Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I'm Feeling Amused: Two Men Experience the Pain Of Childbirth : LOL!

What To Expect When You're Expecting / The First Year / The Toddler Years Review

Yesterday in the bath Hunter said ‘bubbles’ (well, bubooow- but I knew what he meant). He also has graciously used the word ‘Ta’ when handed objects of desire, such as a biscuit or a toy teapot. I decided it was time to go through my What To Expect: The Toddler Years (by Heidi Murkoff) book and see what I should expect Hunter to be doing by 19 months old. I was pleased and slightly surprised that he was not just right on-time for developmental activities such as talking and understanding, but in the ‘May even be able to’ category for all skills. What a champ (takes after his mum!)- although to be sure, a few months ago he was behind in many categories (taking after Dad...?!).

Have you heard of the What To Expect series before? It’s so popular you probably got given three copies at your babyshower, but in case you haven’t, here’s my two cents worth.

The first title in the series, What To Expect When Your Expecting is about pregnancy. It’s written in the vaguely cutesie/inadvertently condescending tone that I imagine Martha Stewart would use in polite company. It is chock full of information, most of which was never relevant to my pregnancy (but would obviously be relevant to someone else’s) but this did not mean I didn’t read all of it. Every single page.

I imagine a more neurotic person would, on reading the whole book as I did, imagine every ache and tummy rumble to mean certain doom. I’m not particularly paranoid, but there were a few times when, thanks to the book, I stared wide eyed at my tummy wondering if I had just inadvertently maimed my as yet unborn child (soft cheese/sushi/food court food/food made at home/any type of food really=death, running for a bus=death, hot weather = death, cold weather = death etc).

That said it is a book written by a MOM. Not a mum, not a doctor, but a MOM. One of those white toothed automatons from the Stepford Wives. I’m sure Ms Murkoff had good intentions (and she probably isn’t an automaton), but when ‘advice of a general nature’ is formulated in a culture where the dominant ideology is that pregnancy is an illness, that advice is written in such a way as to freak you the fuck out. It is a shame that the tone of the book is one common to all American publications on pregnancy: horror and dread (“Childbirth is considered to be a deviant condition whereby women have to conform to the medicalisation of childbirth. If women resist, their behaviour is considered abnormal and risky ...” Not sure what I mean/interested to read more? Check out this link), because apart from this pervading sense of unease and fear the information is reasonably good. I say reasonably because even though the cover says 'edited for Australian audiences' what that means is some of the spelling has changed from American English to plain old English. It hasn't been edited to reflect that in Australia most women give birth in a hospital with one midwife to help, or that most Aussie women have vaginal births instead of caesareans, or that our pre-natal checkup schedule is less intensive and invasive than our American counterparts; consequently a lot of the 'what to do this month' is misleading or downright false.

The second book in the series What To Expect: The First Year is slightly less odious, and yet still manages to convey the idea that your child is weak and could at any moment perish in a tragedy of epic proportions. Clearly I do not agree with this viewpoint. I think, as do many other Aussie mothers I speak with, that a baby is born strong and more capable then we give them credit for. Again, the editing for Australian audiences is in language alone, we don't have (or can't easily access) half the foods recommended (kale, powdered peanut butter, blue or white corn, marshmallow spread etc) and our monthly checkups are not monthly at all. Our checkup schedule is the same as our Immunisation Schedule, which is also different to that stated in the book.

The second title intrinsically writhes with conflicting advice: specifically the introduction says “don’t compare your child with others, each child develops at their own pace”, yet this sage advise is then abandoned in favour of a layout which enforces the idea of comparison and competition. Each chapter begins with a list of what your child should be doing at this age and what follows is a how to guide that inspires a burning need to define your child as being ‘faulty goods’ if they dare walk/talk/sleep through/ later than recommended. I steeled myself against this type of thinking, and focused on the advise being ‘general in nature’. Armed with both the knowledge in the book, and the knowledge that the book was arrogant and suffering from over catering to all possible plights (and Google. Lots of Google) Hunter and I survived his first year.

The third book, What To Expect: The Toddler Years suffers from all the faults outlined above, and yet I still find myself referring to it occasionally to see how hunter is progressing and if there is any advice in the book worth reading. You’ll note I went from devouring every page of the first book to now using the third title only when I am too lazy to Google.

Overall I can see the value in having knowledge at hand 24/7 (for instance, the power might fail in flood conditions like we are experiencing now, and the 3G network could fail leaving me with no option but to read a book) but am glad I picked up my copies from Lifeline Bookfest for $1 each instead of paying the exorbitant retail price Australian retailers add to US RRP’s.

I can’t wait to see if next month Hunter has surely developed a rare and serious condition, or become a baby genius, or whether it’s possible that he is just a happy little guy getting ahead one day at a time.

Expect great things,
Sandi D

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Breastfeeding Politics.

Some important things need to be said about breastfeeding (in response to this article in which a mother was illegally ejected from a public pool for daring to feed her infant):

50% of the world have breasts, 100% of babies need food- and surprise- food for babies comes from breasts!!

Don't like seeing tits desexualised?- talk to your mother, sisters, aunts, cousins, female colleagues and friends about how their body is more than just a walking porno mag.

Don't know where to look when a woman is breastfeeding- learn how to look a woman in the eye.

Don't like breastfeeding because it grosses you out- ask yourself if you prefer to see starving children, or if you prefer for children to be fed synthetic food substitutes which are at best half as nutritious.

 "I’m largely uninterested in what anyone (particularly a privileged white male) thinks about breastfeeding in public. Women have the right to feed their babies wherever they want, and the recurrent debates on the matter are repetitive to the point of irritation." 

Fuck this white middle class male oppression,
Sandi D

Friday, 18 January 2013

Baby, Toddler and Child Safe Monster Truck Toys

Hunter adores it when the RC Cars come down off the shelf. Daddy and Keith make their RC Cars whiz around the field, and I reset the battery powered Lunchbox for Hunter so he can be a part of the fun too. The cars rushing back and forth hypnotise Hunter. He plays with his Tamiya Mini Lunchbox and daydreams about being old enough to man the controls.

Unfortunately for Hunter and the Lunchbox, Hunter hasn't quite grasped how to play delicately with toys, and after a few overarm throws and some plastic-shattering falls the Lunchbox has temporarily retired from play. Hunter is most displeased with this turn of events and so Lee and I are on the look-out for a Hunter safe Monster Truck. My preference is always for a long lasting hardy toy that isn't ugly and isn't a billboard for some brand or movie or TV show, and so there are plenty of wood and bamboo Monster Trucks in the list below:

E Offroader from The Wooden Toybox

Chicco Remote Control ATV from Bed, Bath and Beyond Ages 2+
Wooden Monster Truck from Etsy Ages 2+
Little Monster Truck from the Wooden Toy Box
Fisher Price Rattle & Go Racer from Target
HappyLand Monster Truck from ELC and MotherCare
And don't forget the Golden Book "I'm A Monster Truck" - silly me, how could I forget the book when Hunter constantly asks for it to be read to him...

We picked our copy up for $1.99 at Aldi, although I have seen it at Big W and Target too.

Vrrrrm, Roar,
Sandi D

Monday, 14 January 2013

MumClub Declared A Success!: Cool Brisbane Based Mums Connect Monthly at Southside Tea Room, Morningside.

Guys, the first MumClub RULED. We had heaps of rad mums and kids show up and everyone left feeling pretty awesome about attending. Today, darling of the indie music scene/blogosphere, Patience Hodgson made us all the most delicious drinks and snacks; while I, Miss Darling played host. I provided the littlies with toys, a play pen, and a platter of bite sized fruit- it turns out the all children adore blueberries, watermelon and oranges as much as Hunter! The other mums came and provided lots of laughs, lots of great conversation and a feeling that this MumClub is something pretty special and well worth the effort.

Southside Tea Room Mum Club Cool Parents Brisbane
Southside Tea Room Mum Club

For those of you who were unable to attend today's RADNESS you will be pleased to know that MumClub is a monthly event.

On the second Monday of the month Southside Tea Room holds a playgroup for cool parents and kids. Kids of all ages get to play together- littlies in the playpen and big kids at the art station or pinball machine while cool mums connect with the kind of mums they always wished they knew.

We'd love to have you join us- the next event will be held February 11 from 9:30am.

Southside Tea Room 
639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170. 
PH 3899 5859

Sunday, 13 January 2013

IRL: Mum Club at Southside Tea Room

On Monday, 14 January (that's tomorrow, folks!) I am hosting an event for mums and bubs/kids at Southside Tea Room in Morningside:  The working title is the unimaginative Mum Club! (Please help me with that title, it's sabotaging my blog splendor).

Mum Club starts at 9:30am and wraps up around eleven, is free to come along, and is a great way to connect with other cool parents (not just Mum's- as I explained previously, I'm working on the title and all suggestions are welcome!) in your 'hood. All parents/carers and their kin are welcome.

"Bring a friend, make a friend" is the tag-line for a reason *wink* so tell a Brisbane based friend by posting this link in Facebook or on Instagram.

While us cool parents connect over coffee, the wee kidlets can roam free- in so far as for the duration of MumClub a playpen will be set up for the wee kidlets to safely bumble about together- BYO floor rug/blankie. (Obviously your child is your responsibility at all times, however I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say a playpen helps contain the chaos, right?:)

Small hand sized snacks supplied (fruit) and delicious treats available to buy from the delightful SSTR barista's (including a Dirty Chai- Chai Latte 'dirtied' with a shot of fresh Dramanti espresso- my personal favourite!) will have the pre-lunch munchies banished.

Think of it as the mother's group you secretly hoped for, but doubted you'd ever find.

Cool Parents Unite and Take Over,
Sandi D

Southside Tea Room 
639 Wynnum Rd Morningside Brisbane. 4170. 
PH 3899 5859

Friday, 11 January 2013

Makes Me Happy: Jordan Reid of Ramshackle Glam on 'Not Being As Much Fun As She Used To Be'

The following is reblogged from Ramshackle Glam- Ms Reid articulates a feeling that has been brewing inside of me for the last year so well that I just have to share it with you all. If you like what you've read here, following the links to her website- its beautiful, well written and entertaining in equal amounts.

Here’s something I’ve started to think about a lot lately:

I’m not anywhere near as “fun” as I used to be.

I’m using the word “fun” in the very most cliched of ways, of course – the way that a teenager would use the word (“God, mom, you’re no fun.” Like that).

What I mean is really that I used to be…a little wild. Spontaneous to a fault. Even – yes – stupid on occasion, and way too interested in risk-taking for my own good (sometimes I think about my 23-year-old self and just want to scoop her up and drop her in the middle of Montana for a couple of years, so she can get whatever was in her system out in relative safety).

These days, I’m just not anything even approximating “wild”; you’re not going to find me out past midnight…ever, really. A few weeks ago, our friends came over for an afternoon BBQ and ended up staying until around 11:30PM, at which point I panicked and more or less threw them in the direction of the train station. I mean, I am tired. And I wake up at 6:30, because that’s when the sun gets up, and our son really enjoys getting up with it.

I was telling some of my “back in the LA days” stories to a new friend at a Hanukkah party this weekend, and she said, “Wow, we should go to Vegas together or something sometime. It sounds like you’d be a lot of fun.” Nope. If you took me to Vegas, I’d probably plant myself in a spa, eat sushi until it came out my eyeballs, and then pass out for twelve hours. I mean, I think that sounds fun…but I also think that’s not exactly what she meant.

The truth, of course, is that I’m having a lot more fun these days than I ever did back when people may have been more likely to associate me with the word. Mostly because I’m a generally happier person than I ever have been before, and also because I honestly think that Storytime at the Children’s Library followed by a playdate that includes cheese sticks for the short people and wine for the tall ones makes for kind of the best day ever.

Last night I was paging through US Weekly and came across a photo of Demi Moore and Lenny Kravitz - you know the one I’m talking about, the “Demi’s having a breakdown!” one, where she’s sorta dancing awkwardly and Lenny Kravitz looks miserable – and you know what stood out to me the most? That the photo was taken at 1:30AM. And my jaw basically unhinged itself in awe at the disconnect between their lives and mine, despite the fact that they’re both parents, and both quite a bit older than I am.

The fact that I got all pearls-clutch-y “oh, my…but that’s so late!” about this photo is nuts, when I consider what I was up to just a few years ago. Closing down bars, dancing on tables, seeing sunrises…none of these things were unusual on a Tuesday. I’ve alluded to my time in LA being everything from lonely to troubled – and it was those things, yes yes – but it was also wild. If you catch me in just the right, overshare-y mood…I’ve got some pretty crazy stories to tell.

And! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being out late, with partying (responsibly; let’s stick to moderate amounts of legal substances and stay far away from wheels), or with Demi Moore flirting with Lenny Kravitz (hey, I would, and Kendrick would understand why, because the man is cute). I just don’t want to do it. Like…ever. There are things I enjoy doing these days - getting up early to eat pancakes at a diner with my family, watching episode after episode of American Horror Story until the ungodly hour of 11PM, grabbing dinner with some girlfriends, fixing up our house – that are fulfilling and exciting to me now in the way that finding the best afterparty used to be.

And when I think back on what I was doing…I realize that I was trying to fill a hole. A hole that’s filled now. I’m not saying that’s what everyone is doing when they’re going out and going a bit crazy – not at all; I think in many ways it’s an important part of the growing-up, boundary-pushing process – but that is definitely what I was up to. My life felt purposeless, out-of-control, lonely…and when I was sitting in a bar with people I had just met but who suddenly felt like my best! friends! ever!…it was better in some ways. And worse, of course, in others.

But I still worry, sometimes. Because that girl who I used to be, just so you know, is the same girl who Kendrick met. And over the past few years…I’ve changed. A lot.

Let me explain where I think all this worry comes from: The guy I dated for a couple of years right before Kendrick was very into going out, and did go out pretty much every single night. And a year or so into our relationship, I started to realize that I didn’t want to go out all the time; that a night in with a movie and take-out – just the two of us, chilling out and maybe even, I don’t know, talking (!) – was starting to sound not just like a nice change, but completely wonderful. A necessary evolution, in fact, if our relationship was ever going to be more than what it was. But when I suggested that we start staying in more often, what he said to me was this: “I’ve been married before, and marriages get boring, and if that happens with us that’s going to be a real problem.” In other words: you better act like my crazy 23-year-old girlfriend in the very specific ways that I want you to for the rest of your life, or I am outta here.

He was not a very good boyfriend. This is a pretty good example of why we broke up.

I’m more than aware that “going out” doesn’t equate with being “fun” or “exciting”, and that my ex had extremely flawed priorities, but that conversation still pops up in my head once in awhile. And I still worry, you know: is it OK with Kendrick that he met and fell in love with one girl…and now, six years later, wakes up to a different person entirely? I’m sure that some part of him misses the girl who used to be more than happy to play darts until four in the morning, but I also feel relatively certain that the things he got when that girl started shape-shifting back into who she truly was are things that he likes even better.

I think what it comes down to is this: life changes, families expand and contract, and people evolve to fill the corners of their new lives. And that’s a good thing. But there are some things that don’t change, that can’t, and those are the things that the ones who care about you love the very most. It wasn’t the crazy party girl that Kendrick fell in love with; it was the crazy party girl that he liked. The person he fell in love with was someone very different, someone who was just trying a “party girl” persona on for size for a little while.

I didn’t fall in love with a guy in a rock band who looked cool on stage; sure, I liked that stuff, and it was fun…but I fell in love with a guy who once filled 365 notecards with things he thought were great about me and then sealed them in envelopes so that I could open one every single day for an entire year. And I also didn’t fall in love with him because of grand gestures like that; I fell in love with him because he has a heart that makes such gestures possible.

You know who I feel the most like, these days? Like the person I was in elementary school: the kid who liked writing and reading, and who mostly just wanted to hang out with her family.

Parties are fun and exciting and all that…but the best party, right now, is right here by our Christmas tree.

And hey, I can always just throw on a cocktail dress to wrap presents. That’s fun, too.
So what do you think- wasn't that lovely? It's so refreshing to read other peoples stories, and find so much of yourself in it that it resonates deeply. Thank you Ms Reid, you are wonderful!

Cheese sticks for the short people, wine for the tall,
Sandi D

Friday, 4 January 2013

"Giggle And Hoot" Free Download Colouring Pages: Birthday Party Activities For Young Kids

Are you looking for ABC4Kids Giggle And Hoot Colouring Pages and Fan Art? Lots and lots of kids have downloaded my previous Giggle and Hoot Colouring Page, and lots of party people have looked at my Giggle and Hoot Birthday Party post so I decided to combine the two- a Giggle and Hoot colouring page specifically for birthday parties! The colouring table was a huge hit at Silas's birthday party, especially with kids aged between 2 and 8. Fun for less energetic or physically able kids, colouring is also great to plan into your party schedule as a pre-snack/post present opening calm down for active types too.

If you love Giggle And Hoot or have a little one who does you might like to check out my Giggle and Hoot birthday party post by clicking this link, and my other Giggle and Hoot Colouring Page by clicking this one.

To save the image, simply right click the picture below and select 'Save As'. Open Word, and insert this picture into a blank document. Resize as you wish, print. Viola!

Note: I don't own the rights to the Giggle and Hoot images, this is simply fan art.

Happy colouring!
Sandi D
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