My brother needed me to look after his youngest, a seven month old boy called Bobby. I stupidly let slip that I was taking some holiday time as I had to use up the days.
“Oh that’s great, you can mind Délámhach for at least a day.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Come on, Marie needs a break from the kids.”
“That’s not my problem!”
“Listen, you need the practise… you’ll thank me. I’ll drop him by at 7am tomorrow.” And then the prick hung up. Why do older siblings always think they can get their way?
Herself agreed with my brother that it was a great idea despite my fuming.
“I wanted to sleep till 11am and watch Netflix all day.”
“I think this will be great for you and Marie really deserves some time to herself.”
“So I’ve virtually exchanged my holiday time with Marie.”
“Come on Birdie, your Délámhach’s Godmother.”
“I can’t even pronounce his bloody name,” I huffed as I kicked the couch on the way to the bedroom to sulk.
The next day Délámhach arrived with ten different bags of stuff. My brother shoved the baby in my hands and hurled the bags into the hallway.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m Seán now. Just keep to his schedule.” He forced paper in my hand like your uncle forced money in your hand when you were a kid when your parents weren’t looking.
“The baby is worse than Mariah Carey.” But Johnn (yeah JOHN if you’re reading this fuck you and your faux upper middle class Irishness) didn’t hear my hilarious joke as he sped away with the other two children to school.
Breakfast was a shit show, he got more yoghurt on his face then in his tummy. Then herself joined the fray and calm as you like, she fed him effortlessly.
“Who’s a good boy!” I looked at them both with contempt.
“He’s doing that on purpose, showing me up.”
“Oh come on Birdie, he’s just a baby… ain’t that right,” she turned to smile at him and he smiled back confirming to her that he is a baby.
“Can you call in sick?”
“No, I can’t! Listen Birdie you need to grow up! He’s so adorable, just go to the coffee shop with him for a little while.”
When we got to the coffee shop every other person said how gorgeous Délámhach is, which he is, he’s got dark French features that are very exotic in pale Ireland. They all thought I was the mother and I didn’t correct them. I enjoyed the fame and Délámhach to his credit played along with my ploy as he lurched for my breast on several occasions.
“Oh hungry boy,” remarked one mother, then to my horror she said, “we’re part of a Mummies group, we’re just sat over there. Come, join us.” And I fecking did too. I felt like your one from the Hand that Rocks the Cradle. After I gave them a fake name for me and Délámhach I settled into nodding, smiling and listening.
“Mummy had a fight last night with Daddy, ain’t that right Lucy?” Baby Lucy just drooled at her Mummy.
“Well this Mommy is looking into divorce solicitors, ain’t that right Harry?” Baby Harry just devoured his carrot stick like it was a piece of prey.
“Jessica, tell everyone how Daddy thinks Mum has a drinking problem because I have the audacity to make his dinner everyday and drink some wine whilst doing it.” Baby Jessica stared at me and then let out a fart.
On and on it went like that. Mothers talking through their babies about their marital and addiction issues. I just stayed mute and eventually made my excuses to leave when they sensed I had not spoken through Bobby (his fake name) yet. Is this what awaits me?