Friday, September 24, 2010

Look into my eyes

When I was about Sticky Baby's age, my poor mother was at her wits end. I was a tough little nut, always on the go, super hectic, lots of nervous energy, couldn't always calm myself down, a bit more crazed than the average child. I was a bit of a baby-goth too, favouring anything black, eating insects when my mother wasn't looking, grunting aggressively at passers-by and attacking my older sister with a broom. Dark, broody, a bit on the weird side. Charming little girl.

Maternal instinct on high alert, mum decided that perhaps she should have me assessed. A friend suggested she take me to an Iridologist. Iridology is an alternative medicine technique whose proponents believe that patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient's systemic health.  Iridologists see the eyes as "windows" into the body's state of health. They use charts to distinguish between healthy systems and organs in the body and those that are overactive, inflamed, or distressed.

Long story short, the Iridologist took one look into my wittle peepers and announced that I was severely deficient in magnesium. A magnesium deficiency in children can lead to an overactive nervous system, a child that seems to be on fast-forward all the time, can't sit still, never 'veges out', constantly moving fast with jerky movements. Basically Speed-Baby. My mother says that within 24 hours of stuffing the magnesium supplements down my gob she saw changes in my behaviour. From weird to wonderful. Anxious to adorable. In her words, "From lion to lamb".

Ok, so fast forward 30 years. I pop out Sticky Baby. Papadada and I start to get the feeling that this little boy is also particularly WIRED and BUZZED,  like All.The.Time. He never stops. He is curious to no end. He will NEVER sit on your lap, only for a bottle and then, when he's done, he arches his back and bucks himself off until he lands on the floor. Everything is speedy and hectic and jerky and energised and EXHAUSTING. From the moment he wakes he is on the go. Up, down, around, under, over, loud, boisterous, go, go, go. Now, we love him the way he is, but as a mum, just like my mother did, I was starting to get a gut feeling that things were a little OTT (over the top) with the Stickster. He radiates nervous energy. He is fun and hilarious, but sometimes I sense him struggling with all of that electricity in his bod. He works himself up, clenches his fists, grunts and I can feel that he wants to slow down but doesn't really know how.

So I called an Iridologist.

The Iridologist took one look at him, and within seconds announced that he was severely deficient in magnesium. Deja vu anyone? Papadada and I breathed an audible sigh of relief. Because now it all makes sense. And now we have a solution. And now our little boy will be able to be a bit cruisier, a bit more relaxed, a bit more even tempered. We hope.

So we have a big jar of calcium-magnesium tablets to administer to our buzzy boy. 6 tablets daily. Big dose. The doctor said we should see some results in 4-7 days. Of course, like the doc says, "People are either labradors or Chihuahuas. You can't make them be something they're not". And nor do we want to! Sticky Baby? He's a Chihuahua in a Labrador's body. And we love him just the way he is. Yip Yip! Grrrrrr! Yip! Yip!

Will keep you posted on the results....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First steps for baby-kind..

And he's off!

video

How exciting is that?! Yesterday was such a huge afternoon for us all. Sticky Baby was thrilled with himself. I was pretty chuffed too. His newborn days flashed before my eyes when he took those first steps...How do they grow and learn so fast??

(Excuse the ugg boots and the mulletted hair. Don't know what was going on there. Now it's captured for eternity. Great. I can hear it already, "Yo Ma, what was with the hair?")

Monday, September 20, 2010

A glimpse of the next 12 months to come?

What the eff. Sticky Baby is throwing tantrums. Ok, so the kid is teething like a mofo, but I'm wondering if he's only using that as a cover for being a cheeky little bugger. The tantrums are coming thick and fast, reminiscent of my contractions a mere 12 months ago. He is also accessorizing said tantrums with a combination of the following:

Guttural screeching and grunting - so pleasant to the ears
Red blotchy face - could be measles, but I think not
Angry, demonic eyes - yes, I use the word demonic to describe my child at times. Bite me.

Tantrum, Sticky Baby style

How do I know they're genuine tantrums? Because when faced with a distraction (or a handful of cheerios) he can switch the tanty off as fast as Lady Gaga can bring out a new #1 single. What a little weasel.

The other way I know it's a tantrum? He's doing the classic laying-belly-down-on-the-floor-with-head-arched-back move. So dramatic. "And the Oscar goes to....Sticky Baby". Can't wait for him to bust one of those out in the middle of the shopping centre. Sweet Jesus give me strength.

My question is, how and where do babies learn this shiz? It's not like he's seen me hollering face-down on the floor when The Hills ended. Wait...Ok, bad example.

I'm not quite sure how I'm meant to handle this new toddler development. Can I go somewhere tropical for a few weeks and hope that upon my return he has a full head of teeth and thinks chucking darkies are so last season? Sign me up.

Today has been a tough one. We were invited to a kick-ass Mother's Group, complete with Tupperware demonstration, BBQ chicken lunch, noodle salad, coffee, tea and sweets galore. The girls and the babies were great. The Hostess, spectacular. Sticky Baby? He was in destructo-mode. He trampled on every single play mat, leaving a trail of squashed banana muffin in his wake. He spilled somebody's can of lemonade all over the wooden floor. He drank out of each baby's sippy cup. He stuck his finger in my potato salad and then drew on one of the Tupperware order forms. I don't think I sat down the whole time. I was on damage control, the noodle salad agonisingly calling my name. Delicious noodles, I will eat you one day, uninterrupted, in peace. I promise.

Tonight? Not much better. The war against savory food continues. Since we left France last week, Sticky Baby is refusing to eat anything but fruit, raisin toast or homemade banana muffins. Where has my mini-gourmet gone, who would eat olives by the handfuls, chickpeas by the dozens, sweet-potato puree by the cupful? Lord knows, but he ain't living under this roof! This creature? He is picky, and fussy and favours finger food over anything off a spoon. Friggin' annoying Limiting, to say the very least.

Ahhh...the trials and tribulations, right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preparing for Take-Off: Part 3

The flights sucked.
That about sums it up.
Instead of whining about it, I'm simply going to put up some piccies of our time 'In Transit'. They will paint a much nicer picture of our time in the sky.

Evidence that this child needs to be on the move at all times. Easy to accommodate in an airport, not so easy on a plane....

Paris to Singapore. I don't know why I'm smiling. Oh, that's right, at this point I thought he would stay asleep for most of the 14hr flight. He woke up 45 minutes later, despite our best tent-construction efforts. I think the passenger pictured was contemplating a parachute escape...

The staff at the hotel in Singapore went GAGA over our blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy. Absolute love-fest in the lobby. They were passing him around like a platter of Christmas ham. He loved every minute of it. So did we, because at this point, only a few hours after disembarking from the horror flight, it was a relief for people to take him off our hands, even for just a few minutes. Papadada and I were considering booking in to get our tubes tied in a Singaporean day clinic. That's how bad that flight was.

The love was restored the following day, site-seeing in beautiful Singapore.


The kick-ass baby strollers at Singapore airport. Best. Airport. In. The. World.

So much to do at this airport. We were there for 5 hours and never got bored once. Papadada even got to race remote control cars on a mini Formula 1 track. He was in heaven. There were koi ponds, butterfly exhibitions, indoor playgrounds, waterfalls, live musicians. LOVE!

Flight #2. It was like walking the gang-plank, boarding that plane. We were so anxious that Sticky Baby would do a repeat Hitler performance on our Singapore-Brisbane flight. Miracles of miracles, the child slept THE WHOLE WAY! Granted, I was holding him in my arms like a human straight-jacket. It worked. Papadada had to feed me, apply lip balm to my lips, and pour drinks down my throat, seeing both my arms were busy holding down the beast.


So, we survived the ordeal. Some of our flight planning paid off. Other theories back-fired spectacularly.

Things we wouldn't do again:

Day flights - Seriously, what were we thinking? Night-time flying is the only way to go. Entertaining a toddler on a plane is too hard. Enforcing sleep is much easier.

14 hour flights - Never again. Next time, we will add another stop-over, so that we never fly for more than 8 consecutive hours. This would mean a layover in Dubai and another in Singapore. 1 night minimum in each place.

Toys - Nothing worked with Sticky Baby. Sticker books? He couldn't give a rats ass. Fluffy toy? Threw it down the aisle at an oncoming stewardess. The only thing that held his attention for a few minutes was a light-up rubber ball and the galley of the A380 plane we were on. Depends on the age of your wee traveller. Some kids will watch the in-flight entertainment. Ours didn't. Of course not.

Things that worked well:

Military precision nappy bag packing - I deserve a medal for this skill.

Snacks - It quickly became apparent that proper meal-times would not be observed. A variety of snacks definitely came in handy.

Singapore - Best layover destination EVER. We loved every minute of our 1 night, 2 day stay. Broke up the trip beautifully, gave us time to recharge our batteries, stretch our legs. Will definitely be stopping again on the way back to France.

Meds - We gave Sticky Baby a few doses of Phenergan during the trip. It helped to get him dozy. He would fall asleep within 30 minutes of taking it. It does not, however, keep your baby asleep the whole time. Don't expect miracles. We also had paracetamol for him, which helped to calm him down when he was ridiculously amped up.

So that's it folks! 1 more giant flight back to Europe to endure. I'd rather not think about it, but we have 7 weeks to recover and prepare ourselves mentally. Breathe. You can do it, you can do it....



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Sticky Baby!

Today our little boy turned 1. Incredible.

The big day wasn't quite what we had in mind. Sticky Baby is sick. The morning was spent at the medical centre getting a prescription for antibiotics. Lots of coughing, sneezing and wheezing. Lots of tears, grumpiness and tiredness. We attempted a cake this evening and a jovial chorus of 'Happy Birthday to you'. Sticky Baby stuck his finger in the cake and then burst into tears. Great. All on camera. Will make for a great 21st birthday video montage. The photos aren't much better. He was in pjs all day and barely cracked a smile. Big crocodile tears visible in nearly all the shots. Poor bubba.

Papadada and I have decided to have a do-over in a few days. Pretend today never really happened and have a nice, germ-free celebration this weekend.

The jet lag monster is still in our midst, hence why the blog has been a little neglected of late. Apologies. I think I may have the morning 'off' tomorrow, in which case I will be typing and uploading pics like a mad woman. Yipee.

Part 3 of my flying series to come too....Beware.

Sticky Baby, we love you more than words can say. You are the beat of our hearts, the light of our lives, the froth of our cappucinnos. The best part of every day. You make our eyes twinkle, our chests swell with pride, our smiles bigger and brighter. You make us complete.

Love, mum and dad.


PS: Something weird for those of you who like weird things...I awoke this morning at 2:27am, eyes wide open. That was the exact time my waters broke, 1 year ago today. Freeaaakkkky, no? I think I even had a few phantom contractions. Although that could've been indigestion. Still, freeeaaakkky, no?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Email gems from my brother-in-law


There is no way I would post this photo if Mr. donkey looked mistreated or was carrying too much cargo. But from what I can see, the only thing he’s carrying is an owner/jockey with a pretty decent sense of humour. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sticky Reminders


-Walt Streightiff-

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sticky Piccie - Rev heads

Sticky Baby loves an afternoon ‘ride’ on the old Vespa that Papadada did up from scratch. 
We call it ‘The Blueberry’. I call it ‘The Blueberry’.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And they’re off!

Ok guys, shortest post in history. We leave for the airport in 5 hours!! Last minute washing, packing and re-shuffling of backpack contents.  We slept great last night, although Sticky Baby did an explosive poo at 5am this morning. Niiiice. Next time I post in real time I’ll be in the land of the Kangas! You beauty mate!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sticky Piccie - I scream for icecream

 The discovery of the local ice cream parlour......



Monday, September 6, 2010

Preparing for Take-Off: Part 2

Two days until our Wednesday afternoon departure. Count ‘em: 1, 2. Definitely time for the second instalment of my ‘flying series’ (you can read part 1 here). Australia, here we come!

Luggage - Trying to avoid the 'Pack Horse' look
✈2 suitcases, 2 back packs. That’s it.
Sticky Baby and I will be sharing one suitcase, Papadada will have his own. (His will be half-full, as we’re planning to rape and pillage the shops in Singapore on our stopover.) PapaD will be in charge of wheeling/carrying suitcases, I will be the designated stroller-pusher. And we’ll both have matching Nike backpacks on. Booya! One backpack will contain changes of clothes for each of us, the other will contain bottles, formula, toys, and flying documents. Backpacks = being hands-free once we check the suitcases. Much easier when you have a speed-crawler planning to beat his Personal Best time in Paris Airport. And yes, that’s right, I am running this trip with military-like precision. Atten-TION!

We are using our light-weight Chicco stroller the whole way. This means we can take it all the way up to the boarding gate, and then it’s packed away in the belly of the plane. Upon arrival, it will be waiting for us at the gate as well. Me likey.
Sneaky tip alert: We are planning on using the detachable hood of the pram to clip onto the baby bassinet in the plane. This will help provide Sticky Baby with a nice little cocoon environment when he sleeps. Safe from the distraction of lights, passengers and other distractions.

Logistics
In order to reach our destination in Australia, we have 3 legs of a 25 hour trip to endure *gulp*. The first leg is only 1.5 hours, but it requires an airport transfer on arrival in Paris. In peak-hour traffic. In Paris. You get my drift. So we’re looking at another hour and a half, minimum, in a taxi to cross the city to Airport #2. Boarding our next flight, a 14hr MONSTER to Singapore, back to back, is foolish and retarded (I did it by myself in February - again, foolish and retarded). So, in the name of ‘I’ve learned my lesson’, we have decided to throw money at the situation to make it all better. We are going to stay the night at the airport hotel in Paris. And we will board the MONSTER flight the next day, after a good night’s sleep and room service.

All aboard
We are travelling Singapore airlines. Apparently they are kick-ass with kids + their bassinets are the biggest in the business. We have booked a bassinet row of 3 and have purchased a seat for Sticky Baby. Which means, THE ENTIRE ROW IS OURS! VICTORY! We had a credit with the airline, so we decided to use it on the luxury of having that 3rd seat to ourselves. It means we won’t have to say, ‘I’m so sorry’, ‘Excuse me’, ‘May I wipe that mashed banana off your sleeve’ to a poor, unsuspecting neighbour. We will have free reign of that row and that puts a big smile on my face. There’ll be more room for the sticky one to roam/play, and less anxiety at annoying the unlucky person that would be stuck sitting next to us. Fares for children are charged at a percentage of a full adult fare. If you can swing the $, I would definitely look at doing this for long-haul flights. Otherwise you’re stuck with your toddler on your knee and Jo Blog sitting 1 inch away from you THE WHOLE WAY. GAH!

The Arsenal
I’ve read somewhere that the key to keeping toddlers occupied is this equation: 1 new toy/item per hour of flight. Ok, so I’m not going out and buying 25 things, but I have been collecting stuff here and there, and trying to use my imagination. This is what we’re packing in an attempt to keep him happy and busy and not commando-crawling up and down the aisles like a bat outta hell. Please God, let this work.

✈Sticker book - he is fascinated by the sticky sensation. He’s never had one before. This will be a treat
✈Fluorescent light-up squidgy ball - a visual extravaganza. Picked it up for 2€
✈2 x board books - his favourites
✈Mini etcha-sketch
✈Bend and stretch giraffe
✈Coloured post-it notes - He can stick them all over the seats, all over us, all over the tray-tables.
✈Empty boxes and containers - I’ve been collecting them. He likes putting lids on things
✈Little mirror - he’s vain like that
✈A handful of coloured blocks
✈A new app for Papadada’s Iphone - pictures of animals, stuff like that
✈Snacks - teething rusks, baby biscuits, rice crackers, string cheese, dried apricots, sultanas

                  Our sanity relies on these random items. Yikes.         Can you see me in the mirror? Awesome.


And of course, we’re planning on utilising the aeroplane goodies too. Vomit bags, inflight magazines, headphones, plastic cups - they will all be used to entertain him. Somehow.

Meds
✈Baby Paracetemol
✈Baby Ibuprofen
✈Brauers’ Calm Syrup
✈Teething gel
✈Phenergan 0,1% - Very controversial for some, but my pediatrician has totally ok’d it. It’s a children’s anti-histamine that can act as a mild sedative. We will only use it if we see Sticky Baby getting very worked up and overstimulated/tired. Last time I flew with him, this was the main problem. He was so wired, so stimulated by all the noise, lights, people, that he was unable to put himself to sleep come his bed-time. This will help him calm down and wind down, should the need arise. Doses to be absolutely respected, check with your doctor, do a trial before flying. Not for babies under the age of 1.

The Buballino Essentials
✈Sippy-cup of water - for take-off and landing and general baby hydration
✈Baby bottles and formula. We’ll have formula dispensers in the backpack, enough doses for the flight + more - In case of delays or spillage or whatever else. Also, a container of formula in our checked suitcase to refill dispensers in Singapore.
✈Baby food - we have ordered baby meals for Sticky Baby as part of our flight. But I will pack a few back up jars, just in case!
✈Nappies - we have decided to go with the ‘Pull-up’ variety. Quicker and more convenient to get on in those tiny bathrooms. Lots of nappies + big pack of wipes.

✈Blue Rabbit, his beloved comfortor - INDISPENSABLE ITEM
✈One of the blankets from his cot - for familiarity
✈Baby sling - in case he needs to be rocked to sleep

✈Several changes of clothes for bub. And the ultimate buy, drum roll please, socks with rubber soles! So glad I found these. Perfect for him to discover airports and aeroplanes in.

                                              The genius shoe-socks I found. Rubber-soled goodness.


Layover Love
The last time I flew with the sticky one, all we had was a 3 hour stop-over in Dubai. At the time, I convinced myself that it would be easier to fly straight through, not stopping anywhere overnight. This time round, with PapaD with us, we have decided to have a 1 night, 2 day layover in stunning Singapore. We’ve booked a fab hotel where Sticky Baby will be able to enjoy relaxing dips in the pool and sample asian food from one of the 4 in-house restaurants. We can’t wait to take him to the Jurong Bird Park, one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the world. He’ll be in feather-heaven. We’re hoping that breaking up the long flights will help with jet-lag and give us a much needed break from the inside of an aeroplane cabin. Can’t wait.

Timing Counts
We’ve done our very best to book flights that work best around Sticky Baby’s routine. Our very first flight (the short one) departs at 3:15pm, a time of day when bubby is in a good mood, has had a nap and is ready for some adventure. The Paris-Singapore leg departs at midday. We chose this time for several reasons. Firstly, it’s the middle of the day, so PapaD and I will have plenty of energy to deal with him, and other passengers won’t be ready to sleep yet - so technically they won’t be too annoyed if things get loud. Secondly, lunch will be served shortly after take-off which will provide a bit of entertainment. We basically have 7 hours to kill before he’ll be ready for bed time. And then, we’re home free. He should sleep until we land in Singapore. Should. Our final leg, Singapore - Brisbane departs at 9pm. A late bed time for him, but hopefully he’ll sleep most of that leg too. Hopefully.

So, that’s it for Part 2. You’ll get a full run-down of how our preparation paid off in Part 3. Send us good flying vibes! Lots of them! Or hope for a near-empty plane!





Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blocktoe


A picture paints a thousand words. 
Those words being ‘Damn the gazillion blocks that litter my floor within minutes of the day starting’. All I can say is, thank God I painted my nails yesterday. The contrast between  fuchsia and green is quite remarkable. 


Friday, September 3, 2010

Tip for Tat

Sticky Baby’s 1st birthday is right around the corner. Ah...hold on....WHAA? I remember spooning a body pillow to sleep (sorry Papadada) and rubbing litres of oil on my giant pregnant belly like it was yesterday.

A lot happens in the first year of being a mum. Some events are big, monumental, memorable. Others are small, subtle, re-occurring. It’s a learning curve like no other. There are times I wonder if my brain-cells have taken a year-long sabbatical to Tahiti, but then I stop the self-deprecation and remind myself of just how much I have learnt and how many skills I have acquired in the space of 12 months. It’s nothing short of amazing. Bow. Applause. Thank you very much.

So, in honour of being a mum for nearly 1 year, I have put fingies to the keyboard to give you a mish-mash of my top mama tips, tricks and tools of the trade that I’ve picked up in the first year of Sticky Baby’s life.

Play
☺Babies are fickle, dis-loyal little creatures when it comes to toys. In the words of Heidi Klum on Project Runway, "One minute you’re in, the next minute you’re out”. Toys can cost a bomb and when your baby disses the new gadget/fluffy thing within 10 minutes of hauling it back from the shops, you’re going to feel like poo. Frustrated and broke poo. So, get thee acquainted with your local Toy Library! This is a genius and fun resource for new mums and bubs. Borrow different toys and games for the period of time that suits you best. Return them and choose something new! It’s a boredom-buster and money-saver. My local toy library charges 10€ per year for membership. This gives parents complete access to the impressive toy inventory and a say in what is purchased too. LOVE! If you don’t have a Toy Library in your town, it’s just as easy to set one up amongst your mum-friends. Borrow, swap, return, clean off excessive saliva and cracker crumbs to your heart’s content!

☺Sticky Baby lurves him some fridge magnets. When your baby is at the pulling-himself-up-on-everything stage, magnets will be his joy. Position them so that bub has to reach and stretch to grab them. Baby calisthenics AND a gorgeous look of achievement on your baby’s face! Make them big, bold and brightly coloured.

☺Turn cleaning into a baby-activity! Yes, you heard me. Cleaning can be a wicked-cool game for bubbalinos. Babies are the biggest copy-cats ever and the more accurately they can imitate you, the happier they are. Sticky Baby has developed a deep love affair with the mop, bucket and vacuum cleaner. When he sees me pull out these items, he gets funny in the pants. You can purchase baby-sized cleaning items, as modelled by Sticky Baby:
They are scarily similar to their life-size counterparts and oh my God, so cute! Instead of Sticky Baby taking a dive headfirst into my hot bucket of mopping suds, I pull out his own mop set and he goes ballistic on the tiles alongside me. You can do the same with clean sponges or rags when you do the dusting. Just nix the toxic cleaning products. You get the drift. Sticky Baby also enjoys the occasional mopped floor Slip ’n Slide. I let him loose in his onesie on the slippery floor and the rest makes for brilliant entertainment.

Protect
☺Sticky Baby veers on the side of kamikaze. Baby-proofing was a must. So I chose to do the 'cupboard-shuffle' in the kitchen. Plates, platters and poisons were moved wa-hay up high, and fun, pseudo-toys like storage containers, colanders, wooden spoons, salad spinners, cake tins, were re-homed at Sticky Baby level. This translates to a stress-free kitchen environment, where baby can happily dig through cupboards without mama screeching like a anxiety-ridden banshee. Win-win.

Watch
☺As much as I love my idiot box of an evening, I’m not a fan of letting Sticky Baby watch much of it at all. Now that he’s a little older and his attention span has surpassed that of a goldfish’s, I do allow one episode per day of the truly remarkable children’s show In The Night Garden. Sticky Baby and I watch a new episode every morning over breakfast. It’s 25 minutes of calm, melodic, colourful, sing-along, brekky togetherness. And then we switch it off.  Find a quality program, something with repetitive themes, nothing too crazy or hectic, and make it a special part of your daily routine. Controversial for some, I realise, but in a controlled environment, I really don’t see the harm.

Mix
☺My readers know that I’m a sucker for hanging out with my peeps and their offspring. It alleviates that pressure of being a stay-at-homer, when some days the freaky baby toys walls feel like they’re closing in on you. My solution? Mothers’ Group! Best concept since Tyra’s  America’s Next Top Model shows. It doesn’t need to be a structured group. It can be an informal “hey I’m crashing through your front door for a cuppa in approximately 10 minutes with my snotty child in tow” type of set up. They’re the best. Find like-minded folks who like to hook up, make some plans and be merry! Pram walks around the 'hood, swimming lessons, park dates, back yard sessions, you name it. Good for bub to see other kidlets and good for mum to retain her sanity and ingest some form of caffeine. Tea, Coffee, Diet Coke. Pick your poison.

☺Community play centres are also wonderful things. In France, each town has a network of different centres, all of them government-run and free of charge. There is always a baby-nurse on hand, for any burning new-mama questions, as well as a couple of early-childhood assistants. Cool toys, fresh faces, new environment. Great option for a morning or afternoon out of the house. Ask around your neighbourhood for something similar. 

☺The library. Geek? Nope. Amazing, talented, animated story-tellers for free? Yes! On the first Saturday of every month, my local library offers 90 minutes of sensational story-telling for children. I think it’s a tremendous way to introduce the wonders of books to kids. You should see all of those little mouths agape, staring up at the guest reader. Cute factor = very high. If your local library doesn’t host this sort of event, why not make the suggestion?

Do
☺ Get yourself a bike! And add a baby seat and a couple of helmets! Seriously, I have no words to explain how wonderful the experience is. You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong. A few practice runs sans baby to make sure you haven’t forgotten your 2-wheeled skillz, and then...on your bike! There’s an amazing sense of freedom and simplicity that comes with introducing your child to the great outdoors. Do it. Do it now.

☺ Get yourself a sling/baby carrier! Seriously, in the spirit of simplicity, sometimes it’s just awesome to forego the big, bulky, high-tech, titanium strollers and just pop your baby bundle on your hip or in a sling and GO! I’m all for being prepared, but gee whiz it’s good to detach oneself from the nappy bag once in a while and leave behind all the baby bells and whistles and just BE. Give it a try sometime.

Eat
☺ All hail the almighty drop sheet! It took me a while to cotton on to this little tip of mine. But when Sticky Baby’s messy eating got hella-outta-control, I figured it out pretty quickly. Placing a drop sheet underneath the high chair (old sheet, plastic table cloth, tarp) makes cleaning up SO easy! We use a plastic table cloth that we hose off after each meal. (Yes indeedy, we hose). Sometimes, the stress of keeping your baby from making a mess far outweighs the task of actually cleaning up. Putting down a drop sheet eliminates the stress altogether. Total Oprah 'A-ha' moment, no?

☺ Eventually your baby will get to a stage where the act of eating isn’t all that entertaining in itself anymore. Sticky Baby has entered this stage, and it’s a real punish. Distractions are key. A toy/item he hasn’t seen before, his teddy-bear perched on his high chair as an eating companion - these work well. But what works super-dooper well is giving him his own little bowl and spoon and dishing out a small amount of the food you’re attempting to feed him into this container. Your baby will be so busy trying to master the action of feeding himself that you’ll be able to shovel his dinner in his cake-hole before he even knows it. Best distraction ever, all while learning a new skill.

☺ When Sticky Baby reached the age of snacking and finger foods, I was alarmed at the lack of healthy options in the grocery store baby aisle. All those pre-packaged yoghurts and fruit smashes are loaded with sugar or at the very least, are super super artificial. Don’t get me wrong. We do buy some of these. The healthier-looking, less coloured varieties. But I was desperate to come up with snacking options that didn’t always involve artificial sugar. Sticky Baby is an adventurous eater, so we’re lucky in that regard, but why not try some of these and see how your baby goes? Chick peas, frozen peas, olives, mini-gherkins, rice cakes/crackers, broccoli florets, diced carrot (semi-cooked, but not too soft), home-made sweet potato fries, dried apricots, dried apples, string cheese, and lots and lots of fresh fruit!

Drive
☺We keep the most random collection of items in our car for Sticky Baby to play with. These items never make it inside the house. They are purely ‘driving’ toys. Examples? Swimming goggles (makes for a great teether), old pair of sunnies, a pop-top sports drinking bottle. It’s not like Papadada and I sat down to strategise over this. No, our car is just a mixed bag of randomness and it just so happens Sticky Baby has developed an attachment to a handful of things in there. Keeps him busy for the duration of most car trips. A box of teething rusks never goes astray either.

☺I’m a big believer in rocking it out to MY music in the car. The radio is almost always tuned to the top 40/Pop station. It’s my attempt to cultivate my son’s appreciation for Lady Gaga and any Train song. But I also think that a good children’s music cd is always nice as back-up. We go for The Wiggles and a traditional french nursery rhyme cd. His eyes do light up when his tunes come on. Although his eyes also light up when he sees me ‘car dance’ to Ke$ha.

Teef
☺Ah, the pains of teething. For babies AND their parents. This is what has worked for us:

- We keep a small container of teething toys (pacifiers, rubber spoons, teething rings, baby toothbrushes) in the freezer. We pull it out a few times a day for Sticky Baby to get stuck into. The cold items soothe his gums and he loves discovering the contents of the container. Wash after each drool-fest and re-freeze.

- Frozen watermelon, froze grapes, ice cubes placed in a  mesh feeder. Tasty and takes away the pain too.

- We keep our teething gels in the fridge, for added relief. Works a treat.
- Clean face washers, dampened with water and chilled in the fridge. Great to suck on.
- Teething rusks by the truck load. Always have a few in your nappy bag, in the car..pretty much everywhere you go.
- When bub is old enough, the crusty end of a baguette! Makes a great chew toy.


Voila, my peeps, I hope some of these ideas may help you out, here and there. Sharing is caring. Feel free to return the favour with other nifty parent-tricks you may have up your apple sauce-stained sleeves.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sticky Piccie - Bird watcher

Fascinated by his feathered friends. I know he’s dreaming of the day when he’ll be able to swing on a perch with his beaked-buddies. He loves birds, just loves ‘em. I’m going to try super hard not to call pigeons ‘rats of the sky’ from now on....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I hate Au revoirs

Holy Heck, I’m beat! What a week and it’s only Tuesday. The countdown to our departure day is on like donkey kong and my Australian lady-friends here in France have been keeping me as busy as Ryan Seacrest on the E! Channel.

My fingers are mildly numb from typing up a butt-load of online ads for items that my girlfriends are selling before returning to oz for good. My ear is slightly pinker than usual and has a Nokia imprint on it. That’s from fielding phone calls from bargain-hungry frenchies wanting to nab a clothes dryer for €5,99. My brain is fried from translating french to english, english to french, and back again. My fingers have paper-cuts from the pile of paperwork I’ve processed (tongue-twister?). The gears of the car are a little crunchier from racing around town picking up farewell presents that were meant to be delivered three days ago, but you know, we’re in France so delivery/pick up? Same diff (grrrrr).

I’ve welcomed the onslaught of odd-jobs for several reasons. One, I genuinely like to help. Two, it makes me feel like I’m some high-powered, foreign liaisons, interpreter, PA extraordinaire. All I would need is an ear piece and a UN badge and I could totes play the part. Three, I believe in The Karma Bank. This week? Mad-ass deposits.

So yes, our little Expat Girlie Gang is dwindling before my very eyes. 9 down to 4.  Four of my gals are heading back to the green and gold koala home-land for good. One is moving 2 hours north. Boo. Hiss. For the love of Oprah and Gail, why is expat life so gut-wrenching at times? These girls are the spaghetti to my bolognese. We’ve gone through engagements, marriages, pregnancies, child-birth, relationship highs and lows and a SHIZ load of coffee and cake together. When our partners are away on work trips? We meet up in pjs and slippers and sip on vodka red bulls herbal infusions. We look after each other’s kids. We message and ‘comment’ on each other’s facebook pages like it’s going out of fashion. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

Ah, the memories. I know one day we’ll all meet up again in Australia. And what a reunion that will be! Pink champagne stocks will go up in a matter of hours.

So this little post is a tribute to the women who have made the past 3 years of my life a social joy. You have enriched my time here, you have shared your wisdom, you have made me laugh. You will be missed ladies!

Au revoir! A bientot! Merci! Bisous!