Wednesday, October 01, 2014

when parenthood surprises you

early morning breakfast, my beautiful boy is growing up and I'm so proud of the seven-year-old he has become / flowers (or weeds) picked and gifted with the best intentions

At 1:25am on Tuesday morning I lay in bed next to Poet in the Emergency Department at our local hospital. Exactly seven years earlier, a few wards away, I had just birthed Che. At the risk sounding like a cliche, I marvelled at the absurdity of time and parenthood - how it surprises and startles beyond comprehension. 

On Monday evening Poet gashed her forehead (actually, one of Che's friend's gashed her forehead - a story not worth repeating) and I'm being completely honest when I tell you I have never seen so much blood (I'm still finding it on the floorboards and walls). I had a screaming toddler who refused to have a towel placed against her head, Daniel chasing her with said towel, Che's friends completely traumatised by the drama and me...trying to stay calm whilst on the phone to the ambulance. A few hours later we were in Emergency waiting for the doctor to sedate her and stitch the deep wound. I kept reminding myself that a laceration was the least serious reason to be in Emergency and for that I should be grateful. But still, watching your three-year-old under sedation and listening to the doctor run through the risks was a little much for me at midnight. By 6am the next morning we were home. I was completely sleep deprived and yet I managed to make pancakes for Che's birthday breakfast (poor Che - his party was completely ruined!) and bake a cake that turned out rather well considering the circumstances. I spent the rest of the day in a daze - stringing a sentence together was beyond me.

The entire experience was far more traumatic for Daniel and I than it was for Poet. When we showed her the stitches she said: "Oh, it looks like a leaf on my head!" and so we refer to the wound as her leaf - still bloody and quite unsightly, but a mark of childhood, no? The doctor warned us that a mild head injury can result in some bad behaviour for the days following and with that in mind, Poet is doing all the right things; refusing to listen, climbing on furniture, pinching her brother.

Meanwhile, I'm attempting to counteract all the adrenalin in my body and give my baby some deep, calm breaths.


Monday, September 29, 2014

a spring cleaning guide : the drawers you use every day

please don't ask me whether The Luminaries is a good read; I can only comment on the first five pages / a money tree because I figure that a token of abundance is a good omen to wake up to / a lamp that dims - ideal for mothers of babies

Granted, this may be erring on the side of too-personal, but consider the one clothing drawer that is guaranteed to be opened every day. Regardless of where you're going and what you're doing, you need your smalls. 

But, if you're anything like me, your underwear drawer is a shambles. Up until yesterday, there was a part of me that clung to the hope that my bottom would return to its perky, pre-baby, 8-years-ago self, hence I had underwear in a range of sizes, shapes and styles - from far too long ago. 

Yesterday I decided to get rid of the small smalls and with them, I let go of false hope. There's something quite relieving and freeing about embracing a changed body shape; it's acceptance of where you've been and where you are. 

Once the emotional contents had been dealt with, it was quite easy to clear out the unwanted and make space for the practical. Thanks to some woven ikea baskets everything has a place; undies, bras, socks, singlets, pjs and swimmers.

It was, I found, one of the easier decluttering practises, because attachment to underwear is minimal. It also made me reconsider every drawer/cupboard/surface that I use on a daily basis. We've already paid attention to the cutlery drawer, the bathroom cabinet and the pantry, but what about the bedside table - the piece of furniture you wake up to every morning, the surface that begs for calm. It deserves your attention because you deserve a clutter free, sleep-inducing space beside your bed. It will only take 10 minutes of your time - why not revive it now? 


Sunday, September 28, 2014


"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Poet: despite being vivacious around us, she definitely holds back when she is surrounded by new people. 

All these spring blossoms are making me a little snap happy. 

Today was so warm - all the windows were open and I walked barefoot all day. I had no desire whatsoever to open the laptop; hence this late post. Next week we hit week 40....only 12 weeks to go. I can't quite believe it. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

when simplicity becomes a necessity

when home feels too small, we venture outside and look up and out

There is no denying that simplicity is the aesthetic du jour. White walls and indoor plants are just as fashionable as stripping back and paring down. But what happens when your life dictates that simplicity is no longer a choice but a necessity?

After much discussion we've decided against moving to a bigger house; we're staying put in our rental for the time being. Whilst our home is huge compared to the tiny living movement that's currently gaining momentum, there's no denying that by Australian standards and family size, our house is erring on the side of small. And that's fine by us. In fact, it's presenting me with a challenge that I was, in a way, begging for.

Soon, Daniel and I will share our room with a squawking sleeping babe (let's maintain optimism whilst we still have the energy). We intend to co-sleep (unless we have a baby who would prefer its own cot) and if past experiences are anything to go by, baby will be sleeping with us for two years - at least. 

Sleeping arrangements aside, babies need just a little more than a bed. Regardless of how strict I am about baby paraphernalia entering the home, I understand that at some stage very soon, there's going to be more stuff - clothes, blankets, muslin wraps, hats, nappies, socks - all the necessary that comes with having a baby; necessary that needs a place to live. That said, if I've learned anything from having two children, it's that you end up with a lot of things that you never really needed in the first place. There is so much you can do without. 

Our space limitations combined with past parenting experiences are a blessing - baby will receive only the essentials (and buckets of love, of course). And if baby can enjoy life with only the essentials, shouldn't the same rule apply to us? As I continue to spring clean and declutter I am spurred on by the fact that our home will not be growing extra room on its own accord. That job is ours. So we cull and clear and create more space in the knowledge that it will be filled with new love - not stuff and clutter. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

wearing : fabrik

this is a sponsored post / I'm wearing linen hanky dress  / photos: Luisa Brimble

Fabrik just launched its new spring collection and the linen hanky dress is my favourite piece. I adore linen for its practicality and texture; its spontaneous crinkle is always appealing. Perhaps the best thing about this natural fabric is that it gets better with age and wear. 

This classic black dress features a waisted panel for a flattering fit and falls just below the knee. Here we go again but this is a piece that will happily stay in your wardrobe for a good decade. 

Fabrik is happy to offer you 10% off the entire women's collection for the next three days. Simply enter the code: PRACTISINGSIMPLICITY at checkout.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

how to get rid of mucous

my flat-leaf parsley and chives are thriving on the front step....and I've been adding them to most of our evening meals

Since Poet started pre-school in mid-July we have been plagued by snot; apparently a good dose of phlegm is a pre-school rite of passage.

Spring is often the time of year when we expel mucous; our bodies are spring cleaning themselves and getting rid of the bulk of winter. If you're currently snotty consider it a cleanse and not so much a cold. There are a few things you can do to quicken the process and I'm currently embracing all of them, to some extent, as I'm snuffly too. These hints and tips come from many consultations with my naturopath as well as the recent online course I did on how to boost your child's immunity (it's running again soon and I highly recommend it).

stay away from dairy 

Whilst I'm not vehemently against it, I do know that if I'm suffering from even the slightest bit of congestion, dairy makes it so much worse. Dairy is a phlegm-producing food and whilst it can be used throughout summer to essentially cool the body, it's best to steer clear of it in spring when your body is cleansing. Through iridology (and mother's intuition) I've discovered that Poet definitely has a phlegmy constitution and, therefore, an intolerance to dairy. But like all of us, she craves what she's allergic to. She would drink milk and eat cheese all day long if I let her. A few weeks ago I made her porridge with almond milk and she said to me in the crankiest of tones: "Dis is not the good milk!" I won't deny her dairy all-together (I want her to experience the goodness of an ice-cream cone and the indulgence of butter spread on sourdough) but when she is suffering from congestion I completely remove it from her diet.

minimise sugar and "damp" foods

Chinese medicine and Ayurveda believe that foods fall into the "damp" or "dry" category. Dairy is considered a damp food, as is anything processed or fried. Not surprisingly, sugar also falls under this category - but that means natural sugars, too. Bananas and avocados are two of the most mucous-producing foods you can eat, as are most fruits (shocking, I know). I have made a point of minimising fruit over the past few weeks and yes, I have noticed a difference in Poet (I'm still eating fruit as I find I really need that natural sugar hit). Again, this is only something I'll apply when we're not well.

increase vegetable and broth intake

If fruit and dairy are out what do you feed your children? Tricky, isn't it. Think about foods that will, essentially, "mop up" the damp in the body. We've been having lots of bone broths (with soba noodles, kale, green beans and broccoli), white rice, ginger, vegetables, eggs and sourdough. Occasionally I will make a fresh citrus juice with ginger and yes, while it goes against Chinese medicine, I find it works for us if we drink it sparingly.

clear the sinuses

Granted, it's a little too cold for a swim in the ocean right now but simply being in the salt air (and the sunshine) does wonders for the sinuses. Salty water or saline is the best thing out there for blocked sinuses - nothing like a good clear out in the ocean! Yogis use an ancient tradition called neti (with a specially designed pot you tilt your head to the side, pour warm salty water in one nostril and it comes out the other) and yes, I've practised it before and reaped the benefits. Lately, on my naturopath's recommendation, I've been coating the inside of my nostrils with olive oil (as a protective barrier) and placing one drop of eucalyptus oil up my nose to help clear - it works!

For the children, I rub eucalyptus balm on their feet and chest at night and burn eucalyptus and lemon oil during the day. I also place a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the floor of the shower and let them inhale the steam.

rest up and stay warm

Sleep is a cure all and keeping feet and kidneys warm is a must. If it's a particularly windy day I'll stay indoors; I'm so sensitive to the wind and I find it really "whips" me into a frenzy - I get agitated and stressed and hence my immune system suffers. If my throat is sensitive I'll wrap a scarf around my neck to ensure its protected at all times. Warm tea always helps clear congestion - ginger is my current go-to.

Further reading:

spring : notes from my naturopath
autumn : notes from my naturopath


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a spring cleaning guide : children's clothes

When you clean out your children's wardrobes you'll find that your penchant for minimalism must compete with nostalgia. It's a time consuming process because whether you like it or not, every piece of clothing carries a memory.

While I'm quite adept at letting go of stuff and clutter, I wholeheartedly resist going through Che and Poet's wardrobes. Beyond the practical process of sorting and letting go, there is a need to accept that they're growing; that they have officially outgrown clothes - and stages.

However, this week I literally forced myself to tackle Poet's clothes and whilst there are many things she has outgrown, thanks to voluminous silhouettes and quality fabrics, there are quite a few pieces that will be worn for another year.

But what to do with the outgrown? Can I really let go of the pair of overalls that she was wearing when she took her first steps? What about the floral bonnet that ensured her milky skin was protected throughout her first summer? They must stay - no discussion. But everything else? Therein lies the dilemma. I think I've discovered a pretty good reason as to why parents choose to find out the sex of their baby. It would be incredibly useful for me to know if this little babe is a girl. Alas, I'll have to wait for a few more months.

In the meantime, I've decided to donate the clothes that have been well-worn but still have lots of good wear in them, and keep the unisex pieces, the special pieces and the handmade.

In a few weeks time every single item in every bedroom wardrobe will be pulled out to make way for a fresh coat of paint. We're making some changes to our rental (another story for another post) but it does mean that the contents of our bedrooms will be piled in the garage. I'm prepared to be shocked, disgusted and will, no doubt, launch into a rampant decluttering phase the likes of which has never been seen before.

Any tips on sorting through children's wardrobes?


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