Sunday, May 27, 2007

Battle of the Bulge

I realized that there were some hard truths to be faced this week when I begged MR. DD to drag 3 heavy boxes of summer clothes down out of our stuffy attic so that I could stop sweating profusely in my winter long sleeves. (The fact that the weather has now turned slightly more “seasonal” is not lost on me)

When one blows up a balloon for the first time and then deflates it, one will notice that it is no longer the taut, rubber bit of merriment that it once was. It does, in fact, more resemble a deflated testicle than a previously entertaining bit of latex. So it goes when inflating a human belly. There are, shall we say, bits left over that made it well nigh impossible to fit into ANY of my previously worn summer clothing without said bits hanging unceremoniously out the bottom. There were very nearly tears. And so it came to pass that I ended up in our local shopping centre looking for something to clothe myself with that didn’t make me look like a whale that wandered up a shallow tributary.

I can’t say that fashion interests me. Fashion is for people with too much time and money on their hands. Fashion is for people who conveniently “forget” to wear underwear to nightclubs and then make damn sure they open their legs wider than the Grand Canyon while getting out of their car so that the assembled throng of camera jockeys can get their money shot that will inevitably make it onto the pages of tabloids everywhere, but that’s ok because AT LEAST PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT ME. The only time that fashion interests me is when it precludes me from dressing myself in a flattering manner.

I’m in luck this summer, because the “thing” seems to be long shirts that cover a multitude of sins as well as reproductive detritus. Some of these “things” are very flattering- empire waist tank tops, etc. But, is it me, or do the vast majority of these “things” happen to be shapeless sacks that flatter NO ONE including the morbidly thin? How does something that makes someone like Kiera Knightly look like she’s been eating butter on EVERYTHING including breakfast cereal become popular? Something that looks bad on thin girls and fat girls alike shouldn’t be flying off the shelves. (And can we not even talk about the cropped 80’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” leggings that seem to be making a comeback? For anyone with calves of a circumference greater than coke can, these are a real no-no. Kiera Knightly, for example, or perhaps the Olsen twins, are the only people I’ve seen who make them work without looking like they belong on the US Olympic hurdling team.)

I managed to acquire a few items of clothing that I’m promising myself that I WON’T be wearing next summer; hopefully not even at the end of THIS summer. While I spent most of my pregnancy thanking the almighty that I wasn’t carrying through the heat of summer, I failed to realize that I would be giving birth too near to swimsuit season to have a chance in hell of not looking vast. While Hollywood people seem to emerge from the hospital wearing size 0 clothes, the majority of us do not. (I have a theory that no one in Hollywood actually gets pregnant. They pay surrogates and strap on a fake belly for 9 months. It’s the only real explaination.)

Size 0, however, is not my goal. I’d settle for a size 12 at the moment. Here’s to the hard work ahead.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beware the Firm Who's Name Rhymes With "Mountie"

Changing the Prawn has recently become just about as easy as diapering an octopus. She seems to sprout limbs when I get her on the changing mat and uses every single one of them to make the process as difficult as possible. So, imagine my joy when the phone rang today, just as I’d gotten the bottom half of her babygro off.

Oh, how I hate unsolicited phone calls. Telemarketing is evil and no one can convince me otherwise, but there is a special circle of hell reserved for these particular telemarketers.

Possibly the day after my c-section when I was felt like Atilla the Hun was making war on my midsection and that Fog that eats people was camped out in my centre of higher reasoning, a woman came by my bed. She asked me for some details, my address, phone number, etc. Taking her for a nurse, I answered her questions, hoping maybe she’d give me some more drugs. But all she left was a bag filled with samples, which was vaguely confusing.

It wasn’t until several days later that I twigged who had visited my bedside; a member of a rather well known marketing firm here in the UK. I felt like the top of my head was about to come off when I realized that the hospital had allowed this vulture onto a ward full of drugged up and highly confused women and allowed her to take personal details.

So, guess who was on the phone today?

Picking up the writhing Prawn, I went to answer the phone only to find this unscrupulous marketing firm on the other end.

“Just calling today to find out if you’d invested your £250 Child Trust Fund voucher, madam.”

Did I tell her that I found her firm’s methods odious? Did I tell her that I would happily set fire to the next member of her company who dared contact me? No.

“This is a really bad time,” I told her as the Prawn let out a shriek and tried to escape my grasp. I hung up before I could hear the rest of her apology.


Friday, May 18, 2007

A Public Service Announcement

No matter HOW cute they may be looking, it is completely unacceptable to eat your baby.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Origin of the Species

I've found myself being slightly disconcerted recently by the realization that if Mr. Darwin had had his way, most likely, neither I nor the Prawn would be be here now.

This occured to me the first time soon after the c-section. If my cervix wasn't going to open after 3 days and a lot of fairly strong drugs, there was a good chance that it wasn't opening for for anybody. It doesn't take a degree in history to know what would have happened to me in the days before medicine.

As if that weren't enough, there's also the breastfeeding situation.

As much as I've been trying to convince myself that I don't feel guilty for my lack of success with breastfeeding, but the truth is, I do. My production is ridiculously low. I have tried breast massage. I have tried pumping well beyond when the breast is empty to stimulate production. I have tried Fenugreek. I have tried it all. But nothing seems to be working. If I get two lots of 80 mls a day, I'm lucky. In the days before formula, it also doesn't take a genius to know what fate would have befallen my daughter.

Health care professionals seem to be quite keen to point out the obvious to me. "You do know that breastfeeding is best for your baby?" one stern health visitor asked when I told her I'd been forced to suppliment. No, I thought, I must have missed that part of pre-natal class and the roughly 8 billion posters stuck to the walls of every health care facility I've visited for the last year, plus be bereft of an ounce of common sense. Telling me that I'm nutritionally failing my child when I'm already acutely aware of the fact is helping a lot, really it is. It also doesn't help that local NHS Trusts have breastfeeding targets to maintain funding, so it's not really in their interests to make me feel better about my situation.

That the Prawn is here at all is a minor miracle in my book. She's a tremendously happy and healthy baby. I just wish I could rid myself of the guilt of failing her.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It Has to Be Said

Okay, this story has been chapping my ass all week. I’ve wanted to write about it, but have been restraining myself.

First off, there can be nothing more horrifying in a parent’s life than a child being abducted. Nothing. It’s beyond awful. I check back with the BBC several times a day to see if any headway has been made in the search for this little girl and hope against hope that this story has a happy ending.


Can anyone please tell me how any parent can think that leaving 3 children under 4 alone in a flat while you have dinner at a restaurant up the street is a good idea? The missing girl’s grandparents are quoted as saying that anyone who criticizes her parents is “misguided” and “has got it all wrong.” Excuse me, but did they or did they NOT leave 3 TODDLERS alone in a flat?

What blows me away further is that these are not stupid people. They are both doctors, which indicates a fairly high level of education. It is incomprehensible then, that no matter how “safe” they felt their resort community was, that they should have even considered leaving their children alone.

Let us put aside for a moment the whole pervert/pedo/deviant lurking in the bushes outside the window angle of abandoning a 3 year old and two 2 year olds in an apartment. THEY’RE 2 AND 3 YEAR OLDS. Do you know what they do? ANYTHING THEY FEEL LIKE DOING UP TO AND INCLUDING SETTING FIRES AND LICKING WALL SOCKETS.

When I was about 11 or 12, I babysat for my neighbor’s children who were maybe 5 and 3 at the time. 20 minutes after putting them to bed, I began to hear strange thumping noises coming from upstairs that were managing to cut through the soundtrack of whatever R rated film I’d chosen from their VHS collection for my viewing entertainment that I never in a million years would have been allowed to watch at home. You know what they were doing? CUTTING EACHOTHER’S HAIR. WITH PINKING SHEARS. Where they got them, I have NO idea. (Both of these children are now on the other side of college. God, how old am I?) At any rate, this adventure into the world of hairdressing happened with me simply downstairs and not a few hundred yards up the road.

I’ve gotten that off my chest now. If you have a moment this week, spare some good thoughts for the McCann family.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry....


I know. Enough with the Prawn pictures.



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hands of Fury

Based on a lifetime spent watching nature programs on television and the last 6 weeks watching the Prawn, I’ve become increasingly baffled as to how we’ve managed to succeed as a species due to the fact that babies are really a bit useless.

This is not to say I don’t totally adore my useless baby. On the contrary I love every finger and toe on her squishy little pink body. But when compared with the offspring of other species, who are pretty much independent straight from the womb, she’s a little dopey. In the wild, her mother probably would have eaten her. This is, of course, the price we pay for our big brains; they take a good old while to jump start.

At the moment, it’s her hands that are bothering me; and coincidentally, bothering her as well. They seem to belong to someone else. A while back, a viral video was circulating the internet featuring a dog who’s hind leg seemed to have a mind of it’s own, causing the dog to attack himself. This is kind of how it goes with The Prawn. Her hands, under the direction of some obscenely gleeful puppet master, take great pleasure in pummelling her tiny head.

So we’ve started swaddling her at night and sometimes during the day if she’s particularly fussy. I’ve read some anti-swaddling propaganda on certain fringe websites, (it’s cruel, it’s restrictive, blah, blah, blah) but seeing as how the practice is thousands of years old, they can go suck it. Swaddling, of course, has it’s most famous proponent in the Bible. If the Virgin Mary thought it was good enough to keep the son of God from punching himself in the freaking face every 5 seconds, it’s good enough for the Prawn.

I’ve been told that The Prawn will eventually gain control of her limbs and cease trying to perpetuate this early form of self-harming and use her hands for good rather than ill. There are enough perils in the world that I must try to keep my child from without having to worry about her being one of them.