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Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I hate Halloween

I wasn't going to waste my time writing a Halloween post but I'm that annoyed that I have decided to write this afterall.

I hate Halloween. I don't "do" Halloween and I'm sick of hearing about it. This is Australia. There was no Halloween when I was a kid and that was a good thing.

I'm sick of getting up to answer the door. I'm tired of disappointing the neighbourhood children by saying, "I'm sorry, we don't  do Halloween." I'm fed up with copping abuse from teenagers. I am afraid someone will do something bad to our house or yard. I hate the niggling little voice inside that says "why are you being a scab just give them some lollies" but I will not yield.

Why don't Corey and I have lollies to give to trick or treates tonight? It's a matter of principle.
-We live in Australia
-Australia doesn't have a holiday for Halloween
-We don't have to do it just coz "everyone else" is doing it
-It's a stupid idea anyway, kids taking candy from strangers is not cool
-I don't agree with the supernatural stuff behind Halloween
-I don't wanna support the supermarkets with their heinous overmarketing.

There's also the issue of practicality. There are so many kids in our neighbourhood it would cost a small fortune to treat them all. I'm actually not joking, it's a very kid-populated area. By disappointing the first few kids we assume they will tell they their friends not to bother coming here. In doing this we hope to avoid late-comers (or repeat visitors in different masks - it happens) from waking the kids up.

Yes there is the small factor that I am in fact a scab. I don't want to buy lollies for kids when I didn't trick or treat as a kid and I won't let my kids do it either.

I don't want my little cherubs exposed to this stuff yet. I had to go the day without ABC for kids because they had a Halloween special on all day. My one and a half year old doesn't need to be spooked. I don't want her thinking sneaking up on people is funny or thinking demanding lollies is ok or thinking its ok to trash people's things. I don't want her to be frightened of monsters or demons or witches or the like either. 
The reason I hate Halloween the most is that it freaks me out, and now my daughter too. Alexis saw a girl covered in "blood" at our door and it totally freaked her out. We were just sitting at the table trying to eat dinner in peace when this girl turned up. 

The other visitors haven't been great either. A group of big burly teenagers wearing masks and carrying weapons is not my idea of what I want to answer my door to.

Some of you might be thinking its only one night, chill out. It's not really only one night though is it? The shops have had chocolate bars on display for a month. I'm trying to avoid chocolate because it passes through my milk and doesn't really agree with William. It's really hard to be self-controlled when it is staring you in the face. Don't even get me started on pester power. "Please! Please! *pointing*" - and that's just from my husband! 

At least it's almost over for the year.

Am I the only one who has been crushing the excitement of small children tonight? Does anyone else still maintain "we don't do Halloween, this is Australia"?     

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breastfeeding: the goood, the bad and the sucky

I'm an unapologetic fan of breastfeeding but sometimes I hate it... Have I got your attention?
Have I got your attention now?

In my opinion boobs were made for babies. I'm very pro breastfeeding. To go that one step further I'm pro breastfeeding on demand. I breastfeed in public if I have to. I will feed my baby when my baby wants to be fed, regardless of who's around thinking it's 'disgusting' or inappropriate. Something is wrong with society when people are OK with young girls and old biddies walking around in bikinis and they're all for women's boobs bursting out the top of dresses but people think its wrong to show a little bit of skin to feed an infant. Boobs were made to feed babies and anyone who has a problem with that can get bent. I sometimes isolate myself to feed but only if I'm going to a comfier chair or a quieter room so my baby can have some time out from the hustle and bustle or with a new baby when we're still working out attachment and I need to concentrate. To me, breastfeeding is a normal part of life. It didn't always feel natural though.

Obviously there are people who can't breastfeed and I have nothing against people who bottle feed. There's nothing wrong with formula feeding if you have to, for example if breastfeeding interferes with mother's health (including adding too much stress) or baby's health. It's not necessary nor appropriate to put down mothers who choose not to breastfeed, whatever their reasons may be.

What I am passionate about though is mothers being given all the information and support they need to give breastfeeding a fair go. I have friends who desperately wanted to breastfeed and before bub was born were very excited about the idea but quickly switched to bottles when they were faced with the reality of a newborn baby. Some had a medical reason, some had physical reasons, and for some it was too time consuming and draining for them (and that's ok).

If you are due to have a baby soon and you want to breastfeed do everything in your power to make it work. If you have a loved one who is wanting to breastfeed or who is breastfeeding a young baby then I want to encourage you to be supportive. Breastfeeding a newborn is incredibly draining at times, both physically and emotionally. New mums need support from family and friends so they have the best chance to make it through the first few weeks. 

The last thing a new mum needs is a hubby who complains about being tired or having a headache or not being able to have sex or the dishes not being done (tell him to take care of it himself). New mums don't need visitors popping in "for a few minutes" and plonking their butt on the couch where she usually sits and staying for hours. They need food, drink, sleep and gentle hugs. It's pretty simple. They need lots of food, lots of water and more than 3 hours of broken sleep. 

Only mothers who have breastfed can truly understand how draining it is. The best nutrients from what they eat go to bub, they don't sleep properly, they are recovering from labour and they are trying to understand their new baby who sometimes looks like an alien (we nicknamed William 'Yoda'). Then there is the hormonal factor. The hormones that cause milk production also cause moodiness, hunger, thirst and fatigue. If mums don't take care of themselves they will burn out.

So many pregnant women expect breastfeeding will come easy and feel natural but the truth is for most mums it doesn't. It is a skill that needs to be learned. As a newborn Alexis fed often and she took a long time to feed. One of my nipples cracked and blistered. It was painful. A lactation consultant showed me a better way to attach Alexis to the breast and it helped but it was painful until it healed. When I finally felt I was getting the hang of things she had a growth spurt.

Growth spurts are hellish times where mothers supply of milk does not meet the demands of the growing baby, so baby grazes almost constantly. It is tempting in those times to give baby a bottle of formula but unfortunately baby fussing on drained breasts is necessary to increase milk production.

Lactation works on a supply and demand principle, the more baby feeds the more milk the breasts make. Rather than feeding baby formula to give the mum a break it is more advantageous to take all other responsibilties off the mum to allow her the time and energy to focus on feeding the baby. Yes its important to have time out, but don't pressure her. If somebody else changes, burps, swaddles and baths bub that will be a big help.

Growth spurts only last a few days. Those few days can feel like a month though. There were days (and nights) when I would only be able to get Alexis off the breast when I was desperate for the loo or I was starving, and even then she would cry. William is less intense in his booby addiction but I have had a few days and nights with him doing the same recently. It's not as emotionally draining this time because I know what is happening and I know it will soon pass.

There were numerous times with my firstborn, Alexis, that I was tempted to give up on breastfeeding. I had family and friends telling me to make the switch. If I wasn't so stubborn and cheap I probably would have. If my husband wasn't so supportive I probably would not have had a choice.

In those first few weeks after Alexis was born Corey (and our families) did everything possible to support me, including
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • washing 
  • shopping 
  • nappy changes 
  • burping baby
  • bringing me glasses of water while I was feeding 
  • rubbing my shoulders when I was in so much pain from holding Alexis in the feed position all day and night 
  • taking me to a lactation consultant 
  • draping a blanket over my shoulders or bringing cushions
  • giving me the opportunity to have long showers so I felt human again 
  • sometimes he would simply sit with me making sure I didn't fall asleep and drop her 
  •  a few times I was really exhausted and couldn't get out of bed so he brought her into bed for feeds.

Corey went back to work at about the same time Alexis had her first growth spurt, so he helped by making me sandwiches in the morning before he left. That way when I was hungry I just had to get one out of the fridge. Most importantly he reassured me that I was doing the right thing for our baby and that we were both in it together.

Corey and I were both determined our kids would be breastfed because we studied immunology at uni. We knew that breastmilk passes maternal antibodies to baby and so breasted babies are less likely to get sick and usually recover faster when they do. I did a little bit of biochemistry too. I sucked at it but I did remember that breasts produce milk custom made for baby's nutritional need at that particular time. Also we could not fit formula and bottles into our budget. Breastmilk is free.

More incentives to persevere included the following: breastfeeding is convenient (once established) because wherever I go my boobs go too; breastmilk is easily digested so breastfeed babies don't get constipated; breastfed babies poo doesn't smell anywhere near as bad as formula fed bubs poo; breastfeeding is a good bonding opportunity; women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer; breastfed babies are reported to be less fussy with food when they are toddlers; the very act of breastfeeding calms a fussy infant whether they are actually hungry or not.

I chose to breastfeed because I believe it is best for my family situation. I had a choice. I didn't want to buy formula and I wanted to do the best thing for my kids' immune systems. Breastfeeding Alexis was hard at first but after a few weeks it became so easy we stuck with it for about 14 months. I would have kept going longer if my milk hadn't spontaneously dried up when I was pregnant with William.
  
This is what I need to keep reminding myself while I'm up several times a night feeding my son William. This is my choice. I don't want to introduce him to formula or even expressed breastmilk at this stage. No bottles at all just yet. This is what I chose because this is what I feel is best for me and him in the long run. In the short term it is tedious and tiring but it will be worth it.

When I am feeding for long periods of time during the day and I worry I might be neglecting my toddler I need to remind myself that Alexis had her turn last year and William deserves his turn. It is good for Alexis to learn to amuse herself anyway. Hey, if nothing else at least it gives me the opportunity to sit down, right?  
 
When I see the mess piling up around the house and I feel like I should do better I remind myself that I'm not a housewife I am a stay at home mum. My kids come first. I do what I can around the house but I don't feel guilty for what I don't get finished. Corey doesn't do as much housework as he did last time because he is busy helping in other ways (ie caring for Alexis) but between us we do the necessities.

When I'm feeding when the rest of the family is eating a meal or when I don't want to go somewhere because I know there is nowhere comfortable to feed or when my boobs/back/shoulders/neck/head hurt so bad I think it's so unfair I need to remember that it won't last forever. I should be thankful for the opportunity to share this special bond with my son and enjoy it while it lasts. All too soon he be walking and talking and will not want to stay still long enough to feed.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

A day in the life of 2 under 2

Wednesday night was just one of those nights. Thursday wasn't much better. As is often the case, a difficult night was followed by a bad day. As is often the case Thursday's dramas were mostly caused by a lack of sleep Wednesday night.  

On Wednesday night Corey and I got Alexis to sleep at a reasonable hour. We should have gotten ready for bed ourselves but I had to insist Corey bath William. William had been asleep for three hours so I reasoned it would be best to wake him and bath him rather than just fall asleep and have him wake for a feed. Waking him just to feed him would be pointless, because he would either be awake for hours or he would fall back to sleep at the breast almost instantly.

We didn't want to wake Alexis, whose bedroom is close to the bathroom, so we shoved the baby bath on the bottom of the ensuite shower and bathed William in there. We managed to get him bathed, dressed and back to his basinet without waking Alexis. Awesome.  Corey went off to sleep too.

William then started grunting and making odd noises in his sleep. I couldn't sleep through it so I stayed up editing a blog post. I was really impressed with it but only have one comment 24 hours later, further enforcing the thought I was wasting my time.

Anyway eventually I turned my laptop off and went to sleep. I don't know what time but it was most likely 10 ish. 

I was woken by baby  William at 11:30 and couldn't get him back to sleep til 1:30. Then I was woken by storm at 2:30. I was woken by baby again at 3:00. He had an attempt at feeding but wasn't overly interested. I woke hubby and asked him to deal with baby at 4 ish. Of course William then decided he needed a feed after all so I fed baby again.

At 4:30 ish Corey took William to the other room. I had wanted Corey to keep William upright til his gas problem subsided but Corey put him down and tried to sleep through the grunting. We all do desperate things at 4am don't we?

I must have managed to drift off to sleep because just after 5 I was woken by hubby saying "I need your help please!"

When I walked down to the nursery I saw Corey had Alexis on the changetable. She wears nappies (only 20 months old) but the nappy had breached saturation point. She had weed through the nappy, through her clothes, through the sheets, through the doona cover onto the doona and through the woolen underlay into the pvc mattress protector. 

William was crying, and Alexis was very upset and embarrassed. I picked up baby William. Corey stood our wee-covered toddler in the  shower (with taps off) to wait while he stripped the bed. The pvc mattress protector is "wipe clean only" and it was filthy and ripped so because we heard the garbage truck around the corner I raced it out to the bin. Then I was holding the baby and trying to calm the toddler through glass. Then hubby showered Alexis while I fed baby William.

Then I continued feeding bub while watching wiggles with out very excited toddler. Hubby got ready for work then called his mother who was coming over to take us out and asked if she could come early to help out around the house first.

Baby William fell asleep so I put him down. Hubby then watched our toddler while I tried to sleep but I couldn't, I was too awake, too wound up, and my back and hip were aching. I finally got comfy (ish) and bub grunting in his sleep again. We changed the plans.

I showered while Corey and Alexis took a drive to fetch some greasy deep fried goodness. Broken sleep tends to make us feel hungover, so fetching stereotypical hangover food tends to help. (I doubt we are alone on that one...)

After breakfast I fed William (I think we have hit growth spurt stage) while Alexis climbed me while Corey finished getting ready for work. Alexis insisted I take her to the door to wave goodbye to daddy so I had to break William off. After that I sat down to feed again.

I had to break William off again several minutes later to let my mother in law in. She offered to take William while I "go do something". It seemed like a good idea at the time because there were a lot of things that needed doing. I forgot that I hadn't let William finish the feed so he was cranky. His nanna put it down to wind, as nannas tend to do. It's a nice change from "must be hungry" but I think this time he was.

I had Alexis under my feet playing up. Of course she was only trying to help but I just wanted to get the dishes done and leave. We were going looking for a carseat at a particular shop and had a long drive ahead. We were planning to visit Corey's work too, so I didn't want to leave it too late.

I gave up on the dishes because it was clear it just wasn't gonna be possible to do them. If I'd been thinking clearly I would have asked MIL to do them while I continued feeding William and Alexis sat with me watching tv. Seeing as I wasn't thinking clearly and my MIL can't read my mind we ended up letting a half dressed Alexis play in the front seat of the car while I fed William and my MIL wrangled clothes onto Alexis. The dishes still aren't done incidentally.

We were joined at the shop by Corey and together we picked out a lovely big girl car seat for Alexis. It was so lovely of Corey's mum to get it for us. Alexis is going to love it and it will allow us to have Alexis' old seat in Corey's car so they can have outings together (such as swimming) without having to swap seats or take our family car.

While there I changed William's nappy and used the last of his nappies out of the nappy bag because I had forgotten to restock it. *Facepalm*. The price of nappies at the baby store was ridiculously high (double the normal price) so we had to add stopping at a supermarket to the list of things to do.

Of course changing William's nappy signals booby time so I sat in the shop feeding while Corey and his mum finalised the sale and Corey went back to work. The shop has a designated feeding lounge (I love that shop for that reason) and there was a kids movie playing so it kept Alexis happy, allowing me to give William a nice long feed. Finally he got a complete feed and was happy.

We had to then go find a single bed waterproof mattress protector (the baby shop didn't have one but we found one at a different store in the same complex). Then we drove to a different shopping centre to find woolworths, a chemist (to buy eye drops for baby William) and lunch.

My MIL offered to stay in the car with the kids. I did not want to leave them long so was rushing. I had to go back to the car to get my wallet. I rushed back to pharmacy and realised the script was in the nappy bag. I went to woolies, bought the nappies (had to wait for the old bitty who pushed in front of me with groceries to be served before me.. grr..), decided the line at subway was far too long and head back to the car.

I put the nappies in the car, sat my handbag down so I could rummage through the nappy bag,  got the script, and said I was just going to get something from the bakery. I went back for my handbag (wallet again) before I could finally get the eye medication and lunch. Argh baby brain + no sleep = funny story but seriously exhausted. Did I mention the only park I could get was at the back of the carpark?

When I got back to the car for the last time my MIL was changing William's nappy and we were so excited he'd finally done a proper poop. I'm glad I stopped to buy nappies!

We took lunch to Corey's work, said hello to his colleagues, ate lunch and left. We drove home, got the washing off the line, changed some nappies and said goodbye to MIL. Then I put tv on for Alexis, sat down to feed, and fed bub while trying to convince Alexis she didn't need to climb us.

Argh what a day. I wish that was the end but wait there's more. There was another 4 hours til Corey got home, which involve several more feeds, more "Alexis do not sit on your brother", a load of washing, checking the mail, bringing the bin in, several more thwarted attempts at doing dishes, Alexis spreading yogurt through the dining room, folding some clean towels and sheets and clothes (and seeing that as a MAJOR achievement), Alexis tipping a cup of water all over my electronic piano (and my half hearted attempt at cleaning it up), and me burning myself on the oven twice (yes, twice. I know.).   

Then Corey got home we ate our chicken nuggets and chips (hey, I'm suprised I even managed that), got both kids to bed and spent an hour chasing flies.

Now I'm up with William preparing to do it all over again. Minus the shopping. Please God no more shopping. I'm exhausted.

How was your Thursday?

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The "second baby" experiment - the first two weeks

We are now in the third week of baby William's life outside the womb. Corey is back at work, Alexis is adjusting well and I'm beginning to understand William's different cries and noises. I've been hashing away at this post for most of a week. Sorry about the length but I couldn't get my head around where to break it up if I was to split it into multiple posts.

The "second baby" experiment: first two weeks


AIMS
- To successfully integrate our second child, William, into the family.
- To document the similarities and differences in welcoming a second child compared to the firstborn child.
- To survive the experience and come out smiling.


METHODS
- Birth baby William
- Bring him home from hospital
- Live
- Blog


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Baby's personality/physique

William is a different sort of baby than Alexis was. In some ways he is easier: as long as he is not hungry or tired or windy he will happily lie on the floor and observe the world around him (Alexis needed to be held often); he lets me eat a meal in peace if I time it right (Alexis would always know if I had food near my mouth and demand a feed); and he is easier to carry because he is lighter than Alexis was; he feeds quickly whereas Alexis would mess around for over an hour.

In some ways he is a little more tricky to manage: he wees and poos almost constantly; he is a boy (nappy changes are like Russian roulette); he wakes every two to three hours at night; he grunts and moans and whimpers and farts and poos in his sleep; he needs antibiotics on his belly button three times a day and one of his eyes has been infected since birth.


Parental competence

This time Corey and I knew how to handle a baby and that has made things much easier in that respect. It is nice to know how to breastfeed, how to change a nappy (apart from his ability to squirt me), how to put him in a carseat, what to put in a nappy bag, etc. We are more confident handling him, don't worry we will break him and don't feel the need to stare at him constantly. We used to have to watch Alexis at all times as a newborn because we had this weird feeling she would suddenly disappear.   


Parental health

I was a bit messed up through giving birth to Alexis. This meant that I couldn't do much housework and everyone knew that. I didn't get upset with myself for allowing Corey or my parents or other visitors to do things for me and they didn't mind because I had a physical reason to need to rest. I also had physical excuses to indulge in nice long showers. (The onset of mastitis kind of helped there.)

This time around I didn't need stitches or anything so I left hospital very early and feeling great. Within hours I had terrible afterbirth pain and headaches and sore muscles in places I forgot existed. A few times my tired overwhelmed husband responded to my cries of "it hurts" with "you shouldn't have come home" so you can imagine how that made me feel. He was just worried about me but I felt unwanted.


Expectations/Roles

I didn't do much housework either time but this time I felt like I should. I felt like Corey would resent me if he had to "do it all". (On a side note, breastfeeding a newborn is a full time job on its own. Don't listen to anyone who would tell you otherwise.)  I've been a stay at home mum for 20 months so I felt like housework was my job. It was hard to turn off the urge to chip in help out. I just reminded myself that Corey was on holidays from his work (mostly.. its a long story...) so he could help out. He also hadn't just gone through labour or nine months of pregnancy.

Corey liked helping and was very helpful most of the time but it was equally hard for me to accept that Corey does things differently to me. He did not appreciate my suggesting how and when to do things to maximise efficiency and fit in with Alexis' routine. He saw my attempt to help by mentally coaching him (I mean I was too useless to do anything else, right?) as nagging, patronizing and being ungrateful. 

Sometimes rather than insisting something be done NOW it was easier to do it. I was on pain killers heaps so when I didn't feel in pain I sometimes overdid it a bit and since have noticed some problems that I probably could have avoided. I've got to go back to the doctor and see if things will heal on their own. I will spare you the details. I have since seen Dr and it should be ok over time.


Visitors

We haven't had many visitors this time around. With Alexis we had multiple groups of visitors every day for weeks. We lived closer to our friends and family, my sister wasn't off on a well-deserved road trip, people didn't have to worry about our toddler's nap schedule (coz there was no toddler), and there was the novelty factor.

Alexis was the first grandchild, the first great grandchild, etc. We were the first of our friends to breed. I still had contacts from the life I lived before I became a mum. She was visited a lot. I was visited a lot.

I had one friend who was incredibly clucky and not working at the time Alexis was born. She spent day after day with us. She cuddled Alexis while I hung washing out, she listened to my horror stories, she kept me sane, she cooked us meals, she cleaned my house. She's now interstate. I miss her sooo much.

This time our family are busy, the novelty has kind of warn off, and we have made new friends who are all busy with their own toddlers. Also apparently I'm a hormonal mess and people don't like being around me. Hmmm yes I'm hormonal. I'm also exhausted, hungry, overwhelmed and sore in places that shouldn't be sore. People think that women will find it harder to recover from labour the first time but it's actually not like that. The female body is sorer and takes longer to recover after every subsequent pregnancy and labour because things never really healed properly from the first time. I am terribly sorry I'm cranky at times but, like, people saying stupid insensitive things like "get over yourself", "stop whinging", "bring out the violins", "get off your fat ass" and "just be happy" don't help...

Having less visitors has been nice but a little lonely too. I've made up for this as best I can by staying in touch with the online community of mummy bloggers and my friends on facebook. I didn't have this source of support last time. Although it's not as nice as face to face contact the practical advice and genuine empathy do mean a lot.

The good thing about not expecting visitors is being able to nap or go out or walk around without clothes without worrying what time it is. The problem is that with a baby and a young toddler we can't really do spontaneous anyway. We have to fit in around Alexis and William the best we can. I have noticed though that we have settled into a groove so much easier this time. This has probably at least partly got to do with more time spent "just us".

The visitors we have had have been great. I have enjoyed cuddles with my kiddies and I have enjoyed watching my kiddies have cuddles with Corey, their grandparents, their aunties and uncles and their cousins. I've also been blessed by people helping with dishes, laundry, bathing the kids, cooking meals, bringing supplies, playing with Alexis, and holding William while I spend time with Alexis... It is lovely to receive help. Really I am sorry if I haven't seemed grateful.


Other children

The hardest part of the early weeks with baby number two is baby number one. For 20 months it was just Alexis and I against the world. Neither of us was prepared for sharing me with William. I tried to be prepared, and I tried to prepare Alexis, but it really is one of those things you just have to work out as you go.   

I had no idea how much it would hurt to pick her up. I had no idea she would wake at night screaming for me. I had no idea that when I finally did get quality one on one time with her I would cry silent tears when no-one was watching because I realised just how much I had been missing. Surprisingly she has not asked for a breastfeed yet. I really thought she would.

We had a few offers from people wanting to help by taking Alexis away for a few days but apart from our first day home I really wanted her here. Some may think I'm crazy for this but my reasoning was:
- to keep her routine as close to normal as possible
- so she didn't resent baby William
- so she didn't pine for me or feel replaced
- so she could have quality time with Corey while he was on leave
- because I miss her like crazy when she's not around
- because I wanted to get used to our new family dynamics as soon as possible, especially while Corey was around to help
- because I was scared if she had a really good time she wouldn't like coming home again and it'd be even harder to adjust because she was used to undivided attention.

What has been most helpful is when people come play with Alexis here, and when people come to visit baby William they equally acknowledge Alexis. Usually this happens naturally, especially when children visit, as Alexis is so fun. We only had one lot of visitors that basically ignored Alexis while doting on William. I actually took William away and told them to spend time with Alexis for awhile. This might seem harsh but I really didn't want Alexis feeling overlooked or replaced or ignored.

Alexis has benefited from being part of William's life right from the start, I am certain of that.  It has been great for her and Corey to have special quality time too. It has, however, spread Corey and I a little thin at times. We have to make sure Alexis doesn't accidentally hurt William by being a little too excited. Some of her hugs are a little long and some of her tickling is too rough and his basinet is not very stable so we have a blanket "no touching baby's bed" rule.

Unlike when Alexis was born we can't sleep whenever baby sleeps because the newborn is not our only responsibility. We have to take turns to stay up with Alexis or try to all nap as a family. On so many occasions by the time we finally get both babies to sleep I am too worked up to sleep, no matter how tired I am. 

Toddlers are exhausting. You will never fully appreciate how tiring a toddler is until you have one of your own. It has been a real challenge trying to ensure we meet her needs for attention, cuddles, food, rest and active play and still foster her growing independence. She's an interesting mix of clingy and "I'll do it myself". She's hard to predict.

It's been tricky for me emotionally to be feeding the baby and hear Alexis crying for me. It's been hard for Corey to deal with trying to comfort her or play with her while she just wants me. It's been hard for us to get enough rest and sleep. It's been hard to stay happy and friendly when we are both buggered and just want to sleep.


CONCLUSION

The first two weeks with baby number two were very different to the first two weeks with baby number one. We had expected this. In some ways this time around was easier and in some ways it was harder. All in all it was just... different.. It was different in so many ways. We are all still alive and healthy and happy so it was a success.

Corey and I have really had to work together. We have had some great mini achievements and some epic fails. There's times where I get so cross with Corey and I know sometimes he thinks all I do is whinge and nag. He will never understand how tired I am because it's me who is up most of the night and I'm the one with the boobs. Likewise I don't understand how weird it would have been for him to be home for two full weeks watching Wiggles and Playschool and making peanut butter sandwiches when he's used to being at work.

I think Corey has realised just how hard Alexis can be at times and why I would sometimes collapse in a heap when Corey got home from work when I was still pregnant with William. (It's better late than never I guess. I love you sweetheart ;))

Even though having a toddler makes living with a newborn more complicated and challenging it also increases the fun. My favourite memories of the last two weeks are the rare occasions when Alexis and William were both in a suitable mood to "play" together. This is what clearly sets this time apart from last time.

I love how proud Alexis is when she sits up on my lap holding William. I love how excited William gets when he watches Alexis and Corey play. I love how Alexis' eyes light up when she sees William wake up in the morning. I'm not thrilled that they like to wake each other up (already) but it does make me chuckle.

It has not even been three weeks yet and it already feels like William has always been around forever. I know my kids will fight often but I also have a feeling they will be great friends. If I had to choose a favourite first two weeks, I'd have to pick this time, for no other reason than both my kiddies are here and I can barely even remember life before them.

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Sometimes words get in the way






Happy Wordless Wednesday. Playing along with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Help I'm being held hostage

Help! I'm being held against my will.

My captor is caucasian with blonde hair and brown eyes. She is approximately 85 cm tall and is of a solid build. She is often described as dangerously cute and has been known to pack a biological weapon in her arsenal.

We are in a small room with white and purple furniture with pink bedding. A sign on the door says "Jesus loves you Alexis". A steel gate stands between me and freedom.

My captor has made a few demands. She requested she brush her teeth but then refused last minute. Her request for Wiggles was obliged with a selection of Wiggles lullabies. I think she was after something more upbeat but she soon softened. She already had a dummy and bottle, our customary peace offering. All these things do not seem to satisfy her though as her main demand is an unwavering one: "mumma".

My captor has been putting herself to sleep (without tears) for about a week now but I foolishly went into her last night because she had a fall earlier that day and I was concerned about her. Tonight she seems she wants the same treatment.

I tried to not give in to her demands but her protesting threatened to disturb innocent bystanders. There was also concern she would hurt herself with excessive crying and deprivation of oxygen. Whilst I do not want to reward this kind of behaviour I do not wish for her to suffer.

So I lie here, waiting for my captor to fall asleep, waiting for my chance to escape. A previous attempt at leaving tonight occurred prematurely and was met with a sudden awakening accompanied by tears and the all powerful guilt trip.

She has been silent for quite a while now. With a quiet hope I shall try again to liberate myself from this cage.

Pray this incident not be repeated again. I fear this is all my fault. I hope all the hard work of my hubby teaching Alexis to self-settle hasn't been undone.

There are worse places to be kept hostage and at least my captor is incredibly cute. I would like some time to myself though before her little brother wakes up wanting to feed off me.

Ah the joys of being a mummy. At least I know I'm wanted!    


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W is for William, Winnie, Wiggles, and Wee

This is not a review and I'm not sponsored by any nappy brand, or anyone for that matter (unfortunately).

My son William is an absolute champion whizzer. There is certainly no doubt that his metabolism is working well. At just ten days of age we had to upgrade from newborn size nappies to infant size nappies.

We changed Alexis to infant nappies very early on too but that was because she was too big for them. She was born at 4.49 kg, so we didn't have much of a chance of keeping her in newborn nappies for long. We really missed the wetness indicator that her cute little Winnie-the-pooh covered  newborn huggies nappies had. Also you can't buy huggies infant size in bulk so we swapped to babylove brand, exposing us all to the Wiggles (on the nappies and the boxes) far earlier than desired.

With baby William newborn nappies were short lived for one simple reason: they could not keep up with him. The wetness indicator was useless because the nappy went from dry to overflowing in a matter of seconds. There is nothing more annoying at 2am than an orange line saying he's dry when you're changing soaked sheets, a soaked wrap, a soaked blanket and trying to comfort a sticky smelly hungry baby who has wee-wee up his back (all the while trying not to wake his sister).

We happened to be about to finish his box of newborn nappies anyway so we changed to infant size. No more wetness indicator and fortunately no more wee-wee covered William at this stage. Once again we switched to Babylove for the lower cost and convenience of buying a big box instead of a tiny bag.

All is well, except one little factor. Our daughter Alexis is absolutely positively obsessed with all things Wiggles. This morning I was feeding William and he was only wearing a nappy. Alexis felt the need to tell me over and over and over again "Wiggles, Wiggles, Wiggles, Wiggles". She kept touching his nappy as she said it. At least it kept him awake long enough to have a decent feed I guess!   


Update since drafting this post
On Wednesday night/Thursday morning William woke with a wet back and his wrap was damp. It didn't smell like urine and it quickly evaporated (Corey said it was dry when he went to change the sheets but he changed them anyway) so we think it might have been sweat this time. I might have over-wrapped him. Has anyone ever found this?


Today I'm joining Shae from Yay for Home for Things I Know. Click the pretty picture and it will take you there.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

I doubt you're in labour -> oh there's his head in 5 mins

A few people have asked me to write my labour/birth story. This post took me days to write because a) I got interrupted a lot and b) the memories made the afterbirth pain seem worse. It's not a well-written post. It flicks between past and present tense. It's long. I haven't edited it. It's too much information and overshare according to some. It is, however, my story, for those curious enough.

It was the day of my baby shower. Corey, Alexis and I woke to a freak storm very early in the morning. We told Alexis that if the storm didn't settle before it was time to leave for swimming we wouldn't be going as it was too dangerous.

We were all disappointed as Alexis loves swimming lessons. I was especially upset as I had planned to go watch her. I hadn't been in ages and I thought it might be my last opportunity in months. Once William was born I would not have the opportunity to tag along as I would not want to take him with me.

We said a little prayer asking God to calm the storm. A few minutes later the lightning stopped, the thunder slowed and the rain lessened from harsh horizontal torrential "I can't see a thing" rain to just normal rain. We grabbed some togs and towels and jumped in the car, thanking Jesus that we could take Alexis to swimming after all.

I sat on a towel (to protect from cold, hard, wet bench) and watched my girl. She had come so far. She did so well. After swimming we came home, showered her, and put her down for a sleep.

I tried to sleep but I just could not get comfortable. My back hurt. I was also nervous about my baby shower and upset that so many people weren't coming. I did the whole "nobody is coming because nobody likes me" thing for a little while before Corey reassured me that we would have heaps of fun with the few friends who going and that those who weren't coming had legitimate reasons.    
   

Fast forward a couple of hours and we are at the party. We've mingled, eaten, opened presents and had a good time. I had been standing too long and was exhausted. I felt a sharp pain in my back and side. A few people asked if I was ok and I said truthfully that I didn't know.

My mum and sister said they thought I was going into labour. I remember telling them, "as convenient as the timing is and as much as I'd love to get this baby out I don't think it's going to be today." It had been a massive day and I thought I just needed to have a good poop and a lie down.

Fast forward a few more hours and we are home having dinner. I'm still feeling the occasional cramp/tightness in my back. They are by no means pleasant but I am not exactly screaming in agony though either. I start to think that I might be in pre-labour. I never had pre-labour with Alexis because I was induced so I start to Google it.

At this stage I'm so confused. I am partly so excited that the baby might be coming, partly scared because I am so unprepared, slightly cross with myself for not knowing what to expect and not having done enough reading. It occurs to me that I am by no means ready to have a baby. The pains fizzle out.

We sit down for chocolate fondue as a family. It is fun watching Alexis as its her first fondue experience. I stand up to go to the bathroom and the pains start up again. I am unsure what I want to happen. Do I move around trying to encourage active labour or do I sit still hoping it will stop? 

I don't have time to sit still in case it is labour. I rush around grabbing last minute things for the labour bag and order Corey to do the same. We are timing the contractions by now although we aren't too sure if they are real or just braxton hicks. I'm starting to get excited but I'm scared. I stop, gasping for breath. Alexis is getting concerned.

Corey sensibly suggests we stop and calm down. We still don't know if I'm actually in labour as the contractions are not overly painful according to what we experienced with Alexis. I had a few false labours with Alexis so we start thinking this is one. I'm not even 38 weeks yet.

We finish watching our movie. We have given up timing the "contractions" as they seem to have fizzled out again. I say goodnight to Alexis and Corey puts her to sleep while I have a shower to relax myself before bed.

I have four or five "of those funny things" while in the shower for approximately 20 minutes (I was in pain). I talk to Corey about it. He is concerned and suggests I call the hospital. "They won't believe me", I say. He says, "at least call your mum." So I call mum.

Mum isn't sure. The numbers indicate I am in labour but it seems like I am too comfortable and coherent to be. I don't feel comfortable or coherent, but I don't really know if I am in labour or not. I'm so very tired. It's probably best if I try to get some sleep. The contractions have slowed again. I hang up.

Then I get another one. It hurts really bad. I can't walk. I'm crying now. Corey says enough is enough and makes me call the hospital. They are only concerned if my waters have broken. I tell them I don't know because I'm going to the loo every few minutes. They say it's unlikely but to head in and get checked.

I call mum back and ask her to come watch Alexis. Dad is out. She gets a few things together and drives over. In that time I'm in agony. I have given myself permission to get excited that baby is coming and once I admit it the pain intensifies. I hope mum drives quickly.

I call the midwifery student who wants to be at the birth and say baby is coming. It's 10:30. She's not too convinced as she thinks I'm too calm but she rushes to meet us in there anyway.

By the time mum arrives (30 mins?) I'm having fully fledged contractions for about a minute every five minutes. I can hardly stand through contractions but feel fine in between. I know I'm in labour now and think I should call the hospital and tell them its changed. Despite my better judgement I don't.

We drive to the hospital (20 mins). Within minutes of getting in the car they're every 2 minutes and they're intense. I hold the hand grip thingy near the door that hangs down from the roof.  I beg Corey to speed up.

We park and walk up the hill to the hospital and down the path to emergency.  It takes a fair while to get there because I'm in so much pain. Corey laughs at me to calm us down.

The triage nurse takes one glance at me and calls birthsuite to come collect me. It's about 11pm. Corey keeps telling me to sit down. I don't want to sit down.

The chick is too calm as we meander over to an assessment room. I tell her how my labour with Alexis was very short and they didn't believe I was in labour until it was time to push. She thinks its because of the oxytocin from the induction.

My contractions are almost constant. I wish she would look at me. She makes me lie on my back because she wants to hook me up to a machine. I can't lie on my back it hurts too much. I scream. She feels my tummy, "it doesn't really feel like a contraction". "It's in my back" I scream at her.

She doesn't want to do an internal "because then we have to keep you here". I think to myself there is no way in hell I'm going home. I want her to check me. She won't. She suggests I lie on my side for 20 mins so she can see how much liquid has pooled so she can see if my water has broken.

I suppress my urge to suggest I rearrange her face with my fist and say I can't go 20 minutes without peeing. So she says to go pee then lie down. She says to put a few of their pads on.

I wander over to the bathroom. While I'm going about my business my water breaks. I'm screaming at Corey, "bring me pads, more pads". I can't just let it go into the loo because the midwife had said they wanna check it. That and I don't think she would believe me.

I have liquid gushing out all over my pants. I'm screaming "my water broke!" Corey tells me to stop embarrassing myself and lie down. I am not going to lie down.

I yell out for the midwife who is nowhere in sight. My back is aching.  I'm screaming in pain and frustration, "OI, STOP IGNORING ME ... MY... WATER... BROKE... SOMEONE... ANYBODY..  S T O P.   I G N O R I N G.  M E .."

She wanders in. I speak calmly now, "my water broke." "Are you sure?" she asks? The combination of my death stare and her glancing at my pants answer her question. She says lie down and she'll do an internal. I remove pants and lie down. I have to squeeze the crap out of Corey's hand just to lie down.

"Ok we are not going to be able to move you to birthsuite. You can start pushing whenever you're ready" she says so calmly I'm not sure I hear her correctly. "Are you serious?" "Yes, I can see his head. Whenever you're ready".

I'm going to meet my baby boy. I'm so excited. No time to be mad at the midwife. No time to wait for the student. I have a job to do now no point mucking around. 

A few quick pushes (5?) and he's here.

Before I even really understand what is going on the cord is cut and my baby boy is on my chest. The student walks through the door two minutes too late. Security took too long to let her in. I feel sad for her but no apologies for the quick delivery. I am very lucky.

My son is here. He is amazing. It's not even 11:30 yet.  

Back to here and now.

I thought I had a very quick, relatively pain free labour and birth. Thinking back over it wasn't pain free. The birth was, but labour was quite intense. It was made worse by not really knowing what was going on and not been taken seriously by the hospital staff.

I probably started going into labour at the baby shower about 4pm.7.5 hours, that's not THAT quick but probably quick enough to get me stabbed by many many jealous women. ;)

I wasn't in full fledged labour until somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30, and that's what makes me really lucky. One or two hours of consistent painful contractions is quite manageable, especially with Corey being so supportive. 

As for the drug free pain free birth, well, I know I'm lucky he was in a good position and it all happened so quickly. I didn't have time to panic. Also though I was just so relieved that labour was coming to an end, and that I wasn't making it up! Somehow I was able to channel the energy from being frustrated with the midwife and use it to help me birth William quickly. Mainly I was just so excited to be about to meet him, that's all the motivation I needed. The birth is the easy part at least from a psychological point of view.

Don't be too envious of me though, I had several days of after birth pain like you wouldn't believe. It still hasn't really gone away. Its purpose is to get the uterus shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size. I don't care about size right now, I've just had pregnancy and labour, can't I have a few days without pain? In many ways this is worse than labour for me. I suspect not too many people would be overly sympathetic though.;)  

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Our new pram

This is not a review in any way, shape or form, just my experience and mild excitement.  

On Tuesday afternoon we bought a new pram. It's second hand but it's new for us. It has a few stains and it's not as pretty as our old pram. It doesn't have a reversible handle like our old pram. It doesn't have an adjustable footrest like our old pram. It doesn't have brakes on all four wheels like our old pram. It doesn't have the sentimental attachment of our old pram (we bought it when I was only a few months pregnant with Alexis and used to practice pushing dolls around in it). Yet it's better than our old pram, because we can fit both kids in it.

We have been talking about getting a double pram for so long now but we haven't been able to find one we like within our budget. When we found out a friend from playgroup was selling her pram with added toddler seat we just had to go have a look. I was skeptical at first but we quickly warmed to it.

This pram folds up smaller than our single pram and you don't even have to take the toddler seat all the way off because it folds up fitting inside the other seat. It seems to be lighter than our old pram but it is very stable. We had Alexis in the toddler seat thrashing around (because she wanted to chase the lady's dogs) without William in the main part of the pram and she didn't manage to tip it, or even move it.


So we bought it and took it to the shops to test it out (and because we only had 8 nappies left in the house....) Alexis was in a cranky mood from being couped up in the car but she did enjoy sitting up high in the special toddler seat. It's kind of the height of a shopping trolley seat but she gets to face forward. She was leaning forward like superman with her legs kicking away happily. William, well, he was wet and dirty and tired and hungry, so I don't think his opinion counts. Corey was very excited it has shock absorbers. I'm quite excited about the shockies too actually.
    

I'm thankful that our friend was selling this pram because it's not something we could of afforded new. I'm not sure I would have looked at it new to be honest. I dearly wanted something that Alexis could lie down in and she can't with this one. Also the rear of the pram is much wider than the front and both Corey and I "crashed" it going around corners because we forgot how wide it was. At the end of the day though we really needed a pram and this is a good fit for us.

After two prior attempts at shopping with both bubs, Tuesday arvo was so easy. The first shopping attempt we had William in our old pram and Alexis in our little umbrella stroller. It just wasn't practical. The second time we had William in the old pram and let Alexis walk. That didn't work too well. She doesn't mind walking, but she doesn't like being told where to walk. She prefers to run around like crazy in the wrong direction and then exhausts herself. For everyone's sanity it's much easier to keep her confined.  

Here's hoping the novelty factor of the nice high seat lasts for a very long time. One of these days I might feel confident enough to take both kids out on my own! Wish me luck!  


I'm hoping to link this up to thankful Thursday with Kate Says Stuff if I remember.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My gorgeous family (hospital pics)

Oh how I had missed Alexis, and it had only been one night. William is about 9 hours old here. 

She thought he was pretty special (he is). 

And because there's nothing cuter than a father holding his baby :)

Happy (almost) Wordless Wednesday. Playing along with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

(ps if you want to see a beautiful pic of Alexis holding William then check out this post from Monday.)

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Are you looking for me?

I was quickly checking Twitter tonight when I saw a link to "listography" at Kate Takes Five. It looks like fun so I'm going to play along.

My top five keyword searches (things people have typed into Google that's brought them to this blog) other "the mother experiment":
- i rubbed the sleep
- the old familiar
- balls of fat on my ribs
- boooo cow (would have led them to "animals according to Alexis"
- clever things kids do (probably due to my tag funny things kids do).

I'm speechless. I can understand the last two, but balls of fat on my ribs? Funny stuff. Speaking of funny, this search phrase caught my attention: "funny thigs (things?) with poo". One I will always remember from months ago was "the washing machine ate my bra, how do I get it back?"

I wonder if they were happy with what they found or disappointed.


If anyone is now following me thanks to finding me on Google I would be very surprised!

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Me and YOU Monday: "mine goes to 11"

Monday sneaks around like a thief, stealing ordinary peoples weekends and forcing them to slave away for five long days. As a SAHM I'm still aware of Monday, as it tends to send my husband off to the office. (Sometimes this is dreaded, sometimes this is welcomed.) Today though Corey has another week off work to be with us, so Monday is of little significance except for a doctors appointment for William and I and this Monday link up.

Me and YOU Monday has been on the internet for 11 weeks now. It's been on life-support for most of it. Yes there's been good times, and there's the faithful few buddies who've really embraced it, but like a lame and blind beloved pet I fear it's time to let it go.

So this is the last me and you Monday, week 11. In high-school my friends were obsessed with quoting Spinaltap "mine goes to eleven". So yes, mine does go to 11, and that's good for me.

I'm not prepared to give up the cause entirely though, so I am introducing "me and YOU monthly." On the first day of every month I will put up a post with a linky where you can link up your personal goals for the month. 

If you link up to today's post you'll have until the 1st November to work on your goals before the next link-up. (If you don't join today the next link up opportunity will be 1st November.)

Now because we often don't know the day let alone the date, the rules will be flexible. I will let you know them when I figure them out, I just thought I would give you some heads up. I would absolutely love to have you on board next month. I'm thinking of devoting a page to me and YOU projects so stay tuned.

For those of you who played along week in week out thank you so much for your support. I look forward to reading today's posts.

My week was interesting. It was amazing, lovely, frustrating, beautiful, joyous, disappointing, awe-struck, tedious and incredibly difficult. I love my husband and kids so much but we have all had trouble adjusting to life as a family of four. We will get there. We are learning to juggle lack of sleep again. Alexis is a very good big sister but she does tend to get over excited so we have to remind her to be careful and gentle. She hates being corrected, because she always tries to please, so it's hard for her. My goal for the rest of this month is just to survive, with a smile as much as possible. It might not seem like much, but trust me, it's enough.


I will get by thanks to moments like this:



What about you? 




Do you have a small area of your life you'd like to change? Would you like our little online community to support you with it? If so, why not join in Me and YOU Monday? Your goal can be anything at all: playing more, doing the dishes, not yelling, not staying up too late, not having that extra coffee, whatever you like. Nothing is too small, and if it seems huge break it into smaller bits. If you would like to add your link, then here's the "rules" again:
  • Please don't just use this to promote your blog. It's better if you actually want to change (or want to WANT to change)
  • Please visit again next time to let us know how you go.
    • Seriously, please do try to write a follow-up post. Don't leave us guessing if you can help it.
    • If you want to keep playing next time write a post about a new goal or commit to continue persevering with the existing goal. 
    • When you don't want to play anymore that's fine, let us know how you went but don't add a new goal.
  • Please visit at least one other persons site (assuming people play along) and leave an encouraging comment. It would be great if you could pray for them or think positively for them at least once during the time period.
  • Please do not make fun of anyone in the link up (this goes without saying though really).


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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sleep, or lack thereof, with 2 clingy babies

Sorry in advance if this is not the most coherent post I've ever written. It's a mix match of a few days over many feeds (one of two activities which allow me to sit down). I'm pretty buggered.

I seemed to have jinxed myself by posting that baby William was a good sleeper. He's not a bad sleeper as such but he is a newborn baby. I've been getting up to him every couple of hours or so and it's taking its toll.

I am torn between asking Corey to help me at night with bub and hoping he will sleep through it. Sometimes he wakes up and helps, sometimes I wake him for help, and other times I leave him sleeping.

Getting up all the time is not only physically draining, but it's also emotionally difficult. There are times when I've been so tired I've cried while my head tells lies like, "I am never ever going to sleep again!" If bub and I don't wake Corey I find him snoring his head off next to me quite insulting.

In the early nights Corey was getting up every time William woke. He would change his nappy while I went to the bathroom. He'd usually go back to sleep then while I stayed up feeding. More often than not though William would wake when I brought him back to our room after a feed and his cry would wake Corey. Initially feeds were going so long that I'd go to the bathroom again while Corey burped him and helped him back to sleep.  His support meant a lot to me and it was also kind of necessary because I was still recovering from the birth.

It was incredibly difficult for Corey though because a) he's a natural cave dweller who needs lots of sleep or he turns into a whinging git b) he was still trying to stay up at night to finish a report for work c) the week before William was born was huge and he still hadn't caught up from that.

A taxi picked Corey up at 2:30am one morning, he worked his tail off, then it returned him at 11pm the next night for him to have to go to work the next day. The day after that we had a very busy day and then William was born very late at night. Corey was up with Alexis for hours when he got home from hospital (3am or so) and was back in at 8am. Then I in my infinite wisdom decided I was going home that afternoon and was mad at him for hinting he wanted us to stay another night because he was tired. (He was tired? It was ME who had just had a baby! I could not sleep at all at hospital, and that's all I could think of.)

The lack of sleep was taking its toll on us all, especially with our busy toddler Alexis deciding to wake at 5:30am and also sometimes at night. It was becoming clear that Corey wasn't coping. Eventually I stopped telling him to man up and started to cut him some slack although because I was tired and sore and emo and feeling overwhelmed it wasn't easy.

After a while I became more confident in looking after William during the night and didn't really need Corey.  We decided it was best for us all if Corey slept at night so he could watch Alexis in the mornings. He would also be able to tackle the housework much easier if his brain wasn't aching. 

There were two problems with this. A) Alexis wants to be near William and I when she wakes up B) I was sick of tip toeing around trying not to wake Corey up. Trying to keep William quiet and not use lights etc was just too much pressure. I didn't just have to deal with William, I also had my own personal hygiene to contend with. At the risk of oversharing, when you've just had a bub and your milk starts coming in you've got a fair few things leaking that you have to take care of. 

I would try not to wake Corey then get frustrated when he woke up anyway. Then I'd have a mood swing and go, "stuff it, he should be up anyway, why is it all up to me."

I can't solve the issue of Alexis crying until she kisses William and I in the mornings, but at least with Corey getting sleep at night there's only one of us cranky and tired. He can do most of the morning routine while I just sit with her for awhile and then Corey is fine to play with her while I head back to bed for a bit.

So the other night was the night before Corey's birthday and I was upset I hadn't bought Corey a present or made him a cake or even made a card. He has a lego space shuttle on layby (hehe, child) but we can't pick it up until Christmas. I wanted to give him something now, but what? So I sent him to the spareroom...

The best present I could think to give him was sleep. I didn't wake him to help with William and because he was at the other end of the house with a door closed I didn't have to tip-toe around. It proved to me that I <i>could</i> survive without needing Corey and it gave him the chance to catch up on sleep.   

Alexis, God bless her, was an angel. She slept through the night until 6:30am. I was up multiple times with William but I didn't mind. Corey got himself 8 hours of solid sleep, and was very happy about it. 
He was nice, selfless and helpful even though it was his birthday. He let Alexis watch wiggles (even though he hates it), he took us to my grandparents' so they could meet bub, he watched Alexis after her nap while I kept sleeping (even if he only managed to keep her quiet an extra 10 minutes the thought was there), he did the dishes, did some washing and cooked an awesome spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.

It would seem that husband who sleeps = happy husband. Happy, helpful, caring husband = happy wife. Life was good, for a day it was great.


The problem with sleep is we need it every night.

The next night was a disaster. Corey decided to stay up late. I wish I had his stamina. I think maybe that full night of sleep gave him a false sense of security. It was his birthday, he was entitled to some cave man time. I tried not to wake him but things with young kids rarely go to plan.

When I woke Corey at 10:30 to change William before the feed because I really needed to go to the loo he was very sweet about it.

I also had to wake him at 12:30 to deal with Alexis because I'd failed to get her back to sleep in the hour I'd been up with her and she had just woken William up. I'd been up for 2 hours straight at that stage. I had made it worse by going to Alexis because when I left to go to William it broke her little heart. Corey tried to get her to sleep with cuddles and a bottle but no luck. He came in (waking William who'd just gone back to sleep) to say he would have to drive her. I was just getting William back to bed again when they returned, Alexis still awake and very cranky, and screaming for me.

Corey took a sleeping William in the basinet while I tried to get Alexis to sleep in our bed. She stuffed around for half an hour, fell asleep for 30 seconds, and screamed. I asked Corey to grab some pain killers for Alexis and I (I figured something had to be wrong for her to act like that) and as he was doing that William woke up.

So we all sat up watching dvds while I fed William. At 3am we finally got both kids to sleep. I had Alexis, Corey had William. At 5 William wanted a feed. At 5:30 Alexis realised that I had left and screamed. We were up for the day.

Now she's finally at swimming lessons with poor Corey. William is finally asleep. I have about an hour before they get back. Should I sleep or shower? I stink sooo bad. Oh and we have family popping in sometime soon. I'm so tired. I NEED to try to sleep. I'll message them to come later. Assuming William lets me put him down.  

Did I do the wrong thing by giving Corey 8 hours sleep one night? Did it just tease him? What is going on with Alexis? Will she get over it soon? Should I send Corey to her if she wakes in the night? Should I just leave her crying? How do I not feel guilty she feels she isn't getting enough time with me? Was it just an isolated bad night (hopefully!)? Will I ever sleep again?  
    

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Simple and convenient doesn't have to be boring

This post is part of Product Talk by Nuffnang

I was still pregnant when I put my hand up for Nuffnang's latest product talk opportunity a week ago. The product they sent me is Uncle Toby's new "Simply Fruit Bars". I was quite keen to try them because at the late stage of pregnancy I was in I was having trouble with food. I couldn't eat much at a time without being sick or having a tummy ache but I had high nutritional needs. I am the sort of person who does not deal well with being hungry.

To keep up with my daughter I was snacking whenever I could, but I didn't always have the energy (or pelvic pain threshold) to be on my feet for long enough to prepare a nutritious snack. I am a huge fan of fresh fruit, but I couldn't always bend down to reach the crisper (as pathetic as that sounds it's true), and I didn't want to lug fresh fruit around with me to antenatal appointments and things like that. I permanently had a stash of muesli bars and lollies in my handbag. So I couldn't wait to try this new, healthier, "simpler" option. I also thought they'd be good for labour.

As it turned out, my beautiful baby boy William was born before the samples arrived, so I never got to try them out during pregnancy or labour. They arrived once I was already home from hospital. They still serve a purpose though, because now I am busier than ever before. (Yes I know I'm taking time to write a review, I had already committed to it and I like to keep my commitments.) I've enjoyed grabbing a bar at 3am to give me a quick pick-me-up during a night feed. There is no added sugar, so I don't have to worry about it keeping me up after the feed or passing through to my baby and making him irritable.

So, what exactly are they?


New Uncle Tobys Simply Fruit Bars are, well to put it simply, fruit bars. They are bars of fruit and oats. They offer the convenience of a muesli bar but the confidence that you are eating a healthy, nutritious snack. They promise at least 65% fruit in every bar and there's no added sugar. They offer two flavours specifically designed for a sophisticated adult palate, because convenient and simple doesn't have to be boring. I'm sure I'm not the only busy mum who's been desperate enough to steal an arrowroot biscuit off my toddler. It's nice to eat something designed for 'grown ups' occasionally.

For transparency, I'm going to list the ingredients off the back of the boxes for the flavours. Simply fruit bars with sultanas, apricot, poppyseed and orange: sultanas, dried apricots, oats, dried dates, sunflower oil, poppy seeds, and orange oil. There is also preservative from some of the fruits. Simply fruit bars with sultanas, dates, apple and cinnamon: Sultanas, dried dates, oats, dried apple, sunflower oil, cinnamon, preservative (from the fruit).

My personal opinion

  • Be ware, they do have quite a strong taste and texture. It's a change from arrowroot biscuits and mashed potato, that's for sure. It is a nice taste though.
  • I quite enjoy the sultanas, dates, apple and cinnamon one. 
  • I personally found the texture of the orange and poppyseed ones a little strange, but that's because I'm boring and am so used to eating plain food. My sister tried one and exclaimed "Yum, it's just like an orange and poppy seed muffin!" She loved it so much I gave her the rest of the box (they had sent a few boxes so I didn't mind).  
  • It is nice to have a fruity snack that is not sticky! The oats component keeps them together well so they don't end up all over your fingers. 
  • It's so awesome to have a convenient snack that you can store at room temperature, toss in your handbag, leave beside the feeding chair, wherever you like, and know that it is healthy. 
  • It's what's not in these that impress me, rather than what is in them. There's no added sugar, no added acids, no added binding agents or thickeners or fats or random bits of this and that. I have always loved Uncle Tobys chewy muesli bars (my convenient "out and about" snack of choice during pregnancy), but when I looked up the ingredients to compare I was shocked just how much "stuff" is in them. I think it's great to have a simplified, purer option... Simply fruit bars. 

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Introducing "Wormy'

Guess what!? I have news!!! I mentioned it in my previous post but it hasn't had many page views so for most of you this is probably new.

Baby "Wormy" has arrived. I couldn't be more in love with him if I tried.

We named him William. We don't want his middle name on the blog. Somehow to this day Alexis' middle name hasn't been revealed on the blog yet and we would like the same for William. It just gives us the illusion of them having a little privacy.

I also don't really want his date or time of birth on here either. It's a bit tricky to go into the whole labour/birth story without it though. It's a hard mix, trying to share enough to keep my readers interested but withhold enough to keep myself at ease. Once something is on the internet it's on there forever. 

So what do I feel comfortable sharing about baby William at this stage? Well, firstly, he is absolutely perfect.

He is a good sized baby: big enough to adjust quickly to life outside the womb but small enough he didn't break me on the way out. (I'm still mulling over a birth story.)

He is a natural boob-feeder just like his big sister was. I can't find the words to describe how blessed I am to have had two babies who don't have problems feeding. Feeds are long and very frequent, but I'm happy because I really didn't want to have to mess around with bottles.

He looks like his daddy and he is adorable.

He is a cuddly, snugly baby who likes to be swaddled in blankets.

He sleeps well. Apart from one night with horrible wind he has slept quite well for us. 

He is pretty placid still at this stage but a curious personality is starting to peek through.

He thoroughly enjoyed his first bath. He trusted Corey without any doubt and he loved floating in the water. It was beautiful.

He absolutely adores big sister Alexis.


Alexis absolutely adores William too. She is quite protective actually, she cries when he cries and she wants to know where he is and what he's doing. Alexis even offered him some pear and a turn colouring in her new wiggles colouring book (trust me, that is love). She is taking well to being a big sister but naturally is a little disappointed he can't play with her yet.

Well seeing as this feed's finished that's enough blogging for me for now. More adventures to write about soon enough. Plenty more golden moments to be had. For now though (1am. Now 4am), back to bed.  

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Me and YOU Monday - week 10 - a great week

Hi everyone.

I did pretty well with last week's goal of just keeping up with day to day tasks. My digestive system recovered and I had energy and I was able to cook and do some washing and play with Alexis. It was so nice to be well. I am really proud I coped so well even though Corey was away for work. I may have had just a little help from the magic fairies (my family), which never goes astray, but I had a whole day on my own and we were fine.

My goal for this week was going to be getting the final touches ready for Baby Wormy's arrival but seeing as he is awesome and decided to join us nice and quickly and a few weeks early, it's a bit late for that! Fortunately he waited for Corey to come home before deciding it was time to get the ball rolling because once he decided he was coming out it was all rather speedy.

I'll try and write up a labour/birth story before I forget it but for now as you can understand I'm busy just enjoying my little man.

Join up your link though, if you have one  I'll probably have some reading time and would love to know what you're working on.



Do you have a small area of your life you'd like to change? Would you like our little online community to support you with it? If so, why not join in Me and YOU Monday? Your goal can be anything at all: playing more, doing the dishes, not yelling, not staying up too late, not having that extra coffee, whatever you like. Nothing is too small, and if it seems huge break it into smaller bits. If you would like to add your link, then here's the "rules" again:
  • Please don't just use this to promote your blog. It's better if you actually want to change (or want to WANT to change)
  • Please visit again the next week to let us know how you go.
    • You can write the follow-up post anytime during the week if it's easier, but link it up on Monday
    • If you want to keep playing the week after write a post about a new goal or commit to continue persevering with the existing goal. 
    • When you don't want to play anymore that's fine, let us know how you went but don't add a new goal.
  • Please visit at least one other persons site (assuming people play along) and leave an encouraging comment. It would be great if you could pray for them or think positively for them at least once during the week.
  • Please do not make fun of anyone in the link up (this goes without saying though really).
  • A link to this post would be awesome but is not compulsory
Good luck and thanks for your support





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Friday, October 7, 2011

Melbourne is very far away!

Hello, welcome to Friday. I'm joining in Shae from Yay For Home's "Things I know".


  • I know that I was very disappointed in missing out on nuffnang's blogopolis conference earlier this year.
  • When I missed out on the conference I said to myself and to hubby that there was no way I was chickening out of the next blogging conference. 
  • I know that Digital Parents is having a conference at the end of March in Melbourne. 
  • I know that I will have a baby approximately 5 months old, who I plan to breastfeed and will not be leaving behind. 
  • I know that Melbourne is very far away from here.
  • I know that finances will be tight, as they always are.
  • I know that the thought of going somewhere on a plane by myself with a young baby scares the life out of me. (So I hope that hubby can come with me, and ideally Alexis too.)
  • I know that I'm not the best with social situations, that is indeed why I started blogging,

but
  • I know that I would never forgive myself if I didn't at least try to go.
  • So I know that I have bought my ticket to Digital Parents Conference 2012. I know that I will be doing everything in my power to get there.
  • I just don't know how it'll all happen yet!

This is a huge step for me. Either it's a bold, daring step that will spur my blog in the right direction and help me meet some really cool blogging mummies, or I've just given myself something to stress about for the next 6 months. Every now and then though even mummies need to put themselves out there and do something nice for themselves. I really want to take this blog somewhere, so hopefully this will help. If nothing else, I could use a trip to Melbourne! 

Are you planning to go to the conference? Are you shelling out the money yourself or seeking sponsorship? If you are hoping to seek sponsors, how do you know if you and your blog is good enough?   I'm never great on the self-confidence front, and I don't want to waste anyone's time. You never know though if you never try, right? 

I know this is the worst sales pitch ever! Hehe. Shall we go back to talking about sleep and poo? 

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

When I watch her sleep

I wrote this post yesterday. Alexis didn't even bother fighting her nap today. She went down with no trouble at all. She is still as cute as always, with her head at the foot of the bed on the blankets.



My daughter Alexis is so adorable when she sleeps. When I see her little eyes closed and hear her little snore my heart melts. She either snuggles into whatever she can find or passes out spread eagle across as much space as possible.

She has a look of pure innocence. She looks so vulnerable, like a newborn babe, yet she also has a quiet confidence. She looks like the living embodiment of sweetness and light. She is peaceful, calm. She is safe. She is content.

When I watch her sleeping I cannot help but fall in love with her all over again. She is gorgeous, she is perfect, she is mine. A maternal urge to protect her rises up inside my heart.

It is my life's mission to protect this little angel. There is no greater calling. It is my job and my blessing to keep her little world safe, to keep her secure enough for her to fall asleep and dare to dream. It is my job to protect her from the cares of the world and protect her childish innocence.

It is when I watch my daughter sleep that I realise how blessed I am. She allows me to catch a glimpse of the heart of God for His children, and I cannot help but thank Him for giving her to me to look after.

It is when I watch my daughter sleep that I realise how very young she still is. She astounds us every day with new skills, new words, new attempts at independence. Yet she is still only a baby, really.

She has been defiant multiple times a day at the moment and it's exhausting. Sometimes she deliberately disobeys me, willfully, just to see my reaction. Other times she is just curious and frustrated when we have to say, "sorry that's not safe," or "no you've had enough", "it's time to change your nappy", or "Alexis it's time for sleep."    

As she grows and matures we will continue to have our little battles and clash of wills. I do like that she is strong-willed and knows what she wants. I hope that her understanding of authority and discipline will grow as she does. My mind always has a part devoted to questions like, "is there a lesson to learn here", "is my response consistent and fair', and, "does this behaviour need discipline or should I have just not left that where she could reach it"?

Yes, being a parent is exhausting at times. There is more work to do than just cooking, cleaning, shopping and playing. We are responsible for our little ones' emotional, social and spiritual development as well as their physical growth. These are the things people without kids often forget but it is disastrous for a parent to forget this.

For a while though, her world stops, and so can mine. I am privileged to sit here and observe. I marvel at this wonderful piece of creation. I don't do it all the time but I like to when I can.

I like to watch my daughter sleep. It's not creepy. It's usually because I'm so tired from trying to get her to sleep that I need a rest myself. Usually by the time I get her to sleep I'm too physically and emotionally drained to move.

Yes, I'm selfish, I make my toddler have a daytime sleep for my benefit. My payment is seeing her happy as she dreams and the "I love you mummy, I missed you," cuddle I get when she wakes up. She still benefits from it too, of course, not that she would admit it. 
         
It's a battle every nap time now. I almost give up every day, but when she finally surrenders to sleep and I see that little smile on her face I know she still needs the nap. Most often I nap myself then so I need her to have the nap. I just peep over at her for a little while first.

She is so young, so peaceful, so cute, so vulnerable, so lovely, so gorgeous, so safe, so warm, so happy. Free from frustration, teething pain, tummy ache or the dreaded nappy change, her heart can dream. I am reminded to weather the storms because this little girl needs me.

Whenever I find myself getting irritated or frustrated with life as a stay at home mum I see her sleeping and I remember why I chose this life. What a wonderful life it is.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You let her eat what?!




Happiness is a blueberry muffin in one hand and some rocky road in the other. That's before we fobbed her off to her nanna for the weekend ;).

Happy Wordless Wednesday. Playing along with My Little Drummer Boys (check out her dolphin pics, I'm so jealous!) and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's just not going to fit

No this isn't a post freaking out about the imminent passing of Baby Wormy out of the birth canal, although of course that is always occupying at least a small part of my mind at the moment. What I'm currently musing about is the hospital bag.

These days in Queensland you have to take almost everything with you when you go to have bub. They provide a bed (in most cases), sheets, towels, and water. When you pop bub out and get admitted to a ward they might throw in some dodgy meals (sausages, peas and onion, a great mix with waiting for your milk to come in, NOT) and if you're lucky a scar or two. Most other things are BYO.

Nobody really knows when labour is going to start, so the midwives encourage you to have your bag packed from about 30 weeks. So you have to live without this stuff for the last quarter of your pregnancy or buy doubles, or keep getting things out and putting it back in and driving yourself nuts. I bought extra undies and toiletries so at least I wouldn't forget those. I have the daggiest clothes in the world in there so I won't miss them, so I'm going to look absolutely delightful in Wormy's day old photos, not! Although I don't think the clothes will really matter. Things like the camera, batteries, ipod etc I'm going to have to just hope I remember last minute, or maybe I should pack them and just have dodgy phone photos of Alexis in the meantime. Yes, perhaps I should.

The hardest thing though, is space. Hospital wards are quite small. I'm not sure about where I'm going this time around, but when I was in hospital with Alexis there was JUST enough room to stand beside the bed on each side. With the baby crib thing they provide and the lovely but cumbersome flowers someone inevitably lovingly sends, there isn't much room at all. There's nowhere for a suitcase. So the first hospital I went to asked us to pack just a small bag, about the size of a carry-on bag on domestic flights. It makes sense, but in that bag I am meant to pack (their recommendations):
  • pregnancy health record
  • comfortable clothing for myself for 3 days
  • toiletries
  • tissues
  • min 4 packets maternity pads
  • bras
  • massage oil, barley sugars, glucose drinks, music (I haven't thought of any of this yet)
  • pen
  • 2 dozen newborn size disposable nappies
  • 6 newborn singlets
  • 6 newborn jumpsuits
  • 6-8 bunny-rugs or small cotton blankets
  • baby wipes
  • mobile phone and charger
Hmm, yes, because this is all going to fit for sure in a small cabin-size bag. 6-8 bunny rugs would fill the whole bag. 4 packs of maternity pads fills most of the bag. 24 nappies, even newborn ones, are going to take some space. Then there's the stuff they didn't mention, like, camera, batteries, snacks, water bottle, slippers/thongs.. The hospital I birthed Alexis at said to have snacks, drinks and clothes for our birth partners too.

It is good to be prepared. It is necessary to take all these things. I'm not going to be re-wearing dirty underwear or dirty clothes. Actually first time around I went through several outfits a day. I had Corey and my mum running backwards and forwards exchanging washing for clean clothes, but they'll have their hands full this time. Also, Alexis was born straight into 000 clothes, so even though the hospital says to take 0000 stuff I have to pack 000 stuff as well in case bub #2 is big too. (No I can't just ask the medical providers how big they think bub will be because they said Alexis would be "about 8 pound" and she was 9 pound 14 ounce.)

So, I think it's better to have lots of small bags rather than a big suitcase that has nowhere to go? I did that first time around, but the problem there was the only way to stash the stuff out of the way of visitors and to actually move, like, at all (which after birth is not easy regardless) was to stack the bags on top of each other. So whenever I needed anything it was always in the bottom bag (of course) and I had to shuffle everything around to get anything. Ahhh, memories.

Don't worry, I'm not saying "please don't visit me, I don't have room for you". I like visitors. Visitors will be most welcome. Presents are totally not necessary but also always welcome. Having family and close friends come share the excitement of the new arrival with you is half the fun. Although hopefully no-one is inconsiderate enough to bring randoms with them. The morning after giving birth to Alexis I had two groups of people (who don' get on well at all) turn up at the same time (just as visiting hours opened) and I had just made a mess everywhere and needed a shower and Alexis wanted a feed and to top it off one of them had brought two extras with her, because, you know, why not? One of them even asked for a hold of the baby. Um, no, if I don't know what your name is, then sod off.

Argh! *breathe*. All will be OK. I will have a pretty baby boy to adore and he will take all my focus. Although to be honest I think the first thing I'm going to want to do after I've hugged and fed the new baby, had a shower, had a bit of a rest and for goodness sake give me something to eat, (so maybe not the first thing, but definitely high on my priority list) will be give my little girl Alexis a big huge hug. Hospital is no place for a toddler but God help whoever tries to keep her away from me! At least if she gets bored she can rearrange all my bags for me, because at this rate I'm going to need 4 or 5 of them.


What's your fondest memories of your stay in hospital? What still gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up with "why on earth would you do that" questions? How did you fit everything in YOUR hosptial bag? Any tips for me? 

Do you blog on Tuesdays? Join up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM. Jess has gastro (and 4 kids) so spare a moment to give her some comment encouragement. Tell her I sent you.

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