I used to be cool.

Ok, who am I kidding? I have never been cool. I’m a bona fide nerd and I have come to terms with that a long time ago.

So maybe not cool. But at least current. I was current. Since becoming a mother all that has gone out the window. 

1) I only know what day it is because my week revolves around my daughter’s schedule. Yes, she’s just 7 months old and she has a schedule: ‘Read With Me’ class, children’s theatre shows, baby swimming lessons, paediatrician appointments, vaccines and ‘Well Baby’ clinic appointments. Not so long ago my schedule involved day shifts, knowing the other nurses’ rotas, sorting out the overtime rotas and ordering supplies and medicines for our ward. 

2) I used to perform stand-up comedy regularly. At the moment, a gig is absolutely out of the question. My daughter is very clingy, we can hardly leave her with anyone. I have considered taking her with me as the offers to perform keep coming in but most gigs happen rather late at night in bars, so for now it’s a no-no. Even though I do sometimes think my child is a bit like a little drunk person: she babbles, she’s rather unsteady in her movements, drinks from a bottle, gropes random people’s breasts, has no issues wetting herself and eventually passes out wherever she happens to be sitting.

3) I used to watch a lot of local theatre. Since I also act, I enjoy seeing my actor friends in other performances. I caught some wonderful shows. Then my friends and I would go out and get some wine and discuss what we just saw. It was quite a lark, really. Now I watch children’s theatre, which has its merits. The last show I took my daughter to involved a picnic blanket coming to life. She did not like that at all. She shouted until it left the stage, and this blanket person had quite a significant role in this play, so she shouted for a good twenty minutes. To be fair, I found the live picnic blanket slightly disturbing. It looked as though someone rolled up a murder victim in a carpet and when it moved, it was clear that the deed wasn’t done properly. 

4) I used to watch thought-provoking television shows and movies. I love documentaries and docudramas. Now I watch Sesame Street. A lot. It’s fine, I love Sesame Street. I love how much my daughter loves Sesame Street. The sketches are pretty funny. The one where Ernie dances himself to sleep with the aid of tap-dancing sheep and they end up carrying Bert out of the apartment…that’s comedy gold.

5) I had cool hair. My hair was fire engine red. It was bright, you could spot me in a crowd. During pregnancy I was advised not to dye it so often so I went back to my natural colour, which is a dark reddish brown and I have not dyed it since. I simply can’t spend hours at the salon anymore. I remember I used to go get it done very frequently, whether to dye it or straighten it …now I haven’t even bothered to get it trimmed in months. But it’s ok. Split ends have character. In a way, they suit me.

Shut-up. Let me live this lie.

6) My clothes. I love my clothes. I can’t wear most of them because I can’t breastfeed in them. I plan on stopping soon. I say it’s because the baby is getting too big and it’s starting to look weird, but really it’s the clothes. I look at my daughter while feeding her and tell her ‘enjoy that kid, your days are numbered.’ In all honesty, I’ve been saying this for a while. And at this point, the baby wrecks most of my clothes by chewing on the necklines and sucking on my shoulders, so wearing nice things is not exactly the greatest idea in the world. Nowadays if it’s clean and has clear boob access, I wear it.

7) I love perfume. Dior, Issey Miyake, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo…I would wear a different scent according to my mood. Now I smell of cerelac. All the time. Even after a shower. I smell cerelac. 

8) I used to love fancy restaurants. Tiny portions of nouvelle cuisine, bites of deliciousness in a quiet setting, drinking wine with my husband and making hushed plans between courses. Now when we make a reservation I ask if the place accepts children and if they’ve got a high chair. A couple of weeks ago I was at a food court and I wanted to eat lunch uninterrupted, so I brought out my iPad and put on Sesame Street for my tiny one. She was happy as a pig in shit (or perhaps an infant in cerelac) and I could eat some sushi in peace. Do you know how hard it is to operate chopsticks with a seven month old squirming in your lap? Within seconds your kid will become a tataki roll. An old lady passed by and passed a judgmental comment about my iPad at the table. I wanted to impale her with a chopstick. It was Sesame Street. Just imagine if I had broke out the porn collection….I wouldn’t have even been able to give it an educational spiel with a ‘that’s how you were made’ as she was conceived through ivf. 

(For the record, I don’t have a porn collection, before anyone calls child protective services on me).

So no. I’m no longer cool or current. My idea of a great song is ‘SkinnaMarink’ and news to me consists of whether Heinz have released a new flavour of baby porridge. 

But it’s fine. 

Because: priorities.

 I have a happy and healthy kid and that’s all down to me. 

And that makes me happy. And my heart is full. 

  

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Things I didn’t have an opinion about until I had a kid.

There are some things you just don’t have an opinion about until the situation is thrown at you… and hits you in the face… and fractures your nose. Here are a few:

1) I sometimes pump out my breastmilk, or express if you please. Lately I have noticed that my pump machine is a little loud. And it actually sounds a lot like a cow. A distressed cow. It kind of goes ‘MOOOOOOOWWWRRRRR! MMMMMMMOOOOOOOO!’. 

2) Not all nappies are alike. Some leak. I tried a brand that some of my friends raved about and ended up with a code brown at the dinner table. I thought ‘what awful nappies’. But I was wrong. Just like different brands of jeans, some fit perfectly and some not so great. That brand of nappies simply were not suited to the shape of my child’s rear end. Now that I’ve figured that out, all is fine.

3) it is possible to carry many household chores with one arm, since I’m often carrying the baby. I can wash and dry dishes, do laundry, make beds…

4) going out for a walk with a pram is more tumultuous than you might think. Selfish people who park their cars in front of ramps, people wanting to touch the baby….

5) The songs I knew as a kid simply don’t cut it anymore. No ‘ring a ring of roses’ or ‘if you’re happy and you know it’. Now it’s all ‘five little speckled frogs’ and ‘elephants have wrinkles’ and ‘baby shark’.

6) However, the most stupid, ridiculous modern kid song has to be ‘Johnny, Johnny.’ 

If I lied to my dad I don’t think I’d be going ‘Hahaha’.

7) I don’t know about other parents, but when I’m at my daughter’s swim lessons or reading class I think ‘my child is the most beautiful one here’ or ‘my child is the smartest’. And then she tries to breastfeed off my nose and I’m brought back down to earth.

Having a baby has turned my world upside down and now I see everything differently. 

I’m not complaining 🙂 

Random crap from random people.

The following is a list of random crap from complete strangers that has been inflicted on my daughter and ultimately myself in the past five months she has been on this earth.

1) person in line at the grocer: ‘your baby is so cute!’

Me: thank-you.

Person: ‘but really cute!’

Me: thank-you.

Person: ‘let me kiss her!’ *puckers up lips*

Me: ‘I’d rather you didn’t.’

Person: ‘really!?!’ *lips still puckered*

Me: ‘yes, really.’

Person: *puckered lips turn to muttering*…I think I heard the word ‘bitch’ somewhere.

2) an old man stuffed his head in her pram and screamed in her face ‘NICE GIRLY! BEAUTIFUL GIRLY! CUTE GIRLY!’ My daughter cried in terror and I had to yank the buggy away. I was a little terrified myself.

3) an old lady saw my baby and said ‘how beautiful, God bless.’ I said thank-you and kept walking. The old lady started to follow me, demanding to know her name and how old she was and where exactly did we live. I ended up taking a side street completely out of our way to get rid of her.

4) I met a couple of old friends in the street and with them was someone I did not know. She exclaimed ‘her face is gorgeous!’ and she proceeded to carress my child’s face repeatedly. I wanted to rip off her hand and beat her senseless with it.

5) I was sitting down, minding my own business when a lady came up to me and asked if she could take my daughter’s picture.

NO.

6) I was about to breastfeed in a completely empty, rather large food court when a man came in and decided to sit directly opposite me, in spite of the fact that there were at least 60 empty tables.

Whenever I take out my daughter for a walk on my own, I feel so incredibly vulnerable. I hold the pushchair so tightly that my knuckles go white. When people I don’t know approach us, my heart beats a little faster and I begin to pray that nobody puts their grubby paws on my baby. I’m going to design a pamphlet on etiquette when approaching a new mum.

It will only be one page long with only one important sentence :

GO AWAY.

Sigh.

  

The dividing line

My baby is 4 months old now. She grabs at things, is very vocal, smiles a lot, laughs loads and is developing a mind of her own. Physically, she is really tall for her age and has super strong legs. She is beautiful and I absolutely adore her. I spend every waking moment looking after her, making sure she is safe and healthy and that I am meeting all her needs.

Nowadays, there is so much around for kids to do: messy play classes, sensory play, swimming for infants, read with me classes- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I get to know about what’s available through Facebook groups dedicated to mothers, of which there are plenty. They are so helpful and full of great advice. There is so much information available now too. For example, I could not get my child to stay in a baby sling…there is actually a Facebook page dedicated to baby wearing and after joining, I was able to get my kid to not only stay in the sling, but to love it!

The funny thing is that motherhood is a bit of a club. Almost like a secret club, because unless you actually have a kid, you can’t possibly fathom what it’s like. Now, I know that’s a little cliché, but it’s honestly true. Childless people think they know, but they really don’t and I can say this with conviction because I was one of those who thought they knew but really didn’t. Those first 24 hours postpartum is like the initiation into the club. When the realization dawns on you that this thing you have just ejected from your body is here to stay and you will never be the same again. Along with the birth of the baby is the birth of the mother, because in a heartbeat she has become a whole new person: new body, new mind set, new responsibilities. And nobody understands this better than someone else who has been through it: hence, the mommy club.

When mothers happen to be gathered in a room together, the conversation will always turn to their kids. Educated women who are well-read, have post-tertiary diplomas, women who have experienced what the world has to offer will always end up talking about their offspring. Why, you ask? Two reasons: they may not be working and spend their whole day watching cbeebies and singing baby shark or it’s because they find their child to be the most fascinating thing on earth. When I was childless and people would talk to me about their kids I’d be all ‘oh yeah? That’s great…’ but now I say ‘oh yeah! That’s great! Mine too!’ All because now I am part of the club. 

And the club is kind of necessary. 

When I was childless, I lived a very full life. I would go to creative writing workshops, plays,  stay out late, did marathon training, joined a fitness class…I was constantly meeting new and like-minded people, people who shared my interests. 

At the time I didn’t know it, but it was a kind of club too. 

I was so longing to be part of the mommy club that I didn’t realize that I had belonged to the wild and free club, which is pretty special. And fun. 

The thing is, the two clubs are mutually exclusive. With a small baby there are just too many things that are impossible to do. Late nights, drinking…forget about it. So in order to not be totally isolated, you gravitate towards others who are in your situation: not working or on reduced hours, breastfeeding so teetotal and prefer daytime activities. 

To get one thing straight: good friends will always be good friends, no matter how different your paths may be. But the friends who are in the wild and free club will see a lot less of those in the mommy club.

And even though I am an extremely happy member of the mommy club, the old flame of the wild and free club still flickers, albeit dimly. And even though right now I’m on hiatus, I don’t think I have quit completely…I’m just more of a modified member now.

    
 

I worked out again after pregnancy

So after a year of not working out, I went back to my pre-pregnancy hardcore routine. And boy was I rusty. During pregnancy I went for daily walks and joined a Pilates class, which is great but nothing comes close to the workouts I did before.

Firstly, I must say that the coach was very understanding of my situation and did not push me too hard. But I was very determined to complete the hour to the best of my ability.

1. Working out felt very strange. My body is just so different now. First of all I weigh less postpartum, about 7kg less. Also, I have loose skin where my pregnant belly once was. I rarely have an opportunity to look in a full length mirror, but the gym is surrounded by them and I see that physically I’m a whole different person.

2. I am still breastfeeding so I am very paranoid that I will leave a river after every push-up. I wear breast pads which end up looking like tiny mattresses when I’m done, saturated with sweat and milk, which is a pretty disgusting combo. Also, my chest is now VERY sizeable and when I do a jumping jack I am very aware that the breasticles are doing them too.

3. I had a second degree tear during childbirth which is now completely healed. That being said, when I sweat and do certain exercises, I become very conscious of my perineum. My perineum used to just be there, never used to think about it. Until now. When I do a squat I can almost hear a little voice going ‘hi! I’m here! That little piece of skin between your vagina and anus that got savagely torn while pushing out your offspring! Ha ha, you will never forget me ever again! Does it burn a little? Goooooooood.’

4. My baby is 3 months old, so I operate on very little sleep. During a circuit I told my friend ‘I think I’m dying just a little…’

5. She is also a whopping 6kg and tall. I don’t always carry her properly so my sciatica is acting up. Not fun.

I only go once a week for now, until I rebuild my strength. And I am very careful not to overdo it. Thank goodness I don’t have Diastasis Recti. I have had every postpartum complication in the book, but not that one so working out is quite safe.

Do I always feel like going? No, not really, especially when the little one has a midnight meltdown and tries to remedy it with cluster feeding. But I always feel great after I go. Firstly, because it is something I do for me without my infant present. Secondly, it makes me feel a little like my old self, my pre-pregnancy self who sometimes seems so far away.

But thirdly, I do it for her. For my child, because I want her to have a fit and healthy mum. I want to be able to run after her and roll on the ground with her and be a good example of how important and fun physical activity can be.

So yes, maybe every week I die a little…but it is so that I can live a lot.

My Darling.

So now you’re here

I’m pregnant no more

I haven’t slept in ages

And my nipples are sore.

Labour was nasty

The epidural was great

The midwife said you’d come at 4am

You were five minutes late.

That fateful morning

At the ungodly hour of four o five

I felt like a zombie,

You were very much alive.

And thank goodness for that

I sighed with relief,

Then they had to stitch me up

So the elation was brief.

They took 90 minutes.

The tear was pretty bad.

But in that time

You really bonded with dad.

And life will never be the same

I have stretch marks all over my tum

And I wonder how does so much poop

Come out of such a little bum?

My hobbies have changed

I used to run and box and cook to impress

And now I change diapers and

Figure out how to wash shit off a dress.

I used to discuss current events

And have opinions too

But now I sing nursery rhymes

And play peek-a-boo.

But do you know what?

I don’t miss a thing.

Because your laugh and smile

Make my heart sing.

I love you so much,

It makes my brain swirl,

My most wonderful gift,

My darling girl.

Somewhere over the rainbow: on the demise of Genny the cat.

On the 23rd of April we had to put our wonderful cat Genny to sleep.

It was very sad. She was such a lovely animal. As usual, I am pressed for time, so this will be a short one.

1. I got Genny from a sanctuary, a few days after we got back from honeymoon. There were 100s of cats, and there were a bunch sitting on a table and I told them ‘which of you should I take home?’ and this little calico reaches out her paw and pokes me! I stretched out my arms and she jumped in, so that was my mind made up!

2. She fit right in with Luigi and I. Almost like she was born to be with us. One night she came to the door of our bedroom and gave us the most needy of looks and I thought ‘what’s the harm in letting her sleep in our bed just once?’ Ha ha. Hahahaha. We never slept comfortably again. She got so heavy that she gave Luigi sciatica and she would constantly stuff her nose in my ear and grunt and purr. I used to call them her cat secrets.

3. She was such a comfort during pregnancy. I get the feeling that she knew I was pregnant before I did. She never left my side, even when vomiting.

4. One time she ran out into the yard and climbed a tree and Luigi had to climb up a ladder to get her. I was so relieved that he got her back but at the same time so angry that she scared me like that. I scolded her ‘hmmph! I should have let you run away!’ But of course, I did not mean it at all.

5. She recently began wheezing and having trouble breathing, to cut a long story short, X-rays showed tumors in her lungs. She deteriorated rapidly and we had to let her cross the rainbow bridge.

Oh darling Genny. There’s a part of me that likes to imagine you eating a big piece of salmon with Elsa and Nero somewhere better than this world. You aren’t suffering anymore and that’s what counts.

You were loved very much.

Rest in peace my furry friend.