In the coming days you will bring your baby earthside and begin a whole new chapter of your life. Soon you will be a mother. The very thing you’ve been dreaming about, longing for and patiently anticipating will become a beautiful reality.
My friend, soon you will be a mother and you will feel a love like never before.
You will doubt yourself more than ever before, feel a gut instinct like never before and be more selfless than ever before.
You will fight with your husband more. And love him more too. Navigating parenthood together will be the most challenging thing you’ll ever have to face but you’ll see a side of each other you never knew was there. A fierce need to protect and nurture your offspring. That need will manifest in different ways for each of you and will often result in conflict. But it’s only because you both care so much.
You will sleep less and worry more. Exhaustion will seep from your bones but you’ll keep going because you have to. Because you want to. Because you need to.
You’ll cry more. Happy tears, sad tears, tired tears and I don’t know why tears.
You won’t have a clue what you’re doing and yet you’ll know exactly what to do.
You’ll hardly ever be alone. In bed, in the shower, in the toilet. And when you finally are alone you’ll miss them.
You’ll give more kisses, more cuddles, more of yourself than ever before. And some day you’ll get those kisses and cuddles back. You will nibble tiny toes, squeeze chubby thighs and marvel at every tiny feature that grew inside you.
Your tank will empty quickly and often. But it will overflow too.
Some days will be hard. And some nights will be even harder. But there’ll be a little piece of magic in all of it.
Soon you will be a mother. And it will be most fun, difficult, crazy, beautiful thing you’ve ever done.
Soon you will be a mother. And you will be amazing.
Just recently, there seems to be a lot of chatter in the news about children and screen time on electronic devices such as tablets, smart phones and even television.
Now I know that this topic isn’t exactly a new one by any means. But because this hot topic has hit the news outlets again, it got me thinking about how we do things in our house. Are we ‘Pro’ or ‘Anti’ screen time? Are we doing right by Jesse when it comes screen time? And are we bad parents if we let Jesse have screen time?
Now there are two recent articles that I stumbled across on this subject, that I found quite interesting.
The first, an article by the New York Post titled ‘It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies‘. This article talks about how screen time can be extremely detrimental to kids development and even uses a real life example of a mother who found her 6 year old son in a trance from having too much time on his iPad playing Minecraft.
So after reading these articles, I decided to do a little googling to see if I could find any common ground regarding if, and how much screen time should kids be having.
At this point I will say this, we are well aware that when it comes to kids development, nothing can replace the amazing benefits of active and outdoor play, reading books, educational toys etc etc. And these are all definitely activities we encourage Jesse to participate in everyday.
But, on the other hand, we do allow Jesse to have some screen time. It’s not a lot, but after these latest articles, we are again wondering if we are doing the right thing in letting him have this screen time.
So what does google say? Well it appears that the general consensus on many Government websites relating to parenting is, that children under two should simply steer clear of the screen altogether. Further to this, children aged 2-5 should have no more than an hour a day, and children aged 5-18 should have no more than two hours a day.
Now in response to this I say good luck getting a teenager to have no more than 2 hours a day of screen time. I will also say that many people believe that screens are just part of modern day parenting.
But after this google search my biggest concern now, is are we bad parents? Jesse is only 16 months old and we let him have screen time. And not only that, are we creating lifelong bad habits with Jesse by letting him have this screen time?
Now I will say that having an iPad in the car was a saving grace for us when Jesse was younger due to the fact he absolutely HATED the car. The only way we could get him to settle and not cry the whole drive, was to hang the iPad on the back of the chair with some Peppa Pig or The Wiggles playing. It would instantly settle him and stop him crying.
But now, Jesse has gotten into the habit of grabbing our phones, climbing onto our lap and waiting for episodes of Peppa Pig to watch. And while it’s incredibly cute, it’s a little worrying that maybe he is starting to expect screen time.
However, while he loves his Peppa Pig, he also loves to grab our hands and lead us directly to either the front or back door so he can go outside and play. He LOVES being outside, so much so that there has often been tantrums thrown because he couldn’t go outside when it was dark out.
Back onto screen time though, I have to admit that we also almost constantly have the television on of an evening and night. And while it’s mostly ABC Kids, again I am starting to wonder if the television should be turned off in favour of play and story time before he goes to bed.
With all this said however, it will be interesting to hear what everyone else’s thoughts on this topic are.
Do you let your children have screen time?
If so, how much screen time do you allow them to have?
If these recent articles have taught me anything, its that I need to be a little more proactive when it comes to Jesse and his screen time, versus having active and outdoor play, reading books and playing with toys.
In the end, both Renee and I know how we want to raise Jesse. But it is good to get a reminder about things like the negative impacts screen time can have.
It’s been a while since our last milestones video.
But since our last one we’ve had broken laptops… no access to video editing software… and endless shopping trips trying to get ourselves sorted out again.
So with all that, we totally missed doing Jesse’s 12 month milestone video.
It may have worked out for the best. Because instead of doing a 12 month milestone video, we have instead decided to do a 12 – 15 month video. And with that, I think we might continue to do these until he turns the big 2!!!
So what’s been happening with Jesse these past 3 months? Well, check it out and see for yourself. 🙂
Something incredibly sweet has occurred in our house this week. Jesse has once again started sleeping in his own room. Hallelujah! I can now have the light on when putting on my pyjamas, read a book before bed and actually sleep in the position of my choosing without fear of waking him up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for co-sleeping. In fact, I really love it. There is nothing, sweeter than cuddling up next to my small person at bed time. However, not so sweet is him deciding that my face is a comfortable pillow or getting kicked in the guts at 1am!
Co-sleeping with him as a newborn just worked for us. It was the only way to ensure anyone got any sleep and, when breastfeeding every couple of hours, it just made sense. But I was that woman who insisted I would not co-sleep with a toddler. Our bed was for us, husband and wife. The children would be welcome in the morning for snuggles but were not to sleep with us in our bed all night.
We moved Jesse into his cot in his own room at about 3 months old because I needed some space and because we thought it was what we were meant to do. It went okay for a while but then teething started and suddenly he developed a severe allergy to sleeping in his cot. It’s like he had a sixth sense and knew he was in his cot as soon as you had put him down in it. No matter how dead asleep he was prior, he would stand up and immediately start crying as if you’d just lay him on a bed of nails. And don’t even consider putting him in there to put him self to sleep. No form of sleep training or pick up, put down methods would work on a kid this stubborn!
So back into our bed it was and that’s how we’ve done it for the last 8 or so months. It worked for us. We all got sleep and we enjoyed being together.
But recently I just felt like Jesse was ready to sleep on his own. And I was ready for it too. So we converted his cot into a toddler bed and decided to give it a whirl. We started with day naps (yes, he would have these in our bed too!) and for a whole week he slept like a champ. So then, with a little hesitation from Kaine, we attempted his first night sleep in his ‘big boy’ bed. It was a little bit sad but incredibly liberating at the same time. And it went brilliantly, he was in his bed from 7.30pm to 6.30am with a couple of little wake ups in between. Success!
I was totally expecting it to be a gradual process but here we are coming up to night 4 and it has been a breeze.
Next step, getting him to sleep through the night… hmmm…
Whenever he hears the bath filling up, he heads straight to the bathroom to watch the water spurting out of the tap and to wait until he gets to hop in.
In fact, he has always seemed to enjoy his baths, even when he was a little baby.
But what he loves more than just regular bath time… is bath time with Aunty Lia.
Yup, LOVES IT!!!
As you can see in this video, Jesse and Aunty Lia have a lot of fun at bath time. And then mummy and daddy have a lot of fun mopping up the water from all over the bathroom when bath time has finished.
After breakfast this morning while Jesse was happily destroying a banana squeezing it through his fingers, I read an article entitled ‘Why Babywearing Annoys Me‘.
It was one mum’s rant about how baby wearing parents are “high-horse owning” and “smug” and have unachievable parenting standards. In one part the writer says that she feels baby-wearing parents think they love their children more and later she insinuates that we put the need to be hands-free for housework as a higher priority than giving attention to our babies.
As I read I was quite shocked by my reaction. Instead of feeling infuriated by such a small-minded perspective I actually felt saddened. Partly that this drivel is allowed on the internet. But mostly, here was a mum who obviously felt threatened by something she didn’t understand.
Jesse is 14 months and is still worn almost daily. I can say in all honesty that baby-wearing has changed my whole experience as his mum.
I purchased a stretchy wrap towards the end of my pregnancy because I loved the concept of wearing my newborn to help him adjust to life on the outside. Little did I know that a wrap or carrier would become his happy place and still bring him so much comfort after all this time.
“And if I went shopping, George went in his buggy. How on earth would I try something on with a baby attached to me?”
Yes, I go shopping with my baby in a carrier. Unlike this mum, my baby never liked to be in a pram. It’s not like I didn’t try. We have a very nice, expensive pram that I would have loved to use more often. I’d see other mum’s swanning around the shops while their perfect baby slept soundly. Meanwhile mine was screaming until I ended up getting him out and holding him while I pushed the empty, very nice, expensive pram.
“Er, why not just leave him snoozing in his cot or moses basket?”
Yes, my baby naps in the carrier. Again, unlike this mum, my baby is not a big fan of his cot, or bassinet, or sleeping on his own in general. And no, I didn’t build a rod for my own back. My little velcro bub was like that from birth. Just hours after being born he would not sleep in his plastic hospital tub but wanted to be on mummy’s chest. And that was just fine by me.
Wearing my baby has kept us all sane. I’m so thankful for it and will absolutely continue to do it with future babies.
Just the other day I was able to spend a beautiful day hiking with my family while Jesse happily slept on my back in the carrier. My dad also had a go of carrying him and Jesse was giggling and having fun the whole time. Now, I couldn’t have done that with a pram!
I also get to see many other mum’s and bubs enjoy baby-wearing as a Kangatraining Instructor. From those that are avid wearers to those that have never worn their baby before, their babies are almost instantly calm once fitted correctly in a carrier.
So, lady who hates baby wearers, we don’t wear our babies because we’re hippies or because we love them more than you love yours or because we feel the need to have our babies permanently attached to us as you so eloquently put it.
We do it because we want to. Because it makes our little ones feel safe. Because sleep is kind of important. Because it’s more comfortable than balancing a baby on my hip all day.
Mamas, can’t we just celebrate that we all parent differently?
Instead of judging a mum who has mastered how to turn a long piece of material into an intricately tied carrier for their baby, give them a high five ‘cos that shit is tricky! Baby-wearing may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But who cares! We’re all just doing what’s best for our families. And that’s what is important.
In the early days and weeks after having a baby so much time is invested just being in the moment. Countless hours spent staring at your new baby and breathing in that intoxicating new baby smell. Giggling at every new facial expression. Gently tracing their features with your finger and committing it all to memory. Stroking their perfect fingers and toes.
The laundry piling up doesn’t matter (because you hardly leave the house anyway). There’s no need for cooking because you’ve got frozen lasagne loaded in the freezer. And the dishes somehow get done either by a generous visitor or husband.
But eventually, life with a baby becomes the new normal. And as well as being mum we also need to be housekeeper, cook, business owner, wife and finance manager, just to name a few. There’s washing to hang out, emails to send and mouths to feed. It can be a lot. And sometimes we can forget to slow down. Stop and smell the baby.
A few nights ago I was putting Jesse to sleep, as I do most nights, when I was struck by just how special that time with him is. I admit, sometimes it can feel like a drag as I run through my mind all the things I need to do. I can find myself wishing my 1 year old was able to put himself to sleep like I hear so many other babies do.
And suddenly I felt that little pang in my heart. I felt yet again that perhaps I’d gotten bogged down in daily life and hadn’t stopped to really soak in that moment.
So, I cuddled him a little tighter, gently rocked back and forth as I whispered ‘I love you’ and ‘mummy’s here’. I kissed his head and drew in his sweet smell. It felt good.
Now I know that I’m not always preoccupied and I definitely don’t take motherhood for granted. Most of my days are spent playing with my boy, feeding him, clothing him. I kiss him a hundred times a day and tell him I love him. I watch him learn and discover new things. I teach him things and sing songs with him. But I admit, like everyone, I sometimes become frustrated when I just need to send this email or just need to get these dishes done.
But every so often I’m reminded that maybe those other things can wait.And that sometimes, maybe I need to just stop and smell the baby.
Couples argue. Couples fight. Couples don’t always see eye to eye. It really is just part of normal life when you’re in a relationship with someone.
Despite the fact that this blog is generally pretty positive (which is a conscious decision, as we think there is enough negativity out there already), we also have our own arguments and fights every now and again. And it has only been recently that I have come to notice something quite funny about the arguments and fights we have been having of late.
It has come as a bit of a revelation to me to discover that the subject of our arguments has changed. Where we once argued about everything from how to wash the clothes properly to money (yes, some of our arguments were that petty, but that said, aren’t all arguments???), we know exclusively argue about one thing…
It’s pretty funny when I think about it now. But all our fights are centred around Jesse and how we care and raise him. Hey, at least the dirty laundry gets a break from our sparring tongues.
And look, at the end of the day, we always kiss and have make up se… I mean kiss and make up. And at the time of the argument, it always feels like it’s about important issues that will shape the future of our family. But when the dust settles, we can usually sit back and laugh at just how ridiculous the fight was!
So what are some of the fights about I hear you ask. Well, you know, earth shattering stuff honestly. Here are some of the arguments we’ve had that I can recall us laughing about at a later date:
1. OMG… I THINK JESSE MAY HAVE SWALLOWED A CAT CLAW AND I THINK HE IS GOING TO DIE!!! While he did actually have the claw in his mouth, he didn’t end up swallowing it. And he obviously didn’t die. And after a phone call to 13 Health and being told she was an idiot for calling, Renee constantly likes to bring up that she was right and I was wrong.
2. DID JESSE JUST FALL OFF OUR BED? WHY WERE’NT YOU WATCHING HIM??? OMG, HE IS GOING TO DIE!!! He did actually fall out of bed. Renee felt really awful about it too. But alas, he survived through this one also. And apparently, babies falling out of beds is more common than I realised.
3. IS HE ALLOWED TO EAT THAT? IS THAT TOO BIG FOR HIM TO EAT? IS IT COOKED PROPERLY? IS IT COOL ENOUGH? IS IT TOO HOT? BECAUSE HE MIGHT DIE!!! Yes I tend to worry too much about silly things like this. But yes, Renee’s cooking is also that bad…
4. GOD… HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO LET HIM CRY FOR… JUST GIVE HIM SOME NUROFEN ALREADY!!! I did have to apologise for this one. In my defence, I had a late night and was really tired and I had to work the next day. Hey, I never said it was a good defence.
5. WHY ISN’T HE WALKING YET? WHY ISN’T HE TALKING YET? ARE WE DOING ENOUGH WITH HIM? DO WE NEED TO READ MORE? DO WE NEED TO PLAY MORE? IS HE DYING??? He isn’t dying. He is doing just fine. He has only just turned 1! Every baby is different!!!
So we are just like everyone else… we argue… we fight… maybe not about the same things we used to… But, we are just like everyone else out there.
And like I said, at the end of the day, we always come to realise that in this new adventure we’re on called parenting, we are doing just fine. We aren’t perfect parents. But then again, no-one is. But the way our little family is developing is just perfect.
So the next time you and your partner get into a fight about how you’re raising your kids… just remember that you’re probably not the first and you definitely won’t be the last parents to fight about exactly the same thing.
And just remember to forgive each other, so you can one day look back on those arguments and laugh. I know I sure will.