Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Letter to my younger self

Dear Glowless age 16,

Let's get straight to the (bullet) point - there are some important things you should know:
  • You are not fat so stop fussing about how much you weigh and what size clothes you are wearing. However, if you do continue to eat the way you do and don't do any exercise you will balloon out in a few years time and you will think to yourself "What the hell was I obsessing about before?"
  • You might be doing well at school, but you could afford to study a little bit harder... just a bit. Perhaps in your "Free Study" period instead of talking and gossiping.
  • Don't gossip! This is pretty self explanatory.
  • You're only young and have been through a lot of crap already but you are doing way better than you think. The next few years are going to be tough, real tough - but you can get through this, just don't be afraid to ask for help (asking sooner rather than later will save you lots of money on therapy in the future).
  • Stop being mean to your sister - you might not believe me, but in a few short years you and her will no longer be arch enemies. She'll be your biggest supporter, your confidante and your best friend.
  • Speaking of family; shut up for a minute and listen to your mother! She knows everything and is always right. The sooner you realize this, the better! You could even use this to your advantage - ask her opinion on something that matters, like if your boyfriend is a loser.
  • Quality beats quantity in every aspect of life. Outings, friends, holidays, you name it.
  • In the coming years you're going to wonder if you're the one who is weird or it's everybody else... the answer is both.
That's pretty much it. I don't want to tell you everything because you need to make mistakes in order to learn... plus some of them are gonna be fun to make.

Love Glowless age 28 xxx

P.S. In the 2010 AFL grand final, put some money on a draw, it'll pay $34-1

What would you tell your younger self if you could? Leave a comment below with your answer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Tricky Trigger

Something strange is happening to me. I have never been very domestically gifted. My previous attempts at looking like I could actually run a household have all failed miserably - all plants die a slow and painful death, the super duper cleaning products stay in the cupboard barely used, the iron hasn't ventured out for a few years and let's not forget the copy of Shannon Lush's Spotless that still hasn't had it's spine cracked. I'm not a domestic goddess that's for sure. Well that is, until now.

All these stereotypical Mum things have started happening since I had a baby - I'm dubbing it the Tricky Trigger. I cook now and it has nothing to do with the country's current obsession with Masterchef because I never got in to it (although I've seen two episodes of Junior Masterchef and they're soooo cute!) I'm cooking real food and it's not just stuff from packets either, I'm talking about cooking from scratch and using the measuring cups that have sat unused in the drawer for years. Pizza dough, cakes, roast dinners, bread (without a breakmaker shock horror!) and biscuits. And when I'm finished cooking do I go and have a bit of a rest? A well earned lie down? No. Then I go and clean the house (well, after eating what I've just made obviously).

I was never big on cleaning before. Every so often I would blitz the house and make everything look shiny and new, but it wasn't ever a regular thing - if something didn't look dirty then I would consider it clean. But not any more. It started as nesting when I was pregnant - I would decide to clean the kitchen bench and end up cleaning the bench, scrubbing the oven, polishing the sink and emptying each cupboard, cleaning it and restocking it. I would even clean light fittings and dust skirting boards - things I had never done before in my life. Whilst it isn't as hard core now (the skirting boards haven't been cleaned since then) I'm still obsessed with cleaning.

These days I even find myself tidying up as I go. This concept, which for normal people is nothing special, is completely new to me! I will make a cake and while it's baking I'll clean all the bowls and measuring cups so that when the oven bings to herald the arrival of afternoon tea time, the place looks and smells divine. Who would've thought I would ever be like this?

It doesn't make any sense to me. Previously when I had all the time in the world to cook and clean, I didn't do it. Couldn't stand it. Now that I have a million other things to do, I will make the time to do it all. I think I must actually be a real Mum... or a stereotypical 1950's housewife - where's Mother's Little Helper when you need it?

Hubby is loving the cleaning (he used to do all of it) but particularly loving all the yummy food. My taste buds are loving it. Tricky, when he's old enough, will love it (I've already made and frozen some baby food because we had a heap of pumpkin). The only problem with this new found cooking ability is the exponential growth of my rear end. I could go for a walk to burn off some calories, but I have a bathroom to clean.

Did you become a domestic goddess when you had kids? Or were you one already?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicks dig scars

My brave little Tricky has had his operation (to be specific he has had a Spring Cranioplasty... big words make me feel smart) and everything went perfectly! I'll do my best to keep this at a readable length, but I make no guarantees - there are way too many thoughts zooming around my head right now.

I woke up feeling physically ill - I had butterflies in my stomach and half a tonne of bricks on my chest. I made up for my previous lack of tears and then some - anything would set me off from a nappy ad (sad but true) to seeing my boy sleeping soundly. The sense of helplessness was immense and the day went by in a blur. I didn't manage to get to sleep until 1am - add in Tricky getting up at 3am for a feed and I ended up getting about three hours sleep.

Tricky had to fast for his operation so to try and have him feeding until the last possible moment he was allowed, it meant I had to be up at 5am. I was worried about him being starving hungry and screaming for a feed. When that happens the doctors recommend that you give them to someone else to settle, because all poor Tricky would be able to smell on me was his elusive breakfast, which would make him scream even more... and as much as I didn't want him distressed because I don't like him being upset, I was also concerned that I would break down at that point.

Tricky and Roary the Lion waiting to go in

At 8.30am Hubby had to kiss us goodbye as only one parent is allowed to go to pre-op. Even the colourful walls and abundance of toys couldn't disguise the fact that this room was a pretty sad place to be. I held Tricky and walked back and forth with him, rocking gently and singing. I watched the clock like a hawk. Each minute seemed like an hour and I remember thinking if the lead up to the operation feels like forever then how long will it feel when he's actually in there? He fell asleep in my arms and even though I'd been holding him for so long and my back was now aching and my shoulders burning I didn't dare put him down... I just snuggled in to him and kept singing in between talking to anesthetists and nurses. At 9.20am they took him from me and a volunteer led me out in to the 'Friendship Room' where Hubby and the rest of the parents were waiting (drinking tea).

For two long hours we sat there pretending to read magazines while the neurosurgeon cut an S shape in Tricky's scalp to expose his skull. Then she drilled two small pilot holes and connected them using a miniature circular saw to cut through his fused saggital suture. At this point the craniofacial surgeons stepped in and screwed two omega shaped springs in his head. These springs will put outward pressure on the pieces of skull causing it to part and new bone will grow in the gap - just like any broken bone. In three to four months he'll get them taken out (so again I'll go through the pre-surgery jitters!).

When I was allowed to go to recovery to see him I felt so nervous. Would he be screaming? What would he look like? I had been told he might be swollen to the point of being unrecognizable. But there he was, held in a nurse's arms, his head bandaged (a beanie knitted by a volunteer covering it) looking otherwise normal apart from all the tubes coming out of him. He was hooked up to oxygen, a saline drip, a morphine infusion and a pulseox (measures pulse and oxygen saturation) - all of which continuously beeped and buzzed.

We made our way to the ward and even though he was dosed up on morphine he was able to feed straight away - which was a great accomplishment not only for him, but for me because holding a baby connected to machines isn't easy!

Tricky and Roary one hour post-op

The next few hours he slept a lot but was woken up for hourly neurological obs which consisted of checking his limbs for equal strength and checking to see that his pupils were equal and reactive. Have you ever tried to get a crying baby to open his eyes so you can shine a torch in? Here's a tip: don't. It wasn't until 8pm when the drugs from the operation were wearing off that he made it known just how much pain he was in. He cried and cried and cried. Then, just to keep it interesting, he wailed and screamed. Nothing would comfort him - he wouldn't even feed. The nurses decided to give him the first of four morphine boosts and it worked instantly - his eyes glazed over and he just stared in to space. The lights were on, but nobody was home and it was scary - where was my Tricky?

Almost exactly 24 hours post op when the back of his head had doubled in size and his eyes were swollen half shut and I was singing his favourite song, he smiled. The relief at seeing that smile is indescribable... he was back, my boy had made it through and I cried tears of joy. A few hours later I was able to put him down for the first time - before this his head had been too sore and he would scream as soon as it touched the bed, so I had held him since he had come out of surgery over 30 hours earlier with only a few breaks where Hubby was able to cuddle him or a nurse held him while I bolted to the toilet.

At midday he was taken off special care nursing (where he had his own dedicated nurse who had no other patients) and shared a nurse with the boy in the bed next to him - a 14 year old who had broken his neck in a motorcross accident and was waiting for surgery to affix a halo to his skull.

By the 48 hour mark the improvement in him was amazing. One by one the machines were taken away and he became more and more alert. The surgeons came to see him and gave him the all clear to go home - we had spent only 50 hours at the hospital after his surgery. 50! I can't believe how quick it was. The first thing I did when we got home was have a shower and go to bed because out of those 50 hours in hospital I'd only managed to sleep for about four of them (in a chair that was only comfy for the first hour) and I was exhausted - both physically and emotionally.

So here we are, three days after surgery and he's doing so well - his pain is being managed with paracetamol, the occasional ibuprofen and lots of cuddles. When he's older I will tell him all about how he got the S shaped scar on his head - which we've called his Superman scar - and hopefully he might even think it's cool.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to all the people who sent their best wishes, who kept Tricky in their thoughts and to those that prayed for him. Your kindness and support has been overwhelming and definitely helped me get through this difficult time. I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do you believe in angels?

I've heard before that because kids are innocent and haven't been taught by a fear mongering media to be afraid of everything, that they can see spirits. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'd like to believe it is. I'm not even religious (sorry Mum) but the idea that the spirits of those who have passed on are still around, watching, guiding and protecting us makes me feel a little less scared about tomorrow's operation.

Since Tricky was born he has always looked at whomever is holding him, then looked over their shoulder as if someone is there. Once he started smiling and laughing it was more obvious - it looked like he was smiling at someone, laughing at something... something I couldn't see. Some of you may say that he is not reacting to anything other than his own bodily functions, but I like think that maybe he has a guardian angel. And if he does... I know her name.

Over twenty years ago, my Mum became friends with a woman called Helen. My favourite memories of her are when we went on holidays together to Melbourne and going to her house and playing with her gorgeous dog, a Miniature Schnauzer called Chester. A really long story short, she got cancer and earlier this year went in to respite care to make her final weeks more comfortable. Towards the end of my pregnancy whenever she and my Mum would ring each other, the first question she would ask was had I had the baby yet?

A week before Tricky made his grand entrance Helen lapsed in to a coma - whether it was her body shutting down or the massive amounts of morphine she was on to dull the pain, I don't know. She was near the end of her journey.

The day Tricky was born my Dad called through to Helen's room at the hospice in the hope that someone was there to answer the phone. Her sister in law was. He asked her to please tell Helen that I'd had the baby and we were both doing wonderfully. So she did... and for the first time in a week, Helen stirred. She moved her hand and her head. Was she trying to say she'd heard? That she was happy for us? Maybe she was saying "About time!" like the rest of us were. Whatever it was there was no doubting that she had reacted. I like to think she heard. That she understood. That it brought her some happiness in her final moments... because later that same day, Helen passed away.

So when Tricky looks over my shoulder, or laughs at what appears to be nothing, we always say "Has Aunty Helen come to visit?" and it makes me smile every time. So tomorrow when Tricky is taken in to the operating theatre I know he doesn't go alone... Helen will be with him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

An open letter to Lindsay Lohan

Despite her recent legal issues — and recent reports that while driving she allegedly clipped a stroller with a toddler in it — Lindsay Lohan wants to be a mom! The star has confided to a pal that she’s determined to stay sober and thinks the best way for her to achieve that goal is to get pregnant. According to the pal, Lindsay, 24, hates being alone and thinks a baby would make the perfect companion. She’s seen what motherhood has done for former party girl Nicole Richie and thinks it can do the same for her. “She needs to be around someone nearly 24 hours a day,” the pal says. “She thinks having a baby could straighten out her life."

Dear Lindsay,

This week I read that you want to become a mum (sorry, a mom). Now I'm not sure sure how accurate the reporting at In Touch Weekly is since they claim their source is unnamed "pal" of yours, but if they're right I'd like to know one thing: WTF are you thinking?

A baby is not a "companion". They aren't very good company at all really. Definitely not at the beginning. All they do is sleep, feed and poo. Over and over again. They don't even smile at you for six weeks. And then when they do start smiling and giggling guess what they do the other 23 hours of the day? Yep, you guessed it - sleep, feed and poo.

They're not a toy that you can take around with you to show off - that is what handbag sized dogs are for. Perhaps a Shih Tzu would be more appropriate? Nor are they a doll that you can play dress ups with. Whilst I am guilty of dressing Tricky up in funky little outfits and super cute Dunlop Volleys (thanks NM), I'm sure the novelty would wear off pretty quickly when your little bundle of joy pukes all over your $1200 Manolo Blahniks and down his $400 Gucci romper.

I understand that you think having a baby will help you stay sober. I can assure you that there hasn't been a single day of motherhood where I haven't felt like having a glass (or two, or three, or a bottle) of wine - you know, just to take the edge off and help me relax after countless hours of feeding, changing, rocking and singing lullabies.

Your pal, whom I'm sure got a nice fat cheque for saying it, reckons you need someone around you 24 hours a day. Having a baby isn't like having an assistant or an adoring groupie hanging around - you're the one who has to be devoted to them. Plus having someone around 24 hours a day gets old really quick when you realize you can't even go to the toilet in peace. At least with a groupie you can call security and have them removed and then fire your assistant.

So my advice to you is simple: get a bonsai tree. Once you - and i mean YOU, not your housekeeper, not your mum (sorry, mom) or your assistant - have kept it healthy for a whole year, get a dog (the afore mentioned Shih Tzu would be a good choice). When you - and just YOU - have kept it healthy for a whole year you can perhaps start to think about possibly maybe considering having a baby some time in the future. What gives me the right to say all this? I'm a mother and unsolicited advice is what we do best. I wish you the best of luck.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's not what you know...

It's who you know. Heard that before? Well it is certainly true in my little world.

Because Tricky didn't need emergency surgery we had to get him referred to the Craniofacial team. But that's not as easy as it sounds, you have to get a GP to refer you to a paediatrician, then the paediatrician has to refer you to the Cranio team - it's a nightmare of red tape that you need a $600 whipper snipper to get through.

Friday 27th August
I had to see a different GP than the one who discovered the closed fontanelle. He read the x-ray report - I don't know whether he was trying to make me feel better or he really thought it but he said he'd give me the referral even though he didn't think it would need any intervention, that it was just a natural variation of 'normal'. However he then said he'd have to look up what some of the words on the report meant. Riiiight. So you don't know what the report says but your medical opinion is he's fine? Forgive me if that doesn't put my mind at ease. It was now after 5pm so I'd have to wait til Monday to call a paediatrician.

Monday 30th August
The GP had given me an open referral meaning I could go to whichever paediatrician that could fit us in. I called seven different paediatricians and the earliest appointment I could get was mid October! To say I felt disheartened is a massive understatement, so I did what I do when I feel upset and can't do anything about it... I called my Mum. I've always said that between my Mum, my Aunty and my Uncle, they know the whole of Perth. She sprang in to action and through 'a friend of a friend of a friend' and three phone calls, Tricky got his appointment scheduled for THAT WEDNESDAY! Hooray! My six and a half week wait had turned in to two days.

Wednesday 1 September 
Waiting in the fabulous Dr Vercoe's rooms we wondered where all the other children were only to be informed that it was actually his day off and that he came in just to see us! He had a look at Tricky's skull and in his opinion it had some of the signs of a fused suture so he said he would walk over the referral to the Craniofacial unit that afternoon. They see patients on a monthly basis so it would be about four to six weeks to get an appointment there. I wasn't worried, I'd been reading (of course I had, it's all I do) and had discovered that if it is discovered before six months of age then the type of surgery is much less invasive, so at just under three months we had a little bit of time up our sleeve.

Friday 3 September
It was 8.30am and I was getting ready to go to my mother's group when the phone rang. It was the PMH Craniofacial department - they had read the referral and wanted to see him as soon as possible (because the cut off date for the smaller surgery is actually four months) and a spot was available that morning if I could get in by 10am. I was so glad I was already dressed and ready to go! Again my big wait had turned in to a matter of days!

Tricky was seen by the surgeon and sent for a CT scan. I was worried about the scan because if he moved and they couldn't get a clear picture he'd have to have a general anesthetic to keep him still. So I gave him a big feed so he'd be milk drunk and he was so perfect, even with the machine whirring and clunking! What a champion! The result was as the surgeon expected, his saggital suture has fused and will need to be opened to take pressure off his brain and to stop his head from becoming deformed.

In the next week we have lots of appointments and will be spending most of our time at the hospital - there is a neurosurgeon consult (because they operate so close to the brain), an anesthetist consult, 3D scans, 2D pictures, blood tests, head measuring and a tour of the ward he'll be staying in. Then, one week from today, Tricky will have his surgery - four weeks earlier than the first available appointment at the other paediatrician.

Today was the first time since standing in the x-ray place two weeks ago (being offered tea) that I've cried. My eyes welled up when I was talking to my best friend - the whole thing became more real as I explained the surgery to her. I'm not sure if my calm, cool and collected demeanor is a sign that I'm coping well or in denial (or possibly just a heartless bitch?). I'm sure I'll make up for the current lack of tears when he's in surgery though because it doesn't matter how many times I tell myself he is in safe hands I know I'll be a wreck and blubber until he's back in my arms where he belongs!

Have you had a child go in to hospital? What methods (other than a big box of aloe vera tissues) did you use to cope?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blogger Palooza

The election result may not be known yet but you have the opportunity to vote again! Well sorta. It's the Kidspot Social Blogger Palooza and your's truly has been nominated so I need your help to win!

If you would like to vote for me (and you KNOW you do!) visit You can click on "Glowless: Head Case" - the fifth one down. The annoying thing is when you click vote it will tell you that you have to "like" Poll Daddy first but that doesn't register your vote, you have to then click on my name again and then hit VOTE. Just to make it difficult, ya know.

I'm not about to lower myself to begging... but I'd like to point out that I'd love you forever if you voted for me. Thanks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Father's Day

It's here! Hubby's first ever Father's Day! Hooray!

I wanted to make today special for Hubby so months ago (OK so maybe it was only two weeks) I started planning. I knew he wanted a whipper snipper but I couldn't remember which one - and it HAD to be a particular one that he'd been going on about for what seemed like years. I contacted the Father In Law thinking maybe he'd know which model I should buy and I was super happy when he told me the exact make and model to get. I was less happy though when I found out it was almost $600! I nearly fell off my chair. $600? Are you kidding?! There was no way I was going to be able to afford that plus I don't think I could bring myself to part with that much moolah for a piece of gardening equipment. My Mum said not to bother because it wasn't like we had a nice garden to start with - although if we had the whipper snipper maybe we would?

Hrmmm what to do? I asked Hubby if he truly believed that it was the thought behind the gift that counts. When he replied in the affirmative I smiled and said "Great, cos I wanted to get you this Super-Snazzy-Best-Garden-In-The-Street Whipper Snipper but I can't afford it. Happy Father's Day!" Then I told him not to worry, I would find something in the next few days plus I already had a nice card that he'd love... the look of guilt on his face said it all... He'd found the card the day before. Bugger! Then he said the nicest thing; "You gave me a baby, what more could I want?" All together now, 1, 2, 3: Awwwww! Isn't he the sweetest? Or maybe he's just buttering me up so that I buy the whipper snipper for Christmas?

I couldn't not get him something though so with four days to go it was time to put Plan B in to action! Plan B was actually going to be his birthday present for next year but I've got five months to think of a new one. I got him an awesome Fremantle Docker's weather proof jacket thinking that he can wear it to the games and in the mornings when he rides his bike to work. A present that is both cool (well actually it's warm) and useful - I knew I was on to a winner. The only problem was that on Saturday his team were in a knockout final... if they didn't win they wouldn't play another game until next year! I didn't know whether to give him the jacket right then while he watched his team or wait and just hope they pulled through. I decided to have faith in his "boys" and waited, and it paid off because they won!

So this morning when he woke up he got his card, his jacket (which he loves, yay!) and the obligatory "Super Dad" Toblerone that I hope he shares.

Happy first Father's Day, Hubby! You're the best.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Letter to Tricky - Three months old

Dear Tricky,

Oh my little boy you have put us through the emotional wringer this month! I might need to see a doctor myself soon, because I think my heart may have gravitated permanently to my throat. It's OK though, I'm pretty sure they can put it back where it belongs with minor surgery - it's amazing what they can do these days!

Both you and your Daddy made some great discoveries in the past few weeks. He discovered the secret to making you giggle is the time-honoured art of blowing raspberries! Every time without fail you smile and laugh like it is the funniest thing ever. Unfortunately this is the beginning of your Dad thinking every thing he does or every joke he tells is funny. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, it's a Dad thing.

Your discovery was pretty monumental - YOU HAVE FEET! Your Dad and I watched and laughed as you stared intently at them. Each time they moved the look of concentration on your face was priceless. I swear I could hear the cogs turning as you figured out those funny looking sock covered things on the end of your legs belonged to you and you could control them. They don't quite go where you want them to yet, but you're getting there.

You got a new toy this week, an amazing Lamaze baby gym - sounds like you should be doing bicep curls on it, doesn't it? As soon as we put you on the mat it became clear this would be your favourite past time for a while. The poor little toys on it have now been batted, swatted, swiped and yanked continuously since then - well done!

The next month is going to be a bit rough, probably more so on your Dad and I than on you, even though you're the one going in for an operation. I know you'll be fine but I am still a bit scared. It was bad enough seeing you strapped in to the CT scanner - you're a big boy but you looked oh so small as the bed moved you in to the machine. Because it's one of those "if you don't laugh, you'll cry" scenario I must admit I've started referring to you as Humpty Dumpty and even said that if I just dropped you then you wouldn't need the operation after all - that joke didn't go down to well with your Pop but your surgeon thought it was funny.

So stay strong my little man and be brave... one of us has to be.

Love Mummy xxx


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