Month: July 2007

Reading aloud

When the biscuity one was very small, during the long evenings in which sleep (hers/ours) seemed an impossibly elusive state, we rediscovered the pleasures of reading aloud. One of us would joggle, baby on shoulder; one of us would read, eyes straining against the gathering darkness. B finished his epic reading of Nicobobinus (started last year, but hampered by my habit of falling asleep mid-chapter). I read the The Means of Escape, drawing us into the strange yet complete worlds of Penelope Fitzgerald’s short stories. Both suitably surreal for the endless hours that had once separated night from day. But there was one book so painful and so funny, so connected to us that it appeared to have been transferred directly from life to the page by a process of black magic. I first read Rachel Cusk’s searing account of motherhood in 2002, at a time when, though I knew that I wanted a child above all else, it was still a comfortably distant prospect. I can remember compulsively gulping whole chapters even then, peering …

Falling through time

Of course, you need time to think too. It’s seven weeks since the biscuity one was born (no-one knows how she got this nickname — I can only think that I’m to blame) and, perhaps more fundamental than any of the more obvious shifts, is the way in which time has changed for me. There never seems to be enough of it to get anything done, and yet it pools in unexpected places –an hour’s biscuity nap can seem like an entire day — and loops back on itself through the endless cycle of feeds & changes, so that no one time of the day or night is, in essence, any different from any other. This circularity is something that you have to relax into, to embrace, in order to survive. Once you’ve stopped fighting the apparent speeding of time (‘but it’s only 2 hours since her last feed finished’), its rhythm becomes something soothing, something constant, something to savour. Instead of waiting for it all to end you find the spaces, the time to …