Monday, 26 December 2011

A couple of hours is all it takes

My husband took our daughter  out for a few hours on Christmas eve so I could get a few essential things done in advance of the big day. You know, find the potato peeler, wring the turkey's neck and quality control the chocolates, that kind of thing. It was a busy couple of hours but relaxing too. Because it didn't have what one book (possibly the Kate Figes one I wrote about here) terms the interruptibility factor, the knowledge that at any moment the baby may need you and need you now. 

(Not that other adults might not be on hand of course. But even when my husband is there, or my parents, or a friend, I know I may be needed to feed, to wipe a tear, to reassure. It's my failing, not theirs, because they are capable without me, but I am not capable of leaving them to do it.)

I enjoy cooking but having a baby has taken the edge off it in a way. Anything that requires specific timing is always at risk of being ruined by the baby waking. Meals that I am throwing together inspired by, but not bound by, a recipe need to be planned out so if I am needed by the baby I can give instructions to my husband on what I was planning to do - not easy when you didn't know what you were going to do yourself. 

Yet I find I just need a few uninterruptible hours or so every couple of months to stay on a relatively even keel. 

A few months ago the three of us were in a hotel and my husband and daughter went out for a few hours. I was meant to go back to sleep but the hotel's bath was big and the towels were fluffy, so I ran a deep hot bath and stayed in it for 90 minutes, during which I managed to finish the only book not about babies that I've managed to read this year (and I've only read two about babies - these have not been my finest months intellectually.)

After the bath, in what I consider to be the pinnacle of luxury, I had a shower. It was one of those big rain cloud showers in a bathroom tiled in black a little like how I imagine an upmarket brothel to be, and the light hit it just the right way to make the water look like shimmery threads of silk. My brain was so addled by lack of sleep and dehydration from such a hot bath that I felt compelled to take a picture of it (above). Those couple of hours, not even ruined by only having cradle cap shampoo to hand, saw me through the next couple of months, just as I hope my Christmas eve preparations will. Funny how that's all it takes, just a few uninterruptible hours. 

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