Monday, May 31, 2010

Greta Maia Tjossem

Friday, May 14, 2010

And then we were four....

Baby Girl
May 6
3.410 Kilos
7 pounds, 5 oz.
name still pending

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FINAL Platypus Diaries Part 10

This is the tenth/final entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part ten:

Platypus Diaries #10

7 April, 2010

The toddler book tells us there isn’t much we can do to prepare child number one for the arrival of child number two if child number one is under two years old. Still, we will try.

Among the various suggestions is the advice that we purchase a somewhat realistic doll and stoller/carseat/crib for the doll so that our toddler can have a baby of her own with which to play and nurture.

Tonight we presented a (scary realistic) doll and stroller set to our little toddler.

The result?

The stroller was a huge hit.

The doll didn’t fair so well.

The presentation of the two items was made with dolly strapped into stroller. After pushing the stoller gleefully around our apartment, our toddler decided that the extra weight in the front was unnecessary. She pulled at the doll until it was freed and she looked at it momentarily before flinging it to the floor and proceeding with her stroller antics.

A second attempt to reengage her interest in the doll was made and this time she accepted the doll from daddy’s hands and proceeded to grab it by the neck and knees before tossing it into a piece of furniture.

The third introduction resulted in dolly’s eyes being poked and a fling again to the floor. This was then followed by a round of something resembling CPR.

Madden is now asleep in her cot. The stroller is lovingly tucked away with her favorite toys. Dolly is unceremoniously laid in a heap somewhere on the floor near the kitchen sink.

This isn’t looking good.

21 April, 2010
If I would have known that March and April were still going to be summer (very unusual here), I would have definitely purchased more summer pregnancy clothing. My fall clothes are just being worn by hangars and may never touch my skin.

April 22, 2010
ONE DAY left at work! Yeah. I love that. Unpacked the car of all its gear yesterday and hauled it all up to the office. Finally, I have a backseat again and a back cargo compartment. Who knew there was all that space. Goodness, it needs a serious cleaning though. Once a year for the inside cleaning probably doesn’t cut it. I’d best put that on Eric’s “to do” list.

24 April, 2010
Madden had her first haircut today. Eric’s been urging it and I’ve been resisting. However, today I caved and we took her to the mall.
This is how the experience went:

The haircut itself is not good and reflects the non compliance of the customer. Now our beautiful daughter has a modified mullet…just in time to be captured forever with the first photos of her new sibling. Barrettes and hair bands to the rescue please!

1 May 2010
My friend Ady is in labor as I write this. I am so EXCITED for her and her husband Mick. Their toddler daughter is at our home for the night and she and Madden had a great time playing and chasing each other around and around our apartment. They each have little dolly strollers and it was like a derby in here. Eric and I just sat in amazement at the noise level and amount of squealing. Is this what our future holds?

2 May 2010
Proud to announce the safe arrival of my friend’s little baby boy, Flynn. Mick came over to our place this morning to pick up his daughter and bring her over to meet her little brother. I asked him how it all went and his reaction was that he didn’t want to have to lie to me and so it was better if I didn’t ask him any questions.
I will add that he looked as if he had just stormed the beach at Normandy. A Shell shocked man indeed.
Luckily, after speaking with Ady, her perspective was quite a bit better.
Mick’s response to Ady’s positive remembrance of the whole experience, “Endorphins.”

4 May 2010

Me: “Hey, Eric, have you seen my maternity sweatpants?”

Loving Spouse: “What do they look like?”

Me: “They are the ones I have been wearing almost every day now…HUGE, Black,
generally hard to miss!”

Loving Spouse: “I think they are in here...hanging up in the bathroom.”

Me: “Um… that would be my swimsuit.”

Loving Spouse who is now in trouble: “Oh, oops.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Platypus Diaries Part #9

This is the ninth entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part nine:

Platypus Diaries #9

23 March
Attitude change. This is going to be my survival list. There are so many aches and pains and things to be negative about during the last trimester and I refuse to get sucked into a game of self pity. There are also SO MANY reasons to be joyous and happy. This is my third trimester happiness list:

1. There are only three trimesters and they do really fly by
2. Madden will have a sibling to keep her company and vice-versa
3. Soon we will have a sweet little baby who does everything for the very first time
4. I am happy to actually be pregnant at this age
5. So far, everything is normal and there have been no dramas
6. Strangers smile at me
7. I have a whole different wardrobe that I get to wear
8. Feeling warm means that I no longer need to carry a sweater ‘just in case’
9. Lack of judgment for eating a bit more than I used to
10. I get to sit down during surgeries
11. I always get a seat on the train
12. Patients ask me about my baby and tell me about their grandchildren and great grandchildren
13. Most people are happy in my presence – it’s hard to be angry at a pregnant woman
14. People open doors
15. The new hires at work usually get sent along with me for the day to serve as sherpas.
16. After dinner I usually play with Madden on the floor and Eric does the dishes
17. When my daughter sits on my lap, Eric laughs about her lumbar support cushion
18. I get to sleep with a fortress of pillows
19. Insomnia means that I’m very efficient even at 3AM.
20. My shadow is awesome
21. Naps
22. Nesting
23. Buying clothes in the 18-24 month size for one kid and stopping to have a look at the newborn selections as well
24. It’s the second time around – it just has to be easier, doesn’t it?
25. Having a two hour conversation where you discuss nothing but names
26. Laughing hysterically at a name that one of you loves and the other objects to strongly
27. The increase in the amount of emails from friends and family wondering if the time is near….
28. Baby movement!
29. The fact that my lovely Eric still thinks I’m beautiful

27 March
34 weeks. Made a move today to start prepping for baby…took down the box labeled “Madden clothing, 0-12 months”. I didn’t say I’ve opened the box yet, but it’s been located and is now at perusal level.
I would consider that step 1.

28 March
Happy Birthday Eric! I know that it was your day but I do appreciate the fact that you allowed me to take a 2 hour nap this afternoon. That made it feel like it was MY birthday too. Tee hee.
It was another (perhaps last?) hot day here in Melbourne. 31 degrees C, that’s 88 F, I’m truly going to implode.

Insomnia happens at this stage in pregnancy and when it hits, it just seems to linger on through a long night. It was fun to have a 2 am online conversation with Amy, AND I did get to publish to facebook this very cute photo of daddy and daughter….

Happy BDay.

29 March, 2010
Every now and again, the card calls to us from its location in the desk drawer. The card that I am refering to is the one sealed and labeled “BABY”. It is written by the ultrasound doctor and it indicates the sex of our little platypus. Today it is beckoning Eric, two days ago I swear it called me by name. Sometimes it tortures both of us and we promise that when we get home from wherever we are, we are going to open it and read it at long last.

But we don’t.

Ultimately we feel that the surprise is key to the whole experience. So, we go on engaging in this sort of torture and taunting.

It’s become a bit of a game. Eric wants to know the gender…he threatens to open the card… he pulls card dramatically out of desk drawer…he runs around the apartment carrying the card high over his head and pretending to rip into the seal…I scream and chase and we both end up laughing…he relinquishes the envelope and I pretend to hide it again from him in the exact same location from where it was just retrieved.

A week later we repeat the same sequence with each of us playing a different role.

6 April, 2010
My favorite maternity work shirt has become a definite NO. The problem with maternity clothing is that it really only lasts a trimester. What works in the beginning doesn’t even come close to fitting at the end and the stuff one wears during the final trimester looks hilarious at the beginning. The silk shirt in question has done me well so far…it’s a beautiful royal blue, it fits wonderfully and looks dressy and appropriate with just about everything. A real maternity hit. But now my belly button has decided to go out…and there is nothing a silk shirt reveals more than a strange little lump in the middle of the abdomen. When my husband says “NO WAY” to the shirt as I attempt to leave the house, I KNOW it’s not a good look.

Bye bye cute silk shirt – Hello, horrid tent clothing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Platypus Diaries Part #8

This is the eighth entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part eight:

Platypus Diaries #8

4 March
30 weeks along. My body is definitely not my own. This little girl or boy in my belly is surely going to be a soccer player.
People are starting to comment on my body and I’m feeling increasingly self conscious. Yes, I’m pregnant. No, I’m not having twins. Yes, I do notice that you are looking at my belly (or my chest). No, it doesn’t help to know that so and so was smaller than me or that so and so was bigger than me (ok, I lie, that last one does help a bit).

The ONLY appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman is the following statement, “You look beautiful.” It may be the biggest lie you’ve ever told, but PLEASE remember this and don’t say anything else, even if the pregnant woman is your best friend/daughter/wife/sister/etc and you feel entirely comfortable in commenting about your bodies at any other time. Repeat after me, “You look Beautiful.” That’s all you need to say. We can all go about our business living the lie.

11 March
Glucose challenge time. This is the stage in the pregnancy where one is required to drink a sugar infused beverage (sort of like a concentrated sprite with 3 times the amount of sugar), followed by a few blood tests an hour later. The end results provide details on whether a patient has gestational diabetes. My results were fine – no diabetes – hooray.
However, the doctor did say that my Vitamin D was low and that my iron was “VERY low”. He didn’t say how low but I know doctors don’t use the word ‘very’ lightly, so I’m now on some iron supplements.

17 March
I’m tired of being hot. According to the newspaper, this is the longest warm stretch that Melbourne has ever experienced. It’s not unbearable heat, but it’s somewhat unrelenting. High 80’s/low 90’s day after day. I find I wear the same outfits to work about every 4 days. I keep thinking I’ll be pulling out the fall wardrobe any day now, but I may make it through to Mat leave on just a limited summer preg wardrobe.

18 March
Unable to take the heat and sick of my clothing, I stopped in a maternity store and asked if they had any markdowns on summer items. Talk about perfect timing! There was a whole rack that had just been marked down to $20 per item. Found a great maxi dress, originally $140, now just $20. The same with a shirt and a pair of Capri jeans. Ahh, so decadent to have a small clothing infusion this late in the game.

20 March
Friday. On Monday I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish out the week at work. I was exhausted, hot, and faint. Today, two of my coworkers and one customer told me how much better I looked. When pushed, each person told me how white and unwell I had been looking for the last several weeks.
I must admit I do feel SO MUCH BETTER than I have for about a month. I haven’t really noticed my own paleness, but I have noticed that I feel faint A LOT. Do you suppose the iron supplements have made the difference?
If that’s the case, I’m glad to have them and wish I’d taken that blood test earlier!

21 March
Went to a movie yesterday– seats didn’t recline. Baby awake entire time and kicking and rolling in my belly. The movie was “The Hurt Locker.” I really wanted to get into it, but I was so uncomfortable that it made it difficult to concentrate.
At one point, I tried to be funny and asked Eric if he thought it would be rude if I took off my pants.
He shushed me.

22 March, 2010
33 weeks pregnant. 7 weeks remaining.
Weight gain so far: 11.5 kilos/ 25 pounds
Maximum amount that I was hoping to gain for duration of pregnancy: 25 pounds

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Platypus Diaries #7

This is the seventh entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part seven:

Platypus Diaries #7

January 17, 2010
Cheese corn. Why doesn’t this country have cheese corn?

January 18
24 weeks today. The weather was a perfect 73 degrees and we went out on a family bike ride. The bicycle seat was our gift to Madz when she turned 1 year old. It was more like a gift for ourselves (which you can get away with when they are just 1!). Toddler girl loves her bike seat, tolerates the helmet, and we love the freedom that this has brought. I was pregnant when we purchased the seat and knew that my days of riding a bike were numbered. Admittedly, I probably shouldn’t be on the bike now but I just couldn’t resist a day like today. Eric carried the backpack diaper bag and Madden on his bike and all I had to do was pedal my own power. Still, I kept slipping farther and farther behind the two of them. A high pitched, exasperated yell of “Slow down” became my mantra. I tried to keep up and would finally round a bend and find the two of them waiting for me. They would be cheery and rested and I would ride up panting and laughing like some sort of crazed asthmatic. We eventually stopped at a park and stopped again for lunch along the path. We rode slowly and scenically home along the trail. The return trip faired much better despite the pride swallowing event of being passed by a bicycle riding pack of six year olds.

February 22, 2010
29 weeks already.
It’s been hot here. 90 plus degrees every weekend and I can’t stop complaining. Wow, pregnant in summer is more difficult than pregnant in winter.

Madden and I went to the pool yesterday while Eric went to the grocery store. I just couldn’t take the heat and HAD to get to the pool. We were there about 45 minutes in total. 30 minutes of it were great – life altering – cooling – relaxing -and refreshing as we both just sat and played in the kiddie pool. For the last 15 minutes of our time, Madden had a tantrum of magnificent proportions. She was exhausted, frustrated by other kids in the pool, and hungry. Everyone was staring at the two of us as I finally wrangled her from running around the pool, laid her screaming little body onto the towel and changed her kicking legs out of swim nappy and into dry nappy and cover up. Then I had to try and keep her contained as I dried off and threw a cover up over my massive bikini clad self. Her sobs were incredible and another woman at the pool who was managing her FOUR boys regarded me sympathetically. She faired better with her four than I did with my one.
By the time Eric rounded the pick up circle, I was a wet mess holding and hugging a tear stained little girl. She was holding me tightly, gasping, and resting her head on my shoulder. I was happy to have all those cuddles coming my way. I guess after the tantrum comes the sweetness.

28 Feb
We’ve worked out what we’re going to do with Madden when I go into labor. OK, are you ready for this plan? We have some British friends here that are also expecting a child and their baby is due just a week before ours. They have a daughter who is 2 ½ and no family support around either. We have decided between the four of us adults, we can work something out.
Of course, if we go into labor at the same time, we are all equally in trouble. At least I'll have a friend in the hospital with me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Platypus Diaries Part #6

This is the sixth entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part six:

Platypus Diaries #6

January 8, 2010
41 today. That’s not the temperature, it’s my age. Gulp.
Speaking of temperature, it was hot – high 90’s. I took the day off work (mainly because I just feel too sorry for myself if I work on my birthday), got a massage which was only mildly nice since they didn’t have any sort of pregnancy pillows and laying on my belly wasn’t pleasant (but heck, it’s a massage, and that’s always nice), and then went off to the public pool with Madden, Eric, and my 39 week pregnant friend Paige.
We were in our bikinis with our big bellies hanging out. Eric took a photo of us which will NEVER be posted on this blog. The pool was packed with people and there was no shortage of pregnant women in bikini’s. Gotta love the body confidence of the Aussie women!

January 11, 2010
Dear Baby number two,
I am sorry that you are not getting the same attention that your sister did when she was in my belly. I have no excuses….I guess I’m just distracted by your sister and focusing on the day to day. Your life so far has gone so fast for me. I can’t believe that you are 23 weeks already! I sometimes read the baby books to find out how big that you are and it is amazing that you have all your parts – a beating heart, lungs, kidneys, 2 hemispheres of the brain, all your cells, 10 fingers, 10 toes, legs, arms, knees, and elbows. I’m sorry that I don’t think about you all the time. Sometimes I look down at my belly and have a moment of shock before remembering that you are in there. You can keep giving me those gentle kicks as a reminder of your presence. It’s particularly funny when you kick me when your sister is sitting on my lap.

The only consolation I may offer is that I was a second child myself and probably didn’t get the same attention either. Does that help?

January 16, 2010
I cried today. I cried about something that happened to someone else 40 years ago. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep last night as my emotions are a bit on the edge. Before having Madden, I would hear tragic stories involving children and they would give me pangs but since Madden was born, these same stories haunt and terrify me. I can’t bear to hear them.
Today a patient was asking about my pregnancy and we got to talking about children and distances between kids, etc. She mentioned that she had two girls but one of them died rather unexpectedly at the age of 15. Then she looked away and her face showed such pain. It was 40 years ago for her and she’s moved on but she said you never really get over it. How could you?
I was home about two hours later after finishing all my patient checks and I started to tell Eric the story. I choked and then I lost it. I cried for someone else’s lost child from over 40 years ago.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Calling for Entries

The countdown begins…
Maternity leave has officially begun and the due date is just two weeks away!

Now is the time to cast your predictions.
The winner will receive one year’s free subscription to our blog (ha) and notoriety in knowing that you are the winner.

Here is how to cast your vote…
Reply through the “comments” section of the blog, or send an email to Eric at or me at List your prediction for gender, due date, and weight. All official entries will be posted. The bidding stops on the 6th of May or before if the baby decides it wants to be known earlier. So vote early!

As an FYI, the actual due date is May 10. (If it helps further, my daughter weighed 8 lbs 7 oz and was born 8 days late)

The winner will be evaluated in this order:
1. Gender of child
2. Due date
3. Weight

All entries are welcome, but just know that you may not be on my good side if you choose to pick a date in June, or a baby over 10 lbs.

Also of interest to us is your suggestion for a name...

Happy guessing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Platypus Diaries Part #5

This is the fifth entry in the diary of my pregnancy. Because it would amount to many pages of reading to cover September through to the present day in one post, I've broken this up into readable bits. Here is part five:

Platypus Diaries #5

December 2, 2009
I’m officially at 17 weeks. This pregnancy is going so much faster than the last. Is that really possible?

I’ve told work and some of my customers, but not all of them. I thought I was hiding it well as I am still able to fit into my suits. Granted, the buttons are under serious strain, but heck, I consider it a success that I can still button them at all.
However, someone asked me today if I was expecting. That’s a mighty bold and dangerous thing to do and I realize I’m not hiding anything. I’d better start telling people.

December 8, 2009
This pregnancy comes with different food cravings. Last time I was mad for sweets and this time it’s a salt obsession. We can’t keep enough pickles in the house. Don’t judge me on this, but when I eat all the pickles, I find myself drinking the brine.

Sorry, did that admission make you feel sick?

My regular lunchtime sandwich consists of pastrami, cream cheese, and pickles. I think that would normally not sound appealing to me.

Could this craving for salt determine something about the child’s gender?

I searched the internet and found a 50 question quiz regarding symptoms and old wives tales to help determine the sex of the child. Indeed, it did have questions about sweet and salty cravings, so I knew we were onto something.

I took the quiz.

I hit the button to reveal the sex of my child.

It took a moment to process the results.

This is what it read…

“Congratulations, the chance of you having a boy is 50% and the chance of you having a girl is 50%”

December 16, 2009
20 week scan and final ultrasound was done today. Baby, you were in the perfect position to tell us whether you are a boy or girl. But Daddy and Mommy chose not to know. We loved the surprise so much last time that we are a bit addicted to it. Yes, it would be easier to pick out all blue or all pink baby items. Yes, it would be easier to focus on one name instead of two…but we have decided that we aren’t meant to know and we shall save it for the day you are born.
We did however have the ultrasound doctor write down your gender on a note card and seal it up. We are going to carry that card with us to Minnesota and offer it to the grandparents if they would like to see. Grandma Tjossem wants to make a quilt in the proper colors (your sisters is yellow and blue), so I imagine she will be happy to find out.

December 27, 2010
My friend KP got married last night. She was the one with whom I shared a great adventure to Bali. When we went to Bali, I was 12 weeks pregnant with Madden. As you can see from the photo, I'm not hiding anything this time around either.
Congratulations beautiful Kathy. I wish you a future of happiness and love.

January 6, 2010
By the way, grandma wouldn’t open the card. She knew that she couldn’t keep a secret from us.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Oh, the blog. It's been SO violated. My little piece of joy where I feel like I can post my feelings and say my peace...where I can write stories that may be a bit exaggerated but hopefully make people all came crashing down for me yesterday.
I want to post, to retaliate, to not care, to assert myself, to become a fabulous hacker and destroy these people...
I've been cyber bullied, and it sucks.
Some horrid woman found my "Toddlerhood: A play in two parts" entry and wrote that I was an entitled and terrible mother. Then she took my post, cut it and pasted it to some etiquette web site for all to comment upon. Stupid people took my humor post as literal and hordes of commentators all ripped me and my parenting to shreds.

Strangely, what they say about my parenting doesn’t bother me because they don't know me and they obviously took a humorous post as literal and entirely out of context. None of these people have seen all the entries about how much we love being parents and what really goes on...the only example they are shown is the one story about Madden in a pharmacy.

However, I do feel like I've been stolen from and violated in a very personal way. It frightens me and makes me want to shut down the blog or mark it private or retaliate in some way (but I know that would do no good). Those people are just not worth my time...but if I were to tell you that it didn't make me cry on and off all yesterday afternoon, I'd be lying.

I love blogging and what is upsetting is that somehow this person (and people) have tainted what I shared so openly. I feel violated, like someone broke into my house and slept in my bed and damaged my things. My writing is stolen, taken out of context, and laid out wide open for a bunch of strangers to destroy. My blood is boiling and yet I am also deeply hurt.

People write their silly comments and go on with their day.
But for me, the damage kept me awake most of the night.
In a week’s time, I will get rid of the comments and put them in the blog trash pile where they belong, but for now I've left them attached to the post so you can have a look and see the fuel and the fire that spread.

The woman who did the damage left no contact information… she posted with a name and nothing more. She is both spineless and vindictive.

Eric has encouraged me to continue writing and not to mark the blog as private. He is correct that I can’t let this get to me. When we had it marked private in the past, all our family and friends had trouble accessing the site. Besides, the comments that I receive from strangers have been 100% welcome and wonderful…. until now.

If there are any lessons to be taken away from this experience, they are as follows:

1. I will now screen my comments and not allow rude people to post anything at all on our personal blog.

2. It seems I need to include a disclaimer before my “stories” to state that they may be enhanced by a bit of poetic license. Apparently there are people out there that don’t know a piece of humor writing when they read it.

3. The biggest lesson I am choosing to take from this is a caution regarding judgment. It’s ironic that this somehow ended up on an etiquette web site, for the worst etiquette violation is what this woman did to me. She didn’t write to me…she just choose to steal from me. I have an email address listed…she could have written to me, but she didn’t. She interpreted what I wrote incorrectly and put me out in cyber space for judgment and ridicule.
I am unable to defend myself or even be given a chance.
I will not wait for an “I’m sorry” that will never come.
In my own life, I will seek not to judge. That’s the good that I can take from this. After all, what do we REALLY know about someone else? It may seem harmless to poke fun and insert one’s opinion…but I’ve just been on the receiving end of something a lot of people probably thought was harmless and I can tell you that it is not fun.

Tomorrow is my first day of maternity leave and I want to enjoy it and not be consumed by this crazy onslaught of feelings. Tonight I am freeing myself of these people and their ridiculous comments…I will take back my power and not give them another thought.

My life is too good and happy for this; I have no room for them.

P.S. Special thank you to Jenni from Oscarelli and to Anna Sullivan for the quick email returns, your encouragement, and insightful thoughts about these anonymous commenter’s. Your words of wisdom are being taken in and I’m trying desperately to let them resonate.