December 25, 2004

a momentary lapse of season

so... pumpkin ... it's christmas.

your dad is having trouble typing, as is should be expected at this time orf year.

it is about 839PM on christmas evening, and i am writing to you to say that i have not forgotten you on the most festive day of the year.

we had a fabulous time at your grandfather's house in Thornbury. We missed you but it was good that Emma and Ben were there. I think I should got to bed now, your mum has called a cab, to go to the airport in the morning, (at 1 farking am)) i will talk t you later.

ps i have had somee bereeeress//....\\\

love you.

December 20, 2004

Monday I've got Friday on my mind...

Today's the last Monday of the year for me at work. My day is filled today with tidying up loose ends, finishing off languishing projects and making sure I'll have a clean start when I get back in January.

Your mum's at home this week. She's doing much the same thing at home as I am at work. She's painting things and cleaning, getting the house ready for our guests. For your guests.

You see, apart from the fact that Lovely Lorraine and Jonny are coming to visit us at Christmas, for their first taste of Australia, there are other guests on the way.

Your grandparents, pumpkin, are coming to see you.

Now, let it be said here that I dearly love both your grandfather and your grandmother. That they have consistently shown me acceptance, genorosity and kindness. That they have welcomed me (along with my entire family) into their hearts and their home.

I'm terrified.

What if I'm not doing it properly? Heaven forbid they will decide I'm not being a proper husband or father-to-be. They might take Eve away.

What if your grandfather doesn't think I'm going to be a decent dad? What happens then?

It's all very scary, pumpkin, very scary indeed. I'm not sure that I'm really equipped for this.

Which brings us to the whole question. Am I prepared to be your dad? Certainly I'm trying to get ready for it, but I'm not sure that I'm going about this the right way.

In any case, I love you.

December 18, 2004

It's only rock and roll, but I like it.

Pumpkin, you just went to your first gig.

The Dresden Dolls are a loopy Boston based duo who use piano and drums to rock out. I think you'll like their music, but I'm pretty sure that you won't understand what the songs are all about until you're at least 17, angst ridden, and deeply involved in a love that has never before been experienced by any person living on earth ever, then have that love shattered into a thousand pieces of sorrow by an unfeeling and uncaring world.

As we arrived at the venue, having traipsed up many stairs into a dark, smoky, hot and steamy room, your mum looked around at the litany of cute little goths with waistcoats and bowler hats, pigtails and massive shoes. She poked me and pointed to a couple in much more ordinary clothes, and said in my ear "they don't look like they belong here". I laughed and looked down at my jeans and Blundstones. "We don't look like we belong here either", I said.

But we rocked out, pumpkin. I even threw the horns when Amanda and Bryan launched into an innovative, piano and drums version of War Pigs by Black Sabbath.

Long live rock and roll.

oh, and by the way,

your Dad still loves you. And despite everything else that happens in your life, Pumpkin, remember that at this moment, right now, your Dad remembers what it was like to be 17.

December 17, 2004

Ding dong merrily on thigh

Christmas cheer abounds at this time of year. There's tons of flashing lights and frazzled shoppers clutching frantically for the last box of quality street. People speak of Christmas wishes, happy holidays and family feasting.

For me, though, this Christmas is about you. About you not being here. About this being the last Christmas before you arrive. About this being the last Christmas we're going to spend without a child in our life.

This family hasn't had a Christmas full of children in quite a few years. Liz was the last child in my immediate family, and she turned 21 not too long ago. Requests, pumpkin, for gifts of Midori are not somehow as cute as handwritten notes to the fat man in the red suit asking for a Firetruck.

Of course, you already HAVE a firetruck, so there'll be no need for that anyway.

In any case, Christmas for me has for the last few years been about the food and wine, rather than concentrating so much on the presents. The phenomenal feasts that your Fantabulous Aunt Jann orchestrates are truly marvels to behold, and your Dad's no slouch with a turkey. I'm not sure, by next Christmas, that you'll be up to sampling some of the gastronomic delights on offer, but I assure you that in years to come you'll appreciate them. It's one thing to come from a family of big eaters, pumpkin, it's a different thing entirely to come from a family of big cookers.

There's around a week left to go until the big day. As usual, we're running behind time trying to get everyone's gifts organised, but I'm pretty sure we'll get there in the end.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\News Flash
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Your mum informs me that she just felt you kick for the first time. You want some turkey after all, I suppose. Hi there, kiddo, this is your father speaking. Be nice to your mum, we're going out tonight and I hope she can stay standing up for long enough to see this band.

Love you.

December 14, 2004

Nineteen, Nineteen, N-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-nineteen

So yesterday was an auspicious day, my punkling, We got to see you again.

The 19 week ultrasound was always going to be interesting. In our first one, at a little over 5 weeks, you were too small to see... At our second, at 13 weeks, you wriggled far too much to allow us to take a decent photo of you. The video we took at the 13 week ultrasound was similarly compromised, with some form of gremlin induced problem that wiped the entire thing when we watched it on our VCR.

So you see, pumpkin, we actually, until now, have had very little evidence of your existence that we could share with the world at large. Not that we need "evidence", I mean, no-one thinks that you're a pillow up your mum's shirt, but it will be nice for people to be able to see you.

We bought along your Glamorous Aunt Jann to see the fun, which I figured was only fair, seeing as how she was going to Take Your Mother Shopping, an event that is worthy of a post all to itself.

The process itself went off without a hitch, apart from the hiccups in my brain every now and then.

I think the stage at which I really started to freak was when the lovely ultrasound operator (Narelle this time) began the ultrasound. She put the device on your mum's belly (after thoughtfully warming the gel) and began telling us where your head was. I understood, to this point, that you were growing rapidly, but when Narelle said that your head was down below your mum's belly button, and that your feet were up by her ribcage, the enormity of the situation (and you) took me by surprise.

Apparently your 'pinhead longbody' tendencies are beginning to change, in favour of a more rounded and progressive growth spurt. This is good, but simultaneously terrifying in that you are getting exponentially larger with every passing day.

About 3/4 of the way through the procedure, I remembered that a trained ultrasound operator can easily tell a baby's sex at this juncture, and I asked Narelle if she knew if you were a girl or a boy. She smiled and replied with a resounding "YES!"

It was at this point that your mother poked me.

We had decided long ago, pumpkin, that we were not going to find out your gender until you pop out. That it's immaterial in how we're going to treat you, or what we're going to buy before you're born, and that for that reason we don't need to find out.

Having said that, being right there and having Narelle say that she knew right then was almost too much for me. I'm a big fan, pumpkin, of instant gratification, and your mother knows this.

Hence the poking.

Love you, whether you're a boy or a girl (and only Narelle knows).

December 09, 2004

always depending on the kindness of strangers


The amount of .....


Required in order to have a child is simply astronomical. I'm surprised the human race lasted this long. I mean without a bouncy bubby bassinet, how on earth did Winston Churchill's parents manage? We all know that it's obvious that such luminaries as Ghengis Khan obviously did not have a Phil and Ted's E3 stroller with optional pannier bags, or they would never have even considered rampaging through Asia and pillaging all that stuff.

With that in mind, my sweet pumpkin, we have been trawling various giant babystores (of which I have spoken before), but also, being thrifty folk, we have put out our feelers to see who wants to give what away.

This, pumpkin, is where freecycle steps in. Without wanting to get all evangelical about it, freecycle is an astonishing concept in which people, who have stuff they don't want, tell a big group of people in their local area about it. The chances of this disclosure hitting someone who wants the item in that area is fairly high, given the number of people who subscribe to the list.

So this is how it works, punkling. Someone FABULOUS posts to the list that they have a large box of baby paraphernalia, and that they're in the suburb that your dad works in. Your dad then responds, and is standing on their doorstep within a matter of minutes. They hand your dad a MASSIVE box of babygoods, he stumbles through a few words of thanks and gets on his way.

Thanks a million, Virginia

December 08, 2004

congratulations, you're still in the running towards being Australia's next top pumpkin

So Elliot had its first real stress test last night, pumpkin, and it stood up to the challenge admirably well. Harry and Liz came over for America's Next Top Model.

Now I'm fairly sure that, in the annals of history, 2004 will be seen as a year of not particularly good television. Certainly the offerings in the arena of 'reality tv', which is a new concept to us, having been born only a few years previous to your good self, have been below par.

America's Next Top Model, pumpkin, brings to us the absolute pinnacle, the epitome of good quality reality TV. There are people to hate, and people to love. People to throw things at, and other people to throw things at.

Apparently there's an Australian version in the works, but I'm not entirely sure that it's going to come close to the glory of the US incarnation of this particular TyraBanksian juggernaut.

It brings to mind for me, because my brain is constantly in parent mode at the moment, how I'm going to try to help you in your professional endeavours. How I'm going to cope if you decide to become an artist or an accountant, or a piano tuner or a postman. The simple answer is, of course, that I'll support you in whatever you want to do, but it's slightly more complicated than that.

I've talked to you before about the fact that your life decisions are your own to make, and that we're not going to attempt to influence them one way or the other, but that's a total lie. You CAN be whatever you want to be, with a few notable exceptions. You are hereby forbidden from being a staff member or member of parliament in a "family values" political party. The primary question to ask these people, pumpkin, is whose family they are talking about. Keep in mind that they are most certainly, in many cases, talking about families that do not include those of people we love.

December 06, 2004

You can't take my couch from me

So Elliot arrived on Saturday.

Elliot, the sofa (I'm pretty sure that it's too impressive to be called a couch) that has already been called "the beige suede aircraft carrier".

Elliot, the sofa that Purdey and Kudra are both mortified that they are not allowed to sleep on, or sit on momentarily, or look at funny.

Elliot, on whom four people can comfortably sit for an afternoon's viewing of Whedonesque sci-fi western episodes while munching on chocolate cheescake.

The problem with a massive beige suede aircraft carrier, pumpkin, is that it can look a little bare. This situation necessitated a visit to several purveyours of fine domestic wares later in the weekend in order to procure some soft furnishings to make Elliot look a little less... expansive. Soft furnishings were procured at Ishka, in various lovely shades of red, brown and pink.

It was Wordsworth himself, pumpkin, who said:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

Given, pumpkin, this poem IS about daffodils, but it could just as easily be about the couch. Wordsworth could not have been so transported by his visions of nodding yellow flowers had he been lying on, say, a stinky uncomfortable couch that had been chewed by recalcitrant weimaraners, and was covered in bits of dog bone.

Love you

December 02, 2004

with apologies to banjo

There was movement down in Preston, for the word had passed around
That a pumpkin was most definitely on its way
And would change the Peeny Deenys - It would cost a million pound
So all the gang had gathered on the couch

All the mad and genius family, from their homesteads near and far
Were coming down to see the new cherub
For a family loves a baby, when it's the first of a new brood
And the grandmothers sharpened knitting needles with delight

There was Grandad Ian, who made computers in the old days
Out of wood and rocks and bits of fencing wire
But few could understand him, when speaking etymology
He would tell you stories night and day, not tire

And Grandad Jon from Lincoln way
Came down to lend a hand
He brought the kid the claret and the gold
A Bradford City baby, of that he was damn sure
And probably a striker, if he believed what his eye told

Now Uncle David differed
On this point, it must be said
A number 1 on navy blue was what he saw
And fullback or full forward his choice instead

Now Pumpkin's mum and dear old dad
Were at best unprepared
Pumpkin's coming with a vengeance
Of that they have no doubt
But how to cope is as yet in the air

So furniture is shifted
And walls festooned with paint
Toys and clothes come in from near and far
A baby's coming! a baby! a baby!
Good god, we'd better go and wash the car

But the pumpkin born in Preston
Wouldn't care about such things
The pumpkin born in Preston's dad thinks that pumpkin will abide
Without frills, lace, plasticky diverty rings

Pumpkins, said the little one's dad
Need nowt by way of gifted haul
They need some hugs, dry bums, full tums
Buckets of love from all and sundry
If they don't get it, be sure they'll call.

Love you.

December 01, 2004

operation decoration

We're painting your bedroom this week, pumpkin.

This painting of rooms lark is strictly your mother's department. One of my great failings as a human being is that I can't actually see very many colours. I'm not colourblind, by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact remains that I can easily differentiate only a fraction of the colours that your mum can.

When we stand there at the colour wall at Bunnings, she holds up cards with swatches on them. "Do you like this one? How about this one?". It's very frustrating for me to have to explain once again that, to my eye, they're all the same. So she picked the colours for your room. Unaided by me, apart from my idea that the colour should be "cool and warm at the same time". See? No help at all.

Once we got home (after a stop by your grandfather's house to borrow one of his many ladders), I was put in charge of painting the bits up by the ceiling that your mum can't reach. This was rendered difficult precisely because of the issue mentioned above. When you're painting one colour, pumpkin, over the top of another colour, and they both look to your handicapped eyes like they're the same, it becomes very difficult to tell where you've painted and where you haven't.

Of course, looking back, I should have realised that this would happen, and made allowances for it. I did not, and grumpiness ensued.

In any case, the room has now been almost entirely painted, and now that the paint's dry I can see that it's white. whitey purple. purpley whitey white. I think. The fireplace surround remains an icky green, so I think that's going to get done in the next few days. The time constraints being that very soon our overseas visitors will begin arriving, and it would be rude of us to not let them stay in the newly painted lovely room that has now had most of the crud in it removed.

(Thanks Freecycle!)

love you.