Hilarious Question: What is chunky, slightly bilious, tired at 9pm and 9 weeks pregnant?
Hilarious Answer: Me.
Ithankyouverymuch. It turns out that Istanbul was not only good for rugs and apple tea, but also CONCEPTION. Happiness all round, not exactly misty-eyed romantic visions of the future and irrepressible excitement, but a general quiet hurrah. Questions do, however, linger, such as:
1. Is it illegal to have 5 small children sleeping in one room?
2. How will we get the children to school?
3. Is there such a thing as a compact three-seater buggy?
4. Will the police stop me owing to my small-children-girth taking up the whole of Bishop’s Bridge?
5. Will I ever turn into a lean running-type person who says no to carbs? [that is a general question about myself, not exactly related to a new baby, but I thought I would throw it in anyway, BECAUSE I AM TIRED OF BEING A BIT WOBBLY]
6. Are those whispered-about fifth delivery stories really true? Best not to think about it, really.
etc etc. All of which I should probably have posed before the Istanbul Incident (or, as it shall henceforth be known, the Turkey Basting). But anyway, recklessness is my kind of thing.
I went to the doctor and he weighed me and said I was a bit of an enormous fat elephant. That is what I heard, in any case. So I have been attempting ‘portion control” – you know, when you give yourself some cheese on toast, then halve it, then eat that small, lonely bit on your plate, then feel a bit sad, then later get so hungry you eat the children’s soggy roast potatoes that they have half-masticated and then you eat some cooking chocolate because you are so very hungry. So far, my brushes with portion control have been less than satisfactory. I have also been doing tricep dips. I have done about seven. And I walk to school ‘with intent’. Meanwhile, the small grape-sized baby has puffed me up to a discomforting level. And everything smells repulsive.
Enough about that. On the evenings that I do not go to bed at 8:59pm, we have been busy doing London cultural things. On Thursday we went to Bethnal Green, a small south London enclave best known for the Museum of Childhood and for a terrible air-raid-shelter-crush that killed 173 people in 1943. We were there for an odd event where we all sat in a big hall, in the pitch black, and listened to a blind couple from Mali called Amadou and Mariam sing loudly and enthusiastically with an even louder and more enthusiastic clanging band, in between a recorded story of their lives together. They also piped incense into the hall. It was loud, odd, and very disconcerting, sitting in the dark for an hour and a half amid a riot of african electro-folk. And we couldn’t find anywhere to eat, in the gastronomic wilderness that is Bethnal Green. Not even a friend chicken joint could be found.
The last night we had 22 people come over for Bonfire Night sausages and spit-roasted pork. It was lovely, except that our children did some biting of other children, and there was crisps on the carpet, orange juice spilled on the floor, a sick and silent Casper who fell asleep watching the fireworks in the garden, and hardly anyone ate my Nigella brownie. Which means I must, but of course I cannot, because of my new Eating-Plan-For-Non-Chunkiness.
And let us not forget Halloween, which is a bit of a big deal in this hemisphere. We had a party for the vampire-and-witchy-clad kids in a church hall which seemed a little incongruous, and I did some terrible face painting with a sharp little brush which must have taken layers of skin off those poor little formerly-smooth-skinned kids. They were wincing as I dragged the sharp bristles over their roundy cheeks.We then gatecrashed the lovely borough of Hammersmith for the trick or treating. Frankly, it is a better class of chocolate bar to be found there.
So, it has been all go go go. And now we are off to a friends house for an early dinner. She is Sri Lankan, and promises to feed the children with fried rice, and us with spicy national dishes. I will attempt to halve my plate. Or not, actually.