So what did I say yesterday? A blog post for every day until the 16th! I'm gonna write like a fricking maniac in the run up to my book's release....look at me go! Well, that was the plan and just like most of my life, the plan decided to do me over. I currently write this from Arya's bedside as doctors pump her full of antibiotics for a horrible eye infection that's gone a bit awry. And all at once, while I'm dancing inside because of writing and books happening, there is nothing like a good dose of hospital food and poorly babies to bring you back to earth and help you remember why you're here and who you're not. The plan sometimes likes to sit back, watch you and all your grand ideas and then throw a hand grenade into the mix.
And I know this too well, because where was I in yesterday's blog post? Oh yes, I had just found out I was pregnant with Daenerys. Baby number 4. Oh, how we laughed. 4, really? Because the month before that little blue appeared on that stick, we'd made quite the rash decision to adopt a dog.
A crazy ass dog it would turn out. A dog who shat all over the carpet, used to eat whole boxes of cereal and once chewed his way through a brand new H&M shoe. Like Ned, he's a furry bastard but strangely loveable. So, we kept him. We announced to the universe that he would be our fourth child. The universe had other ideas. The plan! What happened to the plan? And I remember what I felt when I peed on that stick and saw that little blue line, I was happy, surprised, delirious with amazement that we had managed to do this again. But also a weird sense of coincidence, of life imitating art. Jools Campbell, my very own Souper Mum had four children. I was turning into Jools Campbell.
Is Jools Campbell actually me? When I explain the premise of the book to people, I always get knowing looks: she has four, I have four. She can't cook, has manic school runs and well, her plan wasn't very well-thought out either. Is this an autobiography? In a word, no. And in truth, Jools is not really me at all, she's possibly who I'd like to be. Because I'd talk about doing it but it's very unlikely that I would ever have the guts to confront a TV chef in a supermarket. I'd be the sort who'd just let him take the piss, tell me I was crap then I'd leave the supermarket and say everything I really wanted to in a well-spoken monologue to my rear view mirror. She is my hero. I wish I was her. I wish I could be a little bit braver, that I could leave the house without a bra, that I could have her breezy confidence in stressful situations.
So, back to the plan...my plan. Suddenly, I had four babies. Four. Daenerys threw the baby rule book out of the window. Most startling was how different she was in looks to the other three. The other three were identical to each other, raven haired with eyes like Minstrels. I was less a mother, more a maker of clones. Daenerys came out auburn haired, all the auburn fell out and grew back blonde. She had green eyes. It was all very Ned when he was a babe. Yet if we were a House in Game of Thrones this is when my name would be brought into disrepute. In real life, security guards used to follow me around Primark as it looked like I was abducting her.
Four babies meant I hardly wrote and I'll admit for a while, confidence and belief was at an all-time low. Maybe this was it. I'm my own worst critic so was starting to think that Souper Mum just wasn't good enough. I'd given writing a good stab. I'd been doing it for close to ten years now but I had always made a promise with myself that if things didn't go to plan by the time I was 35 then I would let it go. What had happened so far; some short fiction published, some creditable competition wins was enough. I had a sizeable family now that we were literally housing in two bedrooms. We had debts and a future to think of, I had to think about real life situations. Time to go back to teaching, add to the money box and put the writing aside for a while. Be a mum, I liked being a mum. Maybe I could finally learn how to bake properly. You know those X Factor contestants who can't sing for toffee but come back every year regardless and harp on about this being their dream? I didn't want to be them.
But the plan. The plan always has different ideas. And soon it was time for the biggest hand grenade of them all....
I won't draw it out, this will conclude tonight when I'm home and I've had the chance to brush my teeth and wash my hair. This has been written in a rush with my my laptop currently at 7% power so forgive the rush, the lack of memes and spelling/grammar mistakes. Arya is fine. We've just bought a bag of Starburst and we're doing some colouring. The drugs are working their magic. She'll be fine. We'll be fine...