Monday, 8 August 2011

Does anything ever pan out as planned?

When I started writing posts for my blog again this year, I envisaged that I would:
  • say a little bit about IVF before I forget it all;
  • completely bore the pants off you all about my experience of being pregnant;
  • share my attempts at making clothes for the first time in my life using a bunch of maternity patterns that I picked up at my local Fabric Hell; and
  • fill my blog with nice pictures of the things that I am making for my niece and for Spud. Or at least, trying to make.

I am not doing very well, am I?!

The truth is that we have been run off our feet with Everything Else and I've barely got to my studio, let alone sat down at my PC to write blog posts or sat down at my sewing machine to sew.

The maternity patterns are sitting with a length of fabric in an untouched pile at my studio. Time issue aside, I emailed Roo recently and confessed that my bust and my tummy expanded faster than I could overcome my fear of opening the pattern packets. Now, with only 2.5 months left of my pregnancy, I do not really see any point in making clothes that I will probably never get to wear again. So if anyone would like a set of this year's maternity sewing patterns, let me know and I'll pass them along!

My knitting bag containing a couple of baby projects is languishing next to the sofa and my baby sewing projects are strewn across my studio. Their progress frozen in time to the day that my MIL died. Today, I am supposed to be at the studio working on completing a present for my neice as I need to get it into the post to the UK while my sister is there (visiting from India) but I am taking time out to do this blog post. You know how it is - steal time from one activity to do another?

Instead, I have:

  • attended to my MIL's funeral arrangements to save the Fella and his brother the upset of doing it;
  • assisted a lot with the sort out, clean up and necessary cataloguing (of her house and its contents) identifying what things to keep, go to auctioneers or off to charity. Including taking proper photographs of all significant pieces (general view, artistic detail and any maker's marks).

    At this point, I should tell you that each and every room in her house is/was clogged, waist deep or higher, in belongings. So it hasn't been a small task and it is nowhere near complete yet.

    My MIL was not a hoarder in the current, reality tv sense, she had just worked in the collectibles business for the past 30 years. She collected things as stock and laid them down like wine in her house to accummulate in value. The problem is that she collected an awful lot of different things, individually none of the items were of any significant value and she had no coherent storage system. So it's been a shell game of moving things from one room to another, putting the same category of things together and then trying to work out what on earth to do with them all.

    This spate of activity at her house over the past month or two has led me to review my own belongings quite carefully. I recommend that you do too.

    Ask yourselves, is there anything that you own that you really would not feel comfortable with someone else going through after you die? Please consider that this person might be someone you love. Or else, it might be someone that you are not all that close to at all. I am not sure which would be worse?

    Since my MIL died, the Fella and I have each thrown out about 5 bin liners of clothes. In particular, I have been through my underwear and sock drawer and thrown out every last pair of old faithfuls in anything less than 100% perfect condition;
  • liaised with the designer and the builder who were supposed to be renovating the basement of our house this summer to create two new bedrooms and a bathroom - one for us and one for Spud - allowing us to turn our existing bedroom into a home office on the main floor of our house;
  • bitten down my deep disappointment when it became clear that Canadian builders are of a different yet similiar ilk to builders in the UK.

    Although we started this project back in March, were reassured that the basement part of the project could be done (just) in time for the arrival of our baby and threw out or put into storage all of the things in the basement in April so that the builder could start whenever the designer was ready, we still do not yet have the city permits that we need to start work. (Courtesy of the designer taking 6 months to come up with a new basement floorplan and a new garage floorplan, most of which I did myself in the end because his design was unusable...would you put a baby-toddler bedroom on the opposite side of the house from its parents and make sure that its route to the bathroom was a night time trauma creating assault course down a long hallway, around a corner and through a laundry room? No? Me either.)

    On top of this, the builder has confessed that he now has no time or resources to start our basement project properly until May/June 2012. So there will be no renovation this year, meaning no bedroom for the 1st year or so of Spud's life. I realise that Spud will be in our room for the first 6 months or so anyway. But still, it's disappointing.

    In the meantime, the builder does have time and resources to work on our new garage. So we might have that done by.....Christmas? The only good that has come out of this delay is that the emptied home office in the basement can become a temporary guest room over the winter for members of my family who may want to come over to visit Spud. So we plan to paint it white and put a sofabed, bed, garment rail and a chest of drawers (dresser) in there before the baby is born. Next summer the furniture will be dumped, the room will be demolished and stripped back to the studs. It's an idiotic situation but there it is.
  • ordering some essential baby things - stroller (buggy), car seat and a crib (cot) that will work in a house with no nursery. We have the stroller but the car seat and crib are both pending. The ETA is 8-10 weeks, which is might be cutting it a bit fine. If the worse comes to the worst, I can bring Spud home in a taxi (no car seat needed for that I don't think) and the stroller has a basinette for Spud to sleep in at the start. Ikea seems to have run out of the Gulliver baby changing table that we like - it doesn't seem to be in stock anywhere on the West Coast of Canada and our local store have no idea when they will get it back in. So I am stalking their website weekly to see if we will be in luck. After all, I have 2.5 months and I can always change the baby on the dining room table if I have to.

I think that this just about summarises where I am?

Once I have my niece's present out of the way, I am hoping to settle down and work on some projects for Spud. So I hope to have some baby projects to show and tell in the near future.

I picked up a couple of baby clothes and accessory sewing books that look quite promising and might be a gentler route into working with patterns than maternity wear? Just on the basis that if things I make fall off my baby through my complete ineptitude, it might be less embarrassing than if they fall off me in the supermarket?!

This said, I'm not sure exactly how to achieve my list of things that I want to make before Spud is born. I need some kind of support or positive motivation to help me ring fence the time without interference from others. At the moment, it seems that it is too easy for me to be ambushed by those who do not think that my things are as important or urgent as the things that they want me to do for them.

It's very hard for me to say no when their activities are tied to something that is so emotional and upsetting for them. It makes me feel unsupportive, churlish and selfish to want to do my things rather than their things. I feel particularly guilty when I consider that part of my desire to do my things is that I get to do things sitting down, in clean, peace and quiet. Doing their things means that I have to spend my time standing, bending, kneeling and working in 30 years of dust, wearing a mask and plastic gloves in 25-30 degree summer heat.

The problem that I have is that I am more or less 3 weeks into month 7 and pregnancy is really only 9 months +/- 2 weeks either way. It takes time to make things properly. I don't want to end up not finishing the things that I want to make or making errors because I'm working in haste and feeling like I'm going to drop the baby at any minute.

But now I am starting to moan. So I am going to stop writing. Things just are the way they are. Onwards and upwards - off to do my niece's present I go!


Anonymous said...

No, nothing ever does pan out. I was so looking forward to knitting baby clothes, but wouldn't you know? When pregnant I felt too crap to knit (!!!), then of course she arrived and I had no time to knit. Lesson learned.

You might consider getting a chest of drawers or something instead of a changing table – there are more choices, and you'll use it a lot longer. (I didn't like any of the changing table designs I saw, they all seemed impractical in some way.) We have a humongous Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer chest, which may be too big for many nurseries but it is *awesome*: so much storage space, it'll be used for years and years and years, and is just the right height for baby changing. A good depth, too.

You'll be fine without a crib for a while. There's not a lot of baby stuff that is really necessary, especially at first. But I do very, very strongly recommend getting a Moby sling, or similar; at the least, it's a convenient and snuggly alternative to a stroller (and much, much more comfortable than the Baby Bjorn), but at best, it's seriously a lifesaver. Which end turns out to be the case for you depends on what model of baby you have. If your baby is colicky, doesn't sleep well, or a shark baby (gotta keep moving!), it's pure gold.

RooKnits said...

You'll have more time that you think once the baby is born to sneak in a bit of knitting here and there if you want to. We have a changer that goes on top of the cot - but to be honest, we just changed him whereever we were - definitely not an essential. Oh, and I definitely echo the sling thing, it was a lifesaver for me (and still is - even with a one year old).

Roobeedoo said...

Oh yes I agree - definitely focus on tiny baby wear for your sewing experiments. Apart from anything else, they are small and therefore don't require much fabric, and you can concentrate on a good finish. My top tip for baby sewing is to think about ease of access to nappies. Poppers between the legs of dungarees, and nothing that requires a wrestling match with unwilling wriggley limbs! said...

Well, I don't really think it may have success.