Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Now We Are Three Months

Darling Tricky boy

Today you are three months old and you are also in Melbourne.

When I first sat down to write this you were shrieking and carrying on... in short you had become your evil other self, the Screaming Tomato.

Your father was carrying you around the motel room, making hushing sounds and doing that rhythmic go-to-sleep patting of your bum. He had a forlorn look on his face because he was unable to soothe you or else because you were stabbing his arms over and over again with your teeny tiny razor sharp fingernails.

NO! you seemed to be screaming. NO I WILL NOT BE HUSHED! I want to be AWAKE and PLAY and make the MOO! sound and also GRASP mummy's nipple in my jaws and SHAKE it violently from side to side and then SMILE in a goofy fashion up at her with my mouth full of LIVING TISSUE so that she will be reminded that she is COMPLETELY IN MY POWER. And I will DIG my teeny tiny razor sharp fingernails into your arms and push my matching teeny tiny razor sharp toenails into your stomach so that you will ALSO be reminded that you too are COMPLETELY IN MY POWER.

I'm not going to say that you're growing so quickly but it is wierd suddenly noticing changes. It's small things like... you're more alert now, for longer, and you watch things go by and you clutch at things when they're waved in front of you and you make the stabbing claw hand of sharp pointy doom.

And you smile.

Oh your smile! It stops us in our tracks and reminds us that the world can be a kind place, a loving place, a beautiful and hopeful place despite all the current evidence to the contrary... the worst drought in 150 years and the not so secret nuclear testing and the elimination of Bobby Flynn from Australian Idol.

You chat and chuckle and as soon as we hear your voice your father and I cluster around you and say encouragingly over and over 'mama' and 'dadda' - it's like we're having a tussle your father and I, to see who you name first because obviously then we'll know who you love most.
You giggle and look, bemused, from one parent to the other because you know that the winner of that little contest is actually your Jingly Cow thanks to Nanny Annie who taught you to say Moo.

We're in Melbourne because we're back to see the show that was created by the arts company your father and I work for.

And here's the strange thing:

Last year at this time, we were here, seeing the same show (a work in progress version).

And we were heading off to Adelaide after that to see the first production of the play I wrote, which is now on in Sydney.

And I'd just had my first IVF transfer.
And it failed.
And we were broken people.

And that's why, on Monday night while we were watching the show and I was holding you in my arms, rocking you and hushing you, and that part of the show came on where the audience is taught to sing Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes in Pitjantjatjara, I felt an odd tugging sensation in my heart.

I remembered singing this song last year, still remembered the words, and I looked down and sang them softly to you. And you looked up at me with your bright shining eyes, full of everything good in this world.

It was as if someone, God or the Goddess or the Universe had given us that time over again, except this time, we had you.

You're asleep now, clutching your soft bear to your chest. Your long dark eyelashes fan onto your round soft cheeks, your tiny hands are clenched shut and your fingers curled like seashells. You're so beautiful, possibly the most beautiful thing we've ever seen. And you're ours.

And your father and I smile at each other because we know, it's true.

We're both completely in your power.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This Will Be His First Theatrical Experience

So the play went well! Hoorah, yay and other exclamations of joy.

C had flown in for ONE NIGHT ONLY and of course the plane was late and he arrived home at about 7 and the play starts at 8.15...

But to backtrack a little...Tricky and I had a fairly good day but it's so hot around here at the moment and our part of the house is like an oven. I was trying to do the Feed At 4 Hourly Intervals (as opposed to on demand which worked out at 1 and 2 hourly intervals unless he was asleep) thing but I also gave him cooled boiled water from a teaspoon in between times.

And lo there was much of the screaming.

Oh lord the screaming.

Poor little Hot Cross Current-Bun Boy. In vain did I dangle the jingly cow and speak in the manner of my friend Annie (who I shall call Nanny Annie from now on, on account of her miraculous doings with baby). In vain did I say 'moo' at him. We sat in the cooler parts of the house and he smiled a bit and accepted his pathetic teaspoons of water but what he wanted was milk and when he didn't get it he screamed.

But we managed to limp thru the day on a more or less 4 hourly feed cycle. And then, it was time for the theatre. And of course, because this is our life, the babysitter who had said how smitten he was and was thrilled to be looking after him for an hour and a half in the theatre foyer....was missing. C had been ringing and leaving messages all day. Nyet. Nada. Non.

So for Tricky's first ever proper theatre experience, he hung out in the box office with the publicist. He actually slept the entire time. And when we came out into the foyer , he was still asleep. And when I tried to wheel his pram out into open view to ensure he was still breathing, he was still asleep but more, he was now locked in the box office because the publicist was out having a champers (rightly earned) and someone had decided to pull the door shut.

And while I was trying to find someone with a key the Very Important Artistic Director of the mainstage theatre (my play was on in the smaller theatre space) came up to me and told me that he very much enjoyed the play and that I had written a great script. This was thrilling and several things went through my mind. Firstly I remembered that his company had actually rejected my script a couple of years earlier as being unstageable. Secondly I was struck by how much he looked like a friend of mind and perhaps they were twins separated at birth but the overriding thing was that MY BABY IS LOCKED IN THE BOX OFFICE.

Of course I was too professional to wail this out immediately. I chatted about the play and the wooonderful director and the faaaaabulous cast and I didn't say anything about the dire lack of women writers or directors in his new season nor did I say how much he looked like Jo, even down to the kind of glasses they both wore.

But finally I had to say apologetically, there a key about? And he obligingly went off to find one.

And lo, the baby was released. (Still fast asleep)

So all in all a good night. The play was a success. People liked it. Other writers liked it. Other directors liked it. The lady from Currency press liked it. The gorgeous old semi-retired theatre critic from Newcastle who had come specially to see it (and has seen me grow up on stage both acting and writing) liked it as well.

So much like in the room.

But so SO much better than all of this?

He slept for 10 HOURS.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

12 Weeks On...the latest moos.

Tricky was 12 weeks on Tuesday which should mean a jolly little "Dear Tricky here are your milestones" type post (being of course a blogging mother's responsibility) but in actual fact means 12 weeks of me being tired and my brain gradually shrinking to the size of a nut.

And not one of those big nuts either like your brazil or your...well some other large nut but you see? I can't think of one, just go with brazil.

Along with the tiredness comes the irritableness and then the loss of vocabulary (see nut above).

The other day C and I were driving home with baby and there were no car spaces left directly outside house. This meant we would have to park up the road and lug shopping and baby back which is probably no big deal except I was tired (of course) and irritable (mmm yes) and I said, not in a loud way or an aggressive way, just a sort of gently weary way:

You fucking arse cunts.

There was a pause and then C and I both sort of snickered a bit.

Do you think, he said, that we might need to think about curbing our language? Because one day we're going to get a phone call from the school to say "all the six year olds are calling each other 'arse cunts' and we've narrowed it down to your son."

This week the rest of the household are away on holidays and C had to go bush again with The Project and so it was just me and the Tricky boy and then my dad who has had knee surgery wasn't sounding very good on the phone so we packed up and went home to Newcastle for a couple of days.

And this was a good thing because my poor dad was very pleased to see us and I could drive him about for a couple of days rather then him being stuck at home watching bad tv.

And also because my stepmum is a brilliant cook and made delicious (not hot) curries.

And finally because my friend Annie came over one night and played with Tricky and taught him to say moo to his jingly cow toy but also taught me to space out his feeds a bit more and so last night, rather than waking me every two hours to be fed like he did a couple of nights ago, he slept from 8.30 to 1.00 and then from 1.30 to 4.30 and I went back to sleep at 5 and got up at 6 and what this rather boring bit of paragraph is actually saying is that LAST NIGHT I SLEPT FOR 8 HOURS.

Yes they were spread out a bit but I don't care. I see some light and it's not my brain exploding and me being hospitalised and given the sweet sweet relief of ... some sleeping drug I can't remember the name of because after all my brain is still the size of a small nut.

My play opens tonight and while yesterday when asked if I was nervous at the prospect I could say with all honesty I was too tired to care, today there is the potential for caring, what with the extra sleep and all. Tricky is coming with us to the theatre but having learned our lesson in rehearsal he will be snuggly strapped into his pram and awaiting us in the foyer. A friend of C's from work (actually a baby smitten gay chap who, along with a girl friend, is attempting to be a dad himself) is going to sit with him and shake the jingly cow and exchange moo's with him.

(By the way I am not kidding about the moo. Annie did get him to say moo and she also blew raspberries at him and he tried to do that for a while and then cried when he couldn't make the spppppp sound.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lights, Action, Spew

My play which was produced this time last year is having another production here in Sydney. New Australian plays have a tendency to be done once and then disappear into the ether, so I’m lucky to have a couple of bites of this particular cherry (with a third to come in Melbourne next year).

On the weekend C and I went to see a rehearsal – and we took Tricky thinking this might be a good chance to introduce him to the feckless artiste existence of his parents. All very casual, just three people in the audience, opening night still a couple of weeks off. It would be a gradual introduction, like solids.

Some of my friends have brought their babies up in the theatre, they tell jolly tales of their little ones sleeping in the seats at the back of the theatre. Other friends, children of thespians, tell grand tales of having the run of the theatre and being inspired to put on their own little plays, with nothing but an empty chocolate box and a used pair of tights – precocious little moppets that they were.

I love the idea of Tricky being a theatre baby but having cast an eye over our finances we've realised that our best plan for retirement lies in our son becoming a plumber.

Before the run Tricky flirted outrageously with the director and was at his current-bun best. He’s so gorgeous, she shrieked. And I bet he’s so talented.

C and I hung our heads and muttered our modest denials. As soon as she turned her back he exercised one such talent – the Inappropriate Exploding Nappy.

Having dealt with that small crisis, the show began. Tricky sat on C’s lap and watched with interest as the four actors did their thing. Five minutes in however and the heckling began.

Small grunts at first and then tiny high pitched squeals. In vain did his father try to keep the dummy in his mouth. As the volume of the play became louder, so did the volume of the world’s tiniest theatre critic. Squeals became shouts became wailing gurgles. I attached him to one nipple and there was welcome silence. To be broken by snorting snuffling noises. The actors soldiered on.

The play came to an end. We clapped. Tricky vomited, leaving a small spattery puddle on the floor and a large trail of sick down my left breast.
I mopped ineffectually at myself.
Then I gave notes.
Then we left the rehearsal room.

We have decided we will need a babysitter for opening night.
Either that or a plumber.