Tuesday, 8 April 2014

ENTRY FIFTEEN - CINDERELLA


I used to think working art fairs was hard graft. The long days on your feet, the endless chitter chatter. Repeating ad nauseum the ever so slightly awkward pas de deux of selling art. A balancing act that requires finesse, charm and a large dollop of persuasiveness.

Compared, however, to the infinitely challenging, exhausting and nonstop circus that constitutes mothering, an art fair seems more like a holiday. I speak from experience as I recently dipped an eager toe back in the world of work, via an invitation to help out on the Dadbrook Gallery stand at the Affordable Art Fair. Having been off work for six months I considered the prospect with excitement and a fair amount of trepidation. Would I still be able to hack it? Did I still possess the brass balls and endless craic (Irish banter) to flog art to an unsuspecting public? Would I still relish the thrill of the hunt, pick up the scent and go in for the kill??? The answer dear reader is a resounding yes. I found myself flung right in the deep end on opening night, arriving at the stand to find it packed deep with wine sipping connoisseurs. Wasting not a second I charged into the ring like an eager bull, salivating at the sight of the matadors red cloak. Those poor old punters didn't stand a chance; my art-selling blood lust was insatiable and I relished every moment, racking up several sales and charming the pants off anyone within range. I only came down from my high when I realised the hour of nine had come and gone. Cinderella had promised Prince Charming she would be back for ten, so off she trotted through the night-scented Battersea Park, a song in her heart and her spirits twinkling like the stars. 

As I sat on the homeward bound train I felt like I was glowing with satisfaction. I felt revitalised, engaged, complete. Now this is a tricky one. Having Felix and being a mother has been the most incredible, rewarding and important thing I have ever done, but as I gazed at my reflection in the window I remembered the other Kat, the one who had joyfully stepped out of the wings to shine again that night. The poised, professional Kat who is fearless and bold and works the room like a Grande Dame works the stage. Damn, I was good at this! And I had missed it, missed it immensely without actually realising it. Motherhood is so immersive, particularly first time round, that you become snow-blind. Your whole focus changes; from looking outwards to your career and social life your gaze shifts inwards, into your new family unit. All your protective and nurturing instincts concentrate your gaze into your lovely, wonderful, terrifying new baby. Wellies replace heels, jeans replace dresses and late nights come to mean something very different. Hangovers become crippling, impossible, regrettable. You find yourself picking up yesterdays outfit from the floor (knickers still tucked into jeans) and thinking 'This will do fine'. Gone are indulgent shopping trips to pick up a few shiny baubles. Instead you find yourself buying clothes hardwearing enough to withstand the endless onslaught of motherhood, while daily trips to stock up on dummies, Aptimel and nipple cream become the norm. 



That night, as I gazed down at my saucy red boots and black fishnets, I felt like shrieking with laughter. I saw how the disparate parts could become an integrated whole once more. 'Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'm every woman, it's all in meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' sang Whitney Houston before she became an unrecognisable crack slave with no teeth, that kind of woman we can do without, RIP Whitney. As I sat on the train, nestled amongst tipsy commuters and teenagers lost in Emo dreams, I glowed like a lamp that has been off for too long. I had found my switch, and boy did it feel good. As the train rumbled over Barnes Bridge bound for Chiswick, I felt the overpowering urge to see my baby, to hug him tight and hold his chubby legs and wipe his dribble and kiss his sweet wonderful face. I was like an elastic band; I had stretched as far as I could in the opposing direction and now I was snapping back, ever faster and more urgently. Reunited with my bike I peddled home as swiftly as my legs would take me, knees freezing in the chill night air, and as I sailed down Park Road I whooped out loud, startling a night walking man and dog out of their wits. I was the luckiest Cinderella in the whole wide world; not only had I gone to the ball but my very own Prince Charming was waiting for me at home. I had fitted together the jigsaw pieces of my being; mother, gallerist, friend, partner, daughter; a myriad identities flowed together like a river fed from many streams, and I felt the life force coursing through my veins.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

ENTRY FOURTEEN - HARVEST MOON

The night Felix was born was a Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. All full moons rise shortly after sunset; but the harvest moon is unique as for three or four days it rises almost immediately after the sun dips below the horizon. This gives the Harvest Moon its evocative name; for several days there is mystical handover from sunlight to moonlight, a drawn out twilight that grants the farmer extra hours in which to continue the harvest. The Harvest Moon is an impatient devil, eager to pop up and join the suns party, chasing him through the sky like a playful dog.


The night my labour began was a Friday 20th September, the first night of the Harvest Moon, and ended in the wee hours of Sunday. The horrors experienced in between can be read in Entry Five To Tend a Rose, but whilst all hell was breaking loose the Harvest Moon shone as bright and ripe as a silver plum. It is thought that a full moon causes a spike in births, and many midwives will testify to the fact that more women go into labour on the night of a full moon than is strictly standard. Thus it stands to reason that on the nights of a Harvest Moon this effect would be stronger still. Certainly, the night I was desperately trying to evict Felix from the womb there was an unusual rush of births at the hospital, specifically of women needing emergency Caesarean sections. Both operating theatres were in full swing for over eight hours, an almost unheard of occurrence or so I'm told, meaning no anesthetist could attend my bedside. One came very close; at one point actually reaching the door of the room in which I writhed and moaned, but was immediately called away to another emergency. Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that these women needed relief more than I did as they were about to be cut open, but when you have been in a back to back labour for over 24 hours it is impossible to appreciate the more pressing need of others.

All this talk of moons cannot obfuscate the fact that this is my attempt to continue, perhaps to speed up, the process of grieving for my birth. To share my continuing pain and sadness and reach others who have also suffered. To try to rid myself of the memory of insufferable pain, a memory which still hangs red raw and dripping like a freshly butchered carcass. I have shed a thousand tears and yet still there seem to be oceans more. The weight of this experience crushes me like no other, and I am left baffled as to how to rid myself of its dragging claws and heal the wounds it has left. As my consultant told me weeks later, there is no pain that compares to it. It is without equal, a whole body pain that grows and swells and mounts and pushes and pulls you till you are beyond thought. Pain exacerbated by the fear of more pain.

As I waited and prayed for respite on the delivery bed, fear was my constant companion. The presence of my most loved and dearest could not alleviate it, I was alone and trapped within a suffocating cocoon of dread. The memory of that fear haunts me like a malicious wraith. It breaks my heart to say there was not a single moment of excitement, of elation, of impatience to see our son enter the world. I simply wanted it to be over, and I feared I would die before it was done. When I hear stories of better births, painful but beautiful, I realise how black my experience was, and I cannot help but feel a keen sense of loss. And yet from the depths of darkness comes light; for when I look at Felix, his beaming smiles and burbling laughs seem to contain all that is good and pure and bright in the world. Every blossom laden branch he marvels at, every swooping bird he blinks at, every time he grabs the cats tail with a squeal of delight I marvel at the miracle of his creation, and my heart swells with love and wonder. 

Six months have passed; six full moons have risen and shone. Time has started its gradual process of erosion, nibbling stealthily at the rock on which I founder, but the process is slow. I cannot move on and say 'Hey that happened to me but I'm over it'. I'm not, and I suspect many women who experienced traumatic births feel the same but are afraid to say, fearful of being dismissed or told in partonising tones, 'Yes, but wasn’t it all worth it?'. 'Of course' I feel like screaming 'Of course it was worth it, but only just. Only just'. As for having more children, I cannot entertain the notion in any serious way, not yet. Maybe at some distant point in the future. Maybe not. Felix may remain the only chick in the nest, and all the more precious for it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

ENTRY THIRTEEN - THREE LITTLE PIGS

Nearly three weeks have passed since my last post. Is it the curse of thirteen, a writers hex that has obfuscated my literary drive? Not since entry seven - Bringing up Baby - have I struggled so hard to compose a coherent article. 

Much has happened in the past weeks that has kept me otherwise engaged. You see - at age five months - I have started weaning Felix, a whole month before the suggested six. Bring out the rack and the thumb screws folks, this mother has gone against current medical advice! Why? Well Felix is a brute of a baby; chunky, long and strong. He has been fascinated with food for ages. His hand eye co-ordination and neck control are excellent and he is exceedingly curious and agile. I mention this as he ticks most of the boxes that indicate your child may be ready for 'early weaning'. Despite this I have been advised both by my GP and by the ladies at the baby clinic not to start weaning. 'The WHO states that babies should be fed exclusively on milk till they reach six months' they have repeated like a mantra. My 'Yes buts' have been met with derision.

There is another reason I've started weaning early. Since Christmas Eve Felix has been refusing the breast; only now and then to begin with but in recent weeks more often than not. I have found this deeply upsetting and have sought desperately to find the reason. I have pined for the contact with him, the unique intimacy of nursing mother and baby, and have struggled to control my anger and resentment as he seizes on the bottle with urgency. Try to imagine the person you love most in the world choosing a plastic model of you over you, though you are side by side and offering yourself. Heartbreaking. And then one day about two weeks ago I had a Road to Damascus moment. He was bored of milk. It was as simple as that. He had just refused the breast again, making it almost a whole weekend without, and I was sitting and expressing from my painfully swollen boobs while my partner fed him the blasted bottle. I may have also been crying tears of self pity and loss, trying to reconcile myself to the end of our special time of intimacy, when I had a blinding flash of understanding. My motherly intuition spoke up loud and clear. 'FEED ME' 

And so I found myself grabbing an apple from the bowl, peeling and cutting
and boiling and mashing it, approximating a high chair with a Bumbo and a kitchen chair, and gingerly feeding him apple mush. As the first spoonful entered his face registered surprise. 'Stone the crows mate, what the heck is this stuff?!' his inexplicably Aussie voiceover said, and a large quantity of mush was expelled back out. His mouth moved awkwardly, unsure of what to do with this strange new substance, but within a few spoonfuls he started to get the hang of it and lean forward in eagerness, mouth wide open like a hungry chick in the nest. Within a couple of minutes the bowl was empty and he was smiling with delight. Bingo. 

Since then Felix has enjoyed sweet and normal potato, courgette, pear and carrot. Week two I've become braver and gone tropical; cantaloupe and watermelon, avocado and banana, all have disappeared down his gullet with gusto. I've veered slightly off menu; melon for example is not on the sanctified 'first foods' lists but he's guzzled it with evident delight and so far there have been no bad reactions. I've also discovered baby rice and baby porridge, perfect for thickening a runny puree or just mixed with a bit of milk. Having always avoided blenders - who has time to wash all those bloody parts?! - I've fallen madly in love with my new hand blender. Watermelon and blueberry smoothie for me, Felix and my mother this morning...boom! 

And what of the boob crisis? I'm happy to report that he is back on the breast, the timing co-inciding perfectly with the introduction of solids. It may seem contradictory, but for me early weaning has solved the problem. Mr Milk -  as we've been calling him since he was tiny - is becoming Mr Mush, and mummy is enjoying our last few weeks of breast. I know I'll have to stop eventually; I don't want to end up like the character on Little Britain 'BOOOOOBY!' but in the meantime I rejoice in our special time together, even as the end draws nearer. What makes it even sweeter is that by listening to my motherly intuition, by tuning into Radio Felix, I made the decision that was right for us. Mr Mush is happy once again, going smoothly from boob to bottle to purree to porridge, equilibrium restored. 

One final word on feeding while I'm on the subject. Formula milk seems to be the Botox of the baby world; everyone's on it but no one wants to admit it. Aptimel is a dirty word in breastfeeding circles and NCT groups, and yet it seems to me that the majority of couples are topping up. In fact I know of only two women out of maybe twenty that are able to regularly produce enough milk to completely satisy their baby. I'm not one of them, and we've been topping Felix up with formula pretty much from the word go. Not only has it not harmed him, he's in ruddy good health - slap bang in the middle of
I drink formula...do I look unhappy?
the 75th percentile. That may or may not mean anything to you, but I'd like to put out there loud and clear that it's OK to feed your baby formula! Let's break down the wall of silence and suspicion that surrounds it. Yes, breast is best, but we don't all have the milk capacity of a herd of prime hiefers. Combination feeding is increasingly the norm and there are many benefits; your partner, mother or mate can prepare and administer an entire feed while you sleep (or go out to the pub!) and you know your baby will be happy and full. Nothing compares to breastmilk, with it's infinate complexity and specific tailoring, but recent research suggests a baby needs only three ounces daily to get all the goodness and immunisation it provides. The rest is merely making the nappy wet. So for the love of God can we please stop beating ourselves and others up about topping up, and let the formula out of the closet! 

Friday, 21 February 2014

ENTRY TWELVE - BRING ME A DREAM

There are few things better than having your baby asleep peacefully in the next room. Not because it's preferable to having them awake - though this may occasionally be true - but because you know you have done your job.

Sleep. Only a parent can understand the sheer gravitas of slumber. We've had our fair share of shattered nights and I have shouldered much of the burden of night feeds, but in general Felix has been a good sleeper from the outset. I credit this largely to him being in a solid routine and to the tactic of feeding in enough milk that it's spilling back out of him by the end of the feed. Empty belly, no sleepy. I know couples who have really battled with the issue. With babies who simply would not sleep, or would only sleep in the day, or in twenty minute intervals. Others seem to have acquired babies who sleep right through the night from 8 weeks onwards, which to me seems nothing short of miraculous. Felix is somewhere between the two. Always able to manage a stoical four hours, occasionally batting it out of the ballpark with a massive eight.

Sleep. Only a parent can appreciate how precious it is. I'm not talking about baby's sleep but yours. Having a baby throws a giant spanner in the lie-in factory. Suddenly a lazy morning constitutes anything after - or even near - 8am. Languorous days spent in bed are a distant memory, and occasional late nights out are severely punished by sleep deprivation the following day. 

I recently awoke to a room filled with the clear light of morning and an unfamiliar sensation of well restedness. Had I fed him and forgotten? Nope, a full bottle glared at me from the dresser. An avalanche of fear swept over me as I leapt from the bed and peered down into the cot, every nightmare scenario playing simultaneously through my mind. The sight that met my eyes was the sweetest imaginable. A pair of sea-blue eyes twinkled back at me and his little body wriggled with pleasure. 'Hello Mummy' he seemed to be saying, I'm awake and it's a new day and it's lovely to see you! At that moment I swore I would never again complain about lack of sleep, that I would try to celebrate every waking up and give thanks to God for a happy, healthy baby whose evident delight in seeing me is a tonic to the soul. This resolution, however admirable, does not mean I feel less tired. There are days when a dull ache squats behind my eyes like a sullen toad. My solution, perhaps paradoxically, is exercise. Not a day goes by that I don't take Felix for a walk to the park or down the river. Weather conditions recently have been extreme; mighty winds, sudden storms, vicious hail and drenching rains have been punctuated by bursts of brilliant sunshine. One day I saw not one but two rainbows. Any day that has two rainbows is a good one. 

Sleep. Perhaps ironically I dream of it. Now and then, when Felix sleeps through the night, I savour the feeling of having had a full nights worth as a sommelier would a fine wine. Yet no vintage could taste as good as sleep feels. Oh the sweet caress of the duvet, the yielding softness of the pillow, the sheer relief of being horizontal. Mr Sandman, never was a dream so sweet...


Monday, 10 February 2014

ENTRY ELEVEN - LET'S GO FLY A KITE!

For our conjoined birthday we organised a weekend away to Easter Cottage in Rye, East Sussex. Having curated a select group of friends including baby Teddy, offspring of Wicki, we set about the challenge of integrating two young babies into a weekend of drinking, debate, and late night jamming. Perhaps surprisingly, these conflicting elements slotted together as neatly as jigsaw pieces.

As enjoyable as sitting around discussing the application of anthropology, making vast communal shepherds pies and consuming our own body weight in cheese and port undoubtably was, the highlight of the weekend for me was always going to be our trip to Camber Sands. This beautiful sand dune backed beach is a short drive from Rye and a world away from the creature comforts of the cottage. 

By Sunday I had about as much rich food and conversation as I could take; what I needed was a brisk and bracing walk along a windswept beach. Babies strapped into holders we left the relative safety of the cars and entered another world. Waves crashed on the hard golden sands, wind whipped through the grassy dunes, and the smell of brine was strong in the air. Clutching our takeaway teas we made our way onto the beach, buffeted by powerful offshore winds that tore at our hair and reddened our cheeks. 

It was a perfect day to fly a kite, especially a bold box kite in triumphantly luminous rainbow colours. It had been years since I had flown a kite, and I was unprepared for the sheer wonder of it. On a count of three Natalia threw the kite into the air and it soared immediately, taut as a guitar string. Up up and up it flew, and with it my spirit. We reeled it out till it was just a day glo dot in the sky above and when I grasped the handle I was shocked at the power of the wind. Oh what energy, what joy! KITE!!! 

I raced down the beach clutching the handle firmly in both hands, wellies stomping through the shallows, yellow mac bright as a buttercup. 'Yippppeeeee!!!' I screamed as the kites vivacity flowed through the string into my heart. You would have to be made of stone to resist the lure of a beautiful kite on a sunny day, and as I ran past people stared up and smiled. They pointed into the sky and laughed as their dogs barked, crazed by its fluttering shadow. The kite flew as high and proud as a flag, a beacon of brightness against the forget-me-not sky. My heart raced with sheer joy and laughter bubbled out of me. I was a woman mad with kite. 

And Felix? What did he make of all this? Well as it happened he slept soundly through the majority of the action, cushioned cozily in daddy's coat. But later on, while the group lolled in a beachfront cafe gorging on fresh donuts and sheltering from the wind, I took him out for a walk. Forming my body into a shield I sat down on the sand facing out to sea. His face shone with interest as he took in the pounding surf, cheeks and nose growing ruddy with the briny wind. His amazed eyes reflected the ocean; a thousand shades of blue dancing with the waves. His mouth formed an O of wonder and I clutched him closely to me. Back in the car he laughed
uproariously. 'He he he' he giggled, body wriggling with pleasure, shoulders shaking with mirth. It was a laugh born of exhilaration, bobbing on waves of delight and discovery.

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me". Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

ENTRY TEN - BABYMOON

They say the first month is your babymoon. I disagree. The first month is a not entirely pleasant blur. The pain of labour and trauma of birth. Hospital. A tiny wrinkled baby that is now suddenly your constant responsibility. The reality that you're likely to be struggling to sit up, that stitches may be all that is holding your nether regions together, especially if it's your first baby.

Home. Now what? Your partners leave is all too brief and then off they trot back to work. Hi Ho Hi Ho and all that. And there you are, all alone, at home with your newborn. Shock. A whole day may pass where you barely leave the bedroom. An endless cycle of feeds and changes and snatched sleep and meals for you. Where pyjamas become the new daywear. Before you know it a month has passed and you're no longer a complete novice. Feeding, changing and burping can all now be done in double time, and exhaustion has become a permanant state of being.

The second month you're settling in. You're even starting to own it a little. Motherhood. You've gotten the hang of unfolding your pram (hopefully) and have established a little route for your daily walk. Your battle scars are healing (hopefully). You are starting to understand your baby and experience occasional blinding glimpses of insight. Your motherly intuition is tuning up, gradually and with infinite precision, like a mighty and precious organ. 

By the time the third month rolls around you're in cruise control. At least some of the time. Both you and baby have had your six week checks and with any luck are on the road to recovery. Baby is starting to hold their head up, a fact which marks a massive change in how you handle them. Their little body is filling out like bread rising; spindly legs grow chubby and strong and cheeks become rounded and rosy. Delightful rolls of baby fat appear around their thighs and their neck, and their skin takes on a powder-puff softness that demands a constant rain of kisses. Your baby is officially no longer a newborn but has become an infant.

Three months was a turning point for me. A picture swimming into focus like an old fashioned photo in a tray of developer. It was the first time Felix laughed, a tentative chuckle that seemed almost to startle him. It was also when the babbling started, a gutteral primative bubbling monologue, his tiny tongue moving around the mouth exploring the sounds. Copying my lips. Felix is no longer a tiny baby but a very small and perfectly formed little boy. His face is his own. He has lost the slightly odd squashed look of the newborn. His nose has become a perfect button and his blue eyes have widened, framed with curling blonde lashes. With his pink puffy cheeks and downy new hair he has become overwhelmingly, crushingly cute. I find myself clutching him in a hug that I never want to end. His body brings me sensual delight unlike any other I have experienced.

It is not only Felix who is developing however, mummy is also on her own journey of discovery. Our bond has strengthened and deepened, like an anchor on a thick chain of iron. Even the slightest pull registers. We have become synchronised, and I can read his cries like a menu. Tired, hungry, bored. Whingy. The honest and high pitched screams of pain. I am perfectly attuned to him; like a broken radio I am stuck on a single station and I wouldn't have it any other way. I stand and watch him sleep, his cheek a mellow curve of wonder. Like every other foolish mother who has ever walked the earth I creep into the room and put my ear to his mouth just to make sure he is breathing.

At just over four months Felix is simply the most splendid creature that ever lived. I have become a devoted, doting, lovesick mother. I adore him. I caress him. I protect him. Bizarre morbid thoughts pop up like molehills on a perfect lawn. I imagine scenarios where someone wants to harm him and I plan my grotesque revenge; how I will pull them limb from limb and tug out every strand of hair before setting them alight and watching them burn. I am like a layer of ozone, every molecule of my being aches to protect and care for him. If he is restless I am too. If he doesn't want to feed I become distraught and cannot relax till he is fed and happy. Far from finding them disgusting I await his poos like precious gifts, and I praise him for them. I clean him and comfort him and sing to him. I sterilise and wipe and massage and change and carry. I spend hours staring into his sweet face, smiling and coaxing out laughter. I try and fail to let him cry for long; every sob and gasp tears into my heart like a lion bringing down its prey. His pain has become my pain and cannot disconnect myself. I cannot untune my radio. I have become utterly stuck on a single station called Felix, and I love it. As they used to say on the good old pirate radio 'don't touch that dial'. We're on our babymoon folks, do not disturb.

Monday, 13 January 2014

ENTRY NINE - MUMMY JEANS

Something very odd happened recently. I bought a pair of ordinary jeans. 'Medium rise' pale blue skinnyish jeans. Having thought of myself as a low rise girl since the 1990's I recently made the disturbing discovery that they are too low for mummydom. They gape too much at the back and let cold winds penetrate as you bend over. Builders crack is not a good look with a pram...too close to original pramface for comfort. 
  
My new jeans are perfectly pale, the pastel soft hue of the Mediterranean at dusk. They are made of some kind of uber soft lightly brushed denim and are deliciously comfortable. They sit in the perfect place between my knicker line and my bellybutton. They don't pinch. They caress my buttocks softly like a sensitive lover. They look great with my yellow wellies, naturally.

Friends who know me well will be surprised by this admission. I've never been a jeans and tops kind of girl, not since I was a teenager. It pays to know your assets and I've always have a cracking pair of pins. Never one to hide my light under a bushel I have paraded these shamelessly. Tights in the winter and bare legs in summer. I love a dress. A single, ultimately versatile piece of clothing. What could be easier? I find women who claim to hate dresses odd creatures, and I resent the assumption that if you wear a lot of dresses you are somehow less thrusting, less serious. A dress can be the ultimate weapon; the right dress makes everything possible. But I digress. The point is that in the last decade I have rarely been seen in jeans, especially not sensible, medium rise, mummy jeans. But there is absolutely no way that you can breastfeed in a dress, unless it's some kind of maternity number. You cannot pull your dress up to your chest and whop out a boob. It's just not the done thing. And pulling your neckline down to feed would look equally odd. No, I have discovered that you simply don’t want to be wearing a dress if you are regularly breastfeeding your baby. 

My many dresses droop forlornly on their hangers like flags on a windless day. They know this is not their time. Instead I have found myself wearing the same pair of jeans on a daily basis, chucked on with wellies and mac ready for bracing park walks. I had to bite the bullet and admit the truth. It was time to buy a pair of mummy jeans.

I agonised over this purchase the way women agonise over their wedding dress. How would I find a pair that fulfilled the demanding brief; practical yet flattering, comfortable yet stylish. What I needed was a pair of jeans that transcended the fickle demands of fashion, that were classic. Jeans that whispered milf, not fashion victim. That channeled Cindy Crawford on the school run. The kind of jeans the sexy Guess girl would wear on her day off. Not too tight, not too baggy, and definitely not too low. I am not one for high rise jeans; those raised waistbands give me the heebie jeebies. Thus I strode out in search of a mummy jean that would fulfill my wish list and grant me the perfect 'jean butt' whilst giving great milf.


Feeling a little like Goldilocks I trawled the rails of sale jeans. These too small, those too large. These too trashy, those too frumpy. And then I saw them. A pair of pale blue jeans that looked perfect. I read the label; size 10, medium rise, skinny jeans. Not uber tight, just slim. I felt the cotton. Soft. I considered the colour. Yes they were pale, and therefore possibly not the most practical shade. And yet somehow they were. I took them to the changing room, and as the smooth denim slid silkily onto my thighs I was suddenly transformed into Cinderella. You will go to the ball. You will be a milf.