Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who's that girl?

On xmas day at my sister's house whilst I was chatting to my brother I was distracted by a stranger in the hallway. I noticed a tall girl standing by the stairs chatting to my 20 yr old neice Chloe. I wondered who it was since it was just family that had come to visit, so why had one of Chloe's friends come to say hello today? Then I was impressed at how good-looking she was, and at that moment realised it was my wife standing on the last step.

How cool was that!? It felt very odd at the moment of realisation, and I considered myself priveleged to have experienced a very important part of my life objectively. When I was in my late teens I'd make a habit of looking at my life objectively to the point of being profoundly moved on a regular basis - I almost changed my religion. Now I feel well and truly buried in my life full of tiny trials and life-changing decisions, but rarely do I step outside myself to consider how wonderfully my life has turned out. And it's refreshing to step outside yourself. Almost like a brief respite from those heavy thoughts called responsibilty!

Of course, I could have interpreted my out of body experience a totally different way, like oh I'm so drunk I don't even recognize my own wife. Except I wasn't drunk. I was very tired. Take the above photo as proof. I'll name the image 'before and after'. My brother Jeremy on the left with his 7 month old girl Leala May, arm placed forward protecting his young, wearing a proud smile. And there I am on the right with my second child Catalina, pale, withdrawn and exhausted, nothing but a blank unkempt rag of a face almost accusing my dear baby of sleep theft.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fatigue Sets In

Recently Rosario and I have gotten into the re-run of Friends on E4. That's about the full extent of our social lives right now; the sum part of our 'free' time. We've been watching the double bill religiously since it is shown every day, and have watched at least 6 series now, we're totally into it. On the weekend we even saw a Holywood gossip documentary about the story of the series. By the time it was an obvious success they had movie stars like Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and they were nervous and impressed by how hard and fast the six actors worked infront of a live audience.

At the end we were told what each actor had acheived since the end of the monumentaly successful soap. The line that Rosario and I related to more than any other was in a red carpet interview with Courtney Cox next to her husband David Arquette. After giving birth she was concentrating on motherhood, and it was much harder than her million dollar earning filming schedule on Friends. Hell yeah. The hardest moments are when we've been exhausting our patience with poor Juanita who's overtired at 11pm but just won't go to sleep - when she eventually does Catalina cries out in hunger after her three hour nap for another hour's worth of feeding. And you wanna sleep.
No, I don't think you read that slowly enough. You REALLY want to sleep. That's more valuable to me right now than anything in the world. Even a DVD box set of Friends.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Future

I often wonder what the girls will be like in the future, how their characters will develop. I can already imagine Juanita as a bit of a tomboy who enjoys extreme sports and driving her parents sick with worry if she'll break any bones. She's so agile, I want to find some sort of agility classes for her like martial arts, gymnastics or ballet when she's old enough... Catalina will be more efeminite. People say she already looks more feminine at two weeks than Juanita did. And she does look beautiful.
I feel so impatient to see their near future - to hear Juanita speak and communicate mixing the two languages, and when will Catalina be crawling? How will they interact? I hope they don't emulate their mother and aunty who fought with knives and threw crockery at each other. Rosario and I met an old lady who sat beside us when we went to Regent's Park with Juanis. She told us she had three children, but her youngest died young. We shouldn't worry so much about the future and the money and the house and the career, and value every day as it comes because they pass very quickly. Even Mum said we'll look back on these days and say they were the happiest of our lives. Maybe my ambition for my family and status clouds my enjoyment sometimes, I admit it.
I told someone today "I still can't believe I'm a married man with a mortgage and two children". The two children bit is the hardest to believe. The person I said it to replied, "well you better start believing it!" Yeah I guess I should.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Every Day

Catalina is growing really quickly, it's amazing to see. She's so delicate and tiny it's almost stifling to express feelings for her - I can't kiss her until she tickles, or throw her 10ft in the air like I would with Juanita so I have to contain it all inside! She's no bigger than my forearm, and cries like a little bird cries for food. So far she's been a dream, she only cries in the bath and when we change her nappy. When Juanita cried over anything at her age we would panic and do anything to stop the crying. This time whilst Catalina's bawling Ro and I just stand there smiling at how cute she looks.

I've been following Rosario's routine and going to playgroups with all the mothers and toddlers. If I am holding Catalina it's like I'm Tom Cruise or something; all the mothers come up to me and oogle over Cat in my arms, it's quite endearing! How old is she? Isn't she lovely! Today one mother said how at Cat's age you need to value every day you're with her because they change so quickly. She's a week old today and already looks different, more filled out, a little plumper and healthier for all of mum's milk.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Catalina Sánchez Martí

On Tues afternoon Rosario had random contractions so I came home early from work thinking she'd get over it. The following morning I realised she hadn't slept all night (my sleep too profound to notice) so we gathered our belongings and headed to hospital - at one week early the little lass was ready.

Juanita joined us (she got told off for being too loud by one midwife) as my Mum rushed up on the train from Surrey to babysit so I could support Ro. The nurses wanted to send Ro home when they measured less than 2cm dilated but we knew the score! We insisted they find a bed for us (just as we did with Juanis). So by 10am she was in a bed in the antenatal ward taking mild painkillers every four hours. By 2pm she was 5cm dilated and in regular pain. We had trouble getting her painkillers (last time they gave her an epidural at 4cm) and we discovered it was 'cos they only gave epidurals in the labour ward downstairs; it was full. We begged the midwife there and she felt bad; said her hands were tied. The labour ward was full and so was the postnatal ward. The contractions got worse and worse, and we made enough noise so that we got a bed eventually at 6pm. She was nearly 7cm dilated. It was so much faster this time, with Juanita Ro was still bordering 4cm at this stage.

The midwives were great. Abigail (pictured) was very calming with her Jamaican accent, and when Ro was fully dilated (10cm) at 11pm it all went so smoothly when Catalina popped out at 11:35pm I wandered what all the fuss was about. What pain? Rosario did really well, before 'giving the light' (as they say in Spanish) several midwives said she looked quite glamourous for a mother-to-be. Abigail said she made a great effort and had done brilliantly. She didn't even scream 'nunca jamas' through gritted teeth as she pushed (it means 'never ever again').

Well done Rosario. Another triumph for the female of the species. It's three to one in the Sanchez Martí household. And I quite like it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Skip James

There's a great 3D animated short about a moose, it's great not only for the end but I love the soundtrack. It's called 'Devil Got My Woman' by Skip James. Discovered by Paramount, he made the album that put him at the forefront of a new type of sound called 'blues'. Then his dad collared him, and took him back into the Church. He consequently dissapeared for over 30 years when he was convinced to make one more track, which he later denounced anyway!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Church Bells

Yesterday whilst we were on Hampstead Heath I could hear a church bell from Highgate Hill, you can even see the spire from the toddlers' park we go to. That city village feeling of narrow streets that are centuries old, of terraced houses that have slanted slowly over decades.

That's what always inevitably reminds me of small Seville streets on warm afternoons. I'm recently getting those odd cravings again, where I need my annual fix of a walk through old desserted Arabian cobbled streets, the only sign of life sparked off by a shout of some mother calling in her kids. What confuses me is that I wouldn't want to live there, I've already done that. There's no work there anyway. But I've been going there nearly every year since I was zero. I shouldn't forget to mention sitting at my aunty's living room table with my legs tucked underneath next to the electric heater, talking about everything and nothing.

Wierd to think I'm a father of two with a house, a career, and an overdraft.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Margaret's boyfriend

My darling wife Rosario has been showing off in recent months her blog about her daily life with our daughter Juanita, and the imposing bump that gets bigger and bigger around her belly, who will be squeezed out in a month and probably be called Julia. Well, I've also decided I should have a say so that I can moan about her rantings publicly. If in any doubt as to the insolence of a man critisizing his partner on the web, take a look at the website for Margaret's boyfriend.

Today was fun, we went to the park and Juanita showed signs of getting over her fear of bigger children. One boy ran up to her to hug her and because he was getting too close she thrust out her arm and stopped him, a bit like Neo when he magically stops the bullets in Matrix (because that's how you see every meritable action of your child; in film-like monumental-it's-never-happened-before slow-motion grandeur).

This week was great at work since I lit my first white studio; the two presenters of our series dressed up like Arthur Daily (the program's about dealing in antiques) and arsed around in a Marx brothers type-way. It's going to be on in 2007 and was adequately called 'The Real Deal' but some genius in the higher ranks of Discovery's offices thought better 'How to Make Money in Antiques' half-way through, and therefore changed the entire appearance of the series.