Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sing It Baby

You can put coins in my slot and you can take them out.

Who sings this?

If you guessed a perky bargirl on a tabletop in Manilla you would be wrong and also frankly go and look in the mirror and take a good hard look at yourself. But if you guessed a pink plastic moneybox in the shape of a pig, one that not only sings but comes with a hoard of plastic “coins” you would be right.

Along with those other milestones of Sitting Up, and Sliding on his Tummy, and realizing that Mummy’s Nipples can be Cruelly Wrenched When she is Looking the Other Way, Tricky has reached another important milestone – that of receiving a Very Annoying Toy.

This VAT sings when you depress its snout and chimes when you drop aforementioned “coins” into the ample “slot”. It also counts, snorts, sneezes and giggles. Mercifully it can be turned off.

It seemed merely a very silly song at first, one that made us smirk. But one weekend we accidentally left the VAT downstairs amongst the chess boards and packs of cards and other playthings of the Naughty Nephews. Because children have a natural affinity for things that annoy adults they gravitated towards it, played with it, AND LEARNED ITS ANNOYING LITTLE TUNE.


You cannot imagine the horror of hearing this sung loudly in unison by three Naughty Nephews.

To be truthful it was only Naughty Nephew the 2nd who continued to sing it over and over, but he also had the accent down pat. As a result the VAT very nearly went the way of all loud annoying toys: a spell in the freezer.

But in other news, the book is in. YAY! Notes have been given and A Meeting had. Now for some rewrites and also some taking out of a few rude words. (The fuck?) Oh, and a title. Because it won't be L'Eggs Up And Laughing. It will be something else.
(Please don't pout. That doesn't help)

When will it be published?

Well here’s the funny thing. The editor and I were talking about it and she said February probably. For some reason I thought it was going to be way further in the distance and so February seemed kind of close.

Then she emailed back and said no, actually September. And that brought me down a bit because I thought…but September is so far away. Tricky will be over 2 by then and also of course we will have a second child.

It wasn’t till today’s meeting with another editor when she said no, September THIS YEAR, that I perked up because that seemed very jolly and close indeed.

And then, I realised the bizarre train of thought that had wound itself up in that publishing date. We will have a second child.

What I should have thought was we have a frozen embryo and because time is ticking on for me and my uterus that we would have at least had a go at bunging it in and embarking on that Great Big Fertility Ride again.

How could I have forgotten?

How could I just assume?

Was I insane?

The mind, I decided, protects its own. Just as the intensity of childbirth trickled out like water through the sleep deprived sieve of my mind, so too, it seems, did the memory of daily injections, bloodtests, dildocams and betas.

In that moment I was treating myself as... normal.

We will have a second child.

The line sings itself in the back of my mind, over and over, annoyingly persistent, smugly optimistic.

And it doesn’t take this half-Filipina bar girl more than the flick of a coin to realize that it’ll take more than a spell in the freezer to shut it the fuck up.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Letter to a Seven Month Old Flying Dinosaur

Dear Tricky

I begin this letter to commemorate your seventh month by noting that although our loungeroom is littered with sitting devices for you, your current favourite place to recline (apart from in the arms of your many slaves) in is a cardboard box. Here you lean back and view the world, or abuse Mr Caterpillar or sometimes just have a refreshing suck on the cardboard sides.

This month has been all about the crawling or at least not the crawling per se but the preparation leading up to it, the stretching and the reaching and the tapping of feet against the floor and the rocking.

The first time we saw you on your hands and knees rocking with an intriguing expression on your face we hailed you as a genius child whose physical development was far beyond any child ever yet born and then a few minutes later we changed your nappy and realised that you were actually just working an enormous smelly poo through your system.

Which is, in its own way, cause for celebration but perhaps not for cake and party hats.

At one point I watched as you got onto your hands and knees and then, because you’re not sure what comes next, you lifted your butt high in the air so you were on hands and feet doing the down dog yoga pose and then you sort of flipped yourself to one side so you were half sitting half reclining.

Wow, I thought, that’s new. And then I thought: he hasn’t fallen on his face yet and I swear no sooner had the words gone through my mind then you fell with a splat on your cute little button nose. And lo the screaming.

But then, in a little show of how things change so quickly these days, in between starting this letter a few days ago and now, you have started speeding about on your tummy. You drag yourself on your arms and kick with your legs and slide forward and away you go. It is an exciting time and also a time for putting on stair gates because we can’t keep you trapped in the playpen all day.

All this month, while I have been writing my book, you have been gallivanting with your father. I say gallivanting, he says Important Meetings (which often take place in coffee shops). The first time he took you out, with a little lunch packed for you, I felt very strange indeed. Previously the most you could be taken away from me was four hours and you would have morphed into Screaming Tomato when you return. But now, you go, fortified with mashed potato and pumpkin, and strained fruit with rice cereal, and your own little cup and you can be away with your father all day, meeting to your hearts content. I do know that sometimes he takes you swimming at the baths and you both love doing that.

I have come to realize that you are not the most smiley baby in the world. Others your age are gappy grinners and they radiate their sunny little personalities everywhere they go. You on the other hand are quiet and watchful. You observe things, with a faint frown creasing your forehead as if in your mind you can’t quite believe this world and all its weird shit.

People stop and smile at you and make with the goo goo noise and you gaze at them, unsmilingly, almost to the point of being creepy and then you give them one tiny little smile, not even a smile, more a very slight bending of the corners of your mouth and a little flutter of your eyelashes and they go BANANAS.

Sometime this month we were in a café (having a Meeting) with your friend Annie and she took you for a little walk about because you were getting bored. There was another baby in the café and she wandered by in case you and the other Baby wanted to have a little chat.

As soon as the other baby saw you its sweet little cherubic face lit up with the sort of wattage that could power a city and it gaped and grinned and gurgled and all those other words starting with g because it recognised in you a kindred spirit and an equally small human being. Annie smiled at the other Baby’s glee and then she glanced at you and nearly coughed up her latte because you were not smiling at the baby, you were not grinning or gurgling. Instead you were staring with a faint horror, a sort of “why is it doing that, its scaring me” expression. In the end Annie took you away because she saw your bottom lip quivering which she interpreted as acute embarrassment for your peer.

However reticent you may be in the public arena, though, you always smile for us.

Whether it’s the moment when your father brings you home after a hard day of coffee and you spy me rolling about on my office chair, or when I take you out of the bath with daddy and then roll you in your towel on the bed. You laugh like a joyful baby pterodactyl, all squeals and harsh cries and calls for raw flesh.

This morning I watched as your father danced you about the room. You were laughing your pterodactyl laugh and I clapped as the two of you tangoed right up to me and then suddenly I started to cry.

It took me by surprise, I could not believe how happy I was in that moment. And then your dad sat next to me and he was crying too and then we had one of those three way hugs and you just kept laughing and gurgling at your ridiculously soft and soppy parents.

And just writing that word ‘parents’ is making me cry again.


Your very own


Friday, February 09, 2007

Some stuff

UG! I have been submerged for what seems like ages now, tippy tapping away on the book based on this blog plus extra bonus stories about me and my family. The deadline is next week and so far I think it's going well. C is being delightful and takes Tricky away for hours during the day which helps alot. Tricky being on solids is also helpful because I suck at pumping (strange juxtaposition of terms there.)

We have had a few days in Newcastle which was jolly as ever. Grumpy Grandad, now living in a retirement home that we are not allowed to call a retirement home referring to it only as The Lodge)visited and gave Tricky the kangaroo keyring he was given by The Lodge nurses on Australia Day.

In a sort of sad reflective moment he unwound it from his walker so I could hang it on the stroller. The kangaroo held an Australian flag and my Grandad said that was good because "IT'S NEVER TOO SOON TO WAVE THE FLAG" (yes, even The Lodge can't stop him speaking in capitals). Of course, after he left I removed the little Australian flag and threw it away. I did this because I think there are enough dickheads out there waving the flag in a very strident and unpleasant manner, exhorting passersby to 'kiss the flag', and usually drunk, sun burned and violent. But also the pole part of the flag was a lethally sharpened toothpick and I don't think we give those to babies anymore.

Despite this, GG was lovely. Flaky and shouty but lovely, referring to Tricky as mate and offering him a ride on his walker or a slide on his walking stick. This time he was wearing longer pants which was a good effort but sadly still failed to hide his catheter. I noticed when flicking through all the christmas photos my dad took and helpfully burned onto a cd for me that The Catheter is apparant in every single photo that also features my Grandad. Like Cate and Andrew, you just can't separate those two.

While in Newcs I also told my Dad about the car exploding out front and failing to wake us up. We have since learned that when the police, ambos and fire engines arrived they didn't actually have sirens going (why? is it really that common in our suburb??) but even so you would think the sound of windows blowing out, petrol igniting, roaring flames and people standing on the footpath saying "oh my god" a lot would have disturbed our slumber. My Dad then reminded me that last year the HOUSE next door to theirs was firebombed and yet my dad and stepmother slept through the whole thing. For some reason I felt reassured by that. It's obviously in the genes.

Meanwhile Tricky is bounding through a range of wholesome strained foods. It is delightful seeing his little mouth open into a tiny o and then seeing a spoon piled high with mush disappear within. Perhaps a little too delightful, after a large quantity of vomiting this evening C and I worked out that we may be feeding him a little too much. The words 'goose', 'funnel', 'engorged liver' and 'fois gras' come to mind.

Back to the grindstone.