Friday, 30 November 2007

Christmas Trees and Angels Gone Awry...

Every time Berry successfully hung an ornament on a branch, she did a special jumping dance with her arms in the air and sang "I did it!" (which actually comes out as "Uh dii-it", but we know what she means).

We lost two ornaments to her enthusiasm, but undiluted joy is worth some broken wings, no?

The lone low-point of the night came when Nathan tried to get Berry to help him put the "angel" on top of the tree. His family has been using this thing as a tree-topper since he was a kid, and I call it the Feral-Rabbit-Angel. If that doesn't give you a clue as to its unloveliness, let me elaborate: it's a ceramic hare with a rather leery, disturbing face, dressed in long white and red velvet angel robes. It's all wrong.

Berry took one look at it and her face crumpled. She did no-no-no hands and came running to me and clung to my neck for a long time, sobbing. It was very sad.

If I can climb up on a chair (that is an "if", these days) I'll try to get a photo of it up there. You'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Whinge whinge whinge...

Please raise your hand if you think there should be an easier way to get a baby than nine months of pregnancy.

Thank you.

(All men must raise their hands unless they wish to be beaten soundly by the women around them. Again: thank you.)

It's only 15 weeks and already I'm heartily sick of feeling sick, and food tasting weird, and having a sore back (it happens even before you get big), and having crazy dreams, and sudden bizarre shooting pains, and not being able to get comfy in bed at night (which again, happens even before you get big).

I hate being awake at 3am. I hate maternity clothes with something approaching a passion (I have to feel bad and look unfortunate too? How amusing!). I miss going for runs. I miss wearing pretty things. I miss being nimble – now there's a word that's not used enough. I miss sushi and shrimp and Pinot Grigio, and the occasional diet Dr Pepper.

I miss things that smell nice, because everything smells weird to me, even now that I'm out of the first trimester. I can't tolerate the smell of cologne, moisturiser, lip balm, perfume, air freshener, furniture polish, exhaust fumes, scented candles, incense, dryer sheets, shampoo, face cream, cleanser, shea butter or shaving cream. So showers are fraught with danger – I hold my breath as much as I can. It's a weird little life I'm living here.

I know a lot of women have more trouble – all kinds of trouble. I even know that when I was pregnant with Berry I had a tougher time than this; complications upon complications. Still doesn't make me feel very merry.

But one last thing: I wrote this post, up to here, miserable with sleeplessness at 3 o'clock this morning. At 10am I went to the doctor, and I heard the baby's heartbeat again. Just a few seconds of fluttery little-bird heartbeat – but in that instant all was forgiven.

I won't promise not to whinge anymore (my sister, my mum, my best friend and I all agree that a good whinge is deeply therapeutic) but I have promised myself that I'll remember, every day, that every bit of inconvenience, weirdness, pain, discomfort and annoyance, in the end, will be worth it.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Not bad for an Australian

Most of America falls asleep after Thanksgiving dinner, in a tryptophan- induced postprandial stupor.

But Berry prefers to get her sleep in before Thanksgiving dinner – not sure if she's worn out by the preparations or gathering her strength for the feast, but she sleeps hard.

She was eating some banana pieces one minute and the next minute we found her head-on-arm, out like a light. She missed the turkey carving and half the Thanksgiving dinner, but when she finally woke up she discovered huge enthusiasm for turkey, cranberries and asparagus.

We decided to stay home this year since our nearest family was going to be 11+ hours of driving away. Berry hates being in the car and I'm not very fond of it myself when I'm pregnant, so we stayed here and I cooked my first single-handed Thanksgiving dinner ever.

Keep in mind we don't have this holiday back home... so I'm going to say this little effort was not too bad, for an Australian.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Still here, still random

Driving to New Orleans the other day, I heard In Your Eyes on an XM station I'll never be able to find again, and of course it got me thinking about Say Anything (and as an aside, how much I still love John Cusack, even today).

And thinking of Say Anything got me thinking about Ione Skye, and how she probably wouldn't have had the Diane Court role if that movie was made today. Or if she did, she would've looked different. Because I remember her being sweetly round-faced and – I can't think of another way to put it – untoned. And I don't mean "full-figured" or "curvy" or even anything euphemistic. I just mean what I said – and that Elisabeth Shue was the same way when she was in Karate Kid, and lots of other '80s teen movies were like that.

I decided I kind of miss the days of movies like that – with sweetly round- faced girls in the young-love-interest role, and not a sinewy tricep in sight.

(While we're being random: 1) Ione Skye is even prettier now; and 2) I did not know that Cameron Crowe wrote and directed Say Anything. For my family, who won't know who Cameron Crowe is: he directed Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire.)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Second fiddle

There are only so many times you can hear tearful repetitions of "Oh, Da-daaaaaa" and "Dada hooooooome" and "Dada baaaaaack, peeeeeeease" before you lose your mind.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes.

Nathan's work has sent him to a conference in Texas. I didn't give that much thought, because one thing's for sure – I like my space. I'm always happy in my own company and although I love having Nathan around, I've always wondered about couples who say, "We've never spent a night apart". So it all sounded straightforward: see you in a few days, honey.

I didn't bargain for the Berry Factor.

My first mistake was driving Nathan to the airport with Berry along for the ride. My second mistake was not preventing him from getting on the plane.

The tearful pleas began before we were even out of the airport drop-off area, and they lasted, non-stop, all the way home. "Oh Dada baaaaaaack.... Dada hoooome, peeeeease mama" – as if I could conjure him up so long as she asked politely.

All afternoon, more of the same. The bad-mama side of me thinks this is outrageously unfair. Who gives the baths? Who changes the nappies? Who puts the band-aids on? Who does the Berry-wrangling through the grocery store? Who makes all the food? Who combs the tangles out of the curls? Who gets up in the night? That would be me, me, me, me, me, me, and oh – me.

Who gets the devoted fan club? Daddy. Daddy is fun. Daddy is the hero. Yep, that's life.

I called my mum to keep me sane, long-distance, through the worst of it this evening – the dramatic wailing for Dada to come hoooooome and the insistence that a mouse, Santa and a puppy in her Christmas book were all Daddy, and all needed to come baaaaaaack.

I'm not sure who's going to keep me sane the rest of the time – so I suppose that's where the interesting will-I-lose-my-mind experiment kicks in.

We have four days to find out. That'll be plenty.

Monday, 12 November 2007


When I showed him the little window, Nathan put his head in his hands.

"People who are trying to get pregnant would kill for their test to look like that," he said.

"No, look: there are kind of two lines," I said, "but one of them looks like it's just a mark where a line should be, not really a line. So it might be negative after all."

He looked at me with what could have been pity. Or disbelief. "Trust me. You're pregnant."

I sat quite still on the couch in the office, and Nathan turned back to the computer and ordered the lab tests. Then he hugged me and told me it would be okay, and I walked in slow-motion (I'm sure it was in slow-motion) down to the labs.

Having had one baby, I've read my share of pregnancy magazines where women share oh-so-sweet and wholesome stories of how they let their husbands know the happy news: "I gift-wrapped a pair of baby booties and put them on his pillow!" and "I bought a pint of 'Big Daddy' ice cream and taped the pregnancy test to the lid!" (um... ewww).

I'm kind of betting they don't want to know about wives who crash their husband's office between patients, with a zip-locked EPT in their purse and a bad case of denial.

I'm also betting, though, that three months into this pregnancy with Baby 2, we're now every bit as happy as the rest of them. It'll be amazing for Berry to have a little brother or sister, and we can't wait to see who this little person turns out to be. 2008 is going to be way more interesting than we bargained for.

Berry loves babies. And that makes three of us.


Thursday, 1 November 2007

Fairies are for real

Berry's great-grandma in Australia has an amazing and very old Flower Fairies book from her childhood in England that she used to read to all of us. I was completely fascinated with it when I was a kid. The fairies were intricately drawn, and seemed magical.

Berry's great-grandmother in Connecticut sent her this incredible forest fairy costume a week ago, and when I put it on her last night, it looked exactly as if one of the flower fairies had come to life and jumped off the pages of my grandma's book.

Last night was Berry's first trick-or-treat adventure ever – she called it her "walk" – and she was a hit around the neighbourhood.

She collected so many lollies that her daddy had to carry them for her (the picture below shows her very first stop, with Sue from next-door). She ate one lollipop and one mini Tootsie Roll – with the wrapper still on. We made sure the rest of the loot "magically" disappeared overnight. Those were her first lollies, and there'll be no more for quite a while.

Boy, it was fun while it lasted.