Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breakfast for Fuss-Pots

My FP daughter has french toast for breakfast pretty much every day. I don't mind as I figure eggs and high fibre bread are a good start to the day. But I have discovered an alternative which has been a huge hit. Drop Scones. I have no idea what makes these different to pikelets, but drop scones they are. My recipe is from the now much recently quoted on blogs Nursing Mothers Association of Australia "Recipes for busy mothers".

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
4 tablespoons powdered milk
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup, sugar or honey
1 egg

Heat frypan and grease lightly. Mix all ingredients together. Drop tablespoonfuls on to greased frypan, cook until mixture bubbles, then turn to other side until brown.

This morning I added some psyllium husk for a little bit of extra help for my literally anally retentive girl. We usually top with jam, honey or even vegemite. Guarantees full tummies in out house!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hazardous Parent

It’s over 5 years now since I conceived my first child. Since then, my world has changed unbelievably from what it was before. I have changed. The way I think has changed. Who I am in the world and how I am treated has changed. When you become pregnant, and even before for those women who take a while to get pregnant, you are suddenly a dumping ground for everybody else’s regrets, memories, insecurities, failures and successes. I realise even as I type that this sounds very negative. I love being a mum. I love the intensity and the heights and depths to which it sends you. But I wasn’t prepared for the ‘information onslaught’. I didn't know just how dumb I supposedly now was. I wasn’t prepared for the dos and don’ts and the associated pressures that came with trying to do it all the 'right way'.

I didn’t know much about babies and all that. I don’t think many women do. We don’t live in villages and crowded extended family homes in Australia, generally. Women don’t really get to observe and learn from their elders; a product of our modern, nuclear family model of society blah blah heard it all before. It’s true though. There is a gaping hole in the modern women's impressive set of competencies. When she enters baby land for the first time, she expects the smell of Johnson’s baby powder and booties and she laughs nervously at the mention of dirty nappies and sleep deprivation. She pretty much knows it's going to be tough but she figures she'll work it out as she goes. When the baby is born, she is excited to discover that google contains ALL the answers and that mother’s groups are not so bad (as long as her child is the best).

Anyway, the irony is that our well meaning society (the welfare, health prevention, maternal and child health sectors, the internet, and even supermarkets) is so concerned for the undervalued, overworked mum and the poor children of these mums, that is has decided to help. By telling us stuff. And more stuff. For example...

  • do not eat brie or drink wine when you are pregnant
  • keep exercising when you are pregnant and don’t get too fat
  • get plenty of rest
  • breastfeed at all cost
  • don't breastfeed too long
  • have a caesar
  • have a natural(!) birth
  • don't forget to do pelvic floor exercises
  • don’t let your kids watch too much tv
  • feed your kids wholesome, organic food
  • train your child to sleep
  • use/don’t use controlled crying
  • take your child to swimming classes
  • put your child on the waiting list
  • put your child on another waiting list

I tell you, all mothers reading this could add 10 more things to the list I’m sure. It has gotten to the stage where I won’t read parenting magazines or even the local council newsletter. I have to keep my eyes straight ahead as I walk from the toy library past the children's services offices and their towering, tottering walls of brochures, advertising and information sheets. I break into a sweat when I have to review a new or updated kindergarten or family day care policy. It would seem that someone has decided that the most educated generation of women has no common sense! It would seem we are a hazard to our own children!

It’s like they think we don’t know what we are doing!!!! Just SHUT UP and give me some time to think! Please.

You know what I think the government and local councils should spend their billions on? I want someone who can come over, have a cup of tea, play fairies with the girls/ batman with the boys, and just listen to me complain, question, celebrate, without any fear of judgement. If they were nice enough to me, I’d even take their advice.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bad-breathed pit-bulls

Even though I love change, I hate making decisions.

I don't mind the little ones, like which chocolate to choose from the box. Even the medium sized ones aren't bad, like where to go for a holiday. But at the moment I have a number of really BIG decisions to make and I am starting to feel paralysed. Well, maybe not quite paralysed, but certainly stuck. I (we) have some decisions to make about our future which are what I would call proactive decisions.

I’ve had to make many reactive decisions in my life, but not many proactive ones. When I was 17 I had to decide if I was going to move away from my country town to go to Melbourne for uni. That was a huge one. But even that had a level of reactivity; I was finishing high school. I had to decide to do something. All of my career changes have also been fairly reactive. I hated my first job. I wasn’t very good at my second job. It was easy each time to look ahead to something brighter. Moving from a sensational location in inner city Melbourne to the suburbs was an easy, reactive decision, because people we loved wanted us to start an exciting new home-based neighborhood church with them – something my husband and I had always dreamed of doing.

At the moment there is not a great deal of impetus for change. Things are going well, and while our little community is evolving into something else, and maybe even finishing, we don’t have to leave our current home. My job is stable and I enjoy it. Travel to work is easy and family and friends are close enough. But I’ve made the proactive decision to have a more challenging career at some stage in the future. So I have applied to do a Masters course next year. Which means I have to choose between cutting down on days at work or increasing the number of days my 2.5 year old will have in care next year.

I also feel an incredibly strong need to decide where our future lives will be centered for the next 10-20+ years. Where will we call home? Where will our kids go to school? As I’ve mentioned before, it’s much harder than I thought it would/should be to cut the ties from the Aussie social/emotional dream of house ownership. It seems to be hard-wired into me. So do we stay where we are and rent, with our sense of security laying vulnerable in the landlords' hands? Or do we buy somewhere else and, like the settlers of old’n days in search of the Promised Land, forge new ground and call it Home?

I really feel like it is important to face these decisions head on, but they have shape-shifted into drooling, growling, bad-breathed pit-bulls. I reckon if I can take them on and win, I will have passed some kind of initiation test into true adulthood. True personhood even. Made in the image of God or some such thing. Decision making is a greatly creative endeavor when you think about it - it shows the world that we exist and it shows the world who we really are.

Even though I love change, I hate making decisions. And I’m still stuck.