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A boy child is born

Fortunately that is all it was – a nightmare

2.13 a.m.

I woke with a start a few minutes ago.

What I am about to write is the most horrible dream I have ever had.

Darlingest says she once had such dreams about me, and has had such nightmares about the children too. I hope it is a reflection of how close I have become recently, especially to TBT with whom I can now find I spent the entire day.

TBT is three, born on the morning of 111th June 1998

As he emerged I held his head and untangled the umbilical cord from his neck and with the next push I helped his shoulder through and held him as he arrived. Darlingest was on her knees at the end of the bed shoving for all he might, I gently passed our new born son (it is only then I discovered he was a boy) between Darlingest’s legs. (This, you might gather, was a home birth). Darlingest gradually turned over, umbilical cord still attached, and sat with this great bulbous lump of a thing.

The midwife arrived five minutes later

She was delighted with our progress. (I should add here that there were two ambulance men present. The first had covered one birth nine years previously, the other never – we didn’t let them help even if they had wanted too).

The midwife had to come over 30 miles

She is happy to let the moment last, to allow Darlingest to find her way. She may have tried to feed him, I’m not sure, I think both Mum and boy were too tired. I was offered scissors to cut the cord. The toughest of the grizzly, vein filled pipe-work surprised me. A few moments later the midwife ran a bath. By now the ambulance men have gone. Zozo and Nonna may have come upstairs. Perhaps they left it a little longer. The chord cut I found I was left with the little chap while Darlingest and the midwife retired to the bathroom. I propped myself up on a pillow and slept. TBT (it took another five weeks before we named him) slept in my arms.

I tell all this rather than the many fond moments we have had together since. As I have taken on the ‘Househusband’ duties I’ve seen a lot of him. I have become, Darlingest says affectionately. the one he wants to turn too. This is what could have provoked the dream. I’ve become exceedingly maternal. (I had the joy of having this for a short spell with Zozo too). Reading these diaries, especially the ‘Mrs Daddy’ stuff you’ll know how close we are and what fun we have together as a family.

Now to the dream

I will analyse it in due course. It comes out of a dream n which I am floating about the ocean, dolphin like, though sometimes cadging a lift on one of the quaint motor-cruisers. We could be anywhere, we might even be in the fake canals and lagoons of he Venice in Las Vegas. I only saw this because of the strange, bright shadowless like light the filled the world. I gather that one of the captains of a boat had been on was a TV executive of some kind.

Towards the end of this sequence he calls ‘Watch out Vernon’ or some such. I had been floating about amongst boats trying to moor and he may have thought I was getting in the way. I might have been on a plank or in a canoe at least – the analogy is pretty stark, though the mood of it all is open and happy. The dreams might be completely unconnected but seemed to segue into each other.

Death of a child – my child

I’m in a town, on foot, amongst the canals and tall dock side buildings of a less salubrious neighbourhood, there’s a bit of a Charles Dickens’s London about it, done up, or Amsterdam (though I have never been), even the quayside building of Trollhatten, Sweden where the last EAVE I attended was based. I am approaching such a building, four storeys high.

This town house is pleasantly and plainly decorated on the outside (here the reconstructed old square of Warsaw or the old square in somewhere like Amiens comes to mind). There is no glass in the window frames, it might be that we are just moving in. Importantly for what happens, each floor is a jumble of cardboard boxes and furniture stacked up over the lip of each windowsill. The second floor has boxes almost to the top of the single, large square windows (or window frames). Zozo (who is five) is on the ground floor, passing something through a window or climbing out of it. TBT (who is three) is above, about to do the same, he is perched on the top of one of the boxes leaning out of the window. The box gives way and he slips forward, for a moment he is caught by an ankle. His head points straight down the wall, he will certainly fall.

I am across the street, encumbered with something, watching this but unable to scramble and dive to his rescue. It’s as if I sense there is nothing I could do. I will never get there on time. I know he will fall and that the outcome is going to be nasty if I don’t catch him. I just continue to walk towards him, not daring to call out as he slips out of the window. I dash forward, I should have run over the moment I saw the accident unfolding. TBT hits the back of a bench beneath the window and falls behind it onto the cobbled stones beneath. I could draw the scene now. Paint the bricks, the bench (green gloss, faded, wrought iron frame, heavy wooden seat and back). I lift TBT straight up. Common sense says don’t move him, he may have a neck injury.

In my heart I know he is dead. I want to pull him out from behind the bench and clutch him to my chest. He is inert, his neck is broken and most ghastly of all one side of his head has been pushed in deforming his left eye and spoiling his beautiful sunshine face.

I yell out in pain and anguish. I wake with a start, disturbed by the sound of my own voice. I feel wretched. Alone. Broken

The aftermath

I am being vigilant. Getting in and out of cars, climbing on walls, at softplay, in the swimming pool. He leans over parapets in the multi-storey car par, insists on running along the tops of walls. At his age I had a long scar on my forehead, he has a short one from a fall against a concrete planter. At his age I fell off a harbour wall and landed on the deck of a fishing boat. A little older I slid off a breakwater at low tide. So I’m vigilant. He could so easily do the same, but not come off as lightly as I did. But he loves climbing. He’s strong and agile. Having climbed myself it is remarkable to see him swing, grip, tug, and heave with balletic agility and enormous strength. It could get him into a lot of trouble. We keep the windows locked at home, especially those on the third floor. Wish us all long happy lives!

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