Friday, July 29, 2011

Wine-ing and whining

Today I had the good idea, that after a 3-5pm session at playgroup, and a quick stop at the IGA on the way home, that immediately upon getting home, I would walk Little E to the BWS on the corner to buy a bottle of wine. If you've been in Perth today, you'll know that 5:20pm was about 10 minutes before it poured with rain. We actually made it to the bottle shop and back before the proper rain hit. The problem was not the rain.

The problem was Little E; tired, hungry, bored with shops. Wanting to touch and grab every.single.thing between the door and the fridge full of nice cold white wine at the back of the shop. Who did not want to be held, and screamed "no more, no more!" when I insisted on holding her while I dithered over what to choose. Who then wriggled so hard that I put her down and then tried to pull casks of wine off the shelves. (I  suppose I should be grateful it wasn't bottles of scotch.) Who, when I gave up and grabbed the first thing I saw, threw herself on the floor and wouldn't get up. Who made me feel like a complete alcoholic and derelict parent for daring to want a bottle of wine to go with dinner on a Friday night.

The second we left, and she was not in the boring shop any more, and she was under the umbrella with Mumma, in the lightly sprinkling rain, she gave me kisses and cuddles and was perfectly adorable. Whereupon I felt bad for being cross at her.

In this situation, there are just no winners except for the toddler, are there?

(Or perhaps for this Mumma, who did in the end, get her bottle of wine to go with dinner and is feeling much more magnanimous about the situation now that Little E has been in bed for several hours).

Sickness and health

Image credit

Over the last fortnight I've been very grateful for good health because in the fortnight prior I did not enjoy good health at all.

Enough said, other than that it involved a trip to the after hours GP on Monday night, a trip to the normal GP on Tuesday afternoon, a trip to Sir Charles Gardiner emergency room on Tuesday night, a locum home-visit GP on Friday night resulting in mega-loads of antibiotics, an ultrasound and more GP the following week, after which everything appeared to have returned to normal!

It was a full-on, unpleasant time and having come out of it at the other end pretty much unscathed other than a few kilos lighter, it's made me grateful for a bunch of things:

1. My Mum, who rallied around taking care of E, dispensing invalid food and good advice;

2. Lovely D, who came home at lunch on Monday and Tuesday, took me to the long list of appointments above, didn't go to work at all Wednesday to Friday and did the bulk of caring for E and keeping the house running the whole time I was unwell (and did it cheerfully, without complaint and pretty competently too!);

3. Public hospitals. Not something I've ever had cause to be grateful for before, but we waltzed into Emergency at 10.30pm, were seen straight away and dealt with efficiently and compassionately the entire time we were there. I know it is not everyone's experience of public hospitals, but I was really grateful that it was mine. Sneaking glances around the ward as I was walking out, I was also really grateful to be leaving on my own two feet, as everyone else in there looked as though there were in far worse shape than me. Having also paid all the fees that go with various after hours appointments it also impressed upon me how good it is that public hospitals are free. I mean, they should be, but isn't it good that they actually are?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The end of an era

Little E had her last breastfeed on Monday 11 July 2011. I didn't know it was going to be her last one; we stopped the next day because I was sick and taking medicine that wouldn't have been good to pass on to her.

She was fifteen months and one week old, so there was absolutely no nutritional need for it, and she was only having one feed a day anyway (just before bed); but had matters not been taken from my hands I think I would have let her continue for as long as she wanted to. I don't know how long that would have been, perhaps another month or two? The feeds were very quick, 5-10 minutes max, and she was getting pretty wiggly, so I think she would have stopped herself sometime soon.

Because I was really unwell, lucky D got the job of persuading her that it was ok to go to bed without special cuddles with Mumma in the armchair. The first two nights she put on a bit of a performance, by the third night she went to sleep quickly and without fuss. The fourth night I was back in her room reading stories etc with D, and she seemed to briefly remember that she hadn't always gone to bed without milk, but only cried briefly. She now doesn't even look for it and takes somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes to talk herself to sleep each night.

I am sorry that the decision to stop or not was taken from us, but I am glad that she is big and healthy enough that she doesn't need milk anymore. I am also pretty excited at the prospect of buying some new underwear in a month or so!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Family dinners

 Image credit

We have an exciting new evening routine which involves us all eating dinner together, and ideally the same dinner, at about 5:45pm. it doesn't happen every night, but I'd say we're managing it four out of five times at the moment.

Previously I was feeding E at about 4:30/5:00, and usually something different to what D and I were having. She now has four molars and is getting more competent with a fork. She's also a lot less keen on the high chair if she's in it by herself, so putting her at the table with us is a good distraction.

Not every meal has been a success, but the ones that have been include:
* Roast chicken and vegetables;
* Stir fried beef with bok choy, mushrooms, beans and rice;
* Chicken drumstick casserole; and
* Pasta bake with spinach, mushrooms and cottage cheese.

It's not glamorous food, but it's healthy and I'm pretty pleased about only having to cook one meal for all of us. I have happy memories of family dinners when I was growing up and I'm really happy that we're finally able to do this. It's exciting to actually set the table and use placemats and serviettes and a water jug rather than D and I eating in front of the TV after E is in bed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lovely Little E at almost 16 months

E is a delight to be around lately.

She is a very busy, important litlte thing. Quite steady on her feet, she trots and bustles around the room, perfectly intent on completing whatever task is at hand. She has started engaging in the cutest imaginative play. Big favourites are her teddy, plastic dolly and a little dog on a string who barks when pulled around. She is obsessed with feeding all three of them and putting them to bed. When I suggest "is dolly hungry?" she grabs the cloest block and shoves it at dolly's face whilst yelling "yum yum, yum yum!" If I then say "does dolly want to go to bed?" she shoves dolly into her wooden cot and throws her blanket on top. Two seconds later dolly invariably wants to get up , whereupon her blanket is ripped off and dolly grabbed by one arm so she can wake up. She gives dolly and various other toys cuddles which involve clutching them to her chest, rocking back and forth and vigorously slapping their backs. (She also sometimes gives D and I lovely cuddles which involve resting her little head on our shoulder and then patting our backs).

Every day we notice more and more language. Her latest additions are "Dee" (Daddy), "bean" and "where's it gone?"

She still loves books and is developing firm favourites if not obsessions. The latest ones are anything with flaps, particularly Spot and a Peek-a-boo book, but still Shirley Hughes and books with photos of animals. Her favourites we can do 10 or more times a day; often as we hit the last page she turns straight back over and demands loudly "more! more!"

A large part of why I am finding our days easier is that I am getting a really decent break in the middle of the day. We seem to be in a reasonably fixed routine (famous last words!) of waking up between 6:00-6:30am, having a big breakfast, snacking throughout the morning, a small lunch at about 11:00-12:00, then sleeping from about 12:30pm for 2 - 2.5 hours. She then wakes up happy at about 2:30-3:00, has afternoon tea and plays pretty happily until about 4:30/5:00 when I turn on Playschool so I can get dinner ready. We are trying to all eat dinner together at about 5:30/5:45 depending on when D gets home.

Although I am still hoping to find a few days work a week I am really enjoying my days at home with E, and I think I will look back fondly on this time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rewinding all the way

Weekend Rewind's theme this week is new beginnings.

My first blog post was on my private blog but I replicated it in part in the "About Me and the Suburbs" page on this blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What to do with yet more mandarins

1. Pick up all the ones that fell down during the rain, plus anything off the tree that looks vaguely ripe.

2.Start peeling.

3. Enlist a bit of help.

4. Keep peeling. Smush a few down your front if you want. Don't worry, there's plenty to spare!

5. Eventually you'll have peeled them all. 

6. Take them inside, whizz in food processor, put pulp in sieve over a big bowl. A heaped bucket = 1.5L of juice. Tastes good mixed with soda water and ice!

Adventures at a damp and deserted zoo

The District and Supreme Courts are in the middle of their two week winter break, which means a bit of down time for criminal lawyers. Each year, D's work uses some of the time to hold an advocacy course, and this year, for no apparent reason, they held it in the conference rooms at the zoo. On Wednesday morning E and I dropped D off and then braved what looked like yet more rain to put our annual zoo membership to good use.

It was a perfect day to be there. The combination of weekday and weather had obviously put most other people off (without the zoo pass I definitely would not have been game). We got there as it was opening and for the first hour almost literally had the place to ourselves. Little E loved it. She has got the walking gig under control enough that I am happy to let her trot around the more contained areas on her own. I mainly put her in the pram in order to get between areas beacuse although she is quite steady she is definitely not fast. But in the African animals section, the Australian wetlands and the Australian aviary she toddled alongside or ahead of me and loved it. Often she looked back to make sure I was coming along beside her, or held her hand up for me to hold, accompanied by the most heart wrenching little "mumma?" She got to stand right up close to the glass in every exhibit without having to fight hordes of other kids. She pulled at plants and stuck her fingers in puddles. Despite the threatening skies it didn't rain at all. 

It looked and felt as though we owned the place:

Beautiful morning sunshine winning the fight against damp grey sky

Checking out some botanical action on the path between the Australian wetlands and aviary
She trotted as fast as I have ever seen her go down the slight slope on the huge and empty lawn and had a fantastic time playing with a fallen palm frond.

Look at my grown up baby in jeans and hoodie and big girl shoes
Later we sat together in the cafe and had morning tea. E was ridiculously pleased because I let her have the three tiny teddy biscuits that came with my tea. She fell asleep in the car on the way home and slept for two and a half hours. 

I've said before that I can take or leave the zoo, but in these conditions it's an outing I'll gladly repeat.
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