MOTHERHOOD can be lonely. Your single friends seem to dance off into the distance almost as quickly as the thin blue line appears, and then when you have the baby, he or she doesn't talk, only cries as you try helplessly to figure out what's wrong.
When your toddler is growing you're just dying for their first word. Gary's first word was 'no'. Well, it was better than nothing, I suppose, but definitely not as exciting as everybody said it would be.
Then when he kept saying it over and over again, not only was it not cute, it began to get irritating. Another mummy friend had once told me, "having a baby is fantastic, but it's hard when they can't communicate. When they get older and can have little conversations with you, it's wonderful."
And so I waited patiently. A lot more words, and then finally a full sentence: "I don't like it."
Honestly, it wasn't music to my heart, but I was convinced it would get better, and that soon enough we'd be having little heart-to-hearts. Fast forward a year and I can't shut him up. He has a loud, booming voice and he comes out with the most inappropriate things sometimes.
For example, I took my little darling swimming last week. It was a real bonding moment as we splashed about together in the pool. Then a large man, and I mean a very, very large man, walked into the reception area in his tracksuit. My heart sank a little. I saw him stick his head into the gym area but I had a feeling it wasn't the gym he was after. I was right. The next minute he disappeared into the changing rooms and a minute after that he was standing at the pool's edge.
I saw Gary turn in amazement and his mouth dropped open. "Big man!" he squealed in a tone of delight and amazement. "Look Mummy, very big man!"
Unfortunately his voice seemed to echo as it bounced off every wall. I was mortified!
But then again, he has a habit of embarrassing me lately. Like when we were recently in the hairdressers and I was discussing my hair with the stylist: "Would you like it nice and bright for the summer?"
"Yes I would," I said eagerly.
"And are you happy with the colour?"
"Yes, the colour's great."
Gary piped up. "Mummy's hair is orange," he stated quite definitely.
"No, it isn't, love," I said, as a pink spot suddenly appeared on either cheek. "It's blonde."
"It's orange, Mummy. Orange!"
Other women looked up from their magazines with interest. I wanted the floor to swallow me up. My stylist also looked pretty mortified and with reason. After all, she has been the one doing my highlights for the past few years. If my hair is orange and it's anybody's fault, it's hers!
But I have to laugh at some of the comments he comes out with. Gary is inquisitive and asks a lot of questions. Last night we were watching a cartoon and his head was resting on my tummy. "You used to live in there," I said. "That was your little house."
He looked surprised. "Did I?" he said. "But where's the door?"
Marisa is the author of Along Came A Stork