Saturday, 30 March 2013

Article 9: Diaries of a Haus Frau – Sometimes, it’s just not your fault.

WARNING: This post includes graphical images of Baby Bobby just after his operation that some readers may find disturbing. You HAVE been warned.

This is the first time I’ve written about how my little zipper lad became ‘one of the club’. At first it was because it was all too recent and raw, and then I wondered whether it was worth it. Then finally, I just didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to write a sob story, I didn’t want to raise awareness nor did I want to fish for sympathy.

I did, however, want to explain to people why it was still such a big deal and why I am often harping on about it. Probably why I am still so paranoid and coddling of our dear Horde#3, also known as Bobby. And why I am often seen checking his colour, heart, energy levels and so on.

Still, I decided it was time, and so here it is. Not one of my most witty and sarcastic posts. But just how it is.

New born Bobby.
My son was born with a hole in his heart. As I hadn’t initially wanted a third child when I discovered I was pregnant again (long story, not important) I often felt he was born with a broken heart. Still, I also always had a feeling there was something up with him when he was still inside me as the medical bods who would examine me would always get a funny look on their faces when it came to checking the heartbeat. But I was always told it was nothing and not to worry. Gee ta.

Then, when he was born he came out all blue and bruised. We were told he obviously just got stuck on the way out and there was, again, nothing wrong. And, seeing he was my third, and otherwise didn’t seem to be ‘different’ I went with what they said. Though, when I used to feel his heart beating… I did wonder about it as I swore it didn’t sound quite right. It was as if there was a cog loose in an engine or something.

And so, when we had his eight week check-up and were told there was a ‘murmur’ the bottom started to fall out of my world. However, as he seemed a perfectly normal baby otherwise, they didn’t rush us over to a specialist. Instead, explained it appeared he had a hole in his heart and go see the Cardiologist in a weeks’ time, there’s a dear. Which, naturally, was a week in hell where Google was my enemy and greatest source of information on holes in hearts.

By the time we got to the Cardiologist I was hoping amongst hopes it was a simple hole in the outer muscle area and one of those ones that’d seal itself over time. Of course I was never so lucky. My then nine week old had a doubly committed sub-arterial ventral septal defect. Meaning, sooner rather than later my little baby was going to need surgery.

Now, my life was pretty much going through a lot of, well, shit due to my then employer not being that helpful or tactful about making me redundant, I had a household to deal with and my two other lovely hordes to tend to. So this was just some simply marvellous news to be told and made me feel like I had won mother of the year. Yeah right. To make it better, I was told to just go home and carry on as I had as, because he appeared to be in no immediate danger, it was better to wait until he was a little older (and bigger) before they sliced him open and fixed his ticker. I was told he should be fine and could live to his nineties with this condition. But, as the hole was right below  the valve between the bottom two chambers, the valves could invert at any time and well… kill him. Congratulations, your boy has a holey heart; off you go home and as you were now my dear. *sigh*

So, yes, I fell to pieces quite a little bit after that and spent the next several months constantly watching our Horde#3. He slept on me or next to me so I knew he was breathing, each and every chest infection (and he got a lot as it was a symptom of heart issues) I was at our Doctors seeking assurance he would be okay. My strong, independent, in control self became a self-doubting, self-hating, chocolate binging so and so. Still, this isn’t about me.

Christmas Day 2009 - rusk up mummy's nose.
Our boy grew and prospered and was only a few months behind the usual baby milestones. Nothing concerning, but just more signs he wasn’t getting enough oxygen to keep up hell for leather all the time. To distract us from his heart, besides the continuous chest infections (you just had to have him outside for five minutes and he’d get one, being a blessed winter baby), he had mutant toes that needed looking at and physio to deal with, he had clicky hips to be scanned and checked over and incredibly strong upper body strength and agility that had him getting up to things a child his age shouldn’t be.
 Cardiology visit after visit until the day came we were told he was old enough to be operated on so pack a bag and we’ll send you the travel details. As there are no Paediatric Cardiologists in Adelaide, they usually sent ‘folk like us’ off to Melbourne. But my wonderful sister in law and Doctor in Brisbane pointed out the Paediatric Cardiologists in Brisbane were just as good. Plus we could stay with family and friends and not have to rely on the charity of the Government for the two weeks we’d be there. And so off to Brisbane we went.

We got to see family, he got to meet some of them for the first time and we got to stay with people we knew, loved and were comfortable to be with. Rather than some isolated Ronald McDonald house in a strange city miles away from anyone. And it was good to have a shoulder to cry on, and indeed I needed to.

Dr Bob - day before his Op.
Our Bob was checked into the Mater, got poked and prodded and got to sit around in a cot for a day without much else happening. We got to take him home the night he turned nine months old and promised to have him back there the next day for the ‘big show’. Once there I felt so ashamed I had fallen to pieces as there were so many children there with issues far greater than Horde#3’s. His condition was a simple puncture repair in comparison. There were far braver families there than weak willed old me.
Dr Bob - hanging out day before Op.
Dr Bob - day before his Op.

Dr Bob - Day of Op, last time seen without his 'zipper'.

The day came, the operation roster was running behind schedule and I was about to take my baby and flee when they finally said it was time. They then took my baby from us, put him to sleep, cut him, cracked open his ribs like a chicken and stopped his heart for two hours. And, in that time, I was the most at peace I had been in months. I had lunch, I chatted, I sat in a waiting room in a mild daze. I was no longer scared, worried or in fear for my baby Bobby. Why? As he was in the one place that would be able to save him if something went wrong. And if they couldn’t, it just wasn’t meant to be. All the time I had been in charge of his care, I would have been helpless to save him. I could now allow myself to get close to him and not be afraid I would lose him. He was now safe and being ‘fixed’.

And fixed he was. His surgery took about two and a half hours, he was then put into PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) for two days, moved to the Close Observation Ward on the second day. Third day he went to the normal ward and the following day, my birthday, discharged with a full bill of health. It all sounds so easy and casual when said like that. But they were indeed some very long days of my life and ones I honestly hope to never repeat. When I look back on the pictures now, I think of how haggard he looks. When, at the time, I kept marvelling at how quickly he was recovering and how great he looked.
The day after his operation - still in PICU.

The day of his Op, now in PICU.

What we were greeted by 2nd morning after his Op - PICU.

2nd day after Op - Close Obs ward.

Best birthday present EVER. Being discharged 3rd day after Op.


Discharged, back at friends having early Easter Egg. Day 3.
We then got a week to recuperate in Caloundra with family, and were joined by my other darling children to be a family once more. And then given the thumbs up to go home. And so we did.
Enjoying family time with his sisters at their Grandparents place - Caloundra.

14 days after his operation. Back home, bandages finally removed. Zipper boy is here!
He had a few more cardiologist appointments and they moved from weekly to monthly to annually. Time moved on, he caught up on all the missing milestones within weeks and there was really no stopping him. In 2011, at his annual check-up, I was told that there seemed no need to see him until he was five, so that’s 2014 and, unless any of the signs or tells of heart issues returned, treat him as normal. And so we have. An ordeal to last a life time, and one that we will always need to make people aware of for future health care, lasted only a few days and is now three years ago.

Onwards and upwards Horde#3, please let’s not have too many more ‘acts of Bob’ and let’s get this toilet training under control!
Second year anniversary since Heart Op.


First year anniversary after Heart Op.

Third year anniversary since heart Op - onwards and upwards.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Article 8: Diaries of a Haus Frau - You know you’re a Haus Frau when...

This article is really just to clarify, in a light hearted manner, exactly what it is that qualifies you as a Haus Frau and not just someone who has kids and works from home. You may not have experienced all of the following, but as long as you can relate to more than fifty precent of them, you’re a Haus Frau.
So, here we go. They all start with: You know you’re a Haus Frau when…

·         You’re stove is full of bubbling pots – one reheating left overs for lunch, one prepping food for dinner and one boiling the buggery out of your kitchen sponge to stop it being so slimy and extending its life.

·         You’ve emptied and loaded the dishwasher, hung out and put on another load of washing, made the kids breakfast and lunches, dressed them for school and gone to do the school run before you realise you’re still in your pyjamas.

·         You turn up at school in your pyjamas as you’d done all of the above on four hours sleep but had forgotten about your pyjamas.

·         You’ve got bicarbonate of soda on your shirt and smell like vinegar but have actually been doing the laundry not baking.

·         You’ve got bicarbonate of soda on your shirt, smell like vinegar and have bread dough under your nails as you’ve been doing the laundry AND baking.

·         You have several to do lists ranging from the basic “must be done today” through to the “it’d be nice to fix that ONE of these days before it falls apart completely”.

·         You may not be able to see the floor of your house for toys, books, papers and let’s just not look over in that corner too closely, but your kids are clean, fed, healthy, have clean clothes and still love you despite your repetitive stories of this mythical clean house you used to have.

·         Baking once a week with the kids is done not only to save money on the food budget by making it yourself, but to save money on their entertainment budget too.

·         You put up with glitter, glue and bits of paper engrained into your carpet as it just means the kids made you a homemade birthday present that you’ll love, not matter what.

·         You will often schedule your day around your youngest’s toilet training routine.

·         You’ve developed a special sixth sense that allows you to sense, seek out and discover said youngest from where they’re hiding to avoid the potty mistakes… most of the time.

·         When you have a few moments to yourself to sit down you can’t help but consider doing a bit of mending, knitting, meal planning or cookbook perusing.

·         You always try to ensure you utilise all items in your pantry so that food for the family doesn’t run out before the next payday.

·         You live by said payday rather than have the luxury to spend on anything at any time as all your money goes into the kids school fees (this one may just be me actually).

·         You have the ability to deal with morning traffic and trucks while holding three or more conversations, sing along to the radio and be mentally planning your daily Haus Frau chores.

·         Ops shops are treated more like clothes libraries where you borrow the clothes for a fee and return the good stuff back to them when the kids have outgrown them.

·         The garden may be a mess, but it’s snake free, your kids can still spend most of their afternoon out in it and return with all body parts they left with.

·         You have the ability to be cooking dinner, bringing in and folding the washing, keeping an eye/ear on kids outside (some peacekeeping visits may be required) and still have a warm bathroom and bath ready to dunk your mud ball children in when it’s time.

·         Know exactly which cloth and cleaning substance best suits the varied and colourful stains that magically appear to crop up around your house.

·         You have bottles of eucalyptus oil in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry for medicinal, cleaning, de-greasing and air freshening purposes.

·         You have the hard core oil of cloves and mould in your house knows you’re not afraid to use it.

·         Your bathroom gets flooded so much from the kids bath times, everything in there smells of oil of cloves just to ensure it doesn’t get mouldy.

·         You know the true usefulness of terry towelling squares beyond them being an old fashioned way of cladding your babies bottom.

So, how did you go? I wouldn’t be congratulating yourself just yet as you qualified. Re-read over it all again (you may want some chocolate) and consider yourself lucky. This is just the basic Haus Frauing lists for those of us lucky enough to have happy, healthy and intact kids. Think of all the Uber Haus Frau’s out there to have this and so much more to contend with.

And don’t feel sorry for yourself either. Leave your sympathy for all those poor women who don’t qualify as they just don’t realise exactly how fulfilling that nightmare list can really be and sillily avoid doing any and all of the above!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Article 7: Diaries of a Haus Frau – What an imagination.

It’s one of those times of the year a lot of parents dread. School holidays. And for Haus Frau’s like myself, it’s a time we’re lumbered with our demonic hordes at home for a couple of weeks. Yes there will be occasional trips and outings, but our budget (and my energy levels and patience) don’t stretch far enough to go do “interesting” things every day.
And with Easter holidays, it’s always such a terrible time. The holidays themselves start by people encouraging us to fill the hordes with buns and chocolate, give everyone a few days off to watch their reaction and then those lucky enough to have jobs AWAY from the hordes get to toddle back off to them while we Haus Frau deal with the aftermath. The hordes themselves enjoy being stirred up in all the excitement and sugar and then turn to we poor carers, once the long weekend is over, and ask if they can do it all again. While Haus Frau types like myself instead just want to use these glorious last sunny warm days of the season to catch up on the washing, air the house and find the floor of the Hordes bedroom and play area.

After a harrowing day of trying to help them clean their play area, and having to deal with the screams, tears and tantrums that tend to drive me on to the couch under a blanket with some chocolate, today I gave in. I did the usual feeding and dressing of the Hordes ceremony (which can be more of an ordeal within itself). Then instead of getting back into the fray as to who should clean up what before I binned it, I set my demonic hordes free! Yes, bikes and scooters were extracted from the shed, hats were placed on Horde heads and they were ejected from the house (nothing forceful or with a boot on, honest). Now, usually they’re happy for about 5 minutes, before the glamour of ‘Being Outside’ wears off. Today I was happily surprised that this didn’t happen. Instead, thanks to our trip to the SA Museum a couple of days ago (and the Museum’s dinosaur show) the following occurred…

Eldest horde, Miss 7, scooted about a bit before declaring to her siblings (and sadly the entire neighbourhood as she has no volume control) that they were all to travel back in time from April 13th, 2012 to April 13th, the Jurassic period. My other 2 hordes mounted either bike or scooter too and the journey was off. I was shouted instructions as to where they were headed on this lovely sunny autumn’s day, to which I asked if they were going to be long and needed a packed lunch. The reply from middle horde (little Miss nearly 5) being that they would make a special trip back to see me at lunch as dinosaurs weren’t allowed to eat sandwiches. The tone used upon me suggested this was something any sensible and sane mummy should know.

From my indoor station of Haus Frauing central (better known as folding clean clothes at the ironing board) I heard only snippets of the wondrous adventures that took place. Having had dabbled in a little dinosaur studies myself, I can’t quite remember if the dinosaurs encountered were all technically FROM the Jurassic period, but no one got eaten all the same. Scooters and bikes are apparently faster than T Rex’s, Allosaurus AND Velociraptors though the Stegosaurus, baby Minmi, Diplodocus and Leaellynasaura were all able to keep up with the hordes. I suspect a few of them got to dink a ride though.

Now I feel the need to mention here that my demonic hordes have never seen any of the “Jurassic Park” films. Their dinosaur knowledge stems from the SA Museum, their stacks of dino books and their fact come fiction DVDs “Walking with Dinosaurs”, various versions of “Land Before time” and that show tune loving “We’re Back”. Yes, nice and factually balanced, not!

My observation of their adventure was cut short as my Haus Frauing took me to other areas of the house. It was only when I noticed the silence seeping in from outside that my attention and parenting instincts brought me back into their play. Upon investigation, I found then in a muddy puddle of suspicious origins (as in, had they created it with their water bottles, or was it a crack in our drains). I am unaware even now as to whether the mud was Jurassic or current day, but either way it meant a daytime bath for all parties involved.

And can I just say, for a bath that usually has a hard enough time containing all 3 hordes, water, soap and bubbles, I was indeed amazed at exactly how many of the said dinosaurs fitted in too for a wash. All I know is that at one point the Velociraptor got soap in its eyes and had to be rescued by the middle horde.

While the hordes and dinos bathed, I got clothes and towels and such ready. It gave them time to soak the bath mats and coat the walls in bubbles while discussing lunch. The hordes were having sandwiches while they were making their guests potato cheesecakes. No, not something I have made, as I know how to cook. Honest. Some of these potato cheesecakes were to be covered in cycads and palms for the herbivores, while prehistoric reptiles of the carnivorous leaning Had pepperoni ones, as it’s the only thing they eat. Really? Anyone able to show me the scientific journal that comes from? There was also cycad salad, sauropod sushi (I believe it was sushi made FOR sauropods, not FROM them) and palm tree pancakes. I know I enjoy collecting rare cookbooks, but none of mine cover such culinary catastrophes. Nor do I have an inclination to add them.

Bath done and all parties dried dressed (those who weren’t comfortable in just scales and feathers) and silently eating, all I can say is WHAT an imagination. All inspired by a 45 minute show at their home away from home. Hmmm, maybe the entry fee wasn’t so steep after all.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Article 6: Diaries of a Haus Frau – A Hordes day out.

Just in case I’ve not covered this in a previous blog post, I call my children “My demonic Hordes”. To me, it’s no less sarcastic and occasionally untrue as calling them “My darling little angels”. Well, to be honest, far less sarcastic and can be far more truthful. Plus, it can bring a smile to the face of some poor unsuspecting soul caught in their rampaging.
Taking my hordes out can be a trial or it can be a blessing. Quite often both, as the wind changes, depending on their mood, sugar levels and bright shiny things to distract them.

All the same, one of the most regular days out for them is a trip to the Museum and Art Gallery. In fact, when asked what they would like as a special treat or reward, it takes but a few seconds for “Go to the museum!” to be bellowed at me from close distance.

And so we go, honestly sometimes as frequently as once a month, to the South Australian Museum. The MUST SEE items will always be the Egyptian room for my little Miss nearly 5 budding archaeologist, the natural world on the 2nd floor (as said child was going to be an entomologist but that appears to have been thwarted when it didn’t include snakes), the elasmosaurus and its eternal chase of the little squid for Miss 7 and the lift shaft wonderfully transformed to capture the imagination as well as the giant pink squid for little Master nearly 3.

Today was one of those days I decided to wrangle my hordes into the car and get us down from the hills to the city in time to beat the 9:30am early bird cut off parking times. If that wasn’t enough of an ordeal, there was then the wait outside for the museum to open; with all the other overly eager, loud and full of beans children of other families who felt it a great idea to go. Thankfully I had family with me and it worked out that we were allocated a Horde each while we waited. And, while other’s allowed their children to run through the gardens, throw sticks and rocks at each other and in general make my hordes all appear more angelic, mine sat patiently on the bench and waited. How did I manage it? Easy, get the kids to count how many pigeons are sitting on the outside of the museum. Go on, try it. I kid you not it is an amazingly good way to calm them. Except when said pigeons decide to leave or move about on the walls and they have to start again. Oh, what a shame.

I feel today’s swarm of children on the museum lawns (I honestly don’t know of a better collective noun to describe them) was due to the school holiday’s AND the “Sea the Shore: A Prehistoric encounter” taking place. Still, once inside, the museum is usually large enough to absorb us all.

Unsurprisingly, the morning show of “Sea to Shore” sold out before we got tickets, but that was fine as it meant my demonic hordes had a chance to work off their pent up energy by visiting all their favourite places. Little Miss nearly 5 took my brother on a tour of the Egyptian room, a place she is very well conversant with. Though, I still hold my ground and call them Ushabti, not Shebti as I take my dialect from a different dynasty than the one used in most of that room. No, no idea at all why one of my children would be interested in ancient Egypt.

Youngest horde (Mr almost 3) grew tired and threw a tantrum every time he was removed from the top of the lift shaft where he was dancing on the Perspex on top of the giant pink squid and singing “down down down”. So he, and my mother, were able to make an excuse and head home shortly after that.

A quick cookie break from the cafĂ© and it was time to line up for the “Sea to Shore” show. Call me overly critical for a person who didn’t have to pay (as it was a gift from my brother) but I did feel the prices were a tad steep. But still, the hordes and other children had a great time. Mats set up on the floor for them, chairs up the back for the parents to escape to. What could be better?

My darling girl hordes were, of course, right up the front. And middle horde (Miss nearly 5) was of course heckling as soon as the presenter strolled out and tried to start the show. I really do feel that was why she was one of his first “special helpers”. It worked too until, even from my distant spot, you could tell she realised they weren’t real baby Minmi dinosaurs but plastic puppets. Thankfully she took it better than expected, no shouting or accusing of trickery. No, her face may have fell and the disappointment was apparent to all, but she left the front politely and went back to heckling in the front row.

Eldest horde, she got to pat a Minmi as they toured the front, but her proudest moment to me was when she stood her ground over the carnivore that came out next. Sadly, I am a terrible person and don’t remember the name of said carnivore. I also don’t want to ruin the show for others, so will just say that said proudest moment was when, while other children were running in terror screaming for their parents, my Miss 7 stood her ground, followed instructions and assumed the “duck and cover” stance with hands crossed over her head.  Awww, what a Kodak moment.

After it ended, show was classified as “Awesome”, which appears to be the modern stamp of approval, and was loudly shouted about to anyone who would listen. And most of those unfortunate enough to find them in my hordes 4 metre radius of personal space.

A brief run through the education room of the museum (the bit where they still have the bees and keep live creepy crawlies) and a lucky dip of fossils and minerals and off we went. Lunch stop at an eatery in the mall and horde wrangling back to the car and home again.

Unsurprisingly I had very tired, grumpy and over exhausted hordes by the end of the day, but all in all it had been a good day out with my hordes. It’s really all a mother can ask for.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Article 5: Diaries of a Haus Frau – the things you should NEVER take for granted.

This isn’t one of those stories about people’s “first world” problems like not knowing which pair of shoes goes best with your new jeans or to whether to use the your smart phone or laptop to check your online friend’s status.

It’s a warning to other Haus Frau of the truth behind what your children (the little ones and the one you married) actually mean or do, when they tell you specific things.

An example from a previous article is my then two and a half year old telling us she wasn’t jumping on the bed; she was jumping on the doona. The doona just happened to BE on the bed at that point in time.

Others you may want to look out for are when they tell you they’ve checked all their pockets before handing over their dirty clothes. I can assure you sand and tissues are the nicer things I’ve then found amongst the wet washing when going to hang it out. However, I did prove that my husband’s USB stick was washable… four times. The argument put before me was I was doing the washing, why wasn’t I checking the pockets. Personally, once I’ve collected it from the various parts of the house it is left, turned it all around the right way, ensured all stains, spots and skids are sprayed, sorted it into the appropriate washing piles, washed it, dried it and ironed or folded it… they can meet me half way and empty their damn pockets before I am sent on the initial retrieval duties. Surely!

Never believe them when they say they have emptied their bags of all necessary items before it is stored away. Whether this is over the weekend or for extended periods of time, just don’t. The older “child” will often have left bills, money or required documentation of some sort hidden away until it’s really needed or way past due. The actual children of the group will leave the obvious half eaten, spilt, chewed and dishevelled foods and lunch boxes. It’s a given, how dumb are you? But they are also prone to forget library books, work or those toys desperately required at two AM or you’ll not be allowed to sleep again. My favourite is when they leave those important school notices in there. You know, the ones that you either find ON the day of the excursion – including the list of essential your child MUST BRING items you of course don’t have in your house – or that a bake sale needs you, today, this morning, right now for one of those baked goods it usually takes two days to prepare.

Another thing you should never take for granted is when your other half assures you he’ll clean up after dinner, seeing as how you cooked and served it. This tends to mean, if you’re lucky, he’ll put the re-usable left overs away. You may even get some of the dishes rinsed. They’ll still all be there, delicately balanced in a way they’ll topple any moment, for your attention the moment you get the time and energy to attend to them. And, of course, if mashed potato is involved and you don’t check on where the kids were sitting until the next day, you’re going to need a hammer and chisel to remove them from the table. And a damp sponge if carpet is affected. We won’t mention cous cous, just remember to keep the vacuum cleaner on stand by and don’t walk bare footed near the table.

The more obvious one is when you ask the younger children if they need a new nappy, or need to use the potty if they’ve reached that magical toilet training stage. Is my sarcasm font working? The puddles and or smell tend to assist in the believability (and lack thereof) of their answer.

The most generic ones to sharpen your sense on are the one liner’s they give like: “But I looked there!”, “Yes, I’ve done that.”, “It wasn’t me.” Or the absolute pinnacle: “Nothing!” after those wondrous ripping, breaking and screaming noises have died down and you ask what happened. Don’t ask, just go see. Try not to look that upset or use your angry voice until they’ve spilled the beans, ‘kay? Or you’ll never learn the whole truth.

There are many amazing, delightful and beautiful things to be found in the family home and through raising kids. I just strongly recommend you learn cynicism, scepticism and hone your mummy spidey skills along the way. It’s to ensure those delightful little surprises don’t have you in tears in your first year.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Article 4: Advice on Cloth nappies.

This article was first featured on the Stay at Home Mum - the Secret to Living on One Wage website: and I thank Jody for letting me share it here!

Advice on cloth nappies, why I use them. Well, apart from being a bit of a greenie and neo-hippy, I do feel they’re a better approach to bagging your baby’s bottom as you not only save money in the long run, but the resources used to create some of the modern wonders in cloth called a nappy are less taxing on our earth and environment than some disposables.
Don’t get me wrong, I DO use disposables too, but my preferred option IS cloth. I won’t name specific brands, but modern cloth nappies are more than just your good old terry towelling square. There are pockets, pre-folds, all in ones, swimmer nappies, Velcro or snappy studs, cotton, wool, hemp and even bamboo! With the right liner, one that is toilet flushable, biodegradable and even septic tank friendly, most “used solids” get flushed away like your own, and sometimes the nappies themselves don’t even need a soak. Just keep them in a nappy bucket, when its full, put them through as a load, soak setting if required. If you DO need to soak, think of your garden as my roses simply LOVE a good nappy bucket drink, sadly the rosemary didn’t. Do, however, consider the nappy soaker you may also use and go for a grey water friendly option.
Some people say “cloth nappies would take time away from playing with my children as I’d be washing all day.” Well, you don’t have to hand wash them you know, both top and front loaders CAN get them clean! And, I find I’m soaking and washing kids clothes pretty much every day as my kids get mucky through their indoors, outdoors explore everything to the fullest lifestyle. If I’m not washing and soaking their clothes, I’d have them running around naked a lot more often than they already do!
 “Cloth nappies are expensive!” Well, so are disposables, you just don’t see their cost as its spread out over the years rather than upfront. Some cloth nappies ARE expensive, but you need to look into the quality of materials used, the time taken, etc. AND! Think of the amount of times they can then be used. Then there’s the “they leak!” Well, sorry to disappoint the disposable loving world, but so do they! Sometimes you’re baby is going to achieve something so great that no nappy will keep it in, hence the washing machines mentioned earlier.
There is the belief that cloth nappies cause nappy rash. Well, my middle child had TERRIBLE nappy rash in all disposables, even those highly expensive, everyone raves they’re the best, brands. Put her in a cloth nappy with some lovely micro fibre organic cotton boosters and an unbleached, chemical free liner and no rash! My son now uses her old ones (yes, he does look interesting in pink nappies) but again, no rash. With him, there is also the added bonus of his cute little bum dance when the nappy is too wet for his liking. J

Article 3: Diaries of a Haus Frau - Conversations at The Breakfast Table.

Another article from my Diaries of a Haus Frau. Written in 2011.

As many a fellow Haus Frau with kids could tell you, when our little darlings decide to impart their wisdom on the world, there is never a dull moment. I find this doubly so at the breakfast table, where my girls (and I’m sure boy, once he’s decided to let us hear him talk), tend to hold most of their high end discussions. Occasionally it’s about usual kid’s topics, like the pros and cons of Sam as the Yellow Wiggle Vs Greg as the Yellow Wiggle. More often, though, they use it as a time to impart all wisdom learnt in the day or week just gone. An example of this touched on in a previous article, was their interpretation of my Anatomy and Physiology book. The latest one beats this hands down: the discussion of aquatic creatures and their phylum.

Now, without seeming too vain, I am not a dumb person. I’ve even been lucky enough to be pegged as above average in intelligence. But when my daughters started discussing and cross examining each other’s information as to the correct phylum of said watery beasties, I found myself having to scramble for Google to not only keep up, but check how accurate they were. And, bugger me, they were spot on! My 6 year old (known in scholarly circles as a sponge of knowledge) was explaining the correct classifications of sea creatures and the subcategories (phylum) to my 3 year old (with the “old soul” as I’m often told).

My 6 year old started by stating the most common found species classifications, such as arthropods, molluscs, invertebrates and so on, and then listing what sort of creatures fit into it. She also gave a brief explanation as to what each type of classification meant. Arthropod: jointed leg or foot, invertebrate: contains a backbone.... I knew a lot, but had to confirm it. Can you see why I was Googling away?

Actually, what had me scrambling for the search engine was her mini lecture as to why octopus and squid are classified as molluscs, despite them also being known as cephalopods (head and foot being the same body part, in case you’re going cross eyed). I was then asked to step in and adjudicate at another point when they couldn’t agree on the phylum (a primary subdivision in the natural world, thanks Wiki!) of the common garden variety sea star..... Being Echinoderm, thanks Google!

When things almost came to blows over prawns being not only a crustacean, but actually an invertebrate aquatic insect, (so when you eat any crustacean, you’re eating a bug, ew!) I had to step in. I’m also so glad I don’t eat seafood....

When asked to maybe finish their breakfast and play nicely together, I was actually silently marvelling at their school and the wondrous things they’re teaching my kids. Thinking “they don’t get that from me, surely?”

I, however, brought myself back down to earth from singing Montessori’s praises minutes later when, breaking up their latest heated discussions as to why a snake can’t be a monotreme, I stepped in and explained that only a platypus or echidna could be a monotreme as they’re a mammal-like species that lays eggs while also having mammary glands. Oh how the lecturing tone (similar to the one my eldest had) shocked me. Then my darling and always so attentive husband piped up that they WERE a phylum of mammals, not a similar species. To which we ALL got into the discussion and turned back to the Internet and its fountain of knowledge. Damn hubby for being right.

So, if you ever wonder HOW your kids can talk about the darndest things, listen to your own conversations from time to time. Them apples of your eyes didn’t fall too far from the tree.