i’m pregnant and its going to be a rollercoaster

And bring on the summer flu. Erk. December 15, 2009

Filed under: healthcare,Parenting,Raising a Child — rakster @ 11:26 am
Tags: , , ,

Hello Poogie,

Well, you had a snuffle on the weekend, and so did I.  So we laid a little low.  But to no avail.  Full blown flu has hit.  I thought you were worse than me – snuffling and coughing and having difficulty breastfeeding.  But today it’s me that is worse.  Think all out on the floor unable to do much except get a glass of water then lie down again.  And feel like death warmed up.   You are relatively cheeful for someone who is obviously sick too – despite coughing and hacking and nasal-breathing difficulties, you still seem to want to play in between longer-than-normal sleeps.  Which is tough for me as all I want to do is lie down and stare at the ceiling.  So.  We’ve reached a middle ground.  You’re on the bed with me, playing rolley-polley while I lie there staring dejectedly looking at the ceiling, alternatively moving you back to the middle when you’re in danger of rolling off the bed again or giving you a muslin wrap to play with (you are endlessly fascinated by the variety of ways in which you can eat, wrap yourself in, cover you face etc by such a cloth).

You are supposed to be having your six month vaccinations today.  I think they won’t give them to you as you have a cold.  But we’ll go to the doctor – to check you, and hopefully get me some medication.

Ark. Erk. Yuck.

love you

ps. your Aunt is severely afflicted too. In fact, I think she is worse.  Your dad however is at work and seems to have escaped so far.

P.p.s. And yes, this  is the first time you’ve been sick.  And I was really worried about you and feeling bad on the weekend.  But I took your temperature a lot, and you aren’t feverish.  So I figured just a bit of mucous and discomfort.  But still felt heartwrenchingly bad for you.  Now that I’m feeling like death, I do feel bad for you too, but in a more detached way.  Like, as long as you are ‘ok’, then you’ll get through it and be ok.  I just don’t have the energy to feel bad for you anymore.  Sorry.


on a lighter note, you got your first pair of sunglasses December 12, 2009

Filed under: Parenting,Raising a Child — rakster @ 6:55 pm
Tags: ,

and you look very cute.  If I do say so myself.

baby wearing sunglasses

you in your new sunnies

We went to the fruit markets at Woolloongabba this morning and you wore them to keep out the glare.

I’ll have to re-wrap them for Christmas day!

love you



To childcare or not to childcare. December 10, 2009

Hello Little Screaming Monster,

so. I started this post more than two weeks ago. But haven’t got back to it. For a number of reasons.

  1. I’m busy. It’s nearly Christmas, and things to do with Christmas and all that jazz just seem to get in the way of things.
  2. I thought I’d unpack a few of the mountain of boxes in our store room from one of our previous moves (they were all numbered and logged but after 3 moves the pile has just got bigger, numbers overlap, and frankly I don’t care about what is in them so much as I haven’t used it in years or months). It’s like a game of ‘garage sale shopping’ but in your own storeroom.  Did I already mention I was busy? Well.  I guess I got more busy.  (As an aside, 5 boxes down and I’m over it again for a while).  I think I’ll aim for 5 a month for the next year.  That should get through the pile in say 3 years.
  3. It’s hot and I’m busy.
  4. You seem to be awake more and sleep less and more games and fun stuff is required of me.   Well, “fun” in the mum does “fun” stuff with baby kinda way.  Which is a little different to my pre-child definition of “fun” stuff.  But fun it is.
  5. I am fully mobile again, oh yeah!  No boot, just trainers and the car keys and you!  So we have been trekking back and forth across the burbs of Brisbane to mum’s groups and the grocery store and the pool and .. and .. and.
  6. Did I mention I was busy?

But the main reason I haven’t got back to this post after starting it so many days ago is that it’s a hard one.

The issue:

I got a call from the childcare center near here, where your cousins and our close friend’s kids go, telling me that “there is a spot” for you from January next year.  Two days a week only.   But “A Spot”.  Now I guess you need a little context here.   Brisvegas and Australia in general are having a baby boom.  I live in the inner city, and childcare spots are a bit like hen’s teeth – rare.  The center that offered you a spot is notoriously hard to get a spot in, and is apparently the bees nees.   It’s friendly, great staff, local, vegan-friendly, breastfeeding friendly, and small (only six spots in the under 12 months room).   And two days a week is precisely what I think you’ll be after at some point….

But when is that point?

I was at first excited when they rang.  Then immediately I hung up the phone, I looked at you and almost cried.  You’re my little baby.  You’re still so small.  You’ll only just be six months old.  That is so little.  You’ve never really been sick.  You’ll be sick for weeks on end when you start childcare – good as it is, kids just love touching other kids faces etc and germs spread.  And you’re so small, my little baby.  Did I mention that already?

Aaagh.  Then there is the issue of what I’d do if you did have a childcare spot.  And that is the one that has really been occupying my mind for the past few weeks.  I’ve been contemplating what it is like to be a SAHM (stay at home mum) and whether I want to continue (and whether we can afford) being one.  It’s such a hard call.   If we can afford it or not is a simple question.  And the simple answer for that is that only two weeks before they phoned, I pretty much decided that we could afford it for a bit longer, so as there was no childcare spot, I should just relax, enjoy the experience and then start to think about work and the whole “what do I want to do with my life” question in another few months.  In the interim, I decided to take another course from my MBA next semester and see how that went as a starting point to ease back into things non-baby related…

And my sanity.  Can I be a full-time SAHM and keep my sanity?  Your grandmother described it very well when she said it was “mind-numbingly boring” at the same time as being “intensely satisfying and rewarding” especially as the bond you have with your child is so close, so special and so important.  A dichotomy.  I caught up yesterday with an old friend from uni who has two kids, both under 5, who first thing, asked me, “How are you coping with the SAHM thing?  are you BORED?”.  And then went on to clarify that she has been fighting with herself mentally for the past five years trying to come to peace with whether or not she is satisfied, happy, ok with it, balancing work (does she do enough at one day a week, look at the other positions she could be applying for if she worked more)  and family and what to do.  And she’s at peace, pregnant again with number three, so does find it a worthwhile and happy experience, but also very mentally challenging.  We were chatting about mother’s groups and she said, “But yes, once you’ve talked about poos and wees and developmental stages, it would be nice if once in a while someone maybe mentioned politics or what is going on in the world”.   (Aside: we then had an interesting conversation about how the conservatives in Australia have just ousted their leader and gone for a right-wing approach to tackling our government head-on with experienced members (ahem, cronies) from a yesteryear re-promoted to front-bench positions.  And whether or not such a strategy would prove fruitful).  … Mmm..

That was just one conversation.  There have been many more.  And lots of thoughts about it all.



For now, you’re not taking “the spot”. You’re gonna stay home with me.   And your dad will try to finish a bit early one day a week so you can have some time with him and I have some time to myself and to study.  And your Grandma K will look after you a few hours one afternoon a week too.

And in the meantime, we’ll continue to be busy busy busy and I’ll contemplate my purpose in life in between changing pooey nappies, swimming at the pool and doing loads of laundry.

love and kisses


P.S.  constructive feedback and notes on your own experiences from readers out there most welcome by comment…  We’d love to hear.

baby at the pool

poogie - you and me in the pool today

P.P.S.  We went to the pool again this morning.  You love it.  You were tired when we got there but managed to swim quite happily for 45 minutes, got splashed by the hoardes of big kids and didn’t seem to mind at all, and attracted the attention of a very friendly boy about 12 years old who was just overjoyed that you enjoyed the water so much and spent about 15 minutes playing with you and a ball and then encouraged his friends to do the same with the other babies.  Funny!


Ok. People warned me about smelly poos when you moved onto solids. They should have been more specific. Yoghurt is the worst. November 25, 2009

Filed under: baby's feelings,Parenting,Raising a Child — rakster @ 4:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

Oh my goodness. You smell like a gross thing. Here I was, thinking I was coping with the newly changed poo-situation quite well. Until this morning.

Another poo on the mat, floor, all over you episode. But this time with me trying not to gag as I wiped you down and washed everything, including you.

poo on the mat

lovely. Stinky poo to roll in.

Yerk. It was definitely the yoghurt. I mentioned it to someone else today, and they said, “oh yeah, yoghurt was the worst”. I wish I’d been warned. I would have added it to your diet a little later.


rolling in the muck

happy as a pig in mud. No, as a baby in poo. Muck. Yuck.

Yet you still looked so happy, rolling around in it when I got out from the shower. Needless to say, the clean-up took a while, but not as bad as last time. And, due to the requests last time, I did stop to take a photo. What the heck, you already had it all over you.

love you stinky poo pants


Learning to eat is a messy business November 24, 2009

Hi Poogie,

head to foot. That is how covered you were in banana and yoghurt mixture yesterday. You like to try to feed yourself with the spoon. I let you. Most goes everywhere.

baby eating - a messy business

You had a bath afterwards.

But not before you’d got it in your nose, hair, eyes.

the spread of food.  But you ate a lot

the spread of food. But you ate a lot

Yes, that’s right. The eyes. That made you cry a bit. And note to myself: banana yoghurt is almost like glue and difficult to remove from eyes and eyelashes. Especially when you have a squirmy baby…

messy eating baby

in the eyes with the food

love you

p.s. note the fat rolls in the photos. above the nappy. nice one. “baby bacon” according to your dad.


Visiting the beach November 23, 2009

Hello Poogie,

Well. 5 months old last week! Congratulations. Time is flying by.

New things for the week:

  • still eating more solids (banana, avocado, potato, zucchini, plain yoghurt, carrot, pumpkin, farex)
  • still refusing the breast a little during the day (frustrating for everyone, but we’re working through it with some help from the australian breastfeeding association).  You’re unfortunately making up for the lack of day-time feeds with more night waking, which is difficult for me (lack of sleep and tired mum’s are a bit more cranky than usual)
  • you rolled over the other way a few times (i.e. front to back).  Managed a good one this morning where you rolled clean off the mat and smacked your little head into the wooden floor.  Ouch.  You got a bit of a fright and cried. Overall still more stressful for me than you though, I think. I have many years of falls and spills to get used to the fact that you will hurt yourself sometimes.
  • you went to the beach and in the ocean & you swam in a pool!

dad and poogie on the beach at Rainbow

dad and poogie on the beach at Rainbow

The beach was fun.  We went up to Rainbow Beach for the weekend to visit your Grandma E & Grandpa, and your cousins & aunt & uncle were there too.  It’s a bit of a long journey for you – we left at 1:30pm on Friday and didn’t get there until 6pm, with a few breaks for you to play and tire yourself out as you can’t be in the car for that long.   It is beautiful there though – quiet and not too many people with lovely water temperature.  You had a great time playing with your cousins and getting into all the noise and confusion.

you and your grandpa

poogie and grandpa on the beach

And you went in the water of the ocean (a bit too cold, you weren’t 100% keen) and the pool (loved it) for the first time. AND my boot is allowed to be OFF for spells now, so I got to SWIM too! (YAY YAY YAY). We will definitely be doing lots of swimming over the coming weeks, though as you have the fair hair and skin of our family, and we live in Australia, we stay indoors between 10am and 3pm and swim before or after that… The beach was best on Sunday morning at around 7am, when it was quiet and lovely. We had it all to ourselves until, lo and behold, your Dad looked up to see our friends K & kids F & F & J about 3 metres away. Who we didn’t even know were going to be in Rainbow. Good thing, as it meant I got to have a swim too as K helped me out of the water as your dad held you (still a bit unsteady on the old fixed-up ankle).

baby on the beach

you on the beach

Love you

baby on the beach

you on the beach with me. Teething huh!

P.S. Not at all fun: the trip home. We had a big break for dinner having left at 5:30pm. But you still just got sick of the car and then got yourself into such a state you just couldn’t sleep. One and a half hours of screaming baby in a confined space with lots of breaks in random places where we pulled off the highway. Yerk. It’ll be a while before we attempt such a long drive with you again. Not worth it.


Taxes and the Library November 19, 2009


So. Your Aunt Reegan has been busy looking for a job now that I’m all mobile again (boot is allowed to come off for a few hours to suit my level of discomfort a day now -WOO HOO!). And one of her primary complaints has been that moving back to Australia & looking for a job really isn’t great as the tax we pay here is so high compared to Japan. So even if she gets a job paying more than her salary in Japan, she gets to keep less. I keep telling her how wonderful the government here in Australia actually is (sarcasm). I then encourage her to write to her local MP, councillor, senator etc whenever something comes up that she feels strongly about. Email is the way to go. And it’s easy. I think I write to the government about something I care about at least once a week. Helps me vent and keeps me sane. Latest was the proposed changes to Youth Allowance (or whatever it’s called now – the money you get to help you live while you’re studying) – i.e. it’s not enough & we’re trying to be an educated nation yet don’t help students from non-priveleged backgrounds enough to keep them from the poverty line while they are trying to get a degree… Rant aside, what I do keep telling her is that the government here does provide some resources to the public, and since we live in the inner-city, it’s worthwhile taking advantage of whatever you can get hold of. She ums and ahs and then just grumbles at me. But, two weeks ago we went down to the new State Library building. Walking into it, with its lovely plush couches and air-conditioning, and free wi-fi and banks of computers, she said, “and this is why we pay taxes in Australia. Japan has NOTHING like this”. It’s great. And there is a kid’s corner just waiting for you to enjoy as you grow up. Just down the road from the free water-park for kiddies.

This morning, you and I again went in the car, and down to the State Library kid’s corner for “Rhyme Time”. A few shots which don’t quite capture the manic atmosphere: think about 50 children of all ages in a brightly decorated room about 4 x 10 m, all shrieking, squealing, talking and singing along to the rhymes done by the librarians. Crazy. And a pram convention just near the room.

Poogie rocking on to the rhyme time

You enjoyed yourself.  The first time we took you two weeks ago I think it was all just a little too overwhelming.  Today you did some singing on my lap, and were happy being up on some benches high above most of the other kids, so you could watch and be secure with me.   After a bit of singing we went and you laid on the carpet and did some rolling around.  There are all sorts of exciting things hanging from the roof so you got distracted by that a bit.  There were a few other kids who seemed interested in you and came over to give you some touches and a bit of a ‘hello’.  You were pretty keen on the little boy who seemed to like rubbing his hair in your face.  And you are astounded at the noise and interaction with so many other children.  Crazy – I could almost see you thinking.  What are they all doing, and why are they so loud??

a snapshot of the chaos. It just doesn't quite translate in a photo.

After about an hour, you were starting to get tired and over-it. You enjoyed the stimulation, but it just got a bit much. So off we went, home again.

You’re getting so big so quickly, I look at the kids in the room and think you’ll be in school before I can blink. I’m pondering how if ever I’ll be able to balance you and work and study and life.

A good morning. You’re a cutie and I love you.