A Document of Maternity Leave (2014)

Sunday 20.04.2014 100 Days

Video Script:

Baby James is 100 days old today, Easter Sunday.
Rainy weather, he is to stay in whilst I go to church at Sveti Vlaho (St Blasius) and then to Gaffe Pub to watch Liverpool play Norwich.

We slept through storms in the night.
Scary and loud. James never woke up except for his feeds at 1am and 6:30am.

Yesterday, in a shop, I was asked by a shop assistant if I breastfeed – the reason being that the baby is so alert at 3 months. She knows, she finished pedagogiju at university. Education studies, or even childhood studies. I told her I was sick and tired of people asking me if I breastfeed. No, I don’t.

I dared to tell her that breastfeeding is utterly tiresome and that neither one of us are into it. I can’t be bothered – I said. Totalna gnjavaza i ne da mi se. I love seeing people’s expressions when I say things like that.

A da li ga dojis?
Dojis li ga? – another question by my mother’s old friend, just as we were about to finish conversing about new babies. Her twin grandchildren are both breastfed, even when they are French.

A da li ga dojis?
Dojis li ga? Everybody’s entitled. 100 days.

Nighttime in Greba. I see a little card from Little Explorers nursery and a feeling of hope fills me. Sense of future. Time will come.

I never made it to Sveti Vlaho church. It was overcrowded. I walked around town instead. I visited Jesuit’s church of St Ignatius Loyola. I saw a statue of Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus in it. It was pushed aside – not central – but still there. I was pleased. I never noticed it before. I lit a candle. It cost me 5 kuna.

I went to Porporela and watched the waves wash the shore. Me and two Japanese tourists who didn’t mind getting wet. I wanted to stay there for ages, but I can’t be still.

I walked in my red and black polka pin up dress, fake leather jacket and boots. I walked alone on Easter Sunday, across Stradun, all over. Dubrovnik with its pretentiousness, with all the dress codes and sweet sick manners. I loved being looked at, judged. Who is she, walking all alone?

Baby James is now tranquil and awake.

Liverpool beat Norwich 3:2. This was a tense game. My brother and I drank beer and smoked a couple of cigarettes. A waiter noticed we were local amongst the tourists and ripped one of our receipts. We ended up paying for two, not three rounds of drinks.

Baby James stayed at home, with my parents, baba and nono. He loved sleeping today, this rainy day. 100 days. Yes, he’s entitled.

Music used: Bach: St. Matthew Passion – Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott

This video film was made by filming James’s face 10 times for 1 minute on Easter Sunday, 20.4.2014, when he was 100 days old. We were in my parents’ house in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The script was written and recorded by me on the day. The film was roughly put together on the same day, and edited more finely over the next couple of days.


About Lena Simic

Lena Simic, performance practitioner and pedagogue, born in Dubrovnik, Croatia, living in Liverpool, UK. Co-organizer of The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home, an art activist initiative run from her family home. Lena’s autobiographical performance practice is informed b…Read more

Website: http://www.lenasimic.org

More posts by Lena Simic

2 Responses to “100 Days with James”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    Love this video. It’s pace James face your voice . Felt as if I was with you walking the streets of Dubrovnik enjoying that beer and cigarette, some freedom and time away whilst James slept.

    I watched this lying next to Naoise sleeping hearing his breathing and the birds singing through the skylight. Mum and Dad are visiting me n Naoise today we will go for a walk . I love talking to mum hearing her voice. Sydney’s away visiting his booba in London, I feel so sad when he is away from home, he doesn’t like to talk on the phone so its as if he is gone. Strange that I can’t stop the thoughts of abandonement even though I know it’s temporary.

  2. Frances Earnshaw

    That last bit, where he is looking and looking and looking, with his dark blue eyes… so funny! He is wonderful. I would love to know just what he is thinking. But then again, it is a mystery, and that is that!


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