In the Scarf Garden

I borrowed a book from the library the other day. Sustainable Baby.

I can hardly put it down! It’s got fantastic information about bringing up a baby and avoiding all the crazy marketing and STUFF that we feel (or are told) we MUST have for our babies. It has brilliant ideas for alternatives, and things that are fun! Things you can make and get all crafty and creative. Fun, fun, fun.

Baby was getting a little bored last night while I was cooking dinner. I remembered one of the ideas from the book which is to play with scarves of all different colours and textures. I was amazed at how much she loved it.

She rolled and sucked and grabbed and looked. She couldn’t get enough of my scarves.

This morning we tried the same thing again and she had an accident all over them, I hadn’t even finished my morning tea yet so it was slightly early for those shenanigans but we survived and the scarves are now in the wash.

Highly recommend checking out Sustainable Baby. Author, Debbie Hodgson, has a blog which the link will take you to. I will be renewing it from my library if no one else has it on hold!

The Menagerie

Q: What does a snotty baby nose, a rabbit on antibiotics, a vomiting dog and a husband recovering from Man Flu have in common?

A: ME!

It all began this morning, with some poo. Baby was having no-nappy-time. I was cooking some porridge and making a cup of tea when I heard some squeals of delight. I looked over to see Baby on her tummy, legs kicking out behind her breaststroke-style, arms bobbing around and a big grin on her face. I smiled back (What are you doing gorgeous girl? Having a fun time on the mat? Yes you are, yes you are!) but my smile quickly turned to a curious frown when I noticed a small brown patch protruding from underneath her stomach. Sure enough, Baby had done a rather large poo and was having a lovely swim in it. All I could muster was a series of:

‘Ah!’

‘God, crap… shit!’

‘Eee, look out!’

‘No, no, no, don’t put your hand there!’

As I tried to rescue Baby from the sliding mess underneath her. She slapped her thighs with glee, hands, feet, legs and stomach all a warm shade of slimy brown. It was the best fun she has ever had.

Once that was cleaned up and Baby was back in bed, I cleaned my teeth – washing away Prince Charming’s toothpaste scum in the sink from an hour or so earlier (sorry Prince Charming, I really do love you).

This afternoon I had one of the rabbits in the bathroom, inspecting a suspicious looking skin infection, Prince Charming (who had very big glands on Monday) had Baby sneezing on his hip while the dog proceeded to vomit all over the lounge room floor.

Since then, the spew has been mopped up (I have to give PC the credit for that), Baby’s nose wiped, the dog put outside, Prince Charming hugged and the rabbit taken to the vet.

What was I saying yesterday about taking a few deep breaths of reflection before bed?

Tomorrow we’re off to do our tax and talk to Prince Charming’s dad, who happens to be a financial planner, about the crazy budget I set for us at midnight on Friday…

Capital M for Mother

Six Months.

A short time, and a long time. Time. Disappearing before my eyes. I look down at my little baby girl while she is breastfeeding. I stroke her patchy hair and run a finger along the soft skin on her face. Her eyes roll back slightly and close as she drinks. A flailing arm flies up and around as she reaches for my chin and runs her hand across my chest. I gently place my thumb in her palm and her tiny fingers grasp on tightly. Calm.

There was a time, not so long ago, when that little arm didn’t know how to reach and touch. Those little lips had to learn how to suck, and those big eyes had to learn how to focus. Now Baby chats and giggles and grabs. She watches and smiles and rolls. She knows she needs to crawl but she’s still figuring that out.

Before she was born I thought that by six months I would be a seasoned, capital M, Mother. Like the ones you see in the street dragging babies and kids and shopping in and out of cars. Turns out I am still just me, running round like a headless chook with a baby under my arm. I suppose those capital M Mothers I see in the street are just the same as me, learning something new every day. Trying to remember what you learnt the day before.

There is so much to take in it’s almost impossible. The best piece of parenting advice I have been given so far (aside from ‘trust your instinct’) is something my new and fabulous maternal child health nurse from the Gabriel Centre said to me…

She said, ‘Every night before you go to bed, take a few deep breaths. Reflect on the things you did that day – the good things, the not so good. Think about the good things you will do again tomorrow.’ That way, every day you are grounding yourself, becoming a better person, but not beating yourself up for making mistakes, just reflecting on them and letting them pass.

Kicking consumerism to the curb

consumerism |kənˈsoōməˌrizəm| : often derogatory the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

It’s Spring, the wind is blowing, and change is headed my way.

It’s time for a lifestyle makeover.

I’ve been sailing my way through maternity leave, and now that Baby is turning 6 months old NEXT WEEK I am feeling the panic start to rise. Where has the time gone? It seems like last week that she was looking up in my general direction with foggy eyes and a floppy little neck. Now she is rolling over, giggling, grabbing, looking at everything, shoving everything in her mouth, sitting up with some support and her personality is glowing.

People all around are starting to talk about going back to work. Some mums in my mother’s group have already gone back to work and their little babies are either in childcare or being looked after by relatives, friends and so on.

I am due to go back to work next March, and it wasn’t until recently that we realised how much we have been relying on the fortnightly baby bonus payment… which is due to finish in a couple of weeks time. Looking back over the last 6 months makes me realise that money was the furthest thing from our minds and really we have still been living as though I was earning an income. If we don’t make a change then I will have to go back to work – much earlier than planned.

Panic stations!!!

I don’t want to have to go back to work any earlier than I have to. This time with Baby is so precious and I don’t want to waste it!

I have been searching the internet left right and centre and have come to the conclusion that a major life re-evaluation is in order! This means a budget, for a start… yes, something we are sadly lacking. And from there, some realigning of values. My goal is to shake the I Want I Want I Want bug, and to be happy with a simpler life. It sounds all lovely and romantic and straightforward, but those of you who also have the I Want bug will know that it’s not so easy to shake.

Step 1: Say bye bye to Soy Lattes. Who wants to buy my Keep Cup for a very reasonable price?

Step 2: New mantra – Baby does not know if she is wearing organic cotton or Op Shop. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

This is how we will start.

The Art of Multitasking

I am multitasking extraordinaire. I realised that last week, as I sat at the table, laptop in front of me, going over uni readings and formulating a response (started back off-campus two weeks ago), my right hand wielding pen, making notes for blog, my left steadying electric breastpump as milk dripped into bottle, eyes occasionally glancing up at the window to ensure I wasn’t frightening the neighbour’s children. The craziness of this situation was made somewhat worse by the ‘ee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo’ sound coming from the breastpump.

This picture is in stark comparison to Prince Charming who, when holding Baby automatically goes into helpless mode.

PC holding Baby: Can you please pass me that blanket over there?

Me: What, that blanket that is right next to you, as in the blanket that is right there, in arms reach, you mean that blanket that is over the other side of the room from me, meaning I will have to stand up, take my reading glasses off because I get dizzy looking around with them on, walk around the table, step 5 metres across the room, bend over, pick up that blanket that is thirty centimetres away from you, stretch out my arm and pass it to you, walk 5 metres back, dodge the table and the nappy I have knocked on the floor, put my glasses back on and sit down? Is that the blanket you mean?

PC holding Baby: Uh. Yes.

Me: Ok. (Feeling like an enormous nasty pastie)

The other night I was cooking dinner, standing on one leg. The other leg was rocking Baby back and forth in her pram, my left hand stirring something that looked scarily like poo, although it was meant to be dahl, my right hand attempting to chop up coriander.

The day that my multitasking skills failed me was the day I tried to carry my bag, my keys, my iPhone, a blanket, my sunglasses and Baby out to the car. As I neared the car my iPhone, yes – my IPHONE – came tumbling out of my grasping hands. My mouth gaped and a slow motion ‘noooooo’ escaped my quavering lips. It landed face down on the step. I went to the car and put everything down, strapped Baby in. As I walked back to the porch, I silently spoke to myself, breathing, calming, warning myself of what might be. I picked up the phone and turned it over. Sure enough, my shattered reflection shone back at me, the screen a thousand shards of glass.

It was that day that I saw a bottle of red wine by the microwave. It was midday. It’s lucky I didn’t have any spare hands.

The Story of the Sad, Cold Tea

1. Boil kettle

2. Place green tea bag in favourite mug

3. Pour boiling hot water over said tea bag into said mug

4. Notice delicious amounts of steam flowing into the cool early morning air in kitchen

5. Busy yourself with Baby and no-nappy-time (Oh you are such a clever, clever little gorgeous baby rolling onto your tummy!!)

6. Return to kitchen to note lack of delicious steam

7. Enter: tepid, cold tea

8. Place tepid, cold tea in microwave

9. Pull out to note once again a delicious amount of steam flowing into the air

10. Turn to view mug from a distance with Baby in arms and note disappointing lack of steam

11. Place tepid, cold tea in microwave for a second time

12. Return to find tea still hot but an air of disgust regarding micro-waves lingers and a growing concern imagining said micro-waves running around body causing micro-wavy contamination

13. Tip micro-wave contaminated, tepid, cold tea down the sink

14. Re-fill kettle and place on stove to boil for a second time

15. Return to find kettle feeling disturbingly cool to the touch

16. Boil kettle for a third time, allowing oneself to consider carbon footprint for a brief moment only

17. Place fresh green tea bag into favourite mug

18. Pour boiling hot water over said tea bag into said mug

19. Notice delicious amounts of steam flowing into the cool midday air in kitchen

20. DRINK!

Thank goodness for my wonderful, new, beautiful liberty print badge that arrived in my letterbox yesterday from my dearest friend E. Said badge is today being worn over stripes, to remind me of a life where people drink hot tea, the first time around, in the early morning when it is most needed. In that life, however, I didn’t have Baby to keep me warm in those cold early hours, and she didn’t have me.

Tit Nipper

I spent a fair chunk of time pregnant. I give brilliant reviews of pregnancy, and on the most part, loved the experience. However, there were a number of unpleasant side effects I endured including nausea, moods dippier than the roller coaster at Luna Park, a bad case of The Enormous Bottom, pimply skin, a strange aversion to broccoli, and one of the worst cases of fat feet and cankles I’m sure the world has seen yet… to name a few.

I gave birth without intervention, yes, the most rewarding and amazing experience of my life, no doubt. However, it did not come without its challenges, namely waddling around for a number of weeks following feeling like an extra in a John Wayne Western.

These days I run a twenty-four hour milk store, and avoid certain foods that I love in order to fill my breasts with abundance and provide Baby with top notch nourishment.

I have sacrificed my career and willingly changed my life’s priorities to ensure all members of our family live healthy and happy lives. I even spend part of my days doing housework just to prove how dedicated I really am to this job.

My hair, once shiny and voluptuous, is beginning to fall out and I had someone recently describe breastfeeding breasts to me as a pair of old socks with golf balls at the ends.

I bare myself day and night, in all manner of locations. I flash parts of myself to tradesmen, waitresses, bus drivers, passers by.

So.

Do I really deserve to be bitten – hard – on the nipples? I thrust forward highly sensitive parts of myself – for them to be chomped and gnawed at like old bones?

Baby does not even have teeth yet. I can only imagine where this situation is headed.

Crafternoon

Gone are the days when I used to lounge around watching DVDs and feeling sorry for myself when I was sick.

I’m a mother now.

Prince Charming, Baby and I are all sporting sore throats, runny red noses and generally just feeling bleugh. Last night the three of us whinged and moaned our way through the night, all cuddled up together in the big bed blowing our noses. Needless to say, no one has been getting much sleep, least of all, me!

We’re out of honey so this morning I wasn’t able to have my trusty sore throat remedy from our wonderful naturopath friend SA: 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and finely crushed garlic. It’s a heart starter, but worth every wince. Instead, I had to make up my own morning potion to get the day started: orange, lemon, strawberries, blueberries, ginger, garlic, garlic, garlic, and some more garlic. I highly recommend that no one come in a 10-20 metre radius of me for at least a week! Sorry Baby, you don’t have a choice!

Once the potion was gulped down I felt a lot better. Unfortunately it didn’t last but it was something. On with the rest  of the day! Considering we had to miss walking group this morning, as well as meeting our friend and her new baby for lunch, Baby and I were both feeling suitably sorry for ourselves. We had a chat and decided there was only one remedy for this, magic potions were just not going to do the trick. It was time for… Crafternoon!

We clapped our hands together in glee.

After all Baby’s enthusiasm she promptly fell asleep and left me to it. Without her guidance I flicked through the Winter edition of Barefoot Magazine (a fabulous publication that I have just recently discovered) and found on their crafts page a mobile that I knew Baby would just love! I had absolutely none of the necessary materials aside from glue and a stick, so I had to make do.

When Baby finally woke up I presented her with the finished product. She was thrilled!

So thank you Barefoot for making our afternoon bareable 🙂

Those of you who read my last post will also be glad to know that due to my runny nose I won’t be heading out for a jog tonight, so the wee update will have to wait for another time.

A Wee Incident

You’re sitting cross legged, waiting your turn in the Show And Tell circle. You’re wiggling from one bum cheek to the other trying to hold on. It’s nearly your go and you keep raising your arm, stretching and pointing your finger to the ceiling in desperation. Thomas is talking about his pet turtle that did a wee on the new carpet and all this toilet talk is making it hard to breathe. All of a sudden you can’t wait any longer… release! A hot, moist cloud erupts between your legs and seeps around to your bottom.

It’s 1988. You’re 6 years old, and you’ve wet your pants.

A week ago, my last wetting-the-pants-at-school memory was superseded, replaced, renewed, usurped, displaced… by a new one. That’s right.

It’s 2010. I’m 28 years old, and I wet my pants.

Now let’s not get all dramatic about this. I know you’re imagining me out on the town, sipping my soy latte, bouncing and cooing to Baby on my knee and chatting to the waitress about what a fabulous day it is, all the while a pale yellow puddle pooling at my feet. It was actually much less eventful, but nonetheless disturbing.

I’m trying to get fit, see. My goal is a 5km fun run in December, and Prince Charming has set me a little program to get me going. The first wee incident (did I mention there were 2…) occurred last Wednesday night. It was my second run (read: walk/jog/hyperventilate) and it was night time. I grabbed the tougher looking of my two dogs and took off up the road. I was about half way around the 3km loop when I felt a scarily uncontrollable and most unfamiliar release between my legs. A feeling of horror overwhelmed me. Am I wetting my pants? As I headed up hill, in the dark, not thinking for a second that anyone would be behind me, I took both my hands and ran them along my inner thighs – they were dry. The damage was apparently not as bad as I had imagined. Unfortunately, at that moment, the TRIATHLETE from my mother’s group bounced past on the other side of the road and overtook me. S***!!! I couldn’t tell whether or not she had seen me so I tried to make some leading jokes the next time I saw her and it appears – appears – she didn’t and/or is too polite to say anything about me groping my inner thighs in the dark on a dimly lit street last Wednesday.

The second wee incident was slightly more dire and occurred on Monday night. I was feeling cocky by this stage, and when we were talking about getting fit at mother’s group, I agreed to meet one of the girls for a run that night. An edge of competition overtook me and yes, I pushed myself harder than I probably should have. We were coming to the end of a 5km loop when a couple of bogans with a slab of beer between them came out of the bottle shop and started making bogan-like comments directed our way. We quickened our pace and at the top of the street decided I would go back to the other mummy’s house and she would drive me home. As we were arranging this we saw the bogan pair head into the pizza shop so I put on a brave face and said I would ‘just run’ the 1km back to my place. [I loved the way the words ‘just run’ slipped with ease off the end of my tongue.]

So off I bolted, this time, the feeling of release became more of a steady rush as I puffed and strode and galloped all the way home. I didn’t feel the need to touch my inner thighs to figure out whether or not what I thought had happened, had happened. There was no mistaking what was going down in my pants. My fear of the bogans kept me going and I made it home. I gushed in the front door, heaving through red cheeks.

‘I wet my pants!’ I exclaimed to Prince Charming.

He looked at me in brief astonishment before saying, ‘Can you go out the back and feed the bunnies?’

‘Did you hear me? I said I wet my pants!’

‘I know, guess you’d better get stuck into those pelvic floor exercises. There’s some vegies in the fridge downstairs.’

‘You seriously want me to go outside? I’ve wet myself!’

He nodded, ‘It’s cold out there and you’ve just been out.’

‘Um, are you even a little bit sympathetic? I wet my pants! I’ve got urine in my undies! I’m 28 and I peed myself! I’ve done my dash! I’ve got a big wet patch on my pants! Your wife lost it in her knickers!’ I went on a little…

He laughed and I realised I was not going to get the reaction I was hoping for (something along the lines of: Oh Crap! would have done the trick.) I ignored his pleas and went and had a shower.

I haven’t been out again since. I’m planning to give it another go tomorrow night. Weesh me luck!

Is Achieving Nil

How quickly things change.

In my last post I was thinking I was the best mother and most amazing achiever in the world. Now I am just back to being a regular old sleep deprived mother who is unsure of pretty much everything. That’s right. Baby has decided that the middle of the night is her kind of time. As well as the start of the night, the deep hours of the morning and generally any time when I might think it would be the kind of time to sleep. An amazing mother would cope with this well, smiling as she whisked her baby out of the bassinet and into her arms. I dragged Baby into bed with me and lay there repeating, ‘What am I meant to do?’ until Prince Charming heard me and suggested I change her nappy. Any award winning mother wouldn’t have had to ask.

There is a problem with this picture. It’s 8.30am now and I am here, in my pyjamas, alone. Alone, awake. Alone, awake and talking about sleep deprivation. Baby is asleep, snoring probably. Just a few hours ago when the sun was still in bed, and I would have liked to be, Baby was awake for hours. Laughing, crying, trying to have a discussion with me. I’m feeling a little crazy right now. Not dangerous crazy, by the way, just the general kind of craziness you feel when you think about sleep and coffee. A lot.

To top it off, Prince Charming is home sick from work today, so he, too, is asleep, snoring probably. I’ve tried to do my regular amazing mother-of-the-year kind of routine this morning. I’ve wiped the kitchen benches, put a load of nappies in the wash, fed the bunnies and made my breakfast. I’ve even patted the dogs. But my tea is cold. My hair is a mess and there is dog hair all over the floor. I’m frowning. My eyes are drooping, there is no spark. A mother-of-the-year has spark. I don’t. I still have slippers on. This is all wrong.