Sotto alla Corona
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Here I am again,
this time I should be able to write with no interruptions as my little one just had his last bottle for the day and has nicely settled in for a night of sleep.... Not that those are hard to come by: little G started sleeping through the night at just 7 weeks!
Anyway, I don't mean to brag (..I do really....), I still empathize with those poor parents, scraping around at night for an hour of sleep....
And I am sorry if I sound patronizing, but since I became a father, I came to realize that parenthood-world out there is always ready to measure your skills as a parent on the basis of how successfully you manage to strap your little one to a routine as early as possible.
Furthermore, this is an achievement every parent DOES brag about, either to make good conversation or simply to score points with the Health Visitor's appointment crowd.
Now, in every book I have read about child care, there seems to be an underlying statement that says: thou shall pay no attention whatsoever to how brilliantly everybody else seems to be doing with their babies; thou shall not be disheartened if you seem to be the only one awake at night, trying to convince the Antichrist to fall asleep, for every baby is different. Amen.
This is like saying: do prepare yourself 'cause just around the corner there is a stroller-pushing bitch ready to take you out and make you feel like shit, 'cause she is supermum and you are barely capable to change a nappy without breaking into a sweat.
Bollocks to that.
Just today I took little G to his routine health visitor appointment, I was running half an hour late, so I had to share the lobby with a dozen of other parents and their pushchairs.
It's encouraging to see that there are quite few men accompanying their wives/girlfriends and baby to the visit, but even more so was the presence of two other men on their own with their little ones. At the beginning of my experience as a dad, I was dreading the health visitor's appointments, as I thought them to be a woman-dominated environment, with the occasional breast-feeding tits-parade....I found myself surrounded instead by a rather heterogeneous group of people in various degrees of distress and no boobs on show: some could not redress the baby without him screaming; some others were juggling a baby, a red book, a mobile-phone call and a nappy bag; another one was trying to change a rather messy (and smelly!) nappy in the pram with disastrous consequences and an unspecified amount of wet serviettes scattered all over the floor.
I was in baby hell!!!
Luckily, my little angel was fast asleep in his pushchair, oblivious to what was going on. As I settled down into an empty seat, a tired looking lady, struggling to keep her bundle of joy on her lap, smiled at me and asked:
-He sleeps so soundly doesn't he?
Pointing at Little G in his cosy pram,
-Yea, he does... He loves his afternoon nap...
-Oh, but that's dangerous.... He will keep you up tonight! that's why I keep mine entertained.
The woman added with a glimmer of triumph in her eyes (ok maybe I have imagined it...).
-No... Not really.... He has been sleeping through the night since he was seven weeks old....
It's just his routine: two hours nap in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and eleven hours sleep at night.... I guess I am lucky! By the way, your little one has just spewed up two days worth of baby sick on your hair.
The woman's smile faded, replaced by something like a defiant grin (ok maybe I have imagined that as well...)
-Your wife has done a great job.... Is she at work today?
-You nosy bitch!
I thought and started laughing... The lady seemed confused by my reaction, so I proceeded to shock her a bit more, while she tried to wipe off the sick from her blonde hair.
- Lady, you are talking to the wife!
She was crestfallen.
- Me and my husband had Little G through surrogacy and egg donation and are both very proud of what we have achieved.... Little G is such a good, happy boy.... But, you know, we are both very relaxed guys and he is obviously benefiting from a relaxed, loving environment... I guess we don't have to deal with all the post-partum hormonal imbalances of a woman..... I can hardly imagine the effects of post natal depression coupled up with a husband that doesn't understand and only thinks of jumping your bones as soon as you don't look so depressed, or fall asleep, only to complain afterwards that 'down there' everything has gotten somewhat loose and that you look always frumpy and miserable.... But I am digressing... What did you say your name was?
I smiled.... She was listening with her mouth open and the eyes at half mast, like in a trance.
-Uh erm.... Mrs Collins....
-Well, nice to meet you Mrs. Collins, my name is Marco.... But you can call me Mr. Platti-Newey... You know, when two man marry they give birth automatically to a double-barrel surname....
The poor woman did not know what to think or say.... She picked up on my sarcasm and now looked embarrassed, so I helped her out of her misery, because, after all, I was not wearing a 'Gay Dad' badge and she only wanted to make conversation.
-Just kidding!!!! You look... Erm... Disturbed!
I laughed, patting her arm.
-Uh..What...Oohh..... No...Not really.... It sounded like you were talking about me for a second...
And my name is Barbara... My friends call me Bar.
-That's cute.... I hope I did not offend you....
-What? Oh no, I hope I did not offend you!
She cut in.
-Not at all... It's probably me in fact. I am still a little nervous and insecure about this fatherhood thing.... You know, the gay thing...
-Oh...So you were not kidding! You are gay and married....
She said wide eyed.
-Come on girl! You gotta keep up.... I thought we got that straight. And hun.... You are not entertaining your pride and joy, you're just letting him abuse you!
I answered in my best ghetto fabulous accent, snapping fingers on her face.
Bar looked at me for a second, as if trying to digest something (probably my humor), then bursted out laughing, her son bursted out crying and Little G woke up.
By then, everyone was looking at us, apart from that poor woman still trying to wipe off baby poo from her stroller.
This is how I met my first Chelsea mum, we both survived the encounter, she doesn't think I am a monster and I don't think she is a bitch.
Tomorrow we'll do coffee.