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Monday, 30 July 2012

Book Worms
One feed's worth
Whoa there! I'm reading Sue Townsend's The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year and it's like seeing the inside of my own head. Eva Beaver, the protagonist, sums up motherhood so pithily that if I ever had to give birth again I'd want her to be my midwife. At one point in the book she says of her twins, "I was thrilled to have two babies in my arms, but - and you'll think this is awful - after twenty minutes or so I wanted to get back to my book".
Jesus, do I know what Eva Beaver means. For the first three months of Kraken Junior's life she was a living, breathing book stand. Oh come on, I didn't know what else I was supposed to do with her. She may have been attached to a tit or a bottle at the time but she earned her keep by letting me rest Jane Ayre on her slowly fusing skull. If you shave her hair off you'll find a ridge, the width of a book spine, roughly near her crown.
Problem is that babies are boring. Really fucking boring. And I'm sorry but I don't subscribe to the Mothercare manifesto of gazing lovingly at my child for hours on end as a form of entertainment. Yes, babies are occasionally amusing and yes they do keep you busy but no, they are not a hobby or an intellectual pursuit. In fact, the first time I breastfed KJ I naively assumed it'd be a full hour of employment. Fuck me, was I wrong. It was ten minutes of wrestling my bleeding nip into her gob followed by 45 minutes of wanting to fill my own pupils with building sand at the boredom of it all. 
Books saved my rapidly curling bacon. In fact books provided the only real intellectual stimulant for the first six months of KJ's life because KJ as sure as fuck didn't provide it. Oh she provided drum-loads of mucus, shit blacker than an oil slick, vomit like yoghurt and an inspired reason for becoming deranged with sleeplessness but intellectual stimulation? No. I can’t say that was even a remote offering. 
Even now that she’s nearly five there are times when I demand that she shuts up for just five minutes, long enough to let me get to the end of any given chapter. Believe me, the merriment of Twinkle Twinkle wears thin after it’s been sung on a loop for four fucking years.
So thank Christ for the product of Sue Townsend’s fevered imagination. Eva Beaver has just entered my list of heroines at the number one spot. Babies? Books? Guess which one I’ll be having next.


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