Friday, October 29, 2010

What to expect when you're expecting a Cocktail At Naptime

In the year 2000, I was expecting my first child. By month two of the gestation, I was eagerly poring over a copy of the seemingly staple and somewhat stuffy (personal opinion only) self-proclaimed "iconic" pregnant woman's bible: What To Expect When You're Expecting. I have to say, it took itself very seriously.

By the time my little Bliss-Bomb arrived in 2006 - that's her there, nawwwww - I felt like I had a handle on what to expect. After all, I was now expecting for the 10th time. I was done with the expecting part, certainly the reading of what I was going through and what I could expect. I wanted to get to the euphoric huggies-commercial baby-gooey-lovin' part!

It didn't happen. Of course it didn't happen. I mean, it did, but it also SO didn't live up to my expectations that I had built upon over the intervening six years as I waited to bring home my first child.

Then, when I got my Bliss Bomb home, I scoured the "modern-day" new mother's bible, Baby Love, but still.... STILL I did not feel one bit normal. I hardly felt placated. I mean, this book told me what to do with my baby and it was good for that. But, being a girl who gets by without a mother or sisters or any influences like that, I needed.... well, I needed a bloody cocktail at naptime friend. Who knew?

I know what happened now.  What I didn't have was the real take on the gig. The bit about the episotomy I'd get. And the bladder weakness I'd be subjected to. And a random leaky alpha boob that could squirt a sales clerk at ten paces. What if I had been forewarned? Prepared? Chortle-chortle...... I would have scoffed in this book's face if it had tried to convince me before my sweet cherub had arrived that I would be faced with any such quandry.

And this is where the book - Cocktails At Naptime - comes in. If you've been under a rock in the mummy blogosphere, not only will you not have heard of its existence (and shame on you), but you also won't know that Gillian Martin and Emma Kaufmann co-authored the book and have never actually met. It's now the stuff of folk legend, I'm sure, for it remains a mystery to me how anything so well crafted has been put together by more than one person who don't even live in the same country. As a wannabe published author myself, I find that a remarkable feat on its own.

But as it stands, I've devoured Cocktails At Naptime cover to cover and I have to say, this book is such a delightfully refreshing, funny - frankly - pisstake on the entire debacle oh sorry, miracle that is bringing home a new baby. You can't help but laugh out loud, even if you're the hardest nut to crack. Hmmmm... like me, when it comes to babies and taking them at comedic value (I mean, come on, just look at my history).

This is the sort of book that can span the years. It will be equally as comfortable in the hands of someone who is in their babymoon, in the throes of those first delirious months, and in the first, second or third year (and beyond) as a retrospective. The biggest appeal about Cocktails At Naptime is that it's like that friend who not only encourages you to be led astray to the 'dark side' of succumbing to that want/need/desperation to see yourself as still normal even though you're a mother now and still haven't gone back to being your previously knowable self, it's also there to educate and even guide (in the most frank and real and "They didn't write that, I didn't actually just read that?!" kind of way).

I began reading this book after being approached by the authors to host a review as part of their bloggy tour - a request I could not turn down, as I was frankly very chuffed at simply being asked - and thought it would take me the usual aaaaages to read. I am an awful reader, I'm bad at it. It takes me months to finish anything, even books I adore.

So I was delighted that this was a read that was, obviously, so captivating that even little old slow-poke me devoured it in a couple of afternoons. AND I retained information. AND I had a bloody good time reading it.

In no particular order, I give you some of my stand-out favourite bits sorry, sections is a more comfortable word, considering the subject matter (and without giving too much away, a-course, because then what would be the point of my blog's very first ever GIVE AWAY at the end!?!?!):

Say hello to your new vagina (authors' words, not mine) - I told more than one friend in the first few months that I was certain I was being applauded every time I used the toilet because.... LOOK AWAY NOW, GENTLEMEN AND LADIES....... I could hear clapping. Full on clapping when I *aherm* shook the drips. Turns out, it was the Labia Sisters still not snapped back to their original form. Now, there, right there, is sommit they do NOT explain in any preparation class I've ever graced (my words, not authors').

• Did the person doing the needle-work have glasses that looked like the bottom of a Coke bottle? - For serious, that question made me draw in my thighs to protectively cover The Girls. I mean, HOW did Gillian and Emma know the description of my Obstetrician? Were they there?? Uncanny.

Your boobs and you - made me feel so, so, so normal about my previously decent and generous cup-size expanding to something of gargantuan proportions, five times larger in terms of cup size, in fact (never to go down, by the way, and don't be thinking that's fun... there's nothing FUN about carrying around a craptonne of weight in one area of your body - think scoliosis and permanent back strain, people, as well as not fitting into anything anymore because of that localised area alone)

Your stretch marks - and their marbling design. Oh, Lordy-maird, yes. Sob. Yes. I could show you photos but honestly, we shan't go there. I still want readers tomorrow.

"He said/She said" - very informative, a must-have for those times where the new mother is feeling so low and thinks she's reacting normally to everything her partner does or says (in Twitter terms, the hashtag would be a resounding, #newsforyouhoney)

This book, simply, has a little bit of everything. I don't think anything was left out, or if it was, it's so full of great stuff to dip into that you won't notice. There are too many things to list as my fave because really, it all was. A really spiffy read! And without trying to sound trite, I have to say... Awesome job, Gillian and Emma. Truly.

There's only one slightly negative thing I'd like to say:   Where were you four years ago?!?! I so could have used this then (even though, strangely, it's so validating even now to read your book and realise, owh migod, I was normal back then!)

You know possibly the best bit?  You can WIN yourself a copy - I have two here, thanks to the remarkable posting efforts of Joanna at Finch Publishing to get them to me quick-sticks last minute - to either covet for yourself or give away (they are so speccy, honestly, what a fantastic present) to a mum in your life who could use the giggle and confirmation.

So.... I know it's been done already, by Holly to name just one, but I want cocktails, people. And not just a name. I want details, I want recipes.

Your favourite cocktail: Hit me with it in a comment below! The best sounding two, with ingredients, score themselves a free copy of the book, Cocktails At Naptime.

Yes, it's all about the alcohol.

And here's the fineprint: 
Sorry, only open to Australian residents.
Don't worry so much about the quantities, I can make that up as I go along - muahahahahaaa
Competition closes 8pm Sunday, so get your comments in quick!

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