Monday, 9 April 2007

Are we nearly there yet???

Yesterday I woke up full of the joys of spring (albeit at an ungodly hour), this morning however I just woke up feeling bored.

Everything bored me, from the prospect of getting up, to staying in bed, to visiting the bathroom for the umpteenth time to making tea. Even coming downstairs was boring, making a banana smoothie incredibly dull, watching 3 episodes of Desperate Housewives a drag.

In fact all the things I looked forward to doing on maternity leave had suddenly lost their appeal. Could it be that old adage, too much of a good thing..? Or is it my hormones preparing me for the refreshing change of splitting in two to release a new human into this (boring) world??

What I really wanted was to go on an exotic holiday, a really long run, a skydive, or throw myself into a bumper car and hit everyone on the circuit REALLY hard. But the reality is that I'm stuck in a bit of a vacuum of not knowing, watching my baby have seemingly much more fun than me on the inside, while on the outside I want to sit in its pram and throw out all the toys.

Sort of like having to wear sensible orthopaedic shoes when you really want to wear Manolo's..

Perhaps this is the last opportunity for my baby to hold me hostage, while I lamely bleat from the backseat (well, sofa), "Bump, are we there yet, are we nearly there yet Bump??".

Sunday, 8 April 2007

I choose...pineapple

Perusing the options of ways in which to bring on labour, I'm struck by the fact that they seem to fall into two categories. Raunchy vs mundane.

1. (Hot?) sex and/or nipple tweaking;

2. Floor cleaning (the old fashioned way, no magimop solutions here) and/or hoovering;

I find it hard to believe the same person came up with both lists -more likely a helpful husband the first and his equally helpful mother the second. (Or perhaps that's unfair - this is the 21st century after all - more likely a frustrated wife and mother the first, and an OCD metrosexual husband the second..)

Oh and not forgetting the curry (better combined with the more raunchy option list 1) and pineapple (on sticks??) which tucks neatly into the more mundane option list 2) (on account of its astringent qualities I'm thinking).

Mind you, perhaps these options are more interchangeable than I first thought; take the floor cleaning for example - who's to say it wasn't the same person after all, helpfully providing some saucy role play to get things going? Remove the clothes and a prolonged and vigorous session on all fours may well fit better in the first option list. Equally the curry could then be eaten off the floor afterwards as a sort of post-all fours edible cigarette.

Which leaves nipple tweaking and hoovering - hmm. Well in our house my husband is the hooverer (or should that be carpet-manager?), so I would probably just have a token metre squared to 'pretend' hoover over and end up with a bald spot. Surely though it's not actually the hoovering that helps - all that noise would more likely than not just scare poor baby back in than entice it out - it must be more to do with the rocking motion, which could actually be done anywhere.

It's a nice day, I could go into the garden perhaps and rock back and forward for twenty minutes with optional arm stretch (or nipple tweak?). On the plus side, fresh air, sunshine, birdsong; on the down side neighbours presuming:

a) heavily pregnant new neighbour has developed nasty mental illness;
b) heavily pregnant new neighbour practices previously unseen Eastern exercise routine;
c) heavily pregnant new neighbour has foot stuck and needs urgent assistance (and is obviously comforting herself with a little nipple tweaking).

No, this all seems fraught with unsavoury possibilities and the need for copious amounts of Gaviscon. And it is Easter. I think instead I will stick to a nice stroll in the park and a (pineapple-flavoured) ice lolly. You never know, the sound of the ice-cream van alone may well be enough to encourage Bump to hurry out into the world..

Saturday, 7 April 2007

NCT bake-off

So having had my initial scepticism about joining an NCT group appeased by meeting a group of seemingly nice and 'normal' couples, all equally nervous and unknowing about the perils of what might lie ahead along the path of parenthood, I think I may have encountered an early setback.

A few days ago I popped over to one lovely new mum's house to meet with a few of my new grown up friends. I, perhaps to compensate for my lack of maternal skills, baked some cookies in the morning a la Bree Van de Camp to take along. Bound to be impressed with that little display of domesticity I thought, clever way to delay the discovery of my inevitable future inadequacies in this scary new world. Tupperware in one hand, nearly-40 week bump in the other, I made my way in the sunshine, all suddenly right in the world.

"I brought cookies!" I proudly exclaimed and made my way through to the kitchen. The cookies were not the star of the kitchen nor the afternoon, needless to say. Another lovely lady had whipped up some Belgian chocolate mousse in little individual containers; the hostess had prepared fresh berries to accompany the luxury goods she had bought (ok, not home-made but they were 'Taste the Difference', and it was her house!); and to top it all, the most recent new mum arrived bearing her 6 day old daughter, a very small stomach and a home-made treacle tart!

OK so not exactly a tortuous afternoon all in all, however it did make me realise, as I politely turned down the opportunity to hold tiny babies or eat any of the goodies on offer, that perhaps being Bree wasn't going to be so easy after all. Perhaps I'm more of a dippy Susan, or frazzled Lynette. There was I thinking that I'd left the world of competition behind me for a few months, and in reality I think I have instead entered an even more combative one. I think to qualify for a good end of year maternity report, not to mention in-year bonus, I'm going to have to be a lot more resourceful. Hmm, food for thought while we await the arrival of Bump.

On the plus side, I still had some cookies left to offer my hubbie as he came home early for the long weekend. At least he appreciates my new-found domestic prowess. Or was that just the sugar-rush?

Friday, 6 April 2007

Everyone loves a bump..

So here I am teetering on the dawn of motherhood and feeling reflective about the power of 'the bump'.

There is an amazing quality to a bump which makes normally eye contact-shy london folk start up the most intimate of conversations in public places. I have noticed this is also directly linked to the size of the bump; over the past few weeks interest has increased exponentially as my bump has grown. "Now that's a big one..", "can't be long now..", "is this your first?", "my wife's just had one of those"; all typical openers leading on to conversations normally reserved for those 7 minute chats in the doctor's surgery.

Of course bumps in themselves don't normally lead people to be quite so friendly - a bump on the head, back or, er..any other part of the body, especially a rapidly growing one, leads straight back to foot shuffling and eye avoidance. No, there has to be a small alien growing within the bump to stoke the interest of others and make you suddenly feel a bit 'special'.

Conversations typically range from the predictable to the surreal, leaving you questioning your/others' hormone levels/sanity. For example:

(John Lewis, Wednesday): Interested Other (male): "my wife swears by that swaddling blanket", Me: "Oh really? Oh good"; (10mins of baby talk later) Interested Other: " you really have to shove it on to the breast when it opens its mouth, much less painful", Me: "hmm, easy for you to say.."

(Black cab back from John Lewis, Wednesday) Interested Other: "So, do you know what it is?", Me: "um, I'm hoping a baby...but who knows, could be a giraffe, ha ha!"; Interested Other: "Ha, and what flavour, do you know?", Me: "er, strawberry??"; Interested other: "Ha Ha", Me: ", keep the change".

Which brings me back to the teetering. Today I have reached the peak of my 40 week journey and in many ways feel I have 'arrived' - hoorah, job done, hard slog over, you did it!! And it does feel like an achievement - all those weeks of reading what to expect next with a mix of horror and excitement in books that would be better entitled 'The Freak in You', and attempting to manage the hormonal and physical assault course of a trainee mum-to-be.

However, as one trip to NCT will tell you, this is nothing compared with what comes next..which as hard as I try I just cannot imagine. For now it's still just me and Bump, Bump and me, (oh and hubbie too of course, and 'new boyf' pillow which has had more loving than husband over last couple of months), and the unsolicited bump-love of strangers.