Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Um..scratch the title of yesterday's post. Make that all's well that ends without Mum getting gastroenteritis... please, in the name of all that is good and holy in this godforsaken universe.

Both Keith and Ivy spent last night vomiting. Ivy is pale but OK today, but Keith, with his battered immune system, is pretty feverish and sorry still. Teddy is fine, and I am washing my hands every forty-five seconds and hoping against hope that I'm spared this round.

The last few days I have been getting very lightheaded though. I see my doc tomorrow, and can ask about it then, but did anybody out there have dizzy spells in their late third trimester?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

36 Weeks: All's Well That Ends Without Gastroenteritis.

Three weeks to go, my friends.

And counting.

Little hairy Plum is still kicking and squirming like mad, cramping my lung capacity, and demanding oranges and chocolate. The kids are in fine form, and Keith is almost all better.

We've gotten used to hanging out in bed, dueling laptops blinking, my Rennies balanced on the bump as I watch shows on IView and shift position every five minutes. Keith writes code for his website and tinkers happily with solar-cell-modelling programs, and we tuck our feet together and I try not to fart too much. Happy times!

I feel OK when I'm sitting or lying down. Then I think 'Oh right, better tackle that washing up/eat the rest of that Terrys Chocolate Orange', and get up. Then I double over and look dazedly for the horse that just kicked me in the crotch. Painkillers are still getting me through the later part of the day, and as the hairy Plum stacks on the weight my pelvis has been getting slightly worse. But the car is back! And even though Ivy's two best buddies have, respectively, gastro and whooping cough, she is fit as a pink, sparkly, bejeweled fiddle.

Mum and Dad have been visiting for the last few days and the close presence of Nanna and Pop has been wonderful. Yesterday Keith and I dropped the squidlets with Nanna and hit IKEA for a nesting frenzy. Pathetically, but incredibly pleasurably, he pushed me in a Swedish wheelchair through the seething mass of Sunday-shopper humanity. It was a long day. But we did good.

Tonight I cooked the man some juicy lamp chops to fuel him up for a flat-packing festival. He was in his happiest of places, teaching the kids how to use an Allen key and immersing himself in the giant puzzle-like joy of it all. He's a freak. And how I love him.

In short, the growing of this baby and the care and feeding of my two other little naughtybuttons is taking almost all my mojo. I haven't had much space to blog or write. But I did want to take a moment to remember some happy images of recent times that have gone unrecorded:

Ivy and Ted in a a little back-yard beauty spa action.

Cousin-matching #1: Four-year-old heartbreak. On a recenmt trip to Cowra, Ivy and cuzzie Isabelle are told there will be no strawberry milkshakes today, just coffee on the run for their frazzled Mamas.
Uncle Chris shows the kiddoes his ambulance.
Ivy and Belle remind me so much of me and their Mum at this age.

Tucking as many little beloveds as I can around the belly.

Cousin Matching #2: Ted and Zoe with some two-year old clone action.

Tucked up in bed at the Langham Hotel with sis-in-law Jen, watching Downton Abbey, and re-enacting our joy at the moment Lady Mary finally kissed cousin Michael. Keiths face cracks me up here.

Happy-birthday boots with my gorgeous girlfriends.

And Ivy and Ted making Jungle Juice for sick Daddy.

Clearly, amongst the whinging, there have been many happy moments. And only three more weeks to go....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Son Is Two. Can You Spare Some Xanax?

Do not be fooled by my sweet blue eyes. They shroud the unpredictable intentions of a tiny madman.

This piece I wrote for Early Years Magazine some months ago. At nearly three, Ted is ramping up the crazy, just like his sister did. Dickens may have been talking about pre-revolutionary Paris when he wrote 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'; but the phrase applies just as well, in my battle-scarred opinion, to the period of time in which your child turns two. Ted is so full of personality, so warm and affectionate, I could burst with joy thinking about him. But two-year-olds, as a population group, are incontinent, unpredictable lunatics. And T-Bone is true to his homies.

At BiLo this week, I reached new lows of public humiliation, and with a daughter who’s not afraid to shout ‘Wow, Mum! Getting pretty fat!’ while lifting my top in the butchers, I have developed a thick skin for public shaming. No, this shopping trip, it was T-Bone’s turn, and he took naughty to a new level. Funny how quick you can forget what living with a two-year-old is like. (I do accept that having a third child might indicate that I perhaps have a more selective memory than most.)

All the way around the interminable aisles, T-Bone put on a crazy toddler show. He shouted ‘Give me it! Give me it!’ every time a shiny bauble caught his eye, and he cried loudly every time he was refused, and shouted his worst insult: ‘You are bum!’ I wheeled around frantically, throwing objects into the trolley and hissing pathetically ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!’ Other shoppers refused to catch my eye. I could feel the disapproval wafting off them in waves, and when I tried to throw one or two a sort of gaily apologetic, what-can-you-do look, I could feel it contorting my face in a grimace that, rather than garnering sympathy, just indicated that on top of raising little horrors, I had failed to take my anti-psychotic medication that morning.

Four-year-old Peanut didn’t help by swinging at dangerous angles of the side of the trolley, giddy with the freedom offered her by T-Bone’s worse behaviour.

This week, T-Bone has launched himself into his Two’s with dramatic force. He swings between between hanging lovingly off my neck and begging ‘Cuddle! Cuddle!’ and throwing noisy tantrums that have kept him in constant motion between Time Out and harmonious family life. Relations between him and Peanut have spiralled downhill. She doesn’t like being told ‘you are bum’ either. Battles between them are sudden and fierce. One minute they are playing Lego happily while I wash up, and seconds later they are shrieking at an ear-splitting pitch and I am between them shouting ‘What happened? Stop shouting! Stop shouting! STOP SHOUTING!’

Even at night, as I lie in bed pondering the terrible parental irony of shouting STOP SHOUTING at the children, T-Bone’s unreasonable demands continue. Last night at midnight he began to call out in distress. ‘What is it?’ I asked blearily at his bedside. ‘I want my dinner,’ he wailed. ‘It’s the night-time, I said firmly. ‘It’s time for sleep. Not dinner.’ He was having none of it. ‘Peanut eating my dinner!’ he insisted. ‘She is asleep, T-Bone. Everybody is asleep! ‘It was hopeless. ‘No! ‘ he shouted at his highest pitch. ‘They are eating my DINNER!’

Keith and I take it in turns, miserably, to try all our tricks. We calmly pat and sing. We fetch milk. We sternly address the yelling and we place toys on the naughty shelf. Nothing particularly works. At some point T-Bone gets tired of the midnight show and decides to go back to sleep. And in the morning, while Keith and I are shattered and haggard, T-Bone wakes bright and early, chirpily jumping up and down on his bed and shouting in rhythm: ‘Change! My! Poo! Bum!’

I know this phase ends. I know it will end, and my agreeable, sweet little boy will return. I’m repeating this to myself as a soothing mantra, even as I develop an anxious facial tic and eat an unreasonable amount of restorative chocolate. But I might have to change supermarkets for the duration.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is Forty. Is Good!

In amongst the lung infections and the creaky bones and the whinging, it was my birthday last week, and I turned forty! Up until the last minute we didn't know if Keith would be well enough to make it away, but he rallied, and we flew off to Melbourne for a last-blast Mum and Dad getaway before the Little Hairy One arrives.

My lovely mum-in-law Liz minded the smallies, we had some excellent catch-ups with Keith's sister Jen, and managed a very little bit of wandering around, but we couldn't walk far. Mostly, we tucked up in the beautiful Langham Hotel, eating room service, taking baths and sleeping. One night, Keith wrapped up wooly, I strapped on my beige pelvic support undergarment, and we went to the ballet, which was just lovely.

Fancy hotel life, ballet and lipstick. It was much fun to play at grown up glamour for a couple of days.

My lovely friends bought me some beautiful boots, and wonderful packages arrived in the mail. Children sang down the phone and friends Facebooked sweet messages. Teppanyaki fun is planned with nieces and nephews. There have been visitors coming down with lunch and cakes. Girlfriends who make you lunch and then fold your washing - what could be better?

I think forty will be a fine old age to be. And in three weeks my toy-boy Dr Keith will join me in his fifth decade, and two weeks after that a new little person will come for a twenty-year sleepover at the Mogantosh Ranch.

So all is well.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Le Pathos

Keith: Pneumonia. On his third round of antibiotics. Living like a hermit inside our Flu Cave bedroom (for decor, picture a landscape of humidifiers, heartburn tablets, cough lollies, hot-water bottles, pelvic support straps, painkillers, escaped Lego and tissues, and then explode a laundry bomb on top.)
Teddy: Crazed with two-year-old naughtiness. And doing the most appalling poos, three a day. Refusing to toilet train but insisting on pushing his otherwise pointless underpants around in a stroller and calling them his puppies.
Ivy: Won't take off Snow White costume. Perfecting her sulking technique. Signing her name with a question mark (IVY?) Trotting about wearing a giant pashmina attached to her head with a band so she can have long, pink hair.
Me: Elvis still rocking. Car still unfixed. Scan shows big baby (with lots of hair!)

That is all.
I'll be back next week in which I plan to practice the art of Not Complaining.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grateful For Lady Love

My neighbour and darling filthbag friend Sarah took this photo sometime last year. I've spent some time looking at it this week, remembering easier seasons, and reminding myself that the wheel will turn and we'll be happily jumping in the mud again soon.

Keith is slowly but shirley starting to rally from his terrible lurgy. He's been absolutely hammered, hardly out of bed for more than a week, and he's on his second round of antibiotics. My whooping cough test results came back negative, but my pelvis remains ambivalent about the old place in my body it used to occupy. It's still cruising about a little. I'm needing some good painkillers to make it through the latter part of the day. The pair of us are moments away from a courtesy bus to the glue factory.

But as the week has worn on, the network of women friends that surround me have appeared, one after the other, on the doorstep with pies, and salads, and slices, and cakes, and pelvic belts, and 'tummy-socks' and baby-sitting offers, and hugs and jokes and kindness.

I am so deeply grateful to have friends in my life.

More grateful over here.