical. I was supposed to fill Piglet’s days with classical music and brain-enhancing learning activities; he was supposed to be reading fluently by the time he turned one (there’s still time…Not that he paid much attention to tonight’s bedtime story, Flitter Flutter Butterfly). He was not supposed to be wrenched out of me by a team of medical personnel in an operating theatre, following several hours of Mummy taking all the drugs the NHS could offer. He was not supposed to be wheeled around in a pram for eternity because it has a shopping basket underneath which is just so damn convenient for carrying around all those spare nappies and the groceries. And he was not supposed to be sat in front of the television like a zombie, silently taking in all that ITV can offer (reader, it wasn’t even BBC4). By the time he’s three, he’ll doubtless be asking Mummy why we can’t track down his father using a DNA test and a lie detector on Jeremy Kyle.
I have to admit, it is useful to be able to plonk Piglet in front of the television when Mummy needs to complete some pressing task, such as eating dinner, but isn’t motherhood supposed to be about self-sacrifice? If I was any sort of mother I would surely have relinquished all food and be living on a diet of pure maternal love, ready to abandon dinner and jump into action like a coiled spring at the first sign of baby whimpering. If I was any sort of mother I would have gone to bed long ago, instead of still sitting here at 11.15pm with a glass of wine, desperate for a few extra minutes of self congratulation at getting Piglet to bed, before he wakes up again.
Still, I did manage to tick off one box of the middle class mother questionnaire today. Piglet and I attended a swimming class. OH YES. And Piglet excelled himself by not crying AT ALL.
I should probably not crack open the champagne just yet. After all, we have another four weeks of swimming classes for him to get hysterical and/or poo in the pool, leading to a mass evacuation (if you’ll pardon the pun). However, I will add that Piglet’s angelic calm-baby performance occurred in front of one of the other ladies from my NCT class, who was also swimming with her baby, so at least I was able to enjoy the Public Badge of Good Motherhood for an hour or so. Those fraught hours spent searching Westfield for a reusable baby swim nappy yesterday were put to good use.
At least I appear to be keeping up a charade of reasonable competence at this job in public, even if in private Piglet is spending (considerably) more than the recommended upper limit of half an hour per day on television watching (as decreed by a poster in Wembley Children’s Centre).