9 x 7 x 498 – 16 + 52* or thereabouts

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9 = the number of baby jigging steps** it takes me to get from one side of my bedroom to the other.

7 = the number of seconds it takes me to walk the nine steps.

498 = the number of times I paced up and down staring longingly at my bed and the wide mouthed sprawled snoring man in it at 4.30am this morning.

16 = the number of times Peach fell asleep only for her eyes to swing open again as if nothing had happened. What? Oh no, I wasn’t sleeping [laughs], I was just momentarily checking out the inside of my eyelids.

52 = the extra laps I did after she was finally asleep, just for good measure.

I don’t have a mathematical brain but I’d say that the above algorithm took a fair percentage off my recommended/preferred nightly hours of sleep.

So. Six weeks. The six week mark. A wonder week if I remember correctly? I’ve spent the last couple of nights like this, it’s been the first time since she was born that I’ve had to work really hard to get her back to sleep. They’re tricky, aren’t they? The way they look so deeply asleep one moment, then wham, the eyes are wide open again. But then you feel that comfortable warmth as her body finally relaxes and moulds to you. Got her!

It’s a strange kind of walking meditation, if you let it be so.

* estimates only.
** smaller than regular steps.

just one big fat hippy yo-yo

Yo. Hope you’re having an awesomely marvellous night.

I am having a ripper of a night. You know why? I’ll tell you. I have literally just learnt how to type TWO handed WHILE holding the SLEEPING Pixie WITHOUT the use of a sling. Can you believe that? Can you picture it? Me, here, right this very moment, typing this out at a ridiculous speed because I am a bloody fast typer even with one hand but TWO handed phew my fingers are all a blur and the Pixie is lying across my lap with her head in the crook of my arm sleeping away?

Anyhoo. Spectacular stuff. But that wasn’t what I came here to chat about.

I am seriously losing out here peeps. The Pixie: 98633676545 / Mummy: 0. Sad face.

This kid Will. Not. Sleep.

I’m getting lots of “Oh yeah, mine is a terrible sleeper too, they slept only two sleeps yesterday of like an hour and then two hours in the afternoon and then totally woke up once overnight too, oh gosh they were so tired! And I’m exhausted!” (Please note I do have good friends who are having sleep issues with their babies too – THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. I love you and wouldn’t be mean like that.) This situation is usually reserved for mothers that I smile at and befriend in the shopping queue or at the library when you’re doing the motherly thing and smiling at each other and rolling your eyes at your children grabbing chupa chups (I think that may be the wrong spelling) while you’re waiting in line and so on (Please chupa chups get your stupid lolly sticks up and out of my kid’s eye level!!!) But there I am giving my new found friends the evil side-ways squinty glare and nodding my head trying to be sympathetic but actually turning a mouldy green colour inside imagining all the things I could DO if my baby slept for ONE HOUR!!!!! Just ONE HOUR! Damn you shopping queue mothers and your hour-long-sleeping-babies!

If you haven’t noticed.

I’m delirious.

On lack of sleep.

I’m tired ladies and gents. So, so tire.d. [Typo ignored on-purpose to emphasise my point.]

I ask google what to do about 74 billion times a week but they aren’t really much help.

Get baby to sleep.

Baby doesn’t sleep 7 months.

Catnapper 7 months.

Sleep solutions.

Sleep problems.

Tired mothers.

Entertain toddler while baby not sleeping.

Get my baby to sleep.

How to get baby to sleep?

How to get baby to stay asleep?

How much sleep needed 7 months.

NEED SLEEP HOW TO GET?

I don’t really ever find any solutions. I suspect I am really just searching to find someone as damn tired as I am with a baby who sleeps just as badly as mine to make me feel like I’m not alone. Like I’m not doing everything wrong. Like I haven’t failed as a mother by producing the non-sleeping baby.

I am getting embarrassed and sick of telling people the truth when they ask me the dreaded question: how’s she sleeping? Because through all this my sweet little Pixie has been given the nasty-pastie label: Bad Baby. I hate her being seen as Bad Baby because aside from sleeping she is the most perfect and happy and cute little lady who sits up and giggles and concentrates and smiles endless smiles. And I also suspect my friends and family are getting quite bored with me being the Tired One all the time, I mean, haven’t I fixed the problem already? She’s still not sleeping??? [Insert me looking sheepish and feeling like Bad Mama who can’t get her kid to sleep when all the others are.]

But back to the title.

The hippy yo-yo.

That’s me.

I’m so confused guys!

I am like a giant-two-hand-typing-quinoa-salad-eating-fisherman-pants-wearing pendulum swinging from one side of the fence to the other.

Love the baby. Cuddle the baby. It will pass, it will pass.

You’re going in too quickly, you’re not giving her a chance. She has to learn to “self settle.”

Sleep with the baby. 

Don’t sleep with the baby. 

Trust your instincts, listen to your heart sweet mama.

Toughen up lady, you’re aren’t doing the kid any favours acting all nicey-la-la.

Give her the dummy.

Don’t give her the dummy. The evil dummy is causing all of these problems! If only you hadn’t given her the stupid dummy!

(Which one of these ladies do you like best? Hence the reason I’m here cuddling my baby I suppose and telling Mean Mama to get lost.)

Truth is, I thought I was all spectacular like, doing this for the second time. When I was pregnant I didn’t have a care in the world about parenting another baby. Everyone said “every baby’s different” and I rolled my eyes. How different can they be? 

Ok, yeah! Really different. I get it now. Ok, ok! She’s different alright? Yes, Pixie, you have proved your point darling baby!

I have never felt so conflicted about my beliefs. About what is right and wrong for me. I suppose I am realising that beliefs and what is right and wrong isn’t concrete throughout your life. That you have to adjust and change and some things work for one baby/situation and not the other, and that’s ok.

So for now, I try to relax. I try not to stress when my baby sleeps for 30 minutes at a time. I try not to worry about her needing sleep for her brain to develop. I try to go with the flow and smile and remember my post from yesterday. I try to make the most of all the cuddles and the TV I am getting to watch (unbelievable), the late nights and the driving around in the day.

But gee everyone, I find it hard. I sure do feel helpless and wish there was something I could do that would help her to sleep longer. It would be good to have A Plan.

A Plan usually makes things seem better, right?

I’m Planless. Sad face.

oh so tired

I miss you when I’m not here, little blog.

I think of you often. Sometimes I thread words together along tiny lines in my head. Sometimes I think I should write them down. I mainly don’t. I think: that is such a great sentence, I totally won’t forget it. Then it floats away and the memory of each word becomes faint and distant.

So here I am, sleeping baby in left arm, typing with right hand. Looking out from the couch at a sea of dishes in the kitchen. Thinking about the stewed apple and cream I wanted to make for my dessert. I may be able to type relatively well one-handed but unfortunately for me I can’t cut up an apple. In the spirit of honesty I will admit to you that in my one-handed frustration I may have had a few spoonfuls of cream straight from the tub.

I am so very tired, little blog. This baby that I continually come to tell you about is not much of a sleeper and it has me in all manner of muddles.

She has taken to bottle feeding like a… hmm can’t think of the saying, the only thing coming to mind is “like a dog on heat” and I think that is highly inappropriate… [so insert appropriate line here, reader]. What I mean to say is that she really likes the bottle. It’s peaceful and lovely compared to breastfeeding and I’ve slowly come around to our decision. I can even go so far as to say I’m so happy we took this path. She likes food too, amazing as I didn’t predict this. All of these things had this mother fooled. You see, I thought that once she started feeding and eating happily and well, the sleep thing would just fall into place.

What is this baby trying to do to me?!

Not only is she an unsettled sleeper overnight, but she has now decided that day sleeps aren’t all that much chop either. In the last fortnight she has had two (TWO) naps longer than 40 minutes. Today she had two sleeps (out of the five times I attempted to get her to sleep). One was a 30 minute nap, the second 40 minutes. That was it. At seven months old I really think it would be beneficial for everyone involved if she had a little more than that? It’s 9.30pm now. Between 7pm and now she has gone to sleep and woken four times. So here I sit, enjoying the cuddle time very much but worrying and scheming and thinking about how to get her to sleep for longer. Because all those good things like growth and healing and dreams happen when you sleep, right?

I’m at a loose end people.

Tell me, do your babies sleep? Do you rock them, do you let them cry? Do you wear them in a sling, do you take them for a drive, do you pat them? Or do you just put them in their cots to have them drift off into peaceful slumber like some of my friends… (grrrr!)

I would love some good advice.

a full night’s sleep

A brilliant, blissful, full and deep night’s sleep. Yes, I got to have one. The lovely Prince Charming gallantly and bravely took on last night’s night shift with the kids. I hid away in our back room under many woollen blankets and slept. I even slept long enough to remember a dream. It was a bit of a spooky one, but it was a dream nonetheless. I used to remember my dreams every morning. Now, I can’t remember the last time. I woke vaguely each time the Pixie (or Birdie) woke but was able to drift back off with a bit of yoga breathing and quiet thoughts.

The Pixie only had 2 wake ups compared to the 3-4 she has with me, and I was wondering if she was more satisfied with a full belly from the formula in the night rather than breastfeeding overnight. This morning when I expressed I expressed a substantial amount less than the amount she drank from the bottle with Prince Charming overnight. Questions, questions. Trying to let it go and just relax with the memory of waking up in the night simply to roll over and go back to sleep again. Absolute bliss!

The biggest difference of all with such a giddy amount of sleep? I woke up feeling happy.

Dreams or no dreams, that hasn’t happened for a while.

sleepy times

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I haven’t been able to spare much time for this little space lately, in my mind or in real life.

Sleep has been rather scant around here, to say the least, at a time when our days have been full and busy. One of the things keeping us busy this week was little Birdie turning three! We had a party for her here over the weekend and with the help of a lovely and very patient friend, I made an attempt at my first proper birthday cake. Before this cake I had only really ever baked one cake, one which requires nothing more than all the ingredients thrown into the bowl at once and mixed together. No sifting or this before that or fold this and stir that. So to bake a cake of any sort was quite a scary thought for me. I am totally thrilled with the result and am no longer afraid of baking. It sounds funny but I think following crochet and sewing patterns has improved my cooking skills, and makes it easier for me to follow recipes and do as I’m told (the first time, at least).

I used the classic butter cake recipe from Wholefoods for Children by Jude Blereu. I love this book and often turn to it (although I often don’t have all the required ingredients for her recipes so a bit of improv goes on).

Yesterday after around 2-3 hours of broken sleep (yes, I must be the only person who stuffs up the one night a year post daylight savings when we get an extra hour of sleep!) we headed out for a friend’s 40th. I must admit I was dreading it a bit as it was an all-day affair at an adventure camp in Gippsland. In the end it was just what the doctor ordered, spending a day out in the fresh air, with friendly conversation and sunshine. Something I certainly wouldn’t have done if I had spent the day at home. I dare say I may have spent the majority of the day crying from exhaustion if we hadn’t been forced to leave the house. We then continued on to the caravan for dinner with the intention of staying the night, but after a very full weekend I convinced Prince Charming to take me home to my own bed and sacrifice a walk on the beach this morning. Waking up at home today I was really pleased we had made the drive home last night.

Now the dust is settling and I have one more week with Prince Charming on holidays. I’ve set myself a curfew – bed each night at 8.30pm, lights out at 9.30pm (if the baby allows). I hope that by the time we swing back into our regular rhythm next week I will be feeling a bit more refreshed than I am now. So as much as I have a million things I want to do while we are all having a break, I am putting everything on the back burner, slowing down, shutting down and making my number one priority to get as much rest and sleep as I can.

Oops… it’s 8.42pm.

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…

is she a good baby?

I had a dream last night. It wasn’t a bad dream, but it was dark and dim. Full and heavy. One of those dreams that lingers with you throughout your morning. I can’t even remember what it was about now, although this morning when I woke up was woken up I was sure I wouldn’t forget as the day went on. A weird cloud to have over the start of the day today.

Times have been a little trying this week, I think I have finally confirmed that the little gal has reflux. Hence the crying during and after feeding, dislike of being on the mat, five minutes of on and off breastfeeding sometimes equalling an hour of resettling and so on. I found a website on reflux in babies and she has 90% of the the symptoms. Oh dear. I’m hoping the osteo treatment will help and this will just be a distant memory in a couple of weeks. Despite that, and being pretty sleep deprived I am in surprisingly good spirits.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the funny things people say to you when you have a newborn. The two I am mostly puzzled slash amused about are:

Is she a good baby?

and,

Are you getting much sleep?

In my eyes, yes, she is a marvellous baby, I think I’ll keep her! And am I getting much sleep? I usually answer, “As much as can be expected!” Maybe it is just my kids that don’t sleep much. Last night I had what I would consider to be a great night at the moment, with the baby sleeping for 9 hours in 3 blocks (4 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours) from 7pm to 6am this morning. I do have a friend whose baby sleeps a hell of a lot. Is she a “good baby” and mine a bad one? They are both quite cute, regardless!

Personally I think all babies are pretty great, despite the challenges that someone small can bring.

mid week

:: the sun has been shining

:: we got a new-old pram that you need a licence to steer

:: my feet have red stains on them from my summer sandals

:: my little chick likes to sleep with her left arm out of her swaddle

:: my big chick has a runny nose

:: I’m very tired, but very excellent

:: I ate the remainder of the liquorice allsorts overnight

:: I didn’t get up to clean my teeth

:: I got a present in the mail today (thank you so much Meg xo)

:: Everyone in the house is asleep but me

 

an amber teething necklace

Baby has been sick towards the end of this week, so we have had two sleepless nights and days. Wow. How quickly your body forgets those wakeful nights of a younger baby. It’s been such a shock to the system, I feel rawther hungover and groggy. It was on Thursday that she awoke at 5am, had less than half the amount of sleep she usually does for her day time nap, and then didn’t go to sleep until 10.30pm that night. Prince Charming sat in her bedroom for two hours to try and help her get to sleep. It got to 9.30pm and she was no closer to drifting off, so I brought her into our bed and very naughtily put a show on the laptop (90/10 rule, right?) and cuddled her to sleep. It took about ten minutes. She then woke again at 1am, came back into our bed, drifted off in fits of tears and exhaustion at 4.30am and awoke at 7am.

Yesterday she once again didn’t want to go to sleep in the day, so my aunty took her for a walk and she slept in her pram for two and a half hours! Last night, same same. She eventually went to sleep in my arms on the couch at 10.30pm. Lucky for all of us she slept all night. Strangely enough I feel worse today than I did yesterday! Today we didn’t even try to put her into her cot, we took her for a walk in the pram which brings us to our present position. She has a cold, and I think being in the pram and slightly more upright makes it easier for her to breathe, rather than flat on her back.

It’s really made me realise how far a few cuddles can go with a sick baby. I feel like I am always one step behind in the parenting game, figuring really basic things out a moment too late. After all our attempts to put her to sleep in our regular way the last two nights, which consists of a few stories, a few songs, a cuddle and a night-night-love-you (never have any problems and don’t usually hear a peep), it took fifteen minutes of cuddles with mama for the little cherub to go to sleep. Phew! Get with it mama!

I also have a few concerns about the new amber teething necklace I bought for Baby on Thursday. We lost her necklace a few months ago (by ‘lost’ I mean we put it in a really-really-really safe place) so I lashed out the other day after giving up on finding it and bought her a new one. I put it on her at about 11am Thursday and by 1pm she was snotty, awake and cranky after having been fine and playing at the park that morning. That night after all her fitful sleeps, I took it off at about 4am and she was asleep by 4.30am. Yesterday she had it on all day. I took it off at 10pm last night and by 10.30pm she was asleep and slept all night.

I’ve had it on me this morning as I read somewhere that it’s good for the mum to wear the jewellery before putting it on the child, but I just read here that amber has a really large memory and remembers all the places it has been, people it has touched and energy that it has come across, so I’m wondering if more needs to be done. It suggests a cleansing method that involves soaking the necklace in salt water and then leaving it in the sun. I’ve since read on other websites that you should never leave amber in the sun?! I’d be interested to hear other’s experiences with amber teething necklaces? This is the third one we have had (first one broke), but the others have been great. I do believe in the healing power of crystals and resins such as amber (hence why I am using one in the first place) so I would value anyone’s ideas or experience with this topic. The two we originally had were all one colour as you can see in the photo. This one is multicoloured with four different types on amber on it – very dark, brown, clear and foggy yellow…

Help needed!

Repeat after me: Eat. Play. Sleep.

Why has it taken 9 whole weeks for me to figure this out? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, a, b, c and all that. Someone at mother’s group during the week said (when we were talking about the dreaded ‘S’ word – SLEEP), ‘I just do the whole eat, play, sleep thing and it seems to work.’

The what?

I nodded my head in agreement as if I knew what she was talking about, hmm yeah, me too, works a treat doesn’t it? Got home, googled, read, read some more… click! Classic lightbulb moment. You breastfeed, you play with the baby a bit and then they go to sleep! They wake up, you breastfeed them, play with them and… bingo, you guessed it, they go to sleep again. This goes on for the whole day and everyone is lovely and smiley and happy. The whole process takes around 3 hours, eg. from the start of one feed to the start of the next. Yes, yes, you probably all know this already, common knowledge probably, and I’m already feeling a little slow so please humour me.

Time to put all my research into action… yesterday morning Baby was playing on her mat after a feed, gazing up at the colourful birdie hanging above. I was doing the whole, ‘Ohhh look at the pretty birdie!’ *jiggle birdie* ‘It’s a birdie! Yes! It’s a very pretty little birdie! Oooh!’ in that voice. You know the voice I’m talking about, the one you hear mummies talking to their babies in before you have one of your own and you say to yourself: I’m never going to talk to my baby in that voice. But I’m telling you now – you will talk to your baby in that voice. You might as well just accept it. So anyway, the pretty little birdie was jumping around and Baby yawned. I checked the time. She had been awake for 1.5 hours. Right! Wrap time. She whinged a bit at first but within about thirty seconds of me holding her and bouncing around like a mad woman on the fitball (lifesaving device) her eyelids started to droop. I couldn’t believe it! She slept for a whole hour then woke, played (Oh look at that birdie! Isn’t it a funny clever amazing little birdie! Don’t we just love the birdie! Yes we do!), yawned. Wrap, jiggle, sleep! I watched 5 episodes of Sex and the City Season 3 – yep, the whole Aidan thing. I had a little bout of swearing at Carrie and throwing my breastfeeding rags at the telly before Baby woke up again.

Now I’m feeling all amazing and great, like a proper mother who wears an apron and has freshly blowdried hair and has a routine. Yep that’s right, Baby and I have a routine and everything is just fabulous.