14th March 2016
So this week I’ve really thrown myself into my new novel on Post-Natal Depression (relax, it’s not as bleak as it sounds). I’m trying to crack open the theme with some humour, irony and a 4 year-old. I thought perhaps you might enjoy a little sneak peak at the work in progress. Now, keep in mind that for an author putting drafts out in public feels a little like walking around naked. So you all better give me some uplifting feedback (or this novel will get real depressing, real quick!)
Okay – here goes…
DRAFT: Mummy’s Just Losing Her Mind excerpt (C) GJ STROUD 2016
It is breakfast and today’s topic of conversation is dogs. Abby is talking about them relentlessly, each breathless word punctuated by the blobby slurp of weetbix.
“Cats don’t like to swim. Dogs like to swim though. Most dogs. They like to swim but they don’t like getting a bath. Monty likes to swim, doesn’t he? He likes it when we throw a stick and he jumps in to get it and swims it back to us. Do you know what I dreamed about last night Mummy?”
“What?” I spoon gluggy weetbix into baby Liddy’s mouth.
“I dreamed Monty could walk on just two legs. That’s what I did dream about. That our dog was a walker. A swimmer and a walker. And in the dream….”
Her voice is a pneumatic drill in my head. I haven’t had enough sleep and I can’t tolerate her bright and chipper outlook. I feel hung over. That’s Motherhood: one great big hangover but no wild party the night before, no hazy memories of champagne and chardonnay, no crazy funny stories to recount. The Motherhood Hangover comes after a night of shitty old ‘wake ups’ where you put in a dummy or catch vomit or deal with wet sheets or comfort a screamer.
Lydia gives a hearty sneeze, spraying me with chunks of weetbix and a good dose of mucous. I sigh and The Little Part Of Me pangs I wish I was going to work. This is work of another kind. A work that, if it was advertised, you would say; “They couldn’t pay me enough to do that.” It is another day of Mothering.
“Mummy?” Abby pauses but only for a second. “Mummy!”
“Yes,” I blink. The Big Part Of Me takes a breath and returns to reality.
“Are we going shopping today?”
“Yep,” I smile and nod.
“Goody!” She leaps from her chair, twirling and coiling through the kitchen like a gnome doing ballet. “Can I wear a dress?”
Lyddy smiles at me and then sneezes again.
It takes two hours to get to the Newsagents. This is not because we live out of town, this is just how long it takes for the three of us to get dressed, eat breakfast, pack snacks, stock the nappy bag, eat the snacks, re-pack the snacks, get in the car, strap up, load the stroller and drive to the main street. It is nine a.m. and I am exhausted.
The newsagency is not pram friendly. For a start there are three steps up, just to get into the door. Once inside, there are forty trillion things at pram level and Lydia (who is in the pram) attempts to grab every single one of them. Fortunately, the newsagency aisles are too narrow for the pram to squeeze through. Unfortunately, this means that I have to leave Lyddy wedged between the local papers and the busty girls on Zoo magazines while Abby and I go in search of the craft supplies. Abby wants to make a card for Daddy’s birthday. We have just selected a packet of coloured cardstock when I hear Lyddy start up. It is The Little Grizzle.
“I’m just here, Lyddy,” I call out. An old man looks up at me. He is probably not judging me, but I frown at him anyway.
“Maybe we could get some stickers?” Abby is asking. She touches an overpriced plastic packet of golden stars.
“I don’t think we need those, darling. I think Daddy would like you to draw…” I trail off. Lydia is working up to The Big Grizzle. I peek over the craft display. She has pulled half a dozen local papers off the shelf and is shredding them up.
“I’ll just check on Lyddy,” I say, leaving Abby with all the glorious temptations.
I weave my way around the aisles and displays making shooshing noises to Lydia as I approach. I pinch the pram’s seatbelt buckles and drag her out, but her arm is caught. As I tug, the whole pram rises up causing more newspapers to slither to the ground.
Lydia starts to bellow. I wrangle her free from the pram, hoping I haven’t dislocated her shoulder or caused the front wheels to lock. A woman behind me is trying to get past but I have wedged the pram so firmly, the end of the aisle is completely blocked. She mutters something and walks away.
“Come on, Abs.” I call out. “Just bring your stuff. We’ve got to go.”
So what do you think? You want more? You couldn’t relate? You laughed? Smirked? Smiled?
Leave me a comment…puhleaaaaase!!