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A Flight to the Sun

December 22, 2010

What a long year.

It seems years since last Christmas, before the arrival of the “dag” who has now transmuted into the “little donkey.”

Last year’s Christmas was highlighted by a rare raucous drinking bout by Maria’s parents at a restaurant, calmly watched by my niece and myself. They decided to drink everything brought the table to ensure that I did not drink and drive back to the chalet through a snowstorm.

I had no intention of (excessive) drink driving, but they didn’t know that, and I didn’t know that they intended to polish off every bottle that I ordered, which much to their chagrin became more and more as I was mildly concerned that I was unable to get a refill of my glass over dinner since they kept drinking everything. Hence the surreal conversation afterwards as we walked (they stumbled) to the car:

Me: Your parents seem quite sloshed. I thought you said they never drink.

Maria: They don’t. They were drinking so you didn’t have to.

We also had a scare before the birth when Maria had not felt the dag kick for a whole day. We drove down from the mountains and to the hospital to get it checked. This is never a pleasant experience for new parents. Fortunately, the dag was merely heavily asleep because of Maria’s fondue indulgence over the past week.

Strangely, and in retrospect comically, at the hospital no doctor came immediately to see us because we had a too exclusive health insurance policy, kindly provided by Maria’s workplace. The policy meant that only a senior doctor could consult us. She was not available for some 20 minutes though a number of nurses, any of them capable of taking an ultrasound, hovered around.

Obviously everything worked out at the birth when finally the dag came out and we officially went binary.

So what have we learned over the past year?

Not much. Getting nose snot out of a baby is difficult, but I probably could have told you that before. Babies also love disorder, which is unexpected. Anything in a box or organised like shoes lined up or clothes carefully folded must, in her worldview, end up in a variety of places around the flat far from their original positions.

I have also learnt about myself. Such as the fact that I despise people who take lifts that should be reserved for prams, and anyway, you’re young enough to walk some stairs so get out and give me room punk. And ditto to those inconsiderates who walk slowly on footpaths when I’m behind with a pram trying to get home fast. Deep breaths.

But we’re off on a plane soon following the summer sun south as long as there are no plane-delaying snowfalls in Geneva, Munich or Singapore.

It’s a long flight to take with the little one, and I’m sure there will be tears, bad tempers and grumpiness. But that’s just me. Alika on the other hand will probably just take it all in her stride and amuse all 400 strangers on board by blowing bubbles at them.

But it’s been a fun year and thanks to all those who have followed, commented and helped on this blog (even if one complained there were too many big words Mr. Swedish Hippy), and to family and friends who provided toys, gifts and clothes after the birth who we never seemed to get around to formally thanking; still asked us out for coffee or lunch, or even dinner at their place despite knowing an unpredictable child will come with; let us tag along to museums; lend cars when needed; offer baby sitting; accepted phone calls at odd hours to answer baby questions; travelled across the world or a few hours or across town to meet the new kid; travelled across borders for her christening; sent enquiring messages that are always welcome; encouraged and supported us in simple ways that people may not have even realised they were doing; and were bold enough to offer suggestions drawn from experience. And it’s been fun too to watch others go through the same experience after us. Thanks again. And hopefully we will get a chance to see those who we wanted to see more of but time did not allow.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May 2010 end with brilliance and 2011 begin beautifully.

I’ll be seeing my dad
My sisters and brother, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You’ll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a petting zoo

And you’re too young to know
But you will learn one day
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people
Who’ll make you feel safe in the world
My sweet blue-eyed girl

tim minchin


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