Monday, July 30, 2007

The first in a long line of holiday posts

We had a great time in Fiji. I can recommend it to anyone as a grouse holiday destination with little tackers. However, if 'hell is other people's children' then Fiji would have to be the seventh circle. It is no hyperbole to say that (the great majority of )Fijians love children. Even at the airport as we went through security, a security officer offered to hold Patrick so I could go back through the x-ray (it was my shoes). And when she gave him back to me, and he started crying, the guy with the hand-held scanner held it over his name tag to make it beep for him to calm him down. I mean, this was a six-foot four burly dude with, y'know, muscles and the authority to have us detained but he wanted to pinch Patrick's cheeks!


Much changes in 10 days. I made a list:

Things Patrick has done for the first time whilst we were away.
1. Used his passport.
2. Had his nappy bag checked for explosives. (Not his nappy, thankfully. It often contains explosions)
3. Got his parents onto the plane first ("Those travelling with infants or small children may board now")
4. Been on a 'jumbo jet'
(God help him, he got those ears from me. Poor little wingnut)
5. Been out of Australia
6. Breastfed on a bus
7. Woken his mummy overnight for feeds 7 times in 7 hours (Aaargh. Don't ask)
8. Swum in a pool
9. Swum in the ocean
10. Been startled by hair (Afros are big in Fiji)
11. Been given a frangipani to tuck behind his ear
12. Been given a shell necklace (or any jewelery for that matter)

13. Peed on a perfect stranger (we're still not sure how it happened. Doodle down, nappy snug; what the...?)
14. Been picked up and kissed by a perfect stranger and then taken to meet that stranger's extended family and work colleagues... and mummy and daddy being perfectly fine with that.
15. Been greeted in a foreign language ("Bula Patrick!")
16. Rolled over. (Aah. Patrick's silly, silly parents. We were so used to having him not roll we did something very dumb. The cot we were given had truly seen better days and really had "limb and head entrapment risk. Danger do not use" written all over its rustic, splintery timber frame. So we did what we usually do- short-sheet a single bed and tuck him in for the night. Fast forward to 4am. Shrill, horrifying cry. One baby face down on the (tiled, cold hard) floor, 40(vertical) cm from where he left the bed. Soothed by paracetamol (acetominophen)and a booby feed but mama unable to sleep for several hours whilst listening for sounds of fitting , stertorous breathing or a bulging fontanelle. He was fine. Really. Not even a bruise.)
17. Been on a boat. Been in a boat.
(yes, those are my enormous f-cups)
18. Had his cheeks pinched in a non-ironic way.
19. Seen tropical fishies
20. Eaten pineapple. Hell, eaten anything not made by mummy's mammaries
21. Seen hermit crabs
22. Been covered from head to toe in horrible, gluggy sunscreen all day, every day (tip for putting sunscreen on babies' limbs- pour it into your hands and pretend like you're making someone (ok, a man) very happy)
23. Watched mummy make a fool of herself dancing to Fijian dance music (It was all those pina coladas I had promised to drink for people)
24. Been bitten by mosquitoes :(
25. Been on a pram ride along the beach. A very looooong pram ride (hooray for mountain buggies!)
26. Got a souvenir t-shirt.
27. Fallen asleep in the Macpac.
28. got sandy toes
29. Flaked out on the couch after a long, exciting day.
30. Seen mummy eat meat (it was a Lovo. I 'had' to. "culture" and all that. And to be honest, meat ain't all that)
31. Been fed under cover of a sarong (they're very modest people)
32. Sucked his toes. Had mummy suck his toes
33. Seen coconut palms
34. Been in a hammock
35. Transformed the descendants of cannibal warriors into quivering, gurgling, doe-eyed baby-philes.
(you have to admit, its pretty cute)

Now I've seen everything

Check this out

This reminds me of when I was doing my 'elective' term in plastic surgery in the UK. I had been accepted into a fairly prestigious hospital and attended a conference in plastics and reconstructive surgery. One of the presentations was of a device used to test "patient support systems" (aka mattresses. I kid you not) for pressure areas. Basically it was a bum. A standardised bum. They even flashed up a slide of one of the volunteer subjects having a plaster cast of their bum made. This fancy electronic bum was used to test for areas of unequal pressure on various mattress types. I was in fits. No-one else seemed to find it the remotest bit risible except for that quite odd Australian ("Orr-straelien") medical student there (me).

On a different note, it was at this conference that the first experimental group into laser hair removal was presenting. It seemed very radical at the time. Now you can get it done on pretty much any street corner.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kcirtap has departed

Patrick's evil twin (Kcirtap) has left the building and we have our beautiful, smiley boy back again! Yay yay yay!!

I really think it was a growth spurt: he was feeding lots and not pooing for three or four days (absorbing more, y'see) and hungry all the time... and my favourite pair of blue corduroy overalls don't fit him anymore (boo hoo). Last night he slept very well, and today he has been back to his usual self, smiling, laughing and 'talking'.

Just in time, too: we leave for our first 'family holiday' tomorrow- Fiji!!

I'll have a pina colada for youse all

Oh, life is just... sooooo much better!

Everyone loves a photo

Patrick in the Jolly Jumper, about 6 weeks ago. He hadn't quite figured it out yet, but looked very cute. You could bounce him manually and he loooved it. Now he's twigged what to do and he bounces and bounces and bounces: today he had worn himself out in it and was grizzling, but he was still bouncing- I had to lift him up so he couldn't touch the ground to get him out or otherwise I'm pretty sure he would have eventually bounced himself to sleep...
Hey! Where'd my doodle go? It was right there a minute ago...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

cookie monster

I was going to mention that when I say "screams" I mean death-metal growls. The kind that make strangers stare.

it's three o'clock in the afternoon, and i'm in my dressing gown

actually it's 1215, but you get my drift...

I'm realising now just how much of my recoveryfrom PND had been related to not being sleep-deprived. That's right, 'had'.

Now babies are very zen. Well, maybe Zen is drawing too long a bow, but 'the middle path is golden' and 'the only thing that is certain is change'. And not all the change is good. Patrick had blessed us with sleeping well from about 7 weeks of age until approximately a month ago. I could put up with his hour-long scream fests during the day and his settling routine at night (that consists of walking around the garden patting his behind and telling him softly about the trees for about an hour) because I knew I could get a good rest during the night. I realise that we were extremely lucky to have this behaviour, and I never, ever bragged about it. When the other mums complained about their babies' sleeping problems I'd just nod and make supportive noises. I knew not to tempt fate. (BTW you are only allowed to be jealous if you have a baby that doesn't sleep nights and PND).

But now all that has changed again. He is waking every night, at least four if not five times: last night was 1030pm (it counts- we were already in bed), 1am, 3am, 4am, 5.30am, 7am. Mostly he feeds and goes back off to sleep ok, but at least one of those wake ups will be party time (followed by screaming when his parents try to re-settle him) that can go for an hour and a half. I am utterly exhausted. I can't sleep during the day, either, because he only has two 45-minute catnaps a day, and at least one of those will generally be in the car on the way somewhere, and the rest of the time he wants to be picked up and carried around (the Jolly Jumper is the only way I get anything done anymore). Last week was especially harsh because Mr T was on night shift so I had to do all the night stuff myself, and Mr T had first dibs on day sleeping (because he might have to do something a bit more complex than just getting his tits out- like putting in epidurals- and we all know how important that is, right?) so I was getting maybe 3 hours unbroken sleep, max, a day. I also find it quite hard to get back to sleep once he has woken us up, so I may only get a 30 minute nap between wake ups.

He has been awake since 7 am this morning and has only just gone down for a nap again, at 1215. And he's just woken up again. It's 1230. I hate my life.

ps ten points to anyone who can give me the song title and artist...

Monday, July 09, 2007

module 2

I just passed module 2.

I have to say- what a crock!

I do believe that professional attitudes and knowledge of issues pertaining to ethics and the law should be part of a competent anaesthetist's training. I really do.

But I bet any undergraduate with a basic knowledge of medical terminology and Mozilla (so you can do the multiple tabs thing) could pass this module. It's an absolute joke.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

what I would want

Part of my recent trip away was a short stay in melbourne to have Patrick baptised by my uncle M. Not that I'm particularly religious, and Mr T is an avowed atheist; it was more a chance to have various assorted rellos come and say hello to Patrick and Melbourne is a nice mid-way point between our home, my folks in Hobart, Mr T's parents in Canberra, my rellos in Victoria and Mr T's rellos in Geelong.

To add to that, Uncle M is a genuinely nice guy, and the sort of Catholic that I wish the pope was. When we were getting married (again by Uncle M), he encouraged us to walk down the aisle together, as we had been living together so long. He let us write the kind of wedding vows we wanted (eg instead of vowing to bring up any offspring according to the laws of the Catholic church, we agreed to bring them up with love and wisdom- which should amount to the same thing but unfortunately rarely does- because if we were to have a child who turned out not to fit into those laws- for example was gay or supported liberation theology- we would want to not have to reject him or her because of some outdated and hateful laws). Uncle M is known in the Catholic priests' world for his stance on things such as married priests (he supports it) and he has been criticised by Cardinal Pell on more than one occasion. So if anyone was going to baptise Patrick, we would want it to be him.

Uncle M's parish is in the Melbourne outskirts, the kind of suburb that is semi-rural and reached by a long trip on various freeways and tollways. But it's a wonderful parish, full of people of every age and many nationalities. There easily be as many if not more non-anglo members of his congregation, and it's wonderful to see. His Mass was full of life and humour. His sermon was full of compassion and love.

I was a little hesitant about the whole baptism promises. My memory of them is that they run along the lines of "Do you reject Satan" "And all his evil works" which, although kind of groovy in a very medieval way, are not really what I think faith should be about. But given M's track record I should have known better. Instead, we were asked if we

"...reject all that is contrary to God's love that we may have the freedom to love as God loves us?
"...reject the evil of these times by which people are manipulated or exploited?
"...refuse to be mastered by the forces of our world that divide us and bring hatred into our existence?"

(Mr T agreed to all of these in a very pleasantly suprised voice "Actually, we do")

We also prayed that our children could "...grow up in a world where they learn to love each other and share that love for everyone within the community, showing respect and compassion to all people..." that we (parents) would "learn to be good leaders and to have patience, love and trust, and to be always understanding of (our) children..." and that our children would be "blessed with happiness, good health, security and guidance in (God's) love. May they be successful in all they do and have the courage to make the right choices on their journey of life".

Yes, we were asked if we believed in God, and Jesus, but there was no references to sin, the holy roman catholic church or virgin births, which was just fine with me.

IMHO, if all religious peoples could have that kind of faith that rejects division and embraces love, we would be a lot better off.

Weighty issues

According to the scales at mum and dad's house down in hobart I am now back down to my pre-Patrick weight. My whole pre-pregnancies weight has a lot longer to go. I'm loving the opinion that the length of time it takes you to put it on should be the approximate time it takes to take it off, so from the time we first started trying I've got at least another year, which is quite achievable, really.

The breastfeeding/losing weight thing... I'm slowly, oh so slowly losing weight. Veeeery slowly. I realise if I actually did regulate my diet I may actually seriously lose some weight, but I'm still stuck with the daily milkshake habit and also an ice-cream with choc-top and nuts after dinner thang. I blame my veggie diet for leaving me low in calcium which I am now craving in the form of dairy goods.

Or I'm just a slack tart.

Personally I think any weight loss is from all the weight lifting we seem to do all day every day. Madonna's toned arms? Bikram yoga, pilates, some kind of celebrity trainer- my arse. Motherhood. Pure and simple. My arms haven't been this toned since I was an athlete.

The thing that has really had me stonkered is the way my whole shape has changed.

I've never, ever been 'slim', and I never expect to be. My figure, post-childhood would have to be described as 'athletic'. I remember vividly a photo of me and my cross-country athletics team when I was in about grade 9. Everyone else is all stringy and rangy, like any good distance athlete should be, and then there's me, all deltoids and quadriceps. And I was the second fastest in the team. I changed schools at the end of grade 10 and we couldn't find a blazer to fit my shoulders; we had to have one made especially. I was a state champion oarswoman; I rowed in an international schools competition. In Med school I started c ycling to competetive level. I was as fast over the local Hobart circuit as many of the men. Every time I see one of the Williams sisters I see my 'old' figure (minus their impressive gluteals!).

So what I suppose I'm trying to say is that I have always been 'larger' than normal, but in a very healthy way. I got very used to dressing to show off my slim waist whilst trying to hide my shoulders, thighs and calves. Then when I got fatter, I again learned how to make the most of my figure. I was quite good at it. It used to make me feel good that shop assistants would hand me size 14s (that was my 'athletic' size).

But the game's changed now. The clothes I used to look good in no longer suit me. I'm confused because the things that I see should flatter me no longer do. The breasts are one thing, the sagging tummy another. I'm starting to get used to my now-enormous feet.

It's just one of the ways in which my whole self, my idea of who I am is so fundamentally changed. I'm someone's mum.

(Interestingly, I note that advertisers give this new status as qualifications for expertise for all sorts of things: dairy products, cough medicine and hazelnut chocolate spread to name three. So now I can use my authority; "As a mum, I think that the washing up should be done by someone other than me".)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

spot the difference

Here is a photo of Patrick in his new hat (knitted by his grandmama)...

and here is a phtot of Hamid Karzai, the (American approved) President of Afghanistan.

No resemblance. None!


why is it that the one week I am away from the computer everyone else puts up heaps of posts and I look like a slack tart, but the weeks when no-one else writes anything are the weeks I can always get to the computer?

I have heaps of new material for new posts but I need to think them over first. I haven't had much walking time to sort out exactly what it is I want to say, so I'll update soon: T is on night shift so that means lots of time walking whilst he gets some sleep during the day.