1. Kitchen windowsill: soy sauce bottle from Tokyo, succulent, gooseberry, hand-soap 2. Wispy curls. I forgot to write in my letter that when you get sick and you're breastfeeding and then your baby gets sick the only thing to do is treat yourself to naps, lemon & honey tea, wholesome food and early nights. There's just no space for anything else. Our fortnightly organic delivery arrived yesterday and it was brimming with oranges, pears, the most violet of plums and deep-green broccoli (to name a few). I'll be snacking from the fruit bowl today and keeping an eye on Poet, because if this morning is anything to go by, she'll be snacking on moths (found on the floorboards). Delightful!
So it turns out that Poet has taken a total of three daytime sleeps in the cot. Which is absolutely fine because it means I've had a big, vacant space for all her clothes. Yep, see that rather daunting mountain of clothes there - they're all hers. Ranging from size 00 to 3 - jumpsuits, dresses, knits and leggings-a-plenty (my mum kept all my little dresses from when we lived in England - they are absolutely fabulous and deserved of a post of their own). Since I've been moving the house around all our clothes have moved rooms too. Just for the record I never want to do it again. Right now I've given up - hence clothes in cot (they've been there for a week already). My 'work' work has been piling up too - I have about twenty stories to write in the next fortnight which means I'll be glued to the screen. My reprieve comes in the form of a daily 'cup of chino' (as Che calls it) and a long walk with Poet in the pram. Planning holidays is fun too and come the end of March we will be in Tasmania with a very talented photographer to document the artisan food movement down there. The result will be a collection of beautiful photographs accompanied by thoughtful observations - very kinfolk shall we say. For now I'm off to bed - to turn a blind eye to the washing pile and dream of crisp autumn apples from the Tasmanian tree (and the cheese, fresh bread, home grown vegies, just brewed cider, still-warm jam). YUM!
Every Thursday morning I teach a Mums and Bubs yoga class. Every Thursday morning I talk to women who are deep in the blurry space that is new motherhood. They talk about sleepless nights, lack of time, forgetfulness and how incredibly overwhelmed they are. Yoga is incredibly helpful for new mums because the very essence of the practice is to be in the moment. So, I tell them to just take it day by day and then I remind them that just as it takes a year for your body to fully recover from pregnancy and birth, it may take a year to really feel like you're in the groove of motherhood. Mothering Poet has encouraged me to reflect on my experience with baby Che. And so, I've written myself a letter (inspired by this memo)...to my pregnant-for-the-first-time-self: Dear Jodi, You're 23 and about to have a baby. Because you're concentration is lacking and because you're prone to forgetting (go on, blame those late-pregnancy hormones!) I've written this letter in dot-point. A few things to remember, as you embark on your first year with your new baby:
Stretchmarks fade. Really, they do.
Your belly may take a while to return to a semblance of its former self. Please don't get upset when people ask you when you're due. (FYI - people will ask the same question with your second baby, even when you're holding her in your arms!)
Breastfeeding is challenging. It requires determination and perseverance - especially at 2am. Before long it will seem like the most natural thing in the world and you'll revel in the beauty of it.
Soak up the newborn scent. It doesn't last long.
When he's four months old the newborn fog will lift and you'll recognise your old self in the mirror (hello cheekbones!)
When he's four months old your hair will fall out. This is normal - don't freak out.
The word routine should never, ever come into your vocabulary. Babies don't have a routine. Rhythm is a better word, start using that one.
Let go of the hope that your baby will sleep through the night. Babies rarely sleep through the night, especially in their first year. If, for some reason, he does sleep through, mentally repeat to yourself: do not get attached.
Instinct is your best guide.
Co-sleeping is safe, good and perfect for your little family. Don't question it because of the remarks made by others.
Just because other babies are feeding at six months old, doesn't mean yours has to. Gagging is not feeding, it's a sign that he's not ready. Listen to him. It will take him a while, but, at around eight months old, he'll start to love his food.
He'll really get into solids in the autumn time. When you think he's turning a bit orange don't spend a whole day worried that he's got jaundice. You've been feeding him too much pumpkin and kumera and he's over-dosed on beta-carotene. Simple as that.
Never feel guilty for taking an afternoon nap.
Check your iron levels!
Don't spend all afternoon reading blogs. Why? Because within no time you'll have a crying baby, no dinner prepared and quite quickly you'll crumble under the chaos of it all.
Learn to prioritise. You can't do everything in one day.
Cuddle him for as long as you like.
Take lots of photos, he'll grow up really quickly (too quickly!).
Simplify - your home, your day, your life. It will help you be a calmer person.
Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself. Know that you're doing a really good job.
So, mums out there, what would you say to your just-about-to-have-a-baby self? I'd love to know.
I was making dinner the other night when Che asked if he could go for a walk. Daniel promptly grabbed his camera and they went exploring down a well-known trail in the woods near our house. Since that afternoon walk in autumn so much has changed. Che is now four years and four months, a big brother and a little boy. No more baby face! He's a gentle creature; curious and fearful in equal measure.
I read this memo last week at Che's Montessori school. If ever there were a good parenting article, this is it. Since I first read it I've thought daily about the way Daniel and I are parenting - from Che's perspective. How is he seeing us? What is he witnessing? How are we helping him understand what's right and wrong? Tomorrow I'm going to handwrite it out and stick it on the wall. So I read at least one point - daily. And I'm going to remind myself not to feel guilty for what I have or haven't done as a Mum. Whilst every single point is valid and important I urge you all to read number twenty and take heed. Look after yourself, take time for yourself - you need to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy, for your childrens' sake. They need you. A Memo From A Child To Parents 1. Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for. I'm only testing you. 2. Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure. 3. Don't let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages. 4. Don't make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly 'big'. 5. Don't correct me in front of people if you can help it. I'll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private. 6. Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values. 7. Don't protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes. 8. Don't be too upset when I say 'I hate you'. Sometime it isn't you I hate but your power to thwart me. 9. Don't take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need. 10. Don't nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf. 11. Don't forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. That is why I am not always accurate. 12. Don't put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere. 13. Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you. 14. Don't tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand. 15. Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither. 16. Don't ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologise to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm towards you. 17. Don't forget I love experimenting. I couldn't get along without it, so please put up with it. 18. Don't forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me, but please do try. 19. Don't forget that I don't thrive without lots of love and understanding, but I don't need to tell you, do I? 20. Please keep yourself fit and healthy. I need you. Photo: Che in the garden at his school.
No, I'm not giving Poet away (although she does look rather endearing in her vintage romper and striped bow, doesn't she?!). Dragonfly Toys have offered to give away one of their delightful Steiner dolls. Handmade in Northern India, these dolls are created in a small workshop that employs Tibetan refugees. Each doll is made by hand, from beginning to end, by one woman. Mindfully created with the best quality cotton and pure wool, each doll has a sweet little expression and a vintage-inspired outfit. What I love most about these dolls is that they are all imbued with a sense of innocence - they're oh so perfect for childhood imaginings. For your chance to win a Steiner doll (valued at $89.50) of your choice (boy or girl, blonde or dark) simply 'like' Dragonfly Toys on facebook, become a follower of Che and Fidel and leave your name with your email in the comments section. I'll draw a winner using the random number generator on Sunday 19th February. To read a past interview with Tracie and Linda, the lovely women behind Dragonfly Toys, pop back here. If Poet wins she's going to choose little boy blue. Update: Comments closed. The Random Number Generator chose #51 - Jill. Congratulations lovely one! x
...we wandered up to the local school where, miraculously, Che transformed into a sweet little skeleton and Daniel stole the bike. Poet watched happily from her little red caboose and I noticed autumn creeping in on the trees. We got home just before the storm broke and just in time for Che to get his boardies on and dance in the sky water.
We're in the throes of moving the entire house around. It feels like we're moving house - without the boxes and without the truck. There's just a whole lot of junk surfacing from deep within the cupboards and I'm questioning why on earth we're holding on to it. I've probably chosen the worst possible time to embark on such a move because Poet has just started commando crawling. Everywhere. She's doing a good job of cleaning the floor though - she's covered in crumbs, hair and fluff every time I pick her up. Disgusting, yes. Productive? Very. One reason for said move is Che's obsession with Lego. It is, without doubt, one of the best toys that has ever been created. But Lego is small. Tiny, tiny, little, little and perfect for our inquisitive seven-month-old. So Che has moved into what was the office - there's a desk for him to create at and plenty of floor space for Lego construction. The one rule? Lego is not allowed, in any circumstance, to pass his bedroom door. What was Che's room will soon be Poet's. Currently it's brimming with stuff and I-don't-know-where-to-put-it's. Today I sorted all the newborn clothes (sniff!) into storage containers and pulled out all of Che's old 6-12month clothes for Poet to wear this coming autumn/winter. There's lots of navy, grey and red. I'll add a bit of pink, lavender, mustard and cream and voila, a fabulous wardrobe for Poe.
As I've sorted and cleaned I've carried with me a natural cleaner that works a treat for rooms susceptible to dust and mould - a mixture of water, lemon juice, eucalyptus oil and clove in a spray bottle. It's been a life saver considering Daniel's allergies (we discovered this time last year that he is severely allergic to dust and mould) and it's good, as always, to know it's a natural and safe concoction (although often clove is not recommended during pregnancy). If you're still awake and reading....
I've joined Instagram (finally!) - I'm cheandfidel. Come say hi!
I have to apologise to those of you that have asked me questions in past posts and haven't yet received a response. There's now a 'reply' option in the comments section so I'll be going through past posts (not all of them!) and answering your questions within the comment section.
The kinfolk giveaway will be drawn on Sunday. If you want to extend your vocabulary take a trip through the comments - there's some fabulously strange and beautiful words in there (handy if you're playing scrabble anytime soon).
There are some words that I particularly love. I like their definition, the way they sound, the way they look when handwritten on a page. Poetry is one of them, symbiosis is another. But kinfolk really makes my heart sing. The very essence of Kinfolk magazine is gathering. To gather. Another lovely word. A community of 60 artists, writers, photographers, chefs, florists and film makers came together to create this quarterly publication that celebrates small, spontaneous gatherings. Dinner for two, decorated by candlelight. A lunch for twenty; the very best picnic spread. The magazine is heavy to hold, the pages are thick and luscious, the words are carefully chosen and the images are soft, light and uncontrived. It is a celebration of friends, family and simplicity. At the centre of every gathering is food; a fresh-out-of-the-oven loaf of bread, a pot of billy tea and a sandwich, a crisp, juicy apple. Kinfolk is a celebration of a simple, uncomplicated life. It's brimming with inspiring anecdotes, intriguing stories and the dedication of creatives who aspire to share their wisdom. I'm holding on pretty tight to the only copy of Kinfolk that has ever passed through my front door. But alas, I have promised that I'll pass on the kinfolk love.
And so, I open up the comment section to you, dear reader. Leave me a comment, share your favourite word, and you'll go in the draw to win a copy of kinfolk, volume two (go here to see snippets of volume one). With the help of the Random Number Generator I'll choose a winner Sunday 12th February. If you would prefer to buy your own copy you can visit LivedIn or Magnation - Australia's first stockists of Kinfolk magazine. Photos by my beautiful friend Luisa. Update: Comments closed. The Random NUmber Generator chose #28 - Kristi. Congratulations lovely lady.