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The Genial Hearth
I’ve just put the kettle on, join me for a cuppa and a chat.

Archive for September, 2008


Playschool used playdough in a craft activity.

Puggle was telling Paddington all about it at dinner, he detailed just what they did with the “plato”.

I commented that he lacked the cultural references—Paddington corrected me:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 8, Edith Term

Introduce phonograms ‘oa’, ‘gu’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Tu es meus sol (You Are My Sunshine)
Sede! (Sit down)
Scie le Bois (Saw the Wood)
? (Good Job)

English Studies
The Green Knight‘ from The Olive Fairy Book Andrew Lang
Winnie-The-Pooh A. A. Milne
Narration: ‘The Bull and the Goat‘, ‘The Eagle and the Beetle‘, ‘The Old Lion and the Fox‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Teddy Bear A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: Dixie
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Work: Carnival of the Animals
Artist: Jan Van Eyck
Work: Annunciation
Music: Form (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Star Light
Art: Watercolours, Soapy painting/Painted Ripples (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 2, Block 8, Edith Term

Really didn’t get very far this week. We read last week’s poem a few more times (because it was still on the TV cabinet), but that was probably all.

He Has a Name!

It hasn’t actually taken us a full two weeks:-) The extra time was just so we could actually tell family first:-) We’ve emailed people, but if you haven’t heard and you feel you should have, comment, and I’ll try and find an email for you:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 2, Block 8, Edith Term

Introduce phonograms ‘ed’, ‘ew’, ‘ui’, ‘ue’, ‘u-e’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Parvus Gaius Gelet (Little Jack Horner)
Bene factum (Good job)
Savez-vous Planter les Choux? (Do You Know How to Plant Cabbages?)
Assieds-toi (Sit down)

English Studies
The Strange Adventures of Little Maia‘ from The Olive Fairy Book Andrew Lang
Winnie-The-Pooh A. A. Milne
Narration: ‘The Fox and the Crab‘, ‘The Serpent and the Eagle‘, ‘The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Before Tea and In the Fashion A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Old Oaken Bucket
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Work: Carnival of the Animals
Artist: Jan Van Eyck
Work: Adoration of the Lamb
Music: Phrase (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Snail, snail
Art: Watercolours, Random Patterns (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


is sucky:-(

I’m hoping I’ve avoided the worst of it… but it’s still not pleasant:-(

Balance of Cars

We have returned to balance… My car has finally sold:-)


Week 1, Block 8, Edith Term

Fairly slack. We did read the poem quite a bit, and a few fables. We sang the comptine… but I’ve been struggling with the Latin nursery rhyme, and I still haven’t got my head around the tune for the folksong.


Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! I had ‘grand plans’, but with Cygnet’s arrival I’ve scaled them back:-) We’re listening to pirate music (I have pirates dancing in front of me:-) ) and this afternoon the cousins are coming to  play in their sea-faring best… We might even get fish and chips:-) (I should have looked for a few more piratical picture books:-( )

Calming the ‘Beast’

Four year olds are fabulous:-)

Cygnet woke, as I realised Bilby needed a new nappy. I went to change her, and Puggle went in to ‘keep Cygnet company’. I changed the nappy and took the dirty one to empty while Bilby went to join her brothers. Next thing I know, she’d returned, grabbed the ukulele and disappeared again.

When I joined them, she was climbing on the bed, having given Puggle the ukulele. He’d asked her to get it, after holding his finger out for Cygnet and singing to him had been insufficient to calm him. He was happily singing away, and Bilby joined him as soon as she was up—and Cygnet had calmed down:-)

Cauliflower and Mushroom Soup

Well, the menu plan for tonight said Cauliflower Soup. When I went to get the cauliflower out, I realised there were some mushrooms left from the other night’s kebabs. A quick search revealed a few Mushroom and Cauliflower soups, so starting from here, I gave it a go.

I actually included

4 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 cauliflower
500 mls chicken stock
2 ish cups milk

I sautéed the mushrooms and onion in the oil and butter. When they were soft and aromatic I added the florets of cauliflower and the chicken stock (plus some extra water). I brought it to the boil and boiled for about 8 minutes. I mixed a little of the liquid with the flour to make a paste and returned it to the pot (I should have brought this to the boil for a little longer, as it didn’t really thicken as much as I expected). I then added the milk, and seasoned to taste.

Dress with shaved parmesan, olive oil and black pepper. Serve with bread.

This wasn’t bad… I think better than plain cauliflower… but it needed a bit more punch.

Toilet Training

Shannon at Rocks-in-My-Dryer has just posted ‘everything she knows about potty training‘. Nothing particularly new… but I did think it was a good reminder—and well worth a re-read when Bilby is ready to start:-) And it’s probably useful reading for some of  you:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 1, Block 8, Edith Term

Introduce phonograms ‘wh’, ‘ck’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Parvus Gaius Gelet (Little Jack Horner)
Cave! (Careful!)
Savez-vous Planter les Choux? (Do You Know How to Plant Cabbages?)
? (You’re ok)

English Studies
Kupti and Imani‘ from The Olive Fairy Book Andrew Lang
Winnie-The-Pooh A. A. Milne
Narration: ‘Three Bullocks and a Lion‘, ‘Mercury and the Woodman‘, ‘The Frog and the Mouse‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: The Invaders A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young (Scroll down to Annie W, about half way)

Art and Music
Folksong: The Old Oaken Bucket
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Work: Carnival of the Animals
Artist: Jan Van Eyck
Work: Adoration of the Lamb
Music: Phrase (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) It Rained a Mist
Art: Watercolours, Rainy Sky (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 5, Block 7, Edith Term (Break Week)

We probably did less than I’d anticipated, as we didn’t even really sing. Mind you, we did a lot of bonding with Cygnet, so I’m not too worried:-)

Cygnet’s Birth Story

This is a very long post… If you’re not interested in minute details of the birth story, feel free to skip it:-)

I need to write this up before it gets lost in a flood of hormones and milk!

Sometime about the start of the third trimester, once I decided that I agreed with Puggle that Cygnet was a boy, I started thinking that he would probably come early (my mother’s theory is that boys are early, girls are late… it seems to hold for our family). Puggle was 6 days early, Bilby days late, so I was guessing that Cygnet would be 4 days early. Of course… 6 weeks ago a State Government election was called for 3 days early… so I revised my prediction:-) We made sure to organise our postal votes—and I am very glad we did them! (Although, it does mean I’ve ended up with the most vacant feeling about this election!)

I’ve been not particularly well for a couple of weeks, which combined with pregnancy has resulted in many night-time loo trips.

2.17 Sat morning, I got back from one and made a note of the time, because I realised that possibly it was a contraction that had woken me, rather than any other sort of discomfort.

2.28 I figured that yes, it was probably a contraction, because I was fairly certain that was another. Then it was just a waiting game, to see when (if) more came. About 15 minutes later, there was another, then around 15 more. So… things are definitely happening, time to ring the birth centre and give them a heads up. The contractions were definitely more intense than I remember the early ones being with either of the other two, so when I spoke to the midwife, I said I thought that we’d be in ‘tonight’… I don’t know that she heard that…

They picked up fairly rapidly, and between them we worked on packing bags/car, and making sure that all was organised. At about 3.50 we rang my folks to say we figured we’d be heading to the birth centre pretty soon, so could they come over now… By 4.10, they hadn’t arrived, but I’d rung the birth centre again to say we were leaving (the contraction just before that I’d had a definite pushing sensation… not intensely so… but it unnerved me a bit). That was when I had the news that they were going to prepare the parent education room for me, all four ‘real’ rooms were occupied:-( (When we got there, Janni said she hadn’t expected to see me until the morning, and had hoped to have had someone cleared out by then.)

Mum and Dad arrived very soon afterwards, so I made my way to the car… Mum asked what they would do about bringing the kids in (Puggle really wanted to see Cygnet being born… but had been placated with the opportunity to see ‘him’ “all bloody” and see the placenta… so we had arranged that—depending on time of day—they would come in at the same time as us and wait in the waiting room… of course, overnight was the one time we had planned that they wouldn’t come in at the same time.) I suggested they all just come in as soon as they were all awake and breakfasted… I was fairly confident that Cygnet would be born before the sun rose! Contractions were around 7 minutes apart by now… but were really intense… Puggle woke to come and send us off—he did not want us to leave… but he did agree to kiss Cygnet goodbye:-)

I had two contractions in the car… one on the way (Underwood Ave?), and one as Paddington drove into the Birth Centre carpark… it’s a sharp turn into the covered entrance—and he hasn’t driven the car more than a couple of times—certainly not to the point of being certain where the front and back are…

We got inside and were shown to the Parent Education room… the biggest room in the building… of course, it has no beds, no comfy seats, no ensuite… It has a large pile of beanbags (I think we could probably have used a new beanbag each, each hour we were there and still have had some left over), a number of gym mats, a whiteboard and a pile of seats. Fortunately, there was a fit ball, so I took possession of that and a backwards chair while Paddington went to get the bags and the midwife went about ‘converting’ the room. Eventually we met ‘our’ midwife… one of the blue team—I have been with the yellow team. It was also pretty chilly… I hadn’t expected that, as the general feeling in the rest of the birth centre is a touch too warm when you’re dressed. They had the airconditioning turned on, but it seemed to be directing a cool breeze right at me.

We had asked about what happened in times of overflow—without actually expecting it to happen to us:-( It seemed that the room gets used enough that the know what needs doing, but not enough that they get much practice at it. A pillow was scrounged, and some blankets found… a little table (the one the kids use to play on in the waiting room) was moved in so I could have water close at hand. Eventually the whiteboard was moved next to the door to screen things a bit (not that there’s any through traffic normally… but people do tend to wander in to pick up various educational materials… not an issue at that hour of the morning… but could have been later.) People did keep coming in to do things later, realise they’d forgotten something (no hand washing facilities) and have to go away and come back later.

Before long (at some point here is where my sense of time disappears…) I moved to snuggle up to a beanbag on a mat… I couldn’t get comfortable. The midwife comments that I look nice and relaxed! I think that I’m not at all🙁

So… a bit of a hike to go to the loo (the ones off the entrance) and possibly my waters broke… another contraction with definite need to push, in the waiting room on the way back. I’m also pretty sure now that my waters have gone. Back in the room I’m draped over a beanbag, kneeling on a mat. I think they’ve found some sheets and things so that I’m not directly on the vinyl. I’m definitely needing to push, and I still can’t get comfortable. (I know that at some point I told Paddington that if we ever do it again, I’m not doing it without water! It was either sometime around now, or after delivery). The contractions were coming fairly constantly—I felt as though I wasn’t really getting a recovery between them. And I was pushing. I don’t know how many there were… I don’t think it was many. I know I reached down to feel his head and could feel the bulge—I wasn’t sure if it was me or him… but I could feel where his head was, and it was all slimy (I wasn’t expecting that). I do remember talking to him and telling him to stay there for a bit more… that wasn’t the right push. I kept my hand on his head, and cradled it through the next push, which I think is when it came out. I felt a sharp pain, that I could have sworn was a tear (that’s what I thought). I kept my hand under his head, he was there… then I waited. He cried. I knew I would need to push again, but I wasn’t getting any urge (Paddington told me yesterday that at that point the midwife got out her watch and checked the time.) Finally I did. And I pushed, and he came out… (I assume the midwife caught him—I definitely wasn’t holding him any more). I sort of collapsed over the beanbag—I wanted to collapse further, but he was below me and I didn’t want to risk squashing him. Paddington told me it was a boy:-) (If I didn’t say anything about the water before, now was the time.) It was 5.54am. Sunrise was supposed to be 6.27—so he well and truly beat it:-)

Eventually we got ourselves sorted out, so that I was holding him (and lying down! At long last! Vaguely comfortably!) Eventually I moved him round so he could nurse when he was ready (and help that placenta along…) He attached with no difficulty. The midwife checked for tears. And commented about the lack of any blood. Cygnet was completely un-bloody (much to Puggle’s later disappointment… he had desperately wanted to see Cygnet while he was all bloody!). I didn’t tear or even graze—in spite of what I thought I’d felt. In fact, the first blood was after I delivered the placenta (6.15 I think… so pretty much 4 hours from start to finish)… (and Cygnet finally got a little blood on him when Paddington cut the cord—the merest speckle). The afterpains just about did me in:-(

Once the placenta was checked, and I was cleaned up a little, I finally got to lie down a bit more comfortably and reposition Cygnet (I have been so relieved that I learnt to breastfeed while lying down with Puggle! It has made so much of this recovery time much easier!) I even started feeling hungry—given the last couple of weeks, I was very pleased:-) It got to the point where I got Paddington to check that we hadn’t been overlooked for breakfast—given we hadn’t been there that long and were not in a ‘normal’ room… but it was ok, I was assured breakfast was on the way. During this time, another pillow had been found, as had a fold a bed, so they were made up. We rang the grandparents to tell them:-)

In fact, breakfast arrived at almost the same time as Puggle and Bilby:-) So I delayed eating a little in order to introduce them to Cygnet:-) They were both very taken with him, but Puggle wouldn’t give me a kiss—he wanted to wait until we got home, and he could have a hold of Cygnet:-) Bilby decided I needed to be wearing my glasses… Cygnet was nursing, so she asked to as well. We managed somehow, although, it wasn’t very proficient. She was much happier once she’d met eyes with Cygnet across my chest:-)

After a little while, they started to be more interested in the food than the baby, so Paddington took them out. Of course, just after leaving the room, Bilby started wanting to nurse again… but Granny and Grandpa took them home for second breakfast instead:-)

Then, I got to eat:-) Best food ever🙂 The hearing test woman arrived, basically to tell us he was too young to do the test right now… so we got the card to ring and book later.

Time for the loo, and I really wanted to clean up a bit more before moving to the bed… of course, no ensuite… by this stage, the bathroom with the big bath was vacant. So I had the choice of that (half the length of the birth centre away) or the shower off the on-call room—but I was warned the water was often a bit chilly. I decided to go for the longer walk… which, aside from being pretty tired, wasn’t a drama… and it was a lovely warm room:-)

When I got back, I actually felt pretty chipper:-) The midwife was all set up, so we did weights and measures. Cygnet weighed 3365 grams (7 lb 6 1/2 oz), was 49 cms long, and had a 35 cm head circumference. I hopped into the bed, curled up with Cygnet, and there was even a bit of room for Paddington:-) We slept:-)

We’d decided that we’d probably stay till lunchtime, that would give us time to sleep and eat, and we weren’t sure how long it would take for the paediatrician to get to us. As it turned out, she arrived just after I woke up. Aside from difficulty in finding the femoral arteries (as with Bilby… but at least Cygnet wasn’t screaming!), it was all very straightforward. I decided I’d like to sit up to feed, and the midwife dragged in an armchair from the waiting room.

If I hadn’t already selected lunch (or I was excited about eating lunch at home:-) ), I think we would have headed home then. As it was, we hung around for it. It wasn’t as tasty as breakfast—although, it did smell pretty good:-)

Then we gathered our stuff together (made sure we had the placenta:-) Puggle has finally looked at it, so it’s gone into the freezer with the others, until we work out where to plant it), the midwives went through the discharge paperwork, and we headed home. It was just after two when we left, and we were home, unpacked and settled in by about half past. Mum and dad weren’t expecting us quite so soon, and had parked us out of the driveway:-) Mum had just settled down for a nap on the couch, because both the children were settled. Instead, she cuddled Cgynet for a bit, and we chatted (Paddington headed off to do the weekly shop… pretty much at his usual time). Then I headed to bed so that I’d be ‘established’ there before the kids woke.

They were both very excited when they woke:-) They got to have cuddles—and have asked for them continuously since then:-) Then Paddington’s folks arrived to take the kids to the park (and home for dinner… they had brought some for us, as well:-) ). So we got to spend most of the afternoon quietly, then put the kids to bed as normal (well, relatively… They were a little unsettled…) Definitely a plus, the disruption to them was fairly minimal.

Now of course, we’re all readjusting, which is taking a while… I’m recovering more slowly than I had anticipated. The birth related discomfort disappeared by day 3, but I am taking longer to get over the various ills of the previous weeks:-( As I said though, so glad I can nurse lying down! I just hadn’t expected to be doing it for so long🙁 I’m desperate to be able to sit up on the couch!)

We’re still working on a name…

I managed to not have Paddington spend Father’s Day supporting me through labour, but on reflection, having the first day home with the kids being Father’s Day was probably not the most resful thing he’s ever done… My parents took the older two to a family BBQ for the evening (they didn’t want to miss seeing their cousins) and given how wiped out I was from being vertical, it’s just as well we didn’t go…

Cygnet has done really well so far, his weight loss was well within the bounds of normal, and has put on 140 grams over the last two days… he’s wee-ing and poo-ing on schedule, and the cord has fallen off. He’s also moving his head around nicely, and pushing with his legs:-) He’s sleeping delightfully so far—of course, it is very early days yet:-) He does seem similar to the other two in all the good ways:-) I’m getting the hang of tandem feeding… Bilby is really enjoying the milk—-she’d been asking where it was. Now she says ‘bilk!’ with great satisfaction:-)

Anyway… this is monstrously long… but I think I have everything important in… I certainly hope so, because I’m finding it all becoming very vague:-( The wonder of birth…

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