Tuesday, 16 April 2013

S is for the Shit You Breathe In

 (from The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook) 

There was a time, not so long ago, when I didn’t give a fu@k about air quality; a time when I’d gad about the place, just breathing normally, like some reckless demi-god. But then, eight weeks after the birth of my Precious First Born, when an opportunity to sleep came my way, my mind suddenly landed on a single, terrifying idea.

Which was this:

What if there is a carbon monoxide leak in the house?


"Salad, darlings? I washed it in Milton's." 

Now, I’m not normally the kind of gal to go into a Blind Fucking Panic for no reason, oh no no no!! *suppresses horrible facial twitches, puts on weirdly superficial grin*. Neither am I the type to worry myself into an early fucking grave about a gazillion things that are all statistically extremely unlikely to happen, whilst at the same time doing precisely NOTHING about any of them. But if I were, these are the kind of thoughts I would have had:

Thought 1: Maybe I should go and live in the shed for the night? Yeah, yeah, coolio. Look, I know it’s minus 22 Celsius outside, and the shed may as well be called The Museum of Fatal Asbestos or The Asbestos Mega-Store or whatever (but with added rats, and bubonic plague, and frickin Weil's disease), but, BUT ... (and this is a key point, kids), if I don’t move us there soon, we will DIE.

Thought 2: Alternatively, I could drive to my parents’ house, which is only 100 miles away? Yeah, perfect. Ok, I know I’ll have to drive there through a thick fog of Satanic darkness, and there’s also a motorway slip road, which together make up two of the worst things in the whole world, if not the entire known universe, but both of them are preferable to CERTAIN DEATH? Right? RIGHT? 

Thought 3:  Or, OR, OR … fuck, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before … I’m a fat dozy cow that’s why … I could just go and knock on the next door neighbour’s door and ask if we could stay the night there instead? Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what I’ll do!! It’s only 2am, ffs, and surely some things in life, i.e STAYING ALIVE during a carbon monoxide outbreak, are more important than the risk of looking like a fucking lunatic, and being the talk of the village, and then having to move and uproot everyone. Surely? 

Thought 4: Of course, whilst I’m weighing up the pros and cons of shed vs neighbours vs parents' house (which is an unbelievably complex and multi-faceted process, let me tell you), I should, at the very least, ventilate the fuck out of the house by opening all the windows, and probably the doors too. THIS IS THE VERY LEAST I SHOULD FUCKIN DO.  Listen, I know the baby could contract a nasty chill that could then mutate into a hideous secondary infection, I know that, of course I do, but what choice do I have? Eh? EH, EH??  

Etcetera etcetera until dawn (whilst not at any time moving from the bed or taking any kind of purposeful affirmative action.)

Since that night of course, I have been made aware of all sorts of other airborne hazards, which I feel duty-bound to share with you.
  • The Sun. Burny. Carcinogenic. Bastard.
  • Other people breathing over you, fucking outrageous – or worse still, other people breathing over you, whilst also being coated in a toxic layer of hormone-disrupting perfume, especially Impulse.
  • Secondhand smoke. (Look, I know you think you’re being considerate, smoking in the garden n’all, but unless you’re thinking of smoking directly into an extremely powerful north-easterly headwind, in other words, away from my baby, and unless you are also prepared to dump all of your clothes in that wheelie bin over there, and then blast off your epidermis with an industrial pressure washer, you are not touching my baby (or bump). Period.
  • Paint fumes. The woman at customer services at Farrow and Ball didn’t know what the hell I was talking about when I asked her whether any of their paints contained any known teratogens! Fucking hell, you’d think they know the basics.
  • Mould spores. Don’t get me started.
  • Exhaust fumes. To be honest, I found it fairly easy to avoid heavy concentrations of vehicle emissions, particularly whilst I was pregnant. All I’d do was run really quickly past moving cars, holding my breath in. It was no bother, honestly.

Like I said, this isn’t a particularly comprehensive list, and a great majority of you will now be screaming, “What about electricity pylons, and fungus, and pesticides, and particulates?” "And what about the clouds of formaldehyde almost definitely evaporating from my sofa cushions, and the giant plumes of invisible radon gas coming up through the gaps in my floorboards, and … grrrr ... the toxic mould spores in the bathroom that are playing merry hell with my orifices … and all the plastic shit … and ….." 

Hey, it’s not that I’m not listening to you. I just don’t want to come over all loony tunes.

PS: Driving in the dark - Unless you have the spectral range of a frickin racoon, or you own one of those psycho night goggles donned by Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, I don’t see how it is possible to enjoy night driving. Yes, there is less traffic, which is a big plus, for sure, but on the downside - and I do apologise if I come across as a bit of nit-picker - You Can’t. Fucking. See.

PPS: As for motorway slip roads, they deserve a whole entry of their own. For now, suffice it to say that one minute you’re driving along a nice country lane singing nursery rhymes to your kids, the next minute, you have less than one septillionth of a second to accelerate to the absolute edge of The Speed-of-Light Barrier, whilst also still singing the nursery rhymes. BLOODY HELL. AS IF I HAVEN’T GOT ENOUGH ON MY PLATE.



  1. All those pollutions pale in comparison with my son's flatulence which I inadvertently inhaled just before reading this.

  2. I truly sympathise. What with the methane levels in our house, it's like being in a cattle ranch x

  3. This is not a work of fiction people. This is FACT. What my partner Sian hasnt mentioned is the bitterly cold night in November when Sian was carrying our first child. I arrived home from working away, at around midnight to find the front door wide open. My first thought was that we'd been burgled. I ran inside the house and there was a cold wind whistling through the downstairs, which told me the kitchen door must also be open. It was. On the worktop was a super-micro filtration face mask. Also, a small tin of varnish and a small patch of dried varnish on the kitchen door. Burglars did a bit of DIY on the way through? I closed the kitchen door. I closed the front door. I ran upstairs somewhat trepidatious about what I was going to find. I found Sian, fully clothed, complete with balaclava and mittens lying in our bed. Teeth chattering, eyes blazing under the duvet. I said, "What's going on sweetheart?"( or words to that effect) She said, "i decided to varnish the kitchen door. Then I realised there's SOLVENT in varnish That shit can get into your bloodstream and travel across the umbilical cord INTO OUR BABY!

  4. What YOU forgot to mention, my little hun bun, is that the super-micro filtration face mask was one of 300 masks YOU bought in the event of a bird flu epidemic. As well as 3 boxes of anti-bacterial hand gel, 2 boxes of Tamiflu from a private clinic in Switzerland, and a chest freezer for storing supplies. Fucking maniac x

  5. Yeah. Yeah. Fucking Yeah. There's shit everywhere. When Little A was born I locked her and me in a bubble of TCP for the first six months of her life. And I used to hate how the pram height for a baby was exactly at head level to exhaust fumes from cars - that used to freak me out .....

  6. TCP. Now you're talking. None of that namby-pamby Savlon stuff ... !

  7. I remember a sleepless week after I'd de-flead the cat and got some on my skin and was convinced it was going to cause my baby to mutate. The baby (plus another two since) is here to tell the tale...and now they're all crashing around on bikes and scooters and climbing high things and jumping off bunk beds I wish a tiny bit of anti-flea stuff was all I had to worry about...anyway...your blog makes me laugh, a lot, so I nominated you for a Liebster award. Which is actually quite a lot of hard work so don't feel you have to do it!! http://learnermother.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/on-being-liebstered/