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.

Maintenance Mondays

Most Mums don’t look after themselves. They are last priority, after everyone else. Which means they are the bit of the to do list which never gets “done”.

I have dedicated windows in the week which are both ‘me time’ and exercise time. I rarely break them. It’s essential to top up your tank. It makes me a better mum. 

But I would cancel three hair appointments before I make it to one. And Physio appointments. And i have to be dying to get to the local doctor. Though I am a bit better now they have a web booking app and I can check out available time slots and juggle everything in my head at 11pm at night while I book.

Recently, I’ve tried to make more of my lunch hours at work by doing yoga at lunch time. And to get more exercise in I took on a fitness challenge that was in your own time at home. 

I’ve had a pretty sore hip for a long time. About six months ago I started getting Physio on it, but I gave up when I couldn’t fit in all the rehab exercises around work, drop off, pick up and dinner.

When I started the fitness challenge recently, the sore hip ramped up a notch. After cancelling three Physio appointments I found a Physio across the road from my office.

I was a bit shocked when he immediately asked me to get an MRI. $300, it had better show something. I argued with him a bit about it, eventually giving in. But the whole Physio then dr for referral then scan then pick up results seemed epic in my busy week. Just not worth the effort.

I thought something really ugly was going on when I read ” bone marrow odema”. It went on to say “stress fracture in pelvis”. Wtf? I’m WALKING AROUND, doing shed loads of exercise, moving furniture up and down the steepest driveway on earth as we got the big boy bed in place for jman, beating myself up for not moving more…,WITH A FRACTURED PELVIS? Sweet Jesus, am I that far out of tune with what I need? Am I that low on the priority list that broken freakin bones don’t count? Not sleeping for pain all night doesn’t count?

I’ve now instituted ‘maintenance Mondays’ with my all female team at work. Every Monday we have to do something we’ve been putting off…even if we just make an appointment. Medical or beauty related. Pap smears, breast exams, eye tests, following up on that niggly hip pain, getting our eyelashes tinted. 

This is the last time I’m last on the list. 

Ladies, please, you are not too busy for you. Keep your medical checks up to date. Look after yourself. Move yourself up on the to do list. Take on maintenance Mondays.

the ferrython

New job, and I’m catching the ferry to work. See?

pelican

They have an official order now, so that when I report, to hub in boots, on the UN levels of negotiation required to get a toddler dressed, breakfasted and teeth cleaned, he is fully across the level of morning stress.

I have noted that my ferry times have declined in direct proportion to the coldness. As the mornings get colder, as the leaves turn and fall, we get later. We like sleeping in our house. We are night owls.

So, I present to you the order of ferries:

8:00 the rock star

This one rarely occurs. Today, I’m on it. Usually it involves shaking an unconscious toddler awake and delivering him, portable breakfast in hand, drooling, to family daycare.

8:15 the flat white. This ferry gives me enough time to buy a coffee and still make a 9 o clock meeting.

8:30 the sprint. I usually only make this ferry at a full sprint on a relatively calm morning, when my long drop off has been whittled away to something akin to throwing a child from a moving car. Don’t lie, you’ve thought about it. Sometimes this ferry is called “the fluke”, as I can occasionally make it without running to the point of cardiac arrest. Usually if it is running a touch late.

The 8:45. The miracle. This ferry gets me in at about 9:10am. It usually comes on normal to slightly degraded quality mornings. There’s a big gap after this until the 9:15 ferry, so it’s usually a miracle I’ve made it. There have been tantrums from one or both of us in making this one. Unless the “getting dressed robot” has made an appearance. He likes the getting dressed robot.

The 9:15. Also affectionately known as the “who cares”. This is the ferry I catch when I’ve given up. When the toddler wins. When I wait out the tantrum rather than push through it. Sometimes, it’s just because we’re having fun, and I don’t want to cut it short. Often, it’s because everything has gone pear shaped, or I just let jman find his own rhythm. And really, it’s work. In the scheme of things, Who cares?

The 9:30. The why bother.

CBF

So like anything parenting, there’s a lot of methods of toilet training out there. The 3 day potty training method, timed potty stops, the follow their lead method. Most of the books assure us it’s all about timing. If they’re ready, it will be easy, if they’re not, it will be an epic waterfall of bodily fluids at completely inappropriate times / locations, possibly involving walls being painted with poo*.

I’d like to propose a new method. The CBF’d method. The CBF, or Can’t Be F()$*^d method, starts whenever your nearest mum pal has their same age child reliably toilet trained. At this point, you think, we can do this, and commit to toilet training wholesale, going out and buying copious quantities of cute appealing underwear, a nice comfy potty, a seat and steps to go on the big toilet, and a lot of washing powder. You’ve got this, you think.

You declare it “pants off Friday”. Fridays will forever be known as pants off Friday in your house. You carefully select a day when both parents are on leave from work, and the schedule and reliability of bowel movements are both delightfully open ended.

The first day, he wears the potty as a hat. You encourage, and make the potty fun. You get spectator shy dad to demonstrate how it’s done, allowing him to share in the joy that is the accompanied visit to the loo.

The second day, a wee on the potty. There is great rejoicing and the giving of marshmallows. everyone shouts ” hooray!”. Your toddler takes to weeing off the corner of the first floor verandah, onto the driveway below, thankfully missing unsuspecting passers by. “We’re Just watering the plants,” you smile and wave to them. ” hooray, I did a wee on the verandah” your toddler announces. Hooray! You say, as you move the potty onto the verandah to avoid embarrassing incidents with the neighbours. There is more giving of marshmallows.

The third day, pants off Sunday, you’ve carefully discussed poos in the potty. You’ve smiled and been very positive through minor accidents. You go out and buy a thomas the tank engine potty book, complete with stickers. This is the big day, you’re thinking.

And sure enough, without warning, he runs gracefully to the potty and whips out a giant turd. I say whips out, because, just like a soft serve ice cream, he does it standing up, with perfect aim. It’s amazing . You gently coax him into sitting next time. Everyone stands around to inspect the poo. The presence of blueberries is noted. It is tipped and flushed with great ceremony and applause. And duly hand out marshmallows.

To your surprise, he never misses, has perfect aim, and only once or twice wees in a non designated toileting location.

The next day, radiant with confidence, you bring in the underwear.

The underwear does not go well. The underwear, wet or not, feels like a nappy. So it is wee’d upon. You smile, nod, and say “hey, accidents happen! Help me clean it up!” Feeling a little like a dog trainer rubbing his nose in it. And we all smile, and clean it up.

Then we get changed.

Then we all smile, and clean it up.

Then we get changed.

Then we all grit our teeth so it looks like a smile.

Then we get changed.

Then your knees are red from kneeling and scrubbing carpet. And you’ve run out of rag towels and start using the good ones. But tomorrow! Tomorrow it will click!

“Nappy ONNNNN!!!!!” He declares in the morning. Apparently he is fearing type 2 diabetes due to marshmallow intake. He can’t take the cleaning. A truce is declared.

CBF’d, you think, reading the thomas potty book again, thinking gordon looks like a raving homosexual. Not that there’s anything worn with that, just sayin. You pack the potty everywhere you go, but your heart’s not in it.

Two days later, you’re back at work.
“Underpants! I want racing car underpants! No no the RED ONES!!! The red ones!!!! I want to sit on the potttttyyyyyy!!!!!!!”

The split second morning schedule is screwed. Because, seriously, he is one step away from a prune eating old bloke with a giant newspaper on the dunny. It takes HOURS.” We have to go now!” “I’m sitting on the potty!”

It’s time for an upgrade. You ditch the marshmallows. Roll out the lolly snakes. In an ornamental jar. And stand, eating them late at night, as you stuff clothes into the washing machine.
“What do you want for breakfast?”
“SNAKES!”
“Snakes are not a breakfast food. Snakes are for when you go on the potty. For poos on the potty.”
“Snakes!”

You leave then house. He’s wearing a nappy and eating snakes.

And you? You CBF’d. Just like weaning, it will probably happen before his 18th birthday.

“Don’t send mixed messages!” The books say. “Never look back!” The books say, like somehow nappies are a biblical Lot’s wife and you’ll all turn into a pillar of salt if you venture back into this now forbidden territory.

“Screw that” you say. I finished work at 1am and I don’t fancy a turdburger before work, strapping him in to the snuggest most spill proof nappy possible.

“We’ve reassessed, and the timing is not right” you declare, you well read bastion of bowel research.

But, really, the thought of going out like your elderly mother, aware of every toilet within 10 nanoseconds in an already insanely busy life just fills you with dread and makes you look for a paper bag to breathe into. And honestly? Toilet training?

You just CBF’d.

* yes. This actually happened. To our Friday nanny. Yes. It was jman.

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.

What if

So. Things have been relatively normal around here since Friday. Work, daycare, a rare night out to the movies…

It hasn’t been the easiest week. I drive past that bloody path, or nearby it, five or ten times a week, and without fail it makes me feel sick. Sick. I could actually vomit every time I look down on it from the overpass. I am so angry at myself that I couldn’t find a way to direct the ambulance better. I’m annoyed at myself, and, frankly, disappointed, that I wasn’t 100% there for jman, that I feel I lost it in his hour of need. That I couldn’t think up something more sensible to do than shaking him and shouting his name. That all I could think was “this isn’t happening, not “this is happening and you need to do something “.

This stupid dual thinking of being in the moment and outside the moment at the same time, disconnected from myself, from him. Hearing my stupid useless sobs.

I was bloody useless. And what if? What if he’d not started breathing? What then? What if? I think in essence all of this boils down to I am your mother this was very dangerous and to be a good mother I need to control ALL THE THINGS. to feel safe again.

I’ve done what I can since. I’ve complained about the emergency operator, though I haven’t heard squat since it occurred. I’ve notified his family daycare about what happened in case it occurs again.

I’ve booked an 8 night family holiday to the whitsundays (our first proper family holiday), because I’ve had a sudden lightbulb moment that life is bloody short.

I’ve been really frustrated with jman this week. Leaving the house is like trying to run through lava. He’s been waking up really aggressive and cranky (for him), not crazy bad, but just narky and uncooperative. He hates breakfast all of a sudden. And I’ve only just clicked about an hour ago that all of this behaviour might be head injury related. Derr.

After the observations in hospital, they did an ECG etc and everything was fine. The lumpy bump and graze turned into hardly anything at all, not even much of a bruise. They said he had a “reflex anoxic seizure” in response to the pain of the fall. He didn’t come good for a long time after that short (maybe30 second?) seizure. I didn’t recognise it as one at the time, and it was only when the ambulance officer described his son having one that it clicked. It was exactly as he described.

I feel at some times, totally normal.
At some times, I feel skinned. like I am walking around without skin, not just without clothes, without skin. Totally exposed and nothing holding me together. And I feel like there was a gossamer curtain between us and shittsville last Friday, that we only barely stayed on this side of it, that certain disaster is lurking. Because we’ve snatched it back from the brink too many times. IVF, haematomas, bad risks of downs, I feel like it is all back and currently happening all at once, like this has pulled out the drawer of the universes filing system of possible tragic events and they’re all just floating, free form, waiting for somewhere to land. I don’t know if it is possible to be hypervigilant and completely flatly without affect at the same time, but if its possible, that’s me right now.

I also know these thoughts are ridiculous.

It is hard to self care after events like these, when you are a mum. Because he just wants me. He’s clingy. And I feel as though I have an empty tank to start with. So I alternate between moments of really looking at him, thinking oh my god thank god you’re still here and oh my god why are you still here hanging onto my leg?

I’m going to follow up with a GP (dr) visit tomorrow, I think. His crankiness concerns me, as do the uneven pupils I spotted tonight. Another source of sleeplessness for me. The first night, we kept him in our bed so I could poke him and check him all night long. Since then, he’s slept really well, but he’s hard to settle and cranky on waking.

He was so happy over the weekend, though we were dosing him up with Panadol which may have helped. He was funny. His sentence making has made this huge leap this week. We’ve gone from “truck, mummy? Truck in bath?” To “I want the truck in the bath, mummy”. He’s testing out limits, and I can’t tell if the shouty shouty limit testing is “almost 2ness” or “head injury”.

“IPAAAAAAAAAD MUM,”
“We don’t speak like that here, jman. We speak nicely to each other.”
“Can I have the ipad please mum, please”.

I find it worse when I can’t see him. When he’s not in my face, I’m on the express train to “What If”, and I feel sick. My chest feels tight.

I’m looking forward to our holiday.