July 28, 2007


the linking to other things because I don't have anything coherent to say myself...

This site is full of cartoons I like *very* much. (Particularly the one I've linked to. The subtleties are restricted to those who have root, but the basic emotion is universal.)

Posted by carla at 09:32 AM

July 17, 2007

its alive!

I love this User Friendly cartoon about language evolution.


Posted by carla at 02:02 PM

July 16, 2007

establishing cruising altitude

Well, motherhood is starting to become normal. I think I got out of emergency mode about 6 weeks ago. Now I'm starting to get quite calm about things. I'm getting to that place where you can consider going for a walk on the south coast or visiting a gallery without having to climb a large hill of Things To Manage. Sure, I still have to manage a large number of things in order to actually do the activity, but they are things I've managed before.

I was reading an article on change management about 18 months ago. It referred to research which said non-habitual activities took up way more mental effort than habitual ones. The said that habitual tasks only use some simple part of the brain whereas non-habitual tasks use all sorts of expensive parts of the brain. The article said that this was one of the reasons we resist change - it is expensive for us as individuals, because we have to engage in non-habitual behaviour.

I think this is one of the reasons new parents are so flattened by the first 6 weeks of parenting. Yes, the baby takes a lot of work and doesn't sleep nearly as much as you need them to - but I think the most grueling thing is the amount of non-habitual effort you do. Simple things like having a shower are non-habitual if you have had a c section. Figuring out how to make a cup of coffee for yourself while keeping the baby safe and reasonably happy can be quite draining. As for getting the baby to go to sleep or learning how to breast feed. Phew.

So now I am starting to do things from habit and it is much easier.

p.s. I think the non-habitual nature of life in a house of renovations is a reason why people hate it so much.

Posted by carla at 10:10 PM

July 10, 2007

left holding the baby

It is popular at the moment to advocate parents to eschew the modern equipment of parenthood and go the 'natural' route. We are given lists of all the ways we are separated from our babies in unnatural ways. We are told the unnatural setups we use are damaging to our babies, and mess us up as parents. The implied best practice of parenting is to throw away the equipment and just act naturally around our babies. To hold, carry, comfort and pay attention to them constantly.

What these well-meaning people forget is that a tribe or village is full of other people who can (and do) help with the baby (or the other family chores). As a new parent I'm noticing the abundant supply of people who'd love to take Lias off my hands for 5 minutes to 5 hours a day. But in a modern, Western setting they are too far away for their offer to be of any use to me (or Lias).

I'm not suggesting the answer is to live on communes. I like my private space. I'm just recognising that it is dangerous to set yourself an unrealistic standard based on an incompletely understood model. The reality is the equipment helps you cope with the workload, and helps stop you becoming a cranky parent. So I say Use It! And enjoy your baby as much as you can.

Posted by carla at 10:49 PM

a big hill to climb

Given how far National is ahead in the polls, it may seem that it is a given that they will win the next election, and form the next government. Sadly, not so.

Why sadly? Well, I remember Muldoon winning the 1981 election and how annoyed people were that he could stay as prime minister, when the majority of people had voted for Rowling to be prime minister. It was partly that memory which caused us to vote in MMP. Well now, there is a chance that Clark will win the 2008 election despite the majority of people voting for Key.

The chance is due to the possible evaporation of ACT, United Future and New Zealand First. Hide appears to be taking ACT beyond even Douglas's depths of obscurity. He may make it back in on the Epsom vote, but he'll be an overhang just by himself based on current polling. Peters might produce some magic in Tauranga off the back of his statesman performance as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but is seems unlikely to me. Like Hide, the improved Peters appears to have lost his traction with the great unwashed. Dunne may well repeat his performance from last time, but Key is likely to occupy a fair bit of the territory he has been attempting to make his own.

On the left, however, the three parties look like they are going to get in again quite sweetly. The Maori and Alliance have healthy safe seats to get themselves in on, and the Greens are doing nicely out of global warming and voters who are looking for an alternative to Clark's tired government.

The upshot of these factors is that National is going to have to win around 47% of the vote in order to pull together a government of natural National partners. To win with less, they'll have to find a way of getting the Greens and/or the Maori party to support them. This will be a challenge, as both parties will know the damage that can be done to their support if their voters think they are 'doing a deal with the devil'.

But (bless them) that is what Key and English are attempting to do. Roll on the polls next year.

Note (National have been polling over 50% recently, but I expect that to fall away as the real contest starts).

Posted by carla at 05:53 PM

July 09, 2007

lesser dreams

I keep dreaming that I've forgotten to put Lias to sleep in his cot and struggle awake thinking he's lying next to me (and he's probably suffocating). Less horrid than the nail clippers dream, but still not nice. Apparently dreaming that your baby is lying next to you is a common one for breastfeeding mothers.

Posted by carla at 09:04 PM

July 05, 2007

mother of all nightmares

I had my first mothering nightmare at around 6:40 this morning. I dreamed that I had trimmed Lias's right arm off with a giant pair of nail clippers. I'd just done it to keep things nice and tidy, and because this other baby (which I was using as a model of how to breastfeed) didn't have a right arm. It started to be a nightmare when I realised the gravity of what I'd done and how he would need a prosthetic arm and everything now. Fortunately I woke up when I started to scream in my dream and I instantly knew it wasn't real.

I still kissed his (not so) little hands when I fed him this morning though.

Posted by carla at 10:05 AM

July 04, 2007

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Before I got pregnant, I felt the cold a lot. While I was pregnant not so much. I assumed this would end when I gave birth, but apparently I'm still extra warm. Perhaps it will fade when I loose some weight.

Posted by carla at 02:38 PM