Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fluffy Mail

I always knew that I was going to use cloth nappies on my kids long before I ever had any. Until a few years before I had Seagull, I just assumed that that was going to involve copious amounts of terry toweling squares and plastic piltchers. I figured that if my Mum could manage it, then so could I.

A friend of mine had a baby about two years before I had Seagull. I was amazed at the cloth nappies she was using on her daughter. They were shaped like disposables and buttoned up and were seriously cute. I wanted to steal them.

When I was pregnant with Seagull, I did my research and decided on a fitted system. For those of you unfamiliar with modern cloth nappies (MCN's), a fitted nappy is the closest thing you can get to the old school terry toweling nappies. They tend to be made out of hemp or bamboo fabric (mine are bamboo) and they need a separate cover to go over the top.

It's at this point that I feel the need to mention what happened with our washing machine the day after we brought Seagull home from hospital. I diligently hooked into the washing, only for our machine to shit itself halfway through the first load. Thankfully, it wasn't the load of nappies that were in there at the time (they were going to be my next load). Unfortunately, the machine started spewing water all over our laundry floor and there is no drainage hole in our laundry floor. Seriously, who builds a house without a drainage hole in the laundry floor?! Fortunately, I happened to notice the water spewage all over the wet areas before it made its way to the carpet. Unfortunately, it was 5 January, one of the whitegoods repairers in town was on holidays and the other was flat out busy. It was only because we told him that we have a 5 day old baby and no way to wash his nappies that we had a 2 day wait as opposed to a weeks wait.

Thunder Maker and my Mum attempted to repair the washing machine themselves to no avail, so we just had to hang tight and wait for the repair man to come. In the meantime, Thunder Maker and I made an early evening trip to the local laundromat sans Seagull (who stayed at home with his Granny) and put our five loads of washing in the machines. There was no one else there, so we hogged most of the machines and did all the washing at once.

When the repair man came, it turns out that the plug in the machine that stops the water from spewing out all over the place had come loose. Once it was put back in, the machine worked perfectly.

Anyway, back to the main story. I decided to try a different type of MCN when Seagull was about 6 months old. I ordered 6 All-in-ones (AIO's) and my addiction to MCN's took off. An AIO is a sized nappy that has a waterproof outer layer (either a smooth PUL fabric or a fluffy minky fabric), so it doesn't need a separate cover. The ones I have have a soaker pad sewn into them, but also have a pocket in the back that you can put additional bamboo inserts into to boost the absorbency.

I returned to work part time just before Seagull was 12 months old. His childcare centre were happy to use cloth nappies on him, so to make things easier on them, I decided to buy some more nappies that didn't require a separate cover. By this stage, the manufacturers of the nappies I'd already been using introduced a multi-fit pocket system. They also have a waterproof outer layer, but you can change the rise of the nappy by using snaps on the front of the nappy to adjust it to the appropriate size. They have a pocket in the back like an AIO, but they don't have any absorbent material sewn into them, so you need to put the inserts in yourself. The advantage to this is that you take them out to wash them and the drying time is a lot quicker.

When I found out I was expecting Wombat, I figured that I was all set for nappies. What I didn't count on was Wombat being such a lard arse big baby. It quickly became apparent that Wombat was going to outgrow the nappies that I already have long before he was ready to toilet train. This gave me an excuse to fuel my addiction buy more cloth nappies. Since February, I have had a set of large AIO's on lay-by. I paid them off a bit over a week ago and was greeted by the beautiful sight of a large parcel early yesterday morning. Fluffy mail had arrived!

I eagerly ripped into the package and checked out all the fluffy goodness. Bliss! Seagull and Wombat were quite fascinated by all the fluffy mail as well. Seagull's bliss moment arrived when I asked him to help me load them all into the washing machine. What can I say? We all <3 fluffy mail in our house. :)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ripped off!

Before Seagull started talking, Thunder Maker and I used to muse whether his first word was going to be "mama" or "dadda". Turns out that it was going to be neither. Seagull's first word was "baby". Nice to know where his priorities were (and still are, for that matter).

As much as I was hoping that Wombat's first word was going to be "mama", I knew that it was probably going to be "dadda". My boys absolutely adore their father. They love their mama, and I'm the one they come looking for when they want some comfort and security, but dadda is who the cool kids love to hang out with in my family.

Sure enough, a few weeks ago, Wombat came out with "dadda". The funny thing is that he only ever says it when Thunder Maker isn't around, so I've been the only one to hear him say it so far. That's cool, I thought, I'll get my "mama" next.

What I was forgetting is how besotted Wombat is with Seagull. His whole face lights up every time he sees Seagull. He's a big fan of tapping Seagull to get his attention so that they can play.

Anyway, we all wake up this afternoon from a nap and Wombat comes out with his second word. Only it's not "mama". It's "brother". At this point in time, I am feeling really ripped off. He's probably going to say the pet's names before he says "mama" at this rate.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Exam time

If you happen to follow my blog regularly, you may have noticed that all has been quiet in this corner of the world over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, uni stuff was getting on top of me and was taking up way more of my time than I would have liked.

Since getting home, I've had two physics assignments due and countless online quizzes to do for both physics and human body systems. This is all on top of my normal family life. The really sucky thing is that I misread an e-mail from my physics lecturer while I was in Rockhampton. I thought that he had given us a week's extension on our second assignment (the first one was done earlier in the term), which suited me because I hadn't finished it while we were in Rockhampton and it was supposed to be due the day after we got home after driving for four days. Turns out that it was for a tutorial and not the assignment, as I found out when I went to submit the assignment a week late. Fortunately, my lecturer said that he would still accept it.

The third physics assignment was due on Monday night just gone, two weeks after I finished the second assignment. In true Sidetracked style, I left it until the Sunday to start it. Fortunately, it was a lot easier than the second assignment. Still, I was up until 2am on Monday morning working on it, then finished it early Monday evening. After I had submitted the assignment, I set to work on the nine multiple choice quizzes that I had also left until the last minute and were due in that night. I ended up finishing those just after 2am (turns out the cut off time was 5:55am). I was very thankful that Seagull and Wombat chose to sleep in until 9:30am that morning. I had also finished eleven multiple choice quizzes for human body systems the week before.

My human body systems exam was on Monday (yes, I was sitting up until the wee hours doing physics work instead of revising for my exam). I thought I was pretty well all over it, but there were some really curly questions in the exam that I wasn't expecting. Still, I reckon I did well enough to pass, and you know what they say, P's get degrees.

My physics exam was on Thursday and I was pretty stressed out in the lead up to it. I knew that I had done nowhere near enough study and was really worried that I wasn't going to pass and would have to repeat the subject again next year. When I got into the exam, I was pleasantly surprised. All of the questions were a straight cut and paste out of the multiple choice quizzes and our assignments. In fact, one of the questions that was worth 25 marks in the exam was exactly the same as one of the questions in the third assignment. I was all over that one like a rash, making sure that I answered it. It was meant to be a three hour exam, but I finished it in just over two hours. It was such a good feeling.

I don't actually find out my final marks for my subjects until 1 July, but I'm feeling a lot better about it all now than I was at this time last week. Given that I'm going to be doing three subjects next term, I'm going to be using my down time to do a bit of reading on next term's subjects before they start. I don't want to get behind again, especially as I'm doing one more subject than what I usually do.

Last stop Rockhampton

After spending a couple of days with our wonderful friend in Brisbane, it was time to continue on with our trip. I managed to get everything packed the night before and convince Thunder Maker to load the car up so that we wouldn't have to do it in the morning. For once, we actually got away when we said we would.

On the drive, we noticed signs for a place called Sexie Coffie. I thought it was rather amusing and Thunder Maker is always sucked in by a gimmick involving a picture of a pair of legs and a cup of coffee, so we went through their drive-through at Marybourough. All I can say is best. chai latte. ever. Seagull was pretty impressed with his big babychino too. Seagull is a real sucker for a babychino. We can't get coffee/chai latte for ourselves without getting him a babychino.

By the time we got into Rockhampton, I was ready for a lie down. I made Thunder Maker go and get the key. There had been a mix-up and the family sized on-site caravan (how deliciously bogan, I know) that we were meant to be staying in had been given to someone else. The van that we ended up with was way too small for all four of us, so the caravan park manager kindly offered us an on-site cabin for the night at no extra cost.

The cabin we ended up in was actually the same one Thunder Maker, Seagull and I had stayed in 18 months previously when we were last up that way. The only reason we weren't staying in the cabin for the length of our stay this time is because half of their cabins had been washed away/damaged in the floods and the other half had already been fully booked out for part of the time we were staying up there by the time I had gotten organised enough to make the booking.

The next morning, we were able to move into our family sized van. There was a double bed and a single bed in the van. The double bed was on a platform that was supposed to be up against the wall of the van, but part of the wall had buckled out, so there was a slight gap in between the two. Me, having a typical mother moment, went to have an afternoon nap and forgot to take my mobile phone out of my pocket. You know where this is going, don't you? Yep, my phone fell out of my pocket and down the gap while I was sleeping. The gap was too small for me to get my hand down and there was no other way of accessing it. To cut a long story short, the caravan park manager had to drill a few holes in the floor of the caravan with his hole bit from underneath the van and reach up into it to rescue my phone.

I started my residential school the next morning. I got the times mixed up and thought that I had to be at the uni for an 8am start. Turns out that we were actually starting at 9am. Fortunately, I wasn't the only person who mixed the times up and I got chatting to one of my classmates. It turned out that she was doing the same two subjects that I was, so we agreed to pair up for the lab work for both subjects.

Meanwhile, the boys were all having a whale of a time without me. In the time that I was in classes, Wombat became a lot more aware of Seagull and vice versa. For the first time, Wombat was interacting with Seagull. As Thunder Maker said, trips to Rockhampton are a real bonding experience for the males in our family. Even when I got home of an evening, the boys would quite happily muck around with each other on the double bed.

 Seagull and Wombat

At night, I was sharing the double bed with Wombat and Seagull and Thunder Maker had the single bed to himself. One night I was woken up by movements and the sound of giggling. I rolled over to look, and there was Wombat and Seagull mucking around and playing with each other in the middle of the night. The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure Wombat rolled over and hit Seagull gently until he woke up to get him to play.

The day after my res school finished, we started the long trip back home. Rather than boring you with a whole post all about the drive, I'll just mention a couple of highlights here.

While we were packing up our stuff to leave, a couple of rainbow lorikeets landed on the ground right next to our car. Seagull loves birds and thought that the lorikeets were wonderful. After a couple of minutes, they went across the road to one of the other caravans. We had been chatting to the occupants of this particular van when we passed them over the last couple of days, and when they saw that Seagull was interested in the birds, they got out a piece of bread for him to feed them.

Seagull feeding the birdie. If you like his hoodie, check out Mm is for me.

Thunder Maker and I were conducting a highly scientific social experiment. We were driving past a lot of roadworks and Thunder Maker hypothesised that the friendliness of the lolly pop people at roadworks sites is directly proportional to their proximity to an Esky. With the hypothesis in place, we set out to test it by waving to every lolly pop person we saw. For the most part (there was the odd exception in both cases), the closer a lolly pop person was to an Esky, the more likely we were to get a smile and a wave in return.

On the second day of our journey, we were driving through a small northern NSW town and Seagull became rather animated. His talking went something along the lines of "Hello birdies, hello trees, hello bogans!" to a couple who happened to be minding their own business walking along the footpath. Just in case Thunder Maker and I were in doubt as to what he had said, Seagull then proceeded to say "hello bogans!" again about ten times.