Sunday, October 31, 2010


Dear Dummy,

I have loved you over the years. So great was my belief in you, my reliance upon you, I have been willing to sing your praises from the rooftops despite an oft-found sentiment that you were neither healthy nor necessary. But, I argued, you worked for me, for us, so I loved you.

I stuck you in L's mouth on day two of her life, after a night dealing with an unsettled baby who just wanted to suck. I know now that she really needed to be on my breast, but I was taking the independent route, establishing a routine early on, that sort of thing. She took to you like a fish to water and we never looked back. There was a brief period at about five months where I found myself getting up too many times a night to stick you back in her little mouth and quell her crying. That was when I tried to get rid of you, to no avail. Soon after she learned to stick you back in herself, and long, glorious, sleep-filled nights followed. My baby was a brilliant sleeper, and as a toddler she'd happily stay in her cot till 9am, playing and chatting and probably sleeping a bit more - because she had you. At an appropriate age you were reserved only for bedtime. And the love affair continues.

I had a few of you in my hospital bag when I went in to have the twins. I think I called you into action on that first exhausting night. With two babies to deal with, and stitches in more than one place, I was going to need the extra help you could provide. There was no question of trying without you. The girls didn't suck instantly, but with a bit of cajoling, you became firm friends too. You have been used day and night, not just for bedtime but to calm them down at anytime. There has always been a quiet niggling that I have overused you - I have used you in the car, in the high chair at mealtimes, even in the bath. I have always taken the easy path - stick in the plug and enjoy the peace and quiet, even if it lasts only a few minutes.

You became a problem at night-time months ago. Not only were we being woken to stick you back in several times a night, but often you failed to put the girls back to sleep. They were so dependent on you, and on us to provide you, but I knew from previous experience how hard it would be to wean them off you, so I persisted, waiting for the golden days when the girls could retrieve you themselves. At nearly eight months, they weren't even close.

When the kind and gentle women of the Tresillian Resort and Spa said they'd try to get rid of you for me, I was cynical. "Sure," I thought, "you know your business,  but you don't know my girls. These babies are hooked." I don't think they'd ever been to sleep without you. Until a few weeks ago when, on night one of our four-night stay, P went off for the night - the whole night - dummy-free. And the following day and night, S joined her. Two long day sleeps and an entire night without you. And the next day. And the day after that.

I thought once you were gone that I'd never be able to see you again. But it seems that now we are no longer dependent on you, you are more useful to us. You have more power. So when S and P are really struggling to settle, I can pull you out as a last resort and you work a magic I thought you'd long since tired of. S still wants you most evenings but, once asleep, she's happy without you for the rest of the night.

So I guess I still love you. I just don't need you as much. And my girls certainly don't need you as much either. Our days are a bit different now - I need to get a bit more creative to entertain them when the whingeys set in. But I think it will just take time for P and S to get used to life without you.

Now to try and get the three-year-old to give you up...


PS A lovely side effect of your retreat is I get to see those beautiful sleeping faces without a big piece of plastic blocking the view. Gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blooming Again

Two babies means that, in the interests of fairness (and let's face it, maximum cuteness), we need at least two of everything. So another pair of bloomers was called for - red spotty ones this time. The girls choose to coordinate their outfits rather than matching outright which I think is a much healthier option. They take every opportunity to prove their individuality anyway, so it just makes sense and I'm happy to go along with it.

Looking at these photos now, I reckon the bloomers would have gone well with these knitted jumpers if the girls hadn't grown so big so quickly! I managed to nut this pair out in a single sitting...of 90 minutes! I hate to think how long a dress will take me. Still, it's a much quicker result than knitting. And I only broke one needle...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Rainy Sunday at a fantastic interactive museum

Friday, October 22, 2010


It has been a long week, and I have scraped through this Friday with full-body exhaustion and a to-do list a mile long. But in the spirit of silver linings, here are some things that have brought a smile to my face amidst the fug:

:: Flowers from my mother-in-law's garden.

:: Handmade treasures arriving in the post from my clever Brisbane friend.

:: Birthday presents for the in-laws' 70th birthdays - photographed, printed, framed and wrapped.

:: This scootin' fairy princess (with her skirt caught in her knickers).

:: Finally getting the new sewing machine into action.

 :: This little sausage finally starting to talk - the most beautiful "bah-bah-bah-bah" I've ever heard. (She's a bit slower than her twin sister with these sorts of things - rolling, sitting, babbling. But she wins hands down in the comparison stakes when it comes to eyelash length and tickly feet.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I bought a new sewing machine several months ago and it has sat on the desk gathering dust while I proceeded to collect patterns and ideas and fabric etc. I haven't really sewn anything since I learned as a teenager, and it was beginning to look like I might never actually begin a project. But I decided to start small. Two nights ago I cut out the fabric. Yesterday, in a few short bursts, I sewed. Last night I wove in the elastic. And here is the result - modeled by little Miss P, a dandy pair of blue spotty bloomers for those warmer days when a baby needs to feel the sun on her chubby legs. 

The pattern is from this book by Lotta Jansdotter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Granny's Cookbook

After all that, it turns out my Granny did leave a hand-written recipe book behind. It arrived in the mail today, sent by her son, my uncle, after reading my post about her chocolate caramel slice. Alongside a variety of alphabetically arranged recipes written in her familiar all-caps hand are dozens of magazine and newspaper clippings. Some of the recipes are very retro (Easy Cheesy Quiche, anyone?), others reveal the changing times  - Mediterranean chicken, Thai fish cakes, spicy spinach and pumpkin curry. 

There are three recipes for caramel slice, but I suspect the one we know and love is that marked "my choice". I'll test them out over the coming weeks and report back. (Yes, Unc, I'll be sure to make you the official taste-tester xx)

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Book Nook

On a Sunday some months ago, driving up King Street on our way home from Sydney Park, I spotted a funky red retro bookshelf with a big tag saying $70 outside one of the vintage furniture shops. I kept driving, but wished I'd stopped, and for days I thought about it - I even went back a week later and had a look but couldn't find it.

Before I had children I thought how fun it would be to do their rooms up with great furniture and fun decorations; alas, four months into our lives in this house and L's room consists of a second-hand bed, a chest of drawers from Ikea and a cardboard box for a bedside-table. And this kid has so many books, more than can fit in the shelves downstairs, so it was important to set her up with something all of her own.

So I went eBaying. Turns out these step shelves are a dime a dozen. I had a few to pick from, most reconditioned or in the original wood finish. Eventually I came across a real cheapie with a previous paint job gone bad. Unsurprisingly, I was the only bidder - I scored it for 20 bucks (then had to drive all the way to Blacktown to pick it up!) There followed a trip to the local hardware store where I was able to buy a tiny tin of primer and another of bright red enamel. And over the course of a couple of days, I sanded, washed, applied undercoat and two coats of paint and voila! Same shiny red bookshelf that I saw that day on King Street, about half the price and 10 times the satisfaction.

And L finally has her very own book nook. Now for a few big floor cushions, curtains, a picture for the wall, a reading lamp, a real bedside table...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Warm spring days (yesterday's icy weather aside) means baby biceps are on display. Some people like little toes, others like skinny necks, but my favourite baby bits are bare narrow shoulders and those hilariously wimpy guns. 

{That's P in the pink piggy singlet}

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I don't want to say too much about the sleep thing at this stage lest I jinx things and break the spell. So, in other news, I knitted a green ball.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Letter of Farewell

Dear Sling,

Firstly, thank you. You have been a lifesaver at times over the past seven months. In fact, our dependence on you was so great, it got a bit unhealthy. You started as a handy carrying device for our babies when they were small, and were just one of a few options at bedtime. But, oh, how quickly you became the only option. At our lowest point, you were the single thing that would get our S to sleep, and we needed you to do the job sometimes 10 times a day. Our shoulders ached, our backs gave in, our frustration grew.

We thought we were free of you some months back. Suddenly S learned to sleep in her cot. Of course, she needed other little helping hands - endless sucks of a bottle or boob, a music box, lots of rocking and cuddling and falling asleep next to mummy. But in recent weeks, with all else failing again, we had to dust you off and send you back into action. Even P, our easy sleeper, needed you a few times in the dead of night to help her back to the land of nod. I refused to use you. The Garbageman's back groaned with the girls' increased weight - you weren't designed to be used on such large babies. One night recently, determined to be rid of you, I let S cry and whinge and moan for two hours as I tried to calm her and pat her to sleep. I tried the cot, my bed, my arms. I was strong and resilient for most of that time, but eventually I caved and let the Garbageman use you. S was alseep in seconds. 

But we have been saved by the kind and gentle women at Tresillian Resort and Spa. P and S have learnt a few new tricks - healthy ones, this time - and I'm happy to say we won't be needing you anymore. So farewell, Sling. I don't think we'll miss you.

WIth thanks,

PS I might call you back into action when the bubs are bigger for quick hip-holding dashes into the shops. But no more sleepytimes, OK?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Cousins are good for:
:: Rumbling on the floor 
:: Endless cuddles
:: Early October swims in the pool even though your lips turn blue
:: Pram rides in the garden (Thanks, Tommy and Harry)
:: Sharing chips in your cozzies on the deck
:: Playing snap
:: Scooting up and down the front path
:: Going to the shop to buy icypoles
:: Bouncing on the trampoline
:: Singing songs from 'The Sound of Music' around the piano with your oh-so-cool mums
:: A full day's entertainment for the kids so that I can lounge about knitting, eating, drinking coffee and chatting to my big sis (Thanks, Em) 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

It's been a rainy, miserable, wet long weekend. L spent most of yesterday in front of one screen or other, and because of the weather and the sleep deprivation, I didn't have the energy to move her. Yet, at some point, without my knowing, she must have found the "crawft" box and set to work with the googly eyes. This collection that I found as I tidied up later in the day brought a smile to my face. And today, S bore the brunt of the decorating:

And on a completely different note, I made tea from fresh lemongrass, ginger and a sprig of mint from the garden. A happy discovery. Even the Garbageman enjoyed it.


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