Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This Too, Shall Pass

Sitting in the dark, holding a crying, hungry, coughing, inconsolable baby at 2am.

This too, shall pass.

Listening to your baby finding her voice at 4am, sounding more like a mating alley cat every day.

This too, shall pass.

Surviving on broken sleep and lots of coffee for months (years?) on end.

This too, shall pass.

Staring at an empty fridge, making vegemite sandwiches for lunch again.

This too, shall pass.

Walking into the school yard in your slippers, stuffing a nursing pad back into your bra, silver trails of mucus (not yours) decorating your shoulder.

This too, shall pass.

Changing nappies, wiping bottoms, being peed on, being pooed on, accidents on the floor, wet beds, peeing in the bath, smells at dinner time,

This too, shall pass.

Feeling lumpy and overweight, no make-up, no exercise, no nails, no fragrance, no watch, no jewellery, no time, no ownership of your breasts, no coherent thoughts, no career, no income, no idea.

This too, shall pass.

Battles at dinner time, at bath time, at bed time.  Fighting about clothes, and making beds, and doing homework, and sharing, and not picking noses. Especially at dinner time.  Boogers are not a food group.

This too, shall pass.

Four of you squeezing onto a couch for bedtime stories, lying in bed making shadow animals.

This too, shall pass.

Being able to kiss and cuddle your children without fear of rejection or embarrassment.

This too, shall pass.

Being able to pick your darlings up without damaging your back.

This too, shall pass.

Spontaneous 'concerts' involving made up songs and dances that have you rushing for the video camera.

This too, shall pass.

First smiles, first words, first steps.

This too, shall pass.

Fingerpainted, hand made cards, potplants made of pop-sticks, unrecognisable creations, drawings  made with oodles of love and glitter every day.

This too, shall pass.

Strangers in the street telling you how beautiful your children are.

This too, shall pass.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mother's Day

What a difference a year makes.

Last Mother's Day I was standing in the local pharmacy, my 16 month old at my feet, my four year old sniffing around the glucose jellybeans.  I was hovering in front of the pregnancy tests.

I was embarrassed.  I had ordered 25 cheap pregnancy tests online but I couldn't wait the extra day or two for them to arrive.  I needed to know.  Immediately.

I thought I was pregnant.  I wanted to be pregnant.

The look on the chemist's face clearly told me that he thought I would be mad to be pregnant again. By this stage, my two children had started fighting over a balloon display and had knocked over a lifesized cardboard cut-out of an old man advertising laxatives.  Maybe he had a point.

I bought a bunch of expensive gifts for myself, hoping to 'hide' the pregnancy test amongst them.  Trying to pretend that it wasn't the most important part of the expedition. I paid my money and took my children home.

At home I excused myself from my own Mother's Day and went upstairs to pee on a $16 stick.

I had already convinced myself I was pregnant.  I thought Mother's Day would be a nice day to find out I was pregnant.

Turned out to be an ironic day to find out that I wasn't going to be a mother for the third time.

The disappointment I felt merely cemented my feelings that I wanted another baby.

One year later...

This Mother's Day was my first as a mother of three.  Things are a bit crazy in a house of five, and my husband proved he clearly had no idea when Mother's Day actually was when he took me out for breakfast the weekend prior. 

I only informed him of the correct date after he had paid the bill.

He offered to take me out again the following week, but instead I asked for him and the kids to make me breakfast.  I waited in bed until the Bombshell came to get me.  Flowers on the table. And a few aphids.  A specially designed placemat.  Bacon, liberally coated in maple syrup (thanks Nigella).  Pancakes, eggs. Bliss.

The kids didn't get around to making a card, and my present is a bit of a DIY affair, but I have had the pleasure of having the Bombshell sing Mother's Day songs to me for the past couple of week, courtesy of her pre-primary teacher.

"Five little mummies I know best
Fat ones, thin ones, tall ones too.
But the one in the middle, who belongs to me,
I love her and she loves me."

I hope you had a great Mother's Day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Typical Morning in a Household of Five


A little louder: ''Mummy!'

Oh God.  I don't know what time it is, but it's still black outside, and I have only just fallen asleep after being up with Baldy Baby half the night.  I sniff the air.  Nothing is on fire.  I just want to go back to sleep.

An intake of air.  I can tell she is about to launch into some long winded description of whatever her problem is.  My husband realises this too, hisses a 'shhhhhh' at her, and leaps out of bed, dragging her with him. 

One hour later.

The front door bangs with intent.  It is my husband's way of waking me, letting me know he is leaving the kids unattended downstairs.  I sniff the air.  Nothing is on fire.  I roll over and fall asleep.

Half an hour later.

Screaming.  I crank one eye open and look at the clock.  It's half past seven and I have an hour before we need to leave for school.  I would willingly give up a kidney for another hour's sleep but instead I crawl out of bed and head downstairs to survey to damage.

The screaming is because the DVD daddy put on has finished.  He has also supplied them with a box of icecream cones, which is now empty on the bench, little wafer carcasses strewn across the carpet.  This apparently, was their breakfast.

I start the DVD again, pour myself a coffee and attach the Boobinator.  The Curly Mop, now known as Typhoid Emi, has wilfully spread her germs to the new baby, who is so congested she can barely breathe let alone breastfeed.  I am back on the pump.

I ask Typhoid Emi to find an outfit for the day.  She is now two and a quarter and horribly opinionated.  She returns with a flowery one-piece bathing suit.  Woefully inappropriate for the 11 degree morning.  With much gnashing of teeth, threats and bribes I coax her into a thin cotton dress and sandals.  Much better.

I drag the poor sleeping baby out of her bed and start strapping her into the car seat.  We are woefully late for school, but at least by now the carpark will be half empty and I will find a space without queuing.  There is always a silver lining.

Typhoid Emi and the Bombshell start a new game.  They are taking turns squishing each other in the security door.  At least they are sharing, I think.

We're in the car and I look in the rear view mirror and ask the Bombshell why she came to wake me this morning.

'The cushions were on the floor,' she tells me.

'Were they on fire?' I ask.


'Were they being carried off by a plague of rats?'

'What's a plague?'

'That's not the point,' I say.  'Do you really think that cushions being on the floor was a good reason to wake Mummy.'

She thinks for a second.  I can tell she thinks this is a trick question.

'Yes?', she says hopefully.

'No.  No it really isn't.'  She looks crestfallen, and apprehensive.  I can tell she thinks she is going to get yelled at.

But I am past that point now.  All I want to do is drop her at school, so I can sneak to McDonalds for an enormous coffee and some hash browns.

Fifteen minutes later.

We are parked in the sun, overlooking the lake.  The Mop is in the back seat tentatively blowing on a Hash Brown.  I am scoffing a McMuffin.  Things are looking up.

Time to start the day. 

* * * *

Except for the hash browns this is more typical than I care to admit.  We do what we need to do to make it through the day. 

What do you do just to get out the door in the mornings?

Friday, May 11, 2012

To My Husband on Mother's Day

Dear Husband

Many of the other blogs I read have really witty names for their husbands, like #1Hubby or Crappy Dad.  I just call you Hubby.

I am relishing this Mother's Day gig.  It's my first as a mother of three, and this year the Blonde Bombshell is really getting into it.  For the past few weeks she has been writing me cards, singing me songs and telling me how good she is going to be on Mother's Day.

Oh, and that I am the bestest Mummy in the whole wide world.

I am like the proverbial pig in mud, lapping up all this love.

I believe that Mums deserve all the praise they get on Mother's Day.  We work hard. Bringing babies into the world changes us in ways we see, and in ways we can't.

But this Mother's Day, I actually want to thank YOU. 

It's because of you that I have my three beautiful girls - the princess, the cherub and the angel.

It's because of you that I have a safe house to live in, food on the table, wine in the fridge and Foxtel to distract.

It's because of you, and your willingness to work hard, that I can stay home with my children, be there at school pick-up, attend the Kindy concerts, walk to the library, have picnics on the floor.

It's because of you that I am free (and encouraged) to pursue my dream to become a writer, to return to uni, to spend evenings writing my blog.

You look the other way when I spend my free time having endless breakfasts and lunches all in the name of 'research' for my reviews on Weekend Notes.

You have become an expert in doing little girls pigtails and plaits, and making school lunches when I am still in bed.  You shower the kids every night. Admittedly, everyone usually ends up in tears, but you still do it.

You have the knack of tag-teaming craziness with me.  If one of us is neurotic, irrational and angry, the other steps up and brings a degree of calm back into the house.  Or pours the other a glass of wine.

You give me my space, my time and freedom.  It is in that space and time and freedom that I can enjoy being a mother to our children.

So, I still expect some pretty full-on spoiling on Mother's Day: breakfast in bed, some flowers perhaps.  Three pink diamonds would be nice.  Oh, and chocolates. Lots of chocolates.

But I haven't forgotten you, and on Mother's Day, I wanted to say:


Friday, May 4, 2012

Making Private Public. Again.

Being a mum changes you.

Before I had kids, I was not the type of person who would discuss bodily functions and toilet habits in public.  I would never publish stories about my kids poo, my night time ablutions, much less my husband's toileting habits.

But I have kids now, so I am very happy to discuss poo with you.  I am also happy to yell out private things in public.  And lucky me, it won me a prize!

Let's take a step back for a minute...

A few nights ago I attended the book launch of friend and fellow blogger, Glennys from The Ponder Room.  Unlike me, Glennys is a real writer and she has written a number of books, the latest of which Me Time*, provides a number of strategies to gain that elusive bastion of the busy mother - time alone.

So while I was sucking down my complimentary champagne and orange juice and enjoying being out of the house with only one of my three offspring [about as 'me' as I'm going to get at the moment] she asked the gathered crowd the following question.

'What is the number one strategy people use to get some me time?'

There were a number of reasonable and G-rated responses.  It must have been the champagne because I then blurt out at the top of my lungs:

'I hide in the toilet to get away from my kids.'

I was absolutely right, and it won me a prize.

Two out of every three mums hide in the loo to get some time alone.  That is deeply disturbing.

Now I don't know about you, but my bathroom isn't very big or very attractive.  There are potty seats and empty cardboard rolls on the floor, dust bunnies the size of a small cat, sodden face washers, dirty underpants, and for some unfathomable reason about seven toothbrushes strewn about even though there are only five of us and one doesn't even have teeth yet.

Things must be pretty desperate if this is the destination we choose for some privacy.

Did I say privacy?  Don't make me laugh.

As well as talking about things that really should stay private, I have also changed post-children in another way.  I now have books piled up next to the loo.

Before kids, I thought this was something only old men did.  But now I am using the toilet as a retreat I have a stack of reading material for my stolen moments. When I was pregnant with Baldy Baby, it was a baby name book and a well thumbed version of 'Up The Duff'.  Now I have a copy of 'ProBlogger' and 'Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It'.

And so to the asterisk which you may have noticed lurking above.  I am going to run my first ever competition.

Glennys has provided me with a copy of Me Time which I will be sending to one lucky reader.  I realise that if you have enough time to read this blog and enter a competition, you might not need any help. You may already have your strategies in place, and are sitting in the loo right now with your phone or iPad on your lap, flicking through your favourite blogs.

But you might know someone who would benefit from this book.  So send me a comment about your time-poor friend and why they need some help getting time to themself.  The best response will earn a totally cool book. And if you are a totally cool friend you can offer to babysit their kids while they sit down and read it.

Rules of the competition.  Umm let's see...

1. Open to Australian residents only and you must have a letter box, PO Box or friendly neighbour where the book can be sent.
2. Competition starts today, 4th May 2012 and will close 25th May 2012.
3. The winner will be chosen based on their answer - probably someone who either makes me laugh or makes me cry.  If you can do both, kudos to you.
4. Remember, you are talking about your friend, so don't divulge any information they wouldn't want made public, or if you do, at least make them anonymous.
5. The winner will have to provide a postal address (either theirs, or their friend) so I can post the book.  I promise I won't use that information for any other purpose, like stalking you, or give it to anyone else who might stalk you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blink and You'll Miss It

This is me just after I left the hairdresser.

Note the smooth glossy hair, the meticulous blow-wave, the precision curled ends.  Not a stray hair to be seen. Not on my head, anyway.

This is me about ten minutes later, after I hopped out of the shower.

Sure, I would love to get around for more than ten minutes looking like a well-kept news reader, but what you can't see in the first picture, is the tens of millions of tiny, itchy, annoying red hairs that have been cut off my head and transferred to every other inch of my body.

Transferred how?  Because they blow-dry them there!  Even into my shoes.  Even the baby got covered in hair today.

I don't understand the order of things at hairdressers.

They insist on washing your hair as soon as you arrive, even though I always tell them I washed it the night before.

Then they cut it. 

Then they blow-dry it, making you look like a millions bucks from the chin up, while simultaneously ensuring that below the shoulders you look like the Gruffalo.

Why don't they cut it, wash it and then blow-dry it? 

At least then I could turn up for school pick-up looking like a yummy-mummy for once, rather than the scummy-mummy I more typically represent.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

That Mum

Last night I accidentally gave my new baby girl an overdose of paracetamol.

I wasn't overtired. I wasn't watching TV. I wasn't drunk or under the influence of drugs. I wasn't being distracted by small children. I wasn't rushing.  I checked the dosage on the box. Twice.

Yet somehow, I managed to draw up twice the correct dose and it wasn't until hours later that I realised what I had done.

She seems fine, but it scares me how easy it was.

Earlier that day I had taken her for her two month jabs, and as the nurse had warned, her temperature began creeping up in the evening.  We made the decision to give her some Panadol before bed.

It was a couple of hours later while I was lying in bed that the image of the syringe came into my head.  Her required dose was 0.6 to 0.9ml.  I had a physical memory of drawing up 2ml and then squeezing out only 0.3ml.  I had given her 1.7ml, double what I was supposed to.

I bolted downstairs to admit my mistake to my husband.  Though I hesitated first.  I felt so stupid.  It's not as though I haven't given my kids medicine before.  How could I make such a major mistake, so easily? The difference between a safe dose and a dangerous dose of paracetamol, between lowing a temperature and destroying the liver is remarkably small.

It's easy to quickly judge and make assumptions when you hear awful stories about kids getting injured or dying when their parents were momentarily distracted.  Answering a phone and leaving a pram unattended. Leaving the baby in the bath while you dash to the laundry for a dry towel.  Turning around to grab nappies and leaving a baby on the change table.  I've done it - told myself that there was no way I could allow myself to be that mum, that I would always be vigilant.

Turns out it is all too easy to be that mum.
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