what I write about
she has fallen and now she is awake
On my way home yesterday evening, a freight train passed us in the opposite direction. The fading sunlight reflected momentary rainbows as we passed and as the night rose. It was really lovely.
fifth week herbs by geekanachronism, on Flickr
My herb garden is growing quite well. An early casualty in the thyme, then gifting the coriander to a workmate, only to receive garlic chives in return! Still no garlic but I have high hopes for next week. I’m planning on tomato as well.
To touch something real,. Will help your wounds heal – Whitley More Than Life. It seems to help, it must be said.
Watching one of my favourite patrons at work win something today. For everything else that went to shit for the day, that made me really happy.
Mofo and The Artist and their kiddo, The Lawyer, have been in the state and visiting. He’s a biggun, homebirthed, breastfed, all that crunchy stuff. And ADORABLE. We’ve been doing the rounds of various cafes and restaurants and are due for breakfast out tomorrow. Which is one of the many many things I miss about Melbourne (first and foremost is the people).
I’ve been taking time out on the patio with the garden, Bunbun and the ubiquitous blue clamshell. In the afternoons and evenings it is really nice.
fifth week paddling by geekanachronism, on Flickr
I have been overwhelmed with negativity lately.
(which is a total surprise to all of you, right?)
It sucks. I don’t like it.
But all it seems to take is seeing someone else’s joyousness, someone’s creativity and wonder and beauty and it makes me more determined to do something about it. To try harder. To try less, but better. To let it come.
I cannot decide.
Every argument seems predicated on either the “ha ha I’m better than you” model or the “women just want the baaayyyyybbbbeeeeeeeezzzzz” model. It makes finding information hard. It makes discussing it with friends VERY hard. I’m either treading on toes with the ‘no, I feel no desire to have another, but yes your baby is adorable, honestly!’ or ‘I’m sorry you want another but can’t*’ or ‘yes I know you’re an only child/one of seven, but this decision is about me’. The most understanding and rational and emotionally responsive conversation I’ve had about it is with a lesbian non-parent. Part of it is her stellar conversation skills, but part of it is that her baggage (pregnancy won’t just ‘happen’ for her, should she choose that path) sides nicely along with mine.
Exacerbating it is the fact that people have started prying into things. I’m getting asked by strangers when I’ll have her sibling (it’s MY CHILD as well, thanks). I discuss it ad nauseum with Wolfman because he has always wanted a lot of children. His first serious response to me about how many children he wanted was ‘6’ (well before our relationship began I might add). He modified it to 4 after a while. He’s adamant that ‘more than 0’ is his final answer but I fear curtailing his life like this. I fear resentment over this issue even as I remember the vomiting and the fear and the pain and wonder how the hell I could ever stand being more vulnerable. Combined with the plates and everything else I fear my own resentment too.
I don’t talk about that much – I have no terrible relationship with my siblings behind me to back that up. Just something akin to selfishness and ambivalence. Something I recognise as a lack in me rather than as an actual commentary on the nature of siblings** so that feeds into my indecision as well.
The fact that I never felt that urge that so many women talk about bothers me. I never felt it with Bunbun so why should it bother me that I don’t feel it now? But it does. Like this is a more monumental decision – and it is a decision. It’s not something I can simply throw into the universe to see what happens. Or even something I want to go by serendipity and emotional resonance. No matter how amazing a story is I feel this need for something more concrete and logical and it just doesn’t fucking exist. Prioritising the concrete over the emotional in this of all discussions feels like a mistake as well.
*For any number of reasons, none of which make a discussion about this less fraught with hurt.
**Not to mention reading the diagnostic criteria for Generalised Anxiety Disorder which slots perfectly alongside my little quirks and brain spasms – how much of my indecision and fear is because of that, rather than anything concrete.
My anxiety is full blown and I feel desperately ill-prepared for work. My visit to family was disastrous in terms of mental equilibrium and I’m still struggling to find my feet. Only to get my roster and discover my first week back is a six day stint with two night shifts. Then a day off to prepare for a normal five day week. With two night shifts. There are other concerns, but that’s the main one.
THE WORLD IS COMING AT ME TOO FAST.
to stay home and care for our 10 month old daughter*
“so…what’s he actually going to do?”
“is he going to start doing housework?”
“ha, is he going to keep going with cloth nappies?”
“I’d love to take time off”
“aw, that’s so cute, how long do you think it’ll last?”
“but seriously, what’s he going to do at home?”
“he’ll work part time won’t he?”
“will he start helping overnight?”
“that’s so weird, why are you making him do that?”
“are you sure he wants to?”
“no, honestly, what’s he going to do when he’s at home?”
*$100, a giant bottle of decongestant + antihistamine and 2 hours later it turns out that not only is she teething. Not only does she have a cold. She also had an allergic reaction this morning and probably last night too. Which explains why Wolfman called me a shambling zombie the other morning.
One of the (many) things I wish for Bunbun is a good relationship with her father. I don’t want her to have to fear her father, or loathe him, or simply feel that distance so many women feel. I don’t want her good memories to be made up of the times they did his hobbies (or his chores) together*. I don’t want her to feel desperate for his approval or love.
In short, I don’t want her having the same relationship with her father that I have with mine.
In some ways this is completely unlikely – Wolfman has a reasonably high level of feminist understanding and certainly has feminist leanings so a lot of the fraught aspects of my paternal relationship aren’t going to exist in our household. He actually gives a fuck about parenting as a choice, not just something that you do when you aren’t doing other stuff. So even if reading the same book four times is boring, that’s what he’ll do and that pattern will go on because it isn’t just about what he does and what he feels – she is just as important as he is.
Yet, he still does the kind of half-arsed things Bluemilk talked about here** – I looked over the other day and he was holding a balloon on a string like it was a cat toy while he played his DS with the other hand. Apart from that I have had to say (more than once) that if I request he takes over fully for a while he has to take over fully. Not let her whinge at my feet. Not hand her over for a nappy change (even if it’s the fourth in an hour). Not start talking to me because now he’s bored. I still do the bulk of the emotional work and he knows this. Acknowledges it. But we find it hard to change. I don’t want Bunbun growing up and thinking she’s got to be the caring one and I don’t want her growing up to expect her partner to do it either. Which is the crux of a lot of issues.
What am I modelling here? Read more of this post
So. Today marks the day that you have been outside of me as long as you were inside. Give or take a few days at the beginning of course. We didn’t have a great day though – you’re tired and teething which means I’m tired and sore. So we had a pretty bad morning all round. I’m sorry that there are bad days now and days when I’m not as nice or fun as I wish I could be. I know that will always be the case though, so I just try to get through it. Read more of this post
I keep going to write a post, but end up writing something terribly cranky. Either railing against idiotic ‘sex advice’ that boils down to “buy stuff!!! Ignore comfort!!!” or the new years round of ‘let’s lose weight, fatty fat fat mamas!’. I was in fact complaining to Wolfman yesterday that everything I wrote came out far more “rar you’re all fuckheads” than “I am legitimately disturbed by these articles and blog posts”.
He wanted to know if I had indeed simply written ‘rar, you’re all fuckheads’.
It made me laugh (which was his original agenda I think) but also made me step back a bit. Rage is not in short supply. I don’t need to point out how irritating vapid and shallow ‘wear a thong’ is when you’re attempting to get back into having actual sex with your partner. I don’t need to point out that the societal obsession with mothers erasing all evidence of motherhood from their bodies is obnoxious and dangerous. You all get that. I simply need to breathe. Write. Breathe some more.
BunBun is five and a half months. At the point where she grabs food out of your hand, but doesn’t eat, simply slobbers. So while I was cooking dinner I have her a thick slice from the pear I was chopping for salad. I continued making dinner, she slobbered on the pear, threw her cup and spoon, and gabbled away. All was well. I turned to put a few things back in the fridge when I heard her choke.
You know, that garbled attempt to breathe. Almost a sob, or a heave. I dropped what was in my hand and spun. She was in the highchair and straining, bright red and no sound. Tears. I pulled her forward and searched her mouth. Nothing. She threw herself back and forth and I yelled for Wolfman. He came running as I drove my fingers into her throat. I found the soggy, tiny piece of pear. I could touch it. I couldn’t hook it, couldn’t grab it.
I started to swear, I tried to get her out of the chair but I couldn’t. The motion jerked her upwards and I tried again to get the pear. I couldn’t reach it at all now. I yelled at Wolfman to get her out of the chair. I tilted her forward.
She whooped an inward breath. Then screamed. And screamed again. And whooped once more. Then coughed. I held my breath, visions of aspiration pneumonia. She screamed and cried and then sniffled, her face buried in my neck.
I began to cry.
Wolfman held us and asked if we were okay. I sobbed and BunBun began to cry again then as well. He rescued the apple and pear sauce still bubbling away, and picked up the teatowel on the floor. I jiggled BunBun as I checked the pizza. Nothing was burnt, nothing was even close to cooked yet. I finished dressing the salad and waiting for the pizza to finish. We ate our dinner and BunBun had hers. There’s not a single thing wrong now.
Except the aftershocks of terror and the guilt. I wasn’t watching her close enough. She’s too young for solids. The chair is antique and refurbished with no bar to hold her in. There’s no harness, just a mess of ties keep her from sliding under and out. I hurt her throat, digging for the pear. My fingernails are too long.
My fingers were too short.
Yes I’ve learnt my lesson. No more slobbery bits of fruit. I’m getting a proper harness and/or fixing the chair. I’m updating my first aid as soon as I can because I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t learnt the fishing around as the first step.