Other peoples' kids may be annoying, but they sure are funny

So today I'm in my own personal eighth circle of hell, otherwise known as your average toy store. I was trying to manoeuvre P's stroller around the odd dawdling child staring at overpriced Thomas the Tank Engine paraphernalia and lumpy women without an awareness of how much space they and their own strollers take up. I'd already "accidentally" rammed into the heel of a pokey Crocs-wearing woman earlier in the shopping expedition, so bloodlust was at the ready.

Amazingly, two little girls, about 8 years old, lightened my mood. Witness, an exchange including a child that I hope P to be like someday:

Future P (saying to her friend, who was drinking Lucozade - a fizzy energy drink like Gatorade but carbonated): "I once saw a thing on TV where people poured 5 litres of Lucozade on a pig brain and the brain turned to mush."

Friend of Future P: "Nuh uh."

FP: "Did too."

FFP: "Well, that's a pig though and I'm human. It's not the same thing."

FP: "Actually, humans and pigs are related." (glancing at friend's Lucozade) "I'm just telling you what I saw." (shrug)

FFP: (looking at Lucozade incredulously and a touch frightened) "Ok."

Yes, so I want my child to be a fear-mongering know-it-all who scares her friends into submission. I'm surprised you think there is something wrong with that.

Ironically, Future P used the magic word - "mush". The name of my new, as-yet-created baby food blog. Congratulations J for being the lucky winner. Much virtual love and a pat on the head, as promised. Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions, unfortunately for you I have had a long-standing admiration of the word "mush". So there it is. For those who offered their own contributions, they will be very welcome once I get it up (heh) and running. I hope Monday is the day, but it all depends on whether P decides that 4.30am really is the optimum waking time or not. I vote no.


Eat me

I'd love to say I'm referencing Alice in Wonderland, but let's be honest - I just like saying "eat me". As an aside, Lewis Carroll...fucked up or what? Well, allegedly.

Anyway, I need your help. I'm all Bree Van De Kamp Hodge up in here, cooking each of P's meals, cleaning regularly, ironing, vacuuming, dusting. People, I'm DUSTING. Not every day, or even every week, but swiffing a thing around casually every once in awhile. I still hate cleaning, but I'll confess something - I love making baby food. I chalk it up to a childhood obsession with watching a worn out VHS copy of Baby Boom, a movie which surely has inspired you all at some point.

Surprisingly there is a bit of a lack of sites with baby food recipes on the internet. As Kristi referenced here a few months ago, by 12 months of age, American babies will have eaten about 600 jars of mass produced baby food. The figures for a baby in Western Europe is 240/year, and in Eastern Europe, 12/year. 600 jars of bland food with questionable ingredients. I know a lot of parents don't have a choice because of work and other commitments, but as I am still a servant SAHM I might as well make the effort while I still can. Lord knows I have to make up for the clusterfuck that was breastfeeding.

I am endevouring to starting my own baby flood blog in addition to this one in the hopes that other parents might be inspired to make their own food, or for those already making baby food, give them new ideas. My first question is - is it legal to put up some recipes from a few of the books I have if I give credit to the author? Second, and by far the most important is, what do I call said blog?

It seems strange to take up yet another responsibility when I can't even find time to respond to emails (I'm working on it!), but this is my new obsession, so I'm at least going to try it and see how it goes.

So, I'm open to suggestions on both of the points I raised above. If I go with one of the suggested titles I will award the winner a virtual pat on the head and the knowledge that I love them, if even for a moment. You can't put a price on that.


Turn of the tide

Appropriately, this is my 200th post. I've been terribly disappointed in my blogging for the past 7 or 8 months, which is a long time to assault readers with mediocre or downright crap posts. I seem to have lost something since having P. Correction, since I ceased being depressed about P-related things.

Soon after having P I had a series of existential blog-related crises, when I was not sure the direction this was going. I won't rehash all of that drama, as lord knows we've had enough of it. I felt my obligation was to the IF blogosphere since I'd hung around it for a couple of years. I was fearful that I would become the dreaded mommy blogger and alienate the faithful IF readers I had accumulated in that time. Someone once commented here that there is no reason to be ashamed of being a mommy who blogs, and at the time I sent her a rather defensive email. I claimed she didn't know where I was coming from as she was not an IF blogger herself, but I have come to realise that she's right.

I had a baby. A delightful, beautiful, rather mischevious little girl who is almost a year old, but you would be forgiven for not knowing that based on my blog. Omitting her from my blog aside from the casual reference or name drop has made me frightfully boring. Supressing many mentions of P has left me void of inspiration or wittiness. I reread old posts and wish I had that Pru back again.

The only remedy, other than more cowbell, is to change the direction of this blog a bit. I am going to start being more P and child-centric, because much as I have pushed her to the back of my blogging life, she is the centre of my real life. Those who know me or have read me long enough know that this will not become a blog of sunshine and giggles. I'm still the same twisted, sarcastic person. I have an abiding love of Jay-Z, violent and creative deaths on Rome, and a newfound obsession with googling tales/photos of fetus in fetu. Oddly enough, I think blogging more about my kid will bring out my non-boring-as-fuck side again. Christ on a bike I hope so.

I hope the IF masses (slight exaggeration if my stats are anything to go by) don't flee immediately after reading this post. If we decide to try for another child I'm certain IVF will be the way to go, so once again there will be posts about my love of dearest WHYBAML, drive-bys, and mental assassination attempts on co-workers due to the effects of the poon drugs. Only this time there will be a little strawberry blond creature making the journey all the more interesting.



There are some things that are too easy for an IF blogger to talk about when certain stories are in the news - 66 year old women giving birth, women without heads nor uteri pregnant without assistance, 18 year olds with three kids by three baby daddies, those blasted Duggars in all their procreating-like-rabbits glory - all simple ways to concoct blog posts filled with outrage.

It's Friday and I'm annoyed with my blogging recently anyway, so I will take the easy way out and blog about this and this. The same situation with two (apparently) very different outcomes.

The first couple, from the land of a gazillion lakes or whatever, got pregnant with sextuplets as the result of a Follistim cycle. A quick glance at their personal website reveals that they are religious, and as such, could not possibly fathom selective reduction. Instead, they decided to trust God that everything would work out swimmingly and all six babies would be born healthy and vital.

Unfortunately, the babies were born at 22 weeks, with their weights ranging from 11 ozs to 1lb 3ozs. One of the babies, a boy, has died, and the others are in critical condition. The other set of sextuplets are reported to be healthy, born at over 30 weeks and with weights between 2 and 3lbs. The only complication at this point was the minor issue of ACUTE HEART FAILURE of the mother postpartum. Yeah, that's all. Almost dying and leaving one partner to take care of six children, another glorious side effect of the multiples experience.

I have commented on others' websites before that I could not be any less keen on the multiples experience for myself if I tried. I have absolutely no doubt that I would have selectively reduced a pregnancy of three or more, whether it was my first pregnancy or second. I never had any desire to have an "instant" family and I wouldn't have paused for a moment when making the decision.

I recognise that this would be the best option for me, but not everyone. However, I think it is absolutely insane and selfish to continue with a pregnancy with four or more fetuses. The chances of infant mortality are nothing to be disregarded, not to mention the very increased likelihood of disabilities. It's all well and good to put your faith in God that it will all be taken care of, but how does that help the baby that weighs as much as a jar of jam, hooked up to endless machines?

There are some comments on the Minnesota couple's website from a couple of months ago which scoff at the notion of selective reduction. The gist is, who needs the evil of selective reduction when you have God on your side? One commentor even complimented them on not "buying into" the whole selective reduction idea, which...well, I don't know if I even have words for that level of ignorance.

What if this couple end up with no babies from this experience? Is that the way God wanted it? Rather than undergoing the selective reduction process (whose listing on wikipedia includes infanticide amongst its "see also" category), the babies you felt were a gift from God spent their brief time on earth suffering and in pain. Where is the sense in that?



Back in the day I was an athlete. I ran track and cross country for a few years and played varsity soccer. I never ventured above 115 lbs despite eating or drinking whatever I pleased. I was active year-round, and I was that bitch in gym class who smirked when other girls in the class couldn't run a mile without walking some of the way. I was the first girl picked by the boys when split into teams, because even though I was largely crap at everything but track-related things and soccer, I was at least able to keep up and wasn't afraid of catching a ball.

Oh, how times have changed. At 19, everything spiralled out of control and before you could say "polycystic ovarian syndrome" I found myself much larger and significantly less fit. Or, shall we say, not fit in the least. I subsisted on junk food and soda, and never bothered to exercise anymore. A closet full of fabulous, largely vintage size 2 clothing sat forlornly next to my new chosen wardrobe of bland tops and dull pants from Old Navy. There was nothing to show off anymore, so I saw no point in dressing up what should be hidden away.

Since that initial weight gain 10 years ago, I've existed in a state of self-loathing. I wouldn't dare have The Dude see me naked in a non-lying down position. At least when I'm laying down the flabbiest bits look slightly less evident. I can think of only a few pictures that I've allowed to be taken of myself in this period, as viewing of the end product makes me ill. I don't even see a hint of the person I used to be.

I know the obvious thing is to exercise. Of course. However, I've developed a sort of fat girl agoraphobia and have struggled greatly with the idea of being seen out in public exercising. I convince myself that everyone I pass will be laughing to themselves, wondering why this chubby woman even bothers. I have big boobs as well, so I'm self-concious of how they look when running, as well as my posture as a result. One of my fears is looking unathletic, which I know is strange given that it would be difficult for me to look any less athletic if I tried, but I still see that ghost of my past self sometimes and I know I have betrayed myself greatly by letting her drift away irretrievably.

I thought there was a new dawn a few weeks ago. For the first time since I began to repulse myself, I got up the motivation to go running. I waited until 9pm when I thought few people would be about, and I went out. I walked and ran (largely walked) for 3 1/2 miles, and did so three more times during the next week. I felt fantastic, a combination of the mental images of my new and long-hidden body and the concept that pushing myself to the limit physically was a great method of punishing myself. Disturbingly, I liked the fact that I felt exhausted and sick. It made me feel like I was finally getting what I deserved for letting myself become this way.

I once mentioned on here that I have been a serial near-cutter, which is so overly dramatic I feel guilty even saying it. At low points in the past decade I have been compelled to hurt myself in this way, as I was convinced the physical pain would help release, or at least balance out my emotional pain. Exercising was my new way of attempting that balance without being self-injurious.

However...because there is always a however, this plan has already been scuppered. I have developed extraordinarily painful shin splints and knee pain which inhibit even walking and going up and down our stairs, let alone running. When it first happened I took two weeks off to rest my legs, and also bought brand new insoles with arch support for my return to running. I went out last night, made it about a mile, and could then do no more. Today, I can't take more than a few steps without pain shooting up my legs.

During that mile last night, I felt reinvigorated. I was pleased with myself that I could do this again, and I knew that my dedication would remain. Until. Until. I worry that I have waited too long, and perhaps I am too big, thus putting too much weight on my poor fragile knees. If I can't run, which is painful enough of an idea in itself, what can I do so that I'm no longer this disgusting, gelatinous disappointment? I'm sure my GP would recommend walking, but PCOS means that I'd have to walk about 40 miles a fucking day just to lose a pound a week. Besides, I walk everywhere all the time anyway and it hasn't diminished the Pipgut, shrunken my boobs, or narrowed my face. Swimming is a no-no, once again due to PCOS - children would run screaming from this body in a swimsuit, nor can I bother keeping up the hair maintenence that would be required to be in a swimsuit.

My goal was to lose weight before I went to the States. We are having a big first birthday party for P. and I wanted to be able to be in the pictures. I don't want her to look back on her childhood photos someday and notice that I am absent from most of them. Conversely, I don't even like thinking of myself being photographed at the party, forever documented as the frumpy blob I have become, so far away from that girl who used to be.



A blogger once wrote that asking the readers questions or encouraging participation was meant to make the blogger feel popular when commentors tripped over themselves to answer said questions. After all, blogs are supposed to be about the writer, self-absorbed form of expression that they are. Posts that ask explicit questions are no different to me than posts in which I bring up something controversial, or those in which I talk about my ass, fully aware that thousands will spring to comment on it. Yes, thousands.

So, in the spirit of asking you questions, dear, dear people, I'm going to ask you some. So there. Deal with it. I have recently been lucky enough to ship off the leech be able to send P. to nursery for two half days a week, thus leaving me with one of my favourite mistresses who has been absent for too long - spare time. What does one do during this block of time? At the moment there is a heap of laundry on the lounge floor, some of which needs to be staintreated (reflux rocks). The kitchen is a mess of potato peels, cooked lamb mince, and dirty dishes. P's bedroom is scattered with towels, nappies, and baby wipes, the product of a rather destructive and odd tornado of a 10 month old.

Will I use this time constructively? Hells no. P. deprived me of a maternity leave due to her early arrival, so I'm going to enjoy this period before I leave for the States and my return to work. I want to read books, watch both good and bad TV, watch DVDs, take naps, listen to new music...all of those things I missed out on in that month almost a year ago.

I have some borrowed books gathering dust by my bed - books borrowed up to a year and a half ago, if not more. Sorry Alexa. Again. What I will be reading:

Alias Grace: Margaret Atwood - borrowed off another mum in my group months and months ago. I looked at it and thought, "Hey, a 550 page book. No problem!" Hahahaha. Oh, how I laughed.

The Body Project: Joan Jacobs Brumberg - Alexa's book. By the time she gets it back Scott will be on his 8th pet crow.

Not on the Label: Felicity Lawrence - borrowed off another mother, because I desperately need to be even more paranoid and anxious.

Overcoming Anxiety: Helen Kennerley - Yes, it's that "book prescription" piece of shit. I'm mostly done with it, which is just as well since it's almost a month overdue. Don't hit me Flicka. Bloody librarians.

So that's four books that I'm to finish before I go to the States. Yeah, I really see that happening in my 5 hours sans kid/husband per week.

As for music, I have been quite lax lately when it comes to new stuff. Randomly, I have been listening to Great Lake Swimmers, Kate Nash, Neko Case, Regina Spektor, Iron & Wine, and an assortment of singles from various artists. If you'd like to be introduced to some new music yourself, let me know and I'll hook you up.

I am course watching some TV, because I friggin' love TV. I was going to do a post on TV and its role as the devil and corruptor of small children, but due to brain rot I was unable to complete it. Must be too much TV. Anyway, most of our favourite programmes (24, Rescue Me, Lost, The Wire) have just finished here, so we are left adrift in a sea of crap television. I watch the second season of Project Runway and Canada's Next Top Model (ahem), but as far as TV we watch together, The Dude and I just have Heroes, Prison Break, and Sleeper Cell.

The perceived pandering begins...now. Tell me dear children, what have you been reading, watching, and listening to?


All dogs burn in hell

When I found out that O'Keeffe had been put to sleep, I was trying to deal with it in a clouds and sunshine manner - picturing Keeffe as a revitalised, younger dog running around happily in that mysterious yet blissful place that you convince yourself exists when you're grieving.

Then, out of the recesses of my addled mind I recalled something from my childhood. When I was 13, one of our dogs had to be put to sleep rather suddenly. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease one day, and two days later he was dead. An aunt I was really close to died two years before, but due to my age, I wasn't capable of comprehending all the complex thoughts and emotions which accompany the death of someone you love. By the time of the dog's death, I was in a religiously neutral state due to an overpowering need to be anti-establishment. Nonetheless, a belief in the afterlife was something on which I didn't waver. I had to believe there was something, or else each loss in my present and future would be insurmountable. My Mom, a stalwart and unfaltering Presbyterian, kindly informed me that animals didn't have souls, and as such, never went to heaven. Thanks Mom.

Apparently animals, being a lesser species, aren't allowed souls. Otherwise, they would be on the same level as us ever-so-evolved humans, and how could that possibly be? This revelation rocked my fragile world, and drove me to phone a late night radio talk show to seek advice on how to cope. I was a dorky pre-teen and listened to AM talk radio on a nightly basis. I even went to sleep listening to it, as I found it calming for some strange reason. I can't remember what advice I was given, but I do remember that I still felt lost. Since I'm confessing to the nerdiest of pasts, I might as well also add that I couldn't listen to the Bryan Adams song, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" for months after the dog's death because it was my favourite new song when he was alive. Who would have guessed that such a strange child would develop into me?

Anyway, this recollection of my Mom's parental miss-step made me think about what The Dude and I would do in such a situation with P. The Dude is a hardcore atheist, not believing that humans have souls, let alone the little furry things. If P. experienced the loss of a pet at a young age, I can't possibly imagine telling her that her dog was dead forever and just rotting in the ground. Thankfully, The Dude agrees with me, so that's one major argument avoided. Children deserve a little less reality and a little more cushioning sometimes.

What have you done, or what would you do in that situation? Pass on your own beliefs, even if they are difficult to deal with? Stuff the family pet and set it within a dazzling tableau vivant? What?


Batten down the hatches

Oh, how I hate subjecting you to my dramatic posts. I have the unfortunate inability to write any emotional post without sounding like I've copied the words verbatim from some 13 year old's diary. I'm funny (at times) and swear a lot, I should be writing witty anecdotes about baby poop or the follies of a postpartum sex life, yet here I am waxing crap poetic about my dead dog. Mea culpa dear readers, mea culpa.

Moving on to brighter and slightly more interesting topics, The Dude, P, and myself are venturing over to the States in July to spread joy and cheer to all. We will be staying with my Mom in PA for five long old weeks, so have faith that my flat ass will be noted, as well as my gelatinous Pipgut commented upon.

I am having some difficulty planning what to take, being all new to this parenting thing and travelling with the little grubbit. At the moment we're leaning toward just buying a load of the gear in the US with the assumption that we will leave it all there and use it again during subsequent visits. I get very flustered when out in public with P. for extended periods of time and I don't fancy the potential breakdown at Heathrow resulting from being loaded down with a carseat, luggage, a stroller, and a screaming baby with reflux.

I plan on earmarking a stroller and a high chair for my Mom to buy from that bastion of refined taste, Wal-Mart. However, the carseat thing is really fucking with my incredibly shrinking mind (which is as useful as a turd these days), because I have no idea what the carseat requirements are in the US. In the UK, a child can be put in a forward-facing seat from 20lbs. Additionally, carseats are not uniform and will not fit in every model of car. If this is the same in the US I will struggle a bit since we will be alternating family cars depending on what is available. My brain hurts and I'm getting sweaty palms just thinking what a clusterfuck that might be. Enlighten me please.

I feel incredibly stupid rather than brave for taking a 12 month old on a trans-Atlantic flight. I can't even take her to Starbucks without swearing off any future trips outside the house. She's a lovely baby really, but she is very vocal and incredibly fidgety. I know, I know, she's a bayyyyybeeee, but seriously, my kid is in a league of her own. Her babble is incessant and quite loud, and trying to confine her to a lap or an unmoving stroller is as easy as trying to get a leash on a bumblebee. She has boundless energy, and I put myself near stroke considering how this behaviour will manifest itself when she's a toddler. Any tips on airline travel with a small child? Help! Help!

Since I will be in the US for such a long period of time relative to my previous trips, I hope to meet a blogger or ten. I will be entertaining all comers on a date of my choosing, wearing a crown of pussaries, a necklace made of Puregon Pens and pregnancy tests, and a white cloth draped delicately over my venus mound. I'll probably get tripped up over the logistics since The Dude is a cheap bastard and doesn't want to rent a car, so all these marvelous blogger meetings that are going on in this dreamy little head of mine might never happen. Conversely, if they do happen I'll be fearful that my real life self will bore the tits off any takers. I suppose at the very least they would be able to view my gloriously flat ass in the flesh.