Alex James: The Great Escape

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The Independent Online

The house is full of women. It's not really my house since the babies came home. The maternity nurse is in charge now. Maternity nurses are the crack commandos of the nannying world. They seem to be made out of pure maternity. In Denmark, when you have twins, the government sends you a maternity nurse and that is a terrifying thought. There is no way we would be sane, if it wasn't for the help, but the loss of control must be absolute when you can't even claim to be the employer.

It is my job to find things. I'm not good at it. At no point in my life have I ever known where the thermometer is. I found it for them yesterday afternoon, but by this morning it had gone again. Then no one could find the end of the cling-film. I've been keeping out of the way of the nannies, grannies and Claire's girlfriends. I'm really glad they're all here, I just think I'm part of a different jigsaw puzzle.

There is so much going on that doing absolutely nothing has ever been quite so delicious. I don't seem to need anyone to talk to or anything to do at all. I'm quite content just gazing at stuff, particularly flowers. They're so quiet. The odd moments of stillness touch infinity when there are babies around. I spent the whole of Saturday night without doing a single thing apart from changing a light bulb when it got dark. I'm not even sure what I was thinking about. I guess my brain needed time to reorganise itself.

Claire had gone to Hyde Park to see the Foo Fighters and Motorhead. She needed a night out. She phoned to say she was on her way back with the Foo's bass player's wife, Jessica. Then she called again to say that Jessica's nanny wouldn't let her come. I was surprised Claire was allowed out.

The hospital gave her a pumpthing, so she can leave the babies and still give them milk. She said she'd only had three beers, but suspicions were raised when she produced Brian May's autograph. She said it was for Gallileo, the fat baby. (We've been singing him "Bohemian Rhapsody" quite a lot.) It sounded altogether more like a five-or-more beers kind of an evening. Nursey condemned Claire's milk for 24 hours and sent her to bed.

It seemed ridiculous to throw the milk away. I saved the placenta from our first baby, but it sat in the fridge neglected. Like a jar of granny's chutney, it seemed like it might come in useful, but it was never quite the right time for placenta à la fermière. It became a health hazard and I had to build a pyre for it.

Breast milk is different, though. It's ready to go, and it's delicious. You can't make cheese out of it, unfortunately, as it doesn't coagulate and coagulation is the first stage of the cheese making miracle. It sure pepped up my cappuccinos today, though. By teatime I was struggling, there was loads of the stuff and it doesn't keep very long. I necked the lot and dozed off. I'm really not sure if I've become more of an adult or more of a baby.

a.james@independent.co.uk

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