Day and night have blurred into an endless, formless twilight and time has lost all meaning. The rhythms of hunger and sleep have replaced the arbitrary units mankind imposes upon Nature. And things have taken a turn towards the surreal.
It started on Friday night when I woke Lizzie to watch the most impressive electrical storm either of us had ever seen. In every direction the sky convulsed, the lightning tearing apart the fabric of reality. The thunder claps rolled on top of each other in a continuous wave and the rain, when it came, was a foretaste of the end of the world.
Except Lizzie didn’t see it. Come the morning, she said to me, ‘Apparently there was a storm last night. I must have slept through it.’ So I’m now doing the night shifts. If she can forget witnessing someone crack open the gates of heaven, then she needs more sleep. Whether from tiredness or because I’ve been inducted into a mysterious dimension populated by shadows, and shapes, and the shadows of shapes, I’ve started to notice that the world is behaving a little odd: the inanimate, the animal and the Izzie.
When I make up bottles of formula in the night they scream at me like dying ghosts. The bedroom smells like curry powder for no reason I can grasp. A globe decided to jump off the window sill and roll down the stairs yesterday, denting the South Pacific and making a split across Asia. What does all this mean? Nothing, probably.
The animals are weirder. For some reason, the patio has become a cruising ground for earthworms, which at the moment are obsessed with sex. At 5.30 yesterday morning, a flock of seagulls descended on the street, and they were making so much noise I went out to scare them away, only to find they had opened the binbags and were spreading Izzie’s nappies all over the road. And our cocker spaniel Ozzie has become strangely suicidal, stopping in front of the pram every three seconds and asking me to run him over, or hiding under the sofa cushions as if he wants to be sat on.
More alarmingly, Izzie is doing things that I didn’t think babies could or should be doing. She’s beats me in stare-out contests and at eighteen days she’s already learned her first word: if you’re not making her milk fast enough, the hungry ‘ow-a, ow-a, ow-a’ turns into ‘now-a, now-a, now-a!’
I’m also starting to wonder if she’s in training to be a comic book supervillain. She dug her little fingers into my chest so hard the other day that she drew blood. If I’m cuddling her and she’s hungry she’s got a mean left hook on her. And while her farts smell like sulphur, her poo is like burnt ash.
The scariest thing was yesterday when I put her on my belly for some skin-to-skin. She put her feet in my belt, pushed herself up on her elbows and crawled up my body until she clamped her gummy mouth to my neck like a de-fanged Dracula. I moved her back to my belly; she wriggled back up to my jugular. Thank God she doesn’t have teeth yet!
I’m sure this sense of things being wrong with the world will dissipate like morning mist in the sunshine. Now I think of it, though, it might be less a case of tiredness and more the fact that when I was pushing Izzie round the village a few days ago, watching my feet so I didn’t trip up, I cracked the side of my head on a speed limit sign…