Saturday, January 14, 2006

Oh for a good lie in!

ONE OF the great joys of trying to keep an over-excited toddler's head from exploding over the Christmas period is spending hours in a bedroom with him so that he doesn't completely destroy his auntie's house.

I say it is a joy because once the wee man was sleeping soundly and recharging his over-used batteries I got to curl up on the bed beside him and watch some tacky TV while he snored.
You see, my sister-in-law has Sky TV in her guest bedroom. I know this might be a relatively common occurrence in some areas of the world, but to me it reeked of pure decadence.
Myself and himself have tried to get Sky installed in our bijou Derry residence but due to there being a tree the size of a small African country directly across the road we have been told we can't get a signal. I have never really recovered from the upset of not having the digital world at my fingertips and therefore given the chance to surf the myriad of channels that can be on offer, I'm doofer happy (doofer being code word for remote in Chez Allan). Therefore to have the opportunity to watch all those dreadfully tacky and American reality shows one Boxing Day afternoon was sheer bliss.
I had long heard talk of "Extreme Makeover- Home Edition" but I'd never had the chance to watch it. On Boxing Day however, huge and complicated Sky remote control resting comfortably in my hand, I got to watch it for two hours.
For those who haven't seen it, basically it entails a team of over-emotional American eejits knocking someone's house down and rebuilding into a palatial dream house complete with a home cinema and one of those gorgeous island thingies for the kitchen which I have coveted for many years.
Generally the lucky recipients of the dream home have something horribly wrong with them (I guess that kind of makes them unlucky- but I'm unable to see that through my insane jealously at their new kitchen island thingy), so the big reveal at the end is always an emotional affair.
Everyone cries and, being Americans, there is always a great deal of squealing which, in fact, gets on my nerves- but nonetheless this is a programme which is the perfect anecdote to the winter blues.
I almost wished that afternoon that Joseph would stay asleep for a while longer just so that I could watch the next instalment, but alas, all too soon he was awake and raring for action.

Perfect afternoon
'Extreme Makeover- Home Edition'- Even though we only shared one perfect cold and grey afternoon together, I already miss you.
Having now developed an obsession with Sky TV I decided to make the most of the facility the following day while repacking our cases and getting ready for the journey home.
The other "must see" channel I had heard tell of from those lucky enough not to have big trees blocking their signal was Discovery Health, which shows an inordinate amount of documentaries about women having babies.
Hoping that seeing a woman in full labour would kill the broodiness in me, I switched over and found myself watching a very interesting programme about a Chinese woman giving birth to her second child.
Now perhaps it could be argued that Sky TV is not the most educational of tools, but what I saw that day set my brain to thinking. Apparently in China, new mothers are expected to fulfil a 30 day "lying in" period after the birth of their babies.
Basically this means that for 30 days after the birth experience, the new mum gets to lie in her pit and recuperate while her mother and husband fuss around her making sure she eats the right things, has loads of sleep and is generally pampered.
It is a far cry from life in Derry where within hours of your labour, no matter how long and painful, you are feeding, changing and bathing your child and trying to stomach a rather vile and suspect hospital dinner.
Then of course, after two days (if you are lucky) you get out of hospital, go home and throw yourself straight into the routine of mammyhood- with not so much as a cup of tea and chocolate digestive offered to you, never mind 30 days of nutritious goodies cooked by your very own mammy.
It registered in me that we may be the Western world, modernised in almost every way, but somewhere along the line we women have got the rotten end of the stick. Why no one in the West accepts that pregnancy and birth is demanding and exhausting is beyond me, but I for one would be all for having that 30 day lie in- with nothing to worry about but cuddling my new-born and relaxing into motherhood.
Of course upon sharing my new found belief that we need to move to China before we produce number two, himself has vowed that even if, by some miracle, they knock down the big tree across the road we are never allowed to contemplate Sky TV again as it gives me too many notions.
I guess I will just have to settle for the island thingy for the kitchen instead. Now if only I had the phone number for the 'Extreme Makeover' team....

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