Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t an event on our relationship calendar, but oddly the one Feb 14th I clearly remember is the one just before the boy-child was born.

And before you think “oh, how sweet”, I don’t remember it in a haze of flowers, chocolate and candlelit dinners. What I remember is that, 11 days out from the baby’s due date, we had agreed to attend a wedding in Southend, way out in Essex. As this was about 90 miles from home, we had decided to book into the hotel where the wedding was being held, so that I could drag my bloated, easily exhausted carcass off to bed early while the Big T stayed on and enjoyed the nuptuals.

By that stage in my pregnancy, I was convinced that I’d go into labour at any moment and had to “be prepared.” So I loaded the car with my usual overnight bag, plus the stuff I thought I might need for the labour and birth, and made sure I knew the location of the hospital in Southend. I think I even took my medical notes along – just in case.

As it turned out, the boy-child stayed put and it should have been a totally uneventful weekend. Except that a) the Big T really enjoyed the nuptuals and ended up drinking with the band and other stragglers late into the night and b) my body decided to have a bit of a practice run at the birthing thing.

What this constellation of misfortunes meant was that a) the Big T spent much of the following morning in the bathroom throwing up and the afternoon dry-retching into a plastic bag while b) I drove us home experiencing what turned out to be Braxton Hicks contractions, but were sufficient to convince me that the boy-child’s first experience of his father would be the whiff of stale wine and vomit.

But of course, by the time the boy-child finally emerged, his father had fully recovered and was as awake, alert and fresh-of-breath as any man who’s just shared a 26 hour labour with a woman as short-tempered, impatient and foul-mouthed as me.

Father and son. Photo: Su Leslie 1998

Father and son. Photo: Su Leslie 1998

This post is part of my countdown to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here’s what has gone before.

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

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Six word Saturday: who said boys can’t wear pink?

The boy-child's grandmother has probably still not forgiven me for dressing him in bright colours -- and pink!!! Photo: Su Leslie 1998

The boy-child’s grandmother has probably still not forgiven me for dressing him in bright colours. Photo: Su Leslie 1998

This post is part of my countdown to my son’s 16th birthday. Here’s what’s gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/juxtaposition-on-being-reminded-how-far-we-have-travelled/

On raising children and not getting enough sleep

A few hours old and sleeping peacefully. Not a trick much repeated in the boy-child's first year. Photo: Su Leslie 1998

A few hours old and sleeping peacefully. A trick not much repeated in the boy-child’s first year. Photo: Su Leslie 1998

School’s started in earnest for the boy-child and with it the dreaded early mornings. Today was the first in months the alarm has gone off before it’s properly light outside.

I have to say – I really wasn’t ready to get up!

The infant boy-child was a terrible sleeper; managing 2-3 hours at a time during the nights of his first year, and hardly sleeping at all during the days. After a while, just the sound of his cries were enough to cause physical anxiety in both the Big T and me; a sensation which lasted for years afterwards.

Today, the alarm clock did much the same thing – that harbinger of six o’clock rising and, worse, the onset of autumn and then winter.

When the boy-child woke during those first nights, we used to put the Counting Crows album August and Everything After on the CD player and turn the volume up. Strangely, it helped calm the baby, and even now does the same for me.

Today was definitely a Counting Crows morning.

This post was written as part of my “countdown” to my son’s 16th birthday:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/juxtaposition-on-being-reminded-how-far-we-have-travelled/

Earworm: moments of clarity and silly songs

‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’

— Soren Kierkegaard

I suppose this is a kind of footnote to my post on nostalgia.  I can’t remember when I read the quote above, but it would definitely constitute an epiphany moment. Not an epiphanette you understand — a full-blown epiphany.

It’s been a piece of wisdom I’ve held close to my heart and it’s helped me in all sorts of ways, so this is perhaps a bit arrogant, but it has also occurred to me that perhaps Kierkegaard isn’t quite right.

I think there are also moments in life when something happens and you know, just absolutely know, that it will change you forever. And I think it’s also possible in those moments to catch a glimpse of the person you will become.

I experienced post-natal depression and there were times in the first months of my son’s life when I was closer to giving up on existence than I had ever been or have been since; like really close.

One night, probably around 2am, when he’d woken crying for about the fifth time, I snapped and decided that I had to take him back to the hospital and explain that I’d made a terrible mistake and would they please just take him off my hands.

I was out of bed and stumbling around looking for clothes and all the time I was thinking about what to pack for him, and mentally writing the note that I’d hand over to make sure “they” looked after him properly. I remember composing the bit about his favourite toy (he was about 5 weeks old) and how he liked particular songs to be sung to him … and as I was trying to remember the name of the girl band that sang “Kisses for Me” on the Song for Eurotrash album …. I knew I wasn’t going to give my son away.

Call it arrogance, but I knew in that moment a) no-one would ever look after my baby as well as me, and b) that I was going to be a good mother. I saw a future that was clear and defined and although not easy – it still isn’t 15 years later – it was my future.

Until that 2am epiphany, I’d tended to take the easy way out of things; to abandon projects that got too hard. But in my son,  I found a project I couldn’t walk away from.

Has it made me a better person? Probably not. I still waste time thinking of excuses for not doing things when I’d be better off just getting on with it. I do still walk away from things that I don’t think are worth the effort. But perhaps the difference is that now I know I CAN stick with something no matter how horrible and difficult and terrifying it is.

And since this is an earworm post; this is the version of “Kisses for Me” I used to sing to my howling infant. I loved the TV programme Eurotrash, and the album of Eurovision songs connected with it is an absolute mine of fabulosity.

Oh, and the band is called Kenickie.

This is a response to the Daily Post Prompt: Earworm

Others you might enjoy:

http://geekergosum.com/2013/07/10/earworm-que-sera-sera/

http://booksmusicandmovies.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/daily-prompt-inspiration/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/daily-prompt-earworm/

http://thepigmentsoflife.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/stimulus/

http://gettingridofboredom.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/the-way-i-am/

http://iwork4ajerk.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/picnicking-with-debby/

http://bluejbluej.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/daily-prompt-earworm-2/

http://thethingwiththestuff.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want-like-this-song-out-of-your-head/