Little Pea is almost ten months old. He is just like most other ten month olds, he is crawling, babbling (well, shouting), picking stuff up and throwing it (at me), eating in his own messy way, and generally becoming a sociable, playful little person.
Just after Christmas, Pea cut his first teeth. Since then, more and more have emerged, some more dramatically than others – two appeared during the week he was struck down with bronchiolitis and an ear infection – and now he has a mouth full of huge, white tombstones. And they are sharp.
Last week, while feeding, he bit me so hard he drew blood. For several feeds afterwards, I flinched as he latched on. It was not an experience I am keen to repeat.
Last night, he bit my eye. Well, not quite, but he brought his top teeth down on my eye-bag with quite a force, then sunk them in just a little more, as I was trying to grapple his hands out of my tangled hair and grab his squirming body to move him and his chompy little gnashers a safe distance away. Apologies for stating the obvious, but it hurt.
This morning with no access to a mirror, but my phone in hand, I took a picture of my bitten eye and was horrified by what stared back at me in my photo folder. Yes, there’s a bruise, but worse than that, the dark circles that I have grown so accustomed to having not slept for three years, are actually black. I look like I wandered into a boxing ring mid-fight and emerged utterly defeated.
The worst of it is, a have been going make-up free for the first time ever over the last few months. I don’t have time to slather on products that will make me look “glowing” or “dewy” or “youthful”, I have enough time to moisturise, darken my eyebrows and Eight Hour Cream my lips, whilst attempting to stop a crawling Pea diving head-first off the bed, consoling his heart-broken sobs at being left alone without a cuddle for more than a minute, keeping an eye on The Princess to make sure she is still watching something age-appropriate on iPlayer and hasn’t wandered off onto You Tube, and remember to put on deodorant (I often forget until it’s too late). That’s it. No concealer for my spot-scarred skin, no blusher to give a rosy glow, and no brightener for the newly-discovered black rings around my eyes. People must think the zombie-invasion has actually started when I enter a room, especially given that I rarely brush my hair. You’re now beginning to see why I stay clear of publishing pictures of myself, aren’t you?
Which brings me neatly onto a subject that I have been meaning to address for a little while, and when I saw my thoughts of regret written on Britmums, it made me resolve to put things right. You see, even before I was successfully rocking the zombie-tubby-mother look, I loathed the camera. I had a mental image of how I looked, and every photograph of myself betrayed that image. And not in a good way. Looking at photographs of myself would leave me feeling low, unattractive, and duped. Now, sleep-deprived and nearly two stone heavier, unable to squeeze into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes, with roots almost as long as the coloured part of my hair, I realise how silly I was. I was slim, always took care of my appearance, spontaneous, romantic, and always looking for something more, and I wish I had more pictures to show it.
Despite my new look (the Unkempt Trogladite, it will be all over Vogue next season, just you wait), I do not want to think back to these times when the babies were still babies, when we had free time with few constraints, while every experience is a new one for The Princess and The Pea, and have no physical memory of it. I need to be pictured with my children. I need to stop worrying about the extra 18 pounds I’m carrying, and maybe I need to find an extra five minutes to brush my hair and wiggle a mascara wand across my lashes. I definitely need to invest in some Touche Eclat, and most of all, I need to look into the camera at an angle that will disguise my numerous chins, smile, and capture these memories.