October 28, 2004

Couch dancing

It's true, my punkin, that pregnancy takes a large toll on your mother. It is causing major changes in the way she looks, how she feels, and to a large extent, what she feels. The emotional rollercoaster that is her life at the moment has been referenced before in every pregnancy book known to man, but it is the emotional shift in me as a man that is captivating my interest today, and therefore will form the body of this dissertation.

Whilst not wanting to talk at further length about my adventures in the gym (I know some of our readers are already getting bored with that), I can say truthfully that feeling like I'm getting stronger is helping me to feel like I'm going to be emotionally prepared for your arrival.

Other things are happening too. Watching movies that would previously have had me cringing at their manufactured tearjerkiness now have me reaching for the kleenex as the symphony builds to its climax while the firetrucks circle the misunderstood ex-husband cradling his wayward gifted child who's been injured in the explosion of the virus manufacturing facility that was controlled by the corrupt vice president of the tinpot foreign nation hellbent on wiping out life liberty and the American way whilst simultaneously shifting $10 billion in counterfeit postage stamps to his South Pacific hideaway.

Any Law and Order SVU episode must now be carefully vetted so as to ensure that there are no babies or children being harmed, kicked, spat on, yelled at or otherwise traumatised, for fear of triggering a crescendo of weepage from the couch.

Elliot Stabler is the man of the moment, pumpkin, although he has awful tattoos

Speaking of tattoos, I am currently considering getting one to commemorate your birth. There's a couple of possibilities, depending on whether you decide to be a boy or a girl, but I can't share them with you now, because doing so would give away your name, and that's a secret.

Love you.

October 27, 2004

on the treadmill, watching the clock

Yesterday, pumpkin, was a very important day for us. We received our first concrete evidence (apart from how cruddy your mum's been feeling) that you are coming to join us. Although again replete with muumuus (this time green rather than pink), our 12 week ultrasound went off without a hitch.

It appears that you are posessed of the standard number of arms and legs, that your spine is strong and straight, that your brain is a good size and that there is 'excellent hemispheric development', and that your fingers and toes are in place. This is all excellent news.

You were, however, very wriggly. Extremely wriggly. In all the wrong ways.

The ultrasound operator wanted you to lie in such a way that she would be able to measure the back of your neck. You refused to. She pounded on the outside of your mum's abdomen. You wriggled around. In the wrong direction. She poked again. You wriggled. Back to the original position. More prodding, more wriggling.

You cannot dispute this, pumpkin, we have it on video, and may, if provoked, play it on special occasions.

Included over to the left is the one photo that we were able to take. Your mum's done some work to make it slightly more legible, but all I can say for now is that in my humble opinion, I think you have a distinguished looking profile, and that there is no doubt in my mind that you will be exceptionally good looking.

Love you.

October 25, 2004

Shaving with the hair straightener

Sometimes, pumpkin, you face a time in your life when you need to try and do something without the right tools. In moments of desperation later in your life you will find out that a 5 cent piece can be used as a screwdriver, and that a pair of needlenose pliers can be used for any multitude of tasks.

To write a webdiary to your unborn child, you need to have something to write about, but that thing can take many forms. Where you run into problems is when you have nothing at all to write.

We're having your 13 week ultrasound tomorrow afternoon, and I'm very keyed up about it. This is the first time we'll be able to say hello to you properly, and there's a lot of tests that we need to do to make sure that you're happy and comfortable. It also gives us a chance to count your arms and legs (two of each, if it's not too much trouble).

While I'm incredibly excited about seeing you for the first time, albeit on a blurry screen in black and white and fuzzy contrast, I'm also incredibly worried about the results of the tests that we're going to do. Still, I'm one of those people who's better than most at worrying about things that I can control, and letting go of the things that I cannot.

Having said that, I'm going to the gym tonight to work off a bit of nervous tension.

Love you.

October 21, 2004

stony miles

The upcoming weekend, my punkling, will be chockablock with things for your mum and I to do. The wedding of the Lovely Robyn and her man Mr Braden is on Saturday, so that should be lovely, and our friend Tracey's birthday party is on Sunday.

People's lives can seem sometimes to be made up of, respectively, milestones and the dead space in between them. Weddings, birthdays, funerals can seem to be markers that show us how far we have come, and what we have achieved. Whilst hesitant to use lines that have been massively overquoted in a million other places, a very famous father once told his then infant son in a song that "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

There is a concerted effort among advertisers and makers of schmaltzy movies to convince you otherwise, but pumpkin trust me when I say that these days, these milestone days, are just like any other. It follows, therefore, that you should not treat them any different to other days. This is not true, and exposes the folly of my argument, but bear with me.

Anyone you ask will tell you that your dad loves a party. This is absolutely the case, and I'm not suggesting for a moment that we should not enjoy and celebrate the passing of years or the joining of two people. What I am telling you, pumpkin, is that the most important part about a wedding is what happens between those two people in the months before it and the years afterward. That a birthday is only of note because it lets us all stop and reflect on what has happened in the year beforehand.

Tiny steps, pumpkin, can take us miles and miles, but we should know that we've come a long way without passing a milestone.

Love you,

October 20, 2004

on further reflection

Having spoken to my "agent" (the fabulous MissJane, with whom we will be travelling to a wedding on Saturday), I've decided that the erstwhile publication that was the originator of the text you see above did not, in any case, deserve to have our diary published in it, and that, furthermore, Ernest Hemingway papered an entire room with rejection letters, and he was, like, famous and stuff. Also, let's face it, if the worst thing that happens is that I don't get this published, then that's not such a bad thing anyway, at least then you won't have to spend your whole life explaining to people that, yes, you are that pumpkin.....

In other news, your mum and I think that we have decided on a name for you if you're a boy. People close to us will know that your girl name was decided long ago, before we were even pregnant, and that we've been strugging for a while with your boy name. I'm not going to give too much away, but I think it would be fun if I give you a few clues.

  • You will not be named, in whole or in part, directly after any of your immediate relatives
  • Your first name will be "normal", easy to spell and say, and leave you open to as little playground teasing as possible.
  • Your middle name is likely (although neither has as yet been chosen yet) to be slightly more esoteric and probably of a different ethnic origin than your first name
  • Your first name in both cases has been around for at least 200 years
  • The "full" version of your boy name stems from Hebrew, and is in the Old Testament, but the shortened version that we will use is slightly newer, but was commonly used as early as 1847 in Ireland
  • Your girl name is old English in origin
I think that's enough for now. Hopefully we don't know anyone clever enough to figure all that out, of course there are some people who know already, but hopefully they can be trusted to keep their traps shut.

Love you.

October 19, 2004

a first for everything

Look pumpkin! It's our first rejection letter!!

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your email and for the proposal of a diary concept for
publication. While I believe the diary will be a beautiful keepsake for your
family, I would not be interested in it for publication. However, as you
say, there is a dearth of stories from the fathers perspective and we would
be interested in taking a look at any stories you would care to submit. Our
contributor guidelines are below.

Thank you once again and congratulations on your impending parenthood.

Kind regards,

October 18, 2004

dr pete says: operation pumpkin is a-ok

We went to see Dr Pete this morning. He prodded your mum a bit, and measured your current domicile, otherwise known as your mum's uterus, and said that it was exactly the size it should be. He tried to talk to you with a small ultrasound machine, but we couldn't hear you. He said it was probably because you were hiding from us.

On Tuesday next week, we're going to go to the ultrasound place, where we should be able to actually see you, and do a couple of tests to make sure that everything's going ok. Your mum's being having a really tough time of things lately. I think that this last 11 weeks or so have probably been among the most stressful periods in her life.

She's grappling with so much stuff at the moment. She's trying to come to terms with the idea of bringing a tiny, gorgeous baby into this world, and working out what we need to change in the way we live our lives in order for that to happen, and at the same time feeling like she's got PMT and a hangover simultaneously all the damn time. Now I know why it's women who have the babies, pumpkin. If men had babies, there would be a machine to do it for us by now.

I'm trying to do the best I can to help her and make her as comfortable as I can, but she's tired and nauseated all the time. Adding to that, she's hungry all the time, so the kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it most of the time, something I've never been particuarly good at rectifying.

I suppose that, in terms of the raft of new skills that I'm going to be forced to accumulate with your arrival, cleaning up the kitchen will be one that I can just add to the list, along with changing nappies, bottle sterilisation (I already know how to do this with beer bottles, it can't be THAT different) and learning new fangled nursery rhymes.

love you.

on the topic of names, I just want to let you know that, regardless of what your name is, it will be spelled correctly. There will be no examples of the type of crime against nomenclature that we see here:

October 15, 2004

*beep beep beep* oh no, the coins keep coming out

Throughout my adult life, pumpkin, I have collected speakers and screens. Anyone who has lived with me for any period of time will attest to the fact that, as my time in any particular abode draws longer, there will be more and more strange shaped boxes accumulating.

I have had, in the past, a tower of televisions in my loungeroom so that I could watch several programs at once, a stereo system in a refrigerator, and many, many, many speakers.

When I moved in with your mother, I was forced to reassess my speaker requirements, given her predilection to "not having a house that is filled with stupid, ugly wires going every which bloody way" (personally I can't understand what she's talking about). After many years of discussions and concessions, I have successfully infiltrated a number of speakers and amplifiers into the house, but just today I ran into a dead end.

After sourcing and pricing a very reasonable upgrade to the stereo system in the blönk, I was informed in no uncertain terms that this was not going to take place, and that instead, expenditure was to be concentrated on "SENSIBLE" things like, I don't know, paying the lovely Dr Pete the Obstetrician (who, although he is lovely, is also very expensive).

I'm unhappy, pumpkin, but I think it's probably time for me to get used to it. I was talking to Samuel's dad the other day, and we were reorganising when we were going to go over there and say hello to him. We noticed that it was the first time that Samuel's arrival had necessitated the shifting of their calendar to take his needs into account, and that this would be ongoing for at least the next 20 years or so.

Speakers, pumpkin, will not keep you healthy. They will not put food in your belly, they will not keep your bum dry. That means that, for the next fifteen years, they go on the back burner. I will upgrade the entertainment system in the blönk, make no mistake, but maybe not for a little while.

Love you.

ps NOT: Lorelei, Jakarta, Beyonce, Noelle, Heaven, Starr, Alyssa, Alexia, Alea, Abigail, Kylah, Kaylee, Madicyn, Kelsee, Myriah

October 14, 2004

The great escape, thwarted

It's tough, pumpkin, coming up with something new to write to you about every day. There's so much going on, both in the world at large, and inside my head, that everytime I sit down to write to you I have to somehow squish it down into something that's both palatable and readable. I try to make every entry in here about a single thing, so that I don't get sidetracked and try to spill my whole brain onto the keyboard (which apart from anything else would make an awful mess).

At the moment,we're trying to get everything set up for when you arrive. To that end, we're taking care of stuff now that we won't have the time, the energy or the money to do after you get here. When I say changes, I mean both physical and mental changes, in the way we live, and in the house that we live in. We're organising, weeding, painting, discarding, buying, decorating, destroying, building, planting and planning all at once. Each weekend we try to have a major project that we think we can knock over in two days, in between our social schedule.

This weekend will be all about making the house a bit nicer by putting the dogs outside. Now this has been tried before, but with less than ideal results. Having a dog who is a criminal genius has led to numerous and creative modifications of original specification in fencing and barriers, after many arrivals home at the end of a long day to find ever more creative methods of escape and destruction being employed by Miss Purdey and assorted cohorts.

This weekend, pumpkin, marks the end of all that. Lovely puppies who until now have led a carefree life of idyllic romping on their parent's bed will be banished to the backyard to think about their crimes. This will be managed by the installation of a special doggy fence that will stop them from tunelling through to next door to 'play' with the rabbit like they did at Christmas. What this also means is that the dogs will not have to go to the toilet in the courtyard anymore, which again, should lead to the courtyard smelling nicer.

I know this all could sound to you like me being selfish and just trying to get a lovely courtyard out of this deal, but the flipside is that the house will be just the same when we come home as it was when we left it. It seems a simple enough idea, but this is a very exciting concept for me, pumpkin, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

This will, of course, only last until you're old enough to be left in the house by yourself, at which stage I will prepare to once again return home and bear witness to destruction on a grand scale.

October 11, 2004

Performance report

Again, Pumpkin, I find it time to write to you, and feel like I don't have terribly much to write to you about. One of the things that happened to us over the weekend is that we got a chance to welcome one of your future likely playmates, and another one of them arrived in the world just this very weekend.

Samuel and Olivia are likely to be some of the first people that you come into regular contact with that are of or about your age, and knowing what I do of their parents, I can safely say that this is a good thing.

We got to meet Olivia this weekend, and she slept through the whole thing so I don't know if she'll remember it when you ask her, but she was helping her dad watch Bathurst (while being asleep, a useful talent I'm sure you'll agree, and one I hope you will emulate later).

We bought her a pretty outfit, but it's about eight miles too big at the moment. It's ok though, her mum says she's growing terribly quickly and will be able to wear it soon enough.

Seeing and holding Olivia was one of those moments that seem to occur to me more often these days than they did previously. I looked at her, tiny, sleeping and innocuous as she was, and began to think about the concept of you taking on that physicality. In many ways to me, and exponentially more so because I'm the parent who's not going through the carnival of joy that is pregnancy, you remain abstract.

I think that once your mum really starts to show (which isn't too far away), that this will begin to go away, but for now I feel like I'm really having trouble with the constant thought that you will be here soon. Having said that, I'm still working on the herb garden and the back and front yards in anticipation of your arrival. As I'm sure I explained to you before, the herb garden is my little "visible growth" project that I have taken on to parallel your development inside your mum.

I hope that this will help me to feel like I'm more connected with your development as it starts to accelerate over the next few months. Certainly it will make the courtyard smell better, so maybe that's enough.

Love you.



Zebrena, Nanzet, Jetti, Meander, Harmony, Vadan, Jayken, Tamree, Cheyenne, Shayla, . Luche, Velandra, Electra

October 07, 2004

Welcome to the Hotel Peeny-Deeny

I've started thinking, pumpkin, about your bedroom.

At the moment, in the bedroom we have identified for you, there resides a large bookcase, the spare bed and the ironing board. Also several computers that are "too good to throw out".

We're not sure what we're going to do about furnishing and/or decorating your bedroom (i refuse to use the word nursery), as with many of the "baby" things that are out there in the world, we shudder at some of the things that people perpetrate on their children in the name of fashion.

You won't be forced to endure a "themed" bedroom, but we will be sure to make it into a room that you can enjoy.

I'm of the firm opinion that you will enjoy some sort of audiovisual capability, but I'm sure your mother will "educate" me away from that, at least for the time being (don't worry, I already have a playstation put on one side for you), and insist on mobiles or some other such lowtech boring stuff.

Books will be a big thing. I know you can't read just yet, but believe me when I say that there are many people in your life (and one person in particular) who will be dedicated to purchasing you many, many, many books. This will, of course, necessitate a bookcase of some description, although I think that the dark wood, nine foot tall monster that lives there now might be a bit too much for you.

Your grandfather Phil has said that he has found you the perfect cot, although seeing as how it's in America, he hasn't quite figured out how he's going to get it here yet. Don't sweat it though, he's very inventive.

Your mum wants to buy a rocking chair to have in your room, but as far as I'm concerned. she can pay for it if that's what she wants, rocking chairs are expensive (at least more expensive than new speakers for the blönk are).

Either way, there will be no Bananas, regardless of their sleepwear. No Tank Engines, called Thomas or otherwise. No Teenage Mutant Power Rangers.

Classic Style, pumpkin. Classic Style.

Love you.

whoops i almost forgot.

Xev, Chiana, Nikita, Gia, Ravin, Gavin, Bailey, Ares, Adjutor, Audet, Kaytaquana, Alliwen, Camianne, Shaynelna, Karlakenya, Adanah, Leezi, Mays, Karjovon, Brandnel, Jaslera, Breedee, Tylee, Allikaylor, Tylera, Shairani

October 06, 2004

Changing bodies

Possumy Pumpkin,

It's interesting being in our house at the moment. Your mum and I are both undergoing experiences that are changing our bodies, and mean that we're hungry and tired basically all the time.

While your mum concentrates on making your elbows, (she's been saying that for weeks , I reckon she must have moved on to making something else by now), I'm working on getting fit.

While I've spoken to you before about the fact that I'm going to the gym and working on my fitness, I don't know that I've talked about why.

Along with the realisation that you're coming, that I'm going to be a father, has been a realisation that you're not going to be a baby for long. That before I know it you're going to be a toddler, then a young child, then an older child, then a teenager and a young adult. Along with that journey comes, in my opinion, a responsibility to be the best role model that I can be.

I was lucky enough as a young person to have two men in my life who I saw as father figures. It is through the combination of their examples that I know both who won Bathurst in 1981 (Dick Johnson in an XD Falcon) and the etymology of the word "telephone" (ancient Greek, "tele", meaning "long distance", "phone", meaning "speak"). The problem that faces me now is that I must distil all of the advantages I gained from this double upbringing and attempt to bring it to you.

Part of that is, I think, trying to make sure that I feel good enough about myself to be able to feel like the example I am providing you is worthwhile. It also means trying now, in this final six or so months before your birth, to plug the gaps in what I had planned for you. Going to the gym a lot and learning to speak French are the two things I have identified as being large changes to myself that I can make in a relatively short time.

In the life of a man, it is true that he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to live up to his father's legacy. Now that I am to be a father myself, I only hope that I can provide for you even a shadow of the paternal upbringing I was privileged to encounter at the hands of two very fine men.

October 05, 2004

Status Quo

I'm not sure, pumpkin of mine, that I have much to tell you today.

I'm at work, which is normal for this time on a Tuesday. I'm going to the gym tonight with Harry, and your mum is going to, as she puts it "stay on the couch and log some chick time" with the able assistance of Liz, some icecream, an unfeasible number of TimTams and some trashy television.

We have found a temporary solution to the refrigerator issue, albeit an old and busted 'loaner' fridge that is not anywhere near as pretty as our 'titanium model' that looked so NICE in our kitchen. It does, however, keep food cold and milk from going off, which the titanium fridge was not so good at.

It's difficult to know what I should be telling you about. In my writing I'm attempting to answer the questions that I think you will have by the time you're old enough to ask them. Will you want to know about football? Car racing? Bathurst is on next weekend, but are you interested in that? What about fashion? Loud ties are in at the moment, and pink is going to be huge this summer. Do you want to hear about gardening? I can post a photo of my new herb garden for you....

Instead of telling you about what's happening in the world, it may be best to tell you about what's happening inside me.

It's only in the last weeks that I have begun to imagine you being here with us. Rather than thinking about Eve's pregnancy as something that is occurring now, I'm beginning to see it as the precursor to you. To you as a baby, sure, that's immediately obvious, but more than that, I'm beginning to think about you as a child.

I'm wondering what foods you will intensely dislike (don't let appearances fool you, your dad refuses to eat peas, brussels sprouts and broad beans, and your mum won't go within 8 feet of baked beans), I'm wondering what your favourite colour will be. I am filled with a desire to see you as a person rather than a tiny lump in my wife's abdomen (although I know that's going to change soon enough).

Your mum asked me the other day if I thought you were a boy or a girl. I think for some reason that you might be a boy, but there's really no difference to me. If you're a boy you'll be loud, intimidatingly intelligent, precocious, prone to injuries caused through experimental play, have gorgeous big blue eyes, and thick blond hair, just like your dad. If you're a girl you will be loud, intimidatingly intelligent, precocious, prone to injuries caused through experimental play, have gorgeous big blue eyes and thick red hair, just like your mum.

Either way, we're on a winner. Love you Pumpkin.


We still haven't chosen your name, and in a continuation of this enormously popular feature, I present more in the names that will not be yours series:

Aelwen, Arwen, Briallen, Drudwen, Ceindrych, Ceiros, Cerian, Ce, Crisiant, Faleiry, Fflur, Eiddwen, Eira, Eiry, Enfys, Eswen, Eurwen, Gwennant, Gwennog, Gwylan, Gwyneira , Haf, Heulwen

also, can you PLEASE ask your assorted grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and assorted hangerson who read this diary every day to start leaving some comments for you? thanks.


October 04, 2004

Listeria: Take Two

So, pumpkin, the fridge died again.

I'm trying to get someone to come and fix it, but these things are fraught with difficulties.

It is a sad fact, when navigating this world, that things that should be simple are often not, and that things that should be very difficult are often very easy for other people to do.

Food in our house needs to exist in two states - frozen or shelf food. This has created some interesting "filling and nutritious" meals from our lexicon of culinary delights, and looks (by the apparent total failure of anyone to do anything about getting our fridge fixed) like it will be continuing for some time.

In fact, if you'll excuse me for a moment, I'm going to pick up the phone and yell at someone about it.

More later.

October 01, 2004

Bear with me

It is likely, punkling, that in the first portion of your life, you will be gifted with any number of stuffed and fluffy animals and other objects. Most of these, particularly early in your life, are probably going to be bigger than you are, and quite likely frighten the crap out of you.

As you grow, however, you will become increasingly more attached to those toys that manage to survive your first few years without being a) chewed by the dogs b) buried c) thrown in the creek d) defenestrated from a moving car etc etc.

These toys will have names, bestowed upon them by you or us, they will carry a few scars into their middle years. I'm sure that at least a couple of them will survive an encounter with Purdey, and probably a couple will need urgent surgery to replace limbs, but hey, that's the way these things work.

I had some stuffed toys when I was very young that stayed with me for some time. One bear in particular, named Gark (that was the sound it made), I had well into my teens. Of course, I took it on a school camp and that was the end of it. My leopard, on the other hand, has survived all such attempts at homicidal activity, and it is still with us today, lurking in his lair at the top of the wardrobe. It is this toy that I will present to you when you arrive.

He doesn't have a name (other than Leopard, but then, if your name was Leopard, would you change it?), and his eyes were replaced by buttons about 25 years ago. His tail's been sewn back on more than a couple of times, and there's a few holes in his fur that I'll endeavour to get taken care of before you get here. Apart from that, though, I can attest to him being a worthwhile and excellent companion for such pursuits as watching TV, snuggling, and guarding sleeping infants from monsters.

We'll sew his tail back on if he needs it, we'll replace his eyes if you feel the need to rip them out. Leopard has survived 30 years with me, he can survive you.

Love you.