Officially five days to go until our firstborn is due to arrive. Along the journey, there have been signs that The Husband may be getting nervous. Common examples (once a week, at least) have been:

"Will you still love me once the baby is here?" and

"What are we going to do about my cycling after the baby comes?"

But the real evidence of his internal panic came last week at our final ante-natal class. The trainer was talking about the pros and cons of circumcision, when The Husband turned to me and said:

"What are we going to do?"

I paused for a while before responding. I figured he was either talking about something completely different, or he'd realise his mad mistake if I just gave him a chance. Many seconds passed and he kept looking at me with raised eyebrows.

"Er, what are we going to do about what?" I said.

"The circumcision!" he responded.

I had to literally take his hand, look him in the eyes and remind him that we were having a girl.

This obvious panic didn't stop him from excitedly telling me that he'd managed to get a ticket for the Argus this past Sunday or that he needed to go to Cape Town for meetings last week. Luckily, our gynae calls a spade a spade. Her response to his questions on how wise it is to undertake domestic travel after 38 weeks, was simply:

"Depends. Do you have a private jet?"

I'm not sure what pained The Husband more: the knowledge that he'd been officially grounded by our medical practitioner, instead of his paranoid wife, or admitting that no, he did not own a private jet.

The result is that we are in Jozi and wondering if this baba is going to take after her parents who struggle to be on time for scheduled events or if she'll decide to surprise us and come early. Maybe she'll be a Human Rights Day baby and come on her due date. I guess we'll soon find out…

The Nerd’s Network

Two Fridays ago, I found myself wandering aimlessly around Baby City, Craighall. It dawned on me that this is perhaps how the male species feels inside Sandton City: dazed and confused. To his credit, the manager caught sight of me all the way from inside his office and came bounding over.

"You look lost," he said.

"You have no idea," I replied.

About an hour later, I think he was wishing he'd left me alone. His selection of changing mats – available in icky pink, powder blue and white – was met with "don't you have that in beige?". Seriously, the pink was really and truly icky and white just does not go with my nursery's colour scheme.

The camp cots were the worst. I honestly couldn't help turning my nose up. "They're all so ugly!" The poor man looked exasperated, but even he could not defend them. They were hideous. The prams were almost as bad. The one I was interested in, was available in – wait for it – lime green. I mean, whatever happened to good, old, black and white? It's neutral, timeless and stylish – ask Coco Chanel! For a bazillion dollar industry, the design of baby furniture and equipment leaves alot to be desired.

Feeling bad for taking up half the manager's morning, I decided to move on to "big and functional" and proceeded to purchase these exciting products: a breast pump, a magic nappy bin, a baby monitor, a bottle steriliser and a thermometer. I got to the till and nearly gave them all back. I had to cough up the equivalent of six to eight pairs of shoes! And I'm not talking about R200 pieces of plastic from Rage. I mean, six to eight pairs of genuine leather heels!

Luckily, nature has a cruel way of ensuring that mothers-to-be can't wear beautiful shoes, even if they want to. I have literally lived in a pair of Ipanema flip-flops since Week 20. The Husband's comment last week probably sums up my swollen feet situation best. At the end of every ante-natal class, the trainer makes the women put their feet up and instructs the men to massage their shoulders. So you can imagine the bird's eye view this gave The Husband of my beautiful feet. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed, properly noticing my feet for the first time. "You have Shrek's feet!" The thing is, I couldn't really deny it. They looked extra-terrestrial.

With or without my Shrek-like feet, I was still without the two thousand items that one apparently needs to buy when one is having a baby. Fortunately, I was saved in this respect by the Nerd Network. I have a friend whom I'll call Glamour Girl from Glenhazel. Whenever I want to feel like I'm not the Most Disorganised Mom-To-Be Ever, I give her a call. She's due ten days before me but she's far too busy putting her fabulous taste to good use, by decorating the homes and mansions of Sandtonites. As a result, she couldn't give a stuff what shape, form or colour her baby's camp cot comes in. Also, she's completely Type B and she's taking this whole "baby thing" in her glamorous stride. Fortunately, she has a network of girlfriends who have taken it upon themselves to ensure that her baby will be kitted out. I was introduced to one of these girl's at Glamour Girl's 30th birthday a few years ago. Eight tequilas down, Glamour Girl turned to me and said:

"Natalie! You mush meet my friend Talia! You two would get along shooooo well!"

"Why would they get along well?" The Husband wanted to know.

"Becaushe… becaushe…," replied Glamour Girl, "they're both nerds!"

Naturally, I was somewhat offended at the time. (Not least because The Husband thought this was the most hilarious thing he'd ever heard). However, three years later, knocked up and totally intimidated by a store called Baby City, I feel differently. Here's why: Talia, in addition to being a fellow nerd, is now a mother of three and has marched Glamour Girl around Baby City, Baby Boom, Dischem and Pick 'n Pay – all in a morning's work. She now has everything she needs for her babaloo (as they say in Glenhazel) and she was willing to play shopping guide to me on Saturday. We set off for Baby City at 9am yesterday morning and three and a half hour's later, I apparently had virtually everything I needed and had only spent the equivalent of five pieces of leather footwear!

Never under-estimate the power of the Nerd's Network when it comes to baby shopping…

Don’t Poo Poo Daddy’s Enthusiasm

Ever since I can remember, my biggest fear about becoming a parent has been poo. At eight years old, I remember my father literally begging me to go into the Ladies toilets with my three year old sister to wipe her bum. I don’t know whether my poor sister had to simply make a plan or whether my dad had to sneak into the Ladies, but I do recall that I flatly refused to get involved. I think I may even have locked myself in the car and told them to get on with it.

“Just say no,” has pretty much worked for me in this department ever since.

A couple of years ago my three year old nephew was left alone with my father-in-law and I for 45 minutes. No sooner had my mother-in-law’s car backed out of the complex, when these big blue eyes looked up at us and said, “I need a poo!”

As if in slow motion, my father-in-law and I turned to look at one another. What I saw in his eyes mirrored what was in my own – sheer, unadulterated terror. We froze and stared at one another for what seemed like forever. I was terrified that as the female in the equation he was going to expect me to do the honours. But he must have sensed my terror, because when he finally spoke, he said, “Maybe he’ll wait for his granny to get back?”

Miraculously, we managed to distract my nephew from his urge for the next hour, until Granny was safely back from the shops.

At the age of 29, I felt I’d successfully averted another poo crisis.

Naturally, I realize that when my little princess arrives in the next two months, I won’t always be able to outsource this function. And many an experienced parent has assured me that “when it’s your own” etc, etc. Whatever! I’m sure a poo smells kak no matter whose it is, but I do realize that I’ll just have to get over myself and deal with it for the sake of my child.

I was however, delighted, when The Husband announced over our romantic dinner last night, that he would help with nappy changing. (Clearly, if we are at the point where we can discuss poo over Canard de Cointreau, we have made progress). I was amazed by this about-turn in The Husband. I mean, we’ve actually had arguments which have involved him refusing to change future nappies and me, as a result, refusing to change my surname. So for him to announce that he’d be helping out in the poo department, like it was no big deal, got me really excited.

I wanted to support and encourage his change of heart, so I decided to tell him about a product I’d recently learned of: the Angelcare Nappy Bin. From what I can tell, it’s designed to compress and suction away smelly nappies as soon as you discard them. No tying up your used Pampers in Pick ’n Pay packets and having your dustbin exude odours of excrement for hours thereafter. It sure sounded good to me.

So, wanting to encourage The Husband, I said, “Well, the good news is that they’ve designed this great, new nappy bin!”

“Really?” he looked genuinely excited by the news.

“Yes!” I confirmed, with gusto.

“Wow!” he said. “That’s cool! So what, then? You put the baby’s bum on top of the bin?”

I wish I could report that he said it with a twinkle in his eye…but alas, he really thought for a minute that I was introducing him to a nappy changing robot that would take care of our mutual poo fears.

Baby steps, I guess…                         

2011 NYR’s

It’s that time of year again – time for good, old, well-meaning New Year’s resolutions. Since I actually recorded them last year, I thought I’d go back and see how I fared, before setting new ones.

1. Get in shape/ lose weight/ achieve goal weight etc, etc
I think it’s fair to say that, at seven and a half months pregnant, I failed miserably on this one. It’s almost comforting, though, because a list of NYR’s just wouldn’t feel complete if it didn’t begin with “lose weight”. And now I can confidently start my 2011 list with this goal.

2. Start a business
After 17 months of research and development (and lots of sabbatical), my business started trading in October 2010. I would be punting it shamelessly on this blog, but I do want my clients to think I’m a professional and not a raving lunatic, so you, dear readers, will be spared from business advertising on this platform.

3. Master my Mac
We are joined at the hip. I think I’ll take that as an indication of success.

4. Become fluent-ish in Italian
Failed spectacularly and hopelessly at this goal. Did not even attempt to contact the Dante Aligheri institute to sign up for day-time classes with other desperate housewives. However, part of the “improve-my-Italian” aim consisted of no longer attempting to learn Spanish. Trips to Buenos Aires and Barcelona in 2010 saw me launching forth in a unique blend of Spantalian which was perfectly comprehensible to me (although I couldn’t always identify which words were Spanish and which were Italian). The downside was that my Spantalian was perfectly incomprehensible to the baffled locals. The result is that I have decided to entirely abandon any attempts at improving my very dodgy Spanish in 2011 and to focus entirely on the language of pasta, spumante and Roberto Cavalli.

5. Develop sufficient skill (and confidence) to participate in social tennis
I like to think that this failure is less the result of my improved skills on the court and more the result of the scary purple-haired grannies who dominate the social tennis scene at my local club. Whilst enjoying a leisurely Saturday afternoon tennis match with friends, we have been stopped mid-serve, practically frisked for our membership cards and routinely told to remove ourselves from the court we were playing on because it was “reserved for social tennis” – something we would apparently know if we bothered to keep up to date with the newsletter!!!

6. Read the paper – get a Business Day subscription
Does watching E-News on the treadmill count at all?

7. Quit Coke Lite
It’s been twelve, long, agonising months but I am proud to report that I haven’t touched the good stuff since January 2010.

This brings me to the consolidated list of NYR’s for 2011, complete with a selection of failures from 2010:

1. Lose weight
2. Become fluent-ish in Italian
3. Improve my tennis game and join some kind of regular match-play where the people aren’t scary
4. Read the paper – get a Business Day subscription
5. Grow my business
6. Start free-lance writing
7. Wean myself off my salt addiction
8. Stop slouching and start using my stomach muscles to sit/ stand up straight
9. Survive my first year of motherhood

Perhaps I’ll read this in a year and feel proud to have simply achieved no. 8, but for now I’m happy to bask in blissful ignorance at start out believing that I at least have a hope of achieving all eight goals.

The bonus is that I can only start my diet after the little Princess arrives in March so between now and then I’m going to see how much cheese and chocolate it’s humanly possible to consume…