Friday, September 24, 2010

Day Off

Apparently because the girls have two mutual days of pre-school/daycare, these are now deemed as my "day off". Conjures up images of long lunches, pedicures and lazing on the beach, right? I wish! Yes I do use these days to book appointments with the hairdresser (and the dentist). But yesterday was a much more typical day off and here was my to-do list (brace yourself):

Feed kids, dress kids, make beds, drop off kids, pick up parcels from post office, pick up new lights from lighting store, buy birthday cards, gym, supermarket, pack away groceries, shower, lunch, check email and facebook, do laundry, call electrician, pick up kids, entertain kids, (be nice to husband), cook dinner, wash dishes, bathe kids, comfort crying kids, stories, cuddles, settle kids to sleep, pay bills, fill out tax form, upload digital photos, sort birthday card book, start packing, TV, (be annoyed by husband), bed.

I'm so lucky to not be "working" anymore!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two over 2

My baby is no longer a baby. She turned 2 last week and is an official, card carrying member of the toddler club. Slowly but surely the symbols and rituals of babyhood are falling by the wayside. Breastfeeding is a distant memory since detaching herself just after her 1st birthday. Swaddles and muslin wraps sit unused in the cupboard. Baby clothes lovingly washed and folded have found their way to grateful new mothers. Toys she outgrows are donated to the charity shop or daycare centre. Soon the cot and pram will follow suit I suppose. When did this all happen?? Stop the world I want my baby back!

I blinked and now have a walking, talking bundle of happiness and mischief. She can do so much on her own but she still needs her mummy around. And as I will enjoy reminding her, she will always be my baby.

(The nappies and dummies are still around too so I'm not out of the woods yet - hooray)!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nanna Naps

I think I am fast approaching another end of an era - my oldest has started dropping her midday naps. OK, so I've been lucky enough to drag it out past the age of 3 and a half. But that moment of bliss when both babes are quietly sleeping in their beds, nobody else is home and nobody dares ring on the phone is too divine. She throws me a bone every now and then and retreats to her bed after swiming lessons or after a vigourous few days at pre-school. Or humours me when I tell her I need to cuddle up together and have a nap too. But the writing is on the wall. Soon she will just roll her eyes, put her hands on her hips and protest that naps are for babies and she's a big girl. And as much as I love watching her grow I will so miss my little piece of quiet in the middle of the day. Perhaps I can still sneak in a nanna nap every now and then though!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Incy wincy and other tall tales

If my daughter grows up with a morbid fear of spiders it will be my fault entirely. Recently discovered that the only way I can get her to settle to sleep, when all else fails of course,  is the line "Incy Wincy spider will come and bite your bottom if you don't go to sleep"! Poor baby looks up at me pleadingly then rolls over, closes her eyes and quietly falls asleep. OK, no mother-of-the-year awards for me at the moment but honestly, what's a mum to do at 10pm?

Then I thought of all the other tales I end up telling my kids: "the dummy fairy will bring you a doll's house when you stop using a dummy", "I will leave you at home alone and go out by myself if you don't put on your shoes NOW", "three more bites will make your hair long and pretty" and my favourite, "I will spank your daddy if he doesn't put you into bed after the next story".

Pinocchio has nothing on me...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tips and Tricks

Some of the things that have made my life easier as a parent:
Buy the lightest pram you can that will allow a baby to sleep. Love, love, love my 4kg Peg Perego that I can literally open with one hand and leave in the boot of the car.
Buy a really cheap umbrella stroller for flying/travelling. Then it doesn't matter if you lose it or gets damaged.
Make sure the boot of your car is big enough/clutter free enough to change a baby. Can't count how many times this has saved me in all kinds of places and weather. Keep a change bag in there too (see below).
Keep lots of small change bags everywhere rather than one big one. I have managed to carry a smallish cosmetic purse with enough nappies/wipes etc for 2 kids that fits in a normal handbag and is transferable between bags. There also a small one in each pram and in the boot of the car. And even at the grandparents place.
Babywipes are the best invention. Get gentle ones suitable for top and bottom, in smallish packs and put them eveywhere you can think of too.
Frozen baby mush is your friend. It's easy to make and they don't care what's in it for the first 6 months after they start solids! The stuff in jars is just as good when you're out and about. Pack it in a ziplock with a spoon and bib and you can't go wrong.
If you can't prepare a meal in half an hour don't bother. Unless its a roast that takes care of itself, 30 mins is about the longest I can occupy the kids in front of the TV while I make a hot meal.
Keep a record book or memory box. Doesn't matter where or how you do it but write down the important dates, events, milestones, keep some cute clothes/things and take pictures. Its goes so fast you don't want to miss it.
Find an online photoshop. Nothing is simpler that ordering those precious pics from Snapfish etc, printed fast and delivered to you. Photo books are also a wonderful gift/keepsake.
Double layer the cot. Put a mattress protector down, then a sheet, then another mattress protector and sheet on top. When baby makes a mess at 3am you just pull off the top sheet and protector and voila the cot is still made (my husband's invention but I'll take credit for it anyway). Triple layer also works if you have a real pooper.

Friday, May 7, 2010

For Runty

Vanishing Twin Syndrome. It sounds bizarre and sometimes feels even more bizarre. How can something growing inside me just vanish? Where does it go?  Does it count as a miscarriage? For some reason I cannot seem to set aside what happened during my first pregnancy and every now and then it hits me: I lost a baby.
I remember vividly falling pregnant after trying for so long, getting a positive test, confirming it with the GP and the going for the first ultrasound. We had planned a trip to Hawaii and wanted to date the pregnancy and check eveything was ok before I flew, so the ultrasound was earlier than normal. For some reason I was alone, perhaps my husband was working or maybe we weren't too concerned what we might find. I was of course blown away when there were 2 heartbeats. Twins!! They are 6 weeks old, BUT, the technician said, one is twice as large as the other and the little one might not survive. So it was excitement, shock, panic and fear.
Off to Hawaii we went, all the time not sure if we should prepare ourselves for twins or not. We called them Peanut (the big one) and Runty. We found ourselves buying 2 of everything, just in case, at the kids clothes stores. I experienced the joys of morning sickness but downed virgin pina coladas anyway. One day we went swimming at the beautiful Hanauma Bay. The same day I had some bleeding. No pain really but I was sure Runty was seems strange and quite macabre now but I kept looking in the toilet bowl trying to see if there was something foetus-like. Something to confirm my fears. My husband said it would be allright, we knew this might happen, don't worry.
The 12 week ultrasound confirmed I had indeed lost Runty but that thankfully Peanut was going strong. The doctors were unsurprised and matter-of-fact. It happens often, apparently, many people just don't know. I consoled myself with the thought that Runty was swimming in Hanauma Bay, trying to make light of it. I learned the definition of bittersweet.
Peanut is now a beautiful, clever, amazing 3 year old with a just as wonderful 1 year old sister and two older step-sisters. I am so happy and so lucky to have such joy in my life. And yet I sometimes wonder about Runty. When I first told my husband I still thought about Runty and how sad it made me feel, he looked at me inquisitively."Really"? Like it was a strange thought or emotion. It's not as though I had a miscarriage and was no longer pregnant, was it? My daughter was born a bit early but otherwise healthy. Its not like I had to tell people we lost a baby. But for some reason it doesn't make me feel any less of a loss.
Sometimes when I look at my daughter so full of life, so funny, so sweet, I catch myself thinking 'there could have been two of you'. I am not sure if I will ever tell her that her twin just 'vanished'. Probably when she is older. I love her so much, I can't help but know I would have loved her twin just as much. And can't help but wonder how different our lives would be if there were two of her.
So for Runty...I love you sweet baby. I hope you are enjoying Hawaii and that you know you have four wonderful sisters, and parents who would have loved to meet you. I miss you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The positives

For posterity, the things I am loving about my girls at the moment:

When my 1 yr old says "I wuv you" and "cuddles please" (and means it).
When my 3 yr old says "I missed you" and means it.
They both still have a decent midday nap (sometimes it starts closer to 2pm but that's ok too).
The warm, groggy cuddles when they wake up from a nap.
They have healthy appetites and will mostly eat whatever is going.
They don't cry when left with the baby sitter, teacher or carer.
But are still so happy to see me when I pick them up.
They play together so nicely most of the time.
They cuddle each other, say "I'm sorry" if they hurt each other and tell everyone "I love my sister".
The pure joy they get from a simple game of peek-a-boo, hide and seek, chasing or tickles.
That a 3yo knows how to coordinate an outfit with her shoes and hair accessories.
And wants to check her emails.
That a 1yo wants to watch YouTube songs on the "c'puter".
And can sing along to Baa baa, twinkle twinkle and the alphabet song.
They are water babes.
They love animals, stickers, fairies, ladybirds and cupcakes.
They love to watch the same shows over and over and remember the dialogue.
They have dad's sense of humour and order.
And mum's temper (good and bad).
The big open smile (the little one) and impish grin (the big one).
The beautiful auburn curls and golden highlights.
The similarities and wonderful differences.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Water, water, everywhere

I have reached a most important parenting milestone. For me it has been the holy grail for a long time now, a sign that the worst of the anxious "must-keep-an-eye-on-them-every-minute" toddler times might actually give way to a more normal existence. I am finally able to have a decent morning shower. So what you say?

Well first some background. I grew up in a time (the not so eco conscious 80's) and place (sunny Sydney) where I had access to unlimited hot water. So showers twice a day (more in summer) were normal and staying in for 1/2 an hour or so not unusual. Singing A-Ha in my highest (out of tune) register, contemplating boys and school and most importantly making the most of MY time when my numerous siblings were already out. It was a daily ritual that cemented my love of things warm and aqueous.

So imagine my shock when I realised that shower times might need to be dictated by baby's sleep patterns. Having a furious hair wash in the middle-of-the day-nap-time or quick rinse at midnight is just not the same. Trying to shave my legs with one ear listening out for the crying that mysteriously only happened mid-lather, not fun (and dangerous). Stepping out five times dripping wet cause I'm sure I heard distressed wailing, not worth the hassle. Getting up before them didn't work cause it just woke them up in a panic. The worse stage is when baby sits but falls over, crawls but into walls, stands but can't sit back down, walks but not well. Or clings to you for dear life, opens every drawer possible, finds every possible choking hazard and you literally have a hand on them 24/7, or so it seems. With 2 under 2 that stage seems to drag on forever.

But finally this morning I put their favourite show on the TV, gave them a snack, told the big one to keep on eye on the little one and stepped cautiously into the shower. No wails of "mummy, mummy, don't go!" (yes they do think 5 minutes in the bathroom is abandonment). Nobody ran in crying cause one fell off the couch, snatched a toy or spilled milk. Nobody got their hand stuck in a drawer or had an accident on the rug. No crayon graffiti appeared on the walls. I actually got to lather up, wash my hair and shave. Just me, lovely warm water and a bad version of "Take on me".  Pure bliss.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

School Holidays - help!!

It sounds simple...nearly 3 weeks at home with 2 toddlers. No preschool, only 1 day of care for the little one. Husband at work but granny and/or teenage sisters might find some spare time to help. Easy peasy.

So far we have walked to the cafe for breakfast and avoided eating scrambled eggs, picked up groceries and cheap easter eggs at the supermarket, found a farmyard nursery where we patted bunnies and cried at the goats, popped some coins in Sandy the guide dog's head (no fear he's plastic), made gingerbread man shaped cheese toast, played on the bikes outside and dress ups inside, watched Dora and Little Kingdom (yeah, yeah, bad mummy), had music time, dancing time, colouring time, storytime, snacktime, lunchtime, 3 nappy changes, 2 potty breaks, 1 accident on the bed, a change of bed sheets, one load of laundry, one dishwasher unpacked, handful of emails checked, fairy colouring pages downloaded and photocopied, a squiz at facebook, a one minute shower (me), 10 minute hair-do and dress picking (them), two screaming matches, one Band Aid battle, a "go to your room", cuddles, kisses, lots of whinging, some tantrums and of course the inevitable tears.

Oh, it is the first morning and we have only been up for 4 hours.....