We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sharpening the Saw

I taught my new catechist classes yesterday, returning for the first time after becoming pregnant. My plans for being nice and early were snafu'd as uusual... I was up, dressed, Wombat and I had breakfasted, Yeti was even up and had taken over Wombat duty, but in worrying that I had left everything he might possibly need in places where he could find it, and coming back for one last Wombat hug, I managed to leave home 10 minutes late. I then got caught behind the world's slowest ute on the drive down - 60kms in an 80km zone, on a twisty road with no overtaking. Despite that, when I got to the school, I was only five minutes late... that was, until I spent the next 10 minutes chasing around what is a very tiny school, looking for the class I was supposed to teach - year 3. By the time I actually got them seated and introduced myself, half the lesson-time was over. This was not a good start, and they consequently behaved in an absolutely obnoxious manner. I seemed to spend more time asking for silence and making threats than conveying any kind of salutory message. This class of 10 - 4 boys and 6 girls, were harder to control than the classes of 30 I used to have! On sober reflection afterwards, however, I realised that there were really only two trouble makers - twin boys. Another boy copped most of my ire, but when I think about it, he was trying pretty hard, just easily distracted. He is also a slow reader, and used to being in trouble with teachers. If I can somehow keep the twins interested and working, he won't be a problem. Just as I was beginning to feel like a teaching failure and wonder why I had returned, the lesson ended and year 4 arrived. This class also has 4 boys and 6 girls, but WHAT a difference! They were intelligent, willing to work, happy to colour-in quietly and listen while I talked, asked relevant questions and were eager to answer my questions. The best class I have ever had! I shall have to make a greater effort next week not to be late for the first class. There were one or two moments when I got through to them. I am hoping to build a better relationship from there.

Wombat greatly enjoyed his one-on-one time with his Daddy... apparently he was a bit upset to see me go, but squared his shoulders and very bravely didn't cry. He then spent a happy hour exploring the world, including attempting to pour a pot full of soil down his throat. That's my boy! I was very relieved to get home and find such big smiles waiting for me. He was completely exhausted, though... which means longer nap times, and he almost slept through the night despite the nasty teething! He's even napping well today and asked to go to bed early (I took him for a bushwalk on his own two little feet, which wore him out satisfactorily.)

My chances of getting to a library lately have been zero, and other than blogs, environmental articles, law books, and baby books, I have not been reading anything for myself. Catechist teaching is my spiritual part of what lifecoaches call the "sharpen the saw" role (I'll make this a link when I find the url.) I have chosen reading for the mental part.

Wombat likes to participate in anything I'm doing while he's awake, which could also be very detrimental to library books. (The copy of The Baby Whisperer by sister lent me is looking a little bent and chewed around the edges... and I haven't managed to finish it yet - sorry Steff... it's not that bad, but I feel like I should buy you a new copy, since I can't return it in the same condition as I borrowed it...) To cut this long story short (since Wombat is 11 months old today and I MUST write an update for him) I went browsing at Project Gutenberg (this always makes me feel like a child let loose in a candy store ;P) I downloaded a few interesting books, but leaving the more adult selections aside, I decided to follow my heart and start with the kind of kid's book I have always loved: E Nesbitt's The Magic City. I will keep a list of my reading at the side, and write a little review when I've finished, but suffice to say I am enjoying it immensely, despite having to limit myself to half-an-hour a day instead of devouring it in one voracious sitting. It's in that restrained English turn-of-the-century tradition, but has enough imaginative details to carry the moral without making it tedious. I'm looking forward to reading it to Wombat in a few years. Here's just a little taste:

You know when people are making the animals for Noah's arks they make the big ones first, elephants and lions and tigers and so on, and paint them as nearly as they can the right colours. Then they get weary of copying nature and begin to paint the animals pink and green and chocolate colour, which in nature is not the case. These are the chockmunks, and vertoblancs and the pinkuggers. And presently the makers get sick of the whole business and make the animals any sort of shape and paint them all one grey—these are the graibeestes. And at the very end a guilty feeling of having been slackers comes over the makers of the Noah's arks, and they paint blue spots on the last and littlest of the graibeestes to ease their consciences. This is the blugraiwee.

The update will have to wait for the next nap - the happy growls of a just-woken-up Wombat talking to his teddybears are just starting to become "where's my mummy?" whinges...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Heave, ho, Wombat

Little Wombat threw up tonight, for the first time since he was very young (and had gutsed too much milk). He did it so very neatly, too. I was just feeding him off to sleep, and he stopped feeding, crawled up to lay across my tummy and vomited so tidily that it all went on my t-shirt and his pyjama top - not a drop on his sheets! lol... he was perfectly happy while I was changing him and cleaning him up afterwards... just wanted a big drink of water to take the taste out of his mouth.

Then we went back to bed for another try at getting him to snooze (he had a few little cries, possibly because his tummy was still upset) but he fed from both breasts before finally falling soundly asleep. It may have been his teeth, or he may have eaten too much at dinner, or maybe something he ate disagreed with him. Dinner was some of yesterday's roast lamb finely grated and spread on bread, with vegetables. He did eat a lot, but he normally does, being a big lad. He had Cherry jelly for dessert (he has had jelly before, but maybe the red colouring was a problem in this one?) and he had icecream for the first time at lunch - but he didn't like it and hardly ate any. I shall just have see how he feels tomorrow!

I do hope it wasn't the jelly, because he was so cute about choosing it - we bought one of each flavour, and this morning while making his breakfast, I put all the boxes on his highchair table. He looked at them all, before picking up the Cherry and the Raspberry flavours. I removed the other boxes, and he played with those two for about 15 minutes, obviously having trouble deciding between them. Finally, he put the Raspberry back on the table and sat quietly cuddling the Cherry... then he watched intently when I made it up at lunchtime... he was really looking forward to it!

Thinking about, I am inclined to believe that he ate too much meat, which he's not used to, and then we went to bed about 45 minutes later with a very full tummy... We will try the jelly again tomorrow (with none of the other factors) and see if there are any problems.

I have finished transferring the one month update to Baby Wombat... do you think addressing it to him makes it unreadable or too cutesy? I'd better get on with writing the current updates, as I have nothing written for the 9 months update other than some notes scribbled on paper, and he is 10 months & 4 weeks today!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fleeting Reality

My redesigned photo challenge site is finally finished (I know, the least important of the web redesigns on my list... but it seems a procrastination manifesto requires the least important tasks be completed first, thereby increasing the stress levels on the more difficult and urgent projects...)

Anyway, here it is: Fleeting Reality

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's been

one of those days...

Things carelessly left on top of the cd player are now on the floor... the clock is about to join them... and I wonder why nothing ever gets done!

I can't wait until he gets to the stage of asking "WHY? WHY? WHY?"

He'll finally be able to get me back for saying "NOT IN YOUR MOUTH... NOT IN YOUR MOUTH... NOT IN YOUR MOUTH..." so often that I feel like a broken record. (He has to taste-test absolutely everything at the moment - and I mean everything! "mmmm rocks")

Anyway, it's well past midnight, and I have to wash his bottles, dishes & highchair before I get to bed turn into a pumpkin... not to mention exercise (which I'm still having trouble being inspired by, since my fall from the deck has left a residual stiffness in back and legs)... I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but one little smile makes it all worthwhile ;D

I love his capacity to increase my self-awareness. I will suddenly notice that he has been looking sad or grumpy for a while and ask "What's wrong, little love?" Then, when I smile at him, I will feel from the muscles in my cheeks & forehead that mummy has been walking around with a face like a storm cloud again... oops! He is the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow!

PS. how's this for a fashion statement?

Camo overalls, strawberry kneepads and 'Hello Kitty' socks. Do you think he'll forgive me if I show him this when he's a teenager?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The 'I have read' meme

Here are the instructions:

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The Da Vinci Code(Dan Brown)
2. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. *Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. *Angels and Demons(Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. *A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. *The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. +Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. +The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. +++Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) (and ALL the sequels ;P)
24. *The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. *Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and the other four volumes in the trilogy.
27. +Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. +The lion, the witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis)
29. *East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. *Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. *The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. *Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. +1984 (Orwell)
35. +The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. *I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. *The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. *The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. *The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. *Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) (rejected based on the title alone ;P)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) (think I saw something about this on the Hallmark channel)
45. +Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. *Angelas Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. *She’s Come (Wally Lamb)
51. *The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. +Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. +The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. *Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. *The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) (well, I've started it several times...)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) (seen the movie... couldn't be bothered with the book...)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. *One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. *The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. *Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. +Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) (I wouldn't say want to read it... but if it was lying there I would read it... what's the symbol for ambivalent? ;P I've needed it a few times so far)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. *A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) (want to read again)
81. *Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) (I've tagged all the Steinbecks it seems... need to do more reading of American classics sometime...)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. *Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. +Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) (uggh hate that book)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. *The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) (there's that ambivalence thing again)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. *White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) (or anything else she's ever written...)
99. *The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Found here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Saga of an Ouchie

I had lots I wanted to do tonight - including answering most of your comments in various places, Steff... but there's been a temporary setback in my plans! I had just finished feeding Wombat his lunch, which he didn't eat much of (teething? upset tummy? too much breakfast?) when I noticed him watching intently as Yeti poured milk into his coffee.

In the past two days, Wombat has finally decided he likes milk in a bottle! He drinks from a sippy cup, and a normal mug, but would not really accept cow's milk from either. Then MIL bought organic milk from the local dairy by mistake (we buy the local dairy's milk from Woolies, to support them and because it's nicer than Woolies brand powdered alternatives... but the organic one is a little more expensive). I tried that and Wombat actually drank a few sips. He was having a hard time working out how to rub/chew the mouthpiece of his water sippycup to get some relief from the teething, so I pulled out a bottle (which he had never before agreed to drink from) and offered him some warm organic cow's milk. Slurp slurp slurp...

Back to today, I prepared a bottle of milk for him and poured a glass of normal milk for me. It looked slightly greyish & watery, but smelt and tasted alright, suggesting that our ancient fridge may have frozen and then defrosted it at some stage. I then carried Wombat and our milky drinks out to sit in the rocking chair on the front deck, intending to have a quiet cuddle. I put my glass of milk down, and sat down in the chair without really looking at it. Unfortunately, when we had been playing on the deck earlier, we must have pushed it too close to the edge and I didn't think to check. As soon as we sat down, I felt it start to tip, and encumbered with Wombat in my arms, there was nothing I could do as we fell except hold tightly to him and try to twist so he would land on me. There is a rosebush with large thorns nearby and several rocks. Even in that split second I could imagine what might happen if he went head first into them. It is only about 15 - 20cm from the deck to the ground, but when you add in the height of the chair, it was a reasonable distance, and we fell heavily. The back of my head connected solidly with a tree-trunk (I can still feel the *thunk* and have a nice, painful, egg-shaped lump). Wombat and I lay stunned for a few seconds, then he started to scream. I reassured him that he wasn't hurt (while desperately checking to make sure that was the case).

Yeti came to the rescue, and while he consoled Wombat, I checked for damage to myself. The bump on the head, a scrape on my shin and a few scratches on my feet seemed to be all. Yeti suggested I sit quietly for a while, and went back to what he was doing. Wombat, meanwhile, now convinced that he was fine and the world wasn't going to do anymore sudden hurtling manouvres, started his favourite game of stalking the pussycat. (If he didn't growl with delight whenever he got close, he'd have a much greater chance of catching her!) When she left in a huff, he decided to play with the cast iron windvane, sitting in the corner quietly rusting while it waits to be installed someday. It has a cow on top. (In all the excitement, his desire for a quiet bottle of milk had gone by the wayside, and he refused even a single sip!) I meanwhile was dazedly keeping an eye on him while trying to drink my own milk. No sooner had I brought the glass to lips than the windvane began to topple over on him. I dropped my glass (which didn't break, although it did spill milk all over me) and grabbed it before it fell on him. Yeti came to the rescue again, and amused Wombat while I cleaned up the spilt milk. I guess I really wasn't meant to drink that milk!

We went for a little walk around the house (Wombat has discovered walking holding on to Mummy or Daddy's hands and is an intrepid explorer - the knee pads give him confidence, I think) and played a family game of pussycat patting, by which time I was aching all over - I pulled muscles in my back, neck and hip when I landed. We retired to the playpen, and Yeti rubbed Voltaren into my back. Wombat was very cute and insisted on carefully helping! (pat pat pat thump pat) Then we read books for the half-an-hour left before naptime.

I fell asleep feeding him, and having promised Yeti that I would stay and have a rest, I didn't try to sneak away when I woke up, I just went back to sleep. Wombat woke up before me, and after playing by himself at the end of the bed for a while, came over once or twice for a little feed, a tiny snooze and a 'poke mummy to check she's still sleeping', before going back to playing... his radiant smile when I finally woke up after an hour and a half was just beautiful!

Anyway... it is now night-time, and he has been sleeping well for two and half hours. He slept for seven hours last night which is a bit of a record lately - he hasn't slept through the night since this latest batch of teething started. I am off to join him before I discover any more aches and pains. OUCHIE!

(Ok... so this is probably the longest plea for sympathy that you'll read this week... but hopefully it was mildly entertaining ;P and at least it explains why there hasn't been any progress in moving the posts across to the Baby Wombat blogs!)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Scary Face Recognition

You know, I thought I looked pretty good on my wedding day... I felt pretty and feminine... somehow this face recognition thingy makes me wonder, though... the first time I tried it, months ago, it came up with Simone de Beauvoir, Chiang Kai-shek and Shimon Perez, among others - and Joe Pesci as my closest facial match :P I thought I'd give it a second chance, following my sister's inspiration, and here's what I got... can I hide now?

I tried a VERY old school photo, which was marginally better (I also remembered to limit this one to female faces, which probably skewed the result)...

My favourite photo from Wombat's baptism was better again... I don't mind being told I resemble Joni Mitchell, or Andi McDowell... but rofl I never thought I'd be compared to Kylie!!!

I think I'd better quit while I'm ahead!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mummy Delilah

Wombat had his first hair cut today. He cried like it was the end of the world! The barber had trouble cutting straight even when he settled (if you could call it that) as he was sobbing so hard, poor little lad. He was sitting on my lap and from the time the barber put the cloak on us to the time we left, he acted like he was about to get his head cut off! What was this stranger doing in his personal space and ACTUALLY TOUCHING HIM? Outrageous! Of course, the teething didn't help, and by the time it was our turn it was getting close to nap time (he didn't nap at all this afternoon as a result)... but at least he got the big FIRST out of the way, and he was much happier on the way home, not to have hair tickling his eyes and ears anymore...

here's a before pic:

and here are some after pics in the car on the way home, once the tears had subsided (with duckling's help...)

In other exciting news, the tomato plant that his little cousin planted for our Christmas present produced its harvest today - three lovely golden little tomatos! We had them for dinner and they were delicious and sweet!

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Routine, not a Schedule

Phew... this post is not really relevant any more since he is FINALLY sleeping soundly... but I thought I'd record some thoughts for posterity, rather than just blogging them in my head!

Baby Wombat, mummy's job is to be positive and cheerful and energetic all morning, no matter how little sleep she's had. She promises to feed you yummy food, to play, teach and entertain you, all singing, all dancing and all loving, and then to wind down into quieter activities which help you to relax, to give you lovely warm baths and read books until you are yawning and rubbing your eyes. Then she will lie down with you and cuddle, play soothing music and feed you as much mummy milk as you want until your heavy little eyelids close and you drift off into a sweet slumber.

In return, little Wombat, your job is to snooze. It doesn't have to be for long. It is better if you can stay asleep for more than 15 minutes, but so long as you get some sleep mummy will be happy to start the whole routine over again. But you must go to sleep! It is in our contract - in the rulebook AND the appendix. Otherwise mummy will start to get desperate and feel you are not keeping your side of the bargain, especially if you go along with all the preparations, close your eyes, start to snore and then immediately bounce up again as if mummy had been feeding you pure caffeine!


Consciously, I knew it was the pain from his teeth making him bounce around the bed like a pingpong ball every time he started to relax, but emotionally, I couldn't help shedding a few tears at the unfairness of it all. I don't want to have to medicate him every time he gets tired!

Yeti came and rescued me, taking Wombat outside to sit quietly in the rocking chair while I had a shower. He was perfectly content to cuddle up to Daddy, as he really was very tired, but as soon as he saw me it was bounce-city again. I gave him some Bonjella, took him back to his bed and stayed with him while he wore himself out playing, blowing bubbles on my tummy, nibbling on my knee and giving me big drooly toothy kisses.

Refreshed by my shower, I was able to be more philosophical, keep my breathing deep and even and daydream while I waited for him to wind down. After nearly an hour he eventually crawled near me, flopped down and agreed to another little feed. His eyes closed almost immediately, as he was totally exhausted, but even then his body refused to relax... it took 15 minutes of me murmuring "There, there... just relax... it's ok... shhhhhhhhh" over and over again before his feet stopped kicking and his arms stopped flailing and he finally fell deeply asleep.

He's now been asleep for nearly an hour and I have had the chance to catch up on a few of the jobs that I can't do when he's with me... we're running about 2 hours late on a normal day, but at least he got some rest... there have been days when I have had to give up on naptime altogether, which really upsets us both... all I can do is try to impose a consistent order of events, so he can predict what will happen next. The timing is up to him, and I have discovered that the only predictable thing about it is that it will be unpredictable. There was a period last week where each nap lasted for nearly 2 hours, and he was asleep almost as soon as he started to suckle! Really, these difficult days are in the minority... nine times out of ten the routine works just fine.

I'd better go do some more work now and take advantage of my momentary freedom before he wakes up ready for his lunch.

Baby Wombat, you confuse, frustrate and enchant me with your sweetness. I guess I must do the same to you. Sleep well, little love, and I'll be all smiles and kisses when you wake, no matter how little I manage to get done in the meantime. You are, and will ALWAYS be more important than anything else that might occupy my time. Sometimes I forget that, but my heart quickly reminds me.

It's in the contract - and the rule book - AND the appendix.

Y time

I have so many things I want to write, so many half-formed thoughts and half-finished projects... but Wombat is teething and only taking two half hour naps a day, which just gives me time to shower and turn the computer on before I'm back to being mum-mum-mum... and then when I finally get here at night, after tidying up and getting everything ready for tomorrow, I have ten minutes to check my email before Yeti comes complaining that he never gets to talk to me and I should come spend some time with him... males! And the baby whisperer calls it 'You' time! huh! Good thing I love 'em.