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


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


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.