Friday, August 24, 2007

standing in the rain

I know I said I wouldn't be posting every day however we had such a lovely day today that I felt marginally inspired this afternoon. I thought that I’d sit down to my laptop and the words that had gone through my head would magically come flowing back to me however because I have Mother-brain and can’t remember anything that happened more than 10 minutes ago I am now sitting here with the vague memory of standing in the rain in Trafalgar Square with one of my best mates watching our boys battle it out from the damp confines of their buggies and thinking ‘so THIS is what it’s all about… must blog about it later’.

I always thought that one day I may have a baby. I never particularly wanted one more than I didn’t want one. I was sort of ambivalent. One of the clichés I had always bought into about having a baby is, well really it’s a handful of clichés. ‘Having a child lets you relive your childhood’ (but hopefully without the painful embarrassment and bullying); ‘You get to see the world through new eyes’ (which is good because my eyesight sort of peters out after 3 inches and everything gets blurry); and the old chestnut ‘They keep you young’ which is odd because I swear I have aged 10 years in the last 12 months. Taken together these are three seriously seductive concepts. Just think... all the best bits of childhood – toys you always wanted but never got, games you loved but never play anymore, that old jaded world stripped bare of rubbish and cigarette butts and suddenly revealing it’s secrets – and all that with a free face and body lift. Doesn't it sound ridiculously good?

Babies, however, don’t really give one the opportunity to experience all that doe-eyed loveliness. They can’t play games, you can’t put them on a rollercoaster or any other fun ride and besides watching them discover their own hands, which is, surprisingly, amazing, they don’t see enough of the world for it to look particularly new and unvarnished to their parents. And, crucially, they don’t let one sleep at all and make one worry oneself into the fast-track at the local Botox parlour.

What I’m getting at, I guess, is that up until now, while the spud has turned me from ambivalent female to gushing mother in a single bound, we’ve kind of just been taking it day by day and it’s been a fairly navel-gazing experience, not including the actual navel gazing done while we waited for his to shrivel up and fall off. Recently, however, he’s taken his gaze outwards and is noticing and, in his own way, commenting on the world around him. He’s starting to play and to interact with the world and it’s, well, sorta kinda maybe a bit cool.

Today, therefore, we ventured out in the hope of sun to see my good friend and her highly entertaining 2 year old for a day trip into the heart of London. Predictably, it rained, the sort of hazy, light rain that gets everywhere but doesn’t really get you wet. Starting in Green Park we strolled through to St. James’ park, ate in the restaurant and meandered our way via puddles and ducks through Horse Guards Parade and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, just like in Monopoly. Mr. Highly Entertaining was brilliant. He hollowed out his bun and parked his car in it. He stood in EVERY puddle and gazed transfixedly at the horse guards. I was vaguely wondering what it will be like when the spud is able to do all those things when I noticed that he was staring in wonder at one of the big, bronze statues that litter London and was really interested. He was interested in the ducks, the pigeons, the squirrels, interested in Mr. Entertaining standing in a puddle, in the horses, the guards… I held him up to one of the lions in the square and he laughed and suddenly the air cleared slightly and it was like being on a school trip (or perhaps good drugs... but I digress...) and seeing it all for the first time… the double decker buses, the taxis, the fountains… my friend and I kept saying to each other ‘This is great! Why have we forgotten about all this stuff that London does?’ and grinning like idiots in the rain. Suddenly, London is new again, fresh. It’s no longer about nightclubs and work and taking the tube in rush hour but about all this great stuff I can show to the spud.

Roll on those clichés, I guess I’m ready now.


Rachele said...

What a wonderful account of today's adventure. I'm poised to launch google maps and follow your route in my own flight of fancy. I've never been to England, but my own Mum lived there for 4 years after marrying a Brit, and I always wished I had gone when I had the chance! :) She has the most wonderful stories but what I love most are her accounts of British folk. She lived in Devon and Langford I think? Cheers!

Mom de Plume said...

Sounds Like a brilliant day out! I never took Shannon to London but she did live in Norfolk for the first 6 months of her life (not that she remembers that) so I can picture what it was like and even feel that special sort of rain (we call it guti - gooooti - here) almost wetting my face! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Self employed mum said...

Never a truer word was said....

"It’s no longer about nightclubs and work and taking the tube in rush hour but about all this great stuff I can show to the spud"

Changed priorities, different days...

lady macleod said...

Brilliant! Brilliant! You've got it now babe. And it just gets better.

Of course your recounting of the day made me homesick and a bit jealous, but (sigh) I'll live... (she said pulling up travelocity for tickets to London)

Anonymous said...

So true and so very well expressed. It just gets better from here! I remember feeling the same way shortly after Cooper turned 1, and now, while there is certainly merit to the term 'Terrible 2's', there is also alot of terrific that goes with it.

Besides the obvious (to provide a playmate, to get the tax break, etc.) getting to go through this all over again is one of the most compelling reasons to have another child. (I don't know that it really makes all of the sleepless nights worth it, but it does pale their memory!)

Lindystar the HOR blogger said...

God that is one lucky baby.

darth sardonic said...

it's a rollercoaster ride, but the dips get hazy, and the highs stay glinty-bright and beautiful. i loved this post, keep at it.

Hoto said...

Oh for



Now EVERYONE's going to want one or encourage others to do so.

Just what the world needs.

Shut-ins procreating.

Elsie Button said...

Yay how wonderful! Your descriptions really made me miss london and desperate to bring betty to london again... maybe even next week! And how lovely that you see 'london' again with a fresh view - that's what i need i think!

I know what you mean about the amazingness of them starting to notice and see the world. I felt really emotional (and it sounds very silly and small) when i was sitting in the garden with betty and some birds flew over head making a squawking noise, and betty looked up and really looked at them and took it in - the sight, the noise etc. Amazing.

This was a brilliant post!

Sparx said...

Rachele - it's never too late to travel, it's a wonderful country to visit as well. Thanks for popping in!

Mom de Plume - guti... I wonder why the brits haven't created many names for rain, they have so many different ones here! Thanks for the word and for coming by.

Self Employed Mum - Yes, everything changes, eh? Everything. It's amazing. Great to see you.

Lady M - well, if you ever do succumb to memory lane, let me know in advance and I'll roll the red carpets down Park Lane for you. Great to see you as always!

Driving WTBO - that's great to hear. I keep thinking that it all just gets better and better as well and it's good to hear that it's true. Thanks for commenting, great to see you.

Lindy - I hope he is... luck's always good to have on our side! Thanks for jumping the pond, gal, good to see you as always.

Darth - I love it when you show the glinty bits in your blog. How's the waiting? Good to see you.

Hoto you old cynic, you're such a great uncle you should be ashamed of yourself for writing such rubbish!. One day I'm going to show the spud your comments and he's just going to laugh at you.

Elsie - it's so great, isn't it? So cool to see it all happening... makes the most jaded of us warm all over. Thanks for coming by again.

BOSSY said...

You were hanging out in London, eh? Bossy can pretend to be a toddler - promise!

codeMama said...

I have all the same feelings as you with my 4 month old. I have to look at my friends older children to remind myself that some day it will be more fun (not that we don't have our fun moments). Thanks for expressing so well the realities of being a first time mom. I love your blog.

Stay at home dad said...

You are more than ready ... ! But don't forget the clubbing too.

Sparx said...

Bossy - so long as you stand in the puddles, you're in! I'll roll another red carpet down Portobello. Ta for coming by as always.

Codemama - thanks for the kind words! Off to snoop through your blog now, thanks for coming by!

SAHD - Clubbing? What's that? You mean the 1-o-clock clubs??? Just kidding. Sort of. Good to see you - are you blogging again?

Rebecca said...

dropped in over here from Stay at Home Dads place and just had to say that I loved your post

- and you're right - the first year with a baby is so much like being hit by a truck - the overwhelming and kinda terrifying love, the exhaustion, the whole WEIGHT of it all, that it's hard to see imagine all those FUN bits you imagined you'd have before- hand.

But you do eventually emerge back into the light.... :)

Sparx said...

Rebecca - thanks for coming over! It's so great to hear from other parents about how things change, very heartening!