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.