Me, Myself, and Eilene

It was January 3rd.  I laid in bed wide awake for what seemed like hours. In the morning I would face the tenuous task of pushing a human being out of my body. I felt like the playground bully had put me on his calendar for a good ass kicking after morning tea. The idea of scheduled agony made me feel uncomfortable and nervous, like the opening bars of Mama Mia.

I tried to empower myself with prayer and victorious thoughts. I pictured myself as a heavy-weight boxer before a title fight.

And in the pink corner, wearing a floral moo moo…

The Doctor

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30am and met with Dr. Gill to finalize the plan.

“Well, we’ll go ahead and…(muffled whisper)…..water! I think he said they would break my water, but due to his curious quirk of trailing off mid sentence, only to exclaim the final words, I could not be sure.

“And if that doesn’t work, we can put some gel on your…..(more muffled whispering)…to get things moving!” I assumed that the aforementioned gel would be placed near the baby exit, but only time would tell.

“And if that doesn’t do the trick,” he said strongly, “we can…(muffled whispering continued)…and she’ll be right out!” No idea on that one. I looked to mom for some sort of interpretation, but my intended subtle inquiry was met with an uncontrolled guffaw. I realized then, that mom and I would have to avoid eye contact during all future meetings with Dr. Gill.

Despite the shocking volume of unintelligible speech, I was comforted by Gill. He had an excellent reputation and a certainty about him that made me feel safe in his care. He also had a Fonzie quality during physical examinations —an effortlessness that made it seem like checking a cervix was as easy and checkin the oil on a Camaro—like he could catch babies blind folded—but, I’ll get back to that…

The Ward

I held Mom’s hand tightly on the way down while Mike rubbed my back like any good coach before a big fight. I had my hair tied back, my soundtrack ready to blaze and my moo moo on deck. It was game time and I was ready to represent not only my family, but my country. I even shouted Team USA (not kidding) as I left the lift and headed toward the maternity wing.

“Finally you’re here! I called your mobile and your home phone!” She said firmly. Her name was Eilene and already we could tell that she was an angry elf. She was older with wise gray hair and a phlegmatic expression.

We explained that we were told to see Gill first and that we headed straight down after conferencing with him. She seemed unmoved.

“Well, you’re here now.”

We hoped that her cool demeanor was just an Aussie thing. Sydneysiders (unlike most Aussie populations) are notoriously curt, so it wasn’t entirely odd to have such a shrill exchange right off the bat.

We all threw comedy and kindness at her to get her back on our side, but our valiant efforts were quickly laid waist by her infectious charm.

“So what were your previous labors like?” She asked.

“A little rough. Both girls were posterior. I had about 24 hours of back labor with my first and 2 ½ hours of pushing. The second was hit and miss for a couple of days followed by about 12-14 hours of back labor with Pitossin about 8 hours in.”

“That’s average,” she said smugly. “Mine were longer than that and they weren’t posterior.”

Who was this woman? Had she not read the manual? Page 46 clearly states that all women want a pat on the back or at a least a “good on ya” in response to their laborious tales of woe. And all midwives know that back labor is a special sort of hell reserved for those of us with unique birth canals, odd pelvic layouts, and/or stubborn babies. Come on woman! Work with me!

The Meltdown

In an attempt to document the sacred birth experience, Mom took out her fancy ipod video camera and begin to roll tape. Eilene, who had been attaching fetal monitors to my belly stopped abruptly.

“I am just going to tell you this now. I do NOT want my picture taken and YOU DID NOT ask me for my permission! I DO NOT wish to have any photos taken of me! You should have asked!” My eyes immediately filled with tears. Nurse Ratchet was going to deliver our baby.

I wanted to tell her that she was not allowed to speak to my mother in that tone, but every bad-ass bone in my body broke and I crumbled. I rolled onto my side, hiding my tears from the woman I now viewed as my opponent, rather than my advocate.

And in the black and blue corner wearing surgical gloves and a “no flash photography sign…”

I wanted to stop the fight. I felt like I had already lost. My coaching staff had not given up on me though. Mike begin to stroke my head and pray quietly in my ear. Mom, in a display of unparalleled restraint, apologized profusely and calmly attempted to clarify Eilene’s terms and conditions for filming the momentous event.

Eilene escorted Mike out of the room to show him around the ward. Mom and I hugged and processed what had occurred and soon Eilene and Mike returned. She seemed different. She had not warmed up, but she had clearly called off the attack.

After a hellacious examination lasting at least 5-10 minutes, my water had still not broken, so the three of us played cards and waited for the tide to turn. Contractions came and went without form or pattern. Occasionally Eilene would come in quietly and stare at me for a bit, but her presence was infrequent and aloof.

“What do you think happened?” I asked.

“I had a word with her.” Mike answered calmly.

I was completely destroyed by love for him in that moment. He had taken back my lunch money.

From then on, the three of us created a impenetrable realm where Naomi Cambell and her paparazzi paranoia could not injure me, at least not for a while.

Enter Pitossin (a.k.a. Syntocinon in Australia)

Despite my frequent though irregular contractions, Eilene made it clear that labor had not begun. Of course, this is exactly the kind of encouragement that I needed. I mean really, what woman doesn’t’ want to feel like a sputtering hooptie holding up traffic.

It was time for the drip.

As the contractions strengthened the back labor materialized. Yet another Pasley girl was posterior and loving it. We tried various and sundry methods of coping including “gas” and a hot shower, but the gas mask was making me nauseous (which Eilene said was basically all in my head) and the shower which started out feeling amazing soon became like Chinese water torture. Mom helped me find comfortable positions and Mike manhandled my lower back to ease the pressure.  All I needed was some Vaseline around my eyes and a mouth guard to get me back in the ring. GO TEAM USA….

But, I was no match for the drip.  The contractions were not coming in waves they were violent and sudden and without pause.  The only time they eased was when Eilene would come in the room and ask how far apart they were.  It was as if my body seized up in her presence.  Contractions that were 1 minute apart instantly became 3 minutes apart.  I felt like a liar–like perhaps I wasn’t pregnant at all, just really front-loaded.

She turned up the pitocin.

I was in the pit of despair battling COUS’s (Contractions of Unusual Size). I could not move without feeling like my back was breaking.  My only source of solace was the certainty that I must be nearing transition if not already there.

The final exam

“Looks like you are only at a 4 or 4.5.  Wish I could tell you different but I would be lying.”

Read the damn manual Eilene!!!  Page 132:  How To Offer Hope to the Stagnant Uterus.

I wept uncontrollably.  Mike and mom showered me with praise and comfort but all I wanted was relief and progress…and there was only one man who could give me that.  His first name was Epi, and his last name Dural.

When Epi finally arrived he asked for my status.  Eilene, gave him a glowing report.  She is at a 4.5…maybe a 5.  Glad she had an extra centimeter of cervix to spare for the anesthesiologist. 

At 8:00pm, Eilene handed her keys to the night crew and a glorious new midwife greeted us warmly.  And with little more than a goodbye, my she was gone.  Mom took the opportunity to shout out what we had wished to say all evening long. “Goodnight Eilene!”

In a Pinch

Mike departed to forage for food in a land where everything closes at 5:00pm, including the hospital coffee shop.  Dr. Gill also headed out for sustenance with his wife, when suddenly an appalling pressure paralyzed me. I needed to push.  She wanted out and I wanted to help her evacuate expeditiously.

Mom and Mike informed the midwife of my insatiable urge.  She passed the news onto Gill who was just about to take his first bit of dinner. I didn’t know how long I could wait.  Suddenly, the little girl who I thought would never leave her womb, decided to try and sneak out unsupervised.

The midwife told me I could give little pushes but that I should try and hold on until Gill arrived unless I wanted her to  catch the baby.  I had come too far and been through too much to not let Fonzie deliver the goods, so I held on for dear life.

“What do I do? I don’t know what to do.”  I said, grasping the side rails of my hospital bed, whilst doing gold medal worthy kagels.  Even Eilene would have been obliged to give me a 9.5.  I could almost hear the Star Spangled Banner play…

“I need to push! What do I do?”

“Pinch it!” Said Mike.

“Call an audible.” Suggested Mom.

I was shaking like a frost bitten climber.  I could see the summit. I could almost touch the top. But my  Sherpa was still en route so I listened to my team…and pinched it.

The Delivery

Dr. Gill walked in just in time, kind of like how Fonzie used to enter just when Richie Cunningham needed him most.  Happy Days were here again.

Mom called Kirsten and sat the phone next to me on the bed.

“I love you sissy,” I said. “I can feel you with me.”

We cried…hard.

It was time to meet our girl.

The offspring was crowning.  Mike held my hand.  Mom rolled tape.  I panted wildly.  The Fonz put on his gloves one at a time in what felt like slow motion.  I was certain he was going to give me two thumbs up before getting underway.  Instead he gave me gentle and shockingly clear instructions to slowly, very slowly …push…

Every fiber of my body wanted to push with primal abandon. To show them what an American Woman could do!  But, Gill urged me to be controlled and deliberate.  And although it felt counter intuitive, who was I to question him. Gill knows the cervix like Bo knows baseball…like Fonzie knows women and motorcycles,.  So with pelvic control like that of a matronly ninja, I gently pushed…

They Meet

As he placed her on my chest, it all made sense.  It was not the pregnancy, the labor, or the birth that bonded me to her. It was the knowledge that we belonged together, that our life stories were inextricably intertwined.  This beautiful little body would be a permanent character in my story from here to eternity.

Kiama Joelle Pasley
January 4, 2011
8:32pm
3340 gms
49.5 cms
Sydney, Australia
Pop Quiz
Can you translate this beautiful piece of Aussie jargon?
We may have had a bodgy midwife who made me as mad as a cut snake but in the end we had ourselves a fair dinkum Aussie Ankle Biter!
Family Trivia
Kiama was born on her Great Grandma Betty’s 75th birthday!
More Family Triva
Mike wrote a beautiful letter to the hospital about our experience. Once I find said letter, I will insert a paragraph or two here.  It will make all you lady readers swoon.  God Bless Him!
Yet More Family Trivia
Mikey got a promotion!  We’re coming home!

T minus 3 Days and Counting

It was my last painting class and I was running behind schedule.  We were supposed to be doing an all white painting, using color to suggest change in tone. I was excited. It sounded fun.  Instead I walked into the art room 40 minutes late only to find myself face to face with a naked man standing on a pedestal in the center of the room, legs akimbo, wearing only a beaded rainbow bracelet.  This was not the all white painting I had in mind.

I tried to set up my work-space without disrupting the nude dude or the students who were attempting to capture his likeness.  I quietly found a spot near the exit, but kept nervously dropping my supplies.  Picking up my fallen items was no picnic either as third trimester bending is like doing yoga in stilettos.  It’s a challenge.  Not only was the situation awkward for me but, the rest of the room seemed to be uncomfortable on my behalf.  They kept giving me sympathetic glances, but seemed afraid to leave the comfort of their dirty drawings for fear someone would see what they had done.

I also made the mistake of texting Mike about what was occurring. He then proceeded to send me endless text messages full of phallic wordplay.

Then came the painting.  I could not seem to make sense of his form.  All of my attempts were futile verging on humorous. He was in his sixties, with a curious gaunt,almost feminine  build punctuated by a modest pot-belly and sparse muscle tone.  I could not seem to make him look masculine on canvas and I did not have the balls to paint his manhood. So in the end, I painted something that looked more like a misshapen eunuch.  He didn’t seem impressed.  

I have some other things going on right now that are blog worthy like being 9 months pregnant.  I just haven’t felt inspired to write too much about it. After all, the prenatal blog market is saturated.

There are the super-mom bloggers who start nesting in week six.  They are household CEO’s;  familiar with cutting edge infant technology, up on where to find the latest and greatest in nursery décor, and generally knowledgeable about all things fetal.

There are the neophyte bloggers, irritated by the horror stories they have been inundated with. Little do they know that before long, they too shall mercilessly terrorize soon-to-be parents with their own tales of insidious contractions, tearing flesh, bleeding nipples and sleepless nights.

There are the granola bloggers, who intend to rid the world of all things synthetic.  They are well educated in the ways of the ancients and ready to apply pressure , perhaps even employ sanctions on those who do not utilize their local diaper service.

There are the maternal bloggers who believe in frequent anatomical updates. They are not afraid to use words like “vulva”, “discharge” and “hemorrhoids”. All words I hate!

I do not fit into any of these categories.  I am a cheap skate, sub standard consumer who uses whatever is on hand to tend to infant need even if it is made in China. I also prefer to use euphemisms to describe the human body and it’s functions.

I have spent most of this pregnancy, as a happy mother of two and a reluctant mother of three.  When asked if I am excited about being pregnant, I have answered with self absorbed diatribes about how much this is gonna suck.  Or in the words of Louis CK, how a human is about to burrow out of my body and step on my dreams.  No one wants to hear someone complain about a blessing or whine about a gift. I know that. So, early on I decided not to write about being pregnant, so as not reveal my cynical and downright inappropriate response to the turn of events in my life.

The truth is, I am just scared. I am scared of a mid life crisis hitting me mid diaper change.  I am afraid of returning to the classroom after a ten-year hiatus and using nomenclature that is dated.  I am afraid of loving another person as much as I love my girls–of worrying about another human being to the degree that I worry about them.  I fear not having enough hands to reach them if there is danger, or a big enough lap for them all to fit on…or too big of a lap because I am in my thirties now and let’s be realistic, I’m more Oprah than Gayle.

And then there is labor.  In an effort to prepare myself for what lies ahead, I watched a youtube clip the other day called, The Miracle of Life – A Vaginal Birth.  It was a bad idea.

But, today something happened.  I pictured her. I saw her clearly in my arms and I saw the look on my face when our eyes met.  I was not scared.  I was not reluctant or regretful, and I heard myself say, “Momma’s here.”  “Momma loves you.”.   And I meant it.

FAQ’s

How many days to go: 4+

Got a name: We think so.

Any action: Lots of contractions lately but nothing consistent.

Will she be an Australian Citizen: No.  One of us would need to be Australian or a

Permanent Resident to make that happen.  This will be her home away from home though.

Do you like your Midwife?  I have a male OBGYN.  He is great, but I am still a little nervous about being “examined” so thoroughly by a male physician. He is a smallish man with puffy gray hair, three daughters and a broad Stralian accent. He is kind, humorous, warm and comes highly recommended.  He does have an unusual habit worth noting though. He begins each sentence very abruptly, then trails off leaving the listener unsure of what just happened.  As a result, I usually only understand about 25% of what is said.  Hopefully this will not impede his ability to instruct me when it counts…”So, Heather, go ahead and puiusidjkfjdklajdfjld…..”

What have you enjoyed about pregnancy:  Mostly how uncomfortable I make smokers feel.  They hide their heads in shame when I pass.  Sometimes I throw in a delicate cough on top of my waddle to twist the knife. I also enjoy the special treatment I receive in public places. The varicose vein that has decided to add texture and color to my right thigh is nice too. I always wanted one of those.

Man v. Wild

We were in search of Beach Access. We thought we had found it…

It had to be right. Sure there was a locked gate and no beach access sign, but according to the map it was the correct spot and there was clearly a trail. The rickety old gate was probably just a relic of some kind. An artifact the caravan park felt some affection for and was unwilling to part with. After all, if it was intended to keep out the general public it wouldn’t have the attractive grassy knoll beside it luring tourists onto the mildly overgrown path it guarded.

As we set out, we could hear the roar of the ocean on our right. Sure it was girded by gum trees and thick brush but, we knew it was there; Emerald Beach, the final destination on our Dubbo to Byron Bay Caravan of Courage. We trudged along through the occasional puddle of mud and stagnant water in our summer flip flops eagerly anticipating the imminent waves that would refresh them.

We walked and walked and walked…and walked…and yet the droning sound of waves was abating making the path we chose increasingly questionable. The quality of the trail was diminishing as well, making the beach seem less and less accessible with each step. Wildlife also started to emerge as a concern.

In the distance Mike spotted a striking and vaguely menacing wild kangaroo blocking our path. It glared at us as if to say, “You shall not pass!” before jumping into the bush. He was big. Not like the kangaroos at the zoo. He was clearly eating more than Koala Park cheerios.

We felt like we were on the discovery channel. Not in a good way. The kangaroo was a reminder of sorts. A warning that we were in a notoriously wild and dangerous land. He was a symbol of what could go wrong. Like a gazelle on the discovery channel. They don’t do specials on gazelles. They do specials on the lions that eat the gazelles.

“You know, this is probably the wrong country in which to take the road less traveled,” I said. Mike laughed in agreement, having been skeptical of our judgment from the start.

We turned around and begin our hike back to camp, this time motivated by a quiet fear rather than the spirit of adventure and anticipation we had set out with. It was a good thing we headed back too because Chaylee no longer wanted to walk on her own. Even when I held her she complained that her feet were bothering her. I hadn’t realized how far we had actually trekked into the bush until I was forced to carry the complaining toddler. We were approaching “the gate”. The gate which no longer seemed like a mere monument but a well placed deterrent.

As we emerged from the “the trail” Kenna called out curiously,”Mom? Dad? What’s on the back of my leg? It looks like a worm?” Mike had his hands full having relieved me from kid courier duty. It would be up to me to handle the worm, or dirt, or whatever it was.

I approached her sun kissed calf and batted at the culprit gently, assuming it would submit without a fight. But it did not come off. I begin to slap at it wildly this time with vocals. It wouldn’t come off. Kenna started to panic as I relentlessly beat her leg silly. I just wanted it off!!! I wailed and swatted at the little bastard like I was in a cat fight. If it had hair, I would have pulled it! Anything to get it off my girl. It finally succumbed and fell to the ground, leaving a trail of blood behind. Her blood.

A better woman would have consoled her daughter. A better mother would have offered her a hug. Instead I just stared blankly at the lifeblood trickling down her little leg and cried out in horror, “THEY”RE BLOOD SUCKING LEEEEEECHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“What? Blood? I’m bleeding? What? Blood Sucking? What?” Kenna’s eyes begin to fill with tears. She was looking to me for comfort and found only hysteria. I was no use to her or any of us.

Meanwhile, Mike began frantically searching for the sinister little suckers. Having remembered Chaylee’s declared discomfort, he took off her shoe. At least four leeches had attached themselves to her fleshy little appendage. I broke down. All I could hear was her sweet little voice…”Mommy, my foot is boddering me. Mommy, my foot is boddering me.”

I was out of the running for Mother of the Year.

They were everywhere. On our legs, in between our toes, feeding on us like we were the other white meat. Mike was bent in nervous, uncontrollable laughter frantically searching for foes as his wife, his partner, spun the children into a frenzy. The other campers did not appear moved by our plight. Or perhaps they were afraid of the crazy lady who was tossing shoes and expendable apparel into the air with abandon in search of black vampire worms.

We finally made it back to Maui (our camper) where more carnage ensued. Mike, God Bless Him, had the presence of mind to methodically search each one of us we before entered the camper so as not to let the leeches into our lair. Unfortunately, one particularly persistent leech made it through the blockade by hiding out on the bottom of my foot. Upon discovering the stow away I, as is customary, began to flail and swipe at my foot recklessly and with no regard for where the flying leech would land. Mike gently chastised me like a 911 operator trying to calm a panicked caller. I took a deep breath and attempted to recapture my maternal instincts. But, my confidence as a caregiver was dismantled once again when we found another leech on the back of Chaylee’s knee. I recognized this one. He was the the free loading sycophant that used my ped to pry his way into our caravan. That means it was me and my savage fear that led to her discomfort. I embraced her and whispered apologies and affection in her ear. Somehow, she held no grudge.

When it was all said and done, we sat on at the caravan kitchen table, emotionally drained, half naked and covered in band-aids. Finally…it had gotten funny.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

WORDS OF THE DAY

# sponger

noun:- a free loader, or one who lives of the good graces of another.

# she’ll be apples

misc:- everything will be OK, there is no need to worry.

# clod hoppers

noun:- your feet

“Once we get the spongers off our clod hoppers she’ll be apples.”

AUSSIE TRIVIA/LEECH FACTS

http://www.wettropics.gov.au/st/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/factsheets/Leeches.pdf

POLL: How would you respond to a leech situation?

SHOUT OUT: My hilarious friend CK pointed out that living in Australia is like being in a video game. Level 1- Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Level 2- Huntsmen Spiders

Level 3- Blue Bottle Jellyfish

Level 4- Rip tides

Level 5- Blood sucking leeches

Chaylee post leech attack

FAMILY FUN FACT: A leech wasn’t the only sponger I picked up on our journey. Shortly after arriving home, I discovered that I was hosting yet another free loader. That’s right. In a surprise twist we are expecting our third Pasley offspring.

FAQ’S-

Was this planned? No

How far along? I am fifteen weeks

Where will the baby be born- Sydney

Are you going to find out if it is a boy or a girl? Yes

Do I need a hug? Yes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOUNT OLYMPUS

Warning: This blog is my most revealing to date. It is raw and vulnerable. The naked truth. Proceed with caution and be gentle. Pray you don’t see me any differently when you are done.

Disclaimer: This is a bit more lengthy than my average entry. Just bare with me.

Aunt Barbara might be the most persuasive woman in the world. Not just in the Northern Hemisphere…in the world. When I was 12 years old I went with her to the Oregon State Fair. The only parking spot we could find was a small patch of grass between two haphazardly parked cars. Her solution? To hop in the stranger’s car that was preventing our parking progress, put it in neutral and push it forward till our parking needs were accommodated. She can even get a parked car to do what she wants! This would explain why she was able to convince me to come face to face with one of my most debilitating phobias–nudity.

I am the woman in the locker room who does not remove her towel even to shower. I get creative. I am uncomfortable revealing my humps and lady lumps. I don’t really want to observe the markings of my motherhood, or the scars that have come from multiple organ removals. The giant vein from hell that is invading my lower right quadrant is something I would like to ignore. It is far more fun to pretend that my body is a wonderland and a towel is my little red pill.

It was Dec. 20, approximately 10am, when I sat down at a long wooden table with some of my favorite women in the world, my mom, my cousin Sue, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Barbara. It was there and then Barbara dropped her voodoo magic on me.

“Get ready honey, cause we are going to the naked spa.” It was as if she had monochromatic spinning tops for eyes. Every fiber of my body, every nervous limb, screamed HELL NO, WE WON’T GO! And yet, as if hypnotized, I said, “okay”. She had put me in neutral.

The Olympus Spa is located in beautiful downtown Spanaway. It is surrounded by spacious parking lots, Asian specialty shops and is conveniently close to the B&I. Location, location, location. Mom and I arrived fashionably late and collectively nervous. Neither of us were particularly comfortable with the concept of communal bathing, but we were nonetheless ready to ave’ a go, not wanting to squander the generosity of Aunt Barbara.

We were warmly greeted by the friendly Olympus Staff and given a tour of the facilities. The warm marble floors and tranquil sound of silence intrigued me. We were shown all the luxurious amenities: the salt-room, the mudroom, the dry sauna, the steam room—little dens of serenity. My anxiety was briefly pacified by the anticipation of peace promised. We were handed thin, hospital grade robes, soft white towels and informed that we had exfoliation and massage appointments in the hours to come—we would also need to “soak” for one hour before their commencement. Then it hit me… I would soon be naked. I put on my robe and clung to it like bones cling to flesh. Without it I might die.

Just then Aunt Barbara and Aunt Nancy came bursting out of the mud room, guns blazing, stark naked and just happy to be there. They were free birds, soaring about in the nude. My sweet mom looked at me knowingly, in an attempt to reassure me that our liberation was just around the corner. I was not so sure. They could see my panic, but the clock was ticking and it was time to get “soakin”. We headed to the poolroom…the hall of nakedness…land of the robeless.

I feel, at this time, it is necessary to add this caveat for all my male readers.

The naked spa is not a gathering of super vixens with legs that don’t quit and anti-gravity breasts giving each other neck massage. Instead, there are women of all shapes and sizes represented. Some are 300 pounds with legs that quit after ten minutes. Some have breasts as large as human heads. Some have no breasts at all. Some have skin conditions. Some are 90.

As I entered the pool area my panic peaked. It was time to get naked. I stood there gripping the flimsy strings of my robe like they were harnesses preventing my eminent demise. It would take the jaws-of-life to get that thing off me. The room was filled with birthday suits and the air void of self -consciousness. Which was why I stood out like a nun at an erotic bakery. My beloved family made every attempt to embolden me but their humorous encouragement soon morphed into genuine concern as I began to cry. Even Master Jedi Barbara was no match for this phobia. The force was strong with me, but I could not seem to let go of my fear. Barbara began to pray…but unfortunately things went from terrifying to unbearable for I discovered…the exfoliation room!

It looked like a gynecological experiment from hell. Naked women lay prostrate on what looked like operating tables, being scrubbed violently from head to toe by small Korean women with oven mitts, before being doused repeatedly with large buckets of water.

Mom witnessed my discovery and collected my hand in hers.

“It’s okay honey. We’re okay. You’re okay. Let’s soak.” She said with a nervous smirk, knowing it would take a miracle to get me on that table. I was no parked car I was a jumbo jet.

We looked for the tub with the lowest population. Mom bravely entered first. My immersion however, was not so courageously executed. A robust older woman, with a thick gold chain around her neck and smudged garish make-up approached me with an air of empathy and concern.

“I was just like you my first time too, now I come here everyday. It makes me feel so clean. You’ll be walking around without that robe in ten minutes. You just gotta get in there honey.” She said with a gentle shove.

There was so much wrong with what had just happened that I could not find words to respond. I just stood there immobilized, bewildered, and deeply disturbed.

“C’mon hon, just get in there!”

Before I knew what was happening, my harness, my lifeline, my shroud was whisked away by the lipstick clad jaws-of-life.

I dove into that tub like go-go speed racer and swam to the corner to seek solace in the jets. I clutched my knees to my chest in an attempt to keep all orifices tightly under wraps. My poor mom was also stunned by what had occurred and sought to comfort me with humor and tenderness. Though her efforts were valiant and appreciated, I knew why I was marinating in that pool. Soon, I would have no water to hide my form, just a couple of roving oven mitts.

For the next hour I hopped from pool to pool with the moral support of my mom, who would stand waiting for me with a towel at each exit, like I was James Brown. Noting my neurosis and the looming skin care appointment, my cousin, Sue, attempted to make a private appointment for me so that my exfoliation would not be quite so public. But her efforts were in vain. The clock struck 1. It was my turn.

The Exfoliation Room

“Hello, my name’s Patty. This your first time?” She was kind and observant.

“Yes. In fact, I was wondering how you would feel about me keeping this here towel on me during the process.” I said humbly.

“ How bout I give you this.” It was a hand towel. I was noticeably disappointed but grateful.

“Oh you so shy. You be fine.” I wasn’t fine. I laid there, whimpering, on my belly with a hand towel partially covering my posterior. The exfoliation had begun. She scrubbed me like a cleaning lady scours an oven. She was fast and furious and thorough. Where there was skin, there was exfoliation. I closed my eyes and tried to find a happy place, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t decide on a destination.

Just then, I heard the distinctive tambour of Aunt Barbara’s voice in the distance. I decided to open my eyes to trace the sound. I looked up slowly and…

BAM!!!

VAGINA!

They were everywhere. Fearless vaginas. I couldn’t escape. I buried my head into the table, mortified. It was time to turn over. I gripped the sides of the table and held on for dear life. Patty kindly placed the sacred hand towel over me like a fig leaf and continued her work. I used the ceiling as a focal point, as if I were a woman in labor giving birth to softer skin.

Then, something wonderful happened. Patty collected warm soapy water in a bucket and poured it over my new and improved epidermis. Warmth overwhelmed me. I opened my eyes…and smiled.

It was a miracle. I was comfortable. Happy even.

The aquatic blanket was heavenly. Then came the oven mitts. Patty moved her magical mitts in quick circular motions over every inch. PATTY! PATTY! PATTY! I didn’t want it to end. For a moment, I did not feel naked, I felt new. She wrapped my security blanket (robe) around me and sent me on my way.

It was a little victory. Little Patty had pushed back this jumbo jet. And although I didn’t summit Mount Olympus naked, I did gain some altitude. And sometimes…that’s enough.

Words of the day

Dag: a down to earth gal.

Spit the dummy: Get upset

Patty really knows how to handle a dag that spits the dummy!

Aussie Trivia

Sydney is home to a popular Korean “naked” spa, known as the Ginseng House. I don’t think I’ll go.

Poll

Do you have a phobia? Tell me about it.

Song of the Day

I’m a Jumbo Jet and I’m Okay

International Mall Mayhem

All malls are the same regardless of hemisphere. Each one has a food court, curious mall music, wandering wayward youth who should be in school, skin care specialists who want a moment of your time , and department store mirrors designed to hurt your feelings.

Exhibit A

My little girl looked so beautiful: her fine hair pulled back haphazardly, her giant, hypnotic, hazel eyes gazing into my soul, tomato sauce strewn across her little fingers…It was an ordinary moment with an extraordinarily moving aura about it.

Why was I so moved? Why was I welling up? What was this raw emotion? Then it occurred to me. It was the music. It was the mall music. The ambient, manipulative melody of Joshua Kadison’s classic… “Jesse”. I don’t even like that song. In fact, I can honestly say, it is just above “Sometimes When We Touch”…in fact, the two sound eerily alike, if you think about it.

It was humiliating. I was publicly moved by an Elton  John wannabe and his voodoo magic. Everyone saw it happen. Even the wayward youth that should be in school.

Exhibit B

I should not have made eye contact. It was an accident. I was in no mood for skin care advice and I had a happy baby in a fancy car buggy that I had hired for five dollars an hour. Never wake the sleeping dragon. Never.

I risked it.

‘Would you like to have soft skin that looks younga?” He said with a distinctly Greco-Australian accent. He grabbed my left limb and begin to apply a silky gray clay from “the dead sea” to a small area just below my knuckles on the back of my hand.. I must admit, it felt nice. He rubbed the top of my hand in a circular motion, before washing off the deceased ocean clay from my skin. He then remarked on the significant difference in softness from the course, scaly, state of my epidermis before the treatment….that is what I felt like he said. He then requested that I lift the other hand to provide contrast, in an effort to again prove the awesomeness of his product. The problem was, my right hand was still speckled with tomato sauce as a result of a speedy departure from the food court after the “Jesse Incident”. Once again, I tried to explain, but he seemed repulsed. I was humiliated. At least the dragon was still sleeping. When he realized that I was probably not going to be a paying customer, be tried a new tactic. “You know those red spots on your face and those splotches, this will actually make those go away completely, giving you a more youthful look.”

Evidently, Zorba the Aussie, didn’t realize that the way to a woman’s heart is through affirmation. Never insult the client! Never. A woman wants to feel like she is smokin as is and on fire with a little help. This guy was a rookie. Why did I even risk waking the dragon for this fire fighter.

Exhibit C

Getting half naked in front of a mall mirror is like being forced to listen to “Jesse” in surround sound while being insulted my an effeminate skin care “specialist”. It moves you to tears.

Poll:

Have you ever been emotionally manipulated by mall music?

Have you ever been swindled by a salesman working out of an island in the mall?

Have you ever woke the sleeping dragon while shopping?

Have you ever been mocked by a mall mirror?

Do you agree candle lit dressing rooms would improve overall mall sales?

Have you had any mall mishaps lately?

Words of the day:

  • Bogan : person who takes little pride in his appearance
  • Bail (somebody) up : to corner somebody physically
  • Spit the dummy: get very upset at something

I nearly spit the dummy when the bloke bailed me up and made me feel bogan.

Trivia

Has wine consumption affected my blog writing ability?

Fashion Frenzy

They laughed at me. 

I told the women at playgroup that I won’t spend more than 20-30 bucks on a pair of shoes and they laughed at me.

Evidently, they have never heard of Payless Shoes around here…or is it Volume…or is it Payless? The women of Roseville are high end shoppers. Their version of casual is cashmere and fancy boots. Some have even paid big bucks to have their “colors” done. Ally, for example, is an Autumn with a touch of spring. So you can imagine how taken aback they were when I revealed that not only do I have little to no fashion sense, but I am cheap.

When the topic of shopping comes up, I am always unsure how to engage. Do I nod and pretend I am one of them? Or, do I go with my usual self depreciating humor that seems to endear me to others. This week I went primarily with option B. It was only moderately successful however.

When discussing the latest trend in boot shape I whipped out some of best material “my cankles wouldn’t fit in those things if you used a commercial size shoe horn and vaseline.” I wish I would have said that actually. That is good stuff. What I actually said was a bit less hardcore…”I couldn’t get these babies in there if I tried”. Then I simply pulled up my pant leg and let em have a look. Unfortunately, the raucous laughter I expected, was more like a sympathetic chuckle.

“Poor girl’s got calves like a Polynesian man.” I could hear them thinking.

When discussing a sale going on at David Jones, I threw out: “Do they have candle lit dressing rooms, because I am not down with getting naked in front of mirrors with spotlights shining on my thighs. I am smoking in candlelight though!”

Again….nervous laughter.

That’s it. Next time I am going with option A. If I am going to use my insecurities to bring others joy and laughter, I am going to need a far better pay off.

Trivia: The 80’s are back with a vengeance here. I even saw a young man wearing a gray hoodie with flouresent pink jagged stripes in the back. This is good. Now I can wear leg warmers to cover up the cankles.

Poll: How do you deal with your insecurities?

More trivia: I have lost close to 20 pounds since I moved to Sydney. Will my sense of humor be no more once I have achieved my ideal weight?

Words of the Day:
Clobber: Your clothes. —I like casual clobber.

Disclaimer: The women of Roseville are wonderful and I adore them. They do chuckle at me a bit. I just can’t tell if they think I am actually funny. I may send out a survey this week.

TROY RULES! He is not just my cousin…he is my pal.

Suddenly Seymour


Warning to my male readers: This blog contains graphic and disturbing imagery that may cause you emotional distress and discomfort. Read on at your own risk.

The time has come to ween my beloved Chaylee Jane. As a newborn, Chaylee was a baby icon. Never had there been a new life that slept so peacefully, cried so little or latched onto the breast so naturally. Her only quirk, a strange inclination to put her tiny hand in my mouth as she suckled. How sweet. How tender. Her tiny fingers exploring my teeth, gently discovering the intricacies my cheeks. However, the once tender quirk is now a hellish nightmare….

She has become a deranged dentist, clawing at my gums, gripping my mandible and thrusting it downward with inhuman strength, scraping my taste buds with her tiny talons!

You may be thinking, why don’t you simply move her head out of the way Heather?  Good question.  And I have a good answer.  Because samurai toddler over here goes mortal combat on my cakes and grabs my trachea with her ninja death grip. You may suggest pulling her off the breast when she goes for the mouth. Well, I would if she wasn’t a biter.

Case in point. A few weeks ago, I awoke at three in the morning on the couch with Chaylee biting down on one nipple while pinching the other like a vice. “There is no escape” she said… with her eyes. How could I have let this go on for so long. Sleep deprivation can make people do crazy things I guess.

For nearly a year I have allowed myself to live like a show pig at the Puyallup fair. I lay in bed at night allowing her to have her way with me like a ravenous piglet with a keen interest in dentistry, just so I can enjoy the benefits of an hour of sleep. I have been in prison and lactating has been my only crime. It’s parole time baby. I love you Chaylee. You are my little star, my precious possum, my baby girl, but it is time for mommy to find a new dentist.

Weened at 18 months.  Photo taken at 3 years.  Just in case there is any confusion.

Poll: What is worse:
a) falling off a swing, exposing your bum to the public
b) walking naked through the neighborhood in a rainstorm
c) being tortured by a baby dental hygienist

Fun Fact:
80% of babies in Australia start out on the breast, rates drop off quickly, with 50% still feeding at 1 month and 24% at 6 months (Australian Bureau of Statistics,).

Words of the Day:
Happy Little Vegemite
noun:- a happy and contented person. Derived from an advertising campaign recently revived where chipper Vegemite eating children are described as happy little Vegemites.

Oh little Chaylee, this too will pass and you will once again be a Happy Little Vegemite.

 

Nuddy in a Southerly Buster


It was just a drizzle. A gentle tickle of rain. I dressed Chaylee in a valor sweat suit with a hood just in case the chill in the air began to nibble at her soft cheeks. We were off to pick up Kenna from kindie. 

I didn’t bring much other than my phone and some sultanas (raisins) for Chaylee. I wanted to pack light so that I could negotiate the pram with greater ease. It is a 40 minute round trip walk so every little bit helps. The walk was a dream. The cool temperature, a welcome departure from the scorching sun.

Kenna was eager to tell us about her day and walked along side the stroller with much to say. I could only listen with moderate attentiveness however, because I was distracted by some ominous clouds that were quickly approaching. They were black. They were bulbous. They screamed of pending doom!

“Hey Kenna…we may need to pick up the pace here dove. It looks like rain is heading our…..” No sooner had I spoken did the dam break.

This was biblical rain.

I grabbed my phone from my pocket and placed it in a small compartment next to the cup holders that were steadily filling with water. It would be safe there. Kenna screamed with delight. Chaylee splashed in the pool that had developed in her tray. Water begin to fill my shoes as it rushed down the sidewalk. It was then I looked down and realized…

I was naked.

How could I make such a terrible wardrobe error? A long sleeved white shirt, a black brazier and a pair of thin light beige pants? WHAT? Nothing was left to the imagination. Every curve and crevice was on display. I begin to push with even greater fury and purpose. I kept my head down, my stomach sucked in and my arms arched so as to prevent shirt suction.

It did not help matters that the entire neighborhood was out in force picking up their children from school. Umbrellas floated all around me. Children ran all about in rain jackets and clever hats. My children looked as if they had been thrown in a pool.

At least we survived. My phone was not so lucky.

An old family adage: If you can’t make it good, make it memorable.

Poll: Would you rather:
a. Fall off a swing in a public park exposing your bottom
b. Have your whole neighborhood see you naked due to flash flooding

Trivia: They are referring to this summer in NSW as the “lost summer” due to the unseasonable cool temperatures and abundance of rain.

Word of the Day: Nuddy: Naked
“I got nuddy in a Southerly Buster”

I just couldn’t swing it

It was a beautiful day today in Roseville. We walked beneath a canopy of large palms and gum trees as we made our way home through Beauchamp Park: the pram loaded with groceries and our hearts blooming with gratitude and wonder. Mike would make his way home with two ridiculously heavy bags of groceries, in an effort to get certain products to a colder climate. I would stay at the park with the girls for a bit to enjoy the day before carting the rest of the weeks food supply home. 

Kenna ran to the sand pit to play with her gardening toys and I sat perched on a giant swing with Chaylee so I could feel her delight and watch the gentle wind play with her soft hair….ahhhhhhh. AHHHHHHHH!

It is amazing how many thoughts can actually make their way through your mind in a split second…

“Oh Crap?”
“We are falling backwards.”
“Chaylee, hold on.”
“This is going to hurt!”
“My pants are falling off.”
“There are people at the picnic table.”
“How am I going to make this okay?”
“Can they see my butt?”
“Indeed they can…why did I wear maternity pants?”

Although all these things crossed my mind I only uttered two words.

“F-ME!”

In summary, not only did I fall off a swing in public, sparing my child, but exposing the top half of my buttox, I swore in front of children in a distinctly American accent. I let you all down. I am sorry.

You will be glad to know however, that I rallied. I sat up and laughed and laughed…and laughed some more in an effort to make those around me more comfortable with what had occured. I demonstrated optimism and humility. In that moment, I made America proud.

And with an aching back and squandered pride, I pushed the mega-ton stroller home.

All in all, it was a good day.

Daily Poll: What is the best way to handle a fall that occurs in public? Do you like when people try and help you?

Terms of the Day:
Come a gutser: to have an accident or make a mistake.
-I would put this in a sentence for you, but I don’t know how!

Cack Handed: Clumsy
“I must have looked like a right cack handed sheila.

Factoid: Overall, about 79 percent (three-fourths) of the injuries that occur on public (playground) equipment involve falls, primarily to the surface below the equipment.