Monday, 31 October 2011

Street Fashion Photography...

Do you read Thought Catalog? A recent post about Street Fashion Photography had me laughing out loud. Do you agree? I personally hardly ever see people walking about Brisbane looking like they just stepped from the pages of iD Magazine into the real world...

However, I just found this site and have to say, these 'advanced' peeps are pretty fkn stylish. I'd love to wake up to a world where everyone dressed themselves vivacious, joyful, life affirming passion- and age be damned!

Cool Baby Socks For Infants and Toddlers


Hunter wears Dymples bib in orange (pack of 10 assorted colours) from Big W; Bonds Singlet Suit from Big W; Tippy Toes 'Outer Space' Sock Set (pack of 6 assorted designs) from Peter's of Kensington

No Nintendo cartridges were harmed during the making of these happy snaps.

I have a confession to make. I'm a sock junkie, obsessed with searching for great pairs of socks that complete Hunter's little outfits. A brightly coloured sock, a cute pattern, some cheeky embroidery- thats the fix I'm after. 
In my hunt I have discovered a few brilliant ones that I'm delighted to share with you- please share links below if you know of more excellent baby socks because, like a true addict, I always need another fix. I'm not proud. I'm not done yet neither...



How cute are these? They make me think of Dr Seuss.
Cheeritoe Toddler Socks by Trumpette
Wingtips! Cowboy Boots! Cons! Does it get any better than this?
Jazzy Toes Variety Pack by Jazzy Toes

A knee high sock - looks like pure fun! 
I-Play Organic Cotton Boot Socks - Boys Stripe at Toys R Us

Dad Rocks. Its true. He does.  Via Darkside Clothing

A three pack of rock'n rad.
Red Rockers Sock 3 Pack by Sourpuss Clothing

These remind me of the stickers you get with Guitar Hero games.... 
Rockstar Socks by Me In Mind


These were the socks Rob Zombie wore as a baby, and he turned out alright.
Green and Black Striped Socks by Sourpuss Clothing


High Kickin'
Sandi D




I'm Feeling: Vulnerable



It occurs to me that the hardest thing I deal with, as a parent, on a daily basis is the knowledge that at anytime, this beautiful warm safe bubble could burst.

After a lifetime spent assuring me he was a tough nut and would survive his heart condition long enough to see me grow old, my father died in 2009. It still burns hot and low in my stomach when I think of the empty bed my step mother wakes up in every morning. Suddenly all the dull things that clutter a life and at the time are easily swept aside, seem like magical talismans: The sweat stains on the couch he used to sit in, the worn spot on the rug where his feet used to rest, the tiny lamp table that used to be home to a half eaten packet of ginger nut biscuits, insulin and a packet of spearmint Extra. I remember the ward he died in, and it seems strange to think what was a routine hospital visit became the last time I ever got to hear him tell me how proud he was to be my father.

At night when I go to sleep I hold my husbands hand, and I simply cannot stop myself thinking, what if this is the last time I get to do this?

Hunter learns something new and a little voice says "Don't stop watching him- you might never see this again".

There are sad things that actually happen in life, and one of them is the wasted hours spent dwelling on things that may never happen...


I just wanted to get that off my chest.

My recipe for drawing an abscess

Part of me wants to make a joke about 'you start with a sheet of paper and a pencil...', but another part of me knows that if you have an abscess, drawing (i am the PUNisher!) it out so you can move out of the seedy neighbourhood that is The Land Of Pain, into a luxury apartment with a view in the Kingdom of Feeling Rad Healthy is no laughing matter.



Ingredients

1 tablespoon of Epsom Salts (available in the health aisle of your supermarket, or your local pharmacist).
1 Tsp Turmeric (fresh grated or powdered- available from the herb section of your supermarket. Fresh grated is way potent.)
1 Dry Waterproof Dressing and Medical Tape or bandaid.
Pawpaw ointment/coconut oil or similar cream.

When to do this?

If you are unable to massage away the lump, go to your doctor. Nothing beats professional medical advice. If, after your diagnosis you still just want the damn thing out of your body and wish there was a way to draw it closer to the surface so it could burst and be emptied like I did, well, this is for you.

I recommend doing this at night so you can sleep through the weird feeling of having gritty goop stuck to your boob…

Directions

1. Mix the Epsom Salts and Turmeric with enough ointment to make it 'sort of' stick together. It wont ever get smooth, or combine nicely like a batter or dough.


2. Put this shitful smelling crunchy goop on the site of your abscess. I recommend doing this in the shower or in the bathroom where if you drop any it wont be a huge drama to clean up.

3. Cover with the dressing, and stick on with enough medical tape to completely seal your goop on the site- or you will end up waking with yellow stained bedsheets.

4. Repeat nightly. It took about 5 days for my abscess to be drawn sufficiently close to the surface to burst.

Bangable Dudes In History




Bangable Dudes in History is an awesome blog. Click on the link and check it out yo.

Homemade Dishwasher Powder

Cheaper Safer Greener

Ingredients
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda
1 Storage Container (I reuse the last plastic tub the bought dishwashing powder came in)
1 Scoop - the size of 1 flat tablespoon, or an old tablespoon.

Optional
20-30 drops of orange essential oil, or lavender oil, or eucalyptus oil.
1/4 cup Citic or Tartaric Acid

Instructions
Mix the Borax (available in your cleaning aisle, or hardware store) and Baking Soda (available in the baking aisle near the spices and cake mix stuff) together with the citric acid, adding the oil one drop at a time. Voila!

As an added bonus I'll share with you my homemade Rinse Aid: White Vinegar.

Breastfeeding: Abscess

The fever died down but the pain did not go away. The nipples healed but the pain did not go away. The ugly red rash got smaller until it was just on my right breast, and no bigger than the palm of my hand, but the pain did not go away. Under that red rash was a solid lump, about the size of a pea. It did not respond to massage. That nasty old lump, well, that lump grew over two days to be about the size of the palm of my hand.

So I did what any rational person would do. I Googled. And when Googling only brought me unpleasant responses, I went and paid my doctor a visit.

Three days after my Mastitis diagnosis my husband would be discharged from the hospital, and I would be readmitted. I was sent to the Emergency Department, and had a scan taken which confirmed what I secretly suspected had happened: my mastitis had not responded to the antibiotics, and had in fact turned into a rabid, drooling, real mean old mother of an abscess. For whatever reason (who knows the ways of cats, Tax Returns and Nurses running double shifts), I was sent home and told to take another type of antibiotic. I thought it would reduce the lump and heal me.  Can you guess what happened next folks?

The lump didn’t reduce. It just stayed there, making itself comfortable. It was the ultimate unwanted party straggler. I was all "I've been thinking... it's time for you to go now", and it was all "But baby, the party's only just getting started".

I tried various methods of healing myself, and while some seemed to help bring the lump closer to the surface of my skin, nothing seemed to make it go away. I couldn't pick my son up and hold him close to me. I couldn’t sleep on my side. Sleeping on my belly, something I had longed for for about seven months, was totally off limits. Sleep positions were futile anyways- the pain kept me awake. I would get up in the night, feed my son what little I could express mixed with water and formula and cry big fat salty tears onto his face. I was so angry I couldn’t breastfeed him.

One night I got up to feed my young son and, being a bit pre-dawn dopey, walked into the door frame- my right boob took the force of the blow and this literally dropped me with pain. I got up, retched a bit, felt my nursing pads fill with a jet of hot boob milk, fed my baby and got back into bed, and cried heaving body wracking sobs until I either passed out or sleep came. The next morning I woke to find I was stuck to my bed sheets and pillow. My hair was matted to my face and my feeding top was soaked through. I thought perhaps my milk supply had miraculously caught up over night, and guess what- I was wrong about that too. What had happened was my abscess had BURST. I had gone to sleep in a ever increasing pool of bloody puss.

But the abscess hadn't emptied overnight, merely overflowed. There was still a whole lotta puss inside, and the only way to get it out was via a small hole about the size of a dressmaking pin head. As charming as that sounds, it honestly took a whole lotta squeezing and squirming. If you like gory details: Essentially I took a hot shower that lasted about 45 minutes, during which I used my hand to 'milk' the abscess. Because it was a milk duct it was milky puss, and because it was fresh puss it didn't smell offensive. It literally poured out of me. Eventually I ran out of hot water and moved myself to the floor of the bathroom, where I continued to 'milk' myself. I went through a roll of toilet paper sopping up the volume of puss that came out of me. By this time the stuff streaming out was bloody as well. The technique I was using basically involved pushing from a good two inches behind the 'exit' hole, so as to ensure that I was getting the very back of the abscess and pushing it all forward. Eventually, I got a cold ass from sitting on the tiles in the bathroom, and moved myself to a more comfortable location. By this time it had been about two hours of solid squeezing. I took a break from the puss-fest, and when I came back it seems the 'sack' that forms around the abscess, the sack which keeps its gory contents all together, and also makes them very difficult to treat with antibiotics, started to peep out the hole. It sort of looked like the skin that forms on acrylic paint, or custard. I used tweezers to drag it out through the hole, and afterwards the puss flowed freely, without half as much pressure as before. After a short time the puss stopped oozing out and only really came out when the breast was squeezed. I got back into the shower, washed myself, using warm water over the site. I dried the site with a clean towel and applied an absorbent, sterile pad, which I wore to bed, and changed throughout the night (at each of Hunter's two feeds). The next day the site oozed less, but still needed about five dressing changes. If I was ever going to be a scab picking mother (did you ever have a friend who's Mum picked their scabs? Gross Out) this definitely cured me.

After squeezing as much puss out as I could the next morning, I went to the doctors surgery, where a nice nurse who had breastfed herself (she also called me a saint for having ever tried to feed with the mastitis, let alone abscess) finished cleaning it and put me on more antibiotics. I thought once it healed the pain I felt when I expressed or breastfed would finally leave me alone. I was wrong.

Werner Herzog Reads Where's Waldo

Breastfeeding: Mastitis


A week later I was discharged from hospital. The pain had not gotten better. In fact as my milk came in properly the pain was constant, and all consuming. I had been put on a breast pump before I left Hospital to give my nipples a break (as the LC was convinced I was latching on incorrectly) but even this was sheer torture. My nipples burnt under my bra and I tried to smile through it all, all my friends were without children but sort of at an age where it seems like a good idea and I didn’t want to scare any of them off.

Determined to not give up on breastfeeding, and increasingly sure that the LC was no better informed than I was at why my boobs hurt SO FUCKING MUCH I decided I would try my first at home feed the way nature intended. I sat in the gorgeous replica Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair I had so lovingly chosen to be my breastfeeding chair, breathed in a deep reassuring, nerve steeling breath, latched my little guy on … and screamed. Literally screamed so loud, so shrill and so ear piercing that Hunter started the scream in shock at the noise. So with him screaming and me screaming we got through our first at home feed together.

The feeding chair, now inhabited by a crocodile and a super soft bunny.

I continued on in that fashion for every feed that night. I was home alone as my partner had broken his leg and was in emergency doped up on Ketamine until they could get him in to see a specialist surgeon. By daybreak I was vomiting in fear of feeding, gagging on each breath and still screaming in agony and shame of my extreme failure as a human at every latch. It was terrible, surreal and yet so real- made worse by the fact that my screams startled my baby, and each time he startled he would un-latch, and so we would have to start over again, multiple times. I realised enough was enough and it wasn’t just me being weak willed when Hunter started spitting up breast milk that was crimson with my blood.

That day we went to the doctor for his first routine checkup, and I was so sore and tired I couldn’t think straight. I was also in so much boob pain I couldn’t pick my son up to my chest. The GP looked at the red hot rash escaping out of my blouse and asked to see my boobs- I hadn't even lifted my shirt over my head when he said what my LC's should have known, and what I was too feverish to figure out on my own. I had Mastitis. Bad. I should also note that Hunter was dehydrated, and the GP said I had to supplement his feeds with water and formula or he would get very sick, very quickly.

The pain was unreal. Sublime, beautiful and clear- so perfect in its throbbing, aching, heat that I can't liken it to any thing else I have ever experienced- except perhaps that moment when the steam you were using to iron the collar on a shirt escapes over your fingers, or you fall on your shins onto the serrated edge of the escalator step or you slash your arm on a sharp branch while being extremely sunburnt to the point of blistering… except unlike these things it was constant - a choir singing a tuneless legato of unceasing agony.

I was given some painkillers and a prescription for antibiotics. I thought I would getter in a day or so. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dad's Are The Original Hipsters

Have you heard? Dad's are the original Hipsters. And its true. they are.

Your dad dated women out of his league before you did and nobody understands how he scored your mom to prove it. He was a silver tongued seducer that masked his “unique” looks with a comedic wit and smooth charm. Dime piece’s knees wobbled at his thought and men feared for their relationships while he was around. He was an anomaly of attraction that could only be comprehended by being in his presence. 
So hipsters, next time you’ve got your arm around someone beautiful who has been PBR-brainwashed into thinking that your dirt stache and emaciated body is the epitome of being attractive, remember this…
Your dad didn’t need liquor-lazied standards to bring the fittest of females home. 
 Hilarious and oh so good, Dad's Are The Original Hipsters is a tumblr well worth having a look at- see if you can find the bio's on these sweet boys in the summer of their youth:





Beards and raglan cut T-shirts,
Sandi D

Cool Baby Boy Clothes: Rock N Roll Outfits For Infants and Toddlers

Hunter wears a Bon Bebe Bodysuit, from the 2011 Wild Child collection.

A rock'n outfit is hard to find if you happen to represent the half of the population that had a boy instead of a girl. Luckily for you I was never one to run from a challenge. Here is what I came up with: gorgeous rompers for all those cute young things made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.



via Rock Your Baby

Via Little Horn
Via Munster

Rock'n all night,
Sandi D

Breastfeeding: Lactation Consultants





Within two days, my nipples were red and raw, and feeding was something I was beginning to dread. It wasn't just nipple pain either, but a pain that started deeper inside the breast, instantly upon first suction. The pain felt as I imagine a heavy weight thread feels on being dragged with a darning needle through thick cardboard (think about school craft projects) would feel. Tight, scratchy, aching, burning, cramping, straining. The image below would have me locating that feeling right in the centre or core of the breast, in the Lactiferous Sinus.


At this stage the pain was definite, but not all encompassing. I mean, it widened my eyes and I bit my tongue and grimaced, but I wasn't seeing white dots, blacking out or vomiting in agony- yet. I asked to speak with a Lactation Consultant (LC) and a day later one came to see me in my bed. I explained the problem and she advised it was poor latching technique. She watched me latch my son on and told me I was doing it right and to continue in that fashion. The pain I felt while she was there was explained away as being sore nipples from previous poor technique.

As the days passed I tried different holding and latching techniques with each of the nameless, faceless hospital LCs and I agreed with each of them in turn that "it felt better to do it their way" and "thank you for showing me the way". 

I wish I wasn't so scared of telling these LCs they obviously had no fucking idea how to help me. I am very articulate and am not afraid to badger and harass until I get seen to. And I was seen to. I was given samples of Lansinoh, and made to parade my breast and feeding techniques to countless LC's and Midives, all of whom reassured me I was doing fine, and it always felt a little uncomfortable at first and perhaps I was just tired. I wasn’t tired, I was euphoric after having birthed the most divine creature on the face of the planet, but this feeding was brutal. My complaints were obviously (in retrospect) being seen as attention seeking. Despite this I was convinced that if I kept asking for help a solution would come. There would be something different I could do that, if seen through to when my nipples healed, would resolve my problem.

Dirty Rotten Lies


Don't think I haven't noticed. I've been seeing your little indiscretions. Your promises turned out to be lies. You sold me on you by pandering to my most base and embarrassing fears. Everything I have been avoiding in my day to day life you told me you could make better. But that was just a story, wasn't it?

It turns out that while you are a convenient place to hide my dirty dishes, you never come good on your promise to wash all the stains away. So today is the day I unmask you for what you are: a yuppies toy. I stack you according to the manual, and run you with your recommended product, and yet...

One wash'n'rinse with you and every glass comes out opaque and covered in grit, the inside of coffee mugs looks like the interior of a tobacco chewers mouth, the surfaces of my dinner set look like varicose veins, and don't get me started on how poorly you attend to my cutlery.

Dear Dishwasher, please, check yo'self before you wreck yo'self. In order to assist you with this I will now go on a journey to my local store with the intent of making my own homemade alternative products in order to meet my needs. Until then, consider me rubber gloved and sudsy.

Kind Regards,
Haus Frau

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Cool For Cats

Cats are cool. I have proof.




Things I wish...

When you wish upon a star...
I wish I'd bought baby sunscreen before I brought my baby home. Better yet, I wish they gave out samples of infant sunscreen at baby expo's and in the take home bag the Mater Hospital gives new parents.

I wish I'd only bought one type of bottle. I mean, all my bottles are Avent, but I have three types- and two sizes in each of the types. And while most of the parts work together, some bottles need special teats and others need special sealing rings...

I wish stores that sell Avent bottles sold the blue silicon sealing rings seperately. Buying online is a drag...

I wish the adaptors that are meant to turn an Avent VIA storage tub into a bottle were actually water tight. I made a godawful mess trying them out and have vowed to never use them again.

Also, I wish the Avent sealing rings actually sealed the bottles watertight.

I wish I'd hired a breast milk expresser, rather than spending $200+ on one...

Additionally, I wish I had of had a duo expresser- twice the milk, half the time! woot!

I wish the Queensland Ambulance Service also hired out baby car seats. I love the baby capsule I've hired from them. Now I'm looking down the barrel of a big financial outlay to actually purchase a baby seat I wish I had hire options that weren't as (or more) expensive than buying one outright...

I wish my baby shower gift givers had of paid attention to my note about Hunter being born in winter, but growing out of newborn stuff in time for summer. I have so many gorgeous winter suits for my little man that are simply too hot to consider wearing. I'm actually going to give them all a good summer renovation- cutting down the arms and legs to make a long onesie into a summer onesie...


Unsolicited Baby Rearing Advice

I've discovered that a blanket or a soft toy can be used to prop a bottle up for a feeding bub (obviously this must be done under close supervision). It leaves your hands free to do other neat stuff, like laundry, cooking, sweeping etc.



I never set time aside to fold and hang Hunters laundry. I simply just pile it up by the drawers in his room and wait until his night time feed. At his night time feed I step over the chaos of laundry, dress Hunter in his PJ's and sleepbag, pop him in his cot, prop up his bottle with his crocodile, and use this time to do the putting away- it's not interesting but its better than leaning over a cot with a dead arm and wishing time could speed up, and its definately more productive than playing Tiny Tower on my iPhone. And, oh yeah, it gives me an extra 25 minutes in the day to do something I'd rather do. By the time I'm done, Hunter is asleep, the bottle has fallen out of his mouth and I just remove bottle and crocodile, turn on the monitor and walk out of a beautifully tidy room...

Eco Baby Outfits: Environmentally Responsible Infant and Toddler Clothes: Bamboo, Hemp, Hippie, Organic Baby Gifts

Hunter's first smile

Hunter had a small case of baby acne, but that didn't stop him from smiling! I was holding him on my lap and smiling at him, when he smiled back. At first I thought it was gas, but after burping him he still kept smiling. We found Daddy and basically filled the house to brimming with smiles- its lucky that smiles dont use up oxygen or else we would have asphyxiated, our lifeless bodies would have been found holding each other with pale blue lips forever frozen smiling. Happily, smiles fill one with life! What else could I do, but grab my camera and capture the majesty on film...

The thing about these smiles is that I want them to last. I want Hunter be able to enjoy the beauty of our planet, to breathe fresh air and taste delicious fresh local produce for as long as he lives. With movies such as An Inconvinient Truth growing cultural awareness regarding the devestating effect unchecked industrialisation can have on our natural resources, and moves by governments to implement policies to address the carbon emissions of their economies and thus contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change, it is begining to look like green is the new black. With this in mind, I try to dress Hunter in clothes that are made from sustainable crops such as hemp and bamboo, and manufactured in ways that support my local economy.

In the picture above Hunter is wearing newborn layette from PureBaby. PureBaby is an Aussie company, and their infant and child clothes are 100% Certified Organic Cotton, very soft and easy to get on or off- the Newborn Hospital Pack would make a great gift for a new global citizen...

Here a few more Aussie organic resources you might like:
EcoChild stock Scout organic cotton T's for babies.
Gaia are an Aussie company that make gorgeous classic baby wear out of organic cotton.
Organic Babe stock some cute organic cotton and bamboo tops by Nooshie.

Babyjo make soft kimono style onesies, we were given one for Hunter as a baby shower gift and it was the perfect weight fabric for spring- warm but not too warm, and oh so soft!









Friday, 28 October 2011

Breastfeeding: Beginings


My first impressions of breastfeeding were not entirely accurate. For all I had read it had not clicked yet that milk doesn't just instantly turn on. First comes a thick yellow liquid called colostrum. Then, a few days later real milk starts. For me, about four days after birth the yellow liquid became paler until by ten days after birth it was a thick creamy milky colour.

T minus 4 hours till Hunter's arrival...

Then there was the whole breast thing. Previously my breasts were sexual and sexy things, cleavage and decolletage, private. The more pregnant I got, the bigger they got, and as my milk was coming in they became a pin up dream- except that they had never felt less sexy in my entire life. All the hormones made my areolas very dark which was constantly shocking to me, every time I saw myself in the mirror was a complete eye widener.

Also I was both prepared and unprepared for the feeling of having someone suckle on my nipples. This little mouth that could barely open up wide enough to have the nipple fit inside, lips and tongue moving in a primal way, born knowing that this movement brings sustenance: it blew my mind. It was a total animal instinct moment, which interestingly solidified my thoughts on human evolution from primates. Nothing has ever felt so tribal, so animal as breastfeeding.

And lastly, there was the pain. Within 24 hours (and lets face it, a newborn child literally has a stomach capacity of mere teaspoons, so I wasn't feeding him often, and each feed was brief) my nipples felt weird. Unpleasant. Sort of sore. Nothing compared to the actual delivery of my baby or anything, but notable. The Midwife said that was normal and would soon pass. So I accepted it and prepared myself for it to pass.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bedtime Stories

"When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, and foretold their future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for The Storyteler."


I believe in the power of stories. I've witnessed first hand how they create a shared language between strangers, impart wisdom from the experienced to the young, bring people together. The elements of a good story act like street signs on a map o the world, giving you directions, showing you the way others like or not like you live. How different isn't a barrier from being similar in some respects, and with that in mind, we are all one.

Being a little quirky, a little less mainstream than a lot of other parents means that the standard 'white bread' kids books don't share many touchstones with the world as my son knows it. This is both a good thing and bad thing, in that these stories show him how the general population live, but also how in many respects, we do things differently around here. I've trawled Amazon for offbeat stories to share with him, to help him see that he isn't alone out there, that all around the world there are people with crazy parents just like his. I hope this teaches him that its OK to be different- different is what makes the world such an interesting place. Importantly, I hope that he stories I share with my son teach him that no matter how different you think you are, you are never alone.

Without further ado, I bring you a list of rad kids books about being different, all available for purchase at Folio Books (support local retailers!) or Amazon.com

My Tattooed Dad, by Daniel Nesquens

Different Like Coco, by Elizabeth Matthews

Frank Was A Monster Who Wanted To Dance, By Keith Graves


All Kinds of Families, by Mary Ann Hoberman

I'm Gonna Like Me, by Jamie Lee Curtis- YES! *That* Jamie Lee Curtis!!

Rocker Babies Wear Jeans, by Michelle Sinclair Colman

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Breastfeeding: Expectations


I read all the text books I could get my hands on, and none of it prepared me for the experience of breastfeeding. Minutes after my son was born he was placed on my chest and wiggled himself to my breast to consume his first ever meal out-utero. 


The tiniest mouth on earth opening just wide enough for a nipple, a little pink tongue poking out, the quietest voice making sweet murmers, little hands warm on my skin, a fluttering heartbeat against mine.

I was amazed that his instincts brought him to my breast in such a fashion, and was shocked to feel the sensation of his suckling: it was not at all what I thought it would be. Its not like I cried out in alarm or anything, I figured I'd already done the hard part by delivering him, and that breastfeeding would not even rate on a scale of difficulty.

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