Friday, January 28, 2011

A Passport Story

The story of my baby and her passport.
It began with a trip to the local post office to collect a passport form and get her photo. Easy enough, dreadful photo - her serious face covered in drool and no bottom lip to speak of, she's sucking on it. Pasty looking, angry, not at her best. There are 8 of them, headshots, you need 2 for an application. One must be signed by a 'guarantor' to say 'this is a true photo of so and so, signed other so & so'. This is what happened to them.
Photos 1 & 2 & form #1 filled in & signed by my old friend who popped in for a cup of tea one afternoon. Says she will message me her passport details later. She does so, adding it's out of date. I read the instructions on the passport form, unacceptable.
Return to post office, pick up 2 forms.
Get newly married friend to fill in form. Her passport is current, but hang on, her married name is now different to her passport. Remember to check every detail before getting form signed next time.
4 photos left. We are leaving to Bali in 6 weeks with 3 of my girlfriends. One of them offers to be guarantor. Perfect. Until she fills in form & checks passport to see it expired 4 days earlier.
2 photos left. I reread the guarantor page and realise there are 2 options - 1) passport or 2) enrolment details. Get friend to fill in form & sign photos. Take to post office. Organise appointment for the following day.
Arrive at appointment. Go through f form, no problem. Man looks at last set of photos and says Sorry these have scratches on them, you can't use them.
I try not to cry. Ask the lady taking passport photos if she can take one of my baby. Sorry we don't do baby passport photos, you'll have to go to the camera shop. Try not to cry, or throw myself onto the floor in a tantrum.
Find camera shop. Get photos done. Wait 20 minutes for them to develop.
Here we arrive at the point of this blog. The new photos show a gorgeous baby girl, looking deep at the camera, possibly the best photo she's ever taken. I can't believe it. I profusely thank the woman who took them, tell her a bit of our story, tell her she's transformed the whole experience into a positive one, a happy one because of this beautiful photo she's given me.
Passport submitted, arrived in mail 10 days later. We're going to Bali baby!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Domestic Bliss

It's the eve of our 8 year anniversary.
Tha baby wakes me at 6am. I lie in bed with her, feed, goo & gah a bit, nudge her Dad to let him know it's his turn.
'I'm really tired. Didn't you have a better nights sleep?' he mumbles.
If you mean did I have 7 hours of broken sleep as opposed to the previous nights 5 hours, then yes, I suppose I did.
'Please,' I say 'I need more sleep'.
'Just give me 20 minutes more. I stayed up late watching the tennis'.
In that moment I am more furious with him than I think I've ever been. I want to smash him with my fists and kick him in his arse and push him out of bed, scream obscenities at him, scratch him, hurt him. Selfish fuck.
I don't do any of that. I get out of bed with our baby girl and proceed to spend the next 30 minutes channelling all that rage into love for her, tickles & funny faces & silly noises & kisses.
It doesn't make me feel any less angry with him, but it's nice not to feel angry with her.
I take her back into the bedroom, lay her on the bed and leave the room. Eventually they get up and I lay down to try and get some extra rest, fortunately remembering to close the bedroom door. This does muffle her cries slightly, but they are still fairly distinct to a mothers ears. I ignore them and he lasts for about 15 minutes before he comes into the room.
'Can you help me' he cries
'YOU DIDN'T HELP ME' I yell like a petulant 6 year old. Grabbing her away from him.
'I'M SICK OF THIS SHIT' he roars, throwing the somewhat useless dummy onto the bed and charging out of the room, being sure to slam as many doors as he can along the way.
I'll just clarify here, we are generally not fighters, or yellers. We tend to prefer sulking, stewing over things and not speaking rather than the raised voice of anger.
Thats that really. He pisses off to work and I'm left wondering whether I should feel bad about the events of the morning or if dammit I should have said more. Can't it be about me? Why can't I be sick of this shit and stay up late and watch tennis and throw dummies? Why should I feel bad? I don't have any answers, just a bubble of trouble in my tummy that says you guys need to sort this mess out, but I don't know how.
Just had to write it while it was fresh.

The Breastfeeding Nazis

So last weekend I had my old friend, Breastfeeding Nazi #1, her partner, Breastfeeding Nazi #2 and their lovely daughter, possibly Breastfed child till the age of 4 (currently only 14months but all the warning signs are there), to stay for a few nights.
#1 is the dominant female. Cosleeps with child, breastfeeds child to sleep, eats mostly organic, unafraid to speak her mind. Patting herself on the back every step of the way. Ordering #2 around like a drill sargent, offering me advice right left & centre, only to remind me I can take from it what I like, choose to act on whatever I wish.
Why thank you #1. I'll be sure to do that.
My partner offers her a wine "Oh No Thanks" she says, "I'm still feeding, it does go through the milk"
Please feel free to ignore the second glass of the evening in my hand. My child is regularly offered a free wine tasting, particularly when I'm in a stressful situation.
The next morning they come in for breakfast. "Oh, Clare, #2 did some research for you last night, #2, tell Clare what you found out."
"Yes Clare," he says "Well I looked on the ABA website for you last night (did I ask him to do that and don't remember due to my 2 glasses of wine last night? ABA being Aust. Breastfeeding Assoc.) and found out that one cup of coffee takes 90 hours to go through a breastfed babies system. It can leave them irritable and alert, along with making them jerky."
Nope I didn't ask him to look this up. I'm already aware of the fact that coffee is a stimulant which is why I use it.
"Righto" I say. Backing away from the kettle & reversing out of my kitchen, away from these people I invited into my home.
"Oh she is perfectly safe sleeping with us" #2 says. "Breastfed babies and their mothers have a special bond, it's mostly bottlefed babies who are affected by SIDS."
I discreetly position myself in front of the large tin of formula, used once a day for a late afternoon low milk time of day feed. The best part about this is her Dad can feed her, with her staring up at him thinking 'sweet. you have some abilities that please me. your no mum and certainly no giant luscious nipple, but this is really quite nice'.
"You know when you go overseas with your baby, you can use your sling with her, rather than a pram" she says.
Yes, thats right, thats why I use it everyday, with my baby. My second baby. I already used it with the 1st baby, now I use it with my 2ND baby. I've had 2 now.
It's taught me things. Such as using a sling, breast & bottle feeding them (and the bond that exists with both), how much I thought I knew when I had ONE child means nothing now I have 2 and everything is different.
She won't be told. Not that I'd be telling her anyway. I certainly wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me having 2 children was this much harder and different to having just 1. In fact maybe people did tell me, I just wasn't listening. Or perhaps more likely, I figured "won't be like that for me". I was wrong. Breastfeeding Nazis didn't help matters, but I'm smart enough to know that I'm irked by them because part of me feels guilty that I'm not like them, that my love for my children is different to theirs. I'm a lot more tired this time around and possibly not as breast orientated. So screw them and their ABA, I'm doing it my way.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An adventure in tofu

I did some careful meal planning this week, Thai recipe book out on Saturday, market shopping Sunday, enough herbs & veggies to do 3 meals. Larb Tofu Monday, Thai Beef Salad Tues, grilled fish Wednesday. Was fairly confident.
Turns out Larb Tofu ain't much fun for the novice tofu chef such as myself. Drain it, chop it, deep fry it, mix with salad & herbs & dressing. The deep frying was the problem. My first batch had a slightly crispy edge but the rest of it was just rubbery snot. And so on and so on with the following three.
Thankfully I had the foresight to throw 8 tiny pork sausages into the oven in case my son wouldn't eat the tofu. Cut up some extra salad, butter sone day old bread and voila...
Pigs in blankets & thai coriander salad, with a side of tomato sauce. Delicious.
Tuesday night goes to plan! A lovely Thai Beef Salad, an almost happy baby & a trip to the waterpark to sate a 4 year olds appetite. All this on 4.5 hours sleep. The odd psycho Mother moment, but got through without hurting anyone.