Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Extra deep cleavages and traditional values

Shockingly we were all out of bed more than half an hour before we had to head out of the door. Sir Sprout was changed, dressed and busy disassembling his wooden train when The Ultimate Other Half got out of shower.

That doesn't mean that I was any more efficient than any other morning though. Lazy and sleepy as usual I curled myself into comfy bundle on the duvet while the boys were having discussions about the right location of dirty socks (wash basket, not Daddys feet) or mobile phone (Daddys pocket, all other options unacceptable). Eventually, after the boys had overcome all their differences and pranced towards the staircase, hand in hand, I headed to bathroom.

When I came out my bra was nowhere to be found. Or my top.

Yes, I do have more than one bra and top but those were the ones I wanted to wear! Ever tried to reason with pregnant woman? Don't waste your time!

Anyway, that's how I ended up downstairs in jeans and unzipped hoodie, tits akimbo.

The Ultimate Other Half gave me a long thoughtful look.

"Don't you think you've overdone it a bit with the cleavage," he said, staring at my not so covered boobs and belly.

"What's wrong with it," I snorted. "Don't you like it?"

"No, I do, it's just, you know, Irish traditional values and stuff ... People might not accept it. I know that you're proud of your bump but it's not really that noticeable."

"YES IT BLOODY IS!" I announced clutching the bra and top located on bench in the hallway.

"Trust me, you go to work like that and nobody will notice the bump!" he sneered.

Maybe I should start a poll about cleavage-tolerance of traditional Irish values.

And the top is firmly on. No need to traumatize beloved colleagues with topless whale.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Swift guide to happiness

1) Run around like mad

2) Get stuck in traffic jam

3) Eat crap

Not much of a traveller, me

There's a lot of blank spots left even on European map! Gotta get cracking ... as soon as Sprout is 18 or so.

create your personalized map of europe
or check out our Barcelona travel guide

Of course some of those countries I've only been driving through so my actual count of visited places is even less impressive.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Internal matters. Literally.

It was a lovely sunny day, I'd just gobbled down mighty lunch and made my way back to my desk. Since working (Booooo!) was totally not an option out came my trusted Google reader and thus the blog wander began.

There I was, blissfully giggling my way through Xboxes uterine musings involving Dutch no-nonsense approach to the privacy of ones privates, when it happened.

I had another Foreigner Moment. Meaning - whoa, just remembered how differently things really work here and back on (Ex)Home Ground.

And those a bit wary of all things vaginal should stop reading now. OK. And if you do decide to stay with me - no whingeing. You've been warned.

As Sir Sprouts birth was looming closer my lovely mild-mannered Gentleman Doctor started to gently prepare me.

"You see, Foreigner," he said soothingly, "I would need to do an internal examination about a week before the due date, just to see how things are going down there." (you'd swear he almost blushed at "down there" point.) "Now, it's not really pleasant and a lot of women are afraid of it but it doesn't hurt and I wouldn't get too worried if I was you."

I was about 37 weeks pregnant, huge, drowsy and with very delayed reactions, otherwise I would have probably blessed him with fairly chavy "What da fuck are ya talkin' about??"

As it was, I only mastered a muted "Hrmmpphh!?" and never really thought about it any further.

Until the next appointment when he politely asked me to remove my knickers after a scan. Before I could even reach my hand down there (it takes a bit of effort if you have to navigate around a belly of monstrous proportions) he made a magician-like swift move and I was covered with cellular blanket from my bump down to my toes and curtains were drawn in front of apprehensive-looking Ultimate Other Half.

It didn't really make the knicker-removal operation any smoother but somehow I managed it without knocking off the blanket. It still puzzled me why the cover was needed as it would surely be taken off for the examination itself.

It wasn't. My doctor inserted his gloved hand under the blanket, skillfully located my vagina and performed a feather-gentle probing-around all the while giving a live commentary accompanied by numerous apologies for discomfort and intrusion of privacy and whatnot.

I got off the table in mild shock.

Why, you ask. Surely the doctor was as delicate and tactful and the experience was anything else than nasty?

Well, herein lays the issue. You see, in Ireland most women won't get an internal before they're in labor and some give birth getting away without it altogether.

Not so on Home Ground.

You get internal examination if they SUSPECT you're pregnant.
You get it if they don't think you are.
You get it every single time you darken the door of gynecologist.
It's quite surprising really that dentists don't perform internals.

I was 15 when all the girls of our class had to go to the gynecologist, as a part of overall medical assessment.

To speed things up the doctor had one girl stripping "from waist" as she was performing examination on the other. The stirruped high chair was facing the bloody door. There was no feathery touch or talking through the process involved.

"Relax!" she barked and shoved next instrument in. It was usually something metal, big, slightly sharp and stone cold. "What did I tell you - relax!"

As you might imagine, relaxing was quite out of question, especially for 15-year olds with no experiences of any intrusive activity in the neither regions to start with.

For years I harbored distrust and deep desire to run and hide as soon as I saw a sign "Gynecologist" on the door. Not all of them were so bad though and eventually I DID learn to relax all the relevant muscles which made the yearly visits that much less stressful.

I only see the blessing side now though, when another doctor at the hospital pales and hides her/his eyes half-whispering "We need to do an internal". It's so easy for me to just whisk off my pants, plonk on my back, spread the knees wide, put the hands behind my head and relax.

"Bring it on!"

Friday, 11 April 2008

Straight from life - honest!

Rumors had reached me that there have been some sightings of snow in Ireland today.

So I snook out and snapped that little picture on the main (only) street of our village this morning.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Shopping assistance needed - Vol. 1

Where could I get T-shirt like that??

They have bucket loads of vomit-inducing slogans like "Fertile Goddess" or "Baby Love" but nothing really RELEVANT like this little number I had to design myself.


P.S. And no, it's not me on the picture, thank you very much, I'm far from blonde and svelte. I nicked the photo from some maternity wear site. I think it was Funmum.com.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Answer to (some of) my problems

Life was so much more predictable when I wasn't driving yet.

Granted, I had to drag hapless Ultimate Other Half with me either I needed to get a PPS number or bikini wax. But it was his own fault for not protesting more and only making very subtle remarks in lines "when will you learn to drive" once in couple of months or so.

Perhaps he was slightly put off by me barking "Never!" or giving long epic lectures about how cars are stronger than me, scary, unpredictable and you can't NEGOTIATE with them.

Or I just patted his hand lovingly and assured him that he's a brilliant driver and I have every confidence that he can get me wherever we going safely. Which he did.

He's driving skills faltered only once when he reversed forcefully into a lamp post in front of maternity hospital.

Who puts lamp posts in the middle of a parking lot anyway?

Anyway, we always got where we wanted to go in reasonable time and in one piece.

This Sunday I took Sir Sprout to a indoor play center in a nearby little town. After spending couple of hours propping him up to all kinds of attractions so he could slide down happily squealing (as a result I've been handicapped for 2 days, he's 15kg, have I mentioned that?) I decided to do the proper Mommy thing and have lunch in nearby restaurant.

About 40 minutes later Sir Sprout was stuffed with toasted sandwich and chicken from my salad. So we headed towards home.

Now, did I mention I go to work to that town? Five days a week.

Thus you would presume I'd have learned my way back home by now.

So how the hell did I end up in a village about 20km from the town IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION???

The fact that I just shrugged, turned the car around and drove home, shows how unsurprised I was. Sir Sprout didn't notice a thing. He was snoring in his seat.

Clearly there's only one answer to my problem. A personal chauffeur. All we need now, is to win a lottery.

Before I'll go to take Sir Sprout to the creche one of these mornings and will next be spotted someplace in Southern Spain, a bit puzzled since I still haven't come across local Supervalu.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

About love, briefly

Morning, not a particularly early one.

Grumpy Foreigner has spread her considerable bulk all over the bed, leaving a quaint wee corner for The Ultimate Other Half to balance on. She is in very whingy mood.

"Sir Sprout has been whacking me the whole morning," she complains.

"And kicking," adds The Ultimate Other Half helpfully.

"Exactly. I think he doesn't like me," states Foreigner gloomily.

The Ultimate Other Half can see things going downhill rapidly and dives in for a save:
"No, that's because he LOVES you!"

"So THAT'S how you're supposed to express your love nowadays," snorts Foreigner. Then she pauses to think and bursts into a wail:
"YOU don't love me!!!"

Friday, 4 April 2008

A tad confused here

Courtesy of K8:

You Are 70% Boyish and 30% Girlish

And there was me thinking I'm dead cute and feminine and stuff!

Does that mean that I'm pregnant with a boy???

Will The Ultimate Other Half feel a bit awkward around me now????

Where can I get some chocolate?????

Reports from the home front

The Ultimate Other Half is staying at home today with still a bit iffy and feverish Sir Sprout.

Nice relaxing day for him, you think naively.


I just got email from him:

"Could be a long day. He likes this:"

Learning to fly

I'm in sharing mood today:

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Whoopin' Bug

I have yet to see the day when everything goes by plan.

But despite my shaky fingers, cranky disposition, car running out of petrol and having to take slightly feverish Sir Sprout with us we made it to the doctor alright.

Didn't take long before I was facing the No-Nonsense-Nurse again. I remembered her from last round. All too well.

So I wasn't as startled as first time couple of years ago when she started to bomb me with questions with all the subtlety and gentleness on Gestapo officer.

I know now she's quite nice really, just terribly abrupt.

"So, give me a letter from your GP!"

I felt blood draining from my head.

"Ehmmm... I forgot it at home," I mumbled.

No-Nonsense-Nurse made a noise which could only be described as "harrumphhhh".

"Where are your blood results?"

"In the letter," I squeaked and attempted to make a feeble stab at her sense of humour and/or tolerance. "Must be the pregnancy brain kicking in."


OK. Obviously not working.

"I see. Give me your urine sample."

At this point I almost burst into tears.

"Didn't bring one. I'm really sorry."

"It's fine. I'm getting used to it at this point." Maybe, just MAYBE I spotted a little hint of amused twinkle in her eyes.

After 20 minutes of intensive chat I was so relieved to get out that I almost plummeted down the stairs getting out of her office.

Luckily we didn't have to wait long to see a consultant since Sir Sprout was trying to take (absolutely lovely) waiting room apart.

Not to mention that I was ready to burst after all the water I had dutifully drunk. So much so that one of the first statements during the scan was: "You have done a very good job with a bladder."

Really? Total news to me but hey, you're the expert. Can I just kick you and lunge for loo, please?

Well, long story short - Tummy Bug is not an octopus. All the limbs were counted and correct numbers resulted. Nasal bone was also spotted (a positive sign if you're a bit freaked about chromosomal disorders). And it was one fidgety bouncer in there. Or as the consultant politely put it "Very nice active baby."

I can foresee months of sore ribs already.

Then came the measuring time and shouldn't have really been surprised when the doctor said "Oh, I think we have to bring dates forward."

Yep, Tummy Bug is a whooper. At least so far. And most likely will continue to grow vigorously.

"If you had 9 pound 2 baby before it's unlikely you're gonna have seven pounder the second time around." explained my doctor kindly.

So if I haven't "gone" by due date they will drag me into hospital and stick needles in. With drugs in them. To get me "going". Eeewwwwww.

I guess it's too early to freak about THAT perspective yet. But I will anyway, just to keep busy.

And to take my mind away from other issues to freak about.

Because, truth is, there is no 100% guarantee that Tummy Bug is perfectly healthy & OK. But so far the signs are on a good side. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Precious, precious moments

I don't know if I should be feeling happy or proud or faintly disturbed and worried.

Thing is, Sip Sprout has taken an epic step on speech development field. This morning he actually uttered something which (with application of some creative thinking) could qualify as a sentence.

Fever again this morning so this time The Ultimate Other Half volunteered to miss work today. As I was pulling on my boots a very businesslike Sir Sprout hauled his little green PJ-clad bum onto a couch, settled comfortably on the pillows and pulled a blankie onto his knees. Then he looked at me. Expectantly.

I stared back with blatant disregard of his obvious intentions.

He then proceeded to point at television and said loud and (fairly) clear:
"Mommy TV peaaze*!"

Mixed feelings here. Very mixed.

But I DID put on CBeebies. After all he made SOME effort.

* peaaze = please. He's still working on that speech lark, give him a break!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

House still disease-ridden

Sir Sprout woke up this morning with high fever again. We flipped a coin with The Ultimate Other Half and as a result I got to stay at home with him.

Wee man is cosied up on a couch in his pyjamas with soother, favorite blankie and endless supply of CBeebies.

He is suffering terribly.

Freaking out

My problem is that I research too much.

It probably stems from the need to make an informed decision which, in theory, is not a bad thing at all. Quite opposite, really.

My second problem is that this approach never quite works.

Lets say you need a buggy (or pram or stroller or however are you supposed to call them). Out come all the product review & price comparison websites & parenting message boards. Months of extensive reading, questioning and budget reviews eventually result in a buggy dutifully hunted down from the umpteenth baby store tried.

Half a year and three buggies later you come to the sad conclusion that you cannot really make genuinely informed decision without experience and exact assessment of your needs.

And yes, example ( a very expensive one) is taken from life. My life, unfortunately. The thought of needing a double buggy in near future makes my hands shake and raises bitter regrets that I don't drink any more.

But there can be much more serious drawbacks than having to flog off piles of buggies to finally find the right one. Things are easy. They're replaceable.

It's entirely a different story when you (after quite unpoetical act of peeing on a stick) are faced with two bright purple lines. Meaning - yeah, woman, here we go again!

Without much delay you plunge into murky depths of internet only to surface with handful of totally unwelcome facts like:

A chance of Down Syndrome when getting pregnant in your age - 1 in 289
A chance of any other chromosomal disorder - 1 in 156
Heightened chance of diabetes and all kinds of other lovely complications including abruption of placenta and pathologic condition of fetus
Increased risk of miscarriage

I guess probability of complicated and prolonged delivery isn't even worth mentioning. After all I didn't really get off lightly first time around either.

Maybe I would be better off just not knowing and not worrying? Living my life in blissful ignorance? Taking things as they come?

Too late now anyway.

I just hope I won't loose the plot before tomorrow's scan altogether.

Paraphrasing wise woman Hails: "Tomato juice helps."

Monday, 31 March 2008

Gravity's a bitch

Yep, I'm not afraid to say it out loud.

A nudgy-pushy-destructive-heavyweight bitch. Who lives to eat.

I'm talking about my mother-in-laws old springer spaniel whom we're babysitting while her family is traveling, of course. What did you think?

Why is she called Gravity? Well, according to the Ultimate Other Half she used to fall a lot when she was a pup. From the bed, off the stairs and so on. So he called her Gravity.

Which, looking at her now is a highly appropriate name since there is rarely a dog seen so religiously taking care that even in case of slightly reduced gravity there would be no chance of loosing a ground. Maybe all the time she spent fizzing through the air in her stormy youth has made her paranoid of floating away altogether.

To put it simply - she is humongous. She looks like an ironing table on short furry legs. She used to have a double chin, I kid you not!

That was before she had to seek a refuge in our house four weeks ago.
Grunting with effort she rolled herself out of the car, into the front door and then to kitchen to check out if there's any food in Mutt The Mad's bowl. There wasn't. So she snapped grumpily at Mutt ("Hey, cool, nice to see ya, hey, cool, let's play, hey...") and plonked into the dog bed where she remained, slightly panting with all the effort.

The bed was only very briefly abandoned for extremely short trips to kitchen or garden.

In the evening I discovered that the reason she so patiently stays downstairs when everybody else is upstairs was not an admirable case of doggie-zen. She just couldn't get up the stairs.

There was not a single shudder of horror and compassion in my little cold heart when I put her on a diet.

First results were showing when Gravity actually found enough energy to go hunting-gathering. That, in spoilt pooch world, means "Follow the toddler and hoover up all the bits of dried bananas, raisins, fruit leather, apple, toast etc. he might drop or hand to you. Be persistent and annoying. Make it very clear you WANT the food he's eating. Hover around his high chair when he's having dinner. Beat Mutt The Mad to all the morsels on the floor."

Mutt The Mad learned very quickly that if he wanted to keep the food in his own bowl he'd better a) be fast, b) be prepared to fight for it.

By the beginning of week 3 Gravity was occasionally following me up and down the stairs. Week later she is whizzing around the house, having play fights with Mutt and destroying even more toys (both Mutts and Sprouts, she doesn't discriminate) than usual. I think we now have only one set of wooden puzzles with all the pieces intact and that's the one I took out of wrapper yesterday. Blocks off Sprouts train set have become a sawdust. Most of Mutts soft animals have lost all their stuffing and squeaky ones their squeak.

In a word, Gravity is now hell of a lot happier dog. She is still fat, of course, but the double chin is gone and there is a faint hint around her middle section that someplace there, a long time ago, must have been a waist. One more month and the aforementioned waist would be definitely THERE.

The trouble is Gravity's family is returning from their travels in a week. Back she will go to the land of cookies, chips, fatty bits off cooking, always-full bowls and treats from every person who walks into the door. To the obese dog heaven.

At least we tried.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Toddlers can be surprisingly placid...

...while sporting temperatures approaching the top end of your regular thermometer.

This appears to be a sturdy, brave fever stubbornly resisting every medication known to mankind (OK, Foreigner, her Mom and village pharmacist).

A true champion. A fever of all fevers.

I guess I should be proud.

Anybody up for night shift in our house? No?

Thought so.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Neglect and ruin

I have been shamefully neglecting this blog (and rest of the blog-world).

Well, I have been busy doing following things:

1) Sleeping. I can proudly say I can do it now at any time of the day or night and pretty much in every thinkable place or position except maybe standing up - but I'm working on it. On the couch. In the armchair. In the toilet. In the car. Wherever. Yawn.

2) Being queasy. I've really excelled at that. The trick is never (or almost never) to really get sick. Just deeply, naggingly, annoyingly, blindingly nauseous. All the time. Except when you sleep or when you're

3) Eating. Yeah. Food. Mmmmm.
Well, certain foods. Research has shown that carrots, for example, can make you sick. Or smoked mackerel. Or any meat - for a while. And then parsnips. Then skimmed milk.
Fruit has proved to be a trusty staple. A lot of it. Scary amounts, in fact.

4) Sitting at my desk at work all queasy while trying to not fall asleep. That's one of my favorites. You should really try it. Lovely exercise for wilting willpower.

5) Visiting medical institutions. In all the fairness I haven't been doing THAT much of it but I still consider it worth a mention. Euggghh. The day will come and I'll write up a very helpful guide of finding veins on Foreigners chubby arms, with map and all. Including the amount of needles and tut-tutting needed for the job.

6) Driving the Ultimate Other Half mental. However crap one feels, one has got to do her duty.

7) Making feeble stabs at toddler taming. I won't even enter the score here as it might draw some very unwelcome interest from social services. But let me assure you that Sir Sprout is winning hands down.

I'm sure there has been something else as well but I haven't exactly kept a diary so there.

Good news is I seem to start perking up a bit lately.

I've had fairly aware-of-surroundings morning. No nausea. Yesterday I saw a carrot in the fridge and didn't burst into tears, neither did I attempt to vacate my inner regions from consumed nutrient carriers orally.

OK, I did kinda snooze off after 9 but even the strongest among us can be severely traumatized by weekly groceries hunt performed on Thursday night. That's just life. Deeply unfair but merciless.

I still wouldn't go and volunteer to actually EAT the aforementioned carrot though.

Tummy Bug seems to be thriving, thanks for asking!

Thursday, 7 February 2008


Friday, 1 February 2008

About The Quirky Guy

It had started to get too awkward for him to squeeze himself into the wheelchair and that was the first day he admitted a defeat. They had wheeled him into the patient smoking area in his bed.

He was lounging in his fancy push-the-button-and something-will-raise/lower/vibrate bed in relaxed manner, gin and tonic in one hand and cigarette in other.
Looking at him it was impossible to believe that his time was running out very fast.

"Sit down and have a fag with me," he ordered.

"But there's sign here saying that smoking area is for patients only," I argued.

He snorted with utter contempt.

"Just sit down, will you, and have a fag!"

So I did.

"I fixed the radiator here," he announced smugly. "AND the alarm button!"

He was always fixing things. Radios. Heating systems. Skirting boards Mutt The Mad had gobbled up in dire times of boredom. Light fittings. Washing machines. You name it - he had fixed it at some point of his life.

The cigarette was almost gone, he put it out and had a good gulp of gin.

"Should we call the nurses and get you back?" I asked.

"Nah, I'm gonna have another one. Sit down, will you!"

When the doctors had told him to give up smoking couple of years ago he kept sneaking behind the house like rebellious teenager and popping into our house to raid my cigarettes. He was quite disappointed when I gave up smoking while pregnant.

"How's Sir Sprout?" he asked.

"The fever seems to be down but he's still not sleeping properly. Otherwise he's fine."

"He always falls asleep on MY lap!" he boasted. "He KNOWS I'm good for him!"

The Quirky Guy was the most doting grandfather you could possibly imagine. There were always some plain biscuits saved in his hospice locker for Sir Sprouts visits (because evil parents wouldn't hear anything about chocolate-covered ones) and all the visitors had to spend some fairly draining time listening to how well-developed, beautiful and talented his grandson is. World hadn't seen a baby as perfect before. He would grow up to be a rugby player, second row, just look at him, such a strong fella! And a golfer, there's good money in golf.

My pitiful protests about Sir Sprout having to make up his own mind were graciously dismissed.

"You'd think he never had children before the way he's going on about his grandson," sniggered Iron Lady, The Wife.

The Quirky Guy would do anything for Sir Sprout. Well, maybe not nappy changes if those could be avoided. That wasn't really his thing.

Opinions were his thing though. And arguing. Sitting at the dinner table with The Ultimate Other Half, his brothers and father was an ultimate test of endurance and patience. They ALL had Opinions.

In the beginning it wasn't too bad cause due to language barrier I lost half of the conversation anyway. Getting more fluent in English had its drawbacks.

The Quirky Guy finished his second cigarette and looked a bit tired now. We helped nurses to wheel him back into his room.

I drove back home to The Ultimate Other Half and blissfully sleeping Sir Sprout.

Couple of days later The Quirky Guys trips to smoking area stopped. He didn't ask for a cigarette during his brief moments of consciousness any more.

Quirky Guy left us a day before Christmas Eve.

I don't know if there is A Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. But if there is, The Quirky Guy will be sitting there nursing his pint of Guinness, puffing a cigarette and explaining the barman where exactly God has gone wrong and how he would do it better.

And fixing the espresso machine while he's at it.

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