in my belly-dancing class on Wednesday we were attempting chest-slides. When it was my turn to be checked the teacher observed that, in addition to all the other things that were wrong (“but you’re in good shape for a woman with two children”), I was holding my weight too far back over my heels. Then she said that the baby was still in my aura and I should imagine red light going down through my knees.
I’m not sure I’d put it the way she did, but it was salutary to realise that I’m carrying Frank even when I’m not carrying Frank; that the way I walk and how I balance my body are shaped around my baby. I’ve started to spend a little more time away from him, at belly-dancing for instance, but it is still hard to contemplate managing whole days apart, let alone several in a row. At night I curse slightly when I can’t get him to settle back down in the cot and have to bring him into the bed to sleep, but I love the warm puddingy softness of his body snuggled against mine. How could I leave him?
Hugh on the other hand is rather easy to leave this week. His horrible switch is stuck in the on position, which means rejecting his food, fighting being dressed, fighting his nappy-changes, possessiveness over toys, throwing toys, pushing other children, whining and sobbing all the time and saying no to every suggestion we make (“No walk! No dinmah [dinner]! No clothes more!” etc etc). All he seems to want to do is watch DVDs and run around bashing into things and making explosion-noises. He has been waking early again – 5.10am today; Ken got up, bless him – and also has a slight cold. These are partial explanations for his awfulness but one still does a spot of parental soul-searching. What did we do to deserve this and do we have the energy to tackle it? Still, I have some faith that we will get over this particular hump. Hugh’s horribleness does tend to go in cycles; only two weeks ago I was contemplating how fascinating and delightful he was. But it will be Ken who chiefly suffers the next rotation.
On Friday morning a smart lady doctor in Blackrock fitted me with an IUD. All the rest of that day my womb ached with trying to bring its fingerless grip to bear against that fiddly alien. A little t-bone of plastic and copper wire instead of a baby. I need to produce words now, and ideas, and teaching plans and student lists and conferences. I like my work and am looking forward to getting back to it. But it will be a kind of exile.