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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nothing is sacred

From the early weeks of pregnancy it becomes painfully apparent that your life is no longer your own. This small living thing takes over your body so it is no longer your own. The tiny miracle causes incredible sickness and as he or she grows your body is stretched beyond comfort. Your belly itches. Your bladder,bowel and anything else getting in the way become playthings as the tiny body explores its new environment. Yes from very early on pregnant women realise that their bodies are not their own.

Through antenatal appointments and childbirth itself, you quickly learn that privacy and modesty is a thing of the past. Giving birth in a public teaching hospital is probably the socially acceptable form of a pretty girl getting drunk and falling asleep naked in a prison. Everybody wants a turn. Especially if there's stitches involved.

When you bring your darling creature home you expect a slight increase in modesty and privacy. Don't get your hopes up. If you choose to breastfeed, then say goodbye to modesty for however long you choose to feed. Or should I say until your child decides its time to stop playing with them. Also say goodbye to free-will and independence  because the baby will need you whenever you try to shower, sleep, or slip a morsel of food into your mouth. This is normal and somewhat expected.

Slowly but surely the little cherub takes over your stuff. Alexis took my chest of drawers, my blankets, my old toys, my boot space, my books, my spare room, my ipod, my cd player. Then she matured a little and now fights for control of the couch, the remote, the dvd player, my piano, the washing machine, the dryer, our playing cards, my art set... All this stuff is just stuff, so no big deal. Although now she wants my laptop, my phone and my wallet, and I have to draw the line somewhere but now she can reach the top drawers, the bottom two shelves of the cupboards, the kitchen table and the kitchen bench we are quickly running out of places out of reach.            

What hurts me the most is sharing my food. Alexis and I have very similar tastes. Ever since she started eating solids she has slowly but surely taken control of the fridge and pantry. One by one items have gone from "you won't like this" to "ok have a try." One by one I have to learn to share my favourite foods.  All of my favourite foods are now unable to be snuck into the house without Alexis finding them and pestering me until I let her devour them. Some are very good for her: pear, banana, strawberries (this still brings tears to my eyes), watermelon, grapes, sweet potato and yoghurt. Some are ok: peanut butter, cheese, just right, buttered toast, tomato sauce (random I know) and canned spaghetti. Other treats I would rather she avoid but over the last 6 months they've snuck in there anyway I always had to share with Corey but its different because Alexis can't hold her sugar anyway near as good as he can (he seems to be immune). These include banana cake, cupcakes, muffins, lollies and timtams (gasp!).

Indeed it would appear that nothing is sacred anymore but sometimes I forget.

Every now and then Alexis is so engrossed in TV that I think I can duck off to the bathroom for a few minutes. Foolishness. I don't know what it is but a mother can never be allowed to do their business in peace. It must be an unwritten law. Either the phone will ring, the door will be knocked on, or SHE WILL FIND ME! We have two bathrooms and it seems to be a game where she has to find me. Hide and seek anyone?

Well today while she was totally mesmorised watching something on TV I cut myself a nice slice of chocolate cake. I didn't let Alexis see me because I didn't want to share. Well, when you gotta go you gotta go, so I put the cake down on the kitchen bench and snuck off.  

She found me. She was incredibly proud of herself. I wasn't the only thing she had found. In her hand she clutched one small piece of chocolate cake. Crumbs covered her mouth and her clothes. They also covered the ensuite floor. Oh no, it's a very crumbly cake.  After the quick rush to wash hands etc I investigated the damage. She had spread a trail of cake crumbs from the kitchen bench out of the kitchen, through the dining room, along the hallway and across the master bedroom carpet.

A word of advice for you if you find yourself in this situation, don't try to vacuum it, it only makes it worse.

So I spent a few minutes scrubbing the bedroom carpet trying to get rid of smushed chocolate cake smears. It's not so bad. It's quite funny, really. I'm sure she enjoyed the cake, if any of it actually made it into her mouth. I really wanted that cake though! Oh well. Sharing is caring right?

One of these days I will get it through my head that she can reach the kitchen bench. It might be time to put that safety gate back up I think! We have thought about it, but one of the screwy things is missing and we haven't been able to find it yet.  Alexis has hidden it somewhere.  Argh she gets into everything. Please tell me I'm not a terrible negligent mother. Hehe. Toddlers get into things, right? She hasn't eaten cat poo or cockroaches yet. I choose to think I'm doing well!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Body image for babies?

This is madness.

Here we have two shirts. Both are size one. Both are bought from the same shop. They are the standard brand for that shop. The one on top is a girls shirt. It's white with aqua sleeves. As you can see it is pretty and dainty and cute but teeny tiny. The blue shirt (double-layer blue) behind it is a boys shirt. Sure, boys and girls are different, but at one year of age they are not that different apart from the obvious (and that won't affect a shirt). This is ridiculous. I've often thought that girls clothes looked tighter and skimpier than boys clothes. Well here you go. Am I the only one who thinks this is a troubling sign of the times we are in? I'm well aware Alexis will have to worry about her size and appearance when she's older but what happened to letting our babies be babies?

The only possible other difference is the one on the bottom was bought a year or so earlier than the other shirt, so maybe clothes sizes have reduced across the board but I'm not convinced. I just bought Alexis some size 2 Tshirts from girlswear and boyswear (cheap Ts from boyswear will do her quite fine around the house thank you very much)!. I haven't got any of them handy to do a comparison of as her girly shirts are all filthy from the weekend. Watch this space, I'll keep you posted.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Winter - I guess it's not ALL bad

Winter cops a bit of a bad rap at times. Personally I am not a fan. The shortening of day length and cold windy days get me down at times. I thought that being pregnant I would enjoy winter but I still find myself craving the arrival of spring. It's not all bad though, and because we are stuck with winter for a few more months yet, I've attempted to come up with a positive for all the things I dislike about winter. Here goes nothing.

:-( it's cold
:-) it's not hot

:-( it's so dry (grass is dry, rain tank is empty, skin dries out)
:-) less storms
:-( too cold for washing to dry on line
:-) dryer heats up house nicely

:-( too cold to play outside for long
:-) grass doesn't need mowing much (as opposed to summer it needs doing every week)
:-( weeds still grow just fine
:-) not outside as much = not so much of an issue

:-( hard to get motivated to get housework done
:-) nice weather for cuddles
:-) nice weather for soup
:-( Alexis doesn't eat soup (or anything that requires us spoon-feeding her) 

:-( too cold to bath Alexis at night
:-) showering her at night is fun so is letting her have a nice long bath during the day

:-( the days are too short
(Some people say kids go to bed earlier and sleep later but we have found it to not be the case for us. Because the sun sets at like 4:40 here Alexis is up for hours after the sun and actually wakes up earlier..  although
:-) usually when Alexis wakes during the night its easier to get her back to sleep and sometimes she even sleeps through
:-( it's so hard to get out of bed in the morning
:-) nice weather for a warm cup of tea 
:-( I never know what to wear or what to dress Alexis in when we go out because some places have the heater on and some don't
:-) this winter I introduced Alexis to her first babyccino. She didn't really like it but it was fun.

:-( more clothing = more washing
:-) less random cuts and bruises because clothes cushion falls

:-( having to wear clothes to bed
:-) excuse to buy cute pyjamas (I got mine for mothers day)

:-( have to fight with Alexis to dress her quickly because she tries her hardest to run around naked
:-) she has decided us chasing her around is hilariously entertaining... forced exercise for us

:-( I just want to eat almost constantly
:-) I'm pregnant so I'm allowed to
:-( hard to find good quality fresh fruit and veg and salad at the shops and what they have is really expensive
:-) at least carrots are cheap and go in just about anything 
:-( Alexis has learned to say "cake" and everyday at about 10am she asks for cake
:-) I enjoy baking and the oven warms the house up
:-( more mess to clean up
:-) Corey doesn't mind if I leave a few dishes in the sink if he gets cupcakes or muffins to take to work for morning tea

:-( I am reluctant to introduce Alexis to painting because it's so cold outside and I don't want the mess/fumes inside (especially cold windy days where the windows stay closed) 
:-) she seems relatively content with coloured pencils and textas at this stage

:-( my hands crack from cold and dry.. no moisturiser seems to stop it. I've had it every year since highschool.
:-) sometimes it gets me out of doing the dishes and I do refuse to scrub cloth nappies because of it. (We use disposables but we use cloth nappies to line the change table. We try to do mess-free nappy changes but its next to impossible)    

:-( its so hard to get up when Alexis wakes in the night

The best thing about this winter?

It should well and truly be over before our newborn baby comes along. I would not fancy breastfeeding in the middle of the night in this weather! 

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My all-nighter with the gorgeous blonde

Since my post "old before my time" I have had a couple of good days. I want to blog about those, I really should blog about those, but in typical blogger-mummy style for every good day there's a story that's not so glorious begging to be told. In typical blogger-mummy style a good day is followed with a rough night. That's where I am at now, so that's the story I'll tell, for now. I do hope I can fill in the gaps on the good days soon.

My darling Alexis is sick. My strong, independent, boisterous toddler has a sniffle and a cough and is in a fair amount of pain in her congested little head. She is, at this moment, my innocent, vulnerable, tiny little baby girl. I am, for now, her safety blanket. I am, for now, not getting sleep. I am, for now, the 24/7 on call nurse. I am happy to do it. I am just concerned how I will function ok all day and at the party Wednesday night. Will anyone notice if I sneak off and sleep in a corner for a few hours?

I have had a sniffle since Sunday and I tried so incredibly hard not to pass it on to Alexis. Share and share alike, she's come down with it anyway. She was a little snotty and chesty Tuesday morning but Tuesday afternoon I dropped her off at her grandparents' as planned. I had a few blissful hours of solitude while I went to the shops to buy myself some proper winter maternity clothes. There was a sale on and I desperately needed clothes to fit me and I don't feel guilty (surprisingly). Alexis was fine. She had a great time with grandad and nanna and would have been warmer and happier there than at the shops.

She cried most of the way home though. We played Peekaboo under the window shade while I stopped to get petro which was actually fun and tear free. I have one of those cards that lets me pay at the bowser - its the best invention. I then gave in and put the wiggles cd on for her and she somehow fell asleep through it 5 mins from home.

As foolish as it can be to let a baby nap at 5:30 pm it worked in my favour because I got to cook dinner without her under my feet and Corey and I got go eat together in peace. Corey was all excited thinking she was down for the night. Whilst I admire his wishful thinking I couldn't help but giggle when she woke just after we finished eating.

When she woke she was miserable. Absolutely inconsolably miserable. We thought she had "cooked her brain" (an expression we use to mean overheated in her sleep and woken up groggy) so we stripped off some layers and offered her some juice (sugar usually helps) while we got her dinner ready. No luck. Then we thought she just wanted mummy cuddles because even though she enjoys her special time with her grandparents she often punishes me when I get back for leaving her in the first place (the main reason I'm so reluctant to accept offers of babysitting).

Anyway, desperate to get her to stop crying, we put on her favourite wiggles video. Yes video, good old VHS in the VCR. The old Wiggles is, in the not so humble opinions of myself, my husband, and my impressionable offspring (including the one in the womb) a talented display of musicianship and manic genius. The new stuff, quite frankly, is so overproduced it makes me want to vomit. Oh how I digress...

Needless to say, the wiggles calmed my daughter and for that I am forever grateful. We transfered her to the highchair, laced her juice with panadol, and let her sit and pick at it while she watched wiggles. Corey rewound it for to watch again her twice until she had eaten enough. She had some of her juice but not much. It was a long shot, we never give her juice, but I thought it was worth a try.

After we showered and dressed her (always an extremely fun but tedious adventure) she was asking for more of her juice. We thought, why not, at least she will get more of the panadol into her. It was a great idea until she took the lid off her sippy cup (you learn something new everyday) and tipped it all over herself and the floor (and walked it throughout the house). Corey mopped the floor while I changed her.

Somewhere throughout this we decided to dose her up with some baby nurofen because we weren't sure how much panadol she'd had. It's "safe" to administer paracetemol and ibuprofen concurrently and although I hate doing it and secretly criticise those who choose to do it willy-nilly, I remembered the mother of all headaches I had on Sunday night and did not wish for Alexis to have to endure that.

"Where's the syringe for the nurofen?" Corey asked innocently. Oh bother. I had thrown it out a few months ago because we ran out of nurofen. I had intended to replace it. In typical baby-brain brilliance I had put the empty bottle back in the box, put the box back in the medicine cabinet, and forgotten all about it.

So began the mad rush to find a chemist open after hours. Corey thought it best if we all go so Alexis fell asleep on the way back. Stupid stupid stupid me insisted we wait to swap the towels into the dryer first (there was only 12 minutes left on the washing machine afterall). Then the road the chemist was on was closed and we had this annoyingly long detour. We asked the traffic man how to get to the chemist and the *don't call the traffic man nasty names Karlee its not his fault* said, "too bad it just closed. You're blocking traffic keep moving". Argh!

We drove some more and managed to find one. Corey, who had forgotten his shoes, shuffled in standing on my thongs, and returned triumphant with baby nurofen and nasal spray with aspirator. I would have gone in myself, maybe, if I was wearing appropriate attire, but as is my custom I wasn't.

We then begun the drive home. We put Alexis' car-sleepy-music on expecting she'd drift off. Half an hour later she was still up, just staring into space in the carseat. We tried to find some decent music on the radio. Sometimes "doof doof" (repetitive music with lots of bass) lulls her off to sleep. I searched through the presets. Talking, talking, talking, Bohemian rapsody, talking. Not a great choice. So I hit the manual change and found a station with an ok beat. The lyrics blared, "this is why you're sh*tting me, this is why you're sh*tting me". I quickly changed the chanel but it was too late. Corey and I looked at eachother and burst out laughing. That was the end of trying to get Alexis to sleep.               
When we got home we gave her the nurofen and she sucked it out of the syringe so she must have known she needed it. She usually puts up such a fuss. Then she walked over to the fridge and pointed at the bottles as if to say, "stupid parents I can't go to sleep you haven't given me milk yet." We laughed and gave her a bottle.

I then read her a few stories and we lay on the mattress on her bedroom floor while I sung one Billy Joel song after another while she finished her milk. She probably would have fallen asleep if we didn't have to change her nappy. Then she probably would have fallen asleep after that if I didn't decide to be a horrible mother and have to go to the toilet...

In the end I climbed into bed with her and after about half an hour of cuddles, stroking, patting, and singing she finally closed those precious eyes and drifted off to sleep. I've never been so happy to hear her snore. We had already prepared for me to sleep on the mattress beside her bed, so I got settled and went to sleep.    
I chose to sleep there for a few reasons. One, I was worried about her to be honest. Two, when she is sick she wants to know mummy is near and my presence comforts her. Three, because when she cried out I could just say "mummy's here" and reach out to her then roll over and go back to sleep, as opposed to wondering down from the other end of the house. Four, because if I get go her immediately when she wakes she's more likely to resettle. For 3 hours I dozed on and off in between resettling Alexis. From about 2am I could no longer sleep. I would just drift off and she would cough up and spit up or blow snot bubbles out her nose. It was terrible. Eventually I tried to use the aspirator to suck some snot out of her nose while she was sleeping. She batted my hand away and rolled away from me. Dejected I figured "fine she doesn't want me I'm just interfering and getting in her way."                 

I carried my pillows back to my room. If there was nothing I could do for her there was no point me being kept awake by her noise. I spent some time on the toilet. "MUMMA!!! Waaah! MUMMA!!! Waaah!" In those few minutes Alexis had wanted me. I found her on the mattress where I had been sleeping. She'd got down from the bed to look for me. I felt terrible. I gave her a cuddle and tried and tried to get her back to sleep.

I had to get in bed with her again. I cuddled, pat, sung, rubbed her back, rubbed her belly. After hours (no kidding) she fell asleep. I saw the sun come through the window. I closed my eyes. I heard a door creek. Corey was up to go to the loo. I groaned. I messaged him to turn the house phone off. I closed my eyes. I heard footsteps. "Oh so cute", he whispered. I had nothing to throw. I closed my eyes. I started drifting off. I heard the hot water system kick in. I closed my eyes. Alexis coughed. I closed my eyes. Alexis banged her head on the bed rail. She whinged at me for taking up space. I gave up. I left her there, sleeping.

I came into the bathroom to use the loo. "You scared the crap out of me," said Corey, "where's Alexis? "Asleep," I grizzled. "Ok you go back to sleep?" he asked."I dunno, its not a great start to the day. You forgetting something?" "No, its on your Facebook". I muttered something about that being about as personal as the randoms I haven't seen in years posting on my wall. He left, came back in with an envelope and shoved it in my face..."I'm on the toilet, not now!" Argh!!! Corey (trying not to sound cranky as he storms off): "happy birthday".  

Thank God Corey is forgiving. And bought me chocate for my birthday.  We are about to sit for breakky and then I will read my card. I need to eat something first so my brain functions. Wormy is kicking me, "mummy I hungry!!!" Pardon me for being a little cranky, babe, I'm just tired, and well, cranky. When I used to joke about wanting to spend my birthday tired from being kept up all night this isn't really what I had in mind. Oh how life changes with the arrival of children. 

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Old before my time!?

I'm sick yet again. I guess I've overdone it. I took Alexis to the park on Thursday. I had to kill a few hours at the shops on Friday while the car was in for a service. We went out Saturday night. We had an early morning Sunday and I made the stupid mistake of washing my hair and not drying it straight away. That seems to be all it takes.

It's not like I was overly irresponsible. On Saturday night we went to a family member's house. We had a lovely dinner and watched a movie on TV. I relaxed on the couch cuddling Corey while Alexis was spoiled by her nans. It's not like I was out in the cold scantily clad or trying to do too much. 

On Sunday we had a garage sale but Corey did the vast majority of everything. I was inside with Alexis. I was baking cupcakes. I only went into the garage occasionally to take something out to Corey or relieve him while he ducked into the loo for a minute. Then I sat out on the driveway in the sun at midday to get some of whichever vitamin it is you only get from sunlight. I had already dried my hair by then. I was trying to be a good girl. Really.

By 2pm I was sneezy and shivering and grumpy. By 4pm I was a nightmare. By 6pm I was a really unhappy whingy sooky lady. By 7pm I was burning hot. By 7:15 I was just well and truly over it all.

I'm cranky at myself. We still haven't been well enough to visit that person who we have to be well to see. We were almost better and I had to go get sick again. Yes I should have dried my hair straight away Sunday morning instead of messing around trying to find other things to sell (none of which we sold). I should have napped when Alexis was sleeping instead of icing the cupcakes. I shouldn't have eaten a cupcake then whinged I couldn't sleep! I was careless but not intentionally. 

I was only trying to be a good wifey and do something nice for Corey for once. He was the one out there in the cold by himself waiting for people to turn up. He was the one selling things and making a bit of spending money for us. Turns out he was enjoying having a chance to relax and read a book but I felt guilty not being out there when the whole thing was my stupid idea. He did love my cupcakes though, so that's something.

I just wanted to do something a little different. I get tired of life being about washing and nappy changes and saying no we are not watching Wiggles again you already watched it today, and trying to get Alexis to sleep and trying to clean up and trying to make sure there's always something to eat and eat with.

I do love being a stay at home mum. For me playing with Alexis and attending to her immediate needs is top priority. When she sits in my lap or cuddles me or kisses me or does something cute or clever or falls asleep in my arms I wish she could stay this age forever. Now she's older though she doesn't need me constantly so I have less excuse to not pull my weight. I do enjoy housework because I get a good sense of satisfaction when I've done it well. Corey doesn't expect me to get much done but I like to stay on top of things because it makes all our lives easier when I'm organised.

I'm just tired of being tired and sick of being sick. I'm bored, if I dare admit it, of trying to just do the bare minimum. I'm frustrated that I can never get the "bare minimum" done because I try to attempt extra bits and pieces and then run out of steam. I don't really have time to blog but I do it because it's the one thing I do for me. I enjoy writing, I enjoy reading old posts, and yes I can admit it I feel good when I read nice comments (there's nothing conceited about that is there?). Every now and then I want more. I want to do paintings for my kids and bake goodies and try new recipes and go to playgroup and shop for new clothes and introduce Alexis to the world around us. It shouldn't be that hard. 

It's not in my nature to want to do something and not try to do it. It is not in my nature to deal well with failing to achieve what I set out to do. It upsets me to think I'm older and frailer than I used to be and my body can't handle what it used to. It's annoying to admit I'm "old before my time". At almost age 24 I feel like I imagined being 50 would feel like. It is a little hard to take.

It's hard to find a peer group. Young intelligent stay at home  mums do exist, and I am privileged to know a few, but we all seem to be in the same boat of wanting to catch up but being too sick, too tired, too scatter-brained (brain atrophy from not putting it to proper use is real, dammit), or too "busy" (trying to do too much or feeling like martyrs) to organise a catch up. At least with Facebook and blogging we can encourage eachother online, but it really isn't the same. 

Most of my friends from uni are either still studying (phd, med school, etc) or in high-paying well-respected careers. They have opportunities I simply don't have - parties, expensive food and drink, buying houses or travelling around the world. Am I jealous? Only a little bit, only every now and then. I try not to be. I know that what I have is so amazing. Some of my friends have admitted to me quite openly that they would give it all away in a heart beat for a hubby like Corey and a daughter like Alexis. I know I am truly blessed. Yet sometimes I want to hang out with the gang just for old times sake. I keep meaning to invite them all over for dinner or something. I might get around to it one day.

I'm not unhappy, not as such. I'm just reaching that point of adulthood where I have to realise I'm a grown up now. I have responsibility and although I would love to be able to walk around with wet hair for a few hours I can't really do that anymore. Not in winter anyway. My body is focusing all its energy, resources and strength on growing this little miracle inside my womb. It's not weakness to admit I'm not as healthy as I would like to be.

I need to shift my way of thinking more than anything. I can't be the quintessential over-achiever anymore, and that's ok.  It's not selfish or lazy to stop for a rest. It's ok if we get takeaway for dinner when we can afford it.  I'm not a bad wife if my hubby does the groceries and/or does the dishes and/or puts Alexis to sleep and/or does some washing. Just because I need his help doesn't mean I should feel useless or worthless. Corey LIKES helping. What he doesn't like is seeing his wife crying in bed in a heap because she's upset she can't do what she wants to do and feels like a burden. 

Alexis doesn't mind if mummy sits on her tushy watching wiggles with her, in fact she quite likes it. Alexis doesn't mind missing playgroup as long as I make an effort to play with her at home when we'd normally be there. Alexis doesn't need fancy meals as long as she gets something from every food group she's ok. She's happy with wheetbix for brekky, yoghurt for morning tea, peanut butter sandwich for lunch, an apple for arvo tea, veggies, meat and macaroni n cheese for dinner.. She doesn't need the best, she needs her mummy happy and healthy.           

Wormy just needs me to eat and drink and sleep and say "I love you" and tickle my belly.

It's not really that hard is it? Maybe if I aim a little lower I might just meet my goals. Then I might feel well enough to take on more. Seems easy in theory. As long as I don't overdo it when I get well again. ;)

I think winter is making things harder for me. Extra clothes = extra washing. Less time outside = extra mess to clean up inside. I can't control the weather though so I might as well try to embrace it. I had intended to write a post about the positives of winter to cheer myself up but I got sidetracked writing this instead. That's ok. I didn't do what I set out to do but what I came up with is good too. I can always write the other post another time.

Do you struggle with being content to do less? What is your bare minimum? 

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

to spank or not to spank - is that the question?

I've been thinking a fair bit lately about discipline, boundaries, rules and stuff like that with regard to parenting. It overwhelms me. I don't want to do the wrong thing. I don't want to be too harsh with Alexis but I don't want to let her run amuck thinking she rules the roost either. I want her to be sociable, considerate, kind and caring yet I want her to be confident, assertive, independent and self-motivated. That is a lot to ask of a 15 month old, but that is what I want for her as an adult. I believe that personality, whilst somewhat genetic, is mosly due to our experiences early in life. Bad behaviour can be unlearned and good behaviour can be taught in later years, but my desire is to give her a good start by fostering good habits early in life so she doesn't have to struggle with it later. But how do I do that?

This following link is to a blog I read. Gullible New Parent: Quote a Day #3 - NutureShock. Fellow Blogger from Gullible New Parent loves to read things intellectually and summarise them for her readers. I often enjoy her take on things. From reading this post and following up some links in it I am thinking that the form of discipline parents use is not as influential as how they feel about it and how consistent they are. In cultures where spanking is normal spanking isn't damaging to children (provided it is controlled and calm) because they grow up knowing spanking is out of loving discipline and they know that if they disobey they will be spanked. Spanking a child in anger as a one-off reaction to an offence can be far more damaging, according to some research. I'm really sorry I can't be bothered researching it now so look it up if you can or visit Gullible New Parent.

It would seem that consistency would be the key. Kids seem to like to know what to expect from their parents. Giving them a clear sense of responsibility and consequence seems to be beneficial. But what age does this come into play? And if kids know they will be punished for doing the wrong thing will they be less likely to turn to their parents if they get themselves into trouble? Do young kids who are punished physically think its ok to be physically rough with their parents and friends and peers? Is time-out a better option or does time-out make the child feel isolated, lonely, unwanted, unclean, unworthy. What is the best way to convey disapproval of certain behaviour while still making it clear that the child committing such behaviour is still the most precious gem in your eyes?

Unfortunately I have no answers, only questions and goals.1) I want Corey and I to be a united front so there's no chance of the kids thinking they can sway a weaker parent or being confused about what is acceptable and what is not. 2) I want the safety of my children to be paramount. For example if 15 month old Alexis is about to step in front of a car I will not try to reason with her I'll pick her up or grab her and drag her out of harm if I have to. 3) I want my kids to respect authority. 4) I want my kids to treat others well. 5) I want my kids to help those who can't help themselves. 6) I really want for my children to be able to discern for themselves what is good or bad. 7) I want my children to know that our God, their father Corey and I will always love them and will always be here for them no matter what.

These things can't be explained in detail to a young toddler and definitely not baby Wormy in my womb. That does not mean we are off the hook though. Far from it. Now comes the scary part. All Corey and I can really do is try to become the kind of people we want our kids to become. God help me, I'm going to need it. Now I have a young toddler I know full well how messed up I am and how much I need to change.

Alexis is getting to the age when she is starting to mimic behaviour and speech. Now, more than ever, is the opportunity for Corey and I to mould her and guide her on what is right and wrong. At this young age she is not going to notice so much what we say but how we say it. She is not going to remember what we tell her but how we act. How we behave when no-one is watching will soon be etched in her mind and will be displayed for all to see. I noticed this when I observed her yelling into her toy phone. I had not long before that lost my temper on a phone call to Corey. I need to work on speaking graciously. I must also pay close attention to what I say. Dirty words carelessly uttered could easily be picked up by her young ears and repeated by her innocent lips. I need to work on what I do. Having a panic attack if my plans are changed on me is not a good idea if I want Alexis to be flexible. She got extremely upset the other day because ABC was off air when she wanted to watch her favourite TV show. That scared me. Of course she is still just a baby and she is allowed to get upset and lose her temper and experiment with different emotions. It would not be healthy if she didn't. I do, however, want to limit the bad habits she witnesses because of me.

With regards to discipline I don't know what approach we will go with yet. Most of the time Alexis is so good we don't really have to worry. She is learning what "no" means and usually obeys or we can distract her with something else. I would like to be prepared though, as best as I can, to try and have a plan set up. Otherwise I worry she's so cute she could get away with just about anything. I would absolutely hate to overstep the mark one day if she did something out of character while I was tired, cranky, stressed and overwhelmed and didn't know how I wanted to handle it.

Maybe I'm just thinking too much coz its midnight and I should be sleeping.

Do you have a plan of attack with regards to discipline and rules or do you wing it? What age do you think it is appropriate to start trying to teach children manners? Do you have any bad habits that your kids started to display? Do you think that physical punishment teaches children to be good or just to be good at not getting caught? Do you think that time-out is cruel? Do you have pre-set punishments or do you choose them based on severity of offense? Or are your little angels practically perfect in every way (or at least have a gorgeous smile that acts as a "get out of goal free" card)?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

not so bad

The obstetritian appointment wasn't so bad. I was incredibly prepared, taking most of the spare clothes out of the nappy bag and filling it with toys, snacks, water, my wallet, my pregnancy booklet thing, and even a notepad and pen for Alexis to scribble on while the Dr took notes. My preparation paid off.

I left an hour early. Alexis fell asleep on the way. The carpark was full so I did a few laps around the block before finding a park on the street. I sat there until Alexis woke. So she had at least half an hour sleep. I wrestled her into the small stroller. She didn't mind it too much. It was a long walk up hill but fortunately the weather was beautiful so I actually enjoyed it. I ordered us some sandwiches from the kiosk. They were really yummy. They were a little expensive but I don't mind because I saved money by not getting into the carpark. We shared a table with a nice guy in his mid fifties. As I was finishing lunch he told me he was not getting too attached to his grandkids for their sake because he was dying of cancer. What can you possibly say in that situation? I tried to be pleasant and happy without being patronising. I should have offered to pray for him but I didn't. I don't really have the faith to do that kind of thing. I wish I did. He said he was looking forward to the end because he'd had migranes for 40 years. Then he said, "well I'm off for a smoke". I was a cheeky girl, much cheekier than normal as I grinned, "what are they gonna do, kill ya?"

After that I looked at things a little differently for a while. We had a great time playing in the kiddy play area in the waiting room. We only had a half hour wait and the doctor I got was such a nice guy. He was coherent and intelligent and spoke English and acknowledged Alexis. Quite a breath of fresh air. We were back to the car within 2 hours of parking so no parking ticket. I think I'm going to like this place. What was I worried about? ;)

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A baby and a Bump: antenatal appointments

After a few great nights in her bed Alexis has been quite unsettled last night and this morning. Maybe she picked up my angst about today's appointment with the obstetritian. You can read about it on my other blog. I. Posted it there because it specifically deals with juggling pregnancy with a small child.

A baby and a Bump: antenatal appointments

antenatal appointments

After being woken up twice in four hours my body has decided it doesn't need any more sleep. That would be fine if those four hours weren't at the start of the night. After an hour of lying there I still can't sleep, so time to work out why. I think I am nervous about my obstetritian appointment today.

I was rather hoping that because this is my second pregnancy I wouldn't be worried about this kind of thing anymore. I'm not, at least not in the way I used to be. When I was pregnant with my daughter Alexis I used to worry about all kinds of things, as women going through first-time pregnancies do:
- what if there's something wrong with the baby?
- what if there's something wrong with me?
- what will they do to me?
- what if I'm late for work (getting a day off was virtually impossible so I used to have to do the 5pm shift on days I had appointments)
- what if I can't understand the doctor?
- what if they run really late (as public hospitals tend to do) and my husband gets in trouble for missing so much work and he has to give up and leave me there?

This time around I am not working, hubby is not coming with me, I have a fair idea what to expect with regards to the consultation ("everything ok? Yep? What your back hurts and you can't feel your legs and you are so tired and sick? And you're a hormonal wreck worried everyone hates you? Yep everything is normal"), I know the baby inside me is healthy, and apart from having some viral illness or an other for 2 months and being a hormonal mess, I know I'm doing well. So why am I worried?

I am worried:
- will I get lost on the way to the hospital?
- will I be able to get a park?
- will I remember everything?
- will they run horrendously late? (of course they will)
- will I be able to keep my daughter entertained long enough to survive the wait and the appointment?
- will I make it through the day without my nap!
- I've not long ago realised my appointment interferes with my daughters nap time, will she still sleep or will she be a nightmare?
- will I be able to wrangle a toddler, a nappy bag, my scan results, drinks and snacks, toys and or books, the pram or stroller and my big fat pregnant self?
- how do I juggle all this with going to the toilet, which I will inevitably have to do at least once, probably more.

*hour break to try to get my toddler back to sleep*

The hospital I chose this time has a play pen in the antenatal clinic waiting room. That's why I chose this hospital, so if they're running hours late at least there's somewhere for Alexis to play. The drama is when it's time to go in I will have to interupt her to stick her in the pram to go see the doctor. I can't see that going too well. My kid has tantrums down to an art. That's if the pram even fits in the room. Some of the rooms are too small so they make you leave the pram outside. So then I have to park the pram, take my valuables out and wrangle a toddler, all the while pretending to focus on the baby in my belly. I recently bought a small umbrella stroller so I can attempt to strap Alexis onto that and take it in with us. We haven't tried it yet so that makes me nervous.

Then there's the fact that if she's tired she won't play anyway, she will just sook and be grizzly. There's a chance she will fall asleep on the way. I can't see her staying asleep if I transfer her to the upright stroller but if I attempt to transfer her to the pram I then get lumped with the pram when she wakes up and wants out to play or worse if by some miracle they don't run late but the pram won't fit I'll have to wake her to carry her in. Besides that the pram is heavy and I don't want to lift it in and out of the boot if I can avoid it.

It's uncertain if she'll fall asleep on the way anyway considering she usually goes down at the time my appointment is scheduled for and I need to allow plenty of time to find a parking space. The carpark is sometimes full, so if that happens I'm up the proverbial creek with a toddler and a bump and a stroller and a "blue book" (pregnancy folder) and a Medicare card and a car key and a nappy bag and a doll and a kiddy muesli bar and a whopping great envelope with an ultrasound report...(maybe there's room for a paddle but I doubt it).

*Another break to re-settle toddler. I hope she sleeps for a few hours straight now, I'm tired ;)*.

Argh too many unknowns. I'll just go and wing it. I don't really have a choice. Why oh why don't we have private health insurance? Oh yeah we cancelled it when I refused to go back to work...*Sheepish smile*. If nothing else, today will be an adventure. My husband often accuses me of being afraid of leaving the house.(Gee, I wonder why!? Pfft.)

Is pregnancy easier the second time around? Well, I don't worry every time something feels odd this time. I don't panic with every ache and pain. I'm not scared about labour or birth or caring for a baby. So I guess in a way it is. As for the appointments though, no they don't get any less annoying. Fortunately though the professionals know they're annoying so there's less appointments second time around. At least that's something!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

My big independent clingy little (baby) girl

Alexis is going through the transition from "baby" to "child" so to speak. I am not entirely ready for this, yet with another baby on the way it's a blessing too. We have never really had to force any changes on her, they've all happened naturally with relative ease. Most of the time she is the one urging us to catch up to the developmental leaps she has already made in her mind. Her daddy and I are so proud of how well she is maturing and love witnessing her own little personality blossoming a little more day by day.

In the last month or so she has been weaned off the breast, started memorising actions to her favourite songs, had a big increase in vocabulary, started 'drawing' on paper with pens and pencils and started to recognise specific instructions from us. She mimicks what she sees us doing. She talks on the telephone. She blows on her food to cool it down. She puts patty cake papers in muffin trays. She mothers her dolls and bears. She fights us to sit on a normal chair at the table instead of the highchair. She wants to use a fork. She detests the pram, despises the cot and hates being held still. She begs to play outside. She walks away from me to explore. She whinges if I cut her food up too small or try to spoon-feed her. She picks and chooses what food she will eat. It is a mammoth task to change her nappy because she hates being still and wants to wipe herself. She is so independent and so grown up.

Yet at times she is such a little baby, so clingy and insecure. She still wants to drink milk out of a bottle not a cup. She still wants a dummy when she's tired. She still wants to know where her mummy is at all times. She still runs up for a cuddle. She still wants to sit on my lap while she plays with her toys. She still wants my attention immediately the second I try to go to the toilet or shower or have something to eat, or Alexis forbid I try to have a sleep. She still won't go to sleep for anyone other than me (including her father) unless she's in the car. She still won't sleep through the night and when she wakes she will only re-settle after a nice long cuddle with me.

I am so confused at the moment. I don't know how to handle her. I would hazard a guess that this is a normal part of development but I don't know what to do. I seem to spend most of my days chasing her and most of my nights wishing she'd leave me alone for five minutes. It's exhausting. I'm tired most of the time. I've been sick for months. When someone finally takes Alexis so I can have a rest I can't sleep because I am so used to having her around. So is baby Wormy, who kicks me like crazy whenever I lie down. I feel like a bad mother because I can't get Alexis to eat properly or sleep properly and I can't stop us from being sick all the time. She has horrible yellow runny poos which I assume is from the formula, but I'm not sure if I should stop giving her formula because she isn't eating properly.

We have big trouble getting Alexis to go to sleep. It's the one thing I wish we could change the most, but considering all she's been going through in her little world it's not so surprising that she doesn't want to stop to sleep. Every single moment is an adventure. Every single item is a potential toy. Anything and everything is to be studied, examined, felt, listened to, smelt, even tasted.  She is learning all the time. It must be exhausting yet she's so busy learning and having fun she really hates to stop.  We try to be as firm as we can at saying "it's bedtime now". This causes her to run as fast as she can and try to hide from us.  She doesn't understand how her parents can be so lame. :p   

We are trying to insist she gets a decent amount of sleep though, because lack of sleep takes its toll on all of us. We know that part of the reason she is so hard to settle is because she is overtired. I often miss her subtle signs of being tired because I am overtired myself. She has problems sleeping because she is sick and not eating properly but she doesn't eat properly because she is tired and sick but she is sick because she is not eating or sleeping properly.  It's a nasty circle and I don't know what the best course of action is.  

Sometimes it all seems so hopeless. I get a bad case of the "I'm a bad mum and a useless wife, I should go back to work and pay someone else to look after her" far too often. Sometimes it seems like everything is somebody else's fault and I just don't get a say in it (eg neighbourhood hoons, ambient light, door knockers, delivery men etc). Yet at other times, it seems like everything is falling into place and like I am doing well, or like easier times are ahead.  It's not at all uncommon for me to have all three trains of thought travelling through the giant tunnel that is my brain simultaneously.  

Last night Alexis slept in her very own "big girl bed" for the first time. I "slept" on a mattress beside the bed. She actually did really well, only waking briefly once or twice but woke up with a  coughing fit at 5am and we couldn't get her back to sleep until 9am. That said though, she was in there from 10:30 or so til 5 and thats a great effort.

Here is what happened. Corey and I put her new bedroom together yesterday while Alexis had a special play day at her grandparents' house. We had originally asked mum and dad to take her to swimming because Corey wasn't up to it and they offered to take her for a few hours so we could catch up on sleep. Both of us couldn't sleep though, so we decided to put her new bed together and set up her new room. I am so glad we did. 

The look on Alexis' face when we introduced her to her brand new room yesterday arvo was so precious. She was so proud of herself and displayed the biggest smile and "cheeky eyes". She wondered around the room pulling books out for her granddad to read to her. Once my parents left we played for a while, had dinner, then thought Alexis was ready for bed.

We tried to settle her in her bed but the only place we could put her monitor and night light (needs a powerpoint) was on her bedside table. She took a real interest in it, pushing the buttons turning the lullaby and light on and off for about half an hour. We started thinking that's what she had causing all the fuss about for months in her cot, she wanted to play with the baby monitor! By then she had caught her second wind and sleep was not an option. 

When she was still up a few hours later we resorted to taking her for a drive until she fell asleep then placed her in her cot. She woke screaming about half an hour later. She wouldn't resettle in my arms and the cries got louder when I took her towards the master bedroom so I thought I should try her bed. She snuggled in and went to sleep. Amazing! I slept on the mattress on the floor next to her, as I said.

Tonight (Sunday) Corey and I made a point of playing in Alexis' new room with her before bed. Corey set the safety rail up and taught her how to slide out down the bottom of the bed. He set up a new battery operated monitor with nightlight on her chest of drawers. He also set up an ipod dock so I danced her to sleep with music from her own ipod. Spoilt baby! She didn't put up much of a fuss when I put her down in her bed although I deliberately made sure she woke up enough to realise where she was before patting her back to sleep. I want her to know where she is because I am attempting to sleep in my room tonight.

It feels like her new room is so far away. I've peeked at her through the monitor a few times. So has Corey so I don't feel so bad. It has a night vision video camera so we were checking on her every now and then. We saw her wake briefly, rub her eyes, roll onto her side and go back to sleep. It was so cool. 

I really hope she likes her new room. So far so good. She loves playing in there, she loves the freedom, and her new bed is so comfy! Yes I've tried it, I had to test we put it together properly didn't I! ;) Nothing but the best for my big independent clingy little (baby) girl. 

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Friday, June 10, 2011

I think I broke superhubby

It's 8pm on a Friday night. Corey is in bed and Alexis and I are sitting on the couch cuddled up in a blanket watching a Wiggles DVD. Those without kids probably consider this extreme lameness. Your turn will come. Although to be honest, it's actually really nice.

It's been a big week. The last few posts will fill you in on the details. To pick up where I left off, I finally stopped sicking up about 9am Thursday. Every 20 minutes or so for 8 and a half hours I was "bowing down to the porcelain throne" so to speak. I assume it was not mere reaction to chemicals as I had originally thought. The virus or whatever it was continually found its way out the more conventional orifice for many more hours to come. So I got absolutely no sleep Wednesday night and Thursday wasn't overly pleasant either. 

Despite how dodgy I was feeling I still coped ok looking after Alexis. This is mainly because she was so well behaved. I am so proud of her and so grateful she was in a good mood. The weather helped. It was an extremely cold day yesterday (Thursday) so we cuddled up watching TV for a big chunk of the morning. I also pulled her playdough and plastic table and chairs inside for her because it was far too cold to play outdoors. This allowed me to supervise from the comfort of the couch, which was a nice touch. She had a nice long sleep for me from 2-4:30 or something like that, allowing me to catch a bit of shut-eye myself, which was soooo nice.  Baby Wormy even stopped kicking me long enough for me to fall asleep! Usually when Lexi goes down for her nap belly bub decides it's time for soccer practice.

The only thing resembling housework I did during the day on Thursday was chuck a Woolworths lasagna in the oven and do some dishes. We all need days like that. I forcefed myself some dinner and started feeling a little better so I started tidying up the place as best as I could so Corey could vacuum when he got home. I didn't dare go near any chemicals so I only did what I could with wet paper towel.

Corey had to do most of the cleaning for the inspection on Thursday night and this morning. Once again he was amazing and tried hard not to grizzle. He was well and truly over it by this morning though."If the real estate chick isn't happy tell her I did everything," he said. I grizzled that I had done a heap on Wednesday and that I would have done it all if I could. I still had a fair bit to do after he left for work too. Yes, it's true though, that Corey got lumped with the majority of it, and the yucky chemically stinky scrubby bathroom-cleaning type of jobs to boot. Once again I'm truly grateful, thankyou babe.

Fortunately I was feeling well enough this morning to do a few last minute bits and pieces like clean the sink and oven and empty the stinky bins. Needless to say there was no problem with us passing the inspection. There should never have been. I just like to make sure! Plus if we have to go to the trouble of getting the house clean we might as well do it well. It feels good to have the house clean, even if it wasn't me who did most of it. I even dragged myself (and Alexis) to the shops this arvo to buy bedding for her new bed. Her new bed will have to wait though, as it arrived yesterday flat-packed. Corey and I were looking forward to putting it together tonight but alas supperhubby has caught uselesswifey's tummy bug.    

He started hurling as soon as he got in the door, poor darling. So we've sent him to bed to try to sleep it off. Hopefully if he rests up he'll recover quickly. It's the kind of night that is just perfect for going to bed early. It's quiet, it's dark, it's cold. If Alexis wasn't a night owl I'd probably hit the sack myself.

I've never been a party animal so this kind of Friday night is not new to me. Before we had Alexis Corey and I would happily stay in Friday nights. We wouldn't be watching the Wiggles though, it'd be either the footy or some sort of movie on DVD. Usually accompanied by timtams or chocolate fondue. So it's quite similar yet very different.

How do you spend your Friday nights? Do you collapse on the couch grateful you made it through the week, or is it just our little family that does that?

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Superhubby still coming to the rescue

Not that he needs to prove to me how loving and sweet he is, but Corey has definitely earned himself a bucket load of browny points over the last 24 hours. Sure there's days he drives me nuts, but days like these I realise just how blessed I am.

At 2 am Wednesday morning he changed a pooey nappy and drove Alexis around for awhile because she just would not go back to sleep whatever else we tried and I was dangerously close to breaking point.

From 7:30-8 he got Alexis fed and dressed while I did my preparations for the ultrasound, which is basically pee, drink 800 ml water, then try not to vomit or pee. (We had to go back in because the baby got restless half way through last time.)

He then drove us in and parked and got the pram and the nappy bag and Alexis while I continued trying not to vomit or pee. He then had to amuse Alexis until 9:15 ish when we were seen. (You guessed it, I was pre-occupied trying to hold my full bladder.)

When we got in there he held Alexis who was sooking because she wanted mummy, and introduced her to her little brother or sister. He then had to restrain her and endure her crying for me when the sonographer told me to go empty my bladder because it was pushing on the baby making it hard for them to see. He then stood with Alexis (because for some reason she cries less when you hold her if you are standing up... we used to call her altitude baby) for the duration of the ultrasound. 

After that he drove us home then raced to work. He stayed late at work to make up the time he spent at the hospital with me, then swung past the shops to pick up "just a few things" for me. It was meant to be just nappies but the list I ended up emailing him was quite long including milk, yoghurt, deoderant, bananas and an assortment of cleaning products we need to get the house ready for tomorrow's inspection (the WORST part about renting).

He then swept the garage, moved the garage sale boxes and furniture from Alexis' new room ready for delivery of her new furniture today, rescued Alexis from the broken glass shards (see previous post), bathed her, dressed her, prepared a bottle of formula, cleaned up the broken glass, vacuumed, changed a pooey nappy, continued changing nappy even through vomiting (see previous post), cleaned up his mess, and held Alexis while I attended to my own personal clean up. He then played with Alexis while I dried my hair before driving us to maccas because I was craving post-mix coke.

He didn't even get cross with me when I couldn't drink my coke or finish my cheeseburger or chips because my throat hurt. He drove us home the long way so Alexis would fall asleep, put her in the cot, wished me goodnight then retired to the other room so he wouldn't disturb me with his coughing.

What a day! I'm exhausted just writing about it! For those of you wondering what I did all day (apart from pee and vomit) I wasn't lazy. I cleaned the mirrors and the glass door (bye bye my cousins hand prints from February...), cleaned the kitchen bench and stove, cleaned the laundry, took the bins out, sprayed some exit mould in the shower, did the dishes and picked things up off the floor. I worked hard too. That's the limit of what pregnant me can handle.

I think I might have accidentally made myself sick with the chemicals, because everything I've eaten or drunk since has recently come back up. As per my previous post, I was sick earlier tonight (about 8:30pm).  That is only the beginning.

At about 12:30 I woke up and spewed all over the bed. I didn't get any warning. I rang Corey in tears. He came in and we joked about how it was lucky he wasn't sleeping there.  He tried to clean it up but he couldn't stomach it. Alexis woke, so we decided he would go to her and I would deal with the mess. What a mess. I bundled up the bedding, matress protector and all, scrubbed the mattress, scraped everything into the laundry sink, and chucked the sheets into the washing machine.  Alexis kept waking so I got her back to sleep while Corey sprayed the mattress and begged Corey to just sit and hold her patting her while I continued to clean up because it was going to be really noisy (especially with me continuing to sick up as I went).              

Then we swapped and I cuddled Alexis for a nice long time before I was confident enough she would transfer to the cot ok. In that time my gorgeous hubby had blow-dried the mattress and re-made the bed. He'd even found me a sick bucket, which is good because it has come in handy.

I had tried to go back to sleep and had the same no-warning experience as before. Thankfully I had my trusty bucket and towel beside the bed. I'm feeling so miserable now. I'm incredibly thirsty but can't keep water down. Even a gastrolyte iceblock didn't last.  I'm trying not to feel sorry for myself so I thought I'd recount how amazing Corey has been to cheer me up. It's kinda working. I'd rather he was here hugging me but I know he needs his sleep. I hope he is sleeping. I'm going to need to ask him for another superhero day if we're going to pass this inspection on Friday morning.

Poor Corey. Next time I try to say "you do nothing" or "you don't care" you have my permission to bring up this post. 


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hubby to the rescue, stinky poo, and a rant about glass

Who's dumbass idea was it to put baby food in glass jars? I've got half a mind to write to the major companies and complain. The other half of my mind can't be bothered, so I probably won't (laziness usually wins), but still I'm pretty mad right now.

Of course I am really only mad at myself. Not even mad, just cross and disappointed with a hint of "why me and why now" thrown into the mix. It was my stupid idea to buy the stupid jars. It was my lazy idea to feed the kid out of one.

I should have got her fresh food, but in my defence it was only desert and it was pear and banana, both of which have been evading my hunting at the supermarket lately. Alexis craves bananas. She saw her beautiful daddy come home from work via the shops with a bag of bananas just for her.  The other contents of the shopping is irrelevant to Alexis, there were bananas in there, therefore daddy went to the shops just for her. Well I, the mean horrible mummy that I am, saw the green tinge on the stem and decided that they would be more enjoyable tomorrow, so offered Alexis the jar of pear and banana puree instead. 

I must clarify I did NOT let Alexis touch the jar or play with the jar. We never do. It's just stupid to let a toddler play with glass. I endured the whining as I spoon fed her 'like a baby' out of the jar. My biggest mistake was letting her out of the highchair before I put the jar in the bin.

Again, as I worry immensely about the dangers of glass, I removed it from the table. I never want to leave glass where she can reach it. I went to put it straight in the bin like a good responsible adult.


Alexis, my eternal shadow, was right next to me as the jar bounced off the bin, out of the cupboard and across the kitchen floor, shattering into many many pieces. I yelled out louder than ever before causing Corey to come running in from the garage where he was about to move the car out to sweep. (We have a real estate inspection soon.) He tried to usher me out but I said "no I probably have glass on me so can you take her and bath her and I'll clean it up." Praise God she wasn't hurt but she was a little shocked. Then again she was quite possibly only crying because we removed her from the kitchen against her will, in a similar way that she sounds as though she is being murdered when we try to keep her still to change her nappy.

Alexis kept yelling for mummy, it was heart-breaking and I promptly cut my foot on a small shard of glass anyway, so within minutes I was in the bathroom with the others. I showered while Corey bathed Alexis. Then he had to dress her while I dressed and then she wanted a bottle, of course, so Corey made her a bottle while I tried to distract her with a book. Poor Corey had to clean up the glass and pear and banana goop while I cuddled Alexis.

Corey and I have never let Alexis play with the jars (or the cans) because we feared they would be quite smashy but how many parents would absent-mindedly leave a jar within reach. How many parents would bow to demand and let the toddler attempt to feed itself straight out of the jar. Or how many cranky toddlers would swipe the jar out of their parent's hand. We know how easy it is to underestimate the length of a child's arm.

Glass jars are dangerous. I hope no one is ever seriously hurt by one.


It seemed for a brief moment that Alexis was going to fall asleep amidst the chaos. The moment vanished in an instant as she slid off my lap and ran around the room.  Her bedroom door was closed to keep her away from any glassy areas, so she explored her wardrobe. I was distracted sitting on the chair picking at my foot making sure there was no glass still in there.  I noticed a slight smell and was about to consider attending to it when Corey walked in.  Alexis virtually exploded in her pants. Impressed with his timing I thought I'd let him deal with it. I stuck around to grab him some wipes and a nappy. As he removed her pants and undid the nappy I was overcome by the stench. "I'm sorry," I said earnestly as I bailed on him to go hurl my dinner up in the bathroom.

Amongst holding my hair and trying not to splash myself I heard Corey yell out "close your door!" Then a desperate, "I need you NOW!" I washed my hands and ran in to find that Corey had been violently ill in the nappy bin. He normally is good at dealing with feral nappies but the sound of my digestive pyrotechnics had been enough to tip him over the edge. Poor darling. I'm torn between feeling guilty and wishing I could vomit in peace for once.  Alexis just stood butt naked on the change table laughing at us both and more than likely feeling quite proud of herself.

This is the third time today my hubby has had to be my knight in shiny armour and save my hide. The first was at 2am when I was on the verge of tears because Alexis just would not go back to sleep. I don't know what I'd do without him. Pregnancy back pain, clumsiness and sensitivity to smell are so much harder to deal with second time around with a toddler in tow. Asking for help is very humbling.  Fortunately Corey understands this and is doing well at trying to ease my discomfort, even if I do make him sick at times.    

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sleep Wars - My 101st post

Since writing bed wars we had a few good nights when Alexis slept in her cot with minimal fuss allowing Corey and I to reclaim our bed, a few hellish nights when she barely slept at all, and a few nights of her in the family bed. It's seemingly quite inconsistent which upsets us all. I had mentally planned a series of "bed wars" posts but never got them written because when she slept well I was busy the next day making the most of the fact she slept well (aka I felt semi-human) and when she barely slept I spent most of the next day (or 2) trying to cope with a terror overtired toddler in my zombie-like state. I've spat out a few whingy posts along the way but unfortunately do not remember enough details. I did a quick hash out of what I would have said, and it seems interesting enough, so I'm going to post it here for you to have a laugh at.

By the way, this is my 101st post. Hurray. My 100th post was a whinge about church with a toddler being even crazier than church with a baby, which was disappointing. Hopefully my 200th post will be far more interesting. Anyway, for now, "Sleep Wars", all six episodes. Lucky you.

Episode 1 - the crying menace
Like in star wars The Phantom Menace we meet Anakin who movies later becomes Darth Vader, here we are introduced to the future bed invader, as she cries and cries in the cot requiring constant attention and supervision but she's so damn cute we don't realise she could be dangerous.  

Episode 2 - attack of the guilts
In star wars "attack of the clones" the Jedi discover a clone army who appears to be on their side made just to help them. When the Jedi are under attack from their foes with seemingly no way out the clones rescue them. We don't find out until much later (the next movie in fact) that the army was actually created by the enemy and turns against them in amidst a battle, leading to the demise of most of the Jedi. Parenting guilt is like this. We read info and ask for advice thinking we need it to be good parents. Often it is offered to us without us requesting it. Sometimes it is imperative to ask for advice. We don't need to do this on our own. However the resulting parenting guilt when we just can't win some battles can be horrific. Some advice will never work for your particular situation and shouldn't be trusted. At times all we can do is escape and regroup. 

Episode 3 - revenge of the sh#t
Ok I don't know much about episode 3 of Star Wars because I've only seen it once. I just decided to call it this coz its a play on the title "Revenge of the Sith". Corey informed me that this is the movie where the clones turn against the Jedi. Also Anakin Skywalker (a Jedi "good guy" himself) battles the internal struggle of whether he wants to stay on the "light side of the force" or go to the dark side. The dark side, so its supporters say, can offer him more power. Basically Anakin learns the dark side and turns into Darth Vader. Drawing a parallel to parenting, in times of trial the advice we have received can lead to our downfall if we aren't discerning when we pick and choose what we will take on board. As the story progresses, Alexis grows and thinks she is far too smart for us and turns from our cute cuddly super inteligent baby to thinking the ways of the noctobubs and becomes "bed invader".

Episode 4 - a new grope
Episode 4-6 of Star Wars were released way (decades) before episodes 1-3. In a parallel to parenting nobody would give a brass razoo about episodes 1-3 if not for 4-6. 

In "A new hope" we are introduced to young Luke Skywalker, the adolescent who is meant to save the Jedi art from extinction. He is trained by Yoda who sounds and looks like he has smoked far too many joints. He ends up blowing up the "Death Star" (Vader's weapon and lair).
In "a new grope" I try the slightly "alternative" practice of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is considered a way of life for some cultures, irresponsible in others, and a destroyer of sex life by all. It allowed me to get some sleep occasionally when Alexis was threatening to wipe out sleep from the face of the universe, but in the end she was just having a snuggle and a grope. Corey and I went to battle with "bed invader" and removed the bed option, forcing her to retreat to sleeping in her cot again.      

Episode 5 - the noctobub strikes back

In "the empire strikes back" the empire strikes back. Simple enough. In this episode our bed invader returns with an army minions, such as teething, gastro, nappy rash, coughing, sneezing, and the all infamous noctobub-like antics. All hope of peace and tranquility seems lost.
Episode six in Star Wars is called "Return of the Jedi". Jedi (good guys) win. Darth Vader is destroyed but first redeems himself and kills the evil emperor (chief bad guy).

We don't want anyone killed or destroyed obviously! We just want our little bed invader to let us sleep and let her true colours out, defeating the evil that is restlessness, separation anxiety and hyperactivity. I hoped to call ours "return of our sanity" but it hasn't occurred yet. Instead all we have is the "return of the apathy", "return of the red eye", or return of the "bad guy", where Corey and I struggle to sleep and we wonder are we going to the dark side (i.e. are we going to mess around with controlled crying and very strong earplugs).

The "bed guy" will be delivering Alexis' very own single bed later this week so we hope that she will love her new room and, feeling freed from her cage (cot), restore peace to the force very soon.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Church visit two - short-lived

I was really looking forward to church this morning. It didn't turn out so great. Corey was sick, Alexis was cranky and over-tired, I was hungry, and we forgot to take a dummy for Alexis. Alexis was playing up during worship, keen to get to playtime.

They were doing things differently this morning in kids church, with different play areas set up and different people looking after the kids. They were all people Alexis hadn't met before and Alexis didn't cope overly well. They brought her back just a few minutes in. Corey was actually outside coughing his lungs up at the time. I tried to settle Alexis but she was really upset. I have no idea what happened but she was not a happy camper. She was probably just tired, but she wouldn't stop crying. As I said, we forgot to take a dummy (facepalm) so we decided to write it off as a bad joke and leave.  

I was pretty upset, because it was meant to be a special family service and I had hoped to stay for the free lunch after and meet some people. Oh well, such is life with kids. I'm not sure yet whether we will go back or try somewhere else or just give up for a while. Alexis is at that age where she's really too little for creche but too mobile to sit still through the sermon. 

She didn't even behave for the music this morning though. We chased her around before Corey actually took her outside to run around. All we got to hear this morning was the "give us all your money" spiel.  :( Whatever we decide I think I've learned my lesson - if a toddler doesn't sleep well Saturday night don't attempt taking her to church the next morning. That much is pretty obvious. 

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mummy you can't sleep, I won't allow it

I wish I could sleep as deeply as my husband does. I wish Alexis could sleep as deeply as her daddy does. It's not really his fault he's a deep sleeper and I'm not. It just gets annoying.

I'm like a jealous toddler this morning. "I let you sleep in yesterday, for two hours. When's MY turn?" I wanna stomp and scream and cry and chuck a good old tanty. So childish and ridiculous. Just because I got up to Alexis yesterday morning without waking Corey and didn't wake him for two hours doesn't mean he has to reciprocate does it. I wasn't even quiet yesterday, I put the washing machine on and everything. It's not Corey hasn't tried to let me sleep. Alexis just wants my attention constantly and it takes a minor miracle for me to fall asleep. But still its not fair! ;) 

It doesn't help that I was up from 3am til 6am with Alexis coughing. I was rubbing her back and stroking her face and trying to make sure she got some sleep even if I didn't. I'm the mum, its my job, no its a privilege, but I would like to be able to catch up on that missed sleep somehow.

Alexis and I slept from 6-6:40 ish when she sprung into lifze and sat on my face jumping up and down. Not the nicest wake up call.  I woke Corey up at aqbout 6:50 asking him to take her for a while and let me go back to sleep. I said, "she's probably starving coz she didn't eat dinner last night remember."

About half an hour later I was drifting off to sleep despite the tv on and Alexis shaking the shapo and "singing" but she must have actually sensed I was asleep and felt the need to bang on the bedroom door. "Alexis mummy's sleeping," Corey says helpfully."No I'm not," I groaned."Sorry she just wants you".

I asked the obvious question with baited breath, "have you fed her breakfast?".... silence...."She wouldn't let me".


Alexis is happy to play with her daddy but once she wants something practical she feels compelled to come get me. I do believe Corey, that he would have tried to get her breakfast, but you kinda have to feed her first thing before she gets into play mode. Once she's so busy playing she gets cranky because she's hungry but doesn't want to stop playing to bother eating. 

Yet once she had successfully woken me up she was more than content to let Corey strap her in the chair and feed her. Silly girl.

I think someone is just tired and cranky and annoying this morning. Corey and Alexis aren't in the best of moods either.  

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Slow cooker second attempt

Slow cooker attempt two was today. We attempted beef ragout. We set it up at 8:30 to let it run for 8 hours on slow. We precooked the beef and bacon again. I didn't add onion because I don't like it (didn't add it to the curry either) so it was beef, mushroom, bacon, crushed tomatoes and the flavour thing. I was meant to add frozen peas 10 minutes before serving but I forgot.

The end result:

Very disappointing.

A big pile of tough, chewy overcooked meat. It's probably my fault for the way I precooked the meat. By the way, does "brown the meat" mean to cook it or just to brown the surface? 

Alexis won't even try it. She didn't try the curry either, but I didn't expect her to try the curry. I thought she might have picked at this. I was wrong.

She is being uncharacteristically belligerent tonight though, refusing everything except yoghurt and then custard but only after we gave in to letting her "feed" it to herself. Her utensil of choice, a fork.

She's a very clever baby if not the most practical.       

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Friday, June 3, 2011

slow cooker first attempt - please help!

Hello dear readers

I was wondering if you could please help me answer some questions. a) Did I do something wrong to end up with burnt chicken and potatoes stuck to the sides of the slowcooker stoneware? b) Is there an easier way to remove it other than soaking and scrubbing for a day and night before giving in and letting my husband do it? (preferably is there an easier way other than asking my husband to do it right from the start, because I am stubborn, I want to win against the evil burnt on bits) and ultimately c) When I attempt to use said slowcooker again is there tips to avoid the evil burnt-on bits?

Allow me to explain.

My mother-in-law bought me a slow cooker in February recently. It was a very thoughtful and very personal gift, designed to make my life as a young mum easier. I was very touched. She even bought me four slow cooker recipe base sachets, her favourites in fact, to make it super easy for me. It was very kind and generous.

I used it for the first time on Wednesday afternoon. It took me four months a bit of time to first attempt to use it, because I don't like change I wasn't sure if it was safe to eat slow-cooked food in pregnancy. I'm still not sure, so I cooked the meat before putting it in. Cooking the meat before putting it in kind of defeats the purpose of having a slow cooker because you have to a) cut the meat to cook it b) cook the meat c) get a fry-pan and stirrer and stirrer rest dirty as well as the slow cooker stuff. I thought it would be nice to have dinner ready at about the time we wanted to eat it rather than cooking it early when I have time and having to microwave it. Also I really wanted to give it a try and we had been shopping for all the ingredients so, why not give it a whirl.

The first one I attempted was a potato and chicken curry. I have never cooked myself a curry nor ordered myself a curry from a restaurant. When I smelled the flavour sachet as I got the ingredients ready and closed the lid I was struck by the potency of it. I then had the privilege of smelling it for the next four hours while it cooked away. I went from "argh that smells random" to playing outside with Alexis for an hour while dinner cooked itself, to "ooh that smells pretty good". The last hour or so was torture because I really wanted to eat it I didn't want to wait. I made myself Alexis and myself spaghetti on toast and waited for hubby to get home like a good wifey. Dinner continued cooking while I showered Alexis, and myself, because she had spaghetti everywhere, including my hair.

When Corey got home we heated up some rice I'd prepared earlier and he dished up the curry. It tasted DELIGHTFUL. It was actually really really nice. The meat had fallen apart nicely it was really tender and the potatoes were soft and juicy kind of like they'd been roasted. I don't do roasts or anything that requires the oven being on too long since we took our kitchen gate down (Alexis just kept crying and banging on it every time we locked her out of the kitchen but if the gate's not there she happily amuses herself elsewhere, go figure) but the slowcooker is good because it is up on the bench out of her reach. It also doesn't require me bending over. So I decided I like this slow cooker gizmo. Corey put away the leftovers, I busied myself with being lazy doing something elsewhere, we got Alexis to sleep, went to bed, forgot about it.

The next morning we do our normal morning this and that and then I stumble across it: the slow-cooker. The stoneware was still in there, and there was a layer of chicken and potatoes stuck to the bottom and the sides. Obviously it is best not to leave it sit overnight, but it was too hot to soak in water when we went to sleep (we went to bed really early that night). So there we were, with a disgusting curry-smelling (really potent now) conglomerated mess. My affection for my new gizmo faded.

I soaked it for ages, then attacked it, then soaked it, then attacked it... Rinse and repeat all day and all evening. The only way to remove stuff seemed to be to pull chunks off with my fingernails, which was disgusting, and why was everything so green? (Does curry go green?) I couldn't bring myself to eat the left-overs Thursday night after smelling it and playing with it all day so we ended up getting takeaway.

Finally this morning I surrendered or Corey intervened, depending on your vantage point, and he attacked the stoneware for the slow cooker. With a knife. I'm pretty sure it says "don't do that you'll scratch it" but as I was blissfully ignoring him unaware, I didn't try to stop him. It worked. It's now clean. Ready for the next time I want to use it. I'm not sure what I should try next, chicken bacon and potato or beef ragout. We also have the base for lamb shanks, which I'm quite keen to try, but I'll buy the lamb fresh on the day I want to do it. This slow-cooker gizmo really does encourage me to broaden my cullinary horizons (what do you mean pasta, cheese, frozen peas and tomato sauce is not a real dinner!? It's Alexis' favourite!)but I'm not sure it's "convenient" so to speak. Not yet. Maybe it will be when I get more adapt at using it.. and cleaning it..

Do you have a slow-cooker? Do you use it? Do you have any tips for me? Do you bother pre-cooking the meat? Do you do 8 hours low or 4 hours high or a combination of both? Do you leave it on when you leave the house? How do you know it's not going to burn the house down? Or if you stay how do you stand smelling it for that long without eating it? Do you check on it as it cooks or leave it alone? How do you clean the blasted thing? I was thinking maybe of putting water and lemon juice or vinegar in it and putting it on for a bit. Apparently that works in microwaves? I'm not real good in the kitchen, but I'm trying, for hubby's sake. Our daughter Alexis really would rather eat pasta and cheese though. Or a jar of custard. Or playdough.... maybe she's not the best judge... but when she eats the food everybody's happy.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Can't do it all

I just can't get everything done. How the heck am I supposed to? It annoys me silly when I read status updates or hear friends tell me that they are bored. How, prey tell, do they have time to get bored. For me there seems no shortage of things to do. Ever. How do mums get everything done so they can afford the luxury of getting bored.

I have a few theories. Maybe they have extremely supportive husbands with cushy jobs who have time to do lots of work around the house. Or maybe they nag nag nag until he does it. Or maybe they're super fast. Or maybe they don't play with their kids or read stories. Maybe they live off takeaway. 

Maybe they are skinny so they don't have much washing. Maybe they just wear things multiple times (either they have no sense of smell or they aren't clumsy). Maybe their kids aren't obsessed with spreading random items such as underpants and teatowels from one end of the house to the other. Maybe their house is dustproof, cobweb-proof, ant-proof, fly-proof and grassy-footprint-proof. Maybe their kids don't poo a zillion times a day. Maybe they stick baby plates cups bowls and spoons in the dishwasher even though it says not to. Maybe they don't get interupted by annoying things like having to use the bathroom.  

Maybe they don't get tired, use Facebook, blog, whinge, waste time feeling like a colossal failure, or just get lost in the hopeless feeling that one just cannot win no matter how hard one tries. Or maybe they know full well how futile it is trying to "win" against a messy house so they have stopped trying. Are there special glasses one can wear to blot out all that's wrong with the place? Is there a way to walk into the bathroom and look straight past the mould?

I know too much. I know that we are constantly sick. I know that the hygiene standards of my house are lacking. We need to be well. I can't tell you the details until I get permission but we really want to go visit someone who we basically need a doctors note saying healthy before we can. We just are sick. Sick sick sick. Realistically we are sick from playgroup, church, hubby's work, the supermarket, the hospital where I had the ultrasound, mum who was sick when she graciously babysat... take your pick..  but I'm really trying to get the house right so we don't keep reinfecting ourselves.  

This internal source of pressure I constantly fight that says I have to do everything right is a real bitch. The more I do the more I notice needs to be done. My husband's apparent apathy never sits well with me. Really he's just sick and stressed and he has every right to rest after work, but it drives me nuts that he feels comfortable and confident resting when I can't because I know how much needs to be done. I hate asking him to do things when he's ill but he doesn't understand that there is no point saying to me "sit down and rest" if the job that is tormenting me is still there to torment me the next day.

It never seems to be my turn to be my turn to be sick. Either Alexis is sick or he is sicker than me. So I feel too guilty to sit around idly doing nothing. The problem is I bust my chops doing too much too quickly in the mornings and it gets to the cooler part of the afternoon and I crumble, with only half of the to-do-list actually achieved. By the time Corey gets home I'm down to one-word answers. He's in my face "what's wrong with you" and I'm like "I'm just extremely tired." "Oh I know I'm tired too," he says as he sits himself down, "what's for dinner". We seem to be miscommunicating somehow.  

The next day I start again, with more work and less energy than the day before.

How the heck does anyone get everything done?  

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