Babies and Bumpers

I just got off a train at Hoxton and had that sinking feeling that I might have left something behind. What was it? I’ve got my keys, my card, my bag. Oh yes, shit! The baby! I left the baby on the train! No. No. It’s ok. He’s with his mum again. Phew.

It’s pretty full on looking after one of those little bastards. Never mind that they’ll shit in your eye if they can, they want watching. How people deal with them day in day out is a mystery to me. I take my hat off to my acting friends who have managed to make one of those little bundles and can still do their job. It can be achieved, which is heartening. Kerry, the mum, had two auditions today, and needed someone to take the bugger while she went in to audition for the part of “Girl who finds out she’s pregnant”. She was saying that having the baby helps stop her getting fraught with nerves before she goes in. He can smell it and doesn’t like it. But she can’t bring him into the actual casting.  If she can find someone to take him, the audition room becomes a little oasis of creativity where for a second nobody wants to drink you and you can do your job. I want my friends to do well, so it was easy to offer to take him. Hell, I’m happy to borrow a baby for a bit. They’re awesome. They look at stuff, and their feet are as active as their hands.

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It’s another good use of Facebook, crowdsourcing childcare. A few of my friends manage that way. It means they get to go to their auditions and meetings, and people like me get a temporary playmate of approximately the same mental age.

Babies usually look at me and laugh. I’m over it.

Elliot and I went to a park and laughed and made jazz music. I’d just had a meeting with my agent, so an hour or two of squawking and gurgling with the occasional (one sided) milk break was a better wind down than a beer, and healthier.

With a baby, London looks different. You notice all the other babies. You see where there’s space for a push chair. You love places full of soft furnishings with free milk on the table. Elliot and I hung out, looked at stuff for a while and made friends. Then I triumphantly returned him to his mother with all his limbs still in roughly the right place, and without having accidentally dropped him in a hole. Having spent a few hours playing “Who’s foot is that?” it was time for me to knuckle down and do some serious work. Unfortunately all the serious work was taken so I went to a little dusty soundproof box in Hackney and provided the voice of a bumper car. And not just any bumper car. The angriest bumper car in the history of bumper cars.

For an hour I stood there, apoplectic with rage, cross-eyed and bawling like a retired magistrate who’s never had to wait so long for a coffee in his LIFE. They had a huge condenser mic “Bump them! Bump them all!” I exhorted the pop filter. “Crush the fools.” It’s the sort of thing I’d do in the garden when I wasn’t much older than Elliot. It was strangely therapeutic. Now if I’m ever feeling angry I know I can go and sit in my angry bumper car and smash them all.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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