The push present

A new father labours to find his wife a postnatal gift, but will he conceive of one she deems worthy?

Image: www.phildisley.com

George Wiggins felt like a million dollars as he took the stairs to the Lindo Wing three at a time. Brandishing a lavish bunch of yellow roses and an oversized pink teddy bear, he beamed at the nurses on reception as he strode towards his wife’s room.

“Who’s the daddy?” he sung as he flung open the door to greet Caroline and their two-day-old daughter, Delphina. The midwife who’d been changing Delphina’s nappy gave him a pithy once-over and left.

“Roses. How lovely,” Caroline said, as George rained kisses on his “girls” and placed the flowers in a vase. “Bodes well for my push present,” she said with a coquettish wink.

George was puzzled. After all, the elective C-section Caroline had insisted upon, performed by London’s top OB, could hardly constitute pushing. “How can you not know what a push present is? Everybody gets one these days.”

Caroline proceeded to deliver an impassioned discourse on the sacrifices she had endured during her pregnancy – the forgone brie, Bellinis and Manolo Blahniks – not to mention the unspeakable vastness of her bottom that was never going to be its peachy self again, thanks to the “beyond my control” cravings for Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

George could see how a few dozen roses wouldn’t begin to compensate for his wife’s forbearance. Of course the selfless mother of his beautiful new daughter deserved better. He would rectify the injustice the minute he had finished wetting the baby’s head at 5 Hertford Street. Three of Delphina’s soon‑to-be godfathers were on their way there this very moment.

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But something about Caroline’s pout and Delphina’s empathetic yells suggested that this wasn’t an acceptable answer. As George trawled the exclusive boutiques of Westbourne Grove, he tried hard not to choke on the price of an eight-wick candle and some soothing bath oil the shop assistant told him were the perfect gift for any new mother. Instead, he took the latest blow to his wallet in his stride (it had been a financially challenging few months, what with the exquisite new nursery and its hand-painted crib couriered from LA, the private room at St Mary’s Paddington, and the monumental advance he’d paid for Margaret’s services – the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity nurse, who would be in residence for three months, did not come cheap).

Lovingly, George carried the beribboned bags back to the hospital, while fielding WhatsApp messages from the godfathers telling him the champagne was on ice. So when Caroline scowled in distaste at the scent of woodland iris, George gently suggested it might be something to do with her hormones. But when she cast aside the Loro Piana cashmere socks and fuchsia Smythson “Supermum” notebook, he felt the life draining from his annual bonus.

“Apparently, it’s an American thing,” he told the sales girl at Cartier as he wavered between a rose-gold and ruby bracelet and a pair of pink-diamond earrings. “All the rage there. Have to say, makes you think twice about rushing into baby number two!” he laughed good-naturedly as he took possession of yet another glossy bag and hailed a cab.

This time Caroline appeared to be satisfied with her diamond drops and deemed him worthy of a kiss on the lips. As George marvelled at the perfection of his daughter’s dainty fingers and Caroline admired her twinkling lobes, the nurse came in and told them the car was here to take them all home.

George ushered his little family into the lift, basking in the pride of new fatherhood. “There is just one thing,” he said to Caroline as he carefully strapped their precious cargo into her car seat. “Would you mind if I popped out for an hour or so this evening to celebrate with the boys? Wet Delphi’s head? I promise I’ll be back for the night feed.”

“Oh darling, you are joking, aren’t you?” Caroline took her phone out of her bag, “Margaret doesn’t start until tomorrow, and since I haven’t been out in practically years, me and the girls are popping to 5 Hertford Street. I’m dying to show off my new earrings.” She turned to her red-faced newborn bundle. “Isn’t Daddy clever, Delphina? Nobody else’s husband has even heard of a push present.”

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