Sunday, September 30, 2012

Home from away

We made it home in one piece after a made rush to the airport (yeah, okay, I forgot the time of my flights), returning the hire-care five minutes late and being charged for an extra day, doing the incredibly inconvenient security screening (removing boy and babybjorn for the two minutes to get through the scanner and then being bomb tested) and a very rough cross-wind on take-off.

Dear Boy was a champion flyer, conking out just after take-off and snoozing for almost the whole trip. There was a bit of squealing when the ground crew took 20 minutes to faff around with the stairs but almost all the babies were squealing by then.

We arrived home to 11 degrees, grey skies, rain and grand final traffic. Bit of a shock to the system.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Away at home

Dear Boy and I are back in Newcastle again for work and play. It's always strange coming back for short visits because it still feels like home. Even though things have changed, new buildings have arrived and the others gone, people have moved on and in, it's still a place I lived for twenty years of my life. That's a goodly portion at my age. 

So we have rolled in and out of airports, hired cars, checked into serviced apartments, met with Professors, walked along the foreshore, sat in the kitchens of my youth, met up for coffee and had trouble sleeping in unfamiliar beds. We've also had a tooth break through and a few tentative crawling 'steps'. We've had Skype chats with Lovely Husband and watched episodes of Giggle and Hoot on the laptop. And there's still a few more days left.



Winners (12WBT)

There was a group challenge. We collectively kicked its arse.

As part of the four week mini-milestone, the 12wbt program issued a group challenge where at least five members needed to push themselves physically and then take a photo, all sweaty like. I've been entering some of the weekly challenges but never really standing out in the crowd so this week I wanted to make this challenge my bi-atch.

I put out the call to the ladies in my online Mums Group and four of them responded with an enthusiastic 'count me in'. Because we're a spacially-dispersed and physically-varied group, we needed something that would both unify and challenge us all. So we did stairs, lots of them, with our babes in arms (or carriers).

I collected all their great sunny-skied pictures and stitched them together with my own from the grey and pink stairwell - and posted away.

A few days later we all received an email saying we'd hit it - and are now the proud recipients of $100 vouchers to beauty brand, Mirenesse. I'm not much of a make-up person and I have no clue what I'll be spending the voucher on, but the point was to win and we did.

Thanks girls.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Four week mini-milestone (12wbt)

Four weeks marks the first of the 12 week program's mini-milestones. We're a third of the way through - so it's time to assess, adjust and keep moving forward. I've never been a big goal-oriented person - sure I've made lists, new years' resolutions or had big deadlines but, with a few notable exceptions, these things often just fell by the wayside. This time I think I've done fairly well - I set up some steps to achieve these goals and worked/plodded/sweated my way towards them.

Mini goals:
  • Lose 4 kg (be able to wear my wedding ring again)  
  • Be able to run for 10 minutes non-stop 
  • Do a 1 minute plank on toes 
  • Loosen my hamstring muscles
Done, done and done... aaaaand sort of done: hit the 4kg mark at today's weigh-in; ran for 30 minutes (and achieved my three-month goal early!) on Monday evening; stayed up on my toes for 75 seconds doing Saturday's planks; and I've been doing pilates and extra hamstring stretches but those suckers are pretty tight - I've made a little progress but it's going to take a while to get them limber.

Weight: down 4kg
Measurements: 11cm lost all up (4 off the hips - hello pre-pregnancy pants!)

Fitness test:
Run: 6:05min (I can't believe this exactly the same as four weeks ago - I take some comfort knowing I can run for far longer than I used to. Next time, I'll get the speed)
Push-ups: 36 (up 13)
Sit reach: 3cm (up 1cm)
Wall sit: 2mins (up 52 secs - a 78% improvement)
Ab stage: level 2 (up from level 1)

All up it looks like I'm track for my 12 week goals; I've even hit some already. Time to go back and tighten them up, set the goal posts just a little further.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

52 Poems (week 51)

I'm posting this poem by Allen Ginsberg because, last week, it was Walt Whitman and Ginsberg talks to Whitman well. This is a bit of 'A Supermarket in California'.

...In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes! -- and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons? 
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Boy (8 months)

Dear Boy,

You are eight months old (and one week - sorry this is late!) and a moving machine. You're not crawling as such yet but rolling like a madman and doing these awesome three-point turns to redirect yourself wherever you want to go. Combined with a cocked leg you use like a rudder or a punting pole, a weird walrus maneuver and gradually getting your bum in the air, I don't think you're terribly far away from just taking off.

That scares me a little. You're already into everything and across the room if I turn my back on you for a minute or two. You are in love with the things you can't have: your Dad's garbage bin under his desk; the bag of night nappies under the coffee table and the CDs on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. 

You are also in love with your noisy hammer, the Fisher Price penguin with a see-through belly and tiny rattly fish inside and the cardboard box filled with shakey bottles and whatever else I throw in there.

You're doing much longer day sleeps now but haven't slept through the night for months now. Operation Dummy Removal was halted when you got a snuffly, snotty nose and needed the extra comfort while you slept. It's been lingering for weeks now and a few days ago it into a chesty cough. Although you're still so miraculously happy, it's taking it's toll on your sleep. We've propped up the end of the bed and have the vaporiser going, we've almost coated you in Euky Bearub, we've sprayed salty water up your nose and sucked entirely gross things back out. There's really not much else we can do except give you lots of cuddles and the occasional dose of nurofen when you wake up choking on mucous and crying in pain and tired frustration. The doctor said it's not serious: just bad enough to ruin your sleep but not bad enough for antibiotics or hospital. It's not fun, Dear Boy, for any of us. I'm hoping you feel better soon. 

You have given up on spoon food entirely, although I'm going to have to let you just have the spoon so you can teach yourself how it works. For now, I'm dumping everything on your tray and you're painting your face, your hair, your high chair and the floor in a gorgeous array of colours each day.  

You eat pretty much what we eat: pasta and meatballs, chicken curry, stir-fry. On the weekend, you and your Dad shared a naan bread and you ate some of my Thai beef salad. But your favourite is still toast. I can put anything on it and you'd still eat it. 

Your other favourite is yoghurt. This presents a dilemma because of the spoon issue, but I put my mama hat on and came up with a parental hack that's kept you happy and fed. Yes, I'd rather you were still eating the unflavoured natural yoghurt and I know it's not the best or the safest idea but it works... for now. 

At your recent health check, the Maternal Child Health nurse declared you perfect and who am I to argue with an expert. Your growth has slowed a little, although you're still up in the 95th percentile for height, weight and head size.  Your movement is great; you're chatterbox-ing up a storm with your 'dad-dad-dads' and 'ba-ba-bas' and 'ffff-fa-ffffs' and 'gaaaahhhmmms'  as well as the occasional 'yeah' and 'oh' and seem to understand some of the things we say; you're incredibly happy and such a charmer that women still pinch your cheeks and your lovely thighs or their eyes soften when they glimpse you in the pram as we're steaming past; 

You are lovely and your Dad and I are so glad that you're ours.

Love always,

Your mum. 

Exercise: at home, outdoors, at the gym? (12wbt)

With the 12wbt, we're exercising six times a week. More so than the food, this has been a challenge for me. How do I fit this in with work, caring for Dear Boy and my own exercise preferences and challenges?

I was converted to the gym many years ago and have been a fitness class exerciser for just as long. I get bored working out by myself or going nowhere on the cardio machines.

But with the baby boy, it's become more difficult to fit in classes - or at least the classes I like and with the instructors that make it an enjoyable experience. The primary reason, which is an excuse, sure, but also a fairly legitimate one, is that the creche opening times (8.30-12.30 Mon-Sat) and class schedule didn't really suit my boy's morning sleep. After months of really quite hard work sleep-training him so he did more than just 20-30 minute catnaps, it feels either incredibly selfish of me to wake him up to take him to the gym or unproductive to put him to sleep at the gym where the bright lights and noisy kids mean he'll only go down for the old catnap.

It's a struggle to balance that mama-guilt and the need to keep mama fit and healthy (and sane... and happy). We're working on it, though, and I'm trying to fit in some classes at night after he's down for the evening and Lovely Husband is home. Exercising at 7:30 and then eating dinner at 8:45pm isn't ideal but I figure probably better than nothing. I'm also willing to try and get him to sleep longer in the strange, noisy environment, it'll just take time.

In the meantime, I have the option to exercise outdoors or at home.

My home 'gym' is pretty limited, consisting solely of a set of hand-weights, a Pilates roller (ouch!) and Dear Boy's foam play mat. But I also have exercise DVDs - the Michelle Bridges 3-pack, my pregnancy/postnatal Pilates and yoga, a Zumba set and some really daggy Denise Austin and Aerobics Oz Style ones (I also have the Jillian Michaels and Traci Anderson dance DVDs but not even years of dance classes can make my feet figure those ones out). The benefit of those is I can slip them on when the boy's asleep or even when he's playing with his toys. The drawbacks: the music is terrible and they're pretty boring after you've done them once or twice (sorry Michelle!); I'm also subject to the vagaries of Dear Boy's sleep or his attention span - if he's awake or done with that rattle or that squeaky toy, then I'm done too until I can grab the next few quiet moments.

Outdoor options are my decent-sized but no-frills backyard, the oval across the road when it's not being used for cricket or AFL or the long green corridors of bike track with the occasional park that run alongside the freeway. I love getting outside with the boy, although his tendency to want to eat grass means I have to keep a fairly close eye on him. Melbourne weather is also temperamental but getting sunnier and more lovely by the day. I'm looking forward to days when the ovals and parks are dry and I can lay out the picnic rug smack-bang in the middle of the grass, dump the boy with a small mountain of toys and then just run circles around him. Or rather, run, squat, lunge and jump in circles around him, and crunch, mountain-climb, push-up and stretch beside him.

The other outdoor options are the long, long power walks with Dear Boy in the stroller. We're both entertained, we're both out in the fresh-air, and I don't have to stop and start all the time; there are also plenty of great walks around us, kilometres of bike track and back to back strips of park to follow. We've walked alongside the bay waiting for the water to warm up; we've also strolled through the quiet of country lanes.

Now it's getting warmer, I'm also going to throw the pool into the mix - either swimming with the boy or enrolling him in the pool's creche so I can do an aqua class or laps.

So how do I choose? How do I plan? Let's break it down


  • Dear Boy's sleeps
  • Dear Boy's care/attention span
  • Need to book in advance for creche
  • Melbourne weather
  • Boring or repetitive DVDs
  • Preference to do classes
  • Hard to do serious exercise at the pool without another set of hands
I also have a few lingering structural issues post-pregnancy, but I'll discuss those in another post.

  • Pick two days a week where Dear Boy will go into the gym creche and try to 'retrain' his naps so he can sleep for more than 30 minutes if there are bright lights and lots of noisy distractions. 
  • Book those days in for Dear Boy to attend creche.
  • Sit down with Lovely Husband and schedule in a 7:30pm weekday class, so he's home by 7pm and can get dinner ready while I'm out; and a Sunday afternoon class so he's free to care for the boy (I've already swapped my 'rest' day to Wednesday as I have a really long work day then).
  • When it's sunny (or at least not raining) get outside! Print off the 'outdoors' workout and take Dear Boy to the nearest park/oval. If it's crappy outside, suck it up and do a DVD.
  • Mix it up with the DVDs - do 15 minutes of one and then 15 of another and so on OR do 30 minutes of a DVD and then finish with the suggested 12wbt home exercises and stretches.
  • Challenge myself to figure out those stupid Jillian Michaels and Traci Anderson dance DVDs. Work on a little bit each week until it makes more sense and I'm not tripping over my feet.
  • Download or view workouts online. Bookmark the favourites.
  • Get one of my mothers' group mums to come to the pool and trade childcare. One looks after the two kids while the other swims, then swap OR enrol him in one of the two creche sessions, picking the one that suits Dear Boy's sleeps the best.
  • Take to the pool on the weekend when Lovely Husband can come.
Sorted. Now there's no excuses left.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

52 Poems (week 50)

I have a tiny printed book of Walt Whitman poems, just a selected few including 'I Sing The Body Electric'. It was a book I scored for two dollars and I think I've dog-eared and underlined most pages. 

The sex of 'A Woman Waits for Me' is strange and distant and I'm not sure why I like the poem but still feel uncomfortable when I'm done reading it. 
..Through you I drain the pent-up rives of myself,
In you I wrap a thousand onward years,
On you I graft the grafts of the best beloever of me and America,
The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and althletic girls, new artists, musicians and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in their turn...


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