We are away on a beach getaway up the coast! I’m just popping in to say that Volume 2 of The Kindred Collective was released today, and I’m in it! The theme of this volume is ‘firsts’ (in relation to motherhood) and is filled with many interpretations from some wonderful mums. You can read a teeny tiny excerpt of my piece above.
If you’d like to support me and the collective by purchasing a copy please use my affiliate link. This link will take you directly to the cart and means I will receive some of the profit. Thank you!
It’s day four of being at home with two sick kids (luckily Pearl has avoided it so far). They have that deep throaty cough that keeps you awake at night and makes your voice croaky. KB worked late the last two nights (home 8.30pm) and leaves around 7.15/7.30am in the mornings so the days at home alone feel long. I’ve had to miss out on a gathering at a friend’s house I was looking forward to and cancel my pregnant sister and aunty with her baby coming over this morning which I was so looking forward to. (Very small and minor complaints in comparison to world wide events of late, I know.) Yesterday we spent the entire morning at the hospital for some check ups for baby (she’s had a little heart murmur since birth, but is absolutely fine) and when we returned home a little frazzled and burnt out, our darling Pixie didn’t want to have her day sleep (cue exasperated emoji x 1000). I spent about an hour returning her to her bedroom to no avail.
Eventually I gave up and let them both play in my room on my bed (found all sorts of treats under my doona when I went to bed myself last night…). Knowing I had the evening ahead of me (and wanted to be in front of the TV by 7.30pm for The Bachelor Australia semi final!!! #guilty) I decided to do early baths and try to instil some sort of calm into our afternoon. I made little oat pockets in hankies and let them pour milk mixed with a few drops of lavender into a deep, warm bath. I desperately wanted to get in myself and lock the door of the bathroom (with them on the other side)… despite my efforts, come 5pm Pixie was bouncing off the walls. When she is tired she morphs into this strange kind of hysteria. Her giggles become high pitched and her face draws a curtain over itself, she looks at you when you speak but doesn’t seem to hear the words. She wouldn’t eat her dinner and she has also figured out that I am relatively powerless while I’m feeding Pearl. So she looks me in the eye as she picks things up she’s not meant to touch, as she gets down from the table when she’s meant to be eating her dinner, as she pulls my wallet out of my bag and begins to empty its contents all over the floor, as she tips her cup of water into her dinner or puts her entire fist into her food, as she pulls Nell’s hair… or all of the above.
I was so beyond my limits by 6pm that I pretended it was 7pm and put them both to bed. Luckily for me our clock ran out of batteries yesterday morning so my clever Nell was unable to see through my nasty little trick.
On days like these it really makes me question our Western way of life. Since having babies this set up has always felt very unnatural to me. When my family are visiting (and often stay for full days at a time because we just can’t get enough of each other) it feels full and whole and right. We always joke about buying houses all in a row, we call it “our commune”. But for me it actually just sounds perfect. One of my little sisters is about to have a baby and even though she only lives a 20 minute drive away, it seems too far. All the rules that we impose on ourselves, when you really think about it, life in our culture is just one big game. We have made all the rules (working 9-5, living isolated in silos and away from our families, do this, don’t do that, etc) but now we seem absolutely trapped by them.
Well, at the very least, I do. Do you?
Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.
It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)
At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Pearl has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.
Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.
I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.
… it seems appropriate to talk about nature. I for one am completely ready to burst open the windows and doors to welcome the fresh, crisp air of Spring.
I read this article this morning on one of my favourite websites. What really struck a chord with me was this: “We’re at the mercy of the plants, the fungus, the beetles, the trees, the bees. They don’t need us, but holy hell we need them. No insects to pollinate crops, no food. No trees to transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, no air. No plants, no life. That’s that.” The Planthunter
It is all too easy to drive around each day, barely noticing our surroundings. Our natural surroundings. To use our cars without thinking and to ignore nature for days on end. Well this is true for me, anyway. But on those days that I get out in the yard or in the sun or out for a walk, on those days my mind is clearer. Life has more purpose. I’m reminded of what really matters and the importance of our roles in protecting it.
So today, on this first day of Spring, close your eyes and let the sun play on your face. Smell the breeze and touch a leaf. Notice which plants are coming to life on the route to school/work/kinder… I’m sure just a little part of you will come to life too, after lying dormant over the Winter months.
So it turns out I am perfectly capable of living a normal life outside of social media, without turning into Gollum searching for The Ring. After the first few days, I actually didn’t miss it at all!
The other day I downloaded Instagram onto my phone again. I’ve clicked the app maybe five times in the last three or four days, as opposed to five times in an hour that I was capable of previously.
I can now sit down and think, my mind feels clear, my feet are on the ground.
I was sitting at the traffic lights during the week and I looked into the window of the car next to me. I saw a two year old in his seat, tapping away eagerly on a screen of some sort. This time spent away from social media has really made me think (again) about the place screens play in our lives. How seamlessly they slip, unassuming, into the fabric of our homes.
We bought an iPad last Christmas for KB’s work. I have used it a handful of times and actually forgot we had it until about six weeks ago, when the girls asked if they could watch ABC KIDS on it. They sometimes have a go on one at their Nan and Pa’s place, and surprisingly (or not?) they knew how to use it better than I did. Since that day they have asked to use it constantly, and being so bedraggled I started to say yes. Before I knew it they were having iPad time every afternoon and started to cry if I said no.
What have I done!?
I think it’s unrealistic while I’ve got such a small baby that I ban screens altogether (I’m actually just not willing to put myself through that right now… for better or worse) but I am so conscious and conflicted as their world is saturated with technology, unlike my own childhood… it just doesn’t feel right.
We’ve got some thinking to do, that’s for certain.
I had a visit from a lactation consultant today. Cue audible sigh. I booked it earlier in the week when I had the funny feeling that things were becoming a little pear shaped when Pearl was trying to feed. A clicking noise here, a bit of breast refusal there… it all started to accumulate until one day I had trouble feeding her at all. It’s funny how these things creep up when you’re in the thick of it. Sometimes it takes a slap in the face to be able to notice things that are happening right in front of you.
While little P is nothing like the Pixie in the breastfeeding stakes, I was getting a few warning bells over the past few weeks. Apparently things can go a little awry at the six week mark, which is precisely when I started to wonder if she was feeding as well as I thought she was.
Today confirmed it: a posterior tongue tie, a high palette, a shallow latch and a severe case of Overzealous Let Down and Spraying Boob (self-diagnosis those last two). But also: a darling baby who is trying very hard to make it all work.
It’s not panic stations by any means. At least now I know why I had that little persistent voice in the back of my head and I wasn’t making it all up due to past experience (because I have to admit that I do tend to hit the panic button when she so much as looks at my breast the wrong way). I admitted to the LC today that I thought perhaps she would think I was silly for booking her, given I’m sure she sees situations that are a lot more dire. She assured me that one of the mottos she lives by is “always listen to the mother”, because the mother usually knows best when it comes to these intricate matters.
And just how ridiculously intricate is breastfeeding?!
I never would have known it.
Or guessed it.
I often wonder what would have happened in the cave days… would another woman have breastfed our child if we had trouble ourselves? Are there more problems now than previously? Do all our rules and regulations about nipple angles and latch and positioning pay off or cause us more trouble?
Cue second audible sigh. Sigh.
I don’t know the answer.
But my girl is thriving is every other possible way, so we will continue to iron out these things together.
It’s been almost a week since I deleted Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from my phone and decided to take a break from the noisy world of social media. I’ve been monitoring myself and my behaviour which I’m pleased to say has changed over the past six days. Countless times initially I went to pick up my phone to check Instagram, or I thought of something I could take a picture of to post, or someone’s account I should go and look at. None of these actions or thoughts seem particularly sinister, but when I’m having them in the middle of doing something else (cooking dinner, eating, playing with the girls, doing the washing…) and would normally interrupt myself to act on them, I have realised what a disruptive role it is playing in my life.
On Sunday I was home alone with Pearl. I sat on the couch to feed her and watched the entire sunset through the window. It made me feel grounded, real. It made me realise how being attached to screens all the time makes me feel flimsy and disconnected.
It’s interesting to sit back and observe sometimes. And funny that today I barely gave Instagram a thought. I do miss it, but I want to be able to enjoy it without the compulsion to be on it constantly. I hope that I can reflect on all this and decide how I want my relationship with social media and my phone to move forward. There is so much more I want to say on this topic but I am typing left handed in bed with a baby sleeping (finally!) on my chest…
On another note I’ve got the dreaded cough/cold large (again) and have this sitting on my kitchen bench. It will be ready tomorrow morning and I really hope it works! I’m also sipping away on ginger, turmeric, lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey tea. I pour it into my drink bottle to sip while I’m out and about. Any other (breastfeeding friendly) tried and true home remedies for me? I always like to add new ones to my list.