31 January 2011
As I've mentioned before, big owlet's current interest is with all things that grow. So she tells me anyhow. Seems to have been her main interest since birth. She's our little bug lover. She picks up spider eggs to examine them, collects creepy crawlies and gives them names, like Emily the slater. She's our little Gerald Durrell. If you've not read his book, My Family and Other Animals, I highly recommend it. Its basically an account of a boy's unschooling in the Greek Islands. I'm reading it to big owlet for the first time and although the language is a little beyond her, she's enjoying it and it opens up all sorts of discussions on words and phrases she's not heard before... Her interest in growing things has extended to plants of late. In the picture above, are two pots she found in the back yard. She and little owlet shoved a pea in each and named them. Peatrice and Louis. They water them occasionally and are marveling at how much they are growing everyday and that little owlet's is smaller. I do love how these little unit studies or themes pop up naturally and we just follow along with them, strewing some interesting things in their path from time to time that relate. It keeps my creative head entertained thinking of little things for them.
I've also mentioned how we're designing a children's play area in the garden... Well I use the term designing in a rather loose way. The garden is a rather large project, bigger than our wallets and timetable will allow all in one go, so it will have to evolve gradually. We've so far endeavoured to source everything extremely cheaply and re-use/recycle if at all possible. This was both a budgetary measure and an ethical one... we'd like the owlets to understand the importance of re-using things and how to source things locally. How to make something beautiful or useful out of something thrown away. So, of course we started at the tip shop...
The owlets are no strangers to the tip shop, and we came away with armloads of stuff for our new space.
We've worked all day today. Digging out the old cat toilet - I mean sand pit - yuk!! Relocating old horrid sand, finding dirt underneath for digging in instead, then constructing a new, clean sand pit nearby, with fresh sand and although I hate adding plastic to an area I'd rather remain natural, we used a clam shell. Mainly for the reason that little owlet is the complete antithesis of her sister and has a phobia of all things bug or dirt. At least she can have cleanish fun there. And get her hands dirty without really noticing. So the smallest sandpit in the known universe has landed in our garden.
Other plans involve a mud kitchen, noise making wall and a log ring which I'll tell you all about tomorrow if I get it set up...
So that was our unschool monday. Not bad, given tiny owlet only allowed work in ten minute bursts and little owlet had a cold. We also managed plenty of screen time... something I'm hoping the outdoor area will provide distraction from before winter sets in.
While I'm here, Onlinecollege.org have put together a list of 50 best blogs in the unschooling movement. There are some brilliant blogs on their list and much to my surprise, owlet is there too :) Do go have a look if you are vaguely interested in unschooling, parenting, education, interesting stuff... Some fab reads there.
Also, feel free to join in here. Leave your link and have a look at what others are doing in their unschooling days/weeks.
28 January 2011
At the park with a bunch of friends the other day, holding babies, kissing sore knees, handing out snacks, we got to talking about sleep. The common theme was just how different the sleeping patterns were between our children. As individual as each child. Then later, I was chatting to my Mum about my own current sleep situation and reflecting on the differences over the last seven years of owlet raising...
Big owlet slept for four hours, then fed, then played, then slept again - just like the book said. At night she slept in a cot down the hallway. Like the book said. She figured out bedtime early on. We taught her when to sleep, in the gentlest way we knew how. She cried sometimes, but dropped off to sleep fairly easily after a little while. She has always put herself to sleep fairly easily... But sometimes it isn't easy for her. Sometimes I think the way we parented her, the way we followed that book, may have led to some of her quirks. It certainly ensured that she stopped breastfeeding at 12 months on the dot. Just like the book said. I'm fairly sure she still sucks her thumb and has a two-suh because it was there when we weren't. I wish I'd known. I wish I'd followed my heart, met her needs, listened to her.
Little owlet was my greatest teacher in all things sleep related. She hated it. Still does. She woke up on the wrong side of the bed every time. Annoyed that we had somehow tricked her into sleeping. She'd scream for hours every afternoon, wake whenever I put her down, or whenever I moved. Or breathed. People would ask me if she was a "good sleeper" and I'd answer "yup". Well when she was asleep she was very good at it... When asked "how does she sleep?" I'd usually answer "with her eyes closed..." Her lack of sleep didn't make her a dud baby, but certainly a challenging one. For four years I didn't sleep for more than two hours in a row. My body ached from having her sleep on my back during the day. My nipples hurt from having her nurse all night long. When she was nine months old, I finally gave up on the cot caper and brought her to my bed. It was one of the best parenting decisions I've made. I finally listened to her. Met her needs, which were, like any baby, to be held, comforted, nourished and nurtured. She didn't sleep much more than before, but she was more content and I dozed between wakings, only waking momentarily. This week I can happily report that she has started to put herself to sleep, although she still likes a little help if it's available... who doesn't? She is less certain of her place in the world, but she has never doubted our love for her and I am so glad that we listened to her and held her when she needed us.
Tiny owlet is a different kettle of fish altogether. She doesn't sleep much during the day, although I am managing to put her down for 30 minute snippets here and there, but she does sleep most of the night. Although I'm not completely sure of that because I'm fairly certain that there is the odd feed here and there, but I'm not really awake, so hard to tell. I'm completely shocked. Expecting the worst, I had braced myself for another four sleepless years AT LEAST. But it seems that SO FAR the sleep gods are smiling on me. Of course it could all change next week, but for now it seems that tiny owlet's sleep pattern is akin to my own and for that I am grateful. She is, for the most part, a very content and happy baby. All her needs are met. She has little reason to cry and I am so glad to give her that comfort.
What I find amusing as I move through circles of people discussing babies and sleep is how different they are, but how we expect them to all be the same. We expect them to be that baby in the book. We expect them to be "good" sleepers and when they are not, we try to fix them. We expect tiny babies to fit around adult hours, with regular feeds and sleep for so many hours at night that surely one little feed before bed could not sustain them... We set expectations on them and ourselves that deny their needs. We spend nights, or sometimes weeks, in sleep schools hoping that they'll learn how to sleep the "right" way. Really, they know how to sleep, they just don't like working with a timetable.
Babies are born unschoolers and we just have to give them the freedom to figure things out in their own time. They do get there in the end. As for mothers suffering sleepless nights and long days while their babes cry and need to be held and nurtured? Well I think we could all be a bit easier on ourselves. Talk about how our children sleep, but not label them "good" or "bad". Nurture each other. Hold the baby and then pop the baby into bed next to mum when it's time for sleep. Cook a meal. Offer a shoulder rub. Or a cuppa. Then hold the baby while mum drinks it. Right to the very last warm drop.
I read this article today and it reflects some of my thinking on the whole cry it out thing... worth a read.
Crying for Comfort - Aletha Solter
25 January 2011
Fresh Banana & Maple Syrup muffins baked with little owlet...
Warm pot of chai with honey...
Revisiting the family budget. While I'm at it, I'm working on a meal plan too and thinking of ways to be more frugal. We're going all old school and trying to use cash again. A couple of cash budget pouches should do the trick. They're not as lovely as some I've seen in blogland. Not handmade, but repurposed. Hey I'm time poor and hopefully one day not quite so cash poor!
Our washing machine went on the blink. It's 13 years old. It has done well. Four and a half years worth of nappies and all round rough treatment. We average about two loads per day. It's a small machine, bought when it was just us two and the thought of three owlets hadn't even occurred.
On Sunday afternoon we realised the machine wasn't spinning. Oh no... no chance of vegie beds now. Or anything else we have in mind. But on the bright side, a bigger, more efficient machine!! Wait. Let's call someone out to see if it can be repaired first. Ok.
You guessed it... $90 later, the machine was fine. The culprit was this plastic moustache from the christmas crackers - secreted in an owlet pocket. Perhaps the most expensive fake mo' known to humanity.
24 January 2011
The topic of technology and screen time for children is always a bit controversial. You often read reports warning against allowing children more than a certain number of hours in front of a screen, if any at all. Its something that Huz and I were conflicted about for a time and still reassess on occasion, depending on what technology our owlets are using and how. When we were children, technology involved enormous machinery like telex machines, huge grey computers, answering machines that required tape, and television around the clock. There wasn't an internet. Using the computer (if we had access to one) meant typing commands like READY and RUN and playing games like Gold Dust Island on the Commodore 64. Dad's mobile phone really did look like a brick. Now I can send emails and shop online or play games - on my phone. Everything is instant. How that affects the owlets certainly begs consideration.
The owlets are growing up surrounded by iMacs, iPhones and iPods. Hand them one and within a few minutes they have worked out how to use it. Everything is intuitive and graphic, simple. Huz and I occasionally refer to the owlets as generation "i" - often true for more reasons than one... The elder two have been using computers since two years of age, when they showed interest and could manoeuvre a mouse. We had a television until a few years ago. We had it on most of the time. One night we found ourselves eating dinner in front of the television, watching the Simpsons. Big owlet complained that she'd seen that episode before. Little owlet giggled from her high chair. NOT the kind of environment we'd envisaged our owlets spending time in, but there it was. Big owlet was going to a steiner kindergarten at the time, so we already had an element of tv guilt. We understood how television could affect play and how we all interact. The television was re-homed within a week.
Surprisingly, we didn't miss it. What we noticed was the absence of advertising. Life felt so much more peaceful. We now avoid many of the things that were concerning us about the media and what it exposed our owlets to. If we stay somewhere that has a tv, Huz and I are usually shocked at the violence and sexualisation in ads, programs, the news! It's just so hard to choose when it's thrust in your face. Now we use the computer to watch television programs and DVDs at times that fit with our schedule. We play games, answer questions, use it for work and connecting with friends and family. We still manage to avoid a huge amount of advertising.
The owlets are free to use the computer when they need to. It's a tool, like any other we use around the house. We do tend to oversee their use of it to an extent, just as we would any other tool. We spend time with them while they use it so they can get the most out of the experience. I'm fairly sure that big owlet's reading has been helped along by her computer use. As I've mentioned before, she tends to learn visually. Unfortunately she finds self-regulating her screen time difficult, so we do ask her to move onto other things from time to time. After learning about radical unschooling, we decided to let her go for it, see how much time she'd spend at the computer. She spent every waking moment there. She lasted for two weeks, then I decided enough was enough. Her moods change when she spends too much time there. She forgets to eat, or demands to be fed all day. She's generally a big grump and she has trouble sleeping. Not something I'm comfortable with for her right now. So we make sure her computer times fit in with the family and what we are all doing. Something we've mutually agreed on and continue to negotiate. We make sure she has ample time to play too... Little owlet doesn't share her sister's attraction for the screen, and so she just uses what she needs when she needs to, then potters off to something else.
Big owlet's screen use is also related to my level of connection with her, and my own screen time. If I'm sitting at the computer for hours, its inevitable that she'd want to do the same. Something I'm careful of most days. It's also part of that mindfulness and staying in the moment that I talk about so often. Finding a balance for all of us. Enjoying all the benefits that technology can bring into our home and respecting all the things that a simpler life can bring us too.
Huz and I were laughing at the above clip the other day and tiny owlet giggled along with us. Oh the cute!!
21 January 2011
A rainy day, fresh popcorn and the postie bringing a much anticipated DVD with the mail... Big owlet cried her first happy tears when it arrived. Even Huz was inspired to take a break to watch...
Then back to work. Some serious brainstorming with tiny owlet... We do try not to distract him! Honest!
PS. The movie was "How to Train Your Dragon". She loves all things dragon and dinosaur, that big owlet. Now I can hear a little animation workshop happening in the other room ;)
20 January 2011
Still haven't got hands free for craft... I have ideas bubbling around in my head and I know it will be a while before I get to them. Frustrating? Yes. So I'm spending lots of time wandering around the place with tiny owlet on my back, looking at things I can get creative with. Like the garden. Huz can help with that. We plan to start from scratch. The vegie patch, sand pit and herb garden are being dismantled on the weekend. We have a plan that involves raised beds, more fruit trees, and a children's garden. I'm looking around for inspiration and thinking about natural playscapes. I'm looking at what we have and how it can be re-used. I'm thinking the bit of boat you can see in the picture might be useful, but the Snuffelupagus of grass cuttings might have to go...
More creative spaces to wander through over at Kirsty's.
18 January 2011
On me. Close to my heart, or a breast. Not for long, but she sleeps.
She sleeps on my back and my hands are free. She is cocooned and the pinch in my back and the burning in my arms is fading.
She sleeps, but only when I walk with purpose. She stirs when I am still or slow down. Just like she did when she was inside.
She sleeps and that is how we get things done. And the owlets help their babies sleep too. It's not the only place she sleeps, but I think it's my favourite.
When big owlet was born, I remember nervously placing her in the Baby Bjorn carrier and feeling like we were stealing her when we left the hospital. I had visions of serenely doing the shopping or gardening with babe attached. Sadly that carrier was so uncomfortable for us both, that never happened. She wobbled all over the place and my shoulders! Ouch! When little owlet arrived I discovered the hug-a-bub and ring slings. Later I wrapped her up. Now, with tiny owlet, I reckon we've got it sussed. My beautiful Storchenweige woven wrap and Kozy mei tai should give us plenty of options until she no longer needs to be carried. Whenever that may be.
Some food for thought on baby carriers:
Infant Carriers and Spinal Stress
Considerations When Buying a Baby Carrier or Baby Sling
17 January 2011
Slowly but surely, we have got back to some sort of rhythm here. Tiny owlet is fitting herself into our days and we are fitting into hers. Huz has been back at work for a couple of weeks. The owlets have started looking at things with renewed energy. Perhaps more importantly, so have I. It's like a light has been switched on. All the blur and fog of the last year feels behind us now. Just looking through photos of what we've done, I can see that what we did before pregnancy was more vibrant, considered, fun. I'm looking forward to introducing a bit more of that to our days. Although we are unschoolers, I do put some thought into what I introduce the owlets to and make more of a concerted effort to strew interesting things in their path than I expect to when they are older and more independent. Big owlet is the major guide to how our days run, but there's a bit of teamwork and guidance on my part still. She will often start the day saying "I want to do craft all day!" Really complex craft usually. A simple idea will spiral into something we need a design team and about a year to complete... I tend to reel her into a simpler approach... just for now, until we learn how to do the harder stuff ;) Face paints and craft kits are helping on days when my hands are too full of other things... or people.
So big owlet has taken an interest in growing. How people grow, how animals and plants grow. She wants to know why, how big or if not, why not? She thought a good place to start would be a farm. Things grow on farms. So beginning today, right now, she's drawing a large mural of a farm. We might visit a farm. We'll certainly read about them, talk about what food comes from which sort of farm, go to the farmer's market, grow our own things. I have a few little surprises up my sleeve too... Tiny owlet is providing us with lots to talk about when it comes to growing.
We've also been looking at myths, reading before bed each night and that has led to discussion on geography, history, religion, different cultures, what's real and what is imagined... Little owlet has always learned through music, so I'm looking for ways to incorporate that - remembering songs to sing at appropriate times, leaving instruments around, finding things for her to listen to and allowing enough quiet time for her to explore her own voice... and she is. She sings all day. About everything. She can't help but make noise.... Oh and she's working on letters and writing too, trying to figure out how to write her name while big owlet perfects her own writing.
So today we have a bit of that flow back and it feels like we are slowly getting back on track. I'm looking around for some new bits and pieces for inspiration as I do each season - craft and art supplies, craft activities, outings, library books etc. And we're muddling through, one day at a time.
16 January 2011
I'm feeling incredibly lucky. Tiny owlet is nine weeks old tonight and it seems like I have my nights back. My favourite time of day, watching tiny owlet fall into a deep, relaxed sleep... sneaking in to check on the bigger two and hearing snores and sighs... then wandering a quiet house and out into the garden to breathe the cool, evening air.
As much as I love spending my days with my beautiful owlets, I do love a little time to myself. To wander. To think. To find peace. I've always needed this time and insisted on finding some hours at the end of the day to be alone and spend time with Huz. We've always a insisted on that same bedtime routine. I know it's not for everyone and a zen bedtime has been helpful during those periods where our owlets have fought sleep, but creating little rituals each day and the constancy of those rituals has most certainly helped.
I'm wondering if the shower I've always had before bed, during pregnancy and then with my babies, has helped most of all. Extending my daily routines into theirs while we are still so connected during that mama-baby, mamatoto, time. Tiny owlet's body relaxes immediately when she hears the shower running. Then when we hop into bed , she feeds more intently and falls into that deep sleep, after all the noise and chatter and cheeriness of the day. The relief of sleep. She sleeps for a good few hours, waking momentarily when I slide in next to her and perhaps during the night, but I don't wake fully enough to be aware of what time or how often. Oh thank goodness for co-sleeping!
I know that I'm lucky. It hasn't always been this way. Like the time little owlet needed to sleep less during the day and let us know by staying up until 10pm most nights. She'd then wake hourly, or spend all night breastfeeding. All night. My truly nocturnal owlet. She still wakes me most nights. Sleep hasn't been without its challenges around here. I know it will most likely change again, perhaps, tomorrow, but for now I'm breathing deeply and enjoying it.
Suppertime Muesli - eaten anytime, but usually when the owlets have nodded off.
nutty oil (peanut, macadamia nut, coconut, almond whatever you prefer)
Chop the nuts, add to the oats in a large baking tray, then drizzle with oil and maple syrup and toss through. Toast in the oven at 180 degrees until slightly browned and the whole house smells warm and toasty. Add the chopped dried fruit and eat
13 January 2011
Huz has been demolishing. We had a little low bench around the windows. It was too small, too low to be practical (unless you are an owlet), so Huz took to it with a drill and hammer and there was room for dancing! Then we looked at the old kitchen table. The one that was the kitchen table my sister and I grew up with. The one I've been wanting to have as a kitchen table since forever. It fits perfectly, and has a new comfy home in the kitchen. We use it for cooking, eating breakfast, working and looking out at the garden. I love having company in the kitchen when I'm cooking and there's something about this table that's so homely and inviting... The chairs have finally found a comfy place too. They were found on the side of the road one hard waste collection weekend and they could do with a bit of sprucing up one day, but for now they are fine. As for the garden, well a lot of sprucing up needed there. We're thinking we may just start again with some raised beds. The weeds have won this round.
In my kitchen we've been whipping up sugar free treats. Last year we did the same thing, but I dropped out when morning sickness and cravings got the better of me. I was a bad influence on Huz too, so he fell off the wagon not long after. So with a new year and healthier habits in mind, we are finding joy in natural, fresh foods. No refined cane sugar and much less wheat. Its surprising that it has been much easier this time. Fave treats are berry or banana and maple syrup muffins, baked honey custard, smoothies galore and Sarah's 'troffles', a real treat for the chocolate lovers among us. The owlets have taken a fancy to the jar of mountain lilac raw honey on the table and run past with a teaspoon from time to time. Its too strong for us with Victorian honey palettes, but their tasmanian tongues seem to love a strong flavoured honey. We've been enjoying jugs of water with a slice of lime, fresh herbs and all the gorgeous fruit. We're eyeing off the apricots on the tree for when they'll be ready. Also, wandering the neighborhood, foraging for this delicious bowl of cherry plums! I wondered why there were so many on the tree, so sweet and ripe and perfect. Then the woman that lived in the house behind the tree came and told me they were inedible. The council had warned her they were not good for eating. She prunes the tree as high as she can reach to stop passing children from an unknown, terrible fate. Forty years she has lived there and never tasted one. Its the same tree we had in our garden as kids. The one we used to climb up to guzzle fruit. I think I might make her a jar of cherry plum jam to thank her ;)
What's been happening in your kitchen? If you happen to be in Queensland, and you are fortunate, like we are, to have a kitchen above water, perhaps you might like to bake something for the SES volunteers? I know I'd like to, but we'll be cooking up other ways to help. There's a great list over at Pip's if you need a place to start. x
11 January 2011
When the number of children in your family jumps from two to three, everyone makes the same observation... "You must have your hands full", they say, looking over at my older two girls and the baby in my arms. Well, erm, yes, I do rather! Its just not the fact that it now seems like I have a football team every time we go out anywhere, big and little owlet are rather easy kids to have around actually. Its the armful of baby I'm carrying. She's a lovely thing. Smiles whenever you look into her beautiful blue eyes. She is most definitely an *in arms* baby. She must be held for most of her waking hours - and there are a lot of those! But not only that, she must be moving. So we do laps of the hallway, the kitchen, the garden. Often while breast feeding as she refuses to do that sitting down. The world is just too interesting. And so my hands are full.
The things that my hands used to do are temporarily on hold. Like sewing. And knitting. And reading, catching up on blogs, cooking, gardening... often cleaning and washing are out too unless Huz is around to help out. But I do love it so, this mothering thing, especially when that tiny hand grabs mine. During late pregnancy I longed for my hands to be massaged. In labour, I wanted them to be held. And then gently touched in the days after her arrival. Hands are such an important part of this motherhood caper - oh what I wouldn't give for an extra set most days!!
I often wonder what I'll be doing with my hands when they are no longer full of owlets. I'm always drawn to activities that require the skillful use of my hands, yet I've always had some battle with them, from the eczema that plagued them for 25yrs (and has mysteriously vanished now I'm all grown up), to the shakes... I have a tremor, passed on from my Dad, and his father before, that I feel in my whole body, but appears most visibly in my hands. My left hand is hard to control, as are my thumbs and occasionally my wrists. It gets worse with age. It is getting worse now. I can feel it and I know what is coming... The shaking has always defined my style of drawing and creating and I've learned to love the imperfections. I can get my hands to do what I want most of the time, it just takes concentration and patience, just like my grandfather had when he worked, ironically, as a handyman. I know that one day it may take too long to thread a needle for sewing to be worth my while. Knitting is already getting harder. I make a lousy waitress, so I don't think a career in the food industry is in my future. Hmmm... might read up on gardening some more...
For now though, I'm grateful that my hands are full of owlets and we are healthy, safe and dry. Maybe you'd like to follow Handmade Kids and their Flood Appeal Auction and if you have a hand free, perhaps you could buy something beautiful and hand made. Or if you have two hands free, perhaps make something to contribute. I'll be lending a hand where I can and sending love to all those affected by the Queensland floods.
*photo taken by big owlet*
10 January 2011
Quick one today because we're off for a walk... Big owlet loves performing, loves a stage, loves being in front of or behind the camera... Remember, she wants to make movies one day... Here's her third vlog and her first go at editing. Its just a round up of her week (the days where she remembers to take the camera). She's having fun playing with it. I like it too because it gives me a look at life through her eyes and reminds of me what it's like to be seven.
9 January 2011
I've read a few friends' posts during the last week that reflected on the events, ups and downs of the previous decade. One sleepless hour or two during the week led me to do the same in my head, so I thought I'd share our decade with you for a bit of fun. It was all about building and finding home...
I turned 25.
We lived in Newport in the weatherboard house with a dog, a cat and a garden. Our first proper house together.
I worked. Hard. I went from junior designer to only designer as workmates left to have babies.
O proposed over fish & chips in the car, in the rain. I said yes. The rain stopped and a rainbow appeared.
Went on a camping holiday to Narooma. Discovered we weren't cut out for camping. Relaxed.
Was made design manager. Worked hard.
Katherine threw us a surprise engagement party. Discovered O doesn't like surprise parties.
O got his first full time ecology job.
Travelled overseas for the first time. On my own. For work.
Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Was in a hotel room in Seoul when the twin towers collapsed.
Felt quite alone with US airforce planes circling the city as I watched the TV.
Honeymooned in Tasmania. Loved it, wanted to live there.
Did a brief stint as brand manager. Decided I really didn't want to work in sales.
Got tired of commuting for hours. Moved to Heidelberg.
Met Cammo (uncle Cam).
Travelled to Asia again.
Decided to have a baby. Saved and planned. Became pregnant.
Huz went diving in Cairns. He nearly drowned.
Visited Nanna for her birthday. Told her about the baby.
Went on holidays to Narooma.
Nanna died. Came home.
Finished work. Relaxed.
Gave birth to big owlet.
Began working from home. Decided full time work was overrated.
Watched big owlet grow.
Huz applied for a job in Hobart. Didn't get the job... came close though.
Bought a house in Heidelberg West. Decided it was a dodgy suburb that might come good.
Renovated the kitchen, polished the floors, painted the walls, landscaped the garden.
Adopted a beagle puppy.
Continued working from home and freelancing.
Went back to work in the office part time.
Big owlet went to Nanny's for one day each week and Huz and I juggled work on the other days.
Missed big owlet dreadfully.
Felt a tad unsafe in new neighbourhood.
Huz applied for a job in Hobart. Got the job.
Finished renovating and packed up the house.
Moved to Hobart. Lived in a huge house on the water.
Felt like we were on holidays.
Went back to working from home.
I turned 30.
Worked from home. Lots.
Commuted to Melbourne for work every month.
Huz got really sick with salmonella poisoning. Took a ride in an ambulance.
Found some new friends.
Huz started writing music more serioulsy.
Gave birth to little owlet. At home.
Big owlet started kindergarten.
Went for a drive. Bought a house.
Stressed out about owning two houses and paying enormous mortgage.
Huz developed a twitch.
Sold house in Melbourne.
Started a blog.
Moved into new house, with help from new friends.
Planted trees and little owlet's placenta in the garden.
Worked from home. Lots.
Big owlet went to big kinder, three days per week.
Found a new home for our unhappy beagle.
Adopted guinea pigs and chooks.
Renovated the bathroom.
Huz released his first album.
Made some kids clothes and sold them at a market.
Quit job. Finally.
Decided to home educate after reading about unschooling.
Unschooling everyday. Freedom.
Opened the owlet shop and sold at lots of markets.
Miscarried Pippin. Buried him in the garden.
Went to Canberra to rally for homebirth.
Painted part of the house.
Went camping on the east coast.
Decided we like camping after all.
Worked on feeling healthy.
Floated through the days.
Huz recorded his second album.
Gave birth to tiny owlet. In my own house.
Made it a home.
7 January 2011
So aside from growing gorgeous babies last year, Huz had another creative project bubbling away... His second album to date and certainly his best so far. He collaborated with a talented friend this time, tinkering away in their studio down south. There are different sounds happening, different instruments, backing vocals with lovely friends singing along. Its been a creative process for both of them, with lots of heart. They are both so very proud of the work and I think Huz may have that feeling like he got the sound he was after on many of the tracks - a rare thing I think. For me its like the surprise when a picture I've made matches the one in my head... The songs are about a bunch of things including birth and family life. The title track in particular is all about us pre-Tiny Owlet ;)
Pop over to bandcamp to have a listen and buy the album if you like what you hear. It's a bargain at $6 or only $1 per song. All proceeds go to future musical merriment and happy owlet memories :)
6 January 2011
I didn't manage to eat lunch today. Lunch yesterday left a bit to be desired too... That magical time when the baby drops off to sleep. I pop her in the hammock, run to the kitchen to make lunch, pop a plate in front of the bigger owlets and tiny owlet stirs... maybe I have to be faster about it.
Today big owlet offered to make me lunch while the baby dream fed in my arms. She ran to the kitchen with enthusiasm and emerged five minutes later, carefully placing my lunch in front of me... on today's menu was mouldy, stale bread, spread with a tiny blob of peanut butter and served with a glass of milk. Cute huh? I thought so too until she charged me $5 for the effort! She was rather miffed when I refused to pay. We had an interesting discussion on food hygiene, family, generosity and brainstormed some other ways she might like to earn some money... But I still didn't get any lunch...
As mothers we often think of everyone else first. We spend so much time caring for others without expecting anything in return. Eventually they will recognise the love and effort that goes into nurturing them. They might even return the favour one day. Ultimately though, self nurture really is so important. Particularly when they are small and your love and attention are expected. If we don't make an effort for ourselves, who else will? I've been working on ways to fit a little self nurture into my day. I'm hatching a plan so that lunch tomorrow hits the spot :)
PS. I did get a bite to eat in the end. We went out and I had to pay for it, but at least it wasn't mouldy ;)
3 January 2011
When big owlet was about eight weeks old, I began reading to her. The sound of my voice calmed her and she would try to reach the pictures, or just gaze up at me. We read a number of books each day and it is still an important time of the day for her. She still can't sleep without a story... Little owlet has only recently enjoyed sitting and being read to. She loves books, but not so much their content as the look, feel and function of them. She loves books "but not with pictures, just words". Small leather bound books with a bit of gold on them somewhere are her favourite. She loves to "read" them to me. Unless she is very tired, she would rather climb and leap around her bed while I read, than sit and listen. She would rather sing. Her vocabulary development seemed to happen through song rather than books. She would stop and listen and then sing along when she knew the words. She loves acting out her stories too and spends hours doing so.
Fortunately big owlet loves this also and they spend all day telling each other stories. Their play has a strong narrative, as they pretend to be cats and superheroes and princesses and doctors and mummies... It often amazes me when I see them playing and then I her one of them say "and then, she whirled around the room..." or, "the little cat was hungry and she cried out... mew!" I have to really persist if I want to get their attention or talk to them when they are in the thick of it, although I do hate to interrupt a good story. I often wonder if one day soon their stories will make it to paper. They learn so much about language through their play. They are currently learning about tense and rhyming and humour, asking questions as they go. Their creativity gets a workout too and perhaps this is why they can make up poems, jokes or songs on the spot and without hesitation...
What I'm loving at the moment is watching big owlet read to tiny owlet, almost seven weeks old. Watching tiny owlet gaze at big owlet as the story falls from her lips, or watching the bigger owlets surround tiny owlet with their stories. I look forward to seeing how she will join in and what she will bring to the story.