31 October 2010
Yesterday my midwife gave me these beautiful shells. I love the spiral and the texture of them. They have a heaviness and a colour that is not like any of the shells we see on the beaches here. There is one for me and one for the babe... She was given them in Arnhem Land when she volunteered there, working with birthing women. As she handed the shells to me and some Arnhem Land sand trickled out onto my palm, she explained that the women there birth with strength and courage, grace and beauty. That is the birth she sees for me too... It struck me that that is possibly the best gift anyone can give a soon to birth mama - belief in them.
30 October 2010
I was the lucky recipient of a blessingway today. For months now I've been meeting with a group of beautiful women whom I've come to know and love, for monthly women's circles in my lounge room. Mostly we talk, spend some time child free, cry on a shoulder and eat cake. Its so very nurturing for everyone involved. Today was spent with the same group of women as well as my midwife (lets just call her the village midwife), and another gorgeous friend who has been a great support for our little family. Big owlet was included too for her first initiation into secret women's business... Today was just that little bit more special. There was an element of celebration in the air, perhaps relief that we'd finally got there, anticipation...
So what happened? There was food galore, cake of course... More red squares too oooh and ahh over. Big owlet tied red yarn around each woman's wrist, starting with me, ending with her, creating a web symbolising the connection between us all and to be cut when the babe arrives. Then each woman placed a bead in a bowl, sharing their wishes for me and the baby. This was the wobbly chin bit... The music playing was the same song that played when we lost Pippin. I didn't share it with the others because the lump in my throat prevented me from speaking, but I thought it was interesting that itunes picked that song right at that moment... *sigh* It was lovely and a point where we realised how important that circle is. Community and support. Anyhow, we got over the wobbly chins, ate more cake, painted with henna and made a necklace of the beads...
So now I'm left with a loungeroom full of good vibes, arms full of hugs and a belly full of cake and flowers. Blessed indeed. x
29 October 2010
Aren't they all amazing? I've started hanging them all on the wall where they'll be for owlet-to-be's arrival. They are all so different and reflect each of the women who have made them - there are a couple up there from the owlets too who just had to get involved (I'll let you guess which ones they made). What I love about projects like this is that individuality and expression. Its not a competition to see who is the best designer or has the neatest stitches. Each square is totally heartfelt and that's my favourite thing about women working with textiles...
Interestingly, most of the squares so far have come with a disclaimer. A reason why they are no good. Why the creator is not crafty enough, or the colours are not right. I get it. Its hard putting yourself out there. But I have always firmly believed that anyone can draw, paint, create something, no matter where their talents lie. It's within them, we just forget along the way, or maybe someone told us we weren't good at that, we should focus on other things, or maybe we just weren't encouraged. Two squares that were handed to me without a smidge of shyness of course, belong to the owlets. They just sat down, created something important to them and there it is in all its perfection, handed to mama with a smile...
I just want to thank each of the women who have contributed towards making this lovely thing for me and my family. You are all very special and dear to our hearts and your words, pictures and handiwork express so much about who you are. We love that. You all rock. xxxx
28 October 2010
That's us, four years ago, meeting little owlet for the first time... in the dining room.
I am aware that homebirth will happen in my lounge room imminently.
I am aware that homebirth is an amazing, life changing, completely normal, everyday miracle kind of thing.
I am aware that I am extremely lucky to have a home to birth in.
I am aware that many women around the world do not have the same luxury I do. The best they can hope for is to avoid trauma and infection and that someone might get them a glass of water or gently rub their back*.
I am aware that I am lucky to have a care provider who will just be with me and leave me to birth in my own time.
I am aware that my right to have the birth that I want, with the care provider I want, is on tenterhooks.
I am aware that the medical and political powers that be have put insurance before autonomy and seek to make homebirth, as I know it, illegal.
I am aware that they are doing this not just in Australia, but in Ireland and Germany right now too.
I am aware of my responsibilities as a birthing woman and parent and I am aware of the perceived risks.
I am aware that the risks are not as the media, medical factions and insurance companies would have us believe.
I am aware that I am part of a minority who cares about this stuff and worries that my daughters may not have the same experience of birth that they have come to see as normal.
I am aware that my best chance of avoiding intervention is to stay at home.
I am aware that when I birth at home, the only time we look at a clock is to record the time of birth... after we've all taken a moment.
I am aware that homebirth allows for a smooth transition for my family from a family of four, to a family of five.
I am aware that homebirth is best for me and my baby.
I am not brave. I am not a hippie. I am not built for birthing more than any other woman. But I am aware.
*Seriously. My midwife just returned from a stint of volunteer work in PNG. There women can expect to be assaulted and abused as par for the course when they birth. They are at huge risk of infection due to intervention and undergo extraordinary pain. They are not allowed a glass of water and labour alone. And here I am planning which corner of the room the birth pool goes in...
* Flowers from the garden for inspiration
* A stack of awesome magazines to read
* Some japanese silk and wool felt for making gifts that were due embarrassingly long ago -last on my list of must-dos!!
* Obligatory knitting
* Craft for the baby - silk thread for a cord tie. Well its that or dental floss! We may not even use it, but its good to be prepared... we've each chosen a colour to braid together - kind of like baby's first friendship bracelet ;)
Hoping to have some quiet time to get stuck into this stuff today... See more creative spaces at Kirsty's and join in if you feel like it!
26 October 2010
We went to a wildflower show a couple of weeks ago. There were some beautiful displays and the obligatory pinecone craft corner for kids... scones too. Big owlet spied a quiz that involved reading some clues and answering some questions and she wanted to have a go... and she won!! First prize was a tray of beautiful local native tubestock! Huz and I had just been talking about some new plants for our garden and how we might buy some for christmas, but this is so much more fun. Big owlet is very excited to have her own plants in the garden to tend, but mostly just excited to have won something :)
25 October 2010
Five minutes before this photo was taken, she was "Iquana", famous singer, transported to the picnic by her driver, assistant and backup singer... Suddenly the box was on her head. Apparently it makes a good hat. Keeps the flies out. Our days are like that lately. Big owlet's identity changes several times a day. One minute she's a cat, the next an intrepid explorer. We're happy to play along and grateful we have the space and time for her to explore all those different identities while she finds her own place in the world. I think back to myself at 7yo and the 5 days per week spent wearing a uniform, regulation undies and blue hair ribbon... I remember the struggle to try new things that were outside the box (pardon the pun), and find acceptance among peers - even at that age! I think of big owlet and how she and her friends support individuality in each other and laugh and join in completely uninhibited. I'm so glad we've chosen this path. Box and all.
Little owlet is happy with costume changes and following big owlet's lead. Just like big owlet, she chooses her own outfits each day, sometimes with interesting results. We're all thankful that warmer weather is finally here and we can stop debating the number of layers one might need underneath a summer dress on a chilly day... She's a little less certain of her place in the world, sticking very close to my side, especially when we're out in nature. Still, she has the confidence of a child who knows who she is and what she needs and that we are right here next to her, supporting her as she finds her own way. I so look forward to watching her figure it out :)
24 October 2010
Just a quick and rather slack post this Sunday evening... big lovely day of adventures and now we're all pooped. So, focussing on the gorgeous work of others who have sent me their beautiful blessingway squares. These will be pinned to some fabric on the wall over the next week and added to a quilt at a later date. Aren't they just amazing? I love how everyone's work is so completely different. The square at the top left is by my friend Amy. We received a beautiful pair of her bootees too :) Then there's Katie's beautiful hand stitched goddess and Bec's beautiful Bless square, complete with mama owl and nest... Blessed indeed!
23 October 2010
The owlets are playing with paper dolls we made a while ago. There's a doll for each member of the family as well as the cat, the chooks and guinea pigs. They're loving dressing them and making new clothes, then acting out regular day to day stuff. Their focus is very much on the moment.
Huz is delving into the past, finding long lost relatives and forming a family tree for the owlets. Big owlet is showing snippets of interest, but I think she'll be more excited when she can place it on a big poster on the wall and see herself at the centre of it, as you do when you're a kid. We're much more interested to find the history and piece together the puzzle of how we got to be here. Surprisingly, we found that I have Tasmanian convict ancestry too - not just Huz!
As for me... well I'm pottering, resting, trying to stay in the moment, but thinking just a little bit about the near future, the knowns and the unknowns and all that they will bring.
22 October 2010
We have a collection of little bowls and boxes dotted around our house. They are filled with all the little things that have no home or that we are not bothered enough to put away properly... They've come in handy for entertaining owlets who are enthralled by tiny things. From the moment they could play with little things without putting them in their mouths, until now and probably for years to come, I've pulled one of the boxes or bowls out and put it on the table or floor for them to explore. A kind of junk method of strewing, I suppose. They found this bowl this morning and it led to miniature craft, discussions on international currency, counting coins, telling the time, dressing up and hours of imaginative play. We often talk about finding homes for all the good bits and throwing out the rest, but then I remember times like this. The quiet moments and times that have followed. One mama's trash is an owlet's treasure...
21 October 2010
Are you sick of the colours yet? Apologies for that, but I told you I was a slow knitter!! Well, getting faster with experience, but perhaps not as committed as I could be... I've acknowledged the fact that I won't get this blanket knitted in time. I'm also glad for the fact that this will be a warmer months babe. I managed to finish the first baby blanket a couple of days before the first babe arrived. The second blanket is still waiting the final square, but has been useful regardless. This one has many squares to go... I wonder if we decide to add another owlet to the nest further down the track what stage we'll get to. They may have it by the time they're ten, or maybe I should outsource... kind of defeats the purpose of handmade though... hmmm.... Must remember the process is the most important part and the fact that it is made with love. Even if it takes a while in the finishing. That's the bit the owlets appreciate most and all their favourite clothes and things have been made with that same love...
Preaching to the converted with so many bloggy types out there, I'm sure. We get the handmade thing, right? Dolly gets it too...
Head on over to Kirsty's to see other beautiful handmade stuff people were up to earlier today (yep, public holiday here... I almost forgot to play along!!).
20 October 2010
The dollar is still good and I'm still offering free postage... Unless your little owlets wear these, mine will!! I'm looking forward to having a little squishy person to put in a kimono top and a stripy suit :) There's still plenty of skirts and a few extras there too. The owlet shop will most likely still be open during the hole impending birth and post baby period, but postage may be a tad slow. If you'd like something by the end of spring, or early for christmas, get in quick!!
19 October 2010
I'm finishing up the last of the rainbow chard in the veggie patch... We're not big silverbeet eaters in this house, but this recipe hits the spot - its really tasty. I love that it looks like a present or package - just needs some string! Huz and I gobbled half of it for dinner tonight... I found it in an old Vogue Entertaining cookbook years ago and it usually gets trotted out when there's silverbeet growing. I've adapted it slightly for us.
Silverbeet, Potato and Fetta Pie
400g medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
1 large leek, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
250g silverbeet (or spinach or warrigal greens)
1 tbspn chopped fresh corriander (optional - I don't usually add it)
salt and pepper to taste
8 sheets filo pastry
50g melted butter
Steam the potato until tender. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, add leeks garlic and cumin and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the leeks are softened. Add silverbeet and cook until the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Stir in the potatoes, fetta (and corriander), season and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a pie dish. Layer 2 sheets of filo pastry together, brushing each with a little of the melted butter. Fold the sheets in half lengthwise and put into the prepared pie dish, letting the edges overhang. Repeat with the remaining filo, overlapping to cover all of the dish.
Spoon the potato mixture into the dish and fold the overhanging edges into the centre. Brush the pastry with the remaining butter and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4-6.
* From Vogue Entertaining Cookbook - Wickedly Winter - Conde Nast International 2000
18 October 2010
Well for reasons I've already documented well here in past weeks, I'm slowing down, withdrawing a little and taking time. Its a natural process that we all understand and we're cool with... But what does this mean for owlets that don't go to school? Are they learning? Well of course they are! I think one of the greatest things that have come of all this is independence. Very gradually they have started to do things for themselves and for each other. They've challenged themselves in different ways and developed more problem solving skills... like how to reach the honey on top of the fridge, or how to build a cubby house. Things they'd normally rely on me for. They're also helping out more and see their place as contributing members of the family. Its been a huge confidence builder for big owlet especially, who is feeling ready to be treated like a big kid and given some responsibility. Its been a huge lesson for me in stepping back and letting them figure things out, find their own rhythm...
Here's what today looked like:
Little owlet woke me at 6am and wanted to get up and play (awesome - I'd only had 4hrs sleep...). So we did.
Little owlet watched some programs on iview while waiting for big owlet to get up.
Big owlet woke and made them both breakfast.
Huz went to work and little owlet and I started building an obstacle course inside - rainy day fare!
Big owlet got involved and I stepped back.
There were negotiations, arguments and lots of giggles as they finished designing the course.
Obstacle course mysteriously transformed into a cubby house - like the ones I make, but big owlet did it for herself today.
I made a huge platter of fruit and stepped back again while they listened to some talking books.
Tired of that, they disappeared into the kitchen to make some lunch for themselves and returned to watch a DVD. Mama slept (well tried to).
More cubby play which led to dress-ups. I saw a witch, pirate, princess, snake and variations on those themes over the course of the following hour...
At some point a pirate party was planned, bunting was thrown up and flags made.
Big owlet brought me a large drink and made some for herself and little owlet too.
Huz arrived home to find me hiding on the couch trying my best not to notice the hurricane that had apparently swept through the house.
He sighed, smiled and we set about tidying up, as did the owlets.
Dinner and a show - Big owlet decided she was a country singer and entertained us for a solid half hour set.
Huz and I sat down to relax and realised just before 8pm that the owlets had dressed, brushed teeth and hopped into bed.
We crept down the hall and spied big owlet reading to little owlet... oh I so love that!
Very happy sleeping owlets now...
Tomorrow will very likely be very different with a flow of its own. This is perhaps the extreme version of what I mean when I say we have a very relaxed approach to home education and that we are natural learners. Of course there are days where we do the usual stuff and they learn when we go out and do things, or involve them in what we're doing. Its just a little different now though. They have taken a crash course in life skills and its brought wonderful things for all of us, especially confidence to them and the kind of independence that can only come from stepping back and letting them drive for a while...
17 October 2010
16 October 2010
It does happen eventually... One day you wake up and realize that they didn't sneak into your bed during the night and you have, in fact, had the whole bed to yourselves without so much as a kick, shove or snuggle. They stayed in their own bed the whole night, content with the company of their sibling nearby. Then they do it another night and another until you figure they have found a way to long nights of peaceful sleep too... and they are happy. But you can't sleep because the baby in your belly means that after the umpteenth visit to the toilet you can't find that comfy spot again. And your mind starts racing. You know that in a matter of weeks it will all begin again and you will have a new small person sharing your space, feeding all night long, snuggling, kicking, probably taking up most of the bed.. and it's likely that you will not find deep, nourishing sleep for another long while... oh but it is lovely!
Remind me of this when I complain to you in a sleep deprived state that it will never end. Remind me that it is so worth it, for them, for us... that we sleep better this way. Remind me that we will get the whole bed back. Eventually. And while there will most likely be snuggles in the morning, they will not always be all night long. Remind me that I just might miss them when they are gone.
Some resources for sleep, owlets and the family bed:
Parenting Baby to Sleep Blog
Ten Reasons to Sleep Next to Your Baby - Jan Hunt
When Will My Baby Soothe Himself to Sleep? - Jan Hunt
What are the long term effects on my baby of sharing a bed? - James McKenna
Rethinking "Healthy" Infant Sleep - James McKenna
Babies Need Their Mothers Beside Them - James McKenna
Safe Co-Sleeping - Dr Sears
The Family Bed - Kellymom
15 October 2010
In the beginning it was all about the music. November 15th marks 15years since I walked into this room* and saw a long haired, grungy boy in the corner, playing britpop songs on his guitar. Six months later, at our next meeting, the conversation was all about music. We'd both come from backgrounds where music was an important part of the day... our parents' record collections had a few crossovers, as did our own. There are some things we'll never agree on, but most we do and our interests, although slightly varied have grown together with our music collection... The next five years were spent trawling record stores, watching live music and listening. Then on the 15th of November, 10years ago, listening to the radio in the car, he proposed and a year later became Huz. Another year or so passed as we travelled to work each day listening to the radio and finding new music to love and fill our home. Then big owlet came along and the days were filled with music, if our nights were a bit quieter... A move to our island meant less access to our favourite means of finding and hearing new music, so the internet became our lifeline. My time and patience for the search waned, so Huz took on the mantle of owlet HQ musical program director, making music, finding music, filling our home with new sounds, like this current fave which leads to much lounge room dancing and loud singing in the car with the owlets...
We don't have one song in particular, but rather a whole collection of them that the years can be traced through... The next month is filled with waiting, anticipation, excitement and new beginnings, but there will always be the music.
Huz has a page now that he uses to share some of the new music he brings into our home. You can subscribe if you'd like a listen to some of the songs that fill our days, and you can find him (and occasionally owlets) making music here.
*Yep, Cindy's kitchen in a former life... small bloggy world, huh?
14 October 2010
Follow up from last week. I don't often get to follow up because I usually post what I'm planning on doing and do something else entirely... So hooray! New king sized bedspread made from old queen sized sheets. I'm spending lots of time snoozing these days and this has fast become my favourite spot :)
Head over to Kirsty's for some more creative spaces. x
13 October 2010
Lazy morning in the park, rolling down hills and big owlet taking the camera for a wander...
Well they had a lovely time... My interactions with the general public are proving less than satisfactory right now though. I'm in a state of temporary hiding in the owlet nest. Short fuse, yes. Hormonal, yes. Overly sensitive, quite probably...
My big irk right now is insensitivity and people not respecting the owlets and their sense of space or place in the world...
People bustling past, whacking them with bags as they go, frowning and shouting at them to move, while I usher them to one side. People allowing their much bigger kids to swim over them at the pool or trample them at the park... or bringing their huge dog over to our picnic rug and allowing it to lick little owlet's face despite her screams and obvious fear. Then saying "he won't hurt" while he scratches big owlet's legs to ribbons before abusing me when I ask them to move away... I suppose my own state of slightly increased vulnerability makes me a tad sensitive to all this, but I do wonder at how people can find it so hard to see things from the viewpoint of someone so much smaller and less certain in the world.
If only we could all take a day to slow down, live completely in the moment and view the world through the eyes of an owlet...
12 October 2010
11 October 2010
When big owlet was younger than little owlet is now, we took her to swimming lessons. After the fifth week bobbing around the pool and singing nursery rhymes with her, we realised we could do it ourselves. So we stopped the lessons and decided to undertake swimming by ourselves for a while. We didn't continue as often though, only going sporadically. Then earlier this year, I started taking the owlets swimming more regularly. Once a week. Big owlet started off stuck to me. She was afraid to put her head underwater. She'd use floating barbells to help her float and keep her confidence. She was making baby steps towards moving around independently. I bought a book from the op shop on teaching children to swim which had lots of pictures and excercises to work through and I tried some of them out with her. She wouldn't listen. She was resistant... We wondered if we should put her back in swimming classes...
I decided to lighten off and approach things the way we do everything else. Just let her learn in her own time. One day I started playing with her in the shallow end of the pool where she could stand comfortably. I swam down to the bottom and around her legs, playing mermaids - her favourite thing at the time. She laughed, then bobbed down underwater and touched the bottom of the pool! The look of surprise on her face was priceless. She did it in her own time. She found a reason and challenged herself and found she could swim! For the next half hour, she continued to be a mermaid, ducking down underwater and bobbing up to the surface with a huge smile. Over the next few weeks and months she continued to swim underwater, now quite confident, listening to ideas on how to move through the water very occasionally and experimenting... When we went swimming on Sunday, she decided to use her arms, like she'd seen me do. When she reached the end of the pool and when I told her she'd just swam freestyle, she giggled excitedly. Then she decided to swim on her back for a bit, before turning over and leaping out of the water with arms "like a bee" - she was doing butterfly, then breastroke... The strokes are there, coming out slowly. Far from elegant or efficient at this stage, but she's discovering them. Huz spent some time with her at the deep end - she was still holding a little fear. By the end of the hour she had touched the bottom of the pool there too...
As for little owlet, she's still afraid of putting her face under. She's afraid of most things these days. She's happy to bob around with the barbell floaties and has a beautiful kick going. Most of all, she loves to kick to the end of the pool and delights in hitting the wall. She's working on the idea of swimming to the bottom and will get there... in her own time.
I've learned so much about how they learn from watching them attempt new activities. Ballet came and went, as did piano. Now big owlet is losing interest in gymnastics, but only sometimes... It depends on the instructor. Watching her at gym last week, it occurred to us that she doesn't like repetition. Once she feels that she understands how an activity works, she's not keen on doing it over and over again. She likes to be challenged by new things. Often she will happily return to things she's done before, after being shown something new. It was like a little light bulb moment for us. Here we were encouraging the natural learning/unschooling process at home, while expecting her to learn everything else in a traditional way... You see, much of the teaching methods for activities follow along a similar theory to traditional school. Repetition. Mastering a concept fully, before moving on. For big owlet, it kills the fun. Its like when she does a maths workbook. She'll ask to do it, get to a point of understanding and want to move to the next page, usually without finishing the activity she started, sometimes coming back to it later. Its often not important that she masters it straight away, just that she's hungry to learn new things and if she really enjoys something, she'll diligently stick to it.
We sat down and decided that if she wants to try something new, we'll find a way for her to try it out, show her the basics and let her play with it. If she develops a passion for an activity, and we can't help her master it, we find someone who can help her. If she's truly passionate, its likely she'll be ok with the repetition and keep wanting to learn, but there's time. So that's where we're up to with tennis. Huz took the owlets to the local tennis club open day and big owlet loved it. We thought of formal lessons, but really, at the moment she's just interested in learning how to hit the ball over the net, play and have fun. And that's something we have around here by the bucketload.
10 October 2010
A couple of people have asked for this recipe after I posted about it for Huz's birthday. It really is the yummiest cake. Even yummier when you can make it with ingredients from your own garden.
Rhubarb Lemon Cake
4-5 rhubarb stalks cut into 2cm pieces
65g (1/3 cup) brown sugar (we sometimes use rapadura)
125g soft butter
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2tbsp lemon juice
150g (1cup) plain flour
50g (1/3 cup) self raising flour
100ml sour cream
icing sugar to serve
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
Butter a 20cm springform cake tin, line the sides and bottom with greaseproof paper and butter lightly.
Toss the rhubarb with brown sugar and set aside.
Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and then the eggs, one by one, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Stir through lemon juice. Sift flours together and fold in carefully, alternating with sour cream. Finally, fold the rhubarb through.
Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Test the cake by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready; if it doesn’t, cook for a further 5 mins and test again.
Allow to cool for 15 mins, then remove from the tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
* from Everyday Cooking by Allan Campion and Michele Curtis - Hardie Grant Books*
9 October 2010
Yup, its an eyeful alright... Warmer weather and fresh air on the belly feels gooood :) We've commenced full scale nesting mode here. Perhaps inspired by looking at our calendar and realising that the number of social engagements between now and well, you know what, mean that our productive weekends together are extremely limited... We've been moving furniture in the lounge room and making space for the pool, ticking things off the list. I spent much of today in the kitchen, stockpiling. A one woman Mamabake. Turning my thoughts to afterward, as I've done twice before before, filling the freezer... I'm lucky that we'll have my gorgeous Mum here to support us in the first few days and I have a bunch of wonderful women around who are always happy to help or drop off a meal. I remember a time where it wasn't always this way though. When big owlet came along we were the first among our friends to have a baby. After we came home from the hospital, the house was cold and smelled stale. I slipped on cat poo in the doorway, landing on my back to protect big owlet (never mind the stitches, thank-you!). It took an hour to warm the lounge room up, get comfy and settle in. Then the babymoon began. Finally in our own space, we snuggled up and looked after each other and got to know each other - and empty the freezer. But we could have done with a little extra help at times. Just practical stuff. Visitors had come to the hospital, but gave us space at home, which was lovely, but sometimes hard. Second time around the house was warm and sunny and smelled like home, because we never left it. Mum was there and nurtured us beautifully. Friends dropped off meals rather than flowers and we lived off the stockpile for a good few weeks after Mum went home. It was the way a babymoon should be. This time around we have the babymoon thing down, I reckon. Its a lovely quiet time for us, spent breathing in our new tiny person. Generally we prefer no visitors for the first week, but its a wait and see thing on the day, dependent on how we're all feeling...
After big owlet joined us, when I visited a new mother, I'd always take a meal with me. This was sometimes met with a degree of surprise and extreme gratitude. An understanding. But its not always easy to know what to do after a friend or relative has given birth. Wanting to help, but not knowing exactly how. Often its even harder to ask for help when you're the new mum. You want to feel capable, like its all under control... Superwoman is heavily overrated though and you can never get back those first few weeks. Gently is the way to go.
Here's a fantastic list of things family and friends can do to support new parents, prepared by the awesome Canadian midwife and wise woman, Gloria Lemay. I wish I'd had it first time round or I'd read it when wondering how to support people around me who had birthed. Visit her blog for the full post and for a wander around.
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.
8 October 2010
We love fridays here. They start slowly and seem to continue that way... Huz works from home on fridays, so we get just that little extra time to sleep in, take our time eating breakfast... and he still starts work earlier than usual! What's lovely about it is that we can check in with him during the day. Today we cleared the breakfast table and sat down nearby to do some drawing together before wandering off to do our own things... and receiving a welcome interruption...
Our neighbour just popped in to show us this little guy. A baby brushtail possum, orphaned overnight, that she's caring for. I suspect the owlets might be visiting next door a bit in the near future.
7 October 2010
Making new from old again... these queen sized sheets have been waiting to become a king-sized quilt cover for a while now. Their time has come.
I'm also reading Selvedge and enjoying wandering around blogland this blogtober. I'm gathering inspiration for things I might like to do further down the track when life finds a new kind of normal.
More inspiration at Kirsty's.
6 October 2010
5 October 2010
Well my gorgeous Huz celebrated his birthday yesterday and elected to spend it at home, just hanging out with us. Lucky us :) We had a lovely floaty day filled with sunshine and cuddles... The owlets spent the morning making cards and little owlet dragged me into the kitchen at the first available moment to make the cake - the highlight of any birthday for her :)
Mmmmm, rhubarb and lemon cake... yum!
4 October 2010
The owlets have been playing with terracotta and we've moved beyond pinch pots to the exciting world of coil pots. Big owlet is particularly enjoying learning some techniques and hearing about when I first learned them, how old I was. Ash trays? Really?? Yuck!! I've shown her some pots we have around the house that I made using similar techniques. She's loving the connection and making useful things. Its been lovely to do something tactile with both the owlets, getting our hands dirty and playing with shapes, telling stories... Best of all, big owlet has been going back the next day and applying the skills she's learned to create something completely independently. Independence has been a bit of a theme around here of late, but more on that next time...
3 October 2010
We've been out an about enjoying the day, picnics at the park and a spring fair and all that, but I'm so happy to return home. Our attention is returning to our little nest and making sure it feels comfy and clean as we slowly give it all a freshen up and spring clean... I suppose also because I seem to be spending more time here... retreating, nesting, waiting... yeah, I'm antisocial right now, a little bit fragile and sometimes moody, and that's ok. Every time I leave the house I'm asked when I'm due and do I know what I'm having? Yesterday I didn't even have to leave the front porch and someone asked me... I know its just peeps making friendly, polite conversation, but, well you know... I feel rather... on display...
Just to answer the question, in case you were wondering: Not sure when the baby will come. History tells me later than the estimated due date, so I'm not telling. Babies choose their own birthdays anyhow and I don't know what this little one has in mind... and for the second part of the question - it's a surprise. That answer is usually met with disappointment these days, but I suppose we're an old fashioned bunch. We found out when big owlet was on the way, but that was quite a different journey. Practice child and all that... Second time round we went the surprise route and Huz summed it up beautifully when he described that magical moment when you look at your child for the first time and you see them and all that they are before taking a peek and discovering whether they are a boy or girl... So we prefer surprises.
We are in the home stretch and the warmer weather is signaling that for me. It won't be long, but long enough and I'm intending to enjoy it all. I'm really looking forward to slowing down some more, taking my time, meeting this little one and when the time is right, venturing down our front path and out into the world again.
2 October 2010
You know you're Tasmanian when you've been here five years and at the first sign of sunshine you fling open all the doors, have an ice cream, mow the lawn, roll around in the freshly cut grass, move to the shade because its too hot, then you watch the owlets scooter around the neighbour's driveway and run through the sprinkler nude...
you marvel at the growth in the garden then go for a drive to enjoy dinner by the water before popping the owlets to bed early. Then you find out it was only 17 degrees today....
Daylight savings starts tomorrow and the mercury is set to hit 20 degrees. Big owlet is hoping for swimming at the beach after cleaning her room... with the fan on thank-you very much! Its a heat wave after all!!
1 October 2010
Well there's lots of snow on the mountain, but the days seem to be warming up again in our neighbourhood. The forecast for the start of October looks brilliant! Today we braved it, left scarves and gloves at home, grabbed the knitting and headed to our little local beach at the end of the street. Its been a while since we spent some time there. We're usually just passing through while the antarctic chill freezes our ears off. Big owlet spent the time climbing the big rocks and working out how to crack open mussels and inspecting them.
Little owlet was more interested in sand castles and wishing flowers grew on the beach before her usual "OMG I've been out in nature too long!!" response kicked in.
I was all about texture and knitting.
Today marks the first day of blogtoberfest and I've signed up again to join in the fun. One post each day. Might be a fun way to pass the weeks before our little one arrives. Might be completely crazy and have me tearing my hear out trying to think of things to blog while I'm retreating into my cave... Lets see...