It’s 10am, and I’m snuggled up in the big double bed with Moe. If there is anything better in life than having a little morning nap with a lovely warm squidgy baby in your arms I’d like to know what it is. Outside it is grey and cold but I don’t mind. It makes being here in bed all the nicer.
I open my eyes so I can drink in Moe’s sleeping face. It is the vision of a soul at peace: his eyelids are perfectly still, his forehead smooth. His arms and legs are thrown out wide, like a tiny skydiver. I wish I could sleep like he does. There are a lot of things that adults could learn from babies, if only we didn’t keep insisting it should be the other way around. The problem is that to learn them you have to be patient, and you can’t be distracted. I am very impatient, and always distracted. If I don’t start paying attention soon, he won’t be a baby any more, and then it will be too late.
Poor Moe. He’s been the calm in the eye of the storm over the last few months. It’s only now I have calmed down a bit that I can see it. Curly and I have been whirling around with our worries about money, life, and each other. Larry has been whirling around with his scooter and his Tree-Fu-Tom martial arts routines. And all the while Moe has been quietly, unobtrusively learning how to live in the world. All the milestones I made a huge song-and-dance over with Larry – first solid food, first tooth, first crawl – have slightly passed me by this time around.
Perhaps that’s partly why I enjoy our naps so very much. They are my new guilty pleasure. Larry is now going to nursery every morning, which means that while Moe is asleep I potentially have a whole hour daily in which I do not have to look after any children at all. I have made many, many plans for that hour. I am going to completely redesign the garden, for a start. Paint the front door. Do a thorough comparison of prices at Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Asda. Oh yes, and of course make a start on the novel…
Every day as I walk back home after dropping off Larry, I run through my to-do list in my head. By the time I open the front door I am so exhausted from thinking about it that I need a little rest. So I have a cup of hot chocolate, put on my traccy bottoms, and then Moe and I get into bed.
The thing about having been through the Tunnel of Doom is that once you emerge, everything looks better and brighter than it ever did before. I knew all along that Moe was beautiful, of course I did. It’s just that a lot of things were obscuring my view. Now he’s here, right in front of me. I reach out and stroke his perfect plump cheek. His eyelid flickers. I draw my hand back; I don’t want to wake him up. I lean in so close that I can feel his whispy baby hair against my lips.
“I’m sorry, Moe,” I whisper, so gently it’s almost just a breath. “I’m so sorry my darling.”