Footage Friday: Our Baby Is Broken

Who broke the baby?

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.

Reclaiming Our Bed

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.

Yeah right!

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!

IMG_2827

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…

Guess I’ll take what I can get for now.

Why Babywearing Delights Me

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.

Stop and Smell the Baby

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.

IMG_2407

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.

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

Recently my two best girlfriends and I were invited to participate in another wonderful photography project by Renee Trubai called “Hear Her ROAR”. Renee says, The project is about showing women the beauty of themselves that has perhaps been forgotten, ignored or tucked away. It’s about rejuvenating- and celebrating- your love and respect for yourself.

This is simple for me … I want to show women the strength of their own beauty.

Renee Trubai

We haven’t yet scheduled the shoot but the preparation for this session, and all of Renee’s work, starts long before the first frame of film is snapped. She always does a thorough consultation first and provides some nuggets to mull over beforehand so that we go into the shoot with a mindset and vision for the end result.

For the preparation of this session Renee asked a seemingly simple yet quite challenging question, for me anyway.

What does beauty mean to you, for you? What environment / outfit / music / style / activity lights you up inside … the kind that has your eyes sparkling?

Whoa! Instantly I was blindsided by these questions. When was the last time I felt really beautiful? What does it look like when I feel beautiful?

My immediate answers to these questions seemed obvious. Well, I feel beautiful when my husband tells me I look pretty or when my little boy cuddles and kisses me. I feel beautiful when I’ve had my hair done at the salon and my nails are freshly polished.

And then I realised that these things were all about other people showing me I’m beautiful. But I wondered how I make myself feel beautiful. Just me. Not a compliment from someone else or when I’ve actually had the time to get primped and preened by a professional.

I wondered if I really didn’t know myself all that well and what I do, wear or listen to feel beautiful or whether I had just not ever really stopped to think about it. Maybe both.

I don’t wear much make up these days and most of the time my hair is dirty and tied up out of the way. I can’t remember the last time I wore high heels and most of my nice dresses still don’t fit almost a year after giving birth.

But when I think about what beauty means to me and what makes me feel beautiful in my daily life now, I think about laughing with my girlfriends so hard my tummy hurts. Teaching a Kanga class, working my body and helping other mums. I think about the empowerment of giving birth to my child and the strength I am learning now that I am a mother. I think about being on holidays, adventuring and exploring.

DSC03143

Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like a million dollars when I get the chance to dress up, when my body is trim and when I’ve spent hours being pampered at the salon. But to me, a truly beautiful woman is one that is happy, powerful and confident. A woman of strength. One who tries new things, loves fiercely, smiles a lot and can laugh at herself.

So I challenge you to think about it… What makes you feel beautiful?

 

A Mother’s Promise

I read a story recently that has continued to impact on me and challenge me since reading it.

The story was of one mum’s promise to go to her baby when he cried for her no matter how tired or touched out she was, as the result of learning a heartbreaking reality for babies in an African orphanage.

She recounted the experience of a friend who had visited an orphanage and had been struck by how quiet one of the rooms was despite having over 100 babies in it. When they asked how so many babies could be so quiet the response was that they’ve realised no one is coming for them when they cry so they just don’t any more.

Uh. Cue heart break.

Straight away I related to this woman’s promise to her baby to go to him. That’s the kind of mum I want to be I thought to myself. I felt so sad at the thought of a little baby crying for their mother that would never come to them.

That night as I heard Jesse stir through the monitor for the fourth time since putting him down I threw back the covers and whispered into the darkness “damn it, Jesse”.

Doesn’t he know I’m tired? Doesn’t he know that I can’t take many more nights like this?

As I stepped into the hallway hearing his cry getting more desperate, I felt a pang of guilt and the story came flooding back to me.

No. He doesn’t know I’m in the other room praying for more than a couple of hours of sleep in a row. All he knows is its dark, he’s alone and he wants me to comfort him.

The same battle plays out through the day as he constantly climbs up my leg begging to be cuddled only to want to be put down again moments later. And then up again. And then down again.

My patience wears thin. But what about that promise to go to him no matter what? What about those silent babies who’ve given up on waiting for someone to come to them.

Goodness me. Being a parent really is a mind f*** isn’t it!

I was going to finish the post there feeling there wasn’t much else left to say when something beautiful happened.

I scooped up a begging Jesse into my arms for the hundredth time and read back this post aloud the way I always do before publishing it. And almost as if he knew what I needed, Jesse reached out, turned my face towards his and pressed his open mouth against mine. I was expecting an enthusiastic poke in the eye or finger shoved in my mouth but this was so much better. So gentle, so loving.

And just like that my love tank is full again.

IMG_6957

How to sh*t your pants!

My home, my safe haven, my castle came under threat recently. I have never experienced being really, truly afraid in my own home. Until now.

Picture this, its a normal Monday. Husband is at work and I’m at home with nearly 10 month old Jesse. It is early afternoon and he has awoken hungry from his nap. As we are sitting down on his play mat, he in his chair and me feeding him, I hear a rustling noise. A kind of noise that I had heard a few times already today and put down to the cat knocking something over as she sometimes does. But as I look toward the direction of the sound I realise that it is most definitely not the cat.

I look across the room and see a snake slithering along our dining room floor.

Well…cue me losing my shit! Instant panic. I immediately grabbed Jesse out of his chair, gripped him tight and backed away. Now this in itself is usually a pretty fiddly job. Wipe his hands and face while he squirms in protest, remove the tray, take off his bib, undo the harness, pry him from the chair. But on this occasion I whipped him out in seconds, food still all over his face and bib still on.

I noticed my breathing started to get erratic as a million thoughts ran through my head. It’s probably just a tree snake. But it could be brown. Who cares what colour it is, its a frickin’ snake! I need to protect my baby. Where’s my phone. What do I do?

My instinct is to just get the hell out of there but a voice in my head tells me that if I go outside I won’t know where the snake goes. I reach to grab my phone off the kitchen bench and immediately ring Kaine. Now, I know he’s at work and he can’t do anything but he’s my person so I ring him.

I’m basically hyperventilating as I explain to him what is going on. I tell him I don’t know what kind of snake it is and that I just want to get out of the house. Meanwhile the snake is taunting me as it weaves in and out between the vertical blinds on our lounge room window. Each time its head peaks out and stares at me I squeal and that prickly feeling goes through my body as the adrenaline shoots through me.

Despite my logical voice telling me to keep an eye on the snake, my emotional voice and the mum in me won out and we headed swiftly out the front door. It’s hot. Jesse is heavy and started to get a bit freaked out. For his sake I try to calm down.

After a bit of googling Kaine sends me some numbers for snake removers. I kept thinking if only my brother or dad were nearby they would be able to help but they were both at work too.

So I ring the first number and he tells me he can be here in 20 minutes but I have to go back in and watch the snake. Go and stand in the room and block it in he says. Yeah right!

I sneak back in the front door while still on the phone to him. I scan the room. Aggghhhh! I see it, I see it. It’s still in the same place. Oh, its climbing up the wall (which Kaine says later is impossible because snakes don’t have sticky feet!). It slithers along the top of the window. And its big, at least a metre long.

My hero (the slightly rude yet somehow still comforting snake remover) tells me he’s in the car and on his way. Just then the snake falls from his perch (perhaps they don’t have sticky feet). I squeal again. Shit, I’ve lost sight of it. Mr Snake remover will be most unimpressed with me but there’s no way I’m going any closer to investigate his whereabouts.

20 agonising minutes later I hear a knock at the door. I recount the last 20 minutes to him. I haven’t seen it in a while but I’m pretty sure it is still in the lounge area. He proceeds to pull our lounge room apart. Just then I edge into the room a little further.

“I see it! I see it!” I yelled. “It’s in the kitchen.”

“So… it wasn’t in the lounge room” is all he said rather condescendingly. Followed by “yep, just a tree snake, look at this cute fella.”

I didn’t care, he found the snake and was taking it away. That’s all I needed to know.

Immediately seeing it in his hands though it seemed far less of a threat than it had when it was creeping through my home. My castle.

Having had some time to reflect I now feel a bit silly for my OTT reaction, but I couldn’t help it. If it happened to be a venomous snake, I would have had to do everything I could to protect my baby, and myself.

But in the end, even though it was a $95 call out fee, and even though it was only a tree snake, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Stay At Home Mum Life: the good, the bad and the ugly

Being a full time mum may seem like its all Netflix and coffee dates – swanning around the shops in your active wear sipping on a skinny chai latte. But they really are right when they say being a mum is the hardest job in the world. And I’m only 7 months in!

Okay, so there might be a fair bit of Netflix. Especially in those early newborn days. And yes, coffee is now a food group all of it’s own in my current diet… but there is more to it. We parents work bloody hard. Especially those that have jobs and kids to take care of!

So what’s it really like?

I’m gonna start with the ugly while it’s fresh in my mind. Yesterday was ugly! Our usually fairly chilled bub had suddenly become some sort of possessed, teething monster who only operated on two extremes. Screaming and inconsolable! Or snugly and super clingy! Okay, so the snugly clingy part wasn’t so bad, but it was the several plus hours of the inconsolable screaming beforehand that was the really ugly part. It’s the part of parenting where you pretty much lose your s*** but then feel really bad because you know its not their fault. You know your little one is not purposefully sending your blood pressure through the roof. They’re in pain.  And they need their mummy. Thankfully, these really ugly days are few and far between.

And then there’s the bad. Hmmm, where do I start? Well, there’s the ongoing sleep deprivation. If you really want to mess someone up just wake them up every three hours. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. There are times where they let you go right back to sleep… But then there are times where they just smile up at you and giggle and make you play with them for an hour. When you get one of those “It’s 3am and I’m wide awake” smiles, it is incredibly frustrating and ridiculously cute all at the same time. And then there’s the poo under your finger nails, the vomit on your shirt just as your about to finally head out the door, the thinking you can hear the baby cry every time you get in the shower, and the song Peppa Pig sings about finding a friend for her pet goldfish Goldie that you JUST CAN’T GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD!!! “Fishy fishy fish fish, swimming in the sea. Who will be a fishy friend, for my fish Goldie?”

But then there’s the good. And it is, oh… so… good! It’s that uncontrollable urge to plant an inappropriate amount of kisses on that squishy face whenever it’s in close range. And what is it with baby feet that just makes you want to (ever so gently) bite them? Its the tiny warm body that fits perfectly on your chest as his gently rises and falls with each breath while he sleeps. And even the now not-so-tiny body that still manages to fit just right. Its the chubby little arms that learn to reach out for his mama whenever she walks by. Its the chubby little legs that kick out as you tickle him under his neck and arms. And that throaty laughter that may just be the sweetest sound in the world.

PC200129

There is oh so much good. And the best part is, you only need one good moment to outweigh a whole day of ugly moments (and thank God for that, otherwise we’d never deliberately procreate!).

But with all of that, and despite the fact that being a parent really is the hardest job in the world… we  wouldn’t trade it in for anything would we mum’s and dad’s? I love the fact that I am a stay at home mum. And I know there will come a time when my boy will be grown and no longer need me to give him my everything so I will try to treasure it all, the good, the bad… and the ugly, while I can. It sure is tough, but it’s also so incredibly rewarding and fun.

So hold your heads up high stay at home mums and dads… You have the best job in the world!