Wednesday 30 September 2009

Half way home

We are half way home.

Hopefully, with a little luck we are hurtling safely over the Atlantic about now, and not bobbing about in it, clinging to a KLM catering trolley and waving up at CNN helicopters.

That would make for a very dramatic movie of week, but for a lousy birthday.

Today I turn 32, and that just makes me realise how miserable the last few years have really been. 30 and 31 had nothing to offer beyond disappointment and doubt.

Now all that is turned on its head, and this birthday is the first full of expectation and excitement since those in the days of single digits and Knight Rider.

Unsurprisingly, the scut in the gut is upstaging me again. Today ET turns 20 weeks, a point we couldn't even imagine one year ago. From here the weeks are counting down instead of counting up.

I can't wait for Friday for another good look at the kidlet, to have a look at who is squirming around inside ET, at who has been shoving their arse into her bladder and making my holiday a continuous search for the nearest bathroom.

A happy birthday indeed, 20 weeks.

We are half way home.

Friday 25 September 2009

Fast forward

In one week everything will change.

Next Friday we have an ultrasound scheduled. It will be a check on the health and development of the baby of course, but I'm not worried about that.

I'm excited to the point of involuntary urination because in one week we will find out the baby's gender. In one week we'll know if he is a she, or if she is a he, or if it is a what-the-fuck.

In a week we will be having a 'son', or a 'daughter'.

I'm not one for wanting holidays to end, but I just want to fast forward the next seven days.

In a week, a name we are nowhere near to chosing will come from a list half as long as it is today.

ET has her own body to give form to what is happening, physical changes that she can point to on a daily basis that reassure and remind her along the way. For me, things that apply flesh to the bones of what's happening have been few and far between, usually the glimpse of or sound of a heartbeat. For me, knowing the gender is a big one.

In seven days I will know one new small fact. One that will affect how I approach everything from then onwards, until I reach my own, most probably undignified and cardiac related, end.

A little girl, or a little boy. Anyone care to predict?

Monday 21 September 2009


It’s 10am. Or 4am. I’m not so sure anymore.

The gut is waking up.

The television is on and some over enthusiastic Chinese man is trying to convince me to pick up the phone and buy something that I can’t possibly live without at 4:30am. It seems dead of the night TV is the same on both sides of the Atlantic.

The gut has just hopped up from the bed thanks to a leg cramp.

ET’s belly made two significant ‘pops’ at 12 and 16 weeks, and it seems that now, at almost 19, it has popped a little more.

We can’t be certain if it is just rumbling intestines or not, but she has been feeling flutters and movements. Very noticeable when cycling, and settling when she has eaten.

The gut has just announced she thinks it’s awake. Not a bad way to start a holiday.

So that’s all three of us with our European body clocks, wide awake in Montreal at 5am.

Any Montreal Monday morning suggestions for me and the mutating mammy?

Friday 18 September 2009


I think I may have things a little arse-over-tit.

No thanks to IKEA and their oversized furniture, nor Ford and their undersized cars for that matter, this poor kid doesn't have any furniture, nor a floor to put it on. Don't mention painted walls or strollers, and he couldn't even sleep in a drawer because we just don't bloody have one.

I'm not going to panic, no sir, not even when I know it could take 8 weeks to deliver furniture and we are away for the next 2 weeks and before you know it you have a baby in a shoe box and a visit from child protection services. No, no panic.

Yet I've been disproportionately concerned about about the belly dweller's musical exposure, especially live.

I refuse to acknowledge the pub racket it had to put up with just 10 days post conception, and I'm not going to give Bono the satisfaction of being his first musical outing either. The way I see it, if he didn't have ears, it didn't count.
The child that is, not Bono. Bono has ears unfortunately, otherwise he couldn't wear those sunglasses.

Regardless, I forge on, and tonight the kid will feast his fledgling ears on the one and only Ray LaMontagne.

There's nothing that can kick start a holiday quite like an introverted manic depressive hermit who sings through a hole in his beard.

What I am really curious about is what will he hear in there, deep in the amniotic waters of ET's mutating gut? Guitar? trumpets? vocals? a Dutch audience who won't shut up?

From what I've read in those books, you can replicate what it sounds like for the wee thing...

Turn up the volume, click play, and put your head in the toilet.

Monday 14 September 2009

Secrets - Part Three: Bite-Size Edition

Pregnant women can be - inconsistent.

Some women who are with child have a tendency to occasionally change their mind.

By 'a tendency' I mean 'an unstoppable raging urge'. 'Occasionally' is also probably better described as 'all the bloody time'.

Work it to your advantage by making your own preferred suggestions a week in advance. They will be shot down immediately as the fodder of a buffoon, but later presented back to you as almost angelic ideology which must be implemented without further delay.

Pregnant women snore.

They snore with such thunderous force that Sri Lankan fisherman flee inland, Gazelle raise their nostrils to the dusk sky before galloping into the undergrowth, and Californian office workers dive for cover under their desks.

As fear inducing as that may be, there is no scale, Richter or otherwise, that could measure the darkness of the scowl that is unleashed should you indicate your yawning is in any way related to her nocturnal soundtrack.

Nipples take on super powers.

Some days those things can work their magic through woolly cardigans and overcoats. Forget about cutting glass, you could blow a hole in the front door of a Catholic church with one of those things when the time is right.

Unpredictable and dangerous, keep an eye out, or they'll take an eye out.

Pregnant women make life and death decisions.

About your life, at least.
A pregnant woman may take offence to the tired ramblings of a husband who thinks he's funny, but isn't really, and she may decide to slit his throat while he is indulging in his nightly 2 hours of sleep. Then again she may weigh this up against the holiday that that is finally just around the corner and content herself with the knowledge that she will be patting her bump in a Montréal cafe within a week.

Husbands are for life, not just for insemination.

Thursday 10 September 2009

Run for the border

We all have it pretty easy at the moment. Now, with 17 weeks of pregnancy gone, kidlet has easy passage to wherever she goes.

Free to cross borders at will, so long as the grump with a bump doesn't offend any immigration officials.

This liberty will be short lived. In 23 weeks or so, our spawn will be born unto the world, into a country it is not a citizen of.

Current citizenship laws of Ireland and the Netherlands are in tandem, and place of birth does not automatically qualify you for citizenship, parentage does. Therefore, when the wife squatter makes its appearance on the Dutch landscape, it will be an Irish citizen by default.

All nice and dandy.

Except when we want to leave the country. With Holland being marginally bigger in area than a Tesco's car park, leaving the country is not uncommon.

Up until 2005, Irish children could travel under the passport of their parents, but since then they are required to have their own.

In short, if we want to take the fruit of my loins, laboratory mix-ups aside, back home for a weekend, they need a passport. Should we need to get to Ireland in an emergency any time from next February onwards, the kid needs a passport.

This includes a passport photograph.

How do you take a passport photograph of someone who can't hold up their own head? Sellotape?

How do you specify eye colour on the legal travel documentation of someone who even if they did keep their eyes open long enough for you to check, you'd see they don't have any bloody colour?

How does an immigration official compare the actual appearance of a 1 year old with their passport photograph taken as a 3 week old while still coughing up bits of umbilical cord?

Do ultrasound pictures come in passport size?

Monday 7 September 2009

Secrets - Part Two

The pedantic among you will say this is more of a tip than a secret, I know this because my own nature is causing a civil conflict between the pedants and the mockers living in my brain.

Regardless of the inner turmoil and my fear of promoting miss-categorisation, this tip shall be deemed a secret.

Simply put, don't laugh at her. Ever.

You may well find it amusing that she is sobbing into her pizza over Grey's Anatomy, which incidentally is being shown 5 days a week with back to back episodes. Thank you NET5 for that. Bastards.

But don't laugh.

You may even find it hilarious when the grump with a bump is sitting distraught on the side of the bed in her underwear, having tried on and discarded both her normal clothes which are too small now, and her maternity clothes which are still a bit too big.

Don't laugh.

You may almost run the car off the motorway from shaking with stifled laughter when she phones you on your way to work in floods of tears because she can't find her shoes.

Don't laugh.

She knows how to grow new arseholes, so will quite happily tear you a new one.

Thursday 3 September 2009

No walk in the park

Last weekend we went to 'Baby Dump'.

The name? Don't ask, I don't know.

While it sounds like the setting for a Stephen King novel, or some sort of shrine to infant excrement, it is simply a baby goods store.

The kind of place that would have made our faces explode just 4 months ago, it still felt more than uneasy walking around there, but we had a scouting mission to complete.

Eye opening, to say the least.

Did you know that you must have 154 different types of baby seat/bassinette to attach to a stroller?

You need one kind to carry the kid to the car, another for in the car, another to remove him from the car, another to bring him back in home, another to rock him to sleep in, another to have him actually sleep in, another for Tuesdays, another if you need to go to the supermarket, and another if you plan on coming home again.

All of these need different adapters to connect to the one Über stroller that you will have remortgaged your house to buy.

You didn't know that? Idiot.

Each of these seats come with their own colour coded set of accessories too. Rain covers, sleet covers, snow covers, fog lamps, alloys, bear traps, fire extinguishers, and flick knives.

All available in midnight magenta and sea-surf blue, all essential enough to make not having them akin to child abuse, and all costing a day's wages.

Then you have the mini sleeping bags because blankets are just so passé, and you never know when your stroll in the park could turn into a trek across the arctic circle.

We left with half a dozen brochures and no idea about what we might need or not need.

What the grump-with-a-bump and I did learn is that transporting nuclear waste is less complicated and expensive than taking a baby to the post office.