Tuesday, July 20, 2010


When I graduated from music theatre school and performed in the graduating showcase in front of a panel of New York’s busiest casting directors and agents, this is what one of them said to me; “great voice, fabulous acting, excellent dancing, pity about the nose.”
I tell you this not so you feel sorry for me, (at the tender age of thirty-one I’ve dealt with that by now) but because this week, as I type in fact, the baby is working on its nose. Growing cartilage the book tells me.                                          
I have a friend who has a gorgeous nose and she has so little cartilage she can squash it flat against her face. Not me. Mine is so cartilage-filled, robust you might say, that I’ve copped a few water polo balls in a direct hit and even managed to score a goal with my very own schnozz. So I’ve been talking to the peanut and telling it that if it knows what’s good for it, it will pick its father’s nose. I’ve got red hair and we’re all the rage at the moment, so it can pick my hair colour if it likes, but really, to avoid merciless teasing at school and the eternal fact that no sunglasses will ever look good on you, pick your father’s nose.
Wouldn’t that be funny if it worked that way – that your baby was in the uterus with a list of its parents body parts and sat there ticking off which ones it wanted…Don’t know what I was doing – I got it mixed up and picked my mother’s nose and my father’s tree trunk thighs instead of the other way around. 
If I could pick for the peanut I might do something like this; either of our eyes, we both have blue ones but one of Gregory’s has a green section in it, which might be cool. We both have big legs, so either way it's sunk on that one. If it’s a girl I’d go for my upper body, but if it’s a boy, pick Gregory’s for sure. He’s quite ‘ropy’ after some fifteen odd years spent lugging things about a kitchen. Skip both of us and go straight to the uncle or grandfather genes for money-savvy-ness and general interest in fiscal matters. Patience from the grandmother’s, I’d go for my hands over Gregory’s if you’re inclined to play the piano – his are like meat hooks, but there’s not much we can do about skin colour. The baby is destined to be pale and freckly and spend its summers doused in buckets of 400 plus sunscreen and having me screech at it to get out of the sun in the middle of the day.  
All in all, I guess it’s not too bad a gene pool, although that’s what everyone thinks – that we’re all so great we should reproduce and leave the world a little bit better because a part of us is still walking the earth – but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Whatever we get, we’ll love it regardless. How can we not? We’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Here is a list (in no particular order) of the things I plan to do once the baby comes…
1               Do our wedding album
2               Stitch the rip on the leather couch we now own after my father salvaged it from a friend who was throwing it away.
3               Print off and file the photos from our road trip across America last year.
4               Bake.  And yes, I recognise this must be a ‘nesting instinct,’ given that I spent seven years in New York existing on scrambled eggs, tinned tuna and cereal. But I quite fancy myself enjoying a delicious breakfast of fresh baked bread dressed with honey straight from the bee keeper accompanied by a steaming cup of decaf tea.
5               Apply to do my phD in creative writing (a perfect compliment to my employ-ably useless degree in Musical Theatre).
6               Train for the 2010 marathon after this year’s abandoned attempt.
7               Finish the play I’m writing.
8               Throw myself into Christmas celebrations, (making goodies and decorations, hosting parties and sipping eggnog), as it is my first one home since 2001.
9               Find us a new place to live.
10            Fix my great grandmother’s costume jewelry and wear it out to fancy balls and galas.
Right now I can hear all you parents snorting with laughter and rolling your eyes at my wide-eyed baby naivety. And I know you’re right, I’ll be so busy I won’t know which end of my baby is up, but I am really still labouring under this misassumption that surely one activity (ie the baby) has to be less time consuming than the fourteen thousand I’m currently juggling. AND, after six weeks it’s rumoured the hormones stabilise, so maybe I’ll get my mind back which means I won’t forget everything I say and do right in the middle of saying and doing it, and will be able to multi-task with my usual deftness and agility. Watch me bake lasagna from scratch while breastfeeding my newborn!!
I realise these ambitions are high, and while I’ve been advised by many friends to lower my expectations, I figure, once a dreamer, always a dreamer. Doesn’t seem any crazier than when I moved to New York to pursue a career in musical theatre. Now there’s crazy for you. Zipped up tightly in a bag filled with passion and idealism!
But for now, having had toast for breakfast and eggs for lunch, I’ll settle for tuna in front of the news for dinner and accomplishing just one of the tasks I promised myself I’d finish today. Baby steps right? Pardon the pun. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yesterday I had rehearsals from 11am until 4.30pm.  I haven’t sung for that long in quite some time and it was absolutely fabulous.  I love being creative, being part of a team and making something new and beautiful. When you actually get to do it, it makes all the struggle and strife of a career in theatre fade into insignificance. What’s interesting is how my body is coping with my different shape. Singing is always a bit of an ab workout, but now that my abs are somewhat distended (arguably constantly working out) it was the very top of my stomach, just under my breasts where I really felt it. Today I feel like I went through one of those exhausting crying fits my mother had to endure in me as a child. I don’t know if it’s the Scorpio or the redhead in me, but I can be very passionate about things, to a level that on all honesty, far outweighs the circumstance. And yes, I have acknowledged that as our child is due right in Scorpio time and there is a reasonably high probability it will have red hair, I could be in for a dose of my own medicine…
Attached is a flyer for one of the shows I’m doing. The second is my own show, for two nights only on the 27th and 28th of August. So if you’re in Sydney, keep the dates free, I’d love to see you there. Details and flyer to come…

Friday, July 9, 2010


According to my pregnancy book, at twenty weeks gestation the peanut is now legally considered a human.  And to celebrate, it decided to kick last night when its father was actually home to feel it! Everyone said that come five months I would suddenly start to show and I've attached a picture so you can see, that that is exactly what's happened.  This is a short one blogees, as I have (as usual) massively over-commited myself and am wasting precious time, trying to work out how I can escape...I know I'm going to be ridiculously busy and overwhelmed once the peanut is a human that is not inside me anymore, but honestly, at least then I'll only be focused on one thing.
Stand by for updates.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I did it.  I went up to a total stranger and asked her about her pram.  My mother always says it’s easier to do things for your children than it is for yourself and she’s right.  I was upfront; “excuse me, I’m so sorry to stop you but I’m five months pregnant and wanted to ask about your pram.”  That way they don’t think they’re being stopped by a sweaty, puffing weirdo (I had just attempted my first run in over a week) but rather a sweaty, puffing mother-to-be, which puts you in a different category entirely.
She was very helpful and kind and I dashed home to write down her words of wisdom.  This after yesterday, where I rang Gregory to inform him I had diagnosed myself with peanut induced mild depression.  I had spent the day moping about, doing unsatisfying work (actually it really wasn’t too bad, I was just in a bad head space) blowing my nose, (my snot supply is slowly drying up) nursing yet another hormone headache and lugging our wet laundry up the road as it was – yet again – raining in fair Sydney, a characteristic I do not recall from eight years ago. 
“I think I’ve got a bit of depression,” I say to him, like I caught it like I did my cold.
“Or maybe you’re just hormotional,” he replies, having coined the word (a combination of hormonal and emotional) late the other night.  “You are growing a human after all.”
I felt much better after that and even managed a walk in the dark.  But when today dawned dark and gloomy again, I began to doubt Gregory’s prognosis and believe more strongly in my own.  And then, a few hours later, the sun struggled to burst through the clouds, and just like a dog that’s been locked inside, I scurried my five-month pregnant self out the front door and set out on a prego lady run.  (Prego lady runs mean you spend the entire 7 k’s reminding yourself of what you learned in pelvic floor class – you don’t really need to wee, it’s just the extra pressure on your bladder making your brain believe that, and stopping when you are puffed because they scare you into thinking that if you don’t you could oxygen deprive your baby).  
 Regardless, I felt better.  Much better.  There is nothing like a run and then a good, long, non-drought approved length shower and a wash of the hair to lift your spirits.  Trust me, it’s been working for me for years.  So perhaps it’s not peanut-depression after all.  It’s meteorological depression instead.  Bring on the spring.

Monday, July 5, 2010


My girlfriend, and full time working mother of two sent me this.  Which is a bit mean really.  It's not like I can back out now.  It's also concerning that I seem to function in life with a mild level of internal hysteria and outward slight to extreme franticness anyway.  But according to this, things are about to get a whole lot worse...
I am going to contemplate this coming existence on a walk (not running too much these days people) in the dark, on my way to pick up the laundry I lugged up the street as it is raining again in Sydney and we don't have a dryer.  If I think too hard about this fact, it reinforces Gregory's argument for disposable nappies.


Test 1 - Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy:-
1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
2. Leave it there.
3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men: To prepare for children:-
1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself
2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2 - Knowledge

Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior.

Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3 - Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:
1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 - 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.
2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.
4. Set the alarm for 3am.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.
6. Go to bed at 2.45am.
7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.
9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.
10. Make breakfast.

Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.

Test 4 - Dressing Small Children

1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hang out.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5 - Cars

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.
2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
4. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.
5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6 - Going For a Walk

Go out the front door
Come back in again
Go out
Come back in again
Go out again
Walk down the front path
Walk back up it
Walk down it again
Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.
Retrace your steps
Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.
Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7
Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8 - Grocery Shopping

1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.
2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Test 9 - Feeding a 1 year-old

1. Hollow out a melon
2. Make a small hole in the side
3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane.
5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.
6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.

Test 10 - TV

1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies and Disney.
2. Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.

Test 11 - Mess
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out:

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?
4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor & leave it there.

Test 12 - Long Trips with Toddlers

1. Make a recording of someone shouting 'Mummy' repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.
2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13 - Conversations

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above.

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14 - Getting ready for work

1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
2. Put on your finest work attire.
3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it
4. Stir
5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
8. Do not change (you have no time).
9. Go directly to work

You are now ready to have children. 

Friday, July 2, 2010


Read this and weep people.  My girlfriend in Germany is due to have her first baby in six weeks time and is already sitting in the sun, watching Germany kick everyone’s arses in the world cup and enjoying her fully paid maternity leave.  I don’t know how long she gets once the baby arrives, I didn’t want to ask! 
Now, I know from having lived in the states, that maternity leave ain’t great over there, but then I come home and (never having paid any attention to it before) have discovered it ain’t much better here.  Which prompted an internet search and although it’s a study from 2001, it was the only thing I could find.  Check it out.  Australia looks rather pathetic.  I know fixing maternity leave was on the agenda with the previous Prime Minister, but I think our new PM is busy fighting the miners and re-establishing our environmental position, babies is probably a little down the track.
Now, I’ve never had a real job where you accrue days in lieu, or where sick leave doesn’t mean ‘sure you can take your day off, I’ll readjust your pay.’  And as for bonuses, they seem like monopoly money to me, so not getting maternity leave doesn’t faze me in the slightest.  But what about you people with real jobs?  Did the baby bonus help you out?  Did you plan and budget your babies around your income?  Gregory and I didn’t.  We figured we’ve found a way to make things work so far, and the peanut won’t know our financial status for a few years at least.  Money is so boring.  I hate that we have to think about it, particularly at a time that really should be filled with baby bonnets and cute white booties, not the banal realities of everyday life.
Based on that list, if I could have my baby anywhere, I may be tempted to pick Norway.  So long as it was the summer.  How ‘bout you?
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