Tuesday, 27 November 2012

the myth of a good baby, part II: making it easier

If you've read my previous post around the ways we label babies, you'll know that I am suffused with discomfort when someone tells me how good my baby is (Read why here). When the Pea was a few months old, I was surprised to realise that I, too, had been buying into the idea that she was a good baby. When we went out, I didn't have problems with her. She was relaxed and happy; her needs were easily met. I began to venture out from the various outings I had discovered to be baby-friendly; our favourite cafe down the street, the shopping centres with wonderful parent rooms, the parks close to home.

It was all going swimmingly until one day I got a little too relaxed, or went with the inpromptu, or perhaps was particularly sleep-deprived and delirious. The English Husband, the Pea and I set off for a much-loved suburb. We hadn't meant to do so but the Pea fell asleep in the car and so we drove around until she had had a full nap. Anything for a rested baby! When we got there we scouted around for an appropriate lunch spot, and set up in a pub with the best breastfeeding corner we could find on short notice. Things got nasty when the Pea became hungry sooner than I'd expected. Long story short, I spent the next hour or more intermittently breastfeeding her while perched on a toilet seat, desperately trying to stop her touching any surroundings and trying not to breathe the noxious disinfectant (thank goodness that was the worst odour we had to deal with), making occasional dashes out to my lunch, returning to the toilets with a still hungry baby, while the Englishman ate his lunch alone and worried about how to help us. All in all, a gorgeous afternoon.

A 'good' baby is a baby whose needs have been met. If I can, amidst the sleeplessness and general chaos, listen for what the Pea is asking for and respond as much as I am able, we are both so much happier. As such, I am all for ignoring the washing up and just focussing on her when this is required, and as such I am also a fan of any item that makes it easier for me to meet her needs. Especially in public, where accoutrement help so much.

The purchases that have made my breastfeeding life run smoothly are as follow:

1. Great breastfeeding T's. My favourites are from Eve of Eden, boob and momzelle, though Kmart has fairly decent ones for just $10 (although they have done that thing where they make it 'suitable' for both pregnancy and breastfeeding, and it doesn't quite work in either case; who wants droopy make-your-belly-look-even-bigger extra fabric over their belly post-pregnancy, and who is breastfeeding while pregnant? Hmm.)

2. A gorgeous scarf. Jewellery became something for the Pea to bash her soft little head on when she was tiny, yoink on when she grew bigger and chew incessantly when teething. I have used a scarf to accessorise my simple breastfeeding T's, provides extra coverage when I am feeling self-conscious because of weird pervy people, act as a blanket/playmat/plaything for the Pea and cover any surface that seemed less than ideal for my precious one's use. In all seriousness I was disadvantaged when I left it at home.

3. A brilliant baby carrier. Soothes the Pea even when the Evil Teething Fairies are about. The Ergocarrier has changed my life. Baby Bjorn wrecked my back.

4. Comfortable walking shoes. Cute too, thanks, shoe manufacturers! (Any suggestions, people?) Run free, mamas! Get out there with your T's and your scarves and your carriers and carve it up!

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

one for the mums: pregnant chicken

If you have not yet found the Pregnant Chicken blog, you are missing out. 'Porn for Pregnant Ladies' is sheer perfection. While I love it for its humour, passion and determined stance against all rot associated with pregnancy and motherhood, it is also a portal to a lot of useful information. I wish I had read the breastfeeding posts (including this one) back in the days of trauma.

A useful highlight is 'the list', which is a guide to all things safe- or not- in pregnancy. Read 'Can I eat cheese while pregnant?' to get a taste for Amy's brilliant, commonsense, hilarious advice.

Find the entirety of this brilliant blog here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

the myth of a 'good baby'

Now let me say at the outset that this post is not coming from a place of spite or longing. The Pea is often labelled a 'good baby' but, quite frankly, the term makes me nervous. Are these tiny people to be labelled good and bad in their first few months of life? Are they not simply learning, and largely responding to our own interactions with them? The Pea is currently considered a good baby because she rarely cries, is full of smiles and sleeps reasonably well. She is also, already, strong willed. I feel nervous every time someone calls her a good baby because inevitably, necessarily, she will not always be good. She will be angry and frustrated and have trouble sleeping and want to have things her own way. And that is just fine!

I dislike the compliment because every time she is called good, there is a future judgment of bad hanging over her head. These same people will be judging and finding my daughter wanting if she dares to get cranky, challenge an adult's judgment or simply has a worn-out meltdown. Why do people label children in these ways? Surely the Pea is neither good or bad, she simply exhibits behaviours that people prefer or dislike. Can we not talk about the behaviour rather than the person- even at this tender age? What do you think?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

one for the bubs: best. board books. ever.

This recommendation comes not only from me, but from the Englishman, the Pea, and the three other families with whom we've already shared these books.

'Dinosaur vs Bedtime' is joyful, hilarious, apt and sure to make you and your little one giggle. 'Pantone Colours' (available in either US or UK English) is a funky and luscious reminder that the 7 or so colours usually used in children's products are not the extent of the spectrum.

 Experience wonder and delight by ordering these two books immediately. I cannot imagine you regretting it. The Book Depository has them at good prices and offers free shipping. The final word must belong to Dinosaur...
Dinosaur wins!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

one for the mums: $40 clothing spree wheeeeee

With Spring well and truly here, in weather as well as season (last year I was wearing a sweater in early December), my current, pared-down, breastfeeding friendly wardrobe just wasn't cutting it. I fell in love with these great vintage style T's from Old Navy, which are a phenomenal price point as well as a perfect cut, but then sufferered devastation and despair when I saw the dreaded 'P' word (Polyester. Ew). Although they are only 53% polyester, and do contain cotton, I still think that blend might get out of hand in an Australian summer. I like to walk a lot and see no need to smell bad as a result. Joy of joys, then, when I spotted the T's in the left photo at Kmart. 100% cotton, $7! Hurray!

Kmart also came up trumps with the two scarves in the middle picture, which were $8 each. They have enlivened so many of my existing favourites. Finally, because I can't resist a brilliant bargain, the two 3/4 sleeve maternity T's at right were out of season and therefore reduced to $5 each. They are a style that is universally flattering and so easy to wear. To me, that makes them worth packing away for the next pregnancy, to avoid the oh-lordy-I-am-now-massively-huge expensive online impulse buy.
The $7 T's are available in a few more colour combinations and there are other great scarves in store.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

store profile: house 2 home, crows nest

This discount-shop-with-more is one of my first stops for basic and even decorative homewares. Although House 2 Home is a chain, the store on Willoughby Road in Crows Nest, Sydney, is phenomenally well run and the team clearly includes a buyer with an eye for decorating finds.

These decorator pieces, from candles to white china to furniture, are all priced far more reasonably than most places I know that stock the same items, and the store is well organised, tidy and brimming with great staff.

Store Profile: House 2 Home, Crows Nest
Always good for: a wide range of glass vases and candleholders, various white china, candles, quality party supplies from napkins to lanterns to gift wrap, storage boxes, canvases of all sizes, attractive wooden chopping boards and assorted linens.
Check in now and then for: quite wonderful lamps, wall art, furniture and decorator items
I have even seen: vintage metal cinema chairs for far less than at mainstream vintage stores
Location: 98 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW, (02) 9436 1010
Website: not really

Monday, 30 July 2012

a word on sustainable shopping

I sometimes feel concerned to read about the latest must-have eco item. Reusable bags, reusable coffee cups, eco-fashion, eco Coke bottle. How many of these items will we use for years and years to come?

Weren't our grandparents far more green than we are?

I read recently that 'green marketing is the new black'. Do any of the items listed above actually justify their production cost?  What if furniture made from recycled bottles quietens the concern we should feel over just how many plastic bottles we go through? How often are we being sold brilliant marketing more than brilliant solutions?

I am trying to be mindful of the hype that surrounds products- green or otherwise. Sensible, loving shopping is my aim. Yes I will shop, but as much as possible in ways that are inherently more sustainable than shop-as-entertainment, shop-as-therapy or shop-dispose-rebuy.

Every item we purchase sends a message; stores ultimately stock only what we buy. Imagine if we only ever shopped to...

buy quality... buy once... take great care of our belongings... buy only what we love and pass on those items we don't... buy natural, sustainable materials... buy vintage...
buy less and love it more.