Monday, 27 December 2010

Sometimes waiting pays off.

Back in October Maya saw an ear specialist, due to constant ear infections and glue ear, who recommended that she have grommets (you can read that post here).  I decided to take a wait and see approach but wondered if I was doing the right thing. Perhaps she would find relief with the grommets and my wait and see approach was delaying this?

I decided to see a second specialist, whom we saw at the start of December, and by then her left ear had cleared. He wanted Maya to have some hearing tests before he would decide any course of action.  The hearing tests were a few days later and by then her right ear had also cleared.  The tests revealed that her hearing was normal, so there was no longer any need for grommets.

The plan now is for Maya to have regular hearing tests throughout 2011 to make sure her hearing remains OK.  And I hope 2011 is a better year for us in terms of illnesses.  I hope her immune system is now more capable of dealing with the onslaught of illnesses from child care and we don't see a repeat of the constant illnesses we had this year.

On the path to recovery.

My mother was released from hospital about a week ago, which was much sooner than I expected, but she was happy to go home.  She is still very weak and recovery is slow.  She has lost a lot of weight and struggles with minor activities like taking a shower.  It is hard to see her so weak and so ill.  And there's still a long way to go.  But I really hope she's finally on the path to recovery and can return to a normal life soon.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas 2010.

This year we bought our first Christmas tree and Maya loved the lights and decorations.  At child care Maya made a beautiful decoration for the tree as well as a Christmas themed calender for 2011.

We spent Christmas Eve with Greg's family and stayed overnight to spend Christmas day with our extended family. Maya enjoyed opening her presents but most of all she loved spending time with her extended family, especially her cousins.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The meaning of Christmas.

Now that Christmas is fast approaching I find myself thinking about Christmas and what it means to me and what I want it to mean to Maya.  I want Christmas to be about spending time with family and about giving rather than receiving.

I suddenly find myself wanting to purchase a Christmas tree for the family to decorate, whereas I previously had no such urge.  I also find myself wanting to buy Maya gifts, whereas the previous two Christmases I wrapped things she already had.  I didn't see the point of buying presents specifically to give her on Christmas day.  Her first Christmas she was three months old and had no clue what was going on.  The second Christmas she was fifteen months old and more interested in the people around her than opening gifts.  This will be the first Christmas, at the age of twenty seven months, that she will enjoy opening gifts.

And now here comes a doozie... I actually don't want to have a "Santa" at Christmas time.  It's not that I object to Santa (although I do feel that he is commercialised) and if other people want to introduce him to their children that's great.  I just don't think Santa is necessary for instilling the Christmas spirit.  And perhaps he even takes away from the Christmas spirit by placing a focus on receiving gifts rather than spending time with family.  I think children would be just as happy receiving gifts from their parents.

However, not having Santa brings about a dilemma.  Practically everyone else tells their children about Santa and if Maya doesn't believe how will this effect her and others.  I imagine I won't be too popular with parents if Maya reveals to their children "but Santa isn't real".  Also everyone will assume Maya believes in Santa and she will be bombarded with "What did Santa bring you?" and "Are you excited about Santa coming?".

I feel peer pressured to introduce Maya to Santa because everyone else does it.  One thought Greg and I came up with is to tell her that Santa brings gifts to other children but we wanted to give her gifts from us.  However, this might cause problems for Maya - why doesn't Santa bring her gifts?
 
I guess I'd like to create (with Greg and Maya of course) our own family Christmas traditions.  But what does one do when the majority of the population around you follow traditions that you don't want as part of your own traditions?

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Honestly it wasn't me!

Whenever Maya hears a noise that sounds remotely like flatulence she will scream at the top of her voice "Mummy farted!  Mummy farted!"

Which is particularly embarrassing when you are out shopping with said two year old and her stroller scrapes against something and makes a noise and this said two year old then starts screaming for all to hear "Mummy farted!  Mummy farted!" :-/

Friday, 17 December 2010

What's that?

Maya has reached a stage where she is interested to know what everything (and everyone) is called.  It's great that she is interested in the world around her and what things are.  But honestly it is driving me a bit crazy when all I hear all day long is "What's that?  What's that?  What's that?"

And what's frustrating is that some of the things she asks me about, she already knows what they are called.  So I am not sure if she is seeking confirmation or making conversation.

Everything we do now - eating, reading a book, going for a drive - is filled with "What's that?"

Our dinner conversation tonight went something like this:
Maya - "What's that?"
Me - "Pasta."
Maya - "What's that?"
Me - "That's pasta too."
Maya - "What's that?"
Me - "That's also pasta.  It's all pasta."
Maya - "What's that?"
Me - "What do you think it is?"
Maya - "Pasta."
Me - "Yes."
Maya - "What's that?"
Me - "Pasta." sigh

And on it went....

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The saga continues.

About five weeks ago my mother had surgery to remove her bladder (and the cancer contained within it).  It was major surgery and there's a long road to recovery.  She spent the first two weeks in hospital but then was moved to a rehabilitation hospital because she was making good progress.  Last week Maya and I visited her and went for a walk outside.  She was so happy to see us.  She was doing so well.  And she was told she'd go home on Friday.

On Friday she was readmitted to hospital because she was extremely ill.  This was followed by another operation on Saturday to remove an obstruction from her bowel.  She is now recovering from a third operation within two months.

I really hope this is the last of it and it's an upward journey from here.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

We're going to boat.

On Saturday Greg and I voted in the state election.  When we told Maya that we were going to vote she was oddly excited.  Then afterwards she was upset because when we said "vote" she heard "boat". 

And where was that boat we had mentioned?!

Trying to explain that we said "vote" and not "boat" was impossible.

"We said vote", we said.
"Yes boat", she said.
"Vvvvvvvvvv ote", we said.
"Boat", she said.

And it's not just the word vote.

The other day she asked me what something was.  "It's a cable", I replied.  "Oh and this is a table too", she explained, pointing to our table.

How do you distinguish between two words that sound similar and obviously sound the same to her?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Introduction to swimming.

Last year I enrolled Maya in swim lessons.  She was about eight months old and I'd heard somewhere that the earlier you introduce babies to swimming the less fearful they would be of the water.

At our first lesson Maya clung to me.  She was terrified of the pool.  My instinct was to introduce her slowly to the water.  But the swim instructor believed, quite vocally, that babies needed to be pushed into swimming concepts as quickly as possible in order for them to become comfortable in the water as soon as possible.  His methods only made Maya even more fearful of the water.  She would cry throughout the lesson.  Maya didn't enjoy the lessons and neither did I.  I ended the lessons early.

Recently, I decided to try swim lessons again, but at a different swim school.  I found a centre that offered a refund if  you are not happy with their lessons and thought it was a safe bet to try.

Our first lesson I had to drag Maya into the water with me.  She fought hard not to go in.  But I kept her close to me.  This instructor could see that Maya needed to be close to me and structured the lesson accordingly.  She introduced fun tasks for all the children to complete and while Maya stayed close by my side, she really enjoyed the activities.  At the end of the class I had to drag her back out of the pool.  She wanted to stay!  It was a fun lesson and the children were not forced to do things they weren't comfortable with.

Maya now LOVES swimming.  Each week she gets more and more confident to try new things.  And there have even been a couple of moments were she has swum briefly all on her own.

There are still things she does not like to do but she is never forced to do them.  Instead she is encouraged to give them a go to the best of her ability.  This way she usually has a go and each week she gets more comfortable with the tasks.

Swimming lessons are now my favourite time of the week.  And I think Maya feels the exact same way.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The fear.

Nearly eleven years ago my father had hip replacement surgery.  Prior to the operation he'd been in a lot of pain and the operation gave him a new lease on life.  He went home from hospital feeling good and happy and able to do things he was unable to do prior to surgery. 

And then he dropped dead.  From deep vein thrombosis.  Caused by the surgery he'd just had.

Tomorrow my mother goes in for surgery to remove her bladder.  And it is major surgery.  A long operation.  With risks.

It is hard not to be freaking out right now.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Mother's guilt.

With Maya's constant illnesses and endless ear infections I find myself feeling guilty for placing her in child care, where she is exposed to all these illnesses. Prior to commencing child care she was rarely sick.  Am I being selfish for putting myself and my career first?

I must admit I no longer enjoy my job as I did at the start of the year.  And it is no longer the escape and me time I sought.  It is work.  And the long travel (since moving it now takes me about an hour and a half to get there) is taking its toll.  But I do still enjoy the adult interaction at work and the time off from the constant care of a toddler.  And I can't see myself returning to be a full time carer of Maya.

It took Maya a very long time to settle into child care.  But she now enjoys being there.  She loves the staff, loves the activities and has even made a friend.  She has also been exposed to things I would never have thought of doing with her or can't do with her.  Like recently she learnt about ambulances and got to look inside one.  And they taught her to clean up after herself long before I would have thought to do that.  I've been told that Maya often leads the other children and their activities and creates games to play.

Yet I still feel guilty that she is sick so often.  I could protect her from these diseases if she was home with me.

Or maybe she wouldn't get sick so often if I was still able to breast feed her.  I know that breast feeding reduces the possibility of ear infections.  If it wasn't for Meniere's Disease I might still be breast feeding today and with the anti-bodies in breast milk maybe Maya wouldn't be sick all the time?

I know that feeling guilty doesn't help anything or anyone.  But it often seems that guilt is synonymous with being a mother.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Glue ear.

As mentioned in my previous post, this year has been marred by constant illnesses.  And with these illnesses Maya has developed a lot of ear infections.  And with these ear infections Maya has developed glue ear. Her GP eventually suggested I take her to an ear specialist whom we finally saw last week after a two month wait. 

Before her appointment she had a hearing assessment which showed that the glue ears are affecting her hearing.  Which to me is such a scary thing to hear, given I have permanent hearing loss. 

I was expecting the specilist to adopt a wait and see approach, especially given we are now in Spring and soon to enter Summer, when illnesses should lessen (I hope!).  But the specialist immediately suggested Maya have grommets placed in her ears.

While I hear stories of children who drastically improved once grommets are in place, both in hearing and behaviour, and it is the most common procedure performed, I cannot help but feel that waiting to see if things improve naturally would be a better course of action than to go straight to a surgical procedure.

So for now we are going to wait and see and I have a second specialist booked in for December (a four month wait) whom I will see for a second opinion.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The year of the illnesses.

Since Maya began child care back in January she has been sick nearly every fortnight with something new each time.  Prior to child care Maya was rarely sick and I thought Maya had a very good immune system.  But at child care she is bombarded with illnesses constantly (I often see kids there coughing or with runny noses) and her poor little body can't fight them all off.

I feel like I have spent half my time at the doctors this year.  For me and for her.  Because I also seem to catch everything she catches.  I feel like we have spent more time being sick than being well.  And when I visit our doctor yet again, they always remind me that children at child care get many, many more illnesses than children who are at home.  Basically there is nothing unusual about the amount of illnesses Maya has had since starting child care.

The barrage of illnesses has been so exhausting.  It seems like when she's well then I am sick and if she's sick then I am well.  When she's sick she is miserable and hard to keep happy and wakes often during the night.  When I'm sick she's usually well and wants to play and go outside and do things, while I just want to go to bed and hide under the covers all day.

Our doctor tries to reassure me by reminding me with each visit that children in child care get about twenty illnesses per year (TWENTY!!!!!!!) but once they reach primary school they have a state of the art immune system and rarely get sick.  Which doesn't really make me feel any better right now.

Now if only I could own shares at my doctors and the pharmacy I reckon I'd be rich.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Second Birthday Party.

We decided to host Maya's second birthday party at our new place complete with BBQ lunch and ice cream cake. Here's some pictures from the day:

Party Clothes
Presents
Ice cream cake.
Time to blow out the candles

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The beginning of the cancer removal.

So my mother had exploratory surgery last week and during that time they operated to save one of her kidneys and remove the massive tumour.  I didn't even realise the tumour was encroaching on her kidney or just how dire her situation was until after the operation.  They did manage to save the kidney and declared the operation a success.

However, after more tests they have found that the cancerous cells are within her bladder lining and given the size of the tumour and the rate at which the cancer must be growing, their only solution is to remove the bladder entirely.  They don't believe the cancer has spread outside of the bladder and so removing her bladder would essentially ensure that all of the cancer is removed.

On the one hand all of this sounds very reassuring and the prognosis is very good.

But they are removing her bladder.

I don't know about you but I kind of like having my bladder.  I mean, yes it's not something I really think about on a regular basis or anything, but now that I am thinking about it, I really like having my bladder.

My mother will have to live the rest of her life with a catheter in place and a bag for storage.

Right now she is feeling very low about the outcome.  And while we should all be happy that the prognosis is not worse, it is hard right now to imagine life without such an important organ.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Second Birthday.

For Maya's first birthday I didn't buy her any presents.  I knew that she wouldn't have any concept of presents or parties or birthdays.  The party was for me not her.

But this year, I couldn't resist buying presents.
Maya was so excited when she saw her presents.  She enjoyed unwrapping them and seeing what was inside.

We got her a watch because she's always looking at mine and wanting to wear it.  Now she has one of her own.  We also bought her some clothes and magnets of farm animals for the fridge as well as a sandpit.
On Maya's actual birthday we took her to a local farm where you can feed and pat the animals.  But her favourite part was a ride on a kid's train.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Happy Second Birthday Maya.

To my dearest Maya,

In your second year I have watched you grow more independent, something you have always sought.  You desire to do things on your own and have mastered many amazing skills.  
This year you have learnt to walk and talk and you run everywhere and talk nonstop.   
I have loved watching you grow and develop and I am glad I can be there to support you along the way  It hasn’t always been easy and this year when I went back to work and you started child care you really missed me and I really missed you.  Then you started getting illnesses every second week and whenever you were well I was sick.  But the hugs and kisses I receive and hearing your giggle and seeing your smile make everything OK.   
I love you so much my gorgeous Maya.  I wish you the very best of birthdays and look forward to celebrating many more with you.   
All my love, Mum xx

Friday, 8 October 2010

The big C.

So my mother finally saw a specialist and had tests done and the bladder cancer is bigger than expected.  She is in a lot of pain and losing a lot of blood.  She's weak, tired and finding it difficult to cope.

Everything seems to be taking such a long time.  It took six weeks to see a specialist.  Another week to have tests done.  And then a three week wait to have exploratory surgery (which is next week).

This will be followed by another wait until she can have the cancer removed.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Vertigo

I found this description of vertigo on Meniere's Resources Inc

During a vertigo event, what usually happens is the brain is telling the eye to move in response to bad information it receives from a dysfunctional balance system. These eye movements would be helpful at keeping balance if that information from the inner ear were accurate, but since it's false information it produces the appearance that everything is spinning which reinforces the bad balance information.

I am still suffering from the occasional vertigo attack.  Though I was attack free for a few months, around July they started up again.  However, while the vertigo still starts off violently it seems to 'slow down' and not last as long as before.  The attacks are still highly unpleasant but not unbearable any more.

I wish I knew that this was actually a good sign and that the illness had taken its course.  But unfortunately some people have a spate of milder vertigo, only to be followed by violent attacks again.  So I cannot be certain that the unbearable vertigo, that plagued me last year, is over now forever.  It is still a scary time for me and with each vertigo attack there is disappointment that they are still occurring.

However, having the regular, milder attacks of vertigo hasn't damaged my confidence as much as last year.  I am still leading a fairly active, normal life, except on the occasions of vertigo when I need to take it easy.  But I can still somewhat function through these new level of attacks and get myself to a safe seat and watch over Maya.  Last year the attacks were so bad I was on the floor and unable to get up for an hour or more.

I really hope that I will never again experience those unbearable attacks.  I hope that my body is adjusting to this awful illness and it will remain manageable.  And I hope someday this illness will be a bad memory and not something that affects my life any more.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Enjoying the simple things.

One of the things I love about being a parent is watching Maya learn and discover the world around her.  She finds delight in such simple things - digging in the dirt, picking flowers, hearing a plane fly overhead, watching bubbles blowing in the wind... And I gain enjoyment from her enjoyment.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Hokey Pokey.

I was watching Maya silently dancing the Hokey Pokey when Greg asked "What is she doing?".

"The Hokey Pokey", I replied.

He started singing.  Maya kept dancing.  And I grabbed the camera.



I love watching this video. It makes me smile every time. :)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

In our new home.

Last Monday we moved into our new house.  It's been an exhausting few weeks, getting everything packed and organised and then moving. 

It's also harder moving with a toddler underfoot.  Especially when said toddler has a nasty cold. 

I know people will want to see pictures but I won't be taking pictures of our box ridden premises.  So pictures will have to wait until we are unpacked and settled.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

If you play with fire, you will get burned.

Watching my mother go through the devastating process of being diagnosed with cancer made me wonder whether she expected to ever get cancer from smoking? 

And the answer is she didn't expect it.  Which I find very odd given the statistics

I realise not everyone who smokes gets cancer.  And there always seems to be some story about someone who lived till the age of 99, smoked ten packs a day and was never ill

But the fact is smoking causes a large range of illnesses and conditions.

I don't know what it is like to have a chemical addiction.  And people from my mother's generation did not know the affects of cigarettes.  But sadly cigarette smoking is still being picked up today by teenagers at an alarming rate.

And I don't understand why anyone would start smoking knowing the facts about cigarettes.

Is there anything good about smoking at all? 

Is smoking a pleasurable experience before you become addicted? 

Is smoking really worth the risk?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The dreaded C.

My mother is a smoker.  Since the age of 18.  She's now 66.  That's 48 years of smoking.

My mother now has cancer.

When I was a teenager and learnt about cigarettes and all the associated health risks,  I tired everything to convince her to quit smoking.  Scare tactics.  Giving her the facts. Ultimatums.

Of course nothing worked because she has to want to quit.  It doesn't matter how much I want her to.

I know that you cannot make another person do something they don't want to do.  But that hasn't stopped me from trying.  Because I love her.  Because I love her very much and I can't imagine a world without her in it.  Because I don't want to lose her before her time.  Because I don't want to lose her to a long, drawn out,  horrible illness.

She has tried to quit many times.  Mostly she's managed for a few weeks at a time. One time she did give up for a couple of years.  Then the news that my father had passed away reached her and the first thing she did was head to the shops to buy a pack of cigarettes.

The good news is that it looks like the cancer has been caught early and will be easy to remove.  Though she hasn't seen a specialist yet, so I will wait to hear what s/he has to say before I totally relax.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Won't baby choke?

Following on from my previous post about Baby Led Weaning, a few people have commented that giving solid foods to babies has or will make them choke.  Recently the topic of choking was covered in the ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) magazine where it was stated that:
"Provided that baby is in control of any food that goes into his mouth and he is sitting upright, BLW doesn't make choking any more likely than spoon feeding - and may even make it less likely."
According to Gill Rapley:
"Babies are not capable of intentionally moving food to the back of their throats until after they have developed the ability to chew."
 The ABA magazine futher states:
"Often people confuse choking with gagging on food.  Gagging is a retching movement that pushes food away for the airway if it is too big to be swallowed."
I wanted to discuss BLW, as it seems like the majority of parents don't even know about it as an alternative to pureeds and spoon feeding. 

I like to learn about everything I do and discover all the different options available and the pros and cons of those options.  That's how I discovered BLW and to me it sounded like a better approach to introducing solids.

Obviously as a parent you have to be comfortable with whatever you do for your baby and BLW might not suit you.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Baby Led Weaning

I followed Baby Led Weaning (also known as Baby Led Solids) with Maya.  Baby Led Weaning (BLW) commences from six months of age when babies are able to sit up, grab food and feed themselves.  There are no purées and no spoon feeding involved.  Babies use their fingers to begin with and later move on to cutlery.  Though I did use a spoon for foods such as yoghurt or soup but I started by placing food on the spoon and putting the spoon in front of Maya for her to pick up.

Instead of feeding your baby you place food in front of him/her so that he/she can choose what to eat and how much to eat.  I started by offering a variety of foods and allowed Maya to choose what, and if, she wanted to eat.   Sticks of vegetables or fruits, such as carrots, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, banana and pear are easier for a baby to pick up to begin with.  I steamed harder fruits and vegetables.

Until a baby is one breast milk or formula is still their main source of food and solids are for play and learning.  I found with BLW Maya didn't eat as much as other babies to start with, but that's the point. Until a baby is one food is for exploring.  Over time, however, the difference between Maya's level of independent eating and the range of foods she could eat was obvious over the babies who had been spoon fed.

BLW is a lot messier than spoon feeding.  Maya squashed her food, threw it on the floor, got it all over herself, her chair and the floor.  But Maya's level of independent eating grew quickly and soon I found I was able to serve her a meal and eat a meal at the same time.

Maya is a very good eater.  I get comments all the time from her child care about how much she eats, so I think that shows that she does eat well.  She expertly uses a fork and spoon and eats a wide range of foods.

If interested in BLW I recommend the website Baby-led Weaning and there is also an introductory brochure.

6 months - Maya's first solid food - a piece of apple.
She sucked on that piece of apple for a very long time then bit some off and spat it out.

6 months - almost 7 months - Eating a Cruskit biscuit with avocado and grated carrot.
Already an independent eater.

9 months - Spaghetti Bolognaise.
The happy look on her face says it all. :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Back on the merry-go-round.

A few weeks ago the vertigo returned.  I thought I had this disease (Meniere's Disease) under control and it has been so disappointing to be spinning again.  It's another reminder that with this disease I don't have full control of my body and that it is a lifelong illness always with me.

People have asked me what  has triggered this recent spate of vertigo and I suspect it is because I was reducing some medication I have been using.  However, I upped the dosage and was still having attacks.  I have since upped the dosage again and my last vertigo attack was one week ago, so I am hoping that this new dosage is helping.

The good thing is that this recent spate of vertigo has been mostly milder than before and at times I have even been able to 'soldier' on through it.  In the past I would not be able to do anything other than drop to the ground and wait for it to go away.  It also used to last an hour, but at times I've found myself back to normal within half an hour.  Though there have been occasions where it has lasted a few hours recently.

So while the attacks seem to be milder, it is still a highly unpleasant experience and one which I want to avoid altogether.  But I am hoping the milder vertigo is a sign that things are settling.  Or perhaps it's a sign of the damage done.  It's sad but true, many Meniere's suffers pray for the day when there is so much damage done to the balance system that the vertigo stops altogether.

On the other hand I have talked to other sufferers who have said their vertigo became milder and then went back to full strength after some time.  If there's nothing else I've learnt about this disease, it's that each sufferer experiences it differently from everyone else.  Probably why a cure or cause is so elusive.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Maya's first hair cut.

I looked at Maya this morning and decided finally that she needed a haircut.  I was loathe to cut it till now because I wanted her to have long hair I could create styles with.  But her hair has only been growing at the back for a long time now and it was starting to look like a mullet.

I decided to tackle her hair myself and while it's not perfect and there are some bits I wish I could do over, I think it looks pretty good.  Thicker and even than before.  And it beats forking out $25 for a hairdresser.

Here's the before and after pictures:

Friday, 13 August 2010

Settled.

So yesterday our house settled and we now own our first home.

Well.. right now we probably own the letter box and the bank owns the rest.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Stickers.

Maya loves stickers at the moment.  I'm not sure what's so good about stickers, but hey whatever makes her happy.

So when I first gave her some stickers I put them on her hands and then for some reason I decided to put one on her forehead.

So now she has decided that stickers belong on her forehead.

Maya is at an age now where she gets offered stickers by other people.  Like if we visit the doctor the reception staff offer her a sticker.  They will put it on her hand and Maya will respond by pointing at her forehead, telling the person "sticker goes here".  I'm sure they wonder what she's doing.

When I take Maya shopping with me she loves running around the stores examining products.  She also likes peeling price stickers off the said products and sticking them on her forehead.  So for the rest of the shopping trip she'll have a price tag stuck to her head.

Most people find it amusing and thankfully shop staff usually have a giggle about the fact that she's pulling the price tags off.  But I did have one woman stop me recently to tell me that my daughter had a tag on her head.  "Yes I know.  She likes it there." I replied.

It reminds me that children are sponges, absorbing and learning everything around them.  And if you teach them that stickers go on your forehead, well then stickers go on your forehead.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Steps to independence - Part Two.

We bought a step for Maya recently for use at the sink in the bathroom.

Well as soon as we brought the step home, Maya dragged it to the couch and climbed up.  A few days later I saw Maya dragging the step out of the bathroom again.  This time to reach the laptop.  And today when I asked Maya if she wanted to go to the park she exclaimed "Yes!" and ran into the bathroom... to get the step.. so that she could use it to climb into her stroller.

I am in awe that Maya is now able to solve problems on her own.  She is definitely determined to be independent and is proud of herself when she accomplishes tasks on her own.

I can reach the computer.


Getting into the pram.


Nearly there.


I'm so clever.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

When are you having another?

I get asked a lot: "When are you having a second baby?"

The thing is:
  1. Guys don't get asked this question, which implies that women only want babies and it's all we think about.  Recently when I announced I had "good news" people immediately guessed "Oh you are pregnant".  No, I bought a house, which I think is good news anyway.
  2. Not all women want babies and some couples only want one baby.
  3. Some women have tremendous difficulties conceiving and asking someone when they are going to have a baby when they are desperately trying is not going to make them feel very good.
I don't mind if people ask me "will you have a second baby?"  I just don't like the question "when are you having a  second baby?" because it implies that I must have a second child.

The truth is, I don't know if there will be a second child.  With Meniere's Disease I am on medication that has not been trialled enough in pregnancies.  So it depends if I can wean myself off the medication and remain vertigo attack free.

I suddenly find myself jealous of people who are pregnant or who can be pregnant.  I actually never wanted children close together and even without the Meniere's Disease I would not consider a second child yet.  But having the choice possibly removed from me is a very hard place to be.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Another drink?

At a birthday party recently I had the following conversation with someone.

THEM: What are you drinking?
ME: Flavoured mineral water.
THEM: So do you think you'll have another?
ME: Err.. yeah I guess so.
THEM: So you're enjoying it then?
ME: Err.. yes
THEM: When do you think you'll have another?
ME: I dunno?
THEM: Yeah I guess Maya is still very young.

At which point it dawned on me.  They had switched the conversation from my drink to babies.  As in "So do you think you'll have another baby?", "So you're enjoying motherhood?" and "When do you think you'll have another baby?"

I thought it was odd to be so interested in what I was drinking.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Steps to independence.

For each new skill Maya attempts to master, there is a period of frustration, and it is hard for me not to step in and do it for her.  I hate seeing her frustrated and upset and my instinct is to solve the problem for her.  But I know that if I step in and do it for her she will never learn to do it for herself.  Besides she tends to get frustrated with me if I do it for her, which makes perfect sense as her goal was to master the skill by herself.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Park etiquette.

Maya loves going to the park.  She loves the swings and the slides.  She loves running up and down ramps.  Climbing things.  Riding on things.


But there are times when we are at the park and some child will punch, push or kick Maya for no reason.

Recently while at a park I watched some older children running around with plastic cups throwing sand at each other.  Then one boy threw a cup of sand directly into the face of a much smaller, toddling, little boy, who was playing nearby. The toddler began howling while the older children laughed and continued with their game.  The toddler's mother tried talking to the older children about how dangerous it is to throw sand at people, but they took no notice.

Now what I want to know is.. where were these boy's carers and why were they letting them thrown sand at each other and other people?  I've been in a situation where I ended up with sand in my eye.  And it hurt!  A lot. I ended up in hospital because I couldn't open my eye from the pain the sand was causing.  Having sand thrown in your face is highly unpleasant.

Of course, it's not always the case that a carer isn't around to help deal with situations and thankfully those situations are rare. But it does surprise me how often I will witness a child being punched, kicked or pushed by another child and there is no carer in sight.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tell 'em they're dreamin.

It is frustrating being on a diet restriction that is hardly catered for by manufacturers and is not catered for at all by restaurants, Cafes or take away places.  Now there are vegetarian, low fat, gluten free and low carbohydrate meals, but no low salt options when eating out.  Manufactures occasionally bring out low salt products, but usually their products disappear after a time.  Often I will find something low in salt that actually tastes great, but after a while I can no longer purchase it any where.  When contacting the manufacturers directly they all give the same reason - not enough people buy the low salt options.

People are so used to their high salt intake that food low in salt doesn't taste as good or even tastes awful.  I know this because I went through a period of about two months, once I began my low salt diet, where nearly everything tasted horrible.

Now what I miss are options.  I miss being able to stop at a cafe and have a bite to eat.  I miss going out to a restaurant and being able to choose from a selection of meals (to be honest I don't actually like fish and my first meal out at a restaurant (as discussed in my previous post) wasn't enjoyable for me, except for the fact that I was 'eating out').  I miss getting take out and having a night off cooking.  I miss having easy options for making meals at home.

There are many health problems that salt contributes to - stroke, heart disease, Meniere's disease, PMS, etc.  Yet there doesn't seem to be that many people on a low salt diet.  Not enough to justify manufacturers or restaurants catering to the diet.

Even "health" foods are a joke to me now because they are usually very high in salt.  I think more salt is added to try and boost the taste and make up for the lack of sugar and fat.

I would love to see more low salt options on the shelves in supermarkets and in restaurants.  But whenever I have this thought a quote from "The Castle" always enters my mind - "Tell 'em they're dreamin".

Eating out.

My low salt diet fills me with anguish about eating out.  Salt is such an integral part of cooking that I wonder how I can explain my diet in such a way that salt doesn't happen to sneak its way on to my plate.  I have to trust that the cook will know enough about salt and how much of it is actually hidden within practically everything to be able to avoid it altogether.

Well a couple of months ago I made it out for breakfast for the first time since starting the diet. Porridge and fresh fruit are two options that are very low in salt.  Since then I have been out for a few breakfasts, but I have never been game to order something salty and have the chef modify it for me.

Recently I decided to try going out for dinner.  This was a huge step for me.  We picked the restaurant ahead of time and I browsed their online menu.  I found something that would be easy to modify and rang up the restaurant for assurance that they could modify their meals.

On the day I made it very clear to the waiter that my low salt diet restriction is for medical reasons and I made it extremely easy for him by ordering the fish, chips and salad.  Fish with no batter, just plain grilled.  Chips with no salt.  Salad with no dressing.  The waiter even came back after placing my order to inform me that he had made my order very clear to the chef.  After my meal he asked me if everything had been OK.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the service and my meal came exactly as asked.  Not a hint of salt to be seen on my plate, either by the shaker or by dressings or sauces.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

I used to take for granted...

..things like.. going to the toilet by myself and having a shower in peace.

Now I have a little person following me where ever I go.

Not that I mind, but having to entertain a little one in any situation does take a bit of getting used to.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Guess what?

I have big news.  No I am NOT pregnant again, which is the first guess everyone makes for some reason.

Yesterday Greg and I bought..... a house!!

We were actually looking for a unit, which of course is more affordable.  Then this house came along in our price range.  It met all our criteria.  We got our act together and finally applied for a loan.  Got our preapproval.  Went to the auction yesterday.  And next thing you know.. we're bidding and we've bought a house!

Here's some pictures of our new place!

Just after we bought the house.

Lounge room - ignore the dodgy furniture. :)

Kitchen.

Backyard.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Paapa.

'Paapa' is Maya's word for pasta and my favourite word of hers at the moment.

Over the last couple of weeks Maya has been ramping up her vocabulary.  Suddenly she seems more willing (or more able?) to repeat words she hears.  And better yet she remembers them and what they are associated with.  She uses "Mama" a lot more now too, which is lovely to hear.

Communication is still very limited but she is able to ask for a few things now, which makes it so much easier than trying to guess what she wants all the time.  Though there are still times when I don't understand, which often results in her (and I) getting frustrated.

Maya has been babbling for such a long time now.  It seems like she's always carrying on conversation with me.  She even pauses and does little laughs and sighs in between some 'sentences'.  It really does seem like she's telling me stories, or about her day, or things she's seen.  Just in a language I can't understand.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Speaking of books..

Staying on the topic of books from my previous post, I thought I'd mention my favourite baby/toddler books:
  • "The Going to Bed Book" & "Hippos Go Berserk" by Sandra Boynton - Love the rhythm and rhyme.

  • "Time To Sleep" & "Where's The Green Sheep" by Mem Fox - Love the rhythm and pictures.

  • "Pants" by Giles Andreae & Nick Sharratt - Love the rhythm, rhyme, pictures and topic.  A silly, funny little book.

  • "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle - A classic and Maya loves poking her fingers through the holes in the pages.

  • "The Animal Countdown" by Frances Bacon - Love the rhythm, rhyme and pictures.

  • The "When I go to" series by Jill Harker - Great pictures (something hidden on every page), good rhythm and rhyme.

  • "Miffy At The Zoo" by Dick Bruna - Love the rhythm and rhyme.

  • "Nighty-Night, Fox" by Nancy Parent - Great pictures, rhythm and rhyme.
Maya does like the books above too, but her favourite books tend to be those with flaps you can open (like the "Spot" books by Eric Hill), or things you can touch (like the "That's not my" series by Fiona Watt) or pictures and words/counting books (like 1 hat, 2 children, etc) or any book that has a picture of a cat in it.  And while I do enjoy reading them the first twenty times, I do tend to tire of them after the one hundredth read.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

I didn't know..

.. that I would be reading the same couple of books to Maya over and over and over again, because they would become her favourites and no other book would do.

.. that those couple of books that I would read over and over again would start to drive me crazy and any attempts at reading a new book would fail.

.. that I would get so sick of reading those couple of books over and over again, that I would eventually hide them away somewhere just so I could read something new.

.. that Maya would then go and select another couple of books to become her favourites and I would have to read them over and over and over again...

Sunday, 2 May 2010

It's life Jim but not as we know it.

As I mentioned in my previous post I had another vertigo attack while away on holidays and I think it was caused by something I ate.  I have been on a very strict low salt diet for months now and prior to this recent vertigo attack I'd been attack free since the end December 2009. 

There's no way to know the reason why I've been attack free for so long.  Is the diet helping?  Is the medication I'm on working?  Or is it just time?  But I've stuck to the strict diet just in case it helps. 

I've found myself doubting the diet's affect, despite reading that it supposedly helps the majority of sufferers, because when I was diagnosed 7 1/2 years ago I went on the same diet and then came off it after some time and was attack free for many years. 

But there is a difference between this time and last time.  This time I have had many, many more attacks than last time.  This time a lot more damage has been done.

So while we were away I decided to eat something I didn't know the salt content of.  The next day I had an attack.  It seems plausible that the food was high in salt and the higher salt content triggered an attack.

Suddenly I found myself full of grief.  I'd been thinking this diet would again be temporary.  But what if it's not?  What if I have to stay on this diet for the rest of my life?  Of course given the choice between being on a strict diet for the rest of my life and having vertigo attacks, I choose the diet.  But the diet means forever reading food labels.  It means forever cooking things from scratch.  It means no take away foods.  It means carrying food on me at all times in case I get hungry because I can't just pop into the closest food store for something to eat.  It means not being able to pop out to a cafe or restaurant for a bite to eat (I've been told it is possible to eat out with forward planning by talking to the chef beforehand to meticulously explain my diet - but even this seems like a chore, means I can't just decide to go out somewhere, limits me on where I can eat out and also means I have to put my trust in someone I don't know to follow the diet accurately).  It means having to carefully explain my diet to hosts and trusting them to follow the diet or providing my own food.  It means a lot more planning would have to go into trips away, especially overseas (can I even go overseas on this diet??).  It  means standing around at parties and morning tea at work, watching other people devour goodies.

I love eating out, getting take away and travelling.

I know there are plenty of people out there on all kinds of restrictions when it comes to diet, but salt really does seem to be in nearly everything, including a lot of things people would assume weren't high in salt (cakes, biscuits, bread...)  Yesterday I saw that Lindt has made a new chocolate with sea salt!!  So how do I manage explaining to people what I can and can't eat?  Then how do I manage that in a foreign language? 

I guess right now not only is my diet restricted but I feel like my life is restricted because of it.  It is something that I still need to comes to terms with and learn to live with.

Monday, 26 April 2010

First family holiday.

In April we went on our first family holiday.  We have had a few overnight stays but this is the first time we've been away for a week since Maya was born.

I was worried about how Maya would cope with sleeping in a strange cot at a strange place.  The first couple of sleeps were shorter than normal but after a couple of days she was in her normal routine.  She loved the house we stayed at and she loved 'holiday'.

This trip was very different to previous trips I've ever been on.  I found myself looking for the family activities.  We took Maya to a farm where you can pat, feed and hold the animals, visited many parks and the beach, as well as satisfying both her and I by visiting a couple of different chocolate shops. :)

As for myself I booked in for a couple of hours at a day spa, which was bliss.  But I also had a vertigo attack while there.  The first one I've had since December.  It was so disappointing. It was intense but over very quickly compared to normal.  I think the attack was triggered by something I ate, which if that's the case means that I do have this disease under control as long as I stick to my strict diet.  But I cannot be sure that the attack was triggered by food, so it did undermine my confidence somewhat.

Overall I enjoyed getting away and found it to be very relaxing, which is just what I needed.  Greg and I are already talking about where to go for our next trip...

Oh a goat!Patting a goat.
Patting a guinea pig.Feeding a rabbit by putting food on
top of its head.
Patting a chick.At the beach.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Advice.

Being a mother seems to invite people to give you advice.  The problem is there's conflicting advice, different beliefs and wrong advice given by well meaning people.  I realise the irony here when I am also giving advice, which I'm sure conflicts at times with other's beliefs and I'm not immune to making errors or being biased in what I think.  But my advice is to trust your instincts and do your research from credible sources. 

Some of this advice is given by people who are experts (paediatricians, maternal child health nurses, etc) but they make mistakes too and have their own agendas and beliefs.  I know what it's like to be given incorrect and even ridiculous advice by experts.

As I've said in previous posts, Maya was born at a large birth weight but from there never put on much weight.  In hospital I was told that I needed to express and feed her more by the midwives (experts).  I was told that "I must not be feeding her correctly".  They undermined my confidence.  Then they would watch me feed Maya and exclaim "Oh everything looks good."  But they still kept telling me something must be wrong.  I was lucky to have a paediatrician who told me that Maya was doing fine and I didn't need to change anything.  But it was worrying when one person was telling me everything was OK versus many who were telling me that everything was not OK.

I'd read a lot about breastfeeding prior to birth from sources such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association.  I knew that if babies were given bottles before breastfeeding was established then they might end up preferring the bottle over the breast or have trouble learning how to breastfeed because of the two different methods.   I knew that formula was no substitute for breast milk and breast milk was all the food they required.   I knew that babies wouldn't starve themselves.  I knew that they would take what they needed and that when they needed more they would take more and my supply would increase to meet the new demand.  I knew that I didn't need to express to increase my supply because the baby would do that at their own pace and when needed.  But when faced with the pressure from experts I began to doubt what I knew and questioned what I was doing.  I tried expressing to increase my supply (and ended up with blocked ducts many times, which is painful and can lead to mastitis) and I gave top ups of formula.  Both of which were exhausting to add to my already busy schedule and at the end of the day made no difference to Maya's growth.

When I moved house last year I had to find a new health nurse who pressured me to give up breastfeeding because of Maya's lack of weight gains.  She even told me to feed Maya chocolate, cream and butter to 'fatten her up'.  Needless to say I walked out that door and never returned to see her.

I'd like to think that I am now able to recognise when to follow advice and when to leave it.  But when worried and wanting the very best for your child it is easy to lose trust of yourself and your instincts and put your trust in the 'experts'.

I know it's hard to trust yourself and to know which and whose advice to take.  My advice is to trust yourself and the expertise of a few reputable sources whose advice you gel with

You can take that or leave it.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Maya does the shapes puzzle on her own.

We were given a shapes puzzle for Maya a few months ago and I started by showing Maya how to put the shapes in the holes, then helped Maya put the shapes in the right holes and then a couple of weeks ago she started doing it on her own.  She can get most of the shapes in but I wasn't able to capture it on this video because she lost interest.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A weighty issue.

For some reason weight is seen as an indicator of health in babies.  A baby who gains the expected weight or more is seen as healthy.  A baby who doesn't gain the expected weight is seen as unhealthy.

Maya was always in the latter category.  She was 4kgs at birth (90th percentile on the charts) but from there she never gained much weight and during some months didn't appear to gain any weight at all.  She fell through the percentiles until she was below the 3rd and off the charts.

I was very lucky to have some supportive experts who despite the 'worrying' (to most) drop in weight gain, saw Maya as a healthy, happy baby, who was meeting all milestones.  But some worried about her lack of weight gain and I worried too.  I watched babies the same age as Maya expand and grow, while Maya slimmed down.  I constantly worried that she wasn't getting enough milk.  But my determination to breast feed and knowledge that breast is best kept me going.  I tried to trust that everything was working well, while at the same time worried that everything was not OK.

Eventually I took Maya to a paediatrician when she was five months old and the doctor was surprised that I was still breast feeding Maya.  Her advice was for me to put Maya on formula, which I said I wasn't prepared to do.  So she wanted me to give her formula top ups with added glucose.  At first I couldn't bring myself to give Maya formula but when she reached 6 months of age and I had succeeded in giving her breast milk only for the first 6 months of her life, I gave in and started Maya on these top up feeds.  She did put on more fat but she did not grow in any other way.  I realised that all the formula and glucose were doing was making Maya fat, so I stopped and the fat fell off.  In hindsight I now realise this advice from an 'expert' was ridiculous and would do nothing but add fat to Maya and not make her grow any more.  But for some reason experts see weight as such a huge indicator of health that any weight gain, by any means, is seen as the answer.

Why is weight gain seen as such a big indicator of health? There are more signs to health than weight gain alone.  Is the baby happy?  Is the baby meeting milestones?  Is the baby growing (height, width OR weight)?  Does the baby have ill health?

I saw a second paediatrician who ran a lot of tests on Maya and everything came back normal.   She was and is a perfectly healthy girl.

I now see Maya for what she is.  A small, healthy, happy girl who does not need fattening up.  She eats plenty of food.  She just doesn't achieve the expected weight gains.

I am so happy that I am on the other side now and I no longer see Maya's weight as an issue.  What worries me though is all the mother's who will go through what I went through, some of whom will give up breast feeding or try to combine breast and formula feeding or feed their baby bulking agents, when their baby is perfectly healthy just smaller than the norm.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Ten weeks of work.

I have been back at work now for ten weeks, which I am proud of.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to manage work with my illness but thankfully I haven't had any vertigo attacks since the end of December last year.  I still worry about having an attack and it's often on my mind that one could happen at any moment.  But being back at work has given me some confidence again - managing an hour long, two way, two train travel plus two full work days with no attacks - I am relieved. 

It has been tough at times managing the work load around minding Maya and doing housework.  I have to bring work home with me and it's hard fitting it in during Maya's one nap of the day, which can be anywhere from 1 to 2 hours (usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours and sometimes 3 if I am very lucky).

Overall I am happy to be back at work.  However, I would rather be working only one day and have Maya in care two days a week, so that I could get everything I needed to get done for work in those two days.

Maya is happier at child care now.  She has her favourite carers, she eats well and interacts with the other children.  However, there is still a problem.  She rarely sleeps there and if she does it's usually only 15 to 20 minutes.  Compared with her usual 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps at home, that's a very big difference and by the end of the child care days Maya is a tired, unhappy mess.

For most of these past ten weeks Maya hasn't been happy at child care, which has at times left me feeling guilty for returning to work and leaving her.  Unfortunately sometimes what is best for me won't necessarily be best for her, and right now being back at work is important to me.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Protecting our children.

It's now just over a year since Dana McCaffery died. Dana was just 4 weeks old and died of Whooping Cough (Pertussis), which is preventable through vaccinations.  However, babies cannot receive their first vaccination for Whooping Cough until they are at least two months old.  So in the time between birth and 2 months of age they rely on the immunity passed from mother to child prior to birth and on the mother's anti-bodies in their milk. They also rely on those around them, who also have a lot of contact with them, to be immunised against this disease (father, grandparents, health nurses, etc).  However, the vaccination wanes after 10 to 12 years and the vast majority of adults do not receive their booster injections, so 90% of adults or more are no longer immunised.  Vaccination is only effective if the majority of the community does it (called herd immunity), so with the vast majority of people no longer being immunised, outbreaks of Whooping Cough are much more likely to occur. 

I was horrified when a friend told me that she visited her doctor prior to pregnancy and asked if there were any preparations she should make before having a baby.  He dismissed her saying that she was young and healthy.

On the other hand, when I went in for a check up prior to pregnancy I was told to get a Whooping Cough vaccination at least three months prior to conceiving in order to protect myself and my unborn baby, but also to protect my newborn once she arrived.  Maya would have received my Whooping Cough anti-bodies prior to birth as well as in my breast milk.  As well, I was told that Greg needed to get the booster prior to the birth of our baby girl in order to further protect her from this horrible disease.

As Maya's parents we are the ones most in contact with our little girl and it makes obvious sense for us to be vaccinated properly in order to protect our child.  Really everyone who will be in regular contact with your child should be fully immunised and that is the recommendation from the Australian government: "It is also recommended that new parents or women planning on becoming pregnant (and members of their household or family) receive a booster dose of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine to protect the new baby from whooping cough in the first months of life." (cited from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Whooping_cough).

So if it's been ten years or more since you had a booster dose of the pertussis vaccine then please consider having it in order to protect not only our young and helpless but also those who cannot be vaccinated and yourself. Please also vaccinate your children.

My sincere heartfelt condolences go out to Toni and David McCaffery.  I cannot begin to imagine their suffering.  But at a time when most people would fall in a heap and never get up again, they are fighting for a world where newborns do not die from a disease we can protect them from.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Child care.

As I said in my previous post, I'd always planned to go back to work in January, for two days per week, and my intention was for my mother to care for Maya on those two days.  However, seeing just how much my mother smokes each day - practically one every hour - I realised that she would have to take constant smoke breaks and they wouldn't all fall during Maya's nap times.  My mother would never smoke inside my house, but even outside I hate the thought of my mother smoking around my daughter.  Smoke can still get into Maya's lungs outdoors and I don't want Maya to see my mother smoking so much.  I realised I cannot leave Maya with my mother for two whole days each week.

My only option then was to look into child care centres, but I thought leaving such a young child with strangers in a bigger child to adult ratio couldn't be good for Maya.  She wouldn't receive the same attention as she does at home. 

Then I did some research and discovered that thirty hours or less a week in child care can be beneficial for toddlers.  They expand their vocabulary quicker and learn to socialise with other children.  I went to look at child care centres and while I came across a couple I would never send my daughter to, I found some that had such a lovely, homely, happy feel about them and of course I chose my favourite one of those.

I know that Maya doesn't receive the same attention there from her carers as she does at home, but the kids are so friendly there and play with each other.  And of course the carers do spend as much time as they can with each child.  She is eating very well there and enjoys playing with the other children.  She does painting and drawing, which is something I have never gotten around to doing with Maya (because of lack of thought on my part).  I know at child care she will experience things that I am either unable to do or don't think of doing myself and I think that's a good thing.

The problem is that she isn't sleeping enough while there and arrives home tired and miserable.  She isn't always happy there and she feels abandoned by us.  Maya has always had strong separation anxiety and now it's been made worse by attending child care.  She clings to me when she gets home and unfortunately she is upset with her own father who is the one who takes her there.  I feel guilty right now for putting her in there and for not being able to explain to her that we are not abandoning her.

The child care staff tell me that Maya is doing well compared to other children who start child care, but it doesn't seem that way to me, and I'm not sure if they are just saying that to make me feel better or is it really true?  Either way I know I need to commit to it for some time and see if Maya can adjust before I make any changes.  But it's hard in the interim while Maya and I struggle with this new routine in our life.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My return to work.

While I am so glad that I have been able to stay at home with Maya full time for the first 16 months of her life, I have also found myself very much missing adult conversation and company during that time.  I thrive on interactions with other adults and being at home with an infant just hasn't been enough to fulfil me.  I really wish it was enough and I very much admire stay at home mothers because I do believe that having a primary, full time, stay at home caregiver is best for the child.  However, for a while now I have found myself being eager to return to work for the adult company, conversation and me time.

My plan was to return to work in January 2010, but when my illness flared up I began to fret that I wouldn't be well enough to.  I even had some vertigo attacks at the end of December and thought my opportunity to return to work was lost.  Luckily throughout January I remained attack free and at the end of January I made the transition back to work.

I am only working two days a week, which honestly is actually more than enough for me right now.  In fact I'd rather work just one day a week, but I don't think that would be possible at my current job.  One day is just enough to refresh me with some me time and time with other adults. 

I still very much want to be with Maya as much as possible and that's why I decided on only two days a week.  I would hate to be away from her more than that.  I know that this time will go very quickly and she will grow faster than I can imagine and being with her is still very important to me.  I also think children of this age do still need a primary caregiver for the majority of time.  I just need a bit of time out each week for myself.

So far I am enjoying working again and it feels like I haven't been away as long as I actually have.  Although I am fearful of having a vertigo attack on the way to, from or at work.  And I am not enjoying the hour long train journey there and back (I used to live five minutes away!).  But overall I am happy to be back.  I just hope I remain well.

The hardest part has been missing Maya, which seems funny given the fact that I wanted the time away.  But I have spent almost every minute of the last 16 months with Maya and being apart from her now is hard.  The fact that I have been with her almost every minute of the last 16 months is also the reason why I need some time out.

Maya is now in child care for the two days, which I will write about in more detail in another post.  So far she is struggling with being apart from me, which is making me feel very guilty for putting myself first.  But I really need to give this a go and if it doesn't work out for me or her then I can always return to being a stay at home mother, which I do enjoy.  I just need some more regular time to myself and time with other adults, which is what work gives me.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Plans.

When my illness flared up in August last year I was no longer able to make plans.  Suddenly I had no idea if I would be well one day to the next, minute to minute even.

I realised my life was built a lot around plans.  I am always planning what I can do next and when I can do it.  I am aware of the idea of living in the moment and while I think being in the moment and appreciating what you have now is a great philosophy, right now I can't see how that is always possible.  There are just some things that need to be planned for.

I know that in life nothing is for certain and plans can always be changed by unexpected events.  But people do make plans and hope those plans eventuate.  However, when you don't know what your life will be like from one minute to the next it makes it extremely hard to plan anything.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A decade without dad.

Today marks a milestone for me - the ten year anniversary of my father's passing.  I'm not really sure why it feels like a milestone.  Maybe because ten years is a significant amount of time - nearly a third of my life that I have been without my dad.  And there have been so many moments that my father has missed - graduation, marriage and the birth of Maya being the most significant.  Plus we've missed out on ten years of conversations, hugs and moments to see each other.

I wish that my dad knew that the guy he met ten years ago became my husband in the future.  I wish he knew that we had a child together.  I wish I could have just five more minutes with my dad.

So today I visited my father's grave to mark the occasion.  I also took Maya to 'visit' my dad and told her about him.

I love you Dad forever and always.  Always missed.  Never forgotten.  xxxx

Monday, 18 January 2010

Maya takes off.

As I said in The Stages of Walking post, Maya has been 'walking' for a very long time now.  She started back around her first birthday in October, cruising furniture, walking with a walker and holding on to hands.  We were also able to encourage her to walk between two people without holding on to anything.  And there were times when Maya really wanted something and stepped across the room to get it.  It seemed like (and everyone who saw her said it too) that she would be walking on her own in no time.

I was just beginning to wonder if I would be holding her hand indefinitely when on Saturday 16th January she took off on her own.  She walked and walked and walked all day long.  With a bit of running thrown in!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Changing names.

I have never understood why the majority of women change their name as soon as they get married.  It's not that I mind if women change their name or not. It's that it seems like women do it without much thought.

So, why do women change their names and not men and why do children take their father's name?  The answer is because it has always been done like that.  Also, upon marriage women used to become their husband's property and that's why women had to take their husband's name.  If someone back in the past had decided that men should take their wife's name then that's what would happen now.

Of course now women have choice, but the vast majority of women still take their husband's name, which actually surprises me in this day and age.  I was never going to change my name.  Greg and I even discussed that if we had two children one would have his name and one mine.  Perhaps that sounds confusing but I actually know of a family who did this and it works for them.  I also know of a man who took his wife's name and whose children take her name.  So there are changes happening, just not many yet.

Up until the day Maya was born we still didn't know which surname she would have - mine or Greg's?  When she was placed on my chest and I saw that beautiful face my heart welled with love for this precious girl and suddenly I realised that I couldn't give her my name.  Even though I have come to like my name for it's unusualness, I grew up hating my stand out, unpronounceable surname and suddenly I couldn't give my little baby girl this name I had despised as a child.  So I gave her my husband's easy, normal surname instead.

Since then I have taken an about turn and I am seriously considering changing my surname to be the same as my daughters. I want to be as connected as possible to her.

But it is MY name. It is who I am known by.  It is my identity.  It is mine.

But I have this new life now and I want to embrace it as fully as I can. I am her mother and I want the world to know it.

It's a hard decision for me.

Friday, 8 January 2010

A reflection on 2009.

Unfortunately 2009 was marred by my awful illness (Meniere's Disease) and that's what I find myself mainly remembering about 2009.  Looking back it was a tough year with learning how to look after a baby, dealing with a lack of adult company and support, worrying about Maya's health, moving house and then becoming extremely ill and feeling like I had no control over my own body and being unable to care for Maya at the same level I had been.

On the flip side, I have loved watching Maya grow and develop.  Her emerging personality and cheekiness has been adorable to witness and I am glad I have been able to stay home with her for so long.

Moving house was a big plus and now we live in much roomier accommodation with much more natural light, a nice sized garden that Maya loves to play in and a great park near by.  I started getting more support living closer to family and I found a great mother's group near by.

Finding out that Maya is perfectly healthy was a huge positive and big weight off my mind.

In 2009 I also learnt to appreciate the healthy periods because you really never know when it could be taken away from you.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christmas 2009.

This Christmas Maya, at 14 months, still lacked an understanding of what Christmas was all about but she was able to interact a lot more with people and things.  What Maya probably enjoyed the most was playing with her cousins - one of whom is 10 months older and the other is about 2 years older.  She loved watching them walk (and run) on their own (as you can see in the video I posted the other day).