I am now 22 weeks pregnant. A friend said that the fatigue one feels during pregnancy is as if you have been drugged or darted, like a rhino in a game park. During my first trimester, I wandered around in a dazed and foggy stupor and felt as if I would topple over any second. Now I have more energy and no longer constantly feel as if someone’s fired an arrow into my bum.
Spring is here! Hurrah! I love this time of year. It is light until late (my favourite part!) and everything is new, fresh and bursting to life. Spring comes with its minor stresses though. For the first time in my life, I have a little garden to maintain. It is growing and growing and we can’t keep up. There’s no respite and the garden is not even that big. Alastair mowed the lawn the other day and now we need to do it again.
I can spend the afternoon weeding and the next day, I will look out the window and a lone weed has popped up in the centre of the lawn overnight, complete with leaves and a yellow flower so it looks like a cherry on my lawn-cake. I want to start a veggie patch and a flowerbed but haven’t had a chance, what with all this weeding and mowing.
The problem is that this garden-related work is dependent on Alastair. I need him to cut thick branches, lift 10kg bags of soil, mow the lawn and chainsaw the hedge. Home maintenance requires a lot of man muscles.
Every weekend, I draw up a list of things we need to. Alastair can’t understand why my to-list contains so many things for him to do. ‘Stop nagging!’ he says and I explain that I am not nagging, I am project managing.
Weekends are full on at this time of year and there is no time to lie in or dilly-dally. One Saturday when Alastair was pruning the hedge with his electric saw, our French-speaking Swiss neighbour yelled over that we are not supposed to make any noise between 12h00 and 13h30 every day and no noise whatsoever on Sundays. This means we must do the most intensive garden work on Saturdays within the allocated hours. Saturdays are already manic as that is the time to buy garden supplies and weekly groceries because all shops are closed on Sundays. Saturdays are exhausting.
Megan is delightful. She knows about 10 English words and her crèche teacher says she understands French. She waves au revoir (“ov-va”) and says oui. Our cul-de-sac is full of kids who play hopscotch on the driveway and ride their bikes until late. Megan loves tagging around older children and she chases after their bikes like a happy puppy. One day there was a knock at the door and 8 year-old Louise from next-door asked if it would be ok if Megan came out to play. I hesitated, ‘Well, she is only 20 months old…’
I always imagined the sleepless nights and a child’s boundless energy would tire me most but I find that I am most drained by the culmination of small moments during the day when I have to assert my authority and enforce boundaries. Nappy changes and getting into the car are prime examples.
When I smell a dirty bum or see the full nappy hanging like a hammock between Megan’s legs, I dread the rigarmarole involved in changing it. Nappy changes take ten times longer than they should. Megan refuses to lie down and get it over with. I’ve abandoned her changing table because she prefers to stand on it and survey her surroundings below. If I change her on the floor, she hops up and dances round the house while I hold a fresh nappy in my hand and plead with her to return. I have to chase her, grab her and then pin her to the ground while I force it on.
I have noticed that she is limp and submissive when I change her on some sort of unfamiliar precipice such as on a rickety changing table in the shopping centre or in the car boot where her legs dangle off the sides. I need to simulate something like that at home.
I wonder if all children hate getting into car seats? It must have been easier in the 80’s when there were no security rules for kids and our parents chucked us in the back seat. Megan prefers to stand in her seat and when I force her in, she wails, knashes her teeth and stiffens her body so it is like bending a plank of wood. Once she’s in, I’m flustered and frazzled. She quietens down and then rips off her shoes and socks in protest. It’s the same procedure every time we get into the car, which makes even a quick journey down the road seem like coordinating a mission to Mars.
Alastair is participating in a competition with some of my extended family. It’s called The Biggest Loser and the aim is to see who can shed the most weight in 6 months. Al has lost 2kgs in 2 months. I am not sure whether that is good or bad but it has made him more disciplined food-wise and so I’m thrilled.
I couldn’t care less if I have a tubby hubby. What bothers me is that he has heart disease in his family, favours a carb diet, doesn’t exercise and has a reasonably stressful job and I suspect this combination is not good. I’ve tried everything to get him to change his ways with no success. I’ve trialled the blunt, direct approach – ‘YOU’RE FAT.’ I’ve tried subtle, gentle diplomacy such as, ‘Is it necessary for you to have grilled cheese on toast for breakfast? Can’t you eat cereal or muesli like everyone else?’ Then I changed tactics altogether and told him it turns me on when he displays self-control in his diet and eats a balanced meal. That got him listening, hence the 2kgs in 2 months.
So, life is busy but good. I still wish I had the self-discipline to write more blogs. I enjoy the process so much but all my down time is spent aimlessly and mindlessly trawling the internet, after which I generally feel unfulfilled, empty and guilty, as if I have just eaten McDonalds or watched porn. But that’s a whole other blog …