We have a rather eccentric neighbour living next door… I use the word eccentric, rather than crazy, for several reasons: 1) it is smarter and makes me sound clever; and 2) it is a bit less judgmental. So, my elderly eccentric neighbour likes to stop on the street and impart useful nuggets of wisdom, commentary and (at times) criticism. They are equal parts confusing, offensive and very amusing.
The first encounter of note with our favourite neighbour was about 2 months after Ziggy was born and we had just gotten back from a long walk when she stopped me and very helpfully pointed out that I was ‘too fat’. Now, there is a definite language barrier here but these two words were crystal clear and open to no interpretation. There was even some helpful pointing at my stomach to really ram the point home when I stared at her in a dumbstruck way, just to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. Helpful, thank you.
Our next installment in the world’s most entertaining neighbour series was the winning ‘why baby cry?’ episode which I gave the full wry, caustic and at times (hopefully) amusing treatment in a previous blog post.
The latest tale of wonder came about a week ago when she stopped me as I was putting Ziggy into his pram from the car and she sticks her head right into the pram for a good look, then pulls back with a frown and says ‘don’t feed baby so much!’ and then pantomimes by gabbing her own cheeks to indicate that Ziggy does, in fact, have some sizable cheeks on him. Yes, yes he does. Ziggy was born with epic cheeks, the cheeks are a force unto themselves and nothing can stop them. They are the runaway freight train of cheeks, the Incredible Hulk of cheeks, the Cassius Clay of cheeks! They are amazing! I pointed out that I was breastfeeding and not actually force feeding my son in order to artificially enlarge his cheeks to gargantuan proportions and she seemed to accept that and proceeded to call him a ‘good baby.’ Thanks so much… very helpful as always.
There are countless more stories to be told about our delightful neighbour including ‘the random peanuts in tinfoil’, ‘the pruning of the traffic island’, ‘the fight with the bin man’ and ‘the pruning of the tree… that was actually ours’, but I am going to save them for a later post. In the meantime here they are in all their glory, the cheeks!
The Zig man was a pretty sizeable bub from the time he popped out to say howdy and since then he has decided that this whole ‘feeding’ thing is bloody brilliant. The end result is one behemoth of a baby with the chubbiest cheeks known to man and the squishiest of squishy thighs… here is a pic:
The cheeks and thighs are both things that seem to inspire many (often hilarious) comments from strangers. Some of my favourites so far are:
- Stranger – “He’s so cute, how old”, Me – “3 and a half months”, Stranger – “is he on formula?”, Me – “no, just breastmilk”, Stranger – (while looking at my chest) “really?… Wow…”
- Stranger (loudly, while walking past) “Oh my god, those cheeks! Did you see those cheeks? Wow!”
- Stranger – “Wow he’s so chubby… (with a sneaky glance at my chest) well done”
- Stranger (with very strong accent) – “Your baby?”, Me – “yes”, Stranger – “Is boy?”, Me – “yes”, Stranger – “good… “big boy, yes… good… big boy is good”.
- Stranger – “Your baby has big cheeks, I had big cheeks when I was little, people pinched them all the time… I did not like it”
I love coffee… I really, really, really love coffee. Most days it is the only thing that inspires me to get out of bed, just the thought of the incredible smell as I hit the magical button on the grinder, the minutes of anticipation as the espresso gets ready to burst forth on the stove and then that first orgasmic sip… ahhh-mazing!
When you are about to become a mum you are warned perpetually, and incredibly irritatingly, about the lack of sleep you have to look forward to. So far the reality has not been as dire as the predictions from well meaning friends, family and strangers, the Zig man seems to know the meaning of the word sleep and is fairly amenable to the concept… but it is still early days. Despite this you are still often running on less sleep than you ever have in your life and you spend your entire day pouring every bit of your energy into another human being – and being a breastfeeding mum I mean this more than just metaphorically! So, one long and rambling paragraph later my point is, that I may have already loved coffee but since Ziggy was born this love has expanded exponentially into something deeply spiritual, almost holy and, I suspect, a little unhealthy.
The young mother’s love of coffee is 3 fold:
2. Your new replacement for alcohol – you used to meet mates after work for a beer or a glass of wine, you now meet them in the morning, for coffee, and in cases of friends without kids, this tasty, hot, dry roasted cup of awesome is your last tenuous link to people you now feel very detached from and desperately want to stay in touch with
3. Something to do! One of the most important things to maintain sanity, order, zen and a general sense of control over your new life is getting out and about as much as possible and a walk to the local cafe for a piccolo is a stella option
While the 3 key points above are testament to the joys of coffee itself there is also the lovely discovery that the many well run cafes in Sydney are almost the only place on earth (other than the park) that you can meet up with other mum mates, park your prams and talk incessantly about babies without feeling like you are in the way, annoying and to be pitied.
On a side note my picks of the best coffee in Sydney are as follows (within my hood anyway):
1. Double Roasters, Marrickville
2. Campos, Newtown
3. Cornersmith, Marrickville
4. Coffee, Tea & Me, Redfern
5. Bourke St Bakery, Marrickville
With the love between coffee and I deepening by the day the question becomes what do I love more, coffee or Ziggy? This is a tough one… I think the only thing I can be confident of is that I definitely love Ziggy more at 6am with a little help from my friend coffee.
When you spend most of your time with someone who has not grasped the English language past sounds like ‘agoo’ and ‘mmmna’ you find yourself developing some interesting and slightly unnerving habits, these include the following (note that this is not an exhaustive list, there could be a part two to this post!):
- Making up songs to go with every single mundane task that fills your day, this is done mainly to entertain and distract your baby but it becomes a scary reflex and you are soon standing in the supermarket in front of the cereal belting out ‘which muesli should I buy today’ in a jaunty tune.
- Sparking up really enthusiastic conversations with strangers you meet at the cafe… or at the lights… and chatting to them for that bit too long so they start to look uncomfortable, but you just don’t pick up on it till they actually walk away
- Buying snacks that you loved as a kid… I think this may be unique to me but I inhaled an entire box of chocolate space food sticks the other day, I haven’t done that in 15 years!
- Reinterpreting the term ‘it’s still good’ till it has taken on new and highly fluid meaning… spills, vomits & wee on your clothes, slightly off milk when you desperately need a coffee… none of these things are beyond the realm of acceptable to you anymore.
- Expecting everyone to make way graciously for you and your pram and when they don’t you may sometimes… sort of… try to aim for their shins with the pram’s front wheel.
- When standing on the spot for any length of time – say in a bar when you have wrangled an hour between feeds to catch up with a friend – finding yourself rocking back and forth, which makes sense if you are holding a baby, but makes you look like you should be in a padded room when you’re not.
The Zig man had to get his photo taken for his passport the other day and I think he thought the whole thing was fascinating, he just stared at the guy with the camera with wide eyes, which made getting an ‘acceptable’ shot rather easy. The end result looks like an adorable baby mugshot and begs for a caption…
Some of my favourite captions include:
- “I ain’t sayin’ nothin”
- “I know where you live detective”
- “My lawyer will have me outta here in 10 minutes”
- “You’ve got nothing on me”
- “This is not my best angle”
- “Damn, I am seriously, ridiculously, cute”
The lovely Zig man has discovered his hands and thinks they are pretty fascinating, they spend copious amounts of time being stared at or sucked on.