Friday, May 17, 2013

The post I'm sure I'll edit later.

The desire for a third child comes not so much from felling that would be an optimal number- far from it, in fact. Two is easy, manageable, 3 makes an uneven number, harder to cater for, harder to house- all of that.

No, if I'm honest it's because I want the sweetness of pregnancy

But mostly, because I want my time with Patrick as a baby over again. I want to atone for my sins committed during his babyhood (I'm using a metaphor here, don't worry). I want to find again the joy of Ollie's birth and puerperium.

I don't love either boy any less, but my love for Patrick is tinged with sadness and regret.

I love him all the more fiercely for his awkwardness, his number 4 haircut which really doesn't suit him but he loves, his prominent ears, the scar on his cheek. But there is guilt there too.

Do I associate his babyhood with guilt, or is it a conditioned, ingrained reaction to this baby? Will I ever be able to love him freely, without guilt, without shame at the terrible way I couldn't love him when he was born, the way I resented him, wanted to shake him, punched the bed next to where he was laying? The poor babe must have been scared, confused, torn between this mother who cried and yelled at him, yet gave him the warmth and milk of her body.

Does his anxiety now result from that? A baby who wasn't sure whether his mother would smile and coo or wail and rock with her hands on her ears whilst he screamed for... something... something... . Does he inherently not trust anything in the world because for the first few months of his life he lacked the security and comfort of a mother who cared?

People tell me he's just an anxious kid, highly strung, sensitive. And I get that. I, too, am anxious, highly strung, sensitive. Where does the innate tendency stop and the learned behaviour begin? I've had him gently assessed at school, and they could find nothing wrong, just a driven, intellegent kid who wants to get everything right the first time. So does my worry and expectations and concern that I have done something to harm him psychologically as a baby then nurture him to be what I expect, but also dread him to be?

Oliver- well it's different. He was smiling on the very first day, and he hasn't stopped. He was easy to feed, easy to comfort, sweet and dimpled. He faced novelty with surprise and interest, not fear. He has grown into a happy, confident and headstrong boy. He is universally acknowledged to be 'a cutie' with his curls and big brown eyes, and doggie tucked under his dominant left arm.I'm sure I get an oxytocin surge when I see his ears waggle as he drinks through a straw. It feels like only yesterday the midwife told me to look for waggling ears. I've never felt that with Patrick.

Will I ever be able to love him freely, without guilt, as I do Ollie?

Friday, May 10, 2013

HELLO! (*hello ello ello ello*) cAN ANYONE HEAR ME?

oh boy but it's quiet here. I haven't blogged for over two years.

I have stuff to say, but I'm not going to say it on facebook.

It's coming. I know, two years between posts, it's going to take awhile.

No, really. Stuff to say. (I can hear you panting in anticipation). Please breathe. It is over-rated, but generally good for you. And that is my professional opinion. Yes, you may quote me on that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Language is a Virus That Comes From Outer Space

Of all the developmental stages the development of language is one of the most fascinating, I think.

This little person who has been relying on us to pick up his cues now has the ability to direct us to pretty much exactly what he wants. Oliver is undergoing a language explosion currently: I noted last evening between 6 and 8pm he picked up two entirely new words ("pop" as in his grandfather, and "thunder" (thunna) as in the meteorological phenomenon). If I stopped to count he probably has several more every day.

Up to about two weeks ago he was only using single words. For example he would point at Ernie's tail and say either "Long!" or "Tail!", but never the two together. But then at dinner one night we could hear a bird squawking loudly in the back yard (I think it was a cockatoo). "Noisy!" He said

"Yes," I say "It's a noisy bird, isn't it."

-click, whirr, clunk-

"Noisy. Bird. Noisy. Bird"... "Noisy, bird. Noisy, bird."

Now pretty much everything he says has a modifier of some sort- eg "Up bird" was a bird he saw on top of a house, and he loves his "rainboo pants" (a pair of rainbow-striped leggings I bought on impulse).  He also comes out with some pretty complete sentences- as in subject object verb. A week or so ago he led (at different occasions) both MrT and I out of the house (holding our fingers) saying "Catch train?". Two nights ago as I zipped up his Grobag he said "Bye bye feet" and then in the morning "Fank- oo bag". "Ope(n) diss" is a command he repeats with alarming regularity (toy boxes, peanut butter jar, pencil boxes).

There are a few words that he uses that I'm pretty sure weren't in his big brother's vocab at a similar age. Things like  "MINE!" and "turn" (as in, I want my ~), and "Soww-ee" (Sorry). He also has Ollie-isms, like "Yup" for yes, "No-way!" when a plain old "No" would do. He says Pleas and Fank-oo beautifully, as well as "Oh dear" and "Whoops" like a pro.

And he sings. It's gorgeous:
"Tinkle star, tinkle star
Howwai wonda wa- aa- aar
Appa buvva worl-la eye
La la dii-man dinna sy
Tinkle star, tinkle star"

Tinkle star. From now on, for me, stars tinkle, not twinkle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Fucking exam is doing my head in.

It's like this:

To be an anaesthesiologist (or an anaesthetist as we say in Aus) the mandatory training consists of

1. Medical School (somewhere between 5 and 7 years depending on where you do your degree)
then as a "qualified doctor"-
2. Internship
3. One year (at least) of residency
4,5. Two years as a Basic Trainee of Anaesthesia
during which you have to pass the "primary exam"
6,7.Then two years as an "advanced trainee"
8. the "final exam"
9. One year as a provisional fellow

and at some point complete a research project (10.)

I'm just about to undertake step 8. If I'm successful, I'll then have to do the fellow year (9) and do some research project (10).

To say I'm not feeling very confident would be a MASSIVE understatement. I have been studying for a long time but a) nothing seems to stay in my head (I have an incontinent intellect that leaks, it would seem) and b) it seems that much of my effort has been a little misguided- instead of studying the topics related to my everyday practice as I was, I should have been doing the old exam papers.

My study group consists of five women from my hospital who are all in approximately the same stage of training as me, but have not taken off huge swathes of time to, you know, have children. Only one other is married (and she is married to an already certified anaesthetist),  and she has no children. The others are all in their early 30s and have no commitments apart from themselves and their job. It has been incredibly hard to watch them all improve their knowledge at the rate of knots over the last 3 months whilst I am left behind. At the start I was at least on par with probably all but two- ie in the middle of the group knowledge-wise, but now I'm just so far behind ...

I am seriously considering pulling out. I don't get any of my $4600 back, but I couldn't face the humiliation of being the only one in the group to fail. People keep telling me I have nothing to lose by just sitting anyway, but there is a massive massive blow to the ego and intellect when you fail at something you have tried very hard to do, even though you know you were borderline to begin with. What looks worse? A non-starter or a loser?

I'm also concerned that if I do fail, I will have to spend another 6 months in this type of intensive study where I don't get to see the kids, don't get to do anything else in my spare time but sit here in this fucking room pushing pieces of paper all over my desk and eating myself to an early grave. It is a huge stress on MrT and the boys- it breaks my heart when they come to the door and literally wail "Mummy! Please PLEASE come and play with me! PLEASE!". Patrick is convinced I don't love him anymore because I need to study more than I need to spend time with him. Friday has been our day together, but I haven't been able to do it because of this stupid thing, and it is killing me.

So, please. On Friday the 25th March and Saturday the 26th would you all send some smart thoughts my way, or pray for me, or whatever you feel. Because I need all the help I can get to get my life (such as it was) back.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Not so much news as just wasting time at the computer

Well I checked and Mum and Dad flew up with about 2 hours' notice. God bless them. THEY care about their grandsons.

I think my M-I-L is still pissed off at me for blowing up at her over Christmas, and I can't say I really blame her for being annoyed at me. But don't do it at your grandchildren's expense, lady. I'm not going to let you play that game. If she comes here and totally ignores me I couldn't be happier, really. But don't give me the "I can't see my grandsons because my D-I-L is a bitch" crap. Grow some balls. (Or ovaries. Something.). Build a bridge, get over it. I don't really care, but don't let ME be the excuse for never seeing them when it is your own laziness, bee-yatch.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More NSF...FB

I am just speechless that Patrick's birthday is so inconsequential to his grandmother she can't be bothered coming to his birthday party.

OK, I'll admit, it IS a two hour drive each way. Or a two hour sit on the train.

But, seriously. When she normally lives six hours away, and is housesitting two hours away, with NOTHING better to do all day, she won't make the effort?

And we could really use a hand. Really. My grown up friends are all out of town at the moment, so it will be just me and MrT, and 18 sugar-crazed kids.

Patrick will be really disappointed. Really REALLY disappointed.

I get so annoyed because she's always griping about how she never gets to see him, how we won't come and visit them (did I mention its a 6 hour drive? with two small children?) but being retired she is just too busy with her USELESS INCONSEQUENTIAL LIFE to return the favour. Any time she likes. And she wanted US to go to sydney for Patrick's birthday so she could see him. Never mind his 17 excited friends who want to come to his party. Or the fact that Patrick wants to have a party for his birthday. No, he can come HERE and see ME.

And I won't even START on Patrick's single, child-free aunt who lives not two suburbs away from where said grandmother is housesitting, who is again too busy to help her mother come visit said grandchild, or give her big brother a hand with the party. Too busy 'cos she's got beach-going to do.

I am about to log off and check air fares from Hobart to see if my mum can fly up for the weekend. I'm so FUCKING SICK AND TIRED of my in-laws attitude. Whingeing and moaning about what we won't do for them, but too busy the one time of the year we could do with help. They are so self-centred. I've said to MrT before that it seems like a great family to be IN, but not a great family to be out of. Well, now it seems that the grandchildren are also too inconsequential to be included.

FUCK THEM. Fuck them all. Next time I get a request for a prescription (which I normally send express post) I'm going to tell them I'm too busy.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Be kind to nerds

To say that I didn't really enjoy my high school very much is a little bit of an understatement. Most of the time I felt very alone, very much an outsider. It would be wrong of me to say I didn't have any friends, because I did- the other girls who didn't fit in. I'd love to think that made us a little band of renegades, but it didn't. In fact, my two friends barely tolerated each other, as they only really had me in common. It was one of those 'lowest common denominator' Catholic schools, which my parents decided as a relatively new co-ed school was the best option in my town. My Dad, in particular, didn't think the school could do any wrong. I understand that -now- as Dad had been in the first intake of a new school in Melbourne where he grew up, and that school now is certainly fairly prestigious. Sadly, for my school, I don't think 'Prestige' is a word that will ever be tagged to it.

Both of my friends decided to leave after year 10- Renee to go to a state HSC college and then to Uni where she studied pure maths and the sciences, going on to score herself a PhD, and Susan to go to TAFE (not their real names). Susan in particular was let down by my high school: she went on, after a hiatus of working in low paid jobs, to score herself an Honours Degree in Fine Arts. In fact, she managed to sell one of her paintings to the dean of the arts school- not a small achievement. However, at our high school was in the ultra-low achiever class, and was forced to take the "life skills" type courses offered to the 'integrated' students. As her later achievements show, she is NOT at ALL of borderline intellect, as our school had her pegged.

By that time I had decided on a career in Medicine. Ironically it was one of the teachers at that school who had spurred me to it: I had dreams of becoming a Veterinarian, but he berated me for wasting my intellect on animals instead of helping the human race. He was an odd sort of fellow- a Maths teacher with a penchant for being 'matey' with the popular students. In fact he once threw a party to which all the cool kids were invited, and it went down as being the most legendary party of our high school life. Needless to say I wasn't invited. He didn't like me, and the feeling was mutual. In his maths class he would ignore and then ridicule me. I was also in an english class he taught, and although I scored very well, I was never asked to do any of the things the cool kids were- like acting out scenes from the books. Maybe he thought I didn't need any help with my work, so he ignored me. I remember him being very taken with the film "Dead Poets Society" and he wanted to emulate Robin Williams' character. Instead he came over as an overbearing suckhole. But being a good girl, a studious student, I put up with his berating, and believed it must mean I was rather dull when he berated me. In retrospect, maybe he had been jealous of my obvious ambition. Maybe I reminded him of the smart kids at his school who had belittled him. In any case, he was responsible for my ambition to study medicine, and I suppose I have to be kinda grateful for that, although I always wonder what my life would have turned out like if I had gone to Melbourne to do Vet Science. In an alternate universe, how would've I turned out? Hmmm, guess I'll never know.

Where was I going with this? Oh, now I remember.

All this serves to make a fair number of my "friends" on facebook rather risible. Most of the time they are 'friends' who have requested my friendship, rather than the other way around. Certainly there are a few 'friend requests' that I have ignored with pleasure- people who would never have acknowledged my prescence other than to tease or bully me. A few have admitted in later years they would have liked to be my friend at school, but that I didn't ever seem interested. Others said that they were intimidated by me, as I was never backward in speaking my mind in class, or offering an opinion. I guess that goes some of the way to explaining why I was often elected to the SRC, as all the other members just seemed to be elected because they were popular kids.

The school I changed to in my years 11 and 12 (the old Tasmanian HSC was two, rather than one year- a bloody good idea, I thought, because if you fucked around in year 11 you had another year to pull it together and hopefully matriculate). My new school could hardly be more different. I was instantly popular. A few girls remembered me from Primary school (I've earlier blogged about my prosopagnosia), and within only a year of being there, I was elected to Prefect. In fact, the popular rumour was that I was elected head prefect, but the teachers utilised their power of veto as I'd only attended the school one year, and thus didn't really know all the traditions. In any case, I really enjoyed my two years there, and if people ever ask me which school I attended in Hobart, I will nominate this as 'my' school, as it was the one I both chose and felt most at home in, despite having attended the other one for 6 years (including 2 years of primary school).

Where I was really going with this is to say that I often wonder which of the people I now work with would have been the few that were my friends in High School, and which ones would not have given me the time of day. And now, whose kids is Patrick making friends with? Sometimes when we're at a party, or even the park, I'll strike up a conversation with another mother, and it becomes clear to me that the woman I'm talking to has never felt lonely or shy. Has never walked into a classroom and found only one desk available- the one right at the front or next to the smelly kid. Has never struggled to make friends. Becasue when it comes down to it, I'm still that lonely shy kid who can't figure out why no-one talks to her.

I learned early on in my career that responding to "So what do you do?" with the honest answer "Oh, I'm a Doctor" made for either crickets or a breathy "Ohh, riiight". Followed by more crickets. It's like saying "Oh, I'm a nerd". I don't really understand why people find it so confronting. I'm just a person, after all.