About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sharing a breath

I will get to those instructions, or find them in a book, soon. I really have to keep soldiering on with the marking though, students and administrators are waiting, before I can take time out to do that.

There is however one fast story I want to share.

Back in the early summer when we adopted Miss Daisy, many pounds and vet treatments ago, she was a small terrified wreck. The first day she came home with us she lay on the floor shaking like a seizure.

I didn't have a clue what to do.

So I decided to think of the safest she had ever felt and wondered if that was with her mother when she was a puppy. So, no other ideas in my head, I lay down on the floor with her, pressed my body all along hers and did strong slow breathing. The kind they tell you to do to help with the pain in labour - it didn't really work then, but I figured I was dealing with some kind of pain I didn't understand and it was all I had to reach for.

After a while she calmed down.

Last night we had a thunderstorm. 

Unlike the first time she was in a storm with us, when we lost her for hours since she was in the back of a closet where her little black self was invisible, she wanted up on the bed and she crawled up to the pillow between us. 

She lay there, pressed to the wall and I could not believe how she was shaking, how a little body could have those many tremors in it. 

So I just did what I did before. 

I put my hand on her back and my face next to hers and I just breathed,  slow and deep, like a person who isn't afraid of anything would breathe just before they went to sleep. Just like a mother who knows something about the thunder you don't and just knows it will be OK.

After a while I could feel her breathing matching mine and she feel asleep. Even while the wind continued to blow.

This has me thinking of Mr. Billy the baby.

Billy sticks to my daughter's body like a mussel to a rock - we joke he is four months old and has agoraphobia, all he wants is to be plastered to her at home in his own house.

I wondered this morning if maybe all he is doing, quietly in a way we are not noticing, is matching his breath to hers before he lets go.

I wonder.


Erika said...

What's better than being pressed up against the warm body of your mama?

Anonymous said...

Vancouver Barbara

Anonymous said...

I've done exactly this same thing for my dog when she was terrified or ill--and she's done it for me, too. I love hearing about Daisy. You are so kind to her, and what a difference it has made.

Elle said...

I think that's just what Mr. B is doing--and he'll be the stronger for it.

Julie Culshaw said...

We have a very old dog who gets anxiety attacks and he has to be held tightly.
My daughter in Texas said they actually sell thunder shirts for dogs, she suggested I get one!

The principle is that the shirt compresses the dog, making them feel as if they are being held.
Whatever works, I say.

edube said...

My daughter's dog came to her severely traumatized as a puppy. They got her a thunder shirt, which works like a charm (of course they have to hold her as well). But they could never be without that thunder shirt.

Anonymous said...

Your insight and compassion warm my heart!


Suze said...

I always seem to get your posts when I need them most. I don't really leave comments because most days I need about four more hours in them just for chores and sleep, but I wanted you to know how often you've made me laugh, cry, tear up, or like just now, remember when my "big boy" (four-year-old) was the same as your Mr Billy... and how much I miss those days now. Please always keep writing.

Lucille said...

I say yes. Certainly. Each child/dog in his or her own way, own time. Wise people let it be so.

Judi Pinkham said...

Beautiful thoughts!!!

Helen Marshall said...

Oh Barbara, I remember so well the first six weeks with my daughter! She clung round my neck like a baby monkey every minute she was awake and would not be soothed by any other body. At just about the time when I thought I would go mad if I didn't get some release from her she had got enough of whatever it was she needed from me, and relaxed and became a sociable little thing happy to be held by anyone, and then happy to be within sight of anyone.And now she is happily planning a great adventure from Australia to the US in search of career opportunities. How miraculous it is to raise children, and how wonderful it is how miss Daisy is flourishing in your care.

Anonymous said...

Am about to bring a new cat home today—my old girl passed in early November. She was 18 so it's been a long time since I've had to think about how to make it better for a new member of the family. Your story about Miss Daisy hits the mark in many ways. I love your observations. Thank you.