Sunday, July 30, 2006

You Knew This Would Happen, Right?

I had to visit my parents on Friday. So you know where this post is going.

First, lets get the bitching out of the way.

You may remember that my brother visited back in May for my father's 90th birthday. Since I didnt see him, he left a present for Spudly with the folks.

A slight detour to give the backstory: when I were a wee thing, I had a china Bunnykins bowl. I started eating solids from this bowl. I remember eating cereal out of it before I started school. With nary a thought that I may like to have it for MY kids, my mother gave this bowl to my brother when he had his first child. I have never got over this. Call me bitter if you like. You'd be right. The bowl had sentimental value to me, and none to him. Not to mention the fact that it is now worth a fortune. [She also gave his son my STAMP COLLECTION without asking me. MINE. I spent my whole childhood collecting those stamps. Gave.them.away. Yes. Bitter.]

Back to the other day: So what, therefore, could be the most ironic present my brother could give me? A Melamine Bunnykins set. MELAMINE people. Not MY BOWL. Some cheap-ass replica of my bowl. Harumph!

Now to the olds...

Mother had brother go get money from the atm for her back in May. 2 weeks ago, after stretching the money as long as possible on the food purchasing, she ran out. And ran out of food. Oh, well, except for 3 tiny tins of peas, half a cup of sugar, a dash of milk, a teaspoon of jam and a small wadge of cheese. What did she do? She had COFFEE WITH LOTS OF SUGAR IN IT when she felt hungry. Fuck knows what my father ate; probably nothing going by how much weight he has lost.

Mother has still not seen a doctor about her fall, despite this now being over 12 months ago. Still uses the walking frame, still cant get into her own bed, still in pain. More importantly, still cant wear her support stockings for her severe varicose veins and thrombosis, so her legs and feet are now massively swollen to the point where her skin is cracking. My fear is that she will end up with a clot in her heart or brain and that'll be that.

Monkey Boy asked if I said anything to her about this, but what's the point? Really? Nothing will happen except more banshee screaming, and who needs that?

If I think about it too long I will get very angry at the system that allows this to happen. My hands are tied, and the doctors will not get involved unless either my mother or father asks for help, despite the fact that they are both manifestly mentally incompetant to do so.

OH! AND! The local gp they saw to get a referral to the Geriatician? The one who never saw my mother as a patient? Continues to write scripts for her blood pressure medication and faxes them to the chemist despite NEVER having taken my mother's blood pressure.

How is this "doing no harm"?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reality Bites

Truth be told, I have never looked in the mirror and really seen my body. I, like so many other women, look and see what I think it looks like. It’s not true that I never had a weight problem. I never had an overweight problem. I had have a “body image problem”, an underweight problem, a…okay I have an eating disorder.

I never binge and then throw up food, nor do I think that every morsel of food that goes into my mouth is going to make me fat. I’ve only recently had it described to me as a form of OCD. My thing, that I didn’t even realize I did until last year in therapy, is that in times of stress when everything in my life seems to be going out of control, I stop eating. The only thing I can maintain any control over is what is going in to my body, so I stop putting anything into it. How fucked up is that?

For a number of months before I met Monkey Boy, I was so proud of myself for getting through each day on a glass of fruit juice and a toasted muffin with jam and cream. That was it. Oh, and the cigarettes that I chain smoked in order to conquer my appetite. I was 5’8” (173cm) and weighed 8 ¾ stone (58kg). My hip bones stuck out, my ribs were clearly visible. I fit into size 8 clothing. SIZE 8. (For you Time of Charlemagne types, this is the smallest adult dress size). I looked in the mirror and was not horrified by the skeleton before me; I saw large thighs that could use a few inches off them and a butt that was no longer pert.

I did gain weight once I was in a safe relationship. I went back to my normal size 12 and you could no longer count my ribs from across the room, but the disorder was still there. Much to my horror it remained even after I realized it existed. Apparently, knowledge of the existence of a problem doesn’t just make it go away. What’s THAT about? I was so sure that since I knew what the issue was and what the triggers for my hunger-strike were, I would just be able to recognize when I was doing it and stop.

Hmph. Seems it doesn’t work that way. Why not? is what I’d like to know. [Sidebar: yes, I have now accepted my status as a total control freak since I was angry I couldn’t control the eating disorder that manifests when I don’t have control.]

Let’s face it; having a new baby is probably the situation in which one is going to feel the least in control, but not even breastfeeding and needing to increase my caloric intake made me able to stop. I couldn’t even make myself eat properly for the Spud. I really scratch my head and wonder why I can’t choose to exert control over this disorder with as much willpower as I clearly have to control my food intake.

When I look in the mirror at 3 months post-partum I REALLY don’t recognize the body I see. Not only have I retained 6 kilos of pregnancy weight (that’d be the ├ęclairs) but the belly is all saggy baggy and definitely NOT about to be shown off in skimpy little midriff tops like it was when I was 30 weeks pregnant. Nor are my thighs ever going to see the light of day again. Actually, I’d prefer it if they never even saw the dark of day again: it’s just too horrendo. I think I’ll stay fully clothed at all times. I’m at the high end of the proper weight range for my height. It just seems like all that weight has now deposited itself between my navel and knees. I dislike the way my body looks now more than I’ve ever disliked it before, and I worry that not even upping the dose of Prozac [excellent OCD meds] will stop the hunger-strike returning.

Consequently, there was a moment of serendipity today when I came across a blog called Shape Of A Mother, where women can post pictures of their pregnant and post-pregnancy bellies and their stories of how their bodies changed after childbirth. If “mommy blogs” are all about telling the truth about motherhood, about “keeping it real”, then this is the ultimate in reality checks. Saggy bits, stretch marks from hell, its all there. It was a relief, a real relief to see my body in the photos posted by other women and knowing that they all look in the mirror and don’t recognize themselves either. So it’s not just me. We all look like this. This is what pregnancy does. This is what childbirth does. This is what breastfeeding does. This is the price you pay for becoming a fully-realized mammal.

I’m guessing that the price you pay for being a mother is relinquishing control.

I’m also guessing Spudly is going to teach me more than I’m going to teach him.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I beg to observe, that, of all the boys in the world, I believe this is the best boy.

Paraphrasing Dickens, of course, but it's true. We have the best boy.

I wasn't really aware of how developmentally accelerated Spudly is until last night, when we visited his new friend who is 4 weeks old. New Friend is smaller than the Spud was at birth, but weight-wise not significantly so. But even now, at one month old, he looks like Spud did at 4 days. Its in the eyes, in the head control and in his interactions.

We had to double-check this by going through all our photos this morning. Spud stopped looking like a newborn and started looking like a switched-on little person at one week. The difference just blows me away.

I'm guessing that somewhere in the chaos of the last 14 weeks we've stimulated the right pathways in his brain, the ones that tell him the world is interesting and that people are great and he is safe and secure. He's the only baby I've ever met that loves...LOVES...everyone.

And look...look how much the formula agrees with him:

And just because I'm feeling like an exceptionally proud mamma today, some gratuitous cute Spudly shots.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Here's One I'll Probably Regret Later

Monkey Boy has warned me against opening up this particular can of worms, and just to give him an opportunity to say "I told you so" and be right, I'm going to ignore his advice. Love you honey.

I recently pimped myself to joined up with Blogs By Women, a directory of (obviously) women bloggers. I had a look at their own blog and found a link to BlogSheroes: The Feminist Bloggers Network. With nothing better to do than to waste my download quota for the day, I had a look. And a thought occurred to me: isnt the term "feminist blogger" somewhat tautological? How can a woman be a blogger and not be a feminist? Isnt the very nature of being a) female and b) having a voice courtesy of blogging and writing about our lives in an honest way a feminist act in itself?

Monkey Boy disagrees with the notion that a woman can not be a feminist. I cant fathom a woman who does not believe in equal pay for equal work, the creation of a level playing field, the right to vote, the right to say "no", the right to control her fertility, the right to be treated with respect. To me, being female automatically implies being a feminist. To Monkey Boy, "feminist" is as ugly a word as its male counterpart, "chauvinist", implying seperatist notions, male-bashing, and unshaved armpits. I agree that this view of feminism is indeed ugly (especially the armpits) and I have never felt comfortable with a group of women who wish to sit around bagging men and spelling "women" with a "y" and two "m"s. But I'm not convinced that this is feminism, or if it is, its a version that is as old as the ashes of the bras that were once burned. I'm also not comfortable with the women who say "I'm not a feminist, but..." Maybe I'm just not comfortable with women. And if that's the case, can I still be a feminist?

So what is it that defines a feminist? Is it blaming men for everything whilst striving so hard to be just like them? Is it believing all people deserve to be treated equally in some circumstances or to have barriers removed so they can participate equally in others? Is it about respecting each other's differences? If you're a married stay-at-home mother who took her husband's surname and makes killer scones are you a traitor to the cause?

I'm really interested to find out what it is that YOU think defines a feminist.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

While refraining from using the "c" word (congratulations) I will now indulge myself in proliferous use of the PREGNANT word and point you in the direction of a PREGNANT Manuela, who has just embraced her PREGANTNESS after the latest startling and very very PREGNANT BETA.

Here's a chick who deserves all the congratulations in the world, but I will restrain myself as she has requested.

I will, however, say I am so freakin' happy for her and Mr. P that I just want to burst.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oozing Hip-ness

Spudly gets lots of attention when we do our regular grocery shopping, because he's carried around in the Hug-a-Bub sling and because he's so damn cute. So its no big thing to have someone staring at him when we're in the lift back to the carpark. Of course she's staring. This is the cutest baby the world has ever seen. Who could resist him?

Imagine my distress when I put the Spud into the car and discover that aforementioned woman was not gawping at my son's beauty, but at the volume of thick white PUKE he had expectorated all over my hip "I really do have a place in the world and can get dressed before twelve" outfit.

Baby puke: its the new black.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fuck You Too, Blogger

You dumb-ass piece of shit, you swallowed half my template and spat it out your dumb-ass somewhere near the Orion Nebula.

Most of my links have gone, so please dont think I've just dissed you. I have to find you all again.



Well after FOUR FREAKIN HOURS I hope all the links are a) there and b) work. Let me know if you find a problem.

Cheers, and thanks for nothin, Blogger. Fix your goddamn bugs!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

Since this describes me to a T (what IS that saying about? Do I look "T"shaped?) I considered it behooved me to join their Blogroll. Over there in the sidebar you'll find a big list of chicks who have a meaningful relationship with their computer.

Broaden your horizons and click on some of 'em.

Monday, July 10, 2006

In Which We Battle The Mucous...Oh The Mucous

You know you love your child when you have mucous secreting itself from (almost) every orifice, your ears are plugged up with something the consistency of road tar and your throat currently contains a rock covered in sandpaper and you still dont mind being up at 4am rocking him (hopefully) back to sleep. So this is parenthood.

As it turned out, he didnt go back to sleep. The 4am screamfest turned into a 5.30am breakfast snack and we're all still awake and arent we jolly about that.

Who are these morons saps people who think that having a child will help their (usually failing) marriage? What on earth would possess someone to think that having 2 adults sick enough to want to die and a baby with a temperature and some weird-ass cough thing going on who hasnt pooed in 3 days but continues to produce the MOTHER of all stinky farts and will NOT settle down and go to sleep is a sure-fire way of bringing you closer to your significant other? Because when the shrieking starts and drills through your head and your partner has to yell to be heard over the noise...then...then running away with Jack Sparrow looks like a Really Good Idea.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Second Post For The Day or I'm Not Really A Sellout If I Believe In The Thing I'm Promoting. Am I?

Normally I totally ignore all the stuff that comes to my inbox from the plethora of blog directories I pimped myself to signed up with. I dont even know why I bothered opening this one particular email this morning. The lure of 20 free credits certainly isnt usually enough to generate enough interest to double click yet again. Maybe it was because Mercury is in retrograde (thanks for pointing this out Kevin), maybe it was because I've been sleep deprived for several days now and my decision making capabilities are not at their sharpest. Maybe it was because I needed to read what was contained therein for the goodness of my soul.

I choose Mercury In Retrograde, thanks Bob.

Whatever. I come clean now and say that those nice people over at BlogExplosion lured me to this website with the promise of 20 free credits to my account if I would please visit aforementioned nice website and write a blog entry about it. Now, I'm not one of those hussies who sell their souls to the devil (unlike those A-list Hollywood types who do shameless product endorsement but only in Japan or Outer Mongolia). I have Principles. My opinion cannot be bought and sold. Despite this I took their golden carrot and ventured forth into the murky world of Cash-For-Comment.

Fortunately, I liked what I saw. It appeals not only to the armchair activist in me but also to the philosopher, the wanna-be-but-is-too-cynical-politician and possibly also the inner child that still asks "but whyyyyyy?"

We all have questions about the world, about our society and culture, that we'd like answers to. More often than not these questions seem so big and daunting that we cant think of them as anything but rhetorical. Can there ever be an answer to "why do we claim that everyone is equal and judge the next person we meet?" or Does freedom of thought really exist?

Dropping Knowledge is an international collective whose mission is to collect such questions from people around the world and present them at their Table of Free Voices event in Berlin on September 9.

From their website:

"dropping knowledge will bring together 112 inspiring individuals to drop their knowledge at 100 of these questions; the answers will be filmed, generating some 600 hours of footage. The "ask yourself" campaign, Table of Free Voices and other dk activities exemplify the practice of asking and answering questions. Together, these activities pave the way for participation in the Living Library. "

The Living Library is an initiative that, from what I can gather, will act as a cross between a database and a giant chat-room, bringing together differing viewpoints on issues of global importance and acting as a kind of brain-storming session to develop solutions to our most pressing issues.

As a philosophy graduate, I believe that one should never stop asking questions even if you dont get answers to them. It is the asking itself that is important, that changes mindsets, that opens up possibilities. Do I think that this Table of Free Voices will come up with any concrete answers to the 100 questions that will be posed? No, I dont. Even if they did, who would actually commit themselves to do what was necessary? After all, we know the solutions to global warming but we cant even get our own government to commit to Kyoto. Indeed, one of the questions that has been submitted is Are asking questions going to motivate someone to take action? (by Michael Pokocky , 51, Ste-Adele/Quebec, Canada)

I think that the most important role Dropping Knowledge will play is in the mere posing of the questions, perhaps encouraging people to consider issues that wouldn't normally even occur to them. Issues such as this:

The Baby Drop Box at Altonaer Children’s Hostpital, Hamburg, Germany, is an alternative to infanticide.

Maybe the key to changing the world is knowing which questions to ask.

What A Difference A Year Makes

One year ago today two people who loved each other very much did something most couples take for granted: they had sex for fun. I know. I KNOW!! They didnt think about propping hips, about the sperm-killing qualities of massage lotion or about having to "clean the pipes" beforehand. They didnt care about the time of the month. Can you imagine??? It wasnt so much that they had given up on ever being able to conceive; they were of thinking about these things all.the.time.

One year ago today, possibly the one remaining non-ugly sperm somehow managed to make its way past the massage lotion and the thickened cervical mucous (without falling out) all the way up to the fallopian tube to meet one of the eggs that had been released that month without going polycystic. They made polite small talk: possibly even asked do you come here often? Then, much like the people they belonged to, they decided straight away that they should get together and make a baby.

One year ago today the thing the medicos said couldnt happen, happened.

One year.

And we've gone from this:

to this:

And it blows me away every single day.
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