Sentimental Saturday – Cross Stitch

This cross-stitch was completed by our Dutch friends for my grandparents, over twenty years ago. The frame was made by my Grandad, its fragile, delicate and can’t be hung up any longer. My husband repaired the frame, so it is now secure and stable, provided it is only stood up, although I’ve been asked why don’t I just get it reframed; which would rather defeat the object of it being made by Grandad!

My grandparents did a house-swap with the Haring family for the first time back in the 1950s, three generations of the two families have kept in contact since then. This little cross-stitch says so much, made in Hoorn in Holland, hung in Eastbourne, then in various military houses across the South of England through my first marriage, now it sits amongst photos on a dressing table in Melbourne.

Next month, in two short weeks, my best friend is arriving from the UK to meet her Godson, take care of me for a bit and we’re going to drive on The Great Ocean Road for a mini-break. I know when I meet her at the airport we’ll be talking like we’ve never been apart. Just like I hope I do with everyone I’ve had to leave behind in the UK when I followed my heart to live with my husband Down Under. True friendship absorbs miles, trials and tribulations. You don’t need to see each other all the time, you just need to let each other know you love each other.

Aged Ps, Poo-Shit, Wiz, Jimbly, Mon Bears, Doomy, Sonic, GAD, Bec, Sara, Bitch-Troll and beloved Helen & Jenny. This one’s for you.


Australian Mining

One of the main reasons why Australia is surviving in the financial turmoil is because of our mining industry. It is literally shoring up the economy. We are being subjected to all sorts of advertising from political parties at the moment. The carbon tax debate is also raging hot, Australia has one of the biggest per capita carbon emissions, because our primary industry is – mining.

Aside from the political parties spending money to convince us that a carbon tax is a good / bad idea, Australian mining companies are spending money to tell us that mining is a very good idea. They’ve got adverts running telling us ‘Our Story’, individuals are telling us what mining means to them, how they are supporting Australia. Take the diamond miner, from a mine that produces rare pink diamonds. From every 4 Olympic sized swimming pools of rock they crush, they get 1/2 a bucket of diamonds, within that 1/2 a teaspoon are pink diamonds. Each 1 carat of ‘high quality’ pink diamond, can sell for an excess of $1m. Apparently we should be proud that we are producing this product.

An Olympic sized pool is 88,000 cubic foot of volume, times that by 4 is an awful lot of rock to pulverise into submission for a 1/2 teaspoon.

Or this screen grab:

This is to show us how wonderfully efficiently rock is being moved around the country on railways. Aside from thank goodness they’re using railways, it is the devastation they’re doing to the country that I find so shocking. That’s all I can think about when I watch these adverts.

Here is our problem, ‘Our story’ is that we’re blasting, digging, excavating raw materials out the land, putting it onto boats, sending it to China, for inferior products to come back to Australia, that get brought at bargain basement prices, because God-forbid we pay the true value for something. When we tire of something, we throw it away.

The beginning of September brings our annual hard rubbish collection. We are going to go through our garage to put out in front of our house white goods, gardening refuse, old paint cans and so on. While rummaging through other people’s trash is illegal, it still goes on. The remainder? Some will be recycled, the rest will be placed into landfill.

Somehow I don’t think crushing and panning any amount of cheap clothes, plastic pots or discarded electrical items will make pink diamonds in future. And don’t get me started on the plight of traditional owners of the land; who are being routinely ignored when they try to make claims against the mining companies who wheel out lawyer after lawyer to avoid paying anywhere near the compensation for raping the land that people have walked on for generations.

What about my sick day?

I’m sat in bed writing this on my phone, watching the baby stretch and fart as he wakes up from a sleep. I’ll soon have to change and feed him again, then hope he settles back asleep quickly, so I can rest.
I’ve a cold. A really rotten one too. But whereas before I could crawl under my duvet and stay there – not caring what I ate, drank or what tablets I popped, I now have to make sure I eat and drink properly, and only take paracetamol. Which isn’t really touching the aches and pains. The drinking is a real issue, because of breast feeding I’ve got to drink more than normal, but with copious amounts of gunk being blown out my nose too, I need to make sure I don’t get dehydrated.
Yesterday I felt better in the afternoon and pottered about the house, big mistake as I feel much worse today. So here I am propped up on pillows, book by my side, keeping my fingers crossed the boy sleeps for longer than an hour in each stretch so I get some decent blocks of sleep too.
Cough, cough, cough.

Eight weeks in and on Post Natal Depression

Post Natal Depression – three big, scary words. Ones that I’ve been afraid of given my past history and something I’m being vigilant about. As is my husband, as are my friends and family. It is also a subject that was mentioned at ante-natal classes, at every Maternal & Child Health check up, and discussed widely in the forum I participate in. PND or PPD is certainly much more visible here in Australia than it was in the UK

I know all my prior reading on how to read baby’s cues and how to look after them 24/7 stood me in good stead technically, but until you’re in it, you have NO concept of what it will be like. I honestly thought ‘How hard can it be? They only eat, sleep & poop!’ At 3:30 this morning when I was feeding Archie and he pooped, with an explosion in his nappy and I felt a damp patch spreading across my PJs, it was hard work! A complete strip down of your baby will wake them up like nothing else will. A complete strip down means he’s going to get grumpy when I try to wipe off poop, instead of dunking him in the bath which although also a palaver, is actually easier, (certainly nicer for him as he gets a wallow out of it too). A quick overnight feed, burp and back to sleep rapidly turned into nearly two hours of feed on one side; burp as best I can to get some air out; lay him down on the change mat and hope he doesn’t upchuck everything he’s just eaten; strip off layers; wash; layer back up again; swaddle; feed on other side; burp; pace up and down, and up and down, and up and down. I got back into bed 45 minutes before the alarm went off to wake my husband to go to work.

Never let it be said that men have it easy either during this newborn journey. I can’t remember the last time I had a coherent conversation with Hubs. My mind jumps from one subject to another, sometimes mid-sentence, so following my conversation is hard work. I can’t remember the last time I read more than just bits of the papers we buy each weekend, so all I have to talk about are what the baby did; or a podcast I listened to when I fed him; or something I watched on daytime TV. I can’t remember the last time we ate a home-cooked meal together, with both us eating our meals hot. When he’s home, if he is holding the baby I am faffing about in the house trying to catch up on housework/ ablutions/ sleep/ thank you cards, because despite me being home most of the day, the only thing I can keep on top of is the washing. Mainly because I only have to load and unload the washing machine, I don’t need to beat our clothes against a rock. Continue reading “Eight weeks in and on Post Natal Depression”

I had a bath

I ran a bath today. My first since before Archie was born. I’ve waited patiently for it, I had to wait six weeks for my scar to heal and my bleeding to stop.

Thursday Archie had his first set of injections, I also got a whooping-cough, diphtheria and tetanus booster at the same time. My arm is sore & I’ve got the snuffles, so Archie must be sore too. Yesterday, Friday, was also a big day, we went to watch Cadel Evans come home to Melbourne and were both out all day. We then had people over for dinner. Today I woke up in a funny mood; Despite Hubs doing the 1am feed so I slept from 10:30-4:30, (which was bliss and probably the longest stretch of sleep I’d had since April), I felt discombobulated. I went back to sleep after breakfast, but am still tired out now. 

Being grumpy round the edges, I wasn’t picking up on cheeky comments from Hubs, I was just getting cross as it sounded like he was being a smart arse. I needed some ‘me time’ I turned the taps on, ran the bath hot and deep. I can tell you it was 40c, as I popped Archie’s bath thermometer into it, as he was joining me for a quick dip before I laid back for a wallow.

Hubs brought him in, and he floated in the patchouli scented water. I had crumbled Blue Skies & Fluffy White Clouds into the water. Swishing him back and forth, he kicked his legs and grinned at us. Then Hubs took him out, dried & dressed him. I added more hot water. And a bit more hot water.

I laid back and put my head under the water to my ears. Silence. My hair floating like seaweed as I ran my fingers through it. My back relaxed as I floated in the tub. My mind switched off. I was on my own, with no baby attached to me, or holding onto me, I had no decisions to make, no washing to do, hang up, fold or put away, the housework can wait.

After washing my hair, I leant forward to look at the little rainbows reflected in the remaining bubbles, popping the bigger ones with my finger. I stole 20 minutes in a bath, on my own.

Mum, for every time I climbed in the bath to join you, I’m truly sorry.

Six weeks old

Our little boy is six weeks old tomorrow. He’s grown from 7lb 9oz to 9lb 8oz, whoa Mama! He’s also adorable, I know we’re biased as parents, but he is. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Being a c-section baby, he didn’t have a misshapen, squished head to sort out. His jaundice has gone, and the baby acne spots he developed are also slowly clearing up. His eyes are changing colour, they are getting lighter and instead of blue are more grey. He’s also started grinning at us, so we’re now spending ages trying to get smiles out of him. He’s pushed through his first growth spurt and come out the other side, sleeping more and is placid, fat and happy.

On Monday he had his six-week check-up, which he passed with flying colours, just as well as I’m not taking him back to see that paediatrician again. In the middle of our consult, he picked his pants out his bum. Nice! My friend and I looked at each other in amazement. He was also gave me yet more conflicting information on how I should be breastfeeding. He wants me to feed every four hours, starting now! It’s what I’m aiming for, but have you tried entertaining a hungry baby? Peanut is already stretching out his feeds, he’ll go 4-5 hours between 8pm till 1am, he also has a longer sleep in the afternoon, so he’s working on it. But in the morning, he’s ravenous! I’m sorry, for the sake of Peanut’s cortisol levels, my sanity and the neighbours, if he wants a boob, he’s getting one.

Today, I had my six-week check-up, which I passed with flying colours. I’ve not had any problems with my scar, no weeping, tightness or soreness. I’m amazed at how well I’ve healed, I had more pain after my appendix was taken out, and my Peanut-Mark is easily 3 times longer than my appendectomy scar. I’m now able to drive again, and have already started doing some of the heavier housework round the house. I can now vacuum and mop, iron standing up instead of sitting down and am quite happy pottering about, usually with the boy in his Moby sling asleep next to me. One thing that surprised both myself and my driver for the morning, my sister-in-law, was that when Dr Najjar spoke, Peanut woke up straight away and looked at him. Seeing him so often obviously registered Haider’s voice with him when he was inside me. Continue reading “Six weeks old”

Sentimental Saturday – Board Games

These board games belonged to my grandparents. The Monopoly game is the set that my Dad and his cousin broke over a long, cold winter. When I say broke, they had to make new money as they were going round and round the board in a deadlock.
When I had my appendix out, I wanted some distraction while I recuperated, I set up Cluedo, and tried to play it on my own. I figured I could work it somehow, let’s just day I did shortly realise I couldn’t not ‘see’ the other cards, I blame some heavy-duty painkillers!
I love playing both games, I was the dog when we played Monopoly with my parents and brother. We’d also play endless games of cards and dominos. Now I’m waiting patiently for my son to grow up so we can play board games together. They’ll be even older by then, will probably be viewed as archaic. But one thing Hubs and I want Peanut is not be plugged into a games console all the time. Board games may be old fashioned, but you can have a conversation playing them.
PS if I’m ever Banker? I cheat.