Asher's Bedtime Story

The evening routine is pretty arduous here at the moment. After a week of evening stuff happening (friend's birthday dinners, Diwali, etc) Asher hasn't been going to sleep til around 9pm and it's taking it's toll. Particularly the two nights last week where Sanj wasn't home - all I wanted was to get the kid to sleep so I could sit down with the TV and a glass of wine. Anyhow, a new evening routine is emerging. Bath, dinner, desert (often a smoothy, a.k.a shaky), teeth, toilet, night nappy, books, story then sleep. I've been keeping Kiran in with us while I read books, then telling the same story that Asher always asks for: the hare and the tortoise. Yesterday he asked me if I wanted him to tell me the princess story and, not having told him any stories with princesses I was very interested. It went something like this:

Once upon a time the princess forgot her glass shoe. She left it on the step. But it was broken, so she took it inside and put it in the bin and it made a big noise. A really big noise. And then they lived happily ever after.

Tonight's story had a "really big puffer fish" a shark and a golden seagull, but I couldn't follow it enough to write it down. I really love the blend of inventiveness and the everyday - his stories remind me of the tales Tim used to tell as a similar age. He had a whole series about a sausage who lived in a biscuit tin!


I think I'm ready to Move On

Nah, not giving up blogging, getting divorced or quitting my job, just ready to get the worm farm going again. Back at our old house we had a worm farm for a while. It lived on our balcony for a bit then, during summer when we had no shade for it, we moved it to the garage. Sometime during that hot summer all our worms died. The cause, I'm pretty sure, was dehydration. I felt so bad about it that I couldn't even look at the damn worm farm for ages - those little wrigglies were in my care and I LET THEM DIE! Ugh. I still feel bad about it. Luckily their decomposed little bodies went into the garden when we moved house. So, that was maybe three years ago now and I think I'm ready to start again. I've located the plastic worm farm tubs we had (they were sent to my mothers' garage because I couldn't face looking at them) and they are being delivered next week. I'm back to checking out vermicomposting sites and forums (I learnt heaps from them last time, the hottest tip was to leave a light on for the first few nights so they don't all try and escape from your worm farm - it worked a treat) and planning where it's going to live (just outside the apartment on the kitchen side. Must get a piece of old carpet to put over them to protect them from the summer sun. Wetting it down will be like aircon for the little fellas). Wish me luck - I'll report back when I have something to actually report.

Also, for future reference, do not put metal things in the microwave. Even if that metal is just a tiny bit of aluminium on the top of a bottle from the bottom of the crown seal. If you do you will scare yourself so much that you aren't quite sure whether you got an electric shock turning the microwave off because you are so freaked, wired and jumpy. You would think that was something I wouldn't have needed to learn the hard way, wouldn't you?


Finger lickin' good?

So, I didn't manage to get the neighbours over for cake - I cooked delicious little pear cakes but when I went over they weren't home. I could have prevented this problem by inviting them before I wanted them to actually come over, but embarrassingly I was too shy. Ugh. Maybe this weekend...

Our little Kiz has found his fingers in a big way. He loves them! He loves having such fun wriggly things tangling themselves up in his mouth (they probably taste sweaty too!) and he delights in the wet slurping that he can feel from the hand end. So much fun! He's also started getting into having toys about. I use the term 'toys' quite loosely - anything that he can grab at and perhaps get to his mouth. The favourite would be the play gym thing that we got for Asher at a similar age but really anything that stays in his hands reasonably well will do. Asher is still really lovely with him and roll-plays lots with his baby doll. I don't think I have anything to worry about in the jealousy department until Kiran gets mobile and starts wanting to play with whatever Asher has in his hands. That will be interesting.


Status Update

A few days ago, it must have been Tuesday, I was pottering around the house and heard what sounded to me like our neighbors moving house. I was dissapointed and angry at myself for not inviting them around - they brought us cake when we moved in, flowers at Kiran's birth and have been just lovely but we haven't got around to having them over. The next day I realised that it was the neighbors on the other side, who we don't know at all, who may have been moving - it certainly wasn't the lovely people from number 46! So, realising that I was really angry at myself for not making an effort I decided that this weekend we would invite them over for cake in the afternoon. I am generally really crap with my good intentions - all plan, no follow-through so I'm putting it our here so I do it.

Anyone who isn't interested in micro-detail regarding my kids can stop reading now!

Last week, at three months and one day Kiran flung himself over (front-to-back) he's also noticably turned from an air breathing foetus into a baby - he's more alert, he sleeps for longer stretches and he startles more easily. He also smiles whenever anyone talks to him and vocalises lovely little magpie noises, which are sometimes quite loud and assertive, when he has something important to say. I'm sad to say I've only just noticed him sleeping for longer stretches during the day because it's only this week that I have put him down for a morning sleep in his bed, rather than getting him up and carting him all over the place. I think I'm going to have to have more at-home time built into our week to let the poor kid sleep a bit more. Poor second child!

Watching him find his hands and be able to get them (and sometimes whatever they are holding, if he's lucky) into his mouth has been lovely - first he waves both hands about and then, when they find each other he clings on for dear life, you can almost see the knuckles going white with the effort. Then he brings them up to his mouth and fits as much of the 'double fist' in as he can. Once they are in there he anjoys the dual sensation - the feel of the cool fingery things writhing around in his mouth and the lovely warm sucking sensation that he feels radiating up from the ends of his arms. He can amuse himself this way for significant periods of time now, allowing me to potter about and get a few things done.

Asher is also coming along in leaps and bounds - I think I mentioned that he can use cutlery, holding his fork still while he cuts with his knife? Well, the other day he also surprised me by peddalling his trike around the back deck. This doesn't seem like much of an achievement for a three year old, but the erganomics (is that the right word?) of the trike are such that it actually looks really difficult to pedal - he needs both co-ordination and quite a lot of strength. After having a go on another kid's learner bike (with training wheels) he came home and could suddenly manage his own trike. He's also been being really good (sporadically). Tuesday we spent a lot of time together at home without anyone else around which is often a recipe for both of us to get irritated, but there wasn't so much as a raised voise all day! And by the time Sanj got home both kids were bathed! I'm kinda proud of both of us for that!


Singapore Trip roundup

Flight over:
Possibly for the first time ever both Sanjay and I were ready almost half an hour before we needed to leave. It was only because we had the time wrong and the minibus was due half an hour after we thought it was coming. So we, with kids and luggage, was ready and waiting when the minibus arrived. We then went and picked up Emma, Brendan and baby Maddie and headed off to the airport.
Ready to go!

The flight was easier than expected. I was all super-mum prepared with little surprises for Asher in labelled brown paper bags (clever internet people suggest wrapped gifts, I'm not super-mum enough to wrap things, but I can arrange brown paper bags and some sticky tape) and NOT ONE of my carefully prepared treats got used. To help keep the kids ears from hurting we gave Asher a lollipop on take-off which he was only allowed to open when we were in the air and Emma and I breastfed the babies as soon as we felt the urge to pop our own ears. I had made the mistake previously of taking the suggestion to breastfeed 'on take-off' too literally and I wasn't caught out this time.

We landed in Singapore about 8:30 and there was a driver waiting for us who took us to Tim and Jen's place while the others went to their hotel. Asher went straight to sleep while we had a gin and tonic before heading to bed.

We all got up early and met Emma, Brenden and Maddie at Singapore Zoo and had 'Breakfast with the Orang Utans' which was just awesome. Big hotel-style buffet breakfast with the Orang Utans sitting only metres away, with a talk about the animals and a photo op. We spent the rest of the morning at the zoo and we were all really impressed, despite being regular visitors to Taronga - the animals look happy and well cared for (lots of interesting things for them to play with, like Taronga) but the really cool part was how well the enclosures were designed, making me feel like I was walking through the jungle encountering animals.

After the zoo we were all tired and hungry and caught taxis to a nearby Indian place that Tim and Jen have eaten at before (delicious!) before heading back to the apartment(/hotel for the others) for a rest and a shower before heading out for Chilli Crab.

Monday was a public holiday in Singapore so Tim had the day off. Since Kiran had suffered a bit in the heat the day before I wanted to hit one of the big air conditioned malls that Singapore is famous for. We went to one that specialised in kids things and browsed while Tim and Jen took Asher off for a play in a big toy shop and a haircut!

In the afternoon we went to a place not far from Tim and Jen's apartment that has big tanks where one can hire a rod and fish for prawns. But that was just a side-attraction for us - we went for the 'toothless fish foot spa' where you put your feet in large tiled tanks and little fish come and nibble off the dead skin. It was hard going getting our feet in and watching the tiny fish chomp away but once they were in, if you stopped thinking about it, it was OK. There was no doubt that our feet and lower legs felt smoother afterwards.

In the later afternoon we went and had a sunset cruise on the river and took a walk near the Merlion and the 'Durian' on our way to Gluttons Bay for dinner. Unfortunately it started to rain so instead of going to Glutton's Bay we ended up going to a rather touristy pizza place. Nice pizza, beer and best of all Asher came and snuggled onto my lap and went to sleep. Because the kids were all asleep we went back to Emma and Brendan's hotel room so Emma and I could take Jen for a drink. The boys stayed with the kids and had a drink on the balcony (or would have, if baby Maddie had been more settled).

Our last full day in Singapore. breakfast at a the hawker centre near Tim and Jen's place, then an attempt at Orchard Rd shopping. Asher wasn't really into this idea and for the first time during the trip started to drive me crazy so Jen and I headed toward little India with Kirin (via Starbucks and some more browsing on Orchard Rd) and Sanj took Asher back to the apartment (via a wine shop). We ended up looking at gold in the Mustafa centre for a bit but having to head back before buying anything or getting to Little India proper. On Tuesday night we packed and then Tim and Jen prepared a lovely dinner at home for all of us.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
We headed to the ferry terminal early Wednesday morning for the boat to Bintan Island Club Med. Jen had helped us get a really good deal and it turned out to be a really awesome experience. Club Med are, perhaps obviously, really well set up for kids. If you book with a baby you get 'baby toiletries' (powder and baby oil) in your room along with a cot, sterilizer and baby bath. Because we had a preschooler as well we had an adjoining room for the little ones.

We spent the next few days jumping in the pool, hanging out at the beach bar, going for a kayak, drinking iced coffee in the panorama bar (the one with a view), sitting beside the pool drinking mocktails/cocktails, eating gigantic buffet breakfast/lunch/dinner, getting a massage and lounging in our rooms (in the aircon) reading.

Asher spent two afternoons at kids club (Petite Club Med for 2-4 year olds) which we sold to him as 'holiday kindy' and therefore, just like regular kindy, something that's just gotta happen. He cried a bit when Sanj left him the first day, but was a lot better the second day - which means the experience can't have been too bad.

All too soon it was time for the ferry back to Singapore, a visit to some family friends and then a night at the very lovely airport hotel for our 5am check in the next day.

Flight home
Again, apart from the 5am check in check in, the trip home was perfect. Asher was a better behaved than anyone can reasonably expect from a three year old on a seven hour flight - he sat quietly in his seat and listened to music, stuck stickers in his sticker book and played 'memory' with Sanjay. When we got home my brother Michael had cleaned up and brought supplies and after a quick dinner and a load of washing we all went to bed early, thinking what a fabulous trip we'd had.

We would happily travel with Emma, Brendan and Maddie again and we would all love to go to Club Med again. Singapore was also more interesting than expected and we really needed another two days there at least - to see Singapore and to hang out with Tim and Jen a bit more (I was sad I didn't get to have a beer and a chat with Tim - whenever we were together he was wrangling Asher!).

The End
(more photos, of course, on Flickr)


All's well that ends well

Good morning Asher!
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
The swelling in Asher's mouth has gone down, and decreased our distress. The tooth fairy was a success, although we haven't played the game yet and Asher's fever vanished and both the boys are now a picture of health. I'm a bit worried about the sign at Asher's Kindy that said there had been a confirmed case of measles at the the centre because baby K isn't due for his Measles, Mumps Rubella vaccine until he's 12 moths old. I would just *hate* him to get sick again, particularly while we are away on holiday.

Speaking of the holiday - I am getting really excited. Sanjay and I both need some time out from the daily grind, even if we will still be doing the very much full-time job of parenting a preschooler and an infant. I'm collecting fun stuff for Asher to do on the plane - I found a nice sticker book today and I'm considering a maths workbook that, embarrassingly enough, I think he would really love. It deals with shape recognition and sequencing and is designed for 3-6 year olds and I think he would really dig both the subject matter and the workbook format. The only reason I didn't buy it was because I felt like it was a step on the path to Kumon* and tutoring for the under 6s and that whole over-scheduling thing that freaks me out so much. I suspect I'm overthinking the whole thing and I should have just shelled out the damn $7.95 or whatever.

Planning for the trip is pretty much complete - we are staying with my brother then going with E and B and baby Madi to Club Med. I never thought I was a resorty type of person, particularly the insulated world of Club Med, but I'm really looking forward to a visit to the land of the all-included resort. We are going there to switch off for a bit, not to get ourselves any 'kulcha' - I'll let you know how it all goes when I get back.

By way of a quick developmental update about both kids:

Asher: is on the path to reading by recognising more sight words (maybe about 10?), can concentrate for longer periods of time, is really good at pushing our buttons. Sanjay is slightly concerned about his 'drawing and colouring' so I'm going to look for some activities for him that use pencil skills.

Kiran: is smiling, chuckling and burbling like a lovely little magpie. He gazes at us and tracks us really well within his field of vision. He wakes us between once and three times a night and usually still feeds and goes back to sleep. He's generally a lovely cheerful little chap and a delight to have around.

* I know nothing about Kumon except that the idea of tutoring for Kindy kids freaks me out. I might check out their website now so I can bash them mercilessly or immediately enrol Asher to help him get into a selective high school (people apparently do this!).


I've always wanted to be a fairy!

Tooth Fairy duties have been completed. The tooth has been removed to a secure location, the gift is in place on the top of Asher's bed and gold glitter and shiny gold sequin stars have been left at the gift site and also on the door handle to the balcony (a little hand lotion on the fingers worked a treat). I am WAY more excited about this than he is.

The fairy chose the Very Hungry Catterpillar game because she knows I love board games and card games and I really want Asher to eventually love them too. I'm going to encourage him to bring it with us when we go away and perhaps we can learn to play it with E and B, who enjoy those kinds of games as well.

It's a pity that the poor little guy had a high fever this evening. We dosed him up with Panadol (again) and we're hoping for the best. If its his first ear infection we want to catch it ASAP so it doesn't cause a drama our flight to Singapore. It's far more likely to be a chest infection - he sounds pretty disgusting when he coughs.


When too much drama isn't enough.....

My poor baby lost one of his front teeth today! He went scooting with Sanj after our morning trip to the local cafe and Sanjay was at him to scoot rather than walk with the scooter. He was apparently going down a fairly gentle hill and braking really well when he took a tumble. His tooth came out, cleanly, there is a big gruesome gash on the inside of his top lip, a small graze on his forehead and the top lip is swollen, bruised and very slightly grazed. Sanjay called me straight away, before there was any clear idea of the damage (well, he'd picked up the surprisingly clean tooth from the pavement so he had *some* idea) and I was really glad that they were still with my family - my mother went into 'nurse mode' and calmed both Sanjay and I down considerably when she worked out that there was little likelihood of permanent damage. I'm really really glad the kid was wearing his helmet (or, as Asher calls it, his 'helment')

The bleeding had stopped by the time they got home (they were less than 10 minutes walk away). We gave him Panadol and got him to rinse his mouth with salty water a fair bit. This afternoon we called a family friend who happens to be a paediatric dentist. Apparently we did the right things - don't put baby teeth back in because it doesn't help, it can cause damage and there is a risk of infection. Check the gum for debris and if the tooth has been pushed up at all look for signs of broken bone in the top jaw (a line or ridge in the gum or something 'wrong' with the kids smile). Don't brush the area with toothpaste while it's tender just wipe the surrounding teeth with a cotton bud dipped in salty water. Then all you need to do is wait til the kid grows his or her adult teeth which happens, on average, at six-and-a-half. Meanwhile you have to look at you little one and their gappy face every single day and think about what you could have done to avoid the accident. At this stage poor Sanjay is beating himself up bigtime ('I knew he didn't sleep well last night and when he's tired he gets clumsy') and I am wondering if we should see a dentist before we go to Singapore (not sure why, just feels like we should get an official 'all clear').

It never rains but it pours, so the saying goes, and I've had enough of illness and injury around my kids!



That whole post-every-day-for-a-week thing didn't work out too well yet, did it? Truth is I completely forgot about it until yesterday and yesterday I was busy with the normal routines AND making a birthday cake for Michael. Witness:
Unfortunately the photo really doesn't do justice to how cute young Michael is or how incredibly pink the icing on the cake was. It does show up my messy living room quite nicely though. I used Megan's 'Never Fail Chocolate Cake' recipe but before I read the 'method' I was already creaming the butter and sugar so I made it the same way one would make a traditional cake (cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat, add alternate bits of dry ingredients and liquid). I also added a dash of booze (in this case Marsala) in the water. It worked really well but wasn't as good as the first time I tasted it when Megan made it.

The other news I have is that we are going to Singapore! We booked tickets last Friday and will be travelling with friends E and B and their ~6 month old daughter baby M. Obviously the boys need passports and because mine has expired I need one too. I am getting mine in my married name which means I had to complete the whole application rather than just getting a renewal, which was expensive and a hassle. I sent the applications in last Friday and although the photos are pretty horrible (Asher's makes him look SO SAD) the passports should be back in time for travel on the 19th. We are working out accommodation arrangements and I've started freaking out out packing for two adults, a preschooler and an infant. If anyone has any good websites for travel with kids (more than just 'take it slow and remember to take something to amuse them on the plane') or suggestions of what infants wear in tropical climates or what to amuse active preschoolers with on long flights (besides phenergan!) I'd much appreciate it.


Kiran Update

We went to the Early Childhood Health Centre (ECHC) yesterday (when I started this post the visit was yesterday, now I'd have to say 'Thursday' instead) for Kiran's 8 week check. It was all good and apart from the Whooping Cough he is fine and growing like a weed. In fact it appears that he put on around 500g since last Tuesday's paediatrician visit. That is a lot of breastmilk! When I told Sanjay he suddenly realised why I've been so hungry recently and why I've been a bit tired (I feel like a Cheshire-mother, I might vanish at any moment, leaving just my milky breasts).

As well as getting longer and chubbier he's developing in other ways. He seems to recognise my face from several metres away now, he will lie on the floor and look at his toys or lie on the bed and gaze out the window for ten minutes at a time or more. I don't remember Asher being able to amuse himself for that long with any regularity until he was much older. He's very communicative and loves to gaze into my eyes, smile and then we have 'conversations' where I ask him questions and he vocalises with little 'ahs' back to me.

Kiran is also getting into a really good nighttime routine (will writing about it jinx it?). He goes to bed between 8 and 9:30 then wakes for a feed between11:30 and 1:30. He generally wakes again around 6 or 6:30am and Asher usually wakes and comes in before 7am so we are effectively awake for the day, even if Kiran sometimes goes back to sleep.

The little guy also had his first bottle last night. I went out for dinner with the Mummies and left both boys at home with Sanj. I expressed some milk the other day (almost 100ml) when I was feeling a bit full and so I got another 100ml yesterday which I hoped would be enough. It turns out he was a little reluctant to drink from the bottle at first but once he got the idea had the 100ml and a bit more from me when I got home before he went back to sleep. Dinner out with the mummies was great for me - just the tonic I needed after feeling a bit caged and tense for the last week or two. We were talking about how everyday things slip by so fast, particularly with second children, and how we should all be keeping a diary everyday and I thought about how irregularly I blog and made a pact to write something every day for a week. That seems a bit poor in the light of day, like I should be doing more, but I really want to do it and I hate over-committing. So, stay tuned for a post, however brief, every day for a week!


Art Gallery Trip

Asher showing us his art
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
Today we went to one of the Art Gallery of NSW's Tours for Tots programs (http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/for_kids/tours_for_tots). My friend Karen booked it ages ago, when I was in early pregnancy, and I didn't know if I'd be able to cope getting into the city to the Gallery and doing the activities with Asher with a newborn. It turns out that it's OK - I should have left earlier as an hour isn't long enough to get there without dragging Asher throught the streets of the city. Lucky he's a tough little thing who normally likes walking otherwise it would have ended in tears. I also couldn't have done it without the wonderful Karen who not only booked for me but also, with less than 10 weeks to go of her own pregnancy, got down on the floor with the kids when it was hard for me to manage then took Asher to the beach with her and her daughter for a few hours. They are due back any minute (I've had a rest, looked after still-sick Kiran, done a few phonecall chores, done a load of washing and prepared dinner). I really don't know how people manage without such excellent mates - I don't know what I can do to repay my awesome friends.

The Tot program was good - best for relatively calm and attentive kids though, so even though they say 3-5 year olds it seemed a bit tough for some of the younger and less compliant ones. We looked at four artworks and I thought the analysis was good and still totally appropriate for the preschooler set. I also wanted to bring the John Olsen work we looked at home with me, There were two activities that related well to the artworks but perhaps lacked a little. We used stencils to layer sea creatures onto our surfboard shapes (the surfboard will become a picture frame) and used crayons and stickers to decorate sunglasses.

I want to get this posted and the bath run for when the kids descend, so I'll post this now, without re-reading.


My lovely lads

I don't want to be always comparing my two boys but it's hard not to. I'm not just comparing them though, I'm comparing my feelings then and now too. When Asher was less than 12 weeks old I would dread any day that I knew Sanjay would be late home from work. This time around it's so different. Sanj told me this morning that he was going to be late, but that his parents would pick Asher up from Kindy and give him a bath and dinner. I felt a flood of relief - I didn't have much to achieve today so this evening is going to be blessedly calm. With both Sanjay and Asher getting home at around 7pm, and the baby pinning me to the couch to cluster feed from 4:30 to 7:30 most nights all I can do is sit here and enjoy the quiet house and wish I had remembered to get myself a big drink of water before I sat down. When Asher was tiny I would have had to bounce and walk him around for those afternoon hours, and even with rocking and bouncing and feeding and singing he would still have howled for quite a lot of that time.

The baby, despite being snuffly with what I think is cold rather than just more of the pertussis cough, is lying in my lap gazing at me, grinning and vocalising when I look down at him and talk to him. I think that he's developing a pattern of having a good sleep in the morning and a good long sleep in his hammock in the afternoon and a snooze in the Ergo in the middle of the day. He also seems to just wake up up twice a night most nights, and so far he hasn't been to difficult to get back to sleep. If I followed the time honoured wisdom of 'sleeping when the baby sleeps' I'd actually get enough sleep! Instead I walk around with him in the Ergo or try to eat and get some washing done and the kitchen tidied. Maybe next week I'll get a rest during the day.

And before I get even more distracted, the real reason I wanted to post was to note a few of the cute things Asher says and does before he changes and they slip away for ever. After three years of no TV he's now crazy for it. It is a fondness that I think will wane fairly quickly as long as we set reasonable limits and don't get too strung up about it. He doesn't watch actual TV though, just his 'movies' which are a Bindy Irwin DVD and a few Wiggles and Thomas DVDs. He puts them on himself and then uses the 'ke-mote' (remote) to adjust the volume or get the appropriate segment of the DVD to play. Drat, the baby is grizzling but I really need to write about how under the thumb Asher's grandfather is sometime and how great those grandparents are, particularly since we've had Kiran.


The Emergency Department

The Emergency Department
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
This proves I'm a bad blogger - I had a whole week in hospital with The Little Kiran without updating here.

The short version is that I went to the GP because baby K wasn't breathing right and was coughing and seemed unwell. Since he's so little I took him to the doctor who said she thought it was probably bronchiolitis and that we should go to the emergency department because the baby probably needed oxygen and monitoring. We went, spent almost 24 hours there (check the photo - thiswas my chair in the ED. It unfolds to a squeeky, narrow, vinyl covered 'bed') and then we were admitted to the childrens ward.

Kiran was still in respiratory distress and needing a bit of oxygen and then, on Friday the swab results came back and it turned out that he had pertussis (whooping cough). The coughing fits started to get more outrageous as they entered the paroxysmal stage - he had an apnea after a coughing fit on Friday night, and another one on Saturday night. By Sunday he was kind of flat and waxy and I was pretty unhappy about his condition but there was no apnea. Monday night there was another apnea, and this time there was not much of a coughing fit beforehand and I kinda lost my cool about the whole situation. So of course, being a baby, he started to pick up on Tuesday and by Thursday he was a different baby and able to come home without me freaking out.

So I was cooped up in a hospital room with Kiran for over 8 days, leaving once a day for half an hour to head downstairs to get a coffee. My birthday was on the Friday and my family brought Pizzas. Sanjay spent his time looking after Asher, bringing food and clothing for me and trying to fit some work in around the edges. Our families were awsome and helped out wherever they could.

I might fill in some details later, but there was one funny moment: I was sitting in the ED breastfeeding and a nurse came over and was talking to me. After about half a minute she realised I was feeding and apologised profusely and closed the curtains. Um, lady, thanks but you were talking to me for half a minute before you realised, so I'm not being that indiscreet and I'm not fussed. Also, don't close the curtains because the nurses desk is my source of amusement here. It made me chuckle.

I processed my experience by taking photos and there are pics up on Flickr. Happily we are home now and getting healthier by the day. Kiran is a lovely baby, 7 weeks old tomorrow. He smiles and chuckles and gazes at me. He loves being carried in the Ergo and grizzles in the evening just like any other baby. We are so happy to be home, safe and healthy!


One month old!

Baby K turned 4 weeks old yesterday! He's a lovely mellow baby but I've worked out that the routine we have doesn't really allow me to blog very easily. He's growing really well and although I haven't weighed him I can tell because he's starting to grow out of the smallest clothes. The Bonds 0000 Wondersuits are almost too tight now and the Target 00000 growsuit doesn't fit at all anymore. He loves being in the Ergo, he sleeps well in the Amby hammock and goes to sleep in the car. Unlike Asher he reliably sleeps on 'non-living surfaces' and is often content to lie around and look out the window or something for minutes at a time - sometimes 10 or 15 minutes, which leaves me free to attend to Asher. The more I live with this easy baby the more I realise that I was not insane to think that Asher was quite needy when he was a newborn and I was a first time mother. In retrospect he behaved more like a close-to-term premmie with his neediness - feeding lots but slowly and falling asleep during feeds but not being able to stay asleep without contact with an adult.

In terms of the routine of our week, I spend Mondays and Tuesdays with both kids, usually with Megan and Karen and their kids too, and for most of that time we are out and about so no time for blogging. Not that being out and about is the main thing stopping me from writing anything on those days -a newborn and an active 3 year old who doesn't nap are really enough.

Wednesdays I usually try to stay home most of the day. I'm usually sore from carting Kiran about in the Ergo for hours on end (5 hours of carrying 5+ kilos will wear you down!) and the house often looks like a pig-sty so I gaze at the baby, do a few loads of laundry and attempt to get an afternoon nap and make dinner. Not once have I managed all of that (today I made beef stew in the morning and got the washing on but Kiran won't let me nap, so I'm cross-legged on the couch with the baby in my lap, periodically getting up to raid the kitchen for chocolate).

Thursday and Friday are for running errands and hanging out with the baby and maybe catching up with a friend for coffee. I've been managing to keep up with the laundry on those days too and I'm hoping to start being able to prepare dinner and pick Asher up from Kindy sometimes too.

Weekends are family time - a lot of the time this means Sanjay hangs out with Asher and I look after the baby. This works really well but I worry that I'll lose my strong connection with Asher and Sanj won't bond well with Kiran - maybe I'm just neurotic and looking for something to worry about?

The rhythms of the days are pretty similar - we wake up for the day when Kiran wakes between 6:45am and 8am. Sanjay and Asher get up and start breakfast while I catch an extra half an hours sleep or feed the baby. We get ourselves ready to go out, and between 8:30 (today) and 10:30am we manage to get ourselves together and get out. Baths for the kids start around 4:30-5pm with dinner then bed for Asher by around 7:30. He seems to be sleeping better now that I'm a bit more strict with bed time. Sanj and I watch TV or clean up or Sanj works while I read until the baby wakes and then I feed him and head to bed. Sanjay either finishes of his work or gets ready for the next day and comes to bed after me. This means I rarely get to sleep before 11pm and Sanj is sometimes up until midnight, which would be OK except we have between 1 and 3 wake-ups to feed baby K. So, not quite enough sleep, but not too bad, considering the baby sleeps well, and generally goes straight back to sleep after he's been fed and changed.

Asher has been just delightful with the new baby. Sanjay and I have been very careful to keep his life as consistent as possible with his previous routine. I also try to ensure that it's never 'the baby' when I want him to be quiet or when he can't have my attention. For instance I tell him that we need to go inside because I'm cold, rather than telling him that the baby needs feeding and he's responding really well. He needs more help with things like feeding himself and putting his shoes on and he gets really whingy sometimes, but he's never been anything but extremely loving with his little brother. We also tell him how much Kiran likes him and what a good big brother he is and Asher being Asher likes that too. He's getting all his sillys out when he's with his mate Miles - the two of them yell and rumble and behave like lads which is simultaneously irritating and hilarious.

The poor little Kiran seems to have a cold - probably from Asher - his chest sounds rattle-y and he's coughing quite a lot. It doesn't seem to be bothering him too much though - he spent ages gazing into my eyes today, trying to talk to me, copying my facial expressions and smiling. The baby, snuggled into the nest of my crossed legs is starting to complain and need feeding. I can't manage much one handed typing, so that's it from me for now....


Baby Kiran: Birth Story Placeholder

Our little baby boy was born at 10:22pm on Tuesday the 30th of July 2009. He weighed a respectable 3.1kg and we have named him Kiran. I'll come back and post the birth story later, but I wanted a placeholder here so I make sure I come back to it!


Pre-Labour hurts as much as 'real' labour!

When I went into labour with Asher I knew immediately. It was four days before my due date and I woke up at around 1am, my waters broke, and I had good strong contractions straight away. I laboured happily at home through the night and knew when it was time to go to hospital - around 6am. When I got to hospital I was 7-8cm dilated. Around four difficult hours later there was an extra little person in the world. No false starts, no arsing about.

This time is so so different. I keep thinking that 'this is it' that today will be this baby's birthday. On Monday it really seemed likely - At 9am I found myself weeping on the stairs to the garage, too sore to go up or down. I talked to my mum, who knows me, and my pain threshold, and we decided that this was probably labour, and it was probably 'back labour' - when a baby is facing the wrong way (still head down, just with it's head not facing the mother's spine) and one goes into labour it HURTS. It's called 'back labour' and generally you don't get any recovery time between contractions it just REALLY REALLY HURTS.

I paced about at home and waited for my mum to come over while Sanjay dropped Asher over to a friends place, then I decided that walking would be good so I walked over for coffee. Since I had promised my OB at Friday's appointment that I would come in if things started happening as his concern was that it might turn out to be a quick one ("don't hide from us Keda, we aren't going to do anything to you") so, since walking was good, so I decided to walk up in the direction of the hospital (normally 30-40 minutes brisk walk away). I kept walking, slooooowly and painfully til I got there. By this point it was maybe 1 o'clock and there was no delivery rooms available so I pottered around the 'lounge' terrified to sit down because I felt like I'd be stuck for ever if I did. Things had calmed down by this point but when they had a free delivery room (where the monitoring equipment is) and I hopped up on the bed for a CTG. At that moment I really knew it was all over - the 'labour' stopped entirely. The pain was dramatically less, I could think clearly and I knew I wasn't in labour (any more?). When they examined me I was 1-2cm dilated and my cervix was quite thin. Ho hum. My OB came by and we had a chat - he said I was probably looking at 6 hours of synto if they tried to get things going that way so we agreed that sounded like a bad idea for a girl who doesn't want an epidural so instead I would go home and rest. So an hour (or 2?) of monitoring, a toasted cheese sandwich and plenty of discomfort but no agony later I was ready to go home. Since this could go on for ages I took some Panadeine Forte (30mg of codeine - usually enough to put me in happy-land snoozeville) and I went to sleep until friends brought Asher home and we all had dinner together.

By Tuesday morning the baby had turned back around to a comparatively comfortable spine-facing position and there wasn't even a hint of labour going on. My OB said we'd talk induction at our 41 week appointment. Since then I've been getting strong braxton-hicks contractions - usually semi-regularly for half a day, then 24 hours or so of nothing. Today the back pain was extreme again and I went to the acupuncturist who put pins in me that might stimulate labour. He wants to take credit if labour starts within twelve hours of the treatment - I'm happy to give anyone credit because at this point I just want labour to start!

It's good that the baby didn't arrive on Asher's birthday though (yesterday). Instead we had a few family and friends around for nibbles and cake in the evening (check out the photos on Flickr - Asher really got into the birthday thing - I'm not sure I've ever seen him so happy!) and I went to sleep thinking that I'd go into labour before morning. Maybe tomorrow will be the day....


Could there be anything cuter...

...than your three year old, about to go to the supermarket with his daddy, coming up to you, saying 'bye' then telling you he needs to kiss 'the baby' and reaching over to tenderly kiss your 38+ week pregnant belly and saying "Hi, I'm going, see you later" and finishing with another kiss before heading off? My heart melted!

But, then again, my emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE at the moment. I screamed at Asher for leaving his toys on the floor (despite the floor not being as toy-strewn as usual) and later I got all dewy at him drinking his babycino. Poor kid is totally confused about what reaction anything he is going to elicit from his mother at the moment. Sanjay is in the same boat, exhorting me to rest as I weepily scrub the sink (and the highchair, and polish the buffet, and do more loads of laundry).

I'm hoping I can go into labour soon as this behaviour is driving all of us just nuts. There are some positive signs - I've been getting crampy contractions on-and-off since Tuesday (it's Saturday today) and the OB/GYN says the baby is engaged and really low. So, a rest? Or should I go and dust the doors? I've noticed the bathroom doors particularly are really quite dusty...


Out of the Mouths of Babes?

Last weekend the three of us were out, and about to sit down in a cafe for a much needed coffee when we realised that none of us had any money in our wallets. We were wandering in search of a cash machine when Sanjay said "hang on, there's a TAB" and started to pull a slip of paper out of his pocket and walk off with Asher. At this point I was wondering what on earth was going on but it turns out he had been at the pub the day before (with work!) and there had been some question about which horse had one a race and Sanjay still had the betting slip with him. I stood around and grumpily waited for them to get back, assuming that I'd still have to find an ATM but they came back and Sanjay had a strange expression on his face. He'd got lucky and yesterdays ticket paid enough for us to have coffee and cake but Asher, on seeing Sanjay hand over a slip of paper and receive money in return had asked "Daddy, is this a bank?"


Bedtime Story

Tomorrow it's one calendar month until this baby is due. I feel huge and ungainly, my maternity clothes barely cover my bump, I'm tired and I need to pee all the time. I also have a cold, which is adding to the crankiness and the whingyness. So, to spare you all the force of my grouching I'm going to tell you the bedtime story that Asher tells me every night. After Sanjay has read books with him I go in to tell Asher one of three stories. I tell him my version of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Bears or The Hare And The Tortoise. Before I start I ask him which story he wants, he tells me he wants the story of The Tortoise, Just the Tortoise. I tell him I don't know that one and he needs to tell me that story and he begins:

Once upon a time there were three tortoises, Luki, Juki, Ooki. They lived in a field and ate grass and flowers and they all lived happily ever after.

Sometiems there is one tortoise, occasionally five and sometimes there names are different, but always a variation on the theme. Whether there are one, three or five tortoises there are still only three names. Occasionally they live in a house (as well as the field) or they eat grass and flowers for breakfast, or some other slight variation. Despite the limited dramatic tension (or any plot *at all*) I find this story quite soothing - feel free to use it anytime you are trying to put me to sleep!


So, no excuses for not blogging this time, just general distractedness, and it's past time for a pregnancy update.

Basically, everything is going swimmingly. The last two ultrasound scans have had the baby measuring around the 30-35 percentile which is great. So great, in fact, that I've decided to skip then next scan, unless there is something specific they want to check for when I go for my fortnightly appointment. I'm still taking 100mg Aspirin every day, I'm trying to remember my multi-vitimins and I've just today purchased some red raspberry leaf tea. Over the last two weeks I've started to get really uncomfortable with the common, grumpy late pregnancy discomforts - varicose veins in my upper thighs and groin that hurt when I've been standing or sitting for too long, a bit of breathlesness all the time, I need to pee every 10 minutes (and it's unsatisfying because there's only a teaspoonfull there!) and my clothes, even maternity clothes, are getting tight and uncomfortable. People say I still look small, but I feel GIANT and like I'm always full (and always slightly peckish, too). However I'm pretty sure the baby's arrival isn't immanant because I'm still only waking up once a night to use the bathroom.

I've only got about six weeks to go before this baby is born, and I'm not really feeling prepared. We don't have a name shortlist that we're really happy with (there are a few girls names we like, but boys are more difficult). I haven't really done any prep for birthing - I'm not as fit or strong as I was when I was pregnant with Asher, because between paid work and mothering and active almost-three-year-old I don't have time for 'luxuries' like Pilates, and there have been no classes and minimal reading. There isn't anything I *really* need for when the baby comes but I still feel really unprepared. I'm making lists like a crazy woman - I want to hire a car capsule and buy a baby bath with a stand but they are easy to come by and I can live without both (we have a reversible car seat that works for a newborn and we have a booster car seat for Asher, but I'm keen on being able to cart the capsule around with the sleeping baby). Basically I'm feeling nesty, but too sore and tired to really do much, except look after Asher (and that's a struggle by itself!).

I'm also feeling a little maudlin because these last few weeks are, in all likelihood, the last times I'll feel a baby wriggling and kicking inside me. Despite all the pain and discomfort of being pregnant there is an undeniably special relationship a mother has with a foetus. It's such a private thing, yet it's on display for everyone and it's such a short time out of a lifetime, but so intense. It's also the closest thing you have to having control over your kids - after they are born they are even more subject to the whims of chance and the universe. I'm feeling ambivalent about our decision to not find out the sex of the baby too - I don't mind if this baby is a boy or a girl, but if I am carrying a boy it is highly unlikely I'll ever have a daughter, which is sad for me. If I have a boy I wonder if I'll want to mourn that loss - it will probably feel disloyal to the little boy, and so I'll stir guilt into the mix as well. I have no doubt that I'll love the little person either way - I guess I already do!

Anyhow, I need to go and lie down for a bit before I attempt to hang the washing out.


Asher cuteness

Asher is sick with some kind of virus today. He gets all limp and feverish for a while and then, as is the way of kids with viruses, he perks right up and is fine for an hour or two and I wonder what on earth I'm doing at home with him, then, of course, he gets flat and clingy again. This morning, while he was perky, we went for a train ride to North Sydney (no idea why - we haven't been there together since he was a baby) and while we were sitting in a cafe he fell asleep on my lap. I can't recall any other instance of that happening. Now he's tootling about the kitchen eating a sour Granny Smith apple wanting to type.

As far as a general update: The potty stuff has been driving me crazy - he's been doing wees in his pants when I'm looking after him, but almost never if I'm not there (I think he's only had two or three accidents at Kindy, and he's been out of nappies there all year). But now that seems to be settling a bit and he's even started doing his poos in the potty. I'm really proud of him.

He can pretty much make his own breakfast now - he's not great with restricting the amount of milk he pours on his Weetbix and we still spread butter more evenly when we make his toast, but he's got all the concepts down and all of the basic manoeuvres. His fine motor skills are coming along too - he writes A, H and occasionally something else (like a D). He's sitting next to me now and asking me to help him write his favourite words - Asher, Daddy and Mummy. His letter recognition is close to 100% and he''s getting closer to sight-reading words besides his own name. Freakishly, he also likes to write his own name backwards - both Sanj and I thought the other was helping him when we saw REHSA typed but no. He spells it out like that for fun with his foam bath letters too.

Sleep is getting better. We've ditched the daytime nap most days so unless he's at Kindy or we're going somewhere in the car around the middle of the day, no snooze. I'm also trying to get him into bed a bit earlier which seems to help. For a while there he insisted on sleeping on the little foam fold out kids couch in the baby's room but we discovered he was scared of the 'bats' in his room. Since Sanj explained that bats don't like to be inside houses and went around to all the doors and windows to show they were secure against bats before bedtime it's been fine. We are slowly getting our evenings back - which will of course end when the new baby arrives, in approximately 8-10 weeks.

Although he's still obsessed with trains he's also very snuggly and gives me, and the baby in my tummy, lots of kisses and cuddles. He's very verbal and loves quoting and mis-quoting lines from his story books and regularly quotes bits of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky (we have the Graeme Base illustrated book) which cracks me up completely. While I remember also wanted to write down a few of the funny things he's been saying before I forget them.

Washing hands in the bathroom, Sanjay puts a pump of soap on Asher's hands and he hears "Thank you, SoapMan!"

"Grandma and Grandpa say 'strawberry' but I say 'strawbry'"

"I like your pants, mumbo"

Karen, in the car: which of you kids farted?
Asher: my daddy farts

...I wish I could think of the others right now. Maybe later. Right now he's getting hot and whiny again - it's time to go and snuggle in bed and read some stories in the hope that he falls asleep.


Digital Dramas

For the first time ever I think I have a really legitimate excuse for not blogging recently - there has been a cascade of electronic dramas in our household over the last few weeks.

First was the car. The Civic stopped working. I discovered this when I went down with my instructor to start my driving lesson. First I thought the central locking wasn't working, then I wondered why the light didn't come on when I opened the door, then when I turned the key in the ignition there was not even a click - luckily my instructor is flexible and Franni was across having breakfast in Naremburn and we walked over and I drove her little green frog car. We didn't call the NRMA immediately because neither of us had the time to drive the car for the hour or so it would need and after that, it got more complicated.

Next discovery was that the backup drive that I got before Christmas doesn't work. At all. I spent ages arsing around changing cables and testing on different computers to work that out. I was trying to back-up because I had (and still have) the feeling that my PC is going to die on me and, at best, will need a complete rebuild.

Then, maybe the next day, when I turned the computer on my fancy new Samsung screen didn't work. I got an error message so I didn't realise it was the screen that was the problem and again wasted several hours of my life trying to narrow down where the problem was. Unfortunately we have to send it back to Samsung rather than taking it into the shop where we got it, which is a huge f***ng pain. The screen took a freaking age to troubleshoot, because we have no spare screen I ended up having to try various cables and hook up the screen that Sanjay broke (in his fit of pique) to work out that it was, in fact, the screen itself (not the cable, graphics card, or whatever else).

Next were the phones - Sanjay's mobile decided it wasn't working, unless it was either in the car or on speakerphone. The keypad keeps falling off my phone. Then the final straw - our home phone stopped working, after a little troubleshooting we worked out that the problem was with the line - neither phone nor internet worked. We were officially incommunicado - we had to wait til Sanjay's phone randomly started working again to call and they said it was a line fault. Living for a week with no internet was horrible, like having a limb removed - we did get a few early nights though. Optus had to send out a technician, who spent about 6 seconds the other morning plugging a cable in the comms board back in. He said it was probably a Telstra technician 'accidentally' bumping it.

So, Sanjay's phone mysteriously fixed itself, we have Anil's screen, we are back online, I got the most vital photos backed up onto Sanjay's laptop while I get the backup drive sorted and Sanj called NRMA and got the car dealt with yesterday. And that is the saga. Hopefully I can now resume my normal, rather sporadic, blog posting schedule. A big thanks to Michael for coming around and helping us get some of the computer stuff a bit more sorted!


Pregnancy update - 26+ weeks

I spent this afternoon all nesty, sorting through Asher's old clothes. I was meant to be studying but instead I went through the built-in cupboards in both Asher's room and the baby-to-be's room. My back is so sore that I want to cry (have just had some paracetamol) but at least I know why I found it so hard to dress Asher in those first few months. He had SO FEW clothes, just 4-5 newborn sized outfits, with a few more sets of tops and pants, most of which he couldn't wear because the pants would just drop off him (er, yes, he was rather skinny!). I have no idea why I didn't buy a bunch of size 0000 Bonds Wondersuits but... well, I didn't, and it means that I'll be buying a bunch of teeny outfits for this bub, as soon as the winter clothes really start to hit the shops. I will, however, restrain myself until I know what sex the baby is and also whether s/he is measuring small - it's surprisingly hard to find decent plain white/gender neutral baby clothes. If it's looking like I'm going to have another small baby I will buy one or two outfits in the larger premmie size.

Which brings me to the actual pregnancy update. I've been getting really sore in my lower back and my hips and nothing much helps, except acupuncture. I'm also meant to be taking things easy (which means not carrying boxes of clothing around, or sitting on the floor sorting and folding) and hanging out in the almost-weightlessness of water to stop it escalating, but it's really hard. I have tests coming up - blood tests this week to check for I-don't-know-what (but I did ask to get haemoglobin checked as I wondering whether I'm a tiny bit anaemic), an ultrasound on the first of April to check the baby's growth (s/hes really active, so I'm not worried about it's health but the auto-immune issues mean an increased likelihood of intra-uterine growth retardation - IUGR) and then the horrible glucose tolerance test the week after. It's weird that I have no hesitation or concern about the blood draw, but I'm dreading drinking sugary stuff and sitting for an hour.

That's enough for tonight - time to eat chocolate mousse and lie on the couch...



Yep, the nesting has begun! A few weeks ago we went to Ikea and brought home the Poang chair for breastfeeding in. Originally I wanted to get a lovely squooshy rocker/glider but they are all so monumentally ugly that I decided against that. Then I was thinking I'd find a mid-century modern armchair on eBay and get new cushions and get it re-upholstered, but I really wanted to sit in the chair before I bought it, and I wanted something that would move a bit. So I settled for Poang. I did get a nice cushion as well to shove under the 'feeding arm' so the babies head is less likely to get bumped on the wooden chair arms.

I've been stalking eBay and recently got a sweet little cabinet for our kitchen (I'm still looking for the perfect low bookshelf for the baby's room) so we have re-organised our kitchen cupboards. I wanted to put a whole lot of crafty type junk that is currently in the baby's room into the cupboard but it fit best in the kitchen and Sanjay has spent rather a lot of the last two weekends sorting out kitchen stuff and moving it around. I was slightly irritated that he was so busy re-arranging things until I realised that it was just his way of nesting. Now all our kitchen stuff fits in our kitchen, but I still don't know where I'm going to put the junk from the babies room. When that goes somewhere then I can sort through Asher's old clothes and toys - and then I'll know what I actually need for this baby. I remember having barely any clothes for Asher when he was tiny, having to struggle to make sure I did laundry every day so that stuff would be clean and dry for him to wear. This time will be different. In all likelihood this will be my last baby, so I'm determined to buy him/her a few nice things and I'm hoping for more hand-me-downs now that more of my friends have kids (last time I got some great boys stuff from the incomparable Aprill, but most of my other friends were either using their baby clothes or didn't have kids).

Apart from sorting, tidying and re-organising I would really love to paint the house, but I can't see that happening in the next three months or so. I'll have to satisfy myself doing a few things to pretty-up the baby's room - again, something I didn't do last time. I am seriously considering making a mobile, dying some sheets (and maybe the Poang chair cover!). Any other ideas?


The Sleep Thing

It's the sleep thing again. Asher has been taking a long time to go to sleep, then waking a few times most night recently, and it’s been driving us all pretty crazy. The going to bed routine now consist of teeth brushing, nappy, PJs then Sanjay reading a story, me going in and telling a story (I’ll have to write down my version of the three bears sometime!) then I have to leave and Sanjay has to go back in again. Sometimes that is just a last cuddle, sometimes Sanjay has to stay there until Asher drops off to sleep. After all that palaver Asher’s getting to sleep between 8:30pm and 10pm which means that he’s often tired the next day and Sanjay and I have very little grown-up time together (…and then there is food to be eaten, cleaning up to be done, Sanjay has work to do and we end up tired and grumpy with one another – but that is another post for another time). When there is only one parent present it is often a bit easier, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. When I'm putting him to sleep during the day I'm also noticing that he's practising 'counting' on his fingers - Sanjay has shown him how to hold up one, two, three, four and five fingers but the manual dexterity required means that Asher has had to practise. Maybe part of the sleep disturbance is a developmental change - just like when he was six months old and his sleep was really disturbed just as he was learning to crawl.

When Asher wakes up in the night Sanjay, bless him, usually deals with it. Since nobody sleeps very well when a kicking, fidgeting, toddler is in our bed we tend to escort him back to his own room as soon as he’s calm. Sometimes it’s as simple as going to the kitchen for a glass of water (“with a piece of ice!”). Either way, when it happens occasionally it’s fine, when it’s multiple times a night it’s just not on.

I was too busy trying to ‘fix’ what was obviously broken and didn't stop to wonder what was going on, whether there was a cause. I tried encouraging him to go to sleep by having one of us sleep in his bed next to him (not effective) and I tried being stern and spending less time in the putting to bed routine (even less effective and unpleasant for everyone) and I tried re-framing my thought about how ‘putting Asher to bed’ should be (no one got any more sleep, but I was more relaxed). So the other night when, just before bed, Asher asked me if there were owls at night I absentmindedly told him that there were, and that they flew around outside. Sanjay added that the owls didn’t come inside people’s houses, that they were shy and liked it outside by themselves and then I twigged. We had been reading Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin’ a lot, particularly at bedtime and it seems that the part where Old Brown the Owl comes very close to skinning and eating naughty little Squirrel Nutkin was just too scary for poor Asher. Unfortunately, instead of Asher choosing a different book or asking me about the story or about owls he just kept requesting the book ("I want my new book again!") and I, not realising that anything was amiss, kept reading it, and making it even scarier with each reading. I had even read, and laughed with sympathetic amusement at, this blog post from Finslippy so you would think I would have twigged to what was going on earlier. I think being 'in the moment' is so necessary in parenting, but conversely you can't be a really thoughtful, 'conscious' parent without removing yourself a bit sometimes.

So, now we are limiting bedtime books to things like Green Eggs and Ham, The Magic Beach and Where's Wally and things are getting a bit better. The night wake-ups are minimised (he has a cold and has woken up snotty a few times, but that's different) and we are going to look at the bedtime routine gradually. I'm going out tomorrow night and might suggest Sanj heads out on Saturday night or early next week so we can try putting him to bed as solo parents in the hope that decreases the amount of neediness at bedtime.


Luna Park

Having fun!!!
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
Yesterday Sanjay had to work at an expo at Luna Park for a few hours in the morning and as part of the deal he got a free passes for Asher and I to use while he was there. We had a great time - I got a coffee and Italian pastry from a nearby cafe first and we headed down, picked up our writbands and then went on some rides. We treid out the big ferris wheel first and after waiting 10 minutes or so we were just about to get on when Asher told me he needed to go to the toilet. Now, I was doubtful that he needed to go, but you ignore a toilet training toddler old making those kind of claims at your peril! Anyway, the very nice ride attendants let us go out and then come back without queueing so I felt like a VIP and Asher still doesn't 'get' that you need to queue before you get to go on rides.

Apart from being exhausted to the point of weeping by the time we caught the train home, it was a really lovely morning. It really feels like he's my little side-kick when we go and do stuff like that - lot's of fun. I'm reminding myself that it won't be long before we'll be a family wherever we go, it won't just be me and my little friend which makes me both sad in a nostalgic kind of way, and stomach-clenchinly anxious about how the hell I'll cope. I'm putting plans in place to help me cope, but the anxiety level is still pretty high.


Boy or Girl?

So, we don't know whether this baby in my belly is a boy or a girl (if you ask Asher he says it's a boy) but we do know that it is very, very active. It's not quite 8pm here and it's kicking/headbutting/wriggling so much that I'm feeling a bit nauseous. Truly. I'm about to consult Dr. Google to see if there's anything bad indicated by this much movement. I'm not quite 23 weeks pregnant yet, I hope it gets a bit more squashed and can move less soonish, because if it's jackknifing at 32 weeks like it is now I really am going to puke. It's already disturbing my sleep (the dancing at 2:30am last night kept me awake!) and Sanjay can feel it's kicking from the outside - it's really full on!



I'm not really sure what to title this post but I'll try to think of something by the time I finish writing. In fact, I've been putting off writing this post for almost a month because talking about this subject makes me feel oogy. I'll just dive right in. Asher is starting to learn to read and write.

He is, in typical Asher fashion, doing it backwards, by actually learning to write, and in the process he's accidentally learning to sight-read the words he can write. Of course he doesn't have the manual dexterity to actually form letters with a pen or crayon yet, but he types. He loves to type. It's just because kids want to do what they see their parents doing, which makes me look like I use the computer as much as I wish I did. Anyhow, one way or another, he's obsessed with letters and words. We use typing as a bribe ("when you've finished your breakfast you can do some typing"). At playgroup he does painting but mostly so I'll help him paint his name (sometimes over and over again, when I'm feeling weak). Whenever we have some waiting to do I get him to point out letters and sometimes words - there are plenty of signs about, there are menus to read, even number plates when we get desperate. When someone asks him his name he tells them A-S-H-E-R. There are a few books that people have given him with his name in them which he will point out every time we read them. In short it's pretty full on, and it makes me feel strangely uncomfortable and even a bit guilty.

I know it's meant to be a good thing to have your kid reading early, right? Right? But because he's only two-and-eight-months I feel he shouldn't be learning reading and writing because he's just too young. I'm strangely terrified of being judged as a pushy mum - one of 'those' mothers who who do flashcards with their babies, lots of classes and structured learning and, in my mind at least, compulsively check 'milestones' and obsess about their kids 'keeping up' with the little kids around them. As far as I'm concerned, this couldn't be further from the truth - I reckon that kids develop at their own pace and different kids have different skills that come easily. I don't think little kids need much extra stimulation, I think they just need to see the adults around them doing normal stuff, and ideally spend a bit of time involved in that normal stuff - cooking, cleaning, shopping and interacting nicely with other people, that kind of normal stuff. It just happens that for me 'normal' also includes spending time on the computer, little kids are amazing learning sponges and perhaps my kid is wired to be able to pick some of the basic reading-writing stuff up pretty early. I actually don't think that this interest in letters, spelling and words marks him as being particularly intelligent (I do think he's really smart! I just don't think that this proves it).

I am proud of my boy, but even more there is a strong feeling of relief that it's unlikely we're going to have to really battle to help him to learn to read and write. I'm also really defensive, but I haven't examined why. I don't know why I'm so concerned about being put in the pushy mum box that I have been unwilling to talk to my friends about this, have been putting off posting here about it and instead just telling his grandparents, who already thinks the sun shines out of his footsteps.

So, as to the post title, I think I should swallow my discomfort and go with the obvious...


My Life in Point Form

So much going on and so little coherence here. I'm blaming the nasty cold Asher brought home from childcare for me, but really it's been going on a bit longer than that. In point form, but no particular order:

  • My brother and his girlfriend moved to Singapore. Email contact has been sporadic (phone contact even more minimal) but from what I gather things are good so far. I'm looking forward to hearing more detail soon (hint hint! Tim, get yourself together and email me!)
  • My dear friend E had her baby. A short labour, little girl, a month early and only 80g lighter than Asher was at birth. Mum and bub are doing fine, although the little one is taking a while to learn to suck.
  • I'm feeling lot's of movement from my little passenger - s/he is even kicking strongly enough for Sanj to feel occasionally, which is nice. I'm starting to get all broody and nesty, which is kinda funny, because it still feels pretty early for that to kick in (21 weeks). The other day I was asking Sanj to help tidy and organise something-or-other and he was sighing and reluctant. I suddenl;y turned into a shrew with a "D'you think the last 20 weeks have gone quickly?" - err, yes - "well the next 20 are going to go AT THE SAME SPEED! SO WE HAVE TO START ORGANISING THINGS!" at which point we both dissolved into laughter. I know all we really need is a box of newborn nappies and to wash a few newborn outfits - nothing that can't be dealt with in the few days I'm in hospital - but the nesty feeling, it's overwhelming.

  • I'm having a freak-out about having a newborn and a toddler/preschooler with no drivers license in winter. At the moment the wonderful Karen drives Asher and I around (or we catch public transport) but that'll be impossible with two. I'm having driving lessons, but I won't have my license by the time this baby arrives.

  • Asher is being a delight. Today he went to sleep with his arm over my neck, holding my hand, all snuggled up. I've decided that 2.5 is an age of contrasts, because two weeks ago he was making me more angry than I've ever felt toward him, just with normal, defiant, toddler behaviour. His language is just lovely (when he's not whining) and he's funny and kind - I love the way he strokes my belly so softly and talks to the baby. He absolutely freaked me out when he fell off the bed, from standing, onto his back today though. I have a sneaking suspicioun he had a very very slight concussion or black out - after I'd scooped him up onto the bed he went a bit grey and his eyes rolled back in his head, but he started crying when I screamed out all panicked for Sanjay to come NOW! (Sanj slowly sauntered in, assuming there had been a potty accident). We watched him VERY closely for two hours and he's fine, but this was the closest I've come to taking him up to the local ER.

...and that's the short list. I promise to write a post that isn't in point form within the next week.


morphology ultrasound

morphology ultrasound
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
The morphology ultrasound (18-20 week) was yesterday. It went really well, the foetus seems to have all the right organs and all in the right places. This baby is also measuring average so far according to the ultrasonographer, which is a really big relief. We'll see if that changes after 32 weeks when the little things are meant to really start fattening up, but it's a good start at least. The placenta is a little low but not actually covering my cervix, and they will follow that up in future ultrasounds. Placenta praevia is one of the things that would make me 100% on board with the idea of a planned c-section, but thankfully it doesn't look like that's where we are heading.

The tech was lovely, and talked us through the whole thing, unlike other techs in the past. She asked us beforehand if we wanted to know the sex and we said that we didn't, but we would be looking for evidence on screen and she was really fast and careful about not showing us anything near the foetus' nether regions. Despite her care we both thought we caught a glimpse of penis, but not nearly enough to be sure.

I was really unsure about waiting to find out the sex. With Asher we found out but tried to avoid telling people and that was OK. This time I thought that I would ask at a future ultrasound - one of the few joys of a slightly higher risk pregnancy and a conservative obstetrician is more looks at the growing baby - but this morning as I was waking up I started thinking about that moment straight after delivery and the cliched announcement and I got really excited by the idea. So it looks like we won't find out. Either way I'm happy - it looks like we have a healthy baby on board!


Random Anecdote

My mother sends me a lot of funny emails of dubious humour value. They distract me and sometimes get a smile or a chuckle. One that arrived the other day reminded me so much of the possum who used to break into my flat when I lived in Annandale that I'm going to post it here. I hope I'm not breaking all sorts of copyright restrictions, but it was un-attributed in the email, and I'd be happy to attribute it if I knew where it came from.

If the kitchen window wasn’t properly latched he would come in, ignore the fruit in the fruit bowl and eat my dark chocolate Lindt balls. I always thought he probably wanted a cigarette and an espresso as well.

Harrumph! The cat actually *smokes* the cigarette in the GIF I have - why doesn't it do that here? Michael?


Solo Parenting Roundup

Sanjay will be home in under an hour. It's been easier than I thought (but I'm a worst-case-scenario kind of person). If it happens again I'd like it to be when it's ratings season so that the TV programs are better and when I'm not pregnant so I can self medicate with alcohol. What I wouldn't do to be able to have several stiff gin and tonics!


Solo Parenting

Sanjay is away for the weekend. It's only the third time he's been away overnight since Asher was born, and the first two times were when Asher was tiny. Some time ago our friend B asked him to come along to the Tamworth Country Music Festival and to my extreme surprise he decided to go, and to my even greater surprise another friend, Barry, decided to go with them. It's only so surprising because neither Sanjay nor Barry have ever shown even the vaguest interest in country music, neither of them particularly like long drives (Tamworth is around 5 hours drive on a good day) and they are camping in the heat (and possibly the rain). The last time Sanjay went camping was 20 years ago (!!!) when he was at school, and Barry is not keen on camping either. All those things put together make me think that it was about getting away from, rather than going to, if you know what I mean.

Now, when you consider the quote from my last post you can understand why I have approached the weekend with a certain trepidation. I've been feeling quite easily frustrated with Asher for the last few weeks, and I can't work out whether it's just because he's 2.5 or whether it's my pregnant hormones making me less patient than normal, but either way, we are on a short fuse with each other. Happily it's been really good so far. Sanjay's parents picked Asher up from Kindy yesterday (which is pretty common on a Friday) and we all had dinner at Sanjay's brothers house. Apart from waking up at 2am sobbing because daddy wasn't there he's been absolutely fine - and even better, I haven't been yelling at him!


How does a toddler undestand Love?

If this conversation is anything to go by, Asher might think that loving someone means that you enjoy hanging out with them. It occured at around 9pm last night, when Sanjay was at the end of his tether trying to get Asher to sleep.

Sanjay: Goodnight Asher, I love you and Mumbo loves you and now you need to go to sleep
Asher: I don't love Mumbo
Sanjay: Yes you do, you love her the most!
Asher: I love you, and when you're not here, I love Mumbo
Sanjay (not knowing what else to say): Goodnight.


The 'good' toddler

Someone asked me this morning if Asher was 'a good boy' and to be honest, I didn't really know how to answer. I've been thinking about it all day and the more I think about it the more it reminds me of when people, usually older women, used to ask me if he was a 'good' baby. The answer then was that yes, he was a very good baby, and he was behaving just as he should for an x week/month old. The answer now is a bit more complicated but I still believe he, like all other kids who have the opportunity, is a good kid. I think he pushes limits like a crazy man, has tantrums over seemingly small issues, I think he desperately needs to test out new skills and assert his Independence, I think his attention span is toddler-short and he can't clean up his toys, sit still for more than a moment unless he's consuming a babycino, go to sleep by himself easily or cope with changes to the routine, hunger, thirst or tiredness, but yes is a really good kid. In other words all the things that drive me absolutely freaking mental about Asher are age appropriate behaviours and particular to Asher's temperament. He doesn't really try to be either 'good' or 'bad' he just is completely himself and bent on exploring the world and getting our what he wants (mostly just our attention and approval) as quickly and efficiently as possible. The more consistent I can be and the more I can reward the behaviour that I want, the more I get a 'good kid' to deal with.

(I had to interrupt that paragraph to go and get Asher, who had let himself out the front door - the behaviour of a good kid? I have since deadlocked the front door which should take him at least a few weeks to figure out.)

Which brings me to today. We came home from a lovely morning at the playground (Bradfield Park, a.k.a. Train Park for anyone who knows Sydney) Asher had a shakey (home-made smoothie, praise be to the Bamix), got his nappy on without complaint and then we lay down for one book, one story and our snooze. Instead of this process taking 20 minutes, Asher was still bouncing around next to me while I lay on his bed gritting my teeth an hour and a half later. I changed the poo that was in his nappy (how had I not smelled that?) popped him back into his bed and sternly told him to stay in bed and go to sleep. I left him in there for almost an hour, ignoring the occasional crashes and bangs and snatches of cheerful singing. When I went to get him out the room looked like this:

I opened the door to see Asher sitting in the little clear space right in the middle. When I called Sanj and told him what happened his only comment was 'what a good boy!' (distinctly *not* what I was thinking at the time), but after some reflection I guess I agree with him. He played and explored and did what I had asked to the best of his ability.
So it's time to go out for fish and chips at the beach for dinner, and because I've been paying attention here rather than to him the lounge room is literally covered in toys, I've had to have firm words about the outside tap (there is water all over the deck) and I've already had to fix the Ikea easel. Now he's crying because the sticker he asked for is sticky. But still he is a good boy!


Absurdist conversation

Some of the best parts of living with a toddler are the wild and crazy conversations one suddenly finds oneself in the midst of. Much better than dealing with the 45 minutes of exhaustion tantrum today or Asher's research into what pisses his mother off yesterday (it seems flinging oneself on the ground repeatedly whilst walking around the shopping centre will eventually do it). This conversation is as close to verbatim as I can remember it. It happened on the train coming home from dinner with my dad on Saturday night.

Asher: I'm a fish
Keda: A baby fish?
Asher: A big fish!
Sanjay: In a small pond?
Asher: No, in a big one.
Keda: So you are a big fish in a small pond?
Asher: Yes
Sanjay: What kind of fish are you? A red herring?
Asher: No
Keda: A carp?
Asher: No
Sanjay: A sardine?
Asher: No
Keda: A dolphin*?
Asher: No
Sanjay: A cod?
Asher: No
Keda: A tuna fish?
Asher: Yes! I'm a tuna fish!

* Yeah, I know, dolphins aren't fish. We were both giggling and I was finding it difficult to think of random fish by this point.


Update - Part II

So, Christmas was good. We left Sydney about two hours later than planned on Christmas eve and went up the coast to my mothers. Christmas morning there was Santa, presents then lunch, snoozing and a trip to the beach in the late afternoon. The rest of the holiday saw twice daily trips to the beach, a kid who was happy as a clam playing in the sand (even letting Sanj and I head off for a swim in the surf together and contentedly playing with 'Granny Frani' or an aunt or uncle!) but slightly whiny and out-of-sorts at the house. He slept on a mattress on the floor in the same room as us, which worked out really well (i.e. we all got enough sleep). Apart from some slight unexplained grouchiness from Sanjay it was all one can hope for in a family holiday.

Asher's development is amazing at the moment. His language is coming on a pace and he's starting to really 'get' a whole bunch of concepts that seemed to be quite hazy recently, e.g. size comparisons:

Scene: Sanjay and Asher in the shower
Asher: You've got a big peenie. I've got a *tiny* one!
Sanjay: ....!

As I mentioned in my previous post, he's also started potty training. He didn't wear a nappy much while we were away and did most of his wees and poos on the potty and since we've been back he's only in a nappy at sleep time (both day and evening). So far it seems to be relatively successful. No accidents at all on days one and two, three accidents yesterday (including the fist set of poo covered undies! Yuck!) and none today so far (he's asleep at the moment). Unfortunately he doesn't really tell us when he needs to go, and at home that's just fine as he can get his undies down by himself and he just takes himself off to the potty most of the time. Slightly more of a problem when we are out though - what I've had success with so far is showing Asher where the toilets are when we get somewhere and then watching and helping when I see signs of him going to the bathroom (by that I mean trying to get the door open or whatever, not jiggling around holding his penis!). It's all kind of exciting and kind of a hassle, but I think he's been more-or-less ready for a while and we picked a reasonably good time to go with him on this. Tonight Asher and I are catching the train to the city and going to dinner in Chinatown with my dad (Sanj is at the Cricket and we're meeting him there) then we are catching the train home together which all seems pretty complicated from a toilet perspective, so with me luck!



I've been wanting to blog for about a week now, but first I was up on the North Coast with my family and no computer and since I've been back I haven't had much time and I've been fighting with the computer (Fucking cookies! Fucking Internet Explorer!). And of course now I'm sitting here at the computer I've forgotten what I wanted to say.

I guess firstly there's the pregnancy update - I'm 15 weeks pregnant today and everything seems to be going fine. I'm taking my Aspirin and trying to remember to take my multivitamins. I'm not sticking to the dietary commandments (specifically 'thou shalt not eat soft cheeses' and 'thou shalt not drink any alcohol') this time and I'm eating pasteurized Australian soft cheeses and I'm not having more than half a glass of wine. I'm moderately successful at sticking to the self imposed one coffee per day rule though. Sanjay thinks this is a typical first child/second child thing but I'm not so sure.

I'm definitely getting plumper and I have to use the Belly Belt on all my jeans now, although I can still hide it with loose flowing tops. I got some great maternity hand-me-downs from a friend and bought a few things at a super cheap sale the other day. I'll probably need one or two more things, but I'm not feeling quite so unprepared. I don't really have anything except a pair of Yim jeans and a few rather ragged tops. I didn't buy much when I was pregnant with Asher because I didn't really have to go anywhere or see anyone and the things I did buy I wore so much (both before and after Asher's birth!) that they aren't particularly presentable. This time around I go out of the house every day, meet up with friends and also have paid work to dress for two days a week.

The Asher update and the Christmas update will have to wait because I'm really tired. I'll fill you in on how incredibly cute his language is and how frustratingly age-appropriate his behaviour is when I can but for now I wanted to say that potty training* has started and preliminary signs indicate that it's going fine.

*I hate that phrase because there is no 'training' going on - he is learning from his body, and we're coaching him on toileting competence.