Monthly Archives: August 2012

My aversion to Cold & Flu tablets

This week I have been crook. I have been lethargic and had a sore throat which has resulted in a really sexy croaky voice. Ok, maybe not sexy but it did remind me of that ‘Friends’ episode where Phoebe had a croaky voice and suddenly she could sing ‘Smelly Cat’ really sexy and people suddenly loved her… I had considered recording my own rendition of ‘Smelly Cat’ as I know all the words but then thought, ‘No, the world is not ready for me yet. I am ahead of my time.’ lol… I crack myself up!

Ok so I was unwell but generally getting through ok until I tried to have a nap during BG’s morning nap on Monday and found that I was freezing even without any airconditioners on and while under TWO doonas… should I remind you that I live in a tropical country? To be honest, I am cold at the best of times and will often sleep under a doona but have to compromise with my husband on the airconditioner front so we put one on in the room opposite us so that it cools our room a little. The fact that I had ALL of them off and I was under a second doona however sent alarm bells ringing. I. was. sick.

I phoned my husband to ask him to come home early so I could rug up and rest but also so he could visit the clinic and get me some drugs. Luckily for me it was a public holiday and none of the PNG Defence guys had turned up to work – how can my husband be a Liaison Officer when there is no one to Liase with? I don’t know why he bothered to work. Anywhos… he brought home lozenges and… *cue dramatic music*… COLD & FLU TABLETS (with Pseudoephedrine… the hard stuff in other words). To put it bluntly, I HATE cold & flu tablets especially the ones with bloody Pseudoephedrine.

My reasons for hating these tablets are simple. I am just not myself when I take it but then again, who is when they take SPEED!?! So I refused to take them and just stuck to my home made sore throat tea (i.e. boiled ginger, fresh lemon juice and honey- I considered garlic too but thought Daryl may pass out and then he would be of no use to me).

So on Monday night I was heading off to bed exhausted and really looking forward to sleep at around 9pm. At 12.30am I was still awake because every time I was on the verge of falling asleep I would cough till I almost puked. Daryl was awake, BG was awake and I was awake. Daryl finally begged me to take those damn tablets and so I did. I figured at least Daryl and BG should get some sleep even though I knew at this point that I wouldn’t (bloody pseudoephedrine!). To cut a long story short those damn tablets worked and I slept for 3.5hrs all up (1am to 4.30am). After the second dose there was no sleeping as I had the munchies, my heart was racing, my brain was wired and BG was up.

On Tuesday I thought I would nap with BG but no… those bloody tablets kept me going and going and going. I cleaned floors, washed dishes, did a load of washing, dusted, took BG for walks, performed songs from musicals for BG while she looked on as if to say, ‘You’ve lost it Mum. Totally lost it’, air boxed to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ (oh wait, did I just admit to that)… the list goes on! My house looked great and I thought to myself, ‘I’m the best damn Haus Meri this compound has got!’

Do you think I crashed and burned? I thought I would but NO… it is now Friday and I have only managed 1 good nights sleep in between other highly wired nights. I feel tired. I feel better. I’m freaking wired!

That is why I HATE Cold & Flu tablets.

Do you get any annoying side effects from any over the counter meds?

I am The Example

BG loves to copy everything right now. When I say everything, I mean everything. I’m not sure if this has come prematurely however it feels like it has. After all, she isn’t 1 year until 16th September and I don’t remember kids copying everything at 1 when I worked in child care but then maybe I just wasn’t looking.

The other day, she was in my bathroom playing with my toiletry bag. She was pulling bottles out, shaking them, banging them on the floor, pulling caps off and just having a wonderful time (don’t worry I was supervising closely and on a side note, I am trying the ‘let her explore it, under close supervision, so she loses interest’ tactic; among others of course). She found my travel hairspray and pulled the cap off just as I looked at my own reflection in the mirror and thought, ‘Geez, I could really do with some hairspray on that Alfalpha piece there’ (remember Alfalpha from that movie as a kid?). So I grabbed the hairspray, sprayed it back down and then handed it back to BG who then proceeded to move the bottle above her own head in circles as if she were also spraying her hair. I’ll admit, it made me chuckle and my heart jump with, ‘Geez she is adorable! I love her so much!’ however this was quickly followed with, ‘Shit… now I have to stop swearing!’ haha!

So for the past few days I have been thinking about how, as her mother, I am her first example of what it is to be a woman… to be female… how to behave (appropriately or inappropriately)… how to keep friends- or enemies… how to… you get the picture.

In my pondering (picture me knitting and pondering… hehe), I have found myself looking at other mothers to girls and looking at what example they are giving them. Some are most likely unaware that they are teaching their daughters to be bitchy, to have low self esteem, to keep more enemies than friends, to hold grudges, to care most about how they look, how they are portrayed, their posessions… the list goes on. The sad thing is, I really don’t think they want this for their daughters but they are just unaware that they are doing it.

Now it’s not all that bad. These people I have observed really are lovely people and like all of us, slip up at times and I don’t think for one second that I will be perfect at it.

It is my goal however to demonstrate to BG that it is ‘unattractive’ to get involved in gossip and bitching (and the compound is rife!). That our value or worth is not in our posessions, number of friends or attention we get, but rather in being a strong, assertive, present (I’m talking mindfulness here), kind and compassionate woman.

I want her to see me deal with difficult people with love, kindness and acceptance for who they are and where they are at in their lives. Nobody deserves to be punished for having a bad day here or there. They just need to be loved through it all. I hope this helps her to deal with future bullying (which if I’m really lucky, she won’t have to deal with it), making and keeping close friends at school and eventually developing into the confident and capable young woman that I know she will be one day.

I also want her to see my vulnerable side and how I deal with it (hopefully in a positive way). I want her to learn to find strength in those times that are difficult and to find joy in every situation. Geez I want a lot don’t I! I could write more but I’m sure it will bore you and I guess you have the idea of what I’m trying to say.

So who do you want to be for your daughter?

Southwestern Chicken Soup

As you all know (well the regular readers anyhow), I recently went on a last minute trip to Los Angeles (and Toronto) to see my sister (and brother). While I was there I enjoyed all the liberties that come with not living in a compound and country where going for a leisurely stroll is out of the question. It was great 🙂 One of the liberties I enjoyed was great food and my sister did not disappoint when she made this soup for me.

I have always thought that one of the best things about getting out of PNG for a bit is the fact that I could roll around in the aisles of the grocery stores if I wanted – and believe me I have wanted to just out of sheer delight at the selections. BUT the funny thing is that since my trip, I have started to notice all the things that I can get in a supermarket over here that aren’t part of the standard stock in Australia.

We have a new supermarket in town – yes peoples that is BIG NEWS! Many of us made a special trip down there just to check it out and be amazed at what we believe will be temporary cleanliness (but I must comment on how they are obviously taking great pride in their new supermarket… I have NEVER seen cans of baked beans lined up so perfectly on a shelf- I will attempt a sly photograph on my next shopping excursion). Anyhow, back to the point… I tried to get Black Beans in Australia and had to go to a specialty store if I were to find any but they had some in the supermarket here (PNG) AND I wanted powdered sugar and found it easily here! I guess there will be some conveniences I will miss…

So the Southwestern Chicken Soup…

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts (cut into stirfry strips)
1 Litre Chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Pinto Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 green capsicum (pepper)
1 red capsicum (pepper)
1 tin small green chillis, chopped (I used 5 fresh small green chillis)
1 medium onion cut into wedges (I then halved those wedges)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
Fresh coriander to taste
2 tbsp Lime juice

Method
1. Sear the chicken in a fry pan and just before removing from the pan, pour lime juice over it and then place it in the slowcooker.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients into slowcooker, except coriander. Stir to mix.
3. Turn slowcooker on for 6 hours.
4. At the 5 hour mark, add the coriander (as much as you prefer) then leave for the remaining hour
5. Serve or freeze.

Raising a child is much like keeping a pet dog… only more important

Oh I hear you all gasp at that title and mutter little words of disaproval under your breath but yet, you are still here reading so I will explain…

Before living in PNG and having BG, my husband and I had/have a dog. We HAD a dog because we had to leave him in Australia to take this posting and we HAVE a dog because technically he is still ours and is being well looked after by some friends of ours. Now this dog of ours, Axel, would give me a lot of material for writing because he is mischeivous, playful and downright clumsy. In fact, he has his own blog (thanks to his current carer, Julia) because he creates such a stir where ever he is! If he was a child in the playground, he would be the one with ADHD doing laps around the others to try and stir them up. Once he has he would then go on to cause the rest to go arse over… well you know what I mean… and then he would be the one trotting off slowly acting like he is the innocent party and is baffled as to why he is getting all this negative attention.

So what has this got to do with raising a child?

The other day I gave BG a cup with ‘treats’ in it. This cup is one of those that has the split lid on it so she can get her hand in (when she figures it out) and pull a treat out without spilling the rest. Well this bought me about 20 mins of freedom when I gave it to her as she sat there intrigued as to how there were treats in there that she couldn’t get easily. This reminded me of all those times I gave Axel a Kong Ball to keep him entertained.

This led me to think more about the similarities I’d noticed over the last year (yes… BG is 1 year old in just a few weeks eek!) and this is what I came up with:

#1 treats
#2 Kong ball equivalent
#3 Cleaning up BG’s number 3 poops is just like cleaning up Axel’s droppings
#4 Getting woken up in the middle of the night (Axel used to bark at the drunk guys walking up our street on a Friday night)
#5 Tidying up toys
#6 Discipline is much the same (although I DO NOT use an electric collar on BG) – the ignore the behaviours and timeout strategies are what I’m talking about here.
#7 Needing to plan when going out – organise drinks, food/treats, amount of time being out, making sure we are going somewhere appropriate for a dog or a child etc
#8 Morning walks – BG loves her walk in the stroller and Axel loves his walks
#9 Planning holidays isn’t easy – have to ensure all the needs for Axel are met as with BG
#10 Organising Christmas outifts – yep! I’m one of those people who likes to dress my dog up for special occassions 🙂

So there is my list. Have you thought of any similarities of your own?

Getting reconnected…

So keeping my Zen has not been very easy the last few days. I suppose it is a big ask when you are the mother of an 11 month old who also lives in a jail compound and is unable to venture out of said compound to get the tinniest of grocery items like, I don’t know… BREAD for lunch without having to consider security issues. Those other Mum’s out there in POM who drive around without a care in the world, I envy you… but I also think you are crazy! I guess I have read one too many security briefings so thank goodness I ‘go pinis’ (not go penis, go finish) in 16 weeks but who’s counting?

SO back to my zen… things are wonderful here in Port Moresby! I am starting up a Mums and Bubs exercise meet 3 days a week. I’ll be doing it regardless of whether anyone joins me but it will be nice to push the stroller and walk the wall of the compound (at least the bottom part) with some other people.

Now for the reconnected bit… today I got in touch with an old friend. We ended our friendship just over 2 years ago on bad terms. I have missed her a lot because I really cherished our friendship. I found her on facebook because her husband befriended an old classmate of mine and when I saw this I thought I would go and do the good old facebook stalk on her (which I have done every few months since we had the falling out). It just made me miss her more and when I saw a picture of her with a baby that looked like a mix of her and her husband, I got all sad and excited at the same time! I was sad because I had missed out on sharing this exciting time in her life and vice versa (she has missed out on sharing BG with me) and I was excited because I’m so freaking happy for her that she has such a gorgeous little one in her life.

So I did the unthinkable… I messaged her and told her that I often think of her and that I hoped she was well. I didn’t expect a reply (although I was certainly waiting with bated breath) and low and behold about 3 hours later I had a reply!

So who knows where it will go from here. I don’t expect to ever have the same friendship we once had but I would like to be included in her life and vice versa. I guess time will tell.

Have you ever lost a friend you wished you hadn’t?

Getting my Zen back

You may have noticed that my blog has been lying dormant for the past 6 weeks. That is because I took a last minute holiday from PNG at the recommendation of my psychologist. Unfortunately I ended up heading down a dark path – one that had begun but accelerated tenfold in its production after I watched the carjacking.

I have always been a person who needs my space. Without some me time, I become easily agitated and emotional. My me time is my chance to recharge my batteries so that I can be completely there at any given moment. It is very important and I would even suggest that everyone needs a bit of me time but the amount of me time would vary from person to person. I lost my ability to have me time as I pleased when I became a mother. Nothing could have prepared me for the frustration I had begun to feel or the grief at losing… well… me. What I didn’t realise then was that I just hadn’t learnt to accept that my me time was no longer on demand and I needed to adjust to scheduled times.

So there I was 6 weeks ago, in a dark, dark place where I could not think of even 1 positive thing to think or say or do. My husband noticed it and even spoke with me about changing my thought patterns. Luckily for him I took what he said on board and tried however didn’t have the skills or knowledge on how to put that into practice. I would try to think of a positive and then quickly find my mind throwing back a negative to counteract the hard work of thinking a positive thought!

My last minute trip, as recommended by the psychologist and eagerly pushed by my husband meant that I went to the Gold Coast in Queensland for 3 weeks (2 of which my husband came) and then 3 weeks in Los Angeles and Toronto where my sister and brother live respectively.

Whilst on the Gold Coast, I started hunting for some books on motherhood- the trials and tribulations and whatnot. I just wanted to read with encouragement that what I was feeling was normal. I particularly wanted to find books that encouraged ‘mindfulness’ as my psychologist had thrown that term around a few times with regard to troublesome relationships I have. In our last session, we also discussed separating the emotion from a feeling so as to observe the feeling rather than launch right into it and feel every inch of it.

I came across a few books and the majority were about Buddhism. Now I’m not Buddhist however I have always agreed that there are aspects of Buddhism that can only be good for the soul. I am a Christian and hold those values very dear to my heart and I am not about to compromise on my Christian faith however the lessons I have learned from ‘Buddhism for Mothers’ by Sarah Napthali have made great improvements to my overall outlook on my life as it is today.

I can now find joy in each moment, no matter how boring it may seem because I know how to look for it. My joy is now coming from being mindful, being in the now, not allowing my mind to think about the past or future and what it all means to me. I’ve been consciously trying to keep my mind in the now for only a couple of weeks and it is pretty easy to get distracted. Life happens! I don’t get frustrated with myself, I just kindly note to myself that I really cannot control the past or future and therefore I am wasting energy and time and missing what is in fact happening right now. I can now be there for my daughter, be full of calm (most of the time! Haha!), and know that by filling my life with love and acceptance (thank you Jesus!) I am allowed to enjoy the joy in my life.

Oh and on the Haus Meri note… I don’t have one anymore. They are bad for my health. Bahahahaha!

So how do you find your Zen?