Ah, the joys of motherhood

Alison Berkley

I’m in England visiting my beautiful friend Cara and her beautiful boyfriend Ivan and their beautiful week-old baby in their beautiful 200-year-old house in a London suburb called Woking.I should probably be in central London right now on Kensington High Street buying a pair of vinyl platform boots or a polka-dotted minidress or doing my best Bridget Jones impersonation at Harrod’s or sitting in a dark, smoky pub with a giant mug of Guinness chatting it up with one of those tall, skinny, pale British types in black jeans and a studded belt and combat boots.But instead I’m sitting here in the ‘burbs watching Cara breast-feed while Perfect Boy slaves away in the kitchen on yet another organic dinner that involves quinoa and chickpeas and spinach and polenta-encrusted fish and carrot ginger soup. This guy makes Explore Bistro look like McDonald’s. I guess you don’t become an Olympic athlete by eating fried calamari at Genre and throwing back apple martinis every other day.Of course Nature Couple doesn’t believe in TV. So when they go to bed at 10 again tonight on account of being exhausted from the whole taking care of baby thing, I will retreat to my room and stay up all night long reading my one copy of Vogue and curse the invention of jet lag, though I’m sure it beats whatever those people who had to travel on those old-school boats went through.Cara’s baby is only 10 days old and three weeks early at that. She’s so small she doesn’t even look human yet. Not to be mean or whatever, but she has no eyebrows, hello! On the rare occasion she does open her eyes, her dark, oversized pupils still look sticky like her eyelids were glued together with rubber cement. Oh yeah and she’s super cute, especially when she cries.You would not believe the rigmarole involved in caring for this child. Bodily functions become part of everyday casual conversation, as in, “She spit up all the breast milk I just fed her, so I had to change her, and right when I took her diaper off she started to poop, but I caught it just in time and then she managed to pee all over me.” I get these updates often.Then I get to watch Cara whip out her boob at any given moment. Oh please, I know the whole single gal getting squeamish around her friend’s milky boobs is cliché. I can so totally see the, um, beauty of the mother and child union thing.It’s just that in the back of my mind I can hear my mom going, “Of course I didn’t breast feed. I don’t want some kid hanging off my tit! I’m not a cow!” And I’m wondering if maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. I try not to stare or act horrified, just smile casually and lovingly like I can’t wait for the day I get to milk my – I mean, bond with – my child like that.But seriously, it really is so touching to watch my friend and her Mini Tot and her Doting Lover Man share these incredible precious, private moments that make me want to say things like, “Um, excuse me, I just have to go push down my cuticles. Why don’t I get right on that and leave the two of you alone for a minute?”Devotion Man is so in love with Woman and Child he looks like he might explode at any second. I keep expecting to turn the corner and find pieces of him splattered on the walls and ceiling, an ear here, a hand there, eyeballs bouncing down the steep, narrow stairs, his raw heart still thumping at my feet as I try not to step on it.Of course Commitment Boy is not only good looking but also an Olympic athlete (oh, did I already mention that?), a six-time world champion canoeist, and an osteopath with his very own private practice, which is situated right here in the first level of this big, old, beautiful house. That way, he can just pop up the stairs to say hello to his gorgeous wife and baby (you may puke if you haven’t already) whenever he feels like it.The British accent routine makes everything he says even more heartwarming, as those cute little inflections seem to sugarcoat every word with Hugh Grant charm. “Ow’s my lit-el girl doo-in? Does she miss ‘er dad-ee?” Every time he speaks I want to cry like I’m watching the last scene in “Thelma and Louise” all over again.All the attention and gifts and having people make a big fuss over you all the livelong day almost makes stretching your body all horizontal like that seem worth it. There’s a constant parade of women who come upstairs to see Cara with the baby and coo and share the wisdom of motherhood while I sit there and pretend that I’m really only 14 years old and not able to have a baby yet.”Do yee have any bay-bees in yer fam-lee?” one of the ladies asks.”No, but I do have a 90-pound dog from hell. He’s a bit of a handful but he’s really good looking,” I say, trying to ignore the look of shock and confusion that seems to turn this kind woman’s face upside down. “Though I do understand that I had nothing to do with that – his looks, I mean.”Speaking of canoes, I’m thinking I had better back-paddle a “wee bit” faster. Good god. It’s no wonder I spend half my nights at home alone in the bathtub.Seeing these guys in their domestic bliss made me realize one thing. I so totally want to get home to my dog.The Princess is on sabbatical in Europe though she’s not really sure what she’s on sabbatical from. She just likes the way it sounds. E-mail your Aspen love to