The Unreliable Placebo

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“ON THE BABY’S knuckle, On the baby’s knee, Where will the baby’s dimple be?” sings Dennis softly as we watch Trixie. Monumentally corny. The song I mean, but terribly sweet nonetheless. Trixie’s making herself a nest of old jumpers and bits of blanket in the cupboard under the stairs and is shortly to give birth. Dennis dithered over getting her neutered and some opportunist, horny old tom got in there first.

Dennis leans into the cupboard to assist Trixie with a stubborn piece of blanket that won’t go where she clearly wants to put it. She purrs up at him and kneads the blanket.

I’m afraid I can’t help with all this birth preparation myself. Oh! Didn’t I say? The baby song was directed at me not at Trixie. At last I’m pregnant and not having much physical contact with Trixie for now just in case. My yin and Dennis’s yang must have hit it off. Straight away actually and the baby is due in four months, that is late October/early November, a little over a year from when I first went out with Dennis on that drunken, difficult first date.

Needless to say, there is wild and enthusiastic celebration in Baker’s Lane. Plans are being hatched, baby names discussed, bootees knitted, baby catalogues pored over and so on. Six child-proof stair gates have been purchased, that no harm should befall the treasured cargo I’m currently carrying. It is proposed to remove the living rooms to the ground floor, secure the first floor french doors with high-level locks and temporarily board in the lovely wrought iron balcony to provide for the safety of the precious offspring. Obviously to actually leave Baker’s Lane is unthinkable. The possibly rather unwise jumping of the gun simply cannot be contained. However everything seems to be going well. No hiccups so far.

Clearly, I am flavour of the millennium at Baker’s Lane. My parents, especially my mother, adore Dennis. I wonder what Michael thinks about this news which must surely have reached all points in Baker’s Lane by now. I hope he’s happy for me.

And I have a girlfriend with whom to share this enviable state. Justine, too, is expecting therefore the Love Doll must have had some balls after all. She is a month or so ahead of me, her broken leg all mended now and apparently having been no impediment to a fulfilling relationship. No doubt as a medic, Dr. Phil knew quite well how to handle that situation. Justine and Dr. Phil have been round for dinner and Dennis can’t quite make him out. However Dr. Phil does manly things like play golf and they have enjoyed a few rounds together. Justine says that in fact he used to be rather a ladies’ man. I can sort of understand that. His soft and gentle, non-threatening manner must be attractive to a lot of women. But now he has eyes, large ones of course, only for Justine. He and Justine are busily selling his campervan and her flat to buy a family home. It seems as though it is all settled.

I’m still deciding whether to go back to work after the baby is born. I’ve given notice that I will to preserve my position but I don’t know. Women who’ve returned to work soon after their baby’s births have said that it’s like being hit over the head by a large mallet. Nothing could have prepared them for it with all the emotional trauma, the physical difficulties, trying to keep up breast-feeding, not to mention the unsympathetic attitude of male colleagues.

I’ve told Dennis about Sheila and the Ermintrude jibes. He didn’t want me to return to work anyway. After hearing this, he’s dead against it and I probably won’t. There’s no need financially and we’ve both waited so long for this baby. We want to have some more if possible. We’d like to fill our old rectory with screaming kids running around. I’m not at all keen on almost immediately delivering the baby into the hands of some stranger. So, hey-ho, I think I’ll be a stay-at-home mum, for the time being anyway.

There’s little else I can tell you really. I had a horrid and hysterical call from the Arsehole’s mother telling me I was a faithless whore. How people can get their moralising quite so off course I don’t know. I’m glad to say that’s been the only blip. The divorce, house sale and financial settlement are almost done.

It’s late, so Dennis goes to the kitchen to wash before coming back and taking my hand and we walk upstairs. Perhaps by the morning, our current family of three will have expanded if Trixie gives birth overnight. Most births people tell me come at night. However, I am trying not to base things any more on expectations and to just let events happen. Prior information, I have found, doesn’t necessarily help. Sometimes it hinders. Or else it doesn’t make any difference in human relations at least. I have metaphorically flushed the unreliable placebo down the lavatory and there it may remain.


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