Friday, 28 September 2012

In which I blame the Universe. And Hormones.


How is it nearly October?  Sorry about that.  I did mean to post at least something over the past couple of weeks, but the bump is expanding at the rate of several kilos a week (at least that’s what it feels like) and in return is firing out MEAN hormones.  I am a horror. 

Mind you, I’m being given a good run for my money by my children, who are taking mean to new heights. Until about 2 weeks ago I was quite relieved that the Grubette was a she-Grubette;  girls are just so much easier, no?  Especially if your son is as, um, spirited (ahem) as the Boy. And then something happened -  the London water perhaps?  The Girl just suddenly became... a little bitch.  (Sorry Girl. I know you’ll read this in years to come and be horrified, but quite honestly...) Any minor transgression – real or imagined (such as brushing her hair; or – GOD FORBID – giving her a raspberry yoghurt INSTEAD OF A STRAWBERRY ONE) is greeted with screams and shouts and, usually, a pinch.  How has she learned to pinch?  It’s fucking annoying.  And sore. 

The Boy, meanwhile, is being a... what’s the male version of a bitch?  Anyway, he’s being FOUL.  At best he completely ignores us if he doesn’t like whatever we’re saying – (in fact his teacher suggested the other day that I get his ears tested;  IMAGINE if it was as easy as that...)  at worst he stands face to face with me, shouting horrible things.  Last weekend it got all a Bit Too Much;  the Girl was on the floor pinching my leg, he was standing on my feet roaring into my face, the Man was at the gym, the Grubette was practising the double-somersault.  I had an image of this being my life for the next 5, 10, 15 years and started to sob.  Head on the table, chest-heaving sobbing.  Man, it felt good.  But the best thing was that it absolutely stunned the kids frozen.  The pinching stopped, the roaring stopped.  The Boy even got off my feet. I didn’t dare to look up – or indeed calm down.  After a minute or so, the Boy said, in a teeny little voice:  “Mummy, I’ve never heard you crying before...”  By this stage I was thoroughly enjoying myself and saw no reason to stop.  He then started to rub my head, and the Girl my feet.  “Mummy,  don’t cry. We’ll stop being bad.”
And so they did.  (For about 15 minutes, but 15 minutes is better than none at all).

The Universe has also been a bit mean of late;  we’ve had various piddly little things which have been testing my patience (hahahaha, as if I have any patience at all).  Last week some stupid cock opened his car door just as I was driving by – a narrow, one-way street.  That his car was completely destroyed, as opposed to just marginally mangled like ours, is of little comfort to me.  Calling insurance companies is NOT how an 8-month pregnant lady wants to spend her time;  nor is delivering cars to be repaired, then waiting in for a replacement hire car (did I say car?  I meant pile-of-shit).  Meanwhile, I’ve been flat out busy getting a work project finished against a tight deadline, so very cleverly organised a temporary part-time nanny. She, however, is completely shit overwhelmed, and the kids – for want of a better word – hate are taking complete advantage of her.  AND she’s expensive.  So I’ve been spending my afternoons sitting in the “office” in the loft (office, in as much as it’s where the desk has been put.  Along with mattresses, a kitchen table, chairs, paintings, and dozens of boxes.  It’s a restful place, as you can imagine.) listening to them run rings around her, shrieking and wailing while she pleads with them – loudly - to  PLEASE SIT DOWN.  I’m no expert in these things, but I suspect that I could do better (or at least, not worse), for free.

Things started to settle down yesterday, hurrah!  The work project was done, the kids’ grandparents were here, we were due to go out to celebrate the Man’s sister’s engagement, his brother’s birthday, and all other good things. We just needed to get to 7pm without calamity.  Ha.  I changed the Girl, picked her up – how?  I’ve gone over it in my head dozens of times, and still can’t be sure how I did it, if it was even anything that I did – and she started to cry and rub her arm. “My elbow,” she shrieked.  Then started to sob and wail.  Her arm was hanging at a funny angle, her little finger sticking out strangely.  Within an hour – because I’m nothing if not highly strung quick-thinking –  we were at A&E, then she was being x-rayed and then, with a slight flick of the wrist, a doctor popped her dislocated elbow back in.  It was amazing.  The crying – non-stop for 2 hours – stopped immediately (at least hers did), and her arm worked again.  We made it out for dinner, and I thought – not for the first time during this pregnancy – of just how drunk  I am planning on getting in three weeks’ time.

I could of course get drunk tonight:  it’s the MAD Blog Awards!  (That would get me noticed...) So it isn’t all doom and gloom.  AND I’ve been given a taste of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous by having a frock – a real, grown-up, pretty frock – delivered to my door for the event, by the lovely folk at Seraphine. Check it out: 

(Now remove that gorgeous creature from the above image, imagine instead Nancy Regan - with mud on her face - wearing it, and insert a prize-winning pumpkin (stalk protruding) where her abdomen once was.  Still a beautiful dress tho’.)

I DO have a recipe for you.  But I also have a hair appointment (the dress deserves some effort) and have to run.  I will let you know how the evening went, if I did get drunk and vomit down my front (I suspect I won’t, but you never know) or if the evening is ruined by the Girl mangling herself in some bizarre way or other before I even get out the door.  Watch this space.   


Friday, 14 September 2012

Parent Air, Redux.


So.  We are back home.  Or, rather, “home”, as until just over a week ago, we had never set foot in this house. Which could have been a recipe for disaster, but frankly, by the time I’d finished with 26 hours’ of travelling with my belly and the kids, I would have embraced, and lain down in, a garden shed. In a previous post I compared air travel with my children with travelling with spider monkeys (or goats, or cats), but now that they’re older, I’m revising that post, as follows:

Overnight Air-Travel with Bump and Offspring: An Observation

Take one mean dog, and one crazy cat;  put them at either end of short, hard, park bench, with yourself in the middle. 

Place another park bench immediately in front of you - preferably one which contains at least one shrieking / leaping / hyper primate - and one immediately behind you.  This should ideally host a nervous kangaroo. 

Into a small sack stuff several dozen gerbil.  Add a venomous snake. Close it securely, leaving only the smallest bit of wriggle room.  Strap the sack tightly to your abdomen, in such a way that you are unable to bend over – or indeed move, at all. If at any time the chaos in the sack wanes, poke it with a stick. 

If at any time the spitting snarling cat and dog desist from spitting and snarling at each other, poke them with a stick.

DO NOT ALLOW THEM to go to sleep until they have each been awake for at least 20 hours.  Then ensure that they both fall asleep simultaneously on top of you. 

Do whatever it takes to suddenly, urgently, need to pee at the exact moment that the beasts fall quiet.

Sit still for 5 hours, ignoring the pain in your bladder, the kicking from the kangaroo, and the thumping / leaping / bellowing from the primate, and occasionally glaring at your sleeping co-parent (conveniently seated on a bench some distance from you*). 

At the end of this time, shake your sleeping animal neighbours awake – this will take all your strength and effort – and poke the gerbil / snake sack back to life.  Then drag the howling animals off for a two-mile walk, unwrapping them from your leg every couple of metres.

With any luck, by the time you get to the final 2 hour-leg of your never-ending journey, the animals will be wild-eyed with energy, and won't sleep for another 17 hours. 

You’ve made it!  Welcome “home”.

(*In his defence he did offer to sit with the kids.  Which I accepted.  Then promptly changed by mind, figuring that 10 hours with snapping toddler neighbours was preferable to 10 hours with stinky fat drunkard neighbour.  In retrospect I was wrong.  Stinky Fat Drunkard promptly fell asleep, and didn’t spit, snarl or lash out once.) 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The end (of our holidays) is nigh


Our eight-week get-away is drawing to a close.  Apart from astonishment at just how quickly the time has gone – where?  how? – I find self musing on the following:

Metamorphosis
We’ve all changed.  (Physically, only – we’re still, largely, the same snarling (children), cantankerous (parents), semi-exhausted (parents), hyper-active (guess) people we were 8 weeks ago.)  The children however arrived with darkish hair and fair skin.  They leave with darkish skin and fair hair.  The Girl in particular is almost unrecognisable. Like her momma, she just needs to be aware that there is sunshine in the general vicinity and she starts turning brown. (Alas now her momma’s turning brown is restricted to facial patches – how am I going to get away with wearing large sunglasses and a floppy hat in wintery London?).  The Boy’s hair has turned white, and his skin is what you might – wankishly - call cappuccino (to the Girl’s mocha. And my splatter.)  The Man, a handsome beast at the best of times, was previously Northern European handsome;  now he’s Mr Hollywood – all white teeth, dark skin and really quite ridiculously fit.  

I, on the other hand, arrived here almost lithe in comparison to the creature who is heading home.  I’d forgotten how enormous the difference is between being 24 weeks’ pregnant, and almost 33 (AAAAAAAAARGH).  When I got here I could carelessly drop things on the floor (note to my mother-in-law:  NOT THAT I DID) and whimsically pick them up;  now I watch things fall and wonder (a) how long can I live with them in their new position and (b) where are my little brown helpers? Back then I would sit with my knees more or less together;  now I’m like Jimmy Five Bellies: legs akimbo, gut hanging out, wheezing and groaning and sitting down with a pained expression and a grunting wallop, a caricature of a heavily-pregnant lady. 

I also have less teeth than I did 8 weeks ago.

Finances
This is what we have spent our money on since we got here (in order of magnitude):
  • Blood Bottom
  • The Great Car-Meets-Animal Incident
  • Old Lady Teeth
  • De-sewaging the house
  • Pregnant Lady Cough
  • Groceries
  • Sun Screen 
Of all of these, I think that only the sewage clean-up and the sun-screen were worth it.

What I’ll miss about America:
  • Everything is easy  (except if you’re poor, or anything less than comfortable.  Then I’d imagine life is nigh impossible)
  • Blue skies
  • Empty roads
  • Happy people with shiny teeth (we’ve had a sheltered visit)
  • Unquestioning patriotism
  • The NY Times on Sunday

And what I won’t:
  • The NY Times on Sunday costing $6.50. 
  • Being greeted by ALL shop assistants like a long-lost friend.  FUCKOFFFUCKOFFFUCKOFF, I want to roar, Tourettes-like.
  • Being asked by all cafe workers if I’d like “a cookie with that”.  FUCKOFFFUCKOFF...  (On one memorable occasion, the man in the newspaper shop asked me if I wanted “some gum with that [paper]”.  He looked confused when I started to laugh)
  • Unquestioning patriotism
  • Mad mad Republicans spouting SHITE

What I’m looking forward to getting home to:
  • A nice cup o’ tea (God, I’m such a granny)
  • Non-online English papers
  • Radio 4
  • Going out with the Man, and no kids, more than three times in 8 weeks (unbelievable)
  • Real bread
  • Real butter
  • Real cheese
  • All three of the above at once
  • Cooking soupy things

 And what I’m not:
  • The shit English weather, which necessitates the cooking of soupy things
  • We go from the airport straight to a new house.  A new house neither of us has actually seen, other than online. Which is – should be, please God let it be - filled with all our crap, in about 642 boxes.  With two jet-lagged, cranky children. 
  • Getting the kids out of the house by 8.20am
  • Getting up by 8.20am
  • Wearing clothes again
  • And shoes
  • Having a baby in SIX WEEKS...

Luckily, I have the horror of an overnight flight tomorrow to take my mind off things.  (Surely, however, it won’t be as bad as it was the last time I did it?)