Thursday, June 30, 2005


KABOOM! An explosion the likes of none I have seen before. Scarcely had the little girl digested her sugared diuretic when the bomb dropped. A week's worth of gastric innards surged out of her mini backside. I've never been prouder. Or happier that I have a badly blocked nose. She had poo from her nose to her toes. I spent twenty minutes cleaning her up then she started again. The second wave was less intense but equally messy. My fancy croched jumper (have been trying to curb my habit of wearing only daggy pathetic housewife tracksuits) now has dappled smatterings of mustard coloured shmeer on it. But no matter. She pooed. Oh glorious day! She pooed!

Also, was offered a jobette for a week helping develop a series for TV. I told them I'd get back to them once I'd worked out if I could get child care. Then started the monstrous job of trying to organise babysitters. Seems I dilly dallied for too long because they phoned me back a few hours later and said they'd offered it to someone else who didn't have domestic responsibilities and who would be able to focus their energies entirely on the job.

What the fuck? Who do they think I am? Some idiotic housewife obsessed with the bowel movements of her child?... Oops.

Moving and Shaking

Like the people who write in to Penthouse Forum, I never thought this would happen to me… My daughter’s bowel movements have become the focal point of my universe. Before I was a parent I couldn’t comprehend how people could be so dull as to sit around discussing how many times little Timmy or Tina had made poo-poos. But that was BC – Before Constipation. My little one hasn’t pooed in a week. After trying prune juice, we went to see the doctor. He pushed and prodded and poked but nothing came. So he took an earbud and started digging inside, pulling out sticky little faecal bricks. As he excavated, I was given the task of holding the little one’s legs open while she screamed. It was horrible. As each piece of brown treasure came out, I cheered her on – come on, bubs, push. Poor little brave O. After twenty minutes, she was starting to bleed. The doctor decided it was enough. He sent me home with some sugared medicine to soften the stool. Have checked her nappy three times since she’s taken it. There’s been some thunder and rain but no hail as yet.

There wasn’t a clear moment when I crossed the line from normal adult to freaked out poo-obsessed parent. It happened somewhere between feeding, burping, changing and bathing... Must run. I think I hear a fart with the promise of more…

Monday, June 27, 2005

Reasons I love my husband...

Now that the horror of the week is behind us, I am starting to remember some amusing interludes that happened whilst in the surreal zone that is The Hospital. The funniest one involves my beloved R, who, to be frank, looks like a terrorist at the best of times. Dark skin, hairy, the slightly dazed stare of the Neanderthal about him, I prefer to think of him as a freedom fighter.

When R is stressed, the first thing he does is stop shaving. Within hours, he has grown a heavy misshapen beard, peppered with random grey blotches. The hair literally grows all the way up to his eyeballs so that only his dark eyes pop out. The hair on his head is currently overgrown and, on the day of the incident, R had forgotten to brush it. Half his hair was running in one direction, the other half fleeing the opposite way. It was as if his head had declared Jihad on itself. Clothing wise, R was decked out in an old tracksuit that I’d picked up in a frenzy at a sale. Something yellow and sticky clung to it. I suspect it wasn’t custard.

R and I were fussing over the bub in her cot when I spotted our paediatrician in the distance. A refined and well groomed man, he had come to see another patient. Realising what a bonus this was, I suggested that R call him over to have a look at little O – her surgeon hadn’t seen her since the operation, and the thought of nailing the doctor for some free advice appealed to me. He charges us $200 for fifteen minutes, I felt we deserved some sort of bonus.

I watched as R dutifully approached Dr Prim. Dr P took a step back. I saw the abject fear on his face. R lunged towards him – Doctor, it’s me – he said. The doctor reached for the Emergeny Call button. R, desperate to clear things up, moved closer to the Doctor, his voice hitting a slightly higher, hysterical note. I’m O’s father, he pleaded. Dr Prim took a step backwards and surveyed his exit options. Who’s O? he said, buying himself some time as his hands drew closer to the emergency button. I realised I would have to step in. I rushed towards the two men. On seeing me, the relief on Dr Prim’s face was palpable. I explained that R wasn’t an escapee from the psych ward. He was, in fact, the same man Dr Prim had met a few months ago. Only then he was wearing a suit. And his facial features were visible. And there wasn’t anything crusty and yellow on his pants. By that point Dr Prim was willing to do anything just to make the terror stop. He did a thorough examination of little O. And then he ran.

Far far away.

We have an appointment with him next week. I’ve asked R to shave for it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Clitoredectomy with your Tea?

Last night I emailed a friend, LB, to ask if she wanted to join us at the Sydney Film festival to see Frozen Angels. She mailed back that she was going somewhere grimmer, Moullade. Sounded to me like a fancy restaurant, the type her parents always force her to go to for awkward family dinners. Now that LB’s girlfriend is in town, her homophobic parents are being particularly weird and, convinced that they had set this dinner up to ‘get to know’ LB’s gal, I spent some time and thought mailing back a sensitive email that attempted to sooth LB’s impending sense of doom, while tactfully not insulting her parents. She mailed back that Moullade is not a restaurant. It’s a film about genital mutilation in Senegal.

I still maintain it would be a good name for a restaurant. Perhaps a Senegalese one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bits without Stuff Inside...

Depleted. Like the leftover grog at a uni party at 2am. Like the slushy machine in the Seven Eleven after stoned teenagers have been at it. Like the feeling when the one person you’ve always loved gets engaged to your sister. That’s how I feel. But more so.

My little girl had an operation last week. They shoved a naso gastric tube down her without sedating her to clean out her gut. The next day she was in theatre for four hours. Hour one: R and I fidget and pretend to read the newspaper in the hospital waiting room. Hour 2: Discussion on which is the best way to make tuna lasagne ensues. After a little controversy over whether the inclusion of mushrooms is appropriate, we both agree the secret is in the Béchamel sauce. Hour 3: Dash off to shops to buy tuna lasagne ingredients. Hour 3 and a half: Dump tuna lasagne ingredients in aisle and rush back to hospital. Hour 4. Wait in recovery. Keep waiting…

They bring her in, up to her little miniature eyeballs in morphine. And limp. I nearly vomit on the anaesthetist. The operation went well, they say. I’m sure they say that to everyone. But at least she’s out. And alive. And sitting still long enough for me to finally clean her ears.

We were in hospital for a week. She is recovering well, but I fear I took home a different child from the one I brought in. She’s been a public person now, with doctors and nurses and registrars and volunteers saying her name, touching her, telling us what’s best for her. One morning I came into her ward at 5Am and the nurses had hooked up the TV for her and were about to feed her jelly. She’s five months old, for Christ’s sake. There’s no need to expose her to the Danoz Direct shopping show, while feeding her refined sugar. I had a terse discussion with the nurse about the fact that she’s not on solids yet. Jelly’s not a solid, she argued. But the pole I’m about to shove up your arse is, I thought.

So happy to have Little O home, but so so tired. I feel like a bleak grey girl, no colour left. Also, I’m sure I have no internal organs, just cardboard outside and hollow inside.

And I also thought in the midst of this that I may be pregnant and having an early miscarriage. Then I went to the loo and realised it was just gas.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lucky for Some

Last Sunday night we avoided the fact that it was the Jewish festival of Shavuot and headed to a Lucky Dube concert. Was a big deal for us daggy new parents because it only started at 9:30PM, but we thought, fuck it, let's live large. It was at the Roxy in Parrammatta, an old scaly venue with the seats bashed in and the requisite broken toilets. (I went to the Ladies and a woman from Malawi told me 'they don't flush, but don't worry, I didn't make a poo'). There were at least a thousand people there - Africans, Aboriginals, Islanders, Maoris, barely a wasp or Yid in the mix. It was fantastic to be in that environment, the buzz, the smell of fresh weed, everyone making eye contact with each other, people dancing unselfconsciously, women who didn't look like they'd been starving for years a la Lara Skin Boyle. I felt like I was back in Joburg circa 1989. My friend K, who met us there, immediately mentioned that I was 'walking like a Joburger'. She explained that I bounced into the concert with my head up and a strut in my step. Like I didn't mind taking up space. She's a physiotherapist and told me the technical term for how I've been walking recently is 'Sydneysidus Avoidus'- head down, shoulders slumped, no eye contact. Made me realise how much I suppress of myself since I left South Africa.

The concert was two and a half hours and I didn’t stop dancing for a second of it. At one point myself and the people on either side of me in the moshpit put our arms around each other and sang along to the song "One" (Hey Rastaman, Hey European, Indian Man, we got to live together as one). Yes, pathetically simplistic and yes the dude on my right did in fact grab my arse on the word 'European', but for those few hours in the concert hall I felt connected to everyone around me in a way that doesn't happen when I'm walking the white streets of the Eastern suburbs. A little surprising weed infested Utopia.

I came home to a sleeping baby and wondered if she'll ever have a real connection to South Africa, or if it will just be that place her mum bangs on about when she's pissed off with over-regulated, white-bread Australia.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Fear

I feel like I am cloistered in a damp, dark room, separated from the rest of the world. Looking through a little window but never venturing out. Not in a romantic Rapunzel-esque way. More like Ted Bundy in the days before he was electrocuted to death for biting debutantes' arses then killing them. Not that debutantes are my thing. I just feel a tad isolated. I watch other people being alive in the world and I'm amazed at their energy. These feelings may be linked to the fact that I did a two hour walk today up and down three hundred and fifty steps. With a pram. I swear I thought there was a boardwalk nearby. Just past those next hundred steps.

Another contributing factor to my feelings of exhaustion, nihilism and a slightly itchy punani is that I watched Tom Cruise on Oprah tonight. I reckon the Thetons from outer space that he believes in should come down to earth and split Tom Cruise's ego into thousands of tiny bits, to dish out to people with low self esteem. The man has enough ego to turn the most humble of souls into a self-centred wanker.

It must be fucking marvellous to be so sure of your own rightness. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

God answers Prayers. 'No', says God.

The title above is stolen from The Onion.

And it seems I have some answers from the Higher Being. Or at least from Nana Lil, who has my sock, and my forever friend in New York, B, whose source on what happened to Milli Vanilli was MTV.Com. It's a sad but fitting fable:

In 1991, Farian attempted to re-form Milli Vanilli with the original session vocalists (including female backup singer Gina Mohammed), this time crediting them and billing them as the Real Milli Vanilli, while also adding a Pilatus/Morvan look-alike named Ray Horton. However, the resulting Moment of Truth album flopped. Pilatus, meanwhile, was unable to deal with the sudden fall from grace; after mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, he slashed one of his wrists in a Los Angeles hotel, then called police and reporters to the scene, where he had to be removed from the balcony he was threatening to jump off of. Attempting to prove that they really could sing if given the chance, Pilatus and Morvan regrouped in 1993 as Rob & Fab; however, with their credibility damaged beyond repair, their self-titled debut reportedly sold only 2,000 copies total, despite an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. Farian had also attempted yet another album, this time renaming his group Try 'N' B and retooling the lineup again to enhance its visual appeal (which meant discarding the original singers); however, Sexy Eyes also stiffed. From there, Pilatus hit rock bottom. Beginning in 1995, he was arrested for several separate incidents in Los Angeles involving assaults (including one man he attacked with a metal lamp base), vandalism, and attempting to break into a car. Convicted of four different misdemeanors, he was sentenced to several months in jail in 1996, and did the first of numerous stints in drug rehab centers for his cocaine addiction. Pilatus eventually returned to Germany; in April 1998, his body was found in a Frankfurt hotel room after he mixed a fatal combination of pills and alcohol. Morvan continues to pursue a solo career.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

This is What a Private School Education Buys

Faith is a strange thing. For those who have it, everything that happens reinforces their belief. For those who don’t, a flame-breathing fairy could show them the hand of God Herself and they’d put it down to the hallucinogenic drugs they were slipped.

My brother and sister-in-law are religious people, so they see the loss of their baby as something that was destined, part of a greater plan. I asked my brother if he was angry. Angry? No, he said. I have no questions. I’m just sad. He explained that we can see and comprehend only a fraction of what is really going on, that the little soul of the baby was only meant to be here for the specific time that she was. That was enough to fufill her higher purpose. Those people in Mexico who live til 116 – they must have a whole lot of stuff their souls need to work out. I’m amazed at how calm my brother and sister-in-law are being. By amazed, I mean worried. They assure me that their belief doesn’t diminish their pain or sadness, it simply gives them a frame of reference within which to contexualise their loss.

Me, I’m just mad-angry. I’m if-onlying myself to bits.

If the Higher Being has a plan, I wish She’d let me in on it cos I have a whole lot of questions:

Questions for the Higher Being:

1. What ever happened to Milli Vanilli?

2. My fellow blogger and writer Ova Girl has been trying to have a baby for a while. If you had to build two ideal parents, her and her partner C would be them. Clever, loving, funny, kind, playful. Today I went to a far away part of the city. I saw a pram with a tiny set of week old twins sharing it. Each of them had a bottle in their mouths that they were desperately trying to suckle from. Being that they had no fine motor skills, they were spilling milk all over themselves. I looked up from the pram to see their mother, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, her eyes dead. She asked me if she could score some cash off me. The twins apparently needed a heroin fix. The desire to grab those babies and whisk them away from her overwhelmed me. She’d be relieved, wouldn’t she? It’s too much for her. There was another child hanging onto the pram who looked like he couldn’t stand to be alive a moment longer, like breathing was an effort he’d rather not make. I’d be doing her a favour. I’ll save these children before they get lost. I’ll give one to Ova Girl and one to my brother. Everyone will be happy.

Like Africans were happy when missionaries introduced them to Jesus.

I spent the trip home chastising myself for my middle class arrogance, for deigning to assume that I knew what was best for anyone. Another part of my brain was wondering if I’d get off kidnapping charges for mitigating circumstances. And there was a third bit, a little voice, that felt so sad for that mother who couldn’t see how beautiful these little souls were because her own reflection was bouncing off them.
What was my question again?

3. Why is it so hard to work out what I want?

4. For the last time, where the fuck is my other black sock?