Friday, January 11, 2008


Yesterday was the Boy's birthday, a fact we had both forgotten until about 10am. I had planned just in case I had to have Eve early so had a present and card not only from me but also from Eve ready before I went into hospital. It was an unusual moment of organisation from me.

However, it seems distinctly unfair to not do anything to celebrate your birthday so I called Eve's godfather, G, to see whether he was around for a quiet drink in a bar not far from our flat. Incidentally, I managed this conversation while breastfeeding Eve - a master stroke of multi-tasking. (For anyone who ever speaks to me on the phone, best not to imagine that particular image next time we speak)

So, we had our first social outing. We would walk to the bar (about 30 mins), have a drink or two, and then taxi back to the flat. Sounded nice and simple. However, here began the logistical nightmare that is getting a baby out of the house.

The timing is the first issue. Eve has already fallen into a pretty good 3 hourly routine, but even then, knowing precisely when she would be fed and we could leave was an unknown until about an hour before we left. Then, we realised that unless everyone was on time, gulped down their one drink super fast and we had almost no conversation, we would be out when Eve needed feeding. For all of its many benefits, Hong Kong is not very breastfeeding friendly, so formula had to be made.

Which led us onto the second challenge, the sheer amount of stuff that you need to take out with a baby. Eve is only around 7lbs now, but once we had got the bottle with formula, nappies, changing mat, wipes, blanket, various different changes of clothes (in case she got too hot, too cold, too "last season") we had added about 4 times her body weight in extra stuff. Not to mention the buggy and car seat that we also needed to take.

It took us half an hour to pack for our tiny bundle of joy. At the end the Boy proudly triumphed "right, we're all ready to go", until I pointed out that he hadn't actually got a shirt on yet. Oops.

With hindsight, I was a bit silly in thinking I could manage a brisk 30 min walk just 6 days after major abdominal surgery and with tits the size and weight of basketballs. We made it about a third of the way until I needed a little sit down and we waited for a taxi. I will not be running any marathons, or even a 5k waddle, any time soon.

In the end, however, my daughter's debut into polite society went very well. She slept until she needed feeding, then fed quietly and happily, burped and gurgled a bit as I got in some of the first adult conversation I have had in a week (we discussed the recent Merrill Lynch write down, the price of gold, elections and the state of Hong Kong government).

And, I felt a strange pride as she behaved so well and was the angel baby.

Right until about 1am this morning, when she turned into the screaming banshee again.

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