Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hello Sailor!!

Continuing the theme of the joys of early pregnancy, this one is less tiresome, particularly for LK.

Massive boobs!

Mirroring my last pregnancy, it's the first 'symptom' I developed within days of that positive pregnancy test. I went from a bashful 34 B to a hello boys C+ cup practically overnight. Slow down girls! A few days before I found out I was pregnant I was trying to squash myself into my normal sports bra whilst getting ready for the gym and thought 'hmm, that's a bit odd then'. Genius alert!

LK has let it be known that if I were to consider getting a restorative boob job post kids (and in his defence he has only brought it up after I did first), that my present state would be a more than appropriate permanent size. Of course he's probably only saying this because I have a strict 'look but don't touch policy' going because Lord Almighty they are sensitive enough to detect a gnat fart. I have to brace for impact if I run to catch the phone and I've thrown pride aside and just held them for dear life while jogging recently (yes I'm feeling so much better these days, exercise isn't just a pipe dream).

Apparently my new physique has been noticed by more than LK, well that's a redundant statement actually, because *damn* all men notice boobs - I swear I got a half price honey-baked ham last week on boob-discount. Anna is aware that she's going to get a sibling in January. In fact, she thinks she's pregnant with a teeny-tiny baby she's named Farrar. I'm not going to go into the psychological ramifications of a three year old experiencing a phantom pregnancy.........she thinks she's pregnant because I am, and we're both girls, ergo she must be having a baby too. Now, I don't have much of a pregnancy bump yet, although I am measuring about a month ahead of the game compared to last time. My stomach muscles have clearly given up on the fight. I merely look 'thicker' than usual, as if I've just had a large curry and gone 'sod it, I'm not holding this in'. Attractive. So when Anna and I were talking about our babies, she said 'Farrar is in my tummy eating my food, I fink your baby is living in your boobies they are BIG boobies'.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Je Suis Fatigue

Of the myriad early pregnancy symptoms (which I intend to detail over the coming weeks, you lucky, lucky readers...) fatigue is the one that's kicking my arse.

Fatigue isn't really the right word though, it's too fluffy, too insubstantial for the stopping me dead in my tracks tiredness I'm experiencing. Exhaustion is probably more accurate, although that implies tiredness after an activity, and sometimes, just the act of getting up and dressing myself has me done for the day.

I'm not making this sound pretty am I? Let me just say for the record that I am over the moon excited about this new little critter I'm a-cooking. Positively giddy with the thought of getting to meet him or her early next year and giving their fleshy babyness a good squeeze. See, the hyperbole runneth over. Detailing the misery is much more entertaining.

I've already mentioned how I can, and do, fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Thankyou Noggin Channel for entertaining my child while I slip in and out of consciousness. I am very ready for phase 2, the second trimester, to get properly underway, where I become a whirling dervish of getting-stuff-done. Or maybe I'm misremembering. I am getting better, and feel like issuing an email to all my close friends apologising for my flakiness over the last couple of months. I make plans that sound wonderful at 9am when I am incongruously feeling human, then issue phonecalls about 3pm when drained of all but the ability to breathe I cancel all my plans and lie on the couch like a Victorian woman with an attack of the vapours.

I have a great deal of respect for the human body, and not just because while typing this I'm also creating a spleen, a couple of ears and an endocrine system. No, it's a sly cookie because if you're doing too much (and that would appear to include working full time, mothering a 3 year old, being a landlord to the unwashed masses, and trying to refinance....) it makes you stop. Dead. These days my body shuts down when I'm pushing myself too hard. After a long stressful day I practically crawl to the couch, literally unable to do another thing. It sounds overly dramatic, but it's the kind of tiredness that would make you able to sleep on the top of a pile of hedgehogs, or on a long haul flight even. That tired. 

LK has been the biggest victim of all these shenanigans. We'll be out somewhere and I'll start to feel a little sick and a little tired. No big deal, but I'll mention the need to go home, soon. Then five minutes later I'm screaming 'Jesus Christ man, we need to GO HOME NOW, what's your problem, why don't you ever listen, WE NEED TO GO HOME NOW. OH GOD IT'S TOO LATE I'M BEYONE EXHAUSTED AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU MAN YOU.' It really happens that fast, and the poor boy looks at me with barely concealed terror and flees. Because that's what it feels like. One second you're a little tired and ready for a sit down, two minutes later you feel like you've been up til 3am at some college party across town with a mate who was supposed to be walking home with you but is instead pursuing the man of her dreams upstairs, and your hangover's starting to hit and you're so tired you could curl up in to a ball and sleep under the kitchen sink, except you don't know any of these people, and God you just need to teleport into your own bed right now or you're going to die.

A couple of days of this has LK so fine-tuned to my 'moods' that if I say I'm feeling a little tired he'll have downed his beer, have Anna packed and ready in her car seat, car keys in hand before I even have chance to utter another word.

I am clearly not the only one eager to get these first few weeks done with. 

Am I the only one? I will occasionally look through the 'newly expecting' message boards online and find everything from 'help, is my toenail polish going to poison my baby' to 'are plastic bottles going to kill my baby', but no-one is mentioning this sleeping 16 hours a day thing. Is it psychosomatic? Am I just checking out from my crazy life?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Morning Sickness

When the heroine of a novel finds out she's pregnant, it's always by throwing up first thing in the morning, followed by a joyful *gasp* best get that crib down from the loft again Cyril.

I'm lucky, I've never really had morning sickness. I appear to favour the low-grade all day nausea reminiscent of recovering from a nasty bout of stomach flu. It has been particularly bad with this pregnancy - and I'm not jumping to any conclusions here about different symptoms meaning different foetal sex - although crikey moses you should hear my father-in-law with his questions about whether I 'feel any different this time round'. I'm so glad producing a son and heir is the genetic responsibility of the father. I'm just the vessel. Don't shoot the vessel if your son is the last remaining male K in the family (LK is fresh out of male relatives of breeding age. No pressure).

Maybe it feels more like motion sickness, it's hard to say. It certainly gets worse with stress or fatigue, which would more than explain why I've been having such a rough time these last 6 weeks or so. The only things that make it go away are rest (ha!) and simple carbohydrates. I've been munching my way through an entire Italian province-worth of pasta with cheese. No wonder my belly is already beginning to 'pop' a fact not entirely explained by the baby being the size of a small kiwi fruit at present.

Some women have an absolutely dreadful time with 'morning' sickness, mine is just a constant low-grade irritant. I do struggle a bit in certain situations, such as, hmm, when I was 7 weeks pregnant and LK took Anna and I to the 'marine mammal rescue center' bizarrely located in a sleepy residential area in Santa Barbara. We struggled for years to get building permits to update an already existing building. This outfit managed to get planning permission for an entire seal sanctuary in their back garden?!

Anna was in hog heaven. She is obsessed with animals at present (pronounced animaux), and 'sea creatures' are at the top of the pile. To have the opportunity to show her round the seal sanctuary, where they were nursing baby seals and sea-lions back to health was all she could have wished for. Except, have you ever caught a whiff of a seal? They chuffing reek! And sick seals? If anything was to confirm or deny the start of early pregnancy nausea, it was a visit to this place:

I realise this photo makes it look like sea-lion Auschwitz, but the pups were in very good hands and were merely baying because they were hungry.

Hungry for this:

I was just barely keeping a lid on the bile, when they showed us what they fed the seals that were too weak to digest a whole mackerel. A mackerel smoothie!! Fish mashed together in a food processor to form a vile reddish-brown liquid. I didn't even have time to take a photo I'm afraid - I bolted.

Of course, at 6 weeks pregnant we weren't really announcing our good news to all and sundry so my mad dash made me look like a delicate Daphne when in actual fact just writing the above has me eying the toilet. Bleurgh.

Still, all this good stuff will pass, and I'm teetering on the brink of my second trimester so I'm hopeful that it's some point bloody soon. Because sheesh, it seems only with pregnancy are people so cavalier about you feeling awful. Nonstop nausea? *Chuckle* Don't worry love, it'll pass in a month or so, not long!!

Six weeks and counting....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Well That Would Explain Things........

If it seems like I've been phoning it in a bit lately, it's because I've had something else on my mind - and not just the mortgage.

I'm pregnant!

Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire. More like the fire raging up and consuming the frying pan. According to our dates, creature #2 was conceived on the flight back from England, which caused a few raised eyebrows I can tell you... I remember it being a long flight, but hmm, I seem to have forgotten the mile high club incident. Funny that. I do remember writing that I felt curiously calm on returning from England. Honestly, a girl lets her guard down once and *BANG*.

Quite literally actually.

I am really delighted, it's been a long time coming, which is a subject of another post entirely. Obviously, the timing is somewhat suspect (not the conception - I swear I'm a good girl), no, I'm talking about impending financial doom, moving house (hopefully) in the next few months, construction, and banking on an upturn in the economy. Ha bloody ha. Despite all that, I'm not lying awake at night worrying about the future, aren't pregnancy hormones fantastic? No, I'm not lying awake at all because I'm completely exhausted.

I am so very ready to start feeling better.

Lying on the couch while wave after wave of nausea hits, falling asleep at the drop of the hat, while all very biologically appropriate is such a chuffing waste of time!! I have things to do - yet only a few days ago I came home and sat down for five minutes to watch 'Wonder Pets' with Anna, and woke up over an hour later with Anna hugging me screaming 'I love Oswald'!

Thankyou TV for babysitting my child.

I am thrilled to bits to have creature #2 on the way, and there is so much more to write about, but honestly, I just need a bit of a lie down right now, I appear to be more than a little knackered.

More Mongrel Needed

Last night the Lakers failed to win the play-offs, meaning they don't get to call themselves "World Champions" (don't even get me started on that one), or Œ"Masters of the Universe" or any other such over-achieving claptrap.

Neither do they get to call themselves a team worthy of respect in my book. They were seriously lacking in "mongrel" a wonderful term from my Aussie friend R. who uses it to describe that balls-to-the-wall kind of scrappy fight necessary for any successful athlete.

It was game six of the play-offs against the Celtics. The 110th game of the 2007-2008 season. LK is a devout Lakers fan and, barring being marooned in the north of England, he watched every single one of those games. I'm generally happy with watching the last five minutes of any game (five minutes that take about half an hour, with time-outs, commercials, and general shenanigans), but LK will watch the whole thing start to finish. That's almost two solid weeks, 24 hours a day watching the Lakers.

Hmm, I should be able to parlay that into some babysitting time I thinkŠ........

Anyway, it all came down to last night's match, sorry "game". There we were, purple and yellow bedecked, gathered at a friend's house to watch an absolute travesty unfold. You know it isn't pretty when hardened fans say Œ"if I was at home right now I'd turn this shit off". It rapidly became apparent that the Lakers were unable to stem the tide, but the fourth quarter was embarrassing. The game needed to be euthanised, particularly for the sake of any kids watching, because what were they learning, ­ - if you're not going to win don't even try? Sadly, with the exception of perhaps Kobe, our professional athlete prima donnas were just phoning it in for the last quarter. Being English, I'm no stranger to having my sporting pride handed
to me on a plate (or more frequently on the end of Predator curling a perfectly executed penalty past our dazed and confused goalie). This was shocking though because they just gave up; no pride no dignity. LK was losing it, completely oblivious to our 3 year old sponge sitting next to him who provided the only entertainment of the evening by repeating:

"Dude, you gotta dunk that shit".

Well said Anna.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Feathers and tiaras and fairy wings oh my!

Somehow I could see this exact party playing out just like this in the Castro in San Francisco.

I had so much more fun than I thought I would. Helping a flea year old open her presents is much better than any Christmas or birthday I've personally experienced in a long time. However nice it is to get a gift certificate to a spa, or new pair of earrings, it's infinitely better to watch someone else get a sea animal sticker book, or a bath-time Princess kit. Or maybe I'm just losing my mind.

Each present she received was met with sheer delight. She loved everything, from the cardboard 'fairy wand' given by a very intuitive friend, to the bubble bath filled plastic sea creatures in another parcel. Absolute raptures. At one point, bleary-eyed and tufty-haired when opening presents first thing, she turned to us and said 'aren't we having so much fun?'. I'm going to revel in this for as long as possible, because I know the day will soon be upon us when she yells 'but I asked for a pony you morons, my day is ruined'.

She was less ecstatic *of course* about the longed for Playmobil aeroplane and airport we special ordered. In the run-up to her birthday, we'd asked what she most wanted, and she always said 'a airplane'. That and 'candy' were the only two items on her wish list. The plane and airport took an aeon to assemble, but was the best fun I've had in ages.

I'm actually thinking of asking for a Playmobil 'hospital' or 'shopping mall' for my own birthday just so I can spend another blissful couple of hours putting all the plastic pieces together. I'm not being sarcastic, it was a perfectionist nerd's wet dream. Anna has warmed to the idea of the plane (I think she was initially disappointed in the fact it wasn't going to fly....). She passes many a happy ten minutes taking every member of the cabin crew in to the aeroplane toilet and warning them that it will be noisy and that they must hold on to them's Mummys to be not be scared. Apparently she still has some residual issues with the noisiness of aeroplane flush toilets...

I made her cake from scratch (scratch includes a cake mix if you're me, but the icing was pure talent). It was actually the second attempt. The first failed to emerge from the tin and trying to pry it out left me with a virtual confectioners jigsaw puzzle of crumbs. LK took one look at the carnage and said 'we're not throwing that away'!

Whatever, dude.

Round two with cake tins buttered to within an inch of their lives was more successful. HRH demanded 'lellow' icing and I managed to find real Smarties at the local Indo-China market (where else?!). Smarties have changed a lot since I were a lass. They are now made with all-natural food colourings and look slightly anaemic and odd. Or maybe they'd just been on the shelf since 2003. I'm sure they are much better for you without the food colourings, and the orange ones do still taste orange, but I miss a nice bit of E129 and E127 with my cake and ice-cream.

On the English birthday party theme, we also played 'pass the parcel' a childhood game that I really loved. For those uneducated, it's a game that involves a gift that has been wrapped many, many times, with occasional smaller gifts scattered throughout the layers. Music is played and the parcel is passed from child to child. When the music stops, whichever child is holding the parcel gets to unwrap a layer. Completely novel to every child at the party, although it's amazing how quickly those yankee doodlets cottoned on to the fact that if you passed the parcel r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y you stood a better chance of winning. Smart cookies. I mis-calculated though and Anna ended up winning the grand prize which was accidental nepotism I swear. The prize was The English Roses by Madonna - the first in a 'series' no less. Hmm, I think you can keep the rest Madge.....

Overall the day was a huge success. Less harried than her first birthday, and more child-participation than her second. Roll on #4.

Well, just as soon as I've had a year to recover of course.....

Friday, June 06, 2008

It Takes A Village

Anna is turning "flea" in a few short days, and while I think it's miracle enough that LK and I have managed to feed, nurture and generally keep her alive for three whole years, I'd be wrong if I didn't take this opportunity to thank everyone else who's had a hand in growing her to be the loving, happy, precocious creature she is.

Apart from Lance's Dad, our families both live thousands of miles away from us. While their love and support has never been in question, it has also sadly been thousands of miles removed from our every day lives.

We went into this parenting lark knowing we didn't have the traditional family help so vital to raising a child. Fortunately we went in to it without realising you'd be insane to contemplate bringing up a child without a support network. Luckily we had you guys. Awesome people who fed, clothed, entertained and loved our child. People prepared to invite her to parties, to Easter Egg hunt with her in May, to have her sleep over, to watch her while we worked, drank, and played.

I can't express what it's meant to me, and to us, but most of all to Anna. To know that she has a village of her own:


Monday, June 02, 2008

I Would Never Die For Manchester United

My Mum and Dad both grew up in Manchester. In fact, they both went to the same primary school (kindergarten), a relic of which is a fantastic photo of them sitting cross-legged and unsmiling in the same class picture. This always had me scanning my primary school photos wondering who the lucky lad would be. Please not Andrew Atkinson. Please not Andrew Atkinson. Little did I know that my future spouse was living thousands of miles away and was already 53 (well, nearly).

My Mum supports Manchester United, my Dad supports Manchester City. My Dad's Dad supported Man U in the legendary days of the Munich Air Disaster and Busby's Babes. My Dad supports City and reveled in the glory days, of well...I'm at a bit of a loss here (hi Dad!). My brother and I support United because Dad supports City. By rights Anna should be a City supporter, something that is not likely to happen unless we move to Manchester within the next few years, because as anyone will tell you, only real Mancunians support City, people who've never been to Manchester support United.

I will readily admit that I've seen Huddersfield Town play as many times as I've seen United play (not many). In fact, out of the two of us, LK has seen Man U play most recently. My brother had an extra ticket to a Man U v Liverpool game, traditionally the most hardened grudge match of the season. He chose to invite LK instead of me, which rankled a bit at the time, but did wonders for their bonding, and I console myself with this fantastic shot of two of my favourite people:

So not all bad, and yes it is snowing on them and even though my brother was born in the wilds of Leicestershire, he is about to die of hypothermia. LK on the other hand is wearing a coat made from an entire flock of unfortunate sheep and was both toasty warm and oddly American-looking at the same time.

Even though I've seen Halley's Comet as many times as I have United, I refuse to be labeled a fair-weather fan. I at least have a little bit of provenance, and I've been a stalwart fan through some pretty trying times, the worst of which was probably us losing the league to Leeds in 1992. Not pretty considering how many Leeds United fans I was at school with.

So I'm not entirely a glory girl, although *cough* we did happen to win both the Premier League and the Champions League this year. Sadly knocked out of the FA Cup by eventual winners Portsmouth.

I wouldn't exactly call myself a die-hard fan though. As I found out quite suddenly one freezing morning in 1994.

I was with some friends from College, out on the town in London. We caught the last tube on the Northern Line to God knows where. We even had to sit for 45 minutes while they locked down the entire underground network as they'd found a suspicious package at Leicester Square station. About 1 o'clock in the morning. That's when my then boyfriend turned to me and said 'oh shit', not exactly an auspicious start to a conversation, followed by 'where's my bag?'. It was his bag, left on Leicester Square station, that had caused the furore. After notifying the authorities, letting them know it was more pants and toothpaste than incendiary device, and receiving a thorough dressing down we finally arrived at our destination in the wee hours of the morning. Stumbling up the tube station steps we were met with the sight of a nightclub opposite disgorging a pack of about ten absolutely shit-faced Aston Villa fans. Delighted to spy fresh meat they advanced across the deserted high street yelling 'Who The Fuck Are Ya! Who The Fuck Are Ya!'. Villa were to play Man U the next day at Wembley in the then Coca-Cola League Cup. To my absolute chuffing horror, Sammy to my left lifted up his tasteful knitwear revealing his blood-red United shirt underneath. The rest is a bit of a blur. I remember Sammy yelling, 'U-nit-ed! U-nit-ed!' The Villa fans sensing blood, smashed their pint glasses and began charging over to us and there was me thinking 'I'm not one of them, I'm Harrogate Railway if I'm anything. Actually I don't even like football, I like knitting, and not being glassed'. Never one to miss assigning blame I also thought 'fuck my boyfriend and his lost bag, this is all his fault' (we broke up shortly after).

Then, as if by magic the police arrived. Literally as if by magic. A previously completely deserted north London high street, baying Villa fans, Sammy eager for a bit of argy-bargy, and then the boys in blue. In retrospect the Villa fans were probably kicked out of the nightclub, and the police called before we even fatefully emerged from the tube station. All I know is we were bloody lucky and I realized that I was not prepared to die for Man Utd.

I know this just adds fuel to the fire that all English football fans are a bunch of violent thugs, but that's not true. Not even all Villa fans. I have a feeling those blokes would have had a go at us for our taste in knitwear or for our non-Brummy accents. I also wonder what they'd have said if we'd have replied 'The Villa' to their drunken challenge. Perhaps made us name the Villa back four - who knows, it would have been interesting. Either way, I lived to tell the tale

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Glacial Progress

It's slow-going with the battle to have Anna say please. Much like WWI, progress is measured in inches of muddy terrain, and there have been many casualties. Take for example, this gem from last night:

Anna, sidling up to me, placing her fluffy blonde head on my lap, training her sad blue eyes on mine to say:

"I really need some candy, I really do........puhlease"

"Thankyou for asking so nicely. Of course you can have some candy"

"Thankyou Momma."

"Get it for me!"

"Right now!"