AKA She’s Not a Showgirl
When Mila was born my overriding memory is of being under bombardment by a fleshy little meatball who refused to let us sleep. A tiny human wrecking ball who entered our world and began to smash. It was overwhelming. Like a form of sleep deprivation torture where we spent two weeks confined to our home, hair unkempt, eyes wild and bloodshot, wondering what the fudge nuggets was happening.
As a consequence of this memory, and also of the birth (which was not unlike a Hungarian version of the opening twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan, but for hours and with more gore and no subtitles), I’ve been kind of dreading the arrival of Lola. Whereas before Mila arrived, the air was filled with the scent of nervous excitement, this time it has been filled with a sense of “Oh for fuck’s sake”.
So when, on Feb 19th evening, Zsuzsa interrupted a Skype conversation that I was having with my Dad, with, “Honey, I think my waters have just broken.” I was mentally preparing for a night of unimaginable horror.
“Oh. Think I better go Dad. Zsuzsa’s waters might have just broken.”
“Okay. Love to both. Hope it goes well.”
I hang up, and turn to my wife.
“Are you sure? Are you sure your waters have broken?” I ask.
“Um…I don’t know.” she replies.
“How don’t you know?”
“Well I was mopping the floor, but then I saw a puddle where I’d already mopped, and I was like, didn’t I just mop that up? So…I think I made the puddle.”
I take these words in, stroke my chin like a living manifestation of Rodin’s The Thinker and contemplate the situation.
“Hmmm. You haven’t just pissed on the floor have you?” I ask.
“Well…I don’t know.”
I stare at the puddle on the floor.
“You want me to smell it?”
“Okay. I guess you should ring the doctor.”
Zsuzsa picks up the phone and calls the doctor. An hour, a shower, a bit of hair styling, a sandwich and a lot of packing later and we are in the car, driving through the streets of Budapest preparing to meet our new pup.
I’m deep in thought. Zsuzsa notices.
“What are you thinking about honey?” she says.
“It’s my Dad’s fault isn’t it?” I reply.
“That you’ve gone in to labour. If I hadn’t have Skyped him you probably wouldn’t have.”
“I don’t think your Dad’s voice breaks water honey.”
“You don’t think?”
“I’m sure it doesn’t."
Fast forward a couple of groan filled hours. My beloved little wife is lying in a bath in the hospital, face contorted in pain. I’m holding her hand while a midwife and a doctor go about their midewifery/doctory business not too far away.
“She’s coming!” says the wonderfully named Dr Pop.
And then she came, and I tell you what. Seeing a little purple baby underwater, hair floating, it's fairly unsettling. Possibly the most unsettling thing I’ve seen since Steve Buscemi. Her tiny cries fill the air as she breathes oxygen for the first time, Zsuzsa is exhausted but overjoyed and visibly in love all over again.
So that was a week ago and now we’re back home. My three little ladies and I. Mila is of course besotted and, I think, all signs point to her becoming fiercely protective of her little sister.
“You know, I feel sorry for any fool who does anything to upset Lola in the future.” I say.
“Mila will come at them with a brick.” adds Zsuzsa with a nod.
Bizarrely it’s been a very different experience to when Mila first came home. Whereas Mila let us know, at every possible moment of the day that she was there and needed attending to, all little Lola Sienna Hutchins seems to do is sleep, only opening her eyes for a couple fo minutes every 24 hours. I don’t want to tempt fate, but so far, it’s a piece of piss! It’s a bit like owning a chilled-out pet tortoise that looks a little bit like the actor Wallace Shawn and loves to breastfeed.
The three of us stand over Lola, watching her sleeping peacefully, our mighty quartet finally complete. I turn to Zsuzsa.
“You think you want another one at some point?”
Zsuzsa growls at me.
I take it as a ‘maybe’.