Good things come in threes
Martine was ecstatic when the test showed she was pregnant. Me, I was just glad we could stop spending every dime on IVF. Ha! Everyone else gets a free baby: ours cost two Isas and that new fridge we needed. Still I was pleased, too. As well as relieved.
The doctor had that ‘how do I tell them’ look that worried me a bit but he soon put us right. ‘Noo, the baby… Babies are fine.’ ‘Twins?’ Martine was quivering with joy. ‘No…’
Pause there. What’s the right response, do you think? Evidently not ‘Thank Christ.’ Leaving aside the blasphemy that offended both of them, when it turns out it’s triplets you look both ungrateful and an early runner for the ‘Poor Parent’ award.
She’s a canny and crafty wife, mine. She knew I was doing the maths so she said, ‘it’s always cheaper to buy bulk, isn’t it James?’ Not sure the doctor understood but I did. She wasn’t stopping at one so this way we were sorted up front.
I sound bad, don’t I? See, that’s where you’re wrong. Sure pregnancy is no cake walk and IVF with the diet, injections, hormones, uterine massages and what have yous is hardly likely to appear on anyone’s bucket list. But she’s the bread winner. I write therefore I scam. I stay at home and cook the dinner, clean a bit. And now I’m the stay at home dad. Martine is ‘high flying’ ‘on the path’ ‘smashing the ceiling’. So her maternity was already fixed at one month post birth, absent complications.
We never discussed what ‘complications’ covered. To me, having three under noughts was one mother of a complication, but she insisted it meant hers and their physical and mental well-being, not mine.
‘Mum will help.’ Her mum, that is. Mine is teaching yoga in a Yurt outside Basildon.
I’d be lying if I said that month was a blur. People in a PVS have more animation than me what with the lack of sleep, the regular feeds, changes, worries over heat and cold, breathing and not breathing.
On her first day back, her Mum had an appointment at the doctors. Chimp was grizzling (his nose is permanently stretching to sniff his armpit, hence Chimp), Gecko (eczema equals scaly skin) was vomiting on repeat – this was a common problem and didn’t warrant a deferral to the much anticipated return – and Stalin (already trying to banish the other two) had gone cross eyed not that anyone else saw it (or they said it was wind). Staying in was going to turn me into wallpaper so I did the only thing that, so far, quiets them. I strapped them in and set off, not without trepidation, to the park.
We’ve done this before. Obviously. But there’s always been three of us, one for each babe. Me, on my own with three new-borns and all the clutter. Yeah mad but I had given up being classed as sentient a week ago.
I made it to the park, sweating and praying. They seemed calm enough. And that’s when I had my epiphany. Or rather she walked out to meet me.
‘You here for the mum and baby class?’
Sandra has dreamy eyes, flawless skin and a love of other people’s babies. She and Harriet – brunette, business like and boobs like.. Anyway they saw their vocation. Me. Everyone there, all those single free babies and their mums took me into their bosom. Not Harriet sadly.. Still. The boys loved the attention. Passing them round like three dimensional human pass the parcel generated infinite joy. I wasn’t chastised if I dozed off. They listened to me explain my work in progress, my block, my strategies. They gave me cake and cookies and invited me on their trips. I was a token hero dad, to be used against their unsuspecting partners as a paragon. The superhero role seemed to fit quite well.
Yes. All things considered, triplets are the only way to have children
Donald couldn’t bear it. Sweat soaked the sheets and a sickness surged through him. His life was over. He paused. Any minute now.
The thud was tremendous as the tabloid thumped onto the mat. His wife’s scream informed him she’d seen the photos plastered all over the front pages.
What was taking her so long? His chest ached and his stomach churned. She should be by the bed telling him what she thought. How she’d leave him, how she’d tell the press about his penchant for her taffeta. He’d be a laughing stock, his ministerial post would be history, his agent would demand ‘with great regret’ his resignation.
Where was she? Had she fainted? No he could hear noises. Oh god, had she gone for a knife? Was she going to kill him? Or do a ‘Bobbit’ and remove the offending appendage?
Donald went to stand up but pain suffused his whole being, emanating from his chest. As he collapsed back on the bed he heard her feet on the stairs. While his chest exploded in agony and his breathing began to stop, he caught the sound of her feet sliding across the deep carpet. He was slipping into a final unconscious state as her hand turned the bedroom door nob. He realised now the sounds were not her anger or tears but a chortling laugh. The last thing of which he was aware before death took him was his wife saying ‘You will never believe what your twin has been up to now.’