30.9.11

***

Hello... I've just popped in to say a few things...

Firstly, the lovely Bron at baby space is featuring Lalie's nursery today which is very exciting... do pop over and have a look, it's a gorgeous post!

Secondly, thank you for your kind and reassuring words in response to my last post. I just wanted to say that despite not achieving many of the things I had set out for myself, I am happy and confident with where I am at as a mother. I'm not sure that came across in my post - reading back, I did seem a bit 'down' on myself. Having a child is such a steep learning curve - you really can't prepare for it. For me, I'm starting to find a rhythm that centers on being guided by my child, not by a list. I guess sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. So I'm allowing myself to step back and appreciate the view.

I loved reading about your birth experiences, and it delighted me to sense such enthusiasm and eagerness from many of you to discuss experiences that hadn't gone as you'd planned. It's amazing how - after the fog clears - you can be left feeling so triumphant, even though your journey had gone so far off course. In the end, we all make it home.
Happy weekend to you!

...oh, and don't forget the giveaway!

29.9.11

***

I've had a few things on my mind recently. I started writing the draft of this post a couple of weeks ago after reading Claudia's post at her lovely blog Aux petits oiseaux, which talked about childbirth and how women can set themselves up for disappointment and feelings of inadequacy if their birth doesn't go as 'naturally' as planned. It got me thinking, not only about my own birth experience, but about many aspects of parenting and the standards or expectations that are often associated with raising children.

Emily's post yesterday at The Beetle Shack might have been intended as a short and sweet 'tell it how it is' post about the food she prepares for her children, but it struck me on a much deeper level. The  lighthearted 'confession' about shopping at big supermarkets and buying what's affordable over buying organic food or feeding her children home grown produce really resonated with me... and it cemented my train of thought that had spawned from Claudia's childbirth discussion.

Don't get me wrong, I love reading about empowering, calm, natural birth experiences. I found them so inspiring throughout my pregnancy, and I still enjoy reading them now...

...but what if yours wasn't like that? What if yours was the one where everything went off course? What if it wasn't empowering, but deflated you to your weakest self? What if you had to ashamedly ask for an epidural after labouring naturally with a posterior baby with a deflexed head for 20+ excruciating hours and still being only 4cm dilated? I guess you just have to live with the fact that your birthing experience leaves much to be desired, and is extremely unlikely to inspire any expectant mother.

Obviously, every labour, every birth and every experience is different. While you might have the greatest plans for a calm, natural birth and the confidence and enthusiasm to back it up, sometimes it's just too fucking hard. And so you fail. Or at least you feel like a failure. For a little while. And then you wake up to yourself and realise that nurturing and carrying your child to term and being able to hold your healthy baby in your arms, is in fact your greatest achievement yet. So I try to remind myself that I did a pretty good job. Heck, I might have even passed.

But something I've found to be true in my case (and some of my peers') is that as mothers, we inevitably set ourselves up for feelings of failure, time and time again... long after birth. Take me for instance, during my nine months of pregnancy, I used my time to set myself some parenting standards. Some commandments, if you like. And because I've always been the over-achieving type, I was going to breeze it in.

1. I will not give my child a dummy, I will be patient and teach the child to settle herself with other comforting aids. On the third week, during a monster cyclone, tensions were high, and I caved and gave the girl a dummy. I continued to do so until she started refusing at about 4 months old. Now she sucks her fingers. (FAIL)

2. I WILL breastfeed, no matter what. It was a huge struggle to start with, attachment just was not happening... but I was determined and eventually we got the hang of it. I love breastfeeding Lalie and expect I will be very sad when she eventually weans. Although I've been successful with this one, I now have some understanding of mothers who simply can't, or choose not to breastfeed, whereas before I had zero tolerance. (PASS)

3. I will grow my own vegetables organically and feed her straight from the garden. Hmmm, despite our efforts, the only garden she's eating from at the moment is Rafferty's. (FAIL) Which brings me to another food related commandment...

4. I will NEVER feed my child any pre-packaged baby foods. You know what, sometimes it's just easy. And God forbid we do anything the easy way. (FAIL)

5. I will use cloth nappies at home and disposables when going out. I can barely get through my washing as it is. (FAIL)

6. I will keep toys to a minimum to encourage a deeper engagement and level of play. Well, I'm not lying when I say that the toys we have purchased for lalie have been minimal, but if you borrow a carload from the in-laws, I guess that would be cheating, right? (FAIL)

7. I will avoid teething medications and pain relief, and will opt for natural alternatives. I've used both Bonjela and Panadol. I can almost hear the tsk tsk's... (FAIL)

8. I will not feed my baby to sleep and will follow the SLEEP FEED PLAY routine. Our routine went a little something like this: FEED FEED FEED SLEEP FEED FEED PLAY FEED FEED FEED SLEEP. (FAIL)

9. I will not allow my child be stimulated for long periods by a television.  So far, I've managed to stick to this one. But ONLY because our TV broke when she was about three months old. (PASS-ish) 

10. I will start reading to her, every night,  from birth. We have the occasional story, but most of the time she just wants to eat and destroy literature. (However, in the last couple of weeks since I started writing this post, she's really starting to enjoy a story or two!) (FAIL)

These are just some of the 'rules' that come to mind, and out of a list of ten - I've only really managed to achieve two . There's no wonder post natal depression seems to be popping up everywhere.  It's almost impossible to live up to the high expectations that we set for ourselves. And half the time, I wonder if we set ourselves these rules because we really truly believe in them, or if it's just to feel adequate next to others with those similar standards? I know I can only speak for myself here... but I feel like on paper, I'm failing miserably. Look at all that red! I'm not mothering in the way that I would have liked - I break all the rules. Yet in my heart, I know with all certainty that I am doing the best that I can, and that every single thing I do, every word, every action has her best intentions at heart.

I'm only human (a tired one at that), and although sometimes I feel like I'm under-achieving, my daughter's smile tells me that she feels loved, happy, healthy and safe.

And really, at the end of the day, can I should I expect anything more from myself than that?

28.9.11

***

There's so much you don't know about Eulalie. For instance, until now, you didn't know that she sucks her two middle fingers when she's tired and when she's eating. And when she's full and really, really tired, she puts her other hand over her little nose. It's a comfort thing. And it's oh so cute.

My sweet, funny little girl.

...speaking of cute - have you seen the giveaway?

26.9.11

Heidi Walks - Giveaway!






If you've been following my blog for a while, chances are you've seen Eulalie wearing these beautiful 'Heidi Walks' shoes before (although these are her new shiny gold* ones!). You've probably eyed them off here... or perhaps here... maybe you spotted them in this post... or this one... or maybe they caught your fancy here? Most recently, you might have spotted a couple of pairs hanging on a branch in Eulalie's nursery - they're just too beautiful to have hidden away!

So I guess it's no secret that I LOVE these shoes. In fact, now that I go looking, I realise they are the only brand of shoes Eulalie has ever worn on this entire blog. Many of you have commented on these delightful shoes in my previous posts and a few of you even went on to blog about them (and buy them) for yourselves! I was so pleased to see them generate so much interest, because they are a fantastic product that I believe deserves some more attention. Recently, I took it upon myself to get in contact with the lovely ladies that make them, Jette and Manuka at All About Heidi, to see if they would be interested in a little giveaway... and guess what? They said yes! Hurrah!

All About Heidi have generously offered one of my followers* one pair of their beautiful leather shoes. There are colours and styles* to choose from, so do pop on over to their website and tell me your favourite in the comments. And if you don't have children, remember these little shoes would make the perfect gift!  

The winner will be announced next Monday 3rd October.
* Gold and silver now available (not currently on website). 
* Open to Australian and International followers. If you aren't already following along, feel free to start now :)
* Colours and styles are subject to availability.

Here are just some of the features I love about them:
- They are handcrafted from one single, seamless piece of leather.
- They are a beautiful fit and don't fall off.
- They are fully adjustable by tightening the leather knot at the front.
- They offer a good grip for crawling babies and tottering toddlers.
- They seem to go with absolutely everything.
- The range of colours are beautiful and versatile.
- Perfect all year round, over socks and tights in winter and on gorgeous bare skin in summer.
- The style and colour options of these shoes means they can be unisex / gender neutral.
- They are soft and comfortable.
- They only get better with age! The leather goes buttery soft and gets a lovely vintage appearance.


If you don't want to take your chances in the giveaway, you can contact Jette and Manuka directly to purchase as many pairs as you like! 


Good luck my friends!

23.9.11

***

Paddy. He works twelve hours a day, five days a week (and sometimes weekends too!) and often comes home to a messy house and an empty fridge... but he never even mentions it. Instead, he takes the baby from my tired arms, plays with her, feeds her dinner, baths her and lets me just be for an hour each night.
Despite having no time to himself for the things that he wants to do, he spends time hanging branches and completing other frivolous decorating projects for me. He comes home from work with little tokens that say he's been daydreaming about her all day.On the weekends he cooks us very fancy and delicious meals like this tagine of beef, apples and raisins... and even cleans up afterwards. He has such a gentle way with our baby girl... it's magic to watch.

 I'm so looking forward to the three of us being together this weekend.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and I'll see you next week that exciting giveaway I've been teasing you with!

21.9.11

8 months

Thank you all so much for the lovely comments on Eulalie's nursery. I was so overwhelmed by the positive reaction - I'm glad you love it as much as we do! Your comments really mean so much and one day Eulalie will be able to read all the beautiful things you had to say about her room.  A big hello to my new followers and those of you who have made your way here via Peonies and Polaroids, The Beetle Shack, Smallesthings and Pinterest. It's so nice to have you here :)

On Monday while I was giving you the tour, I probably should have been posting this instead. The cheeky monkey hit the eight month mark on Monday, and it seems like there's no stopping her. She's on the move - crawling herself along like a little caterpillar and trying to pull herself up on anything she can get her little hands on. She even manages to pull herself up to a sitting position in the cot when she wakes up from her sleep - I go in to find her there sitting up, talking away to herself... it's really cute. Physically, she's definitely grown, her hair is still going gangbusters (in a vertical, fluffy sense) and a tooth is just starting to poke through her top gum. I think those blue eyes are definitely sticking around for the long haul but nobody can seem to pin down her hair colour. Some days it looks fair, other days darker. Only time will tell.

The older she gets and the more "spirited" (thanks Em for introducing me to this term) she becomes, the less time I seem to have to get anything done. She's a full time job, both rewarding and exhausting. I often find myself wondering how I'd ever cope as a mother of two...or three... or four (I was always a four girl, now I have my doubts). Tell me Multi-Mum's - how do you cope? However, despite my own insecurities, people have recently started with the "when are you having another one" business. Really? I just had a baby, like, yesterday eight months ago! I know that they're not asking if I'm going to go and get pregnant again tomorrow... but the thought of people even starting to think that way is kind of scary...

...don't get me wrong, maybe I'm sounding a bit negative? Becoming a mother is hands down, without a doubt the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I really can't imagine that there is anything else in this life (for me) that will ever surpass the love, joy and sense of fulfillment that I feel simply by being Eulalie's Mum. Of course, I have other desires and ambitions for my future, but for now... motherhood is keeping me more than content (albeit exhausted and time poor).

Oh, but apparently I'm not the only one who's exhausted... all this new physical activity must be wearing the Lalie Bug out, because guess what? Last night she slept through! For the first time EVER! (Of course, I woke up in a panic at 6.30am thinking something must have happened to her...so like an idiot I went in to check on her wake her up. Good one Mum).

Ah well, we'll get the hang of it one of these days.


19.9.11

Room Tour: Eulalie's Nursery


Finally, Eulalie's room is finished. I'm thrilled with how it turned out! It's certainly evolved over time. It all started with the distressed green cabinet that I stumbled upon at the Bower in Marrickville (one of my favourite rummaging spots) before I was even pregnant. When I saw it, I instantly pictured it in a child's room. Our child's room. That green was so right.

I didn't really 'theme' her room as such, just filled it with things that I love, things that I hope she will love too. I think it all came together nicely and I can see that it will grow with her.

Paddy has been a huge help... he's been so patient hanging pictures (then rehanging pictures "just 2 centimeters to the right"), hanging shelves, hanging canopies and especially hanging branches. He's very good at hanging branches. It's like the Hanging Branches of Babylon in this place.

My favourite thing? The cot. It was made for me by my Grandad when I was a baby. It's so beautiful that she now gets to sleep in it too!

Her favourite thing? The wall stickers - particularly trying to scratch them off the wall while I'm changing her! Hmph.

Our favourite thing? Cuddly feeds and reading stories on the floor cushions. It's so lovely under the window with the light pouring through in the afternoons.


Green cabinet - Vintage @ The Bower
Change table - Ikea Hemnes (changed hardware)
White shelf with basket storage - Freedom Furniture
Cot - Handmade by my Grandad for me when I was a baby.
Door sign - Custom made by my lovely friend Miriam (miriam@knockknock.net.au). Order yours!
Wall stickers (except name) - Mae
Floor cushions and cot canopy - Far Pavilions
Rug - My Mum's!
Curtains and elephant cushion - Tree of Life
Branches - DIY
Teeny Bunting - DIY from this great template (I just changed the colours to suit)
"Eulalie" wall decal - DIY
"Carmel" the camel - "Tell a Tale" @ Stylishh (contact)
Indian fabric lantern - local market

If you want any info on anything else, just get in touch - I'm happy to share!

16.9.11

***

Please excuse my absence. I've had the dreaded flu for the last couple of days and haven't really felt like getting out of bed, let alone sit at the computer. I'll be back (hopefully healthier and happier) on Monday with a tour of Eulalie's nursery and a very exciting giveaway later in the week!

Til then my friends... have a lovely weekend!

12.9.11

***


How on earth could we have missed the toadstools??? We just had to go back and have ourselves some fun amongst the funghi after seeing this little installation in the newspaper.

P.S - Completely random and unrelated (and deserving of this smaller type) but I can't get the word(?) Snakadaktal out of my head, thanks to this band - Triple J's unearthed high winner, who claim their band name is a fusion of the words snake and teradaktil. Yes, insanely weird... but surprisingly fun to say. It's being used in this household to refer to meals, as in "I'm starved, I need a snakadaktal!". Try it, you'll love it.

9.9.11

***

After a shitty couple of days couped up inside dealing with rashes*, creepy crawlies and general domestic chaos, I was relieved when my sister in law called and suggested we take our three girls out for a walk down by the beach (or "The Strand" as it's known around these parts). Imagine our delight when we discovered a trail of fun installations along the beach, part of the Strand Ephemera, a public exhibit currently being held.

Nothing like giant liquorice all-sorts in the sand and a fountain of cascading rainbow bottle tops to really turn your mood around. 

Wishing you a fun and colourful weekend!

P.S - Thanks for the concerns about the rash - it doesn't look like a nickle allergy at this stage because even the clasp is made from amber! Crazy, I know... but she still reacted like that! Oh, and as for the meal times - I definitely need to start making more of an effort with the 'family meal' thing. We'll get there...