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.