I’m finding it harder to write my blog. Not because I’ve lost interest in it or because I don’t have the time - it’s just that I don’t have very much to write about. I’ve written about back pain, bloating, hormones, cereal, milk and Percy Pigs. Really, what more is there? I can no longer tie my own shoelaces. Is this newsworthy?
New things don’t really happen to me from one day to the next at the moment. I am essentially immobile. Mr Oh drives me in and out of work. Going across the road at lunchtime to get a sandwich makes me so tired I have to nap under my desk afterwards. My colleagues have taken to waddling down the corridors after me in mock baby penguin formation and I am told ‘You’re enormous’ at least once a day (Really? Am I? Compared to what - a baby elephant?....a sumo wrestler?... or just a woman who is not 33 weeks pregnant??).
This week I was sitting in a meeting beside a middle-aged man I had never met before whose first words to me were ‘You must be overdue. When were you due?’. I assured him that if I were overdue I would be at home munching on raw chillies and pineapple and not sitting beside him contemplating the outline of a strategy paper that would be written, discussed, commended and then promptly forgotten about until it was decided in five years time that we need a strategy paper at which point the entire process would begin again like an incredibly boring re-run of Groundhog Day. Such is the perpetual cycle of public sector strategising. I actually didn’t say any of those things to him. I just gave him a weak smile and said “I’m not due for another seven weeks”. Had he known me better, I’m sure he would have told me that I was enormous. Had I known him better, I would then have growled at him.
Despite the tone of the paragraph above (and maybe the one above that as well), I’m not actually grumpy. Although I am in a state of deep discomfort on account of the kung-fu water balloon compressing my internal organs, I’m pretty zen and relaxed. Mr Oh pointed out that I’m the first person he’s known who is literally engaged in naval-gazing for much of the day. I like to sit on the sofa and watch my bump move around. Little limbs push out here and there and slide under the skin like the sandworms from Dune. I play the baby music and talk to it about important things like sandwiches and celebrities. I’m also watching my bellybutton slowly disappear - I reckon it’s just about ready to pop out (too much information?)
I wonder if the baby knows that there’s a world out here. The only world it knows is inside me. It probably thinks I’m its god. Or maybe it thinks I’m its captor - it feels like it’s trying to get out sometimes. I think it likes me in general, I feed it custard on demand.
People say nice things to you when you’re pregnant too. The man in Cafe Sol told me - after he’d seen me leave the back of the queue one day because the wait was too long - that I didn’t have to queue for my maple pecan pastry in the morning - that I could just walk right up to the till because I have priority. The man giving out the free Metro paper on the corner presses the pedestrian button when he sees me coming so that the lights change on time for me (at least, I think that’s why he does it but it never works). A junkie shooting up outside my local Tesco asked me if I was having a boy or a girl. Taxi drivers give me blow by blow accounts of their wives 6-day labours. My favourite comment (although not pregnancy related) came from an elderly British gentleman I was speaking to at a lunchtime business reception last week. I was standing with a glass of sparkling water and when a photographer came over to take our picture, the man said ‘Lower your glass, dear, or people will think you’re a lush’. I thought this was hilarious, particularly as he was completely serious (I did lower my glass though).
So besides work and home, the only places I go at the moment are Tesco, yoga and Eurobaby on the Long Mile Road (had never been to the Long Mile Road before - very disappointed - expected it to be like the Vegas Strip but turns out just to be an industrial estate with a roller disco). Babies, it turns out, need a lot of stuff. We’ve put the bed against the wall in the spare room to make way for all the stuff. Baby now officially has more possessions than Mr Oh. Baby’s possessions though are generally smaller than Mr Oh’s, but not that much smaller because, as you will recall, I’m enormous.
The sofa is now too uncomfortable and I have taken to my bed in near perpetuity. I continue to trudge bitterly into work each morning full of simmering resentment at the fact that almost my entire yoga class seems to have wrangled early maternity leave. What I need for this, apparently, is a touch of high blood pressure and a low lying placenta. Instead, I have the blood pressure of a pre-teen marathon runner and an inconveniently nuisance-free placental location.
I also have calves like tree trunks which are accumulating cellulite like it’s a flesh eating disease (I never claimed this was a glamour-blog), fat little fingers (the engagement ring has had to go into temporary storage) and a sharp pain in my pelvis of undetermined origin. None of these things are likely to warrant early maternity leave which is probably a good thing - what my calves need least right now is additional time in proximity to the Percy Pig stash (Mr Oh thought he had hidden it from me but it’s in the casserole dish).
Mr Oh is in the middle of exams at the moment and is studying for more hours a day than most people are awake. I use the opportunity of his short and infrequent breaks to demand cake. He has predicted my future mothering style to be combination of Mary Poppins, Marie Antoinette and Pol Pot.
I’m tired now - it’s time to nap. Tired pregnant woman is much like a grumpy carebear (see image above).
[After posting the above, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realised that I looked even more like grumpy bear than I had originally thought]
It’s uncanny. I’ll refrain from posting a photo of my enlarged calves.
I have heard it said that pregnant women often go through a manic period of spring cleaning in order to prepare the nest for the impending arrival. I have taken to my bed.
I have been here for three days now - only venturing afield (i.e. downstairs) for cooking and biscuit hunting. It may not look like it, but I am nesting. I am preparing my technological environment for the dramatic changes afoot. In fact, to look at me, you would be forgiven for thinking that I am attempting to remotely coordinate the global satellite network from my bed. That is if you can see me at all, so ensconced am I in a hedge of wires, plugs and Apple logos.
I have here in bed with me my new 15’ Macbook Pro - most beloved of inanimate objects. I also have my old Macbook, an iPad, two 1TB external hard-drives, an iPhone, an iPod and a pork pie (with some HP sauce). There also appears to be a calculator under my left ankle but I think Mr Oh left this there earlier when calculating my tax credits.
I have been organising my tax affairs, arranging photos into events, purging my iTunes of Bruce Springsteen albums, researching online photo storage/sharing options (I’m thinking Smugmug but would welcome views), downloading episodes of Game of Thrones and, once again, comparing my unborn child to vegetables (this week baby Hu is the size of a butternut squash). This is 21st century nesting. When my hard-drives are in order, I will be ready for baby.
There has, however, been one disturbing element of nesting that I cannot attribute to modern mothering. I have been absolutely convinced that this child cannot be born until I know how to make custard. It has been something of an obsession for the past week. Mr Oh is not complaining - he considers custard to be stand-alone food group. I bought vanilla pods and cream and golden caster sugar and rhubarb (you need something to eat with custard). I whisked and stirred and cooled and simmered. I made perfectly nice custard, but it wasn’t right. It wasn’t the right colour, it wasn’t the right texture and it wasn’t the right taste. I think it needs another egg yolk.
In my experimentation I came across an unfortunate truth - the perfect custard does exist and it’s made by Marks & Spencer. I am now going through a crisis of pre-motherhood. Do I really need to be able to make my own custard when it’s so laborious and awkward and unperfect and M&S do it better? I have a feeling that this issue will shape many of my future mothering decisions. I have resolved to continue to try to make my own perfect custard - anything less is substandard parenting. (I suspect this parental zeal (and possibly all types of zeal) will have exhausted itself by 2013 so I might as well be a martyr to perfection while I still have the energy and will.
Incidentally, on my quest for perfect custard, I came across the perfect cherry pie (also made by M&S). I have no intention of learning how to make cherry pie and am therefore delighted with this find. Mr Oh was reluctant to buy the cherry pie at first. He said he didn’t like cherries. It turns out he just doesn’t like cherry-flavoured Jolly Ranchers which is hardly the same thing. Now that he has unearthed a deep-seated love for M&S cherry pie and M&S custard, my star is waning. Luckily M&S is not carrying his unborn child, otherwise I might find myself surplus to requirements.
[Mr Oh has subsequently assured me that he will not leave me for M&S but cannot rule out the possibility that he will leave me for S&M] [or M&Ms].