Thursday, May 31, 2012

baby fashionista

s and i were talking the other day, about the way people dress their babies. lots of people seem happy with pink-for-a-girl and blue-for-a-boy, and that's cool if it's your thing, but we were wondering if so many babies are dressed in blue and pink because those two options are pretty much all that mainstream australian shops offer (ok, you might get red or grey as well). if you want to buck that trend you have to go out of your way to find alternatives.

i've enjoyed that challenge, and as a result arty is developing a bit of a reputation as a baby fashionista. a few people have asked me about where we find his more interesting outfits, so i thought i'd share some of my favourite shops.

my absolute favourite place to shop for arty is love it love it love it. ruth has fantastic taste, and she collects all the best and brightest kidswear from around the world to sell on her site. browsing around her range always makes me want to spend ridiculous amounts of money - it's a festival of bold prints, and cheerful colours - everything i love to see babies in!
i'm currently coveting this awesome peacock onesie - their tails are made of flowers, you guys!

for beautiful quality, eco-friendly baby and kids clothes, i love to go to shak-shuka. the items i've bought from here have been made from lovely soft organic cotton. there's a wide range of gorgeous designs and prints to choose from. 
this is one of arty's softest and most comfortable suits. i want one in my size!

i am obsessed with oishi-m's beautiful range of original clothes. the colours and prints are really earthy and natural, ranging from leafy greens to aubergines, dusty roses, olives, fuschias, and forget-me-not blues. so yummy. arty has a few of their tees and the fabric is just so delicious. he's also got a pair of their jeans, made out of soft denim, and kimono fabric. they're gorgeous. 

i also love ouch baby for their cute, bold designs; and rock your baby for a little bit of sass and punk. i buy their stuff through the baby's got style website, which is an australian site that is easy to browse through, and ships quickly.

so hopefully that's enough to get you started, and make a decent enough dent in your savings. baby's worth it, right?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

dear arthur: four months

dearest arty-bear,
i feel like i was writing your three month letter only a few days ago. this precious time is rushing by, and you are growing, changing, learning, and developing so very quickly.

this month has seen a few interesting events that are worth remembering.
you had your first experience of being a mascot for your mummy's synchronized swimming team. they are called aquaporko, and you were their aqua piglet! i made you a onesie to wear, and everyone thought you were the cutest.

this month was also our first mothers day! you gave your mummy some dinosaur shaped cookie cutters, some captain america lego, and some rocky road; and you gave me some baci kisses and a new tattoo. we spent the afternoon at your oma's house in the hills. it was exactly how i wanted to spend my first mothers day - with your mummy, my mummy, and you.

you're continuing to work on reaching and grabbing. your accuracy is improving, and you're enjoying being able to get hold of what you want. grabbed items inevitably end up in your mouth, so we're trying to give you the kinds of toys that we think you'll enjoy chewing on. you're particularly fond of sophie the giraffe for this purpose, but anything will do - your bib, your fists, our fingers, whatever you can get your little hands on.

this month you graduated from your baby car capsule (that we dubbed the 'adventure pod'), to your big boy car seat. you're pretty young to make the change, but you were just too long for the old pod so it had to be done. we took a picture of you in there before we set off on your last trip. i tried not to get too emotional about it.

another first for this month was being baby-say by your oma. your mummy and i went to see 'the avengers' with your oddparents, and you stayed home with your oma for a few hours while we were away. you think she is pretty awesome, and she loves you more than life itself, so of course you had a great time together. i only phoned home twice to check...

you had your first cold this month too. actually, we had it together. you came down with it first, but i was only a day behind. we had sore throats and temperatures and snotty noses, and we were both pretty sad, but you were very brave and handled it as well as you could. you had a couple of doses of baby panadol over the days that you were sick, and that helped you with the fever, and other than that you just breastfed and slept as much as you could.

you've now had your second lot of immunizations, and they went ok. your mummy had to work so we took your oma for moral support. she held you while the doctor administered the two needles that you needed. you got very mad and screamed loudly, but you settled quickly, which was a relief. we were just about to leave her office when she noticed that half of oe of the immunizations was still in the needle and hadn't gone in, so you ended up having to have a third jab. it was an accident, but a very cruel and unfair one! we are glad she noticed though, because if she hadn't you wouldn't be fully immunized, and that would be bad. we don't want you catching any of those nasty diseases.

there have been some big changes to your feeding this month. the first is that we have had to start supplementing your breastfeeding with formula. this was a really hard decision, and one that i agonized over before even discussing it with your mummy, but the fact was that my milk was not enough for you. because i am not always very well, my body was struggling to produce what you needed, and you were hungry, and not gaining weight fast enough. having two formula feeds a day (on top of 5 or 6 breastfeeds) has taken some of the pressure off my body, and is helping you to feel fuller and more satisfied. i think it means that i will be able to keep breastfeeding you for longer, and you'll continue to benefit from the good antibodies and nutrients in my milk. it also means your mummy gets to feed you more often, which is really great for the two of you.

you had your first try of solids today too! we mixed up some organic brown rice baby cereal with a little bit of breast milk, and fed it to you out on the back porch. you thought it was great - you even stared grabbing for the spoon to bring it to your mouth faster than your mum and i were feeding you! we're going to give it a break tomorrow and try again the next day, just so we don't overdo things, but you definitely seemed very keen on your first go.


one of the reasons we feel confident introducing solids is because you have definitely started teething. we can see the little white tooth buds on your gums, and you are displaying all the other signs - chewing everything in sight, rosy cheeks, lots of dribbling and drooling. we've bought you an amber teething necklace which you wear every day. hopefully it will help a little with the pain. it certainly looks adorable.

your sleep patterns have been a bit up and down lately, but in the last wek or so we've all turned a corner. until recently, we've been feeding you every time you've woken up at night, but now that your tummy is bigger and able to hold enough food to keep you going for longer, we've cut back to one feed a night. if you wake up more than that we settle you with pats and your dummy. we're all getting more sleep this way, and generally feeling better for it.

the thing i've been enjoying most of all this month is the readiness with which you have been smiling, and the increasing number of giggles you've been giving. you smile whenever you see someone you love, and you often grin at strangers if they talk to you too. you're very interested in people and faces.
the best way to get you to laugh seems to be to startle you. you often laugh at your oddmother when she makes funny and unexpected noises for your amusement, you crack up when your mummy throws her arms in the air and says 'hooray!', and you find peek-a-boo hysterical.


but in between smiles and laughs you're still my serious little man, observing the world with a contemplative frown.

i love you so much, my wee one.
big smooches,
your mama x

Thursday, May 17, 2012

on being a mother

during pregnancy, i had several episodes of looking in the mirror and thinking "that's not a mother!"
i wanted to have my baby more than anything in the world, but i felt deep apprehension about my ability to live up to this complex and idealized role. did i really think i was capable of being to this baby all that my mother was (and is!) to me? ridiculous! could i see any resemblance between myself and any of the mothers i saw in literature or on tv? no!
i'd find myself staring at my reflection and seeing a completely inadequate git, who was bound to be laughed out of any self respecting mothers group, and given the side-eye in the nappy aisle in the supermarket.

and then arty was born.

and i was so busy being his mother, that i didn't stop to think about it until now, when i've realised something incredibly liberating: arty doesn't need me to be the platonic form of mother. he needs me to be his mother. and that is something that only two people in this world know how to be. we know it instinctively, and we do it uniquely, because we know our boy like nobody else can, and he loves us like no others.

there are certainly other mothers, real and fictional, that i admire and whose mothercraft i feel i can learn from, but i don't need to worry if i don't resemble them too closely, because to arty, i'm what 'mama' looks like. and that's enough.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

on dummies

s and i were ambivalent about dummies before arty was born. we weren't anti, but we weren't going out and buying any either. we figured we'd wait and see.
in the early days in hospital, when we were having a bit of a tricky time getting the hang of breastfeeding, arty was getting quite distressed by the process. he was hungry, and we couldn't get him latched on and feeding efficiently. he would get so upset, and in the end his frustrated crying was stopping him from even attempting to feed.
one of the midwives suggested that we give him our litte finger to suck on when he got this upset, because the physical act of suckling is very soothing to babies. it worked instantly, and really helped us calm him and get on with learning to feed.
but then we found that we were sticking our fingers in his mouth six or seven times a day, and we couldn't always be sure hat they were as clean as we'd have liked them to be. we decided that using a dummy would be more hygienic.

arty now uses a dummy regularly. and i'm totally cool with that. plenty of people advise against them for a broad range of reasons from babies not being able to settle without them, to nipple confusion, but these haven't been problems for us.
importantly, we don't use the dummy in place of other forms of comfort, but it is one tool that often goes well with a cuddle, a song, and some reassuring words.