26 September 2010

Morning! ... almost

MissyMoo2 (15 months) has developed a bad habit: waking early.

It began a couple of weeks ago as awaking slighty before her usual 6am but has morphed in this morning's experience: 5am ... zzzz

Hubby has been doing a bit of the getting-up-early-in-the-morning since I started working (a topic for another blog post no doubt), but today he did not stir so I did the honours. There she was, standing in her cot, dummy in mouth, looking forlorn. I resisted the temptation to pick her up, still clinging to the faint hope that I might be reunited with my bed once more this morning. I patted the mattress, put warm blankets on and tried a few other tricks which sometimes work when MissyMoo2 has not yet completely deteined that it is time to get out of bed.

Not this morning though - she had decided that it was time to get up. I picked her up, walked past my bedroom door (with difficulty as a fought the temptation to bring her back to bed with me, the voice of reason in my head saying "Don't start that again") and into the lounge room. She had a bit of her bottle, but as I sit with her lying asleep in my arms, it seems that nothing beats a warm, snuggly cuddle early in the morning.

At least we'll be ready for daylight saving...

17 September 2010

Running Through

It has been a while between blog posts (again) and I have had a few in mind lately which I haven't had the opportunity (or the inclination, when the opportunity arose) to convert from ideas floating around various parts of my mind to text for potential consumption by the blog-reading public.

A few weeks ago, I went in a 10.5km fun run (that extra 0.5 is very important!). Hubby and I had walked it three years ago pushing little MissyMoo1 in a pram and I remembered it being very tiring, but fun in a get-out-in-the-sunshine kind of way. After that year, various baby-related reasons prevented me from giving it another go, so I was keen to participate again this year.

So keen, in fact, that I decided I would try to jog the first 2km to test how fit a weekly netball game and constant running after the MissyMoos had made me. Hubby kindly performed child-caring duties for the morning while I took myself along to the race. Standing at the start- line alone with my race number safety-pinned to my top and my car key safety-pinned to my pants, I began feeling a little lonely and under-prepared. People in groups were chatting. People alone or in pairs were stretching and warming up. I decided that a few stretches would probably be wise, so I did a couple which I vaguely remembered from high school PE classes and which I see my friend and netball team mate (incidentally, a high school PE teacher) doing before our weekly games.

I don't even remember hearing the starter gun. I just saw all the people in front of me move so, in a sheep-like fashion, I did the same.

I began a slow jog and before I knew it, 1km had already gone. The beautiful scenery was pleasantly distracting and hearing people puffing around me when I wasn't was satisfying and motivated me to get through to the 2km marker. At that point I felt like I could keep jogging so I though I would try to keep it up for another km and see how I went. I did this at each km marker until I got to 7km of straight jogging. At that point I thought "well, I've come this far, I'm not going to walk now. I'll jog the whole thing." in the last km, feeling like I still had some petrol in the tank, I picked up the pace. I jogged along, beaming, exhilarated, spurred on by how far I had already gone and how little ground there was left to cover. I almost did not want it to end - I was enjoying the solitude so much, "me" time.

I crossed the line feeling an immense sense of achievement. It was more than just exceeding my own expectations: it was a rite of passage. I had cone through to the other end of my body's rollercoaster journey of the past few years - pregnancy, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, miscarriage, pregnancy, breastfeeding - and now I was physically and mentally fitter than I remember being before. I take pride in what I did that day and in what it symbolises to me: having my body back, feeling like more than "just" a mum, surpassing what I set out to achieve.

And if you're into stats, I did the 10.5kms in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 3 seconds. I came 850th overall out of 1463 who ran the 10.5kms on the day.

06 August 2010

So you think motherhood is easy?

I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day and I felt I just had to comment. Here is the link to the article:

www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/is-motherhood-really-that-hard-20100802-1131y.html

(I couldn't actually create the link so you might have to copy and paste it into your browser)

There were some minor parts to this article which I identified with, but overall, I disliked it. It made me extremely frustrated and annoyed.

My main issue with this article is that the writer confuses the two separate aspects of difficulty and motivation. Sure, I agree that they can be connected, but they are not the same thing. She is basically saying that motherhood is easy because it is a labour of love and that other mothers should stop carrying on about how hard it is to be a mother, while at the same time admitting that her child was a great sleeper, feeder - basically a dream baby. Well, that would help.

I agree that motherhood is a labour of love. I agree that, for me, it has been by far the most rewarding work I have ever done. Motherhood is a labour of LOVE, but it is also a LABOUR of love. Loving your work does not always make it easy. You may be more motivated to do a good job and go the extra mile, but it doesn't mean you don't need a break from time to time, or that it is not tiring. Looking after your own beautiful children whom you love more than life itself is, I would argue, the best motivation you could have to get up (and stay up) on multiple occasions through the night, comfort older children through tantrums, maintain sanity after you've heard the word "why" 60 times in 60 seconds. It is great motivation to do those things, but it does not make them "easy". At the risk of sounding like one of those smug, know-it-all mums which the writer so despises, it will be interesting to see if her opinion changes once her child is mobile, climbing, having tantrums, or if there is another child or children thrown into the mix.

I love motherhood. I have been both a full-time working mum and a stay-at-home mum at different times so I know what it is like at both ends of the spectrum. Juggling work and motherhood is hard on the mind, body and soul. And while I much prefer staying at home with my young children, it is no picnic either. In our society which measures success by share price, motherhood is already seriously undervalued. In this article, by using her limited experiences as a generalisation for most mothers, the writer has done little to change that. In using the term "easy" throughout the article, she can only have perpetuated the ridiculous notion that mums could and should do "more" than "just" mothering and that stay-at-home mums sit around drinking cups of tea all day watching Oprah, and I resent that.

May I also add that I do not like her writing style one bit. How do I get a gig like hers?

17 July 2010

Sleepless Night

Last night was a very strange night. I was up for an hour in the middle of the night and then awake very early in the morning for mummy duties. Today I was pretty tired and managed a power nap in the afternoon. It made me realise how accustomed I have become to sleeping fairly normally these days. I'm usually up three or four times per night for child-related responsibilities, but only for a moment each time and then I'm straight back to bed - I barely need to wake up at all. This time last year, I was up every three hours for an hour at a time feeding a newborn Missy Moo 2. Now I very much appreciate close to a full night's sleep.

Last night, however, was a different matter entirely. MissyMoo1 (3) had fallen asleep in a late afternoon car ride and had done the transfer to bed. It was too good to be true to last the whole night though. She woke at 12:30am asking for pyjamas & a drink of water. After that had all been taken care of, she said she was hungry. I'm not sure why - probably a form of temporary insanity resulting from being awake - I suggested she get up and have her dinner. So MissyMoo1 and I sat up at the table while she ate her dinner 7 hours after everybody else. We had a lovely little chat, as if it was completely normal to be dining in dressing gowns at almost one in the morning, and then it was back to bed for a quick story (yes, we even did the bedtime story) and then back to sleep. After a job well done, a satisfied mum also went back to bed only to be called back to duty by the screams of MissyMoo2.

At 12 months, MissyMoo2 is going through a difficult teething stage. She's normally pretty easy-going but pain is affecting her. So up I got and attempted to rock her to sleep. No good. Then good old Panadol came to my aid. But by the time the little one got to sleep I had been up for an hour between the two kids.

At 5am, the screams returned and all I could to do calm her down was to lay the little munchkin on my chest. When she finally got to sleep, I was so cosy I didn't want to get up either, but I forced myself to put her back in her cot at 6am so I could get some decent sleep without worrying that she was going to fall out of bed.

Strangely, each time before I had to get up, I was awake just beforehand. Could it be that after nearly four years of mothering I am finally developing instincts?!

After last night's experience I have no idea how I managed to function last year for so long with so little sleep. I suppose the body just adjusts. Tonight I'd like it to adjust back to sleeping through the night.

Good night!

04 June 2010

Family trip to Sydney

With two small children and one income, we don't travel much these days. And, unfortunately, the travel bug didn't really hit me until I had responsibilities - just another example of my grass-is-always-greener-itis.

So then, a couple of months ago, hubby mentioned he would be going to Sydney for a conference, I jumped at the chance to tag along and make a little trip out of it. With various other things occupying my attention over the past few weeks, I hadn't really given the Sydney trip much thought until the day before we left. I'm a big list writer - I have been known to keep a list of my lists - but this time there was no list. Also, the day before we left, I went to a friend's place for a couple of cocktails for "an hour or two". Over four hours later I made it home, drunk, and with only the clothes packed.

Now you might think that there isn't much else apart from clothes to pack for a night away. Before having kids I would have agreed. But now, with a bottle-feeding, crawling 11-month-old, there's plenty: bottles, detergent to wash same (forgot that), steraliser, sippy cup, port-a-cot (forgot that), dummies, dummy chain (to prevent dummy loss), nappies, wipes, change mat, baby food, spoons, teething rusks, a couple of toys to stave off boredom, pram and anything else you can fit in the car.

I like taking the girls places. I don't think travelling has to be overly difficult with little ones as long as you're prepared and don't try to fit too much into each day.

Feeling underprepared and a bit hung over, I was a little flustered at first, but I soon got into the spirit of things. First stop was Taronga Zoo.

We saw the new baby elephant which was quite cute ... well, for an elephant. MissyMoo1 said her favourite part was the tiger, mine was the chest-pounding gorilla, hubby's was the bird show and I'm sure MissyMoo2 was practising her walking by pushing chairs around in the cafe when we stopped for some morning tea.

By early afternoon we were ready to check into the hotel. After a bit of TV watching, hubby went to the office to do a few things and my afternoon was spent showering everyone and keeping MissyMoo2 out of the bins.

We had a beautiful dinner on a cruise boat on Sydney harbour. Both kids were a bit whingy by this stage but they were bearable. MissyMoo1 in particular liked seeing the light show being projected onto the Opera House and seeing the Harbour Bridge by night. Another highlight for her was seeing the different coloured lights shining on buildings around Circular Quay - she was so excited!

The next morning (Monday), hubby went to his conference while the MissyMoos and I braved the wind for a walk with the pram to the Opera House. MissyMoo1 was happy to have the opportunity to use her new umbrella and she got to climb a few front steps of the Opera House while MissyMoo2 and I watched from the pram.

Then we went home. It was a great night away but it was good to be home too. Next time I'll be better prepared and, with an older MissyMoo2, there will be slightly less "stuff" for me to remember to bring!

20 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Conclusion

Conclusion? Surely 56 days haven't already passed us by, I hear you exclaim. Well no, no quite...

Things have been a little quiet on the blog front since the spectacularly early demise of the liver cleansing diet. On day 6, after incessant complaining from yours truly, hubby and I dropped the diet and celebrated with KFC for lunch that day.

Rather than rabbit on about it any more, I thought a quick summary would suffice.

Things from the diet I will continue to use:

• the pumpkin soup recipe, yum yum;
• the chicken and almonds recipe, ditto;
• drinking filtered water (it tastes so much fresher);
• drinking 2 glasses of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice first thing in the morning; and
• drinking V8 daily

Things from the diet I have been happy to ignore since day 6:

• soy milk - I don't like it and it doesn't like me;
• eliminating red meat from my diet;
• eliminating dairy from my diet - as well as milk in my coffee, I'm quite partial to yoghurt and ice cream;
• wholemeal bread;
• wholemeal pasta (an abomination in my book);
• cooking absolutely everything from scratch; and
• celery in every single meal.

Of course if I thought we actually needed to do it we might have lasted a bit longer (maybe a week!). But considering my alcohol intake is virtually non-existent and weight loss is not on my agenda, I don't think the liver cleansing diet is really for me. Now, time for a coffee with cow's milk.

07 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Days 4 & 5

The last couple of days have not been very exciting foodwise. It has seemed to be quite bland and made more difficult by my cooking separate meals for MissyMoo1 (of sausages, no less) so she gets to eat some meat.

Day 4 lunch was a sandwich, but of course, it could not be a normal sandwich. It had avocado, grated carrot, grated raw zucchini and tinned tuna. It had a very "fresh" taste but really the only flavour came from the tuna, which was tomato and onion flavoured (and I think that was cheating a bit - it probably should have been plain, bland tuna).

Day 4 dinner: I dislike wholemeal pasta. That is all.

Day 5 lunch and dinner were both sandwiches. Dinner was pretty good though with pieces if chicken breast, avocado, tomato & lettuce. I did miss the cheese and mayo which are usually part of that sandwich filling gang. It wasn't anything fancy but it hit the spot. The gelato for dessert was again delicious. It was a battle to eat it in peace though - by the end of my bowl I had both MissyMoos climbing all over my legs trying to get to my bowl.

There have been a few highlights and I know we're only 5 days in but I've been seriously thinking about ditching the diet at times. I'll stick it out for a while longer but I can't wait until it's over.

06 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Day 3

I'm getting used to this eating healthily thing and not lamenting the lack of chocolate too much any more - although I do have to stop myself from automatically grabbing a lolly when I open up the pantry.

One highlight of today was a fine example of my self-control. I went through KFC drive-thru to get a bottle of water (the missy moos were asleep in the car and we're supposed to drink filtered water - I figured drive-thru was the best option. I wish there was such a thing as a drive-thru bakery, but that's off the topic - I'll save that for another time). I got the water and did not get any KFC. I was so proud of myself as KFC is a major weakness of mine.

The other highlight was dinner: chicken and almonds followed by gelato for dessert. DELICIOUS. Even with my sense of smell temporarily disabled by my cold, it tasted so good. There's another dish I'll be doing again even after all this is over. Mmmm...

04 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Day 2

I managed to get through the night without being woken by hunger pains, which was a good start. After my two glasses of water with lemon juice, it was time for the raw vegetable juice made from carrot, celery and parsley. Silly me, in 'I should be making everything fresh' mode, had a go at pureeing said vegetables and adding water to make it "juice". The result was a disgusting lumpy mush which I immediately wanted to spit into the sink once it made contact with my tongue. Upon closer inspection of the book, it appears that making the juice is not necessary. Tomorrow morning I think I'll go with the V8 juice.

I was pretty hungry today but I think it was more a longing for nutella on toast than a lack of nutrition bring provided by the food I was eating. The pumpkin soup for lunch was delicious - I'll be making that one again even after this is all over.

Tonight's fried rice was average & MissyMoo1 refused to eat it. It was bland but filling. Hope tomorrow's is better. Cooking new things is not really my forte...

03 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Day 1 (of 57)

Today it began. Although the diet began this evening, the mindset started in the morning with grocery shopping. I loaded up the car with all sorts of nuts, seeds and vegetables. It was more time-consuming (4 supermarkets to find all the stuff) easily $50 more expensive, but the smells were delicious. The beautiful aroma of basil kept us company on the drive home and made me a bit excited at cooking up all the goodies.

Tonight's dinner was vegetable ratatouille followed by passionfruit gelato (not home-made) for dessert. Dinner was okay, but not very satisfying. Maybe my head was telling me that I couldn't be full because there was no meat in the meal ... or maybe it just wasn't satisfying. The gelato was delicious so I'm on a winner with dessert! Now I'm cooking pumpkin soup for tomorrow's lunch. Let's hope it's okay and fills my tummy, otherwise it's going to be a long eight weeks.

02 May 2010

Liver Cleansing Diet: Preparation

A few days ago, Hubby announced he wanted to do the liver cleansing diet.

A few years ago we bought a book called The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr Sandra Cabot. We had a look at it but only got as far as making the seed & nut protein mix, which we never actually used. I was breastfeeding MissyMoo1 at the time and so couldn't go on it myself, so I didn't end up cooking the special meals for hubby to enable him to stick to the diet. After a while it was forgotten.

It was actually completely forgotten ... until Thursday night when on a rare late-night shopping trip hubby mentioned he wanted to go to a bookshop to see if he could find a book about the liver cleansing diet. "Ummm, we already have it," I told him. He was quite surprised. I had to convince him by telling him that I had read it and had even made the seed & nut mix that needs to be sprinkled on everything. I only threw the mix away in a pantry clean-out about six months ago.

So the book has now been retrieved and dusted off. We will be starting the eight week program tomorrow with our evening meal. I spent a fair bit of time today looking through the book and drawing up a menu plan for the next week. It will mean a bit of extra work for me as the Missy Moos will need to have separate meals but we'll give it a go and see if it does us any good.

It is supposed to improve the liver's health by removing the fat from the liver ... or something. But it means a few sacrifices, such as no red meat, quite a sacrifice in this household. Hubby wants to do it to improve his health. I'm pretty much doing it because he is, although it's probably a good thing for me considering I'm still eating like a breastfeeding mother even though MissyMoo2 is weaned now.

Tomorrow it begins. I'm sure I'll keep you posted.

16 April 2010

It's Fitness Time

Sport. It's not something I've done a lot of in the past few years ... or ever really. The only times I've done regular exercise have been when I lived in an apartment block with its own gym and in my last couple of years of uni when a good friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of B grade indoor mixed netball.

I had never shown any interest in netball before then. In high school, I think in about year 8, heaps - it seemed most - of the girls in my year took up Saturday morning netball, but not yours truly. I just wasn't interested. I'm not sure why I took up netball at uni. Probably a combination of social and fitness reasons. Admittedly, the first few weeks were difficult while I learned the rules. I didn't really enjoy it in the beginning. But it really grew on me, to the point where, when uni was over and it was time to move away to Sydney, I was very sad to see it end.

Fast forward five and a half years to the present day during which time, between work, children and laziness, the only exercise I had done was in the aforementioned apartment gym, infrequent short walks with the pram, swimming a few laps when pregnant with MissyMoo2, walking up and down the stairs in my house and general chasing after my young children.

During a conversation at a playgroup last year, I mentioned to one of the mums that I would be interested in playing netball again. Then, last weekend it all came to fruition. A friend from playgroup said that there was a spot on her team if I was interested in having a run - in her indoor, mixed team. Woohoo!

I excitedly accepted. But then over the course of the next day or so in the lead up to the game, I became increasingly nervous. It had been so long. Would I remember the rules? Were the other players any good? Would I be fit enough? I hadn't really done any exercise for over 12 months. I had visions of being exhausted and unable to continue after a couple of minutes while everone else around me had barely broken into a sweat. I confided my fears to my friend on our way to the game and she reassured me that I'd be fine. 'Yeah but she hasn't seen me play yet,' I thought to myself.

You'll be happy to know that luck was on my side. We arrived only to discover that the other team had forfeited. We still got a run though. With a couple of extra people there to watch, we managed a friendly four-on-four game. It was hard but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It was a great way to ease me into remembering the rules, to get a bit of exercise (but not too much!) and, most if all, it was so much fun! I wasn't sore the next day either. It seems I had underestimated my level of fitness - perhaps chasing children has done more for me than I had given it credit.

I'll definitely be going back for more. Can't wait until the next game!

11 April 2010

Party time

One of the things I had considered a positive aspect of my girls getting older was that I might be able to have the occasional alcoholic drink. A couple of weeks ago we went away for the weekend for a friend's 30th. It was the first 30th in our main circle of friends so it was a much- anticipated shin dig.

Missy Moo2 was almost weaned so I thought I might be able to partake in a vino or 2. I built it up during the course of the evening while I was getting bub to sleep that I was quite excited by the time the opportunity arose to have a sip. You see, due to pregnancies, preparation for same and breastfeeding, there has been around six months out of the past four years during which I have actually been able to drink. Needless to say, I was eagerly anticipating the party drink, particularly as everyone else there except my lovely pregnant friend were right into it.

While I was getting MissyMoo2 to sleep at the party, the beer and bubbly were flowing. Conversation grew more animated as the alcohol made everything more exciting to everyone. There was even a drinking game going on in one of the sitting rooms. It was much the same crowd I had hung out with at uni, so I thought we'd have a great time like we always had and that drinking my first sip of bubbly would grant me entry back into the world of carefree fun I seem to have left behind.

But it wasn't the same. From the first sip, I felt happily tipsy, but also uneasy. I wasn't used to the way the alcohol made me feel and I didn't like the feeling of losing control of myself, even a little bit. It didn't taste good, just ... potent. Then I started thinking about the kids. What if MissyMoo2 woke up (which of course she would with all the noise - and she did)? And I couldn't be headachy or tired when MissyMoo1 arrived courtesy of her grandparents the next day. I abruptly came to the stark realisation (which I had already known but was suppressing for the weekend away) that my life has changed - I have changed. I am responsible for other people now and I just don't feel comfortable doing the party thing any more. Now I have my fun in other ways.

I'm no longer thinking about how good it will be to be able to drink once I've weaned MissyMoo2. Yeah, it'll be okay to have one or two occasionally at home or with dinner. But it's been relegated to the back of my mind now thanks to my party observation reality check.

09 April 2010

Weaning? Not I...

What a difference a week can make. Continuing on from my last post, a week ago the weaning stopped. MissyMoo2, at 9.5 months, realised her Mamma was sneakily withholding nenna (what we call the milk jugs) and hatched her own plan to put a stop to the bottle invasion.

One week on and MissyMoo2 has been victorious. There has been no bottle since last Thursday and, true to her form of old, lefty rarely gets a look in. Up until last night I was actually quite happy to be breastfeeding again. It's so easy to not have to steralise bottles, pack formula with you when you go away, and it works a treat to get her to sleep when nothing else will.

Last night was the first time all week though that I really haven't enjoyed it. MissyMoo2 was a bit ... well ... rough. She didn't bite or anything, but she does this weird thing where pulls her head back and pushes me away at the same time. I don't think she's doing it to get more milk out - there seems to be enough there. Anyway, as with most parental decisions it has left me a bit torn between trying the weaning again or keeping things the way they are. I think I'll tough it until tooth #4 breaks through and then the spouty cup might try to sneak in something other than water!

02 April 2010

To wean or not to wean ...

I'm struggling a bit at the moment in the baby feeding department.

Three or four weeks ago I began weaning MissyMoo2 off the breast and onto the bottle. Besides a few top-up bottle feeds as a newborn, I had been breastfeeding her for the first eight months of her life. But at around eight months old, things had started to change. The first thing was the biting - granted, that only happened on the occasional bad teething day but my very real fear of nipple amputation at the teeth of my daughter started me thinking about weaning. The next thing was what began as her preference for one side over the other, which over time morphed into MissyMoo2 almost exclusively feeding from her favourite side (right) and showing contempt for poor lefty. Then, in an attempt to get her sleeping through the night I gave her a bottle of formula one night before bed to fill her up. It worked. She drank it all up and slept through the night instead of waking for a feed as had been her habit to that point. Then when, after having continued that for the next couple of nights, I gave MissyMoo2 a choice and she laughed at me while grabbing for the bottle, I knew that it was time.

Fast forward to two days ago and MissyMoo2 was down to one breastfeed per day. Things seemed to be going well. But now things seemed to have turned. Since yesterday's mid-morning feed, MissyMoo2 has refused the bottle. She squirms, screams and the clamps her mouth shut when the teat goes near her. I've tried a sippy cup too with much the same result. So now, worried that she will dehydrate I've been offering her breastfeeds again, which she is thankfully accepting, but after 3 weeks of weaning I don't have enough milk to sustain her.

So now, as of tonight, the situation is this: no bottle, formula or cow's milk (tried both to
see if the taste was an issue), no spout cup, only breastfeeding, mainly from one side but with not much milk.

Oh, and she's also teething, which could be contributing to the difficulties.

I've done everything I can think of except buy new spouty bottles but the shops were shut today. Any ideas anyone???

30 March 2010

Kia

We got a new car yesterday!!!

As you can see by the exclamation mark explosion above, I am just a little excited. It's mine & hubby's first new car ever, individually or collectively so it's a pretty big deal for us.

I wasn't overly excited at first. Well hubby commented a few weeks ago that I didn't seem excited and, while I liked the idea of a new car, I suppose I didn't really believe that we would get one.

I think that to fully understand the excitement, you also need to have an idea of what the Kia replaced: hubby's first car - a 16-year-old Camry with a bit over 290,000kms on the odometer (I'm relieved we won't be around to see it tick over to 300k). It had been a great car and hubby had loved it. He had bought it 2nd hand when he was a uni student. We had gone on many road trips together in it, brought it with us as we moved from place to place, and it had been the car to take us on that all-important trip to hospital for the birth of MissyMoo1. But those were all the better days seen by the poor Camry. Time and travel had ravaged it. It squeaked when it should have vroomed and the fuel door had to be opened by pulling on a wire on the inside of the boot. The last straw, though, was getting through summer without air-conditioning. So many years as kids we survived 10 hour road trips in the January heat, with the windows opened whilst travelling at 100kph and frozen poppas cooling our sweaty necks. But we just can't do it any more - we've gone soft. And after getting through the summer, the thought of driving in winter without a working heater was just too much to bear.

And now, presenting the latest addition to our family, our little Rio. Although it's not red, it still looks good in white. This afternoon hubby asked me what I like about it. It was then that I realised how excited I had become, as I could not pick a favourite aspect. I just rattled them all off. The air-conditioning works. It's smooth, small and suberb. The little shorty that is me can see over the steering wheel. MissyMoo1 can see out the window. It's a hatchback so you know that when you're reversing, the car ends where the rear window is; there's no guestimating how much room you have at the back. Oh and I love the little windscreen wiper at the rear. I don't think I've loved a car as much since OJ - my parents' white little hatchback I learned to drive in as a teenager. Hmm, there's a few similarities there.

Now I just have to figure out the radio and blue-tooth stuff before the annoying salesman rings to check that everything is ok...

20 March 2010

Do you want fries with that?

The upsize phenomenon has been around for a while, I know, and I have come to accept the irritation it makes me feel as simply a part of ordering fast food. From memory it began with McDonalds although on the odd occasion when I do go there, I don't hear it any more. It's vaguely annoying but expected at KFC when, even when you specifically ask for a regular sized meal, you are faced with: "Would you like to upsize for an extra dollar?" (I think it might be $2 now though). Until today, the most irritating one I had come across was at Baker's Delight, when a request for a loaf of bread subjects me to: "would you like the two loaves for $6 today?" This provokes my inner scowl, particularly as I'm usually served by the same person two or three times per week and I never get more than one loaf at a time. I think I may have actually rolled my eyes at the woman last time.

Today topped the lot though. We bought a new car. Yes, very exciting and all that, especially because when we get it, it will be the first new car either of us has ever owned. Hubby and I were both left with a bitter taste in our mouth though when the formalities got underway. By way of background, the car is new, but cheap. It's small, on sale and we're trading in our old car which, frankly, we should probably have dispensed with a while ago; so we're hardly flashing money around at the caryard. We signed the contract for sale of the car at around 11:15. We didn't get out of there until midday...

The car salesman left and a woman took his place at the desk. She began by complimenting us on our two beautiful daughters, who had been happily playing on the carpet earlier but were now beginning to look, sound and act tired. She then began to try getting us to buy window tinting for the car. It was for safety, to stop our kids getting sunburnt (ah, why don't we just put sunscreen on them?) and to stop glass shattering all over them if there's a car accident. She actually seemed to be insinuating that we would be unfit parents if we did not succumb to the upsell. It made my blood boil. My exterior remained cool but inside I was screaming: "not looking after my children's safety? Well a big f%#k you to you too! I'm here aren't I? I've just bought a new car haven't I? Who do you think you are?!" It turns out I wasn't over-reacting - hubby got the same impression.

With rejection of the tinting she seemed personally offended. With less friendliness in her tone she then began to rattle off all sorts of extras we might "need". We told her we weren't interested in any extras. "Don't you even want to know the prices of them?" she asked. "No," was the simple response. But apparently we weren't clear enough.

She eventually got the picture and slightly snappily told us we'd have to sign a disclaimer which she presented to us and which I had finished reading before she had finished 'explaining' it. (It was a pretty pathetic excuse for a disclaimer - much more wishy-washy than the ones I used to write for a living). She seemed to be withholding the pen for a little too long - I had time to contemplate reaching into my handbag to get my own, reaching across the desk and taking it from her, as well as asking if I could borrow it. She eventually handed it over at which time I quickly signed it and ticked all the boxes of extras we were not adding on. Hubby could have sworn that he saw "steak knives" on the list.

It wasn't over yet. When paid the deposit there was a spiel from a different woman about a premium warranty, which was also flatly rejected. By this stage MissyMoo1 (3) was alternating between lying on the seat sucking her thumb and bouncing off the walls. MissyMoo2 (9 months) was grizzling and wriggling all over the place.

We were finally let out of the room, with dignity and wallets intact. The upsize beast could capture and interrogate us, but it did not win out in the end.

05 March 2010

Crawling

We've had a big week of milestones.

On Monday MissyMoo1 (3) wrote her name for the first time and on the same day MissyMoo2 (8 months) said that name for the first time (her second word). Those milestones were very exciting and it was lovely for each of them to have done something new on the same day.

This week's prize for "milestone causing the most change to the household", however, goes to MissyMoo2 for Wednesday's effort: she started crawling. By today (Friday), she has managed to crawl the length of the house to "chase" her big sister. She has also discovered that she no longer needs mummy to get her to the toys - when she crawled to the toy room this afternoon, I wish I had taken the camera with me to capture the look of glee on her face!

It's great that MissyMoo2 can crawl, really it is. I mean, she has been trying for weeks and getting really frustrated. Looking at her now, you would think she had been doing it for weeks. The only trouble is that now it's mummy's turn to get frustrated - I have to make sure the house is babyproof, crawling babyproof. This is something that is not too much of an issue with a first baby - making the house babyproof is something that must be done, but it is not something that must be done continuously as, I am finding, is the case now.

Because MissyMoo2 has an older sister, the house is full of toys that are not appropriate for a baby to play with. There are so many little things: Polly Pockets, Barbie's shoes, coins from her little purse, beaded necklaces and bracelets, play forks from the play picnic set (my heartrate is increasing just thinking about it - luckily MissyMoo2 is safely sleeping in her cot right now). There is of course the ever-present danger of eyes being poked by sharp objects, but my main concern is choking. This problem is amplified by the fact that MissyMoo2 likes to put things in her mouth ... a lot. In fact, just about everything that makes it into her hands also makes its way to her mouth (another new thing for me - MissyMoo1 was not a 'mouth' baby).

I envisage that soon mummy will have bald patches from tearing her hair out every time MissyMoo2 decides to explore any part of the house at all. (I bet she'll be a cupboard opener too - that'd be right.) MissyMoo1 is learning that the little toys need to go in a special container which lives on the top shelf of the doll's house, but getting a three-year-old to pack up is not something I can rely on. The picnic forks were living on the play kitchen bench ... until this afternoon when MissyMoo2 pulled herself up onto her knees and reached them. Maybe we should all just play with cuddly teddy bears and teething rings for a while...

On the upside, I might not need to be concerned about weight gain when I stop breastfeeding in a few months - looks like I'll be very active chasing after children and their toys :-)

25 February 2010

End of (Tennant's) Time

The other night I sadly watched the last David Tennant Dr Who episode.

No, I don't mean sad in the sense of it being sad that I actually watch Dr Who (hubby's opinion!). It was sad because I absolutely think David Tennant has been the best Dr I've seen and I'm sad to see him go.

I used to watch repeats of the old series of the show as a kid and have always been a bit of a closet Dr Who nerd. That closet door became ajar when the new series began and was flung open when the Doctor regenerated into David Tennant. Now the Doctor had remained his usual intelligent self, but had also become quirky and extremely easy on the eye! In the all series that followed, I watched every episode, happily losing myself in the fantasy.

Then, sometime last year (not sure when - I've blocked it out of my mind), the terrible news was announced: David Tennant was leaving the show. A communal pained cry swept the world (well, the Dr Who and David Tennant Facebook fan pages at least), as devoted fans contemplated a Davidless Dr Who.

It was the end of an era: no more stripy suits (sounds like pyjamas when described that way, but he managed to pull it off); no more thick-framed glasses when he was thinking which still looked sexy; no more "I make being a genius cool"; no more pining for his Rose; no more pretty-boy hair...

The next thought which immediately came to mind was, who would the next Doctor be? Who would be brave (or stupid) enough to attempt to fill the running shoes of the Doctor we had grown to love?

The final episode was, I think, as good an ending as we could have expected. It gave the Doctor the dignity of dying to save another. It let us visit our favourite Tennant companions one last time. It also briefly introduced us to the new Doctor: young, chatty and not nearly as good-looking.

I will watch the next series, perhaps more out of curiosity than anything else. How the new guy measures up will be revealed in "time". You never know, I might like him ... or I might just step back into that closet.

22 February 2010

Time, Home, Stuff

I honestly (naively) thought that with MissyMoo1 (3) at pre-school one day each week, I would have some extra time to play with MissyMoo2 (8 months), do housework and have some me-time for writing.

Cut to her fourth week at pre-school and I'm noticing a pattern emerging. Well, it is not so much a pattern as a realisation of the fluid nature of "time" (and no, this is not because I watched Dr Who last night. If I have 'time' I"ll devote an entire blog post to that one.)

What I have noticed is that the more free time I think I'll have, the more I try to fit into it and the more frazzled I become.

Take this morning for example. Pre-school day is now grocery shopping day, as it's much easier with just one of the MissyMoos. After doing that, I didn't get home until after 11. Then, after putting it all away, doing more washing, eating, general tidying up, I find myself here, finally, at the computer at 1.47pm. And this is only possible because MissyMoo2 has been asleep since we got home from the supermarket. So much for one-on-one time there. I might have to wake her up if she doesn't wake soon so she can have some "lunch" before we have to head out again. In about an hour we'll go and get MissyMoo1 from pre-school and that's the end of my "break".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. At least these days I have "me time" occasionally. It was a luxury I couldn't afford when I worked full-time when MissyMoo1 was little. Mind you, I could afford cool stuff instead, like fancy shoes!

No, seriously, I'd much prefer my 'me time' and my kiddy time to fancy shoes. I guess I just pictured more 'sitting around with a cuppa' scenes on pre-school days. But then, nobody ever fantasises about vacuuming ... well, I certainly don't.

Maybe it just all comes back to the ironing thing. I'd have heaps less to do if I returned to being a folder/hanger person. But then, I would deprive myself of the pleasure of making the clothes so smoooooooth.

Time to go and stack the dishwasher before MissyMoo2 wakes up!

Cheers,
bye bye.
F.

10 February 2010

Front Yard Gum

Tall gum tree I see, your gangly limbs stretch on up to the sky.
You just exist, no need to think or ponder how and why.
From time to time you shed your bark; on my front lawn it lands.
Your leaves sway 'round and sometimes fall, just as the wind commands.
The hole in your trunk is where rainbow lorikeets live and lay their eggs.
Your sturdy branches are a welcome place for galahs to rest their legs.
One day I will leave this place behind but here you will remain,
Bringing that bit of bush to another suburban family's life again.

03 February 2010

Remembering Pat

An elderly friend of mine recently passed away and today was her funeral.

She was a lovely person. She was in charge of the church choir I sang in as a uni student. She was warm and welcoming, and always made me feel comfortable even though I was the youngest in the group by almost 40 years. I moved away after finishing uni and so left the choir. She and the rest of the choir sang at my wedding but in the past five years I only saw her a few times when I went back to visit. She always greeted me with a hug, a kiss and a big smile.

This morning was her funeral and the choir got back together to sing for her one last time.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived this morning was the number of people there: the church was full. It was as I had expected. She had so many friends as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all there.

When I got there the others had saved me my old spot up the front near the microphone. It felt so familiar but two things were very different: Pat wasn't there and my MissyMoos were.

I didn't really have a chance to take things in and reflect at the time because I was too preoccupied with keeping the girls from acting up in the hot church. Adding to my anxiousness was the thought that the mic might pick up every little whinge or grizzle. There were a few of those and, of course, MissyMoo1 just had to go to the toilet in the middle of the service.

A bit later on in the day, I got a chance to sit and remember. I read the order of ceremonies booklet (which has seen better days, as MissyMoo2 adopted it as her new toy during the service and slobbered all over it - the teething rings I brought with us weren't nearly as interesting) and got a bit sad.

It might sound a little morbid, but then I got to thinking about how I want to be remembered. I figure, if at the end of my time here I'm loved by family and friends, remembered fondly and can come close to filling a church, I'll have done well.

I'll miss you, Pat, but I know you're in a better place.

xx

28 January 2010

Splashes and Giggles

My girls recently started having baths together. Once MissyMoo2 started sitting, I decided to do it; partly due to laziness and partly so they could have fun playing together in the bath. Okay, it was mainly due to laziness - getting two kids clean at the same time just seems to make sense.

When they sat facing each other in the bath for the first time, the looks on both their faces was priceless. I wish I'd brought a camera in with me (actually, I'm glad I didn't - you'll see why).

MissyMoo1 did her beautiful awe-struck look and said a long "wow" to give it full effect. With the size of her grin eclipsed only by the depth of her dimples, she could hardly contain her excitement that her baby sister was finally big enough to play in the bath with her.

MissyMoo2 gave a smile so big it showed off her tooth. She looked adoringly up at her big sister, confident that life just didn't get any better than this.

Well it did.

MissyMoo1's experienced hand smacked the water, splashing everything in about a half metre radius (hence my relief at not having brought the camera so close to the bath). At that, MissyMoo2's expression ascended to absolute glee. With beads of water on her cheeks, she looked up at her big sister and then down at the water. Smiling, she started splashing away with both hands and chuckling. For the next couple of minutes both of them were splashing and giggling -it was a joy to watch and I found myself giggling along with them too.

Who needs bath toys when you can splash your sister?!

25 January 2010

Short Story: MissyMoo1's First Journey

As promised, I am posting the story I recently entered into a short story competition. I am fairly happy with it, although I could have used an extra 200 words or so to get it just the way I wanted it. Alas, the word limit was my foe. Unfortunately the story did not make the short list, but that's ok - the prizes weren't very good anyway!

The topic for the competition was pregnancy, birth or the first five years of a child's life. The story had to be non-fiction and attempt to move the reader either to tears or laughter. (Just in case the story is so bad that you're not sure - I was not aiming for laughter).

Here goes:

The utensils on the table next to me glistened in the light from overhead. Its fluorescence made them seem all the more cold and sharp. Although I did not want to look, I could not turn away from that table. I stared in disbelief that those implements resembling medieval instruments of torture might be used to pull the fragile newborn baby from my body.

The obstetrician entered the room signalling that I would soon begin to push out our much-anticipated, nine day overdue baby girl. I was exhausted. I had been in labour for 20 hours, including all through the night before. I was hungry. I had not eaten for 24 hours because there had been complications during my labour and my body needed to be prepared for a possible caesarean. But here I was, nearly at the end and ready to push out my baby. I was given lemonade to help me through, which neither quenched my thirst nor satisfied my hunger, but in my state I was happy to take what I could get.

The midwife and my husband put my legs in the stirrups to prepare me for pushing. I could not move my legs or feel anything at all from the waist down thanks to the epidural. Hubby squeezed my hand and I smiled at him. We both knew that soon our lives would be changed forever.

The midwife watched the monitor beside me and told me when to push. I gritted my teeth but I could not feel anything. I had no idea whether I was actually pushing or just holding my breath. After almost two hours of encouraging words and caring faces, the mood in the room suddenly changed. I looked up and saw the midwife and the obstetrician looking at each other with concerned expressions. The midwife noticed me looking at her and managed a smile. I then turned to Hubby and I could tell from his face that he had seen it too.

They told me that I was pushing hard and doing so well; they knew that I was tired but I was nearly there. The obstetrician said that the baby was getting distressed, that we had to get her out soon and that they needed an extra special effort from me. The obstetrician spoke a little too quickly and a little too loudly. She sounded stressed and it scared me.

I was so tired; I just did not want to push any more. After all that time, none of it seemed real. I could not imagine labour being over and having our baby out in the world with us. But after hearing what the obstetrician had said and how she had said it, I was terrified that something bad was going to happen. I took a deep breath and, fighting back tears, I pushed with all that I had in me.

When I next looked up, I saw people pouring into the room. Missy Moo 1 had been born, but what I had pictured as the happiest moment of our lives, a moment to savour, was a blur of confusion and noise. She was placed on my chest but I barely had time to wonder how to hold her when her limp body was swiftly taken from me. I looked for her but she had disappeared behind a wall of nurses. After an eternity, she was wheeled back to me on a trolley. I kissed the top of her head – it was all I could reach – before she was whisked away again, this time to a nursery on another floor of the building.

The room began to spin. I felt sick. Words and phrases were diving out of the obstetrician’s mouth and swimming around my ears: big baby; shoulder stuck; had to break her arm to get her out; no heartbeat; resuscitated; alive; possible brain-damage; know more in a few hours.

I was barely conscious, but I still felt hollow inside. After everything we had been through, I was not holding my baby. The little one had gone from the protection and warmth of my womb to a sterile incubator where she was fighting for life. Instead of being cuddled by her parents, she was surrounded by glass. Hubby was with her, holding her hand through the porthole in the incubator. It was the least we could do and the most we could do.

While my broken body was being repaired, I was unsure of whether to sleep or vomit. Thanks to the epidural I was not yet suffering from the physical pain of the ordeal, but it could not block out the emptiness and guilt I was feeling. Moments ago, MissyMoo1 had been inside me and Hubby was holding my hand; now they were both gone.

I was still in my bed when I was taken to see my daughter. I felt apprehension as I was pushed into the lift and down the corridor to the nursery. While we mere moving, the nurses apologised for taking MissyMoo1 away from me so quickly. MissyMoo1's first APGAR score had been zero, so they had needed to act quickly. I could hear the compassion in their voices. It was the first time I realised just how close we had come to losing MissyMoo1 before we had even had a chance to meet.

When we arrived I saw Hubby standing next to a glass box on a trolley. Inside was my MissyMoo1, with tubes up her nose and in her tiny hands. It did not seem fair that someone so small and innocent should be suffering so much. I could not believe that she was mine. I reached into the porthole and touched her arm. We were sad, scared and scarred, but we were all together again.

23 January 2010

Blog topics

Okay so I've been looking at my blog posts so far and, rather than being a creative outlet, this has become a bit of a "mum's blog". I had hoped to be a bit more versatile than that, but I've come to the realisation that mummy stuff is what I do these days and therefore what I know and what I write about. It definitely provides for more interesting topics than my last job which would have just inspired me to rant about the unnecessary complexities in the Corporations Act.

My aim is to broaden the scope a bit but of course to keep up the mum writing too - the girls just provide me with so much material!

I entered a short story competition a couple of weeks ago so when I get my act together I'll post the story on this blog.

Ciao until next time.

F.

21 January 2010

Porridge Hands

Breakfast was a blast this morning.

I sat MissyMoo2 on a wrap on the floor to eat her porridge and pureed apple mix, yum yum. The first few mouthfuls were easy & uneventful. Soon after beginning her breakfast, though, MissyMoo2 decided to make things a little more interesting.

MissyMoo2 is one of those babies who likes to touch food with her hands and put non-edible things (for example, play dough) in her mouth. This morning was no exception. Every one of my attempts to keeps the bowl out of her reach resulted in MissyMoo2 crying and then clamping her mouth shut tight when I attempted to put a spoonful of food in. Making funny faces worked a few times; singing a silly sing got her mouth open a few more. But then my tricks stopped working.

Out of ideas, I did what any mother who had just been outsmarted by a 7-month-old would do: I succumbed. Instead of worrying about the mess, I decided to think of it positively - as an educational experience.

The look of glee on MissyMoo2's face as I put the bowl within reach was worth it. First she put a couple of fingers in the bowl, then took them out and licked them. Next, she put her whole hand in and then the other hand joined in the fun too. She started laughing and splattering around in the bowl. When she was finished there was food on her face, her legs, her hands, my legs and I think we also managed to get some more in her mouth. There was very little left in the bowl.

MissyMoo1 came over to see what all the fuss was about. She pointed and laughed, saying: "Mummy, she's got porridge hands!"

14 January 2010

Watching Charlie & Lola - Post script

I can't resist adding a post script to the post about watching "Charlie & Lola".

Before I begin, just a bit of background. Like most 3-year-olds, MissyMoo1 is very fussy with her veggies. The only ones she will eat without a level of negotiation worthy of securing a peace treaty between warring nations, are steamed potatoes and steamed zucchini, both with the skin off.

MissyMoo1 and I were watching the DVD again today on a rainy afternoon. The first episode is about Lola's fussy eating and how Charlie manages to get her to eat her veggies. The first vegetable is a carrot. Much to my amazement, before we even got to the part where Charlie says that carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter so that Lola will be interested in eating them, MissyMoo1 said to me: "Mummy, can I have a carrot, pleeeease?"

"What was that sweety?" She asked for a vegetable and used her manners the first time? I couldn't believe my ears. She repeated her request and I gladly got up, peeled a whole carrot and gave it to her. And ... she ATE it!

I love tv which is a good influence on kids :-)

12 January 2010

Confession of a Housewife

I have something I need to get off my chest. It's a little secret I've been keeping for a few months now. I wouldn't call it an addiction, rather, a guilty pleasure. It's not something I am particularly proud of, but I may not be the only one...

I realise that making an admission of this sort on a blog could be akin to telling the world. The voice of reason tells me that this isn't really the case, as not many people will actually read what I write. The voice's opposing whisper says that when it is public, I will feel better about it: exposed but free.

And no, the admission is not about me hearing voices in my head (the topic for a future blog post, perhaps?).

This confession is about a typical homely task. Some do it, some don't. Ironing. I used to avoid it at all costs. When I was in the workforce, I tried to get by mostly with work attire that did not require ironing. I would hang clothes in an attempt to get the creases out and ironed only as a last resort. When Missy Moo was a baby and I was at home full time looking after her, ironing hubby's work shirts was the extent of it. I had a uselessly thin ironing board cover which would press the ironing board's grate pattern into the shirts, so I sometimes used the hanging up trick for hubby too, particularly in winter when he could wear jumpers over the top of the shirt.

But a few months ago, something changed. I can't quite put my finger on exactly when or why, but I began to iron more. It was not as if I suddenly had more time for ironing. I had been at home full time with MissyMoo1 since early on in my pregnancy with MissyMoo2. Baby was two or three months old when the increase in ironing activity began, so with two little ones to look after, I actually had less time.

Then I began to notice ironed clothes on other people ... and I liked what I saw. I began to be able to differentiate between people who were wearing ironed clothes and those whose clothes had perhaps just been hung up in the wardrobe (my old trick). The ironed clothes just looked so ... smooth. It was a revelation, as if, after 28 years, my eyes had finally been opened.

The next chance I got, I bought a new ironing board cover. It was smooth with luxuriously thick padding. It was also pink - my little indulgence considering I'm the only one who does the ironing in our house these days.

The next time I did some washing, I put away the clean underwear, socks, singlets and pyjamas. Most other things went in the ironing basket. I got out the equipment, filled the iron with water and let it warm up. Then I got to it fervently. My steam engine of smoothness made the evil creases disappear. It was ... enjoyable.

There, I said it. I like ironing. I find it enjoyable, satisfying, relaxing. I LIKE IRONING!!!

What has become of me? How could I, formerly a sworn enemy of any task pertaining to home life requiring effort, be taking such pride in steam-pressing clothing? Perhaps I am less exciting these days; perhaps it is a function of spending more time at home. All I know is , I feel good about it, and I feel good about telling you.

I'd better go, I have some ironing to do.

05 January 2010

Watching Charlie & Lola

I'm sitting on the couch with MissyMoo1 (3) watching "Charlie & Lola" on DVD. MissyMoo1 doesn't mind a bit of tv in the afternoon after a day of playing (it's a hard life!). She used to have an afternoon nap but these days that rarely happens. I tried to make it happen for a while there but the making was not terribly condusive to producing the relaxed state required for sleeping. So now zonking out in front of the tv for some pre-schooler viewing is fine by me.

I'm quite a fan of "Charlie & Lola" actually. It's one of the few kiddy shows that hasn't yet made me want to go and clean the kitchen, or shower, or toilet, just to have an excuse to leave the room. Charlie seems to teach Lola a lot of things I would think would be in the parent domain but apart from that, it's wonderful. Charlie also seems to have a lot of patience for a little kid but then how could you not with a little sister as cutey adorable as Lola.

It has made me wonder what pearls of wisdom MissyMoo1 will be passing onto her little sister. Scamming lollies will probably be high up on the list and perhaps learning to jump like a frog. Judging from the way the two of them have been playing together so happily lately, I'm sure they will be sharing secrets and ganging up on their parents to get what they're after, which is exactly how it should be.

Now that MissyMoo2 is sitting up to play, the girls are fighting over toys and making each other cry one minute, then smiling, cuddling and sharing the next. just a minute ago, Missy Moo1 gave her sister a soft kiss on the cheek, then put a toy on her head and laughed at her. The show we're watching makes me wonder what the girls will be like when they're a bit older, but right now, they're just awesome :-)
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