mercoledì, ottobre 24, 2012

A lot to not know

I'm wondering two things a lot these days: what sort of mum I'm going to be, and what sort of person Ren is going to be. It's probably illusory to think that I have a greater degree of control over what sort of mum I'm going to be than what sort of person Ren is going to be, especially as the two things are so intimately linked. But I do, of course. It's me, and I'm a reasonably self-possessed person, or at least one with a lot of expertise at seamlessly rationalizing her own actions - hard to tell the difference when it's yourself.

So anyways, I'm wondering what sort of mum I'm going to be. I don't know if you can extrapolate from how one is as a fetus-carrier. I reckon I've been a pretty good fetus carrier so far. No drinking, no coffee, lots of sleep, reasonable exercise, yoga, sensible eating besides the patisserie industrielle, used bottled water to boil my food in Shanghai, and all that good stuff. But not crazy. Not crazy like refusing or even hesitating to make that two and a half month trip to Asia and Europe during the second trimester. Having done it, enjoyed it so much (even without coffee, raw cheese, beer or crab meat), and looked back on advice from various people not to do it, it would have been an absolute travesty to have listened to them. Especially what with Granny dying since. Fraught as our relationship was, it'll be good to be able to tell Ren that she saw him or her "in utero". And it would have been much harder to miss her funeral.

Anyways, yesterday morning my blood presure seemed to really spike so I went to the hospital. I was thinking, and I suspect hoping since I'm really tired of being pregnant and I want to meet my kid, they might deliver Ren early to avoid the risk of pre-eclampsia, now that we're full term. But my blood pressure, pee tests, and the trace they did of Ren's movements versus heartbeat were all absolutely tip-top. I felt a little bad for making a fuss, but not really. Not really at all, actually. It won't do to take any risks with Ren. I already understand that. I can't even sound the depths of my fear that something will go wrong in the next little while, and I suppose I'll be worrying for the rest of my life that something will go wrong for him or her. And while I've never been terrifically cavalier about my own safety, I'm also deeply afraid of leaving the kid without a mother; I don't know if I'll be any prize, but I'm almost certainly better than nothing. Anyways. Back to risk. What I'm curious about, about myself as a mother, is what's going to count as a risk.

Probably the thing most outside of my control but what I'm least worried about is how the F-word will be as a father. He'll be great. I feel that even if something happened to us as a couple, he'd still be great. He's started dreaming about the baby too now, which somehow I find incredibly emotionally reassuring - like his brain has really started to take what's about to happen to us on board. Last night our dreams were wildly contrasting. He dreamt he was driving us home from the hospital while I nursed Ren, and I dreamt that Ren was a majestic moose emerging from the Grand Canal at the palace of Versailles. Both seem auspicious.

martedì, ottobre 23, 2012


We are on the final stages of nesting. (That makes me think the baby is probably going to come out today; just about the last chance to catch us unawares. I suspect that's wishful thinking, though.) This is our first and that makes things a little awkward in terms of not really knowing what we're doing. Ex. we have a lovely bassinet-stroller Mum bought us to sleep Ren in but what if Ren doesn't want to sleep in it? And what if we don't want Ren sleeping in it even if Ren likes it because it'd be easier to have the baby in arm's reach in the middle of the night/in the middle of a nap for a feed and a change? So we're getting a crib now that we're going to sidecar to the bed so we don't accidentally suffocate it but can still reach it to pull it over to my boobies. And of course if we have the crib now we don't have to buy it later.

Now this part is annoying. Gently used baby things, which we're largely relying on, are a dime a dozen here, like anywhere I suspect. Possibly more so here, because of the baby bonus - parents get $5,000 dumped on their laps for each kid they push out. That was introduced by one of the right-ish wing parties, by the way, which shows you exactly how much money is floating around this country. So new baby things are wildly inflated in their prices, and used baby things are ubiquitous and cheap. Whatever. I'm not going to get all indignant this morning about how fiscally retarded Australians are. It's good for us there's so much cheap baby stuff floating around. I think the only thing we've bought new is a carseat. That's not the annoying part.

The annoying part is that some friends promised us a crib - absolutely unsolicited, I might add - some weeks ago. Maybe months ago. We hadn't heard anything else since. I called them on Monday to check up on it, because with lovely quality cribs floating around the second hand markets for $50 or less my priority at this point is just fucking getting one and refitting it as a sidecar co sleeper, so if they can't help us that's bloody fine, I just want to know so I can move on with my fucking life. That's not how I expressed it, of course.

The answer was reassuringesque; the family has a surfeit of cribs, perhaps three extra ones floating around, and they want to give us one, and they'll set something up and get us one. Of course we haven't heard from them since. This family has a bit of a reputation for promising things and then floating off with the fairies, which screwed the F-word over a little from a work perspective last week. They have two young kids so one should be patient, but A) I'm eight and a half months pregnant so I'm not fucking patient and B) it irritates me in principle when people make promises they can't live up to, especially when they're unsolicited. I mean, why not just keep your fool mouth shut? Save some time.

lunedì, ottobre 22, 2012

À la recherche de la pâtisserie industrielle perdue

There's a lot of things I've given up over the years. A lot of them over the life of this blog though I'm not sure they're catalogued here.

- Cigarettes (since 2006)
- Binge drinking (since 2009)
- Marijuana (since 2010)
- Casual sex (since 2005)

Hard to say how permanent all of these are. I'm pretty sure the marijuana one is just going to last as long as I'm breastfeeding and/or living in a country where it's still treated like it's something for the naughty kids. I didn't plan to give up marijuana; I just moved to Australia and realized I couldn't act like the middle class adult I am and still keep smoking it. Hard to explain what I mean. Look: in all the cities I've lived in or visited long enough to need to get high in Canada or the US, when you want marijuana you call someone and they come to where you are and sell you some, usually from a selection, or else you go to where they work, like a grocery store, and buy it while you're carrying out other errands. In Benelux and Germany, it's even more middle-class. You buy some from a store or from a park and then you smoke it and nobody minds as long as you don't litter or breathe it out on normal people, like cigarettes.

Here - it's such a rarified thing on the one hand (see Nimbin) that it turns me off. Like the coffee shops full of Americans in central Amsterdam. On the other, it's something that people on the very low end of the social scale do - and I myself can hardly believe what a snob Australia has turned me into.

Just a side rant for a moment on the subject of my snobbery. It's classist, not monetary. There aren't that many poor people in Australia, relatively speaking. One of the things I hate about Australia is how it's shattered my illusion that all the human race needs to advance as a species is a sort of universal prosperity. There's practically money hanging off trees here, and people are still buggering up their lives in dumber ways than you can imagine. The F-word's job involves a lot of people who can't hold down a job for various reasons, one of them being that they refuse to work for less than $25 an hour, and some of these people have fine backlogs from dumb little shit like speeding or fair dodging ranging from $10,000 to $28,000. Squidsy, who's become my benchmark for okker Ozzie inertia, is about $6,000 in debt and won't get a job because he can't find anything around here that's not in the service industry, but he wants to go back to university and has to get out of debt first. He could just suck it up for half a year, pay it off fast, and then go back to school for retraining, but he'd rather stay on the dole, pay the minimums, and complain for fuckin' years. At the same time, his Canadian wife, who has exactly zero uni or professional experience versus his five year degree and work background, is making a good monetary and social go of this place by retraining as a pastry chef in a paid apprenticeship and singing with a band on the nights Squidsy has custody. Anyways, I was writing about something else. Back to it.

So I've given up a lot of things. Probably some of them are permanent gives-up. I hope so, anyways. I hope the cigarette thing doesn't come back. Money vampire. Or the casual sex; F-word sex is a lot better. He doesn't do weirdo shit like shave his balls. Probably the binge drinking is behind me too. Nothing against it in principle; I just can't handle the consequences. But I can't ever say never again, because one of the other things I'd given up - back in the physically buggered aftermath of my thesis defense, when I think my whole gastro-intestinal system was overhauled - was eating in any substantial amounts what the French call pâtisserie industrielle. I'm not sure what you call it in English. Confectionary, maybe? But that might include candy bars, which I never really gave up completely. I'm talking about packaged, processed cookies or packaged, processed things-that-look-like-they-were-baked.

Pregnancy 86'ed that. I blame Miss C in Paris as well. Not that she got me any - I don't think pâtisserie industrielle has any place in her life. But when I was visiting her during my second trimester in the small town where she's rented a very pretty house,  she bought me a fresh madeleine from a local bakery on our way out of town. Prior to that, I'd only had madeleines years before, as a poor starving student in Paris, in their vastly inferior pâtisserie industrielle form. When I got back to Australia I started craving madeleines - a first for me, as they're rather bland and uninteresting - and somehow that got confounded with pâtisserie industrielle. And then I needed first, chocolate digestives. Probably not coincidentally, immediately after my grandmother's death - chocolate digestives were always present and doled out as great treats in her household. And then, after this episode of Bottom the other night, it was Hobnobs. One good thing about Australia is its good supplies of British pâtisserie industrielle, which despite the Frenchiness of the term is the best pâtisserie industrielle. Not the most convincing fame to culinary fame out there but hey - it beats Australia. All this place has going for it is cheap kangaroo meat.

Anyways, end of ramble. I'm rambling a lot these days. I like it and other people tolerate it. I think it amuses them to see me blathering so much when I usually don't blather much at all. Now I'm off to my acupuncturist to ramble at him for awhile until I fall asleep full of needles. Ren is 37 weeks old today. That means if he or she popped now, it'd count as a full term pregnancy. That is a good feeling. Especially since I've already filed my October invoices and should get paid for the whole month even if my mat leave ends up starting this afternoon. No sign of that, sadly enough. A little tightness at the top of the uterus, the odd cramp. At least I know they won't let me go too far over, though getting induced looks like the sort of thing that makes a shitty thing shittier. Any road. I'll manage.