The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Pembrokeshire, ho!

So, little Fanglet, here we are, safely ensconced in Pembrokeshire.  Miles from a mobile phone signal but the wireless works a right treat.  It has only taken your poor Grandfather 5 years to be able to get a decent signal but now that he has one. . . well, you get the idea.

We drove up Christmas morning after a lovely dinner at Miss H and Mr J's.  This has become our Christmas Eve tradition: an early supper with them and then early to bed to drive to Wales.  I awoke after a fitful night of sleep at 0509 and dragged your father up with me, my motto being 'If I am going to suffer, well, it will be a bumpy ride for you too.'  This is compounded by the fact that I should not be spoken to for the first 45 minutes to an hour after I wake up.  It is just easier.

The roads were clear and the car, which had not wanted to start at all the evening before, drove like a dream.  We arrived in time for a trip to the Salutation and a few rounds of snooker (no, Mama didn't play.  I just snarked from the sidelines).

Christmas dinner was a gorgeous affair and we've had a really lovely time.  Everyone has been convivial and genuinely happy to see one another, which is always nice.  Yesterday, I lazed around and today I am making a bit more of a concentrated effort to do some reading on Henderson, Louisiana, for my PhD.  I've purchased Allen Toussaint's latest album "Bright Mississppi" and Joe Henry's latest 'Blood From Stars,' so that you and I have something to contemplate over the next few months.  Joe Henry is, in a word, genius.  Maddening, eclectic, genius.  And dead sexy.  So it is not really a surprise that he'll make up a large part of your musical education.  He records for the Anti record label and has also branched out into producing.

Tomorrow we head back to London where we'll have dinner with Mr B and Miss Z, and possibly your Auntie L.  We'll stop off in Swansea to see a dear friend and then on our way.  Provided we can make it up your grandparents' drive.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Holiday Blahs

So, dear little  Fanglet, off we go on a holiday adventure to Wales on Xmas morning.  We will be visiting your father's parents, your Auntie K and Uncle JT.  We'll make them southern-fried, yet, my little darling.  It will be an adventure because a) it snowed this week and England has tried to ground to a halt as a result and b) your  grandparents live miles from a decent cappuccino machine.

This week has -- in a phrase -- sucked ass.  I lost my voice Friday, going quickly from sounding like Lauren Bacall for all of twenty minutes to sounding like James Earl Jones on helium. (Speaking of Mr Jones, who is a hotty, if anyone is thinking about buying me a little present, I would love to see him in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello. I'm just saying. . . ).  By Saturday evening, I was down for the count and desperate for distraction.  We went to R and E's for a birthday celebration (bringing cake -- of which we ate none) and spent an uncomfortable evening being insulted by a 5'0 Chinese woman who was vocally horrified by the size of my belly ('I wasn't that big until I was 8 months! What HAVE you been doing?') We left early (your father WAS NOT hungover) and watched season 1 of The Wire on DVD whilst I ate copious amounts of fruit sorbet and cried.

Watching The Wire, I have decided that I am most like the Lester Freeman character. Jaded but true blue, with a love of research.  Last night, we watched the episode where poor, sweet Wallace -- the foster child of my dreams -- gets shot and I was quite possibly a bit irrationally upset about this development.  I took it very personally and cried for about an hour.

Mama might need to start watching a different series.

On Monday, we were vaccinated against Piglet's Demise, also known as Swine Flu/H1N1.  The end result has left us feeling like we have. . . guess. Guess! Wait for it!  Yaay! The Swine Flu!  The needs of the many, little Fang. The needs of the many.

Things are, however, looking up. It turns out that I had 2.5 vacation days left, so I am now off on 29 December and 4 January (sadly, these 2 days are slightly marred by doctor appointments) and a half day on 7 Jan, which is just before we go to see your Gigi (which is what I've decided you'll call your Great-great grandma Lo).

Friday, 18 December 2009

20 weeks and 2 days. Or 5 months. Your call.

Dear Fanglet

So, there you are (this is two weeks ago and a bit, now.  The dress was a total find -- how could I have forgotten thrift shops existed in my pregnant haze is beyond me -- from Oxfam and it cost me all of £6. Sadly, the Nokia E71 I thought was such a great little number is a piece of crap so the picture looks a bit odd and you can't see my shoes (also from oxfam, which are this great oxblood brown leather - £5! 5 freaking pounds!) but seriously, I've not been very good at documenting this whole pregnancy wardrobe thing.

Tonight is your first black tie dinner at the East India Club, for which I am wearing an Isabella Oliver gown (black, sadly, although if I had been a bit faster off the mark, you'd be wearing this gorgeous Temperely number in a Teal green. Phwoar), with Hellenic jewelery that your Papa bought for me (read, I bought, handed to him and said 'Give this to me. It is a hanukkah present.' -- In fairness to your Pa, he has excellent taste in jewelry and design but he's been busy and well, I wanted this necklace, bracelet, and earring set and it was on sale, etc.) Your Papa, as I have hinted will be in black tie. We will have fun. I will try not to bare my teeth at anyone.

You've been a busy bee this week, lightly tap-dancing your way across my belly. I feel very enamoured of you, as though you are some sort of wild, exotic creature I've managed to coax into visiting.  We have had no doctor's appointments this week (I know! What will we do with ourselves) but I am fighting off yet another cold -- sigh -- and it promises to be a doozey.

And now, off to the hair dressers. We won't discuss how I've forgotten my evening shoes so will be going around the dining room in stocking feet. The dress is long and my ankles look like chubby hairless dachshunds.       

Next time, I shall horrify and embarrass you on the importance of grooming during pregnancy. I know. You're so looking forward to the outside world.

Friday, 11 December 2009

A little Patsy Cline is good for the soul

'Heart break, heart break. . . What does it matter how my heart aches. . . '

Poor Fanglet.  You are really getting quite fed up with doctors, etc.  And you really dislike ECGs and ultrasounds, so much so, I think if you could have gotten any further away from the scanner, you'd have been climbing up my esophagus.  It must be said, I've had my fill as well.  And we won't talk about how heart-breaking it is to watch little children riddled with illness, their bodies weak and pallid, soldiering on without a care in the world or the agonized hope and love in their parents' eyes as they watch their kids being kids.  Or how painful it is to watch your father sit there, taking this all in, terrified that you're going to be one of these children and he'll have to go on being so brave he might break. 

It is also decidedly unhelpful to make comments like 'Well, the heart looks mostly normal but is missing a flappy bit that we would expect to see,' and then go on to say 'but that might be normal, so we'll just have you come back.'  Nothing definite, just plodding cold-fished, medical speak that I am starting to think means 'We're bored! You're our new play thing until something more ABNORMAL comes along.'  I am torn because I know they mean well and I know how lucky we are -- you and I -- to have access to this kind of care.  But I do wish they'd get a clue.

Tonight is my office holiday party.  I know Mama doesn't talk a lot about her work here. One should not blog about one's employer, so I won't. I will however say that Mama works with archives and records. Lots of them. They are sometimes quite old records but more recently they are things called 'born digital' and no, I don't think Andy Williams will be singing a sequel to 'Born Free' on to the Top 40 with that one.  Mama also goes to school, although it is up for debate how often she is really 'at school' and is working on something she'll tell you all about later. Right now, I need to eat some more of that yogurt, pumpkin seeds and dried banana stuff.  That was too good.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Little Jazz. . . baby that's me.

Or in this case, Fanglet, it shall be you.  In fact, I think I've just come up with a holiday card idea for next year involving you, Josephine, and a Carol Channing wig.  Oh, yes! I do look forward to 'mocking the baby.'  It will be a favorite game, I can already tell. 

I'm not sure what people who were having children did before parenting classes.  One can only assume that they made baby hides into handbags and shoes and stews out of the innards.   Morbid, I know.  But seriously, I know parenting is challenging (I used to be a nanny and dude, some of those kids are FUCKED up.  And yes, your mother just swore on your blog.  Bad Mama! Bad!).  I get that the world as one knows it changes and that I cannot possibly be prepared and blah, blah, ever-loving blah.  I know this intellectually and soon, I will know this emotionally and mentally (let's hope it doesn't involve a padded room, applesauce through a straw, or drastic wardrobe decisions involving an abuse of plaid).  I am not ready as I'll ever be, I'm just along for the ride.  And really, truly, little tomato of mine, what else can I be?  I only know you from the way you move and what you like to eat.  (Or don't -- based on the Jerusalem artichoke soup reaction from last night.  Or maybe you loved it. I know I did. Damn good soup).  As far as I'm concerned, the rest will come along as it comes along.  Fortunately, our class will take place at the Vortex, a jazz club in Dalston/Kingsland where some of the finest Vietnamese food this side of Saigon can be had for a song.  Did I mention salt beef bagels as well.

And ask people who know me: this is a bit unusual. I tend to be a mite controlling. A bit anal. A bit pre-planned. Enjoy the spontaneity whilst its here, kid.  I'm already planning your bar/bat mitzvah wardrobe.  So there.

So,  yesterday we had two medical appointments: one with our Community midwife and one with Dr F.  The community midwife seems to be on her game but really wasn't that supportive about the idea of a home birth at this stage. Or maybe she thought it was just too early to really discuss.  However, it did strike me as foreboding that a) she knew about our rather confusing journey thus far and b) well, I forgot what 'b' was, but there certainly is one. 

Dr F has decided we need yet another round of scans. Seriously, how many ultrasounds does 1 person and 1 baby need? At what point is it appropriate for me to tell them to 'get stuffed?'  You don't like it and I'm not overly keen on the repeated invasion of your privacy (not mention that gel is C O L D, little baby).  And the hospital is a drag; every time we go there, I leave with the sniffles.  Not cool, Fanglet. Not cool.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Doors, Windows and Donkey Flesh

When your uncle and I were younger, our dad used to get so irritated with us for standing  smack bang in front of him whilst he was trying to watch the telly by saying 'You make a better door than you do a window.'  I was talking about this with my colleague at work today and he started laughing.  'In spanish, we have the saying: "La carne de burro no es transparente," which translate 'Donkey flesh isn't transparent.'

Now, one thing you should know about your mother is that I love a bargain. I love well-made, well-crafted as well, but I loathe paying retail. It goes against my principles. So don't be surprised if a lot of what you are greeted with come from places like: Nursery Value. You've also been gifted a huge amount of things from your Auntie A and Uncle JH and their daughters the Swedelets, among all of the others.  We're very luck, my love, to be surrounded by pragmatic and generous people.  It allows Mama to keep her feet in the style they are accustom to. . .

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Don't think of waterfalls, don't think of waterfalls. . .

Dear Fang

For the last few months, I've had a little infection in my urinary tract. I know, I know.  More information about your mother than you ever wanted  to know.  But work with me, here, because there is a story about to unfold.

I've spent a great deal of my life in various stages of such an infection.  Sometimes,  this is due to taking too many baths,  sometimes,  it is because I've changed a laundry detergent or other factor.  Often,  it was because I consumed enough coffee to make even Tourette sufferers  marvel at my twitching and short temper.  A host of reasons, really.  Anyway, I  digress.  

Since you and I became partners in crime,  I've had to give numerous samples of blood and urine.  You'd think I was on probation for dealing or possession,  or the like.   I keep a little log in my phone (I know, I know; again TMI) calendar of these donations.  Not including the 17 pregnancy tests I took with you (again, I know,  I'm a freak but I just wanted to MAKE SURE you were in there to stay),  I've given 5 scheduled samples of urine in the last 4.5 months.  Every time I go for any medical appointment, I give a sample. And each time I give a sample,  I get a letter saying I have to come back and give another sample (if you're keeping count,  that means we're now at 9 'hospital' samples, not counting the one I left today at the hospital).  And the last few times I've been to the GP, I've mentioned 'Oh, by the way, it is very uncomfortable when I go to the loo. I've cut down on sugar, caffeine, etc., to see if that helps, but to no avail.  I think I may have an infection.'  And the GP responds 'You're overreacting. Some people just experience discomfort when they pee.' Yeah, Fang. If someone ever says this to you, you have my permission to thump them and say 'Suck it, TWINK!'  Because a urinary tract infection is like peeing needles of freaking fire.  No lie.

Anyway, last week,  I dragged my pained aching body to the doctor.  The car stalled as I turned onto the road leading to the doctor's office and I stood in the rain, in my pajamas (don't ask; it was a low day), trying to push the car into a parking space.  3 strangers saved me and the car and I walked into the surgery like heavily pregnant walking corpse.

When I finally got in to see the Duty Call doctor -- who was 25, if she was a day -- I gave her my rundown of symptoms and she gave me a vial to pee in. I know! More pee! Woohoo! She then sent the vial to the lab and told me that there was nothing that could be done to make me feel better that I wasn't already doing.  She also said that 'mixed growth' meant I wasn't giving my sample properly and that 'some people experience discomfort when they pee.'

On Monday the Dr called with the results of my most recent sample. I phoned her back. She phoned me. And so it went. I phoned this morning at 0830 before we went to our scan appointment. I left a message. I left my phone number. I left so many different ways to contact me that I made myself and the receptionist dizzy. And after the scan, I stopped in to the clinic.

Finally, at about 1pm the Dr called back to say 'Hey, you DO have an infection! So, I'll prescribe you antibiotics that won't harm Baby.'

'That would be good.' (Me, looking around for Jennifer Gray who played 'Baby' in Dirty Dancing, which is what I automatically do when people mention 'Baby.'

'Are you on any oral contraceptives?'

'Um, no. I'm 20 weeks pregnant.'

'Oh. Did I know that?'


Oh, Fang. It is going to be a long walk to week 40, pettest.

And in other news, you have a very big belly! And you look like a baby now not a shelled turtle! Times are indeed changing. Take that, postal clerk who had the gall to ask me if I was 'pregnant or something?'