Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ze year in review

It did not suck.
Unlike 2008 to be honest.
2009 was pretty good. 2010 was pretty good too.

Bring on 2011 though.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Gave birth.
Celebrated my first anniversary.
Turned 30.
Bought a Pulsar.
Signed a new lease to stay here for a 2nd year.
Grew a garden successfully.
Took time off work and study and just *was*.
Learnt lots about parks, toys, plastic, clothes and lots of other things.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
This means I'd have to go find my resolutions. I had to dig around to find them too! They were:
- Give birth in my home
- Reach out to people and find some more irl friends
- Put my personal happiness and that of my family, above other things
- Spend less time on the internet
- Take a photo a day

I did pretty well as I achieved #1-#4. I completely forgot about #5 though so maybe this year? Now that I have an amazing camera and Lightroom.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Oh wow did they ever! I think there were a dozen new childerbeasts around me. I gave birth so that's pretty close as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. No one close to me has died recently to be honest.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. Sad that but I was busy ;).

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Resolution for my injury case, better fitness and toned calves, less debt, a finished degree, less clutter (that's an oximoron I think? because that's less of something that's asking about what more that I want).

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
12th of March - the day I became a mama.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Homebirthing my babe, without drugs and without help beyond great midwifery care. Breastfeeding her for 9 and a half months so far. Going back to work with a small child.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still having a LOT of clutter. Not having my fitness back.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No I've enjoyed rather rude health this year. Recovering from birth was harder than I thought, and I've had niggling hangovers from my injury but apart from that (oh and a broken toe) I've been healthy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Thelma the Thermomix.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Julie Gillard - the first female elected prime minister of this fair country. My TheHusband who has weathered hormones, broken sleep and still loves me for who I am, failings and frayed bits and all.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Bronwyn, the mother who just isn't to me. It's her loss in the end but I doubt she realises just how much her appalling behaviour is distressing to so many people. The court system in South Australia which is pursuing a witch hunt of homebirth and may see us leave the country because of it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Thelma, a new car, debt because my injury means that it's still going to take me 5 years to finish my degree and start earning $$. Food of the Good Sort.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having a baby! A new diary. Thelma.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Isn't she lovely? by Idea of North as that was what I listened to in the shower after giving birth. Forevermore by Katie Hertzig as I have used it for montages and other things that remind me of the people who are in my life forevermore.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Substantially less fat but that's baby weight rather than any value judgement.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer I think. Not only in the eosoterical measure of richness but also some savings, more shares and less debt kind of way.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Drunk tea. Eaten Vietnamese food. Listened to music. Sung.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worried about being a mama.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
We sang carols at the Adelaide Rowing Club this morning and I'm about to put the turkey rolls and veges in the oven to have for dinner.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
With my baby, yes! With myself too. And TheHusband - he is an awesome husband and papa.

22. How many one-night stands?
None this year to report - I'd rather sleep than have sex at the moment. Ask me next year ;).

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Dr Who. Can't WAIT for the Boxing Day special either!!!!!!

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Yep and I'm adult enough to admit that.

25. What was the best book you read?
Raising your spirited child - doesn't really apply to my babe but it is a great parenting book.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Katie Hertzig.

27. What did you want and get?
To feel like I have a clue about parenting.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Can't say I watched many sadly.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 and had a pre-birthday birthday in February. I had dinner with friends and got a SURPRISE combined gift from Kate of a KitchenAid.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having my lawyer involvement finished. It's not even the money that that'd be nice, just conclusion to the damn thing.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Comfort, pants for bending, tops for feeding, dark colours or patterns so I can hide spills, and easy clean. Also good for wearing a wrap over.

32. What kept you sane?
Friends like Lori, Kelly, Kaz, Bec and Nic. Wine. Joyous Birth. Wine. 

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Colin Firth. I plan on spending the afternoon with him today too. It's Tradition!

34. Who did you miss?
So many people. Interstaters, too busy'ers, overseas'ers.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Famous last words

Sigh. One of these days I will just know that when I'm passionate about something - a package is late in the mail, I've not heard back from x about y, something or other hasn't happened - that I'm just a day early! Because the day after my last post I got a call saying that Sally could get in for 2 days a week in the new year. So that's 2 days of it sorted. I could have panicked and said no, I need all days! but I feel the universe saying take this, it's all I could sort out at short notice, can that tide you over til I fill in the gaps? And so I am.

I went down yesterday to fill in the paperwork and today she had a trial in the morning of an hour. Or should I say that I had a trial because really, she thinks it's awesome and a lot of fun. I dropped her off, filled in more forms (about her routine, which made me twitch cause it's all very soft an flexible and not set times, and also about her food - breastfed baby so no milk, water is ok, doesn't like banana, drinks out of a cup but not a bottle), went to visit a dear friend, then went back and collected her and we went home.

Cue the whole "Ugh am I doing the right thing? Should she still be mostly-breastfed at this age? Can they cope with that? How is she going to go to sleep when she's not breastfed to sleep by me, or in a sling with TheHusband or Alice? Will she eat lots there? And affect our breastfeeding relationship? Or eat nothing? Can we afford this? We can't afford for me not to finish school but at what price to Sally? Will it be a good thing? I think it will be but is that my needing it to be ok rather than it actually being ok." And also all the feeling judged (not in a bad way but in a normal human way) by her, her outfit, her routine and development, her habits and peculiarities.

On the upside, the carers seemed really open to hearing everything I had to say about Sally and her eating and routine. They are also happy to do cloth nappies, which thrills my little heart. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Big changes afoot

This is a complicated post. Maybe grab tea before trying to read?

I have been on the hunt for childcare for Sally. Ugh. How do you choose? I asked some local friends for their recommendations and had a few names to try. The advice I got was to turn up unannounced and explain that you wanted to have a look. So I did that. And to go with my gut.

Well I did that. The first one I went to - well, let's just say that I wanted to go there myself. They have dirt. And gardens. And chickens and bunnies. And attachment theories. And lots of play equipment. Healthy food. Carers holding babes as they slept because they felt safer there. Patience.

And a 6-12 month waiting list. Sigh.

The next one I went to, was different. No natural light. No grass - just fake grass. No sky either. Just big sunshades. And the redeeming feature offered to me by the office manager was that they were recently enrolled in a new formula trial.

But I could get in immediately.

Sigh. Ugh. Fuck. SUCH hard things to find someone to do some of the raising of my child. Because that's what I think childcare is.

So I had to look very closely at why I need childcare. I have to renew my first aid certificate which will take a day. I am blessed to have friends who would help me out with that. But I also have to do a metric fuckload of placement next year to finish the groundhog day / never ending story / degree that never ends. Yup I'm enrolled to go back to school next year to finish two subjects to finish it. They are two 1/2 semester subjects though, so lots of work, and LOTS of placement. And TheHusband can't take enough leave to cover all of it. And I have to finish this damn degree next year.

The other thing is that Sally LOVES to be around other children. Especially childerbeasts of her own age. Loves it. And it'll be fabulous for her to have a carer beyond me and TheHusband. And stimulation and so forth. Plus having 2 days to do stuff is going to be interesting. I don't know what I'll do with myself but I'll tell you about it.

Anyway, the complicated part of this is that I feel, ever so urgently, the need to push on and finish this degree so I can move on into the industry. Or not. I have that small dream as well - to do my breastfeeding counsellor and community educator training with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, do a doula course and some childbirth education work, do more photography, and then go and do everything except register but do some work still with women and birthing.

You see, homebirth is under attack in another forum with the decision yesterday of the Supreme Court that the assistant coroner can investigate a stillbirth because there were signs of life. I can't imagine how traumatic those words would be for a mother to hear that her child had signs of life, when she has made some kind of peace perhaps with the past and that her midwife did all she could to help her birth the baby alive. But from a midwifery point of view, this is world-changing. When someone is mentioned in the same decision as manslaughter because they attended a birth that ended badly, it makes me stop and think about whether this is a situation that I want in on as an independant midwife.

I got into this when I didn't have a plan B (hell I didn't even have a plan A!) and now it looks that I might need another plan.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What the duece!?

Is anyone else having a crazy time at the moment?
  • A forum I'm on has had somewhat trying times at the moment. Yes, a forum. So no, not the real world. Except it is part of the real world for me as I made the transition to being friends with my local members while I was pregnant and newly mama'd. A change was made recently that has completely upended the way things were and perhaps not in a bad way, as change is often a good thing, but it's been done inelegantly and brusqely and has upset quite a few people.
  • Work is going through a huge period of transition with a new management team and lots of changes to the team. Which is fine as I embrace change and would rather not waste energy against changes but rather adapt to them as they come. I am also there 12 hours a week out of 90-odd that the business trades, so it's easy for me not to be involved.
  • A Supreme Court case here in South Australia was decided that will upend the definitions of life and death as we know it, and will change midwifery. This is tied with changes to registration and qualification of midwives in this country as well. HUGE changes but well-blogged about elsewhere.
It's almost like the universe has plucked people out of situations where there is a tension in the system, but the players in said system are not willing or able to back down from their position and so the systems have stagnated. The universe has then replaced those players with people who are going to do something completely different. So a manager making big decisions and not going along with the way things used to be, a moderator making changes to how things were running completely out of left field, a court making a right-wing decision about something that has huge implications for so many things.

My bet is that it has something to do with the pending lunar eclipse and solstice together on the 21st. Between then and the fairy moon in July 2011 though, I'd hold onto my floatie and try to stay afloat on the surging storm that will boil away underneath you. If you're caught up in it, take a deep breath and swim with the current, like in a rip, until you get to calmer water.

On the other hand, I felt my life click and settle onto me bone-deep yesterday. It's a life I like, as mama and wife and employee and student and feng shui learner and life coach to my friends and interior decorator and painter and so on. So much so that I finally, some 18 months after doing so legally, changed my voicemail greeting today to change my name to my married one.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What kind of parent am I?

We are what is called "natural parents" which is kind of crazy cause it's, ah, natural for anyone to be a parent right? It's because we practice "natural parenting" - the crazy idea that our child is, from birth, human. We parent in response to our child and consciously. I try to stop and think "What am I thinking", even to the point of saying it out loud when I need a moment to think about how I'm going to react to something that is presented to me.

From the Natural Parent Network, there are a few goals that sum up what we're on about. We prepared for our pregnancy and birth consciously. That meant actually talking (a lot) about having a child and consciously deciding to conceive. This didn't mean that we timed it and planned it to the nth degree but we did decide to welcome a child at a given time and it was right for us. We maintained our relatively healthy and active lifestyle and were very educated about the best healthcare provider for us and the best birth and plans for feeding and having a newborn.

Exclusive breastfeeding here! After a whole lot of dramas in getting going, we have stuck it out and I plan to keep feeding until she wants to stop. If that's when she's 2, ok. If it's night feeds to sleep at 4, great. I am happy to follow her lead. Same with introducing normal food. We have followed her lead on that entirely. She gave us very clear signals about wanting to eat (open mouth, zombie noises, reaching for it) and has taken to a few things with gusto. We eat homemade mostly, organic some of the times and consciously most of the time - and this trend is increasing as we move towards more organics as well with summer approaching.

We have the "crazy" notion that our child is not trying to manipulate us but is trying to communicate. She rarely cries unless hurt. She sleeps with us because it's easier as well as safer and warmer. The need for physical contact is clear with her and she is cuddley and comforted by our presence. We try to watch our language and as parents we often talk about the parenting we see around us and how it fits with our philosophy. We discipline gently, baby wear as much as possible, demand feed, have something of a rhythm each day but nothing like a routine, are fairly laid back and try to spend much of our day enjoying life, not working or cleaning or studying.

We are trialling a calendar where everything goes on it. Work, play, commitments, gym, rent day, birthdays, pay day. Everything.

We have one car and try not to use it every day. We eat organic where we can, cook from scratch a lot, choose eco-friendly, cloth nappy, support local growers, are passioate about homebirth and avoiding plastic, practice holistic health care (minimal doctors, well researched choices about vaccination, good food and exercise, are getting more into herbs and essential oils, visit a chiropractor, get regular massages, gave birth naturally, are trying not to gender our child at this early age but give her clothes of all colours and toys of all kinds.

We both have good body images and don't smoke, drink in moderation, enjoy life and listen to music.
And this from the Natural Parent website:

Above all, natural parenting is making the choice to develop a deep bond with your children and family based on mutual respect. An attached child grows into a mature and interdependent individual who understands how to develop healthy, secure relationships with others.