The Dead of Night

His eyes opened.

The sound of crying rang out through the dead of night. It was loud. Too loud to be coming from the opposite end of the house. But then again, everything seemed louder in the dead of night.

Save for the light coming up through the hallway, it was almost pitch black. The dull light barely enough to make out the shape of her in bed next to him. He could feel her there however. Safe and warm with the duvet pulled up to her chin no doubt. Her knees tucked up and her hands finding warmth between her thighs as she slept.

He felt her begin to rouse.

He didn’t often wake during the night. Even when the baby was crying. So he figured he must have just been sleeping lightly tonight. His senses more aware of his surroundings than they usually are. And as she began to roll out of bed, he shut his eyes again. As he knew this was just going to be like any other night. The baby was hungry he thought. She would feed the baby. The baby would stop crying. She would come back to bed.

And with his eyes closed he listened as she left the room and fumbled her way down the hallway. He listened as the crying stopped. All that was left was the sound of his breathing. His chest rising and falling gently with each breath. He drifted back to sleep.

His eyes opened.

The sound of crying rand out through the dead of night. It was loud. Too loud to be coming from the opposite end of the house. But then again, everything seemed louder in the dead of night.

Save for the light coming up through the hallway, it was almost pitch black. The dull light barely enough to make out that she wasn’t in bed next to him.

He sat up and hit the home button on his phone which was laying on the side table next to his side of the bed. The screen came to life. The brightness both illuminating the room and momentarily blinding him at the same time. The numbers of the clock glowed. It was 2:09am.

He looked around the room. He was alone. As the glow from his phone began to fade back to black, he thought that she must already be down in the room trying to settle the baby once more. He lay back down and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the cries that continued to ring out.

He lay there for what felt like an eternity. The crying continued. It seemed to be getting louder and louder and louder. He sat up and clicked his phone back on. 2:09am. He stared at the clock with confusion. He was sure that the time should have changed. Something just didn’t quite feel right. The time. The fact that she wasn’t there when he woke up.

He slid his hand under the sheets where she would normally be sleeping. It was cold. It was as if she hadn’t been sleeping there most of the night. He swung his legs out of bed. The hair on his legs stood up as the cool air hit his bare skin. A shiver ran down his spine. The hair on the nape of his neck bristled.

He made his way to the bedroom door and looked down the hall at the door to the nursery at the other end of the house. It was sitting ajar. The dull light from the room sneaking through the crack and sailing up the hall to meet him.

“Is everything okay down there babe?” he called.

Nothing.

“Is everything okay? Can you hear me?”

Again, nothing.

He slowly made his way down the hallway to the nursery. As he placed his hand on the doorknob to open the door, the crying stopped. The house fell completely silent. He stood there. Not sure what to do. Not sure what had happened. His heart was beating faster and faster with each breath. He wasn’t sure if this was because he was scared of disturbing the baby, or if because he wasn’t sure what exactly had happened. He decided to proceed, if only to check on them both.

He pushed the door open. It lightly creaked. The dull light began to seep through more as the door opened wider and wider. He could make out the furniture in the room. The cot. The dresser. The change table. With the door open, he stepped into the nursery.

It was empty.

There was no sign of the baby, or his wife. He looked around both confused and at the same time wondering if this was all just a dream.

As he stood there, staring down at the empty cot, the sound of crying rang out through the dead of night again. Only this time, it was coming from their bedroom.

He slowly turned around and looked back at the room from which he just came. There was a dull light coming from the room. It was just enough light to be able to make out moving shadows as the crying continued.

He took a step forward. The light at the other end of the house went out and the crying stopped yet again. Another step. This time the light in the nursery cut out. It was now pitch black. In the house.

He stood there, frozen from fear. Halfway between the cot and the nurseries door. Suddenly, the crying started again. This time, it was coming from the cot behind him.

He slowly started to turn around toward the cot. His eyes struggling to adjust to the darkness that had engulfed the house.

The crying continued.

Still frozen with fear, he finally managed to whisper out… “Hello?”

At that very moment the door to the nursery slammed shut. At the other end of the house, the phones screen once again came to life. It illuminated the empty bedroom. The numbers of the clock glowed. The time finally clicking over.

It was 2:10am.

Advertisements

Why we do it…

Last night the Barton family gathered for dinner at Kaine’s parents as we often do whether for someone’s birthday or just because. In this case the parentals have recently arrived home from a month overseas and we were all catching up while they regailed us with holiday tales. 

These family events are fairly chaotic nowadays with four boys under five to contend with. But after dinner we were all gathered in the lounge room and my mother in law played us some home movies. Recorded in the mid 70’s on reel to reel, they contained images of both of her parents. Kaine’s grandmother whom he never had the pleasure of meeting as she passed away when his mum was a teenager, and his grandfather whom we lost almost exactly a year ago. 

With no sound and a grainy picture we all watched on knowing just how special these keepsakes are to her. 

I turned to Kaine who was standing up behind me with a sleeping Jasper in his arms and I said quietly “this is why we do what we do”. He knodded knowingly. 

You see, some day we’ll be gone but I see our family gathered together in a room just as we were last night watching back on the legacy we’ve created. I see them laughing at the fashion and hair do’s, smiling fondly as they see mum and dad in their prime and themselves as children and maybe even quietly tearing up as the images come to life. 

I guess you could say we started documenting our life in video in 2006 when we got married. We invested in a JVC video camera which, by then, had shrunk from the ones you had to prop up on your shoulder like a tv news reporter to something you could hold in the palm of your hand. We filmed our wedding day and made video diaries on our honeymoon and then we edited together an epic saga and burned it to a DVD.

We did this again in 2009 and 2011 when we went overseas and then by 2014 when we went to Europe, we had started a YouTube channel and moved to daily vlogs to document our travels. We had also taken to vlogging other fun stuff in our lives (and some boring stuff too) as well as sharing our stories in writing and of course photos.

We never set out to become YouTube famous or make a name for ourselves in the blogging world. It’s always been to leave a legacy for our family and simply because we absolutely enjoy doing it. 

Occasionally we have been mocked or made fun of. Comments like “you’ve always got a camera in your hand” or the sarcastic surprise when we show up to something without the camera. But we’ve also had lots of people embrace it and love being involved too. 

I think somewhere along the way the art of the home movie got lost. Whether it’s because the technology was too expensive or now when it’s quite the opposite. We have a camera in our hands for so much of the day now that it’s become so mundane to send a snapchat of the kids doing something cute or posting a holiday snap on Instagram… but it’s just not the same. 

So while some may not get it. I ask you to find an old photograph, or better yet, a video of a loved one who’s passed or even of you from your own childhood. That warm fuzzy feeling you get is the reason we do what we do. 

And while our musings are a little scarce right now with the bustle of young family life we will continue to write, record and photograph our lives so that some day, when we no longer can, they might bring some comfort and joy to those we’ve left behind.

Giggling Baby

So this video is a little old… but it is still definitely worth sharing. It is from the first time we were able to get Jasper to really laugh.

Daddy was being very silly… Jasper was being completely adorable… And the end result was this damn cute video of him cracking up laughing for the first time!

Remember to sit down, take a breath, and enjoy the simple things in life… like giggling babies!

The Multi-Tasking Myth

In today’s world multitasking is king. Women are commended for their ability to have a million things on the go at once and men are teased for their supposed lack of ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

But is multitasking really all that it’s cracked up to be? 

I hear from many women, mum’s in particular, that it is utterly exhausting and quite often ineffective to have so much on our plates. Just the mental dialouge and to do lists alone are wearing us out. We’ve been raised to believe we can have it all; a successful career, fulfilling family, a body like Michelle Bridges and a sex life out of an episode of Sex and the City. But can we really?

Maybe we can. Just not at the same time. 

I recently read ‘Happy Mama’ the guide to finding yourself again by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. In the chapter on Grace, Amy talks about the ‘multi-tasking trap’ and it really struck a chord with me. She dared to suggest that multitasking doesn’t work and that it was actually the “source of most of my meltdowns, most of my tears and most of my shameful mummy moments”. 

As Amy went on to give some examples, it was as if I’d written it myself. The times when I have lashed out at my husband or kids is usually when I’m trying to do too many things at once. Cook dinner, send business emails, show interest in my husband’s work day, soothe a hungry baby and make a bottle for an impatient toddler all at the same time. Not to mention the internal dialogue that’s constantly screaming in my head, reminding me to pay that bill, put a load of laundry on, text my friend who’s had a rough day and what groceries we’re running out of.

Arrggghh….just writing it stresses me out.

In the book Amy says that she learned to be ‘mindful’ (isn’t that the word of the day!), to be aware of her thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. Giving that moment her full attention. She goes on to give examples of reaching for her phone while breastfeeding instead of soaking in the special time with baby or reading a bedtime story but not actually hearing the words you’ve read, as your mind is too busy thinking of other things. 

I’m reading this getting all geed up. Yes! I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I’m going to be present and available for my children. And then a thought hit me. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done!?!

If I can’t read while I’m breastfeeding or send emails while cooking dinner or write my shopping list while playing with my toddler then when can I? When everyone’s asleep at night? Then when the hell do I sleep??

Multitasking might be the enemy and cause of our stress but maybe it’s the only way to fit it all in sometimes?

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. And maybe there isn’t one. I suppose it comes down to what’s important vs what’s urgent.  

And what’s important to me is that my husband and children feel valued and not constantly battling for my attention. 

On that note, time to put the phone down and turn off the internal dialogue for a few minutes. It’s time to go give my big boy a piggy back and make silly faces at my baby to make him laugh. 

You know, the important things ❤️

Just Another Parenting Blog?

“Oh no! Have we become just another parenting blog?”

We have started brainstorming some updates to our social media branding when I realised that, despite our best intentions, NSSLOU has basically become all about our life as parents. 

But you know what, this is the chapter that we are in right now and it’s all encompassing. It’s different and hard and fun and it’s who we are at this point in our lives. Mummy and Daddy. 

And I don’t apologise at all for that. 

We may not be out seeing the world exploring and adventuring, but we are having adventures of different kind. And we will get back to being those jet-setting, cocktail-sipping people again eventually. Hopefully. 


But for now I’m the Mum whose Insta feed is basically a shrine to my kids, whose shirt is usually spit-up or milk stained and who doesn’t venture too far from home because you never know how car trips are going to turn out. 

We are the 30-somethings spending most nights at home navigating bath time and dinner prep. And instead of partying or camping on weekends you’ll usually find us playing in the backyard or spending time with family. 


For now we are just ordinary people. A husband, a wife. And a parenting team just trying to raise exceptional children and keep our shit together as much as possible. 

So to all the other 30-somethings out there that are knee deep in nappies and whose lounge rooms look more like a day care centre than a Kmart catalogue. We get you. And hopefully our musings bring you some relief. 

We’ll meet you at the pool bar in say….15 years. 

Things I’m rediscovering with baby #2

It was only a couple of years ago that we had our first baby but my how quickly you forget things. Well, you never really forget but more so you get focused on the current challenges and milestones of whatever stage they’re in. But now we are in the thick of baby life yet again, and I am rediscovering all the things I’d forgotten about.

Like the endless rotation of clothing. This baby is constantly either shitting or spewing all over what he’s wearing! I swear he goes through about 4 outfits a day. Not to mention my constant need to change from being spewed or shat on! Ok, if i’m honest, you’ll often find me wearing vomit or milk stained clothes because there’s just no point changing AGAIN! And why is it that we always pack a change of clothes for them but never for us??

Then there’s those delightful car trips with a screaming baby. Yup, we’ve got one of those again. I feel like I’ve built up a better tolerance to it this time around but if we go somewhere as a family and Kaine is in the car too, cue extreme stress levels and arguments every time. Men just can’t seem to handle it can they? At least we now know that screaming bloody murder on car trips will eventually give way to 11pm drives to get the kid who now magically loves the car to sleep.

Perhaps my favourite is the little discoveries baby makes. Like finding his hands and feet. Jasper has been marvelling at his fists for a while now and is just starting to lift his beautiful chubby legs up in the air. He is also finding his voice and squealing with delight. Gosh I love this stage so much. 

I’m being reminded how sweet a sound baby giggles are and how you’ll do just about anything to win one. From silly faces and baby talk to tickling and singing made up songs. But it’s so worth it every time I hear his laugh and see his heartbreakingly cute dimples and puffy cheeks. 

 
I’m also remembering how frustrating and disheartening it is to have a crying baby you just can’t seem to soothe. It’s agony. But thankfully we haven’t had many times like that yet. 

I don’t ever want to forget these moments and I know just how fleeting they are. One blink and they’re suddenly having conversations with you and getting hair cuts and demanding mnm’s for breakfast. 

If only we could hold onto our little babies forever. 

Footage Friday: 3 Months Postpartum Update

I managed to get a few minutes to sit and record our three month postpartum update. 

It’s a little update on how mum and Bub are doing. And it’s only about a month late so we’re doing well!

*Yes, there is a bit cut out of the video about how Jesse is adjusting to the new addition. My bad! But rest assured he’s coping just fine. My editing skills however…