Thoughts from a scattered mother

The other night I was mindlessly patting Lily to try and get her to go to sleep in her cot (and not our bed for a change) and after a few minutes I realised I had subconsciously slipped into the action of kneading her like bread dough – luckily I wasn’t using as much vim and vigor as I do when making bread but curiously it actually put her to sleep.
Does anyone else have a pile of clean washing in their bedroom that doesn’t even seem to get any smaller no matter how much sorting you do? I think I could spend all day folding and sorting little tiny socks and singlets and I would still end up with an enormous teetering, tower of washing essentially in a basket but piled up leaning against the wall. It makes me feel very grumpy.

I have decided to go COLD TURKEY and not watch Australian Idol this year. This means I manage to free up huge amounts of time to do other more important things like watch downloads of Project Runway, Survivor and The Amazing Race. I do like Bobby though, and I send him all my good Australian Idol vibes which I reserve for the occasional interesting contestant who shows up – the last being (in my opinion) Chanel Cole.

My parents have returned from their amazing trip-of-a-life-time adventure to Canada and the Arctic! They bring back stories of the Canadian wilderness, extended family and polar bears but what seemed to excite them the most is sitting next to the bass player from The Australian Bee Gees show on the trip home. 🙂

I am sick again – again! My immune system must be at an all time low. I have bought some new running shoes to start a daily walk to try and build up some strength to fight off the bugs which seem to descend every two weeks. If anyone has any good tips in how to build up an immune system please feel free to comment. I am going to make Chicken Soup today which will surely be a cure-all.

I now need to go and do everything that needs doing before Playschool finishes and chaos resumes.

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56 Responses

  1. says:

    When I saw that you were going to make chicken soup I was dubious, but that recipe’s not far from what my grandma makes. I just had her delicious chicken soup and matzoh balls for Rosh Hashanah this weekend. I had the leftovers for breakfast. Chicken soup has cured me more than once. It is liquid gold.
    I am also getting a serious kick out of the fact that in my browser, the tab with the recipe only shows ‘Jewish penic’ and cuts off the rest, so to speak! Hilarious!

  2. Bobby? oh no you must be kidding, Jessica is wonderful and Lavina is too, but Bobby?
    I must admit I would watch Survivor and The Amazing Race over Idol anytime.

    I have folding too, but I guess it can wait ….

    Chicken soup is a good one and a big juicy steak too, low iron can leave you vulnerable.

    Hope you feel better soon. It’s nice to see you posting again.

  3. says:

    Echinacea, either in capsules or tincture, boosts your immune system. Look for it at your health food store.

  4. i’ve viewed your site for ever and never commented. but somehow feel compelled to over boring health tips rather than your beautiful illustrations. astragalus is meant to be stronger than echinacea and good to take prior and onset of illness, but not during. i’ve found it really helps. also powdered vitamin c with juice everyday, combined with taking a zinc tablet during illness. apparently zinc helps to not reinfect and also helps absorb vit c. i’m no naturopath, but from their recommendations these things help me. i’m very pregnant and my immune system has also been very low over the winter. rest is another good one, if you can get that in! sending you healthy vibes.

  5. says:

    Hi Claire — it’s not the case for everyone I know, but I stopped getting constant colds when I started having an annual flu shot. The doctors tell you that it only protects you from this years flu, but for me and lots of other people I know, it seems to ward off every cold and throat infection for about eight months. Might be worth a try…

  6. Nettle Tea, Nettle Tea and UUmm Nettle Tea

  7. says:

    I LOVE Chanel too… She REALLY should have won. I was so disappointed that I haven’t watched it since! Ah well, such is life…

  8. i used to be sick at least once a month but once i stopped eating meat my health improved drastically…i think the hormones and antibiotics they give animals affects our immunity.
    hope you feel better soon!

  9. says:

    Hi!There’s a chemist on the corner of Canterbury and Union Rds in (I think) Surrey Hills, who make a natural tonic for Mum’s who are breastfeeding, it’s worth organising (someone else, hee hee) to go pick up some for you. I felt a zillion times better after I took it.

  10. Hi Claire,
    For an impaired immune system, take acidophilus. It is the bacteria that is the live culture in yogurt. It helps replace the good bacteria that have been killed off by antibiotics. If you can, get the refrigerated kind as that is more certain to have live cultures.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  11. Reading about your mountains of clothes had me laughing! I’m sooo glad I’m not the only one. ;)I hope you feel better soon!

  12. Sorry to hear you’re so sick. Sleep does the trick for me, but seeing as I hardly get any, I’m often very sick as well. My advice: treat yourself to a long nap, followed by a good night’s sleep (set up a babysitter if you have to). I hope you feel better soon!

  13. It’s nice to read about another tired mommy and makes me feel a little more normal. I think sleep is the magic ingredient for staving off sickness. Unfortunately, there’s no much you can do about that at this point.
    Take it easy, eh? (Glad your parents enjoy the Canada.)

  14. No tips I’m afraid. Just wanted to say sorry to read you are unwell again. I hope you are soon feeling better.
    As for the washing, it’s not good news. I’m afraid it doesn’t get any better, the size of the articles just gets bigger – but there’s no nappies!!

    Hang in there.

  15. Hello, I too love your beautiful pictures but feel compelled to comment on your health dilemma. I just want to add, make sure whatever you take, herbs included, are safe during breastfeeding (that’s if you are). Do I need to say getting enough sleep will help build the immune system up. hee hee.

  16. says:

    Almost a year after baby and i have finally moved the pile of washing off the couch and into baby’s room – that’s as far as i have got! I agree with Cherry’s comments and i am a naturopath. Astragalus is fantastic to build immunity (just don’t take during a fever). Codliver oil capsules and adequate protein in the diet should make a difference too. Having so many episodes though may mean you need some more in depth help. Have been loving your blog for ages whilst letting that pile of washing build up. Glad to delurk at last!

  17. says:

    I vote for astragalus as well. It’s rescued me a time or two. Here’s a brief primer on astragalus from a natural-leaning physician:
    Hope you feel better soon!

  18. I’m not sure if you guys have it in Australia, but in the States there’s this amazing thing called Airborne. It’s an effervescent that just tastes a bit like lemon lime and it’s chalk full of about a dozen different ingredients that are supposed to boost your immune system. You’re supposed to take it whenever you feel like you’re getting sick, or when you’re in a situation that would likely get you sick (like a crowded airplane) and it boosts your immune system so you can kick the bugs really early on. It’s worked for me over and over, and I am usually down and out about three hours after I start to feel icky with a cold. My guess is it should be safe if you’re breast feeding (I’m sure it says on the packaging) because it’s basically everything that everyone has recommended above (echinacea, ginseng, astragalus probably, vitamin C, etc.) in a power-dose. Doesn’t taste half bad either.

  19. Claire-
    I have an autoimmune disfunction that was diagnosed about fifteen years ago, and I feel I’ve learned a little along the way. Firstly, taking herbal immune boosters should always be treated like REAL MEDICATION. The meaning: you can’t just keep taking them forever. We’re talking two weeks, tops. Then you have to stop. This is great if flu season is hitting and you’ve decided to get a prophylactic jump on things, but not so great if you’re system is already suppressed. Ultimately, there is only one way to make your body start producing more immunity: exercize. I fought this for years and years, and ultimately, I never felt well until I forced my bone marrow to make more cells, by which I mean I ate well, walked a speed mile or two a day and took my vitamins. Additionally, a lot of people have zinc allergies and will slowly start to feel worse as they take it — take care to note when you start taking any suppliment, how you feel, and if you feel bad, stop. Don’t start taking more than one suppliment at a time, otherwise you can’t tell which one is working/not working. Because immunity is in direct relation to your blood production, any little ‘wive’s tale’ tricks you know (eat venison and dark leafy greens!) will probably actually help.

    Good luck.

  20. says:

    Lemon and ginger tea is the best thing to ward off colds. Here is the recipe:
    An inch of ginger, grated roughly
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Zest of 1 lemon
    One and a quarter cups of purified water
    Honey or golden syrup (enough to counter the sour lemon)

    Place all ingredients in a pot and bring slowly to the boil. Boil for 30 seconds, turn off the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug and drink while hot.

    Do this twice a day during a cold or when you feel the prickle of one coming along. I also drink this tea when I’m feeling a bit run down.

    The jogging will help loads too! Good luck!

    Miranda 🙂

  21. This winter I’ve also had a constant succession of colds, sinus infections etc (you don’t need details). My usual GP just laughed and said its bad luck. I found a new GP who has some training in Chinese Medicine. He did a blood test to check iron and B12 levels (common causes of low immunity) and a bunch of other tests. These test come back ok, he then suggested a multivitamin and some fish oil everyday and if the colds don’t stop to try accupunture to boost chi levels.
    He also suggested looking seriously how I deal with stress, as this will impact on the immune system and to consider some form of meditation.

    Haven’t got to the accupuncture yet, but have tried to chill out a little and have the vitamin pills. I haven’t had a cold for two weeks now and finally feel like getting on with life again. It is hard to feel convinced there is cause and effect here (and it is spring now after all), but they are some things to consider.

  22. says:

    Sorry to see you are sick again. I find Spirillina really helpful in warding off the bugs and also providing loads of extra energy. It was recommended to me by a health nurse when I had my second child, she is now nearly four and I still take it. Get well soon.

  23. says:

    Come back to the dark side Claire. Idol is great this year. Bobby is my favourite too, but not sure what happened last night. I think those two guys messed with his “mojo” too much. And come to my house if you want to see folding, washing and don’t say the bad word that starts with “I”. Good to hear from you, even if you aren’t feeling super. Hope things pick up for you soon. And laughed so much at you “kneading” Lily!

  24. I’m so with you on the australian Idol contestants! Put the washing under the bed and feel better soon!

  25. About the constant laundry mountain: My laundry pile goes down, it goes up, but one thing is for sure: it will never end. That is why when I am feeling grumpy about finding new things to fold at every turn, I instead turn to some of my sewing projects. With a toddler and infant at home, there is hardly any time of course, but when I take 5 or 10 minutes to break away and work on a project, THAT work is DONE. What I mean is, sometimes that is the only thing out of my long, long day that STAYS done. 🙂 I don’t finish projects as fast as I did before. Rather, it is a slow and steady process, and I love the process. I can get excited about making a little headway on a quilt project (that will still be months from actual completion), because I can dream about those few minutes of stitching time while folding the dread laundry mountain!

  26. Claire, I am in the same boat ( cold for the last 6 weeks, washing turning into a mountain, vague and sleepless etc) one thing that is cheering me up is the thought of summer and warmer weather. For some reason in Melbourne this year it seems it takes a couple of months to shake off a cold. I hope little Lily is well, Lola sends her a hug!

  27. says:

    The best way to ward off colds is to keep the cold bug from entering your body. Usually this happens when you rub your eyes with your hands or touch your mouth. Keep antibacterial waterless hand wash in your car. Give your hand a few squirts everytime you get back in the car from grocery shopping etc. I would stay away from herbal supplements as they are not regulated.

  28. i have a lot of laundry to do and to girls in kinder, plus a little baby clothes shop and a husband and some friends and family! you can improve your health eating a “pomelo” every day (i dont know the world in english) is like a big lemmon! it worked for my little guadalupe…. kisses and is always great to read your stories.

  29. says:

    I know you do not have much time right now but if you can get any kind of exercise in that would help tremendously! I used to get sick all the time and then i started doing yoga and my boughts of sickness just stopped! Just buy a beginners tape. Even if you can only do about 10 minutes of it, it will help keep you healthy and bring down stress levels as well!

  30. says:

    i am still a breastfeeding mom and I am continuing on my prenatal vitamins which are a 2 pill pack each day. One pill is a multi and one is a fish oil suppliment and I think it is really helping me stay healthy….

  31. says:

    I have four kids and there is always a pile of laundry somewhere! At least they are clean. 😉

  32. After quite a long time of feeling generally unwell and tired, I’ve started going to an acupuncturist. After a few treatments, along with an herbal perscription and some improvments to my diet (mainly cutting back on sugar and adding lots of green vegetables) I am feeling so much better. I sleep better and have a lot more energy, and just feel more healthful in general. The acupuncture treatments themselves are very relaxing, which I didn’t expect. Who would have thought having 30 tiny needles poked into various places on your body would feel so good!? I don’t know that acupuncture can take care of every health problem, but I definitely recommend giving it a try!
    Also, I don’t even have kids, and the pile of laundry never goes away in my house either :o)

    Take care of yourself, whatever you decide to try, I hope you’ll be feeling better soon!

  33. I have also never commented -but the image of the teetering pile of laundry finally compelled me to do so. I was up at 5:30 am trying to tackle our pile before running off to the bus and work.Why do I have a feeling that it will have grown while I was away during the day?!?

  34. Poor brave you!it’s crap being sick so often – I think the little ones bring everything home, bless ’em. I was never sick before I became a mum.

    after moths and months of being so tired, dragging myself out of bed first thing in the morning, and getting cold after cold after flu, I went and got blood tests. My doctor found my vitamin B12 was on the low end of normal – some people just don’t metabolise it properly – I may be one. She gave me a shot to see if it made any difference, and BOY it was like someone turned on the lights within an hour. I’ve had a cold since but recovered far faster , feel like I’ve got LOADS more energy and can get up in the morning without taking 2 hours to wake up. My eyes are all sparky again too. Just thought it was worth mentioning. it could be what’s wrong with you…

  35. says:

    Oh!! the washing piles. There are times where it makes me sooo upset. I have two toddlers and they never seem to stop spilling things on themselves, wetting beds etc. I try so hard to get on top of it all, and then I have a busy week and there it is again..3 baskets at a time. The thing that probably baffles me the most, is that while I feel so guilty about it being there, my husband doesnt notice it at all. He wouldnt even think to grab it and sort it into piles. Why do we do it to ourselves..honestly?? Take care of yourself Claire!!

  36. says:

    Hi Claire – long time no comment! Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve stopped getting sick since squeezing myself a glass or two of fresh orange juice every morning. Oranges are so juicy and good at the moment – and cheap as they’re about the go out of season. My local groccer has two 3kg bags for $3 at the moment. Squeezing oranges is also a good way of getting rid of tension…just take it out on the orange. Haaayah!

  37. says:

    Hey there,
    This may be a little random but we moved into a new (old) house in January and have had colds and flu about 6 times this year (before I hadn’t been sick for 2-3 years). We recently found out that we have a sub-floor damp problem (damp soil that doesn’t dry-out under the house) and it has been the cause of all our illness!

    Might be worth checking out if it isn’t mother-hood related and given you moved house in the last couple of years.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  38. says:

    Oh poor you. It’s so tough being ill and trying to do the mum thing too. My laundry mountain is also huge but sometimes I just have to shut the door and forget about it. Hope you feel tons better v soon.

  39. Yay Chanel! I rarely watched Australian Idol but was entranced by Chanel and made sure to buy the Spook CD when it was released. If you like Portishead, you’ll love Spook. (Hmm… was that a shameless plug?)
    Hope you feel better soon.

  40. says:

    Arh the pile of washing!!! I’ve stopped folding – instead I stuff little clothes into drawers. But somedays it is difficult to see a patch of floor.After being CONSTANTLY sick with my first one I started taking a multivitamin specially for mums – it seems to work and even if it is placebo I don’t care!!

  41. Ah, the never-ending laundry – oh to live in a nudist colony! Now about that cold…I’m frantically trying to keep it at bay because I feel like there’s a great big snot cloud hovering above my house at the moment. For myself, I do this yr. round, it’s disgusting but so powerful, oil of oregano – a few drops under the tongue (I also use it topically on any spots I may have).And if a sore throat is coming, oil of oregano just about every half hour and that oughta scare it off. Follow that with ground flax seed mixed with O.J. For the kids, a few drops of eucalyptus oil on p.j.s or pillow and some in the bath.In addition to all that, there’s nothing like chicken soup & vit. C. May the force be with you…

  42. You can quote me on this – “Art is more important than laundry.”
    Be good to yourself, and if you want to watch reality TV, go for it. 🙂 Enjoy your family and rest, and don’t worry about the rest.

  43. Hehe, I have a pile of laundry like that only I never take it into my bedroom – I keep that as the place to escape all the mess. My pile is either in the laundry room or on the couch…

  44. says:

    Hi Claire,I have been reading your blog for a while and I absolutely love it. I’m sorry to hear that you are sick again. Shortly after the birth of my second child I also got into a spiral of constant colds, throat infections and scarlet fever, which only ended, in May, after coming back from a six weeks holiday visiting my husbands family in Australia.
    One thing that seemed to help me was eating small pieces of raw ginger root. It tastes a bit soapy and sharp but I think you should try it. And also try to sleep as much can and be careful with antibiotics. I wish you all the best and thank you for having such a wonderful blog

  45. Hey Claire, I am new to your blog, but have enjoyed reading your entries and am green with envy at your talent.Just wanted to say I am a huge chiropractic and accupuncture evangelist. It is the only thing that keeps me healthy! The body is designed to heal itself and your spine is the key to ALL your organs and body functions. That is my two cents…rub it together and see what you get.

  46. says:

    Yikes! I have to agree with some of the other posters that SLEEP is the biggest component in battling some of those “bugs”. I also started getting a flu shot after I got the flu 3 years in a row because once I got the flu my immunity never fully recovered until summer. The sad thing that I noticed is when kids are really young (0-5 years) you are just going to get every garbage germ known and unknown to mankind. Kids are walking petri dishes. All the sickness diminished greatly when my youngest entered kinder last year. Hang in there! Love your work and your blog.

  47. says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been catching all the bugs. Try oscillococcinum, a homeopathic medicine. Take it as soon as you start to feel bad-I’ve used it for about 20 years now–can lessen the time you’re sick or how bad. I keep it with me in my purse so the minute my throat feels strange and scratchy I take it. That’s when it works the best. It’s made by Boiron–don’t know where you find it in Australia but sure you can order it online. Sometimes I take it if I feel really run down and feel I might get sick since I also get any bug that passes by. Another herbal remedy that I’ve used some is called Cold Snap-their website is It is good, but not as good. It is a bunch of oriental herbs.Oh,looking at my box of oscillococcinum, the website is Hope you feel better soon.

  48. Kneading your baby! That brought a smile to my face. I would often find myself rocking whilst waiting in the supermarket aisle when I went without the children! Its the subconscious, sleep deprived mind playing tricks on us.
    I can back the chemist on Canterbury Rd in Surrey Hills 100%.(even though you don’t know me)
    I lived around the corner and they are fantastic. They have the most amazing, natural colic mixture, she helped me a few times with severe colds and even my mother in-law with a few issues. I still order from Dartnells’s when I can, even though I have moved interstate.

    When you have 2 little ones and survive on little sleep it really is hard…I mean really hard. Sleep and vitamins and ‘mummy free time’made me feel better. It might not help with sickness, but will give you more energy.

    Instead of medication, I think you should hire a house-cleaner to come in twice a week for the next month! Healthy mind, healthy body.

  49. Just had to comment on the anniversary — oh DAMMIT is it cute. I love that you were actually disappointed that he wasn’t, apparently, as much of a nerd as described. xoxoxoxo

  50. oh wow, so many remedies, there’s bound to be one that works for you! So sorry to hear you are sick again! I end up grumpy and frustated at my never ending washing too! That house cleaner suggestion sounds great, do they do washing?

  51. Oh I know about the piles of laundry building up. My ironing basket never seems to empty, the part I hate the most to do. Take some honey and lemon juice drinks, not too hot with the water though. I hope you feel better soon, and I used to pat Isabelle to sleep too, and now she is 5 it still sometimes happens.

  52. Oh poor you, Claire! Here’s my two cents of advice for you:
    1. Get advice. Like you, I got so sick (multiple episodes of mastitis and flu), overtired and rundown while breastfeeding Molly and Sally. Then, before I had Harry, I consulted a lactation consultant who put me on to a number of supplements (a breastfeeding multivitamin, evening primrose oil, fish oil, calcium, vit E and vit C). I couldn’t believe how different I felt when I took these supplements. I would recommend that you seek the advice of a lactation consultant (or your maternal and child health nurse) to ensure you take supplements that are appropriate for you and Lily.

    2. Get help. If you can afford a housecleaner, think about getting one for a while. Otherwise, can you afford to pay a student to come and do small jobs for you (such as the folding)?

    3. Double task: indulge yourself with Idol but make sure you and Big P do the folding at the same time. If you’re not proud, you could enlist the help of visiting friends by folding washing while you have a cup of tea and a chat together.

    4. Rest and exercise. I agree that exercise will help but don’t push yourself until you feel able to cope.

    Remember, things will continue to get easier as Lily becomes more predictable and less dependant upon you. It will also be easier when Amelia starts to see Lily as a little playmate.

    Thinking of you.

  53. My never-sick friend told me to eat a clove of garlic (covered with honey to help the taste) 1x a week. I got elephant garlic and though it’s bigger, it’s a lot milder than regular garlic.

  54. says:

    It sounds like the Judy Horacek cartoon “She had allowed the ironing to pile up again” has descended on you. I’m all in favour of shoving unfolded things into drawers and cupboards. I figure that the main thing is to find the clothes so you can wear them again. Sure it’s nice not to be crumpled, but it’s not essential.
    Hope you get some good sleep soon.

  55. I’m with Dana about the garlic – it’s gotta be raw and whole. I take a small clove of conventional garlic (not elephant) and swallow it like a capsule with some food or water. I take two a day from the first moment of symptoms and find I either fight it off or have a much shorter, milder cold/flu. Like you I have a low immunie system, and as well as the garlic I find it helps to meditate once a day. I feed my little boy off to sleep, then lie beside him and meditate for about twenty minutes. This has really broken the cycle of illness for me, both this time and in the past too. Goodluck – and hope you feel better soon. Fixiefoo.

  56. I swear having teething chewing babies/curious toddlers is just so bad for your health. Try not taking your kids to the grocery store or pharmacy. That is where we got fifty percent of our germs I swear. Then since we are no good at washing hands fifty times a day, Hehe and it’s pointless anyway, we take lots and lots of vitamin c. Everybody. It worked last year, but I don’t know how much of that is having my littlest one move out of toddlerhood. 😉 I wish you well!