Monday, July 31, 2006

love me, love my aura

An old school mate from many, many, many years ago (we're talking ages 11-13 here) found me via the Internet. I haven't a clue how he managed to do it as I never use my full name on the Internet - but he did it. Curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up Googling myself just to see.

Well, I didn't find myself on a full-name search, but when I tried just Googling "Violet" I found quite a few interesting-sounding sites. Like, there's a soft-porn site with my name on it. And an American town. But I'm not this clown.

I also found this personality profile based on the violet-colour aura. Now, I may or may nor have a violet-coloured aura (current mood tells me I'm probably kinda blue), but it's still nice to know that we are right now in the middle of a Violet Age.

Mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown

In less than two weeks, I will be able to say "I survived my first year of motherhood". But between this moment* and then, please don't leave me alone with sharp implements or a gun.

* 1.30am, after having resettled a screaming baby and then found myself unable to get back to sleep - and hell, she's going to get me up again in a couple of hours any.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Aye Carumba!

Is it possible to get another cold when one is still in the throes of the last one? Because if it is, then The Little Madam must have done just that. We've been giving her doses of the inhaler every 4 hours during the day, which ought to clear her airways and decrease the coughing somewhat. But since yesterday she's been sneezing lots more.

I know that it's healthy for young children to have their immune systems "challenged", but this is totally feckin' ridiculous.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A wheezer in the making

Still coughing her little guts out, the Little Madam had also been wheezing quite loudly all day today, so I was glad that we were already scheduled for a follow-up appointment with our GP this afternoon. A couple of times now, in the early hours of the morning, I've jerked awake because I thought I heard her wheezing after a bout of coughing. Then I'm paralysed with indecision - do I go check on her and risk waking up an already wakeful baby or do a stay in bed and risk finding a blue baby in the morning? I'm starting to get better at sneaking into her room.

Later today, the doctor listened to TLM's chest and back before prescribing a session on the nebuliser, followed by a dose of Ventolin. I had to sing several rounds of Ten Green Bottles again (supplemented by several verses of Old MacDonald, for variety) because she sure doesn't like have a rubber mask clamped to her face.

The good news was that this took away all the wheezing, and therefore it's unlikely that she had bronchiolitis. The bad news was that it's highly likely that we have produced a little asthmatic. And I can only blame myself because it's in my genes, not the boy's.

Of all the ways I can be a bad mother (e.g. I cook badly, clean infrequently, and often resent getting up in the middle of the night just 'cos the little one needs a cuddle), passing on a genetic predisposition for asthma is one I didn't need to add to the list.

Geeks - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

We receive a letter from our telecommunications provider a few weeks ago, informing us that on 26 July we would have to change our static IP address or be unable to access the Internet. When I show the letter to the boy, he dismisses it and assures me we didn't have to do anything. Something along the lines of trust me, I'm an IT professional and I know what I'm talking about.

So I stick the letter on the fridge and we forget about it.

Then one evening, we can't get on the Internet any more. The boy fumes and mentally pounds his keyboard, wondering what the hell has happened to our vital link with cyberspace. I'm especially frustrated the next morning, because The Little Madam has surprised me by taking a nap without any of the usual squealing or protesting and this is my time to blog.

When he gets home in the evening I thrust that letter in his face and say I told you so. Sure enough, he gets on his computer and changes the IP address on the router and the gates to cyberspace are once again open.


But guess what - the boy has very generously bought me a laptop, enabling me to blog from anywhere in the house. And it comes in a very sexy bag too. But here's the thing - he spends the evening setting it up for me while I'm in bed trying to catch up on sleep, not quite finishing before he heads on to bed. Then this morning I can't access the Internet from my computer. What did he do? I don't know 'cos even when I was a computer programmer, I was always one of the non-geeky ones.

Fortunately the boy's computer is working fine.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The pros and cons of having a mobile baby

It means she's growing up. Awwww!
It's so cute when she follows me around.
It's exciting because fully-fledged crawling/cruising/walking is just around the corner.
No more worries about pressure sores from sitting in the same spot all day. (Just joking - like a baby can get pressure sores!).
Look forward to buying her shoes and calling her a toddler.

Nappy-free time is problematic (if you know the answer to this quandrary, please please please leave a comment and tell me what it is).
It's really inconvenient when she follows me around. Like, to the rubbish bin for instance.
I might have to find a way of containing her when I want to shower or go to the toilet.
More run-ins with furniture than ever before.
We'll have to shop for playpen walls and stuff RIGHT NOW.

Explorer by day, banshee by night

Yesterday I took The Little Madam to see her GP. She reckoned that TLM could well have some sort of bacterial infection, and prescribed a week's worth antibiotics. She also prescribed two doses of redipred, a corticosteriod designed to fix that wheeziness once and for all (well, until the next time she gets sick and wheezy).

By the time we got home I was feeling really optimistic that it would all be uphill from there. TLM has just started really exploring our living area. Previously she seemed content to bum-shuffle around the carpted area and leaf through books and magazines; now however, TLM tends to aim for the rubbish bin, the cupboards and anything that looks like a potential climbing frame. I wouldn't be surprised if crawling and cruising set in by the middle of next month.

All those good feelings melted at bedtime though. Unusually, TLM screamed from the time I started singing her bedtime songs (my voice does have that effect on people, but she's used to it) and didn't settle until 90 minutes, four visits and an extra breastfeed later. Then 90 minutes after that, we got an encore.

The boy is sure it's the effects of the redipred. It hadn't occurred to me that corticosteroids could have such a dramatic effect, because I've been treated with similar medications all my life (for my asthma and hayfever) and never suffered ill effects (except I used to blame it for stunting my growth, which is probably quite inaccurate as it's more likely due to a regrettable family gene which produces short females and tall males).

At first I didn't believe him and thought it was probably a developmental thing. But I remembered that she was pretty hard to settle on Saturday evening too, and that day the doctor at the After Hours place had given her a dose of redipred...

So we have one more dose of this evil fluid to administer. I'm going to be very disappointed if TLM continues to wheeze after all this suffering.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Brothers Grimm

Today I'm taking The Little Madam to see the GP - a couple of days earlier than we're supposed to, but her rattle-y breathing is a bit worrying. Anyway, just as a wee distraction from all the doom and gloom of my blog lately, I want to tell you about a movie we saw over the weekend, The Brothers Grimm.

If you're at all interested in the origins of fairy tales, as I am, then you should watch this movie. I have no idea about the accuracy presented, but there are some fascinating references to the tales of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and others. Despite the fact that one of the brothers is played by Matt Damon - not badly, it's just a bit distracting when you realise who the actor is - and the silly comedic beginning, this film becomes quite engrossing.

It's very reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow, actually.

Like most fairy tales (at least the non-Disney versions), there are beautiful maidens in peril, dark magics, truly scary evil people and lovelorn heroes. Get past the first half hour or so and ignore the strange Italian guy, and you'll have an enjoyable film.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The doctor is in, but she's no House M.D.

Poor Little Madam. Her cold seems to be getting worse, not better. Yesterday I could hear wheezing, and it wasn't coming from my asthmatic self, so I took her to the after-hours medical centre. The doctor was really nice, but couldn't really tell me whether The Little Madam was just experiencing a particularly nasty virus or something else.

There was mention of bronchiolitis, she couldn't be sure. Because TLM has had so many colds in such a short space of time, there's a possibility of it being some sort of allergy. She even had a session with a nebuliser, to fix the wheezing.

I sang umpteem rounds of Ten Green Bottles to calm the poor wee thing down, because she cried during the ear inspection, the cold stethoscope on her chest and back, the nebuliser and the one-off application of some sort of medication which I've forgotten the name (and purpose) of.

By the time TLM was settled back at home and straight into her cot for a much-needed nap, we'd stocked up on Pamol (for the red left ear), Demezin (for the snot and possible allergy) and inhaler (for the next time she gets wheezy).

I've given the boy strict orders to do his smoking well away from the house (normally he smokes in the doorway), because apparently it's a major allergan. We also have to book in for a follow-up for Wednesday. I guess The Little Madam will most likely be missing yet another week of swims and playgroups.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cabin Fever

Due to The Little Madam being poorly, and the terrible weather outside (there've been gale-force winds, hail, pelting rain and an air temperature I can count on the fingers of one hand), I haven't left the house in three days.

When TLM's up I either play with her or do housework. When she's down for a nap I sit and twiddle my thumbs, hoping she won't scream and wait for me to find her stuck in the corner of her cot with her head under the blanket.

We really could do with some fresh air and company.

Time speeds like an overloaded freight train with faulty brakes

I just realised that in exactly three weeks time it will be The Little Madam's (TLM) birthday.

Where did the time go?

It seems like only a couple of minutes sonce I had to support my baby's head whenever I lifted her.

On the other hand, Life Before The Baby feels like decades ago (especially for the boy, who wonders whether my libido has emigrated to sunnier, more decadent shores).

This brings me to the question of whether to hold a birthday party for TLM. I was thinking it would be nice to have a little lunch or afternoon tea thing with just the immediate family. It would be an opportunity for TLM's first cake experience (and if she's anything like me, it'll be the first of many).

But it's only three weeks away, and it takes that long just for me to get around to cleaning the trackmarks off the toilet bowl (I did tell you that there've been lurgies in the house).

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Long time no blog post, eh? It's partly because of this house of sick people who need looking after, but it's also because only two rooms in this house are kept heated and the computer lives in neither of them.

The Little Madam is coughing and sneezing her way through the week, missing out on a Mums and Babies tour through the local art gallery. She's hot like a little pocket warmer and we've almost finished the small bottle of Pamol which I only bought last weekend. If she isn't better in a couple of days then it's off to the doctor's we go.

The boy is still giving his tummy some TLC, which at least means that I haven't had to cook for several days now.

But when he returned from his business trip, he brought back seasons one and two of Gilmore Girls. We've been watching episodes back to back every evening, and this keeps me from slipping over the edge into self pity.

Good DVDs, plenty of fruity biscuits and a warm bed - that's really all you need when you're un-seriously sick.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A house of lurgies

Once again there are sick people in this house. I, who am still getting over the 'flu from two weeks ago, am the healthiest person in this household right now.

The boy has some mysterious illness which sends him on urgent missions to the bathroom every couple of hours, and causes him to soak his pillows in sweat at night. When I rang the doctors' office to make an appointment, it sounded so bad that they fit him in to the afternoon even though technically they are full up today.

The Little Madam began her cold yesterday, just in time to miss the first swim class of this term. She's mostly still quite cheerful, but her appetite is at an all-time low (even spurning the freshly roasted oven chips) and the lower half of her face is continuously covered in snot and dribble.

It's only a matter of time before I'm struck down too. See, this is why I don't like the idea of fate.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I party

I'm not just a desperately unsociable SAHM you know. The boy and I were invited to three parties this weekend. Three. However The Little Madam (TLM) and I only made it to one (it was The Editter's).

Granted, it was at three in the afternoon and I didn't have anything alcoholic to drink, but it was still a party and I still got to talk to some new people. TLM tended to be the centre of any conversation I partook in, but I suppose that's to be expected when she's always either on my lap or climbing off it.

I even met another blogger, and we bonded over the fact that neither of us read the other's blogs. At least this meant we had something to talk about because we hadn't already read about it.

A model baby

Yeah, right.

But actually, yes. The Little Madam (TLM) is this year's model for the Ministry of Health's 10 month meningococcal B vaccination*. Some time after I return the consent form, TLM's face will be splattered over the walls at medical centres all over New Zealand. Only it won't look quite like her, because they Photoshopped the top of her head and gave her flat hair.

I promise you she won't be turning into a little Brooke Shields (a la Pretty Baby).

*Ironically, TLM is in fact overdue for her MensB shot, but don't tell the Ministry.

She squeals

For a while there The Little Madam (TLM) was going for her naps really well - three books in the living room, two songs in her bedroom and into her cot. The I wouldn't hear from her for at least an hour.

That isn't happening any more, and only some of it can be blamed on the imminent arrival of her second tooth. Now she lies in her cot and practices her squealing and squawking. It takes two or three goes before she'll actually settle down and sleep.

Either she's trying to tell me she only needs one nap per day, or she's just trying not to nap at all. I'd hesitate to believe the former, because up till now she's been a little slow on the nap development; even two weeks ago she was needing three catnaps per day, when other babies her age are onto one or two long ones. So I'm more inclined to think it's just TLM telling she who's the boss of her.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Exciting evenings at home

We actually had a neighbourhood party to go to last night, but due to the boy's non-appearance and therefore my need to stay at home and babysit The Little Madam, it turned out to be another evening at home and bedtime (for me) at 9pm.

I did get to watch some telly though.

Did anyone watch last night's episode of Project Runway? It's the one where they have to get into teams and design a lingerie collection. Did anyone think that Santino I'm-so-great should have got the chop, and not Daniel Can't-work-to-deadline? Santino has been more creatively interesting so far, and I reckon that's the only reason he made it through. Daniel was the better team leader because at least he accepted sole responsibility for the team's low score. Though both of them were utter control freaks who wouldn't accept any real creative input from their teammates. What do you think?

Now that I'm re-watching Buffy DVDs again, during The Little Madam's naps (now that she sleeps for an hour at a time), I'm having a re-think of which season is my favourite. Up until recently I always proclaimed Season Six as my favourite because it's so dark and dirty. But perhaps, having just seen some Season Three episodes again, it's really Season Three which is the best. Season Three has Faith, the mayor, vampire Willow and The Zeppo. Season Six has Buffy 'n' Spike, evil Willow (there's a pattern here, eh?) and some very annoying villains (I never liked Warren - at least the mayor, the Master and Glory were likeable in their own way). Am I right?

Gosh, my life is exciting.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Still boy-less

The boy texted me last night to tell me that he's not coming home today after all. Apparently his flights were messed up, and he's still in Singapore. This is bad; I'm just no longer accustomed to being the sole responsible adult in the household.

And yet, I loved living on my own pre-boy.

When the technician came around to test our alarm monitoring system and accidentally blew a fuse (not his fault, we have a faulty light switch in one of the rooms), I had to ask him to replace the fuse wire for me. I can't do it myself you see, because even with a ladder I'm too short to reach. It's always been the boy's job.

He's also the one who hold Baby when she's about to get a vaccination jab.

I hated taking the rubbish out on Wednesday, because that's a nasty job which I normally persuade the boy to do.

And woe betide me if anything should happen to my PC, because he is my computer whisperer. Ditto for the DVD player.

He did however, buy me a massage seat so that I wouldn't miss his magic fingers (I don't mean that).

And The Little Madam hasn't seen her daddy for days now. Will she look at him questioningly when she sees him?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


It's not because I'm copycatting The Editter, who has changed her blog name to Georgia, but I've decided to change Baby's blog name. She's not going to be a baby for much longer, after all, and anyway "Baby" is a fairly boring name which does nothing to express her personality.

So from here on I'm going to refer to her as The Little Madam. It's a little long, but it does tell you a heck of a lot more about what kind of personette she is.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Eleven months

Today is Baby's eleven-month birthday, and it's also my second day as a temporarily single parent.

Don't panic, the boy hasn't left me for a perkier, younger model; he had to go to Jakarta for work and he swore he's coming back before the end of the week.

Yesterday, my first day as Baby's sole parent, was not quite as scary as that day the boy went back to work, two weeks after Baby was born. That day was was terrifying; yesterday was merely a little tense. It was tense because I knew that I won't be getting any Baby-free breaks for about four days, and if she decides to have a terrible night I won't be able to ask the boy to go and settle her for me. It'll be all up to me.

Anyway, today Baby turned eleven months. Wow. It's hard to believe it's been nearly a whole year since she was born.

At eleven months, Baby definitely prefers feeding herself oven chips to being spoonfed mashed potato. She throws a tantrum if I take my Empire magazine off her, before she rips the pages out and puts them in her mouth (I thought tantrums were a Terrible Twos thing - obviously she is very advanced in this respect).

Even though Baby is still not crawling, her bum-shuffling is impressively quick. If I prop her up against the couch she'll happily stand there for about five minutes before getting bored and demanding to be tickled or bounced.

She's now more likely to wake for only one nightfeed than two, and for the last four nights has allowed me to sleep for around 7 uninterrupted hours overnight. But then she'll wake up at 5am wanting to watch a Baby Einstein DVD.

Her hair still sticks up; food seems to work at least as well as hair gel.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why I kinda support the Animal Liberation Front

Trying to practise what I'm preaching...

I was always going to be the kind of bleeding-heart liberal that disapproves of the fox hunting set, and supports those people at PETA who spray paint on fur-wearing supermodels. I never managed to grow up to become Jane Goodall or a veterinarian - nor even join Greenpeace - but my heart's right there.

In my opinion it's pretty arrogant of mankind to think of animals as things to be used and abused. In my world view, if creature can feel pain then we should try to avoid causing them pain (this idea doesn't run to cockroaches - I hate 'em).

I eat meat of course - it's in my Cantonese upbringing - but there's a line I draw between having an animal killed because we want to eat it, and killing an animal for fun. It's immoral. It's just as repugnant to kill an animal for food, then discard the flesh simply because you couldn't be bothered cooking and eating it before it went off. (And that is the real reason I hate throwing out food).

There's a real problem with vivisection though, because I've benefited from many medications in my life; drugs which probably wouldn't be available if they couldn't be tested on animals. And this is where my animal rights stance really falls over.

I could give up eating meat, with a little persuasion (or a trip to India). I could give up wearing leather if vinyl could be made "cooler". But the question of medicines is a tough one.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sweet tooth

Because the boy and I are supposed to be Baby's role models, we should really eat better. I can hardly expect her to be happy with mandarin segments and cinnamon-y porridge when the parents are following our instant noodle lunches with numerous chocolate biscuits and individual cheesecakes.

This means that one day soon we will have to give up individual cheesecakes and chocolate biscuits. Or eat them when she isn't looking. Other scoffable yummies I should ration are:

ice cream
apple slice smothered in warm custard
sticky date pudding
custard squares
apple and rhubharb crumble
hotcakes with maple syrup, banana slices and loads of cream

Yes, I'm a dessertaholic. In the days when my friends and I used to frequently meet for coffee, I always made a point of getting a really sweet cake-y thing to offset the bitterness of the really strong flat whites. One of scariest moments of my pregnancy was when I had to consider the possibility of gestational diabetes, and the sugar-free diet that would have to follow. If I'm having a really bad day, the boy often brings home cake of some sort to put a smile back on my face. And it usually works.

Will I be able to give up sweets? It might be easier to just be more furtive around my daughter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Almost-burnt offerings

You'd think I would have learned by now, after that time I turned a casserole into charcoal, to be careful using the oven. But no.

I've decided to give Baby roast vegetables every day, because at least she eats them. This is all fine and good, but it is such a bad idea to put the veges in the oven while Baby's having her morning nap, then sneak off to use the Internet for a few minutes.

Because half an hour later, I'll suddently remember that I haven't checked on the roast veges in an awfully long time.

And then I'll knock furniture over in my haste to get to the smoking kitchen.

Fortunately, the potatos, pumpkin and carrots are okay - only slightly more charred than they ought to be.

Well, Baby's got to get used to my cooking some time, right?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In other news today

Baby was all fussy and whingy today, and I feared that virus number four had hit. But all is well. She's just cut her first teeth.

Half a dozen eggs and a silver coin

When my brother and I were sick as kids, my mum would always practise her folk medicine skills on us. Usually this meant plying us with hot, bitter tea - tea so bitter that it really was worth making a "miraculous" recovery in order to avoid a second mouthful.

Another of my mum's favourite home remedies was the liberal use of a special brand of eucalytus oil. A handkerchief doused in this stuff creates the effect of a hurricane your sinuses, making you believe you can actually breathe through your nose.

But her most-used remedy was this - take a hot boiled egg, remove the yolk, put a silver coin inside the whites, wrap this up in a clean handkerchief and rub it all over your chest, back, neck and face. Repeat about six times, washing the silver coin thoroughly in between eggs.

Mum really believes this draws out the evil humours in the body and reduces fever. So much so that she walks around with a permanent egg-y smell around her, to which she is completely immune.

We had a visitation today, right in the middle of a food-fight between Baby and me (she was winning) and a minor tiff between the boy and me (over how helpful it isn't when your partner tells you that your stressfulness is showing). Despite cold, windy and rainy weather (normally enough to put her off leaving her house unless it's to collect her pension), my mum dropped by with half a dozen eggs, a silver coin and a bundle of clean handkerchiefs.

And you know what? I do feel better for it, although afterwards I had to clean crumbled egg whites off the floor and light a few matches (for the smell). Maybe it was the hot rub. Or maybe it's because my mum came through.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cold Scores

Number of colds/flu suffered since the beginning of June : Baby 3, the boy 2, me 2.
Number of healthy days in June: Baby 24, the boy 10, me 8.
Perkiest family member: Baby (of course!)

Number of social get-togethers missed this month due to sickness: 1.
Number of social get-togethers we have been invited to in the last three months: 1.

It turns out that we've all had influenza, probably the very strain which this year's flu vaccination protects against (and which none of us took). The doctor says that young children get sick frequently but don't suffer to the same degree. This explains why Baby has just a couple of unsettled nights each time, but the boy and I both feel like death warmed up, then quick-frozen, then put into a very hot oven without any basting.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Couple time

Second on that list, aimed at new parents, which includes the words "sleep when baby sleeps" (okay, but a 4 1/2 hour sleep then a 2 1/2 hour sleep is not as satisfying as a 7 hour sleep), is usually the phrase "factor in baby-free couple time".

Despite the fact that Baby refuses to stay asleep for a whole evening, the boy and I do get baby-free time together. We just have to stay at home for it. So it's just as well we have a huge collection of DVDs, a 42" plasma tv and a DVD recorder.

TV is now my main hobby*. Blogging is what I do while the boy plays World of Warcraft, so we can still be in the same room together. Going out on the town is something I've got on my list of long term goals.

*Shows we must watch:

House is great because for a whole hour I get to pretend that my mind still works well enough to keep up with the high-speed clinical diagnostics talk (is it ovarian cancer? An uberculoma mass? Rabies?)

I love What Not To Wear partly because I can secretly (well, not so secret now, eh?) relate to the fat menopausal woman, the butch tomboy, and the SAHM whose toddler looks like she belongs in a Pumpkin Patch catalogue but dresses herself in her husband's lumberjack shirts.

And Project Runway is the only bitchy reality tv show I watch, probably because I enjoy making fun of Heidi Klum's silly maternity frocks.

(I also love Gilmore Girls. Although it's set in a super-wholesome town where no-one ever dies of a horrible flesh-eating disease or a badly-placed bitch-slap, it's full of really clever dialogue that makes me wish I was a smart as Lorelei or Rory.)