A Not So Turkish Life

When I grow up…

When I grow up, I want to be one of those women… You know the ones whose homes have that dusted-this-morning feel to them, and always – no matter the time of day – always smell of baking? I want to be one of those women whose scarf is never slipping of her head and whose nails are consistently polished. On ten nails.

It gets easier, right? This leaving the house with baby for the day malarkey? Somehow I managed to make our date on time yesterday, and we survived an entire day – 11-8 – with no real hiccups, but boy does the possibility of that happening seem to balance on tenterhooks! For a start, nappies take up lots of room. I love our nappies. Love, love, love. There were a million reasons to choose cloth, and the same again not to..not least, being able to reduce the bulk of nappies as the day goes on! M’s down to 5/6 nappies in the day time which makes going out with just one bag possible. Just. If I carry nappies and a lipgloss only. Add the extra clothes and a blanket, spare headscarf for the all-too-oft nappy changing mishaps, a book and maybe a toy or two and I’m handbagged to the hilt with a pram full to boot. I’m going to take it as a sign handbag shopping should be on the cards… Well, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do!

...one of those women who whenever people call is able to answer the door looking respectable and put-together.

I was feeling pleased with our efficiency at exciting the flat on time yesterday. Until the pram was assembled downstairs, M was blanketed in and the heavens opened: I’d totally failed to dress myself. Getting dressed hasn’t been this stressful since I first covered my head. Breastfeeding accessible, hijab appropriate clothes seem to be lacking somwhat from my wardrobe, unless you count the ponchos. Ponchos are good. So I’ve worn nothing but ponchos for the past 9 weeks. Only ponchos aren’t so good in the rain when you have no free hand to hold an umbrella. Then you need a hood. A new fashion, perhaps? Hooded, nursing-opening, long-sleeved ponchos? You design, I’ll sew.

I want to be one of those women whose persona screams she’s in control, that no matter what, she’s got it covered.

Probably 10% of the buses in Istanbul are accessible by pram/wheelchair and the remaining city routes are covered by either two-step deep buses, loonily driven minibuses or shared taxis you’d never get a pram on. If it wasn’t for the fact I’m never in any doubt some kind-hearted stranger will offer assistance on and off transport or in and out of shops, it would be an incredibly daunting task taking M out here and I find that hard to accept. Before M came along, I’d got used to the pot-holed pavements and the missing covers in the road; I’d learnt to breathe deeply and run to cross highways still missing a bridge, or to dodge trucks using the pavements to reverse. The lack of continuous transport from destinations A-B was a fun experiment in Turkish-style navigation and risking a taxi was an occassional adrenalin rush. Now I must peruse the city as a Mum and it’s a different kettle of fish. Carrying M in a sling just isn’t an option when going far afield. Transport’s too crowded and people simply don’t look around them…but even if it wasn’t risky to do so, I’m not sure I’d have the nerve. Nobody carries babies. Whenever I carry M – to the supermarket, for a stroll by the sea, to the health food shop – people stare and tut. Or else share their wisdom; being that carrying him will lead to injury/illness or worse. As a foreign Mum here, people judge me constantly because my way of doing things is often different to the norm. Understandable, I guess, but as a Brit used to people minding their own business, being told in no uncertain terms to put a hat on my baby’s head both stresses and unnerves me. No, he is not cold and no, he will not get ill. At least in the pram, he’s almost safe from prying eyes and is certainly safe from the prying fingers that want to correct his clothing or check his pulse. But this means I must seek help from strangers, to lift him on and off the bus and in and out of shops. I’m ok with that; or at least, I’m learning to be.

When I grow up, I hope I’m one of those women who takes time to stop and smile, who knows that no matter what obstacles and challenges a new day brings, that day’s a blessing and could be a joy. I hope I’m one of those women who manages to show her son that it;s ok to be a little odd from the norm and to let the norm become the odd. When I grow up.

Yesterday was the first time we’d been out for the day, just me and him and we managed it. He survived the bus and the ‘cold’, no nappies leaked and we made it home again safe. Next week we’ll go somewhere new and I’m pretty sure, we’ll make it back again too. It’s exciting this Mum stuff…bring on the fun!

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This entry was published on 05/20/2011 at 18:14. It’s filed under Baby 'n' Me and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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