Monday, November 30, 2009


well, it's only week 3 and she's still sleeping alot. That said, I did just finish about 3 solid hours of holding her and making sure that her sore tummy/teeth isn't giving her so much grief that she thinks she's alone...

Now much else to write, very sleepy here and Ethan and daddy are at the Wiggles concert. I can't wait to hear all about it when he gets back!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Families...

We've been harbouring a storm here lately. My son Ethan, as you know, is well and truly in to his second year. I am starting to believe they shouldn't give the ages of children numbers, but that they should label the year instead, to remind you of what you're in for. I'd label this year the 'Year of Defiance and Self-Determination'. It's so strange that the behaviour that Ethan is presenting is so challenging, yet, to be honest, if he were a teen I'd be ecstatic at his level of independence!

Ethan is an adorable, wonderful little boy. He is incredibly confident, self-assured and aware of his surroundings, he's gentle with his sister, and social with his friends. He is also a tyrannical child, who is bossy, demanding, emotional and high maintainance. We often find we don't know which way the winds blowing with him, and it's just a constant battle of wills some days!

That's why I haven't blogged much these past couple of weeks. In the sleepy house of the newborn, we've also been tackling a 2 yr old that wakes up at 5am, has no gears in his energy levels, just a go and a stop button, and who is dealing with the new arrival of a little sister who I'm sure (to him), seems like she takes up all of mum and dad's time. So we're on the battlefront, trying to both set boundaries and also to nurture and love him as he is, and that's why I'm a bit absent. Hope you can forgive me, this might endure a while longer...!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Well, we've got past the first week here in whiney fairy land and Alice is fitting in well. She's a seemingly contented baby, has taught me that she does NOT like mustard in her breastmilk (hey, I never knew!), and aside from that we've just had to start re-assuring her that the difference between day and night is that mum really likes to sleep at night! I think it's true what they say about mum's with more than one baby, because I am soooo much more relaxed this time than I was with Ethan.

We've been doing super-well with the stay at home challenge (as I now am calling it!). I am determined to get as close to pay day as possible without entering a supermarket or store (but the store part fell apart yesterday, as we had a birthday party and I forgot to pre-buy a present unfortunately). We've run out of fresh milk, but I just made up a load of powdered for myself and the uht is still going strong for the gentlemen of the house. We're having a couple friends around today, and I've even managed to not have to go out for them to be catered for too. I was having a mild panic attack this morning, because I 'always do potato salad' for our bbq's and thought I'd best run off to the market for the ingredients. Then I floated the option to my partner that we have coleslaw and pasta salad instead. "Yeah, sounds good" came the reply - well, good compared to going to the market I think!!!

So we've been becoming the masters of 'making do' this week. We have not done much other than have a couple of visitors, leaving the house only when necessary (trying to make our fuel last for two weeks instead of one is a huuuuge challenge for us, but luckily there's a lot of home-based entertainment: more on that in a moment) and have pretty much left the bank balance alone. Last pay I got a bit excited and paid too much off our debt, leaving us with very little in our actual spending account. Silly move! I usually wait to put the excess on until the end of the pay cycle, but for some reason (can I blame enthusiasm and pregnancy brain?) I sent our excess off to the bank at the beginning of the pay cycle, and that's why we're really watching our money. I don't think we'd be behaving any differently than we would have anyway, but it's really bought home how much difference there is between what we think we need when we have got spare money and what we actually really need when we don't.

Ethan is still doing really well, and despite our 'house-boundedness' we've kept our little adventurer happy and healthy. Yesterday we made delish Zucchini and Orange Cake from Womens Weekly's "Creative Cooking on a Budget" (also known as my Favourite Cookbook of All Time), and that will see us entertain our morning visitors, with maybe even a bit for afternoon tea after our bbq lunch. I like to think that in his future Ethan will make a great cook, because he's always encouraged to help me in the kitchen - so far he's learned many things that I won't go in to, but suffice to say he'll sit on the floor with me and find recipes in our cookbooks and natter away about 'what we gunna make' quite a lot. I love it. We've also put together some fantastic playdough from my friend Kristi's recipe. She makes a cooked playdough, and it can't be beat!

Kristi's Playdough....
Add 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil and some food colouring (but only a few drops!). Throw it all in the saucepan, over a low heat and stir, stir, stir, until the mix resembles playdough. Turn it out on to a hard surface once it's cooled a little and then give it a knead. Leave until completely cool and then let the kiddies have loads of fun!

So that's the relatively relaxing pace to our week this week. We'll have things to do this week, more visitors and some adventures to plan (zoo visit this week, as Ethan has decided he "needs to show baby sissa the efalents" so we've arranged a free pass and I'll pack the lunch). Aside from that, we're hoping to make it another 5 days at least until the next big grocery shop....Fingers crossed for me!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's just another day here at the ranch...

I don't know how to start this post today, except to say that everyone is asking me how my son is dealing with his new little sister. The short answer is that he loves her dearly. The long way around that is that it seems that he has developed a real issue with his mum and dad. He has always been head-strong, but the streak that has come out of him lately around my partner and I has been quite astonishing, to be honest. On Tuesday night I sat down and had a revelation...

I realised I had become The Screaming Mother. My son, who's a lovely, well-developed, conversive, co-ordinated like a mountain goat, gorgeous all round kid, has a real issue with listening. Well, der, I hear the voices in my head saying...He's nearly three, that is relatively 'normal'...

But the frustrations that were mounting about simply Never Feeling Listened To were just getting too much, and they peaked on Tuesday night when I realised that I had been arguing with Ethan since about 7am, on and off, all day. Put your shoes on, no. Eat some breakfast, no. Don't jump on the bed, yes. Wash your hands before you eat, no. It was just never-ending, and it isn't the first day of it. It was however, the second day of this kind of defiance for a mum who's trying to deal with the new addition, breastfeeding, re-couping from a c-section, scheduling in midwife and child health nurse visits, getting dinner ready, getting children bathed and fed...the list goes on. In fact, writing the list is making me tired, let alone doing the daily in and out of it all alongside the constant defiant argument of a near-three yr old boy who's just trying to create, establish and enjoy his first senses of independence.

So I asked my partner how he felt, because he has been taking the same kind of dictatorship that I had. He also, was exhausted by it. And very upset with himself that even though we love Ethan with all our hearts, we were quite honestly ready to smack him in to line. Now, I'm not going to debate smacking with anyone - in fact the only wise thing my mother in law ever told me was to never talk about parenting or politics with people you don't know - but I will say that smacking doesn't work for Ethan. He sees it as a red light to do the same to others, and to be honest I really don't like the look of my own childs face when he is afraid of me.

On Wednesday we took Ethan to the library and alongside his books we got ourselves a couple of parenting books that have seemed to help - and that has been where the last two days have kind of changed our stress levels. We stopped using the word "dont" with him and have replaced it with as many positive alternatives as possible. Instead of "don't jump on the bed" we say "beds are for sleeping on" for example. And it's done wonders. We got through the whole day yesterday, for the first time in a long time (as he's been very defiant and independent since way before Alice was born) without having to drag him inside screaming, having him hit us, or him having a complete meltdown because he's not getting his way. In fact, at about 5pm last night, just as Ethan was getting a bit demanding (5pm is "Arsenic Hour" around here - the worst time of the day, because it's so busy) my partner said that he was ready to crack. He felt better that he hadn't 'lost' the day to screaming, but exhausted through the changing of how he communicated. So I reminded him that we only had about 2hours left until we had really, literally 'won' the day and survived without screaming. We trundled on, and it's been fantastic today too.

I don't know why I've posted this, but I guess it's because I didn't want to give the impression on this blog that I know all and have a perfect family life. Far from it. We struggle and muddle through, just like everyone else. And when we found our little victory yesterday, I wanted to share it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Well, she has arrived....


Alice was born on Wednesday 4th November at 1pm, under c-section. We have found that so far, she's loving the world very muchly! Ethan and Daddy became besotted custodians immediately, and Alice cannot cry, squeek or pop off without the assistance of the narration of Big Brother Ethan giving us a fantastic run-down of all movement and noise. Alice, in return, coo's and calms immediately upon the presence and touch of her Big Brother, and they seem to have been in cahoots for quite sometime, as they are coordinating their movements and night-wake times very closely thus far!

It's so good to have her home. To know now that Ethan thinks that she is just the bestest little sister he could have asked for. To have a loving partner that is looking after every single detail that his non-domestic brain can remember (hey, I even had hot porridge for breakfast this morning...I don't even make hot porridge!). To be home a day early, lucky enough to live not too far from the hospital that we have a visiting midwifery service that are coming to check her all out. It's all so incredibly lucky for us to be in the right here, right now, that it is a little hard to believe.

Ethan meets Alice

We had a pretty predictable first afternoon home, and Ethan was keen as mustard to take his little sister out in to the world to meet everyone he knows and see everything he's discovered, but luckily we managed to negotiate a play on the floor with the cars and blocks, and a very handy assistant helped Daddy give her her first bath at home in the kitchen sink. Ethan's job was to rub some lotion on her feet, from where the hospital bands had scratched marks on her, and that was a pretty magic job apparently. He then sat very nicely last night and we made a farm all around her to show her the animals and have a big play. Sure, there were moments where he'd chuck a little tantrum because Mum or Dad wasn't doing things properly, but let's face it, Mum and Dad barely know what they're doing most days of the week anyway! So aside from that, Alice is settling in well, and Ethan is the happiest Big Brother he thought he could be. It's been a lovely start to our new additions life amongst the family.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Well, not able to sleep again....

Good morning fairy cyber land! I've been awake about an hour and a half...and counting. It's D-Day here, the final countdown. The day when I become a mother of TWO. Holy cow.

I have the most amazingly generous friends and family really. I'm very lucky. Last night we had arranged for friends to come up and spend the night with us in preparation for today, as our friend Nat is looking after Ethan today. She's fantastic - if anything a bit TOO fantastic! Ethan carries on like it's a day at the fair when she's around!!! So we've clued him in to the fact that he'll be spending today doing a couple of 'Very Important Things' with his Auntie Nat, and dropping me at the hospital, then letting daddy come back and help mum get the baby out, then he'll be wrapping the baby a present and coming to meet her later on today. I have absolutely no doubt that he'll carry on a beauty when his dad leaves to meet me in the hospital later, but that it will last about five minutes, he'll make sure that the show was a really good one and then keep playing with Auntie Nat all day.

Aside from that, I'm a bit nervous. I know there are people out there, in the world, who had no doubt that they would have a huuuuge family, that they knew how their life-path was going to go and worked really hard to make it all happen properly, following role models, parents and friends and family throughout their lives to see 'how it's done'. But not me. I was never going to really ever have children, or settle down. I was a gypsy travelling lady, moving my way from place to place and never letting myself get bored of the ho-hum of a job or a lifestyle for more than a year at a time. But that all changed about four years ago, when Ethan's dad and I reunited and settled down in to our own home. Now look at us! We're about to become a family of FOUR!!!

I'm nervous for my partner, because he's never spent a whole big chunk of time with Ethan before. Like most two-year olds, Ethan spends most of his time with his mum, at home, while daddy is away at work. When daddy's home, I say that I cease to exist unless it's a mealtime or Ethan has hurt himself or something similar, but even then I'm mostly here and there on adventures with them both. But not for the next few days at least. I guess I shouldn't be overly dramatic, as I am not as nervous as I sound - yesterday Ethan got his daddy to make him some noodles, which he did, and then they proceeded to share them straight out of the jug. So I kind of thought straight away - "this place is going to be the man-cave for the next week!" - because they're going to be doing all that gross boy stuff that us mother's Never Allow. Like eating with out a bowl, leaving the toilet lid and seat up, and not soaking dishes....not to mention wiping our hands on our clothes, throwing snails on the roof and sharing icecream with the dog. And that's just the stuff my partner will do!

So today I'll meet my baby, which I am getting to be a bit excited about. It will be a better day tomorrow, when the operation has worn off and I'm able to shower and go to the toilet without a bag attached to me, and then the fun will really begin for us all. I have prepared as much as possible, and will finish all this this morning with the packing of bags for myself and getting a bit of fruit ready for Ethan and daddy to bring me this afternoon. After that, who knows? The great big new horizon for us all!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I can't sleep....

Well, cyber world, I have a confession. It's a confession only very few know, too.

On wednesday the doctors are going to put a sunroof in my tummy and my baby will be born. I know that c-sections aren't very often smiled upon amongst mums who've 'really given birth', but a couple of the ob/gyn's at my hospital have viewed and reviewed and then basically given me the best medical advice that they can. My body, unfortunately, is deciding that it's not quite sure what to do next. Inside, the baby is much the same. She's active, growing and in all other senses a regular 39week gestation baby. But she just will not engage and she will not turn to face my back. Much the same as with Ethan, I have been 'diagnosed' (?) with Failure to Progress.

I like to think of it as being such a good hostess, the guests don't want to leave the premises. When I was pregnant with Ethan, I had Gestational Diabetes, and the doctors do not let you go 'over' your due date with GD because of the risk of an early-aging placenta (and not feeding the bub right), and the high amount of complications such as jaundice. Ethan was born ok, but within about 24hours developed jaundice that took nearly 3 full days of treatment to get rid of, and another 3 days of tests after that to be completely clear of. I went in to be induced with him, and after 4 failed attempts, still had not had any contractions.

So in a nutshell, what I'm trying to say is that I kind of feel like I've cheated the system, and am about to do it again!

But I am excited! I didn't think I would be, considering it's all very 'clinical' in the delivery and we're well ahead of time what is going to happen, but I am. I can hardly believe I will hear her tiny voice for the first time in about 36 hours, and see what she looks like.

So here's to fingers being crossed, a safe and happy delivery and a fast recovery. I'll try and post tomorrow night before I go to the hospital, but otherwise, have a great week everyone and I'll be sure to share a pic or two when I return.