10 days old
Baby and I left the hospital eight days ago and hadn’t left the flat since. If it had been up to me I would have waited a few more weeks but I had to get to my post-natal check up and so it began.
I had to figure out how to get the pram to work more like a pram rather than just have it stand in the hallway all folded up ever since it had been delivered a few weeks ago. I was on the verge of looking up a YouTube video of some pram action when papa called along.
The baby was sleeping so instead of getting cuddles he had to make do with helping out. Now I have never had any dealings with prams but I never figured that it would be difficult.
The first link was not exactly helpful as the woman, somehow unbelievably and yet there it was, managed to open it up with the shake of one arm. This did not work. Two arms did no better. More video clips and more searching for instructions and by now the littlest person in the room had woken up.
She wasn’t the happiest of pups and spent a fair amount of time screaming. I had to leave, papa had to go, baby was hungry and pram was a complete mystery. The day was saved with the help of YouTube and dad. I don’t think my walking around with the baby was entirely helpful.
It all helped stave off the stress of leaving the house with the baby for the first time however. I was then off to catch the bus and needed some help there as well. A family with a pram of their own stepped aside so I could get on the bus first but I couldn’t figure out how to bridge the big gap between the pavement and the door. The dad stepped in front and lifted the front of the pram on to the bus for me. I was very thankful. In all my worries, I hadn’t anticipated not being able to get on the bus.
I arrived at the clinic half an hour late but I was treated like a celebrity for just having left the house and I got double sympathy points for navigating the bus system too. The cooing over the baby helped as well. I left feeling very happy with myself.
The way home was downhill so I thought I’d walk it. I passed by the supermarket, and then strolled for the next half an hour. Half way home and baby started crying as she was hungry again. I was feeling woozy and the wind was not fun. By the time we made it back it had been four hours from when I started getting ready. All of this for a 20 minute appointment. It was like the scenes in Beetlejuice where they step outside of the house and have to contend with sand worms and time speeding up.
Then there was nap time and all was right again.
Baby's first outdoor adventure
Man sitting opposite: six weeks of train travel he says in a type of weary exasperation. I’ve been doing it for four years I reply. I then have to take out my headphones as he tells me about his shoulder. He’s been on a cycling trip to Wales with a friend, his friend slammed into a gate and he fell after hitting his friend’s bike. His shoulder was compressed and there were various injuries to do with ligaments etc and he is now attending physiotherapy sessions. He’s thinking of going private because the once fortnightly appointment on the NHS is not enough.
The 1652 on the way back to Bristol: A commuter’s husband manages a car rental place. He frequently changes cars and their friends say they never know in which car he will turn up. They also get cheap petrol. Much shaking of head and mirth.
A quiet zone carriage on the 1752 from Cheltenham: The carriage is full and one man is talking on his phone somewhere towards the back. I sit near the middle on the right side by the aisle. At Bristol Parkway the people from one of the tables get out and a young woman not yet in her twenties walks in and sits down while still talking on her phone. A minute or so later a much older woman stands up and is practically shaking. She proceeds to yell at the young girl who looks much bigger than her in stature and to threaten her with ‘if you were a man I’d punch you in the face, no one else is talking on this carriage. I have travelled all the way from Manchester and no one has talked the whole time’. The girl looked up at her then went straight back to her conversation with barely a pause. She seemed most unperturbed but the older woman was so angry she packed her bags and moved to sit elsewhere. I didn’t think it was the right time for me to mention the guy chatting at the back of the quiet zone.
On the bus in Cheltenham around 8am: A woman sitting at the front of the bus leans across to steady herself on the rail across the passageway. She’s in her 50s, wearing a vest and a woolly jumper, has a slightly ruddy complexion and short grey hair. I wonder why she’s leaning but think nothing of it until she takes out a bottle of white wine and drinks some before putting it away in her shopping bag.
The 0730 from Bristol: The king of commuters (unofficially) has been making the journey from Parkway to Cheltenham for 19 years. He has a law practice and has recently been trying out a fold-up bike. He doesn’t have it with him today and I ask how it’s going. He tells me that on his way to work the saddle had slipped, the pedal had fallen off and his leg had been impaled on the latter. He has taken photographs and is ready to sue.