If you’d told me several years ago that during the summer of 2016 I’d spend a whole morning, miming the action of pumping a tit to bemused looking, elderly ladies, on the other side of Europe, I’d have been dubious. Today this happened.
I was traipsing around Budapest in a desperate quest for a breast pump. From shop to shop I travelled, like J.R Hartley looking for a book on fly fishing, but with more nipples. And you know what? Not one person in any of the shops spoke a word of English! What on Earth are they teaching these people in the breast pump selling schools of Budapest!?
The situation repeatedly played out like this.
I enter a pharmacy/medical supply shop.
An elderly, gruff Hungarian woman stares at me blankly.
“Beszél Angolul (Do you speak English)?” I say.
“Nem (No)” they reply.
I do the only thing I can, and look them in the eyes pleadingly, whilst pretending to grab my imaginary tits and squeeze them.
Cue a furrowed brow from the gruff Hungarian lady.
My eyes become more and more pleading as my tit squeezing mime becomes more and more elaborate. On a few occasions they twig and answer me with a shake of the head. On a few other occasions they just continue to stare blankly. But, just like those man hungry Mounties, I eventually get my man/breast pump.
My search was all in preparation for my ladies finally returning home to our Buda Nest. Mila was born four days ago, but due to the particularly savage nature of the birth, Mila ended up hurting her collar bone and my wife dislocated her arsehole (or something like that). So they’ve been kept in until now to recuperate. Mila also needed a blood test as she was apparently looking a bit pale. Thankfully the results came back positive, with the midwife concluding that she was probably looking a bit pale because she was half British! What the…!? But today was the big day. They’d been given the all clear! My little lady and my even littler lady were coming home.
The message to come and collect them comes through and I’m overjoyed, despite the fact that it might disrupt my evenings, which over the last four days have consisted of me, a pair of underpants, a sofa, The Olympics and a bottle of wine. I jump in the car and race across Budapest to collect my girls.
Once at the hospital it becomes apparent that we now have an abundance of possessions that must go with us wherever we go. In the past, when we’ve hosted friends with children I’ve always been incredulous or sneerful, or both (sneerdulous?) by the sheer amount of apparent ‘shit’ that they’ve hauled with them. Sterilisers, little tubs of slop, numerous wheeled contraptions, bags, more bags, a few more bags just in case. Now, even before our baby has arrived home, I cast my eye at our car full of ‘stuff’ and begin to calibrate with their apparent madness. It was bursting at the seams with baby shit (not literally)! I make a mental note to do all that I can to stop this insanity in it's tracks. We need to be the kind of couple who put our flip-flops on, chuck the baby in a baby bag, grab our passports and toothbrushes and head to The Amazon. This may be wishful thinking.
We leave the hospital and drive home. Mila screams from start to finish. On the straights I almost reach twelve miles an hour. After what seems like several days (but was in fact less than twenty minutes), we get home and it hits us.
What the holy fuckety fuck do we do now?