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Sunday, May 29, 2011

When nothing goes to plan (but it turns out good)

We've just had one of those weekends where very little has gone to plan or been as expected. We had planned to work on Alexis' future room, catch up on cleaning, prepare for a garage sale and have a yummy lamb chop bbq with veggies and potato bake. Instead the weather wasn't great and we were tired from Alexis not sleeping well Friday night so we let the plans go out the window. Normally it is hard for me to deal with changes to plans but this weekend has been wonderful. We've rested, met new people, and had good quality time at home. Corey and I even managed to leave Alexis with my mum for a few hours this arvo while we saw a movie. It was a much needed treat as we hadn't been on a date since January and hadn't had any alone time since February. We also realised afterwards that we had missed our 7-years-since-we-started-going-out 'anniversary', so we decided to say it was for that. 

Other highlights include introducing Alexis to totem tennis on Saturday afternoon, saving money on the groceries by finding a new supermarket Saturday evening so splurging on pizza for dinner, and visiting a new church this morning.

Totem tennis was fun. Alexis mostly played playdough in the corner of the yard while Corey and I played, but she'd come up occasionally to bring us little balls of playdough. We only accidentally falconed her with the ball once. She was a good sport, giggling and saying "D'oh!".
We went to a different supermarket only because we were having too much fun playing to get to our normal one before it closed (5pm). The one we found is open til 9pm even on weekends and the meat and veg is much cheaper. We were very excited.. is that sad? No what's sad is me going in hubby's clothes because I couldn't bother getting changed. Hey, men's clothes are much comfier ok.

Church was great. I'd met the associate pastor and one other lady through playgroup (which I only went to once). They remembered me! They welcomed us as soon as we got there. The associate pastor/playgroup leader/Sunday school teacher/keyboard player/mother of three under 4 (very busy lady!) was actually waiting at the door for us! She'd messaged me the night before "hope to see you at church tomorrow", and there she was, waiting for us to turn up. It was so nice to be welcomed so warmly, slightly creepy, but very nice!

The whole church was quite welcoming and friendly. It probably helped that morning tea was on first rather than last this morning so people had not much to do other than chat. Standing around for 45 minutes (we arrived early then half hour for morning tea) wasn't part of my plan either but it encouraged us to mingle, which is not my strong point. It probably also helped that it's only a small church, about 50 people or so, so newbies stand out easily, unlike our previous church of approximately 10 times as many people. While it felt a little strange at first it didn't take long to settle in. I think we will definitely go back. There's elements of our old church I'll definitely miss (like the change table, couches for feeding babies, bitumen carpark, and Alexis' godparents and other friends) but I think having a creche, being half an hour closer to home and starting an hour later (we rarely made it to church once we moved because we wouldn't get up early enough) this is potentially a good fit for us. Time will tell.

They had a guest preacher, who seemed to hit the spot, saying exactly what I've been needing to hear. Nothing profound just a good dose of common sense. If you have a dream work for it. Be careful what you see and you hear (like on TV) and be careful what you say. Think positively, speak positively.. Don't lie but don't dwell on the negatives either. It's funny how we need to be reminded of common sense principles like that. I think God really wanted Corey and I there today. Scoff at me if you like ;) but I believe some coincidences are too good to be coincidences. 

It was so good to sit next to Corey and pay attention to the sermon rather than running around after Alexis (did I mention they have a toddlers program? The kids stay in for worship though, which is nice because I like having Alexis with me because she loves music). I was nervous to leave Alexis with strangers, but Corey walked her down, assuring me she'd be fine and if she wasn't someone would bring her back. A lovely young girl brought her back minutes from the end. Alexis had done well, but was crying because she was so tired from her very exciting morning. A drink of water and a snuggle stopped the crying and she fell asleep on the way home.

The one problem with church starting later is it finishes later. We had a mad rush to get everything ready to drop Alexis off at her nanna's so we could get to a friend's bday drinks. We got stuck behind a yobbo with a trailer for 10 km or so, which made us quite late.

I was embarrassed we were the last ones there and they had decided they were about to go off somewhere else on a bus. I knew they were planning to go to a few places but I thought they'd hang where they were meeting for a while first. We were only planning to go to the first place. I was worn out and tired and we don't have prepaid transport cards and we had no cash and I didn't want to be at the mercy of public transport with Alexis being babysat for the second time in the one day, and I was kind of all "socialled out" from church and my feet were sore (and I had to go to the bathroom just for something different) so we said sorry we would just say goodbye there. I felt really bad disappointing my friend but hey I'm a boring old parent now, and a pregnant one at that, so if something seems all too hard it really is all too hard. Actually I've always been boring, tentative, and not good with spontaneous, but now I almost have a socially acceptable excuse. Almost. Our friend knows full well what I'm like and yet still loves me, so I'm confident she will forgive me. I hope she had a great time with her other friends. I'll make it up to her sometime... somehow.   

Ironically when I called mum to say we were coming back she said, "oh we're having so much fun," so seeing as Corey and I were at the movies anyway (where the group was meeting) we decided we should see a movie. As described at the start of this post, we really needed it. I felt guilty and selfish for ditching the party for a date with my hubby, but I'd already said we couldn't go with them, we were there and we had a babysitter and a movie was just starting that Corey really really really wanted to see, so it seemed an opportunity too good to pass up. We really enjoyed it. Should I feel guilty? We then had a yummy dinner with mum before coming home for bed. I should be sleeping but I'm blogging, whoops!? Should I feel guilty for that too?

Big day tomorrow. We get to see our baby on the ultrasound. I'm so excited. Do you think we have planned to find out baby's sex or not? Things don't always go to plan anyway, as I'm learning slowly but sometimes that turns out for the best.
        

        

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

F-book

Facebook. I love it. And I hate it.

Facebook is very useful but it is cruel in many ways. It is helpful because I can share links to my blog, allowing me to increase the amount of people who read this. It is interesting because old friends from school and uni and work have looked me up and "friended" me.  I have somewhere around 300 "friends" on Facebook.  Sometimes people who I haven't heard from in years add me and we really enjoy little convos and messages between eachother. Some distant friends quite enjoy this blog, and we would never have known that if it wasn't for Facebook.  Many have children similar ages and we like encouraging eachother and swapping stories. Some Facebook friends share inspirational quotes that brighten up a bad day. Some aspects of Facebook are great.

Some suck.

Facebook eats time. Facebook allows easy avenues to overshare information that you should perhaps keep to yourself. Facebook allows people to think you are close when you are not. Facebook allows for lazy communication and takes the personal touch out of relationships. Facebook puts some relationships on life support when there is probably a reason why you never spoke to these people very often. By this I mean pre Facebook if you moved away or grew apart you'd let some friendships die gracefully out of necessity rather than stringing them along or digging them up again years later.  Sometimes rediscovering old friends really pays off, but sometimes it doesn't.

Now for my personal pet hate. Facebook allows us to "talk" to people that we actually see in real-life in a non-personal, dettached way. Firstly news shared on facebook doesn't get the awesome reaction you'd get face to face. You go to tell someone something in person and they're like, "yeah I saw it on Facebook." Secondly it can take the 'burden' out of catching up with friends and family for real, which is bad because you miss so much.

Thirdly, the "you're still a loser" factor. It's an annoying habit of friends of friends to add eachother.  This lets us think our friendship circles are bigger and more inclusive than they really are.  When in reality it doesn't matter how many people "like" you on Facebook. If no-one likes you in real life, then no-one likes you in real life. If you can't break into the clique in the flesh then what's the point in trying to be someone you're not on the internet. I'm learning this the hard way. People can be all chatty and friendly on Facebook but epic silence when you see them in real life. There's also the likelihood you'll get to read all the chummy posts between friends in your news feed. Chummy posts that you clearly are not, nor ever going to be, a part of. Let's not forget the lovely photos of events that seemingly everyone has been invited to, that is everyone except you. Those can deliver a fair kick to the guts.

What am I gonna do about it? Probably nothing. Just whinge about it on my non-influential blog. I might even post a link on Facebook. Maybe. Who knows. I wouldn't want to offend anyone but if I do I probably will. If I don't, no-one will really see this, in which case the last 20 minutes have been a complete waste of time. Facebook, making me think I'm more important than I am since 2007. It seems as though our love-hate relationship shall continue for awhile longer at least.         

Karlee

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bed wars

For the last few weeks Alexis and I have been engaged in "bed wars". I think I'm about ready to admit defeat. She has gotten quite used to sleeping in the queen bed with me. I didn't mind too much when Corey was away, in fact I actually liked it, because we were both sick and it saved me having to get up to her so often. I was a bit worried she'd get dependent on it but I wasn't really able to care too much. 

Well since Corey has returned home the war has begun. Alexis doesn't really understand that mummy would rather share the bed with daddy. Among other reasons, Corey is easier to share a bed with. He seems to take up less room and doesn't move around as much. Even though Corey snores I don't wake to find him sitting on my face, unlike the little but quite solid Alexis. 

Bedtime routine doesn't really exist at the moment, which is my biggest mistake. I need to decide on something that will work and then stick to it. I am not sure where to start. All I'm adamant about is that she sleeps in her cot for at least the first few hours. (For my benefit rather than hers).

I was cuddling her off to sleep with a bottle but she was waking up coughing and snotty so we're trying to stop that. She falls asleep eventually either in my arms with some encouragement or in the car while Corey drives her. This is a heinous waste of fuel but at least it gives me time to tidy around the house a bit. We can't afford to do it for a long term solution though! She usually transfers to the cot without waking, fortunately, but if she does wake she is a nightmare.     

Anyway, I try to keep her in the cot for as long as possible. She is in the habit of waking fairly  frequently. She picked it up when she was sick and had bad nappy rash. I try to cuddle her back to sleep in my arms and place her in the cot for another round of sleep. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't. Usually if she wakes when I try to put her down I give in and put her in bed with me.

Last night I persisted too long trying to get her to sleep in the cot and she was then up for the next two hours. Corey even took her for a drive because I was at a loss as to what to do with her. She slept in the car but awoke five minutes after they got home. So in to bed with me she went. She groped, scratched, whinged for half hour ish then finally back to sleep.

Something needs to change here. Obviously we can't keep doing this. Corey and I are both strongly against using crying methods with Alexis. Moral objections aside, we mostly just don't believe they'll work with her. They won't suit her personality. We understand kids need boundaries but we don't want to make her feel neglected and abandoned. I know, and I'll be first to admit, I'm not likely to be able to stick to it long enough for it to be effective. All we will end up doing is teaching her to scream, yell and cry louder to get our attention.

I am not sure if she likes the big bed because I'm there or because its a bed not a cot and she knows she can come and go as she pleases. She absolutely hates being trapped. I sneak out for breakfast or a shower or to see Corey in the mornings and she stays in the bed quite happily for a while longer. When she is ready to get up she doesn't cry she just slides down and goes straight to playing. I am starting to think its really the bed she wants, not me.

We have already ordered her big girl bed and it should be here in a few weeks. Corey and I (and Alexis helping too) have been systematically finding homes for everything from the study and clearing out the room ready for her, her new furniture, and her various paraphernalia. It is possible that the whole process of watching us pack up stuff and it disappearing bit by bit is disturbing Alexis so she doesn't sleep but I don't think so as she seems to love watching me work and having a play with little bits and pieces we discover along the way.  We are all very excited about changing her to a bed and her new room in a quieter part of the house.

What I'm not sure of is if I should push her into sleeping in the cot again in the meantime or if I should just give up and leave her in with me until her new room is ready. Things are going to be disrupted again when we move her to the new room so is it worth the sleep depravation now? I have been warned though, that moving a bad sleeper from a cot to a bed doesn't solve the problem, you just have a bad sleeper who is free to get up and move around at will. If we are ever going to attempt a crying or 'self-settling' method with Alexis it has to be now.

Whatever I do I have to be consistent. Just pick something and stick to it, right? Um, yeah.  


I'm hoping when we get her new bedroom sorted I can snuggle in with her for awhile and then sneak out. Is this just foolish optimism?

For those who say having a consistent bedtime routine is vital, I used to agree with you and I still want to have one but unfortunately Alexis started recognising our old one and running as fast as she could in the opposite direction. She definitely fights sleep for all it's worth. She's a cheeky little miss that's for sure. Is this just another phase or are we in for some serious trouble? I guess time will tell.

By the way... QUEENSLANDER!!! GO THE MAROONS!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Ugly mountain

UGLY MOUNTAIN
(KG. 2001. Based on the book “The Outsiders” apparently. I don't really remember the book).


Ugly mountain go away
And all the pain that comes with you
Will I ever see the valley again
and all the joy that it brings?
Whatever I do that's good in the world
I'm faced with an ugly mountain.
The glistening diamonds became black rocks
Of cold, hard, filthy coal.
I used to ride on the horses back
but now wild, he chases me away.
When will I walk with the reins in my hand
And guide him back where it's safe?
When will the sun rise in the morn
and make me glad that it's there
While now it's blowing an enormous gale
And I'm too afraid to think
If I get good marks,
I don't have a life
But if I didn't,
They should've been better.
When will he learn that I just want to please him
But he will not make up his mind?
I don't like the mountain made by his frown,
but the valley that's caused by his smile.

Oh the relief that finally appears
When I realised what I'd done
This is the one time in my life
I'm happy to have been wrong
When I thought he didn't want me,
It turns out I was needed..
When I thought he didn't like me,
the hate turned into love.
The frightening thunder of his voice,
Was in fact a warning,
A warning not to get caught up
In all the things to come.
The ugly mountain on his face
Was only caused by worry
Worry that he might lose
Another one he loved.
On the day this dawned on me
I knew I loved him too
I noticed just how much he cared
And what I put him through.
Now the coals are back to diamonds
As this gentle giant winks.
I don't ride on the horses back,
But instead walk by his side.

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Modern-day psalm

I found this while cleaning out some boxes of memorabilia. I wrote it sometime between 2004 and 2008 but unfortunately I can't remember when and I never dated it.


Desperate for help, she's crying
She's longing for help from you
But at the same time, she's hiding
She doesn't know what to do.
Sometimes she feels like dying,
The pain inside's so blue
But what's so mystifying,
Is her dreams are coming true.
With everything that she needs,
Why is there still a void?
With loving arms to hold her,
Why does she still get so annoyed?
Inside her blood is boiling,
The toxic river flows,
No way to predict the damage
When the bomb of anger blows.

She wants to really belong here,
“The body of Christ” so they say,
But something feels so wrong here,
Day after day after day.
Unable to feel the love,
So alone amongst the crowd,
This bitterness she cannot shove,
The rumours and whispers so loud.
What is the reason she goes there?
Is there anything left she can give?
Is there one single person who does care,
Whether she dies or she lives?
Why does she keep returning,
If there's nothing to give nor to gain?
Because deep inside she is yearning
For a way to silence the pain.

She's heard of the man called Jesus,
The Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend,
Who heals not only diseases,
But your heart and your mind too He'll mend.
In Him your sins are forgiven,
In the light of His mercy and grace
He'll give back what the devil has stolen
And restore you to your rightful place.
So fix your eyes on the good things,
The noble, the pure, and the true.
And never stop believing,
He's holding on to you.
Still sinful and hurting, she is discouraged,
So remind her to never forget.
That God will complete the good work He has started
He's just not finished yet.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spoiling her or doing my job?

I WROTE THIS ON THE 6TH OF APRIL BUT FOR SOME REASON I NEVER POSTED IT. NOT SURE WHY. HERE IT IS.


I'm not wasting time, I'm investing it.

The thing I love most about being a stay at home mum is the freedom to forget the clock and focus solely on my daughter's needs. It is 9am and Alexis and I are still cuddled up in the family bed. We have been here since 4ish, after yet another difficult night of teething.

Apart from a brief interlude of making sure Corey got up and off to work on time, I have been lying here. I didn't need to check on Corey, he can get himself organised quite well, but because today is a "special'day for him and he had to leave an hour and a half earlier, I thought I should make sure. Besides, I actually like seeing him before he leaves for work (shh, don't tell anyone).

The fact of the matter is that Corey left at 6:30 and I've been lying here ever since, sometimes sleeping, sometimes feeding, sometimes cuddling Alexis while she cries in her sleep.

I have had to fight my urge to feel guilty for "wasting time" lazing about. The practical part of me says "put her in her cot and go and do something usefull".  As a housewife there is never a shortage of work to be done.  As a mother, though, I have seen how quickly this girl has grown up right in front of my eyes.  I could spout reasons to stay put such as "if I move her she will wake", "I can't leave her unattended while she is tossing and turning, it isn't safe", and "I'm tired too, we had a very unsettled night. I am entitled to a rest", and my favourite, "she is in pain but me being here makes her feel better".  These are all valid reasons but the honest truth is that I am enjoying this special time with my daughter and why shouldn't I?

If I had to rejoin the workforce for financial reasons then we could make it work. As a family we would all have to make sacrifices but we would be ok. We would have to be more organised, Alexis would have to be more independent, Corey would have to do more around the house (although he does lots as it is) and I couldn't afford the time to watch my daughter sleep.  Fortunately, it looks as though I will never have to work purely for financial reasons. Things change unexpectedly though so I am mindful to see this as a privilege not a right.       

While I am home, I want to make the most of it. I want to be fully available to my kids and my husband. I want to enjoy spending time with them and doing things for them without feeling guilty. If that means lazy cuddly mornings, then yay for me.

Not everybody understands this of course. I don't expect them to, but I won't be made to feel guilty, useless, lazy or foolish either. Some people, only trying to help of course, are big on routines. According to them I need to, with all due respect, stop spoiling the child. I am to wean, get her to put herself to sleep, and dose her up on panadol if she is in pain.  She is not alone in this way of thinking, it's very common, and its very practical. It is necessary for many working mums and even some stay at home mums swear by it.

It crosses my mind often too. I don't want Alexis to become a spoilt brat. She is not going to be an only child for ever and I need her to be ok with sharing me. I need to do dishes and cool meals and clean and wash and all that stuff too. I want her to be able to be babysat more easily so Corey and I can go on dates. I want to free myself up to be more available to my husband.

I can see the value of "cruel to be kind" but yet I just can't. I don't have to so I can't force myself to.  The essential housework still gets done and Corey and I still have quality time. So what does it matter?

In my eyes, Alexis is still that blue eyed tiny pink-skinned blob that gazed up at me so lovingly the first time we met. Even though she is now tall, dark eyed, walking, eating solids and having a great go at talking she is still my little baby. She always will be.  I comfort her when she cries. I do whatever I can to get a smile, or a giggle, or a kiss or a cuddle.

Do I spoil her? Am I making things harder for myself? I would like to think (so I do) that I am I just making the most of a few difficult weeks and when these teeth come through properly things will go back to normal. Maybe then I can slowly start toughening up a bit, but now is not the time.

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If you can't beat them...

If you can't beat them join them, so they say. I am of course referring to the word beat meaning to defeat, subdue, overcome, overpower. I don't mean to strike with violent force with intention to cause harm. Then again I obviously can't do that either...

Another interesting night worth blogging about. I wish in all earnest that all I was able to say was "nothing interesting happened, sorry", but alas Alexis is being far too cute for that. What's the problem? Well, its 3am. We have been up since 1. I would much rather be asleep. Noctobub Alexis is up and so then must I be. 

I know what you're thinking, "put her in the cot and let her cry". The thougt has crossed my mind, don't get me wrong, but as I wouldn't be able to sleep through that anyway I don't really see the point. Besides that it doesn't work for Alexis, it just doesn't. Corey and I have tried almost everything to get her to sleep, but to no avail. We have cuddled, patted, gave water, gave warm milk, snuggled in bed, held her still, we have administered panadol... we even tried reasoning with her. And yes, Corey has even taken her for a drive. All useless, although I did manage to unpack and restack the dishwasher and fill the sink to soak the bottles while they were gone. So, once I was done moping and feeling sorry for myself I sent Corey to bed and said I'd stay up with her. If you can't beat them, join them, right?

It's not that strange an idea that Alexis would want to stay up for a while for a few reasons. One, she had a late afternoon nap. Two, she was asleep 'early' by her standards. Three, she has had such disruptive sleep over the last week due to sickness that the 4.5 hour stretch of uninterupted sleep she had probably felt like a full night's sleep to her. Four, she hasn't been in contact with people for a week and the only place she's been other than our house and yard is our car, so the poor kid has a bad case of 'cabin fever' and thus isn't sleeping well because she's lacking stimulation. Five, it's Saturday night and she doesn't sleep well Saturday nights, probably because she doesn't sleep as well Saturday as she does during the week so is overtired. Six, she's starting to recover from her viral illness so why should she 'waste' time sleeping (in her eyes).     

So I put the dishwasher on and got myself a bowl of cereal, preparing for a long night.

We have a single couch in the dining room that we have named "the story chair" because when someone sits in that chair Alexis brings them a book to read her. She usually brings them several books. So I sat in the story chair. She didn't bring me a book. She dragged the broom out from beside the fridge and started dragging the broom across the floor. Is that child exploitation? It was fun to watch. Then I silently giggled with amusement as she brought me 'treasures' from the pantry: a Dorothy the dinosaur water bottle, a container of cereal, a container of arrowroot biscuits, and a 2L bottle of tomato sauce!

I then did the dishes (I didn't do them all day because I've missed Corey so much I didn't want to waste time doing dishes) while she continued emptying the pantry, and then the kitchen drawers. My kitchen floor is covered in random bits and pieces but at least the dishes are washed, the bottles and dummies are washed and sterilized, and I have had breakfast. It's 4am and my jobs for the day are done. Hehe. If only.

I then had to go to the loo, so the ensuite floor is cluttered with random treasures too, including a teatowel and a plastic bib. Oh goody. She also pulled a clean spare toothbrush out of the packet that she pulled out of the 'childlocked' drawer and started brushing the floor. I need to learn to make my toilet stops faster.

Eventually my little Alexis showed signs of being tired. I took her to the nursery, closed the door so she couldn't run too far, changed her nappy, and then did a little waltz with her for a while. It helps settle her and calms me down enough to attempt cuddling her off to sleep. She was admitting she was tired but something still wasn't right. I lifted my shirt and sure enough she latched on. There's no milk left in there, but she must just like the comfort. Breastfeeding has been one of her favourite past-times for her whole 15 months of life. She isn't going to give it up easily is she. Is there any harm in continuing to let her pretend to feed for a while longer? I don't think so?

Now she's asleep I'm just cuddling her for a while to make sure she is going to stay asleep. If she wakes up after a few minutes we will be back at the start but if she sleeps long enough to realise she's tired then she should stay down for a few hours. Please!!!

Those of you who have weaned your children before, is it common for them to still want to nurse even though there's no milk? Do they eventually just outgrow this on their own? I'd love to hear your experiences please.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done to get your kids to sleep?              

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Welcome home Corey part 2


This post follows on directly from my previous post ( "Welcome home Corey part 1").

Corey recently had a brief business trip. (Honestly you should read part 1 (same link as before). While he was away I was quite sick and Alexis was sick too. My milk ducts took the killer virus as a sign to dry up completely, so I was surviving on my own, through sickness, with a sick toddler, without my "get out of gaol free card" of sticking her on the boob.  It was hell on earth for a few days but we survived. 

Some good came out of it all. Alexis is now officially weaned off the breast. Although it saddens me a little to see the end of an era I am also quite relieved as it takes the hassle out of trying to wean her before the baby is born, because it's done. Hopefully because it is so early she won't be jealous of baby Wormy having them in another 22 weeks or so. I'm also very much excited about giving them a break!

Alexis handled my milk drying up pretty well, all things considered. She still tries to breastfeed occasionally and then gets frustrated because she remembers there's nothing there. It's tough on both of us. We are doing well, but it is a little emotional too. In the past we would get through Alexis' sick nights by letting her mix sleeping and grazing on the breast almost continuously. It was good for me in a way that we couldn't resort to that because it would have drained my body that was struggling to cope as it was. I was not prepared to let her cry to sleep while she was ill so to get her to sleep I did have to resort to less than ideal methods such as multiple bottles of cows milk, driving her to sleep at times, and even co-sleeping. Co-sleeping was ok actually I'm starting to quite enjoy it, but I still sleep better when she's in the cot because I can sleep deeply without worrying I might squish her or she might fall off the bed. The extra cows milk, along with the existing virus plaguing her, gave her a belly ache, which has led to a horrible nappy rash. She's still happy enough until it comes time to change her, which has been really frequent. So the days have been long and the nights have been long and sleep has been few and far between.

So imagine my excitement when I got a phone call from my loving husband saying he was coming home a night early to help. Actually I wasn't that excited. Why, you may ask? Because I had the feeling the following would happen, as it did....

Corey got home late at night (after Alexis was in bed). I stayed up to welcome him but couldn't find my keys so he had to let himself in. He had to leave for the office as usual the next morning. He was also sick. As I was getting better and he was getting sicker I was supposed to feel sorry for him. Yay for me, I now had two patients.

Alexis has a habit of not going back to sleep once she realises Corey is home, so we thought it was best he hide away in the other room for the night. I asked him to move his stuff out of sight. He moved his suitcase and laptop without even questioning. I was up to Alexis a few times during the night and early morning. At one stage I went to the kitchen to get her a new dummy with her on my hip and she saw Corey's hat on the kitchen bench. How did I miss that!? No more sleep for me. "DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD"."Daddy's sleeping," I said as I tried to get her back to sleep. 

About 5am I gave up. I woke Corey, "there's a little girl here who has missed you". I thought he would stay up with her and let me go back to sleep, but he just wasn't up to the responsibility of watching Alexis who was in destructor mode. So we all got up and he plonked his dopey self in front of the tv. So much for being helpful.

In his defense he was legitimately sick. He was dazed, confused, vague, shivering, snotty, sweaty and just generally gross. He did the best he can. It didn't make it any better though, he had come home early for a few reasons but one was, "to help" and he was pretty much useless. I'm sure he was more upset about it than I was so I tried to not be a cranky cow about it and rub it in. I really did try. 

After a shower and cup of tea he pulled himself together and even managed to feed Alexis her breakfast while I had some breakfast. I ate some crunchy nut cornflakes (remember that, its important, lol) to get sugar into me quickly. I don't have them often, I bought them for Corey, I normally prefer something a bit more substantial. They were so yummy, I really enjoyed them.

I then decided to capitalise on Corey being home and the extra awake time and announced that I was going to have a shower BY MYSELF for the first time in 4 days. Alexis had calmed down, Corey had woken up, so I left them to their own devices and had some time out. It was bliss. I stayed in there so long and had it nice and steamy so that I could clear my congested head. I sort of kinda temporarily forgot I was pregnant! (Pregnant women aren't really supposed to have hot showers.) Whoops! Please forgive me baby wormy!

I turned the shower off and opened the door and got my towel. The difference in air temperature hit me hard. I didn't feel well at all. I ignored it as I always do. I stepped back into the shower recess and began the drying process. My darling husband walked in to tell me that he had managed to get Alexis to sleep. His timing was unfortunate because it was at that same moment that I was unable to hold my breakfast down any longer. I was unable to make it out of the shower either. WARNING WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION ALERT... Little pieces of crunchy nut cornflakes and milk filled the bottom of the shower. Corey, who has seen me give birth unphased, was completely repulsed by the whole situation. It turns out he'd been feeling queasy all morning but unable to articulate it. He lost his breakfast (which fortunately was only a lukewarm cup of tea) in the sink. What a funny pair we make.

Despite his better judgement he obeyed my request to take my towels while I begun washing crunchy nut cornflakes down the shower drain. That stuff goes EVERYWHERE. Little pieces of peanuts stuck in this crevice and that crevice.. It was a nightmare. I asked him to get me some Pineoclean and a sponge. He took forever. Turns out he had been sick again ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR!!! He had the sense to clean it up immediately, despite me (blissfully unaware) yelling out directions on where to find the Pineoclean in case he couldn't find it.

I decided to clean the rest of the shower while I was there. There wasn't much that hadn't been splattered anyway. At least the shower is now clean. It's pretty disgusting how it takes a random set of unfortunate events to lead to me cleaning the shower; such as when Alexis pooped in it or that time I attacked it at 10pm at night after I fell into the toilet.

When I was out and dressed it was time for Corey to leave for work. "Why do you bother coming home?" I asked with a smile. "I don't know sometimes," he said cheekily, "I really don't.

Our little terror princess slept peacefully through the whole ordeal but as soon as the garage door was down and Corey's car was out of sight she woke, crying that she had missed him. She almost always waves goodbye.

I actually rang Corey and asked if he could circle back and wave goodbye to Alexis and guess what, he actually did. Alexis giggled with glee and waved goodbye as we met him at the top of the driveway. The things you do for love! I gestured for him to wind down the window. As he did I lent in and whispered (vomit breath and all), "welcome home sweetheart."  
 

It's all well and good to laugh at Corey for being a little less than his usual helpful self, but in all actuality it reminds me just how "useful" he normally is. So, in deed, welcome home Corey, thankyou for all you do to help.  To all the single parents out there, my heart goes out to you. I don't know how you do it, I really don't.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome home Corey part 1

Yay, my fearless warrior has returned from his dusty adventures up North. What the heck am I talking about? Corey is home. You probably didn't know he was away because we have decided it was not a good idea for me to go "my husband is away" on the internet. Anyway, he recently had a brief business trip and now he is home.

Corey's trips seem to sneak up on me randomly with no warning. They're far enough apart that I get used to having him around but frequent enough that it was the deciding factor in me not returning to work. Every time he has one of these trips its been a different experience. When I was working I was so busy I barely even noticed he was gone. When Alexis was quite young my parents would come help me with her or we would stay there. She loved the extra attention so much that she sometimes would get upset when Corey returned home because she knew special grandparents time was ending. That was hard for Corey and I to deal with. As Alexis grew it became more and more noticable to Alexis that "daddy" was missing. She would bring my phone to me and ask to call him. She would still enjoy extra attention from her grandparents but started really missing Corey and running to him when he got home. This time was going to be a turning point for me because a) Alexis is much older now b) because she is weaned she has a lot more to do with Corey now c) I attempted to "fly solo" for the first time, managing without help from my family.

I learned a lot in those few days. It didn't help that Alexis and I were both terribly sick. Or maybe it did help that we were sick, because my expectations were not as high as they otherwise would have been. Anyone who has ever lived with or spent a great deal of time with me knows I can be a little hard to please. I am harder on myself than anyone else. A few times I've joked to Corey "I'll have this place spick and span before you get home". Sometimes I was upset I didn't achieve that goal, sometimes I did achieve that goal, only to be disappointed when he returned with a few loads of washing and filthy boots. To be fair he does clean up after himself, eventually, but it ruins the shiny clean house vibe. Anyway, this time my only goal was this: "me, Alexis and baby Wormy all still alive when Corey returns". Yay, a goal I succeeded in with flying colours.

I actually found, surprise surprise, that I enjoyed the special time just me and the kid(s). It's like an extension of the day but at night too. Nights are a bit more relaxed. I managed to feed us, shower us, clothe us, take the bins out, keep up with the dishes and even get a bit of sleep. So we had spaghetti on toast two nights in a row, that's only because we were sick and really didn't feel like eating a big meal. ;)

It's a lot easier now Alexis is older. Not only is she less of a drain on me physically and emotionally but she's also a fun little companion. As long as I'm either content to play blocks or playdough or read stories ad nauseum we are all good. Or there's the option of letting her demolish whatever housework I'm working on, that is always fun but quite messy. She is learning to interact with Corey long distance too. Alexis and I enjoyed talking with Corey over Skype. She is old enough to understand how it works now. She even had a private  "conversation" on the phone to him while I cooked lunch one day.

Yes it is getting easier but it still takes some getting used to. Although I miss him like crazy and can't wait for him to come home it still takes a little time to adjust to him returning home too. We always have the best intentions of a loving warm reunion and things just picking up where we left off. The best of plans in our heads rarely come to pass though. Children mess up plans. Sickness and fatigue mess up plans. Plans mess up plans. Read more about Corey's special welcome home experience in welcome home Corey part 2, when I get around to writing it. Right now though I'm exhausted.




Sweet dreams blogging world.
(Written 10:42 pm Thursday. I'll post when I get around to it).   

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To peek or not to peek?


Despite the fact that a day sometimes feels like a year, this pregnancy is flying along. In approximately two weeks my hubby and I will go in for bub's 18-20 weeks morphology scan. I know, that means I'll be half way! At the moment though, it means first and foremost that Corey and I have approximately two weeks to decide if we want to find out if we are having "an Arthur or a Martha" so to speak or if we want to be surprised on the day bubs born.

With our first pregnancy we chose not to find out the sex of the baby before she was born. It didn't bother us much until the night before I was due to be induced. I couldn't sleep at all I was so excited wondering if baby was going to be a boy or a girl. With all the drama of the birth (and Alexis' big head) it was such an amazing moment when the midwife said to Corey, "well dad, what do we have here?" and he said, "a girl!". I was so excited. I couldn't believe it. I cried tears of joy. The truth is that I really really really wanted a girl (sometime in my life. It didn't bother me if I was blessed with 4 boys first) and I felt so blessed to have been given one so easily. I can say with almost certainty that I would have been just as happy that day if I'd been blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy, but we'll never really know will we. I'd told myself the whole pregnancy it was a boy. Corey said the whole time it was a girl. He was right! At the end of the day it didn't matter to us either way we just wanted to meet our baby!

If I'd found out the sex of the baby during my morphology scan while pregnant with Alexis would we still have had that special moment when she was born? The "it's a girl" surprise moment. Could I have saved myself hours of guessing the gender and thinking of boy and girl names?

With the first pregnancy Corey and I wanted to wait to find out the sex of the baby a) to prove to ourselves that we could b)because we wanted unisex newborn stuff anyway so we could recycle it for multiple children c)because for us personally we didn't want to go "pink overload" or "blue overload" because we think babies look cute in white d) so our friends would be thoughtful with any gifts they chose to buy instead of grabbing the nearest pink or blue thing e) for the sense of mystery and intrigue f) for that magical moment when Corey discovered for himself when she was born and g)some of our family really wanted to wait and be surprised and we knew we couldn't keep a secret if we knew, h) because we thought if we are ever going to "wait and see", it's going to be the first baby.

We told ourselves from the first pregnancy that with the next baby we would find out. The reasons to find out seem more prominent this time than last time. This time if we find out the sex of the baby early we can prepare our daughter Alexis for the arrival of a little sister or the arrival of a little brother, rather than "the baby". Also if it's a boy I can just pull out and wash the unisex clothes (and some boy handmedowns that Alexis looked so cute in) and pack the pink stuff back up. I have no qualms dressing a girl in blue. Little girls look awesome in blue. But no boy of ours will ever wear pink. Sure he can use pink sheets and towels but not pink clothes. Not in public anyway ;). If it's a boy I can do the reading on hygiene etc for little boys, because right now I have no idea. If it's a boy we can think about boy names. If it's a girl we can think about only girl names and save us some hassle because boy names are hard! It will also be nice to not refer to baby as "it". Then again, is any of this worth it? Is having baby identified and named four months early really necessary? Does it compete with that moment in the hospital? Does it take away from the suspense when you send a message out "Firstname Secondname is here", as opposed to "it's a girl/boy!"

It's not as though Corey or I has our heart set on a boy or a girl and needs to mentally prepare for the "disappointment" if we don't get the one we want. We have verbally agreed that if this baby is a girl we will try again for a boy in the future. If down the track we have three girls and the fourth baby is still a girl then maybe Corey might need some time to get his head around that, but for now I'm sure an other little girl or a little boy would both be received with as much joy. We are second guessing whether we want to find out or not. Once we find out we can't "un" find-out. If we don't find out and we really want to know later we can always book another scan.

A decision has to be made soon. Or perhaps we won't have to decide. If we go into the ultrasound and the first thing the sonographer picks up is the identifying bits in all their glory then we won't have a choice will we? If the baby is discrete like Alexis was then we won't be tempted until the sonographer says "ok I'm going to go look to make sure everything is ok with the genitals. Now is the time to not look if you don't want to know." Will we peek? Or not peek? That's the question.

Did you find out the sex of your baby at the scan or did you wait til birth? Did you name your baby before birth or did it just come to you when you first saw them (we had a short list and when we saw Alexis we knew which names to choose), or did you umm and ahh for days? What I'm most interested in is if anyone has multiple kids if you waited for a surprise for the first baby but found out with the other(s), was it any different for you? Was it less exciting on the day? Or is the whole experience of meeting your baby for the first time a surprise enough? Meeting a new life for the first time has to be a pretty magical experience doesn't it.

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Can't catch a break

I just can't catch a break. It seems as though we three and a half are in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation and illness, madly scrambling to try to keep up with day to day life. Alexis has been teething on and off since February. We have gone from two teeth to eight teeth in that time. She does not teeth well. In between teething we have had her with HFMD, Corey and I with various viral illnesses, my usual autumn sniffles, and a bit of morning sickness thrown in for good measure. The nights when Alexis does sleep well I have to fight my natural urge to go check on her, or that negative little "voice" in my head that says "don't bother sleeping she'll wake soon". The problem is she often DOES wake as soon as I get to sleep.

I know that I need to encourage Alexis (and myself) to develop better sleep habits. The problem is that she has been unwell or in pain so often there hasn't been an opportunity to try. When she is well and sleeps well we are too tired to play with fire by changing anything. We are always playing catch-up. I nap during the day when I can. It hinders my ability to sleep well at night but I need it to get through the day. I am always tired when I first go to bed, but after a few hours I wake needing the toilet and the baby is most often thrashing around then. In this cold its hard to get warm and comfy again. We have recently started putting the reverse cycle aircon on heat. It helps Alexis sleep but it irritates me because it cuts in and out every few minutes. Expensive too. I think its easier to be awake myself then have Alexis up and down all night. I want what's best for her, but is a sick cranky pregnant mother a good thing? I generally sleep well when we co-sleep but I think its better she sleep in her cot.

To top it all off I think I'm coming down with that nasty virus that's going around. We had a few good days last week so I took her to a playgroup for the first time. We both loved it and we want to check out the church that hosts it. We didn't go on Sunday because Alexis didn't sleep well Saturday night. I've been sniffly for a few days but I usually am at this time of year so I didn't think much of it. It's only tonight when the lady messaged me to see if we'd be there tomorrow and I said no we're sick that I learned there's a nasty tummy bug going through the playgroup. 

I stupidly went to playschool live on Monday even though I should have been quarantining Alexis and myself. I was really looking forward to going and I was meeting my sister and niece there and I had their tickets. I didn't think I was that sick plus I knew there'd be other selfish sick people there spreading their germs. Now I realise the extent of how sick I feel I am kicking myself over it. I'm so sorry to anyone I infected.


It was incredibly fun but I think the whole stress of going (getting everything ready, parking, walking for yonks trying to find the venue, carrying Alexis the whole time because they had a no pram policy and trying to contain an active toddler before, during and after the show before waking back again) brought me down enough for this virus thing to beat me.

I've been up for approximately 3 hours and it sucks. I've laid there trying to will myself to sleep. I've been to the bathroom. I spent hours trying to convice myself I didn't need to be sick then eventually couldn't hold it in anymore. This sucks. I normally discourage myself from vomiting because I'm pregnant and sort of breastfeeding too. I've been telling myself to keep everything down for months, especially the last few days, but maybe its best to let the virus out of my system. I don't know. I don't know whether I should get up and try to eat something or try to go back to sleep.

Occasionally Alexis cries out once but then no more noise from her. Do I go check on her to make myself feel better? Then I run the risk of waking her and getting her to sleep was a mammoth effort tonight, I didn't get her down til so late. She gets very active when she's sick. I am having trouble keeping up with her.

At least she is cute and loving. She knows I'm unwell. She gave me extra cuddles and kisses last night. I'm trying not to give her my germs but she's got them anyway. She needs cuddles with her mummy. Argh once again I have no idea what the best thing to do is and it drives me crazy.                

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The perks of the job

There is no doubt that parenting is hard at times. Even those without kids are aware that having miniature versions of you requires sacrifice of time, money, spontaneity and attention.  However, with great responsibility comes great reward. I thought I'd share with you some of the reasons why being a stay at home mum is the best "job" I've ever had. Here are the good bits, what makes it all worthwhile.

- When Alexis cuddles me
- When Alexis kisses me
- When Alexis comes up to me and throws her arms up in the air for me to pick her up. (At the moment this is accompanied by her saying "down". Either she thinks down means pick me up or its a long-running joke. It's incredibly cute.)
- that look Corey gets in his eye when he watches me with Alexis
- how cute it is watching Corey and Alexis play together
- how peaceful Alexis looks when she falls asleep
- the way Alexis smiles and claps her hands when she does something clever
- the way she spins in circles
- the way she says "ooh ooh!" when she gets excited
- her laugh
- allowing Alexis to brighten the day of check-out-chicks, bank tellers, little old ladies at the supermarket and tradesmen
- cuddling up for naps together and waking up next to her
- the way she plonks herself in my lap with a book
- playing blocks, duplo, playdo or in our little ball bit (big plastic container full of balls)
- watching her dance
- having someone who appreciates my singing (although it hurts my feelings how she turns the keyboard off when I play!)
- watching her run
- being a big kid
- having an excuse to watch children's TV
- feeling baby Wormy move inside me
- wondering what baby Wormy will turn out like
- the way Alexis lights up and points to me when she sees me after we've been apart for a little while
- the way Alexis lights up and runs to Corey when he gets home
- the way she says "mumma"
- collapsing into bed at night knowing I gave it my all

Of course the hardest thing about being a mum is dragging myself out of bed five minutes later when she wakes up screaming, but we can't have it all can we?

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Noctobub strikes back


Sat 14/5
3am. 


To quote the movie "27 Dresses", "love is patient, love is kind. Love is slowly losing your mind"...  I don't know how much more I have to lose. 

Those of you who have been following this for sometime know that my darling Alexis is not the best sleeper. Some would say its because I spoil her and do not make her cry herself to sleep. I retort with the fact that she has inherited a double dose of stubborn. She also has an amazing set of lungs and has a mighty large amount of stamina, thus our past attempts at self-settling have been short-lived. Leaving her in the cot to cry-it-out causes more tears to me (and stress to her father and annoyance to the neighbours and probably everyone within a 2km radius) than her I'm almost certain. Whether it is good for her or not is arguable, but if I hate it that much it ain't happening.  If she wants to sleep she goes to sleep in my arms with minimal fuss. If she doesn't want to sleep then the war begins.

Where does Alexis' stubborn nature come from? Well, both Corey and I are "strong willed" individuals, as are both my parents (I love you but you are) and I would suggest (at the risk of getting in trouble here) that both of Corey's parents are more than capable of digging their heals in on occasion. The poor kid had no chance. Let's just say that within reason, Alexis does what she wants when she wants. I save the mum card" for when what she is doing is dangerous. For example I will not let her play on the road no matter what. The little things such as whether she eats a tiny bit of playdough or whether she pulls the clean clothes out of the drawers don't bother me overly much. If she stays awake late at night but goes to sleep happy then so be it. I do not want to crush her fighting spirit too much... Usually this is not a problem as she is intelligent and understanding (for a toddler) and quite fun to be around. She is so cute and sweet that usually "her way" is quite reasonable. There is only the odd occasion where I think "what have I done, I've created a monster", or, "this sucks". Sometimes it would just seem that my daughter is in fact a noctobub

Now would be bordering on one of those moments. It's 3:40. We have been up since 2. Corey is now sleeping soundly, I hope, but he has been up and down like a yoyo. Alexis woke us up at 2, which is not unusual and no big deal. After a quick nappy change and cuddle she was back to sleep.  What was inconvenient is that a few minutes after me getting back to bed and finally getting warm she woke again. I voiced my displeasure and Corey kindly offered to bring her in to me then go to the other room. It is cold and she is STILL teething. We assumed she just wanted mummy and would settle down in bed with me easily. 

You know what they say about assumptions? 

Half an hour later she was still not settled. She was shoving her hands up my shirt scratching and pinching me. Apart from telling her off, I was mentally writing a post called "stop groping me and go to sleep". Those who have been through weaning probably know what I mean... Bubs give up the breastmilk before they are prepared to give up the contact...We are still "feeding" at night but it seems more like she's just playing with them because there's not much there.  It's frustrating for both of us. I really had to go to the bathroom (annoying side effect of pregnancy. Gah). She was off the bed and at my feet in no time.  I tried to get her back to sleep in her own room. No luck.

I suddenly had a moment of brain function: she didn't really eat her dinner, she was probably hungry. I put her down to test the theory and sure enough she went straight to the fridge. I got her a bottle of milk and because I was hungry, cold and tired I made some porridge. We shared the porridge and I woke Corey up again because it was freezing and I couldn't for the life of me find the remote for the heater. I hate appliances that only operate by remote. They are evil. After turning the lounges upside down and going through all Alexis' toys he found it on the kitchen table under a piece of paper. Whoops!  

By this stage Alexis had been up far too long to go straight back to sleep. It is now 4:30 and she is dozing on my lap but she keeps crying in her sleep so I won't put her down yet. While I'm sitting up here's what we have been up to.

We shared the porridge, she had a small play with a singing dog toy from her Godmother, I sat and started writing this while she explored a bit and finished her milk. I have learned through past experience that it is best, when she is in these moods, to let her roam and she will come back to me when she is ready. She did one of those eye-watering "so that's why she didn't eat her dinner" poos. It is similar to a "so that's why she couldn't sleep" poo except solid. I cleaned her up, etc then thought she might go to sleep. No luck yet, she ran away, but she did come back with some books. I read her some (we always do before bed). She still didn't want to surrender but I knew she was tired.

I can crack the whip when I have to. It's just easier and less painful if I do it in such a way that she doesn't realise. The key is to find a way to keep her still long enough for her to realise she's tired. The easiest way used to be a breastfeed but that doesn't work anymore.  My husband can physically hold her still but doesn't often as he worries he might accidentally hurt her now she is so strong. He would prefer to take her for a drive. I can't really hold her still, I'm too weak plus I don't want her to accidentally whack me in the belly. I am definitely not driving her at 4am so I had to think of something.

I started singing and drumming on her bottom. It took a good 20 minutes or so but it worked. It was random enough to keep her still until she finally closed those precious eyes long enough for her to drift off to sleep.  She is so beautiful. Noctobub has been sedated and is back in her cage, at least for now. Yet again its 5am now, so if it was summer the sun would already be up.

Yes indeed, noctobub has struck again.  

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There were three in the bed...

You know that song?

There were three in the bed and the little one said "roll over. Roll over." So they all rolled over and one fell out.

Well it's a bit like that around here but not quite. At 5:30 Alexis woke up. Corey changed her nappy because Alexis has been doing such big wees that the nappies are actually starting to overflow if we leave them too long. I'm serious, it happened in the early hours of yesterday morning. We did not want a repeat of that.

When she was dry and dressed she would fall asleep in my arms with relative ease but not transfer to the cot. Perhaps she was playing me because she's used to snuggling in the big bed in the early morning. (It is becoming a bit of a pattern). Perhaps it was just too cold for her to settle down for sleep in the cot. Either way it was far too cold for me to tolerate sitting up on the couch with my chest hanging out for much longer, so into the big bed we went.

Corey volunteered to leave so we had more space but I said not to worry. She sleeps on my arm or close to it regardless of how much room there is. I was wedged between Alexis and Corey and HE rolled over and I accidentally rolled over. I discovered that I was quite comfortable. He couldn't handle the lack of space so he got up and left. So its more like, "there were 3 in the bed and the big one got up and left and killed imaginary bad guys on the internet so the other two rolled over."

At some stage a while later I woke to go to the toilet. When I got back this was all the space left. I tried to snuggle in and go back to sleep but its pointless now. Corey has to leave soon I'm better off having a shower. So its like "there were 2 in the bed and the big one had to pee so the little one rolled over".

The little one clearly doesn't seem phased by my abscence. I could try and put her back in her cot, but I just don't have the heart to move her. I know I'm a softy but just look at her.

"There was one in the bed and that little one said, I have you wrapped around my little finger, ah this is the life."   

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Awww - mothers weekend

Aww

This has been a pretty good mothers day weekend. I say weekend because Saturday was a lovely relaxing day where Corey spoilt me rotten and today we saw his mum and then my mum. It is always nice when Alexis catches up with her grandmothers, but yesterday was something extra special so that's what I'll be focussing on. 
----

Saturday

This morning Corey let me sleep in, then cooked me breakky, then took Alexis to swimming, then hung up some clothes, then prepared lunch while I got some things ready for a baby shower. He insisted I take Alexis to the party. I had wanted to leave her with Corey but he said he'd prefer I take her because she hadn't seen me much that day, which is fair enough. Watching her at the party was exhausting (she wanted to steal everyone's food and run onto the road.) After I was physically ill from running around after her, Corey rang "I have to go to the shops (to exchange a dodgy electronic device), do you want me to pick Alexis up?" I was so pleased!  I enjoyed the last little bit of the party then dropped past woolies to buy milk.  
I got home to see that Corey had vacuumed and mopped the floors and put a load of washing on. He'd even had to scrub some of the food stains off the floor. What an absolute champion. So that's why he insisted I take Alexis. To surprise me by cleaning the floors. It is the chore I struggle with the most, especially as Alexis chases and unplugs the vacuum cleaner and won't sleep through it. 

What a lovely mothers day surprise. Yes mothers day is tomorrow, but we have family stuff then, so my mothers day was today. So thoughtful of him. I am so blessed. I bet he's looking forward to the year when Alexis is old enough to do things for me without needing him to help. 

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Sunday

Alexis gave me beautiful cuddles and kisses in bed this morning. I got presents too, but they are nowhere near as exciting as cuddles with my girl and kicks from baby 'Wormy'.

Next year I'll have two little cherubs to cuddle, how exciting! 

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dining out

On Monday (labour day), Corey and I decided it was important to take a break from moving furniture and belongings around the house and spend some quality time for lunch. While we were moving furniture and boxes we had unavoidably dislodged some dust. Alexis was also a little overwhelmed by all the changes. We also had electronics on the kitchen table. When considering all these factors, we decided to go out for lunch.

Now getting take-away is not new for us (yes I'm a dodgy housewife), but going to a restaurant, that is a different story. Our version of dining out usually refers to the consumption of some greasy fast food that we earlier purchased through the drive thru. When you have a toddler, you will understand.

We have been to restaurants with Alexis before, but barely find it a pleasant experience. It is exhausting trying to keep her entertained and well behaved. She is a wonderful girl, but sitting still and being quiet are skills that children do not master at such a young age. Yet we tried. She is fine when she is actually eating so we thought as long as we ordered food she would like we would be fine.

We set ourselves up to succeed. We had a bib, spare clothes, nappies, wipes, a dummy, and an assortment of toys. Preparation goes a long way. As you can see from the picture we appealed to Alexis' independent and mature sides by inviting Dorothy the Dinosaur (Dor-Dor) and Dolly to accompany us.  

Alexis, Dorothy, and Dolly were all well behaved initially. They sat up nicely while we ordered. We ordered a garlic and cheese calzone entree because they don't do garlic bread there! We also explained that the fruit salad we ordered off the all day breakfast menu was for Alexis, as she doesn't eat kids meals. I ordered lasagna and Corey ordered a pizza. We deliberately did not order meals that would take long to cook.

The one thing we had forgotten was a sippy cup or bottle for Alexis. We had prepared one, but put it down at the last minute to find the keys, and sadly left without it. It didn't matter overly much as she enjoyed practicing drinking water out of a plastic cup. She did fairly well until she stopped concentrating and started deliberately tipping it all over whatever she could find. I'm sure Dorothy must get quite thirsty, so she probably quite enjoyed her drink. A fair amount of time in, there was still no sign of even entree, and Alexis was incredibly restless. There is a playground right next door to this restaurant, so I suggested Corey take her to play while I waited. He offered for me to take her instead but I wanted him to have the privilege and I said (truthfully) that I needed a rest anyway.

Eventually the garlic thingy did arrive and I called Corey to come back in. Alexis was reluctant to stop playing. They were having so much fun. She did however happily gulp down the garlic thing. I gave her really small pieces so it would take a while. It, at least, was very yummy. It should have been, because it cost more than it normally takes to feed Alexis and I combined.

It was at least another half hour after we finished and still no sign of food. Alexis had spilled water all over herself. She had a wet nappy, which I think was wet from the outside. I wrangled her and the nappy bag out to a park bench and begun the arduous task of changing her nappy and clothes. Alexis ran off chasing birds before I could dress her at about the same time I got the call saying lunch was ready. I caught her, held her by the hand, and forced her toward the restaurant while the nappy bag dangled off my shoulder with her clothes still in my hand. She was atleast wearing a nappy and singlet, but we still attracted a fair amount of "oh look at that poor lady" glances.

Corey managed to put pants on her and con her into the highchair while I snuck off to the toilet. Finally we were all seated ready to eat. I was excited, the food there is normally great.

Our meals were fairly ordinary. It was quite disappointing. Alexis picked away happily at her fruit salad though, which was nice to see. Unfortunately the apple was terrible. We watched her with bewildered amusement as she put a piece in her mouth with excitement, tasted it, pulled a face, then spat it out. She did this several times, each time severely upset that the apple was not better than the piece before. It was incredibly entertaining if nothing else.

Corey paid the bill while I assembled our assortment of baby paraphernalia, then we left. The most embarrassing part of dining out is also the best: leaving someone else to clean up. With the ridiculous price they charged for what they served up I don't really feel sorry for them at all. Well maybe just a little bit!             

We had a fun time, really, but we probably would have enjoyed sausage rolls in the park just as much, if not more.

What's your experience of dining with kids? Is it in the too-hard basket? Or the "I'm not paying $15 dollars for a garlic bread(!)" basket? Or do you find it fun, in a strange way. Any tips for me, a novice?   

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A massively long post about a massively long day

*holds nose and tries so hard not to vomit.*

So THAT'S WHY she wouldn't sleep.


Ever have one of those days where your little one won't have a sleep but they look tired. They act tired, running around but falling over randomly. You know they need a sleep. You try what usually works. (At this stage its a mixture of breastfeeding, cuddling, and bottom tapping while she sucks a dummy. No luck, just painfully sore nipples from her biting.)  You resort to back-up plan because she is hurting herself being so clumsy. (For me that's taking her for a drive.)  You give up, dejected. (I returned home and got her out of the car. I left her to play while I went to the bathroom.)

Suddenly the grizzly toddler is at your feet. There's a lot of grunting and squelchy noises, accompanied by a smell that would make a grown man cry. A smell that rivals slowly decaying roadkill. A smell that makes your eyes water.

As I try not to vomit I think to myself, "oh, so that's why she wouldn't sleep".  



This is what I wrote at approximately 1:30pm this afternoon. I thought that after she dropped her biological weapon Alexis would surrender. I thought after a brisk clean-up she would cuddle up to me, close her eyes, and go to sleep. Sweet blessed sleep. Alexis, the little darling, had other ideas. She was by this stage so incredibly overtired that she was hyperactive, unsettlable. She had previously had a 1 minute sleep at around midday. I hadn't put her down yet when there was a knock on the door from a handy man come to fix our door. She wouldn't go back to sleep because she just has to know what's going on when something new happens. She normally has one 2-3 hour sleep during the day these days. She thought she had a lovely long sleep. She only had 1 minute, if that, but she would not be told. The main problem was that I too have grown used to the leisure of a day sleep. I wake up multiple times a night (pregnancy does that), so the nap during the day really helps. I was a zombie without a nap. I tried my "back-up-back-up" plan. I took her into bed with me and lay there, comatosed pretending to be asleep. I tried the approach of "baby you might not think you need a sleep but mummy needs a sleep so please go to sleep." She giggled, shimmied off the side of the bed, and found my guitar and started "playing" it. I love that she won't surrender to peer pressure when she's older, but for now I wish it was just a little easier for me to bully her convince her I know what's best.

So I decided to give up, to pull myself together, and to cheat go do something constructive. I put the Wiggles on for her in the spare room which is now the study as well. Seeing as the computer is in there now I thought I'd turn it on and catch up with some of those important things I avoid, like making sure we are not running out of money. The computer was virtually screwed. That was a lovely surprise. I turned it off, informed my husband that he would need to deal with it later, and used my laptop instead.

That's when I tried to log into a site I'd only used once before. I googled the name of it to find the link. I wasn't sure what my "username" was, and I wasn't sure what my "password" was, but I thought I remembered. It looked different to how I remembered it. I tried and tried and tried but got extremely confused. The technical support people (via Corey, they won't talk to me) reset my password (*cough* multiple times *cough*) and still no luck. Eventually I tried googling the link again, and yes indeedy, I was trying to log into the wrong part of the site. (I stopped bashing my head into a wall long enough to write a quick fess up about it on my blog)

In the mean time, I was too absorbed in what I was doing to realise that Alexis had tired of the wiggles (to which my head plays a mixture of the hallelulah chorus and the funeral march at the same time) and sneakily absconded with my notepad and pen. Our budding little artist is quite talented. Fortunately she only drew on the paper and herself. She started playing Corey's drums with the pen but I quickly swapped it for a set of sticks, which she only protested for a brief moment. She has a mighty awesome buzz on her!


She still wouldn't admit she was tired but she was cranky so I decided to give her an early dinner. It worked. She gobbled down some pureed pumpkin Corey had previously cooked and frozen. It's all we had so I chucked in some bread too. The strange child gobbled it down like it was a fantastic delicacy. On seeing how well she was devouring the pumpkin I looked frantically for something else easy to serve, so I heated some store-bought frozen veggies (which Alexis has always refused to eat) and another serve of pumpkin. I covered the veggies in the pumpkin and added some cheese and tomato sauce. It has to be the weirdest combination ever. Actually no, I lied, the yoghurt covered sweet and sour chicken would be the weirdest ever, but this came close. She loved it. She wore it. I bathed her.

Corey got home as I was drying her and after a quick play he BBQd some steaks for us and did a cabonara side-dish thingy (we always have some in the cupboard for 'meh' days.) Yum! We let Alexis watch the ABC2 stuff (which we never do at night coz it's painfully annoying) and sat down to dinner as adults! It was very nice. I think I might try to feed and bath her early more often. The other up side was that she was in bed, sleeping soundly by 8pm, which is early for us. Alexis is usually a sleep in late, go to bed late, kinda girl. Apparently it's not healthy for babies, but bite me, we do what we can. Anyway, she was in bed "early" and I was exhausted so I went looking for Corey to say goodnight. Before doing that I sculled what I thought was a glass of water on the table. It was lemonade. Oops. I don't drink a lot of soft drink so it hits me fairly quickly!

Corey was in fixing the computer. He was asking me all these incredibly difficult questions (I wanted to be asleep remember) such as "what happened to it today", and "can you be more specific?" Argh, so difficult! Hehe. Anyway, I answered, said goodnight, went to the toilet for the 300th time that hour, and lay down to sleep. The sugar kicked in. Now I'm wide awake. Yep, that's typical. Silly me trying to keep myself well hydrated. Good news is Corey's fixed the computer so I can stop stressing over that (you know, in case I blew it up just by looking at it. I have that effect on desktops).

I am tired, and I should be. This morning was huge, before the whole stinky poopoo thing. We pulled the bins in (a mammoth task coz I have to walk around in circles convincing Alexis to follow me and scoop her up in the front yard before she runs onto the street then endure the tantrum), played playdough (which required me carrying her table, chairs, playdough, roller, cutters, doll and dolls pram into the shade and then back again), watched playschool (lol), had morning tea, did the dishwasher stuff, stewed some apples, read a zillion stories... I'm sure there were other things in there I've forgotten too. Oh yes, commented a few times on a facebook status about teenage mums being forced to finish school or lose their parenting payments. I don't disagree with that so much, because education is a good way to make sure these ladies are employable in the future, but then there were the obligatory "anyone who doesn't work is a bludger, make them work" comments. Yeah, stay at home mums do nothing all day, we just watch day time TV and look at porn on our iphones while the babies feed themselves, change themselves, dress themselves, clean up after themselves, educate themselves, amuse themselves, hug themselves, carry themselves, put themselves to sleep and have a smoke under the staircase. Seriously people, try it for a few months, see how you go!

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baby brain to the max

Here's a tip for you my friends. If a website will not accept your username and password after multiple attempts and contacting customer support to reset your password you might want to think something is not right. It pays to make sure you are on the correct webpage trying to log in to what you actually want to log in to.

Oh dear me I'm tired.

For the elaboration see the follow-up post "A massively long post about a massively long day"

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Parting with "stuff", make room for real "little treasures"

I'm unsure what to title this post yet. I usually write my main text then choose a title anyway. I have a few options in my mind: change happens, live with it; or parenting: growing up; or goodbye childhood memories; or out with the old; or chucking things out; or changing room; or cleaning out the closet; or.. I don't really know yet.

Corey and I have bought Alexis a bed. Not just a bed, in fact, a bedroom suite. That little girl is going to be decked out with such stylish furniture, I am secretly quite jealous. I will keep the details to myself for now, because it hasn't arrived yet. The reason I mention this though is that it has fastened our attempts at combining the contents of the study and spare room into one room. My parents are coming tomorrow to help us move the furniture, so the room is clear when Alexis' furniture is ready. By all reports it will take close to a month to get her new furniture but while we have time (the long weekend) we are going to make the most of it.

Let's set the scene with some background information.

I started mentally preparing this situation almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant. Seriously, I was hassling Corey about it 10 minutes after I peed on the stick. "Where are we going to put Alexis?... We are going to need a new car." I am a planner. Yes I am a worrier but I'm trying to give it up. I like to think about things, visualise things, take time to mull over things before I go for it. Corey is an avoider who can suddenly turn into road runner. He likes to avoid the prospect until the very last minute and then just suddenly snap into life and get it all done incredibly quickly. Corey can't stand me doing the hypothetical scenarios for weeks on end. My dad, well quite often I think Corey must be the biological son and I must be the in-law. My dad and Corey are quite similar (eek). Dad is a "do-er" through and through (although he would say he is not an avoider). When dad gets an idea in his head he is like a steam engine, he plows through until he gets it done in barely any time at all. Dad is incredibly efficient, and he leaves me freaking out in his tracks. I say it's because I like to make sure that once we do it we will only have to do it once. "Do it right the first time" is not such a dumb motto (although not a good one for someone who wanted to be a scientist!). So Corey and I have been preparing, the best we can with Alexis underfoot, for the "move" by getting as much junk as possible out of the way so we can work out what we want to go where.

Realistically, dad and Corey and mum and anyone who knows me know that I am not good with change. Even change I have been looking forward to for a very long time is still change, and thus petrifying. I am trying to give this up, and since Alexis has been born I have been much much better at dealing with change, but I still have a fair way to go.

Anyway, for some reason, when I'm pregnant, the nesting instinct overcomes my fear of change. When I was on maternity leave before Alexis was born I changed the house around every day or so. It drove Corey nuts! I found it invigorating. I was looking for the most practical solution. I was actually having fun too. I had a project to work on and I discovered I quite liked it. So, I am looking forward to combining the rooms and in the process of doing that I am looking forward to throwing out some stuff. We have, in the last two weeks, thrown out so much stuff. Many many garbage bags worth of stuff. I also have multiple boxes destined either for charity or a car boot sale. It feels kind of cleansing, in a way, to part with old things, junk, clutter, unnecessary memories, and old technology that we have already replaced multiple times but for some reason kept the old.

What happened when Corey and I first set up house together in our old townhouse was we took the entire contents of his bedroom and the entire contents of my bedroom and shoved it in the new house. We had a cupboard under the stairs and we had lots of wardrobe space too, so we kept a lot of things boxed up. When we moved from our townhouse to our new house we only had one week's notice, and I had a 4-month old, so we moved as quickly as possible. While I have been going through the study and spare room I have found multiple boxes and drawers that still haven't been unpacked. How embarrassing. So I've had fun going through them and having a good pitch. Basically anything we haven't used is gone unless it has sentimental or material value. I didn't want to throw anything of Corey's out without checking with him, because that's a big marriage no-no, so he's had the privilege of me coming up to him saying "do you need this box of stuff?" every few days. Poor Corey. I bet he's glad tomorrow is "moving day".

There are still some boxes that I will leave unpacked. Boxes of memorabilia and old school books. To Corey and I, we have kept these so long that it will not hurt us to keep them a while longer. I simply do not have time to go through them all right now. Who knows, there might be elements of genius in there. I used to be really creative and write stories. Often. I haven't written in so long, it's quite sad, but I love, on the odd occasion, to read through things I was once creative enough to write. Then again I sometimes get upset that I don't write anymore! One day, "when the kids are in school" I might pick it up again. "When the kids are in school" is something we used to use so flippantly. My in-laws would introduce me to their friends (beaming with pride) saying, "this is my son's girlfriend she's going to be a doctor" and I knew my heart wasn't in it anymore. I didn't want to disappoint them, so I'd say, "um, actually I'm going to work for a few years to get some life experience but I want to get back to it, maybe when the kids (who weren't even close to existing yet) are in school". These days, the kids being in school doesn't seem so far away anymore! Boy I do get easily sidetracked..

I have compiled some more boxes of stuff to join the pile in the cupboard, just for now. Some precious ornaments that we just don't have enough high places to keep them safe from curious little fingers. One day, "when the kids are in school", we will buy a display cabinet, but for now we have nowhere to put it, so in a box is as good a place as any. I have parted with many of my old favourite ornaments too. Some of them were old and busted, some I just don't feel the need to keep anymore. Now that I'm a mum I don't really need pretty things on display to gather dust. If I want to look at something pretty I can look at my daughter. If I want to see something cute I can watch my husband as he mows the lawn, cooks a meal or plays with Alexis. If I want to dust something Alexis has her own collection of beautiful dust-gatherers these days, and no doubt "baby wormy" will accumulate them too.

It is sad, in a way, packing away and parting with objects I've just always had. I have 23 years of "little treasures" to sort through. I'm retiring my beloved bookshelf that I have had since I was not long out of the womb. It's a good old melamine white wash pine backed typical 80s/90s bookshelf. It's falling apart. Corey is even parting with a much-beloved desk. We currently both have our desks from our parents' homes. We had to choose just one. I gave in and said we could keep his because it has a hutch (where we could keep our shiny smashy things) but once I realised the drawer was busted (again) I would not have a bar of it. My desk at least fits the computer and printer on it and has four drawers, it is the much more practical option. I do feel for Corey though, as his desk is a work of art, with photos and stickers covering it from floor to ceiling. I would love to keep it, but it's just not safe anymore. At the end of the day though it is just stuff. We've decided we would much rather have space and ease of living so we can have time and space to form new memories of precious moments with our real-life "little treasures".

Have you been through a situation like this? Did you find it refreshing parting with old possessions? Or was it incredibly difficult?

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The post that got deleted.


INITIALLY TITLED: SWEETHEART I LOVE YOU BUT GET LOST!

WRITTEN SATURDAY MIDDAY ISH

I posted this on Saturday afternoon and deleted it Saturday night after being discouraged from a few comments saying I was cranky, a typical woman (actually I'll take that one as a compliment but anyway), disrespectful, stupid, and un-Christ-like (which is fancy Christian speak for shame on you, you bad terrible selfish person). I doubt, going by the people who wrote the comments, that they meant to hurt me. They are lovely people, probably trying to help, but at the time it did get me down, because I was well quite frankly a hormonal pregnant woman. I had a "woe is me I suck at everything" moment and managed to stop myself deleting my entire blog (which I am tempted to do when it causes problems because really it just seems to cause so much hassle lately) by just deleting that one post. My husband, of all people, was terribly upset that I had deleted it. He thought it was quite funny. I had his full permission to post it before I posted it, and he laughed while he read it. So why would I take somebody else's opinion over his? Dealing with critics is, I realise, something I am going to have to deal with. When I encourage open commenting I am occasionally going to be challenged by feedback I don't wish to hear. That doesn't mean I have to let it force me into the foetal position crying like a school girl (or pregnant woman for that matter). I don't want to offend my readers, however if I wish to have an interesting blog with a diverse subject matter, I'm going to have to get a little controversial at times. So, call me disrespectful, young, rude, immature, heathen, I don't care. I'm learning. I'm putting myself out there. I'm identifying with other mums, and I'm pretty sure if we're all honest with ourselves we've had similar moments to this following scenario. So I am reposting my post from a draft I had saved in my emails. I want to make it perfectly clear that I love, cherish, and respect my husband. I do however think that sometimes he does stupid things. As we all do. This is one occasion that I think he should learn from, but he won't. I can't change him, and it's foolish to try, but why not have a laugh about it anyway. So here is the post, "sweetheart I love you, but GET LOST!"

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Argh just a little petty whinge for now. I have much more to blog about but posts like that will take a while to post. I'm looking for solidarity ladies. Or tell me to harden up if you like. ;)

Corey took Alexis to swimming this morning and I stayed home to have a sleep because I had a rough night. It's a 10:30 lesson, so not super early. I had been up with Alexis for 3 hours before they left. The original plan with Corey taking Alexis to swimming lessons on Saturday mornings was so that I could vacuum and mop the floors while they were out, but since I've been pregnant I pretty much sleep the whole time. This is not a new development.

He knew I'd probably have a sleep. As he was leaving he said "what are we doing for lunch?" I said "I don't know but don't get take away (we are over budget for awhile coz he just bought himself a laptop) we can work it out when you get home." "Can you put something in the oven?" "No I'm tired I'm having a sleep."   A few minutes later I messaged him "we will have either peanut butter sangas or canned spaghetti, up to you."

Now what I'm hoping is that other people with brains will agree that conservation could be interpreted quite easily as "leave me alone I'm tired, I'm pregnant, I've had a rough night, I am going to have a sleep.  If you are hungry when you get home raid the pantry or fridge. You are, rumour has it, an intelligent young man. Work it out for yourself."    

I then went to sleep.

He rang me after swimming. First on my mobile. He didn't leave a message. Then he rang the house phone and left a message, "hey I couldn't get you on your mobile, spaghetti sounds good." What the heck!? What is wrong with his brain that he feels the need to wake me up to ask for spaghetti? It takes 90 seconds to heat it up!

When they got home Alexis was asleep, so I could easily have had an extra hour of sleep. He had no need to bother me. He said he had rung to warn me that Alexis was asleep in case I was vacuuming, possibly, but he didn't mention it on the answering machine message.

What angered me the most was his attitude when he got home. He knew I was tired and cranky this morning. He knew I was up most of last night. He knows I sleep while they're at swimming. He knows the home phone with the answering machine is beside our bed but just out of rolling distance, that it is obnoxiously loud, and that it continues to beep until you get up and replay the message.  There was absolutely no reason why he needed to call me either, in my opinion. We have had this discussion several times before.  

Now if he had said, 'I'm sorry, I didn't think" that would have been fine. But he said "you should have had the home phone off the hook". Yes, usually when I'm trying to sleep during the day I take the phone off the hook but that is when Alexis is home with me. I won't take the phone off the hook when Alexis is at swimming lessons in case there is an emergency and Corey needs to contact me.  To me that is common sense. I'd hate for there to be an accident and Corey frantically be trying to call me while I blissfully sleep. That would be terrible.

I expected a comment along the lines of don't overeact or don't be unreasonable, but no. My delicate little wallflower of a husband replied with this, "well what if I need you during the day at work and I can't get you. What if I have an emergency." My comment of "you're a grown man you can look after yourself" was not well received.

What do you think, blog readers, was it unreasonable of me to be cross with him? Or do you know first hand the frustration of a husband just not getting what "this is me time" means? How do you explain to your beloved that you care very much about him but if he continues to bother you for no reason you are likely to find the nearest blunt object and drive it into his skull? What do you then do when he laughs at you and says, "you are cute when you're angry"?

Now I'm cuddling Alexis back to sleep he is in my face asking how long to heat the spaghetti for. My response? (Harsh whisper) "READ THE CAN!"

He's never gonna learn is he? ;-)            

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