Saturday 24 May 2014
May is a time of reminiscence for me, again. Two years ago, I was in the final days of preparing my PhD thesis. Last year, I was in the thick of first trimester pregnancy symptoms, wanting to sleep 16 hours a day and eat about half a meal total. I have been reminded of it pretty strongly the last few days. On Thursday I needed to nap from 4 until 6 in the afternoon.
It’s another hot May, even more so than last year. Two years ago, the leaves had well and truly turned in my street by this time, this year they’re just partly yellowing. The temperatures are more like early March than late May. It might be that we can do a last beach day of the season after all.
Andrew went to California at the start of April, which went fairly easily other than me needing to spend a day sick in bed a few days before he came back. Even the assured magic of Pixar makes V tough on days like that. I also went to two doctors and drove my children all the way out to my parents’ place and all the way back, squished into less than 48 hours by doctors appointments and one way in the rain. Not ideal. I’d usually want to have three days before facing a solo drive back. It’s lovely to have gone out there after some OK rain though. In summer everything was the same sickly yellow colour for hundreds of kilometres around.
Once Andrew came back, I celebrated my birthday by having a small benign skin growth taken off my scalp by a ludicrously expensive dermatologist (I think there are few alternatives in that speciality), a souvenir of pregnancy apparently. (I have another such growth, but amusingly, because it’s bigger she recommended keeping it, since removal would scar and require wound care and such.) And A vomited all over me in the very expensive and spacious waiting room and at a dermatologist there are no towels and wipes and such. Happy birthday.
The day after was the first anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with A. With V I’d had a couple of months of disappointment and so had stopped pregnancy testing and didn’t test until I was about five weeks pregnant. That test was positive gratifyingly quickly. With A, I wanted to know so as to get my private midwifery care. So I tested as early as I could, sighed in disappointment, wandered off, and then did an obligatory peek at the end of the testing time window and then had to go upstairs to Andrew to see if he agreed I was pregnant. It was a family affair.
It was even more so a whole week later when V came to me with his eyes all squished up as if he was doing something naughty and said “Mama, do you have a baby?”
“Where would I have a baby?” I asked him.
“In your tummy.”
Well, yeah. I never did find out why he’d asked out of nowhere, whether he’d overheard something or if a classmate had just got a sibling. The lives of three year olds are mysterious.
Andrew had been back less than a week when we piled into a car to spend Easter in Canberra. It went well overall. I think of Canberra as a concentrated home of stuff that’s fun for children. I’ve never been in such bad traffic in my life as we were on the way down, so we got off the Hume at Campbelltown and had a nice, low traffic, tour of some of the Southern Highlands before rejoining the highway. I only lived in Goulburn for a couple of years as a child, but it was at an impressionable age clearly, because whenever I’m down there I react with “rocks! hill! lush grass! mist! home!”
I went back to work after the Easter-ANZAC Day week of holidays. So far I’m working two days a week, the plan is to increase to three from July (I already have three days of childcare for A), and perhaps to four once V starts kindergarten in 2015. (At first glance this seems unfair to A, since I’ve been three days a week so much raising V, but he had to live through my PhD finishing and business founding.) I am really going to miss my do-anything Monday that I have at present. I could add a day of childcare each time, but then I’d miss be-with-the-children day instead. I think an eight day week would really suit me. I’d work four, I’d have a me-day, I’d have a me-and-kids day, and I’d have a two day weekend.
V in kindergarten this coming year is just… alarming. I remember feeling rather stagnant when I realised my PhD supervisor’s daughter had gone from being a tiny baby at my enrolment to being in Year 1 and I was still slowly chipping away at the thing. What had I accomplished in that six years that even began to approach what she had? This rather self-indulgent line of thought isn’t too applicable to the time since V was born, because we’ve moved, Andrew and I have both got new jobs, we’ve travelled a lot, we’ve faced multiple hospitalisations and surgeries. And A was born. I don’t necessarily want to get into a fight with V about whether that beats his achievements, but I think we’re competitive. Our mid-twenties were actually far less changeable than our early thirties have been.
The clock is suddenly ticking very fast though. V will be in pre-school from October. Pre-school is a hideously overloaded term in NSW, meaning essentially any daycare program for the 3–5 age group, but this one is a two day a week program, 9am to 2:30pm, for eight weeks at his actual soon-to-be-school. It’s essentially two day a week kindergarten. It starts in October. We’ll probably send him on what are currently his two non-daycare days. So that’s it. He’ll be a five-day-a-weeker from late October.
It is perhaps suitable then that his social life is vastly out-doing ours. He’s been to three birthday parties in eight days. And two weekends before that he had a birthday party and three playdates in a single weekend. During that time, Andrew and I have hauled the kids to Woolwich Pier Hotel to mark our wedding anniversary, attended a Eurovision party and had lunch with my family. Not nothing, not at all, but not quite V-scale these days.
Most unexpectedly, since A got daycare far sooner than we expected or planned for, Andrew and I were able to continue our tradition of jointly celebrating our birthdays with a nice meal, this time at Cafe Sydney. We discussed emigrating. We were probably rather stacking the deck against any such thing by discussing it with views of the bridge and Luna Park. Whoops.