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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A tree, a star, and a freaky reindeer

William's turn first

Then we did actually take it off so Alexis could have a turn

Alexis clapping her hands for being so clever

I just thought this was cute
Alexis scared of a toy. This will be good for her 21st

The offending reindeer, who we affectionately named Moose

Happy Wordless Wednesday. I'm joining up with My Little Drummer Boys (if you like Star Wars you won't want to miss this one) and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The power is yours

This week's listography challenge over at katetakes5 really got me thinking. The task is to list your top five cartoon characters from your youth. If I was to take that literally I would just say five different characters from the Rugrats. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Grampa. Ok done.

If I wanted to make it more interesting though I'd say my favourite shows as a kid. At first it was hard to think of five but now it's hard to limit it to just five.

When I was young Looney Tunes, Ducktales, and Winnie the Pooh, were quite popular as were the good ol' Blinky Bill, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, captain planet, chipmunks, and the Simpsons. Having Foxtel in school years opened up a world of fun with Arthur, Hey Arnold, Top Cat, Catdog, Angry Beavers, Ren and Stimpy and Invader Zim with that weird little alien Goo that sung the "do" song ("do do do do do do Shut up and listen to me do do do...").

There are so many too choose from but after far too much deliberation considering how busy I am, my top five (today) are:
1) Rugrats (the whole crew but I think to pick an absolute fav character it would be Phil.. or really can't separate those cheeky twins)

2) captain planet (I barely remember it but I remember racing to the TV when I heard it come on. Plus there's something nice about being told "the power is yours.")
captain planet

3) Catdog. It was just so random.

4) Hey Arnold (the scripting and character diversity are hilarious on this show. From dittery grandpa to fiesty grandma to controlling bully Helga to cool pal Jerry you can't help but like this Football-headed boy and his crew).

5) Blinky Bill. Not the dodgy stuff they are currently serving up on ABC2, the older more interesting stuff where they had nothing better to do than tease Miss Magpie or Wombo Wombat or Mayor Pelican.

But if you count 22 years old as youth then can't go past the Pinky and the Brain. When I was pregnant with Alexis my husband Corey would often marvel at how I could be so much like The Brain and yet so much like Pinky at the same time.
Pinky and the Brain

Now, fellow list makers and cartoon lovers, I need your help to "try to take over the world" of an Aussie mummy blogging competition. I was nominated by the competition runners themselves and I held that a very high honour but now I've been overtaken and left behind by many many blogs. I have no chance of winning (there are blogs out there far better than mine) but if we work together I might possibly be able to make top 25 or at least leave with my dignity in tact. I need your help.

This link will take you directly to the profile for "the mother experiment" so all you have to do is click on the thumbs up to vote for me. If you have time then that would be great. No pressure of course.

You don't have to be an Aussie to vote, nor a blogger, and there's no registration required. You are able to vote as often as once a day until 8th December.

The vision is mine but "The Power is Yours".
The power is yours

Also because it is Tuesday I'll be joining this up to IBOT at Diary of a SAHM. later if I can find time.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

1-2-3 Crawl-Along Fun

This post is part of Product Talk by Nuffnang.

Fisher-Price is currently celebrating it's 80th birthday. Wow. That means for 80 years they have been bringing delight to children and their families. In this day and age you'd be hardpressed to find a household without a fisher price toy in it. At my grandparents' house they have fisher price farm sets still in perfect working order. Alexis and my niece love playing with them. I remember as a child being addicted to my doctor's kit and all types of plastic musical instruments. Oh, and who hasn't ever seen the chatter phone?

These days toys are battery operated, musical, flashy and loud, and still ever so much fun. Alexis loves the learn and play piano that lives at my parents' place and the learn and play puppy they bought her. The doll pram my sister bought Alexis is still a favourite as are the shape sorter handed down from a friend and the good old faithful stacking rings. Alexis is a Fisher-price nut. My husband and I enjoy her toys too, particularly her little people stand and play rampway.

Our Christmas laybys are full of Fisher-Price toys for Alexis and William but I could not pass up the opportunity to participate in the latest product talk opportunity as part of Fisher-Price's 80th birthday celebrations. I was sent this to review and keep: 1-2-3 crawl-along snail.

I had hoped it would be William's first Fisher-Price toy of his own but his boisterous big sister seems to have claimed it as hers.

I can hardly blame her. It is a very fun toy.

The crawl-along snail has 3 official play modes,
1) Babies learning tummy time can smile at themselves in the mirror, listen to the music and watch it light up.

2) Babies can sit and rock it and slide the lady beetle on its back (setting off music and lights)

3) You can unlock the wheels with a simple slide switch to set the snail off crawling. babies can crawl along after it, touching it to set off more music and lights as it rolls off again. Eventually the ladybird slides down and the snail crawls backwards.

My kids loved it. Alexis liked to hold it, shake it, bang it, throw it, kick it.. it's very durable. Although I had to make sure she didn't collect her baby brother with it as it is fairly solid.

With Alexis locked away in the highchair William got a chance to experiment for himself. It's fun to watch but even more fun to play. He enjoyed it in tummy time mode and he worked out a novel way to play because tummy time is very tiring. He discovered when he lay on his back with it lying beside him he could swipe at it so it sung and lit up. I unlocked the wheels and he enjoyed making it spin around and around.

The 1-2-3 Crawl-Along Snail is a great toy for babies and toddlers and as long as you don't mind hearing the song "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands" repeatedly you might enjoy it too. At least it has a few songs and it has two volume settings, so it doesn't have to be full volume (until your child learns to use slide switches).

This is a fairly new toy but you can take a trip down memory lane by viewing the "I remember" gallery on the Fisher-Price Facebook page.

What was your favourite Fisher-Price toy as a child? 

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where's my baby?

Last night I had the weirdest feeling. I woke after 5.5 hours sleep. As in 5.5 of solid, uninterupted sleep. The most sleep I'd had in one stretch for at least 7 weeks. Actually since my son was born I had been lucky to get 5 hours sleep in total, over 3 stretches.

So naturally when I glanced at the time and it said 2:30 I was very surprised. It was a pleasant surprise but I couldn't help the niggling little question..."where is my baby?" You see, William's bassinet wasn't beside me in my room.

Corey wasn't there either so I knew he would be with him. I relaxed a little. I remembered what happened before I went to sleep. I had informed Corey that he was going to take William away because I needed to sleep and he could deal with him for once.

You see I'd had a few rough days and rough nights and I was over it. Mentally, emotionally, physically... I was absolutely exhausted. After Corey was away for a week followed by an insanely busy weekend followed by cleaning the house for an inspection, the last thing I had needed was a few nights of no sleeping. So I was absolutely spent.

I had been so tired that I had a headache, earache, stomach cramps, sore legs, sore jaw, sore eyes, dizziness, and a generalised 'vague' buzz in my head. I was so cranky and short-tempered my fuse could be measured in micrometers. I was aware of the kids sooking but I just didn't know how to fix it.

So at 8:30 on Friday night after cluster feeding  William since 2pm I had to drop everything and sleep. I just had to. So Corey had gallantly taken William away. Like all good men he acted as if it was all his idea and said, "I'll take him, you rest. You're no good to anyone like this. I'll come get you when he needs a feed".

I remember thinking, "duh. Finally, he gets it," and being slightly ticked off that he thought he was a genius for suggesting something I'd been asking him to do for 2.5 hours, before finally falling asleep.

So when I woke 5.5 hours later I did not feel guilty but I did feel grateful. I wondered how long Corey had been up with William before they finally fell asleep. I knew, rationally, that he would have been fine because William had fed so much in the afternoon he would have slept well once he finally fell asleep. I just didn't know how long it might have taken Corey to get William to sleep.        

I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep but it wasn't that simple. a) my boobs were used to feeding every 2-3 hours at night (thus ouch) and
b) I just had to check that William was ok. It's a mum thing.

I started thinking "is he ok?" I knew I didn't need to worry but there was some sort of biological urge to check anyway. Worst-case scenarios started to work their ways through my mind so I went looking for my boys. I knew they would be in the spare room, didn't I, yet I wandered through the house checking to see if they'd fallen asleep on a couch somewhere. They weren't in the lounge or the nursery.

I half expected Corey to have taken him into bed with him. Corey is dead set against it because he is a deep sleeper but who knows what people do when they're tired. I'm not against cosleeping, I have done it with Alexis many many times and with William occasionally out of necessity but I know how deeply Corey can sleep at times. So I reached the spare room.

I wanted to check but I didn't want to check. I didn't want to wake them if they'd been up late. I didn't want Corey to think I didn't trust him. I couldn't explain it rationally but I just had to check. I wasn't getting back to sleep anyway so I opened the door carefully knowing William's bassinet might be in the way.


Sure enough everything was fine.

William was in his bassinet, on his back, swaddled, fast asleep. I even put my hand on his chest and felt it rise and fall. Corey was fast asleep in the bed. I snuck out quietly and went back to my room.

I waited up for awhile wondering if I should express or wait for William to need a feed. He almost always feeds somewhere around 2:30am. It's the only sort of routine he has. I didn't want to express and not have enough for him when he woke. But full boobs hurt. Plus if I expressed a bottle I could have a drink tonight.

I was just about to go get the pump ready when Corey wheeled the bassinet up. "I sensed you were awake so I thought I would bring him back."

I asked Corey, "how was he?". "Fine," he told me, "he fell asleep on the way down and he has been down ever since." I was impressed. I was also ever so slightly disappointed that William hadn't given Corey a hard time (you know, just so be got a taste of what it's like. You know what I mean?) but mostly I was happy my baby had a good sleep. William started stirring. It was time for a feed. 

We sat him up to clean his nose and he had the biggest smile, so proud of himself for sleeping so well. We told him how very proud of him we were too. He drained both ridiculously full sides (must have been hungry!) and went back to sleep. Good boy!

It's left me asking so many questions though.   
Did William sleep so well because he'd been feeding all day? Did he sleep so well because he was absolutely exhausted? Was the other room darker or brighter or cooler or noisier? Or did he sleep so well just because I wasn't there?

Maybe he normally just wants to feed just because he can smell my milk? Alexis started sleeping better once we moved her to her own room. Maybe it's time. He's so little though. Alexis was about this age when she started having day sleeps in the cot. It might be time to start the same with him. I've tried a few times but he wasn't interested but maybe I should keep trying.

Or maybe I should just cut him some slack and take each moment as it comes. He's just a little baby. He doesn't know that though. He's a very clever, very determined, easily frustrated little man. He is babbling and giggling and he watches Alexis closely so jealous he can't do what she can do. He wants to roll and crawl and walk and eat real food but he can't. Slow down William, you are not even two months old yet. 

He's growing up so very quickly. Where's my baby?

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The longest and best three years

Warning contains mushy stuff.

In a few days Corey and I will have been married for three years. Some of our close friends might say, "three years? That's gone fast!" For me, I think, "oh my goodness has it ONLY been three years?" It has been the longest three years of my life. Corey probably agrees. It feels like we've been married forever and it has been three rather intense years.

The last three years have seen Corey finish uni, search for work and start his career in an unrelated field (as so many science graduates tend to do). The last three years have poked and prodded and stretched us out of our comfortable little bubble for two as we experienced pregnancy, labour and childbirth not once but twice.  We have learned not only to live with eachother but also to share each other with our children.

Before marriage our relationship was about having fun and being happy. We played nintendo or playstation or boardgames or cards or sat around staring at eachother saying "I love you more". We had time to burn and any time spent together was bliss. We were pretty much unaware of the world around us, it was just him and me and we liked it that way.

These days we have to consciously make time for eachother otherwise life becomes about nappies, rubbish, milk, dishes and mess. (See is your marriage baby-proof?) It's so easy to get upset when he fails to do something I've asked him to do (again!). It would have been tempting for him to think he had to do everything when my body was recovering from something and I'd sit around exhausted. I've been pregnant or breastfeeding since 5 months into our marriage.      

We have always wanted our children (and we were so excited when we saw those two pink lines) but I know neither of us were prepared for the level of work they would require of us. We were ready for a baby but I wasn't ready to be a mum. I wasn't prepared to be selfless and nurturing and gentle but firm. These things don't come naturally but we are getting there.

We had no idea how much having Alexis would change our lives. We knew life would be different but we didn't know how quickly things would change. We thought we could work things out as we went along, and we have, but she has repeatedly been a step ahead of us. We didn't know how fast she would grow. It was not long at all before she was rolling, then crawling, then walking, now talking and running and jumping and throwing and wow is she big! We are now parents not only to a baby but also a toddler.

The last three years have had moments of tension, difficulty, stress, pain, fear and disappointment but they have also had times of unspeakable joy.

Together we have grown physically, spiritually, emotionally. We have shared eachothers excitement and we have shared eachothers pain. We have laughed. We have laughed so hard we got stomach aches. We have cried. At times we have just sat there, holding eachothers hands saying "it'll be alright".

The last three years have been intense but God has been good to us. He has always been good to us. Yes we are paying far too much interest for our car but its a beautiful car. Yes we live so far away from anything but it's a beautiful home. It's a place I'm happy to spend my days in and when it's clean I love to have people over. Yes we have trouble juggling our children at times but they are the most beautiful children. Yes Corey and I fight, we have had some doozies, but we always make up quickly and we always end up stronger.    
I love you Corey and I am proud of you. Thank you for giving me two kind, intelligent, beautiful babies. Thank you for loving them as much as I do. Thank you for working hard to provide for us. Thank you for not resenting my heart-felt need to stay home with them. Thank you for not throwing it back in my face when I whinge about how hard it is.

Thank you Corey for helping with the housework. Thank you for being patient when I say you're doing it wrong. Thank you for putting up with my frustration at having a little life leeching away my energy for the last two and a half years. Thank you for rarely rubbing it in that you do a lot more than you think you should. Sorry I don't always recognise your efforts.

Thank you for always trying to please me. I'm sorry I'm not too concerned with trying to please you. Thank you for sharing me with two children (and my blog and my family and my own insecurities). Thank you for forgiving me easily when I hurt you. I'm sorry I'm not always as gracious. Thank you for loving me as I am, warts and all, but for speaking up when things are not right. Thank you for recognising the potential in me, even when I can't see it myself.

I love you.

For more reasons than I can count I love you more than I'll ever be able to say. For all that you do and for all that you don't do. For all that I feel when you look in my eyes. For all that I feel when I hear your voice. For the sparks that still fly when I hold your hand (after 7.5 years together). For the excitement I feel when we kiss. For the way you can calm me and bring me peace.

Corey, my love, the problems of this world fade away when you hold me in your arms.

For all that you are and all that you will be I thank you. Every day I thank God for you. Even though I suck at saying it you are so precious to me. You always have been and you always will be.

Happy anniversary sweetheart. Thank you for the longest and best three years of my life.     

It seems slightly tacky to join this up to a linky but I want many people to know how thankful I am, so I'm joining up for Thankful Thursday over at Katesaysstuff   

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The '2 under 2 against 1' experiment

Also in this series: the first two weeks

- to survive a few days with hubby away while wrangling a toddler and mothering a 5-week-old
- To compare
- To blog

- Live as normal but without Corey around at night to help
- to make it authentic nobody was to come to help at night but I could have help during the day


While Corey was away
- I filled our days with outings and visits so to limit the amount of time I actually was on my own with the kids
- Despite that Alexis decided to wake every few hours at night and it was incredibly difficult to function with the kids taking it in turns to stay up all night
- I quite possibly overdid it but I didn't want to risk sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself
- Tuesday we went to dads for a swim and a play and it was very fun. Dad took Alexis to run some errands while William and I napped. She had a sleep in the car.
- Wednesday arvo my sister Amanda and niece Izy/Bella came over. We had water play outside and then Manda bathed the girls while I had a shower.. thank-you! She had to get dinner out of the oven for me because I was so tired.
- Thursday I was well and truly over it but fortunately I had already arranged for Aunty Monika to come over and she was amazing.
- see journal entries: sometimes it's all too much and   back on track thanks to some help.

When Corey got home again
- Corey got home when the kids were already in bed (so was I) but Alexis went back to sleep easily at 3am when daddy put her back to bed.   
- Corey's car wouldn't start Friday morning so we bundled the kids in the car, dropped him off and spent the morning at my grandparents house.
- It was fun but because Alexis slept in the car on the way home I didn't get a nap.
- thankfully mum came over in the arvo and dad picked Corey up from work.
- I actually managed to cook dinner, yay me. 

- We are all still alive
- we missed him like crazy
- 2 under 2 is always pretty chaotic but having the extra pair of hands helps
- apart from practical help having Corey here is (mostly) good for moral support
- when Corey is home I enjoy the reduced sense of responsibility (I slept deeper knowing he was home to protect us)

- I take my hat off to single mums and pray I never have to be one.
- We did survive, so I know I will be ok next time hopefully I won't be so stressed. 
- It's good to be organised and prepared but it's really important to be flexible.
- Don't expect to get too much done.
- it's ok to ask for and/or accept help.
- Young children, even 5 week old babies (well mine anyway), know who their daddy is and miss him when he's not around. They are unsettled when he should be home but isn't.  

Are you enjoying my pseudo-science-style posts or are they starting to get old? Have you ever spent a few days with young kids with hubby away? Do you have any tips?

If you like the uniqueness of this post please consider voting for The Mother Experiment in the   Circle of Mums Aussie Mum Blogs competition. Thanks.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The winner of the "Animal People" giveaway is

Thank you to those who took part in the "Animal people" book giveaway.

To find a winner I typed "7" into and it chose "6". The lucky winner is Marybelle. Congratulations!

As per the terms and conditions stated in the giveaway post Marybelle has until this Friday to contact me. Please email me your postal adress to

Oh and to answer your question, Marybelle, "how can anyone NOT be an animal person?" I'm not an animal person. *Shock confession.* I find them noisy and messy and I don't trust them around babies. I love my parents' cats (they're more like children really) and I would never wish harm upon any animal but I'm quite enjoying not having a pet at the moment.

Ok now I'm half expecting a dozen comments from animal people saying I'm crazy but I doubt I'm the only one.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Can you spare a few minutes?

Hi everyone
I blog for many reasons, least of which is expecting any kind of recognition, but I was still just a little excited when I received an email from Circle of Moms saying I'd been nominated for their top 25 Aussie Mum blog list. When I checked it out online there were already about 66 blogs nominated, so I guess it's a competition to see who the top 25 are. Now it's an American website and I don't want to take it too seriously, but if The Mother Experiment did make it into the top 25 then that would mean extra publicity for the blog and making their readers aware that this little blog of mine exists. If you think that this blog has something to offer and you want to help more people find out about it then you can vote for me. I don't mind if you do or don't (I won't even know) but it's always encouraging to know someone values what I do.

To vote click on the button below (the pretty pink circle thing that says vote for me)to view my page then click on the hand that says "vote". You can do this once every 24 hours so bookmark the page or use the button on the left hand side of my home page above "about me". Voting continues until 8th December. I didn't expect this, it came up out of the blue, so I won't be too upset if I don't make it, but I thought it'd be nice to give it a try. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to vote for me.



Friday, November 18, 2011

back on track thanks to some help

Seeing as yesterday's post received such lovely heart-felt comments I thought I'd better follow up quickly to let you all know how it went.

I lasted about 10-15 minutes until I just had to go to the toilet. Alexis woke when I moved but I was able to get William down to sleep in his basinet.

I was then able to spend quality time with Alexis which was great. We had a picnic (of little squares of toast with an assortment of spreads) on the kitchen floor just because we could. It was random and kind of gross but she really enjoyed herself.  One by one she picked up a piece off the plate, tasted it, then decided whether she would eat it or feed it to me. It was fun. She even 'helped' me clean up the crumbs off the floor. She loves the dustpan and brush, she always has.

Then aunty Monika messaged me saying she was stopping at the shops to buy morning tea and asking did I need anything while she was there. So lovely. Those of you without kids probably can't imagine how nice that was, but those reading who have babies probably know exactly how sweet that is.

1) When you have young children ducking to the shops is incredibly difficult and it takes so long. It is so very helpful to be able to say "yes please I need milk and peanut butter, thanks!" (Yes, in our house peanut butter is an essential.)

2) She let me know she was providing morning tea so I didn't need to stress about finding something to feed her.

3) Her saying she was making a stop informed me that she was going to be later getting here. This is really considerate to do because there is nothing worse than waiting for a visitor (to come and save you) who doesn't turn up when you had expected. (Seriously, if you are visiting someone with babies do try to get there when you said or let them know. This allows them to work out feeds and nappy changes and whether or not they have time to shower or even use the bathroom.) 

William then woke up and I pottered along with both kids doing the best I could but just taking it easy.

Aunty Monika came bearing gifts: a toilet training ladder and ride on toy that my cousins don't need anymore. So cool. Alexis thought this was awesome and caused her to warm up to aunty Monika very easily. They had fun playing and Alexis thought climbing up and sitting on the toilet was fun. Alexis has had moments of wanting to start toilet training herself but then she decides it takes too long and wants to run off and play. I am in no hurry as it's easier not to be attempting toilet training right now.

Aunty Monika is the kind of guest who would be welcome back anytime. The kind of visitor who everyone loves, one who looks after themself and helps out. One who is helpful and fun and doesn't talk your head off. One who leaves the place in a better state than when they arrived. Yes you have my full permission to get jealous, you should be. She knew Corey was away so she came prepared to help.   

She brought morning tea. She brought lunch. She brought a meal for me to heat up for dinner. She changed nappies. She was friendly with the kids. She fit into our routine. She asked me what my priorities for housework were. She listened then she got busy.

Firstly we tidied the nursery then we had a break for morning tea.(Alexis signalled it was morning tea time by raiding the fridge.) She liked her even more when she opened the bag containing morning tea which was a finger bun and bananas. She knew bananas are Alexis' favourite food in the whole wide world.

Monika did the dishes while I fed William. She then insisted Alexis have a sleep.

As I said yesterday, I've had problems with Alexis being overtired (thus feral). This all stems from her missing day sleeps and not catching up. Somebody close to us told Alexis a few weeks ago that she didn't need to have a nap because she was a "big girl" and ever since getting her to have her day sleep has been incredibly difficult. I haven't had the energy to persevere so I gave up. She was initially sleeping well at night but then she started waking every few hours at night too. Her lack of sleep was catching up with us all.

Aunty Monika calmly but firmly told Alexis it was time for a sleep and that she would feel so much better when she woke. It took about half an hour of her continually returning Alexis to bed but eventually Alexis gave in and fell asleep. I was just standing around scratching my head at this stage so I was ordered off to bed myself while she looked after William.

It took me about 45 min to get to sleep but after I got up for some panadol and a change of clothes I was out like a light. I woke an hour and a half later feeling much better but slightly guilty. I was amazed to find out that Alexis had woken up without waking her brother or I up. She was sitting on the couch incredibly proud of herself for having a sleep. She was so happy and looked healthy.

I noticed that Aunty Monika had moved the CD tower from near the dining room into the corner of the lounge. "That looks good there, and hopefully it will stop Alexis from pulling all the cds out every day," I said. "Good you like it? I just wanted somewhere to put those (William's rocker and Alexis' kicky coaster) out of the way".

Then I turned around and saw that she had cleaned the kitchen and the dining room and picked up all the toys and collapsed the dining table (from the extended position) to free up space. The kitchen table, sink and bench were all clear and clean. Amazing! "I hope you don't mind," she said. I had expected she would not sit idly while the kids and I slept, but goodness me!

Now before you say, "what a strange thing to rearrange someone else's house," (yes I would have thought the same a year ago) it's worth noting that the way I had things wasn't working. I knew that but I didn't have the ability to fix it. My aunty saw a need, had an opportunity to fix it, and did something about it. I am very grateful. I used to feel like a failure when people did my housework for me and I used to want things done a certain way but these days I don't care who does what or how as long as it gets done.

We had lunch then she cleaned Alexis up and even put her hair up while I started to feed William. After saying goodbye to aunty Monika we were able to video call Corey on Skype while he was at the airport. Alexis had control of the laptop (scary) while I fed. After a while she started getting over excited and being rough with the laptop and William so I had to entice her into her highchair with yoghurt and strap her in while we finished chatting.

I then bathed both kids as Alexis was covered in yoghurt. I have a system which is slightly dangerous but works well if I have everything ready before I start and if both kids are alert and happy. William's basinet has wheels so I position it just outside the bathroom. I run a bath for Alexis, clean her, then she keeps playing in the bath while I bath William in the baby bath inside the shower. We have a direct line of sight so I can still make sure she's ok but I don't have to try to keep her away from him because she is contained to her bath. Then I dry William, dress him in his basinet, and leave him there while I get Alexis out and dressed.           

After the baths we played, read stories, watched some TV, fed, etc etc like a normal day. We had dinner and I popped William in his basinet to try to get William to put himself to sleep. It didn't work but it allowed me time alone with Alexis for her bedtime routine. She went off to sleep with no fuss around 7pm, I got William to sleep, then I went to bed. I was asleep by about 8:30.

Corey snuck in at some stage but I didn't really wake up. I kind of opened my eyes and smiled and went back to sleep. I was up with William at midnight but didn't wake Corey. I heard him up with Alexis at 3 and I know they were both fast asleep by the time I was up with William again at 3:30. It's nice to have him home.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sometimes it's all too much (being mum and dad to 2 under 2)

Sitting here, still, exhausted. Silent tears roll down my eyes, defying my will to stay strong. I have had enough. 4 days and 3 nights of no more than 4 hours sleep (and never more than 2 hrs at a time) hits hard. Mastitis-like stabbing pain in my breast hurts like fire. But seeing my little girl broken hearted from 4 days and 3 nights without seeing her daddy is hell.

I know he has to go away for work but sometimes it just sucks. This time is one of those times. I know it's hard for him too. I know I need to stay positive for my kids. I know it hurts him to know I hate him being away. I know it's all part of the job and he doesn't need me making things harder for him but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

The first time with 2 kids was always going to be tough. There was no way to avoid that. I was as organised as I could possibly be. Things would have been fine if nothing had gone wrong but things do tend to go wrong when I really need things to run smoothly. It's a fact of life. It's something I'm going to have to get used to. It's hard to be flexible when I'm this stuffed though.

Alexis and William have taken it in turns to be up most of the night since Monday night. Actually to be truthful William is allowed to wake for feeds at night and he goes back to sleep easily. The only night he was difficult was Monday night and that was my fault for drinking coffee Monday morning. It's Alexis who is making things difficult. She is really hyperactive when she's tired.

She has been waking multiple times a night and rising ridiculously early. She goes looking for daddy and by the time she has accepted he is not here she is awake. She is awake but she is extremely overtired, meaning she is difficult to handle. She screeches, screams and squeals just because she can. I've tried to have busy days socialising with family to tire her out but it doesn't seem to matter. I try to give her quality one on one time but the more I give her the more she demands from me. She has learned to open the fridge and pantry and I am enduring multiple fights a day of "no you can't eat that" and "smashy, ta for mummy". There is food from one end of the house to the other.

She won't leave her brother alone. She is continually hitting him with things, trying to shove things in his mouth, pulling his hands and feet and poking his head. I even caught her biting him. This is not the little girl I know and love. Who is this monster who has possessed my child?

Yet I can't be mad at her. I love her more than anything and she is only a child. I couldn't stay mad for long even if I wanted to. She is so cute at times, sitting and playing at my feet. She has a gorgeous smile and happy laugh. She gives such lovely cuddles. She doesn't want to hurt William she just wants him to play with her. She doesn't really mean to be difficult, I don't think (although I do often wonder). She is just very full-on.

I've tried to explain that if she is calm enough while I put William down to sleep then I can play with her just the two of us. She won't leave him be but then she ends up getting upset that she doesn't get enough mummy time. When we finally do get time just the two of us she starts calling out for him as soon as he makes a tiny noise, which, with William, is a lot because he is very noisy in his sleep. She is only trying to help but it isn't helping. She doesn't say "William", she refers to him by the most horrible scratchy squeal noise and she thinks it's hilarious.

I can't be everywhere at once and I only have two hands. I do leave William crying so I can get food for Alexis or change her nappy etc but then she gets upset because William is crying. I am trying to be organised and a step on top of things but its hard because I don't get a minute to get ahead.

I almost had it under control until the pain started in my breasts. I'm wondering if I should go to the doctor but I don't have a fever yet. I'm just trying to feed William as much as possible, which doesn't help Alexis much. Fortunately my aunty is coming to help in a few hours.

Family support has been great but its not the same. It's can't fill the place of my husband and it can't fill the role of father for the kids. It's only a few days. Alexis knows her father loves her. She will bounce back soon enough. Some would say that William is too young to really understand that Corey is even gone but I say he does know. Things will be back to normal soon enough. We will get through it. We don't have a choice.

I have to get back to being mum now. I didn't have time to write this. I have things to do but there will always be things to do. Sometimes I have to stop and take time out. I'm cuddling William as I write and he is sleeping for the first time in hours. Alexis is watching the menu screen for the wiggles dvd because I don't have the remote and I haven't gotten up. Yeah this probably borders on neglect but she will deal.

Sometimes I need a break, to recoup. Sometimes it all gets too much. Especially when I haven't slept much. Sometimes she needs to be told the world does not revolve around her. It is a hard lesson to learn. I am still learning it too. Now I am feeling better though and it's time to face the rest of the day. Having been up for 5 hours already I'm not sure how my body will cope but I will just have to.

I will get through, with God strengthening me, one minute at a time, one step at a time, one feed at a time, one "Alexis get off his head" at a time. Hubby will be home tonight. I can't wait to give him a hug and hand him one or both of his children. I can't wait to see him again but he had better not dare say he is tired.

Now I have two babies peacefully asleep on my lap. Alexis climbed up and passed out. I wish I could take a photo but the SD card in my phone has died so I can't use the camera. "Toot toot chugga chugga" continues to play on loop. I can barely stand it any longer but both my kids are sleeping. Finally. They are both happy and there is no way to move without waking them both. Alexis is on my arm. It's going numb. I have to pee. Yet another time I wish someone else was here.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what a dummy

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

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No DPCON12 for me

This is my fourth post in the DPCon12 saga. The first I was excited, the second I was down, the third I was brainstorming, and now I'm announcing...  

I have officially sold my ticket to the 2012 Digital Parents Conference.... and it feels good.

As much as it would have been a good opportunity and it would be nice to meet you all I ended up deciding that at this time of my life it wasn't worth the stress involved in getting there.

I am not a good traveller and the thought of doing it with two young children was not overly appealing. I hope that next year the kids will be old enough to be babysat and I'll feel much more at ease. Also if I'm still blogging next year I'll know it's worth the investment. Also there's the hope that a conference might be held a little closer to home one day.

Despite this I had so much trouble deciding if I should go or not. I didn't want to let fear hold me back but I didn't want to go just because it was what "everyone else" was doing. I really didn't want to miss out but that didn't necessarily mean I really wanted to go. So to make up my mind I wrote that horribly long list of things to consider. I still wasn't sure so I thought "if I can't make up my mind I must want to go despite it being too hard." 

The thing is that even then I wasn't convinced. Continually changing my mind was driving Corey and I nuts so I decided just to sell the bugger (the ticket, human trafficking is illegal in Australia) and get it over and done with. Yes I'm sorry that was a terrible attempt at humour.

What ended up making up my mind was a head cold and a stomach ache but also the realisation that planning things far in advance with young kids often leads to disappointment. So we decided instead that the money I got from selling my ticket is mine to save for a rainy day.

I get pocket money to spend on myself and we don't have to spend hours stuck in a plane with our two young kids. I'm thinking I might head out to dinner or a movie or buy a new outfit or take the kids somewhere special, or, gee I don't know! Right now the possibilities are endless and I'm quite excited!    

I've also decided that at some convenient time in the next six months or so I'm going to give myself a decent chunk of time to spend on my blog. What I most want to do with my blog is update the tags and add pictures. I can do that myself I just need time. I'm not interested in conforming to a cookie-cutter style, I just want to personalise it a little bit. 

I'm not too worried about missing out on networking opportunities anymore. For now I am happy just being part of nuffnang's product talk occasionally. My main priority is writing about my experiences and what I know in a way that my audience will find instructive, inspiring or entertaining. If I do what I do well then this little blog of mine will continue to grow, slowly but steadily.   

I'm not upset about not meeting fellow bloggers either because a) my time will come b) I do have a fairly decent social life in 'real life' and c) online relationships are fun enough. I can continue to connect with my blogging buddies through facebook and Twitter as I always have.  

Speaking of that, I know that DPcon will be mentioned a lot on Twitter, Facebook and blogs around the time of the conference. I'm telling myself now not to see it as "I'm missing out" but rather as "how nice they are sharing what they are learning with us non-attendees."   Who knows, when my blogging friends are at the conference I might go to somewhere local with WiFi and follow the live Twitter stream?  My friend Kristy has a blog. If I take her with me it'd kind of be like a conference... Maybe... 

To all who are going to DPCon12 I hope you have a wonderful time. I'm sorry I won't meet you there. Maybe I will see you in 2013 when life settles down a bit. For now I have my gorgeous babies to keep me busy and that's more than enough for me.

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM because

Do you?

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Monday, November 14, 2011

"Animal People" review and giveaway

This post is part of Product Talk by Nuffnang

I am very excited to be announcing my first ever giveaway. One lucky reader will win a copy of Animal People, the new novel by Charlotte Wood.  I have been given two copies, one to giveaway and one to keep after I reviewed it.

Animal people is the story of one man, Steven. He is a character from Charlotte Wood's critically acclaimed novel "The Children" but the story makes perfect sense in its own right (I haven't read "The Children" yet but I would like to get it for Christmas. *hint hint*.).

Animal People takes place over the course of one day (one very long day) but it includes memories of Steven's past. Steven is portrayed as a bit of a shallow, hopeless case with a phobia of commitment and a dislike of "animal people". As the story continues his character develops to be far deeper than that. Throughout the book runs two other themes: the way people treat animals and the way people treat each other. Both of these Steven finds perplexing.  

Now, as my readers know, I am painfully honest at times. To post anything other than my true opinion would go against everything The Mother Experiment stands for. So I must tell you with a heavy heart that I absolutely loved reading this book.

Say again?

I absolutely loved reading this book.

Why is that a problem?
1) it has quite a large amount of swearing in it and I try not to expose myself to too much profanity (I'm trying to give it up. Also there are sexual references which might offend some religious people.)
2) because I found it so hard to put it down.

I was reading this book whenever I could squeeze the time in, mostly at night while feeding William. I found myself disappointed when he fell asleep again because I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to know what happened next but I wanted to keep reading because it is a pleasure to read.

The whole book is absolutely hilarious. I love how it picks apart the warts of society in a humorous way. It is very descriptive. It's the kind of book you could very easily lose yourself in, as I did. I enjoyed the vivid imagery that transports you to different worlds: Steven's childhood in the country, Steven's life in a "poor part" of the city, the city streets full of homeless people and junkies, the snobs that walk the same streets, the zoo where Steven works and the affluent suburb where his girlfriend lives.

There are so many brilliant moments in this book and never a dull one. I'm almost certain everyone would be able to identify with something in the story. Some of my favourite parts include a phone call from Steven's elderly mother (you can practically see Steven roll his eyes), a bus trip with a mysterious bag and a highly dysfunctional birthday party for a five year old girl. I did find the swearing a bit confronting initially but it's all in natural context. It is part of what makes it so realistic. The story flows so well I didn't notice it after a while. It's an easy read although it does raise interesting social questions.

I cannot even remember the last time I read a novel before this book. I just never seemed to find time. I would start books but never finish them. This book I finished quickly and easily and I wished I could have kept reading.  I now want to pick up another novel to read instead of using my phone to keep me awake while feeding (this might be bad for my blogging).

What about you? Do you like reading? Do you find reading challenging? What kind of books do you read? Do you spend so long reading blogs and articles that you can't remember the last time you settled down with a good book? Then maybe you need this book to help you rediscover the fun of fiction.

The giveaway details

I am pleased to have a copy of "Animal People" to giveaway. The competition is open to Australian residents only sorry (because postage is coming out of my daughter's moneybox own pocket). 

To enter simply
a) follow my blog (using google friend connect or "like" on facebook)
and b) leave a comment answering one of the following questions:
1) are you an animal person? Why/why not?
or 2) when did you last read a novel and what was it?

You must leave a comment on this post (not the facebook page) to be eligible. It's part of product talk's requirements for this giveaway. I have turned off the funny word verification thing for the week to make it as easy as possible for you to enter.

Competition closes Monday 21 November at 6pm. Winner will be drawn by and published on this blog on Tuesday 22nd. The winner will have until Friday 25 November to contact me or else I will redraw it (because nobody wants to go to the post office in December). Good luck.

Joining up to the Great Australian Giveaway Link-up with Three Little Princesses.

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Three Lil Princesses

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Five random things I like

I found this week's listography challenge at Katetakes5 quite interesting. It's to list 5 random things we like. By random she means unusual/odd. You should check out her answers. Seriously, you should, they are... random.

So I thought I would have a turn.

The top five random things I like (not in any particular order):

- Alexis' tantrum face. I don't like her lashing out and the whining noise is so annoying but I find it do hard to stop myself laughing sometimes because her face is just so funny.

- When William decides to stay awake a little longer after his early morning feed (2am? 3am?). I know I'll live to regret this but for now we enjoy some time just the two of us while the others are asleep. He just gazes up at me and smiles.

- filling in paperwork. Yes I'm strange. I like it because I know the answers.

- grocery shopping. It gets me out of the house.

- folding towels. I like the feeling of clean towels on my hands and its the one bit of housework I can do well, easily and quickly while watching TV.

Ok, so, before you have me committed for being crazy give it a try. What random things do you like?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

'Tis the season

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again.

- Tis the shopping to be sweaty
- Tis the season to invest in extra water bottles
- Tis the season when pouring a bottle of cold water over a child's head is perfectly acceptable
- Tis the season to spray eachother with the garden hose
- Tis the season when people with swimming pools experience a sudden surge in popularity
- Tis the season for wearing as little as possible

-Tis the season to use the aircon (bugger the cost!) or go to places that have it
- Tis the season to hate shopping because everyone has the same idea
- Tis the season to detest Jingle Bells

- Tis the season of clear blue skies during the day but it's too hot to go to the park
- Tis the season to tie down outdoor furniture at night
- Tis the season when the lawn needs mowing again after a few days

- Tis the season that junkmail floods lawns
- Tis the season to hide credit cards
- Tis the season to start paying off Christmas laybys

- Tis the season to lie to small children
- Tis the season to bribe small children

-  Tis the season that ice cream becomes its own food group
- Tis the season to buy mangos, grapes, watermelon, plums, apricots and peaches
- Tis the season when fruit becomes an acceptable lunch and salad an acceptable dinner
- Tis the season to BBQ
- Tis the season to curse things with wings and six legs

- Tis the season to lie awake at night unable to sleep
- Tis the season when "see you when the sun comes up" means you are giving your children permission to wake up at 4:30am
- Tis the season when toddlers refuse a day sleep
- Tis the season when you can't really blame them because it's so humid
-Tis the season to ease up on TV time limits because it's too hot during the middle of the day to do much else
- Tis the season to bath the kids several times a day

- Tis the season kids go feral
- Tis the season to encourage school teachers to persevere because its only a few more weeks until their giant holidays

- Tis the season to designate time for each obligatory yule-time gathering
- Tis the season to try to convince small children to colour in print-outs and be amused at why they want nothing but to "draw" at home but refuse to do it at playgroup/church/Sunday school
- Tis the season to practice "oh it's lovely, thankyou"

- Tis the season to start wondering where all the Christmas stuff got shoved last time it was packed up
- Tis the season to start wondering where to fit the Christmas tree
- Tis the season to realise we have far too much stuff
- Tis the season to alternate between thinking "I don't think we will bother putting the tree up this year" and "ooh can we put the tree up now, I can't wait til 1st December"

- Tis the season to remember the little baby born in the manger
- Tis the season to thank God for sending Jesus to us
- Tis the  season to think about how much it must have hurt a virgin to give birth (come on, I doubt I'm the only one who has felt sorry for Mary when thinking about it..  carrying, birthing and raising the Messiah would have been a huge honour but OUCH!!!)

- "'Tis the season to be jolly falalalala lalalala". So they say. 

Copyright: the mother experiment 2011

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

feeling the love

It's been a long time since I last joined Kate says stuff for "Thankful Thursday". Obviously its not due to a lack of things to be thankful for. I've just been caught up in the whirlwind that is life with my two babies. (It's not often I refer to Alexis, my darling 20 month old daughter as a baby but she really is still a baby in so many ways.) I've been thankful in my own heart (most of the time) but I've had very limited blogging time. 

This week I absolutely must join in though because I had such a lovely  weekend and I absolutely must say thank you. I am thankful for a relaxing weekend full of love and support just at the right time.
Life with two kids under two years old is intense. There is never a dull moment. It is incredibly fun at times but there are also times that put me to the test. I am the sort of person who likes personal space and to spend time sitting quietly gathering my thoughts. With a breastfeeding infant and a toddler who is planting herself firmly in the "terrible twos" I have been pushed to my limits and stretched to near breaking point.

I can say this because I'm not ashamed. It's no surprise really. I'm not great with change but I've had a huge change. I'm not good under pressure but I've been on demand almost constantly. I am not great at making decisions but I have often had two babies crying for me at the same time yet only one pair of legs, one pair of arms and one lap. I'm also not the best at accepting help but sometimes I have to.   

On Friday morning I had well and truly had enough. Alexis and William had taken it in turns being awake and grizzly all night for most of the week. Alexis was sick and William was feeding almost continually as his body tried to avoid coming down with it too.

For days I had struggled to wipe Alexis' nose and change her nappy because although she was sick she was feisty and almost impossible to catch. She had a rash on her face from snot and drool and a rash on her bottom from acidic wees and poos characteristic of a sick child who refuses to eat anything other than pasta, cheese, tomatoes and orange juice.

It was getting me down. I couldn't be everywhere at once. I couldn't feed continually without making time to eat and drink. I couldn't cope with the physical demands on my body, especially with very little sleep.  I was coming down with whatever Alexis was sick with. I could not stand hearing Alexis whinge and whine and scream but I couldn't fix it.

I am so thankful that Corey was able to stay home that day. I felt terrible asking him to. I know he would have rathered be at work. I know he would have been hesitant to ask to work from home when he'd just had two weeks off but I needed him, I really did. I'm so thankful he was able to recognise that and put his family first.  

I am very thankful that my parents picked Alexis up on Saturday afternoon and kept her until Sunday evening. As much as I adore Alexis, I really needed a break. As much as she loves me, I think the feeling was mutual.

I am so blessed to have parents who love my kids as much as I do and drop everything to spend time with them. Alexis absolutely loves going to nanna and grandads. She had so much fun. She really benefited from the undivided attention, change of scenery and fresh air. She was so much healthier and happier when they brought her home, although she was very tired.  

Corey and I really benefited from the chance to slow down while Alexis was away. We were able to spend quality moments with William and while he was sleeping our time was ours to do what we wanted with. We had a chance to debrief the full on month we had and come up with a game plan for surviving the next few weeks. This was very important.

On Saturday night we ordered  takeaway and watched a DVD like normal couples do. Gee it was nice to relax. Unfortunately William wouldn't settle properly off to a nice deep sleep until about 11pm but it wasn't a disaster because we were allowed a lazy Sunday morning. Corey had special 1 on 1 time with William while I went back to bed... til 9am!!!

Then on Sunday mid morning I went to church with William. We already knew they were planning a small "baby shower" for me. They had attempted to have a surprise one awhile ago but I never made it because William was born early. Corey chose to stay home because he did not want to pass up the opportunity to clean up without Alexis under his feet.

It was nice to worship in peace without Alexis dragging me to the kids table to colour etc. I missed the sermon feeding William (chose a lounge chair in back room option) but I could hear the bits when the pastor got really excited.

I knew they had been planning a baby shower for me but I was blown away by how beautiful it was. As we ate scones, fruit (mangos!) and chocolate cheesecake they took turns giving me advice on becoming a mother of two. It was fun but very helpful.

Then it was present time. They had each contributed a gift and someone had packed them neatly into a box. It was fun pulling things out one by one and thanking everyone. They had all put a lot of effort in. Then they prayed for me - for peace, for strength, for wisdom, for everything I need to thrive in this new role.

It was such a lovely party. It was brilliant timing. I felt so refreshed.  God is good, and when you experience "church" done properly it is incredible. I was amazed at their generosity because I had only been going to the church for a little while (I already had a baby bump) and we didn't go that often. Most of those women hadn't met me before, but they were excited for me as a member of their church family. I was really feeling the love.

When I came home to a clean house I was so happy there were almost tears. Corey had been very very busy. He had picked up everything off the floors, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned both showers, cleaned both toilets, cleaned the mirrors, done the dishes, cleared and wiped the kitchen bench, done a load of washing and started sorted laundry mountain. 
I am so thankful that I married a kind, compassionate man who knows how to show me he loves me in tangible ways. I'm glad he's confident enough with his masculinity to spend a morning doing housework. I'm thankful (and slightly jealous) that he is competent enough to achieve so much in so little time. I'm thankful he did all this with no expectation of being rewarded.

I'm thankful for the whole weekend and its timing. I started Monday morning refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges that lay ahead. Alexis has been determined to push my buttons this week but I haven't lost my cool, and I am so thankful for that.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm indecisive... I think

I wrote this a few days ago. It follows on from "Does my blog look big in this?" It was meant to help me decide whether I wanted to go to Digital Parents Conference or not. I was going to post it, then I wasn't, then I was.. As you can see I posted it. My time is too precious at the moment to waste so much time writing something without posting it.
EDIT: As your time is also precious you don't need to read this. I'm not really asking for help or advice. I'm at peace with the situation now, I have been for days. I probably should not have posted it. It is, however, what was going through my head at the time. Yes all of this was buzzing around in there at the same time. I wrote it out to slow my thoughts down. If you are a chronic overthinker too then maybe you understand what I mean.

I had just about decided I didn't want to go to "that stupid conference anyway". It's easy to come up with excuses and reasons to not do things when you are convinced there's no possibility of getting there. The first time someone offered to buy my ticket I was overjoyed and relieved. Then they changed their mind.

Then Corey and I sat down with a calendar and wrote down what was due when and what was coming in when and it turns out that we actually can afford it. So we decided that we would all go and make a holiday of it, as long as he could get time off work. Almost instantaneously somebody else offered to buy my ticket.

Now I have to decide. I have two viable options: keep the ticket and go or sell the ticket and don't go. It's that simple.

With me, nothing is that simple. I'm more confused than ever. I'd like to blame it on baby brain but as Corey is quick to point out I've been indecisive for a very long time. I'm the kind of person who can't decide between maccas and hungry jacks. Choosing my subjects at uni was agony. Choosing whether to return to work or not had me physically ill for weeks. This is not going to be an easy decision.

There is so much stuff to think about too.

I DO NOT like flying at all. I have overly short eustachian tubes which means I get blocked ears just driving up a mountain let alone being in a plane. It really hurts. I have earaches now just because of a head cold.

I am not street savvy. I have only ever caught a taxi once and that's one my mum pre-booked and pre-paid. I have not used public transport since uni. I pack a suitcase for an overnight trip. I have weak shoulders though. Needless to say I am not a good traveler.

If I go by myself I have to grow up fast and suck up the fear and just do it. If I go with William I'll be fine focussing on him but then, what do I do when I have to pee, which knowing me will be quite often. I will have to go at least once on the plane.

If all four of us go we have to put up with Alexis' sooking and whinging on the plane. She's perfected banshee-like screams recently. I would be so embarrassed. To keep her happy we would probably have to watch Wiggles DVDs. The problem is we would have to turn them off for landing. It is hard to take things off toddlers without causing a scene.

If all four of us go it will cost a lot of money. Do I deserve to spend that much on a hobby? Corey says he will support me and we will make it work. Technically we can afford it but should we save the money for bills? I could have a girls night out with some friends for much less. In the back of my mind I question whether it'd be putting the kids under unneccessary risk. Yes I still hate planes and have a stupid fear of them. I won't let that stop me though, I won't live my life crippled by fear.

A family holiday would be nice but will Alexis cope having a day without me in a strange city?  Would I rather use that money to take us to the beach for a few days or to a themepark or on a road trip to see distant relatives. I have family and friends in Melbourne but they are not near where the conference is. If we all go we would like to fit in time to see them, so do we stay an extra day or two or do we rush around like crazy?

Then there's the conference itself. 

Once I get there, if I go, I can meet some awesome mummy bloggers, including those who I've been following for many months. This will be fun and interesting yet in a small way end the "mystery" I like so much about reading blogs. I have imagined what people sound like and act like. I don't watch vlogs because I like to use my own imagination.

If I go I will be outside my comfort zone in a room full of strangers. Fortunately there will be many others who also don't know anyone. Fortunately a group of mummy bloggers is bound to have some socially inept people, so it's one place I don't think I will be judged severely for being shy and awkward. Fortunately mummy bloggers love learning about things others might consider mundane so it won't matter overly much if I am not very interesting.

I'm sure there will be loud, energetic, extroverted people there too. This is good because I could probably hide behind them if I wanted to. It would only be awkward if I still had an earache or two from the flight.

My ears are actually the main reason I don't know if I should go. My ears are like my Achilles heal. If they are blocked I might not be able to hear properly. What a waste it would be to go to all the trouble of going and then not hear the messages. I had this happen at a friend's wedding recently. Sometimes instead of reducing my hearing I get very sensitive to loud noises. There's going to be babies there. Some babies will cry. Pain.     
Then there is what to do with the kids while I'm there. Of they stay home I'll miss them. I could take William with me to the conference, which Corey would prefer. That way he can focus on Alexis and I don't have to worry about expressing milk. I'm not likely to get to express milk while we are down there and I can't exactly take pre expressed bottles with me.

I'm not sure how William and Alexis would go being separated for a day. Alexis would probably get jealous of William coming with me unless Corey takes her somewhere really fun. Then I would know that I was missing out and a small part of me would rather be with them.

Taking William with me means no having to buy formula but it makes it hard for me. This kind of event normally doesn't allow prams, so again what do I do when it's bathroom time? Most in my mind is this: how much attention would I be able to pay to the speakers if I have William with me?

Yes going to the conference is a good way to meet fellow bloggers and possibly (hopefully) even some business people looking for bloggers to represent their brand. It's the easiest way to network, meet people and make contacts. Having William with me might even help there because he's a gorgeous little ice-breaker. I would also be there to learn though.

I would like to make the most of the conference and actually be able to focus on what the speakers say. I would love to take my laptop and type notes. I would like to listen intently to personal testimonies. It is hard to concentrate while juggling a baby. It's hard to type while holding a baby. It's hard to listen while trying to change/feed/settle/entertain a nearly 6 month old baby. I pretty much never catch a word of the sermon at church.

I have enough trouble concentrating as it is. For a once academically minded person I have a short attention span. I was zoning in and out of focus in my lectures all the time. I used to blame being tired from working nights and getting up a few hours later for uni. I'm no less tired now though that's for sure!

Then there is the final thing weighing on my mind. Say I come away from the conference refreshed and renewed and ready to make some awesome changes to my blog. When am I going to find time to implement them? I have some pretty good ideas now but I can't prioritise my blog over my children, husband and domestic duties. Is there any point torturing myself with more information and techniques to put on the virtual to-do-list?

If I go then when I get home I'll be too busy to blog for a few days. Alexis is likely to be clingy for a few days because I left her for a day. This is pretty much a certainty. She spent this weekend with my parents who she likes more than she likes me. She had an absolute ball yet she would not let me out of her sight on Monday from dawn to after dusk. She refused a nap and she woke at night and I had to lie in with her for an hour before she went back to sleep.

Life as a mum means that you can have 'me time' occasionally but it'll cost you. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not. Should I go to the conference or should I lock myself in the study with the computer and a block or two of chocolate?

There really is so much to think about. This Melbourne conference really does seem to be all in the too hard basket. Yet I just can't say no just yet. Is it just me being indecisive (as I tend to do). Am I afraid to commit to not going? Would pushing through the difficulties be good for my personal development? Do I just not want to miss out? Or do I really really really want to go, despite all the questions?

I wish I knew.     


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Babies suck

No no no I'm not a baby hater. I love babies. Well I love my babies, and my niece, and Kristy's babies. Some babies irritate me but I'm sure my babies irritate people at the shops, post office, etc too! What I meant is that babies like to suck. It's what they do. 

When I wrote my post "breastfeeding: the good, the bad and the sucky" I forgot to mention the 'sucky' part. Babies suck.

Babies cry. A mother will soon learn to tell if bub is hungry or not.  Something that really gets on the nerves of all mothers, whether breastfed or bottle fed, is people saying "feed the baby" when they KNOW the baby isn't hungry.

Of course in the early weeks it can be hard to tell the difference but after a few months many mums will know baby's different cried and cues. A baby who is crying is not necessarily hungry. He/she could be dirty, wet, hot, cold, tired, overstimulated, gassy, or just wanting a cuddle. Older babies could also be bored, lonely, needing attention, wanting to run around, wanting an object they've seen or just plain trying to get on your nerves.

I know nobody likes listening to babies cry and everyone wants to soothe the noisy distressed bub as quickly as possible, however, it is not the job of random strangers to point this out or suggest how. I've lost count of how many times I was out with Alexis and she got tired, bored, cranky and needed a nappy change. All the planning in the world can't avoid bad service, incompetent staff or annoying customers taking forever to decide what they want while you wait. I did not appreciate the same annoying people sticking their noses in saying "she must be hungry". It took so much self-control to not blurt out "actually she's just cranky because you are taking forever so could you kindly mind your own business and hurry up." It took even more self-control to not say abridged two-word retorts to the same effect.  

We all know how annoying times like that are. Even dads understand those times.

What some people, especially dads, don't realise is that babies suck. Just because a baby is making sucky noises, sucking on his hand or sucking on dads finger/bicep/shirt does not necessarily mean that he or she is hungry.

Corey is the king of "he's hungry, feed him". I am thankful he paid attention in prenatal classes when I was pregnant with Alexis. Yes sucking can mean baby is hungry however it doesn't always. When William sucks things he might be hungry, but he might be gassy, tired, overwhelmed or just plain looking for something to do.

Babies suck in the womb. They suck in amniotic fluid and they suck their hands and feet. We have a 3D ultrasound photo of William (in the womb) sucking his thumb. Yes it is sooo cute.

Sucking is a habit babies have and it brings them comfort. They aren't likely to stop that habit as soon as they are born. Newborn bubs have just had a big change. They can't drink amniotic fluid anymore, they can't play with the umbilical cord anymore, they can't perform somersaults or use mummy's bladder as a toy. They can still suck though, so they like to. Come to think of it my 20 month old still has a dummy. William hasn't shown any interest in a dummy yet, he just gums anything he can get to his mouth.

Of course a baby sucking on his hand and crying could mean "I'm hungry" and it's not really possible to overfeed a breastfed bub, so it doesn't hurt to feed them anyway. The chances are though gentlemen, that if your wife has spent an hour feeding bub and five minutes later he starts sucking on his hand, she will throw something at you if you say "I think he's hungry". Unless you plan to miraculously start lactating it is probably wise to pick baby up and listen for a burp or fart.

Oh, and guys, if baby IS hungry after the resulting burp or fart or poop that does not mean that you won that argument. Not really. It just means he's made more room. ;-)         

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Does my blog look big in this?

I wrote this a few days ago. I've held off posting it because I didn't want to seem like a brat and also I wasn't sure if it was too personal for my liking. Considering I've got details about labour, birth and boobs I think the "is it too much information" question is a moot point. As for being a little bit bratty, well if it comes across that way I'm sorry. I hold no ill feelings towards the judges or winners or anyone. I'm glad for the opportunity to reassess whether I really wanted to go. I do think this is something a large amount of mums would be able to identify with so I'm going to put it out there and see how it goes. Also through Twitter discussions I've had two people interested in my ticket but its not definitely sold, so if you really want it contact me.

I recently entered a competition hoping to win sponsorship towards the cost of digital parents conference 2012. I didn't realise how many people had entered because I read rafflecoptor wrong. I thought that there was a low number of entrants, which I assumed was because the entry process was very involved. Rather than random chance the entrants had to answer questions about blogging goals and why they wanted to attend the conference. I didn't really have time to apply but I made time because I really wanted to win. I had hoped that the time factor would scare most people off.

I was wrong, lots of people had entered. Lots of high calibre blogs had entered. I, blissfully unaware, thought I might be in with a chance. I was embarrassed when they announced who won.

In the mummy Blogging world mine is just a small fry. Its not anything to be ashamed of. I've been really busy and my blog not yet a year old. I've never directly approached a sponsor, done a PR kit or hosted a giveaway. I've done nuffnangs product talk coz it gives me access to cool new products I otherwise would never come across but that is all.

I used to think I didn't want to make it big. A few personal messages saying "I love this" or "this really helped me" used to be enough for me. In so many ways I want that to be enough for me. It really feels good when I get messages like that. They are what encourages me to keep going. I love that I can help my friends and even some strangers. I am incredibly proud that my blog has so much support from non-bloggers. I have anonymous followers and people who just bookmark the URL. It is good for the ego but is not something that I could put in my PR folio if I had the guts to do one.

Yet for some reason deep down I want more. Yes things are tight financially and the money/products/etc would help but its more than that. It's not really a fame and fortune thing. I think I just want to succeed to prove to myself that I can. I usually quickly discard hobbies that I'm not great at. Is there something to gain from persevering this time?

I have little confidence in myself in most things. I second guess my abilities in pretty much every area of my life far too often. I self sabotage before I even get started and I'm sick of it.  

I want to fit in, be liked and to be successful but I believe it'll never happen. It's easier to not try than to fail. If I don't know I can do something well I don't usually even try. If I start to put myself out there I freak out so much I lose sleep over it. At the first little hiccup I feel foolish for allowing myself to get excited and give up before I can get hurt any more.

So when I wasn't chosen to be sponsored for the conference it hit me hard... It hit me very hard. I felt a whole range of different things: disappointed, upset, afraid of how I would find the money, rejected, but also I was cross with myself.

I was cross with myself for ever thinking that maybe just maybe they might have picked me. How arrogant it had been to get my hopes up. How stupid I had been to not realise how many people had entered. How naive to think that any heartfelt answer I could give could possibly compete with high page views, high follower counts and popularity. I've never done a "follow me, tweet this, Facebook this" giveaway. I just like writing. 

Then I felt like an epic brat for thinking like that. I believe that the winners won based on the terms stated in the competition (ie answers to questions) but even if there was more to it than that it's none of my business. The sponsor is allowed to want the most profitable return for their investment. The blogs they chose are great blogs so it's not like they didn't deserve it. I have followed three of them for many months.

So why did it hurt so bad? I guess I just wanted someone to take a chance on me. I wanted to know that somebody wanted me at that conference so bad that they would help me get there. Partly because then I would be able to overlook the anxiety I have in relation to going.

Getting me to the conference would be a huge financial sacrifice for my little family. I am absolutely terrified of flying by myself, getting a cab by myself, staying somewhere by myself, etc. To take my family though would cost a small fortune. Even though the sponsorship offer wouldn't make a huge dent in the cost it would make me feel it was ok to spend that much on a hobby because maybe I might make it one day.  

I guess I just wanted validation. I used to be a highly driven performance-oriented person, motivated by success. I could be because I was actually successful. I was top of my class often at school, I was Dux of year 10, and although I was pipped at the post in year 12 (I was more interested in my boyfriend, who is now my husband) I still did well.  I achieved good grades at uni and I found a job within months of graduation. I married young, had children young... and now what?

These days my occupation is a mother. I struggle to not drown in the unending sea of housework and more often than I'd like to admit I need somebody to step in and save me.

I would be ok with that if I was a 'fun', 'happy', 'inspiring' and 'playful' mother, but I'm not. I do the best I can and it is just not good enough. Sometimes I am mad or distracted or tired or just generally uninteresting. My newborn and toddler are demanding and tedious at times and although they try to tell me they love me in their own little  ways some days I feel completely and utterly incompetent.

The truth is that being a mum is something that nobody can master. It's often a thankless job. There's no report card and that is probably a good thing. My husband is as supportive as he can be but he has his own life, his own work and responsibilities. He is never going to say thanks for every little thing I do. He only notices how much I normally do when I really do 'do nothing' for a day.     

So I guess my blog is like my job. I want to do well, to success, to progress, to get some external validation from it. The problem with that is that this takes the fun out of it. It causes more stress instead of relaxing me. It takes time away from my family. I am never fully satisfied with it either because I simply cannot give it my all.

I have so many things I want to do for my blog that I just don't have time to do. I have ideas for a new design. I have ideas for new pages. I want to tidy up my tags. I want to update my profile. I want to do a PR kit. I can't find the time to fight the "what's the point, I suck, I shouldn't waste my time" that runs through my mind let alone actually do any of it. So I can't expect much of a return if I don't put the effort in can I.

Does it really matter though? If my blog looks dodgy compared to mummy blogging standards and its considered small should I care? As long as my blog is being read I really shouldn't care about the rest. I don't want to give up opportunities before they come so I want to try but I don't want to set myself up for heartache either. It's a fine line.

I should not need external validation. I should find confidence through my value to God and my family and nothing else. I don't want to need to strive anymore. I tell myself I don't care. To draw a line I told myself I'll listen to my faithful readers but not get caught up with the 'blogosphere' as a whole but I get so frustrated with comments that say "don't give up" as if they are patronising me. I haven't failed, silly billies. I don't care if noone joins my linky, its their loss not mine.

I get sick of the politics and cliques and in-jokes. I don't aim to please the mummy blogging community. I write to write but moreso I write to be read. I would rather 40 followers who actually read what I write than 20 followers who read what I write and 100 who wanted to win what I was giving away. I'm not writing this out of bitterness, I am 100% serious. 

How can I feel so many conflicting things at the same time? It's like there is multiple Karlees fighting it to the death in my brain. I'm confused.

Do I want to go to digital parents conference or did I just think I had to because the 'cool kids' were doing it and I didn't want to miss out. I found it incredibly difficult to miss out on Blogopolis this year. So many bloggers were there and I felt like I was missing something great. I was cross with Corey for not even giving me the option to go. We spend money on the kids without batting an eyelid. He buys takeaway, chocolate, softdrink, books... I rarely ask for money for myself. I felt like I was 'entitled' to do something nice for me occasionally. In his defence I sprung it on him with no notice and we didn't have the money lying around.

So we agreed that this time I would go. I bought my ticket the very hour they were released. We said we would work out logistics later but with all the stress of a new baby having the logistics of how to get to Melbourne in the back of our minds is just too much. I didn't realise how much it would all cost and how much planning it would take. I don't want to leave my kiddies behind (they're sick at the moment so I probably have a bit of mummy guilt) and I'm scared to go alone but taking Corey and the kids seems foolish when I'll be in a conference all day. Corey would move heaven and earth to get me there if I REALLY wanted to go but I don't know if its worth it. Just quietly, I'm also petrified about walking into a room full of strangers. The reason I wanted to go the most was to tackle that fear head on but is that reason enough to go?

I know nobody else can tell me if I want to go or not but I wish I knew! If something feels all too hard than either it is or it is going to be the best thing you just have to fight through the anxiety. How do I tell which one this is? How do I tell if I've realised I don't really want to go or if this is just a knee-jerk reaction to stress.

Are you going to DPCON12? Are your motives pure or are you following the pack? Is any one game enough to admit they are not going because they just don't want to, or are the non-attendees all saying "too expensive" or "can't leave the children" etc.

It might help me make up my mind if I had someone willing to buy my ticket. If I feel disappointed to read someone is wanting to buy my ticket then I'll know I really wanted to go. If I feel relief, well then I'll know I didn't really want to go.

So, I do have a ticket. Would anyone like it? I am prepared to sell it for what I paid which is  early bird rates plus paypal fee (all up $154).

Can you help an overstetched, overtired and overemotional mumma?         

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