30 May 2008

Musings on studies and career

I'm in my 30s and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

When I was small I wanted to be a doctor, then more specifically a surgeon. I remember gluing myself to a British TV show in the 80s (when I was in primary school) called Your Life in Their Hands which depicted surgery in all it's wonderful gory glory. I loved it and so wanted to be one of those doctors.

Sometime during high school I think I realised that I would need really high marks to become a doctor, which wouldn't have been a problem except that the closer I got to the end of Year 12 the lazier I became. I decided that I couldn't be bothered busting my brain to get into medicine at uni. I somehow still fluked an okay mark at the end of the year, and toddled off to do a science degree instead, having no idea where it was going to take me. I just knew I liked sciencey stuff.

Fast forward a couple of years. I had a teeny kid (Mr T) and was muddling along doing my science degree part time but didn't know if I really wanted to be a scientist. So much study, so little money... I seriously contemplated applying for mature age entry into medicine but decided the hours wouldn't be doable with a small person in tow.

After seven long years of part time uni I finally finished my basic science degree and lined up a supervisor for my honours year. Then a huge wave of I'm-so-sick-of-having-no-money hit and I went and studied IT instead. I ended up being offered an awesome IT job before I'd even finished the course and worked in IT for three and a half years, after which I was totally burnt out and swore I never wanted to see another computer ever again.

But that was 2 years ago and I've had time to digest my experiences. I do still love science and I do still love IT. I can't see myself ever working in a science research or lab environment but it's something that really interests me. I can see myself working in IT again but not in a direct user support role. I've been slack while I've been on this extended maternity leave and haven't done much to keep up to date with the one niche area I think I have a good chance of getting a job in. I really should get onto that before my skills become embarrassingly obsolete.

As for what I really want to do... I have absolutely no idea. I wonder if it will suddenly come to me one day, or if I'll have a slow realisation, or if I'll never find it and just plod along in random jobs until I retire. Maybe it doesn't really matter at all... although it would be nice to have a job I could enjoy.

Ah, that's enough angst for this month. I'm off to numb my brain with Hyperdrive.

All Gone

I'm sure I sat down here with a full packet of biscuits only a mintute ago. Now there's just an empty packet on my desk. Ooops. No wonder those last few pregnancy kilos are being particularly stubborn.

28 May 2008


ANM had to start work at 8 this morning so I used the driving-him-to-work opportunity to go to the shops early to see if the mag was there yet. I went into Coles but they still had the last issue on the shelves, so I headed over to the newsagent and IT WAS THERE. The teaser on the cover read:

"My baby used a potty from birth" Meet Australia's true Earth Mother (complete with capital E and capital M)

So I started giggling... but managed to almost hold myself together while I paid for it. I think the poor girl behind the counter wondered what was wrong with me.

Anyway, they used my words (albeit cut/edited... which was needed) and gave me the writing credit. I'm happy with it.

Now to wait for the reactions!!

27 May 2008

Last minute nerves

The mag we are in comes out tomorrow. I hope I don't come across as too much of a fruitcake. I hope the photos are nice. I hope my family isn't embarrassed.

I wonder what time the newsagent opens...

24 May 2008

Haphazard thoughts

I've been sitting here trying to assemble a random bunch of thoughts into a coherent and well-flowing post. It ain't a-happening.

1. Namecalling

Little C heard his cousin calling me Mary a few months ago and decided he would do it too, although I'm still Mum if he's tired or hurt. I don't think I mind, but some people think I should...

2. Who needs toys when you have doorstops?

"Heeheeeheeeeee, look at me!"

"I'm a Dalek"

Erm, moving right along...

3. Fun with glass

Mr T and his friend went to the new Canberra Glassworks for an Off the Street kiln forming session. They started off with a postcard-sized piece of plain clear glass, added bits and pieces of other glass stuff, melted it all together in the kiln, and ended up with these! Cool, huh? They had much fun. Thanks Auntie S!

4. Flight of the Conchords

is my new favourite thing to watch on the telly.

Standing in the sitting room, totally skint
And your favourite jersey is covered in lint
You want to sit down, but you sold your chair
So you just stand there
You just stand there
You just stand there

(ch 10 after Rove on Sundays)

5. I wonder...

if there are good viruses, like there are good bacteria.

Okeydokes, that's enough of a glimpse into my mind for now.

23 May 2008

The weak week

A coldy, virussy bug thing
Not much sleep
Neglected blog

20 May 2008

Cooking with the Force

I eat porridge for breakfast every morning, winter and summer (and autumn and spring) and have done so for aaages. I usually use quick oats, which as far as I can tell are just crushed up rolled oats, and water. ANM was watching me make my porridge this morning and commented on the fact that I don't measure anything. I just flick a pile of oats into a bowl, stick the bowl under the tap for a sshhhhlllpppp of water and bung it in the microwave for one and a half to two minutes, depending on my mood. Now, the weird thing it it almost always turns out perfectly. Not too sloppy and not too dry. Why is it that I have this uncanny ability to make perfect porridge? It must be the Force.

May the Force be with you too!

17 May 2008


Do you ever think of super-interesting stuff to write on your blog, think "I'll remember that" then later sit down at the computer and have total brain-freezure?

15 May 2008

The Jumblies by Edward Lear

This one of my favourite childhood poems. Reading it as an adult I can now see so much more in it than a simple nonsense rhyme. I love the rhythm of it too. The whole thing gives me tingles.

The Jumblies

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
     In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
     In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, "You'll all be drowned!"
They called aloud, "Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
     In a Sieve we'll go to sea!"
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
     And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
     In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
     To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
"O won't they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
     In a Sieve to sail so fast!"

The water it soon came in, it did,
     The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
     And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, "How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
     While round in our Sieve we spin!"

And all night long they sailed away;
     And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
     In the shade of the mountains brown.
"O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
     In the shade of the mountains brown!"

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
     To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
     And a hive of Silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
     And no end of Stilton Cheese.

And in twenty years they all came back,
     In twenty years or more,
And every one said, "How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
     And the hills of the Chankly Bore!"
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, "If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,---
     To the hills of the Chankly Bore!"
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
     And they went to sea in a Sieve.

Lost me

Today at playgroup Little C had a moment when he thought I'd left without him. It was at the end when everyone was making a beeline for the door. Little C must have realised everyone was leaving, done a quick scout around the room without seeing me and panicked. He raced out the front, bawling, squeezing through all the other mums to emerge out in the carpark. I could see what was happening through the triple glass doors but all these women were pushing in front of me, squeezing through the doors with their humungous prams and I couldn't get to him. I was calling out to him but he couldn't hear me through all the glass and prams and mums and kids. Eventually a couple of people emerged out of their self-absorbed huge-pramness to ask who the poor, distraught "little girl" belonged to and I was let through the pack to claim him. If I hadn't been in amongst a gazillion people I probably would have cried with him.


Went to my Paries' place yesterday and look who was waiting there for me!! Awww, thanks Mum.

14 May 2008


The mattress on our big bed (QS) has been on its way out for a while now. The springs all down one side have collapsed and it's kind of funky to lie on, and every now and then we hear a muffled sort of clang when another spring bites the dust.

We also need to arrange things bedwise for the Littles' room. At the moment Little V and Little C both go to sleep in the big bed, then we move Little C into his single bed in the Littles' room when we go to bed. If Little C wakes during the night, which he usually does, he comes and gets ANM from the big bed and they spend the rest of the night together in the single and Little V and I spread out on the big bed.

What I would like to do is get two new big beds, one for our room and one for the Littles' room, so we can bed-hop to our hearts' content without getting too squishy. ANM is more keen on making a low bunk-type arrangement for the Littles, incorporating Little C's current low single futon as the bottom bunk. I think this is a fab idea for when the boys are older but have visions of very small people leaping from bunk to floor, which I'd rather not encourage just yet.

Hmmm, much to contemplate.

11 May 2008

Mothers Day

Don't know where the apostrophe goes, or even if there is one, so I'm leaving it out.

My MD started last night when ANM made us a delicious early MD dinner of Siamese chicken drumsticks. Truly droolworthy!

This morning Little V woke up at 5:15ish and decided he was awake for the day. I think we played for a bit in my half asleep state, then ANM woke up and took over while I slinked off to sleep in Little C's bed. I woke up again when Little V needed a feed-to-sleep and went back into the big bed with him to doze for a while longer. In the end I got a sort of sleep in until about 9:30. Yay!

When I finally emerged the boys gave me a beautifully wrapped packed of lollies (NCC jellies - yum) and a lovely card that Mr T and Little C had made together.

The rest of the day was good. Mr T went off to run a gardening course with my Dad and I took the Littles for a walk to the shops to buy yummy cheese rolls for lunch. After lunch we headed off to a parkour basics class that I'd been wanting to take Little C to for ages. He was being shy so we mostly just sat back and watched the big boys doing their cool stuff and but I got some ideas for some fun parkourish things we can do at home. Here's a vid of the local traceurs in action.

Ah, if only I was young and fit... it looks like SO much fun.

We left the session early and headed to Donut King for (erm) doughnuts.

When we arrived home I whipped up some dinner... a quicklified version of Sister Suffragette's Venetian Bean Soup. I used dinosaur pasta and called it "dinosaur stew" in the hope that Little C might overlook his soup phobia, but alas, he did not... not tonight anyway. The rest of us loved it and it was guzzled heartily.

Now here I sit at my computer, thinking I really should go to bed, and I will do exactly that... very soon. 'Twas a lovely day. Thanks family!

10 May 2008

Red hurty

Little C calls anything that bleeds or looks like it might bleed a "red hurty". This afternoon before dinner he was in a particularly shenaniganish mood and headbutted my leg in a bizarre way, nastily tearing the frenulum, that little thin bit of skin-stuff, between his upper lip and gum. Eeeeooooooowwwwwww.

Little C is a very robust fellow and it takes a large amount of pain to make him cry. He held it together pretty well considering the decent volume of blood accumulating in his mouth and how much it must have hurt. ANM and I contemplated taking him to an after hours doctor or to emergency but decided against it in the end, figuring that any treatment would most likely be far more traumatic for Little C (who is not a fan of doctors) than letting it heal naturally. Dr Google concurred, assuring us that unless torn extremely badly mouth frenula heal very quickly without treatment.

Little C was in pain. We had some kiddie Panadol in the drugs box and managed to get some into him in a sippy cup mixed with with rice milk. He'd never had it before and thought it tasted yummo. I think this was the first occasion ever in which any of my kids had willingly ingested any sort of liquid medicine. Woohoo! We then phoned Grandma and she read her ancient copy of Ant and Bee and the Doctor (featuring "nice medicine") on speakerphone to Little C.

I wasn't sure how he'd cope with eating dinner but the Panadol must have worked because he managed to guzzle a pile of chicken and a spoonful of polenta, then fell asleep in front of the telly. Poor little guy.

09 May 2008

Chips and lemonade

I posted this on my old old blog ages ago but was having a craving for S&V chips again today, so here 'tis again...

Why are there so many additives in simple foods? Today I had a major craving for salt and vinegar chips so went to the supermarket in the hope that they'd have at least one brand that didn't contain MSG. Nope! Grrr.

Here is the list of ingredients in Smiths salt and vinegar flavoured chips:

Recipe for semi-homemade salt and vinegar chips
Easy enough for kids and highly kitchen-challenged adults.

1. Take one 200-250g bag of plain potato chips. Most brands of plain/original chips contain only potato, oil and salt but check before you buy because some companies sneak in extra stuff.

2. Open the bag at one end and sprinkle in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of citric acid crystals (available at most supermarkets and health food stores).

3. Seal up the bag with a rubber band or a clothes peg and shake it for a while, but not so hard that you break the chips.

4. Open it back up and enjoy your homemade and less toxic than usual S&V chippies.

And just because I'm on a roll, here is the list of ingredients in Sprite.

To be fair there are a couple of brands of lemonade that don't contain preservatives, but my family likes the homemade stuff below.

Recipe for homemade lemonless lemonade
Also very easy but uses very hot water so kiddies must be closely supervised when making this.

1. Find a heat-proof jug or bowl

2. Add 1 cup of white or caster sugar, and 1 cup of very hot (just boiled) water.

3. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

4. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of citric acid crystals and stir until they dissolve.

5. Place the mixture in the fridge to cool. This is your lemonade cordial, so when it is cool you can transfer it to some sort of bottle for easy pouring.

6. Add about a cordialish amount of the lemonade cordial to a glass then fill the remainder of the glass with soda water or fizzy mineral water.

7. Enjoy!

You can alter the amount of citric acid in your cordial if you like your lemonade more or less acidic.

I think I originally found these recipes in the FAILSAFE Cookbook by Sue Dengate. Sue has lots of great tips on her website Fed Up With Food Additives.

Three boys and a funeral

I'd been dreading it all week. ANM's Great Aunt concluded her earthly journey last weekend and her funeral was scheduled for today. Aaargh, what do do with the kids... to take or not to take...

I think that we should not shield our kiddies from death and mourning, but on the other hand, should I risk taking Little C, the inquisitive 3.5 year old with the attention span of a blowfly? Should I pull Mr T out of school for the afternoon to farewell a woman he's met only once? There was no question that Little V would come with us because at 4 months old he tags along wherever I go, although I was nervous that he'd squawk through the whole thing. ANM was to be a pall bearer so I knew I'd be wrangling alone for at least some of the time.

Late last night we made the decision to take all three kids with us to the funeral. After the rigmarole of finding (and washing and ironing) suitable attire, getting us all to the church, and someone crashing into our parked car as I was getting the kids out*, my boys behaved like a dream. We sat right up the back... just in case. They were the only kids there. Actually, I think besides our kids ANM and I were the youngest people there...

A slurpy-sounding breastfeed, some Little V vomit and a few motorised-sounding pants explosions didn't appear to offend the nearby attendees. All they noticed were V's big smiles. Little C whispered his questions about the mysterious box and was lucky enough to find a Lego helmet in the pocket of his jacket to play with. Mr T was his usual teenage self and just sat there quietly, letting me pass him the spew rag when my hands were full.

Afterwards, at the afternoon tea in the hall next door many people complimented us on our lovely, well-behaved kids and said how nice it was to have some young people at the funeral.


*The family was unhurt and the car relatively unscathed. The driver DIDN'T EVEN STOP, grrr.

06 May 2008

Baby sleep

How many sleeps does he have?
I have no idea. Three to six per day I guess. I don't really take any notice. He sleeps when he's tired and wakes up when he wakes up. Sometimes it's nice if he sleeps for a few hours so I can get some stuff done, but if it doesn't get done it doesn't get done.

Does he sleep well at night?
Simple answer is yes. He often wakes a few times for a feed. I don't know how many times and I don't look at the clock. What does it matter? He's awake and needs feeding, so I feed him then we both fall asleep again. I love being able to meet his needs, day and night.

I don't understand this fixation our society has on when, where and how often babies sleep, and how long they sleep for. Let us just enjoy the loveliness of our cute little people, without judging them on something that is beyond their control.

A columnist? Moi?

I recently wrote an article for a mainstream parenting magazine and they liked it so much that they've asked me to do a monthly piece for their website. No doubt some readers will think I'm nutso, but it doesn't worry me. It's been a long time since I've cared what other people think about the way I parent. Hey, I might even open some minds along the way.

Squeeeee, how exciting!

05 May 2008

Big yellow noggin

Thanks Aunty Linda for the funky new helmet (with visor)!

And thanks Sherrin for the spunky, spunky pants!

Loving EC

We’ve been practising elimination communication (EC) with Little V since he was born. EC works on the premise that babies are born with the ability to communicate their need to wee or poo, in the same way they can tell us when they are hungry or tired. In many cultures across the world babies do not wear nappies and yet they manage to stay clean. This is facilitated by a communication process between the infant and parent usually involving careful observation by the parent coupled with an elimination cue for the baby. The cue is what tells the baby that it is time to wee/poo. It can be a specific sound, a gentle tickle on the tummy or some other signal.

On the day Little V was born we began making a cue sound (“psspsspss”) every time he weed or pooed. Newborns often wee or poo as soon as their nappy is taken off, so timing the sound accurately was quite easy. The purpose of this early cueing was to allow Little V to associate the cue sound with toiletting. After three days I suspected he had worked out the association because he had started to wait until I cued him before he began to wee, so I decided to try popping him on the potty bowl I’d bought while I was pregnant. I sat him on the potty bowl, made the cue sound, and he weed! I was so excited! The following day I caught five wees and one poo in the potty. I was hooked. It was so simple.

In addition to cueing we’ve been aware of the timing of Little V's toileting needs. We always pop him on the potty when he wakes from a sleep and after a feed because we know he’ll need to go then. It’s a two-way communication process, so we also watch him for signs that he needs to use the potty, eg. a concerned facial expression, a sudden stillness, grizzling for no apparent reason, or grunting. Now, at three months old we manage to catch around 50-80% of Little V’s wees and 90% of his poos in his potty. Potty poos are so much easy to clean up than nappy poos.

For the first 6 weeks of Little V's life he wore nappies full time, but we gave him frequent opportunities to use the potty, at least once every hour during the day. Since 6 weeks he has worn tiny training pants during the day while we are at home, and nappies while we are out and overnight. Our next step is to ditch the nappies for daytime outings. We are taking things slowly with him, and don’t expect him to be out of nappies completely until he’s a little older, but we are well on the way to having a very toilet aware little boy.

I am continually astounded by how right elimination communication is for our family.

Visit Tribal Baby to read more about elimination communication.

04 May 2008

Childhood obsessions

Little C has quite an obsession with helmets, especially helmets with visors. When we see a motorbike, he doesn't say "Look Mum, a motorbike". He says "Look Mum, a visor with a helmet". Cute but weird. He has a little Lego astronaut with helmet and visor that he carries everywhere. Occasionally the visor falls off. Guess who gets to look for it...

Mr T is the king of obsessions, so much so that I have been deeply worried about him on more than one occasion. He seems to obsess both about things he loves and things he fears, to the point of driving everyone around him nuts with the intensity of it all. I don't know that I have dealt with his obsessions very sensitively over the years but I hope that is ability to focus unwaveringly on one thing for an insane length of time will stand him in good stead in whatever career he chooses.

I remember only one obsession I had as a child. When I was about 9 I just had to have a Cabbage Patch Kid. My parents refused to buy me one so I saved and saved and when I'd eventually accumulated enough of a fortune to buy one, I spent hours searching the shops with my poor mother for the perfect CPK. Once I had my CPK he was the bees knees and I played with him and played with him and played with him for hours on end, for months... perhaps even years. His name was Quen and the poor little dude is still around somewhere, probably stuck in a box in my parents' garage.

03 May 2008

Valued friends

Today I caught up with my awesome friend S and her beautiful family. S introduced me to my beloved online attachment parenting community when Little C was a baby. Before then I didn't know that the way I instinctively parented had a name. Three years later I am still involved in the same online community, and although S isn't any longer because she's a time-challenged high-flying legal superstar, she is still the lovely AP mummy I met when our Littles were teeny.

I have never known Little C to get along so well with another child as he does with S's son, Little A. Three year old boys are often known for their aggressiveness but these two play so beautifully together, obviously on the same wavelength, just like their mums. They see each other only a few times a year but each time they get together it's like no time has passed. S and I feel the same way. We can have little contact for 6 months then get together and talk non-stop, and with such honesty, for hours on end.

Thanks S, M and A for a wonderful day!

What's with all the rhubarb?

Well, I happen to like rhubarb, although lately it gives me indigestion. More importantly... oh, just watch this...

F*cky womble

Definition: a toy that won't do what Little C wants it to do.

02 May 2008

Quote of the moment

"All your gifts, your children and other loved ones were never yours to begin with. They have only ever been on loan to you. Everything is on loan."
(Lucy B)

I try to remember this when life when family life seems to be getting out of hand. My job is simply to love and guide... guide and love.


... is both evil and wonderful.

Sleeping alone

Came across this interesting snippet recently about babies and sleep:

"I think its quite natural for babies to want cuddles while going to sleep, and they grow out of it eventually! Don't worry what other people think, you will feel so much more empowered and less resentful if you go with what your baby is telling you. And less tired too! When I lived in China, all babies were held while they were sleeping, some of them for their entire sleeps! But they had more people in the house to hold them, whereas if you are at home alone you may like to 'do things' while baby sleeps. "

I'm still digesting this... seems we may have things backwards here in our isolated Western family lifestyle. Why on earth, in evolutionary terms, would our babies feel comfortable sleeping in isolation from their parents? Sleep is any animal's most vulnerable state and human babies are born so very vulnerable, even when awake. Perhaps a baby who is not happy to sleep on it's own is actually really, really smart.

How would you describe your style of parenting?

Someone asked me this the other day. Attachment parenting sums it up really.

Attachment parenting assumes, rather simply, that children are people too and deserve to have their needs met. Attachment parenting is not about being physically attached to your offspring at tall times. As attached parents we aim to listen to our small people and give their needs a high level of respect and action, for example we don't leave our babies to cry behind closed doors because they "should be sleeping through"... whatever that means. Babies cry because they have needs. Parents must address those needs to ensure babies are happy. It's that simple.

So here we have it...

A brand spanking new blog.

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