Tuesday, December 09, 2008

We're almost out of ink.

Which makes it a good time to buy a printer. I want to be able to scan and photocopy at home. We are choosing between the Canon Pixma MP520 (Playcentre's) and the HP Photosmart C8180 (Ruth's) I suspect either would be fine. You may research them if you wish and come up with a recommendation while I attend the school helpers' morning tea. 

Damon will sit in the house with a computer while Iris watches DVDs. She is responding to important change with her current best coping mechanism. I'm sure that once she's literate I'll be able to take her and a book places when she's in this mood but at the moment I'm a bit wistful that when Playcentre was on the phone and asked her to come in to help make my leaving present she wouldn't). 


Friday, October 24, 2008

Best thing a newborn sibling can do.

Back in the day, if Hazel put her lovely soft child cheek beside Iris's, Iris would root around on it for a nipple. Hazel used to love these "funny baby kisses".

I'm thinking of this because my inbox seems to have another baby sister or baby brother announcement every time I look at it, each one reminds me of the day that Sean went through to Hazel's bedroom and said
"The baby came out of Mum's tummy last night, you're a big sister now."

When Iris was born Hazel was very keen on her, but, you know, newborns are extraordinarily frustrating people to love. Getting positive feedback out of a newborn is a matter of hope and kind interpretation on the part of loving and experienced adults; people who are new at trying to understand babies often find newborns completely opaque.

Newborns are used to a comfortable, friendly but impersonal environment, not unlike a private spa pool at a resort famous for its unobtrusive but efficient service. Newborns tell you something's wrong, but they don't know to tell that you've got it right. Newborns do love to breastfeed but not everyone has the superpower of making their milk, and their tummies are often a bit dicky. Newborns aren't as tolerant as a doll or as grateful as a cat, they can't even hold onto their presents.

Hazel cared desperately and wanted to know that Iris loved her back or even noticed her, and the only feedback Hazel had found out how to get reliably was negative, I was feeling a bit panicky about their relationship spiralling down for the 6 or 8 weeks before Iris learnt to smile when a friend, who'd had had 5 of her 6 babies by the time I'd had 2, told me about the funny baby kisses.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let's get a really tiny car.

Car seats and booster seats do not make my life easier. Without them children are small and squash into the car easily, without them children are people who can walk or catch a train, a bus, or a plane to somewhere to be met by a loved one and a car as easily as I can, this is a wonderful freedom.

But death and internal injuries have only disadvantages.

Dr. Liz Segedin's powerpoint summary of quite a few years of Starship's statistics shows how very much less likely your car is to ruin or end your life if you sit in a booster seat until you're 1.5m tall (Hazel is 1.25m, Iris 1.15m). Booster seat research, Dr Liz Segedin.ppt

The NZ Child Restraints' site's Booster Seats section includes this little gem:

What is "sub-marining"?

When a small, undersized child, (a child who is unable to pass the 5 step test) is placed into an adult belt there are a number of risks that the child is exposed to. Such risks include injuries to the neck, spine and internal organs, as well as injuries caused when the child slides out the lap portion of the seat belt in an accident. The effect of this is known as "sub-marining" and is shown in the image below.


A child will scoot forward in an adult belt simply because they cannot comfortably sit with their back and bottom against the back of the vehicle seat, nor can they sit with their knees comfortably bent over the seat edge.

When a child is uncomfortable, they will find ways to make sure they are comfortable, this means they will pull their lower body forward to rest their knees on the seat edge, leaving a gap behind their back. The child is also likely to place the sash portion of their seat belt behind their neck, since their shoulder is now lower down and the seat belt cuts into their neck causing discomfort.

Useful info for parents.pdf (a pdf summary of how to tell if a child is sitting safely).

Safekids' position statement.pdf They say "It's booster seat time for Kiwi kids" and provide 17 pdf pages of argument for that.

Oh, botheration! Another inconvenient truth.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Flow Chart

Notes in case you can't read the picture (I plan to make a better one, but this is the general idea).

Flow Chart
Susan Harper 27.6.2008

Are you having fun yet?

Yay! Challenge, Competence and Concentration balanced.

Oh. Why?

No focus.
Okay; so... try changing the environment and your mind; focus.

Bored. This is too easy.
Concentrate. Take care. Think of something to add or improve.

Too hard. Failure looms.
Choose an intermediate goal; a part-way success criteria.
Are you having fun yet?

Thank you Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Would I like to write a book?
I suspect so.

What would I like to write a book about?


Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Aid

At dinner Hazel often asks "What did you learn today?" she didn't tonight, but if she had I would have had an answer because I did a First Aid refresher course with First Aid Consultants today. Here's what I learnt:
  1. Survey the scene.
    • dangers in general?
    • what happened?
    • number of patients?
  2. D - dangers to patient (move them?)
    R - responsive?
    S - send for help ("ring ambulance, come back and tell me when you have")

    A - airway open (+ stabilise head and neck)
    B - breathing? (look, listen, feel)
    C - CPR
    • if patient under 8 then start with 5 rescue breaths
    • C: 30 Chest compressions (in time with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" 30 takes you about one chorus)
    • A: airway open?
    • B: 2 rescue breaths
  3. Airway closed? 5 back blows, 5 Heimlichs (or chest thrusts if can't), repeat.
    Breathing but unconcious -> Recovery Position
    Conscious but breathless -> Sit Up (elbows up too perhaps)
    Conscious but feeling faint -> Lie Flat on ground
  4. Body Check
    1. Calmly introduce and explain yourself, ask what happened.
    2. "Squeeze my fingers with your hands"
    3. "Push my hands with your feet (if can't lower spine injury, don't move them)"
    4. Head: look for fluid coming out ears, nose, mouth. Feel for spongey skull.
    5. Neck, spine, abdomen: feel for hard bits.
    6. Squash pelvis: check for grating
    7. Check legs then arms for deformity, bruising, pain. Check joints work.
  5. Nil by mouth.
  6. Keep the patient warm and reassure people. Speak slowly, deep and calm.
  7. Keep Monitoring and Reassuring.
If a person is unconscious get an ambulance. If a someone has been knocked out they should be checked out.

If you've RICEd someone (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and there's no reduction in pain or swelling or they don't have the ability to move the thing, take them to A&E. Do no HARM for the first 24 hours (Heat, Alcohol, Resuming activity, Massage: all things which make more blood and inflammation at the site of the injury).

Burns are now 20 minutes under cool water (softly running). Get off all relevant jewelery and clothing unless it sticks.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Tandem sky-diving.

Should I go tandem sky-diving with my friend who wants to go?


Friday, January 19, 2007

Word? Asphasia.

In New Zealand in 1986 if there was a car a hoon was proud of it might have been a Ford Escort, it might have had it's engine changed so it had a 2l one, it might have mag wheels, a spoiler, and some sheepskin accessories, but it must have had speed stripes and on the back window, a ...

a thing, you know, a black plastic collection of short horizontal planes, what did we used to call those things?

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Monday, December 18, 2006

A question.

I started this on January 17th. I did it thinking I might do it for a year.

Should I stop?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Housekeeping hints for slatterns #4

Ooooh, ninja t-shirt folding, now this is addictive.

Of course the kids are scattering today: fabric scraps, old coins, dice, (but not yet food!) and so the house is a tip, but I can tell you, the t-shirts are origami.

(#1, #2, #3).

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Way to drive your parent cracker.

  1. Whine.
  2. Take off your clothes. (Bonus points for complete nudity at lunch time outside Parliament).
  3. Bite people.
  4. Ask for something, ask for it a lot, beg, plead, yell, then get polite. When you get the thing glance at it and hurl it away.
  5. Pee on your parent.
  6. Don't respond if your sister asks you nicely, wait until she pulls your hair, then do what she wants.
  7. Don't get in the car.
  8. Yell very loudly "I am!" whenever someone makes suggestions about your behaviour.
  9. Don't eat when people are watching.
  10. If you listen, don't look, if you look, don't answer.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Toilet seat.

I think the girls and I will be buying a toilet seat today, the old wooden one has been cracked for a long time but what with very energetic short people putting the lid down so they can stand on it to flush, it's got to the stage where it bites people who fidget. Iris says she wants a pink one, I'd like a clear one with strange stuff embedded in it (if anyone's seen those available in Wellington do pipe up about where).

By the way, here's a game theoretic discussion of when the seat should be left down and up. I've never minded putting the seat down myself, but then I wash my hands after using the loo.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Things I've done while in labour.

(For http://beautifulbirthstories.blogspot.com/)

  • Eat at a restaurant (early stages of a long slow part of labour)
  • Take my eldest to our local playground while hanging off trees and yelling during contractions ("Mummy tummy working hard?" "YES! Mummy tummy working VERY hard!")
  • Drink castor oil (didn't seem to speed up the slow one)
  • Machine quilt (brought the sewing machine to the hospital)
  • Eat chocolates
  • Moan, grunt, growl
  • Breastfeed my eldest
  • "I don't think the baby will come tonight but you may as well ring the support people just in case, but tell them to bring their books." (Denial)
  • Bathe (great!)
  • Gaze at a lit Christmas tree
  • Hide my head in a pillow
  • Visualise pushing a truck up a hill with my support people beside me, cheering me on but not helping
  • Bite
  • Demand acapella singing, reading aloud, acupressure, no - different massage, food, drink, ice, cold cloths on the back of my neck, silence and distracting conversation.
  • Move around
  • Wish I could still move around
  • Try not to push
  • Wish I'd mentioned to my midwife that I'd prefer any vaginal exams on my hands and knees
  • Push
  • Poo
  • Bleed on things
  • Forget what people were saying during their sentences
  • Have a baby (twice)
  • Enjoy the boneless sliding of the placenta on its gentle way out (twice)

Both my babies came out fast once I was dilating, the first was late and I didn't start dilating for 10 days of on-and-off-again patches of labour (and having been through "real" labour I can't call that "false" because it was the same). The second was early. I birthed both kneeling, though I wanted to get into a different position for my second as she was part way through and I just couldn't get up. Both were natural and pretty much drug free (I had a little gas when my midwife broke my waters for the first, late, baby. It felt stupid, like why would I do recreational drugs when I was busy having an important baby). The first was in hospital, the second at home. The home birth was fantastic, the hospital birth was fine.

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