Monday, December 29, 2008

Birthday Message

It's Gramps' birthday next week, the girls and I have made him a card...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Body beautiful

I've been thinking about the changes that happened to my body when I had my children (and what will happen if we have any more), and I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that the view in the mirror isn't the view in my head any more.

All my life I have been either dieting, exercising or in the middle of some minor eating disorder in a bizarre bid to get the image in my head to somehow transfer into my flesh and bones. I tend to think I've got close after the event, when I look back at pictures and go "hey, I looked OK then!" but I undoubtedly thought differently during the "then" period.

Before I had my first child, I attended WeightWatchers and successfully lost about 15kg (just over 2 stone), so I was at a healthy weight for my height when I had baby number 1. After baby, I lost the excess weight by walking a LOT (I delivered and collected census forms, which took 3 weeks of walking for about 4 hours a day, every day), so when I got pregnant with baby 2 I was pretty well back to my pre-baby weight. Now I am about 7kg above my pre-baby weight, and about 10kg out of the healthy weight range for my height.
I have discovered that trying to restrict my food intake with children around is impossible, unless I want to go insane, and I also found that the stress of trying to change my eating habits significantly tended to push me back towards bulimia, so I decided that food intake is just going to have to be left alone. I know I ought to drink more water, but other than that my diet is reasonable.

I think that the only way I can go now is learn to accept the changes that have come about through childbirth and breastfeeding, and make an effort to be more physically active.

I was thinking about how womens bodies change when they have children, and I came to the conclusion that the physical changes are similar to the changes we experience at puberty - they are permanent, fairly sudden and relatively surprising (even though we know what MIGHT happen, everyone is different). Our breasts grow more tissue to supply mik, our hips widen to accomodate the baby and our hormone levels go insane.

The permanency is what I think I need to accept and work with.

My body has reached the next milestone in it's growth. Puberty began the process, and bearing children is the purpose of the pubescent changes. It's a neat little circle really. I have reached an important step and I simply need to go with the flow, as I did when I first grew breasts and found my bum getting wider!

I am no longer just woman-shaped, I am WOMANLY. Only women can bear children (at the moment!), so being the shape of a mother is an honor.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The spirit of Christmas

As an Atheist, I have been thinking what Christmas is all about for me and my family, and I think it's really all about getting together with your family, spending time with the children and giving people really ace presents.

I love giving presents, and I pride myself in knowing exactly what people will like - I still worry that I didn't, but the look on people's faces when they open my gift is worth the stress if they do.

This year, there are a few children to get gifts for, including my own.  Now I usually give the Aunties and Uncles a jar of homemade jam or chutney with a nice lable featuring the children, but I am always at a loss for what to get for the littlies.  I hesitate to just buy generic plastic toys as they really show no thought, but I don't know the children well enough to get a good shop gift.  Also, what with moving house and everything we are pretty strapped for cash, so I decided to make gifts this year.  Finger puppets for the oldest and youngest, a sock Santa for the middle girl and a toy duck for the middle boy.  They are pretty cool, even if I do say so myself!  I've made similar for my own children over the year, so I reckon they are tried and tested designs.

I was a little worried that homemade gifts might seem a little cheap to some people, but then I read this article: Walmart worked trampled by shoppers and I realised that maybe it was the best idea afterall.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No time for me

It seems that I do a lot of stuff online. I seem to join everything people send me, so I am trying to limit the places I have to update by pointing all those other ones at Facebook (which this blog automatically copies too - yay!).
I was playing a lot of games on Facebook and doing all sort of poking, jumping, zombie fighting, playing word games and growing trees, but I have ruthlessly deleted and blocked all applications and now only look at photos and walls.

The reason for refusing to play Scrabble/give you a fish/find out which garden ornament I am? Time. Simply, I do not have the time.

After doing my accounts; updating my website and this blog; updating and checking on mates on Facebook and Twitter; writing the Secular Marriage Course (which is behind schedule again!); working on the Ruapeka website and updating various groups on Facebook and Bebo; checking emails on gmail, xtra, hotmail and yahoo (mine, home, Tareka and Ruapeka) I tend to find it's getting a bit late! I can only really sit down at the PC after 8pm which is when the kids are usually asleep, and that's only on the days Tareka is working. Once I've done all the above, it's usually close to 10pm and if I want to ever read another novel again I either log off then and read, or (more likely than not), spend some time on message boards talking to mates in the UK and around the world, then read by torchlight (so I don't disturb Tareka). I seem to be getting to sleep after midnight most nights.

Now, if I was even more ruthless, I could probably get to bed by 10pm, but then I miss out on that vital "me time" which keeps me from completely losing my sense of identity. I know couple of decent night's sleep will sort me out, so they tend to happen when Tareka is off-shift, but if we're away at the Marae (as we were this last off-shift) that doesn't happen at all!

So. If I ignore your virtual poke, or virtual pet rock, please don't be offended. , I am just trying to prioritise!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All at once!

Why is it that just when I feel like I am getting on top of things, I get swamped again? I think I have a pathological need to do stuff constantly.

The house is all decorated, and now we're moving onto cleaning up the outside. It's really just weeding and edging to do now, so not too much to do. We have listed it privately on TradeMe and also with a Real Estate agent well known for selling houses in our area. We're listing at a pretty low price, which we were recommended to do seeing as how the market is so bad, so we have a good chance of selling within our timeframe (by the end of March 2009). We've also had an offer verbally accepted on a place in Waitakaruru - 5 acres, 4 bedrooms etc etc! We have to do a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the paperwork, and then we have 15 days to get building and land inspections done. After that, once our place is sold we go unconditional! We could still lose it with all the conditions, but I'm not worried. There are loads more coming on the market that would suit us!

So, we listed our property today with the Real Estate agent, and she brought someone round this afternoon to look at it!! Talk about keen!

On top of that, I have been talking to our local Toy Library, and they are struggling for funding. Everything they applied for this year has been refused and they need at least $7200 per year to pay wages for the Library Co-ordinator, and rent. I wrote to our local paper asking if they would help me to launch an appeal to save them, thinking I wouldn't hear back very quickly, and they came back to me within the hour saying OK! So now I have to create an appeal to launch!! Bother!

Anyway, Tareka has just come back from his fishing trip and we have paperwork to sort before heading down to the Marae for the weekend!

I need a 48 hour day to get things done...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nearly Christmas? You're kidding me...

Blimey. It's almost halfway through November already, and I haven't posted.

Where to start...?

The attempt to toilet-train Mapera overnight was a bad idea, so we are back in the pull-ups. Instead, she has a sticker chart for going to the toilet as soon as she wakes up in the morning, as she tends to need the toilet first thing. It's going OK in that she is going, but she is needing to be reminded quite often. She's about halfway through her chart, so I am hoping the 21 days to learn a new habit will work on my busy little girl.
Daytimes are sorted now, she's taking herself off to the loo quite happily and rarely has an accident.

Daycare is proving fantastic for her social development, she has 2 close friends and comes home full of stories and songs and games, which is delightful.

Also, I recall reading something where an atheist family were looking to start the secular equivalent of grace before meals, and it seems I've hit on a good one from Mapera's cross-religious daycare:

"for family, whanau, friends and food, we say ka pai and thank you"

Mapera has taken to saying this before meals, and I try and follow with a round of thank yous - each person has to say thank you to someone else for something. It's a nice way of reminding each other that we are appreciated too.

Life continues apace, and I am actually on track with most of my projects for the first time! I've finished knitting Mapera's toy duck which she loves. I am now making Kaitereo one to prevent arguments!
We're well on track with the decorating of the house, and we're in the process of looking for somewhere bigger and with more land, so watch this space!
I've also decided to send proper Christmas cards this year, as I had a stock of homemade cards in the cupboard.

Finally, I am attempting to write a secular version of the Marriage Course manual. I attended the course and felt that it's religious base was not very relevant to me, although the actual practical exercises and advice were extremely useful. I've emailed the course providers to ask their permission to do this, and if I get the OK, I'll be making it freely available online to anyone who wants it! It's a mammoth project though, with using quotes and poetry, I'll need to get copy write permission for a lot of it. I'm going to use my own experiences where I can too.

So, busy as usual!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Toilet Training

Well, I ran out of pull-ups for Mapera yesterday, so I thought we'd try and see if she can go through the night dry. She had a little mishap just before lights out, but once she figured that the nappy was definitely not there, she took herself to the loo 3 times.
I just took her (half asleep) at about 9 and I've got my alarm set for 11pm and 3am - I'm hoping she'll make it to the morning as she tends to wake up around 6.30.

I've told her that this is a trial run, but once we get a dry night (that is, her either being dry all night, or at least going to the loo alone) she can have a prize. We have stamps for dry nights with my help.

Wish me luck!


In other news, I have been making recycled paper out of old cardboard tubes and scrap paper and it's worked!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's been too long

Well, I think I may now actually have some time to get back into blogging. I have decided to stop the piece-work, and so free up my evenings for my "real" work of managing a household and all that this entails!

There were two things that spurred me into action with regards the piece-work: the first was a particularly unpleasant conversation with the lady who manages the out-workers, in which she called me a slacker and said I was not quick or efficient enough to have decent equipment (I am paraphrasing, but this is the message she was telling me). I sent her a letter of complaint and heard absolutely nothing. Not even an "I got your letter". I decided that the little bit of pocket money was NOT worth putting up with that kind of attitude.

The second thing that made me seriously re-think my working plans was the Marriage Course that my husband and I are attending. On one evening, we learned about "effective communication", and our homework was to discuss issues that had been bothering us, and make a point of listening PROPERLY to each other. The upshot of me and Tareka talking and listening so effectively, was Tareka asking me "what is the main reason you are doing this work?" and I said, without having to think about it, "making a financial contribution to this family".

Now we have our budget and our finances carefully worked out to allow us to live comfortably on one income, so there is NO NEED for me to do any paid work, but it seems that my subconscious belief is that I should be making money in order to have value. I think that my influences over my life have led me to believe (no matter how much I extol the virtues of the job of Mother) that I am not doing a "proper" job, unless I am being paid for it.

This is patently ridiculous, as parenting is one of the most varied, difficult and rewarding jobs anyone can undertake, yet I still actively seek out MORE work in order to gain some sort of monetary return! It's insane.

Once I sat and talked it through with Tareka, I had an epiphany. I do not WANT to do anything else! I got a degree in Ecology, which I use daily by teaching my children about the environment, nature, science, conservation and the joy of learning; I worked in various paid roles doing pointless, stressful work where I got a wage, but no satisfaction; and now I am running a household and raising my children, I don't think I have ever been more creative, more challenged or more satisfied by anything else in my life.

There is still a big part of me that feels I have failed in some way, if I don't use that degree, and those years of work experience, so I compiled CV containing all that I do NOW as Mother and Household Manager (housewife I may be, but damn it check the list, I'm virtually a CEO!):

Curriculum Vitae for Mother - Louise Ratcliffe

Financial - budget planning, forecasting, budget allocation, purchasing, banking, accounting

Logistics - schedule planning, appointment booking, transportation, managing 4 individual diaries

Creative - Knitting, sewing, creating gifts and cards at short notice, creating toys for children out of cardboard and string, storytelling, singing, playing flute, piano, guitar; running a Mainly Music group for 40 under 3 year olds plus parents; costume design

Maintenance - laundry service, cleaning service, organising service

Catering - menu planning on a budget; cooking, growing and preserving fruit and vegetables

Other skills - dancing, athletics and gymnastics, early childcare (0-3 yrs), computing, writing, swimmming (including teaching), science teacher

All that, and I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back on board

Quick update, more to come:

  • Back from 5 days away with Omi and Opi
  • Kaitereo over 1 chest infection, but might have another :(
  • Mapera behaving like an angel thanks to Mummy's new techniques - thank you Diane Levy!
  • Kaitereo now with 6 teeth and confirmed hands and knees forward motion!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poorly sick

My poor baby, contending with eczema and a cough and cold, not to mention new teeth steadily carving their way through her little gums, has just spent the evening vomiting for no obvious reason.
Her temperature is normal, she has no other symptoms and she seems to be fine now she has puked everything out of her little tummy.
Tareka and I were trying to think what might have caused it - guessing it was something she ate - and we remembered she had had an identical episode a few weeks ago. The only common link was pork - ham the first time, and a cheerio mini sausage this time.
I have had tummy troubles with pork myself which worsened with each pregnancy to the point where I had to avoid it completely when pregnant with Kaitereo, would it be possible that she has the same thing? We're keeping an eye on her over the next couple of days, but I think it would be safe to eliminate pork from her diet for the foreseeable future.

Other than that, both children are coming on in leaps and bounds, Mapera quite literally as she is learning to sing and dance, and enjoying our weekly music and movement group a lot more. Kaitereo is still not crawling, but she is deceptively mobile, seemingly able to shuffle around the floor either on bottom or tummy (backwards) with surprising speed!

My Dad is over visiting us for 6 weeks and Mum will be here next week, so I am looking forward to some R&R!


In other news, I am attending a Parents Inc Parenting Toolbox course, and training to be a course facilitator. I am doing the 0-6yrs course and hope to be trained within a couple of months!
I will keep this blog posted.

Session 1:
We outlined the general types of parents we tend to see
  • the Sargent Major
  • the Jellyfish
  • the TooBusy
  • the Parent Coach
Basically, we're all more-or-less one type with elements of all the others, and we're striving (through the course) to become a Parent Coach type.
We looked at how our parents parented us, and how this might affect our own parenting style and we talked about how the course is not designed to make you feel bad, or tell you that you're doing it wrong, more to provide you with useful tools (hence Toolbox!) to deal with everyday situations that we all face and find hard.
We have homework each week, and this weeks was to "do something wacky" with your child. I got the face-paints out and Mapera, Kaitereo and I painted Monster Faces on each other and took pictures of ourselves pulling scary faces.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Around the world

I'm joining a little online game with Fiskars, the scrapbook people. Click the link, add a comment with your name and country and tell them I sent you!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Breastfeeding blues

Well Kaitereo has discovered how to use here nice shiny sharp teeth - ouch! She has been biting me when she is feeding, so I have been unlatching her and putting her on the ground in an effort to stop her. Unfortunately, this has become a downward spiral:

She bites - I stop feeding - my milk production decreases - Kaitereo can't get enough milk out, so she bites...and so on

I started expressing in order to keep her on breast milk, but avoid the biting, and that is when I discovered just how low my supply is, so we have bought some formula to supplement.
Now I never had any trouble feeding Mapera and she kept going til 13 months, when I weaned her straight onto cows milk. I don't have a problem with formula, it's made for babies and it serves a purpose, but I still feel like I have somehow failed my second baby.

I wanted to feed her myself until she turned 1, and I was even OK to do it via the bottle, but to have to supplement makes me feel rotten, like my body is not working properly. I've been looking up how to increase supply and I'm trying to drink more water and get more rest (both easier said than done), and I also made a batch of Tigers Milk - which was fine until the yeast woke up, and turned it into a fizzy banana milkshake - BLEUGH! I am also expressing like crazy, but it takes over 20 minutes to get 100mls.

Now I know the formula is there to help me until I can get the supply up, but it feels so wrong. I've already failed at using washable nappies 100% of the time as Kaitereo got really bad nappy rash in them overnight, so she is in disposables for night time; and Mapera is in pull-ups as I haven't found a washable equivalent that holds enough liquid yet.


Can anyone give me some ideas for boosting milk supply? Or just make me feel like I haven't completely failed my second child.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Holiday fun

Well we just did our first holiday with both girls. We've been away with them before, but that was a mad fly-drive south for a funeral. This was a little road trip to Tauranga to a nice little holiday park with hot pools.
This is what we bought the big gas-guzzling van for! We strapped the babies in, loaded the back up with portacot, buggy, bed linen, suitcases of clothes and nappies, food, drink, spare clothes, raincoats, toys, more toys books and a change of undies for me and off we went.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, mainly because I was either in the water, or carrying a child in one hand and a bag of nappies in the other, but I did take a few. Find me on Facebook if you want a look.
We had a great week and I think the mineral water in the pools really helped Kaitereo's eczema as it seems to be healing up a lot. She still has the dry patches, but the red-raw rash is gone.

We spent the first 3 nights at Omokoroa Holiday park in a cute little unit with 2 bedrooms and so many beds Mapera couldn't decide where she wanted to sleep. She ended up on the bottom bunk just like at home!! She wanted to go to bed straight away and spent a happy half hour playing on each of the beds and putting her baby to bed as well.
Kaitereo really loved the hot pools, and we were in them every morning and evening. She was laughing and splashing like a loon. Mapera is getting a lot more confident in the water now, and we got her a set of water wings so she could swim without our help. When she starts lessons again next term, she'll be on her own in the pool with just the instructor! No more help from Mummy...I'm really proud but also very nervous.
I've decided to try and teach Kaitereo myself now, so she can have lessons while Mapera is having hers. I'll probably get Kaitereo into classes when she reaches the stage of needing to swim without my help.

I've wandered off the subject of our holiday, so back we go. On our last day we decided to stay another night, but the place we were in was booked, so we headed off to Rotorua to see what was there. We found another Thermal Holiday Park with a cool cabin (bunk beds in the corridor for Mapera!) and 4 hot pools. We let Mapera have loads of rubbish to eat and drink, but I think I have finally weaned her off the bottle. We forgot to take hers with us so I suggested we just give her warm milk in a cup before bed, and she loved it!
I've decided to keep it up at home, but she realised her "blue cup" (bottle) was in the cupboard when we got back, so tonight we had a minor tantrum when I told her she was having a cup.

We bathed in the pools, went to a cool animal park, ate out ALL the time and just relaxed. Mapera behaved like an angel, and so despite the mountains of luggage we seemed to need, I think we could cope with another holiday like that!
Both the girls have got straight back into normal routine, and I think it's because we pretty much kept it the same over the holiday - no TV, meal times and sleep times not too different and plenty of fresh air. Poor Kaitereo has the cough that we've all had, and I thought she had avoided. I can't give her any cough mixture as she's under 2 and she is not sleeping well, poor mite.


Well I wrote that a few days ago and have only now got round to posting it 3 days after we got home! Kaitereo has been given a once-over by the doctor, and the cough is nothing to worry about - I was concerned that it had gone into her chest as an infection. She seems to be recovering too, sleeping better definitely.

Mapera got some new books on holiday, and we have a new favourite: The Gruffalo. I looked for it as I'd heard good things about it and I was not disappointed. I do think I have heard the basic story somewhere before though, maybe an Aesops fable or something? Can anyone out there enlighten me??

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pinetarsol bath

This is what we have to bathe our poor itchy baby in:

Friday, June 13, 2008


I've been treating Kaitereo's rash as a nappy rash and teething rash for months, but it has been spreading in little patches onto areas where she is not under a nappy or dribbling. I took her to the doctors to rule out skin problems and maybe get some useful advice and it turns out she has eczema.
Poor little mite, she's been suffering for ages! I asked the doctor if there were any ways to treat it that didn't involve steroid cream, and he said no.
So...I got the prescription: steroid cream twice a day for 2 weeks, aqueous cream every time I change or bathe her and pinetarsol for the bath.

I REAAALLLLYY don't want to use steroid creams on her unless nothing else works, so I'm going to try cutting out wheat from her diet for 2 weeks instead, along with moisturising her skin and avoiding soaps. She's keeping the teething necklace on, as I think it is helping with her teething and it won't do any harm.

I've got the steroid cream so if it gets worse or doesn't improve I will use it. UNLESS someone out there has a tried and tested remedy they can recommend. *hopeful face*

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Granny is gone

My Granny, who was always fit as a flea and full of life, collapsed on Sunday morning and was rushed to hospital.
She was in intensive care but they could do nothing for her. Her blood pressure dropped and she slipped away with her 2 daughters and her husband by her bedside.

I have just spent the last 24 hours agonising about whether or not I should go. I'd have to take the baby with me as she is still breastfeeding, but she doesn't have a passport and my returning residence visa is out of date.
Part of me - the emotional part - just wants to jump on a plane with the baby and go and be with my family, but the rational part of me is saying it's crazy to scramble all the paperwork together and drag myself across the world. My Grandpa told me not to come, he was worried about me and bub making the trip.

So, I have decided to stay here and get my papers organised properly, then go back early next year when one of my cousins is getting married. I am consoling myself with the thoughts that I managed to get a text to Mum when she was with Granny, telling Gran that I loved her; that Gran would really like me to be at my cousin's wedding and that she got so meet her first great-grandchild at least.

I'm sending this to my Dad for him to read out for me at the funeral:

I remember my Granny

I remember my Granny's hands, tough from work and gardening
I remember my Mum threatening me "Granny will smack you with her rough hands"
and Granny growling

I remember my Granny's smile and her chuckle, warm and genuine and full of love.
I remember the secret thrill of seeing her without her teeth in.

I remember her kitchen in the early morning, cutting crosses in sprouts ready for the roast,
Eating the odd one, cabbagey and hot.

I remember visiting my Granny to present her first great-grandchild.
My Granny crawling around on the floor with my baby,
3 generations apart and no age gap.

I remember my Granny and her sister, together at last after too long.
Arm in arm, tripping down the prom, giggling like schoolgirls.

I remember my Granny and Grandpa after some difficult times.
Quietly holding hands and strolling in the sunshine, together again.

I remember looking for pretty broaches for my Granny,
so she could wear my gifts without her allergy flaring up.

I remember my Granny's writing,
clear and rounded and echoed in my Mum's

I remember my Granny's dressing table,
Hairspray, moisturiser, hairbrush, mirror.

I remember being at home, trying to get up before my Granny in the morning.
I never did it.

Seeing my Granny in my kitchen in her rollers and dressing gown,
meant it was Christmas.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Awww my babies are growing up

Mapera has been telling us interesting stories. I am constantly amazing how she absorbs information from the world around her, and turns it into something new.
Today she told Daddy that she was in the naughty corner on the bus, because she was "smoking a fag". I laughed so hard I nearly cried!! We've told her that Nana is naughty for smoking; she's been for a ride on a bus; the naughty corner is a severe punishment; but I would swear blind I've never said "fag" to her! Where do they get it from?

Kaitereo finally got her 2 bottom teeth, they popped through within hours of each other. She had 1 in the morning when she got up and number 2 appeared just after lunch. Big relief all round.

She's also learned to wave:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Night lights and teeth

Well time for an update I think.

Kaitereo has been teething for the last 3 or 4 months, and still no teeth are poking through the gums. I can see the white dot of one just sitting under the surface, but they are stubbornly refusing to break through. This is causing my poor baby a nasty rash under her chin from all the dribble. I showed the rash to a friend of mine who looks after children, and she recommended an amber teething necklace. Now I consider myself to be an "open-minded sceptic" when it comes to things that my husband refers to as "ju-ju magic", in that I don't necessarily believe in them, but I'll give them a try if they have worked for someone I know. (I applied this logic to homeopathy and blow me, it worked on me and my cat!) I will let you know if they work! If they do, it will be well worth the money, as they work on both baby teeth and adult teeth coming through, and we are planning to have more children!

Mapera is coming on in leaps and bounds in her development. She is thoroughly into the "terrible twos" and I am pretty sure they will continue into the "troublesome threes". She IS getting much better at coming and asking for help when something frustrates her, rather than simply screaming incoherently and throwing her dolly at the wall, but she is so determined to do everything for herself.
Now she has got the hang of her light she is staying in her bed at night like a little angel, the only trouble is, we are trying to get her to go to the toilet at night now! It seems that the minute you get your child to understand and comply with one rule, then you have to go and break it to get them onto the next stage!! We are encouraging her to get up and go to the toilet if she needs a "mimi" or "teko" and she will get up now, but she was refusing to go into the dark bathroom, for fear of TROLLS (thank you, traditional fairytales!). SO, we got her a little night-light that sticks on the wall just where she can reach around the door, and press it on. This is now a delightful novelty, and she spent a happy hour last night getting up for a mimi then saying she didn't want to go and playing with the light.

How DO you explain to a 2year and 9month old that they are not allowed to get up at night unless they need the toilet, and that the light is just there for the toilet and not for playing and when they've finished they need to turn the light off and go back to bed and they don't need to shout for Mummy and Daddy unless they've done poos?
It's such a complicated concept, I am surprised I am even attempting it!


A friend of mine has bought a book off the internet on how to potty train your 22 month old in 3DAYS! She is spending this long weekend attempting to do it, and I have promised to buy her lunch if it works.
I'm not sure how good it is for a child to do such an intensive course, but I wish Mapera had trained in 3 days, rather than the 9 months it has taken. I consider her fully toilet trained, despite the odd accident, as she is capable of knowing when she needs the toilet and taking herself off. She tends to have accidents if she gets involved in playing and simply leaves it too late. I do try and take her to the loo if I think she needs to go (we call it "doing the mimi dance") and she usually complies if I reassure her that she can come straight back to playing when she's finished.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A note to all parents...

Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 2:30,
The nappies soaked a little longer,
Their odour grew a little stronger,
The crumbs I spilt the day before,
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall,
Will likely still be there next fall.
The dirty streaks on those window panes,
Will still be there next time it rains.
“For shame, oh lazy one” you say,
“And just what have you done today?”
I nursed a baby till she slept
I held a toddler while she wept
I played a game of hide and seek
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak
I pulled a wagon; sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess its true.
Unless you think that what I’ve done,
Might be important to someone,
With bright blue eyes and soft blond hair.
If that is true, I’ve done my share.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day in New Zealand, and America I think. I joked to Tareka that he could make me a card while he was on night shift. I half-expected him to make me a little card, but I NEVER expected what he did do.
Remember, he finished work around 2am and got in around 3am

Table set for breakfast for me and the girls

Little note letting me know where to find the food.

Hand made card

Enough pikelets to feed a small village!!

Yes he had come home from work at 3am and cooked me and my babies pikelets, then set the table and arranged everything so all I'd have to do when I got up was boil the kettle for my cup of coffee.

I think I'm falling in love all over again :)

Father Christmas

I've just read a post on a friend's blog that reminded me of something Mapera did recently.

We were in the bank, waiting to see someone about the mortgage, when an elderly gent with a white beard, and driving a motorised wheelchair came in. Mapera immediately spotted him and asked her current question de jour "what's his name?". I said I didn't know, and what did she think and she thought about it, took a good look at him and said "Father Christmas".

Now, baring in mind that when she met "Father Christmas" at a Christmas party last year, she howled and did not like him at all, this next bit made me very happy.

I said did she want to ask him if he was Father Christmas, and she said yes, so Tareka waited til he'd finished at the counter and asked the nice old man if our daughter could ask him a question. She asked "what's your name?" and he told her it was Robert, but that most people called him Bob, then Tareka prompted her to ask her other question and she did, very shyly ask if he was Father Christmas...he asked if she wanted a present and her little 2 year old eyes lit up. Bless the dear old fella but he reached into his pocket and gave my daughter a $2 coin. Tareka and I thanked him profusely and got Mapera to say thank you too. I said to her "he really was Father Christmas, wasn't he?".

The look of amazement on her face was priceless.

This is what I love about kids. She didn't even notice the wheelchair, she just wanted to know if he was Father Christmas, and you know, he never said he wasn't :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doctor, doctor

Well this weekend Tareka and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and a total of just under 9 years together. As he is working tonight (the 10th) we arranged to go out on the Friday for the day, leaving the girls with their Nana and Poppa.

We had a great day out, ate lunch where we felt like it without checking for highchairs or child-friendly food items, watched a film in a real cinema (rather than a DVD on the computer after the kids are asleep), came home to give the girls a goodnight kiss then back out again for a fantastic dinner out at a new Indian & Thai restaurant (a strange combination, but it worked beautifully).

The girls slept well (we all stayed over) apart from a 3am wake up by Mapera having done poos. This is very unusual for her, but I know she will have been holding onto it. She's not very good at going anywhere but at home at the moment. Fortunately, Mapera sleeps in Nana and Poppas room when we stay over, so darling Nana dealt with it.

I was planning a morning lie in, but the baby needed feeding and Tareka needed to sleep in as he's on nights, so I got up. I don't think I slept well as I woke up tired, sore and grumpy. All bad ingredients when it comes to tired toddlers and demanding, teething babies.
I got home in the new van, planning to have a bit of a sit down, then do some tidying while the girls had their afternoon sleep. I was then going to work after they went to bed and then have an early night myself in preparation for an early wake up on Sunday.

This Sunday is Mother's Day over here, but I was to be spending the day with one child staying at a friend's house while I attended a committee meeting 3 hours drive away. More about that another time. I didn't mind, I'd known about the meeting for months, and Tareka was working. Besides we'd just had a lovely day off for our anniversary.

Now, last Monday, Mapera cut her foot at Puna Reo Playgroup and I'd been trying to keep it clean and covered ever since, but since I live in a land where people go baref0ot all year round this had been proving difficult. I thought the cut had been healing until I took Mapera's plaster off tonight and was confronted with an evil looking, weeping blister-like sore, along with an ominous red line radiating from the wound across the bottom of her foot.

This caused me to do 2 things. The first thought was of a children's book I had read where a character had an infected thumb and the red lines started running up his arm, and his children were told that if the line reached his heart he would die. I even remember what the book was called "Emil and his clever pig". Strange the things we remember in times of stress.
Secondly I made a lot of phone calls - Tareka to tell him I was going to the emergency doctor and wasn't going anywhere tomorrow, the doctor to get the man to the clinic asap and the father-in-law to tell him to send my apologies to the committee (he's going too).

I packed the two kids into the new van (I am now eternally grateful for my husband's need to get this new van bought immediately) and raced down to the doctors. He reassured me in his delightfully calm and Dutch manner that the red lines were nothing to worry about, and even told me to look up lymphangitis on the internet to reassure myself further. He also gave me a course of antibiotics for Mapera there and then (no going to the all night pharmacy in the next town YAY!). So I bundled them both back into the car (amid much tantrumming from Mapera who wanted to "go and see the doctor" "you've just seen him darling" "no I haven't" "yes you have now sit down in your car seat before I count to 3" ARGH) and went home again.

I started trying to tidy up and get back to normal, so I popped the nappy bucket under the hot tap to fill ready for the nappies from today, then phoned Tareka and the Father-in-law to update them, then started looking up lymphangitis on the internet.

About 4o minutes later the baby woke up so I went to her room to check up and OH NO! I'd left the tap running into the nappy bucket and the water was now cold and brown. I had emptied the hot water cylinder completely.

So. Now I am here, having tried to clean up while listening to a soothing Radio 4 play and failing. I am overwhelmed by tiredness; the amount of cleaning and tidying I need to do just to get the house to "normal" standard; the work I haven't done; and the underlying feeling of terror that my child will get very sick in the night and I might not hear her...

...and when people ask me if I work, I say no.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Light of my life

Life is toddling along at a normal pace now. School holidays are over, so I now have regular activities to occupy my perpetual-motion toddler. Seriously, how is it that she can literally never stop moving? If I jumped around and ran and skipped and hopped and rolled and danced and wobbled and joggled and wriggled and squirmed half as much as Mapera does, I'd be stick-thin!! Maybe that's the secret to losing the baby weight - losing weight the toddler way...hmmm.

She is definitely improving with her behaviour, and I put it down to better sleep. Up til recently Mapera has been waking every night (without fail) at around 2 or 3 am (just when you're getting your high quality REM sleep) and standing at her door shouting for us to let her out. She has a gate on the door after I nearly suffered a nervous breakdown following a full week of getting up 5 or 6 times a night to put Mapera back in her own bed.

We were racking our brains as to how to break this habit with her, and we found an answer one day when she was playing dens. She sleeps in the bottom of a set of bunks, and Daddy hung a sheet all around the top bunk so her bed was completely enclosed. She wanted the den up when she went to bed, so we happily left it in place. The next morning we were awoken to the usual "Mummy! Please you take my gate off?!" but I didn't feel like it was the middle of the night. When I looked at the clock it was 5am! Although this was still to early for me to even consider getting up, it was a marked improvement on the previous wake up time. Fortunately, Mapera went back to bed without much fuss and woke up again at the normal time of 6.30.

So, we had moved the initial wake up to a slightly more civilised hour, but I really want Mapera to learn to stay in her room until it's time to get up, even if she is awake. She was coming in to our bed for a morning snooze, but recently, she's not been going back to sleep, and it's not easy to relax with a 2 1/2 year old poking their fingers into your ears.
She has all her toys and bears and dollies, so she could theoretically play happily in her bed til it was time to get up for breakfast.

Tareka hit upon a plan to put a light on a timer in her room. We got an old bedside lamp, a plug in timer and rigged it up well out of reach. We sat Mapera down and explained to her that the light would come on when it was time to get up. If she woke up and the light was off, she had to stay in her bed, if it was on she could call out to us that it was time to get up.
She was really keen on the whole plan and happily repeated the instructions back to us (especially the bit about getting up and calling "Mummy, the light is on!"). So we crossed our fingers and went to bed.

At ar0und 3am a little voice called out in the darkness "Mummy, the light is on!"


I got up, checked that it wasn't actually on and pointed this out to Mapera, who agreed that it was off and that she should get back into bed.

Then at 7am, just as the news came on the radio alarm in our room, our little voice piped up again "Mummy, the light is on!". Looks like we may have got it after all.

We've now been using the light trick for about a week, and apart from that first night, Mapera has not called us before 7am ONCE!! I'm going to give her another week with the gate on the door and if she's still waiting til the light comes on, I may be able to take it off at last!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hurrah! Website!

Thanks to THIS wonderful person I have a little corner of the internet all to myself!

It's still under construction and as I am learning html as I go along, it's slow going. BUT IT'S THERE! Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bad Mummy

Well, this blog seems to be a bit of a schizophrenic caper from my life as a Mum, to various ways of attempting to make money.

Today is about parenting. How not to do it.

Bad Parenting 101:
1. Ensure you go to bed late every night (hell, the kids are only going to wake you up anyway!)
2. When your baby wakes every hour, go in and stuff a dummy in their mouth (it's night time, they don't need anything else)
3. When your toddler climbs into bed with you at 4.30am, whisper angrily at them to be quiet every time they say "Mum" (they definitely know they are supposed to just snuggle up and go back to sleep, you've told them enough times)
4. Get up at 6.30am and stomp into the kitchen telling your skipping 2 year old that they can only have cereal (you can't be bothered to follow their usual routine, surely they can deal with that, can't they?)
5. Decide that you will stop giving the baby a dummy on the same day your toddler gets an ear infection, and after you've all had 3 nights of nicely broken sleep (I'll cope, what's one more sleepless night?)
6. Spend 1.5 hours at bedtime repeatedly taking toddler to bathroom for "poos" and waking tired baby (who is suffering from dummy withdrawal) in order to avoid a potential toilet accident, but knowing toddler is really stalling.
7. Give up and give baby the dummy.

Ah, bad parenting at it's finest.

I now have 2 sleeping children - thanks to the Pamol (Calpol) and the dummy.

One good thing to come out of all this, after spending a day getting Kaitereo to settle herself without a dummy, now when she wakes at night, I can leave her for a few minutes and she'll go back to sleep....won't she?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Hats available now: (please note sizes are approximate)

Large Green - fits 9 to 12 months

Large Gray (pink ribbon detail) - fits 9 to 12 months

Large Sage - fits 9 to 12 months

Med Multi - fits 6-9 months

Med Red - fits 6-9 months (button fastened)

Med Blue - fits 6-9 months

Med Sage - fits 6-9 months (button fastened)

Small Red Speckle - fits 3-6 months

Small Green - fits 3-6 months

Small Cream, Blue Band - fits 3-6 months

NB Blue Striped - fits newborn

NB White with Lace & Ribbon edge - fits newborn

NB Cream Speckled - fits newborn

NB Gray Speckled - fits newborn

All hats are priced at $10 (that's New Zealand dollars) and include postage within NZ. If you are overseas, drop me an email with your details and I'll send you a price based on current exchange rates, and the cost of postage to your country.

Website on hold

For various reasons, my website for selling my lovely hats is on hold. I've been building a pretty little site in my nice little HTML program, but I have yet to find someone to host it. I can't afford to pay for web hosting, so I'm looking for a freebie (any offers?).
Until then I will post pictures of my hats for sale HERE!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Knitting up a storm

I have my first official order for a pixie hood! A friend in the UK has asked for one for her 8 month old, but wanted it to fit next winter. It's nearly winter here in NZ, but I assumed she was talking about the UK winter :) so he'll be getting on for 15 months by then. I've knitted the hat part, so now I need to do the tie and then sew it all together. It's come out a bit larger than I planned as the wool is a little thicker that I've used before, but it's slightly larger than the one I had of Mapera when she was about 1year old, so it should fit nicely!

The hat has taken just under a week to knit, as I do an hour or 2 a day/evening. The strap should take less time.

I'll ask her to send me some pictures once she gets it!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Projects a-go-go!

Current list as of today:

  • Knitting - pixie hoods are now in "mass" production, and I am planning on setting up a website to sell them. Once the website is done, I will be heading up to the local maternity hospital with a business card, and poster!
  • Website - following on from above I have now purchased a domain name ($25 for the year, not bad) and am waiting to hear back from an NZ web hoster, who may be able to host a simple site for free for me! Woo! I am planning a simple catalogue sort of page, and people will have to email me their orders.
  • Scrapbooking - I have a "girls" album in progress for Mapera and Kaitereo, and I think the next page will be their Christmas photo.
  • Decorating - we're planning to sell up this place and move to somewhere bigger with more land. In order to do this, we need to finish the decorating on this house (which we have lived in for nearly 3 years and not done yet!). I insisted that we make a start so that we can possibly start looking for a new place at the end of this year. We've started stripping the wallpaper in the spare bedroom, and it's going to take a while!
The only other projects on are the new job I started, doing piece work for Black Magic Tackle. They send me out work orders for various lures or flies and I tie the hooks. Then they go back to Black Magic to be made into fishing rigs.

Back again

At last, an evening to myself to catch up on my admin (see: online scrabble games) and write something in my blog!
I stopped looking after my friend's boys last week, and Mapera is missing them a bit. She is more demanding of my attention now, but she has also come on in leaps and bounds with her language development. We had the lady from PAFT visit, and Mapera went up to her while she was writing and asked "Are you finished with the pen? When you are finished I will have a turn" The lady was amazed! I felt like a bit of a smug parent then!

Mapera has also been testing boundaries this week. She is not a "naughty" child, but she likes to try and do something that is almost, but not quite, the opposite of what you have asked her to do (or not do). A typical exchange goes like this:

Mummy: Mapera, please sit down on the chair
Mapera: [standing] I just jump
Mummy: No jumping, sit DOWN please
Mapera: [kneeling] I just go on my knees like this
Mummy: Sit down properly on your bottom please
Mapera: [flinging herself across the sofa] woa!
Mummy: Sit down before I count to 3
Mapera: [looks at me to see if I mean it]
Mummy: ONE
Mapera: [kneeling]
Mummy: TWO
Mapera: [rolling about]
Mummy: THREE
Mapera promptly sits on her bottom just as Mummy reaches THREE and looks at me.


The 123 thing does work most of the time, but we always reach 3. Tareka has been known to count to 3 twice, but I soon corrected that! Daddy may have to go in the naughty corner for 34 minutes one day!

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to keep myself on track with projects. I think I will have a look back at my original list and see where I am at....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perfect children

I recently caught up with an old friend via her blog, and she posted a great blog about how perfect her kids are, and it got me thinking about my own.

My kids are perfect too. They do exactly what children are supposed to do! I'll give you my two current favourite examples:

Just a couple of days ago, Mapera came running up the corridor shouting "Mum! Mum!" so I popped my head round the door to see what she wanted. She had my breast pump in one hand and was pulling up her jumper with the other when she demanded "Mum! Fix this to my booby!"

Yesterday we were trying pomegranates for the first time, and I noticed Mapera trying to push a seed up her nose. I promptly took it off her and told her a very stern "no!", thinking thank goodness I spotted that in time.
After dinner, she was unusually whingy and kept rubbing her nose...yes the seed I had stopped was number 2 and number 1 was firmly lodged up her right nostril. I thanked my lucky stars I had managed to teach her how to blow her nose, so I covered one nostril and told her to blow hard. To Mapera's great delight, the little red seed popped out and flew across the room.

I'll be storing these stories and many more I'm sure in preparation for 21st birthday parties, or maybe even wedding days!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pictures of the Pollywogs

Terry the Tadpole is joyous!

Terry and his friends, Arfur, Dave and Chisholm

Terry has LEGS!

Tadpoles like spaghetti too.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tadpoles and tantrums

Well, I have a week off from looking after the boys, and so I thought I would get up to date on the blog. They've been great kids to look after, not needing to be watched constantly, playing nicely most of the time and generally being lovely. It's tiring, but nowhere near as crazy as I was expecting.

Last Friday we managed to get out for a forest walk for the first time in ages, and I am glad we went as Tareka found a pool full of TADPOLES! Mapera was most entranced by the "fishies" and luckily Daddy had a jam jar in the car, so we caught one and brought him home. Terry the Tadpole is now happily swimming around in a little goldfish bowl, complete with rocks, pond weed (which is sprouting new growth) and a teaspoon of catfood every couple of days. I think he is starting to get his legs, so watch this space!

Kaitereo had her first taste of solid food today, just plain baby rice mixed with cold boiled water. Once she realised what it was, she opened her mouth like a baby bird - I don't think we're going to have any trouble feeding this one! Mashed banana tomorrow, then I will start stocking up the ice-cube trays with fruit and veg purees.

Sunday saw us down in Tirau at Tareka's Marae for a committee meeting, the first we've attended since I was 38 weeks pregnant. It was great to hear all the progress that has happened in our absence, and it looks like our dreams for the development of the Marae will become a reality over the next few years!

Tomorrow my cousin Rich will be coming to stay for a few days, he just got into NZ from some little island where he was caught up in a tropical cyclone! Good job things are all calm here.

Well I am procrastinating again, I really should be finishing typing up the minutes from Sunday.

Pictures of the tadpole shortly!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I don't know how you do it

Spent the morning looking after 6 kids, all under 5. Then managed to get rid of 2 just after lunch, so had 4 til 6pm. Just got my mental 2yr old off to bed, hoping she is asleep now!

Wow. I've agreed to look after my friend's 2 boys for a couple of months as she is going back to work. Originally, her hubby was finishing his job end of January, and he was going to stay home and be a house husband. Yeah, right! Bless him, he's a lovely guy, but he really has no clue how hard it is to run a household and look after 2 kids. Anyway, he's wussed out and got another job starting beginning of Feb. Meanwhile, my friend got herself a job early, assuming she's be at work for at least 6 months, and could finally give hubby an idea of how much she actually does around the house (he is inclined to think she's lazy if the washing isn't done, or if the dinner isn't ready). This one is a contract til mid March, and she's expecting bub number 3 at the end of this year, so she'll stop when this contract's up. In the mean time, I'm minding the boys.

Today it was OK, the 4 of them get on fine, and they all keep each other amused, but my neighbours kids (who are ALWAYS wanting to come and play, I mean ALWAYS. From the minute I open the door in the morning, til after I put the baby to bed in the evening) came over for the morning. Now I can send them home anytime really, but I let them stay til lunchtime to see how I coped. I coped. But I lost my rag at my poor hubby who was trying to make helpful suggestions - !!

Tomorrow, I will only let them come over for an hour or so, and I'm not giving them lunch!

So now it's 10 to 9 at night, the 2 yr old is still awake cos she keeps getting up to go to the toilet. I have a mountain of dishes to do and a garden to tidy. So much for getting to bed early!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A few snatched minutes

Just managed to get both babies off to sleep after a coffee group, and Tareka is out fishing with a mate from the UK, so I have a couple of minutes to catch up.

Things are slowly getting back to normal after all the excitement of Christmas and Mapera is back into her normal routine without too much trouble. She is also almost toilet trained! We've been out with no nappy on a couple of times and she is learning to tell me when she needs to go, or taking herself to the loo if she knows where it is. I reckon we'll have it cracked before the end of the month!

Monday we did a big day trip to Miranda Hot Springs and I forgot to top up my sunscreen, so I am a bit burned. I've been slathering on the cold cream, and I don't seem to be peeling yet, so I think I've rescued it. I'm not taking any chances again though, so it's shirts with collars and long sleeves til I've completely healed.

Tuesday my boxing training started up again, but our trainer couldn't make it, so I opened the gym up for him and managed to do a solid 30 minutes of tai-bo style cardio before I collapsed! Ah well, I've been lazy for a month, so I reckon I can do an hour tonight. Weight seems to be slowly decreasing, and I am trying to watch the food intake. It does help being hot, so I'm not feeling hungry, I'm drinking a lot more water and I'm out and about more.

My projects are ticking over, and I've just had another batch of arty photos printed, so I'm going to try framing them ready for the stall. The woolly hats are also still being made, just taking a bit longer about it.
I really should be writing thank you letters for the girls' Christmas presents, but I keep getting distracted when I sit down at the computer! At least it means I've managed a new blog post for those of you interested enough to read it!

Kaitereo continues to develop very quickly, she had learned how to roll from her back to her front already and she's kicking her legs trying to move. She's started going round in circles on her tummy, so I reckon she may crawl sooner than Mapera did. Mapera is a little angel, she is getting very good at patiently explaining what she wants, instead of having a tantrum, but tiredness or hunger seems to override that.

I was intending to get onto starting my website this month, in order to sell stock in between markets, but my friend Liz is going back to work for a few months, and I've agreed to look after her 2 boys full time, so I will have even less time during the day to do anything. I'm also waiting to hear from Black Magic Tackle about doing piece work for them, which I will need to do training for, so it looks like the website will get put back again!

We're also expecting another influx of visitors at the end of the month, so I can't see me getting anything extra done for a long time!