sabato, settembre 29, 2012

The Invisible Growth Spurt

I'm buggered, today and yesterday. I'd stopped being buggered for awhile, which I attributed to the midwife putting me on iron supplements, and I'm still a lot less cranky and negative than I'd been feeling beforehand. The present buggery, combined with the way Ren is moving, I can recognize as another growth spurt. Which is good. But this kid is already enormous. I don't think there's any way we're making it to 40 weeks. I just hope we can make it to the end of the month, mostly so I can get paid for another full month. Australian mat leave money is much less than half of my normal salary. The financial pill will have to be swallowed sometime, of course, and we're getting to the point of fetal maturity where the outcomes are going to be pretty much the same for me and for Ren that they'd be at 40 weeks. But I'd rather the financial pill not be swallowed too soon.

Must be weird for the kid, these in-utero growth spurts. Some of the fastest growing it's gonna be doing in its life, in the most confined space it's ever going to have to stay in. Still, they say kids like it, based on how they calm down when they're swaddled. Well, to each his or her own. Ren seems happy enough in there. 

Read The Invisible Man yesterday in between drifting in and out of naptime. I haven't seen any of the horror film adaptations of it, but I was expecting something rather horrible. I mean, at least scary. Or attempting to be scary. It just read as funny, though. Or attempting to be funny. A novella about a cranky asshole who makes himself invisible, fucks everything up and gets beaten to death by townsfolk. Was it meant to be scary, or funny? I guess "scary" changes a lot with time. I mean in 1897 when you're dealing with day-to-day things like cholera or suffocating London fogs that make you die or everything smelling like shit all the time or industrial machinery that cuts your fingers off, then you have a very different sort of fear threshold.

Also watched the first episode of Game of Thrones around nine last night, while too tired to read but not yet willing to fall asleep. It was engaging enough that I'll probably try to watch the rest during maternity leave but it left me wondering if the creators are taking the name of "missionary style" a little too seriously. It's just an interesting way to place something as in olden-times or mythical-times - all that doggy-style sex. Every sexual encounter was doggy style, besides one blow job. By the third time people were doing it doggy-style it was getting comical enough to me that it stopped me suspending my disbelief. 

martedì, settembre 25, 2012

100 years of attitude

Granny died last night. 100 years and three hours old. She's having a small funeral day after tomorrow, because everybody showed up for her birthday party, and what with so many of these people being so geriatric, you can't expect them to make more than one outing a week.

I'm left feeling - gosh. Sad, yes. But also not. We didn't get on that well when she was herself, as long-term readers may have gleaned. Our moment of tenderest complicity that I can recall was this. And my greatest psychological fear for myself is that I'm too much like her - that one day I'll be dying at 100 years and three hours old, with loving children around me, friends who still showed up for my birthday, one of the nicest sorts of lives you can imagine behind me in qualitative terms, and still have spent the last 60 odd years utterly miserable and victimized-feeling. Agro-depressive, in other words. I was chatting with my Chinese medicine doctor, who's also a good friend of ours, about it, after my aunt called to tell me Granny was on the way out. He asked if she had the tendency to conserve her resources through her depression and I answered, honestly and without guilt, that if he meant emotional vampirism the answer was probably yes.

There were things I would have liked to have out with her, but by the time, say, eight years ago (to be charitable to myself) that I had the psychological maturity to have had them out with her, it was too late; she had reached a point of dependency that would have made it intolerably cruel. My aunt did have it out with her, years and years and years ago, when Granny was still capable of a good fight, and my aunt had the best, so far as it goes, relationship with her after that. This is part of why my main bad feeling at the moment is worry about my mother, who also missed her window to have it out with Granny, and who had a helluvalot more things to have out with her. But when I talked to her now, I felt reassured. Now that Granny's gone - now that this woman who she'd never been able to confront properly is no longer a dependent, physical presence who she'll never be able to have it out with - she looks like she's doing a little better. So I'm not sad.

But I am sad, because I loved Granny. There you are. A lot of people did, whether she wanted or encouraged them to or not. She made two lovely daughters, who in turn made two lovely happy families, with decent kids and contented husbands, and who had careers that made the community much better instead of worse. She made grandchildren who, whatever our faults, are the sort of people who loved their grandmother even if their grandmother wasn't particularly lovable, and that's something in this naughty world. It doesn't matter in the end that she was the way she was because depression is an "illness" or because of the difficult circumstances of her own early life - it doesn't matter that she had excuses. We were all still hurt. And also we all still loved her, and we wouldn't be here without her.

I wish, though, she had been born my friend instead of my grandmother. It's only when I realized that I processed her being gone and had my cry. We both would have made a better hash of things that way. There were a few things she said to me after she lost her marbles that make me think she would have preferred it too. Another life, Granny.

domenica, settembre 23, 2012


My milk started coming in on Saturday. Somehow, that was as important in the process of me realizing I'm going to have a baby as when I first peed on the stick in the two lines popped up. Or when I first felt Ren move - not just jab or kick, but move. Certainly much more important than all the aspects of pregnancy which have been unpleasant.

It's a little absurd because it's so rare, but I was really worried that despite having boobs that look designed to both please and feed the multitudes, for some awful reason I wouldn't be able to make milk. Especially as I'm 20 kilos up - 20 fucking kilos - and I'm really relying on breastfeeding to help me shift some of that tonnage. But there's something a little more visceral and complex going on there as well.

I don't think I'm going to feel less accomplished as a human female if I have to use a lot of pain relief during the delivery, or even if Ren needs to be sliced out. Childbirth has always been awful and dangerous and that old chestnut - don't know if it's true or not - that Spartans would only put your name on your gravestone if you were a man who'd died in battle or a woman who died in childbirth really speaks to me. Bref, I'll be happy to do pretty much whatever to not die or be too uncomfortable as the creature comes out, same way as people try not to get killed or hurt in a war, without feeling like any less of a woman. But it's going to hurt if I can't figure out how to breastfeed, especially as I don't have the sort of job or lifestyle that discourages it.

Anyhoo, at least they work.