Archive | May, 2013

Week 40

29 May

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This time last week, only 3 days fashionably late, 7lbs 11oz of Ernest George was born in a birth pool in our dining room.

We have been so dazed with sleep deprivation and heart-stopping love for our new baby that we only realised last night we hadn’t even played him a single piece of recorded music. We have been too busy singing him silly Ernie songs and squishing his delicious cheeks.

Parenthood so far is a glorious, screaming technicolour smack in the face. The emotional power of every single second of the day is set to overload. I cry at least five times a day, and find myself absent-mindedly beaming at my son at least ten times that. It’s like somebody ripped off my skin and left my nerves bare to feel every. single. thing.

Never has anything been so terrifyingly relentless and brilliant all at once.

I’ll be back with the birth story when little monkey learns to sleep for more than an hour at a time….

Week 39: Texas Is The Reason – Do You Know Who You Are

19 May

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The most amazing band I never got to see is coming back to the UK for their last ever performances and playing in Manchester.

I have been quite stressed about this, because I know we have two tickets, and I know in the back of my mind that, when it comes to it, only S will get to go. This is just one of a number of incidents in the last few weeks that’s made me sit up and think about how things that I once took for granted are going to become enormously challenging. Something is very, very shortly going to become more important than all of that stuff.

I have spent a lot of time over the last 9 months worrying about money, and it all sort of ended in me having a bit of a meltdown last weekend. It doesn’t matter how many ways I turn it over in my head, I don’t have a plan, we don’t have a way to cope beyond the first 10 months. Then, this week, I got offered a small freelancing job, which turned into about 2 weeks work, and my brain exploded. It’s the most phenomenal opportunity, but I’m taking it on at a time when I’m going to be at home looking after my newborn baby – the first 2 terrifying months – by myself, for the first time ever. Yes yes yes I want the job but holy fucking shit I have no idea how that is going to work. Where to draw the line between my new tiny, screaming first priority and earning us the money that will enable us to survive. They tell us we can do it all, have it all, but I know that’s a myth. So what’s going to give?

I had been so perfectly cool and calm about everything, and now I have The Fear. The fear about labour (he hasn’t moved, and I can’t stop reading back-to-back birth stories on the internet and terrifying myself – I swear I’m not a massochist I’m genuinely just trying to find some non-horrific ones), about being unable to manage by myself afterwards, about not letting my career stagnate so I can actually go out and earn us some money to live on at some point, about this being the biggest thing I’ve ever done and the terrible, pernicious fear of failing at it.

I’m not an idiot, I know this Fear stuff had to come and dress itself in scary makeup and say “BOO!” really loudly to me at some point, and it’s not surprising that I’m sitting here on my due date having finally had it leap out and shout in my face.

There have been so many lovely people reassuring me about this, and so much has really helped. Have faith is the big one. Trusting instincts, not overthinking it (not my forte at the best of times). But the best thing I’ve heard came from my Mum, who simply said “you won’t care when he’s here”. Or rather, I will care, but not in the same way. Same furniture, different room. So there’s no point worrying about making my bed yet, before I’ve got to get in and lie in it.

Week 38: Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley

11 May

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I think we all have those records that transport us out of our mundane lives and take us away somewhere magical.

When I listen to Kyuss, I’m floating on a psychedelic sparkly cloud 10 miles up above a desert canyon. I am not on my hands and knees scrubbing the skirting boards, rigid with backache and praying this baby will turn into a slightly less awkward position for birth.

This week I have been mostly hoping that with the gut-shaking power of rumbling bass and downtuned guitars, the baby will flipflop around into prime position, thereby saving me hours of googling back-to-back babies and sobbing with the fear of being in agonising back labour for a week. On the up-side, at least I know both of my TENS machines are working now. And there are many spare batteries. Many, many spare batteries.

Back to the music. I think when you’re a youngster, or maybe during a particularly thoughtful period of your life, you have those albums or songs that let you vanish inside yourself. It definitely gets harder to lose yourself in music as you grow up, but the second you put on an old CD or song – BOOM. You’re floating in space again, suspended above the canyon, or getting whatever it is that feeling is that transports you. I think this is what inspires legions of embarrassing uncles and aunts to leap onto the dancefloor and start fist-pumping at weddings the second a song from their youth comes on. The opening notes in that song push those magic brain receptors and they’re young again, and they can get away with dancing like that (even if they really can’t).

These magic switches are also helpfully effective at distracting you from pain. Need to push out another impossible 2 kilometres in your half marathon? Put on your favourite songs, get the endorphin release, take your mind somewhere away from it all. Stub your toe? Put on something REALLY loud and angry and let it block out the pain signals. Works with broken hearts too, ask any teenager.

Anyway. Giving birth to a human out of your foof. The music admittedly might not help towards the end of it, but if the first part is going to be a muscular endurance test lasting days on end, I’d better get prepared with with as many psychological tricks as I can read up about. And two lovely, lovely TENs machines with their sticky stinging pads all over my back all at full electrocuting power.

Week 37: Prince – Sign O’ The Times

6 May

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The wall! I’ve hit the wall. I had such a good week of getting things done last week, but this week has involved a lot more lying in bed wondering if I’ll manage to get out of it before I piss myself.

It’s a deliciously sunny bank holiday weekend, and Sam has been busy pressure washing the back yard and reupholstering our rocking chair, whereas I spent a grand total of TWO hours walking round town on Saturday and then had to stay in bed most of yesterday with the curtains drawn to recover from my “exertions”, like some sort of sickly 18th century literature heroine. I’m not very good at feeling like I have no purpose. I am a giant, pathetic heap of sorry-for-myself. What’s annoying me most of all is that I’m STILL seeing things that need to be done, but unable to sustain the energy to get up and do any of it anymore. It’s scary that there could be, potentially, another whole month of this. Another whole month of getting progressively fatter and moanier.

Generally speaking though, I am in good spirits! I’m not at work and the sun is out. I’ve picked a good time of year to be useless and vegetating.

Oh apart from hayfever, good LORD. I’m going to have to send somebody else to the chemist for me as they won’t sell me so much as a Halls Soother anymore. The days of hiding this with a baggy jumper and buying contraband over the counter drugs are well and truly over.

No, can’t be bothered to talk about Prince either. I prefer this record to Purple Rain, which is just overplayed. That’s all you’re getting.