Tuesday, May 29, 2007

poets hour

Two pieces of poetry have been looping in my head of recent days. The first is courtesy of Philip Larkin (and meant with no disrespect to the beautiful Chris and Frank, who did their very best with the two wild beasts they spawned. Clearly I mean David and Sam here).

They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They do not mean to, but they do
They fill you with the flaws they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one anothers throats.

Man hands on misery to man
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as quickly as you can
And don't have any kids yourself.

The other verse comes from your friend and mine; the brillant and bizarre Dr Suess:

Do you know who's asleep
Out in Foona-Lagoona?
Two very nice Foona-Lagoona Baboona.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

all about daddys day

This post is all about the wonderful, loving, creative, clever and goofy Keith and what kind of a Daddy he's becoming.

Every morning Ivy wakes us up around 7 and gets into bed with us to play morning games like 'Baby on a Crane' and 'Touch Daddy's Nose'. I get up and feed her about 7.30 and at around 8am, Keith goes on duty. While I wallow in the bath with a cup of tea and a library book, Keith and Ivy take a walk around the garden , checking out what's growing, how the veges are doing, which flowers are in bloom. They always pick ten weeds from the lawn under the orange tree and sit on the steps for a while to look for ants and feel the sun. Keith puts Ivy back to bed for her morning sleep and we both start our days: him to the office and me to the house.

At intervals throughout the day Ivy and I will stick our heads in for a kiss. At lunchtime there might be time for a play but his day really finishes about 6pm when he comes back on daddy duty - into the middle of the grizzly hour, where Ivy often morphs into The Baby Who Cannot Be Pleased. We hang out together, helping Ivy play with her blocks, her books and her Banana. She can pull herself up to standing holding Daddy's thumbs, and looks around the room with proud excitement for an audience every time she does it. Lately Keith's been playing piano and guitar with her, and she loves to rumble.

We wrangle Ivy in turns here. Keith takes breaks to play online chess and check the cricket scores, while I potter around making dinner, swimming in my second bath or working on projects. At 7 I try to get Keith to play in his office so I can enjoy the secret shame of Big Brother with the volume low. (Keith refuses to share the same room with it). Dinner is usually middle-eastern style, on the rug, while Ivy clutches toys and watches intently.

8pm is bedtime. Together we put Ivy in her Wondersuit and then wrap her like a sausage in her cot-sheet swaddle. We takes turns doing bedtime. When it's Daddys turn, he gets in the big bed, and tucks Ivy in close. Then he'll read Dr Suess' sleep book (which, by now, we both know off by heart). On a good night she's asleep before the end. On a bad one she is still squirming. Lately, she cranes her head right around to grin at the knotholes on the wall behind that look like a face.

When she's finally asleep Daddy creeps out. At eleven we wake her for a final feed and then transfer her to her bassinet in the corner, where she'll sleep until 7 to start all over again.

Ivy is a lucky baby - in the great lottery, she got an excellent, excellent dad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

mummy, i made poo!

Lisa and the ever-entertaining Matilda have just left after a sleepover visit. The babies stared at each other intensely, talked in Esperanto and dribbled joyfully while Lisa and I caught up and discussed issue of relevance (our babies, other peoples babies, all babies, the importance of good wine and bad TV at the end of a long day of baby-wrangling, food, babies, gardening, hair, babies).

Matilda has learnt a new talking trick where she makes a yelp somewhere between the baa of a lamb and the bark of a dog. She does it at the top of her voice many, many times a day (and night). Lisa was worried about waking us but I hoped they did - the annoying disturbance would be far outweighed by the realisation that the screaming baby didn't belong to me, and therefore I could go back to sleep with no guilt at all. A bit like watching aerobics on TV, but better.

Ivys new trick is to wait until I put her in a cloth nappy and then unleash 5 days worth of pumpkin poo. It's pretty bad now she's eating solids - the consistency and colour of thick chocolate icing; yet much less appealing as a snack. If only I found the washing as exciting as the women in the Omo challenge. Am I using the wrong laundry powder? Is that it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

class A compost

Keith is next door putting Ivy to sleep with Dr Suess, and I just took a bacon and pumpkin tart out of the oven. It's yet to be seen whether this will be a 15 minute bedtime, or the 2 hour version... like most of them have been this week. She didn't want her last sleep this afternoon, and has been grumbly for the last hour. I've had 2 glasses of red in the same time period so I don't mind. It's all washing over me like a Zen breeze...

We've had a great Saturday making plans for the garden. I watched a Peter Cundall DVD on organic vege gardening this week and got over-excited. We're planning on building some terraced vege beds into the back yard. Today I planted some new lettuces and did a lot of weeding. Keith built a path using stones from near the old cow shed. I read recently that bacteria in compost causes some sort of serotonin-like effect on the brain. All is clear : gardening is Ecstacy for the middle-aged.

All three of us went to Canberra last week. It was excellent. Keith slept in a bed instead of a tent and Ivy visited the art gallery and had lunch with her Grandpa and Fun-Yi.

Keith just came in to report that the baby was asleep even before Dr Suess got to the part where the moose and the goose drink the other one's juice. A new record! Must be the compost.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers Day round 2

McIntosh Mothers Day was heaps of fun, but Keith and I both collapsed exhausted at the end of the weekend. Ivy is going through a night-party-owl phase, where after her 11pm feed she gets a new burst of energy and wants to wave her arms, kick her legs and make squeaky noises. She'll wriggle right out of her swaddle which means we can't put her to bed, so we wedge her in between us in the big bed and hold her arms down while she squirms and cranes her head back and forth between us imploringly, waiting for one of us to crack and say 'sleep! a losers caper... lets go and play a wild old game of upside-down-baby'. Sometimes it takes until one for her to go back to sleep.

Tim. Liam and Ivy had fun together although Timmy did take a spectacular backwards somersault off the deck stairs. No major damage - luckily he was wearing his new workmans hat.

Brendan and Mama did all the washing up - what guests. If only we could invite them over after dinner every night. Much of the late afternoon was spent trying to convince Mama not to buy us a dishwasher. When I said 'Look,it's not me - Keith's just really not going to budge', she got a stubborn glint in her eye and said 'Well, if it just turns up on the doorstep he won't be able to do anything about it...'

Where have I seen this stubbornness before, I wonder?

Friday, May 11, 2007

vaccinations and visitors

This week Ivy had her 6-month vaccinations. A terrible day - I was stressed out all morning. (Last time we both cried). By the time I took her into Room 101 I was shaky and felt like I might throw up. Ivy sat happily on my lap,smiling at the three nurses who gurgled at her and then plunged two needles simultaneously into her fat little thighs.

She actually coped much better this time - the silent scream lasted for a few minutes but she calmed down quickly.

It's hard for mummies. From pregnancy on your whole focus with a baby is their health and safety - don't eat ham, don't smoke crack; then when they arrive it's biodegradable nappies and organic apples, remembering not to tie them to the bed or put cooking sherry on the dummy. Then at 3 monthly intervals or so, you take them into a little room where a stranger stabs them with a sharp pin and introduces live virus cultures into their system.

Vaccination day is a bad day. Today was better - went to a garage sale, then planted out the broccoli and spinach. Grandpa came to visit and we ate chicken pie on the deck as Ivy practiced her new game 'Watch Me Slap You In The Face'. Tomorrow is Mothers Day round 2 - McIntosh clan over for a party on the deck.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

a very mogan mothers day

Big weekend. Ray the old surf-dog from down the track had a swinging 65th birthday party. He was dressed in fishnets and a codpiece under his bathrobe. Lots of the neighbours were there. I had a disconcerting conversation with an aging stoner who I've only met once before. He did a comedy double-take when he saw me.

D - Wow! Is that you? I didn't recognise you!
(Note that I'm in jeans and uggies, winter housewear, looking unfancy)
R - Um, yep, it's me.
D - You have lost stacks of weight!
R - Oh, have I? (No - but try to be polite). I guess Ivy was pretty small when we moved in, so..
D - Oh yeah, heaps, off your face. You were like this (does puffer-fish face). You looks heaps younger.

A Coledale compliment, I think. Take them where you can get them.

Mogan Mothers Day was great. The conversation over the table isn't fit to translate, but lets just say that we realised that a certain quirk of anatomy has made its way down the female line to both babies in the next generation.

Keith and I put Mums Dyson in the wheelie bin for when she arrived. We laughed until we cried doing it but she just gave me the same look Tom Conti did in my dream and said 'I think the jokes over, Rach'. Over? Jokes over? What does that even mean?

My sis-in-law Karla is either about to drop the third grandchild or she finished off too much of Sam's crumble mix. It was great to see her looking so well and to make all the fat gags again. Another baby in 6 weeks...the question is, will it have the Mogan anatomy?

Friday, May 4, 2007

the scream that broke mummy

The visit to Sydney went well but it's so good to be home - Ivy broke Mummy. She hates being in the car at night; but we had to go to see some friends in Alexandria. Ivy screamed the whole way there, stopped for the eye of the storm at the party where I tried to put the two halves of my brain back together, then screamed the whole way back to Drummonyne. Lucy and I were hoping to catch up in the car, but just spent the whole time crooning 'Don't worry, you'll be right, life is tough for babies, it will be over soon'. She says that's pretty much what we would have said to each other anyway.

There was nothing I could do, other than promise Ivy to never take her out at night again, crane over the seats at every red light to replace the dummy, and try and breathe through my own panic. Poor little Naughty Buttons.

I read that the sound of a screaming baby is played from tanks as a wartime strategy. It would work - and save a lot of fighting too - you just hear the noise and want to kill yourself...cuts out the middle man.

We had lunch yesterday with Mum, Sam and Isabelle and Ivys great-aunts Sue and Jill. Mum had brought along Nana Goodie's photo album (Ivy's great-great grandma), which has some amazing old pics in it, including one intriguing one where Nana Goodie had scratched out both the heads. Got some good baby advice and hung out in the sunshine - a great lunch.

Ivy is still the constant feeder. Tonight theres a rip down the arm of her Wondersuit - I hope the weight gain hasn't reached Incredible Hulk proportions, where her bulging belly will turn all her clothes to rags. Can't afford the Target bill.

Tomorrow we shop, cook and sort out the toilet for our visitors on Sunday - Mogan clan for Mothers Day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

our little amanda vanstone

I feel like a battery cow on a bad AWA this week. Ivy has been contantly on the boob. Every time you turn her head sideways, the mouth is wide open and searching like a sideshow clown. When do my boobs get a public holiday? Theres almost no point getting dressed except that I don't want to cause a public nuisance at BiLo.

She's really stacking it on too. Keith and I have been calling her Amanda Vanstone - and she even has a little fatties rash under her chin, where she traps dribble, and bits of potato.

I'nm trying to encourage Ivy to eat solid food still but it's not going too well. She smears it on her face, the high chair, the couch, the floor and me, but if any makes it into her mouth it's by accident; and then she gags and looks shocked. She has a wierd look about her these days, because she is always wearing a bit of dried potato in her eyebrows.

Today we're off to Sydney to drop off the baby capsule, see Lucy and say goodbye to Matt, Shirin and baby Gabe, who are off on location with the new Australia movie. We're going to stay overnight with Sammy and then catch up with mum and Ivy's great-aunts Sue and Jill tomorrow. A big day for a small fat person. Fingers crossed she doesn't crack it.