How could I let this happen?

I swore I wouldn’t do it. I said it would never be me, but here I am.

The idea of going to the bathroom in private is such a long ago, far off in the distance kind of memory that now I find myself not even closing the door at home when I go.

Occasionally as I’m walking up the hall I have to remind myself that there are visitors in the house just so I don’t forget.

The horror! Maybe when the kids are old enough to listen when I say I really don’t need them to help, maybe then I’ll return to the land of the polite and sane… That should only be another 4-6 years.

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There is no me. Only we.

I realised last night laying in bed that I have no identity myself at the moment. I’ve somehow lost my ‘me’ and turned into a ‘we’.

In the process of having a baby and returning to the world of stay at home mummy-ness I’ve forgotten that I am a separate being that can actually do my own thing. Your life gets so overrun with the hectic schedule that is parenting that you lose yourself. I wonder how many people go through this, or is it just me?

I don’t think much when my man says he’s going out with some friends, or going to watch a movie with his brother. I just seem to tell myself that it’s fine- but not for me. No! I have responsibilities and children to look after. When did I last go and spend time with my sister without having kids distract me and divert all my energy for the whole visit?

Nope I bet it’s more common than I think.

I can’t remember the last time ‘I’ went out. Or ‘I’ did some shopping. Or ‘I’ visited a friend. It’s turned into me and my posse of little tiny hangers on.

With the thought looming ever closer of my return to full time work in a number of weeks I’m realising I need to find myself again or its going to be an even harder transition, and a lonely one without the posse to keep me company all day.

So it’s time! Time to organise a shopping day. Or dinner with a friend. Or both!!!! I’m already getting excited.

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The 2 importantest things nobody talked about

I have recently given birth to my second child. Everyone seems to know how with subsequent children you are more relaxed, you don’t panic over every little gurgle and noise they make (which is good because they make a LOT of noises). But for me there are a couple of important things I made sure I concentrated on from the start this time. Things that nobody told me last time that might have made life easier… Possibly much, much easier.

Firstly.

Remember to burp your baby. Breastfed, bottle fed- doesn’t matter. While you’re enjoying the easy first couple of days in hospital it isn’t so important. They only drink a few ml at a time. By the time you’re getting to a few weeks old they can really put that milk away, and if you don’t burp them it’s likely to do one of two things. Make them VERY uncomfortable so they cry and writhe around in discomfort, or it will escape violently (usually followed by 80% of the milk that went in). So remember to burp them for everyone’s sake.

Secondly.
Most importantly.

Babies are born with no real concept of day and night. They will keep you up at night because they don’t know what it is! Even worse- the first few days in hospital do nothing to help the situation. Lights on 24/7, constant announcements of ‘code tangerine in the east wing’ at all hours, followed by the ‘code tangerine all clear’ message. People interrupting them to poke and prod and measure and check just as they get to sleep. No, the little bubs don’t really mind any of this, but it will make your life harder when you get back to your normal family home.

So I made a point of working on these 2 points as soon as I could. I was visited by a midwife the day after I got home from hospital and she asked what I was going to do for the next few days? My answer was teach this baby the difference between day and night.

Night feeds meant no lights, no talking, no simulation. Daytime meant household noise, a pre-schooler running around at her usual volume (ear splitting), and he just had to deal with it. Sleep or don’t sleep, the choice was his and the noise want going away.

Why were neither of these things mentioned to me, either of the times I was sent home from hospital with that tiny bundle of baby that couldn’t communicate with me yet??

Now I know that all babies have their own temperament and this little one is a very calm little soul by nature. But he also put himself into a great little feeding routine by the time he was 3 weeks old and has had only had 1 night feed since then. I am positive that our work on his day/night schedule made a big difference.

So there are my two big tips for parents, according to what we tried and what worked. Just maybe someone else could get a better nights’ sleep thanks to one of these points.

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Let me entertain you…

I’m dealing with the big issues.

The real important topics that need discussing.

Children’s TV.

I’m a little upset with the ‘new’ Wiggles. Miss 2 continually asks me where Jeff is, and the introduction of a female Wiggle just seems wrong.  But most importantly I miss Sam Wiggle. I thought he was a great addition to the line up when he started, and has been by far the best singer of them all. So we don’t really watch new Wiggles anymore. Thank goodness for dvds.

Three has also been an absolute uproar with the new programming by ABC last week on their kids ‘ABS4’ channel. I like it though.

Parents Australia wide have been talking about the horrors of trying to get their kids to bed at night without watching In The Night Garden, and how it has ruined their lives… Do these people never ever go out or have dinner with family, or turn off the TV? We often use the TV to keep miss 2 under control in crazy dinner preparation time, but it is NOT part of her bedtime routine. That’s what baths, toothbrushes and books are for.

Having calm shows on TV just before nap time is a MUCH smarter idea to me. I’m trying to feed the baby and get lunches made and there’s no bedtime routine to follow so I need miss 2 to sit calmly for a short time so I can get everything done. It has been great having her sit and watch a calm show that gives her a hint that sleep is coming soon. Toddlers like to know what’s coming, so it gives her the heads up she needs. Good work to the ABC on that one!

 

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What is this thing called quiet?

Eight of us have reduced to six for the night.

Yep. Husband and miss 2 have gone camping for the night – it’s a school holiday ‘dads and kids’ trip with a friend and his kids.

So it’s just me and Mr 5 weeks old (5 weeks old tomorrow! How did that happen?), the cats and the dogs.

It is eerily quiet in the house without someone else to chatter with. The little guy is in bed, and now that they’re fed the animals have scattered.

I’ve done a quick toy clean up and got the bottles washed and sterilised.

I think I’ve forgotten what to do when you have a night to yourself… It’s been a while.

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Heart full to bursting.

It’s hard to figure out which emotions are real and which ones are more to do with fluctuating hormones.

I’m not a worrier in the slightest. I take everything in my stride and don’t let things get to me. Except when it comes to parenting. 

Why am I terrified at the prospect of being home alone all day every day with my children? I know how to care for them, I know their needs and routines, I know what I’m doing. It’s just that annoying what if that nags at the back of my mind. 

What if they both have a meltdown at the same time? 

What if Miss 2 needs to use the toilet while I’m feeding Mr 4 weeks and I can’t get to her in time?

I love spending time with them both, but it would be much nicer if I can get past the anxiety that comes with these random thoughts (which are all bound to happen at some point and are hardly the end of the world). Hopefully time will ease the hormones and I’ll get back into my happy calm rhythm. 

I firmly believe that 2 labour-gone-wrong cesareans have contributed a great deal to my long emotional recovery with both kids. I suspect it might be worse this time though. Why??

Because I probably can’t have any more kids. 

Were we planning more? Nope. But we hadn’t ruled out a number 3… Being told that you can’t have more is very final and definite. And that hurts to hear. Especially when you’re in such a vulnerable emotional state having just given birth to a perfect little boy that makes your heart ready to burst with love. That news bursts the bubble quick smart.

I may be able to have more kids. But not for at least 2 years and possibly not even then. And I’ll be getting long in the tooth by then – I’m not going to get any younger…

As a result I don’t want to wish away any of my baby time because I am 99% sure that it will be my last. 

That fills my heart with even more love for the perfect pair of kids that I have been lucky enough to get. Hopefully that love is enough to push out the regrets that have tried to fill that space when I haven’t been paying attention. 

 

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A new beginning

So it has been 4 weeks since my little boy was welcomed into this big wide world. It’s been a whirlwind of a time in our house- organising, feeding, changing, settling. And all this with a 2 and a half year old daughter who has been thrown into a new world of chaos and removed from her routine. 

It has been amazing to watch the changes in my son this time around. So quickly he has gone from fragile looking newborn to a little person with his own feelings and emotions. This time I’m taking the time to notice. This time I’m not wishing away a single minute of my precious time with my baby. 

Last time… Last time was tough. We were first time parents and we didn’t have an easy baby. After a very long (4+ days) labour and an emergency cesarean I was sleep deprived and and run down before I even actually had her in my arms. The first 2 weeks are oblivious. The next 2 months are hazy memories. At about the 3 month mark things started improving and we got to enjoy our little girl and were introduced to her cheeky nature. From there she has flourished and grown into a confident and cheery girl who we absolutely adore. 

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This time was very different.

Still a difficult labour but for all its own reasons. At least it was quicker. This time we got a quiet, calm, content baby who is happy to lay back and take in whatever the world throws at him. He sleeps. He eats. He sometimes wakes up and has a look around. The kind you hear of but don’t see that often. They do exist. 

So for now I’m a stay at home mummy with 2 beautiful kids. And I’m recovering from surgery. And I’m about to start doing it alone when hubby goes back to work on Monday.  And I’ve got another 2 weeks before I’m allowed to drive. I think it will be a long 2 weeks. 

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