Monday, August 15, 2016

Sugar Baby


So some of you might have read my last post, focusing in great detail on the food I intend to bring into the hospital to avoid The Great Starvation, yes? The panna cottas, the banoffee, the french cheeses, the mountains of cherries? (You know, all the stuff that goes so well with champagne...) Mm.

Well, it's true enough and proven, once again, that if you want to give God a laugh, tell him your plans.

Turns out my food packing will be somewhat different.

While beloved, the Junior Doc, is not heavy on the sympathy (no death rattle? no grey tinge? you'll be right) he is brilliant on the diagnosis, so when he suggested that at my age, and with a fourth baby gestational diabetes was a real possibility, I didn't completely disregard him.

And thus it was.

When I rocked up to my next midwife appointment after my 28 week blood glucose test I was met with rueful faces and the news that yes, my blood sugar levels had been high enough to just tip me into the gestational diabetes range. Four years ago I would have been fine, but new, tighter, rules were brought in and now my just over the limits puts me firmly in the Insulin Stuff Up category.

Luckily, I had been warned it was a possibility, so it wasn't as much of an upset as it might have been.

That was, until I saw the sheet with my new foods and portion sizes, and discovered I'd be testing my blood four times a day.

Me, I'd just assumed I'd cut back on the treats - a few less pink donuts, maybe not so many vanilla slices, a bit less cream on my porridge and sour cream in my soup - voila - done.

Not so much.

Even my fruit is now rationed.

And they expect me to do maths. As in - how many carbohydrate serves are in this slice of (whole grain, low GI) bread, that much rolled oats - and if so how much should I have in one sitting?

On the other hand, there are distinct positives.

I had my 'welcome to the wonderful world of finger pricks and (tightly) controlled eating' talk last week and the nurse apologised that unfortunately, bebe and I would need to stay in the hospital a little longer after the birth so we could be monitored.

Yay. Yay. Double yay! Happy days are here again. Best thing I've heard all year. Maybe even worth having to count out my cherries...

Next plus. With my diet strictly monitored possibly my massive weight gain (a gazillion kilos in the last ten weeks -  ever since I stopped throwing up and actually loosing weight I've been eating like I'm trying to catch up - with truly criminal interest) will actually stabilise and people will stop looking horrified shocked when I tell them that no, I'm not actually due this week, there's still another ten weeks to go.

I do know my weight gain has been excessive. I'm not quite sure how excessive, because, as I told the midwife when she asked me if I'd been on the scales recently why would I want to do that ? I presently have no idea where the scales are, and to be honest, I prefer it like that. I do know that I've already exceeded what should have been my maximum weight gain...

Shortly after telling me about my gestational diabetes the midwife tentatively brought up an induction at 38 weeks (particularly as all my previous babies have been big at 4.1 kg). While I'm not keen on the idea of an induction in general, nor am I keen on having an even bigger baby... and....

When Beloved went to book in a weeks spousal leave Medical Workforce frowned and said 'that date doesn't suit - how about two weeks earlier?' (Note: Despite working in a hospital I don't think they get how babies work. Maybe they were joking. Maybe.) Anyway, an induction would have bebe coming at just the right time for Beloved's proposed spousal leave.*

I got all excited and started looking up 0000 growsuits on the internet and was truly just about to order (Purebaby have a very nice four for three deal at the moment), but Beloved said, no. The baby might come two weeks early, but will likely be just as big as the others, you know because of the risk of big(ger) babies with gestational diabetes, the whole reason for the possible induction.

O. O yeah. Damn. Back to the 000s.

While a lot on the 'suggested eating' sheet makes sense, a lot is counter intuitive - brown rice is out but white, basmati rice is in. Watermelon is out, but custard is in. Custard is in? Happy days. I can eat a lot of (carefully portioned, single carb serves) of custard!

It turns out one serve of cherries is twenty cherries, so while I can't have my normal half kilo (the girls scoff the other half) twenty isn't so bad. Just for a little bit.

And as my Beloved pointed out - now we can match - we both now have a 50% chance of diabetes later in life - his due to genetics, mine acquired. Yay. Matching. So romantic.

Anyway, hello, health kick. Hopefully this means bebe will be brilliantly healthy and radiant with lots of (low GI) veggies.




*they also suggested that as Beloved is actually working on Obstetrics over my due dates he'd already be around for the birth. It is possible that other mothers would take it amiss if he skedaddled from their emergency c-section to catch his own baby.




Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Hospital Bag(s) for Baby Number Four.


So I've officially waddled into the third trimester and am now 28 weeks pregnant.

Little 'Baby A' is happily kicking and summersaulting and people are beginning to look shocked she's not due tomorrow (or yesterday). I'm also getting asked a lot if I'm sure she's not twins.

Thanks.

But I'm as sure as three scans and a NIPT blood test can make me. It's just she's my fourth and I have no tummy muscles left. (Or, as Beloved informed me in tones of interest, 'yeah I think I can see where the muscles have separated. You know, I think you might get a hernia later.' Noticing my look of distress: 'But if you end up getting a caesarean they won't have to rip the muscles apart now.'

I did not previously know tummy muscles were 'ripped apart.'

But, onto more cheery subjects.

Hospital Bags 

I lurve packing my hospital bags and I have now given myself leave to officially start full on preparations for it. I won't actually you know, pack them until week 32, but I'll spend the next month fine tuning my list. My. Fav. Past-time.

I have literally been counting down to this moment since the positive test. Possibly before.

Going to hospital is the next best thing to getting on a plane (I am one of the few people I know who really appreciate hospital and plane food.)

And I've heard people say the hospital at night is so noisy they can't sleep but it's a heap more relaxing than being at home. 'Mummy, can you come with me to the toilet? I don't want the zombies to get me', 'Mummy, can I get into your bed?' 'Ooops. I've wet the bed.' 'Alright, let's all get changed and re-make that shall we.' 'Woof. Hey Human, there are things out there that need my urgent attention. Get to it. Oh? You delayed 30 seconds. I'll just flood the living room.' 'Mummy, I'm scared. I just had a nightmare.' 'Milk mummy? Please? Milk? Mummy?' Lights through window - front door opening. Husband home from night shift. Long debrief. 'Woof. Woof. Woof. I have found an intruder. Woof. Woof Woof. It has feathers and clear designs on our lives and property. Woof. Woof. Woof.'Get out of bed to call recalcitrant dog in. Five minutes later. Alarm goes. Stumble from bed feeling oddly unrested to start preparing lunches the kids won't eat.  So yes. I think hospitals are beautifully quiet and relaxing places and the odd code call just adds to the ambience. I look forward to going with all the excitement I expect other people look forward to going to five star spa resorts.

There are a heap of hospital bag lists on the internet (my favourite are on pinterest, as they come with cute little photos, generally colour co-ordinated) but here are the things I have discovered through trial and (painful) error that I find crucial to have in my hospital bags. (And yes, I pack three largish bags. This is an EVENT. And you don't get to do repeats. Well, not that often.)

Birth Bag:

Face Spray - something refreshing like rose geranium. I've trialled a few as some of the scents are very washed out and I like something with oomph to it that really brings the outdoors in and gives me a bit of a boost when things get intense. Trilogy, Perfect Potion, Jurlique and a rose one my mum buys on line all work for me. (These are also great as a pick-me-up in the first sleepless weeks.)

Play Lists: I organise two - one of slow relaxing music for the time between contractions and the lead up, when I want to concentrate on resting and saving energy and a fast one for when the contractions hit and I need something to help stamp it out. I'm going to trial wireless headphones this time around after a few too many comments about music choices, although if I'm lucky enough to get bath/pool time I'll go back to laptop and speakers.

Chargers: For computers, cameras & phones. Also back up camera cards. This Stuff is crucial. Also check with the hospital their policy about plugging stuff in. Some hospitals have odd rules and you need to make sure you have a way to charge stuff properly or have everything fully charged when you head in.

Food: This is important. Barley sugar is recommended but I find that if you're in labour for awhile it all just becomes too sweet. With this one I want to bring in watermelon chunks, grapes and cherries. Because hey, cherries. It's always a good time for cherries and if there's ever a good time to splurge it's during labor. I'm also thinking I might go for some flavoured milks for a bit of an easy boost. I'm hoping this birth falls nicely within the 2-8 hours of active hospital labour, but you never know.

Partners are required to stay close and have their hands crushed, necks used as birth supports etc so can't really be sent on missions.  Food for partner. See point above. Partners will prob. not be allowed to leave room in search of food so might become hungry/ravenous after the first 8 or so hours. By 24 hours without food they wilt a bit and fainting becomes a hazard.

Shower Cap: Being in water works for me. Different things work for different people but being in the bath makes such a difference - the shower is a second best. But... birth is a momentous occasion and I tend to celebrate momentous occasions with a haircut and blow wave. (Those of us who only get our hair cut once or twice a year tend to want to make the 'hairdresser look' last as long as possible - three days is about as long as I can go before I have to wash it) A hair cut is also something to do that just involves sitting in the Long Wait if bebe happens to be late. (All three of mine.) And it seems a shame to ruin newly straightened hair in the shower or bath so a shower cap is a good idea. Of course - once labor is actually happening my hair isn't something I'm thinking about a lot... but still, it's good to have the option.

Instructions: It can be hard to talk in the later stages so it's a good idea to have gone over all possible scenarios - if you have strong preferences about anything make sure you've talked them over with your birth partner and the hospital have a written copy. My birth plan has shrunk from two tightly written pages (cringe) with my first to four main points for the fourth... But I will be very sure Beloved knows (as in, can repeat back and possibly has signed off in blood) the important points so if I can't talk he can talk for me.

Photo Instructions: This sounds a bit dippy but giving clear instructions about photos is important to me. Also the angles. Those first moments aren't ever coming back so I really want photos of my little one in those first new-to-the-world-moments - and not upside down.  Also clear instructions as to when photos can be put on social media. (Not until I've vetoed them.) With baby no 1.  photos ended up on facebook where I literally looked like the walking dead and it worried folk.

Hair Ties: Hair can be a pain - extra hair ties to keep it out of your face are essential. (Yep. I've forgotten them before and it was a pain.)

Vaesline/Lip Balm: It can all go on a long time and the last thing you want is cracked lips. Plain vaseline is one of the few that don't end up getting me into a vicious cycle of dry lips.



My Stay Bag

- wallet with medicare card, bank card, money, baby record etc. The hospital are looking after my baby record as I lose/forget everything.  I first suspected I was pregnant when I stood in the supermarket with a full trolley of shopping and no idea of the pin I'd used every day for the last six months...

- 3 breastfeeding friendly nighties/ pairs jammies (this is a great excuse to buy new jammies.)

- 3 pairs comfy lounge/tracky pants

-3 comfy breastfeeding friendly tops

- a few cardigans

-fluffy robe

-slippers

-socks

-flip-flops for shower room

-something with a loose waist to come home in

- maternity pads. More than you imagine it's possible to need. With no. 1 baby I was going through 2 pads in an hour and had to call for emergency supplies... Of course no.s 2 and 3 were way more civilised but it's not something you want to mess around with...

- largish undies - a gazillion pairs that can happily be thrown away

-breast pads

-bath bag with everything. I've forgotten tweezers before and there's few things more distressing than a random chin hair you can do nothing about, and it's not like the hospital cafe will sell them. Partners may not realise the crucial importance of tweezers if asked to bring them in (or be able to find them - male blindness is a thing.) Same goes for razors. If you're in the hospital awhile who wants to put up with scratchy legs?

-Smelly stuff - I like to splurge a little on shampoos and soaps (so not our normal two dollar stuff!) With no. 1 baby I'd read that the baby bonds better and finds the milk better if you smell 'natural', but I'm going to put it out there that if your present 'natural' smell is sweat and blood, you will feel better and more rested if you have your fav pick-me-up shower things/moisturisers and so far my babies have agreed.

-makeup - not something I normally wear, but odds are you won't be looking your best and it's amazing the pick-me-up a bit of lippy can be.

- laptop for getting in touch with folk, writing stuff down before you forget, watching movies etc. You might want to think about a dongle for internet access.

-notebook & pens (you know, the fancy ones to record intimate details of babys most amazingness, because momentous and you'll forget so much and never get it back.

-book(s) I tend to save a new release I've been waiting on for awhile. This time I'm lining up the fourth book in Sarah J. Maas's assassin series - if I can wait the month between it coming out and bebe (hopefully) arriving. These books have been complete lifesavers in the past.

-ipad (with more books to read. Be sure to download all the required books before you get to the hospital in case the internet is dodgy.)

- presents for the other kids. Probably a baby doll for the youngest with baby carrier etc, and please-don't-destroy-the-hospital packs for the older two

Cooler bag of snacks - I'm thinking all the soft cheeses I won't have been able to eat for the last nine months. Goats cheese. Brie. Camembert. I asked my beloved to bring me some when I was in hospital with baby no. 2 - and he turned up with all the hard cheeses I don't like and when I queried him said 'but you don't eat soft cheeses.' Uh-huh. This time I'll keep them in the fridge ready to go in with me.  Obviously crackers and maybe quince paste to go with them. I'm also thinking panacotta and banana toffee desserts from the dairy section of the supermarket. As I said, I actually like hospital food, but this is because a. If you have the baby just after dinner and you haven't eaten a proper meal in say twenty four hours - you get a mite hungry and breakfast seems a looong way away.

and b. I'm also traumatised from my first birth when yes, baby came in the middle of the night, I'd eaten nothing for the previous twenty four hours,  lost a few litres of blood and was feeling a little hungry (ie. I was ready to eat the next nurse that came to check on me) breakfast came to the other women in the room, but not to me.  I did notice a trolley of food over by the ward door but while I was summoning strength to ask someone if this could be mine (a bit woozy due to lack of sleep, lack of blood, lack of food) another woman's hoard of kids came in and devoured the lot while I sat blinking in a dazed sort of way thinking 'surely they wouldn't eat someone else's food' 'that can't be my food, can it?'

Now, it might not have been my food tray, as it would obviously have been crazy to put the food of someone attached to a catheter and drip and who could barely sit up let alone walk, on the far side of the room, but there was no other food coming. Finally, when I was about gnawing on my own arm, I asked a nurse for something to eat, but they just gave me The Look and said breakfast was over and it wasn't their deal, and I couldn't phone Beloved as he also hadn't slept for 36 hours (poss. 48 as he'd been up the night before it all started playing WOW) and I'd been petrified enough about the thought of him driving home the night before.

It was a looooong, looong time until lunch.

So yes. traumatised.*

- Packet of dates. And prunes. Because. Well fibre. And mmm. That first trip to the loo can be rather unpleasant.

-heat pack (if hospital will warm them up - some don't like to) I find with each baby the after pains are a little worse so a heat pack for them. A lavender scented one is nice.


And the funnest one... Baby Bag

-6 little grow suits. Just in case of an extended stay. I used to take a mix of 000 and 0000 but I've accepted now that my babies are big. They go straight into the 000 and, lets be honest, it's better if the growsuits are a little big rather than two small and only getting to wear them for half an hour. The more simple and mainstream the better. I've brought in growsuits that in theory looked very easy to change, but were not what the nurses were used to and they got confused.

- little fluffy socks. I adore little fluffy socks. The fluffier the better. Cuteness overload. So a few more pairs than can be thought to be needed. I'm having a Queensland baby in October, so I don't want to cook my little one, but while she's newborn will prob. be her last chance of socks for another nine months, so I'll enjoy them while I can.

-a few singlets. I rarely actually put my little ones in singlets, (little merino thermals yes, singlets no) but I like to look like I'm the type of mum that does, so I do pack some for the hospital.

- nappies and wipes. At my last stay, the hospital preferred it if I used their nappies, as they had little lines on them to say if they were wet or not and the monitoring of baby's pee is very important, but in case this hospital is different - nappies and wipes.

- nappy covers. Because explosion. And meconium explosion. Aoiua.

- 4 woollen cardigans. Is there anything cuter than an itsy-bitsy little woollen cardigan? Big sigh. Church fetes are great for these, but check it's real wool not polyester.

- 3 muslim wraps/swaddles. My little ones don't get swaddled at home - none of them have needed it and have slept fine without, but I've noticed nurses/midwives like to swaddle babies so I bring some in for them. And lots of babies do love to be swaddled. (Although I think recent research is not to swaddle the arms once they reach rolling around stage)

- 3 woollen blankets

- I pair of mittens - in case they start scratching their face - although I really love the grow-suits with little sleeve turnover mittens

- coconut oil in case baby is a little bit dry and flaky)

- some terry towelling nappies - to put under baby's head if they're possetting, put over my shoulder for burping etc.

-little beanie there are contrary views on babies and hat wearing (particularly in warm places like Queensland) but as with the socks, this could be my only chance, and while they're incy-wincy newborns in the hospital is probably the safest time.



*Also, my last hospital stay was with Giggle-Bear when she got bronchiolitis and we were in for three days, and it was wonderful that they let me stay with her, but I hadn't been expecting us to stay so I hadn't brought food or even money, and of course they don't feed the mothers' of patients, so it was something like 24 hours later before I actually got food, and expressing every two hours, night and day, without food, makes one a tad hungry. Of course, it was still the most rest I'd got since she'd been born, as I got to stay in bed the whole time (albeit mostly attached to a milking machine) and my eye actually stopped twitching, but I do have issues with hospitals and Starvation.



Monday, July 18, 2016

(mis)adventures in ADHD


It's something I've um-ed and ah-ed about writing about, because although I have no problem with TMI myself (want to hear all about my prolapse? - more than happy to tell you - at length. Oddly, no one does...) but I tend to think my kids privacy is different. Thus the pseudonyms. On the other hand, I also suspect that out of all the massive overload of information out there no one is particularly interested in my precious darlings. I have serious doubts that in twenty years when they grow up anyone will be sufficiently interested to check out their mama's blog. If computers are still a thing then.

And Adventure Boy's diagnosis is such a massive part of our lives. The elephant in the room. We spend so much of our time travelling to appointments, researching, working around, talking with teachers and specialists and basically stressing out. So much has been destroyed - and I'm talking tens of thousands of dollars worth of casually ruined everything.  I expect so much more of the Extravaganza, forgetting so often that she's still little, and she puts up with so much because she is so much more responsible. So many things are out of the question, and have been for so long, because it's just not something you can do with a hyperactive kid and still keep sane.

Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder is a difficult thing to diagnose. Where's the line between normal high spirits and a clinical disorder? If a kid doesn't listen, is constantly on the move, can't sit still, has the memory of a gnat and the impulse control of a 'cocaine addicted lab rat' (to quote one author) is this just a hearing impaired, highly kinaesthetic kid, or is it something more?

Adventure Boy was a wonderfully mellow, happy, easy-going baby. Soon he was a roly-poly laughing little bundle of delight who loved all his story books I religiously read him every day.

And then... at about twenty months he stopped listening to his story books and started wanting to climb the walls instead. If I turned my back for a second he'd climb into the kitchen sink and upend the compost on the floor, or climb up on my desk and pull the computer down on himself. If he got into the bathroom he was guaranteed to flood it. He worked out child locks in seconds and was a master at pulling over chairs to climb up to reach what he wanted. Nothing was safe from him, and he'd test everything to see how it worked and to pull it apart. Bookcases were for climbing, curtains were for climbing, also door frames.

As time went on, it began to feel as if we were in a state of siege, with things constantly being destroyed. Outside, where things can't be destroyed so easily became my mantra, but it did mean that things like story reading and craft, things I'd spent the last fifteen years preparing for, fell by the wayside. The thought of taking him to a library story-time (even though I'm a kids services librarian) was laughable.

It isn't that he's malicious about it at all, it isn't that he wants to upset us - he just can't be still. If he's sitting he's kicking his legs and his hands are moving out to fiddle with, and generally pull apart, something.

Kindy started, but he lacked concentration and found it hard to do the activities set out, or to interact with other kids, and would wander aimlessly from activity to activity. School started, and despite having a great teacher, lovely teaching assistant and a small class of thirteen, he found it almost impossible to sit still on the mat, instead rolling around on the floor, or reaching out to touch his classmates.

And yet... he was young to start school, and we'd recently discovered he had long term, significant hearing loss. The thought of my little boy living in a world half-heard, half-understood was heartbreaking, and, at least for me, made so much sense of his behaviour. Not being able to hear he'd lost critical milestones of communication, peer interaction, language. While he now had grommets, it was no wonder he'd turned to a more active world, no wonder he often didn't pay attention to our instructions - he either didn't hear, half-heard, or only heard when we were on to our fifth reminder and were trying very hard not to yell.

Moving state, we had him repeat prep as socially and academically he just wasn't ready to move up. But while in his first year of prep he'd been eager to please his teacher and happy, a few months in a large class with unsupportive teachers and he was disruptive and playing up, and also just not learning. It got to the stage I was talking to the teacher almost every afternoon, and spent the whole day in dread.

We changed schools to a much smaller, more supportive school, but I still cried when the guidance officer at the new school said - as if it was a certainty - that he had ADHD and ODD was on the spectrum, and had dyslexia and a sensory disorder. These were things we'd never considered. Yes, he was having behaviour issues at school, yes, he wasn't progressing, but all those labels? As well as his long term hearing loss it all just seems too much for one little boy. Not that I disagreed with them - just all of them together seems too much.

We took him to a paediatrician, who took a long and detailed history and then referred us to a child psychologist. I blinked a bit when I saw that the psychologist specialised in Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as ADHD. We had considered ADHD, but autism hadn't really occurred to us - he's so affectionate and communicates so easily with us.

Another detailed history, teachers and us filling in great wads of forms, two long testing sessions later and the reports came back - he's (probably) not on the spectrum, but while he might not technically have ADHD - it's an imprecise thing and his hearing loss and language delay make it difficult to be definitive -  he has 99% of the symptoms.

I began reading up and quickly discovered the vast difference between paediatrician's views of ADHD and psychologists views on ADHD. On the one hand, paediatricians tend to view it as a biological disorder, psychologists tend to view it as a result of environmental factors. (It's the mum's parent's fault, basically.) Both sides seemed to have very strong views on the matter. It appears that schools tend to push heavily for medication (having a hyperactive kid -or two, or three - in your class must be a complete nightmare)  and mum's tend to rate their kids hyperactivity and attention deficit problems more highly than dads. Both things were certainly true for us.

Reading parenting books the one thing that is stressed is that more important than intelligence and just about anything else in a child's future is his or her self-regulation. Starting from that good old marshmallow test (damn it) when the kids who managed to wait fifteen minutes to eat the marshmallow and so get two, when followed up in adulthood were seen to do substantially better in life than kids who ate the marshmallow straight away. Every subsequent study reinforced that.

My little boy would not just eat the marshmallow in the first second, he'd then ransack the room, climbing all shelves, for the marshmallow bag. This is a thought that keeps me awake at night. Is he doomed at seven? Many studies appear to say yes.

We've started him seeing an occupational therapist to help with his self regulation, he sees a speech pathologist to help with his language delay. We've looked into fish oil tablets and dietary changes (the evidence is poor) I've gone to parenting classes and read dozens of books and articles, all of which give conflicting evidence and advice.

Now, I think we're finally on track. I'm still not sure about the different diagnoses (neither was the psychologist, or the paediatrician) but I am sure that the things we're doing are helping, and no matter what the diagnoses, it would be the same things we'd be doing so end of the day - exactly what it is isn't much of an issue.

I'm still not entirely sure about posting this - is it too much an invasion of privacy? will it have negative effects later on - but it has such a massive impact on our lives - possibly the biggest impact, that it seems odd to leave it out. And I doubt it comes as any surprise to anyone who's ever met Adventure Boy or read this blog long term.

And maybe someone will read this who's going through the same kind of things and not feel quite so alone.




Friday, July 8, 2016

hide-and-seek


Giggle Bear adores hide and seek. It's her very favourite game. She's not very good at it, as she hides behind spindly little trees and has a habit of jumping out yelling 'Yay!' or 'Boo!' if she's not found in o, a second or two, but she definitely loves it. 

It still amazes me how much joy little ones find in the simplest things - a go on the swing, hide and seek, the same book again and again and again, a stick or a flower. 

A moment in time - hide and seek - Giggle Bear - just past two. (Next on my to-do list (somewhere after the dishes and the laundry) - working out how to put photos side by side. I googled it and all this complicated stuff about Html came up. I think not. But I will work it out. Soon.) 







Monday, July 4, 2016

little girl by sea (memories caught)


I was going through photos from one of our trips recently, finally collating for a long overdue photo album and heaving nostalgic sighs, and it struck me how much we enjoy our photos and having them to look back on.

The kids are old enough to be interested now, and they take out the photo albums * and look them over, pointing out people and places and commenting on how big and small they all were and all the changes. They take them to school to show their classmates and it's clear they're important to them.

Beloved and I are the same - we love looking over our photos, remembering and exclaiming - there are so many things we'd completely forget if it weren't for the photos. I wish I'd written down more about what the kids said and did - but I'm so glad and grateful we have the photos - and glad I've got them in blog form, shaped into something rather than sitting in files. With Giggle Bear turning two recently I realised how much I'd forgotten of Adventure Boy and Extravaganza at two - and it was so interesting to look at the blog - and be amazed and awed all over again at the little people they were and the difference in our lives back then.

Which leads me to... the great dearth of photos from the last few months. I just haven't picked up the camera, and nor has Beloved and though it sounds silly considering the tens of thousands of photos we do have, I still feel it as a loss. I didn't exactly want the chaos of my morning sickness documented, but Giggle Bear has grown so much, Extravaganza has started school, Beloved has pretty much decided on his specialty, I've popped out so I look like I'm full term with quintuplets (thanks to it being baby no. four and having zero tummy muscles.) You know... big stuff has happened and little stuff that I find hard to recall now but I know did happen. And it's the little stuff I miss most. It just sort of disappears into the ether and I miss it.  I know I write a lot about the madness and mess, but I also know these are the years I'll look back on and miss most. They're precious and fleeting and I don't want them lost.

Even not-sick it's harder taking photos now. Giggle-Bear's favourite game of you-can't-catch-me and adjudicating between Adventure Boy and Extravaganza's constant squabbles means that getting out the hefty camera is that bit harder. And that's not counting my present waddle. But that doesn't mean I don't want it recorded.

Giggle Bear and I had a nap recently while my parents took the big kids (including the Wolf-en-Pup) to the dog beach and we woke to an empty house on sunset. So I grabbed the camera and we headed down to the beach. My parents had rented a gorgeous house on the shore at Bribie Island so we rounded the house and made our way down some steps and ... there was the sea.

I am hoping this is the beginning of my return to my photo crazy ways.


*all made online because I'm hopeless with the printing and sticking and pasting - I remember an art folio being due in high school and thinking 'o, it'll just be a couple of hours of gluing' - three sleepless nights later and my first coffee induced palpitations (I was young and foolish and drank vast quantitis of evil instant robusta coffee - down with robusta, down) and it was finally done. It was a lesson I learnt well.