Monday, December 22, 2008


I hope this energy burst I'm experiencing isn't a sign of impending labour... Last week I was sick - caught a nasty stomach bug that's going around - and usually after I get sick I get a huge spurt of energy, so maybe it's just that. I was standing there last Monday night, stirring dinner, waiting for J to get home (I sound just like a 1950's housewife!) and suddenly felt a bad stomach cramp - bad enough to make me double over. My first thought was, oh crap, contractions! Bad ones - coming on fast. J arrived to find me bent over the stove groaning. After several calls to the Health Link number and arranging overnight care for Matthew, just in case, I discovered I wasn't in labour, I just had plain old yucky stomach flu. Spent the next few days with my head down the loo, racked with chills and generally feeling like death.

Was quite a relief though, not to be in labour yet...

And sometimes, as unwanted as sickness is, it's good to be forced into doing nothing for a few days... well, as much nothing as you can manage with an 18-month old. Matthew and I spent the best part of the week lolling around in our pyjamas, watching movies and grazing on snacks all day long. Probably not a bad thing since it's been icy cold in Calgary for almost a fortnight and really who wants to be dragging a toddler around in -20?

But now I'm like a superhero racing into action, scrubbing everything (even the poor old oven, which I've neglected for about 6 months), baking Christmas goodies, finishing my hand-sewn stockings (can't actually sew, more like putting a few inelegant stitches in and sticking things to the fabric with glue), and getting the house ready for Christmas and the baby.

I feel like things are starting to come together. Even the basement now has walls that are plastered and sanded, and a finished ceiling. We're so close...
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

So about that basement

 won't be finished by Christmas. Or by the time the baby comes. Maybe not even by Spring. And that's okay, actually. I'm calm... well, quite calm. Hopefully by the end of January there'll be walls (painted ones), carpet and maybe doors. Oh and there's a bathtub in there now - but no bathroom. There'll be lots of details that will have to wait.

The project manager in me has tried, since the beginning, to enforce some sort of schedule, to have a handle on what was happening at each stage. Frustratingly, when you don't really know what your doing, you hit problems at every turn - things you couldn't have anticipated and which always mean more time and more money... making my shiny, over-optimistic deadline ever less likely.

At least now most of the rest of the work is in contractors' hands, which is a relief. Maybe I'll get my husband back for a bit before the baby comes.

There've been good and not so good encounters with contractors... Yesterday the men delivering the dry wall (all 3000 sq ft of it) turned up and, within about 2 minutes of trying (not very hard) to get the massive wooden sheets down the basement stairs, announced "sorry love it's not going down there". I wanted to yell "you've barely tried!! - put some welly into it!" They told me lethargically that they'd have to remove the post to get it down there. I kindly pointed out that the post in question was a supporting post and that the entire flipping house would fall down if they removed it. They had that heavy-eyed, glazed, what-does-she-know look about them. But thankfully my dry wall guy drove over and hey presto, the dry wall magically made it down there.

Bloody annoying that sometimes it takes a man to come and kick some butt to make things happen. Not that I can't kick butt.... usually.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Never mind the heartburn bring me the hot sauce

"You'll need to avoid caffeine, chocolate and spicy food..." said nice Dr. K at my last prenatal visit in all sincerity. This was in response to my complaining about heartburn. I had to choke back my laughing protests and nod in agreement.

Unfortunately, it's simply not possible for me to give up those things. At least one latte and a few cups of tea are required per day to help me keep up with my toddler, and the day, generally. Chocolate - let's not go there right now. And spicy food is practically all I want: I asked the waitress at Original Joe's last week if the pizza I was ordering was very spicy. She said "no don't worry it's not too spicy". So I asked if they could make it extra spicy and please bring me the hot sauce too.

Everything goes with hot sauce right now.
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Monday, December 1, 2008


Originally uploaded by BehindTheScenes2006



That about describes the rambling chaos going through my mind in the early hours of this morning. Heart beating fast, panic drawing near.

By this point last time, I'd decorated the nursery, organized Matthew's clothes in his closet by colour and size, stacked his stuffed animals neatly in a row on a shelf, packed my hospital bag, got the birth announcement ready, had the newborn diapers laid out in a pretty blue basket and had several nursing bras at the ready, which occasionally I would hold out in front of me at arms length and peer at fearfully. It all sat excitedly waiting in the nursery for our son to come.

The thing with the 2nd pregnancy is the comfort of knowing what's ahead, and that leads to a sort of lethargy around what needs to be done to prepare. There isn't the same fear of birth (not yet anyway) or what the days following the birth will entail. You know what's coming.

I think, maybe just a little, I've been denying the impending arrival of our new person. I've been fighting my size, my energy levels and my general ability to be on the go all the time. I'm starting to weaken and I don't want to admit it. Yes I should slow down but honestly, I'm not the type to nap in the middle of the day. I wish I was. I'm more likely to pour another cup of coffee...
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dude where's my bra?

So, man bras...

An online Japanese retailer - Wishlist - started selling bras made for men a few weeks ago and have already sold 300. It's some sort of record for online lingerie sales apparently, which is why the story made it into the media.

The woman who owns the site said she received loads of emails from elated men, relieved to have finally found a place to get their hands on the man bras: clearly there was an audience base out there waiting for her product to go on the market. She also said she thought the bras might help men understand women better...

Big male market for bras: I don't doubt it.

Men wearing bras to understand women better: Yeah, no.

Call me cynical or whatever but this is a product for cross-dressing men, no? Let's not pretend it's something it isn't. And I've nothing against it, honest. I couldn't care less who wears a bra (unless of course my husband or father is wearing one). But if it were, say, for men that genuinely needed support in the boob region - they wouldn't be selling them in black, white and pink silk now, would they?

And the suggestion that men are buying bras to understand women better... I think not. Can I just take a moment to find the hilarity in this? If there really is a man out there that buys it for this reason - pal, I promise, strapping a silky piece of fabric around your chest is not going to cut it.

Personally, I'd rather my man didn't try to understand what it's like to be a woman by wearing underwear that looks like mine... If he really wants to know what it's like I've some more realistic suggestions...
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Saturday, November 22, 2008


It's been a week since I last wrote here. Hell November is almost gone. November was supposed to be the month of getting baby things ready, moving Matthew into his new bedroom and preparing freezer meals for January, so that December could be the month for relaxing and preparing my hypnobirthing techniques for labour. Ha. I'm not usually one to indulge in self pity but I've had a serious case of the "poor me"s this week. I've lost count how many times I've melted down, how many times I've wanted to crawl under the covers and stay there, and how many times I've thought about my family who are so very far away, and wished I was near them.

On a happy note, though, I started seeing a chiropractor and honestly the most blissful part of my week was the 10 minutes when I laid on the table and was poked and prodded with strange implements. I'm a total convert, after just 2 visits. Oddly my visits to the chiropractor have made me realize how little I acknowledge the various aches and pains going on in my body. And really, how much I tend to ignore what's going on with me overall. How annoying. Selfless mommy syndrome has set in. It took the doctor numerous questions and tests to unearth all the pain areas: lower back, upper back, leg and neck. Ouch.

In lieu of more interesting subject matter, here's a few of my week's highlights. I've:
*completed 2 writing assignments
*watched our basement evolve from dungeon to oooh-now-I-can-see-it livable space (unfortunately that has meant loosing my much-needed helper, J)
*heard my 2nd son's heartbeat on the doppler, felt him move a million times and told him I love him
*had good and bad times with my 1st son, who is absolutely beautiful, but who is entering the phase of temper tantrums at every denied request and who, shamefully, I have appeased several times this week by leaving him to gawk in front of Treehouse in moments of desperation
*canceled my 30th birthday party
*catered for 4 adults and 1 child
*got up at the ungodly time of 5:30 a.m. to drive my father-in-law to the bus station
*made 30 Christmas cards (J noted that some of the words on my cards were not Christmas-related... well heck the sticker pack only comes with so many letters...)
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm the most tiredest

"I'm sooo tired." says J flopping down at the end of the day.

"Yeah. Well I am exhausted." I say, scowling a bit "So exhausted, I can't even move or think. I don't know if I'll even make it to the bedroom. I may have to sleep right here on the sofa.".

Truth is, we're both tearing around like blue arsed flies at the moment. That's the best way I can think to describe the situation.

Some women like to wind down in the weeks leading up to the arrival of their baby. Me, I like to take on a bunch of client projects, start house renovations, and carry my 17-month old son who weighs nearly 30 lbs and isn't yet walking around on my hip all day, gigantic belly notwithstanding.

The basement will be fantastic when it's finished. And it will be finished for Christmas. It will be.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slipping off the stylish scale

I've read the reason French women are so stylish is because when they go shopping, they shop for an entire outfit in one go. It makes sense - seeing all the elements work together before you leave the store - you're guaranteed an outfit you'll wear over and over. I don't know about you but I don't have planned outfits. I have a bunch of separates - a collection of shirts, camisoles, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes, bags, scarves and accessories - none of which really go together, and most of which I don't even remember exist most of the time.

I have this recurring daydream, where I go through my wardrobe with a polaroid camera and create "outfits" out of my lost and forgotten clothes. Then I catalog pictures of each outfit in an elegant Martha-Stewart-like binder, which I'll leaf through in the future, depending on the occasion. It has outfits labeled for things like "Sunday lunch with the in-laws" or "casual dinner with friends" or "cocktails". And yes I'm laughing as I think of the very idea of having the time to execute this. Nice thought though.

On the subject of style, what happens to it when you become a mum? Did yours stay with you? I've seen women who naturally manage to retain theirs - it's as if their stylishness has effortlessly crossed the line with them from single young female to havoc-ridden mother with barely any evidence of the transition. Me - not so much. There was a time when I loved fashion and spent time actually thinking about it and lots of my hard-earned cash buying it. But oh, nice things, nice things make me happy.

I was never fashionable though, occasionally stylish, maybe - but I was never in fashion. I don't like trends and even make a point of steering clear of them. I like classic pieces that stay with you for 5 or 10 years and then one day leap out from the back of the wardrobe with renewed promise. I'd be the Chanel before the Stella McCartney any day. Audrey Hepburn before Kate Moss. Audrey Hepburn is, well - I love her. If I had one of those beautiful coffee table books all about her style, I'd probably never put it away.

But for now I'm lost in a wash of random wardrobe members whose identities are unknown. Getting dressed in the morning means grabbing the first thing that is warm and will cover my balloon belly without making me frumpy mommy, and will endure a day of spills, tears and diapers. Maybe one day my lost and forgotten clothes will come together in a Martha Stewart binder and everything will be okay again...
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New era of hope

"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream."
William Wordsworth

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Winston Churchill

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
Martin Luther King, Jr

"Hope" is the thing with feathers-- That perches in the soul-- And sings the tune without the words-- And never stops--at all--"
Emily Dickenson

"We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."
Barack Obama
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sometimes the pencil is just more sophisticated

With the paper ballot system, it didn't matter how old or how educated you were - you could tick a box, for the love of god. With the old system, if everything screwed up, there was a paper trail to do an audit. There was backup.

Yes, there are a lot of voters to manage in the US (something like 170 million). Yes, our world has been vastly improved in recent years by advancements in technology. And yes, quite often it's been proven a good idea to make our paper procedures electronic.


So far there have been 100,000 complaints about the voting machines: Reports of e-votes simply "vanishing" into thin air; Cases of voting machines recording thousands of "phantom" votes in Washington DC; "Cranky Voting Machines" recording the wrong candidates in Colorado, Tennessee and Texas.

Not to mention mechanical problems with machines not starting up, printers jamming, tabulation machines not counting votes accurately, and "parallax" - where light affects the layout of the screen, making it difficult to see which part of the screen you're touching and therefore causing inaccurate voting.

Sometimes, despite all good intentions, the old school way is better. And when it comes to determining the leader of the most powerful country in the world, it's necessary. There's no room for error. Because the paper ballot didn't give us technical glitches, it couldn't be hacked, and it didn't cause fear and suspicion. And paper ballots didn't ever turn an election into a voting fiasco.
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm going to be one of those embarrassing mothers...

Today was kind of a blah day. The weather was sort of dreary and our energy levels were low - possibly because of the massive amounts of left over halloween candy we'd eaten over the weekend. But we mustered up the energy to go out for lunch. Just to Montana's because it's close, kid-friendly, and they have good ribs.

The lunch menu said "served within 15 minutes or free". Oooh, free! I declared to J sarcastically.

Now, I'm not the type to keep track of these things. Honestly I'm not! But at least 30 minutes went by and no food! Matthew, by this point, was lobbing crayons across the restaurant, struggling to get out of the highchair and totally disinterested in the Cheerios I'd been trying to distract him with.

So, when the waiter arrived with the food, I (sort of) laughingly asked if lunch would be free, then, since the menu promised a 15 minute turn-around. J hid behind his menu and tried to pretend he was sitting with another table, while the waiter, a little flustered by my question, said he'd go ask the manager. He came back and, yes, the lunch would be free!

I felt satisfied and miserly at the same time. But, they made a promise! I wouldn't mind, but I know - having worked in marketing for long enough - that the people that come up with these ideas rely on customers not asking for their free lunch out of embarrassment. Anyway, we ate our free lunch (it was so so) and left a little sheepish. At least the waiter received a very healthy tip from us...
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Only a few more days

The US election is days away. Yes I am excited - really excited about it. And before I go on to apologize for being more excited by this election than the Canadian one - here's why: I feel - as I'm sure do many people all over the world - like the States is on the brink of something good, something huge. And they need something huge.

Any thing that's been suffering for a time has to, at some point, turn a corner. It feels to me like when you have a really bad, awful day and you go to bed just hoping, willing, praying the next to be better, because it can't get any worse.

I'm not an expert on American politics, but I doubt the founding fathers of this country did not intend for things to end up the way they have. And I'm talking from the point of view of the average person (y'know, Joe six-pack). People were supposed to be able to earn a living to support their families and afford fundamental things like healthcare and education.

And yet here's a government with enormous wealth, spending trillions of dollars on a war that has spiraled out of control, killed thousands of US soldiers and Iraq soldiers and (who knows how many) civilians, and is no longer based on the same premise it started with.

So, I'm hoping, really hoping Obama wins on Tuesday. I'm not a citizen of the States and I don't live there. But some part of me feels a longing to see that country have something good happen for a change.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small chocolate problem

This is what happens when delicious chocolate things are in the house. Gone. This Ladybug Bakery chocolate torte is very possible the best I have ever eaten. Jean brought it over for dessert after our fondue dinner on Saturday. Thick, gooey, decadent slices of chocolate with a perfectly crumbly crust. Heaven.

Since that night I've gnawed and nibbled my way through the rest of it until sadly it was all gone.

Unfortunately it's not just the torte that's been satisfying my sweet tooth lately...

Chocolate pudding

Halloween candy (Reese's pieces, Reese's cups & OhHenry!)

Lindt Orange Dark Chocolate

Chocolate zucchini brownies

...good thing it's not Easter
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I love you shiny new Dyson

Last weekend we had one of those revelations after buying a new Dyson - it was like we'd traded our Ford Escort for a Porsche. We got it home, excitedly got it out of its box and I went straight to work vacuuming the entire house. I'm embarrassed to say I emptied the canister more than 5 times (I won't reveal how many exactly because the thought of it still makes me slightly queasy). The dog hair was embedded in our carpet like a camouflage blanket. Yuck.

Afterwards I sat and wondered how on earth we've survived 3 years without one of these miraculous things.

James Dyson says, in his TV ad, "I just think things should work properly."

So do I Mr Dyson.

Our crappy old vacuum, which, by the way had 7 filters (why does a vacuum need 7 filters?) is on it's way to the vacuum knackers yard as I type.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

So strange

It's 11:11 a.m. on Sunday morning and we've been childless since 6:30 last night. J's step-mom took Matthew overnight so that we could attend a wedding reception at Artists of the World Gallery (beautiful day, beautiful wedding, lovely couple - Tammy and Sheldon).

Ahh the rare luxury of being alone. But also, how strange to go to bed and not wonder if Matthew would wake up in the night. And to wake up and not hear him chattering away in his crib. I had been looking forward to this night for so long. But this morning, when I woke up at 7:30, all I could think was, I can't wait to get my baby back.

Still, Jean took Matthew to the farmer's market this morning for ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner tonight, so J and I have had a few extra hours to chill. We decided breakfast out somewhere was in order, so we headed out for some eggs benny. Oh it was good. Shame I spoilt it by drinking too much coffee, which now has me buzzing and suffering heart burn.

Times like this remind me of how little time I have to myself now. Sitting eating a leisurely breakfast with J made me think of times before Matthew. I can only fantasize about going out to breakfast on the weekend, pottering around the shops for a few hours, and then getting ready to go out in the evening. We actually used to live like that. Did we?
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eath mother rainbow moon spirit

I'm all zen earth mama at the moment. I'm reading a book on Hypnobirthing. Yes Hypnobirthing! Because I'm going to attempt a natural birth next time. Going to try anyway.

It's most unlike me - I'm all for medicine usually. But, I figured, since I've so rarely sought a natural approach to anything in my life, now might be a good time to start. And plus I want to avoid the epidural next time. Yes, I know I know, it's bordering on blasphemy - the epi was, at first, pure joy - heaven. I almost climbed off the table to kiss the anesthesiologist when he stuck that needle in my spine. But... there were the later effects, and the weeks and weeks after that too... all of which I am convinced were the result of the epi.

I was a little embarrassed asking the lady in Chapters if she knew where I could find the book. I wanted to reassure her I wasn't a hippie. And I could feel my skeptical side rising up as I turned to the first page. But I'm totally into it now. The author (Marie Mongan) has a lot of valid points. Like, how our culture is expert at stirring up fear in women getting ready to give birth, which in turn creates an environment of dread. Let's be honest - we've all sat and listened to our relatives, friends and colleagues gushing over their horrific birth stories. It's no wonder most first-time moms are bloody terrified when labour starts. I know I was. Words like "it will be the most painful thing you'll ever experience" and "try to avoid the episiotomy if you can dear" were swirling around my head as I waddled into the hospital labour ward almost 16 months ago.

What can I say - I'm not exactly an exemplary earth mama, but I'm going to give it a go. If nothing else I love love the relaxation and visualization exercises in the book... breathe in to 1..2..3..4.. breathe out to 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8.. If nothing else, I think all mothers could benefit from bringing themselves into a deep state of relaxation once a day.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

why god whyeee?

I had my monthly check up today. All the usual stuff: weigh-in, blood pressure, doppler to hear the baby's heart rate. My new doctor, by the way, is lovely! It's so refreshing to find someone I really like. And it makes all the prodding and poking during the pregnancy months much easier to tolerate.

Anyway, all fine, until I mention the large bruise on my leg which has been lurking for the last three months. "That's not normal, is it?" I asked Dr K. "I'm afraid it's not a bruise." She says. "You're one of the unlucky ones to get varicose veins." I said "Awww crap! Can you remove them please?" After the baby she can, apparently. Not before

Thank god summer is over and I can hide under long pants until I get the blighters removed. They're not REALLY bad - not like 80 year-old lady bad, but still. I gotta get 'em out.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gone right off Batman

J and I are at the theatre watching The Dark Knight. I've been looking forward to this: a date, just the two of us on a Friday night, and a whole delicious 90 minutes of Christian Bale. So we're sitting there (no popcorn - maybe that was the problem?), and about a quarter of the way through the show I start thinking... this film is violent. Too violent. Keith Ledger's Joker character is too menacing - with his knife-scarred face and incessant lip-licking. I'm certain the author of Batman didn't intend it to be this sinister. (J assured me afterward that actually it was: the Dark Knight, as the name suggests, has a dark side and happy endings and cupcakes are not part of the plot here apparently)

I start to get fidgety. The baby is kicking me like a tiny footballer because of all the coca cola I've consumed; The person behind me keeps rocking my chair with his foot; The film is too loud; They should not have replaced Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal - she's just not right, too drippy or something. I spend the next hour and a half thinking about ways to sneak out the theatre. There's fizzy pop drinks and chocolate out there. Much more appealing.

Before the credits are even up I turn to J and exclaim "thank GOD that is over" slightly too loudly. He peers at me suspiciously, like I've just slammed the Star Wars trilogies. "Really? I thought it was great."

I get the feeling from the excited comments leaving the theatre that everyone else liked it too.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

The thrill of the race

I get why some, or maybe many Canadians are more interested in the US election than our own. We prefer celebrity stories to politics, and their elections provide more than enough glitz to keep us tuned in.

The last month or so I've seen Sarah Palin on the cover of several gossip rags. But then again she has her own soap opera going on. I won't get into my opinion of her here. Okay just briefly. Let me just say, that this woman opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, believes creationism should be taught in schools, and, while mayor of Wasilla made rape victims pay for their own rape tests. No way she'd be getting my vote (nor would any of the other right-wing wrinklies for that matter - bring on Obama!).

So while their juicy campaign stoires are flashing up in the media all the time - do our election leaders seem a little dull in contrast? What do us apethetic audiences need to get interested? Maybe Dion and Harper should sex it up a bit to pull a few more voters to the polls (only about 41% of Albertans voted in the last provincial election).

But seriously, saying that makes me a little sad... as someone who feels it's in everyone's interest - everyone who has a house, job, kids, a car, cares about the environment or uses public services, that is - to follow politics to some degree, I feel a tad disolutioned that we need more sex in our politics to pay attention. Shouldn't we just want to care what's happening to our country?
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Monday, September 1, 2008

Hi honey I think I'm pregnant again

I like pregnancy a whole lot better the second time around. I don't mind so much that every time I look in the mirror my body is different, or that my appetite is sometimes so out of control that I could very well drive out in the middle of the night to the nearest KFC for a bucket of fried chicken. I've become attached to my bulging belly that makes me waddle a little when I walk. Yes, I even quite like the way I look. I may never look this way again, after all.

The first time around, I was so clueless that I buried myself in all the parenting material I could get my hands on: books, magazines, online forums, Internet articles, advice from well-intentioned friends and family and weird advice from random people who felt it necessary to stop me on the street when they saw my bump. I read up on breastfeeding, baby wearing, bathing, sleeping and diapering, like my life (and the baby's) depended on it. By the time Matthew came along I was in such a state of near-hysteria from the thought of all the rules of parenting, that I barely knew what to do with myself. And then, after a few weeks, it hit me. I STILL KNEW NOTHING. None of the stuff I had spent hours absorbing meant a damn thing. I was going to have to get on with it, my way.

A year and a bit later and here I am again. This time much more nonchalant about the whole thing. Mind you, it's easy for me to say that now. I'm in the 2nd trimester pleasant place: not sick, not too big, not too uncomfortable, not too close to the end... yet. I still have plenty of time (4 whole months!) to ponder the idea of becoming a family of 4 (5 if you include the dog).
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