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the journey to my son's room

If there is one thing I wish that could be different about this pregnancy (well aside from no pelvic pain, two things then) is I wish I could be more innocent about it. I wish I could be one of those women who from the first moment they see those two pink lines start painting nurseries and choosing names and whose minds aren't troubled by the thought of whether their children will survive to be born.

I am not one of those women, for many reasons beyond my Scorpio Moon. My mother had a terrible time reproducing, since so many of her attempts at it ended up doomed to failure late in the pregnancy. Babies who were born too soon, or born dead at seven months gestation. And while I have never had any fertility problems, nor any indication that Kicky Baby was in anything other than excellent spirits and sterling condition, I don't dare trust in happy outcomes fully.

I haven't been able to since my father died and I learned in that unerasable way how deeply and how quickly things can go wrong.

I'm not overly worried mind you. Most days I even tread the line between cheerful and cautiously optimistic. I just know that I won't be able to relax fully and completely until I have a healthy baby placed into my arms, and there after I won't be able to relax again EVER. Or at least not until my children flee their nests and I devote myself to martinis.

In Yugoslavia there is a deeply ingrained custom that nothing is bought of prepared for a baby until after the baby is born. The reasoning behind it I suppose being that if summat goes wrong and you don't walk away with a baby to put into that room you've made then you will be even sadder that if there wasn't an empty room staring at you in the face, waiting to pummel you with reminders.

This tradition has deep roots. It's endemic. Even people who consider themselves rational, atheist-thinking people do it. And rebelling against it- man that was hard. The thing had got me but good. It had wrapped its chill tentacles around my heart and for weeks on end while I paced that no man's land between attachment to the baby and its ability to survive outside my womb I felt that just by merely looking at all the fluffy footed onesies I was jinxing everything, bringing on some looming, terrible event.

While Z could see my darkly pragmatic point of how-sad-will-we-be-if-we-have-a-room-but-no-baby he also felt that preparing stuff for the child's arrival after it had arrived would be more stres than strictly necessary and would only end in a scenario where all three of us wept with frustration and wretchedness.

So we continued to put our hearts and paintbrushes on hold, until I reached my 24th week of pregnancy - otherwise known as the magical point after which babies become viable (i.e. have a chance of surviving after birth).

And all of last weekend we worked, cleaning and de-cluttering that spare room in our house which had previously served as the resting place of all manner of miscellanous clutter and chaos. We had long ago decided how we wanted to decorate the space (jungle theme) and this empty, guest-less weekend we set about manifesting our vision.

Z enjoyed doing all the painting (he said it felt like giving his child something clean and lovely, and brand new; exorcising all of our clutter and the phantoms of whoever had been in that room before) and I enjoyed seeing him sport handfuls of pearly-grey paint all over his hair and face and clothes until he was as splendidly bedecked in it as an Aboriginal man.

On Sunday we braved the labyrinthine bowels of IKEA in order to acquire various brightly coloured things and Z earned himself some more Good Marital Karma points by assembling the wardrobe and then whipping up a bunch of pancakes for us to enjoy with X-Factor.

Our Mood Of Gayness and Affability became slightly strained by the application of these (best product ever! but boy does it seem to require an awful lot of concentration) where Z's engineer brain and Sense Of The Scientifically Real both had a battering.

Z: No! We cannot place the turtle sticker in the middle of the wall! My son will grow up to think animals float just willy nilly with no regards for the laws of gravity!

N:: Baby your son will grow up looking at bright things which will hold a lot more appeal for him early on that the principles of physics which he will likely as not spend his childhood trying to flout.

Z: We cannot attach that monkey hanging from a branch to the palm tree! Palm trees don't have branches!

N: But it's pretty! And aesthetically pleasing trumps accurate in a nursery.

But I only had to remind Z once not to shout at me over incorrect sticking technique and he bravely clambered all over rickety ladders to secure to the ceiling a string of leaf shaped fairy lights I'd bought ages ago and the end-result has pleased us so mightily that every few hours we go into that room to look at it and be gleeful.

Of course unhappy outcomes can still happen. And if we lose the baby then the nursery will make me unspeakably sad. And I probably won't be able to set foot in there without wanting to kill myself.

But I choose to say fuck off to the possibility of those outcomes, and we applied ourselves to the project with all of our best hopes and all our love, and chose just for a while to walk on the side of the sunny, happy angels instead.

My son's room (which will one day have a cot too):

The existence of teeny tiny clothes for teeny tiny people fells me every time with the overload of cute:


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
the idea of you two bursting into that room after holding your breath for 24 weeks makes me want to fly over right now just to give you a hug.

Thank you :)
If you did that though, it would likely be Bridge To Terabithia Happy parts effect, and I'd just cry on you. :D
Sep. 10th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's LOVELY!

Sep. 10th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

*gads around the world spreading BOUNCINESS and GLEE* (kind of like your hair, only in human form).
Sep. 10th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
Lovely room!
Why not paint a jet-pack onto the Turtle? Then it'd be SCIENCE!

I'm applauding your preparedness. Daniel is 19 months old and his room is still full of overflow junk from our house move. His cot is still in our room.
And #1 son slept with us until he was nearly 3 years old.
Sep. 10th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Lovely room!
Why not paint a jet-pack onto the Turtle? Then it'd be SCIENCE!
LMAO, oh please do that!

In Yugoslavia there is a deeply ingrained custom that nothing is bought of prepared for a baby until after the baby is born.
Apparently that exists in UK custom too, buying a pram/pushchair before the baby is born is a no no. When my nephew was born (some 10 years ago now, I can't believe how fast that time has gone!) I remember that Mothercare offered a service where you selected and paid for a pram and they delivered it the day after your baby was born. My Mum impressed this superstition on my brother so they abided by it, although everything else was bought and installed by the time the baby came so what difference does a pram make *shrug*. My Mum is quite a stickler for such superstitions generally, god help the person who puts new shoes on the table in her presence....
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Lovely room!
Oh dear, I feel apprehensive in asking but what happens if you put new shoes on the table beyond the general Argh! Feet Off Tables!
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Lovely room!
New shoes without feet in. Apparently it's bad luck. I found out when I was around 11, put my new school shoes, in their box, on the table and she dived across the room to throw them to the floor. I turned round and simply stared at her, she sheepishly explained. I can't say I understand why still.

She also puts money out for the fairies to dance on at New Years. And throws spilt salt over her left shoulder. And has a near pathological fear of umbrellas being opened indoors.

We all nod and smile. What else can you do?!
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Lovely room!
Why not paint a jet-pack onto the Turtle? Then it'd be SCIENCE!

That's brilliant, I love this idea.

His cot is still in our room.

I knew this wasn't going to be a viable option for us since we wouldn't be able to actually fit the cot in our room (as it is there's but two steps and some debris between our bed and the wardrobe).
Sep. 10th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Lovely room!
Oh, we have to shift the cot to open the wardrobes.
Plus when we had #1 we had to buy a king-size bed since he spent so much time in there. Daniel normally spends at least a few hours a night co-sleeping too...
Sep. 10th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
YAY YAY! Oh thank you for sharing the pictures. We did over our baby's room too and I know what you mean about waiting and the cautiousness. 8th house stellium here :P
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
We did over our baby's room too and I know what you mean about waiting and the cautiousness. 8th house stellium here :P

I remember the pictures - I loved the Sun/Moon pattern.

And it's always nice to find people who understand. :) (I'm also so wildly curious about the baby's future chart - dying to sneak a peak at what kind of a person it will likely grow into.)
Sep. 10th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
Hah, yes, I saw that, but it's one of the things I genuinely don't believe in. I believe that a time a child is born is right for that child so I'm leaving it up to the baby to decide and gleefully hypothesising about whether it would inherit Z's and mine complexes along with Z's eyes and my nose.
Sep. 13th, 2007 10:39 am (UTC)
it will be fine fine fine and the room looks wonderful. you should have made me paint it, i was already covered in paint that week. :)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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