Monday, January 29, 2007

A Brief Interlude of Reason

This is being written at Peter's request, because I've been talking and talking about it; he said that he could tell me the same things but it would be a lot more effective if I could go back and "hear" myself saying them, at a time when I was calm and composed, after having gone through it once before. (This is polite-person-speak for "Don't MAKE me try and reason with you when you're being a raving lunatic and having melt-downs over the dust on the top shelves of the bookcase being proof you're an unfit mother -AGAIN.")

This past week, with Matilda being so ill and cranky and myself being so sleep-deprived really brought back the memories of how I felt when she was a newborn. It was the "I am soooo tired but I have to be alert because I'm worried about this little creature, and I keep crying because I feel so desperate, and I don't want to be left alone for a moment, but I don't want any help either, because I should be handling it, because I'm the MUM, but I'm not handling it all that well, because I keep crying, therefore I'm a rubbish mum, therefore I have good reason to cry, and there doesn't seem to be any light at the end of that tunnel, and I just want to die, so that someone else more capable can raise my baby, but they wouldn't do everything the way I want to for my baby, THERE's something to cry about, WAAAAAH." stage -Too long to make a good book title, but a surprisingly accurate description of what was happening in the slush that passed for my brain at the time.

It was toned down quite a lot this past week, but enough of a time-warp effect to bring everything back. And I'm so AFRAID of doing it all again. I keep telling myself that with Matilda, it was very difficult for a while, and then it became easy and very-very lovely, and I got left with an amazingly pleasant, loveable, cute and FUN creature to spend my day with; and I ended up loving her so very much; and this time, I can be prepared. I KNOW it will be difficult, but I have Matilda to remind me of what it'll be like after it stops being difficult. I'll know I have something lovely to look forward to. I don't have to have the same high expectations from myself that I did last time. I have to be realistic. I have to be prepared. I AM prepared, that's why I've asked my mum to come and stay with us, when last time I told her not to come until after the first couple of weeks, when we've had time to bond. (Substitute bond with meditate on my lack of maternal instinct, uselessness and general insufficiency for a clear picture.) This time, I KNOW I'll be a hormonal mess. This time, I KNOW I told myself afterwards that it's a stupid idea to not let everyone around help you as much as they can. This time can be different.

And yet. I know when the time comes, I'm going to do everything exactly the same again. Self-depreciation is my special talent, and when it gets going it tends to snow-ball past any reason. I'll feel like I'm chickening out if I leave Spud with anyone so I can take a break. I'll feel like I'm a horrible mother if I yell at him, or pick him up a bit more abruptly, or think bad thoughts and not feel like I'm brimming with love when he's crying. I'll feel like I've ruined my child's life and my relationship with her if Matilda starts acting jealous or sad. I'll feel like I'm asking too much of Pete if I ask him to take over. I'll feel like I'm selling Spud short if I attend to Matilda first, and I'll feel like I'm selling Matilda short if I attend to Spud first. I'll KNOW, beyond all doubt, that I'm not coping and I don't deserve what I've got. And I'll KNOW, beyond all doubt, that it'll never get any better (despite all the evidence to the contrary. Don't try to convince me otherwise. You'll just annoy me. And then I'll feel guilty for being annoyed at you. And I'll drown you in tears. You have been warned.)

Why does it have to be like that? When I'm thinking clearly, I know this baby is wanted, will be much loved, and will be a positive addition to the family. I know I'm a good mother -Matilda is too wonderful for it to be any different. I enjoy her to no end, and I'm grateful for her every day. I am happy to accept help -I don't value independence so much as interdependence. I actually believe that being able to let go and rely on other people is an undervalued and underused skill in our society. I want my loved ones to take care of me, as much as I want to take care of my loved ones. But when the time comes, I know none of this will matter, and I'll just feel completely lost again. And I'm scared for it to happen.

I suppose Pete just wanted me to have written proof that I knew beforehand what things would be like, and that I admitted it would get better eventually and that I promised I would accept help graciously. Here it is, for what it's worth.

And now we return to our regular programme of insanity.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Virtually a shopping spree

Matilda has been ill for more than a week, and more miserable than I've ever seen her in the past 18 months. This means that I've been stuck home with a miserable baby for several loooooong days, and this is what happens when I miss out on my window-shopping:

Dear Friends and Loved Ones, You Are So Special To Me. Here are the presents I'd buy you if I wasn't so cheap... err... poor... err... you know, it's the thought that counts.

Peter: Dashboard Star Wars

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Add a little flash to your dash with these mini monuments to the forces of good and evil. Whether you have a taste for the Dark Side to help you combat your road rage with the dastardly Darth, or the calming influence need you of Yoda, these figures are activated either at the touch of a button, or from the motion of our car. When pressed or moved, they will spout forth from a wide selection of their inimitable catch phrases. There's nothing like firing off a 'You underestimate the power of the Dark Side' when you've been cut up by some eedjit, or perhaps 'Judge me by my size would you?' as some peanut brained white van man rev's you off at the traffic lights.
Of course these delightfully daft Star Wars figures are just as at home on your desktop where they can ward off unwelcome visits from your boss or the marketing department. It's very unnerving for people walking past your desk (especially when you're not there) to have one of these figures activated by their motion sensors launch into 'I am your father' - complete with heavy breathing, naturally. Small and silly, but big fun

Matilda: Geeky Baby T-shirt

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This is from the online-shop of a very-very cool blogger. Go browse Blue's stuff, you'll (be at least tempted to) buy them!

Marilena: Tickle Me Freud

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Freud had a complex mind and some pretty complex theories. Who else would liken the human personality to a fight between a monkey and a spinster refereed by a bank clerk? However that may go someway towards explaining this daft little Freud, complete with suit and tie that at a squeeze of his foot (must be some dark psychosis implied there) launches off into peals of giggling laughter.
The human personality is a battlefield, beset by friendly fire and poor replen. Dodging the arrows of outrageous fortune, needlessly quoting (well, misquoting) Shakespeare in an attempt to sound well read - it's all very complex. And in moments when you realise that over-analysis is the beginning of the end, it's time to tickle Freud, and revel in one of life's little absurdities.

Andreas: Flying Alarm Clock

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Alarm clocks are supposed to be alarming (kind of the point really), and are often very annoying. In a bid to make them even more annoying so that they definitely rouse you from your morning coma, and to add an element of fun, some daft shed dweller came up with this idiotic piece of wizardry.
The Flying Alarm Clock has all the functionality of a regular alarm clock (err... obviously), such as digital time display, snooze function and alarm. But the alarm has an added twist, which considering the name of the thing will come as no surprise. Perched on the top of the clock is what looks like a black ping-pong with propeller blades. When your alarm kicks in this gizmo starts to spin and takes off into the air to land somewhere deep behind a pile of laundry, while the siren-esque alarm continues to wrench you from your slumber. It will continue to do this until you've caught (if you're quick on your feet) or hunted down the flying bit, and slotted it back into the top of the clock. There's no rolling over for a quick five minutes that turns into an hour and gets you fired. This alarm clock takes no prisoners.

Zeta: Voodoo Candle

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Come on Zeta, we're on to you. We know you're dabbling in the Dark Arts. Not EXCLUSIVELY for boyfriends, can be used for other family members too...

Bad break-ups are the pits. Particularly venomous ones may lead to all sorts of fantastical plans to set your ex's bits on fire, but arson and GBH sentences have about as much appeal as going out with the toe rag again. So we have come across a more fireman friendly, yet totally cathartic solution, the Voodoo Candle. Visualise your ex as you set fire to the candle's correlating parts. Watch the candle melt away, along with your negativity, after all, no-one likes a bitter person. The wicks are placed in strategic places so when you light them you can picture your nasty ex, ouch!

Evi: The Brick

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Essential TV ammunition, The Brick is an astonishingly realistic looking house-brick made of foam. The box is nowadays so riddled with complete and utter tosh that it's almost impossible to watch it for long without wanting to throw something at it. Well now you can lob a very satisfying brick at all those asinine creatures strutting about on your screen. Of course it's also immense fun to chuck it at friends, family, work colleagues and the neighbour's windows - just to watch their screaming reaction before the brick bounces harmlessly off them. Vent your frustrations and have a damn good laugh at the same time.

Note: Throwing real bricks is of course dangerous, so in the unlikely event that you're tempted, do try to show some restraint.These bricks are a silly joke but should not however be left with young children or kept within reach of pets, they'll only go and build some wildly impractical house with them.

AND ALSO, because you're my bestest friend and I miss you,

The EviL Shirt:

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(From Blue's shop-again.)

Spyros: USB Hamster Wheel

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Do you sometimes feel that you're caught up in the rat race of the working world, and that you are chained to your desk and getting no-where fast? Well we've found the perfect way to lighten the load. Now we can't promise to take you out of the rat race but we can throw a hamster in there to mix it up a bit.
The USB Hamster Wheel is an utter delight. Plug it into your USB port, load the software from the CD provided and get typing. As you type, the hamster gets running, spinning the hamster wheel around in the process - the faster you type, the faster he runs. This demented rodent sent shrieks of laughter around the office when we tested it, and is the ultimate parody of modern society.

Katerina: The Orgasmatron

Now... Before I get Les knocking at my door... Here's a picture

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The Orgasmatron sounds like a cross between a film prop from Barbarella and Woody Allen's Sleeper, and well it kind of is. These arachnid looking contraptions will have you tingling all over in a matter of seconds. Using the high conductivity of copper, the Orgasmatron's long and bendy arms pinpoint sensitive pressure areas in the scalp, and however hard you are, once someone gently applies this to your head you'll turn to jelly.
There are two versions available, the Original manual version, and the new Trembler version which is battery powered and has a two-speed vibrate capability for more full-on head massages. We don't really know the full scientific answer as to why they seem to render all victims helpless and crying out for more. It's about pressure points, copper, wobbly wire, nerve clusters and all sorts of other stuff we expect, but none of that really matters. All we care about is when is it our turn to have another massage!

Just what you need after 48 straight hours at the office!

Christos: Cthulu T-shirt.

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Do you even read this blog these days? If not, you're missing out on your present!
From Blue's Shop again.


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If like us, you suffer from the almost constant disappointment of holy effigies failing to miraculously appear to you during breakfast, well, fret no more, because help is at hand. The problem with your everyday religious apparitions is that, well, for the fainthearted at least, they're a bit rubbish. Often it takes an almost suicidal leap of faith to see your chosen deity appear in your breakfast. You may have to squint sideways through blue Venetian silk stretched over the branches of a two hundred year old Abyssinian cedar tree, on the last Wednesday in June, whilst standing on one leg in a an old sink half filled with water drawn by neutered goats from the 'Well of Indecision' high in the Kibla mountains - and even then, you may still find you're just looking at what will now be a rather cold piece of toast.
So, don't leave it to chance or random benevolence (never a safe bet), this absolutely brilliant yet thoroughly un-blessed pair of Holy Toast presses, will guarantee you a highly visible (even to the faithless), and perfect Virgin Mary every time. Just press your bread into the mould, pop it into the toaster and, with no miracle whatsoever, your toast will become an icon.
This is definitely the best thing that's happened to breakfast since sliced bread, even if it is virgin on the ridiculous.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Baby's got the Blues

Matilda had a very good Christmas, thank you for asking. Oh you didn't! Oh, you'd forgotten I exist because I haven't written a post for so long! You can blame the pre-holiday rush that can last for a couple of months, the holiday, the post-holiday recovery, pregnancy, or Matilda for trying to steal my keyboard and write her own posts every time I sit down to do anything more demanding than delete my spam.
The child is starting to worry me. She seriously MUST have anything that anyone taller than 5 ft (and called mummy or daddy) is using. It doesn't matter how inappropriate, uninteresting or downright dull it is.
A rubber band? Wow, can I have a look?
Plain bread that I wouldn't have eaten if you offered it to me 2 minutes ago but it now is being eaten by daddy? Bead! Bead! Bead! Bead! (repeat until bread is stuffed into mouth to shut her up, or head explodes.)
A piece of onion skin that mummy picked off the floor? Cool, can I play with it? (That's my excuse for not picking the onion skins and other assorted debris off my floor, in case you haven't guessed. It provides stimulation.)
A few weeks ago, I was so desperate I was trying to read two books at the same time, so that every time she asked me for book #1, I'd go on to read book #2, until she asked for book #2, so I could switch back to book #1. It was a great plan with a fatal flaw. She switched between books so quickly I didn't have time to find my place on the page again.

She says so many words that I've lost count of them now. We made a honest-to-goomba list in early December, and only allowed ourselves to include words that she will say unprompted, and use correctly -not the ones she would just repeat. There were still about 50 words on the list, and she uses even more now -combining two words is the new thing since Christmas. She sings to herself and she's so good at it we can even tell which song she's singing. She puckers up, closes her eyes really-really tight and stands infront of you, waiting for a kiss.

Christmas at the Park:

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We got Matilda cds for Christmas. She enjoys music so much we thought she needed some more variation, so I went to Amazon and used the nifty "listen to samples" option to see what she prefers. In the end we ordered this . Every time she heard the samples she started dancing and humming to herself, so it was a hit. She got lots of lovely presents from everyone else who loves to lavish gifts on her and is not cheap like us (*tee-hee*) including the hit-of-hits, a baby doll with a pushchair. Baby goes everywhere with her now, gets kisses, gets fed, watered, and put to sleep ("Shhh... seep!")

Matilda with baby:

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She's also been stuffing baby and her trusted Coconut Teddy under her shirt a lot, saying "Side! Side!" (inside,) which I thought was her version of peek-a-boo, until she made me privy to the whole game scenario, by saying "Side! Baby tummy! Mummy tummy!" and I realised that we tell her Mummy has a baby in her tummy a lot. She was trying to immitate the bump!

The Bump at 31 weeks, a couple of days ago:

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Matilda with Coconut, venturing out of "mummy's" shirt for once:

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She still doesn't really speak Greek, although she understands it quite well. She's started repeating things I say in Greek though, which is a good start. Yesterday morning, I said "S' agapo Matilda" (I love you Matilda for the non-Greek) and she said "Sapapo... mummy!"

She is still, however, a horrible climber. Her latest is climbing in our armchair, over the arm of the armchair, onto the windowsill, standing behind the curtain and saying "peebo" to the people walking outside.

Matilda playing her favourite game, "Cow-Head." Apparently, putting a cow on a person's head and watching it fall off is the height of humour. The cow disagreed.

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You think it's easy being a baby, try walking a mile in MY shoes.

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And after such a hard day, they STILL expect me to tidy up my teddies!

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