Saturday, May 23, 2009

Domestic goddess

One Saturday morning when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant our ironing board broke. Beset with pregnancy insanity:
(if I don't iron these clothes today and the baby comes tonight I will never iron them and the whole family will always have to wear creased clothes and be the scourge of society and my children will never have any friends and then they will never get married and they will always live at home with me with their wrinkled clothes and dirty dishes and toys scattered all over the house that no one but ME ever picks up!)
...I decided we should go buy an ironing board. Even crazier, it was suggested that the whole family walk down to the homeware shop in town to get one. A walk that takes a normal, non-gestating adult 10 minutes, but there was only one of those people in our party so this was going to be quite an excursion.

We got the ironing board and started trudging back up the hill to get home. And got lots of strange looks from people on the way. Looks that said:
'Is that an ironing board?'
'Why would you buy an ironing board if you're walking?'
'Is that a very pregnant woman carrying the ironing board?'
'Is that the very pregnant woman's husband walking with her?'
'Why isn't he carrying the ironing board?'

And the answer, of course, is that in the choice between getting the ironing board home and wrangling two children home (the two-year-old who didn't want to be in the buggy, and the three-year-old who did), my husband made the sacrificial and loving choice.

We got home, made a cup of tea, and sat down, too exhausted to do any ironing after all that.

More stories here!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I have rosacea, a skin condition that makes my nose and cheeks red. All the time. On a good day, they are just red, on a bad day, I am very broken out. Most of the time my skin is somewhere in between. I wear make-up to cover it, but it doesn’t cover it up completely, and anyway, too much will just make me break out more.

So, it’s just one of those things. I still have to go out and talk to people, and try not to be too self-conscious and not think ‘Is this person noticing my red face? Is she having trouble concentrating on what I’m saying because of my skin?’ Like my complexion, some days are better than others, but usually I manage to go out and face the world, in spite of my face. :)

But THREE times I have been to the doctor about unrelated issues – once when I had a chest infection, once for my six-week check-up after childbirth, and once when Alannah had an ear infection—and heard:
‘Let’s talk about what’s going on with your face’ or
‘Would you like to do something about your face’ or
‘What’s wrong with your face?’

(umm, I may be mis-quoting here, but I’ll take poetic license that even if the question was phrased more gently, it still felt as bad as someone saying what’s wrong with your face?)

And for all the embarassment of having been asked the question, there's not much they can do anyway. So why not just politlely ignore it, like most people do?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's this strange feeling in my brain?

Okay, so one way to inspire me to blog more frequently is to join in with a theme for every day. Like Stories in my Pocket on Saturdays. Or Tuesdays unwrapped, which encourage us to look at the gifts a normal Tuesday can bring.

So here's mine today: I am actually not tired. Really! I don't think I have felt that way for the past...hmm...12 plus 9...21 months!

I remember one of the first thoughts I had when I discovered I was pregnant with Caitlyn was 'I was just starting to not feel tired!' So here I am again, for today at least, feeling pretty good.

Which helps of course with the brooooodiness I'm having lately. I don't want another baby, I could tell you ten or twenty (or even just three) reasons why not, but that whisper is in my ear. It's biological, it's hormonal (I'm weaning Caitlyn), it's irrational, it's not what I want! But sheesh . Babies.

When I mentioned it to Marcus today he said 'I don't want to be the kind of family that has 7 or 8 children.' Because obviously he thinks we'll jump from 3 to 7. I didn't know quadruplets ran in his family.

I am NOT tired today And it is a good feeling!.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

And we didn't wear helmets back then

My friend Jo has started this Stories in My Pocket series, and invited me to join more than once. Of course I will! I love telling my stories. I often have to stop myself from that social faux pas – jumping in on someone else’s tale to tell one of my own. In fact Jo’s story of moving to Texas reminded me of my own trip with a fresh husband to a fresh start in life, only ours was to London (but it’s not as poetic as hers, so I’ll leave that one –for now). And what is a blog, after all, but telling stories and hoping someone will listen/read?

I have been thinking all week about which story I will write – I just wrote about Caitlyn’s birth, but I have two other birth stories to tell. Second to people wanting to share their birth stories seems to be sharing puke stories, and 3 lots of morning sickness means I have plenty of those as well (including 4 times in airplanes, and two separate occasions in my father-in-law’s car).

Embarrassing stories are just that, so maybe I’ll steer clear of those. Love? How I met my husband, getting engaged at 30,000 feet, our soggy wedding, standing on a chair for God, or setting wooden airplanes on fire? Cute kids stories? Far, far too many to tell, including this morning’s declaration from Alannah that she wanted to marry Mommy so we could have a date night on Fridays.

Too many to tell! And there are those you don’t remember until something reminds you of that time when you cut your own hair, or ran across campus in bare feet at midnight, or sang a solo at some poor woman’s funeral (and no, I can’t sing, and no, I didn’t even know her). But the good thing is now I have a reason, once a week, to write a story (and there’s a list for me to choose from, in case I’m stuck next Saturday).

But for starters, I’m actually going to share THREE! A trilogy of bicycle accidents…
1. My need to do 2 or more things at once started young in life, and I used to read while I was riding my bicycle. We lived in a quiet town, and on a sunny summer morning there weren’t many cars. I was re-reading a book I liked whilst on my way to the library to return it. I didn’t even stop reading when I went over the railroad tracks…my wheels wobbled and got stuck in the groove of the track, I fell off and dropped the book (ripping the page), and completely panicked that my shoelace would get stuck in the track and a train would come and run over me. But I wasn’t stuck, and no train was coming anyway. I got up, got back on my bike, and continued reading!

2. I borrowed my sister’s bike without asking to go to the shop. Crossing at a traffic light (did I have the right of way? Probably not) a car pulled out and hit me. I fell off, but wasn’t hurt. The lady driving was so, so upset and wanted to take me home, but of course I refused because then my sister would see I had borrowed her bike. And she really would hurt me!

3. I was happily cycling home from softball practice singing a little song to myself. There was a set of hills on my way home, where you had to pedal really fast to build up speed down the first hill in order to have enough momentum to get up the second. I was pedalling away, fast fast fast, when suddenly …pop! My handlebars pulled right out. I was just holding them, and they were no longer attatched to the bicycle, and I was flying down a hill with no means to steer or stop. Except for a parked car. Then I had to get up and with my scraped up knees and nose, I had to walk my broken bike home while carrying the handlebars and my softball mitt. And crying. And thinking, maybe I’ll get a new bike. But I didn’t – I got my sister’s old one, the one that had been hit by a car but I had never told anyone.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

6 May 2008

When I was taking a pastoral counselling class at The Salvation Army training college, the lecturer once said ‘Every mother wants to tell her birth story, but is almost always interrupted by someone else who wants to tell her birth story.’

Giving birth is such a significant event – the anticipation weeks before, the mystery, the PAIN, and the life-altering after effect – that it’s no wonder moms want to talk about it! As part of our ministry for the past 4 years, I have run mother and baby groups, and I purposely try to give women a chance to share their birth stories. And I try really really hard (and don’t always succeed) to hold my tongue and not start telling my own story!

But this is my blog, and my baby’s first birthday is today, so I’m going to tell it. So all..oh, maybe three? readers of this blog will be subjected to it. (And after my last post was all about how besotted I am with my little boy!) I will try to condense it to the more interesting aspects.

I was 11 days overdue (and none too happy about it) so I was induced. It’s a bit odd to just get up, and drive off to the hospital with no labor pains or anything, and know that the baby will be coming that day. Sitting in the waiting room and hearing other women in labor is like being in line for a roller coaster – you can hear the screams and know it will be your turn soon!

For the first time, I had a male midwife (mid-husband?) If it had been my first baby I might have been a bit upset by that, but as a pro, I just thought ‘Hmm, different. Fun!’ And his name was Jose and he was from Spain, so he had a great accent. I tried out some of my (Dora the Explorer) Spanish on him. He said I needed to be 4 centimetres dilated to get an epidural, and when he examined me I said ‘Quatro! Abre! Vamonos!’ I hope he thought it was the pain that was making me so goofy.

I was quarto abre, so we got the anesthetist in there straight away. Hurray!!!!!!!!!!! My first baby I was really overcome with the pain before I got the epidural and was really upset by it all. My second the epidural only worked on one side. So I was happy to get it early on, and told the doctor (Phyllis was her name, and I did promise to name the baby after her but re-neged) I loved her. And another anesthetist who came around the ward the next day , I told him I loved him too.

A couple of things about Marcus: they put an IV in my wrist for the drip and the nurse did it wrong and it bled a bit (I ended up with a bad bruise on my arm for a few weeks). Marcus went all pale and had to sit down quickly. Which is funny because he never got faint before, even during the incident after Charlie’s birth which we refer to as ‘the Red Sea’, that caused a nurse to require new footwear. TMI? Sorry. Also, Marcus was eating a peanut butter sandwich and gave me some, and when Jose came back he said ‘I smell peanuts’ (imagine Spanish accent), which we still love to say to each other.

Back to business. When the epidural kicked in I got really sleepy. Jose was on his break and the midwife who was covering him just said to me ‘Maybe you’re tired? Did you get much sleep last night?’ Um, I’m nine months pregnant with my third child. I never get much sleep. D’ya think maybe I’m in the transition phase…

Soon (it felt like 30 seconds later, but time gets all skewed) I suddenly said to Marcus ‘I feel like pushing.’ And he started to wave over the midwife, but she was talking to another woman (oh, did I mention the labor ward had 4 other women and their birth partners in there too?) and he, being English, did not want to interrupt. So I had to hiss at him very urgently. ‘Now. NOW! Pushing now!’

My friend Jose appeared, wheeled me into the delivery room (that is private, at least) and with a bit of this and that, there was our girl! This and that, of course, being an extremely uncomfortable sensation that is still vivid in my mind, and I am trying to remind myself of when I’m all broody and sad and about The Last Baby.

Three hours from the start of the induction until delivery. My easiest birth, and easiest baby. We’ll see how long that lasts.

So, there is my birth story. Thanks for not interrupting! But if you want to tell me yours, I’m willing to listen/read it, because I’m sure it’s a great tale…

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Charlie’s birthday was on Friday, and now my little man is three!

He has been a wonderful 2 year old, but as I recall from Alannah, three was when the naughty step really came into use quite frequently. I think a two year old boy is one of the loveliest creatures in the world. Especially my one!

We’ve been practicing using scissors, but every time we do he picks them up and says ‘I’m going to cut your beautiful hair Mummy.’ I tell him no, he must never cut anyone’s hair, and he just grins. When I did get my hair cut earlier this week, he looked at me in shock. ‘Mummy! Your beautiful hair!’ Was he upset that it was shorter or that I hadn’t let him do it?

He likes to watch me get ready in the morning. When he hears the hair-dryer he runs into my room, climbs onto the bed and under the covers. He tells me what to do next – ‘now dry it with the hairbrush. Now do make-up. Now squish-squish (perfume). Now me.’ I have an empty perfume bottle filled with water that Alannah and I used to play princesses, but it’s Charlie that wants a spritz now.

He received a bicycle for his birthday. Alannah was four when she got hers and it was a struggle for her to get co-ordinated enough to pedal and move forward. He jumped on and took off, a year younger than she was. He’s the same at the playground, fearless and capable of scaling the biggest climbing frames. Of course, at 9 months he was climbing the stairs when my back was turned…

He loves the garbage truck (called the bin lorry in Ireland) and runs to the window every Tuesday to watch. The bin men are his friends and wave to him each week. Since he got a playmobil bin lorry for Christmas, he takes it to the window each Tuesday to show them.

I run a mother and baby singing group, and Marcus comes along to make the tea and coffee and help with buggies, etc. Charlie comes too. During the singing they play in another room, then come in to do drinks. Charlie goes up to each mother and asks if they want a piece of cake. If I don’t stop him, he would grab the pieces of cake and distribute them into each woman’s lap.

He loves Caitlyn, and often says to me ‘She’s so cute! What a sweet baby!’ His older sister is his arch-nemesis though, and the only recipient of a Charlie’s teeth-shaped bruise. It recently dawned on him that he’s in the middle between two sisters. I wonder what that will mean to him in the future. He has such a strong personality, I don’t think he will get lost in the family.

I have read that boys are closest to their mothers for the first seven years, then they shift to being closer to their fathers until they are 13 or 14, when they start to look for mentors outside of the family. So I only have a few more years of his mostly undivided devotion – he loves his dad, and the Car movie, and bin lorries, but I get the kisses and the snuggles and the sleepy ‘I love you Mommy’ when he climbs into my bed in the night.
I love you too, my Charlie. Happy birthday.

Sorry blogosphere for subjecting you to this gush of maternal devotion to my little boy!

Here are some other things I've written about him, in my now-defunct Xanga blog:

And some pictures from his last birthday on our family blog, where you can see a very pregnant me (one week overdue and VERY grumpy) in the video. Which means in a few days I will bore the WWW with stories about my sweet little baby!

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