We live in a little granny flat behind a grand terrace in Sydney. A tradesman told J-man he thought it was once a horse stable – it’s an odd shape and there’s no doors or windows on the back wall. I kind of liked the thought of sleeping where a little foal might have rested her head, her belly full of straw, in ye olde Sydney town.
Then we had a baby. Then summer came. I realise now we are living in a glorified shed. There is no cross-draught, no insulation. It is 28 degrees in here by lunch time. A plant recently grew through our bedroom window and curled around the blinds. This morning I was sitting on the toilet (sorry) and I noticed a huntsman spider carefully easing itself inside between two tiles. There are regularly skinks sunbaking on the carpet. When it gets windy, leaves and dust somehow get through the skylights and carpet the bathroom and kitchen floors.
Maybe one day, when I’m living with my third husband in an air-conditioned mansion in Bellevue Hill, I’ll stroke my pearls and reminisce about simpler times. But right now all I want is to move the hell out of Sydney, where you pay hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars a week to live in a stinking hot shitbox.
I am unhappy here.
But I am happy for shandies, icy water, cold showers, This American Life, apple green shorts, a funny husband and a very sweet baby.
Here she is.
It turns out motherhood has made me pretty crazy. To illustrate, here are a few of my recent Google searches: “sleep regression”, “baby waking at 4am and not going back to sleep”, “sleeping through the night”,”shush pat”, “getting rid of the dummy”, “getting rid of the wrap”, “pick up, put down”, “putting baby down awake”, “baby bedtime”, “am I a bad mother?”, “Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami”.
As you can tell I am really living it up on maternity leave. Also, I am pretty obsessed with sleep. I always have been. For an assignment in year 4 we had to track how we spent our days. I slept the most out of everyone in my class and was mildly scolded by our teacher for listing sleep as one of my hobbies. I’m probably the only person to have enjoyed a bout of glandular fever – two weeks of sleep! Yes! Sleep really is just the best.
I have also always been pretty obsessed with babies. I picked out the name Cordelia when I was 16. I have cooed over little baby outfits since forever. I would snatch baby cousins from their parents and cuddle them all day long. In early high school, I found out it might be hard for me to have a baby. I remember the vacant looks on the pimply faces of my friends as I broke the news in the playground, a mere 14 years since we all exited the birth canal.
So my two greatest loves have collided. Poor J-man has to console me almost daily about some new thing I found buried deep on a 2007 parenting forum. (Apparently I’m also obsessed with torturing myself.) “J-man!” I say “I read about some woman whose baby went from sleeping perfectly to never sleeping at all and her marriage broke down and now she lives in a caravan and has warts on her nose and wears a rope belt and tissue boxes as shoes”. Over and over again, he has to remind me that everything is OK, he won’t leave me (IT’S IN PRINT NOW, JOEL), everything is a phase, our baby is lovely and my feet are way too big to fit in tissue boxes.
This parenthood thing can be rough. But there’s someone who makes it all worthwhile. I love her to bits…
… when she’s asleep
… and when she’s awake