Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Life Lately...

I am really terrible at blogging regularly. I could never be one of those people who posts every day, or has a weekly schedule, I just don't have a) the commitment or b) enough to say. But things have been busy, and I've had other priorities, so the blogging falls by the wayside a bit, and when I come back I have TONS to say (cannot vouch for how interesting it is though...)

I am now 26+4 weeks pregnant. Depending on who you ask, I either have 3 days or 1 week and 3 days left of my second trimester (WHY can't these people just agree?!) and according to 'What to expect when you are expecting' Little Kick is now 15 inches long, which explains why she can simultaneously bosh me in the hip bone (particularly unpleasant, and her aim of choice) and the top of my stomach. At times we've seen the little lump of a foot appear sticking out, or the long line of a spine as she pushes as far to the side as she can. I've gotten used to it, and I mostly love to feel her in there, but at times it is still really uncomfortable, and it still makes me feel guilty to say that.

I *think* she has a name, but we don't call her by it yet. It seems somehow unlucky, or maybe just plain strange to use it, as if somehow it's sacred and special. We've told no one. Every so often we say 'Does she have a name?' and either me or husband replies "Yeah, I really like it, I can't think of anything else." And that's the end of the conversation; no more debate or reading Nameberry or worrying about it. That is just what she will be called. Just not yet. Part of the reason I think it's probably the right one is that I can't remember which one of us suggested it. I do know we were sitting at the bar of our local, watching baseball, husband with his beer and me with my Lemonade. One of mentioned it, we both liked it, we talked about the spelling for a few minutes, then went back to the Dodgers. It was so low-key, it had to be perfect. It's almost exactly the same way we decided to get married, or move to Los Angeles. Quiet, vaguely considered and drama-free.

I feel a bit like I have been pregnant forever. The bump slowly grows and grows, the monthly OB appointments pass one after another with little fanfare or excitement, and the doctor smiles and says "You're doing brilliantly. This is all going to be fine" and I feel so good and so... normal that I fully believe her. In some ways I'm a little afraid to rock the boat, but our ante-natal classes start next week, and with them comes hospital tours, paediatrican appointments and breastfeeding classes (which make a lot more sense now I wake up to leaking boobs most mornings. Gross, but oddly reassuring.) All things that people who are really, truly having a baby do. 

We started talking delivery with the doctor this week. We have a very rough plan (stay at home as long as we can, eat as much as we can, then head to the hospital. Epidural at 4-6cm dilated) which is of course subject to an absolute butt-ton of change. I want the room to be bright and filled with music and noise, I think. But I always want every room ever to be bright and filled with music and noise, so this isn't really a labour plan so much as a life one.

In much bigger, more dramatic news, we have a new house (well, apartment- Americans are always oddly specific about these things. In the UK I take house to mean both the concrete, literal interpretation and the more abstract 'place where you live.') This place is a University owned apartment, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a big living room and bigger-than-we-have kitchen. It has come at exactly the right time as I get to move before delivery is immanent, which would have worried me a bit, and I still have just enough energy to put our possessions in boxes. (At this point I would like to give a shout-out to my hero friend Fiona, who just moved to Australia from Scotland despite being extremely pregnant. She is my house-moving hero.) Also, there will be somewhere for my mummy to sleep when she comes over, which I was really worried about since she has arthritis and needs somewhere comfy to sleep. We move in about 3 weeks, and I am really looking forward to it. I can't wait to create an actual nursery for Kick to sleep in, a proper babies' room rather than shoving her in a corner of our only bedroom. It will make things easier when husband has to get some sleep before work and I need to be up in the middle of the night. Most importantly, our monthly bills are about to go down by a couple of hundred dollars per month, which is good since that gap will be filled with nappies and clothes and other things Kick needs. 

Speaking of things Kick needs, I've recently started my most ambitious sewing project to date. I'm making an activity gym for her. It involves a whole lot of fabric, flexible plastic tubing and a lot of padding. It has different textures and toys, a mirror and whole LOT of other fancy bits I can't believe I've managed to make. I've been doing a lot of sewing recently (two baby showers this past Sunday...) and now have a few things I'm excited to get making. I still want to do one of my cheater's quilts for Kick- I made one for Just Me's baby boy (Going to put a side note in here about how awesome it is to have a fellow preggo friend in LA. Hanging out with/texting/facebooking with her has literally made all the difference to having a big massive life-changing event with all my friends and family so far away) but I think I want to do one for Kick too, since they are the perfect thick-ish blanket for winter in SoCal- not that thick but warm enough for outdoors. Plus they are pretty small and I can make them in the most awesome fabrics. I also made a load of burp cloths to give as wee gifts for husband's colleague, and since I read all over the place that pre-fold cloth nappies make the best burp cloths (this is what Americans use for baby sick instead of muslins- still struggling to get my head round the idea of a muslin-free newborn...) so I used them as a base but made them thicker with a cool printed fabric. I used this as a basis, and they were so easy I plan on making approximately 1000 for Kick.

This has ended up being a pregnancy update more than anything else- sorry about that! Un-baby related activities include listening to this a whole lot, reading Wallender crime books, and finally watching Broadchurch (if you are in the US, you MUST watch it. The whole thing is on-demand if you have one of the main cable/satellite providers.)

And now I have to go and do laundry, or 'the washing' as we call it in Scotland, distinctive from 'washing-up', which is what you do to your dishes. The glamour never ends...

Sunday, 4 August 2013

On Childhood

I've been thinking a lot about childhood. This is probably not a huge leap to make, given that I now am in charge of giving one to someone else, but it's taken me by surprise. I had the kind of British childhood people that is much idolised and written about- no money, but lots of fun. Caravan holidays, books in abundance, Sunday afternoon board games and lots and lots of loud music. 

I desperately want our girl to have the same kind of childhood I had (we have no money, so we're halfway there...) but obviously as long as we are here in California it's going to be different. Instead of Kirby on the street and roller boots in the garden, it'll be the park and the beach. Instead of the local leisure centre, it'll be swimming in the apartment pool or the Ocean. She won't have cousins (and second and third cousins...) nearby for the kind of family BBQs that run on til after midnight. She won't go to church ceilidhs where her parents friends will teach her the steps by letting her dance on their feet. The constant sunshine will create totally different memories than mine: of walking to school in the driving rain, rare but magnificent snow days, miserable drizzle as you go shopping, howling wind through attic bedrooms as she listens to the Top 40 on the radio... you get the picture.

Some of these changes are good. There are more we plan on adding- after all, the best thing about having your own kids is fulfilling all the things you wish you could have done as a child. We love camping- I hope that will be a big part of Little Kick's life. We will always have pets- Joanie is a massive part of our family life, and I can't imagine not having furry little friends in the house. We also both love sport, and go to a lot of Dodgers games (because tickets are cheap, let's face it...) and we will almost certainly continue that with Kick. And I'll keep up some of the things my family did with us- discussing world news at the dinner table and expecting us to have an opinion (even if you are 4 years old,) after school trips to the library, hand made costumes for fancy dress parties. My grandad would make us figure out long words for ourselves by working out the latin root; it works- I still do it. She'll have to get good at general knowledge or my aunts will never pick her to be on their quiz team on Christmas day.

I'm sure my parents and sibings will be happy to ensure Kick has a lot of these experiences. She'll have long summers in the UK, ideally in a Caravan in North Yorkshire, games of Scrabble and Boggle where no one goes easy on her because that way she'll learn. There will be Motown and ABBA classics belting out the car stereo, old episodes of Poirot on TV and lots and lots of stories.  

It's easy to get nostalgic about the kind of experiences you had, and I am almost certainly doing it right now. At the end of the day, the world has moved on, and husband and I don't spend our evenings the way our parents did- too many laptops and kindles and phones to be played with- none of which existed when I was growing up (my husband's first mobile phone took double A batteries. Seriously.) Lord knows what kind of kit Little Kick will have at her disposal that is better than talking to her boring old parents... 

What bits of your childhood do you want to preserve? Anything you really want to make sure your kids don't do? (I'm looking at you, Saturday afternoon garden centre trips...) I'm so interested to hear the traditions other people have- I may have to borrow them...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Home alone...

Well, I am officially alone in a city where I don't really know anyone. Husband is in Indianapolis for work until Wednesday night. Friends, who have been here since last Wednesday are in San Diego for the final leg of their road trip down the coast left at the same time as husband. It's totally embarrassing to admit but I cried when they all left (obviously not in front of anyone, except the cat.) 

It is just me, Joan and Little Kick for the next few days. It's weird. It's weird for a ton of reasons, but mostly because I seem to have completely tricked myself in some strange way. My husband has always travelled a lot for work. I've rarely been able to go with him due to work (and because honestly, it's his thing, not mine) so I've often been home alone. I was talking to a friend and mentioned how much I used to enjoy being home alone. The more I thought on this, though, the more I realised it was utter bollocks. I have NEVER enjoyed being at home whilst he's been away. I always felt full of self pity, lamenting that if I died no one would notice and I might get eaten by Alsatians. I ate only junk food, spent too long on the internet and generally was a wallowing mess of self pity. I never enjoyed it. That is a straight-up lie. 

This time, I feel a bit more vulnerable than usual. Being pregnant adds a certain degree of panic, I think. Add to that the fact I got impressively sunburnt at the beach yesterday (my first time being burnt across the board, rather than the odd little patch. *sigh*) so I am hot and uncomfortable. That being said, I am definitely dealing with it better than husband, who has been gone 6 hours and has called 3 times (this might be airport boredom though...)  

Ah well, it's not like I have nothing to do. I definitely need to do some cleaning and tidying- four people in a one bedroom apartment for 4 days leads to CHAOS. I also want to do some internet shopping (sorry husband...) and I have baby blankets to sew and baseball games to watch and 3 extra volunteering shifts to do. Time will fly before I know it. I have my girls to keep me company, and really, I can list 3 or 4 people I can call if there is some sort of emergency that I need some support for. Woe is not really me, I just need to get off the sofa!