Sunday, 21 October 2007


There is nothing more unsettling than being the subject of a rumour especially when it is in the street you live in. I do my best to keep my nose clean down our street, but I’m willing to accept that lately there’re could be one going around about me which doesn’t involve alcohol for once.
It all started the day I bought home a bulk lot of baby gear in the back of the Mitsubishi Chariot. I had bought it off Trade Me and my nine-year-old daughter Pearl was excitedly helping me carry everything into the house.
“You have to tell them Mum,” she said seriously as I passed her the teenie weenie cute car seat.
“I’m too embarrassed,” I replied as I extricated the adorable high chair.
“Look Mum, you know the sooner you tell them, the better you’ll feel about it all,” Pearl advised making full use of her newfound tweeny wisdom.
“I know, I just can’t ye,.” I moaned as I wondered what colour to paint the tiny table and chairs.
At that moment I looked up over the box of gorgeous fluffy nappies and blankets and observed my neighbour staring in disbelief before hurriedly looking for something in the bottom of his car.
This is when my street came to the conclusion that I was pregnant. At 45 I was having a senior moment baby.
I now set off for my morning jog wondering how many people are peering over their lace curtains or yucca stone gardens as we get in Grey Lynn, to observe my tummy and the fact that I shouldn’t really be jogging so early in pregnancy at my age.
And of course it’s not true. Instead I’m going to be a Nana. And Pearl will be an aunty and it’s been such a long time since anything has excited me quite as much.
When my step-son Joel and his partner Gemma told us the news my husband and I leapt in the air and screamed with delight. I think we may have even high-fived but both of us have decided to blot that from our memory. The embarrassing bit is that days after, while the baby was still only 13 weeks into it’s gestation I bought a bulk load of baby gear. Shades of interfering mother-in-law crept in as a result of my eager purchase, the other kids just thought I’d gone mental, and even the woman I bought the gear off in Dannemora told me it was a bit odd. There are plans to tell Joel and Gemma, mainly because Pearl refuses to keep it a secret any longer, and I have been advised to show them one thing at a time rather than let them into my office which is now doing a very sizable impression of being a nursery.
I’m hoping they’ll think of my actions as a version of nesting which all women get when a baby is on the way. That fantastic fussing and knitting, folding and shopping and stroking of baby stuff.
I would like to say that the news that I would be a 45-year-old grandmother was met with resounding positivism and joy by my peers. But it seems no matter how excited you are and how many ways you tell people how excited you are there are always those in your age group who fire back the classic line: “I’m just not ready for grand-children yet.”
What part of not ready must you be at my age I wonder? Not ready to love a baby? Arms not ready to cuddle? Nose not ready to sniff the top of their little head and go ‘awww?’ Of course not. The problem seems to be that the very word “grand” placed in front of any noun denotes bad imagery. Grand old pooh bah, grand dame, a Starbucks grande latte, grand duchy, grand mal, grandiose. These are all bad things. So to be a grandmother means one must have a bad perm, a body resembling a lump of bread dough, the ability to do crosswords before, during and after lunch and to never shut up in a conversation.
We have seen the scan DVD and counted its delicious fingers and toes and we’ve already decided that the baby will sleep in our room when it stays. And my husband’s first words after the embarrassing high fives and large embraces of the new parents were: “We’ll be able to take it to the caravan.”

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