The Hardest Thing

As many have before me, I was a little nervous about becoming a mum. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the lack of sleep. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it if I didn’t know how to stop him crying. I wasn’t sure if I could handle anything whether it be wrapping him up for bed or breastfeed or the hundreds of other things you do for your child.

After most things came naturally and others were learnt, I started to find my confidence. However, now I realise the hardest thing for me is trying to not help Nick. I’m not talking about neglect here, and I still try and stop major injuries from happening. But little knocks are required to learn. For instance, to learn how to walk he needs to fall and to learn how to use a spoon he needs to make a mess (repeatedly).

I’ve gotten a lot better with just letting Nick try things his own way and not helping him by “showing him the right way”. Nick is now at the age that he can let me know if he wants help. Nonetheless, I still struggle with not being there to catch him every time he nearly falls. But I know to do so will stop him learning how to stop himself from falling. Even now when he is more stable with his walking, every time he falls/nearly falls, I give a loud gasp and lurch forward. Doesn’t even matter if he is on carpet with nothing around him.

Turns out the hardest thing for me, wasn’t what I’m able to do, but what I’m able to not do.

Unexpected Mum Changes

When we finally conceived Nick, I was so excited. I really, really wanted to be the best mum EVER! I went straight into over thinking/organising mode, and spent nine months telling myself all the things I should start or stop doing once Nick had arrived. Of course, I did about none of them and transitioned into motherhood quite smoothly. Just as my plans to change were wrong, I found myself changing naturally in ways that I didn’t plan.

Clothing and Beauty

It was one of the things on my list actually. I was thinking I needed a whole new wardrobe of mumsy looking clothes, because I didn’t want to be that mum who embarrasses her kids at playgroup or school drop-offs. That totally didn’t happen, but I have found myself drawn to more practical routines.

I stopped wearing the long dangly earrings (didn’t want one pulled out of my ear), stopped wearing a ridiculous amounts of bracelets at once (dug into Nick when I was holding or feeding him) and stopped wearing a ring on pretty much every finger (so I don’t have to clean them all when they get covered in gross stuff).

My clothes haven’t gotten more mumsy (I don’t think) but they have gotten darker. Seriously, I feel like I only owned white, tan and beige clothing. Not the most practical when you are getting dirty. Also I switched to flats when I was pregnant and never went back. I now no longer know how to walk when wearing heels.

Less superficial

I was quite a bit of a shopaholic pre baby and afterwards, I’m just not. I still don’t mind a bit of retail therapy, but who has the time to waste. I am apparently harder to buy presents for now as well.

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Healthier Eater

It took Nick to make me realise what I wasn’t doing for myself. Things like not drinking enough water and not wearing sunscreen. One of those things was how much sugary foods I was eating. I cut things out because I didn’t want Nick to see me consuming them and want them as well. While trying to instil healthy eating habits into Nick, I have become healthier myself. And now, I have found my taste buds have adapted. I actually bought an ice cream cone the other day, and it seriously didn’t taste as good as I remember.

Learning New Skills

I have always been a bit of a baker, but that’s the only real “homemaker” skill I had. I’m finding now that I want to learn how to sew and garden. I have caught myself on a Pinterest loop finding out new and greener house cleaning methods.

I have even started re-teaching myself piano. Nick and I both love music and while I play on my keyboard, Nick plays on his little toy one <3.

More Clucky

I did not used to be clucky. I loved children but when people bought their little kids into the office, I never went gooey eyed and started some inane chatter about how perfect their baby skin is. Now, I can’t go passed a kid without giving a big smile and a wave. I sometimes even notice how perfect their baby skin is.

Did any of your preferences change after having a child? Either for practicality or just because it did?

 

How Much TV is Too Much?

We have always tried to limit how much TV Nick watches. I prefer he spend most of his day playing. However, each day we generally let him watch Bubble Guppies (his favourite show), and a little bit of telly just before dinner is ready. How much there is of pre-dinner watching depends on how tired/grumpy he is in the afternoon.

We have, however, just bought a tablet so he can have something that will interest him while we have more adult appointments (like signing the house contract). Occasionally we also put the TV on if he is getting really cranky while doing things like getting dressed.

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One of the reasons it works so well is because it grabs all his attention and he becomes so compliant. He dances, sings and interacts with Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies but the rest he just sits and zones in on. It’s kind of scary how much he slips into a kind of trance. One day our schedule was a little out and I let him watch his Bubble Guppies over morning tea. I had to repeatedly remind him to eat, and Nick loves food.

I believe that pretty much everything is fine so long as it is in moderation, but where is the line drawn? How much TV is too much?

September Highlights 2014

After spending August playing nurse to my three boys (the dog makes three), it didn’t surprise me that September started off with me getting sick. What did surprise me was, when I was soldering on through my cold, I injured my back while getting stuff out of the car. I had to call Glen to come home from work and after Nick was out of the car, I heroically hobbled back out to the car to bring in and hide Glen’s father’s day present. As I was immobile, Glen took as much time off as he could to take care of Nick, and my mum filled in the gaps. I slowly worked my way back into my normal day and once I was pretty much healed, Glen passed on the cold that he picked up while I was immobile.

Birthdays

Through all the injuries and colds, my nephew and I each had our birthdays. I was banned from making my own birthday cake but I did make a ninja cake for my nephew. There is quite a few flaws with this one but I was still in quite a lot of back pain at the time, so with taking that into consideration, I’m pretty happy with the results.

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Allergies

So we are still working on what Glen is allergic to. At this point we know he can’t have too much lactose, but there is something else that is mildly affecting him. We just have no idea what it is. We are also doing a complete diet overhaul and are looking to eat a lot more healthy high fibre foods.

New House

Just because we didn’t have enough going on in September, we also signed a contract for our new house to be built and is now going for council approval. We are so excited about this new house, there was so many practical details we missed when we built our current house, all those years ago.

Guest Posts

This month I had my very first guest post ever! It’s up at Window on the World and thanks Teressa for letting me post over there :)

Providing for Myself

Let me start by saying, that I have no problem providing for Nick. No matter what we are doing or where we are I have more than enough to cover his needs. What I struggle with is making sure my own needs are covered.

I made this realisation one day when I decided that Nick and I would walk to the shops to pick up a few things we needed. I started getting ready and packing the nappy bag. I made a quick decision not to put sunscreen on and went off to put sunscreen on Nick. I was halfway there when I realised that there was no chance I was EVER going to let Nick go out into the sun without sunscreen on. So why was I allowing myself? After 29 years in Queensland Australia, you think I would know better. I thought I knew better. I quickly put sunscreen on myself as well and we set off.

On the way back home it was starting to heat up and when walking up a rather steep hill, I was dreaming of a nice glass of water. Of course, I hadn’t actually packed myself any. Luckily, Nick didn’t mind me drinking a little of his. Well, didn’t mind that much. Again, I was hit with the absurdity, that I didn’t do something for myself that I wouldn’t even give a second thought to if it was for Nick. I never leave the house without water…for Nick, that is.

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Now I can’t help but to notice how many other ways I overlook taking care of myself. I spent years putting up with eczema and having dry, cracked and occasionally bleeding hands and lips. It took Nick to have it, before I started looking for the best way to sooth the dry skin.

As a family we are trying to start cleaning up our diets, and I am taking that opportunely to also clean up my act and take care of myself. I am making sure I don’t sneak those unhealthy snacks that Nick would only ever get at a special event. I’m making sure that I have a glass of water every time I tell Nick he needs to have some more water. Sunscreen goes on the both of us before we leave the house. I have even got myself a water bottle for when we go out. And I use it… most of the time. What can I say, its a work in progress.

What do you forget to do for yourself, while taking care of everything else?

Included at The Modest Mom Blog

 

A Birthday Wish

Have you ever met someone who was so amazing and inspirational? Have you ever met someone with who you just click with and become instant best friends? Back in 2010, I met someone who was both. We loved the same, movies, shows, music, clothes, and we shared the same sense of humour. We went to so many concerts, shows, markets and dinners. She was the one who fostered my love of tea. Finally, I had someone else, who would bake an extraordinarily large about of food with me just so we could sit and watch Disney movies all day in our pyjamas.

Our food

Our food loot for Disney movie marathon!

A week ago was her 25th birthday, or at least it would have been. 2 1/2 years ago, she lost a 9 month battle with melanoma. And it’s this time of year that I miss her even more than usual. She was such an amazing gal that she still gets people posting on her Facebook page to say happy birthday and I’ll miss you.

She handled her diagnosis and illness with such dignity and class, even though it came right after finishing her honours at University and before she got a chance to start living her life. Though I still wish that we would have more time, and I wish she could have met Nicholas, the time I got to spend with her was so special and I will always hold it close to my heart. She made use of the 9 months she had left, and it was a privilege to be able to spend some of it with her.

So everyone, please get your skin checked regularly. If a doctor said it’s fine but something still doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion.

And to Jess, Happy Birthday, I will always miss you. Words can’t express what you mean to me.

Road to Becoming a Mummy

I have always wanted children. My husband not so much, not that he was against it and not that he would have it any other way now (Nick certainly convinced him that being a dad was awesome). After being married for a few years we started talking about having children. We knew that I might have problems so we thought it would be better to start earlier rather than later.

Unfortunately, it was a 21 year old friend receiving a terminal illness diagnosis that spurred us into action. Life was short and we wanted to do this. After nearly a year of trying with no success it was time to go to the doctors and get a medical opinion.

Diagnosis

After a couple of test, it was declared that I had Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and I was referred to a specialist. That night at home was spent researching the condition and everything about it. After reading up about it, things started to make so much sense. There was so many symptoms that I had and put up with, that all came down to one condition. The one symptom I had playing around my head, however, was infertility.

This is when the hard questions hit. What if I can’t have children? What do we do? Do we explore other avenues of having children? Do we, or even, can we adopt? Can I love an adopted child as much as a biological child? I hope I can but what if I can’t? Do we just not have children and save our money and live a lavish lifestyle somewhere amazing? The magnitude of what was happening really hit home when I saw this video:

What if I can’t do this? The thing that hurt the most was seeing the mothers, that I was friends with on Facebook, complaining when they had a bad day with their children. It’s easy to get caught up in a bad day and need a vent, but not having your own children is a worse fate to endure.

We wanted to have a child as natural as possible and after reading a lot of forums, I had heard of a lot of women got pregnant after changing their diet and losing 5% of their body weight. The next 6 months were dedicated to a low GI, no gluten, no dairy diet with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. 5% of my body weight was lost, all of the PCOS symptoms faded, except one – infertility. I have what is known as Thin PCOS so what works for regular PCOS doesn’t really make a difference for me.

After getting a heap of tests, our next step was to try some medication to help kick my body into gear. We read up about the drugs and I was so nervous to start. There is no guarantees that it will work first go and apparently every try you have with the medication is less likely to succeed. Have you ever had someone tell you not to be stressed because it might hinder the process. Not easy to do, when it’s the process you are stressing about.

We were so fortunate to have success on our first go with the medication. I was so happy and elated but at the same time not wanting to get my hopes up. When you use medication, the percentage of miscarriage or something going wrong is increased. It was such an easy pregnancy, every scan and test came up with the right results. Not that it stopped me worrying before every appointment.

After 41 weeks, we finally had our little boy. I always tell Nick that we loved him and fought for him years before we got him and as a rule, I never complain about mum difficulties on Facebook, ever.

Best of August 2014

What can I say about August? Sickness. Glen has had stomach issues and we are now trying to find what he is allergic to or has an intolerance to, which seems to be a painfully long process. Nick had a small cold and then struggled with his allergies/sinuses so that was some more sleepless nights, some of which I was “sleeping” on his bedroom floor.

Our poor puppy Ricky had an allergic reaction to something and scratched himself so bad he had to be taken to the vet. The cone wasn’t even off for a day before we realised he had a severe ear infection and he was off to the vet again. At the moment he is stuck with the cone and ear drops and tablets, all in the hopes of getting better. As for me, I am just tired. I have had quite a few sleepless nights, while playing nurse to all my boys.

Ricky

Our poor puppy dog at the vet…the first time.

We also spent a good portion of August signing our lives away. We officially have bought a block of land to build on and will hopefully have a new house some time next year.

From the Web

I haven’t spent that much time on the internet this month, as life has just been hectic. However, I did read Privacy Please and the Privacy Conversation from Parents.com. I laughed so hard at this.

Also fell in love with the story of a mum who wanted her child to realise how beautiful she is by featuring her in a whimsical photo series. The pictures are breathtaking and the little girl is so beautiful.

Videos

One video this month of this cute little girl who just realised exactly what deleting means

 

 

Things I Found Invaluable

When I was first pregnant, I was so overwhelmed by all the items we needed to buy. Not only are there so many brands claiming to be better than the others, but there seem to be 101 newfangled gadgets that apparently I wouldn’t be able to live without.

We didn’t want to go crazy with what we bought so here are my top five things that I loved (that aren’t a necessary purchase):

Breast pumps – I had a seriously major oversupply of milk, and that is with Nick acting like the hungriest child on the planet. One feed that was a bit smaller than normal and I ended up with a blocked milk duct. I went down the road and got the cheapest manual pump that we could find and it was horrible. Worse than trying to express without a pump. After my third blocked duct, I told Glen I didn’t care how much it would cost, we were going to buy an electric pump. We bought the Spectra Dew 350 and it was a life saver. It also meant that I could pump some extra milk for when I had any events away from Nick.

Portable Change Mat – We were given this as a gift and I love it. The one I was given folds up and fits in the nappy bag. When it unfolds it has a pouch for nappies, nappy bin bags or wipes, and for nappy rash cream, baby powder etc. I can be a little germ phobic at times so I like that Nick isn’t going straight on to public change tables. As an added bonus, everything you need for the nappy change is right beside your baby.

Bumbo – So this one doesn’t have to be a Bumbo, any type of seat that is portable will do. We just had a bumbo in particular. Some times you need to put your baby down or just need a break from holding them, and the bumbo worked wonders. Also one of the baby carriers would be great, but we had a really cheap one that wasn’t great so I don’t have any advice on that one.

Rusk Sticks – Nick started teething really early. He hated teething rings and refused to have anything to do with them. He did love rusk sticks though. We also occasionally used bonjela.

Baby Bullet – Now, to me, a baby bullet is a glorified food processor. And we found it to not be that great when the food amounts we were making started to get larger. That being said, I loved it for two reasons. Firstly, I was struggling to know when to give what food and at what volume. When researching it, most articles just said start at a teaspoon of food and then gradually increase. What it didn’t say is how quickly to increase and over what period of time this should be happening. The baby bullet came with a month by month recipe book that told you what to do for each of the stages, plainly and simply. Also the storage containers (with a date slide) are so handy when storing food (especially in the early days when they don’t eat much). They are also super cute, check them out:

imagesWhat did you have/wish you had do make your life easier?

Emotionally Retreating

While I’m not anti social, I am a bit of a homebody. I am quite shy so I’m always more comfortable having a night in with Glen and Nick. I have never had a large amount of friends either. But what I do have is a handful of really good close friends who I can trust with anything.

After having Nick, I have become so much closer with my bestie (who is also a mum). We now just have one more thing in common and she has been a great sounding board and source of advice (as well as her awesomeness in general).

file561270689520My other close friends, however, are not mothers. It seems like when we meet up there is a slight gap between us and conversation is not as easy and free flowing as it once was. I talk about Nick and they don’t really have a lot to add to that conversation. They will talk about the recent major changes at work which is one of their pressing concerns and I don’t have a lot to add to that conversation.

I used to talk to these ladies every day, and after all the important issues are discussed, you do generally end up talking about so not so important stuff. We knew all the details of each others lives down to when hair appointments were scheduled. Now I only catch up with them so often, I miss all these details and just get the general overview. :(

After a few rain checks (one of my friends had a lot on her plate at the moment), some slightly awkward conversations, and it always being me to organise get togethers, I started to worry. Were we growing apart? Were these close friendships doomed to fizzle down to a┬ásporadic get togethers for old times’ sake? My shyness kicked in and I started contemplating not trying to organise so much stuff with them. I think in my head, I saw myself as an obligation for them when I was suggesting catch ups.

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After some thinking and a pep talk from Glen, I realised that I was emotionally retreating and I was going to isolate myself. The friendship that I have with these ladies is special. We have seen each other through some hard times (loss of a friend, not being able to conceive) and we have celebrated the great times (conceiving, marriages and building houses), and it’s worth any effort expended.

So I have made a decision to try harder. To make sure I know what is going on in their lives, through catch ups, messages and social media. To let go of the worry about the little things that probably don’t signal a friendship in danger of ending. To not retreat emotionally. And to enjoy all the time that we have.

Did having a child change any of your friendships?