Thanks Meg!

Award

Along with a few of my favourite blogs, I’ve been nominated for an award, by another of my favourite blogs – Pierre the Yarn Snob.

Meg said some very sweet things about the blog, and it came at just the right time. I’ve been having a few doubts about the worth of this blog because of some of the trickier ramifications in the real world.

And now I have to nominate seven of my favourites.

Longtime readers of this blog will know most of my faves, as I link to them from time to time. But recently I’ve been reading a few more parenting blogs, as I like to feel that I’m not the only crafty, queer friendly, left wing, vegetarian, cloth nappying, attachment parent in Granville.

OK, so I probably am the only one, but having some internet friends makes me feel better.

Enjoy!

1. Joy of Socks – I love this blog, not just because she gave me Sundara Yarn, but also because she is smart, funny, the mother of a gorgeous kid, and also still managed to knit. (I thought I’d better start the list with a knitter, ease you into it).
2. Her Bad Mother. I started reading this blog after a friend pointed out this post. It made me squirm, and gasp a little. Being a mother is such a huge thing, and somehow we still have to be the other as well as the mother.
3. Eucalyptus Jandals. A mum, a writer, and a teacher. She makes me think, blogs about deep issues, and cares passionately about things.
4. Sarah’s Blog. I don’t get to see him very often, but I can keep up with Alex here.
5. It’s Not Easy Being Green. Imagine – cool people, in Granville! Well, actually a whole suburb away, but it’s pretty damn close 🙂
6. Suburban Safari. She doesn’t post nearly often enough, but she has twins, so I am not inclined to judge. She’s clever, and witty, and cool, and she lives too far away.
7. Fe… a Life. When I first met Fe, I thought she was far too beautiful, clever, and talented to ever want to have anything to do with me. But she did! Fe blogs about her gorgeous boys, her struggles with the black dog, life as a cancer survivor, and day to day battles with Australian Family Law and an evil ex.

10 Months

Inigo and Ella play with Bev & Ted

Last week, you started waving. Real, recognisable interaction. You’ve been charming random strangers everywhere we go, and even grabbing at them in shops. I can tell I’m going to have to lift my game with the omniscience – you’re already so much more capable of mischief I can’t predict, and you’re only going to get trickier and trickier. I’ve had two unexpected baths in the last week. One water, one beer. Water smells better on a hot day. Less sticky too.

It’s getting harder and harder to breastfeed you in public – anywhere that isn’t the bedroom, where there is nothing to look at but grey walls and roof, yet you still manage to wriggle and squirm and examine every little thing instead of eating. I am thinking we might need a sensory deprivation chamber if I’m going to keep feeding you until you’re 2 as the paediatrician recommends.

You’ve developed the pincer grip, you can pick up peas and even get them in your mouth. It’s fun, but you aren’t that fond of peas, so the game becomes pea flinging very quickly. You’ve been increasingly interested in real human food instead of your exquisitely prepared steamed veggies and lentil mush. Funny that. Last week you tried Masala Dosa, Sri Lankan Roti, Hoppers, and Eggplant Curry. You loved the explosion of flavours, but the sensation of chilli in your mouth afterwards caused some confusion.

You’ve started to show an interest in climbing, but no real ability. The best fun is climbing on me after a feed, with the added thrill of possibly spewing on the bedclothes when I least expect it.

You enthusiastically grab on to my hands and haul yourself up to sitting, and standing positions, but you haven’t yet worked out that you can grab other things to pull yourself up. You’re crawling a lot more, and move quite quickly, but still only backwards. There has been a little forwards motion, but only while sitting up, and pulling yourself along with your hands.

You’re turning into a great sleeper, as long as we keep our expectations of daytime sleeps low. Yesterday you went all day on just one short day sleep, and you continued to charm the crowds with only a little whinging.

The yelling is getting creative. You’ve discovered that you can stick the back of your fist in and out of your mouth to modify the sound. And you love echoes – our fave south Indian restaurant has the most appalling acoustics, and you take full advantage of the tiled floors to shriek, yell, mumble, mutter and ululate.

As well as exploring the limits of your vocal range, you’re still enjoying peek-a-boo, gumming everything in reach and drinking everything in with your huge eyes. But the Best. Fun. Ever. is being swung around by one arm and one leg. I asked that paed if that was ok, she took a breath, looked at me straight on, and said “just make sure you lift from the upper arm, not the forearm”.

Weeeeee!

10/10

Today was Inigo’s check-up with Dr McVeagh. Since he hit the magic 50th percentile, my concern about today had eased a little, but I still asked Mark to take the day off and come with us today.

When we walked in, Dr McVeagh questioned if he was the same baby 🙂

He’s just above average for height, weight, and now head circumference too! The head has stopped growing at a rate of knots, and has slowed down to just slightly unfeasible, instead of alarmingly outrageous.

He got a perfect score from the doc, and we don’t have to go back until after Christmas.

Hoo – freaking – ray!

Amazing

Some good news.

When Kevin ’07 won the election, I really only felt relief that John Howard wasn’t going to embarrass us in front of the neighbours any more.

But then he ratified Kyoto.

And then he said Sorry.

And I dared to feel hopeful.

But then, for a long time, nothing happened.

This news is wonderful – it is not just a symbolic gesture, it is a powerful and practical move that will hopefully make things just a little bit easier.

Keep it up Kev – there is more to do.

Like Relationship Equality for example.

Edited to add – it appears that this change only applies to lesbian parents. I wonder when men will get the same rights.

Edited again – Red quite rightly points out that this is NSW only. Of course it would be far too sensible to have a single system for the whole country!

Breastfeeding Nazis

*I’ve been sitting on this post for a few days, because I don’t want to offend anyone. I’ve decided to post, because it’s stuff I believe, and I think it’s important. It is not about you – and if you think I am having a go, I’m not. I’m just very sad and frustrated, and this is what I was thinking as I tried to work through the issues in my head.

The continuing horror of the melamine laced milk in China has me in tears every time I think about it. Kidney stones are one of the most painful things that can happen to a grown up, so the thought of it happening to thousands and thousands of babies is beyond imagining.

And the more I think about it, the more concerned I am. Because this should never have happened. As I see it, three things contributed to the problem, and there is no easy fix. This could happen again and again (and probably will), unless these three things change.

1. Greed. Obvious, but it would be over simplifying things of we just left it at that.
2. Marketing. This is part of greed – but it’s a two way street. If we call Nestle and it’s ilk “The Bad Guys”, and the World Health Organisation “The Good Guys”, it’s important that the good guys get the same marketing budget as the bad guys.
3. Backlash. When I was a young ‘un, I believed that feminism was over. I thought that my mother and her generation had fought the good fight, and won. It was a rude shock, and it was about a decade later that the book Backlash came out, describing the new front on which feminism is being fought. It is because of this backlash that we saw the rise of raunch culture, and the popularity of the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…(insert feminist statement here)”.

I believe the same thing is happening in baby health. The 70’s saw the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Australia, and in the 80’s things turned around. More research was done in human lactation, and women were encouraged to go back to the boob. The artificial milk marketing machine began to work on developing nations, and there were appalling consequences for child health. Back then, I had only a peripheral knowledge of what was going on, but I stopped buying Nestle products because of their unethical business practices.

And now, In Australia, breastfeeding is strongly encouraged in hospital. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has chapters all over the country, and is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to breastfeed and is having hassles. There are accreditation programs for businesses that want to become breastfeeding friendly workplaces, and we have laws to protect a woman’s right to feed her child in public. We don’t have paid maternity leave, which would be a big help, but we’re working on it.

There is the expectation that most women will at least try to breastfeed. So of course there is a fine balance between behaviour that is supportive of the establishment of the breastfeeding relationship, and behaviour that is aggressive and judgemental.

I have heard the term “Breastfeeding Nazi” too many times now. I understand that many people feel judged because they don’t breastfeed, and I am sincerely sorry for that. I know that EVERY mother wants to do the best for her child. And for some babies, the best is artificial milk. I struggled for months to get it working for Inigo and I, so I feel that I am qualified to say that I understand the pain and suffering when it’s not working. And I was accused by a friend of just being “trendy” by insisting on breastfeeding. She honestly thought that Inigo’s weight problem was caused by breastfeeding, and that if I would just give him artificial milk, he would be fine.

There were many times when I thought that both of us would be better off if I just gave him artificial milk, so I have profound empathy for women who have made that choice. I don’t have an answer for how we can be supportive of breastfeeding and supportive of artificial feeding if breastfeeding doesn’t work out – but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Research shows that human milk is best for human babies (barring medical complications like rare allergies, etc.). That is a fact. Research also shows that babies are healthier when they are born full term. They are better off if their mothers don’t smoke, if their fathers don’t take cocaine, if they aren’t exposed to lead pollution. We all want to provide the very best for our children, and the best is human milk.

Ancient internet lore has it that the first person to mention Hitler or the Nazis automatically loses any flame war, and I think that principle should apply here.

I believe that good support is essential in establishing breastfeeding, I honestly don’t think I would have stuck to it if it hadn’t been for the education and support I received from the ABA. And I want to pay it forward and support others in a difficult, but worthwhile endeavour.

Does that make me a nazi?