Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The quiet revolution in my mind

I keep hesitating to write anything because finding the right words to avoid misunderstanding feels toooo hard, but I have decide to try anyway. I actually KNOW this will be misunderstood as I initially wrote something along these lines it in response to a fb friends post and got a vitriolic diatribe response from an offended femenist. When I responded I also considered myself a femenist it seemed to appease her somewhat???!!!

A bit  more context, I am starting to explore ideas around the roles we take, our gender identity, the choices the system or society approves of and makes easy and those that it doesn't. I think I am headed towards the view that feminism, whilst a start, with lots of great outcomes (would I be writing this or thinking these things without it?) perhaps has also led both men and women further into a conformist trap!! Why did feminism unthinkingly adopt the values of paternalist capatilist society as the standard for "equality"? Why should women measure their equality on the degree to which they too can enslave themselves to 40+ hour corporate weeks?? I think a more fundamental revolution is needed for the health and sanity of both men and women and more importantly the children, boys and girls who follow in our footsteps. We tie ourselves to morgages, finacial security and so to workaholism. At the detriment of finding atruer security in our relationships, community and self.

Now we all need to eat, and kids need clothes, shelter, school tec, and all these things increasingly seem to cost so much. But that is where the really revolutionary thinking needs to start - sharing, networks, patience, and stepping back from assumed "needs" and asking - who said so? Ideas anyone??!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I am so pleased with my sustainable efforts this week I just have to list them for prosterity. Spring has sprung and I am trying to do a better job on the garden. M is really into it (well, into watering plants, finding worms, playing make believe ticket seller with weedy leaves, getting rides in the wheelbarrow and digging with the BIG fork), so it is a much more workable prospect than last season. I have found myself down there digging in every spare moment and really enjoying it. The first seeds have been sown and a few of them are miraculously germinating - perhaps the slater bugs have been drowned by all the rain? It is higgledy piggledy at the moment as I just put them in randomly when I de-weed a new section.

I have tried planting the "Three Sisters" (corn-beans-squash companion planting) again and although the corn has germinated this year, the beans are growing much faster so I decided a trellis was needed. I didn't want to fork out $ (I do love a Bunnings trip, but feel so unwholesome afterwards!), so I decided to check on freecycle - http://www.freecycle.org.au/  -  and see if anyone's trash could become my treasure. No-one had a trellis to offer but many had old screen doors!

I have ended up with 4 great tall trellises (two bed bases and two screen doors) costing nothing. Plus the thrill of the scavanger hunt as I road tripped around town and hauled them to the garden in our little Lancer's boot. I have to admit the plot does perhaps look a little like an emerging slum now - but I think a true slum resident would be impressed with my recycling and inginutity on this one! They will look great with lots of beans climbing them and I might look for some bright bird scaring device to pretty things up a bit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three in a Bed - a book that changed my world

I wrote this book review for the local ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) bulletin, and thought I would put it up here. This journey called motherhood I am on has had many watershed moments and 'daring' to co-sleep was one of them. Not that it hasn't involved plenty of adjustments (learning to sleep better on my side and not wriggle around as I drift off; husband in seperate bed, then beds on the floor, now two matruses side by side so we can all be in together), or that I don't have good and bad nights still - but almost as soon as I accepted M in my bed all night I felt human again during the days. I am able to be a more patient mum both night and day. ... I could rave on, not just about the practical benefits, but my friends probably hear enough of it anyway! Let's just start on the book review:

Three in a Bed: the benefits of sleeping with your baby. By Deborah Jackson.

This refreshing and unapologetic title grabbed my attention. Since my son arrived and tumbled my husband and I head first into the world of parenting a wakeful baby, I began bleary eyed searching for a book that would legitimise what my instincts, and (what was left of) my logical brain, were crying out: surely there had to be a sensible way for everyone to get the rest they need without all of us wailing and crying through the night.

"Three in a Bed" unashamedly advocates what is, in out society, a less trodden (or at least, less admitted) path – co-sleeping with your children. On the practical benefits and practicalities of co-sleeping with our babies, Jackson provides a myriad of practical advice, well researched and with plenty of helpful personal examples. However, perhaps its most compelling and interesting argument for co-sleeping is simply putting it in cultural and historical context.

Jackson documents examples of many different sleeping arrangements used in different cultures – revealing there is no one right way of co-sleeping with your baby; it is as individual as each family unit. Neither, her examples show, is it just something tribal cultures do. Jackson challenges us to look past the revering of “traditional” indigenous groups as somehow having the monopoly on instinct and to begin to listen again to our own.

I found particularly interesting the history Jackson provides of the move towards sleeping children in cots. Preparing a cot and nursery for a new baby today is not only so common it is rarely questioned, but has become an integral and endeared part of the ritual new parents go through as they begin to adjust their lives and express their love for their unborn child. If you choose to co-sleep, it can actually be something of a loss to not have a nursery to lovingly prepare! However, the shift from babies sharing the parents' bed to sleeping separately in a cot began, Jackson documents, with Victorian nurses' and midwives' (misplaced) concern with hygiene, and the rise of medical interest in childbirth and child development that shifted the domain of childrearing wisdom from mothers to doctors.

More recently, alarm over the risk of SIDS led to public health campaigns warning against the dangers of co-sleeping. This is a sensitive subject and Jackson has the respect to do something perhaps health authorities – in well meaning fear no doubt – may have been afraid to do – provide people with all the relevant information needed to make an informed decision themselves.

Jackson provides a review of the evidence on safe sleeping with babies. She clearly lays out the (surprisingly preliminary) evidence that led to the strong push against co-sleeping, as well as much evidence as to how co-sleeping may actually have many benefits for a baby's growth and development and if done sensibly, be safer than having your baby sleep alone. It was this enlightening chapter in the main, that compelled me to review the book here. I would hate to think that, for fear, we may be curtailing further discussion and research into safe sleeping for our babies, and in the process losing the health and practical benefits co-sleeping can provide.

Of the bookshelf full of books on babies' sleep I have this is my #1. I'd recommend it to all mothers-to-be (and mothers-already-are) – if for no other reason than to say you don't have to be afraid to consider co-sleeping.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

early bird

This morning for the first time I managed to get in to work for an "early shift". Horray!

The grand plan C and I have to enable me to get my Masters finished but put off childcare for M for a little while, is for me to go in for a couple of hours several mornings a week, a half day Wednesday when C can take M (which he makes up one evening) and Saturdays as needed to get some momentum going.

Well, only half of me believes it sounds sustainable as I write it - especially given my documented love of sleep-ins - but damn it, we're going to try!

So that is why I am so please with myself for getting out of bed and in by 7 today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

a day in the life of

 My sister in law has a blog I enjoy reading and she just wrote a "Day in the life of post" such a good idea I am going to steal it. So much changes so fast with M I think a snap shot day is something I will love to look back on, and hopefully others will find it curious and interesting too.

4.45 M wakes up "Ma up" he says. I try to convince him to go back to sleep. He gets cranky. 5.10 Dad agrees "Dad up" and so the light goes on. C has a shower while M potters around the bed room, pops in on dad to see how the shower is going "Da ower". M and I read a book while he has a feed, then C finishes his morning absolution and comes in to convince M to leave mum to have a snooze in peace (ah, the bed all to myself for 40 blissful minutes!).

The boys have breaky and play, then I wake from my doze to a cross little "mum mum mum" and C convincing M that he needs his dirty nappy changed and to get dressed if he wants to go outside and before he has a feed (some days C has to work hard for my treasured sleep in!). I get up and shower and hide for a bit in the bed room till the yelling has stopped so M doesn't think that is what has got him what he wants. We have a nice cuddle and feed while C gets ready and heads out to his Thursday early morning work-out with his exercise buddies.

M wants us to go outside and mum eating breaky inside with the door open wont cut it so I take my weet-bix out with him and we play with the basketball. I look at the clock and it is only 7.15 and I think I want to get out and doing something that will entertain me as well as M so decide to do the shopping. I write my list while M plays, then get to packing the bags and remember C has taken the car this morning. So I reverse my plans and take M to the pool for and early swim instead.

We have lots of fun, but there are no other kids there that early, so we just entertain ourselves. M is getting more confident in the water and enjoys having a go at kicking, and blowing bubbles, though more often having a sneaky sip of the deliciously chlorinated cocktail.

9am and after a yawn from M I suggest we get out. No dramas today, we happily shower, change our clothes and walk home (enjoying commenting on the trees with no leaves, pressing buttons and waiting for the "eeeen man" at the pedestrian crossing on our walk home). We get home, too late to rendezvous with C and I realise I have not taken the house key, or the car key, so can't look for the spare house key I was hoping was in the car!... So, a bus trip to C's work to get the house keys in the next impromptu activity on today. Luckily I have 5 dollars in my wallet so can get a bus ticket!

M is perfectly happy to get the bus, an adventure every time. We find C in his office, grab the keys, peel M away from the "poo-ter" (computer), and head back to the bus stop. It is about 10.30 and I think M is probably hungry and so am I so we stop for a coffee, baby-chino and muffin before hopping on the bus. M feeds and falls asleep half way home and I gingerly carry him off the bus and home to bed. He wakes up just as his head hits the pillow and I feed him back to sleep.

A friend unexpectedly rings and says she is in the area, so she pops around for a tea and a chat. She is around to offer to baby-sit M for a couple of hours over the next couple of weeks. Fantastic! I am starting back at study so this is a very welcome and timely offer and M always enjoys playing with her so I am excited for him too.

M wakes happy and we have a little play before our friend has to go. As we are waving her off we hear the garbage truck so we hang around and watch it empty the bins all along our street. Very exciting! We then get our shopping list and head out to complete our aborted morning mission.

Uneventful grocery shopping. M wants strawberries when he spots them at the fruit and veg shop. I comply happily, hoping that means he will eat them and he proceeds to demolish two giant fruit on the way home (I long ago abandoned any pretence at keeping his clothes or car seat food free!) M asks for a play in the car, so he pretends to drive for a little while while I take the shopping inside. I then sit briefly in the passenger seat to join in on the game and convince him to come inside while I make lunch.

M amuses himself while I get dinner on and cook him some pasta and tuna for lunch. He sits up eating and talking to himself happily for an age while I wash all the dishes and put on a load of washing! It's a good day!!

I think we should get out of the house for a bit so we walk to the oval at the end of the street with M's new golf clubs from Nanna and Poppa. He is a bit out of sorts (cold? hungry? tired?) and gets easily frustrated trying to hit the ball, and doubles over wailing when his tennis ball gets a speck of grass on it??? I wrack my brains and try to get inventive with a game of step over the golf clubs - it gets the reception it deserves, so we head over to walk up and run down the steep side of the oval over and over instead. It is as big a hit as it was last time, plus we discover and ant hole which we have to look at and talk about for ages and keep coming back to find.

We walk home (well, I do, M gets a lift) and put some music on while M plays with his lego cars and I fold the washing. C comes home to the most organised house in a long time and sets the table with M. We eat our lentil soup and chat about our days. M seems to enjoy the soup (success!) but is keen to go outside with Dad. Despite the dark, Dad can't resist a play so they head out for a bit of basketball and to feed that cat while I do the dishes.

When they come inside M asks to eat cream, so we dish up strawberries and cream. C manages to convince M to eat some of the fruit (as opposed to just drinking the cream) by making a game of sharing "one for me, one for you" as M picks out pieces and hands them around. C and M have a bath together, then it is bed time. We snuggle in for our usual routine of C reading (it's "Byamul the black swan" at the moment) while I feed M. He drops off just as the story ends.

C and I turn on the TV and have a hot chocolate while we watch the 7.30 report election latest. Nothing else looks worth it so we turn off the box and that is why this blog is getting a look in, the first time in 6 months!

If I do another day in the life of, I had better be more succinct I think or they could get a bit repetitive if all my spare moments are filled with documenting!

P.s. nothing sustainable happened today, except when my friend popped around I gave her a milk container of worm wee for her garden.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Looking for inspiration

After a few meltdown moments (well I have been doing this motherhood thing pretty constantly night and day for over a year now... pause for gasps and applause ;-) C has been putting in overtime at home to give me a few extra breaks. Strangely, I've found myself scratching my head with what to do with them as I have now morphed so solidly into mothermode I have forgotten what else I do!

I decided to give this sustainability urge a bit more attention and combined my favorite relaxes in one - book shopping, coffee drinking and reading. I hunted down the book The Mud House by Richard Glover. It's his memoir of the dream holiday house he and his mate built with almost no money and no skills... just the thing to inspire C and me.

Great, fun book. But as for mud brick house building, that dream will have to stay in the pipe line a while longer as we don't just have almost no money, we have no money (could it be all the book buying and coffee drinking?!).

Another way to look at that though, is more time for skill developing, plotting and planning. So, still on the quest for inspiration, I did a bit of a google (much cheaper than books and coffee; I am more sustainable already!). Here are a few great blogs I came across which have really got me thinking...
www.greenrenters.org : lots of great creative ideas for green living
http://myyearwithoutspending.blogspot.com : introduced me to "The Compact"
http://sfcompact.blog "The Compact" site.

Hmmm..committing to a year without buying anything new! Awesome idea... for now I am contemplating... could I do it? just what would it mean giving up?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stuffed sqash not so stuffy

Well, I tried S.A's stuffed squash recipe. Turned out ok. Just as well I had loads of MEGA squash though because I had to stuff three of them to use up the stuffing the recipe made. We ate one the first night and were a bit disappointed, not too tasty. But seems a stuffed squash ages well, cos the next nights' was deelish. It was also a white squash, whilst the first had been yellow. Not sure if that was the key, or if we had more of the yummy yoghurt sauce with the second. Verdict - I'd cook them again, but not as a regular thing.