Saturday, 8 March 2014

Remember This

Every night I climb into Tiny J's toddler bed next to him and he talks to me about trucks, goats, bikes, trips to the library and all the other things that make up his world. Sometimes he throws his arms around my neck and says, "Mum?" then, "I love me." And I laugh and say, yes, I love him too. Then he carries on telling me about diggers and tractors and it is my favourite time of day. Sometimes when I go to get up he pulls my head back down to his pillow and tells me, "Come on, Mum. Lie down, come on" and I love being bossed around by him so I lie back down again for a while. And I breathe in the smell of his fresh-washed hair and brace myself for his flailing arms whacking me in the face. When I get up again I tell him I'll come back to check on him and he's happy. I tuck him in ("Mum, tuck toes! Tuck toes! Tuck bear! Where bear? Tuck bear") and he chats himself to sleep.

Small C is sleeping through the night. No, not sleep, what's that word I mean? Oh, yes. "Partying" Small C is partying through the night. Last night he woke up three thousand times before two a.m. Today I have been a bear. And not one of those cute ones. A grumpy one who cries a lot about being tired. But last night when I walked into Small C's bedroom and he was so excited to see me I knew today would be hard and I didn't mind. I like the feel of his hair against my face in the dark when I picked him up and the way he gloms his mouth onto my neck. I like the weight of him when I pick him up, so much heavier than just nine months ago, the feel of the muscles in his legs when they push against me. And although today has been hard and sometimes I feel despair that I will ever sleep again, it's okay. I will keep trudging through the nights and surviving the days. One day I won't even remember what it feels to hurt all over from no sleep but I'll remember all the good stuff. We will survive and we will be better for it.

There are so many things that feel hard. No sleep, two little boys who both need a hundred per cent of me and have to settle for less than fifty each, the thousand demands on our time. I wish I was more patient, I wish I didn't spend so much time thinking about all the stuff I'm not getting done, I wish my kitchen cleaned itself. But we are here, they're alive and so am I and everything is good. There's me and G and our two boys. What could be better? I have to remember that. Every night and every day.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Twice As Nice

Oh, check me out posting twice in one decade. What a legend. Eat my dust, so-called professional bloggers with your fancy writing schedules and excitable posts about oven cleaner and yoghurt.

So, when last we met I had an active toddler and a sleepless baby. I was a bit tired. Also, the ocean is a bit wet. But! Things have changed. Now I have an active toddler, a mildly sleepless baby, two goats, three new chickens and a partridge in a pear tree (one of these is a lie). Big improvement.

The maternal and child health nurse has been coming over a lot the last few months. She helped me get into sleep school and has been following up since we got back. Mostly to shake her head at how often I am getting up each night and to tell me that Small C doesn't need to be fed at night. Small C strongly disagrees. Strongly. At length and at high volume. There's only so long I can stand that at four o'clock in the morning. Last time the nurse (who is lovely) came over I told her happily that I am only getting up twice a night now to feed Small C and she shook her head sadly at me, as if I was a charming but untrainable puppy. Perhaps I am. But twice a night is like a miracle to me. Especially compared with when I was getting up so many times in the day that I was starting to hallucinate from lack of sleep.

I never knew before I had children that not sleep physically hurts. I didn't know it would make me ache all over, that the bones of my face would be so sore that it hurt to be touched. I didn't think I was possible to be so tired that I didn't want to lie down and close my eyes because I thought I might die. I didn't know the tiredness could infest my whole personality and turn me into a relentless grump who resented everyone who got more sleep than I did and who spent every morning calculating exactly how little sleep I had the night before and how unlikely it would be that tonight would be the night that Small C would finally "sleep through the night" (I hate that stupid, glib phrase). I remember telling my best friend that sometimes I felt so tired that I half-hoped a truck would hit me so I could go to hospital and get some rest. "I know," she said, "I feel the same way when I come home from night duty. It's terrible." I didn't know how much I would hate the Facebook friend who kept posting about her newborn sleeping ten hours at night and that I would ring up G and demand to know why, for the love of God, that woman hadn't been thrown in jail for crimes against the sleepless. I didn't know there was a community of tired women out there, driving, walking around, caring for other people, who were as consumed with their tiredness as I was. But they're out there. They are the real zombie army, none of your Hollywood horror stuff, this is the genuine article.

But here I am. Getting up twice a night. And it's not so bad. Small C feeds for fifteen minutes then goes straight back to sleep. I like the way he reaches for me when I come in. I like sitting in the big, comfy chair in his room and stroking his head while he feeds. I like the way he sighs when I put him back to bed and rolls away to face the wall, ready to sleep. Twice a night is good.

I'm not quite on the other sidde but I'm close enough that I can see it from here. It's nice. I like it.  It looks like this: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, 18 October 2013

How I Spent My Holidays.

Well, hello. Long time no blog and all that. It's been ages, hasn't it? How are you? Keeping well? How's your wart? Was I supposed to mention the wart? I can't remember. It's been so long since we chatted.

So what have I been up to? Glad you asked, imaginary reader. I've been up to plenty. Mostly vomiting, which is unfortunate, but there was other stuff as well. If I remember rightly the last time I wrote here I was pregnant and had just been selected to be launched up to the international space station but had been forced to turn down the opportunity on account of a deep reluctance to wee in a space suit. Unfortunate.

So here's what I've been up to:

Item: Hyperemesis gravidarum. Not as much fun as it sounds. Unless your idea of fun is constant vomiting, nausea and quite a lot of crying about how awful the vomiting and nausea has been. The good thing was that the medication helped. The bad news is that "helped" means I threw up two to three times a day instead of every two hours. Sigh.

Item: Good news! The hyperemesis ended when I was seven months pregnant! Wooh!

Item: Bad news! I immediately caught whooping cough despite being vaccinated! Ten weeks of coughing until I vomited.

Item: Good news! Tiny J didn't catch whooping cough.

Item: Bad news! G had whooping cough. In fact, he got it first and gave it to me (sharing is caring).

Item: I worked out that between two pregnancies and whooping cough I have spent a full twelve months of my life vomiting. This was not something I wrote in my diary under "Things I Want To Do With My Life" when I was twelve (just as well, it would have looked strange wedged between "Become Best Friends With Madonna" and "Keep buying all the Archie comics. Archie is bound choose between Betty and Veronica any day now".

Item: Bad news! While we both had whooping cough G was working away from home meaning we were sick and lonely for a long time. We rang each other every night to cough at each other and complain about how tired we were. On the weekends G would come home so we could cough and complain at each other in person. This is called romance.

Item: We had a baby! Nothing but good times!

Item: Our baby is officially the cutest and best baby of 2013. Fact. Sorry, other babies, but facts are facts. To continue the "Tiny J" theme, he will be known here as "Small C".

Item: Our baby doesn't sleep much. He doesn't sleep much for a very long time. Months. I realise that my secret fantasy that I would have a great sleeper is cruelly wrong. Then I realise my secret hope that I would have an average sleeper is also wrong, wrong, wrong. I go to mother's group and describe Small C's sleep and see another new mother's face turn into a rictus of horror. "Oh. My God," she says. Exactly like that with the punctuation and everything. Then a woman next to me asks the nurses whether she should be concerned that her twelve week old sleeps eleven hours a night. I slink home. Then I become very sad for a long time. Then I go to sleep school (which is marvellous, by the way) and things get slightly better. The other mothers look as tired as I do and they laugh when I tell them the sleep deprivation is like being exiled to baby Guantanamo Bay.

Item: We come home and all is good although I miss the chocolate vending machine at sleep school something fierce.

Item: Tiny J comes down with gastro and share it with all of us. More vomiting. Starting to wonder if I should put "experienced and strategic vomiter, able to fast track vomiting to a diverse and challenging clientele" on my resume. I decide against it.

Item: Tiny C: gets cuter all the time. How does he know how to do that? He's a genius. Clearly.

So that's what I've been doing. What have you been doing? And how's that wart?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Mrs Grumpy, Reporting For Duty

As you know pregnancy is a time of rainbows and butterflies. Every morning when I wake up bluebirds fly around me and I get out of bed filled with the joy of living and singing a cheerful song. That's just the way it is. It's science.

Except for the grumpiness. Oh man, am I grumpy. If a bluebird tried to sing me a chirpy song right now I'd I'd probably rip its wings right off. Or just glare at it irritably. Before turning it into a pie.

Have you noticed how every pregnant celebrity is like this: I just love being pregnant! I'm at one with nature, all earth-goddessy. Now I really know what's it's like to be a woman. Before I got pregnant I only knew what it was like to be a small Holden Barina but here I am. An actual woman. I love it so much I wake up singing songs from Doris Day musicals. I'm so happy I'm vomiting rainbows. Because I am a delightful woman at last.

Whereas here is me, pregnant: I hate everything. Especially you. And you. And all those other people, too. I don't vomit rainbows. I vomit actual real vomit. All the time. And I don't like it. Someone please tell me how to get a proper night's sleep and for God's sake take these bluebirds away, they're driving me mad. 

Things that have annoyed me this week:

My haircut. I'm starting to think it makes me look like a mushroom. A grumpy one. Here, you decide:

Below, a picture of a mushroom:




And a picture of me, surrounded by puppies and unicorns:



See? Virtually identical. I have mushroom hair. It's only a matter of time before I'm mistaken for a salad.

Other annoying things:

Every store that arranges its stock too close together for my monster-sized pram to get through. And all the people who block my way standing around gormlessly blocking every aisle and walkway. It's so hard to contemplate moving two inches to the left, isn't ? Much better to park yourself right in the middle there, splayed out like a big annoying starfish. And why not stand at the exit to escalators while you think deep thoughts? Great idea. That's probably where Einstein came up with the theory of relativity - blocking the escalator at his local Westfield while a woman with a pram fumed silently at him. No problem. I'll just stand here patiently until you've finished.

ABC For Kids. That Jimmy Giggle. Suspiciously perky. Also drives a car made of cardboard for no good reason.

The man who just found some whale vomit. It's worth $65000. I look like a whale yet if I tried to sell my vomit I would be treated like a fool. The unfairness of it!

The pop-up ad that just appeared on my computer for online dating. For God's sake! If I wanted to look at a doofus with a speech bubble saying "Come to Papa!" I'd turn on 7mate! Go away!

Those charity people who try to sign everyone up for direct debits. Look, if I'd wanted to funnel vast sums of money to your charity I would probably have organised that before now. I am old, I've had enough time to do it. What I wouldn't have done is wait around for the happy day when a backpacker wearing a logo-ed t-shirt and holding a clipboard approaches me and asks if I "like puppies".

This headache I've had for three days.

The kitchen. For repeatedly failing to clean itself despite constant encouragement from me.

I think that's it. I'll be back with a less irritable post. As soon I've deal with this mushroom hair and all these unicorns. Unicorn pie, anyone?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hip Hip Hooray

So it was my birthday not so long ago. Thank you, yes it's wonderful to be twenty. I feel so young and full of potential. And yet so wise. It's true what Whitney Houston said, the children really are our future. I hope you'll find my youthful journey inspiring, like that Justin Bieber.

No. I turned forty. Which is excellent so far. Hips have so far failed to break. Memory as good as ever (i.e. terrible). Eyesight same (see: bat, blind as). I have not yet started to travel everywhere with a small tartan rug and a box of boiled lollies. (Tempted, though. Very tempted). Still have all my own teeth, a great deal too much of my own hair and all vital organs are more or less where they should be and more or less doing their jobs.

Forty is one of those birthdays where people say things like, "But how do you feel about it?" in the same tone they might say, "But what was it like spending eight years held hostage by Somali pirates?" And they say, "Oh, you don't look forty" in the same tone that aged care nurses say to eighty year olds, "Well, aren't you just full of life!". By which they mean, "You're not dead yet! Amazing!" And when I tell them that I feel good, that forty is fine they look at me with pity and compassion.

Someone I know turned forty last year and there were weeks, no months, of complaining and drama and woe, what has my life become! Forsooth I must weep for my lost hopes and ancient bones, alack! We were even instructed that we must buy a Very Special Present to make up for the trauma of, you know, not dying in the previous twelve months. I'm not saying I was unsympathetic but I did mentally roll my eyes a lot.

Because forty is fine. It doesn't feel any different to thirty-nine, thirty-eight or any other number since about twenty-five. Obviously I'm disappointed that I'll never be named one of Cosmopolitian's Sassiest Ladies You've Never Heard Of But Who Look Like They Just Fell In The Eyeliner Vat On Their Way To The Spanx Trough Under Thirty! I'm thrilled, though, that I'm now in the running for Prevention's Least Hip-Breaking-est Ladies Under Ninety! And  I'm one step closer to all those exciting discounts on the seniors card. Check out those savings on dentures. Not bad.

So, in summary: I am old. But happy. And that makes forty feel pretty good. No pity required.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Your Old Friend, Verandah Head.

"Do you want me to cut your hair," my hairdresser said to me, "so it looks a bit less like a verandah?"

This is why I avoid going to the hairdresser. They say things like this to me. Then I spend the rest of my day wondering how long I've had a head like a porch and whether I should just install a small hammock and maybe some cane furniture on my forehead and call it a day.

For the record I agreed to have my hair verandah removed and replaced with a shoulder-length bob. There will be no cranial hammocks in my near future.

I don't know anything about hair. This puts me at an immediate disadvantage when I sit down in the hairdresser's chair because the first thing they always ask is "what do you want done today?" This is akin to sitting me down at the controls of a supertanker and asking me to perform a three-point turn: unwise and likely to end in disappointment. Because I want what everyone who knows nothing about their hair wants: for it to look completely different and spectacularly attractive while essentially remaining totally unchanged. So I sidle into the chair, muttering things like "tidy up the layers" or "just a trim, thanks" and always come out wishing I knew the secret code that all those shiny haired women with the bouncy hair must know.

Is there a secret handshake? Is there a course where I can learn to speak hairdresser? Does everyone in the world just squint at the mirror and shout "That's great!" then run frantically for the door no matter what it looks like?

When I walked out of the hairdresser with my shoulder length bob I met up with G and Tiny J. G stared at me as I came towards him then finally said, "It looks exactly the same. Did they cut it?". Tiny J saw my expression and kept his own council. He knows better than to tangle with a woman and her wrap-around head porch.

Monday, 17 December 2012

This Is No Time For Ginger

Well, hello.

I haven't been here for a while. Not because I didn't have anything to say because I only had one thing to say and here it is: morning sickness is awful. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a big bowl of awful with a little cherry of despair on top.

I wanted to keep writing here. And not only because the cries and whimpers of my vast legions of followers as they stood outside my house begging me to update my blog was a bit distracting. "Please," I would hear them shout, "Can't you just come to the window and complain about Gymbaroo to us? Or at least show us an overprocessed photo taken with no discernable artistic talent? Just one! For God's sake, have mercy!"

But I couldn't.

If I had my blog would have looked something like this:

Monday: I hate morning sickness. Overprocessed photo of the bathroom floor.
Tuesday: Morning sickness. Still horrible. Overprocessed photo of my own miserable face waiting to throw up.
Wednesday: The maxalon! It does nothing!
Thursday: A simple guide to lying on the floor moaning while your toddler hits you in the head with a spatula.
Friday: No, I don't want to hear about ginger. Stop talking to me about ginger. Get away with your ginger. This is no time for ginger. And take your dry crackers with you while you're at it.
Bonus: Photo of the messiest kitchen in existence and a sad person huddled in the corner dreaming of the day when the room will stop spinning.

Ah, the good old days.

Eventually the room did stop spinning and here I am at the good part of pregnancy, where I only throw up occasionally. It's nice. Less vomity, for one thing. I don't spend as much time lying on the floor. I can maintain entire conversations about things other than morning sickness. Tiny J no longer watches ABC for Kids in lieu of having a functioning mother (I am not a violent person but if I ever meet that Angelina Ballerina I will smack her down for being the most annoying tutu-wearing rodent that ever disgraced a TV screen. Don't get me started on Peppa flipping Pig). I don't drag myself through the day counting down the hours until I can climb into bed and pass out.

Things are better and here I am. I feel like myself again. As if I've been away for a long time and I've only just found my way home. G tells me that he missed me all those long weeks when I disappeared and a sad, vomity person took my place.

It's nice to be back.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Snaps: House of Gastro


Tiny J was hit with gastro yesterday. He spent most of the day lying in my lap in front of ABC Kids looking very miserable. Last night the gastro came my way and today it has hit G hard. Tiny J is feeling better but for G and I today the house of gastro is not a happy place to be. Woe.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Snaps: Aaaah


Sometimes when it's a day with the sniffles there's nothing more comforting than a tidy dressing table. I feel like I've accomplished something today other than sneezing and self-pity. Aaaah.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Bless Me. Tissue?


  • Tiny J has given me his cold. Bleurgh.
  • He is feeling better but is still pale and snuffly. We're a pair of snufflers.
  • Not being able to just go to sleep and ignore the world means that I've been fantasising all day about all the places I could lie down and snooze. Bed. Couch. Cold, hard floor. When I caught myself looking longingly at the floor of the chicken coop I knew I was in a bad way (Note: I did not lie down in the chicken coop. You never know where that kind of thing might lead. Don't want to end up as a headline in The Daily Mail "Chicken Coop Napper Says I Won't Give Up My Sick, Feathery Habit. Parents Despair, Kim Kardashian Could Not Be Reached For Comment".)
  • A Jehovah's Witness popped by to ask if I was worried about corruption. I had to confess that, not being a talkback radio listener, I wasn't. Nice of her to be worried about me, though, and to come round specially. Maybe tomorrow she'll be over to ask if I'm worried about Death by Sniffle. That's something I am worried about.
  • The chickens are now at full production. Six eggs today. Eggs, anyone?
  • Here's to waking up tomorrow sniffle-free and finding recipes that need lots of eggs.

Snaps: The Daily Commute


I grew up in a city that had buses, not trains. I love trains. I love the idea of them, more than the sweaty reality. I like to imagine myself catching a train to my non-existent job and all that time to sit alone and read a book. In reality, of course, I'd probably just be complaining about the trains and playing Angry Birds like everyone else.

My daily commute is me and Tiny J walking around the streets together. No alone time for reading but no one shoving me out of the way to get to the door first either. I think I have the better deal.