Friday, 22 April 2016

Gastro. Oh No. Oh Yes.

You guys, we can officially tick "First bout of gastro" off the baby milestone list.  What?  Did you not know that was a milestone?  It is weird that my Milestone Cards don't cover that one...

Anyway, we survived.

It all went down last week, working its way slowly and inexorably through the household, including poor Blair who flew in from work just in time to catch it, recover, and then fly out again.  The only one who has remained untouched is the cat and his sympathy levels are low.

Joan caught it first and is STILL not 100% back to normal.  And because I like to kick her while she's down, she also got her 12-month vaccinations yesterday (she is already 14 months old and I really didn't want to put it off any longer and the nurse said it was fine).

Blair and I went down hard and fast (separately, thank goodness) and were both feeling recovered within 24 hours.  But - and let me apologise in advance for this oversharing - it's now been a full week of Joan waking up in the morning with poo up to her armpits.  It was never this bad even when she was a newborn.

As I whined to my sister on the phone, when will it end?

Look, I know we got off relatively easily: only one baby to look after, we all had it a different times, and the worst was over for all of us within 24 hours of the first power chuck (again, sorry).  But even during that short time I did learn a few things which I thought I would share with the group.

So here are my tried and tested tips for surviving gastro...

  1. If you suspect it's coming, make sure everyone is really well-hydrated.  This is actually as advised by my sister who has been through gastro with her three kids MANY times.  It's common sense advice but such a good tip as I found with Joan that when she was vomiting every 15 minutes she would not drink a drop (and who could blame her?).  So it was good to know that she at least started out really well hydrated.
  2. Red cordial!  Who knew!?  This I was told by people on Facebook and, being me, subsequently googled to find that yes, red (specifically raspberry) cordial is commonly used to either stave off gastro or to treat it once it starts.  Who knew?!  Not me.  I do know that I now have a bottle of Cascade Raspberry Juice cordial in my cupboard and will be administering as needed.
  3. Line cot with towels.  Another invaluable tip from my sister.  Because we had got some warning that gastro might come our way, I was able to put Joan down in a cot pre-lined with towels for the inevitable Exorcist moment.  Plus later when she was in bed with me, it was so much easier to catch the vomit in a towel and ball it up for dealing with later, than to try and get her to spew into a bowl or something.  Once the vomiting stopped I threw them all on as hot a wash as possible.  Done. 
  4. Get the pre-mixed Hydrolyte, not those little sachets.  If it's just you who is suffering this probably isn't such a big deal but I was so glad to not be mucking around mixing up Hydrolyte while my poor baby retched and cried.  Also, I didn't end up doing this but my sister recommends having the Hydrolyte ice blocks in the freezer ready to go as kids are more likely to suck on them willingly when they won't drink.
  5. That smell.  This isn't so much a tip as an observation.  My neighbour whose little boy went down too agreed.  Gastro has a really distinctive smell.  It's burned into my brain.  If I ever smell it on Joan again I will know straight away what's about to go down.
  6. Wash hands, wash everything in the house you can.  Obvious, I know.  And hey, it didn't save Blair and I from catching it.  But after Joan's night of horror I stripped the bed, her cot, washed all the towels, plus her playmat, all the clothes in the washing basket, everything.  Just wash it all.  It's not going to hurt.  Either that, or a bonfire of all household linens would be totally understandable at this point.
  7. Hand sanitiser.  I wasn't as diligent with this as I now wish I had been.  I kept forgetting to put it next to the change table, and then would forget to wash my hands.  NO WONDER I caught it.  Be smart.  Don't be like Prue.  Sanitise those hands.
  8. Glen 20 for toys and hard surfaces.  I have always watched those Glen 20 ads with the woman gaily coating her house in the stuff and wondered who the hell does that.  I'll tell you, a woman with gastro in her house.  I got the "clean linen" smell and did my best impersonation of the woman in the ad (only with a slightly more grim expression on my face).  Not sure it did anything but it sure did make everything smell nice there for a while.
  9. Lactose intolerance.  This I was told by the doctor who I took Joan to when she kept squirting me with hot rivers of poo every nappy change (sorry again).  Apparently the gastro can damage the lining of their little gut which means they become lactose intolerant for a couple of weeks after the gastro has cleared their system.  He put Joan on a lactose free diet and promised it would all clear up very quickly.  Listen, I'm still dealing with Number 3s most days, but they are much better than they were.  Just something to be aware of.

Honestly I'm glad to just get the first bout of gastro out of the way.  It's one of the things I was really scared of and also knew was pretty unavoidable with small kids.  But, as with most things I fretted over because I had Joan, the reality is never as bad for some reason as your imaginings.  I don't know why - possibly just because you're in the moment with no time to think and all you care about is what's happening to your kid.  But anyway.

Gastro.  I'm not afraid of you anymore.  But please don't come to my house again ok deal?

Monday, 18 April 2016

52 Project: 15/52

Alternate title: Whoops I've Missed Like 10 Weeks Of The 52 Project

I have completely fallen off the 52 Project wagon here people.  It was always going to be ambitious for me to manage a photo every week, and my friend and I did try to come up with a catchy name for a monthly photo but they all sounded like euphemisms for a menstrual cycle!!

So here is the very belated latest batch of photos, taken a couple of days ago when Joan was still recovering (and still is now) from a nasty bout of gastro.  Luckily as you can see, it didn't dampen her spirits too much.

Frankly I'm not sure what would dampen this girl's spirits, ever.  Her good humour is absurd.  I didn't realise it was anything noteworthy but literally everyone comments on what a happy smiley little girl she is so I know it must be true.  What can I say, she takes after her mother (SNORT).

Speaking of "little girl", LOOK at her face.  Hardly anymore baby-ness (totally a word) left.  You'd think I might be sad, and I am a little wistful but she is so funny and bossy and opinionated that I am still just loving watching her grow up.

She talks all day long, points and pontificates and if we laugh she does this big fake HA HA HA too.  You guys, it is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A visit from Rosie

My mum returned to Adelaide yesterday after staying with us for eight days (Blair is away for work again).  I spent the rest of the day after dropping her at the airport moping around feeling very bluesy as you do after a really good holiday, or party, or visit from your mum.

We had SUCH a good time.  I had resolved that we would not spend the time sitting around home which we have done the last two times she's visited (I blame the baby!).  

I planned a full schedule of events and outings and even I really got a taste of just how much is on offer in Perth, which I haven't really done before.  There's definitely something to be said for being a tourist in your own town.  Perth is quite cool!  Who knew?  Not me.

Mum arrived on Saturday afternoon and we spent Sunday together with Blair before he flew out early Monday morning.  On Monday Mum and I did stuff close to home like drink coffee and walk around the shops.  Pleasing.

On Tuesday we left the baby with Nanny Pam and we took the train into town to see the "History of the World in 100 Objects" exhibit at the museum.  We discovered a very cool little play area outside the museum with all different kinds of musical instruments for kids to play on.  Being kids at heart we had a grand old time trying them all out.  Look at those happy faces!

The exhibition was fascinating and full of appreciative old people who stopped and read every caption in full.  I must say, I can't wait to be old and retired and do this kind of thing all the time.  We would have taken in the art gallery as well but it was closed.

I took the photo of the jacket below for Blair, who loves a pimping jacket as much as anyone.  This was a moose-skin jacket from North America and was very fancy indeed.  I sent the photo to Blair who replied, "Buy it".

We had the most amazing cool and sunny autumn weather for the whole week and spent our late afternoons soaking it up in the backyard while Joan crawled around eating dirt and putting a pebble in and out of a plastic plant pot approximately 3,957 times.  We were all very happy.

Biggie Smalls also approved strongly of the visitor who was willing to sit and scratch his back for as long as he would lie there for it.  Then of course when he was done with that he would bite her. Cats eh.

Other than putting things in and out of containers, Joan's big love at the moment is music.  Any music, all music, but especially making music herself.  So on Wednesday we returned to the city with her for a stroll around, and a chance for her to have a go on the musical instruments outside the museum.  We all had a ball.

We checked out Elizabeth Quay which was fine, and posed for obligatory touristy photos.  Can you even see those tiny people at the bottom of the arch?  That's Mum and Joan.

Joan ended up finding the musical instruments a bit overwhelming we think, there were a few kids there playing on them too and she seemed dazed by the whole experience.

Onwards for a spot of lunch in Hay Street Mall before off home again.

On Wednesday night under Mum's guidance we made an amazing goats cheese tart which I need to replicate at the earliest opportunity.  DEAR GOD it was good.  I'm still mourning the fact that it's finished.

On Thursday morning we got coffee with the usual crowds at Yelo Cafe at Trigg and then went to Ikea to look at curtain hanging options.  Exciting times!

Poor little Joan had been sleeping poorly (well, poorly for her anyway) since Wednesday which made for a couple of long days with almost no sleep for her, and a horribly long period of crying down Thursday night before bed. Teething?  Developmental stuff around learning to walk?  Overstimulation from the busy days?  Who knew.  It seems to have passed now, touch wood, jinx, I hate white rabbits.

Let's just say that this pregnant woman partook in more than one glass of wine on Thursday night.  Judge me if you must.

On Friday I had booked in a whole day for Joan with Nanny Pam so that Mum and I could do a quick clean of the house we have for sale (yes I know, lucky LUCKY Mum with these great activities I had organised), and then have a relaxing day just the two of us.  

Only, as we discovered when we got to the house, someone had broken in and stolen the air conditioner.  So instead we spent the WHOLE DAY at the house sorting that out.  This here would be the low point of the trip.  Goats cheese tart was obviously the peak.

Joan had another day of terrible sleep for poor Pam who was probably totally worn out by the time we finally got back home after 5pm.  Thankfully (for us) she crashed out at 6pm Friday night and didn't make a peep until the following morning when I went to check if she was still alive at 7.30am.

On Saturday we ate buttery toast, and went for one last walk along the beach in the afternoon with the moody clouds overhead.

Then suddenly it was Sunday morning and time to go to the airport.  Kisses and hugs all round and then she was gone.  And I got home and made myself all sooky at the sight of her cereal bowl, or thinking about what we would be doing if she was still here.

Luckily I had a brunch booked in with the girls from work (or, my ex-work seeing as I am now an unemployed bum) which lifted my spirits until I got home and saw the cereal bowl again and had to cook dinner by myself.

A carb-laden dinner in front of my beloved Real Housewives on TV meant the day ended on a good note though.

We had discussed extending Mum's stay - especially on Friday when we discovered the break-in at the Wellard house - and yesterday I did wish that we'd followed through on that.  But in the end it's like the first day of Blair's being away.  The first day is the worst by far and then I get into my little routine and although it can be dull it's always nice to have the house to myself.

Joan is literally growing up before our eyes.  Having been so tiny for so long I was shocked to discover that she's now at the top of all her percentiles.  Girl is TALL!  She's comfortably into Size 2 which again has taken me by surprise.  My sister has been sending us her 18 month old's cast offs but if Joan carries on growing at this rate, I'll be sending our cast offs to them instead.

She's standing independently but not quite game to take her first steps just yet (she's not quite 14 months).  She's just started playing pretend and it's so adorable watching her "make" stuff in her play kitchen, or rocking her bunny and giving him a bottle.  She got a big box of Duplo from her NZ grandparents for her birthday and she loves sticking it together and pulling it apart.

As for the pregnancy, nothing really to report.  Still expanding round the middle, but no kicks that I've noticed yet.  I'm now 15 weeks which means it's only another few weeks until we can find out the sex!  Very excited for that as we can just focus on names of one gender.  Not that Blair will talk names at all yet, damn him.  So boring.

Last bit of news is that it looks like we'll be making the big move away from Perth next year sometime.  Nothing is too definite just yet but we have a bit of land that looks promising.  All will be revealed in due time!!

And that's us all caught up.

The End.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend.

Poor Blair did spend half of it down at our house that we are preparing for sale.  Installing a garden.  In the rain.  As we said at the time, at least the rain will be good for the new lawn.  And look, just look at the results of all his (and several long-suffering mates') hard work.  It looks like a real house!  With "landscaping" and everything!

Want to buy it?

That lovely lovely pouring rain all day Saturday wasn't much fun for Blair but gosh it was nice.  You could just about hear all the plants drinking it up.  Even our lawn is starting to make a comeback.

Speaking of the garden, now that we're coming to the end of another typically dry Perth summer, we've come to the conclusion that potted plants here are a silly idea.  Or to put it another way: potted plants in Perth are pointless.  You water and water and water and still they barely scrape through the heat.

The garden continues to be a work in progress but with the new moratorium on pots, we've been chucking plants out of pots and into the ground with gay abandon.

And look at how our heretofore struggling orchid has repaid us!  I'm not a big fan of hot pink, generally speaking, but I'm willing to make an exception.

On Sunday afternoon we went round to our next-door neighbours' for some Easter drinks.  I made up a very superior antipasto platter which I then forgot to take a photo of.

The ladies mixed up some delicious looking fruity cocktails while I watched on longingly.  Joan who is normally Miss Social Butterfly decided to be extremely clingy and wouldn't leave Blair or me for the whole evening.  I put her on the floor once or twice so she could crawl around and the bottom lip came out followed by the most bereft little sobs.

I also found that I have nothing else to talk about but kids.  I was boring myself!  I would rack my brain for some other topic, but nothing.  Admittedly my whole life revolves around Joan and her goings-on so it's hardly surprising but I don't want to be one of those people who can't talk about anything else.  I have GOT to get out of the house more.

On Monday we caught up for a very early lunch (more like brunch really) with a dear old friend who was only in town for a few days.  She was the one Blair got my number from, back when we were all working together in Queensland.  I told Joan on Monday morning that this friend is the very reason she (Joan) even exists.  She was suitably underwhelmed at the thought.

The rain had cleared away by Monday and I feel like now it is autumn.  The angle of the sun has changed, it's not so fierce, and we had one of those beautiful cool but sunny autumn days.

I had some truly excellent calamari for lunch followed by gelati which pretty much cemented the Most Excellent Day official status in my book.

Very exciting for me now is the fact that my mum arrives for a week's stay on Saturday.  Less exciting is the news that Blair is going back away for work for the week.  Still it means very decent quality mum/daughter/granddaughter time for the rest of us!

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Dining Table

Ages ago, after we first moved into this house, I wrote a post or two about how I was going to properly and thoughtfully decorate the place.

Completely in character for me, I ran out of steam for the idea and nothing has happened since.  I like our place to feel warm and welcoming and be clean and smell nice, but beyond that... well... MEH.

When we first moved in, the house felt very dark and sad and neglected.  I do think we have blown all that away but there are still little corners that niggle at me because they just... don't... work.

One of those very niggles is the dining "nook", which annoys me every time I walk past it.

Firstly, there's that horrible depressing dark grey wall at the end.  Whose brilliant idea was that??  Look at this narrow, dark space.  Let's add some light-sucking charcoal paint into the mix!  God.

Secondly, the space is too narrow to fit our dining table in the centre, and still be able to squeeze past it to the desk (which can go nowhere else in the house).  So the table is pushed against the wall, again a look I can't stand as it makes the crowded space look REALLY crowded.

Short of moving some walls around (ha!) the solution is a smaller dining table or - gasp - no dining table at all.  Could I?  Would I?

We eat our dinner on the couch in front of the tv.  And I like it.  When Joan and her sibling are bigger, I will probably want to enforce family dinners around the table at least a few nights a week.  But that's a good couple of years away, at least.

At our old house I sat at the dining table a lot because it was in a lovely light filled room and looked out over the whole living area.  Here I have not sat at the table once (except for sewing) because it's in this horrible dark cave where you can't see anything except the wall in front of your face.  The table is just sitting there literally gathering dust, and giving Blair a place to put things that actually should just be put away.

PLUS, with its glass top and sharp corners it is really impractial with kid/s in the house because of a) fingerprints and b) potential life-threatening injuries.


I'm selling it.  No dining table in this house for the near future.


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

ANOTHER Baby Cowley

In case you didn't see on Facebook or Instagram, this is happening this spring:

Yup, we're going to have two kids under the age of two. In fact Joan will be just about 18 months when the new baby arrives.

I am of course in some ways apprehensive about this, but I'm also THRILLED because it's the same age gap as between me and my older sister Hazel.  Plus, (fingers crossed) it means we will HOPEFULLY be done with nappies within three years.  Hopefully.

A big thank you to everyone who offered their congratulations and well wishes on Facebook and Instagram.  

I really struggle with keeping secrets, and big secrets like impending babies test my willpower to its very limits.  Especially considering that this time around my morning sickness was far worse and I spent a lot of time flat out on the couch feeling DREADFUL.  Luckily it has eased now and I'm back to the same routine I got used to when pregnant with Joan: get up, throw up, get on with day.  The difference being that now I have a very cheeky one year old sitting in the bathroom with me imitating the gagging sounds and cracking herself up in the process.

I'm also showing far earlier than I did last time which has added to the difficulty of keeping the secret.  When I've seen people giving my new girth the old side-eye it's been really hard just keep quiet and not to say, "I'm not fat!  I'm pregnant!"

One weird thing that's happened is that I've gone completely off coffee.  You might remember that coffee was my number one most overwhelming craving when pregnant with Joan.  I went from having one a week to one every day and even ditching the sugar to all the better taste the delicious coffee.  Now I'm heartbroken to discover that it doesn't even smell good to me anymore and it tastes HORRIBLE.  It makes me sad.  I keep buying them hoping that today is the day it comes back, but no.

What else?

Oh, so we've decided that this time we will find out the sex.  Last time we had a surprise with Joan which I loved, but this time I just want to know.  For one thing I have MOUNTAINS of girls' clothes so I am either all set, or else I have some major shopping to do if it's a boy.

Considering that physically I haven't felt much different than my first pregnancy, it's amazing how different the experience is this time around.  I feel like an old hand.  I'm not googling every twinge and ache, and I've hardly changed my diet at all except to cut out booze with frankly does not appeal to me right now anyway.

I'm cautiously hopeful that I won't experience anything nearly as bad as my baby blues the first time around.  I mean, my world has already changed for good.  Plus I have the benefit of hindsight and experience that tells me that even though in the middle of it you think nothing will ever feel normal again, it does come right and you end up even happier than before.

Mostly I'm just so excited and thrilled that soon all the members of our family will be here.  Blair and I agreed when we'd only been dating a few months (I guess that's what happens when you Know) that we wanted two children and, boy or girl this is it, our family will be complete.  Feel free to quote that back to me if I ever have clucky yearnings for a third.  Unlikely.  

This feels like the last piece of the puzzle.