Friday, November 6, 2009


I've been thinking, lately, about the way I communicate. That feeling I get when I feel someone really understands me, or the frustration I feel when I'm just not heard.

People are quick to boast "I don't complain", as if it really is something to be proud of. But to me, not complaining means not communicating and nothing good comes from not communicating.

If you go into a shop, and the shop assistant ignores you, treats you poorly or otherwise leaves you feeling pissed - then complain. If you don't, then the situation won't change - they'll treat another customer the same way, oblivious to the mistake they're repeating. When you complainicate, you give them the opportunity to change and you give them space to improve.

The same is true in our personal relationships. If you never complain when your partner leaves their towel on the floor, then they will never understand how much it irritates you, and they'll have no idea why you suddenly go postal after 15 years of it.

A few times recently, I've been reminded how important complainication is: SD and I are both tired, and stressed and worried. But until 2 weeks ago we both carried that stress for ourselves. We both worried about the highs and lows we felt in caring for our little lady, and both felt terrified about what that meant about our own state of mind.

Once we actually started to talk to one another, that fear was shared - shared in both the sense of balancing the load, and in the sense of being "heard".

All to often we carry our fears, complaints and worries alone. We say we're protecting those who care about us from the burden of our worries. We say we're "not complaining" as if that implies we're coping fine.

I disagree - bring on the complaints! Share your worries and fears. Acknowledge that you feel angry, scared, tired or stressed. Tell someone - complainicate. Trust me - you'll feel better when you do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I want to talk...

baby-lo isn't a baby - before my eyes she's become a togla. ar a toddler. whatev. I should call her "lo" now instead.
a few times in the last week I've been faced with a situation which leaves me thinking. lo is busy learning news things and starting to assert her independence. the things I say and do will establish the ground rules for our interactions, and will really define the way I parent.
it's got me wondering what kind of parent I want to be, what is important to me, and how can super-dad and I ensure we develop consistency in our approach to parenting?
here's some examples:
  1. on sunday, bl carefully pushed a stool over to the toybox in front of the tele and used it as a prop to clamber onto the toybox and reach a doll on the top of the tele

  2. on monday while visiting a friend, bl was presented with a plate of sliced fruit. she wasn't interested in eating it and so tipped the plate over

so they're totally different instances, but for they've started me thinking about parenting philosophies and encouraging positive behaviour in toglas.

in situation 1, the most important issue is safety. but in some ways I applaud her ingenuity. I don't want to just say "naughty girl" when she's being inventive, not bad. I said "well done - great climbing. mummy doesn't want you so close to the tele though darling - let's put the stool in another room". but I don't want to encourage potentially dangerous climbing.

in situation 2, I was acutely aware we were at someone's house and I really felt like I was on display as a mum. I said "let's keep the food on the plate. if you don't want any, I can put it away". and yet I don't want to become an ineffectual mother who brushes aside delinquent behaviours as all being "cute". having said that, in that instance I don't think bl was being intentionally destructive - so it's not a strict discipline thing either.

lot's of book blurbs I've read talk about discipline which makes me a bit uncomfortable. I think there have to be ways to encourage positive social behaviours while still making clear boundaries. I'm conscious too, that consistency in approach will be crucial.

I worry about the messages children hear when we label them as naughty or nice, good or bad. I feel really uncomfortable when I hear parents talking about their child in negative ways - especially within earshot. I cringe when I hear parents describe children as difficult, high maintenance or highly strung.

praps I'm coming to this later than other mums, almost certainly I'm over thinking it. what do you do to encourage positive behaviours, and how do you respond to inappropriate ones? is there a book or philopsophy or mantra that you follow?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

me wait?

I just wanted to get it done, so done it is. now to consider backing and borders and things...

eeep - random?...!

I bravely sliced, sewed and sliced into some old work shirts of SD's. I wanted to trial making a quilt top by machine, and also to trial the disappearing 9 patch quilt.

this is my current layout. I'm going for a grid design, rather than the usual slash/rotate, because I had 5 sets of 3x3, rather than an even number.

any quilt enthusiasts reading: shall I stop playing and call this a day for the layout?

ETA: the fabrics....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

it was a day like any other day

sunday dawned, as it does; the day unfolded, as days do.

but this wasn't any ordinary sunday: sunday 26 July 2009 is the day I last nursed baby-Lo.

breastfeeding's been a trial at times. from the early days when baby-Lo struggled to feed because she had a sore neck (osteo fixed that) and "tiny mouth", and I struggled to feed her with cracked nipples and aching breasts.

3 weeks in we'd faced our first 2 bouts of mastitis and a breast abscess. 5 or so more bouts of mastitis, oversupply, nipple thrush, overactive letdown - we had our share of difficult times.

there were plenty of feeds where I cringed, cried, and just wanted it to be over. there were a lot of times I just wanted to make it to the next milestone - 3, 6, 9 months.

by 10 months in we were in a great rhythm - my body was finally making only to meet demand, the engorgement had settled, it was all good.

by 12 months it was going well, and we seemed to have had such a short time of success that I wasn't ready for it to end. we supported one another when times were tough with gentle touches and seemingly boundless patience when it seemed so hard. I for one didn't think we'd make it that far.

we've nursed on planes and in cars; in public but mostly in private.

and we've not done it alone. early on we had the support of a lactation consultant who came to home, I've spoken to ABA counsellors on the phone and in person.

and throughout it all there's been the strong influence of superdad. SD has stood by us (literally and metaphorically) through it all. he's poured water down my throat, propped pillows, delivered a freshly changed sleepy babe to even sleepier mumma. he's always said "you're doing the best job, babe". he's never once questioned why I wanted to keep going, never made a disparaging comment about why we're still feeding.

but the line? I've drawn it in the sand.

baby-Lo's ear infections have settled (thanks grommets!), but her silent reflux is only being managed with a huge dose of meds.

milk exclusion hasn't worked. the next step is a strict elimination diet. a strict diet we both need to adhere to while we're still nursing. it may seem odd that despite pain and pus, and blood and plenty of tears, that it's food that's finally made me call it quits.

it's not quite that simple of course. the prospect of me potentially screwing up a strict elimination diet by accepting a proffered biscuit is not a risk I'm willing to take when it means risking finding an answer for baby-Lo. she needs my help, and I'll be better able to help her without extra mummy guilt making me worry about every mouthful I eat.

I'm so happy we've made it this far - a few days shy of 18 months. a real achievement I never thought we would have.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


this morning, SD and I spent a few hours sorting through some of our... possessions. I'm reluctant to call them that when in truth I mean that we sorted through some of dozens of boxes of our things that we've had stored at SD's folks' place for (I'm ashamed to say) almost 3 years. the earliest boxes honestly date from August 2006 with another batch from October that year, and more still from the December.

you see, in August 2006 we were planning our wedding. we knew our groovy west melbourne pad was not where we wanted to live when we started our family, and so in anticipation of selling up we started to pack. the idea was to minimise in preparation for putting the apartment on the market. October saw more of the same packing, then we were married in November so the boxes of wedding gifts were added to the ever-increasing load at SD's folks' place. you can see where this is going, can't you?

we moved house in August 2007 when we were 4 months pregnant. what didn't fit into our teeny wee home was... added to the storage.

so we have literally dozens of boxes, many of which we've not even opened in 3 years.

it's horrifying.

so I've been thinking a lot lately about how, to me, my possessions (and purchases) are talismans. they represent something to me - and often that something is a memory, or a time in my life, or an aspiration. these dozens of boxes are filled with such symbols.

there's the boxes of books (Kerouac's Satori in Paris that I bought in, you guessed it, Paris; Joyce Johnson's Door Wide Open that I bought when I read loads of books about different characters in the Beats; this book I bought on spec at the Tate Modern - I'd joined for my birthday and the title was irresistible to me). boxes and boxes of books that all mean something and remind me of someplace or sometime special.

there's the boxes of clothes (the exquisite Valentino silk brocade coat I bought at a sample sale - iridescent hues of purple and teal; the dress I wore at my 21st; my wedding gown).

there's the boxes of linens (the chuppah we married under; the hand-printed bedlinen my parents bought us as a wedding gift). and then there's the boxes of wedding gifts (most of which we registered for as we love them - but we just do. not. have. room. for them right now).

there's boxes and boxes of empty wine bottles that we haphazardly displayed atop our kitchen cupboards in our old apartment - each one reminding us of another great evening with friends, or a wedding, or a celebration of some kind.

I have all of these things that are beautiful to me in one way or another, and yet they're shoved in boxes and I don't see them.

I don't think it's appropriate to callously dispose of them (the boxes haven't been opened in 3 years, you say, you don't need them!), I can't bring myself to donate much of it (yet, maybe this will change), and yet it breaks my heart to think I own these beautiful things and don't enjoy them.

I guess part of me had hoped that I would find, today, as I opened boxes that my feelings had changed and that these possessions would have lost some of their significance; that I would be able to let go.

and yet I've found they still hold power over me, they still hold memories (all good - the bad ones are long gone), and so they really are talismans for me still.

Friday, July 17, 2009

a break in transmission

That was a long break in transmission!

From good days, to bad nights, to bad news, to rough trots. I think that about covers it.

Crafting has been low on the agenda as we try to come to some conclusions and decisions about how to approach recurrent ear infections/suspected ongoing silent reflux/night screaming/potential allergies/possible food intolerances.

Are you following? No? I'm confused too.

But finally, finally, we have a plan, man. In no particular order we're going to...
  • wean
  • postpone gastroscopy and ph probe testing
  • stay off dairy for another 2 weeks
  • blitz with probiotics & slippery elm
  • roll with the nights as they come (with stricter guidelines for ourselves, and greater consistency about how we approach the night waking)
  • postpone the strict elimination diet til after we've weaned

Phew. That's it. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More good days...

Tomorrow Baby-Lo and I are heading off to a dietician who specialises in paed allergies!

Super-dad knows her through a board he serves on, and she has graciously offered to help us even though she is not taking new patients!

I suppose another sentence culminating in an exclamation point will portray how excited I am!

Small pleasures

I turned 31 last week, and was thoroughly spoilt by "treat mice".

One of the special deliveries was a pack of RJ's licorice chocolate bullets, sent by one of my favourite people.

She warned me not to eat the entire pack in one sitting - so far I'm not sure I can agree to that!

So so delicious...

Monday, June 29, 2009

What comes after the second guess?

Today Baby-Lo had an operation to insert grommets after around about 8 ear infections in the last 12 months. And this afternoon, we had an email from an allergy specialist dietician friend of Super-dad's who is happy to meet with us, and who fears the reflux/ear infections may be caused by a food allergy OTHER than the suspected milk allergy we've been eliminating for in the last month.

That dull thud you can hear is the sound of me banging my head against a wall, and that pitter patter sound is my brain as it flip flops from feeling like we've done the right thing (there was lot's of gunk in both ears when we thought the issue was only in 1 ear), to feeling like I've missed at least part of another potential cause (and I ought to have done more to investigate before turning to surgery for my little darling girl).

I ought to just feel relief that my daughter is fine. Instead I feel like we might be just at the beginning of another uphill climb to get some answers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

what I like to call The Soft Road

I don't know that this is my invention, but I'll take it as such til proven otherwise.

The Soft Road is a philosophy about making life easier.

I tend to have what some my call a Protestant ethic that things worth doing oughtn't be enjoyable, that hard work is the best, and there's nothing like toil to prove your worth.

I've gone off this idea in the last 12 months, as I've slowly learnt that in fact there is nothing wrong with avoiding the hard road altogether.

I now am far gentler on myself: I once expected a fantasty transformation into some Martha/Nigella hybrid the moment I was married. Then I thought maybe it would be upon the arrival of my first born. Nope. Still waiting.

So in the meantime I acknowledge that Super-dad won't come home to a glorious 3 course home-cooked meal each night; my daughter won't always eat organic and home baked goods; and I won't leave the house with an immaculate blowdry and twin set.

Instead I settle for The Soft Road: acknowledging the efforts I do make, and enjoying the activities that I choose to do instead of cleaning, baking and homemaking.

The Soft Road for apathetichousewife

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I've been late to join the legions of readers, but join I have - and the fan club too what's more.

I had half read so many reviews in recent months from various bloggers. Somewhere along the line I developed the impression that this would be a bit of a cerebral read and quite hard work. It was neither.

Definitely thought provoking but not cerebral in terms of a difficult intellectual work out.

I can't wait for my great friend to read this so we can have our inaugural book group meet about it. Just an excuse to catch up regularly, in truth.

I want to go back and ear mark the passages that really resonated with me.
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep on swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate
contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."
An easy reading, light, deep, funny, moving inspiration.

My Year Without Sex

Super-dad and I went to the movies today - the 11am session, followed by lunch at TiAmo, and wandering Lygon street (with a long nosey in BBold to top it all off).


GMa is here to look after baby-Lo, or vice versa.

The film? Beautiful.

It is so simple and real and engrossing. I don't know what it is about having had a child, but I find myself so easily moved - this film was filled with loads of real candid teary moments for me. Some striking lines and vignettes - so many moments you're filled with what might go wrong (and doesn't) and minutes later filled with hope for what might happen (and doesn't).

We chatted about it for ages over lunch, and again on the drive home.

Favourite lines: "I bought you another cow so you'd have two". "For my second wife, I choose you".

Saturday, June 13, 2009

*insert disclaimers about dreadful photo quality here

Is it an election year? I've promised and I shall deliver!

Here are some photos of clothes I've made from my adored Oliver + S patterns

the Sunday brunch skirt and jacket

The bedtime story pjs

And my favourite so far - the 2+2 blouses.

I think the attention to detail in pattern design provides a really polished finish that disguises all sewing abilities.
Next on my list is the bubble dress - I hope to overcome my fear of sewing knits and tackle it in a soft stretch of some kind. Maybe merino?

I may not be a Doctor...

I may not have a medical qualification but even I can diagnose a serious case of mermaid legs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Still no sun...

There's still no sun, hence no photos. They'll come and spruce this place up some time, I promise.

I've been knocked over with a flu. The porcine variety? Who knows, and it seems the Drs and government no longer care.

I personally believe that the incubation period is longer than the 3 days the Drs currently suggest: 1 week to the day that I fell ill I'd spend the evening crafting with 2 teachers from 2 different schools in Melb that have since been declared swine flu zones. My guess is that that is more than mere coincidence!

Anyway, I'm on the mend, slowly. No crafting, lot's of lying around moaning and feeling sorry for myself. I'm very thankful for Super-dad and Super-mother-in-law who have willingly stepped up to the plate and taken care of Baby-Lo these last 2 days.
Home quarantine recommended for 3-7 days (depending who you ask) so another 1-5 days.

Baby-Lo is back to herself: no night screaming for 2 nights now - hurrah! Now we just have to work out whether it's the dairy free diet, the new mode of med delivery or something else that has helped her settle back into her groove.

Count to my very own Super-mum arrives? 2 big sleeps!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And another point in the "good days" column...

I've just been offered free tickets to see Justine Clarke this afternoon - how exciting!

I *think* the reflux is settling too - dairy free or new form of meds delivery? Hmmm

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rainy cold days

It's a rainy, cold day in Melbs today.

Several hours of knitting done - a beautiful 4 ply merino is slowly becoming a helmet for a friend's newborn son. Bluestone, from Morris & Sons. Hmm, I did NOT need to just-this-minute discover that they have an online facility!

Photos will still be promised until the sun finally appears!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bad nights and good days

Bad nights: Baby-Lo's silent reflux, which til 2 weeks ago was perfectly controlled with meds, has flared up again terribly. Super-dad watched two episodes of INTG with her and read books between 10 and 1. She settled back to sleep til 4, then I did the 4-5am shift with more INTG.

Our "sleep-in" til 10.30 this am would have been sweeter had we not all been exhausted.

Good days: I won 2 tix from one of my favourite bloggers - mamamia. Hurrah for random draws. I really wanted to see this movie, so can't wait. Maybe Super-dad and I can have a date?

Crafting today? Just an hour or so of knitting a twirly whirly scarf using some yummy Vero. If we get some sun one of these days I'll post some pictures.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

it was always going to happen

It was always going to happen: this blog thing.

It'll start by recording some of the things I'm crafting, and we'll see where we go from there.

I've developed a passion for Oliver + S patterns

They're a delight to follow, and come together so well. Photos to follow.

So far I've made the Bedtime Story PJs, 2+2 blouse, Sunday Brunch jacket and skirt, with plans for the Sailboat set, and the dresses. Oh the dresses.

I wouldn't consider myself an accomplished sewer, and yet the instructions come together so well.