Feeling a bit shattered right now. Don't really want to talk to anyone about it yet. Feeling rock bottom disappointment and failure. That is all.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
There are amazing discoveries by both parent and child every single day. For example today on our walk, Harry began pointing at random objects in the street that he found interesting with a suggestive "uhhh" noise that he likes to make. He just couldn't stop doing it. He was pointing at people in the street, cars, poles, trees, everything! It was like he was making conversation with me for the first time and the endless potential for future conversation with my child just blew my mind.
There are however, some pretty sad facts that develop along the way. None of these things matter in the long run, but I'd say it's worth noting to uphold my disdain for TV ad depictions of motherhood (you know what I'm talking about...a mother with perfect make up and spotlessly clean clothes in the middle of the night with a sick child? whatever). I say motherhood is great but it gets pretty smelly and weird.
|How about say let's just skip this nappy change ey? I've still gotta do my hair love|
So in the spirit of keeping it real, here are my top sad fact experiences of motherhood:
1. My nipples are now so long from breast feeding it has literally gotten in the way of me closing plastic lid. That's all there is to say about that.
3. The kid friendly foods I've been cooking are adult aorta unfriendly. Lashings of bacon, douse it with cheese, dress it up with some sort of veg and pasta, bung it in the oven and bob's your uncle- the kid loves it, it's easy and tasty but goddam it's getting heavy in my middle. Not to mention I get the lovely task of eating whatever the kid rejects. Here's a sad fact within a sad fact: I am typing this while eating double thick chocolate custard from a tub because the baby didn't like it and it's a waste to throw it out. There's children starving out there for crying out loud, we can't have wasted custard can we. And doubly thick would be doubly criminal.
4. My clothes are never clean. I have walked out of the house knowing there is food vomit on my clothes but know that by having my baby with me, people will probably forgive/tolerate me. The one time I felt it was imperative I have clean clothes on my way out to somewhere, I served Harry's meal to him while wearing pyjamas over my outfit. I then peeled off the food encrusted pyjamas then hightailed it out of food throwing range.
5. I miss my pre-baby friends and the pre-baby me who could be their friend. Since getting pregnant I've moved house to hours away from family and friends whilst my closest friends have moved halfway around the world. There's always the internet, instant messaging and video calls but it's not the same. I'm not there to respond to their texts, I only jump in when I forward the cute photo I just took of my baby. I feel baby-centric and that I can't fully share in other people's lives because I can easily sneak a photo of the baby while I'm watching him but I can't indulge in a juicy girl conversation while watching the baby who is now so scarily fast at zooming around the house and getting into all the places he shouldn't. I've become that mother whose entire Facebook stream is just of her baby and says nothing to no one except in the context of what the baby hypothetically thinks. "Happy Birthday Uncle So-and-So, love Harry". Why can't I just be me who happens to have baby and not someone's mum? Identity issues clearly but this one's too murky for me at this time of the night so let's leave it at that.
So there it is, be warned: Motherhood is awesome but does come with some minor side effects. Nothing that I can't live with anyway. And now, I shall feel vindicated for I typed up that whole thing without the baby waking. The Bananas in Pyjamas book for bedtime strikes again!
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Twenty minutes later, we were all in there, baby in hand and all, bashing through the bush, past the giant ant hill next to the overturned dunny, over ditches and fallen pine trees... foraging through the pine forest floor for our very own golden pickings.
Was a fun way to spend a sunny Sunday.
Was yummy with a bit of garlic and parsley. Definitely not death mushrooms as the husband was paranoid about until we googled it and found it they are actually quite prized and rare gourmet mushrooms. Best of all, it was free and picked by our very own hands!
How can I go back to living in the city after random weekends like these?
Friday, April 4, 2014
I can't believe my little boy is turning ONE tomorrow.
I can't believe that his age is now measured in YEARS. I still remember telling people he was X number of days old.
But look at what I get in return: bundles and bundles of cuteness, love and joy. Even with an infinite amount of pain, heartbreak and hard work that parenting entails, I could never repay the joy this little man gives me in life.
Having his cake.
And eating it too.
Pretending like he knows how to eat like a little gentleman.
Sitting there on the ledge as though he just happened to walk on by
And taking a rest coz it's so damn tiring being a little person
Lining up his shots already... of cake of course.
And one day those shots will be of tequila... and I suppose I have to be cool with that coz we all did it too.
And BAM there it is.
He is going to be his own person. Doing all the things I did as a kid. As a teenager. As a young adult. And maybe even one day, a father.
A landmark of his age is both heart breaking and heart warming because every birthday is a reminder of him growing into himself as a person. Just like me, he will go through all of life's stages and live all while struggling with all his faults, wielding all his strengths and trying his damnedest to be happy.
|so grown up he even uses not plastic cutlery now|
Harry is no longer just a blob of a baby wailing for his needs to be fulfilled. He has stepped up one rung in life to be the fun loving, affectionate little boy that he is who loves kissing and hugging his mummy and would drop everything to play with Daddy.
Step one, on a life long journey, done and dusted. And what a beautiful ride it has been so far. I am so proud to be your mummy my little Harry. You are beautiful and my heart feels almost bursting everyday with love and pride stretching my capacity for love to infinity just by your very being.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Part of that reason is not because my house gets to be immaculate all the time (which I can assure you it is not - ever), but because I get to devote my down time to my many ridiculous creative pursuits. Ridiculous in that I will dabble in this and dabble in that, but never commit to calling myself a person who does that activity.
For example, I have never been comfortable calling myself a photographer, a yogi, a cook or a crafty mum. I just do bits and bobs of everything and the only common thread is that I just love fiddling around the house. Not in a manner that cleans it of course. I am a proficient dabbler.
Here is my latest project that has been keeping me up the last week. After Harry goes to bed I do not, as wisdom would dictate, get myself ready for bed and seize the opportunity for sleep, I have instead been trying my hand at this amazing project: Audrey Cape.
|too lazy to iron it for photo|
I made it for my little 4 year old niece because it is just so much more fun sewing stuff for girls. Poor Harry has not been a recipient of any of my sewing efforts to date. I figure he's still too young to know he's missing out. Anyway, my 4 year old niece who is really one tough customer (when unwrapping the tutu dress I had bought her for her birthday this year she exclaimed at the top of her lungs, "I HATE IT!") tried her damnedest to also hate the cape when I presented it to her. Within minutes it was around her shoulders with a smug "I'm a princess grin" on her face.
Needless to say, I think it was a roaring success and I think it will be a favourite of hers this winter. I did make some changes to the pattern by adding two halves of a bow on each collar that she can tie. I also thought it was more friendly to little fingers than a button or a pin.
I used fabric I picked up from the local Op shop which sells some pretty amazing off cuts of fabric at crazy cheap prices. For example, this mustard fabric was $2 for about three to four metres of the stuff. The blue tweed was a bit pricier at $4 for heaps of it. Don't think they are old curtains or sheets, just simply people's unused scrap fabrics. I just love the experience of trawling through the Op shop bins and dreaming up projects as I find treasures. It's like shopping for endless possibility.
I do sometimes worry about my lack of ambition in life right now. Is it wrong that I am perfectly happy as a mum/housewife who spends her days on little projects that serve no one and nothing except my own small scale creative drive?
Having spent all my formative years concentrating on doing well in school, then uni, then working for a few years in the fairly rough and draining environment of criminal law (I defended petty crooks and criminals for years on nothing but a measly salary and the feeling of being a Justice Super Hero i.e. just for kicks), finally sitting down to do whatever I feel like feels so..... free.
My life up until becoming a mum was all about being the best daughter I could be, being the nerdiest student I could be, doing good for the community, being socially aware and responsible, speaking out for justice and essentially on a crusade to right the world's wrongs. Motherhood gave me an out and let me live in a bubble that just shrunk the world to a simple unit of my little family. I feel like I am only really getting to know who I am now and frankly, I am not sure I am ready to leave my little bubble just yet.
There are still many capes to be made .. and who knows, if I place enough capes around enough little shoulders, maybe it is the children around me that can one day save the world instead of me.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
|not a cloth nappy in sight|
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Is this what they call being happy*?
Despite all the challenges, this year of being at home with the bub will surely be a golden time I will one day look back on with such happiness and longing. Everyday is as simple as "what are we having for dinner tonight?". The highlight of everyday is what new funny thing the baby did today.
Harry is a week away from turning one and I have to say I love this age so much. My heart aches just thinking that this age of cheeky innocence will one day draw to a close. Right now mummy, daddy and our house is his entire world and he is pretty happy with that. I am pretty happy with that.
I love ... afternoon sun backyard yoga with daddy and baby
I love ... daddy's backyard harvest
I love ... this cheeky bugger who has turned my whole world upside down in the most marvellous way possible
I love the home we have. I love my little family. My heart is buttery soft with happy :)
* Harry started sleeping through this week... just a happy side note, I am sure it is just a coincidence that I am doing a happy post!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
My love for food is so great, I thought, that there would be no permutation possible of my genetic make up ever hating food. I held the dominant food gorging loving gene. I dream about food. I would move cities for good food. Food is more than just physical survival for me, good food is integral to the survival of the soul.
My son thinks of food in two ways.
How do I describe this... Let's see. How about I let my son's face do all the talking. Here's emotion number one:
|What Harry thinks about food|
The first feeling is encapsulated by the look above which I would say is somewhere between indifference and hatred (if that were possible). Just complete and utter disinterest. This manifests in his permanent turning away from his tray, from me, from anything to do with the meal taking place before him. I spend a good part of his highchair time staring at the back of his head. No matter which way I face him, his impressive neck rotation ensures that I have the least access to his frontal face. He basically acts like an arrogant little emperor, sitting there on his highchair throne impervious to all my food prep efforts, bored and angry at all this food as though eating is for such commoners. Like come on good woman, I have so much better shit to do than eat food all day!
The second reaction he has to food which drives me equally nuts is this:
|Harry's "laugh it off" measures against being fed|
He started eating last week. Proper food. He was chewing chicken, like actual chicken pieces and hallelujah swallowing it. He was having modest full meals, meat, rice and veg and all without too many tears. I was so happy, I thought we were on the mend.
But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Struck down with some unknown virus since last week, his body weakened and reset our progress. This week it's back to the little emperor/joker on his high chair again, struggling to swallow the slightest morsel of food. This makes it almost more frustrating because I know he has the ability to eat. He just chooses not to.
Anyway, he may not have inherited his poor attitude toward food from me but I suppose I cannot blame him for his stalwart stubbornness. He's certainly a headstrong, strong-willed little boy and one day I will be proud that he can stand his ground to anyone. In the meantime I will simply have to be happy with mopping up all the food after him.
|someone save me|
Monday, March 17, 2014
Of course it helped that I already spent the last 18 months of my life growing my own little leprechaun so that bit was sorted.
1. Make a cardboard four-leaf clover (Check! But my hand cramped from scissoring!)
2. Find some gold coins (Check! Apparently chocolate coins are only ever stocked at christmas time?)
3. Sew a rainbow bunting from random material stash at home (Check! But so not worth it because it didn't even look good in the photos!)
4. Find a green outfit for the boy (Check! Although I just made do with his stash at home. His jumper is a little big as its an 18-24month size but nothing that rolling up arm sleeve a few times couldn't fix.
My friend asked me on the phone this morning about what I had planned today. When I told him it would be this cheesy photoshoot he told me I should do something more constructive with all this time and learn a language instead. Bah! Whatever, this sort of nonsense is the best part of having a kid! You get your very own model.. whether they like it or not!
Speaking of which, he did not really enjoy the photoshoot today. Poor sod has yet another tooth coming in on the top row and was super super clingy the entire day. Most of the other shots were either of him whinging, crying or crawling towards me begging to be picked up. I have about a hundred shots that look kind of like this:
|What happens when teething and modelling collide|
Good times! One day when he's all grown up I am going to terribly miss these days when he has to do exactly where I place him.
I'm not really sure what I am trying to achieve by doing these photos. I just know that at least for me, they are a lot of fun. Meanwhile...
Friday, March 14, 2014
|A true photo of my baby during an |
early morning waking session
I have become a crazy, whiny, argumentative, defensive, mean crazy mofo and I am so ashamed I am not coping better.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I've crossed some sort of parenting boundary this week. Not just the one where you leave the birthing suite with a baby with half your DNA thus making you technically a parent, but some invisible barrier beyond lovestruck parenting. You know what I'm talking about. The baby moon phase when you could never imagine your baby being capable of doing anything wrong. When your baby is an angel who poor dear only cries for a reason like teething/sick/hungry/in pain/tired.
Before I knew it I'd been telling people my baby had been teething for pretty much half his life. That's possible right?
Or is it more likely that my baby is just plain being a jerk?
This week my patience has all but run out with my child. He refuses to eat ANYTHING, sleep or do anything that might make life a bit easier for his mummy and daddy. He is totally breaking us. We spend the entire night servicing his night wakings his sleep latency worse with each week. We spend the days preparing and offering food like slaves to an unfeeling God who just laughs and throws it all over the place from his highchair throne. It's like he knows we could never bring ourselves to stop trying. We then spend the rest of the day cleaning up after him whilst my husband and I often at each other's throats being on edge from lack of sleep and battle fatigue.
I have become annoyed. And not just annoyed because of course I've felt annoyance and frustration in spades since he was born. But at some point between 3 and 5 am last night as he stared at me bug eyed refusing to sleep for hours instead squirming and headbutting me in the face repeatedly but yelling like no tomorrow every time I put him down...for the first time I was annoyed and angry AT HIM.
So there - I have crossed over into the parenting territory where you call your baby a jerk for being so damn hard and for effectively fucking with your life.
No longer can he do no wrong. Even his breath doesn't smell heavenly anymore it just smells of bad breath.
Then he wakes up in the morning completely oblivious to the hell we'd just been through to get him to go back to sleep. I actually tore an arm muscle holding him for so long last night.
I suppose I gotta keep him. He is pretty funny when he is awake the cheeky bugger. God I love that kid so much it actually hurts.
Does that make me a real parent now?
Becoming a parent is isolating.
It's like that first step into the birthing suite is crossing some invisible life sieve where only your real friends are pure enough to go through. Where parents are already hanging out with smug I told you so grins that turn into 'shit is it 6 o clock I gotta go its bedtime' looks of panic.
I feel stupid that I even have to explain that my priorities now are different. They say they understand but the haughty reception towards declining to attend parties that just don't work for your best interest of my child life view says otherwise.
Some friends get it. Others just pay lip service to really understanding that your life does not revolve around going to all your best friends' awesome parties no matter how significant the age they're turning is.
They don't really get that everything you do is just the bare minimum on which you can hang on to life. That my world and my decisions are based on being the best person I can be in the circumstances. That my circumstances involve crying three times a day while my small vanishing baby refuses to eat and throws food and yells at me. That my calendar's most notable dates are when my next appointment is with a specialist or when my baby's pathology tests come back and not whose awesome party is next. That we prioritize how we can see our family more than our friends if it involves a four hour car ride with a baby because my baby seeing friends is fun but my baby seeing his grandparents and cousins to me is crucial.
Why do I have to explain that I cant do something that is totally contrary to what my child needs right no matter how much I value our friendship.
Its been said before and I'll say it again. People with no kids HAVE NO IDEA. I'm not being selfish. I remember what it was like to be single. Yes shit was hard. But you have no idea how much harder life can be when its not ever about you. I've been on both sides. Single people who whine about their married friends being selfish I have absolutely no patience left for that as I've used up all my patience on my non sleeping non eating battles with my child.
The reality is that these friendships that appear to be falling by the wayside were all rooted in shared memories of our teens and twenties. Until you cross over to parenting island you just don't get that others don't have absolute freedom and control over their world. You say you do but I really don't think this understanding comes from a place that is any deeper than just a regurgitation of what movies and magazines say about the parenting world. A world where you function on broken sleep and 20 hour workdays for years with no weekends, no sleep ins.
Yes, just imagine a world of the eternal no sleep in. I suppose unless you have a baby or you really care about your friend, you just can't.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
|Kale sprouts in a styrofoam box grown from seeds|
|Transplanted into the ground.. let's wait |
and see if they grow
Proud to say we grow our own rosemary, chives, watercress, mint, tomatoes and a few other things. So handy to just pop out to the backyard to get a handful of flavour for a quick omelette. Not bad for a couple of former city slickers.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
"I love you so much buddy, I wouldn't change you for the world".
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
|my little snot-nosed monster|
|His game face whilst riding his new buddy|
Friday, February 28, 2014
|my wild little lion|
Relief. Awash with relief.
Like a pressure valve has been located and released.
We had a much anticipated appointment with the paediatrician today to try to work out why my little boy won't eat and why he won't grow.
The week leading up to this appointment was like a long graveyard shift stretch in life. Each mealtime more anxious than the next. Every day became increments of three mealtimes. One always more arduous than the next. Tired stones felt like they were weighing on my body, pulling my heart, my limbs, my soul heavier and heavier with each breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I knew that rationally I had to remain calm and zen as food kept whizzing past me, onto me, onto the floor and everywhere except into his mouth. It took every ounce of zip I have to be the circus clown feeder I somehow ended up being. I did spoon aeroplanes so majestic that my performance could have been in an aerial show. I sang nursery rhymes. I never scolded. I sang praises so high every time he touched food you'd think he'd worked out string theory on his high chair.
I never intended to be the distraction feeder. The bring the iPad out feeder. The bribing with iced milk and chocolate custard feeder. I broke every rule I ever set for myself BEFORE I had a baby.
Listen up future parents and listen good: Parenting is a lot easier to be high and mighty about IF YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY A PARENT.
By the end of the week, it felt like I was the disgraced circus ring master who had lost control of her little boy who had become the lion that went wild. With each meal, he grew more advanced evolving to each and everyone of my tricks to make him eat. He adapted like a rapidly evolving bacteria and each day it seemed like he ate less and less, got angrier and fussier more and more.
I knew I was NOT doing it right. I knew this was NOT sustainable. Something had to give. And it was not going to be my stubborn little boy.
By the time I walked into the paediatrician's office, I was close to losing it. I sat down on the patient's chair and looked into doctor's soft gingery hair framing his face like a halo of tranquility. He examined my boy, played with him, measured him and sat back on his doctor's chair looking at my 8.5kg wriggly little conundrum crawling havoc on his floor. And to my relief he said "I look at this child and if I didn't look at his weight trajectory, I would not think anything except that he is a healthy child".
So the verdict is...there is nothing wrong with my boy. He just needs to learn how to eat. He is just so strong-willed and independent that something has made him decide he does not like others putting things in his mouth. At least that's a lesson I won't have to teach him for later on in life.
We should never underestimate the power of reassurance of another human being, doctor or not. Just the acknowledgment that the shit you are in must be hard and that there is a way forward unloaded all my heavy stones onto his clinic floor. An hour later, I walked out and left them there.
And what do you know...the little boy gobbled up some fish fingers for dinner tonight all on his own!
Maybe sometimes in life when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, all we need is to sit back a little and take a load off.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Okay, you win baby. I will say it. I am at my wit's end. I do not know what to do.
Three times a day I tell myself that this meal is not my battleground. I am calm, I am zen and my gentle good mother spirit will simply Pied Piper of Hamlin the food down his guzzle through nursery song and dance. An hour later, with my clothes soaked in toddler abstract food art, I sigh and say a little prayer that enough food made it in to sustain his wriggly little body.
I feel like I have tried EVERYTHING. Family and friends' helpful advice. Medical literature on how to handle fussy eaters. Baby advice blogs. I have given him reign. Taken the reigns. Thrown away the reigns.. I don't know how else to approach this. He thinks food is an absolute joke.
All I want is for this boy to eat. I feel like an absolute failure. And a few day's ago, this was finally confirmed so by doctors. Sadly, this little boy's growth chart just stops, literally stops at four months ago. Not a gram or centimetre grown since October 2013 (except for his head circumference.. haha ironically the one thing he doesn't need to enlarge is the only thing that has grown). The medical term for his condition: Failure to Thrive. FAILURE.
Needless to say, I felt fear... then anger...then disappointment... then shame that I have done it wrong or hadn't done enough and through it all just utter desperation.
Please eat my boy. I just want you to grow.
Be careful what you wish for they say... I wish I could unwish that he would be my little baby forever.