Friday, 18 February 2011


When I pick her up from one of the minders she smells of perfume. That's because her minder smokes a bit and tries to cover it up with heavy perfume. When I pick her up from the other minder she smells of fried food. Both smells remind me that I'm not giving her the best start. I put her in the bath as quickly as I can and it's only when she smells of Sainsbury's basics soap that I finally can pretend to myself that I'm a bona fide ordinary mummy.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


X and I were up all night chucking up in turns. It started with her doing the technicolour yawn at school, then she puked in the car, on the stairs, on the bed, in the bath, on the sheets, on her nightie, on the sheets, and so until she had regurgitated, spat, vomited and spewed everything lodged in every twist of her angry little tummy. The bile fizzed in the bowl. Poor thing. I watched her watching appalled as the steaming stuff streamed out of her mouth in an angry acid explosion that, over the night, gradually got clearer and clearer until I thought there could be no moisture left in her and her body would crumble to dust. It must be frightening when your body takes over so totally when you are little. But then X came out of the womb with her body fighting stuff. She's a little fighter.

I was quite proud of myself, given my hopeless fear of bodily things. I managed to actually remember that it was me supposed to be comforting her and to make my voice low and quietly reassuring rather than squeaking in panic and disgust. I told her it would be over soon - or ,in other words- lied. I handed tissues, got drinks, plumped pillows and restrained myself from rushing to phone NHS Direct. This is a big step towards bona fide motherhood for me, especially as she had been ill with a chest infection as well so there was that little fear that there was something bigger wrong.

Then I started to join in the puking party. Every time I had to run to the loo she ran too and watched me hanging over the loo, I couldn't stop her. Then she passed me the tissues and the water, I couldn't stop her, she seemed keen to join in the fun. 'That was a lot,' wasn't it,' she said peering into the bowl after one of my heave-ho's.

Strangely, it was weirdly quite a good experience; well, in retrospect, now the lingering nausea is abating. I've been feeling very disconnected to X recently. Maybe it's a common parental feeling but I sometimes wonder if it might be to do with her being adopted, I sometimes wonder if she feels that the bond isn't visceral- especially given the fact that she screamed at me in the street the other day," I hate you, I wish I had my tummy mummy."

When I was at university there was an arcane bonding game played by drunken biochemists after they had ingested huge quantities of their own homemade alcohol distilled in the lab. It was called the dwyll flonk, don't ask me why. It involved a bucket of sick and a mop and everyone standing in a circle and- I don't want to think about it, really. Lets just say it didn't seem much fun at all to me but they all seemed to really make a party out of it. I thought it must be a boy thing.

Last night, after a day in bed, in an exhausted fug of bile breathe and dehydrated - headache sleep we both finally emerged blinking, with griping tummies and chapped lips, and looked at each other over the chaos of towels and sick bowls and smiled and hugged.

'That was a nice day, wasn't it, mummy,' she said, snuggling up to me and making my aching tummy retch. 'Nice?' Well, I wouldn't go quite that far but as dwyll flonk puking parties go, it really couldn't have been better. In fact I'd go so far as to say she is a great person to have a puke with, very relaxed and with an almost amused fascination for it.

And another interesting thing - we may not have a visceral genetic connection but her sick looked just like mine. It looked just like tinned fruit salad. So I thought that must have been what she had for lunch. But mine did too - and I definitely haven't had tinned fruit salad since I was about her age. Maybe everyone's sick looks like tinned fruit salad and the whole carrot and tomato thing is a bit of a red herring? Uhghh- just made myself feel sick again thinking about herrings...