Thursday, August 07, 2014

Finis

About a year ago, breastfeeding finally got “easy”, after three months of hell. Pumping to build supply, assisted lactation for nipple stimulation, cracks and bleeding and screaming pain. I dont remember it suddenly being easier, but it obviously happened.

Just under a month ago was LJs last breastfeed. Over the previous four months we had cut back from 4+ a day to one a day with two bottles. Because I’m like that, I got into a habit of feeding one side and then the other, always starting on the same side.

One week, LJ started refusing the second side. He would put his mouth on, and then pull away and shake his head. On the Saturday, he bit me on that side.

Suddenly, one Wednesday morning he refused the first side as well. Mouth to nipple, he suddenly started crying. He pulled away and started saying “doh” (“no” - he has a blocked nose at the moment, his new word is unbearably cute for the time being!) and shaking his head.

My parents had offered to take LJ to their beach house for the weekend without us, so accidental weaning by loss of supply had been in the back of my mind over the previous couple of days if he went.

So, his refusal was perfect timing. I simply stopped offering. Our morning routine has had a bit of a change to remove the reminder of breastfeeding, and we are still ironing out the creases of the morning routine, but on days I am out at uni, I have time for a shower before LJ goes to daycare. Which is an improvement on my old lunchtime showers previously!

Its both a relief and a sadness. I feel guilty for desiring this above all other things for a long time, and I know I’ll miss it a little. But its a decision made together, with LJ leading the way with fortuitous timing.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sharing the creativity

The second video I made for photography class in June.

I had been sick through much of the eight-week course, and so put all my effort into sadness. Kictchen was very much last minute, and very different to what I had originally planned.

But I still enjoy it :)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Fun Fifteen: July 2014

I have written other things this month, honest. I just haven't got around to sharing them!

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Congratulations to my brother- and sister-in-law, who are expecting their first child just on Christmas. Now all our siblings will have kids!

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise:
Its been a great month actually - uni finishes at 2 or 3pm most days, so I'm making a real effort to go to the gym before I come home. It means I have less time hanging around the house in the early afternoon, so laundry and housework have fallen a little behind, but thats ok.
Job / Course: Study is underway! Feels like I've been at it for ages, but its only been three weeks. Somehow!
Clothes: After cleaning out the old clothes box, and only keeping a handful of things that dont yet fit, I've gone and filled it up again with summery stuff I cant layer (except by adding a cardi), so its easier to pick outfits each day.
Weight: Fluctuating, but holding steady in the 83kg range, which is good enough for now.
Creative: Cleared last month.
Online: Given how much of my uni stuff requires being on the internet? But I'm definitely spending less time on social media. Trying to make a point of not checking my emails / facebook / flickr / twitter / blogs during uni time.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - Not quite 45 minutes, but a good half an hour + 3 days a week. Actually, if you add in the walk from uni to the gym (about 20 minutes), plus all the stairs I'm taking around the university while carrying tablet, notebook, ringbinder, waterbottle, raincoat and gym gear...
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - One down.
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Nope, again. Have been eating far too much chocolate this month too.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(last month was poor, so continuing the same again)

5. Recipe Review: We've been trying some new recipes recently, and we've had 2 that were absolutely fantastic this last week - both from Simon & Dame Alison Holsts book "Year-Round Recipes for Slow Cookers and Crockpots". The chinese-spiced pork belly was chosen by dint of the fact our supermarket didn't have the boneless pork shoulder steaks another recipe we wanted to try needed, but they had pork belly on special. The other recipe was Nacho meatloaf. Surprise hit of the week! Both are definitely on our to-cook-again list.

6. Motherhood Moment: First full weekend with no baby. That was wierd. In a good way. I went for a daywalk on Sunday, Mark worked all weekend.

7. Been there, Done that: Kaka watching with LJ at Zealandia, afternoon tea of scones and tea with the photo guys, the playground at the Botanic Gardens (and the excitement of watching the cable car come and go), the Zoo with E and Jenny, swimming with Alexis and Jared when they came down to visit for school holidays, afternoon tea at the Spruce Goose (to watch planes taking off), the zoo as a family. Lots of not-great weather.

8. Coming Events: Christmas, and a trip to Queenstown for my mid-semester break, which is awesome.

9. Links Round-up: Some fantastically useful advice for taking a toddler tramping, I can see how all the ideas would help. Satisfying my need for gossip about the stars of Australian reality TV shows after all the drama around House Rules. The new Boeing being taken through its paces (Wowowowowow). I really wish the whole Palestine - Israel thing wasn't happening at the moment. Nullschool have bought out a new imagery called "misery index", on days like today thats quite apt.

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: More books, although I've actually purchased a couple this month, as well as some music off itunes.

12. Life Lesson this month: After last months not getting well with a clingy toddler - not taking care of myself is an incredbly bad thing for both LJ and I.

13. Days gone by:  I've installed the new TimeHop app on my phone, and am really enjoying seeing things pop up again. Last year included our first big earthquake (another one followed a month later), 2 years ago we were just home from Europe and I was at Scout Photography School in cold Wainuiomata, 3 years ago we got Checkers.

14. Fave memory from the month: LJ and that lion at the zoo. And when Mark helped him pat a kangaroo. The look on his face when he patted a rabbit at the petshop. Going for a long walk on my own and actually enjoying it.

15. Photo of the month:
This one has been aired on Facebook too, everyone loves it (as do I). From our trip to the zoo
"You doubt your value. Don't run from who you are"

Friday, July 04, 2014

Fun 15: June 2014

How are we half way through the year? Where has the time gone? How did this happen?

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Good luck to me starting uni soon. Back in courses with 18 year olds, hoping like hell that 18 months can get me a job. Thankfully, I'm doing work similar to my qualification at the moment.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise:
This month I've been crook with an exhausting chest infection. Which makes it a full month since I went to the gym. Oh dear.
Job / Course: Two weeks and I start study - plus I've had three weeks work this month! Awesomesauce
Clothes: My bra size has finally reduced, so I can now start pulling more of the tops out of my storage box - but many of them dont suit my shape, or I just dont like them anymore. Time for some shopping.
Weight: Nausea-induced weight loss as a side effect of antibiotics is awesome. Now to hold it off.
Creative: Success! Completed both assignments for my creative photography course. One is shared at the bottom of this post.
Online: Fail. Seriously so. As always

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - nope. Not even twice this month.
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - Did about 3 this month. Not ideal.
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Never even got off the ground with this one

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(last month was poor, so continuing the same again)

5. Book Review: It appeared suddenly in the bookstore - the book I've been waiting for for what seems like forever. So I had to buy it. Its taken nearly all month to read due to it being wordy, hard going at times, and looooong (in conjunction with limited reading time), but boy, Written in my own hearts blood finishes in a MUCH better place than the previous installment. I still want to know whats happened to William and Lord John, but at least I didn't get to the end and yell "you CANT finish it like that!". That said, for a book where the author says she purposely condensed time by not talking about minutiae, it was still a darned detailed book, with a heck of a lot going on - too much. For a book where you first have to suspend belief because its about time travel, I still felt at times that what was going on was just too unbelievable.

6. Motherhood Moment: Taking LJ for his first trip to the Zoo was pretty awesome. He loved calling all the animals "cat". Hilarious.

7. Been there, Done that: A long weekend in Auckland, loads more walking, the arrival of both a new ringsling and a new tula for us to use (that have had no use yet because I was too sore to carry LJ at all), loads more walking, Mark doing the swimming lesson one Wednesday and lots of generally chilling out.

8. Coming Events: Uni! Christmas! (I know, months away, but we are starting to make plans, which is exciting)

9. Links Round-up: An awesome PSA about times nervous blokes should NOT approach a woman they dont know - explains wonderfully why women dont like being approached this way. The awfulness that is gendered marketing, simplified for those of the older generation wondering why there is so much pink in their grandchildrens lives (note, its not your kids fault, its the marketers). Meet my friend Lizzy, who wants to get into multisport (I volunteer to help out as crew BTW). Standard Captain Awkward awesomeness. And finally, how on earth does a drunk consent to sex? Was this because it was a bloke having gay sex that the jury found the assailant not guilty? I am shocked and saddened.

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: More books, although I've actually purchased a couple this month, as well as some music off itunes.

12. Life Lesson this month: Getting well with a clingy toddler is nearly impossible.

13. This time last year:  Struggling with PND quite badly, hating life as a parent. Wanting to run away, anywhere would do. Feeling like I had ruined my life and my body for no good reason. Rough times.

14. Fave memory from the month: Watching LJ have his first fluffy. Hilarious. Will likely also be his last for a while, as it made his eczema really flare up.

15. Photo of the month:
A video I made for my creative photography class.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Creative Juices

I've been feeling uninspired for the last not-insignificant period of time.
So I decided to do a creative photography course.
And it was seriously challenging! I've spent most of the last year only taking photos of LJ except on specific occassions, so it was nice to HAVE to go out and shoot things that were nothing to do with him.

While there, we did creative writing exercises every week, and I thought I would share some with you over the next couple of weeks. Please note this was hand-written, not on a computer, so it takes a bit longer to actually write!

The situation: You are a 10 year old boy. You've done a trade at school - your dads mercedes for an elephant. Write a letter to dad explaining why there is no mercedes in the driveway, without mentioning it was a trade. You have 4 minutes.

DAD!
You'll never guess what I won today!
AN ELEPHANT!!
How awesome is that!?!
You know I've always loved elephants, so I entered the competition at the zoo to have one at home for a day, and I WON!
We needed to move your car down the road for a while, since we couldn't get Jumbo into the backyard - we had to fence the driveway for him instead.
Its the talk of the town - isn't it awesome?
Love you heaps!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fun Fifteen: May 2014

Oops, a little late...

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: To Jo & Mike for buying their first home! Cant wait to visit :)

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise:
I've been doing ok. Not always twice a week, but something most weeks, so thats good, right?
Job / Course: On the final countdown!
Clothes: I still have a box of stuff I cant fit due to shape changes, I'm giving it till Christmas this year - anything that doesn't fit then is gone.
Weight: Holding steady. Only 3.5kg to go to get to pre-baby weight.
Creative: Most of the way through a creative photography course, and its really challenging! 

Online: Fail. Seriously so. As always

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - not quite. I think I got at least once a week every week, and twice 2 of the weeks
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - think I got through four this month - so thats good, only about 12 to go!
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Never even got off the ground with this one

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(last month was poor, so continuing the same again)

5. Book Review: I went to the central library book sale at the end of April and picked up an intriguing biography for $4. "The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson". Wow. Sure, the start was slow-going for a while, but boy did Mrs S have an interesting life. All I really knew of her was what was shown in The Kings Speech, which showed her in the negative light the royal family wanted. And she is so much more sympathetic and dynamic than that. Boy did the royals hate her. Seriously, the way they treated her and the Duke was a clear precurser to how they treated Sarah Fergusson and Diana Spencer. I've lost a lot of respect for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother. All in all, a highly recommended book.

6. Motherhood Moment: My second mothers day was more of a success than my first. Mark treated me to a "boquet" of cupcakes (yum), and then we went for a drive because LJ wouldn't sleep before grabbing a late lunch at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown.

7. Been there, Done that: A picnic at the top of Mt Victoria one sunny morning, first ride on the back of Dads bike, renovations completed in our bedroom, a day trip to Christchurch, and the last day of May saw us flying to Auckland for the long weekend (man that day was a drama with flights!)

8. Coming Events: Starting uni in July. Junes a quiet month.

9. Links Round-up: Want some inspiration to actually go achieve something? Read this blog post. I'm off to have another read. Might have to buy the poster too. Another yummy treat recipe I need to try. A parenting post I'm going to have to come back to once LJ starts really talking back. Also, correlation is not causation - hilarious.

10. Life list update: Bleh. Need to think up some exciting new ideas I can start working on. Maybe cull to a 40 before 40 list or something.

11. Wish Lists: More books, as always :P

12. Life Lesson this month:  Get on the plane as late as possible when you have a kid with you. Even though you're nearly in the back row!

13. This time last yearWe were trying desperately to settle in to parenthood. I was about ready to start counselling for PND. It was all a bit boring, really. Especially when you compare to this time TWO years ago - when we were in Europe! How has it been two years? Thats the last time my passport got any use - how sad!

14. Fave memory from the month: Definitely the morning tea picnic at the top of Mt Victoria. Was a lovely time in the sunshine.

15. Photo of the month:
So, I've not uploaded much I've shot this month - but here is one from Paris two years ago :)
Old Paris

Monday, May 26, 2014

A different life

Its come to my attention through a series of conversations recently that my Mum and I have done things the opposite way around to a lot of my friends families.

I thought it was normal. Well, to be honest, I never really thought about it till Mark and I got together and I discovered his family had been different. I still never thought we were that unique, till I got talking to a whole pile of friends.

And what was different? Mum went back to work full-time when I was little (somewhere around six months I gather). Turns out that most of my friends parents didn't work when they were little.

Thinking about it, that makes sense. Because daycare didn't really exist, and nannies were few and far between. Kindy wasn't an option till you were three (and even then it was only half days). The only ways to do it were private childcare (nannies and babysitters) or family members who weren't working.

And its interesting, because I've been agonising over the fact that I've not had a job to go back to (and so am not contributing financially to the household), while my friends who had at-home mums when they were little are all agonising over the fact they have to go back to work and dont get to spend as much time with their babies.

One of the reasons this never occured to me when I was younger was that my parents shift-worked - for my whole life till I was at university. Technically Dad still does. So we had babysitters regularly, but Mum and Dad were also often available during the day to be parent help on outings, where my friends parents weren't because they worked. And so I never thought about what had happened when we were younger.

And hearing some of that generation talk about their days as parents to young children recently, I think they had it pretty good in a way. Because most of their friends with similar age kids also didn't work, so I've heard stories of going from Kindy to a catchup and tupperware parties every other week. They weren't as socially isolated as parents. It was easier to organise multiple catchups with people because everyone had free time during most days of the week.

There are 4 of the 12 mums in my antenatal group who aren't back at work - one who is planning not to, and the other two have twins, so are taking longer maternity leave before making a firm decision. And me. And even trying to catch up with those lovely ladies is hard work by the time all the activities the different family groups do (and nap times) are taken into consideration. The plunket-based new-mums group I joined last year has fallen apart as well, since pretty much everyone has gone back to work. My playcentre-based SPACE group has managed two catchups since we wrapped up before Christmas.

So, while parenting has enabled me to meet loads of awesome new people, its also limiting. Socialising outside of mum-groups is hard to organise as well. I added up my socialising time, and got an average of about 5 hours a week in which I get some chance to interact with other adults other than Mark (which includes LJs swimming lessons, antenatal group catch-ups, playgroup and seeing my parents). No wonder I've largely stopped talking, and no wonder this blog has fallen away a lot - I dont tend to have a lot to say, having spent so long alone in my head!