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Revisiting Leo’s kitchen

Long term followers of my blog will remember the time I visited a quaint little kitchen overlooking a toy scattered lounge room in country Victoria. I have since taken the time to revisit this kitchen and boy oh boy how it has changed in the short space of a year. The lounge is now scattered with what seems to be three times as many toys, legos, small animals and crayons, small hazards for bare feet if you dare walk across the carpet to catch the regular diner.

The said regular diner has grown from a small and tottery bundle to a strong, quick and dare I say it, defiant little boy.
The head chef, now heavily pregnant and yes, still working to an open all hours schedule, now moves slightly slower and with a slight waddle, stopping sporadically for short and sharp “practice” contractions.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all now carefully picked over. Where the main patron used to devour every skerrick of food regardless of the menu, now examines every dish and sometimes, much to the chef’s disgust, deemed not good enough.

Most days, a free range breakfast is offered at about 8.00 (a slightly later breakfast offering than when we originally visited) the Weet Bix box is taken out from the pantry and usually protested with the request for a “tooey” the local language for smoothie. Banana, yoghurt, sometimes strawberries and milk are blended to perfection and the crucial decision of which colour straw to use is determined and the pint-sized customer then teeters on the line between where he is allowed (the floor boards) and where he is not (the carpet).
Toast on the table is then requested by the darling customer, the chef obliges, knowing very well that this will most likely not be eaten or saved until cold and stale for a scrumptious mid morning snack.

The kitchen still does its regular, closing shortly after breakfast for a clean up. The chef and her apprentice usually head out for their morning errands around this time, making sure to take some form of takeaway in the shape of dried fruit or a muesli bar. On odd occasions when it has been a particularly rough night for the chef, a cappuccino and of course a babychino is in order, with the marshmallow being by far the most important ingredient when serving up this treat.

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Lunch rolls around at about midday, it is fast becoming the hardest meal of the day to digest. Discovery Plates still a hot favourite in this small and humble kitchen. Fruit and sandwiches mostly filled with ham, peanut butter or chicken make regular appearances. On the difficult days, hastily, the chef serves up a sprinkle sandwich, much to the delight of the high chair commander.

Lunch is still followed by a relaxing nap, now by both the pregnant boss and her number one. A hard-earned nap deserves a hard-earned snack, so upon waking yoghurt, fruit and maybe even some dry biscuits are always on offer.

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Dinner, one thing that has not changed since our last visit, generally determined by what the adults in the house are having. Spice, still rarely in order is now unable to be tolerated by two of the residents. Potatoes, unless served in the form of a hot chip, are a great play toy rather than a form of nutrition and trees (a.k.a. broccoli) are still a well-loved favourite. The discovery of tomato sauce has somewhat tainted the menu when a course of meat and three veg is served, sauce faces test both the artistic skills and the pride of the head chef. Pasta in any way, shape or form is still the meal of choice, although lasagne has been known to trick the eyes of the demanding pasta aficionado.
As per our last visit the drinks list is limited, mainly offering water, with the request for a drink of milk being filled when asked for nicely.

So, as you can see, a few things have changed in the kitchen at Leo’s. Where once no lollies slipped past the lips of the busy customer, now, the occasional sweet is blatantly overlooked by the chef, even if only to provide a moment’s peace and quiet while the happy child runs off to show his loot to his toys so she can finish off something in the kitchen.
The floors are still on the messy side, if not slightly messier as the common sign of a finished meal has now become throwing every last scrap that is still on your plate, proving that the fluffy-haired man; now the curly-haired main, who eats there daily has still not learned any table manners.

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It is still warm and inviting, there is a sense of love and sometimes even chaos. The days, filled with plenty of imagination and laughter, still make you want to put on your PJ’s and sleep all night long, not before begging for a drink from every single drink bottle you can find in the house.

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5 things you initially thought were cute but soon realise they are not

“Big Kid” clothes
There is nothing cuter than a small child dressed up like an old man. I am the first to run out and search for incredibly cute and I am sure incredibly impractical outfits once my friends have babies. But the moving on from one pieces to two or three can bring on a number of problems;
– what to wear with what
– cleaning 3 times as much
– the tantrums it takes to get a child dressed each morning
– and the sudden look of ‘child’ rather than ‘baby’

Feeding oneself
Initially very cute. They can use a spoon- how adorable. Until you realise feeding them was not only a much quicker, but cleaner option.

The constant need to “help”
So cute when they first start doing this, bringing their chair around to the sink to help you do the dishes, or passing you the pegs when you’re hanging out the washing. That is, until they get bored with helping and want to actually do the job you are doing.
What used to be a five minute job has now become a twenty five minute job and it usually involves some form of frustration or tears; not necessarily the childs.

The use of the phrase “one more”
Initially we loved this one as it was even accompanied by a little finger being held up to his chin, but as we have learned very quickly one more never just means one more, it means ‘as many times as I ask until you say no’ more. And, as all parents know, there are some books you can only read so many times before they begin to drive you insane.

Wanting to sleep on mum instead of the cot
So this one may be my own fault. Let a child do something a few days in a row and that is what they think is the norm.
It is adorable. How many years as parents do we get where your child finds you their most comfortable place? It is peaceful, it is beautiful, but it is also extremely heavy and awkward and with a new baby on the way it cannot be happening. Time will still be made for cuddles, just not two hour sleepy cuddles. So for now, my dear sleepy, heavy child the battle to get you back into the cot for that daytime sleep is on.

There will be more and more things along the way. But the truth is even when they are annoying or even a bit of a nuisance, you let them do it because you find it cute and funny, even if no one else does, because they are yours and you know that these moments won’t last forever.

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P1 v P2: Part two; The second trimester

Trimester Two, or as my husband likes to call it, the “pudding” trimester. Where you don’t really look pregnant, you just look like you are getting a bit of a pudding belly.
The twelve or so weeks where you go from looking not pregnant at all, to a little bit chubby, to a definite baby bump.
After surviving trimester two it is that time again to compare, P1 v P2: Achy pudding days.

Body

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P2 seems harder on the body than P1 ever was. Second time around the phase from looking not pregnant at all to definite baby bump happens a whole lot quicker than the first time. This may be due to a combination of relaxed pre-stretched tummy muscles, the difference in fitness pre-pregnacies and the lack of time to consciously think to ‘switch on’ your abdominals when walking around. Personally I have felt huge from about week 25, probably because I did the silly thing of looking back at photos of P1 at the same time and realising just how much bigger I am. I know compared to some others, I am not huge, but I feel it, P2 is definitely measuring about two-three weeks bigger than P1 did on the belly size scale.
It goes without saying, but with a bigger belly comes bigger aches and pains. P2 has caused my back to pack up on itself. Muscle spasms, seizing and cramping all down my right side, have caused a few sleepless, teary nights and my new saviour to become the heat pack, heated up just that bit hotter than recommended.

Kicks
Not only did P2 give me butterflies earlier than P1 did, I have felt this baby so much more than I ever felt Leo. Whether that is purely because I have forgotten how frequent and strong Leo’s kicks were, but either way this baby is strong. The kicks are unbelievable and by far one of my favourite things about being pregnant, a constant reminder that I have someone with me and I love all the little reminders, even if they do make it hard to get to sleep some nights.

Fatigue
No surprises here. Just like in trimester one, P2 trumps P1 on all levels. Exhaustion has a whole new meaning being pregnant, working and living with a toddler. There is no doubt about it, P2 is tiring. When I used to come home and sit on the couch alone peacefully resting, I now come home and am lucky enough to have a gorgeous little boy crawl all over me and drag me everywhere. There is more kneeling, chasing and crawling around on the ground, there is more carrying a heavy load in the shape of a wriggly child and there is much more to manage around the house.

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P1 was filled with sleepless nights; anxiety and the inability to get comfy being the two main culprits.
P2 there have been few sleepless nights, although pregnancy fills my head with vivid dreams, sleeping is generally not something I have a problem doing after chasing a busy boy around all day.

Anxiety
P1 I was nervous about the baby. P2 I am nervous about getting the baby out. Possibly because the memory of labour is still fresh and I know how big my last baby was. Going in to labour naively is a much nicer way to go in to it. Yes, I know in a way this is easier because I know what to expect and have an idea of how I will manage but at the same time, I do not remember even remotely thinking about the labour this much during P1.
P2 gives you confidence that you know how to look after a baby, you know (despite being a bit worried) you will get through the labour, but how do you know how to look after a baby and a toddler? Together, at the same time, while you are stuck breastfeeding on the couch and the toddler rips your lounge room to shreds in front of your eyes. Or when you stop for a minute to make yourself a cup of tea or go to the toilet and the toddler brings you the baby in an attempt to ‘help mummy’. Little thoughts about managing two children rather than just one are the cause of small moments of anxiousness and worry, but I figure we worked it out with P1 and we had absolutely no idea about babies or children so I am sure we will manage just fine.

Sickness
P1 trimester two there was minimal sickness, I stopped having morning sickness at week 14 on the dot.
P2 has been different once again. Every few days in P2 would be greeted with sickness until about week 20. Heartburn has also been a new and surprising experience of P2, something I never once experienced during P1.  (I am trying not to read little into these two differences when guessing the sex of the baby.)

Planning
Although during the first trimester P2 trumped P1 in the planning department, besides setting up the cot and now purchasing the car seat, we haven’t really organised much else. P2 there is much less to organize, much less to buy. I have gone through Leo’s baby clothes and decided that most of it is ‘gender neutral’ even if it really isn’t and that is the extent of trimester two’s planning period.

So there you have it P1 v P2: Part two.
Overall P2 is still proving much harder than P1 in many ways, I am sore and tired in ways that I didn’t know I could be but I know that it is all worth it. Most days, P2 feels like it is nearly over, our days as a family of three are diminishing quickly. Life is really busy, time is going so fast and unbelievably, the third trimester is already here, the countdown to meet this little one is on and I am very excited.

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What’s in a name?

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As I have been told many times in both my pregnancies ‘you can just about call your baby anything these days.’ Something that often pops into my mind whenever we are discussing potential names for baby number two.

Liking a name is one thing, choosing a name for someone is another.  When it comes to choosing a name for someone for the rest of their life, we have discovered, there are a lot of things to consider before deciding on a name…
Will they suit the name?
Does the name suit both adult and child?
Do we know anyone with that name? And if so, what are they like? How will knowing this person affect our decision?
Does the name go with our surname?
Does it go with the name we gave our first child?
What will the name be shortened to? What will it’s nickname be?
How popular is the name? Will every other child in it’s class be called that name too?
What will other people think of the name? And most importantly, do we care? No matter what we call our baby there will always be that one person who says “Ooooohhh thaaaaattt’ss niiiiiccccceee” in that weird high pitched ‘I don’t really like that name’ tone.
And finally, do you both love the name? Can you come to a decision easily or does one of you have to compromise a little?

Luckily for us we both have a similar taste in names. We have had family (mostly my teacher parents) rule out names that they have associated with naughty children. At this stage, after much deliberation, we have our names. We go in with two. One for a girl and one for a boy. We keep it top secret until the birth announcement for three reasons;
One; It slightly annoys other people not knowing.
Two; Even when we think we know our names, there is always a small possibility to change.
And Three; We don’t get many secrets in our life. This is something we can keep just for us, even if it is only for another short three months.

So until some time in early October you can hold tight to hear our chosen name. (And in the meantime I will have to keep my fingers crossed that none of my pregnant friends unknowingly steal our names).

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Daytime sleeps…who needs ’em?

There is one universal topic that brings easy conversation amongst all parents of young children; sleep. Are they a good sleeper? How many sleeps are they having during the day? I know in my Mother’s Group it is a hot topic of conversation, we are constantly comparing our children’s sleeping habits or lack there of.
Right now, in our house, we are in the transition stage of daytime napping. As far as I am concerned Leo has always been a great sleeper. Yes, we have had weeks were I wondered if I would ever function like a normal person again, but those days are gone and we are now well and truly in an established routine. Our nights, for the most part, are peaceful and easy, our days, on the other hand, are beginning to change. We are in a stage of transition. My darling toddler now believes he is a big boy who no longer needs a sleep during the day, which his pregnant mother is not appreciating one bit.

I am getting soft in my pregnancy and Leo knows it. I have lost my hard mummy edge. Where I used to happily let Leo yell out for at least fifteen minutes before I would go and get him for another book, I am now struggling to push it out to five minutes. When it is just he and I at home, he knows that this is the time to push it and see how much he can get away with, fighting the urge to sleep all for the sake of a crazy afternoon with Mum. I blame my pregnancy because I know that is what has happened. I have become pregnant and I am suddenly aware that the days and moments where it is just the two of us are disappearing, so, as a result he gets away with more. When there are suddenly limited days left as a two rather than three why wouldn’t I want more time spent with him awake? Oh that’s right, because he is still only a one year old and he still NEEDS a sleep!

When sleep doesn’t happen, the afternoon is chaotic and, needless to say, exhausting for all parties involved. The house looks like three bombs have gone off and by dinner time there is a very whingy, very puffy faced child trying his best to cling to my legs as I attempt to cook something. Some days are absolute mayhem, I hate to say, that I even count the hours until either Duncan gets home or I can lock him in his high chair and sit down peacefully for ten minutes myself.
Then there are the days where sleep doesn’t happen in the cot but it does happen on me. Those are the moments that as a mum you absolutely cherish. Every time I get Leo up when he protests this is what I am hoping for, another quiet moment just he and I before there is someone else to take care of as well.

I do realise that at some point in the next 18 weeks I will have to regain my tough edge. Ignore the tears and the pleas for ‘one more’ and get back to where we were prior to my soppy pregnant mum state. At some point I will be too big to have him comfortably sleep on me, I will be too tired to be the first one to go running when he yells out.
There were many things in pregnancy that I was ready for. I had thought about how I would feel about Leo becoming one of two rather than a one of just one, never did I imagine that my second pregnancy would change the way I mother the child that came from my first in the way that it has.

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