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Monday, January 31, 2011

Comparison

A common ailment infecting modern mothers is comparison. Comparison has two forms. Comparison inferioritis silently sneaks into the hearts of the tired, vulnerable and lonely and has ugly side effects such as envy, resentment and despair. Comparison smugnessitis has been known to infect mothers in peak performance,  manifesting as pride, pity and condescension. If left untreated, comparison can destroy friendships, cause feelings of worthlessness, bitterness, or superiority, and result in withdrawal of social contact and even lead to a reduction of maternal satisfaction.

Comparison can be hard to diagnose because initial warning signs appear harmless and are often confused with  common interests, curiosity, compassion, asking for or offering well-meaning and friendly advice, and chit-chat. Comparison sometimes incubates asymptotically until a sudden eruption of pathological symptoms a mentioned earlier, however in most cases signs of comparison appear slowly before escalating to the damaging phase.

A mother is at greatest risk of developing Comparison inferioritis if she frequently asks herself "how come their baby.....(sleeps through the night, crawls already, walks already, talks already, doesn't cry, is bigger than mine, feeds easier than mine) or "how come my baby 'never' (sleeps, feeds  that well, lets me put her down). If the mother has a genuine interest in receiving information that is fine, as long as it is to benefit her family not to feed negative self-talk such as, "I'm a terrible mother", "this is too hard", or "woe is me my baby is so much harder to look after than other babies".

Early symptoms of Comparison smugnessitis can be identified by thoughts or comments such as "oh that poor  woman, that baby is so... (ugly, fussy, clingy, spoilt, demanding)" or "that baby is so (fat/skinny) I must help that woman understand feeding better. Comparison smugnessitis can also be recognised by the unwelcome offering of opinions with regards to sleep techniques, settling, feeding, immunisations, childcare arrangements and even the mothers personal appearance. You might also be suffering from Comparison smugnessitis if you find yourself thinking "my baby is so cute" (with the undertone "not like so-and-so's baby, she looks like a carp"), or "my baby is so smart" (with the undertone "not like so-and-so's baby, he is slow, he must be....".

It is not uncommon for mothers to suffer from both forms of comparison simultaneously, as all babies have some strong areas and some weak areas. Some women try exposing themselves with smugnessitis as a cure for inferioritis. This is not recommended, as judging others has the potential to open ourselves up to judgement and making us more aware of our own faults.

It can be difficult to distinguish between empathy and friendly advice, and a case of smugnessitis. If you are unsure if you have smugnessitis yourself, examine your motives. Were you trying to help or trying to big note yourself? If you are unsure or were trying to help but think you may have offended the other mother, it is best to apologise. If you can do this you probably don't have smugnessitis, or it is in early stages.

Comparison smugnessitis is highly contagious so use caution when attempting to diagnose cases of it in others, lest you come down with it too. If you find yourself thinking "that woman is so smug I feel like she is always judging everyone. What does she know anyway? Her baby looks like a  carp. She doesn't even do things right, she......." then seek urgent spiritual attention.

Comparison is best treated by large doses of Holy Spirit, prayer, confession, and grace. For those allergic to religion, unable to believe in God or unwilling to believe in God, a recommended course of action is to state out loud, "every baby is different. I do not know the full story. I will not compare my baby with other babies or myself with other mothers. It is not my job to judge other people. I want to enjoy my baby and will do what is best for my family, even if it differs to what my friends are doing".

Disclaimer: to the best of my knowledge Comparison inferioritis and Comparison smugnessitis are silly terms that I just made up. I am not qualified to do so but I just did. 1 am Monday 31/1/11. For those of you just burning to know, I myself am prone to both forms of comparison... But I still love you.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Being prepared: stocking up

I was raised to be prepared for the unexpected. My family grew up in a semi-rural area with tank water and no public transport and no local shops. The area has changed a lot now, but when we first moved there it was very much a case of half an hour's drive to the nearest supermarket. There was a "local" petrol station (10km away?) but it had limited opening hours and the fuel wasn't the best so it was wise to fill up in town if you valued your car. We used to lose power frequently. We felt as though every time there was a storm we lost power. Tank water means that when you lose power you also lose water, so you can't even flush the toilet. So mum and dad taught us from an early age the important of being organised and a few steps ahead. We would always have the pantry stocked with non-perishable food. We would always have pinecones for the old wood BBQ in an old tin bin in case we lost power for a long time and had to cook up the meat from the freezer. There was a webber and coals floating around somewhere too. We would always have candles, torches, and lanterns and we would always know where they were. We sometimes couldn't go too far from home when it rained for a decent period of time in case the bridge flooded and we couldn't get back home, so we always had plenty of cat food, kitty litter, tissues, medications and lotions too.

When Corey and I were first married we lived in a suburb that had it all. It was close to all major supermarkets, fast-food outlets and restaurants. The nearest petrol station was in walking distance (not that we ever did walk there). It was so convenient. If we didn't feel like cooking we didn't have to. It's a good thing it was in a convenient location, because the place was quite small. It was hard enough to fit all our "stuff" (furniture, electrical good etc) without food, drink and consumables. We had a tiny kitchen with a tiny pantry and simply didn't have room to stock up on everything like I would have liked to.

When Alexis was born we discovered the importance of being organised once again. Ducking to the shops suddenly took so much effort. It was still easy for Corey to stop off after work, but he wanted as much time at home as possible (or, early on, I wanted him home to take bub off me as early as possible)! We also discovered the importance of living on a budget, and the best way to do that was to buy in bulk and/or when things were on special. With the tiny kitchen it was too hard to have everything at once and with the small rooms it was hard to have extra nappies and wipes and things like that. So we moved to our new place with our big massive kitchen, plenty of cupboard space and extra room. I was so very excited when we moved, and once we had a bit of money to spend I stocked up the pantry and the nursery.

Since then I have almost always had at least one extra box of nappies and wipes and had the pantry stocked up with everything as I like to. There's always a can of pineapple, a can of beetroot, tinned spaghetti, cans of soup, different types of pasta, different types of sauces, rice, nuts, chips, salsa, different cereals, different spices, flour and other baking-type things, one or two packet mix cakes for emergencies, some lollies, some potatoes, a taco kit, some packet mac n cheese/rice dishes for lazy nights, some rusks, some jars of baby food for emergencies (I make Alexis' food fresh and freeze it, but they're great for day trips and travelling), some coffee (I rarely drink it but it's nice to have for visitors. I have an unopened packet of green tea if anyone's interested..), spare peanut butter, spare nutella, spare tomato sauce..
I'm sure you well and truly get the point. We try to have the freezer stocked with meat and lazy meals like pies and also frozen veggies for when we run out of fresh ones in the fridge (or they grow legs and we have to throw them out..). It really works for us though because it limits the "we have no food, lets get take-away" nights. Now we know that we don't have that excuse, so we can only say "I'm too lazy to cook lets get take-away, which I surrender to far less often.

It was quite expensive to set ourselves up like this, but it doesn't take much to maintain. We replace what we use each week if it's a high-use item, or put it on a list until it's on special if it's only needed occasionally. We save money by not giving in to buying takeaway as often and by not paying full price for nappies (I have NEVER since we moved in July!). When things like nappies, wipes, baby food, tissues, paper towel, nuts, cleaning products, soap, sauces and meat go on special I buy in bulk, so we rarely have to pay full price. It might not seem like much, but when you're living on one income every bit helps. It's definitely worth it, if you have the space. It also helps us to be prepared in case we lose power or get flooded in. You can take the girl out of the bush but you can't take the bush out of the girl. Actually I'm allergic to nature but I do like to be prepared. We always make sure we have gas for the BBQ. We always fill the water jugs and a sink or two in storms, just like old times. We're on town water here except for toilets and washing machine, but old habits die hard.

What I forgot though, is that we only have one torch, and when Corey goes away he takes it. I realised this back when I was deciding whether to stay or go when 75% of Queensland was at risk of flooding, losing power etc. So we should certainly invest in another torch and a lantern of some sorts. I also should make sure I have enough consumable items for my own personal hygiene. As a mum I make sure we'll never run out of nappies. As a wife I make sure Corey's always set for razors, deoderant etc. I'm hopeless at looking after myself though, and far too many times I've had to send Corey to the shops to get me some nursing pads. Maybe I should just buy a dozen boxes and stash them in a cupboard somewhere. It doesn't hurt to be prepared.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Toddler tantrums

I was one of those horrible mothers who let her child scream in a shopping centre today. It wasn't for very long, but long enough. It was embarrassing but there wasn't much I could do. She wasn't hungry, she didn't need changing, she wasn't in pain, she was just chucking a wobbly. It was a very good wobbly too! She screamed and she arched her back and she wriggled to the floor.

What did I do to cause such an outburst? After we'd run the errands we had to do I'd decided to be nice and give her a turn in one of those brightly coloured merry-go-round rides that they have in shops that kids love and parents hate. The ones that cost $2 to last all of 30 seconds. This was a wiggles one and she loved it. She stood up smiling as it spun around. She loved it. I realised how grown up she's getting, and not even a year old yet. When the ride finished I lifted her out of the ride and tried to put her back in the pram so I could put her in the car and take her home for a sleep. What a monster! :p. She was not impressed. The display she put on would rival the best of the best of tantrum throwers.

It must be hard to be a baby and be at the mercy of mean old parents who just don't understand you want to play in  the big red car all day. Babies don't understand that mummy doesn't have any more $ 2 coins or that the parking limit is up soon or that there's washing on the line at home or that mummy left her phone in the car and is expecting a call. Babies don't think "thanks for giving me a turn" they just say "oi, meany, give my toy back".

I knew she was tired, so after saying "sorry but it's time to go home now" I coerced her into the pram and then blatantly ignored her hissy fit the whole way to the car, as I put her in the car, and until she fell asleep on the way home.

What else could I have done?

To all the parents with screaming children I've given judgemental glances to in the past, I'm terribly sorry. Please forgive me, and know that I am now getting opportunities to empathise with you.

Karlee

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Scrubbing the shower (at 10pm)

Yes, the title is correct, I decided to scrub the shower seals at 10pm. I didn't want to wake anyone so I worked with what I had: a small nailbrush. Not overly effective, but surprisingly useful nonetheless. So, why? Long story that could actually be summed up as "they were dirty", but for the purposes of having a ramble: the thought process that led me to sitting on the bottom of the shower scrubbing the seals with a nail brush at 10pm....

Yesterday was Australia Day. We decided not to go to any parties or anything but to stay home and have a quiet one, partly because Alexis hasn't been sleeping too well, party because I needed time to do some housework, partly because we just couldn't be bothered, and partly because my ears have been blocking and popping and blocking and popping and blocking and popping (and being quite painful) for seriously about a month now. Both of the places we were invited to would have involved swimming, and we thought I might give swimming a break for a bit and see how that goes. It's not at all un-Australian to go "just can't be stuffed mate" and sit on the couch with a cold drink and a pie and a DVD), so that's exactly what we planned to do for lunch, followed by a few menial house tasks and lamb chops and potato bake that night.

We did do what we had planned, and it was a good day, but first we had a spur-of-the-moment trip to the doctor. Corey and I always argue with regards to going to the doctor. Any time anything goes wrong with Alexis or I he's like "go see a doctor". I always protest, "no, doctors don't do anything, they just say 'come back if it gets any worse". After a few days of Corey getting frustrated with me for getting nothing done because Alexis or myself has not improved he usually says "well I told you to go to the doctor," as if that would have fixed everything days ago. So, usually, to get him off my back, I bundle the baby up and we go to the doctor, to be told in slightly more diplomatic phrasing "you're not sick you're just tired", or at the very best "yes you're sick but there's nothing we can actually do for you so best to wait it out at home and come back if gets much worse".

I like our doctor. She's not impolite or lazy or unprofessional, she just believes in letting the body heal itself whenever possible. It's a quality lacking in modern medicine and I actually really appreciate this about her. She's in a clean, quiet, bulk-billing practice (a rare gem indeed) and she speaks English. I'd like to think if anything was really wrong she'd pick up on it. I don't want to bother her with "I have a sore ear, can you please check it?" all the time. I just have stupid ears and stupid eustachian tubes, and once upon a time I used to be able to live with that no worries. It's difficult now because when my ears go my balance goes, and I lose confidence running around with Alexis on my hip when I don't know exactly which way up is. It just infuriates Corey that I won't go to the doctor about it, as he's a man, and (forgive the blatant gender stereotyping) men want instant fixes. I don't think she can hand me a magic pill to make me a better housewife sweetheart, sorry.

Anyway, yesterday Corey dragged me to the doctor to find out why my ears have been blocked on and off for over a month, why I'm always tired and often congested and why I get headaches so often. Of course, the devastating line "there's nothing wrong with your ears". It was a public holiday so consultation time was short. The only thing she could say in response to why have I been sick so long and could she maybe prescribe something to help, was "go home and rest". Annoying of course, but at least I had medical advice to rest and as Corey was in there (bub chucked a nark and he had to bring her in) he heard her say it too. So Corey did most of the work yesterday, which was great. I am aware that toxins in the home could be a big factor in me being sickly, so I've been on an "empty the bins, mop the floor" kick lately. So after Corey cooked potato bake and chops he vacuumed the floor and mopped the living areas. Score!

Today Alexis and I went to an indoor play centre with some ladies and bubs from church and had an absolute ball. I didn't feel sick at all. Maybe I'm allergic to something at home. My mother reads this blog, she's probably thinking, "yes, dust, it's disgusting :p. love you too mum.) It was so much fun, but it tired me out. I think the point in going there was to let the kids amuse themselves while we adults drunk coffee, but I don't do that. I had much more fun chasing the kids around and being an extremely oversized toddler than I would have had playing ladies. That's just me. So I wore myself out like a small child.

Alexis had a decent sleep this afternoon but was still very tired tonight. She just wouldn't admit it. Corey had to resort to driving Alexis to sleep tonight. I don't recommend using the car to get babies to sleep by the way, it seems like a good and easy idea at the time but they get used to it too easily. At least it works though! So when an overtired Alexis wouldn't sleep, hubby-to-the-rescue helped out while I cleaned up the highchair etc. He was back, toileted, changed, in bed and asleep before I was done wiping the highchair tray. That either says something about how tired she was (and Corey was) or how messy an eater she is.

I don't think I'm the only mother who cherishes a few precious minutes of peace at night by shutting the bathroom door (because we can!) and sitting on the toilet uninterupted before retiring to bed (to listen to hubby snoring). If I am the only one well I've just made a fool of myself, but that's what I like to do (sit on the toilet, not make a fool of myself)! I look forward to that time, as sad as it sounds. Well, tonight, exhausted, I lower myself down INTO THE BOWL because Corey did not put the seat down! WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE THE LEVEL OF GROSSNESS. Why so gross? Well the pump for our toilets (water tank) is really noisy so when bubs is sleeping we kind of have this "if it's yellow let it mellow" rule...

So needless to say I jumped straight into the shower and I stayed in there for a very long time. While I was in there I happened to notice how disgustingly moldy and gross the seals were where the shower floor tiles meet the glass. Well THAT could definitely be part of the reason why I keep getting sick. I'm never very sick just haven't actually been well in ages. If I am repeatedly exposed to the same germs that would make sense. I have been meaning to clean the shower for far too long but I never seem to get time. So I decided to make time then and there. I didn't want to venture down to the laundry to get the chemicals and cleaning cloths etc, I wasn't that intelligent, I was tired. I looked around and saw a small nailbrush on the floor. So I picked it up and attacked the seals with it. It wasn't overly effective with the very stubborn spots but it did dislodge a fair bit of dirt and grime. I probably just made the mold angry and should attack it with some nasty chemicals tomorrow or on Saturday, but at least I felt like I was doing something. Hubby slept through the whole thing and had taken custody of the entire bed and all the blankets. What is it with men having the air-con on and the fan on high because it's "so hot" and then stealing the doona? Maybe THAT'S why I'm always sick Corey, who'd have though ey? ;)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things hubby does to help :-)

Things I appreciate about Hubby

I got the idea from a blog of a lady who has been married to her man  for 55 years! To view her original post click here She listed all the things she loves about her husband. This isn't all the things I love about Corey, just a list of non-mushy things he does to help me that I should be more appreciative of. Her list is quite different to mine, obviously, but it got me thinking. It's nice to think about the good things he does. Next time I want to  whinge at him for not filling the water bottle up (again!) or leaving the sauce on the bench (again!) or leaving a used nappy sack near the feeding chair (again!), or being noisy and waking up  the baby (again), or leaving the crusts from his toast on the bench (again!).... deep breath... I should remember these things.

- he works hard so I can stay home with bub
- he changes nappies, even the disgustingly dirty ones, and even at 2 am, mostly without complaining
- he baths bug most nights
- he sets his alarm half hour earlier than he needs to so he can watch Alexis before work while I shower
- he gives great massages
- he barbecues when we have visitors so I don't have to slave away in the kitchen
- he knows his way around the kitchen and although we both prefer I cook he can do quite a good spag bog, taco, burrito, potato bake or steamed veg
- he will do washing, dishes, etc if I ask him too. (eventually).
- he puts up with my ear aches, shoulder problems, and belly aches etc and is usually quite accommodating
- he tries to watch baby and let me nap whenever he can
- when I say "sorry I didn't get much house work done today I've been tired/sick/clung to all day" he says "its ok babe," and he means it.
- he knows how to use a vacuum cleaner and mop
- he feeds bubba her breakfast most mornings
- he is trying to notice when I do something around the house
- he rarely points out the mess and its been months since he's dared ask me what I do all day
- He gives great hugs
- he invents cool games to play with bubba
- he packs the car when we go out
- he puts petrol in my car for me
- he's confident enough with his masculinity to shop for girly things for me
- he is protective of his girls even when we tease him for being overprotective
- he knows how to relax
- he compliments my appearance, my cooking, and my attempts at being arty
- he is always warm
- he is oh so nice to cuddle up to

He doesn't do all these things all the time obviously (what DO I do all day? Lol) but gentlemen, if you're  looking for a way to score some brownie points, there's some pretty good tips right there.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

funny looks from strangers

Note: I've updated the "scientific findings" page and added a "tips from me to you" page. These can be seen by clicking the pink tabs next to the "home" tab.

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2:45pm. Today was another beautiful Queensland day so we decided to go to Seaworld again. There were a few things we didn't get done last time, and as we have have passes until June, all it cost us was fuel and food. It took us hours to get here, thanks to school holiday traffic. So many people had the same idea as us so they made an extra carpark on the grass.

We looked at the penguins. The penguins are cute but the enclosure is tiny, well the viewing area is anyway. We then searched for a table in the main eating area while corey went off for food. The pirate show started. We could not see anything but we could hear it. We then watched the jet ski show and ran to the sesame street show. We literally ran as the jet ski show finished at the same time sesame street started, at the opposite end of the park. We saw it last time we were there but bubba enjoyed it so much we wanted to take her again. We caught the last bit, and because there were no seats left we stood. That's ok it's easier to daggy dance when standing. It's also easier to get out at the end.

I had the privilege of accompanying Alexis on the merry-go-round. I had to physically pry her hands off the pole when it finished. She really wanted to go around again but we had to get off as there were people waiting. Corey missed watching us, as he had been keeping an eye on a clearly distressed little boy who was lost. Corey didn't dare go up to him for fear of being falsely accused of being dodgy. It's so sad that our society is like this. Neither of us was prepared to let this kid (3 or 4 years old?) wander around on his own, so we thought it best if I talk to him. I approached the boy who had tears streaming down his face. "Where's your mummy?" "I don't know". "Where did you see her last?" "I don't remember". I steered him towards a shop in search of security when I was intercepted by his furious mother. The stare she gave me could kill a shark. I suppose she was just worried and relieved to find him, but she looked mad. Maybe mad at him for running off but it seriously looked as though she was scrutinising me. I'm glad she found him and I'm glad he was safe. I didn't expect any thanks but didn't expect to be treated like a criminal either. Sad world.

We brushed it off and visited the Polar bears. One was asleep, the other was yawning his head off. I don't blame them, the hot sun was intoxicating. We then lay Alexis in the pram, put the cover on and pushed her to shark bay for a sleep. Shark bay viewing area is under water, dark, air conditioned and ridiculously noisy. The prefect environment for Alexis to have a nap. As I write this I'm sitting on the floor against the wall rocking the pram backwards and forwards. Corey is off in search of drinks. My foot, no my whole leg, is numb because I sat on my foot again. I must stop doing this! Ah my fearless warrior is back with frozen raspberry. Yum!

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9pm

Bub woke from her nap happy and refreshed. Corey took her on the merry go round, then I took her on the merry go round (yes, she scored three turns in a day). She kept pointing at the aeroplane ride. I thought she would be too little but she was ok to go on as long as a parent did too. I'm not overly fond of hights but I went on it for her sake as Corey was too tall. I had to pull the lever to make the plane go up and down. It was actually kinda fun although I was originally a bit nervous (sad but true).

We then stopped for afternoon tea, where I got an other stare for talking to another small child. In my defence he started it? He had a dolphin toy, brought it over to our table and started doing tricks with it. I was saying innocent things like "cool toy" and "clever dolphin". Alexis loved the show and he loved showing off. His mother (grandmother?) was not amused. Cranky lady.

We then watched the pirate show from a grassy hill. Someone tall sat in front of our pram (always happens) so we took Alexis out so she could see. Foolish! Alexis enjoyed the show for awhile but quickly decided she would rather chase the seagulls into the lake... I stopped that the only way I know how to keep her "still". Ladies you don't know awkward til you've fed a baby on a grass hill trying to be discreet coz there's people everywhere but suddenly yelp out in pain, "no we don't bite mummy!"

Despite the embarrassing moments we had the best day. Actually it's probably the embarrassing moments that I'll remember the most. One of the great things about being a parent is letting yourself act like a child. I enjoyed the merry-go-round. I enjoyed the aeroplanes. I enjoyed chasing Alexis down the hill. We act like children for the entertainment of the young ones of course, but it feels really good in the process... Even if it does earn us funny looks.

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Let Me Love You Lord

A song. I have chords but I haven't checked them recently so I won't put them up. Written to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in 2007

Let Me Love You Lord

Oh let me love you Lord,
like you love me
won't you open up my eyes
so I can finally see
I could live life on my own
but that would only be
a shadow of the joy that comes
from knowing you as number one
let me love you like
you love me

I've come too far to turn away,
but still so far to go
if I'm gonna get much further,
I know I have to lose control
I want so much to trust you
but the voices in my mind
and the things on earth I cling to
have begun to drive me blind

Oh let me love you Lord
like you love me
won't you open up my eyes
so I can finally see
that Jesus' death and resurrection
set me free
I do not have to be afraid
to love you each and every day
Let me love you like
You love me

So I come to you this moment
needing to be pulled apart
will you put me back together
with love of Jesus in my heart?
Will you let me live for you Lord
like a candle in the dark?
May I learn to hate what you hate
and to seek what you love

Let me love you Lord
like you love me
Will you let me live a life
that lets the people see
that you can make a princess
of a mess like me
Will you drive the evil out
and fill me up with love
let me love you like
you love me

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Another explanatory post

I found my old journals from highschool and uni.I'm in the process of putting everything (poems, songs, artworks that I don't think are totally rubbish) up here so that if the house burns or floods or Alexis finds my old journals, or some other random event happens they won't be lost forever. Yes, the recent floods in QLD spooked me. Besides, I never know, someone somewhere might get something out of reading these, and that would be awesome. These were never written to be hidden, but I've never had the guts to share them, until now. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to comment but please be gentle with me.

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Nocto-mum

Sometimes I just can't sleep, and it sucks. Tonight Corey and I went to sleep quite late (for parents), after 11pm. Alexis woke us up around 12:30. She had a quick feed (just one side) and was back to sleep not long after 1am. It's now 3:30am. I am still awake. I don't want to be. It's very annoying.

There are numerous theories as to why I sometimes just don't sleep. It could be genetic, hormonal, the fact that I don't get enough exercise, or something I've eaten that triggers some biochemical thing. Some people have suggested I just might not need much sleep (some don't), but then why do I bomb out for hours on end other days? Some say that it's common for mothers of babies to experience this because our bodies get so used to not sleeping enough that we adjust to not sleeping and then when bub sleeps well our body clock doesn't know how to cope. This is plausible, considering Alexis has been quite nocto-bub-like lately. The breastfeeding factor has a lot to do with it too. Sleeping with full boobs isn't comfy.

The fact remains that I've only had an hour, maybe an hour and a half's sleep. I don't feel tired as such but I know that I am because I have a headache and a churning tummy which is so characteristic of me being overtired. Another clue is the long rambly nonsensical post about stuff I would not normally talk about. There's also the "buzzzz" in my right ear. Plus you don't have to be a brain surgeon to know that the vast majority of adults require more than an hour's sleep. Wow a whole long-winded post about sleep, or lack thereof. How boring of me. Let me try to redeem this post. What have I done the last three hours?

I lay in bed for what felt like an eternity. I tried shedding layers in case I was hot. I tried lying this way, that way, this way, that way... I was disturbing Corey, I think. He was still asleep but he was sighing and tossing and turning, so I left. I went to the toilet, had a drink of water, and tried to sleep again. There's a full moon or someone has left their light on, either way it was really bright and annoying. Corey's snoring was cute. Still couldn't sleep. I read some bible passages on my phone. Exodus usually tires me. This morning I found it interesting, which is good, but bad for me at this point in time. I tried sleep again anyway. No luck, of course.

I then realised the boob-factor. I had only fed off the left side. So I decided to express. Now, those who have followed my blog for a while know I don't like expressing (does anyone?), and try to avoid it. It's noisy, messy, and quite frankly makes me feel like a cow being milked. Plus I suck at it. Alexis will now tolerate formula if she's desperate for a milk drink when I duck out for a few hours (which is so rare anyway) as long as she's with someone she's really comfortable with, so I haven't actually expressed since October. I thought though that it might be nice to get her babysat for a decent length of time for a valentines day treat for my hubby. Usually we just start to unwind before it's time to pick Alexis up, so, having a few extra bottles (and groveling nicely to Alexis' grandparents) might buy us some extra time. She normally will only substitute for formula once without getting distressed, and if she misses me then a nice bottle of my milk comforts her long enough for her temporary carer to convince her to nap, or calm down at least. I gave the pump a whiff to smell if it was still good to use. Didn't notice any problems so gave it a go. I'm so out of practice that after half an hour I got a measly 40ml and gave up discouraged. It's in the freezer with "heat up really well" on it, in case there were any nasty microorganisms in the pump.

After that I had an other drink of water and tried to go to sleep again. A few more groans from Corey and I decided to just give up on sleep as a bad joke. I was stressing myself out so decided to forget about it and try again later. Not sure how blogging about it for half an hour was supposed to be forgetting about it. Hmmm. I might read a book after this. Or maybe type up some of my poems on my "bits and pieces blog" which has been incredibly neglected. ( Edit 13/8/11 I have merged my blogs so now my creative writing is also in this blog instead of the separate blog . I will probably crash when the sun comes up, I just hope Alexis doesn't need me then. Knowing my luck she will though. She's been getting up about 5 every day for a while now. It's Saturday though, so Corey will be able to cover for me today while I have a nap if I need to right? Actually previous experience has taught me that relying on the possibility of a day nap is not such a good idea either, but hey, what else can I do? I don't see the point in lying there torturing myself with "you're a mum now you have to be responsible you have to SLEEP stupid".

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Bear window art

In the aftermath of the Australian floods I've decided to immortalise some of my arty stuff by putting it on a blog. Some stuff might be good, some might be not-so-good, but I'll never know if I don't put it out there.

This is some window art I made for my baby. The paints are probably 10 years old, we found them in a cupboard at my parents' house. So considering that I think it turned out well. So easy to do, I just traced the outline from an old colouring in book and filled it in with colour.

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Getting back to normal

Things appear to be getting back to normal now after our few days of sleep deprevation, with the exception of Alexis being a lot more confident on her feet. She can walk unassisted up to eight steps now, although is still a little wobbly. She is very comfortable cruising around (holding on to furniture or other objects for balance as she wanders around). She slept fairly well last night, only waking twice, which is actually good for us. Today Alexis has been her usual cheery self. We had breakfast, waved goodbye to daddy, and snuck in a quick morning nap (more for my benefit than hers).

When she woke twenty minutes later I tried to convince her to go back to sleep in bed with me but she crawled up me and over onto the bedside table. I picked her up and put her on the floor, much to her displeasure. I quickly babyproofed the bedside tables. By this I mean shovelling everything into the lockable top draw while she stood trying to pull everything down to chew on.

After that she 'helped' me put away several baskets of washing (we have a very interesting system, explained here) and explored the walk in wardrobe, reminding me that I really must clean it up a bit. She let me pull everything out but decided it was lunch time before I could put it back in. She relocated the clothes airer, stole the pegs and monstered the entertainment unit in the lounge while I prepared lunch. After lunch she then pulled everything out of the bottom drawer in the kitchen while I did some dishes. Oh we did three loads of washing throughout the day too.

She's just having her afternoon nap, and I think I've earned a snack before resuming mission wardrobe, so I scooped out some frozen yoghurt for myself. Yum! I tasted one mouthful before the washing machine kicked into spin cycle, shocking Alexis awake. I've got her back to sleep but my yoghurt has melted.

Yep, back to normal. ;)

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coping with sleep deprevation

I wrote this yesterday but this is the first chance I've had to publish it. Alexis did actually sleep well last night. Yay!
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There seems to be times when my baby just doesn't want to sleep much, during the night or during the day. These periods can last up to a week at times and they can be exhausting.  I try as much as I can to get her to sleep, but sometimes when it all gets too much, I don't have the energy to argue with her and it seems easier to just let her play some more. She can't stay awake forever, right? Here are some ways I have discovered to help me deal with the days when I've had little or extremely broken sleep the night before and am not feeling so crash hot.

  • call for backup (parents, grandparents, siblings, friends). Either ask them to  come over or just to talk to baby on the phone for awhile while I catch my breath. I don't drive if I'm tired, its just not worth the risk. If that is not an option:
  • stay away from caffeine unless absolutely necessary. Caffeine passes through breastmilk making bub more irritable. It also only lasts a little while, causing me to crash harder when it wears off. The same can be said for lollies. 
  •  if I do need an immediate pick me up fruit is a much better idea than lollies. 
  • tv. I don't like to rely on tv, but if it keeps alexis occupied so I can make a sandwich or grab some fruit its easier than trying to carry her around with me (or listening to her cry! When I'm tired I get bad headaches). 
  • Sometimes I put educational shows or music on for an easy activity. Rather than just leaving Alexis there I cuddle her and sing along or do the actions 
  • lie on the floor while she climbs me
  • cuddles on the big bed. If she gets restless keep her busy by tickling her or moving her limbs etc. the aim is to keep baby active without me having to do much. I found this is a  good one for us because Alexis often doesn't sleep well when is constipated and for some reason moving around helps her get the poop out
  • Bring out new toys or toys that she hasn't played with for awhile. New ' toys' don't need to be expensive, she can get a good half an hour's fun playing with toilet paper or a box of tissues or a sealed container of nuts or rice.
  • pile her toys or safe household objects into big plastic tubs or containers or cardboard boxes and watch her pull them out. Nappy boxes work well as she loves the  bright colours and characters on the box 
  • books, books, and more books. Sit and cuddle her
  • just watch her as she explores. This works best if the area is already baby-proofed, because over-tired babies are  stubborn and don't like having things taken off them. 
  • extra breastfeeds. Let's face it, sometimes it's the only way to keep her still and let me rest for a  few minutes.
  • forget the housework. Focus on Alexis and give her lots of attention, kisses and cuddles as much as possible incase she is staying awake  to separation anxiety.
  • when the baby does finally fall asleep, rest! Take the phone off the hook. Try to nap but if bub won't let me put her down (keeps waking) I just cuddle her as she sleeps. At least I can get a break. I like to close my eyes to give my brain a rest from visual input.
  • ride it out and suck it up. Remember that its only a phase. Try to not get stressed. Babies pick up on stress, making it harder to get them to sleep.
  • Try not to pounce on hubby as soon as he gets home, because if he's been woken up a few times the night before he's likely to be tired (and cranky) too 
  • but do explain that I need a break so ask  whenever possible can he deal with her for awhile?
  • Keep bedtime routine normal and try again. She will hopefully sleep better tonight. If not, let hubby sleep and try calling for back up again in the morning.

Days like these are easier to manage if the house is baby proofed and tidy ish because then I can let her crawl around exploring and know she is safe. She is old enough and smart enough to  come to me when she needs me. I also try to always have  some have pre-made meals in the freezer especially for days like this.

Am I alone? Does anyone else have  a baby that just doesn't stop? How do you cope? I'd love to hear your story and any tips you might have.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being grateful, published on a blog not my own

Hi everyone

So, I haven't posted anything on here for over 48 hours, but I have still been writing. Possibly one of my best posts has been published as a guest post on one of the blogs I follow, rather than here. :) Nicole from "From Highlights to Housework" is doing a series on being grateful after the floods disaster and asked me to contribute. You can view my post (by clicking here) at that blog and why not have a look around while you're there.

I hope you are well,
Karlee

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Limiting noctobub

I know I know, people out there have real problems, it's not nice to complain about petty little things, but, in the spirit of things "getting back to normal" after the floods, so shall I. Besides, I'm not complaining, really I'm not. I'm educating, data logging and keeping myself awake.

It's 2 am. I want to be sleeping. I'm not. Bubba woke up. Bubba went to bed before 8 pm. Stupidly mummy and daddy didn't go to sleep until closer to midnight. We were discussing dirty words such as budget, credit card, and account balance. Daddy has to work tomorrow so daddy gets to go back to sleep. Mummy has to drive daddy to work, so mummy hopes bubba goes back to sleep soon. Bubba doesn't seem too keen on sleep. Mummy is so tired she is referring to herself in third person.

It's not so bad. I managed to convince Alexis that she is still tired (she is) and she was drifting off to sleep, then Corey coughed. I thought that was the end of it. Bubba thought she'd slept a few more hours and it was time to play. It was actually quite literally only twenty seconds of sleep. I rang Corey asking him to bring a dummy (Alexis had thrown hers. No idea where it was). He was still awake, I had heard him coughing. Amazingly he did bring a dummy, without complaining! See Corey knows that I could have gone to get the dummy myself but it might have been too difficult to get bubba to sleep after that. We are learning the art of limiting noctobub. When Alexis is stubbornly fighting returning to sleep it is easier to limit the amount of potential distractions. The short trip from bedroom to kitchen and back has many things that could be interesting to an "I no need sleep" baby.

I managed to convince bubba she needed more sleep again (thank you Corey, great team work) but when I went to put her down (a few times) she woke up. Patting her in the cot didn't work so I'm cuddling her for a while. I shall now try again.

Success!

Goodnight world.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Church with a baby, am I crazy?

I was just sitting there feeding the baby and minding my own business when some random child came up and spat on my leg. Gross. Not cool. His mother seemed embarrassed but didn't really do anything. Corey is watching bub now while I calm down. I just feel gross. I was just trying to feed the baby, isn't that what parents rooms are for? To change and feed? Except we're not in a shopping centre, we're at church. The parents room has become more than a place to change and feed or contain a crying infant, it has become a room of fun, where kids go to play and stay out of the adults' hair. This is fine, except for if you are one of those people who just want to get in, take care of business, and get back out to hubby and listen to the sermon. Once a baby discovers such an environment it is too hard to get her out again. I made this mistake a few months ago, and was trying to avoid doing it again.

This is the first time we've made it to church in weeks. It was a bit ambitious of me to expect Alexis to sit quietly with a few toys and let mummy listen to the sermon. She used to, but a few months ago she discovered the joy that is the room with the fun noisy toys (and the fun noisy bigger kids). I had hoped that since we hadn't been there in ages she would have forgotten, but no, as soon as worship finished she wanted to go off and watch the kids. She kept looking towards the room and pointing. I held off for as long as possible. I cuddled her, she climbed me, Corey gave her a drink of water, she emptied the contents of my handbag, she did some people-watching of the people around us, but this only lasted as long as the announcements. She seemed disinterested in the toys we had taken with us (and been late to church because we were getting them all together). When she started crawling under the pew in front of us, stealing peoples water bottles and hand-held electronic toys, I thought it was time to give in. When she crawled under a few pews and I had to go retrieve her, it was definitely time to give in.

The room has a speaker so the mums can hear the sermon but it's up too high I can't reach it to turn it on or change the volume. I wacked it on with a toy. An other mum turned it down. It is next to impossible to hear over the kids playing anyway. It's happy noise, not squabbles or chaos, just kids playing, but lots of them. Some well-meaning mums try to start conversations with me. I really just want to keep listening to the pastor while making sure my baby isn't sat on, stood on, making a target of herself by stealing toys off toddlers, swallowing parts of small toys that aren't age appropriate but are there for older kids, or getting into the bottles of milk and random biscuits other children have left lying around.

Alexis is at that age now I guess I should be prepared to spend the whole time supervising her playing. I had hoped to have a bit longer yet. I enjoy my own daughter but I'm still unsure of what to do with everyone else's children. Also I'm not quite OK with Alexis putting a block in her mouth that 10 seconds ago was in the mouth of a kid who 10 minutes ago was coughing and spluttering. I must learn to get used to it, but for now it remains uncomfortable for me. I try to avoid the room at all costs but I don't want to be remembered as the woman who doesn't control her annoying offspring and lets it run riot throughout the church. Most churches have one. I don't want it to be me!

We keep going to church for many reasons, spiritual, routine, social... I don't want to stop going. It's far too easy to become isolated as a mother. I like to see other people occasionally, and it's good for Alexis and I to get out of the house. Alexis likes the attention. Everyone wants to see her before (if we can ever get there in time) and after church, but it's all up to mum during the service. That's just the way it is. One of the joys of being a parent. That responsibility thing again. I will have to get used to the kiddy room. Alexis likes it. She likes watching the others. I suppose it's a bit like daycare would be like, except if she was at daycare I wouldn't be there worrying about what bad habits she might pick up. I hope we have a while before Alexis runs around spitting on people.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemaking, a lost art?

I was reading this post on a blog that I follow, From Highlights to Housework: Housework. This post by Nicole on Highlights to Housework raises the question of are todays stay at home mums just not good at housework and why. Are we missing something as a generation? I have often thought about this myself. It is hard to raise a child, please a husband, and keep up with housework. I often wonder how I'm meant to do it. although I 'waste' time, I really don't waste that much time. Are we less skilled than previous generations, or are we just too hard on ourselves? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

I think to some degree women aren't being taught skills that our mothers and grandmothers were taught. I had the option to study home economics at school, but I couldn't fit it in with my timetable. I was wanting to be a doctor at that stage, so I did biology and chemistry, and I did Indonesian and Legal studies because translating and law were my back-up plans! These days I'm a stay-at-home mum and I love it, but I do feel incompetent at times. Perhaps I should have done more to be better prepared.

Also I think we have unrealistic expectations of how "good" we should be because we compare ourselves to our mothers, who have had a lot more time to practice! My mum admits she wasn't the best housekeeper when my sister was born. Cooking, cleaning, tidying, de-cluttering, washing, ironing, being organised, these are all skills that need to be fostered and developed over time. I know that it's hard for me to do things that I don't do well straight away, but I am learning to give it a go and laugh at my mistakes and keep learning.

Let me play devil's advocate and throw this suggestion in the mix. Are we a generation of procrastinators? Are there too many distractions that fight for our time? Are we so good at saying "I don't have time now but I'll do it later"? Do I, and others like me, need to stop making excuses, stop thinking and just get in and do it? To a point, probably. Although having ways to unwind and stay social are healthy and necessary, there are times when I should probably prioritise my time a little differently. Should I have intentionally studied cooking and sewing at school or should I just have spent more time helping mum at home instead of studying so hard, or working a part time job (ooh, there's a whole new avenue to be explored.. Being at work everyday after school and every night after uni so mum took pitty on me and didn't give me any chores, did it help me or hinder me!?I can't blame mum, when I was home I'd often just spend too much time on the computer... If I didn't have msn messenger then I might have learned more. If I didn't have Facebook or blogger now things might be different. Although to be honest I only really do this when I'm holding a sleeping baby or when I'm too tired to move.

The cause of my poor housekeeping is probably a bit of A and C, and also an overly intelligent overly mischievous baby! I personally think babies are getting cheekier, faster. Lets face it, it is hard, and there's no point being too hard on ourselves. I don't there's anything wrong with having little cheats for making the place look good when people come around, such as the empty cupboard ready to stash things in (my personal favourite, except things never come out again!) or taking everything to the spare room and closing the door. As long as the home environment is safe and the household is happy, does it really matter?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Running to daddy

It is all a bit surreal for me. My heart breaks for those who have lost so much. It is hard to see photos of roads I used to drive everyday now lakes, creeks, and rivers. I am concerned for friends still trying to work. It is weird seeing footage of towns not far away completely submerged in water. Yet where I am I wouldn't even know anything unusual was happening if it wasn't for the media. It's not even raining here, it hasn't all day.

I thank God that my family are safe and not directly affected by floodwaters. It's true that when choosing a place to live we deliberately chose somewhere very unlikely to flood, because we like to be cautious, but we also recognise His provision in keeping us safe. I am also thankful to my parents for keeping me calm.

I didn't know anything was happening yesterday until dad rang around lunchtime, "have you been watching the news?" I hadn't. I was still shaken from the footage of Toowoomba Monday night, I didn't want to see it again. "Not wanting to panic you but there's a big storm on the way. The motorway will probably flood so we might not be able to get to you later tonight. Do you have enough food for a few days?" "Um, Alexis needs bananas," was all I could come up with.

We weren't at risk of flooding from a river, but we were at risk of being flooded in, and then if we had a freak storm or heavy rain we might have had reason to worry. Corey was out of town when I was trying to decide whether to stay or go. I was nervous. Dad brought me some basic groceries, put petrol in my car, and lent me a torch before saying goodbye. I was perfectly fine to stay here, but then the thought of being trapped here alone with Alexis frightened me, especially when coupled with well-meaning friends and relatives voicing their concern. I ended up asking my parents if I should stay with them.

The roads were nasty so they came to get us as I was reluctant to drive through puddles and potholes. They knew we'd be safe here but because it was "go now or stay" we went. Then it stopped raining. This morning my husband was able to get home and bring the car to meet us at my parents' place. We were able to get home easily because the back road subject to flash-flooding was dry.

We thank God for the sunshine today because a) we are not isolated and b) we were praying for God to intervene in the flood situation. Although the rain stopped too late for far too many people in this volatile state of ours, who knows what the destruction might be like if it had rained all day today as heavily as the last few... I can't explain why God allows natural disasters and tragedies to happen, but I do know that when we run to our heavenly daddy, He hears our prayers. We have to be thankful for the small things.

Although it was unnecessary for me to run off to mummy and daddy's house last night I don't regret it. We had a great time, I felt safe and I enjoyed the company. Most importantly Alexis felt safe and secure and loved. My parents and I took turns to break away from the horrific images on tv and just play with Alexis. Kids, especially babies, are incredibly sensitive to emotions of the adults around them. They pick up our fear and dread. The best thing I could do for her was play, laugh, crawl around on the floor with her, just forget the world and make my baby giggle. It was easier to do that with my familToy around rather than on my own. Besides, when I can't get a hug from hubby a hug from mum and dad is almost as good. I'm still relatively young. I'm not ashamed to say I still need my parents occasionally.

This evening Corey and I were trying to watch the news and cook dinner but it was all too much. Alexis wouldn't eat her dinner but she wouldn't play. She was just unsettled. "I think she's just overwhelmed with it all," he said. So we switched off the TV, turned on the cd player, and had a nice long (not so) spontaneous dance break. Alexis absolutely adored it.

It's hard being a parent at a time of uncertainty. The feeling of responsibility can be overwhelming at times. The most important thing is keeping our children safe. It is wise to stay up to date with news and be alert for warnings. However, if you aren't in immediate danger, try to take some time to reassure young ones that they do not need to stress. It is important for babies to feel safe and loved, and taking some time to comfort babies makes us feel better too.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hi everyone. I'm not directly affected by the floods, and I hope that you're not too, but I was pretty shaken up by it all. Things like this really draw attention to what is important, which to me is primarily family. When I was packing my bags just in case I thought about what I could take with me. It was slightly overwhelming but I kept it together, grabbing some clothes, some cooled boiled water, some baby food, my phone, some personal hygiene things like soap, my daughter's favourite book, her birth certificate, dummies, and dolly. Not a very thorough job, I realise, but my main priority was making sure my little angel was happy. She was all I could really think about. I know it's unlikely our house will be affected but it is good to be prepared. Also it helped me stay busy and not panic. I did get time to bake a banana cake while Alexis was napping. It's hard to panic with a cake in the oven. Many thanks to my family and friends for checking up on me. It's ironic how I'm usually home alone with Alexis during the day with no worries but the second the thought of being isolated with her came into my mind it freaked me out.

No long post tonight, just a quick hello. I pray you are all safe and well. Whatever happens, try not to be too attached to material things. When you feel overwhelmed find somebody to hug. Pray God is watching over us and stops the rain.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

A post about nothing

Alexis and I are coping with Corey being back at work much better than I thought we would. I typed up a nice long post about it but then the internet dropped out (thanks to a phone call I think. They say it doesn't work that way but it always does. A wrong number phone call too. Thanks very much random lady)and I lost it :'(. I am not going to type it again. I am hungry. It is well and truly past lunch time. That serves me right for blogging when I should be getting lunch ready I guess. Although in my defense I was holding Alexis while she slept for a while there because the man down the back is fixing his fence and it's really noisy. It's a funny old day here, it's pouring down for a few minutes then clear for a few minutes, over and over again. At least it's not pouring down all the time I guess... That reminds me of what my post was about, but I'll have to re-hash it another time, or let it go. For now, I must go in search of food before my brain stops working entirely. Why don't I just post nothing until I have something decent to post? Good question. Ask me that when I've had something to eat and my brain is working again :p.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

A few minutes of sunshine

We caught a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air this evening. It didn't last long, but it was long enough. Today was a great day, the whole day, but when the sun came out and we caught a glimpse of what summer's meant to be like, it was golden.

We woke up, had breakfast, then bathed Alexis, who had plastered herself from head to toe in her cereal. Then Corey played with her while I washed some more of Alexis' new clothes from Christmas. Size 1. Wow, they look huge! I did the second hand size 1s and other size 1s she'd been given along the way (some we were given when she was first born. Soon she will finally get to wear them). I soaked most things first to check if they run. A few second hand clothes we were given did run. They must not have been worn very often? That's what happens,I guess, babies get all these beautiful clothes and spend the vast majority of summer in just a nappy and a singlet.

Then Corey did some shopping for us while I convinced Alexis to have a morning nap and cleaned up slightly and he brought home fish and chips for lunch. Yummy! We ate that (although Alexis had fish with crumbs removed, cheese and bread)while watching some of a movie, then bathed Alexis (who had covered herself in fish and cheese), put some child locks up, had a play, then all went down for an arvo nap.

We woke to realise that although the sun wasn't shining overly brightly, it was there, and it wasn't raining! So we took Alexis to the local park. Corey thought I was nuts when I first suggested it, as it was already 5pm, and it was perhaps a little irresponsible to drag my sick baby out in the 'night air'. Actually Corey already knows I'm nuts so he usually just goes along with my spontaneous moments. We couldn't waste the opportunity. I'd been itching to take Alexis to the park for the best part of a month but it had always been either ridiculously hot and sunny (dangerous for babies) or dark or raining. So off to the park we went.

We didn't stay very long but we had a great time. Alexis played on the swing, practiced "walking" in shoes for the first time (I wouldn't let go of her hand though because she wanted down and we didn't want her crawling around on the floor amongst the cigarette butts and dirty shoes), and had a turn on the seasaw. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, we were thoroughly enjoyed being there to experience it with her. Family time at the park, you can't get much better than that. We did have to compete for her attention though, because as per usual she seemed most interested in people-watching. It seemed like every kid aged between 5 and 15 in the neighbourhood was there, and why not, they were all making the most of the break in the rain too. The older kids were quite considerate, they stopped throwing things at each other while we were there with one reminding his friend, "there's a baby here so watch you f-ing language".

After that we headed home and I cooked dinner while Corey and Alexis played and then we all ate the same meal together at the same time. Alexis loves it when she gets to eat the same thing as us. She's been off her food a bit lately and I thought maybe it was because she was sick but then I thought maybe she was just bored with bland food so I tried her with some spaghetti bolognaise tonight and she absolutely loved it. It took longer to clean up than it did to cook and eat, but hey she's only young once. So we bathed her for the third time today. She better not get used to it! We dressed Alexis in a size 1 onesie that I had washed this morning, and suddenly it didn't look so big. My baby is growing so big, so fast! Too fast. She's so independent now. It won't be too long before she doesn't need me at all.

We tried to convince her it was sleep time, gave up, played a bit, took all the ornaments off the Christmas tree ready to be packed up tomorrow (sob), played a bit more, and eventually got her off to sleep. She looked so plum tuckered out like she'd be down for the night but she woke about 20 minutes later. We got her back to sleep easily though. I lay my little angel down in her cot for the night (again). She looks so little and helpless now.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Humble Pie

LOL! I just finished bagging out Corey, yet again, (come on, it's funny, admit it) in my post "seagull husband"

While I've been in here typing up my 'scientif findings' page (see tab next to home tab above "about me" under the page title or click this link here) Corey has been in the other room reading not wanting to wake me up. I was sort of under instructions to have a nap, whoops.. Alexis has been sleeping IN HER COT!!!! Corey is very clever, why does he do things better than me? *pretend sob*. hehe.

How did he do it?

He took her for a drive. She fell asleep by the end of our street (not long). He drove around for a while longer, being home in approximately 25 minutes. Then he woke her up getting her out of the car and tapped her to sleep and put her in the cot. She slept for about an hour and then woke up. He picked her up, tapped her back to sleep, and then put her back in the cot, where she is still sleeping, about half an hour later. So she did still need a drive to go to sleep, and he did pick her up and pat her to sleep so she didn't put herself to sleep in the cot, but it is a good step towards it. Thank you Corey, a job well done.

Now he's in here bragging about it when I was finally ready to take that nap, thinking he'd be back with 'dinner' (a pie to put in the oven) in an hour or so after his nice long daddy daughter time. So now I've had no sleep (technically that's my fault not his, but I still had time!), and I have to cook dinner! That's ok, it's probably better we don't waste money on food when we've got things at home. Hubby knows best. I really did want that pie though!

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Seagull Husband

Have you ever heard the term seagull manager? ("Flies in, makes a lot of noise, dumps on everyone, then flies out.") Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, I feel like I live with a seagull husband.

I love Corey so so much, please don't get me wrong, but every now and then we clash heads. We argue when he thinks he knows what the best thing to do is, with regards to the house keeping or the baby, or me. It's great that he tries to help. I would be more upset if he didn't try to help at all, so the last thing I ever want to do is push him away. So why do I get upset when he makes suggestions? The answer is, put simply, because he CHANGES EVERYTHING.

He is rather helpful, short-term, but in an ideal world I would prefer it if he would listen to me when I try to explain my way of doing things and try to learn to do things, "my way". I don't MEAN to sound controlling when I say that. Probably most men think "haha, control freak" when they read that, but I can almost guarantee there's women reading this thinking "oh I know exactly what you mean Karlee!" You see, gentlemen, if he could try to fit in a little better with Alexis and my pre-existing routines rather than changing everything around, then I would have less of a difficult time to cope with Alexis when daddy inevitably has to go back to work.

What has brought this post on? Corey is currently taking Alexis for a drive, to get her to sleep, because she is cranky and needs a nap. "Well, that's wonderful of him, he's trying to help!" Yes, but this is not something I can continue long-term. The problem is, he has got her hooked on this. She thinks it's a wonderful routine. He has done this regularly since I came down with the flu badly on Monday afternoon. If you missed it, click here

Alexis now thinks that this is how she goes to sleep, in the car. I was worried this would happen, so didn't want Corey to take her for the drive the second and third (etc) time around. Monday afternoon was OK, I had dropped the bundle and he had to do something. The next time he offered I said, "no, not a good idea, because she will get used to it", but hubby knows best. The biggest struggle for me in getting all my any housework done daily is that it is extremely difficult to get Alexis to sleep. I had intended this holidays to teach Alexis how to put herself to sleep while Corey was around to back me up and supervise her while I caught a quick nap/had a rest myself if I needed to. I believe that if I can get her to put herself to sleep and nap well it will solve an awful lot of probelms in one go. Except now she will only go to sleep in the car. Falling asleep at the breast was a routine I could live with, it was annoying, but it was workable. I'm not going to be able to drive her around all the time though! He was only trying to help.

I'm surprised how easily she accepted this new car-sleep routine. She actually, cheeky monkey, waved good bye to be excitedly when her daddy picked her up when she was crying and grizzling when I was trying to pat her to sleep last night and again this afternoon. I don't want her thinking this is the way it's going to be, but while we're all sick and cranky and she needs sleep to recover it is probably most important to get her to sleep however possible. When she's recovered, I can try to get her to put herself to sleep in the cot. I mean, if she changed from a feed-to-sleep to drive-to-sleep easily then she's already changed her sleep routine once, so she's more flexible than I thought, right? It shouldn't be too hard to get her to change it again should it? He he, I doubt it! I'm going to have to give it a go though. Corey will be back at work by then. Oh how convenient. I should have her in a nice pattern by, say, Easter? Then my lovely seagull husband can fly on in and mess everything up save the day again.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oops I did it again

So it turns out I should think before I act. But if I thought much harder I would never do anything. I think a little too much, I think that's my problem. This blog was meant to be fun and educational and a way to de-stress, but all I've ended up doing is hurting people I care about and making a fool of myself.

I promised when I started writing this that I would write an honest and open account of my thoughts and feelings. I don't do things by halves, I'm sorry, that's just who I am. When I write I sometimes allow my mind to rush ahead and I go on tangents. This is my 'style' and is what attracts people to my writing. I think its rawness is the basis of its appeal. When I get in the zone though I can't always comprehend the potential consequences.

I probably shouldn't have put that last post up. It was ill timing and I should not have gone there... I did put it up, because I had spent too long on it to not put it up. It was not my intention to vilify this young couple. I apologise, from my heart, if it came across that way. I was intending for it to turn out differently. I am sure there are other parents out there who have experienced similar dilemmas and I was trying to write something genuine they can identify with.

This whole thing has led me to question whether I should keep going on this blog endeavour or not. I shouldn't blog in the early hours of the morning, but then I'd never get a chance. If I re-read everything too thoroughly before I post it I would never post anything because I feel like everything I write is rubbish and it is hard to write things without offending at least somebody. Despite that I have been contacted by several people saying they enjoy reading it, from young ladies wondering what it's like with kids, to people who's babies are all grown up, and other mums who need to know that they are not alone. So what do you think? Should I give up and delete my blog? Or should I keep going?

I have decided, definitely, that I will no longer be posting links to this blog on facebook. This will reduce my viewer numbers but it should also limit the trouble I get myself into. If you have been relying on facebook links please find other ways to stay in touch. If you would like to email me at karlee.ipod@gmail.com I will happily add your email address to a mail-out list to notify you of updates (once I set it up).

Alexis not invited, well then thanks but no thanks.

I have been up since 3 am, when I realised that Alexis has slept from about 10:30 ish (yay, she must be getting better), and now I just can't get back to sleep. I've had such broken sleep lately that after four solid hours of sleep my body is like, "hey bludger, what's going on?"

Actually it's probably more the fact that I stupidly checked facebook while I was clearing my nose etc. WHEN WILL I LEARN? Stupid stupid stupid. I have one of those phones with internet and apps and stuff, it's how I blog and check emails, facebook etc. It's great for keeping me awake when Alexis wants feeds at ungodly hours (yes I realise I should be weaning her off these, but for my own comfort it's often easier to feed her than express...I hate expressing..don't get me started...), but I've developed a bit of a bad habit of checking it all the time. I foolishly fill my head with information and then can't sleep.

This morning I read a status update from a friend saying he hates choosing wedding songs. A simple statement that sent me on a cascade of thoughts. I wasn't going to blog about this, I was going to blog about my loving parents randomly turning up yesterday saying "we are here to babysit, you two go to the movies," and the wonderful day that followed. It is a lovely feel good story that should be told, but I might shelve it for now because I can't stop thinking about this wedding thing.

Firstly, reading my friend's status brought back memories of the lead up to my own wedding two years ago, some stressful, some fun. It also brought back memories of the wedding and reception, great memories. Annoyingly, I remember hearing a song on the way to the hairdressers that morning and while I was getting my hair done (the radio was playing it a lot) and thinking it would make a good wedding song, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was! Things like this annoy me immensely.

Anyway, what makes this relevant to my mummy blog (you still with me?) is that I'm not actually going to this wedding, because of my baby....

I rarely get invited to birthday parties or trips to the beach or girls nights etc. I'm getting used to it. I never did these things much before Alexis was born anyway. Partly because I was always working or studying, partly because I was just socially lacking and never made much effort. I am usually content with my bub,my hubby, my family and the odd play-date, but every now and then I see photo albums on facebook and think, "might have been nice to have been invited to that". I probably wouldn't have gone, but, it might have been nice to be considered.

THIS wedding, however, I did actually receive an invite to. A beautiful invitation in a beautiful envelope arrived in the mail a few months ago, requesting the pleasure of the company of Corey and Karlee. I was quite excited. Corey and I went to highschool with this guy and also when I went to church voluntarily for the first time as a young adult (by myself, I was a bit nervous) I sat with him and his family and they helped me feel welcome. I've seen him go through an, interesting, journey and am so happy to see him settling down with a beautiful girl who he loves dearly. I would love to be at their wedding.

There was no mention of Alexis on the invitation. I wouldn't mind going without her normally but the wedding is to be held a long way (hours) away, so I wouldn't like to leave her behind. If there was an emergency it would take us far too long to get to her. I asked my parents and they said they would not like to babysit for that same reason, and also the sheer length of a wedding and reception would mean we were away from her for about 8 hours even without travel time. I haven't left her for more than a few hours at a time. I messaged my friend to check that it would be fine to bring Alexis, she's only 10 months, most venues don't charge for kids under three. I didn't think there'd be a problem.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't shocked when I first read two replies from his bride. She was polite and diplomatic about it, but essentially the first message said, 'we don't really want small children there because it'll be hot and we want you to enjoy yourselves but bring her if you absolutely have to'. That in itself would not have upset me if not for the second message quickly followed by, 'actually I've already said no children to some of my friends, and don't want to upset them, so please don't bring her, sorry'.

I was upset at missing out but I tried not to get angry. I know first hand how awkward and sensitive wedding issues are, and if they don't want babies there that's their right. So I wished them well but said unfortunately we would not be attending, and explained why. I thought that would be the end of the story. I didn't want to cause them unnecessary stress. I after all, am not family and we are not that close anymore, and the bride's wishes must come first, it is her day. I tried to sound friendly and sympathetic. I must have upset them though because they replied a few more times saying they really wanted us there and to please "not be offended and just get a babysitter". That DID get my back up and I'm ashamed to say I didn't respond overly well. They were only trying to help, but I felt like they were attacking me as a mother and saying I was being overprotective and/or just too lazy to organise time away from Alexis (it would require an awful lot of expressed milk and considering how much I hate expressing...) I hope that after the stress of the wedding is over they can forgive us for not going and we can still be friends. I'm not mad anymore, it was months ago this happened. It just feels weird knowing that we will not be there at the wedding. It's just another event I'll read about and see photos on facebook and wonder what might have been.

So why am I sharing this long winded story with you? Partly because Alexis woke up all gassy and is lying on me dozing until a burp or two surface, but also because I wanted to write it out, understand my thoughts etc. There is a part of me that feels guilty for not going. Maybe we could have made it work. Maybe I was too quick to put it in the "too hard" basket. I don't think so though. I agonised over it for weeks because I didn't want to upset my friend. I ended up upsetting him anyway, isn't that ironic.

At the end of the day though, as Alexis' parents, Corey and I have every right to decide that we do not wish to leave her behind. It is our decision, and our decision alone, to make. We are responsible for her. If I don't want to stay up expressing for weeks to get enough milk to leave with her I don't have to. If we don't feel comfortable being such a long distance from her because she's learning to walk and accident prone, then we shouldn't. If Corey doesn't want to give up precious time with his daughter then he shouldn't have to unless for work. If other people feel comfortable leaving their babies behind then good for them, but our situation is different and we choose not to. I need to be confident enough with my decisions to not feel the need to justify myself.

Wow the garbage truck is here, is it that late? Oh no, we didn't put the bin out last night, we thought it was Tuesday!

*Rushes to wake Corey up.*

Made it just in time. Corey has gone back to bed. I hoped he would stay up with Alexis, I've been up since 3am. It's 7 am now. I need some sleep! ;)

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Co-'sleeping'

Alexis kept waking up last night so I ended up taking her into bed with me. Corey was about as supportive as Corey gets when he is tired, setting up her nightlight (plugging it into the wall) in our room before running away. "I'll have my phone on, if you need me just call me," he lied. I knew I wouldn't sleep well and voiced my concerns. "I'll look after her in the morning," he lied again.

I have been reluctant to attempt co-sleeping with Alexis because of multiple reasons, including: her fascination with trying to jump off the bed, her tendency to climb all over me, not wanting to disturb her sleep, and the fact that I am such an incredibly light sleeper so quite frankly didn't want her disturbing me. There was also the concern that she would want to feed all the time. Nothing else would work last night though, and I didn't feel like sitting up all night holding her, so I decided I would give it a try.

It was an interesting experience. I didn't get an awful lot of sleep, but because Alexis was coughing and sputtering, waking up choking on her own spit, I probably would not have slept at all if she was in the nursery. I did sleep at times because I remember being woken up a lot. The hard part was not falling asleep but staying asleep for longer than 10 minutes. One time I woke up struggling to breathe because Alexis had climbed up ONTO MY THROAT and gone back to sleep. I also woke to her crying, wheezing, or just subconsciously to check on her occasionally. Sometimes she just wanted to snuggle in for a little cuddle. She fell back to sleep easily most times, so it probably was best for her. It is kind of nice to know that she feels better just being close to me. I woke this morning to find her standing over me smiling, gorgeous but creepy!

Alexis is bright and cheerful this morning. A very cute, very adventurous, and very vocal little cherub. Her father is obviously sick because he is extremely grouchy and intolerant. I am most likely going to be in trouble for saying that, but he'll see the funny side in a few days. Me, well, I feel disgusting and I'm indecisive, vague and my head is heavy. I'm also cranky. I know I need more sleep but I'm not quite sure yet whether I should try to sleep now through bub playing or if I should pull myself together and have a nap later. Considering all I had for dinner last night was half a can of spaghetti, I think breakfast is a very high priority. Oh wait, I forgot to buy milk yesterday, "oh what a beautiful morning"...

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I hate being sick/my husband is great

I can't sleep. It's so annoying. Alexis is sleeping soundly, thank God, but I'm not. I am irritated by the fact that I know I should be sleeping, because when she wakes I will need to be there for her. I won't wake her up, she really needs her rest. We both have the flu, or something. Again.

Corey is camping out in the spare room to avoid my germs, although we suspect it is too late for that, he's coming down with it too. It's hard to avoid getting sick when your wife and baby are incubating all manner of nasty parasites.

Alexis just might sleep through tonight(?) She was pretty tired. Oh no I hear a cough. Poor little thing. I'll wait and see if she goes back to sleep on her own, she did last night. Corey's up to her, well I won't interfere. Looks like he's got her back to sleep. No, time for a feed. That's ok it's not like I was sleeping anyway.

I absolutely hate being sick, and do not cope well with it at all. Since Alexis was born, no wait, since I fell pregnant with Alexis, I seem to get sick with everything going. It also takes me a long time to recover now. Is it the fact that she gets the best of the nutrients I eat or the interrupted sleep or the fact that I can't just drop the bundle and sleep it off for a few days anymore? All of the above?

I really am a sook when I'm sick. I can't stand congestion headaches, blocked ears, or fevers. It honestly brings me to tears like a school girl who's been dumped for the first time. Ok actually I've never been dumped but I imagine it would feel like this. "Why me? Life is so unfair!" Then I remember it is just a cold or flu or something and chances are I'm going to recover just fine. I am so cross with myself for being mopey. It's only been a few days. People out there have real problems to worry about.

It does hurt a lot, with my glands all swollen like a bullfrog. I hate it when this happens. It triggers memories of being wiped out for an entire uni summer holidays (like three months!) with the dreaded glandular fever. All I could eat was chicken nuggets and grapes. Even that experience wasn't too bad though. My parents had foxtel and my sister had health problems too, so we lay on mattresses on the floor of the lounge room in the air-con watching "Who's Line is it Anyway"and "Ready Steady Cook". I do have some fond memories of that summer.

Alexis is back to sleep. I should try to nod off myself. I'm having a bit of trouble because of the congestion. If I was exhausted I could ignore it but I am not because I had a three hour snooze this afternoon, waking up every 15 mins or so to replace the tissue I had shoved up my nostrils. So maybe I did drop the bundle today a little bit!

Corey has been pretty awesome, although he did try to tell me to snap out of it and go shopping with him for about half an hour, and then he tried to get me to "just watch Alexis" while he set up the portable aircon while I protested "I don't want it just watch your daughter she's trying to jump off the bed. He was wonderful for trying to help, but I just wanted to sleep then and there.

Once he got it through his head that I was passing out and unable to do anything other than gasp for air, he eased up, and took Alexis for a drive so she would get some sleep. I had been trying to get her to nap for hours but she was uncomfortable and just wouldn't drift off. He was back within minutes, as she was snoring so loudly, he transfered her to her cot and she slept for about three hours after that. He also ordered dinner so I wouldn't have to cook and drove Alexis around tonight to get her to sleep while I curled up in the foetal position burning up with fever "make it stop, make it stop". I'm up to the sweat it out stage already, that has to be a good thing right?

So yes, I dropped the bundle today and it will inevitably be Corey's turn soon. I hope he can hold off one more day but I don't like my chances. So I must try sleep again. Hopefully this bug (flu I think) will go away as quickly as it snuck up on us.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

From Highlights to Housework: Ten things every pregnant women needs

A funny but true post on a blog from a, lady who is about 4 years ahead of me. From Highlights to Housework: Ten things every pregnant women needs

An acute case of noctobub

I am a qualified scientist. So I've been trained to make observations and question why and how things are the way they are. Seeing as I have called this blog 'The Mother Experiment' and not ' a crazy mummy's random rambles' (although that does sound fairly interesting maybe I should change the name?) I should get a little scientific occasionally.


Title: an acute case of noctobub
Aim: to discover why Alexis (and thus me too) has been awake since 2: 30 am or at least get her back to sleep

Hypotheses:
1) she is over excited about learning to walk
2) she has a belly ache
3) murphy's law
a. Corey was awake until 2:30 then decided he was going to sleep and Alexis woke up.
b. I was looking forward to going to church this morning
c. I went to bed late

Method:
1. Change nappy and feed. This is usually enough to reestablish sleep
2. Cuddle and tap bottom until arms about to fall off
3. Read bedtime story. Repeat step 2.
4. Place baby on floor to observe activities. Watch for signs of walking or pooping
5. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 4.
6. Resign self to fact have to survive off two hours sleep
7. Observe sunrise
8. Attempt to write blog post. Put baby on boob to limit mischief.

Results: baby resists sleep. plays happily until I sneak out of room for five seconds. Baby does massive poop. Baby looks as though going to sleep but changes her mind. Baby falls asleep half hour before alarm due to wake us up.

Discussion: Murphy's law seems likely. Also she did have a belly ache. I should not eat sausages (inferred from data from prior observations, foolishly ignored yesterday). It appears unlikely I will make it to church this morning. I do not agree with controlled crying although at times like this I consider researching it further. Should investigate self-settling methods although the timing is not right due to baby's developmental changes. Everything is new and exciting for her. Home phone is going off the hook. I need to somehow convince myself to go back to sleep. I have wasted precious sleep-time blogging.

Conclusion: I am suffering from an acute case of noctobub.

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