I could have sworn it was only ten minutes ago that Tricia and I sat with our enormous bellies sipping decaf lattes and discussing pram shopping. But no – her little girl turned one year old at the weekend and how cute is she?
"Oh, I know, you're so right, so anyway, I said to him..."
As Tricia and her family are from Boston via New York, we thought it only fitting that the wee man wear his Jets Football shirt with red socks, just to cover his bases:
"Dad, I was just talking to this babe..."
Even though this was an international party, it was still Glasgow and so of course I ended up knowing someone… I met Claire, the Buggyfit instructor who has the west-end franchise and knows Wendy so we chatted away about running in the snow while the wee man watched the Birthday Girl open her presents.
"So what you got there? Can I eat it?"
We sang Happy Birthday and Tricia did very well by not bursting into tears (I am convinced I will) then we ate cupcakes, drank Champagne with strawberries plopped in and nobody was sick on anyone. The non-baby guests mingled pretty happily with the baby-bearing guests and the young couple from downstairs didn’t seem at all freaked out.
Happy Birthday to you!
Just before we left, one of the other little girls, Eilidh, insisted on kissing the wee man goodbye. He was delighted. And so it starts…
We must be grown-ups.
Well, actually, judging by the number of beer bottles on the table, maybe not.
On Saturday we spent four brilliant hours in our local coffee/BYOB shop catching up with some of our best pals. Ross was back from New York and, rather than plan a crazy, boozy, end-up-in-a-club kind of night out we had a very civilised afternoon together. Rod said we got a few disapproving looks from other parents, but I disagree, I think they were looks of envy. For the record, neither mum was drinking. Just goes to show that babies don’t actually stop you doing any of your old habits – they just maybe make you shift them to another part of the day.
(This photo in particular makes me laugh because Rod and Nels have been causing trouble together since they were about 12. Will there be any tricks left for C and F?)
"I bet you my dad can down his beer quicker than yours"
Sleeping sweetly en route to Queen St station
One of the things I love most about being a mum is talking to strangers. A baby is the perfect ice-breaker. I’ve found myself chatting to people in the park, in shops, at adjoining tables in cafes – even just in the street. And they’re proper conversations too – I almost feel like saying “We should do this again sometime” before I leave.
Today the wee man and I had a day out in Edinburgh with my mum. We caught the bus, then the train, wandered round Harvey Nichols and George Street, then caught the train and bus home again. On each journey and in nearly every shop we made a new friend and I nearly burst with pride as he smiled, giggled and generally charmed his way around Scotland.
The best bit, though, was our last bus trip. It was 5.30pm and the place was packed with commuters. Luckily we were the only pushchair, so I sat on the pull-down chair opposite the bay and thought how different the journey was from this one. People crowded us but the wee man and I were in a bubble playing and making faces… Or so I thought. I must have made a particularly funny noise because he burst into giggles and suddenly everyone around us was laughing too. I looked up and about ten faces were looking down on us. I smiled in surprise and everyone was immediately asking questions. How old was he, what was his name, he was such a happy wee thing, was he always this content? F looked around in delight – his absolute favourite thing is an audience. Then he got the hiccups and that set everyone off all over again – they were cooing and waving at him and making their own funny faces. They got off one by one, patting his hand and smiling as they told him goodbye in various forms of baby language.
An older gentleman was left sitting behind me. He asked me how old he was and when I said four and a half months he shook his head in amazement. “I’ve had lots of kids and dozens of grandkids – and none of them had reactions like that wee soul,” he told me. I beamed at him and thanked him. Every mother worries about their child’s development and, given the wee man’s wee health blip, I reckon I worry more than most. Before he got off the bus, the old gentleman said, “You’ve got a very smart son there.” I looked down on my grinning baby and decided that yes, I really did.
My youngest sister once told me: “No one will ever invent a time machine. If they had, they would have come back to tell us.”
I’ve always felt I could mentally time travel by reading my old diaries. I’ve written about my days since I was 11 years old; the box containing my scribblings is my prized possession. If I’m interrupted while engrossed, I can almost feel myself being sucked through time back to the present.
But it wasn’t until I became a mum that I felt that physical time travel was possible.
I first realised it when the wee man wouldn’t settle and, having run out of nursery rhymes, I suddenly started singing The Frog Chorus by Paul McCartney. The last time I sang that song I was five years old. As I concentrated on recalling the lyrics, I was vividly sitting on a pink carpet next to my brown Fisher Price tape recorder. I was wearing a pink and white striped cotton dress with Minnie Mouse on it and my Mum was calling up to me “not so loud Kimmy”. When the wee man stirred in my arms I nearly dropped him, I felt so completely in that moment.
It happened again when I was in a nightclub on Saturday night – one I hadn’t been to in years. I was with girlfriends I’ve known since I was at primary school and we were dancing to Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Jenny was laughing at the guy trying to dance with her, Steph was clutching two drinks and Kirstin was looking around making sure the Spanish guy she’d once met there wasn’t going to jump out at her from the shadows. I was 17 again, unmarried, without a single responsibility – my only worry whether I could drive to school in the morning without being over the limit.
The taxi ride home was like a journey through time and I headed straight up to the nursery to remind myself who I was. His sweet sleeping face grounded me like an anchor. I stared down at him and realised that every moment has been leading to this. Whenever I’m remembering, he will be the 1.21 jiggawatts I need to get home.
The wee man’s best friend was born on Thursday.
second generation of hell-raisers!
It sounds a bit premature (the wee soul’s not even a week old yet) but Rod and I are both lucky enough to have several life-long friends. We’ve even known each other since I was five and he was eight (he babysat me once, but that sounds creepy). When it came to drawing up our wedding invitation list, a lot of arguments were avoided by the simple fact that our groups of friends merge. We could almost go on Jerry Springer with the number of pairings-up and intermingling going on in our various crowds. So if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s the value of friends who’ve grown up with you and shared hospital visits, avoided arrest and generally raised hell – and then met friends of your friends who’ve done exactly the same thing.
We are so excited to see these two grow up together and blaze their own trail. Their daddies know every trick in the book and their mummies are unshockable – but I’m pretty sure they’ll still give us the run around!
Sometimes a picture just says it all.
I reckon the wee man is quite happy to be 13 week-old Ruby‘s toyboy.
Who else could I possibly dress up as at Christmas?!
Our friend Euan, who’s nuts, has suggested that we host ‘Godfather Xfactor’ to determine which of our friends gets the responsibility. This upset my friend Tonia, who’s quite taken with the idea of being godmother, so she’s renamed it “So you think you can be a godparent”. She wants us to distribute an application form and has suggested scenario-type questions like:
Child is 16 and calls you from the city centre to say they’re steaming drunk – what do you do?
I’m not particularly religious and I haven’t been christened myself so I’m not really sure what the rules are – but I like it! It’s a good excuse for another party after our nativity-themed Christmas shindig – so if you have any ideas for what questions we should be asking our eager pals, please let me know!
(PS The Christmas party was in our cabin, hence the random street sign we stole to remind us of our year living in Switzerland and the stag’s head shot by Rod’s uncle)