I could blame it on the hormones or missing the Glam Rocker or tiredness or any other number of minor niggles but right then tears lay perilously close to my lids and were apt to spontaneously spill. My bump had grown more in the past couple of weeks than in the preceding 16. Protruding over the top of my jeans, it was on an outward projection, on par with my breasts and a distinct shape. It could not be mistaken as fat.
For once in my life, I was categorically not fat or even overweight. (So why the tears?) Hey, I liked this stage. Correction. I LOVED THIS STAGE. (of joy?... ) My pregnancy had become public. It outed itself. The only downside being some people felt they had a sort of right to reach out and pat it. (... mixed with irritation) The normal etiquette of spatial distance dissolved.
It was half term. My phone had been ringing non-stop. 90% of calls were for the 12-year-old. He has a Blackberry but for show only as it's always out of credit. Hence, we shared mine, a tired old Nokia. Midway through the week the weather was kind allowing my son and his friends to run across the road to our local park. Heart of our community, it is there he spends much of his time and most of his school holidays.
It was there he with two friends experienced their first mugging. A rather perfunctory affair, a boy of similar age demanded they empty their pockets then politely asked they tell no one. The old 'knife hidden up the sleeve' trick added flavour to the event.
Within minutes, my son was breathless, at the door panting out what happened, so much for keeping schtum. Within seconds two middle class, five foot nothing women (myself and the mother of the other boys) were at the park armed with a baseball bat. In retrospect, it was farcical, I mean what were we thinking?
Jeez, nice day for a game of ball?
Mmm... it was more of a primal response, mothers united by the pain of our fledglings. We would take matters into our own hands should the system let us down. We went straight to the park high office... reports were made, the police called and wheels set in motion.
Turned out their assailant was a playground bully intent on extending his own spatial boundaries. He'd held a knife to another kid the same day and had mugged an elderly lady. He was duly arrested and I wondered how best to 'punish' or if that word is too un PC 're-educate' this 12-year-old little shit so that his behaviour might change. Perhaps he could come round and meet us; clean my car, windows, weed the garden.Then again, perhaps not.
Asked to formally identify him at the police station, we sat in front of a computer screen and scrutinised passing images of nine different boys. Despite an array of ethnicities and ages they all looked the same type. All sported tightly shaved squared hairlines and a fear front. My son picked out Number Five.
Thus the legal conveyor belt was activated for the loss of £7 quid. I only hoped that in being so exposed, the fragrant Number Five would not seek retribution with a gang full of scallywags in tow.
And while all this emotional and physical cartography was happening externally, internally I was beset with a belly full of love flutters. There could be no mistaking the movements as gathering wind. The Interloper was growing at an almighty rate and I bludgeoned by tiredness. Afternoon naps, once a treat, were now designated a necessity.
To which the Interloper replied - Hear, Hear!
Eighteen weeks into your pregnancy your baby's ears begin to stand out on the sides of his or her head. It may even be able to hear. By now it is approx 140 millimeters long from crown to rump and weighs seven ounces (200 grams).