My village, though lovely, likes to remind me that it is not perfect. It does this through the aggressive old ladies who rule it, through the pub I don’t enter because I’m from ‘the other end of the village’, and from the occasional flickering light. Note the Oxford comma. That shit is important.
There are other issues, as there are many bonuses, of living here but that last one sends my mind racing. It starts with a question:
‘Did you see that?’
Thereafter I have to start thinking about where the candles are, where the torches are, and whether or not I should boil the kettle for a thermos of hot water. I do this because I have an unknown factor; I have a child who may or may not wake up in the middle of the night. Back when this wasn’t a question but a certainty I had one of the most challenging nights that motherhood has offered me thus far.
The first I knew about the powercut was waking up at around 1am to utter darkness. Without even the streetlights to guide me I had to meander my way downstairs and, half asleep, face the first of my hurdles. My earlier prepped bottles where awaiting me happily in the fridge, I reached for them but how the hell would I heat them up? I had not boiled the kettle for an emergency thermos, why would I have? This was my first rodeo. I rummaged through the drawer and found my room temperature pre-made formula and thanked past-me for having the foresight to buy them. He wasn’t going to be happy but it was all I had to offer him.
When I got back to my son he was beginning to get grizzly and then I faced my second hurdle of the night. He needed changing. I could barely see him and I was going to have to change him. I could hear my sister rabbiting on in my ear about how I should be able to do everything in the dark and I cursed her mightily for being right. I had nothing. No torch, obviously no candles in the baby’s room, and the night light was plug in. My only hope was the mobile over his cot and when I thought of it I felt like a genius. However activating it made it sing to me. And spin around. And have bears and frogs smack me in the face as I reached down to get my son. Was this worth it for the flashing lights to guide my way?
Regardless I took it and moved to my purpose. I got his sleep suit undone mostly by muscle memory because it turned out that the bloody mobile flashed three colours. I couldn’t see shit unless that colour was blue. It also taunted me with a tinny and supposedly calming version of vivaldi’s four seasons. I was not calm. Myleen Klass your mobile DID NOT CALM ME. I had no idea where the dirty nappy went but it thudded ominously to the left of the changing table and I hoped as Leia hoped for Obi Wan’s help that I didn’t step in the damn thing on the way to the feeding chair. He listened, what a champ.
I changed him and redressed him in his GroBag before treading lightly to the chair where I squirted milk all over his face because I attempted entry when the light was on red. A rookie mistake. When I finally got the milk into his mouth he lost his shit. This was tepid milk. Did I not know anything? My baby boy needed warm milk, lovingly made in advance. What was this trash? He wailed and I felt like a dick. Helpless and alone in the dark with a shitty nappy lurking on the floor, just waiting for me.
I promised him that this was all we could do and eventually he deigned to drink a couple of ounces of the stuff. When I put him back in the cot I smashed my face off the mobile. I cursed it. It trembled satisfyingly. My son loved the lights in the darkness and was quickly back to sleep. I was knackered and I still had to make it to the door without a shitty foot but I had done it. I made it happen and I left that room feeling like a god damn hero.
That is of course until I took him out of his GroBag the next morning and saw that I had a four legged baby. The poppers had been done up with precision. His legs were not in them. This was not my child but an crazy centaur baby. How we laughed as only mother and four month old can do.
So this is why I boil the kettle, I fetch the lanterns and I have so many fucking candles in my house that I dread people asking about them. Because it’s ok to mess up parenting a bit but it helps to be prepared. Not everyone wants to see a baby centaur first thing in the morning.