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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.