Monday, 28 August 2006

the universal truth

I love Motherhood is not for wimps. I read it frequently and laugh a lot. And recently as Elizabeth's posts have taken on a more serious edge, I've appreciated her honesty and skill in capturing the kinds of dilemma parents face all the time, especially as life is in transition and the things we took for granted start to slip away.

But my god when I read this I had to share. With just a few substitutions this could be a monologue spoken by Amy. I'm afraid I fail to meet Elizabeth's standard of patience and compassion, more often than not I am driven to distraction by the constant stream of chatter and questions. I've been known to yell and even beg for a little 'quiet time', but when Amy yells back "but I don't know how!" my heart melts in sympathy. I vividly recall being in her shoes as a kid, completely unable to understand (a) why everyone wanted me to shut up and (b) what you'd be doing if you weren't talking...

sunny monday

The sun is shining today, which is lucky because I've been working the washer overtime resurrecting my 4 year old maternity clothes that have been moulding away in storage since Amy was born. Although the seasons are opposite I'm hoping I can use at least a few of them again. The rest will be off to the op shop (that's thrift store to my overseas readers). After that I'll start planning some maternity sewing to get me through the hot months.

The sun has also made the garden an appealling place to be. This is the first year I've had enough of these to actually pick and bring inside. Alongside Daphne and Boronia, these guys carry the most heavenly of garden scents. Even with my totally stuffy nose I can smell them throughout the house. Like home grown fruits and vegetables, picking your own scented flowers makes you realise that commercially grown flowers just don't measure up.

And if I thought knitting was addictive, then knitting for babies is even more so. This little wrap is coming along so fast I'm amazed! It feels wonderfully soft and light - payback for the at times challenging process of knitting two strands of whisper weight 2 ply together.

It's my variation on this delight by the inspirational Alison, though I'm guessing that in this variegated yarn it is going to look very different. I'm also debating about whether or not I'll do the binding, which looks so lovely on Alison's one but seems like it might be a bit busy on mine. I'll have to wait and see.

Now I'm off to make some hay.

Friday, 25 August 2006

we love it, we love it, we really really do*

Despite the gross out ear, Amy was up for a fashion shoot. See how nice that neck looks? Or is it just me? I can't imagine I would have liked it one bit more if the hood was on AND I'd still be knitting. It's such a nice weight and roomy enough that I'm pretty sure Amy will still be wearing it next winter. I'm definitely knitting it again.

So all over again I'd like to say thanks to Larissa, who sent me the pattern as a gift and really got me on this knitting roll. And Larissa - the soap is still going and gives me a little perfume boost every morning.

(*Apologies to Justine, that song features way too heavily in our life)

back on the horse

Here's a little stack of 2 ply from the lovely Marta's Yarns. I'm going to knit it up double strand to make my first ever baby item in 4ply.

I loved the colours in the variegated yarn but was a bit concerned it might be on the dark side, so the pale green and grey should lighten it up a bit. I have a couple of patterns in mind, but you'll just have to wait and see where it ends up.

Meanwhile back here at winter germ central Amy has just burst an ear drum. Our dim dark days of the past were pre-blog, so you've all been spared the blow by blow details of our struggles with Amy's ears.

For eighteen months now we've been free of the black shadow of constant ear infections and their complications. Amy was only nine months old when she landed in hospital with life-threatening septicaemia from an ear infection gone bad and in the following year she had three operations and countless courses of antibiotics.

There were more sleepless nights than peaceful ones and more visits to the doctor than is fair for a little girl rapidly learning that anyone in the medical profession was likely to be causing her pain. It's still a trial to get her to the doctor's (last time I had to promise her that if the doctor gave her a needle I'd buy her a horse), she won't let anyone put her anywhere near a bandaid and she instructs the chemist on which flavour of amoxil syrup she finds acceptable.

So the night before last when she told us her ears were sore I was instantly thrown back to that time when a routine childhood illness could turn into a serious medical crisis in 24 hours, and regularly did. When I held her in my arms in a hospital chair for three days while she sweated out a fever of 41 degrees and we hoped like hell the antibiotics that were in that plastic bag attached to her drip needle would finally start to work.

And when she got out of bed this morning and asked why is all my hair stuck to the side of my head? I knew the better part of this morning would be spent sitting at the doctor's waiting to be seen (about 2 hours), to be told (1) she's got a high fever! (2) there's icky pus coming out of her ears! (3) she needs antibiotics! (4) she needs her hearing checked! So with drugs duly administered she's now sleeping and another round of appointments are penciled in.

I hate to see her suffer, to see the gallant way she struggles to be happy and energetic and the frustration she feels when her little body just can't deliver. The hot flushed cheeks she gets as she sits in the doctor's waiting room, the way she alternates between crying that she doesn't want to go to the doctor and telling me that you need to see the doctor when you're sick because that's how you get better. The way she plays with the toys and then comes over and crawls up on my lap and buries her head in my chest and says her ears hurt.

And at the same time my mind is doing endless resentful calculations about how we can bend our lives around this latest bump in the road. How many plans will need to be re-arranged, what needs to be cancelled, how D's and my work will be affected, whether Amy can make it to the pantomime she's booked to see tomorrow. How we'll manage another sleepless night. How easily I can say goodbye to the night out D and I were planning for this evening whilst Amy was staying with D's folks. How easily D can give up his plan to sleep in Amy's bed tonight to escape my terrible cold and pregnancy induced snoring.

So for all those people who think us bloggers portray an unrealistic picture of domestic harmony and creativity take note. The highlights are more than balanced by a litany of complaint, annoyance, frustration, suffering and boredom. And my ongoing unrequited lust for a great big plateful of som tam.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

it's all about the needles

I can see this knitting obsession stretching a long way into the future. And here's why.

- I can do stuff already in a reasonably short time frame and without impinging too much on the rest of my life.

- The things I make are useful, beautiful, durable, home made and offer an alternative to mass produced consumerist junk.

- I can make a wide array of things, from clothing to toys to househld items.

- There's still a lot of room to perfect my basic skills, like picking up stitches and weaving in ends neatly and a lot of advanced skills to learn and master like complicated patterns and stitches.

- There's also lots to learn about yarns - how they are made, their unique properties, relative advantages and disadvantages.

- With enough experience I think I'll be able to work a pattern the way I want - to adjust sizes, to change yarns and weights. I might even be able to make a pattern with confidence and without reworking half a garment or throwing said half finished piece into the bottom of the cupboard in a fit of the sulks.

So I finished the hoodie last night. And no, you aren't seeing things the hoodie doesn't have a hood. So it's probably time I stopped calling it a hoodie.

The fact is that after messing with the pattern by using a different weight of wool and needles size I have no real basis to blame the pattern for the fact that I ran out of wool. I mean I did buy considerably more than the pattern called for, but after finishing the neck with a very small and simple band I have about 3gms of wool left.

I guess I'll need to try knitting it in the recommended weight - worsted weight which is not a common yarn in Australia - and see if I can get a hood in! But I'm not unhappy with how it's turned out, although the neck hole is a little on the small side, it looks quite nice on Amy. I won't be putting a button on the placket though.

And just as I was thinking about the next knitting project I got this GORGEOUS Danette Taylor wool from Alison. Isn't it superb? Isn't she just too generous? We've been talking patterns and new born knits for a while and she's been so helpful to me as I've tried to learn, so the wool was above and beyond anything I'd expect. Thanks Al, I love it and can't wait to get going on a new project with it. Your advice has been invluable and I think you are extremely kind.

And for those interested in the minutae of pregnancy. I'm currently obsessed by foods which are crispy, crunchy, salty, sour and watery. If green papaya wasn't one of those foods reputed to bring on labour and miscarriage I would be eating som tam for lunch everyday. My mouth is watering just writing about it.

For those not familiar with Thai food, som tam is a traditional lunch salad made from matchsticks of green (unripe) papaya, snake beans (like a slightly peppery version of a green bean), tomato, peanuts, garlic, green chili, fish sauce, lime juice, dried shrimp and sugar. You smash most of the ingrediants in a mortar and pestle just enough to get the flavour happening, but leaving the crunchy texture. Argh, I want some...

Instead I am making do with tuna salad - red and white cabbage, pickled cucumber, fresh cucumber, raw onion, grated carrot, celery, tuna, lime juice and a little mayo. I can't believe it but I'm hungry again...

Sunday, 20 August 2006

thinking ahead

On our last few trips to the supermarket Amy has tuned into the baby products. I made a deliberate decision to go down the baby aisle today.

Look Amy, here's some baby food that the baby can eat when it's a bit bigger and has more than just milk. I said. We'll need to buy some of that later when the baby comes.

Yeah, she said, and bibs. We'll need bibs.

And nappies. I said.

Yeah, nappies, she said.

When we got home I held up the tiny singlet suit I bought for the baby and said who do you think this is for.

She looked and thought for a while. Clearly calculating the possibility it might fit her.

It's for the baby! She said.

At nap time she wants to read Mummy's got a house in her tummy which, along with I'm a big sister, is currently in heavy rotation. When we finish she wants to inspect me all over to see if she can find windows to see inside.

Wouldn't that be great? Weird, but great.

Saturday, 19 August 2006

all and nothing

I've got that no pressing deadlines means I don't know what to do with myself thing. You know that thing? So many exciting possibilities and yet no plan. No pressing need fills me with indecision and I wander around in a daze and do nothing. Or nap.

Well not nothing, I did manage to do a bit more on the hoodie (although as I watch the wool dwindle I am beginning to suspect I might need to investigate alternative collar styles...) and prepare some dolls with wool padding ready for clothes. Oh and I did get a lovely package together for someone, but I can say no more about that for a little while.

I blame the ongoing sickness too. My doctor has decided that I haven't actually had three colds in four weeks, but the same one just being kept at bay by antibiotics without being cured. It was a bit of a give away that within 36 hours of finishing each of the last two courses I fell ill again. And Amy hasn't been sick each time, and since she's my primary and damn near only source of infection I was beginning to suspect something fishy. So now I'm on the top shelf drugs and if I don't get better they'll put me out of my misery and I'll be having the green dream.

Oh, and there's the pregnancy thing. I'm 14 weeks today which sounds so much more advanced than 13 somehow. Still not showing, but I am sure I can feel the baby move, which is excellent. I am still on the see saw of feeling pregnant and getting excited and then being reminded how fragile the whole thing is and how you just never know. Feeling this way is natural, expected and entirely reasonable, but it's a bore.

Amy has no such qualms and is busy telling every stranger in the street that she's going to be a big sister. When we walked past the maternity hospital yesterday she asked me how the baby would come out. I told her the baby in your tummy doctor (as we call the obstetrician) would make a little hole in my tummy and pull it out, just like they did when she was born.

Is it scary? She asked.
A little bit. I said. But it's OK.

And she nodded in a wise way like she understood the distinction of really not OK scary and scary you agree to endure for some bigger prize. I so look forward to seeing how she will be with a sibling.

Are there toys in your tummy? She asked.
No. I said.
So what does it do all the time?

She's also concerned about how it eats and poos and how it can grow fatter if there's so little room in there. She's also declared she's happy to share her toys, but only her cars, planes and trucks (which are made of plastic and therefore washable) because she doesn't like slobber on her things. Fair enough.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

finished at last

Here is my handmade contribution to Amy's gifts this year. She's deeply obsessed by measurement at the moment, and love hearts and the colour red.

Although I cut the basic structural pieces and ruled the lines for the stitching, oh, about 3 years ago, I never got around to finishing it.

It was nice that Amy's request for a growth chart was so easily satisfied and with the added benefit of getting rid of one of my unfinished projects.

I had planned animal motifs, but at the last minute I couldn't find the templates I wanted, and anyway Amy couldn't have been more pleased.

And some itty bitty scraps of lovely fabric from blogging friends, thanks Suzy, Liesl and Marianne made it really special.

After much searching I found some ink pads suitable for fabric and I love the old lower case type face. If I'd had more time and less sickness I would have carved some delightful stamp images to add to the mix, another sadly neglected project.

Oh well, perhaps I'll be doing another growth chart soon!

Monday, 14 August 2006

things I had forgotten about making babies

The total separation between body and mind. You can't push through tiredness, you can't ignore hunger (even if you similtaneously want to throw up), you can't find that extra bit of strength for something you really want to do. Body wins everytime.

How everyone likes to be a part of it - from the gushing well wishers to the doom sayers who'll jump to tell you a horror story. Pregnancy makes you public property. I am constantly surprised by people's kindness, generosity and complete lack of insight into other people and their needs.

How annoying it is to spend a lot of time sitting in waiting rooms and reading the same junk magazines. I remember when I was in the last stretch with Amy I actually dreamed my obstetrician had new magazines and I was actually really excited about it.

How food becomes a whole new beast, and it refuses to be tamed. I am hungry all the time, but I find it really hard to work out what I want to eat. Neither my eyes nor my brain help - it's not till it gets into my mouth that I know whether I want it or not. Makes dinner time a whole lot of fun. Not.

How nine months seems like forever and yet the end always takes you by surprise.

What it feels like to have a baby move inside you. Indescribable.

How pregnancy prepares you for parenthood by letting you know at every turn that you have no power. Time goes at its own pace, sickness comes and goes, joy is always found in the most unexpected places, and you are always at the mercy of your body, luck, fate and other forces both beyond your control and outside your perception.

What hormones do to your emotions. Let's just say I get teary and sentimental in ways I know are ridiculous and not typical of me, but rationality doesn't help. I am especially affected by cruelty and the misfortunes that fall on some children.

How opinionated everyone is about pregnancy and child raising, and how easy it is to let other people's attitudes mess with you. I know it's about them, not me, I know I'll never get approval from everyone, I know parenting is mostly about what's possible rather than what's ideal and I know most people have good intentions and think they are being helpful. But still. On a bad day it can shit you to tears.

How many things can and do go wrong.

How deep and profound and totally word defying the enterprise is, even if its accompanied by a alot of really mundane and uncomfortable bits.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

hey, let's do it again...

I've been debating this post for a while - short and punchy, long and rambling? But as usual there's just too much to say for the brief one liner. Dramatic maybe, but hardly a reflection of my life.

So here goes, we're having another baby.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, the last 13 weeks have been hard. Hard to tell people, hard to be excited or confident, hard to conceal terrible morning sickness, hard to pretend like nothing is happening. Hard to have your hopes and fears on the line every moment of every day. Once you have lost a baby it is difficult to stop being ever vigilant for the signs of doom.

And more than that there has been many a dark day in the last four years where I felt I might never be able to do this again. The unfathomable love I feel for Amy and the bottomless joy she gives to me are counterbalanced by a still lingering sense of loss about my pre-child life, and the memory of 2 years of chronic sleep deprivation fills me with dread.

But life is funny the way it can let you choose to do something which, on the face of it, just isn't in your best interests. It takes a tremendous amount out of you to have a child and I really so clearly remember being so unhappy and so tired for so long and yet here I am going back for more. And not in some willy nilly throw caution to the wind kind of way. I have made my cold clinical examination of the facts, I have analysed the data and theorised. I've had a good long while to think it through and still, I've chosen this.

I have been greatly comforted by the posts of other bloggers who like me didn't experience motherhood the first time round as all beer and skittles, but have still decided to go back for more. In particular Claire's first post after the birth of her second daughter Lily, was really lovely.

When she wrote:
"There are absolutely no regrets! I haven't once contemplated spontaneously running away down the street and jumping on a bus to Chadstone (and beyond, the world) when I go out to put nappies in the trash. I remember feeling that way many, many times in 2002 and I was expecting to again. But no! Such a relief!"
I felt her relief as mine. I so remember that feeling of wanting to run, of wanting so much for things to be different than they were, of wanting to go and find me again. And because Claire has always been brave and honest enough to talk clearly about the struggles of parenthood alongside it's gifts, her promise that things might be different this time has been hugely valuable.

And Alison whose blog has similarly dared to tell it like it is when it comes to being pregnant and a parent has gone back for more too, so it can't be all bad. There's hope that the wonder, the joy, the miracle of new life might be experienced without the crushing weight of fear, of sadness, of exhaustion so overwhelming it obliterates all life.

So really I am very happy, I am full of hope, I am excited. I'm also terrified, anxious and full of doubt. Life continues on.

Friday, 11 August 2006

birth stories and other gore

I put my arms around her waist
my hands can hardly touch

we'll be needing lots more space

I feel its tiny feet

now I'm terrified of making a single mistake

but I'm overcome with joy

this voice from the love we made

I've been working overtime

and practicing my part

though I'm slightly past my prime

don't feel old and grey

now I'm holding back any doubts I have in my mind

cause I'm overcome with joy
this voice from the love we made
I can hardly wait...

I remember listening to this song, expecting by the Clouds, about a million times when I was pregnant with Amy. I just loved the dreamy beat, the lovely emotional sentiments. I wish I could play it for you now. There's something about the overwhelming joy combined with fear and doubt that so captured how I was feeling. And I loved the line about the voice from the love we made. Before a child becomes its own person it is just like an echo of the union.

So tomorrow Amy turns 4 and I'll be way too busy to post so here it is a day early. I love the way Suse celebrates each of her children's birthdays with birth stories - it's so important not to forget - and I've been looking forward to the chance to tell Amy's.

Let me begin by saying it's pretty text book for how things go wrong. I say this because if you are easily grossed out, stop now. But I also wanted to say I felt great about her birth. Despite all the things that went so much not according to plan I felt completely untraumatised by the experience. Lots of women who have spectacularly 'good' births don't feel as good as I did about mine. I had a great obstetrician, a really really great obstetrician, and I felt at every turn like the right choices were being made.

So anyway. Amy was fully engaged and perfectly positioned but overdue, and while I been in excellent health and spirits in my second and third trimester I started getting very tired after a week past due. I was booked in to be induced at the 10 day mark, but my cervix refused to ripen on cue, so we delayed it for another couple of days. On the Friday (day 11) a scan showed that all the amniotic fluid was pretty much gone so we entered the first of many debates - bring forward the induction due to lack of fluid, stall it to increase the chances that my cervix might come to the party. We decided to wait, have daily fetal monitoring and set induction for Sunday night.

On Saturday morning D and I lay in bed and felt as the contractions started. After months of Braxton-Hicks I knew they were the real deal, not exactly painful at first, but certainly letting me know they were there. They were good and regular, but not coming close enough together to require any action. So after some breakfast and more lying about we got up and went in to the hospital to check on the baby.

By about lunchtime the contractions had stopped. The hospital was overbooked and in chaos when we arrived so we hung around for ages waiting for a heart monitor before we were given the all clear to go home again. Because we're overly social people (see previous post) we invited a friend around for dinner and I immediately set about cooking an elaborate roast dinner with sticky date pudding - two recipes I'd never cooked before. Because you know, this is fun, right?

By mid afternoon the contractions started up again, this time much more painfully, but again they failed to meet the regular and close together criteria that was the signal to head to the hospital. So I kept cooking, stopping every now and then to breath through a contraction. Our dinner guest was in charge of timing the contractions and writing them down on a piece of paper that once dinner was finished became the scorecard for a card game.

I went to bed quite late because although I was tired I couldn't possibly sleep through the contractions, and lying down did nothing to ease the pain. So I tossed and turned and complained a lot until at some point D rang the hospital. They advised Panadol. Yeah, thanks for that.

By mid Sunday morning I felt totally wretched, exhausted, in pain and like things would never end. I couldn't string a sentence together, I couldn't think, I was completely overwhelmed. The contractions remained maddeningly erratic so the hospital didn't want me until my allotted induction time. My sister out law advised a hot bath which actually slowed the contractions down quite a lot and meant I got a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon. Finally it was time to go and get started.

So they gelled my cervix with a hormone designed to kick start the whole process and we laid around in the hospital waiting for action. When nothing more happened they sent me home to try and sleep some more. Seeing my panic and sheer desperation they gave me some better painkillers and a short acting sleeping tablet and assured me everything would be alright until morning when I would come back for stage 2.

Of course as soon as the drugs wore off about 4 hours later I was back in contraction hell, watching the clock and willing it to be 6am so we could go back to the hospital. And while I had planned a birth involving as little intervention as possible, I was well past my tolerance for what was happening to me. It wasn't so much the pain as the total lack of progress that was killing me, the sighs from the staff who looked at my uncooperative cervix and said we'll just have to wait a bit more. I was really done with waiting.

Monday was day 14 and time to get serious. Another lot of gel and a few more hours of waiting, a few more hands of cards and counting contractions and my obstestrician came for another visit to ask how I was going. And then, quite surprising myself, since I'd been holding it together quite well to this point, I completely lost the plot.

"I need a plan!" I almost screamed and then started crying hysterically. Actually not just crying that way, I became the full personification of hysteria. A mess, incoherent, irrational, unhinged. And although there was a little part of me watching myself and thinking how bizarre and completely over the top I was being, I was helpless to wrest control back. I had gone to the edge and failed to return. As I went to the toilet my obstetrician asked D how he thought I was doing, to which he hastily replied, she really needs a plan.

So the problem was this - Amy had slipped forward (and actually done a full turn to become posterior, although we didn't know that yet). This meant that instead of pushing down on my cervix to open it, she had pushed my cervix back, putting a lot of pressure on bits of me not designed for such pressure and in no way helping the birthing process. It also meant that my obstetrician couldn't reach my cervix to break my waters, which was the next stage of intervention for labor induction.

It seemed the only way was for her to try and pull my cervix forward, something that was going to be way too painful to contemplate. So in went the epidural and blessed relief. The next few hours passed by with drips and needles and monitors telling us the contractions were happening and at last progress was promised. I was dozing on the bed, D was dozing in the chair and soon it was getting dark and my obstetrician was calling in to say goodnight as she headed home. She looked over the monitor printout and asked for a better reading and then she was gone.

Before she had even made it through evening traffic, the midwife called her to say the baby's heart was dipping and she agreed with the midwife that it was time for a C-section and suddenly everything started happening very fast. The room was filled with people introducing themselves to me and topping up my epidural, shaving my public hair, gowning me up, making me drink something really disgusting so I wouldn't vomit and inhale in the operating room. D disappeared to get sterile and they wheeled me off to the lift. The whole thing took about 10 minutes.

And then in a comic interlude the midwife accidentally pressed the down button in the lift and instead of going up one floor to theatre we went down to the lobby to be greeted by the families flooding in for evening visiting hours. We all had a brief chuckle and then headed back up to the 12th floor.

I was totally terrified - terrified of the emergency and that we'd be too late and something terrible would happen to Amy. I was also completely terrified of being cut open and complications and something terrible happening to me. There is something very unnatural about being conscious through surgery and my fears for my baby were in large part overshadowed by my fears for me. Lying there feeling them pick me up off the guerney and put me on the operating table, feeling them yank and pull my innards till they became outards, all I could think was that it was all wrong, that I should be stopping them doing this to me, that things were long past reasonable.

But in barely a blink there she was, all squishy and bloody and freaked out to be free from me. It was 7.27 pm.

I retell the story of Amy's birth so I don't forget, and because that night as I lay and held her I was overcome by the miracle of new life, and I hope I never lose sight of that. It's so easy to be dragged under the stream of everyday difficulties, annoyances and frustrations and forget what you witnessed on that knife edge between life and no life, what was so clear then. That I let people cut me up to get to you, that I look back with full cognisence and say despite how terrible it was, it was the closest thing to pure joy I think I will ever experience.

So live life baby, and have an absolutely wonderful birthday.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

party people

Thanks for all the comments. Yes, insane. We are.

Just so you all know, some of those 80 people are babies, and I've counted two parents for lots of kids, and I'm sure younger siblings and both parents won't show for really, it might be as few as 50 or 60.

Yeah, OK, insane.

And when I said providing no activities, there is Amy's room with a substantial dress-up box and lots of books and toys and outside (if the weather is fine) there's a sandpit and swing and enough lawn for a soccer ball and other play.

We've always been a social family, and our house has always been a play venue for my mum's group, for a casual dinner with friends, for a drop in afternoon beer or a weekend lunch. And I made the decision long ago that what made this OK was that I would never get uptight about how clean my house was or how good a host I was. You are welcome in my home so long as the whole thing doesn't cause me so much stress I don't enjoy myself. And that's why I could even contemplate letting Amy invite every kid she has anything to do with for a party.

So by now my friends know that if I say do you want to stay to dinner after an afternoon play session I'm not just being polite and they really are welcome to stay. I won't go to more trouble than I'm comfortable with. Sometimes this means I feed them take away. Most of them understand and are comfortable about helping themselves to what's in the fridge, putting on the kettle or offering to run out and pick up drinks if we're running low.

I've never aimed to be the best hostess, have the best decorated house or the cleanest bathroom. I've aimed to have a home that welcomes people and is full of life and fun. I also love to feed people really well and if I have time I'll cook you something that's wholesome and delicious and if the cupboards are bare I'll order really good take away so you won't leave my place hungry.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I'm rattled that this party has made me rethink this stuff. That I've started to feel, even just the tiniest bit, like I need to perform. Partly because we've invited kids from kinder who I don't know, and whose parents I don't know. There's a bit of worlds colliding stuff I guess, but also because as Amy gets older I'm beginning to see that maybe my priorities, my choices, aren't hers.

So thanks to you commenters who have agreed with me, it's nice to feel I'm not some crazy old party pooper. And really, I do have faith that it's the people who count, that I'd rather have 50 friends in chaos than 10 in a straight jacket, and I hope I am pushing back just a little on a kids culture that focuses way too much on the 'devices' and 'stuff' of kids entertainment. I really do have faith that a bunch of kids can always find something to do if they have each other.

Now I just have to make sure there's enough food...

And these photos are some toys I've been making for my wholesale order. Very soon you will be able to see me amongst the divine wares at Mini Decor. Wow, what esteemed company I keep, eh? I really love this store and the toys and great things they carry from all over the world so it's been an honour to join the crowd.

And sorry no promise of Spring photos because the weather's turned yukky again.

Monday, 7 August 2006

too soon she spoke

Just as I was ascending out of the fog I got hit from behind. A second virus, complete with gastro chaser and high fever left me in bed for 3 days, way behind on the sewing to fill my wholesale order and Amy's 4th birthday looming in 6 days.

Why we thought it was a good idea to let a compulsive extrovert dictate the guest list I do not know. We must have been on drugs. Or asleep. Or perhaps vomiting from gastro. 80 people for morning tea? Yeah, no problem...and I won't even get into the thoughts that have entered my head for the first time ever, of worrying that simply opening the doors of our home and laying on food is not sufficient for a party. I provide no entertainment or planned activities or anything otherwise worthwhile. I still expect kids to be able to amuse themselves when in large groups and if they can't I see it as someone else's problem...and no lollie bags. Am I a cow or a sensible resister of the disgusting fetishisation of children's parties by parents wishing to remake their childhood in an altogether more affluent vein? With everything else I desperately need to get done why am I wasting time even thinking about this? If I had more time I could do a serious post on the $10,000 4 year old parties I read about and how they make my toes curl, but here's the shorthand version - I think that is completely insane and has nothing to do with what children want or need. So I am astonished to find myself contemplating the edge of the wedge and feeling inadequate that there will be no princess merchandise on my scrappy wooden kitchen floor.

So sightings of me will be thin on the ground for a week or so. I'll try and pop back in to show you some pics if I get the chance of all the stuff that will be walking out the door, getting wrapped up for pressies or eaten by the descending hoards. And maybe a snap or two of the plum blossom and the first buds on the grape vine because they make me think perhaps winter may one day end. How I pine for summer.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

spam and swaps and moving on

Those spam comments in my comments field really shit me and I can't work out how to delete them without using the whole comment modification thing which seems way too overbearing. Is it just me? Is there a magic answer?

The lovely Maggie sent Amy and I this pack on Monday as part of the cooking with kids swap. Amy already loves the cups with matching straws (matching straws!) and I can't wait to have a chance to road test the cookbook. I know lots of other people have given it rave reviews so I'm very excited! Takes me back to my student share house days where the enchanted broccoli forest and moosewood made regular appearances on the menu. Thanks so much Maggie!

And these came back from the binder and it's all official and I graduate in 3 weeks. Jeepers eh?

Progress is slow on all discretionary craft as I beaver away on my wholesale order. Tomorrow will be machine sewing central as I start putting together the Mibalas I cut out earlier in the week during nap times.

I've been working on a new design for this order, something that captures a similar aesthetic to the Steiner dolls I love so much, but which utilises my favourite material, felted knit. Perhaps it's the weather but I just love it's warm cuddliness.

I'm pretty happy with these early models which seem to maintain some individuality despite sharing the same basic pattern. One of the things I love about the felt knit is a certain level of unpredictability, the way each piece has its own level of stretch and give. Anyway once the deal is all done and dusted I'll let you know where you can find these babies.

And now it's time for bed. Hope you're all going well out there.