Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Surfin' the sofa

It's gratuitous Baby photo time, folks. And this time it's a picture of the wee one doing tummy time on the fish cushion (the hairy arm belongs to her daddy).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Nothing like roadworks to put you off your lunch

Distractible child that she is, Baby is on a nursing strike and sleeping strike today. Lucky for her (but not for me) that the men digging up the footpath opposite our house, only work during business hours.

Just wait till they start work on the footpath right in front of the house.

The painters are in

The painters are in.
I'm up on the blocks.
The Curse is upon me.
Auntie Flo's in town.
I've checked into the Red Roof Inn.
I'm closed for maintenance.
The Crimson Tide is in.
Dracula's teabags are in the house.
I'm flying the red flag.
There's been a massacre at the Y.
Moses is parting the Red Sea.
My red-headed cousin from Virginia is in town.
There is red thread in my sewing machine.
I got a scarlet letter.
It's too wet to plow.
I'm out trolling for vampires.

Yep. In case you didn't get the massive hint, my Carefree-free days are gone, after nigh-on fifteen months. Boo-hoo.

p.s. thanks to Aunt Flow's World of Menstruation Euphamisms.

My shipment's come in

Imagine my feeling of pure joy when I checked my front porch this morning, and saw that my package from Amazon had arrived. The Buffy, Angel and Firefly books are going to be my constant companions for the next few weeks (that is, when Baby allows it). If only I could keep my sleep-deprived eyes open long enough to finish a chapter...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Freaky Critters

Today, in my baby-free hour, I went out to a couple of exhibitions at the local city gallery. The first was a Michael Smither retrospective. The way Smither makes landscapes look alive, yet his people look like shiny plastic figurines, is great - but I was really there to see the works of Patricia Piccinini.

Piccinini's made a name for herself creating strange creatures which are supposed to be the result of genetic engineering, like this, this and this Go on, click - it's pretty weird stuff - the last one was especially disturbing; it's a depiction of a family of creatures that look like an unfortunate cross between pigs and humans.

Supposedly these creatures have been bio-engineered to help out humankind one way or another; there were exquisite drawings of such creatures playing with babies and toddlers (but of course they can't have been drawn from life, young children simply don't keep still that long!).

I always use the fact that I'm a mother of a six-month old as an excuse for my lack of creative output, but Piccinini has a nine-month old and it hasn't stopped her from thinking up some mind-boggling life forms.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Watching the penultimate episode of Buffy Season Six

I always thought it was so sad that Jonathan had to die in Season Seven. Of the Trio, he was the only one who showed any sense of right and wrong; yet he ends up getting sacrificed to open the Hellmouth, while his killer Andrew goes on to become a watcher-in-training.

Yeah I know, lots of great characters die on the show and he's just one of them. But I felt really sorry for him - maybe because it's easy to relate to someone who was a geeky "nobody" in high school.

For the record

Here's a rundown of the intimate details of Baby's life...

Food that Baby likes:
pureed pear, with or without rice cereal
pureed apple, with or without rice cereal

Food that Baby will eventually swallow after it sits in her mouth for about five minutes:

potato, with or without rice cereal, pureed or fork-mashed
kumara, with or without rice cereal, pureed or fork-mashed

Food that Baby will spit right out, even making gagging noises first for effect:

avocado, with or without rice cereal

Food which is next on Baby's list of food-to-try:
pureed courgette

Why I will persist with the avocado:
I read that it can make Baby's poo go bright green. I have to see this.

Usual number of minutes between putting Baby down in her cot, and her going quiet:
0, as long as I don't try it mid-afternoon or later.

Usual length of Baby's naps:
For a couple of weeks they were over an hour but now she's catnapping again (45 mins).

Number of times Baby wakes for attention after her bedtime:
1-3 times between 6.30pm and midnight; 1-3 times between midnight and 6.30am

Longest stretch of sleep this month:

6 1/2 hours, two nights ago

Baby's height/length:

67 cm

Baby's weight:

Just over 7kg

Baby's favourite playthings:
Bouncing in her hammock
Her little scrunchy fabric book
Her rattle/water-filled teething ring

Things that make Baby chortle with glee:
Her daddy's funny faces
The dragon hand puppet, when it's tickling her with its forked tongue
Being swung through the air
Being bounced, in my arms of on my knees
Biting my nipples

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lower incisors

Baby's been teething; I can tell because when she bites my nipples for fun it hurts a lot more than when she used to gum them. I'm assuming this is why all of the sudden she's not taking her naps during the day, and waking up even more frequently than usual during the night.

Bonjela doesn't seem to work; I rub it on her gums but she then licks it off until there's none left. Letting her chew a rusk or teething ring does seem to soothe her, but if I want her to nap then I have to feed her to sleep.

Apparently there could be smelly, runny poos to look forward to.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Inconvenient boobs

I suppose I shouldn't really complain about the fact that my boobs have more than doubled in size since they became Baby's instant milk machine; having a biggish chest sure does make the rest of one's body look petite, and that's a definite plus.

But I do miss being pert.

I miss being able to wear little strappy tops in summer, without the robust, canti-levering foundation garment underneath.

I miss sleeping on my stomach without fear of puncturing something.

I miss wearing shirts that fit perfectly across the shoulders, yet don't bind across my chest.

I hate having to list, can I breastfeed in this?, to my list of good shirt criteria.

I miss being able to run across the street without the feeling of twin water-filled balloons bouncing striking my chin.

I worry that, by the time Baby's off the mummy milk, my boobs will be different sizes.

And I will no longer be able to refer to the pencil test* without feeling wistful.

*The pencil test is one which tests "pertness". You place a pencil underneath one boob, and if it stays where it is then you ain't.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hooray for Huggies

It's not my thing to plug products - just movies and TV shows, normally - but in this post I sing the praises of Huggies disposable nappies.

Almost exactly one week after Baby's last poo, I was greeted at this morning's first nappy change of the day, with one so massive you'd think Baby had been digesting an entire sack of potatoes (pureed, of course). As you'd expect from a poo which has been brewing for a whole seven days, this one completely filled the nappy - it's a total wonder why it didn't burst its banks. In fact, this product did such a good job that I didn't even detect the poo onslaught with my usual nappy-sniffing test; it'd been so effective in keeping the toilet-y smells within.

Thanky you, Huggies, for saving me from the potentially gruesome task of a complete bedlinen change, clothes change, baby-clean and seriously thorough scrubbing of my fingernails.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Baby's first overnight trip

Baby's godparents (not FlyingKiwi, who is her god(less) parent) got married yesterday, in a picturesque little town known for it's wine and crafts. Although they're really cool people who have wonderful taste in baby clothes, I was dreading going to the wedding because it would mean overnighting away from home i.e. Baby's routine would be completely disrupted.

It's funny how such a small person can have so much luggage. We had to practically dismantle her bedroom and put it into three bags, in order to re-create her home environment in our hotel room. Then we got there, and realised it wasn't going to work anyway; there was no CD player for our white noice CD, the musical aquarium (essential for her naptime and bedtime routines) couldn't be fitted onto the travel cot provided, and the room didn't have blackout curtains.

On the plus side, she absolutely charmed the wedding party; she and a boy baby of similar age got on like a house on fire (she's going to be a big flirt when she grows up, oh yes), and there would have been no shortage of baby-friendly arms if the boy and I needed a break.

Speaking of the boy, he was the groom's best man so I got to see him all dressed up in a tux; he was by far the prettiest male in town (pretty in a manly, rugged sort of way of course).

When he couldn't locate the Blistex with which he intended to lubricate the wedding bands (just in case), he used the stuff from Baby's bum cream jar. I just had to tell you that.

Just as I'd feared, Baby didn't sleep too well. I ended up having to feed her to sleep, about every 2-3 hrs through the night; she wouldn't nap at all.

But I think she had fun.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

...and now for some culinary success...

I'm starting to realise that the key to cooking food which the boy will love, is to make sure there is plenty of cheese in the recipe.

This dish was really yummy, although I have to admit I was quite alarmed to see just how much oil goes into the pasta sauce (which is basically equal parts oil and cream). Fortunately the pasta soaks it up really well and then you can forget you saw it.

It's from Jo Seager's Easy-Peasy Summer Entertaining
Pasta with Grilled Asparagus, Broad Beans and Lemon (serves 4)

500g asparagus
2 cups shelled broad beans
350g dried penne pasta
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
3 tsp chopped fresh mint
100 ml cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the asparagus and slice in half lengthways.

Place the asparagus in a grill pan or on a barbeque, brush with a little oil and grill 3-4 minutes each side until charred and tender. (I don't have a good grill, nor a barbeque, so I put them in a hot frying pan with a little oil and shook them around until they were nice and grilled-looking).

Blanch the beans in lightly salted water for 2 mins, then remove with a sieve.
Run cold water onto the beans and remove the hard outer skin. (This bit was a pain in the arse because it takes so long to remove the skin off each and every bean. I may use frozen peas next time.)

Return the bean water to a boil, add pasta and cook for 10 mins until just tender.

Heat the oil, add the garlic and lemon rind and fry gently for 3 minutes.
Add the beans, mint and cream, and heat gently.

Drain the pasta and toss with the asparagus and the bean sauce.
Stir in the cheese and lemon juice to taste.
Season and serve in a warm bowl.

He's so lovely

I'd been led to believe that the boy and I wouldn't be exchanging presents for Valentine's Day, and I wasn't too put out about it. It's pretty hard shopping for gifts when the buggy doesn't get into the doorway of most shops, and I'm not organised enough to order something online ahead of time. Just finding a decent greeting card took a while (I chose a card with a romantic picture of that lovely couple Shrek and Princess Fiona).

And then the boy rang me from work, asking whether I'd checked my emails lately. He'd sent me an Amazon gift voucher. Within the hour, I had chosen a bevy of Buffy books.

I'd actually intended to spend exactly the value of the gift voucher, but it's tricky when the cost of freight seems to vary depending of how much the books add up to. So I thought, What the heck, just order whatever I want:

"Slayer: The Last Days of Sunnydale" by Keith Topping;

"Why Buffy Matters : The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer" by Rhonda Wilcox;

"Reading Angel : The TV Spin-off With a Soul" by Stacey Abbott;

"Finding Serenity : Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop series)" by Glenn Yeffeth;

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale" (music CD).

No more parenting books for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Carbs is the key

Don't let anyone tell you that feeding solids to help a baby sleep better at night, is just an old wive's tale.

Ever since I started giving Baby rice cereal (with or without the addition of vegetable or fruit purees) every day, she's been sleeping better. Not twelve hours straight or anything, but in 4- and 5-hour blocks instead of 2- and 3-hour blocks.

Unfortunately I haven't necessarily gotten any more sleep as a result, because some nights I just can't get to sleep even when I'm tired. Maybe I should increase my own carbohydrate intake.

Culinary disasters

Life as a domestic goddess-in-training hasn't been without it's failures; while my Kumara and spinach gnocchi, Deli salad, Cottage pie and Grilled asparagus with broad beans and penne pasta in creamy sauce were all big hits with the boy, some dishes were so bad we had to throw them out and eat pizza instead:

Warm lamb salad - It's a dish I love when ordered at a restaurant, but when I try to make it myself (with or without a recipe) the results are always iffy. Once or twice it's been nice, but I seem to have a real problem cooking lamb. In fact, the last time I made this, I gave myself a bad tummy.

Pork and beans - actually, I have a problem cooking pork with anything. Every time I cook pork (I haven't tried roasting it), it tastes really...I dunno...gamey.

Salmon Risotto - the recipe scored pretty highly on the easiness scale, but it's confirmed my suspician that I shouldn't bother cooking anything with tinned salmon when the fresh or smoked kind is available.

Considering my history of giving myself food poisoning though, I'm probably doing okay so far.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Like Bonanza but with extra cussin'

I rented some Deadwood episodes on DVD this weekend; it's another one of those shows which I've heard good things about, but never got to see on TV because it screened about three hours after I'd gone to bed.

Despite the exuberant swearing throughout the show (not to mention watching a dead man being fed to pigs), it's not so unpleasant that I couldn't enjoy it.

Deadwood is loaded with characters to love, hate and pity; the ruthless saloon owner and his unwashed cronies, the ex-state marshall and his Jewish business partner, the doctor who apparently spends most of his time "up to my elbows in snatch", the foolish townie who's been duped out of twenty grand for a used up gold claim and his laudanum-addicted wife.

It was interesting to see their take on Calamity Jane; the character I saw seems a zillion miles away from how Doris Day played her. She's coarse and loud and vulgar and not at all pretty. But put a sick orphaned child in her care and she's all tender and vulnerable (maybe she has an inner-Doris).

I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest of Season One, though it's going to be hard fitting it in with watching Desperate Housewives, House and Lost, as well as getting my blog fixes.

A new addiction

Having made my very first online auction buy today (a stroller for when Baby and I go out in the car), I fear that I have now become addicted to TradeMe. It's a good thing I've never been a shopaholic.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Machinist

I was pretty intrigued by this movie when I heard about it. Apparently Christian Bale, who played Batman in Batman Begins, had to starve himself to the point of looking like a concentration camp inmate, in order to play this role.

On the cover of the DVD it says that The Machinist is like a cross between Fight Club and Memento (both great movies, especially the latter).

Well it is; very much so.

It's a fine movie. I find it just a little too similar to both of the movies it's been compared to, but if you've not seen either (but are the sort of person who'd enjoy both) then you'll probably really like it.

There's an unhealthily thin man who hasn't slept in a year - the machinist; a strange workmate with an accent like Elvis' whom no-one else can see; a factory from hell; a prostitute who'll give it all up for the machinist; a single-mum waitress who befriends him; and enigmatic post-it notes on his fridge.

Oh, and there's also a huge reference to Dostoyoevsky's The Idiot, but I've never read it so I can't tell you it's significance.


I started feeding Baby hyper-mashed pototo last week. Everything was going fine; her initial reaction to this new food soon developed into acceptance and now she seems to like it.

But the worrying thing is that Baby hasn't pooed since her first taste of spudliness. It's been four days.

In the past, she's sometimes held on for two days; then when she did poo the resulting mess was just ALL OVER. So you can perhaps sense my concern.

Baby's next poo could well put us knee-deep in the brown stuff.

No, not letting this go...

It still irks me to see that erroneous sub-heading on the Serenity posters everywhere I go. That's why I took a photo of one; so I could post it up and irk someone else.

I even painted in a big arrow to make it really obvious. Come on, I can't be the only person who's outraged.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Conversations with asleep people

Some people talk out loud in their sleep; there you are, dreaming that you're about to miss the bus to school to sit a very important exam in the nude, when your bedmate suddenly starts talking geekspeak at the top of his voice. It's really quite distracting.

But the boy goes even further.

Sometimes Baby wakes up and cries in the middle of the night, and she can't possibly be hungry. So I turn to the boy and ask him nicely to PLEASE WAKE UP AND GO SETTLE THE BABY! The boy then sits up, throws off the duvet and pats my thigh, saying in his most soothing voice, "Hush hush sweetie, it's sleep time". So I tell him that Baby isn't even in the room with us, and he replies "It's okay 'cos I'm smiling".

That's when I realise he's talking in his sleep.

Last night at around 1am, Baby woke up and cried, in just the same way as I've just described. I woke the boy up etc etc. He said she was fine. I asked whether he was talking in his sleep again. He said, "Not as far as I know, no".

But yes, he WAS talking in his sleep. Again.

Every time this happens I get really annoyed because it means I've got to go and try to settle Baby without feeding her. But I can't exactly punish the poor guy, because he doesn't even know he's doing it. I should at least be grateful he isn't one of those people who walk out of their homes, pick up strangers and have sex with them, all whilst still asleep (I've heard of it).

Or maybe he's just pretending.

Geek or serial killer?

Actually, I reckon some people are both.

Here's a wee quiz, sent by my friend Desiree, to test your powers of differentiation (I got 7/10).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I think I'm cured

For a while there I was reading nothing but parenting books. Then, when I tried to wean myself off them, I became addicted to parenting discussion boards instead.

But I've become bored with reading about other people's problems with their respective baby's sleep patterns.

The best thing I got out of reading stuff like "Help! My child wakes up every hour at night and screams!" every night, was knowing that:

a) I'm not the only one with a baby who doesn't sleep through the night and

b) there are some parents out there who are worse off.

It probably helps that, at six months old this coming Saturday, Baby seems to be settling into a routine of her own which doesn't leave me with bloodshot eyes and an inability to concentrate for more than five minutes.

Yes, Baby is turning 6 months. She's a big girl now, with her own upright car seat and her own blue and orange high chair.

She's learned how to make her hammock bounce up and down by lifting and dropping her wee bum, and she's into Baby Einstein DVDs.

She chortles when I hold her to my chest and jump up and down, and goes quiet when she hears someone sing ...Old McDonald had a farm/ee eye ee eye oh...

She likes squished up pear but makes faces when it's squished up apple.

Oh, I feel another baby photo post coming on...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

the begetting of sleep

There's this saying which is oft-quoted in books about babies and sleep, "sleep begets sleep". The idea is that, if your baby gets plenty of daytime sleep then she'll sleep well during the night too, and vice versa.

Well, bullshit.

Yesterday Baby had about four hours of day sleep, twice as much as normal. And last night she woke up for attention SIX TIMES - twice as often as normal. The previous time Baby napped that well, her night was just as wakeful.

I really, really really must stop reading those parenting books.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

He's Angel, but he's not Dark Angel

I've walked past the poster advertising the movie, Serenity, every day for weeks now. But only this afternoon did I notice that underneath the movie title are the words "...from the creator of Buffy and Dark Angel" Eh?! Dark Angel?!

It must be a local faux pas, because the version I found on the Internet was gaff-free.

Did New Zealand get the first draft copies of the poster or something? Has anyone else noticed?

Monday, February 06, 2006

A website that answers some of those worrying parenting questions...

I was innocently searching for online information about a brand of baby sleeping bag called Go-Go Baby. Little did I suspect that the search terms "go go baby" would result in a solution the problem of how to prevent your little son from growing up gay.

Oh, and just in case you don't realise just from reading the content - it's a joke site.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The movie with the giant penis suit

We rented two DVDs to watch this week, The Yes Men and The Machinist. The latter sounds pretty promising because 1) it stars Christian Bale, who managed to make a Batman movie interesting, and 2) it's been described as "Fight Club meets Memento" - two favourite movies of mine.

But tonight I was in the mood for a laugh, so we watched The Yes Men, which is a documentary about a couple of imaginative anti-Globalisation guys (this is their website) who impersonate WTO representatives at various straight-up conferences around the world.

They get away with presenting the abovementioned giant penis suit as a textile-based solution to the twin problems of 1) managing workers remotely and 2) the need for a work life balance.

They also give a po-faced lecture to a roomful of economics students about their plan to feed the excreted waste products from First World-ingested hamburgers, to the starving poor in the Third World.

You could enjoy this movie just for the hilarious pseudonyms they work under, like Dr Adreas Bichlbauer and Granwyth Hulatberi. You could learn something about the evils of Globalisation. Or you could just enjoy the giant, inflatable penis suit.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

How to spend hundreds of dollars in less than an hour

Having only bought ourselves a new king-size bed last weekend, today we turned our attentions to Baby's retail needs.

Actually, I'd only realised 2 or 3 days ago that the rented car capsule she's been using, is due to be returned on Tuesday. So we urgently had to buy her a new car seat. And since it's quite hard trying to spoon pureed apple into Baby's mouth when she's half-reclining in her infant rocker and playing with the baubles hanging off the toy bar, a high chair was next on the list.

What you're supposed to do is go to at least a couple of specialist baby shops, look at every model and compare prices; maybe even try to get a discount for buying both items at the same shop. But due to Baby's ultra-short awake times (she was due for a feed and a nap within the hour), that didn't exactly happen.

It was more a case of making a beeline for the most visually attractive model, quickly trying Baby in it and checking that it wasn't the cheapest one in the shop (assuming that you get what you pay for - as it turned out we bought the second most expensive of each item) and snapping it up before the shop assistant even had time to talk us into the most expensive models.

Oh, and we also got a pair of really cute, hot pink infant sunglasses.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Five most exciting events of yesterday

A fellow mum, who's daughter was one of those babies you can take anywhere 'cos they seem to sleep all the time, told me that's no longer the case. Welcome to the real world, pal.

I've thought of a way to stretch out snacker-Baby's feeds. All I have to do is take her visiting, during what would be her feed time. Yesterday she went about 5 hours between feeds because we went to see a friend, where she had a whole new ceiling to stare at.

Realising that Lost, Desperate Housewives and House are all starting on the telly from next week.

Making my first foray into online auctions, when I bid $4 for a Jolly Jumper look-alike on TradeMe (today I had to increase that to $13).

Finding a copy of Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems (she doesn't really, but it's got some good ideas) at the library.

I really must get a life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Spilled blood

Finally that moment came, which I've been dreading ever since we noticed how fast Baby's finger nails grow.

I accidentally clipped off a tiny bit of Baby's finger.

All the "I'm so sorry"'s in the world didn't make any difference to my little girl, who shrieked in surprise and pain; she'd been right all along to resist my attempts to cut her nails, hadn't she?

The timing couldn't have been worse. It was just before her morning nap time and all hope of her putting herself to sleep went out the window.

Please excuse me while I flagellate myself.