Early Memories

I’m in my cot. The curtains are drawn but daylight shines through. I am hot and pink skinned, a warm soft jelly baby. I wriggle and kick at the slippery satin eiderdown that still lies heavy on my legs. My bedroom is small but through the opening, and not far away, is my haven, my oasis where my mother and father sleep.
I’m still sleepy, looking around at my special things. There’s my Noah’s Ark lamp and my Noddy books. I’m surprised every time I wake that they are the same, and still there. My blonde hair is blackened with sweat and clings like curly worms to the back of my neck.
Ah footsteps.
Hands reach into the cot and grab me underneath my armpits. My cream flannelette nightie flows downwards and I feel my toes dangling, wriggling free in the cooler air. I’m lifted over the white painted bars of the cot. But wait, no cuddle, no comforting words. This is not my mother.
“Pooh, she stinks!”
Charming I think to myself but secretly I feel ashamed and rejected. Held at arm’s length, my body is rigid. We are rushing and I feel the cool breeze waft passed, cooling my pink cheeks.
What’s going on? I notice my sister’s school blouse near my face. We are in another room now. I’m cold. Where’s my mother? Thud, my head meets the nobbled bath mat as I’m laid none too gently on the cold floor.
“Pooh, it’s disgusting! I’m not changing her; you do it, Jill”.
I try to wriggle round; there’s dust and brown marks under the bath. The soggy and yes stinking nappy is held, as I was, at arm’s length and flung into the tin bucket. I long for the baby powder feeling when my mother does the business.

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