Thursday, September 24, 2009

I didn't think I was that old...

I went to a major shopping centre today, partly to do a bit of gift shopping for a mum who is having a blessingway tomorrow, and partly to get away from the house and my demon darling children...

Ok, it's school holiday, I'll give you that. And yes, it's not the greatest of weather so kids have possibly been cooped up a bit (that would have something to do with my needing to get away from my lovely off-spring)... But, seriously, when did it become okay in our society to employ completely ignoring the inconsiderate behaviours of children over the age of two as a parenting method???

I sat down at the only empty table I could find in the busy foodcourt, and soon realised why it was the only empty table in the foodcourt. At the adjoining table sat three young women; in their 20s, I'd say. They were well dressed and seemed pretty civilised themselves. In front of them where three or four empty kids meal boxes, which it soon became apparent belongs to the five kids playing in the vicinty of their table. By playing, I mean, chasing each other around, screeching, pulling each others tops, trying to wrestle each other onto the floor, chucking wet wipes at one anothers faces, and so on... The kids were aged between about 3 and 7. How were the mums reponding to this energy? Well, in short, they weren't.

Ok, maybe that's not completely fair of me. One mum made a feeble attempt on two occassions to gain the children's attention and tell them to, "settle down".

I wish I could be a bit more accepting. In part, I'm well aware that children in that age category have energy to BURN. I know my kids wouldn't have well tolerated being in an overcrowded food court for over an hour (I sat their for 40 minutes, and they'd already finished eating when I arrived, so assuming they'd been there for at least 20 minutes already by the time I arrived). Then again, BECAUSE I know that situation would be quite boring for my kids, I just wouldn't put myself - and others - into that situation.

Why didn't they go to one of their houses for coffee if they just wanted to sit and talk. Or one of the play centres around the place?

Moreover, why didn't I hear any conversation between the mums and the kids about taking other patrons needs into consideration. I mean, these kids, in their play, were crashing into my table. Where was the, "This isn't a great place to run about,"?

I understand ignoring the inconsiderate behaviours of under threes, they're not socially oriented, but surely once they've turned three, even though they don't become socially oriented overnight on their birthday, aren't parents supposed to help the child become more aware of other people? Or is it not politically correct to teach children to consider other people anymore - yk, now that we're all focused on not crushing the child's self-esteem?

And if your child can't cope with a social situation, then is it fair to expose that child to that situation for an extended period of time and risk subjecting your child to the disapproving glares, or even comments, of strangers?

Ignoring a bad situation does not make it go away... Being oblivious is not a great parenting strategy, and it's very unfair to the children who then grow up ignorant of socially acceptable behaviour - humans are social creatures, it might go against the modern phenomenon of worshipping individual rights, but a human who doesn't learn socially acceptable behaviour will find him or herself outside society (something I'm sure most children would find very upsetting)...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blog post #1000



On January 13th 2006, I started this blog...




Back then, I was a mum of three boys age 6 and 4 years, and just about 5 months old. I was a homeschooling, tandem breastfeeding (4 yo and baby), co-sleeping, non-vaccinating, cloth nappy using, 90 something kilo weighing mum...



LOL, not much has changed!

I still tandem feed (4 yo and baby), co-sleeping, neglect to vaccinate, use cloth nappies and weigh 90 something kilos!!!

I'm not homeschooling anymore, but I was just about to send my two older boys to school when the blog started anyway.

And yet so much has changed!!! I've:

  • Lost (and regained) 30 something kilos.
  • Started a Masters Degree.
  • Wrote a 40 000 word novel (well, the first draft anyway).
  • Had gallbladder surgery.
  • Lost my father in law.
  • Gotten back in contact with extended family on both sides of my family tree.
  • Had another son - at home!
  • Hounded my Dh into 3/4 getting his driver's lisence.
  • Taken Dh on his first airplane flight!
  • Flown back and forth to Adelaide 9 times!
  • Gone on and roadtrip to Canberra, Wollongong and Sydney.
  • Bought my first DSLR.
  • Done the photography course I'd been meaning to do for ages.
  • Bought my first laptop, then thrashed it till it went into a coma and I had to buy an emergency desktop on spec!
  • Had some great debates with some interesting people!
  • Been vegetarian, vegan, raw foodian, and crap foodian :P
  • Spewed all my angst, joy, frustration and idle musings onto here.
Fun times, hey!




Wonder what the next #1000 blog posts will bring...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The baby sleep issue...

I was just reading a forum thread about babies not sleeping and the various books people buy to try and get their babies to sleep (first of all, babies don't read books, so it makes sense that a lot of babies aren't exactly "on the same page" as their parents when it comes to these various sleep methods)...

I've had four babies who variously slept in ways that were convenient or inconvenient to me...

The first thing I need to say is that all my children were (and still are, for two of them) breastfed. I used feeding to sleep in the early months for all of them - two of them later ditched the whole feeding to sleep thing of their own accord for the most part, only feeding to sleep occassionally.

I don't get the sleep angst, and before anyone suggests that's just because I've been "lucky" with my boys sleeping, I'll tell you that Luey didn't sleep much in his first 2.5 years. In fact, for those first 2 years, the longest he slept in one 24 hour cycle was 9 hours. That wasn't 9 hours straight as the boy didn't sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. On average, he slept about 6 hours in every 24. For the first 5 weeks of his life, he screamed for 8 hours a day, in arms at all times. For the following month (after we started him on high dose Zantac) he cried, on average, 4 hours a day, in arms, of course...

Even once the Zantac was working it's charms, he just didn't sleep. The worst of it was between the age of 18 months and 2 years, when we got into the terrible habit of being awake through the night and because I wanted D to get some sleep - because he commuted 2.5 hours each way to work, so left the house at 6am and didn't get home until 7pm, I would get up with Luey and we'd hang out in the living (with the lights on) from about 1am to 5am every morning. Erik would wake up at about 5am, and I'd get an hour's sleep before D had to leave for work. Then I had to stay conscious until he got home (Luey would have two 45min sleeps during the day), which was about the time Erik went to bed, but Luey wouldn't go to bed until 11pm, I'd get to sleep by 11.30pm-12am and would be woken again by Luey at 1am.

So, basically for six months I got about 2-2.5 hours sleep every 24 hours.

Yes, I ended up in hospital. In the end I night weaned Luey and he slept in bed with Dave and I slept in the lower bunk in Erik's room for three weeks. After that Luey, D and I all coslept, and I refused to get up and play with Luey - he still woke and mucked around in bed, but D and I just ignored him and eventually slept through his night time antics, until he realised that nighttime play wasn't that exciting, and he started to sleep more at night - and in the day as well, because sleep begets sleep!

This didn't make me turn to any books though, either with Luey or later with Bryn and Ari.

When you have a baby, there has to be some level of acceptance for the fact that babies don't sleep like adults, they have different needs, but seriously those needs don't last long UNLESS you try to mess with biology!

It seems to me to INVARIABLY be the children of parents who tried to enforce sleep times through controlled crying or crying it out who have the preschoolers and older children with sleep issues. Luey had definite sleep issues as a baby. The Baby Whisperer would no doubt have scolded me severely for letting his sleep get so incredibly bad and would have forewarned me that he would NEVER learn to sleep properly without her expert advice. The thing is, we muddled through and without any sort of controlled crying or crying it out, in fact, WITH breastfeeding, cuddling, lots of eye contact and the ever presence of his parents, the boy started sleeping through at about 2.5 years and now LOVES his sleep.

My others, including Ari, who still feeds through the night, all sleep quite well - by my standards, but I guess not by the standards of parents would seem unnervingly OBSESSED with the longing for their child to sleep 8+ hours a night and then some through the day.

And even in Attachment Parenting circles, there seems to be an inordinant amount of Controlled Crying/Routine Creating book buying going on. Most AP parents discard these books, but still, why even buy them? From a Law of Attraction stand point, LOL, obsessing about your child's lack of sleep day and night seems to be the golden pathway to having a baby who doesn't sleep "enough" (whatever that means to the individual)...

Parents would be better to sign a contract with themselves acknowledging that the first year of their child's life will probably mean reduced sleep for parents, the need to be very flexible with their expectations of time to themselves, and a commitment to remember that these baby days only last a very short time in the scheme of things and before you know it, you have a preschooler who sleeps pretty soundly for many hours a night, either in their own bed, or in yours...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Well, yesterday sucked!

What do you do when you fall in a hole emotionally?

Yesterday was messy. Having 6 people in the house and knowing it would be like this for another two weeks kind of did my head in. Makes you wonder why I would have so many children when I crave solitude a lot of the time.

It's not that bad, most of the time, but D was in a mood and just wanted to grump at everyone from the second he got up until, well, until I totally lost my cool around lunch time (there is only so much bitching and moaning one woman can take from a grown man).

I went out and did the grocery shopping, which was good.

The thing is, I transfer a lot from my own childhood when D is doing his, "I resent the intrusion into my thinking world that noisy kids create" thing. My dad was like this. Craved order. Craved quiet. But kids don't get all of that, all they hear is, "I don't want you here. You annoy me." Even though I feel that way sometimes, I just don't see it as a good message to pass on to your kids, yk?

It's hard.

D adores his kids, and right now he's taken the three big one across to the other side of our suburb to a fantastic park that we used to visit all the time when we lived over there. They'll muck around, feed the ducks, chat, and generally have a great time, because he is a great dad, but geez, yesterday... Well, that was yesterday.

How do you pick yourself up and plaster a smile on your face and fake it 'til you make it once you've gone to that place where you're seething with anger borne from frustration and you've said and done things you wish you rewind and erase? I mean, it's easy the next day, after you've slept on it, but how do you do it when, in the moment, you know your tantrum isn't actually going to make things better. How do you stop yourself and lighten the mood so everyone has a chance to reclaim the day?

Yesterday, after I lost my cool, all I wanted to do was curl up in bed. Hide away from the people I'd yelled at and slammed doors on. Just looking at the "offenders" seemed to fuel the fire of my irrational anger.

Anger stems from fear, and I guess I'm afraid of my family now being like my family when I was a children. Lots of anger and animosity. Lots of us kids feeling unwanted and the root of every argument. Lots of wishing some kind strangers would come and take me away, LOL. I don't want my kids to wish kind strangers would take them away!

But today is a new day, so another chance to get it right, I guess...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bittersweet...


Tonight, I watched Dirty Dancing on tv. It was a tribute screening in the wake of the gorgeous and courageous Patrick Swayze finally losing his battle with pancreatic cancer earlier this week.

Dirty Dancing is my all time favourite movie. I can't tell you how many times I've watched that movie, but it would be in the hundreds (I kid you not!)... When I first saw the movie, I'd just turned 16 and was living in Norway. I identified very strongly with the idealistic Baby, and dreamed of meeting someone as wonderful as Johnny...

As it turned out, the Summer that I was 16 (after seeing this movie), I did meet my first true love! We had a Summer romance that was a intense and amazing as Baby and Johnny's and the memories of which I'll keep forever...

So, yeah, watching the movie tonight, know that Patrick/Johnny is no longer out there, and being reminded of the joy of innocent, intense first love, it's happy and it's sad...

Thanks Patrick for the memories!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random navelgazing thoughts...

~>Erik has spent his first night ever away from home and Dave and I have rediscover the power of three... This was something we were alerted to when Bryn was born, but we'd kind of forgotten since Ari came along...

This morning when only Bryn and Luey were awake the house was oh so quiet. Bryn and Luey just hung out while Dave was making breakfast and Ari and I were still in bed. Luey read books to Bryn QUIETLY... There was no squabbling, but more interestingly, there was no hypidity (which is a blend of hyperactive stupidity, that seems to be quite unique to our boys en masse)...

Dave also reported that he wasn't woken overnight by boys wanting drinks of water or toilet trips (this is an EVERY night occurrence, and it's never actually Erik, but we think when he gets himself up to go to the loo or just because of insomnia, the other two stir).

As soon as I got up and brought Ari out though... Well, basically we tend to find that two is a quiet number in our house, but somehow three tips the balance into Vaudeville!

~> Ari has been back in cloth for two days now, and the, "Oh no, I'm going to POO!" screechy whinge is back! This is just amazing to me. He used to do this when he was up to 5 months old and was still in cloth mostly, but then when he went into paper nappies it stopped. When he was doing the screeching, I would whip his nappy off and hold him over the loo, so was Elimination Communicating for poos only... I was kind of sad when he stopped telling me he needed to poo in paper nappies, because well, poo belongs in the loo, not the bin, right?

I wonder WHY he doesn't like to poo in cloth nappies, LOL??? Maybe it's just that he's generally more aware of his elimination when he's in cloth??? It's weird, but hey, I don't mind not having to rinse/wash pooey cloth nappies!

~> My ADD is off the charts atm... I'm wondering if it is as result of an infection I believe I contracted while having my gallbladder out in March. The infection led to a massive flare up of my psoriasis, but that now seems to have worked it's way out of my body for the most part (I'm very happy to report!). I know that yeast infections make ADD symptoms worse, and I did eat a LOT of sugar while on the no-fat gallbladder diet, and also after the diet, so maybe I need to cut right back on sugars and starches??? I don't know, I'm not very motivated at the moment, to be honest. I might just treat it with probiotics (which is support to help a lot), maybe oral concentrate, but also maybe have some more yogurt - apparently cow calcium binds with fat, too, preventing your body from absorbing as much of either, d'oh! So, I could increase my good flora and decrease my fat retention in one dietary choice, hahahaha!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Laughing, but not out loud...

Ok, my last blog post (from this morning) was not some mystical reference to some great drama in my life, but rather a real life reflection of how bad my ADD is at this moment. I'd started a blog post about being all over the place, mentally, and then I was called away from the computer, but somehow my brain farted and I automatically clicked the "publish post" button...

Last Sunday (a week ago yesterday), Jayne and I took off on our most excellent adventure. We drove to Canberra, stayed at the lovely Pam's house for two nights, joined the wet and enthusiastic Homebirth Rally (which has been widely reported on on the interwebs so I don't need to bore you all with my take on it), and drove around in many, many, many circles! Geez, it was good to be "home" Canberra for a little while! I'd forgotten about the roundabouts though! Pollies do like going in circles, that's for sure!

Like me, Canberra has changed in the past 12 years. She looked as lovely as ever, but her vibe was so very, very different. We walked around Civic on the Monday and it was basically deserted. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just a regular Monday and not a public holiday, wow!

Then we drove to Wollongong and spent another couple of night with the Fantastic Franny!!! The weather was much kinder for those couple of days and it felt amazing to be bathed in sunlight for so much of the day!

Highlights of our stay in Wollongong included meeting up with my nanna and Aunty Lorna, whom I had seen in 12 and 15 years respectively. Now I'm very motivated to catch up with more family, and am really looking forward to Aunty Lorna's promised visit next time she is in Melbourne (any other family who may be reading this is also VERY WELCOME to come visit!)...

Oh, I broke a tooth. Well, the tooth was already half gone, but I woke up in the middle of the night and as I ran my tongue across the back of my teeth this one crown just same away, noice, NOT!!! Luckily, it's not noticeable unless I smile REALLY BROADLY...

We did a day trip in Sydney on the Wednesday and saw the sights. Hence photos below, which include evidence of Ari's first outing in a ring sling (and to think Luey LIVED in a ring sling for the first three years of his life and Bryn partly ring slung for the first three years as well)...

On the Thursday we left Wollongong and headed to Eden for the night. We got there as the sun was setting, so grabbed a pizza and sat up talking about differing life philosophies (spurred by one of KateF's blogs, LOL), and then went to bed. Got up on Friday and spent an hour at the GORGEOUS Eden beach - during which time I decided that at some point in my life I'm going to live by the beach!!! - and then set off to Melbourne, arriving home just in time to give Bryn his bed time Meh and tuck the other boys in for the night!

So, last week was a big week, and tiring as well, it's left me quite emotionally drained and dazed and confused.

On top of the trip, the rally, the meeting long missed family and losing another tooth, there have been other big milestones...

Erik - has been given a position on the school magasine project.

Luey - did a HUGE project on Iceland and received an award for his reading.

Bryn - became COMPLETELY nappy free, day and night.

Ari - sprouted his first tooth (FINALLY, at 10.5 months, hope that means he'll have superstrong teeth = apparently the later teeth sprout the strong the tooth enamel).

Our dear dryer (who served us well for almost exactly four years) died last week, as well, just in time for me to start using cloth on Ari again (had promised myself I would go back to cloth for him once Bryn was out of nappies)...

I have to try and gather my scattered mind tomorrow, maybe do a thorough clean of the house or something and start focusing back on my work. Gotto finish this degree in the next couple of months!

Dazed and confused...

Friday, September 04, 2009

The joy of a system that works!

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a control freak. I'm all for going with the
flow and being flexible, i just don't like being caught unprepared.
Having children really highlights this, and having children, but no
car REALLY highlights it!

For the past ten years i've hunted high and low for the easiest way to
travel out and about with a child (or four!) in tow - because I don't drive and can't use my car as a "base" from which to retrieve whatever I may need, my pram really has to be a workhorse.

I've been through unmentionable numbers of prams, strollers, slings,
babycarriers and bags... The prams and strollers were either too big,
too heavy, too small, too light (for carrying shopping without
tipping), to difficult to fold, didn't have a big enough basket/
shadecover/seat... The slings and carriers have been put aside now
because any weight on my shoulders or neck now causes headaches
*sigh*... Bags are difficult; they need to be big enough to carry all
sorts of things brought along or picked up on the way. I can't carry
much on my body because of headaches, so, I often find myself short on
bags and storage on the pram when out...

But FINALLY I have a system that works!

I bought a bugaboo bee, which at first I wasn't sure about. The
more I use it, the more I love it! It's lightweight and yet it carries
a HUGE amount of extra baggage. It folds compactly enough to fit in
the boot of a sedan taxi with the spare in the boot! It faces in and
out, and lays right back. It has a really big basket for a stroller
sized pram. I've put two bag hooks on the handle (which is height
adjustable), and I can hang an enormous amount off those bag hooks -
even without Ari in the pram.

I've gotten Ari a footmuff for the cold weather and he'll be able to
use it another couple of Winters! I also have a nifty
raincover.

Then I put a bum bag on the handle bar which puts my phone, purse and
keys within reach, without hanging them off me in a handbag.

Finally, I have a pack of five envirosax tucked into that spacious
basket. The envirosax are so compact when rolled up, but carry so
much and they hang neatly on the pram and are stylish enough to sling
over a shoulder ( though I don't)...

So, there's my perfect system, and it's such a delight to use because
everything is compact, lightweight. hardy and aesthetically pleasing!!!

Teenagers and the failing parent...