Dot writes: he’s been spending time with another woman. When we met again, he didn’t seem to want to look at me; later I bribed him back by offering my body, and he fell asleep in my arms. But all evening I could smell her perfume on his skin.
Hugh has had his first day with the childminder.
The lady I eventually asked to take him on lives in Glasthule, which is slightly further away than would be ideal, but she fits the bill in other ways: she is minding only one baby, she is comparatively inexpensive, she seems happy with doing only one day a week at first and building up later, she has two older children of six and eight who are charmingly fascinated by the baby, and – the main thing – she is a very warm, cuddly, bubbly sort of person. I was very anxious about sending Hugh away for a whole eight hours and arranged that one of us at least would be at home the whole day in case we needed to go and rescue him, but the childminder said he was actually very good (read: quiet) most of the time. He had some little naps, she took him for a walk, he played peekaboo with her son, and he took his bottle – without enthusiasm, but he took it. Selfishly perhaps, I am glad he’s not that keen on the bottle. Some babies seem to fall in love with the bottle and reject the breast; I don’t want to lose that intimate and lovely connection that only I have with him, especially now I’m back at work and can’t be with him as much as I’d like.
Talking of milk, I had a bit of a disaster preparing his bottles for yesterday. My plan was to use the frozen expressed milk I had stored in the freezer. There wasn’t very much of it – it has tended to get wasted in our bottle struggles and because he doesn’t eat as much as we expect on bottle days – but there was enough for two little meals and a big one and my plan was to send one as liquid and two to be defrosted as needed in the course of the day. At some hideously early hour of the morning I got out the first feed in its little plastic bag and started to run the tap over it. The proportion of liquid to ice in the bag didn’t seem to be increasing, so I filled a bowl with warm water and put the bag in that. It still wasn’t increasing and the liquid in the bowl was curiously cloudy. I picked up the bag and, lo!, there was a hole in it and the melting milk was pouring out the side. Curses. So I turned to the second bag – remember, it was early in the morning and I was fuzzy in the head, not having slept too well – whereupon exactly the same thing happened again. Eventually I collected the bits of ice remaining in the two bags into a bottle and stood the bottle in warm water, which is what I should have done earlier. I saved a measly three ounces from two feeds. Oh well, it served him as a mid-morning snack.