February 24, 2005

Throwing out just the bathwater.

It is a known fact, my beautiful, soon to be born pumpkin, that babies are messy creatures. Everything that can be spilled, thrown, or otherwise ejected from a baby's immediate environment has a habit of winding up on something else. It was for this reason, pumpkin, that we made the people who sold us Elliot (our couch) guarantee In Writing that they could remove any stain known to mankind.

Everything we purchase for you, we make sure that it is of the easily cleaned variety. Something you can wipe down, or at worst throw in the washing machine. Buying baby clothes that are dry clean only, my sweet pumpkin pie, is an exercise in stupidity.

Having said all that, we have not, until today, had something with which to keep YOU clean. Being a fairly pragmatic dad, I was a firm believer in the school of thought that suggests one should bathe one's baby in whatever sink is handy (although probably not the laundry trough, that's just a teeny bit too skanky). I was not averse to the idea of bathing you in a specialised receptacle, but just, you know, not terribly interested in buying something we would only be able to use for a few months.

This, butternut, is where FreeCycle came in. I've spoken about the glory that is freecycle before, so I won't bore you again, but I will, with your permission, use this forum to publicly thank Caroline for the lovely, amazing, two-piece-with-special-foam-insert-and-drainage-plug baby bath.

Love you.

February 23, 2005

It isn't easy being green

It is disturbing to me, pumpkin, that I have begun to experience a feeling that I had not previously known was possible.

Now, walking down the street, going to the market, driving to work, I am beginning to find myself in the grips of....

Baby Envy.

It's terrible I know, but everytime I see someone grooving down the footpath with a threewheeled conveyance of small people, I want to hold you up and show them. SEE, I will say, SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL MY BABY IS?

Because this, pumpkin, is the one thing of which I'm sure. You, my darling pumpkin, will be the most beautiful baby who has ever been chosen to grace this earth. Your father, it must be said here, was NOT, by any stretch of the imagination a cute child, but your mother was, and I have great faith in the strength of her genes.

There's been some things happening recently which have made me especially anxious for you to get here. Not, you should understand, that I am in any way pressuring you to arrive early. My work is particularly difficult this week, as I'm in the last days at my old job and I'm trying very hard to get everything done before I leave.

Whenever I see these people holding their babies, cuddling them or feeding them or taking them for walks in the park, it just makes me think about how much I want to hold you. To cuddle you, to feed you and to begin showing you this whole wide world.

That's the stress relief I need, pumpkin.

We've had some more discussions about your name this week, too. Something happened which has made us rethink one of your middle names.

No, I'm not going to tell you what or why, you'll figure it out when you get here.

Love you.

February 18, 2005

Here's your cot in your bedroom, pumpkin. Hurry up and get here.

Halfway there, he's glad he did. It's even the right way up!

Reading the instructions. We always knew he wasn't a real man.

February 17, 2005

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Certain things of late, pumpkin, have made me begin to question the nature of success.

Thinking in this case more specifically about what it is that makes us successful people, I think it’s important that I outline for you precisely what it is that I think that means.

When you look around at the your friends and relations, pumpkin, you should think about what it is in their lives that you admire. I’m not talking here about cars and amplifiers, I’m talking about the ways in which they live their lives. The tools and methods that they use to ensure their happiness.

Because success, pumpkin, is not involved with your finances. Sure, it’s nice to feel like you have some money to do nice things and to buy nice things, but the pursuit of wealth in and of itself is not a virtue that I hold to be good and right.

In examining your parent’s lives, my sweet punkling, you should know that we do have good jobs and exciting careers. Those careers, pumpkin, were not built on a foundation of acquiring wealth for its own sake. Rather, if you think about it, you will see that both your mum and I (and your grandfathers, all three of them, and your grandmothers, all four of them, and your uncles and aunts and assorted hangers on, one and all) all of them, pumpkin, have chosen fields that excite them. That stimulate their brains. They are all successful, pumpkin, because they live their lives to the full. They are all successful, pumpkin, because they get up in the morning knowing that their day is going to be interesting. The amount of money they make while doing that is, inevitably, a secondary concern, and it is that which I am most trying to get across.

Don't get sidetracked, pumpkin, into beleiving that money will make you happy. It's great relationships, good food and better red wine that do that.

Love you.

February 14, 2005

Endless Love

It's Valentine's Day today, pumpkin.

There's a number of different theories as to how it all began, but it's sufficient for the purposes of this narrative to say that It All Began Long Ago.

Nowadays, of course, as with every other Card Day, it's been hijacked into a consumerist free-for-all that is aimed securely at making people feel guilty if they don't buy greeting cards.

Of course, being enlightened and modern folk, your mum and I don't buy into that sort of thing, and wouldn't DREAM of spending out hard earned after tax dollars (the vast majority of which have been earmarked specifically for the purchase of baby-related goods) on a silly piece of paper that someone has chopped down a tree to make, just to tell each other that we're in LERVE.

This is, it strikes me, a good time to tell you this, so steel yourself. Your mum and I are in LERVE. Huge, massive, stinky lerve. We will take the opportunity at many occasions in your upbringing to

a) snuggle and make googly eyes at each other in front of your friends
b) snog in the kitchen, and in any other room that we want to (my roof, my rules, don't forget)
c) write each other mushy birthday and christmas cards that say romantic things
d) remind you at any given opportunity that you are a living manifestation of that love, and that to that end, you should be grateful that we choose to express it so freely and openly.

So, to all of your protestations about what's 'gross and disgusting', about how it's 'incredibly daggy' for us to hold hands and dance together at parties, about how you can't possibly begin to think about how uncool we are, we say this.

We Love Each Other, so nyer.

Of course, we also love you.

February 10, 2005

Sorry sir, there's a 90 day wait on that item.

It's true, my punkling, you're less than 90 days away.

This is, as I'm sure I've told you before, marginally less than you'd have to wait for a layby in some stores. It's less time than the average person has to pay their credit card bill, but it's more time than you get to pay a parking fine. It is, pumpking, A Very Short Amount Of Time. . . . .

So things are starting to feel like they're really happening.

I'm very, very excited.

February 08, 2005

Electric Babyland part the Troisième

Emergency measures were called for. The hotline was unleashed, and telephone calls placed to both Fabulous Aunt Jann and Amazing Aunt Wendy.

Your glamorous and wonderful Aunts both came through with the goods, pumpkin.

Get on the road to Balwyn, they said, and so we did.

Headed to the branch of the Giant Purveyors of Baby Goods that was South of the River, pumpkin, where all of the rich people live.

Once there, we again began our quest for something nice, in dark wood, in a classic shape, with a single handed drop side, and no stencils on it.

Of course, the nicest one there, that fulfilled most of our requirements, was exactly the one that your friend Sam has. Now Sam's parents, it must be said, are very stylish. Sam's Dad has been known to mail order custom made shirts from London, pumpkin, replete with his monogrammed initials on the top pocket. This does not mean, however, that we should follow them in Everything, and besides, Sam's cot has a two handed drop side mechanism anyway.

So we found one we liked, and were momentarily worried by a sign on it saying that it would take 6 to 8 weeks to arrive (by that time, pumpkin, you will be very close to arriving), but luckily they had some in stock.

So here it is, pumpkin, your cot. With many, many thanks to your Nana Linda and Grandpa Phil. The one shown here is stained in Teak, whereas yours will be Walnut, but you get the gist.

Electric Babyland part the Deux

We left our readers, pumpkin, dangling on a precipice, wondering if we would find you a place to sleep. Whilst this kind of thing is acceptable in some genres, we're not the kind of people to leave our lovely talented readership hanging.

I left us, in the previous episode, knowing that we would have to find you a cot in Australia. We had looked at cots before, but as with many of the things that one looks at in terms of baby procurement, there are a simply astonishing number of possible permutations that appear to make very little sense.

In addition to this, it seems that the vast majority of the Australian population has a hole drilled in their heads when they get pregnant, and every ounce of style and good taste dribbles out in a grey porridgey puddle onto their shoes.

Suffice to say, pumpkin, that we didn't feel like there were any cots, particularly in most of the large babymalls, that would suit us.

Sure, if we wanted something in an orange tinted pine, with "BABY" stenciled on the front (like you'd forget) with rails and sides straight out of an Early Settler catalogue, then we'd be well catered for. Similarly, if we wanted something Scandinavian, with elegantly curved sides that looks like it would work well if we happened to live in Trondheim, we would have been a-ok.

But our house, pumpkin, doesn't look like that.

Our house is full of beautiful pieces of furniture. Big chunky dark wood pieces of furniture. Beautiful furniture. Furniture that was built to last 100 years.

Unfortunately, my sweet and lovable pumpkin, this sort of furniture is not, apparently, made in cot form.

We found a fabulous man who makes beautiful furniture. His name is Christian Cole, but he Doesn't Make Cots.

Christian's Lovely Wife, who is 12 weeks pregnant herself, explained to us that she had asked her husband to make one the FIRST time she got pregnant, but that there's a whole bunch of RULES, pumpkin, and REGULATIONS about how a cot needs to be built (all of which are designed to keep YOU, pumpkin, safe), and that he didn't know how to.

Of course, your dad being your dad, I had a copy of the requisites in your mum's bag, but then we started talking about Exactly How Much it might cost to make a Custom Designed Cot out of Beautiful Reclaimed Jarrah and I'm fairly sure that I smiled and nodded politely enough while we backed out of the door.

February 06, 2005

Electric Babyland Part the First

It is an oft used term, my punkling, for people to talk about the first ninety days of something. For people to use that period of time as a guage for how well something is progressing. Three months, pumpkin, is seen as long enough for something to happen.

This three months, pumpkin, is the period on which everything has to get ready for you.

Activity is beginning to build in our house, activity that will culminate in your arrival. Activity, pumpkin, that is directed solely towards ensuring that your home environment, when you get here, is as beautiful, safe, educational and well rounded as we can possibly make it.

To that end, a kid needs a bed, so it was BACK to the Giant Purveyors of BabyGoods for more pain.

Hang on, I think I need to backtrack a bit.

Your grandfather Phil, pumpkin, is one of the world's more... particular people. He likes some things and doesn't like some others. He can be relied upon, then, to give you an honest and open opinion when you ask.

Phil also has a great eye for craftsmanship, so when he called me and said that he had found you a cot, I was delighted. Obviously, he had seen the indifferent quality of much of the little person furniture being foisted on the general public, and was gratified to notice something that fell outside that realm.

Unfortunately, pumpkin, Phil lives on the Other Side Of The World.

Getting something from his house to our house is a formidable proposition, and one that can cost a considerable amount of money. Getting a PERSON from his house to our house takes enough time and money, let alone a large piece of heavy wooden furniture.

The shipping costs, therefore, were to say the least prohibitive.

Cue your grandmother on the phone to me, saying that I would have to find a cot for you.

to be continued

February 04, 2005

Is a pumpkin shared a pumpkin halved?

One of the problems with a pregnancy, pumpkin, is that its toll is primarily exacted on only one half of the two people involved.

Sure, I'm having issues with worrying about making sure that I'm going to make enough money to keep you in trainsets and overalls, but it's your mum who has to lump you around for nine months and put up with all the other assorted ickiness that is being pregnant.

It's tough for me to work out how to help.

There are, of course, these devices known as empathy bellies, but to my mind they conjure up images of men who were entirely TOO involved in the pregnancy. I mean, really, how would ME lugging a pumpkin around help your mum anyway?

So I'm left with the standbys. I rub cocoa butter on her belly. I lay my hand there to feel you jumping about like you're a mexican jumping bean (whose movement, incidentally, is caused by the larvae of a moth that hatches inside the bean). I rub her giant feet, and tell her she's beautiful.

Beyond that, pumpkin, I'm out of ideas, but I wish for just one day I could hold you myself and carry you round, to give her a day off from feeling swollen and achey and heavy and cumbersome.

Touching her belly and feeling you move through her skin, I want to reach inside and touch you, to hold you in my arms so she can get some sleep.

Love you.

February 01, 2005

Mr Watson, come here, I want you

Much has been written in the annals of history, my darling pumpkin, about the effects on society of the telephone.

That was mostly, in my opinion, because none of those erstwhile authors had the opportunity to witness the joy provided by the Bellyphone(tm).

The Bellyphone(tm) is accessed via a close personal relationship with your wonderful mother. To use the Bellyphone(tm),one leans close to her beautiful belly, places one's lips on her belly button, and says in a loud, clear voice "Hello pumpkin, this is your father speaking.".

When last I spoke to you in this manner, it was to tell you of the arrival of Australia Day. Obviously to reiterate what I said at that time will be semi-extraneous, but we must be loyal, pumpkin, to our ever expanding audience of Lovely Readers.

On the Bellyphone on Australia Day, my words to you were about your nationality, about patriotism. About the fact that you will be blessed with a dual nationality on birth, a trait you will share with many of your relatives. There was at one time a push by your father to become the first in the family to hold triple nationalities, but this fell by the wayside when he returned from the US in 1997.

Enough about me, though, let's talk about you.

You, pumpkin, will be both British and Australian, as is your grandfather and your uncle David. LindaNana is both American and Australian, as is one of your other grandfathers. By the time you are born, the plan is that your mother and I will also be both British and Australian, although it is entirely likely, given the timeframe involved (business end of the pregnancy, remember?) that this will not occur.

Whilst I'm not sure how this duality will affect you in the short term, let me lay down a few laws of the land before we get started.

1. Football refers to the sport played on the hallowed turf of the MCG by the Mighty Blues. Other, inferior sports such as soccer and American football should be referred to by these names and no other.

2. Australia is the greatest pound for pound sporting nation on Earth. You are required to barrack loudly for Australia at all times, particularly when in the company of people from other countries (except in the case of the odious Lllleyton Hewitt. He Had It Coming).

3. Australian beer is pound for pound the best beer in the world. There are exceptions to this rule, which I will explain to you at great length once you're old enough to pay for your shout.

Love you.