Dirty Baby

The Baby is eating solid food and it kills me. I hate it. I hate the dumb pureeing and the bits that fall onto the floor and having to remember to take it in small containers where ever you go and I really hate bibs, so don’t have any, and so his clothes get like this:



and then, because I my skills lie in non-domestic arenas, I forget to rinse them off and they go into the washing machine and come out with colour-less, squashy bits of banana and carrot still attached. He’s down with it though. Just look at that face! He’s very happy because he ate a raspberry. Imagine what a beautiful place the world would be if we could all just eat raspberries and be happy. There’d be no more wars, probably. Or anti-depressants or wrinkles.

This new phase just makes me long for the days when my bosoms were enough, and I was immersed in hormally-drenched love and he was still new. I keep saying to Mark that I would prefer to have a permanent five-month old baby, although that would make him effectively retarded and me continually sleep-deprived, but you know what I mean, right? Kids are fine, but babies are properly, sniffily, softly divine.

Two weeks ago, the kids had a day off school because of a strike, and so I teamed up with K and S and their (nice, calm, non-violent) girls and we took them to the Museum of London. Which should have been a perfectly pleasant outing. But from the moment we left the flat, it was apparently that the mysterious Switch Of Awfulness had been turned on, and there was not only the usual kicking of each other and darting across busy roads without looking and huggy/wrestly games that lead to them knocking people off the pavement, but also lying-on-the-tube-floor-tantrums, tipping the buggy over while going down the elevator, climbing up onto museum exhibits and throwing of food in the museum cafe. So I frogmarched them out of there in an embarrassed fury, and made them walk around and around a few streets in the City, passing the same patch of the Roman Wall for an hour and a half in the pathetic hope that they would get tired and stop being such awful children, before I would let them get onto the tube again.

We found Guildhall Square and they ran around like dogs for a bit, yelping and playing tag while people on their lunch break stuck their headphones in a little deeper:


It was weird, distressing and humiliating, and I thought that this parenting job really sucks and you get no pay and your clothes get dirty and no one thinks you are very interesting and you can only wear converse sneakers and there is always bits of kinder surprise foil wrappers in your sensible handbag and I QUIT.

But no one notices when I quit. I kind of quit on Mother’s Day. I told everyone the night before that all of Sunday I was going to

1) not walk the dog

2) not wipe down any benches

3) go out for breakfast

But when I got up, the dog was all sad and waiting to go out, the kitchen was strewn, there was no time for breakfast because the clocks had been put back an hour and we had a birthday party to go to, and NO ONE LOOKED UP FROM WATCHING TV. So I ate a banana and scowled at everyone. I did get some interesting cards from three of them, complicated collages of cardboard, too much PVA, feathers and mis-spellings, so I guess there was some sort of an attempt to say thank you for all the hours of unremarkable, thankless, dumb chores that I don’t actually want to do, but have no choice, because without me and my dishcloth/washing line/Ottolenghi cookbooks/dog lead/car keys/disinfectant they would all slowly die.

So one must reward oneself, if no one else will. I cleaned up a corner of the kitchen just the other day, sorting through one of my artful piles of papers, hidden under Vogue and on top of the reissued Teasmade which Mark refuses to put into the bedroom because he doesn’t understand the beauty of a bedside tea-making machine, and I found a department store gift voucher someone gave us for Otis, and so I drove to Westfield and bought myself a Clinique Colour Correction foundation-thing with it. The hygienic and conscientious among you may be thinking I could have used that money to buy bibs, but no one is a winner with more bibs in the house.  So now I have dewy skin, which quite possibly makes me a better mother, and the entire family benefits.

You have to take these things where you can get them, I reckon.

On that note, Dear Reader, there is a Stella McCartney sample sale on Thursday and I am going to strap that baby upon my increasingly-redundant chest and get in there and elbow the other lovies out of my way and go buy some blazers, dammit. Maybe TWO.


Here’s a double-whammy of Casper, firstly in my scratched Tom Fords looking like an early Elton John (thanks, Ellen, good call), secondly with sellotape around his head.





And the fat dog, on the couch, relaxing:


And, at last, the baby. Cleanish:




Bibless, and all the better for it.

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21 Responses to Dirty Baby

  1. kerry says:

    The selotape-face picture is just epic! Wonderful post, as ever. They would indeed surely but slowly die without your routine and unrewarded efforts so I’m glad you know that, even if they don’t. x

    • theharridan says:

      I do know that, and then you have a lovely morning where everyone is sweet and you wonder why you were moaning. Although Ned did just say to me that if I didn’t make him an egg carton robot head right now, I wouldn’t be allowed in this family any more. Humph.

  2. Jo Crawford says:

    Glad you bought yourself a Mother’s Day present you very much earned it! God bless the teachers for getting them to make cards, it almost makes it all worthwhile 😉 baby is looking super cute too x

  3. Christie says:

    Otis is looking amazingly cute. And well done on all your hard work (I’d say: “I don’t know how you do it!” but I’m sure you get that all the time. I know I do, and I only have 3 boys….). I hope the Stella McCartney sale contains the perfect blazer for you.
    Oh, and I’ve been begging for a teasmade for ages! I now have some more ammunition in the argument with my husband.

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! I will go mad at the sale and the shopping buzz should perk me up for a bit.

      Honestly, you could have our teasmade. It’s being mistreated, just sitting on the kitchen bench, redundant and awkward.

  4. jennie says:

    I love reading of your experiences or should I say adventures with your little boys.
    These days as a grandma now to some pretty cute and reasonably blemish free grandchildren and your days make uplifting reading.
    I said to my daughter the other day ..you really are having “the good times”. Birthday cakes that are over the top, always trying to make sure the kids have an eventful and fun childhood while behind the scenes you struggle to make it that way.
    The reality is…. next is… the stage of drugs, sex exploration in the bike sheds at school (later in the back seat ) and then later again worry about motorbikes, accidents, and /or study/ pregnancy.
    It never stops….strangely now that I approach my dotage(heaven forbid) I find that all these things have helped create my children to be who they are today.
    Although my kids dont necessarily admit it or “thank me” ..they did learn some things back then. I console myself (in my now perfectly clean house) that I helped create who they are today.
    Now for me life can get too easy , even predictable at times with other challenges but I am not even sure if these challenges are worth being bothered about.

    • jennie says:

      A forgot to ask {now that memory loss is becoming a reality }.. where do you buy the Tom Ford lipsticks ? As although I have postponed my birthday, I feel I should be wearing some when I have one of those over the top birthday cakes… one day.

    • theharridan says:

      There are some really interesting points you raise there. It can seem overwhelming, while in the middle of it all, but I think the challenge may be to try to enjoy it, relish it, even, because you have kids in order to let them go, and once they are gone, it’s pretty much all over, isn’t it? I can see that with my own parents, who do have a tidy house, and they have time on their hands, but currently no children or grandchildren living in the same country to enjoy all that freedom. Which seems a bit backwards. I think that slightly new agey idea of ‘being present’ has some merit. It’s too easy to keep looking ahead to the next stage and then whoops! It’s all over.

      As for the Tom Ford lipsticks, they are by far the best lipsticks I have ever had. The pigment is really high so the colour stays on all day, but they are never drying. The colours are beautiful. I get mine at Selfridges. Want me to get you one? Just say the word…!

  5. Cath says:

    Dude! Get some bibs!

    • theharridan says:

      No. The flat’s too small, mate!

      • Cath says:

        But surely sometimes you would only have to wash the bib, not the whole outfit? Which would mean less laundry? I used to use a kitchen drawer for bibs/tea towels/flannels. Now it just has tea towels and flannels. Maybe you could be a product tester for some bib company who would send you free bibs to review or somesuch. Isn’t that how you get rich from blogging? Though maybe you would rather product test Tom Ford lipsticks.

  6. Ahhh. It takes me back. It’s just a wonder that we restrain ourselves and don’t massacre the little buggers. Now I’m a Koro, I can just spoil them rotten and retire, missing the usual follow-on of mayhem. Call it “The Parent’s Revenge on Their Children” Hang on, ’cause as Jennie (above) mentioned, it doesn’t really get any easier.

  7. old says:

    Love the baby. Love the raspberries. Ignore the bibs and celebrate/care for you.

  8. I loved this so much, I just had to mention you again on Groupthink: http://groupthink.jezebel.com/the-harridan-is-killing-me-softly-with-her-blog-1559612559
    And yay for the more frequent posting!

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you very much, and for the mention! I think I can bash out a few more tales of filth and despair. It’s not for lack of material, alas.

  9. You know, I was JUST THINKING the other day – possibly last Sunday, when Mother’s Day was FORGOTTEN BY EVERYONE (including me, it must be said) – that parenting really and truly sucks. In fact it was as I was squishing the baby to me in the (very) public swimming pool and she felt all warm and lovely… and then I realised *she* was not warm, and the stuff that *was* warm certainly was not lovely, and then I had to gallop off to the bathrooms holding her out in front of me, brown water running down her legs, barking at people to getoutofmyway and later pick bits of poo out of my bikini top, and GAH PARENTING SUCKS etc.
    But you put it much better than that. (I particularly like the Switch of Awfulness. My offsprings’ is set to on pretty much permanently.) Oh and if you find yourself in the City again with them, there’s a nice little playground between Golden Lane and Whitecross street – called Fortune gardens, or something. AND a v good coffee / cake place right beside it.

    • theharridan says:

      I thank you! And I commiserate on the public pool poo debacle. We haven’t quite experienced that little humdinger yet, but the dog did hoover up a rogue baby poo this afternoon. Cleaned it right off the Turkish rug. I was almost grateful.

  10. jacksta_b says:

    always love reading your blog. Actually makes me laugh out loud,

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