Thursday, 17 December 2009

Black Hole Rant

I was in a dark place for an hour or so this morning.

Was nice and warm too as burried under futon in front of fire. Hub must have brought it in here in the middle of the night because when I came downstairs at 4am he was sitting on it with Ryu trying to calm him down. For the life of me I want some god damn hours of sleep. I had been up perhaps four times before 2am (once with Marina who is in serious need of upgrading to a big girls bed as her arms and legs keep poking between bars in cot) so when Ryu started AGAIN at about 3am I burried under the covers and told Hub I couldn't do it - or rather it was in Ryu and mines best interest for me not to.

Sleep deprivation, like I have said so many times before, really is hell on earth. It gets so bad I have random flashing thoughts of life without children again. I know this will pass but some days I curse the very leg that hub got over when Ryu came to be.

It wasn't just the need to lie down that had me curled up in front of the fire ealier though. I was also having a wo is me moment - no doubt fuelled by lack of sleep but what came about after phone call home. Thats bloody it. No more calling home. It costs me half my English class money every month to pay my international phone bill. No I haven't got skype and no I can't get it until the cable gets put in next April.

I blame myself though - I obviously have a 'need' to talk to home more than home has a need to talk to me. One thing led to another and we had a couple of disagreements -that I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on.

The first was about my brother who may, fingers and all bits crossed, be coming over next year for his best friend's wedding in Hokkaido - and then down to see us. At the moment he is back living at home and working like a dog for a company started by him and two sisters and not getting paid - like so many people when they start a new business. He knows he hasn't got the cash but is still thinking about borrowing it to come to Japan. I love this idea. I have even offered to lend it to him. I have all the confidence in the world that my little brother will be in an economical situation before too long that will allow him to pay ever cent back.

The thinking on the other side of the fence is that he shouldn't go on a holiday he can't afford right now.

Fair enough. Mum seems to think he is getting unfair pressure to go from me though. I agreed that of course I was encouraging the trip. God yes. I missed my sister's wedding and one of my best friend's weddings and I regret it. I also want to see my little bro. At the moment, and being entirely selfish, I would LOVE to have either my eldest sister or my brother come and stay. They could both talk me out of my 'black hole'. My eldest sister has three kids and runs a business so is unable to come. She will one day though and it will be great. I might get one or two of the nieces for the school holidays before then but that would be great too.

Another almost argument that stemmed from this conversation was about my own wedding. I got married here at the end of April. Hub and I went home for Christmas before that and my parents very generously put on a 'wedding party' for us at home. Fifty people, speeches, cake, catering, champers. I know this was instead of anyone coming to my wedding - well actually I didn't, but this morning mum said her and dad could have come but then there wouldn't have been a party. I loved the party - it was great but it wasn't my wedding. NONE of my family came. I think I get more upset about that now than I did at the time!!

Hormonal - tis another reason for the rant. My periods seem to have gotten worse the more babies I have. Better stop having kids or I'll have to work more hours to pay for an expensive neurofen addiction.

Isn't it times like this when the distance, language and culture factors just kick you while you're down?

Anyhoo, black hole only lasted an hour and half a box of tissues before I remembered I hadn't entirely scoffed my Christmas Cadbury supply. Friends have sent loads and it's lucky I'm already married cause the skin breakouts expected next week would mean I wouldn't get any action on Christmas otherwise.

The kids have loads of prezzies waiting, which I contemplated actually putting under the Christmas tree but changed my mind. Mainly because not even the decorations seem to be able to stay on the tree so damned if some fun looking 'what's in there' packages could stay unopened for another week.

I had the first English Christmas party yesterday. We colored in Chrissy Tree puzzles (as in actual puzzle that you color in and then can break up into pieces and do - thankyou FBC) , decorated cookies and ended by making balloon animals - as you do. There were a variety of requests and then a collective 'useless sensei' when I said their only choices were a rabbit or a giraffe.

Granny K came in at end of class time - as I was frantically twisting the back legs on a green rabbit and demanded we stop what we were doing and they all go home as Ryu needed a feed - and I obviously hadn't fed him enough beforehand as he was in a stroppy mood. So we finished up, I cleared away and then went to pick Shou and Marina up.

Dinner went fine but then, oh my god, cue gasping and sounds of ringing social welfare hotline.

I showered Shou - fully clothed. He was not impressed. I wasn't either. He was being a complete pain in the ass.

Me: come and have a bath Shou (as was on own and had to get him and Marina in the actual bath before could get Ryu and myself in)

Shou: don't want one

Me: OK, can you go to Granny's room for ten minutes then.

Shou: I want a bath.

Me: OK, come here and let's get your gears off then.

Shou: don't want to.

Me: OK then, can you go to Granny's room for ten minutes then.

Shou: can you take my top off?

Me: OK, come here then.

Shou: I can do it myself

Me: OK then, away you go.

Shou: I'm not getting in the bath.

...(two more minutes of the same)...

Shou gets picked up by me and plonked under shower to assortment of screams, cries and toddler obscenities. Somehow manage to get his clothes off and wipe him down before putting him in bath with Marina - where he does a good impression of a drowned rat and jumps out. Goes to toilet and I take his PJs in to put on. Five minutes in the nude of going back and forth between me putting PJs on, Granny doing it or him doing it himself. In the end he says he wants to get back in the bath. After which I briefly have to go and stick my head in the freezer to cool self down.

Ryu has been crying for a good five minutes by this time but perks up when he gets his gears off and mummy starts singing Splish Splash I was taking a bath...

On a completely different note - Shou came home yesterday with a prize - he got second at the local agriculture (JA) festival where all the kindies have anpanman pictures on display. He got a box of crayons and a 1000 yen book voucher. His coloring is ace. Very proud parent. But no doubt he has now been so traumatised by the fully clothed shower experience that all his pictures here on in will be black squiggles and holes...

that perhaps I can jump into if need be.


And sorry for the rant. Feeling loads better now. Cheers.


kel said...

Maybe you could try Brastel for your calls. You get a card and some forms with barcodes on them sent out to you and then you just pre-pay money at the konbini, like you do with other bills. I've been using them for years. Very cheap! You can use a speed dial thing too so no worries about having to put in millions of numbers every time you ring home either. Hope that helps.

Nooh said...

GW, we all have days like that and gripes with the families so far away. I think the last time I spoke to my only sister was when she and the kids were on house arrest with swine flu and no one else would talk to them! That was back in June! Havent heard from her since, bar the relaying of messages through my mum.. Pretty sad really... Glad to read you are feeling better after the rant. Maybe I should try more ranting myself! :)

shufuinjapan said...

Hi Gaijin Wife. I always used to get my family in NZ to call me using 0161 it costs something like 7 cents a minute off peak, 12 cents at peak. They just dial 0161 81 and then your number. Now I seem to be able to text using SMSs from Softbank to NZ cell phones which I never used to be able to do, so you could always text and ask them to call. It might work a few times anyway....
I hope you can get a good nights sleep sometime soon.

illahee said...

i don't suppose you have au do you? i can call the US and somehow it's included in free calls--as in, the calling plan we already have. i think. yoshi took care of it for me. as it was, before that it was only 45 yen a minute to call home. my mom always generously called me back because it was far cheaper for her to call me. yay for keitais.

the year after tommy was born was a very difficult one for me. very dark. i was a mess, i'm sure i was a right annoyance to everyone (except maybe my mom, she's pretty awesome...) it didn't help that my period was awful when it came back. now that he's two, it's finally not nearly as painful as it was, almost back to pre-baby times. i went to my clinic and got great painkillers from my doctor. can you go see yours? i seriously thought i had cancer or something because of the pain and heavy bleeding (sorry if that's TMI). i was still breastfeeding at that time, so whatever he gave me was safe for that.

i'm glad that ranting made you feel better. rant away! and feel free to call me anytime you need. i don't mind. :D

Midori said...

My periods were horrendous after Joey was born and I still get VERY bad PMT but I have found it all alot more bearable since I went back on the pill. Would that be something you could think about? (I am not sure how available it is in Japan these days, I remember it being hard to get "back in the day") While I still suffer (have a mixture of a hangover and bad period pains this morning- NOT a good combination!!) It is much better than it was. I have always had bad periods though. When I was 16 I fainted before one of our external exams and had to rest before taking the exam. Only problem was that they had to put the exam off for 30 minutes and I had to walk into an exam hall full of people who wanted to know what was wrong with me. NOT fun!!

As for sleep deprivation, I know I only have one child but I DO feel your pain. It really does funny things to your brain at times and there are times when I have been an absolute monster to Joey for no reason other than I was utterly exhausted.

The shower story made me laugh (even though I know it shouldn't have.) Shou is at a particularly difficult age but a year on from his age and I can honestly say that it DOES get better. Joey is actually an utter joy these days and when I think back to how frustrated I was with him 6 months ago, it is hard to believe that we are talking about the same child.

I think that what every mother craves is more sleep and "me time" I get very little sleep but alot more "me time" than I did in Japan (time in office and on the train counts, right?!) and that is what keeps me sane. I am always utterly amazed by how well you handle everything you have on your plate so you have my utmost respect!

Gaijin Wife said...

Thank you nice peoples. These comments have helped. And I will look into various other phone plans although really I just need to stop ringing home so much!!

seriously, my blog saves me from complete insanity sometimes. I am feeling loads better now and sometimes after writing about family feuds or whatever I think about deleting the post in guilt but I never have.

random_01 said...

Hi again, I literally did have to drag him back to Nz, and he would be back in Japan in a heartbeat I reckon, misses raw chicken and all those other Oita yummies. Chch does have quite a few Japanese families and a playgroup for the kids but I work part time so seem to miss out on all that stuff. Feel your pain with regards to wakeful kids. I think its a half Japanese half kiwi thing. I blame the Japanese side entirely of course!

Lily said...

Thanks for this post. I am riding this roller coaster along with you. I too can relate to your family frusteration. I make 98% the phonecalls home and am expected to return to Canada yearly. A grand total of 0 people from my immediate family has come to Japan. I have even offered to buy plane tickets- no one wants to bother with the long flight (hello? yet its ok for me to travel alone with young children). My older sister is a millionaire, her kids are a bit older and she manages to go to India for a month or 2 every year- STILL NO VISIT. Even with my nasty post-partum depression after Reo was born- no one was willing to help me out. Yet if I don't go back to Canada I get a bit of greif. Sigh, the hardest part is when I see the help others get and I fall into "the black hole".
Again, thanks for that post- it was like you wrote about me.

Chrysanthemum Mum said...

I totally understand how you can slip into this black hole. Judging from the comments it seems several of us are in a similar situation - no visits from family, feeling a million miles away, resenting the help that others recive whilst we have to muddle along single-handedly. I think it is definitely a Japan thing. Lots of family are put off coming, not just by the long flight, but the weird food and having to use chop sticks, the inpenetrable language, the whole culture thing. Too many probs to think about when you are on a holiday. There are too many preconceptions about Japan that cloud people's judgement and so they decide it best to stay away even if it means never meeting your grandchildren!

The bath thing made me laugh. James hates having his hair washed and so I do skip a day or two but then it just has to be done to the sound of screaming! When a toddler digs their heels in, it is no fun.

Glad you are feeling better and have eaten half your Christmas chocolate stash. I have to go out and buy more mince pies as I underestimated just how long they would last!

Rachel said...

Another Brastel user here, much cheaper option.

I WAS laughing at the thought of Shou in the shower fully dressed.

Hey, has anyone said this to you: You know, it's OKAY to skip the bath sometimes, especially in winter when they're playing inside all day and not sweating. I like having no-bath nights, it's a different vibe, kind of relaxing!