Venturing out


With his colic sufficiently sedated, Timmy’s been presentable enough for us to make two voluntary public appearances this week. This was as much an unfamiliar and daunting prospect for me as for him, I imagine. We’ve been housebound so long (in a gracious effort to keep his screams from the rest of the world), that I’ve been quite institutionalised.

In the first experimental outing, I was to be taught how to massage him. Two other mums with their babies were in the group — one mum I recognised from my antenatal classes. She looked different, with her bump on the outside…

The massage with warm olive oil was to relax and soothe them, we were told — a good thing to do at the end of the day, preparing them for bed. It turned out though, that the only baby who seemed to like it was the doll it was being demonstrated on. All the other babies gave vocal protest. The room had been calm and quiet before the massages started, but soon there was a chorus of synchronised crying. Either they believed the room was too cold for them to be stripped down in (although the doll didn’t seem to find a problem with it), or they didn’t like being made to smell like focaccia bread. Possibly both.

The mum I recognised from antenatal classes encouraged me to come along to Parent & Child later that week, where she said a lot of our antenatal class members met. Truthfully, I’d forgotten that place existed. At our final session, everyone in our antenatal class (complete with our belly protrusions) had been shown around the facility, and invited to meet each week with our babies for a coffee and catch-up. Previously, the very concept of bringing Timmy anywhere was outrageous — it was all I could do to keep my rapidly fraying rope together in the comfort of my own home! But now, perhaps it could work…

…and so it was I found myself hugging a nappy bag, hand bag, and baby, trying to balance and see around it all as I walked from the car to the Parent & Child venue. I resolved to come earlier next time, in the hopes of getting a closer car park.

It was bizarre to see the familiar faces again. It was like a high school reunion, except without the my-job-is-better-than-your-job pissing contests. (Which, let’s be honest, is what school reunions are all about.) Although I recognised the faces, it was as if we were all different people. With their energy-siphoning parasites ejected, the women I met with were far more inclined to smile and chat. In the antenatal sessions, we’d all just waddled in with our bumps and sleepily absorbed information before going home. But clearly, having one’s bump on the outside makes one a lot more animated and interactive. I suppose the same would be said for me. As tired as I still feel most of the time, I was a lot chattier than the wall ornament I’d been in the antenatal sessions.

I’d been discouraged that I hadn’t felt a ‘click’ with any of the ladies from antenatal class — the ‘click’ being the catalyst that spawns a new friendship. I’d hoped that I’d make a Bump Buddy there, but no new friendship looked to be blossoming. I finished the antenatal course feeling like it hadn’t been the most fortunate use of funds — if I wasn’t going to have made friends or built a network, I may as well have gone to the hospital’s free classes.

There was sparkling promise of clicks, at Parent & Child — our second excursion this week. Now that we mums all had our bodies back to ourselves, we were a lot more inclined to chat and enjoy ourselves. This was the first time I thought the money for those private antenatal classes may have been worth it, after all. And as we were all new mums with children around the same age (as the other children, that is), we had ample conversation topics as we swapped notes and shared tricks we’d discovered. This was an encouraging place to do so, too — the only people who are happy to hear someone talk endlessly about their child, poop, and breastfeeding, are people enthralled by the same issues themselves.

The success of the second excursion was somewhat dampened when Timmy got grizzly then did a turbo puke just as we were ready to leave, but at least I was in the company of people who empathised, instead of just being grossed out.

I hope to go back next week. Who knows — I may ‘click’ with a Bump Buddy after all…


1 Comment

  • Jenny
    06 Jul 2012

    Hi Eve! First of all, I love how you write, it really cracks me up (foccacia bread he he!)

    I found that I formed some pretty strong bonds with my antenatal group buddies – but not until bumps were on the outside. During the classes I looked round the group and thought I don’t have anything in common with these ladies. But afterwards we ended up catching up on a weekly basis and that click did come, we’re still great friends even though I, and some others live in different places – 1 has moved to US and another to Aus.

    I found it a great support network.

    Keep up the great posts,

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