Monday, 21 January 2013

with child

Hello my name is Ariel and I am with child.

This is not news to you.
It is news to me.

Until quite recently, Saturday evening in fact, I was well aware I was pregnant, but it really hadn’t clicked that I was already a mom.

This is an identity I had been avoiding for about as long as I had known I was pregnant.  I wasn’t feeling connected to this experience or this ‘thing’ I was gestating.  I was afraid of it.  Sometimes I resented it.  A lot of the time I wished I didn’t have to deal with it.

I hated talking about it.  I hated pretending to be excited.  I hated trying to think of things to tell people when they asked how I was feeling or how it was going.

I was annoyed by other mothers pushing their pregnant or new mom friends on me.  I was tired of hearing stories of difficult births or assertions of ‘you’ll see’ and being told to get annoyed by XYZ.  I was annoyed by the assumption that I had names and nursery colours and schooling plans all picked out.

Truth be told, it is a lot like planning a wedding.

Being pregnant was becoming my defining personality trait and I find that really annoying.  I’m Ariel.  I just happened to be knocked up as well.  I didn’t suddenly change personality or interests because we made the decision to ‘do it’ without prophylactics.

On December 19th, a very distinctive and very tiny fist reached out and punched me.

It wasn’t a lightening moment of sudden ‘mom-dom’ and it wasn’t the first hint of movement, but it did stick in my head.  A very clear feeling of a miniature fist reaching out.  Like that movie poster for ROOTS (without the chain) or any student activist group anywhere.

Power to the People.
Or in this case…to the Pruin.

Around Christmas I popped.   My body suddenly had a very distinct pregnant look.  Pruin began to respond to Pete’s voice and touch.  A very cheeky personality seemed to form.  Slowly, I began to change my eating habits and start exercising again.  The more my inability to get off the couch and tie my shoes increased, the more I began to believe that this pregnancy thing was real.

However, it was still just an idea that it might be real.  That in about four months there might be a screaming, wriggling thing in the mix.  It was all still very abstract.  The slight changes I made were made for selfish reasons connected to body image and a real annoyance with heartburn.

Friday the snow started to fall.  I was so excited and was out in it walking to my chores with more enthusiasm than I have felt for anything lately.  Pruin wriggled and punched and kicked all day long.  To the point that it became really annoying and I may have directed an ‘Ok. I get it. You can chill out now.’ toward the bump.

Saturday seven hours went by and I didn’t feel anything.  Not one hiccup, or squirm, or readjustment.  As hour eight came along Pete and I spent a feverish 20 minutes prodding the bump, talking to it, playing loud noises and sitting in uncomfortable positions trying to get a response.  Pete got out the Ukulele and strummed loudly for a good five minutes, something which always gets a response.

Nothing.  Nothing was happening.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, Pete got very close to the bump and gave Pruin a very stern talking to.

…and got kicked in the ear for his trouble.

Pete looked up and smiled with relief.  I started crying.

I think it was part relief and part realization.  This isn’t just anything I am gestating.  Despite my annoyances and resentments and name-calling, I care about this little thing even though it gives me nothing but grief.

That’s parental love, isn’t it?

Hello my name is Ariel and I am with child.  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Toilet Talk

I promise this is not about throwing up or pregnancy related.

At least not completely.

our home sweet home
(the white door in the middle)

When we settled on this house as 'The One.' We were considering its location, general upkeep, size, room placement, garden placement, proximity to transportation, room for improvement, etc.  It has new windows, a new roof, new boiler, damp-proofing: all big investments we didn't have to make.  Perfect.

However, it also has a kitchen and bathroom that haven't been touched since the 70s, a different off-white or tan carpet in each room, potentially dodgy electrics, and textured wallpaper, too-short blinds (visible in the above photo) and faux fireplace in the living room.

These things didn't bother us too much (with the exception of the dodgy wiring).  We get a chance to make it our own space.

As our schedule was a bit tight, we planned to move into the house as it stood and make plans after living in the space for awhile.

This sounds great in theory.  In practice, I was newly pregnant, sick as a dog and squatting in someone else's house.  Or so it felt to me.  It was our furniture but I was staring at, and living with, a stranger's questionable design choices.  The bathroom alone was enough to make me sick without the help of hormones.

avocado with a side of cork

I decided pretty quickly that the bathroom was going to the top of our list of projects.  This decision might have been slightly influenced by the abnormal amount of time I spent with dear Kermit here but there are other contributing factors to back up my prioritizing.

Let me take you on a short tour of this peculiarity.  Hang onto your hats.

Hello, my name is Cork. 

The 'Romantic Roman Ruins' tiling really classes up the joint.

The wood panelling pulls the room together. 

Before you say, "It's not soooo bad."  I would like to inform you that the box on the wall is the alleged 'power shower.'  It's gravity fed (read: campground shower trickle), choked with 30 years of limescale, and took us a month to figure out how to get the water to reach a barely acceptable temperature above freezing.

It was so painful, I took baths for the first month.  I would sit huddled in the water like a child, splashing water over my body in order to rinse and trying to see the humour of the situation instead of crying uncontrollably.  I contemplated getting one of those white 'granny' attachments for the bath taps to at least get some semblance of pressure and heat but I couldn't find one with a long enough hose.  I started bathing every other day in an attempt to avoid the pep talk I needed every morning to face the bathroom.

Pete bravely stuck it out.  Facing bracing showers at 5am with no complaint (although we did move a portable heater into the room in an attempt to produce an environment that would live up to the sauna-like interior.  It didn't work.), it was Pete who finally discovered how to finesse some warmth out of the water.

It still has no pressure and is situated in such a way as to necessitate a slight back bend in order to really use it properly.  I don't need to tell you that at almost 25 weeks pregnant, back bends are becoming increasingly more impossible.

However, lest you think it's all misery, the wall opposite the shower features an enormous mirror so you can watch yourself shiver and wriggle.  Comic relief built right in.

I show you this now because we are in the midst of collecting estimates on the remodel.  We have the design sorted and have the fixtures picked out and on hold.  With any luck, when it's done it will be the nicest room in the house.

And before you ask, we didn't contemplate DIY.  I'm pregnant and Pete works in an office with computers. My father-in-law is a builder but he's in New Zealand and the skill isn't genetically transferable.  My father builds theatrical sets but he's in Cleveland and we need this to hold for a bit longer than your average two week run.  So we are hiring people in to do the dirty work.  We are not ashamed.

While hiring someone in instead of doing it ourselves will provide less fodder for funny/ridiculous/incredulous anecdotes, it will hopefully save our sanity.  In a relatively short amount of time we will be at the end of our sanity ropes and up to our necks in diapers and despair so cutting down on the craziness can only be for the good.

It will also be really nice to take a proper shower on the rare occasion I find the time.