Saturday, January 31, 2009

The fog lifts

A sort of amazing thing has happened the last couple of weeks. The negative, cranky, glass half full fog that usually fills my brain and seems to make me see the world and my life through gloomy coloured glasses has lifted. Suddenly, life seems so much brighter and easier and little things like the girls fighting bedtime or the dirty dishes in the sink no longer seem like the end of the world. The only thing that is different that I can think of is that I finally stopped breastfeeding G back to sleep if she woke up during the night. I was putting it off as we were all needing whatever sleep we could get and the thought of a crying toddler waking the household at 2am was not attractive. But, around Christmas, I bit the bullet and now....most nights.....G sleeps until 5 or 6am without waking. If she does wake, the Daddy can usually cuddle her back to sleep while I stay in another room, waiting to see if I am needed or not. Sometimes, she does want her Mummy and her "bee bee" and has a cry when I say "No bee bee until the sun comes up". I try and be strong and the quickest way to get her back to sleep is to take her out onto the front patio in the cool air where she immediately puts her head on my shoulder and goes to sleep. A bit hard on my dodgy back though.

It could also be the cognitive therapy stuff my gorgeous psychologist taught me about recognising my negative thinking patterns and changing my thoughts to more positive ,realistic ones. For example, instead of thinking "Oh god...I am SO tired. How am I going to get throught the next few hours". I manage to think "Yep...I'm pretty tired but I'm tired and happy and nothing is actually WRONG". This is not rocket science I know and the rest of you probably do it without thinking about it or having to pay someone lots of money to remind you but that's the way my brain is.

Whatever the reason...fewer breastfeeding hormones......the end of postnatal depression.....more sleep.....smarter thinking sure seems more sunshiny and my husband seems sweeter. I even think I love the dog!
PS I've been reading Elizabeth Berg novels this week on my two days of train travel to work. She's a great writer - very perceptive - and her novels are very sort of cosy and escapist. Lots of baking pies and curling up with quilts while it snows outside. Anyway, she mentions a story told by a Navaho grandfather to his grandson which goes something like this...."There are two wolves that live inside me. One is full of anger and selfishness and laziness and the other one is full of love and compassion and joy for everything in the world. The two wolves are always fighting". The grandson asks "Which one wins?" and the grandfather replies "The one that I feed". That is so perfect for me and makes so much sense. I'm hoping I can remember it every day.
PS The above photo is G with my sister's new puppy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First day of school

Can't resist posting some photos of my girl on her first day of school. She was so happy and we were all glad to see our friends again. So far....we love school! If only life was always as easy as Grade 1!

Australia Day picnic

On Australia Day the four of us set out to get a fix of Mother Nature - the closest thing I have to a religion these days. I have such great childhood memories of jumping around on rocks and playing in waterfalls. I really want my two girls to experience it as well. So...we've discovered a little place not far out of town where we can enjoy a creek and lots of big lovely trees. We packed a picnic morning tea and had a lovely time.

I'm not big on nationalism - it leads to too many wars in my view. I prefer to be a citizen of the world. But I do love Australia - especially for its relative freedom from war and violence and oppressive government. So...Happy Australia Day everyone!

PS My hair doesn't usually look this daggy. It was a bad hair day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready for Grade 1 big girl is all ready for Grade 1. This year she gets to wear the real school uniform which is much nicer than last year's prep uniform - a bottle green skirt and yucky synthetic yellow polo shirt. E. was so excited when we bought her uniform she had to wear it all day - even though it was unwashed and starchy. The new matching scrunchies went into her hair and soon she was posing with a hydrangea posy from the garden. It amazes me how unselfconscious 6 year olds can be - no hesitation about primping and admiring oneself in the mirror or showing off for an audience. I guess she'll acquire some decorum at some stage.
I am probably boring my readers (all five of you!) senseless with endless photos and ramblings of my children, puppy and garden but there's honestly not too much else going on in our little lives. And, focussing on the little pleasures and capturing the moments on the camera help keep me sane amidst the Groundhog dayness of it all.
I hope everyone has a happy time next week getting your little ones off to the first day of kindy/school etc. I'm not sure when school starts for you, Tammie, in the US. Is it autumn?
PS Can't get any line breaks happening in this post today. So annoying. I don't usually write in one large paragraph like this.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kippy update

For the dog lovers among you, here is an update on Kipper. He is not quite the cute tiny puppy he was - he is now an energetic and sometimes very annoying teenager! He has learnt to sit, lie down and stay really well, but CANNOT get the hang of walking sensibly on a lead no matter how many treats I give him when I say "heel" and he manages to walk three paces before jumping up and trying to grab the treat or chewing the lead. I was really looking forward to the whole dog walking thing. I guess it's back to puppy training for us.
As you can see, he is in danger of being loved to death by my little girl. Please don't anybody report us to the RSPCA for subjecting him to this sort of treatment. He is luckily, quite placid, but has taken to jumping all over G. when she is walking around the yard so I guess that is his revenge for all the headlocks and other wrestling positions. When I was taking these photos, G. was saying "Smile, mate".
These photos were taken in December before Kipper managed to destroy the little garden in the background. He has dug in it, slept in it and generally ruined most of my nasturtiums and lobelia. Luckily, the good old sun jewels just keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Little guilty pleasures

I'm hoping that title doesn't attract any sleazy sex obsessed cyberspace visitors the way my post on breastfeeding did. (I deleted the post and the comment).The guilty pleasures I'm talking about are all pretty innocent and didn't involve taking my clothes off. (Oh...except for the part in the shower this morning when I luxuriated in using my new L'Occitane lemon and honey scented bath gel which I got for Christmas after giving my husband lots of unsubtle hints). day got off to a fantastic start because not only did both children sleep ALL night long, but the puppy slept in until 10 minutes to six instead of demanding attention at 5am. Unheard of! So strange that the Daddy and I both emerged sleepy eyed at the same moment to see what was happening. The Kipster was awake but lying quietly on his little bed! We took him outside and had a civilised cup of tea on the patio before the girls woke up. Because the Daddy is on holidays, I could go off for one of my two working days in the city in a leisurely fashion without having to dress/feed/sunscreen/pack lunches for/brush teeth of and deliver two children before racing for my train. I even had time to put mascara on!

After a brisk walk to the train station, I settled in for 25 minutes of precious uninterrupted reading time (The Book Thief by a guy whose name escapes me right now). Soon, I'm back from Nazi Germany and at my desk checking emails and thinking about some fruit toast with cinnamon for morning tea. (Washed down with a chocolate bar from the machine). I'm actually one of those annoying people who loves their job - I work as a historian for the Brisbane City Council, researching and writing the history of the city and its heritage. After all these years, I still love the thrill of rummaging through old documents, photographs and newspapers and piecing together the pieces of the next puzzle I am working on. I also get to meet great people, like the charming war veteran who wants to put a plaque in Newstead Park by the river in memory of the men who worked on patrol boats during World War II. Our chatty emails flew back and forth from Sydney all day. I told my husband about it, saying "If he wasn't 80 years old, it would be almost like flirting". He replied "How about 'If I wasn't married, it would almost be like flirting'"!)

I don't usually get the luxury of a lunch hour as it takes me three hours of travelling time to get my girls and I where we have to go and then get us all back home again after work, but today, I could relax and enjoy the day. So lunchtime found me wandering through the city sunshine, with a beef and ginger sushi and a blueberry Nudie juice, heading for the chocolate shop for a choccy covered fig (and a choccy covered dried peach and a peppermint truffle - let's be honest!). Next stop, the city's only stationery shop that has decent scrapbooking paper to buy some cute farm type paper for our farmstay photos. Then I meandered back through the grounds of the city's oldest church - the tiny 1850s Pugin Chapel sitting serenely in its pocket of green grass. We are not Catholic but my husband and I used to go in there sometimes and light a candle for the baby we lost when I was 10 weeks pregnant in 2005. I looked at the blue sky and the old stone walls and thought about that tiny soul. Then I just had time to have a browse in the American Bookshop and read the first few pages of "Twilight" that Tammie has been discussing with great erudition!

Time to head back to work, but still a wee bit peckish, I have a sudden urge to buy a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken when I walk past the stall. Haven't had it for ten years! I gobble up the yummy crumby bits and throw the rest away, thinking that will do me for another decade. Back at my desk, I spend the afternoon writing a piece about Brisbane's most famous Lord Mayor before heading home. The walk home from the station at in the dusk is lovely. I steal a sprig of pink Pride of India from someone's garden and then another piece of sky blue plumbago to show the family what I'd like to plant in our slowly developing garden. Then a little white car appears. The Daddy and two small tired girls have come to find Mummy. Soon I am home (in a VERY messy house) but feeling so loved. For most of their lives, the girls have had a stay at home Mum so Daddy is usually the exciting parent but occasionally, they desperately miss me and climb all over me when I come home and that makes me feel truly special.
PS I left out another small guilty pleasure - food related of course. At the station, I had a craving for a McDonald's icecream sundae but couldn't decide between chocolate and caramel. I asked for both and the girl obliged. I truly don't usually eat like this!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time with the Big Girl

I had a few precious hours today one on one with my big girl while the little girl had a huge nap and the Daddy put his feet up with the weekend newspapers. E. gets a few dollars pocket money every Friday which she never spends so we set off for the big scrapbooking shop a few suburbs away and she splurged on five pieces of sparkly adhesive paper that she loves. Then we went to the local shopping centre to spend the leftover pocket money on a toy in Myers. is so easy with just one 6 year old and no toddler! Especially the part when I left her at the childminding place (it's her favourite thing - she begs me to leave her there, I kid you not!) to get her face painted while I went and browsed in a bookshop for 20 minutes. We got to hold hands while we walked around (as there was no stroller to push or small child to carry), she got some chips from McDonalds ("I have middle sized now, Mummy" she said when I ordered the small size) and generally had a great time chatting about life. It was just lovely as at home I seem to spend so much time asking her to share with her little sister, put her empty cup in the kitchen, turn down the TV etc etc etc.

After we got home, the little sister woke up and went to the shops with the Daddy, so E. and I did our respective scrapbooking projects and a good time was had by all. $20 worth of sticky, sparkly paper was used up in about 5 minutes but it was worth every cent.