Friday, 10 June 2016

Those second baby fears

Now, don't worry.  You might think from the title that I'm rethinking this whole "two children" thing and let me reassure you right now that that is not the case.

And if I was, it's a bit late now to be having cold feet.

But, I do worry about how it's all going to work.  There's only going to be 19 months' age difference between my two girls and obviously there'll be some logistical challenges to figure out.

But that's not really what I'm worried about either.  I know we'll figure out the day-to-day stuff eventually.

The stuff that I really worry about is how we will all fit together as a family.

How will Joan react to the baby?

There's no doubt in my mind that I love Joan fiercely, but I worry that she'll feel that I don't love her as much once the baby arrives, or that she'll think that I love the baby more than I love her.  Tears come to my eyes just writing that.

So far, Joan is a pretty easygoing and undemanding kid.  She's never shown much jealousy if I talk to, carry or cuddle other children.  But of course there's a big difference between a five minute cuddle at playgroup and a new baby who spends the majority of the day in my arms.  Arms which used to belong just to Joan (well, also to Blair, but as far as she's concerned they're just hers).

Will I be slow to bond with this baby too?

While I love Joan madly now, this time last year I wasn't feeling a lot towards her.  I wanted her to feel loved and safe and I wanted to meet all her needs, but in terms of actual motherly love, I felt nothing.  It took easily as long as six months before I was deeply obsessed with her the way I am now.

What if it takes me a long time to bond with this baby too?  Will I resent it (her, her - I can't get used to the fact that we do know the sex) for taking my time and attention away from my beloved first born?

What if I end up playing favourites?

Right now, never having laid eyes on the new baby, I just can't imagine how I can love two children equally the way I love Joan now.  I know everyone says that your capacity for love just multiplies the more children you have, but I also know plenty of examples of obvious favouritism of one child over the other/s.  I never ever want either of my kids to know that I love one more than the other.

When we were young my sister and I used to ask Mum, "Who's your favourite?" and she would tell us that she couldn't possibly pick one of us over the other and she loved us both for different reasons. At the time I believed her without question, but I now realise that there was a good chance that she did actually prefer one or the other (and possibly switching between the two of us depending on the day!).

I'm forever grateful for the fact that I grew up never thinking this was the case.

I don't want to have a favourite, but what if this baby turns out to be more difficult than Joan in any way?  Other than those fraught newborn months, Joan is such an easy child.  She's been easygoing, full of smiles, never bothered by teething, eats well, sleeps well, extremely sociable...  How can we possibly get so lucky twice?

We haven't even experienced half the challenges you would expect for new parents.

I think a big part of my apprehension is due to the fact that I just do not like small babies and it's no secret that I dread going back to the start again with a confounding newborn.  That's why we're having our kids so close together - let's get that first part OVER WITH (well, that and some of us *cough*Blair*cough* are getting really old over here).

Obviously the second time around isn't going to be quite the plunge into the deep end that the first time was - no matter how many people gleefully tell me that two is like twenty.  I know how to change a nappy now (don't laugh, when Joan was born I searched all over the box for the instructions), I know which brand of nappies I prefer, I know how to breastfeed and that I like onesies with snaps not zips.  I know how to cope with sleepless nights and that it's not that hard to get up to your baby.  There's plenty that I feel perfectly capable of dealing with.

But every baby is different and who knows what lies around the corner.  I'm a control person.  I really struggle with the unknown and with surrendering to whatever will be, and new babies are ALL about surrender.

I don't know how we'll adjust to the new addition.  We'll figure it out.  We'll do the best we can.

We're ALL muddling our way through.  No one really knows what they're doing, even when they know what they're doing.  ...Right?!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

She walks!

At exactly 15 months and 5 days old, our baby officially became a toddler.

Last Saturday morning, (the last day of Blair's break, so pretty great timing), Joan got up and decided, "I think I'll start walking today".  And walk she did.

She was pretty unsteady that first day but it was clear that she was finished with crawling and was determined to walk.  Previously she's taken two or three steps, then dropped to her knees and reverted to crawling.  Now she stands herself back up and keeps on trying.   And one thing about being such a late walker is that her progress is fast.  She's already quite confident and can walk fairly long distances, relatively speaking.  She still does that hilarious stiff-legged baby zombie walk with her arms stretched out in front.  Brains.  BRAAIINNNSSSS.

I haven't been worried about her lack of walking because I could see that she was still making progress.  But I confess that I have been really impatient especially since all the other babies we know and spend time with are walking and have been for months.   Not to mention that having a crawler in winter sucks!!  The daily costume changes were getting ridiculous because she was always crawling through something wet or muddy, or both, outside.

Plenty of people have warned me that life is a lot harder with a walker, and I absolutely believe that I will have to keep a closer eye on her and be quicker to catch her when needed.  But already I can see that life is also 100% more awesome.

For one thing, the playground is suddenly a myriad of possibilities instead of being stuck at the swing the whole time.

The swing is still number one by a long shot, but toddling in and under the play equipment now comes a very close second, as does climbing the stairs to the slippery dip, which gives Mummy all kinds of heart palpitations.

Turns out I'm something of a helicopter parent.

I'm very excited at the thought of all the CUTE skirt/dress and tights combos that we can now delve into (one quickly learns that skirts on a crawling baby do not work).

I'm thrilled at the thought of being able to walk from the house to the car in one trip, or at least without having to balance a baby on my hip along with everything else I might be carrying.  Yes I am conveniently forgetting that there will be a newborn thrown into this mix in the not too distant future. Shut up please.

But, imagine one day leaving the house without a pram!  I dream big, people.

All in all, it's been a big week.  

Other than the walking milestone, she appears to cutting one or four to five new teeth.  I can't be sure of the number because I am absolutely not allowed to look in her mouth.  But there's definitely some pre-molar action and possibly some eye teeth (canines) as well.  As per her usual style the only reason I even realised she might be getting some more teeth is because she laughed and I spotted some white dots on her gum.  At first I thought it was popcorn but nope.  Teeth.

We've also cut out one bottle of milk per day.  She was still having three, (yes I know I KNOW) but for the past several days has simply refused the one before her lunchtime sleep.

And lastly, apparently she is in the process of finally dropping to one sleep per day.  The past few days when I've put her down for her morning nap, which is just a quick half-hour, she's lain in her cot chatting away to herself, clearly wide awake, and has still made it happily through till midday before her next sleep.  I'll continue to put her down though since she's not in there bawling her eyes out.  A little quiet rest time while she transitions won't hurt.

All this change has come at once, but at her own pace and of her own choosing.  Whenever I've tried to force a change in routine or whatever it's backfired on me, and I've now learned to step back and wait and - as impatient as I might feel at times - let Joan set the pace.  Then the change comes easily and simply because she's ready.  

So... onwards we go!  Next chapter.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

52 Project: 20/52

Ah, Joan.  So shy and retiring.

These past few weeks the little personality is shining through more than ever.  I'm so glad that I was finally able to capture the pontificating with raised finger to which I have to stop and "listen, mummy".  I'm definitely going to have my work cut out with this one in a few years.

She makes me laugh - properly, loudly, belly laugh - every single day.

Such a little monkey.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Halfway there!

You guysssss...

I'm 20 weeks pregnant this week.

That means we are OFFICIALLY halfway to zero hour.  I'm pretty sure that by this stage of my pregnancy with Joan I had already written about eight blog posts on the subject of being pregnant.

This time, I'm trying really hard to soak it up and enjoy the experience because as far as we intend, this is the last time I'm going to be pregnant.

I'm lucky enough that pregnancy is a fairly smooth ride for me.  My morning sickness is minimal, although both times it has carried on well past the first trimester.  I have a friend who suffered severe morning sickness (I'd call it by its medical name but can never remember how to spell it) and spent most of her last pregnancy in hospital, which is a great reality checker when I want to whinge about my own sickness.

Generally speaking the experience has been very similar to how it all went with Joan, except that this time I have far less time and attention for every little twinge.  I must admit that I'm feeling far more tired than I did first time around.

Somehow I've managed to grow the placenta in the anterior position (front) again - same as with Joan.  With her I didn't feel any movement until I think about 24 weeks.  This time I have already felt the odd something, usually first thing in the morning, but no big movements yet.

Speaking of big...  My boobs have clearly decided that the growth of my belly is some kind of competition and they are up for the challenge.  Massive doesn't even begin to cover it.  I'm already wearing the biggest of the maternity bras I had last time.  It might be time to start looking in the G for Ginormous section.  I hope this baby likes milk.  If you see me in person, thank you in advance for not commenting on the obscene chest situation.  I'm self conscious enough as it is.

Other than that there's not really much to report.  Feeling good.  Expanding at an exponential rate.  In all areas.

This was very early in the piece and already I had a pot belly I could not suck in.  Possibly only about 8 weeks here I think?

About 12 weeks

About 16 weeks - I was feeling far more massive than I look in this photo

20 weeks, also known as yesterday morning (with bonus baby messing up my side table)

Friday, 6 May 2016

Grandpa Gilly... and a Gender Reveal!!

Whoops, how does that happen?  Suddenly it's been two weeks since my last post.  Still, they say never apologise for not writing, so I won't.  I ain't sorry!  Got that?

We've had a fairly busy couple of weeks with MORE illness, and a highly anticipated visit from Grandpa Gilly (my dad) last weekend, AND today we learned the sex of the new baby.  You'll just have to read on to find out (or, you know, scroll straight to the end because you cannot DEAL with my rambling).

Last time I wrote, we were all gingerly creeping about, recovering from a horrible bout of gastro.  Since then, Joan has had her 12-month vaccinations which caused a very scary high fever of nearly 40 degrees and a fairly sleepless night for both of us, and then this week she and I both caught a cold which has resulted in more lost sleep and a horrible barking cough for her.  So yeah.  Basically I may as well send her to daycare to catch all the germs, at this point.

Let's move on to more positive topics, namely the visit from my dad.  Grandpa Gilly and Joan last saw each other in November 2015 when she and I visited Adelaide (a trip that was also marred by illness, WHAT GIVES, UNIVERSE?).

Needless to say, she has grown A LOT in the past six months and I think it's safe to say that she and Grandpa share a mutual affection for one another.

Dad's visit was all very civilised and we even managed a couple of lovely long lunches which I haven't done in who knows how long.  Every time I suggest it to Blair when Joan is with the nanny, he wants to go to Bunnings or something instead.

Biggie Smalls was also suitably noticed by our guest.

Lunch #1 which was at Ishka Restaurant at the Breakwater Hotel in Hillarys was outstanding and I ate until I made myself quite sick.  Stupid baby taking up all the room.  Yes I did indeed have gnocchi with a side of chips.

We got the papers each morning which Joan thoroughly approved of, and once Dad was finished reading she would get her fat little mitts right in there and scrunch the entire thing into oblivion.  So rustly!

Below we have a record of the night when her temperature spiked to above 39 degrees.  You guys, that was so frightening.  Everyone warns you that a really high temperature can lead to febrile seizures in young children but to see her burning up and distressed, shaking like a leaf, was bumping right up there into terrifying.  Thankfully I was able to get some panadol into her and the temperature came down relatively quickly.  I kept her in my bed for the rest of the night and she woke up like nothing had happened.

We also took my water-loving baby to the WA Aquarium, AQWA, which she adored but was also a little dazed by.

I made a bread and butter pudding for Dad who hadn't had one since the 1950s (he is PRETTY old) and he gratifyingly declared it to be as good if not better than any he'd ever had.  Apparently my next challenge is creme caramel which I suspect might not be quite so simple as a trusty bread and butter pudding.

On Monday, Dad's last day, we went for another indulgent lunch at Odyssea which was also excellent and I stuffed myself once again, not being one to learn my lessons if I can possibly help it.  TOTES worth it.  Delicious.  Go there immediately, if not sooner.

All in all it was a great little visit and Joan and Grandpa got some good proper bonding time.  It might be quite sometime until they see each other again but Joan's now old enough that I think she'll remember him and all the fun they had.

And now for the news that you've (maybe, maybe not) been patiently waiting for...

We had our anatomy scan this morning which confirmed that the baby is healthy and in possession of full set of fingers and toes, and is... a....


I'm thrilled to have a sister for Joan, as I have wonderful relationships with both my sisters and hope the same for my two girls.  Blair will of course be moving into his shed in approximately 12-15 years' time when the girls and I will probably all be going through certain hormonal changes at the same time.

But seriously.  So excited.  The best part is that Blair had a name pop into his head the moment he saw the baby on the ultrasound screen.  This is the man who has REFUSED to discuss names with me up until this point.  He wouldn't even give me one suggestion of a name he liked.  We could barely find a name we agreed on for Joan so I was really worrying what on earth we would name this baby if it was a girl.  And now, in the same way that we knew that Joan was the name for our first baby girl, suddenly a name has appeared for this baby girl.  We know, know, that it's right.

But THAT, you will just have to wait to find out when she's born!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Gastro. Oh No. Oh Yes.

You guys, we can officially tick "First bout of gastro" off the baby milestone list.  What?  Did you not know that was a milestone?  It is weird that my Milestone Cards don't cover that one...

Anyway, we survived.

It all went down last week, working its way slowly and inexorably through the household, including poor Blair who flew in from work just in time to catch it, recover, and then fly out again.  The only one who has remained untouched is the cat and his sympathy levels are low.

Joan caught it first and is STILL not 100% back to normal.  And because I like to kick her while she's down, she also got her 12-month vaccinations yesterday (she is already 14 months old and I really didn't want to put it off any longer and the nurse said it was fine).

Blair and I went down hard and fast (separately, thank goodness) and were both feeling recovered within 24 hours.  But - and let me apologise in advance for this oversharing - it's now been a full week of Joan waking up in the morning with poo up to her armpits.  It was never this bad even when she was a newborn.

As I whined to my sister on the phone, when will it end?

Look, I know we got off relatively easily: only one baby to look after, we all had it a different times, and the worst was over for all of us within 24 hours of the first power chuck (again, sorry).  But even during that short time I did learn a few things which I thought I would share with the group.

So here are my tried and tested tips for surviving gastro...

  1. If you suspect it's coming, make sure everyone is really well-hydrated.  This is actually as advised by my sister who has been through gastro with her three kids MANY times.  It's common sense advice but such a good tip as I found with Joan that when she was vomiting every 15 minutes she would not drink a drop (and who could blame her?).  So it was good to know that she at least started out really well hydrated.
  2. Red cordial!  Who knew!?  This I was told by people on Facebook and, being me, subsequently googled to find that yes, red (specifically raspberry) cordial is commonly used to either stave off gastro or to treat it once it starts.  Who knew?!  Not me.  I do know that I now have a bottle of Cascade Raspberry Juice cordial in my cupboard and will be administering as needed.
  3. Line cot with towels.  Another invaluable tip from my sister.  Because we had got some warning that gastro might come our way, I was able to put Joan down in a cot pre-lined with towels for the inevitable Exorcist moment.  Plus later when she was in bed with me, it was so much easier to catch the vomit in a towel and ball it up for dealing with later, than to try and get her to spew into a bowl or something.  Once the vomiting stopped I threw them all on as hot a wash as possible.  Done. 
  4. Get the pre-mixed Hydrolyte, not those little sachets.  If it's just you who is suffering this probably isn't such a big deal but I was so glad to not be mucking around mixing up Hydrolyte while my poor baby retched and cried.  Also, I didn't end up doing this but my sister recommends having the Hydrolyte ice blocks in the freezer ready to go as kids are more likely to suck on them willingly when they won't drink.
  5. That smell.  This isn't so much a tip as an observation.  My neighbour whose little boy went down too agreed.  Gastro has a really distinctive smell.  It's burned into my brain.  If I ever smell it on Joan again I will know straight away what's about to go down.
  6. Wash hands, wash everything in the house you can.  Obvious, I know.  And hey, it didn't save Blair and I from catching it.  But after Joan's night of horror I stripped the bed, her cot, washed all the towels, plus her playmat, all the clothes in the washing basket, everything.  Just wash it all.  It's not going to hurt.  Either that, or a bonfire of all household linens would be totally understandable at this point.
  7. Hand sanitiser.  I wasn't as diligent with this as I now wish I had been.  I kept forgetting to put it next to the change table, and then would forget to wash my hands.  NO WONDER I caught it.  Be smart.  Don't be like Prue.  Sanitise those hands.
  8. Glen 20 for toys and hard surfaces.  I have always watched those Glen 20 ads with the woman gaily coating her house in the stuff and wondered who the hell does that.  I'll tell you, a woman with gastro in her house.  I got the "clean linen" smell and did my best impersonation of the woman in the ad (only with a slightly more grim expression on my face).  Not sure it did anything but it sure did make everything smell nice there for a while.
  9. Lactose intolerance.  This I was told by the doctor who I took Joan to when she kept squirting me with hot rivers of poo every nappy change (sorry again).  Apparently the gastro can damage the lining of their little gut which means they become lactose intolerant for a couple of weeks after the gastro has cleared their system.  He put Joan on a lactose free diet and promised it would all clear up very quickly.  Listen, I'm still dealing with Number 3s most days, but they are much better than they were.  Just something to be aware of.

Honestly I'm glad to just get the first bout of gastro out of the way.  It's one of the things I was really scared of and also knew was pretty unavoidable with small kids.  But, as with most things I fretted over because I had Joan, the reality is never as bad for some reason as your imaginings.  I don't know why - possibly just because you're in the moment with no time to think and all you care about is what's happening to your kid.  But anyway.

Gastro.  I'm not afraid of you anymore.  But please don't come to my house again ok deal?

Monday, 18 April 2016

52 Project: 15/52

Alternate title: Whoops I've Missed Like 10 Weeks Of The 52 Project

I have completely fallen off the 52 Project wagon here people.  It was always going to be ambitious for me to manage a photo every week, and my friend and I did try to come up with a catchy name for a monthly photo but they all sounded like euphemisms for a menstrual cycle!!

So here is the very belated latest batch of photos, taken a couple of days ago when Joan was still recovering (and still is now) from a nasty bout of gastro.  Luckily as you can see, it didn't dampen her spirits too much.

Frankly I'm not sure what would dampen this girl's spirits, ever.  Her good humour is absurd.  I didn't realise it was anything noteworthy but literally everyone comments on what a happy smiley little girl she is so I know it must be true.  What can I say, she takes after her mother (SNORT).

Speaking of "little girl", LOOK at her face.  Hardly anymore baby-ness (totally a word) left.  You'd think I might be sad, and I am a little wistful but she is so funny and bossy and opinionated that I am still just loving watching her grow up.

She talks all day long, points and pontificates and if we laugh she does this big fake HA HA HA too.  You guys, it is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A visit from Rosie

My mum returned to Adelaide yesterday after staying with us for eight days (Blair is away for work again).  I spent the rest of the day after dropping her at the airport moping around feeling very bluesy as you do after a really good holiday, or party, or visit from your mum.

We had SUCH a good time.  I had resolved that we would not spend the time sitting around home which we have done the last two times she's visited (I blame the baby!).  

I planned a full schedule of events and outings and even I really got a taste of just how much is on offer in Perth, which I haven't really done before.  There's definitely something to be said for being a tourist in your own town.  Perth is quite cool!  Who knew?  Not me.

Mum arrived on Saturday afternoon and we spent Sunday together with Blair before he flew out early Monday morning.  On Monday Mum and I did stuff close to home like drink coffee and walk around the shops.  Pleasing.

On Tuesday we left the baby with Nanny Pam and we took the train into town to see the "History of the World in 100 Objects" exhibit at the museum.  We discovered a very cool little play area outside the museum with all different kinds of musical instruments for kids to play on.  Being kids at heart we had a grand old time trying them all out.  Look at those happy faces!

The exhibition was fascinating and full of appreciative old people who stopped and read every caption in full.  I must say, I can't wait to be old and retired and do this kind of thing all the time.  We would have taken in the art gallery as well but it was closed.

I took the photo of the jacket below for Blair, who loves a pimping jacket as much as anyone.  This was a moose-skin jacket from North America and was very fancy indeed.  I sent the photo to Blair who replied, "Buy it".

We had the most amazing cool and sunny autumn weather for the whole week and spent our late afternoons soaking it up in the backyard while Joan crawled around eating dirt and putting a pebble in and out of a plastic plant pot approximately 3,957 times.  We were all very happy.

Biggie Smalls also approved strongly of the visitor who was willing to sit and scratch his back for as long as he would lie there for it.  Then of course when he was done with that he would bite her. Cats eh.

Other than putting things in and out of containers, Joan's big love at the moment is music.  Any music, all music, but especially making music herself.  So on Wednesday we returned to the city with her for a stroll around, and a chance for her to have a go on the musical instruments outside the museum.  We all had a ball.

We checked out Elizabeth Quay which was fine, and posed for obligatory touristy photos.  Can you even see those tiny people at the bottom of the arch?  That's Mum and Joan.

Joan ended up finding the musical instruments a bit overwhelming we think, there were a few kids there playing on them too and she seemed dazed by the whole experience.

Onwards for a spot of lunch in Hay Street Mall before off home again.

On Wednesday night under Mum's guidance we made an amazing goats cheese tart which I need to replicate at the earliest opportunity.  DEAR GOD it was good.  I'm still mourning the fact that it's finished.

On Thursday morning we got coffee with the usual crowds at Yelo Cafe at Trigg and then went to Ikea to look at curtain hanging options.  Exciting times!

Poor little Joan had been sleeping poorly (well, poorly for her anyway) since Wednesday which made for a couple of long days with almost no sleep for her, and a horribly long period of crying down Thursday night before bed. Teething?  Developmental stuff around learning to walk?  Overstimulation from the busy days?  Who knew.  It seems to have passed now, touch wood, jinx, I hate white rabbits.

Let's just say that this pregnant woman partook in more than one glass of wine on Thursday night.  Judge me if you must.

On Friday I had booked in a whole day for Joan with Nanny Pam so that Mum and I could do a quick clean of the house we have for sale (yes I know, lucky LUCKY Mum with these great activities I had organised), and then have a relaxing day just the two of us.  

Only, as we discovered when we got to the house, someone had broken in and stolen the air conditioner.  So instead we spent the WHOLE DAY at the house sorting that out.  This here would be the low point of the trip.  Goats cheese tart was obviously the peak.

Joan had another day of terrible sleep for poor Pam who was probably totally worn out by the time we finally got back home after 5pm.  Thankfully (for us) she crashed out at 6pm Friday night and didn't make a peep until the following morning when I went to check if she was still alive at 7.30am.

On Saturday we ate buttery toast, and went for one last walk along the beach in the afternoon with the moody clouds overhead.

Then suddenly it was Sunday morning and time to go to the airport.  Kisses and hugs all round and then she was gone.  And I got home and made myself all sooky at the sight of her cereal bowl, or thinking about what we would be doing if she was still here.

Luckily I had a brunch booked in with the girls from work (or, my ex-work seeing as I am now an unemployed bum) which lifted my spirits until I got home and saw the cereal bowl again and had to cook dinner by myself.

A carb-laden dinner in front of my beloved Real Housewives on TV meant the day ended on a good note though.

We had discussed extending Mum's stay - especially on Friday when we discovered the break-in at the Wellard house - and yesterday I did wish that we'd followed through on that.  But in the end it's like the first day of Blair's being away.  The first day is the worst by far and then I get into my little routine and although it can be dull it's always nice to have the house to myself.

Joan is literally growing up before our eyes.  Having been so tiny for so long I was shocked to discover that she's now at the top of all her percentiles.  Girl is TALL!  She's comfortably into Size 2 which again has taken me by surprise.  My sister has been sending us her 18 month old's cast offs but if Joan carries on growing at this rate, I'll be sending our cast offs to them instead.

She's standing independently but not quite game to take her first steps just yet (she's not quite 14 months).  She's just started playing pretend and it's so adorable watching her "make" stuff in her play kitchen, or rocking her bunny and giving him a bottle.  She got a big box of Duplo from her NZ grandparents for her birthday and she loves sticking it together and pulling it apart.

As for the pregnancy, nothing really to report.  Still expanding round the middle, but no kicks that I've noticed yet.  I'm now 15 weeks which means it's only another few weeks until we can find out the sex!  Very excited for that as we can just focus on names of one gender.  Not that Blair will talk names at all yet, damn him.  So boring.

Last bit of news is that it looks like we'll be making the big move away from Perth next year sometime.  Nothing is too definite just yet but we have a bit of land that looks promising.  All will be revealed in due time!!

And that's us all caught up.

The End.