Monday, 31 May 2010

Shame on me, times four

  • We had macaroni with frozen shrimp tonight. I only bought them today, but I convinced myself when I took them out of the freezer that they looked and smelled a bit dodgy. I then cooked them through very well and they tasted fine. Now I feel queasy. I totally have psychosomatic food poisoning.
  • When Jesus and the Devil were paired up for the maternity challenge in Project Runway, pregnancy leggings is what they came up with. SO comfy but SUCH a bad look. They did not get immunity for the next challenge.
    (Then when the Devil designed a jumpsuit for the next challenge, called "Fashions we want to bring back," it was auf wiedersehen to him. (I cannot get over the fact that jumpsuits are all over the shops again just now.))
  • I grovelled in the creche today, but not to the person in charge. I asked one of my favourite child minders to talk to the management for me. I'm such a chicken. A noncommittal chicken at that. I said she should find out who was taking the group and if they still had space, but that I would decide later.
    I bet they're full, and if they're not they will claim they are. I wouldn't take me back either. I sunk to a new low when I played the "I was depressed and hormonal" card.
  • I am embarrassing myself most thoroughly by doing a before and after of my hairdressers appointment today. Just so I never let it go this far again. Really - I need to be shamed into making sure I don't walk around so frumpy again.


    I have to say the flash makes it look worse than it actually was. I think I still have more than 50% brown in there. It's the light, honest. But really - how can I be this grey at 33? I am a freak.
    (Did you see the sticky-out belly?)


    Better, right?

Friday, 28 May 2010

Creche stress

Bloody hell, I am stressed today!

I'm looking for a creche for our new baby and of course I've left it far too late. Over here, you really have to book somewhere as soon as you find out you're pregnant. However, even if I had started to look that early, I would not have found anywhere because creches in my neighbourhood are BAD!

I went to see one earlier that still had a space (that should have told me enough, really). I would not call that place a creche. It was more of a "child storage facility." It was bloody awful! I know I have high standards, but you know - this is my BABY I'm entrusting to complete strangers, for two whole days a week. And I do not feel good about a place where the curtains are torn, the babies are lined up in bouncers, and next to the garden there is an industrial site with giant stacks of metal barrels, even if they did assure me that they are empty "because the full ones are inside the hangar." After which a big fuel truck thundered past the flimsy gate, destined for said hangar.

I am now seriously regretting blowing up my bridges with Marie's creche. Fair enough, it's not perfect, but the reason why I chose it originally was because I went around ALL the local places and hated them all, so I ended up in her one, which is half an hour's drive away. Maybe it's for the best. I was never 100% comfortable with it, so it's probably best I don't go back there. On the other hand, I was comfortable enough to hand over my baby in the first place and Marie has been happy there.

Now what do I do? I cannot, will not, must not, be left alone with a baby for too long. The first six months are fine, because there's the breastfeeding and then the first vegetables, and there's the constant cooing and marvelling and also long naps. But after that, I need to get my butt to the gym a couple of times a week to replace the happy breastfeeding hormones and also I need to be left in peace to read a book or have lunch with a friend on occasion so I can remember who I was before someone grafted an infant to my boob. I know that if I don't, it will be a matter of weeks not months before I'm seriously depressed and that's no good for anyone either.

So - do I try to look for a private person who will look after our baby in their own house, or do I go grovelling to Marie's creche and beg them to take her anyway? I've been thinking I should ask exactly who will be taking the next baby group. There are three women there who I absolutely adore. If one of them was to take the next group, I would be happy to commit to another two years of that place. If it's any of the other ones, I'm not even going to consider it. The problem is that they do (too often) shuffle around the employees, so there's no way of telling if the carers will stay the same. Even if they assure you that they stay with the group until age 18 months, as they do. I'm not sure they'd even take me back, because my reception by the management there has been "icy" to say the least ever since I had that little chat with them a while back.

The problem with the private person is that you just never know what you're getting. You can go with gut feeling or recommendations, but behind closed doors you just don't know what's going on. When I was looking for a place for Marie, I voiced my concerns to the woman who coordinates these private situations in my local town, and she had a great way to reassure me. She said that "Sure we sometimes get bad cases like that woman who was found to tie the children up at home while she went shopping - but she's been fired now, so obviously the system is working." Which was very helpful, and completely silenced all my fears.

I phoned Jack's old creche this morning and begged them to make an exception for us. They're a university/hospital creche, so I have no rights there any more and they are always completely full. They are, however, the most wonderful creche in the whole wide world. They were very nice and put me on the waiting list, but I know there is no hope in hell of getting a place there. Even if I do, it's almost an hour by car to get there some days and that's just getting silly. I sometimes regret having been so spoiled at that first creche - it's an impossible standard for any other place to live up to.

The stress is driving me insane. I need a miracle now, please. Where is that fairy godmother when you bloody well need her?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Yay for me!

One year of blogging!

A year ago, I was going quietly crazy wanting to get pregnant but not being sure I could stay at home and go through the same routine day after day. And then came the blog. Now I'm six months pregnant and I'm not sure I can stay at home and go through the same routine day after day. So much has changed.

Actually, it has - I have found so many other people who are going quietly crazy in such similar ways. And people who are in the same situation and are not going crazy and thereby show me how to cope. And people who are in completely different situations and offer me a view of a world outside of my own little world.

I've also found a love of writing and shaping a story. I have stopped watching TV almost completely. I have started to read again. I have sung the praises of mindfulness, of exercise and meditation, of gardening and even (twice) of baking. Oh, and there was the gay porn of course.

I have kept this blog pretty much separated from my "real" life - Babes, An and a couple of friends read it, but mostly you are my dark little secret. I'm wondering if I'll "come out" in my second year. Probably not. Or maybe one day I'll just post the address on Facebook. Actually, I'm pretty sure that won't happen. There's only so much dirt I want ex-colleagues and distant family members to have on me.

In honour of this anniversary I'm having a little party tonight - feel free to join me if you like. Especially if you're a lurker you could leave a comment - see it as my birthday present.

Happy anniversary to me! And thank you all of you who come and read. Thank you even more to those who have stayed to comment. You have made my year so much more exciting than I could ever have expected. So - thank you, and do please stop by again.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Phlegmy Cinderella

The universe did it again: one large diamond, delivered to my doorstep at the exact time I needed it.

I have been feeling SICK all day. I still am. Went to the doctor, pretty much got told to wait it out. I have some medicine now, but it's probably no stronger than the cups of tea I've been consuming. Pregnancy gets in the way of all the good drugs. I took the children to the playcafe because the weather has gone all rainy and cold but could hardly sit on my chair after a while I was so tired and sore all over. I dragged them out of there after a couple of hours, hoping to get a little rest at home.

And then... Marie slept for four hours this afternoon, and I joined her. The minute I came down from my endless and beautiful nap, Babes walked in the door home early from work and offered to cook dinner. And all of a sudden I feel like I've been visited by my fairy godmother and I'm in the pumpkin on my way to the ball. I may vomit when I get to the ball, and I'm not sure if Prince Charming will be all that enamoured of my phlegmy cough. Still, I'm a happy Cinderella.

I take this very personally. It's a present from the universe, and it was given to me. It makes me feel like the luckiest girl on earth. It's like that time I arrived just in time to sing a concert and I got the parking space right in front of the church. Or the time we got that big house to rent from a guy who hardly wanted paid for it. Or a couple of weeks ago - when we found the perfect garden set for 500 euros, reduced from nearly 1500.

I like that I see it this way around. I would hate to see it the other way: that whenever something crappy happens, the universe has it in for me. If Marie had slept for half an hour today, and Babes had been late, I'd have felt like shit, but never in a million years would I have blamed some glitch in the universe. I would have moped on the sofa feeling miserable, but it would not have seemed like anything out of the ordinary.

When the universe clicks into place and works for me, though, the feeling is just beautiful. It's a pure pleasure like no other. Maybe this is where other people see a god. I can understand that. It feels orchestrated, deliberate somehow. But then I suppose the other side of that coin (the god coin) is that bad experiences are also the work of the puppet master behind the curtain, pulling all the strings. And that I don't see and wouldn't want to see either. It's too easy to blame someone else. Shit happens, so it's going to happen to me as well. No reason to suspect foul play from above.

I know that - statistically - things are bound to go my way occasionally. But I will keep feeling special every time they do. As if the perfect moment came wrapped in tissue paper with a huge red bow and a card with my name on it.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Surely pesto counts as a vegetable

Still sick. Eghhhh.

I'm using the TV as a babysitter and cooking pasta with red pesto and a tin of sweetcorn as "vegetables." I'm a bad, bad mother. For protein, I'm sprinkling some cheese on top. When Babes finally gets home he will be instructed to peel fruit and hand out yoghurts. While I go to bed with a book. Which I will read for at least two minutes.

Oh, and phlegm has too many letters. Flem would do the job just as well.

Friday, 21 May 2010

A small and joyful thought experiment

I took a sick day yesterday, and today I will be in the car/on a boat.

I shall leave you with the thought of
  • Viggo Mortensen
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Benicio del Toro
- use them as mental dollies in any configuration. You're welcome.

(I'm trying not to write about penis, but I think I might be sublimating.)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I would like to make a complaint

Today, I hate
  • mothers who ignore their children mama mama mama mama MAMA until they are shouting MAMA at the top of their voices, then give them precisely what they want. Somehow it does not surprise me that the child then repeats this process EVERY bloody time she wants something.
  • hospital staff who show no sign that they have understood that the person they are treating is actually a human being. Presumably a scared and worried human being who is not feeling too hot right now. Also a human being who may have some insight into what is wrong with her, and what may be done to fix her. Not a machine that can be tinkered with and doesn't have anything to say for itself.
  • my sore throat.
They offend me.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The definition of awkward - two urology stories

Yesterday I had to take Jack to the dermatologist for his final wart treatment. The dermatology unit in the hospital shares its waiting room with the urology department. It was only after we sat down that I noticed the husband of a friend of mine in one of the seats closest to us, sitting with his legs crossed and one hand between his legs looking sheepish. This is the definition of awkward in my book.

I decided not to share why Jack and I were there, leaving open the possibility that we were there for a urological appointment for Jack as well - just to make him feel more comfortable. I don't think it worked, really. There was a lot of comparing stories on the children. I was so happy when he got called away, I sighed with relief. In the course of the rest of the morning, we ran into him another three times in the hospital, once with a sample pot and once coming back from a scan. By the third time, I just pretended not to see him. There's only so many ways you can wave hello cheerfully, pretending not to see the huge pink elephant in the hospital atrium.

When I saw his wife at the school gates later, I feigned surprise at all the stories I'd already heard about her children. Anything not to have to bring up the chance meeting with her husband earlier. Imagine if she didn't know he'd been there. No, I was staying away from that one and will be forevermore.


I have a good reason to feel so on edge about that chance meeting: I have an older catastrophic urology-related story I will share with you. It was one that nearly finished a whole friendship.

I had a very very good friend at secondary school in Edinburgh - let's call him Murray - who also went to university at Cambridge with me. For years, we'd see each other all the time and share our stories. Then I moved back to Scotland and then back to Belgium, but we kept in touch.

One day when he was living in London, training to be a doctor, I travelled there to see the Oxford-Cambridge boat race. (Not really - I just went to meet up with some friends, the boat race being our excuse to get together.) I'd arranged to meet Murray and his brand new girlfriend in a pub. This pub was loud and very full so it was impossible to hear anything.

Murray had just got back from Australia where he'd been on some kind of special training program specialising in what I heard as "neurology" but which was actually "urology." Easy mistake to make, right? I proceeded to ask him - in front of his girlfriend - a serious of admiring questions, like
  • Wow, you really got to poke around in there?
  • You just open it all up and get to have a look around?
  • Aren't you scared of touching the wrong thing?
  • Was that really exciting to you?
  • Isn't that the coolest part of medicine?
and so on and so forth. His puzzled responses did make me wonder, but I thought he was just being modest. His girlfriend went scarlet, thinking I was some oversexed girlfriend trying to come onto him by being cute about mens bits. She did NOT believe me when I finally realised my mistake and swore I was talking about BRAINS, not PENISES.

The girlfriend never warmed to me after that, and I have a sneaking suspicion she told him not to have anything more to do with me. Now the wife is the ex, and Murray and I are back in touch. Still, I'd have been quite happy to sacrifice our friendship, if it meant he could have had his happy ever after.


I promise - no more penis-related stories tomorrow. I realise there is such a thing as enough penis.

Monday, 17 May 2010

A penis by any other name

There are a few things in this world which I can only call by their rightful name: penis. And only one of these things is actually a penis. I am not so predictable as to see the male appendage in every long thin object around me. That would be too childish. A cigar is - most of the time - just a cigar.

Like so many people I can make rude suggestions about regular phallic objects when the mood strikes me, but I am not so obsessed that I can't peel a cucumber without automatically having my mind stray towards things sexual. I need a little more. What that "more" is exactly has been on my mind today. (Don't you wish you lived inside my head sometimes? Luckily you have this blog so you don't miss much.) I have decided it's details I need - either at the top or the bottom.

Allow me to illustrate:

Not necessarily funny

Always funny

The above is an example of "lower detail" which regretfully cannot be known by the singular name "penis" because it exists of three parts. It remains just a funny penis-like configuration of one banana and two oranges.

The two examples of definite "penis" I know are specimens which exhibit "upper detail". The first one is so obvious I don't know why its official name hasn't been changed yet from the rather dull and uninspired mechanical one, tow bar:


If any garage owners read this, I suggest you change the name. You know it makes sense. To any car owners: why don't you suggest the name change next time you put your car in for a service? We could start a grassroots movement.

I wanted to get a picture of the second "penis" as well, but I ran out of steam before I could. To my eternal shame I did want to and I even planned it into my day. My backache after several hours of driving intervened.

The object in question is that pull bar on the front of a fast food place's bin. Due to a lack of proper photographic documentation, I had to resort to the home-made diagram below. It shows an example which I remember from my adolescence, a period in which I took great delight in making my little brother (seven years younger than me) put away my tray, telling him to "please pull the penis." It can now never be known by any other name.


I am happy to say Belgian fast food outlets still have such bins. However, most no longer have the large red head on the top of the pull bar, which does lessen my delight.

It's all in the detail, you see.


It may not come as a great surprise that this is what caught my eye at the supermarket and therefore what we had for dinner tonight:

 Flemish asparagus

Banana added only for scale, not comedic effect

It's all in the detail

It's not because I'm pregnant I can't have a one-track mind.

Friday, 14 May 2010

And then this happens

Jack played quietly for more than an hour during naptime so I could sleep - first a 100 piece jigsaw, then making pictures with beads.

Marie, after dinner tonight: "I'm tired now. Daddy, will you please make my bottle and take me to bed?"

Thank you universe.

(And thank you all for reassuring me yesterday. I needed that so badly, and it helped like you have no idea.)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Fuck I'm having another baby so I'm losing it a little

I woke up this morning hyperventilating. There just wasn't enough air in the world for me to keep functioning. Marie was in the next room moaning and crying and singing and whining - doing everything except use proper words to call me in. Now I am very strict on this. She has been able to call us properly for over a year, and I will not respond to random moans. She knows this very well, but was determined to win the argument. Babes had decided to have a long lie. How it is possible for a man to sleep through the kind of racket a disgruntled toddler can make is a mystery to me, but apparently he can. This was not helping the breathing.

Eventually Marie gave in (with a perfectly happy "Mama, daddy, I'm awake!") and came to lie in our bed (oh joy) and by this time I felt green. I'm with Kermit on this one - it's not easy being green. Interestingly, as soon as both Babes and Marie left the room to go to the bathroom, I stopped hyperventilating (briefly). I thought the pregnancy was to blame - you know, my lungs getting less space - but it's not the physical part of the pregnancy. It's the psychological part. It's knowing that I'm on my own for most of the week looking after these little children and soon there will be another one. If we hadn't decided to get pregnant, I would now be looking for a part-time teaching job for September, when Marie goes to school. Having this baby (which I want with all my love and all my heart) means another three years at home, another three years of this huge responsibility 24 hours a day, another three years of adult conversation only on the internet and at the school gates. That's what's making me hyperventilate. That's what's got my knickers in a twist this week.

Then I remembered we were going to a big family do today and I still had to get dressed in something that could pass for a party dress. Queue more funky breathing. I don't know why, but I felt like overnight 95% of me had transmogrified into just bum and thigh. I am a huge chicken drumstick. And I swear I could smell fear on my body. (I know 95% of me can't be bum and thigh because this stomach is seriously taking over my figure.)

Getting the children into their party clothes took forever. Then in the car, I felt like all the air was slowly being sucked out of the air and I was suffocating. When we got to the party, I didn't dare speak to anyone. The self-hatred was dripping off me. Which of course scared people off. Self-loathing silence can only entertain for so long. What made it worse was that I couldn't just get plastered. Seriously - how is anyone meant to go through a family do without alcohol? That's what alcohol was invented for. I just had to stand around watching everyone else get pleasantly tipsy.

And then, magically, I started to breathe again. Just being around some of my family felt comfortable and right. The children were being watched collectively - they weren't just my responsibility. There were people there who seemed genuinely pleased to see me. Some of the people there were my most favourite people in the world. We sat together to eat.

I spent some time talking to one of my uncles. He showed a great passion for his work. It warmed me to hear someone talk with so much love and enthusiasm about what he does for a living. I then talked for ages with one of my favourite cousins. I have a secret crush on her - she's just fabulous and lovely and clever and beautiful. And I dared to talk to her and have a real conversation instead of being scared to make a fool out of myself.

Now I'm so glad I went tonight. Family can be scary, but they're also constant and they don't need to be courted so they'll be your friend. Anyway - I'm sure I'll hyperventilate some more in the next few months. I'm trying the meditation and breathing exercises, but there's only so much you can do against the rising panic caused by being pregnant for the third time. Honestly - it's just ludicrous to want one child, let alone two or three. The constant worry, the endless nappies, the eternal testing and bickering and snotty noses. They will drive you absolutely nuts. Well, me anyway. But then I should remember today. All the children playing together and being overjoyed to see each other. All the adults coming together to celebrate the family and the ties between us all. That's what we're creating. That's what I should remember. And also the fact that come February I can crack open a bottle of Chardonnay and get completely pissed.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Package, prompt, pester power

3 excellent reasons why I love the internet today:
  • I got a package today, which came all the way from America! This is most exciting to me. It was from the lovely Angie Muresan, which made it even more exciting to me. I won her giveaway, which I didn't even know I'd entered - how cool is that?

    Inside was a book, "French Women Don't Sleep Alone" by Jamie Cat Callan.

    With the book was a card, but not just any card. The card was drawn by the same person who did the book cover, Anne Keenan Higgins. How classy is that? (Anyone who reads Angie's blog will not be surprised by this attention to detail.)

    I must admit I wasn't sure if I needed to know how to find love just now, and then I spotted this line on the outside: Erica Jong thinks this book is adorable!

    I suppose I'd better find a quiet night to take this book to bed soon. Very soon. And a pretty card to send back across the ocean.
    Thank you so much Angie!
  • Another cool thing that happened on the internet this week is that Babes' faux pas last week inspired my friend Josie from Sleep is for the Weak. She has used it for a prompt in this week's Writing Workshop!

    I'm feeling all connected this week.
    Thank you Josie!
  • And finally, I love the internet because this week it provided me with serious leverage. I would never dream of using this blog as a weapon, obviously. Ahem. Babes has, however, been mildly aware that he was not scoring the greatest of points with all of you last week. A few pointed "You do have some making up to do"s got me my choice of dining venue and my choice of movie on Tuesday. I only had to make a couple of passing references to my blogging audience to keep him toeing the line. I think I have now played my entire hand and then some, and I am out of internet-induced power until he messes up in a bloggable way again.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Could go either way

Questions I'm pondering today:
  • Is it acceptable to use offensive words in Wordscraper, when you are playing against a stranger online? For all you know the word applies to them.
    (The words are in the list, but it still feels wrong. On the other hand, I do want to win.)
  • Can you divorce Nabokov's Lolita from its subject matter? Can something be wonderful literature and still be about a creature like Humbert Humbert?
    (An has powerfully argued it can't.)
  • Is Babes going to do better tonight when he has another go at date night? I'm not expecting flowers or fireworks or anything - if he turns up I will consider it a success.
    (Wow I aim low these days.)
  • How much dust is "dirty" rather than "a lived in home?"
  • Am I going to be strong just now or give in to the call to nap?
Do you have any answers for me?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Big breasts and hairy nipples

Marie: Mama, when I grow up will I get big breasts like yours?
(I love that girl - any question which implies I have big breasts is a GREAT question.)
Me: You will!
Marie: Is Jack going to have big breasts when he grows up?
Me: No, boys don't get breasts.
Jack: But I have nipples, just like you.
Marie: ?
Me: Jack, show her then.
Jack: *lifts T-shirt*
Me: Look, Marie, you've got some, too!
Marie: (After careful comparison:) And Jack's are not going to be big when he grows up?
Me: No, but he'll get hair on them, like daddy.
Marie: (Very proudly:) When I grow up, I will have big breasts with lots of hair on them!
(I swear she did not see that on me.)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Most pathetic date night ever

Last night, I had the saddest date night ever. My plan was dinner and a movie...

I got stood up. By my own husband. How pathetic can you get?

I am not kidding when I tell you these were the choices at the cinema:
  • Date night
  • The happy housewife
  • Dear John
  • Edge of darkness
  • Remember me
I never stood a chance.

My dearest husband phoned me in the early evening to tell me "he still had some stuff to do." There was some computer emergency at work. Then twenty minutes before the babysitter arrived, I phoned him and asked him how close to home he was. He hadn't left yet. Which, I can tell you, got me slightly irked. I decided to have the babysitter come anyway, and to wait for him somewhere else. No point wasting a good babysitter. That was my first mistake.

My second mistake, and admittedly the biggest, was that I then opted to wait in that third portal of hell, that franchise of purgatory: McDonalds. I know - not clever. My reasoning was that I could use their free WiFi and check my email and reader. I found out after I sat down with their mockery of the concept of food that in fact their WiFi was broken. So much for that then. Now I tell you - if you want a quick boost to the self-esteem, I suggest that you go sit in a McDonalds six months pregnant, alone, in your prettiest clothes, with a large Coke, and choose the space next to the Playstation.

Luckily I had had the foresight to take a book. I secretly quite enjoyed sitting for over an hour, reading without being disturbed for once. I also had the pretend chocolate mousse. Throughout, I got messages from Babes that he was having to stay a little longer, no a little longer, not coming home yet. (Bless him for not only missing our date but then also disturbing my undisturbed reading.) Finally, I just went home again. Obviously not until after the babysitter had fed and changed the children and put them to bed. I thought I may as well get my money's worth.

Babes came home after ten. I'm glad I didn't stay out and wait for him. I did get a lot more quiet time to read at home, which was rather nice. And he seemed a little sorry to be late. He made me a cup of tea anyway.

All I can say in conclusion is that Babes is very lucky and clever that he took last Monday off just to spend it with me. Otherwise I would now be trying to decide which of his testicles to remove with a spoon. Strangely I'm not. He must be doing something right as well.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Fragiles, fixers, cracks, books and no more Little Miss Perfect

A mixed bag of thoughts today:
  • Dictionaries are still written by men. Why else would the Wordscraper dictionary not accept "fragiles" when that's what I'm washing right now? (I have my pretty clothes in the washing machine. I am not writing from a bidet.) "Virgules" is allowed - obviously - because that's way more common.
  • When did my son become a fixer? And is it possible to fix a fixer? He's always looking out for me, making sure I'm safe, not spending too much money, doing okay. This makes me feel so bad. I never meant to give him any reason to do this. I don't overspend, I make sure I'm okay and so are they. I have explained to him why he can't have all the toys he wants from the shops - money only goes so far and it's my job to spend it wisely. Should I just have said no and been the evil mummy? I worry that I'm ruining his carefree childhood for him. Maybe it's just what he's like. It's not like I magically started worrying about stuff when I was eighteen.
  • I finally cracked and bought the first of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. I figured if you spend so much time pondering if you should read a book, you may as well bloody read it. So far so good - no repeat of the Da Vinci Code fiasco yet. The translation is a bit Northern Dutch for my liking, but the story ticks along nicely.
  • Doing the laundry is like doing any other thing in this world. One shirt at a time. I've had too many baskets of clean clothes sitting around the bedroom looking accusingly at me for weeks now. But I've done the first piece so surely the rest must follow. I mistakenly thought I had to do ALL of it in one go.
  • My darling Babes got my unread Jon Kabat-Zinn book down from the top floor and kindly hinted that I should read it. I now am. That boy is good to me. (He hinted by Post-It note - I love being communicated with by Post-It. There's something I find so romantic in that.)
  • Have I mentioned mindfulness is the cure for everything and a bringer of joy?
  • I had an actual real-life friend over for lunch! It was great - we chatted for an hour before she had to run off and do some more work. I left the ironing board up and didn't take all the mess out of the kitchen. It relaxed me. I should remember to put less effort into pretending to be Superwoman and more into simply being with the friend at hand. I'm sure that's what made the difference.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

You won't sit for a week young lady

I adore my visitors - well, the regular ones definitely. The ones that come here by search engine do make me wonder sometimes. I was checking (again) which search terms bring people here today. I wanted to know how many are looking for information on lice. Not a single one. Not one!

According to my Google stats, my blog is the place to be for
- just not lice. I have to admit Google was right on the mark with these ones. (For googlers and new readers: click on the search terms if you want to find my extremely relevant and informative posts on these topics.)

I do wonder at the poor lost souls looking for
  • dreaming of growing fungus
    - I get that. Because I did dream of growing fungus.
  • drunk talk translator
    - that's a funny concept. And useful, if you're a bartender or something. Someone should develop that idea.
  • i could not let him talk to me like some dutch uncle (translate)
    - I sense a certain trauma relating to a Dutch uncle. Not sure I can help.
  • lost of penises
    - quite.
  • why does bumba fart so much?
    - Because he's a balloon now, and he's broken. Besides, the Bumba does as he pleases. He is the all-powerful one after all.

And finally, two beauties:
  • why are you telling me all of this blog?
    - Well, you came to me. I was just minding my own business.
    And because I can. So there!
  • you won't sit for a week young lady
    - My all-time favourite. I'm considering changing my blog's name to that.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Six months!!!

I had a special party day today, because the newest fruit of my loins has been ripening for six months now. This is hugely significant to me. I am so superstitious that I just daren't get properly happy and excited before this point. It just feels like I'm counting my chickens way too early. So, until six months I won't discuss names, I won't buy any clothes, I won't rearrange the house - I will basically refuse to make any definite arrangements. I know that's a bit over the top, but I just can't get over all my bloody fears. Until now. Until now, people! From now on I go baby crazy. (Don't worry - I'll still blog about poo and vermin. I will go baby crazy privately.)

We celebrated this special day by having lunch at the play cafe, and then after school we went out with the granny in waiting to get this

and some other tiny baby things. I'm feeling such relief and such pure happiness to get to this point. From now on, I will try to put aside all my damn anxieties and start basking a little. Glowing a little. And I will just look forward to having another baby. I bought the cutest little socks today. They bring it home like nothing else will. Except maybe that cute vest. Just imagine that, filled with a pudgy little boy body.

This baby needs to get less abstract now. There will be unpacking. There will be sorting and washing and planning. There will be endless discussions of names. There will be "Do you want to feel my tummy?" There will be anticipation and dreaminess. Yes, dammit, I'll have all of that.

I need to go now and google boys names that work in both Dutch and English. Wish me luck.

Monday, 3 May 2010

My world is big and beautiful, or small and creepy, depending on the day

(Scroll down for awesome pictures!)

This weekend saw the return of our favourite friend pediculus humanus capitis, aka nits or head lice. We were so pleased to see them again that we treated all four of us, just for the fun of it. (I think only the children had been infected, but I want rid of the buggers already.) I do realise that as long as Jack's school can't get rid of its infestation, probably neither will we, but we are of good will and great spirit, so we battle on bravely.

Hours of manual nitpicking later, I diverted myself by documenting the momentous event pictorially. My new camera plus the two largest motherfuckers I found on Jack's head gave some great results. First I sellotaped them to the windowframe in the kitchen where I'm ashamed to say they still reside tonight. I should probably remove them before I scare off the last few people who will still come to our house.

Here are mummy and daddy louse, for your awe and bewilderment:

(That's centimeters, people, not inches.)

I've called the top one daddy and the bottom one mama. If anyone out there is more clued up on insects than me, please feel free to correct me and provide accurate information on the two. My reasoning was that the dark spots in the mama could either be blood drops, freshly sucked from my progeny, or eggs/nits in the making. I don't know shit about this, though.

I have some excellent close-ups. Here's one of the daddy in which you can see his pincers clearly:

Also look at those eyes - freaky alien alert!

Here's a close-up of mama:

I LOVE my new camera. Just a shame this is what I choose to do with it. I shall now sigh on your behalf. (But - COOL, right???)

I've decided to enter this post into Tara Cain's brilliant Gallery on Wednesday. The topic this week is to paint a picture of the world we live in, and this was just too good an occasion to pass up. These pictures, in my opinion, are a perfect representation of my world at the moment. Ever since I became a mother, my world has in many ways become much much smaller. But also, like these pictures and the insects in them, much more awesome, beautiful, terrifying and gross all at the same time.