Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Ok, 2011, let's you and me have a little chat.

The thing is, I think our relationship has run its course. And now it's time to say goodbye, and I can't say I'm overly upset. Sorry to be blunt, but that's just how it is.

Now, before you start getting all defensive, there have been some good times with you. I'm adult enough to admit that I'm glad we spent some time together, and I have learned a lot from you.

For example, I learned that it is entirely possible to endure an Easter without eating chocolate, a Christmas without eating much at all, and a New Year's Eve without a single drop of alcohol passing my lips. Not that I didn't enjoy myself, oh no. Thanks to the extraordinary twists and turns that my insides have seen this year, I am now well on my way to writing a book titled, "Lose Weight The Easy Way: Simply Don't Eat" Or possibly, "How To Imbibe So Many Prescription Drugs That Alcohol Is An Unattractive Option". Fun, fun, fun, that's me!

I also learned that it is entirely possible to stare (on a daily basis) at a building site for 12 months, without managing to accurately send telepathic messages to the builders on said site (although, I'm pretty sure they can't really be called "builders", because surely you have to actually build something to earn that title? Perhaps we could call them "stand-arounderers"? Or "time-wasters"? Or simply "able-to-stuff-up-the-simplest-house-construction-known-to-mankind"???)

I have learned that is is very, very easy to become bitter and twisted, if you let yourself. So I have spent a considerable amount of time this year, NOT becoming bitter and twisted, but rather laughing at certain circumstances (which, in turn, gave many people the justifiable conclusion that I have finally cracked...)

I have learned that nurses, no matter where you are, are wonderful creatures who should be feted and adored.

I have learned that children are extremely adaptable. My children have spent a considerable amount of time this year playing around me while I lolled uselessly on the couch (or the floor, or in bed). Once they were satisfied that I was, in fact, ok, they would happily play near me, next to me or on me. They didn't give a fiddler's fart that the house was untidy, that the washing was piled up, that the pantry was rather bare...and after a while, neither did I.

I have learned that even at the grand old age of 35, I still need my mum and dad. I also need my siblings, my grandparents, my aunties and uncles, my cousins, my parents-in-law, my brothers-in-law. My extended family keeps getting bigger, which is awesome because it just means there's more love.

I have learned that being an aunty rocks. I am so excited to be Asha's aunty that I still do a little jump and a squeal when I see her. Perhaps I should be ashamed at the ickle baby voice that comes out of my mouth when I'm with her, but I'm not. I love the fact that my kids have a cousin. I adore the fact that Jack loves Asha "so much, Mummy, that it just doesn't stop". I am tickled by the fact that the Mouse calls her "Shatter". I am so proud, watching Phoebalina cradle her little cousin like a pro.

I have learned that there aren't many husbands in the world better than mine. I'm quite fond of him. He likes to joke about phoning Galbally, the divorce lawyers, whenever I do something stupid. I just remind him that we got married in a Catholic church, so divorce isn't an option - he'll have to kill me instead. Since he spent a lot of time keeping me alive this year, I reckon he's just bluffing. I think he's quite fond of me, too.

So you see, 2011, this year hasn't been all bad. Maisie learned to walk, talk and shout. Jack completed his first year at school, making lots of new friends and begging to go to school during the holidays. Phoebe did lots and lots of drawing, dancing and fluttering in her fairy dress. Archie grew from a teeny tiny puppy to a great, big, lanky, bouncy doggy. Daisy endured Archie's love with lots of doggy-sighs (and a fair few growls). Ernie and Bella learned when to run from Maisie's declarations of love and 'tuddles'.

But when midnight strikes in about an hour and a half, I'll be waiting for 2012 with open arms. Because I am hoping 2012 delivers a few things that you didn't, 2011. With any luck, 2012 will bring me a completed home I can actually physically move in to. I've only been waiting since early 2010, surely it's not a big ask? 2012 will also bring Christian another year at Woodleigh, a school that has made him happier than I've ever seen him. It might bring me some more surgery, but I'm ready for that. It can only be a good thing. 2012 will bring me a two year old, a five year old and a six year old - bring it on, I say!! And with any luck, it might also bring me a job...*crosses fingers and scrinches eyes closed tight*

I can only hope that 2012 is a good one, for all of us. At this point, poised on the brink between December 31 and January 1, the possibilities are endless. The proverbial slate is clean. The resolutions are strong. The wishes for a happy, healthy new year are many.

And so I bid you adieu, 2011. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ravin' with The Wiggles

Right then. This has been sitting in my drafts folder since December 3rd, taunting me. And I wasn't going to publish it, but then I kinda figured, meh. Why not. (And I have been listening to the most awesome ReWiggled CD today, gifted to me by my favourite niece in the whole world. Since listening to Spiderbait "rockabye your bear" is guaranteed to put any old grouch into a fantabulous mood...well. Here it is. Enjoy. I think.)

December 3, 2011. Written quite late (I think - memory is a dodgy thing), after swallowing two Endone (definitely), two ibuprofen (probably) and two paracetamol (maybe?). Lots, anyway. All prescription, cross my heart and hope to be resuscitated.

Even though I knew I shouldn't do it, I did. It was a bad idea from start to finish. The only person I have to blame for the pain I am in now, is myself.


Today I went to the Wiggles concert.

Actually, today I went to the Wiggles concert, under the influence of drugs.


A long, long time ago (possibly in the realm of 1994, but I could be wrong), Gertrude and I had a particularly successful era of socialisation. Being our first year of university, we were in possession of many opportunities to meet new people in a variety of social situations. During one such soiree, which, if I'm not mistaken, was conducted in the hallowed halls of Metro nightclub in Melbourne, we lost a member of the party for over an hour. When Gerty and I came upon him on one of the upper levels, he was gazing skyward with a rapt expression on his face. The explanation for his absence? "I was lookin' at the lights!" Indeed.

And so it was that I found myself today.

Obviously when I booked the five tickets to see the skivvied wonders, I did not anticipate having a gut full of recovering lesions which require ongoing pharmaceutical assistance. And as disappointed as I was, until last night I had resigned myself to staying at home while Christian took the kids to party on with Captain Feathersword and co.

But when I woke up this morning, I felt considerably better - enough to fool myself that a day out wouldn't hurt me that much. I mean, come on. How hard would it be to sit in the car, walk a few metres into a venue, sit for the duration of the concert, and come home? I mean, seriously. I'm not dead. And the thought of missing seeing the Mouse's face in the presence of her beloved Diddles was just too much to bear.

So call me stupid, but I saddled up the opiates, found a skirt with a loose waistband, and went to Flemington to see the Wiggles.

It was a return to grassroots-Wiggles this year, which was really refreshing - instead of the glitzy Rod Laver Arena spectacular of the last few years, it was a much smaller, very toned-down show. There were no big screens, no special effects, fewer dancers. And it was fantastic.

Even in the seats right up the back, you could see the expressions on Jeff, Murray, Sam and Anthony's faces. The interaction with the audience was brilliant, to the point where Anthony noticed a mother in the crowd searching for her toddler. I'm not kidding when I tell you that he stopped the music within two seconds, and calmly relayed the little girl's description to the audience from her distraught mother. The toddler was found at the other end of the big top to her mother, amidst much cheering and shouting. I couldn't have imagined that happening in the middle of the tennis centre, could you?

Phoebe danced from the opening music to the goodbye hurrahs. She was in her element, and it was gorgeous to watch. She knew all the actions, and didn't take her eyes off the stage for a second. Being Jack's third concert, he waved and cheered and sang, but he wasn't as excited as his little sisters. But Maisie. Oh, my goodness. The Mouse's eyes were wide even before we entered the big top, thanks to the enormous blow-up representations of the Diddles outside the venue. By the time the music started, and her idols appeared in the flesh before her, Maisie was speechless.

It only took her a song or two to warm up, and then she sang and jigged on my knee and clapped her little hands, and before long she was standing on a chair, screeching. Her mother's daughter, I suppose.

And me?

Well, thanks to my magic little white pills, all of my edges were a bit muzzy. The songs were sung a little off-key, the knee the Mouse balanced on was relaxed and out-of-time, and I think I spent a fair bit of time just "lookin' at the lights". But I enjoyed it all immensely, and I reckon I probably looked the same as any other mummy after her lunchtime chardy. Right?

And despite the fact that the pain returned with a vengeance during the car ride home, and that I am absolutely stonkered from actually leaving the house, I am so glad I went. I have an early night ahead of me, an easy day tomorrow...and just to see my kids enjoying themselves was priceless.

When they're revolting teenagers and I'm reminiscing about family outings to Wiggles concerts with my toddlers, I'll remember how their little faces lit up when Dorothy danced around in her tutu. I'll remember how excited they were to be greeted by Anthony only a metre away. I'll remember how they danced and sang, clasping each others' hands, happy to be together. At least, I'll remember once I re-read this old blog post. Thanks to my little white pills, without writing all of this down I'd probably remember humming a little tune to myself whilst lookin' the lights...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I know grown-ups don't usually write to you, but neither do they normally sit on your knee without a child in attendance. (I was 21, my sister was 15, we thought it was a laugh. I'm still not sure that it was kosher for you to pinch us both on the bum...)

Anyhow, rather than writing to you asking for lots of lovely new stuff, I thought I would drop you a line letting you know what I received this Christmas. A change is as good as a holiday, right? And goodness knows, a bloke with your job needs a holiday at this time of the year...

I must have been a rather good girl this year (or rather better than I thought, at any rate), because this year for Christmas I received:

1. A Christmas Eve breakfast at the local playground / leash-free park which allowed both the kids and Archie to blow off enormous amounts of steam and began our Christmas festivities on a lovely, family-friendly note before the thunderstorms washed everything away. Also, there were no breakfast dishes to wash and it was too early to need the whole sunscreen-and-keep-your-hat-on palaver. Score.

2. A Christmas Eve barbie at Narnie and Pa's house, which I enjoyed immensely. The kids herbed around madly and were spoiled rotten by Narnie, Pa, Uncle Joshie and Sonia until about 9pm. Which meant that by the time we arrived home they were hell-bent on getting into bed before the big man in red arrived (To be totally precise, Jack careened in through the front door, flinging shorts and tshirts off and pyjamas on, and squealed, "No time for a book tonight!! We have to go to sleep!! We have to be asleep!!") I love bedtime on Christmas Eve.

3. The joyous experience of being the mother of three young children on Christmas morning. I know that when I am a very old lady, I will look back on these years as being the best of my life. I won't remember breaking up 20 squabbles a day, or having toddler tantrums in the trolley at Coles, or the never-ending grind of washing dishes and clothes and the floor.

But I will remember this morning, with the whoops of glee upon spying the bulging sacks, and the delirious ripping and tearing of wrapping paper. I will remember Jack playing for hours with his Finn McMissile car (or as he says, Finn Missmissile) and his Lego. I will remember having two blonde, curly-headed daughters, both with new baby dolls (promptly named Chloe and Emily), changing their nappies, feeding them with bottles, and making beds on every flat surface for their babies.

I will remember Phoebe proudly helping me to decorate the gingerbread house to take to Grandma's house. I will remember the Mouse prancing around in her new, purple and orange flouncy "danshing" (all dresses, particularly fairy dresses or tutus, are called "danshing". As is the act itself, and any music that could be danced to. Not confusing at all.)

I will remember my children giving each other little gifts, and hugging each other as they exchanged them. I will remember this day, with all three of my children believing in Christmas magic with all of their baby hearts. I will remember this day simply because it was the Christmas morning I have dreamed of since I first imagined being a mum.

4. A delicious Christmas lunch cooked entirely by my wonderful mother-in-law. I hope she knew how much I enjoyed the meal that took her hours to prepare, even if I couldn't eat very much (Well, you see Santa, the one thing I'm rather ungrateful for this Christmas is my misbehaving large doesn't allow me to eat much without complaining loudly. It would prefer if I didn't eat at all, but unfortunately my stomach insists on being hungry at regular intervals. I don't suppose next Christmas you could bring me an entire digestive system that gets along?? No?? *sigh*) I just enjoyed sitting back and watching the melee of kids, uncles and wrapping paper that personifies Christmas Day.

5. Right now, I am scrunched on the couch next to a teetering pile of new toys and books. There is an enormous pirate tent in front of me. Archie and Daisy are snoring on the floor. Ernie and Bella are curled up together on the bed. The kids are all in various positions of exhausted sleep. And Christian and I are waiting for our own personal annual tradition: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I may not be able to scoff mince pies, Christmas pudding, chocolate, champagne, wine, turkey...(ok, now I'm seriously depressing myself) like everyone else, but I can sit with a cup of tea, snuggle up to my hubby, and watch some truly dodgy 80's telly on Christmas Night. I couldn't ask for anything more.

So Santa, as you can see, I have been royally spoiled this Christmas. And if I may be cheeky for a moment, I was wondering if I could put in an early order for 2012:
* A house that we can actually MOVE IN TO. I mean, being at lock-up is great and all, but an inhabitable home would be even better. Dontcha think?
* An intestine transplant, or failing that, a personality transplant (so that I can be one of those people that don't want to eat. It would be way easier.) Or maybe just sew my mouth shut.
* Another Christmas with three magic-hungry sprogs in the house. Let's face it - Christmas with little kids is the best. And we parents need the memories of the Christmases with small kiddies to cope with the teenage-years Christmases that lie they even make Emo Santa sacks?? Note to self: find out before Jack begins applying eyeliner...

Thank you Santa. Give my best to Mrs. Claus and the elves. I promise to be a good girl this year.

Lots of love from Salamander xxxxx

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby Jesus and the fluoro straw

So like, I'm completely aware that it's Christmas Week, and I like, totally haven't blogged even once. (Actually, there's two posts in my drafts folder waiting to be published...I just don't have the stones to publish either of them yet because they were both written heavily under the influence of oxycodone. Are you hearing me??)

Truth be told, I'm so tired I'm not even really blogging now. I mean, my laptop is turned on and my fingers are typing, but my eyes are closed. Honest. There's even a little snore escaping...

The last few weeks have been a blur of recovering from surgery, visiting my poor baby niece in the paediatrics ward in hospital, and finishing the school year. Anything outside of that tight little circle has not had a look in, mainly because it would involve cleaning or grocery shopping. Neither of which I have done recently.

But little Asha is home at last, feeding up a storm and chubbing up those gorgeous rolls on her wrists again, so that's one worry to tick off the list. And today I finished my teaching contract, so I had to say goodbye to the group of Grade 5's that I have come to absolutely love over the last six months. I spent today cleaning out my classroom, turfing stuff that wasn't needed any longer and filing all the important gear. And since Jack was hamming it up at (pre-paid) after-school care, I spent a bit of time helping my mum clean out her classroom. (I know it seems quite pathetic that I was lingering at school so long after the last bell, but wouldn't you be reluctant to leave a workplace you were happy in, knowing it was over?? Or am I just pathetic? Shut up.)

So I was understandably a bit mopey on the drive home. That is, until my fantabulous son cheered me up with the best explanation of the nativity I have ever heard. So if you're prepared to put up with my sleep-typing, I'll have a crack at relating Jack's version of the Christmas story. It's a corker.

"Hey Mumma, guess what? In music today, we watched the Wiggles Christmas video, just like our one at home. And it was really fun, because we sang all the songs. And we learned about our king, baby Jesus. Why didn't you tell me about baby Jesus before, Mum?"

*insert brief maternal mumbling*

"Joseph was a builder. And Mary came and told him there was a baby in her tummy. And she got on a donkey and they went for a ride. And they needed to find a place to sleep, but no one would help them. Then they asked the outkeeper, and he said they could sleep in his barn. Then Joseph made a cot, and put hay in it to keep baby Jesus warm. And then he was born, and they put him in the cot, and all the hay lit up and was blue and red and green, like lights. Not like fire, because it didn't burn him. But all lit up."

*insert raised maternal eyebrow, stifled laughter, and careful questioning to ensure further details followed*

"And then all the people grabbed the hay and waved it around baby Jesus, but not in his face so it wouldn't frighten him. And the shepherds came, and the wise men. And that's all. But Mum, where is baby Jesus now? Because he was our king, and kings don't die."

By this point I had realised that Jack had combined a teacher's story of the nativity with the gyrating children dressed as cherry-nosed reindeer who dance in the Wiggles DVD, waving streamers around a "manger", and had inexplicably interpreted this as fluoro straw in the cradle. Rather than disabusing him of this amazing image, I quickly paraphrased the story of Jesus, and explained that lots of people believe in lots of different things, and that the most important thing of all was to be good and kind.

He seemed satisfied with this. I am mildly amused by the fact that he wants to lobby the school to do a nativity play, so that he can play Joseph. However, I am wildly alarmed by the fact that Phoebe wants to be in it too, so that she can be Mary and Daddy can be Joseph. Can you spell Jungian behaviour??? I can't....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jack and Phoebe's Ballet Concert (or why I am a terrible stage mother)

My poor kids have put up with a lot lately. They've had a mother who hasn't been well enough to take them to the park or the playground. They've stayed at home on lovely sunny days while Mummy had (yet another) lie down. They haven't had a walk with the pram and the dogs in months, simply because Mummy hasn't had the strength.

They've never once complained. Every time I have tried to apologise for their quiet weekends, or for missing out on walks or outings, they pat my arm and tell me not to worry. Whenever Phoebe leaves the house without me these days, she'll hug me and tell me, "Have fun, Mumma, and have a rest. Ok?" It's enough to make me want to weep.

Yesterday I was thanking the stars and the moon above for my children's resilience, because I was the worst stage mother who ever walked. Not that I was ever any great shakes to be an uber-stage mum. But considering that my children had been building up to their ballet concert for a nearly a year, my efforts were pretty shabby.

Christian took them to the final rehearsal at the theatre at 11am, and pretty much the only thing I reckon I planned properly was the pasta lunch they returned home to. Had I been my normal chipper self, their ballet clobber would have been organised by last Wednesday, there would have been time spent attempting to make Phoebe's hair curl properly, and I would have invested quite a bit of energy into making the day run well. As it happened, quite a lot was left to chance.

Although still in my jarmies after lunch (well, all of my pants are tight around my incision sight, and it hurts to get dressed, ok? That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it), I managed to label all of the stuff they needed to take with them, while they slept (and the Mouse took all of the carefully labelled gear out of the boxes). I checked that they both had their ballet and tap shoes, the right socks and snacks, and miscellaneous makeup and hair fripperies. I had thought I was doing quite well, until I realised that it was 3pm, and I had exactly 45 minutes to do Phoebe's hair, get organised for our babysitter, and find some sort of outfit that wouldn't press on my tummy.

Before I went into the hospital for my surgery, I had attempted several times to do Phoebe's hair in the required arrangement of curls that her ballet teacher desired for the concert. Despite the fact that Phoebalina's hair is naturally curly, she is what you might describe as "follicularly challenged". In other words, she doesn't have much hair. So doing anything more than brushing it is always an ordeal. And it never, ever curls when you want it to - it simply fuzzes into a shriek of furz.

Yesterday, I asked Daddy to chuck her in the shower at 3pm, towel-dried her mop, tousled her curls with my fingers, and spray-blasted the lot with a can of hair spray. And for almost zero effort, it looked pretty good. (And the curls lasted until the end of the concert, which was all I needed). Although the ballet mummies had been asked to do light makeup so that our cherubs would be seen to their most advantageous light on stage, I took the definition of 'light' fairly literally...after all, how much make up does a four year old with perfect skin need anyway??

Amazingly, Christian and I managed to leave Maisie and get the big kids to the theatre on time, with everything they all needed. I know, right? I'm shaking my head too.

And when the audience was seated, and the curtain rose, I stopped thinking about all the palaver it took to get there, and all of the kafuffle about hair curling and lipstick and the right pair of tights, and simply watched. Because it was absolutely wonderful.

Phoebalina was part of the "Tinies", a group of girls so impossibly small that the audience collectively clasped their hands and grinned in anticipation when the lights came up on their starstruck faces. Phoebe and her classmates were dressed as tiny brides, which sounds dodgy but it was actually really cute. They clattered their way around the stage on their tap shoes, completely out of time and without any real formation. But they managed a wobbly line in which they showed their rapt audience a few tap moves, before tapping off the stage in a flutter of veils and relief.

Jack had two dances - "The Trolley Song", which was a catchy little tap number performed to the beautiful sounds of Judy Garland, and a jazz dance to "The Cat In The Hat". Our boy stood centre stage and smiled as though he had been born for that moment. I just kept looking at him, trying to work out where my baby had gone. After one performance, Jack had been asked to lead his group in a bow, but they didn't follow him as they were supposed to. Which meant that grinning Jack stood by himself, at centre stage, with his arms spread to the applause. It was at that moment I realised that this was only the beginning of something huge!

The entire ballet school came together after interval to perform "Sleeping Beauty", and it was beautifully done. Phoebe was dressed as a tiny pink flower, and performed a sweet little dance with one of the fairies that blessed the Princess Aurora. Jack was a mouse that helped change Cinderella's rags into a beautiful dress (it was a conglomeration of fairy tales so that every one had a made sense at the time!). After wielding an enormous pair of yellow scissors, Jack-the-Mouse ran giggling across the stage, almost splitting his sides he was laughing so hard.

My two big kids love going to ballet every Saturday, even when they are absolutely exhausted from a big week. I've always loved the idea that they were doing something physical and creative that they enjoyed. It never occurred to me until last night that they were a part of something much bigger than that. Aside from the hair, makeup and costume palaver, I watched the performers aged from four to eighteen years old last night and saw a team. I saw teenagers willing and happy to help young children. I saw dancers who had worked exceptionally hard to learn some very complex dances. I saw a bunch of happy, healthy kids.

The older girls and boys dancing last night were teenagers very clearly loving what they were doing. Not only were they fit and healthy, dancing with strength and stamina, but they were full of passion for the dance. I saw my two young children looking up to them, learning not only how to dance, but to be part of a team, to have courage, to be proud. And I was so very proud of my two little dancers, and every grinning, stumbling step that they took.

I am taking an oath, right here, right now, that at next year's ballet concert I will be a much better stage mummy. After all, if my kids can put on a performance like they did last night, they at least deserve a half-decent parent behind them. I will have everything organised the day before the concert. I will have all of their gear labelled (properly, and not just with a blunt Sharpie texta). I will have nutritious snacks prepared, rather than the dry biscuits and an apple I threw in their boxes yesterday. And I won't be muzzed on Endone by then either (probably...) But I'll probably still skimp on the makeup. And unless Phoebs grows some hair over the next 12 months, my hairdressing skills will probably still total a can of hairspray applied liberally. But at least it will applied with love.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Adventures in Druggy Land

So where were we??

Oh. *pause for slight embarrassment*

I blogged under the influence of drugs, didn't I? Sorry. I'm sure it wasn't the prettiest of posts. But it was important to mark the occasion, even if I had enough in me to tranquillize a large horse.

I'd probably better explain before you write me off as a bad joke...

Last week I found out that I didn't have cancer. Which, you'll agree, makes it a pretty awesome week. The whole CT-scan-wetting-your-pants-thingy that I told you about the other day, well, that was the last in a string of tests attempting to find out what was wrong with me. Which, in the end, didn't confirm anything other than that I didn't have cancer. I was, as you can imagine, relieved beyond belief at this. However, being in constant pain meant that I was still quite antsy to find out what was going on in my guts, and I wasn't really satisfied with the diagnosis of "hypochondriac" given to me by the first surgeon I saw. Call me picky, but I wanted someone who was interested in helping me.

So anyway, after the last bloke blew me off as a sook and told me to go home and simply live with the (imagined) pain, I got a bit cross. (*insert some sweary words here*) Christian came with me to see my GP so that we could insist on getting some help for me.

Dr. No-Name explained that the tests had come back clear, meaning there was nothing wrong with me. I needed to take the antidepressants that he prescribed to help me sleep, which would in turn lift my ability to cope with pain.

Christian explained right back to Dr. No-Name that since the tests had come back clear, it simply meant we had not yet found the cause of my pain. And that I had no problem sleeping. And that my capacity to deal with pain was increasing by the day, since I had been coping with it for a year, and was no longer coping.

Dr. No-Name said he would refer us to a colorectal specialist, but that all it would mean was that we would wait for several months to pay for a second opinion which would get us nowhere. Because there was nothing wrong with me.

Christian told him that we'd appreciate the opportunity to pay for a useless second opinion.

Manly stares ensued. And finally a medical sigh.

The very next morning, I received a phone call from Cabrini Hospital, asking me to attend an appointment with their leading colorectal specialist. They had received my files and test results that morning, and requested to see me as soon as possible. When I saw my GP later that day, attending an appointment for Phoebalina's immunisations, he mentioned that he had sent off my files. The look on his face when I said I was seeing the specialist the next day was priceless. Have you ever literally seen the colour drain from a person's face? I have. It's weird.

So anyhow, I met the lovely surgeon at Cabrini, he opened me up one week and one day after meeting me, and found, quite literally, an intestinal mess. After the surgery, he told Christian that he had separated 25 abdominal adhesions, but that there were many more he physically could not get at. He also discovered that the bowel resection I had at age 11 was more extensive than we had been led to believe. Apparently, I am quite challenged in the large intestine department, in that I am missing half of it. A little detail that could possibly explain the vagaries of my digestive system over the last 24 years.

And so it is that I missed the birth of my first niece. I won't tell you about that just yet, because I don't want to sully Asha's arrival story with tales of my drugged adventures in hospital. Needless to say, after having a team of surgeons ferreting around in my innards, I have felt a bit worse for wear over the last week (this time last week, I was literally coming out of theatre, with no idea what my name was. And no housework to do...)

Luckily for me, the painkillers are awesome, and my husband is even awesomer. I was in hospital from Friday until Wednesday, pretty much unable to move. Christian has taken care of everything, and my mum not only took care of our girls and me this week while Christian has been at work, but she spent all weekend with my sister in the labour ward. Christian's mum and dad took the kids for us last weekend, meaning that they hardly missed me at all. Without them all, I would never have coped. I literally haven't lifted a finger (probably a good thing, since the morphine possibly inhibited my decision-making skills somewhat...) I have worn pyjamas for a week, and have lost handfuls of weight since I can't eat much at all. People pay money to go on health farms to wear jarmies and get thin. Pfft to that, I say. Who needs a health farm when you can have painful, digestion-halting surgery? Best diet I've ever been on.

So that's where I've been. Forgive me? Now, before I toddle off for my evening cup of tea and handful of opiate-based pharmaceuticals, I promise you I'll tell you all about my beautiful baby niece Asha properly very soon. After all, it's a humdinger of a tale. I bet you've never heard of a woman in full labour take on an emergency department full of druggy bogans? No? Ha! Wait till you meet my sister!!!!