Baby Blues

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “Birth”….

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The day had finally arrived.

He’d been woken sometime in the middle of the night. He had asked and it had been confirmed to him that the time had come. Within minutes he had found himself in the car, still half-asleep and still in his pyjamas. His life was about to change forever.

Today he was going to get a little brother or sister.

Mum and Dad had tried to make it sound like it was a good thing, that he wouldn’t be an only child anymore, that he’d have someone to play with.

If it was such a good thing, he told himself, then how come they hadn’t even decided whether to get a boy or a girl? And how come Mum was so huge, she’d obviously started binge-eating out of depression about the whole idea. He’d heard about that on Oprah, it’s amazing how much stuff sinks into your head from daytime TV while you’re sitting quietly colouring.

They didn’t seem to understand – he wanted to be an only child, and didn’t want anyone to play with. Especially not a baby.

He’d heard one in a supermarket – a screaming wail coming from deep inside what looked like a pram full of blankets. He’d seen one on a bus, pulling its Mum’s hair and sticking fingers in her eye, and then head-butting her suddenly in the face.

Then he’d had a baby cousin come to visit, and shuddered still when he remembered it. The kid had sucked his favourite Action Man until all the brown came out of his hair. He had burped loudly and everyone had applauded, as if this was the cleverest thing ever. (He’d tried it himself during dinner later and had been told to mind his manners).

When he was having his nappy changed he had managed to pee straight up into the air and everybody had laughed.

And later Dad had said it was fine when the baby barfed such a distance that it went all over his laptop, though you could tell his smile was a bit forced, like the one he’d put on when he’d say he was fine when you’d run around a corner and straight into his crotch.

And he was supposed to play with one of these?

He was a grown-up, he was four, he could eat his own food, do poo when he felt like it rather than when the poo felt like it, and could dress himself and even tie his shoes, or at least velcro them. He knew all the words of The Wheels On The Bus and could make a model of the Tardis out of play-dough.

All babies could do was dribble.

The car arrived at his granny’s, and she came out to take him indoors. He watched as his Mum and Dad drove off towards the hospital and tried not to cry.

He had been the centre of the universe. His Mum would tuck him in at night and sing softly to him, his Dad would swing him so high in the air that he’d shriek in happy terror.

Now he would have to share them. He thought his heart was going to break.

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The following day Granny took him to see the baby. He walked into the hospital ward and his Dad ran to grab him and bring him to the bed to Mum (who’d lost a lot of weight, she must have gotten over the depression) and they both hugged him tightly. They still loved him, he thought in wonder.

Then Dad said “would you like to see her?”

He looked into the cot at the end of the bed and there she was. He didn’t know why he did it, but he put his finger against one of her little hands. She opened one eye, made a face as if she was trying to chew toffee, and her tiny fingers closed around his.

“She’s lovely,” he whispered.

He was no longer an only child. Now he was an older brother – loyal, protective and filled with love.

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