Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Breakfast and snack disaster struck in the Short and Sweet household yesterday, when we discovered that our toaster (with crumpet button) had died. We are truly dependent on our little toaster.

Both the boy and I just love our toast, whether it be toasted crumpets, cheese on toast, baked beans on toast (which I hate but the boy finds yummy) or just plain old butter and jam on toast. In fact, we keep all our bread in the freezer because we never eat the stuff fresh; we only eat it toasted.

So for breakfast yesterday I had to resort to a side-trip to the local bakery while out with Baby on our morning calming-down outing. This morning, breakfast was bread which I'd remembered to defrost last night.

Having to do without a working toaster is like having to do without hot water; it's just not on.

And now going totally off-topic...
For Wellington Whedon fans, a little birdie tells me that there's a special screening of the movie Serenity in on Monday 19th September at 8:30PM at Reading Cinemas at Courtenay Central. Unfortunately for me, even the thought of an outing while caring for Baby makes me feel stressed; I will probably be waiting for the DVD :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What makes it worth the toil

Here's Baby totally ignoring the baby gym which her mum so thoughtfully set up. Perhaps in another few weeks, eh?

Here's Baby having her first fun bath - she hated the first two.

Baby in one of her less feminine poses (she might be having a poo)...and wearing Flying Kiwi's psychedelic bodysuit.

Baby whispering

On one of my outings with Baby in the stroller, I went to the library to get some parenting books, since this has become my new reading obsession. Tracy Hogg's Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was fun to read and offers a middle ground between the regime of strict routines at one extreme, and no routine at all at the other.

The idea is to figure out what kind of personality your baby has (angel, textbook, spirited, senstive or grumpybum, and I think ours is a "spirited" baby) and use that knowledge to work out what it is he or she is crying about. Hogg's "routine" is a three-hourly cycle of feeding, activity and sleep. This doesn't yet work with Baby because sometimes she goes from waking to feeding, back to sleeping again. In the evenings, she'll go from feeding to activity, then fussing instead of sleeping, before it's feeding time again.

The last two weeks of broken sleep and unfamiliar work (babycare, that is) are finally taking their toll. I now sport three highly visible zits on my upper lip, am constantly dehydrated, have had tension headaches for the last two days and feel (and look) like I've been up all night drinking.

Four more weeks to go before, maybe, she sleeps through.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The end of the sleepiness

I think it's official - Baby is no longer the super-sonambulist she once was. At first she was such a good sleeper that neither foot-tickling nor cold, wet flannels did anything to awaken her; now she seems to be hard to put down to sleep and even harder to keep asleep. Evenings are routinely fraught with the two of us trying for hours to calm her down enough to fall asleep, and now mid-mornings are the same.

Funnily enough, putting Baby in the buggy really helps. In desperation this morning, I put Baby in the buggy in preparation for a nice long walk, in an attempt to get her to fall asleep after two hours of unwanted wakefulness - she stopped squawking and closed her eyes as soon as she was strapped in and before the buggy's wheels even moved.

It's now been two hours since she fell asleep, including an hour walking around the shops. What a pity some bastard has just started to mow the lawn next door.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


As I slowly get used to sleeping in three-hour installments, unannounced visits from my mum bearing unusual medicinal foods, being a one-woman Dairy Queen and planning short walks around the block as though they were expeditions...we now have to contend with Baby's little foibles.

I'm starting to recognise when she's crying because she needs a nappy change or help with burping, rather than food. It's a mystery though, why she sometimes regurgitates her food and then demands more milk. It's also a little frustrating because when she offers back portions of her meal, it means yet another change of clothes. Now I understand why a drawer full of bodysuits and babygrows does not constitute an excess of baby clothing.

We're still working out Baby's sleeping arrangements. Despite having the nursery all set up and ready well before Baby's arrival home, we ended up not using it at all (except as a place to store her things). The boy wanted her to sleep in our bedroom , so we moved her cot in there. But she has hardly slept in it, because her hammock is so comfy - and the hammock is hung up in the lounge because it's a much warmer room. And now I'm sleeping in the lounge too, because it's easier for me to be in the same room with Baby when it's time to feed her, change her nappy and wash my hands afterwards. So much for expectations.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Home alone with Baby

The boy started back at work today, and unfortunately for him Baby chose last night to play up until 2am. Not that it was completely uncharacteristic of her, but we'd given her one of those so-called relaxing deep water baths (she was in the tub with him) and was hanging loose right up until it was time for us all to go to bed.

As grumpily sleep-deprived as he was though, the boy managed to get to work without falling asleep at the wheel. It's been a few hours now on my own and I haven't yet had one of those momemts when Baby can only be consoled by her daddy (possibly because he doesn't smell like food, possibly because he's got a soothingly deep voice)- there's at least one of those every day.

It's quite tempting to encourage Baby to sleep the day away, since it leaves me free to snooze, do the dishes, blog or whatever - but I know that it would be a better idea to keep her awake so that she'll tire by evening. On the other hand, just because I decide that day time is play time, doesn't mean that Baby is going to go along with it. Boy, does she love her bouncy hammock.

I hope the midwife gets here soon; I'm dying to take Baby out in the stroller again.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Baby sleeps and Baby feeds *

Baby has this habit of being at her most fully awake between about 7pm and 1am, when nothing we do will get her drowsy. This is preceded by a few hours in which she is so sleepy that nothing we do will keep her eyes open for more than a second. And what it adds up to is less sleep for mummy and daddy.

I've been reading a couple of books about baby sleep, both lent to me by Make Tea Not War. The New Contented Little Baby Book, by Gina Ford, sounds really promising, especially to an inexperienced and unsure new mum like myself. Barker is really assuring and confident that her method of putting a baby into a routine right from birth, will result in a baby who will only get her mum out of bed once in the night. It was her assuredness that got me convinced to try her fascist-sounding feeding and sleeping regime.

However, Baby wouldn't fall asleep when she was supposed to, nor be wide awake on schedule.

So I had a look at the other book, Mark Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He's pretty much at the other extreme in saying that you can't make a baby do anything other than what it's going to do anyway - at least for the first six months of it's life. I found his ideas reassuring too, because it meant I haven't been doing anything wrong and lets me off the hook if Baby is a sleep rebel.

So I was wondering, what do other people with young children think about the whole idea of putting very young babies into a routine? Has it worked for them, or did they just let their babies set their own pattern?

*Baby also does incredibly on-the-nose baby farts, but that's off the subject.

Friday, August 19, 2005

First outings

Yesterday I realised I was going to have to obtain some new bras and nursing tops. We'll be getting visitors from now on, and if Baby happens to get the munchies while they're here I'm not sure that I want them to see more of my torso and boobies than strictly necessary.

So during that brief period in the afternoon when Baby was fed and the boy was able to spare an hour to play with her, I drove into town to get myself some nursing bras. (Don't tell my mum though, because as far as she's concerned I'm supposed to be housebound for four weeks.) Less than an hour after I left home, I'd returned with two DD cup bras. I'm now nicely supported, but - my, how I've grown!

Baby had her first outing too, today. I decided to take advantage of the boy's last day off before going back to work on Monday, so we went out to buy a baby buggy with the money which my mum had generously gifted us. It was only a five minute drive to the baby gear shop, but we still had to get Baby all warmly dressed and the baby bag packed - just in case. While the shop assistant cooed over Baby, we picked a fine MacLaren all-terrain three-wheeler jogger, which folds down nice and compact and comes with a fleecy sleeping bag. The boy was so excited that as soon as we got home with it he insisted on unpacking it and going for a test run (up and down the hallway) with Baby strapped up in it. We can't wait to take her out for a walk tomorrow (but again, don't tell my mum or she'll have a fit).

Oh yeah, and I also bought some horribly expensive but effective nursing tops so my visitors don't get too much of an eyeful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bringing home the bacon

One of the things the boy has been doing this week, is to visit the supermarket every couple of days to stock up on heat'n'eat meals, chocolate (for the anticipated baby blues), cakes (also mostly just for me) and anything else he thinks I need.

He even bought me several packs of maternity pads, which meant having to ask various ignorant male staff where the hell they were (they didn't even know what they were).

Funnily enough, this abundance of snackables hasn't lead to all-day food binges. Ordinarily, if I were stuck at home all week I'd be at the biscuits and toast and cakes like a starved sugar demon.

Maybe it's the preggy-headedness.

Other things
Thank goodness that the rock-hard booby situation seems to have resoved itself. Today they're back to their normal texture.
My finger joints, which have been creaky with water retention for the last few days, are almost back to normal.
So far today I've been able to sit without pain. Could it be that they have finally reached a state of repair which transcends the need for Panadol? Go, stitches!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rock-hard boobies

That's something I forgot to add to the list on yesterday's post. I really don't know how I could've actually forgotton though, since they just get in the way whenever I move my arms. For the first time in my life I'm probably a D-cup, and not in a soft Dolly Parton-y kind of way either. Probably they feel more like a silicon implant job gone wrong. I hear cabbage leaves are a good fix.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The aftermath - a list

1. One really good thing about being pregnant is the nine months without periods. Then you give birth and have to put up with the biggest period you're ever going to have in your life (that is, if you're a natural-born female).

2. The ache in the lower back which dogged me throughout my third trimester, is still here now that I don't have all that extra weight to carry around.

3. Now that Baby is no longer part of my body, I feel kinda thin. Until I notice that I still look about four months pregnant.

4. Stitches in the perineum are a pain in the arse.

5. Cradling Baby to sleep, and supporting her during feeds, is really good exercise for the arms and shoulders.

6. I've learned that, according to Chinese tradition, I shouldn't eat fruit for some weeks after having given birth. Stuff that.

7. The boy makes a great doula. What a pity he'll have to go back to work soon.

8. Breastfeeding is hard.

9. Watching a baby making funny faces in her sleep can be more fascinating than watching television.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The little darling

Thanks for all your lovely comments, people.

Well, here she is, off to sleep again after enduring a nappy change (it really is true that even very small babies produce a very large amount of poo) and a feed.

And no, we aren't calling her Jonquil.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Baby's home

For those of you who may have been taking bets on the birth...

the little darling, born at just after 3am on 11 August, is a gorgeous wee girl weighing 3.66 kgs. The midwife, the boy and my mum all reckon she looks just like her father.

If you don't want to read all the gory details, it's best to skip the rest of this post...

After a night of period-like cramps and waking up wondering about little plot inconsistencies in the Buffy episodes I'd been watching the previous evening, my waters broke. It was about 7 in the morning, and I rushed off to the toilet to make sure I hadn't simply done an accidental wee. Nope, definitely amniotic fluid.

We only live up the road from the hospital, but took the car anyway - I almost regretted it because it took ages to find a car park there (how ridiculous, that a hospital patient can't get a park at the hospital car park!). Anyway, after 20 minutes hooked up to the monitor, the midwife sent us home for the afternoon. I was to return at 6pm for an overnight stay, and I'd be induced the next morning if necessary.

Four hours of Buffy episodes and many lower back pains later, we were at the antenatal ward and I was 3 cm dilated. I was pretty damned keen to get an epidural as soon as it was practical to, but every time the midwife checked my stats she told me I wasn't yet in established labour and it was too early for drugs.

Thursday, in the wee hours
My god, but those later contractions hurt. It felt exactly as though my pelvic bones and lower spine were being pushed apart by a malevolent life force (which was in fact the case except for the malevolent bit). Truly, it seemed apalling to me that any woman would have to suffer this much before getting any pain medication. I swear, if I'd known just how much it was gonna hurt I would have opted for getting a puppy.

At 2am the midwife hooked me up to the monitor again. For some reason, those contractions which were massive enough to leave my shaking uncontrollably, were hardly registering on the little graph. She examined me anyway, and found that I was fully dilated. I thought it meant that at last I could get that epidural.

The midwife told me it was too late for that; it was time to push the baby out.

So I was wheeled off to the delivery room. With every contraction, I pushed as though I meant to force out the biggest poo of my life. So I did. And I did.

Unfortunately, Baby didn't come out as easily as a poo. Baby's heart rate fell enough to worry the midwife, who called the obstetrician, who decided Baby really had to come out right now. Apparently Baby was getting a bit tired (but surely not as tired as I was).

What happened next was:

a decision to use the ventouse cup to suck Baby out while I pushed - when he put it inside me it felt like some kind of reverse birth;

orders to push with my mouth closed, which was impossible to follow because I was far too busy screaming loudly and in agony;

sudden relief as Baby slipped out and gave a mighty cry;

and several stitches in my perineum.

Thank the gods that the labour and childbirth are all over. Unfortunately I still have to contend with: the period-like contractions for my uterus shrinking back to its normal size and place; loads of bleeding; and the surprisingly painful stitches, leading to very careful sitting and a dread of my next poo. Baby has had a few goes at being breastfed, tried out her new cot and her bouncy hammock, and produced quite a large amount of black tarry poo. She's a real sleeper.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Impatiently waiting with ginger and fantasy novels

Those Braxton Hicks contractions are only happening in the evenings, and still haven't turned into anything more regular or painful. It's not that I like pain, because I don't, but if it isn't painful then it isn't labour. And I am really ready for labour.

My mum came by this morning with large jars of pickled ginger. It was good that she came, since she needed the excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise, but I would have been a lot less annoyed if she'd told me she was coming. When she turned up with her friend and his grandson (neither of whom I know well), it was only 9.30am and I was slobbing around in a dressing gown - not exactly presentable.

I finished the book I was reading, Daughter of the Empire. I normally stay away from fantasy because they tend to be full of unpronuncable names and require a comprehensive glossary at the back, but this one wasn't so bad. It turned out to be all about political intrigue in an exotic Eastern-sounding world where honour is all important, swords are made from hide because of the scarcity of metal and silk is spun by people-sized insectoid aliens. First I had to get over the improbability that a 17-year-old cloistered girl, Mara, could possess sufficient native cunning and deviousness to manipulate powerful, experienced Lords. After that it got enjoyable. I'm now reading the sequel, Servant of the Empire, in which the same girl falls for the charms of a red-haired (and suspiciously English-sounding) barbarian slave called...wait for it...Kevin.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Buffy Wish List

As one does when there is a general lack of news, I spent a little time yesterday on Amazon making a wish list of Buffy books I don't already have. It's also over on the sidebar in case, erm, you're feeling generous...


Last night I had a few Braxton Hicks contractions; according to the handout I got at one of the antenatal classes, this means I'm at the "last few weeks of pregnancy" stage. I called the midwife anyway, just to let her know that at last something was happening, but she just said it didn't really mean anything until the contractions started hurting.

So in the meantime, here are a couple of shots of the Baby-less nursery.

In the top photo is the travel cot (note the big wall space still waiting for the giant marine jigsaw puzzle and the clay relief of Ganesh).

In the photo just above is the leather recliner (currently topped by the boy's sleeping bag), table and Pooh pictures (Piglet is there, but he was store-bought). You can just see a fragment of the big flower mobile hanging from the ceiling.

I know, the wall colour is atrocious.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

another meme

I was tagged by Heather, and besides I don't have anything else to post because I'm still not in labour...

WHAT'S YOUR FULL NAME? Are you crazy? I’m not revealing my full name on my blog...

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT? Daughter of the Empire By Raymond Feist and Janny something

WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A fancy picture of a hard drive

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? That horrible feeling in your stomach when you get really bad food poisoning.

FIRST THING YOU THINK OF IN THE MORNING? Is today the day I give birth?

HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? It depends on how close I am to the phone.

FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? We haven’t decided yet for sure, but in the interest of blog anonymity I wouldn’t say anyhow.

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE? Being adequately fed, watered and loved.


DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Nah, my highest speed on the motorway is probably only 110 km/hr.

DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? I don’t have to, because I have a real, live boy to sleep with.

WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A Honda Civic. And I still have it.

WHO DO YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO? There’s no-one I would want to talk to that I'd have to go back and talk to.

FAVOURITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Peach schnapps and orange, but that’s back in the days when I could have a couple of drinks and not fall over.

WHAT'S IN THE BOOT OF YOUR CAR? Until this afternoon, a really large chilly bin. Now it’s empty.


IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? When I was single, I would have said ‘travel writer’. Now, I don’t know.


IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? I alternate between the two

DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Yup – I taught myself to touch type when I was thirteen.



WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SPORT TO WATCH? None of them. I hate watching sport.

IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE WHERE WOULD IT BE? Somewhere in the far north of NZ, on the coast. I’d be able to charge high rental when we’re not living there ourselves because the weather’s nice and lots of rich folk go there in the summer.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? At the moment my maternity jeans. Hopefully in a few months’ time it will be something non-maternity.

BEACH, MOUNTAINS OR CITY? City by the beach




FAVOURITE TIME OF DAY? In the evening after the boy has come home from work, finished his relaxation ritual in front of his computer and is about to make us dinner.

WHERE'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE? Anywhere, if it’s on holiday.



WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Nowadays, around 9.30 – 10am


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SEASON? Autumn, because the weather’s warm and settled.

YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It’d be neat to be Elastigirl, and be able to change the size of my hips or whatever with super-ease.

WHICH DO YOU PREFER - SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Hamburger, unless I have to eat it all the time. Besides, I’m not allowed to eat raw fish in my condition.

IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT? I don’t have any tattoos.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DAY? At the moment every day is the same – non-labour day.

Flying Kiwi, you're up next. Otherwise, anyone who wants to pick it up is welcome to.

Friday, August 05, 2005

It shoulda been today

The family is getting jittery, calling at least once a day to ask whether I'm in labour yet. My mum even rang three times before 10am this morning (before I'd even got out of bed!), because someone rang her before she could get to the phone and it made her worry that it might have been me.

My daily walks are getting shorter due to the bump discomfort, and my marathon DVD-watching sessions are more frequently interrupted by my awkward attempts to change positions - but there's been no other progress.

On the other hand, I'm not yet desperate enough to down a bottle of castor oil (ugh, yucky), coax the boy into labour-inducing sex (I'm feeling so unsexy right now) or order hot 'n' spicy food (I've gone off it).

Or maybe it's more subtle than that. Once Baby emerges into the outside world I can say goodbye to the luxury of sleeping through the night (albeit with massive snoring sessions and having to wake up just to turn over) and being responsible only for my own feeding and watering. Maybe my body is getting mixed signals from my subconscious and doesn't how to resolve them.

Maybe it's just as well that it's not all up to me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

nothing new on the childbirth front

It was just another fabulously warm and sunny mid-winter day, completely devoid of early labour signs. It's getting to the point where I'm tempted to peer into my knickers every few hours in case the "show" appears. Almost.

I started reading one of the boy's fantasy books, Daughter of Empire by Raymond Feist and someone else, though who knows how long I'll stick with it. It's part of a trilogy, and fantasy isn't usually my thing, but it should at least make a refreshing change from the other stuff I've been reading up till now.

For wont of anything else to post, I'd planned to show you some photos of the almost-but-not-quite-finished nursery, but unfortunately the batteries in the digital camera are completely flat so they'll just have to wait.

Apparently now is the time I should start eating rice stir-fried with plenty of ginger; I'm not quite clear on the reason for this, but it's supposed to ensure that I can eat plenty of vegetables afterwards, without fear of causing an imbalance in my chi.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Slacker in the sun

Today has been just fabulous, weather-wise. It was a bit chilly indoors in the morning, but hey - it is mid Winter after all. Eventually I went for a waddle around the block to warm up my feet, and when I returned I took one of my dining chairs out into the back yard to sit in the sun and read.

It’s amazing how pleasurable just sitting around with a book, outdoors in warmth and sunshine, can be - it feels like actual activity. Doing the same thing on a cold, grey day just feels like filling in time. In fact, I must've been out in the back yard for three or four hours and was loathe to leave my sunny position even to make myself snacks (and I've been needing lots of those).

I’ve just finished Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk (who wrote Fight Club). That guy sure has a weird imagination – the anti-hero of this book is the last surviving member of a cult a suicide pact, who ends up becoming a major media celebrity. He works as a super-domestic for a professional couple, "plants" fake flowers stolen from a mausoleum into their garden and his hobby is his own telephone "Help" line. Palahnuik makes me wonder whether he takes hallucinogenic drugs.

Still no sign that Baby wants to leave his womb.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

No head for dates

It turns out that all these months I've been remembering the wrong date as my due date. I'm actually due on the 5th, which is this Friday (not the 7th - Sunday).

Perhaps that's why today, it feels as though Baby is using my bladder as a trampoline.

Any day now I will be able to once more sleep without the body pillow. It's not that I don't like using it, it's just that every time I turn over onto my left side I inadvertantly poke the boy in the bum with it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

No news is no news

I have a feeling Baby's going to be a latecomer, because so far none of the pre-labour signs have even hinted at appearing - no "show" (of the mucous plug that is, I won't go into details), no leaking (from the boobs), no Braxton Hicks contractions and no bumping of Baby's head against my pelvis. Baby seems quite happy to stay snug and cosy in the womb, doing extra agile somersaults when I have the television volume up too high. (I fear that the Buffy theme music is deeply embedded in Baby's brain by now.)

Every day my mum rings up to ask me whether I've gone out or not. For some reason, she's worried that I mustn't stray too far from home in case I go into labour and am not conveniently close to a telephone (although I have a mobile). As always, I do what she says but only when it suits me - I'll go out for walks despite her worries, because I could do with the fresh air and exercise, but I will probably follow her advice about staying at home and not doing any housework for a month after the birth.

I know I've had about nine months to psych myself up for this, but I still have those moments when I can't believe I'm soon to become a mother.

I think this means I'm a Zoolander fan

the Ham

(47% dark, 47% spontaneous, 27% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your style's mostly goofy, innocent and feel-good. Perfect for parties
and for the dads who chaperone them. You can actually get away with
corny jokes, and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for
your friends. People of your type are often the most approachable and
popular people in their circle. Your simple & silly
good-naturedness is immediately recognizable, and it sets you apart in
this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

I found it on Make Tea Not War's blog.