Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was 'Attachment Parenting'

When Aaron was a baby, I was so hung up with his wakefulness that I focused most of my reading on books to do with sleep. Adrian slept 22 hours a day for the first couple of months (which worried me) but is now sleeping 'normally' (i.e. much less!!). Even though he's not 'sleep trained' yet, I don't feel any anxiety about it. He doesn't sleep through the night and I actually hope he does NOT plan on learning to do so anytime soon. I like the quiet time alone with him at night. And he's good about waking up only to feed and then going straight back to sleep.

In the day time, Adrian is contented to sit in his rocker some of the time. Other times, he plays for a few minutes alone on his mat. When he fusses, I pick him up. In fact, he's in my arms quite a lot of the time. And I do this without thinking that I will spoil him. I'm so much more patient with Adrian than I was with Aaron.

I carried Aaron even more but I remember being very concerned about it. I always felt that I parented 'intuitively' with him but I always feeling guilty. And everyone around me was saying that I would spoil him. Well, I think he's turning out to be a very sweet boy and not at all spoilt. He's a typical three and a half year old from what I see.

This time round, I'm doing things even more intuitively, not reading as much (because I just don't have the time) and paying even less attention to what I read. Although, I did come across something encouraging on the Dr Sears website yesterday. It looks like I've been Attachment Parenting (AP).

In a nut shell, AP is listening and responding to your baby with your mind and your heart. And, in my opinion, not listening to the array of unsolicited advice mothers of newborns receive. Maybe they should have called it Common Sense Parenting.

Here are the 7 tools of Attachment Parenting listed on Dr Sears' website. I've added some brief comments.

1. Birth bonding (Naturally)

2. Breastfeeding (Cheapest, most convenient way of nurturing and spending more time bonding.)

3. Babywearing (This is needed to save my arms from dropping off. Adrian's 6+kgs is already heavier than the standard size bag of rice we buy.)

4. Bedding close to baby (Right next to him. In fact, I'm tempted to co-sleep for ease of night feeding but have held of doing that for now. We're still trying to convince Aaron to spend the whole night in his own bed.)

5. Belief in the language value of your baby's cry (We're pretty good at reading his various cries for food, attention, nappy change and plain old 'I need a cuddle')

6. Beware of baby trainers (So far, the only "training" that we're doing is car seat training. We have been trying to have at least one car ride a day. No sleep training, early toilet training or any other training happening here.)

7. Balance (I'm still working on this. So far, I've been trying to balance time between Aaron and Adrian. I haven't even attempted to carve time out for myself or Richard yet.)

So there you go. If you're a new mother and worried that constant carrying and undivided attention will spoil your baby - stop worrying.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bursting With Pride

I've been a good daughter, good student and even a good employee. There have been many times in my life when I've been told I did a good job. I've passed difficult exams and many of my projects at work received awards. Yet, I don't think I've ever had the feeling of bursting with pride.

I did on Monday. I nearly burst! Really. I felt an actual expansion in my chest cavity. And, it was over the simplest of things and nothing really to do with me.

As we lined up to pay for Aaron's swimming lessons, he needed to pee. Couldn't wait a second longer. The line to pay was long and it was nearly our turn so, for the first time, I asked him to go by himself. And he did. He ran round the corner, into the restrooms and came out a few minutes later with a huge grin.

Each week, I get him a drink before the lesson starts. The kiosk is right on the opposite side of the pool from where we usually sit. I had the baby in the carrier and didn't want to lug it all the way the other side and risk waking the baby. Once again, Aaron, with his $1 coin in hand, walked all the way there, opened the fridge door, grabbed his juice of choice, took it to the counter to pay and came running back with another big grin. I had a big grin too as I watched the whole thing. It was his very first solo purchase.

I'm not claiming to be a good mother at all but I think only a mother (or father) could burst with pride at such simple things. These 'firsts' were as incredible to me as his first steps and first words. I was so incredibly proud that I could feel all the emotions literally swelling inside me. Even I thought it was a little crazy to feel so proud of such everyday things.

Well, I suppose its always better to be proud of somebody else rather than oneself. (Is it "one's self" or "oneself?)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Its All About The Dinosaurs

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas. Gordon, Gordon, Gordon. Percy, Percy, Percy.

Thats all we heard about for nearly two years in our house. Finally, sometime over the past three months, the T-Rex has finally knocked Thomas & Friends off Aaron's radar. And now, its T-Rex, Triceratops or Some-other-saurus all day long.

He has two dinosaur shirts that he alternates wearing almost every day. We listen to one of the two Dinosaur Club CDs he has all day long. Story time and drawing time are also dominated by dinosaurs. Kids! They have such passion!

It has been very interesting for me as well. The world of the dinosaurs from 200 million years ago is mind boggling. They were huge, majestic, ferocious, gentle and elegant all at the same time. Today's animals are that way too but none are as big as a house or as long as ten buses!

I got him the BBC series "Walking With Dinosaurs" and we both enjoyed it. Aaron is still unable to complete watching any kids movies or cartoons because they always get too 'exciting' for him but he watched every bit of those documentaries.

Its amazing that the scientists are able to deduce dinosaur behavior from studying fossils. How did they figure out that some dinosaurs worked as a community to protect their young? Or that some dinosaur species suffered a lot of stress when the lead female was killed?

Well, its all going to be part of the reading I'll need to do to keep answering all the questions that Aaron has for me. I'll start on that right after I go learn all their names and the spelling. I'll be the first to admit that he's better than me at identifying the various dinosaurs.

Let me leave you today with one of his many dinosaur drawings...

Friday, March 12, 2010

174 Weeks Later

How and when did my skinny little guy go from this...

to this??

The first photo is a 10 week old Aaron and the second is a 184 week old Aaron with 10 week old Adrian. Mind boggling. I also looked at photos of us when Aaron was 10 weeks old and compared them to now. We've definitely aged the 174 weeks! Hopefully we've also tucked away that much more wisdom.

I was actually looking for a photo of the two boys in the same outfit, in the same week of life. Adrian is wearing all of Aaron's hand-me-downs but it looks like we haven't got a photo like that yet. Not that I'm starting the comparisons now or anything ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Part Of The Attraction

I meant to do a post about this earlier on but forgot all about it until I looked through the photos.

We went for an early morning breakfast barbecue at The Southbank Parklands a couple of weeks ago. We were the only people there at 8am as it was a Tuesday morning. The place had changed since my last barbecue there fifteen years ago and now the actual barbecuing spot is shared a a short distance from the tables. It was a little troublesome walking back and forth but we still enjoyed the breakfast while looking across the river at all the less lucky people caught in the morning traffic inbound to the city.

Halfway through our extremely long breakfast, a busload of tourists arrived. They strolled around admiring the park and the view of the city. Then as they got close to us they also stared intently at us, as if we were part of the tour's must-see items. The looked at who we were, what we were eating and one man actually waked through our little party for a better look. We, in turn, took photos of them. Here they are checking out our still uncleaned barbecue with the oil, napkins, leftover onions and other bits and pieces.

It was also this day that I found out about the free Mommy-and-me Yoga classes held there every Tuesday. I tried it out for the first time today and it was a workout! Its like yoga with weights because there are many poses that you do while carrying the baby.

The tourists seemed to admire the location as well as the lifestyle that the people of Brisbane lead. And, watching them, watch us, I too thought about our active lifestyle here and how lucky we are to live in a place where enjoyable and affordable outings for families are so easily undertaken. The job of being a mother is definitely more easily carried out here than in Indonesia or Malaysia.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Need Ear Plugs

I wish I could borrow a noise level meter from somewhere. I'm sure that there are times during the day when there are enough decibels in this house to cause hearing loss. Even if I don't go deaf, my brain is definitely operating at a reduced capacity with the mess I'm often surrounded by.

Aaron has been noisy from the start. At first he was a super cryer. Then he was a constant gurgle of gibberish. And now he is a constant narrator of whatever he's doing while simultaneously trying to join in with any and all conversations around him. Ever since he figured out the CD player, he also plays his dinosaur CD repeatedly and sings along like a rock star. So, add on the times that he is whiney or demanding and you have 24 hours of non stop noise from one little guy.

Adrian is a much quieter baby and often charms us all with a sweet voice that coos and giggles. Nevertheless, he's still a newborn and they're entitled to their Xhrs of crying each day. So, sleepy time, bath time, nappy change time, need-a-burp time and just-feel-like-it tine are all noisy times that very often coincide with Aaron needing something.

And to top it all off, the birds outside are also in on the job of driving me crazy with noise. Each day, at lunch time, the tree behind our house is full of lorikeets feasting and partying. Have you ever been near a tree full of them?? The noise level is unbelievable! They're as bad as lawn mowers. And they do this everyday from about noon until 5pm.

So, are you getting a picture of the noise levels in this house? Three year old chatterbox with CD Player, two month old that communicates with crying and a tree full of partying birds! The noise sometimes makes me feel so messy inside I can't stay focused on a single thought for long. Thankfully, two of the noise sources are asleep now so all I'm hearing is the cheep-cheep-cheep. No wonder its extra hard to blog these days.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our New Toy

Well, he's not so new anymore. He's about two months old now and very playful. He smiles, laughs and pretends to talk like the rest of us. For our part, we treat him like a little doll to be passed around for cuddles.

Everybody know that there are more cute girl clothes out there than boys' and I always look at it as an easy way for me to avoid spending. I did come across these cute socks that I couldn't resist. I

Sometimes, we get a bit carried away with 'props' from around the house.

Other times we keep clicking away with the camera to catch moments like these.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Brisbane Garden

I've done several posts on our garden in Palembang and how I discovered the joys of planting my own vegetables. Well, now we have an even bigger space and a lot more variety to our plants.

My mother has always planted a few things in the garden but towards the end of last year, we got serious about becoming farmers. Actually, there was one farmer, my dad, and two directors. Ha!Ha!

We've been having more than enough curly kale, okra, Malabar spinach and rocket leaves. The long beans, chilli and tomatoes are all starting to fruit right now. The sweet potato leaves had to be replanted but they're coming back now.

Its a really amazing feeling when we're out of food in the fridge and just walk out to the garden to get something. We've also planted a lot of herbs and several ginger plants. The biggest disappointment so far has been the winged beans. This was what I planted in Palembang and they flourished in the clayish soil we had there. Unfortunately, it seems that the soil here is a little to good for them.

Here are a few photos. It isn't exactly the prettiest garden around but it definitely is one of the tastiest.

Here are the kale with some rocket in between:

The much too big plant to the right is lemon grass. The white stuff on the ground
is shredded paper that we use as a sort of mulch. The Malabar spinach is amidst the paper but we had some to eat yesterday so you won't see much of them.

Okra to the right and the much too leafy, yet fruitless, winged beans to the left.

We planted curly kale but looks like the 'curliness' has spread to the okra too. Look at this:

Oh and this last plant is 'katu'. Supposedly the English name is Sweet Leaf Bush and it helps milk supply.