No looking back

It doesn't look good folks. It appears I am a mere few years away from a destiny which will designate me as the kooky lady with mad hair who lives on her own with a menagerie of dogs in the big, old rambling house. Like mother, like daughter.

An IM between my brother (bless his little cotton socks) and my crazed mother. Names have been changed to protect the insane and gossiped about.

BrotherDear: whats up
BrotherDear: okay you're talking a mile a minute
BrotherDear: what about a foster child!?!?!?
Fruitbat: furbutt
BrotherDear: what?!
Fruitbat: cairn
BrotherDear: oh, so not a real child. a dog.

The manic nature of caps and exaggerated punctuation makes this particularly entertaining for me. Please ignore her usage of "prostrate" instead of "prostate". This woman has a master's degree, but she's a bit flighty, poor soul.

I am aware that no one will find this funny but me, oh, and Cheese Hand, as she's met the crazy old bat. I just had to put it somewhere - spreading the insanity on an otherwise average Friday morning.



No you don't got it, get it?

You know how I just wrote a post about my daughter's immense popularity at nursery? She of the multitude of adoring fans? I mentioned how I am so very far from that issue myself, and as if to illustrate this point further for me, nay, underline it in very bold, capitalised type, I was told this the other day by a friend regarding a mutual friend of ours:

"X says that she doesn't really get you."

Pardon? She doesn't get me? What is there to get anyway? I'm an open bloody book, me. I had a Miranda from Sex and the City moment when Carrie's new boyfriend told her that Miranda's date wasn't calling her because, "he's just not that into you". Miranda was shocked at this revelation, then upon further musing decided that "he's just not that into you" was the key to all of her should I call/why didn't he call?/how long should I wait to call dilemmas in her dating life, and she was thus enlightened, passing the gospel on to other women in similar positions.

I have been mulling over this statement over and over in the past few days, but now I've made peace with the fact that X doesn't get me. She doesn't get me - a flaw of hers surely rather than an indictment of my own personality. The Dude disagrees, cruelly labelling me as cold and detached. Yes, my loving husband, father of my child, views me as cold and detached. What hope do I have to make friends? I'm up against it here people.

The Dude claims that his family are scared of me, and that many people I meet are intimidated by me. I can't work this out at all, as I am quite possibly the world's most meek and reserved person. I gradually come out to be the person I am on this blog, but it takes awhile. X has known me since before our babies were born (she's in my Mums and Babies group), and we have spent quite a lot of time together, so I'm a bit surprised she still feels as if she doesn't know me. She has cracked this "cold" exterior, what's the problem?

I'm guessing it's the sarcasm. The cynicism. The very, very, bone dry wit. It's not even the swearing - I curb that in real life around people I don't know spectacularly well, so I would have kept the swearing to a minimum. No errant "motherfuckers", no casual use of the much beloved "fucktard". None of that. I have been very mannered and more or less me. That makes me ungettable.

I would call on those of you that know me personally to comment, but then I'm forced to acknowledge that only one person from my non-blogging life reads this, and he only came upon this blog due to my stupidity. Tim - if you haven't been put off reading about my menstrual cycle and lady problems, am I ungettable? Am I hard to get to know?

The only other person (to my knowledge) who reads this blog and has met me is The Cheese Hand, and she'll just tell me whatever I want to hear in the hopes of being able to feel me up next time we meet. :::cough::: SLUT. Molly - this is your shout out now - am I hard to "get"? When we joined lips and souls in the airport arrivals lounge, did you pause to think how inaccessible I was? When we were driving to Gettysburg, hands entwined over the gearshift, did you lament my ungettableness?

So, please do tell me - do I come across as hard to "get" on this blog? If I do just within the context of a blog, I suppose getting to know me in real life is an impossibility. A once regular reader of my blog left a comment long ago stating that I have a barrier up when I write, and I always seemed to be hiding something, never feeling as if I could be myself. If that was true at one time, it certainly isn't anymore. Look at my posts from early in P's life. If I was witholding any emotions then I dread to think what depths I was truly in.

Maybe it isn't a witholding thing, but perhaps I'm just objectionable. Who knows? I will just bear this burden of ungettableness and soldier on, ever seeking to be "gotten".


Party like a rockstar

You may find this hard to believe, but I was never popular in school. My unique fashion sense meant that I was sure to be remembered in some capacity, but I was certainly not going to be recalled fondly by ex-classmates as a person with a magnetic personality that hordes of high school students would flock to.

My child appears to be different. She is, by some distance, the absolute rockstar of her nursery. P is in the baby/toddler room, and kids in the older classes shout to her when she arrives in the morning, and are often known to corner her so they can kiss her blessed little ginger, mulleted head. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you that when I drop her off, we are often met with a chorus of small children chanting, "P's here everyone, P's is HERE!" They stand at the gate as we pass by and wave furiously at P, who ignores them completely. Peons.

Twice now I have arrived to pick her up and little girls sans underwear stand in the kid-sized bathroom, saying, "P is leaving, say goodbye to her, P is leaving!", obviously not concerned that it might be in good taste to put underwear on before bidding a baby goodbye for the day. When some of the other toddlers are dropped off by their parents, they often say, "Look Sophia/Jack/Lilly, it's your very best friend P!" The child's eyes light up, they smile and look in P's direction, but are always met with P's absolute indifference. Plastic fruit is far more entertaining than adoring children constantly falling at your feet.

So for all of the kids at P's nursery who just want a single wave or glance from the Golden Goddess herself, here you go. This one's for you:
I wonder if she could teach me about this charisma and magnetism that she must ooze and I severely lack?


The Man sucks

"When did you stop being The Man, and start being The Man?" -Michael Ian Black on "Ed"

In case the humour isn't translating given that it's really hard to make the distinction in print, "The Man" as in "you're the man!", and "The Man", as in, "The Man is trying to keep me down." Incidentally, Michael Ian Black is the man, I so adore him. Any people who used to watch The State on MTV in the mid 90s? Watching this last week made me all nostalgic. Sigh. Cue silence whilst all of you silently wonder what the fuck I'm on about this time.

Anyway, The Man has pissed me off last week. I was under the grossly incorrect assumption that a working parent is not penalised when one must stay home with an ill child. Now, I am not the type who expects to be rewarded for shooting a baby out my vajay - millions of women do this every year and remain mere mortals. However, however, I do expect there to be some sort of system in place which understands that I am an employee and a mother. As these two events are not always compatible, some flexibility may be required.

P came down with a fever early in the week, and though The Dude and I are 50/50 parents, my part of looking after P still meant I had to take two days off work. I stupidly assumed that it would be classified like a sick day of my own - paid. Go on, laugh at my ignorance and naivete. Americans may scoff at such a notion, but the US screws workers all the time, parents or not. Britain treats their employees far better. For instance, I get 27 days of annual leave (vacation days in Yankspeak) not including university holidays, and my maternity leave was more than gracious - 12 months off, the first 6 months paid in descending amounts. We even get 13 weeks of parental leave for use with each child up to the age of 5.

All of this gave me a false sense of security as far as my employer's attitude toward working parents was concerned. Some may say that UK workers are gifted enough as it is based on the information provided above, but I'm pissed off at how they are accommodating up to the point where you need to return to work. Surely that is when you need the most support?

I do have three options. I can take the leave from my flexible working hours (additional hours I have accrued working overtime), as unpaid leave as part of the Time Off for Dependants, or as one of my annual leave days (paid). I can be paid, but that means cutting into my own well-deserved leave, or I can not be paid and just bite it. Hmph.

It's a selfish and arrogant viewpoint to be sure, but I am doing my employer a favour. I have come back to work full-time, thus preventing them from hiring someone else entirely, or hiring a second person to enable me to do my job part-time. Oddly enough, The Dude works at a local college, a fraction of the size of Large, Corporate, Faceless University, yet his employer considers his sick day for P just as any other sick day that he would have for himself, ie paid. Sweden my employer ain't. Go on, tell me how unreasonable I am. Bring me back down to earth.

Apropos of nothing, I had an odd blip on my stats the other day. Statcounter must have had a massive hiccup, as it noted that last Thursday I had nearly 6000 hits. I'm back to my usual piddling amount now. The absence of Julie's blogroll is a statkiller, shit. I would like to carry on deluding myself that for whatever reason, 6000 hits genuinely occurred the other day, so let us just pretend the BBC did a small feature on me or something, ok? Naturally it's not just one of my stalkers manically refreshing and refreshing. Dudes, get a life. Go look after your kids and/or your uteri. Yeesh.


Hey kids, rock and roll

I know you're all a bunch of music haters (still no takers on my music offers except for my Cheese Wife, who is always trying to curry favour, the crazy slut), but surely some of you simply must be REM fans, past or present, right? Depressing note - it has been fifteen years since Automatic for the People was released. Fifteen bloody years. I am old as fuck.

From about 14 years old I was insistent that I needed to be different. I started to wear bellbottoms and t-shirts advocating causes - Earth Day, vegetarianism, Save the Trees, that sort of thing. We shall put aside just for a moment that I wasn't even a vegetarian, though I did dabble with pescetarianism for a couple of weeks after I met a cute vegan boy. I felt I could give up red meat and chicken, but couldn't deal with the thought of my beloved crabmeat and lobster being taken away. It was my idea of a compromise.

I made mix tapes for friends based on music I heard on 120 Minutes (R.I.P.), REM being one of the mainstays. I no doubt had to save up a few weeks' worth of babysitting money in order to afford the bright yellow, translucent cassette tape which quickly became, and remains, one of my favourite albums ever. I played the shit out of that thing, spending quite a few nights sitting in the dark listening to it and wondering why I couldn't meet a boy who was quite as clever and gifted with words as Michael Stipe.

Imagine my glee at being led to this courtesy of Jen at Fertility Now. Upon discovery, I plopped the child before the laptop, fully expecting her to possessed by the devils of dance as soon as the video started because sister loooooves to dance. Rather than being enraptured by the combination of the Muppets and a band so integral to her mother's adolescence, P ran away to play with a sock. Sigh. My heart, it was crushed. I thought about some sort of isolation torture exposure, a la locking her in a windowless room strapped to a chair with the video put on loop for hours on end, its flickering image reflected in the goggles I forced her to wear to enhance the experience. For whatever reason I picture her wearing goggles, it seems to fit the vision so much better. Not swimming goggles, but more like WWII aviation goggles:

Yeah, I don't know why either.

Incidentally, if any of you do like REM and aren't too busy listening to Rod Stewart or some such, the fabulous music blog Stereogum has compiled a tribute album to celebrate this momentous occasion. It's free to download and certainly worth a casual listen.

So for those of you who don't click away as soon as I say the word "music", what music framed your adolescence?


I liked you more when you were barren

I have spent much of my valuable blogging time complaining about my body's fierce and determined hatred for me. PCOS and its four years of resulting infertility, an aversion to the drug which eases some symptoms of PCOS (Metformin), and the final icing on the eff-you-Pru cake - inability to breastfeed. Guess what? My body and I are total BFFs now. No, really. It's cooperating.

"How?!", you ask, tripping over yourselves. Patience dear children, patience.

I haven't had normal, timely periods ever. They were irregular from when I had my first at 13, and I would often go half a year without bleeding once. When I went on the pill at 18, they were finally predictable, but would stop as soon as I stopped taking the pills. I just assumed that I was doomed to a life of irregularity, but...but...

I now have a regular menstrual cycle without the aid of birth control pills. REGULAR. As in, my uterine lining is shed once a month on a REGULAR basis. Sloughing people, sloughing. It's like fucking clockwork, and I looooove it. Yes, I love my period. I'm almost moved enough to refer to it as "Aunt Flo", just so I can cheerily proclaim, "Sorry, I'm unable to swim at the moment, Aunt Flo is in town" ::wink wink:: Oh, how I've always wanted to live this life, the life of the regular bleeder...

Attentive readers may recall that I had no period post-baby until one was thrust upon me courtesy of birth control pills, and it lasted for one whole month. Ah yes...fun times indeed. That was my penance for not having a period in fifteen months, and I think I was a faithful and willing servant. I let my ladybits do their thing, and other than the occasional near-fainting spell during which I had to secure the baby lest I crush her or expire, leaving her with only my rotting carcass for sustinence, I issued nary a complaint.

I'm letting myself think that perhaps, just perhaps, this regularity might mean that my innards are not as dysfunctional as they used to be. I suspect my hopes will come crashing to the ground if I decide to attempt getting pregnant again, but it's fun to be optimistic if only for a little while.

This glimpse at physical normality has lead me to think more about natural pregnancy. You know, the kind that doesn't involve this:

That's my Baby Lab. I cooked up a P. using all that shit.

I was reading about a non-infertile blogger's recent pregnancy, her second. I was jealous of course, even though I can't say I fancy a pregnancy of my own at the moment. Her level of ease won't come naturally for me, I'm almost sure, even with this recent physiological perfection that I'm experiencing. I think I'll always be jealous, but most noticable in its absence was the pang of bitterness I so often felt before. Before, pre-P.

I guess it seems logical that my bitterness would wane somewhat, now that I have the prize, which, by the way, shit in my bathtub tonight. I just never thought I would reach that point, but I'm glad I have. Even though it's my nature to be bitter and cynical on so many matters, I always felt horrid for begrudging women their pregnancies. I think back to posts where I complained about others' fertility, and I think how I must have seemed like such a hypersensitive, callous bitch.

I can't say unequivocally that I'm over this. I would love to be, but I suspect it would only take a few negative cycles until I would be back into crone mode. It's almost an unfathomable feeling for me - not getting prickly about someone's pregnancy. Can you imagine such a world?