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Thom's Seed (part III)

About how Deirdre settles into Planet Mum. In Holland. With her baby, her boyfriend Thom, and all his seed.

Afbeelding blog 'Thom's Seed (part III)'

Yes. Just my luck, Deirdre thought. I'm so bloody lucky to be in Holland, with my very own, brand new baby.

It is almost exactly how she thought it would be. As she was breastfeeding Lilly by the side of her cot, she remembered how she broke the news to her mother, all those months ago:

"We're moving to Holland, Mother," Deirdre said. They were in a shoe shop, where her mother was trying out the Birkenstocks she simply had to have for her volunteering at the local hospital. To fit in with the nurses.
"Fantastic new, Deirdrs. What d'you think. Is fluorescent pink too rash?"
"And I'm pregnant," Deirdre added, just as Mother got up and turned her ankle this way and that in the mirror, her hideous sandal catching the light.
"Double-whammy. Well done, Deirdrs. Now, shall I get the Devil Red ones as well? I could even go all odd-pairs on them, shock the doctors a little," Mother prattled.
"But Mother, don't you see? It really IS going to be amazing. Thom and I will move into a glorious apartment, accessed by three Anne Frank-like staircases. Those super narrow ones. Stairs so small it's like they hug you to welcome you home, before you've even reached the front door. We'll overlook the canal with all the ducks, which at night lights up like a Christmas tree. Cute little houseboats line the sides, so I can make a trillion new friends and sip mint tea on board while the baby is sleeping on my lap. I'll learn Dutch at rocket speed, because, well, it's not rocket science, is it? And when Thom's back from work we'll stroll along the Flower Market, saying hello in Dutch to all the vendors, and really feel at home. Think how thin I'll be after birth; I'll just cycle everywhere. Cycling is socially accepted over there, you know, and oh! You and Dad and George can come over any time you want- our apartment has two spare rooms. And George loves cheese. Remember, Mother, how he used to sneak those cheddar bites from the pantry when we were little? Holland is filled to the brim with cheese. All sorts of cheeses. Even grass cheese. Ha!"

Except it wasn't quite like that. In fact, it wasn't like that at all.

Although the apartment was one thousand per cent how she'd pictured it from the pictures and videos she and Thom had studied prior to their Big Move, Deirdre thought it should have come with a Big Warning Sign stamped across the front that screamed 'NOT SUITABLE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN OR YOUNG MOTHERS WITH ANY FORM OF SMALL CHILD'.

Dragging her pregnant bump, huge arse and information-leaking head up on all those little steps day in, day out, had been like climbing a mountain with an orphanage strapped to her back. And now, taking Lilly out for a stroll was practically a one-hour boot camp session. Just to get her two-part pram downstairs was a professional mover's job. Add to that a live baby (apparently the law states you ought to keep them alive for a long as humanely possible), and a Mummy Bag bursting with a fortnight's supply of nappies, baby wipes, change of clothes and other baby paraphernalia, and she was basically an elite member of Special Forces.
And speaking Dutch? Ha. Forget it. Deirdre giggled when she recalled her initial optimism. Then, as soon as she learnt that 'ei' and 'ij' spell sounds she can't even produce, she realised roughly half a million words were already off-limits, so she might as well give up. Especially with that throat-scraping 'g', which, just to make matters easier, is sometimes spelled 'ch'. Luckily 'ou' and 'au' both sounded like 'now', so at least she could tell people she was a 'vrouw' (woman). The way she'd been looking lately, unkempt, un-scrubbed, and straggly, she knew it would come in handy on the day people mistook her for a man.

Did she have any outside help? No. The houseboat people turned out to be old Dutch people, who hid behind their potted plants, and spoke only five words of English. Her parents and George had yet to meet Lilly.

"Mother, when will you come over?" Deirdre asked with desperate tones.
"Well, Deirdrs, we may not have had the chance to see you, but we've thought about it a lot. And it's the thought that counts, isn't it? Cheer up, love. Now, I must dash. Doctor Hemel is going to give a talk on donor transplants, and I, as a most valued volunteer, have been invited! Such a clever man, that doctor. A genius. You should come along one day."
"Right, Mother. Ehm, give my love to Dad. I'll just go and find...ehm..."

Thom. Where was he? She looked around the apartment. It was a Sunday afternoon. She wanted to take Lilly out. As a family. Thom could lift the pram down and then they could walk to this museum on-
Thom was nowhere to be seen. Thom , Deirdre thought, Thom and his brilliant seed. Seed that had planted her here, in this horrible predicament.

"Mother? Are you there?" But the line had already died. Just as Deirdre's spirit had.

(Stay tuned for more entries on Deirdre's new life- and Thom's Seed.)

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