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!
Undertaking a plane trip with a small child and expecting it to go smoothly is delusional optimism on par with those people who buy a tiger kitten and expect it to still be cuddly and friendly when it grows up and are genuinely astonished when it mauls them.
So, we are on our way to New Zealand. Wellington to be more specific, and it is only a 3.5 hour flight but I am not a huge fan of flying, the landing freaks me out, so I am not sure I can expect the four month old Zig to be coolmaster flash and not blink an eye when I am all in a flummox. So I am approaching this challenge with my usual mix of cynicism and a tendency towards melodrama… the way I see it there are 3 likely ways this high flying adventure will go:
1. Ziggy sleeps the whole time and barely realises anything has happened
2. Ziggy is a bit restless on take off and landing, cries for a little while but then has something to eat and a little nap
3. Ziggy loses the plot on an epic scale and screams to the point where for a second or two no sound comes out and then all hell rains down, he can’t remember how to open his eyes and blood vessels start to pop on his cute little face.
In scenario three I also imagine people on the plane getting more and more annoyed to the point where there is pointing and yelling and it’s like a bad dream, and I may (or may not) have clothes on.
Here’s hoping Zig is simply fascinated by what is going on around him and charms the flight attended with his big blue eyes and enormous cheeks and we get free beer and peanuts!
As soon as you become a mum any semblance of cool you had dissipates the second the colostrum comes in. All of a sudden you are careening around town with a giant pram that limits where you can go, what you can do and most of all (and sometimes in a fun way when you are feeling evil) annoys the hell out of everyone who comes across your path. Not only that but you also have this tiny time bomb of awesome with you at all times who can be an adorable angel that makes strangers go ‘awww’ or, even more likely, a screaming banshee that has strangers looking at you with one of the following expressions:
The first comes from anyone who has had a baby of their own within the last ten years, the second comes from older people who had kids but seem to have conveniently forgotten how hard it is and are convinced that ‘in my day kids knew how to behave’, the third look comes from anyone who is either too young to have considered the idea of kids without abject terror or those who have chosen to never have them.
So with an all terrain vehicle to negotiate and the tiny time bomb of awesome in tow it is pretty hard to look cool in any way whatsoever. This particular mum’s last ditch attempt to hang on to a teeny bit of street cred comes in the form of music – more specifically going to gigs and buying new music so that I don’t end up being that person who says ‘who?’ five years after a great band has released a break through album. In an effort to pursue this seemingly surmountable goal I bought a ticket to a festival, featuring one of my favourite musos, M Ward. So I was a new mum, but it was ok because in November I was going to Harvest… Less than a month later and news spread that Harvest was cancelled. Disappointing… but that’s ok, Homebake is announced and day 3 looks great, so to Homebake I will go!
After receiving the news yesterday that Homebake was also cancelled it is hard not to think that the universe is trying to tell me to give up and accept my new-mum lack of cool and stop trying so hard… Or is it more a ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ scenario?
With Laneway winking seductively at me I am very tempted to tempt fate. But it has been made abundantly clear that life sure ain’t as easy as it used to be, good thing Zig is so cute. Here he is with his new toy Unadkat…
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”
Ziggy is a pretty easy going baby, he has had the odd meltdown here and there but lately in particular he has been a breeze… except for last night. I stupidly and (clearly) selfishly decided to go and see one of my favourite Aussie musicians, Paul Dempsey – he was playing just down the road at The Factory. This was going to be easy! I would get ready, feed Ziggy, put him to bed, he would snooze till 10, Dad would give him a bottle and he would be down for the night, thus leaving mum to bask in indie rock awesome with little to no guilt or worry. Of course, this is not what actually happened.
About half an hour prior to leaving the following happened – epic baby meltdown! For no reason and with little warning Ziggy erupted and nothing could console him, not cuddles, not bouncing, not even boob! After some creative distraction techniques were undertaken Ziggy finally chowed down and it seemed that the original plan may still happen, I would just be a little late. About 45 minutes later, after 2 failed ‘ok, time to sleep now’ attempts I was forced to bail and leave Dad holding the bag, in the form of a very grumpy baby. He did an amazing job, dealt with two more meltdowns and eventually got him to sleep. What about me you ask?
Paul is amazing and he managed to mesmerize a sold out audience with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. The highlight of the night for me was his incredible cover of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ – with a son named Ziggy, I am clearly going to be pretty jazzed by this choice. For most of the evening, however, I was pretty distracted and having trouble enjoying myself. In fact, my level of distraction is clearly conveyed visually through this photo that I took at the gig…
Perhaps Ziggy is not a Paul Dempsey fan and he objected to my choice of gig? Perhaps he picked up on my slight hesitation and anxiety about leaving him? Perhaps it was just one of those random moments in life with very little rhyme or reason to it that make you want to pull your hair out and staple it to someone else’s head?
Stay tuned for the next installment of the battle between baby and the band when mum next tries to check out some live music…
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.
A good book + hot bath + glass of red wine is pretty much my idea of heaven. With a four month old as my constant companion these days I don’t get much time to combine the above and bask in its glory but I do get to be the first person to introduce my main man to the joys of reading. Today he literally held a book for the first time… granted it is a soft cuddly book and he mostly just stared at the colours and tried to shove it in his mouth, but still, it was a momentous moment for this mum.
There is going to come a day, sooner than expected, when Ziggy looks up from his computer to see Mum with a stupid, overly enthusiastic grin on her face, holding a book and suggesting that he maybe turn his eyes from that game he is playing and read a little. Ziggy will look at the book and then at Mum in a way that will clearly convey the following:
“You seriously expect me to read words, on paper (!!!) and actually have to turn the page with my own hand to find out what happens next when I can sit here and play a game where I create entire realistic worlds and/or destroy entire civilisations with the touch of a key? How dumb are you???”
Until that day comes I hope Ziggy and I get to enjoy a book or two together…