It started with Roquefort; the blue – veined monster was out to get me and Peanut, who at that time was still a bump. The thing is, I love blue cheese and the more it smells like old socks the better. Yet, I convinced myself that as soon as a microscopic piece touched my mouth, both Peanut and I would explode and cover the living room in bluish, sticky goo. In the end, I dared myself to have some. BlueberetDad nuked it in the oven on my pizza. My heart melted with the cheese.
As it happens, I enjoy my Stilton and gorgonzola with a glass or two (ok then…. sometimes three) of red wine. A few months into the pregnancy, I went out with my three lovely friends aka the groovy book club ladies for a night of gossip and tapas. The waiter came to take the orders.
“Three glasses for the wine?” he asked.
“No, four.” I said; it was my monthly treat and no one was going to take it away from me. He put four wine glasses in front of us with a glare that said it all. My child wasn’t even born and I already was a negligent mother. Alcoholic, borderline cheesehead. Whom can Peanut trust if not his own mum to make the right choices? I saw him grab the umbilical cord and make an urgent call to the Grey Matter.
“Hello. Mother, this is why I have already failed before I am even out. Cheers.”
Then there were the medics. You know which ones, the natural birth with no medication haters everyone loves to criticise. The incompetent sleep deprived and often unable to utter a word of English bunch who were supposed to deliver my baby. After scaremongering birth story number 1,234,567 brought to me by media and other well-wishers whose job is to flock around heavily pregnant women, I hid behind the couch with one hand over my ears, the other over my eyes.
“The size of the baby I pushed out! Think watermelon but worse. You’ll never be the same.”
Life put our worries aside. The staff in the birth centre, where Peanut decided to make his first appearance, will always have a special place in our hearts and memories. They didn’t fall asleep. They spoke fluent English. They held my hand when I screamed in their faces to bloody hurry up with that pain relief. They wiped my face when, in response to gas and air, I was sick all over the place.
Until you have a child, you don’t realise that the world around you is occupied by coffee tables, cleaning products, bookshelves, loose nuts and bolts and every baby’s favourite , Evil Plastic Bags, just waiting to injure, bruise and suffocate your offspring. You move the clutter up the shelving, then you move it back down again when you realise that, even though out of reach, if your inquisitive monkey doesn’t choke on it, it will knock them on the head. In the end, most of the stuff ends up in charity shops.
We are not at that stage yet but….soon there will come a day when any man not wearing his own children as a protective badge screaming “Hey. I’m not a pervert. I’ve kids too so don’t give me that look when I approach at the playground’s gate” may be a potential threat. Then again, stranger is a stranger. Be it a woman or a man. They may just like children. Or find it refreshing to listen to the clink of the little people’s laughter. Like I do. But it’s ok because I’m a woman and by default unable to harm anyone, aren’t I?
Starting nursery was a leap of trust for the BlueBerets. How could we entrust our most precious possession with someone else? Someone we didn’t know. Someone we couldn’t spy on when we were at work. I even considered placing a spy camera in Peanut’s hair. Then gave up as there just wasn’t enough hair to cover it up. The first day at nursery I left with my heart jumping out of my throat while Peanut waved happily goodbye and went on to snatch his pal’s building blocks.
The truth is that the overprotective mother in me would lock Peanut up in a bubble wrap plastered room for the next 25 years. No bruises. No falls. No dangers. No UVA and UVB. The sensible mother in me says it is not a good idea. The sensible mother reminds me that I grew up running outside all day, with a latchkey dangling around my neck. My friends and I ventured to neighbouring housing estates, filled with excitement, adventure and pride. We were free. Any grown-up watching our mischief could tell us off and we were scared of them. Well, I was and it didn’t help that I used to accidentally cycle into them and their shopping bags (took a while to figure out the whole left – right steering and braking mystery). Bad accidents happened and bad people happened. Teeth were knocked out, and knees and elbows were but one big crusty scab. We had a blast.
One of the best lessons in assessing risk that I learned was when I decided to swing upside down from a tree branch to impress others. I miscalculated the distance and bashed my forehead on the pavement and I never made that mistake again.
If I wasn’t allowed to figure out the world for myself I wouldn’t be the person I am today. A strong person. A trusting person. A ”life is full of great opportunities so grab them” kind of person.
I hope Peanut will be like that too. The BlueberetMum and Dad will trust him to make his own mistakes.
We will trust.
Trust but verify.