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!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

As I was making myself some toast at 4.30 this morning (O was happily emptying Tupperware* onto the kitchen floor), I was thinking about Mr Darcy - er, I  mean, Pride and Prejudice. I realised that, yes, whilst a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife who, when they first meet, can't stand the sight of him, and rejects his first proposal of marriage, then conveniently changes her mind after seeing his massive home and finding out that he's really nice to the help, there are quite a few other universal truths out there**:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that...
  • ...a mother dragged out of bed at 4am to play must be in want of peanut butter on toast. With an Oreo chaser. 
  • ...a baby with a room full of toys will be in want of the big blue button on the DVD player, and will climb over his own mother to get to it.
  • ...a mother who's son is in possession of toys that have 6 tinny songs in their repertoire will be in want of a hammer and five minutes alone with the lot of them.
  • ...fathers will pretend to sleep through anything. Put it to the test next time your baby is bawling at 4am.
  • ...your baby will play happily by himself at 5am until he realises you're on a roll with a post for your neglected parenting blog. And then he will assist by deleting half of it.
  • ...a baby in possession of a tongue will want to lick everything, especially the bottom of his mother's slippers.
  • ...a baby in possession of teeth will be like one of those Cockney kids in the movies who tests the coin by biting on it when the Gentleman flicks it his way. Except your baby tests everything but coins (and small batteries and bread bag ties etc). They're a choking hazard. Also, he's too small to earn his keep, so no pocket money til later.
  • ...a mother who has been up with her son since 4am will not be able to go back to sleep at 6am now that he's finally down again.
  • ...she will try, drop off at 6.59, get woken by baby, say some choice words, and make daddy deal with breakfast while she tries to get 15 minutes more.
  • It is a truth universally acknowledge that the scene where Mr Darcy dives into the lake is completely unnecessary but so damn hawt so who cares?
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother who has had 4 hours of broken sleep in a night will type a ridiculous blog post based on the greatest story ever told (wait... hang on...) and assume everyone will know what the hell she's talking about.
Oh, and one more thing: it is a truth universally acknowledged that a child in possession of a good mother will be loved and cherished, and will get away with doing this all over again tomorrow night because he's just so darn sweet, but his mother will make sure she reminds him of it when he has children and is complaining about being tired.

*Just kidding. It's that cheap crap from Ikea that stains and buckles if you look at it sideways.
**I'm literally typing what I see. He really does like to lick the bottom of my slippers. And you know what? I let him. I'm just that good a parent.

One more for the road. You're welcome, ladies.


Friday, 19 July 2013

So much advice, so few comebacks

When you're having a baby, the whole world is excited about it. Friends, family, work colleagues, the bus driver, the lady in the pharmacy, the person selling you a dozen eggs. This does not abate once you have had your baby. The world loves a pregnant lady, but they love a new mum and her darling baby even more. Unfortunately, with this excitement comes advice. Advice you haven't asked for; advice you don't want; advice that leaves you staring in shock at your baby as your recently-filled Confidence Tank drains: you're suddenly anxious that you're doing everything wrong, and your child's certain future of petty crime and soft drug addiction flashes before your eyes. Don't get me wrong: all of this advice comes from a place of genuine caring and concern. Even the stuff from the bus driver. But you are already navigating a minefield of new information and experiences as a first-time mum, and people offering unsolicited advice really doesn't help. So if you are feeling like a particularly cranky mamma bear one day, here are a few rebuttals to the little nuggets on offer:
  • Have you had children? And are they perfect? Hmm. Thought so.
  • Is that advice you're giving, or are you just telling me what I'm doing wrong without offering me a practical solution?
  • If you earned your medical or nursing degree at a real university, and not Ma Kettle's School of Hokum and Old Wives Tales, by all means, tell me how to feed my child.
  • Just remember that I spend 24 hours a day with this person, 7 days a week: I don't run around like a headless chook all day yelling, "Oh my God, what do I do? What do I DO?"
  • If "all you have to do is (insert sanity-saving tip here!!!)", then why do so many mums have trouble getting their kids to sleep, and why don't you have a best selling book and a national lecture tour?
  • You know what I need more than advice? I need a clean bathroom. It's that way. The Ajax is under the sink. 
  • I tell you what, why don't you spend 24 hours in my house and put your magical solutions in place and we'll see who's still standing at the end of it.
  • White with one. And a piece of cake would be great, thanks.
  • If I need advice, I'll ask for it. Until then, tell me how beautiful my son is, and what a fantastic mother I am. I may even make you a cuppa.
And now for some unsolicited advice of my own (yes, I do enjoy living in my glass house, thank you very much): no-one knows your baby like you do. Listen to your gut, and when you don't know what to do, go to someone you trust and ask for help. No-one says that when you get up and dust yourself off, you can't be given a helping hand up.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A Glossary of Terms

I realised I use a few terms and acronyms in my posts that may require further explanation. I like to make up terms to sound smart, and use acronyms because generally I CBF spelling things out (see: CBF). Here is a list of the most common, along with a few others I have made up on the fly (note: these are not in alphabetical order because, well, CBF):

Zen Mother noun A mythical being; one who is calm and patient in the face of a crying/whinging/screaming/angsty child regardless of their own state of sleep deprivation, hunger, PMT, achin' bones, general state of displeasure with the house/work/spouse/child/world-in-general.

Zen Father noun A mythical being; often avoided in favour of The Fun One (see: Dad).

Dad noun The Fun One; one who opts to distract the child with something shiny and noisy during the "I don't wanna go to sleep" tantrum, thereby rendering it almost impossible to calm him down and back to bed in less than 2 hours.

Sleep verb A mythical state of being for mums and dads, but achieved in short blocks by babies, punctuated by crying, cooing or the overwhelming urge to practise new skills, such as crawling, regardless of the time of night.

Zombie Mum noun One who has had little sleep due to a sick/hungry/teething/developing child but who still functions at an acceptable level in daily life; has been known to put the dishes to bed and the baby in the dishwasher (note: this is considered acceptable behaviour after 8 months of 5 hours of broken sleep a night).

Zombie Dad noun One who has had slightly more sleep than his counterpart but rendered as vague by having to listen to how little sleep mum has had, and how she accidentally put the nappies in the fridge and dinner in the washing machine and didn't notice until tea time.

Earth Mother noun A superior being (see also Zen Mother/Zen Father); one who happily cleans poop off cloth nappies, safe in the knowledge that when the world ends from over-consumption, it's not her fault; one who re-purposes, grows, mends, makes all household items, and only buys from fair trade, organically certified companies; drives a Prius.

Mommy Blogger noun An all-American Mom who blogs about the joys of parenting, her faith, crafting, baking and budgeting; one who makes the rest of us feel inadequate; one who encourages me to start projects I'm never going to finish (wall art in the corner of the room gathering dust, I'm looking at you) and bake things that will make me fat but somehow they stay thin as rakes (I think going to church burns calories).

Mlogger noun My version of Mommy Blogger. I'm hoping it will catch on, like Brangelina or Bennifer.

Housework noun A non-essential act bragged about by Mommy Bloggers who's youngest child is 17 years old and at boarding school in Alaska; previously undertaken when visitors were expected but now reserved for Christmas and birthdays, or when rodents can be seen/heard.

Naptime noun A blissful state for all involved achieved after 30 minutes of feeding, furious eye-rubbing and loud objections; lasts anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes in babies, but can occur up to 3 times a day; a time to drink coffee, eat chocolate, play Candy Crush Saga and generally whittle away your time online.

CBF acronym "Can't be fathomed". Okay. Not really. It's "can't be f***ed", but I recommend the first version if your kid or Child Services asks.

Mummy Worry noun A constant state, beginning when you find out your are pregnant and continuing for the rest of your life.

Daddy Worry noun A constant state, beginning around 37 weeks gestation - marked by the biggest bender of your life, or buying a motorcycle or dying your hair pink - and continuing for the rest of your life; marked also by the biggest bollocking of your life, beginning with the phrase "I could have gone into labour" or, "I went into labour and you were WHAT?"

Mummy Guilt noun A constant state, beginning when you find out your are pregnant and continuing for the rest of your life; continually escalating state; manifests as anything from nail biting and nagging to visiting your adult son with home cooked meals and blocks of chocolate; can be used for evil for the purposes of getting your own way on something, but tread lightly as overuse will result in diminishing returns.

Daddy Guilt noun A diluted version of Mummy Guilt; usually related to inattention resulting in bubba engaging in a dangerous activity and getting a bump on the head; short-lived; eased with bubba cuddles.

Mount Foldmore noun That big arse pile of washing that never seems to diminish; a task conquered daily, but with little or no evidence, so you feel like you have to list it as an achievement every day when someone asks how your day was.

Mobile Phone noun Something with which to distract a small person when you are trying to get 3 extra minutes of sleep in the morning, talk to a friend, or eat lunch.

Massive Mobile Phone Bill noun Bubba called China? Worth it.

Coffee noun Caffeinated beverage enjoyed any time of the day, piping hot or lukewarm (there is no in between).

Tea noun Sort of caffeinated beverage used when excessive amounts of instant coffee have cause stomach pains.

Chocolate noun Used as a quick source of energy or endorphin boost, depending on how tired you are or how long you baby has been grizzling; for non-parents, it is an enjoyable treat taken in moderation; for parents it is an essential vitamin for the daily management of emotional well-being.

Stick it, jerk phrase A reasonable response to members of the public who offer unsolicited parenting advice or make obvious statements (eg "Gee, he's cranky"); may also be used when you step on a piece of Lego, or a seemingly dormant toy suddenly pipes up with "Let's play" just as you have finally got your baby off to sleep.

I'm not sure how much of this makes sense; I haven't edited it because we have a case of pint-sized man flu in the house. Seriously, I didn't realise it kicked in at such a young age. I assumed I had at least 7 years up my sleeve. Ah well. At least the big one doesn't have it... Yet.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bad mum/good mum... Normal mum.

I think we've covered Mummy Worry reasonably well in the past (see it here and here for a refresher). Let's explore Mummy Guilt. From what I understand, as your child grows, so too does your Mummy Guilt. Mine is currently 7 (almost 8) months old, which compared to say, my mum's (love you, mum), it barely registers on the radar. Times it by the 3 of us, and her Mummy Guilt is off the chart (and don't even try to add on the Catholic Guilt). Regardless of the size of your Mummy Guilt, you feel it acutely. Here are a few things in the last couple of months that triggered Mummy Guilt. I know I will have many more instances in the future - probably far more dramatic than these, especially if we ever have a teenage daughter - but bare with me, I'm new to this...

  1. Bad mum: Not paying close enough attention so that I confused "I'm super duper hungry" with "I wanna go home and nap".
    Good mum: Running home uphill (well, a decent incline, anyway) and singing to my increasingly cranky and STARVING baby when my milk has come in and I really need to pee.
  2. Bad mum: Knowing that if I host a BBQ with my mates, my gorgeous, super sociable little fella will barely sleep and will be buzzing from all the excitement hours later... and doing it anyway.
    Good mum: Standing in the shower for 20 minutes so he can have nice, calming, warm water bouncing off his back while I shiver in the corner of the shower.
  3. Bad mum: Watching Chicago with my baby boy who seems to enjoy show tunes more than Sesame Street.
    Good mum: Fast forwarding through the gratuitous sex and violence.
  4. Bad mum: Drinking beer and breast feeding (not actually whilst breast feeding. I'm not the Devil).
    Good mum: Only drinking 1 and 1/2 light beers over the whole day, some of which was warm (and you know what? Still good. Which is a sign I don't drink often enough), and still being paranoid about the timing of feeds. Since it took the usual 3 hours to get him down, I'd say it was out of my system. Maybe I should consider the timing in the future... Don't judge me. You've all considered it.
  5. Bad mum: Sitting up at 4am and blowing off steam online.
    Good mum: Despite being completely knackered, when little O wakes at 5.45 and wants to play, I'll get up and even be nice to him.
  6. Bad mum: Telling my screaming baby that all he does is scream (and that "I wish the Goblin King would take you away. Right now").
    Good mum: Not running away after being screamed at for 2 days straight (and, if it came to it, being willing to running through The Labyrinth, meeting weird and wonderful creatures, and then facing off with David Bowie who, if memory serves, will be in tight pants, a cod piece and a massive blonde wig).
  7. Bad mum: Changing the words to a lullaby to include the line "Go the f*** to sleep"
    Good mum: Starting a swear jar before he learns to speak.
  8. Bad mum: Running to get the camera when O is stuck in an amusing and cute dilemma, such as wedged between the bookcase and the cushions.
    Good mum: Checking his isn't in any real peril before running off to get the camera. Extra good mum: stiffling giggles and laying on the sympathy after taking the picture.
Now that I've said them out loud, they're probably not that bad - certainly not anything he'll be describing to a psychiatrist in the future - but in those moments, I really did feel bad. In front of me, there is this beautiful, trusting, innocent person, who needs my help for so many things. But then he cries for 2 hours straight, does a poo as big as your head (totally just called you a poo head) and wont even do the most basic of things - sleep when he's tired - and you think, yeah, I'm gonna let that bit of Mummy Guilt go. I think I'll save space for the real ways I'll bugger him up. You know, like letting him watch the gratuitous bits on movies when he's 2yo.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Seven sanity savers

It's a cliche, but parenting really is 24/7, 365 (and sometimes I feel like a 24 hour diner, but that's a whole other post). You find that with this little human relying on you for, well, everything, your pre-baby coping mechanisms just don't cut it anymore. Tough day at the (baby) office? Put down that bottle of wine, pappa bear! Need to run off a tough (night) shift? Hang up those runners, mamma bear! So I can't drink... I can't buy 6 inch heels and dance away the blues... No nipping off to the movies to cheer me up... CBF exercising... What's left? Here are seven sanity savers, in no particular order, that should get you to at least 8 and a half months (that's the extent of my parenting experience):
  1. Sugar: I prefer mine in the form of chocolate, but take donations of muffins, cakes and biscuits. There is some piece of research out there suggesting that mums who gorge on sugar will cause their children to become obese adults. Firstly. I'm guessing the researchers aren't mums. Secondly, they're always trying to blame mums for something. Thirdly, and I say this to my adult son: "Join an gym, go on a low carb diet and pass me that block of chocolate".
  2. Caffeine: Those all-nighters I pulled at uni were barely even pre-season training for this mum thing. Think of how much coffee you used to consume when you were cramming for exams. Now double it. That's how much you need as a new parent. Now slice that number by three quarters. That's how much you can have. Now quit doing pointless Maths and go put the kettle on.
  3. The Internet/Social Media: As long as you don't google symptoms, the internet is your friend, particularly during those feeds when you aren't gazing lovingly at your baby. Pretty soon you'll have more DIY and "I'm so making this" pins on your Pinterest boards than is humanly possible to complete in one lifetime, let alone with a new baby. Sure, you could pick up a book, but it's taken 8 months for my brain to thaw, and more often than not, I'm feeding in low light (someone suggested I read the Game of Thrones series. See point 5). Cut yourself some slack and read articles on about how much cabbage celebrities eat.
  4. Other parents: Chose wisely. If you have a child who doesn't sleep well, surround yourself with other zombie parents. Got a fussy eater? Seek out other skinny kids with worried looking mums.  Does your kid like to experiment with new things by sticking them up his nose? Make a bee line for the baby with bright blue snot. Don't mix with people who respond to your "My baby doesn't..." stories with "Oh really? Mine does, and has done since...". There's no way the judge is gonna let you off fly kicking another parent in front of their small child. And who has time for court appearances and publicity anyway (fly kick-incidents in suburban playgrounds get the media all riled up)? After all, you now fit into advertising's "busy mum" category.
  5. TV shows: It's important to distinguish between watching television and watching TV shows. You want something on DVD that you can pause for those times when you baby needs your attention. So, you know, every four minutes. You can try to watch movies, but trust me, after 4 hours you'll be confused as to why that chap in the cape is getting his butt kicked by the chick he was dating 3 hours earlier. 
  6. Long showers: Hand your baby to someone else (you know the rules: no strangers who don't at least look pleasant), shut the door and turn your bathroom into a sauna. I recommend sitting on the floor of the shower and either staring into space or having a little cry. Suspend your usual concern for the environment, housework, other people etc and stay in there until either it runs cold or you are at risk of losing 7 kg and aging 43 years.
  7. Hobbies: Chose something that doesn't have small parts, that can be interrupted frequently without effecting the quality of the outcome, and that is rather cheap in case you get bored of it, or forget to apply for Centrelink (*cough*). But not a blog about muddling through parenthood; that's my shtick (yeah, I'm rockin' the Yiddish). Oh, and FYI: Facebook is only a hobby if you are Mark Zuckerberg 10 years ago.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Rookie mistakes

I've just been spewed on, and it's entirely my own fault. I made a rookie mistake. Two, in fact. Which got me to thinking (and reaching for a spew rag): what are the other mistakes we've made as new parents? I'm not talking anything life threatening, like slipping in the shower whilst holding your precious one, or them hitting their head on the bathroom floor whilst you take a much needed loo break (*cough*). Just the things that those of use new to the game do that make our already tricky lives that much harder. Try to guess which ones I did today...
  1. Saying, "Oh, he sleeps really well!". Have you heard of a jinx? Yeah, well it applies to babies tenfold. NEVER say something is a certain way, because the little sweetheart will turn around and change faster than your friends can say "I guess they don't need that lasagna I cooked them after all...".
  2. Not having a spew rag in every pocket, next to every seat, on every table, in your hand at all times... I remember visiting a friend and her baby when I was pregnant and there seemed to be those little buggers everywhere, and I thought to myself, "What's with all the little flannels all over the place? Surely babies don't spew that much?". It aint the amount, it's the frequency. Also, it's the amount.
  3. Thinking the same thing will fix the same situation again. Last time bubba cried, you sang a lullaby and he fell straight to sleep. This time, that same lullaby caused him to scream louder. Tomorrow, combined with a different kind of rocking, it will work again. Build up your arsenal and hit him with everything you've got. Something has to work eventually.
  4. Tossing your baby in the air (still holding him, of course) just after a big feed. I have literally had my baby chuck into my mouth. Not an experience I want to repeat, and yet...
  5. Razzing up your baby before bed is often a daddy mistake, mainly because he misses out on all the fun during the day (love a good morning razz-up). It's fun at the time, but de-yippifying your child after than takes the full arsenal (see above).
  6. You need a wee. Your baby is playing happily. You sneak past, settle down and start to relax when... "Waaaaa!". He's either noticed you've left, or fallen face first onto the only area around him that doesn't have a cushion on it. Your choices are hold it til someone comes over or learn to tune it out. 
  7. I came back into the room yesterday to find last year's tax records torn apart and half chewed. Note to self: if you don't want it et, put it away (to be fair, it was on the coffee table. I'm still not sure how he grabbed it. Can my son already walk but is pretending otherwise so he can attack my important paperwork? *Shudder*).
  8. Similarly, you can vaccum the entire house and your baby will find the one thing that you missed. And it's usually the exact diameter of his airway.
  9. Ditto shopping list. I had to dig our part of my Ikea shopping list from his mouth yesterday.
  10. Thinking your child is the cutest baby every to have graced this green earth. Rookie mistake. MY baby is the cutest baby ever to have graced this green earth. Sorry.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A post about poo (about time!)

Time was, all we had to worry about when changing baby O's nappy was copping a spray. Now that he is older, there are a few more things we need to manage to avoid both of us (some times all three of us, in the event of a poonami outside of business hours) coming out worse off than when we went in.

  1. The Quick-as-a-flash Penis Grab: O spent a great deal of time examining his hands, pondering what they the could do, if they were indeed attached to him, and what they taste like. Since mastering digits, he has moved on to new territory. That's right: his genitals. Not being the mother of a girl, I have no idea if girls skip this step or not, but wow, are boys interested in their tackle! If you're dealing with this side of things, I recommend you give up fighting it, and initiate the "Not til mummy's cleaned it" Rule (those fingers don't just go in his mouth).
  2. Gee That Box of Wipes Looks Tasty Stretch-a-thon: Gone are the days when all he wanted to do was smile up at the mobile above the change table. Now he wants to look at the box of wipes at the top of the table. Look at, hold, taste the box of wipes. Occasionally bang himself in the head with the box of wipes and cry. We have a collection of toys on hand so that, if I'm quick enough, he will be distracted and we can avoid points 1 and 2. It really only works for a standard wee.
  3. Look! Look! I Can Roll Over in a Confined Space: Remember when you were bursting with pride when your tiny one rolled over for the first time? Fast forward 2 months to when you are wrist-deep in poop and he decides that then and there is THE time to roll on to his tummy. If you are up to the clean nappy stage, this isn't so bad - you quickly learn to put a nappy on back-to-front (well, front-to-back, actually, but whatever). If you have only just taken off the dirty one, well, good luck to you.
  4. Noooo! What Are You Doing to Meeeee?!: This can hit at anytime of the day, often without warning. There you are, changing his nappy, baby staring contentedly at the mobile, you singing whatever song you have devised about wee, and then BAM! "WAAAAAAAAA!" Out of nowhere. So now you have to change his nappy whilst he is wriggling and kicking (usually cops me in the boob, Daddy in the nuts) and yelling like you are pulling out his fingernails. I'm not sure what I do differently to make these little tanties happen, but it must be something. Perhaps I wasn't holding the wipe correctly... Either way, after one of these nappy changes, I feel like I have to go next door and show the neighbours that my baby is okay, and ask them not to please not call Social Services.
  5. The Trifecta: Mercifully, this is rare, and usually happens to Daddy in our house (tee hee!). This is when you have to deal with spew, the fire hose (not sure what it's called for girls) and follow-through. Usually once you have done a full clean up and are about to put on the new nappy. Once we even got poo coming through poo (I hope you aren't eating right now). It truly was amazing. So amazing, both of us like to tell that story to friends and family over meals; and sometimes I'll be sitting on the couch, and Daddy will start reminiscing about that time we got poo through poo... Sigh. Good times.
  6. Twist and Shout: This is one of those times - the first nappy change of the morning; after a meal of solids; after a power chuck - when you need to change your baby's clothes or you'll find yourself in one of those mandated "Parenting 101" classes. You'll also be in a rush, or really, really need to pee. What you get in this instance is a combination of all of the above hitting simultaneously, like a tiny, angry tsunami, so that you end up with a wriggling, crying, penis-grabbing, pooping, spewing, weeing monster who must have that box of wipes in his possession. You struggle to clean him up without covering both of you cooties, whilst explaining everything you are doing in a soothing, loving tone and gently batting his hand away from his poo-covered penis when all you really want to do is grunt at him, dangle him in the shower whilst eating a hunk of chocolate and trying not to breathe in through your nose. And then you're done. Calm is restored like someone flipped a switch. He smiles and happily sits on your hip as you wrestle with the aftermath, trying desperately to shove a pooey nappy in the wash without him grabbing it or without you dropping either bundle. Or I guess, you could just pop him down, but you've just suffered a trauma, so you may not be thinking straight... 
And 2 hours later, you scoop up your little fella, roll the dice and see what's in store for this nappy change.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Semi-legal ways to get some time away from your tiny one

Semi-legal is a thing, right?

Before I had baby O, I couldn't understand parents' need for "baby free time". Now. I. Do. But it isn't always easy to get a break. Once a week on a Saturday, I dress up in non-accessible clothing (I breast feed), pop a pretty choking hazard around my neck (O eats everything at the moment, so around him I can only wear my silicone teething necklace from here), give my fellas a kiss goodbye and head off to the exciting adventure of a coffee and the grocery shop (on a mega exciting day, I like to head to Bunnings as well, usually to buy plants I never get to cultivate). Here's where I confess that, despite how fiercely I love my husband and son, I don't spend this time pining for them. Sure, if I'm out with a girlfriend, all I talk about is O, until, like a needle on a broken record, they can lift me out of it, but the point is I am having "me time" (again, a concept that was foreign to me before motherhood). But some weeks this little jaunt really doesn't cut it; like when my tiny one is teething, or growing, or whatever crazy shit is going on that makes him wake frequently overnight and cry for the better half of a day. So I've come up with a list of ways to get more time alone; remember, these are to be used in case of emergency (defined as when you want to run and hide under the house. Yes, with all of the spiders):

  1. Schedule a root canal: Sure, they're expensive, but you really do get what you paid for: a couple of hours per appointment and whinging rights (they don't actually hurt, but either your spouse hasn't had one, or he's had the boy version - a little like man flu - and so can't argue when you need a lie down when you get home).
  2. Commit a minor offense: Aim for something small enough so that you are tied up in the police station for a few hours, but that if someone did a police check you could explain away with an amusing anecdote or tale of self-sacrifice. You may need to do a little homework first; this isn't one of those "trial and error" things (ha - no pun intended!).
  3. Start an argument with your partner: Make sure you a) have a spare bed or at least a futon; b) are completely unreasonable and insanely wrong, so you are the one who has to sleep on the couch. This really only works if you have your baby in your room with you, although if the spare room is out of earshot of the nursery, you're good.
  4. Take up a sport: I know the last thing you want to do is anything physical, since your body is aching from the combination of little sleep, poor diet and carrying around a baby who thinks the world is ending when you leave the room to pee, but it will be worth it. It's probably not possible to feel like anymore of a train wreck, and at least you will get outdoors. If you can find a club 30 minutes away, and something that has monthly competitions, even better. Bonus if it's something like Tae Kwan Do where you can kick the shit out of something.
  5. Get a job/go back to work: There are these great places filled with nice people who are willing to care for your child in a stable, structured environment. They'll even feed them and change their nappies! Pop junior into childcare, and head off to work where someone else can dictate your life for a change. Try for somewhere with a coffee machine, or at least a decent vending machine within 20 paces. Don't forget to take your bag of change with you into work each day. Ooh, and make sure it's a job with sick leave or carers leave, because the first 12 months bubba will be a petri dish of whatever virus is flavour of the month at child care.
  6. Cause a minor car crash: This can be hard to get right, and carries with it the risk of your spouse losing it, or the person you hit flying into road rage. Have some pent up anxiety and stress on standby, so you can turn on the water works before they can say, "bloody women drivers!". Try to clip the car of a man, a kindly old lady, or another mum with kids (careful with this last one; you don't actually want to hurt anyone), then let fly with, "oh, I'm sorry! It's just that my baby is so (insert sympathy-inducing noun here)". Have a few pictures of your gorgeous tiny one on your phone on stand-by (I'm sure you'll have one or two). Again, this could end up in a police file somewhere, so crash with care. Oh, and this probably goes without saying, but make sure you're on your own and you haven't bought ice cream; you'll be busy for a while. For extra time off, drink 7 coffees at Maccas before you get home and blame the shakes on the accident. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

The 7 Deadly Sins

This morning I was hit with Mummy Guilt as I struggled with our 6 month old through the fog of chronic sleep deprivation (relieved by Awesome Spouse/Dad swooping in and taking over). It got me to thinking about the  5 Stages of Grief (or 7, depending), and so, with a thirst for knowledge not dampened by parenthood (but apparently all recollection of my studies in psychology has been), I Googled it. 30 seconds later, I realised that a) it's a bit extreme to compare parenting to grief; and b) it's not as funny as you might initially think. So I Googled the 7 Deadly Sins next (I can only ever remember about 5, and usually repeat Gluttony at least once when reciting them). This is a far more fitting framework to describe our parenting journey, from conception to 6 and 3/4 months (but who's counting?):

  1. Lust: Do I really have to explain how babies are made? (if you're really not sure, check out  my other blog:
  2. Gluttony: This relates to pregnancy. Scoffing an entire bag of Haighs chocolate-covered almonds should have been the first sign I was pregnant (normally I am restrained at 1/4 of a bag in one sitting). From there, it only went downhill: toffee for breakfast, chocolate every 42 minutes, lemonade (fizzy and traditional), pizza... It was like my usual diet, only instead of spreading it over a week or two, I'd eat it in a day. It was a little hard to slow down once O arrived, but I'm proud to say I no longer eat toffee for breakfast or drink traditional lemonade.
  3. Greed: It's a bit of a harsh way to describe it, but for your first born, you think you need everything. We've been pretty good, not buying everything the books and magazines command you to, but O still has things he doesn't use (like his cot) and that really could have waited. It's a bit like the day before a 4-day weekend: you think you will never have an opportunity to buy bread and milk again, so you stock up and join the 47-deep line at Woolies, not twigging that the IGA will be there if you need it (and that it's Easter, and not the Apocalypse). You can actually buy stuff after your baby comes home. We bought a bassinet on the second day.
  4. Sloth: I'm not sure I dressed more than about once a week in the first 6mo of O's life. This is partly down to sleep deprivation, partly because he was feeding so often, and partly because I love my PJs and now had a great excuse to sloth around in them (seriously, I have bed PJs and "company" PJs). After a contractor came knocking at the door just as my milk came in (ladies, you know what I mean), I decided that it was time to actually dress in the mornings.
  5. Wrath: This is a hormonal thing. The pregnancy hormones are still controlling you until around 6mo. This means there are times when you start crying for no apparent reason, tell your partner off for leaving coffee granuals all through the sink you spent 10 minutes cleaning, and take most things out of context. Sample dialogue:

    Innocent request from husband "Honey, can you pass the chocolate, please?"
    Irrational response: "Oh, so you think I'm FAT do you?"

    I'm looking forward to normal PMT, which looks pretty similar but doesn't last as long.
  6. Envy: Despite the fact that I have THE most gorgeous child that has ever lived, there are things that other babies do, like, you know, sleep, that make me a little jealous of other mums. When I hear the phrase "Oh, he sleeps through the night", I have to suppress the urge to either give the other person a swift kick up the backside or point out all the ways my child is far superior to theirs. This is down to a dangerous cocktail of raging hormones, chronic sleep deprivation and trying to cut down on coffee, (as if having only one cup of instant coffee a day will somehow help my situation). Conversely  when an other mother tells you that their child has a love/hate relationship with sleep, you want to hug them, compare "I've tried everything" notes and share a pot of Earl Grey, even you've just met. This is also down to hormones, sleep deprivation and caffeine withdrawal.

    And last but not least:

  7. Pride: This is the little thing that stops you from handing your child to the nearest friendly-looking stranger and running in the other direction. I am literally proud of everything my son does. He rolls over? It's my status update. He picks up a leaf and tires to eat it? I try to take a photo (before it disappears entirely). Isn't sleeping at night? It's only because he wants to practice his awesome rolling skills! Seriously, I'm even proud that he does the most heinous farts in the history of butt-gas. And unlike the others, Pride wont fade (oh. And number one. Sorry, honey). My child is the smartest, most gorgeous, generous and funny soul anyone will ever meet. So, suck it, the rest of you, because your children will never come close to mine. 
So there you have it. 7 deadly sins as they pertain to parenthood. I'm sure they're deadly, as each of those could well result in someone punching you in the face at Playgroup or Kidergym.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

7 Things I could be doing rather than this but wont

Here's a list of 7 things I could be doing right now instead of sitting on the couch at 11.20pm, waiting for my son to wake for a feed:

  1. Catching up on the day's worth of sleep I missed last night. Or, you know, just not adding to my current state of sleep deprivation.
  2. Fixing the dripping tap in the bathroom. I can hear it from here, drip-drip-dripping into the plastic container that I leave under it with the intention to slosh it on to the garden. I usually just tip it down the sink when I have to clean my teeth.
  3. Watching the latest episode of Doctor Who, turning the volume down for the loud, explosiony bits, and up for the tense dialogue.
  4. Talking to my husband, who is sitting next to me on the couch reading his book. One of us really should go to bed, but we're silently propping each other up. Strength in numbers and all that. Anyway, we managed a brunch date today without O and talked then (even non-baby topics). That'll do for now.
  5. Crafting. I have about 4 projects on the go, and about a million in my head, but I'm so tired there's a strong chance I will glue my hand to my forehead, so maybe tomorrow night.
  6. Continuing to declutter to make room for the toysplosion and just other general baby paraphernalia. Plus, we have a lot of stuff. 10 years as a childless couple will do that to you. We have piles of crap all over the dining room table, and under it, but I did some this morning at 4.00, so maybe tomorrow night.
  7. Eating Ghirardelli caramel squares, but I ate them all already. Now I'm thinking about crumpets so I wont have to eat again until O wakes up at 6am (because it used to be 7am. Damn daylight savings). I should point out that he will wake often between now and 6am, but I hate having to go to Snack Town in the wee hours. I'd rather carb-load before bed so I can power through his 5 feeds.
But instead, I'll sit on the couch and frigg around online until O wakes, has a feed, and (God willing) goes back to sleep. I might spend a little time contemplating that, despite my eyeballs hanging out of my head, and the very real chance that this will happen again tomorrow, I actually don't mind, and neither does N. O is growing, he's laughing and playing, practicing talking and getting up on all fours. That's a whole bunch of stuff for someone who has only been on this earth for 6 and a 1/2 months. I guess I'd be pretty wired, too. Plus, if there's only 3 lines under each eye, we're okay. Once it hits 4 or more we need to take drastic action (like taking him for a walk in our PJs).

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I am Earth Mother

Earth Mother is like Zen Mother: I get to brag about how I'm preserving the world for my son's son's sons (whilst being totally calm and "in the moment"). In truth, the reasons for doing many things that could pass as sustainable living are not as selfless as they appear. I have found that since O has come into our lives  there are a great many things that I now do that could be considered green living. Here a few things that I can claim, with  confession attached...

  1. Cloth nappies: Have you seen the cost of disposables? Pfft. That's money I could be spending on shoes! Sure, the outlay for fluffies is high, but you can use them til toilet training, and for subsequent kidlets who may come along. You can even sell them on, if your husband hasn't washed the covers with something grey, turning the lovely white piping  gross, left-the-water-in-the-sink-too-long colour.
  2. Soap nuts: They're nature's clothes wash, but I like them because I get to make jokes about nuts. Seriously. Nuts. In the wash. Soap nuts. Come on, surely you can think of a few gags yourself? 
  3. Short showers: A cliche, I know, but it's true: once you become a parent, the days of luxuriating in a hot shower are over. These days it's an every other day, no frills brush with running water.
  4. Re-purposed goods: Someone gave us a Diaper Genie, which had been given to them, which had been given to those who has given it to them, and so on for all eternity until you can trace it back to the poor sucker who bought it in the first place (likely some well-meaning relative). These things are like heirlooms, except no-one uses them. And no-one wants to throw them away, because there's enough plastic in there to make a small Japanese car. So mine is going to be turned into a compost bin, not because I want to save the planet, but because why buy fertiliser when you can make it? And I am determined to use that damn Diaper Genie for something!
  5. Second hand baby clothes: Clothing is so abundant these days, you can virtually afford to throw it away when you tire of it (note: not advocating throwing away clothing). This bothers me, but piles of clothes in landfill isn't really the issue, although that does suck. The problem is that before your bubba has a chance to stain a onesie, he's grown out of it! So why buy new, when you can buy almost new for about 1/10 the cost. Leave the "squeal! Cute!" purchases to friends and family.
  6. Growing my own food: I've never been much of a green thumb, and my garden isn't anything brag about, but we have a few herbs and some spinach and mini capsicums. This little patch of land does more for my sanity than our grocery bill, but I'm okay with that. I'm not entirely sure what to use sage for anyway.
  7. Banning junk mail: Reading catologues online is way easier than paper ones when I'm nursing O at 3am. There's also this cool little "add to cart" button that's fun to click...
  8. Buying local: Avoiding massive chains and supporting the little guy is great, but to be honest, if it was a Coles rather than a little family-run fruit and veg that was within walking distance, I'd be shopping there. Sorry, mom and pop.
  9. Walking rather than driving: The car used to get my son to sleep, but the magical powers have worn off. Fortunately, the pram still works, so we go for little jaunts around the neighbourhood, usually stopping long enough for me to order a "nah, have-here should be okay" coffee before he wakes and wants out.
  10. Everyday items as toys: yesterday, O spent 10 minutes examining my foot. Cheap, easy, portable, non-gender specific, and BPA free. Lets see you do that, Fischer Price.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tales of the Unexpected

There are things that you are expecting when you are, well, expecting for the first time; things every other parent with children under the age of 20yo secretly delight in telling you. Oh, they look sincere, but you just know that they want to start every sentence with "just you wait til..." The tiny one is not so tiny any more; the world is his oyster, and I'm the clam carrying him around. He is growing in bursts and knocking down milestones like I used to knock down hurdles in high school. And so I find myself awake at 4.30am, listening to him as he practices his comado crawl like it's 12 hours later, and thinking about the things I've been doing recently that I hadn't really anticipated.

  1. These 4 am play dates. I was expecting to have to get up in the wee hours to soothe or nourish my crying infant, my heart swelling with sympathy and unconditional love. I wasn't expecting to be kicked out of bed (quite literally, yesterday morning) because his little brain and body feel like it's a good time to practice what they already do all day long. Looking forward to when I can leave my child, unsupervised  in front of the TV and crawl back into bed. 
  2. I envisioned that when my sweet one woke us at some un-Godly hour, I would say softly to my husband, "Don't worry, honey, go back to sleep, I'll handle it; you have work in the morning", not (in my most "this is obviously sarcasm" tone) "Ooooh, well, you enjoy snuggling back into bed while I go and play with our son. No, no. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. I can do this all week, apparently" (grumble grumble bed hair mad eyes covered in spew grandma undies aged 10 years in 6 months crazy lady).
  3. Having the urge to throttle my dear husband after I try to keep the house in some kind of order (no mean feat with a person who demands all of your attention, sometimes even when asleep), only to walk into the lounge at 4am with a squirming ball of energy into my arms and find the only shred of housework I asked him to do (put away jocks/take coffee cup into kitchen etc) not done. Then resisting the urge to post about it on FB (but, apparently, not in this blog. For the record, it was his wrapper from his ice cream).
  4. I've heard the old "keep your take away menus on hand" spiel a thousand times. What you don't hear is how much you rely on other convenience food, like muesli bars and mini cheeses. Previously, theses were only for road trips. Now we have our own little section of landfill. So what tiny part of the earth I have saved using modern cloth nappies and banning paper towel (I don't recommend the latter), I have destroyed with the little foil wrappers from Laughing Cow cheese.
  5. Missing adult-time that doesn't revolve around conversations about parenting is a given, but busting yourself talking to other people the way you talk to your baby or the verbal diarrhoea you develop when talking to another adult for the first time in 9 hours is a little disconcerting. 
    Sample dialogue 1 :
    Other adult : "I sure like that new fangled car that's on the market"
    Me : "Yes, it's a car! Do you love the car? You love the car! Thhhheeeeeee wheels on the car go round and round..." (even if you don't sing the song aloud, it's definitely in your head).
    Sample dialogue 2 :
    Other adult : "Hi honey, I'm home. How was your day?"
    Me : "Hi. Great. How was your day? Did you get the thing done? We had a good day. I was thinking that we really should paint the kitchen. Probably white. No maybe cream. Jim and Sally just painted their bedroom cream, because you really can just change the accessories to change the look of the room. I guess that doesn't really apply to kitchens. The post came and there was the dumbest piece of junk mail. Bloody Liberals. I was thinking of making meatballs but the baby has been all over me today so I guess it's beans on toast. What should we do three weekends from now? Hey, how's Amber from work? Oh, did I tell you about Karen in our parenting group with the twins? You know, the ones who have that thingy. What's it called? Some kind of car. Anyway, she was telling me about Sharon, who incidentally painted her bedroom violet and regrets it, and how she and her husband were planning a trip to Bali and...." Well, you get the idea. 
  6. How many times have you heard mums (or dads) say how great it is to get out of the house, or to have some time without their baby? I always thought to myself, "Pfft. That's just a thing people say because they feel like they should". NO. NO IT IS NOT. Being "on" 24 hours a day takes it's toll on your nerves, so take some advice: pick a day of the week, hand your child to someone else (try for someone you actually know) and run in the opposite direction until you can no longer hear him (for mums, you need to go a little further than dads; more on this phenomenon in a sec).  Use these precious hours to indulge in whatever vice you have to suppress for the other 165 hours of the week 
  7. The old cliche of mum's waking at the slightest little noise that may indicate the tiny one needs something is not a myth. Somehow my brain can tell the difference between a little "just getting comfy" lip smack and the smallest "Hmm, I could go some milk" lip smack while I'm still asleep. And daddy? Well, he can tell the difference between "Gaaarrrrrgggghhhhwwwaaaaaaaaa" and "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" once he's awake (which happens when either of these sounds occurs). Sorry fellas, but as far as spidey senses go, mum's is far superior to dad's. 
There's a whole bunch of other stuff that I was only partially prepared for before motherhood struck that I wont go into, because mercifully, my gorgeous baby is now fast asleep in his magic chair, which I have been rocking whilst singing songs and writing this post (multi-tasking mamma). So, any grammatical errors, or offense, were not intended, and are solely the responsibility of my darling son (yeah, yeah, I should be gazing at him lovingly because he wont be this version for ever. I do it all day. 5am is "me" time, okay?)

Sunday, 17 March 2013


Today I am Zen Mother because I didn't tell two strangers to stick it. The first for telling me why my baby was crying (FYI she was incorrect) and the other for stating the obvious. It got me to thinking: about all the unhelpful things to people say (mostly strangers), what would I love to say in response, and what would have been a helpful alternative. There are also options for the days when you are so brain dead you can barely string two words together to make a vaguely coherent sentence (just like that one).  Feel free to add to the comments below if you have experienced these, or something similar:

Unhelpful: "Oh, someone (your baby) isn't very happy!"
Response: "Is that what all that screaming and crying means? Gee, thanks, Baby Whisperer, for helping me understand my baby!"
Brain dead response: "Stick it, jerk!"
Helpful: "Hello, nice weather we're having. (packs bag for me) $8.50, thanks."

Unhelpful: "Your baby doesn't sleep 12 hours a night, yet? Both of ours did from day 1; not one night of interrupted sleep"
Response: "'That's abnormal. Weren't you concerned that it would impact on their development? (child runs into wall). Hmm. Guess not."
Brain dead response: "LIAR!"
Helpful: "Not sleeping through, huh? Let me make you a coffee and tell you what hell our first year was."

Unhelpful: "Gee you look tired"
Response: "Really? I think 5 hours of broken sleep a night gives me a certain Marla Singer* appeal that really isn't appreciated in our society"
Brain dead response: "Coffee"
Helpful: "Look at you! You look amazing!" or if you don't feel comfortable lying: "I love your scarf/hat/shoes/pants/nappy bag/whatever"

Unhelpful: Touching my baby's face or stomach when you don't know either of us.
Response: Start touching the person's face. See how long it takes them to object.
Brain dead response: "Get your hands off my baby, you damn dirty ape!**"
Helpful: Serving me, then serving the man waiting behind me, in a professional and timely manner.

Unhelpful: Coming over and razzing my baby up an hour before bedtime.
Response: "'It's a shame we don't see more of you. Oh well. Life, hey?"
Brain dead response:  "Oh thank you very much. It's not like I wanted to sleep tonight or anything."
Helpful: Washing my kitchen floor while I cuddle my baby.

Unhelpful: "Oh, he's fussing! It's reflux, sit him up."
Response: "'Where did you say you studied medicine/midwifery?"
Brain dead response: "Stick it, jerk."
Helpful: Tell me my baby is cute, give me my change and hold the door so I don't have to struggle with a pram and shopping while my baby yells at me.

I'm sure there's a bunch of other scenarios, but I'm too brain dead today.

*If you don't know who this is, put down the baby and go and rent Fight Club (note: take the baby with you to the DVD store). If you don't like this movie, I can't help you.

** Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. Rent it while you're there, even if you have seen it before (unless you own it. Then props, you legend).

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Undermined Times

It's hard to trust your gut when you are a parent. You want to, you try to, but there is a little nagging feeling in the back of your mind, reminding you that you are new to this, and that there is a good chance your child will be asking you to fund their shrink bills when they're 25 years old (retaliate: show them the receipts you haven't got around to throwing out, your pot belly, your grey hair and your mortgage repayments). Until that rather awkward discussion ensures a quarter of a century from now (yikes), here's a list of people you may find yourself listening to at midnight, after a 4 hour battle at bedtime (or feeding, or bathing, or whatever plays to the tune of Merry Hell in your household on a daily basis):

  1. Oprah. Come on. She's Oprah. She's bound to have something on her website, TV show, other TV show and magazine that will help.
  2. Dr Phil. Same, but with a mo and a degree in RE-AL-ITY, people!
  3. Dr Oz. Same again, but with a California tan and an ability to make every topic about your sex life.
  4. Other mums. And not just friends. People in the supermarket line.
  5. Your mum or MIL. If they can manage to get past telling you how gorgeous your child is, and how utterly perfect he is, there is some good advice in there.
  6. Parenting magazines. These things are mine fields, and usually result in you second-guessing everything from how you settle your baby to what brand of wipes you use and how you decorate the nursery.
  7. Books. Same, but with fewer adverts and more pages.
  8. Health professionals. This can be a hit or miss area. If you find a GP who is supportive with current baby knowledge and a gentle approach, court them. Flowers, candy, the whole bit.
  9. Strangers in the cafe who tsk and give you that "aw, you don't really know what you're doing, do you, darling?" look that makes you want to throw the nearest thing at hand in their direction (which you don't because despite the secret urge to piff your kid at them, you don't. And that's what makes you a good mum). Their advice is usually that your baby is either tired or hungry. Not a genius observation, really. I mean, they're hardly arching their back and grizzling because they're frustrated by the stance taken by the Labour Party on gay marriage.
  10. Parenting websites. Kinda like magazines, only with endless amounts of anecdotes, quasi-scientific "facts" or bullshit wives tales from 'ordinary mums, just like you'.
So there you have it. Either one of these will provide the magic bullet, or drive you nuts. Whatever happens, eventually your sweet one will grow out of whatever it is that causes you to consider tracking down Mary Poppins*, or you will move them into the garage when they are too big to rock in your arms and change the locks.

*Fictional character. Try to eat your greens and get more sleep.

Monday, 11 March 2013

More things you will worry about

So you made it through 9 long months of pregnancy, the wild ride that is labour went fine (apart from, you know, the normal, crazy shit that happens) and you have your wee one in your arms, pink and breathing. And then it hits you: compared to what lies ahead, you had nothing to worry about when your baby was nestled safely  in your womb. The easy bit is done. Now comes (gulp) parenting, and with it bigger, better, crazier Mummy Worry. Here's just a few of the things you will worry about in the first 6 months:
  1. Feeding: Is my baby getting enough? Too much? Is my supply drying up? Why is one boob massive? There are a billion questions that run through your mind about feeding. Even if your baby feeds perfectly, like one of those ones in the DVDs, you will never feel as confident as the smiling mum on the pamphlet. What does happen, however, is you feel a smidge more confident every day, and eventually get to the point where, although you probably still think it, you have worked out what is of genuine concern and what is down to Mummy Worry (different from Feel-it-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach Worry, of course. That one you should listen to). And don't think that you're a "bad mum" if you don't find every feed a transcending act of pure love: there will be multiple times when it's a pain in the bum, especially once you little squish starts looking around and finding everything other than your boob or the bottle super interesting.
  2. Poo and wee: Again, you get better with this, although every time it changes ("What the heck is that??"), Mummy Worry kicks in again. I'd like to take a moment to thank the good people of the Patent Helpline(1300 364 300) for talking me through poo on more than one occasion. Being a GI nurse, adult poo I understand, but baby poo is a total mystery to me. As for nappy changing: there is no shame in calling for reinforcements in the face of a poonami if someone else is home. If you're  home alone, you're on your own. Good luck keeping the tiny fingers out of it whilst you clean up. 
  3. Sleep: Ahhhhhh sleep: the endless battle in our house. The more tired they get, the harder it is to get them to sleep. Initially, bubs falls asleep on you more often than not. It's beautiful, serene, absolutely the loveliest thing in the world. And then they start to grow up a little, start looking around, taking an interest in more than just your boob... And then it's on for young and old. As someone who has sought advice from midwives and friends, and has tried all of the "right things", I am now painfully aware that there is no right. I'd love for Jnr to nap in his cot every day and sleep in it all night, but battling with him for an hour and a half, only to get a 30 min nap out of it, is not worth it. So keep using the pram, chair, car rides, cot, your bed, the boob/bottle, the magic Sleep Dance - whatever - and nuts to the advice. Our biggest asset is his bouncer. He's growing out of it, so last week I bought a bigger one online. If he grows out of that and needs a bigger one, well screw it, I'll find one. Sleep = sanity.
  4. Your sleep: If I hear one more "sleep when he sleeps" chant, I'll die. If I sleep when he sleeps, I wont eat meals or see my husband. I don't run around like a crazy woman when he's napping, but I get a few things done, then sit down and have a rest and a coffee (well, chocolate. The coffee just makes me feel better about eating chocolate at 10am). Actually, that's not true: coffee first, then jobs, since I never know how long I've got before I hear "eeeeaaaabllllaaaaaaargh" (that's his yawn-cry-stretchy he thing he does on waking) and have to drop everything.
  5. Your sanity: Trying to use toy keys to start the car; sunnies in the fridge; kettle in the coffee cupboard... Just a few of my greatest hits to date. As long as you don't leave your baby on the roof of your car, don't stress: these little stories are endearing and provide endless amusement for friends and family.
  6. Your relationship: Just kidding. Neither of you have time to worry about this. You can restart date night when your baby turns one. Maybe...
  7. Playtime: Of course you want the best start for your baby. Genius status might be a reach (not in our case *cough*) but you want him to be equipped with the knowledge every child needs: walking, talking, counting, reading, writing, basic accounting skills... So, are your silly songs and bouts of rolling around on the floor enough? Pfft. Sure! The other stuff can come from trained professionals at child care or kindy, right?
  8. Measuring up: Stop comparing yourself to other parents right now. Remember that most of them lie, whether deliberately to make themselves feel better, or accidentally because the last 6 months have been a complete blur and they have forgotten half of it. Surround yourself with people who say things like, "Meh. As long as he sleeps, don't worry where" and "Ooh, he looks healthy and happy and is certainly a genius, etc".

    Then things start to get a little crazy...

  9. Will he have friends? A partner? Kids? A job? Will he find purpose? Will he be good at sports, writing, accounting...? 
  10. Will I be able to juggle work and mummy-stuff? Will by baked goods cut it at school fairs? OMG SCHOOL! Will I send him to the right one? Will he do well? Get into uni or a good job? Make enough money to keep me in my old age?
Take a deep breath, put your feet up and dunk some chocolate in your coffee. You have about as much control over this stuff as you did over your labour: a little bit, but mostly you have to let go and enjoy the ride, even the painful bits... 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Things you will worry about

From the moment you find out you are pregnant, Mummy Worry kicks in (the sister of Mummy Guilt, but that's a whole other post). There is also Daddy Worry and Daddy Guilt, but I wont speak for dads. I'm not usually a worrier, but pregnancy had me hand-wringing on more than one occasion. Here are ten of the things you are likely to worry about during your pregnancy (in no particular order):
  1. That hangover you had? Yeah, that was morning sickness. And did you have to order cocktails with raw egg in them? Because what the alcohol needed was a risk of salmonella on top of it... Seriously, it's done. All you can do now is avoid egg-based cocktails. Well, all cocktails, actually. And all other alcohol. But you know the drill. Babies are pretty resilient, anyway: I had no idea I was pregnant over Christmas and New Year, and unless they were by the book, most of your friends will have similar stories (unless they're Mormon, Muslim...)
  2. The ham you ate last week because you really missed it. But it was freshly sliced from a reputable deli, and you only ate 2 slices, both from the middle...
  3. You limp to the magical 12 weeks, only to suddenly recall every story you have ever read/seen/heard about the zillion other complications that can happen between now and labour... Deep breaths, deep breaths. Apart from following the guidelines and advice from your midwife/GP/OBGY, and reconsidering a third Kit Kat for the day, you have no control over this. Let it go and you will sleep better, I promise.
  4. Labour. Seriously, don't worry about it. Like it or not, that baby is going to come out of you, and it ain't gonna be easy. Stay away from shows like "One Born Every Minute" and don't listen to other people's stories; just because theirs felt like a tickle or like they were having their very own John Hurt moment doesn't mean your experience will be anything like it. Just surround yourself with people who will chant "You can do it!" whenever you give them the look.
  5. Living off Barbecue Shapes and Kit Kats? Meh! If you aren't providing your baby with what he needs from your oral intake, he'll leech it out of your very bones. Try to eat at least one vegetable a day so you don't feel completely shithouse.
  6. So you worry about how much baby weight you are gaining? Don't bother. Unless you are eating Hungry Jacks 6 meals a day, it really is out of your hands. As for losing it later, forget about that until your baby has at least started solids. You think you're hungry now. Breast feeding is a whole other ball game in the snacking stakes. The local supermarket can barely keep up.
  7. Oh God. Will my feet change size? (this was a big one for me, and Imedla Marcos). For the first 6 weeks you rarely don shoes. Then you have Mummy Worry related to carrying your baby whilst wearing heels, so you live in flats anyway. You kid yourself for the first 4 months that you will be going somewhere without your wee one that necessitates frocking up. Then reality sets in and you do a massive Salvos run, then avoid the shoe department in every store you go to. If you need a shoe-buying fix, buy your baby some. Not that he'll need to wear any for ages. They're just so darn cute!
  8. Will my baby be born with a disability? They can't test for everything, and the tests that they can do aren't very accurate anyway. Try not to waste cortisol on it.
  9. Am I a bad person for hoping my baby wont be born with a disability? No. And that doesn't mean if your child does have a disability you will love him any less, or that you take issue with disability. 
  10. Will my baby be cute? The answer to that one is easy: yes, but not as cute as mine.
And this one is for the benefit of my husband, who busted me Googling it on more than one occasion and had to listen to me obsess over it: the effect of vitamin A (obtained predominantly from the buckets of Milo I consumed) on my unborn baby. What a waste of energy that was. Firstly  there is bugger all information out there about it, and no credible research. Secondly, it didn't stop me. Thirdly, he's okay!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A new mum's guide to surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Ask anyone who knows me; my greatest fear is zombies. Well, zombies and spiders. My husband recently asked me what I would do if there was a Zombie Spider Apocalypse. After I regained consciousnesses, I started to wonder.. What would I do in the event of a regular Zombie Apocalypse (ZA)? In the old days, it would have been a matter of ensuring my own survival until I ran out of ammo, food or steam, at which point I'd drink the last of my whisky supply (in this scenario I drink whisky), grab the nearest blunt object and run out into the gaggle of waiting zombies (yeah, I'm saying it's a gaggle) and go down swinging and cussing. Now that I'm a mum, however, failure is not an option. I've seen too many of those Omen-type movies to even entertain the notion that my precious baby could become a flesh-eating monster (great. Now there's a fresh nightmare for me tonight). So, how would I meet the basic needs of my 5 mo baby during the inevitable ZA?

  1. Carrying your baby : When the ZA hits, you need to be able to run and jump over various obstacles, such as discarded treasured possessions, abandoned military road blocks and dead bodies. A pram will not cut it. You'll have a flat quicker than you can say "Did we just run over broken glass?". And don't even bother with a Baby Bjorn. Sure, it got you from the car to the boardwalk on a sunny day before the world was being overrun by the living dead, but they have little back support and your baby is likely to fly out as you bound across rooftops. Go for something versatile like a cotton  woven wrap, so you can have your baby securely on your back, keeping your hands free to wield a shot gun or practice your knife skills. After a particularly nasty attack, you can swing your baby to your front where he can nuzzle on your chest and listen to your heart beat, calming him down. You can provide all the comfort of a long hug without the back pain. In a pinch, your wrap can be used as a baby hammock, a blanket, or something to shimmy down the side of a building for a quick supplies dash. Another advantage is the wash-and-wear factor: good luck getting zombie brains out of a Bjorn. The world may have gone to hell, but hygiene is still important.
  2. Feeding your baby : Here's hoping you can breast feed, because finding formula when there isn't a ZA can be a bitch. With gas and electricity the first things to go (after mobile reception), you're only going to be able to bunk down in places where you can light a fire unseen so you can sterilize bottles and heat formula. Of course, still being able to make milk under such extreme stress with poor access to food and water is going to be a challenge as well. There is nothing wrong with saying to your troop/spouse/only-other-survivor that you need to sit this one out so you can rest and make milk. If you get the "as-if" look, hand them the hungry, crying baby while you do the watch and see how long they last. In the end, you may have to combine formula and breast feeding to meet the nutritional needs of your growing child. Now is not the time to go into the debate. Much like in normal life, you feed your baby any way you can and nuts to the nay-sayers. If it's safe start solids, consider baby lead weaning so you don't have to make pureed meals; during the ZA, no mum has time to cook separate meals for her family (just avoid things like peanut butter; the last thing you want is to discover your baby is allergic to nuts with the nearest children's hospital overrun with brain-chewing deadies).
  3. Sleep : You need to sleep. You need your energy not only to decapitate the walking dead who stand between you and the boarded up 7-Eleven, but to remain patient with your baby. Remember, throughout this chaos, your darling one still needs to take those big, overwhelming developmental leaps (the sooner he can hold his own head up the better) and you need to be there for him, providing loving understanding. Try to get at least 4 hours of sleep a day. Broken is fine. You should be used to this anyway. Remember that a bedtime routine is an important way to ensure your baby feels safe and secure, and to signal that it's time to go off to dreamland. Don't rely on anything physical, such as a bath, TV show or blankie, because there wont be hot water, Giggle and Hoot have long since been turned into hideous beasties that send shivers up your spine (wait. Undead hideous beasties) and you used the blankie to tie off the wound from a stray bullet weeks ago. Sing the same song, tell the same story. That should be enough. It doesn't matter where he sleeps, as long as your precious little bundle sleeps.
  4. Play : Fortunately, babies don't need Fisher Price toys to have fun and learn; empty ammo boxes, tin cups and an old rag are fine for playtime. Try to allow about 30 mins, 3 times a day for play. You may have to throw bubba on your back and sing nursery rhymes while you're on lookout. An added bonus is the lullabies may subdue the zombies.
  5. Nappies : If ever there was a time to be okay with cloth nappies, it's now. If there is some warning of the impending ZA, leg it to your nearest baby store and buy 6 modern cloth nappies. That should do you for a 24 hour period; it's not ideal, but you don't want to be lugging around more than that, let alone 15 boxes of Huggies (which will run out rapidly, buy the way). Go for the all-in-one type so you're not fiddling around with a cover when the undead are baring down on you. As for wipes, our mother's mothers used flannels and water and I don't recall hearing my mum complain about having a raw arse 50 years later.
  6. Communication : If you bought the Baby Sign Language app and not the book, you're screwed. Try to learn the new cries that you baby will quickly develop during the first days of ZA to ensure you can respond appropriately. Sure, you know the difference between your baby's "I'm hungry" cry and his "I'm tired" cry, but what about his "there's a zombie behind you" cry versus his "there's 42 zombies behind you and they look angry and hungry" cry? Get well versed real quick. That tiny person you're wearing is like having eyes in the back of your head.
It's important to note that all of these things (except, of course, breast feeding) can be done equally as well by daddy. Sometimes mummies just need a little break from the 24/7 of parenting. Remember to take time out for yourself: Go for a rooftop jog, read an old, blood-splattered chick magazine or practice your sniper skills without having to divert your attention every 4 minutes to your baby. If you haven't had to throw your spouse to the zombies to save your baby yet, try to have date night once a week; let your man know that even though life has changed with the arrival of your precious baby and a weird virus that causes the dead to rise up and attack the living, he is important to you.