Monday(ne)

I’m not entirely sure how to process the first part of 2015 for us.

Leafy and I will travel 3000+km to stay with my family for the Christmas/New Years/Australia day period and leafs papa will stay here.
I know she’s going to love it and I’m that excited for her to be able to engage with her uncles and cousins and really enjoy what (I think) the summer holidays should be about: family, fun and free time.

But I feel the mama guilt, taking my bebe away from her papa, flipping her from the only home she’s known to my parents to an interstate move for a couple months then back to my parents then back to her tropical home to then move again just weeks later and have a very vague ’till the end of the year’ limit on that.. It hurts my heart to think she won’t be settled, or have a home full of vague memories of toddlerhood, that she hasn’t been anywhere long enough for me to make friends with people who have children her age, that she’s stuck with such a gypsy of a mama, that her family lives so far away, that I might not be able to give her siblings etc etc.
What is initially a very simple gee willickers I’m not looking forward to this flight very swiftly develops into the downward spiral of anxiety that looms ever watchful just beyond the reaches of conscious control, waiting for a moment of doubt to ruthlessly seize upon any infinitesimal opportunity to devour a lacklustre mamas wavering confidence.

Moral of the story; I get motion sick.

Welcome to my mind.

-b

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babies and puppies and rainbows and candy and sunshine

Yesterday was Leafs birthday, and ill post about it soon but I’m still kind of processing and denying.

In the mean time this one year old caper has produced a different baby. She’s independent and happy and sharp as a tack.
We also had nala the monster pup desexed last week, and she’s only just back to her usual incorrigible self yesterday.

But today for the first time I saw the benefits in getting nala.
She was a birthday gift for the papa, mainly because the perfect mix breed popped up and we couldn’t not get her, when originally we planned to get a puppy for Es first birthday.

I let the dog in and she did her usual sweep to make sure everything was tip top and Bristol fashion (read: sniffs out everywhere in the house leafys been that morning and cleans up the crumbs left behind). She’s currently drinking milk out of leafys sippy cup that she’s strategically flipped over and tilted so it trickles out onto her tongue. Did I mention she’s 50% border collie and grossly intelligent?

Im doing the usual morning crochet and I realise they’ve been quiet for ages.

I look over to the window and lounging in the morning rays is nala, chewing a bone with one leg draped over e, while she lays back over the dogs belly, playing with her tail, bumping her head against the window and pulling wipes out of the nappy basket.

They played together for at least an hour.

It’s exactly what I wanted but I just cannot believe it.
They fight over a toy for a couple of seconds but it’s not real fighting. One gets bored and gives up. One gets things the other can’t reach and shares. They follow each other around.

To be honest there’s not a whole lot of point of depth to this post; I’m just surprised and happy.
And that’s nice.

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bragplaining

Today it occurred to me that there’s an odd phenomenon that exists amongst human beings*.
One of the primary reasons I’ve avoided mothers groups and any type of gathering of the same vein involving parental/child comparison is for the competitive component that’s inevitably involved.
For some people it’s unintentional, an innocent remark about their little poo machines ability to put a sultana in their mouth (it might sound stupid to the childless amongst us, but those fine motor skill milestones are total mountain-out-of-molehill worthy moments).
Some parents feel the need to give blow by blow accounts of the wondrous achievements of Einstein Jr from the crack of dawn till that non existant middle of the night feed they dropped when they were – believe it or not! – just days home from the hospital.

Personally I don’t believe I fall under either banner, not because I’m not proud (cause sometimes I legitimately think leafys shit don’t stank) but because I’m so wary of bragging I almost withhold information until I’m asked. Except to leafys Nan but she can’t get enough of the bullshit stories.

I feel like I’m doing the world a service by not perpetuating the braggart mama stereotype. Like, people’s opinions of young and/or first time mums (and sometimes subsequent – get it together gals) will be swayed by a kid from the country not leaving the house for an hour once a week on a Tuesday morning.
Yeah yeah I hear you. Back to reality Bambi.

But I don’t feel that I’m the opposing end of the spectrum, as competition seems to have emerged for who has it worse.
‘My baby won’t sleep for more than an hour. Ever.’
‘My kid vomits after every. single. feed.’
‘He just screams non stop when I’m not holding him.’
‘She refuses to go to sleep if I’m not feeding and cuddling her.’
‘My child is Satan.’ (That might’ve been me. Shoot me.)

What does that say about us as women?
Parents?
People?
… Society?
Is it just another case of being the best at something? The Best Worst Child.
I’m a little guilty of this, far more so than positive bragging. Partially because I don’t want to be a bragger. But a little bit because I want people to understand why I look and feel like a kangaroo that lay down for a nap on an interstate highway at peak hour.
If its not to be the best of something, is this a case of poor parenting, or some kind of underlying sinister component of the individual? Or – more likely – is it just some lonely sleep deprived lunatics trying to find common ground with someone to bond over their mutual despair?

I prefer to think that bragplaining (coined and copyrighted – a brag complaint. I’m so witty. And have too much time on my hands) is a psychological phenomenon, because the majority of regular braggers have heard people bitch about people just like them, but not them! just in very similar situations, HINT HINT, and thus have had to revolutionise their game.

*I’m generalizing because of course I have no idea if this goes on with other people or is in fact simply a figment of my imagination.

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what does a horsey say?

You know how you always hear people say ‘my heart jumped into my throat’, or ‘I felt my heart skip a beat!’ or one of the many other ways of saying something really affected you? Nothings ever really happened like that to me before. Other than those times when I was frightened for myself, but, I mean, who cares when I almost get hit by a car?!

The real point of interest here is something outside of yourself having such an impact on your emotions that at any given time it can affect you physiologically.

I was walking around a department store avoiding stepping on E as she picked tiny bits of fluff off the floor, intermittently bopped to Gotye and pulled herself up on the hanging clothes.
She grooved her way over to some boxes and babbled some nonsense to me, stood up and extended a closed fist towards me (you. I don’t know why but I enjoy pointing at her and saying ‘who is the [cleverest, bravest, best eater, most diverse mess maker, nicest singer, accomplished infant pole vaulter]? You. And I point at her).
So I said ‘you, baby. Come tell mama what the puppy dog/pussy cat/ducky/baa lamb/moo cow says,’ and with an envigorated Gotye fuelled bop, the hand still supporting her lost its traction and she wobbled.

I tasted my heart. It wasn’t just in my throat, it stopped, hit the back of my teeth, rattled around, absorbed all the blood in my face and slammed down to the bottom of my stomach with an unearthly thud.

It kind of took me by surprise. I love her and I worry and I get a shock when she bumps her head but.. for the first time it dawned on me that she is literally a human being. And she’s going to do shit I’m not prepared for, or that I don’t see or know about and I won’t always be able to catch her before she stumbles or skins her knee. Or tears the hem on a rack of dresses marked down to $3.50.

I had to get her Nan to carry her around for a while, while my organs realigned.
Of course mum took her to the rocking horses that make sounds when you squeeze their ears – apparently these are the singular most terrifying objects leafy has ever come across in her short life. She actually squealed, tried to climb over and behind mums shoulder and bury her face in her hair. There were tears. Even looking back at them she let out a wail and insisted she be carried inside my jacket till we got back to the car.

We don’t ask what a horsey says.

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habit forming

For the fifth day in a row I’ve snuck in to leafys room to watch her sleep.
Ever since the day we went walking and she fell asleep in the pram, when I looked in at that relaxed chubby cheeked monster and thought hot damn I made something perfect, I haven’t been able to help myself.
I dont really know why, she just looks so perfect and innocent and at peace.
And she’s not destroying something, making a mess or leaking bodily fluids onto the freshly cleaned carpet.

I’ve also taken to thinking, almost all the time, how good we are together. Just the two of us. How we could withstand anything, leafy and bambi against the world.
Cause lately it kind of has been just the two of us, and its really become how I want it to be. Long term. All my future images have become just the two of us doing shit, going places. Making messes.
It’s too early for me to know what to do about that kind of thought.

Perhaps I should just stop thinking it.
Perhaps I should stop staring at her like she’ll disappear.

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how to teach a ten month old she’s not the boss

Okay I probably titled that wrong. Its less a how to than how not to.

I’m so not a stellar example of parenting. I haven’t been well emotionally for a while, and whilst that’s no excuse, it means I already feel like I’m on the back foot with imposing some sense of leadership over leaf.
She is the most obstinate child I’ve ever met, and I know a lot of people say that, but she is. The worst thing is people hardly notice because its in the most subtle ways that she can manipulate me.

‘Come on now,’ I hear you say, ‘she’s a baby! She can’t possibly boss you around!’
Oh but she can dear reader. She. Can:

When you’re sitting in your chair and your third mandarin becomes spontaneously unsatisfactory, what do you do? Squish it, throw it, and scream at an ungodly pitch and volume until an adequate replacement is suggested.
‘Banana? Cheese? Sandwich? Bikkie? Sultana?’

Ahhh, thinks the mama, the squished nose grin: yes please sultana.

Oops, no mum, you’re wrong. I thought you said banana again. I want banana. Allow me to demonstrate this to you by freeing the sultanas skyward to return to the heavens.

And when the banana is finished? Save the last bite for massaging against your scalp, and sharing with the dog.
Then scream that wonderful scream again, until a sandwich appears. That too is good for scalp stimulation, thought peanut butter stings less in your eyes than vegemite.

If you fancy a walk, simply reach behind you, have faith mama will grab your slippery grubby little fingers, and slip forward over her knees until you feel the ground. Next simply utilise your favourite scream until she gets the message, or loses all hearing and agrees out of weariness.

One of the worst things is when you’re hungry and she’s trying to feed you off a spoon. Like, seriously? Take the spoon like you’re going to feed yourself, but rub it all over your face. She’ll get frustrated, try to take it back, then it’s like you’re reacting to her anger when you move to take the spoon again but you’re forced to whack it as hard as you’re able till she lets go, resulting in the goop she’s trying to peddle being spattered all over everything within a 5 metre radius.

Oh and when you’re in public and you WANT THOSE SUGAR SACHETS/EGGS BENEDICT/PANCAKES/PIPING HOT COFFEE just take them. Your mama might pull you back once or twice but take a couple of moments to allow that third time to lull her into a false sense of security before your final attempt. If you’re still unsuccessful, once again make use of your pipes (what else are they for?) And really let her know. (It’s usually around this point Nan will start sharing the foam off her latte with you. Win.)

A fairly surefire way to get what you want with maximum distraction and minimum effort is to get real close to her face so she thinks you’re being sweet, then give her a good ol’ whack in the face. A few times, in quick succession. This ensures the highest return.

Ps – any of these things are likely to make her more amiable to the idea of sharing whatever she’s got with you, so if that’s really your endgame, use your brains: go all out from the beginning and then what you really want will be the lesser of the available evils. It’s all about planning, people.
Happy dominating!

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outings with leafys

It’s not often we get our shite together and leave the house, but every time we do there’s a long winded decision making process involving several key points:
– what will we be eating, and thus what is that foods capacity for being ground mercilessly into all fabrics worn, hair and items of distraction
– where are we going, and thus how seamlessly are we able to integrate breastfeeding or destructive commando crawling into the floor plan
– who else will be present, and how accepting are they off general baby-isms
– when do we anticipate returning home, and so how many different temperatures and timezones do we need to accommodate?
– How will the dear leaf cope with this event and should we even bother?
– Why do we bother?

This is all bearing in mind of course my indelible love for this child.
But so much effort. So much. Don’t wear that shirt, it’s too easy to expose a boob, don’t wear those pants they’ll show every stain, the laces come undone on those shoes, you’ll fall over.

Being a mother means every single thing is of unparalleled momentous consideration, things that never before occured to anyone ever. Not even a teenage girl on her way to a backyard party where the boy she likes is apparently maybe going to show up, late possibly and she has to decide whether to risk her parents seeing her expose a tad too much cleavage or have them wonder why she needs to take a bag when shes just going to watch movies at sophies house.

I wonder why I don’t think that hard about anything else?
I mean, I do. Everything is dissected. But thats just because I can’t make a choice, not because Im particularly concerned about the outcome.
Why study? Why not? Why work? Why live in Traralgon? Why not Melbourne? Should I get a bigger car? Is it worth saving? Where do I see myself in a year? Five years, ten?
Dunno, I’ll worry about it later. You see where I’m going.

It is essentially impossible to spend that amount of time contemplating every single decision. Sometimes you can explore them endlessly, come at it from every possible angle, and still not know. So why bother?

Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this man?

recurring themes.

I’ve not stopped with my terrible indecision. You’d be forgiven for thinking I was a masochist, and hey – maybe I am.
But there’s more to it than that (I hope).

I like to think that I’m intelligent (interestingly [ironically?] I was thinking intelligent, but the word terrible appeared. Yes hello Dr Freud, my name’s Bambi.), maybe a little rash sometimes, but for the most part I agonize over a decision, and more often than not change my mind after I finally say nope, this is it!
You’d think that because of these things I wouldn’t often find myself in a position of catastrophic moral conflict.

Or maybe you would.

I question everything I think now.

Every thought I have though hinges on how it will impact leafy, what she’ll think of me when she’s capable of questioning me.

How does one make a decision? Filter ones own thoughts?

Google.

Yep.

whatcha doin’, mama?

This is the question on everybody’s lips.
That is, everybody that’s at the center of my life.

That is; Baby Leafy. (Even she thinks that’s her name now. The oft repeated game of ‘where’s the baby?’ is met with confusion when addressed in any other way.)

Once again I’ve unenrolled from university. The suggestion of a private practice career still in health care that involves working with ones hands and building relationships with clients has lead me to physiotherapy.
Since my heinous SIJ issues whilst cooking leafy and the wonderful treatment I had at the hands of my Physio Claire, the ideas been at the back of my mind. Working regular hours without the pressure of night shift, plus the possibility of being my own boss for just four years work? Yes please.
So I’ve got the year to play with again. I ought to get something done, I hear you say.
Yes. This is true. We need to move house, so that buying one doesn’t seem so imminent.
But I want to buy various items of very little importance to decorate someone else’s home that I borrow for an exorbitant price!
I want a pretty winter wardrobe! (Incidentally i’ve just had a major clean out and have no winter stuff. Guess Tropical Queensland didn’t send me off with a whole lot of warm gear.)
I want to read novels!
I want to get fit!
I want to spend a bit more time with my mildly settled high maintenance beauty bubba and her ever patient father!
Perhaps I’ll get a job, take some pressure off of wonder papa.
In reality I’ll procrastinate like an abosloute pro and it’ll be January again before you know it.

Am I even making the right choice?
I hear ya, Leafy. What am I doing with my life?