Adventures in sleeping

So we co-sleep. Always have since Caleb was born. He's 4 now and we've got another baby on the way, so our king sized bed won't necessarily hold four of us. We've been trying to convince him to sleep on a separate mattress next to the big bed, but he wasn't ever impressed by the idea.

For the last month or so, we've also had problems with Caleb kicking, hitting, yelling at us when it's bedtime. And especially on the nights when Darrin has to get up at ungodly o'clock the next morning, it's a real pain in the neck. Sometimes literally. And it's not as if I can just carry him out every night, wait for him to calm down, then carry him back to bed. I'm getting to the point where it really hurts to pick him up - and not just for the minute or two that I'm holding/carrying him either, it goes on for a while after because I've strained my muscles.

So. Monday night we were going through our usual dance of us trying to get him to calm down and him not playing along. Finally in exasperation, I asked him 'Do you want to go sleep in your room by yourself?' And he surprised me by saying yes! I asked him 'Are you sure?' and he said yes again. So we got up, grabbed his pillow, blanket, and water bottle, and set him up in his bedroom on the little cot mattress on the floor. We'll see how long this lasts, I told myself. And I tucked him in with his blanket and another blanket, and a hot water bottle at his feet, and his stuffed bunny, and his torch in case he needed to go to the toilet in the night, and read him a couple of stories. Then I sat on a chair next to him and he fell asleep.

Well. Okay then. I went back to our bed and tried to sleep. As I suspected all along, I had more trouble sleeping that first night than Caleb did! He slept in his room by himself all the way till about 4:30 when Darrin was getting ready for work. He said he was hungry, so I went and got him a leftover sausage from the fridge. Darrin left for work, Caleb was still half awake, I was almost falling asleep sitting with him so I went back to my bed. I think it was around 6:30 when Caleb came in to our bedroom and crawled into bed with me. And then we both slept till about 9.

Then Tuesday night, he decided to sleep on the couch in the lounge. He got himself all sorted out with a pillow & blanket, and Darrin & I both figured that hey, if he's choosing to do this, he's probably ready for it, and at least the lounge has a heater, so he should be fine. And he was. A few stories later he was ready for us both to go into the bedroom, and he fell asleep on his own. He did wake up a few times in the night and asked me to put his blanket back on because he'd fallen off the couch. But each time, as soon as I put the blanket on him, he was asleep in seconds. Even the time he walked into the bedroom to tell me he needed the blanket on again!

Wednesday he decided to sleep in with us. Thursday & Friday he slept on the couch again, straight through on Thursday. Last night he woke up from a dream at about 5 and decided that he HAD TO fix his block constructions on the floor that the cats or we had knocked over. So he fixed those and went back to bed with a carrot to munch on.

So this is for all of you co-sleeping naysayers - you know who you are. You're the ones who say 'you'll never get him out of your bed' and things of that nature. This didn't take any prodding from us (I wouldn't call my original suggestion 'prodding' because I was fully prepared to let him come back in the bed with us if he was going to be sensible and go to sleep). And suddenly, we don't have the bedtime battles we used to have! It was his decision to move out of our bed, and he knows he's always welcome again if he needs us. But I guess in a way you're right - we didn't get him out of our bed. HE got himself out of our bed!

Pre-emptive strike

I am 26 weeks pregnant. Those of you who can do basic counting can probably work out roughly what week I'm 'due.'

However, I don't believe in due dates. I believe babies come when they're ready, regardless of what we'd like them to do. It's only in very extreme cases that we need to actually DO anything about making a baby be born at a certain time (things like severe pre-eclampsia and heavy bleeding come to mind). I have a friend who gave birth, at home, at 33 weeks, and her baby is perfectly healthy. I know of another woman who had a baby at around 45 weeks, also at home, and again, her baby is perfectly healthy too.

So far I've been 'lucky' in that my babies have been born before their 'due' dates, so I haven't gotten too much harassment about being 'overdue.' But I thought I'd write this all out in advance anyway, so that I can shove this in the face of anyone who starts harassing me when I get close to birthing. Because harassment is exactly what a soon-to-birth woman DOESN'T need, and I'm sick to death of hearing about other women going 'over' and getting phone calls, emails, texts, and whatever else asking them when that baby's coming, and all it causes is stress for the poor pregnant woman who should just be allowed to relax!

If the only thing you have to say to me is something along the lines of 'Hasn't that baby been born yet?' then DON'T bother contacting me. Yeah, because we're really going to forget to tell all our friends and family that we've had a baby. Get real.

If you're going to suggest that I should get induced because the stillbirth rate increases after whatever gestation, DON'T bother contacting me. Besides, you'd be wrong - the stats I've seen (which unfortunately I can't find at the moment! if you have that link please comment) clearly show that the highest risk of stillbirth is BEFORE 40 weeks. So suck on that.

If you're going to tell me horror story after horror story about big babies, long labours, dead babies, etc. - save it. I don't think you can compare anything with the horror story I've already lived. And how dare you try to scare a pregnant woman anyway.

And if you even THINK of mentioning that I should go to hospital this time because of what happened last time - GET LOST. You clearly don't understand the situation and I don't need people like you in my life.

End of rant. For now.

That post about being an American in Australia, conveniently written on the 4th of July.

Sorry, it's not really going to have anything of substance. But it might make you hungry.

So I was thinking tonight about polenta, also known as corn meal. Polenta is, from what I gather, a fairly common ingredient in Italian cooking. I, however, don't know much about Italian cooking, other than pasta, garlic bread, and parmigiana. And I especially have no idea how people cook polenta around here. So I have some polenta in my pantry, which I mistakenly thought would be suitable for making corn taco shells (it was kind of a disaster), and was wondering what else I could do with it. Corn bread was the first thing that came to mind, of course, because I'm a Yank. And then I thought about corn dogs. Mmmm. It's been ages since I had a good corn dog - hot dog on a stick, dipped in corn batter and deep fried. Not exactly the healthiest thing on the planet, but they are pretty tasty, especially when dipped in real mayonnaise.

And that's when I had the idea for this blog post: foods from here and there that I like, don't like, miss, never had before, never had since...all those kinds of categories. So I'm just going to start listing them in no particular order, just the way I think of them.

And this is a much different list than it would have been seven years ago, because you know what? I've adapted to my new culture, not completely, but enough to be pretty comfortable. Plus, there are enough shops around that carry some of my favourite American foods/snacks that I don't have to pine for them - I just need to go to the right shop when I'm having one of those cravings, and I'm good for another few weeks. Because I know it's not a 'forbidden fruit' or anything, and I can have it whenever I want.

Foods I miss from the States

This one is actually going to be a pretty short list, because of the aforementioned shops that carry American imports. Corn dogs are something I wouldn't mind having now and then, but since I don't remember having one in the 7 years I've been here, I obviously don't miss them that much. If I did, I would have worked out how to make them at home by now. However, I still haven't found anywhere that sells packs of Jolly Rancher candies with ONLY the watermelon flavoured ones. And I don't suppose I'm likely to.

Little Debbies fit in this category too. I don't believe I've seen them anywhere, and I don't think USA Foods in Melbourne is allowed to import them, otherwise I'm sure they'd have them by now.

And how can I forget Rocky Road ice cream. I might have to try doing it myself one day.

As for restaurants, there's Arby's and A & W. Those are really the only ones that I miss that I'd go back to. And a good buffet restaurant (but not Old Country Buffet because they think breastfeeding is perverted or something. I won't be spending my money with them anymore).

Foods I never had before moving to Australia that I can't imagine living without now

I can't count Tim Tams here, because Darrin once filled an entire suitcase with Tim Tams, Milo, and Cherry Ripes when he came over for Christmas. But you know what does? Fresh mandarins. Prior to moving here, I only ever saw them in a can, never fresh. My brother and I, since we were first learning to read, called them 'Maynard oranges' because it sounded funny, and there was a guy at our church named Maynard. Now I have a mandarin tree in my back yard. Hopefully it'll start fruiting next year.

Chips (fries) from Chicken Chef in Gilles Plains. You have not lived till you've had these.

Australian foods that I'm still not game to try

Vegemite. I'm not sure I'll ever get there. Since Darrin doesn't like it, and Caleb's never had it either (to my knowledge), it's not really that crucial that I deal with it.

Imported American stuff I buy now and then

Dr Pepper
Welch's Strawberry soda
A&W root beer
A&W cream soda
Reese's Pieces
Reese's peanut butter cups
Jelly Belly jelly beans

Typical American foods that I make at home

PBJ (only I use, and have always used, strawberry jam instead of grape jelly)
'Ants on a toilet seat' - aka an apple cut in half, core removed, spread with peanut butter and raisins (sultanas) placed on top. Only I usually cut up the apple into wedges and put peanut butter on each one, and don't bother with sultanas.
Pumpkin pie (especially now that I've finally successfully grown pumpkins in my back yard)

Things I've found suitable substitutes for

Hershey's Almond chocolate bars: Cadbury Roast Almond, of course. And Cadbury tastes better anyway.
Cheddarwurst: the mild cheese kranskys from the Pacific Big Butcher in John Street, Salisbury.

It's a small world, after all

Know what? The dine-in Pizza Hut outside Westfield Marion smells EXACTLY like the Pizza Hut I used to work at in Hudson, Wisconsin, over 10 years ago. Some things never change.

What was I doing here again? Oh yeah.

Actually, all of these lists are smaller than I thought they'd be, because I seem to have forgotten a lot of the things I used to miss. Funny what 7 years does.

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