Friday, January 26, 2007

Four movies and spoiler

I've been making it to lots of movies lately. Here are potted reviews of them:

Babel - Three stories: two which together make a gritty Hollywood movie with Brad Pitt and one that is out of the ordinary, powerful and great.

Casino Royale - Began with one of the greatest chases ever. Ended with me wishing that First Aid courses were compulsory for script writers. Fun, dark, Bond.

The Valet - Frivolous and funny.

Children of Men - A distopian dream. Deserves a cult following and a hearty recommendation.

Warning - the next bit contains major spoilers for Children of Men, if you are intending to see the movie read no further.

In Children of Men there is a scene where a woman carries her new baby, the first in the world for 18 years, through crowded corridors and a battle. As she walks through everyone pauses, some reach to touch, some drop to their knees, some just gape. There has been a miracle, everyone can hear it.

This is exactly how I felt when I'd just had my babies and after the births I've attended. There has been a miracle. The strange thing is that normally the world doesn't stop.

Planning ahead

H said to me "When I'm big and I have a baby can I call it Laura?"

I tried to explain that it won't be me she has to agree the baby's name with, it will probably be the baby's daddy and she looked at me like I was an idiot and said "What does the baby need a daddy for?"

That D has been away too long. Three sleeps to go.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

H rules the world

H is lawful goodish. She likes there to be rules and she likes to follow them. She is desperately upset if she accidentally does something bad. Sometimes she is naughty on purpose and she is OK with that but the horror of breaking a rule she didn't know about really gets to her.

At the zoo, if K puts her finger in a cage H is outraged - "You're not allowed to do that!" If H puts her finger in a cage K is distraught, desperately worried that H will be bitten.

About 8:30 this morning I said to H & K - "Would you like to go to the beach today?" They were very enthusiastic. When we managed to leave the house at 11 I counted the harbour city's blessings.

At the playground by the beach I was reminded of H's penchant for rules. She kept saying things like: "you're supposed to climb on here like this", "he shouldn't go on the outside like that" and "am I allowed to stand on that?"

I tried to say "H, there are no rules for how to play here" but I wasn't convincing, I was too busy thinking of all the rules.

Forget this post

I have a dark secret, I have a hobby so embarrassing that I rarely speak of it, I usually wait for others to mention it before coming out to them, I'm a gamer. Yesterday, for the first time, I participated in Kapcon, Wellington's annual role playing convention.

At Kapcon a friend said she felt like she didn't fit in and I said I felt like I did fit in but also had an entirely irrational sense of superiority. Then I remembered watching Heroes on Friday night and realised that the people at Kapcon looked just like the uncool group in an American sitcom high school, 10-20 years older and 0-100lbs fatter*.

The games were great fun and challenging. I smote evil, flew in the Tardis and connected terrifyingly easily with my inner bimbo.

*If you were there I'm sure you were out of the room when I made this unfair and possibly insulting generalisation. Feel free to say "speak for yourself" and point out that I am at the upper end of both these ranges.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A motto for perfectionist procrastinators

If a thing is worth doing,
it's worth doing badly.

I have been following this and catching up on a heap of small things at work that I haven't been doing because I wanted to do them properly but badly is better than not at all. In fact a perfectionist's badly is sometimes better than other people's properly.

In other news I have been watching lots of Heroes. As one of the people that recommended Heroes to me said "The premise is that people all over the world are developing superpowers, from California to New York" and before you say "What about the Japanese Guy?" I'd like to point out the first thing he does with his superpowers is go to America. Despite this and its complete disregard for science as we know it, I recommend it.

Being productive at work and watching Heroes in the evenings has led to the sad neglect of this blog for the last few days.

Oh, and D is away again. Bother that man.

Note: For increased appreciation of that last statement you need to be familiar with a later edition of Mog the Forgetful Cat. For those of you familiar with an earlier edition - Drat that man.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A glimpse of summer

Cooling my feet in the new Grey St fountain.

Sing to me, dreamer

I went in, to H & K, over an hour after they went to bed and told them that they had to stay in their own beds, lie down and not talk.

Now they are singing.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dog days

This morning while I was waiting for a bus to take me to the pool there was a huge rottweiler on the back of a ute waiting at the traffic lights opposite. The rottweiler was alternating between whining and panting. I felt sorry for it, so when it hung out it's tongue I hung out mine and panted too, mimicry being the game primates fall back on.

I was vaguely aware that there were people watching me from the car behind the ute but I figured that watching a woman poke her tongue out at a dog might lighten up their morning.

The dog cheered up. The ute drove off. I looked at the people behind more closely and realised I knew them, professionally. I waved.

Do you think one wave can communicate: "Did you have a good holiday? I was just playing with that dog you might not be able to see. I am not insane, just friendly, and I look forward to working with you in the new year."?

Monday, January 08, 2007

One hundred posts of blogitude

This is my hundredth published post so I thought it was time to take stock.

I started blogging because I had the desire to put some of the things I said or wrote to individuals out there to the world at large. Things like this conversation I overheard about books, musings on the world, rants and whimsies. I've kept going because it gives me a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and only very rare pangs of guilt.

Here is a list of posts that are hanging around in draft, leave a comment to vote for what you'd like to read and I'll probably finish it:
  1. Wikifamily - written after wondering 'who else am I related to with an entry in Wikipedia?'
  2. Andy Knackstedt is my star - I come out as a fan girl
  3. There is method in their madness - a post about understanding what children do
  4. Two bobs each way - the joys of amateur hairdressing (possibly that says it all)
  5. H rules the world - the trouble with being lawful good
  6. Fitness vs fatness - PCOS, the obesity myth, etc
  7. Untitled - about the advantages of my physical limitations
  8. Untitled- [I rule the world] - the guidelines I have for this blog
Thanks to all my readers, especially those who comment and JK, a friend I never would have made without this.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Remember a catchy tune

I am very, very tired. Last night I couldn't sleep and eventually gave up for a while to be woken a couple of hours later by our alarm clock. Usually in the weekends and when I'm with the girls I nap when they do so for the last couple of weeks I've had a nap most afternoons. But after last night's experience I am trying to stay awake this afternoon to make sure I sleep tonight.

I am also slightly stressed about the new nanny starting tomorrow, the state of the house, D having just left for America for three weeks, having committed to things I have no babysitter for.

Slightly stressed, very, very tired mother is not a pretty sight and H & K are great at picking up on the insanity vibes but not yet old enough to understand that keeping a low profile would be the best response.

Last night when I had given up sleeping for a while I was surfing the web, not, I admit, the most soporific pastime but it was there. And pondering my inability to remember music and thinking that I'd once read a name for the condition but I couldn't find it. What I did find is a test used by people studying amusia, the inability to hear music.

If you're interested in trying the test yourself use this link, they are particularly interested in testing families so if you are related to me your results would be of extra value.

I scored very close to average on the test (25/30 & 27/30) which interested me. D will tell, at length if you'll listen, about my inability to sing a tune. It isn't because I can't sing a tune and I'm not tone deaf, it is because I can't remember most tunes. For example yesterday I was trying to sing the Buzz O'Bumble song and I couldn't remember the tune past the first two lines. I can remember the words but not the tune.

There is an up side to this - someone can say "Hey Mickey you're so fine" to me without leaving the tune stuck in my brain for the rest of the day. Probably unlike you [cue evil laughter].

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hollow like an egg

Reading this post about infertility made me think about when I was trying to get pregnant. I knew it wouldn't be easy - I had polycystic ovaries (PCOS), irregular periods, and was pretty sure I wasn't ovulating. It was the most important thing I wanted to do, I was focussed and driven.

PCOS is a condition with many aspects, it includes ovaries that don't function properly, hormone imbalance, changes to metabolism and usually, although not in my case, insulin resistance. It is a mean disease - the metabolic effect makes it much easier to gain weight, gaining weight increases the hormone problems, the hormone problems make the ovaries more disfunctional and makes the metabolic effect worse.

But I was determined, I got fit, I lost 20kg. Still not ovulating, I took clomid in ever increasing doses. Still not ovulating.

I realised that my gynaecologist had, a) referred me inappropriately for another condition which she had, b) misdiagnosed, and c) was treating my PCOS according to a recipe that didn't take my particular case into account and where her next step was inappropriate. I changed gynaecologist.

More drugs. Still not ovulating. One of my ovaries was now looking much better but I had two fibrial cysts on that fallopian tube. I had surgery to remove the cysts. They returned within a month.

Focussed and driven but without control. Hope has no power to make that miracle happen. I felt fragile and broken. Aching and dry. Sterile. Barren. Working every day in a world that knew nothing about what I was going through.

We went ahead with injections to induce ovulation. I was injecting myself daily, having blood tests every other day and pelvic ultrasounds every four days. Four follicles matured in the good ovary with the cysts on the fallopian tube, a doctor flippantly said "how do you feel about quads?" It seemed so unlikely that my fallopian tube would manage to catch even one, weighed down as it was by two golf ball sized fluid filled balloons. So unlikely its delicate fingers would reach out be in the right place at the right time. The fertility clinic was not concerned. We went ahead.

One Saturday I rang the clinic for a bizarre conversation where I was told to inject the trigger hormone dose to make ovulation occur and the pleasant, professional nurse instructed me when to have sex.

On Sunday I felt like my internal organs were rearranging themselves. I think my fallopian tubes were struggling, maybe the one with the cysts heaving, pulling and stretching its fingers out to grab two tiny eggs or maybe the other one reaching across my abdomen, far from its usual home to pick them up (it has been known).

For the next days I was injecting an extract purified from the urine of pregnant women (HCG). A meeting of sympathetic magic and science. I felt pregnant in many tiny ways but had to keep telling myself that the hormones I was injecting would tell my body to feel that way empty or not.

We waited.

A forever later it was time to take the test. This is the time that shatters. The time that throws your body's failure in your face. The time of heartbreak and tears. We were lucky, this time my hope met reality on a tiny blue line.

Pregnant. The first tiny sprouts of H & K.

Long before in this process I had realised something - we had to have a limit past which we would not go. I didn't know what it was but we needed to keep an eye out for it. These days the technology is such that it is possible to keep trying until it destroys something in you. I didn't want to 'try everything' but I didn't know what our limit was.

In the end my limit came not in a choice to stop fertility treatment but in a choice to have an operation to stop the most distressing symptoms of my PCOS and lose any chance of even having children again. A choice to act rather than a choice to stop acting. In this and in everything else I am deeply, deeply grateful for D's ongoing generous love and support.

[My pregnancy and birth story is here or for a quick summary of the outcome H & K contributed these:


Friday, January 05, 2007

Stepping into the unknown

I have a new nanny!!!

I interviewed overly cautious nanny, better for 3 going on 13 nanny, two better for babies nannies, great with kids but it's all about me nanny, inadequate and forgettable nanny and sporty nanny who turned us down. I finally settled on inexperienced but enthusiastic and trainable nanny.

I'm suffering new nanny angst - 'Did I choose the right one? Will she be good enough? Am I looney to trust her with such power over the most precious people in the world? Will she turn out to be an axe murderer?' - but I've been here before and I know that this is normal and now I just have to suck it and see.

She starts Monday.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Gold, cat food and myrrh - part 2

Part one is here.

The owners of the garage which Baz had been trapped in returned late last week. They were greeted with pathetic mews. Baz had not escaped on Boxing Day but rather had become trapped in the rafters of the garage. Like me you may be beginning to suspect he is not the wisest cat on the block.

Meanwhile his old vet had rung back with the name of Baz's owner from which I had managed to find their phone number however they are still not answering the phone or responding to messages, presumably they are on holiday.

Fortunately Baz is being fed, watered and well looked after by the owners of the garage and appears to be in good health despite his adventures.

Cetaceans of the Sahara

H & K have some leggings inherited from their generous cousin C. The leggings are pink with purple dolphins and the words "Desert Runner" repeated over and over. Huh?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mary Poppins where are you?

Still no nanny.

10 good questions I'd don't ask when interviewing nannies:
  1. Why is (or isn't) it raining?
  2. Did you grow up with hippy parents? (Two of three great nannies have had hippy parents - I think it encourages practicality and responsibility from a very early age).
  3. What is under the sky?
  4. What are your partner and friends like?
  5. What is the rounded bump that lots of steam trains have on top for? If you don't know what would you say to a child who asked?
  6. Name at least 10 plants and 5 insects in our garden.
  7. Are you planning to have children with your current partner? If not why not?
  8. If I was home from work because I was ill what would you do?
  9. If you had your period what would you say about it to the children?
  10. When did you last lie?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Mummy laid an egg

Becoming a parent has taught me many things. Some of them are useful transferrable skills like the applied art of bribery. Some of them less so, like how to put a disposable nappy onto a child who is standing up and attempting to walk away.

One of the skills I have learnt is how to make really good scrambled eggs. There are three secrets:
  1. use one 15 ml tablespoon of milk per egg (at least 2 eggs per person)
  2. don't stir too much, and
  3. take the eggs off the heat when they are still a bit runny - glistening is good.

The title of this post is a wonderful, silly book by Babette Cole which we had out from the library. Great early sex education without taking it too seriously.