Thursday, March 27, 2014

I love therefore I am

My whinges aside, I have to say that my life is pretty simple right now.

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

What Harry thinks about food

How can this be possible? It seems statistically improbable. Impossible even.

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
From his royal majesty he transforms into the ultimate jester. He basically acts like meals are a big joke and that food are his props for the Harry Mealtime Show. This mood results in a lot of food throwing, yelling, tantrums and random laughing while he smashes the nearest plate/cup/knife repeatedly banging it into his face/table or sailing it off to the newspapered floor. My favourite thing to see is him face planting into his food, arms out and literally doing food angels on his high chair tray while gurgling to himself. He can do this for the entire meal and I gotta say I'm kind of proud of his artistic flair for protesting.

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

Harry Does St Patrick's Day

Had a mad dash day trying to get into the St Patrick's Day spirit by doing a "Harry Does" photo shoot today.

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.

To achieve this very green set of photos, I just had to squeeze in these little tasks into the day:

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.

If anyone is curious Harry is wearing a H+M sweater from one of his godparents, Bonds stretch pants and Marks & Spencer socks from us when we went on a stupid internet shopping spree, and a hat his grandparents got him from a holiday to Bangkok. A green mishmash of thrifty practicality really.

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

There were quite a few passersby in the park who did look a bit concerned that I was child labouring my child a bit too harshly. They were probably also concerned when, finding myself without an assistant today (hubby was busy) I had to walk around the park in search of good light/tree/grass whilst carrying this parcel around with me. Yes, that is my child in a box with a big piece of wood at his eye level.

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

Top ten - Signs I'm losing it

I have not handled this week's parenting and life challenges with much grace. They say a true test of one's character is how one handles adversity. I am doing very shit thank you. Here's how I know that:

1. I have blogged more than I've ever blogged averaging 1-2 posts per day. I even have a backlog of blog entry drafts waiting to be cleaned up so that my usual mind diarrhea looks as presentable as diarrhea can be.

2. I am super snappy at everyone. I've had more irrational snaps at people than there are actual snaps on those ridiculous late 90s Adidas snap pants (also irrational and just as hideous).

3. I have snarled a lot. Usually most at people closest to me. For example, dinner with my parents are usually peppered with the usual insidious digs at me that I have to ignore or laugh off but this time I just gave it back to them with full top spin. At one stage I even recall snarling, "If you think I'm doing such a shit job why don't you just call DOCS and have him taken away because clearly you think I'm failing as a parent." There may have been several full blown snarls in the same vein following this. Did I mention we were in a moderately packed restaurant?

4. My husband and I have fought a lot. More than we've ever fought. Whole sections of the day just disappear into gloomy steely silences as we both stand our ground about something that ultimately makes no difference.

5. My baby has started behaving like he actually hates me. I do all the unpleasant things he hates like feed him solids three times a day, make him sleep, stop playtime, discipline him about not climbing INTO the dishwasher, force squirt his daily vitamin into his mouth...Either that or I've become such a sourpuss and he knows it too. All the ring a ding ding games I play with him and laughs I get from him throughout the day must just vanish in his memory in light of all the unpleasantness I enforce upon him. He pushes me and turns away from me a lot and prefers his dad all the time.

6. I am quick to assume everyone is criticizing me as a parent. So much that I've actually imagined jabs at me by friends making passing innocent comments. Comments which meant nothing I obsessed about in midnight hours turning them this way and that to see just what did they really mean by that.

7. I look like a fuzzy chicken zombie.

8. I complain about lack of sleep but then proceed to squander the opportunities for sleep instead laying there all wired up over analyzing everything (and did I mention blogging?).

A true photo of my baby during an
early morning waking session
9. I have actually out loud called my baby a jerk to his face. I had just spent half an hour calming and soothing him to stop squirming, finding the optimum sleep inducing head position. I was doing well remaining mother zen calm while he kicked me in my full need to pee bladder, scratched my face and neck repeatedly, and momentarily biting me in random places. It was like calming a wild ferret. Finally he was drowsy and asleep in my arms. He even made his tongue clicking I want to sleep signal. But alas everytime I sat down and got into a comfortable position he would bolt his eyes wide open and I'd have to do it all again. Putting him down and letting him cry made him wide awake and crawling like I made my ferret son into a ball toy.

I did this for two hours. It's like he was tricking me into performing the most ridiculous uncomfortable poses luring me with sleepy eyes but he never had any intention of sleeping at all.  I looked at his bug open eyes and called him a jerk.

10. I've done that more than once.
So there it is. I am undone. My mother's love is overcooked.
I have become a crazy, whiny, argumentative, defensive, mean crazy mofo and I am so ashamed I am not coping better.
But perhaps I exaggerate. Last night I was lying in bed awaiting the next night call and I was busy hoping this week was the worst, the bottom, the point before everything gets better. Then I realized the depth of my dedication to my child can go a lot deeper.

I thought about all the scenarios that would be worse than ours. I tried as much as I could to see around the myopic obsessiveness exhausted parents are afflicted with and tried to gain perspective. He's not dying. He's not sick. He doesn't have  hole in his heart or diseases like some babies do.

Then I started going through a list of horrible things that could befall him in the future. What if he does get seriously sick? Well good job perspective... That didn't help at all.

In a way it helped in this respect: I realized whatever situation life throws at us I will be there. With all my personal failings and imperfections, I will always put everything I have on the table for this little guy and my family.

I guess like all things in life, all you can give is the best you got. I don't want to give my family my struggle finish best. I don't want to drag and sob my way to get through. I have failed. But not as a parent. I have only failed in not digging out my best qualities and using those to live this experience positively. The challenge is not my baby. The challenge is living life with my baby while being the best person I can be.

This life is hard, I will give myself that. However I will not let myself worry to the point that I ruin all the good stuff that can come of it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top ten - why babies make bad roomies

Imagine a room mate with these top ten quality traits:

1. Waits for the precise moment you've fallen asleep to wake you up, rile you up then fall into snores exactly when you're wide awake

2. Bites you when you're giving him food literally biting the body part that feeds him

3. Somehow realizes when you have important stuff on and decides to schedule his entire day in a manner that totally fucks up your day. Every time.

4. Watches you prepare all his meals then throws it in your face and makes you clean up after him

5. Hates all the presents you've ever bought him never says thank you

6. Laugh in your face and leaves the room when you tell him to listen

7. Makes you look like a liar in front of others by never doing what you've told people he always does in front of you. Then does it exactly when no one is looking

8. Makes it difficult for you every time you want to spend time on other things like friends, hobbies or employment

9. Creates a load of laundry everyday that you have to do rain, hail or shine or you have smelly mountain within 48 hours

10. Makes you visibly uglier, age twice as fast and sag in all the wrong places

Wow, what an absolute jerk. Well friends, that is what it's like living with a normal baby. (*That's right, you read right, I'm talking some nipple biting in there too). Except society expects mothers to love and relish the experience while throwing in bucketloads of super unhelpful unsolicited parenting advice along the way. Thanks team.

I have a lot of anger for my baby right now. My patience has run very thin and my energy low. On top of the normal annoying things babies do to your lives above, my baby seems to excel above and beyond other babies in terms of being difficult. He seems to have read the parenting troubleshoot page and has decided to take on each problem with gusto.

What with breast refusal at the beginning, then bottle refusal forever after making it impossible for anyone else to look after him for a day. Then essentially screaming his head off for the first seven months of his life. Day and night. Now refusing food on a pathological level. Multiple night wakings well beyond when most normal babies can sleep through. He actually thinks 3am is 7am. Let's just add NOT GROWING  in there for kicks. It's never gonna stop, is it?

Yet I know I am the one being ridiculous. Deep down I know my baby's fussiness is only 50% his temperament, and the rest of the blame should lay squarely on my parenting. Isn't a baby only as fussy as his parents? He's just a baby after all. And bam there it is - I'm the jerk.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My baby the jerk

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?

Parenthood Island

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

The hubby's garden

Despite the last post, having the hubby around does have its merits.

Our backyard is pretty pitiful and I have to say I make absolutely no contribution towards its improvement or maintenance. I am completely aware of how terrible I am at gardening.

Kale sprouts in a styrofoam box grown from seeds

The hubby is quite the opposite and is both determined and pretty successful in the garden. Recently he tried his hand at growing kale plants out of seedlings and surprised to say they are coming along. Kale is not only a hailed superfood but also really good to pop into baby food for that extra veg boost.

Transplanted into the ground.. let's wait
and see if they grow

Hitting your 30s kind of makes you wish you were more competent in something as basic as growing your own food. Maybe it's a mixture of the hipster revolution and wanting to save money but I do wish we were more self sufficient when it comes to food.

Herbs are an example of how the big supermarket chains seem to do a lot of their wallet gouging so actually having a backyard for the first time means we have invested in some pots.

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

Le sigh

Overheard this morning after breakfast:
(Husband playing with boy in his room)
"I love you so much buddy, I wouldn't change you for the world".
A warm and fuzzy feeling starts in me until the husband starts talking again... "Like if there was a hostage situation and the hijackers wanted to swap you for mummy I wouldn't swap you. I'd definitely keep you. Not mummy."
He then realises I'm in the room wiping up last night's vomit off the floor. A flash of guilt crosses his face and then a lightbulb. He quickly adds, "but then we'd bust mummy out, you and me....Yeah!"
Nice save Daddy Boo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

He's a real boy now

My little baby continues to morph into a real live boy before my very eyes at such lightning speed I can hardly keep up with all his new developments.

my little snot-nosed monster

These are the things he can do this week that he couldn't do a fortnight ago:

His game face whilst riding his new buddy
-Pull himself up to stand. And always with an uber "I'm so awesome" grin to finish

-Throw a ball. With so much force and accurate aim that I fear that he may be good at cricket one day (my worst fears come true - I absolutely detest cricket plus think of all those wasted long days taking him to all those matches)

-Catch a rolling ball off the ground (again oh no, cricket)

-Examine whilst repeatedly opening cupboards, doors, drawers, anything with a hinge that he can get his hands on

-Perform party trick commands like a flying kiss, strong (pulls an angry Hulk face see photo right), close-open (closes and opens his fist)

-Absolutely loves loves loves to click his tongue super loud and thinks its hilarious

-Pushes himself to sitting from lying down. He spends the first ten minutes of nap time just lying down, sitting up, lying down, sitting up. Just coz he can.

-Takes proper forward steps when held up and not just jelly leg flails

-Claps his hands unprompted at the end of songs he hears on telly or even when he hears applause

-Waves hello and goodbye ..though he's been waving goodbye for a while now but I think now he gets that it's appropriate for both arrival and departures

There's probably heaps of other things he has discovered this week yet hasn't been able to express or that I haven't noticed or remembered. He definitely appears to be widening his comprehensive vocabulary and seems to be able to understand a lot of what I say to him.

It really is amazing. Now if only his little body can hurry up and grow to catch up with that big brain of his! 

We have an appointment with the feeding clinic this Friday, really looking forward to it hopefully some answers and tips about my fussy little boy.