Thursday, March 24, 2011

I think we've cracked it: Toilet-training 10 days on

So far so good.

After a week of little accidents in her knickers, Phoebe even managed to get to the toilet for her number twos on both Monday and Tuesday this week. (Yesterday she pooed in her nappy during her sleep at daycare.) We have had no wee accidents. She seems to have mastered holding it in, although it is more often that I think to take her to the toilet just to see than she actually asks to go.

I really do think we've cracked it. Gosh! It was so easy. I mean I know it kind of took 6 months but once we committed to actually wearing knickers and only using nappies for sleeps it's gone incredibly smoothly. I guess the timing just happened to be right. Lucky us.

I suppose there's still a chance that she'll get sick and have an accident or that she'll regress once the baby is born but even on Tuesday when she had a bit of a runny poo thanks to a virus, she managed to tell me and got to the toilet on time.

What a clever little girl.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today is Phoebe's first day at daycare without nappies. She's been wearing knickers (or not wearing them, depending on her mood) for the last two days. I committed myself to toilet training and vigilantly took her to the toilet every hour starting on Monday morning. So today she went off to daycare with two nappies: one for her sleep and a spare just in case; and three spare pairs of knickers.

We've only had one accident since we started on Monday and that was a poo, which she came and told me about straight away and thankfully was nice and solid, well contained in her knickers and easy to clean up. She did learn from that though as she did a couple more that day and they were all done on the loo. So proud. I'm sure there will still be little accidents and who knows how it's going at daycare, but so far so good.

I'm probably slightly paranoid about accidents in the car or supermarket and take her to the toilet repeatedly until she does something. Before we go out. When we get there. Before we leave again. When we get home. I have her potty and a terry toweling nappy on stand-by in the car for emergencies and accidents, although I haven't started carrying them everywhere with me yet. I do put them in the bottom of the pram if there's room though.

I'm dying to phone daycare and see how it's going. I'm not picking her up today as I have my yoga class but I think I'll call just before I leave work and see how she went. Fingers crossed this is it and there's no more going back to daytime nappies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paid Parental Leave Irritation

I just had to blog about this because I'm mildly irritated.

Okay, so brief background. Last year, having not intended to have another baby for at least a year, I took the brave decision to leave my job of almost 7 years at the university. Basically, I had an offer of part-time work for an organisation that did not suck the life force from my body on entering the room. Everything about this new place and the people in it told me it was the right thing to do. There were probably only 3 things holding me back:
  1. Familiarity, better the devil you know, however you want to put it.
  2. Security and stability of a large-scale public organisation.
  3. The fantastic maternity benefits of 6 months full pay over the course of 12 months.
Well, as you all know I took the leap and I have had no regrets. As I said to Toby at the time, I couldn't put a baby that didn't yet exist, and for all we knew might never exist, before the one I already had. It was more important to me that I remove myself from the stressful environment I was in, find a vocation I truly enjoyed and maximise my time with my little girl.

Two months later I was pregnant. Okay so I always knew it was likely to happen at some stage and despite the loss of oodles of dollars in maternity pay I still have no regrets.

On 1st January 2011 the Australian Government introduced Paid Parental Leave. This is basically the equivalent of 18 weeks pay at the minimum wage. To qualify you have to have worked 330 hours over 10 out of the 13 months prior to the child's birth. This is basically just over 1 day a week.

So when discussing maternity leave, and in particular the fact that I don't get paid leave where I work now, people point out how good it is that I am eligible for the government's scheme. Don't get me wrong, it's great. EXCEPT that I am no longer eligible for the Baby Bonus. When I had Phoebe I got my employer's paid leave plus the Baby Bonus. If I didn't work then I would still be entitled to the Baby Bonus. In fact, I can choose to take the Baby Bonus instead of the Paid Parental Leave if I so desire. The government's Family Assistance website even provides a comparison calculator to help you decide which you're better off going for.

So I did that. According to the tool, which is just an estimate, we'll be a whopping $1,347.00 (approximately) better off with the Paid Parental Scheme than we would be with the Baby Bonus. And the government has made such a big deal about how great this is for families, working mothers and employers. Er... excuse me? In which world is $1,347(or £837 in real money) going to make that much difference to whether (and how long) women can afford to take leave to nurture and look after their babies? Seriously? I don't want to sound ungrateful but Ms "I can get the best job in the country if I steal it from a very nice man" Gillard, stop dressing this up to be something it isn't.

And that's all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My first sewing project

Well, as this is a blog about things I have in production I thought I'd share with you the results of my first sewing project.

Actually, this isn't really my first sewing project as last year I made curtain linings and started a test run of a soft toy, an elephant called Phoebe. She's pretty much finished so I'll share some photos of that when it's done. She just needs a blanket on her back.

Anyway, mid-way through producing Phoebe, which I sadly had to put on hold for a few months pre-Christmas whilst I had all that extra work to do, my mother-in-law retrieved her sewing machine, which she had very generously loaned to me for a few months. So after much consideration and debate, and a half-price sale at Spotlight during which I put a super-duper computerised one-button-does-everything sewing machine on layby, I finally purchased my own.

It's utterly fab.

So I thought it'd better earn its keep and I went back to Spotlight's half price sale and purchased a load of "easy" patterns, mainly for Phoebe, but one for me too.

Then I went back (not during the half-price sale unfortunately) to purchase fabric and discovered why no one makes their own clothes any more. All the lovely fabrics I wanted to get were $10 a metre and I was a bit scared of making mistakes. I found a couple of slightly cheaper fabrics to start off with and then managed to pull an offcut out of the $1 a metre bin.

I got some books from the library, studied the patterns, traced them onto a roll of interfacing, which I used like tissue paper, watched youtube videos, washed the fabrics, ripped the fabrics to find the grain, pressed the fabrics, pressed the patterns (! before tracing them. I had no idea you had to do that but I suppose it makes sense), pinned the traced patterns from the easiest of the easiest patterns (or at least what seemed to be as such to my untrained eye) to the el cheapo fabric, and finally I was ready to cut out and start to sew. It didn't really take me that long, but then it is a bit of a no-frills design. Except for the frill at the bottom of course.

So really, what this is, is my first dressmaking project (given the curtain lining and Phoebe the Elephant). I didn't have a very cooperative model. In fact I had to give her an iPhone before she'd even sit still and stop showing me her bum. Models are so hard to work with these days.

Anyway, here it is. And the good news is, Phoebe loves it.

Oh, and an interesting thing I learnt, when threading a needle, don't moisten the thread. Instead moisten the eye of the needle. The moisture draws the thread in. It works. Of course, I don't need to faff around trying to get my tongue over the needle of my sewing machine because it pretty much threads itself.

BC2 In Production - 26 Weeks

I thought it was about time I did another pregnancy post so I took my first belly shot the other day. It was interesting to note that depending upon the angle of the camera the bump looked different sizes, so here's a selection:

Big belly

Slightly smaller. Better hold on to it or it might disappear.

The magic disappearing belly.

Look, no waist!

And the belly's back.

I haven't blogged much about this pregnancy as it's pretty much the same as the first one and Phoebe provides much more interesting material than my ever expanding belly and constant exhaustion. But here are a few differences:

  • I'm much less fit this time round.
  • It's fun having an excited toddler to share this time with, although I sometimes feel a little sad that my attention is going to be taken away from her somewhat.
  • I have less time for me, less time for exercise and less time to think about doing the right thing (i.e. pelvic floor exercises, not slouching, doing yoga instead of watching telly etc.) but then I did find all that rather exhausting the first time round.
  • My obstetrician provides free fitness sessions. All the other girls, including the instructor, are much younger than me and enjoying the excitement of their first pregnancy. They don't seem that interested in my previous pregnancy, birth or child. I can't share their stories of decorating the nursery or buying our first playmat because I did all that 2 1/2 years ago. I feel old and boring.
  • I'm much more tired this time round. Barely a week goes by when I don't have at least one nana nap during one of my non working days.
  • This is quite a rubbish time of year to be pregnant. First trimester always sucks because of the high levels of hormones and tiredness. Second trimester is usually pretty good. Third trimester is when you start to feel heavy and get a bit tired and perhaps achy. Last time I had the third trimester during summer but it wasn't that hot. This time it took summer a while to get started but I was only a couple of weeks into my second trimester (and just recovering from all the hard work I'd put in before Christmas) when summer kicked in with a vengeance. It's been a long, hot and very, very humid couple of months and now that it's starting to cool down I'm starting to feel heavy and achy. Lovely. I can only hope that maybe I don't feel as heavy and achy as I did the first time around, although that's unlikely as I had a pretty smooth-sailing pregnancy.
  • It's a lot harder choosing names the second time round especially when about a million of our friends have had babies since then and picked names we liked.
That's about that for now. I finally started pregnancy yoga last week (at 26 weeks of pregnancy - better late than never, I suppose). It's not as good as Sherry's classes but I didn't think it would be. However, that's probably a good thing as I haven't done it in so long. It's super relaxing and I floated out of the studio. The only bugger is that I have to be at work by 8am in order to leave on time. And last week I got called out of work to pick Phoebe up as daycare were concerned she had diarrhoea, which added to the stress of leaving work early. Thankfully Toby's parents were able to come over and watch her.

Well, I'm going to finish by sharing some fuzzy 3D images of our new baby's face. The cord was in front so it was a bit hard to get a nice clean image. Go on then, knock yourselves out wondering whether it's a boy or a girl and who it looks like.

Oh, and just because she's so damn cute and insisted on pressing the button on the camera's remote control when I was doing my belly shots, here are some photos of me and Phoebe:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What good manners

My daughter is so polite.

When I told her, whilst she was jigging around on my lap like a mad thing, that if she didn't stop almost head-butting me before one of us got hurt I would put her on the floor, she said, "No thank you, Mammy."

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Phoebe Fart

According to Toby, Phoebe tonight announced, "Phoebe fart" and then proceeded to audibly break wind.

Man, I wish I'd been around to witness that.

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Phoebe can manage

Phoebe and I were in the garden when she decided to pop back into the house. She stuck her head through the open door and said something about going to the toilet.

Me: Oh, you're going to the toilet are you?
Phoebe: Yep.
Me: Do you want Mammy to come and help you?
Phoebe: No, Phoebe can manage.

[Shuts door and wanders off. Doesn't actually go to toilet though.]

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Now talk

I've been trying to teach Phoebe some rudimentary table manners. She's developed some disgusting habits in the last few weeks, namely blowing spit bubbles, showing us what is in her mouth and talking with her mouth full. I've been teaching her that she should keep her mouth shut and not try to talk until she's swallowed what's in it. So after spending a couple of mealtimes practicing this she now swallows her food, opens her mouth wide and says, "Now talk", whether she has something to say or not.

A little while back she learned that Mammy and Daddy had names, other than Mammy and Daddy. Now whenever we ask her the name of something, for example, "What did you hurt? What's it called?" she answers, "Lindsey". She pronounces Toby, "Poby". This morning she was sitting on the sofa when I left the room.

"Lindsey, no," she said. "Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey. Come and sit down, Lindsey. Come and sit down."

And whilst I'm on the subject of Phoebe and talking and food, two of her current words are "rockermelon" for rockmelon (love that) and "umpet" for crumpet.

I think Phoebe's birthday finally ended yesterday with a rather fantastic electric keyboard from Nan. It plays tunes, makes noises, has drum tracks and even a microphone, which is by far Phoebe's favourite part of the whole thing. She likes to put it in her mouth and make noises. She also likes to get a drum track going and dance around the sitting room.

The theme of her birthday was definitely Peppa Pig. To go with the small plush Peppa, Peppa suitcase on wheels and book that she got for Christmas, plus the plate, dress and DVDs she already had, she received:

• 2 Peppa Pig birthday cards
• a Peppa Pig tote bag
• a knitted Peppa Pig, which my very clever Nana made
• a plush ballerina Peppa, which snorts when you squeeze it (and which has been my alarm clock via the baby monitor the past couple of mornings)
• Peppa vest and knickers
• Peppa socks
• Peppa sun hat
• Peppa rash/sun/swim suit
What a lucky girl.

I'm going to finish with a photo of Phoebe enjoying a babycino at a cafe after her swimming lesson this morning. I feel quite lucky to have a toddler that I can enjoy a coffee with and look forward to our Tuesday morning outings. I take some lunch for her and it gives the cleaner a chance to get finished up before we get home and means that Phoebe can just go straight to bed. She's usually knackered after her swim.

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