Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mean (Ova) Girls

Tonight, HRS (our live in youth worker) and I were preparing to watch the DVD of Mean Girls.

This is a film that has been repeatedly recommended to me by HRS (as well as other friends, including Mysterious George) following my recent, rather late, appreciation of the cheerleader epic Bring It On.

For weeks now, in the frosty environs of Country Town, I have been chanting happily to myself: “I say brrr it’s cold in here…”

HRS being the glorious age of 21 and hence a source of knowledge that I can only dream about is generally kind to me, answering my questions with great patience and minimal eye rolling.
Yes, I can set up facebook for you.
No, you can’t krump to Enya.

But tonight, the tables were turned.

As I turned on the tv the screen seemed to explode with action and mayhem. Strange pigmen in jumpsuits were running amok, David Tennant was popping his neck veins in an effort to hurry Everyone Out Now and several ominous silvery upside down funnel shapes with protruding metallic plungers and hysterically nasal robotic voices were in hot pursuit.

"Ooh goody," I said and sat down in front of the screen.

"What are…those?" The voice was HRS’s and the confusion was legion. I looked around and noted her wide eyed horror, her ‘does not compute’ stare.

"Those are Daleks," I said.

"What are... Daleks?"

I snorted. "How can you not know the Daleks? It’s Doctor Who!"

HRS was visibly shaken but she attempted to rise above it.

"Hello?" she said sniffily, employing the classic young person’s verbal riposte of the upward inflection. "I was born in 1985? Doctor Who started before my time?"

"Have you ever heard of World War Two?" I asked her. "That was also before your time."

"Wait," she said, "is there a character in it called Smith?"

I sighed heavily and gave her a withering look. "That’s Lost in Space," I said. "Dr Smith is nothing like Doctor Who."

"Well it’s like Twin Peaks," she protested. "I had never even heard of Twin Peaks before you told me about it last week. I never knew it existed."

I turned back to the tv, holding my hand up in her face as I did.

"Whatever," I said.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Letter To A One Year Old Afterimage

Darling Tricky

A year? Truly? Are you crazy?

Surely it’s actually been ten years?

Or three seconds?

Or the blink of a curious eye fringed with long dark lashes?

But there it is. You are One.

Despite early promising signs, including your freakishly brilliant ability to stand…and then sit…there has been no walking.

To be fair, it’s been a busy month, social calendar duties, visits to family, preparations for anniversary of Squirty Out The Clacker Day (as opposed to Squirty Up The Clacker Day, being anniversary of transfer of your embryonic self from ice cube tray to …well… to me.)

And of course, you are my child after all and anyone who knows me can reliably set their clock by the hours I shall be late for any appointment, meeting, milestone or (ahem) wedding they may have arranged with me.

Of course, as if to prove that all you required was the correct encouragement, you managed to take a step or two for Aphwa (Grandmother) in Newcastle and then you practically skipped around the room for your Aunty N in Sydney. Still, I am absolutely confident that in the next week and a half the Real Walking Shall Begin.

This is because for some stupid reason your father and I decided to leave the video camera back in Sydney. Yes, that camera that has been dogging your every move, recording your crazy rock and roll bouncing, your obsessive twirling of the loungeroom chairs, your nude, apr├Ęs bath racing in front of the heater. IT IS NO LONGER IN THE HOUSE. Feel free to bust some moves and then laugh at your silly sad unprepared parents.

Perhaps in compensation for non-walking, you do like to sit with your legs outstretched and then spin yourself around on your bottom. It’s as if you hate to miss out on any action and hence the 360 degree viewing. You also love to clap hands, you love to shout eh! Eh! EH!, you love to roll a ball and indeed be helped to kick it and you deeply deeply love your grandparents' dog Jimmy.

Of course you love Aphwa and Poppy too but they don’t let you pull their tail or poke your finger into their eyes. Jimmy seems to allow all this, sighing a little and perhaps rolling over if the fingernails get too sharp. Gentle with Jimmy, we cry, GENTLE! And you laugh quietly to yourself and then gently taste his toenails.

On the day of your birthday you were in Newcastle visiting Poppy and Aphwa and of course Ever Patient Jimmy. It was bitterly cold but the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun shone all day. You hung out in cafes and played with your Aunty K and also Nanny Annie who bought you a yellow puppet which was both alluring and deeply deeply creepy as puppets often are.

That night we had your first birthday party, just a weeny one. Nanny Annie’s daughter and baby grandson came to play and Aunty K brought a birthday cake which doubled as her trial wedding cake. Aunty K, who is undertaking an extensive investigation of the mudcake genre, decided that white chocolate mudcake with raspberries was a lovely birthday cake but not a suitable wedding cake. Her gruelling search continues.

You however, enjoyed it immensely.
Your second First Birthday Party was in Sydney, amongst the loving rough and tumble of your Three Big Cousins aka the Naughty Nephews. I could tell they were delighted to see you because NN1 softly ruffled your hair and gave you the sweetest and gentlest of cuddles, NN2 pointed his Harry Potter wand and at you and invoked all the Unspeakable Curses but then later was spotted hugging you, quite firmly, which effectively counters all Evil Spells, and NN3, he who has loved you since you were a bulge in my belly, allowed his new mouse to crawl over your head.
The mice are newish pets for the nephews who dote on their every sniffling whisker. In this moment, NN3 brought together two things he loved very much. It was a beautiful moment indeed, but a little short lived, due to Nutino’s natural agility and your mother’s slight squeamishness at the sight of a rodent running over her baby’s hair.

At the party there were people we hadn’t seen for a while, babies who had all grown since we disappeared to Country Town and….an enormous Number One Cake iced in pink and studded with FOUR PACKS of Smarties made by Aunty N with decorative assistance from nephews, Uncle K and Dadda.
Alongside the iced ducky and Number One biscuits, it was an impressive spread, almost frightening. I didn’t think that such an enormous cake could disappear in a few hours but of course I had not factored in the combination of grownups, champagne and a Nigella Lawson recipe.

Finally, after a lengthy drive, we returned to Country Town and a third First Birthday Party. The loungeroom was decorated with streamers and birthday flags, the back yard held more surprises and an extremely excited little Girl, three year old Miss P, helped with the proceedings. There’s a SANDPIT she squealed. A SANDPIT! Shhh said her parents, it’s a secret. She nodded and pressed her lips firmly together for a second. And there’s a SWING!!! There was also another beautiful birthday cake for you to blow the candle out (or to be assisted…It’s a CANDLE!!!) and because it was very late in the evening, a piece set aside for the next day for you to sample.
It really has been a year.

A year ago I saw you for the first time and it shocked me, your bright peering eyes searching my face across my still swollen belly.
I remember asking your father to take you and watching him carry you around the room, his face aglow.
I remember the heavy rain as we tried to leave the hospital with you wrapped up, warm and sleepy.
I remember the fairy like ambience of our warm house as we arrived with three excited little boys, freshly bathed and waiting with bright eyes and smiles to see their tiny cousin for the first time.

I remember how, in those first days, my body heavy and exhausted with the aftermath of your arrival, I kept seeing your face around me, in the pattern of light on the ceiling, the swirl of blankets on my bed, the two eye shaped marks in the wood grain on the cabinet that holds your clothes and nappies.
It was like an afterimage of my first sight of you, the image of your face burned into my brain, a sudden bright flash after all those waiting years of darkness. I’m so glad that I wrote about this at the time because now, a year later, the blankets are just blankets, the pattern of light on the ceiling is just that. But when I look at those two marks in the wood, I remember, and I see your eyes staring back at me and I see your face again as it was, in that miraculous, extraordinary moment when you finally came to us.

It has been one year of broken sleep and mush brain, one year of fighting for time… to write, to work, to heal, to exercise, to love your father, to do all the things that scream to be done. One year of feeling my body age and stretch and recognizing that it has changed forever and not in a good way either.

But it has also been a year of joy, and of love, of watching you grow and laugh and reach out for your Mama and Dadda, of hearing your voice and feeling the incredible softness of your skin and your hair (as well as the incredible sharpness of your fingernails).

And it has been, above all the crazy events of this year, all the stress and heartaches, the worries and struggles, a Year Of You.
And what that really means, when it comes down to it, is that it has also been the Best Year Of My Life.

Happy First Birthday my baby boy.

May this next year be full of magic and happiness...
... of joy and of learning
....and always, always, of love.

Your very own

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sicky Tricky...

Tricky, or Mr Snottles as he has come to be known, has been sick again. We've got the coughing, we've got the slimy nose business and one horrid night we had the very high temperatures and judicial dosing with Baby Panadol.

It was obviously stupid of me to think that I could get away with just the one nasty upper respiratory infection this winter, especially in Country Town where apparently RI's are the disease de jour. C thinks it has something to do with all the chemicals that get sprayed onto various crops around the place. Yay. I think about all those crisp sunny wintry days when I walked into town pushing Tricky in the stroller and lustily breathing in lungfuls of bracing country air.

At least in Sydney you expect it to be horribly polluted and chest infection inducing.

And of course this means that we've all got the lurgy, parents, filmmakers (including the ones living with their 3yr old in a caravan in our backyard). Welcome to the House of Phlegm.

(*pauses blogging a moment to cough and hack loudly*)

(*blows nose*)

(*drops tissue on table*)

(*notes heavy "thunk" sound*)

(*feels mildly disgusted*)

The doctor is very nice and sensible and doesn't prescribe anything at all except more of what I'm doing which is mostly breastfeeding on demand and lots of cuddles.

Which makes a nice change from the last doctor we saw here who prescribed antibiotics and steroids and then gave me a fistful of repeat prescriptions. "I tend to overprescribe," he muttered as he did so. Um, yes. Quite.

A few days later we've still got the snot and the coughing but the happy little bubba boy is back to business. And the business is learning to walk. He's microseconds away, I'm absolutely sure of it, all the standing and the balancing and yesterday we both saw him take a step.

In less than a week he will be one year old.

When I think about where I was a year ago

And then the year before that...

It's enough to make me reach for the tissues again, but this time it's not about the snot.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ovagirl’s Tips for Helping You and Your Baby Sleep.

#32 Try Putting A Toy In Baby’s Cot For Him To Find In The Morning.

Somewhere near the crack of dawn when you are desperate for just ten minutes more sleep and you can hear that your baby is starting to wake, it may occur to you to sneak into baby’s room and lob a couple of toys over the side of the cot without being seen, thus cunningly distracting him and providing potentially even half an hour of quiet amusement while you sneak back to bed.

This is not a good idea.

This is in fact, a stunningly bad idea, especially if you are half asleep yourself and pay no mind to the weight or size of the toys you are lobbing into the cot.

From bitter experience I can assure you that even a small stripey monkey with a little jingly thing in its tummy falling unexpectedly from the sky will cause sudden terror, and ensure the rapid progression of your offspring from slightly whingy baby to full blown Screaming Tomato.

Monkeys. Light. Stripey. Not Suitable For Cot lobbing.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When Country Town Becomes Funky Town

So last night was a special kind of night because HRS, the funky youthworker who lives with us, offered to babysit Tricky while C and I went Out.

To a place where there would be live music. And wine. And jolly little tables to sit around, bearing platters of olives and small electric candles which were oddly effective.

At first I thought I wouldn’t go because frankly I was tired and it all seemed a bit of a fuss, having to get changed out of the same pair of jeans and blundstone boots I’ve been wearing all week.

Another group of filmmakers have come to stay with us. They’re a couple and they’re very environmentally conscious and have brought their own caravan to sleep in which runs on yakfat or some other form of non polluting home made fuel. It’s parked in our backyard and it reminds me of the caravan my grandparents used to tootle about the Central Coast.

I have very fond childhood memories surrounding that caravan, including the time the local Christian group came into the caravan park and rounded up all the kids who were there for the school holidays and made all the boys hold onto one rope and all the girls hold onto another rope as they went round and round the park.

My (then) littlest sister, whose name is Toni, and who had short hair and was wearing jeans at the time, was put onto the boys’ rope and neither I nor my second sister AJ noticed. Poor Toni was trapped on the boys’ rope all morning until finally we saw her being led away, crying bitterly, with all the other boys to whittle sticks or light fires or do something equally manly. AJ and I had been concentrating very hard on making brooches out of magazine cuttings and plaster of paris in plastic spoons.

Anyway the thing is that the Caravan Filmmakers who are living in our backyard have a child as well, a very sweet three year old little girl. And last night HRS very kindly offered to babysit her too and so the CFs decided they would also go to see the show and drink wine and eat olives too.

And so we went and it was a fun old time indeed.

The venue was new and tres groovy and utterly foreign to the general ambience of Country Town, being more suited to a dingy corner of Melbourne or Sydney. Also, I can’t remember the last time I saw live music and although they were mostly covers, they were covers of 80's love songs like Bizarre Love Triangle and Throw Your Arms Around Me which made me feel a great wave of youthful nostalgia and also made me pick up the little table candle and wave it solemnly in the air during the choruses. However that may have been the several glasses of wine I drank which also made me feel youthfully nostalgic because I also can’t remember the last time I drank more than two glasses of wine in an evening.

“We must get up and dance”, I muttered fiercely to C at one point.
“Ah…no, we must not,” C muttered back. I pouted and thought about our many nights out together in the past, the drinking, the dancing, the hijinks in the toilets (ahem). In the cold hard light of day though, I’m quite relieved.

I actually did wear the same jeans I wore all week, but in the spirit of going out I also wore my new coat and beret, my sparkly earrings and a pair of black zip up boots I bought in an op-shop last week for six bucks.

If only I knew how much I would enjoy myself, the youthful nostalgia and the waving electric candles in the air, I would have made a bit more effort.

Clean jeans perhaps, or just maybe a plaster of paris brooch in the shape of a spoon.