Monday, August 9, 2010


Today we blended a tablespoon of peas into Hannah's rice cereal. Revolting shade of mould green but from Hannah's response obviously a lot tastier than boring cereal. Picking her up after the meal I could swear she had gained at least a kilogram. Wonder what colour her poo will be tomorrow

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A fine day out

Hannah's dad needed some time to himself so he could work on his assignments. So Hannah was dressed up warmly in her newest Mummy creation (an Elizabeth Tunic made out of Mosaic Moon MMR Aran Year and A Day colourway) and we went out for brunch with Karen at Dench's in North Fitzroy.

This is a photo taken by Karen of Hannah doing her most adorable 'Who me?" look. You may notice that she is wearing a different knitted hat - the purple one fits better.
Following brunch we stopped for a visit to Aunty Faye where Hannah rolled beautifully and charmed and entertained her.

Finally, coffee at godparents Phill and Jess's place before limping home exhausted but happy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rolling Hannah

In the last photo she so looks like her Grandma Paula Bozik with a touch of her Great Grandmother 'Booba' Masha Obronczka.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mmmm... banana

Hannah liked having a slice of banana mashed up and added to the bland rice cereal. Then she burnt up all the extra calories by performing a series of jumping jacks (while lying on her back), rolls (to the left) and break-dancing (well that's what it looked like).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food for thought

Hannah had her first solids this evening - rice cereal with mummy's milk. Then she downed a full feed of pure milk. Is in bed now with a bulging tummy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bath Time

Hannah's favourite activity is swimming around in the big double bath with Mummy.

And maybe having a drink

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Someone is watching you

June 2010

Dressed in feminist purple knitted by mum and playing with her favourite punk fairy butterfly doll from Aunty Karen
Hannah 14 June 2010 compressed

Bedtime reading with mum (Winnie the Pooh)
Hannah 8 June 2010 017

Receiving a manicure from dad
Hannah 8 June 2010 019

Our big brown-eyed girl
Hannah 8 June 2010 031

Monday, June 7, 2010

15 weeks today

And doesn't time fly. Our little girl is now into her third round of sizes - she's mostly wearing 00's, although she's up to 0's in the oddly-sized Bonds and Target Bright Bots growth suit range.

Her parents are very boring - we favour the 'feminist purple' and hot pink Baby Bots cotton suits with velour polar fleece suits for cold nights.

We have given up storing clothes - if Hannah has a little sister, we will start again. Most items we received free of charge anyway, grow suits can be had for less than $10 each from Target and other new parents deserve the baby clothes karma we have benefited from.

Hannah is drinking 180ml of mama's milk five times a day (only the fresh stuff - we're hoping she will accept some of the frozen milk mixed with her food when she gets onto solids).

She is pressing up strongly on her elbows, lifting her head and kicking with incredible force. She does not yet roll or crawl properly but she loves playing a counting game where we help lift her into standing position. She's also learnt that when she gets put onto the change table to put her legs up so we can easily change her nappy. She is a very clever, as well as strong girl.

She smiles occasionally for us but is mostly a very serious little girl. She can break our hearts with her steady serious gaze from her big brown eyes.

As part of our bedtime routine I read Hannah a chapter of a book each night even though she is too young to understand anything yet. This gets her used to my voice and to the concept of reading and signals that it is time to go to sleep. After getting bored senseless reading about Spot the dog I decided I would only read what I enjoyed - a bored reader does not transmit a love of books to the listener.

We have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass; we are now reading Winnie the Pooh. I have discovered that these classics not only stand the test of time but are more enjoyable when read out loud - it's hard to appreciate the poetry and verse when read silently to one's self. The books are clearly designed as much for adults as children with clever puns and delightful nonsense that stand many repeated reads.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My mouth is still open in shock from a conversation I had last week with the grandmother of a 10-year-old girl with serious entitlement issues.

While visiting relatives overseas, the 10-year-old had apparently fallen in love with their house. This is perfectly normal. What I found disturbing and abnormal was that the girl had then presented the relative with a piece of paper asking that he write on it that she was to get the house after he died! And apparently this is not the first relative she has hit on in this way.

Where on earth does a 10-year-old get the idea that this is normal and acceptable behaviour? I used to joke that based on the behaviour of its student body, the very expensive private school she attends (and Hannah will not, even if we win the lottery) must have classes on materialism and entitlement. But I suspect that one must look much closer to home.

Whatever our financial situation is in the future, Hannah is going to be brought up knowing that if she wants certain material things, she will have to work to pay for them herself. This doesn't mean that her father and I won't help her if we can - my entry into home ownership was made much easier thanks to relatives who helped me get together the deposit for my first (relatively modest) flat but I never expected or demanded such help. And by work for them I mean a regular job as a gardener, engineer, cafe manager or the like - not as a glorified prostitute who only dates/marries men of a certain income.

I know from my own experience that the freedom that comes from the knowledge that you have and can support yourself financially is worth more than a dozen expensive houses bequeathed to you by others. Every gift comes with its own price, emotional or otherwise. It is exhilarating to look around my house and know that aside from a few pieces of furniture and dishes (and the original assistance with my first deposit) both it and everything it contains is the result and my and my husband's hard work. I don't want to deprive Hannah of this experience.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Little Miss Chatterbox

Hannah has started chatting away in her own language which, alas, is still incomprehensible to us. But we are trying.

Hannah: "Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa."

Dad (looking Hannah in the eye): "Really? You don't say!"

Hannah: "Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa."

Dad: "You make sure you stand up for yourself and tell them so!"

Hannah: "Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa."

Mum (getting into the spirit of things): "I totally agree."

Hannah: "Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa."

Mum: "That's a very interesting point Hannah. I think you should start coming to my work meetings. You have a lot more to contribute than some of the people who turn up."

Baby back ribs - yum, yum

If anyone lacking a sense of humour overheard Hannah's dad and me talking about her we'd probably be up on charges of intent to commit cannibalism.

"Yum, yum baby back ribs..."

"You can have the ribs, I want those nice meaty drumsticks."

"I'm basting her with the special sorbolene sauce."

"Baby stuffed with mummy-milk. Yum, yum."

Hannah clearly appreciates her inherent tastiness. She spends most of he waking hours now sucking her fingers and hand and trying to stuff one or both fists at the same time into her mouth. Maybe she is a self-cannibal.

I'm not quite sure why so much of our humour around Hannah is so black. Because we love her so much and would never do her any harm.

The Queen has spoken

The Queen has spoken. None of this crap frozen milk for her. It must be freshly expressed and stored for less than 3 days in the fridge. We discarded the first lot of thawed milk thinking it may have got contaminated but she rejected a second lot too. Now, what to do with a month's worth of rejected frozen breast milk??? I also have to work on cutting down my over-supply.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back to work

The day after Hannah turned 11 weeks my paid leave was used up and I returned to work. I expected changes and challenges but wasn't quite ready for what greeted me. I had been moved out of my own office and my computer placed at a desk in an open plan area, just in front of the new boss' office. I had my back to him and was facing a blank wall and a bookcase blocked my view of everyone else - except the male casual employee encased in a large glass office to my right. I had no phone or power point to recharge my phone or netbook.

And that was before my boss told me he was thinking of changing my job title to something that to me sounded a lot less responsible and professional than the one I had had previously.

I was in total shock. I had just wanted to go back to work and get on with doing my job – in fact I’d been looking forward to the intellectual stimulation and getting back into the swing of things. I knew there would be some changes but it was hard not to perceive what I found as anything but an attempt to intimidate and undermine me; it was completely insulting and unprofessional.

I now, however, must accept that this wasn't a personal attack on me as a mother returning to work but a reflection on the general upheaval in the organisation. A call for voluntary redundancies had gone out and by lunchtime on my first day back every single person in my new department (aside from my boss and another colleague on long-term leave) had applied. Did I even have a job to come back to?

One thing that had been organised properly was a lockable room for me to express my breast milk. I had sent my boss a polite but direct email about 3 weeks prior to returning to work explaining that I would need a private hygienic room to express.. It was also possible that my jokes about expressing in front of the CEO’s office if suitable accommodation was not provided had reached him. This was too much for the middle-aged men in the office to deal with and I got the room.

My colleagues have provided me with a lot of support. I heard a lot of stories from older women who didn't have any paid maternity leave and who had had to express their breast milk in the toilets because there were no facilities. (I refuse to hide in the toilet; after all adults wouldn’t prepare their meals in the toilet -why should I prepare Hannah’s meals there?). I think they all quite like the fact that I'd been very upfront in asserting my rights in regards to the breast feeding issue.

With regards to my workstation, I finally got an office thanks to intervention from several other managers and my workplace rep. I had a full and frank discussion with the new boss about my expectations of being treated as a professional and with respect. I asked him directly if the organisation wanted to get rid of me and, if so, I would appreciate if they had the decency to say this to my face. “Oh no, no, no, no," he claimed.

I even managed to negotiate working a day from week at home and a new job title that was at least on par with the one I had previously.

I’m trying to relax and keep an open mind and see what the next few weeks bring. But I so understand why so many mothers give up and drop out of the workforce or end up working at a job far beneath their ability. It’s hard enough to only see your child for a couple of hours each work day; this kind of ‘welcome’ back to work makes it almost impossible.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vacination day

Yesterday Hannah got her first round of vaccinations - polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and more. Unfortunately whooping cough has made a comeback in Australia, partially due to moronic ill-informed parents who believe the risk of side-effects from vaccinations outweigh the benefits. I guess this happens when we forget that thousands of children used to die each year from what are now largely preventable diseases.

So Hannah's father and I also had a booster whooping cough shot accompanied by a tetanus injection.

Interesting fact: apparently vaccinations only 'take' in about 90% of recipients, according to our maternal health nurse. Those who aren't properly immunised are protected due to the fact that the majority of people around them are protected and hence not getting and spreading the disease. But once you have too many people opting out of vaccinations everyone who isn't fully immunised is at risk of getting the disease - including that 10% of the population who thought they were immunised. And this is what happened with whooping cough in NSW. Whooping cough is not a big deal for healthy adults; in fact they may not even realise they have it while they are spreading it around the community. Hence the push for carers, as well as babies, to be immunised.

Hannah was the very last baby to receive her shot at the health centre. Which was a good thing as she expressed her displeasure by opening her bowels and releasing a stench that could be smelt a kilometre away.

It was still better than risking she get polio or whooping cough.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

10 weeks tomorrow

Hannah Smiles for Daddy

Hmm, mum has been a bit slack in updating the blog!

Over the past 4 weeks Hannah has:
  • Had her first illness - conjunctivitis - which embarrassingly manifested itself at a party held in her honour where we asked everyone with sick kids to stay away.
  • Started sleeping through the night (averaging 6-7 hours now - we have to be very quiet about this at the New Parents' Group where many babies only manage 2-3 hours at a time).
  • Discovered her hands which she explores with her mouth and tongue at every opportunity.
  • Pokes out her tongue at every opportunity - this is apparently an essential step in her learning to talk.
  • Been out and about with mum on playdates, visiting her new 'best friends' - Georgia the fashionista who is passing on her outgrown clothes (Sonya's daughter) & Josephine, Bronwyn's daughter who is just 3 weeks younger than her and the only baby we've met to have even more hair than Hannah at such a young age.
  • Visited mum's work and met the new boss as well as other colleagues - I've put in a formal application to work 2 days a week from home and am hoping the new rights for parents to request flexible working arrangements will assist with this.
  • Visited 'Aunty Mel' and her children in Gisborne (who passed on even more gorgeous handknits for her), an indoor play centre in Footscray (where mum met up with Sonya & Nadine from work) & Ana in Yarraville (who is due to give birth any day).
  • Had lunch in Hurstbridge with Grandpa Alex & her Uncle John.
  • Caught up with 'Aunty' (honourable title) Susan in Toorak and lunched at Georgio's in Malvern.
  • Attended Joshua Solomon's 6th birthday party (today)
And I'm sure there have been other things.

Mum has still been taking plenty of photos - including ones of Hannah in her latest knit; an 80s black rainbow funk version of the rather more sedately named 'Elizabeth Tunic'.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Six-week spurt

Hannah is growing up fast. On Monday she hit six-weeks and right on schedule her lungs further expanded and she is now able to inform the entire neighbourhood that she is hungry or overtired or needs a nappy change or is just having an existential crisis.

Her 'witching hour' has turned into a 'witching afternoon and evening'. Fortunately a bath provides her (and us) with some temporary relief.

She has also learned how to smile but we haven't yet been able to capture it on camera.

And here is a gratuitous picture of me lying on the couch with Hannah. Note both Snoopy and Hannah's feeding bottle in the background and the rejected elements of Hannah's last meal on my clothes - I obviously wasn't quick enough with the burp cloth that day.

Spot the difference

Hannah Gitl

Tinky Winky

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hannah's first Pesach

Hannah comes in two modes - 'on' and 'off'. We haven't yet found the switch and suspect it is buried deep inside her.

She can be completely rampaging one minute and then she just stops and falls asleep. This just cracks us up laughing (possibly in relief).

However, she was beautifully behaved at the Seders. Here is a picture of Hannah being fed by her dad at the second night Seder. She is modelling a highly appropriate bib given to her by our friend Sam Nagel who trekked all the way from Elsternwick to Hurstbridge to see her.

She (and we) had two very different experiences this year.

First night was with the Mecoles family. A few years ago the Mecoles, who are not observant, decided that if they were going to continue to have an annual Seder they had to create something that was meaningful for them. The result is possibly the most meaningful and enjoyable Seder that I have ever attended, and certainly the one with the best discussion and conversation.

The son, Damien, runs a quiz where each person selects their topic (this year they were 'general knowledge', 'philosophy', 'religion and culture', 'tricky theology' and 'Passover re-enactment'). The questions trigger the kind of spirited intellectual discussion that I once fantasised existed in universities. Although most people at the table are avowed atheists or agnostics, it's the deepest and most meaningful religious discussion I have ever experienced at a Seder.

While Hannah couldn't join in the conversation this year, she was wide-eyed and alert and seemed to be taking it all in.

Second night was with the Solomons who, although not biological family, have adopted us as though we were. It was the first time the parents, Joel and Ruth, had seen Hannah and they could not have been more proud and excited if they were the 'real' grandparents. Somehow within 2 minutes of arriving, Hannah was being cuddled by Ruth, while Joel was pulling out jars of baby food he had bought for her! (Hannah doesn't start on solids for at least another 3 months.) Hannah was definitely a bit of a spoiled darling on the night - there were seven other children there - all boys, six of them aged between four and eight! As you can imagine it was very noisy and physical.

We are so privileged to have such close friends who have welcomed us into their families. While part of me was very sad that Hannah wasn't spending her first Pesach with her biological extended family, it was so lovely for all of us to be welcomed with genuine joy and unconditional acceptance into our friends' families.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reality check

Throughout my pregnancy I became very frustrated by how most doctors seemed to have what I perceived as an overly negative view of my health and potential for a successful pregnancy. At 16 weeks one doctor told me I was carrying too much weight to have a healthy pregnancy (a statement he later denied saying but I recorded and wrote about at the time), despite all my medical tests - including blood pressure, cholesterol and kidney function - all being well-within the normal range. The BMI figure seemed to rule above all. The fact I was in my late 30s, got pregnant through IVF and my mum died of a diabetes-related heart attack probably added to their concerns.

One woman I knew said that while she understood my frustration, I should take the view that if the doctors were so busy looking for something going wrong, if something did in fact go wrong, it would be picked up right away. I knew she was right but I struggled not to rile against the fat prejudice - the medical negativity only eased up once I had passed 30 weeks of pregnancy with perfectly healthy blood pressure and no gestational diabetes developing (much to the surprise of nearly every doctor I encountered).

Despite the dire predictions I ended up having the most boringly healthy pregnancy on record; the only medical issues - an iron deficiency, a vitamin D deficiency, and mild carpel tunnel in one hand towards the end of the pregnancy - were conditions common in pregnant women of all ages and weights. I went into labour naturally at just under 41 weeks and had a vaginal birth, albeit with the assistance of drugs and some light forceps work at the end, and delivered an extremely strong and healthy baby.

Three weeks later I decided I was really glad the doctors had watched me like a hawk. Another girl I knew - five years younger, physically fit and with a 'normal' BMI (for what that is worth), who had had a perfectly normal healthy pregnancy, went into labour at a well-known private hospital and things started to go very wrong. Am emergency Cesarean was required, for some reason there was a delay and her baby was born extremely ill. The baby was rushed to one of the big public hospitals while mum was stitched up. A few hours later mum was back for a second round of surgery due to a post-pregnancy complication. For the next week mum was recovering in the private hospital while her child was 20km away in the neonatal intensive care unit of the public hospital. The child is still in intensive care while mum is back home but dependent on others to take her to visit her kid as she is not able to drive due to her surgery.

For all the faults and complaints about public hospitals, they are definitely the place you want to be if something goes wrong. There are always numerous doctors around who can and will drop their non-emergency cases to attend to a real emergency. (That's why non-emergency patients always end up waiting so long to be seen.) I always said that I would rather give birth on a trolley in the corridor of Box Hill Hospital than in an architecturally-designed private hospital room because at least at Box Hill there would be experienced doctors available any time, day or night. Fortunately we live in the catchment zone for one of the best maternity hospitals in the state and during my pregnancy we confirmed that if something went wrong during the birth our baby could be treated in the same hospital as me.

I now fully appreciate that if the extremely rare unexpected birthing emergency after a textbook pregnancy case had happened to be me, having doctors who were constantly looking for something going wrong meant that it would have been picked up very early - and it would have been far less likely for there to be any delays in terms of conducting an emergency Cesarean or transferring a newborn to specialist intensive care.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hannah is One (month)

She blitzed all her four-week developmental milestones at today's appointment with the maternal & child health nurse.

She's gained 480g over the past fortnight and has grown proportionately in length and head diameter.

Hannah is pictured with a teddy bear sent to her from America from her Aunty Kimmy and cousin Isabella (Bella).

Monday, March 22, 2010

It takes two

I have a new respect for single parents. I don't know how they do it. The above photo was taken this morning with one hand - the other was expressing milk. Hannah's father was giving her a feed despite just having come back from the doctor where he had a cyst on his ear drained. This entailed getting a local anaesthetic which was beginning to wear off so he was in a bit of pain. He's trying to look like he's suffering but his love for Hannah still comes through.

Of course a properly organised parent would time the expressing of milk between feeds - but "properly organised parent" is an oxymoron as babies, especially newborns, have their own opinions on when they want to be fed and a baby who has happily gone 3 1/2 hours between feeds for several days will demand a feed at 2 1/2 hours the moment you've got yourself busy with something else.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First roll!

At 26 days of age Hannah did a completely unaided roll from her front to back. I wouldn't dare type this except we have external witnesses including my friend Nat who is a maternal and child health nurse and, like most medical professionals who encounter Hannah, was pretty gob-smacked at Hannah's strength and development.

I'd put Hannah on her tummy after a feed and change where she first impressed Nat by pushing herself up on her arms and lifting her head and turning it towards Nat. Then completely unexpectedly Hannah did a roll.

Of course it could be months before she does this again (according to Nat, rolling is a 4 month developmental milestone) but there is no doubt that Hannah is a very strong and determined little baby who has already blitzed her 1 month developmental milestones.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Milkmaid of Hurstbridge

"Breast is best" all the books and midwives and other experts say. What they fail to mention is that "bigger is not always better" when it comes to breast feeding.

As can be seen in the above picture there can be some logistical difficulties for a small baby trying to attach to large breasts - particularly when the nipples have completely flattened out.

So I have been expressing milk out of my breasts with an electric pump and Jeff and I have been feeding Hannah using a bottle.

When even the lactation consultant says “I don’t think it really matters in the end if she never attaches given that you are going so well with the expressing…” you know it’s not just a case of not persisting long enough.

Fortunately supply isn't an issue - we've stockpiled already an additional week's worth of breast milk in the freezer downstairs.

Hannah is very independent and already trying to feed herself.

Did I mention that she is less than a month old?

Birth notice

Published in the Australian Jewish News (Melbourne edition)
Friday 12 March 2010.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Things I never expected

Almost from the moment that I became pregnant with Hannah, she/nature/biology took over my mind as well as my body. Pregnancy, birth and now parenting has been filled with numerous unexpected experiences - many far more positive than I ever expected.

I never expected:
  • To have had as healthy pregnancy as I did
  • To (for the most part) enjoy my pregnancy as much as I did
  • To become so in tune with my body
  • To be so overwhelmed by the physical pain of childbirth - but not care
  • To watch my breasts grow in size from Enormous to Freaky to Gigantic and now just plain Huge (please, let them not reach Inconceivable cup size) yet
  • To have so much difficulty breastfeeding
  • To love Hannah so much from the moment she was born
  • To be able to deal with her poo nappies (something I thought I could never do up until the moment I gave birth)
  • To be able to respond to her crying, yet not feel irritated by it
  • To instinctively know what to do and what Hannah needs a surprising amount of the time
  • For Hannah to respond so positively to me
  • For J & my relationship to be so strengthened by her birth and our joint focus on her, despite the sleep deprivation
  • To laugh more in the first fortnight after Hannah's birth than during the previous two decades
  • To be both changed by parenthood yet remain the same fundamental person
  • To be surrounded by so much love and support from some people, a counter balance to the unexpected lack of interest from others
  • To have my decisions, values and so forth so reinforced by every moment I spend with her.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is she really only 19 days old?

Jeff and I are struggling to remember a time when Hannah wasn't in our life. Even my pregnancy seems like a distant memory.

Today's pic is Hannah on a blanket sent to her from some family friends (the Gurviches) who I've had very little to do with for several decades. Nonetheless they don't seem hold this against our family, sending Hannah possibly the most awesome blanket ever.

Hannah is wearing a Pumpkin Patch top and Target leggings, courtesy of Sonya, whose daughter is a very convenient 5 months older than Hannah, and is kicking off shoes knitted by mum Margaret.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wish list

If I could give Hannah anything in the world I wish she could grow up in a world where she would be loved and accepted and valued for who she is, where she would have the opportunity to explore all options and be supported in striving to be the best she could be in whatever it is she wanted to do and where things worked out fairly according to merit rather than according to who you know or what superficial appearance you have.

The world, however, is not like that so her father and I hope to give her the gift of resilience and self-confidence forged through unconditional love, clear boundaries, encouragement and support as she learns about the world and develops her skills, a genuine love of learning (as distinct from mere academic success), a love of animals, a clear set of values, and protection from those whose words and actions erode self-esteem.

We are fortunate to live in a country like Australia where everyone - especially those on the way to owning their own home and earning at least the average annual income - have enough to survive materially. No matter how much one has, there will always be someone who has a bigger income, more expensive clothes, a nicer house, and so forth. The path to true happiness is when one learns to be happy and make the best with what one has rather than always wishing for more.

Our family has benefited enormously from the generosity of others, particularly other parents who have passed on clothes and other items that their children no longer use. As Hannah, at the grand old age of 17 days, grows out of her first lot of clothes we box them up for the next family who will be able to use them.

While gifts are not necessary for Hannah, we know that we have friends and family who want to mark her birth and support us as parents. So while we are not expecting anything from anyone, the following is a guide for those who want it.

The most useful gifts are the practical ones such as:
  • Huggies nappies (size 5-11kg)
  • Huggies wipes (the refills - we have a dispensing box)
  • Gift vouchers for Target, Kmart, Big W and the like (we always seem to need to pick up something else for Hannah from one of these stores)
  • Gift vouchers for Baby Bunting and Toys 'r' Us (which we can put towards the purchase of larger items as required as she grows)
Or gifts that reflect Hannah's heritage and/or support lifelong learning such as:
  • Hebrew/Yiddish letter puzzles, toys and Jewish books (such as a good English-language children’s version of the Old Testament, children’s Hagadah, guide to the Jewish calendar/festivals, etc)
  • Classic children's books (although her bibliophile parents have already built up an impressive collection - maybe run titles past them)
  • Quality educational toys
Or a donation in Oxfam in Hannah's honour will go to those who need it most and we will get much more joy from this than another unwanted gift:
  • Visit Oxfam Unwrapped and select wish list 622. Oxfam will automatically advise us that you have made a donation in Hannah's honour and you'll receive a receipt that you can use as a tax deduction when you complete next year's tax return.
Thank-you very much but thanks to the generosity of friends Hannah already has plenty of:
  • newborn clothes - if you want to buy her clothes, please purchase size 00, 0 or even lager (she will grow into them). Pure cotton 'grow suits' with press-studs at the front are the best & she (or her parents!) love bright purple and pinks. Clothes marked 'Low Fire Danger' are preferred - please avoid anything marked 'High Fire Danger' (which we've seen disturbing quantities of at various baby stores). Please don't spend a fortune on a designer item she will grow out of in a matter of weeks or months.
  • Sleeping/Grow Bags
  • Blankets
And in obvious news, please, no tacky 'novelty' items such as:

Monday, March 8, 2010

A growing girl

Hannah is 14 days old and already growing out of some of her 0000 outfits. She has her father's long torso, as well as his colouring, but we think my relatively long legs. She is very strong and feisty.

Here is a pic of her in an outfit given to her by Charly of ixchel bunny fame.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's in a name?

Choosing a name was the easiest part of having Hannah. It took us some time to conceive and we ended up going down the IVF route. But very early on we'd decided that if we had a girl, we'd name her Hannah Gitl.

We wanted a biblical name that would work equally well in the wider secular Australian society. We both liked the name Hannah and settled on it after checking there was no nasty story associated with the name. (I always wonder about parents who name their daughter Leah, although not as much as about those who name their daughter Tamar - just Google 'Tamar in the Hebrew bible' to understand why; there are two Tamar's, neither of whom has a story fit for a G-rated blog.)

Hannah was a prophet and mother of Samuel; her name also apparently means beauty and passion. If she'd been a boy we would have named her Benjamin , a name we selected long before some other friends welcomed their son Benjamin into their lives. After Hannah's birth these friends told us that if they had had a girl, they would have named her Hannah! Which just goes to show that great minds think alike.

The Gitl part of her name comes from her late maternal grandmother. Gitl, meaning good, was a popular girl's name amongst Yiddish-speaking European Jews. The diminutive of Gitl is Gitl-lah (meaning 'little Gitl') - much like in Australia where a child may be called Debbie instead of Deborah or Cathy instead of Catherine.

When my grandparents migrated to Australia in the 1950s, my mum's name was recorded on all the official paperwork as Gitla. It wasn't until 40 years later that she finally reclaimed her real name, telling colleagues that the 'a' was silent. Part of honouring her memory in our daughter is ensuring that her name was properly recorded as it should have been rather than as Gitla - the legal name she was saddled with due to a misunderstanding by an immigration officer all those years ago.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hannah Gitl - Knitwear model

Wearing Baby Surprise Jacket and matching hat made out of Zarina Baby Print

Wearing jacket and matching hat made out of Wooltopia's worsted bamboo/cotton blend

Wearing 5 hour baby sweater knitted in Dream in Color worsted visual purple

Wearing silk jacket knitted by Mel/womaninashoe

Wearing Saarjete's booties knitted out of Shiloah silk wool

All photos taken 6 March, 2010 when Hannah Gitl was 12 days old.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Never a nuisance

Like all new parents we are going through a steep learning curve as we get to know Hannah and try to anticipate her needs. This is not always easy, especially as her only form of communication with us when she is unhappy is crying. The crying can mean anything from "I'm hungry" to "I'm lonely", "I'm cold and wet (yes, somehow I managed to pee on my clothes despite the fact I have a high quality disposable nappy securely and correctly attached)", "My bottom is sore and tender", "I need to burp/fart", "I want a cuddle", etc, etc.

Earlier this week Hannah cried almost non-stop for 3 hours and no amount of nappy/clothes changing, food, cuddles, walks around the house, etc could really settle her down. Then finally she lets out a MASSIVE fart and promptly falls asleep. It was just gas pains. And I had just learnt not to assume she was gas-free just because she'd had two major burps after her feed - she is a tardis who can fit in more gas, poop, wee and food inside than the outside of her body suggests.

Later that day in an email I mentioned that it had been a challenging day with Hannah - and that's all I meant. I received a response from someone who will remain anonymous:

Sorry to hear that Hannah's a nuisance, but she's obviously well and I'm sure you'll learn to accept the "minor problems" of parenthood, like all other parents (groan).

I was flabbergasted. Hannah's behaviour was challenging, but Hannah herself is wonderful and perfect just the way she is. Her crying per say doesn’t upset me; I just hate it when she is unhappy and I can’t work out why. In many ways she is like a cat; when I cuddle her to soothe her, she ends up soothing me. She is just so bright and alert and responsive to us; she may have Jeff’s colouring but she definitely has a lot of my expressions and attitude. Hannah's behaviour has her challenging, difficult and even frustrating moments but she herself is never, ever a nuisance.

Matchmaker, matchmaker

(Posted on Facebook on Monday 1 March 2010)

Hannah is less than a week old and her father is already contemplating potential matches for her amongst the under 5yo sons of friends. If you want your son to be considered please note he must be physically strong (just to cope with Hannah's strength), intelligent, an independent thinker, and a lover of cats and other animals.

So far we've had two responses, both from parents who have two sons of the right age. Phill merely noted that he 'liked' this status and commented 'hummm...'

Sonya was more forthcoming:

Well we have two eligible batchelors to choose from. One likes star wars, lego and reading books. The other enjoys Thomas the tank engine, painting and cooking. Both are trained in the domestic arts (dishes, washing, dusting) and have a sister who will continue to pass on her hand-me-down clothes.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Born 22 February 2010
Defying the naysayers since conception

Weight: 3320 grams

Length: 48 cm

Head Circumference: 32 cm

Full-term (40weeks + 6), vaginal delivery (forceps assisted), discharged from hospital with mother 3 days after birth

Mother’s BMI 50, age late 30s, family history of Type 2 diabetes, IVF-assisted conception—but:
  • No gestational diabetes,
  • Healthy blood pressure throughout pregnancy
  • Healthy thriving baby & healthy thriving mother

“The doctor uses statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient...Because results are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.”
(US National Institutes of Health)