Monday, 23 August 2010

The Loss of Late Night Shopping

Weaning is a double-edged sword, not just for me but for many women. On the one hand, it's yet another step that your baby takes away from you, from dependence on you and from the dark, secret world you kept him or her hidden for nine magical (yes magical!! despite weight gain, night sweats and piles!) months. On the other, it's liberation from "breastfeeding-friendly" clothes and from the ugly boob slingage that is otherwise known as the nursing bra. It's dresses rather than tops, it's being able to leave the house without a handy scarf, it's not having to worry about yanking clothes down and revealing your breasts or hoiking them up and revealing a mummy tummy.

For me, The Bub's decision to drop feeds - down to 4 a day, then down to 3 .. now it's just once, at 5am, which at least means that I get to snooze through my last few bedtime hours snuggled up with him - has also been tinged with sadness because he's probably my last baby (but let's never say never, eh?).

And, let's be honest, I'm also a bit gutted about the lost shopping opportunities. It's all very well getting your baby to sleep through the night, but let me tell you, there is a world of retail out there and it is open for business all night. What better way to pass the time on the seemingly never-ending 2am feed? (and we all know that most experts advise against falling asleep whilst breastfeeding, don't we?)

So the absence of bags beneath my eyes is being pretty much matched by the absence of bags left in my porch by obliging DHL and Interlink men, which is kind of a shame. But, always one to exit on a high note, on one of the last late-night feeds I was up for, I found the most gorgeous dress, a hummingbird print silk maxi by Tibi. It was in the sale. It was £94. It had been close to £500. I had to have it, despite it being a size or two too big. I clicked to buy. I bought.

Or so I thought. Early the next morning, an email came from the retailer, Question Air. Sorry, it said, due to technical error blah blah actually out of stock, you want something else? No, I do not. My (possibly) last baby is growing up way too fast and you won't give me the lovely dress I had my heart set on. I am in a pit of despair. A pit, I tell you! Not much call for anything else from your website down here.

A few days later, after I've done a few fashion-y good turns for others (a discount code passed on here, a dress loaned there) the fashion fairies intervene and, in an example of possibly the best customer service I have ever encountered, a Charlotte from Question Air phones. There's been a return. Would I still like the dress? She remembers how disappointed I was not to get it last week (I promise I didn't swear or shout at her).

A day later, it's in my hands, yards and yards of swooshy, silky hummingbird loveliness. Yes, it's too big and yes, when I wear it out for dinner at fifteen a few nights later I have to sit bolt upright to stop it slipping it down and revealing my no-longer-fit-for-anything-more-than-a-5am-feed breasts. So what. Good posture is no bad thing. And my dress is divine.

wearing Tibi Hummingbird-print silk chiffon maxi gown, Swedish Hasbeens and Gap denim jacket. All photos by The Bearded One - Dave Miller Cinematography

Friday, 20 August 2010

Smokin' Mirrors

So I'm using the loo at Silvestina's house. I'm not that fond of Silvestina, and I'm not that fond of peeing and handwashing whilst simultaneously and soothingly jiggling The Bub, although it has to be said that I have that part of it down to a fine art.

All in all, not my most glamorous moment.

Until I step out of the bathroom and, OMG, nearly drop The Bub. Where. Is. My. Modelling. Contract. I am heaven!! I am 7 foot tall and weigh, like, hardly anything.

The Princess runs upstairs, anxious not to be separated from me for too long (I am wearing her favourite shoes, after all). Standing beside me, her button-bright face looks positively gaunt and I am brought back to earth with a Heffalumpian thud.

I can't get the image out of my head though; every mirror, every shop window I've caught my reflection in since has carried with it the mild sting of disappointment. I'm slightly (and not very kindly) cheered by the fact that, a-ha, so that explains some of Silvestina's tendencies towards inverse dysmorphia. Flattering clothes choices? Maybe not so much.

But oh god. Italy and daily cossie-wearing in just over a week. How much happier would my holiday (indeed, my life) be if I could live in that joke mirror. As long as it wasn't hanging in Silvestina's bedroom, that is. I'll do a lot for vanity, but there are limits, I tell you. Limits.

Wearing Primark skinnies, Zara linen tee and Bloch ballet pumps.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Princess and the (not glass, not ruby) Slippers

So somehow I have a 4 year old daughter. I know that it's slightly nauseating when mums do the whole "I can't believe my baby is (insert number with appropriate disbelieving wistfulness)" and the reason I know this is because loads of people have done it to me and they've always made me feel slightly queasy. And yet ... I mean, 4 whole years? 4 years ago I was...? My little baby girl is...? Well, you know what I'm thinking.

Needless to say, a party of Princess-worthy proportions was in order and, unsurprisingly, The Princess requested a cake in the shape of a castle. That wasn't so bad; I quite like doing themed cakes and have a slew of Australian Women's Weekly cake books to help me on my spatula-wielding way. Actually, this year it was these slightly scary women who provided the know-how, most significantly introducing me to the joys of the crumb-coat. Oh my god! All of my frosting nightmares are now a thing of the past.

No, the hardest thing was keeping in check the amount of pink, princess-y stuff that The Princess seemed to see as not only desirable, but necessary to her enjoyment of the day. I have pretty much zero tolerance for the simpering idiocy of Disney Princesses - although I was curious enough to see how much a Snow White cake topper might go for on eBay. You what?? Bloody hell. I bought a unicorn. Master C, only 16 months behind his big sister, is accustomed to being included in everything she does, so her control over all things birthdayish was a little hard for him to understand - hence the inclusion of a blue pond, with three frogs placed upon it by his own chubby, brown little hand.

Anyway. The party was a big success, as was the cake, the packed lunches eaten on blankets in the garden, and the treasure hunt, which involved clues leading from fairy tattoos, to apples that had fallen from our tree (a curt nod to Snow White), to a treasure chest where gold coins marked with a 4 could be traded in for a party bag. Thanks for coming ... and fare thee well.

With so much to do (and not a whole lot of input from The Bearded One - see photo, taken when he was 'keeping the kids out of my hair so that I could get on with stuff') I didn't get a chance to put much thought into a party outfit, and trotted out an old Leona Edmiston halter dress. No matter - it looked okay and, besides, I was basking in the glow of the future love and adoration The Princess will feel for me when she looks back on how much effort her mother put in to making sure her birthdays were special and memorable.

Or so I thought. Next day, as we sat in the garden, me playing horsey with the Bub and Master C busy with his Handy Manny sticker book, The Princess appeared with the Rainbow Magic Keepsake Secrets Diary I'd given her as a token of things pink, sparkly and a bit too girly to sit well with me. She dutifully filled out sections devoted to her name, her age, her favourite colour, details about her siblings and parents. Then it got personal. What's the worst thing about you? "I can't reach really high things." Um, okay. What's the best thing about your mother?

The Princess looks at me, thoughtfully. Flashbacks to castle cakes, crumb coats and clue couplets dance through my mind.

"Um, you know those purple and kind of orange shoes you have? Those."

One of my pairs of Bloch ballet pumps. Right, missy. It's off to Asda for your birthday cake next year. If only I'd known it was that simple. I mean, shoes!! Upstairs, they're spilling out of my wardrobe and across the floor. My beautiful 4 year old girl will still adore me when she's 90.