Wednesday, 29 December 2010

To my clogged milk duct

My dearest clogged milk duct,
you make my nipple look funky.
Your enforced sleepless nights
have my writing go clunky.

You turn feeds which were lovely
really quite sore
complaining about you
makes me a bore.

You mess with the booby
I let my baby suck of.
My dearest clogged milk duct,
now kindly fuck off.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A white(-knuckled) Christmas with the in-laws

So we thought it would be a good idea to take two children and a baby over to the UK for Christmas. Because they all love to sit still in the car for hours and hours. HAHAHA!

Anyway - Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all get iPads and fancy jewelry. Oh, and love and friendship and all that crap of course.

Normal services will resume when my children have stopped vomiting/not sleeping/being complainy from the shock of the journey, and when I can get properly online because I can't even get my iPhone connected to the WiFi here. I feel as if someone has cut off one of my limbs. You know, Google Reader - the limb that grows between my right arm and my belly button.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Girls girls girls

For a few weeks at university, I tried to be a lesbian. I thought I should find out if I had any inclination for it. You see, there was this gorgeous girl who would swoop into lectures in a floral summer dress, and - well - she wore that summer dress like no other girl could have done, and she always distracted me from my equations and theorems. By the second week of the experiment, I was sure it wasn't for me. There happened to also be a boy around at that time who would distract me at least as much. And while I never dared to talk to either girl or boy, I still fancied the logistics of the boy more than that of the girl. Breasts I'm sure I could cope with, but for recreation I choose penis over vagina any day. And that was that. (Of course I don't know what I'm talking about since I've never actually tried the latter.)

Today, though, I nearly forgot to pick up my children from school because I was so engrossed in The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, something I'd taped to watch during breastfeeding. Two girls were getting really quite passionate when I realised I had five minutes to get Charlie into the buggy and both of us to the school gates. Running along the pavement with the buggy flying ahead of me, I saw my favourite parcel-delivery girl ring a doorbell down the road. She's rather butch (assumptions, assumptions - they really won't do) in a lovely way, and I feel a flutter whenever she brings me my online purchases. Today I got a wink which pleased me rather a lot.

All this is making me think today about the boundaries between friendship, love and infatuation. If I didn't have Babes could I meet "the right girl?" I have had some serious girl crushes in my time. At secondary school, I used to write 40 page letters to my best friend after I got home from school at night, to hand to her when I got into school the next morning. I never spent nearly that much time on the boy I was supposedly "in love" with (desperately, stupidly, from afar). Then again, if I had to have a threesome - you know, if I was forced :-) - I'd still prefer two men. (Call me, Benicio and Orlando or Ewan and Robert or McDreamy and McSteamy! (Apparently I'm not picky. (Or: how to make them all feel extra special.))) But I would watch Tina Fey on TV before any of the four men in brackets. Or any other girl crush of mine.

Isn't love/lust/life just delicious in all its manifestations and possibilities? I'm feeling giddy with it today, as if we all live in a giant kaleidoscope, or a hall of mirrors.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Sleepy creepy

I go upstairs to check the children. On the landing I find one of Babes' shirts, covered in maggot-like insects. They are crawling all over it and I wonder where they could have come from. I go up seven steps to the next floor, and the hall is completely wet. I peek into the study and I find Marie and Jack together on the air mattress. They're meant to be in their own beds, but I leave them there because they are so cute.

From the study I go into my darkened bedroom. Where Charlie's meant to be, there's a big man with an overly large head, sitting in the crib asleep. I think I must be so tired that I'm seeing things that aren't there so I go up to the crib and try to lay the man/Charlie down so he can sleep more comfortably. The man opens his eyes and gives me an icily evil stare while he grabs my arm so hard I cannot run away.

I wake myself up shouting "No, no, no!"

- Sleep does not always equal rest.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas is over, feminist hell, mindfuck recycled

So Christmas has been dealt with for the year. We had our party yesterday (the grandparents have laid claim to all other dates) and the stress is over before it even began. All the other festivities are for other people to organise, cater, and worry over. It was pretty good. Presents, Christmas dinner, fun and games - just the five of us. The children stayed in their pajamas all day, no one even left the house. In fact, I didn't even have to cater this party as Babes shopped, cooked and cleaned up afterwards. Yes, girls, he is the best. No, you can't have him. I saw him first.

Self-portrait with tree of subtleness and halo

I went against all my firmly held beliefs (again - I don't know why I imagine they're so firmly held any more) and got Marie an ironing board (yes, a fucking ironing board - you didn't misread that) and she is over the moon. She also got a pink doll in a pink baby seat which she lugs around with her everywhere right now. I am going straight to feminist hell where I will be pawed at for all eternity by smelly men with gold chains around their greasy wrists. And I will know why and curse the day I pushed my lovely little tomboy girl into the straightjacket of her gender-determined role. And it will serve me bloody right.

Talking about hell - the other day I was discussing the concept of infinity with Jack and I explained to him that you can think of infinity thus:
Think of the largest desert you can possibly think of, larger than the whole world.
Imagine every million years a little bird comes to take away one grain of sand from this desert.
When all the sand in this enormous desert has gone, infinity has only just started.
...which of course is the way Catholic children are taught the true horrific nature of eternity in hell. Yeah, sometimes the mindfuck comes in handy.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

TMI Thursday

I have inadvertently taken to scratching my right bum cheek during my daily toilet ritual.

This new move fits in after the drying of the residual wet-wipe moisture and before the pulling up of the underpants. It is a left-over of the days, a few weeks ago, when I had a small scab formation on said bum cheek. This small scab is now completely gone. It lingered a little longer than it might have done, probably due to the scratching at every toilet visit, but it has mercifully departed. Yet the scratching remains.

It is well nigh impossible for me to change any of my daily rituals, as I found out a while back when I was brushing my teeth and on the phone to An, may her bum cheeks remain blemish-free and unscratched, and I had to go through all my forty moves before I could continue our conversation.

I don't like this new part of my toilet routine. Even though after the zipping up of the trousers there is a generous time slot for wetting and soaping my hands, I still prefer my ablutions to be performed without any hand-to-rear contact. That's what I have paper and wipes for. Another issue, which I loathe to admit I find even more disturbing, is that scratching only my right bum cheek (and therefore not the left) offends my sense of balance.

So the scratching has to cease. Either that, or I have to scratch my left bum cheek as well for symmetry, and the ramifications of that (I'd be a minger) are too horrendous to contemplate.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life

I like me a good guru, and I have been on the lookout for a new one. There's only so much Cesar Millan can do for a new mother. He has revolutionised my parenting by making me a calm, assertive leader. I agree that children need exercise, discipline and affection. I get now that I need to project the right energy in all that I do. I also love him for what he said on yesterday's show:
Cesar: Are you getting nervous?
Clueless dog-owner: A little bit.
Cesar: That's just not allowed. [My new mantra.]
Genius, right? I love that man, and I will always be grateful to him for what he has taught me.

But he goes a little too far: I don't quite follow when he suggests tying my baby to a moving treadmill, when he wants me to feed him bloody pieces of offal, or when he's demonstrating the correct technique to use a leash on him. That's where he loses me a little bit. I need some baby-specific advice as well.

Now I have found myself a new guru - a new whisperer even - obviously inspired by Cesar himself: Tracy Hogg, the Baby Whisperer! I bought her book on Amazon a few weeks ago (after a recommendation from the lovely and advice-filled Jo) and it has been lying upstairs, forgotten next to the scattered Christmas present wrapping debris. I picked the book up last night and scanned the first few chapters, then diagonally read through the chapter on sleep. Who has time to read a whole book when they're sleep-deprived, right?

I focused on the part about eliminating night time feeding by using a dream feed. There's no way I can implement a whole philosophy in a day anyway, so I thought I would pick one element and go with it. Sure enough I managed to give him a late night feed without waking him up (I didn't even know that was possible), and then when he woke at four to demand more food, just as Tracy had predicted, I gave him a dummy and shushed him back to sleep. The book had said that he'd probably wake three times to ask for the feed and most parents give up after the second (I wanted to put him to my breast very badly by that time), but sure enough the third time he went back to sleep until after six o'clock. No crying, no fuss - I just reassured him three times as instructed and already we were down a night feed.

If her other predictions are right as well, he won't even ask for this feed in a few days. Do I need to state that I am a complete convert? All of a sudden I have time to read a whole book, even though I'm still sleep-deprived.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 13 December 2010

I used to love a good coalition

Do you remember six months ago we had a general election in Belgium? Well, half a year on we still don't have a new government. Can you believe it? For six whole months the boys and girls (but mainly boys) at the top have been arguing and whining and trying to come to an agreement, and still ... nothing. I'm starting to see why some people don't believe in coalition government. And it seems I wasn't wrong when I said the negotiations would be difficult.

Seven parties are trying to make a coalition. The Flemish parties want Flanders to be more independent, the Walloon parties are scared that they will lose a whole lot of money if the Flemish get their way. (It's a popular saying in Flanders that every year each Flemish tax payer buys a car for a Walloon household. The Walloons would like to keep that going.) To make the situation even more difficult, the Walloons are ruled by the Socialists, while the Flemish voted in a more right-wing party. It's no wonder really that they haven't found a compromise.

In the meantime the international markets are slowly losing confidence in our economy. And frankly, it doesn't look very good, does it? Six months and we still haven't found someone who can come up with a sensible plan for our country. I dread to think what that says about the state of our country to the outside. At this rate we will beat the Iraqi record set earlier this year - they took eight months to form a government.

While the rest of the world are busy combatting the global recession and climate change, we are bickering about the language used in the mail addressed to a handful of people around the city of Brussels. (Really - it's a hot topic. I won't bore you with the details.) When asked why they can't get it together in times of crisis, the politicians have come up with a brilliant answer (don't they always): while they are throwing tantrums and stabbing each other in the back, at least they are not coming up with new policies that take money to implement. Also, a resigning government is apparently a leaner government. Ministry workers who resign cannot be replaced, so the cost of government goes down. They are basically saying that no government is better and cheaper than having a government, even in a recession. ... No, that doesn't sound like the cleverest argument to me either. At least not from a politician who would like to be allowed to govern again in the future.

We may end up with new elections as a result and I dread to think what they outcome of those would be. None of the voters are very happy, and they may end up using their votes to complain. Protest votes are often not the most well-reasoned of votes, and we do have some protest parties no one would truly want to give any power to (neo-nazis on the one extreme, true marxists on the other).

I think our politicians should give us a new government for Christmas. I don't think that's too much to ask from the people we elected. They've already said it won't be before Christmas, though. Maybe they secretly want to see their names in the Guinness Book of World Records. They only have to stretch it out two more months.

(Actually, I think we should ask the pope for the solution. Now there's a man of action.)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The red shoes say it all really

The pope's feet

... and some people wonder why this guy can't help solve the world's AIDS problems or feel the pain of child abuse victims in the church. Have you seen his shoes? Obviously he does not live in the same world as any of us. I don't think salvation has ever come from a German old guy with a white dress and red shoes, living in a marble palace in Italy. It just ain't going to happen. He's as far removed from the life Jesus led as it is possible to be. I think we should all stop complaining about how he just doesn't get it. Obviously he doesn't and never will.

So let's move on. There must be someone better out there to lead the world's Catholics. I say vote the pope off the show and go with a ghetto priest or a poor monk instead. You know, someone who actually gets the teachings of the gospel.

Now if only women's opinions were worth anything in the Catholic church...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Scaredy cat, gunky eye, breastfeeding, emasculation

  • I urgently need to move back into the city, and start having a life again. I've noticed lately that I'm getting scared, and I don't like it one bit. An, may her legs go on forever, and I were talking about having dinner together sometime, and she said she'd get a bus back home afterwards. I thought she was crazy. In the dark! Through the city!
    I used to do that. I used to cycle or walk home in the middle of the night, through the city. I have lived too suburban a life for too long. And I really should get out a bit.
  • Charlie had a gunky eye yesterday. After his nap he couldn't open it at all. He didn't have a fever and his eye wasn't red, so when I phoned the doctor she said just to rinse his eye with rosewater. The chemist agreed; said she'd done the same with her baby and it worked beautifully.
    I must admit to being slightly miffed. What, no medicine? Just some smelly water? And I'm meant to squirt it all over his eyes with a syringe? He's a little baby, you know, and I have it on good authority that the eyes are very close to the brain. The chemist also said I'd have to pull down his lower eyelid and he'd cry and squirm.
    Of course he didn't mind at all. I didn't have to fight him or anything. He just looked a bit surprised. And it worked instantly. That's me told then.
  • I'm vaguely maybe possibly considering breastfeeding for a bit longer this time. I noticed at the weekend that I got very defensive when my father asked if I was nearly done with it. I'm also planning to start him (Charlie, not my father) on solids in about a month or so (you should see him looking at our food when we eat) so it would only be two, maybe three times a day after a while. Maybe I could keep going until a year when I was planning to start him on cows' milk anyway. Or not.
    I have no experience with breastfeeding that long. It also feels a little unfair to the other two who got formula for six months. Oh I don't know. Maybe I'll be fed up with it again in a couple of months anyway the way I was both last times, and I know I'll quit if I am.
    It's all these completely convincing mummy bloggers out there who are making me reconsider. But then again I did go out last night (for the second time since Charlie was born) and had a great time, and would have liked to have had a couple more drinks, and stayed out a few hours extra. (No, I'm not expressing - it's just not me.) Tough one: boozy partying or cozy mothering? If he hits the bottle, I could too.
    (I am such a good example of what is what is wrong with this world.)
  • A white male babyboomer told me that men these days are being emasculated. Something about Charlie and Lola and Lola getting her way all the time. It's all the fault of children's TV. Emancipation has gone too far. He was serious as well. I didn't bother arguing. I'm starting to recognise the pointless fights.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sister Immaculata

Yesterday I felt really sick. I nearly fainted in the morning and was nauseous all day. The nausea would only go away if I had tea with milk and sugar, or chocolate.

You know what that sounds like, right? I just about convinced myself that either I was dying of some hitherto undiscovered disease, or I was up the duff again. Now if I had been pregnant, while hardly immaculate, it would have been only a couple of Hail Marys short of miraculous. (I will leave it to your perverted minds to imagine what exactly I mean by that.)

It did bring home to me that I may not be completely done with the whole thought of babies. I spent most of the day musing on the little girl that might be in there. (It's not that I don't love my boys as much, it's just that I'd love a little sister for Marie.)

Of course I will never be done with babies. I never thought that would be me, but there it is. And this is as good a time as any to stop. A better time as any, in fact, because I decided long ago not to ever make a baby if I cared if it was a boy or girl. And three boys just seems overkill, you know?

Today I'm fine. No more morning sickness, which I suppose shows it wasn't morning sickness at all. And that I'm probably not about to kick the bucket either. Thank fuck for that. And it's just as well I'm not pregnant, because really? No, thanks. We're probably all set with our three. Probably. For right now anyway.

Now Babes has the morning sickness. Poor guy. Probably shouldn't have kissed him last night. Woops.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Snow idiocy, html joy, slow shopping

  • What is it with people and the snow?
    • The TV news go to one extreme: they are running around going "Oh my god it's snowed our brains have frozen we cannot think about anything else." The BBC are especially bad, but the Belgians are a close second. It's as if nothing else has happened in the whole world. Every time you think they will move onto the next topic, it's a little more snow-related news.
      I know it has snowed. I have a window. I've been outside. Let's move on now.
    • The population in general have gone to the other extreme: most people seem to carry on as if nothing at all has happened. Commuters still sit in their ridiculous queues to get to work, only now it takes them four hours instead of two. When they are getting a package delivered or one of their children has a snotty nose, Belgians can work from home for the day. When the whole country has turned into an ice rink, they have to get to work because otherwise someone might think they were not Superman or the economy (the sacred fucking economy) may miss a beat.
      (I will spare you my anti-"economy growth" rant today. You're welcome.)
  • I do love an embedded list.
  • And nerdy things like html tags. I have several books about them. They are pretty. Maybe at some point I'll even read those books and entertain you with pretty tables and colours and whatnot. Won't that be exciting? (No, I meant for me.)
  • This weekend Sinterklaas is coming. (The original Santa Claus - because Jesus does not want to share his birthday either.) With a sick girl at home for most of the week, my planning was a mess so this morning I was rushing around the shops trying to get all my little bits and pieces. Walking, in the snow, with a baby in the pram. And why not? I think I may do all my shopping like that from now on. Well, minus the snow maybe. My fingers froze, as did the snot in my nose. (My nose frose/my noze froze.) But walking's a definite winner:
    • It's better for the environment because my snowed-in car stays at home.
    • It's better for the local shops.
    • I get some exercise. (I did stop for a hot chocolate and a sugary bun, but shhh.)
    • It's cheaper because I can only buy as much as will fit on the pram.
    • The children won't get as spoilt because the present inflation will stop.
    • I buy fewer huge things that will mess up the house.
    • I choose more carefully and get only things I think they'll really love.
    • I slow down and enjoy my walk, which lifts my mood.
Right. Real life calls. The plan for the rest of the day: laundry, breastfeeding, sledging, cooking, more breastfeeding, and some collapsing in a heap from sheer exhaustion with a faint smile of satisfaction on my lips.

Have a good weekend my people. Remember to take a walk.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My Christmas wishlist and what it says about me

I've been asked by my in-laws to make a wish-list for Christmas. Apparently I'm not the easiest person to buy presents for. I happily got started - after all, what's more fun than listing all the things you want to get, right? And then I realised what the inherent problem is in this situation: it's a test and I can't win at it:

* Either I lie and come across as all intellectual and well-balanced, but then I won't like my presents.

* Or I am honest and then I will - ehm - come across as not so intellectual and perhaps ever so slightly unstable. It turns out I can live with that.

I present to you some evidence - a small selection of what I want, what I really really want, and what it says about me:

 "Has great intelligence and wit."

 "A nutcase."

"Obsessed with her weight and waiting for God to fix her."
Alternatively: "Watches too much Oprah."

 "Hopelessly celebrity obsessed, to the point of idiocy."

 "A hypochondriac, but too stingy to buy this herself or for her first/second child."


"A ditzy flaky woman who really should grow up."

 "On her way to hell."

"A wannabe teenager with a vampire fixation."

Actually, that's not too bad. I'd be friends with that woman.