When the season changes…

A simple change of season brings with it so many things… like cool nights spent in front of the television under a blanket. Lazy mornings spent dozing under the warmth of the doona. Flannelette pyjamas. Onesies. Slow cooked meals and warm soups. Runny noses and blocked sinuses.

With a simple change of season, Winter is here.

It has brought with it, into our household at least, the kind of runny noses, blocked sinuses and chesty coughs that young children just seem to attract. It has also brought with it, restless nights.

Over the past few nights, our modest queen size bed has been full. Full with two tired parents, a sniffily, snoring toddler with a blocked nose, and a restless baby that just wants to be continuously attached to Renee’s boob. Our bed is full of warm bodies fighting for space in a forever shrinking bed that seems to be getting smaller by the minute. But it’s not just full of these sleeping, sometimes restless bodies… It is also full of love…

It is full of the love of a mother cradling her newborn in the crook of her arm as she yet again exposes her breast to the cool air of the night to once again feed, soothe and settle his tiny whimpers and cries.

It is full of the love of a newborn when he feels the warmth and closeness of his mother, as he begins to take in the sweet milk that he has been longing for.

It is full of the love of a father as he breathes in the blissful scent of his toddler’s hair when he rolls over and cuddles in for warmth, placing his tiny hand on my cheek.

It is full of the love of a toddler who feels safe wrapped in the arms of his father, as he breathes and snores softly into the night.

A simple change of season brings with it so many things. But of all the things that a change of season to those cooler months of Winter brings, it’s the overflowing feeling of love we feel as our family finally falls soundly asleep, breathing almost in harmony, cuddled up and sharing with each other our warmth, that we treasure most.

A simple change of season brings with it so many things…

And love is the greatest of them all.

Something funny happened last night…

Something funny happened in our house last night.

Something that is the result of two tired parents, at night, doing their best, trying to get the kids to bed.

So, as is normally the case of an evening/night in the Barton household at the moment, Renee was feeding and nursing Jasper while I was playing with Jesse and making us dinner. On Saturday night while we were out for my Mum’s Birthday, Jesse found a skill tester full of bouncy balls. $1 later and some serious skill tester skills on my part, Jesse was the proud owner of a small, red bouncy ball which hasn’t left his sight since we got home that night. So last night, Daddy and Jesse were bouncing said bouncy ball back and forth to each other for hours, much to Jesse’s delight.

Anyways, so we eventually got organised and got both boys ready for bed.

Our normal routine of an evening is once the boys are ready for bed, and once Jesse has had enough playtime and starts showing signs of being tired, one of us will take him into our bedroom and lay with him on our bed with a bottle while he falls asleep. Well, last night it didn’t quite play out that way.

We got the boys ready for bed… we let Jesse continue playing… and Renee took him into our room for a bottle and sleep time. 7 minutes later, the door opens and out strolls Jesse wide eyed and bushy tailed! Ok, fair enough, not quite ready for bed yet.

So it was more bouncy ball play time, as Jesse and I sat at opposite ends of the kitchen and continued to bounce it to each other.

A little while later, and it was my turn. So it was into the bedroom, sans bottle, for the second attempt… … … We didn’t even last 5 minutes this time!

Back out we go for more play time.

About 30 minutes later, Jesse finally takes me by the hand, requests another bottle and then leads me into the bedroom. By this stage, it’s somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00pm and well past Jesse’s bedtime. It’s all good though. Hopefully he falls asleep pretty quickly and I’ll be able to sneak out in time to see the end of MasterChef.

I remember laying down beside him, feeling him snuggling into me as he chugged his bottle down. I remember him handing me the empty bottle, putting it on the side table, and then snuggling back into him as he rolled over to get comfortable. And then…

Well, the next thing I remember is Renee nudging me in the arm to wake me up. “Hey… we both fell asleep and it’s now 10pm” she says to me as I try and comprehend where I am and what’s happened.

“What?! Did I really fall asleep” I say back to her, convinced she is lying. I’m sure I remember thinking about stuff while I lay here. Or was it a dream…

Oh well… that folks, is how parenting is done. Where the person with the most energy at 8pm on a Sunday night is your 2 year old toddler. And when you both fall asleep trying to put the kids to bed and miss the end of Australia’s best amateur cooking show, MasterChef. Who had the three best dishes? Who had the worst three dishes? Who the hell was the guest chef? These are all questions I may never get the answers to…

Like I said at the start of this post, something funny happened last night. It was the result of two tired parents, just doing our best.

So, what’s in store tonight? Well, I can let you know how we go if you like, although, there is one thing I do know… I can’t miss the ending of another episode of Australia’s favourite show about cooking things, MasterChef (not really, because really, who gives a sh*t about who had the best dish when you can snuggle with your 2 year old in bed!).

Thoughts of a Dad going back to work.

It’s been six weeks since I last went to work.

It’s been six weeks since I got up at 5am… put on work clothes… caught public transport… walked through Brisbane City…

But today, for the first time in six weeks, I got up at 5am, put on my work clothes, caught public transport, walked through Brisbane City and went to work. Because today, is my first day back from my planned parental leave.

For the past six weeks, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of being home with Renee to help welcome our second child, Jasper James into the world. And wow… what an amazing six weeks it’s been!

Our family grew by one (us boys now officially rule the house!!!). We had numerous visitors come through our doors to give us adult interaction but to also meet and adore our newest addition. I managed to complete a number of home projects we kept putting off because we either had no time, no money, or a combination of the two. I bonded with Jesse on a whole new level after spending almost every waking hour keeping him entertained so that Renee could tend to Jasper.

We laughed. We cried. We slept on the couch at midday because we got little sleep the night before.

We had tantrums. We had night terrors. We had snotty noses. We had vomit down out arms and nappies full of diarrhoea.

But it was literally the best six weeks at home we have spent together in a very long time.

But today, it all changed. Because today, was my first day back at work. Today, was the first day Renee was at home with both boys by herself. Today, was the day that I had to leave Renee, Jesse and Jasper at home, after spending 6 weeks with them, because I had to go back to work. Today, was one of the hardest days I’ve had to face in a long time.

I always knew it was going to be difficult leaving my family behind as I went back off to work after spending so much time together. But come yesterday evening, I felt physically sick at the thought of going back to work! Not because I hate my job, far from it! But because all I wanted to do, was to be with my family.

However, if there is one thing I do know, it’s that work is exactly where I need to be. I need to provide for my family so that there is petrol in the tank, food on the table, and nappies on the kids. I need to support my family so that Renee is able to continue to stay at home with our children and chase her passion as a Kanga Trainer.

And it’s for those reasons, as I sit here at work on my lunch break, that I know I am where I need to be, and I am okay with that.

For those of you out there who are in similar positions, remember… you may be leaving your partner and kids of a day, but don’t feel guilty about that. You are where you need to be, and in the future, they will thank you for that!

The real side of parenting…

People are often criticised for only sharing the happy parts of life on social media.

Whether it’s happy go lucky posts on Facebook, or an Instagram feed that is carefully curated to make the rest of us jealous of a seemingly perfect life, there is a constant wave of people shouting for everyone to be more real!

Well, for us, it doesn’t get much realer than this!

Me… sitting in the hallway at 11pm, eyes closed with a bottle in my hand while Jesse kicks and screams his way through yet another night terror behind the wall just to my right. Sitting in that exact spot because if I move even an inch closer or further away from him, the screaming only gets louder!

Sitting there… a combination of tired, defeated, angry, sad, worried and helpless as Jesse fights his way through his terror.

Sitting there, knowing there is nothing I can do but wait, and pray that he comes over, takes his bottle and climbs back into bed.

Sitting there, feeling like a failure…

We certainly haven’t been shy when it comes to writing about our negative experiences as we stumble our way through parenthood… But I also know that I am also guilty of trying to keep things as positive as I can. And one look of my Instagram feed will confirm that.

So when Renee shot off a quick photo to capture this moment… this “real” moment… no fancy clothes, no fancy lighting, no fancy editing… as I sat there trying not to feel defeated as a parent, I knew I had to share it!

This, is what is real for us! Not every night. Not always this bad. But it’s our reality and it’s one that we’ve had to learn to embrace.

However, while we are certainly happy to share this reality with you, I don’t necessarily think those who like to keep positive Facebook pages or colourful and happy Instagram feeds aren’t being real!

You don’t have to be controversial, swear, belittle your kids and/or partner or share inappropriate photos to be real!

You just have to be you…

And when you too are up late at night, trying to calm or soothe your crying child, just remember, that you are not alone! You aren’t a failure! And you will get through this!

And at the end of the day, when they wake up the next morning, happy and playful, you will know that you’ve done your job!

Let’s talk about night terrors…

Let’s talk about Night Terrors!

This little guy looks pretty content this morning… happily guzzling his bottle as he watches some early morning ABC Kids. In fact, he has been his happy normal self this morning.I wish we could say the same about our little Jesse during the night.

Unfortunately, it would appear that throughout the past two nights, Jesse had been suffering from night terrors! And it is absolutely horrible!!!

On a couple of occasions through both nights, Jesse has ‘woken up’ and started screaming, and kicking and thrashing about in a trance-like state that we just couldn’t seem to snap him out of. And the reason I put ‘woken up’ like that, is because according to the literature we’ve read, he actually isn’t awake.

Night terrors are most easily explained as being caught in between wakefulness and sleep. Essentially, the brain disconnects from the body when we sleep, but when someone is having a night terror, it essentially means that there is an incomplete disconnect. This is why Jesse looks awake and his eyes are wide open, but really, they are mostly asleep and completely oblivious to their surroundings.

And unfortunately for parents of kids who suffer from night terrors, there isn’t a hell of a lot we can do!

The best course of action is to let them ride it out themselves. Night terrors can last anywhere between 5 – 20 minutes. Which does mean if your child is showing symptoms for as long as 20 minutes, it can be quite upsetting for the parents. But, unfortunately for parents, trying to sooth your child, or touch them, or wake them, or talk to them can often make the terrors worse.

While we didn’t realise Jesse was suffering from night terrors two nights ago, after some research and taking to a doctor, we were better prepared last night in case we had a repeat. But, despite being prepared for another episode (which did eventually come at about 11pm), we still felt helpless and upset that Jesse was thrashing around and on the verge of hyperventilating, yet we couldn’t do anything to help.

I guess the best thing (if there is any upside to night terrors) is that children who get them don’t remember what has happened the next day. Which is why Jesse has woken up in his happy, chipper self.

I sometimes wish that we parents had the ability to not remember what happened either.

We officially think night terrors SUCK!!! And with some of the literature we’ve read saying most kids outgrow night terrors by the age of 12, we can only hope that Jesse doesn’t have them for that long.

If you would like some more information on night terrors, we found this article very helpful: Month 21 Worry: Why does my toddler wake up screaming?

Photo Friday: First days at home…

Wow, what a whirlwind the past week as been.

And now, we have a brand new human at home that we are fully responsible for (why did the hospital let us go home?!).

The first days at home have been surreal, but also amazing, as Jasper, Jesse, Renee and I all bond and bind as a foursome instead of a threesome.

Also, I think we have the cutest baby on earth at home with us (slightly biaised opinion of course).