The bedroom has fallen

Dear Reader, 

What you see here in this picture of yellow, navy and white, is not a picture of a navy and white towel strewn across the end of our bed but a picture of surrender. After 12 months, the bedroom, sadly, has fallen. 

Heralded as the last non Hugh domain in our household I have fiercely tried to protect its sancity with all toys and books being kicked out as they are found abandoned on the floor. That was our space. Our space to be adults, to have nice bed linen, to leave slightly dangerous things on our bedside tables. Alas this is no more.

The stripe towel has been placed over our quilt cover as Hugh is slightly too big for his change table and is now being changed on our bed more often than not. In short, Tim and I now sleep on a giant expensive, Country Road covered change table. The towel is a bit of a useless attempt to protect the bed from any unexpected accidents in the 5 second danger zone when the first nappy comes off but before the new nappy goes on. 

On the upside, we won’t be having any more kids soon as nothing kills the mood more than the lingering scent of your current offsprings latest nappy in and about the marital bed. 

I am looking forward to finding a new baby free sanctuary in our home. Options are running low but I think the downstairs powder room is yet to be touched by Hugh hands. I’ll be enjoying the adultness of a grown up room in there if anyone needs me.

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Hugh, the book nerd! 

There is a new love in little Hugh’s life. Everyone’s started noticing, his parents, his grandparents, even childcare is commenting on this new relationship. 

Hugh is addicted to books. He’s become quite bibliophile and while I should be delighted (as a lover of books myself) this is not all I had hoped and dreamed it would be. 

What started out as an adorable scene with little Hugh sitting and quietly turning the pages of his favourite books by himself on the playmat has turned into an all consuming obsession that needs constant feeding. Simply turning the pages is no longer enough. He needs the words, the story, the thrill of a plot he can’t actually understand to satisfy his needs.

This means that unlike the short lived “throwing balls” phase of March – June 2017, this reading books phase requires a lot of participation and effort from Mummy and Daddy. You can’t use one hand to throw a book while you finish your morning coffee or throw it to the other side of the room to get him to distract him while you finish hanging the washing.  Nuh- uh, book phase requires attention and creativity. All.the.time. 

The book obsession really kicked off with what Tim and I affectionately refer to as Ugly Wiggles Book. There was nothing majorly wrong with Ugly Wiggles Book. It just has a lot of words, a bit of an odd story about Dorothy the Dinosaur meeting Santa and to be honest he has a lot of much nicer, fun, interactive books. But Ugly Wiggles Book was by far and away the favourite. He could pick it out from a pile of books a mile away and wanted it to be read constantly. Over and over and over again. Poor Ugly Wiggles Book got such a work out it started falling apart but that still didn’t stop Hugh. He just started taking groups of random pages around, begging for them to be read to him. Pathetic really. 

The final straw for Ugly Wiggles Book came on the weekend when Tim busted Hugh eating the pages. Dude. When you love a book so much you have to eat it things have gone too far. So Ugly Wiggles Book was carefully extracted under cover of post bedtime darkness and released back into the wild (the bin. We put it in the bin). 

After Ugly Wiggles Book we had Wiggles Propeller Book. Much nicer illustrations and a fun little ‘lift the flap’ feature to keep things fresh but after reading that up to 8 times in a row for 3 days straight Wiggles Propeller Book is also taking a small holiday. As it hasn’t been eaten so far Wiggles Propeller Book is allowed to holiday in the cupboard and has not been ‘released’ to the bin. One day it might be put back on the reading circuit rotation but for now, for our sanity, in ththe cupboard it stays. 

The lasted candidate for a cupboard vacation is a classic. An increadible children’s story by a well renowned author. I never thought I would say this but, Mem Fox, how many f%^ing pages does it take to find one goddamn green sheep? How many different types of sheep are there? Why are we looking for the green sheep anyway? I don’t understand and after the 4th time in a row my little Australian Literature Lover squeals and thrusts this book in my face/neck/mouth to be read again I am pretty sure the plot goes like this “sheep sheep sheep sheep, more sheep, green sheep, the end.” Repeat times infinity.

I do actually adore that Hugh loves reading and I think a love of books is an amazing thing for a child. But for our mental health I’m going send “Where is the green sheep?” to Club Med Downstairs Cupboard for a little while where it can relax, take a load off while Mummy and Daddy rote learn a new book by reading it over and over and over and over and over again. 

Parenting – a year in review.

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This time one year ago Tim and I were driving back from the hospital for the second time being told I was in labour, but not enough labour to be admitted. Having never been in labour before I was pretty confused. Exactly how much labour did I need to be in before they would hook me up to the gas machine and let me stay? One year on I am no less confused about the world of parenting and truthfully no less interested in being hooked up to a gas machine when I need a bit of something after a long hard day of work and Mumming.

When I reflect on the last twelve months I can honestly say I have never been so off kilter in my life. Parenting Year One has been a crazy ride and I can’t believe it’s gone by already.

I have learnt a lot this year, some of it helpful and some of it not. I have never related so heavily on Google to guide me through life. My search history largely consists of sentences that start with “why does my child…?”, “what if my child…?”, “when does my child…?” and my personal favourite, “should I worry if my child…?”.

I have learnt that it’s not impossible to feel incompetent at everything all at once and find my inner voice spends a lot of time quietly whispering “what the hell am I doing?” about 20-30 times a day. Google search history – “How to maintain work life balance”, “how to find work life balance”, “am I completely scarring my child because he is the first to be dropped off and last to be picked up at childcare?”, “why does no one do a wine home delivery service in Canberra?”.

I think it’s taken me a year to realise that I’m never going to feel like an expert at this. Every single day Hugh changes and grows. What I knew yesterday no longer applies and what happens tomorrow is literally anyone’s guess! Some days that’s hard. Really hard. Especially for someone like me who likes stability and a level of predictability.

But there is also so much joy in this process.

I love parenting with Tim. He is truly my partner in this journey and I adore how much he loves our son and how much Hugh loves his Dada. The relationship between these two is the most amazing and beautiful thing to watch and I am in awe of how much patience and understanding Tim can draw on everyday, not just for Hugh but for me as well.

And of course there is Hugh himself. Our boy is doing so many amazing things. He crawls, he laughs, he throws balls around the house (and anything else he can get his mitts on). He can pull himself up on almost anything, climb the bottom stairs of the staircase, say ‘Dada’, ‘Mummum’ and ‘Nan’, feed himself a piece of BBQ chicken and down 3 bowls of Greek yogurt in about 5 minutes.

He has a smile that lights up the room and  personality in spades. He’s a social butterfly like his Mumma and just wants to explore everything this world has to offer.

Hugh Alexander Abrahams, you’ve changed our lives in almost every single way but there is not a thing I would change.

Happy birthday Baby Boy.

Love Mumma

Xxxx

The Childcare Cesspit

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Before I begin today’s post I would like to state that we were warned. We were told repeatedly to prepare ourselves for the never ending sick cycle that is your child’s first 6-12 months in childcare but in all honesty we were not prepared. Not at all.

To most of you tomorrow is Thursday but to us tomorrow is the ominous “Day 4” of the childcare week. We are yet to make it all the way through Day 4. It’s like Hugh’s little immune system can’t hold out the full 4 days. We’ve got to Wednesday afternoon, we’ve even got to midday Thursday once but a full day Thursday just seems like too much. I’m mentally preparing for what tomorrow brings.

It’s not just Hugh who is crashing and burning at this point. So far the list of illnesses we have encountered in the past month include:

Cold (me, Tim, Hugh)

Shingles (me)

Respiratory Infection (Hugh)

Conjunctivitis (Hugh and Tim)

Tonsillitis (Tim)

Random vomiting (Hugh)

Gastro (Hugh)

Some kind of gross chin fungal infection (Hugh)

We are currently splitting out time between 2 GPs as I am too embarrassed to keep going  back to the same one every week. The two GPs don’t include the home doctor visits or the trips to the after hours clinic at the hospital. I have almost memorised our Medicare card number off by heart and I only half joke when I tell Tim I think we should pull Hugh out if childcare on Thursday as, while I would loose another days pay, the money we would save on childcar, doctors bills and medications would probably make up for it.

The most common sentence currently uttered in our household is “have you sanitised your hands?” followed by ” where’s the Glen 20?” and “do his eyes look pink to you”, “is that pus or just a bit of sleep” and ” do my eyes look pink? They’re itchy, for gods sake are they pink?!”.  At the first sign of illness we try and quarantine ourselves away from Hugh. Hugh has no such consideration and divides his time between openly coughing in our faces and wiping his hands in his snot/ eye gunk and sticking them in our mouths and up our noses on a regular basis.  Charming.

We go though so many cans of Glen 20 at the moment I feel like negotiating some sort of sponsorship deal. If anyone from Glen 20 does read my blog please get in touch. Likewise to the makers of Detol Wipes. Seriously, call me.

Despite these fine products and their germ deterring properties the little buggers keep slipping though into our house! I’m trying to come up with new ways to prevent the spread of germs.  I have considered a self contained bubble suit for Hugh, or maybe a fumigation chamber just inside the front door so he gets a good decontamination process before he gets through the door. On more extreme days perhaps we just torch the whole house and start again.

I am hopeful that tomorrow will be the day the cycle breaks and that we will make it through the dreaded “Day 4”. If not you can find me in the cleaning aisle of my local supermarket. I’ll be the lady with the slightly pink twitchy eyes, the snotty baby and the basket choc full of Glen 20.

Looking after that special someone

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This week has been pretty average in the Abrahams household. We’ve all been sick to varying degrees which is bad but on Saturday I was told I should avoid contact with Hugh until my test results came back so most of his care has fallen to Tim. Sunday night we has the after hours GP around as Hugh has a virus and yesterday morning Tim woke with a cold. Probably something our germ infested kidlet has shared with his Dad. Kids are gross.

Today the two germ infested males are out of house and I have found myself with some Mummy alone time. While there is washing in the machine and jobs to be done I’m also making sure that I try and look after myself for a while.

Before Hugh I was Amy “the wife/partner” and Amy “the Individual”. Now I’m also Amy “the parent” and that definitely requires most of my time. I enjoy the “parent” identity but this week in particular I have felt the lack of the other Amys in my life and I’ve become determined to rectify that. At this point I would like to point out that Tim has a very similar problem. Between work and Hugh neither of us really have much of an opportunity to have some quality time alone or apart.

I think there are a few tricks to achieve this quality time. These have been shared with me by experienced parents who seem to manage to balance their needs and their children’s needs reasonably well so I thought I would share with you. Having said that I also think it’s a balancing act that I haven’t quite got right yet so it’s a work in progress.

1. Get a baby sitter and use them!

Tim and I finally have a local baby sitter in Canberra. We met her last week and she is just a delight! I have no problem with leaving Hugh with her however I am sure that if I dallied we would never book her in unless it was absolutely necessary. So with that in mind we booked her for 2 weekends time. We have no plans yet but we also now have no excuse to not go out, just the two of us, and have dinner or go to a movie or just be somewhere together without our baby.

2. Say yes to the help!

Many people offer help to me. A lot of help. And what do I say when help is offered? “Oh thanks but that’s ok”. Sometimes it’s ok to say yes to help. If someone offers to watch your baby or run and errand or two then why not take them up on it! If it frees up a little bit of time for you to give yourself a little bit of self love then why not!

3. Redefine what’s important!

It might be getting your nails done, it might be going for lunch, it might be going to the gym, it might just be reading a book in peace. Self care is an individual thing, it’s about what makes you feel good. While it might seem silly to book a baby sitter to go to the gym perhaps find one with a crèche or some nearby occasional care you can use. Or use family and friends if you have the option. Perhaps you can take an annual leave day from work on a day that your little cherub is in childcare. Leave them there and enjoy a day to yourself!

4. It’s all about give and take!

Negotiate with your partner. It takes some timing and organising but you can both make time to look after yourselves and each other by taking turns to have your “you time”. It might be once a week, it might be once a fortnight, it might only be once a month but it can be really important that you make it happen. There is a word of caution with this one, it has to be a give and take. While it doesn’t work if one person does all the taking it also doesn’t work if you’re both determined to all the giving. Tim and I have an unfortunate habit of not wanting to relax or indulge in “me time” while the other person has Hugh. This means we both insist the other person goes first but we both feel bad that the other one misses out so in the end neither of us do it. Completely counterproductive.

5. Remember the couple part too!

Tim and I are going away this weekend for my birthday without Hugh. We’re staying at a hotel in Sydney for my birthday and Hugh is staying in Wollongong with my Mum. We try and take advantage of having family down to go out for dinner, just the two of us, to spend time talking about each other and about “us”. We feel it’s really important keep the couple part of our relationship strong. It makes us better people and better parents. Going away for the night is the ultimate in couple time and we cannot wait! And I don’t feel bad about leaving Hugh. He’s with my Mum and he will be safe, well looked after and we’ve done it before so no need for stress and anxiety.

So now that I have sprouted these words of wisdom it all sounds pretty simple. It’s not. It’s hard. But anything worth doing requires a bit of hard work.

I’m off to indulge in my me time now, might paint my nails, might watch some Netflix, might write a self indulgent blog about me time…who knows 🙂

 

Workin’ 9 to 5

IMG_5108Last week I had my first day back at work in 48 weeks. I’m easing myself back in with one day a week before I go in for four days a week in June which (if anyone is interested and has the option) is a great way of getting back into the swing of things at your own pace.

The decision to return to work is hard and it varies from family to family. Everyone’s circumstances are different and there are a lot of factors that contribute to the decision about whether one (or both) parents return to the workplace.

For us, (Tim and I) me going back to work means childcare for Hugh who is still only 10 months old and that was not something I was thrilled about at first. The closer the day got the more worried I became. On the first day I tried to leave him at childcare the tears that rolled down his fat little cheeks broke my heart and I’m not ashamed to admit I cried myself in the car all the way home.

On top of that was the overwhelming fear that I had forgotten how to do my job. As a facilitator I teach leadership and management skills. I speak to adults about adult things, like emotional intelligence, communication and team performance. For the last 48 weeks my primary focus has been keeping a small human alive, just stringing words together so they make sense and learning the words to the entirety of the Wiggles back catalogue. Needless to say the two don’t really align.

As my return date got closer my nerves were in overdrive and my concern about my ability to rejoin the workforce was at an all time high. But at no point did I think I wouldn’t go back.

There are a few reasons why I was always going to return to work.

Obviously there was a money factor. While my salary might not be huge and childcare costs big bucks, financially we are definitely better off with me working four days a week than not.

The other and more important reason is that I am actually ready to go back to work for myself, to engage with people on a professional level and, to be honest, reclaim a little bit of pre baby Amy.

Being a Mum is great and I love the time I spend with my baby boy (most of the time) but I do miss parts of my pre baby life. I miss the discussion about the merits of different leadership theories when I facilitate a program. I love researching new ideas and seeing how they can work for my organisation and I love being part of a team of like minded individuals working together each day to make the magic happen.

I’ve always believed that work should mean something more than just something that pays the bills and believe me when I say I know that I’m lucky to be in a position where that is the case. My job is such a big part of who I am that I can’t imagine giving it up indefinitely.

I think it’s important to reinforce here that this is not a slight or judgement on anyone who decides to stay at home with their kids. I’ve only done it for 10 months and I know that it is not all “lattes with the ladies”. Looking after children is a full time job and in someways I feel I have taken the easy option letting childcare take care of my boy while I go and have an uninterrupted coffee in the office or eat my lunch with two hands while not being covered in baby food or vomit.

I have felt that going back to work also makes me a better Mum to Hugh. For 8 hours a day on a Wednesday I put away “Mum Amy” for a little while and indulge in my old ways. The first time I sat down at my swingy chair at my desk with my pens and my coffee my insides did a little happy dance. My brain powered up and tapped into a part it hadn’t used for a while and I felt brilliant! Then at 3.30pm I go and get my baby and I am so excited to see him! I want to cuddle and snuggle. I have oodles of tolerance for little whinges and needy moments of “Mumma pick me up” and “Mumma I just want to rip your hair out”. I just want to spend the afternoon bonding with Hugh and I feel that sometimes I have more quality time with him on a Wednesday afternoon than I do the days where I have him all day, when life generally gets in the way.

The Mum guilt is a thing. While I don’t suffer too badly from it one day a week I feel when I go to four it will hit me a lot harder. Having said that I still think the pluses I get from working will outweigh the nagging voice in my head that says I’m not being a good Mum to Hugh.

And if the nagging voice continues I’ll shut her up with a strong two handed coffee and a good old turn in my office swingy chair!

 

To splurge or to save; that is the question!

From the moment I found out I was pregnant I was filled with a lot of emotions. Elation, excitement, anticipation, terror. But I can tell you the one thing that was rapidly not filled – our wallets. That was rapidly unfilled, or “emptied” of you will.

Babies.Cost.Money.

Before they’re even born the little humans have you haemorrhaging cash faster than you can say “my car cost less than that pram”. Tim and I quickly discovered there are A LOT of things you can buy for your impending arrival from carriers to beds to weird heart rate monitor things, all of which pitch themselves as the last word in protecteding and loving your baby. Nothing like some early parental guilt to get you rapidly purchasing every product and taking out a second mortgage on your house.

Fortuntaely I had friends and family who had been new parents before and were able to offer some advice on what they found useful and some thrifty hints along the way. In the interest of passing on the wisdom I hope this post helps some other new parents navigate their way through Baby Bunting/Kingdom/other completely overwhelming baby store.

DISCLAIMER- this is just an opinion on things we found helpful and is in no way judging or pooh – poohing any body else’s way of shopping for their baby. What works works guys!

So let’s start with the SAVE category.

1. Clothes.

Before you fork out $80 for the cutest little newborn outfit you’ve ever seen remember, babies change clothing size 2-3 times before they’re 6 months old and then again every 6 months after that depending on the brand. This means the cost per wear on that outfit is not great. I bought a $50 Seed outfit for Hugh and that boy wore that outfit at every single opportunity I could come up with until Tim declared that surely it was an it small and he could wear something else.

Target, Big W and Kmart all have super cute clothes for $5-$20 per outfit or look on your local buy swap and sell Facebook page and op shops. There are a lot of barely worn infant clothes there waiting for a new home at a bargain price!

2. Toys.

In the interest of stimulating our boy and giving him the very best start in life and we got him a lot of toys. Like anything there are a lot of toy options out there from the brightest of colours to those cool Scandinavian looking arty pieces (I mean toys, sorry). Trust me when I say your baby will love the noisest, ugliest, most colourful today you have. Even better than that your baby will love the TV remote, your keys, an empty yogurt container and his fathers dirty shoes. The very expensive toys will not always be the most popular choice. I’m a sucker for cool toys though and I have managed to fulfill this need without breaking our bank by hitting up Gumtree and my buy swap and sell page! I’ve managed to get a walker for Hugh for $10, a stand up car for $15 and Thomas the Tank Engine tent and tunnel set for $25. All of these retail for much much more and to be honest he’ll grow out of most of them within 12 months so I’m glad I haven’t splashed my cash!

3.  Car capsule

We decided to hire our car capsule and have never looked back! The car capsule is not to be confused with the car seat. A capsule usually sits in a base and can be clicked in and out of the car and your pram. The catch with the capsule is depending on the size of your small (or not so small) human it may only last you 4-6 months before you are shoving their rapidly growing limbs into this tiny torture chamber. Our capsule retails for around $400. Instead of buying it we hired it through Kidsafe and paid $120 for the 6 month period. You do the math there. Extra bonus is they don’t start the 6 month hire period until your baby is actually born and they professionally fit it for you in your car. AND it’s one less thing you have to store once Junior rapidly grows out of it. That’s someone else’s problem!

5. Random other saves

My Mum is a huge fan of her local Mission Australia Shop and can I tell you, so am I! She has picked up loads from toys for Hugh and my nephew Louis. The other score was a baby bath for $1 (a tubs a tub right).

We also borrowed a lot of things from bottles and a steriliser to sleep swaddles, toys, even our bassinet! If you can borrow it do it! Not only does it save cash, it saves you from having to store all this stuff once bub doesn’t use it any more.

Now, where to SPEND.

1. Pram.

A pram is going to last you for a while. Depending on how independent your offspring turns out to be could be anywhere from 2-4 years. We wanted something with a slim profile (to get around the kitschy homewares stores that we love), easy to collapse (so I didn’t have a melt down 2-3 times a day in random car parks) and a large shopping basket (nuff said there) and we were willing to invest to get what we wanted. Hugh spent a lot of time in his pram and it was important to us that we had one we really liked. As a comparison for you, we did buy a cheaper smaller stroller with the idea we would use it for travelling. It has been dubbed “the shopping trolley” as its steering strongly resembles that supermarket nightmare with wheels going everywhere and takes you precariously close to ththe carefully stacked tower of tuna tins.

2. Mattress

We purchased a cot for Hugh with the removable side meaning it will eventually turn into a toddler bed. The bed itself wasn’t that expensive but we did splurge on a better mattress that will go the distance for 3-4 years.

Ok, that ones a bit boring but hey – not everything can be fun and giggles right?

3. Baby Monitor

Aside from the fact that Tim got talked into buying the top of the line baby monitor because it had a touch screen we did intend to spend a reasonable amount on a good monitor and it gave me great peace of mind once Hugh moved into his own room. It was very reassuring for me to be able to see him not just hear him and it does help me to make judgement calls on whether he really needs me or if he will settle back to sleep.

4. Car seat

These suckers are expensive. There is no way around it BUT they do last you 4-8 years depending on which one you get and unlike a lot of other stuff that’s out there they directly contribute to your child’s safety. And they’re a legal requirement so if you’re going to do it do it right!

So that’s my advice but to be honest, don’t over think it too much. If you want to buy the $80 baby outfit because you’re pregnant and excited, do it! If you feel the need to splurge on a $4000 cot then go for it! At the end of the day its just important that you and your baby are happy and well kitted out.

 

 

Baby Killers

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I would like to start this post by pointing out that Tim and I live in a very normal house. In fact it’s a new build with no major structural or “wear and tear” issues that I’m aware of. We are also careful and considerate people and I’m confident I speak for both of us when I say we are never intentionally lax when it comes to the safety of anyone, let alone our child. I’m ashamed to say that until we had Hugh I was unaware that we were living a reckless, devil may care life in a baby death trap with danger and destruction lurking around every corner.

Ordinary, everyday objects take on a whole new level or terror with a baby, especially as they get older. And more mobile. And more “everything in the mouth”. Newborns are a cinch. In the first 12 weeks of Hugh’s life I was terrified of harming him in some way, but I was new to all of this and had no idea the true danger that lay ahead. Newborns just lie there. Sure, they cry and poop and feed and sleep too but the most beautiful thing about a newborn (aside from their adorable little faces) is the fact that they are immobile. You put them somewhere and they don’t move. They drink liquid which goes down like a non choking dream and life is generally good. You don’t appreciate it at the time, but trust me, it’s good.

While I can’t pinpoint the exact date that things went south I feel like I really started noticing it when Hugh hit the 4 month mark. Since that day the list of things that are trying to harm my son includes, but is not limited to:

– our bed/ any grown up beds (already rolled off one)

– lounges with a gap greater than his own body width (already wedged himself beneath one)

– coffee shops and everything in them ( see ‘Mum Gone Wild’ for more details on that one)

– stairs (basically a siren call for babies)

– anything with a power cord (straight in the mouth)

– anything with batteries (straight in the mouth)

– anything with small pieces (straight in the mouth)

– Car keys (straight in the mouth – seeing a pattern yet?)

– Non age appropriate foods

– Age appropriate foods

– Nature (flora and fauna). Spiders in my house are a WHOLE new level of horror (not yet in the mouth but give it time).

All of these sound relatively harmless but I’m forgetting to mention the biggest danger of all. The greatest of all dangers to my beautiful baby boy is himself. Hugh is like “Capatin Risky” from that insurance commercial but without the crash helmet or the ability to speak. He is determined to turn the most innocuous everyday item into a weapon of self harm.

The age appropriate rice cakes we feed him are designed to “dissolve as the infant chews them”. Doesn’t work when the infant in question insists on putting the whole buscuit in his mouth at once and then gags profusely because he can’t close said mouth let alone chew. Much time is spent fishing bits of food out of Hugh’s mouth as his eyes are bigger than his, well, his mouth I guess.

While our car keys are a jangly delight in the hands of my boy they are a tonsillectomy waiting to happen. Why can’t you just look at them?! Why does it take less than 30 seconds for you to stop shaking them with delight and progress to shoving the longest, and suddenly the most lethal looking key down your throat?

Hugh was on our bed the other morning while we got dressed and I turned to find him eating my iPhone charger. It wasn’t plugged in thankfully but of the two sides he could be gumming on which did he choose? The smooth, less dangerous white display end? No. That would be simple. Instead he was sucking one of the metal prongs furiously while being awfully close to sticking the other two up his nostrils. Truth be told I don’t even know how he got it off my bedside table. He’s just a magnet for things that can cause him bodily harm.

Even in his own walled cot he dances with death. When we had to transition Hugh to sleep with his arms out of his swaddle we gave him a soft lamb blankey ( a gift from his Aunty Emsey) to help him sleep. You see, he used snuggle his face to into the “wings” of the swaddle for comfort and then drop off. The lamb was to replace the wings and it worked. Kind of. Unfortunately rather than just cuddling into the lamb on the side Hugh insisted on  dragging it over his face and that was it. What followed  was a stress filled two hours watching the monitor for small twitches or signs that he was alive and hadn’t smothered himself to death with his much loved “Lambie”. Against all SIDS guidelines he has also taken to sleeping on his tummy, face first in the mattress.

We’re doing all we can to protect our boy from harm but it feels like no matter what I do he will find a way to seek out the riskiest most thrilling thing in the room and gravitate towards it, whether that be open power outlets, heavy unstable objects or set of deceptively harmless keys that happen to be lying around.

The only solution is to remove everything and create a white padded room with soft walls and soothing sounds and nothing harmful. Not for Hugh, for me, so I can escape for a while from the stress of a mobile, exploratory Hugh Abrahams.

 

 

 

 

 

Mum gone wild!

IMG_4331.JPGLast weekend I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Adelaide to visit some of our closest friends. After lots of debating around the logistics of travel Tim and I decided that I would go by myself and he and Hugh would stay behind in Canberra and enjoy some “boy time”.

At first I will admit a wave of parental guilt washed over me – “I’ve never left him for more than 1 night” (Hugh that is, not Tim), ” what if he misses me too much he can’t sleep or eat?” or even worse “what if he forgets who I am?”. This is probably a good time to point out I was only going for 3 nights and technically only 2 full days but parental guilt cares not for logic, it only wants you to second guess yourself as much as possible.

ANYWAY… I’m happy to say that slowly but surely the parental guilt began to subside and as my preparation commenced I began to appreciate the true beauty of travelleing as a solo human. The sudden freedom I had filled me with a reckless abandon and I revelled in the wild and crazy* opportunities that came my way. (*please note, wild and crazy as defined by parenting standards.)

It started the night before my departure. As I started to plan what I needed to take two things struck me straight away:

1. No Hugh means I can travel with only about 1/6 of the stuff I normally pack. No full sized suitcase +nappy bag+ stroller+carry on bag required. Not only that but my own personal packing could also be drastically reduced as the need for 3-4 emergency outfit changes for myself could be culled! I could pack ONE singular, solo, easily managed carry on bag and still have room to spare. Life changing stuff.

2. No Hugh = no bottles, no formula, no assortment of likely to leak puréed food containers, no bibs, no toys, no dummys, NOTHING that could potentially ruin the inside of a handbag. It was a revelation. Overcome with emotion I reached into the top of my wardrobe and lovingly, reverently pulled down my beautiful Michael Kors tote bag. Michael had been packed away just before I had Hugh as he is far too precious to be exposed to the Mum life I now lead. But travelling solo gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my darling handbag love with no fear of him being ruined or soiled by my baby or by baby related products. It was sheer bliss.

When I arrived at the airport I went to the bar and I had a wine! Yeah I did! By myself, and while I had that wine I read a book! I’m serious, you can’t make this stuff up! I read and drank my bubbles and gave 100% of my concentration to those two activities. The feeling of bliss continued as I boarded the plane and continued to read not one, not two, but MULTIPLE CHAPTERS of my book in complete peace. I could even use two hands and ate a sandwich at the same time. It’s almost too much, I know.

This next bit was probably too wild, maybe I took things a bit too far, but by this point my new found freedom was taking over me and I couldn’t control my actions. I had a stopover in Melbourne and I found a cafe. Not just any cafe though, a cafe that specifically had tiny tables.

Anyone who has a baby/toddler at the grabby stage is nodding right now, you know where I’m heading with this.

Going for coffee, or any beverage, with a grabby small human is hard work. They just want to touch and pull everything. The strategy is usually to move everything to the far side of the table away from grasping fingers however with tiny tables this can prove problematic as, depending on the reach of your small human, the other side of the table is not far enough. Sometimes it feels like the table next to you isn’t even far enough and suddenly a coffee out is a game of preventive chess as you move things around the table in various formations to prevent your opponent (the baby) from upending everything and causing you to leave the cafe and probably never come back. That coffee shop is dead to you now. So yeah, tiny tables and a tiny human just can’t mix.

The coffee shop in Melbourne Airport had the tiniest of tables with an open sugar bowl and grabbable spoons. I sat there and I didn’t move anything. What a thrill! But wait, it gets better – the waitress brought my coffee over and put it down on the edge of the table closest to me AND I LEFT IT THERE!!! It was almost too much to be honest. I felt invincible! Nothing could hold me back!

By the time I arrived back in Canberra after 2 (and a bit) days I had throughly indulged my solo adult self and all jokes aside I felt like a new person.

Don’t get me wrong, I missed by baby and my husband very much. I’m pretty sure the smile when I saw them on Sunday morning nearly split my face in two and my heart swelled with love until I felt like it might burst. The few days of true “grown up” time let me renew and recharge myself in an increadible way and allowed me to wholly and solely focus on me, something that makes me a better person and more importantly a better parent.

To anyone with kids out there make sure you indulge in “you time” every now and again and reconnect with your pre children wild and crazy self, even if it’s just for a few hours at a cafe with tiny tables and lidless sugar bowls. You’ve earned it.

 

 

The body issue.

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I put on 30kg during my pregnancy. Given that I lost 4kg due to the severe morning sickness in my first trimester that is certainly an impressive accomplishment. There are many days that I wonder how I managed to gain that much weight in 6 months, then I remember the addiction to cheesymite scrolls, KFC twisters and chips that followed the extreme food aversion of the first trimester and suddenly it makes a bit more sense.

I am no stranger to losing weight having been a bigger girl in my early 20s. I lost my considerable girth through diet and exercise and until about 2 months ago I was confident that I could knock this baby weight flat on it’s ass pretty easily using the same method. That assumption was INCORRECT!

Why? Why do my previous methods of weight shedding no longer work? Why is my body not “bouncing back” to it’s previous bouncy self? What the hell is going on here?!?!?!

I have come to the conclusion that this is because I have grown and birthed a human. Apparently this is a very monumental thing for the body to do and for many women their bodies never go back to the way they were. This theory is supported by a long and unsatisfactory discussion with my GP who concluded by telling me there was no magic bullet to fix my post baby weight gain. Unfortunately it’s just diet and exercise with the added bonus that loosing weight post baby is definitely harder because of what your body has been through and can be a lot slower than what I’ve done before.

Stuff that.

I know what you’re thinking – “but Amy, don’t you feel sexy and powerful after watching your body do such an amazing thing like pregnancy and giving birth?”

No. I am not that person. My hair is falling out, I am less fit than a tiny weak kitten who hates going to the gym and to be honest I am resentful that my body has betrayed me like this. The skin on my stomach has stretched and now flaps against itself when I run. Discovered that little gem during personal training the other day when I couldn’t work out what that weird noise was. Nothing is un sexier than that. Top that off with the fact that my knees are tender and creeky and my wrists make some sort of cracking sound during push-ups I’m like a one woman percussion band when I hit the gym. So hot.

So why is this weight loss suddenly so hard?

P.B (pre baby) I went to the gym at least once a day and fitness was a top priority . A baby doesn’t let you do that (at least mine doesn’t) mainly because you are so damn tired all the time. When Tim comes home from work, we bath Hugh, give him a bottle and throw him in bed at which point I proceed to get my own bottle and relocate to the lounge where I lie like a very comfortable beached whale until it’s time to go to bed. In the mornings I am still in “sleep as much and as often as you can” mode which makes early rising a difficult manoeuvre. I could book Hugh into the crèche at my gym but I keep forgetting to do that (subconscious sabotage?) so I’m the first to admit I have the opportunity but I don’t take it as much as I should. The motivation just isn’t there and I’m struggling to get it back.

I have rejoined Weight Watchers and the weight is SLOWLY creeping down. When I say slowly pretty sure a snail with concrete weighs attached to its shell is faster than my weight loss at the moment but you know what, it’s happening and that is a good thing!

While I may feel less than positive about my post baby body now and desperately long for my pre baby body back I am trying to change my tune. My weight will come down (eventually) and my fitness will come back (slowly). But I’ll never be the same as I was before physically or emotionally. I have a happy, healthy baby boy who has changed everything about my life (including my poor body) forever. If I’m ever going to be happy I need to set myself some realistic expectations and stop reading “How Miranda Kerr lost all of her post baby weight in 3 days and WOW she even looks better than she did before” articles in OK Magazine.

I will continue to persevere with the post baby girth but I’ve accepted it’s a marathon not a sprint and that the end result will never be what it once was.

On the upside I’ve already decided on the name for my yet to be written autobiography – “The Sound of One Stomach Flapping”.

Sorry, I’ve been wanting to use that line for a while.

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Things I’ve loved this week :

Storage cubes from Target. A great way to store Hugh’s smaller toys in an easy to locate way! https://www.target.com.au/p/ltd-kaleidoscope-coated-paper-cube/58806159

My shellac manicure. Keeps on keeping on.

My new Lipsense lipsticks! Beautiful colours and does not come off on my coffee cup, my wine glass or my son! Complete win!