The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

A few weeks ago, we were at a park and my 4 year old, Sean came running over to us in tears.

He had a small graze on his shin and a teeny-tiny drop of blood next to it. We wiped away the blood, said “there, there, it’ll be alright”, gave him a pat on the head, and sent him back to his ball game.

A few weeks later, I noticed that his shin had a long red lump on it. His skin was hot to touch, and there was a tiny puncture mark. It all looked very swollen and infected.

I immediately made an appointment to see our doctor, who ordered us to have an ultrasound to see what was inside. She also warned us… that if there was something inside, we might have to get it surgically removed. AAAK SURGERY!

So. Next step. The most important thing was to keep our 4 year old cool and calm about everything. Our plan was to explain the WHOLE medical process to him in meticulous detail, so there wouldn’t be any surprises.

This led him to be very excited. And with his new found interest in photography, he asked if he could take photos. We thought: Uh. Sure. That would be cute. He can document the whole experience.

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

Sean on the lying down thing, pointing to the computer screen thing, which had lots of blurry blue blocks on it. He loved the whole experience.

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

“The doctor’s name was Dr Chris and he’s showing me the looking-thing. It looked a bit like a mouse, but it didn’t have buttons on it. It’s just got a panel on it for looking under your skin. But it doesn’t have eyes. Just a panel. A grey panel. That looks.”

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

“The doctor squirted jelly on my leg and rubbed that looking-thing on my leg. The jelly was cold, and it’s not the jelly that you eat. It tickled a bit, and he was kinda wobbling me around, but I was concentrating and trying to keep the camera still in case it went all blurry.”

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

“There were two screens of my leg. One was connected to the computer over there next to me and the doctor. And the other was high up on the wall. It was too blurry for me to see. It was just blueness and fuzzy and it had words and numbers around it.”

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

“This is dad.”

The Foreign Body, Part 1: A Photo-Documentary by Sean

“The doctor said there was something in my leg. It was the stick from the park. He drew a line on my skin to show us how big the stick was. I asked him whether he was using a never-pen [he means a permanent marker pen] because I knew you wouldn’t be happy if the never-pen-ink went on my skin, but he said it was ok to draw on my skin, so I said ok.”

I was going to record Sean’s voice and put it up online, but trust me, he would have talked your ear off.

So. We’ve been referred to see a plastic surgeon, and we’ll be discussing what’s the best way to cut this thing out.

Next step. How to convince my 4 year old that getting his leg cut open will be very cool.

Muesli Bars (Sort of)

Muesli Bar (Sort of)

The other day I decided to make my own muesli bars. I was looking for something new to put in the kid’s school lunchboxes. And I don’t like the muesli bars they sell in the shops (they are packed with sugar and preservatives).

Anyway, I found a recipe (courtesy from the Australian Woman’s Weekly) and I was inspired.

I didn’t have everything I needed, so of course I improvised! You see, I found all this cool stuff in my kitchen pantry… and I think I got a bit carried away with the pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, and organic puffed brown rice.

In the end I think I put too much stuff in. There wasn’t enough honey and butter mix to stick it all together! Not to mention, I reduced the sugar.

This is what it looked like once it came out of the oven. When I tried to cut it, it all just crumbled apart and they weren’t exactly BARS. So instead I stirred it all up and we ate it like toasted muesli for breakfast the next morning.

On the upside – the warm smell of roasted nuts, oats, honey and butter… *gah* it was so incredible and unbelievably mouth-watering, that I thought I would faint. Will try again next time.

Muesli Bar Recipe

125g butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups of rolled oats
¼ cups sesame seeds, toasted
¼ cup sunflower seeds, chopped
¼ cup desiccated coconut, toasted
¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
¼ cup sultanas
2 tablespoons of unprocessed bran

Grease a pan (20com x 30cm)
Combine butter, sugar and honey in pan on low heat, until sugar dissolves.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Press mixture into pan. Bake in 180C oven for 20 minutes, or when lightly browned.
While warm, cut into bars. Cool completely in pan.
Store in air tight containers.

Fashion Find: Pelava Jewellery

Pelava Jewellery by Leonie Wilson

I’m always so excited when I find stunning, unique, contemporary jewellery – and then discover that the designer comes from the same city in which I live: Perth, Australia.

This made it easy for me to catch up with Leonie Wilson, designer and creator of Pelava Jewellery. It was a real delight for me to hear her talk about her love for creating. It re-kindled my own passion for creating things.

After travelling around the world, gathering inspiration from her surroundings, Leonie began her jewellery design career in the US. She returned to Australia, with her head bursting with ideas and launched her label, Pelava.

Pelava Jewellery by Leonie Wilson

I just love the bold and simple shapes of her pieces. They have a very organic and elegant feel about them.

Left is an earring from her Resinate range – sterling silver earring with resin inlay.

Right are her Double Round Linx Earrings.

Pelava Jewellery by Leonie Wilson

Left is a Round Linx Chain. Right is a Linx Matt Stone Pendant.

Leonie tells me she loves to “get out there” – in particular, setting up stalls at designer markets, and meeting and talking to the people who actually wear her jewellery.

Looking at her whole range, it’s easy to see how well she knows her market. She’s created a set of eight collections, each with strong designs, great colours and polished workmanship. And they all seem pretty affordable – especially for handmade jewellery with high quality materials.

On her Pelava website, you can download her catalogue, view prices, and ogle at all her yummy designs. Plus, she does take national and international orders online.

Check out my favourite online shops in the Fashion and Shopping Directory

Making Baby 3 – Sleeping Through the Night

Liam at 9 weeks

At 6 weeks old, my newborn Liam had established a night time routine – but not a good one.

He would go to bed at 8pm on the dot. Then he would wake up at 12am, 2am, 4am and 6am. Every two hours!

And guess what, my other 2 children also woke up at 6am! And we all have to leave for school at 8:00!

It was really hard. The broken sleep in the evenings, plus the very busy days looking after the other children and running the house… it was a very bad combination.

I was really cranky and irritable. I was constantly dazed. I kept having little memory “black-outs”. I was snapping and shouting at the kids – saying things like “Mummy’s got a headache! Can you just GO AWAY??”. I was emotional. I was grumpy at my husband. I would cry at random things. I would be really angry and breakdown if the smallest thing went wrong. And I could feel myself slowly sinking towards depression.

This went on for 8 days.

I soon realised that there was a pattern in my newborn’s night time feeds:

He has a huge feed at 8pm. At 12am he wakes up for a medium feed and goes straight to sleep.

At 2am, he cries out. I pick him up and he’s very sleepy and sluggish. He’s so sleepy that he doesn’t actually seem hungry, he doesn’t attach well, and so he gulps down a lot of air. He only drinks for 3-5 minutes and falls asleep on the breast.

When he’s done, I burp him and he usually throws up half or all of what he had drunk (I thought he had reflux). I clean him up, change his clothes, change his nappy, I burp and pat him a lot. He falls asleep, I put him down. All up, it takes 45 minutes.

At 4am, pretty much the same thing happens.

After 4 nights of this, I had perfected the art of aiming his head so his vomit goes on the floor without getting any on his clothes!

After 6 days of all this, I begin to suspect that he was waking up and crying out of habit. He just didn’t seem hungry, and maybe he just wanted something to suck on.

So after 8 days and nights of all this craziness, I decided to do something about it, to save my sanity, and to save my family from “mad” me.

Day 1

I put him to bed at 8pm. He woke up and had a big feed at 12am.

At 2am, he cried out and I went in to pat him, stroke his head, and say reassuring things to him. But NO FEED! I left the room. He cried.

After 5 minutes I went in again and gave him another pat, stroke and kind words. But NO FEED! He cried!

After 10 minutes, I did the same thing. Still crying!

After 15 minutes, I did the same thing. Lots of crying!

Whenever he started his angry or his breathless crying, I went in earlier. The sound of my voice and my strokes seemed to soothe him considerably. But I always left the room after a few minutes. And NO FEED!

It went on and on for 2 hours – every 15 minutes, going in to say hi.

Man, I was wrecked. I was really upset. My heart was crushed from hearing him cry. I felt like I was abandoning my child. I felt like such a terrible person, and a bad mother. I was starving my child! My child is going to have issues! My child is going to hate me! I couldn’t look at his face while he cried, or else I would have given in.

The only thing that kept me going was the fact that we had used the same technique with my other two children to sleep through the night. And it worked for them. So I knew he’d be ok.

Also my husband was very supportive, he stayed up with me to make sure I didn’t go crazy.

Liam finally went to sleep at 4am!

He woke up at 6am, I gave him a big cuddle and a big feed. And he went straight back to sleep.

(So he had gone 6 hours without a feed. During the day I was watching him like a hawk. He showed no signs of distress at all. He was happy, smiling at me and locking his eyes onto things whenever he was awake. And he slept soundly for 3 hours in the afternoon.)

Day 2

I put him to bed at 8pm. He woke up and had a big feed at 12am.

At 2am, he cried out and we did the whole thing all over again – every 15 minutes, going in to say hi.

This time he only cried for 45 minutes. But he only did a whimpering kind of cry, not an angry cry.

He went back to sleep and woke up at 6am.

(Again, he went 6 hours without a feed. He was absolutely fine and happy during the day. He had several big sound naps too.)

Day 3

I put him to bed at 8pm.

This time he didn’t wake up at 12pm. He woke up at 3am!

He just whinged for 15 minutes. I went in to pat him and say hi.

He went back to sleep and woke up at 6am.

Day 4

I put him to bed at 8pm.

And he woke up at 6am.

Day 5 to Now (3 weeks later)

Still sleeping at 8pm and waking up at 6am.

In the evenings he gets pretty hungry. He feeds 5:30pm, 6:30pm and 7:30pm. I figure that he’s topping himself up for the long night sleeps, which is great.


Officially, this technique is called “controlled crying”. I am aware that there are some people who don’t believe in it and discourage it. I’m making no judgments, and I hope no one else does either.

I’m simply sharing my experience here, which is that – I can’t be a good mother to all my kids, I can’t be a good companion to my husband, and I can’t manage a home… if I am suffering from sleep deprivation.

I know that Liam is putting on lots of weight. He’s reaching his baby milestones (smiling, gooing and gahing, following things with his eyes and ears, doing lots wet and dirty nappies), his breast attachment is much better (no more reflux and throwing up his feeds), he is sleeping soundly during the day, and… he gets a lot more cuddles and kisses from a relaxed and happy mummy.

(The photograph above is Liam and I ahgoo-ing at 9 weeks. When he is bright and awake, and you say “AH GOOOO” to him, he’ll respond with an AH GOO too. It’s so darn cute that it even makes my husband ovulate.)

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.