Saturday, July 31, 2010

A glossary of co-sleeping scenarios

If you have co-slept, even once, you will probably relate to a few of these.

The "H"
Two adults, or an adult and the wall, with the child sleeping horizontally between them. One adult gets the kicky feet and the other gets headbutts to the stomach.

The "blue-tit"
Not a bird. This happens when you roll over and feed your nursling in a semi-awake daze and promptly fall back asleep. Nursling finishes and rolls over leaving your breast out in the cold for as long as it takes you to wake up.

The "minefield"
When you find all the great things your kids leave in bed for you to discover when you roll on them at 2am. Like sand, tan bark, spiky dinosaur toys, cars and duplo.

The "contraceptive"
When your child/ren will only sleep in the middle of the adults. Also see the "H".

The "I didn't sign up for this"
When you are puked on, wake up to a leaky poo nappy or, as once happened to me, you toilet learning toddler sits on you mistaking you for the toilet and wees all over you.

The "Seinfeld"
When you are woken by your kids talking in their sleep, usually hilarious.

The "Godfather"
Not a horses head on you pillow but your child's.

The "shadow"
The child that sticks to you and is cuddled either into your back or in the crook of your arm.

The "bag of kittens"
When the child you sleep next to WON'T STOP MOVING even when they are sound asleep.

The "angels of the morning"
Older children who have their own beds and rooms but love to sneak in for a cuddle in the morning (I STILL do this when I stay with my parents)

The "happy campers"
the smug family who get more sleep, don't have to get out of bed and enjoy extra bonding and cuddles because they co-sleep.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An app is keeping me organized!

Oh my. What an iWanker I've become.
I bought a $6 app called HomeRoutines and it's actually working. Are you ready for the irony? I get GOLD STARS for doing my "chores". I have a chore chart. Except adults call them "organization apps" and have them on their iPhones. But something had to be done.

Part of the whole stay at home Mama gig is organization. Though I may be often loathe to admit it when I drop the ball there it gets harder, not easier. The days I say "fuck it" to putting on a load of washing means I have 2 loads to do the next day. The times I don't bake snacks regularly are the times I blow $20 on pre packaged crap. I'm not complaining about needing to have my shit some kind of together, but some part of me rebels or self sabotages or something. Menu planning always ends in take away.

Now I need to find an app for that!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We play! And here is where we do it.

We Play



I don't know about you but I love getting a glimpse into other people's houses and set-ups. Here is a look into the play space at our house. I also love showing off all the great gear you can get second hand! These photos are if you are looking around the room clockwise.

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Farmhouse on op-shopped coffee table with collection of wooden blocks underneath. Bookcase with baby toys, plastic animals, train set, play cloths, matchbox cars and assorted bits and pieces.

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pop up cubby house, cardboard boxes (these are used for all sorts of play!), op-shopped wooden ride on train and push trolley.

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Dress ups, dolls on op-shopped table with all their clothes and stuff underneath in baskets (op-shop again!)

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Kitchen corner. Table and chairs(op-shop), oven(eBay) with a heap of cotton, wooden and felt food and a wooden tea and cooking set.

I'd love to check out some other play spaces. Hint hint. To check out other great play ideas head over to Childhood 101 We play HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Professional advice?

From age 18-25 I was a Pharmacy Assistant. I know, it's ironic right? I sold an awful lot of vaccines and disposable nappies among other things, but guess what was one of our top sellers? Artificial baby milk (ABM). We used to buy that shit in by the pallet load and sell it cheaper than the supermarket.
In one chemist I worked in we had the ABM right next to where the baby nurse used to weigh babies. There were loyalty cards (not sure they are still allowed) where the 7th tin was free and promotions where you could win children's big ticket toys by buying the ABM and entering into a draw. We had bags with logos on them and kids toys with embroidered slogans.

So with all of that ABM on hand do you want to know how much information I was given in EIGHT years (one of which I was a manager)about breastfeeding or the risks of ABM?

NONE. Exactly none.

I was, however, given plenty of information from the ABM companies about things in their product that made it "like" mothers milk or why it was better than other brands. I was taken out to lunch and given buying deals so we could sell the ABM cheaply-as long as we had so many facings of the cans.

Think about that.

Then think about where you think one of the first places a Mama goes at 5pm when they have a baby that won't settle and they are needing reassurance or advice. The friendly local pharmacy. Complete with fantastic staff-that are trained by ABM companies. Often staff are not yet mothers or fathers or from a generation or so ago when the risks of ABM were just not known. They might even have a couple of kids who are ABM fed and "just fine". I personally put the first nail in the coffin of the breastfeeding relationship of a lot of Mamas and babies by suggesting comp feeds and pointing out the benefits of certain brands to unsure women. As I was trained to do.

It seems to me that there is a big hole in breastfeeding education here. There are a big group of professionals who are handing out advice with perhaps no idea of the risk. Pharmacies are treated as a retail outlet but there is a big difference between taking a can off the shelf of a supermarket and asking a pharmacy assistant for advice. Because you expect the advice on the long term feeding of your child to be what is best for your baby-not a sales pitch.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Joy

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I found this photo of Willow while looking for another photo and I had to share it. I could have put it up tomorrow and it would have been a Wordless Wednesday. Screw you bloggerverse-I won't be bossed around by your schedule, I'm an unschooler ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Random comment hall of shame

I was talking with a group of women today and mentioned that a particular comment had to be "one of the top 5 craziest comments ever made to me". It was suggested that that sounded like a blog post. Thanks for the inspiration Deb, as requested here are-

The top 5 craziest comments ever made to me, in random order.

"aren't you scared that she will fall out of that...AND DIE??!!"
This was asked of 6 month old Harper sitting on my hip in a ring sling. The woman asking the question was quite panicked about the situation.

"oh no!! Another girl! You and your husband especially must be just devastated. How awful for you both."
This corker was by a man at the supermarket and Harper was still tiny enough that we were still getting random people come up and gush over our lovely newborn. Even if I was disappointed about her gender (I wasn't) I still thought it was a pretty offensive random comment.

"so will you just get an ambulance to sit in the driveway while you are in labour in case you have to be rushed to hospital for a cesarean?"
Ummm no. I know homebirth is a pretty new idea for a lot of people but really.

"I hate how parents who don't send their kids to school think they are so much better than teachers-like they can do the same job of someone who went to university. Those parents just think they are so smart."
Yep, it's a superiority complex that drives people to home educate. Apparently. That discussion got a little heated.

But this takes the cake. This is a true story of an altercation I had with a woman at the shops when Harper was 5 days old (don't tell my midwife I was at the shops with my newborn when I should have been on the couch!)and was in a pouch sling.
Stranger "oh look! That is a tiny baby! How old is she?"
Me (still on post birth high) "she's 5 days old"
Stranger (poking into the sling grr) "wow look at her perfectly round head! She must have been born by c-section because only c-section babies have beautiful round heads like that"
Me "no. Actually she was born at home. I had a homebirth"
Stranger "FREAK!" and SPITS AT MY FEET and storms off.
That actually happened. I was holding a container of blueberries with a look of complete shock on my face for a while thinking "did that really just happen??" before I could move on.

I would love to hear of your craziest random comment. Share!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bad ass...

I loved this post on Picklebums about the most "badass" thing she had ever done. I thought I'd share a story so you can have a giggle.

I've done some pretty "badass" stuff that I'm not going to get into but I remember when I was about 16 and liked the thought of being badass. I was heavily into the whole grunge thing and apathy with a dose of badass was the style at the time. Along with cutting your own hair, dressing like a drifter and using liquid paper/marker pen for nail polish. I was COOL everyone. Waaaaay cool.
My Mum let me go to a local fair with some friends that year. It was *trumpets please* at night and she was not going to be there. I put my scruffy cherry Doc martens, a band tee and some op shop pants and got my badass on. My Mum had paring words.
"behave yourself, I know everyone and someone will dob on you"
I'm sure I rolled my eyes, I was an eye-rolly sort of teen. But her words were truth. My Mum was president of the netball club, had been on school committees since I started and took an active interest in my friends and their families. Not to mention we had lived in the same 15km radius for 13 years. I should have heeded her words...

My friend and myself encountered some boys we kinda sorta knew who offered us a drink. Knowing that a whole can could get me in trouble I accepted a SIP. I mean it, it was a sip...and maybe a smoke. Not really very badass. But I felt pretty cool.

I arrived home to my Mother. Frowning. Who was very angry about my drinking at the fair. I couldn't believe it, true to her word someone who she knew saw me sip (it really and truly was ONE lousy sip) and rang and dobbed! My badass was quickly reduced to apology and begging not to be grounded. I'm pretty sure my big, bad badass self cried. I laugh now and I'm pretty sure my Mum was laughing her ass off at the time. I don't know if Kurt Cobain ever got dobbed on but I sure did!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Transitions

I've been a bit quiet of late. Feeling a little stretched (I've said that a lot recently) and a bit inward. Felt like my blogs were getting a bit whiny and taking that old "if you can't say something nice then say nothing at all" stance.
But this is my blog right? And I blog about my real life day to day. Truth is my real life day to day has been a little sucky lately. So whiny or not, I'm going to blog.

I feel like I have 3 kids who are all at tricky ages at the same time. When I was pregnant with Harper I was so worried about how I was going to cope with that first 12 months. The thing is those first 12 months were OK, not a picnic all the time but a baby under one has pretty simple needs to fill. Access to the breast, arms to be held in and sleeping close when tired. I had forgotten what an almost verbal toddler was like. And I never factored having that with a 3 year old at the same time. And I didn't know Tannah would be having a rough time at the same time as all that. And that this would all happen in a cold and dreary winter when my SAD's would be all up and in my business.

Tannah is highly sensitive at the best of times. Has been since birth. But she is on hair-trigger at the moment and I can't nut out what is making it worse. Willow is about to turn 3. Threenagers are entirely delightful and incredibly frustrating at the same time. It's a transition from little to big kid and I get that it is as tough for them as it is for me, but still. Three y'all. Harper is in the cranky frustration of having a whole new world of wants that she can't quite articulate. There is a lot of grunting and pointing...and tears when I can't figure it out.
To ice this cake Luke is working 6 days so I'm just plain tired and so is he.

Being tired and a little stretched for cash affects how we eat. I read something that got my hackles up the other day about how children (and adults) reacting to preservatives, colours and over processing of food was all in people's heads. I know what my family is like when we eat real food and what we are like when we don't. The two are not the same. And it can be a vicious cycle. Feel crap and tired from eating crap and can't be bothered cooking from scratch or too $$ strapped to buy better and it spirals. I know it has here and I know we have to get back to my goal of 90% real food and 10% whatever else.

I also feel like we are transitioning to a family of older kids. I can go out for dinner with my friends or to the gym and Luke can have a night hanging out with his mate and it's not a drama. Breastfeeding is still important but not like when your babe depends on you for sustenance. Sleep is happening! Harper only wakes a couple of times a night and Willow hardly wakes at all. Harper refuses to be carried in a carrier and my trusty old ergo sits unused. I know I should probably sell it but it's seen some miles and milestones. I often go out with 2 walking children and one in a stroller. It feels strange sometimes I must admit. And Tannah has outgrown a lot of the Dr Sears "7 B's of Attachment Parenting" . Now I'm fumbling my way through remaining a connected parent to her when she is so grown up and finding her own way.

So that's me at the moment. There have been some awesome adventures and plans happening as well. But I could use a cup of tea and a lie down, or a rostered day off and my tiles could do with a good mopping.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Things I know

I'm having a week with sick kids, lack of sleep and being housebound. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and I don't know much this week.

But I do know one thing.

-Taking a nice photo of all 3 kids is a mission.

Not quite
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No that's not it
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Uh oh they're on to me
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Yay! Success!
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Is it spring yet??

The problem with reading blogs from all over the world is the whole hemisphere thing I was trying to explain to Tannah recently.
I'm reading about people sweltering and having air-conditioning on and 4th of July holiday picnics. While I am packing beanies for the kids and scraping ice of my car and listening to Harper sick with bronchiolitis..again.
Oh how I am a creature of heat. I love warm days and hot days and nights that you need to sleep under a fan. I love hats and sunscreen and singlets and thongs. I love stone fruit and berries. I love cold beer on warm afternoons and sunset after bedtime. I love drying my washing outside, and there only being one layer of clothes to wash. I love to swim. Pool, beach, wherever!

But I also love the end of winter when you get that first taste of spring. Those first few days when it is not totally icy and you know that soon it will be warm. When the sun starts setting that little bit later and rising that little bit earlier. When I lived in Queensland you didn't feel the change in seasons so much and I must admit that I appreciate the summer now I know what winter is really all about.

Until that glorious season of sunshine rolls round I'm going to live vicariously through all of you in the northern hemisphere. Loved looking at these photos on The Byron Life too. Hang in there southern hemispherians, we'll be defrosting before you know it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A letter to my 26 year old self

I saw this over at the Feminist Breeder (which is an awesome blog BTW and she was in Veruca Salt!)and decided to do my own letter to myself 5 years ago. Here goes...

Dear 26 year old Shae,

Hi! It's me, who is you at 31. I'm writing you this because I know life is sucking pretty hard for you at the moment despite being in love with your new 3 month old baby. It's OK to feel completely in love with your baby and to really wonder whether you are cut out to be a mother at the same time. Admitting you are struggling and finding it all incredibly hard does not mean you love her any less. Or that you are somehow failing. I want you to know that it's all going to work out fine. That you will sleep again-Tannah will actually become a really deep sleeper! That you will go on to have not only one but two more children. I know! In the state you are in that might freak you out but you will handle being a Mama of two and Mama of three better than being a Mama of one. You will not only make your breastfeeding goal of 6 months but exceed that by almost 2 years! I bet that blows your mind!

I want to reassure you that what you are doing is awesome. All those things you are doing by instinct like taking Tannah to bed with you, breastfeeding her whenever she wants and carrying her around are the great things to do! Don't second guess yourself. It's called Attachment Parenting and you are about to discover it. Soon you will even join a group of other Mamas who parent just like you-proudly! Those other Mamas and their kids are going to become some of yours and Tannah's best friends so make sure you go. And they'll introduce you to forums and blogs-which will lead to Facebook and twitter. I won't ruin the surprise but let's just say they can be a pastime and a lifeline all at once.
Those terry squares and fluffies covers are not the only kind of cloth nappy!! I know! There is a whole world of nappies with snaps and velcro and patterns and pockets and even some that are an ALL-IN-ONE. Are you excited? Maybe you should put a bit of extra money away now because it will become somewhat of an addiction...hmmm and maybe a bit extra for some slings. That's right-you are still using a crappy baby carrier. There is also a whole world of slings and carriers out there that are better for you and your baby, easier to use and purty.

You will have time with your husband again. You will have sex again. You marriage is stronger than ever. You really are a great team.

Tannah will recover from her birth injury. It will take time and money spent at the cranial osteo but she just got the all clear. You are in for yearly visits until she is grown but her head and shoulders will be fine. And you will come to a peaceful place with your birth trauma. I know you don't want to talk about it and are telling yourself that you got a healthy baby-even though you worry about her head. Even though you are having flashbacks and nightmares about what happened at her birth you are trying to suppress it. I know you have cried buckets over what happened, and I won't lie to you, you will cry buckets more. But talking about it and being honest is a great step forward. I know you might find this difficult to hear in the deep denial you are in right now but you will become really vocal about birth trauma and you will come to a place of acceptance. I'm not sure if you will ever heal completely because, 5 years later, I'm not there yet. And don't worry, you never have to go back to that place again. Your next 2 babies will be born at home. Easily and joyfully. Look forward to it, the experience will change your life.

You will feel pretty comfortable in you body eventually. Sure you lose weight, but then you gain it all back-with interest. It is finally accepting your body and quitting dieting that will make you love your body more. You know what? Your body deserves it-it treats you awesome and it's all you.

The next 6 months are going to be tough. Some of the toughest times of your life. You will have a lot of emotional stuff going on, you will be struggling with the PTSD from Tannah's birth and you will really struggle to adjust to being a Mama-and severe sleep deprivation won't help. Why am I telling you this? Because it gets easier after that. And easier. Even though your second born will throw epic tantrums and your 2nd and 3rd child will be born only 20 months apart, nothing is as tough as that 1st year for you. And you will survive it. In fact you will be stronger and a better parent for it. Believe it or not people will actually ask you for parenting advice-no really, they will. And you will love watching your children grow and blossom at their own pace so much you won't send them to school. You will grow to love Mothering and all it entails. Sure, sometimes you will miss going to gigs and having a few drinks and a dance, but the good will so far outweigh the bad that it pales into insignificance.

You CAN do this and you will. Believe it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We play! Homemade play dough.

We Play


I have the easiest and best play dough recipie-and CHEAP! Use the cheapest brands you can find and you will get a lot of bang for your buck.

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I cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tblsp cream of tartar
2 tblsp olive oil
1 cup boiling water
food colouring

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet-adding the boiling water last. Mix with a metal spoon until just combined and then turn out and knead on a bench until smooth, you can add a little bit more flour if it's sticky. It will be warm! Let it cool and you're done.

Kitchen utensils are rating highly here with play dough.
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And making footprints with the animals
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I don't think you can go past a good play with play dough with young children. Such sensory fun!
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Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up HERE. I always find a heap of inspiring play ideas!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Things I know

-disposables are easier for me than cloth in the winter. There! I said it, and I feel so dirty.
-spirulina tablet + coughing child = phlegm a colour that makes you REALLY freak out for a moment before you remember said tablet
-just because you have cooked something nutritious and delicious doesn't mean it will get eaten by anyone other than yourself
-going back to body balance (a mix of yoga, tai chi and pilates)will remind you there are muscles you forgot existed.
-5 year olds find any sort of joke about farting or poo hilarious, actually so do almost 3 year olds, actually so does my husband.
-sniffing and cuddling an hours old baby will make you go cluck cluck cluck.
-being woken only once or twice a night by your 15 month old will make you forget all the clucking and thank your husband for having the snip.
-all the Twilight talk and grown women swooning over young men will have you rolling your eyes, and then you will realize you hypocrisy when you see the new Harry Potter trailer. Complete with an adult Rupert Grint....
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