Wednesday, June 30, 2004

he's awake. I can hear his sleep monkey toy chirruping in there. there was a chance to go for a swim with a "mom" of a seven month old girl i n the building, but Good Mummy opted to make sure he got his afternoon nap. either exhaustion or the a/c noise have kept his wakeups to 2-3 a night since we got here and I'm hoping...

met my neighbour who is due next month. did the pregnancy conversation yet again. she's nice, a little in "wow I'm pregnant world". I'm getting quite interested in how differently that conversation can go with different people. she's not one for asking how the other person went in labour etc. and I felt a little world-wise at her intentions for labour, though I wish her well with her private doula etc. and she seemed a little stunned when she knocked on my door 20 minutes after we parted and she realised I'd gone to bed. we'll see how she is in a few months.

not getting much online time. lots of people expecting emails - I kind of miss the 4-line postcard - lots of unpacking and cot research to do. cots cost a mint. next stop:Ikea.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

the dilemma of being in Hong Kong with a baby is that it's better to stay at home and cook rather than eat lots of expensive, unhealthy and unsatisfying takeaway (dining out being a difficult option) - but to cook, I need to trek to where the food markets are. and for today, I think getting across the road to the Times Square supermarket, where everything is from somewhere else (Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Holland) and priced accordingly, is enough of an achievement.

there'll be a lot of that during this stay - spending money just for convenience. somehow it seems wrong, more wrong than spending money for outright enjoyment. but that's what dh's allowance is for and I think we'll spend that and more.

the list of stuff to get is growing, but I sure ain't going out for a cot or anything else difficult today.

now all I have to do is deal with the weirdness of sitting here waiting for the maid, wondering if I should be tidying up before she arrives, knowing that if I do I'm locking myself into six months of neuroses, but also that I was brought up to put on tidy appearances for strangers, despite both me and my own mother being naturally semi-messy - piles of stuff, but organised piles.

shouldn't blog too long as the baby's asleep - in the other room - and I have unpacking to do.

new apartment has happened - moving across the harbour last night felt as exhausting as the flight itself, what with jetlag etc. two hours does make a difference, I've decided, and it's not like I was dewy fresh to start with. in 8 days we have to move again to another apartment with two bedrooms, same building, but I'm going to ignore that and set up properly here. A. is still in with us so I can't unpack clothes yet. am already worried what the maid will think of our stuff strewn across every available surface.

looking forward to taking A out this morning to get supplies. I can see myself getting seriously addicted to the attention he gets on the street here. if I have to be "just" a mother for six months, at least it's in a place where motherhood seems to be valued highly - if people adore my baby, my role in caring for him is important, right?

not ready yet to start schmoozing other mums in the building. apparently there are two babies around his age - seven months and a year - and a woman due to have a baby next month. it's a good start.

Monday, June 28, 2004

travelling with a baby? a cinch. after you fight a system that assumes your baby has no seat and the seat should therefore go in the hold, after baby wakes soon after takeoff and you spend 45 minutes patting and shusshing him and returning the stares of passengers who'd really like to sleep. after you wake up with a dead arm and a baby asleep on you and move him into his seat with great trepidation. after the pilot turns the lights on two hours before landing, assuring you of an exhausted baby by landing (which of course hurts his ears). after you discover that his stroller has been sent to the carousel and you and dh are supposed to carry a ton of stuff to customs. and so on.

and we are not in our apt; we're in a small hotel room where A. can't sleep unless I turn the lights off and be quiet. currently extremely unhappy with dh's company's organisational skills.

but we've been out a couple of times and for all the crowdedness, extreme sticky heat and so on, I am well pleased with one thing: Hong Kong people think my son is the most cute, extraordinary and charming little white baby they've ever seen. they cluck and coo and point and slap their hands on their thighs to get his attention. so far he's been responding well - laughing and kicking his legs.

the big stroller will be a lose; the small one is barely manageable up and down the stairs that are everywhere, and even though its brake tends to catch on the treads, it will be better than the 13kg monster we've shipped over.

now all I need is for dh to kick some heads at the office so we get to where we're supposed to be and to have a few good nights' sleep to recover (cue hysterical laughter)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

one of the annoying things about this being an anonymous blog is that I can't point you to pix of my gorgeous second cousin, 10 weeks old, who has a blog and whom I saw this morning. just take my word for it.

so we're packed. some stuff is sent. most of it is A's. I'm trying to restrain myself from throwing more things into bags. two days to go ... may not blog much until we get set up in HK, possibly with a new Apple laptop for me!

wish me luck with the flight.

Monday, June 21, 2004

4 mins till parents and dear old friend arrive for visit and I'm tearing myself away from chez miscarriage, no time for a link, you KNOW where it is, to report:

SLEEP!! only one night mind you. from 7.30 (him)/10.00(me) to 2.30 am, then again from 3 to 6.15.

anyone without kids who's wandered in here will be saying huh? sounds like a rotten night to me. no. it was fabulous. it came on the back of a run of shocking, awful nights that have left me pretty much permanently about to cry/crying/nursing a headache from crying.

and what did I do with the tiny nugget of energy this gave me? rest up? pack? no. I went to the art gallery to see the Monets and Van Goghs that are in town, resulting in a messed-up baby schedule and no afternoon nap for me. but I don't care. I stood in front of Starry Night on the Rhone or whatever it was called on three or four occasions for up to FIVE MINUTES while he slept. and I had a clear enough head to remember why I adore Claude Monet's clouds, and to even have passing thoughts about what artists' composition and themes could teach writers and to note that apparently Wagner had some idea of this, though the paintings influenced by W.'s ideas were my least favourite.

in other words, my mind was back. it's gone again, of course, but oh! the light breaking through the grey clouds a la a coastal winter afternoon in northern france, circa 1880!

Friday, June 18, 2004

I'm getting into an argument on a bulletin board about controlled crying. someone put up a post about sleep schools and someone else has come in with the "it hurts the baby" line, with links to medical opinion and articles to back herself up.

much as I hate the idea of letting him howl if he's distressed, as opposed to just protesting, I hate even more the idea of contracting depression or one day cracking and hurting him (no, that won't happen).

"Personally, we are not keen on our babies going to sleep to someone else's canned voice. Why not use the real parent?" says Dr Sears.


guilt, guilt, guilt. I've had enough with being made to feel that if I don't sacrifice my very life so the baby doesn't feel "insecure", I am an evil witch. are these people going to come to my house and mind the baby for 8 hours? thought not.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

so there I was at the paediatrician's, getting A. a shot. and I asked how long I could expect A. to go without a feed overnight, just to help me be strong with not feeding him at night. and the paed says breastfed babies tend to wake more often.

and I got home and was unloading the dishwasher and it sank in and I said aloud: WHAT!!!??

all those bf classes, all that "it's good for your baby". and never, not one, no single word about being psychotic with sleep deprivation by the time your baby's seven months.

Liars. cheats. we hates them.

otoh, last night was (relatively) OK. woke him at 9.30, he woke at 11, then dh took over and the little bugger (the baby!) slept until 3!!! fed again, then fed at 6 and he slept to 8.30.

and in my email this morning, hope from the baby whisperer. it nearly made me cry and I picked up the phone within 3 seconds:


I can help. I will have you all sleeping before you move away. Please call
me on xxxxxxx

Good luck and bye for now from (deleted)"

I didn't get through, but did you see that? she says "I CAN HELP!!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

hope? i've just emailed a baby whisperer to see if she can come out before we go. this is what I need, someone who'll come & fix him. not that there's time...

if anyone out there knows how to silence/kill a dog without being detected, my email address is over on the left. Dog Next Door has surpassed annoying and is now destroying my life. (she says, cramming another handful of Smarties into her mouth and pouring more Coke to combat the headache/exhaustion that followed my first night out alone in eight months, an 11pm bedtime and hourly wakeups thereafter until 6 am.

you know when you meet someone and think "I hope I'm not like that?"

I got to meet the latest pregnant neighbour today and now I'm wondering how I can stop being her new best friend (apart from moving to HK for six months!!)

it was nothing in particular, she's perfectly nice really. but she stayed two hours on a first meeting, which was wearing (last night was a shocker and I'd said so) and pretty much talked about herself most of the time - for instance, she admired the house and then said "it gives us a nice view". I dunno, I just didn't get much out of it. if she wants to be so self-centred, shouldn't she just get a blog?

oh, and she said "we weren't planning to get pregnant, just slack really."


Monday, June 14, 2004

yes, I thought, as I stared at my reflection, the architect was right. the extra expense for a stainless steel waste pipe under the powder room sink was worth it. yes, it looks good.

what was I doing on the floor of the powder room looking at the drain? crying and howling of course.

tired? try destroyed. he's not getting better, he's getting worse.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

hk yellow pages

child care info

sometimes I wonder if I could become (or have become) a ttc bore. I am now more than willing to discuss anyone's fertility problems and I read out annoying sentences about IVF to my husband while going "tsk", as in the article in yesterday's weekend magazine that gratuitously blamed IVF for women being caught between their aged parents and young children. like noone has kids over 30 without IVF, and IVF is never used by younger women! see what I mean?

this morning on my Sunday bike ride I passed one of those men with the kids in strollers. I heard the child say "is Mummy awake yet" and I had to stop and say to him that he wasn't the only one, the bike path is full of men walking babies while Mummy has a sleep in. then I noted his haggard pallor and the coffee flask (well I guess it was coffee). I'm not the only one doing it hard.

but is there hope? last night I woke him at 9.30 for a feed, trying to reproduce the conditions of that magical night last week. and it worked! he then slept until 3.30, fed and slept again until half six. oh God please let it work tonight, if you do I may even start to believe in You.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

woo hoo. have captured another pregnant woman in my street. literally across the road. I hadn't spotted her, but spoke to her dh for the first time today. she's due in four weeks. it will be a while before I can court her properly, being away and all, but I'm going to start by dropping off some of my old pg magazines.

dh: in Hong Kong it means "domestic helper", which is a euphemism for amah, or servant really. what irony.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

so we have a place. the funky one in the busy district. sigh. it's for one month, with veto rights for me. what can I do, he's the one "on the ground"

next is finding a child carer - not as easy as it sounds with everyone having fulltime maids. and a cot, and high chair. and so on.

just over two weeks to go.

yesterday was exhausting - 90 minutes drive each way and three family visits while I was there. A. refused to nap once we were there - a total of maybe half an hour? but he slept coming home, I fed him at 9 and put him to bed. there followed apt. hunting online and falling into bed at 11. (I'd eaten a Mars Bar to keep me awake driving home and it had worked) and then, a miracle. he slept 9.30-3.30, woke, fed, then slept 4-7! now he's having a 90-minute nap.

so, maybe they lied. maybe the way to get a baby to sleep is to exhaust it during the day until its little eyes are red and staring and blank, as he was last night. I feel more tired than ever, but there is a glimmer of hope.

the highway to my home town is lined with taunting signs. they read "sleep is the only cure for fatigue", "powernap now" and so on. I KNOW, I KNOW ALREADY!!

an image popped into my mind last night after seeing A with his little cousins - him, aged about three or four, on a trike, hands on the handlebars, looking up at me with his clear blue eyes. and I smiled.

getupgrrl wonders about friend crushes. I have one of those, on a girl in my mothers' group. it's that thing when you think of something and the only person you want to tell is that one individual. I've managed to invite her here for a drink - it's easier to broach new friendships when you're both in the same boat. which I must remember when it comes to making Hong Kong friendships.

it's so close now that I'm starting to see it take shape, and to wonder whether I oughtn't just stay there the whole six months instead of commuting back here every couple of months. I feel now that this is my life, here, but once I'm there shouldn't I commit and get on with being there?

no apartment yet. dh still leaning towards funky place, me still wanting something a bit less confronting.

Monday, June 07, 2004

random post from a board on shopping: A bunch of the outlet shops along Johnston Road in Wanchai




hong kong playgroup association

"Sessions are cancelled in the event of Black or Red Rainstorm Warnings or if Typhoon Signal 3 or higher is hoisted."

there are pages of them! and that's just one agency. women in their 20s and 30s who'll work all week in a foreign place for what I earn at the office in a day.

I know they'd rather have the work. but I suddenly feel kind of dirty, like I'd be exploiting them. and let's not get into the where-are-my-clothes-made etc etc complications.

more helper info. looks like it's hard to get a "part-timer"

helper article with link to forum.

and some more detailed info.

received an email today from a woman in Hong Kong warning me that the air quality where we're considering living is crap, and that we really should consider living further out in a village-style enclave, rather than the big serviced apartment blocks. it's all so confusing.

speed blog as the dreaded TV is babysitting (hey, it is that subversive Play School)dh is off. I'm faced with a mountain of housework, things to do, the day after a five-wakeup night and suddenly an amah (which the expats euphemistically call "helpers") is looking good. someone to do the dishes. fold the washing. etc. it's a kind of corrupt temptation. cleaners and laundry services are one thing. but live in servants - especially in smallish apartments - would turn my life into a kind of management role.

this is what the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia says about Play School's shocking depiction of a girl with two mothers: "We know that from an incredibly early age children of both sexes look to mum for nurture and warmth, dad for stimulation and play."

so I'm apparently some kind of cuddly feeding device? I take back everything I ever thought about this government wanting su to live in the 1950s. make that the 1850s.

(ps: but today's Play School featuring a man selling "lovely, special handbags". maybe the PM and his deputy dawg are right and there is a secret gay agenda there... :P)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

huh? a Trotsky site appears in my referrals.

and Julie's little pregnancy is coming along nicely. she has a bit to say about what happens when you take the "in" off infertile, and the thought of leaving behind her ttc buddies.

I was woken, oh, five times last night, and fed him twice.
so why did I think it was a good idea to drive the borrowed car to a point 25 km away and then ride my bicycle home?
it was was a lovely cold sunny morning. but now, at 8.30 pm, my feet are glued to the floor. dh is preparing to nick off to HK for another 4 nights. what god do I have to appease to get A. to be good - to sleep - for a little while at least?

still putting pressure on him to choose a mum-infested, playground-equipped apartment block. I've found a place on the Web to hunt down other Hong Kong expat mums, too. so gradually I'm gaining hope that I'll find people to talk to, which is just about balancing out the dawning reality of what a big move we're making. time for a bath and a sleep.

aha. baby safety vests:
"Air Vest
In HK bumps to babes sells them. Otherwise, Little Urchins sell them online."

I wonder if I can get one here before we go?

Friday, June 04, 2004

can I blame exhaustion for the fact I've just bought a black check stroller with orange trim? you know when things are so awful they *might* be cool? I suspect this object falls a micrometer short. but I've bought it, solely for schlepping through aiports and using while the super-pram is in transit.

current tiredness index is up in the "burst into tears" range. I think I'm still suffering the aftereffects of the weekend. and yes, it's Friday. dh is off to HK again on Sunday night and I'm seriously concerned at how I'll get through another week of this alone. it was stupid to even drive to the baby-stuff shop in this condition, let alone make important purchase/decorating decisions.

still no decision on The Apartment. dh will check them out when he's there. I still think the funky place should be scratched in favour of the big complex with a pool and a higher chance of other expat mums. yes, even if it adds a train or tram leg to his morning commute. is it fair that I am - we are - taking A away from all his baby friends just as he's getting sociable at seven months? away from him grandma? and in my current state, will I really be able to cope alone 11 hours a day in a big, Asian city? no, no and no. pathetic and unadventurous (sp?) as it is, we need to reproduce at least some of our comfy Western environment over there, just to get by. in principle I am brave. in practice, I have to survive. ah well, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

getupgrrl doesn't "do" epiphanies.

but I may have found my personal depths this morning. with a tradesman arriving, several others to call and the prospect of five days' single motherhood next week (dh has deemed it essential that he go to HK only two weeks before we move there), I decided to flick the TV on for five minutes for the baby. I do this, oh, every three weeks or so.

but as it came to life and I hit the 2 button to change to the nonadvertising kids' shows, I heard the word pregnancy. so I changed back to 9. then I watched daytime talk TV - a discussion about weight gain in pregnancy - fascinated by the obvious discomfort of one mother who had her baby, around 10 weeks I guess, under the TV lights, dummy in mouth, right hand patting him for all she was worth.

day. time. T. V.


I love A. to bits. I don't know that I want to go back to the job I was in. it was stimulating but I'd been doing it too long. but I am not, not, not, a consumer of mindless commercially-driven daytime TV. I need to learn something, do something, be something as well as being a mother. I need a new "me".

once I was quite interested in further study, maybe a phd on online identity, its effect on the offline person, how blogs fit into all that, blah blah blah. but my mind can't even conceive the scope of such a thing right now, let alone do it.

I'm hoping that really all I need is some sleep. that when A. finally gets it, I'll start to pick up some of my old energy. I'm hoping this isn't an ongoing permanent state, that I'll emerge from my cocoon a butterly, not just a very old caterpillar.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

pee stick addiction and terrible, wonderful suspense at a little pregnant

having wasted an hour of precious quiet time WORKING and another minute entering incorrect passwords to blogger, here I am at last.

the working bee weekend was utterly exhausting. it was good to actually do some things myself, even if A. sooked all the time I wasn't actually holding him. he's getting really attached to me, and it was strangely annoying when he fell silent each time I picked him up. he loves me, needs me, and it's mutual, but I can cope with being more than 50 cm away from him.

I'm spending a lot of time working out how to get stuff to Hong Kong and what the rules are on taking car seats in the plane. it's lucky we have a seat for him - apart from the safety issues, it gives us another 20kg of hold storage. so we'll be arriving at the airport with:
60kg of luggage in 3-4 bags
a stroller
a car seat
three pieces of carryon (dh will have electronics, I'll have my bag with flight supplies, and there's A's nappy bag too...)
and an 8kg baby.

you wouldn't want to get stuck behind us at checkin, would you? on top of that I suspect we'll need to send some unaccompanied baggage, which means an extra airport trip at both ends. I know some people do these moves and make it look easy, but I'm not that person. it's just lucky I'm not working (apart from babyness of course.) I wonder what would have happened if we'd not had a baby and this trip came up? would I have dumped my job? more importantly, would I have dumped IVF treatment for six months? we're back a couple of months after A's first birthday, so I guess we'll be back to the dr then.

still wondering and a bit anxious, in my tired state, what it will be like living in a small, if funky, HK apartment after this big house with its big backyard and the underpopulated suburban streets to walk down. I like HK. but is it what I need in my dazed, cocooning state?

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