The Sausage and the Dugong

There is another figure in our family bed these days, and it ain’t in nappies.
A friend lent me this long, boomerang-shaped beanbag, known among those of her pregnant friends who have been allowed to sleep with it as ‘The Sausage’. It’s quite good: you can drool on it all night and it won’t complain, or snore, or wake up crying and asking for apple juice. Best of all, it goes under the bump and whatever other protruding bits you might have so you don’t feel quite so dromedary-like.
I need all the help I can get at the moment. I don’t like to complain, much as my English genes instruct me to, but it doesn’t half get complicated when you’ve a rambunctious, 14-kilo, teething toddler on the scene and eight and a bit months of baby doing gymnastics inside your belly.
Bedtime involves me snuggling up with the boy, then remembering I get acid reflux when I do that, and having to contort myself into some strange position so he still feels I’m close by, yet tricking my body into thinking it’s upright. Then I extract myself from the bed, throwing off the torn and scribbled-on picture books that have accumulated on top of me, and swing one leg off the bed to the floor without pulling a muscle in my bum (sounds unlikely but believe me, it’s a right pain in the backside.)
Just as well I have a birth pool awaiting me, beckoning from its cardboard box in the hallway. I realise now why marine mammals are the size they are. A dugong, for example, can happily grow to 300 kilos without worrying about putting pressure on its groin. Although I am struggling to picture where a dugong’s groin might be. All this makes me wish I were a dolphin or a killer whale and didn’t have to bother with gravity so much, even if it did mean having to balance the occasional beach ball on my nose.
The absurd thing is I haven’t put on much weight yet, so with my preposterously protruding bump I remind myself of a watermelon in a tube sock. (Caveman told me the other morning I looked like a torpedo. I laughed so much I nearly went off.)
But life must go on, regardless of the bowling ball secreted in one’s gut. It must be some kind of divine irony that a woman in my situation has to work twice as hard to get things done, simultaneously undoing what the toddler had got up to, with half the energy and about a thousand times the usual levels of hormones.
Cooking with Cavechild is generally narrated thus: ‘No, don’t stick your fingers in the fish eyes! Yuk, don’t put that in your mouth! Hey, stop pulling my trousers down! OK, fine, eat it, just get out of the kitchen. No, bread knives are not for sawing the wall with…”
By the time whatever poor harassed dead animal is put into the oven, probably just as stressed as I am and grateful to be getting out of my way, the kitchen floor is covered in frozen peas and/or broken glass, my leg has been stabbed with pen marks, I am soaked from the bump down in dishwater and ready to burst into loud, despairing wails as soon as Caveman walks in the door.
There’s gravel in my shoes. I have bite marks on my bellybutton. I hear my phone ringing in a mysterious place: it’s been dropped down my top and is hiding in my bra. Shamsie has been given a new, angrammatic name – Smashie.
The good news is that there is always one sure-fire way to erase the stresses of the day and replenish the batteries: chocolate. I read somewhere about a study that found that women who ate dark chocolate every day in pregnancy had babies who smiled more by six months. So if anyone asks – I’m doing it for the kids.

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3 thoughts on “The Sausage and the Dugong

  1. Medina, I absolutely love this!! I’m laughing reading it but feeling your pain at the same time. It’s so unashamedly honest. Everything of the best for you in the weeks to come. May Allah make it easy for you, ameen!

  2. I’ve been there, for sure. I remember I’d hoist the toddler onto my bump and that’s how I could manage to carry him. Remember first pregnancies when we didn’t carry the grocery bag in because it weighed more than a kilo? Thanks for taking me back, I’ve just blocked out so much from my days in the trenches.

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