Piglet is asleep and I have just managed to snatch a few moments to afford myself the liberty of painting my toenails.
I now look, with my lurid red toenails, like a woman who never wears anything but trousers and a woolly hiking fleece, who has suddenly put on a dress for the first time in ten years, to the astonishment of all her friends and colleagues: in other words, out of place. And clearly I should be sleeping. I mean, last night Piglet barely slept a wink. He just kept waking up, wailing and reaching for the boob, coming off, rolling over and then starting the whole process over again an infinite number of times, until the sun was literally coming up and I couldn’t bear to look at the time, knowing that it was bound to be ten minutes before the alarm was due to go off.
The weird thing is, I’m not remotely bothered.
In the past, when circumstances conspired to make me lose large chunks of sleep, either by long flights or long nights drinking inadvisable alcohol/energy drink combinations, I was like a crazed wild animal, attacking anything and anyone who stood in the way of a nice comfy bed. But now, even when the alarm goes off and I have to drag my barely living carcass out of bed and make breakfast, heaving the still sleeping Piglet into his Bumbo seat as he bleats in protest and remonstrates with me about my being the Worst Mother Ever by flailing his arms up and down angrily, I am strangely calm and serene, when any other mortal being-or even nearby inanimate object-who behaved this way would have me praying for their imminent violent death. I blame breastfeeding for turning me into this weirdly placid creature. It must be the hormones. Either that or motherhood has turned me into Martin Luther King, but without the bravery. I am fearful of anything and everything that might cause harm to Piglet. Except random bits of stale toast on the carpet. Or the mouthfuls of toilet roll he insists on eating (one has to pick one’s battles, otherwise I will shortly turn into my mother, yelling “NO!” and launching herself across the room every other nanosecond to rescue Piglet from the nearest plug socket or library book).
And so it is that at the shocking time of 9.45pm I find myself still awake and wondering whether I should be putting some sleep in the Great Sleep Bank that regrettably doesn’t exist (if only I had been able to stock up on sleep during pregnancy. God knows I tried), or whether I should be making the most of these precious few moments of baby-free time to paint my fingernails as well. Or like, change the world or something. Or write a novel and become brilliant at making my own clothes and baking prize-winning cakes. Or start a multi-million pound business importing cherry-blossom flavoured alcopops from Japan. You know, all those things you think would be great to do while the baby’s asleep.
Or perhaps they would be better done at 4am, when he wakes up.