Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: 'My mum is bombarding me with cryptic text messages'

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

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Indy Lifestyle Online

"I haven't even told my mum yet," my husband snaps as I close the door to the postman. "I'm sorry," I say. "It's just that I don't want people to think that I usually open the door crying."

I've had the 12-week scan, you see, which means the pregnancy is finally official. This is fortunate as I seem to have developed, along with nausea, terminal weeping and narcolepsy, a specific form of Tourette's whereby I have to announce my condition to anyone and everyone I meet.

In the process, I've learnt that telling people you're pregnant for the third time is a bit embarrassing, and the reaction has been varied, from my best friend's "Why?!" to my eldest aunt's "I was careless, too".

Meanwhile, my mum has taken to bombarding me with cryptic text messages, including: "IVE BN THINKING ABT NAMES" and "WHT WILL U DO FOR MONEY?!".

In fact, the only person who seems to have adjusted to the idea of yet another mouth to feed is our eldest. Anticipating the inevitable outpouring of venom from the toddler once he meets the tiny usurper, I am grateful at least for the support of my daughter, who against the odds appears to have transformed into the most delightful child. Because the truth is, I'm worried. And dangerously hormonal.

"No matter how many babies there are, you'll always be my special big girl," I whisper, tears forming in my eyes as we climb into the car. "I know," she says. "BABES..." she calls from the back-seat, minutes later. "Yes, darling," I smile. "Is this right... daddy is taller but mummy is fatter?"