I'm sorry to leave you hanging... this is the first chance I've had to get back to the blog since the last post!
Bumblebee is away with his dad, Best Beloved jumped a plane to Devonport (for work) at dawn this morning and I've now got three days to myself... which I will hopefully put to good use. I am planning to be in the studio printing, and going home via the movies. No cooking, just leftovers and takeaway, no cleaning until the very last moment before everyone gets back on Tuesday afternoon (bringing with them Bernice Balconey and her offspring for a sleepover).
I'm in the BookStud now, finding my makeready (the work you do to set up the type and press to get a good print) extremely frustrating. Lots of eeny-weeny measurements that seem perfect one moment, and completely out the next. GAH! So I am going to take a blood-pressure break and tell you about Bumblebee's birthday.
Because I dangled it in front of you, I'll give you a quick overview of B's actual birthday.
I'd gone to the obstetrician that morning, and it was a week before his due date. He made a joke that if B turned around, I'd be right for a natural birth. Not having prepared for a natural birth, having been told all the way that it was going to be very tricky if I did, what with my weird insides and masses of fibroids, I reacted quite violently to this suggestion and told him that if he left me to have a natural childbirth at this late stage I would personally wrap the cord around his neck. He laughed nervously and said 'see you in a week!'.
Here's the little tucker in utero, looking just like himself, except with a touch of the deep-sea creature about him. They did a few of these scans, to make sure he was ok amongst the fibroids, but at no point picked up that he had a dicky heart...
Anyhoo, I came back from my appointment, and went for a walk with a friend to the local secondhand bookshop. While we were looking at books, I had a contraction. I'd had a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, so it didn't bother me. All afternoon, though, I kept having them. My mother was my planned birth partner, and she was ready to drive up from Bega. My father was staying with me for a business trip. (I was a single almost-parent already, by choice. I only wanted one child in my life.)
I rang the hospital, but they weren't fussed and told me to hang about at home. Colonel Duck was getting nervous -- he's licensed to shoot people, but the idea of birth makes him go green around the gills. He tried to distract me by buying fish & chips and putting on a video of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (borrowed from the local library, and complete with subtitles for the deaf: 'Music swells. Bird goes tweet'). It was quite fun for a while, until the pain ramped up, and the hospital said come in for a check.
CD bustled me into his Little Red Ute and we drove to the hospital, with him nervously sucking and clacking his dental plate all the way. We rang Lady Duck, but we couldn't tell her to come yet because everyone seemed to think it wasn't time. I begged to disagree, and after an hour of people faffing around me and a whole whack of indecisiveness, someone finally checked between my legs properly and discovered that the baby was trying to shove his knee through my cervix. Oh! Emergency caesarian time!
CD rang Lady Duck, who jumped in the car. Unfortunately two hours of driving wasn't going to get her here in time, so I told CD he'd have to come in and hold my hand. He nearly fainted at the thought of it, so I asked him to ring my friend (M) I'd been shopping with that morning. She took 15 minutes to get there, by which time I'd been given an epidural and I'd yakked fish'n'salad (I couldn't hack the chips earlier) all over the nurse.
M did a sterling job, holding my hand and making jokes. I was shaking violently, scared that I'd feel the first cut, since the epidural had masked the pain but not the physical sensation of cramps. I asked them across the green sheet if they'd started, and they said 'yes, we're halfway through!' so I started to relax a bit. Then there was the most extraordinary sensation of a huge weight lifting off me, and I heard a squalk... OMFG, I've had a baby.
They passed the baby over to M, and we both sucked our breaths in, as he looked EXACTLY like his father, and neither of us thought that was a particularly good thing at the time. Then I said 'oh, it's Bumblebee', and the moment was broken and we fell in love.
It took ages to sew me up and do all the things they have to do, and I forgot to send word out to Colonel Duck, who was pacing a rut in the corridor. By the time I did remember, Lady Duck was there, and they had first cuddles as we emerged.
He wasn't a well baby -- he'd tied true knots in his cord, and was starving and eating his own brown fat, which is why he'd gone into distress. He was also jaundiced, and small.
On the way home from hospital -- tiny! I had to cut off the cuffs from his little home-dyed babyskins to make them fit.
But he was/is mine, and he's a bloody trooper. We hoped he'd plump up once he got home, but he didn't thrive, and it turned out to be his heart. For that story, go here. That kid has been close to death so many times and survived that I've stopped fretting.
You can see why Bumblebee is utterly indulged by his grandparents and I. He's not spoiled, mainly because we don't have enough money to give him everything his friends get, but he keeps up enough.
So. He got a mobile from his grandad this year. It's not too fancy, with enough credit to let him ring me if he needs to, but not too much so that he can learn how fast it runs out. He messaged me yesterday to tell me his dad had taken him to Sydney. I love knowing stuff like that.
His nanny made him a cake for his party:
Isn't it lush? Choc sponge layers with fresh cream and sliced strawberries between, topped with all sorts of nice things.
It was a Lasertag party. I've never seen so many happy boys in one place.
This is the geekboy demonstrator showing off the new equipment. Flashing lights and noises... they were in heaven.
He gave a few of the teams some strategic tips, but only if they asked the right questions. The place was pretty scraggy on the outside, but once they got inside...
...it was the place of their (electric) dreams.
Team Red. Note extreme seriousness. Gawd I hope he grows out of this phase... I prefer swords to this stuff!
I love all the names they were given. They also got scorecards at the end with statistics on who shot who.
Once geared up, they ran around a darkened maze, shooting each other and the bases. I stayed outside and watched the screen, but I could hear the music and the yelling through the walls.
They emerged from each game red-faced, adrenalin charged and shouting constantly. For anyone planning to have one of these parties, take these tips:
They really only want to drink water and light fizzies. They guzzle down chips, but don't try more elaborate party fare because they're not interested, just needing a quick snack so they can keep yelling and pumping their fists. A slice of cake, another drink, and they're off again. Take earplugs. Have a Bex and a good lie down afterwards.
It was, perhaps, the easiest birthday party I've ever hosted. But I was still exhausted afterwards, from the noise and lights and testosterone levels.
I went to see 'Lars and the Real Girl' a couple of days later, and it was the perfect antidote. Highly recommended.
Back to the makeready. Wish me luck...
PS -- JUST FOUND, thanks to Helen. Heh.