i was recently accused of being an idiot for not knowing that the catholic church chooses which day children can take their first holy communion.  this accusation prompted two things for me; first, to learn more about holy communion and the catholic church and second a good deal of musing on what actions and responsibilities we are expected to attain at what age.  (actually, there was third- it was an educated, indignant “up yours” to my accuser, because as it turns out, my position is far stronger than hers.)

getting back to point one… children that are members of the catholic church are expected to take their first holy communion at age seven or eight.  (the day or days set aside for this rite are selected by the individual churches; depending on the size of the congregation more than one day in a calendar year may be selected.)  holy communion is the taking of bread and wine that by means of faith is both representative of the body and blood of christ and actually becomes the body and blood of christ as it is consumed.  now that to me is an incredibly tricky concept for an adult to get their head around; let alone a seven year old.  holy communion is an act that should be undertaken voluntarily and with the full knowledge that the recipient is taking all the teachings, blessings, requirements and doctrine of christ and his earthly representative (the pope) on board; into their lives with no misgivings, qualms or personal changes of any sort.  that’s a hell of a load! (no pun intended.)  i don’t believe most adults could live up to this demand.  which is probably why i find most catholics hypocrites.  i can’t say for followers of most of religions as i confess (again no pun intended!) i know very little about other brands of christianity or other religions.

catholicism suggests to me than that a seven year old is capable of extreme abstract thought and the knowledge between good and evil, right and wrong, and is able to wend their way thru these difficult concepts.  i accept that kids know right from wrong in terms of not hitting each other and waiting in line and other day-to-day matters but i’m not convinced about higher-order abstractions or discerning good from evil.

which brings me on to my second point.  most western cultures take their legal basis from christian roots.  tho having said that no religion that i’m aware of urges and rewards murder and mayhem.  but if we accept a catholic basis to our legal system why are children not tried in open courts at the age of seven for trespasses against the law.  they must instead be 18?  why is the voting age 18?  the drinking age 18? the driving age 16? the age of having sex 14? (depending of course on your gender or sexuality) the age of earliest marriage 14?  i’m using australian examples that i have knowledge of, i understand that difference are likely overseas that i don’t know about.

so at seven we can take into our bodies the very body of christ supposedly understanding why and what meaning it has but cannot understand that shoplifting is a crime?  perhaps children that have been raised in the bosom of the church have learnt and do understand these very adult concepts.  they are therefore capable at age seven of choosing for themselves that holy communion is the path they want to follow.  i haven’t had the opportunity to ask one.  at present i’d lay bets that given the choice, and without parental urging or admiration, a seven year old would rather choose to swing upside down from the monkey bars.

this is a very short laying out of my thoughts on topics that have consumed far greater minds than mine over centuries.  if you, my precious reader, have taken offence at anything i’ve written, please know that none was intended.  and if anyone knows a catholic seven year old, can i have a chat with them?!

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dr in da house!

July 29, 2010

at easter percy received a belated present of her very own monogrammed doctor’s kit.  two piccies…

didn’t you know all the best doctors wear dorky blue glasses?

graduation in reading

July 29, 2010

one of the joys of the world is reading.  it’s transcending, beautiful, uplifting, challenging, unique, delightful… on and on i could go.

i can’t remember a time i didn’t read.  one of the few happy memories i have of times with my parents is my mother reading to my brother and i as we cuddled up under her arms.  i think i had the elementaries of reading prior to starting school, at least i do remember reading well before my class mates and then reading books supposedly “ahead” of my ability.  i still laugh when i remember, in year four of primary school (how old are you in year four? eight? anyways, it’s irrelevant), being accosted by the principals’ son in the tiny library of emmaville central school and being told that i can’t read books “from those shelves”, they were for older kids.  he kindly re-directed me to the little kids shelves containing volumes of grug and mr men and other one sentence per page books.  oh dear.  not to belittle grug of course- i loved grug.  however the pompous ass was promptly informed that i shall be choosing what i read and from which shelf it will be coming from.  i think it took putting him on his arse to convince him but for the remainder of the two years i spent at emmaville central i read as i pleased.  thinking back it must have been hard to have been the principal’s son in a two-pub town.  i should have felt sorry for him.  that sort of empathy was beyond me at that age though, i just saw yet another bully in yet another school, sigh…

fast forward to the last year.  we’ve read to percy all the time, and i’m enjoyng reading to tally now too.  ‘course his attention span is pretty limited and he still likes to eat anything that’s more than ten pages long.  i love that we’ve graduated from picture books thru one word books, thru short sentence to long sentence to paragraph books with percy.  it’s still cute that she sometimes chooses old favourites to read too; like “what makes a rainbow?”  now tho, we are onto what are more story books, less picture books.  for a few months we’ve been reading percy enid blighton or the like.  we’ve worked our way thru the enchanted wood series and the wishing chair series, we’ve also read the house at pooh corner and other pooh bear stories.  currently we are reading the bfg by roald dahl.  i’ve got five other roald dahl’s stashed away in the cupboard for surprise presents once the bfg is finished.  i’m looking forward to getting onto kipling too.

percy seems to listen well to these longer stories, happily making up pictures in her head.  i know she takes in what is read because she’ll talk about days later or relate something that has happened in the story to something that is happening in real life.  she’s coming to know most of the letters too, particularly the ones in her name.  she calls “s”, “x” often and isn’t so familiar with “f” or a handful of others but she’ll get there.  her writing is appalling but i’ve only asked her a few times to copy over the letters of her name that i have printed on a piece of paper first.  it’s recognisable, just.  she can write “percy” on her own with prompting tho it fades in legibility getting closer to the “y.”  anyways, she’s only just over three!  i’m not expecting more.

i do however expect more from authors and publishers.  take for instance the “what makes a rainbow?” book.  in this story a little rabbit is encouraged by his mother to ask his friends what colours go into a rainbow.  so he asks a variety of animals, each reply with the colour that is relevant to them; green from a grasshopper, yellow from a chick, blue from a bluebird, etc.  my beef is that if the animal is portrayed as male it is given the honorific “mr”, if it is female no honorific is attached.  i think that is subtly giving the message that males are inherently due more respect, which, frankly, is bulshit.  so when i read this book i either leave out the honorifics or add ms or  mrs to the female animals.  which then means percy is not seeing the same words as i am saying.  perhaps i just ought to go thru the book and black out all the mr’s.  then they would all be genderless beasts.

tally’s first tooth!

July 27, 2010

is cutting thru on the right side of his jaw, right now.  clearly our kids just get teeth late.  which i’m hoping proves the old wives tale that the later they come in the better they last.  percy hasn’t been to a dentist yet.  the plan is to get that organised after tally’s birthday party.

percy’s first tooth broke thru at eleven months too.  and she seems to have a beautiful mouth full of them now.  let’s hope the dentist agrees!

here’s a picture of the little guy after emptying a bookshelf to find a good read.  i think the black skivvy really sets off the academic/ intelligentsia/ hipster look.

2.4 children

July 23, 2010

my part in having the average 2.4 children is complete.  except i think of it as only 2.25.  if in having kids half is in the raising of them and half is in the breeding of them then 1/4 of a child of mine might be out there soon.

what am i talking about?  my journey thru egg donation was concluded today with the egg collection going smoothly this morning at 9am.  last wednesday night (21 july 2010) i took the “trigger” injection as instructed at 9pm.  this is to ‘trigger’ my body into ovulating, which i assume makes the collection of the eggs i’d previously been encouraging along with hormone injections, easier.

as it is against doctors orders (turns out to be wisely in my case) to drive after the operation i took a taxi this morning at 7am to the day surgery.  just as an aside it costs $115 to take a taxi from oyster bay to westmead!  thankfully my recipients were paying me back for this.  i was all registered and set to go by 8:15, taken in to undress and flat on my back ready to spread ’em by 9am.  ‘cept of course i don’t remember a thing of it.  which i know is the idea but i just had it in my mind that i might recall a general gist of it.  strange expectation i suppose but do remember i’ve never had a general anaesthetic before.  the closest i’ve come was the epidural used during percy’s birth, and obviously i was talking and moving and remembering during that exquiste night.

i’ve also never been in an operating room before.  yes, yes, we’ve all seen heaps of them on teev but it is a little different when you’re wheeled in with your feet in paper booties and your hair supposedly contained in a paper cap, knowing you’re about to have complete strangers poking about in your nether regions with big needles.  i was apprehensive tho that was quickly dispelled by what happened next.  the bloody anaethetist!  i’ve given blood thru those whopping big needles without an local anaesthetic that hurt less than him sticking the canula needle in my arm!  nurses do it so much better!  (there’s a bumper sticker in that i’m sure.)  he says to me that it will act very quickly, i’ll be out in 20 seconds but it’s only a mild one and i’ll wake up again quickly.  he was right; i felt a bit tingly in my head, tasted that odd, not-metallic sort of taste (but how else do you describe it?) and was gone.

half an hour later i was waking up in the recovery room.  i got all teary!  there was a surprise.  i took a while to recover actually.  which was another thing i wasn’t expecting.  i figured i’d just hop out of bed and toddle on with the day.  but nope, i lay down or sat in a recliner ’til nearly noon.  i wasn’t nauseous to the point of throwing up but i was definately woozy and light headed.  just felt like lieing down.  which i kinda snaffled my way into doing for much of this afternoon anyways.  my recipients were at the surgery when i came out of the recovery room, i think he was there to do his part too…  and they kindly drove me home.  i dozed in the back seat the whole way, which i probably wouldn’t have been comfortable to do in a taxi.  at home our lovely baby-sitter stayed with me to care for tally while i had another sleep.  i don’t think i’ve slept so much in three years!  it’s very odd.

i’ve since learnt that 12 eggs were collected and seven of them are big and healthy enough to go on to the next stage.  they will be/have been “mixed” with my male recipients’ sperm to be implanted into the female in four or five days time.  i really do wish i could use their names and tell their story but i maintain it’s probably best not to.  it just sounds so clinical and un-connected, which is not the truth about how i feel about them at all.  never mind, maybe in the future things will change.

so despite learning that i weigh 75 kilos (gasp! choke!) i’m going to treat myself to some icecream on the lounge with my darling hubby.  good night.

two injections

July 13, 2010

just did two injections into my poor tum.  the first one is to stimulate follicle production, the second is to stop me ovulating (actually releasing said follicles.)  my poor girlie bits are going to be so confused!

when i picked up the second lot of needles today the nurse told that i will need to give these a bit of a jab to get them in as the needle is duller than the one i’ve been using so far.  oh goodo! just what i want.  it actually went it quite easily.  i was wavering between being a wuss and not sticking it too hard but then fearing it would just bounce off thus meaning a second attempt, and whacking it so hard i did myself some damage.  in the end i seem to have picked the right velocity.

for the next three nights i’m sticking these in, come friday it’s back to the clinic for a blood test and an ultrasound.  the invasive type- up your vagina.  oh well, once you’ve given birth you have no dignity to cling to, nor anything to hide anyways.  i had a few vaginal ultrasounds when i had my miscarriage and a couple since too; they really aren’t that big a deal.  i bet tho if it was a bloke some other method would have been invented!

i’m feeling somewhat elated about this adventure.  i’m determined to see it thru.  i so hope a little bub is born in about nine months from now that will know love and kindness and wonder and delight, and maybe even one day grow up being happy and contented that it was brought into the world with so much anticipation, tears and determination.

three injections in

July 12, 2010

i believe i’ve read the instructions carefully and administered myself the correct dose for the last three evenings.  tomorrow i go for a blood test and to pick up more drugs.  then i take two injections every night!

so far no deleterious effects.  unless the big emotional hissy-fit i had yesterday is counted.  hmmmm…  i suppose it should be.  i can imagine the hormones amplified what was happening but i think the hissy-fit was triggered by other things.

no rash, no swelling, no nausea; all seems fine so far.

over the past three months we’ve been going thru the process of donating my eggs to an infertile couple.  i think the easy part is over with now.  that’s because i start taking the hormone injections tonight.  the next twelve days may prove difficult, or we may fly thru.  i say “we” because this is very much a paul and i thing.

human tissue donation in australia is not the decision of one person.  in the case of eggs or sperm the donors partner must consent too.  at first this really irked me as i thought paul has no say in what i do with my body, or the products of it!  except he very much has a say in the two darling products of my body we call our children.  i also thought that sperm donors don’t need partners consent, but that’s not true any more, the legislation has changed.  of course it’s probably far easy for a man to donate sperm without any member of his family knowing if he lies to the collection company by saying he has no immediate family.  it’s nearly impossible for a woman, as i’m sure you understand, the process takes days and surgery; not a quick one off the wrist!

i pointed out that when i donated blood no-one asked for my partners consent.  it was pointed back to me that while blood may save a life, it doesn’t create one.  fair point i think but it doesn’t entirely end the matter.  any child born from my eggs will have absolutely no genetic link to paul.  the life created isn’t his to be responsible for in any way… except morally.  which where it all gets a lot greyer and i think it’s a good idea for the partner to give their consent for the donation of eggs or sperm.  should the parents of a child born from my eggs be no longer able to care for that child, and should there be no other suitable family to step into the parenting role, we would both feel morally compelled to invite the child to join our family.  that possibility is one we have discussed and are happy with.

human tissue donation in australia, well at least eggs and sperm, cannot now be made anonymously.  all donors are entered onto a register.  when resultant children turn 18 they are permitted to access the register and look up their donor/s.  the recipient parents are not.  it is also up to donors and recipients to work out what degree of contact they want during the donation process and any time after that.  i have met my recipients once.  initially i wanted to be in regular but arm’s length contact with them, should they so want the same.  largely out of curiousity on my part i suppose.  we’ve now decided that no contact after egg collection would be emotionally safer for us.

i do wonder quite how we will tell percy and tally, when they are older, that in 2029, a person may contact us that shares half their genetic make-up.  essentially a half-sibling.  i hope they understand why i chose to do this.  i think i’m doing it for the right reasons.  i won’t disclose anything about my recipients as i don’t think it’s my right to do so, but if you heard their story, if you knew their life, i’m confident you would agree they deserve the joy, love and total fulfillment a child can instil into your life.

the process to date has involved taking a bucket of blood out of my arm.  percy was pretty keen to watch the one blood collection i took her along to.  it was strange and a bit disconcerting to have to explain: “now, the needle goes into the vein, and see the tube gets stuck on the back, and look at the red stuff, that’s mamma’s blood coming out of her body.”  she wasn’t fazed at all.  i think she was focused on the lollipop at the end!  shouldn’t that have been my lollipop?!

then we did two lots of counselling and i also spoke to a genetic counsellor once.  as we’ve recieved no negative feedback or been told to bugger off i assume we are considered appropriate donors.  seems my genetic make-up is totally bland too.  isn’t that some of the nicest news you could ever get- “you’re not the carrier of any genetic disorders that we tested for?”  one of the few times in life you want to be totally unremarkable.

so now i’m going to go and read the instructions (again) on how to correctly stick a needle in my fat tummy.  supposed to do this at the same time every night.  since i’m generally in bed by 8:30pm i ought to do it before then.

(just quietly, i really hope everything goes well because i’m scared of the possible bad effects; to me physically and emotionally and to my donors.)

july 2010

July 6, 2010

how dull is that for a title?  may as well call this a journal.  oh…

i’m finding writing very hard, even if i find time.  in fact thinking about writing makes me depressed- what’s with that?  writing used to be my saviour and my respite.  if i can’t turn to writing to make me better, in all ways, i can’t think of anything else that can.  it may, perhaps be a sort of writers block; the fear of writing not being the salve it always has been is a self-compounding block and fear.

perhaps i ought try baby-steps back to it.  see how i go.

domestically we are all fine.  the house is freezing but we are turning a blind eye to our electricity bill.  i’ve put one coat of paint over the hideous lilac that was in our bedroom.  i dubbed the name of that lilac paint “waiting-to-die.”  once the bedroom is finished i’ll tackle the dining room and study nook and the hall.

i quite enjoy painting.  i think i would have been better off becoming a tradie of some sort.  i don’t think i would have liked plumbing but painting or gardening or carpentry sound fine.  at least i’d have a useful skill for all these houses we move into that we want to make changes to.  would be a waste of my degrees now i tell myself but on the other hand i’m not exactly flourishing in the town planning world either.  yes, yes, i know i’ve been on maternity leave for eleven months.  nevertheless, planning at present seems a bit of a void for me.  of course i could just not be looking forward to trekking to ashfield every work day come august.

august… tally will be one year old.  how time flies.