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Make ‘Em Laugh

May Blossom at work in her office.

A month or so ago we let May Blossom watch Singin’ In the Rain. We were on the hunt for a movie that wouldn’t frighten her, and that seemed to fit the bill. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would then spend hours every day afterwards explaining the finer plot points to her: why Kathy hits Lena in the face with a cream pie. Why Don Lockwood is trying to escape from his marauding fans. What fans are. Why it’s funny that Lena has an ugly speaking voice. Why the policeman makes Don stop singing in the rain and go home. Why Kathy’s job is to jump out of a cake and dance. It’s endless. She particularly likes the big song and dance numbers, though she is pretty disapproving of much of what goes on in the tribute to slapstick, ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’. ‘That’s not very safe’, she says every time Cosmo dances on top of a piano or runs up a wall. That makes me laugh more than the slapstick itself, which is good because not much has been making me laugh lately.

Did you know that today is International Women’s Day? If it weren’t for the increasingly feminist, joint destroying, awareness-of everyday-sexism-raising circles I seem to have ended up in on Twitter (none of which is terribly cheering — have you seen the state of this world we live in?), I don’t think I would have known. I have celebrated, so far, by getting up at 3.30 am to cuddle May Blossom when she woke screaming and sobbing from a nightmare about someone taking her milk from her. I followed that with an hour of sitting in the chair beside her bed, breastfeeding and holding her little brother, whom she woke.

That was followed by three more hours of very broken sleep as young Garnet doesn’t seem to settle well after about 4 am. He usually ends up in bed with H and me, quietly drinking milk and napping while H and I mutter to each other, ‘We mustn’t do this. It mustn’t happen again. He can’t sleep in our bed like she did. I love this. Do you love this as much as I do? How can it be wrong if we love having him in here so much? Smell him. He is lovely. Is that sick or milk on the sheet?’ We aren’t very good at making decisions at that time of day.

Then, as has become the pattern, H got up, like a complete saint, with both kids and took them into the kitchen, leaving me to sleep for another hour. I typically do my best and deepest sleeping at that point. It’s worth about six hours of broken night sleep. Having said that, I still can’t really think coherently today, or any other day. That’s partly why I haven’t blogged much this year. But I thought perhaps a ramble was better than nothing. Am I wrong?

I’ve been quite uncertain lately about this blog. Maybe due to the postnatal depression rubbish, or the sleep deprivation or the realisation that I haven’t worked for money, doing anything related to my profession, for two and a half years, I’m feeling rather wobbly in the self-confidence department. If you have been through this and can tell me it ends well, that one day I will come out of this baby haze and be able to converse about anything other than what my toddler said or how much my baby weighs and sleeps, I’d be very grateful. If, on the other hand, your children are now school age or grown up and your brain never recovered and you never managed to go back to work or achieve any sort of balance between being a mother and other parts of your personality, feel free to pipe down. (Pretty sure that saying ‘Pipe Down, Permanent Housewives and Drudges, I Don’t Want To Hear It’ is not exactly what you’re meant to say on International Women’s Day. Sorry.)

The other hurdle I’ve been constantly butting up against is Time. Specifically, where the fuck is it and can I please have some? Garnet is now well past the nap-all-day newborn stage. May Blossom still sleeps for an hour or so a day, but not usually when Garnet does. And when the stars align and they do sleep, I fall in a heap too. I know This Too Shall Pass. I’ve been here before and I know things will get easier, but I miss writing and I hate sounding so whingey when I do.

But in the interests of honesty and telling it like it is, I am now going to resist, with all my might, the temptation to hit delete on this post and instead I will hit publish. Because I seriously believe if there’s one thing women can do for each other, and for men, it’s not to sugar-coat the experience of motherhood. That shit will not help anyone. Being a mother is sometimes very hard and very tiring. All parts of life can be hard and tiring, for everyone. You just have to get through until the next part that makes you laugh. I might go hit myself in the face with a cream pie.

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