Saturday 28 November 2009

Back to school

This week was ‘partner week’ at ET’s pregnancy course.

I was ready to ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’ and ‘hee-hee-hee’ with the best of them, but my self motivation was proven to be wasted when we walked through the door of the terraced house that is home to the course.

‘Tea?, or coffee?’

‘Er, no thanks.’

We hung up our coats and headed into the classroom, which was home to one of the more surreal visions I've had the pleasure to experience.

In the middle of the converted sitting room was a hospital trolley bed, on top of which was a spread of biscuits and cookies, tea and coffee.

It seems partner evening was to mostly consist of the ladies proving they that they had one, and that the gigantic swelling under their shirts wasn’t as a result of an unhinged decision to shove a rolled up cardigan up there, or from using a unisex cubicle at work.

Niceties out of the way, the instructor (who I can only assume was qualified to give the course due to being born in the not too distant past herself) began her class.

With pictures of innards, and talk of growing foetuses, she eventually worked her way up to repeated mentions of runaway turds and vaginas being snipped.

That was the moment I couldn’t decide whether I was happier that didn’t have a vagina or that I hadn’t had one of the jam biscuits on offer.

I was sorely tempted to ask how would I be able to tell which was the turd and which was the baby if they both arrived at the same time, but I held my uninspired tongue.

When she was rounding up she handed out a sheet which she claimed would be vital to us men when the time came. Despite a distinct absence of ‘hoos’ and ‘hees’ in the class, I was delighted that I might actually learn something, so I snatched my copy and began to translate.

It seems that the Dutch have a very longwinded multi-bullet-pointed way of saying ‘Don’t freak the fuck out’.

That handout won't be going on the fridge door.

Minutes later, it was goodbye turd talk, goodbye bizarrely placed and utilised hospital trolley, and goodbye an hour of my life never to be seen again.

I left with one more question than I had arrived with, what DO you Americans do for the months on end you spend at Lamaze classes?

Monday 23 November 2009


Call the cops, we’ve been burgled.

The lowest of life forms have been creeping into our house, maybe when we’ve been out, maybe while we were asleep. They’ve been sneaking into our kitchen, our bedroom, any room where they can sniff out what they want.

They find them, they take them, and they leave.

Somewhere here in South Holland they stash their loot, somewhere there is a hidey hole or concealed shoebox containing the spoils of their thievery, their ill gotten treasure, the torn out pages of our calendars.

Ordinarily the loss of a month or two wouldn’t concern me much, but now that the pixies and elves of time long stolen are up to their games, we are left with only 12 weeks until D day.

Out of nowhere, we are in week 28, and the weeks that pass are only gathering pace. It seems like only yesterday that ET was flat on her back, vagwinking at strangers at a rate of knots.

How can we only have 12 weeks left?

In two weeks we will be back home, a couple of weeks after that is Christmas, surprisingly followed by New Year. When that passes it will leave us 6 weeks from playing ‘amniotic attack’ with various soft furnishings.

To compound the realisation that we are closing in on end game, it’s come to our attention that ET is one abrupt elevator stop from having the kid’s head dangling out for all the world to see.

The midwife today confirmed that the kid is head down, in the bungee position, ready to leap from the pelvic bridge, through carnal canyon, and out into the world below.

I hope its not expecting too much when it gets here.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

No pain, no name

It’s been a big few days in the world of a very little person.

On the beautifully apt Friday the 13th last, ET received the H1N1 vaccination.

A sore arm and plenty of normal movement activity later and everything is hunky dory. There have been no convulsions, no legs have fallen off, no hair has fallen out, and no-one has fallen into a coma, so I am delighted to announce that I don’t think the vaccination is a collective governmental syndicate plan to annihilate several generations of the human race.

So, unless kiddo turns up with three ears or knuckles for knees, everyone can just shut up.

The belly dweller has a completed room to call their own. Aside from the fact the crib won’t turn up until next year, the room is ready, bar the inevitable shouting and assault with leftover IKEA pieces.

Everyone loves a child who can perform on cue, and after a little training, the prenatal parasite learned a new trick on Sunday. Little Fitz now knows how to cause its mother no insignificant amount of physical pain, and scare the living shit out of its father.

Aww, cute.

For added effect it has perfected doing this in the dead of night, just to keep us on our toes. Luckily, the midwife is less bothered by the whole event, and we carry on as normal.

Perhaps the most significant development of the last few days is that possibly, perhaps, maybe, the kid has a name. Four baby name books containing a combined total of over forty five thousand names have proven utterly worthless, yet somehow one name has wafted under our noses and we’re not at each other’s throats over it. The signs are good.

Until we see the scrunched up face resembling a melted plastic bag make its appearance we just don’t know for sure, so therefore I openly invite all boy & girl name suggestions.

I do, of course, reserve the right to mock. Severly.

Friday 13 November 2009

Stubbing toes on both left feet

The car seat on the floor has been talking to me.

A chatty bugger too, so he is. Unsurprisingly most of our conversations revolve around the transportation of its future inhabitant.

I’m not best pleased with the tone it takes either – ‘you’ll drop me you know’, ‘you’ll whack the baby’s head against the door frame walking through’, or ‘you’ll tip the baby out putting me in the car’.

I firmly responded, and confidently assured him that none of those things would happen, but in the back of my mind all the while wagging my finger at a talking inanimate object, I knew he had a point.

I break stuff, especially new stuff. My phone and iPod both ended up skidding across car parks within their first week. I catch new trouser pockets in door handles, get paint on new window blinds, and scuff my new shoes.

What if I scuff the baby?

I can’t fetch coffee for workmates without scalding myself on the return, or having to lick someone else’s espresso from the hair on my arms.

I can’t cook rice without it turning into porridge and I don’t think I’ve ever poured myself a drink in my entire life without spilling some.

What if I scald the baby, or spill it, or end up having to lick something off it?

I’m not worried about day to day stuff, I can wipe my own arse and I haven’t starved myself to death yet so I’m almost certain I can manage the same with an 8 pounder, it’s my inherent clumsiness that raises concern.

I’m surprisingly awkward for a short person.

Tripping, stumbling, catching, cutting, and pinching myself are all common events when I have a bag or a cup in my hand, but social services generally don’t bother themselves when I trap a mug in a door hinge, or spill tea on the telly.

It’s the poor underdeveloped and unsupported cranium of the human being harvested in ET’s gut they may be more concerned about.

Can you get crash helmets for babies?

Monday 9 November 2009

King & Queen of the dump

We planned it in advance.

Three months of researching, testing, comparing, doubting, pricing, and pondering - right up until we decided to make our move.

A decision which came just 24 hours before we carried out our Saturday morning attack.

Motivational music was the order of the day on our way there, nerves were evident, but we were focussed.

Bulbous drops of rain began to fall quicker on the windscreen as I turned the key in the car park, the engine falling quiet. In silence for one last moment we stared at our nemesis looming large before us.

Fighting the urge to start the car and just go home again, with fear in our throats, we readied ourselves one last time.

‘You ready for this?’

‘Yes, you?’



As fast as a heavily pregnant woman with short legs can move first thing on a weekend morning, we bolted across the car park, towards the neon sign, and through the doors. There was no turning back now. We had to go through with it, the only question now remaining was would we succeed.

Would the forces of workshy customer service spring into action, enabling their forcefield of inverted invisibility, which renders the attention of its bearer unobtainable to the mere mortal?

Would the drawbridge of ‘that is not possible’ be pulled up before we crossed the moat into the courtyard of successful transactions?

Would the conveniently reusable sword of language barrier be wielded about our heads, forcing a retreat?

We couldn’t let it happen, not now, we’d come too far. This was too important.

‘Pardon, spreek je een beitje engels?’ I asked

‘Ja’ she said.

The store blinds flapped, the lights flickered, and the other customers protectively covered their pregnant bellies as I took the deepest of breaths before closing my eyes and continuing....’wewouldlikethemutsysliderwithraincoverandthesafe-to-go-carseatand adapterset(inkakiplease)andforgoodmeasurewewouldliketoorderthatcribupthereinmilkwhitewithmatchingmattress,heresourmoney,heresouraddress,thankyouverymuchgoodbye

And exhale.

With that, we had defeated the intimidating beast that was the ‘Baby-Dump’ shop. With that, we had purchased a stroller.

It may have paid more for it than Gwen Stefani did for hers, but the accomplishment was symbolic.

Back to the car I carried the padded baby chair under my arm, like the severed head of an enemy king. The car park tarmac passed under our tired feet like the grass of a battlefield falls away from beneath those of happy warriors, the ford focus awaiting our victorious return like a faithful stallion.

The rain lashed down hard as we drove away from the grey industrial estate, and I can’t be certain, but as we accelerated up the exit for the A4, I’m sure I heard a ripple of applause sending us on our way.

Thursday 5 November 2009


The wife squatter turned twenty five weeks old yesterday.

By all accounts, it now weighs just short of 2lbs, or just under a kilo for those of you who are, well, Dutch.

All the wee bugger’s organs are present and correct. I now have a fully qualified donor match! It’s kind of like having your own vegetable patch.

I do jest of course, something I seemingly must explicitly express for those among us who’ve had transplants of their own of a humourous variety.

Anyway, all the baby’s bits and pieces are in place, its skin doesn’t look like greaseproof paper anymore, and it even has wee tooth buds forming in its gums. Hopefully it’s listening to me whispering at it in the dead of night to come out biting when it does arrive.

All junior needs to do now, is grow. Sit back on its mother’s bladder with its feet up on her spleen, gorge itself on amniotic fluid, and just grow. Grow, grow, and grow some more.

You have the hard part done kiddo, now you just got to do what comes naturally to those unfortunate genes of yours, get chubby.

After 25 weeks, take off the boil, and simmer for 15 more.

Monday 2 November 2009

Absolutely flabulous

It’s a boy.

If you ‘carry low’, that is. It’s a girl if you carry high. That’s what they say isn’t it?

What is it if you carry low and high depending on the day of the week?

This kid just won’t sit still. From an upright position last week, it seems to have started to nosedive in an attempt to take up a more horizontal position. All of which is resulting in a distortion of ET’s belly.

With the placenta behind the baby, all movements are being felt more pronounced, and even seen. On a couple of occasions ET’s gut looked like the cranium of a bald man who’d fallen head first down the stairs.

Touching this massive protruding lump is nothing short of freaky.

What I hope is the child’s head seems to push right out, almost grapefruit sized in feeling. With a wee push back, the kid takes the hint and shuffles back into another less Sigourney Weaver-esque position.

Incidentally, if it’s not his or her head, and happens to be their backside, then it’s immediately Atkins for kiddo upon its arrival. How will we ever be able to trot around town with a baby with a muffin top?

Skinny jeans from baby GAP wouldn’t make it over its thighs, junior Jimmy Choo’s would pinch its chubby ankles, and muscle tops just wouldn’t cut it with baby-man boobs.

As part of the birth plan we’ll have a pediatric personal trainer on hand to work on the flab and Baby Botox injections will be readied in case junior emerges with chicken lips. All this alongside a stylist prepared to pluck or shave or highlight or curl as needs be, while hair colour will be adjusted to compliment the bedding.

Only the best looking baby can be allowed to take up residence in a room, the unventilated painting of which seems to have caused me to sneeze ‘milk-white’ and hallucinate doorbells.

I need a lie down.