Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Anzac Day.

Just thought I would share some photos I took of Smidge and I preparing for Anzac Day. A wonderful friend of mine provided lots of yummy Anzac biscuits and drinks for the diggers after the march so I was very pleased to help out with making some of them. As you can see, so was Smidge.

Well, first we need a cute outfit...

We tip the 'stuff' in

You can tip it low, or tip it high. High is more fun!

Mum will do some fiddly stuff on the 'ooo hot!' but then you can mix it

And use your hands to mix it a bit more...

Roll it into balls...

Try not to worry about spills- that's what Mum is there for...

And cook until they are golden brown. Yum!

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I think I might have found my motivation?!

Yep, I think I may have just stumbled upon it! And of course it is in the least likely place.

This morning I got up early.

Now my son is a nightowl so I am not going to tell you our definition of early, it would just be cruel. But I am up and about while he is still splayed out taking up 3/4 of a queen sized bed (as only babies toddlers all children can)

But anyway…I’m up. My husband is thrilled to not be the only ‘creature’ prowling round the house at this hour (the dog is still asleep too!) I have eaten breakfast, (which in itself is a small miracle), the swim bag is packed, my week is planned, folding has been done, clothes have been taken off the line. So far I have done more this morning than I have the entire weekend 🙂

And I think I like it.

I too am a nightowl, I would much prefer to be up into the wee hours of the morning and then get a sleep in the next day. But my life with a toddler doesn’t seem to work that way. I used to be able to get all the household jobs done when my husband and I were home from work, after dinner and a bit of relaxing. Now, by the time my lovely husband walks through the door, I am hanging out for my ‘shift’ to finish, so I can have some time to myself. And after the little sample of me time, there is no way I want to get up and start housework. I pretend I will, but it never happens.

But today is a bright and shiny new day! I have even had time to write about it! So I want to know…am I the first person who has made this brilliant discovery? Where and when are you motivated? Do you think I can keep it up? And please, if you do this, please tell me I can sleep in on the weekends?…

Wordless Wednesday – Negative

I’m used to thinking my daughters look very different.  Then someone came back to playgroup who hadn’t seen us in a couple of years, and her comment was – The little one looks just like the big one used to but with the opposite colouring!  And looking at this photo, I can see it.

Wordless Wednesday – Shape Collage

This will actually have quite a few words.  I’ve found a fantastic free programme called Shape Collage that does exactly that – you put your photos in and it gives you a collage in any shape you want.  It has some pre-programmed, but you can also create any silhouette you like and off you go.  I can see it will be fantastic for presents and fun!  I’ve been playing around with it, this is one I’ve made.

Having a shower by myself – saying yes to me

It doesn’t sound that momentous.  And it’s not as if showering with the girls is difficult – they sit in the bath, I pass them the occasional toy and they play together.  But last weekend I got quite a bit of me-time while sewing the shirred dress, even if it was in 10 minute blocks!  So when my husband offered to distract the girls so I could shower by myself, my first instinct was to say that’s fine, I’m OK.

But is OK enough?  Why don’t I deserve the time to be good, great, fantastic?  Unfortunately it comes down to one word – guilt.

I’ve managed to convince myself I have to be a perfect parent or I’m hurting my kids.  This is wrong and I know it intellectually.  I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I know that kids have done very well over the years in less than ideal conditions and they’re pretty tough.  I even know that something like books and reading (for example) are incredibly new and people have learnt to use them without being read to for an hour a day from birth.  When it’s an individual example like that I’m perfectly rational.  But in my day to day emotions there’s always something I should be doing, or doing better, or worst of all not doing.

And in the rare cases where something goes wrong!  I’m extremely lucky and I know it, I have two healthy, happy little girls.  But between their sleep (or lack thereof) and their speech (big girl had a moderate delay which seems to be resolved, little girl is following in her footsteps) it seems that at least once a day I ask what on earth I’m doing wrong.  How did I create this sleep problem?  What have I neglected that has stopped them from talking?  How (why!) did I make them so clingy?

You can see the problem right there in that paragraph – the good things are due to luck, the bad things are all my fault.  And that turns into guilt.

I don’t know how I developed this attitude.  Probably a lot of things contributed, I’m a bit of an overachiever and a lot of a control freak, and there’s just so much information out there!  I’m not going to write a list because I don’t want to scare anyone else, but I managed to turn all sorts of things from extra bonuses into needs.  Rather than thinking how ‘lucky’ my kids are because they get so many extras on top of being happy, healthy and secure, or even (shock!) what a good job I might be doing, I’ve turned it around to say I’m doing a lousy job because they’re missing out.

It’s irrational.  I know it, but I can’t seem to help it.  And it’s not doing me or my kids any good as I stumble along near the edge.  Isn’t that sad – I’m realising I have to stop chasing unattainable perfection not because it’s impacting on me, but on my parenting.  Just shows how trapped I am.  So this is the first step.  When my husband offers me a shower all on my own, I’m going to take it even if I’ve had some me-time.  I’m going to keep track of me-time to make sure I actually get it and know that I get it.  And I’m writing it down so I can see how silly it is, and maybe start to believe it.

13 Things I’ve Learnt From My Children


Thursday 13

1.  You aren’t going to walk straight away, so get really good at standing and the walking will happen.

2.  Take time to smell the roses, and the grass, and look at the ants, and the caterpillar, and oh look!  There’s a dead leaf!

3.  Sometimes you need a really good cry.

4.  Just because this part of the slide is hot doesn’t mean it all is, so check it all out.

5.  The world won’t collapse if you write your S backwards.

6.  When you’re happy to see someone, race out, give them a hug and tell them.

7.  When you’re throwing a tantrum you forget what you were originally after.

8.  When you’re pushing someone on a swing, you have to keep stepping back as they get higher.

9.  It’s a really different world when all you can see are knees and shoes.

10.  If someone tickles you on the stomach, giggle and tickle them back.

11.  Sometimes you need to tell the seeker where you’re hiding.

12.  Even if you copy someone completely you won’t be just like them.

13.  Forgive and forget – stewing over it only hurts you, not them.

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Please wish us sleep

Tonight, we begin attempt #273 to DO SOMETHING about little girl’s sleep.  Regular readers may notice the change in nickname, which is the problem – she is moving beyond babyhood.  It’s not that I think there is an arbitrary point where she should learn to sleep, it’s that she is now 22 months old and I can count on my fingers the number of times she has slept longer than 2 hours.  I am exhausted.  She’s not even consistent – the extremely rare occasions when she’s slept for 5 hour blocks are generally preceded by a feeding orgy where she might give me 20 minute breaks between 3 or 4 hour long feeds, so I’ve paid heavily for my oblivion.

Of course it’s not really #273, we’ve tried hard to be consistent and give an approach a decent time to work.  We walked many miles during the early reflux nights.  When that passed we discovered she was an extremely light sleeper and would be woken up by things like moving position or someone walking past.  She refused wrapping, but we got a monitor and closed all the doors, avoided the toilet, and discovered that I could feed her to sleep lying on our bed then roll off without waking her.  That’s how the full-time co-sleeping started.

We expected the 4 month monsters, which turned into the 5, 6, 7 and 8 month monsters with no improvements.  Every now and then we would try something like cuddling after a feed but it always ended with hysteria and throwing up, a legacy of the reflux?  Then we rode out the 2 months, or possibly 3 or 4 my memory’s blurred, when she wouldn’t sleep without a boob in her mouth.  Eventually I stopped trying to detach her, made the most of it and caught up with my reading.  It was a major celebration when she let go.

We had a very stressful time with a lot of interstate travel at the height of her separation anxiety (did I mention she’s extremely clingy?), but surprisingly it led to a breakthrough – we got her onto a mattress next to our bed.  At that point, up to 2 hours with extra space in both beds felt like heaven.  I don’t sleep well when she’s sucking, probably because so much of it is comfort sucking, so I’ve never had the luxury of just letting her attach and not really noticing.

Throughout all this we tried dummies many times, lullabies, meditation music, white noise, wrapping, sleepsacks, fans on and off, air conditioners on and off and several variations of light.  I’ve tried pulling the nipple out, patting, rubbing, holding, singing, cuddling and Daddy.  But she’s very simple and very consistent – I want a real nipple until I decide to let it go.  Do not touch me, do not sing, do not cover me with anything, and do not turn the lights out.  And if you’re very lucky it might take less than 40 minutes and you might not have to do it again for a couple of hours.

Maybe.

At 18 months it got beyond a joke so we tried partial night weaning.  I didn’t feed between 11 and 4am and she didn’t sleep.  At all.  At least thats what it felt like after yet another night of going to bed at 2am.  She would wake up (again) sometime between 11 and 1am and then cry, ranging from screaming hysterics to gentle hiccups for 2 to 5 hours.  Some of the time she would sit on your lap quietly, but the eyes didn’t close.  In 10 weeks I got her to sleep without feeding a total of 3 times, one of those I went to bed at 4am, another 5am and the third I fell asleep with her on the couch about 3am, not good.  DH found me and I tried to move at 4am, which predictably woke her up.  DH had a much better record, which was why we persevered so long, and there were those elusive nights when she slept for 5 hours which kept making us think that maybe she was getting it.

Then we went away.  It’s not really polite to stay in someone else’s house and have your baby cry for several hours every night and it makes it rather hard to enjoy the holiday!  So she and I slept in one bed and DH and the big girl slept in another and she actually did quite “well” so long as I was with her and didn’t try to get up, only feeding 4 or 5 times a night. But I’m not willing to spend the next however many months or years with her attached 24 hours a day (remember the clinginess?), 22 months with only the odd half hour here and there free is enough.

Coming back has been disastrous.  She’s jetlagged and will either get up and play for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, or suck for a 4 hour block plus hourly wakeups and she’s back to waking when anyone breathes too heavily.  The big girl is also waking up every night and DH is dealing with her so we’re all exhausted.  I can no longer cope, crying is a nightly event and there are times I’m scared I might hurt her seriously (Note: my idea of hurting her is to hit her.  I know people do this on purpose every day, but I don’t hit my kids.  She is in no danger).  I know I’ve accidentally hurt her a couple of times in a minor way by squeezing her too tight or accidentally digging my nails into her.  And the guilt from it all piles on top of the frustration and the helplessness.

I’m sorry, believe it or not this started as a fairly positive post because we do have a new plan we’re starting tonight, but it’s now 1am and I’m writing because I’ve been trying to get her to sleep since 8.30 (ETA – she slept from 1am – 6am!).  Friday is a good day to start because then we have the weekend to recover if needed.  We’ve put a queensize bed in the big girl’s room and they’re going to co-sleep sideways across it, that way DH or I can fit in too when we are in there.  It’s worked quite well on holidays, and the idea is that maybe with someone else next to her she might be more settled.  And maybe without us coming in and moving around she might not be woken up.  And maybe without me right there she might not want a feed.  And who knows?  Something’s got to work eventually.  We’re going to put big girl in our bed to go to sleep at first and move her in later, until we see how it goes.  If we can get the rest of the night to improve then we’ll look at putting them to sleep together.

So that’s the plan if you’ve got this far.  I’d love to hear comments and ideas (or gasps of admiration that I’m still semi-functioning), although I have to admit I think we’ve tried most of the suggestions out there.  Except weaning off feeding to sleep, and given the complete lack of success of partial weaning and the huge problems it caused with her sister it ranks somewhere below anti-depressants for me on the list of things to try.  And unfortunately, I would happily have gone to a sleep school or paid a professional or even got a Granny in to help many months ago except we live in a remote town interstate from our relatives.

So there it is, I’ll accept any offers of luck but I’d really like people to wish us some sleep!