I’m not competitive (much), but I do like a challenge. And today I got challenged to join in with a project where you write a novel in a month. That’s 50’000 words. Crap. I’ve got myself into this now and I’ve got a sodding idea, so I’m going to have to follow it through. If anyone is insane enough to join me, the website fir this is http://nanowrimo.org
Write what you know say wise people, so a lot of this is from my own and blatantly stolen from my dearest friends experiences of having children (and consequently no money). Everyone seems to write about the first baby, so I’m going for the second. In diary form.
I’m calling it ‘Austerity Baby!’ (Look! Topical and everything!) and here’s the first draft of the first chapter.
Note: there will be illustrations. I think. Maybe.
Week 1 – Normality
I’m in the kitchen after work preparing a delight of cheese sandwiches cut into random shapes and mushed up banana. The Toddler announces her presence by running her plastic spoon up and down the baby gate like a prisoner trying to get their jailer to fill their coffee mug. The familiar monotonous word “muuuuuuuuuuummmm” is repeated over and over. And over. And over.
Deep breath, smile, turn around. “Come on then! Let’s get you dinner!”.
As I gaze at the terrifying toddler TV show in which Iggle Piggle gets mucky patches over Upsy Daisy, I start to chuckle. Then laugh. Then uncontrollably giggle. And it’s in this state that James discovers me when he crosses the threshold of our mildly decrepit flat. One hysterically giggling girlfriend with a slightly concerned looking 12 month old daughter in a high chair who is swishing a hexagon of cheese and bread into her hair. Poor man.
James and I met through a mutual friend and instantly hit it off. We shared a love of music and whiskey and beer… and wine. We were good at getting each other home safe, if only because we counterbalanced each other’s wobble. Within a matter of months we had moved into a shared flat above a takeaway (very useful) and started recklessly abusing our 20(ish) year old bodies with alcohol, junk food and an astonishing amount of sex. It was clear we were using up our ‘couple quota’ and probably borrowing from someone else’s. We were essentially credit shagging. It was clearly unfair to the general population (more specifically our flat mates) and so someone upstairs found a simple solution that would put at least one of us off for a while.
The Toddler was born just one year after our first night of indecency and frankly it was rather a shock to the system. We were rebellious no longer. Or rather we were still rebellious in our heads, but the actions were more based around sleepless nights and working out which end to stick the nappy on.* As it turn out, the business end is the least of your worries, but enough of babies, we have a Toddler to enjoy!
At 5 months, breast was begrudgingly swapped for bottles and I returned to work, leaving a contented little roll of fat with complete strangers for three days per week. But, this did mean that the rolls of fat could continue to grow rather than starve which frankly was a real prospect when rent and bills must be paid.
So here we were a year later, as working parents, living in a slightly decrepit, but now decorated in ‘tonal’ colours, flat above a takeaway. Cloth nappies now dried on a clothes horse in the hall, and our bedside was now littered with muslin squares and Calpol instead of beer cans and hastily discarded knickers. Any knickers now to be found out of the underwear drawer were large, and comfortable – so large in fact they could possibly house a small family if given the correct scaffolding. These came with promises of a ‘slimmer tummy’ or ‘magic tummy’. These knicker LIE ladies! Post Caesarian, short of pure steel reinforced encasment, there are no pants which will provide you with a pre-pregnancy tummy. However, hope remains, as do the massive knickers.
And in these massive knickers (and other work clothes), I remain racked with the giggles over the utter filth emitting from the kids TV show.
“Er… Are you ok?”, asks James. After much gasping for air I reply that I am and insist that he closes his eyes and JUST LISTEN to the current conversation between characters.
He starts to snigger. “You are filth!” He exclaims in mock embarrassment. “I can’t possibly marry you now!”. It was at this point that we realised it was high time for us to have some down time, and plans were made for the Toddler to be sat upon by my parents and us to hold a party.
An actual party. With grown ups! And alcohol! Yes indeed, now I am no longer a walking vending machine with tits the size of my head, I can contemplate drinking again. Admittedly, only when the situation arose where I did not need to be responsible for another human for at least 24 hours, but this opportunity had arisen, and I was not going to waste it with ‘moderation’!
And this is how this story came to be. Everything that follows can be traced back to Iggle Piggle and his mucky patches. It’s clearly his fault. Not mine. (Are you buying this yet, or should I keep going?).
* Dear reader! Just saying the end which is producing solids is no good! Both ends of a baby do this! And when breastfed, both ends produce remarkably similar projectile solids!