Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Long days, motorhomes and general loveliness

It's spring equinox today! Hooray! From now on the days win! There is more light than dark, more day than night, and the days will just get longer and longer and longer, with a bit of daylight savings added in for good measure. Such a wonderful thing. For the last week or so it has felt like my sap has been rising with the emerging spring. I felt a big glum there for a couple of months, interminable long grey winter and all, which tends to happen every year. I felt tired and flat, noticeably so. But now I feel back to my usual spritely self, energetic and bright eyed and in love with all the flowers showing off their loveliness in my garden.

Tonight we celebrated by going out to our favourite place to eat out, the Shanghai Dumpling House in the city. What's so 'spring equinox' about that, you may ask? Well, we're not sure, but it was certainly yummy, and we did spent most of the way there discussing spring equinox-type stuff. Maybe next year we'll host a gathering and light a fire and some candles and eat some yummy food.

So, welcome longer days, we love you, and really, deep down, we wish you could stay forever and never leave. I know that the darkness and coldness of winter makes the new spring feel extra specially great, that it's all relative and all that, but really. Melbourne winters are just a bit rough.

Well, may-beee when I get my new (old) motorhome, I can spend the last month of winter in queensland living in my old converted Bedford bus, with my child and anyone else who tagged along, and avoid the hardest bit of the Melbourne winter. Yes, you heard me! A motorhome! Woo hoo! Last saturday I had an idea, a thought, that germinated and has taken over my brain like a delightfully noxious weed, and I am now consumed with the idea of selling up Euroa (though it pains me, it pangs me, I will miss it and carry fond memories forever) and buying a motorhome instead. Something we can use, something we can enjoy, something that can take us around this amazing country of ours and really give us value in terms of life experience and joy and enrichment and adventure. Euroa is nice, but it's stuck in Euroa. Which is nice if you come from Euroa. Also, there are houses all around the 9 acre property, and I know for a fact that at least one sleazy neighbour used to perve on me when I camped there. He told me he saw me swimming in my bikinis in the dam. Damn. That made me feel even slimier than the dam water did.

So, yes, I've spent the last four days madly crazily researching motorhomes, and have realised this:
  • Some people are nuts. They spend $250,000 on a moving mansion, totally decked out in energy guzzling glory, with huge plasma tv's, overstuffed furniture as far as the eye can see, king sized beds and even some with a spa. I'm sure it's all very cushy but it makes me kinda cringe with the American cheese of it all.
  • I can afford a pretty small minibus type arrangement, with very basic bed, kitchen, maybe a table to sit at, no toilet or shower or anything like that. Cramped, ugly, no charm. And only two seats, so not really useful for a family.
  • I can also afford a really old passenger bus that has been converted into a motorhome. A 76 model Bedford to be exact. Again no shower or toilet, but with room for four to travel and sleep in, a nicer open plan feel, with some space to breathe and live without feeling claustrophobic.
So, yes, I am considering getting a truck licence (how cool is that?!) so that I can drive a bus around the country and travel with my child. I could drive around in a car and camp of course, many do. But I really like the idea of stopping somewhere and being able to crawl into bed almost immediately, no tent to set up, no unpacking of stuff and repacking each time. And if I travel with Indi on my own, which I plan to do a fair bit, then setting up the tent with a cranky upset child who has had enough is pretty near impossible.

I have been talking about motorhomes non-stop for days now, and dreaming about them at night. No jokes. Mat is being very patient with me! But how can I not be excited? Will update with more news as it comes to hand.

And as for general loveliness, well, life's just good. We are happy. Things are going well. Mat and I are best friends and still deeply in love after 15 years. Our child is the most beautiful and truly delightful thing we have ever seen, and we both feel totally blessed to be har parents. And she's a funny thing. A real sense of humour, a cheeky sense of humour.

Just one anecdote. The other day, as I was breastfeeding her, she was pinching me, these tiny little pinches all over my chest. It was annoying me. I repeatedly asked her to stop, gently and respectfully, explaining that it hurt me and I didn't like it. She ignored me and kept going. I got firmer with her and told her sternly I would have to stop feeding her if she persisted, that I didn't want to do that but that I wasn't going to allow myself to be pinched. She stopped feeding, looked me in the eye, and said "Yuk mama." !! Mat and I burst out laughing. I said "Yuk Indi." She shook her head and said "Yuk mama" again. Then she said "Mama shit bum." Well, if the first one made us laugh, this one made us totally crack up, tears and all. Probably just the positive reinforcement she didn't need, but really, it's impossible not to.

So, yep, in general life is awesome, I am so lucky to be doing what I am doing, the mama of an awesome girl, the life partner of an awesome man, living in an awesome if messy house, and with six awesome cats, with an awesome and supportive family and dear lovely friends. Really, sometimes I feel like the queen of the world. A queen who will drive a bus. Bet that's a first.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dark dark day

The kind of day where I find myself looking at my child with such anger, with such frustration, that it scares me. The kind of day where the sound of her voice calling me, once again, yet again, causes every single teeny tiny muscle in my body to tense up. The kind of day that makes me want to disappear, or makes me want my child to disappear. Just for a bit. The kind of day I wish I could erase from my memory, and from hers.
I found myself in the late afternoon, curled on my side on the trampoline out the back, sobbing. I was hoping the neighbours weren't in their yards coz they surely would have heard me. I cried and cried and it just didn't seem to be stopping. Eventually I got it together enough to phone a couple of friends, and was lucky enough to get through to one, who listened to my sobbing with a great big open heart, who told me exactly what I needed to hear, and to whom I am so grateful. And I was also grateful that I even had friends in my life that I was prepared to call in such a state. It is actually a really hard thing to do. I suddenly had more respect and admiration for those that had called me up in tears. I never realised it was so hard, that you could feel so vulnerable. In a way, you are showing the person on the end of the line the dirtiest of your dirty laundry. You are balling it up in your fist and holding it out to them, shaking it like a pompom.
And if you are lucky your friend will stand there, they will look at that laundry being shaken in their face, unfazed. Then they will take your hand and lead you straight to the washing machine.
In my case that would involve stepping over the vacuum cleaner, the ridiculously large toolbox, the bucket with the soaking teddy bear in it that the cat peed on, and the many many other objects strewn over the floor of my miniature laundry. We may stumble, my friend and I, on our way toward that machine, we may curse and stub our toes on the way to emotional cleansing and wholeness. But as long as that friend of yours keeps a tight hold on your hand, and encourages you to keep your chin up, telling you everyone's become lost in large bundles of obscenely dirty laundry at times, all too often secret bundles which smell all the worse for being secret, that everyone's had rough times, and that we've all come through on the other side, with baskets overflowing with fresh clean laundry smelling sweetly of the sun and the grass and the spring air, that there is life beyond these dark dark days and that the sun will rise and happiness will return to hearts forlorn, if that friend can do this for you, then you are lucky, and you will be OK.
I am lucky, really lucky, and I was OK in the end. It has been a rough day but my child is asleep, I have a packet of Mint Slice biscuits handy right by my side, and a man to hug me and love me and tell me I'm a good mum.
Did I mention I was lucky?
Fuck I love my child, and fuck it is hard being a mum sometimes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Astronauts are helping me feed my child!

It's true. And it's cute!

After a long and tedious spate of teething and illness, Indi's relationship with food had taken a backward step. While she was under the weather, we were lucky if she had five mouthfuls of food all day. Which in and of itself isn't a problem. I'm not worried she'll waste away or anything. But then she would ask for constant "meme" (Turkish for breast, kinda pronounced meh-meh with less emphasis on the 'h'). Which would drive me bananas. I have made a commitment to breastfeed my child until she is well past two, possibly three, as I really believe in the health and emotional benefits of doing so for the child. But really, personally, I'm not in love with the process. I've never been one of those women who go all doe-eyed at the sight or mention of breastfeeding, who feels physical pleasure and joy whilst nourishing their babe. I wish I was! It would make life so much easier! Maybe I would have been if Indi had fed every two to three hours like a lot of babies do (much to my amazement!). From birth Indi often fed every half hour, extending it to an hour at a long stretch. Sometimes she fed for hours on end, especially when it was hot. It was actually really hard work for me, the hardest thing I have ever had to do I think. Looking back (and really I didn't intend this post to be about breastfeeding, but here we are... ) I think that the frequency and intensity of Indi's feeding probably set the tone for my relationship to breastfeeding. Maybe if I had had a two to three hour break between feeds, I would have felt differently about it all. Who knows?

Anyway, (I've missed my long rambly blog posts!) so she was hardly eating, hardly sleeping, and breastfeeding all the time, and I was going nuts. But gradually her teething and cold subsided, and she got a bit of an appetite back, which was great. But it wasn't really where I wanted it to be. Sometimes it needed a bit of a kickstart. Sometimes she sat there, hungry, but didn't eat. It was as though she had gotten out of practice or something. One day, after preparing a healthy and delicious meal for us all, and knowing she was hungry, I was gettin' kinda frustrated when she, once again, refused to eat anything. She was excited as she saw the meal being served, and happily sat in her special chair with the cushion on it to boost her up. But nope, head turned to the side, chin up, she was not gonna be eating any of it thankyouverymuch.

After unclenching my jaw, I spotted one of her favourite toys at the moment, one which provides her with literally hours of entertainment. It was one of the many little astronauts we have about the place, from a spaceship toy collection of Mat's from when he was a teensy tiny cute little thing. These astronauts have baths with her, they get carried to the car and back when we go on trips, they get pushed around the house on her little trolley, or in her little wooden car, and of course they go on regular trips out into the cosmos on their many little spaceships of various shapes and sizes. On any given day you can look at any part of our house and see one somewhere, anywhere, as there are quite a few of them. So one happened to be on the kitchen table as we sat to eat our lunch. And I had a brainwave. I grabbed a bit of bread, impaled it on the arm of one of these astronauts, and suddenly the astronaut was asking Indigo if she wanted some bread. Well! You should have seen the look on her face. She leaned forward, eyes wide and mouth agape, and happily ate the bit of bread from off his little arm. And asked for more. And more. Success! A full tummy! A happy mama! Once again my brilliance and genius was on display for all the world to see - I love it when that happens!

So, since then, Indigo has been offered lots of food by the very generous and accommodating astronauts. Basically anything that has enough shape to be impaled onto something favoured can be guaranteed of some success consumption-wise, at least for a bit. And other toys have stepped in too, occasionally. She has had bits of tomato impaled onto the tail of one of her Siberian tiger figurines. And today she even had an astronaut straddle a spoon full of pumpkin soup, which turned it from (and I quote) "Yuk!" (this was as I was spooning it into her bowl, she hadn't even tasted it), to a silent but definite Yum.

Occasionally I wonder where this will end, whether she'll be fifteen and asking for food to be delivered on the end of her ipod or something. But for now, it's fun, it's damn cute, and it means a few less demands for the breast, which means a bit more sanity for this mama. And that's gotta be good, surely.