Monday, August 30, 2010

Feet glorious feet

Around here, feet are the fabbest thing ever. It's a pity it's not warmer, because all Little E wants to do is have no pants on and lie around with her feet in her mouth.

At mothers' group last week all the babies were lying on the floor on their rugs. The baby next to Little E was a little boy who is about her age but much better at rolling than her. He was busy rolling from side to side on his back at furious pace, which meant that his feet were tantalisingly close to E's face. And what else would you do with someone else's feet when they come close to your face than stick them in your mouth? How to make friends and influence people, I say!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Musings on the federal election from a time poor parent

I have been having momentary pangs of guilt about how little proper thought I have given the federal election parties/policies/candidates. I am very charitably blaming Little E, whose latest sleep saga has taken up much of my recent energy and attention. On the significance of voting, see my clever cousin’s blog:
David and I are silent postal voters due to the risk of some unhappy client/accused person getting our details off the electoral roll and coming a-calling.  We got our ballots in the mail about two weeks ago, and until today, mine sat unopened on the bench. However, this morning I woke up to a beautifully clean kitchen and living room (thank you lovely husband!) And I finally buried the two bags of vegie scraps that have been sitting on the bench for about as long as my unopened vote paper. So, I decided to use the remaining half hour or so of Little E’s morning nap to finally open the envelope and do a bit of googling and other research.*
We live in the safe Liberal seat of Curtin, which Julie Bishop has held since 1998. She currently holds it with a margin of 13.3 percent. Despite being named after the former Labor Prime Minister, the ALP has never won the seat. In fact, the only time that the Liberal Party lost it was in 1996, to Allan Rocher. This was quite an exciting story, and an interesting one in terms of party vs individual politics, in that Rocher held the seat as a member of the Liberal Party since 1981. In 1996 the party dumped him, instead pre-selecting Ken Court (brother of Richard Court, WA’s Premier of the day.) Rocher stood as an independent, and, seemingly in retaliation against favouritism and party politics, the voters of Curtin re-elected the person who had represented them for the past 15 years. They then turfed him in 1998 in favour of Julie Bishop, she of blonde hair and little brains, about whom the least said the better.
Anyway, my round-about point is that Curtin is such a safe seat that I feel that my House of Representatives vote matters very little. I do care more about my Senate vote. I have always considered the Senate’s true role to be as a house of review. Despite the founders’ intention for it to be a “State’s house” I have never felt that this is an important role for it to be play.  [Aside: I wonder how many Western Australians share this view? I was surprised and somewhat amused to discover, when we moved to Perth in 1994, that Western Australians refer to the rest of the country as “the Eastern states.” When I bring this up, born-and-bred Western Australians are surprised to find that this is a uniquely WA expression (although I think it’s not surprising that the rest of the country doesn’t lump itself together as “the Eastern states!”)]
Anyhow, given the set up of the House of Representatives as the house of government, no proper debate or consideration of legislation is going to happen there. If there is any hope of this occurring, it has to be in the Senate, particularly in the Senate’s committee system. For proper debate to occur, it’s integral that the government does not also control the Senate.
So I tend to consider my Senate vote as a vote for diversity. That being said, I’m not so in favour of diversity that I would be happy to be represented by all the kinds of it on offer. Take, for example, WA Senate candidate Paddy Embry. According to font-of-all-knowledge Wikipedia:
Patrick "Paddy" Embry (born 19 October 1942) is a former Australian politician. Born in Oundle in the United Kingdom, he arrived in Australia in December 1956 and became a farmer. In 2001, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council for South West Region, representing One Nation. On 15 May 2003, he resigned from One Nation to sit as an independent. He co-founded the New Country Party with fellow ex-One Nation independent Frank Hough on 30 November 2004. Embry was defeated in 2005 and left politics.”
According to an advertisement that he ran in yesterday’s West Australian, Paddy Embry says:
"Do you support Muslim immigration? When you invite a Muslim to live in Australia you're actually inviting two people, the Muslim and Allah. One who will live here, the other who won't let the Muslim integrate."**
David’s apt observation when I emailed him in outrage was: “I love that he is an immigrant. That seems to happen all too often; the people who should know best are the worst of all.”

Given I am going to go to the trouble of numbering all 55 boxes below the line, it’s nice to know where I’ll be placing him! That being said, there is a very interesting piece on the election/politics blog The Tally Room about the futility of campaigns to get voters to put particular individuals last on their Senate ballots (sparked by the campaign to get Victorian voters to vote below the line and put Stephen Conroy last.)

*For some reason Little E then stayed asleep for an unheard of further 90 minutes, enabling research plus half of this post! She then woke up starving and I exercised my one handed typing skills to finish it.
** This isn’t a verbatim recitation of the ad as I don’t have the paper to hand, but it’s pretty close.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What would I write about other than sleep??

There are dozens of good things about having Little E in our lives, and it's nice to know that I wouldn't swap any of it for a night of uninterrupted sleep. But goodness the bad stuff feels hard lately! I sat in E's semi-lit room at 3:45 this morning, after she had been up at 12:40, 1:40 and 3:00, reading Baby Love's chapter on "teaching your baby to sleep" aka controlled crying, not something I thought I would ever contemplate. Any thoughts, anyone? I think we have to at least lose the dummy and that may amount to controlled crying in itself.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Things to set against sleepless nights and no-nap days

The satisfied, gusty “mmwwwah” noise Little E would make aged about four weeks when she had gobbled frantically for 45 minutes and then finally eaten enough. The expression that she now makes aged 19 weeks where she purses her lips shut as though to say “I have eaten enough and nothing you can do will make me have any more.” The way, after I have tried for the third time in a morning, to persuade her to take a nap and she has howled and I have relented and picked her up, that she hangs onto my shoulder and rubs her face on my neck. Delighted giggles when undressed and kissed before her bath. The contemplation in her face as she sits under the clothesline and watches the sky while I hang out the third load of washing for the day. The discovery that went on yesterday when she pumpkin for the first time. 

All incredible, life changing things that I wouldn’t miss, even, when it comes to it, at the fourth night-time get-up in two hours.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More on sleep and solids

Sleep is such a vexed issue at the moment. Little E has been varying between barely sleeping at all during the day to sleeping every 90 minutes or so as per her previous pattern. Yesterday I wore both of us out trying to persuade her to have a sleep in the morning, then got incredibly depressed and frustrated about not being able to figure out what she wants/needs and wound up at Mum's in tears. Today E barely slept during the morning (about 15 minutes in the pram at mothers' group) but then passed out driving home, stayed asleep in the car seat whilst at home for another 30 minutes, woke up to eat, fell asleep again, allowed me to put her in her cot and stayed there for the next two hours. I even managed a nap! 

A good thing too, because nights are really crummy at the moment. E is still in her own room, and still waking repeatedly - I'm not sure if the two are related.  She is insisting on eating at the 3.00/3.30 wake-up.

We started her on rice cereal on Saturday and that, at least, is going quite well. She appears to enjoy it, especially chewing the spoon after finishing a mouthful. As will be clear from above ,it isn't making her sleep any longer at night, but perhaps is stretching out the day-time feeds.

We persevere!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dreaming of sleep and contemplating solids

A summary of last night:
  • Little E went to bed about 8pm, and had a dream feed about 9.30pm
  • Mummy and Daddy went to bed at about 10pm
  • Little E (and therefore Mummy) got up at:
    • 11:50pm
    • 1:30am
    • 3:00am - this time requiring a feed and a round of the pink singing seahorse to get back to sleep
    • 4:50am
    • 6:20am - at which point Mummy gave up and brought E in to the big bed.
Mummy is particularly unamused about the 3am feed as we haven't done a true middle-of-the-night (as oppsoed to early early morning eg 5am) feed since about 6 weeks!

We are visiting the community nurse this afternoon for E's 3-4 month checkup and Mummy plans to interrogate her about whether it is ok to start solids soon, in the hope that this might promote longer sleeping sessions. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Adventures in the big cot and other events of the week

During the first night of swaddling/not-swaddling dramas, about two weeks ago, Little E had a night alone in her big cot. It was not a great success, and I decided that if I was going to be waking up multiple times a night I preferred to have E right next to me so I didn’t have to get out of bed, and we moved her back into our room the following night. However, her not being swaddled means she can wriggle about a lot more than previously, and I found that with her less than a foot away from my head, I was waking up every time she wiggled. After a particularly restless night mid-week we banished her to her own bedroom again. This will now be her fourth night in a row there. She is waking up and crying at least once per night, sometimes more, usually around 3.30am. This is not a very friendly time of night to be getting up, but she is fairly easy to get back to sleep, requiring the return of her dummy to her mouth and a few pats. Last night she was up about five times between 2.30 and 4.30 but we think that was because she was cold, as once I turned the heater on in her room she slept through until 7.00am, when she had her breakfast, fell asleep on my lap and then consented to go back to sleep until almost 8.30.

Little E’s day time sleeps also appear to have changed quite significantly. Until a few days ago she was quite predictable: after waking up at about 6.30 or 7.00am, she would be awake for about 90 minutes before sleeping for about 40 minutes, sometimes longer, and then waking up and eating. She would repeat this pattern pretty reliably all day. A few days ago she apparently decided that sleeping so much during the day is boring and she wants to be up for more like two to three hours at a time, and her day time sleeps have turned into micro-naps of about 20-30 minutes each. I am not yet very good at predicting when she is tired and have upset her by keeping her up far too long, or attempting to make her sleep before she is ready, both of which have resulted in extended bouts of grizzling, and then yelling. The pros of this new regime are that we can plan on being out for much longer periods – the mechanics of managing a sleep every 90 minutes plus a feed every two to two and a half hours made it quite hard to go places. The cons are that I quite liked getting 40 minutes to myself every couple of hours throughout the day and these new micro-naps are barely long enough to do anything!

Last week also heralded a rather depressing first: E's first illness. It was just a cold, but she and I succumbed simultaneously and were both quite sniffy and drippy and congested for a few days. She wasn’t as miserable as I had imagined a baby with a blocked nose might be; she was still able to eat quite well, and slept as per normal, but was very snuffly and congested, especially when she woke up from a nap.

The weekend heralded beautiful, un-winter like weather. Yesterday we had morning tea with D's parents and then Mum and I went on an expedition for much needed new glasses frames in the afternoon. In the evening we accomplished our first family night-time outing to somewhere other than someone's house. It was brief, just to the local gourmet hamburger bar, Flipside, and to its next door neighbour, a bar called The Stanley. The two have an arrangement whereby customers can eat burgers purchased at Flipside whilst having a drink at the Stanley, and we managed a hurried beer before Little E decided it was hometime. We were out for only an hour in total, and that hour was the very family friendly time of 5.30 to 6.30pm, but it felt like an accomplishment nonetheless. Today we had lunch at Mum and Dad's, our first meal at their house since E was born. We ate roast in the garden and the sunshine, the company and the food were all lovely!
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