Well as I hinted in my last post, we’ve had a busy week. Hub-in-boots had a week off work to assist in the world’s largest declutter and nurserify project. I hadn’t really started as I know myself, and I know that I would start tidying one shelf, and forty minutes later I’d be up a ladder hurling around enormous bags of clothes like a “what not to do in pregnancy” occupational health and safety diagram. So I just didn’t start.
Of course, we had to approach it using the hub-in-boots method of cleaning and decluttering. Hub-in-boots thinks getting things a little bit cluttered or cleaned is just pointless, and limiting your energy to one shelf or one space is just counter-intuitive. No no, he likes big apartment wide craziness. For example, if he goes to do the washing up, there are dishes spread across every counter, the floor is awash with water, there are baskets spread in the lounge room in a seemingly unrelated expanse of housework, wet tea towels find their way to the bathroom, random mops appear in buckets in corners. So you can imagine the fun when we emptied a whole room.
The flat became an unnavigable labyrinth of plastic crates, pieces of furniture with drawers removed, strange mysterious giant cardboard boxes that appeared out of nowhere and stacks of books. AFL football tracksuits seemed to grow from every surface and every cupboard. But being unable to lift much, or move much, I bit my tongue (mostly), and just went with the five days of total chaos that rapidly spread to every single room like a virus.
Hub-in-boots worked like a dog, Monday driving my brother’s van over to a friend from school’s house that I hadn’t seen for years and years, a friend who’d kindly offered us a Boori chest of drawers and matching change table. It was unreal seeing her and her family, including a particularly mad three year old girl who had us in stitches. We have now both met her bunny rabbit flopsy, inspected her princess bedroom, seen her sister’s room, and seen her new table and chairs and met her dog. I don’t know how anyone keeps furniture that impeccably after two kids. Impressive! And so so generous.
Tuesday we did a bed swap, moving my old double bed to my sister’s place, and swapping it for her king single. We’ve managed to get the single into Gumby’s room so there’s somewhere to flop and do night feeds, as well as a spare bed so relatives can hang out here and help when Gumby is born.
Wednesday was a mad day of doctor’s visits and our first hospital pre natal class. I booked hub-in-boots in for a manicure and a full body scrub. He was pretty happy. Topped only by the beers after class….
Thursday we went and organised Gumby’s Happy Hour shower at the local pub and saw Dr North Korea. We decided to lash out and pay to have the event with drinks and finger food at the pub, without the cleaning up or stress. I’d love to host it here in our yard on the water, and cook cute things, but we’re weather dependent and the effort carrying stuff up and down is a bit beyond me.
I am not very keen on baby showers, and I tend to think all female occasions with games involving nappies are a bit creepy, and I hate anything that comes across as present gathering. To me, that’s not what it’s all about, and Gumby is Stew’s baby just as much as he is mine.
I don’t want Gumby to be a kid with STUFF, that needs loads of stuff to feel happy. He’s a baby. He doesn’t need things or brands or everything perfectly matching. He just needs time and love. I do love it when a gift is a wonky handmade something, or a bunny rug with twenty something years of history, or a blanket I can remember wrapping my niece in and holding her, or a bassinet that practically every baby in the family has slept in for the past fifty three years, that started off pink, and faded, was repainted white and used, stored for twenty years, and reappears like magic from a garage rafter across Sydney. I like that today we bought Gumby a pirate bib and rattle, mainly because his father likes sailing and would like Gumby’s first word to be “arghhhhh”.
And of course, if I don’t improve my appalling habits, as my mother keeps telling me, his first work will actually be “shit”.
I like that we have bought each other kid’s books over the years that are now in Gumby’s room, and one, Dog Loves Books we stood and read together in Shakespeare’s bookshop on the Rive Gauche in Paris, on our honeymoon. And another is an alphabet book called M is for Metal, to open up pre verbal discussions on ACDC, groupies, punks, Ozzy Ozbourne, The Who and why boy bands are bad for you. Now that’s education.
I like having someone’s friend’s daughter’s baby bath, and Lou Lou’s cot and pram and everything else. And art work our friends gave us for a wedding present in his room. And Jeffrey Smart, hub-in-boots favourite artist.
So things with meaning, I like that. Stuff for the sake of stuff for a baby? Yeah not keen.
But I felt after what we’ve been through that there needed to be a time when we actually celebrated, and saw our friends and family, and said “hey, we are ACTUALLY having a baby, isn’t this exciting?”. So we went for a mixed event, drinks at the local, grown up conversation, nibbles, cute cakes.
Here’s the invites:
Friday was more de cluttering, cot pick up from our major sponsor, Angus, and cot construction. Hub-in-boots has two problems with a task like this: inability to construct many things, and a complete lack of spatial reasoning (when it comes to moving stuff). Luckily, after much debating in our relationship, it’s now a given that construction projects are led by me, and he does the grunt work. I read the instructions, I do most of the screwing in and hammering. And when it comes to lifting things, I make suggestions, and he does the lifting. Of course, this evolved into me crawling around the floor bumping my belly into everything as I screwed in the nuts and bolts on the cot, and hub-in-boots stood patiently taking the weight and moving panels when instructed. It works very well, and we didn’t argue at all. All week. I think there needs to be some kind of relationship therapy involving self construction furniture. I swear flat pack furniture will make or break a marriage.
We also discovered a Bavarian Bakehouse on the way back from the cot pickup, tipped off by a sign on the main road that said “These pretzels are making me thirsty”. What a find. We could have done with the giant pretzels at Eurovision, but still. And of course I could hardly eat anything they sold, but that didn’t stop us buying loads for everyone else, and me having one bite of everything. Homemade gingerbread, pretzels, mustards, big heavy loaves of bread. Oh yum. The whole place is on the post pregnancy menu planner.
The room wasn’t working after the cot was finished, so when my sister arrived I cleared out and left hub-in-boots to mull it over. He sorted it out with a bit of bedroom tetris, shifting things around, and back, and around again, and he got it just right. It seems his lack of spatial reasoning is limited to removalist type tasks. He did brilliantly.
The flow of the room is now just perfect and very functional to boot. We are so happy with it.
We followed this up with an enormous Mexican feast at our local restaurant with my sister and brother in law. I pretty much emptied a plate as big as my head. Like I said, we’ve been working hard. Impressively, I kept my blood sugar within limits.
Today was the fun stuff. Today we handed out the first of our invites, and went to Leichhardt and bought decals for the nursery wall, and sheets, and a cot mattress and a curtain valance. This was the first time we walked into a baby shop together and bought something. It was really nice. It felt like something kind of monumental, that I’ve been waiting a long long time to do.
Then we hung up the curtain topper, stuck up the decals with detailed discussion on the placement of each cloud and letter and bee. We keep running in and out of the room to check it out again, to check that it’s real. It’s gone from our dark dingy room-o-crap to somewhere for a little boy to grow up. And at 29 weeks, after not that many weeks of actually counting on this pregnancy, it is nice to feel at least semi-ready, and to be able to do nice things together to prepare.
And here’s the result:
(I’ve never figured out how to do a slideshow on here before. How exciting!)