Thursday, 20 February 2014

New mums! Add these to your shopping list!

Bassinet? Check. Change table? Check. 64 singlets and 182 onesies in sizes 0000 and 00? Check. Yeah, you need that stuff, for sure. It makes life easier, but really, if it came down to it, you could share your bed, change bub's nappy on the floor, and have a wardrobe of 4 singlets and 5 onesies and still be fine. Read on to find out what you REALLY need...
  1. A night light (or dimmer switch). Unless you want to fall on your arse, or attach your newborn to your elbow, or stick a bottle teat up their nostril.
  2. Ocky straps. If you don't know what these are, I'm not sure you're fit to be a parent. You can try to use those drawer lock thingos, or the fridge lock, but they're a pain to line up and screw in, and the stick on kind are no good against a determined baby. Get creative with ocky straps. The little bugger darling will never get into the cutlery drawer or pantry with one of those in place. Of course, neither will you, but the sacrifice is worth the safety of your child.
  3. Noisy toys. Don't listen to other people. Noisy toys are great! You quickly learnt to tune them out once you realise you can use them to distract your child while you make a mad dash to the loo or organise yourself a snack. Flashing lights are a must.
  4. This thing.
  5. Parenting books. Just kidding
  6. Paracetamol. Don't be shy about giving it, especially when bubs is teething. What do you do when you have a headache or a toothache? Exactly. 
  7. A sling or wrap. Hands free makes your life that much easier, and who wouldn't want their tiny baby close enough to kiss when doing the food shop or out for a walk? We both loved ours, and still use them almost daily (yes, we have a few).
  8. A big, comfy rocking chair. Make sure it's big enough to fit a toddler across it. We didn't really use ours until O was older and needed less milk and more cuddles to help him back to sleep. Make it a big plush one. Spare no expense and your arse will thank you for it (and your back. And your shoulders). We probably would have used ours more, but it wasn't that comfy. We bought another one from gumtree when it became apparent that we were going to spend hours-on-end in it.
  9. A universal remote. In the early days, keep it in your back pocket, so that no matter where you find yourself sitting in the lounge to feed, you can watch your stories. Once you have a toddler, give him the old TV remote (batteries removed, of course). Maybe still keep the universal in your pocket.
  10. Confidence. Fake it til you make it. You'll be fine :)

Monday, 23 December 2013

6 Ways our Christmas has been toddler-enhanced

For as long as I can remember, I have loved Christmas. My husband is a little, "meh", about it. His refusal to wear the Christmas t-shirt I bought him ("Christmas Rocks" with a rock 'n' roll reindeer head on it. I know. Awesome) does little to rein on my Christmas parade (you can ring the pun bell twice). But I know he secretly loves it, too: living off Christmas pudding with brandy custard, devouring bags and bags of pfefernetters pfefiernetars pfefefeferr German ginger bread biscuits, the thrill of cramming his Christmas shopping into one frantic dash to the shops on Christmas eve... Yeah. He loves it.

This is the first Christmas O will really be able to participate in. Last year, his tiny arms couldn't reach up and pull off the Santa hat, and "nononononononono" was only something he could cry in his head as I dressed him in his finest tuxedo onesie. I'm certain this year will be the Golden Year: old enough to enjoy the wonder, young enough not to eat sugar and lose his mind; old enough to open presents, young enough that I could give him a box of plastic lids and he would be thrilled (disclaimer: I'm not giving son a box of plastic lids. That would be mean. I'm giving him the containers as well).

Here are 6 things I think have been enhanced by sharing Christmas with our toddler:
  1. Christmas hats: Finally, someone to share in the delight of a flashing Santa hat! Without kids, I just seemed a little... enthusiastic, but now that O's here I seem festive, and that there's no end to the things I will do to bring my son joy, even if it means embarrassing myself. Ditto elf shoes.
  2. Toy shopping: This is one that is far reaching. My sister rang me the other day to ask if she could buy a talking Mother Goose for her favourite (only) nephew. She was giggling, and telling me how great it was. I think she may want one for herself. Dad had such fun in the toy section of Kmart whilst choosing O's Christmas present that a man felt compelled to suggest that he desist. Pfft. Grinch. 
  3. Christmas movies: Watching Elf more than once before Christmas is acceptable once you have kids. Sure, O doesn't actually watch TV yet, but I feel okay about having this movie playing while he goes about his business. Probably a better choice than Die Hard
  4. Decorations: I could claim that all of the lights, garlands, tinsel and glitter (just kidding. Glitter is banned from this house) are just for O... Okay. Yeah, let's do that. Geeze, I'm such a dedicated mum!
  5. Presents: Bonus gifts for mummy and daddy, since Santa now leaves us something (*cough* he always has). Plus, O gives each of us a gift. Yessssssss!
  6. Santa's snacks: We've agreed to go with the Santa Myth, mainly so we get an extra present each, but also because I like the idea of scoffing cookies and drinking milk before bed on Christmas Eve. Nath can have the carrots.
I'm sure I will discover new wonders in the coming days. If you find yourself a little stressed, or feeling Grinchy, remember these two things: there's nothing wrong with an adult wearing a Santa hat; and the Grinch saved Christmas in the end. Or just give the toddler closest to you a box of lids and watch him go nuts.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and New Year. 

This was our attempt at making hand prints for Christmas cards.
I went to the cheap shop the next day.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

6 things I have developed a taste for since falling pregnant

I have never been what you would call strict with my eating, and apart from the odd allergy-related diet, have avoided dieting. I did, however, grow up in a household where good food and nutrition were the cornerstones of our meals and snacks. Since falling pregnant, and becoming a mum, there are times when I out-and-out ignore anything I was taught by my mum related to healthy eating, and find myself on first-name basis with the guys at the pizza shop. Here are 6 things I eat and I choose to blame on sleep deprivation and hormone:

  1. Take out. It used to be a rare occurrence, now we don't even need to look at the menu before ordering. 
  2. Chocolate for morning tea: even as a chocoholic from a young age, I still knew eating chocolate before 12pm was like having mimosas for breakfast. Fine to do on holidays, but any other time and you really should take a long, hard look at yourself. 
  3. Instant coffee: BC, it was French Press or it was nothing. Now the thought of grinding coffee, waiting for it to brew, then having to hand-wash to pot is too much. Just flick the kettle on and pass me the jar of freeze-dried stuff. 
  4. Too much instant coffee: Before I fell pregnant, I had got myself down to a healthy 2-cup-a-day coffee habit. Now it's more like 4. Unless I'm at work, then it's 8. What? it's only instant!
  5. Arrowroot biscuits: Delicious. One for O, one for me.
  6. Peanut butter: Once reserved for days when I had an early start, I find myself reaching for it each morning, and sometimes at night, too. I stopped buying it briefly when I realised between myself and O we were eating a jar every 2 weeks, but I'm back on board and can't believe what a fool I was to stop (dagnabbit I just realised I forgot to buy some at the shops today. Nooooooo! I'll have to have jerky old avocado on my toast tomorrow).

Sunday, 1 December 2013

11 joys I have rediscovered since becoming a mum

Having kids keeps you young, they tell me. Some days I feel like I have aged 10 years in 14 months, but I get what they mean. Being a mum has rekindled my love of things that were all but ignored in the face of adulthood. Here are 11 things that I forgot I loved but truly do:

  1. Tents: O was given a little circus tent for his birthday, and we have such fun diving in and out of it, hiding and bursting out to the giggles of the other person, or racing to see who can get there in first. Sometimes we just lie in there and stare at the peaked roof. Looking forward to the fort-building stage of his life!
  2. Splashing: In the bath, in the water table thingo, at the dinner table... It's so much fun to get head-to-toe wet for no reason other than the sheer joy of watching water fly about the place. Wooden floors we can treat, but this splashing phase wont last forever. Better enjoy it while we can.
  3. Cutlery-free eating: Sometimes, to encourage O to eat, I have my own plate of food. That works reasonably well, but I get a better result when I dive in fork-free.
  4. Jumping on the bed: No, I don't (*shifty eyes*)
  5. Squealing: Sometimes, in the face of a frustrated, squealing toddler, all you can do is join in.
  6. Playing the "drums": Banging a pot with a wooden spoon is surprisingly therapeutic.
  7. Dancing like a goober: Fortunately our little dude enjoys San Cisco, Kasabian and Juzzy T.
  8. Sultanas: Why oh WHY did I give up these tasty little morsels? SO good in my belly.
  9. Chasey: I'm not gonna lie to ya... I usually win.
  10. Teething toys: Hot damn they're satisfying to chew!
  11. Crawling: Not the worst mode of transport out there. Mostly I'm a charging bull, heading straight for the tent...
Being a mum has been great from day one, but being the mum of a toddler is crazy fun. So go on... Grab a teething ring and chew out your frustrations.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

8 benefits of having a kid who wont sleep

There are plenty of disadvantages to sleep deprivation: sallow skin, black rings under your eyes, putting the milk in the dishwasher and the cereal in the fridge, rambling incessantly on a blog about how tired you are... Oh. Anyway, the flip side ain't so bad, really. Okay, so I've aged 10 years in 12 months, and some days am lapped by a sleep walking sloth, but here are 8 benefits of being mum to a baby who has an aversion to sleeping like one:

  1. Pinterest: Who else but a mum up feeding every hour or so gets to spend ages on Pinterest? No-one, and magazine editors, that's who. My house is super organised... In my brain.
  2. Bringing joy to others: My questionable grammar, frightening speeling, incomprehensible speech and inability to something something bla bla whatsit are a great source of enjoyment to others. Or frustration. A heady mix of both, perhaps. 
  3. eBooks: In the last few months I have read more novels than I had in year prior to becoming a mum. I'm not chewing through the great works or anything, and I now speak like I'm a detective in a crime novel, see (not really, but I'm seriously considering it), but I say it still counts.
  4. Chocolate for breakfast: Who's going to argue with me? I haven't slept a full night since my first trimester.
  5. Sympathy: People genuinely feel sorry for you. I like to exploit it by way of favours and free coffee.
  6. Camaraderie: As soon as you meet another mum who's child has the same issue as yours, you become instant friends; besties; sisters from another mister.
  7. Two breakfasts: Breakfast is my favourite meal, followed closely by brunch. People who sleep at night are blissfully unaware of their hunger. When you wake several times a night, you are so acutely aware of it that you simply MUST address it as soon as you're able. So what do you eat? Chocolate? Oh, there isn't any left. Last nights left overs? Pfft, you're not an animal. Toast, cereal or yoghurt? Perrrrfek!
  8. 2am cuddles: I'd heard other mums talk about how lovely their alone time was with bubs, and how much they missed it once their baby slept all night. Well, I get to have more of those moments with my son than most do, and whilst it can be a struggle to drag myself out of bed in the wee hours, I never miss the chance to feel the weight of his warm body in my arms, or the sound of him drinking, or the smell of his sweet baby melon (I get the "oh are you kidding me? A-gain?" comments out of my system before I get up to him...).

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

8 household items that double as toys for babies

Why is it, when you have a house full of toys, your kid only wants to play with your toothbrush or the timer on the oven?  Here are 8 things I let my son play with that wont scar him for life (literally and figuratively) and give me a little piece of my sanity back:
  1. My glasses. Usually while I'm changing his nappy. It's easier to do it blind than have him squirm, roll over, kick, whinge, play with his poo etc etc. The bonus is I can now change a nappy in the dark.
  2. My toothbrush. He likes to clean the drain in the bathroom floor with it. I like a pee in peace and not have to stop him from eating toilet paper, or pulling the whole roll on the floor, or trying to climb into the bath. It's a reasonable trade off.
  3. The Tupperware drawer. He pulls pieces out, one by one, and tosses them over his shoulder. We just give things a little wipe before we use them; it's more efficient than washing everything that comes flying out of there every day.
  4. The baby gates: Mostly he just rattles them and licks the bars. I hope that's as close to prison as he ever gets.
  5. My phone. Yeah, yeah, the screen is bad for his eyes. His generation is all about the screens, anyway. I'll make sure he grows up to work in eye-ball medicine and pioneer a way to counteract the damage done by using high res tech from a young age. The real pain is working out what the hell he has done once I get the phone back. Also, the screen is always grotty. Ew.
  6. My feet. They're less of a cootie-fest than my shoes (see below). Apparently they taste quite nice, and are hilarious when the toes wiggle.
  7. My shoes. He can play for hours (okay. Minutes. 10 at best) with my shoes, tasting the soles, tasting the laces, putting his fingers in the tread then tasting his fingers... It's a delicious wonderland of cooties.
  8. The TV remote. We used to let him play with the PS and sound system remotes until he worked out how to take the batteries out. We can barely manage the TV remote, so it was deemed safe. Nath wants to stop him playing with the PS console, but I find popping him in front it buys me at least 5 minutes to make a phone call or a cuppa. Plus, O updated the firmware for us. Handy.
I do draw the line at some things. I've busted him trying to jimmy the oven open. I've dived over and snatched the laptop cord away just as his mouth was starting to close around it. Eating the cold chicken nugget on the floor in Ikea was a "Nooooo!" situation (and no, no-one on our table had chicken nuggets for lunch). The other day I heard "rustle, rustle, rustle" and thought, "hey that sounds like a plastic baaaaargh!". Seriously, the damn thing was only on the table for a minute before I was planning to put it away (yes mum, in the laundry, and with a knot in it).

I tell you what, though. In all my time as a mum, I have stayed awake while my little fella played. It's been tempting on more than one occasion, particularly during his 3am parties, to curl up on the couch and doze off. But I never have. Mamma Instinct wont let me.

Daddy Instinct, however, didn't get that memo... I came out after a lovely sleep in facilitated by my husband taking our jumping bean into the lounge at 6am, only to find a torn up novel, the head phones on the floor and washing strewn around. By this stage, Nath was in the kitchen making coffee.

Me: "Um, honey, have you seen this?"
Nath: "Seen what? Oh. Shit."
Me: "Yeeeeaaah, any chance you fell asleep?"
Nath: "Huh. I guess I must have"
Me: "The first rule of Parent Club is: You don't ever fall asleep when they're awake, honey" 
(Brad Pitt says it better. However, unlike Fight Club, there are heaps of rules in Parent Club. There's definitely one in there about not letting babies play with plastic bags).

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Father's Day is just like any other day, only with a sleep in and presents

I'm not sure about older kids, but I can tell you with babies, they're the boss of you. Bedtime is up to them; when and how much they eat is up to them; and if you're looking forward to something, you can bet they'll mess with that, too. So when I get a little win, I feel quite pleased about myself. I take a moment to congratulate myself, even though its unlikely I had any influence on the outcome. Whatever. I take what I can get. Here's a list of mini wins that keep even the most thumbed parents feeling in control and chuffed with themselves:
  1. Every time my little fella swallows the medication I've hidden in his food, I whisper to myself, "Sucker!" I have a success rate of about 40%, but I think that counts as a win.
  2. We use cloth nappies at home, so on the odd occasion he wears a disposable nappy and does and epic poo, I feel like a deserve a pat on the back for avoiding an unpleasant clean up (or more unpleasant, I should say). I think our washing machine would thank me if he could, too.
  3. Ditto when he's at child care or being baby sat. Woo hoo! One less poonami to deal with! (sorry, mum).
  4. Babies fall over all the time, happily with less frequency as they get older. When the little dude falls hard and doesn't cry? Yeah, I put that down to my skilled parenting the area of Hard Knocks. He's tough as nuts, and it's all down to me. In reality, he probably saw something shiny on the way down and decided tasting it was more important that letting me know he has an owie.
  5. Overall, our little wonder is a pretty good eater. He likes most things, most days. However, it's rare he eats the whole meal. But when he does, it isn't because he was really hungry. Nope, it was my brilliant cooking that taps into exactly what babes love to eat. It's a skill, and really, I'm not sure it can be taught. 
  6. You're all familiar with O's relationship with sleep (they hate each other). It's illogical, but when he falls asleep without too much fuss, or if he sleeps for more than 3 hours straight, I totally cheer myself for my flawless execution of the bedtime routine. I know it has little to do with me, and that it's more likely the influence of the moon and the magnetic field that is surrounding our home at the time, or fairy dust, or voodoo, but it still feels like a tick next to my name in the parenting column. Of course, the next night I have no idea what I did, and am racking my brains at 9.30pm as to what the magic combination was the previous night. That shit can send you round the bend.
I can't think of anything else right now, as I was up until 3.30 am with a baby who couldn't decide if he should sleep or party like it's 2099.

And I suppose, since it's Father's Day, I should wake the old man and give him the handmade gift he will treasure forever (children: the gift that keeps on giving. Just kidding. I totally made him part of his present this year). Or I could play around on the net a while longer, and when he gets up to go to the loo, put in my breakfast order...

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful daddies out there. I know I couldn't live without my dad or Owen's!