Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Meme

OK, so I am finally getting around to doing Isil's meme.

First, here are 'The Rules':

1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share 6 non-important things/quirks about your kid
4. Tag at least three people at the end of your post and link to their blogs
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the fun begin!

1. Lily seems to love any food if it is green - beans, kiwi fruit, broccoli, avocado (oh, especially avocado!) etc... It amazes me (and makes me happy) because I was SUCH a fussy eater as a child.

2. Lily has been learning quite a few words and concepts in the past couple of weeks. One of my favourites is "Moo" (which she pronounces "Mmmm"). She says this whenever she sees a cow (either in her books, on her animal flashcards, or one of her wooden cows). It is SO cute.

3. Lily has always loved the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Now whenever we say "star" or whenever she sees one, she will do the actions (hold up her little hands and open and shut them). However, we have a book in which a doll (Tilly Tinkler) can make a little puddle and when we read the words "Tinkle Tinkle", Lily will also do her star action.

4. Lily sleeps in a hammock during the day (and with us at night). She is getting a little big for it, but I am dreading trying to transfer her into anywhere else for her naps because she settles so easily in her hammock - she can even bounce herself back to sleep.

5. When it has been wet (or it is a humid day) Lily's hair gets really curly and she gets a little curl right in the middle of her forehead (just like in the old rhyme).

6. She loves the music that plays in the commercials for "So you think you can dance". She stops dead in her tracks, turns towards the television and dances. I love toddler dancing!

OK, so now I must tag three people: ummm... Blue Milk, Autumn and Ariel.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Still here... just

I want to:
  • pass on Half Pint Pixie's Excellent Blog Award;
  • do Isil's meme;
  • finally tell you about our amber teething necklaces that we won from Isil and the gorgeous frog toy that she sent us when she thought that they would never arrive here in Australia; and
  • tell you about P and my third wedding anniversary, and the fact that he is away and that Lily searches for him every evening, and that my Mum is visiting...
But P is away and my Mum is visiting and Lily isn't sleeping well, and, well, I am just too busy and tired to find the time to blog properly.

However, I will do all of the above soon - or at least some of it.

I hope that you are all well!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Separation anxiety

I'm sitting in Sydney airport, waiting to board a long flight to somewhere I'd rather not be.

It's not anything about the place. I love the city I'm heading to. I just don't want to go there right now.

This afternoon I left home in a taxi craning my neck to catch that last glimpse of my family. I've never been away from 3rd Pea for more than about 10 hours in a row - and never over night.

Today I left and I won't see either 3rd Pea or C for a whole week.

I feel like I've had my stomach ripped out - like the majority of me is missing and I'm floating free.

I knew the first time would be bad, but this is utterly horrible. The only thing I want to do right now is catch the first available form of transportation home and curl up in bed with my beautiful girls.

It's not to be, though. Instead I'll be cooped up in a steel cylinder hurtling through the atmosphere and spewing emissions at a rate of knots. It's bound to be a pleasant night!

I called home earlier and C said that 3rd Pea hadn't really cottoned on to the fact that I had left for longer than I normally leave the house for. I just know she's going to wake up in the morning and realise that something has changed. I hate thinking that.

Still, it's only a week, right.

When 3rd Pea was first getting mobile C and I were at a local cafe and she (3rd Pea , not C) took a fancy to a guy who turned out to be Colombian. We got to chatting and it transpired that he had been in Australia for several years and hadn't seen his two children in all that time. Not sure what the back story was, but it seems that he and his partner were separated and that flying home on a regular basis (or any basis at all) was a difficult proposition.

Tonight, sitting here and wishing I was heading south and not north I take comfort in knowing that I'll be home in 7 days and not 7 years.

Sleep well sweet Pea, papa loves you.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

11 months

Dear Lily

Today your turned 11 months old. Do you know that you are almost one!

This month you suddenly turned into a little girl before our eyes. I can still see my baby when you are sleeping, but during the day your features have gotten all grown up. I can't believe that this has happened so soon.

This month you also figured out how to walk. You have been practicing now for around 3 and a half weeks and you are getting pretty good. Papa and I started clapping you whenever you took a few steps and you have really taken this on board. The thing is that I think that we confused you by clapping once you had already landed on your knees and now you give yourself a clap every time you fall over. It is quite good though - it seems to distract you from feeling outraged by your tumbles. Instead you tend to give yourself a clap and then walk along for a bit on your knees waving your hands in the air. It is very funny.

This month you also started GymBaroo, which you love. I am so impressed by how brave you are - you seem to be willing to tackle almost any obstacle. You charge through the tunnels, up and down the ramps and bounce yourself on the trampoline - grinning from ear to ear the whole time.

"Circle time" is a little more of a challenge. The theory is that we are supposed to sit around in a circle and sing songs etc. You, however, are quite determined to keep exploring and to make friends with everyone that is there - meaning that I spend the whole time chasing you rather than singing. You are also not particularly impressed when an activity is over and the 'props' are taken away from you and will spend a lot of energy attempting to get them back again.

Your favourite toys at the moment are your wooden animals, your doll (which you drag around everywhere), your Fisher Price castle (which dates from when my brother and I were your age) and books. You will spent hours in front of the book shelf handing me one after the other to read, and you get quite stroppy if I don't read them immediately. You are particularly fond of "Uno's Garden", "Where is the Green Sheep", "The Story of Growl", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", "We're going on a bear hunt", "Rainbow Rob" and any book with pictures of children.

You have also decided that you love the bath - after being fairly ambivalent about it for some time. Bath is papa time and you now spend a long time in there playing with your toys and washing your face (and papa's) with a wash cloth.

While your personality has always been strong, it is really starting to shine now that you are so independently mobile and good at communicating with us. You are extremely curious and adventurous - so keen to discover more about the world and to explore every corner that you can. You are also extremely social - you love meeting new people and will often climb on the laps of strangers just to say 'hi' and check them out a little more carefully. You have a fantastic sense of humour. You love to play the clown and will even laugh at yourself when you fall down in amusing positions. And, most of all, you are the most affectionate and loving little person that I know. You are always charging over to give me snuggles and to plant wet kisses on my face and you will often place your arm around my neck at night and nestle your face into mine. You also snuggle with your doll and teddies and we even found you literally hugging a Eucalyptus tree at the pool one day (and kissing it!). I guess people can legitimately call you a tree hugger now.

Happy Valentine's Day my gorgeous girl. I love you so much.


Saturday, 9 February 2008

The sick family

Lily must have picked something up from some other baba she shared toys with some time in the last week. She's come down with quite the cold - runny nose, snuffly sinuses and the works. She's miserable.

Me too. I've got whatever it is too. Same symptoms - we're like a couple of snotty twins.

Poor C. She's got two babies to look after.

Well, she did, until this morning. Now she's got the evil* cold and we're all in the same boat.

Any one want to come over and make us vegie soup and fill up hot water bottles?

*I say "evil" cold, because it is clear that colds were invented by the terrorists to plague the West (they hate us because we're free, remember). Well, we won't let them beat us. They can make our noses snotty and our heads ache, but we have god (well, our god anyway) on our side and we know we are right. No cold shall hold us back.

I think I need a hot lemon ginger... and a mental enema.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Extended breastfeeding

I was just reading this post by Corin at The Human Pacifier (as recommended by Half Pint Pixie) and it made me think about the world that Lily and I are about to enter. You see, she will be 11 months old next week and many of the women in my mother's group are starting to wean their babies. It seems that while breastfeeding is widely accepted and adopted here in Australia, 12 months or so is seen as a good age to wean.

Now, to be fair, there are many reasons for this even just within the context of my mother's group. Many of the women are going back to work and don't want to pump milk all day. A number of others are pregnant and think that their milk supply is reducing (and may just want a bit of their bodies back before giving birth again). Others have found breastfeeding a difficult and exhausting chore right from the start and are keen to see the end of it. Still others had medical reasons for weaning months ago meaning that the option of extended breastfeeding is no longer available.

I want to be clear that I am not criticising any of these choices. I know that all of these women are loving and dedicated mothers and the last thing that women need is people who haven't walked in their shoes peering over their shoulders and criticising the extremely difficult job that they do. However, I have started to realise that for all of the above reasons my commitment to keep feeding Lily well into her toddler years is going to start seeming stranger and stranger to those around me - and, well, I guess I just wish that this wasn't the case.

I wish that women received more support to breastfeed - that there wasn't so much pressure to go back to work after 12 months, that medical issues and difficulties with breastfeeding were better supported, and that more information was provided to the wider community on the benefits of breastfeeding past the first year. I wish this last point because when I tell people that I want Lily to self-wean and that I hope that she breastfeeds until she is 3 or 4 many of them look at me with utter confusion. It seems as though many people genuinely believe that it is only babies that ought to be breastfed and that there is something incredibly weird or unnecessary about breastfeeding a toddler.

The other difficulty that I face is that I feel a little tongue-tied on the subject. I feel reluctant to list the benefits (both nutritional and developmental) of extended breastfeeding, because I feel as though it may be interpreted as a criticism or judgement against those women who are not planning to also breastfeed their toddlers. I honestly believe that mothers do an incredibly challenging and often thankless job (in terms of wider society, not their little ones) and I abhor the fact that so many people seem to think that they have a right to judge and second-guess the way that they perform this 'job'. At the same time, it concerns me that some women may be weaning their babies or leaving them to cry-it-out or forcing them to be 'independent' because they do not have access to the research and information about the nutritional and development benefits of extended breastfeeding (or, indeed, the psychological damage practices like cry-it-out etc can cause).

I guess I am just saying that I have just realised that I am now entering another phase in my life where something that I am committed to doing is going to make be not just an object of curiosity, but also is going to provoke defensiveness amongst people if I am at all honest about why I am doing it. Like veganism, co-sleeping, or attachment parenting, it is hard to explain why I chose to practice extended breastfeeding without touching on what concerns me about weaning (or eating meat, or being non-responsive to your babies cries). I just wish that I knew the best way to be honest about my choices in a way that might inspire people, without leaving them feeling defensive or judged.

What is the vegan chocolate cake equivalent to extended breastfeeding?

Vegan Apple & Blackberry Pie

A couple of lovely new friends invited us over to brunch the other weekend and so we decided to make a fruit pie to take along with us.

That morning at the Farmers Markets we picked up a punnet of lovely fresh blackberries and so we thought that it would be fun to bake a blackberry pie. We also had a few apples in the fridge and so we threw them in (along with a pear that we thought would add a nice sweetness to the mix).

The result was delicious. The apricot pie might still be my favourite, but really I'd put them neck and neck. The apples and pear were all warm and cinnamon-y, while the blackberries just exploded in your mouth with their tart sweetness. mmmm

One punnet of blackberries
3 small apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
1 pear (cored and chopped)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 cup of almond meal (or LSA)

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cold water

Essentially just make the pastry and roll it flat. Then line a pie dish and dry bake it for about 10 minutes on 200-220 C.

Then mix the apple and pear with the dry ingredients and place them in the baked pastry. Cover with blackberries and then make a lid with the remaining pastry - or chop it up into strips in order to make a thatched lid.

Bake for another 35-40 minutes on 200-220C (or until golden brown on top).

Here's a picture of the inside before we baked it:

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Animal Biscuits (cookies)

It was our nephew's second birthday the other weekend and so I decided to try out my animal cookie cutters and my new icing piper.

The result was fun and yummy, but next time I think that I will use a few more colours - maybe some yellows or greens would have brightened up the over-all effect a little...

The biscuits (or cookies if you live in North America) are just a simple sugar biscuit recipe - with flour, canola oil, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and water. I liked the flavour of them though - not to sweet, but still quite more-ish.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Friday night pizza

Over the last few weeks P and I have decided that Friday night will be pizza night. This started on the same day that we realised how easy it was to make our own pizza dough.

Since then we have been experimenting with toppings and I thought that I would share a few of them with you.

Tomato paste, fresh basil, rosemary roast pumpkin, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and fresh tomatoes.

Tomato paste, fresh basil and baby spinach, green olive tapenade, marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, kalamata olives and fresh tomatoes.

Tomato paste, fresh basil, mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and fresh tomatoes.

Yes, yes, I know that I ought to be more inventive, but when you like something...

Last weekend we did one with grilled eggplant, roast pumpkin, sweet potato & pumpkin, and most of the usual suspects, but I didn't get around to taking a picture.

Maybe this week I will be a little more radical.


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