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Archive for the ‘thinky post’ Category

flowercumbers

You know what? I have countless pictures in my phone of things I’ve tried to take note of so that I can share them with you, dear readers. And you know what the only think I can think of is when I actually have forty-five seconds spare to write something? The only thing I can share with you? Flowercumbers. It’s not even a real word. It’s just that I finally cut cucumber slices into flower shapes and then suddenly, instead of wailing at cucumbers like they were death sticks as per usual, suddenly she eats them.

Man, I am up for so much advice on this. I read Green Eggs and Ham to her and thought that it would be genius to make Green Spaghetti, aka pasta (which she will eat Everest-sized mountains of) covered in pesto. But no. Now when I say, “What do you want for dinner?” sometimes she will say “Pasketti!” but when she does she always follows it up with a serious expression and, “But not green pasketti, mama.” I contemplated putting food dye into her spaghetti water the other day to mix it up but then remembered the point was actually food variety and not changing the colour of a food she already eats without problem. All she wants in life is rice and babycinos.

Anyway! I got the Rocket to review a book for me, here! I had to bribe her by saying “You could help mama do work, and then you could get paid! In books!” and then I had to buy her a new Hairy Maclary book, but it was worth it to get the recording of her little voice on my phone babbling on about blue collars, and also the author tweeted it to his followers so therefore, I am famous, clearly.

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on making new friends

I have tried to write this post three times in the past six months. I’ve also tried to write it three different times this evening, each time getting frustrated and reverting back to the wine I am definitely not drinking out of a Buzz Lightyear glass and the popcorn I definitely did not steal from the Rocket’s stash of snacks. It seems like it should be simple, because really what I’m always trying to write when I strangle myself with a thousand words of nonsense is this stupidly obvious statement: I like friends. I never really expected that I would have a baby and that act alone would give me so many new friends that I feel like a YouTube video of someone happily being smothered by puppies, but there you are.

In school you make friends by fossicking out the most cheerfully compatible ones out of the classrooms you spend hours inside. After school, you go to work, and the dynamics can make things harder: you are no longer equals in a room, no longer students all muddling about trying to figure out why Pythagoras even bothered having a theorem when he could have spent his time much more constructively pashing behind the bike sheds. Instead, you are being bossed around, or perhaps trying to keep everyone in line, or too busy to even exchange pleasantries, or you just don’t click with anyone in your workplace. About seven years ago I went through a phase where I had a core group of friends that I adored and a partner who loved me, but I had this real visceral worry that I had reached the part of life where I wouldn’t make any new friends ever again. I thought maybe you hit a point in life where no new friendship experiences happened to you and you just never met anyone nice again unless you had already planned to go out with them for dinner. The world became very small. Eventually, in an uncharacteristic display of bravery, I decided to do something about it.

It started by going on the internet and joining a community of vegans and then hanging out with them. I know that anyone reading this who is not also of the tofu-eating persuasion has just panicked at the thought of this, imagining (as I probably used to) that we sat around gnashing our teeth about the other 99.97% of the world’s population and eating lettuce while looking pasty, but actually, it was just like hanging around with everyone else, except that they didn’t sigh dramatically and roll their eyes when you tried to figure out where to go for dinner. Reaching out for new friends altered something for me—this worry that there would be no one else vanished, and I started to be braver about making pals. A couple of years later I got a new job at a different bookshop, and the sheer amount of amazing new people I met still makes me grin when I drive to work (most days—I’m not that cherubic.) By the time I was pregnant, there were boundless plains of people who were giving me congratulatory hugs and high fives and trying really hard not to ask to touch my enormous belly (even though I didn’t mind.) These people were essentially limited to three groups where I shared a common interest: school buds, literary types, and people who used the word “facon” instead of “bacon” on Instagram.

Then I had a baby and my common interest became the same as billions of people in the world and millions in Melbourne alone. And, unexpectedly, my interests and the interests of those other millions of people do not always align. And—here’s the part I’ve always struggled to admit—I was worried about them. My world was full of lefty atheists who did collage on the weekends and smoked cigarillos at rooftop bars (not me, obviously—I have literally never smoked in my life and am incapable of finding a good bar on my own.) No one voted for Tony Abbott and they were fierce feminists who didn’t own property and who respected video games and comics and children’s books as art. It was a world I felt comfortable in, and I did not feel comfortable in those other worlds, worlds of religion and girls who wear princess dresses and toy swords.

Here is something I think that I just did not know: there are parents/guardians out there who are different from me, and they are amazing.

They own their own homes, and live in beautiful houses that are always clean, and have children with perfect clothes, and post-child bodies better than I ever thought my pre-child body was, and they believe in God and go to church, and they are much older or younger than me, and they buy pink for their daughters and blue for their sons, and they wear clothes I don’t like, and they don’t read books much, and they don’t know the difference between Marvel and DC, and they listen to Fox FM, and it does not matter. They are there to play with and lament to, they are there to ask and give advice, they are there to share jokes and snotty noses. And they are just among the most incredible people I have ever had the good fortune to have in my life, to the point where thinking about it right now has made it rain on my face.

It started with my mother’s group—I’ve mentioned my nerves before about meeting them, dressing up in clothes uncomfortable for my tired post-birth body just so they thought I was cool. I must have convinced them because we are still friends to this day, and we’re about to have a Christmas party this weekend together and I am super excited about it. These women were all successful, smart, funny, understanding and kind and they were all so different from me and each other that I almost thought we could be a sitcom. I don’t know where I’d be now without them, a sounding board for all things that fall apart when you have a baby. When the Rocket sputters, it’s usually them I call, because inevitably when something goes wrong, I am not the only one who’s gone through it. And when something goes right, it usually just has for them too.

When the Rocket was about nine months old we moved out of our cold and tiny cave into a temperature-controlled cave with bigger windows and another bedroom and the need for a zone 2 train ticket. Previously I’d lived within walking distance of two of my mother’s group pals, but otherwise I wasn’t too involved in my community—my neighbours liked us but not each other—and I didn’t really expect much. Then we took up Gymbaroo, and suddenly I had all these friends in my phone with the surname “Gymbaroo” because one thing you never know as a parent/guardian is other parent/guardian’s surnames. We had coffee after class and played in the park and went to each other’s parties and caught up in the park and went on train adventures together. Later, the Rocket started swimming lessons, and then we had to stay extra late so she could hang out with the new friends she and I made from the other classes, and then extra late to hang out with the friends we made from the classes after that, and then we had to come early as well to spend time with the friends we made who just came along for a splash every week earlier than our class. And I did not put their names in my phone because it is too awkward to exchange numbers while in your underpants in a change room, but I still look forward to seeing them every week. Despite the fact that this is a place where I can’t hide that I don’t like how I look behind billowing t-shirts, distracting accessories and blow-dried hair, these people are my friends too. Along with these activities, on an almost daily basis I would take the Rocket to get a babycino at the same cafe at our local strip of shops, and we made friends with the women who worked there, and some days I would go there just to see the faces of people who beamed when we walked in the door and didn’t even care about that time when the Rocket offered her drink to her bear and smashed the cup on the ground.

Today, I joined a secret neighbourhood facebook group, curated by a mother I met at the park about a week ago. We got along well straight away, as did our kids, flying around the park doing laps and yelling at each other about going on the swings. Like teenagers who’d just gone on a date, both the Rocket and I couldn’t stop talking about it when we got home; I could not believe that there were still new friends to be made out there in my neighbourhood. Recently we had a landlord scare and I thought I might have to move; I spent the night wailing about it in Teach’s arms, as if we would have to move to Albuquerque instead of three streets away. Unexpectedly, the community I have developed here has made me feel that I have finally moved into the right place, my family place. Within my block alone live three other families with both kids and parents I love; I never expected I would be so lucky that I could have friends over the back fence or who were free on Tuesdays like we were or who walked past our house with their kids who shout the Rocket’s name from our driveway so we can come outside and run in circles around the bird bath. I never thought there would be these people in my life, floods of them, and then new ones every day who live only one corner away and who I never even met until this week.

In accordance with my current mood, this is all beautiful and soft-focus; I know that there are jerks out there—I’ve met them, too, and scissored them out of my life—and that some people have so many experiences with jerks in a row that the safest thing to do is to stop meeting anyone, especially when there’s a kid involved. I wish I could say “just open up to meeting new people, it’ll be fine!” when no, it’s not, not always. I put myself out there and I lucked out. All I can say it that I hope you luck out too, kids or not, internet or not, nearby friendly cafe or not, local sports team or not. And if you ever need a fist bump, I’ve got my knuckles against the screen right now.

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on being boring

There are three fully-formed and terribly-terrible posts in my WordPress drafts folder, some thousand words long each, that I cannot bring myself to post. One is about the recent successful visits I’ve had to the Vegie Bar, another on making new friends as a parent. And lordy, they are boring. I even got bored writing them. The problem is, of course, that I am boring.

Don’t feel you have to reassure me that I am, in fact, glorious and interesting and hilarious, because sometimes I am all of those things, just as you are. Just like how I am so peppy at work you could put me in a grinder, after which I go home and fall on my face on the couch while the Rocket yanks my arm and says, “Mummy, wake up!”, I can occasionally be interesting. But I am not.

This morning, the Rocket slept in until 9 – it sounds amazing, but actually it makes me think she is sick – and then we had breakfast while watching Yo Gabba Gabba, washed our faces, brushed our teeth, got dressed, and read some books. This seemingly brief set of instructions for becoming human in the morning took us two and a half hours. When Teach comes home and night, I tell him all about it. How she took her own socks off. How we pointed at all the different features (eyes, hair – PURPLE hair! – ears, etc) on the unicorn Pillow Pet she inherited from her cousin. How time is no longer what it used to be. We didn’t leave the house until eleven thirty. We walked to our beloved coffee shop, though sometimes I had to carry her and run while she shouted, “RUN! DINOSAUR COMING! ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEBEN NINE DINOSAUR!” We had our coffee and babycino, and when our friends at the cafe asked the Rocket how she was, she spent five minutes talking about how daddy was on a bus, because he caught a bus three weeks ago to go to camp. The conversation goes like this: “Daddy, on a bus. Big bus! Daddy gone. Camp. Bus! Big bus! Toot toot! Daddy gone on bus.” Shuffle those words around until one person in the conversation gets distracted by something else. After we finished our drinks, we walked up to the corner to see if the digger on the empty block of land being cleared was still sleeping (as it had been during the long weekend) or if it was awake. Happily, it was awake, and doing some very nifty digging and moving around of dirt. We spent maybe fifteen minutes there, just watching the digger move dirt. Don’t get me wrong, I find it all very impressive, and one of the workers came over to say hi, and the dude driving the digger waved, and it was all very perfect for the Rocket. Every thirty seconds she would turn to me and say, “Digger not sleeping. Awake!” and then turn back to watching with this serious expression. Eventually my arms got tired from holding her and we waved goodbye and she said, “Yours drive digger!” because she can’t say me or mine or I, and then we walked home, and she told me seventy billion more times that the digger was awake, and while I took off her shoes inside she said, “Yours sleepy,” so I put her to bed, and now I’m writing this. And aren’t you thrilled? Isn’t it so exciting? Gosh, I hope the fight over the movie rights isn’t too violent.

I could probably say something very intelligent about how having a kid can make you stop and appreciate things. And, well, yes, it does. I’d never really just watched a digger do its thing before, and actually, it is very cool. It’s nice to not be in a hurry on days when you don’t have anything planned. But it’s boring. I’m boring. I have no interesting stories. I hate hearing myself speak when Teach comes home and I tell him what we did. I’ve already talked about it a thousand times during the day when I prompt her to think and recall what we’ve done. “Who came over yesterday? Do you remember? You read a book about a boat? And what did you do with daddy? You went on a walk? What snack did he get you?” And then we read the same eleven books we read yesterday, and if I have it in me I put on different voices from yesterday, and rinse, repeat, again, every day, for eternity.

I could, should and will say that I wouldn’t give up these days with her for anything. I am glad I work a couple of days a week, because the break, where I feel like an actually useful member of society with something useful to give and some minimal earning power, means I can appreciate the time I do have with her. And hey, sometimes it’s so exciting and wonderful I can’t even believe it’s my reality; sometimes the beautiful soft moments are exactly what I need. But mostly, I’m boring, I’m so boring I can’t believe that I thought I’d have enough to say in a blog more than once a month, I’m so boring that my own posts put me to sleep, I’m so boring that I can’t even think of a way to end this sentence, or this post. But I’ll hit publish anyway, just to tell you that parents can be boring, and we know it, and we’re sorry, and one day it might end, and we’ll be interesting again, and hopefully have remembered how.

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on bad days

Recently in a post, I said that parenting gets easier. I believed that at the time, I truly did. But let’s face it; past Fiona is frequently wrong about things, and she was wrong about this.

I yelled at the Rocket today. It had been a tough couple of days – the organisation I’m volunteering with was at a crucial point, Teach came down with a stomach bug, work was full of less-than-stellar customers and the Rocket has developed the most high-pitched squeal ever known to man. Things swing from good to bad quickly: I took the Rocket out for dinner on Sunday night so Teach could rest without someone pelting into the bedroom and yelling “WAKEUP!”, so we went for Indian nearby, which was nice, and then she refused to eat anything but rice, which was a bit annoying, and when I went for our generally failsafe “Just one mouthful and I won’t make you eat any more,” she squealed and spat it out. Yes, great, thanks – lucky we were there before 6pm and thus before any actual customers, but that’s because I’m now afraid to go out where there are other people. Lately that’s all I’ve been getting from her – screaming, “NO!”, whacking, refusal to do anything, eat anything, walk in the right direction, hold my hand, eat dinner, stop eating dinner, loving celery one day and its mortal enemy the next, slapping her hand in lentil bolognese so it flies all over the house, obsessions with one straw that then has to go with us everywhere, and god forbid any of this goes slightly wrong or it’s INCANDESCENT RAGE. Anyway, this morning she ate her cereal with standard terrible mess, and while I cleaned the rest my porridge went cold, and when I finally got to sit down with it I delivered the Rocket some chopped banana at the same time and she yelled, “NO!” and turned it upside-down onto the floor, then threw the plate and squealed.

Camel’s back broken. I yelled at her, loud and fearless. “ROCKET, HOW COULD YOU? THAT WAS NAUGHTY! I AM SICK OF YOU THROWING FOOD AROUND. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? GET DOWN AND PICK THAT UP RIGHT NOW.”

Pretty stellar parenting there. “What is wrong with you?” Well, self, she is two, that’s the problem here, and it’s yours, not hers. I took her out of the high chair to pick up the banana and she couldn’t, because she was crying and saying, “Hug! Hug!” and wouldn’t let go of me. So, not only was it not how I’m trying to parent, but it didn’t even work. She didn’t clean it up like she would’ve (in theory) if I’d calmly put her on the floor and instructed her to help me. It took me even longer to eat my porridge because there was a kid attached to my neck and howling. And as she hiccuped slowly back into a normal breathing pattern, I felt terrible. I did that. I made her feel bad.

This isn’t a post to beat myself up. Sometimes she makes me feel bad too, like when she tells me to go away or that I can’t be doing the fun thing she’s doing with her dad. But when I’m calm with her, she is much more ready to respond with calmness, and when I shout, she responds with heightened emotion and no one gets anywhere. So I probably won’t ever shout again ever, because I live in some kind of reality where everything won’t build up again and I won’t find myself electric with frustration.

To fix myself and her I took her out to the supermarket, which was of course a terrible idea because she insists on carrying the basket and putting random things like giant margarine tubs into the basket, which she can’t carry because I needed to buy soy milk, so she just pushes around slowly, and if I say, “Let mummy help?” she squeals and sends all the elderly people around us to their hearing-aid doctors immediately. Sure, firm hand and all that, right? Well, picking up a screaming baby as well as a heavy basket just doesn’t work, so it just took me twenty minutes to get three things. Frustration was building again, but that’s okay, we were meeting our friend S.

Sometimes I worry – after the fact, anyway – that when I hang out with friends I kind of stand back and let them deal with a lot of it. I disliked that when I wasn’t a parent, because I felt scared and unsure and like I was the one they depended on for life; it’s not like that, because I still have ultimate protection, but it’s just so nice to have someone else get yelled at for misinterpreting her for once. We went home and sent her off for a merry but sadly short nap; after she woke up and ate most of her lunch (though for some of it I had to rub her back, because who the hell knows why), we went to Little Creatures for an hour. Then we dropped S at Canterbury station, and took a little stroll to Canterbury Gardens for a while. There’s no park, but it’s very pretty and there are low-hanging trees. We sat in the rotunda for a while and the Rocket zoomed in circles for a while yelling, “Run round! Run round!”

You know when things are easier? When you can focus entirely on the kid. When you have endless time and patience to sit in a spider-filled rotunda with a toddler telling you which bench to sit on. Then she doesn’t squeal or say no, or break your heart. But you know what’s hard? That exact thing. No errands, no stress, good weather, time – these are not always easy to find. That’s when it’s hard.

We went to a different supermarket on the way home to get stuff for lunch. As we wandered the aisles (we both held a basket handle this time) we encountered a slightly older girl by the pea freezer. We said hi, and the mother said, filled with a familiar tired tone,  “You’re welcome to take her!”

I said, “Aw, but I was going to see if you wanted mine. Maybe we could just put them on the shelves?”

She said, “And then go to the pub!”

We grinned, understanding, then held our daughters’ hands and went on our way. At the checkout, the girl was back, behind us, and a boy in front of us was grabbing a can of Mother as his own mother said, “Of all the things!” and wrestled it off him. As she tried to wrangle her shopping bags and her son, he grabbed a handful of strawberry Mentos packets, and she took it out of his hand – so he grabbed more with the other. (How uncouth. The Rocket usually goes for TicTacs.) She sighed in frustration, and while we all tried to contain our ridiculous and unfair little soul-sucking amazing balls of fun, there was a brief moment where at least I could remember that in all this shouting and crying and feeling like returning her to the cabbage patch, at least I’m not alone.

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the best day of my life

There are a lot of people who say that the best day of their lives were entire twenty-four hour periods in which something big happened. A wedding is one – I haven’t done that and don’t intend to, though, don’t get me wrong, Teach and I have been together for some thirteen love-soaked years and intend to stay together for thirteen hundred more – and then, of course, there is the birth of a child. The greatest day of my life! people will proclaim. The closed-eyes, grit-teeth of labour, then pushing them out: beautiful, wrinkled little babies with confused, new movements in their limbs and eyes that are searching only for you, the parents whose voices it has heard for all these months in its tiny squashed nest inside a belly.

Am I a bad person for saying that it was not, by any account, the best day of my life?

It was so painful: I have never felt anything like it. Twelve hours of a shuddering, all-consuming wall of pain that took up every part of my body and my thoughts. Usually, I’m an insufferable joker – just ask my coworkers or customers. Usually, I can’t shut up. For that twelve hours I was speechless. If the midwives or Teach asked me questions, I could just nod. Sometimes. The only words I remember saying were around hour eleven, something like, I can’t do this, or maybe it was this will never end. It did, of course, thanks to a pair of silver forceps that I looked at, when the doctor held them up to me apologetically, like they were held up by glowing cherubs to a chorus of heavenly voices. I looked at them and thought: they will get this baby out. And they did.

There she was, on my chest, a little pickled baby with wide-open eyes and the pinkest skin in the world. I thought all along that this was the moment I would cry. I didn’t, though. I was just relieved the pain was over. But then, of course, it’s not over; I wasn’t shrouded in a post-birth glow for the rest of what happens. More pushing to get out that enormous goddamn placenta. Stitches to knit me together again. There’s more, but maybe you’re eating your lunch, so I won’t tell you about all of it. Suffice to say it was another indeterminate time before the painkillers took any effect and I started to feel like maybe one day I could walk again.

It’s scary, that first day. You don’t know what you’re doing, and they sure as hell don’t know what they’re doing. They are warm and small and all yours, and then maybe you have to try and breastfeed but it’s not working, and maybe they don’t sleep (not at all, for three days), and doctors prick their little feet with immunisations and tests are performed. It’s gentle – this is not an accusation at the health system, no sir – but it’s bewildering. It all is. While everyone should have the opportunity to have the birth they want, I don’t think a home birth would have done anything but made me panic as soon as the pain hit. I had wanted to stay home for hours, until close to the end, but when labour actually happened all I wanted was to be somewhere I felt safe. And me, I felt safe in a hospital. They served us well.

But it was not the best day of my life.

I think the best day of my life was last Monday. We went to a community garden in Kew with some friends, and the Rocket held hands with her little pal Will and then she got all muddy making pies in the cubby house. Back home, she napped, and I wrote. I can’t remember what we did in the afternoon, but we probably went to the park and watched the trains together. She says “Toot toot!” when she sees them, and waves them off with an elongated “Byeeeeee!” She has all these words now, like Mummy, Daddy, More, Please, Ta, (and an aggressive MORE PLEASE TA when she desperately wants something), Book, Dog, Bed, Guitar, Birdy, Bag. There are more, but these get us through the day quite well. Later, we picked Teach up from work and drove straight to the pool for a splash around in the final warmth of the day. She was adorable in her cousin’s old pink bathers, and she ran happily straight into the water. She’s so brave, she walks until the water goes over her shoulders and she loves to jump (well, step) off the sides into her dad’s outstretched hands. Then she reaches out for me, and then in my arms she wiggles in glee and I say, “Who’s a wiggly-woo?” and she laughs, so loud and with complete all-encompassing happiness. Her face says that she is in her favourite place with her favourite people and that nothing could be better and just, oh, you know, it really couldn’t.

That was my best day. And while it’s much sappier than I tend to be to say it, the thing I love most is that I know it’s not going to be my best day for long. Because there’s always next week, and while that godawful day of her birth was not the best day of my life, I will always cherish it for bringing me the days that were.

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You’ve probably heard that there’s been a birth in England. I mean, some 730,000 babies are born there each year, but they can’t all make the news. This one has: a waving little baby boy, currently unnamed, who will one day be the head of the monarchy that rules (loosely) both his own own country and, amongst others, this fair country in which I find myself today. He’s been the source of unending media frenzy since years before he was born, and now it’s reached whatever is more overexcited than a frenzy. A Diana of frenzy, let us say. And I don’t want to use those key words that are all over the internet, because I don’t really want to feed into said frenzy, though I want to talk about it. Let’s call his parents Bill and Cathy; he is the monarchy baby.

 

I’m interested in the monarchy baby. I am interested in ALL THE BABIES. Pre-Rocket, I couldn’t care less about any of them unless I was directly related to/pals with their parents. Post-Rocket, I am enthralled by everyone’s babies. You should hear me at work – I am insufferable, and I will always try and shoehorn a conversation about children out of anyone who’s carrying around one younger than, say, three. Why? I don’t know. I guess I am happy for them. Maybe they will offer one of those tidbits of information you can successfully use on your own kid. They are certainly all cuter than they were before I had one of my own, when I thought they all looked a bit gross. Maybe you want to hear that there’s someone out there with the same problems you’re having.

 

It’s tricky, because I’ve wanted to, just a little bit, keep up with the monarchy baby. Bill and I go way back – the last time there was this level of frenzy for a birth, it coincided with my own, though I was born the day before him. (My mother claims if you were born on the same day you got some kind of commemorative memorabilia. At 5 o’clock the day before Bill’s birth, I ruined the carefully maintained empty spot in our glass cabinet waiting for such an item.) I had always assumed that we would meet up some day, just because we were the same age – that when he did a stretch at a Victorian boarding school, we would meet at a party. My parents pointed out that we wouldn’t exactly be in the same circles – but I was convinced that a bogan from Croydon and a prince currently in Geelong would meet, and fall in love. Anyway, time proved them correct, and I’ve probably missed my chance. (I’ve come to terms with it.) This sounds like I am some giggly fangirl over him, and I’m not – it’s just that this day-off-a-coincidence of birth means I feel less cynical about him than I may otherwise.

 

There is a lot of vitriol out there directed at people who show interest in the monarchy baby. Fair enough, and it is sickening to think of mountains of people obsessing over your life like that, and news outlets with goddamn ridiculous stories like “when is baby number two?” and a CNN headline proclaiming that the baby had been born vaginally. Are you fucking kidding? That is NEWS? But I guess that points towards one of the reasons people are interested. When you don’t have one, kids are all over the place. When you do, you want to know more. No, I didn’t need to hear from anyone but Cathy herself how she birthed her kid, because it’s not important. But people don’t really talk about these things. How many conversations have you had about birth? Before I was pregnant, I knew nothing about the disgusting things ahead. Hell, before I tried conceiving, I didn’t even realise you can only get pregnant within a small window of time, so convinced I’d been by stories of teenagers having sex once and getting knocked up. (Still though, wear a condom, kids.) It seems like it’s everywhere, but it’s still taboo. And okay, it’s gross. Super gross, even. But when you don’t hear what happens to other people, you don’t know whether you did a good job or not. I want to make it clear that everyone has done a good job, no matter what the outcome: you do what you can with what you have. And even if you have an outcome like mine (healthy baby), you still second guess everything you did. When I looked over my paperwork after I was discharged, and saw the reason she was yanked out with forceps listed as maternal exhaustion, I wept. I read it as you’re lazy, and you gave up. Time heals thoughts like this. I saw Cathy outside the hospital with her cute bundle of baby and thought, Look how straight she stands. All that pushing ruined everything of mine and I couldn’t stand up properly for weeks.

 

It is not fair for me, however, to have this glimpse into someone else’s birth at the expense of their privacy. Sure, they are wealthy and that kid will want for nothing; I’ve read many a good article about abolishing the monarchy and it’s clear we don’t need it. But while it’s there, I’m glad they seem nice, and it is unfair that they never have anything to themselves – not even the birth of their child. I’m glad I didn’t have to put on a brave face the day after the Rocket was born; I stayed in the hospital and freaked out and had to relearn from a physiotherapist how to poop. I didn’t have to put on makeup and heels and greet the people; I lay in bed breastfeeding clumsily in front of all of my relatives and friends. (There are pictures, but New Idea didn’t seem interested in buying them.) I’m lucky, in this respect.

 

Far be it for me to know the motivations behind all the people who are thrilled for the arrival of a monarchy baby. Maybe they’re monarchists, maybe they feed off celebrity, maybe they love a big community party. It is nice, anyway, for crowds to gather for celebration instead of protest. Maybe if the media could back the hell off and calm down, and let the parents give out the news themselves instead of stealing it through gaps in security, I wouldn’t feel so dirty for being happy for them, for seeing news stories about them. But those who are interested aren’t mean-spirited. There’s a chance, possibly, that they’re just looking for something relatable in a world that is otherwise far out of their reach.

 

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six months in

Six months ago I had a really bad day–I suspect any mothers who say the day their child was born was the happiest of their lives were on much better pain relief than I was–but every day since has been populated by this smiling little bunch of DNA her father Teach and I call the Rocket. I worried that having a kid would mean I couldn’t do any of the things I loved, but as we were always pretty low-key type people, we mostly do the same things, just faster (i.e. restaurants) or in specific places (i.e. going to the flicks). And I’m happy being a mostly full-time parent (I work in my old job as a bookseller one day a week), but GOD DAMN if it isn’t hard to think of new things to do or eat or anything. What the hell do you do with kids? Some days run smoothly, some days I wake up and cannot remember anything entertaining. If only I recorded them, huh? So here I am, doing exactly that, because I’ve always been far too entranced by the sound of my own voice. Er, typing. Here I’ll review places I’ve been for their general awesomeness and kid-capabilities, and things that are fun, and vaguely parent-related and whatnot. I happily accept questions and even happier-ly accept compliments and also massive cheques made out for cash yes thank you.

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