Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Counting down to the holiday

Excitement is definitely in the air - I'm anxiously adding to the mental packing list, the boy is trying not to think about flying (which he hates) and Baby's nap-less with anticipation

I don't know whether there is any Internet access at the resort; there's no mention of it in any of the publicity blurb, so maybe not. In that case, you won't hear from me for a couple of weeks (but if I'm wrong then you'll be getting daily updates when I get bored with lounging)

So I'll leave you with this Proust questionnaire which I found at Baboon of Magnesia...

Where would you like to live?

I love the city I live in, but I wouldn't mind living in a bigger house with a deck and an extra bathroom

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Feeling loved

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
I eat too much, and mostly it's cakes

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

That's a hard one; usually my favourite fictional characters are anti-heroes. If I can include a television character it'd be Willow from BtVS

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Mozart, because he was so damned talented but - if the film was right - not at all snobbish

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
I don't have any. Maybe that's why my life has always lacked direction.

Your favorite painter?

Shane Cotton

Your favorite musician?
The Cocteau Twins

The quality you most admire in a man?
The ability to counter a dark past with a nice-guy present

The quality you most admire in a woman?

The ability to laugh at herself

Your favorite virtue?
I don't try to change people

Your favorite occupation?
Reading magazines on a comfy couch with fellow-travellers after having spent the day sightseeing and frolicking at the beach

Who would you have liked to be?

I don't want to be anyone in particular, but I would have liked to be a more easy-going person

Monday, May 22, 2006


It's bad enough (to non-baby people) that my life currently revolves around the whims and demands of a 9-month-old baby, but to be more precise, my days revolve around my her naps - or lack of. Ask me whether I'm having a good day, and my answer will depend on whether she's had one nap or three (or none), whether they seemed long enough to refresh her and whether any ear-splitting screaming was involved. And that's completely disregarding whether I got any sleep myself.

Today kazzer came to visit; it was the last time I'd see her before she and hubby leave the country and return to the UK.

I picked 2pm as a good time to come over, since Baby was most likely to have woken up from her afternoon nap by then (assuming she'd consented to one). Unfortunately, she was tired and grizzly again by the time kazzer turned up, so we had to take a spontaneous drive around the bays.

It was just as well that it was a beautifully sunny, warm day and perfect for cruising along the coast. The deep blue of the sea and sky, and rich green of the mountains helped distract us from Baby's back-seat crying while we tried to fit in a whole future's worth of gossip. Then, Baby finally fell asleep (it took over half an hour) and I could finally relax and enjoy my friend's company.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Getting ready to be hated

It sure is hard to shop for tropical island clothing, when it's the middle of winter. During my two hours of baby-free time this afternoon, I went in and out of shops in such a rush that by the end of it I was all hot and sweaty (unless that's early menopause I'm experiencing...). Finally I returned home with one nice top for dinners out, one flirty skirt which also looks pretty damned hot with knee high boots, and a birthday present for my two-year-old niece (a Dora the Explorer doll).

I've been looking to the Internet for advice on travelling with babies, and found a couple of useful sites - Flying With Kids and some ivillage pages. The latter has this amusing and probably very true, piece of advice:

Don’t keep apologising to child-free passengers. They hate you anyway. Saying you’re sorry when your offspring pings his plastic spoon over the seat is not going to create a beautiful friendship. Oh, and if it still goes belly-up, cheer yourself up with the thought that, in 16 years or so, your baby won’t want to go on holiday with you anyway.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A mini-milestone

She helps me turn the pages when I read to her. It's so cool.

...but I haven't a thing to wear!

I've never stayed at an upmarket resort before. In fact, I've never stayed at any kind of resort before. Almost my entire travelling life has been accommodated in hostels, three star hotels and motels.

When I hear the word "resort", I think of resortwear, the kind you'd see featured in fashionista magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar - you know, artsy photographs of pencil-thin teenagers in nautical stripes, and beachwear that costs more than my last interview suit.

And this reminds me that I don't even have anything to swim in except for my maternity togs. That's right - the swimming costume with lots of gathering in the front to accommodate a very large tummy, is what I've been wearing to the pool even though I haven't looked remotely pregnant for many months now. That's what I'll probably be stuck with on holiday.

I don't even have a nice top to wear if we decide to eat out at one of the fancier resort restaurants, because all my "nice" tops suddenly became undersized once I developed massive mammaries.

I'm going to have to go shopping.

We're leaving on Friday morning, and I still have lots of other things to do this week. So I've determined that I'll have to do all my clothes shopping on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, between about 9.30 and 12 (between Baby's naps). How much can I transform my holiday wardrobe in 2 X 2.5 hours? If I were you I wouldn't expect a purchase expedition to rival a What Not To Wear episode.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What a poser...

Here she is trying to crawl up her cot...

Laying around...

Playing in the laundry basket...

And waiting for her close-up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Babies don't travel light, do they?

After couple of calls to House of Travel and a promised answer tomorrow (as to whether we can have our seaside bure), I realised that packing to go on holiday is never going to be the same again.

Here's a tentative packing list:

For the boy: digital camera, a couple of pairs of jeans, half a dozen t-shirts, sunscreen and a toothbrush.

For me: a couple of pairs of cropped pants, half a dozen t-shirts, moisturiser, shampoo and a toothbrush.

For Baby: approximately 150 disposable nappies, 42 jars of baby food, baby cutlery, her Ocean Aquarium cot mobile, half a dozen cloth nappies, every bodysuit and long-sleeved shirt she owns, 2 grobags (much-used, thnx Make Tea Not War), a dozen favourite toys and books, baby sunscreen, Pamol (in case of colds etc), ear thermometer, backpack, sunhat and jacket.

I hope our baggage allowance is generous enough.

In other news, my digestive system is still punishing me for something I ate earlier. I've gone a record two days without any food (unless you count ginger kisses and fruit finger biscuits); if this keeps up I'll be fashionably thin for the resort.

Something to get excited about

Last night Baby slept continuously from 9pm till 6am, and I didn't even lie awake at night with bursting boobs.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Still alive. Just.

It's been three whole days since my last blog post. Mostly this is due to the fact that I really only get time on the computer when Baby's in bed for the night, and during the first half of the week this clashes with telly time (Desperate Housewives, House and Lost).

It's also because I haven't had much to write about. I know, I know - it hasn't ever stopped me from posting daily in the past. But if I just wrote about whatever was on my mind this week, you'd get nothing but yet more huge helpings of stuff about Baby's non-sleep behaviour, my increasing inability to cook an inspiring dinner and the fact that I don't do anything really interesting these days.

Not yet, anyway. We're looking at booking a couple of weeks at a Fijian resort, hopefully for a fortnight's time. I won't say where we're thinking of staying though, in case one of you guys decides to stalk us (after all, we will have an extremely cute baby with us).

Hopefully the anticipation of a tropical island holiday (with babysitters) will help me get over my body-falling-apart time - I think I have a tummy bug because every ten minutes or so my stomach goes into a spasm strong enough to make me to forget my name. Then there's my left knee which hurts when I walk, my ankle is compacted and my lower back appears to have never recovered from pregnancy-related looseness...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

What a rude start to Mothers Day - Baby wakes me up for a totally unnecessary feed just as midnight strikes, then afterwards I can't get back to sleep at all (why else would I be writing this blog post at 3am?). I keep meaning to buy camomile tea, as it's supposed to help with sleeplessnes (for Baby too, hopefully), but I keep forgetting. I forget an awful lot of things lately.

The boy kept asking me what I want for Mothers Day; I told him I wanted us to go on a date, but he either didn't like that idea or just knew it would be too hard to organise a wet-nurse to show up two-hourly after Baby goes to bed.

As an alternative, I said I wanted someone else to do the housework, at least for the day. The boy offered to pay for a one-off cleaner. At first, this seemed to fit the bill, but now I realise a cleaner probably isn't going to agree to do all our laundry and dishes, and make the following week's baby food.

Of course, first choice would have been a full night's sleep, but there are three main problems with this. Firstly, one night - though blissful - would never be enough. Secondly, until Baby is properly sleep-trained (or the boy's nipples start producing milk, or we find a willing wet-nurse), it's not going to be possible. And thirdly, even if by some miracle I wasn't disturbed for an entire night, there'd be no guarantee that I'd be able to get to sleep anyhow.

At least I can be sure of one thing - I really appreciate my own mother so much more now.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wet, naked babe

Due to popular demand (and we all know how much the stats improve when there's a baby photo), here's Baby in the nuddy. I'm going to keep this one for her 21st.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Brain bites

I was listening to a CD of children's songs by Woody Guthrie (he makes great car noises, by the way), when it struck me that he sounds an awful lot like Lou Reed.

I've been reading Why Buffy Matters, by Rhonda Wilcox. As you know, I am a super-duper Buffy/Angel fan (to be more precise, a super-duper Whedon fan), but some of the scholarly writings about the show have made me appreciate it so much more. If you've ever needed to be convinced that Buffy can be studied and dissected like a Russion novel or a John Donne poem, then this book is for you. While it wasn't quite as much fun as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy, or Fighting the Forces, this is still a really enjoyable book if you're a fan.

I am way tired. I think I'm more tired now than I was when I was feeding a newborn two-hourly through the night. I think it's because I no longer have time during the day to make it up. Or else it's because I've aged since then.

Family Guy is one of my favourite TV shows at the moment. It's not only funny and wierd; it's also pretty damned shocking. And it airs at 7pm, well before most impressionable young children's bedtimes.

Baby and I have our passports in our hot little hands. All that remains to be done is for the boy to fork out the dosh and book us all a holiday.

I've started putting Baby in a dress - nothing frilly; just a red fleece tunic - and she looks even more adorable than when I was dressing her in boys' clothes. People keep coming up to us and making coochy-coo noises. At her, not me.

Did you know that rats can't vomit? According to a book I'm reading, How to kill your spouse the natural way, they can't.

It's now 9.48pm and way past my bedtime. Goodnight.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nine months old today - you've come a long way, Baby

When I was a kid, the age of twenty seemed so grown-up. By twenty, I'd hoped to look like an Asian version of those women I saw in the television soap operas, and do lots of grown-up stuff. In my twenties, the age of thirty loomed as that magic threshold when I would no longer care what anyone thought of me; I'd be a super-confident superwoman. Needless to say, life has never turned out quite how I imagined it would.

When Baby was a teeny-tiny newborn, I expected she'd be sleeping for five hours at a time by three months.
When Baby was three months, I looked forward to when she turned six months and started to sleep just like the textbooks told me she would.
When Baby was six months, I read up on night-time sleep training methods in anticipation of starting once she turned nine months.

And now I realise that, at nine months, she is still a baby.

But on the other hand, so much has changed:
- We used to spend three or four hours each night trying to put Baby down for her bedtime. Now it takes half an hour to bathe, feed and sing to her and she's in bed by 6.30 at the latest.
- Baby used to just lie around on the floor and ignore her playgym in favour of staring at the ceiling. Now she's in training for the bum-shuffling Olympics and gets bored with a toy after five minutes. Though, strangely, she still finds unfamiliar ceilings fascinating.
- I used to sometimes feed her two-hourly. After a worrying phase in which she almost completely eschewed daytime feeds in favour of daytime looking and nighttime feeding, Baby is now a pretty good daytime solids-eater.
- Although she hasn't been weighed since she was five months old, I'm pretty certain that she's more doubled her weight since birth.
- Baby hated her first bath. Now she's a pro rubber-ducky player and third-time swim class attender.
- Every day I see more and more of us in her. She loves watching Baby Einstein (both of us); she sometimes has trouble getting to sleep (me); her favourite finger food is oven fries (both of us); she still looks like her dad; but her eyes are now brown (me); Baby prefers to spend most of her time on her arse (the boy); and watching computer games (also the boy); she eats tons of vegetables and fruit (me); and blows raspberries when she can't think of anything else to do (the boy).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Self defense for babies

I think it must soon be time to teach Baby to fight; once or twice during mum's group, a physically bigger baby has crawled up to her and unintentionally slapped her around a bit (just curiosity I’m assuming, rather than aggression), and all she does is take it and cry. (Of course when I mentioned it to the boy, he immediately wanted to know the aggresser's name and address so he could go over and teach the kid a lesson.)

Her upper body could do with a little strengthening anyway (which is probably why she’s still not crawling), so I’m wondering how to get her arms ready for giving punches. I doubt that karate clubs run sessions for babies, and not being able to stand up is going to make doing bicep curls too hard. I heard that visualization really works, but if I tell her to imagine her arms and torso flexing, she’s not going to understand what I’m talking about, eh?

Perhaps I could just sit her down in front of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Messy messy

Baby is now at that stage where she simply MUST get her little hands on the spoon, during mealtimes. I'm assuming this is her first step towards feeding herself with a spoon, although half of the time she puts her hands on the spoon end and the mouth around the handle.

It's all very cute, until you see just how much fruit and cereal ends up lodged in the hard-to-reach places on the highchair (like about the harness buckles), in my hair, in her hair, all over her clothes and wherever I'm just about to put my foot.

Really, a bib just isn't enough. A hairdresser's cape might be.

A Buffy sighting

The boy brought home another DVD last night, this time a Russion movie called Night Watch, apparently recommended by Gamester at Large.

First of all I had to ascertain whether or not it was yet another movie based on a graphic novel or computer game, as the boy is extremely partial to those. I only agreed to watch it because it wasn't.

As a very general overview, Night Watch reminds me of a less-pretty Underworld (perhaps the Russians have no Kate Beckinsale of their own). Against a setting in which there are two vampire (called "Other") factions, once at war and now in an uneasy truce, there's a young boy who's about to find out that he's a vampire more powerful than any before him. There's a race on to recruit the boy, a woman who unwittingly causes illness and death wherever she goes and a girl who suffers the frustration of losing the boyfriend she let herself get vamped for in the first place.

But I digress.

There's a scene where the boy is sitting in his apartment, sharpening wooden stakes (this is after he finds out the girl vamp is after him but before he finds out he is an "Other" also), watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer - it's the episode where she meets Dracula.

How cool is that?

And the movie...well the movie was interesting, but not arresting. Apparently there are two more to follow, and no doubt they're already on the boy's shopping list.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Yes, we have no quinoa

I've been racking my brain trying to work out what protein-y food to give Baby; she doesn't like meat much, and because of my family history of allergies, I can't give her eggs, dairy, nuts or fish (at least until she's 12 months old). An acquaintance told me that her baby son absolutely loves quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), so today I went shopping for some.

Unfortunately, the health food sections of the two supermarkets I visited stock little more than protein bars, rice pasta and organic muesli. Not to be deterred, I visited the only health food shop within a 5 km radius of home...

It took only a minute or two for the shop owner to sadly inform me that they were right out of quinoa. Being a friendly sort of person, I briefly explained why I was after this mysterious pseudo-cereal.

Before I knew what had happened, he'd found out my blood type and launched into half-hour long spiel about what foods I should and shouldn't eat as a Type O. Apparently I'm not allergic to eggs, carrots and chicken, because when he hung a door key in the air it spun in an anti-clockwise direction (or some such mumbo-jumbo). Okay, I think he was just joking about the key thing. But he promised me that if I followed the diet detailed on the sheets of paper in front of me (available for purchase at five dollars per copy) for one month, I'd have a flatter stomach, a smaller bum, clearer skin and be able to eat all those no-go foods. I'd have to avoid wheat, dairy (including ice cream!), smoked salmon, avocado, coffee and a whole bunch of yummy things though.

It was interesting all right, but then I remembered my reason for entering the shop in the first place - to buy protein-y food for Baby.

So I left.

Friday, May 05, 2006

At least the oven's clean

Just as jon fears (see his comment to my previous post), this blog is going all domestic. And now for my tale of kitchen woe...

Miraculously, Baby decided to favour me with an hour-long afternoon nap today. In that time, I toiled away at the kitchen making a baby-friendly beef casserole. The recipe was from a leaflet about the importance of giving babies iron-rich food, and I was keen to try it out as a grown-up dish.

Now, although our oven is nice and clean (finally), it's just a teeny bit dodgy. For example, biscuits that should take 15 minutes to turn golden brown generally have to be rescued from certain charcoal-ness in just 5.

And that's why, when I left the casserole in the oven - with the heat on "Low" - before telling the boy about it and then leaving the house to attend another mums' group gathering, I should've gotten a premonition that Something Very Bad was going to occur.

I was a little late back and had already forgotten about tonight's dinner in the oven. The kitchen was like a sauna. Dinner was black, hard, and smelled like an unwashed barbeque.

I turned off the oven. But guess what? It wouldn't turn off.

I just hope that tomorrow I remember to turn the main switch on at the wall before I try to cook breakfast. I can just see myself standing there in my towelling dressing gown and pajama pants (yes, I have these now - I'm sure it's something to do with motherhood), cursing because the stove elements won't heat up.


At our last Mothers Network meeting, right at the end, we took turns to talk about our non-baby interests.

And that's what made this meeting the first one I've truly enjoyed.

It was such a nice change to talk about something other than motherhood and babies, with people who'll understand if motherhood and babies creeps into the conversation nevertheless.

Along the way, not only did I find out interesting things about the other mothers (like the one who used to paint, the one who was a landscape gardener and the one who was a music-loving party animal), but I got the chance to be seen as more than just the mother of a non-sleeping baby.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Art for the young 'uns

Yesterday Baby attended her first art exhibition. She and I turned up to a baby-friendly tour through some of the respective works of Patricia Piccinini and Michael Smither, and I must say it turned out very well.

She was in the backpack - a cunning choice of babycarrier because it afforded her the best views of the artwork and also was most likely to put her to sleep when the time came.

I don't know what Baby thought of the imagined bio-engineered creatures, or the paintings of little children being naughty; every time I looked over she seemed to be communing with another baby.

By the time the hour-long talk had come to a close, Baby was asleep and I was free to unload my shoulders and scoff down several biscuits and a cup of tea (also free - now that's what I call a good art exhibition!).

There's a future in this.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Banks! - Part two

So this morning I was all bleary-eyed because Baby got me out of bed at 12.30am, 3.20am, 4am, 5.15am and finally at 7.30am, and what really woke me up was the Visa statement stuck to the fridge which reminded me that I had to call the bank today.

While Baby was sucking on a corner of buttered toast (tastes almost like cardboard!), I rang the bank's call centre number, declined to enter my access code because the call taker always asks for it again anyway, and asked her where the hell are our replacement credit cards and why the hell have they charged us a fee for them.

I was put on hold, just as Baby proceeded to gag on the bit of toast she'd tried to swallow whole and puke up her apple 'n' cereal.

So you do want to know why we haven't got our new cards already? Wait for it...

They're late because they've run out of cardstock with the "wave" design on it, and were waiting for new ones to arrive.

I was spittin' tacks. It was almost enough to distract me from all the puke and goo on Baby's hair, on her hands, and now being rubbed firmly into her eyes.

There was no point berating the poor woman. After all she's only the customer service operator - she's just the diplomat between the rip-off bank and us. But there was no mistaking the tone in my voice when I told her what a stupid bloody excuse that was for keeping our household creditless for four whole days.

We've been promised new cards tomorrow. Of course, I had to choose a new card design - that took all of half a second. We're also being re-credited the ten bucks (leaving the much larger late fee and even more enormous interest fee still to pay).

I'd change banks, but I don't have any money anyway. Damn.