The Dark Side

Holy hell. I’ve just been over to the dark side for a week, but I’m back.

At the end of the week before last I got a cold. At least, that’s what I thought. Normal old symptoms – sore throat, headache, exhaustion. I took Friday off and rested up. Over the weekend I started to feel better and figured I’d be back on board on Monday, unless something drastic happened overnight.

It did.

I (barely) woke up on Monday feeling like death. I dragged myself from bed to the couch and that was where I stayed for the next 5 days, with the exception of one visit to my specialist. I asked him for a medical certificate for the next few days. He laughed at me and brought down the hammer on two weeks bedrest. Apparently I had ‘pre-pneumonia’, which is apparently not uncommon in pregnant women who catch the ‘flu. It’s basically a case of compromised lungs.

I wasn’t allowed to get a ‘flu shot this year because of the fertility treatment that I was undergoing at the time. Mentioning that to people is always entertaining. Half of them claim that the shots don’t work anyway – they just give you the ‘flu. That’s crap. It’s not a live vaccine. If you get the ‘flu you were going to get it anyway and it just happened to get you before the shot took effect. Anyway… I digress.

So I didn’t get the shot and the ‘flu got me, and it got me good.

Controversial

Well, the last couple of weeks sure have been interesting ones, blog wise. I have to say that I was starting to get a bit bored with the whole thing… I’ve been blogging 5 days a week on average for the last 3 years (although I have been taking the odd day off here or there of late). When I started, I was really doing it for myself. I enjoyed the writing and it was really cathartic. It was my way of getting things off my chest. I wrote about whatever was on top for me. Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that 100+ people would stop by and read it every day. Especially considering I only told a handful of people about it.

I used to be bursting with things to write about. I had 30 odd years of stuff bottled up. I would have a pile of draft ideas waiting in the wings for those days when something didn’t immediately spring to mind. I even logged on and wrote a couple of times during my honeymoon. That’s dedication.

But then it started becoming a bit routine. There were days when I couldn’t be bothered. I felt like I’d created a bit of a monster. How could I stop writing when I knew so many people were checking in each day? Sure – it was pressure I put on myself, but it was pressure none the less.

So I kept writing.

And then one day last week I sat here for about 20 minutes starting posts then trashing them. Nothing was working for me. The phone rang and it was a friend to whom I had recommended the particular brand of reusable nappies that I plan on using, several years ago when she had her first child. After having a brief conversation with her I wrote about it. And whaddya know? It hit a nerve with a few people. It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone – I was thinking of the people that have the decision to make in the future, rather than the ones that made the wrong one (in my opinion) in the past. But it motivated a couple of you into commenting.

That is one thing I have always found fascinating about my blog. The stats tell me how many of you are reading, but there are very rarely any comments. I have no idea who you are, but I know I don’t know (most of) you. So the comments came as a surprise.

And then I wrote about my truck. And that got you going as well. And readership over the last couple of weeks has swelled. It’s surprising how many people do nappy research online.

It’s amazing what a bit of controversial writing can do.

Tomorrow I might write about all the other stuff that you guys do wrong.

Prejudice

I’m not naive or arrogant enough to state that I don’t have prejudices. That’s not what I’m going to rant about today. I’m talking about one prejudice in particular. It’s one that’s really been bugging me lately (and this is not specifically about your comment the other day Mike, so please don’t take offence.) I’m talking about people’s blind hatred towards SUV’s (or 4WDs or trucks or whatever you call them in your country).

I read comments in three newspapers this weekend which were slating trucks. They go on about how all SUV drivers are tailgaters. How we deliberately try to intimidate. How we have some kind of inferiority syndrome which means that we have to drive large vehicles. What the hell? Where do you people get off?

While those things may be true of some people, they are certainly not true of all of us. As with most prejudices, this one is borne of ignorance. For those people that hate the drivers of large vehicles, did you ever stop to think about why it is that we might have them? People bag ‘city 4WDs’. Sure – I don’t go off road in mine. But why would ? I drive it in 2WD mode unless the weather is really bad. I didn’t buy it as a sport vehicle. I bought it because it is the most practical vehicle I could find that will allow me to fit a twin stroller in the boot and still leave enough space for the rest of the stuff that’s required when you go away for a night with two babies.

I don’t like station wagons. I don’t like how they look. They don’t use less gas than my truck and they don’t have any other benefits. My truck uses less gas than my last car did, and it is the more environmentally friendly 91 version. It doesn’t go as fast as my last car and I drive it more sensibly. I don’t sit on people’s bumpers any more than I used to.

I have a friend that drives a Smart Car. Someone left a note on her windscreen the other day thanking her for driving such a sensible car and commenting on how much they hate SUVs. That’s great, but she doesn’t have kids! If she did I can guarantee you she’d be trading up.

So come on, all of you blind truck haters. Get over yourselves!

All the things I’ve left behind

Occasionally, very occasionally I think about the things that are no longer going to be a part of my world once these babies come. You get so caught up in the whole pregnancy thing that it’s easy to forget that at the end of it, you’re right at the beginning of a whole new world. It’s not really an end at all.

I was reading something in the weekend that was written by a woman who got a bit of a shock when she had her first child at 17. She thought she was getting a baby. She didn’t think about the fact that not long after that, she was getting a child.

I keep forgetting about the fact that I’m getting dependants. Someone will decide on a date for their wedding and I’ll think “Sweet, I will have had the babies by then so I’ll be able to have a big night”. Then I’ll remember that I can’t just put the babies in the cattery and have a weekend bender. And that’s not even taking into account breastfeeding. Life has changed permanantly.

I’m not complaining. I’m ready for that change – the babies are the most important thing hands down. It’s just a case of getting my head around things. I was talking with my best friend about it in the weekend. He is in a relationship with a woman who has said she doesn’t want children. He has decided that he loves her so he will make that sacrifice. He was saying (surprisingly) that for all those sacrifices I’ll have the reward of never being lonely. In 20 years time I’ll have grown children around me. He’ll be the ‘family friend’ that someone has to pick up and bring over at christmas time because he has no family of his own.

And he’s right. One of my biggest motivators for having children is because I look forward to seeing the adults that they will become. I want friendships with them like the one I have with my mother. I feel them kicking inside of me and I feel closer to my mother than ever when I consider the fact that 34 years ago she was sitting there ‘feeling the baby kicking’ and it was me.

So here’s to the future. And not to all the things that I’ll be leaving behind, but to all the new ones that I’ll be finding.

The big bang

Nope, I’m not going to jump on the band wagon and write about the Large something-or-other Collider, although I’m sure that I could go off on tangents about religion and offend a few more of you. I’m talking about something much closer to home. Unfortunately it is baby related. I say unfortunately, because the day I got knocked up I swore to myself that this blog wasn’t going to become some baby site where all I did was talk about swollen ankles and breastfeeding. But it’s harder said than done, because that really has become my prime focus these days and I’ve always written about whatever’s on top.

Anyway.

My latest project is the nursery. Most of the furniture arrived this week so the room that used to be our spare bedroom is now going to belong to the babies. Great in theory, but until now it has been the realm of the cats. They had cat nests on the spare bed and they would sleep there when the sun was on it during the day. They can’t understand why they’re not allowed in there any more. I guess they haven’t heard the horror stories about cats smothering babies. We don’t communicate that intricately so I haven’t really explained it to them.

But I had a brainwave. I filled the cots with balloons. I figured that should a cat jump in, it’d burst a balloon and get the fright of it’s life – never to jump in again. I do have a secondary fear that the fright might cause it to evacuate its bladder or claw its way out of the cot destroying the paintwork, but I guess those outcomes are better than a dead baby.

And last night it happened. Chico jumped into the cot-that-will-be-Israel’s and burst a balloon. He didn’t quite react as I expected. He just stood there frozen in place. I guess he was playing dead. Not ideal if there was an actual baby beneath him.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

Social irresponsibility

I’ve been finding myself getting more and more intolerant of people that continue to turn a blind eye to the damage that we are doing to the planet. Interestingly, people are becoming more aware now that it’s affecting their pockets. The price of petrol is making people think before they drive. The general tightening of the economy is making people think about how much power they use. But one thing that doesn’t seem to be changing much is the amount of rubbish that people make. And some of the worst offenders seem to be the parents of babies.

Lately it seems that I’ve been having the disposable vs reusable nappy debate on just about a daily basis. It’s become a bit of a crusade for me. I just cannot believe how ignorant/lazy/complacent some people are. If you weigh up the pros and cons the decision should be a no brainer. Finances aside (you save yourself thousands of dollars over the nappy wearing life of a baby if you buy reusables),  the pros of washing and reusing nappies far outweigh the cons.

At antenatal class the other week someone asked if nappies are biodegradeable. He looked pretty shocked when I told him that one nappy takes 50 years to break down. The average newborn baby goes through 8 of those nappies a day. Most children continue to wear nappies until they are three years old. That is one hell of a lot of landfill. How can anyone feel ok about that?

All the myths about washable nappies are just that – myths. Some people try to tell me that if you take into account soap powder, water and electricity for washing that they are just as bad. Bullshit. Others say that they are more likely to give babies nappy rash. Bullshit. Or that they are such high maintenance that they aren’t feasible. Bullshit. It’s not like the old days when you had a square of cotton that you had to soak and wash and fold and pin. These days they are just one unit that you shake over the toilet and then throw straight in the wash.

When I tell people I’m going to use washables for my twins they say “Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts!” What the hell? When I tell people I’m going to do something tricky at work they don’t say that. Why should this be any different? Being a mother is going to be my full time job and I intend to do it every bit as well as I’ve ever done anything before.

So if you’re planning on having a baby, do something responsible. Forget about disposable nappies – they’re not ok.

Counting down

I have less than two months left at work. 7 Mondays. Time has turned into a weird dichotomy. The weeks (and the weekends) seem to be flying by incredibly fast. I blink on Friday afternoon and it’s Sunday night. I drag myself out of bed on Monday morning and it’s already Wednesday.

But at the same time it’s taking forever.

A couple of weeks ago I just couldn’t wait to get out of here. I was looking forward to a month of enjoying my own time before I forget how that feels. Then we drew up a budget and it became apparent that I really need to work as long as I possibly can! The other thing that has started to happen is that when I pull into the carpark each morning I think about the fact that I’ve pulled into that same carpark 5 days a week for the last 12 and a half years. This place has become such a part of my life that I can’t imagine life without it. But I still can’t wait…

Other people have started to think about it too. My boss was struck by the realisation last Friday that when I leave there will be no women in our team. I’ve been here as long as he has – he has no experience of working here without me. I suppose work might become quite peaceful for him!

But the biggest thing for me now is boredom. My plan to work up until 32 weeks has been met with some scepticism by people with multiple pregnancy experience. A girl in my antenatal class was forced to leave work at 21 weeks when she went into pre-term labour. Blood pressure and exhaustion are the primary reasons for leaving early – and my BP hasn’t been the best from day one. So due to the fact that I could have to pack up and leave at any time, there is no point in starting any new and exciting projects. I’m just biding my time and that’s boring.

This change has been a long time coming and now I just want it to hurry up.