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!

Four Weeks as a Family of Four

I can’t believe how quickly these past four weeks have gone. A whole month has passed since we welcomed our second son Jasper James into the world.

One minute I was 40 weeks pregnant praying my baby would come soon, the next we’re rushing to hospital and almost giving birth in the hallway while the birth suite was being cleaned. To now, holding a one month old beautiful boy.

And a big boy at that! At nearly 4kg born he is now 5kg and pushing into 000 clothes. His brother was still in 00000 at 4 weeks old. Not only are they different in size, but in looks and temperament too. It’s so fascinating.

So for a whole month we have been parents to two under two (Jesse’s second birthday is in two weeks time). We feel so incredibly blessed by our two boys but shit, this gig is gonna be tough!
Already I’ve been wracked with guilt. Am I giving each of them the attention they need? And already I’ve cracked a few times under the pressure of sleepless nights.

For the first week I think I was still running on adrenaline and new mama hormones. But a month on there have already been a few rough nights between the toddler having night terrors and the baby being awake for hours at a time because he has a blocked nose.

The real test is coming next week though, when Kaine returns to work. What will I do without someone to take the early shift so I can get another hour sleep? Without someone to answer Jesse’s request to play when I’m feeding Jasper? And without someone to share the nappy changing progression line with?

As challenging as it is, it is also pretty great. The boys already have a beautiful relationship forming. 

So, welcome to our family Mr Jasper and happy one month birthday.

Photo Friday: Our two babies…

Every day we are astounded at how different our boys are. We are constantly reminiscing back to when Jesse was a baby and how different Jasper is to his older brother.

Apart from their completely different colouring and features, they are also very different in size. At just 3 weeks Jasper has already come back to and surpassed is birth weight, weighing in at a monster 4.7kg. Compared to Jesse who didn’t weigh that much until he was 3 months old!

Jasper is already wearing clothes of his brothers that Jesse was wearing much later. So we decided to have a bit of fun with this.

On the left is Jesse at 9 weeks old and on the right, Jasper in the same suit at 2.5 weeks old.

No doubt we will notice many differences as they grow up but there is no denying they are already very much in love with each other.




The Terrible Twos: Is it a real thing?

I’ve heard a lot about the ‘terrible twos’. I’ve seen other people’s children throwing epic tantrums in the grocery store and I’ve seen the memes on Facebook about ruining a toddler’s day by giving him the wrong coloured sippy cup! But is it a real thing? Surely my kids won’t do that…right??

Our big boy Jesse turns two at the end of the month and it is safe to say he has a lot going on in that little mind and body of his at the moment.

Not only is he experiencing a whole host of develmental milestones, he is experimenting with his independence and all the while adjusting to life with a newborn in the house. As are we all!

Over the past few weeks, our usually happy and calm toddler will suddenly burst into a full blown tantrum; stamping his feet and squealing loudly when he doesn’t get what he wants. And we’ve previously mentioned his night terror episodes where he becomes almost possessed-like, stuck in an eratic state between sleep and awake. Some days Kaine and I look at each other and say “who is this child?”

So yes, it would seem the ‘terrible twos’ are a real thing. And despite our best efforts, we are not immune to the crazy behaviour of a two year old.

For example, here are a few things that have caused meltdowns lately:

  • Offering food he does not want to eat.
  • Attempting to remove footwear for sleeping even if they are seemingly inappropriate i.e extremely warm slippers on a hot night.
  • Removing clothes for a bath.
  • Giving a bath.
  • Taking him out of said bath before he’s ready even though he didn’t want to get in it in the first place.

As a parent in this day and age, I am really grateful that we have so much content at our fingertips. A quick surf on google and we found some really great articles on techniques for managing night terrors and dealing with tantrums. There’s also a lot of opinions we didn’t agree with but as first time parents we find it really helpful to do the research and then implement what feels right for us.

With tantrums, there seems to be two schools of thought; ignore the negative behaviour completely or acknowledge the child’s emotions and help them to understand it. We are choosing the latter. Providing he isn’t hurting anyone or damaging anything we are letting him execute his tantrum and offering support and an explanation he can understand.

We’ve realised we can’t necessarily stop the tantrums. And nor do we want to really. We’ve learned it’s an important part of development and learning.

We can only hope that there aren’t too many public meltdowns in the middle of Woolworths because we wouldn’t let him have the box of shapes or bag of chips he wanted! God help us!

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?