March 31, 2005

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

I want to prepare you, pumpking, for something that may come as a shock to you. I'm going to lie to you.

I'm going to couch this by saying that I'm going to be very careful to make sure that the lies I tell you are for your own good, and that I will only ever shield you from the harsh truths of this world, but I'm fairly sure that this isn't true, and that it's likely that I could easily fall into the trap of telling you lies purely for my own amusement.

I hope I'm going to be able to restrain myself from being that petty, but I'm just warning you about it now. Here, then, without further ado, are some lies that I might tell you that are, in fact, categorically untrue.

  1. Your grandfather Jon did never, has never, will never play the bass in Elton John's band
  2. Neither I, nor any immediate member of your family invented: ethernet cable, taxicabs, clothespegs, turning left or flourescent lightglobes
  3. There are no fairies, tigers, elephants or hippopotamuses at the bottom of our garden

It's of course also true that there are some things that I'll tell you that might SEEM like lies, but that are absolutely true, namely things like the fact that we seriously considered naming you Pumpkin (ok sorry actually that's a lie too) or that your Uncle David was once on Neighbours, (true), that your great-grandmother once snuck on board a bomber in a run over Germany (true), that your great-great-great-uncle was a world famous author (true), that your grandfather has met the Queen, the Emperor of Japan and three Australian Prime Ministers (but it's your grandmother, punkling, who's kissed two of them) (true). And that's only one side of the family.

Your uncle is a famous football player, your great aunt has sung in the Royal Albert Hall and your great great uncle, punkin, was the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Gosh that looks like a lot to look up to and work towards. Of course, I'm going to be deleriously happy and immensely proud if you decide to be a plumber. As long as you give your poor destitute old man a discount, that is.

Oh, one more thing.

I didn't invent the lawnmower either.

Love you.

March 30, 2005

Situation Normal All Fine And Dandy

Wednesday afternoon.

Your mum's at the lobstertrician.

I'm toying with the idea of going to visit your aunt Liz at work, the fact that she works at a go-kart track has nothing whatsoever to do with this decision.

As well as playing host to the assorted members of the fourth estate on Sunday, punkling, your immensely talented and gorgeous mother and I had some lovely people over for lunch. Sustenance in the form of roast lamb, cauliflower cheese and roasted tater and punkin were provided, and the lovely Jason, who is DOS (Dad of Sam), bought some lovely red wine with which to toast our meal.

Sam has grown so much since last time I saw him, it struck me immediately how much more of a personality he had. We gave Jason and Renee (MOS) a highchair that someone that Liz2 works with had donated to the cause, on the grounds that you are not going to need one for a substantial period of time.

Other than that, punkling, everything is going according to plan. There's little movement on any front. We're feeling like we're running on the spot at the moment, just waiting for a sign from you that you're ready to pop into the world....

Love you.

March 29, 2005

The Late Mail

Conceptual leaps, pumpkin, are often accompanied by a loud smacking sound as the perpetrators thereof wonder how and why the bleeding obvious has avoided them for so long.

It is therefore with trepidation, and prepared for a modicum of ridicule, that I tell you of the one that struck me only late on the Saturday just past.

Obviously, this entire weblog exercise has been perpetrated with three primary goals in mind;

1. To inform your many and varied overseas relatives of your progress;
2. To allow me to work through the emotional journey that becoming a dad encompasses
3. To allow me and others to communicate with you across the barrier of time.

It was thinking about this final primary goal that had me slapping my forehead the other day. Why, I thought, why, after all of this rigmarole with the blogging and the commenting and the phone calls and the webcam and the microphone and the tape measure and the press and the photographer and the posting and the writing and the editing, why doesn’t pumpkin have an email address? A simple simple way for people to send pumpkin little notes about what they’re up to, or ask questions, or tell secrets, or just say that they love you? Why?

Your dad has had the same email address for almost 10 years, and it’s been an invaluable tool in terms of enabling people who he thought he’d lost to send him email, to regain lost contact and to maintain long distance connections with people around the world. I think that you should have one too.

The answer, my sweet punkling, is that you do.

And yes, I have already reserved two addresses that conform to your likely names.

Love you,

March 28, 2005

30 Odd Foots of Newspaper

When the nice lady, pumpling, writes you an email, saying that she's writing an article for the Herald Sun, and that she wants to talk to you about your Pumpkin Diary, and about pregnancy blogs in general, well then, you say yes!

When the nice woman also says that she'd like to send a photographer around to take your photo, and that photographer just happens to be the gentleman who takes society snaps for Lillian Frank, well then, you smile, and nod graciously, and accept.

Then, pumpkin, you set to work frantically cleaning the house.

Love you.

nb: the article text is as follows:

When Preston couple Bill and Eve Dennis found out she was pregnant last year, they wanted to tell the world.

So my did.

Bill Dennis, 31, announced the news on an internet journal called "Pumpkin Diary", before the couple had even told their parents.

For the past seven months, the father to be has noted the highs and lows of the pregnancy, and counted down the May due date.

The web log - or blog - can be read around the world.

"The benefits of sharing our pregnancy far outweigh any risks" he said.

The diary entries are addressed to his baby - whom he calls Pumpkin - and he hopes his son or daughter will read it.

He says writing it down means he won't forget the details.

"When we first found out that we were pregnant, I asked my parents about the experiences they'd had.", he said.

"They looked a bit distant and said 'I can't remember, it was 30 years ago'."

The Pumpkin Diary is read by Dennis' relatives in Britain and the US, and anyone who stumbles across the website.

In the US, a trend in pregnancy blogs has meant hundreds of strangers have shared first-child fears to tips on breastfeeding.

One US blogger recorded her attempts to get pregnant with IVF last year. She realised her blog's reach when a nurse at the hospital recognised her after reading it.

In Melbourne, thousands of bloggers are registered. They discuss everything from studying philosophy to Olympics training and rorting the transport system.

March 25, 2005

Arrivals, impending or otherwise.

Today was spent, punkin, at the home of some of your grandparents. Well, at the home of one of them anyway. Today's Good Friday, although to tell you the truth I'm not actually 100% sure of what that means. Your mum's the one with the religious edumacation, so she can tell you what the deal with this particular day is, but I think it's something to do with the Big Guy going up on the cross.

In Any Case.

We arrived at your grandad's house today approximately 25 minutes early. Upon discussion, your grandad said that this arrival was acceptable on the grounds that it 'fell within the acceptable window of arrival times'. I agreed, of course, but this, punkling, is where your grandfather and I differ from just about everyone in the entire world.

Your grandad and I, sweet one, are what I like to call 'early arrivers'. We can be guaranteed to turn up at any given place or event AT LEAST 10% early. For most social events, this translates into us rampaging about our respective households prior to departure, driving our loved ones to distraction with requests as to their Estimated Time of Departure.

This also means that we can and will arrive at people's houses well before they are ready for guests to arrive. It means that they will be in various states of undress and/or showering when we do. Very irritating, I'm sure you'll agree.

I'm hoping, pumpkin, that your mum's.... shall we say ... opposing inclinations of a temporal nature and mine will cancel each other out, and that you will become someone who arrives at events Exactly Late Enough To Be Fashionable and not a second later. This is, of course, unlikely, and it is probable that you will end up, as with most people, at either the Early or the Late end of the spectrum.

Love you.

March 22, 2005

Destruction Derby

It is difficult to know, punkling, where to begin on this occasion. Everything around me feels like it’s on hiatus. Everything, it seems is waiting for something else, which is waiting for something else.

It’s that way at work, and it’s that way at home. It’s frustrating, being a man, feeling like you’re supposed to take charge and drive change, and then realising that there’s nothing to grab hold of. That there’s no way to impose one’s will on processes and timelines that are outside your control.

Partly, at this stage, I’m talking about you. I’m talking about the fact that I feel like, in the wake of all of the frenetic activity of the last 7 months, that I’m ready for you to get here now. I know that, about two hours after you arrive, I’ll be feeling the exact opposite, but right now I’m confident that we have all of the requisite kit, and that you could roll up tomorrow and there’d be no problem.

Being a man, of course, this is how I view the situation. I say to myself “I have purchased all relevant equipment and assembled it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Nothing can go wrong now.”.

This is a total fallacy, which has been exposed over and over and over again by our two previous young, precocious, misbehaving, very cute when they put their minds to it children, Purdey and Kudra. These two, having taken careful stock of the multitude of attempts I have made at curtailing their daytime activities, have thoughtfully proceeded to break and destroy everything they can lay their paws on.

It is my fervent wish that your explorations into the break and destroy sector are not as adventurous as your canine siblings, (I’m fairly sure that, no matter how many baking dishes you break, you’re not going to enter into actual building demolition on the scope that they have) but I’m confident that you will at least make the attempt.

I am also aware that this feeling of losing the agenda setting power will be one that will stay with me for a long, long time. I’m hoping that sometime in my early 50’s I will again be able to decide who goes where when and does what.

Until then,

Love you.

March 19, 2005

Mum and Philly's Flying Circus

There is something to be said, my darling punkling, about the circus. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm going to have a good hard crack at it right now.

Courtesy of your lovely grammy, who was going to come with us, we were treated last night to a pretty spectacular show. Now circuses are one of the things that I can talk to you about that have changed over the course of my life. When I was a child, the circus held to a fairly stringent formula in order to keep people entertained. Certainly there are still these types of heavy-on-the-lions-and-tigers-light-on-the-artistic-expression types of spectaculars floating around, but Quidam, by Cirque de Soleil, is something very very different.

The concept for the organisation was dreamed up in Canada by a couple of street performers. Your dad has, in fact, spent some time in the city that they're from, and will take you there if you ask nicely enough. Having been to Quebec, I can safely say that I understand why these artists were anxious to do something that would make sure that they didn't have to spend another winter there.

The story of this particular show was beyond the capabilities of your dad's brain to comprehend, but pumpkin I must tell you that in terms of colour and movement it was an absolute winner.

Some of the feats that were being performed on that stage reminded me that I need to talk to you about something that's pretty important.

Kurt Vonnegut didn't say, in the famous speech that he didn't make, the following phrase:

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of
it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest
instrument you'll ever own.

I would be the first to tell you, punkling, that I agree wholeheartedly with everything that Mary Schmich is saying here. That your body, no matter in what peculiar shape it calls its own, is absolutely the greatest gift you are ever given, and that with it you can do astonishing things.

Now if someone wonderful were to, say, hand you the keys to a Ferrari, it goes without saying that you would probably try to take fairly good care of it, to make sure you put the right kind of petrol in it and to get it serviced at regular intervals.

People don't do that, pumpkin, with their bodies.

People (ok, me) mistreat them, they put all kinds of crap in them, they don't make sure that the oil's changed regularly and then they wonder why the gearbox blows out at 38. I have to tell you punkin, that 38 might seem pretty old to you and why would you care if your back hurts when you're 38, but that it seems pretty young to me.

So please, do me a favour.

Try to treat your body well. I'm aware that you will likely hear stories as you're growing up about the ways that your father behaved when he was young, and think he's a hypocrite for saying things like eat your vegetables and don't drink so much, but truly, you will regret it when you're old and boring.

Love you, even when you don't eat your broccoli.

March 17, 2005

The preparation game

Last night as your mother and I lay in bed, I rested my hand on her belly. I could feel you moving around – exploring your limited surroundings with exploratory punches, kicks, elbows and headbutts. Certainly, punkling, with a performance such as I was treated to last night, you have a career in professional wrestling ahead of you.

It’s so strange to me, lying there feeling like I’m almost holding you in my arms, but knowing that it’s going to be another two months until I can actually see you. Your mum’s having a really hard time of it. She’s still working full time, and it’s obvious to me that working a full day as well as lugging you around is really taking a toll on her. When we get home, it’s all she can do to tell me what she wants for dinner before she collapses onto the couch and sacks out.

It’s a bit of a hassle that I’m just ramping up at work, too, because it means that she’s unable to give me the help that I need around the house. Sure, pumpkin, don’t believe that your dad’s COMPLETELY helpless when it comes to domestic duties, but having two very tired people + two very excitable dogs in the house can get to be a bit of a strain sometimes. I am aware of the irony inherent in this complaint. That having you arrive on the scene will turn this situation even more on its head, that I will be unable, in coming weeks, to even believe that I used the word ‘tired’ to describe the feeling that I’m having now.

I am left, then, in a bit of a rock vs hard place scenario. I know that there’s a million things that I need to get done before you get here, but I know that I need to get enough rest before you get here to cope with the days and nights of sleeplessness that will follow your arrival (the current horror story that’s plaguing us is that your father didn’t sleep through the night until he was Two and A Half). I know that it’s my responsibility to support your mum after you’re born, to make sure that she’s taking care of herself as well as you. I know that I’m going to need every ounce of my strength to do that.

We’re in this situation, spending these last days of our lives together alone, before you arrive to change us forever. We’re trying to make sure that we give each other enough space to come to grips with the impending whirlwind that is you, but at the same time we need to be close enough to each other to see when the other one needs help.

It’s a crazy old time, pumpkin, feeling like we’re almost ready for you to be here, but it’s pretty darn scary too, because we know that no matter how much we prepare, we’re not going to feel ready when the time comes.

Love you.

March 16, 2005

More Cinematic Requirements

Of course, Liz is right. We need a list of the 21 films to see before you’re 21 that you can ACTUALLY WATCH before you turn 15. She’s provided the beginnings, with

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Indiana Jones I and II
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Princess Bride
  • Labyrinth
  • The Iron Giant

It’s now my job to wade in here with ones like:

  • Shrek I and II
  • Finding Nemo
  • Toy Story
  • Oliver Twist (the one where Oliver Reed plays Bill Sykes)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • The Dark Crystal

Your mum says that you have to see Jungle Book and Mary Poppins, but in the case of the latter you should note that bedrooms CANNOT be magically tidied.

Your uncle David has some opinions too, but as he has fabulous taste, a lot of his choices mirror mine. Storm Boy and E.T. made it into his list, and he’s added a couple to the Big List which we’ll get to later.

This is, of course, assuming that you’re into movies. You don’t necessarily have to be quite AS into movies as your mum and dad are (speaking of which, I hope you understand and appreciate that we’re going to sacrifice the film festival for you this year), but it would be nice if you can appreciate a decent plot twist and a nice tortured character portrayal.

Love you.

March 15, 2005

Cinematic Pinnacles, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Home Theatre System

21 films you must see by age 21, in no particular order, as selected by your dad and uncle Harry:

Harry Bill Both

  • 2001
  • The Godfather
  • 12 monkeys
  • Alien
  • 28 days later
  • The Godfather Part II*
  • Adaptation
  • American Beauty
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • Brazil
  • Hedwig and The Angry Inch
  • Chasing Amy
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Dawn of the Dead (original)
  • Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers
  • Donnie Darko
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Fight Club
  • Goodfellas
  • Grosse Point Blank
  • Mad Max
  • Naked
  • Se7en
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Return of the King
  • Star Wars
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • The Exorcist
  • The Grudge (japanese original)
  • The Ring (japanese original)
  • The Matrix*

*sequels to these films should be avoided at all costs, and their remakes should also be avoided.

Ok so there's more than 21, what were you thinking? This list could, and probably will, expand to about 350 by the time we seriously start thinking about it. The problem with many of the films outlined above is that you won’t be allowed to START watching them until you’re at least 15, so maybe you and I will have to set a week aside around your 15th birthday to get it sorted out.

March 11, 2005

Please show some restraint

It was surprisingly easy, pumpkin, to buy the primary enclosure within which you will travel with us.

The thing about car seats for babies is that, unlike, ferinstance, jogger strollers, they all perform very similar functions, and comparisons between models become much, much easier. When faced with a wall of baby seats at our local Purveyor of Baby Goods, your mother and I found the pricepoint we liked, pointed at one and asked if it came in the right colour scheme to harmonise with the blönk.

Luckily, it did.

We bought it on the spot, and I, thinking that I would be easily able to figure out the instructions for fitting it, slung it into the back of the car.

This was, of course, not the case.

Your father, it must be stated here, pumpkin, is a very clever man. No end of interesting trivia resides in his head. Seeing Nicolas Cage and Cher together on a TV screen in a café, he can tell you without prompting (always without prompting), that the movie is called “Moonstruck”, that Cher won an Oscar for it, that Nicolas Cage is Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, that his first film role was alongside Sean Penn in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and that he divorced Lisa Marie Presley when she made him sell his $US 1.2 million comic book collection.

Your father cannot, however, use tools very well.

In some divine mistake, it appears that the ‘knowing which end of a screwdriver is which’ gene bypassed your father, to be replaced by the ‘knowing the license plates (and what they mean) of each of the cars in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ gene. This being the case, punkin, your dad (who can’t even put a pair of wiper blades on a car), decided to take the easy way out.

The blönk has had some issues of late, including a rather alarming instance in which the petrol tank lid came off in your dad’s hand at a service station recently. Being that the blönk needed to go and get some work done anyway, your dad had the brainwave of asking the people at the dealership to fit the babyseat. *Fatherly advice, always get your car repaired at the dealership. This can help you Maintain a Paper Trail.

** apparently there's some confusion here about precisely what happened with the petrol tank. Let's clear it up. When I arrived at the petrol station to fill the blönk's considerable petrol tank, the door which covers the petrol tank cap on the blönk snapped off when I opened it. This was no more than a minor annoyance, and certainly in no way compromised the safety of your mother, the public at large or my good self. There, I hope that's clear now.**

They refused, on the grounds that they were not an ‘accredited restraint fitter’, and sent me up the road.

On following the convoluted directions of the dealership staff, I found myself outside ….., a workshop hidden within the bowels of Mentone that IS an ‘accredited restraint fitter’, and at the mercy of Paul. Paul told me there was nothing to worry about, and set to work on fitting your seat. (a Safe and Sound Premier in Grey Chevron, if you’re wondering).

Moments later your conveyance was ready. With the helpful addition of two op-shop towels, which Paul thoughtfully sold to me ‘at cost price’ ($1.87 each), your seat is firmly ensconced in the back seat of the blönk. At the conclusion of our commerce, Paul looked me in the eye, fervently wished me all the best for the future and shook my hand. What a lovely, lovely man. It is Paul we can thank, then, for your (colour coded) seat looking so sturdy and safe in the blönk.

Love you

March 10, 2005

A few helpful hints

Labour is the current topic du’jour in the Peeny Deeny household, punkin. Attending the classes on the weekend made us both think a fair bit about the choices that we would be making when the time comes for you to make your grand arrival, and I’ve been thinking about what I need to do at that time. Obviously, one of the standard issues with men in general is that they look for things to DO, rather than seeing that the thing to do is nothing bu be supportive.

Your mother, however, has sent me a handy list of things to keep in mind for my support role during this marathon. Here, then, are they that which I am looking now:

Ask questions

Can I bring my Playstation?

Bring a few things for yourself

A Playstation?

Know what to expect

Screaming, swearing, yelling, blood, ickiness - did I miss anything?

Be flexible

OK, how about if I borrow harry’s GBA instead? PS I think it's a bit more important for your MUM to be flexible than it is me....

Find a compelling distraction

I don’t know how many times I can write Playstation on this blog without getting sued by Sony.

Be a one-person support team

Hmm, support team. Well I’ll be happy to let your mum have a turn if she wants one…

Know your capabilities

A man’s got to know his limitations. I won't attempt the End Of The Line mission in GTA:VC without thinking about my strategy first.

Be prepared to take charge of the situation

You know – I’m not sure that I’m qualified to do that. Sure, I’m happy to make suggestions, but I don’t think I want to hold the forceps or make the episiotomy incision.

Be ready to wait

Hello? Playstation?

Being there

Yeah well I’ve resigned myself to this. I’m bringing my Playstation tho.

Love you.

*may be all or in part a total fabrication

March 09, 2005

The sound of someone trying to not make a sound

One of the big, esoteric, brain hurting questions that your mother posed to me late one night in the not too distant past, pumpkin, was this:

“How will pumpkin know to love us?”

Of course, being the kind of husband who can be relied upon to have an answer for just about any question, punkin, I told her what I thought. Because, I said, in what I hope was a fairly authoritative voice, of hearing our voices for the last nine months.

On further reflection, however, this answer raises more problems than it solves. If you’ve really been listening to us for the last nine months, I mean REALLY listening, then there’s a few things I’m going to have to explain to you.

If you’re wondering why we say ‘bedtime!’ about 50 times a day, there are two primary reasons. One is that your mother and I are HUGE fans of bedtime. Really, you will not find two people in this world who are more fond of going to bed than me and your mum. Snuggling up under the doona and pretending that we have no responsibilities is a hugely fun game when you’re an adult, a fact which I’m sure you’ll discover. The issue with this is, of course, that everything you neglected to do when you made the decision to scuttle off under the blankets is STILL THERE when you finally emerge, in its original state, although, depending on the time that you’ve hidden for, probably stinkier.

The other reason we say ‘bedtime’ is because our two wonderful puppies are hugely fond of being close to us. This can be problematic, particularly as they both weigh over 30 kilograms and shed quite a lot of doggy hair. We tell them, when we are eating, when we are watching TV or when they are just pacing up and down or standing by the back door, that it’s their bedtime. Often quite loudly and gruffly. Sometimes they even listen to us.

Righto, so that’s the bedtime thing covered. I wonder what else you’re hearing in there. I wonder if we should stop watching movies where people shout a lot. I wonder if you like the music we play. One of the people at the prenatal classes was saying that there were several babies that she had heard of who quieted down when the Neighbours theme came on because they had heard it in the womb. Are you going to calm down and go to sleep when Top Model or Angel comes on?

Love you.

March 08, 2005

The edumacation proclamation partie troiseme

It’s difficult for me to say, pumpkling, what I was expecting from this weekend’s training events. It’s probable that at least some part of me expected to walk away from the sessions with a Hayne’s manual “Babies, 2003-2005, Australia”, much like the one I had for my ’78 Civic, but there was a significant other portion that was suggesting that the gory details of birth were best left to your mother.

It is likely that this second thought was driven by the dadbrain. The dadbrain, I think, may be some kind of a genetic throwback to the days when men would drive their wives to the horsepickle, and then pace up and down in the waiting room, or just go to the pub. This is, of course, Not The Way We Do Things in 2005, but it’s not so long ago that it was the norm.

When your Uncle David was born, at the Alfred Hospital in 1971, (I know, it seems like aeons ago, but believe me when I tell you that the 70s weren’t that long ago), your grandad was the First Ever Father to attend the birth. Of course, this model of fathers distancing themselves from the birthing process led to major issues in later life, with generations of men who found it difficult to emotionally bond with their dads.

Not that this isn’t still the case, punkling, but you and I are going to do everything we can to bridge that gap.

I’m alluding to something here that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I think you’re a boy. I don’t know what’s telling me that, certainly at our ultrasounds I haven’t been able to tell, but there’s just a …. vibe in the air that’s telling me you’re going to be a boy.

Of course, given your parentage, now that I’ve said this out loud, I’m also fully expecting you to be a girl purely in order to prove me wrong. We should not forget, darling punkling, that you will be a Taurus, and, much like the aforementioned Uncle David, slightly prone to obstinance, notwithstanding the not-inconsiderable talents of your mother and father in this regard.

Love you.

March 07, 2005

The edumacation proclamation de partie deuxième

Ok where were we ? Ah yes, bizarre pregnancy stories. So. At the class, the discussion went on to talk about the reactions of other people to pregnancy, and to pregnant women. Many people there talked about the ways in which being pregnant made them feel like other people had forgotten or put aside their normal behaviours. Certainly, your mum has said previously that people feel like her personal space is no longer existent, and that they can feel free to touch her belly, where you live.

Some of the other pregnantladies™ at the class talked about people kissing (!!!) their bellies with no prior warning. Eliza talked about the fact that there are five (!!!) women at her place of work who are pregnant, and that other people are constantly making comments about the relative sizes thereof. Make no mistake, pumpkin, pregnant women are fairly conscious about their bellies (having to lug 12 kilos around all day every day, you’d be pretty conscious of it too), and people don’t need to remind them about it. People need to, pumpkin, tell pregnantladies™ that they are beautiful, lovely, wonderful and get them food (stat) when they ask for it.

Of course, we talked about other stuff than just bizarre cravings and freaky people, we talked about you.

The lovely Alison, who was in charge of the second session, talked to us about what to expect when you first arrive. One of the things that she was careful to tell us was that you will very likely be quite blue when you first pop out. Being familiar with the birthing process (miss purdey had seven puppies), I find myself somewhat comfortable with the idea that you’re not going to be particularly beautiful when you arrive. The fact that you’ll be blue, covered in “vernix” (they can call it what they like, it looks like snot to me) and have what’s called a ‘distended’ head, is of no importance to me. I’m sure that you will be the most wonderfully gorgeous baby a mum and dad could ever wish for.

The fact that your first poo, called “meconium”, will be greenish black and sticky, and in all probability cover you from head to toe, is of no importance to me whatsoever, because, as I am so fond of saying at the end of very chapter, I

Love you.

The edumacation proclaimation partie première

What a weekend, pumpkling. What a weekend indeed. Your mother and I braved the unseasonal weather on the weekend, as did the racecar drivers, to attend some classes on what to expect for the big event.

We went to two classes, one devoted to labour and birth, and one on early parenting. Spending seven hours on the 41st floor of the Sofitel might sound like a holiday for some, but pumpkin I must tell you that I could HEAR the cars going around from up there, and the limited view of the racetrack left much to be desired.

Still, it was fabulous to get into a room with 15 or 20 other pregnant people, and talk a bit about our experiences of this most exciting time in our lives. In our first session, the tutor (the wonderful and fabulous Jill), told us first about how to tell when you’re ready to arrive, and what steps to take in order to assure your safe arrival.

One of the big things we talked about continuously over the course of the day was what role a ‘support person’ can take, and how they can make the ordeal of your mum just a little bit less horrendous. Certainly, Jill talked about how, as men, the majority of support people feel like they need to be ‘doing’ something, rather than simply providing comfort (and, indeed, support), to the mother.

This was characterised by your erstwhile father, who, on being asked a question about ‘what would you do if your wife was having irregular contractions’, responded with ‘jump in the car!’. Of course, this is NOT the correct answer, but my enthusiasm was noted for the record in any case.

The wonderful thing about being in a room with that many pregnant people, pumpkling, is that you get a chance to ask them about some of the bizarre things that have happened to them during their pregnancy. Certainly one of the things that I was interested in was what other people are calling their pumpkin. The list is long, but distinguished. Apparently between April and May 2005, the following are going to be born at Frances Perry House, along with our precious pumpkin:

• A mouse
• A possum
• A superbubs
• A baby pike
• An AJ
• A pea
• A bubs

Some people said that they did not have a name for their bump, but I’m pretty sure it was just that they were embarrassed about telling it to us. Also, it was gratifying to discover that there were several cravings in the room at least as freakish as your mum’s devotion to cucumber, including, but not limited to, Cornish pasties and margherita pizzas.

Another aspect of pregnancy that was discussed was bizarre advice that people had been given. Rachel won this round, by saying that her doctor had advised her to begin sunbathing topless, on the grounds that this would toughen up her nipples for breastfeeding. Everyone chortled at this, until Rachel’s mum, who was standing in for Mr Rachel, announced that she had been given the very same advice by her doctor when she was pregnant with Rachel. Strange but true.

Love you.

March 03, 2005

Amongst our weaponry are such elements as; fear, surpr… wait, I’ll start again

The discussion in the car this morning, pumpkling, was centred around what might happen to you that we fear. What things your mother and I are most worried about in the first days and months that we have you home.

I’m sure you’ll hear tales and see photos of the time that we had seven puppies in our house for two months. Eight weeks of having nine dogs taught us a few things about the relative resilience of small beings, but I’m fairly sure that the nonchalance with which I was slinging puppies around by the time they were five or six weeks old won’t necessarily come quite so easily to me with you.

Talking in the car this morning, I said that my greatest fear is that I will drop you. That one day you’ll wriggle just at the wrong moment, in the wrong direction and fall right out of my hands. My heart is pumping faster just typing these words, punkling, and there’s at least some small part of my dadbrain that’s telling me I could catch you again.

A few words about the dadbrain here. The dadbrain is, I believe, a small growth, a tumor if you will, on the surface of my brain that is affecting the way I think and speak. It makes my mouth say things like “Well it serves you right, you shouldn’t have been running.”, and “Turn that bloody music down.”. It is also convinced, for some reason, that I am a finely honed physical specimen, capable of great feats of strength as well as cunning displays of skill. Neither of these things, of course, have even the tiniest relationship to the truth.

My dadbrain also injects sizable amounts of hormones directly into my cerebral cortex whenever I am watching some kind of movie or television show in which there is a father/child relationship. At the end of ‘Zoolander’, when John Voight announces to the whole bar that Derek is his son, a massive dose of something or other made tears well up in my eyes.

Not that I was crying, mind you. I had something in my eye.

Love you.

March 01, 2005

The audience is listening

Several things have happened this week, pumpkin, some of which you’re likely aware, some of which you’re likely not.

I started my new job yesterday. It’s an exciting job in an exciting place, but it might mean that I won’t get to spend as much time with you as I’d like.

It’s one of the great shames of burgeoning parenthood that people are forced to make this call. To toss this coin that says “spending time with your family is of paramount importance” on one side and on the other says “babies are very expensive”. We’ve chosen to try to balance this dual responsibility by your mum taking some time off work to look after you, and me taking a job that pays a bit more than the one I had.

Having said that, my new job is likely going to mean that I’ll have to spend more time in the office than I’d like, and less time with you. It makes me very sad that this is the case, pumpkling, but I want to tell you now and forever that I’m doing this for you. That you are uppermost in my mind when I work late, or go in early, or bring work home.

Of course, we did SHOP this weekend too, and this brings me to my other news. Your parents, pumpkin, have finally joined the 21st century and purchased a home theatre system. That’s right, your dad finally got off his butt and went and found a beautifully affordable, low profile (pretty) 6.1 surround sound amplifier and some heavily discounted (ugly) JBL speakers to go with it.

The result of this is that, when we watch shrek together, we’ll be able to hear the noises from the forest ALL AROUND US, which I’m sure you’ll agree is ABSOLUTELY worth me paying that much for it.

We also bought you a carseat, that will fit perfectly in, and complement the colours of, the blönk, which is having some issues of its own this week, which we’ll discuss later.

Love you