Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Runny Icecream Brain

There I was, feeling quite content with motherhood, when I foolishly opened the program for our capital's Festival of Ideas.

Fabulous stuff. Interesting topics being discussed that one can sit in on and feel all intellectual and suchlike.

Of course, I made the mistake of reading the blurbs of the people who would be presiding at said conference of incredible intelligent peoples.

I ended up drooling over the CVs of all these fabulously intelligent women my age who have done what I planned to do once I finished my degree. Now I wander around going "Yes honey, duck" all bloody day while they're off being Chair of XYZ Fabulously Intelligent Committee and saving people from human rights injustices.

Its not that I think raising the Spudly One is less important than saving the world from human rights abuses, or writing amazingly successful books about god-knows-what-amazing-thing-that might-change-the-face-of-the-planet but...BUT...

Once, I had an idea that I might make a difference. That I might actually have the nous to figure out something that no-one else had figured out before, and that it would actually have some sort of impact on society. Once, I had the idea that I would do something Important. Something that would have people In The Know go "Wow. We never thought about it like that before. She's totally right."

But instead, I am naming all objects in sight and wondering when my son will twig than not everything he sees is a duck, and wondering if there is any prospect of me regaining the brain that I worked so very hard to get to Distinction standard.

Once, I had the crazy idea of being the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Keepin' It Real for the regular Bruce on the street. Now, Keepin' It Real extends as far as the ingredients in whatever happens to be served for Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snack.

Its not that I dont want to be teaching another human being about the world, sharing my knowledge with someone so small and impressionable, raising the next generation, blah blah blah. Its just that...I miss the intellectual pursuits. The selfishness that comes with that. Being able to spend hour upon hour in the library reading Plato and Kant and Dawkins and Singer and Mill and Rawls.* Having the time and the space to think about their arguments and formulate my own and think about how great society could be, if only...

Instead, I find myself creating a better society one day at a time, one word at a time, one tantrum at a time. Is this the more rewarding way? Is this the way to a better society? I know I have written about this before and argued that it is, but right now...right now I miss the cerebralnesnes (shut UP), I crave the ethereal and I would do almost anything to avoid the mundane.

There must be a balance here somewhere.

Oh please tell me there is a balance here somewhere. I really dont want to end up with an IQ of a toddler.

*Slaps self in head for longing to be back in the library for hour upon hour.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Walking Wounded

Well, hobbling more than walking.

After months of waiting I finally got me some knife action on my knee and so, rather than being all like "ooh look at me driving the car three days after surgery" LIKE MY SURGEON PROMISED, I find myself in a position of having to sit down a lot. Not running after the small squidgy item all day leaves a fair whack of the day in which to do the tippy-tappy thing I vaguely remember being interested in once upon a time.

Not that I expect anyone else to still be here anymore.

But for posterity's sake, here is a very exciting list of all the things that Spudly now understands, being the very grown-up and not-at-all-babyish 14 months old:

Sippy cup
Cookie Monster
Elmo (god save me)
"Where's the...?"
"Pat the...(kitty/puppy/dadda/mamma/Alex-friend)"
"Where's your...(nose, head, ears, toes, feet, belly)"
"Clap hands"
"Wave goodbye"
"Give to mamma"
"Close the door"

and many others I'm sure he understands and cant quite articulate yet, such as "for fucks sake".

He my rockin' homie.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Brain Freeze

I dont know where my life has gone. Its all dishes, washing, tidying up toys, feeding the Spud, playing with the Spud, wrapping the Spud and starting again. Internet? What's that?

Spudly turned 1. He had two parties, one with his G-Unit from the Block and the other with the family, shared with his Great Grandpop who was 85 two days before Spudly's birthday.

He doesnt just walk now, he runs everywhere. His little dinosaur arms have straightened out and he walks like a big person. He understands about a dozen words, and quite by accident we discovered this when I said "look at your big belly" and he patted his tummy. Freakin' genius!

The Burrito Wrap no longer manages to contain Captain Squirmy-Pants, who regularly escapes at night and is driving us insane AGAIN.

Monkey Boy is all sorts of freaking out about starting his practical teaching placement next week and isnt he fun to be around right now. (Hint: no.)

I have gone back to being so tired my brain cells barely bump into each other anymore.

Here endeth the worst blog post ever.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Burrito Boy

In order to avoid thinking about other things I have spent rather too much time successfully creating a fabulous PowerPoint Slideshow on How To Wrap A Spud.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

In Which We Descend Into The 11th Circle of Hell

The System. You cant beat it. Even if you join it you cant beat it because you dont want to get your ass sued. And even if you make it to the top of the system and cant be sued then you still have to work within legislation which those in REAL power wrote so they would get re-elected and not so it would actually work for the benefit of those whom it covers.

The System: 1. Panda: Nil.

And normally I would be kicking and screaming all the way to the District Court yelling as loud as I could to anyone that would listed about how completely FUCKED it is to allow two people for whom there are "grave concerns" about their wellbeing and ability to cope at home TO ACTUALLY GO HOME and about HOW can one make a determination about someone's mental incapacity when it is acceptable for that person to REFUSE a psych assessment and therefore an application for Guardianship is denied because there isnt enough evidence AND how is it even ethical to do so when that person is the CARER for someone who has been deemed to have a mental incapacity but no, HE doesnt need a Guardian either because this woman over here, THE ONE WHOM WE CANT ASSESS BECAUSE SHE REFUSES BUT WE'RE HEAPS CONCERNED SHE'S NOT QUITE RIGHT IN THE HEAD, HEY, she's going to be his carer.

Normally. But now I have a Small, Somewhat Burrito-Shaped Item who kinda needs his mamma to be around and not be climbing the walls with frustration and RAGE at this system that gives carte blanch to old people to go home and die.

So my parents are at home. My mother hates me and has even gone so far as to make the statement to the Board that I "never did anything to get them help" [A-HEM], the social worker, who while very nice and I'm sure the best thing mum could have at this point, is very naive about how my mother operates and is in for a rude shock, my father is oblivious to the whole thing, and my brother... Well, my brother is about to get the following email. I hate him like poison.

Dear Fuckhead,

Today you said some things that I have to address, if only to get them out of my brain so I can get on with my life and not keep dwelling on how angry I am.

You based your allegation about my suitability for our father's Medical Power of Attorney on what exactly? My behaviour at the hospital the night my parents were admitted, you claimed. What behaviour was that exactly?
  • Was it the fact that I stayed at the hospital until midnight in Emergency with my 6 month old son?
  • Was it the fact that I made sure someone was with him once our mother had been taken to hospital so that he was not left to fend for himself alone for a whole weekend because the doctor wouldnt do anything for him?
  • Was it the fact that I called an ambulance in the first place so that our father was not at home choking to death?
  • Was it the fact that I made sure that the hospital had as much information as I could give them about their medical status and history?
  • Was it that I made sure the doctors were aware that the growth on his face needed to be looked at? Lucky I did, hey, since it was cancerous.
  • Was it the fact that I had to request an ACAT Assessment be done for them to make sure that they werent just sent home?
What other decisions have I made that havent been in his interests? Was it being the person who pushed and pushed to get a diagnosis for him? If I hadnt insisted upon a referral to a specialist, there would STILL be no diagnosis. If I hadnt taken him to all his appointments for the majority of my pregnancy he would not have gone.

Your transparent attempt at maligning me fooled no-one today. If you want to make allegations that I cannot be trusted to make medical decisions for our father they'd better be backed up by some damned good evidence next time.

Truly, you are diabolical to me. I cannot understand your need to deny our family history. What do you gain from trying to sweep decades of abuse under the carpet? Do you somehow asuage your guilt by doing this? Is it the only way you can live with the fact that you knew what was happening to our mother and you knew what was happening to me when I was a child, yet you did nothing to protect us? Even Warren had the guts, the sensitivity, to apologise to me for not being there for me when I was a child.

It makes me sick to think that you want to rewrite history and pretend that it was a mere "difficult relationship" that has now "weathered the storm". Domestic violence should NEVER be ignored in this way and I cannot believe that as someone who has been called out to surely countless DV incidents is so willing to ignore it and diminish it in his own family. Our parents have not "weathered the storm". Our mother was battered by our father since the very early days of their marriage. The ONLY reason this stopped is dad's decline from dementia. As his dementia progressed his personality changed and lucky for mum it was into a placid, doddering old man. The way you minimise the dysfunction in their relationship and our family is so reminiscent of the behaviour of the perpetrators of the sexual assault on me 5 years ago that it makes my skin crawl.

I dont know why you have such a low opinion of me. I have never known and I probably will never know. At this point I dont even care. I scratch myhead about it and wonder in an anthropological/psychological exercise kind of way, but that remains the extent of it. I doubt that even you could tell me. I know I have absolutely done the right thing with regard to ensuring the welfare of our parents and somehow I have managed to rise above my upbringing and become a decent, well-adjusted human being despite my family.

Methinks that when you have yelled at me that I am just like our mother (and you mean that in a bad way) that in reality, you are projecting your beliefs about yourself on to me. I see so much of mum's behaviour in you (particularly the denial of reality and rewriting of history to fit your agenda) that I really hope your kids have been paying attention to whats been going on here. I fear that this will be their story in 30 years.

Good luck with the Administrator role. I hope you can sort out the financial mess.

I'm done here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Life In The Tenth Circle of Hell

Ok. The dummy has been reinserted and I have about ten minutes before he starts screaming again because he really does want to get up now please.

In the last 6 weeks we have experienced the following at Chez Panda:

  • Projectile vomiting from the Spud for TEN DAYS which left all of us drained, and him especially so.
  • No sleep whatsoever for a number of nights which was definately heading towards "I'm gonna kill the baby and divorce my husband" territory.
  • The return of Monkey Boy to university and thus the beginning of my life as a Stay At Home Mum Who Now Has To Deal With The Baby All On Her Own and doesnt THAT cut into your blogging time.
  • A trip to the Sleep Clinic where we learned how to wrap the Spud like a burrito in a single bed sheet so he cant escape and will thus sleep through the night. And it worked. IT WORKED. He sleeps! He sleeps! He will not be killed! I will not be divorced!
  • A phone call to the nursing home re my parents...and you know that has to be saved for a post all of its own because I cant possibly rant enough about having to go to the Guardianship Board next Thursday in the time I have left before the Small One wants out of the burrito.
It has been an interesting time.

Did I say interesting?

I meant fucked.

Except for that sleep bit.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Double Digits

Dear Spud,

I cant believe you're ten months old now. More to the point, I cant believe that we've all managed to survive the past ten months. We didn't kill you, we didn't leave you on the footpath for the recycling and we didnt kill each other. Mummy has a drinking problem and Daddy is addicted to caffeine again...but at least we're all alive.

In the past ten months you've discovered you exist seperately from everything else, you discovered your hands, you discovered your feet (and you're still pretty wrapped with them), you discovered food, which you LOVE (apart from the peas! Ugh! The peas!). You learnt to smile, flashing us your cute little dimple, and then quickly followed that with infectious belly chuckles. Now you've developed a sense of humour and think its bloody hilarious to get mamma to eat the remote control just like you.

You've always had amazing upper body strength, even from the beginning, and you figured out how to sit up at 5 months, figured out your very own style of bum shuffling (involving doing reverse donuts on the floor) to get around before you clued in about the whole crawling thing. You were SO happy the day you could crawl and get around on your own. It was like you'd been trying to figure it out your whole life, and maybe you had. Now we watch you come to grips with the whole standing up and moving your feet deal and marvel at how quickly you put it all together. Daddy still says we're not getting a leash for you but I think he doesnt know what we're in for once you are confident on your wobbly legs. We are looking into enrolling you in the circus.

You love everyone, especially little people. The squeals you come out with when you see another little person! You want to make friends with them all and I suspect that you will. You have your favourite people though, and surprisingly The Man Who Serves Us Coffee Every Shopping Day So We Can Live who you've seen every second week of your life gets the biggest smiles and even makes you go all coy because you love him so much. And no, there isnt something you should know. You've only ever not liked one person, and you cried as soon as he looked at you and said hello. I TOTALLY trust your judgement on people kiddo, because he turned out to be a total asshole.

You are so excited by life that you fight sleep with every ounce of effort you have. Sleeping merely wastes time you could be doing cool stuff like pulling chunks of plaster off the walls or squealing through the front door so the whole neighbourhood hears you. You also don't like being alone when you're sleeping and your favourite place to sleep remains in the middle of mummy and daddy's bed, preferably lying sideways so as to cause the maximum amount of discomfort for everyone except you. We love you, darling, but we heaps wish you wouldnt do that.

This has without a doubt been the hardest and most challenging ten months of my life. Its damn lucky for us that you're the coolest kid ever because that makes it a whole lot easier to deal with the challenging bits and not go completely insane. You know exactly how to press our buttons, you know what you can get away with and you know that delerium caused by sleep deprivation makes daddy VERY funny indeed. One day I hope you read this and realise three more things:

1. Mummy loves you more than she ever thought possible
2. You are the most amazing gift we could ever have
3. It is not funny to pee on mummy every time she takes your nappy off.

Love your guts, Squid-Boy,


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mission: Be Like Bree

So after one night of controlled crying (which involved more crying by the adults in the house than by the Spud and we vowed NEVER to do that again) we seem to have broken his spirit trained him to sleep fluked a freakin' miracle and he slept all night in his cot. Let me repeat that:

Slept. All. Night. In. His. Cot.

Reeling from too much sleep and not enough delerium (or perhaps just the right amount) I realised that I need to work harder at getting the relationship with Monkey Boy back on track.

Here's the best advice I could find on the matter:

from Housekeeping Monthly, 1955, The Good Wife's Guide

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time, for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good mean (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch-up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and on of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind my. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s’ hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. Remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have I lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow or offer to take his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

See, that's my problem right there. I'm not gay enough.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Grim Fairy Tales

It occurred to me this morning that I am living the fairy tale.

No, not the "happily* married to spunky younger man who stays home to look after his child that we actually managed to achieve with good old penis-vagina sex who is adorably cute" fairy tale.

The Goldilocks and The Three Bears one. Or - more correctly - Spudly and The Three More Nights Like This And You're Out The Bloody Window.

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Spudly who wanted to have a darn good sleep but couldn't, for reasons unknown to the scientific community.

First he tried the Big Boys Bed and said "I can't sleep in this bed because its too hard and there's too much space around me."

Then he tried the Little Baby's Bed and said "I can't sleep in this bed because its too soft and bouncy and I cant turn over."

And then he tried the Grown-Ups' Bed and said "I can sleep in this bed because its not too hard and not too soft and there's heaps of room for me to thrash around and get comfy even if I am hitting mum and dad while I do it but isnt it great that they're here too because I like having company when I wake up for those three seconds every fifteen minutes."

Just then Mamma and Pappa decided they weren't too happy about there being a Spudly sleeping in their bed who was still there, so they jumped up and ran away into the forest and never again returned to the house of the Whinging Spudly.

*Happiness level in indirect proportion to duration of sleep deprivation.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Spudly For Sale

Lala pointed out that its been six days since my last post and I could have sworn it was only about 20 minutes.

As I said to her, my life has consisted of cleaing the house and saying "Spudly! NO!" on a regular basis.

He's 9 1/2 months old and has already taken his first steps. He LOVES his little push-along truck and almost runs behind it. He even shows off a little and walks behind it with only one hand on the rail. My prediction: he'll be walking by 10 months. Holy shit.

The Cot In Own Room Experiment has been discontinued on account of its spectacular failure at getting anyone anything remotely resembling sleep, and Spudly a one-way ticket out the window at speed. We put him back in his hammock in our room and he slept soundly for about 6 hours, which was very lucky for him because his mother was a little hungover that night. Following attempts at duplicating the results of this sleep event have not worked. This kid wants a comfy spot inbetween mamma and pappa and nought else will do.

I know its because he needs the closeness right now, but goddamn I'd like my room back. I'd like to be able to go to bed and not have to whisper. I'd like to sleep more than two hours in a row. I'd like to be able to have some Grown-Up Snuggle Time without there being wailing (not mine) at a very inopportune moment.

Mamma aint particularly happy. And if mamma aint happy, aint NOBODY happy.

As retribution for weeks of no sleep, I give you Spudly in the Hottest Baby Attire of 1950, courtesy of Great Grandma:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Oh Yeh, I Have A Blog...

Seems I forgot. Sorry 'bout that.

But on the plus side I have a garden full of veggies and three rooms that are Spud-proof, which is lucky since he can now stand unsupported for 20 seconds, crawl at full-speed and is sleeping being put to bed in a COT in his OWN ROOM!

And, AND: Spudly has learnt the art of the tantrum. Food on plate equals food for him as far as he's concerned. It doesnt matter that its food he cant eat or wouldnt like. Mamma food = Spudly food, so dish up or screaming will ensue. Luckily I have learnt to deal with this behaviour before with our cat Basil. Now if I could just find that squirty bottle.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: A Re-Cap

So that screeching noise wasnt my IQ dropping at an alarming rate after all. It was 2006 passing me by.

I feel like I have done nothing at all for the last twelve months, and yet it went by before I had time to blink. When people ask me what I've been doing I never have an interesting answer. What the hell has filled up the last 365 days and nights?

There were some major renovations while heavily pregnant, death of a beloved kitty, something about 3 days of labour I vaguely remember, a screaming underfed baby, a happier well-fed baby, a teething baby, a husband with a shoulder reconstruction, major gardening projects, parents in the hospital, a family breakdown, a buggered knee, an anniversary holiday, a baby with separation anxiety, more gardening projects, a teething paby (part 2), and then the year is over.

This year, I'd like less of the bits that involve hospitals and screaming, and more of the bits that involve me with a glass of wine, swaying palm trees and Jack Sparrow to feed me oysters.

Happy OughtSeven, y'all.
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