Friday, 30 August 2013

A boy named Cate

Pregnancy is a journey down the rabbit hole. The wonderland of expectation rarely involves croquet or Cheshire cats, but it is chock full of characters telling you what to do based on crackers laudanum logic.

What to expect. 
Happily, pregnancy is also a journey into the kindness of strangers (not the Tennessee Williams kind).

Strangers regularly express sympathy over my frontal planet and offer directions to the nearest swimming hole. The random kindness phenomenon happens even in Britain, where late pregnancy is considered one of the only acceptable loopholes in the no-conversing-with-strangers rule.

Friends and family have again surrounded me with help, affection, celebration, delicious food (including suggestive cake...) and a plethora of lovely little boy-shaped clothes.

In my pre-ultrasound days, acquaintances proved surprisingly astute at detecting the presence of a boy, in spite of my insistence that I was carrying a girl called Cate. Apparently my shape (large beach ball) and that green pallor in my cheeks all indicated a male of the species.

My own predictive abilities are weaker. I have now thrice mispredicted the gender of my children, and twice mispredicted the birth date. So I've quit trying to predict anything. For the moment, all this generous good will it is a lovely way to pass time while I await my date with the inductioner (out with her baby!).

I know from experience that some of this voluntary kindness will will taper off when I am the proud owner of a screaming infant.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The mother of monsoon seasons

Sunflowers as high as an elephant's eye.
In the years I was gone, the grass fell away and the cows were sold. 'Monsoon' came to mean the memory of a teaspoon of rain that fell on a solitary August afternoon.

When I was a kid, monsoon meant a month of afternoon thundershowers, leading to tall green grass and fat black caterpillars by the end of summer.

In my wandering years more sand dunes were grown than grass. Then over a month ago, the clouds rolled in and it began to rain.

Perhaps fate declared revenge on the a nice man who offered to help us build a flagstone porch back in June, and has been waiting for a dry afternoon ever since. Perhaps we brought the rain back with us from England.

Whatever it is, you can hear the aquifers filling deep under the earth, and the plants singing on the
Growing puddles. 
surface. The river has risen and weird aquatic bugs tango on my porch at night. The awful weeds - nightshade, cockleburrs, tumbleweeds - have grown perilously high and are demanding voting rights.

Each year at the Taos Pueblo church, a statue of Mary on the alter wears a water-blue dress to mark the monsoon season. I wonder how many dust-colored summers she has hopefully weathered in blue.

When it is dry, it feels like it will never rain again. But a wise man once told me: "How do I know what the weather will do tomorrow? I don't even know what I will do tomorrow."

Sunday, 11 August 2013

While you were napping

By: Ali, resident three-year old

Scientists have shown that late pregnancy on the llano in August leads to severe afternoon narcolepsy in 110% of women, and occasionally men too. It's just that damn hot.

So what's a kid to do while mama's asleep at the wheel?

It's good to get precautions over first. Draw something on her face to see if she's faking. Grown-ups can be very sneaky like that. Then go for the chip bag. Most waking mamas can detect even the slightest disturbance in the crinkly forbidden snack bag force.

Lock and load. 
Snoozing tests successfully completed, you have clearence to move on to bigger fish. Go draw some fish on the bathroom mirror with a sharpie. Repeat process with crayon on the bathroom floor.

Even planetary mothers often have a stash of lipstick somewhere. Locate lipstick and reload.

It has now been several minutes since the chip crinkle test, and you may be getting hungry. Pantry spelunking is a good solution. Here you will find cake mix, bags of sugar, and boxes of flour. These are really great substances for filling up dresser drawers and recently-vacuumed rugs, ensuring that your naptime efforts will continue to be appreciated for days to come.

Ice cream is a great way to slake a thirst built up from lipstick and cake mix. Although designed by grown-ups to keep ice cream away from kids, freezer safes are pretty easy to crack. Once in, locate the Blue Bunny box. Make sure to dissect the cardboard container completely using scissors to ensure maximum chocolate goo coverage.

Next, conduct a scientific experiment: what happens to sunscreen if you spread it all over clean bedsheets? Add honey for good measure.

Pet your cat's fur in the wrong direction. Pull his tale once or twice. No one can stop you from sparring with the cat now, except for the cat.

By now you will probably be out of fun stuff to do and getting bored. Don't bother cleaning up or hiding the evidence. Say THE GHOST did it and Mama will love you anyway because she is a sucker.

Pass the remaining time by locating some good cartoons on any touch screen device you can find with chocolatey fingers. We all need a break right?