Posts Tagged ‘babywearing’

Things I’ve learnt while being away.

We’ve just been away for 3 weeks.  A great holiday, all our relatives live in Perth so the girls get a huge amount of attention from everyone and get to catch up and know everyone.  It’s wonderful, but no matter how nice everyone is it’s hard to live in someone else’s house for that long.  I’m glad to be back to my own washing machine, my own kitchen and the girls’ own beds and toys!

Rather than a travelogue and a bit in the spirit of cAt’s earlier post, here are some of the tips and tricks and ‘Things I’ve Learnt While Being Away.”

  • If you are so unfortunate as to have an electric hot water system, turn it off before you leave.  And for the week before you go eat leftovers and clear the fridge!
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  • If you have a long drive, put any nappy-wearers into a night nappy.  It’s not nice to leave them in it for so long, but it’s less nice to wake them up and change them – drive as much as you can while they’re asleep!

 

  • A baby carrier of some sort is brilliant to get them on and off planes, I have one that carries on the front and has plastic buckles so it goes through security and is easy to get on and off in the 2 square feet of space you get in an airplane seat.

 

  • Our eldest must eat every two hours or you will suffer the consequences, with the emphasis on suffer.  Those blood sugar levels crash and it isn’t pretty.  Even if it’s only a little bit, she has to have something.  Breadsticks or Grissini are great to keep in the car as emergency food, they don’t go off or stale.  We used to have sultanas, but unfortunately our youngest reacts badly.

 

  •  Act like a tourist.  We grew up in Perth and know it pretty well, but our kids don’t.  Don’t get into the rut of just doing normal things and seeing family, go to the zoo, the museum, the national parks, the galleries.  While you’re there, use your baby carrier from the plane – we went to one attraction that had about 15 sets of stairs, and I’ve never had so many men carrying prams looking at me longingly.

 

  • Plan on lots of long car drives.  It may just be our terrible sleepers, but between jet lag, excitement and relatives who don’t allow for little children there will be lots of late nights.  And a 14 month old can go all day without a nap if she’s really determined not to miss out, but then see the point about suffering the consequences.  So we try to plan a drive around her nap time, and if she falls asleep we just keep driving.

 

  • If you’re going out in the afternoon/evening, take their PJs.  It’s much easier to change them into jammies for the drive home then pop them straight into bed, than get home late and try to change them then.

 

  • If you’re a clothie, have a strict washing routine and stick to it!  Don’t ever, ever think “Oh, there’re plenty of nappies there, I can wash them tomorrow morning.”  Even if you are washing at 11pm, get them done!!!! On that point, we use cloth exclusively even while travelling in winter, I wash every second day and transport all the dirty nappies from the travel.  She’s in them for a bit longer than I like, but it’s certainly do-able.

 

  • Finally, when you get home turn the hot water system on straight away!  And if you live in a hard water area like we do, spray the shower rose with CLR to avoid the needles of water from the calcium buildup while you’ve been away.  (Remember to run it before jumping under – you don’t want to shower in CLR!)

So today we’re unpacking, washing and rearranging, trying to get set for another dose of reality.

The Savannah

For all the ‘labour saving devices’ we are surrounded by, life in general and parenting in particular has only gotten more hectic.  We live in a world surrounded by confusion and bustle and if it’s hard for us, what must it be like for the little hunter/gatherers who are trying to work out the rules as they go along.

 When I’m frustrated by my children and they just don’t seem to ‘get it,’ I have a little trick that calms me down and helps me understand where they are coming from and why they are doing whatever it is (it usually involves lack of sleep).  So sit back comfortably, relax your shoulders, close your eyes (figuratively, unless you can read with your eyes closed) and come with me, back to the savannah …

 It’s hot.  It’s dusty.  The air is desert dry.  You sit on the ground in the shade of a small clump of trees, using a sturdy stick to pry and dig at the hard earth, searching for the rich roots and their stores of food.  Around you are a few other women, mostly sisters and co-wives, in a range of ages from new, nervous teens to wise middle age.  Toddlers and children are there too, the older girls copy you and make a game of it while the younger ones explore the trees and grass. 

 One of the children flushes a lizard, whack! You get it and throw it on a small pile.  The sudden movement startles your baby, sleeping on your back, and she stirs and starts to fuss.  You swing her around and offer her your breast, it’s important to settle her quickly.  While a healthy group is fairly safe from big predators, crying is a signal that something is very wrong with a little one, they are all alone and they are attractive prey.  Besides, who wants to listen to a baby crying?

 One of the toddlers comes over to watch her feeding, patting her.  You smile and shush him, one of the other ladies offers him a breast as well and he quickly toddles over, laughing.  Your little one goes back to sleep and you take a break to cuddle her in your lap and look around.

She wakes in a few minutes and you continue digging with her sitting in your lap, quietly talking to her and showing her things.  One of the older toddlers notices and comes over to get her, lifting her and practically dragging her over to the other children.  They are sitting with one of the older women who has made a small fire, and she rescues your baby and snuggles her in her lap while showing the children how to cook some of the food that has been gathered.

 There.  Don’t you feel more relaxed now?