27 February 2009

What's more important? Global meltdowns of the financial or ice-shelf kind?

I seem to be becoming a regular reader of Crikey's Rooted Blog, which has an almost daily update on selected environmental issues of all kinds.

This latest post, by Greenpeace's John Hepburn expresses better than I could the frustration I feel about politicians who are dilly-dallying about whether or not to introduce some sort of carbon reduction scheme now or delay it yet again:

Also, can someone remind me what we actually have to do now Australia has signed the Kyoto Protocol?

25 February 2009

What other parents don't tell you...

So back to toilet training. We had over three weeks of getting somewhere, going backwards and not ever seeming to make that full step into going to the potty on our own. While 3 weeks isn't really that long in the big scheme of things, we could see our little boy could technically go to the toilet fine (with a bit of help getting pants back on and things like that), he would never initiate it himself. Also, whenever he was asked if he needed to go, the answer was always "no", which it became obvious wasn't always the truth.

Result: we had to watch him like a hawk for signs that he was about to go, then somehow entice or convince him to go on the potty. It started to become a battle. It was nervewracking when we went out (e.g. to obstetrician), not knowing if he would pee on the carpet. Going back to nappies (except at night time) seemed like a backward step.

We knew what the problem was - he lacked motivation to do this of his own accord. He'd rather sit in a puddle and keep doing what he was doing than stop and go to the loo for a bit. We'd tried everything we could to encourage him - high five, praise, hugs, sticker charts, pointing out the habits of slighly older, toilet trained kids.... then the only advice we could get was "keep going with it, it will click", or "stop and try again in a few weeks". None of these felt like the right thing to do for us.

So we changed tack. After a visit to a friend's house where he had 3 accidents within 2 hours (despite having been asked moments before if he needed to go the toilet), I told him he couldn't visit his friends again until he stopped weeing on the floor and started using the potty properly. This sunk in pretty quick, and we saw some response. On Sunday, C-chan offered him a marshmallow if he used the potty!

"Oh dear!", we thought! "What are we doing?" What ideas are we instilling in him? BUT IT WORKED! He's taking himself off to the potty now where he wasn't before, and accidents have reduced to one a day at the most!! We don't give him sweets often, and we don't give him a marshmallow at breakfast or after dinner. We'll keep that up with the other strategies above, and gradually wean out the bribery as using the potty becomes commonplace. There are times already (just 4 days later) where he goes to the potty but doesn't ask for a marshmallow either.

So anyway, we felt a bit guilty for resorting to bribery, but last night I was talking to one of E-chan's friends mum. I told her about our strategy. "Oh, we used the marshmallow also! It was the only thing that worked in the end!". I had talked to her before about toilet training, and she never mentioned this! She must have felt guilty too! Then 2 more mums 'fessed up to using bribery in the end (smarties or whatever) to get their kids motivated to go to the toilet on their own. "It's the only way!" they all say - NOW.

Reunions. Hmmm

So my position on high school reunions has pretty much been that of disinterest. I had a disastrous last year of high school socially in which I grew apart from just about all my friends (it was complex), couldn't found a crowd I fitted in, and had my sights fixed on my next year at Uni, where in enjoyed the idea of redefining myself AND meeting people who gave a shit about the same sort of stuff as me (fortunately, I met some lovely friends, amongst others not in the bloggosphere right at the beginning of Uni). An that is how my opinion stayed. My school had a 10-year reunion, and I wasn't really interested enough to make a special trip back to 'Delaide for it, so I sent my apologies and well wishings.

Then a friend sent me one of those Schmacebook invitations, and you kind of have to join up to see what it is. Then you see half your friends and family are already on Schmacebook. Then it kind of becomes a handy tool for keeping in touch with far flung friends and relatives. Then you find yourself joining a school based group in the off chance you might come across people you are interested in getting in touch with. Result (a) lots of annoying friend requests from people you later realise don't really want daily updates from but can't de-friend them without feeling bad (b) developing skills in politely messaging people back expressing vague interest in their well being, but not befriending them, and (c) the occasional instance where you are thrilled to be back in touch with an old school chum - ratbags you never really intended to lose touch with but somehow did.

Some in my school year are trying to arrange a spontaneous reunion because they decided they can't wait until the 20-year one in a few years time (eek), and have started an event site for it. Someone else posted photos from the 10 year reunion on it. So weird! Some people stay exactly the same in appearance, some change dramatically, some gain weight, some lose weight. There are people in those photos I haven't thought about since I left school. I can now sort of see the value in turning up for a night, having a few minutes of conversation with some people I remember fondly, then going back to my life. I like the idea of finding out that once awkward people are now comfortable with themselves, and that some people have been quietly doing amazing things. Kind of like watching the next installment of the 7-Up series of doco films.

But I am perfectly content to wait for the 20-year reunion for this, if I can make it.

12 February 2009

Before and after bath shots

This is a real estate agent shot of our main bathroom, until a week or so ago. That - on the floor, behind the sink - is *supposed* to be a bath. A "Roman Bath", as if it wasn't just a tiled rectangular shower floor, and romans dressed in togas could actually sit around it and discuss politics. A glass screen blocks off the shower partition so that if you were prepared to use 5 million L of water, you could half fill it up, but not recline comfortably at all. These roman baths are the running joke of all the apartment owners in our block. We've been bathing our son in a blue plastic crate since we moved in.

This is our shiney new bath, baby! The blue tiles are no longer available, so we went with a retro multicoloured tile with similar colours to surround the bath. Last night, I gave it a wash down, and E-chan had his first bath in it. So, so much better than the blue crate, which he had refused to even sit in lately. And tonight's the night... I will have a bath of my own. [Note also plenty of ledge space for candles, books etc to perch on.]

In case you were left with any doubt...

...that southern Australia is warming, the BOM's report on the recent heatwave is summarised and paraphrased here. Yikes!

The Brave New Climate blog is written by Prof Barry Brook - Director of Climate Science at The Environment Institute, University of Adelaide.

10 February 2009


I have started spilling food down my top again – I seem to remember having the same problem last time I was pregnant. However, my 15-week bump is hardly jutting out enough to excuse this yet.


Along with everyone else, I have been horrified whilst following TV, internet and radio coverage of Victoria’s bushfires.

I was further horrified with people* writing drivel like this: “Our national character will emerge stronger from this disaster…” . I can’t really stand breakfast TV, but I did notice they sent the “big guns” (Kochie and Mel) down from Sydney to the Bushfire (as if Melbourne doesn’t have its own TV “personalities” to whom they could cross to, live…) Just like the media circus that went down to the sleepy Tasmanian town of Beaconsfield after the last National disaster we had. I don’t want to be insensitive so soon, but the only reason most of us will remember the date is that each year, the so called news networks will pull it up from their databases of anniversaries, and remind us that it happened a year, five, ten years ago, and they can pull up archive footage and use up a minute of the news bulletin instead of paying journalists to go out there and report on real news.

*Who are they?!! No explanation who this opinion piece was written by!

I am fortunate to have no loved ones or friends (that I know of) who are affected by these fires. I’ve met the odd person over the years who had properties burnt in SA’s Ash Wednesday fires.

But this whole experience has been bringing back memories for my Mother, who was just starting her nursing training when Hobart had devastating fires in 1967. She remembers the injuries and burns of the patients admitted to hospital, and parts of the city grinding to a halt… power cuts… the damaged electric tram lines never to run again and instead replaced by buses. My Nanna’s sister lived on the city’s outskirts on an orchard. At one stage she was literally running away from a fire with 2 little ones in tow, and her family lost their house and everything in it and their orchard. It took 3 days before my Nanna and Poppa could get down there to see if they were alive. They lived in a packing shed for 18 months while their town rebuilt. It took Mt Wellington a long time to look post-card pretty again.

09 February 2009

Toilet training

E-chan started toilet training on Thursday. It was a hot day, he spent a few hours with no clothes on in the morning, and I thought, well, why not give it a go? I had 4 days in a row with him, and I'm feeling a lot more energetic and prepared to go 'round mopping up messes.

So first day we went 5 hours, the second a bit longer, the third longer still, and yesterday, from dusk until dawn PLUS a visit to the pool and shopping centre sans nappy. He's doing well. He seems to have gotten a grasp for knowing when he needs to do #2's, and by yesterday, we seemed to be able to hold on for around a minute once he told us he needed to do wees. So proud of him! He's off to kindy today - hope it goes as well there, but he'll have less one-on-one attention...

One of the best things is our nappy usage has dropped substantially to one a day. This feels good. Another thing of note is all the little boy undies on the clothes line!! And his clothes-on shape has transitioned from toddler with extra nappy padding around the middle, to little boy!

And my final point on this post is that toilet training is not just about the kid learning - it's training us parents. You have to listen to your child carefully. After 4 days, experience says that if we ask E-chan if he needs to go, and he says "no", he means it (wasn't always the case with nappies for some reason - perhaps he didn't want to have to stop what he was going and go upstairs to have a nappy change...?). Also, if you're busy and you hear "oops" or "I do wee wee" (meant as "I'm about to do wee"), you have to have everything at hand and be ready to drop everything and go help. And going out... you need to consider toilet facilities, whether or not to take a potty, and if you do.... forward planning. It's a bit like having a newborn again!

05 February 2009

Themes for the week

Yargh! I’ve had enough of them interrupting my sleep! It’s bad enough that it’s hot, and that my bladder capacity is fast shrinking, requiring me to get up at least once a night!

Financial crises.
I’m too upper middle class to be affected by this yet. But I do hear 2nd hand accounts of layoffs. So at this stage the saturated media coverage of financial crises is a bit tiring. All the signs are there that things are going to get worse for us affluent westies, but the symptoms haven’t really kicked in. But this is bigger than just coping with different economic times – this goes hand in hand with all of us learning to be more resourceful, managing with less, leaving a smaller footprint, and we should be doing this anyway.
However, I know a recession doesn’t bite everyone a little bit – a chunk of the population will be just fine, a majority of the population will cut back on luxuries or hold off on major expenses, and a chunk of the population will sink into or remain in poverty. See Beesharp's latest post for more discussion on this and associated comments...


I live for when it’s time to go pick up my little boy at the end of work days. He’s loving Kindy this year, and has moved up a year from the nursery to “K1”, where he gets a smaller group with other kids between 2-3, but also the chance to mix with older kids during unstructured play times. I have to say I’m loving our child care centre too – it seems to be the right place for my child at the right time, and all the staff seem really good, and there are parents there I want to make friends with. I have no complaints, whereas I do hear them from some parents with kids at other centres.

Last week I went to pick up E-chan, and we sat down as he finished his afternoon tea and a drink of water. Another slightly older kid sat next to us, and I noticed he had a cool UFO kiddy watch on:

Me: That’s a nice watch!
Kid: Yeah – my mum gave it to me.
Me: can you tell the time on it?
Kid: Yes
Me: ! [momentarily impressed]
Kid: When the big hand gets to here [points at the “10”], it means it’s half past the hour, and this here [points to the “11”] is the equals sign.
Me: Oh really?!
Kid: Mmmmm.

My hit single...
Last night I dreamed up a song. In my dream, it was a hit 70's Cher song (!), but when I woke up this morning, I realised the song isn't one I've actually heard before (I think), and I just may have composed a song in my sleep. This puts me up there with Paul McCartney and others who dreamed up hit singles. Except mine isn't a hit single. And all I remembered when I woke up was 2 lines of it, and the words didn't make sense. And now I've forgotten it entirely....

Bun in the oven
Am now beginning to get moments when I don’t feel sick/full-bellied/tired/full-bladdered, and I momentarily forget I’m pregnant. Then – “that’s right, there’s another baby in my belly!”. It’s a nice thing to remember. I’m beginning to show, but I don’t think you can see it unless you know what you’re looking for, and I’m wearing a tight top.

01 February 2009


Thought this link deserved a post of it's own!

Thanks Alison - that made me laugh!

: )