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.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Mommy Fail #16

I was on Pinterest this morning ("What?", you cry, "As if!") while my baby had a disappointingly short nap (again, "What?". Oh yes) and came across this little gem : http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/2013/01/my-6-ridiculously-easy-free-life.html.

6 changes to my every day life to cement eternal happiness. I thought to myself, that looks easy enough; I'll start today! Now, what is important to note is I'm still being woken 1.5-2 hourly overnight for a feed, napping during the day is a little haphazard, and our bedtime routine from start to finish is about 3 hours. The lady who writes this blog has grown children. So, you know. She gets some sleep. She also gets paid to blog this crap, while I whittle away the hours blogging for free when I really should be attaching chalkboard labels to everything in my craft cupboard and whipping up decoupage picture frames.

So here's my attempt at her "ridiculously easy, free, life changing habits" (Day 1... Just kidding. Day.):

1. Walk: Hmm. Seems straight forward enough, right? Well, with the pram out of action, I had to strap on the ol' Baby Bjorn. Not too bad, but given my persistent lower back pain, I can only handle strapping 7kg of wriggling baby to my front for about 15 minutes. But I did it. And did I feel good after? Not really. I needed a couple of panadol and a lie down.

2. Water: Fill 8 glasses with water at the start of the day, you say? I don't think we own 8 water glasses. Wine glasses, yes, but I figured this would lead to a desire to fill the wine glasses with the sweet elixir for which they were intended (also, I didn't want to offend them). I decided on one glass (I usually drink from a water bottle) and filled it after each drink. I made about 2 glasses, then forgot about it and drank from my water bottle anyway. I'm going to count this as a success, although I have no idea how much I actually had.

3. Time Yourself (on the internet): Firstly, who has a kitchen timer? Secondly, I had intended only to go online when O was sleeping. Today was one of his "sleep is for the weak!" days, and 3 blocks of 10-20 minutes is not enough time to read all the mommy blogs out there (one of those sleeps was on me, so I couldn't even log on!).

4. Eat Fresh: Well, I can be forgiven for the PB on toast for brekkie, given I hadn't stumbled across this recipe for a perfect life at that stage. I had a lovely salmon and salad roll, which I had made while O was happy and had it ready-to-go. Pretty good, I thought. Probably the Vita Britz for dinner wasn't really what she would consider eating 'fresh', but they hit the spot. Counting the amount of chocolate I have had is about as useful as counting how many hours I spend online in a 24 hour period, so I haven't bothered with that.

5. Work off a list: I used to do this when I was working. It was helpful, but often you needed other people to be on board to ensure certain things were done (eg "Call Joe" can only be crossed of your list if Joe actually answers his phone). This is the case when staying at home with kids, except the list is longer, there are no scheduled breaks and, well, you don't get much further than "get up, get dressed" some days ("keeping child/ren alive" is a given. If you have to write that one down, you've got bigger problems than not drinking 8 glasses of water a day).

6. Decent bedtime: Pfft.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sorry: you will never catch up on lost sleep.

I spend a lot of time thinking, talking and fantasizing about sleep : my baby's sleep, my sleep... Honestly, I'm not that concerned about my husband's sleep. People warn you about this before you have children (the sleep thing, not your disregard for your husband's needs. No-one mentions that. Perhaps it's a given?). Depending on your stage in life, you are likely to have the following opinion on baby-induced sleep deprivation:

  • If you aren't planning a family : "Ugh! Enough already! If you love sleep so much, why did you have kids?"
  • If you are thinking about possibly planning a family : "Oooh babies are so cute! They're so peaceful when they sleep! (insert misty eyes here)"
  • If you are actively planning a family : "Oooh babies are so cute! Oh, we have to, er, go, it's time to, er *cough*... It's only a 36 hour window, ok?"
  • If you are pregnant : "Pfft. I don't get much sleep as it is with this tiny baby kicking me all night long! I will be able to handle it"
  • If you have one baby : "OH MY GOD I just want more than 2 hours straight! I've aged 10 years. *Grooooaaaaaannnnn*"
  • If you have more than one child : "*snort* Wha..? Oh, yeah. Nah, we got 2 hours straight last night, which was nice. So, you know. All good. Wait. What were we talking about? Is that chocolate over there?"

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Organise your home! (Mommy myth #7)

I spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest. I feed the wee one lying down more often than not, so it's easy to set the iPad up and read while he drinks. That's my excuse, anyway. Man, there are a lot of uses for Nutella in cooking, and vinegar in cleaning. And bucket loads from SAHMs (stay at home 'moms') on how to organise your house, finances, family, faith, marriage... Here are my top tips from the internet on how to stay super on top of things when you are sleep deprived and every moment of your time is spend either interacting with your baby or drinking coffee while they sleep for 40 minutes, and how we have incorporated them into our lives.

Advice: Organise your pantry so that the least used items are on the top shelf, the most used items in the middle shelves, and bulk items on the lowest shelf. Make sure all of your packaged foods are in matching, clear containers that are labelled. 

Close enough: Our appliances are on the top shelf (stock pot, rice cooker and such). In the middle shelves is a wonderful mix of canned goods, pasta of all shapes and sizes, rice, tinned soup that has salt as the main ingredient, and an alarming number of half full (I'm an optimist) packets of crackers. The bottom shelf contains empty, matching, clear containers, ready-to-go, as well as an alarming number of canned tomatoes (my husband can't resist them when they're on special. Mock us now, but when the Zombpocolyps hits, we'll be happily chowing down on cold tinned tomatoes, waiting for the military to rescue us).

Advice: When you cook your evening meal, try to cook extra so you can freeze it and have it on a night when you're too busy to cook. This will stop you from ordering unhealthy take-away meals, saving you money and calories.

Close enough: When people come over, ask them to bring food so you can stock your freezer. When you can't be bothered reheating anything or cooking toast, press one on your speed dial, ask for the usual, and - hang the expense - get it delivered (the cost of going out after 4pm is too high).

Advice: It's important to maintain your hobbies when you have children, so you don't lose your identity, and can have some much-needed "me time". Use pretty boxes to organise your hobby items, and clearly label them. Have a designated room or nook where you can comfortably work and store your things.

Close enough: Stuff things haphazardly into the pretty boxes you bought from Ikea when you went in just to buy a whisk, labeling them as "craft" and place in the spare cupboard. Anything that comes in the post for one of six of your new hobbies you decided on at 3am after reading Pinterest, shove into a new box and experience the joy (and slight shame) of rediscovering it, unopened, 12 months from now. Yay! New hobby!

Advice: Set aside time with your spouse and show him how much you love him by cooking a special meal, presenting him with a home made card, or working on a hobby together, such as scrap booking.

Close enough: Greet your spouse when s/he walks in the door with more than a grunt. Organise baby sitting so you can go out for a few hours, then cancel it at the last minute because a) bubs is sick/whingey/wired, b) bubs is asleep and you want to enjoy the quiet in the comfort of your PJs, or c) sitting on the couch, staring at the same TV set at the same time after spending 3 hours getting your baby to sleep is quality time enough.

Advice: Make time to exercise. Try to do it as a family.

Close enough: When you can't settle your baby, pop him in the pram, pull on some shoes and stagger down the road. This is a good time to talk to each other about your day, the news, and how much you love your child despite having to walk him in your PJs at 1130pm to get him to sleep (after trying for 3 hours). In all honesty, those have been some really enjoyable moments :)

Advice: Love Jesus. Go to church.

Close enough: I have a hand knitted St Anthony doll that helps me find stuff after I've lost it. Works every time. Can I get a "Hallelujah!"?

Advice: Write down everything you spend, then write a budget and stick to it. Include fortnightly, monthly and yearly columns, and make sure you are saving 10% of your earnings.

Close enough: Select 'savings' over 'credit' when at the checkout. Pay your bills before the angry red letter.

I forgot to mention, you really must blog about every little thing you do. Make sure you sound like you are completely on top of things, and never forget to emphasise that, without your loving husband, beautiful children, sweet puppy and love for Jesus, you'd never get anything done. And none of your binders would match.