Archive | October, 2011

Playing Favourites – my daughter’s special bond with her Dad

18 Oct

Aaagh – my daughter is a real daddy’s girl, which on occasion, can be quite difficult to process. But I’ve learned to accept it. I wrote about the experience for Web Child. Read the article by clicking here


Do babies need toys? Watch this – and see

13 Oct
The gorgeous Ponijao, from Babies

Capturing the joy, delight and excitement of a baby’s first year of life is terribly difficult. Believe me. I’ve tried. It goes like this. Baby does something hilarious/exciting/new. You reach for the camera. By the time you’re rolling. Boom. It’s over. Baby is back to being a blob. The show’s over. It takes a hell of a lot of time, patience and battery power to capture something worthwhile. But that’s exactly what French film director, Thomas Balmes, managed to do. Over 400 days, he filmed the first year of life for four babies – Hattie in San Francisco, Ponijao in Namibia, Bayar in Mongolia and Mari in Tokyo. The result? A delightful, life-affirming, cinematographically gorgeous and thought-provoking documentary, called ‘Babies’. It runs for 80 minutes and there’s no dialogue. It doesn’t need it. My husband and I watched it last night and were mesmerised, in between hoots of laughter. Watch the trailer for a taste. While it’s all cute and wonderful, there are also some pretty important messages here. While the overall message is that babies are babies, wherever you live, there’s also nice contrast between how kids are raised in developing nations, versus highly developed nations. What did I take away from it? Babies don’t need toys, TV, or a clean environment – what they love is interacting with other humans (and animals- the scene of the baby licking her dog’s tongue is incredible) and exploring this wonderful, wonderful world where everything is new and exciting, to them. I’m sure it’s available on DVD – we watched it on Foxtel. For a serious cute injection, watch this video of the beautiful Namibian baby Ponijao, falling asleep while sitting up. I defy you not to smile.

Morning Walk

12 Oct

My park

This is the park where I go for my morning walk. It’s about 4 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD. Can you believe it? This huge, green, clear space is smack bang in the middle of the city. Beautiful, huh. Going for this walk is probably my most regular daily habit. I feel crap if I don’t do it – physically and mentally. I took this particular photo this morning because I think this sums up what my walk does for my brain – it gives it space, room to move and wander. More often than not, it’s where I do my most significant thinking about anything and everything. I’ve scripted many blogs, articles and snippets of fiction on this walk. Sometimes, I forgotten it by the time I get home. I’ve thought about getting a dictaphone so that I can capture the thoughts that fly into my head, so they don’t fly away just as quickly. I’d be kidding if I said every walk is full of profound thoughts. It’s not. I’m not that deep a thinker. Sometimes, I listen to the radio, and other times, I just try to take in the surroundings. There’s a heap to see in this park. My husband (who usually gets stuck minding the kids while I’m out) always asks about my walk, and I would say that, I have usually seen something of note worth reporting to him. Yesterday, it was star spotting – Natalie Gruzlewski and Dr Chris Brown were at the cafe – they are both ridiculously good looking. And very tall. So, from time to time, I’ve decided to post the odd photo of the things I see during my morning constitutional. Hope you enjoy it, at least one tenth as much as I do!

Our house is in training – toilet training

1 Oct
I now know why ‘toilet training’ is referred to as training; it’s because learning to control weeing and pooing is gruelling, challenging and tedious – and that’s just for the parents. It’s no picnic for the kids either. We’re at day 5 of the regime and just starting to see signs of a light at the end of the tunnel. Just. But geez it has not been fun. We did it the hard core way. On Monday our near three year old daughter was in nappies. On Tuesday, she went nappy free (except at sleep time) and hasn’t been back in them since. We put ourselves into self-imposed exile for the week to give it our full attention. That was probably the hardest part, knowing that we could not leave the house. Now, I often spend days at home and it doesn’t bother me at all. When it’s by choice. When it’s imposed on me, the house starts to feel like a prison, and in this case, a psychiatric prison.

This week, I’ve been on the verge of OCD, or should I call it, OTD (obsessive toilet disorder). Every five minutes, I say to my daughter ‘Do you need to use the potty?’ I’ve said the word ‘potty’ more times in the last 5 days than I have in my whole entire 35 years of life. Even my daughter found it annoying. She just says ‘No thanks Mama’ (bless her for the manners). There have been accidents. Of course, that goes with the territory. But most frustratingly, the accidents have come literally two seconds after I’ve asked her if she needs the potty. I confess I have lost my sh*t a little bit, which is totally against the rules of toilet training. Yesterday, in desperation, I turned to the internet for advice and read a comment that has stayed with me ‘There is no room for punishment in toilet training’. I now understand why. The more disappointment I displayed, the more freaked out my daughter became about the whole deal. Mainly, we’ve tried to stick with positive reinforcement, lots of praise, stickers, promises of a bit of kid TV and M & Ms for each successful effort. However, after four days, the incentives were wearing a bit thin. I have now resorted to the ‘wee dance’ which involves me doing a kicking-style dance, stolen from the New Kids On The Block hit ‘Right Stuff’. I’ve also bribed her with the ‘Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book’. She adores it. So, I offer to let her have a look as long as she sits on the potty. That’s worked a couple of times. I’ve got one more ace up my sleeve. Photos. My sister told me of a friend who took a photo of her child’s first poo on the potty to send to Grandma. We haven’t got to that stage yet. But I’m not ruling it out. I’ll try anything to get this baby happening. But, as I said at the start of this post, I think we’re starting to make progress. In my mind, I’ll know she’s ‘got it’ when she’s the one telling us that she needs to use the potty. For the first four days, it’s been the reverse. We’ve been telling her when we think she needs to go. But today, there’s been a change. She’s gone to the potty twice, unprompted, and produced the goods, with over-the-top dancing and cheering and high-fives from us. I know she won’t be perfect for months yet. But I really think we may be on the verge of a poo breakthrough and not a “poo through” for once.