Friday, August 31, 2012

The Weekend Whine - Episode 8

Props to YouTube for always making my screen shots make me look like I'm either sneezing, possessed or insanely drunk.

What's annoyed you this week?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to clean your junk room in 20 easy steps

It's almost spring and everywhere I look people are cleaning. Including me. The bulk rubbish collection is coming around in two weeks and I'm actually excited. I know. Lame.

So I thought I would share some handy cleaning tips with you. 20 to be exact. You're welcome.

1. Search Pinterest and see lots of lovely spare rooms and study rooms. Start to feel completely ashamed about the hovel you live in and decide to CLEAN ALL THE JUNK.

2. Realize it’s 11:00pm and you’re way too tired to be productive, so make a promise to yourself you will get up early and start first thing the next day.

3. Wake up after a terrible, toddler-interrupted night’s sleep. Spend a few hours on the couch checking emails and tweeting while the kid watches Play School.

4. Go to the junk room and after freaking out a little over where the fuck you should start, go make a cup of tea. It won’t help you at all, but at least it will give you an excuse for a toilet break in an hour.

5. Wade in to the mess and attempt to clear the floor area so you can at least access the whole room

6. Move the Christmas present stash to the shed and realize that you really need to clean the shed as well. Die a little inside.

7. Once the floor is actually able to be walked on, start on the pile of junk in the corner.

8. Find a box of letters you received in year ten from your BFFs and spend an hour reading them all and laughing at how stupid you must have been to find Jeff Ament attractive.

9. Put the letters in a special box and shove in the back of your wardrobe. Realize you really need to clean your wardrobe as well. Die a little bit more inside.

10. Tidy some more papers and find an entire desk and chair that were hiding under the pile of junk. Wonder how the hell you got SO MUCH JUNK.

Image credit: Canonsnapper
11. Become completely overwhelmed and break for lunch. And a nap. And a quick trip to the shops. And some baking since you just bought all the ingredients. Ahhh banana bread you fix everything.

12. Start again with renewed vigor only to have a toddler start screaming because you’re not paying enough attention to him. Sit down and do some colouring in together – be environmentally conscious and use tax receipts and warranty cards. It’s not like you’ll actually get around to filing them, anyway.

13. Create three piles of STUFF; Keep, Ditch and Donate. Sort everything in to these piles. If you’ve done it correctly, the entire floor, that you had only just cleared, will now be covered in even more crap than before.

14. Find something that triggers a bad memory and start rocking in the corner… if you can actually find the corner. If not, the doorway will do.

15. Throw said item against the wall then pick it up and take it straight to the bin, bypassing the Ditch pile. You just made that item your bitch. KUDOS! Cry a bit. Or have more cake. Or both.

16. Uncover an xray/ultrasound and spend the next 15 minutes checking out what your ovaries/uterus/foetus/lungs/heart/bones look like from the inside and realize that you actually could have been staring at a wall because xrays all look the same to you.

17. Wheel the bin up to the back door and just start throwing things in its general direction without checking what they are. You haven’t opened that box in four years; you won’t miss what’s inside it.

18. Discover all the awesome things you bought for a craft project six months ago and decide that now is the perfect time to have another go at it. Jump over the piles of crap and create a shite work of art whilst simultaneously burning your fingerprints off with a glue gun.

19. Decide that there is just too much to do in one day and crack open a bottle of plonk and retire to the couch for the rest of the night.

20. Look over at ALL THE JUNK mocking you. Give it the finger (use your non-wine hand, lest you spill some and have to fucking clean that up too) and start again at step one.

Will you be spring cleaning? Come do mine?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An open letter to my tear ducts

Dear tear ducts,

For thirty years now you've done a prime job of keeping my eyes lubricated and nourished. And moist. I realize it's the same as lubricated but I just wanted to use the word moist in a blog post.

You were a tad over sensitive when I starting shoving giant mascara wands your way, but you learned quickly that I wasn't going to hurt you, and chilled out nicely.

You've been a real champ and have even gone above and beyond, putting up with me poking contact lenses around and keeping them hydrated too. Kudos to you.

But there's something about you that I'm just not happy with, and I would have thought after so many years of practice that you would have figured it out.

What the ever loving fuck is with the angry tears? I mean really?

I find myself having a heated argument with someone and you spring in to action and make me look like a dickhead who needs a Prozac Bex and a lie down, or worse still, a fucking cuddle.

How am I mean to look professional when I'm in a business meeting if the second I get a bit angry my eyes start leaking, my nose gets snotty and red, I choke on my words, partially convulse and did I mention ALL THE FUCKING SNOT?!

Your issue has led to people labeling me with the "emotional woman" tag as they hand me a tissue with a condescending look in their tearless eyes. The only upside to this is that I'm less likely to stab someone lest I drop that tiny little scrunched up wad of snot and tears. Because who wants snot and tissue debris on the floor? It's a bitch to pick up.

I blame you for all of this. I could be banging on about the limbic system and my hypothalamus but I figure the buck stops with you, buddy.

Now I'm not sure if you're cranky at me for that time I took medication that dried you up to almost nothing for the best part of a year and are now just finding a way to make me pay by overreacting, or if you're just a bit of a pussy and like a good cry. But here's a bit of a newsflash for you, I DON'T CARE! Just stop it!

Toughen up, Princess, lift your game and reserve the tears for sad things. Unless of course I'm menstruating in which case you can bring on the tears when I watch the talcum powder commercials with the cute babies.

Yours sincerely,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Philips Airfryer Review {alternatively titled Ermagherd Healthy Chips!}

Ermagherd CHIPS.

If you're not familiar with ermagherd it's the noise I make when trying to say oh my god with a mouthful of chips.

A few months ago I was sent a Philips Airfryer to review. In that time I've put that baby through it's paces. Purely for research purposes you see, it *ahem* had nothing to do with the whole I love chips thing. At all. What?! Stop looking at me like that.

I'm a chip connoisseur. A chipoisseur if you will. And I have never EVER tasted homemade chips this good. Once again, ermagherd.

I've embraced the whole cooking from scratch thing for a few years now and yes, that even includes chips. Partly because I like knowing what is in my food, partly because it's healthier and partly because, well, I just really like using those little mandolin slicy things and pretending I'm on a TV commercial. But the chips just didn't measure up to the store bought ones, no matter how much cajun seasoning I dumped on them.

But the Philips Airfryer makes them taste way better - like they've just come from a cafe. It does do more than chips (I cooked a range of homemade goodies in it including garlic bread, chicken nuggets and even beetroot chips) but it's called the chip machine in this house for good reason.

If you go a bit Cheaty McCheaterson and buy frozen chips that have been flash fried first, they taste just like you'd buy at a pub. Serve it with some dips in little bowls and a glass of wine whilst watching the footy and all of a sudden it's a Sunday Sesh. Serve them with fish and Oh. My. Cod. See what I did there? You're welcome.

But having said that, there were definitely a few down sides.

Firstly, every time I used it, without fail, it would set off my smoke detector before I'd put any food in it. The only way to combat this was to sit it directly underneath the rangehood - anywhere else and the smoke detector would start screaming after a minute or two of preheating. That was so insanely annoying because it meant we could only use the Airfryer when we weren't using the stove top. So if we wanted anything else with our chips, well tough.

Also, the bottom section really needs it's own handle. When you release the basket from the bottom there is no way to pick it up other than using just your fingertips - if I've got a chip basket in my hands that is 200C I can't exactly put it down easily to pick up the other part (which is also 200C) with two hands.

We've used this quite a bit in the last few months for different foods but even after all the drooling over how good the chips and the crumbed yummies are, and even loving the retractable power cord, I don't think I'd spend $330 on it when my oven can do a pretty good job at it. Will I sell this and go back to the oven though? No. Because ERMAGHERD CHIPS!

Are you a chipoisseur? Do you have cupboard space for a teeny oven?

This is not a sponsored post however I did receive a complimentary Airfryer. As always, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hope is the only thing more powerful than fear

My boy has been making his doctors scratch their heads of late. He's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma... and I'm kinda excited because I HAVE A THEORY! You can call me Dr Glow.

A few months ago, we rushed Tricky to the hospital when he was struggling to breath and scratching at his body. They told us Tricks had an anaphylaxis reaction to something, more than likely cashew nuts (we'd just had chicken cashew nut).

He's been seeing the allergists at the hospital and has undergone a shed load of tests. OK so it's not really a shed load, it's only a few. But when you're using your full body weight to pin your screaming toddler down while someone pokes twelve needles in to him you tend to think all that effort was surely for more than a handful of bloody tests.

The results of these tests just aren't adding up and I have a theory. I've gone all CSI or Lorenzo's Oil or whatever and I'm hunting down this bastard that put my kid in hospital.

His skin prick test came back negative and it was declared a false negative. So a RAST test was ordered.

His RAST test ( radioallergosorbent test - big words!) came back with a high number for cashews (meaning anaphylaxis) and Allergist A told us to avoid not only the nut but traces of it and incidental contact. It meant having to ask my mothers group not to bring any "may contain" products in case any residue transferred from their children's hands to a toy, to Tricky to his mouth. Until he was old enough to know not to put anything in his mouth, or even touch his mouth without first washing his hands, this was how it was going to be. I was rather pissed off with the world, thinking he could end up in hospital just from learning how to share.

Then yesterday we got a very low RAST score. One that made Allergist B battle to try and not use the words "What the fuck?!".There are antibodies in his blood that react to cashew... but in theory, not enough for it to land him in hospital.

My brain has been going one million miles per hour since hearing this and has come up with an idea.

I'm wondering if maybe, just maybe, Tricky doesn't have a food allergy.

Writing those words makes my heart race and brings tears to my eyes. Because I could be right. And because I could be really wrong. I don't care that I could look like a dickhead, all I care about is my boy.

I think his first reaction, his "atypical anaphylaxis", might have been a serious asthma attack. He was given adrenaline in the emergency room - adrenaline reduces bronchial spasms and was the go-to treatment for asthma before Ventolin came on the scene. We went home after twelve hours and for the rest of the week he had a raspy cough and a minimal wheeze that we were told was to be expected after his throat swelling. We were back within the week with his first proper "asthma admission".

I think his second reaction, which was quite mild and was put down to a suspected trace exposure, was an asthma attack, too. It was just over a week after he'd had a major asthma attack - so major it required an ambulance. 

I think both attacks could have been brought on by something in the food, not necessarily cashews (a preservative? a colour?). I always need Ventolin after having anything with sulphur, including wine - which is why when I'm laughing after a few drinks I often end up having a coughing fit. I'm not allergic to it, I'm sensitive to it. I'm totally a sensitive gal, you see?

Image Credit
And I even think the itching could have been an asthma related eczema flare and swelling due to him scratching so much. Every time I have asthma my neck and my back itch so badly I feel the need to ask complete strangers to help me scratch my back. My mum and my cousins have the same thing.

I want to believe this so much. SO MUCH. Part of me thinks I'm stupid and clutching at straws. Could two lots of emergency doctors have got it wrong? Could two allergists have gotten it wrong? They were going by what I said - that he'd eaten and then a short time later, couldn't breathe, was itchy and puffy. It looks like anaphylaxis... but what if it's not?

I don't want to spend the next two to three years before the standard food challenge test freaking out over every single thing he puts in his mouth if I don't have to. Allergist B agrees and Tricky will be admitted to hospital soon for a challenge where they'll feed him small amounts of cashews and watch him, with adrenaline and oxygen at the ready. Then we'll know for sure.

We've only walked this allergy path for a few months now and it might seem melodramatic but it's been really hard. Trying to marry the two worlds of the laid back "he'll be right" mama and becoming a helicopter parent the minute that food is around has been tough. I don't know how to be that person and I feel like I'm failing miserably. 

I know it's much more likely that it's me that has it wrong than an emergency room full of doctors and allergy specialists... but I can hope. And as they say, hope is the only thing more powerful than fear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

RSPCA Cupcake Day

Alternatively titled: Showing off my cupcake toppers because I'm kinda proud of them and really, if I can't show off on my own blog where can I?

Map Guy's work does RSPCA Cupcake Day. I will admit I'd never heard of it before which is weird because, hello, a whole day devoted to CUPCAKES and PUPPIES!

They asked for volunteers to make cupcakes to be sold and being the show off that I am wanting to get in some fondant practice, I put my hand up.

I'm loving my cake decorating class and all the tips and tricks I'm picking up but sadly, I'm also picking up a few kilos along the way, too. The great thing about making these babies is since they're for a fundraiser I can't eat any of them. Unfortunately the down side to this is that I CAN'T EAT ANY OF THEM. 

I'm so in love with them and really happy with how they worked out. I can't figure out which is my favourite. I keep swinging between the dog and the little Shaun the Sheep look-a-like. 

After spending so long making two dozen little faces, I kinda dropped the ball with the icing because I really couldn't be bothered any more. Let's just say the green slapped on buttercream is grass and totally meant to look like that. Let us never speak of this again and instead focus on all the cute.

And this is the bit where I tell you they weren't actually hard to make, just fiddly, particularly with a toddler who wanted to point out the animals and bring over farmyard story books every two minutes. A bit of fondant, a couple of colours, a few cutters and three thousand renditions of Old MacDonald and voila! 

Would you eat all the cute? 

Don't forget! The Omrah Wine giveaway closes this afternoon, click here and here to enter.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hack Job

There is no doubt that Tricky is a shaggy headed boy.

When I visited my grandmother recently the first words out of her mouth were "He needs a haircut". Closely followed by "What's his name again?" She certainly has her priorities.

But she was right. As much a fan as I am of the shag, he was in need of a trim having slipped from shaggy to scruffy in recent weeks.

Shaggy-headed, sushi-eating Tricky, 5 minutes before his hair cut

As usual, the kid sat there unmoving, shooting daggers at her through the mirror and pouting. Most hairdressers say he's well behaved and I tend to just let them think that rather than point out if looks could kill they'd be long gone by now.

Just a trim, so it's out of his eyes, I said.

She started to cut.

She noticed his scars and I said that they were one reason I liked it long. The shaggy look covers a lot of the lumps and bumps caused by his surgeries. She started chatting about the resilience of kids and all the while her scissor-happy hands flew around his poor head.

On leaving the hairdresser I couldn't see how bad it was because it was still wet. All I could tell was it that was much shorter than I'd asked... then it dried. And I cried.

Turns out, when she said "I'll put in a few layers" she meant "I'll wildly hack at your kid's head and make him look stupid".

A few people suggested that it looked like he'd got the scissors out himself. Or that I'd been embracing my frugal side and giving home haircuts. 

After I'd finished crying about it I started crying over the fact that I'd been crying over hair. Hair that grows back. Hair that doesn't matter in the big picture.

Then I looked at him, he gave me the biggest, cheesiest smile, and that gorgeous face juxtaposed with that horrid hair meant I cried some more. He didn't give a shit what his hair looked like, all he cared about was if I was going to play cars with him or not. So I played cars and tried not to cry. I'm extremely hormonal right now, can you tell? GIVE ME SOME CHOCOLATE AND I WILL STOP CRYING.

I did complain to the manager and she attempted to fix it despite me almost having convulsions when she came at his head with scissors, so it's even shorter now and a little bowl-esque. But it will grow.

And all of a sudden I have a boy and not a baby.

Have you/your kid had a bad haircut? Did you cry/complain/eat copious amounts of chocolate?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adam's Story - Children's Vision Day

It's two years this week since we found out Tricky had a skull deformity that would require surgery. As awful as it is to go through something like that, the people that I've met because of it, more often than not, turn out to be truly amazing.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Jennie by the staff at Princess Margaret Hospital. They pair up parents of newly diagnosed kids with those who have gone through it before, and her son, Adam, had walked (well, crawled - they were babies after all) the same path. Instantly we were on the same team, bonded by this intense, shared experience. And as time passed we moved from being fellow cranio mamas to actual friends.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m blabbing on about Craniosynostosis when the title of this post has Children’s Vision Day in it. Well Adam, who is now three years old, is going through another rough patch and Jennie graciously let me interview her in the hopes that together we can raise awareness. I've never actually interviewed someone before, so I went all serious, pretended I was Jana Wendt and just wendt for it:

Can you tell us the name of Adam’s condition?
Adam has a condition known as bilateral retinoblastoma. 

What exactly is retinoblastoma and how common is it?
Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the retina, the inside lining of your eyeball. Some children only have the tumours in one eye, Adam was unlucky and has it in both eyes (which is where the ‘bilateral’ bit comes in).

I’ve never actually heard of retinoblastoma before, how common is it?
It is quite rare, it accounts for only 2% of all childhood cancers, and I have been told there are only about 3 cases a year in WA.

What signs had you noticed that lead you to think something might be wrong and seek medical advice? 

I had noticed a strange reflection in one of Adam's eyes (leukocoria). His pupil looked white in certain lights and at certain angles. It didn't seem to be causing him any problems, he wasn't bumping into things or complaining of not being able to see. It's strange the way you can come up with reasons for things, I was thinking that it was just something that I hadn't noticed, that maybe it was because he was now a bit taller and I was seeing his eye at a different angle. After maybe a couple of weeks I started to think that really there was something not quite right, that it really shouldn't look like that, but I didn't think anything was seriously wrong.
Adam's left eye showing leukocoria

I made an appointment for both of my kids to have an eye test at the optometrist. My daughter went first and her eyes were good. Then it was Adam's turn. The optometrist asked if I had any concerns and I told her about the white reflection. She first tested his vision with both eyes and it was good, then she covered his "bad" eye and again his vision was good, then she covered his "good" eye and my heart nearly broke.

He started moving his head around, trying to see from his good eye and it was so obvious that he was blind in the bad eye. How could I not have realised? My heart broke for my little boy and I felt like absolutely the worst mother in the world, how could I not have known that he was blind in one eye?

She then looked in his eye and told me that she thought he had a cataract. This would require surgery to remove the lens of his eye, which could then be replaced with an artificial lens and that he would get his vision back. She gave me a referral to a paediatric ophthalmologist. I went home and rang my husband (who was away travelling for work) and burst into tears, telling him that Adam was blind and would require surgery on his eye. After I had calmed down a little bit, done some Googling, I told a few friends, and I remember saying "at least it's not cancer". As traumatic as him having a cataract would have been, I wish that is all it was!

I rang to make an appointment to see the ophthalmologist and then next available appointment was in about 2 months time. I really didn't think I could wait that long and I started getting quite upset on the phone, so the receptionist started looking for another appointment. Luckily she found a cancellation for 2 days time, so I grabbed it!

By this time my husband was home, and so he came to the appointment too. First the ophthalmologist repeated the vision test that the optometrist had done. Then he put dilating drops in Adam's eyes and after they’d taken effect he looked in to his eye.

I will never forget that moment. He said "I'm afraid it's not good news. It's a tumour". 

Can you describe how you felt when he said that? It must have been such a shock.
I'm almost sure the world stopped turning for that briefest of moments. Yes, shock is probably the only way to describe it. I didn't quite get it, I had to say to the ophthalmologist "you mean it's cancer?" and he said yes.

The fear I felt was enormous and I started thinking what will happen to him? How will he cope? Will I lose my little boy?

I imagine with a cancer diagnosis, everything happens very fast. What treatment has Adam had so far?
The day after the diagnosis Adam was sent to PMH to have a CT scan and then an MRI and a really thorough examination of both eyes under general anaesthetic. These tests showed that there were tumours in both eyes, but that they appeared (thankfully) to be confined to the eyes only - there is a risk with this type of cancer that it can "escape" via the optic nerve to the brain. The tumours in his left eye were too large to be treated and the only option was for them to remove his eye. Thankfully the tumours in the right eye were considered small enough to be able to treat with laser surgery and chemotherapy.

The following week Adam was admitted and his eye was removed (enucleation) in one operation and a few days later another operation to have some laser surgery and to have chemotherapy port put in.

So far he has had two rounds of chemotherapy and we are expecting that he will be having chemo for at least another 6 months. On top of this, every 6 weeks or so he has to have another general anaesthetic and either more laser surgery, an MRI or just an examination.

That is some intense treatment for such a little fella! How has Adam coped?
He’s amazing! People talk about the resilience of children, and it is so true! It has made me so much more aware of the emotion and “baggage” that we attach to illness. Adam has none of the associations that we as adults attach to cancer, he knows that his eye was sick and that he had to have an operation and he knows all about his chemotherapy port - his "button", but he doesn't have the dread and fear that we as adults have.
Adam showing off his temporary prosthesis

I can’t imagine how hard it would be for you, how are you dealing with the stress?
With wine and chocolate!

But really just trying to live by all those clich├ęs that you hear - one day at a time, make the most of every moment, be happy now because you don't know what's around the corner.

If you could tell parents one thing, what would it be?
Again, all the usual clich├ęs - treasure each moment with your children and family because you never know when it will be your last. Get your childrens eyes tested. Trust your instincts as a parent. If you think something is not right, follow it up.

Thank you so much for sharing your and Adam's story, Jennie, and best of luck to Adam for his operation today to have his new prosthesis fitted!

If you would like to donate to childhood cancer research at PMH there are a number of ways you can do this:
  1. Support the Telethon Adventurers – their most recent adventure to raise money involved climbing Grand Paradiso in Italy with a giant poster of all the kids currently being cared for in the cancer ward of PMH (Adam’s picture is bottom right).

  2. Support the Perth Bloggers and Tweeters Big Walk team. We’re all walking for different reasons but with the same goal – to raise $500 for PMH. If you’re in Perth, join our team (the password is Glowglow) and if you don’t want stroll around the river with us you can just donate.
  3. Buy Lexie’s Look & Cook Book - all proceeds raised from the sale of this book go towards purchasing non-invasive eye testing equipment for PMH to make the process of diagnosis and treatment less painful and scary.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

50 Shades of Teddies {NSFW}

"Make a square cake," she said.

"Have teddies on it," she said.

"Choose your own theme, be original, and make sure everything on it is entirely edible."

I wondered what I could possibly create. It's my beginner's class but be buggered if I was going to create a picnic scene like most of the other students. I had to do something a little bit different. Something funny. Or stupid.

The looks from the other students when I took this in to class were priceless. Behold, the entirely edible 50 Shades of Teddies:

What is a cake without a ball gag, gas mask, handcuffs, whips, restraints, discarded underwear and a threesome?

Would you serve this at a naughty party? Could you eat it? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Omrah Wine Giveaway

Have I mentioned lately that I like wine? I'm thinking it might have slipped through recently, so I'll refresh your memory.

I like wine. I'd go so far as saying I love wine. If I was being facetious, which if we're honest, I quite often am, I'd say I heart it.

I'm generally not too fussy when it comes to my wines other than it has to be white, it has to be dry and I don't want it to cost over $20 a bottle unless it's your shout. If I'm being picky, an unwooded chardonnay is my absolute, hands down favourite.

You can get good wine for under $20 and, for research purposes, I've tested quite a few. You can thank me later.

I had a bit of a test of the Omrah range recently and it gets the thumbs up. It would get a double thumbs up but I can't do two without spilling my wine. They produced Australia's first unwooded chardonnay in 1989 and though it was many years before I was to have a drink, I am forever indebted to them.

Omrah is part of Plantagenet Wines. They hold a special place in my heart for two reasons:

Firstly, because we often stop at the winery on our way to Albany. When it comes in to view not only does it signal an end to driving for five hours with my knees in my armpits whilst listening to the whines of a bored toddler and putting up with the stench of a farting dog, it announces, like a choir of angels, that the cellar door is open and I can buy WINE!

And secondly, because they have a vineyard called Rocky Horror. I really am quite easily impressed, aren't I?

I have three double packs of Omrah wine to give away and you have two ways of entering that will give you more chances of winning:

1. Complete the entry form below for one entry
2. Complete the Facebook entry form HERE to gain multiple entries (2 bonus entries for shares, 10 bonus entries for liking Omrah on Facebook)

Full terms and conditions can be found here

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Weekend Whine - Episode 7

Oh hai! It's the weekend, there is wine (or this instance, bourbon), therefore there is whine!

Excuse the crappy quality... you'll find out why I'm filming on my phone in a few seconds.

What's made you whine this week?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The gift of sleep {plus details of a $15,000 giveaway}

This post is sponsored by The Sleep Store via Shake Media
About a month ago I counted up all the women I knew that were pregnant. I counted 22. Then I thought about all my online friends that were up the duff as well and my head exploded in a dizzy haze of hormones and cluckiness.

A few of that lot have given birth by now (two in my mothers’ group) and a few more have joined the preggo ranks (another two in my mothers’ group). I’m less inclined to believe that there’s “something in the water” and instead think it’s more of a case of “something on the bedside table” *coughfiftyshadescough*.

There is one thing these women all have in common other than their ability to ovulate at approximately the same time. They will all soon know the joy of sleep deprivation.

In a perfect world, at their baby showers, I would give them all the gift of a baby who is a “good sleeper” (whatever the hell that means). However, since it is kinda hard to giftwrap a baby, what with all the wriggling, I will have to settle for giving them a gift voucher from The Sleep Store.

It’s a one stop shop for sleep deprived parents - they sell everything from pyjamas to linen, sticker charts to relaxation CDs. Everything sleep related. Plus there is a whole section dedicated to answering all your sleep questions no matter what your child’s age. The website is so easy to navigate and my parcel arrived two days after ordering. TWO DAYS! It takes longer for an envelope to get here sometimes!

After much deliberation, I decided to not go for the sleep trainer clock despite desperately wanting one (because OMG every. single. night. the child simultaneously head-butts me whilst kicking his dad), and instead opted for a super cool ultrasonic vaporizer that will hopefully help the head-butting, neck-kicking toddler breathe easier.

Ultracompact. Ultrasonic. Ultracool.
On a side note, everyone warned me about the condensation that comes with vaporizers. Not with this baby! It works on high speed vibrations to disperse water vapours in to the air instead of a heating element. It’s cool to the touch even after 8 hours use and is also an air purifier, ionizer, aroma diffuser and night light. Love it!

If you head over to The Sleep Store you can enter The Great $15,000 Giveaway. The prizes are amazing and have me wishing I was allowed to enter because I’ve totally still got my eye on that sleep clock. I’ve got to get one before I wake up with a broken nose.

Do you have strange bedfellows every night? How do you stop the head-butting and kicking?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The day I stabbed Orwell

The other day Tricky's EpiPen, that we were given at the hospital after his first anaphylaxis reaction, expired.

This is a brilliant thing for two reasons:
1 - If it expires it obviously means we didn't have to use it - HOORAY!

2 - I get to stab me an orange! BOOYAH!
I'm not scared of needles, I even had weekly injections for six months to desensitize myself to some allergens, but giving one to someone else is a little bit different to receiving them. There is nothing quite like stabbing fruit to get some pent up aggression out of the system practice, ya know? I decided to give him a name and a backstory because, well, it's me and I do stupid things like project feelings on to food.

I christened him Orwell the Orange. Orwell is allergic to Kiwi fruit and had been in the fruit bowl right next to one. If he'd had lips and eyes, they would have been swelling. I could have drawn them on but that would have been ridiculous, and only highly disturbed people would do that.

It became immediately obvious that the swelling was affecting Orwell's airway too, so I sprang in to action and grabbed the EpiPen, jammed it in his thigh and held it for the required 10 seconds.

That is one big bloody needle

I can only assume Orwell was so busy trying to not die that he didn't feel the giant needle going in, because he didn't even make a peep. Or a squelch. Or whatever noise it is that oranges make. Orwell is one tough cookie orange.

We can now all rest assured, safe in the knowledge that little Orwell is OK and that I'm confident to use a real EpiPen not just our training one.

Oh look, I'm disturbed after all
Are you needle phobic? Do you make oranges in to anthropomorphic test subjects?

Monday, August 6, 2012

And then he got high

This weekend Tricky ended up back in hospital for his third asthma admission in three months, which brings us to a grand total of five hospital admissions in the same time frame.

The Trickster gets a bit high from Ventolin. This is him in the emergency room, at 9:00pm, cacking himself laughing:

It meant that when he was being admitted to the ward from the emergency room he waved and shouted "BYE-BYE!" to every. single. person. He didn't care whether they were a doctor, a nurse or an incredibly sick patient.

I trailed behind looking sheepish. Yes, that hyperactive child is mine, and yes, he's being admitted even though he doesn't look sick AT ALL.

One night of oxygen and two hourly Ventolin was enough and we came home the next day.

He's now getting six puffs of Ventolin every four hours and THIS is what happened at midnight a few minutes after a dose:

Over tired, sick, but HYPER!

Apparently the magic number for preventative measures is three, so he'll be starting that tomorrow. Hopefully it means no more hospital visits.

Do you get hyperactive on Ventolin? How long did you have to wait for preventative treatment for asthma?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to get your toddler to have a day sleep

This post is sponsored by Big W
It’s been said that when you become a parent the days are long but the years are fast. And it’s true, they were right (whoever they are). I think Baby Time advances at a much faster rate… kinda like dog years.

So far this has been pretty true for us. Time flies when you’re sprawled out on the floor playing with your kid and his Big W Toys, and drags on and on and on and on when you’re breastfeeding at 3:00am. When it’s minus two degrees. And the heater doesn’t work. And you can’t reach your phone.

To demonstrate my point, here’s a handy graph for you. You’re welcome.
As you can see, time moves the fastest while your child sleeps. Because it’s in graph form, it must be true.

Tricky has been threatening to completely drop his day sleep over the past few months and I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. I am determined. Despite the immediate shift in the time space continuum that occurs the moment his head hits the pillow, I still covet a moment of alone time. You know, because cleaning the house while a toddler is playing is like trying to stop the Titanic sinking using only a squeegee and a bucket.

A toddler nap may only feel like five minutes but in that time, I become a Domestic Goddess. I can do the dishes, hang out the washing, grab some lunch, tidy away toys and go to the toilet alone, with the door closed, without a hip high whippersnapper demanding I look at his Duplo creation for the 300th time.

Recently I’ve put in a lot of effort in to researching how to keep the increasingly elusive nap as part of our routine and I’m happy to announce that I have discovered a cure for no-nap-itis that is so far foolproof and, as an ethical bonus, requires no gaffa tape.

Step 1: Go to the Big W Online Store

Step 2: Buy a trampoline

Step 3: Set it up

Step 4: Let child bounce*

* a minimum of four hours at a time is recommended for optimum effectiveness

Four easy steps, only one of which requires an allen key or a screwdriver. Hooray! Let's jump for joy... LITERALLY!

If your child is anything like Tricky, he will bounce for hours. He will resist, rather loudly, when it’s time to go inside for a nap, BUT he will slip in to the land of nod quicker than you can say “Mama needs a Twitter fix”. In some cases, he will succumb to sleep INSTANTLY.

At that point you are free to run around and do all the things that are nigh on impossible to do (or at least do well) with a toddler under your feet. Important things like cooking dinner and catching up on the deadlines that have gone whooshing by. It is also the perfect opportunity to put your feet up with a cuppa and do bugger all.

What age did your child give up a day sleep? Did you attempt gaffa taping them to the bed?


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