When things weren’t looking so grand, our world righted itself. In August 2001, Mort got a good job in his industry, our household shipment finally arrived and a week later Clare was born.
Someone once referred to Clare as ‘false advertising’ for babies, because she did all the right things a first-time parent could hope for. She slept through the night at 8 weeks, ate pretty much whatever she was given, was happy in the stroller, car or falling asleep in the middle of chaos around her. Things were good and Mort was hands-on with nappies, feeding, playing ……the vodka was no longer in the freezer.
At this time I met someone who will play a significant role in my life and this story.
I met Anne-Louise at a mother’s playgroup when our kids were about 6 weeks old. A bunch of first time mothers in a local area are networked together so that they can create a support/playgroup and listen to each others stories and take solace in the fact that “ok, I’m not screwing things up too badly.”
Anne-Louise and I shared similar values and ideas about poop, sleep, vomit and snot…..key mothering issues, so we would catch-up outside the playgroup. Unlike my baby with well-timed (and much appreciated) hypnomania, she was doing it hard as 4 am was not an uncommon start time to the day with her baby. But somehow she always managed to look like a ray of sunshine and maintain a fabulous upbeat personality….that is admitting it sucked but with a genuine smile on her face.
I used to call her Mary Poppins because we would catch up twice a week and being a first time mom, I would often forget ‘stuff’ that was needed for this extra little person that I was now carting around, but somehow Anne-Louise always had in her bag of goodies; sunscreen, nappies, nappy rash cream, baby wipes, teething cream, hand sanitizer, change mat, water, toys, teething rusks and snack packs….not just for hers, but magically for mine too. She always quietly came to my assistance, even though I had devoured a good 8 hours of sleep and she was running on the fumes of a couple of heavy-lidded moments of sleep snatches. Needless to say I liked Anne-Louise immediately and she has been in my life ever since.
Unfortunately nine years later, there just wasn’t enough in Mary Poppins bag to remedy a train-wreck.