Thursday, 25 June 2015

The winter of our content

The babe is thirteen weeks old, and I can't tell you where that time has gone. He used to power-shit every time we took his nappy off. Now he pumps one out at about 7 am each day and seems to have ceased with the auto-squirt too. He used to wake up to be fed every two or three hours, and now he goes down without a peep at 6.30 pm, I wake him at about 10.30 and then he sleeps through until 6 or 7. I kind of can't believe that the part I was most dreading, the weeks that were SO hellish for me with the kid, have been a giant love-in this time around. A crazy, spaced-out, lazy love-in, but a love-in nonetheless. And now The Boy goes back to work in a couple of weeks. The first quarter of my maternity leave is done. The kid is only mine to do fun daytime stuff with for six more months and then he's at school every week day. Slow down, life! I love you and you're zooming by so quickly...

I have lots of big thoughts. I am getting somewhere. I am doing things. There's not a lot of time left over for here just now. So, some quick photos of the last little while, before winter and its cosiness is gone...

Cosiness, yes. Also clotheshorses. #winteriscoming

Moments after this, the laptop ran out of juice, the cat jumped on the clotheshorse and the crash woke the sleeping babe on my chest.

At the gallery, again. Just before he realised the leaf was stuck to the other side of the glass.

The babe and I flew to Tassie on the weekend, to stay with K for her 40th birthday. She had a fancy dinner party at home, catered by a man who knows his way around a trout. Jetstar managed to lose our luggage (how?! on possibly the shortest route they fly!), so we stopped for nappies on the way from the airport, and I borrowed a dress to wear to the party. Luckily, K had held on to a few of her baby things...
The babe, smashing gender stereotypes and loving it
The view from K's living room. That's 0 degrees you're looking at.
Hobart was pretty cold and pretty pretty, and our visit coincided with Dark Mofo, which was very good timing indeed.

The babe surveys the modern art and remains unconvinced
The babe, the kid and I went to the park during the week with the three other core mamas and our nine (NINE!!) children. (Lucky that place has a fence around the playground.) Even managed to all have babycinos and hot chocolates in a nearby cafe without incident when it started to rain.

We went to see The Lion King yesterday with The Boy's mum and brother. She bought us tickets for the kid's birthday, and it was like the world's most well-funded Rock Eisteddfod. That doesn't mean I didn't love it.

We're going places, doing things. Between it all I think of so many things to write here. Sometimes they even make it as far as the drafts folder. I'm spending less time than ever on my computer, which is a very, very good thing for me, but it does make this space feel neglected. No matter. Life's moving fast, but I'm living it. Maybe before spring arrives I'll manage to focus on something for more than a paragraph. Don't hold your breath, though.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Up yours, Sunday.

What a fucking day I've had today.

Jesus H Christ, the honeymoon is over. The babe woke at 4, which was ok until after I fed him, when he sprayed shit across the bedroom with a force reminiscent of Linda Blair. Nothing like wiping liquid baby poo off the side of your wardrobe in the wee small hours to start the day off on the right foot. I hoped he'd sleep at least until 6, but he was awake again at 5 and spent the next two hours alternately screaming, feeding and dozing for just long enough to send me into a grumpy dreamland full of rage at the shouty infant and the tossing turning farting man next to me breathing rancid night breath in my face. The kid had his Lego confiscated yesterday, for infractions too numerous to mention, which doomed us, we knew, to a morning of him writhing all over us and nagging us to get out of bed.

The idea of everyone getting up and dressed and out the door for a walk to the cafe in the brisk sunshine dissolved into me dragging the kid's pyjamas off his body and manhandling him into his clothes, while he wailed at full volume. At least the other child had the decency to put a sock in it for five minutes. 

And so on. The babe squawked relentlessly, all day. The kid was contrary as a motherfucker. The Boy was cranky and I teetered on the edge of SHOUTING at my children and bursting into tears. A came over in the afternoon with honey cake and saved us from ourselves for a couple of hours, but it's been a shit fight ever since. The one thing that saved us all from killing each other was cranking up Beethoven's 9th almost as high as it could go and tearing around the living room at full pelt just before dinner. God bless that stray Peanuts comic book that the kid found on a bookshelf. 

One is in bed and I'm feeding the other one. I'm ten minutes away from a seriously stiff drink and a block of chocolate. Today can get fucked. I'm going to knit a fucking strawberry.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Misc. and happiness

This babe. he woke up every 90 minutes the night before last. God help me. Pretty sure that breaches the Geneva Convention or something. But all is forgiven, because he gave me 5 hours and then another 3 last night. Plus, he's pretty cute.

Chillin' at T's house with baby O this afternoon
P upstairs has a new housemate, so we had a block party the other night. Everyone from the other flats brought dinner to share, and we had a fire in the little fire pit in the yard and toasted marshmallows. Our house is tiny, but the hearts here are huge. The Boy and the kid made a piñata for the occasion. This is what it looked like the morning after.

Piñata-making is only the tip of the PhD procrastination iceberg. They also made an animation in the style of Marcel the Shell. Their shell is called Bird. He looks like this.

Shan't post the link here, but perhaps let me know if you want to see it...
I took the babe in to work last week, and had lunch with the poor saps still stuck there. It turns out that P of the promotion saga is pregnant now, too. Considering she's pretty much running the joint, and the Big Men have dicked enough people over about their contracts that they've switched departments, I'm not entirely sure there's going to be a job for me to come back to. I mean, there will be, legally, but I don't think it's going to look much like the place I left at the end of last year. That's probably a good thing. Speaking of contracts, all traces of guilt about hiding the existence of the babe until my promotion was locked in have been thoroughly cleansed from my mind. Hearing what has been going on, the Sydney boss absolutely would have shafted me, had he known. Without a doubt.

Mum and I took the smalls to the Werribee Zoo one day last week as well. Still working on figuring out the new camera, but it does take a nice giraffe photo.

And now I can add feeding on a safari bus in an Ergo while photographing ostriches to my extreme breastfeeding bingo card.

My dad's Alzheimer's is getting pretty bad. He's in a day program four days a week now, which at least gives my mum a break. It seems like he'll be in a nursing home before the end of the year. In the meantime, he's become a kleptomaniac. My brother took back 25 soccer balls he found in the garage to the soccer club in the park behind my parents' house. Mum finds books in the house that she knows he hasn't paid for. (Because he lost his wallet. He also lost his phone. And then a new phone two days later, which he doesn't remember getting in the first place.) When he's not nicking things from other places, he's hiding stuff from home. My brother found a bunch of his tools in the dog kennel. The mail ends up in the veggie patch. Mum's iPad is still AWOL, but she did check the bins before they went out, so it's probably around somewhere.

Things continue to be pretty great, though. On the whole. We have been to Clunes and had two sleeping children for all four hours of the journey. The kid and the babe and I have caught trams and trains and had adventures in the city. It's freezing cold and the kid looks like a hobo and the babe is not a brilliant sleeper and I'm surrounded by clotheshorses and wet nappies, but somehow I feel like I'm living the dream. A part of me is sad that I didn't do something to feel less shit when the kid was small. But mostly I'm just grateful that he doesn't seem to have suffered for it, and I am well this time around. Well and very happy.

Hobo child

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Here are some things

It's 7.30 and The Boy has been at aikido for an hour. I have managed to get two children fed, bathed, pj'd and into bed (with all the tooth-brushing and story reading and song singing and piss-farting around that that entails) and am actually awake and sitting on the couch drinking hot chocolate. Go me.

The kid's head looks really big to me now, in comparison to his brother's. Like, really big. 

We are leaving the house quite a lot. Not sure whether it's because I don't feel so much like a miserably hibernating mushroom this time or whether I remember how much more difficult it is when tiny babies start to crawl and become attached to their sleeping environments and so on... either way, we are capitalising on these early portable weeks.

I took the babe to his first art exhibition last week while The Boy and the kid were down at the coast on a postgrad Philosophy camp. Opening night of I's birds, which are really freaking amazing. 

The babe was a total peach, and quite the conversation starter. I talked to many, many friendly strangers about my three-week-old baby's taste in art. And then I met the Bali crew at The Corner for dinner before this thing. Figured I'd be pushing my luck to take the babe in to the actual gig, but he was quite content to be handed from clucky lady to clucky lady in the noisy pub for a couple of hours beforehand while we ate. (Portable newborns for the win!)

I had a four-hour and then a three-hour stretch between feeds last night. He makes up for those by basically staying attached to me for three hours straight once the sun rises, but I am a-ok with that.

Another weigh-in today. 4.3 kilos! Considering he came out exactly a month ago weighing 2.9, I think that's pretty great.

I am the queen of multitasking. Ate my birthday dumplings left-handed, with chopsticks, while breastfeeding.
Not sure what the kid is doing here with his chopsticks...
We went to the farm last week. The old wooden cattle race has been pulled down and a new shiny metal one built in its place. Good thing, too. Last time we tried to send cattle off to market, two of the steers decided they weren't down with the plan and broke through the race. One of them seems to have disappeared, but the other is back, and brought a bunch of friends with him from V's property next door. Our fences are shite.

That is all of the things I have now. Maybe there will be some more things later. How are your things?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

To the next one...

Two-hourly feeds have turned into hourly feeds at night, with maybe one three-hour stretch somewhere just to keep me guessing. Needless to say, things are pretty scatty.

But it's my birthday, and I've had lunch with S and baby E, and I found my favourite irreplacabe scarf (which I bought in Tokyo years ago and which I wear every single day when the weather cools) that I lost a week ago but only just realised (see, scatty) underneath the change table at the Health Centre where I took the babe to be weighed last week. Winning. Plus, The Boy bought me a fancy-ass camera.

Waking up in Paris this time last year, I felt like the luckiest lady alive. Hard to believe things could get better from there, but even though it was a wild ride at times, this latest trip around the sun has been, I think, the best one yet. Scary things, hard things, amazing, intense, beautiful, life-changing things, a new baby, a new job, new friends, old friends, even older friends, the best little family a girl could want... And just now, a sweet neighbour dropping off cheesecake and wine and magazines. Jeez, world. You're pretty great. Thanks for having me.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Notes from the night feeds

So. Two weeks out. I am not fucking depressed. I am not quite as chipper as I was for the first week or so - sleep deprivation is starting to take its toll - but things are definitely not as grim as they were with the kid. (Although, I'm not 100% sure when it all turned to shit with him. I know it took a good long time to love him, which is not the case with this babe. This babe, I freaking love like my life depends on it. He can scream in my face all he likes and I just want to kiss his tiny old man nose.)

There is still a bruise on my arm from where the drip went in. (Syntocinon is the devil's work. More on that some other day.) My jeans fit, already. The boobs have settled down to a reasonable size, after spending two days visible from behind, doing impersonations as Pammy and Dolly combined. (We made it through the Day of Milk without so much as a tear. Last time, I was a blubbering mess when those hormones arrived.) My nipples feel slightly chewed on, but I think we'll avoid the cracks and searing pain of the first few weeks last time. My vag is beginning to feel less like I've been kicked in the vag. Still all stitched up, though... I thought they were supposed to dissolve after 10 days? The babe still has two little scratches on his head from where they gouged him with the hook while trying to break my super-tough membrane. He put on 500 g last week, so now looks like more like a soft and squishy newborn, and less like a scrawny bird. (You too can lose your pregnancy weight in two weeks! All it takes is a baby who likes to feed like a starveling every two hours, night and day! Sleep is for the weak!)

A terrible photo, for context. Not much bigger than a chocolate bunny at 10 days old.

It's going to be intense to have the kid and the babe on my own in a few months time, but at the moment The Boy is saving my skin. I'm mostly sparing him from the night wakings and he's taking most of the washing/cooking/entertaining first-born child duties during the day, meaning I am free to fall into bed at 3 pm when necessary. (Necessary most days.) Thank god the kid is at childcare two days a week.

Exhaustion notwithstanding, we have made it out of the house a bunch of times, to J's birthday party on Good Friday, and to the easter egg hunt at Rippon Lea on Sunday... Such a beautiful day. Warm sun, cool air, music, those beautiful gardens, the kid getting right into the hunt, the babe and I sitting on the grass...

There are fleeting moments when I feel like things are on the edge of becoming too much, but they have been few and far between, and mostly solved by handing the babe to The Boy and going to sleep. When the kid was tiny, I honestly thought that people who said they loved motherhood unconditionally were liars. It's early, early days, but I'm starting to feel like it might actually be possible to have a baby and not hate your life. I'm starting to feel like I've got this.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

He's here.

And he's wonderful.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The last day of only...

The weekend was uneventful. A smattering of contractions here and there, but nothing like what anyone would call labour. 

I took the kid out to my mum's on Sunday night for a sleepover, so that we could head into the hospital on Monday morning, ready to have a baby if necessary. Turns out, unnecessary. The midwives did the same CTG and AFI scans I've had a thousand of, and were not in the least concerned, so home we went. In again on Tuesday to hear what the doctors thought. Saw someone we'd never seen before, who seemed way less concerned than the woman who has been looking after us. Not sure whether that's because he hasn't been following the story quite so closely, or because she really was just covering her arse by recommending induction last week. Either way, he was content to book me in to be induced on Thursday (only a day before the babe's actual due date), and send me across the hall for more CTG & AFI checks, just in case. Looks like maybe the amniotic fluid has gone down a tiny bit, but when I said I was sick of the limbo and would maybe not mind if we had to get things going then and there, nobody seemed very interested. So we went home, again.

So today is the last day that the kid will be an only child. The Boy went to work for the first time in ages and won't be back there now until the middle of the year - hooray Easter holidays and long service leave. The kid and I had a leisurely breakfast, eating the hot cross buns we made yesterday afternoon, and dancing like crazies to Hey Bulldog and that Vampire Weekend song about the wisdom teeth. He has excellent taste in music. We've put on washing and played with lego and read Winnie the Pooh and wandered down to the little park for a play. It is a perfect autumnal day. We've eaten lunch without complaint and he has now, miracle of miracles, gone down for a snooze. We're going to go to the supermarket to stock up when The Boy gets home, and to celebrate our last day as a family of three with 'fancy yoghurt', as the kid calls it. I'm even going to let him put whatever sugary crap he wants on it.

I feel much, much better about being induced tomorrow than I did about last week's suggestion. I have tiny scary thoughts that something will be wrong and we could have avoided disaster by going early, but mostly I'm choosing not to listen to them. Not sure yet what we're going to do with the kid so that we can be at the hospital by 7 - it's a childcare day, but they don't open until 7.30... Another sleepover, perhaps... I feel ok. I'm having strong enough (braxton hicks?) contractions every few hours to make me think that things will happen pretty quickly tomorrow once they pull the pin.

Family of four, here we come.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

39 weeks. Or, how to not have a baby.

I think my job now is to go into labour and not have babies. I am getting quite good at it. Vis:

All tests turn out fine. We ask whether this still means being induced, and the midwife says to come in on Friday anyway and have all the tests again, and make the decision then, if need be. Good plan. After the stretch and sweep, come home and go into early labour. Nothing too serious, but enough to make me start tracking the contractions on the app. Have J collect the kid from childcare and go for a sleepover, just in case. Go to bed. Things peter out at about 11.30pm. No baby. (Please note that FJ gave birth a couple of hours after we left the hospital, and an hour after we had been texting. Just like that. Super quick.)

Nothing much happens during the day. The kid comes home. After he goes to bed, The Boy and I try the ol' 'get it out the same way it got in' method. And I express colostrum into a 3mm syringe in case the babe is as tiny as they're saying he is. (God bless midwife friends who know that these things might be required and have the equipment lying around at home.) It is laborious! And I squirt half of the hard-won .5ml out over the pillow when I accidentally push the plunger a bit too hard! Spilt milk worth crying over! Either the lovin' or the nipple stimulation do the job, though. Within an hour, things are happening. Then they happen a bit quicker. With FJ's experience in mind, we call L from down the street to come and sit in the living room and wait for my mum to turn up, and we head into the hospital. Through to the assessment centre and things started to slow down. Everyone assumes it is the lights and the sterile hospital environment that have scared the contractions off, and they send me out for a walk, and... nothing. All over, red rover. They do another stretch and sweep (3 cm this time) and load me up with some codeine so that I can sleep a bit before things might get going again and by 1.30 am I am back home in bed. No baby.

The kid is delighted to find Nan on the couch in the morning, and we all get up and walk to the cafe and then childcare, and then The Boy and I came home and repeat the day before's efforts. Again, things start off well. I have good contractions for about four hours and just as they feel like they are slowing down, gush. Maybe that's my waters? I tested positive for GBS a couple of weeks ago, so broken waters = straight to hospital. Call J to collect the kid from childcare for another sleepover. In we go again. A few good contractions in the car, and then, again, as soon as we walk into the assessment centre, nothing. (Hello, familiar midwives, from all my previous visits!) Another check, a test for amniotic fluid (negative), another CTG, another false alarm. Home we go. No baby. The Boy and I eat pizza and almond magnums and watch Plebs in bed and generally enjoy what we think might be the last child-free night in a while. I get angry about the induction plan. (Reasoning goes: pre-labour x 3 + no baby = baby is fine just where he is. Breaking waters on hospital clock + same reaction = syntocinon = fucking hardcore labour = potential distress, epidural, caesar. Not ideal. Particularly if not actually required.)

Induction. Alarm goes off at the god-awful hour of 5.30am. I am still shitty. Faff around, wash my hair, don't hurry at all because fuck them, they can wait, I'll be on their clock all day. Arrive at the hospital a bit before 7. Check in and they send us straight up to the birth centre. Hello again, familiar midwives. We walk into our room and they start to set up like it's all a foregone conclusion. Wait! We're here to talk, and test amniotic fluid levels and so on, and then maybe be induced if necessary! We have to wait for morning shift doctors to start if there's going to be any discussion, so onto the CTG in the meantime, as those results will be required whatever happens. Doctors come and are weirded out that we're not ready. They talk about small babies again. We still are not given any clear reasons for why they are better out than in. They agree to do the AFI test again. We agree to them breaking my waters if it looks like he's in worse shape than Tuesday. He's not. Doctors say fine, go home. But also do another stretch and sweep and talk wistfully about how lovely my cervix looks and how great those waters would be to break. Suddenly I feel like now the pressure's off we should maybe just get it over with and do it. But we don't. We go home for Round 3 of DIY induction. Which again, works for a few hours, then doesn't anymore. I cry a lot, and feel like a failure because first I almost can't keep him in and now I can't get him out, and what if the small baby talk really is a good reason to give him a nudge and we've made the wrong decision and things go horribly wrong and it's all my fault. No baby.

NO BABY. FAAAAARK! We have another AFI test booked in for Monday morning. I am almost tempted to have The Boy boil up a crochet hook and break my waters himself. Pretty sure if this kid hasn't arrived by the time we're in the day clinic on Monday, I'm going to give them the green light to do whatever they need to do. This shit is bananas.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Think I might be having a baby?


Had my appointment this morning, and the obstetrician is still worried about the babe's size. We agreed to disagree about that - my argument is that someone has to be small, right? That's how averages work! And so many of those growth scan measurements were re-done by different people who came up with wildly different measurements... I just don't trust that there's necessarily an issue. Anyway. She gave me a stretch and sweep, and sent me off to the day clinic for a CTG and another look at the blood flow and amniotic fluid, and booked me in for an induction on Friday. Which I am not crazy about.

All those test results were fine, the babe's head is engaged and I'm 2 cm dilated. And after four hours of sitting in various chairs, I'm home, and have lost my mucous plug and am feeling either quite frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, or actual labour pains. Either way, there's a whole lot more action going on than there has been so far. I'm not sure I'll have to have the fight on Friday about being induced.

We bumped into FJ & B in the day clinic, who were there because she's 40+3 and maybe having labour pains... I think we might have twins. See you on the post-natal ward, lady!

Wish me luck...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

30 billion weeks.

That's how pregnant I feel. Thirty billion weeks. Today I can't walk! Hooray! My pelvis is one thousand kinds of tender, and I woke up this morning with crippling sciatica. As in, I am an actual cripple. Cannot put any weight whatsoever on my left leg. Hopefully it will go as mysteriously as it came. It has happened before. Never quite this bad, though... It will be so wonderful to be able to sleep some other way than on my sides. My hips are really not up to the task anymore.

The Braxton Hicks contractions are coming and going, but when they come, they're getting kind of serious. They've woken me up in the night a couple of times, although, to be fair, I don't feel like I'm doing too much in the way of very deep sleeping. (Kind of the same as last time?)

The kid has two more birthday parties to go to this weekend.

The hospital bag is kind of packed. All the baby stuff is in there. And the pads and wipes and so on. Have to put some clothes for me in, but my limited wardrobe is still in high rotation, so I think I'll just end up chucking in whatever might be cleanish as we run out the door.

Another hospital check-up on Tuesday. I guess if they start talking about induction, I'll organise an acupuncture appointment.

So much cleaning. Not enough name-choosing. Quite a lot of chocolate eating. Very little coherent thought. Out you come, sweet babe. Mama's ready for you.

Monday, 9 March 2015

37 degrees of separation

37. Made it to full-ish term. Last time, I was just finishing up work. (Which reminds me, I need to formally organise the maternity leave... Still on sick leave at the moment, but only for another three weeks.)

Have I written about this? I don't think so... They've been worried at the hospital, since Christmas, that this babe is a little on the small side. He measured in the 40th percentile then, and a couple of weeks later the 20th, then the 15th... The scan I had on Thursday was the one to decide whether he could stay in there for the duration or whether he was too little and had to come out early. He squeaked into the 22nd percentile, so is allowed to stay put and I don't imagine there will be another scan now. I still don't really understand why they would take him out early - surely he's better off on the inside for as long as possible? There has never been anything wrong with the umbilical blood flow or the amount of amniotic fluid, and those body part measurements are so subjective (and apparently come with a 500 g margin of error, which is a stupidly huge amount, given that we're only talking about a couple of kilos in total)... They were going to have a fight on their hands had they tried to set up a caesar this week, but thankfully it didn't come to that. Must have been the bodybuilder's diet I've been on since the last scan. (Do bodybuilders eat two serves of cinnamon ice cream after a dumpling feast?) So he's little. That's ok. Sadly, he has a bang-on average head circumference, so he's not going to save me any grief there.

I have a cold, which sucks balls. I did at last sleep ok last night, mostly due to exhaustion, I think, but the two nights before that - between the sciatica and the groin pain and the blocked nose and the general inability to be comfortable due to the small human being growing inside me - were not very restful. Thank the lord for childcare and grandparents, is all I can say. (Although, going out to my parents' on Wednesday was completely depressing. I did fall asleep on the couch for a bit, but I also spent a fair bit of time awake, witnessing their dysfunctionality. Oy. A story for another time, perhaps.)

I appear to be nesting. I washed all the nappies today. I re-organised all the 0000 and 000 baby clothes so that they're folded in neat piles in drawers that make sense. I vacuumed places that have clearly not been vacuumed in some time. I also dozed on the couch and blew about a litre and a half of snot out my nose. I started making the kid a set of sushi because he was completely obsessed with the ones that went to little A. I thought about learning German again. (S sent me a link of him on some German chat show, of all things, and it was frustrating to have to put so much vocab that was just out of reach into google translate before I could fully grasp what was going on.) I have braxton hicks contractions out the wazoo, and occasionally hope that they're the real thing, because the anticipation is making me crazy. We still don't have a car seat for the babe.

Not at all related to anything else... all this weird stuff is going down... stuff that probably is best not talked about here, given that the internet plays for keeps. But it's making me feel like a) when your spidey sense tells you something is not quite right about someone, you should listen, and b)... I'm not sure what b is yet. Things are not always what they seem. Which everybody knows, of course, but it's weird to have it pointed out so thoroughly, and so publicly. Less cryptic thoughts to come. Maybe...

Friday, 27 February 2015

36 weeks, 36 degrees

In the last couple of disappearing weeks, I have come to realise that I actually quite like being pregnant. Everything is soft and round and it is a crazy incredible thing to grow a human inside your belly. Also it is quite nice that I am not working. And then I hit the TIRED. Oh my god, so very tired. Like, going to bed at 7.30 tired. (Followed by waking up starving at 3 am, as per usual, and then tossing and turning, very awkwardly and slowly, while the babe does circus tricks.) SO tired. (Turns out this is how it goes.) Last night I got bonus sciatica as well, which had sort of been niggling all day, but pushed me to the point of weeping on the side of the bed at my utter inability to be in a position that didn't hurt, let alone find comfortable. A couple of paracetemol, a hot pack and The Boy's elbow kneading my butt sorting it out enough to get some sleep, but it was Not Fun. Still, I woke up fine the next day, and it dawned on me that I will not be pregnant forever. Very soon my belly will be squishy and empty and there will be a tiny baby in my life again. It's blowing my mind, even though we've been here before. So I'm consciously trying to enjoy these last few weeks waddling about. This is the end of the line for us (never say never!) and it is a sweet, sweet ride. 

I actually thought the end of the line was happening for real on Tuesday. I was in a cafe with my mum, eating lunch, and suddenly the Braxton Hicks contractions I've been having for weeks got PAINFUL, in a kind of continuous way that didn't seem like it was stopping. We wolfed down our lunch and hurried home, but all that seemed to happen was that I did a giant poo and then they stopped. Food baby rather than baby baby. Nothing at all has gone on since, and I'm totally happy to be proven wrong, but it did make me think that this babe may yet make an earlier than expected arrival...

It was the kid's birthday on Chinese New Year, which he was most excited about. The fellas at the cafe sent his babycino out with TWO marshmallows (usual order = 0) and a candle for him to blow out. He wanted to take gingerbread crocodiles (and stars and flowers) to childcare to share for afternoon tea instead of a cake, so we made them the night before and when I arrived to pick him up they had just finished singing happy birthday and were passing them around to a room full of delighted four-year-olds. The grandparents came over in the evening and we went to Red Door for dinner (of course), where the kid ordered for everyone. Lucky he got his taste in dumplings from us. There was a lot of lego involved.

We had planned a little last-minute party in the park (thank god that's all he said he wanted - I looked into options like the Children's Farm and the Traffic School a few weeks beforehand and other parents are waaaaay more organised than we are. No free slots for months and months). But having packed party bags and bought a fridge-load of fruit and made cakes in the couple of days prior, the kid woke up on Saturday morning and puked. And then went back to sleep. And then puked again. So at 7.30 we pulled the pin. He dozed a bit and sweated a lot and then by 10.30 was right as rain and filled his belly full of birthday berries and sushi, which was really the only casualty of the day. (Who am I kidding, we were totally happy to eat sushi for lunch and dinner, instead of cooking in the 36 degrees heat.) So. Take 2 tomorrow. Shopping for fruit again today. Sushi tray is re-ordered. Cakes can come out of the freezer and be carved into the Batman symbol and slathered in black icing tomorrow morning. It's still going to be 34, so not a whole lot cooler, but what can you do. At least it's not supposed to rain until the afternoon.

Four. I can hardly believe it. He's so grown-up, and still yet still so little, lying on his bedroom floor with his pants off playing lego. Apart from park parties and sunshine, it's kind of an annoying time to have a birthday, if you're a first-born boy. He's in four-year-old kinder at childcare this year, and can read, so in theory can go to primary school next year. Except that just about everyone I speak to says that it's best to hold kids back until they are 6, particularly first-born boys. A lot of kids in the childcare room are in the same boat, and I know some have stayed back in the three-year-old room to head this issue off early, but the kid was absolutely ready to go up. The thing is, what to do with him next year if he's not ready for school? We will have used up the government kinder funding, so he can't repeat that year. There's an early learning centre attached to a private school around the corner who do take five-year-olds, but their waiting list is long, and their fees are high. We're going on a tour next week for the primary school a few minutes' walk away and will put him on the list there afterwards, but the advice on their website leans towards starting a year later, too. What will we do with this child for a whole extra year? In my day, we all just went when we were four (which, in hindsight, didn't always work out that well), but I don't want him to be the only tiny kid a whole year younger than everyone else, particularly as he's kind of a weirdo already. An adorable weirdo, don't get me wrong, but a different sort of kid to lots of the other boys his age that we know. It's not just now, either. It's when they're in Year 9 and everyone else is turning into men... it's at the end of school when everyone else is turning 18 and voting and getting their drivers' licenses and he'll still be 17... I guess we just see how he goes this year. If he's ready, he's ready. If he's not, we'll think of something. (Stupidly, we've done exactly the same thing with the babe. Due in March. Why did we not think of this and organise a September birthday?)

Still haven't really packed a hospital bag or sorted out newborn nappies or read that book by the lady with the funny name about birth skills. Should probably get onto those things. I did order a TENS machine, though. And I have sent a batch of knitted sushi off to a sweet babe on the other side of the world.
Lunch time!
Happy birthday, little a
And bought presents for the five thousand other children we know with February birthdays. And organised a whole lot of annoying bits of paper for the new car. (New car! So shiny! Thank you, wealthy mother-in-law! When you going to buy us a house?) So it's not all West Wing and afternoon naps. In fact, hardly any of it is that. I'm at the hospital every week for hours at a time. My to-do list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. The kid is home with me three days a week, which is mostly ok, sometimes really really lovely and occasionally fucking impossible. It's a good thing I'm not working at the moment, because I don't at all know how I would fit that in to life. Things will slow down once the babe arrives, right? Right?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


I started writing this at 33 weeks, but that was a few days ago now. Closing in on 34. Can you believe it! Nice work on staying put in there, sweet babe.

The Boy is well and truly back at work, and I hadn't realised just what that would mean for the leisurely sleep-ins I had been enjoying so frequently. Basically, he walks out the door at 7.30 and the kid climbs in to bed with me. Sleep time over. I know, 7.30, it's hardly the bad old days of 5 am, but dammit, mama needs her beauty sleep. There are upsides, though. He is the sweetest thing in the world to wake up to. Gently strokes my cheek and says, 'You're so lovely, mum. I love you soooo much'. Also, just the once, he has been ensconced in his bedroom listening to music, and happily stayed there for nearly an hour after I heard the front door close as The Boy left. More of that, please! Another upside is our walks to childcare. The Boy used to take care of the drop-offs, because although only two streets away, the centre is on his way to work, and I would have to walk past the train station to get there. But now that I'm at home, drop-offs are my territory. Which is lovely. Sometimes the kid rides his bike. Sometimes we stop at the cafe for a babycino and a hot chocolate. Sometimes we walk through the park and hold hands all the way and talk about whatever it is that he wants to talk about. And the days that are not childcare days, we take our time getting out the door, and do things like go to the gallery, again, with I and D and M, this time...

I think we're up to four DIY Romance Was Born beards now...
Still working on 'brave'

Or Werribee Zoo. (With the other two school friends who are 2 - 7 weeks more pregnant than I am, so not exactly taking the place by storm.) I have no photographic evidence of this visit.

I do have photographic evidence of the finished blanket, however. It's been pretty much done since I got home from hospital, but still had ends hanging out all over the place. Now they're all woven in and the babe can arrive whenever he feels like it. (Not really. A few more weeks, if you please.)

I had a crazy busy weekend of catching up with the Bali women, and seeing Bowditch do her thing and although I was feeling a little more energised early on in the week, by last night, I was completely useless. When I'm tired, everything goes downhill. Everyone annoys me and all I want is to be left alone and not be the one who always has to know where the spare bathers are or whether there's a cabbage in the fridge or what Batman does for a job. I'll be better once I've slept. I'll be better once I've had a few hours to myself. The slightly terrifying thing is that I know pretty soon I'm not going to be able to have any hours to myself. At all. Help! Even the plan of having The Boy home from work for a term suddenly fills me with dread. I just want to crawl under the doona for a few hours and talk to nobody... And then this morning I ran into L from down the road at childcare drop-off, and went and had breakfast with her and it turns out all I needed was eggs on toast with a person that I like. All sorted.

I'm going to lie here and catch up on emails and listen to lovely tunes and wait for my boys to come home before we head to the beach for a pre-dinner dip, because it is a billion degrees out there. Summer, you kill me and I love you.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

32. Still pregnant. Still lying down.

32 tomorrow. I don't know if it's lack of match fitness from all this bed rest, or my advanced maternal age (three months off being considered 'geriatric'!), but I am so, so tired these days. I walked the kid up to childcare this morning, and then waddled a bit further down Chapel St for milk and vegetables and progesterone pessaries, and I had to catch the tram the three stops home because I couldn't face the walk. I've been in bed for the hour and a half since I got back and am only just feeling human again. God help me if I have to be in labour for more than 20 minutes. God help me when I have a newborn who wakes up 75 times in the night! I guess today's exhaustion can in some part be attributed to a late night out with D and H yesterday, and The Boy's alarm going off for the first day of school this morning. (I swear to god, if I could have moved my limbs, I would have punched him in the face for hitting snooze so many times. Get the fuck out of bed and stop waking me up every 8 minutes for no reason!)

Physically, I am knackered, but mentally, things are pretty good. I discovered last week, for the first time, that I love this baby. I'm not sure what made it happen... I was sitting in the shade at the side of The Boy's mum's pool, feeling all blissful and refreshed from my swim, while she and the kid splashed about, and it occurred to me that I was in love with the baby. Just like that. I don't know if this was the case with the kid. (Didn't help me much, if it did, because it took bloody ages to feel like I loved him once he was on the outside.) It's a good thing, though. I also realised, a little while before that moment, that a very big part of my 'second boys are trouble' trouble is the narrative that I have been hearing for YEARS from both my mum and The Boy's. They both love their sons, I know, and they both do their best with difficult personalities and situations, but also, they both have, over time, bitched a fair bit about how shit their second-born sons are. And, crucially, about how in both cases, either they or their husbands didn't actually want a second child/wanted a girl. So. I don't know why the significance of these attitudes took so long to make sense to me, but I've realised that I am not them, and this baby is not my brother, nor The Boy's, and that he has every chance of being just as freaking magical as the kid is. (The kid, who last night, when The Boy called him for dinner, said 'Yes guys? What can I do for you?') This is some kind of spectacular breakthrough for me. As in, I had a psychologist appointment last week, and I DID NOT CRY! Visit #2 and no tears! It took me months to get to this point last time. Admittedly, I had let things get a whole lot more dire then, but still. I applaud myself for my progress.

I did cry a tiny bit on Monday, when we stopped at The Boy's mum's again on the way back from the farm, to say goodbye to her sweet dog, who for years has been our part-time farm mascot. It's particularly hard, because she really was The Boy's dad's dog, and has been a little link to him since he died eight years ago. So now she's gone and it's like saying goodbye to him all over again. The kid was very cute, though. Gave her a kiss on the nose and told her she was a sweet puppy. We read a Charlie & Lola story a few weeks ago in which Charlie's mouse dies, so he's all over the idea of taking her to the farm and burying her under a tree there and singing her a little goodbye song.

She'll be happy there.

Last time I was this pregnant, things were much the same, without the working. Turns out my nan did have the Alzheimers. And D & S never did get their shit together...

Two more weeks until this babe can arrive without everybody panicking. Potentially 10 more weeks of lazing around if he really drags his heels. There's going to be a whole lot more knitted sushi, if it comes to that...