Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The best Steack Frite in the World Ever

I am a bit worried that my writing career is at an end.

Here's the problem - it seems it's impossible for me to do anything other than post blogs about my new daughter. Now there are plenty of fathers who live life vicariously and do nothing but praise the achievements of their offspring, but people only listen if they are trapped in the corner at a party with the single possible escape route a Ronaldoesque dive across the room. The audience typically stays put choosing boredom over the risk of impaling themselves together with some cheese and pineapple on a cocktail stick.

With me readers don’t have to worry about skewered testicles and so to keep people's attention I have resolved to stop the Elodie blogs and rip up the proposal to my publisher about fatherhood in France…well it was a thought if not a terribly good one.

But before I move on here’s one final vignette about birth and pregnancy. When Tanya was in labour we arrived at the hospital at just after 11am. We saw a midwife and then a doctor who measured the contractions and confirmed that Tanya was 3cm dilated. The midwife fussed and fretted, offered to take us to our room, and then suggested a massage or a bath to hurry the process along. Then, mid sentence, she stopped.

We followed her eyes to the clock on the wall. It was now just past midday and a look of abject horror took hold of her face. She began to babble an apology, pulling us physically out of the room and down the stairs to the exit. Tanya and I were worried. We’d spent months planning our arrival at the hospital, timing the route and picking the best parking spots and now, when everything had gone so smoothly and when we’d successfully arrived at the hospital with the contractions a regular 5 minutes apart, the midwife, the woman who was supposed to guide us through the whole experience, was behaving most peculiarly.

She pushed us outside the door and glanced one more time at her watch, explaining that there was an excellent restaurant just down the road and that there was of course plenty of time for lunch before the baby arrived. She apologised again, and wished us “Bon App” before retreating back into the hospital, no doubt still berrating herself for daring to suggest that anyone in her care should miss their lunch.

And so it came to pass that I had one of the best Steack Frite of my life, covered in a wonderful peppercorn sauce, washed down with a pichet of red wine, while I wrote down the time of Tanya' s contractions on my napkin. Vive La France!