Twas the night before Christmas 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our flatsNot a creature was sleeping, despite hours of pats

We’d run out of loo paper, and coffee beans too

The presents were wrapped, though we’d lost quite a few

The children were jumping all Over their beds**

While reruns of Disney films danced in their heads
When what to my wondering eyes should appear

A carrot, a cookie and a big mug of beer

And though a kilo of prawns made me feel a bit sick,

I knew in a moment I must be Saint Nick .

I was dressed all in chaos from my head to my toes

When the empty threats started, and my temper arose

“I’m calling santa! He won’t be coming!”

I gesticulated wildly, sent them all running

On potty , on teeth, on bath, on no sweets!

On veggies, no soft drinks, and no tiny feets!

To the top of my game! And To the instructions?

Quick! To the bubbles, before the destruction!

I drank and I ate and I built and I slept

I watched bad Christmas carols, I almost wept

I had a round face, I felt a bit smelly

I’d cooked , and for trifle I had made the jelly

I was jolly and plump, from too many work parties

So I plonked on the lounge, and ate all the smarties

And I heard me exclaim, ‘ere I faded from sight

Christmas Eve, to parents, is a bloody long night.#

Footnotes:

** we only have one child. But my husband was also jumping on the bed

# this is almost an entirely truthful & accurate depiction of our Xmas eve.
Merry Christmas.

We made it

Well. Not a lot of posting lately.

See, I took the new job. Back in October.

I hated the new job in October.

I hated it quite a lot in November.

I thought about going back to my old job in December.

No longer could I work from home 2 days a week (down to 1). No longer could I knock off at whenever teaching was finished, because I was on a learning curve as steep as a roller coaster.No longer could I leave work, drop into the shops and pick up dinner supplies, and pick up at daycare by 4:30.

There were a lot of reasons not to like the new job. Won’t go into them here, just in case.

Then we had a break over Christmas.

Then the extra money from the new job allowed us to buy our apartment we’d been renting for 5 years.

Then things weren’t as financially stretched as they once were, even with a mortgage.

Then my abject terror at not knowing ANYTHING changed to occasional nervous wobbles, and finally to a combination of mostly confidence and a bit of “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Then i quite enjoyed getting the ferry to work.

Then i occasionally enjoyed the intellectual challenge, and the ability to effect change in the new role.

And today, today my first exam ran. For 3,500 people  in many worldwide locations. And it went ok.

We made it. And I feel like, well, if I am not quite over the hump, then I’m at least nearing the top of it. All of pick ups, hub in boots. Most of the dinners. Hub in boots. For a while i worked 9-5 in the office then 9pm-12 am at home. Then I realised this was unsustainable and mixed it up, sometimes working 9-6 in the office and 8-10 at home. I ran a discussion board 24/7 for 13 weeks. Somehow. With a toddler climbing on my shoulders, draping himself around my neck, yelling in my ear for me to sit down and build block towers.

And sometimes I built.

And sometimes I couldn’t build.

And then, as my confidence / comfort grew, sometimes I’d just go “stuff it I’m not coming in”. I’m hosting teleconferences in my lounge room in my tracky dacks. And sometimes I knock off at 4. And today, we can get off the express train. Sure, I have to get on a different train, developing new material for the next offering, but still.

It has been hard. It has been challenging. It has been tiring. It has put pressure on all of us. But I’ve done it all once now. In education, the first time through is always the worst. I have made a huge change. A huge change. I have got this household a significant payrise. I have jumped off a pretty safe ship to a crazy one. But I’ve lifted my game, learnt 3000 new things, and opened up my horizons. I think. Big time.

Pause, breathe, and repeat.

We made it.

Once upon a time, I didn’t pause long to celebrate achieved goals, and instead went great, where’s the next goal. So I was in a state of perpetual wanting, always in motion, never still and satisfied.

I hope I’ve learnt from back then. I hope I have learnt to stop. This is a stopping point. We drank a bottle of veuve tonight. This weekend hub in boots is off to a car rally all weekend. A fitting reward for the extra work. I’m going to rebond with the jman. Take it slow. Enjoy an actual weekend. something I haven’t had since february. Smell those roses.

We made it.

Four places

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Tonight we read oh! The places you’ll go! In honour of Sully’s fourth birthday. Sullivan only lived a few short days, and every year, everyone that knew his family ,and many that didn’t, join in to remember his life and his journey.

I had a complicated pregnancy. It was long. It was harrowing. It was true trauma. It ended well. And it took a lot to get through, and a lot to get over.

I know how hard it was for me, for us, for our families, all of that hanging on. For about seven bloody months (literally). Bloody. How every little milestone counted. How at first, I didn’t understand that the relief of making it, the giant breathing out that came with a real baby and a very happy ending, it didn’t quite erase the trauma that had come before. That trauma which required it’s own time, it’s own grieving, it’s own healing. How hanging on with everything you’ve got, yep, that takes some serious refuelling time.

So I imagine, then, having gone through that, without the happy ending. And that is the end of what I can imagine. That is what my friend S must face, every year, every birth, every pregnancy, every newborn, every similarly aged child.

After my short struggle, my breath catches when someone says “so will you go for number two?”. It’d be like saying to someone who just climbed Everest “fancy a jog?”. And still, over 2.5 years later, a memory of it will stop me in my tracks.

So for S, yep. That’d be four years of climbing everests. To be walking around, and breathing in and out, you’re doing great. I understand less than 1% of it, i suspect. And while I can’t truly get it, I, we, can remember. We can do small acts to remember great heroism and impossibly wrong outcomes.

If you get a chance, folks, read “oh! The places you’ll go!” To a loved one today. Stick a photo or a comment here, on Sully’s memorial fund page. It means a lot to his family.
https://www.facebook.com/Sullivansmemorialfund

In memory of Sully. Happy birthday. The places you’ll go.

Hello. Tap tap. Is this thing on?

Yes I’ve been kind of absent. Blame the new job. I’ll do the backstory. Very soon. I hope, how are you all? How is life? I haven’t even been blog lurking. I’ve missed so much.

I just thought I’d pop on and quickly share a little parenting moment.

Jman is 2.5 now. As of last Monday. We have Thursdays together, when I work from home.

This week, I felt like he was deliberately pushing my buttons (probably because he was deliberately pushing my buttons). I hate it when I try to do something “nice mum”, like giving him an empty porridge tin & putting some mung beans in it to make a noise, and he buggers it up by opening it up and spilling it everywhere and shoving mung beans down the back of the couch. Really really annoying. I lost my cool at him. I hate it when I do that. Then it cycled up into a “if we had a big house and a yard he could do messy things, and he’s missing out because he’s an apartment kid…” And on it goes. (More on this later, too. We have lots of news).

But I stopped myself. He was so so upset that I’d swept up the mung beans and binned them. I stopped. I got down on his level and looked him in the eye, and empathised. Ok. So he wanted something different out of this than I did. Ok.

We agreed to go and get the messy mat together. We agreed not to spill mung beans everywhere. Then we got more beans, and lots of different containers.

And for two hours, I kid you not, two HOURS, he sat there. He tipped, he ran them through his fingers, he clogged up one funnel so we made another, he got fine motor practice by dropping the beans one by one into the funnel, he talked about “empty” and “full” (scary bright brain, this kid).

And naturally, eventually, mung beans went everywhere. But he’d done his “play work”. And I’d done my empathising and extended his play / self directed learning. And we were way overdue to vacuum anyway.

It was awesome.

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Let them eat cake

Birthday last week.

Late night working in old job, came home day after my birthday and Jman heard me and insisted on getting up. So we shared a piece of my birthday cake. After 9pm. I’m an awesome parent.

Anyhow, first mouthful, he gets this weird look on his face, and spits it out. But he’s still not really breathing normally. “Bub, are you ok?” Blank look. “Bubby?” And he sort of looks at me, but doesn’t look at me.

I thump him between his shoulder blades, but not much changes. I get him to drink some milk, then some water, then to chew and swallow a tiny piece of bread to check his throat was not obstructed. He has it, but he doesn’t really chew normally. It was odd.

I kept saying to hub-in-boots “he’s not going to bed til I’m sure he’s right”. And he wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t quite right either.

Then he moved from sitting next to me, to lying on me, and his head started lolling to one side and his eyes rolling backwards in his head. Just buggered and falling asleep? He was a bit yellow. His lips were white. I kept holding him. “Bubby. Buuuuubby. Are you ok?” He looks at me but doesn’t look at me. He’s there, but he’s not there.

“He’s not going to bed”. We gave him more water. What was going on?

The weirdness continued for. 20-30 minutes. It was weird, but not crazy. He didn’t really talk at all, or move much. But he did shift position, and he did make some eye contact occasionally. “He’s just really tired” hub in boots said.

“Don’t care, he’s not going to bed”.

Then 20-30 minutes in, PING! he sits up, bright eyed, and started singing, talking, and moving around the room. It took another 30 minutes for me to unpack the experience and realise. Seizure?

I start my new job tomorrow. So I was really looking forward to our day with our Friday nanny so I could have some serious time out. And Friday, he projectile vomited all over the carpet and speaker when she arrived. Like a fire hose. So she left. And I cleaned carpet. Then took him to the doctor.

The doctor suggested we see our paediatrician, but adopt a watch and wait strategy on it. I agreed.

Then I got home and realised, this wasn’t episode number 2, where episode 1 had a clear cause. This was episode 3. There was a very similar episode on the plane going on holidays in July. He didn’t want to be strapped in and was going nuts as the plane came into land, and the same laying down eyes rolling thing occurred. We dismissed it as an over due nap, but at the time I did say “it’s the same face he pulled that time we got the ambo.” . I put it down to my hyper vigilance after the stopping breathing event a few weeks before. And I dismissed it.

i was very upset Friday, thinking it might be epilepsy, or worse, thinking of kids that have giant seizures and end up with brain damage, medication, your basic catastrophising parent. Luckily, I had a rare night out booked Friday (and Saturday!), with “mums group gone wild”. It started with bollinger and ended with a bad pub band, dancing, and very little sleep. A good antidote to a rough week.

I’ve spoken to the new boss about participating In the appointment via speaker phone if we could fit it in. And she has told me to go to the appointment. So tomorrow morning, we are off for a chat. I hope a chat is all that is viewed as necessary.

The new referral to the paediatrician mentions my sub chorionic haematoma during pregnancy. I just pray none of that crazy journey through haemorrhages and bed rest  resulted in faulty wiring in a little growing brain. Because the mummy guilt from that, it could kill me.

so monday= paediatrician! then new scary job (and the Penski file). Big day.

Waiter!

I am in that horrible in between land where I haven’t finished one job, and the new job start date is two short weeks away. Mountains of packing, organising, and tying up loose ends are rearing into my peripheral vision. A lot lot lot of little adjustments to a “normal week” have to happen in the next two weeks so that we can vaguely hit the ground running, make daycare drop offs and picks ups, feed everyone, wear acceptable clothing and no snot trails to new office….you get the picture. I feel like I am being buried alive.

So far I have:
* been in to a marking day in my new offices, to see how the exam process runs and how well the exam is working etc
* formally resigned
* stupidly agreed to “teach out” one subject, so I’ll be doing two jobs for three – four weeks ( sigh, six weeks, seven weeks)
* interviewed a mummy nanny for our extra day of care
* tossed up as family daycare also decided to open on Fridays
* hired our mummy nanny and had a half day trial today
* got relatively on top of two technical areas connected to my new job, making me feel slightly less terrified
*stressed about the new job ( more formal hours, more formal supervision, no comfort zone of an old job I can do well where people already trust me to do my job well without presenteeism or explanation). Then stressed some more.

The main deciding factor on the mummy nanny for Fridays is twofold: 1. No lunch packing bag packing pyjama wrangling cereal shovelling drop offs or pick ups 2. A more relaxed and active friday for jman, hopefully lessening the impact of an extra day “in care”

But aside from pretty much abject terror about making it through the next two weeks and the what the hell have I done feeling about the new role and leaving my current one, there are two things killing me right now. No, make that three.

1. Freakin waiting.

I am SOOOOOOOO sick of waiting. I am normally incredibly patient with jman. But he is pushing my buttons. I am so sick of waiting. Waiting for him to be ready to walk out. Waiting for him to stop running around and agree to get in the car. Waiting for him to leave day care. Waiting for him to get in the car after daycare. Waiting for him to get out of the car at home. Waiting for him to come inside at home. It. Drives. Me. Mental.

The other day, I arrived at daycare at 4:20. At 5:40, I was able to start getting dinner. And daycare is ten freakin minutes away from home. We lose hours to his little button pushing pain on the assness.

It is making me really. Freakin. Angry.

I don’t want to get in the bath. I don’t want to get out of the bath. I don’t want to get dressed. I don’t want to get undressed.

2. Sleep.

Bloody bloody sleep. Once he’s asleep, we’re fine. He sleeps. But getting him to sleep. it is ridiculous. An hour is a good night. 90 minutes is pretty normal. And even though it’s light in the mornings at present and every other parent is dying for daylight savings to start, I can barely get him out of bed after all the stupidly late nights. I am so exhausted of an evening I just cannot make it through. I cannot maintain the momentum to keep pushing to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

3. The house.

The bloody house. Everything seems so disorganised and cluttered, and if am vulnerable to it because my head is already full. I need it to be more organised.

And we might be losing our lease, because the owner is thinking of selling.

We are in stupid limbo.

I do not need limbo right now.

I need an area of life that is concrete. Solid. Predictable.

And I’m not getting it.

Yesterday, hub-in-boots had a day off so I could have an extra day in the office to attend graduation and continue the great office pack of 2014. I woke up, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, and left for work.

It made me realise what I need to feel less exhausted and overwhelmed.

A penis.

Yes, ladies, a penis. See, when you have a penis, you don’t have to dress a small person, feed them breakfast, dress and feed yourself, wrangle them into and out of a car. No no no. You do this crazy thing where you only get yourself ready. then you drive to work, directly to work. I know, I know, it sounds silly. But it’s true. Some people leave home and go to one other place, called work, then they go back home again. The end.

So instead of arriving at work feeling like you’ve already done 10 hours, you arrive fresh and ready to go.

Also, when you have a penis, you don’t worry about minor things like “where things belong “, or weird concepts like ” clean” or ” clutter”. You also do not have anxiety about ” being good enough to do the new challenging job”, because penises constantly tell their owners “everything will be fine”.

So for my birthday in 11 days, I’d like a penis. They seem really useful.

Two is so becoming

Two is ridiculous!

PRETEND
“What you like? A babycino? You want marshmallow? Here’s your money”

Yes, we can play cafes, we even wait while the pretend cup fills up, but the money is never quite going in the right direction.

It started two weeks before his birthday, in a cafe. He made this horrible loud noise, sitting beside me. “What are you doing?”
“I’m an elephant, mum”. Yes, yes of course you are. And just like that, we’ve gone into pretend. Sure, we’d done pretend toast and cups of tea, but nothing like this.

This week he has:
* washed a “shirt” (face washer) in the “washing machine” (small bucket in the bath) and handed it over “here’s your new shirt all dry, mum.”
* ordered zucchini slice with calamari, schnitzel, mashed potato and broccoli for dinner (just a moment sir, the bistro will call you when your number is ready )
* driven in a “car” (box) to grandmas, then loaded all the animals (animal fridge magnets) in. When asked where he’s going ” to the zoo!”.

LANGUAGE

His language is ridunkulous. Just insane.
“You’ve got a drink of water. I’ve got a drink of water. Daddy’s got a drink of water”

“I was splashing, Aunty cathy. I splashed.” (His use of past tense is better than my students).

” look mummy! There’s a dump truck! A dump truck! Hello mister dump truck. Where did the dump truck go? Where’s he gone? Mister dump truck, where are you?”

“Oh wow, that’s delicious, mummy”

Revisionist sentences: “milk, mummy. A drink of milk. I would like a drink of milk. I would like a big drink of milk. A cup of tea milk, (milk in a mug not a sippy cup) mummy. Please, mum mum. Tank you.”

Gross motor skills / independence

He can walk up and down stairs without holding on, all of a sudden.

He likes to climb into the car seat, not be lifted in.

He can climb rope nets on playgrounds (mostly).

He is suddenly very cooperative about having his teeth cleaned, but allergic to high chairs. Whereas he used to quite like being fed when he was tired, this Is not a thing we do now. In fact, many things have rules. Like :THOU SHALT NOT BUTTER MY TOAST. I DO IT.

But he still runs like a little fairy called twinkle toes. Very funny.

WEANING

I thought I’d never say it, but I think we’ve weaned.

We’d been on a feed first thing in the morning in bed thing for a long time. There was a feed when you pick me up at daycare thing, but that passed a little while back.

He still quite likes grabbing at my boobs. “Mummy’s boobs. Mummy has boobs. I don’t have any boobs.”

And we had a half hearted attempt at a drink on request the other day, the first in two weeks.

I was at a a loss how to manage weaning. The only method that made sense to me was first, night weaning (via dad only settles in the night). That happened a long time ago , maybe at 8 months?

Then, the only thing that made sense was “don’t offer, don’t refuse”. It was the only “way” that seemed ok to me. Don’t get me wrong. There were times I thought oh for the love of god, stop!. But I never wanted to make that decision for him.

There was an undercurrent to it early on, because weaning would be needed for any subsequent goes at IVF. When everyone asked “what about number 2?

And I wasn’t ready, and he wasn’t ready, and I couldn’t force weaning on him. Especially not with an “other” motive. I needed to put a full stop on one sentence, in the right place, before I began another.

It turns out that full stop is probably the last one in that paragraph. And I think I’m (mostly) ok with that. And we’ve weaned. We’ve just about weaned. We made two years. I am so proud of that. Not to put down anyone else’s choices, but when most other things were the exact opposite of natural, this was one thing I really really wanted, that I saw as very important.

I was only ever aiming for three months.
Then six months.
Then a year.
Then the questions started. are you still feeding him? When will you stop? You can give him cows milk, you know (I did. I still do).
When it works for us.
Which turns out to be just after he turned two. Which was a lot longer than I’d ever thought.

FUNNY LITTLE PERSON

There are a lot more moments, these days, when I just stop, and look at him, and think you are amazing. You are just a funny little person, where did you come from? How could this be me, sitting here with you? hoe could this be me, singing Bob The Builder with you as we walk through a supermarket? (On a loop : bob the builder, can he fix it? Bob the builder, can he fix it? Bob the…. you get the picture).

For so long, as babies, they are becoming. becoming a sitter, becoming a babbler, becoming a crawler, a walker, a laugher, a talker.

Now, at 2, all of a sudden like a light has been turned on, I feel he has become.