A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post on how I wanted to get out and explore London with baby in tow, making the most of the time when she is small and portable. With hindsight, that post now seems slightly hubristic.
Last Wednesday, in keeping with my resolution, Sophia and I set off to Regent’s Park to enjoy the sunny weather, the blossom and the tulips. Which we did. Sophia loved lying on her blanket under a tree, watching blossom petals fall and the wind move the branches, changing the patterns of light and shade. I had a sandwich on a bench (possibly the thing I miss most about having a career which took me to work in a Central London office every day is the Pret sandwiches), and then, encouraged by how well things were going, I decided to potter down to Oxford Street for a bit of shopping.
Baby Gap and John Lewis both had ace sales, so Sophia acquired a couple of new outfits (yellow needlecord trousers are, clearly, irresistible, not to mention essential), and I went to Ben’s Cookies for treats for the rest of the family. When Sophia had a meltdown I fed and changed her in the family room at John Lewis – thank you JL, I love you. By then I’d noticed that the niggling little pain I’d had in my foot for the last few days had developed into quite a substantial ache. I downed a couple of ibuprofen and decided to get the bus back to the station.
By the time I got home my foot was extremely painful and starting to swell. By Saturday I could barely walk, and limped off to the local Walk-In Centre, where I was diagnosed with a probable stress fracture. After months of pregnancy-induced lassitude and then post c-section recovery, I’d started doing a lot of walking. Partly to get healthier, partly to get Sophia to sleep. Turns out that going from having your bottom permanently welded to the sofa to walking several miles a day pretty much overnight can damage your bones, ligaments, tendons, the whole caboodle. Proving once and for all that it’s far healthier to sit indoors scoffing chocolate than it is to go for a brisk walk in the fresh air.
The cure for a stress fracture is anti-inflammatory tablets which I can’t take because I’m breastfeeding, and resting with your foot up for 6 weeks. Easy-peasy when you have two children to look after and a house to run. Thanks to the incredible generosity of family and friends we’ve put together a rota to cover the school run and provide some help round the house for me, not to mention some interventions to stop me going stir-crazy at home all day with only a cuddly but distinctly non-verbal person to keep me company. But all those ambitious trips around London aren’t looking too promising for the next few weeks.
Actually, I don’t mind that too much. Other than the ill-fated Regent’s Park trip I wasn’t doing very well at fulfilling my resolution anyway. I’d been to Vestry House Museum, which is in Walthamstow, so hardly an expedition. Slightly embarrassingly, although I’d probably been to the garden there at least once a week since Anna was a baby, and we even had our wedding reception there, I’d never been to the upstairs galleries of the museum. So I did, and they’re very interesting. I particularly liked the recreation of a 1940s kitchen and the exhibits on life under rationing during and after WWII.
But truthfully, I’d been enjoying pottering round Walthamstow, long walks in the spring sunshine, coffee or lunch with a friend, playing with Sophia and generally revelling in life with a new baby too much to want to actually ‘do’ anything. Other than a rail jaunt round Europe of course. Unfortunately a lot of the pottering has to stop as well. And whereas I love being at home, a lot of that pleasure comes from cooking, baking, even doing a little bit of tidying. Well, sometimes. Sitting in enforced inactivity watching chaos unfold around me is frustrating, to put it mildly. Given that I have a pretty minor injury which will (hopefully) only affect me for a relatively short length of time, it gives me a renewed respect for people who struggle day-in, day-out with disabilities or life-limiting conditions, and a renewed appreciation for the importance of a healthy, functioning body. Just don’t do any exercise!