Monday, May 28, 2012

Dear Boy (20 weeks)

Dear Boy,

You are 20 weeks old and growing so fast. In the last four weeks you've gained almost a kilo in weight and 4 centimetres in length. No wonder your full-length suits weren't fitting any more. This week I've packed up two drawers full of your clothes. Goodbye 000s and most of the 00s. These have been bundled into bags and will be distributed between our Mothers Group friends and the charity bins at the end of the street. I've kept some of my favourite clothes in their tiny, tiny sizes. I'll keep them under the bed until I either do something with them or hand them on to the next family baby.

You biggest and newest trick since the last letter is that you're now rolling with purpose and not just occasionally flipping over if you're laying on a sloping surface. Anytime I place you on your belly you automatically lean to your right and tumble over. Soon, I'm sure, you'll master back to front as well and I'll walk into the room and find you wedged under the coffee table. The first few times you did it, you weren't too sure if it was a good thing but plenty of clapping and laughing from your mum has convinced you it's okay. Now we just need to keep you on your belly long enough to figure out crawling.

You're continuing to experience new food and are usually fairly happy to eat whatever I put in front of you. Apple, pear, sweet potato, banana, pumpkin... bring it on. Rice cereal seems so boring in comparison. I steamed and whizzed up some new foods for you today (you weren't very happy about the whizzing)... so look out for green beans, carrot and zucchini in your near future. After that, we're moving on to apricots, avacado, potato, spinach and peas just so your plate doesn't look quite so orange as it has the last week or so.

We've also just introduced a sippy cup of water for when you're sitting in your high chair and you love, love, love being able to grasp onto those handles and put it in your mouth yourself. You weren't so fussed on the special no-spill valved spout, so it was straight onto the old-fashioned Tupperware cup that makes you dribble and cough and smile a huge wet, gummy smile. Ater all the bathwater you've probably drunk over the last months,the real thing must be a treat.

Your first cold knocked you around a little bit a few weeks ago, and since then you haven't been sleeping very well. All you want is your dummy and your mum to replace it every hour or so. Well, tonight, Dear Boy, your Dad and I have started Operation Unplug. I'm not sure you noticed and you fell back asleep without it pretty quickly once or twice after a shhh and warm, heavy hand on your chest. Fingers crossed you'll be weaned off it in the next few weeks... or months. Your Dad and I are taking it slow, we promise.

Your Bearded Uncle was the most wonderful uncle in the world last week and babysat you while you slept and while your mum and dad went to the movies for the first time since you were born. We saw The Avengers; your saw your Bearded Uncle when you woke up briefly but were very good and fell back asleep with a bottle. I think he likes you a lot. Better watch him, though, he wants to eat your glorious little cheeks right up.

You still love towelling cloths or any fabric really, your baths and laying laughing on your towel waiting for me to fill the tub. You don't love showers anymore, which is a bit sad because it was much easier on your mum than leaning over the tub or sitting in it with you and freezing. You love funny faces and watching your mum and dad laugh; you don't love the noise of the blender. You like the lights on Dad's computer and the faux flames of the gas fire; you don't like getting dressed after your bath. You like the pictures in Who Sank the Boat?; you don't like sitting through any of the Dr Suess books.


Your Mum.

Triumphs and Rookie Mistakes

Triumphs include:
  • The very next day after I was feeling a little anxious that Dear Boy hadn't yet rolled (accidently or without the help of gravity), he started rolling from front to back. Tummy-time just became all that much harder because he won't stay there but it's glorious to see him flip over.
  • Mastering the eating thing and, after pulling funny faces and grimacing at the first taste, welcoming each new food. 
Rookie mistakes include:
  • Forgetting to change Dear Boy before heading out on the town and not realising that Lovely Husband hadn't changed him after his last sleep, so a full nappy with the frills tucked in leaked all over his little pants. 
  • Not realising Dear Boy's nappy had leaked all over his little pants and that his squidging and squealing wasn't just him being 'bad'.
  • Discovering a stray dummy buried underneath Dear Boy's pram sleeping bag and that all his squidging and squealing wasn't just him being 'bad'. 
  • Finally realising that introducing the dummy in the first place was a big, big mistake. Dear Boy's decided that it's the only way to fall asleep. Taking the easy way out back then is stealing my sleep now.

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    New songs on a Sunday morning (371-390)

    As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

    Dear Boy and I have been watching Rage.

    371.Si Cranstoun - 'Rise and Shine' - Wonderfully cheery, but feeling sorry for the poor mugs on the train who probably weren't asked if they'd appear in the video.
    372. The Darkness - 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us'.
    373. Azealia Banks feat. Jay Z- '212' - Strange melange of sight and sound.
    374. Cat Call - 'The World is Ours' - The highschool-cheerleader-ish-ness of this delights me.
    375. Grimes - 'Oblivion'.
    376. Ben Howard - 'Keep Your Head Up' - peaceful and lovely.
    377. Caribou/Manitoba - 'Jacknuggeted' - loving the strange psych-pop-synth sounds.
    378. Caribou - 'Odessa'.
    379. Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith - 'Not in Love' - Not a fan of Robert Smith but I'm a fan of this.
    380. Crystal Castles - 'Courtship Dating'.
    381. AWOLNation - 'Sail' - In love with the opening bars.
    382. Wolf Gang - 'The King and All of His Men'.
    383. BOY - 'Little Numbers' - Delightfully upbeat piano.
    384. BOY - 'Waitress' - wonderful little lyrical vignettes.
    385. BOY - 'Drive Darling' -more loveliness, especially around the chorus.
    386. William Fitzsimmons - 'If You Would Come Back Home' - a touch too morose for me at the moment. Tomorrow it may be perfect.
    387. Philipp Poisel - 'Wie Soll Ein Mensch das Ertragen' - never listened to someone singing anything other than a children's song in German. This is fantastic... although just a smidge strange because I recongise the style and the sentiment but not the words.
    388. Philipp Poisel - 'Bis Nach Toulouse'.
    389. Gotye - 'Bronte'.
    390. Gotye - 'Hearts a Mess'.

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    On the edge of work

    I'm creeping ever closer to being back at work. Dear Boy will soon be six months old and I'll have to hand him over to a child care worker I've only met briefly, then go and spend the day concentrating on students, admin, writing a lecture, admin, and reading.

    I admit, it'll be nice to have some brain space back, to think about grown-up things, have an adult conversation and uninterrupted time to have my lunch. I'm worried I'll still narrate my day out loud, with my colleagues poking their head around my door to wonder what I'm talking about or who I'm talking to. It's a habit I've grown into so the house isn't filled with silence, so Dear Boy learns how to hold a conversation.

    At the moment, I'm doing all the unpaid prep-work that goes with getting a class up and running: figuring out the reading lists; working out the homework and exercises and writing them into the unit guide; getting the reader off to the printer and ordering enough textbooks for all the students; getting ahead on my own reading and lecture writing. I'm also thinking about 'inclusiveness' and how to 'include' students from cultural backgrounds so different from our own - where university learning is about sitting down and shutting up and never, EVER questioning what you're told. How can I get these students to talk, to answer, to question, to criticise, to think?

    I'm mainly concerned that the class will fall apart at the seams because of some detail I've forgotten. When prep-work is done in the brief snatches of time while the baby sleeps, I'm sure something might be getting overlooked.

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    52 Poems (week 41)

    I love the sound of Maya Angelou's voice... but not when she's reading or reciting her own poetry. I much prefer the sound of her story-telling, the funny eye-wiping grandma laugh, the actor's voice in How To Make An American Quilt. I saw her once talking about recipes and cooking on Oprah and I liked the sound of that food.

    Still I Rise
    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise...
    There's more, of course, but there's also copyright.

    New Songs on a Saturday Morning (361-370)

    As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

    361.  Electric Guest - 'This Head I Hold'.
    362. Devin - 'You're Mine' - This is when the hark back starts to sound tired and I wish people would move on. Ironic, really, given some of the other songs I've listened to this week.
    363. Damon Albarn - 'The Marvelous Dream' - Kept waiting for it to take off in a big orchestral gesture but it never did.
    364. Ben L'Oncle Soul - 'Seven Nation Army' - Interesting cover but not sure it strikes the same chord as the lonely bass and drums of The White Stripes. 
    365. Michael Kiwanuka - 'I'm Getting Ready'. 

    367. Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes - 'Love Letter' - what an awesome band name. Love me some do-wap-de-wally-wally girls, especially when they're Australian.
    368. Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes - 'Baby Caught the Bus'.
    369. Pulp - 'Babies' - holy crap, this is nearly 20 years old.
    370. Willy Moon - 'Yeah Yeah'.

    Our Little Loves

    Inspired by Inked in Colour's post on their 'Little Loves', the things that have kept their little family sane and smiling, I'm posting our favourites for the week.

    Dear Boy's favourites:

    His first cold has hit him hard, snuffling and wheezing and generally feeling pretty grumpy. The Little Noses saline spray helps clear his sinuses so he can breathe while he feeds; the Euky Bearub is a little bit of comfort before he falls asleep; the digital thermometer is a godsend, only taking two seconds in the ear - it's been good for telling us when Dear Boy's fever is high enough for Panadol. Don't like overloading his little liver more than I have to.

    We love all Sandra Boynton's books but this is the star this week. The angry duck cracks me up and the 'sweetly amused' pig and 'completely confused' cow make Dear Boy smile. The linking rings have been very handy as a toy on their own and to help connect other toys to the old playgym frame. Dear Boy loves gumming on the different textures.

    For the mama:

    Dear Boy was kind enough to share his cold. Although I'm also doped up on a variety of cold & flu meds to help me soldier on, these are what's offering the real comfort.

    Right when the cold and lack of sleep were getting me down, this arrived in the mailbox. The sabzi korma and garlic naan hit the spot. And probably helped the cold as well.

    When Dear Boy's asleep, I've been rugging myself up on the couch and hand-stitching some pattern-free and consequently imperfect and generally lopsided toys. Lovely Husband has been complaining that I've stolen his hair scissors but they work best on the fabric.

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    Triumphs and rookie mistakes

    Hooray for:

    • Dear Boy surviving his first cold with a minimum of fuss and panadol (although rock on, Fess Little Noses - I love you!)
    • Introducing solids and actually getting Dear Boy to ingest some rather than just smear them around
    • Meeting a great group of other mums and actually making new adult friends
    • Convincing Lovely Husband to go along to a one-off dads group and him not hating it
    Boo to:
    • Lovely Husband giving Dear Boy a cold and then me catching it from him
    • Losing my patience with Dear Boy when his cold had him up every hour for a few nights 
    • The comedy of errors after changing Dear Boy's nappy last night with him managing to pee into a bag of fresh nappies underneath the change table

    And then there were three

    Meet Octavius, Tiberius and Pliny the Elder. Just cause.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    The owl and no pussycat

    One of my new 'Before I Go' goals is to make Dear Boy some toys. I've been feeling a bit flat at the end of most days, largely because I feel I haven't done or achieved anything (except, of course, for the continued good health and wellbeing of my child). So I kicked off this goal by making a toy owl. I've admired a few of these from afar so tried my hand at it.

    First I did some free sketching to find a design I liked, made up a paper template, chose some fabrics and then cut out all the shapes. I had to recut one or two pieces because I realised (luckily before I started stitching the bits together) that I hadn't allocated a seam allowance here and there. I would probably also not use a sharpie next time as there are a few seams where you can see it coming through on the patterned side of the fabric.


    Once all the pieces were cut, I matched them up and got stitching, sewing the feet and wings first because they needed to be fully done and stuffed before the body could be put together. To make it easier on myself, I just roughly stitched the feet and wings on before going over them again when putting together the body. The main mistake I made here was not clipping some of the curves before turning the feet inside out. This made the fabric pull a little but once stuffed it didn't look too weird.

    Once the body, feet and wings were stitched together leaving a gap at the bottom, I turned the whole lot inside out (with the patterned side facing out) and stuffed itwith a hobby fill. I was tempted to include a few bells but I wanted to make a few 'silent' toys first. When I do include bells, I'm going to stitch them into a fabric bag of sorts so if the toy ever comes apart, the bells won't be easily acessible for swallowing.

     Stitching up the bottom was probably the hardest/most awkward/ugliest bit because the feet were in the way and they pulled the lip of the fabric out as well as making it a thicker section to sew.

    The bird, fully stuffed, just needed eyes. Next time, I'll probably stitch the eyes on before it's stuffed to make it easier on myself. This time, though, I hadn't decided what I wanted to do for the eyes so they were the final touch. Three layers of felt later, as well as a little felt beak, and the bird was in action. 

    If I have the time or the inclination, I think I might stitch on a little tag with a message for Dear Boy or a name for the owl.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Goodbye comfort and discomfort

    The small pile of maternity clothes sitting on my bed is making me feel a little sad. It's time to pass them on, to pack them into a garbage bag and stuff them into a charity bin. It doesn't happen very often for me, but I'll miss these clothes. I was growing ever more uncomfortable the bigger I got; I couldn't stand or sit for very long, my hips ached, my feet were swollen and I was sweating my way through the summer months but these clothes gave me comfort. I do miss being pregnant, not the painful, aching parts, but being made to feel special even by strangers who would treat me like a thing to be cherished. That feeling and these clothes go hand in hand.

    So goodbye wireless Bonds bras: I gave up my underwire reluctantly but you made the transition so much easier.

    Goodbye Pumpkin Patch maternity skirt: you cradled my ever growing bump without ever digging in or pinching.

    Goodbye Big W maternity t-shirts with your awesome gathered elastic sides: you came along late in the game but you were a wonder.

    Goodbye Target maternity trousers: you were my work workhorse and never let me down (or my buttcrack show).

    I hope another rounded lady appreciates you as much as I did.


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