Thursday, September 28, 2006

Things I've done while in labour.


  • Eat at a restaurant (early stages of a long slow part of labour)
  • Take my eldest to our local playground while hanging off trees and yelling during contractions ("Mummy tummy working hard?" "YES! Mummy tummy working VERY hard!")
  • Drink castor oil (didn't seem to speed up the slow one)
  • Machine quilt (brought the sewing machine to the hospital)
  • Eat chocolates
  • Moan, grunt, growl
  • Breastfeed my eldest
  • "I don't think the baby will come tonight but you may as well ring the support people just in case, but tell them to bring their books." (Denial)
  • Bathe (great!)
  • Gaze at a lit Christmas tree
  • Hide my head in a pillow
  • Visualise pushing a truck up a hill with my support people beside me, cheering me on but not helping
  • Bite
  • Demand acapella singing, reading aloud, acupressure, no - different massage, food, drink, ice, cold cloths on the back of my neck, silence and distracting conversation.
  • Move around
  • Wish I could still move around
  • Try not to push
  • Wish I'd mentioned to my midwife that I'd prefer any vaginal exams on my hands and knees
  • Push
  • Poo
  • Bleed on things
  • Forget what people were saying during their sentences
  • Have a baby (twice)
  • Enjoy the boneless sliding of the placenta on its gentle way out (twice)

Both my babies came out fast once I was dilating, the first was late and I didn't start dilating for 10 days of on-and-off-again patches of labour (and having been through "real" labour I can't call that "false" because it was the same). The second was early. I birthed both kneeling, though I wanted to get into a different position for my second as she was part way through and I just couldn't get up. Both were natural and pretty much drug free (I had a little gas when my midwife broke my waters for the first, late, baby. It felt stupid, like why would I do recreational drugs when I was busy having an important baby). The first was in hospital, the second at home. The home birth was fantastic, the hospital birth was fine.

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"dreaming of a thousand lovers 'til the world turned to orange and the room went spinning round"

Shel Silverstein wrote The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, A Boy Named Sue, and The Giving Tree. Wow, I'm envious.

"At the age of thirty-seven". I just realised, that's how old I am.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ten lies about me.

Ruth did this, and I wondered what it would be like to do it too. Actually it was much harder than I expected. (Go on, you try).
  1. I am deeply unhappy on the inside. I just like to keep up appearances for practice.
  2. I have no pride, envy nor shame. I don't care what anyone thinks or does. I am amoral and cheat whenever I can get away with it.
  3. I think men and women are intrinsically completely different and incommensurable. So I can't tell what men think and I don't care what women think because all they are is competition. In fact, I don't really like other people much at all.
  4. I'd like to throw my computer out the window. The "friends" I have on the internet aren't real to me, which is why I have no secrets from you o web.
  5. My children are ugly and boring. My partner is ugly and boring too. I, on the other hand, am possessed of unearthly beauty; which makes up for my dullness in conversation and in bed.
  6. I'm ambitious but my career success is wholly due to my hard work, perfectionism and rigidly keeping to a tight schedule. I am often humbled by the creative intelligence of other people.
  7. I do all my own housework because I just can't trust anyone else to do it well enough.
  8. I wish I could wear beige, taupe, grey and a little olive green but I fear my personality would be drowned by them. I just can't carry off that sophisticated sort of look.
  9. Parenthood has not changed me.
  10. I'm sure the person painting my house has finished by now. He's a great manager and I really liked having him around these last seven months. I will get him to do the interiors as soon as possible.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Yesterday on the plane.

It's not just the cars.
People keep walking past pretending to have conversations but the things they're using as phones are too big: they're talking into remote controls.
Quarters are the same size as our new 50c, but they're worth a little less (thank goodness). I need to clear out my wallet though, I paid for the Serenity comic I got at Denver airport (not bad, but Wash is hard to draw) with a mixture of New Zealand and US coins.

"Your daughters are adorable!"
"Thank you, I made them myself."

The kids are dressed pretty oddly today. Last night Iris wanted to wear Hazel's 30s starlet aqua Ariel nightie, Hazel was willing once she was installed in one of Sean's rainbow tie-dyed t-shirts. We picked them up and put them straight in the car to get to the airport just in time to check in. We didn't dress them then and they haven't dressed yet. Iris has added a cerise velour top and sandals to her ensemble, Hazel purple stripey socks and sandals. Americans are very positive people though, so they say they're cute.

They've been pretty good today, in fact every day, the nights aren't so good but I blame that on the jet lag and the lack of their own beds. It's improving, last night they took a long time to get to sleep but they didn't fight it as hard. Goodness knows how today will go, we had a short flight, we're on a three hour one, and then there's a three hour drive in the evening, plus we're travelling two hours of time zone East (that is, 9pm, when we expect to get there, will feel like 7pm. They'd be perfectly justified in sleeping in the car and then partying until 1am.

Wooo. They just gave me some cheese whip. A pleasure of a civilization in decline.

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Good thing they like me.

Mother of the bride: That's good. Going to see the minister is a significant step toward the thing.
Father of the bride: Yes. Getting going seemed quite difficult.

Now I'm a parent and spending a lot of time with the children sometimes I am uncomfortably aware of how well my parents may know me. They've known me a very long time, since before I was subtle or duplicitous, and biology lends an intensity to the relationship such that parents may well be motivated to bring their full intellectual power to bear upon analysis of their children.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hard question.

"So, are New Zealanders fed up with America as a whole or just Bush and the war?" asked my lefty American cousin.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Jet lag.

We're packed and almost ready to go. I kind of wish we were going now (12:45am) rather than in 5 hours because now I'm quite awake whereas yesterday and the day before one of the few parts of the night I have been asleep for has been the bit around dawn. Alas, the trials of the first world middle classes.

Some time recently I wrote this, but Blogger wouldn't publish it at first:

It's 2:43 am and all's well. I don't remember having jet lag this bad before, what with dizzy spells and all. I suppose the wildly variable hours I used to keep may have protected me from it. Perish the thought that it's the six years since I last travelled coming down upon me.

It was well at 11:40 pm when the kids wound down too. I expect we'll be fussing and fighting tomorrow, and we'll definitely get some exercise, even if it is raining here in the desert and no-one else goes out at all. I was just a bit confused today and didn't notice we hadn't exercised the children.

At bed time it became apparent after a fair bit of reading that the kids were not going to sleep. Today was a good day though. We played music at Kate and Bob's with Bob on viola, Iris on harmonica, me on kazoo and Hazel on animated wooden singing dolphins. We saw a Dinosaur Museum, with a sand pit, and waterplay area; Iris immersed herself in the sand rather than the water! We did a bit of shopping, Sean got new sandals (he accidentally packed mine rather than his), and I got a beautiful new orange wheeled case and an okay handbag that fits my computer (which the lovely bag I've been enjoying since my birthday doesn't quite) and was inexpensive but isn't quite one of the many bags of my dreams; this will do for now and I'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll find a bag of dreams in Manhatten.

No, they really weren't going to sleep, they weren't resting their bodies or closing their eyes. They were leaping from bed to bed, Iris was taking her nightie off, and Hazel was shrieking. After some trying time I gave them a bath (well, their Grandad always says it'll make them sleep better) and then Sean went out for some peace of mind while I watched them burn up a bit more energy, read them a chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh (goodness me, isn't that a funny name for a bear, Iris laughed until tears stood in her eyes), and then we went to bed ourselves Very Firmly. There were lamentations and protestations but they both actually settled and are now asleep.

Me, I've been asleep and awake and asleep and awake and alas I left my book on a plane from LA to Salt Lake City or I might be reading. I hope some nice Mormon is enjoying Anansi Boys; I'll have to buy it again, it was good.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh well, quantity has a quality all of its own.

We lived in Bloomington, Indiana from August 1996 to June 2000. Being back in the US is both foreign and familiar. More familiar than I expected: I am less aware of the passage of the six years since I left, and the changes since the Golden Years of the Clinton Administration (not that we had the slightest idea that's what they were at the time) are less apparent on the surface than I thought they would be, even in airports. In some strange way this country is still home.

Ah, here's my latte.

I'd been living back in New Zealand a couple of months when I first went into Starbucks;
"A 24oz regular latte with 2% please."
But despite the familiar decor, the barrista didn't speak the same Starbucks dialect and I had to start over.

Oooh! I've just seen the best cabin baggage: a little coffin shaped hard case just short enough to fit under an airplane seat. Black and silver, of course.

I really like this baby computer (Sony Vaio TX37GP), what is there to say? It 's fast enough, though if I were to change one thing about it I'd like it faster. It's light and small, the keyboard suits me well and the screen is attractive. It connected to the hotel's wireless last night without any fuss and it's got some buttons that do good stuff (like volume and muting, wireless off and on, and the buttons a cd/dvd player has for doing that in the computer's sleep). I've bought a battery for extended life, it's kinda funny looking but it reckoned it had more than 12 hours power in it when I turned it on this morning.

After a holiday without him, during which I wrote to Sean in all my waiting time, writing is just what I do to amuse myself in airports. Which is fine because I have a blog, but I don't think that waiting time is going to produce great content.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Flights of fancy.

We're on our way. I'm writing this on the plane while the children sleep like jet-setting cherubs. It hasn't been perfect but they've been great despite pooey pants (Iris in Wellington airport before check-in) and a bit of vomiting (Hazel just after take off for LA). You needn't worry about their health again just yet though; diligent readers of this blog will have noticed that Iris pooing is just par for the course at the moment, and Sean thinks the litre of cold water I let Hazel drink during take off (because she was very worried about getting sore ears) caused the vomit. That and his very fair mind must be why it's my jacket in the plastic bag waiting to find a laundromat and not his, I dunno, I was off "not you help!"-ing Iris with the toilet. Besides unplanned excretion and regurgitation they've been good. Not much fighting, perfectly happy with watching TV on the plane for hours, to the point that Hazel demanded a book instead "I don't want to just watch TV all night!" and then sleeping beautifully and giving Sean and me time for light-hearted chit chat.

Each of us has been in an aeroplane toilet with a child this trip and we've independently noticed that, although our kids are really small humans, it's still quite difficult to manage things like cleaning up vomit or tooth-brushing with two people in there. A quick thought experiment suggests the Mile High Club is mainly made up of compact people and yogic contortionists. Possibly more yogic contortionists, because they have the mind control to ignore the possibility that their spacious and idyllic honeymoon cottage might have been previously inhabited by vomity or pooey children.

Then again, perhaps it is made up only of flights of fancy.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

First post from the baby computer.

So I got a new computer this morning. It's little and I like it. They come in red too but this white one was $500 off and in stock, it can't go that much slower, right?

Generally a successful day so far actually. There was that, and then I actually had the guts to play with a frisbee with people who play Ultimate, which shows progress on my new year's resolution of getting over my sports phobia.

And now I'm quickly being Mummy in between primary school reunions. My primary school class have turned out to be quite nice adults. A little nervy at first but pleasant.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Joie de ventilator.

I also used to have a poster of this on my wall. I was given it and I like the character who always feels too hot so she keeps her undies in the fridge and really enjoys the ventilator.

Turns out that's something real people like too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Leave 18th Sept, arrive before we leave and stay that night in LA to break the journey.
19-23 Sept, see Kate and Bob Denning in Grand Junction, Colorado
23-31 Sept, gear up for and celebrate Gillian Barker and Dave Pearson's wedding in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Drive to New York City and see Michael Burns, the zoo, and, with luck, Jane, David and Stefanie Woodbridge
Drive to Shelburne, Massachusetts to see Tim Paulson and family.
10-13 Oct, Disneyland.
13-15 Oct fly home.

But you know what I really don't believe? That my cellphone will be working almost like normal, that I'll be able to do email and surf the web all over the place. Eleven years ago I went to the US at just this time and had to pretend to be a new student all over the country to get internet access. Six years ago I'd just come back from there and was still astounded at the way that my friends had all grown cell phones while I was away. (What time does is pass, get over it Susan).

Oh, and we're talking about getting a new laptop while we're there. What would be cool? I like this 5 year old Sony Vaio except that it's very very very slow these days. Sean fancies a MacBook Pro.

Where's my jet pack?

I really like space shuttles.

I watched the first one at a slumber party with my friends, talking about the future, sure that if there wasn't a nuclear war and I lived to have a family I'd be living on a moon base. I had that photo on my wall for years and years but what I saw when I looked at it didn't fade as much as you might expect.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Village life.

Most people, in most of the world and through most of time, have raised their own children in the same small place they grew up. I didn't expect to be doing so, but my daughters go to the Playcentre my sister and I went to. One of the other parents was there at the same time as us. Three of my Form Two class (the last year of primary school, when we were 12) are also there, and the other day someone from the class ahead came intending to enroll.

On Thursday I took my beautiful bright first-born with her shining eyes and precious mind to the school that I went to as a child and signed her up to the sausage-grinder. I don't know whether I hope she doesn't buckle under, remains strange and pure, but probably sadly lonely, or whether I hope she learns fast and easily about how to win friends and influence teachers. I didn't do either, most people probably don't.

We felt it was rather an important moment and that possibly it could have been marked with a warm welcome and a bit of validation of the choice we've made to give schooling a chance. Unsurprisingly it was not; school isn't about feelings is it? The person in the office typed Hazel's name and date of birth into the computer and said someone would contact us about school visits near the end of Term 4.

Hazel beamed when I told parents who were doing school pickups and they said how exciting it was. We held each other's hands tightly all the way home.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Last night was my last meeting as President of my Playcentre. I'm going on holiday soon and when I get back I'll be Vice. I think of the obvious vices pride might get the job done the best. Though, when aiming toward a virtuous exterior, any old vice can be useful in a combination of giving in to temptation and choosing the lesser of two evils.

Envy: I just so want to be thought of as a good person, like you, it's not fair, give me some.
Sloth: Anyway, I can't be bothered organising the opportunity to be bad.
Avarice: Besides, getting some of that bad stuff would cost money.
Lust: Giving in to gluttony will interfere with my desirability, but then,
Gluttony: Chocolate is just less complicated than anything that requires a partner's cooperation.
Pride: Even if this isn't the kind of temptation which can reject you and hurt your pride, watch out there are people present whom you do not wish to see you give in, and when they're not there, there's the fear of being found out later; how embarrassing.
Wrath: But if all else fails don't give in just to spite yourself.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Housekeeping hints for Slatterns #3

I kissed him and murmured
"Would you like me to finish putting the folded washing away?"
"Yes, that would do it for me," he replied, laughing but not lying.
So I did, then I undressed and got out the "Sensual" perfumed oil that we were given by a well-wishing ex-girlfriend of Sean's and commenced massaging his tired shoulders and long back.

After a contemplative while I realised that Hazel was standing in our bedroom doorway head tilted appreciatively and a very fond look on her face; the same look I have on mine when she is kind to Iris. I guess she feels that her very special Dad deserves a massage of an evening.

Well, she's asleep now.

(#1, #2)

... and so's he.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mewling puking fairy.

Iris and Hazel went to the supermarket last night with Sean while I went out to the comedy club at what was Indigo. They had a lovely time and decided it was a special Dads' night. Iris was wearing a fairy dress and got a lot of positive feedback so she wouldn't take it off to go to sleep. Early this morning she was crying and Sean brought her into our bed (I couldn't get up, Hazel was lying on me, honest) and then a while later she threw up. I mostly caught it in my wastepaper basket (yes, baskets are like pots but with vomit emitting holes), once finished she turned her white face and blue eyes to me and said, bubbling drool,

"Happy Mothers' day".

If one of you kind students who reads this has a day off and wants to earn some money, please call, email, comment or come over. I'd love some back up.