A test of the breasts

Let’s talk tits.

First, a brief, yet fulsome, history.

My chesty endowment arrived sometime during winter 1984, in a massive rush. I think hormones were to blame, but that’s yet another tangent. From slender, overnight I became an E-cup freak. I hated them. People spoke directly to my bosom. Some boys thought I must be easy. Some previously amicable older girls became crisp, sometimes catty. The way that many people now addressed me, it seemed they’d assumed my IQ was riding in reverse proportion to my bra size. This continued, obviously, through my 20s, and it was only when I was quite underweight during the crazy late 1990s that I could ever wear a strapless anything. But boobs defined me, and personally I didn’t dig it: the assumed sexual persona baggage, and the physical, actual, weighty baggage.

I vowed early on that I would get rid of this baggage the moment I stopped breastfeeding my family.

So, in 2008, when CC was nearly 2, I donated my breasts to science. Most of them. It was as awesome as I had hoped. When they’d healed, I ran along a beach. In a bikini.

Running on a beach in a bikini is something you should never take for granted.

My surgeon, a sensible man who saw the beauty in subtle dimensions, asked if I was sure I’d finished my family.

“Hell yeah,” I replied. After all, I was nearly 38, with two beautiful boys. Any more children would be environmentally selfish, anyway. But why?

“Because it’s pretty bloody difficult to breastfeed after a reduction,” he replied.

I love breastfeeding. I love being able to. I breastfed both my boys for nine months. S-Man weaned himself at nine months, so I chose to wean CC at the same age, later, for (psychoanalytically-influenced?) symmetry.

This time around, the first indication that I was pregnant was via my bosom. It ached. It still does, at 18 weeks, but a little less than that first trimester. Perhaps there are ducts in there trying to work, trying to reconnect. I’ve been fortunate, post-reduction, that my nipples are still as sensitive as ever. (Joy!) Dr Google leads me to pages that promise I’ll be able to feed, perhaps with less milk. We’ll see. My breasts are different this time around. Last pregnancies, they swelled to H-cups. Hideous. I had to visit “specialist retailers” for underwear. I marvelled at the silly women who chose this weighty burden willingly, porn stars or glamour girls or otherwise, pumped up with saline or silicone. Why??? This time around, they’ve swelled back from C/D to DD again, which I can handle. They’re still gorgeous, these pert little hills that seem stolen from a 17-year-old: the bosom I should have had at 17. Better enjoy them now. They won’t be so cheeky in 18 months.



TIPS FOR DADS: 1.Rub her feet. Doing a hand or foot massage can help relieve a lot of tension and give you some quiet time to talk. I prefer using a mint lotion on my feet to help invigorate myself. Ask her what he preference is for lotion.

This helpful advice comes from one site of many. The foot rub is a fabled, seemingly compulsory dad duty. Apparently. 

Vincent: Would you give a guy a foot massage? Jules: Fuck you.

So when do these promised foot massages start? WHEN????


In 2010, I had surgery on my lower back: a laminectomy, discectomy, and rhizoplasty (which is where some more bone is removed, rather than a bit of nose attached, which is the image “rhizoplasty” evokes for me). My discs had been “slipped” for most of my adult life, causing a raft of sciatic issues – it’s the reason I started practicing yoga a million years ago. But somehow one particularly slippery little bugger had edged that little bit too far, trapping a nerve and causing a problem or two for my left foot. Paralysis was one of these problems.  The disc had to go.

Apart from some surgical stuff involving emergency adrenaline, which we needn’t go into here, all went ok and, although I wondered if I’d ever interpretive dance again, my post-op recovery (with painkillers employed judiciously) approached something resembling contentment. At the time, I was reviewing books for a micro-living, which is an ideal job to do supine. The dearest of friends and neighbours organized meal rosters and child logistics. I spent hours on a vintage daybed watching birds fly above my backyard. After a fortnight, I could walk down the back stairs.

I began Pilates when I was upright. I attended a studio called Pondera in Brisbane; I still go there today. It hums with post-op recoverees, fit and hearty baby boomers, and broken ballerinas. Reformer-based Pilates helped developed some core strength so that I could return my former hyper-flexible self to yoga. I would recommend it to most, and I hate exercise.

Dr Atticus says my crappy back (that was the neurosurgeon’s official pronouncement: “you have a crap back”) will be one “issue” to watch. (Stay tuned, there will be more.) With that in mind, my Pilates program has been adapted to keep as much strength around my spine as possible for as long as I can. So far, so good.

Culinary heritage

CC, my nearly 8-year-old, informs me he needs to create a recipe to cook something representing his “cultural background”. By the end of the week. With pictures. Which means we have to cook the bloody thing this morning, before school, as we’re tied up for the rest of the week.

Our cultural background is Anglo-boring. I write “Australian” on census forms, but that’s not what out school wants. It’s an awesome multicultural school; its motto is “We all smile in the same language.” How can we compete with the exotic menus of his classmates?

We’ve been here before, last year, when his brother the S-man was in grade 3. He presented his Scottish ancestry with Shepherd’s Pie. Easy enough, with forewarning.

CC has chosen to reference some minor European heritage, which I may occasionally claim with skewed weight: the French. (I think my sons’ genetic makeup contains about 6.25% French DNA. And another 6.25% Algerian. But there’s a tangent for another time.) Well, French he’s chosen, and it sure beats making haggis.

Oi, Oi, Oi... Oui, Oui?

Oi, Oi, Oi… Oui, Oui?

Now, what masterpiece of French cuisine can we whip up before school in order to get some pictures printed?

To my culinary relief, he has decided he wants to make French toast.

A quick pray to Google informs that French toast is, indeed, French (also Roman, and is found in the heritage of many other nationalities, including the Roma, who probably aren’t even allowed to claim eggy bread, or anything else. But let’s not peddle bread-pedantry). It even has a real French name, pain perdu. Lost bread. Meaning stale bread. We’re going to tell his class that we eat stale bread.

The only bread in the house, stale or not, is multigrain, which doesn’t seem very legit. Tough.

Where's Tassie?

Where’s Tassie?

We jazz some of it up with biscuit cutters – eat your heart out, Organised Housewife. A rectangle between two triangles becomes Tie Fighter toast. This is an example of a superior parenting tactic, something those clever parenting books call “encouraging your child’s imagination”*. I am officially an Excellent Parent.

The force is (not very) strong on this plate

The force is (not very) strong in this one

*through crappy representation


Dirty Harry 44A school mum sitting next to me as we watch our sons play tennis offers congratulations, and says “welcome to the 44 club”. Her youngest is now nearly in school, and I had always thought she was my age or younger: frankly, I didn’t really think about her age at all.

There it is. Who gives a mental number to someone they meet anyway? And as it goes, age is nothing but a number.

Perhaps having kids later keeps you youthful! Now that’s not a wishful thought, that’s a liferaft.

Bubbles at home

Soda water. Oh, you wonderful thing.

We bought daddyo a Sodastream a couple of birthdays ago, and it’s ace. Bubbly stuff on tap. (If only it were Champagne.)

This preggo-dehydration thing really kicks in at the end of a Queensland summer that won’t say die, when the thermometer lies and says it’s low thirties but with humidity it may as well be 38. Plus two degrees in a prenatal bulk: you’re kicking 40. Which is 104 degrees Farenheit, my snowbound stateside followers*.

And of course by now, in Queensland, we’ve fallen out of love with summer. The romance has shrivelled. We are over it.  Holidays are a sandy memory. Work has regained toxic momentum. School days thunder along the tracks, homework battles simmering, fees payable for music/camp/sporting fees/art classes/textbook levies. We are hot and broke. Cold beer no longer thrills. (Especially if you’re off alcohol.)

But soda water on tap makes all this much sunnier.

Even if, lately, the eco joy at creating less waste via stoopid plastic bottle packaging is somewhat dampened by liberal guilt at the fact that company’s factories are in illegal settlements. (Well, at least one is.)

Ah, there’s a tangent.


Scarlett's devotion to the bubbles cost her an Oxfam ambassadorship, won her $$$

↓ Oxfam ambassadorship, ↑ $pon$or$ship

Scarlett loves her Sodastream, we know.

She’s also recently defended her role promoting the bubbly stuff, and at the same time, accused Oxfam of being involved in the BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement in support of a Palestine. It’s a semantic twist that Oxfam denies.

Oh, the hairs we split. And how complex our bubbles can be.

Sorry, where were we? Oh, yes, homemade bubbly water.

If you can ignore the politics, just grab the cold water bottle out of the fridge, whack it with three squirts of the gas. Job done. These days, I drink a glass standing up, and then pour another. For the first time in my life, I relish the occasional belch.

I wish there was a fair solution for Palestine, and I really wish Sodastream’s celebrity face sounded less like a silly shiny Zionist apologist. (Not to mention her supporters: check out these comments!).

Above all, I wish I could return to our Sodastream washed clean of this inherited guilt.



The big reveal

The Big Reveal? Or the slow drip feed. The latter was so effectively put to use by Deb, my old friend, that I didn’t find out about her pregnancy until last Tuesday. That’s the day she was scheduled to give birth via caesarian. Deb’s a week older than me. Maybe I should take her lead…

So how to let it be known? There’s the “scan pic across social media” approach, but they all look a little too amphibious. That’s already on the Facebook page, and even I’m a little grossed out by it.

I thought the fact that I’d posted pictures of baked goods on my personal Instagram would have been enough of a hint, but friends can be dim these days. It must be our encroaching middle age.

Let’s see how others handle the reveal.

There’s this film clip.

There’s the horrible picture of a soft toy and a wee-soaked stick.

That's just wrong.

That’s just wrong.


There’s the picture of pasta sauce.

Pasta sauce

However, I know how to pronounce “prego”. And it ain’t “preggo”.
It’s in there… maybe we can work with that…


There’s a world of cringe out there.

Seeking a pithy statement of my own, seeking that crucial social media cut-through. Like a quiver of cheesiness, all prefaced by Guess what? 

Guess what?

“I’m not getting fat, I’m four months pregnant”

… edited to “Not fat. Pregnant” – T-shirt ready…


Guess what?

Those mood swings weren’t early menopause, after all.


Guess what?

We’ll never be able to afford a holiday involving air travel again! 

Daddyo and I settle on a trickle approach, leaving the kick-off up to our boys, who tell their school friends. A couple of phone calls, some face-to-facers, SMS’d scan pics, and we’re away.

I set up a blog, shimmy it out across social media, and back-date a stack of pre-written posts.


It’s awesome to finally embrace this event. I stick my due date into babycentre and sign up for the emails. (Finally.)

Now: to celebrate with a vintage Oaxacan embroidered dress. Hello, Ebay!

Ice cream

Q: Does ice cream count as a craving, or am I being a greedy little piglet?


A: Yes.



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