Before Squidge was born, having a shower was a time of relaxation just for me. I would spend my time luxuriating in the hot water, steaming up the mirror and contemplating the big questions in life, such as how long a lie in should I have on my day off? What colour should I paint my toenails next? Why have crickets taken up residence in our bedroom when it is
a. the furthest room from the garden and
b. doesn’t remotely resemble the great outdoors.
The Squidge arrived and showering became a necessity to remove jam/mud/incessantly teething toddler dribble and I was lucky if it was something that I managed to fit in the daily routine of naps (mine and Squidge’s) feeds (mostly Squidge’s) and sitting on the sofa trying to work out which part of the house I should attempt to clean first. Gone were the heady, carefree days of having a shower when I felt like one and now my showering options as are follows.
- Getting up horribly early so that I can shower before Squidge wakes up (not an attractive prospect)
- Waiting until Squidge has a nap when I should really be doing other things, namely the pile of ironing that has grown so large it’s developed its own gravitational field.
- Leaving Squidge safely coralled in the living room while I shower as fast as as humanly possible, hoping that he doesn’t scream the place down in my absence and make the neighbors wonder if they should maybe call Social Services.
- Take Squidge into the shower with me and parking him at one end with his bath toys while fretting that I might stand on him during the eyes-closed-hair-rinsing bit, even though he’s sat at least three feet away from me.
I usually end up going for option 3 and now having a shower goes something like this.
I put on some children’s television for Squidge and give him a drink and a snack to try and distract him from the fact that I’m leaving the room and then try and sneak out while he’s busy covering himself in biscuit. Usually this fails miserably and he clocks me trying to leave before I’ve even made it halfway to the door. I then have to go back, reassure him that I’m not leaving forever (honestly) before trying again.
I have tried simply telling him that Mummy is going for a shower and that I’ll be back soon but I may as well be telling him I’m just popping to the moon. I eventually manage to leave the room and make it to the bathroom without a toddler clinging to my leg and run the shower while listening for any indications that Squidge is having a complete meltdown or has decided that destroying the living room is far more interesting that the latest CBeebies offerings.
Once I’m as confident as I can be that Squidge isn’t causing complete mayhem I jump in the shower and start washing my hair as quickly as possible, usually before the water is properly hot in order to save precious seconds before Squidge finishes his snack and the wailing begins. Gone are the days of luxurious shampoo and decadent shower gels; instead I grab whichever brand of shampoo was on offer in Boots and try and eek out the Clarins goodies my mum gave me for Christmas for as long as possible.
Part way through rinsing the shampoo out of my hair I hear a crash, the patter of little feet and my shower is interrupted by cold breeze and a gleeful shout of ‘Hiya Mamma!!’ In my haste of trying to escape the living room I’ve forgotten to put the bottom latch on the stair gate which Squidge has learnt how to open and so he’s abandoned the Octonauts to come and find me. I now have to try and finish my shower as quickly as possible while Squidge chucks toys into the bath and tries to pull the shower curtain down whilst giggling like the tiny fiend that he is. I pull back the curtain and try to grab a towel but not before Squidge has looked me up and down and burst out laughing at the sight of wobbly bits which definitely weren’t there before I became pregnant.
While trying to keep my towel from falling down with one hand and with the still giggling Squidge under the other arm I unceremoniously deposit him on the opposite side of the stair gate, making sure that I’ve absolutely, definitely put the latch on this time. Squidge’s giggles rapidly turn into wails as he realises that he’s being abandoned again so that I can indulge my clearly decadent and unnecessary habit of cleaning my teeth.
I then have to decide whether to take Squidge upstairs with me so that I can get dressed and dry my hair. On the one hand, he’ll stop bawling but I know I’ll spend as much time trying to stop him escaping out of the bedroom door and wrestling my hair dryer away from him as I will actually trying to put some clothes on. In the end I run upstairs, throw my undies and jeans on and then run back downstairs whilst putting my bra on and holding my top in my teeth.
So there you have it; my post-Squidge anything-but-relaxing shower routine.
Louise is a full time mum and a part time neonatal nurse who has battled depression for many years but particularly during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss.
In 2015 she was shortlisted in the ‘Fresh Voice’ category for the BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards and the ‘Bereavement Worker’ category for the Butterfly Awards. She was also one of the keynote speakers at BritMums Live reading’Twinkle Twinkle’ which was her account of caring for a premature baby on the day that he died.