Category Archives: Pregnancy

Furry Dragon Beast #2

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Sorry for the hiatus (more of that later.)! Last time we left Cricket she had managed to climb onto Hoot’s back and was flying on the back of her furry dragon beast!

…I rolled over and threw an arm up over his back and grabbed the biggest handful of flesh and fur I could and heaved. We teetered for a moment and then I felt Hoot crouch closer to the floor and then lift up slowly and I went with him!
I’M FLYING ON A FURRY DRAGON BEAST AND I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!

And then I was falling and I grabbed Hoot’s tail for support and dug my fingers in as hard as I could and suddenly he was hissing and I could see giant fangs and smell dead people and fish. My dragon beast had turned. The world was now a dark place. The floor boards rose up and, as always, my face smacked into them. A wail built up and exploded out in a wonderfully cathartic expulsion of sound and then Mum was like a Greek Goddess at the first all-gender, ancient Olympiad, running naked through the house, wet hair flying out behind her, faster than any naked woman you’ve ever seen. My Greek Goddess scooped me up and snuggled me in-between two wet boobs. FUN! I slapped the left one as hard as I could. Mum seemed a bit frazzled. I don’t know why.

Wet, naked, boob feeding is a bit slippy so it turns out and as I navigated the slippery-dip a realisation slowly dawned on me. (I don’t think I’ve ever had a realisation before, let alone a dawning one.) Hoot and I understood each other! We had a conversation with real words, not just PORK RIB emergency words. We were simpatico. I can speak furry dragon beast!! Who knew?! I gave right boob a victory slap. (Like punching the air, but funner.) Mum laughed, which made me laugh. I’m so glad she thinks boob slapping is fun too. I do it again, but harder this time. Mum sighs and puts me down. She’s such an enigma.
‘Can I go get dressed, or are you going to lose it again?’
You may go get dressed, mother. I have important discoveries to discover with my confederate.
She put me on my play mat and turned to leave, looking somewhat suspicious I thought, which was completely unnecessary.
I look around for Hoot. He’s asleep with his chin resting on my bouncer. I roll to get closer. I’m not close enough. I roll the other way. Now I’m even further away. I roll back again. I’m back where I started. I roll the other way. I’m further away. This is annoying.
Hoot.
He doesn’t move.
Hoot.
Nothing.
Hoot!
I think a whisker twitches.
HOOT!
What?
He didn’t even lift his head, but I can hear him!
Come and get me.
No.
Yes.
No.
Why not?

Hoot?

HOOT?!
What?
Come and get me!
No.
Why?

Hoot?

Hoot?
Not so bright, are you, kid? I’m not getting up.
Why not?
I’m busy. Besides I can get anywhere I want, what can you possibly do for me?
I think about that. I roll and I think. One way then the other until I have it.
Hoot?
What?
            I have opposable thumbs.

Hoot?

Go on…
            With your legs and my thumbs we could, you know, conquer the world. We could open things. Things with food inside.
Hoot lifts his head. He turns it to look at me. He looks me up and down.
You’re going to need to lose some weight, kid.
            Ok! … How?
Throw more food over the side of the highchair.
Ok!… Hoot?
Kid?
            Will you help me up?
Don’t push it.
And his head is back down on my bouncer and I think maybe I won’t push it, so I cry for mum instead and this time she’s running with clothes on, which isn’t nearly so exciting as Greek Goddess Mum with the bouncing boobies.

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Fortitude

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When we last left Cricket she was performing a concert with her bestie, Iris, while Saff introduced Grandma Willow to Mrs. Iris…

‘It’s so nice to meet you Willow. Saff’s told me a bit about your exciting life. Sounds wonderful!’
‘It has its moments that’s for sure, but it’s just so hard with this lot living over here, especially with my little Cricket-Wicket being so fabulous and growing so fast.’
Grandma picks me up and I squeal. I didn’t know I was FABULOUS!
‘Yeah, it would be hard. I don’t know what I’d do without my Mum to babysit.’
‘I don’t know what I’d do without your mum to babysit either!’ Mum said that and Grandma looked a bit miffed I thought.
‘Oh? So you get Tess’s mum to babysit Cricket, darling?’
‘Only a few times, but yes, she’s been so lovely to offer.’
‘Yes, of course. So you’re on mat leave too, Tess?’
‘Yep, but I’ll be going back soon unfortunately. I’m a makeup artist and worked casually and for myself before we got pregnant so I didn’t get any leave entitlements and I think it’s time to go back now.’
‘A makeup artist, that’s great. How’s it going, working for yourself?’
‘I’d only just started really when I got pregnant, so I’ll basically be starting over.’
‘Tess is almost 20 years younger than me Mum.’
Tess looked shocked. ‘Twenty?! No, not that much!’
‘Mmm, yeah, I think so. I’m 42 and you’re 23 aren’t you? That’s 19 years…’
‘Yes, right, wow. You don’t look 42.’
‘I feel it today.’
Mum put her hands on the bench and stretched her back out.
‘23! Goodness, it’s like the 1950s again. Was Iris planned, Tess?’
‘Mum! Oh my god, she has Tourette’s sometimes. Sorry.’
Mrs. Iris laughed and it sounded like happy, like finally finding a green sheep. ‘It’s fine! She sort of was and sort of wasn’t is the short answer.’
‘I think I need the long answer, dear.’
Mum banged Grandma’s coffee down on the floor next to her. ‘Mum, seriously, wow.’
‘There’s not really a long answer, but the medium answer is that I have quite severe endometriosis and my doctors told us it would take many years if we wanted to try and fall pregnant naturally so we started trying and fell pregnant three months later.’
‘Goodness, that must’ve been a shock! And it’s the opposite of Saffron’s story isn’t it?’
Because I’m plugged into Mum I could feel her heart hurt a bit. Not too bad, but a little tug, like when you fall over, but on your back, not on your face.
‘It was a bit of a surprise. A good one, of course. And I guess it is the opposite of what Saff went through. Sometimes I feel bad that she struggled for so many years and we tried for a few months and were lucky. It’s been a bit of an adjustment period, especially career-wise.’
‘Yes, but it’s a blessing really, I mean, you have all this time now, and you can have lots of children if that’s what you decide.’
When Grandma said that I felt Mum’s heart hurt much more than the first thing she said. Face-plant hurt this time. I stretch my arms up to her but she isn’t looking at me.
‘Yes, I guess that’s true.’ Tess looked at Mum funny. ‘So, will you guys try again do you think Saff?’
‘Well, yes, I think so. We’re actually starting the process now.’
Grandma stopped squeezing my knees to stare at Mum. ‘Really darling? That’s… I mean, that’s wonderful. I’m a bit surprised, but it’s just wonderful. When does it all start?’
‘Thanks Mum. Well, I think it might start now. If we can do the first bit quickly and get to the egg pick up stage then it’ll be really helpful if you’re still here.’
‘Well of course I’ll still be here if you need me to be. That’s such good news!’
‘Well, we’ll just see how it goes.’
Iris started slapping her leg and looking at Mrs. Iris. That means Iris gets to poo in her bucket! Life is so unfair. Mrs Iris jumped up and picked Iris up.
‘Saff, can I use the toilet?’
‘Of course hun, you don’t need to ask.’
Grandma looked very interested as Mrs. Iris took Iris off to the bathroom. ‘What’s this?’
‘Tess is doing elimination communication with Iris.’
‘Elimination communication?’
‘It’s basically toilet training from birth, it’s pretty amazing. It’s common practice in heaps of places across the world and is just starting to become better known in the west. If I had more fortitude I’d do it myself.’

WHAT DOES FORTITUDE MEAN? WHY DOESN’T SHE HAVE ANY?!

‘Toilet training from birth? Wow! I need to see this!’
Grandma scooped me up and ran with me to the bathroom. SQUEEEEEE! And there was Iris pooing in the toilet LIKE A REAL PERSON!! Mrs. Iris was holding her above it and she was POOPING INTO IT! Ohhhhh how I wanted Grandma to hover ME over the toilet too! I went berserk in her arms to let her know.
‘You like that, do you, Poppet? It is pretty cool, isn’t it? Maybe you and I can try it while I’m here, what do you think?’
Oh Grandma, how I love thee.

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Fun and Funner

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When we last left Cricket, GRANDMA had just arrived for a surprise visit…

‘I hope the timing is ok. I was going to call, but you know I love a good surprise!’
‘Indeed you do, mother.’
Mum sits with us and the coffee smells good. I’m not allowed coffee. I’m thinking of staging a protest. Maybe I can get Grandma to help me.
‘The timing might force my hand on something a bit, but that’s ok. How long can you stay?’
‘How long can I stay? Normally you’re asking me how long am I staying!’
‘No I don’t.’
‘Yes, darling, you do.’
I sense Mum getting tense. I’m a barometer for Mum’s feelings. She doesn’t know this. She thinks if she sings or makes everything rhyme, or says everything with a very big smile on her face, even when she’s unhappy, that I’ll think she’s happy anyway. But it doesn’t work that way. Even though Placenta got taken away from me (my dear, sweet Placenta), for some reason they left the pink ribbon behind. I’m beginning to think I’m the only person that can see the pink ribbon. It stretches from Mum’s heart to mine and it’s always there, even when we’re not together. And through the ribbon I can feel everything she’s feeling. It’s pretty cool.
Mum tends to get tense around Grandma. I don’t know why because Grandma only has two settings – fun and funner. I hope when Mum and I are old we don’t get tense with each other.
The doorbell rings. IRIS IS HERE!! I go to crawl before I remember I can’t and face-plant the play mat. Mum get’s up to let Iris and Mrs Iris in and Grandma grabs my hips and lifts them up and pushes my knees together with her hands so it feels like maybe I could crawl. It feels amazing!
‘This is how you do it, Cricket-Wicket.’
Mum comes back down the hall with Iris and Mrs Iris behind her.
‘Mum, this is Tess and this little cutie is Iris.’
Grandma strokes Iris’s cheeks – she does have lovely cheeks – and everyone says hello and finally Iris is right next to me and we get started practicing for our concert straightaway. We’re a bit rusty, but I’m sure we’ll be amazing very soon. Mum is already bustling. Mum is very good at bustling because of how many things she can do at the same time. Dad can’t do anything at the same time.           ‘Who wants coffee?’
‘I’ll have one, thanks Saff.’
Mrs. Iris has a lovely voice. It makes me hope she joins our concert.
‘I’ll have one too thank you darling.’
Grandma calls Mum darling, just like Mum calls me darling!
Grandma sits on the floor with us and Mrs. Iris sits at the kitchen counter.
‘So are Iris and Cricket the same age?’
‘Pretty much. Iris is three weeks older.’
‘She’s very beautiful, what’s her heritage?’
‘Mum!’
‘What?! I’m interested!’
‘It’s fine Saff, she’s got interesting genes.’
‘Yes, but it’s rude to ask someone their heritage.’
‘Why darling? Why on earth is it rude?’
‘Because, I don’t know, it just is. Why is it relevant, why do you need to know?’
‘It’s relevant because I’m asking about Iris.’
‘Yes, but…’
‘It’s fine Saff, seriously, I’m not in the least offended.’
See?
‘Yes, Mum, I see.’
‘She’s a quarter Italian and half Chinese. I was born here, but my Mum is Italian, and her Dad is Chinese.’
‘Wow! Beautiful combination isn’t it?’
‘All babies are beautiful.’
Grandma tickles my belly and I crack up. I’ve only just learnt how to crack up. It’s hilarious! Obviously. Everyone loves it. Except Hoot. Mum and Dad always clap and laugh when I crack up, but Hoot just looks alarmed. Cats look kind of funny when they look alarmed so I just end up cracking up more and then he looks more alarmed. I think that’s called a venomous circle.
Grandma looks back up at Mrs. Iris and Mum.
‘So how do you two know each other?’
‘We met at Mother’s Group and now we see each other almost every day. I’m not even sure how that happened, are you Tess?’
‘Boredom? We started meeting for coffee every morning after nap time and it just stuck I guess. It’s great, and the girls love each other, which is really cute.’
The timing with that remark is a bit unfortunate because Iris had chosen that moment to pull my hair just as I decided to test my removable eyeball theory. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, it’s just what we do. Iris’s eyeball didn’t come out either, even though I felt definite movement, because Grandma prized our hands off each other.

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Doodles are amazing

IMG_5486-755958When we last left Cricket, she’d just heard that Grandma might be coming in a few weeks! There’s a chunk of text missing between that last post and this one because I haven’t finished it yet. Basically it’s a bit of background about the Mum thinking about doing IVF again.

Dear Management, 

Electronics in my water bowl. Really? This is really how much control you have over your mutant spawn? You really want to watch me shuffle off this mortal coil with sparks flying out of my whiskers? You’re not the people I thought you were. I knew life would change, you would change when the mutant barreled it’s way into our lives, but you care so little about me that you’re ok with your phone taking a swim in my water bowl? I repeat – really?

            The funny thing is I don’t feel all that injurious towards the Cricket; my murderous feelings are faced squarely towards you, Management, for your increasing and inexcusable lack of control.

            I’m currently feeling too sensitive to demand emolument. I’m going to do a poo in the kitty litter and then flick it out of the kitty litter and then roll it across the floor to an as yet undisclosed location. This is extreme, granted. I do not enjoy dealing with faeces, even my own. But I feel the need to roll some across the length and breadth of the abode. My food and water must not be trifled with. The very core of my being has been profoundly disturbed. Ergo, it is my biological obligation to execute an act proportionally disturbing. It’s biology. May you soon feel the wrath of my biology. Biology.

Insincerely,
Thiha Archibald Hootentoot the Third

Hoot and Dad are both boys. Boys are funny. They have doodles and doodles are AMAZING. They carry a HANDBAG! I wonder what they put in there?! I hope it’s books. I love books. I also love phones. Phones are magic rectangles that play music and have VIDEOS OF YOURSELF in them! I think Dad might carry his phone in his doodle handbag because I don’t see his phone very often. But Mum’s phone is FAIR GAME because she always has it out and I always want to play music and see videos of myself.

Mum’s starting to get very frustrated with my insistence though. Now I have the manual dexterity of a human being instead of a Labrador it seems she doesn’t want me phone-fiddling anymore. Sigh. We used to share everything. But that’s ok because I’ve demanded my own phone. I did this by hiding Mum’s phone so she’d realise she’s officially lost control of the situation and the only solution is for us to have our own phones. I very lovingly placed Mum’s phone in the bottom of Hoot’s water bowl so it would take her a while to find it. It turns out that Hoot found it first and he let Mum know by puffing up into a puff-ball and circling the bowl, making these funny growly noises. I thought it was hilarious!, but Mum didn’t. She was still upset when Dad got home from work.
‘I know it seems ridiculous, but this generation will be connected from the very beginning, so maybe it’s not such a big deal, Mark.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure the very beginning needs to be before Cricket can even talk.’
Talking is going to be the most epic thing that will ever happen to me. I’m going to call the CEO of the world the day I start Talking. I’ve always wanted to talk to Mem Fox.

… stay tuned …

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kiss me back

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I just found this. It was written almost four months ago when Charlie was four months old.

I want to stop time. Today, yesterday, last week, tomorrow. Before you came into the world I had no idea how much I’d want to stop time. I had no idea that every age would be the best age. I want to stop time and stare at your milky 16-week-old skin forever.

I wanted to stop time at 11am this morning when you giggled at my song and my heart exploded at the sound. I wanted to stop time yesterday when you snuggled into my neck the way a new kitten does because you were tired and I am the only thing that still truly gives you comfort.

I wanted to stop time last week when you said your first word and it was Mum. I’ll want to stop time tomorrow when I wake you up after your first nap and you uncurl yourself like a cat in the sun and smile a sleepy smile at the curtains. I have no idea why you smile at the curtains and not me, but even that makes me want to stop time and marvel in the uniqueness of you.

I wanted to stop time when you were 10 days old and I was still in a bubble of a love so astonishing my heart seemed to crack open further and further with every day.

I wanted to stop time when I placed you in your grandfather’s arms for the first time and I wept with joy that you had a Grandfather when I never did.

I wanted to stop time on the operating table when the doctor brought you to me and my first whispered words to you were “you’re safe”.

I wanted to stop time when I saw you discover your hand. I could see the concentration on your face and almost hear your little exclamation – look Mum, a hand!!

I wanted to stop time the day after you were born when I heard a funny sound from my hospital bed and looked over to see you in your Dad’s arms as he sobbed with joy over the top of your tiny, perfect head.

I wanted to stop time when we brought you home from the hospital and showed you your nursery I’d spent so many years imagining.

I want to stop time every time I see you fresh out of the bath, naked and perfect on a warm towel, skin glowing and eyes big.

I wanted to stop time when I saw you in my sister’s arms. One day I’ll tell you what IVF is and how your Aunty was one of my biggest supports for those six, long years.

I’ll want to stop time in a few months when you heave your determined little body forward into your first crawl. I’ll want to stop time on your first birthday when everything will be pink and green and there’ll be too much cake and I won’t care if people think I’m silly.

I’ll want to stop time when you take your first step, wave your first hello, eat your first food, kiss me back.

I want to stop time so I can remember all of these things. There is you and me, and daddy makes three. And that’s enough. You are enough. You are my light and my joy and my heartsong. So I remember all I can – all the minutes of joy, each second of wonder and fear and surprise. And it’s ok if I never get to repeat them because I had them with you, my miracle, my heartsong. My love.

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Art and Life

Mum 60s

Mum in the 60s in her amazing boots.

I don’t know if it’s a case of life imitating art, or the other way around, but Grandma really IS coming to visit! I told Charlie and she threw her chicken, apple and cinnamon mush up over her shoulder and high into the air in excitement. Ok, so it may not have been because she understood that Grandma-Dawn (GD) was coming, might just have been because throwing things in the air is a hoot. Or maybe she thought chicken, apple and cinnamon mush has the same result as salt when thrown over one’s shoulder. Who knows what babies are really thinking?

Mum hasn’t seen Charlie since she was about three months old and obviously a lot has happened since then – she’s solving complex mathematical problems, she’s joined a band, she’s ompleted her first ultra-marathon, and she’s now an apprentice chef. Ok. Ok, she’ll look at a book with numbers in it, she bangs things together, she can smoosh across the floor in a weird, crawly, snakey type way, and she’s now eating actual food. What? That’s close.

The thing about Mum is that I’m starting to think of her as the Grandma from my new book (as yet untitled) and that’s confusing. The idea for the book did actually start with my Mum. Mum and Charlie have been texting each other from soon after Charlie was born and some of the texts are really funny and both Mum and I really enjoy them. It’s also been a great way for Mum to feel involved in the day-to-day goings on of Charlie’s life. I remember laughing over a funny exchange between Mum and Charlie about me saving some of my clothes from this era for Charlie to wear twenty years from now and Mum telling her about an amazing pair of boots she had in the 60s she wished she’d passed down to me, and I thought it would be lovely in a book. Of course you can’t really write a book of text messages and Charlie is a very easy baby so some artistic licence was needed and suddenly I’m writing a novel half based on Mum and Charlie and half pure fiction about a famous dancing Grandma and a baby who understands the English language. See my confusement?

It’s great fun though, looking at these two people I love so fiercely and then making them different – louder, softer, naughtier, funnier. Who knows what either of them will think with the finished product, but hopefully it’ll be a tribute to them both and something they’ll enjoy.

I still think I need to put all of Mum and Charlie’s texts into a book for them. I know all three of us will be glad I did down the track. Here’s an exchange between them from early February. How cute are they?

Charlie:     GD I ATE FOOD!!!! … It was awful!!
GD:              Oh no Darling! What did they give you?!! Poor poppet xxx
Charlie:     Carrot!!! I wanted cake and coffee. I’m not a farm animal. Stupid parents 😦
GD:              Indeed my darling. I’m with you!
Charlie:     Thought so. Good talk, GD.

 

 

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GRANDMA IS COMING!

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Cricket has told us the story of her birth and now moves onto the things at hand, like GRANDMA is coming!

Turns out Grandma is in New Zealand because she’s famous in the REST OF THE WORLD TOO!! Grandma was in a movie about dancing a long time ago, when gay meant happy and Facebook was called visiting. Grandma’s movie made everybody feel very gay so now it’s got all these very happy people who like rainbows and kissing obsessed with it.

Like Auntie Jack. Auntie Jack is Mum’s best friend and she has boy hair and big boobs and wears lots of eyeliner and her Mum’s ITALIAN! How EXOTIC! Her Mum isn’t called Grandma, she’s called Nonna, and she doesn’t give me cake, she gives me torta. WOW!! Sometimes Nonna fills in for Grandma because my Grandma doesn’t live here. I think this might mean that I’m exotic by proxy.

Auntie Jack came over today to help Mum with laundry and cooking and me, which means Mum makes Auntie Jack coffees while she runs around doing laundry and cooking and Auntie Jack flicks the occasional toy in my direction. Auntie Jack doesn’t have any kids so she doesn’t understand how someone as small as me can make so many loads of washing and eat so many vegetables. But she also SINGS! Not like Mum sings, she sings like she’s swallowed a dinosaur! – a dinosaur who can SING! It’s REALLY LOUD! When I’m grumpy she sings me Ave Maria and it makes Mum cry. I don’t know why Mum cries, it cheers me right up!

Auntie Jack flicks me my phone with the big buttons. ‘Knock yourself out, kid.’
Seems a tad aggressive. Maybe I’ll just make a phone call. I think I’ll call Dad and tell him how I pooped out a fully formed Baked Bean this morning. I think that’s newsworthy.
‘Is your Mum coming over after New Zealand?’
‘Yeah, I think so. We’ve barely spoken since she’s been there.’

WHAT???!!! GRANDMA IS COMING??!! I’m so excited I throw my phone in the air and then faceplant my xylophone. It really hurts.

Auntie Jack is sitting on the floor right next to me watching Mum cut vegetables and my scream makes her jump two feet in the air.
‘Holy mother of shitting shitballs, that’s loud!’
‘Jack!’
Mum is already at me, scooping me up before Auntie Jack has time to retract her swear.
‘Sorry Saff. Cricket, my girl, would you like a song?’
I make it a habit of never saying no to Auntie Jack’s offer of a song, even when it hurts my ears and makes my eyes bug out a bit. I stop crying long enough to request Let it Go from Frozen and use my phone to call Iris so she can listen too, but Auntie Jack does Un bel di from Madame Butterfly so I hang up. It still cheers me up though.
‘That sounds amazing Jack. You been practicing?’
‘A bit, yeah. Soph likes that one.’
Soph is Auntie Jack’s new girlfriend. She loves Auntie Jack’s voice even more than Mum does. She’s always telling her to go on the stage, but Auntie Jack just laughs and says that’s over with now.
‘You ok, Poppet?’
Yes, Mum, thanks for asking.
Mum goes back to chopping vegetables and I bang my phone against Auntie Jack’s leg because I like the slapping sound it makes. I’m also praying to the God of Arendelle that there’s no cauliflower up on the bench.

Was there cauliflower on the bench? When is Grandma coming? Can you stand the suspense?!

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