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Lily's back!

Hello everyone!  I'm sure no one's watching this any more--it's been five years, but I think I might have somewhat started to emerge from the fog of mothering very young children.  I'm writing again, and so here I am, writing about writing, and about my life.

It's funny, because in the last two months I've somehow managed to write an entire, stunningly brilliant 60,000 word fanfiction novel, and I've talked very little about it.  I've been obsessed; I've been consumed; I've given up eating and sleeping and talking to anyone who exists outside my head; I've lost over 10% of my body weight, which is usually the sign of a good story for me.  And I've created something extraordinary.  It's turned out to be little like the evil adult love-child of His Son's Father and Mother of Invention, and it's in the BBC Sherlock fandom.  Come on, there's so many geniuses in that fandom--you knew I couldn't stay away.

Yes, it's fanfiction, which is not the direction I had decided to go with my writing, but I guess I must write where inspiration takes me.  Speaking of which, it's... disturbing.  And explicit.  And very gay.  And did I mention disturbing?  None of which was really where I wanted to be heading with my writing either, but I haven't been able to leave this story alone--it's just too good.  Did I mention it was also powerful, and hopeful, and thought-provoking, and tense, and emotional, and packed with vivid characters, and absolutely laden with layers of meaning and genuine things to say?  And it has a happy ending?  The comments I've been getting seem to confirm it; it's not just me.  This story deserved to be finished.

You know the thing of which I'm probably most proud?  I know it's not perfect.  There's lines, there's whole scenes, there's words that aren't... exactly right.  Words that I could spend hours or days on, obsessing over, trying to find exactly the right fit.  But I'm not doing that.  I'm not saying I haven't done that at all, because I have.  One sentence ended up with an essay and a flowchart to sort out the six layers of meaning I was trying to convey with it--but I'm doing my best to save it for the moments that are the most important.  For the rest, I'm doing the easiest 99% of the job, and letting the other 1% go. And I'm posting it anyway.  99% perfect is actually pretty damn good.  

In any case, at this point I'm about to post the tenth and final chapter, and I guess I'm coming up for air.  I'm thinking about what I've done, and what I'm going to do next.  And I'm thinking about how I'm going to do it, to make sure that I keep this momentum--keep finishing things, keep creating things that are worthwhile, and keep doing things that are important to me, not just as Mum, but as me.

I've still been checking in on Futureproof regularly, and it's progressing.  It's had a lot of good work on it, and I'm going to go back to working on it, or perhaps have another go at starting something else original, as soon as this current story packs itself and its assorted outtakes up and vacates my brain.

I've come to terms with the way I work on things.  It takes me a long time to write something good, it needs to bake in my brain.  Bursts of all-consuming obsession interspersed with vacations--it's during the vacations that some of the most truly extraordinary things happen to the story, so I'm not worried--when I do get back to Futureproof, there'll be something amazing there waiting for me again.  If there's not, I'll give it a brief spring cleaning to make sure nothing's hiding under the beds, and then work on something else for a while.

So here's my question: does anyone still read this?  Or am I still stuck in my head, talking to myself?

In praise of infant panadol

Something was wrong last night.

I've not yet discovered anything I can't eat because it makes William upset, but I'm seriously searching yesterday's menu for anything that I might not have had since becoming a milk bar (potential culprits: pistachios and turkey) because last night...

We got William to bed around 11:30 after a full day of Christmas festivities. Two full turkey dinners, one with seventeen people and FOUR varieties of christmas puddings, one with eleven people and 'only' one massive pud. Lots of presents, lots of love, lots of laughter. He'd been more and more unsettled throughout the evening - we thought it was probably just overstimulation, and he fell asleep pretty easily immediately after his bath.

At one am, William started to squawk. I hadn't really fallen asleep yet so I decided to feed him straight away rather than waiting for him to get more serious, so I got up to go to the toilet before picking him up. My feet didn't even make it to the floor before he started *screaming*.

I've never, not once, heard him cry like that. I'm sure it was louder than I've ever heard him cry - and he didn't reach the distraught long pauses for breath in between each cry stage, either, which he generally only does if he thinks he's being ignored - each scream was coming out at full-throated volume straight after the previous one. And all the while he was choking on his own saliva, rattling as it got into his nose, and wailing like his world was ending.

I tried him over my shoulder. He wailed. I tried drawing his legs up to his chest. He wailed. I gave him a finger to suck and he was too distressed to do anything but choke on his own attempts to get away from it. I rocked him, sang to him, put on Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto (always a favourite), put on the dryer for some soothing white noise, laid him across my knees, sat him up, and tried everything again and again. He wailed. Every now and then one thing or another would result in a minute or so's relative calm, or manage to expell some lower wind. As soon as it seemed clear there was no more wind coming (and thus it was safe to lay him on the change mat) I changed his nappy, which made him scream even more, but after the new nappy was on and the dirt he'd expelled earlier on was away from his sore bottom, the wailing began to taper. Five or ten minutes later he was calm enough to suck, so I fed him and he fell asleep fairly quickly, without having drunk much at all. The whole process took probably an hour. I have absolutely no idea how people deal with hour upon hour of screaming - I guess you've got no choice.

Hubby slept through it all without even stirring.

Five am, William woke up just the same, but there was nothing in the nappy this time and no contributions towards filling it. The rattle in his nose was worse, and it seemed like the main reason he didn't want to suck, which would usually comfort him, was that it would mean he couldn't breathe. Hubby woke up, so I handed him over and tried to get some more sleep - but even at the other end of the house, and knowing Hubby had him, there was no way I could ignore him. After fifteen minutes I decided he was really hurting, it wasn't something that could just needed comfort, and pulled out the infant panadol for the first time. I sorted out the dosage and gave it to him.

Relief was almost instantaneous. It must have been the placebo affect that caused the results within a few seconds - or perhaps just the distraction of the strange taste in William's mouth - but he had definitely tapered off to occasional sobs within five minutes, and within fifteen he was happily feeding. Not just consoling himself with sucking while he quietly moaned, but staring up at me and making soft happy noises. Half an hour later, it was time to go back to bed - but he was wide awake. He kept smiling and drinking me in with wondering wide eyes: You're so clever, Mummy! You can make anything better!

Yeah. We went to bed together, with me cuddling his little warm swaddled bundle chest to chest, since he was too awake to go back in his cot and I was too tired to spend half an hour unsuccessfully trying to put him back to sleep then end up bringing him to bed with me anyway. I fell asleep before him; every time I'd sleepily open my eyes to see if he was drowsy enough for me to put him back in his own bed, he was still staring up at my face, transfixed in wonder.

I don't know when he eventually fell asleep, but he slept through until midday and woke up bubbly and content.

Hurrah for panadol.

One Month Old

So, William's a month old today, and I've not really said anything about how it's all going.

Well. Extremely, incredibly, unbelievably well. I honestly can't believe how easy a baby William is to look after - and how much I'm loving... I was going to say perhaps not *every* minute, but to be honest even when it's the middle of the night or my shirt's smeared with poo or my bra's soaked with vomit or his sad little face is all screwed up in distress, I'm just trying to soak up the experience of him being this tiny and (and this cooperative!).

He's put on over a kilo in his first month of life, which is absolutely brilliant. He attached and ate very well from the beginning, and although at the beginning I kept having to wake him to feed, he's begun making it quite clear when he'd like to be fed, which is... well, a mixed blessing (particularly on days like today where he's presumably having a growth spurt and has essentially decided he wants to be fed constantly - by which I mean I can only obtain any breaks at all where he's not crying by giving him my finger to suck on instead, which pacifies him for maybe 15 minutes before I have to put him back on the breast for another hour - but this is fortunately unusual). As long as I get seven or so feeds in during the day, he only demands one or two night feeds. Nights with two are better, because the only real difference is that he agrees to go back to sleep after the second, so that I can catch an hour or two more sleep and end up with eight hours total. At first we had to spend a few minutes rocking him and singing to him a bit to convince him to go back to sleep again - but now he's figured out the difference between night and day and he's usually asleep the moment we put him back in his bed again. Woot. Seriously.

Oddly enough, even when he demands feeding in the middle of the night, he doesn't actually wake up. He'll squeak a bit, and I'll look at him and he'll be fast asleep. So, I'll go back to sleep. He'll squawk a bit more seriously, but when I look at him again he'll be fast asleep. And so it goes on. Eventually, the squawks get so frequent that I'm getting less sleep waking up every time he makes one than I would just by picking him up and properly waking him for a feed. When I finally decide to draw the line and feed him I'm almost always convinced I'd done that last time he made a noise so I'd already been feeding him but had fallen asleep doing so and so it's time to change sides or put him back to bed (despite the fact that I never feed lying down now that I can sit up, because of the risk of falling back to sleep). It can be a bit distressing, actually, because by the time I'm awake he's fallen silent again, and I start searching for him beside me and he's not there and I worry he's worked his way down under the doona or fallen off the edge of the bed or got wedged between the mattress and the wall... And then I look over into his cot, and he's just there, fast asleep, making no noise, and I feel like an idiot for having fallen for it again. Still, if that mid-nightly ritual is the greatest of my sleep difficulties, I'm definitely a lucky mother.

The last couple of weeks he's been having more difficulty feeding. It's like he's completely forgotten what a nipple is for - he's very happy to hold it in his mouth and lick it or even cuddle it close to his cheek like his very favourite friend, but he seems to have a lot of trouble remembering he's supposed to start sucking. Or even realising that he's obtained his objective. Whether he's calm as anything or absolutely frantic with hunger and shaking his gaping mouth from side to side like a laughing clown on speed and windmilling his crazy arms in the hopes that will help... somehow, it doesn't seem to make much difference to him noticing that it's right there in his mouth, all he has to do is start sucking. This has been heaps better since I realised that I could bait-and-switch by getting him sucking on my finger (which for some reason he's *always* ready to suck - I've got a hickey on my fingertip), then swapping in the nipple when he's got the idea. But because of all the mucking around - and the usual increase in wear and tear on a sensitive part of my anatomy - I've been getting pretty sore, which has been making things even more difficult, because it's not like I can take a couple of days off feeding him to heal. Fortunately, I found some good (if counterintuitive) advice to attempt to feed him more often rather than less so that he'll be calmer and suck more gently, which has made great strides in keeping things from reaching the cracked-and-bleeding stage.

I've been expressing breastmilk the last couple of weeks as well (ever since I started getting really sore, so that if things get really bad I actually *can* take some time off) and it seems I can consistently pump one extra feed per day when I first get up, so I've been building up a bit of a stock of frozen milk to cover me if I want to have a couple of extra drinks every now and then, and to keep at potential babysitters (ie. grandparents) houses as well as, once I've got enough of a buffer to make me comfortable, donate to the Australian breastmilk bank for babies in need who, for whatever reason, can't have their own mother's milk.

I went to see Harry Potter on Sunday, which I enjoyed a great deal, but was perhaps most notable for the fact that it was the first time I'd been out of William's immediate vicinity since he was born. I was away for three and a half hours total which, since he eats approximately every two hours, meant Hubby got to give him a bottle. He accepted that quite happily and seamlessly switched back to the breast afterwards, so essentially that means I'm free to have him babysat or leave him with his dad whenever. Now I just have to work on wanting to be away from him. :)

So that's how he's going for sleeping and eating - I won't go into detail about his other primary function, except to mention that we've just started using our cloth nappies, which are 'modern cloth' - ie, just like a disposable with velcro closures, elastic legs, stay-dry liners, and waterproof covers, only when they're dirty you chuck them in the washing machine. So far, I'm pretty pleased - we'll see if I still feel that way after a few washing days. :)

As for his personality... he's so much more calm and content and easier to settle than I'd expected. He doesn't seem to cry for no readily apparent reason at all. If he's a bit unsettled, it's a short checklist of: hungry? (feed) dirty? (change) wind pain? (sling him over the shoulder in a fireman's carry) tired? (swaddle and rock) just plain sad? (present finger for sucking) And that's essentially it. Of course it's a full time job - I was expecting it to be a full time job. I wasn't expecting to feel calm and in control and almost always able to solve his problems when he's upset.

At this point he has essentially three 'quiet alert' periods every day - one first thing in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one last thing before bed. Each period is one to three hours (depending on whether he has a feed in the middle and keeps going), and during the time (unless he's having a bad wind day) he's just this amazing happy little sponge. He windmills his arms and kicks his legs, lifts and attempts to support his disproportionately sized head on his little pipe-cleaner neck, and grunts and coos like mad. He watches everything - his particular favourites are lights and the security grill above my breastfeeding chair - but he's happily been holding eye contact since he was a couple of weeks old. We think he smiled his first real 'social' smile today, which is a big milestone. We've yet to see when it's repeated. Quiet alert periods are the highlight of my day - I just sit with him cradled on my lap making faces at him, poking my tongue out and cooing back at him, and marvelling that this very small person will one day be full sized.

I can't believe it's already been that long - but I guess as they say, the days are long but the years are short. All in all, I think it's fair to say that so far, I'm loving motherhood. :)


First of all for the pick of the lot:


Next is the highlights package:Collapse )

Gluttons for punishment can visit here for the full set.

All sorts of uncensored stuff under cut, mainly for my personal records, so not necessarily for the faint of heart.

Read on if you dare...Collapse )

Summary version for those who just want the are-you-okay version, or get bored or squicked in the unbelievably tl;dr above. :)Collapse )

Selected picspam to follow.

Arrived Safely

William Brian Hunter, 3.406kg (7lb 8), born 9:57am November 3rd. Mum and baby both healthy.

More details to follow. *sleeps*


To whoever has stolen my ankles:

I appreciate that it was a funny practical joke to look down an hour ago and realise that my legs were essentially cylindrical from the knee down, but it's rather disconcerting not to have any visible protruberance or change in shape due to ankle bones. Particularly since, as far as I can recall, they were totally fine yesterday. I'm beginning to be concerned that if swelling continues at this rate, by the time I reach my due date I'll have a pair of feet more suitable in shape for an elephant than a human being.

If the thief could please just return the bones in question overnight, we'll say nothing more about this.

Thanks in advance,

One month to go

So today, I'm counting myself as officially eight months pregnant: I'm due on the 14th of November, today is the 14th of October.

I had my last scan a week and a half ago - Gil is tracking at slightly above average size, with a truly prodigious sized head. Somehow, I can't work up a great deal of excitement along the 'must have big brains!' track that everyone keeps telling me. Maybe I should stop taking those Omega 3 supplements? :P

Various pregnancy / life trivia / tl;dr...Collapse )

Hopefully I'll be all ready in a month. Hopefully I'll be ready in two weeks, since that's really the beginning of the critical zone. I wish I was ready right now - it would be great to be all prepared and just catching up on sleep and conserving as much of my energy as I can to face the impending change.


I am so unbelievably tired.

When the car pulled into the garage at work this morning, I laid my head down on the seatbelt for a few moments to rest my eyes before I could face getting out of the car. After some prodding by Hubby, I managed to get one foot out onto the ground, then needed another break. I may call time of death at work in the midmorning and go home, because this is ridiculous. I literally can't keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes.

I feel like I'm about to head into Uni to hand in an assignment after two all-nighters in a row, without the accompanying semi-alertness of intellectual overstimulation or the adrenaline of the short term limit on the task ahead (ie. once I've dropped the assignment in, I can go to bed and sleep for a week). I did, I must admit, stay up until 10:30pm last night - AND the night before - so maybe that's the pregnancy equivalent of all-nighters. Still, given I generally wake up around 8:30am, that's ten hours sleep each night. Surely that should be plenty for woman and fetus, even if I am sleeping for two.

Someone's siphoning away all my resources, and likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. At least in seven weeks or so, he'll be capable of obtaining his own oxygen, even if he still needs me to process and manufacture his food.

Still, I can't help feeling sorry for the poor little sod: he's had the hiccups pretty much non-stop for the last several days. Maybe that's what's taking all our energy.

Weather Prediction Made Easy

Surely there's an obvious pattern here?

Graph hereCollapse )

I'm forecasting rain for Friday and a clear day Sunday. And I refuse to admit that today's xkcd might be at all relevant.

PS: Averaging 21.7 kWhpd = $9.01 = $3.88 clear profit per day = actually $2.12 per day until the electricity company gets its act together and properly connects us up (apparently in ANOTHER 2-3 weeks time) and the credit card bill comes due (tomorrow). Theory aside, we're about to go negative for a little while. :P