Monday, November 26, 2012

Halfway to One.

The baby passed the six-month mark the other day. She's still such a baby baby - it boggles me when people start their four-month old on solids (I've become very good at quoting the WHO's policy on solids and flippantly spewing "Food before one is just for fun!" in a slightly demented and pat manner).
Sometimes she rolls but mostly she doesn't. Sometimes she sleeps well during the day but mostly she doesn't (this morning is a rare, RARE exception. I'm awaiting talkies and squawking any second).
She smiles a lot and is irresistibly ticklish, and baths have just become great, awesome fun.
Recitals and concerts are like second nature to her now; she sat through my teachers' concert and then a student fundraiser the next weekend; the last two Mondays have been ballet dress rehearsals (Mummy in a tutu is apparently quite THE entrancing spectacle) and I wonder how this idea of normal will behoove her. We live in such a strange world, of ipads and touchable technology, and yet not strange at all, as I crochet a dress for a Steiner doll by the time-honoured method of measuring against another that fits. Then I stop and realise that to a baby knitting is just as strange as a blinking cursor, and that all my normal and strange is just - to her - new.
Last week we moved out the bassinet and moved in the cot, and all over again our 'big girl' who wears 00 grow suits was transformed into a tiny new baby. Much as I love putting her weight down and watching her sleep, I think I like scooping her out again at three am better, because the next time I wake it's to her soft sleeptalking with eyes still firmly shut, waving hands that rub her face and a sweet pout. She's awake.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Five months.

Dear Audrey,
Tomorrow you are five months old. You wear 00 most of the time now, size medium Bambooty nappies, and on warm days we've even cracked open the Huggalugs and you examine your toes with great interest. I am doing my best to stay clear of dairy, gluten and soy. It's easily as difficult as it sounds. For four of the last five weeks your dad has been overseas and you're not adjusting well to the change. After three weeks away you pouted and cried, and took several days to warm up to him again. Then he had to go on trip number two. Tonight is not going so well. At 9.38 you are still an awake baby, and I am still a tired mommy. Your dad is fantastic at cooking (even with the new totally restricted options) but he doesn't really 'get' that this adjustment period has been just as unfun each time he's gone and returned over the last month, and you don't want to settle for this stranger who happens to be in your room tonight. Fair enough, I feel. Let's hope tomorrow (kicking off with porridge and rice milk like always, progressing to almond/apple/sweet potato muffins and then onto a bland vegie soup for lunch) is a better day.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pay it forward.

It feels SO good when something goes right. I was presented with an opportunity to do a nice thing for some people last week, and with a bit of craftiness and planning today my sneaky, sneaky plan came to fruition. I just got the message that lets me know I pulled it off and I'm sitting in front of my computer talking to Audrey (we have some LOVELY conversations now) and grinning like a maniac.

You know that load of bull we're all fed as kids that it feels better to give than to receive? I say load of bull because when you're a self-centred five-year-old or a monumentally self-centred twelve-year-old it IS a load of bull.... however, as a very grown-up-twenty-nine-year-old (sh! I can dream...) I can say it really does feel better. It feels DAMN good. And it's kind of addictive. I'm going to go see what other nice thing I can do today. Pay it forward, share the love, spread the karma, whatever. Just do something nice for someone else today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Four months...

Since we brought you home from the hospital, our tiny five pound fiver who was still ten days pre-due date.
The last 48 hours have been horrible, thanks to some bread with more milk solids than the label disclosed, but my whole avoidance of dairy and soy is becoming second nature. How could it not, when an accident like this triggers two days of miserable refluxing and not very much sleep for either of us?
The only way to get through today was to bottle-feed you "safe" milk from the freezer while I expressed and you watched me accusingly. Trust your father to be out of the country ;)
You're rolling onto your side now, grinning maniacally and gumming away at your little fists like a whole set of teeth might appear any second. Th sweetest times are scooping you out f your bed into mine and falling half asleep while you feed, spooned in the crook of my arm. Teaspoon is your new nickname, by the way.
In the bath you kick ecstatically, watching your feet intently. I just put away most of your 000 clothes, as your long legs started to push out the toes. Cloth nappies don't help either; in your wondersuits you look like a skinny teletubby!
Serious little moppet, you're taking everything in and growing up... Well, not too fast yet. I can feel every day accelerating just a fraction of a second, and I know that when I look back again this whole sweet time will have been over before I blinked.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Da Da Da DAHM

So this week I found about about something called the Life Aware Australia Movement; it's basically a campaign to tell us that while we're good at insuring our stuff, we suck at insuring our future should we suddenly not be around to participate in it.
This got me thinking since my husband is currently overseas and has (in my hyperchondriac mind) an enormous chance of dying before he returns home safely. Let's not address the emotional fallout for the minute, but just the (loose, castle-in-the-air) math.
We don't have a huge mortgage or debt load.
I have my own business, I own my car, I have a ridiculously full wardrobe and more shoes than I can wear out. Audrey has doting grandparents (three sets) and if I ever NEED to buy that child a thing it will be a miracle. So surely if my darling husband failed to return from his latest sojourn abroad we would be fine.

Except: I'd need to hire a chef. (It's been 36 hours since the incumbent chef left; I refuse to disclose the quantity of ciabatta and peanut butter that's been consumed thus far.)
I'd need daycare. But not actual daycare, just a few hours every evening and nappies on the weekend daycare. The kind you really can't buy.
I'd need someone to put the bins out and keep my computer online. Ok, I can totally do those things myself, but why would I when someone else has it down to a fine art?

Basically I'd need a wife to support my 'lifestyle' (part-time self-employed, part-time SAHM) What's the going rate?
Doesn't matter. I couldn't afford to pay one. Neither could hubby, should I happen to be hit by a bus tomorrow. Neither of us bothered to insure our lives. According to stats based on IFF/AIST formulae, the average death cover is only $189K, but the average required is $431K. That's a lot of extra violin lessons I won't have time to teach without a husband, and a heck of a lot of app sales and research papers hubby will try to write while bouncing/feeding/changing a teething baby.

So I followed the call to action (this is the part where I say you too should go visit the life insurance calculator from Life Insurance Finder and then compare life insurance plans to find the right option for you) and I have a new topic to bring to the dinner table... why we need life insurance.

  1. I am participating in the LIFE Awareness campaign. I received a VISA gift card for this post courtesy of Life Insurance Finder via Digital Parents Collective. I am also in the running to win an iPad3. As always, all opinions are purely my own.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sixteen weeks.

Dear Audrey,
You're starting to laugh. Telling us about your day with many raised eyebrows and quizzical looks, dobbing on my feeding you to sleep or complaining about the three changes of clothes you've endured because something I ate last night once waved hello to a soybean.  I bathed you in the sink yesterday and was sad that you don't really fit in there anymore. Not the way you used to, from head to chicken legs and monkey toes. Now you have to sit up, or kick your legs over the side to immerse your torso and (still) bald little head. It's wonderful we can laugh at the paediatricians and all (with their gumpf about reflux meds you never actually needed) but seriously, could you slow down the growing just a tad? I still like taking pictures of you next to common household objects; I remember as a child how much I liked to see JUST how small I was. You might be a little freaked out, but trust us - you were drowning in those quintuple zero suits.
You've been to your first dance (Strayhorns, September 1st) and have the child-size noise-cancelling earmuffs to prove it; you've had your first sleepover at my parents' place (memo to self, must replace absent child with pump) where according to report, you mostly laughed at the bulldog.
(You WERE laughing at the bulldog, right? Not us?)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

7.11

"what time is it?"
"seven-eleven."
"that's a special time because..."
Yep. That's what time Audrey was born.
"little one, you're exactly some number of weeks and days now."
He's clever, but sometimes you'd neve know it. "fourteen weeks and two days... That's one hundred days!"
Creepy. So, today, darling daughter, on the very day that we told the paediatrician my radical diet change fixed your "reflux" and I was treated like an idiot for half an hour, and ten some strange (unrelated) woman tried to undress me in public (see previous post) and then you endured three hours of violin.... Today you have been earthside for one hundred days. I hope we're living up to expectations.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yah. Wrapped for a reason, folks.

Oh how I laughed....
Random woman: what do you have in there?
Me: a baby.
RW: oh, how sweet (reaching to pull wrap aside)
Me: (stepping backwards) yes, she's feeding right now.
RW: can I see?
Me: she's feeding.
RW: (pulls at wrap and sees top of Audrey's head and half my breast) oh, you don't have to SHOW everyone (I think she was horrified)
Me: I'm not. See this wrap?

(I really wish I'd had a small cardboard sign in my bag saying STUPID that I could have hung around her neck. Or that I'd had the presence of mind to pick up the ugly necklace she was wearing off her skin and scream "my eyes are BLEEDING!"... But I'm nice. Or something.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nearly three months on...

What can I say? It's been a busy few weeks. There's been a return to our usual programming plus baby, which is pretty ok except for the days that it's not. Those would be the days where my unwitting consumption of some dairy or soy derivative unhinges every wheel and sends them careening in  all directions. Yes, there have been several mornings where we've had the delightful cycle known as "Feed, Chuck, Scream" running on high rotation while in the background I perform the complementary and lesser-known "Wipe, Wash, Hang, with the very special cadenza: Express-and-pour-away" for one pair of hands and breasts.

I digress.
Audrey, you are thirteen weeks old tomorrow. Nearly three calendar months. Yes, I remember what life was like before you, but it's quite astonishing that you are so present and so here in the world when it's been such a short time. You've decided you're capable of sleeping seven and sometimes eight-hour stretches, which delights and gratifies us. You still cry for no apparent reason (usually pants, wind, hunger or plain old tiredness - which we, your idiot parents, only recognise in hindsight) but now you smile, and that balances out the niggly stretches nicely. Already you've spent more time in my violin studio than my students spend there in a year, and I wonder at what age you'll start humming or singing along. You fill out 000 Bonds Wondersuits and I love how cuddly you feel, like a small terry teddy bear. The sweetest times are our 4am feed, when you're the very smallest teaspoon in our big bed, or when you nap snuggled against my back or chest, wrapped and content. So far, so good, baby girl.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Punctuality: the new black.

I can't put this on facebook directly because my ass will get completely kicked, but for the love of all things divine, is punctuality really that hard? As in, imagine you have a standing commitment. same day, same place, same TIME every week. You collect your child from point A every week and said standing commitment takes place at point B. Allowing for bogeyman traffic lights (you know those journeys where you get EVERY SINGLE SET), broken-down cars, and roadworks (basically, everything short of your own car breaking down or running out of fuel. If you need help keeping the fuel gauge above zero in your own car you're well beyond redemption), time the journey from A to B. If it exceeds allowable constraints (school finishes at point A at 3.30, commitment begins at point B at 4.30, therefore you have sixty minutes in between), reschedule B. Do not turn up late to B every week. B will crack the sads and rant about you on her blog. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Transgender baby and the importance of pronouns.

That's a lovely outfit! Hm... Blue jeans, navy top, you must be a BOY! Gray hoodie, track pants: BOY;  let's cut to the chase here and say that unless your child is wearing head-to-foot pink, they're male. Obviously. Because what new mother would NOT jump at the chance to buy pink everything? Mm-hm. You're looking at her. At the airport: "He's a tiny new thing, isn't he? Oh yes, very new." This, from the mouths of grandparently-aged people, eyeing off my nine-week-old daughter who is holding up her head on her freakishly strong little neck (yes, all nearly-ten pounds of her now) and PATTING HER ON THE BACK. I'm sorry, did I just walk over to you and announce (on the basis of your gender-neautral clothing and walking stick) "You're a lovely pair of geriatic gentlemen, aren't you? Enjoying a little escape from the retirement village?" WHILE GETTING UP IN YOUR PERSONAL SPACE? No wonder babies are constantly screaming. I should make a million bucks from decoding. Forget hungry/tired/soiled/confused, let's have a crack at agoraphobic (with good reason), overstimulated (I dare you to be wheeled through a shopping centre flat on your back in a hospital bed), and plain old pissed at all the strange and random people poking them and making idiotic noises in their face. One piece of sweet, sweet revenge: to the other mother on the flight home who commented "He's so tiny and cute, isn't he? But gee, they all feel SO heavy after a bit!"Yes, she is, and she weighs much, much less wrapped to me than your similarly aged baby strapped into a forward-facing (eek) crotch dangler (baby bjorn). But good luck with that. Personal pronouns, people. And if you're not sure, try "they". Guaranteed NOT to get you run over with a bugaboo. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

off to work we go...

So far, not too bad...
I went back to work two weeks ago. (Then we went to Queensland for a week.) I've just finished week 2 of working with baby.
It was a bit scary.
Mostly because I was accompanied by my small floppy helpless creature with a tendency to vomit down the front of my top (cursed cleavage!) and demand feeding at inconvenient moments (like when juggling my own violin and that of a four-year-old.

Somehow I've managed to sneakily manipulate our mornings so that Audrey's nearly always sleeping when I need my brain to function in teacher mode, and nine months of having a violin played in close proximity have conditioned her to tolerate music of epic volume and duration. I don't presume this compatibility with my teaching life will last, but it's nice to have her snuggled close for now.
There are dragons on this wrap. Cutest motif ever: parent dragons with a baby between them. Given that this IS the year of the dragon I thought it was fitting. And if you think it's pink, you're wrong. It's only pink on ONE side. Therefore only half pink. Take that. 
Next goal: a really good back carry (or ruck). There's only so long she's going to fit with her skull tucked under the level of my violin.  

A new use for bathroom sinks.

Friday and a visit to the GP. By the time we'd sat in the waiting room for half an hour, I'd drained my 1L water bottle. Feeding, heating, whatever. I was thirsty. Of course, on the way out (baby in arms) I desperately needed the little girls room. Except there's no provision for REALLY little girls. Like, no change-table or funky wall-unit that folds out into said change-table. By the time I realised that, I was committed. You know, when you open the door, your bladder heaves a sigh of relief... there is NO going back from that moment. Thankfully, there was paper towel. Grab, wipe, spread blanket, VOILA!

That's correct. She didn't even wake up. Oh YEAH. 

Today I went back to work. More accurately, it came back to me. That's what happens when you largely work from home. I realised I hadn't swept the back paving where students traipse in ... oh, eight weeks? Term Two was still dumped in a pile on various seats; sheet music for one student, a couple of trophies remaindered from the last concert, paddle pop sticks and props from last group lesson... all the "Oh yeah, I have two weeks to  - OK, that just turned into two days."
She's eight weeks old tomorrow.

Still refluxy, now deciding she REALLY hates sleeping on her back, starting to fill out 000 nicely; and with fingernails that grow faster than a chemo patient's.
Teaching with a baby strapped to one's front is a little weird. Weirder still was picking up my violin to tune it and feeling like I'd forgotten how to handle my bow; the length of it felt ridiculous (to the point I double-checked I had MY bow and not some random cello/oversize thing. Hm. Brain doing VERY odd things.)
The best part: She completely slept through it. I can play (and the sound is resonating maybe four inches above her head) and get NO RESPONSE. Given that babies will react to dissonance, I'm taking that as a compliment. I'm also planning to keep playing repertoire cds while she sleeps in the hope of conditioning her to sleep through her own music lessons one day. (Damn!) On the bright side, she will always be able to sleep on flights, church services and really good orchestral concerts. I have been known to become dangerously relaxed at beautiful concerts.

Off topic (or rather, related to conditioning) I had a Suzuki friend (now violinist of a successful piano trio) whose potty played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star every time she sat down to... tinkle. Guess who used to run offstage halfway through the Twinkle theme every concert. (Dastardly potties.)

Tomorrow: More work. And ballet. Tempted to wear her at class but I don't think that would do good things for my centre of balance.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Babywearing lunacy

Oh.
Oh yes.
Today my Vatanai arrived. Now I have something to alternate with my Didymos. And it's every bit as cushy and soft as the seller promised, perfect for a squish. Not sure if I'll ever move onto an Ergo, an MT (mei tai) or go back to a RS (ring sling), but it's possible in the future I'll get tired of wrapping a double hammock. Although, when it comes out a little different every time in Girosol Amitola rainbow-y goodness, is that even possible?

Welcome to the world of babywearing. Cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, silk, cotton gauze - there's something for every mother and every child, from squish (newborn) to lanky five-year-olds. The forums tsk over Seven slings and Bubba Moes (can't check the angle of neck/spine easily), Sleepy Wraps and Hug-a-Bubs (stretchy is only good for the first few months) and FFO (front facing outward) carriers like the eponymous Baby Bjorn (commonly and disparagingly referred to as 'crotch-dangler'). Once you get past the range of blends, welcome to the world of colours. I'm particularly captivated by the idea of a rainbow wrap, and have a lovely local mommy to thank for corrupting me (I was already corrupted, but she lent me her Amitola and now I'm besotted. I see one in my near future - and then my stash will be complete - famous last words?)
Amitola Rainbow. Mmm-mm.
I've been doing my own reading on the subject (surprise, surprise) and so far I like everything I read about baby wearing. It works for reflux, correct spinal development (no risk of hip dysplasia), keeps baby close, calm and comfortable. (Dear God, even my mother thinks it's a good idea, and after nappying me in terry flats, she was alllll over the idea of disposables.) Someone referred to the first six months of a baby's life as the fourth and fifth trimester, and I think wrapping is just that.  If nothing else, I'm finally looking hugely pregnant in the way I never really did, and quite enjoying it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

In memoriam.

Today I got the call I've been dreading for a couple weeks.
My beloved violin teacher and mentor died at 1am this morning after battling cancer for years. We said our goodbyes when Audrey was three weeks old, just after she'd been moved to palliative care.

Watching her hold my daughter and having the opportunity to openly acknowledge that she was dying was the closure I needed to make today a little less painful, a confirmation rather than a horrible shock.
She was the kind of person who lived her philosophy; I think she only taught formally for about fifteen years, but she 'retired' to found a new, much-needed school, sat on several boards and advocated for music lessons in schools and the adoption of Suzuki methodology in several of those.

My library of pedagogical approaches owes much to her generosity; there always seemed to be another book that she found of use but didn't much need anymore tucked under my arm when I left her home. The last time I saw her at home she was entirely prepared; the all-encompassing Violin her husband gave to her when they were 'courting' was waiting on the dining table, farewell card carefully tucked inside. The box on top of the book contained a little silver cup that my father (at that point an antique dealer) had engraved and presented to Fay when I graduated Book 1.
The inscription reads:
Fay Weston 
Congratulations on your 
1st graduation student.
1989

Why does a graduation student matter? For a Suzuki teacher starting to teach in a country area where starting ANYTHING before school-age is a revelation, let alone beginning an instrument, teaching is damn hard. Convincing parents their three-or-four-year-old is capable of playing a tiny violin well is the first hurdle. Motivating them to put in the hard yards to enable that goal is an entirely different kettle of slimy things. Having a student graduate is validates one as a teacher. It's knowing that you have educated a family and they have made a commitment to the pursuit of excellence; the Level One Graduation performance is a culmination and a proof of many things, even as it's also just the beginning. 

I began violin lessons when I was four (and-a-half; my mother will at this point add I was "a late starter") and I can remember being bribed to put down my book, one of the Enid Blytons that are now on the bookshelf of my own studio. I was blessed with a teacher who taught the child in front of her, regardless of their chronological age. 

Five or six years later, working through Book 8, I remember Fay trying to divorce us; for months and months she said I needed a new teacher who could take me beyond the books.  She was a source of unconditional support for my mother, who had her ability to homeschool me constantly questioned and who questioned it herself. When I thought I might "do some teaching" age fourteen, Fay handed over copies of all the parent handouts she'd written for her own beginning families; she even handed me a couple of students while she visited Europe for twelve weeks. 

Discussing Fay with a fellow student who now lives in Sydney and like me, is now 'grown up' - husband, baby, Suzuki violin studio - she said her husband didn't understand her grief. In his view, this was a teacher she'd had for two years when she was five. In hers, Fay was the single most influential person she'd known.

We're not the only students to have stayed in touch; another of our friends has gone on to work for the Sydney Opera Orchestra, another, now a nurse, also visited her in palliative care with her ten-week-old son; one of the boys called regularly from America, where he works as a NASA physicist. I said today to my best friend (a Suzuki voice teacher) that I'm very grateful. We were so lucky. She gave us so much and nurtured our childhood and adult selves so generously. She will live on in the tone of her students and their students. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dear Audrey...

Today you are six weeks old. If your dad was here he'd correct me and say "Well, at 7.11 pm she will be."
The crazy thing is that right now, those eight hours do make a difference. Every day you've seemed more alert, more watchful. Now when you feed you stare up at me with large, calm eyes. In the evening you get a little frenzied and (my interpretation) try hijacking our dinner conversation with emphatic growls and postures, worrying my breast the same way a dog beats a loved toy into compliance.
You weigh about eight and a half pounds and fit into 0000 clothing now - the little 00000 bonds suits that hung off you in the hospital are now relegated to a box so that one day you can dress your baby dolls in them and Michael and I can be amazed all over again by how small and perfect you were.
You have already perfected a couple of expressions; my favourite is the slightly sneaky, heh-heh-heh sideways glance just before you clamp down. The switched-off pursed mouth is another favourite, even if it predicts a visit to the change table. You still don't burp very well and struggle with wind pains - sometimes they wake you up and we pat your back or try to rub your tiny tummy while you windmill in anguish. I slipped two amber bracelets onto your little ankles last week and I hope they're helping. I don't want to take them off to see! I imagine that when you get around to it you will smile generously and often. You love to sleep on your tummy propped against us, or wrapped and carried.  Thank you for the hours of rest this has granted me.
We seem to be doing ok as a family so far - your dad is great at cooking so I don't have to and bringing me a cup of tea in the morning so you and I can lie in a little. Feeling the weight of your sleeping body or watching you try to make sense of the world is astounding.

Monday, July 2, 2012

So I went and got myself this sweet little Blog with Integrity button. Let's face it, the odds of me ever being paid to write about anything on this page are minuscule, but just in case Johnson&Johnson turn up with a crazy sweet sponsorship deal, I will tell you if their products cause leprosy. There are a ton of moms out there reviewing everything from modern cloth nappies (argh, that would be a fabulous deal, not even having to buy the damn things ONCE) to wall decals (because every mommy has time to stuff about with enormous sheaves of brightly coloured contact). I will not be one of them. In case you've not noticed, I lack the requisite tones of sycophancy. (I also have a predilection for words of many syllables. I don't think the ad agencies really go for that kind of thing.)
In fact, I'm probably more of a complainer.
This particular ebay seller is a great case in point. A few weeks back I ordered (and paid for) a set of custom 'topping' for the bugaboo. Basically this is the domain of those with too much time on their hands who think switching seat, canopy and bassinet fabric to co-ordinate with their outfit is the be-all and end-all.
Except I (oh, of COURSE) actually bought it to be different. It's this funky great damask print, very wallpaper-y (so much so the whole pram would blend into the wall very nicely) which won't match a single item of clothing in my wardrobe but which will differentiate MY bugaboo from the four gazillion others. Except the damn set has still not arrived. I feel like ringing the seller up and screaming "You do realise I only have four months left where she'll even FIT INTO the damn bassinet?!" but given that she had six boys before getting her little girl (her words, not mine) I'd feel a little guilty. I've already sent a tactfully worded "Just let me know when you pop it in the mail so I can keep an eye out for it!" email... How do I get my stuff?

Aliens.

At some stage I decided to rebel. Now that I think about it, the rebellion started LAST barbecue, when I (six months pregnant) walked down the hall, saw the gaggle of pregnant/breastfeeding/cooing women to my right, and promptly turned left. To hang out with my geeks, because I'd rather talk
Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer 40K,
cars,
jobs and
(rarely) football (with my lot it's more likely to be some arcane board game. Or iPhone apps)
than
paid maternity leave (I don't get any, how NICE for you),
the new plasma screen (we don't have a tv and I like it that way)
the best nursing top/lament for my jeans, and
the latest developmental milestone. I work with children. I know this stuff. I don't care whether your child crawls this week or next.

So, walking through the same door with a six-week-old baby in my arms, I stepped around two strollers (really? Did you walk here?), four nappy bags (Yeah, mine's going to be 20 cm away at all times because this child is only 20 seconds from vomiting at any given time) and walked into the front room. Floor activity mat: check. Nursing mom: check. Burping-baby mom: check. Two little girls playing "Pass the six-week-old brother": check. Poor homeowners. They don't have kids (yet) but they're somehow stuck right in the middle of a breeding epidemic. I turned left.

Six feet of fabric later (babywearing is the best non-trend I ever discovered) Audrey and I were happily chatting outside. I ate lunch, I drank tea, I even fed her with a little careful loosening and tweaking and sideways positioning. I did get dragged into a sympathy bath later in the afternoon ("Omigosh, BORN ten pound ten? That must have been excruciating!") and it was the worst fifteen minutes of the day (yes, Audrey had thrown up on me twice that morning).

Am I a bad mother? Possibly. The truth is, I like other people's children when I know what I'm supposed to do with them. Give me a three-year-old and half an hour and they'll be able to sing both verses of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, or count to ten in Japanese. Give me a box of Lego and I'll build my own vehicle, climb in and drive off. At speed. But sitting around placating a child so the grownups can talk for the sake of the grownups talking... We. Are. So. Crap.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This means WAR.

On reflux.
It's a bastard, this thing that has her chucking up whole feeds and then screaming as though she's just lost her stomach lining as well (which is probably exactly how it feels).

Yesterday's classy visit to the paediatrician concluded with a possible diagnosis of pyloric stentosis and a referral for an ultrasound. So after screaming through two cold-handed examinations and then peeing on her suit (the only day I have EVER left the house without a spare set of clothes for her) we made a quick trip to our local Savers (she wore a couple of blankets over her mercifully dry singlet and new nappy) to buy a replacement $0.99 wondersuit for Audrey... then it was off to fight for a parking space at our local hospital.

Quick digression: at my standard prenatal check (37wks 5 days) the need for an ultrasound was declared with the ominous words, "You're measuring very small." Two days and two ultrasounds later I was being induced into labor, up there in the all-time top hmmm... ONE Most Unpleasant Experiences of My Life. Hence my lack of "Oh, GOODY!"

However, sitting and waiting for the ultrasound tech to wave us through with a growing sense of doom, I realised even the worst-case scenario was not, actually, all that godawful. Like another mom-and-baby  feeding/stabbing iPhone combo (in my defence, she was sleeping), who'd clearly been here before and would clearly be here again, and who'd probably come to regard a waiting room as their second home. I realise, of course, that at five weeks old I can hardly state that we will never be that family, but I'm so grateful we're not starting out that way. (As the second ultrasound showed,) She doesn't need surgery. This is not life-threatening. It may distress me more than it hurts her - seeing a young baby squalling in pain and confusion and general Oh god make it stop is a horrible thing - but it's reflux.

Not even the really bad kind (as far as we can tell, and let's all hope it stays that way). So far 1mL of Mylanta seems to take the edge off and break up the wind, and suddenly our baby can sleep peacefully again. I may need something stronger.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chucks away...

The day has come. The day where at 2.30 PM I am wearing ugg boots, Peter Alexander pyjama pants, and my darling husband's Transformers T-shirt, swiped off the clotheshorse on my way to answer the front door (postman; Audrey's birth certificate). Thank goodness I have the kind of haircut that looks as though it's just walked out of the salon when in fact it's just gotten out of bed. The day has looked like this: feed, burp, wriggle around brightly, chuck. Protest hunger, feed, burp, wave arms and legs vigorously, chuck. Every time her body even thinks about approaching horizontal, chuck.

This is entirely because today my violin students are performing and I MUST GO to this concert. Hmmm.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Super Sunday.

Important lessons I have learned:

When baby is asleep, do not let husband pass her around. Really, it wasn't his fault. But the next three hours of catnap, feed, feed, chuck, feed, catnap, feed, chuck... turned today into ONE OF THOSE DAYS. Shame, it being Sunday and all.

Still, we made it to swing class. I made it through swing class. Audrey likes music. She doesn't like a particular swing tune, but that's probably because I cringe doing that routine and she is conditioned to the wave of horror that shudders through my body every time I hear those opening bars.

Cleavage (when burping a baby) is a bad thing. It allows the milky posset to slide right down the front of your top. Not. Pleasant.

Prosciutto and mushrooms w/ ravioli = great.
Prosciutto and mushrooms AND red capsicum AND green capsicum AND onion AND tomato AND parmesan w/ravioli = bleargh. Like slimy salsa invading my perfectly salty pasta paradise.

Space Odyssey 2001 is a complete head trip and the guys making it dropped a ton of acid. I don't want to imagine what it would have been like if I too had indulged in illicit substances.

Parens are good things. First-time grandparents are a little scary. (A little? I want to change the locks and get an unlisted telephone number.)


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Duplicate Audreys.

It happened. In the same suburb. The same hospital. Possibly the same week... Another Audrey. (DAMN!) I mean, I know they're out there. Little ones, not just adults, but seriously? We'll probably be assigned the same mothers' group, and when I don't turn up on week 3, everyone will think it's because of the Audrey factor, when it will actually be because (a) I hate the idea of a mothers' group and (b) it's going to clash with my working hours. )If it doesn't I'll do some rescheduling.)
 The guy who mentioned his chef was on maternity leave and her baby was Audrey took a photo of my Audrey to show his Audrey's mom. They even look a bit similar (The Audreys, not the guy and Audrey, or my Audrey and his Audrey's mom. This is getting ridiculous). Anyway, we now have a new talking point for her name. Not so much the "Oh, Audrey after Audrey Hepburn?!" but the "Oh, and you'll never believe..."

Urrrgh.

Today a lovely friend dropped in. She brought lovely presents; for me (revitalising facial masques), for Audrey (a little red dress, citrine crystals, a capital "A"and her first lovingly made flashcard - in purple glitter letters), for the pug (a chicken stick wrapped in pig hide) and for afternoon tea. Lovely chats ensued, cuddles were had, and then she asked to see the nursery. Off we went... and returned to a scene of gluttony and devastation. Thinking, perhaps, that we weren't so interested in the slice of cheesecake, the slice of something else yummy, and the macaroon remaining on the coffee table, the pug helped herself. To all of it. She's in a sugar coma now.

How to know your husband's really into this dad gig: when he presents his nose to a hungry, rooting baby just to see if she'll latch on. She did. Then she growled. I think the fur baby and the human baby have a little confusion. I think my darling husband may be suffering from slightly greater delusions. I think I needed the sugar fix more than the pug, but that I may settle for watching a movie in a facial masque. Glamorous Saturday night, huh?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's all okay. Really.


I've just come to a shocking realisation: for the first time in my life I am at a place where I could survive with three sets of clothes. And you know what? I, the self-confessed owner of three wardrobes (full of clothes, not just three wardrobes. It's not like I keep Narnia in one and Disneyland in another and Middle Earth in the third. Although that does kind of describe the clothing in each. ANYway...) I am okay with that. 

As in: Monday, Set 1; Tuesday Set 2; Wednesday, possibly Set 1(because they were washed yesterday and may already be dry)... probably Set 3. It's a great uniform. Underwear,  jeans, socks, glamourmum singlet top (with soft built-in nursing bra, BEST THING EVER), top to layer over (I'm on a rotation of about four button-downs and a couple crossovers). Ok, so a few days actually go like this: Set 1; feed, vomit, Set 2, oops, dodgy nappy/productive burp, Set 3 and bad luck, I'm staying in this till bedtime (and trotting off to put Set 1 & 2 in the wash) but I'm okay with that. She's four weeks old, who says you have to control all the ins and outs? (Or even any of the ins and/or outs.)

We're still using cloth nappies with success; I hung out six today and that means six more nappies not in landfill. I think 6-8 cloths each day is our average. Is it weird that my four-week-old produces more laundry than I do? (I realise I have full bladder/bowel control on my side, however I'm also some 20 times her size.) Never mind. Today I coloured my hair, dropped a gift to a friend, and spent some lovely time with my favourite not-quite-aunt. Audrey fed, slept, did cute things, repeat, repeat, repeat. Somehow I'm not bored yet, and that's very okay. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The things we make time for.

And thank you, autocorrect, for believing that what I really wanted to call this post was "The thugs we make time for." believe me, that's a whole different nappy of mystery.

So when I'm not gazing adoringly at the small person who inexplicably evolved from a couple of cells and got unceremoniously evicted from my body, I'm sleeping. Or eating.

Actually, reverse the order of those. And feeding, expressing, nappy-changing, tea-making...
I actually fend off help hanging out the washing because it's the one tangible success of my day. (btw, the cloth nappies are working beautifully. Bambooty are making me a happy, slightly less environmentally catastrophic event).

Hence my amazement that I can't quite get it together to color my hair but I could totally get changed, manipulate feeding a little (wake up! You have to feed NOW!) and get to ballet class. My joy was slightly marred by the physio-in-the-class stating I really shouldn't do anything high-impact for three months (seriously? It's been four weeks and I'm stir-crazy; take those endorphins away for three months and I'll need a prescription), but the only sweat I broke was because I stubbornly refused to take off my outer layer. Nursing clips are really not the sartorial standard for ballet class.

Little miss A was suitably engaged, staring about in the complete realization that all the rocking and bumping she felt to THAT music was her incipient mother jumping/spinning around like an idiot. I'm going to put the brief upset down to the fact that she wanted to DO the fouett├ęs.
Ballet class: win.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The happiness of washing...

We're starting the MCN (modern cloth nappy) journey and I think I like it! Started off small using washable breast pads from day one and given I've used one pair every day that's about 50 disposables I HAVEN'T used. Sure, I have a box of disposables as a backup, but when they're coaster-sized discs of fabric, it's not as though I'm washing a whole extra towel every day or anything crazy like that. i also like the breathability factor of bamboo, because who wants to walk around with sopping wads of tissue in their bra every day? Glamorous? I think not.
Now, upping the ante slightly, I bought a collection of small bambooty nappies and some peapods off a local mommy and so far so good - the bambooty nappies have this brilliant design with boosters sewn in from the front and the back, so when drying you can spread them flat and the eight? layers of fabric dry so much faster. Plus they don't need reassembly after every wash.
I am starting to wonder how many pairs of socks one very small baby can conceivably possess, but I'm sure we'll lose them at twice the rate of adult socks, them being so small and all, so probably best we start with a million pairs and work from there.
Just hung out five MCN. That's five disposable nappies we didn't use yesterday. Excellent. Add those to the (much smaller) mountain of breast pads I'm not using and the (larger) mountain of formula tins that WON'T be in our garbage can and I'm feeling better about the Everest-sized mountain of clothing and other ridiculous things that babies incur. (Let's save the Kindle outrage for tomorrow, this can be a happy sparkly post.) For laughs, go here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thump, thump, thump, my arm's going to fall off...

Life is so much better when she remembers how to burp WITHOUT evacuating the contents of her stomach. Mostly because we don't wear a week's worth of clothes in one day and I make it off the couch to do essential things like make cups of tea and refuel before the next impromptu assault on my breasts. Much, much better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

That colour which shall henceforth be known as bleauuuuurgh

Would it be terribly wrong to greet the next "IT'S A GIRL!!!" card with a look of consternation and surprise teamed with "OH MY GOD! REALLY? IS SHE? I HAD NO IDEA! I mean, people keep giving us pink stuff, but I was sure that was a penis! A girl, you say... incredible..."

I am so grateful to the lovely people who brought us gifts. I really am. If more than 1% had been not-pink, that also would have made me very happy.

I thought that the massive knitting project (a cot blanket knitted on 3mm needles IS a massive undertaking, trust me) I toted around and showed to EVERYONE over several months might have established a certain aesthetic: bone, cream, navy and red. "Look at this gorgeous (red) jacket!"... "I LOVE that sweet (gray) wondersuit!" Um, no. We said "she's a girl!" and they heard "PINK". To the point where the one pink thing I let myself buy (ok, one of the very few pink things) - a Bugaboo hood and cover, which seemed cute and tongue-in-cheek oh, SO girly - now seems ludicrous and makes me feel faintly nauseous because it's just another pink thing in the sea of pastels, brights, ruffled and frilled pink things.



I have one wish for my daughter (at this early stage of being): that she might know there are colours other than pink. Fifty shades of grey? Pffft. Try my existence... four thousand and ninety-seven shades of that colour sitting sweetly and innocently between red and white.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It begins.

So we made it. On the 22nd May, 2012, at 7.11pm, Audrey was born. Then there was a whole bunch of faffing about with the Special Care nursery, hand expressing (it really means what you think it does,  yuk), sleep deprivation and glucose tests. Maybe I'll go into all that stuff later. Maybe I'll spare you.

She's three weeks old today and showing every sign of being a perfectly healthy child who won't qualify as 'petite' much longer but who will stay on the slender side of normal (thanks Dad for those famine thighs). Given today's horrifically judgemental society where lack of kilos is equated with inflated self-worth she'll possibly wind up Queen of all the stupid people.

(I could blame that snark on new-mother-sleep-deprivation but the truth is that Ms. Audrey's quite a good sleeper. In three-hour blocks. Actually it's just my repressed inner monologue making a break for it through the keyboard.)

We've taken the Bugaboo on a couple outings and I can't wait to get the custom topping in the mail (that is NOT the reason I bought a Bugaboo, I swear. It was just the only pram that did all the stuff I wanted and that I could actually operate. I don't trust three-wheelers or my ability to steer them around obstacles, so a Phil & Ted's was NEVER going to be my friend. Apparently Striders don't fit through normal supermarket checkouts, and the iCandy just freaked me out. I am not a seventeen-year-old who wants my pram to match my phone. Anyway, grey damask topping... mmm... delicious damask.

So we're doing this whole parenting thing. Helped along by our friends, our family, and an awful lot of pink. Not that I have anything against it, I'd just like our daughter to grow up knowing that there are other colours in the world. Baby steps....