Tuesday, 26 February 2008

moving right along

One of my lovely class participants from last weekend is actually a blogger. Hi Amy! She sent me this link to her finished toy - isn't it just gorgeous? Nice blog too - I wouldn't mind getting into a bit of that screen printing she's been learning.

And here's another one from my newly discovered neighbour Andrea. I am so darn impressed that these guys produced such great work AND heeded my warning about the dreaded UFO syndrome and went home and finished their toys straight away. I hope the rest of the class will send in pics too. Hint hint you lot.

I'm teaching the class again in May, and then in June I'm doing one on crochet toys and blankets, and another on knitted hats. This teaching is getting addictive! Can I possibly keep up the quality of students?

Lucky I haven't started wool dying in my spare 5 minutes a week or I'd have a whole other addiction to try and feed. How gorgeous is that yarn Suse has made?! I'm going to throw caution to the wind and give it a go on our next craft retreat in March. Because, you know, I really need a new craft hobby.

Thanks for all the kind words for Wil. It was indeed a truly low point in the parenting game. He's recovered pretty darn well though, as kids do. The GP shares the hospital doctor's concerns that given his fruit and breast milk rich diet, and his regular poo schedule, constipation alone seems a bit of a long bow to draw in explaining Saturday night's meltdown.

So you know, we're off to see some specialist who probably won't have much of use to say except (as everyone else has already said) next time this happens get to the hospital quicker, bring the letter from last time and try to get a scan earlier. If he does have an intermittent case of nasty bowel thingy (intususception for those with a techy bent) it is very hard to diagnose unless you catch it in action.

And if he does have it, and he seems to have attacks but then come out of it, he may well grow out of it by the time he is two. Or not.

But he's definitely over this attack, and with the amount of laxative and fruit he's had I'm surprised he hasn't turned inside out and all puckered up. Instead he's done a totally unremarkable 2 poos in one day instead of 1. Way to go Wil.

He's also started a bit of tentative walking which is really really exciting.

And last night I saw the worst movie I've seen in living memory, Margot at the wedding. Total crap. Avoid it like the dentist. Stay home and make some toys instead.

Speaking of which, I'm thinking about starting a toy drive for the kids hospital here in Melbourne. I'm thinking out loud here, I haven't contacted the hospital or anything, but it seems like a pretty obvious fit. Sick kids. Handmade toy love. Anyone want to volunteer to work on this venture with me?

Monday, 25 February 2008

ah the memories

So I taught another toy workshop on Saturday and it was the best so far. I think the participants enjoyed it, although you can never be 100% sure when they say nice things they aren't just trying to be polite.

I quite like that each class is so unique and, in theory at least, I expect and even accept that the occasional nutter or difficult participant is part and parcel of the challenge of community based education.

But I have to say a class full of people who have all their faculties, know what they want to do, know how to ask questions, like to chat and have a sense of humour makes teaching a joy. And a joy not just on the easiness scale, a joy in feeling like I have lots to offer, like my personal difficulties are not getting in the way. It's nice to feel like there's a point to the time we have together.

And it was great that someone actually came all the way from Sydney for the class, and equally great to discover one participant lives 8 doors down from me and has a kid Wil's age and another one works with a friend of mine. The world is both bigger and smaller than expected.

So despite being tired and hoarse (yep, I talk a lot when I teach), and knowing I was coming home to preparations for a hoard over for dinner, I was feeling great. All our guests brought great contributions, the kids were all playing nice, the food was great, the weather was even holding out enough for us to eat outdoors.

And then as the witching hour approached and the tenor of Wil's evening grizzle changed I got that sinking feeling. It was only 7 but he was begging for sleep so I started our bedtime routine a little early. As soon as he hit the change table he became completely hysterical. And I started imagining all the possible scenarios that might have brought this on. Overtiredness, injury from rough big kid play, swallowing god knows what, reflux, some as yet unnamed condition.

He had trouble breastfeeding, breaking away every couple of seconds to cry a little and squirm. I tried to settle him to no avail. D had his turn, valiantly persisting for half an hour or more before we hit the panadol, a bottle of formula, another go at the boob and finally he fell off to sleep.

Weird, I thought. Thank goodness that's over!

By the time I emerged from the bedroom, all the guests were gone (a wailing baby is such a mood killer), so we got Amy off to bed and started the clean up. Almost immediately the wailing started again. Clearly whatever was up was not going away. So we got him up again and I gave him some zantac and tried to calm him but he was utterly inconsolable and thrashing around in discomfort.

Now while Wil has thrown the occasional all night scream fest he hadn't done so for such a long time, and coming on with no warning at all it all seemed a bit concerning. He'd had a poo since I'd come home from class so I ruled out constipation, and the zantac and panadol hadn't helped at all so I ruled out reflux. There were no signs of injury, but I had no way of knowing about the swallowing thing. The floor in the new room had been littered with bits of wire and plastic after the electrician had come and although D had swept, it was impossible to get everything.

By 10.30 I wasn't comfortable to try and ride it out so I called a cab, strapped the screamer to my belly and headed off to the hospital while D stayed home with Amy. The cabbie was lovely though a little nervous Wil might take a turn for the worse on his watch, so he kept lookign at us in the rear view mirror and asking questions about what was going on. He got us there as quick as he could and wished me luck.

Triage warned me the wait was going to be about 4 hours and although I felt that was totally intolerable with the level of screamery taking place in front of our very eyes I thanked the nurse and sat down. We've done pretty well at the kids hospital. I think every visit so far Amy has vomited on the triage counter upon arrival which always helps make a point about the perils of leaving us to wait. And I guess too because we don't often make it to the hospital until things really are dire.

After half a hour or so I was called for the weigh and temp check, my second chance to have someone assess whether a 4 hour wait was really going to be OK. Before I could even broach the possibility that I might lose my mind if I couldn't see a doctor in the next moment, the nurse took on that look nurses do when they feel really concerned. She asked me to explain again how it had started. And then she left. And then she came back and said she was concerned Wil had something really wrong with him, a bowel thing that was nasty and scary. She took me to a consulting room and said I'd just moved up to number 1 spot on the list and Wil was now officially fasting. Just in case.

I wish I could say I was relieved. But there is only one thing more anxiety producing that being told you have to wait 4 hours to see a doctor in casualty, and that's being told you need to see the doctor more than anyone else. And that your baby can't have breast milk or water. Just in case. So I waited, holding my screaming writhing infant and hoped that the nurse was an over anxious type.

Sadly no. The doctor was equally concerned. She watched Wil and agreed he did indeed seem very distressed. His belly was indeed as a hard as steel and protruding a little more than seemed right. Hmm yes. Perhaps he did have the nasty bowel thing. Perhaps he had swallowed god knows what.

X-rays. Featuring my hands as I tried in vain to keep him still and stretched flat over a hard metal box containing x-ray film.

X-rays showing a belly full of poo. Really really full of poo. I told them (again) he'd pooed at 5.30, how could he be constipated? It seems Wil's already diagnosed crappy gut was failing to move poo through, so even though he poos regularly he still has a gut full of poo that was hurting like heck. And distending all his bowel and messing with his urge to poo and getting him into a vicious cycle where he was just always dealing with a back up.

So you know, nothing that was going to kill him, but something requiring me to work and manage. Diet, medicine. eagle eyes. Which was good, you know. Not a scary life threatening thing. But didn't stop the screaming or the fact that pain relief was off the agenda (even more constipating) and it was now almost midnight and we were both very tired and still at the hospital. And my voice hoarse from teaching was not hoarse from teaching but actually the beginning of a killer sore throat that was rapidly turning me demented.

So I went to the waiting room outside with all the other parents who were wishing they could get bumped up that 4 hour waiting list, and I called a cab and waited. I think Wil may even have nodded off. And perhaps my eyes were closed because I recall opening my eyes to see the doctor there. And she said that she was sorry, and it took me a moment to realise that what she was saying was that maybe she'd been wrong. That maybe all that poo wasn't the only problem Wil had and could I come back inside.

It seems the senior consult had reviewed the x-ray and wanted to talk to me. So he said he was very sorry about the miscommunication, but there was a bubble on the x-ray that was not totally typical of the scary bowel thing, but wasn't normal either and could be the scary bowel thing after all. He wasn't prepared to let us leave until the senior surgeon had reviewed the x-rays and seen Wil.

Lie down on the guerney and see if you can't get a little sleep, he said. It will probably be a while till the surgeon can see you.

There are times when you are a parent that you have no choice but to endure things that are really really hard. Too hard. Being in a hospital with a very sick child is one of those things. Being in a hospital with that child when it is very late, and you are very tired and have a sore throat and you are alone and they are very distressed and you know it will be a long time before anything else happens is about the hardest of them all.

I didn't call D. I hoped he was in bed asleep and not worried. I was very glad I hadn't called him ten minutes before to say everything was alright and we were headed home. I didn't want to call him now and say it was looking scary again. That I was very tired and feeling really scared and alone and that I wanted out. That I just wanted to cry and emote instead of being in control of this terrible situation.

And then suddenly the consult appeared and said the surgeon had reviewed the film and wasn't excited. Just loved that. Wasn't excited at all. He was quick to stress that any continuation of symptoms, any new symptoms, anything at all that concerned me and I was to come straight back. Immediately. But otherwise I was free to go, me and my helping the poo flow instructions.

So again I strapped Wil in, went out and called a taxi. Even on discharge he was crying more than any of the kids waiting to be seen, but I was so darn grateful to be out of there I was almost singing. Even with the throat which seemed by now must be bleeding it hurt so much.

And I kept on feeling that way for 10 or 15 minutes. Then I started getting impatient for that cab. And my bed. And another adult to carry Wil for a while.

After an hour I was beginning to lose my mind. Inside I was screaming. It is not right to make a sick baby wait around at 2 in the morning for a lift home.

After an hour and a half I was on the phone to the cab company, ready to have a serious tantrum. I was still on hold when the nurse who had been looking after Wil knocked off her shift. She looked at the clock and looked at me and offered to drive us home.

I could have died with relief and gratitude. Never have I been so thankful for people who are prepared to pay it forward. I don't even know what her name is but man I hope she had a seriously good day on Sunday when she woke up.

Our Sunday was a little rocky. After getting home I had to pretty much hold Wil all night and let him put himself on and off the boob at will. I was shattered and so was he, and it stayed that way for most the day. D took Amy out and Wil and I existed in that little come down bubble of getting over a major incident (once upon a time it would have been after a big party...). Both tired and cranky and lethargic. Both knowing the worst was past but not yet feeling any better.

We missed D's family reunion and our chance for a tour of parliament house and to play bowls in the private parliament gardens. Instead we sat on the grass in our backyard and I tried to stay awake while Wil pulled all the cherry tomatoes of the vine, squashed them and threw them away. Thankfully it was sunny. And we went shopping for prunes and prune juice and laxatives for Wil and hot chips for me. And napped fitfully on the bed together.

Off to the GP now for more discussion of poo. So very glamorous!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

knitting is not hard

A comment by Sueeeus on my last post raised an immediate response from me.

Hey, knitting is not hard.

The vast majority of knitting utilises a very few moves, it involves no split second timing, no real time danger, no challenging physical manipulations. Kids can do it. Uncoordinated adults unable to conquer auto mobile driving can do it.

So why do I so often hear people sigh and say stuff about how they wish they could knit? I know I'm not alone, many knitters will tell you they hear the same thing all the time too.

I suspect it is all about expectations. Hey if it isn't hard why can't I pick up sticks and make a beautiful lace shawl straight away? Where is the knitted trench coat I expected would fall from my needles in mere days? Why do these needles make me feel like I'm all thumbs AND stupid?

Knitting isn't hard like brain surgery or prize winning sponge cake or fine carpentry. Knitting is practice. If you ever learned to touch type you know what I'm talking about. For weeks you feel like you are writing an essay backwards with your left hand in another language on a topic you know nothing about, and then one day you realise your hand knows where the keys are before your mind is even involved. You don't look, you don't think, you just do it.

Sure you still make a few mistakes, you need to go back every now and then to check, but the more you do, the more automatic it becomes. Your muscles have grasped something your thinking brain could not and now what once seemed really hard is easy.

Now driving a car is not like this. There is traffic and finding your way and controlling your vehicle and not losing it at kids in the back seat driving you wild. No amount of practice will change the fact there are multiple real time events taking place simultaneously and your brain needs to see them, prioritise them and respond to them. And hey, the stakes are high!

So of course some knitting is harder than others, and some people can produce an overall finer result than others, and beginners will make more mistakes and have wonky tension and make simpler things, but really, it's just practice.

On a totally unrelated note I'd like some advice. I'm new to the podcast thing (I know, so last century...). I see the itunes store has tonnes of free podcasts for download - including whole novels. And there's probably around a zillion other places you can get great free podcasts and talking books to listen to whilst riding trams and walking the streets. So tell me, what should I listen to and where do I get it?

Friday, 22 February 2008

and now for something completely different

Just so you know I do more than bitch and contemplate my navel. There has been yarn work!

First a hat. A gift. I'll say no more.

Made with 70 gms Cleckheaton Merino Spun in colours Petrol and Gray on 6mm needles. I used Kims Hats in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, size womens's though a bit shorter. Personally, I think the decrease is a little sharp (I think next time I'd be taking the decrease in rounds of eight not ten), and finishing with 20 stitches seemed bizarre - I did a few more rounds till there was only 5. Oh and I'm glad I erred on the smaller side - the hat is pretty darn big. Lovely yarn but.

And I've cast on for the Swing Jacket from the Cleckheaton pattern book for Spun - I know what you're thinking. Surely I could have found a better pattern source, but trust me, this pattern is actually kind of nice. I'm excited and scared. Knitting a whole like adult garment (hats and scarves don't count) is something I haven't done in over 20 years. Scary at the best of times, but doubly so for big gals for whom patterns are rarely intended. Wish me luck.

And I have finished the last crochet square for the Pakucho cotton baby cot blanket. Now I just have to work out how the hell to make them all fit together since the sizes seem to vary wildly. I'm thinking of doing a row of crochet around each square with a uniform number of stitches so the sewing up works. Advice welcome!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

the x factor

I consider myself extremely lucky, as a woman, to have been raised in an era when it was possible to believe that a girl could do anything a boy could do. As a youngster I could pass off difference and disadvantage as socialisation, historical baggage or institutional bias.

And later, despite a growing body of evidence that life was not a gender neutral playing field, I found great solace in the stories psychoanalytic theory told about how such difference came to be. I liked it because it made a lot of sense to me, but I also liked it because it left open hope that difference could be overcome.

Without getting too waylaid into a discussion of feminist theory, and the difference between androgynous feminism (men and women could and should be the same) and a more liberal feminism (men and women are certainly different but could and should still be equally valued, with equal opportunities and choices), my point is that as a post feminist daughter I was never comfortable with discussions which centred on gross generalisations based on gender.

But competing with my ideological stance was a growing interest and belief in a science based paradigm. Perhaps the watershed was reading Matt Ridley's totally excellent Genome, or maybe it started before that, as my friends started having kids and the newspapers started reporting the exponentially interesting research findings about how people work. Clearly my placement on the nature vs nuture scale was vulnerable.

What Ridley's book did was make me realise that all those miles of genetic code we carry inside us did a range of jobs that went way beyond determining our eye colour, our propensity to disease or the tenor of our voice. We learn grammar from a gene (which incidentally switches off working at a certain point), we have a gene that makes us like cigarettes or not, we have genes that determine all sorts of things usually ascribed to behaviour that is learned.

Now given that we know this, and given that girls get two of the x kind of chromosome and boys get just one of the x and one of the itty bitty y, it stands to reason that girls and boys are not the same.

Lots can be said about the similarities of course - we share far more in the genetic material department than we differ - and lots can be said (as Ridley strongly and expertly does) about the way environment breathes life into genetic code to make it less a script for life than the stage on which a life is lived. And, of course, what is true in general is not always true in the particular.



The bottom line is that there are inherent differences between sexes that are innate, inscribed in our cells and utterly inescapable. So while I have gradually been inching down the line, seeing ever more nature in our lives and ever less nurture, I have retained a deep suspicion of generalising, categorising and most critically of limiting our understanding and expectation of people based on what nature has supposedly provided.

But you know what? Forget it.

As soon as Wil could crawl, he picked out a car from the toy box, put it on the ground and started driving it around. He even makes the brmm brmm noise. No mama, no dada, just brmm brmm. D spectulates that perhaps cars were made to make the noise they do because boys did what Wil does even before motor cars were invented. Cars and balls. One end of the house to the other. No obstacle too great.

When Amy declared at the age of 2 or so that she would no longer wear jeans or pants because that was what boys wore, and the colour blue was henceforth banned from her life, I felt that environment could not fully explain her conviction. It is true she had a bit of contact with other kids, and some of them belonged to the all things pink brigade, but given the utter lack of reinforcement she got from any of her significant role models, there seemed to be something more to it.

As a baby and small child she had a very gender neutral wardrobe to match her gender neutral toys (and very non girly mother). But when I took her to buy shoes she would pick out stilettos for me and pink plastic glitter for her, plead with me to wear a skirt, refuse anything but pink, paint lovehearts on every surface. That had to be more than a few kids at childcare whispering in her ear, surely? When I bought her a new rash vest just this summer (pink, hello kitty) to wear with her pink love heart and rainbow surf hat, her pink crocs and her flowery white and blue boardshorts she still had to ask why I was dressing her like a boy (it was the blue that did it).

What I see growing in Wil now is a set of characteristics so different from Amy, so completely stereotypically boy, that nurture barely rates a mention on my radar any more. I know he's still young, but somehow that makes his declared hand all the more convincing.

Using only the volume and channel changing buttons on the front of the TV he has managed to reprogram the TV into Chinese (twice) and totally delete channel 2. Amy regularly claims to be bamboozled by doing up her own zips.

Last week he hit his head really really hard on five consecutive days. He looked like an escapee from a new years eve party in Glasgow. Amy had a very good sense of her physical limits as s child and major hurts were very rare.

He throws himself at people and things with a total disregard for the consequences. He regularly injures us as well as himself. The other day in the time I had my back turned to get a spoon from the drawer he had climbed out and fallen from his highchair and was hanging upside down by one foot.

He is obsessed (not just interested in, but utterly consumed by) mechanical things, electrical things, hinges, catches, buttons, phones, computers and vehicles. When denied the remote he melts into a puddle of screams. Amy was easily placated with a $2 plastic mobile phone and an old remote from some long gone piece of equipment.

He is really straightforward. No agendas, no confusion, no mixed messages. I don't always like his behaviour but I can pretty much always understand what he's doing and why. I nearly lost my mind trying to work Amy out. She remains a very complex creature who regularly surprises and confuses me.

He has no idea why anyone would want to interfere with what he wants, feels no need to try and communicate and simply resolves all situations physically. He is genuinely mystified for example if I get cross when he bites my nipple - he wants more milk, why wouldn't he bite? Amy will happily negotiate for a better deal, apologise regularly and has a sense of shame about breaking rules.

He looks really good in navy blue. Who would have thought any child of mine would be getting around in navy (with a sister in pink)?

And he's not a particularly energetic kid, Amy certainly takes out the award for the party hard animal, but he is intensely physical in a way that Amy never has been.

So I'm starting to think now about what the future holds for us, not just about his personality and how we'll get along, but about how different it is going to be to try and manage the problems and life choices that come with that boy thing. What I will do when he starts getting big enough that those physical challenges are beyond me, how I will stimulate and amuse him, how I will cope with a troupe of his mates coming over for play dates.

And it's not that I'm daunted or scared, it's just that I am slowly realising that just as Amy's dolly wrapping, fairy princess loving, frilled up life kind of took me by surprise, so is hearing myself saying (so often) that he is such a boy. I am glad, really glad, that my kids are so different and that mothering Wil won't just be the evening reprise of the matinee.

let there be light

The electrician came and finished off.

Mmmm I like that. Finished off.

No more extension leads and power cords threaded through doorways and underfoot. No more turning on the bathroom light in the living room.

The end (or near enough) is in sight.

And thanks to those who expressed concern for me in the war against the meanies. I'm hanging in there. Nothing resolved, no new offensives. We're in a holding pattern until tensions subside or a new battle rages. I'm gathering my strength. And breathing.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

it's hot in here

One of the few downsides to the public journaling that is my blog is that there are areas of my life I can't talk about here. Not that I can blame the blog, in truth I've worked hard in recent years, and made some progress, towards not saying things in one place that I wouldn't be prepared to say in others.

I said some progress, I'm not a freakin saint.

But those endless bitch sessions involving painting the world in entirely black and white dimensions just aren't fun anymore. Even while I'm doing it I know it solves nothing, and really it doesn't even make me feel better. And it is really ugly to watch someone who thinks they are totally right because no one ever is.

So I try to do it less, to be more considered in my responses. To just, you know, deal with it.

But sometimes I find things stacking up around me, and while I may be able to see clear through each of them individually, to see my own complicity in a problem, to empathise with someone else even if they seem to be coming from an entirely different planet, when they all get together a certain pressure builds.

So in the last few days there have been a couple of situation like that. A couple of things where I feel hurt and like people have been treating me unfairly. Situations I have to deal with in a conciliatory way because I'm stuck with them, and the people in them, for a long time yet. Situations I'd really like to walk away from, or lose my temper over. Situations where I'd feel entirely righteous in riding a high horse.

And because I know it isn't a good idea to do either of those things, I've been thinking about the middle ground, about ways to make my point and be firm about what I see as unreasonable, without inflaming the situation, without making the other people lose face. Ones that don't involve me swearing or ringing up all my friends to complain about what is happening.

But I just can't see that middle path. I'm utterly lost.

Perhaps my frustration about that is compounding the problem, my unresolved hurt and anger from one place is spreading like a virus through other areas of my life. Maybe the pressure comes from that sense that I'm sliding into shitsville big time. Maybe it comes from knowing that one way or another there's some pain coming my way, no matter what path I take.

Because I really believe that moving forward and being conciliatory is more important than either being right or holding sway. I believe it, but sometimes I'm stuck like the proverbial deer in the headlights trying to work out how to get from here to there.

closing the gap

I'd planned a different post for this morning. A post about technology, about simplicity and design excellence. A post about great ideas and the flawed realities. A post about my inner geek.

But I've just been watching parliament on TV and somehow it isn't so important right now.

I've been watching Kevin say sorry (I'm sure within minutes of posting You Tube will be able to show you all about it).

I'm just a regular white girl, with only the most passing of contact with the aboriginal communities of my country. But I feel the pain of even imagining having my babies taken from me, of being taken from my mother, of watching my siblings ripped from the family hearth.

Like many other descendants of colonists and migrants, I have long wished to hear our government say sorry. I've signed petitions and worn T-shirts. Sent letters to parliamentarians. I've felt helpless to be able to do anything real about the great divides.

Indigenous affairs is a really really complex area. As a policy analyst I have some inkling of just how hard it is, and as a citizen I find it entirely overwhelming. Fear of getting it wrong, of doing the wrong thing, of insulting and being ignorant is a powerful disincentive to taking action that might make a difference.

But the Stolen Generation cuts across this for me. No matter the intent. The images of forced separation I have in my mind, the stories only recently come to light, fill me with such deep deep sorrow. How can we not say sorry? How can we not see and recognise the hurt felt by those who have suffered what is surely every child's, every parent's worst nightmare.

So I sat watching parliament at 9 o'clock this morning and I cried, cried like a little girl scared of being taken from her mother. And I wanted to say soemthing about that. I am sure my apology means nothing to any of those who have experienced the kind of loss I can only begin to imagine. And there are many grounds for criticising Kevin and Brendan, they are human and flawed and have differing points of view.

But I have hope for the first time in a long time that this might be the beginning of something. That in recognising what has happened, in speaking out loud about the hurts that have been born in private we may begin the real work of the present and future.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

just begun

So says AA Milne, but at one Wil is so much more than just begun.

D and I were reminiscing about Amy's first birthday today. How proud we had been that we'd managed to keep her alive. We had no idea of what was coming, of how much longer we'd struggle to get on top of the parenting gig, of how much more she would grow and develop.

Babes in the wood we were.

So it is a great luxury to get the experience of Wil with a little bit of learning under our belts. For the unimportant stuff to have already melted away, for the really hard stuff to have already been burned away. It feels very much like when there's just Wil and me, there's just Wil and me.

I love him so very much.

There was a long time there where I didn't think I could face a second child, when I didn't think I was strong enough to endure another physically exhausting pregnancy, another sleepless infancy, another loss of my self. For a while D and I would talk about it in alternating frustrated and mournful tones. Gradually the fear grew less and the excitement grew more.

And then one day, as I was standing at the kitchen bench engaged in some mindless domestic task I heard the key in the lock. I looked up to see D stroll in and then came Amy. And then I realised I was still looking at the door. And in my mind I knew I was waiting for the other one. The one that wasn't here yet, but the one I knew was coming.

I think back to that moment often. I remember it, the feeling of it even, as vividly as any event that happened today. In just a little flash of a moment, a moment that makes no sense in the real world I inhabit, I knew there would be another child.

That's really weird isn't it?

At the time I felt it was a highly unusual experience, not like anything else I'd ever felt and looking back now it's like there was a little hand reaching across time to me. Leaving a little imprint, spurring me on to get over my fear and promising that everything would be alright.

And he's kept that promise. No matter what is going on with him, I pretty much always feel like everything will be alright.

So I celebrate his first birthday, not just happy he's made it this far.

Happy for his straightforwardness.

Happy for his curiosity.

Happy for his independence.

Just happy.

Happy birthday my boy.

PS. We'd all be much better off if you'd fast track learning about not hitting your head. I'm sure you'll learn eventually but I'm concerned about those diminishing brain cells honey.

Friday, 8 February 2008

batting for the other team

Transmission is temporarily interrupted whilst I relocate my technology brain from PC to Mac.

Oh the pain.

The highs (ipod touch - a little piece of techno heaven), the lows (3 plus hours on the phone to my ISP), the excruciating level of time suckage that sees all else in my life put on hold whilst I search out answers to approximately infinity plus one questions.

Sometime down the road I will laugh at all this, but right now I am finding the most basic of tasks insurmountable.

Bear with me.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

you make my day

Never one to knock back a bit of honouring I have to say thanks to Kate, who has honoured me as someone who helps to make her happy. Is that cool or what?

To bestow the award choose 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get this award several times.

It's a hard ask to choose 10. There are way more than 10 out there that float my boat, and as my time becomes increasingly limited there are a lot of blogs I don't keep up with that I really wish I could. But I guess I chose these because these are the ones I really make time for.

1. Suse of Pea Soup because she's funny and real and very nice. And she knits stuff I like.
2. Di of Clementine's Shoes because her taste is supreme and nothing seems to faze her. And she knits stuff I like.
3. Janet of Muppinstuff because she's a sharer and does interesting stuff with a camera. And has the garden I wish I had.
4. Alex of Moonstitches because she makes everything so beautifully. And is in Japan, but not of Japan.
5. Katurah of Luckbeans because she's living a life that I would choose if just a few things were different for me.
6. Lara of Kirin Notebook because she keep getting better and better and each new design takes me by surprise.
7. Jared of Brooklyn Tweed because he's a knitting hero. And a he. And once he sent me an email. Sigh.
8. Alison of 6.5st because her blog is like a glossy magazine (for thinking people). And she really helped me get started on my knitting journey.
9. Kim of All Consuming because she's all over it. Whatever it happens to be.
10. Shula of Poppalina because she trawls Flickr and brings back the best and makes me want to eat better food than I have time to prepare.

So thanks people, know your hard work is contributing to the happiness and inspiration out there.

Friday, 1 February 2008

because it's all about her

On Amy's last day before school we went out and had fun. Just her and me.

Amy chased birds hanging out in the food hall during lunch.
Then we went to the cinema (can I say? some kids films are really crap. Not a patch on my recent adult viewing, Juno. What a fantastic film that is. Go see it!)

The obligatory ice cream before a stop by the hello kitty shop to really get her in the mood for tomorrow's packed lunch.

And then all of a sudden there she was all packed
and ready to go.

We walked to school, she went in and hung up her bag and sat down to draw.
Didn't even bother looking up when she said goodbye. No tears, no fuss. She loved it and happily went off today again with orders for smaller lunches (I was the last to finish and I didn't even eat it all!) and see ya laters.

Am I cold that I didn't cry? Is it wrong to be content that she is at the next stage of her life, ready, happy and we aren't sad to see the end of her baby years? I don't know. Although I didn't feel sad or anxious, I was sure I must be kidding myself, that at some point I would be taken by surprise and get all misty eyed like everyone else. But no. There was nothing but unmitigated joy for her and how could I be sad about that?

In hindsight we did a lot to prepare her for the easiest possible transition. Largely by accident, but I'll take full credit for design.

She attended childcare, a local community kinder and a preschool in Thailand so she had experience in different environments with different kids and different teachers. They were all unique and each offered her something she hadn't experienced before.

She goes to school in our street. She can see the school from her bedroom window, has played in the playground since she was small and rides her bike past the classrooms on weekends. She knows where everything is feel comfortable there.

She knows kids in the school, both preps like her and some of the bigger kids. Alumni from her childcare centre, local kinder and neighbors all meet up on the walk to school so the social stuff starts outside the gate and the classroom is just a continuity of what she already knows.

Both D and I have been students in Amy's lifetime. We talk about school, our school (grown ups school), her school (we called both her childcare and preschool schools) and the schools where mummy and daddy have been teachers. She's seen the classrooms where we teach, she's seen the schools we went to as kids. Schools are learning are something she expects to be part of all her life.

We are a family that doesn't shy away from change. We acknowledge our fears about them but go ahead and talk a lot about how exciting we find new things. We are in the habit of talking about what was best in our day and that often revolves around the things we have done or seen for the first time.

And of course, and here I take no credit except perhaps through the provision of certain genes, Amy is an extroverted social animal. School is her theatre and she's been dying to get out of the wings and on to that stage.

I know I'm being a bit, well, rational about this. Lots of things make me cry and lots of things make me emotional in ways that have nothing to do with making sense (like ads on TV for gods sake), but I just feel really good about Amy and school.