Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme (Or, Let's Pretend It's Not Monday)

Wee Man's fourth birthday on the weekend. Visiting family (my Mum and brothers, yaay!), various birthday-related activities and cruisy Sunday with my mum = no time for blogging.

Hope y'all forgive me for being a little late with these happy snaps - and that's all some of them are, I have no pretensions of high art with this lot. Just lots of birthday laughter and sunshine and fun.

Go visit the gorgeous Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) and the rest of the weekly winners, too. Maybe some of them are doing high art this week?

Threatening skies

I have no idea what this flower is, but it is glorious

What could it be?


Bike-riding is a serious business

It's not cool to pose with your mama

Wee man and Unky J

Boys at play

Birds-eye view

Sunday markets - Lennox Heads, by Lake Ainsworth

Lake Ainsworth (a ti-tree lagoon, beautiful for swimming)

Byron Bay - the most easterly point in Australia...a beautiful place best seen from a distance, far from the busloads of tourists!

How now, brown cow?

Would you believe, I didn't take a single photo of a) the wee man with his Nana or b) the beautiful Mahlia?! The first is a serious oversight; the second can be remedied next week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Entering the arena

Feeling a little like a lamb about to lie down with lions, I am preparing to follow through on my inclination to run for local council this September.

Those who know me have been universally supportive and encouraging, though I'm sure more than a few are wondering if I know what I'm letting myself in for. The short answer is; I don't, not really, but I'm keen to find out. Over the last week or so, I've spoken to several councillors and former councillors, seeking insight and advice.

The key piece of advice so far has been to attend current council meetings, to familiarise myself with the process, decide if it is for me, and assess and meet other councillors...with a view to future alliances, amongst other things. The thought of the electioneering and politics to come is more than a little daunting, yet at the same time, the idea of helping to break the ground and encourage more women to participate in the process is really motivating. The 3 women currently on our local council are widely respected, as caring and functional members of council, and are actively promoting the need for more women in all levels of government. Talking with two of them has been illuminating and inspiring, and I hope that I can continue to learn from them throughout the process. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I had a chance but I am just beginning to understand the depths of my ignorance and, if nothing else, will learn an incredible amount through the next 6 months.

There are going to be many conflicting demands on my time. My little man is always my number one priority, but I hope the compromises I will be making over the next few months will be worth the lessons I can teach him, about going after something meaningful regardless of the result, and living the truth of your values.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You can tell I'm home alone...

...playing on the Internet...wheeeeee!

Do you talk too much in your blog?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

PS. Funny, I didn't think my posts were particularly long. Especially not recently. But it's not the first time I've been accused of talking too much...and it won't be the last!

But I don't even drink coffee...

Whoops!...looks like I better cut back on the green tea?! (or maybe it was all the glasses of red wine I had last night...thanks, Hell's Bell's *smirk* )

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
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Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

Happy Easter! The only thing I have done with my camera this week is record a couple of Easter memories (must have been too busy munching on chocolates...noooo) - enjoy...

(Remember to hop on over to Lotus' place (Sarcastic Mom) to see more blogging bunnies.)

Look...he came! (Our lovely landlords spiced up the routine egg-collection on Thursday - so sweet of them.)

Sharing the Easter joy

All mine!

Easter (at least, we will be after all this chocolate!)

Oh, dear - no pictures of the gorgeous Mahlia. Trust me...she's still gorgeous.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy birthday, Dad

This photo was taken exactly ten years ago this Easter. Sixteen months later, he was dead. Today was his 62nd birthday.

On so many days, in so many ways, I miss him.

Not least when I look at the wee man, who was named for him, and whose uncompromising character and steel-trap mind daily remind me of the grandfather he'll never meet. Except in dreams - the wee man tells me stories about him sometimes, and I'm inclined to believe him.

They would have been good together - it shits me that I can only imagine it.

I love you, and I miss you. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blog No Evil

My best friend had no experience of blogs and blogging until recently, when she began to drop in here (Hi, Hell's Bells *waving & grinning* ). She saw this in our local paper and clipped it for me, knowing I'd love it (it's now stuck up on my monitor).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

This week, I wanted to explore the idea that "all that glitters is not gold". Here in my sub-tropical part of the world, the golden light and saturated colours are a photographer's dream. That, plus I have my own little golden boy who lights up my world and my lens. Put them together with the lovely Mahlia (kitten), and you have this week's Weekly Winners.

(Remember - if you like what you see, rock on over to Lotus' place (Sarcastic Mom), and tell her I sent you. She's got a whole lot of fine folks parading their favourite happy snaps through this great meme every Sunday. Push the button and have a look.)

Local beauties (right next door)

Something about arches

A single hoya flower

So cheeky we should bottle it...!

Staghorn I

Staghorn II

Spun gold

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

Yesterday evening...

And finally, this one won't win any photography awards - just file under: "Awwww...all tuckered out...aren't they cute?"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reclaiming my breasts

I've only just regained sovereignty over my breasts. These days, they are mine alone and lead happily chaste lives, gently rounding out my shirts.

I breastfed the wee man until just before Christmas last year. No other aspect of my parenting has been so conflicted for me.

Breastfeeding has been: a source of great pride and sense of achievement, a physical expression of love; a miracle of nature that endlessly fascinated me; and an incredible frustration, with a fair dose of physical pain and discomfort, plus a trigger for relationship conflict thrown in for good measure.

Every choice I made in relation to feeding the wee man was instinctive. I read lots of books when I was pregnant (as I do) and spoke to various friends and family. I knew that breast-feeding made sense to me, in the way that groggily trying to measure out formula in the heart of the night did not. I knew that my ability to breastfeed was in no way certain. Lots of women had shared their stories of breast-feeding failure, with all the good intentions in the world.

Maybe it was then that my subconscious whispered to me, “Not me. I'm doing it – and I don't care who tells me otherwise.” Because somehow, through poor attachment and bleeding nipples and mastitis and 2 hour feedings repeated every 2 hours and jealous insecure husband and early teething and regular biting and being woken nightly every 1 ½ hours (at the worst), somehow, I clung to the idea that I was doing the right thing, and it all made sense.

After the haze and pain of the first six weeks of the wee man's life had passed, we settled into some sort of routine. Or rather, we settled into the certainty of a regular change in his routine based on his changing feeding needs. By the three month mark, I had cracked it – I realised that to survive with some semblance of sanity, I had to lose any inflexibility I had, any preconceptions I had, and just roll with whatever happened. My breasts were clearly not my own – they had a crucial role in my little man's life, and they and my body also told me in no uncertain terms that the Big Feller should re-consider any thoughts of claiming them.

Which was a bit of a problem – for him. (Personally, and generalising, I find men's fixations with particular parts of women's anatomy faintly amusing and a little pathetic. I mean, we rarely talk about another woman as being “a bit of a shoulders girl” or “an arse woman”, do we?) The Big Feller had long been under the (mistaken) impression that my breasts were “his”. After the early fascination and pride at the incredible creation of nature which was our son, he began to exhibit all the classic signs of jealousy I had read about in countless books and website forums. And you know what? I was too tired to give a damn. I was not tap-dancing around his bruised ego. I was barely maintaining my grip on my own fragile sense of self.

In some vague fashion, I had the general idea that the wee man and I would have this breastfeeding relationship for a year or two, until his interest in solid foods superseded his interest in my booby milk. His early indifference to food should have given me a clue to the future – I used to joke half-heartedly that food was only a hobby for him, when 12 months went by with only a token effort at gnawing on interesting food stuffs. (After all, he certainly had the teeth for the whole business – first ones through at 3 months, and the full set of gnashers in place by 14 months. Ask my nipples – they are intimately acquainted.)

Yet the wee man had different ideas, and our breastfeeding relationship continued right up until this Christmas, when he was over 3 ½ years old. At about 2 ½ years, I began to have the first nigglings of discontent. Apart from the mystical image of a complete night's sleep, I was coming to realise how limiting was his dependence on the nightly booby fix to get to sleep; having him rip up my top in the shopping centre or in the midst of a conversation with friends was occasionally challenging. I began to realise too that I would like to reclaim the rights to my own body, which had become the prize in what amounted to a tug-of-love, with no-one else acknowledging my prior claim.

And yet – I was determined to continue until the wee man was ready. Without making a conscious choice, or even being aware that there was a name for it, I had found myself practising a style of parenting called Attachment Parenting, driven by choices which seemed instinctive to me. Co-sleeping seemed a natural evolution of the breastfeeding relationship, and allowed me many precious extra hours sleep; feeding on demand made sense with the incredible diversity of needs of my growing baby. Comforting and carrying close instead of allowing him to cry-it-out spoke to my own heart. Continuing the breastfeeding until he had no more need of it was simply an extension of these practices.

So it was with considerable relief that, after reducing our frequency of feeds down to bedtime and waking after he started preschool last year, we finally said goodbye to “teta” at my mum's on Christmas Eve – spontaneously. And just like that, Dad could finally put him to bed, and I could do other things with the evenings and the mornings. And within the same transition, he was ready to move into his own bed. No tears, no fears, no regression.

Have I given you the impression I didn't like breastfeeding? On the contrary, I loved it. So many incredible moments of contemplative joy, gazing at the face of my precious little man; so many shared glances, private moments, milk-filled smiles; opportunities to relax and enjoy the sight, the smell, the weight of him; to rest together instead of feeling compelled by every little thing that needed doing. The victorious thrill that my body, my breasts, were able to do it, to sustain and nourish my boy, to nurture and inoculate him against the big bad world. “My best science experiment ever”, I used to croon, as I watched him suck greedily, mother's milk performing the amazing alchemy which makes it whatever your child needs in the moment: food, drink, potent anti-bacterial, immune-booster, soporific, euphoric.

Am I glad to have my breasts back? Yes – though they will never be the same shape and texture they once were, they have done great things. I am happy to have regained the rights to my own body, and a measure of personal privacy that has been missing for some time.

Would I make the same choices, if I could do it all again? Absolutely.

(This post is my contribution to Sarcastic Mom's (Breast)feeding Carnival today. The girl is a powerhouse of blogging initiative and mutual support, with a wicked tongue and a heart as big as her rack *chuckle*, starting personal online campaigns to promote green living practices and positive choices for parents. Click on over and read all about it.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm still a fresh young thing at heart...

Thanks, Chuck, for leading me to this piece of blogger fluff. I was beginning to feel a bit old and serious recently...this reminds me it's probably only temporary. ;)

You Act Like You Are 29 Years Old

You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.

You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.

The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

This week's theme, for me and most of my photos, is "Looking up". The weather is beautiful right now, my little man and I are bumbling along happily together, and I am not going to let the inevitable hiccups and frustrations of our new family dynamics get the better of me.

For the uninitiated, this is a photo meme begun by the ever-sparkling Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus). You can take a photographic journey around the world - just click the Weekly Winners button below to visit some more great bloggers and their worlds.

Hoya (wax flower)

Leaf lines

A long road to the top...

Almost good enough to eat

I heart papaya

Light in the darkness (Papaya flower)

More like Spring than Autumn

Eight-legged jewel

And, because no collection of my photos seems to be complete with some of my two rascals, here they are:


The comfy way to watch ABC Kids

The girl's got style...

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