Sunday, August 31, 2008

Great Down Under Nappy Hunt

DH is back, Yay! I actually got a sleep this afternoon, so I'm only a little bit behind.
I've been trying to sort out my mini-hunt for the GDUNH all day. I only upload files twice a year for the hunt, so I had to get a new FTP application and try to remember how to do it. I've just set it all up and checked it and it works. Now I need some people who think the same way I do!

I've got a heap of nappies ready to go, I hope some of them sell. I could be in a bit of trouble though - I'm out of hemp and I'm supposed to be giving hemp inserts as bonuses with the pocket nappies! It should arrive this week, so fingers crossed. Honestly I'd love to have that problem, it's so depressing getting all these things ready then not selling any.

I finally got a photo organised of Widget. Here she is in the dress I made her. I was a bit upstaged because I made her a dress, then some frilly sequinny things arrived from her grandparents on the same day, then DH got home next day with a whole pile of Dora gear! My poor dress was a bit forgotten, so I made her put it on to take photos.

DH brought the giant crayon back, it's full of craft gear. We were actually hiding it so I could bring it out this week, but she found it and has been carrying it around all night.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Red Rooster is empowering

I have spent most of my adult life bordering on obese. My self-image is fat, but when I look at photos of myself as a kid I wasn't really. Must come from all that ballet and comparing myself to the other little girls. I've dieted a few times and got it down, but never completely and it's always crept back again.

When I had a child my perception of my body changed completely. I'd read a bit about separation of body and self, but then a friend made a comment while I was pregnant that really stuck with me. She said your body is doing an amazing thing - you are creating and nurturing a whole new person.

There is no separation of ME and MY BODY. It is all me. I cannot dislike or hate my body, because I cannot hate myself. The part of me that is my body has done awesome things - I have created and nurtured two children, I have opened and pushed them out into the world, I have sustained and grown them with my milk, I hold and comfort them when they need it or even just because we enjoy it. I have done other amazing things, including giving and taking pleasure as a lover. My husband and my children don't care what I look like, they need, enjoy and love me any way I am.

Since Widget started eating I've been a bit obsessive, just because I know what bad eating habits DH and I have and don't want to pass them on. So when he decided to lose weight I agreed and we began dieting with one of the well-known companies.

I don't know what the difference is, but we are finding it extremely easy. I've been going for 5 weeks now and it isn't a strain at all, it feels normal. It helps that we are supporting each other and are doing it for the right reasons, but there is also something different inside me. I don't feel deprived, even though I've cut right down on what I'm eating. I'm loving the difference that I can see, and of course it helps that other people are noticing and complimenting me. I'm finding that I feel in control rather than like I have rules I have to follow. I'm sure part of it is that I am in my own home and control what food is available. And being home means that I eat when I need to, rather than at set times.

The last few days have been tough on my own. I'm staying up far too late because after 15 hours with children attached I need a break, which makes me tired, which makes the next day harder. But today has been really good. It's Friday and although it was lovely of DH to stock the fridge up for me before he left, I'm sick of leftovers. So I planned to have takeaway. I don't feel guilty, I don't feel like I snuck something, have been naughty or have ruined anything. It was a planned decision and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And that is very empowering.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I told you so.

Well this morning did not start well.

Widget woke up early, usually DH either gets her back to sleep or deals with her but of course not today. So I tried to get her to snuggle down with us but "Me need feed!" started. And went, and went and went. It's that struggle between peace and not giving in to whinging because next time will be worse. It was way too early for her to get up, plus I'd had Midget attached most of the night, and I really don't enjoy being woken up and whinged at! I tried all the usual things to get her to be quiet and in the end I got up, but that just prompted lots of screaming and crying. I finally got her calmed down and to accept the original deal, which was have a little sleep and then you can have a feed, but of course with all the fuss Midget was awake.

She was pretty happy so I still made Widget wait and "sleep" for about 2 minutes, then let her have a feed. It wasn't one of the nicer ones because I was so angry at her and kept getting whacked in the back by Midget who was doing the whole Wow! I've got arms! thing.

We got up, but by the time I grabbed Midget and walked out to the lounge Widget had knocked over an open drink bottle (water!) all over the floor, the arm of the lounge and the TV remote. We have a constant battle over water bottles, she needs to drink more and is usually pretty good about closing them, but whenever she doesn't it seems to be a major disaster with water everywhere. And now she was whinging for a DVD to watch.

I managed not to bite her head off and even got breakfast ready, but because I had Midget I didn't help Widget and she refused to eat it. So now she was tired and hungry, I was tired and angry, and Midget was just tired. I decided to play with Midget on the mat to try to do something different, and Widget joined in and we actually had a good time.

Unfortunately Widget decided she wanted to go outside just when Midget really needed a sleep. Because of the state she was in she went straight to whinging, but I managed to explain that I was getting Midget dressed. Widget stayed in the lounge and kept calling Muuum! Muuum! This is another battle - she's allowed to call once but then is supposed to come through and ask, not keep yelling. Again, she is usually pretty good at it, but the combined hunger, tiredness and anger guaranteed that it was not our morning. When I tried to get her to come through she threw herself down and cried, so I have no idea what she wanted. Eventually I put a DVD in for her (that's part of the normal routine when I'm putting Midget to bed) and went off with Midget. She was tired enough that she went straight off to sleep.

When I came out Widget had self-served herself an apple and the butter from the fridge, but luckily it wasn't everywhere. I've just cut it up for her (the apple!) and the TV remote seems to have dried out and is working again. So I'm taking a deep breath and going to start the morning again!

I just have this overwhelming need to say to her "See! I told you it was too early! You should have had a sleep and then none of this would have happened!"
This is definitely a time for ignoring some of the whinging and trying to catch her being good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DH is away.

Actually had a pretty good day, very long though. Widget was almost brilliant with a few little hiccups. I need to get on to Weight Watchers (lost 7 kg so far!) and find out how many points I get for playing chasey with a 2 year old while carrying an 8kg baby.

Bedtime was fun - they both go to bed at the same time, usually DH does Widget and I feed Midget. Unfortunately Midget crashed an hour before bed, so she was wide awake! Widget had only just realised Daddy wasn't coming home, although she was more excited about me and Widget putting her to bed than sad. (I must find the sad face she did when I was out at bedtime a week ago. DH had to take a photo so she could show me how sad she was.)I'd explained to her that if Midget got upset I would have to go out and calm her down, I was just next door etc. but of course as soon as I had to go out it started - Mum, Mum! Muuum! MUUM! MUUUUUM!

I was so frustrated I ended up slamming the door as hard as I could, and speaking in a very loud, annoyed voice (although not actually screaming). It was actually good in a way because I realised she was boiling hot and changed the quilt, and they both went to sleep fairly easily after that. In fact Midget hasn't called out again, which is unheard of.

I feel bad, because she is only 2 and had her entire routine put out and her father isn't here. It wasn't actually anything to do with her, it was the fact that I hadn't had a break at all and was getting to the end of my energy. So all I can do is try to do better tomorrow, and hope that she will understand what is going on so it will be easier.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And it's not even lunch time!

  1. Midget has dreadlocks. She has fairly long, baby-fine hair and the back has gone all fuzzy and knotted.
  2. We were outside and Widget was walking around a pole, wrapping a piece of rope around it. Suddenly she announced she was stuck - she'd managed to wrap her t-shirt around it too and couldn't move.
  3. I left Midget on the change table and put the nappies in the laundry, then decided to put a load on. Widget came running and told me Midget was all clean. I went back into the bedroom and she was suspiciously damp, but there wasn't water all over the place.

"Did you wash Midget?"

"Yes! All over!"

"Did you wash her face?"

"Yes! All her face!"

"Where's the bottle?" (of water I use for wipes)

"Yes! Whole bottle!"

"Darling, what did you wash?"

"Whole bottle! Wash Midget's tummy, wash Midget's face, wash bed, wash toys, wash floor, wash table."

"Thank you sweetheart."

What else do you say? It wasn't too bad, she'd used a hemp cloth and that had soaked most of it up. I've spent a lot of this morning laughing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Work, sleep, or family?

Following on from Michelle's comment ...

I hadn't thought about maternity leave. I had a fairly generous entitlement (for Australia), 14 weeks paid and I chose to have 12 months off. There was a 6 year option I could have taken, and in that case I could have swapped with DH as we both had the same employer. So we would have been allowed to have one of us on leave for 6 years, unpaid but our positions would be held. In the end I chose to resign, mainly because I know that as a maths/science teacher in the country I am a rare commodity so I'll always be able to get a job.

In some ways it's, hmmm, annoying? I'm good at my job, I have been studying as well so have a Master's degree, I've done various extra bits of training in staff management and I'm more experienced than 90% of teachers in the type of area we live in. But if I go back I'll still end up at the bottom of the rung and have to start climbing again. So that's part of the reason I'm looking at other jobs. I'm passionate about education, but I feel there are better ways for me to promote better education than being in a classroom.

And it's not luck that we can afford for me to stay home. We have a careful plan for our finances, our lifestyle and our future. Of course it's flexible, but it's something we have worked hard at.

But parental leave and those sorts of choices are only the beginning of the problem. Remember Labour Day? It's not just a holiday, it's meant to celebrate the 40-hour work week. How many people do that today? I don't know actual figures, but I do know that the sorts of hours we work in Australia are actually illegal in Germany. Yes, companies have to have special permission and agreements to work over 40 hour weeks. Most professionals in Australia work at least 50 hour weeks, 70 hours is not unusual. Tradesmen, especially if they are self-employed, work similar hours. Small business owners work pretty much all day every day.

So where are our families? If you're working a 70 hour week you don't have a weekend. You don't have time in the afternoon with your toddlers. There are only so many things you can physically do, so how many of us are making the choice between family and sleep? And why on earth did we decide that work was the most important?

I'm not one to talk, I'm under completely self-inflicted pressure. I am a SAHM to a toddler and a new baby, plus I'm trying to run a business and a couple of blogs, plus I have a plan for the future I want to get started on. I know I'm never going to get it to more than a hobby unless I get serious about time, but I'm not prepared to put my kids into care. So instead of doing the sensible thing, I'm staying up until all hours.

I'm sure a sociologist could give us the answers, it probably has something to do with the 80s and the global recession, plus a hefty dose of the protestant work ethic. And unfortunately the last few months means that it isn't the best time to make decisions that could affect us financially. But maybe it's time for us, as a society, to have a good hard look at our priorities. And the only way I know to do that is for us to start as individuals.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making things hard for ourselves

I've been thinking about this, given the support I've needed from DH recently and also listening to other mothers. We really do make things harder than we need to. But we're not the only ones missing out, because what is happening is that so many of us are not allowing our husbands to be fathers.

I'm not blaming women, we really do need to stick together and support each other so I wouldn't do that, and I don't see many men pushing us out of the way so they get their turn. So both parents are definitely to blame, if that's even the right word. And we've all seen the reports and stats that show women do more housework and childcare even if they are also working outside the home. (Honesty makes me admit I don't. DH does almost all the cleaning and cooking, and I sleep in as much as the Midget lets me on weekends.) But I don't think most husbands are lazy or incompetent. And I don't think their wives just let them get away with it.

So why is it happening?

Women almost always stay home for at least a little while with a new baby, while a lot of men don't get that luxury. Even those who have leave seem to end up doing the cooking and cleaning while we sit there and feed, feed, feed. Then they go back to work and we have time and no audience to work out how to change nappies, stop the vomit going everywhere, support the baby's head, respond to it crying, work out when it's tired, help it go to sleep, calm it when it's overtired, help it fart or burp, and all the other intimate things we've never realised babies have to learn how to do. Be honest - who hasn't knocked their baby's head on a doorway or car roof? Who hasn't had their baby roll off some piece of furniture you thought they were safe on? Who hasn't, in some way, messed it up or done something really embarrassing? But unless we choose to tell, most of them can stay our little secret.

Our husbands, on the other hand, have to do it all publicly. They have to learn to change nappies when we've had all week to master that skill and are now an expert. They have to put the baby in the car seat with a hormonal new mother hovering behind them. They've walked in the door from work and been handed a baby but not the nappy to go over their shoulder. (Midget is 4 months and I still forget, I was much better organised with Widget.)

So we're hormonal and can't stand to be separated from our babies, can't stand to hear them cry. We're proud of all the new skills we've learnt. We want everything to be perfect and don't allow for our husband's learning curve to be so far behind our own. And there you have a combination of us stepping forward and our husbands' stepping back.

And it only gets worse. Once you've taken something on (or given something up) it gets harder to make changes. So as the kids get older it continues. Discipline is a big one, especially with toddlers. We all know we should present a united front, but how many of us find a way to make the time to talk to each other and come up with a plan? So in the end it goes with majority rules, and Mum has the majority because she is there the most. I've even heard women complaining that their husbands' expect a say in which school their children go to - Of course they should! They are a parent too!

Dad's should be allowed, and should be trusted, to make decisions about their children. I think one of the reasons so many of them seem to make bad decisions (judging from the complaints about food, sunburn, tiredness etc) is that they haven't had to learn the way we have. We've all made mistakes and had to deal with the consequences, unfortunately many of the consequences seem to happen on a Monday when Dad is safely at work.

I don't know what the answer is, or rather I think there are as many answers as there are relationships. A good place to start is awareness, because if you don't recognise the problem you can't fix it. So two things to always keep in mind (or if you're an ex-school teacher, make into a poster and hang on the fridge):

Ladies: Fathers have all the same rights as you do!
Gentlemen: Fathers have all the same responsibilities as their wives!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nappy Myths

Isn't if funny how everything happens at once? We spend the whole week at home, then yesterday there was playgroup, a sports' carnival, then drinks at DH's work. It was fun getting out. Thank you Michelle and Gillian for your support, it really helped.

OK, I've had a couple on feeding and toddlers, one on education, and I feel like something light. How about some nappy myths?

  • Cloth nappies are hard work. My Mum had three in nappies and an old twin tub machine that had to be changed over and filled by hand. It wasn't earthed properly and almost electrocuted her. So absolutely, for her cloth nappies were a lot of hard work. I have a lovely modern washing machine and lovely modern detergent and my nappies are made from lovely modern fabrics and are super absorbent. So for me it's an extra load of washing every two or three days. Frankly, going to the shops and buying disposables (remembering to buy them!) would be harder and more time consuming.
  • They're hard to put on. I'm terrible at putting sposies on, I also have problems with velcro. But I can do a snappi in about 2 seconds flat. My point is not that one is easier or harder, but that we learn what we are used to. You are going to be doing at least 5 changes a day for around 2 years, possibly much more. Do you really think you'll take 3650 goes to learn how to do it easily? Or do you think it will be simple after a week or two?
  • Cloth nappies are unreliable. When you look at the elastic around the legs, at the front and back and different fit options, there's no way anything is getting out. There are some brands that don't suit some babies, and of course if you don't use a water resistant layer of some sort you're going to get wet. So I suppose my caveat here is that an appropriate, well fitting system is completely reliable. It may take a bit of experimenting, but there will be a way of doing it. Ignoring the hype and talking to other Mums says that sposies have problems too - at least there are lots of cloth options, not the 5 or so that sposie users have.
  • They have to be changed often. Ummmm, isn't that a good thing? Do you really want your baby sitting in wee?
  • They cause nappy rash. Nappy rash is caused by the bacteria from poo changing wee into ammonia, which burns little bums. So if you don't want nappy rash, change and wash your baby with something mild. In the 50's it was practically unknown. Of course individual babies have different reactions - some react to disposables, some react to fleece, some react if they aren't breathable enough. If you have a rashy baby you're going to have to experiment.
  • They make it harder for babies to roll, crawl and walk. There is a huge normal age range for mobility, unless there is something wrong they all get there. Widget was an early mover, so from my perspective - please slow Midet down a bit!

And because we have to have an environmental one in there,

  • They use lots of water. Think modern washing machines. Think only 40 or so nappies actually used, so not that much in materials. Think dry pailing, so no soaking water needed. Then think where the paper used in those 3650 disposables came from. Cloth nappies use more of your water, so probably not a good idea if you are on tanks, but overall it's much less clear.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good thing

Apparently I'm a big girl and Daddy isn't allowed to wrap me up in a towel, lift me out of the shower and carry me through. Given that he just walked Widget into the door, that could be a good thing.


You may have noticed I missed yesterday. I was going to write this beautifully crafted piece about it now being my turn to support DH with some issues he's having. About how in families it is a dynamic balance of different needs, and how they change and our priorities change depending on who needs support at the time.

My priorities have changed.

I'm glad this isn't my first, I would be freaking out by now. I wrote it down when Widget went through it, and since then I have talked to many distracted mothers. I have reassured other first time Mums that it is perfectly normal, most babies do it, it is developmental. They have got through the first newborn stage, they are discovering the world, there is so much around them to see and experience so they are distracted. Your milk supply hasn't dropped, they aren't teething or sick (usually), there is nothing wrong with them, it is just being 4 months old.

So now I am reassuring myself. The constant sucking doesn't mean my supply has dropped (I'm still leaking!!!). She's not really allergic to sleep, and she will, someday, sleep without a tit in her mouth. To be fair, she did sleep for several hours last night, which is very unusual, but the rest of the time she was firmly attached. Then this morning she's been yawning, red-eyed and sucking on her fists, but don't try and put her down, she's not really asleep. The hug-a-bub came back out but even that didn't work, she made it very soggy but needed the real thing several times to actually sleep.

All topped off by a major melt-down from Widget. I was so unreasonable as to want her not to snatch, twist and stand on the nappy I was trying to get photos of. It was quite a shock because she's usually such a happy girl, and it really hurt that she went to cry in her room (actually it was more full on hysterics than crying). Then I made it all worse by putting on music. After a little while she did come back out and sat in my lap to cry, then she had a feed and was great about stopping when Midget got upset. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to do any one on one with her since, so that's what I'm off to do now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 computers, 3 users.

Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit how much time my 2 year old spends on the computer. It all started innocently enough, sitting on my lap while learning colours or words, pointing to the screen and telling me which one to press. Then I found a game where she just had to move the mouse around. Then another game where she just had to click. Suddenly she was doing it on her own and now here we are - she has her own log-in and we've set up the favourites so she can find her own games. At least she plays lots of different games, but still I have to fight her off to get on "my puter!" It's going to be scary what she can do by the time she gets to school, it's a completely different world to the one we grew up in.

Which begs the question - is it good or bad? And of course it's neither, that's too simplistic. A couple of hundred years ago books were considered terrible, frivolous, a waste of time. Now they are extremely important, a part of "high" culture, and parents are anxious about their child learning to read. Of course there are "good" and "bad" books, and there will be good and bad things to do on the computer, it is just the medium.

But this is the information age. When I was in highschool I used to wonder what it would have been like living during the industrial revolution, but here we are in the middle of the information revolution. The rules have changed, the skills we learned are not going to be enough for our children. They need to not only know how to find information but how to evaluate it and what to do with it. And quite frankly a lot of us don't have those skills. The internet is a quagmire of information, anyone can write anything (like this!) and each discipline has its own way of writing. Which is fine if you are writing for other members of the same discipline, but when outsiders start reading you both have a problem, and both sides are going to have to develop new communication skills.

So I suppose I shouldn't be embarrassed about my 2 year old using the computer, I should be planning how I am going to guide her to develop better skills than my own.

(It's just taken 3 goes and almost 2 hours to get Midget to sleep. The four month monsters are definitely here.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Four Month Monsters and Tandem Feeding.

They seem to be starting, Midget didn't nap well today and spent most of the time she was in bed with us last night sucking. Every now and then I tell her that her bed sharing days are numbered, but then I think of having to get up and put her back in the cot and it's easier to just keep her with us. It's working quite well, she starts in the cot then at the first feed comes into bed with us, so I get some comfortable sleep first if I don't stay up too late.

Widget was gorgeous in the morning, she hopped into bed and didn't wake Midget up (Yay!) and didn't instantly start whinging for a feed. Even when she asked for one she was happy to wait while I rearranged myself and Midget, rather than getting louder and whingier. It's been becoming more and more unpleasant, but it's one of those pick your battle issues - it would be harder to try to wean her than to contain her every morning. Anyone who thinks I'm feeding my toddler for me needs to deal with her when she gets told no!!!!

I find that when I don't want to feed her then it's an awful feed, it hurts, it's irritating, I just want it to be over. But if I can relax and enjoy giving her a cuddle then it's a great feed. She rarely gets to finish one on her own, either it gets too annoying or something happens, so when it's going well I try to let her go as long as she wants. I got a beautiful cuddle this morning, unfortunately Midget got upset during one this afternoon and Widget didn't want to stop, which then caused a major tantrum. So it's two steps forwards and one back.

I think poor Widget is getting a bit jealous. Her bed routine, her shower, her feeds and her mornings have all been rearranged and I've been waiting for it. Midget is definitely not as much of a wonderful toy as she was. But they still adore each other and I think overall Widget is coping very well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If Michael Phelps were a nation, he would be sitting 6th in the medal tally.

That is amazing.

He comes from the world's richest country. His body is definitely not typical. He has had every advantage possible.

But that should not detract from an incredible achievement. As an individual, as a team member, across different events, he has demonstrated breadth as well as skill. And that is very rare and should be celebrated by all of us.

Because doesn't it makes us all greater when one of us does something truly magnificent?

Well done.

Me time, Family time

As I said, I haven't been travelling well. I've been bored, lonely, generally pretty depressed and teary. I love Widget to bits, but painting pictures of frogs or horses or playing with playdough gets pretty boring and it's been too cold to go outside. I'm also a pretty feedback oriented person (aren't we all?) and I've not been getting any through the business, and Widget and Midget are a bit young for it. I know the standard remedy seems to be me time, but to get that I have to stay up late, which means less sleep, which just makes everything worse.

So I had a cry to DH a few nights ago (yeah, less sleep!). He already knew something was wrong, but he spent a couple of days trying to organise things to cheer me up. What I really needed, apart from sleep, was some fun family time. Me time is great, but I was still stuck in a negative headset and was carrying it with me. So instead of enjoying being on my own, I was finding more things to be negative about.

I've had a great weekend re-discovering that the girls are fun to be around. Rather than looking at it as my job to play with them, I've been hovering around the edges while DH plays with them, and we've been rolling around on the bed, taking silly photos and just doing fun things. It's been so nice to have someone else taking the responsibility of entertaining them and letting me enjoy it rather than "working."

I'm sure this week will be hard again, but at least I'm feeling good about it rather than dreading being left on my own.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Panadol is my friend

I really haven't been travelling well the last few days, getting harder and harder to be positive. I've even considered PND, but I think it is just exhaustion. Today was a bit of a breaking point, we had a wonderful morning but then quite suddenly I couldn't handle it anymore. Midget woke up (was woken??) and Widget kept trying to undress her. It was the fact that she kept doing it after I'd told her not to, I actually walked away because I just couldn't handle her going on and on and on. At that point she got upset, which is when I yelled at her (the first time). Why can't you do something when I ask you? Why does it have to get to the point of yelling before you listen?

So that was the first one and the afternoon sort of went downhill from there. I kept calming down and apologising to her, because nothing she did really warranted the way I was reacting and I knew it, I just couldn't deal with her being a 2 year old. But then something else would happen. And of course she was getting clingy because she knew something was wrong which made it harder.

At one stage I was in tears and she came and gave me a big hug and made me lie down on the bed so she could give me a cuddle which was lovely. Then when I was still lying there feeding Midget she got the big tub of yoghurt out of the fridge and spilt it all over herself.

I kept feeling worse and worse, luckily DH got home, I got Midget back to sleep then went and had a long bath. I was still feeling worse - you know the sort of stomach ache when you just want to throw up because you might feel better. So finally I took some panadol and half an hour later I felt much better. Not 100%, but enough that I actually managed to play with poor Widget.

So I'm going to put today down to a bug and be glad that DH is here for the weekend to help me cope. It's not the whole problem, but hopefully with some support I'll get on top of it. DH is being wonderful, he's spent the week emailing me and ducking home at lunchtime to check how I'm going and has found some people who do different craft groups for me to go to. He even came home today with all the things I'd need to go to a scrapbooking group.

So now I've taken some more panadol and I'm going to bed.

They're multiplying

Well the baby monster (Baby Munz) is still around, obviously it can fly down from the moon although once here it needs to be carried everywhere. Having its teeth brushed vigorously last night didn't put it off. But this morning when I was doing Widget's hair baby Dora suddenly appeared on top of the cupboard and she had to dive across the room suddenly to catch her. I was halfway through putting an elastic in but it didn't seem to faze her, but give her hair a gentle tug getting the elastic OUT!!!! I've lost my little helper - with all the real and imaginary friends she's carrying around she can't carry any of my stuff anymore.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My evening

So I'm crouched under a baby gym with a sheet over me, as you do, and Midget is laughing her head off having a wonderful time! Why am I wasting my time singing, talking, doing tummy time, holding things for her? I just need to cover her with a sheet!

The OTHER reasons for using cloth nappies.

I know you're out there, please comment because I'd love to get some conversations happening.

Don't you think it's funny that as soon as nappies are mentioned people start talking about the environment? I mean do we choose our baby's clothes according to what's best for the environment? Or their toys? I just think it's strange that if nappies are mentioned it must mean that some of us are more or less environmentally friendly than others. I'm a cloth user but don't think I'm all that environmentally friendly, as I sit here on my computer with the heater and TV going and several lights on. I suppose it's because we all have a sneaking suspicion that nappies are worse than our other baby things because we have so many of them, but let's be honest about it.

These are the reasons I chose to use cloth nappies:

  • Where I was living our rubbish was all burnt in a 40 gallon drum in the front yard. Imagine burning all that poo and plastic - yuck! Actually I think putting poo in the bin for a week is pretty revolting too.
  • They're waaaaay cheaper. Even if I wasn't making my own all the nappies I have is about 6 months worth of disposables, and I'm a bit of a scrooge.
  • They're comfortable - I hate loathe and despise disposable menstrual pads, I'm not doing that to my poor little bubbas!
  • I think sposies smell. Seriously, I can smell them in the packet. I'm sure I'd get used to them, but it's a shock because I'm not used to it.
  • It gave me something to do and a sense of accomplishment. When I was first at home and completely clueless I could say, I achieved something today I've washed the nappies. Later they were something to do when it got boring singing nursey rhymes over and over or playing peekaboo. Widget never needed any of those toys with the different textures because she helped with the nappies, and now they are a good reason to get out in the fresh air.
  • Sposies don't fit my girls. To get something to go around their legs means they are ridiculously long and baggy. The same thing happened with cloth, but at least I had the option of making my own, or looking at different brands to find different fits.
  • They're reliable. I'm probably just really bad at putting them on, but we've had a poosplosion every time I've used sposies.
  • I really freaked out when Widget got those little crystal things all over her. They may be harmless but I didn't like it.
  • They're cute and I can justify buying them. I hate having gorgeous outfits that they only wear once, it's such a waste. But with nappies I can get them something really nice and not feel guilty about it because I know they'll use them lots.

What about you? I'm interested in any reasons for nappy choice, sposies too!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


No, my kids don't do it :) just a bit of a ramble.

I was reading an old book by the wonderful Penelope Leach where she was talking about sleep and mentioned putting your baby down awake. BUT she described doing all the parenting things, wrapping, rocking, cuddling, feeding, then putting your baby down before they were completely asleep, just enough so they know they've been moved. It's taken me two babies to realise that I do quite frequently put her down "awake." It's the little eye flutter as I kiss her, a bit of a roll when I put her down, the big sigh when I take my hand away.

But what scope for misinterpretation! If you just hear "put them down awake" what are you going to do? I'll bet 90% of parents try to just wrap them and put them down. No wonder none of us can get them to do it! I remember being on the phone to my Mum in tears because I thought I was doing the wrong thing. How many of us have been told we are creating a rod for our own backs? (Actually I've never had that one, and Mum did point out that 3 weeks might be a little bit young for self-settling.) I'm lucky I discovered feeding to sleep, and never had anyone tell me it was wrong. I then stopped trying to get Widget to self-settle and never bothered with Midget.

And now I find I've been doing it all along.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Me wuv big sister's baby


How can you not love toddlers?

Well actually very easily when they're whinging for the thing you've just said no to, or kicking you, or looking you straight in the eye and doing it again.

So how do you not strangle them? I've actually got some ideas from teaching, and others I've muddled out.

  • Take note every time they do something gorgeous - I've even been known to write a quick email to DH about comments like that, or write it in a journal, just to force myself to stop and appreciate how loving and wonderful she really is.
  • Take photos! I have them on the computer as my screen saver, it can really break the tension if I'm wanting to yell at her so badly and suddenly behind her flashes up a picture of her dressed in her fairy outfit and flying hat as she takes the baby monster home to the moon (don't ask).
  • Catch them being good, aka praise, praise, praise, praise. And I don't mean "good girl." I mean "I'm really glad you stopped when I asked," "That's such a help when you put those toys away," "Isn't it nice we have room to play now," "Thank-you for being gentle with Midget." Just about every one of those could be delivered with gritted teeth, you can imagine what she's just done previously. And don't ruin it by tacking somehing on the end, although I'm well known for adding "if you'd just done it the first time!"
  • Keep track of your positives and negatives. I used to do it at school with marbles in my pockets - for every positive I put one in my right pocket, for a negative I put one in my left. The goal was to finish the lesson with more rights! You can tally it on a piece of paper or chalkboard. You find what you're looking for, so after a while you do start to see all the good things, not the "accidents."
  • Reinforce all the good things. When I'm saying goodnight I go through all the things we did today, all the fun activities, and give her a compliment for each - You had so much fun painting!
  • Decide on your goal. You can't make someone be happy, so don't be angry with them for being upset. If I want the toys cleaned up or her to get dressed I don't care what sort of attitude she's pulling. Nothing makes the situation worse like saying do it with a happy face, you just have a brand new fight starting there.
  • Give them something nice to come back to. It's really common to flare up when they come back from a problem, they are still in negative mode or expecting punishment. So have something fun to do and ignore the button pushing. Giving them a hard time when you move on means you're doing exactly the same thing - you still feel angry, so let them off the hook if they do.
  • Get really quiet. When I feel like yelling I try to consciously relax my face and speak very quietly. This is a physiological trick, it makes you calmer, plus it means I'm not helping the situation spiral out of control.

Of course it doesn't always work, I probably yell once a day on average, some days are less and some I'd rather not talk about. And they're things to strive for, not things I always manage to do! So my final strategy is be willing to say you're wrong. When you're calm again go and give them a cuddle and say you're sorry for being grumpy, then ask them to choose something they want to do.

What other ideas do you use?

Sunday, August 10, 2008


My first post in my new blog.

Hmmm, why am I doing this?
Partly because I'm isolated and have no-one to talk to, so you're it :)
Partly because I like to write things to process them.
Partly because a lot of this has been hard and if others can learn from it, great!

So a bit more of an introduction, I used to be a science and maths teacher in remote Secondary schools. I have spent the last 10 years or so in tiny little isolated towns teaching mainly Aboriginal students, and have a strong belief that just because they can't read/write/speak English they can still learn Maths and Science!!!!! So education in general is one of my passions.

(Midget just did a poosplosion while DH was holding her, so Widget is now wandering around saying "Shi fackry! Shi fackry!)

Cloth nappies - I have massive oversupply and my poor daughters take after my side of the family, extremely short with thighs Colonel Sanders would be proud of. So while I love Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN) there weren't any that fitted them well, so I designed my own. I thought there must be other odd-shaped babies out there, and started Waggle-Wee Kids, selling pocket and fitted nappies plus other things I like to make. I would never ever have predicted that I would be passionate about nappies of all things, expect lots of posts about them.

When I was an isolated new Mum I discovered a wonderful website and forum for the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). They became my Mother's Group, and I am still active almost 3 years later. I am a breastfeeding fanatic. Not that I think everyone should breastfeed at all costs, but I think we should ALL be angry that women and babies are being cheated. Our society does not value and support breastfeeding. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be to think your body doesn't work, to think you can't do something for your baby. Of course some women can't, but just as many women could if given the right support and information.

Expect lots of rants about tolerance, or lack thereof. This gig is hard enough without making it harder for each other. Our world has grown, so we have had to find other ways of defining us and them. It can't be colour or nation anymore, so it's become cloth versus disposables, breast versus bottle, home versus hospital. Plus most of us are feeling so guilty because of the ridiculous pressures we put on ourselves that we have to find SOME way to feel superior to other people.

OK Widget needs attention, seeya