A year ago last weekend, we went to the wedding of one of my oldest school friends. We enjoyed every minute of that sunny day, sharing in their special day, catching up with friends, taking photos on the beach, dancing til the next morning and enjoying some much-needed grown up time while Evie stayed with her grandparents. We drank loads, far too much. We planned it that way because we knew that the following week, we’d be starting the rollercoaster journey that we hoped with every bone in our bodies would bring Evie a brother or sister – booze would be off our radar for a while. We’d agreed that after previous heartache, years of treatment and our savings much-dwindled, this would be our last attempt. Every drop of that wedding booze was delicious as we put off the uncertainty of what lie ahead.
52 weeks later, Evie has two little chums to play with and they are two months old already. Flo was first to smile – a lopsided little grin with accompanying gurgle. Archie followed a few days later with a more beatific effort. I’m getting the feeling that this will be their pattern in life! I struggle to keep up with their appetites and realise with a fair measure of angst that my breastfeeding days are numbered. I just can’t keep up with the babies and they berate me with shouting and angry little fists when I can’t deliver the same effortless and plentiful service provided by those damned convenient fast-food-mongers Tommee and Tippee.
It’s not just the physical and emotional wrench I feel at stopping feeding, it’s the quality reading time. I’ve been ploughing through books while feeding, unashamedly nose-down in mum lit - when not gazing adoringly at the babies obviously. Pamela Druckerman’s ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’ gave me much Gallic food for thought about how to reduce the stress of family mealtimes with a child that eats like a mouse. My current (failing) strategy of yelling “JUST EAT IT” while trying to shovel food into her closed mouth is possibly not the best way forward I acknowledge and almost certainly a route to a teenage eating disorder. ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ made me feel damned grateful that psychotic sadist Amy Chua wasn’t my mother and made me cherish my own parents’ gentle-but-firm encouragement when it came to school work and learning musical instruments. I certainly know where I’d have shoved my violin if I’d have been Amy’s long-suffering daughter. Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a woman’ is the very finest manifesto for 21st century feminism and should be compulsory reading for every schoolgirl in the land. She’s been my writing idol since I was a teenager reading her in the Melody Maker and I hope she’ll write tons more books as she’s a genius. And last but no means least, no working mum can possibly not read Allison Pearson’s ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’. Mum-lit lite it is not as she gets right under the skin of the working mother’s essential dilemma and wrings out your very heart in the process. Ignore the film, it’s not the same. I’m breaking out of mum lit next – ‘50 Shades of Grey’ is coming, pardon the pun.