Saturday, 21 April 2012

Leisurewear and Chanel No 5

Our lovely wee chaps are 7 weeks old now.  Archie is now so big he’s already secured himself a place at Eton and will undoubtedly be one of those clever but weird socially inept genius kids that go up to Oxbridge at 12.  Flo eats the same volume of milk as Archie but remains resolutely tiny, yet brilliantly perky like a little meerkat.  We go to a baby massage class this week and Archie is the teacher’s ‘dolly’.  He sleeps, wriggles, gazes around with gorgeous eyes and generally looks adorable.  I am immensely proud and almost certainly quite smug as both babies adopt zen-like silence as the rest of the class descends into crying.  Because I’m quite shallow, the part I like most about the massage class is the vocal admiration of the mainly first-time mums at my coping with newborn twins and a 4 year old.  I’ll be going to the massage class again but will wear more make-up, better clothes and possibly carry a briefcase next time just to show them what I can really do.          

My post natal wardrobe continues to vex me.  Nothing fits properly so I surrender a little too willingly to the comfort of leisurewear, much to my chagrin.  While I revel in the soft baggy sagginess of my sweatpants and Uggs, my vow never to wear them outside the house has been well and truly broken and they become my daily uniform.  Special occasions call for an upgrade so out come leggings or jeggings – the equivalent of my ‘best dress’.  On a supermarket run, I catch my reflection in the door and realize that the tragic figure looking back at me is in fact not straight off the ‘true life tragedy’ pages of Bella magazine – no, it’s me.  Urgent action is required but options are frustratingly limited: any new outfit must accommodate my still-very-much-present twin tum and frequently-in-use E-cup boobs, plus I can’t do any proper exercise yet in case my mystery stomach pain (which thank the lord is abating) returns.  I know a major shopping expedition is required but I just can’t face the demoralising squeezing of my post babies body into unsuitable outfits in overlit changing rooms manned by skinny teenagers.  Accepting my post babies shape is a challenge too far at the moment and knocks my self-esteem when I’m having a tough day.  I try to reassure myself with the thought that all my friends with older twins look to be in great shape so perhaps I’m expecting too much too soon.

Once I’m pain-free at last, I shall dust off my trainers, lose a stone and a half, and purchase a stylish and flattering new wardrobe.  Until then, I shall wear my diamond earrings, liberally apply Chanel No. 5, snuggle into my sweats and avoid mirrors.                   

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Great Middle Aged Mum Hair Dilemma

Flo & Archie were 6 weeks old yesterday and pass their check with flying colours.  I don’t know where the time has gone.  Those early days in hospital seem a lifetime ago and our chubby, healthy, wriggly little chaps bear little resemblance to their tiny, skinny former selves.  With my mad and unexplained pain of recent weeks fast subsiding (unlike the stubborn remnants of my twin tum sadly), I’m given the OK to drive so get behind the wheel for the first time in forever.  The instant high of impending freedom is rapidly replaced with a raft of new logistical challenges just to leave the house and an overwhelming sense of responsibility as I pull out of the drive with 3 sets of precious cargo on board.

With Justin back at work after weeks of heroic invalid support (me!), I get used to my own company again, which in the absence of adult conversation, means only one thing: list-making.  I’m no domestic goddess (we’ve been living off my Mum’s freezer meals for weeks now and austerity measures are yet to impact our cleaner’s weekly visit) but though I say so myself, I do make a cracking list.  And shallow pinny-avoider that I am, top of that list is not in any way related to housewifely tasks or family life – nope, it’s My Hair. 

I’ve had the same hair for years – big, long, thick, straight, blonde (almost entirely natural if it weren’t for the highlights) and ‘naturally styled’ (go to bed with it wet and too busy/lazy to blow dry, straighten or curl in the morning).  When hairdressers ask excitedly: “So what shall we do with it?”, my inner rebel always yells: “Something radically different, something dramatic, something young, brave and short”.  My somewhat more introverted actual self mumbles: “As many highlights as you can cram in, let’s take an inch off the length and I don’t want to chat about my holiday plans”.  I realize that at 41, I may have to face up to the fact that I have possibly come to resemble variously a middle-aged Alice in Wonderland (when it’s down), Sandra Dee (ponytail) and even down-on-her-luck ballerina (bun), only with way more tangles.  Tangles are the bane of my life.  I reached a new low last week when I actually had to cut out a tangle that refused to budge.  It wasn’t just a tangle – it was a dread, a disgusting matted, BROWN dread.  It had to go and with it went my resolve to keep long hair. 

I think I’ve kept long hair all this time because I thought it represented sexy, youthful abandon and general funkiness.   But I think I might have been in denial – I think it might just have been sheer laziness and avoidance of having a ‘hair style’.  I’ve not really had a ‘hair style’ since my 1980s Princess Diana flick or my short, funky but very high maintenance ‘wedding hair’ in 2003.  Justin wants me to have my ‘wedding hair’ again but I remind him that it took an expert stylist over 3 hours and an ocean of noxious chemicals to create it which is possibly a little unrealistic bearing in mind our recent family developments.  So begins The Great Middle Aged Mum Hair Dilemma – do I pontificate and stay long-ish wondering what could have been, do I carpe diem and go short but worry about looking manly, or give in to the obligatory Mum Bob?  What else is there?  I’m lost and need help.  While I deliberate and crowd-source views on Facebook, I shall pour over hair mags, eventually braving the salon clutching a torn-out picture of a highly-styled, airbrushed celebrity half my age.  “Make me look like that please.”