Blog, motherhood


Oliver’s first steps weren’t particularly momentous, unless you were his parents huddled in the dim light of the office. It was an unremarkable week day filled with nothing particularly special. Except those three or four wobbly steps away from my arms into the safe harbour of his father’s.

Seated opposite to one another, we took turns beckoning him back and forth. He was ten months old. I thought we’d have longer until he was able to take off at a sprint, but confidently he ran across the grass the next week.

Have you felt it? The toddler shift?

Tummy time and placing a newborn little body in a rocker seems so much less salient in the peaks and valleys of my memory now. At the time, prodigious. No propped sitting, he selects a lap and plops himself down into it. What an honour to be chosen.

Wiping his pudgy peanut butter hands on my skirt, he looks and feels a far cry from that warm, kidney shaped body placed on my chest.

Reticent and sleepy then, he is wide awake now. And drinking in everything with his ocean-blue eyes.

Telling us things with words and gestures. Bolting for the sandpit with a squeaky “thank you” over his shoulder, after I offer to help him down a step. The next time he won’t need my assistance.

Out of the nowhere, there’s a favourite song. I sing it until my voice is hoarse.

Little fingers pointing.

Bopping and dancing.

I feel his shift, the slight tilt off the axis of babyhood in a state of in-between. He is quick to return, and just as quick to demand independence.

He spears pieces of chicken and vegetables with the fork in his fist and confidently brings it to his mouth. He demanded the fork, taking it from my hand with an abruptness. I somewhat ungraciously hand over this newfound steering of the mealtime helm.

This is my overdue duck-to-water moment. I had an internal struggle with motherhood, babe in arms. But now, I miss him with my heart and soul as he sleeps. Our puzzle pieces click as we walk hand in hand. I seem to know snack time and building towers better than I knew cluster feeding and the ceaseless “just figuring it out”.

It’s his duck-to-water moment too, as he seeks out burgeoning independence beautifully. Cogs in his brain turning, turning, turning. Every day, almost every hour – less wobbly. Confident and sturdy.

He toddles up to another child at the playground, feet slapping along the metal platform of the jungle gym, waves and says hi. He’s ignored – to them, he’s a baby. But I see it. The toddler shift. The indiscernible, almost microscopic shift.

I give him the patience and courtesy to branch out. It must be nurtured like a seedling. Mustering the self-control to sit on my hands, hold my breath. Even as my heart quickens and I desperately want to urge him to be careful. How is it possible that someone so tiny can climb that high?

Most days the pram gathers dust. My bag is lined with sand and rocks, plastic toy dinosaurs. I observe as he happily turns in the pages in a board book. I ponder his thoughts, the connections he’s making to the world he burst into a year ago, as he stares intently at the pictures.

Time does move breathtakingly quick. I can’t catch a moment in my fingers. The year slips by whether I want it to or not. I’m less wistful and heartbroken about it than you’d think. The dream of future babies makes it easier to keep my eyes fixed ahead. After all, our son’s trajectory is a steadfastly forward propulsion. I’m deeply reverent of this.

He’s one. In the midst of the toddler shift. He is like a firework, and I gaze at his sparkle with wonder and awe.

Blog, Montessori


Switching our bedroom from the master to one of the junior bedrooms was a decision six months in the making. The battle to stay in there was lengthy, and we fought hard. By day, the scorching summer sun. By night, the glare of a nearby LED street light. Four restless nights in a row with Oliver, the tipping point.

Two days ago we shuffled our bed into the junior bedroom up the corridor from Oliver’s bedroom, previously the office. And transformed the master into a dreamy, bright front room. It gives the feel of a 70s family den or a 90s rumpus room.

Our home is a modern cookie-cutter build; a bit boxy, not quite enough windows and inadequate storage/kitchen space in favour of an expansive master bedroom, walk in wardrobe and en-suite. With an outrageously huge shower.

Sometimes I feel a bit hemmed in – I grew up on a half acre in a renovated cottage. If it’s not too hot, I spend half of the day in the back garden (which we also transformed from a paved in patio to a toddler play oasis).

This new setup is ideal for me. As modern family homes seem to center around the TV and we are seeking to avoid screen time as much as possible, it seems we have found an anchor. A space we can share means a great deal more unity as a family; I can blog and browse whilst Ollie builds with blocks. We can do art together and have snacks at his little table.

Together we can gaze out at the world, watching magpies and passers-by.

My nose is twitching at the fact I can see the drawer knob that Ollie must’ve taken upon himself to remove under the desk in this photo. Anyway! I’m so excited to have a fully functional office space again so I can blog. This is the only piece of furniture that remained from our bedroom. I couldn’t use it during naps or at night after Ollie goes to bed because the ferocious tapping of my keyboard wakes him.

The desk itself is a Marketplace gem, much like Ollie’s shelf, and is a beautifully crafted antique. Just behind the shelf I have a basket full of books.

Oliver’s infant Montessori shelf appears to be a junkyard salvaged bedhead that was advertised on Marketplace as a Montessori toy shelf. If it is, it’s the world’s most inappropriate one. I had to spend hours sanding back crude graffiti. We also cut off the extra tier recently and it serves beautifully as a room separator for the office and play spaces.

I’m not too caught up on keeping things Montessori these days, we stick to a mix of wooden toys and open-ended materials. As you can see, there’s plenty of plastic toys that have crept in – but Ollie loves them, they serve a purpose. The dinosaurs are a particular favourite right now, along with cars and stackers.

We’ve mixed in some Steiner/Waldorf style toys and materials to foster creativity and imagination. I adore our silk scarves and rainbow ribbon, plus they really soften the space. Our quilted Warren Hill french linen play mat – pricey but worth it – doubles as a work mat.

Forgive the unclothed state of my son here, for he is allergic to any and all clothing.

Another Marketplace find! Sensing a theme? I love buying secondhand. This appears to be old IKEA, back when their products were made of solid wood. It’s nicely crafted, and the perfect height for a toddler. We’re big into art lately. The art supplies are on a trolley – I keep any scrap materials I think will be good for craft, and we’ve built quite the poster paint collection.

The table and chairs aren’t from Marketplace but were a secondhand gift from extended family. Jack cut down the legs so that it is toddler height, with plenty of room to grow. He currently uses the stool more than a chair. We do snack time here and more focused, Montessori-style activities. The indoor plant we care for together is really taking off with a hefty dose of vitamin D!

Ollie has an IKEA kitchen in his bedroom, but this one is more for quick play pretend such as cafes and restaurants. I’d really love to add a doll bed here and another small table, perhaps even a child size washing line or ironing board. The block cart is from Ed Resources, and is surprisingly neglected (actual dining chairs are a lot more fun to push about).

Possibly the classiest part of the room is Jack’s space. He built his PC himself. The desk is the double ALEX from IKEA in the now-discontinued blue colourway. I also just checked the website and it has gone up in price by more than $50! (Marketplace is the future)

Hanging on the wall is a Gathre play mat that needs a wash, stat. I believe this is the Midi in Fog. I chuck it under the easel when we do art. Indestructible.

Importantly, everything is toddler height and accessible. He’s never in here unsupervised so there was no need to make it a “yes” space just yet, but it is in keeping with Montessori. Hanging some wall art is the next step! And then onto the front garden, for an even more beautiful vista.

Blog, motherhood


What I remember most about my third trimester was feeling like my whole body was buzzing; a persistent, deep seated restlessness. A combination of nesting, Restless Leg Syndrome and anticipation. A smidge of anxiety. I couldn’t keep still, like my skin was crawling. Every cell alive with wanting. An incessant need to be doing something.

It is a Thursday, it’s Perinatal Mental Health Week 2021, and I have been a mother for over 300 days.

Continue reading
Blog, Play


One of my favourite childhood memories is playing in the creek at a nearby park – we had a creek at the bottom of our backyard but this creek was different. It wasn’t a muddy strip of water and reeds, it was deeper in the ground. Sandwiched between a tumbling spillage of coffee rock typical of the Perth Hills, with crevices, nooks and dense undergrowth.

Continue reading