Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Surrendering onions



I've been away. I know. I have noticed. Thank you for your patience during the disruption to your service.

I've been terribly ill, you see. Sick, so sick. Morning sickness it is. Was. It's over now - sort of. I still get the odd billowing wave of it, bobbing up around my solar plexus but I'm no longer a drooping, greyish figure haunting my house. Urgh. I hate - hate - people who say that horrid thing to pregnant women - "You're not ill, you're pregnant." Really? Because it feels an awful lot like norovirus to me.

Anyway I feel better now. And I had my 12 week scan - just one spratling, thank god, in the right place - and so I can start moaning on about being pregnant again. The other thing that's happened is that I've finished putting together that book I was talking about. In the end it really wasn't very much work, it was just impossible to do anything feeling so sick. Ten minutes typing, 1 hour lying down, ten minutes typing, one hour lying down. SO SO SICK. I got some pills off my doctor, The Beast, in the end. I just couldn't take it anymore. But they only took the edge off, it wasn't like I was bouncing out of bed in the mornings.

I honestly am still reeling from how awful it was. It just wasn't that bad with Kitty. And I wasn't that tired either. But for the last six weeks I've been wiped out, asleep from 1-3pm every day. Wiped out like chalk on a blackboard. And then wake up feeling like shit. Poor old Kitty. Or rather lucky Kitty - she has eaten biscuits and watched telly solidly for six weeks. But thank god for telly. Thank GOD! What would we have done without it.

I am trying not to think too much about being plunged back into a babyhood. I am trying to look on the bright side. I must have learned something since Kitty was born. It surely won't be as awful as it was. I don't want to go mad again, I really don't.

It has to be different this time - for one, Kitty was brought home to a house that didn't have any children in it. It was a grown-up house, really quite spooky in a lot of ways - silent and strange and unfit for a baby. These days it has a chattering lunatic nearly-two-year-old in it, dropping crumbs and kicking balloons and watching telly and running from one end of the house to the other for no reason other than youthful high spirits. The changing mat now has its own room, rather than squatting on the kitchen table. The kitchen extension means that everyone can slob about in the kitchen, rather than me being at the stove, running out every ten seconds into the living room to make sure everyone's okay.

And maybe I'm different. Broken in, broken down. Resigned. Institutionalised. Used to that special sort of monotony you get with small children, so intense particularly in babies. My expectations from life are different now. I am surrendered, like onions.

Surrendering onions is a slow but pleasing task. It is what you do if you want very soft, aromatic, almost creamy onions (for an onion gravy for example, or a tangle alongside some sausages) and the trick is to cook them for a good 1.5-2 hours on the lowest heat on your smallest available burner.

You slice them into rings, reasonably thinly and scatter them in a pan with some oil - and butter, if you like. Then sprinkle over a generous pinch of salt and put a lid on and leave them. Do not turn the heat up and do not poke them about too much. Take the lid off if at any point the onions start to even think about sizzling. Towards the end of the cooking time, the onions will almost in a matter of seconds collapse into themselves - they will surrender. I can't help but think of motherhood like that. But not in a bad way.


 

27 comments:

  1. I don't have kids, so I might be totally wrong, but surely it has to be harder to be pregnant when you have a toddler than when you don't, surely? Even if you are just keeping Kitty from dying on a daily basis that requires a lot more effort and attention than most people put into things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations, and commiserations for the sickness, I hope it disappears quickly. I'm sure you'll manage with two though I never had to even try.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've just been at this baby game again for the past 4 weeks and can reassure you that it is definitely easier second time around. Mainly because I'm less of a mad berk. Ok so he's crying or his nappy needs changed or he needs the boob or he's spewed a bit: well he's not going to DIE if I go to the loo before dealing with him. (with my first I used to burst into tears and phone my husband screaming "I don't even have time to pee anymore, boo hoo hoo")
    Congratulations by the way - good to get over the puking in public phase.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I knew it! congrats. I'm also in the family way just had scan also said thank f its only one out loud to the sonographer - this is third time for me tho - my other 2 are 12 and 9 and i'm currently in a state of wtf-am-I-doing shock. it will b fine tho as long as you keep posting during yours I'll have someone to sympathise with (all my friends are way past the baby stage and think I'm mentAL for starting again) I wish u all the best with the pregnancy and the anxiety too - I have a 3 week course to attend which will apparently give me the "tools" to cope with mine.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yay such lovely news!! Congratulations and I'm so glad you're back blogging xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations xxx my son ( the second born ) sometimes, gasp, wore the same babygro two nights on the trot!! My poor boy. His sister the firstborn was taken to be weighed at the clinic EVERY SINGLE EFFING WEEK whatever the weather! Think he was taken about three times! The poor neglected second born bonuses - had things like a MacDonalds French frie or two to munch but his poor older sister had been given s, only organic, no salt, no sugar, no colour no flavour rice cakes !!! Nice to see you back on my reading list xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. congrats honey and I hope you feel better soon... if you need anything feel free to give me a shout! x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aw, lovely news (not the morning sickness, that sounds horrific). I too am back in baby-land, and actually, it's lovely - the bits when it's just me and baby. (the bits when it's me, baby, and 2 toddlers? not so much) Good that you're getting Kitty used to tv - v likely she'll be watching a whole lot more of it in 6 months time...
    For what it's worth, when I had no 2, 2 things saved my life: long-running dvds + portable dvd player (so toddler could eg sit in the bathroom watching dvds while I showered); and stocking up on ready-made food - for toddler, and us - from Cook (www.cookfood.net - their ginger loaf is sublime, and just the thing for breakfast for a new mother...) Anyway - congratulations, and hope the pregnancy goes smoothly from now on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. mamny congratulations. It's 10 times harder and 10 times easier second time round. I remember the sickness though - the terrible sickness - I had second time round. Nightmare. At least it's over now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just love the metaphor - motherhood as surrendering onions. Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations Esther!!!! So thrilled for you. Hope the morning sickness is gone for good- I had it for the first tri as well and it was the pits. We've been contemplating the second (my son is nearly 1..) and one of the things I worry about is who's going to take care of my son if I get morning sickness?! Are we going to need a nanny all day everyday?! I love reading your writing; whether about motherhood/ food etc.. Very excited to see your family grow and no doubt I will learn a lot of tips & tricks along the way. Love your blog, so glad you're back, and wishing you a healthy, happy pregnancy xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Veronica I think it depends on how you feel about telly. If you don't mind parking your son in front of it, (he will become interested in it at around 18mnths old), for a few weeks while you feel awful, then no you don't need a nanny all day every day. BUT, if you are anti-TV (and here I make no judgement, it's such a personal thing, then you might need to draft in the troops. But, by and large, by 18mnth toddlers are much better at entertaining themselves and don't mind hanging with you for a bit or roaming round the house while you lie on the sofa whispering "oh.. my... god..."

      Delete
    2. Thanks Esther. Yes he's not much interested in TV yet but by all accounts he probably will be by then. My view on TV is.. conflicted. I WANT him to like TV as it would make my life so much easier, and yet whenever it's on I'm holding my breath thinking "please don't like it too much please don't like it too much" and I always breathe a sigh of relief when he turns his little head away after a few minutes... Clearly I need to work on myself first!!

      Delete
  12. ps. would love to see your kitchen extension!! Have heard you mention it several times and can't wait to catch a glimpse.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh I was very sick the second time around too and there were two of them. I survived, just. They're 20 years old next week but it was a close thing in that first 18 months. And we'd left 4.5 years between the first perfect daughter and her twin brothers. We had forgotten everything and had to learn to surrender all over again. Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations - hoping things go smoothly from here. Have a love of surrendering onions as base of a sauce soubise - lovely as a swaddle for fish pie. Also now hoping it'll prove good training for what might come next.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Lovely news! Sooo sympathetic re: sickness as I was very vomit-y for all of my 3 - was put in hospital on a drip twice with last one as I was so dehydrated! The worst wasn't being sick, but feeling it. Had anti-emetic drugs for all of them too and they have all turned out great, so don't worry about that. I also found that I didn't stop feeling ill until 16 weeks, but much better by 20.

    Tiredness made it much worse, and eating all the time helped.

    Hope you are feeling much better soon!

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations! I know the feeling but have chosen to put it to the back of my mind now as my kids are all at school now since this September. I have been thoroughly enjoying it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely news! (Not the morning sickness, that's horrid). I once had stress sickness, got up and threw up every morning for three months. 'Just thing of it as morning sickness, which millions of women cope with' my GP said bracingly, 'but without the sex or a baby at the end of it...'

    Lisa Ex

    ReplyDelete
  18. make sure you look after yourself. wishing you lots of luck. you're must be very brave and that must count for something!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations! I too have a secondary bun in the oven and am sulking about the house feeling very sick and very sorry for myself! I'm working this time round and my boss subscribes to the "Your pregnant not sick." version of events, I am hoping to try and time some vomiting to coincide with conversation with him.... Anyway, so glad your back!!!xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations!! Two is the way forward! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Brilliant news; I am so pleased for you. Kitty is a credit to you. It's hard but so worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations!!

    (I am also pregnant with my second child and can completely relate to everything you said about being tired {SO tired} and ill. Sometimes I think I may never feel well again. I hope you feel better soon)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Elizabeth Medovnik11 November 2012 23:33

    Ooh, congratulations! I've been wondering how on earth women manage pregnancy when they have a toddler, so it's good to hear that you've survived the awful first trimester bit. Actually, I already use cbeebies as a babysitter so I'll probably manage ok if we try again. I really hope you feel well for the rest of your pregnancy xx

    ReplyDelete