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.
“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.
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.
Watching Jesse play when he’s in his own little world is so cute and often hilarious.
The other afternoon as I was watching him play he just kept lying down on the floor, taking a lot of care to make sure he didn’t bump is head. Getting up and doing it again. All the while having a little chat to himself.
It was so adorably funny that I just had to grab my phone and record it.
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. 🙂
So as you would have seen from our ‘Photo Friday’ post two days ago, there is a new addition to the extended Barton family. Little Flynn. My brother and sister-in-law’s second child.
And with that comes new conversations with family members and work colleagues. Well, not new for Renee and I, because its a conversation we’ve been having for a while now. But no one else knows that.
The hot topic of conversation… when Renee and I are planning on having a second baby. It never ends does it!
“When are you getting married?”
“When are you having a baby?”
“When are you having another baby?”
Over the past few days since Flynn’s birth, we’ve been advised on the benefits of having kids close together; we’ve been reminded about our ‘age’ and how the ‘clock’ is ticking (as if we didn’t know); and I’ve been told by someone that she is very keen to be an Aunty again! About as subtle as a gun don’t you think!
But what everyone doesn’t realise, is that we are already all over this.
The conversation about when we should have more kids, and how many kids at that, is a conversation that Renee and I frequently have. As do probably all first time parents. But funnily enough, even though we do talk about it regularly, I feel like we aren’t really any closer to coming to an agreement on both questions. Particularly how many children to have.
I am set on two. We won’t be outnumbered, and wherever you go, family passes are always for two adults and two children. Perfect! But Renee is still trying to talk me into three. She’s pretty adamant she will win this argument too! I think just recently she even said something along the lines of, “Oh we’re having three kids” in that kind of tone where you realise you don’t have any say in the matter.
So back on the topic of when we should have bubba number two! Well, while both Renee and I come from families of three kids, our family dynamics are quite different. Renee, her brother and her sister are all around 5 years apart, whereas me, my brother and my sister are all quite close at around 1-2 years apart.
And look, I really can see the pros and cons at doing it either way. Which timeline is best for us… I still don’t know at this stage. Though we don’t really have age on our side to consider the five years apart option.
Are we ready or a second baby? I don’t know… But is anyone ever truly ready for a second baby? Is there even such a thing as the perfect time?
I still feel like I’m learning to be a parent to Jesse. I still feel like I am yet to truly find my feet as a dad, where I can go out and confidently say, ‘yes, I have got this!’
Though I’m not sure if a parent ever gets to that point.
But then you have the people that go, the second one is easy! The first born is always the hardest. It gets easier with each baby you have. Really? Does it? It seems like it’d just be Jesse x 2… and just Jesse by himself can sometime be a little overwhelming. Maybe its actually a matter of the parent getting more relaxed rather than the subsequent babies getting easier.
So the question is, is it time to jump into the deep end and try for baby number two? Or do we revel in the delight of our only child for a little bit longer?
Guess I better go find Renee so we can start the conversation again…
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.