Archive for October, 2010

Questions over breakfast

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

– Why can a “Y” pretend to be a vowel?
– Do brown-skinned people have more blood cells than pale-skinned people?
– Can your eyes get bigger? What about your mouth?

Morning song (Sylvia Plath)

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.


Friday, October 8th, 2010

Mostly, having three is great. Apart from never quite feeling like you have your eye on the ball (which is probably a good thing from their point of view), it has much to recommend it. It all goes to pieces, however, when one’s husband is about as far away as he can possibly get (I got a middle-of-the-night text “in Sydney on harbour cruise”); I am half-expecting him to announce his entry to NASA’s astronaut-training programme in a bid to get even further. When one has put the baby to bed at midday mere minutes before the school rings to say the 6-year-old has been sick and is very pale and can I come to get her please. I managed that, even persuading the baby back to bed on our return, but the collection of the 3-year-old from nursery was just beyond me. Fortunately we live in a Village with a Village Ethos and my very lovely friend not only went and collected her, and collected another friend’s little boy from school who I had been supposed to be looking after, but gave them tea and kept them until bedtime. And picked her up this morning for preschool. And brought her back again afterwards! Meanwhile, I have been trying to cuddle the poorly one as much as she wants, although 9-month-old babies are not entirely understanding of that. So it’s been cuddles during baby naps and pop her up to bed for some peace in between; I have consumed much cake in compensation for the two flights of stairs and can feel the cabin fever mounting. She is much better today, so I haven’t felt I have to check her quite so often – her breathing was scary yesterday and she wasn’t keeping anything down, not even a sip of water. I couldn’t have a medicinal glass of wine last night because I was slightly concerned I might end up driving to A&E, though by the time I went to bed she was relatively peaceful and her chest sounded rattly rather than wheezy. And she has eaten a bit of toast and a bowl of my smugly medicinal home-made chicken and fennel soup.