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Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

New Years Eve. It's 8 pm. Alexis is asleep and I feel like following suit. Is that a bad thing? Do I want to start the new year sleep deprived? It has been a big day. I am allowed to be tired. It has been a big week too. Actually it has been a big year for me come to think of it.

2010 has been a year of change for me. I went on maternity leave, had a baby, moved house, and resigned. I don't think I've ever had a more challenging year in terms of learning new skills and forming new relationships. Giving up skills and relationships has been equally challenging too.

Physical changes happened as well. I have been poked, prodded, torn, pooped on, peed on, spewed on, and chewed on. I have gone days without sleep. I have gone weeks with very little sleep. I have been bombarded with hormones. I have had aching back and shoulders from days when Alexis hasn't let me put her down.

I lost my independence and own identity for a while there. I have given up time, money, and freedom. I have given a lot, but I have been given so much more.

I have been given cuddles, kisses, appreciative looks, giggles, laughs, smooches and caresses. I have been given love, joy, affection, and trust. I have been given time to develop patience and responsibility.

This year I have learned many lessons. I have learned that not all change is bad. I have learned that it's OK to ask for help and that it's good to accept help. I have learned that it is OK to just survive at times. I have learned that my God, my husband, my daughter, most of my family and some of my friends love me very much. (Please don't drive yourself nuts guessing if you're included in the 'most' or 'some', if you do love me then we will both know that). I have learned that I am stronger than I thought. I have learned that there is still so much I need to work on, and that this is a good thing.

So I don't really care what 2011 throws at me because I will not have to face it alone. If I could choose, I would like a good, peaceful year, where we grow individually and as a family. I would like to be more organised, more efficient, and a bit more stable! Mainly I want to master what I think about and what comes out of my mouth. This has been my goal every year but this upcoming year it is more important than ever. As of midnight Corey and I start some modified form of swear jar. More info on that to come! If you are willing, I would appreciate your prayers!

If you would like to share your goals for 2011 or your memories from 2010 why not post them in a comment. I'm always happy to pray for you.

Now it's 9 pm and I'm still trying to get Alexis back to sleep from when she woke up 10 minutes after I started writing this. Maybe I'll make midnight after all.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Then the washing machine ate my bra

Why is it always when I'm running late that appliances decide to play up? Probably because it's at least a little bit my fault...

Pause. Rewind.

After my last entry I went back to sleep until almost 9 am. The extra sleep was wonderful. Alexis, Corey and I all woke up happy. Amazing. We had friends coming over at midday for lunch. Uh-oh! We both needed clothes washed to wear today. We also needed to wash the dishes, clear and wipe down the kitchen bench and table (easier said than done after Christmas. Yes, I still hadn't done it, we had spontaneously decided to go to movie world yesterday), shop for food to feed said guests, and drop something off at my sister's house. We were a little pushed for time so decided to split the tasks. Corey and Alexis did the groceries and stopped off at my sister's. While they were gone I was to get myself ready then make a start, but I was under strict instructions to stay calm and not get myself worked up. The washing was already in the machine, I was just to swap it over when it finished. We would do the rest when they returned. So simple.

I had a lovely long shower and washed my hair. I went to swap the washing over. Strange black clumps covered some of the clothes. What the? The washing machine had eaten my bra. Oh goody. The bra had become stuck in the door seal, and it had flicked bits of lint through the load. The bra was ripped and torn and black, unsalvageable, but that was the least of my worries. I needed clothes to wear! I thought I would have to re-wash the whole load. Corey and Alexis returned. "The washing machine ate my bra," I said matter-of-factly. After careful investigation I discovered that while the bra was attacked and covered in wet black lint and whatever other nasties reside in the door seals of front-loaders, the rest of the clothes that were soiled were not inflicted with mould, they had been dyed. I found the culprit. A small black shirt of Alexis' had run. Such a tiny shirt. If the washing machine hadn't eaten my bra I probably wouldn't have even noticed. So I dried mine and Corey's clothes but re-washed Alexis' just in case nasties were lurking around after all.

We tidied and cleaned up the house nicely. The dryer finished in time. We had a lovely day with our guests, and they left happily I can now rest because our house feels like a home again, rather than a storage shed. Corey, Alexis and I had a nice afternoon nap lay-about on the bed. The holiday vibe is here.

So the washing mix-up didn't upset our plans or ruin our day. Yay! It could have been much worse.. It wouldn't have happened at all if I'd learn to separate the colours and use a delicates bag, but honestly who actually does that? I don't normally bother. I usually test new clothes and soak what runs until it stops running. I had done that to this shirt, I thought, but that was the size 00 version of the same shirt. I had liked it so much that I bought it in two sizes. I had forgotten that.

It's all my fault. I'd like to say I've learned my lesson, but I haven't. I will probably most definitely do it again. My response is quite likely to be the same as it was today.

STUPID WASHING MACHINE!!!

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Being a mum is so constant

On Tuesday night Alexis slept from my last entry until almost 7 am. It was so nice to get a decent sleep. It would have been better if I hadn't stayed up so late putting photos on facebook, but hey, mummies need "me time" occasionally too.

Alexis and I mulled around for a few hours while Corey went back to sleep. Around 9:30 he finally woke up, but had the nerve to whinge he was still tired, lol. I don't understand how he needs that much sleep. I suspect he is up all night killing enemies on the internet. Good to see he is enjoying his holidays.

Is it my turn yet? When is my holiday? When do I get a 2.5 hour nap? It is lovely having him around for company, and we've been going out a bit and having fun, so I sorry of feel like I'm in holidays because he is, but unless the magic fairies are going to come do the washing, cleaning, cooking, feed my baby and stay up with her at all hours of the morning (like now), then it's not really a holiday for me really is it.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother and I'm trying to improve from "world's worst housewife" to keeping the house in a semi-decent state. I don't actually miss full-time work. I enjoy spending time with my daughter. I even like doing housework, because I get a small sense of satisfaction when I do it well. So why have I been cranky for the last few days? When Corey's chipped in and helped out so I could relax with him I've whined over him doing it wrong, missing something, or being too slow. Then there's the moments when he's done things better than I can! Typical, "I slave away (yeah right) all day every day
and you can do it so easily you should help out more often". I'm actually feeling inferior and frustrated that I still haven't mastered this whole housewife thing after a whole year (is there something wrong with me?) but can't explain that to him. I've tried but he doesn't get it. Which leads me down the "you don't think my feelings are important" road, which is NEVER pretty. The man can't win. Why have I been so cantankerous? Why can't I let Corey enjoy his holidays and be happy for him and make the most of the time we have? There must be a reason, rather than me just being a cow!?

I think it's really starting to hit me just how permanent and life changing this whole mum thing is. I can't swich off. I can't avoid it. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't have a day off. It scares me because I always like to have an escape plan. When "all I am" is a wife and mum, there is no escaping that.  So even though I love what I do, I sometimes feel trapped, and I don't like that. "Just get a babysitter and have some time to yourself," well-meaning people naively say. Let me enlighten you by recalling a few occasions I have left Alexis...

1) When Alexis was about six weeks old I left Alexis with my parents while I got my hair done. On the drive there I glanced back at the empty car seat repeatedly. When I got there I sat in the chair. She asked me what I wanted. "Something easy to maintain," I said. "What do you do for work?" "I'm a mum". Cue three hour conversation about pregnancy, labour, childbirth, boobs and how cute my baby is. She even asked if we were planning to have another one. Sure, one day, but six weeks after giving birth it wasn't high on my to-do-list.

2) Corey had precious alone time with Alexis a few weeks later while I went to a friend's tupperware party. "How are you, where's the baby, is she with her dad?" "yes". "What's new/how was your day" followed, with answers all involving milestones, poos, spews, etc. I think the inevitable labour convo  happened there too.

3) Ladies  Christmas dinner at church. Same as tupperware party. Although at least there I was privileged to listen in on some interesting conversations, adding a sleep-deprived "yeah" on occasion. Actually it wasn't just mothering, my other knowledgeable subject was also covered, being a wife. Although I've been a wife longer than a mum, I don't discuss marriage-stuff much, it's more private, but with church family we are free to be ourselves and we talked about a few things, and how to cook a roast which I've always wanted to do but never been  ambitious enough to try. I actually really enjoyed myself that night. It did refresh me, for a little while, but Alexis clung to me so tight for the week after I begun to wonder if it was worth leaving her again.

There's times when Corey and I have gone out on our own. This is incredibly important, and quite enjoyable, but to avoid a monologue about Corey's work (with me adding "yeah", "ah-ha", and nodding occasionally to prove to us both I haven't fallen asleep), the conversation inevitably turns to Alexis, or the dishes, or the list things I wanted to get done but didn't.

I'm either silent and boring, or talking about housework, or bragging about my kid. I never wanted to be 'one of those people', but I don't *do* anything else. I have nothing else to talk about.   It's part of life, and I'm just going to have to get used to it. It's not like it's that bad to think about Alexis all the time, she is a beautiful, precious gift and I love her dearly. I am so blessed, and I know that, its just, every now and then it hits me just how constant and permanent this is. 

Anyway seeing as it is almost 5 am and I have been up since 2, I should probably get some sleep now. Alexis is asleep, Corey managed to convince her to sleep about an hour ago after I begged him to give me a break. I had tried everything, it wasn't working, there was no point continuing to bang my head against a wall. By then I was so worked up I needed to calm down before sleep, so I blogged, about my husband and my kid. See what I mean.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Her favourite thing at the themepark was people-watching

We slept in this morning til 9 am. Sounds good doesn't it. We were up at 4 am and I didn't get Alexis back to sleep until 5:30, but nevertheless we went back to sleep until almost 9 am, and that is very rare indeed. When we woke up I noticed it was sunny, more importantly it was NOT RAINING!!! So I, filled with excitement, suggested we go to seaworld. We have wanted to go for some time and thought it would be a shame to waste a lovely day on post-Christmas cleanup. We have done very little since Christmas eve, so the piles of things to do was slightly overwhelming. Corey, not wanting to waste his holidays, agreed with me 100%. He looked on the radar, said it looked like a little bit of rain, just enough to scare the tourists away but not enough to bother us too much. We would just go into the covered stadiums to watch the shows if it rained heavily.

We then tried to decide whether we would take the pram or not, because you can't take prams into the stadiums. We considered stopping off to buy a cheap umbrella stroller, but we're not sure if they are safe enough, and considering Alexis can't lie down to sleep in one, there wasn't an awful lot of point. We decided we would take the pram and just leave it outside when we to went to shows because it needs a good wash anyway. Then I looked in the kitchen.

We had no clean dummies, no cooled boiled water, and no bottles to put that non-existent water in. "Its ok," said Corey, we'll just have to do the dishes before we go". Just do the dishes. That simple hey? First we would have to move all the piles of rubble to remember where we hid the kitchen sink. It was going to be midday before we got there. It just wasn't worth the drive. The clouds were darkening by this stage too. "Let's just clean up the house today and go first thing tomorrow" I said. Corey agreed but was cleary disappointed.

He kept trying to convince me to go. "You go, I'm tired," I said. That didn't go down well. Alexis was particularly cute, exploring and monkeying around. I tried a different approach, "she won't tolerate being cooped up in the car for hours then in the pram all day." "Well then we'll take her to the water park there," he said. I replied with "but you have to pay extra for that, and what will we do with the pram?" Then Corey had a stroke of genius, "lets go to wet n wild instead". It was a great idea. It's closer and there's places for her to roam. So we did. No, I am not being paid to write this, I wish I was, hehe, but I'm not. We did have a really good day.

Getting ready still wasn't without drama. We still had to wash up. We also had to get our togs together. Corey grabbed the togs off the airer and shoved them in a bag while I had a shower. I'm not entirely sure why I insisted on having a shower, probably because I can't think clearly until I've had one. I decided it would be more practical to wear my togs down. Good thing I did, as there were no tog bottoms in the bag, and neither was my rash shirt. I am not a bikini kind of girl, so I frantically searched the house for it. Corey was apologetic, but he said all I asked him to do was get the things off the airer. It wasn't there. He was right. I just wanted to know where it was by now, as I actually like it and was quite expensive. Everything else from our Christmas day swim was there, so I called my parents to see if I'd left it there and my sister to see if it had ended up with their stuff by mistake. After about 10 calls backwards and forwards and searching the car, the house, and even inside the couches, the whereabouts of my rashy remains a mystery.

I had a snack (food calms me down), settled on the least indecent tankini from my skinnier, smaller, pre-baby-feeding days, and we headed off.

The first thing I did when we got there was buy a rashy. Ok that was the second thing, the first thing was realise how cold it was. We got Alexis dressed, got ourselves organised, and hit the baby pool. It was freezing! You'd think the baby pool would be heated. We had fun, until she turned blue, then moved on to the wave pool. Well Corey and Alexis did, I stood outside like Tommy Tourist because the lifeguard wouldn't let me take our waterproof camera in.

That was fun til the wave cycle stopped. Then I sat with Alexis minding a table while Corey fetched lunch. It started raining. It was cold and horrible so I fed Alexis to keep her occupied while we waited. It really is awesome to carry a tap or two with me. After she devoured her fish and the inside of some chips we weren't sure whether to give up and go home or try calypso bay. The rain stopped, the sun came out, yay! So we started walking.

On the way to Calypso Bay we received smiles and compliments from strangers along the path. "She's so cute," they'd say. One lady stopped us so that her daughter could say hello to the "pretty baby". It's a bit random, but it's something we've grown familiar with. I don't know if it's her physical appearance or her personality, or people say it about all babies, but it happens frequently. Alexis plays up to it, smiling and waving and playing peekaboo as we walk along. She was very happy in daddy's arms watching people walking by as if they were there just for her people-watching pleasure.

Alexis loved Calypso Bay. We put her in a special tube for babies that a has no hole so she couldn't fall out. We kept a hold of her tube but she had her own independence. She sat up high waving to teenage girls, children, even grown men. She can get a smile out of anyone. When she is older this will be inappropriate, but for now, we are happy for our little treasure to brighten up the days of strangers.

Eventually it was time to come home. She slept the whole way. Corey had a nap when we got home. I stayed awake with a very mischievous baby, refreshed from her deep sleep in the car. She has been getting into mischief for a few hours now and just fallen asleep. I hope she sleeps well tonight, she has tired me out! I'm glad we went, but the inevitable post-christmas cleanup awaits me tomorrow. It laughs at me, "haha you cannot avoid me forever!"

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ouch!

I knew this day would come... Alexis is getting top teeth. Ouch. Bottom teeth weren't so bad, the tongue stays in the way. Top teeth, well, hopefully she'll learn soon. Can't see teeth yet, just bite marks.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Best Christmas Ever

After my man and my girl got up it turned into the very best Christmas day ever. Christmas with a child is so magical. Also there were no fights, no injuries, no broken toys, everything ran smoothly. I was relaxed. I hope everyone liked their gifts. Everyone seemed to. Alexis was blessed with an abundance of cool toys, as were Corey and I. The recurring theme was "you need to relax more and have fun". So we intend to. I have written tomorrow's to-do-list: thank relatives who posted things, unpack car, wash togs, and then in huge excited scribble I have written "PLAY WITH NEW TOYS!". I love my family, yes even my in-laws! God bless you all. Peace and love and happy birthday Jesus!

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It's Christmas, it's Christmas, WAKE UP

It's Christmas morning. Hurray, it's finally here. Alexis woke us up at 5:45, which is not so unusual. Seeing as we have to be somewhere mid-morning I thought yay we will plenty of time and won't have to rush. (I absolutely hate being rushed on Christmas day). Corey decided he was going back to sleep. Party pooper. Alexis is also back in the land of nod. So here I sit by myself trying not to make too much noise. Merry Christmas. Not a great start so far. I've wrapped those last few presents that we gave up on last night. I've tidied up the lounge room ready for presents. I've even had breakfast, by myself. Seriously who goes back to sleep on Christmas morning? Fair enough Alexis doesn't understand, but I want her to wake up so I can wake Corey up. Now I'm getting tired myself I could use more sleep, but I know as soon as I drift off she'll wake up, and that would make me cranky. Got to be happy, it's Christmas. Happy birthday Jesus, and merry Christmas everyone.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wrapping paper, glitter and baby Jesus

I'm actually getting pretty excited about Christmas this year. Five years at big w had kinda taken the fun out of Christmas for me, but it's slowly creeping back. There's still elements of the lead up to Christmas that are unpleasant, such as: family fighting over who gets to see who, when and where; people requesting you give them some present you either can't afford or have a moral objection to; having to budget or risk going bankrupt; lack of sleep; mess; losing things; and "where on earth is all this glitter coming from?" You don't even want to get me started on santa hats on anything and everything, candy canes, snowmen, chocolate reindeer, ah you get the point. I still don't like the commercialisation of Christmas, shopping or wrapping presents or the increase in traffic cops, but I'm not exactly scratching my head thinking "can't I just say thanks for being born Jesus, happy birthday and go on with life as normal" either.


It's been great experiencing the Christmas season through the eyes of a baby. Things I've grown tired of are given a second chance. In Alexis' eyes the trees, the tinsel, the ornaments, the presents, the nativity scenes, the lights and the bright t-shirts are all new. She is intrigued by all things shiny and flashing. Her young ears delight in carols, bells, and children playing happily. The look on her face was priceless when she tasted her first mango, as it was with her first ice cream, cup cake, and grape. She loves the feel of textured Christmas cards and although she hasn't mastered unwrapping presents yet she got into the bag of unused wrapping paper rolls, finding them fascinating, and tasty...

All these things are good, but there are better things. I don't have a problem with santa as such, but I think it is incredibly wrong that children are being told that a fat man who breaks into houses bringing toys is all it's about. It saddens me that there are children who don't know the story of Christmas because they are not being told, because their parents don't know. I went to a Christmas party run by a church organisation and they didn't even ment ion Jesus there! Hundreds of kids getting santa photos, no mention of why we give and receive.

Why do we as a nation celebrate Christmas if our televised carol services reference a new telephone repeatedly but don't speak of the baby who came to save us from our sins? I am discouraged but I have not lost hope.

I am so proud of my baby for the fact that her favourite thing about Christmas is baby Jesus. Impossible you say? Well, no, and yes... We bought her a plush nativity scene. It is so great, it's a stable, compete with an angle, donkey, sheep, wise men, shepherd, Joseph, Mary, a manger, and baby Jesus. All the pieces are fabric and removable, in fact most are puppets so you can reenact the nativity. Alexis loves the little baby. She carries him around with her and kisses him. Of course she also chews on his head... She is a baby after a ll... It is a sign of respect and love. She chews on her father and I all the time.

It seems more than a coincidence to me that she screamed her head off when we tried to put her on santa's lap but she would squeal with delight and embrace the baby Jesus. Santa is different to what she sees everyday.We don't wear clothes like that in Australia, he's massive, loud, and what's with the beard? This is intimidating to small children. Baby Jesus, on the other hand, is not scary. He is an itty bitty baby, like she is. It is easy for adults to overlook the baby in the manger, but personally I find it amazing that Jesus, son of God, chose to be born a baby. I watch Alexis getting frustrated when she can't control her body how she wants. When she was first born she couldn't even move her head. She was totally dependent on me. Imagine the son of God giving up all his power and making himself so vulnerable. Imagine the son of God.not being able to wipe his own bottom. Why did he do this? To become one of us. Each and every one of us has been born. He loved us so.much he wanted to be with us and live with us. We should never forget that. That is a reason to celebrate.

Christmas, Christ is born. When is the last time you really thought about that?

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coming soon

Iam just saving this url for now. I will be working on this after Christmas. I will post some of my poetry and song lyrics and stories and anything really. Until then you might find my other blog interesting. Www.themotherexperiment.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic moments

Sometimes being a stay at home mum really IS just fun and games. Sometimes it is so amazing that you can hardly remember life BC (before children). There are moments when you wish you could stop time and enjoy this little angel being just like this, forever. I just had one of those moments, pulling myself together to write this, because I want to share the magic with you.

I have yet to find any experience in this world more peaceful and regenerating than cuddling a sleeping baby. Their vulnerable little bodies are so at rest in your arms. They are so trusting. They make the worries of life fade away, even if just for a little while. Babies are warm, soft, smooth. Even their snores are adorable. They almost always smell lovely, as long as they don't need a change. Their whole body moves up and down with every breath. It is almost impossible to be uptight while holding a sleeping infant. Those of you fortunate enough to have your own children can hopefully agree with me when I say when it's your own kid it's even better.

As I write this I am laying in bed on my side. Alexis is facing me with her head on my arm, her arms on my chest and her knees slightly resting on my belly. She is curled up like a frog, like she used to do when her age was measured in days instead of months. Every now and then she stirs, looks up at me with those big blue eyes, and settles back to sleep. I don't do this often. Alexis usually naps in her cot while I race around the house trying to keep up with housework. Today I was tired and trying to have a nap when she woke. I knew she was still tired so I brought her in with me. I gave her a quick (literally 30 second) feed before she fell asleep. I haven't been able to sleep, I was just enjoying the moment.

There were many thoughts going through my mind, as they do when we have moments like this. One: "I made this girl", with Corey's help of course. Alexis is a little mixture of both of us. I can't explain how much that thought just blows me away. God performs a miracle each time a child is conceived, I really believe that. Two: how awesome is breastfeeding, seriously. I know it just doesn't work for some ladies and babies and that is so unfortunate, because seriously, when it works it is magical. I can nourish a human being with my body, with minimal effort. I cannot explain how cool that is. Three: I feel loved and I feel so in love with my child. I feel so much love that I feel like I'm going to explode. Four: I feel alive. So lucky just to be alive and able to feel this. Five: I feel so blessed to have this child, precious gift from God.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The wife experiment: he is not my son

It's not really my job to mother my husband is it? He has his own mother. Besides, he is 23 years old, he a is a grown up, he doesn't actually need someone telling him what to do. Poor Corey. I have turned into one of THOSE women who once they become a mother they start trying to mother, well everybody really.

I'm not sure when it started, but over the last few weeks I have been noticing it more and more. It's one thing to call the fifteen year old checkout boy "sweetheart or darling", it's not too offensive to say "careful, it's hot" when handing a cup of coffee to my mother in law. I can probably even get away with saying "message me when you get home" when a visitor heads for their car at the end of a long day.

What is not ok is to treat Corey like a child. Just yesterday we had, "have you eaten breakfast?", "do you really need another coke?", (which reminds me of something I have uttered too frequently in the past, "coke is not a, breakfast food sweetheart"), "if you lick that bowl of chocolate now you won't be able to sleep tonight" (we were making Christmas chocolates at 9 pm), and "don't stay up too late" when he went to the spare room to play games because surprise surprise he couldn't sleep. Then the embarassment really hits when I realise I went in, interupting his game, to ask in all earnesty, "have you brushed your teeth?"

He has made it very tempting for me, mind you. Surprise surprise he was up most of the night and slept through Alexis waking up this morning and crying her head off while I changed her nappy. I went to check why he wasn't up when his alarm should have gone off, to find he set it back half an hour. I accidentally woke him up. I respond to the "huh?" not with "just wanting to make sure you have an alarm on", which was the truth, but instead, "when you get up put your bottles and tissues in the bin, this room is disgusting!"

I do not know what comes over me, is it hormonal, is it instinct, but I have become a bit of a control freak. *shock!* There was no reason Corey needed to be up. Alexis is asleep and he is still going to get ready on time. Even if he wasn't, as he is an adult capable of making his own decisions, I should leave him be. Free to make his own decisions, he should also be free to accept the consequences. If he wants to pig out, stay up too late, then sleep in and rush around and possibly skip breakfast, that is his decision. Even if he forgets to brush his teeth, I am sure he'll be fine.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Changes to blog

Hello readers
I have changed the look of my site slightly. I hope it has made it easier to read and navigate. The main posts (like this) are in the middle column. On the left hand side there is a little blurb about me, Karlee, for those of you who want to know a little more about me. You can also click on the link to view my full profile . Underneath that is a list of topics mentioned in my posts in case you are interested in a particular topic. Below that is a list of my previous entries. Feel free to peruse the titles incase there is any that take your fancy.

On the right hand side are boxes were you can subscribe and/or "follow" my blog. You also might find some advertisements relevant, you never know. I have changed the background colour so you do not mistake them for my own material.

I have also changed some settings with regards to my posts themselves. You now have the option to comment without signing in, by commenting either as an anonymous guest or by leaving a name and your url if you wish. I have also added "reactions" buttons where you can leave feedback for me with a simple click of "hate it, like it, or love it". I appreciate feedback. You may have noticed that I am only displaying the two most recent entries on the home page now. This is to make it quicker to load. You can continue reading by clicking the "older posts" link under the second post.

Below the second post is a list of my most popular posts, with a short snippet. You may find this useful if you are browsing my blog for the first time or after a period of time and want to read the more popular posts.


If you are wondering why I am posting details of my day to day life on the internet then you might like to read my "first entry: what is the mother experiment".

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Topsy turvy day

Wednesday 15 th was a topsy turvy day. Some good things happened, some bad things happened. All in all it balanced out so it was neither a good day nor a bad day, just an ordinary day with some extraordinary memories.

The day started with Corey waking me up. "Alexis is crying," he said matter of factly. Normally I am the first one up to her, but I hadn't even heard her. I was in the middle of an interesting dream. I groaned, still tired, I did not want to be up yet. I pulled myself out of be some how. After the morning feed I thought to myself, "it's not raining!" By 8am it was already uncomfortably hot, so I thought it was a good day to do the Christmas shopping. I fed bub breakky, and chucked the washing on the line, no problems. I might have even been able to get there early enough to get a park. I finally wrangled some clothes onto Alexis and got her into the car by 10. Not too bad really. She fell asleep on the way so I decided to stop past maccas drive thru for a quick pick me up. "It will give Alexis a longer sleep," I reasoned. I looked in my wallet. No credit card. It was still in Corey's wallet from when I asked him to hold it a few weeks ago. I wanted to do the shopping on the card because I wanted the points. Tired and disappointed I looked at Alexis still sleeping and headed for home. I decided I would drag Corey out after work. It would be easier with an extra pair of hands.

Alexis woke on the way home. She had been quite restless the day before and I was too tired to come up with exciting new games so I thought I really should take her somewhere. I turned off at a sports ground. I thought I had seen a playground there. I was wrong but it paid off. There was an elderly gentleman flying remote control planes. I pulled up and liberated Alexis from the car seat. He flew the plane above our heads, dipping low and revving it back up high again. He performed a few tricks, much to Alexis' delight. We walked over and thanked him for the free entertainment. We chatted for a little while and patted his old faithful dog. I would not normally approach strange men or strange dogs, especially not with a baby, but something inside me told me not to fear. I think he really enjoyed having someone to talk to for a little while. He mentioned he used to ride motor bikes and take his dog on long walks when they both were younger. Now he lets the plane explore for him. It was sad. But he seemed pretty young in spirit showing off for Alexis. She loved it. She was very upset with me when I put her back in the car!

The next few hours were fairly uneventful. Alexis had lunch, played, then had a nice long sleep while I mulled around doing things around the house. Corey rang to say his car was damaged in the hail storm. Poor little car. Not nice news. Oh well, that's why we have insurance. He finished his working day and came home.

He was on the phone to the insurance company for a while. Another storm picked up as we were about to leave for shopping. We decided we would still go. I thought the shops were open til 9. The first shopping centre was closed so we drove to an other one. Our favourite shop was closed. We were tempted to give up and come home but we had already wasted so much time! We found a store still open and they had a huge variety of things at great prices so we were very impressed. It was a very productive shopping trip. YAY! No fights for a car park, no shopping trolley incidents, no line at the checkout. Amazing.

Alexis slept the whole way home but then woke when we got home and wouldn't sleep til after midnight! Argh, annoying, but we three did have a lovely family play time. We could have been miserable because we were tired and wanted to go to sleep but there was no point. Plans change. Things don't always happen the way you want them to. It's rarely worth getting upset over. Have a look around and see what new opportunities lie just around the corner.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I couldn't understand, until I had a child of my own

It seems as though even from infancy we are drawn toward things that will cause us harm, and treat those trying to protect us as if they are boring, mean, or have lost touch with our needs. We are self-centred and stubborn from very early on. Whether you believe humans are inherently sinful or that we are corrupted by bad influences, it certainly doesn't take long for that helpless infant to start biting the hand (and other things) that feed it.

Alexis is a very clever baby there is no doubt about it. She is, in my biassed opinion, also very cute. She uses this clever mind, cheeky disposition, and infectious smile to get away with just about anything. She knows one little giggle melts the hardest heart.

I try to not squash her exploration attempts unless I absolutely have to. I want her to feel secure and independent and don't want to desensitise her to the word no. I might be too late though. Sometimes when she does something she knows is cheeky she looks to make sure I'm watching first. If I say "no bubba" she looks at me, says "o" and goes back to what she was doing, so I'd say she knows at least those times, that she is being naughty. If she does something dangerous to herself or another child I have to pick her up take her away. Her attention span is far better than mine. She is extremely difficult to distract.

I am well aware that the best thing for all of us its to have the house as tidy, organised and child friendly as possible so she can roam. That is great in theory but I am lagging behind, chasing my own tail, trying to tackle new projects but having trouble mastering the day to day. We should well and truly have the house baby proofed by now. Yes, well, we thought we did. There problem is she was too fast for us. We got everything off the floor while she was learning to crawl, but she was not content to leave it at crawling for a while. The very next day after she crawled she learned to stand. We do not have high furniture, so there are not many places she can't reach. It feels like I'm always playing catch up. She is fascinated by things I never thought she would notice, or the wind blew something around, or a bag left half unpacked, or my husband was just being lazy or absent minded (I love you darling, really, but you do tend to dump and run). It doesn't help that Alexis gets into places that we naively thought she could not yet get into. Whenever I feel like I'm making progress we go away on holidays or buy new things or are given a new present or she is able to reach a little higher. And she's learning to climb.

Really even if the place was tidy I would still have to be on guard, we're near the bush, small stones and insects are a way of life, they just magically appear, really they do.

What I need to do, probably, is gain perspective. The poisons are out of harms way, as are the sharp things, and the heavy blunt objects. Is it really a big deal if she eats a tissue or coupon occasionally? It's probably not going to hurt her too badly to fall from whatever she's trying to climb as long as she doesn't pull something hard, heavy or smashy on top of herself. Then I can save rescue operations for when she's head butting glass doors (she thinks it's funny), trying to climb into the toilet bowl, trying to jump off the change table, trying to bite her cousin, or making a beeline for the oven. There are times when I have to pull rank and be the mean old mother who spoils her fun. I shrug off the tantrums, knowing that I am only doing what is best for her because I love her. She cannot understand now, in fact she probably won't fully understand until she has children of her own, but I have a responsibility as a parent.

I am starting to imagine how God might feel when He looks at me. "How do I let her grow, mature, explore, form her own sense of identity, and learn on her own, without letting her get hurt? I can't stop her getting hurt all the time. Especially when I can't interfere with free will." Does God get frustrated when He tries to guide me in the right direction and I don't listen? When I'm too busy having fun to notice what I'm doing is something He's warned me isn't good? Does He get angry with me when I argue with Corey even though I know He has commanded me to respect my husband? Does it hurt Him when He knows I am getting myself into something that is only going to hurt me or others but I blatantly disobey his gentle "no". Yes, I think it must.

Does that make him stop loving me? No. Just like I love my daughter Alexis and would give anything for her, He loves me, His daughter, and has already given everything for me. He died for me, what more proof do I need? No matter how many tantrums I throw, my God loves me. He created me, He formed me, He delights in watching me grow. When He disciplines me its because He loves me and wants the best for me. I don't know why but I couldn't understand this kind of unconditional love, until I had a child of my own.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The wife experiment: out of my comfort zone

On Thursday afternoon I dropped Alexis off at my parents' place and drove to pick my husband up from work, we were going on a date. Not just any date, we were going to a themepark, just the two of us, at night. There was going to be ice skating, and snow, it was going to be fun. We were going let our hair down, ditch responsibility for a few hours, and have a ball. We had been looking forward to this for weeks. I was thinking about all this on my way when I thought to myself, "no noise coming from the back, maybe bub has finally fallen asleep", and turned around to check, noticing the empty car seat. Mental face palm. I am ashamed to say that I checked on that empty car seat twice more on the half hour drive to pick my husband up from work.

On the way I was nearly wiped out by a woman in a 4WD. I was mentally writing my next blog entry, a rant entitled "wife driving hubby's car" when it occurred to me that as I was also driving my husband's car, and checking on empty car seats, so did not have much authority on the matter.

I picked Corey up, well actually he drove from then on, and settled down. It was not so foreign to accept that Alexis was not with us once Corey was with me. It had been weird on my own. Was it that I get such little time on my own that I'm not so sure of my own company? Or is it more likely that I was so worked up from trying to get there on time and the incident with the 4wd gave me a distraction? What those without kids don't know is when you have a baby going anywhere is a major event. I spent all day running around preparing for a few hours out. I had to get everything ready for Alexis, reminding myself to not forget anything. Last time we left her we had forgotten the breast milk, and although we had provided emergency formula and a bottle of water for it just in case, we had forgotten a teat! So this time I was determined to not be such a failure. I stressed myself all day. (I ended up forgetting the formula this time.)

I had also gathered a bag of winter woolies for us. Mittens, scarfs, beanies, jackets. Although it is summer, the add said ice skating and real snow. I didn't want cold to ruin our night, I wanted everything to be perfect.




Imagine my disappointment when we arrived to discover the "snow" was a bubble mix and the "ice" skating was on plastic. It was hot. I sweated in jeans and long sleeve shirt. The embarrassment didn't end there. The rink was outdoors where they had just had a show. The thousands of spectators stayed to watch the twenty (ish) of us who had paid to skate. I can't skate. I was being overtaken by small children. Corey can speedskate. He dragged me around, screaming behind him as we weaved around the others. It was so embarrassing but it was so fun. I was out of my comfort zone. I was making a fool of myself. That moment was scarier than any of the roller coaster rides we went on that night. But I was safe in his arms. I trusted him. We were having fun, who cares how ridiculous we looked.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spontaneous dance break

Alexis and I have this thing we do, it's kind of a game, it's a silly tradition that we have. It's our thing, and we both love it. So, how it works, is that when I'm folding and sorting the clothes to put away, we have the radio on for background noise. Sometimes I sing along, sometimes not. Alexis first explores the bedroom, then "helps mummy" by sorting a second basket on the floor. No joke, I leave a basket on the floor for her and she pulls the clothes out one by one. She even separates the bibs when they have been stuck together in a velcro-induced blob. She is a pretty amazing girl really, copying mummy with all earnesty, but with her own individual, tastes. She even categorises them into piles. They are not conventional piles, I must admit, but they are piles none the less. I have seen this with my own eyes. A few weeks ago I sat for a good half hour watching her as she first organised them into piles (based on texture), shook her head, reshuffled the piles, then picked them up one by one, tasted each item, and re-sorted them. She did not learn that taste bit from me. Anyway I have allowed myself to get sidetracked... Once Alexis is done "helping", she crawls over to the bed, stands up, and tries to pull my piles down off the bed before I can put them away. I then hold her on my hip while putting the folded things away and leave the rest for another time. It's a messy system, but it works. The downside is that I normally forget about finishing it later and retire to bed late at night to find it covered in laundry. I didn't say it was a perfect system... The main lesson I have learned as a mum is to do what I can when I can and not be upset when I get interrupted before I can finish.

Anyway, the part that makes this a game, is the "spontaneous dance break". The radio is the key. When a song comes on that is particularly catchy or uplifting, or has a good beat, I scoop Alexis up, sing at the top of my lungs, and we "dance". I can't dance to save my life, but she doesn't know that. She loves the contact, she loves the attention, she loves the movement. The daggier and more exaggerated the moves the better. I place her on my hip and we look into the mirror so I can see the smile on her face. She waves her arms around. They have become some of my most cherished moments. Alexis holds me to the dance breaks so she must really like them too. When she hears upbeat music she crawls to me and climbs up my legs.

I have created a problem for myself though, she expects them at the shopping centre too, and in the car, at church, and at restaurants. I suppose I should enjoy it while she is still happy to be seen with me in public! She will grow up far too soon. For now I am fun, I am a companion, I am a toy. I am "mumma". What an amazing honour. Thank you God for this sweet sweet girl.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day to day discoveries

Alexis and I have just been chilling at home this week. She's getting over her cold so I didn't want to drag her out in the rain and risk it flaring up again. The Christmas shopping can wait, the santa photos can wait, the groceries can wait. We've had fun at home. My dad came on Monday to amuse Alexis while I caught up on some sleep. Thanks dad! He also managed to do some dishes and things like that to help out. So handy. I'm so blessed to have very supportive parents. Alexis adores them. I don't know what I'd do without them sometimes.
I then decided to clean my washing machine (gross!), that's a story on its own.
Even being housebound, everyday has its challenges and rewards. Sure I'm not finding a cure for cancer, saving animals or saving orphans, but I'm learning new things and facing fears on a day by day, our sometimes hourly basis. Yesterday I gave Alexis a bath all by myself for the first time. I also tackled phone calls to the electricity and phone companies and the real estate. No big deal for most but for those who know me this is a big step.
I then rearranged the lounge room and vacuumed the floor with Alexis chasing the vacuum cleaner, hilarious.

Today is also looking to be a big day. For breakfast we gave Alexis peanut butter for the first time, which was a great success. She loved it, and had no bad reactions to it. We didn't think she would but with all the publicity about peanut allergies it's not something to be taken lightly. After that she: explored every inch of the empty loungeroom (new couches being delivered sometime today), pulled the toilet paper off the roll, screamed at me like I'm a monster for not letting her chew on the toilet seat, played hide and seek under the kitchen table, thought I was so lame for not letting her climb into the dishwasher, emptied an entire kitchen cupboard piece by piece then chewed on each item one by one, refused to lie down for me to change her nappy, tried to jump off the change table, pulled the photo frames off the entertainment unit and knocked the video camera off the coffee table. A very successful and highly entertaining day, and its only 10 am. I hope she has a nice long morning nap so I can clean up ready for round two.
This is such a fun stage of development. She is discovering new things each and every day. Every minute is an opportunity for adventure. I feel so privileged to be able to share her days with her, sharing her excitement and frustration, sharing her joy.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

no naps for "mum mum mum mum"

So the germs that have turned my darling angel into a miserable snot monster are trying to bring me down. Must be my turn to be sick. Except mothers don't have time to be sick. Life must go on. There are meals to prepare, mouths to feed, messes to clean, nappies to change, cuddles to give, tantrums to be endured, songs to sing, stories to read, clothes to wash, expeditions to supervise, and dummies to sterilise. There is also a husband to pay attention to and personal hygiene to be attended to as much as possible.

Somehow I must learn to soldier on with little sleep, little sympathy and because I don't want to pass them on through breastmilk, no medicines. My loving husband is beginning to understand how much work babies actually are, so he has tried to help out this weekend as much as possible to give me the strength to tackle the week ahead. The best med-free way to beat colds is to eat and sleep well. Alexis still needs me at night when she is feeling the worst, because she gets herself in a sleep, feed cycle, you know, sleep, feed, sleep, feed, repeat. A father's love is wonderful, but I am, afterall, the only one with the boobs, well the mamary glands at least.

So to help me regain sleep I have spent the vast majority of the weekend trying to sleep during the day. Corey has tried to play with her while I rest. This is great, in theory. But it hasn't worked. Alexis has a radar, or something. An inbuilt system that tells her when I'm asleep, or very almost asleep. It instructs her to cry uncontrollably or shout "mum mum mum" until she has woken me up. It doesn't matter to her that her father is there wanting to give me a break. They can be happily playing with me out of sight but as soon as I drift off to sleep, the tantrums start. Even if she was in a deep sleep herself. It's uncanny. She is very, gifted? She never needed anything from me, she wasn't wet or dirty or hungry or anything. She would happily ignore me again once I acknowledged her, she just didn't want me to sleep. Cheeky monkey. I feel honoured that I mean so much to her, but I do sometimes find myself wishing she'd love me just that little bit less. At least for a little while!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kids bounce

I am amazed at Alexis. Once the sun came up this morning she was up, ready to play. Her father and I, on the other hand, are rubbing our eyes and yawning our heads off, hoping for a few more hours sleep. I wish I had her resilience!

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Comforted by comforting

My daughter Alexis has a cold. Big deal? Huge deal!  There's been times  before when I thought she was terribly sick and  rushed her to the doctor to be laughed at, as she smiled and put on her best behaviour for the nice doctor. Doctors can't do much for babies colds anyway, so I won't take her to the doctor unless it gets really bad. Theres only so much "just keep an eye on it" that one woman can take. Besides its only since closing time that she's come down with it this bad.

She's been unsettled for a few nights but we didn't think much of it. She's teething and she's learning to stand so a certain disruption to sleep is to be expected. But tonight is different. There is so much snot in her tiny little nose. It sounds like she can hardly breathe. Feeding is difficult. She falls asleep easily but stays asleep for only 15-20 minutes. A quick cuddle, sometimes a feed, and she conks out again. We have been doing this dance since about 9pm. Every time she wakes the cry is more forceful. She is desperate to sleep. She is frustrated and I suspect also in pain. Tears everywhere, she cries "dad dad daddy" and "mum mum mumma". She is looking to us to make it better. There is not an awful lot we can do.

We try to use the nasal spray and aspirator. She bats it away and turns her head hysterically from side to side. She holds her breath in defiance. We try panadol in case she is in pain. Manage to get most of it down. Hopefully it works. She really needs sleep. Of course I am tired but its not me I'm worried about. Corey and I are taking shifts to sleep while the other cuddles her. But I know she will get better quality sleep in her cot.

Its the old dilemma do I  cuddle her and let her sleep or try to put her down so she sleeps deeper and longer but risk her waking up and having to do it all over again. But what hurts the most is  seeing her suffer but not knowing what is upsetting her the most  or being able to fix it. I wish I could feel her pain for her and take her sickness and protect her from every bad thing, but I can't. I am powerless. At least while she is sleeping here in my arms I feel like I'm actually doing something. For the moment she is peaceful. She is comforted knowing I am here for her, and that comforts me.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

First post: What is 'The Mother Experiment?'

Hi, my name is Karlee and this is me experimenting with blogging. I used to be a scientist until just over 9 months ago when my beautiful baby girl was born, turning my whole world upside down. I love my darling angel, more than just about anything, but at times I do not understand how someone so little and tiny and innocent can make so much mess, make so much noise, and control everyone she comes in contact with. Everything has changed. I hate change. So this was a major adjustment for me. In a feeble attempt to understand what was going on in my sleep-deprived brain, I started keeping a journal. Maybe its just my latest sleep-deprived "grand idea", but I've decided to start blogging, incase there's other young mums out there who can learn from my mistakes, my triumphs, or just be entertained by my random musings. Also, being incredibly frustrated with being labelled as a "bored housewife with nothing better to do" than run errunds, watch TV and wait for people to ask me to coffee, I would love to educate those who don't have kids that it's not all fun and games, being a stay at home mum takes work. Just because I don't get paid doesn't mean what I do isn't valuable. If you find this useful, entertaining, or even completely idiotic, comment and let me know.

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