Dear Mums, you’ve got this!

The other day I was escaping the Brisbane heat at the local shops with the boys. We stopped by the indoor playground and I sat and watched Jesse play while feeding Jasper and then he eagerly crawled off to join his brother.

At that moment I was struck with a memory of being at this same playground when pregnant with Jasper and I remember wondering how I was going to cope with two children in moments like this. How could I tend to nursing a baby while keeping a watchful eye on a toddler? It seemed incredibly daunting, impossible even.

I then thought back to a particularly difficult night with Jesse. He just wanted to be held. My back was aching but I held him close anyway. His bottom propped up by my pregnant belly and his long legs draping down either side. I sobbed quietly as I wondered how I was going to cope on nights like this with two babies. How could I possibly give them both the comfort they need if they need me at the same time?

I smiled.

I can do it. I am doing it. What seemed so impossible is now normal.

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Soon after, I struck up a conversation with a fellow Mum watching her children play. Two little boys. And she was nursing a 3 week old baby boy. Three boys under three. I was in awe.

I could tell she was exhausted. But the smile she wore as we chatted told me she would not have it any other way. I asked her how she was doing. We talked about the challenges of breastfeeding and the joys of raising boys. I was struck by the rawness of our conversation. Two complete strangers but we just understood each other.

It’s a crazy thing this being parents thing. Being a mother. It stretches us to our limits and so often passes them. It breaks us down and builds us up at the same time. It makes us want to do better, be better. Having children is like constantly looking into a mirror that exposes everything about us. All of our flaws and imperfections. All of our funny little quirks. And suddenly we realised how much like our own parents we’ve become.

I guess all I’m trying to say is mums and dads, you are amazing! You’ve totally got this. And on days when you don’t, tell someone. Even if it’s a stranger at the shops. She’ll get it.

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Jesse’s Hat

A blankie… a teddy bear… a favourite toy… a dummy (or pacifier for you international readers out there)…

Most babies/kids go through the phase of becoming attached to that one particular item that they just can’t possibly live without it. They must know where it is at all times and if they don’t, well, you don’t really want to have to deal with the repercussions of that.

Well, it would seem that Jesse is currently smack bang in the thick of serious attachment mode. But not with a blankie, teddy or his favourite toy. Oh no, he is seriously head over heels in love with his hat!

That’s right… his hat! This is a kid that used to hate wearing hats so much that whenever you put one on him, he would rip it off strait away, throw it to the ground and give you death stares as though it was the absolute worst possible thing you could have ever done to him.

He is so attached to his hat in fact, that there isn’t a single moment of time from when he wakes, to when he sleeps, that it isn’t glued to his head. Oh yes, that’s right. As soon as he gets up in the morning… BANG! On goes the hat. And there it stays right up until bath time where his head gets a 5-10 minute reprieve. But as soon as he is dressed and ready for bed… BANG! On goes the hat again.

He even wears it to bed, and will only remove it once he feels like he is ready to fall asleep. Don’t you dare try to take it off his head before then. Because you will be told in no uncertain terms that you are in trouble for touching his hat.

I mean look at that thing… it doesn’t even look like what’s it’s supposed to look like any more. He’s worn it that long that it’s completely lost its shape. The brim has the major droops going on. And if you can believe it, it’s actually supposed to be a fedora, not a straw bucket hat that looks like it’s come from a bad scarecrow Halloween costume.

But with that said, every single day when he wakes up only to make his way over to his hat to put it on for the day, all we can do is smile and giggle at the absolute adorableness that Jesse and his well-loved hat brings.

So the question of the day is, have your kids become attached to something? And if so, is it something unusual like Jesse’s hat, or something more common like the family teddy or blankie?

And with all that said, I am no sitting here wondering how Jesse will react when the hat no longer fits, or finally falls apart on him.

Shit… I don’e even want to think about it…

Life Before and After Kids

I miss my old life.

I miss OUR old life? Yes, I’m pretty sure he said ‘our’.

I mean, does anyone really have a life when you’re a teenager? We’ve been together since we were 19.

I guess it doesn’t really make a difference which word he used. It still sent a shock wave through my body and hit my heart with a thud.

I suppose it’s normal for parents to feel this way. I miss parts of our life before kids sometimes too.

I (vaguely) remember being able to just pick up and go out on the spur of the moment with no hesitation. Now, it’s a good solid hour of intense planning, preparation and packing just to leave the house for an hour at the local Westfields.

I remember dragging out the single mattress to the lounge room floor and snuggling while we binge watched our fave shows (on DVD might I add), drank beers and ate junk food until we were nearly falling asleep. Now we’re lucky to get in an episode of anything without interruption.

I remember the days of spontaneous weekends away. Spontaneous sex. Spontaneous anything really. And now we consider it a good day if we remember to kiss each other a few times and maybe even go to bed at the same time.

But ugh… is our life now so terrible?

I also remember a time when we longed for a baby. When every month was met with disappointment and the ache of not knowing whether we’d ever have a child.

And now we have two. Two beautiful, healthy, cute-as-all-get-out baby boys.

Two is a game changer, no doubt. A toddler and a baby is down right exhausting sometimes. It has required a big adjustment for the both of us.

And when they go to school we will have to adjust again. And when they’re teenagers we will have to adjust again. And when they grow up and leave home we will have to adjust again. And when they have families of their own we will have to adjust again.

I always try to remember how fleeting this time is. Pretty soon they’ll be too big to carry. They won’t need us to help them go to sleep at night. And they won’t want us to kiss their knees better or wipe their runny noses. They won’t always be dependent on us for everything and we will gradually get back pieces of who we used to be.

And then, we will miss these days. We will miss scooping up a baby in our arms. We will miss tiny hands wrapped around our fingers. We will miss all the bodies in our bed at night and waking up to their little smiles in the mornings. We will miss little arms wrapped tightly around our necks and hearing the sweet sound of baby giggles.

So, my dear Husband, please hang in there. This season of our life will soon give way to the next one. I know it’s hard right now. Trust me, I feel the weight on my shoulders (and my hip) each day too.

But I also feel the magic, the beauty and like I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

I count it all joy for everyday I wake up next to you. And no matter what season of life we’re in, that I can count on.

40 Weeks In / 40 Weeks Out Part II

And there you have it. Just like that our second baby boy has hit nine months old. Today he has been on the outside exactly the same amount of time he was in my belly.

40 weeks in and 40 weeks out. Exactly.

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40 Weeks Pregnant (3 hours before Jasper’s birth)

I remember everything about the day Jasper was born. I remember so clearly how happy I was to finally be in proper labour after two weeks of start / stop. And literally within a couple of hours he was in my arms. At 3.9kg, over a kilo bigger than his brother, 55cm long and with whispy dark hair, we welcomed another little boy to our family.

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Jasper James Barton

Nine months on Mr Jasper has grown….and grown! His once dark hair has turned golden, just like his Daddy and big brother. He has chubby legs and a big round tummy, a throaty giggle and heart-melting dimples. And now, a big toothy grin with nearly six teeth.

Jasper James Barton – 40 Weeks 

He crawls at lightening speed and just loves to stand up. He pulls himself up on everything every chance he gets. He is Mummy’s boy through and through currently either glued to my hip or strategising the fastest route to get to me.

And if we thought our lives had changed significantly after having one child….well two is an absolute game changer.

Happy nine months Jasper James, we love you Bubba.

So, you going for round three??

“When are you going to have another baby?”

“So, you going for round three?”

“You should have another baby. Just one more!”

“Go on… just one more. You might regret it if you don’t.”

“Don’t rule it out. Because you never know, it could happen.”

When you’re a young, married couple as we once were, the questions about when you are going to have kids seem to be inevitable. It’s as if society just automatically assumes everyone who fits the above criteria wants to have children.

However, that one simple questions can cut deep in a couple, especially if you’ve been trying for a long time and have been unsuccessful (as we’ve mentioned in the past, it took us 18 months to conceive the first time round), or have found out you are unable to have children at all.

And then you have kids. Two beautiful, healthy, happy boys who both look like dad (much to his delight) but are actually mummy’s boys most of the time (much to her delight). They are loved by everyone, and they love everyone.

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The day after the birth of Jesse

And then, as if someone has hit reset on the console, the questions start coming in yet again. “When are you going to have another baby?”

Now it’s not entirely a rude question now that we have children. In fact, its a pretty standard question when engaging in small talk with parents. I know we’ve asked it completely innocently.

Well we were sitting down having a chat about our baby boys (is Jesse still a baby?) and the conversation took a turn into the territory of more kids. We’ve both been asked the questions about having another baby. But had we ever sat down and really discussed it?

“Tell me the honest truth, do you want to have another baby?”

I asked Renee as we sat there discussing our perfect little family.

“If your asking me right now, my answer is hell no!”

Well that’s a relief! It seems we’re both feeling pretty maxed out with two children. A toddler and a baby can be hard yakka!

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The birth of Jasper

And then we began to think… why is our desire to procreate again or not of so much interest to others?

One of the typical reactions I’ve encountered when speaking about how we are happy with two children, and don’t want any more babies is, “You never know, you could change your mind…” or “It could happen…”

At the end of the day, those with children have a choice to make. And that choice, being whether or not to have more children, is a personal choice. It’s their choice. And it’s a choice that is made together, as husband and wife.

I don’t know how many of those of you reading this post are at that point in your life, but how did the conversation happen in your house? Have you discussed having more children? And most importantly, did you both agree with each other?

For us, well Jesse is our handsome, sweet and loving big boy. And Jasper is our chubby and cheeky sequel. Why mess with perfection?!

And besides, any more kids and we’d be outnumbered!

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Our Family Unit

Photo Friday: Our Latest Family Photo Shoot

It has been a really long time since we have done a ‘Photo Friday’ post. In fact, we have been pretty quiet on all fronts over the last few months.

I’m not sure if it is writer’s block, a lack of inspiration or simply just being knee deep in family life. As a family we are making a point of being more ‘present’ and I guess in part that means less writing time.

But over the past few weeks I’ve really been missing it and feel like perhaps I’m not capturing enough moments as the days and weeks slip by.

So, here’s to taking more photos, going on more adventures and creating lasting memories!

A couple of weeks before the end of 2017 we worked with Nicole Gordon Photography on a mini family photo shoot. In a way it kind of book-ended the growing of our family as we have captured each stage from pregnancy, newborn life and now how we have settled as a family of four.

We were absolutely thrilled with the beautiful photos captured by Nicole in less than 20 minutes (you gotta be quick when your subjects are a two year old and a baby!). Thank you, Nicole.

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RANT: The biggest problem at concerts

RANT WARNING:

Last night, I went to a rock concert.

That’s right, a concert. A concert is where you go and watch a band, who can actually sing and play musical instruments, perform a selection of the own original songs, unlike DJ’s who can’t sing, can’t play instruments, and stand behind a laptop the entire time.

Anyway, I went to a concert last night. Parkway Drive to be exact. They played the last of 3 sold out shows there, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend with my brother-in-law, Mat.

So, imagine this… you are gearing up for a concert where you get to go see one of the bands you love play. They might even be your favourite band. It might be the first time you’ve seen them. It might be the fifth. Regardless, you are excited and looking forward to heading to the venue.

It’s a Monday night and you have to work the next day, but that’s okay. One late night won’t kill you. Besides, it’s Parkway freaking Drive!

You arrive at the venue and immediately head to the bar. You decide to get Red Bull to so that you have a buzz, but don’t get drunk. You head to the nearest entry onto the floor and chill to the side while the support act kills it on stage.

The mosh pit is mental. There are circle pits and walls of death. People headbanging and crashing into each other. There’s drinks flying everywhere and sweaty bodies pushing there way through the crowd of people to get as close as they can to the stage.

Then, the main act comes on. The lights dim, the guitars start to rev, and Parkway Drive appear on the stage from the darkness.

The cheers go up, as do the fists. The singer shouts out a quick introduction, the music starts, and then its on. The mosh pit whips itself into a frenzy. People are jumping around. The music is so loud that it almost bursts ear drums.

And then, the phones start to rise. One by one by one, phones make there way into the air as people start to record what’s happening on stage… in the mosh… on the balcony… and not just one or two phones. There’s dozens and dozens of phones.

And you are now standing there, unable to watch the band you paid good money to see live in concert on stage. You are now watching them through the iphone screen of the people standing in front of you.

It’s okay, they’re only going to take a 30 second clip for Snapchat. Or a quick video for Instagram. 4 songs later, the phones are still in the air and your anger is rising.

Let me say this, if you are one of those people who go to a concert and the proceed to film the whole thing on your phone, you are in fact a massive asshole. Also, let me give you a tip, nobody gives two shits about your dodgy, shaky and distorted iphone footage from the Parkway Drive concert you just attended. In fact, I can almost say with certainty that you’ll probably look at the footage once, realise everything you recorded looks like shit, and will never look at it again.

When you film concerts, all you are doing is pissing the people off who are standing behind you! Live in the moment! Watch the concert you paid good money to see through your own eyes, not through your iPhone while you’re trying to record it. By doing this, I can almost 100% guarantee that everyone, yourself included, will have a much better time.

In other words… PUT THE F***ING PHONES DOWN ASSHOLES!!!

Oh yea, and by the way, I don’t have a photo of me at the concert last night to add to this post, because guess what… I LEFT MY PHONE IN MY F***ING POCKET!!!