Author Archive

13 Favourite Books!

 

 ”thursday-13″

 

1. Anything by Enid Blyton – “The Faraway Tree”, “The Wishing Chair”, “Children of Cherry-Tree Farm”, “The Secret Seven”, “The Famous Five”, “The Naughtiest Girl in the School”, “Mallory Towers” and “St Clair’s”. She is probably my all time favourite children’s author.

2. “The Billabong Books” by Mary Grant Bruce.

3. “Anne of Green Gables” and “Emily of New Moon” by L.M. Montgomery.

4. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

5. “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Phillipa Pearce.

6. “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis

7. “The Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Gould.

8. “My Friend Flicka” by Mary O’Hara.

9. “Nancy Drew” by Carolyn Keene

 10. “The Hardy Boys” by Franklin W. Dixon, and it was always more exciting when they teamed up with Nancy Drew!

11. “The Trixie Belden Mysteries” written first by Julie Campbell and then by various other authors.

12. “The Obernewtyn Chronicles” by Isobelle Carmody. There has been about a 20 year wait for this series to finish, the end is finally in sight, and I am really looking forward to it!

13. Anything by Roald Dahl – “The BFG”, “James and the Giant Peach” and “Matilda” to name a few, though my favourite would have to be “Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes”!

It was not very surprising that I found it hard to cull this list to just 13, there are so many more that keep popping into my mind! Most of these are for older children, I can’t really remember any favourite picture books, though my daughter has plenty at the moment! I am really looking forward to reading them with her in years to come.

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13 Favourite Toys!

1. Plastic picnic set. My daughter received this as a present about a year ago, and has played with it almost every day since! I can see its appeal increasing in years to come.

2. Balls! We have one in every shape, size and texture you can imagine, which has provided hours of entertainment since she was old enough to hold one.

3. Dolls/Stuffed animals. These are more a flavour of the day, today she played a lot with her “baby”, yesterday it was her bear who accompanied her to the shops.

4. Doll house. We got this as a gift when she was 18 months old, and I was amazed at how quickly she started to act out our day-to-day life with it. Now that we are half-heartedly toilet training, she makes the whole doll house family go to the “potty”!

5. Gardening equipment. This is actually just “adult” tools, but of a smaller size. We have a small broom, a small shovel, and a watering can, and DD can often be found pottering around in the garden, digging up weeds (or sometimes plants!)

6. Toy shopping trolley. This was a recent find, my Eid present to her in fact, and she loves it! She tells us she’s going to Woolies, sits her baby in the trolley, picks up a bag and she’s off to buy her groceries!

7. Cart with wooden blocks. This has been superseded by the shopping trolley, but she has had so much fun with it in the past I thought it warranted a mention of its own.

8. Wooden train set. I was amazed when I saw her put the tracks together for the first time!

9. Bike. Well, it’s actually an indoor plastic ride-on toy that morphed into a trike with a parent push handle which she doesn’t quite know how to peddle yet! But she loves trying!

10. Swing set and slide. We picked this up second hand from the auction site, and we’ve only attached the boat swing so far, as it’s the only one she’s interested in!

11. Books. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t like being read to, if not “reading” for themselves!

12. Pop-Up tent. This was another great gift that requires minimal assembly and hours of fun. She calls it “myhouse.”

13. Bags.  You can put all sorts of treasures in them and carry them around.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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The Perfect Nappy Stash

I’ve been shopping. I have to admit, I feel a real sense of satisfaction when I exchange numbers online for spend money on good quality products. Especially when they’re not for me.

My sister in law is pregnant with child number 5, and I’ve convinced her to “go cloth”. She was a bit hesitant at first, especially with the initial financial outlay, so I thought I’d sweeten things for her by buying the bulk of her nappy stash.

I think she’s got pretty much all she needs to get her through the first year. But I noticed her stash looks pretty different to my own. So it got me thinking, what constitutes the “perfect nappy stash”?

So this is what her’s is comprised of:            

24 Terry Towel Squares, 3 Blueberry Coveralls, 2 Small BBH covers, 2 Medium BBH covers, 3 Medium Itti Bitti All-in-Ones, 1 Haute One-Sized Pocket, 2 microfibre inserts and 6 Thirsty Doublers.

And this is mine:

6 flannel flats,  1 Mother Ease One-Size fitted, 1 Itti Bitti Large All-in-One, 9 Bumgenius One-Size Pockets each with a newborn and large microfibre insert, 3 Pop-In Bamboo All-in-Two’s, 3 Pop-In Dream Dri’s, 2 Blueberry Coveralls, 3 Pop-In Bamboo night boosters, 1 Hemp Big Weed, and a couple of newborn size nappies that I won on my last Hunt.

There’s a pretty hefty price difference between the 2, which is pretty obvious seeing as how mine is predominantly pockets and all in ones/twos. The covers and flannels are actually one of the last things I bought for myself (I mean my daughter).

Because I made the switch to cloth when she was around 18 months old, I was so accustomed to using disposables that I wanted a cloth nappy system that was as easy to use as possible. Hence the 9 Bumgenius and 6 Pop-In’s.

4 months into cloth nappying, I felt “safe” enough to try flannels and covers. Sounds strange I know, but I needed to overcome that fear of the “unknown”. I can imagine my grandma being similarly freaked out by MCNs and disposables!

Hence why the first things I bought for my SIL were the terry towels. They are without doubt the most cost-effective option, and so easy/simple to use, if a little fiddly at first. But with some good quality PUL covers (preferably double gusseted) all you have to do is fold them into a pad and put the cover around them, no Snappi/pins required! And I have found them to be so absorbent, even more so than microfibre.

The other thing that influenced my stash verses my SIL’s was number of children who may potentially use the nappies. I’ve got 1 child, hopefully there will be more in the future. She’s got 5. Enough said.

I’ve come to the conclusion that different tpes/combinations of nappies work well for different babies/carers. I’m sure someone else could have told me that, but it was fun (and expensive) finding out for myself.

So, what’s in your nappy stash, and why did you choose that particular combination?

Leading By Example

Have you ever done something and then thought, “Hey, I hope my son/daughter doesn’t see me doing this”?

For me it’s usually something related to food. We have a gate between our kitchen and lounge, and I can occasionally be found hiding in the kitchen, scoffing some chocolatey treat. Who am I hiding from? My daughter!

I’m no role model when it comes to good eating habits. And although I do my best to ensure she eats well now, I’m waiting for the day when she spots me sneaking that extra piece of cake for dinner and thinks, “Hang on, how come Mama gets to have dessert before dinner?”

I also have a habit of walking around when I eat. Life can get pretty hectic, and snacking on the go is sometimes the only way to ensure I do eat. But I expect my daughter to sit down when she eats, and I won’t give her a snack to munch on while she runs around the house. Largely this is because I object to vacuuming more than once a day!

But seriously, why does she have to do things that I don’t? Obviously, I am an adult and there are many things I do that she can’t, but in most cases shouldn’t we be following the same “rules”?

See, I’ve been thinking lately about how I want my daughter to act as she gets older.

I’d like her to be well-mannered, respectful and affectionate. I’d prefer if she did not throw tantrums, and listened when I asked her to do something. I’d like her to take responsibility for her actions, and not be a ‘sore loser’. I also do not want her to use inappropriate language, and I certainly don’t want her to think that resorting to violence is a means to an end.

And of course, I’d like her to eat well, and have a healthy, balanced diet!

That’s a lot to expect from a 2 year old. But I think sowing the seeds of these behaviours now is far easier than trying to teach an older child new ways of behaving. Later on, she will learn the significance of what she’s saying and doing. But for the time being, I’m quite happy for her to simply model what I do, except in the food department!

That basically means I need to ensure I act in ways that I would like her to copy. If I want her to say please and thank you, then I should say please and thank you. If I want her to say sorry because she accidentally (or intentionally!) hurt somebody, then I should do the same. Even though it might not mean anything to her at this age, I feel it’s important to set up good habits for later on.

I’ve found it works beautifully thus far, almost too well! The other day her cousin bumped into her and she apologised!

On the other hand, I should refrain from doing anything that I don’t want her to emulate. If I drop four letter bombs in front of her, I expect that these words will make a reappearance, either immediately, or in the following days! And, as I’ve found through my own childhood memories of advertising jingles, “unlearning” something is an impossible task!

Of course, she will encounter other influences than myself in her life. But hopefully I’ll be able to steer her in the right direction, and later on, she’ll make her own choices based on the foundations I laid. For the time being, I’m going to enjoy being the centre of my little girl’s world, and try to live up to her expectations.

Support

I’m sick.

I’m not too sure what with, it could be a cold, it could be a really bad hayfever attack, or it could even be swine flu (but I doubt it). I woke up this morning feeling like I couldn’t possibly get myself out of bed, let alone look after my very active 2 year old daughter.

So I called my mum.

“Mama, I’m sick, where are you?”

“I’ll be there in 5.”

Now don’t get me wrong, my mum is not the type to let me wallow in misery while she does everything for me. But just her presence makes a world of difference.

I think I’m pretty lucky. Even though my parents are divorced, I would always tell anyone who asked that I had 3 parents; my Mum, my Nani (Grandma) and my Nana (Grandpa). My aunties would sleep over every other week with my cousins, and we basically grew up in as close to a tribe as you can get in suburban Sydney. I saw babies being born and raised, and even got some hands on practice that would help when it was my turn years later.

After giving birth to my daughter, I came home. My mum was there every day to make sure I ate well, and didn’t have to do anything apart from concentrate on feeding/changing/burping/feeding her grand-daughter. My mother in law slept over to help me settle the baby at night, and to make sure I got my rest. Both my husband’s family and my own were shocked that I didn’t want to move to my mum’s for the first 6 weeks, because that’s just what a woman was supposed to do when she had a baby.

I, on the other hand, thought I knew better. I thought that because I was the mother I was supposed to do everything myself. I didn’t need all that help, even though I enjoyed it. I was super woman and could do the dishes while breastfeeding a 2 week old. When my daughter woke screaming with hunger 20 minutes later, I realised I needed to put my feet up and concentrate on her latch rather than the state of my house.

Another example; I wanted my daughter to sleep in a cot in my room. My mum suggested that I should put her straight into my bed, as it would make getting up at night easier. 3 weeks later, after coming to terms with the fact that the night wakings weren’t going to go away, I realised the wisdom of her words and have slept next to my daughter ever since.

My mum still comes over every day. She can’t go long without seeing her grandaughter. And I’m so happy that they have such a close bond, just like I had with my own grandmother. When we’re all together, I think of how special it is that 4 generations of family women are in the same place at the same time.

I wonder how other mothers cope without a family support network. Do their husbands do more at home? Do they have friends to help them when they need a break? Or do they put their children in day care to get some time out? Or do they just shoulder the responsibility of raising children on their own?

Mothering without Breastfeeding

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting.  Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!

 

This post is really a bit of a ramble brought on by World Breastfeeding Week. It’s come at a time when my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter is drawing to a close, and caused me to stop and reflect on what breastfeeding means to me.

I’m about to lose the biggest tool in my parenting toolbox. Actually, it’s more like the magic wand in my box of magic tricks. For the past 2 years, I have used breastfeeding to solve just about every problem my daughter has had.

I used it to help put my daughter (and myself!) to sleep, and back to sleep for all night wakings.

I’ve used it to calm her down when she was having a tantrum.

I’ve used it as a nutritional filler on days when her solid intake was poor.

I’ve used it to make her forget the pain when she was hurt.

I’ve used it to keep her quiet during events/shows.

I’ve even used it to keep her in one place when it was unsafe for her to run around.

Before I became a mother, I never thought too much about how I would feed my baby. I always assumed that I would breastfeed. After all, that’s how my mum fed me, and her mum fed her, and her mum fed her all the way back until Eve. It was also important to me that I feed any child of mine for at least 2 years, as per Qur’anic guidelines.

What I didn’t know though is that breastfeeding, like everything else that is important in life, needs work. It took a bit (or a lot) of effort in the early daze to establish our breastfeeding relationship, and then I was able to sit back and experience the joy of watching my child thrive on my milk.

This was largely due to a great family support network, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and my own determination to succeed. I vividly remember the many calls, emails and home visits I made to various Breastfeeding Counsellors and Lactation Consultants.

I also didn’t realise how much more there is to breastfeeding than just milk. And how it would become an essential part of how I view myself as a mother.

Weaning is naturally the next step on the road to independance for all breastfed babies, the only thing that varies is the time of completing the transition. For us, it started with her first taste of pureed apple at the age of 6 months.

And now that she’s almost 2, we’ve begun actively weaning. Setting limits is something I’ve been trying to do with her in other areas for a while now, and it seems strange to exclude breastfeeding from that. We’re both mostly happy with the flexible arrangement we have, and I’m trying to make the transition as easy as possible for both of us, regardless of how long the process may take.

Which means I need to find other ways to meet her emotional, nutritional, and physical needs. If she’s hurt, it’s going to take me a lot longer to comfort her and help her forget. I’ll have to pay far more attention to her diet and try to ensure it’s as balanced and healthy as possible. I’ll also have to be more careful about making water available for her to drink. And hardest of all, I’m going to have to find another way of getting her to sleep!

But that’s life, I guess. And as we both move slowly into the next chapter of our relationship,  I know that I’ve given her the best possible start to life.

No regrets.

FAQS

I thought I’d kick off with something light hearted and general for my first ever blog post! Thanks to the Mums and Dad of Fusion for welcoming me on board.  

The other night I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year. We were chatting away and the topic of children came up, as can often happen when you’re a mother. My friend casually asked, “So when’s the next one coming along?” I paused and said, “I really need to put that on my page of FAQs!” We both laughed, and continued talking. Hence  the idea for this post, which I know will ring a bell with most parents out there. Before I became a mother, the most common question I got was “When will you be having children?” And before marriage, it was “When are you going to get married?” Since having my daughter, the questions I get cover a wide range of very important topics. So here we go:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

1.    When’s the next one coming along?

Now that I’ve had one child, the automatic assumption seems to be that I want to have as many as I can in as short a space of time as possible. I think the first time someone asked me this question, my daughter was 2 hours old. You can imagine the horrified look on my face!

Now she’s much older, and I love the thought of having more, but who knows what the future holds?

2.    Is she a good girl?

What does that mean? She is a child, and she behaves in an age-appropriate manner. She doesn’t intentionally try to push my buttons to get a reaction, nor does she cry just to be annoying, but because that is her way of communicating to me that she needs something.

3.    Does she still wake up at night?

Yes, and so do I. Sometimes I need to get a drink or go to the bathroom, so how can I expect her to sleep through when I don’t?

4.    When are you going to move her into her own room?

When she says to me, “Momi, I don’t want to sleep next to you and Baba anymore. I want to sleep all by myself while you two sleep together.”

5.    Are you still breastfeeding?!

Yes! We’ll think about weaning when we’re ready.

6.    a) Why do you carry her around all the time?

Because I couldn’t afford to buy that really expensive swing/hammock/rocker that is supposed to be a replacement for my arms, so instead I have to lug her around. No, actually, it’s because I’m her mother, she asked me to pick her up, and I enjoy cuddling her.

        b) Didn’t you know that if you pick her up whenever she cries, she’ll start to expect that?

That’s fantastic! You mean she’ll start to depend on me, and understand that as her mother, I will meet her needs?

7.    What do you do all day?

This question bothers me. The asker seems to have the preconceived notion that being a SAHM is a piece of cake, and that there’s really not much to do in a given day, as opposed to being in the  workforce, or a student, where I would actually be busy! No one would dream of asking a childcare worker that same question!

8.    When are you going to have another one?

Please refer back to 2.