Monday, October 24, 2011

Mummy's sore boobies

Sore boobies are one of those pregnancy symptoms that are particularly hard to explain to a 3-year old, particularly when that 3 year old doesn't really know you're pregnant yet.

"You have sore boobies mummy?"  enquired Little Red last night after I extricated myself from yet another mammary-crushing hug.  "Did you trip over and fall on them?"

".... no.........." I said,  completely at a loss of how to explain.  "They're just sore".

Little Red: "And I can't touch them?" 

Me: "No, darling."

Little Red: "Can Daddy touch them?"

Me: "Ah, no, I think your father has done enough already."

LIttle Red: (deep in thought) "Mummy." 

Me:  "Yes darling"

Little Red:  "I think you'll have to go to the doctors.  He will put the stets -a stope on your chest and your boobies will be all better."


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another little strawberry on its way (I'm pregnant!)

It looks like there's going to be one more little person and a lot less chardonnay (for a while!) in the house of Strawberry.

Yes it's true, the double lines came up so it looks like my seduction techniques  weren't such a fail after all.  We're going to have another baby!!

We've been trying for 10 months so are really really stoked (and relieved!!).  I just wanted to share... with someone.  I'm only barely six weeks so early days yet but no morning sickness or anything too horrible, just sore ta-tas and the ability to eat my weight in any sort of food, hourly.

Speaking of eating.  I gained 28 kilos during my first pregnancy.   Seriously.  I was a Big fat happy Mumma-to-be, merrily stuffing my face with McDonalds, cheescakes, foccacias... there wasn't a carb in sight that was safe from my sausage fingers.   And boy did I have fun doing it!

But after a full 3 years losing that weight I'm determined not to go down that path again.  Pregnancy weight does NOT just "fall off".  It is torturous, painful and expensive to lose; it's fat, just like regular-person fat. 

Must say though I'm looking forward to finally easing up a bit and having pasta now and then!

ps.  I debated blogging about this so early but frankly, it's too hard to blog about your life while ignoring the BIGGEST thing going on in your life.
Also, some of you may've noticed I posted this up a week or so ago then took it down - figured I'd better at least tell immediate family, before spilling the beans here... LOL .  
Did I mention how excited we are?    Just for good measure... *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My 10 Favourite Books of All Time

Up until now I haven't touched much on the "literature" part of my header intro, so I thought it was about time for a few posts on my favourite topic.

I'm a writer.  It's scary to say that because there are so many amazing writers in blog-land; frustrated writer/bloggers are almost their own cliche, now aren't they?  Like the waitress declaring she's an actress.   But it's true.  Although marketing is my day job now, my degree is in Professional Writing, it was my first job, my precocious hobby and lifelong obsession.

But it wasn't my first love.  That was reading.

Curling up with a good book was, and is, my favourite thing in the entire world to do. Having Little Red has sort of slowed me down a bit (I can no longer spend entire days in bed reading) but I can still manage to chew through a small novel in a week, a fat one in a month.  I don't purport to have highbrow tastes but I am a voracious book-reading machine.

So without further ado I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 Books of All Time... just in time for some summer reading perhaps?  I realise you all won't necessarily have the same tastes as me, but in my opinion these are all top-notch reads; maybe something will spark your interest.

1.  The Bride Stripped Bare - Nikki Gemmel
You know how sometimes it's not just the novel but the very context in which it is read that evokes such fond memories?  This book unfolded for me on a ski lodge holiday, and I'll forever remember the sheer delight of insatiably licking each word from its smutty pages, with a glass of red in hand, as a crackling fire in the background.  At least I could blame the fire for my red cheeks.

This novel is hard to describe.  It's shocking - almost pornographic in parts - and has an ending that will literally make your jaw drop.  But it's also a tender parable about motherhood, about the search for meaning within oneself, as a woman, as a wife, as a sexual being.  It has echoes of  Nancy Friday and Lady Chatterley's Lover but is totally unique for all that. 

It rocked my world.  (I will never lend my copy of this book out, it's that good.)

2. Tully - Paullina Simons
It was really hard for me to pick a favourite Paullina Simons book.  I call her the thinking woman's Jodi Picoult... she has all that juicy characterisation which keeps you on the edge of your seat, but with far more depth to her characters and less tendency to wrap things up in a cheesy American ending.   Tully is one of those beautifully flawed heroines you want to punch and protect in equal measures; and you'll be spellbound by her story.
I also adored Simons' more popular, uber-romantic Bronze Horseman trilogy.

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

This book won the Orange Prize for literature so I like to think of it as a scholarly addition to my 'list'.  Ahem.   In reality, it's anything but dry - a story about a serial-killing teen, a high school shooter, written from his mum's perspective.

Shriver takes this horrific scenario to an altogether different place than you'd expect - largely due to her writing but also her incredibly astute psychological observations.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

This is being made into a movie soon.  I'll be waiting outside the cinemas.

4. Wideacre - Philippa Gregory

Another prolific writer from whose catalogue I find it hard to choose.  Most of you will know Philippa Gregory as the author of "The Other Boyleyn Girl", which was made into a movie recently with Scarlett Johannsen.   Gregory is undoubtedly the doyenne of historical bodice-rippers and her heroines have amazingly large balls for their time.  But in my opinion her Tudor novels weren't her best.  This series, set in early colonial America, has a heroine even fiestier than Anne Boyleyn... and in several parts even made this open-minded chick draw a sharp breath.

I don't know what it is, but I do have a soft-spot for the villianous heroine, the one who will do, fight and fuck anything to get her way.

And do it on a horse in a corset too; well, take that modern feminism! 

5. The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  If you want a story to melt your heart, try this.  Book lovers will identify with the protagonist, a little girl called Liesel whose only solace during the  horrific Nazi times she grows up in is her precious books.  Each one comes to her in a very special way, and has its own story.  This is about 'the power of words to create worlds' says the blurb, which is apt.  Grab a tissue box.

6. The Time Traveller's Wife

I won't say a whole lot about this book because most of you have probably seen the movie with Eric Bana, however I will say, it definitely deserves a place in this list, and thoroughly deserves its widespread success.  Absorbing, unusual; incredibly poignant without a trace of saccherine.

7. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur GoldenIt's probably no accident that a great many of my favourite novels have been made into movies, but in some cases it's a shame, particularly when people don't get to experience the book first.  In this case, I wasn't a fan of the movie but this book remains one of my all-time favourites.  It's completely tranporting, one of those rare novels with the ability to make you feel you're actually in the other person's skin, looking out at the world through their eyes.

This is fiction but I love the whole 'real-life story' genre... real people going through hardships and struggles in different cultures, through illness, addiction or abuse... yes it's voyeuristic (but hands up who isn't a voyeur), but I also find it strangely uplifting and life-affirming.   What the human body and mind can survive.

8.  The White Masai - Corrine Hofmann

White chick on honeymoon in Kenya falls hopelessly in love with a Masai Warrior, leaves her husband for him and goes to live in a grass hut in Kenya.  Ridiculous plot?  No, real life experience.  Un-putdownable from first word to last, as the unlikely pair try to forge a relationship despite a vast cultural divide.   Read this in one sitting.  (Also a movie, but don't bother)

9. Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson

It's hard to say much about this without giving it away!  But here's the premise.  Woman's memory is wiped clean every night as she sleeps... the result of a horrible, mysterious accident.  Loving husband takes care of her.  But is everything really as it seems?  She has to employ some desperate measures to find out, and what she finds is a twist you won't see coming.   Like a sinister version of 50 First Dates - another up-all-nighter.

10.  Outlander Series - Diana Gabaldon

A lot of my favourite books have plots that sound ridiculous when you try to describe them, yet somehow they work brilliantly - it takes a leap of faith to try and that's why personal recommendations are so powerful.  You'd never try a bunch of novels unless someone told you you must.  So it was with the Outlander series. 

A time-travelling nurse steps through some magical stones in Scotland and finds herself in the 1700's, falling in love with a Highlander despite being married.  Sounds stupid doesn't it.  I thought so too, but 5 books into the 6 novel series and I can barely put it down to make dinner.  Forget Scarlett and Rhett, this is one of the most epic love stories ever told.

Special Mentions:
* The Hypnotist - Lars Kepler  (for those Steig Larsson fans out there)
* Left Neglected - Lisa Genova (brilliant psychological drama)
* A Million Tiny Pieces - James Frey (yes, despite the Oprah saga)

I'm sure there's more but this is waaaay too long already!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Things I know. Creepy psychologists, new table, dummy withdrawal and other stuff

My very first things I know post, inspired by Shae at Yay for Home! Sorry it's such a downer ...

Here's some things I know tonight.

I know that I'm not better yet and that I try not to take my insomnia medication but fail most nights.

I know that I get up at 11.30pm after trying to fall asleep for 1.5 hours and google "Stilnox and pregnancy" and "valerian and pregnancy" and "melatonin and pregnancy", even though I"m not pregnant, and that doesn't help me sleep at all either, because I'm taking all of them and I will probably have a deformed baby if I ever have one.

I know that my psychologist is not really clicking with me; I think he's creepy and although we did have a breakthrough this week he also told me that my husband is "crazy" not to want to sleep with me more because I am a "very attractive woman" and that I am pretty certain crosses some serious professional boundaries and his house smells like dogs and he only has decaf coffee and I cannot understand how I ended up in this position to be talking about anxiety to old weirdos who make me feel even more on edge.

I know that I had a pretty good day today.  We went and picked up a brand new table from my sister.  Well obviously it's not brand new, because it's her old one, but it's the newest and most modern furniture we've ever owned, it's a gorgeous dark wood square hulk of a thing, with ivory covered fabric chairs and looks elegant in our house.  I know that made me happy.

I know that despite the dummy fairy euphoria of nights past, it's taking Little Red on average an hour longer to fall asleep these nights and that is exhausting me.

I know I've pinched this "I know" format from other bloggers... but damn, it is useful.
What do you know?  Others know stuff here... read all about it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Dummy Fairy

The Dummy Fairy visited our house Monday night.  She was invited.

This is remarkable stuff because for 3.5 years, Little Red has enjoyed a love affair with her dummies surpassed only by her passion for lollies, Dora and pulling the cat's tail.  Actually I would have bet she'd give up all three of the former before the dummy was willingly surrendered.

I blame the nurses at the hospital.  It was their fault this whole thing began.  As Little Red cried and cried her wrinkled red newborn face off, they said gently  " you have a pacifier?"   I said, NO - of course not!!    With the righteous misguidedness of all new mums, there were going to be no dummies in my baby's mouth.   (No TV either, no formula feeding, no McDonalds... we all know how those things turn out. )   "We'd recommend you get one," the nurses said.

Oh really?  Okay then.  I guess.... if I have medical permission? 
Of course, as all dummy mummies know, it's not all sweet sailing; until it is, and then it isn't again... and so on.  We've had an up and down relationship with the little rubber buggers - literally up and down, some nights.  

For the last few years she's actually had five of them in the bed at once, and needed to have one in each hand, and one in her mouth, to fall asleep.  Although we phased out daytime dummy use around age 2, night was non-negotiable.

After several hideously stressful aborted attempts at taking them away, and many, many chats about being a big girl, not a baby... and dummy fairies, and comparisons with friends, it all culminated last year in putting our hands in the air, bascially.  It wasn't worth the stress.

But Monday night, when I gave Little Red her dummy (sorry, container full of dummies) as usual, she said "I'm a big girl.  I don't need it."  And put them back.   

Then she promptly slept 12 hours through the night, and hasn't asked for them since.  (Waking up to a special "treat" from the dummy fairy was icing on the cake!)

Wow.  There's nothing like the realisation that inside your son or daughter, beats the heart and will of a fully fledged adult-in-training, already making their own decisions and choosing the path of their lives.  The decision to give up the dummy might seem like a small one in the scheme of things, but in the end it was her choice and she made it.  It was her victory, and hers alone.

The Dummy Fairy took away a piece of my baby on her gossamer wings... but left behind a very, very proud mum.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why I don't miss my 3 year old for a week

Little Red has been on holidays at her nannas for the week.

When I've told people my daughter is away on holidays (all of 5 nights mind you) the reaction is normally this:

"Oh... what do you think of that?"

What do I think of that?

I think that I've won the bloody lotto, is what I think.

I'm not sure if that makes me a BAD mum, probably.  Sorry bout that.  But Red has a ball on these holidays, so does nanna, and frankly, so do I. 

Here's a list of just a few things I've done this week:
  • Actually had sex with my husband.  Twice.
  • Cleaned the entire house in under 2 hours.  Including washing the windows, cleaning the stove and rangehood, vaccuming, mopping, the entire thing.  It's amazing what you can achieve when a little person isn't trying to ride the vaccum cleaner like a horse.
  • Caught up on 4 episdoes of The Borgias and finished an entire novel.
  • Not only got to work on time, but sitting at my desk 15 minutes early.   With an ironed shirt, beautifully straightened hair and carefully applied eyeshadow. 
  • Shopped for a new bra.   And purchased one.   Anyone who has a 3 year old will understand what a monumental achievement this is.  
  • Gazed apon my gorgeous, clean house, and committed every spotless nook and cranny to memory, before it once again, erupts in a volcano of Dora merchandise.
Now I have my Princess back, and of course, I missed her like crazy.

A clean house doesn't make up for that lonely corner in your heart where the cuddles are missing.

But you know what; I don't think I should feel guilty about enjoying my little holiday.  It was pretty damn cool, and Red is happy too.

Mum, however, might need a few months to recover... LOL.