Monday, 27 August 2007

Go Baby, go!

After three days of sitting in the car seat, the pushchair, various highchairs and being carried around Cat decided that it was good time to use the stored up energy and on our return home she started crawling everywhere. It is such a joy to watch her – she crawls a bit; stops; looks at her new surroundings and back at where she came from all the while “talking” excitedly and pointing at everything; smiles proudly and crawls on.

Friday, 24 August 2007

P.S. Thanks Tanti

Tanti, thank you for your inspiration and encouragement. I doubt that I would make cupcakes without seeing your beaitfull creations

P.P.S. Since Clive's birthday is today, Cat is turning 9 months on Sunday and Monday is a bank holiday we are going away. I'm also starting work on Tuesday, so it's likely that I won't post anything until later next week.

Happy Birthday

She is always married too soon who gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late who gets a good one.
Daniel Defoe "Moll Flanders"

This is what I wanted to tell my grandmother when she was pestering me to get married. She believes that every woman should get married as soon as possible (as men like only young girls and anyone past eighteen is an old maid) and have a kid. While she wished me all the best, in her desire to see me married she often overlooked the more important part (at least for me) of finding a suitable person, with whom I’ll be able to share my everyday life happily. To her eyes women of my generation, searching for a perfect mate, appeared to be too picky and heading for disappointment, disillusionment and more importantly loneliness. I’m glad that I persevered, because eventually I found the person, who has all the good qualities I respect and admire in people; who makes me feel happy, comfortable and loved; who I love more and more every day. Happy birthday, my Dearest.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Easily amused

Cat discovered today that paper tears when pulled hard in opposite directions. Lots of excitement, giggling and paper pulling followed. Are you thinking something along the line of kids being easily amused? It holds true for adults as well:

Julia, Debbie and Dave competing at who can make a bigger bubble, whose bubble survives the longest, who blows the most bubbles, etc. Guys, thank you for the fun evening.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Work in progress

After procrastinating (or contemplating?) for few weeks I finally started few more projects (the answer to why it takes me so long to start anything remotely creative would probably make a good post if I ever find time to analyse my own mind). Here are some of them

But I need a tiny bit of help – does anyone have any good photos of cats and/or birds (seagulls, pigeons, ducks, swans or geese), which they’ll be willing to share with me? I know some of you have cats – maybe you can get them to pose for a photo shoot (though I suspect cats are as difficult to photograph as mobile children).

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Cat’s progress

Cat started pointing at things with her index finger. I’m excited about this achievement as it is nicer to have one’s nose touched gently instead of two slimy, sticky hands being squashed into one’s face. During our walks her hands fly around like little butterflies, fingers waving like the conductor’s batons as she chats away in her own funny language still monotone in the variety of sounds, but full of intonations. And you should see the look of pure concentration on her face when I point and name things or when I read her new books and the look of delight when she recognizes the words uttered.

As most kids her age she loves all the variations of the peek-a-boo game. Papa or mama, disappearing and reappearing from behind the couch, make her laugh hysterically. And yesterday she initiated the game herself by hiding behind the couch. Since she still haven’t mastered the art of successful crawling she had to lean/fall behind the couch and then push herself upright and sticks her head out from behind the couch. So much laughter and happiness and pride at being able to do yet another little thing by herself.

She isn’t very happy about being fed from the spoon, but will eat anything she can grab herself (including beetroot!). Which makes it difficult to get her to eat any meat and the other day I had to resort to mixing some chicken into her yogurt as it is the only thing she’ll eat consistently from the spoon. When I was little I refused to eat tomatoes and my parents pretended that they were oranges to get me to eat them (luckily for them they had some orange-coloured tomatoes growing in their garden). So sneaky of them I used to say and now I get to see their side of the feeding game.

At the weekend I realised that Cat can actually crawl: few times she did it successfully while being excited at seeing a toy she wanted, but she doesn’t seem to be able to coordinate her arms and legs once she becomes aware of what she is trying to do.

Sunday, 19 August 2007


strength came from accepting the contradictions of life rather than pretending life had no contradictions.
Erica Jong "Of Blessed Memory"

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Theory on life

My pet theory on life is that life is like a pointillistic painting: stand too close and all you see are the small dots, take few steps back and the bigger image emerges. Caught up in our everyday life we (or at least I) often forget to slow down, to stop, to stand back and allow ourselves a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Yesterday while trying to explain to my husband how I feel about our current life, I came up with a different image. I feel like I’m lost in a maze – there are constantly some decisions to be made, path to be taken. Should I turn left? Should I turn right? Either could lead me to my goal. Either can result in the dead end.

I feel lost. I’m no longer even sure what the goal is. I would prefer to see my life as a painting, even if all I notice are the points of colour.

Though writing about this helps. Whenever I write something like this down I end up smiling at my own ponderous musings. And I think a brisk walk in the park is also in order. Hope the sun is out and shining wherever you are, like it is here today.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

In search of Parent & Baby group

The weather took the turn for the worse. The rain is back. The cold gusts of wind make me feel like the summer is over and the winter is fast approaching. I’m dreading the coming of winter with its gloomy short days. At least my parents will be here for some of the time to keep us company. Occasionally due to the lack of free time I grumble about the time I spend on my Skype conversations with mum, but now I sorely miss our long chats while my parents are taking 20 days to drive from Townsville to Melbourne. Hope they are seeing lots of interesting things on the way.

So lacking adult conversation and not feeling inspired to visit any of the usual places I finally made it to the local Parent and Toddler group yesterday. As expected the kids were older than Cat. The closest in age was lovely outgoing one year old girl in the pretty dress, who was trying to master walking and every time she took a step her ankle bracelets would make a soft tinkling noise. There was a shy 18 months girl, who was observing the other noisy kids from a quiet corner. The rest of the kids were closer to 2 years and older. The activities they did and toys they played with were age inappropriate for Cat. I chatted to three mums, but was totally overwhelmed by all the noise and trying to keep Cat out of harms way. Cat seemed to deal with the noise better and after initial shock of seeing so many kids at once wanted to take part in the fun and to chew everything in sight.

One of the mums runs an earlier morning group and I discovered that this breastfeeding group described as “designed to support breastfeeding mothers” in the centre’s leaflet is actually the equivalent to Parent & Baby group. If Cat wakes up early enough from her morning nap I’ll try it next Tuesday as it sounded more appropriate for us. While fully supporting breastfeeding and believing that breastfeeding mothers need all the encouragement and help they can get, I wonder where non-breastfeeding mothers and fathers go. The area seems to be sadly lacking in parent support groups. There is another church group I know of, but it is also targeted to parents of Toddlers. The baby clinic canceled theirs due to the lack of staff. While waiting to see the health visitor at the baby clinic I noticed that many parents from the same cultural background know each other – so I guess if someone belongs to a cultural group numerous in this area (like Polish or Indian) they are able to find other parents via their friend network. But people like us, who just moved to the area and don’t have any friends with kids, end up being pretty much isolated. Once the school term starts I’ll try the story and rhyme groups at the local libraries and Monkey Music class. I’m hoping they’ll be more to my liking otherwise it could be a very long winter.

Monday, 13 August 2007


Since the contract isn’t ready yet my work starting date was postponed from today to 28th of August. I guess now I have more time to prepare. So far the only bit of preparation done was buying a small desk.
Previously I was using our dinning table and it was getting a bit annoying having to clear everything away before every dinner. I love having my own little corner. Now I just need to figure out how to childproof it before Cat starts crawling.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Let us enjoy life

Last week I stumbled on this quote

The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it.

And while I like my life, it is often easy for me to see negatives: the material goods I can’t afford, the countries and cities not visited, the opportunities missed, friends lost or never made. So this week whenever negative or jealous thought passed my mind I would try to stop, look around and take stock of all the good things in my life. We had trouble with our hot water system again and after being unable to take a warm shower for two muggy days I realised how many simple things, like hot water, I take for granted. For me noticing one good thing often leads to noticing something else pleasant and after a bit of perseverance in the positive thinking I can see my life unfolding in front of me in all its beauty and splendour. As usual it is the first step which is hard to make.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Vertical from horizontal

Cat continues the tradition of doing things for the first time while no one is looking. We just found her sitting in her cot instead of napping. I guess it means that now she knows how to get into the sitting position from lying down.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Book Quiz

Didn't I say that books were everywhere? :-D

You're Pale Fire!
by Vladimir Nabokov
You're really into poetry and the interpretation thereof. Along the road of life, you have had several identity crises which make it very unclear who you are, let alone how to interpret poetry. You probably came from a foreign country, but then again you seem foreign to everyone in ways unrelated to immigration. Most people think you're quite funny, but maybe you're just sick. Talking to you ends up being much like playing a round of the popular board game Clue.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Now the problem is that I haven't read this book, wonder if my library has it

Books are everywhere

Yesterday I took Cat to the Baby Clinic after 2 months break. This time she was highly interested in other babies: she stared at few of them and even tried to grab the foot of the little boy sitting next to us. And I marvelled at how tiny some of the babies were – I don’t think Cat was ever that small, though I’m struggling to remember how she looked like as a newborn. Maybe it is time to look through her old photos again. I keep on meaning to organize them into the album; I even borrowed a book on scrapbooking from the library, but it probably will take me years to get it done.

She finally got weighted (8.96 kilos) after waiting for more than one hour (our area’s health clinic is severely understaffed). I had a chat with a health visitor and was given the first bookstart pack with two baby books and information on reading & local libraries for the parents. There are two more packs: one given at 18 months and one at three years. I think it is a great programme to encourage reading, although I’m unlikely to think anything else since I love books. The bookstart website also has song sheets with illustrations and lists of good book for children. From the pack I found out that there is a company which publishes bilingual books and now I have to resist the temptation to order some.

We already accumulated a good sized collection of children books (though not so many ones suitable for the baby) as I discovered many in good condition in the local charity shops. My latest favourite finds are Lion’s Precious Gift with the beautiful illustrations by Amanda Hall and a book of rhymes Twiddling Your Thumbs by Wendy Cope – I love her quirky poetry for adults and kids. Clive and I finally accepted the fact that there is no curing of my book collecting addiction and bought two more bookshelves.

I think I can go on and on talking about books (did I ever whinge about our library having a borrowing limit of 12 books? It used to be 7 until recently. Seven is a very small number!), but I think I’ll stop now.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Adding beads to crochet

Last week in the middle of all the outings and before the visitors came I finally finished a tiny present for my cousin.

About two years ago I saw the Bead Crochet book by Bethany Barry in the library and despite the ghastly colours loved the projects in the book and the idea of combining crochet and beads (ok, I’ll admit that colour preferences are very personal and changeable and that some people will love the colour combinations in this book). After renewing the book numerous times I had to return it to the library. A bit later I bought another book(The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells), but for a total novice to beading the variety of ideas, skills, projects and beauty was totally overwhelming. And so it sat on my bookshelf for almost another year – I would take it out regularly; look through the pages excited at the prospect of learning to create something so magical, but fearful of complexity involved and possible failure I would put it back on the shelf. Finally one day I bought some beads and decided to try my hand at making simple crocheted rope. It took a very long time, but while making it I contemplated on how much my cousin’s friendship means to me and got inspired to make a card for her as well. I felt so happy to be able to express all my respect and love for her in few simple sentences. And I was reminded again that crocheting allows me to take a peaceful break from everyday busyness, to connect to my thoughts and feelings. Hence this small present for her ended up being a huge one for myself.

Полина, я тебя люблю

P.S. the quote on the front of the card is from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

What a week!

You may be suffering from burnout. With this in mind, do yourself a favour and stop trying to accomplish everything on your wish list…
This week horoscope from Australian Who magazine

I can’t believe that it is already the end of Sunday – so many things happened this week.

You already know about my Monday. On Tuesday Julia invited Cat and I for lunch and fed me some of my favourite things – grilled eggplant, fried chicken livers and salad. Cat enjoyed some of my eggplant – she’ll eat anything as long as she cat grab it herself and put it into her mouth, but she isn’t as eager to try pureed and mashed food offered to her in the spoon.

On Wednesday Clive took a sick day and it was great to spend some time with him even if he was a bit grumpy due to the cold. Later that day Olya arrived from Australia with cute Australian/Melbourne themed t-shirts for Cat. My aunt, who actually flew in on the same flight as Olya, came later as she decided to explore London first. It was great to see her play with Cat. Sadly we were very sleepy and tired, she due to jetlag and I due to not having full night sleep in a very long time, and didn’t get to talk as much as I wanted. She left very early the next morning as she wanted to see a bit more of London before departing to Berlin. I hope we’ll get to catch up again soon for longer.

On Thursday I left Cat with Clive, who still wasn’t well enough to go to work, and went to Covent Garden with Olya. We looked around some shops and had lovely lunch together. It was so strange not to have a pushchair to push – on the underground I would automatically turn towards gates for people with big luggage and prams, only to realise that I can go through normal ticket barriers. I felt so empty handed and somehow lost. I also noticed every baby, toddler and child and kept on thinking about my wonderful family waiting for me at home.

Julia had some classical music tickets for Friday night and she asked me to come with her. The small problem was that concert started at 19:30 and Clive doesn’t get home before 18:50, which didn’t give me enough time to make it to Barbican. So I planned to go to TATE Modern, feed Cat there and give her to Clive to take back home. But she slept most of the day (2.5 hrs in the morning and another 2.5 in the afternoon) and it was getting a bit too late to go to TATE. The weather was beautiful and I decided to go straight to Clive’s work area and walk along the Thames there. We had a nice stroll and Cat enjoyed looking at the seagulls and pigeons. Clive joined us as I fed her and after walking with them to Barbican station I was free. Barbican is one of my favourite places in London. I used to be there all the time listening to classical music, enjoying plays, watching movies and even went to one or two of their art exhibitions, so it was great to be back there again after a long break. I loved every moment of the concert, somehow classical music is never the same on the radio or CD, and we enjoyed some champagne in the interval. It was such a great break before coming back home to poor sick child, who wouldn’t sleep and spending next 36 hours comforting her.

Olya left on Saturday after taking part in trying to keep Cat happy. Clive had to go away for work. And Cat and I mostly cuddled in bed, on the couch, on the living room floor in front of TV.

On Sunday since she looked much better and it was getting very hot and stuffy in our flat (yep, the summer is finally back!) we decided to go to the park for a picnic. I’m very happy she doesn’t crawl yet, as we still struggled to keep her away from our food, the grass, Clive’s magazine and everything else. The only things she wasn’t interested in were her toys and her food. BTW chicken bone inside plastic container makes a great rattle. During late afternoon, while she slept, I collapsed on the living room floor and had a short nap myself. I’m looking forward to having an uneventful week.

P.S. I didn’t have enough energy to finish this on Sunday night, but I don't want to rewrite so lets pretend that I did post this on Sunday

Discovering the world: being sick

Poor thing had her first cold. She felt and looked totally miserable yesterday: runny nose, watering eyes, sneezing, and fever. And she couldn’t sleep – throughout the day and night I tried everything to get her to sleep and eventually she would fall asleep only to wake up few minutes later whimpering. But she still smiled and even laughed occasionally at us, at the funny noises we made, at her favourite toys, at books and her own reflection in the mirror.

After finally sleeping soundly for few hours in the early morning, she woke up looking healthy and energetic and is back to trying to figure out how to sit up and crawl.