round and around // the rhythms of small people

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With KB back at work I’m now almost two weeks in to what will be my regular life as mother of three, staying at home while he is at work. I must admit, I am a little on the sleepy side.

While I had an extra pair of hands it was easy to go about our days in holiday mode. We spent some time during that first month down at the beach. We had coffees and went for walks. I slept in. Every. Day.

Now I’m up between 6.30am and 7am regardless of what has occurred overnight. KB leaves the house at about 7.30am and gets home between 6.30pm and on some nights, 8pm. Yesterday was one of those 8pm days. At 9am I was sitting on the couch breastfeeding Peach while the bigger two danced around with snotty noses and porridge on their chins. I looked up at the clock and my first thought was a grim: I’ve got 11 hours to go. Insert panicked emoji here. ‘

It’s funny how you forget the ways of newborns. I remember the first time around when I finally (quite late in the piece) discovered the concept of Eat Play Sleep. I remember a particular exasperating day where little Birdie was awake ALL DAY. Because I had no idea that I should actually try to put her to sleep at some point. By the end of the day she was screaming and I was beside myself.

Nowadays I know what to look for in a tired baby. I see the familiar jerking of the limbs and Peach is bundled up and popped into her bassinet (which now, during the day, resides in our lounge room amongst the noise, the shouting and the crying and the mess. It seems she loves a bit of background noise… for the moment anyway). I’m not surprised when I see her face scrunch up only moments after smiling and cooing – I know just how quickly play can turn to sleep, with some encouragement. I recognise those small windows of opportunity where you have your hands free and I know exactly what to do with those moments (go to the toilet, put a wash on, make tea, and eat, in no particular order).

I had forgotten, though, just how quickly these rhythms flow throughout the day, and how time consuming it is to move through each. Feeding, changing, playing, wrapping, cuddling, and sleep for what seems like moments before it all begins again.

While it seems stilted at the moment, as I get used to this new flow to our days I can see a pattern emerging. I am (re)learning to quickly prepare some bite sized snacks for myself in the evenings, to meal plan as best I can, to start the bedtime rhythm earlier than normal (yesterday I ran the bath at 4pm… and three and a half hours later I finally managed to get the girls into bed… with a small amount of smugness that they were all (all) singlehandedly bathed and hair washed and fed and teeth cleaned and read to and kissed and goodnighted).

Now I am sitting here with the Pixie and Peach asleep, and Birdie is at kinder. It took me over an hour to get P and P to sleep… I haven’t done a food shop so I ate popcorn and a breakfast smoothie for lunch, and now I have to wake them both up in five minutes to go and collect their sister.

I know it will all fall into place eventually.

sleep and my reluctant realisation that… I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN

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{two photos of the happy blankie, totally unrelated to this post, but they do brighten it up a bit, don’t you think?}

I’m sorry to break the news to you like this. I know you may have been held under false pretences. But, alas, I am slowly allowing myself to admit the obvious: I am not superwoman.

It seems I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, and as a result I’m feeling rawther tired and flat.

I’m sick of feeling annoyed and disgruntled in the morning when I am woken by either one of my children or Prince Charming, nudging me to say he’s off to work and it’s about time I signed in for the day. I wake up most mornings exhausted and it leaves me feeling quite depressed for about the first hour every day. That’s a lot of hours wasted over the course of the week – too many, I’ve decided.

When I let the children, especially Birdie*, rise before me, I am in a constant state of “catching up”. She wants her breakfast: now. She wants me to read her a book: now. She wants to play outside: now. She wants to cook something: NOW! Meanwhile I’m stumbling round behind her with the baby, bumping into furniture with squinted eyes, looking for the coffee pot but unable to find it through the haze of things being waved in my face by an impatient two year old.

No, this is no way to start the day. Things need to change, and unfortunately for me I know the change needs to begin the night before. You see, I am a true night owl, I love being up in the cool night, when it’s dark and things are quiet and everyone is asleep. I might be exhausted for the entire day, but at around 8pm I get an extra burst of motivation and my mind clicks into gear. I want to make and read and cut and sew and watch and write and stitch and cook… The freedom makes me giddy and next thing I know it’s after 11pm and I’m surrounded by piles of wool and scraps of fabric and paper and have watched three Downton Abbey episodes. Before the pixie came along I was much more equipped to cope with this type of routine. Nowadays however, I most certainly am not. Particularly not when – without fail – as soon as I lay my head against my soft pillow and close my eyes, Pixie decides is the perfect time for her first feed for the night. This means there are many nights where I don’t get to sleep before midnight, then have a few hours of broken sleep to follow, depending on how many more times she wakes up.

Last night was my first attempt at going to bed early. I actually had no choice as I was so exhausted I just could not comprehend doing anything else. I ignored the kitchen mess, tried not to think about any of my projects, walked past the television with my hand up as a blinker and fell into bed. I tossed and turned until around 10pm and that is the last I remember. This morning Pixie woke me up at about 5.30am, and I had set my alarm for 5.50am so as to have an hour to myself before Birdie woke. So that was it, I fed the pixie and got up. I put on a pot of coffee, unstacked the dishwasher, cooked Birdie’s porridge, typed half of this blog, accidentally posted the draft (sorry if you received a scrap of this blog and then it disappeared!), removed the draft, kept typing, and when I heard “Mama?” being called from the other room, I greeted that girl Birdie with a smile and an enthusiastic “Good Morning!” which I really, really meant.

* You may have noticed that since the pixie was born, I have been very confused. Confused about many things in fact, but mainly about what to call my first baby who was, until that point, known on this blog as “Baby.” When I began I did wonder if one day it would become a problem, but lacked the ability at that point to see past the next nappy change. Now that even the word “toddler” is a stretch to describe her, it’s time for a change. Seeing as our new baby has been dubbed The Pixie, both on this blog and in real life, we will from this point refer to the first Baby as “Birdie”, given her love of birds, the fact it was her first word and sticking with the “B” theme. More confused than ever now? I hope not, stick with it and I’m sure we’ll all be fine. Adios and be cool until next time…

One of Those Days

I’m wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday. My hair is dirty and hangs in lank chunks around my ears. I have no makeup on. My hands are sticky and the soles of my feet are filthy. I have been out like this all day.

It’s been one of Those Days. I need to clarify though. This Day has been completely Self Inflicted.

My day started off just swell. I even did 10 minutes of yoga after Baby went down for her morning nap. Then around 10am a lovely friend of mine rang.

‘I’m around the corner, I could meet you for brunch in 15 minutes? I have to be home at 12 though.’

Hmmm, I thought, hmmm. Well, Baby has just woken up. And I am hungry. Oh boy am I hungry. And she has to be home by 12, so I would have plenty of time to get back home and tidy the house and put Baby to bed again and eat lunch and do some homework and go to my osteo appointment…

I ran around the house throwing toys into the right places and nappies into the bag. I wiped Baby’s face and breastfed her. I looked at myself in the mirror, shrugged my shoulders and cleaned my teeth and ran out the door.

But then brunch began to elongate, as brunch tends to do, particularly in good company. Before long it was 12pm, then 12.30pm. Like two naughty teenagers salivating over alcohol stolen from our parents’ cabinet, we were giggly and silly with the aroma of freshly ground coffee. We looked at each other from the corners of our eyes and slowly, delicately, subtly began to test the other.

Friend: ‘Hm, that coffee was pretty good, surprisingly.’

Me: ‘Why yes, it was, wasn’t it?’

Friend: ‘Yes, it was.’

Me: ‘Yes, a great coffee, yes.’

Friend: ‘I wonder if I might have another one.’

Me: ‘I was wondering that same thing.’

Friend: ‘Maybe if the waiter guy…’

Me: ‘Yeah, maybe if he walks past…’

Friend: ‘Oh here he – excuse me, can I please get another flat white?’

Waiter: ‘Sure, would you like – ’

Me: ‘Yes! Can I have a soy latte? Soy latte please?’ I realised I was yelling. ‘That would be great, thanks, thank you.’

Soy lattes, brunch and lunch later I am in the car. It’s late, Baby hasn’t had her afternoon nap nor has she had her lunch, yet mysteriously I find myself driving towards my Mum’s house. I’m tapping the steering wheel with nerves. I’m filled with Mother Guilt.

Was it just yesterday that I was reading ecoMILF’s blog and marvelling at her relaxed daily rhythm, determined to try it myself?

Was it just Sunday that my naturopath told me to try to drink coffee only every second day?

Was today not my day off coffee, yet I seemed to have downed two in the space of a few hours?

Was or was it not one of my New Years Resolutions to SLOW DOWN?

Mother Guilt, Mother Guilt, Mother Guilt. I tap the steering wheel some more.

Baby falls asleep in the car, but I need to stop and get her some lunch at the supermarket. I gently ease her into the pram, yes! She stays asleep… then wakes in aisle four about three minutes later. Mother Guilt, Mother Guilt. I buy her some spelt flour Dinkel-Zwiebacks (Swiss rusks… I just had to find an excuse to type Dinkel-Zwiebacks) in my cloud of Mother Guilt. She has never had rusks before but it certainly makes her day. At the car I have to remove said Dinkel-Zwieback and once again I am in the bad books. Mother Guilt.

At Mum’s I feed Baby and give her back her soggy Dinkel-Zwieback and try to ease my Mother Guilt. But then I look around the house and I can’t help thinking about my friend’s Hens Day this Saturday and wondering what I am going to wear. I start running up and down the hallway, until there I am. In front of my Sister’s Wardrobe. Darling sister is in Thailand…

I pause to think for a millisecond.

Ten minutes later half her wardrobe is in my car and I am back on the road, shaking with the anticipation of New Clothes when I am two months in to buying no New Clothes for six months. (Mable. I’m so sorry you had to hear about it like this. If only things could have been different… Please Forgive Me.)

I turn as I pull away from Mum’s and realise Baby’s car seat isn’t latched in properly. Luckily the lights are red, I run around the side of the car barefoot, fix the strap and run back again. I reach for the Rescue Remedy in my handbag. My naturopath has written ‘7 drops when needed’ on the label.

I drip Seven Drops onto my tongue. Then I squirt the remaining contents into my mouth. Then I tip some into my drink bottle.

I don’t have time to go home as it’s already time for my osteo appointment. I rush to the appointment, drive home and finally our feet land on the doorstep.

I put my comfy pants on.

Baby is still awake.

I breathe.

I vow not to do this again tomorrow.

Baby looks at me as if to say, ‘I’ve had one of Those Days – thanks to you.’

I pass her another Dinkel-Zwieback.

If she could roll her eyes, I’m sure she would.