Sunday, 6 May 2012

Week 35- velour tracksuits, separation anxiety and Floella Benjamin

I've got two jumpers that I wear on rotation these days. Partly because I like them, but mainly because I don't have the imagination to work out what else I can discreetly get my boobs out in public in.

One's blue, and the other one has anchors printed on it. That one's more obvious if I wear it several days on the trot.

I remember looking at pictures of my mum from when I was little, and thinking it looked like she only owned one purple, velour jumper, as she was wearing it in virtually every picture from 1978- 1981. Now I understand why.

As I put the blue one on the other day, I noticed that it had mango puree smeared all down the front from when Nancy had lobbed her spoon earlier that day. But instead of changing into the other jumper, I just covered it up with a scarf. Didn't even think about sponging it off. And then we went out for the day.

The week before, as I was changing Nancy, she did a live wee that went all over the changing mat, and soaked into my jeans as I was kneeling on it at the time.

I've got more than one pair. Granted, they don't all fit properly. In fact the other pairs were ambitious charity shop purchases for me to 'slim into'. But instead of even attempting to squeeze into them, I hair dried the wee, and wore them for days afterwards.

I can't work out if it's because it's Nancy wee, and she's part of me, that made me not care.

Or if it's that I've turned into a skeff.

There was a time when I was about 15 when I would have spent half a years allowance on getting dreadlocks, if it wouldn't have resulted in getting grounded for life.

Instead, I settled for not washing my hair loads, putting twat wraps in it (embroidery thread wrapped around a thin plait with a bead at the end, reminiscent of holidays in Portugal) and wearing tie dye T-shirts and MC Hammer style trousers.

I must have looked a bit like Floella Benjamin.

And I thought I looked brilliant.

Now I genuinely can't get it together to wash my hair as much as I should, I know I don't.

But is this just what happens when you have small children? You stop giving a shit all together?

Nancy is starting to realise she's not part of me anymore. She cries when I go out of her sight line. Or if I give Ebba a cuddle. Or put her down for a second.

She thinks I'm going to leave her and not come back. Separation anxiety. It's heartbreaking. And I don't know what to do to console her.

Well, I do. I sing badly at her. And she's fine, until she can't see me again.

And I wonder what it must be like to realise you are your own person. That the big lump in blue or anchor print, whose been feeding you and carrying you around since you were born is not, in fact, an extension of yourself, but an entirely different person all together.

What she doesn't realise now is that she'll always be a part of me.


I don't mean just emotionally.

But that she has my bum chin. That we already both throw our heads back when laughing. That there will be characteristics, and aspects to her personality that are already set out. That there will be similarities that will become more obvious the older she gets.

And I'll shine with pride when people say, 'ooh, you're just like your mum.'

But by the time she completely understands that, it will probably coincide with when she's desperate to resist it and claim her independence.

Find her 2030 version of dreadlocks and tie dye dungarees.

And she'll look back at pictures of us when she was a baby, and be like, 'mum, did you seriously only have two jumpers? And what's that all down your jeans?'

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