Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's been one of those weekends

I ran away from a class for the first time yesterday. Strangely, it was "just" etheric head/neck/shoulder massage (have you ever had a good head massage? Divine!). But I couldn't handle it. I think it was the close proximity to others, coupled with the deep and vast emotions I was feeling. They swooped in on Friday evening - I am heading into my third week of my parents in-law staying with us (three down, three to go...), so I am feeling quite justifiably like I'm handling a hot potato at the moment anyway - and had fully descended on me by mid morning Saturday.

The crash engulfed me, finally, on my lunch break as I sat and cried floods of tears to match the flooding outside the car (I was over two hours' drive from home, in the thick of an unseasonable band of storms across the middle of the state that have caused road closures and some havoc). And I made the call and left the message that altered the course of the rest of my weekend:  "It's me. I'm not coming home."

Yes, I went there. I was lower than I have been in a long while. Desperation calls for desperate phone calls, in my books. But then, after I'd hung up, I realised..... I had nowhere to go! It was bucketing down. I was a few hundred km's from home (not that I was going there, apparently, anyway). There was nobody I wanted to be with, nobody who would want to see me like this. No one who would truly understand.

And then I turned on the car* and did what any self-respecting girl with any of her mettle left would do: I drove towards Dad's house. FINALLY, his living two hours' drive away came in handy for I was now only ten minutes from him. And I sheltered in his home after navigating the precariously flooding driveway, and accepted his particular brand of bear-hug.... noticeably more frail now after all his health issues and scares. He told me he's at considerable risk of heart failure. But not to burden me, mind. It was almost an after-thought, as if he was just running things through his mind, out loud, and I just happened to be there. He only found out last week. I hid my fear amongst the rubble of my already crushed heart and took his tenderly made cup of coffee for me.

Then I went with him to work on his house. He should NOT be doing this work on his own and for a moment, I cursed the person who should be most aware of this fact for allowing him to say he can do it when he obviously can't. I'm like my father in this regard; he will kill himself trying before saying he can't do it.... He carried three empty boxes up a short flight of stairs and couldn't breathe. This, from my capable, unstoppable father. I turned a blind eye to my terror as he admitted his heart rate flips from 30 beats (far too slow) to over double its normal working rate. The solution is not an easy one for his specialists to find.

And I am crushed even more, knowing this.

I used the surety of his love and safety as an opportunity to calm myself before the drive home, by talking things over with my father as I packed boxes and boxes of his journals and publications - his life's work passing from the bookshelves through my hands and into archive boxes - I felt less insignificant again. More heard again. More worthy and vital.

Taking a warm hug goodbye and a parting piece of fatherly advice - that all I must be concerned with is myself first, and then my daughter and Steve and "the rest will pass" (referring to the current melting pot that is sharing the house for this extended time) - I stopped the car on the long driveway. I gazed up at the old house through the trees, trying to feel something familiar. It used to be so welcoming, this house I was leaving for the very final time. It had become cold towards me, long before my father and his partner packed up and moved to much smaller dwellings in a nearby town. I waited until I made sure Dad had backed his ute back safely into the carport where he had insisted I had parked out of the torrential rain. I saw the reverse lights go on and his little beat-up red ute shifted slowly backwards. He was good for now. I sensed a process taking place for him as well, doing this work all by himself in his now empty, once grand home.

All things must pass, I thought, and shifted my own car into gear again.

From here, I drove home and into the arms of my once-familiar man. The boy I married, eleven long, hazy, crazy years ago. No, it's not our anniversary. But when things are strained for an extended period of time, I suppose one gets misty-eyed and melancholy for "the way we were".

This song is for the two men who anchor me in my life and keep accepting me - no matter what. This song is because one of these men absolutely adores Kate Bush and the other... well, the other is the man with the child in his eyes to me.

It can be a rare thing to receive this sort of ever-replenishing love once. At the core of all that is in turmoil, I know I am ultimately supremely lucky to have it two-fold in one lifetime.

*that's not a poetically licenced exaggeration, by the way. I drive a car that you literally only have to hit a big button that says 'Start/Stop'. No keys to turn, it just.... starts. And stops [handy, that].

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm published!

Okay, so it's one chapter in an anthology.... but still! Urged by Tim to do so, I entered one piece for consideration in this project. I'd like to imagine my little excerpt from my book, 'Into The Bliss' (it's a memoir, about... moi... and my journey, with a difference, through the grief of child loss and out the other side) had a David and Goliath battle on its hands to struggle its way to the fore amidst the other submissions.  And it must have done, in its own way, because it made it in. I am stoked. And shocked. But mostly, stoked.

You may realise you know some of the bloggers if you read the book.

If it remains the only thing that ever gets published of mine, then I am right proud about it. Proceeds are going to a UK charity, Children In Need, and the book was published on the 19th of this month with much fanfare (and not a little trumpeting being done by its very proud and esteemed editor and publisher, Tim Atkins, of Dotterel Press/Bringing Up Charlie fame). Cor. I feel a bit like a link farm for him after all that lot!

So anyway, if you see fit to purchasing one (or more!) 'Tiny Acorns', just know you are contributing to a very worthy cause.

Here is the official press release:


--- TINY ACORNS ----

Dotterel Press has launched a charity anthology featuring the work of several regional writers -and raising money for this year's Children in Need appeal.

All the items were inspired by a free on-line Creative Writing e-course run earlier this year by Tim Atkinson. The course itself was inspired by one of the students who - having signed up for an evening class in writing - was disappointed to find that the course was cancelled at the last minute due to lack of interest.

The ten-week replacement on-line course, by contrast, attracted a huge national following. Well over 100 people registered in the first few days and many thousands more followed the lessons informally week-by-week, downloading them from the website.

Inspired by some of the exercises they completed, the budding authors wrote and submitted pieces for an end-of-course charity anthology. The best were selected for publication. And last Friday Tiny Acorns was launched to great acclaim, to coincide with the BBC's annual Children in Need charity telethon.

The genres covered in the book range from flash-fiction to more traditional short-stories, life-writing, humour, poetry and autobiography. There's something in it for everyone. And if people are inspired by what they read, they can have a go for themselves as the entire creative writing course has been reprinted in the book's appendix.

Tiny Acorns was published last Friday (ISBN 978-0-9562869-1-8) and is available direct for just £8.99 from the Dotterel Press Online store

Fancy a Friday flogging?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Looking in your own backyard

Hello, bloggy folk, how I've missed you! Life has been uber-busy and I have hardly even been able to trawl around my favourite blog-haunts :( Perhaps sometime soon when things are less hectic....

What is your passion as a parent? 

I read an article today about the size of the Australian suburban back yard (and the structure) and, whilst it contained nothing I had not already pondered regarding the sterile, formal, clipped, concreted and otherwise contained backyards you see more often than not these days, it did cause me to wonder: just how many people with young children have these resort-style looking yards? And who are they building them for?

Don't get me wrong, I think some of these places can look amazing, with their formal box hedges, paving, decking on tiered levels and whatnot. And they are simply stunning to feast your eyes on. But for me, at the end of the day, a backyard requires something much more than this if you have children to cater to. Even our attempts at a pretty neat low-maintenance garden at our last house would not have made for an imagination-inspiring place for any children.

When Steve and I were your not-so-typical (in that we were trying hellishly hard not to be) DINKS - dual income, no kids - our back yard looked like this:

I loved it. Truly loved that garden. But there wasn't much more than a 2x2m bit of grass (if that) and the rest was covered. I did as much with the small space as I could and think we did fairly well with making it interesting, using a lot of indigenous natives as well.

We sold that place when the LGBB was about 18 months old. I had an idea in my mind of giving her something similar to what I had - I grew up on 2 acres in what was termed in the '70s and '80s as "the sticks" (not anymore, the urban sprawl has ensured that suburb is now quite civilised with curb and guttering, sealed footpaths and most pastureland now taken up with more ginormous houses on tiny blocks) - but we were in no real hurry to leave.

And then, the house we are currently living in just plopped into our laps. We bought it before we had even really thought about what we were doing. Our old house wasn't on the market, we hadn't even considered estate agents, we had done the real estate no-no: bought before we sold.

But in my mind's eye, the 1/4 acre we now found ourselves in charge of would ensure our little girl would be able to sample the delights to be found in her own backyard. Granted, it's mostly been a building site in the three years we have owned it, but we are now officially a Garden For Wildlife (a local council incentive, encouraging members to plant and establish locally grown Australian natives to responsibly support and sustain the area's birdlife and other creatures who call these backyards "home"). It's a win-win, surely. And it feels so much more like home, even though strangely, I could never imagine myself leaving our last place which we built from the ground up.

Funny how your perspectives change so much once you are a mother. You make do with what you have and build on that, in whichever is your passion and hopes for your family. One thing close to my heart just happens to be nature and wildlife (flora and fauna). I love attracting it, I deeply adore growing purpose-"built" gardens from the ground up using sustainable, indigenous native plants. That my LGBB appears to be similarly enthused is heartening to me.

I was interviewed two weeks ago by a woman who is preparing a report about humans and how they relate to nature and I found myself crying. I never realised I was *so* passionate about it. But to me, there is not too many more things more important than developing in my child a sense of belonging to the All - that she is a part of it and it (all) is connected to her. If we don't have that.... I wonder, what do we have? For me, when I am feeling low, I know I have lost my connection to that natural world. When I was recovering from losing our firstborn daughter, I planted many of the plants you see in the images above. We also built that pond (our memorial to her in lieu of a cemetary plot to go and visit). Without those projects, cultivating and watching young plants grow and then feed and nurture tiny birds, butterflies and other flying insects, I would have quite lost myself.

This post may seem far removed from anything to do with "mothering" (for it is part of Naomi's linky today), however, to me it is an underpinning staple part of how I nurture and "grow" my child. The two interlink like the branches of our glorious liquidambar tree!

A tree this large would never be safe to grow in a small suburban backyard.

Just the lawn behind her in this shot is more than we would ever have had
in our old garden. And this is our front yard! (which is smaller than the back)

Far from exuding anything formal at all, our back yard has loads of potential
and a load more work to do to get it looking like how I can visualise it.
But it will happen! We'll get there, slowly.

This post is part of the regular Thursday Mother Heart linky over at Seven Cherubs' blog. Go check it out!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The birth quilt

This is a repost of something I wrote just before Christmas 2007, just before we moved in to this house. My days of painting seemed endless and I relished the thinking time alone, just me and the brush strokes, when I came here to the empty house we were polishing little by little into a sparkling jewel.

On this day, as I listened to Triple R, I became a little more educated in the birthing rights/situation of fellow mothers up north of this vast country we live in. And I paused with shock and horror several times as I listened to the interviewer and interviewees giving accounts and discussing the concerns of Aboriginal Australian expectant mothers and women from the islands surrounding the far north coastline of Queensland.

Birth quilt

I was painting endless timber panelling this morning - a lovely tinted white, very cool and calming - and as I got on with the job, my mind turned to pregnancy. Heh. Now isn't THAT something I've thought about before.

Not me being pregnant, but the trials that some women (so many women) face both getting pregnant, keeping the baby and then also once it's born (safely or otherwise). Over the past couple of months, I've heard a few pregnancy announcements to women who've withstood some of the most gruelling tests of their lives... the waiting, the angst, the sadness, yet a couple of surprise effortless ones thrown in to the mix which are a blessed wondrous gift. And congratulations to all/any who may still be reading this blog who are newly pregnant ;)

But my thinking went further than that today. I was listening to a woman being interviewed on the radio. They have made a birthing quilt to bring awareness to the issues faced by Aboriginal Australian and Islander women, who are forced to travel outside their communities, sometimes outside of the country (not just their country/nation but across the seas to a completely different land) to receive medical assistance to birth their children safely. These women go alone. They leave in the final weeks of their pregnancy, leaving behind obviously their partner and any other children they have, they have no birthing support, their mothers and sisters or aunties do not travel with them.

So here they are, completely alone with unfamiliar caregivers, and then basically left alone to birth by themselves - or at the most, with a stranger they've just met - before returning with their newborn/s on their own again.

They gave a statistic this morning: that for every non-Indigenous mother and baby that dies there are 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women that die and 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies that die at birth (or from complications of).

And so, is it medical negligence? Too much or too little intervention? For a woman to give birth safely, she herself must have some sense of safety, surely. How can it possibly help to ensure the smoothest possible passage of delivery if she has so much stacked against her to begin with? Where are her emotional and other birthing needs being met in such a practice? The more narrow-minded might say "Well they should move closer" (and I have met such folk who use this as the all-rounded, bigoted, racist answer to everything that needs "fixing"). But seriously, wouldn't allowing any or all her support people to travel with her be at least some teeny tiny start in ensuring the process is somewhat safer?

Once again, my perspectives and realities become even more sharply defined as I am reminded of my place.

Today, this is my contribution to the Thursday Mother Heart linky at Seven Cherubs' lovely blog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tips from a seasoned Ebay seller

Okay, here are mine. You ready? Here we go...

Tip #1:  Remember to plug in your doorbell so it's in good working nick for the winning bidder when they come to collect their item.

Tip #2:  Remember you forgot to remember to plug in your doorbell.

Tip #3:  Best to do this before tips #4 through #10.

Tip #4:  When you hear the cat rattling the front security door to come in, do more than just mutter "That bloody cat" to yourself/your iPad-dabbling husband who's uselessly sitting on the couch.

Tip #5:  When the cat continues to bang on the door, instead of having a conversation with your husband about how "that bloody cat sounds like she's really knocking on the door" and then parodying a bit of a slapstick sketch that involves you rapping an imaginary door in front of you and curling your hand up into a paw (hiding your opposable thumb to make it even more realistic) while you put on a cat voice and go "Mar-raooow?", just go and check the front door.

Tip #6:  If you have already done tips #1-#5, or part thereof, DO NOT under any circumstances call out to your cat in a "mraowree" whining voice towards the door, "Jush a minnnute, Tabbzeeeee". Just trust me on this one.

Tip #7:  GO AND CHECK WHY THE CAT SOUNDS SO FRANTIC AND PERSISTENT. Again, preferably before you get to tip #5.

Tip #8:  It's best not to apologise profusely to the winning bidder standing on your front doorstep for "sounding like the cat". You'll only look more ridiculous. I tried it once this one time* and I think I got away with it, but it's not recommended.

Tip #9:  Get your husband to effect the Ebay transaction with the visitor who's been standing patiently rattling your front door while her sleeping baby wakes in the car - let no dickhead Ebay seller get between mother and her baby's sleep routine - and excuse yourself back to the kitchen under the pretense of checking dinner.

Tip #10:  Look for wine. If you find none, it's okay to curl your knees up to your chest for a little minute and cringe on the inside. Even wail a little. Don't forget to let your husband laugh at you. It makes the bond tighter.

Happy bidding/selling!

* Like, last night. I've never wanted a do-over of a situation so badly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ella's rose

The first rose for the year has bloomed on Ella's blue moon rose bush. I first posted the story about it last March, 2009. It's interesting to note the various times it decides to flower - if it does at all (for in 2008, it did not flower at all) - so it's always a very pleasant and welcome surprise, then, to see it begin to bud.

I was so taken by this year's first flower that I have put it in my new blog header *up there* ^^ but here is the photo in the raw:

And one more time, for those new to my blog or anyone who missed it, here is the story again:

The first rose

Ella's rose didn't flower last year.

It's a beautiful Autumn-blooming fragrant rose, deeply coloured with hues of pinks and purples. In full flower, it looks ridiculously gorgeous.

A childhood friend gave this gift to me five years ago, on her first (mercifully short, for we were still not great company) visit to see how we were going after Ellanor died. I remember looking at her standing in my kitchen, concern etched on her face, and me apologising that I just "can't do it, I can't be cheerful this time, Treen..." and she marvelled with me then that I was actually still standing. She didn't need me to "be" anything, she assured me. I could relax then, for I heard that she understood. But I was completely bereft. Concerned that the me I knew, who she knew, who all around me knew, was lost forever. I had always been able to make my friends smile, giggle, belly laugh in fact. Now, despite my sense of humour, I couldn't do it. I was heartbroken, doubly so that I was not being for my friends and family what they'd come to know and love. Would they love the new, broken me? The pain and fear was so huge.

This girl is salt of the Earth stuff. She's just great. I am ashamed to admit, I don't contact her nearly enough. Ours is one of those enduring friendships, across miles, across faith differences, across other mutual friendships that have ended around us. And always, there is this friend. We went to kindergarten together. Then high school. Then we parted ways. I married, she moved overseas to live. But even still, she's a firm fixture in my mind.

And the gesture that day, of giving us the rose, this "Eternal Moon" - from her and her family - is something I always give thanks for each time I pass by the planter at our front doorstep.

I don't know why I didn't plant it in the garden in my already thriving rose garden of our old place. A blessing, I guess, in disguise because I would have been very sad to part with it if ever we moved. I chose a heavy, simple sandstone planter - something that made two removalists groan and curse when they had to move it here last year - and have watched it wilting in this relentless heat.

I honestly don't know how I didn't see the buds on it. It's as if they literally sprung up overnight last night. Because today, a flash of colour caught my eye. Oh wow, two opening buds! And more. At least half a dozen more. I was doubting I'd ever see it flower to its former glory again, fearing the different conditions here (it's notably cooler, not more than ten minutes' drive up the road, like a more mountain climate - odd and interesting) and the changed aspect towards the sun now had screwed it for good.

But no. She blooms. She grows.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I've been up for nearly an hour already. It's just gone 6am. Using my time wisely, I'm writing about my other daughter, the one who would be almost seven now.

At 4:43am today, our bedroom door burst open and in leapt the LGBB - yes, leapt - announcing in measured statement, "I had another scary, scary, SCARY dream and I won't go back to sleep very well." How eloquent. Before I had a chance to fire up my brain so it'd make my mouth say something (I had done that thing you do when you're up and standing with your child trying to comprehend what they're doing/telling you even though you're still asleep, back there, behind you, in your soft, warm bed), I scooped her up in to my arms and began to head towards her bedroom.

"Can I stay in your bed for a li'l bit?" she asked. I turned and wandered back to my bedside and bundled her in.

The LGBB slept soundly after that. I, however, was suddenly chock full of the remnants of this lingering nasty infection and, despite my endeavours not to cough and not to sneeze and blow my nose, I couldn't comfortably remain sandwiched between my two loves and not eventually wake them.

So here I sit. On my favourite comfy couch, watching the night mist lift off the hills, revealing the bush and intersections of the three criss-crossing ridges right outside my window. They look so close I feel I could almost reach out and touch them. The mist melds and merges, a life within a life of its own it seems, and I am reminded of the nature of all things getting on with what it is they do. Birds are beginning to fly around (they've been chirping since before 5am), there is the faintest hint of colour now on the top of the highest ridge as the sun finds it. Funny, I muse as I sit here, close to my work on the book, I am reminded that it was actually my first daughter's death that showed me the profundity of life.

Of course, my very first (fur) baby, Pepper, lies in a rather uneasy slumber at the window by my feet. For a dog who is edging towards the age of 18 and who has lived her life 'roughing it' outside in all weather - she's tough, it's an Australian Kelpie/Dingo thing, that's quite obvious now she is ailing and still doing it - she doesn't seem too perturbed to be made to at least sleep inside during the day on a dog bed. I just can't handle seeing her on the hard floorboards, not in her arthritic condition. She has been with me since day dot of this journey to parenthood. That she is still here, carrying the lantern so to speak, humbles and amazes me. The loss of her from our lives - for she has been in it since 1995 - will be a keen and sore one, when the day comes. My mother-heart very much encircles this very special canine "child" and the locking of her gaze with mine (she always wins, I always look away first! - testament to how often I don't allow myself time to stop still from my busyness and business to simply  be in the moment with her/something) confirms to me that she receives that connection as well.

I've not been up this early in a long while. Two joys intersecting with one circumstance: our daughter is comforted and sleeping peacefully in our bed, whilst being awake at this time has allowed me to fill back up, even if just a little, with the beauty of my natural surroundings.

Timely, I should think.

Sharing via the Thursday Mother Heart linky at Seven Cherubs' blog.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brag pause

Minor break in my hiatus to just splurge about... well, nothing much in the scheme of things, really. I just wanted to say Hoy!

"We love it!" the client says. I love it too. "We absolutely love everything you've done..... Now... can we just move this here and change that picture over there and... see that colour there? We loooove it, really love it. But can you try it in this shade instead...."

I. Love. My. Job. Seriously, I do. But sometimes, like this time when you know you've produced something kick-ass, it's disappointing to have your design elements jacked around with.

Ahhhh well, they're paying me. And they are honestly the loveliest and most gracious clients who have given me the best content to work with [I mean, look at this guy's landscape design work! Genius..]. Therefore, I am here to do their bidding where their website is concerned...

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I am in a bit of a writer's rut, at the end of an ardous few weeks. Health wise, I'm getting there. As I type this, I hear the LGBB coughing her lungs out (she is fast asleep), neither of us are sleeping soundly and haven't for a fortnight. Mercifully, Steve hasn't caught this (yet) and it is my firm intention to keep it that way. There is nothing quite so tedious as going through nursing your child, then yourself, to find you have a case of man-flu on your hands. To be fair, though, I'd humour him going to bed with this one, it's been right awful.

So. There's not much bloggy inspiration in me. No desire to use up the brain space for my dear, trusty blog. Instead, I've found myself drawn to looking at pretty, very pretty, things like this and this, all terribly gorgeous and dreamy and just letting my brain go "ahhhhhhh", much like looking at a photo of ABBA used to do (it still gives me a feeling of comfort, looking at that lot and remembering how very, very happy I was as a kid to dance around my grandparents' lounge room to Arrival and make up concerts and be Agnetha.... wha? shuddap, why're you looking at me like that?) and not feeling much like being the one doing the talking right now. I hereby advise I may not post for a little while after this one. There is a website project I need to finish up for a client (and it looks awesome, he's a landscape designer and I'm steeped in all these professional images of the most amazing formal backyards - those outdoor-room types - so am channeling a lot of my inspiration into that. And I've a tonne of readings to catch up on (loving my homework for the Tarot class!).

And finally, I can also see the last page of my book. I am *this* close to finishing now. Excruciating, the wait to see how it will end (even I don't know yet!).

Exciting times. Gruelling times. Bit draining on the old creative reserves, in fact. It's little wonder, really, that the mere thought of the pressure writing a post a day (or anywhere near that) for the month of November is enough to make me break out in hives. So I shan't even attempt to take part, piker that I may well be.

See you soon! I shall be reading and commenting wherever I go. Mwah-mwah, hugzzzz.

I cheated and linked this several days' old post to Lori's FlogYoBlog Friday  instead of writing a new one today... Have you joined the linky?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And what, pray tell, do I do with THIS?

I have this paragraph here. I've written it down. It was part of some larger train of thought for the book that I hope desperately will arrive at my house again - Polar Express style - so I can catch it and it'll take me where this was going. Because I lost it. My train of thought, that is.

There's something profound here. I know there is. Can you see it?

Oh..... Darn it all anyway (to quote Clarke Griswold)!! This one is really going to grip me until I nut it out.

    I thought it was going to be something to do with having a baby (being fulfilled and happy and joyful). But the more I looked around me, the more I saw parents who weren’t happy. Who were complaining. Who were, quite frankly, victimising their position because of their “lot in life”. But there were also others who had it far worse and yet, were genuinely happy.
    I pondered this point deeply over my days in our empty home. I came to the conclusion that it was less about the circumstances (of being childless) and more about personifying joy. Alone. On my own. Separate from Steve and anyone we knew or anything we owned. It seemed so easy that I almost overlooked it as being important at all.

Off with her head!

I have been in bed for three days. No easy feat with a four year-old. Mind you, the LGBB has been getting over the end of this nasty cold herself.

Seriously, in the middle there, I wanted to just sever my head at the neck. It may have been less uncomfortable. Ear ache, face ache (aka sinus pains from hell), head ache, blocked and runny nose (whaaaat? why not just one or the other?) and I've almost finished coughing up the complete Lego set to make my green fort. Seriously. How does the stuff on your lungs settle into lumps with sharp corners??*

I don't know, colds these days aren't "just" colds anymore, are they? Some strains can absolutely flatten you. I've had this for a week and there's not much let-up yet, although I can feel it's moving through, not settling in. No good when you're trying to run a house. Fortunately, Tuesday was a public holiday here so Steve was home. He and Lolly had a great day together. I stayed in bed. Yesterday, I hobbled her over to kindy and then hobbled back, did a bit of work (I was desperate to get to bed but am a tad more desperate to get paid at the moment) and then went and picked her up. Oh, how very fast three hours goes.

I am ashamed to say, the afternoon was spent under the covers - the two of us - watching movies. We watched The Wedding Singer and then The Polar Express. I was in agony. Lolly LOVED it. The closeness to me and my complete focus - albeit on my eyelids, even though she assumed I was watching with her - was tantamount to bliss for her. On more than one occasion, she cupped my face in her hands and gave me soft kisses and when I opened my eyes, she'd be grinning at me. My child has the most divine wide-mouthed smile. Her entire face beams. I was told, "I love you so, so, so much." And it made me grin too, despite the strain it placed on my snot-filled cheeks.

I wish I could be comfortable staying in bed and letting her have run of the house. Heck, I even wish I didn't mind her watching so much tv. But being that I was the only adult in the house and that I literally couldn't stay upright, I just couldn't rest. Not really. Not completely. I just have a "thing" about being in bed when the LGBB is not. So she had to stay with me. And because she stayed with me, and being four, there wasn't exactly much "rest' going on. By the time 5.30pm rolled around, I knew I would have to muster up some energy from somewhere and begin tea. If I didn't, we'd be waiting until 7 o'clock if I wanted Steve to help me. So I asked the LGBB earnestly if she would please stop moving so that Mummy could rest for a moment. The tv was off and she had stopped moving. Within a few minutes, she was asleep. And Mummy, being the opportunist, lifted her sore and weary head off the pillow and shuffled in to the kitchen to make dinner. Then I agonised over whether/when to wake her. She was obviously in need of sleep, her nights have been broken by bouts of coughing and sore tummy that have gone with this cold-bug-horridthing.

It's just how it goes, isn't it? With us, anyway, this is how it goes. Steve and I have.... well, only Steve and I to rely on. Oh how I wish for one parent, just one, to be both within reasonable driving distance and hands-on enough to just get in and do things for us. But we don't. So we make do.

After dinner (I had no appetite, I stayed in bed while the others ate), the LGBB went to bed and was happy to go to sleep straight away at 7.30 as per usual. I had taken Panadeine - something I rarely do but I was desperate - and by 9pm was just beginning to doze off and feel comfortable, when I heard her little voice. Crying to Steve, who was working still, and complaining of a sore tummy. She sounded a bit worried and quite upset. I knew he could handle it if I didn't get up.

But that instinct can't be settled. There is no way I, as a mother, could lie there feeling comfortable (even if it is after a day of pain!) if I know my child needs help. Even when the other parent is perfectly capable of settling her. So I got up and went to see what was up. Steve let me step in when she wasn't settling. I sat by the LGBB's side and explained to her the basic mechanics of food and where it goes. I had been trying to keep tabs on her bodily functions these past few days - hard when you're stuck in bed! - and in the back of my mummy-mind, I had flagged "Check this out" on the file marked "Bowel movements". It's been a few days since she's had normal function in that area (she says, tactfully) so I'm pretty sure by now there'd be some monster pains rearing up every so often. So I explained to Lolly that lots of sips of water all day would help, as well as a warm pack and some gentle rubbing of her tummy.

Hearing all this, she settled down. And then did one almighty trumpet that ruffled her sheets. After much guffawing, the LGBB was back out like a light (she is obviously still not well because normally that would never happen).

When I was walking back up the hall to bed, feeling very light-headed and giddy on my feet, I marvelled at how everything in my own body is put aside in order to attend to my child. I rely on that, I count on it, to step in and give me everything I need countless times during any given day. But I don't often notice it, not until I feel so ill myself. I am not sure there would be too many things that would keep me from my child's bedside.

How about you? What happens when you're sick? Do you have other adults around who help? Do you recognise that part of yourself that "kicks in" even when you are in the throes of trying to kick an illness yourself?

 This is part of the weekly Thursday Mother Heart linky.

That's us in 2008, back when she didn't notice a camera at ten paces

* My most sincere and humble apologies for that visual

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bathtime cocktails

It's a kind of bubbly....

After a hard day's toddling, it's no wonder the LGBB needs to unwind with some bubbles and a good book.

And now, I'm very, very, very excited to announce the winners of this little ol' blog's FIRST EVER give-away! (I should do this more often.... Note to self: Must put on To Do list)

I'm really grateful to those who assisted with my cocktail making endeavours, I only wish I had more than two of these fantabulous Cocktails At Naptime freebies to give away. But I don't. And so, without further ado, the winners are..... *tap your glasses*

MMBB for the Tropical Sunrise of Awesomeness (that better taste like the Happy she claims, and sounds like it sure will)
Jodie at Mummy Mayhem because a Margarita is something that always sounds so fancy and yet... looky here! Can it really be so simple? Slushies for all!

So, ladies, get in touch with me (email is best, it's up the top there somewhere, or in my profile, ohmygod I'm hopeless with directions) and tell me your postal address! Congratulations!

For your own chance to win a freebie book, why not enter the competition Finch Publishing have got going here?

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