All the gross things

I’m pretty sure that Leo just wiped his nose on the back of my shirt. The tissues are right next to us but I’m sitting right in front of him so I guess I was the closer option.
That is just one of the gross things that happen to you when you’re a parent.
Snot. Everywhere. And it’s not normal snot, it’s like this thick green disgusting slime that they just sit there with it dragging out their nose and it’s like it doesn’t bother them, it just sits there, dangling, until it gets all the way to their lip and you see them trying to lick it. THEY LICK THEIR SNOT. And you can’t sit there watching them all the time so it happens…. more than you like to admit.
There is no other word for it but disgusting.
But it’s normal. There are so many disgusting things that happen daily that I thought I would share them with you.
This wet patch on my back has inspired me, I should probably go change it but I’m on a roll, so here I go:
1. As I’ve already stated, there is the snot. Thick and green.
2. Then there is food. Not the normal food that goes on their plate. It’s the half chewed up food that they hold in their mouths for a few minutes until you ask them to spit it out and they spit it warm into your hand and it drips, mixed with the hoards of saliva they have been pooling all through your fingers (UGH!)
3. It goes without saying but the nappies, the new baby nappies, with the poo explosions that are so bad the only option is a bath for them and a shower for you, then when you think it can’t get worse than that and they start eating food and need I say no more.
4. The way they don’t just come equipped with table manners, they are grubs, the way they eat and the way that food goes in and then out and then in and then out before it finally goes in again and they swallow it.
5. While we are on food the way it goes everywhere, and it doesn’t matter if you puree it all, feed them on a spoon, they will grab it and smear it all through their hair, all over their face, all over your arm, anywhere. Teaching them to eat is painful, especially if you like things clean, so maybe get over that or buy bulk plastic drop sheets.
6. Then there is how they are always just a little bit sticky. Even after a bath, its like you give them five minutes and they will be sticky somehow, I don’t even know how they do it, they just do.
7. The stickiness seems to become a bit of a household theme, they drag it everywhere, through the house, their little hands touch EVERYTHING, handles, benches, drawers, your keys. The things won’t always be sticky, you do clean, but everything will have it’s moment.
8. On a similar note, there are puddles, spilled drink bottles that they don’t tell you about, secretly removed nappies, there is no greater dread than that of a mother who stands in a puddle and doesn’t know what it is or how long it has been there.
9. Sometimes the puddles are vomit, but that is generally reserved for your clothes. hair or hands (and if you’re really unlucky your mouth). Hence the reason, if you have a newborn, you can start to smell a little bit. It will be on you but you just stop caring. You won’t even know when you cross the line and reach that point, you just will and it’s OK because (believe it or not) you will stop smelling it. That’s right, there is a point in your life as a new parent where having vomit on you is so normal that you stop smelling it.
10. Last but not least is what they do to your car. How gut wrenching it is when you’re driving and you hear those vomit sounds followed by a splash, or how you hear a really wet sneeze followed by “oh noooo” or how there is a random smell when you get in and you find that little way too old bit of apple that they bit off and stuck down the side of their seat for later.

The list could go on I am sure, and maybe I will write another one when I have more time or at a different stage of Mum life, but for now this is a small snippet into the everyday disgustingness that is life with kids.

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**Disclaimer: Their disgustingness can’t be that off putting because I have gone on to have three of them and I still think they are pretty amazing and beautiful… now I’d better go change this top!

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For the birthday boy

It is Leo’s fourth birthday on Monday, just ask him he will tell you.

Four years ago I was waiting, not so patiently, for our baby to come, not knowing who he was or how much he would change our lives. His due date came and went, November 6, it was Melbourne Cup Day that year and I was so sure that would be the day. I hung on to that date my whole pregnancy, convinced we would have our baby by then. Then Cup Day came and went, the days after the Cup came and went and I started to think that this was it, I was just going to be pregnant forever (not really but anyone who has gone over in pregnancy knows what I am talking about). A week after his due date he came in to this world, our big, bald, baby boy.
We knew nothing about being parents. We had never been around babies, I still remember driving home from the hospital in disbelief that they actually let us take him home, that we were responsible, that he was ours.

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We learnt on the job, like most new parents we were thrown in the deep end and we had one choice, to sink or swim. We had our moments, the times where we would look at each other, not knowing what the hell we were doing, so much of his quirks we accepted as normal and it wasn’t until we had our girls that we realized maybe they weren’t so ‘normal’ more just what Leo did. Like the way he fed like he would never eat again, or the way he would vomit ALL THE TIME, with me carrying him around a constant vomit cloth draped over my shoulder, that slight stench following me everywhere. I didn’t know any different. I thought all babies spat up that much, I thought all babies wolfed down their food, I thought all babies dribbled so much they needed at least four changes of clothes a day, but that was just my baby and it was just how he was.

I look at him now and his baby-ness is well and truly gone. That once big and round head has grown a mop of curls which have now all been chopped off because “he likes it short”, his solid little body that was once so heavy, chubby and permanently attached to my hip is now long and spindly, he jumps and he hops and he doesn’t need carrying anymore. He talks, all the time he talks. The boy who was once so shy that the slightest bit of communication from a stranger would warrant his head to firmly bury itself into my legs now answers back and elaborates. He tells stories, he recites things that he has learned, he wants to know how to spell everything, he drives me crazy and he is wonderful.

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This past year in particular he has gone from a toddler to a boy, a little kid.
Tall, cheeky, clever and creative.
He has started preschool, he has become a big brother once again and despite him once telling me he wouldn’t be able to handle another sister he is handling it perfectly. He sings, he dances, he is obsessed with Taylor Swift and he loves drawing rainbows with our names written all around them.
He is still learning to catch and kick a footy, he still struggles to say the ‘S’ sound when it is at the start of a word and he still tells me he doesn’t have friends only teachers at school.
I was once so worried about him all the time. Will this shy boy ever survive anywhere without me? What will he be like when I am not there to comfort him? When he doesn’t have my leg to hide into? Will anyone else ever see how clever and funny he is or will he always be covered in this blanket of shyness?
Then he came out of his shell. He went from a shy 3-year-old to a confident 4-year-old, he is completely different and I am no longer worried. I know he will be just fine.

In many ways, he was our learner baby. The one we practiced on. The one that taught us what worked for us, that taught us that babies don’t follow a textbook or anyone else’s pattern but their own.
He was the reason for much frustration, self-doubt, googling, love, joy and laughter.
He was the one that taught us to be parents, that taught me what it was to be someone’s Mum. He may have only been here four years, but he has shaped who I am, he is a huge part of the reason I am who I am today.

Four years ago I had no idea what amazing chapter I was about to enter into. Now I could never imagine my life without that chapter.
Leo James you changed who we are, you made our lives wonderful and you were the beginning of this wonderful little tribe that we have collected. I will always be grateful that you chose us to be your parents, I will always love the sound of your little sister yelling out “LEO JAMES MOODIE” when she is playing with you and I promise I will always try to appreciate your inquisitive mind, even when your questions are far past the knowledge of my own.

The week of their birthdays I always get sentimental. I think of their birth, I think of my baby, who they were, what they liked, how they have changed, how they have grown.
Ultimately as each birthday passes the same realization seems to hit me every time, these years are going too quickly. I can’t help but feel I just want to bottle it up and remember it all because something tells me I will look back on these as the best years of my life.

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October 15: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

When I was pregnant with Posy, I began writing a small series of letters.
‘Letters to the Mum who…’ and it was all letters to mothers who were going through different aspects of motherhood, from conception all the way through to pregnancy and motherhood. I don’t know what will happen with this series of letters, my dream of turning them into a book is far-fetched and the chances of them forever being stored on my computer, I know, is much more realistic.
But today, there is one letter that I wanted to share with you all.

It is the one letter in the series that I did not write because I am lucky enough to have no experience on the topic.
That topic is Pregnancy Loss.
Today, October 15th is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, so I have asked my beautiful friend Tanya if I could share the letter she so kindly wrote for my series.
In the time that I have known Tanya I have been lucky enough to have two babies while she has lost more than one. I am amazed by Tanya and her strength, my heart has broken for her on more than one occasion and I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to have gone through the heart ache and break that she has been through over the past few years.

I asked Tanya if she would write a letter to the Mum who has lost a baby from the perspective of a Mum who has. I wanted to share this today in memory of all the lost angels, know that they aren’t forgotten and maybe, just maybe, it will help someone who is tragically going through the heartache of pregnancy loss.

Thank you to Tanya for letting me share, you are an amazing Mum and wonderful friend xx

To the Mum who has lost a baby from a Mum who has,

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’ve been where you are now, and I can tell you that, like all pain in life, it eases with time.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways, so there’s no certain way you should feel right now. You may cry, you may cry a lot. You might feel angry or even cheated. You could just feel numb. You may feel that you want to try again right away, or you may be too scared to try again for some time. Either way is okay.

You might have excitedly told the world about your pregnancy and now have to either explain that it didn’t work out, or hide away and hope people forgot you were pregnant in the first place.

Maybe you haven’t shared your news with anyone but your partner yet, and now you feel as though you have to suffer in silence, alone in your thoughts, having to put on a brave face and pretend you’re okay.

You may want to talk about it. It’s okay if you do, you might find it healing. Maybe you want people to know that although you hadn’t known your baby for long, you were already ridiculously attached to them. You’ve probably already spoken to your baby as you gently rubbed your tummy. You’ve probably already thought about names and wondered what they might look like. You may have even purchased its first outfit and gushed over how tiny it was. Maybe you’ve given your baby a nickname and have been lovingly referring to it every day since you discovered you were pregnant. You’ve most likely had long chats with your partner about this baby’s future, how they’ll fit into your family and practical things like what you might need to buy.

Maybe you won’t want to talk about your loss. That’s okay too. Maybe it hurts too much to think about and you wish you could just forget that it ever happened. Referring to your baby by name just makes it feel all too real and painful. Maybe you didn’t let yourself get too attached in the first place as you were scared that this might happen. Maybe it’s happened before, so you think you should be accustomed to the pain. On the outside, you want to move on, but on the inside your heart is aching.

It’s possible that you still look and feel pregnant and you wish so badly that the symptoms would go away. Sometimes it takes longer for the body to realise what the heart and mind already knows.

Whether you discovered your miscarriage through a regular ultrasound and heard those dreaded words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat” before having to go through surgery, or you suffered through a ‘natural’ miscarriage and experienced more pain and bleeding than you ever thought possible, there’s no easy way to lose something that you already loved so much.

At some stage, you’re probably going to have someone categorise your loss as though it shouldn’t hurt as much if you weren’t far into the pregnancy, saying things like ‘at least you weren’t far along’ or ‘it was only an early loss’ like your level of grief should be less. But regardless of the gestation, you’re not just losing a baby, you’ve also lost all the hopes and dreams you had for that baby’s future. Don’t let these comments control your feelings, grieve as much as you need to.

It’s such a personal experience, I can’t tell you how to feel, but make sure you look after yourself and do what you need to do to get through this. Take time off if you need, put your feet up and read a trashy mag or binge on Netflix and chocolate. Talk if you want to talk and cry if you want to cry. The pain will ease eventually, but you’ll never forget what you lost.

Personally, I like to talk about my lost angels. They each have names and my partner and I refer to them regularly and quietly remember their birthdays. Each of them has their own special keepsake to remind me of them. Sometimes thinking about them makes me feel sad, but I also like to think of them as my guardian angels, guiding me through life and watching over those that I love.

From one grieving Mumma to another, I pray that you’re blessed with your rainbow baby soon.

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Going from 2 to 3

We have survived as a party of five for a total of seven weeks now, and I thought I would share some things that these seven weeks have taught me. How does life change when you go from four to five? Is it even really that different or is it just that now I am being forced to sit down when I feed the baby that I am seeing just how crazy this little house of ours really is.

So where do I begin? What do I need to prepare you for if you are thinking of going from four to five?
For us, I feel like there are so many little things that have changed, but at the same time, life with the two kids was pretty hectic, so maybe, like I say, it’s just that when I stop to feed the baby I see the crazy. Either way, I stopped and thought about it for long enough to write it down, and here it is, a tiny taster into how your household ups the ante when you go from two kids to three;

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  1. At any point in time one or more people are usually screaming, yelling or crying. It is always loud, most of the noise is good, happy noise and sometimes it is just noise for the sake of noise, it is loud. Don’t worry, you get quiet when sleep starts.
  2. Sleep is sacred and coffee is liquid gold.
  3. If the children are awake it is messy. Almost instantaneously. There are toys and clothes everywhere, the term ‘organized chaos’ comes to mind, although I can’t help but think it is more chaos than it is organized.
  4. The washing never ends. Even if a load of washing looks small, baby’s clothes are also small so there will be 10,000 items hiding in there all folded up ready to surprise you.
  5. If you ever go somewhere with all three of them, people will comment, get ready for at least four people to tell you how busy you are, like you don’t already know.
  6. On the topic of leaving the house, when you do decide to go somewhere with all of them, getting all three of them into the car takes longer than most of the errands that you need to do, so be prepared for that.
  7. You are severely outnumbered. Some days you will really feel it, some days you won’t. No matter how hard you try you can’t be three places at once and it is hard, and it will at times exhaust you.
  8. Someone is always touching you.
  9. Someone is always following you.
  10. Privacy is long gone and you will get to the point where going to the toilet with the door closed with no little person coming to talk to you half way through is actually a weird thing.
  11. Feeding the baby is the perfect time for the older children to decide they are hungry, need a drink, do a poo, climb on the bench and get the permanent textas/scissors/knives/loaf of bread, pretty much anything that you don’t want them to do, when you are feeding that is the time for them to do it.
  12. Apparently a new baby is also the perfect time for the two-year old to decide they don’t want to wear a nappy anymore, like you don’t have enough to do you can add cleaning random puddles up to the list.
  13. On the nappy thing, there are so many of them and you are constantly running out of them, you think maybe it’s a good thing the middle child doesn’t want to wear them anymore, then you remember the hell that is toilet training and scrap that idea.
  14. Any rustling of any wrappers that come from the vicinity kitchen prompts the onslaught of little scavengers, like seagulls to a hot chip, they swarm. So practice your stealth opening of chocolate bars while you are pregnant and they are sleeping, unless of course, you want to share.
  15. Prepping dinner while at least one of them is sleeping is annoying but necessary. Although my kids did both tell me it was their ‘best dinner ever’ when I gave them baked beans on toast the other day so maybe just have a few cans of baked beans in the cupboard for those can’t be stuffed nights.
  16. Witching hour is contagious, it never just lasts an hour and it will always happen when you least need it to (generally dinner/bath/bedtime).
  17. Tired is your new normal, you look tired, you know you look tired, but you’re offended if anyone tells you you look tired because everyone knows that saying someone looks tired is just the polite way of telling them they look like shit, and let’s be honest no one ever wants to look like shit.
  18. There is a minus one rule, everything is easier minus one. Trips to the shops, the playground, tantrums. Knowing this rule gives you nothing really, just makes you realise it could be worse, you could be alone with all of them.
  19. It is EXTREMELY difficult to get a nice photo of all three of them together. Extremely difficult.
  20. And finally, all these things, this big boring list (if you made it this far) it’s all worth it. The mess, the noise, the exhaustion, yeah it will do your head in at times, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.
    There is nothing like a new baby and what it does to a family. When you overhear your nearly four and two-year old telling their baby that they love her, or when they laugh as she cracks her first smile at them, it’s unlike anything else.
    I won’t lie, it’s hard at times. It’s loud, it’s messy and it’s chaotic. And I’m sure, over time, there will be more lists, but I know I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

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What a difference a year makes

This time last year we made a huge decision, probably one of the biggest decisions we had ever made. We decided to uproot our family and move interstate, away from everyone we knew, away from everything that was comfortable and secure to a place that we had only driven through on the way to our annual holiday place. We saw it as an opportunity, live life like a holiday, give our children something we craved, an endless summer of beach visits and adventure. We asked ourselves if we were crazy or stupid more times than you can imagine and we took the leap before we thought long enough to answer.

Since that decision was made a lot has happened. We fell pregnant and we had Posy, we sold our first home, Leo started preschool, Duncan started his new career, we have spent countless days exploring our new surroundings and the sand that seems to get everywhere no longer bothers me. We have been grateful for our bold move more times than we have regretted it, yet I have uttered the words home sick more times than I care to admit.

I am a proud person so putting down in words that I get homesick to the point where I am ready to pack it all up and move home is hard to admit. I never thought I would be like this, it is hard to explain how I can love living somewhere so much but miss so much about my old life at the same time.
Homesickness is an interesting one. It isn’t the home that I miss. A place or town doesn’t matter to me so much, Duncan and I have lived in five different houses, we are movable people and we are generally happy with that. But it is the people that we miss.
It’s the impromptu family dinners that we used to host, it’s the pop ins after work or how I used to go get drive through coffees, kids in tow, and take them around to my sister and her now husband’s place and just sit there with them while Duncan worked on a weekend.
It’s all the little things that you don’t get in a new town. It’s not being able to say that I miss everyone in front of Leo because if I do, he wants to go home. It’s not letting myself get upset when they leave after a visit because if I let myself do that it takes me a day to recover. It’s feeling like I can’t explain it to anyone else because my relationship with my sisters isn’t like most people’s relationships with their family. It’s being so incredibly happy with the place that you live but almost annoyed at the same time because it is so far away from all the things that are comfortable to you, from all of your people.

This time last year we decided to change our lives in a huge way. And, (even though the above paragraph may leave you begging to differ), despite the bouts of homesickness that hit me when I need it least, it is truly one of the best decisions we ever made. We took a leap that most people would be too afraid (or sensible) to do.
Yes, it has been tough. We’ve missed opportunities being here, my career has taken a hit, we are probably a few years behind buying another house than we would’ve been if we stayed where we were, most of our family and friends won’t meet Posy until she is well and truly laughing, and we have missed so many of those simple family catch ups that I love so much, but despite all that, knowing what I know now, I would still go back and make the same decision.

I write all this sounding like it is coming to an end, but we have no intention to move home any time soon. We signed on for two years and we will be here for at least two years.
Since becoming parents every decision we have made has been for our kids. Duncan going to uni, me starting my own business, my decision to stay home with the children for as long as I have, and our latest choice; moving here. When you ask Leo and Maisie where they want to go for the day their answer is the beach, we go for drives around our neighborhood to spot kangaroos, we walk along the beach there is a chink of shells that comes from their pockets and as the days are heating up I can go outside and almost smell the ocean in the air.
We miss our families and friends, we may not have what we had a year ago but my children still know who is important to them and our life is rich in many ways. We consider ourselves lucky that we had this opportunity, and that we actually took it. Our life, honestly, it feels like a holiday, every day when I drive out my driveway and see the ocean in the distance I am reminded why we moved here, most days I am in disbelief that we are lucky enough to live in such a beautiful place.
I will always appreciate the time we had here, we are creating the most wonderful memories with our children and I know that this has been the right choice for us.
Will we stay here forever? Probably not, our family pull is too strong, but are we going to make the most of it while we have it? Absolutely!!!

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