March 07, 2005

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.

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