1

Out and about

 

Getting out of the house is no longer an easy task. Gone are the days where I would grab my bag and go, I have children now, these things take time.

First there is the outfit debate.
“I don’t want to wear those pants, I want to wear shorts. I don’t like Thomas socks, Where are my Percy socks? I don’t want my Percy socks, Where are my Thomas socks?…” You get the idea.

Then there is the nappy change/toilet stop.
Change Maisie’s nappy/outfit as required. Pack nappy bag.
Ask Leo if he needs to go to the toilet, says no, pack spare undies, outfit and shoes into nappy bag.

‘Why do you keep fidgeting? Why are you standing like that?’
Potty stop, generally forced but usually always necessary.

Hunt for phone/wallet/keys.
Typically these are found in the last spot searched…the pram.

Quickly sneak bribe for future use into pram/handbag.
Not always needed, but gee whoever first put sultanas into toddler size boxes, I thank you, you have saved me from having to deal with a public tantrum many times.

Next put baby in the pram.
Guaranteed milk vomit/explosive nappy movement to occur riiiiiggghhhttt now.
Change and wipe down for Maisie and back in the pram she goes.

Toddler protest (probably the most difficult and time consuming obstacle to conquer.)
“I don’t want to go down the street. I want to stay home. I don’t like it outside. I want to watch a movie…”
Work powers of persuasion and convince toddler that it is a good thing to go somewhere other than our lounge room today.

Out the door.

Out the gate.

Realize have left toileting accident/nappy bag inside front door.
Weigh up chances of needing this bag, decide better take it ‘just in case’, turn around.

Back to the house.

Sprint inside (as fast as post baby fitness allows you to) grab nappy bag, start again.

Twenty minutes, at least, and all of that before we have even gone anywhere.
(Please note that the word pram can be replaced for car in the above; in that case add an extra five/ten minutes for buckling both children in to car seats.)

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We try to leave the house everyday. Not to go anywhere in particular just to leave. It is our escape and sometimes needed just to try to tire a certain someone out.
There have been days where the whole outing involved a tantruming toddler and a weepy baby.
There have been days where we have had to stop at every public toilet that we could find all for the sake of two drops.
There have been days where both children have been perfectly behaved, toddler walked, baby slept and it all seemed so easy.

Getting out of the house, although to some may seem small, to most Mums it’s HUGE. It is an achievement, even if it’s just to see the outside world or to get some bread, it takes effort and as soon as you bring that little bundle home you realize how true this is.
So to all the Mums who got out of the house today well done, and to those that didn’t there is always tomorrow.

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3

Before I knew you

Before I knew you I was worried I wouldn’t know how to love you as much as I love your brother.
I met you and I remembered what love at first sight felt like.

Before I knew you I was worried how you would fit into our family, how would it work, where would you go?
Now life with you is the new normal. You slipped into our gang so seamlessly, effortlessly, the perfect missing piece in our teeny, tiny puzzle.

Before I knew you I was worried how your brother would cope, what would he be like when we brought a new little person home?
Then you showed me the power of a sibling bond. The way you look at your brother like there is no one else in the world, the way he whispers that he loves you when we sneak into your room every morning before you wake. Instantaneous and pure, there is so much beauty in what you two have.

Before I knew you I thought I knew what beauty was.
Then I saw your eyes, your lips, your curly toes and your chubby wrists and a whole new definition of beautiful was created in my mind.

Before I knew you I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to be a Mother to a daughter.
Then I met you and you made me a better person. I met you and all I wanted was good for you, to be a kind, strong, and intelligent woman, I can only hope you will learn by the example I hope to set.

Before I knew you I never realized what a worried Mother I was.
Then I met you and I was instantly busy, there was no time for research, just time for parenting and we are all so much better for it.

Before I knew you there was a piece of my heart that was missing, a piece of me I didn’t even realize I needed, and now I know you.

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2

Believe me, some days are hard…

This morning I sent the following photo to one of my Mother’s Groups. ‘Look at how well I am rocking this day.’ A content baby, a busy toddler, hot drink and even a cookie. How good am I?

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Truth be told, the coffee wasn’t finished, the baby rolled over, vomited all over herself and started howling, the toddler took the opportunity (while my hands were full with Maisie) to run around the table with a near dripping paintbrush, then proceeded to go and “wash his hands in the kitchen” while I was quickly packing up the paint stuff and smashed a glass all over the kitchen floor.
All within fifteen minutes of this photo being taken I had gone from having a content baby to an unsettled one, a toddler who was happily painting to one who was now covered in paint and crying because I had yelled at him to freeze when I heard the smash, and a kitchen floor with shards of glass all over the place despite vacuuming it twice.
Calm, peaceful and content one minute and chaotic, loud and hectic the next. A perfect summary of life with kids.

Before I had kids I used to wonder what was so hard about being a stay at home mum. What do you mean you haven’t had time to shower? What do you mean you haven’t had the chance to vacuum in days? Aren’t you at home like all the time?
Before I had kids I was such a better stay at home mum than I actually am. I do not say that because I think I am bad at my job, I know I am very good at my job, excellent in fact. I need no one to tell me I am a good mother or wife, I simply say it because my preconceived ideas of how I would be a mum are so different to how I actually am one. For someone who was never going to be controlled by their children, I take orders from a two year old constantly, he is my ruler. For someone who was only going to feed their children healthy home made snacks, I openly bribe my child with chocolate. For someone who was always going to have floors so clean you can eat off, I haven’t mopped in weeks and the phrase ‘building immunity’ is used a few too many times in our household.

Every new mum will you tell you some days are hard. I love my kids and I love being a mum more than anything but oh my god some days are hard. Some days I miss the time where I went to work and only had ideas on how I would parent rather than actually working out how to do it. I don’t know what I am doing half the time. How am I meant to know what I am doing? I haven’t done this before! I have never had to stop a two year old from drawing on the walls while breastfeeding a baby at the same time. I have never had to have conversations about why lunch should be eaten rather than being made in to a sludge in your cup for you to drink.
Half the time I have no idea what I am doing but I just have to go with it. I think that is what being a parent is; not knowing what you are doing but just acting like you do so they don’t get suspicious and do what you say.
I have found being a parent is all about adaptability and crowd control. You don’t get up in the morning and know how your day will go, you get up in the morning with a very vague idea of how your day might go and you hope for the best. On the good days, everything will go smoothly, there will be no breakdowns, the shopping/cleaning/errands will get done and there may even be a bonus trip to the park or bike ride in there somewhere. On the other days there will be tantrum after tantrum, food will be picked at, maybe even thrown, chairs will be knocked over and you may or may not shower, you definitely won’t brush you hair or finish a cup of coffee and you will probably yell or raise your voice, not because you want to or because you are angry, but out of sheer frustration and fatigue.

This morning I yelled at Leo. Maisie was crying. Leo was crying and I yelled.
Today is a hard day, well it can’t be that hard because both my babies are sleeping simultaneously and I have had time to take refuge and write this so lets just call it a hard morning. I am thankful that in our house everything resets after nap time. No matter how feral and crazy things got this morning there is peace in the fact that the slate is cleared after a nap (and if not Disney make wonderful movies to mesmerize toddlers).

Everyone has bad days in their work, whether you are a mum or not, everyone has had one of those days where you wish you had just stayed home instead. So I guess I’m writing this to all the mums out there who are having a hard day, you aren’t the only one, that fleeting feeling of missing your old life, there is no shame in that. There are way more great days than hard ones and for the hard ones just remember, coffee is wonderful and babies take the best selfies.

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1

The things you forget

2015 was a great year for us. We welcomed the happiest, most relaxed and patient little girl anyone could ever ask for. We became parents of two and quickly realized there was so much we had forgotten about babies. Yes it has only been two years since our first was born but as most parents will be able to tell you parenthood is constant adaptation, every week poses different growth, different leaps, and when dealing with a two year old, different moods.

So with many of my friends about to welcome babies in 2016 and join the family of four club I thought I would come up with a reminder list, just giving you an insight in to all the little things you soon forget and very quickly remember as you become a new parent all over again.

  1. How tiny they are.
    So many people have said to me looking at Maisie ‘Oh (insert your babies name here) was never that small.’ When really, chances are, they were, they were probably smaller, Maisie to many people’s surprise is a big baby, you just never remember how tiny they really were.
  2. How floppy they are.
    Support the head. Support the head. Support the head. Enough said.
  3. How funny it is to watch people hold/transfer your baby to each other.
    With most people adapting the typical baby hold position before you hand her to them and then ending with ‘Can you just come get her and give her to …’ It is amazing how quickly you become comfortable with holding and transferring a new baby again when it is your own.
  4. How you can function on next to no sleep.
    You just keep going.
    ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ is all well and good when you only have one baby, when you have a toddler as well it is a slightly different story. Thankfully my toddler likes playing on the floor and the floor is also a great place to lie down, so it may not be sleep when the baby sleeps but rest when the baby sleeps.
  5. How easily explosions happen.
    Make sure that nappy is on properly.
  6. How much rocking is involved.
    Rocking techniques are a hot topic in our household. My husband prefers the bounce in the hands away from the body technique while I am a big fan of the close to the body swinging and slight bounce method. Either way, there is a lot of rocking going on.
  7. How much they feed.
    Speaking as a breastfeeding mother in the midst of a heat wave I am getting the call up every hour. It is hot and frustrating and not surprisingly I am a little bit over it, but I remember how sad I was when Leo stopped feeding so I am trying to savour the closeness and the cuddles I get while feeding my girl.
  8. How noisily they sleep.
    We are ‘put the baby in their own room from day one’ type people. This time the baby’s room is right across from ours, not down the corridor, and oh my goodness we have a snorter, the noises she makes would rival those coming from a geriatric ward at night time.
  9. How adorable toothless smiles are.
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    Those first smiles are the best. When your baby first recognizes you and smiles there is no better feeling.
  10. How quickly you work out their cues.
    I don’t think I appreciated this one the first time, but you really do get to know your baby. The differences in their cries or the squirms in their movements, you quickly learn what each of them mean. Maybe it is because with a toddler to deal with as well you have to learn to work out what your baby wants quickly or all hell is bound to break loose.
  11. How the startle reflex is the worst.
    And it happens a lot. Two year old’s do not exactly understand the concept ‘the baby is resting we have to play quietly.’ Although this reflex has helped the discovery of many new rocking techniques I will be glad when it is gone.
  12. How fun they are to dress up.
    Baby clothes are the cutest. Plus there is none of ‘I don’t want to wear that one I want to wear the green shirt’ when you dress a baby.
  13. How you really don’t need privacy.
    With a toddler on the loose and a baby on the play mat privacy is pretty much a thing of the past. If you can’t grab a shower before your hubby leaves for work and you decide you really need a shower that day they are usually done in the company of at least one child, and toileting with the door closed is a luxury that only happens outside the hours of 9-5.30.

I am sure there are many more things I am bound to remember I have forgotten and there are many things you are quick to learn that you never knew before, like how quickly a sibling bond develops or how it is possible to love someone as much as you love your first baby, but it has been an hour and I am getting that “feed me” look so that will have to be a topic for another day.

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2

Running with scissors

I don’t know much about two year olds, I have only had one for about three weeks now, but what I do know is this; their emotions run high and they have a tendency to gravitate towards trouble.

The two year old I know, my darling angel of a son, loves trouble (on some occasions this is also known as danger). He is tall and he is quick and if there is trouble to be found he will find it. He even goes so far as saying “Mum hide” when I am hanging around a bit more than he would like and trouble is within reach.

As my son is quickly learning one of the perks of being a big brother is there are moments when you will be left alone. The pest of a lady that is constantly stopping his fun, otherwise known as Mum, her time is now occupied by another tiny human and it opens up many windows for trouble.
Some examples of this so called trouble are as follows:
– Crayons on the carpet
– Pencil on the walls
– Permanent marker on the bench
– A whole packet of rock salt through all our kitchen drawers
– Eggs smashed on the floor
– The contents of an extremely full nappy smeared into every couch cushion
– Standing on the dining table kicking everything that is left on it onto the floor below
– The utensil drawer scattered all over the kitchen floor and our darling son taking the scissors to his toys, showing them how they “do cutting”

The list goes on, hence the naughty chair in the corner becoming a semi permanent fixture in our house.
I cannot be a helicopter parent, I no longer have the time or ability to hover over my first born child every minute of every day. With each time I leave our lounge room to change a nappy or an outfit I return unsure of what I may find, and I can honestly say (after the whole nappy spread on the couch incident), most times what I return to is a relief.

Childproofing is a term used loosely in our house. Our house is safe, it has been ‘childproofed’, there are no power points unplugged, the scissors have been moved and we did buy childproof locks for the lower cupboards. The childproof locks were soon unpicked by tiny fingers and the naughty chair has been dragged from its corner to the drawers so as to be reached and rummaged through by a certain someone as much as he pleases. We have quickly learned that there is only so much childproofing you can do. Leo knows what is dangerous and what is naughty, he will be the first to tell us. He will run into trouble and afterwards he will come running to me, telling me “Leo naughty, draw on walls”.  Honesty is our friend and it has a habit of meeting me in the hallway half between Maisie’s room and the lounge room warning me of what I am about to walk in to.

So for now I will enjoy the honesty, take it while it lasts and know that a moment of quiet does not mean peace it means find my child and stop him, he will definitely be up to something.

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