Thursday, September 29, 2011

There is great excitement among the staff at the Breastfeeding Centre right now (that is me and my Wednesday partner-in-crime Kintara!) as our plans and dreams for a refit of our office are final coming into place. We are about to do a big shopping trip to Ikea to update some very old and inadequate storage units and desks, with wonderful Expedit units!!!!!

We are also hopeful that we will be able to action the building plans to modify the current partitioning to create two closed office spaces where there is now one. Using wonderful software I found online, I was able to draft the new plan a few months ago, so this gives you an idea of what it will look like:

In the family room, we will have one of these to hold the TV,toys and our teaching aids like baby dolls and knitted breasts:
We will also have one of these to hold more toys:
Replacing the two current bookcases will be two of these. They will hold the library, handout materials, breast pumps and lactation aids for sale and display items:
In our offices, we will each have one of these, with the additional desk option, to house all of our admin supplies etc - these will be our new work stations:
And, finally, each office space will have one of these, giving us individual meeting/breastfeeding support space for our visitors and can also be screened for mums needing extra privacy. Volunteers coming in to do shifts on our Breastfeeding Helpline (normally done at home) will also be comfortable on these with a cordless phone and headset:
Best of all - we don't need to assemble any of it: we are getting the professionals in ;)

Hopefully, all will be in place before I take two weeks leave in three weeks ... so you can expect just a little stress-release here and controlled chaos at the Centre!!!!

It will all be worth it, though!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today I am thankful - comic relief

- for comic relief: I detoured on my way home from work yesteday, via our storage unit, which took me along a  busy local road. Over the course of moments, my thoughts were "something on the footpath. its moving. its walking. its an echidna!" which gave me micro-seconds of excitement. So when I arrived up the road at the storage facility, I took a minute to post a Facebook status update via my phone, sharing my experience. Except stupid auto-correct took over. And this went through before I checked it:
I just drove past an China ammbling along the footpath on slur rd! Haven't seen a wild one locally for decades :)
Which caused Friends around the world to do a double-take. I quickly commented to correct it:
 Bloody auto correct - echidna on slur rd
And then another:
 Skye rd, dammit!
Well, by the time I got home, my Wall was flooded with hysterical responses! The confusion was not helped by the fact that the day before I had been posting about international visitors to the Breastfeeding Centre - from China!! Nor the fact that Skye Road rendered as Slur, which some thought I was!

So, for the record, I saw a wild echidna on Skye Road.
 He was neither Chinese nor slurring ;)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Today I am Thankful - Baby news, traditions and dickens

- for baby news: a totally unexpected - but delightful - aspect of mid-life is the joy of hearing that friend's children - and also, children's friends! - are having babies! Who knew there was a whole other circle of new life to enjoy? Yesterday I got an email from one of my school friends/bridesmaids/BFF to announce her first grandchild is expected - that's the second grandchild for this special Circle. Although I am looking forward to my own future grandchildren, I am not one of those mothers (yet?) nagging her offspring to reproduce, so can bask in the joy of others without feeling left out (it probably helps to get regular newborn fixes at work, LOL!)

- for traditions: tomorrow I go to the Royal Melbourne Show with my three grown children - out of the ten days it runs, tomorrow is the ONE window of opportunity all four of us are free! We have loved doing this for years (Rodney, not so much - he dropped out some time ago) and our experience has evolved to become more of a foodie experience as well as a nostalgic ritual. Thankfully, it was never about expensive rides for my kids and choosing how to maximise their showbag dollar value added to the fun. We will pay homage to the prize-winning animals, admire the arts and crafts and taste-test our way through the pavillion - and walk kilometres along the way!

- for Dickens: Having decided to work my way through the works of Charles Dickens as audio books, I am immersed in Bleak House in the car - a mere 30 hours across 30 CDs. While others love the works of Jane Austen, I adore the characters Dickens creates and the way he describes daily life in such detail you feel you are there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Please do not scare the parents

Working, as I do, with new mums and dads is such a blessing - to spend time with them as they become parents is to see magic happen.

But gee I wish everyone would stop scaring the sh!t out of them about every little thing!

It goes without saying that we need to educate people about risky behaviours, safe practices and public health. But the concentration of warnings, prohibitions, rules and regulations is terrifying people. And that is spoiling their enjoyment of the most magical time of their lives.

The majority of babies we see at the Breastfeeding Centre are aged from just a few days to just a few weeks. We see babies in their pram for the first time, in the car carrier for the first time, ... babies whose parents are in terror they are secured too tightly, too loosely; are getting too much sunlight, not enough sunlight; are too cold, too hot ... and this is just getting in and out of the door!

Some of the things parents admit to being fearful of are the result of concentrated input of dire warnings from books and internet over a period of time leading up to the birth. (I was as guilty of this as any, working my way - twice - through every book on the pregnancy/childbirth and baby/child-care sections of the local library before the birth of my first child!) and there is not much to be done to prevent this, nor really, to  discourage it. This wealth of knowledge is then topped up with reams of handouts at the doctor's office, the hospital classes, the discharge packs, the maternal and child health centre and backed up by posters on the walls of each.

However, there is a difference between informing and scaring people. There needs to be some common sense applied to the education: "Most babies do NOT die of SIDS and here are some ways you can further reduce the risk." rather than strict directives which are destined to be erred on occasionally - the two-week-old baby is probably NOT going to fall from the pram if not tightly strapped in, but it is good practice to make this routine, because the six-month-old baby might.

Some things I have observed:

  • Mothers straining necks and shoulders endeavoring to gaze into the newborn baby's eyes (most likely to be closed anyway) throughout every feed, lest the baby is emotionally neglected and fails to develop normally - as seen by the Romanian orphans raised in institutions without loving care.
  • Parents frightened to drive anywhere unnecessary with their newborn baby, worried the vibration of the car could cause the same brain damage as shaking a baby.
  • Fathers reluctant to let their partner try baby-led attachment or skin-to-skin contact with their newborn, as the recommended room temperature  (18 degrees Celcius) is for clothed babies and they don't know what is recommended for naked babies. 
and on and on I could go.

There are people in our world who, through ignorance or indifference, neglect, maltreat or otherwise fail to care for their babies safely. Health professionals are mandated to do all they can to avoid this and can be held legally accountable for failing to do so. However, the vast majority of people will NOT harm their child and the irony is, those least likely to do so (parents who access regular health care prior to, during and after pregnancy and attend every postnatal and child health appointment offered) are those most exposed to dire warnings, while those most in need of the warnings are the least likely to be exposed to them!

Babies are pretty tough and can withstand the unpracticed care of the average parent and survive. Parents, on the other hand, are pretty fragile and can tip over the brink so easily into anxiety and depression. We should do all we can to reassure them what a great job they are doing and gently point out the common sense factors without frightening them into cotton-wool parenthood, where they are too scared to relax and follow their instincts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today I am Thankful

- for a mini-break: quite unplanned, I ended up with four days of no commitments, which coincided with a burst of wonderful weather! it has been like a holiday for me. Just as the winter drags me down, the change to spring boosts me right back up again (maybe that is why it is called Spring - BOING!). Friday morning I had my first myotherapy session in way too long - making appointments slipped off my list along with most everything good for me over winter :(. But it was good to be back and I could feel the improvement almost straight away. I stopped to do some shopping on the way home and actually went into our health insurers and changed our extras cover to a much better one, which will include myotherapy AND other natural therapies! Once home, I grabbed the dog and we hit the beach for our first beach walk of the season :) saturday, she got another walk, up the hill to the vets to have her claws clipped and then I spend the rest of the day catching up on reading. Sunday started with the Seaford Farmers Market and that included another beach walk for the now-delighted dog and then home for more R & R. Today was a quick shopping trip - including buying a new rice cooker - then home for some serious blog surfing and then another walk - this time at the park! Such a contrast to the energy levels of even a few weeks ago! We're back on track :)

- for leash-free: I have been very reluctant to allow Molly off the lead in any but fenced leash-free zones, as her impulse to chase birds worried me about roads and running away. But now she is three, she has settled down a lot, so we have been working on walking without a lead in controlled spaces: a local park and the beach (not technically legal, but ...) and to our mutual delight, she has been brilliant! She trots along beside me, frequently making eye contact to make sure I haven't gotten away and has even coped with encounters with other dogs AND is not charging off after birds in an uncontrolled way. i think we have cracked it and she is as happy as I am.

- for fresh air: today I had all the doors and windows open and Spring washed through with a northerly window and cleaned winter out of the nooks and crannies. I wish I could have lifted off the roof to let it in :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today I am Thankful - video, food and completion

- for this wonderful video, produced by one of the wonderful women in my Goddess Circle. I find it really hard to describe to people what having Fibromyalgia is like, but this captures it perfectly. It might come as a surprise that I find Fibromyalgia equal with Multiple Sclerosis in my life and it actually dominates my days more than the MS, which tends to flare up and then subside. I hope this helps you understand better why I cannot always "put on a smiling face" - especially at the top and tail of the day, when it is worse.

- for food: Despite all my best efforts, I found out yesterday that both my Vitamin D and iron levels are down, whilst my cholesterol is up! So it looks like I am going to need to prepare all my meals, including the evening ones on the nights my son and husband take their turn to cook, because they don't always meet my dietary requirements. So I am going to embrace this and get back into full menu planning for all my meals and take another look at the Jellinek MS diet while I am it - although it includes NO meat (just fish and a vegan diet basically) so I might need to modify it til I get my iron on track.

- for completition" My Scrabble table is done! Fully coated in self-levelling resin. I also now have a full set of Scrabble games in every version released since the fifties, plus more than enough wooden racks for my photo wall display, boards to tuen into photo wall art and bits and pieces to sell back to Ebay, where they all came from! Anyone for Scrabble???

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today I am thankful - garden, purple and Ikea

- For Spring and a surprise garden! One of my friends and colleagues surprised me this week by planting the empty garden beds outside our Breastfeeding Centre, which are now going to be filled with colour!

- For world domination! Not one, but TWO of my favourite storage options have been released in PURPLE  
to my delighted discovery this week!

Tupperware Heat and Eat and Ikea Skubb clothes organisers:

- For Ikea! What can I say? My daughters and I love the whole Ikea experience, so there we were last night, on the opening day of the new store in Springvale - about 5-10 mins drive from work and about 15 mins drive from home!!! And it was so good! 2.5km walk to get through the entire store, so exercise and retail therapy!!!! I came home with the above containers (which were on my list, the purple was a bonus!) and newmemory-foam pillow (which was on my list but I didn't know i would get it at Ikea) and some photo frames for my new gallery wall project in the living room. Kaitlyn was retrained and got a couple of small items, while Melissa shopped til she dropped with stuff she needs for her new home. There are still some larger items on the list, so we will be back again soon! Sigh! I can pop in after work!