Sunday, May 27, 2007

The divil makes work for idle hands

One way or another I've made a few things for wee Patrick since he was born. First there was the "play station"
a red coat for winter

Then the bibs made from scraps of my theatre hats
and several muslin and flanellette wraps, and a laundry hamper (which combines my love of woodworking and sewing).
But the last few days I have been making hats:
This is Patrick in my newest creation: a hat that cost me 79 cents. (And, incidentally, a flannellette wrap I made). I made it out of less than one ball of Moda Vera “Flurry” that is on sale at Spotlight for 79c (damn’ cheap) and made up the pattern . It has to be one of the easiest (and quickest) things I have ever knitted, and I am not a knitter! The secret here is to use enormous needles: the red hat I knitted in 12 ply and 8mm needles so it took me about 2 hours from go to whoa.

Basically you knit a big rectangle and then sew it together. The corners of the rectangle turn into the ‘ears’. First measure your baby’s head (or if you are making it for someone else, use the head circumference charts at
or use a hat that fits them well (which is what I did). Then, you need to find your guage: make a swatch (this is really easy). Cast on 20 stitches of you chosen wool and knit about 10cm and cast off loosely (without tying off). Measure how wide this is without stretching it. This gives you how many stitches per cm, and you can then calculate how many you need to go around the baby’s head.

For example 20 stitches makes 15cm, then there is 20/15 = 1.3 stitches per cm. Say the baby’s head circumference is 39 cm,, then you need 1.3 x 39= 52 stitches.

Unravel the guage swatch and re-use the wool. Use needles a size or two smaller than the ones you used for your swatch for the first five rows; this will be slightly smaller and stop the hat falling off the baby’s head. For non-fuzzy wool, maybe do five rows (or about an inch) or rib. Then change to the larger needles and knit until the hat measures about 13 cm from top to bottom. Cast off and sew it up (I actually did a knitted seam on the red one and blue one- I learned how to do it and now I’m hooked- but you can quickly sew it up instead.

Finally, I've decided that we need a holiday together before my maternity leave finishes, and I've heard Fiji is very baby-friendly. So we have to get a passport for P. Taking passport photos for a baby is not easy. Just look at the DFAT website stipulations! But here is Paddy's mugshot. Shifty looking... a terrorist in the making, no?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

sad mummy, mad mummy; now BAD mummy

I'm now officially a bad mummy.

Last night after several hours of screaming and crying, I had had enough. It was 9pm and I was starving, P was fed, changed, didn't want to play, didn't want to sleep. He just wanted to cry.

So I put him in the rocker... in front of the TV.

It was SBS so I'm not purely evil!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

mad mummies group

I went to my first PND support group meeting last thursday. The social worker had told me that there would be women 'from all walks of life there'. I took this as meaning "You'll be the only doctor. Hell, you'll be the only one with a degree. From an actual, like, University".

Well, that was pretty right. I think I provided the only diversity. Most of the mums there had given up work to be full-time mums several years ago (I know! I didn't think that happened anymore either!), and the ones who were working weren't exactly doing rocket science or, well, neuranaesthesia (brain surgery's easy. I've done that).

But although I felt very different from these women in terms of my life circumstances, sitting there in my boutique black and Spencer and Rutherford handbag
we all had at least one thing in common: we all have PND. That in itself was useful: that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, this is not something that obeys (dare I say it) class or social boundaries. We can all get it.

We talked about the myths of motherhood. That it would be somehow "natural" or that we would know what in the hell to do with our babies. That it was somehow a great glowing wonderful awesome experience. That you would fall instantly in love with your baby. Things like that. We talked about how some days just nothing seems to get done. How partners
(well, ok, men) just don't seem to 'get it'. And several of us said there was no shame in being on meds.

The only time I truly felt like an outsider was when people were talking about cleaning the house and I thought, "well, actually, Thursday, that's the day Peter the cleaner comes. In fact, he's there right now!"

I learned a few ways that other women cope, like just getting outside for a while, and just being 'kinder to yourself'. Part of the reason I'm such a sitter for PND is that I'm so used to functioning at a high level, and it gives me no satisfaction or comfort to think "I've done four loads of washing today, I've achieved something". For me, that would only compound my feeling of failure ("I've only managed to do four loads of washing today. And saved... zero lives").

So I have to learn to lower my expectations of myself. Or at least re-orient them.

Starting now.

Today at 1159am I have already achieved the following: three breastfeeds, a nappy change, dressed the boy and patted him back to sleep for a nap, a blog post, checked my email, said goodbye to my parents (on their way from Hobart to Coffs Harbour for the Ulysses club( ) AGM (my parents are 'growing old disgracefully' and continuing to embarrass us by turning up to family events on a motorcycle), finished off one of my bibs for Paddy, taken the car for a service and walked for half an hour. I've also had a shower, eaten breakfast and read an article about Al-Qaeda.

Wow. I'm actually really and truly impressed with myself now!

PS: Mum and Dad babysat for us last night and we went out to see 28 Weeks Later. It was gooood
PPS: Firefox is now behaving itself and I can see minnie and the grrrl again. Yay!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


what's happened? I can't get to screamything or mermaidgrrrl... anyone else out there having this prob? Doesn't matter whether I type in the address or try to do it from my links bit... Nuts! I wanna see Minnie and the Grrrl's babies!!

bad joke and very quick post

I seem to be so busy doing nothing that I have little time to post!

Things are improving on the PND front; I have seen a kindly old lady psych who has helped and put me in contact with a support group, a counsellor and put me on a weensy dose of sertraline. She thinks I'm not too bad, but anxious (P was sleeping through the night but i was tossing and turning with anxiety).

Lots of you laydees and wymm'n in the blogosphere are actually having your babies! Congratulations to those who have, and enjoy the last few weeks of no nappies to the rest. And hang in there; it improves after 6 weeks, I tell ya (it's much easier to like a baby who smiles and coos rather than just yelling all the time).

Which leads me to the joke. My partner is sick of hearing it but I made it up (and therefore it is hilarious)

Q: Why did de baby go to de bank?
A: To make a de posset

ROTFL (go on, you know you want to. Ok, maybe I really am a bit mad)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

clear the blast zone

this wasn't even the overnight nappy!!

This is a photo of T and P at about the same age. They don't look a thing alike. Not at all.

And although T hates me putting photos of himself on the interweb, I just love this one we took this very morning of the little man regarding himself in the mirror. (I have cleverly disguised T as a beat poet to protect his anonymity.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

oh dear

If I'm really honest, my Edinburgh is now 14. I'm hoping I don't need to be straightjacketed.

I'm to see the perinatal psych service next week. For now, I'm still trying to stay busy so I don't ruminate too much.

I'm also tossing up whether to put P in this outfit for the appointment...