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Saturday, March 31, 2012

25 + 5.5

Friday 30th 10am ish

10 days without blogging. That's probably a record for me since I started about 17 months ago. I didn't even have that long a break when William was born.

So where have I been? I've been home, mostly, sitting on my bottom, mostly, with William. I haven't been able to blog while holding him because a) he's been wanting my full attention b) he's been trying to eat my phone c) I've been too tired to string words together other than, "Alexis get off his head," "Alexis mummy will help you soon," or "William, mummy is coming back to pick you up but I need to make your sister some lunch first."  William has been a little needy lately. It's not his fault, he's only a baby, but it is definitely getting on my nerves.

No, admitting that doesn't make me a terrible mother, it makes me human. A human who is concerned about her 2 year old daughter and husband as well as her son. A human who needs to pee in peace occasionally, needs to wash clothes and cook meals. Welcome to the world of a stay at home mum with a 25 month old and a 5.5 month old.

Poor William, he really has had a rough trot lately. Last Thursday I fed him broccoli and it bound him up so bad he had a terrible tummy ache. We did not sleep Thursday night except for when I accidentally fell asleep in the nursery holding him. He wasn't too well on Friday. Corey and I had a double date scheduled with an old friend although I really wanted to stay home with William or take him with us we left him in my mothers capable hands assured that he would be fine. Mum was fine with the kids and even managed to have them asleep before we got home but as we got home William woke and fed all night.  We didn't sleep Friday night either.

On Saturday he had a fever. He fed all morning, pepped up a little bit at lunch time while my parents were over, then got grizzly again. Eventually he passed the broccoli and was much brighter. He decided he needed to learn to crawl. He kept trying for hours on end. He's so close. It's not exactly commando but not "proper" crawling either.  Once we put him to bed he kept getting stuck in corners of the cot. We didn't sleep very Saturday night either.

On Sunday we noticed yellow discharge out of one of his ears and so took him to the doctor. He had infection in both ears. One of his eardrums had ruptured. We did not sleep well Sunday night.

On Monday the other eardrum ruptured. He felt relieved. We checked at the doctor. He got overtired. He was feeling better. He decided he'd have another shot at crawling. We didn't sleep overly well Monday night either.   
I haven't been able to get him to have a decent day sleep all week either. He wants to keep playing. Keep learning. Keep practicing sitting up, keep trying to crawl. He hasn't let me out of his sight during the days.

His sleep at night has been fitful and he's woken often. On Thursday night we noticed he was teething. We gave him some bonjela. He slept relatively well but not as well as we had hoped.

Friday 30th 11:30pm ish

Now it's Friday night and both my beautiful kiddies are asleep. Hubby is asleep. I'm awake. I can't sleep. My body is aching but my mind won't turn off. I've been at bible study. Corey was fantastic and had the kids asleep before I got home but I'm still having trouble sleeping. I want to express but I can't be bothered.

Hopefully I'll fall asleep soon. Please. Hopefully before William wakes up.

Saturday 31st March 2012 4:30am
I fell asleep. Hehe. William is up now. Feeding. He's not really interested in feeding, he wants to go down and play. It's still sleepy time William....oh good he's content to play in my arms. I have a chance of getting him to sleep then. Yes! He's asleep but he gave it a fight. He tried to wriggle away, tried to shove his dummy in MY mouth, had a little chat, tried to roll off my lap, got the hiccups... he's asleep but not very deeply. I won't put him down just yet.

I feel sorry for the poor little fella to have all this happen this week: indigestion/gas/food intolerance, being babysat, trying to crawl, trying to sit, his first fever, two ear infections, teething.. Is there any wonder why he's been a little clingy.

I do think it's the start of him experiencing separation anxiety. I can't blame him after all he's been through this week plus he's nearly six months old. Alexis was clingy all the time so I've done well to get this far with William being so settled and content. Then again maybe he just needs comfort. If I'm around he wants me watching him at all times but he cooed pretty well with Corey while I was at bible study.(Thank you so much I really needed the time out.)

He's about that age where his view on the world starts to change. He is looking at his toys (and things that shouldn't be toys) a whole new way. He's taking a lot more in than he used to. He's getting over stimulated quite a lot. He's distracted easily when feeding during the day, especially when Alexis is around which is all bar two hours while she naps. So he's feeding for like 5 minutes every hour. He is waking at night to feed while it's quiet and boring so he actually gets a decent feed. The problem is he needs the sleep more than the milk.

It's just a topsy turvy time for us. I love certain aspects of it. I love the massive smiles and giggles I get when he sees me after a few minutes of being away. I love how he puts his arms up to be picked up. I love how he bounces when I sit him on my lap. I melt when he snuggles in and falls asleep. I love watching him discover new skills, I love his "bbbbbb" and "mmmmmm" and "brmmm" noises he makes. I am in awe of how clever he is already. He saw Alexis' toy car, said brrm, went and got it, rolled onto his back and 'drove' it over his arm saying "brrm". He's incredible and he wants me to know it!

Oh William. Mummy is so very aware of how incredible you are.  You are loving and sweet and fun. You are so very clever. I am so proud of how well you have coped with all the changes of the last week and a bit. You are amazing. Just give slow old mummy some time to catch up hey? Mummy has sissy and daddy to look after too. Mummy is also quite nervous about having two mobile children.

On that note, does anyone have any tips for setting up safe play environments for a six month old that can be shared with a two year old? I think it's time for the playdoh to go outside and for drawing and craft to become things we only do when William is asleep. Which would be fine if William would actually have a decent day sleep. Poor Alexis has had to be so patient with William and I lately. Mummy is so very proud of you too my princess.  

Life with a 25 month old and a 5.5 month old is never boring.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh 3am, I've missed you! ;)

It's 3am and I'm sitting here feeding William. It's not uncommon although it is a little strange after he slept through the last few nights. I think he might have slept through tonight if he hadn't ended up upside down on his tummy with his head jammed against the corner of the cot (at the end where I had put his feet. Not sure how he managed that).  I was already up anyway so I got to him quickly. If I'd been in a deep sleep he might have sorted it out without waking me. I probably disturbed him, truth be told, he just probably waited until the end of a sleep cycle to call out. 

Alexis woke up at 2 but was asleep before I got to her room. While I was up I expressed a bottle of milk because I'm getting the children babysat on Friday night. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to express in peace and quiet, it is so much easier. I managed to finish, put the bottle away and jump back in bed thinking I'd gotten away with being a milk thief. William always wakes when I express. Sure enough he did wake, just as I was drifting off to sleep.
  

It's weird being up after a few nights of getting a decent sleep. I'm tired. I don't feel that tired but I do have a headache and I'm hungry. That usually means I'm tired. Expressing does this to me too though. Seeing as it's 3am, I'll go with tired.

I had to express both sides to fill a small bottle because I haven't fed during the middle of the night lately. So I'm not sure how much milk William is actually getting but he is really enjoying the feed anyway. I am enjoying it too, slightly. I'd rather be in bed but I can also appreciate this quiet time with him. It's an extra cuddle, it's good for my milk supply, and it's a bit of time 'to myself'. Yes I'm feeding but it is so easy for me these days I don't have to think about what I'm doing.

There's nobody crying, sooking, pulling at my hands, banging something, pushing buttons on annoying noisy toys, asking me for something or trying to feed me something. The noises I can hear are the hum of the aircon, the whirring fan and William feeding. It's quite nice. I've been reading a really good passage of the bible on my phone bible ap and I've even had time to read multiple translations of it so I might understand it better.

Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely stoked that William has started sleeping through the night. After a few nights of actually sleeping well I've started to feel well and have more energy and be nicer and more patient. Sleeping through the night is a wonderful thing. If I have to be up though, I might as well make the most of it.

There is a certain appeal to this time of day (now 4am), especially while William is still content to feed and drift back off to sleep with very little effort on my part. Breastfeeding gets a bad rap at times but I love it.

It is easier to enjoy these night wakings now that they are not happening so often. When I was doing this three or four times a night it got old fast. Now that I have had a few nights without this quiet time though I can appreciate the stillness once more. 

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Monday, March 19, 2012

My kids stay up late and I'm OK with that

Written Sunday but seeing as I've already posted today (a post about losing my son's toy at the shops) I'll schedule this for Monday morning. That way I can link up to week 12 and be an early bird instead of sneaking in on Sunday of week 11. Better late than never though, right?




Simplify your life challenge weeks 9 and 10. Simplify your life is hosted by Deb at Home Life Simplified. 

Week 9: go easier on yourself.
Challenge was: see if there is anything in your life where changing your expectations / standards / approach could change your life.

I'm a few weeks late in posting but early on I realised what my answer was. Bed time. My children are natural night owls. They stay up late. It was fine for our family because Corey gets home late and they want time with him. They then wake later in the morning which is good because neither Corey nor myself are "morning person"s.

Somewhere along the line Corey and I decided we needed to get the kids to bed by 7, 7:30 at the latest. I think we were doing it for little other than social convention. Yes it would be ideal to have them "out of the way" early to get more time together but they are such light sleepers that it was just causing too many problems. We found ourselves trying desperately to get the children to bed earlier but they just weren't taking it well at all. So we fought for hours, woke up cranky, and never got anything constructive done in the mornings anyway. It was putting too much pressure on me to get everything done during the day while Corey was at work and I found myself resenting having to do everything myself. Trying to hard to do everything during the day meant I wasn't spending enough fun time with the kids which meant they weren't sleeping well, etc etc.

We kept persevering with the earlier bed time because everyone we talked to said "they'll get used to it. Be firm. They'll adjust. You're the parents. Overtired kids are harder to get to sleep." It took many days of sobbing (for hours each night) to get it across to Alexis and every time we had one later night the whole cycle started again.

So eventually, recently, we decided "stuff this". We know our kids better than anyone else and we don't need to answer to anyone else. If we want to keep them up later so be it.

Yeah it is hard when the kids are up late and I want to go to bed myself. Yeah it's hard knowing that if I go out the kids will probably be up waiting for me. Yeah it's hard to not get time to myself. I could wake up earlier but um, no. Although I'm up earlier than anyone else today, that's the only reason how this post I wrote a week ago is finally getting posted! It is however nice to have family time every night and to have the dishes done before bed without waking the kids up. It is very nice to not have a two hour tantrum from Alexis before bed. If we put her to bed at 9 she goes to sleep no problems whatsoever and sleeps til 7 ish, sometimes 8. She also has a day sleep no problem either. So what's the big deal?

When it comes down to it if my kids being up late becomes a problem then I will adress it. I will no longer, however, bust my boiler trying to "force" Alexis to go to sleep early just because it is what "everybody else" does. There are far too many challenges I face as a mum of young kids. A consistent bedtime routine is a great idea but if we do that a few hours later than others it doesn't make me a bad parent.



Week 10: face your fears

I'm very tentative when it comes to posting about my kids' sleep habits for two reasons. So posting this post is facing my fears so to speak. The little "fears" are

1)  being seen as an irresponsible parent. It's not like I leave my kids up til midnight while I sit around on facebook, much. ;) I do let them watch TV while I do the dishes but if there's another way to do the dishes I haven't found it yet. They go to bed around 8:30/9 and they do get enough sleep, yet some people won't see it that way. Some people think that kids sleep better if they sleep with the sun. Seeing as hubby gets home after sunset that's not going to happen with us. I need his help to bath the kids at the moment. Maybe when they're older this will change. When it comes down to it I can own my decisions and it doesn't matter what people think of me, within reason.

2) usually when I write about how good the kids have been sleeping lately we have a few rough nights. I hate to "jinx" it. Yet there's no place for superstition or silly little fears in life. Considering I couldn't sleep til 1 this morning and was up for the day at 6, I think the fact that William slept through til 7 is going to make for an 'interesting' day.


Anyway that's my dodgy facing my fears post. I'm allowed to be a little dodgy at times yeah? ;)

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

poor Mr Giraffe/don't take good toys shopping

I wrote this on Thursday. I never ended up posting it before now because hubby said it was a little too "angsty". A few days later though and I can look back and laugh, sort of. We did go back looking for Mr Giraffe but it was too late.


I'm a little upset with myself at the moment. I guess it's what I get for claiming to enjoy grocery shopping with my two young children.

Last night I planned to do the groceries this morning. Both kids slept very well last night as did I but all of us were a little out of it this morning. William was grumpy, Alexis was stir crazy and it was disgustingly muggy outside so I decided to still go. I shouldn't have. It was one of those days where my head seemed to be still in bed saying, "five more minutes!"

Getting there took forever. At the end of our block I turned around and came home to take the pram out of the boot. I needed the extra boot space. At the end of our street I turned around again to come home and get my shoes. Shoes are not optional.

When we got there I parked at a different part of the car park than I'm used to. I did this because that it where the trolley was. You know, THE trolley. The one trolley with a baby capsule for William and a seat for Alexis. Actually I think they have two maybe three but I have learned to take one when you find one because it is a big car park and they are hard to find and there's never any at the actual supermarket.

So we parked at the bottom end of the hill. I picked a good park, with a crossing next to our car so I could leave the trolley there when putting kids in it and a big concrete pillar behind it so I could jam it there so it wouldn't run away when I was unloading the groceries.

I put Alexis in first. I was getting William out when I heard Alexis yelling and saw a couple with a trolley of beer barge Alexis out of their way. The "lady", if you can call her that, was also blowing smoke in Alexis face. I was outraged but decided to let it slide.

I pushed the trolley with the kids in it up the hill along the carpark and went to the bathroom to calm down and wash Alexis' hands and face, as you do. I went to put her shoes on her and saw only one shoe. So we went back down the hill, across the road, through the carpark, and retrieved her shoe.

I struggled with the trolley back up the hill, through the carpark, across the road and through the shopping centre towards the supermarket. Have you noticed how trolleys will only behave for a small period of time before they go haywire?

Fortunately the kids were so well behaved I raced through the groceries with little trouble except for a few people barging us out of the way every now and then. Those trolleys steer like a barge.. Or maybe a boulder... You get used to people getting annoyed with you.

The kids really were so cute. William chewed on his stuffed giraffe and Alexis treasured her plastic giraffe. I didn't plan to have two giraffes but that's what Alexis chose. I should have taken a photo.

I seemed to pick the slowest check-out, of course, and as it became our turn I realised why. The poor girl blew her nose a few times, coughed her lungs up, blew her nose a few more times then dropped our tomatoes out of the bag, clumsily touching them all to get them back in. I wish I had the guts to say, "I will leave those here now, thanks". I didn't. 

Anyway, we survived, mostly, with little drama. I gave Alexis her tiny teddies (always take a bribe) to avoid a meltdown over not giving her precious packet of mac n cheese back to her after the checkout lady touched it (I'm not normally crazily concerned over germs but they've just been sick for like forever, at least it felt like it). I dragged the trolley through the shops. I literally had to stop and go to one side of the trolley and turn it around myself to get it around corners. It didn't have any brakes. It didn't catch the grooves on the escalater. The lady in stilettos in front of us was too busy talking on her phone to hear me calling out, "excuse me!!!" I managed to keep it inches away from her shiny, stocking-clad legs. Just.

At the bottom, safely off the escalater, I wanted to stop to catch my breath but fumes from men painting the ceiling were quite strong. So I kept going. "Sorry!" I shouted to the lady and child who walked straight in front of me and had to swerve last minute because I couldn't. It's not that I wouldn't go around them, I just couldn't.

So we crossed the road, went down the hill, and I jammed the trolley up against the concrete wall to stop it rolling away. So far so good. Both kids need nappy changes. Sorry kids, you'll have to wait. Groceries away, Alexis in the car, trolley away, carrying William back to the car..."where's your giraffe?" William's giraffe was gone.

I searched the trolley but it was not there. I searched our immediate area but couldn't see it anywhere. William was fussing trying to attach himself through my shirt...  "Sorry mate, you'll have to wait til we get home."

I did a mental inventory. I had 2 kg of fresh chicken breast, 1kg of frozen chicken, 500g cheese, a lasagna, two children with nappies close to breaking, a hungry 5 month old, a 2 year old in need of a nap, 2 extremely tired legs, two extremely tired arms. The trolley was stuffed by now. (Seriously, it's like they get tired and go on strike.) I had left the pram at home. It was hot too. Very hot. 

I made the extremely difficult decision to leave William's plush giraffe behind. I just could not justify going back for it at the expense of the perishables in the car. Just quietly, I also didn't want to walk up the hill again. I could not carry both children. It was just too hard. I didn't even know exactly where it was. He'd tossed it over the side at some stage for sure but re-tracing our entire journey through every single isle would just be too much. So we left.
I felt guilty the entire way home. I drove up to the entrance to see if we had dropped it in the carpark but no luck.

I got home and unloaded all the groceries hoping Mr Giraffe had made its way into a bag but he wasn't there either. He's gone. Part of me wants to go looking for him now but both kids are asleep. I don't want to wake them. I've called the supermarket and the shopping centre and they say nobody has handed it in. They also said they'd have a quick look. Who'd know.

I feel terrible. It's just a stuffed toy. We have a 104L tub full of stuffed toys. Yet Mr Giraffe was William's toy. One of only three little toys that Alexis knew were William's, not hers. One he was given when he was only a matter of days old. One that came with us to Caloundra and Gladstone and Dreamworld (to see the Wiggles) and White Water World and church and playgroup and grandparents' houses. He went everywhere with us. I should not have taken it shopping with us but he was just the perfect size for a trolley toy.

Maybe I should have made more of an effort to go look for it? Would you? Or can I cut myself some slack and say "oh well, what's done is done?" Should I ask hubby to have a look after work tonight? Should I chuck the kids in the car after their naps and go look? Or can we let it slide? It's just a stuffed toy. William isn't old enough to be attached to it yet. I don't remember exactly who bought it for us but I don't want to offend them. It was the perfect size for William to hold and chew. It was so soft, so cuddly, so cute. I miss it already. But it's just a toy. Or is it?

Is it ridiculous to pray to God (who made heaven and earth and sustains every living thing) begging that somebody hands in my sons stuffed toy?

Next time I see an abandoned toy at the shops I'm going to go out of my way to take it to lost property that's for sure.

Poor Mr giraffe.   

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cooking with a 2 year old


My daughter Alexis loves helping Corey and I when we are cooking. She has 'helped' me bake cakes and muffins semi-regularly for the last year or so and we even let her roll, cut and decorate cookies occasionally as a special treat. Recently she has wanted to mix just about everything and she has taken to bringing me packets of mac n cheese or other pasta side dishes and asking to cook them. She even eats them afterwards, which is a bonus when she goes through an "I don't need to stop playing to eat" phase.

On Sunday night we made mini 'pizzas' using English muffins as the base. Simply cut the muffins in half, add sauce base, add toppings, grill until cheese browns. Ideally we would have toasted the muffins first for a crispier base but we were hungry so didn't want to wait for the oven to cook them and our toaster died that very morning so that was no help. They tasted great anyway.

It was really fun and because we used very simple ingredients it was easy. Well as easy as it can be with juggling feeding William his sweet potato at the same time. I put him in the high chair so he could watch but he associates his chair with getting his dinner. So that was a little complicated.

At first I fed William his food while Corey started making the pizzas. Alexis chose to sit at the table and eat a pineapple ring initially but then I encouraged her to get involved. Corey found it a little difficult to work with her at first but he was smiling and laughing before long. After a while we swapped and I had fun with Alexis.  
  
I find cooking with Alexis quite a fun experience now that she is a little older. She can follow directions, mostly, and tries hard to please. Yet it is important to realise that she is very young and as such a few little 'hiccups' are pretty much expected. If you expect these things and work with it rather than trying to stop them then cooking with kids will be so much more enjoyable.



  • kids are messy. 
    • Have a big, clean work space. If you don't want something splashed remove it. 
  • kids want to see.
    • Get them a stool/step/sturdy chair to stand on
  • kids will stick their fingers in everything. 
    • Almost guaranteed. 
    • Wash their hands before you start
  • little kids will lick the spoon before they are finished with it.
    • Have a few spoons handy if this bothers you, that way you can swap the food over before it touches the food. 
    • I get out what we need into plastic bowls and put the rest back so that way I don't have to worry about contamination
  • kids are still developing their fine motor skills and accidents happen.
    • I personally do not allow Alexis to use a knife just yet so I cut things before I get her involved. There are still plenty of things she can do to help. The back of a spoon spreads tomato sauce across English muffins just fine.
    • If it involves cracking eggs (the pizzas didn't but cakes do) it could get really messy. Have a cloth handy. Try getting them to crack the egg into a cup or separate bowl rather than straight into the mix so it is easier to fish out egg shell
  • kids have their own timing.
    • your budding chef might get bored within minutes or might want to perfect their creations for an incessantly long time. Be prepared to step in when need be.
  • If the cooking process involves topping something with small ingredients such as chocolates onto cookies or diced meat, cheese and pineapple onto a pizza then young kids will eat a large proportion of the toppings as they go. 
    • Prepare extra or cope with having a few less toppings on some.
    • This can be an easy way to get your kids to try new foods. It's the easiest way for us to get Alexis to eat meat. We put devon (yeah it's not overly healthy but it's cheap), cheese and pineapple on our muffin 'pizzas' with a tomato sauce base. Alexis got a great fill of meat, dairy and fruit while she 'cooked'.  

Alexis was so excited about making it that she even ate the pizza at the end. If I had been better prepared I would maybe have precooked some mushrooms. I'm not a fan of onion or capsicum. Are there any other vegetables that go well on a pizza?

What do you and your kids like to cook?      

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Friday, March 9, 2012

tips for enjoying grocery shopping with 2 under 2

My daughter is 2 now but I had 2 kids under 2 until very recently. I can honestly say that I enjoy grocery shopping with my kids... most of the time. We have had some horror stories I can assure you but over time I've "perfected" a little system that works for us. Here is what I have found.

Pick your timing

  • timing is crucial. Steer clear of nap times (although babies napping times are fine if they sleep in a trolley baby seat), times when the shops are very busy, and times when your children normally are the most energetic.
  • Personally I like to wave goodbye to hubby, put a load of washing on, have breakfast, dress the kids, then let Alexis play while I feed the baby, get some supplies together, do a quick tidy of the kitchen, swap the washing into dryer or hang it on the line and then go.
  • For us that means I usually leave here about 9:30. I do this deliberately so we miss the school traffic 
  • 10am is morning tea time for Alexis so I take it with us. This means she eats happily in the trolley for a while (I know, I have it easy).



Be prepared

  • have a shopping list in aisle order so you don't have to spend more time there than you have to
  • take mess-free snacks that are sort of treats such as a packet of sultanas or tiny teddies
  • take a water bottle, dummies and a toy for each child
  • take something to line the baby seat with. Personally I find a flannelette bassinet sheet works the best
  • take the pram out of the boot. I don't bother trying to juggle handbaskets over the pram. It doesn't work. I find using a double trolley so much easier. So I leave the pram at home. The extra boot space makes loading the groceries into the car soooo much easier and faster.
  • I let Alexis wear something really cute and tell her she's going to be mummy's special helper. I fake being excited about going shopping so she sees it as being an adventure.


Choose your location

  • If possible choose a quieter shopping center with a big carpark and plenty of space to move in the store even if it means driving to a supermarket further away.
  • my shopping center has an undercover carpark which is so very handy


Trolley

  • my kids are 19 months apart so I NEED a trolley that has a baby capsule seat and a toddler (normal) seat. I don't attempt groceries without one. If I can't find one I'll use a baby seat trolley and let Alexis ride while I get a few basic things but I don't get so many things that I have to take her out to fit the bagged groceries in at the end. This I learned the hard way.
  • instead of carrying baby William while dragging Alexis to the supermarket and hoping they have the trolley I need I drive around the shopping centre carpark until I find one then take the closest availale park to there. I then fetch the trolley and take it to the car before I unload it kids. (Undercover quiet safe car park.) It's easiest to get Alexis into the trolley at the beginning of our trip because that way she can't run off to a shopping center ride and cause a scene. 

this is an old photo but this is the kind of trolley I mean

Let the oldest child 'help'

  • I pass Alexis things and let her throw them behind her into the trolley. Only things that won't smash of course.
  • I also let her bag the fruit and vegetables. She loves it.


Relax. Have fun with the kids. 

  • if the kids get restless I start to make "brrm, brrrm" noises as we race around the store and "screech" when we stop to pick something off the shelves. Whatever it takes. I would rather passers by stare at me for that than for a screaming child or two.
  • I also am pretty shameless when it comes to talking to the checkout operator. I say things like "my little helper was so good today" and more often that not they'll say something positive like "I love your shirt darling", or "what a pretty dress", or "what a good girl for mummy!" We always wave goodbye to. The checkout operators don't mind, usually they are more than happy to help me out in that way. I used to work checkouts, it's boring, I never minded having a quick chat to a child while I scanned things. 



Set the scene for next time

  • praise your children for being so well behaved. Tell them how proud you are. Tell them how helpful they were. You'd be amazed how well they respond to this.
  • If it didn't go well, keep a mental note of what to change next time or just laugh it off as a bad experience but don't give up. I have Alexis well trained now but it took a few embarrassing outings first.
  • I say to Alexis "thank you so much for helping mummy with the shopping. Now daddy doesn't have to stop at the shops on his way home from work and we have more time to play with him tonight". 


Unloading at home

  • this is where timing is important. If I'm really lucky William falls asleep on the way home (that's why I make silly noises to keep him awake at the shops). I then put him in the cot before chucking some TV on for Alexis while I bring everything in and put it away as quickly as possible. Although I often give Alexis a bag or two to bring in so she feels especially helpful.
  • If I'm feeling very adventurous I let her pull things out of the bags and pass them to me to put away but usually by now she is over it and I'm just trying to get everything away before William wants a feed. 


If all else fails

  • when they've had a cold and haven't been anywhere at all for a week, the first day they wake up snot-free take them grocery shopping. If they were getting cabin fever as bad as my two were then they will love it.;-)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I would die for them but living for them is hard

I wrote this at lunch time ish. Now at 3am I've been up with my son for hours and I'm trying not to get cross. It's not his fault he is sick, although it is his fault he keeps rolling onto his tummy and trying to crawl. Only babies can be so sick yet so hyperactive at the same time. I'm slightly irritated with him yet so filled with pity for him over his snotty congested nose. Only a mum can do that.

I know some of my posts lately have been a little sooky. It's part and parcel of being a mum to have bad days. Like all stories there are sub plots that aren't written about. Like many bloggers and many mummas, sometimes I am just guilty of being in a foul mood. Yet sometimes I really do get down about it all. That doesn't change how much I love my children though.

I love them so much that I would die for them, in a heartbeat, without a doubt. I can honestly say that. It's a morbid topic and not one I give much thought to but I know that if me sacrificing myself or some part of myself was necessary to save one or both of these little lives I would do it. I know my husband would do the same. It's a biological instinct really. The next generation is the future and it is our job to ensure they survive. It's a primitive urge.

Why, then, is it so hard to live for them? To live with them. To live to serve them and protect them and nurture them and cherish them and value them. If I value their lives more than my own, then why do I have so much trouble serving them in the little ways. Why is giving up sleep or alone time so challenging? Why does it hurt so much to miss playgroup or church because my sick children need to stay home. Why do I cringe at the thought of watching their favourite dvd again or reading their favourite stories again? Why do my husband and I spend more time arguing over why the dishes aren't done then it would take to do them? 

In many ways I am pretty "good" at putting my kids first. I gave up coke and chocolate because it upsets William and breastfeeding is so important to us both. I don't watch any tv shows of my own choosing. I spend time on the floor helping Alexis with the "shape-o" instead of tidying up for the sake of being tidy. I don't get my hair coloured because we can't afford it but we fork out incredible amounts of money on Alexis' swimming lessons. I don't even remember the last time I bought a magazine let alone read one. These things aren't going to earn me any medals though. I'd be embarrassed if they did.

Some who die for their kids in a physical sense might go down in history as making the ultimate sacrifice but some will never be recognized, not on earth anyway. In poorer countries it's probably a lot more common than we'd care to admit. Fortunately in this country most of us will never be faced with such a choice. Fortunately most of us only have "first world problems" like private schooling verses holidays, swimming lessons verses haircuts, fruit and vegetables verse alcohol, in the night garden verse big bang theory, reassuring kisses and cuddles verse an early night, being adored verse being right.

I don't want to be a slave to my children nor a doormat to my husband but I don't want to get so hung up on little things either. If I love my kids so much that I would die for them then it shouldn't be a big deal to "die to myself" a little bit now and then.  I can't guarantee it will make things any better but if I refuse to get upset about things not going to plan then that has to make me better equipped to deal with it? Yeah?

   

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Monday, March 5, 2012

sometimes I'd rather be at work

Warning. Incoherent.

There are very few times when I regret resigning from my job as a scientist. Fortunately the days where I can honestly say I'd rather be at work than spend another second home with these children are vastly outnumbered. Unfortunately though as I sit here feeding the baby AGAIN because his sister chucked a tanty AGAIN and kept going until she woke him up AGAIN I am in one of those moods where anywhere but here sounds pretty darn good.

I know that's horribly drastic. I didn't even really like my job.

I have two beautiful children. Apart from the virus that's parked itself in for a nice long stay they are relatively healthy. I have a husband who although is not perfect tries a lot harder than many men I know.

But I've had enough.

I know I'm blessed to have these kids. Many people spend their whole adult lives trying to have children. I know I am fortunate to be able to afford to stay at home. The idea of putting young William into daycare for someone else to look after does not sit well with me.

But it's monotonous. Not even laboratory work is this repetitive. And in the lab there's other people. And a paycheque. And coffee. And a sick bay to have a quick snooze in if you're desperate.

No. I don't really mean it. Surely? I can't really be bored with being a mum can I?

I'm frustrated. I'm overwhelmed. I'm exhausted. I'm perplexed. I'm irritated. I'm feeling pretty incompetent and confused.

I have a two year old. She's beautiful, she's funny, she's intelligent but she is determined to break me. She's trying to undermine my authority, she's pretending she doesn't understand, she's down right annoying at times. Well that's how it feels anyway. She is a very strong, very opinionated, very passionate, extremely stubborn little woman. If I tell her no she just asks Corey. When she still doesn't get her own way ARGH THE NOISE!

I do not know what to do with her.

When she wants to be good she is amazing. She's so helpful, so kind, so loving, so affectionate, so compassionate, so smart, so fun to be around. When we try to change her clothes or put her in bed or get her to eat something she's a miniature monster.

I just don't understand.

I feel like a crappy parent. I wonder if it's my fault? Am I just a loser who can't control my kid? Or is this normal? Is she just being a two-year-old and this is just a season that will soon pass. There is nothing "wrong" with her, she doesn't have a disorder or a syndrome or whatever the label of choice is. She just knows she can play me. And it sucks. 

I kinda feel like I've messed up the last two years and there's no way to fix it. Maybe it's best to get a job and let the kids go to day care. Although when I think about it at a centre you have no say whether it'll be the 17 year old work experience student or the fourty year old hardened battle axe or the nice person or the one who stinks of smoke who's handling such precious cargo. Probably all of them. No, the best person to raise my kids is me.

But it's hard. It's hard to know how to handle tricky situations.

Every single source says different things. Most people say, "find what works for you and be consistent" but I find that something only works for a week or two until the kids needs and demands change again.

Argh.

Now is not the time for deep thinking. The kids have been sick, Summer is over and it's been raining all day. I've been coke(cola)-free and chocolate-free for a few days. Alexis is still expecting presents and cake from her week of birthday celebrations. Alexis has just had a two hour tantrum over not wanting to sleep. My "sample" is skewed.

This is real life. It's not graded. There's not really a review panel judging my every decision. I'm fumbling on the best I can. If when William is a little older I want to go to work then so be it. If I want to put Alexis into daycare a day a week to get a break until then then maybe that's an option. 

I just really need some time out occasionally. Dinner, a movie, a hair-cut. Even going to bible study with a bunch of grandmas (pretty awesome grandmothers I must admit) is fun. Yet I want the kids to have consistent routine while I'm out. There's little point letting me out til 10 if two little darlings are still up waiting for me and then ruining the next day exhausted. 

Although come to think of it she hasn't had a normal routine for a while because she was excited about her party then it was her birthday then she got sick.

Come to think of it we do have a routine. I don't like it but its consistent. We put Alexis to bed at a reasonable hour and she screams her head off for two hours until Corey takes her away, waking William as they leave. I get him back to sleep as they get back and wake him again. They then go to sleep (or Corey plays games) while I stay up with William for the next hour and then if Corey is still up he whinges about how tired he is. With any luck I get to sleep an hour or two before she wakes up again (and she wakes William up again.) That's a routine right?  *argh*.

Anyone know of any night shift path jobs? If I have to be up all night I might as well get paid, yeah?

Or is it a case of just go to sleep, stupid, you're just tired and cranky and tomorrow will be better?


Either way it's a case of suck it up princess because this is my life now. Even if I did get a job I still have two kids and I'm still going to have all this happening. There's no such thing as a part time mum. Gee it might be nice to actually be appreciated every now and then but hey, does anyone actually get appreciated at work anyway?

Go to sleep Karlee. Once you get William back to sleep. There's always a catch.

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Stupid people do tired things

"Stupid people do tired things." That's an actual phrase uttered out of my lips a few days ago. Of course it's not what I meant to say, I meant to say, "I'm not stupid, I'm just tired. Tired people do stupid things."

Getting the words jumbled up gave us a quick laugh. I've been revisiting it over and over this week. My baby boy (5 months) and my little girl (24 months) have not been sleeping well (Alexis got a cold for her birthday, lucky girl) and thus I have not been sleeping well either. My husband has been helping out too and so in our house there are four tired grouchy people.

We have tried to keep our spirits high but it's hard. It's difficult to juggle two young children any time let alone when they are under the weather and needing a little extra love, attention, cuddles and tissues. William has been feeding more often to try to keep well (aren't the innate desires of infants incredible) so Alexis has been jealous and restless at times. I've had very little time to do housework because when both kids were asleep I've gone to bed.

I've prioritised my own sleep above all housework because a tired cranky sick mumma is no use to anyone.  Yet I'm just not getting enough. My body is weary from being a milk machine and lugging around heavy kiddies. My shoulders, back, arms and legs hurt. It's difficult to switch off for sleep due to being woken up over and over again. There comes a point where I have to give up on sleep and go do something constructive. Surprisingly the house isn't too bad but anything other than washing, dishes and dinners has been ignored.

It's hard work around here at the moment but it's not all bad. The cuddles are nice. The cuddles mostly happen at night though as during daylight hours the kids seem to be fine and full of energy.

William has decided he needs to crawl. He's not even 5 months old yet. He gets so frustrated because he can't. He's mastered rolling and so not interested in that anymore. He can shuffle on his back very well but he's not doing that anymore either. He just wants to crawl. So I've been very busy either watching him (he's pretty incredible), calming him, holding him to distract him or being a human chair because he's decided he absolutely must learn to sit up too.

The extra attention William is getting means I need to give Alexis extra attention too, which I don't mind but it is a little draining to have two kids fighting over me and a bit rough for Corey who is painfully aware that the best way to help is to do the dishes or cook a meal. Fortunately he's quite good at housework but it's not like he enjoys it. He does play well and hard with the kids and they do love it but they "need" individual time with mummy every day or they won't sleep.  

So I'm tired.

Tired people make mistakes. We do stupid things. There have been a few times we've been able to laugh at our fatigue-induced "stupid" moments. Here is but a taste. 

Corey was changing William while I was preparing to feed and Alexis was asking for a bottle. Corey said, "as soon as daddy has given mummy to William I will get you a bottle". Subtle.

Later that night he was finding sheets in the cupboard to put on our bed (thanks hun) while I was busy with Alexis. Noticing he had been a while I went to help him. I pointed out the white QB sheets. "I'm looking for the nice pink ones," he said."They're the dirty ones on the bed babe." "Oh, that explains why I can't find them." Funny.

The worst one I can think of has to be my stupid moment. My daughter Alexis was doing something she shouldn't have been. I was trying to tell her off. I put my serious face on and my serious voice and I said, "KARLEE, what are you doing?"

I've heard of people getting their children mixed up. I've heard my mother call me her cats name many times. I'm learning to laugh at my parents and even my husband calling Alexis "Karlee". She looks a lot like me as a child. I've called William "Corey" before. Heck, when Alexis was very young I once called Corey "princess"... at the worst possible time..  I've had some silly slips of the tongue in my time BUT calling my daughter by my own name? That's gotta be right up there. Do I get a gold medal in the idiot Olympics?

Hey, what can I say, stupid people do tired things sometimes.;-)

Care to share yours? 

<I>I wrote this on my phone then emailed it in. I sent it to my husband instead of my blog address. When I realised I clicked reply, edited out all the triangle line marker things then sent it without changing the address. Silly.</I>     

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

the fright of my life

Oh my gosh I just had the fright of my life.

I walked past Alexis' room while she was sleeping and just happened to glance in. I noticed she had her doona pulled up over her head and wrapped around under herself, trapping her in. She growled at me when I uncovered her, so I know she's fine but she was so hot and flustered. I'm glad I got to her when I did.

I'd say she probably would have woken up soon enough but still, my heart is in my throat a little bit and I'm trying not to think of what-ifs. My tummy is quite jumbled up. The kids and Corey are napping and I want to too. We had a big night. The kids are sick. I can't watch them all day and all night. Yet I feel responsible for them at all times.

I can make their rooms as safe as possible but I can't take her doona off her when she has had one for a year now. She doesn't sleep without it. This is the first time I've seen her do this. It's only a very light cover, air can sort of get through it but still... It's not a nice feeling. These two little people are a very big responsibility.

All I can really do is keep praying for God to protect them and trusting that he will. I'd drive myself crazy otherwise.


What do your kids do that scares you?

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

a special memory of 2 under 2

I found this in my email drafts. I think it's about 3 weeks old

My little fella William isn't very well. It's hard to know exactly what's wrong because he can't really tell me but I think he has a tummy ache. I ate some salad with cabbage so it could have been that. Or the chocolate cake. Or the watermelon..  Yes I will never learn... I feel bad but there's no point blaming myself. It won't solve anything.

He doesn't want to feed (weird hey) he doesn't want to sleep he doesn't want to be played with. He just isn't quite right.

Yesterday arvo I gave him some panadol so I could get on with life as normal but today I don't want to do that. Alexis' favourite shows are on TV so she's happy for the moment. So I set up the ipod in William's room, wrapped him, and cuddled him close as we had a little dance.

I love this. I used to dance Alexis to sleep every night. She heard the music on and ran in so I put out one hand. She wrapped her hand around my finger and danced with us, spinning and twirling under my arm. It was so precious.

Then I sat down with William to finish cuddling him off to sleep. Alexis ran off to the tv that I had left on for her. She proceeded to run back in and do a few twirls every now and then between running back out to check on Postman Pat or Bob the Builder or whatever it was at the time. She wanted to watch her favourite shows but she wanted to stay with us too. Secretly I was hoping she would stay at the tv long enough for me to get William to sleep and put him in his cot but I was definitely enjoying watching her dance too.

She's such a sweet little thing when she wants to be. She sometimes gets jealous of William but more often she's jealous of me getting William's attention. She loves him so much, he's her favourite toy, she just wants to be close to him. She can't wait for him to grow up and play with her.

What a sweet big sister.  

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