A few days ago, I thought I might have been pregnant. Just a tiny bit. And so I was oscillating between really excited, and then horrified, and then kind of embarrassed, then nervous, and I was attributing everything from headaches to a blocked ear to my SO OBVIOUS HOW COME NO ONE ELSE IS NOTICING new pregnantness. I figured out via my baby-related apps-wizardry on my phone that a baby would come at the end of March, which seemed like an excellent month to squeeze out a baby, and she would be called Eliza Alice because my phone also tells me when to have girl-producing sex. I found an expired pregnancy test, which obviously was negative, and then bought the cheapest Boots pregnancy test, which was obviously negative, because I tested on the third day of my period being late and it was in the middle of the day, after a glass of water. Diluted hormones! ROOKIE MISTAKE. And then I told Mark that my period was late, and he said nothing and went to sleep.
My period came, of course, though later than my phone apps said it should, and so it turns out I am not pregnant; instead I think I might be a bit mental. Mark then says that he was doing the skin crawl of horror when I said we might be having another baby, and what a vast relief it was when he found out my mooncup was being put to good use. And now I am wandering around the flat, trodding on toddlers and accidentally sitting on small children who are playing free games on the smashed screens of the available iPads under mountains of blankets to hide from their brothers whose turn it probably is, feeling sad about how we only have five children, and not six. I want them all to scatter to the far-corners of the flat so I can mope about my phantom future non-babies in some sort of peace. No one called Eliza is coming, no more visits from midwives or milky massive boobs or labour (which I happen to think is an excellent time had by all). No more maternity clothes, ultrasounds, or thick, luxurious hair (before it all falls out and grows back in that awful accidental undercut/tiny pointless fringe kind of way). I have no idea why I am like this and I probably need some therapy. I am even boring myself.
And because it is the school holidays, there is more of a actual real children/phantom fantasy imaginary baby contrast than is usual. They bicker, pull hair and throw bits of mandarin skin in a vague direction of the bin, while the imaginary baby just smells nice and lets me dress her up in leopard print. They pole-dance on the tube and steal biscuits from the Salvation Army cafe, they break my art deco teacups and call me ‘UGLY LADY’ when I refuse them booty from the V&A gift shop, but the phantom Eliza just breastfeeds and lets me take her to Ottolenghi for flat whites and salads and of course one of his cakes because you can eat cake all day after a baby and it doesn’t matter.
BUT ANYWAY, MOVING ON
I’m glad to have gotten that little nugget of questionable mental tomfoolery out of the way. There are very good things to be grateful for, things that should really be overshadowing my odd infant-neediness. Mum and dad are here to see the existing, real children and to help me over the unrelenting holidays. Here we are, doing London things, mostly involving lunch, and only getting told off from the managers of a park in one of the photos for garden-compromising hide and seeking:
Thirsty work, traipsing around all day, trying to keep the kids from walking into bus lanes and humiliating us with screams and traffic-light-wrestling matches.
Here is Casper and Otis, in the days before the summer left us, in a hat that didn’t make it home from Kensington Gardens. For a moment, we were so together:
And the baby, so cute and photogenic when he isn’t punching my arm or driving his cars into the keyboard to stop me from doing anything of use at all:
Noah turned nine, went to see Ant-Man, ate Dominos pizza and got a wearable water-gun which annoyed everyone so, so much, but look at the delight on his face and manifesting itself in those hunched-up-at-the-ready shoulders:
The baby, meanwhile, is a shoe and traffic-cone thief. I find my never-worn heels all over the flat. He finds them deep under the bed-of-no-more-babies, where he must surely fight his way through forests of tumbleweed dust balls, silicone earplugs and old boiler manuals. Yesterday he did a poo into my Salvatore Ferregamo sandals, though I will spare you the photo:
And a trip to Postman’s Park where it looked like we were having fun, until we noticed they were breaking into the goldfish pond and stealing the coins at the bottom:
And so it continues. I’ll check in with more photos when I am over my terrible phantom-baby funk.