Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Rude Awakening

Little A and I attended a birthday party yesterday. Another boy turned one and the celebration was held at a preschool in the suburbs. When we arrived, the party was in full swing and boy was I for a surprise. My Stepford wife dreams were shattered as I was confronted by a dozen or so of the real things. 

I had dressed in active mummy attire of leggings, a stretch top and flip flops. (It was over 30 degrees out in the middle of tropical summer.) But the Real Stepford wives - these women were like Manhattan mothers, perfectly coiffed, made up, wearing dresses and heels. They sat around elegantly at tables for six chatting and looking for all the world like they were having high tea, which, actually, they were. There was no sign of any children in sight. The 20 or so kids were in the room next door, each one under heavy guard by navy and white uniformed nannies. There was a separate eating area for them, less elegantly decorated than the one outside. 

Quickly assuming my role as odd mum out, I let Little A crawl around the play area, which to my dismay was full of nannies and children wearing shoes. So much for being considerate of germs and crawling babies. His little fingers were trod on twice, first by another child and then by the afternoon's games host, a preschool teacher himself. Neither noticed the tiny fingers beneath their feet, and to his credit my boy took it like a man, both times stopping in mid-crawl and looking at the massive shoe that was crushing his little fingers. Both times I pulled his hand away and checked for any damage, but he never cried or complained, just went straight back to playing. 

While showing Little A the murals on the walls and sneaking bites of party food, I observed the Real Deals. These were clearly women of leisure, every last one of them sporting an expensive watch and designer handbag. They didn't work full-time, but neither did they tend to their children, which got me to wondering, what do they do with their days? Maybe they were younger versions of my mom - raising funds for charity-driven cultural events, and perhaps some did part-time work at appropriately Stepfordian jobs. Who knows?

My days are filled with caring for my son. Without the nanny that comes attached to nineteen out of twenty babies and because my husband isn't a very hands-on dad, I haven't had a haircut, a manicure or even a long shower in over nine months. Sometimes I wonder what I could do with a baby-free hour or two (trawl the secondhand bookstores! Oh joy!) but then one fierce hug, one sloppy kiss, and now those baby steps into my arms - it makes the no more me-time all worth it. Before I know it, he'll be in school and I'll have me-time back again, so I'll make the most this while it lasts. 

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