Cleaning Failure – But it Was Spectacular

Wow I just realised how long ago it was I last posted. Life just got incredibly busy over the last few months and my focus was else where. So to make up for it I hopefully have a funny tale to tell you.

No one would ever accuse me of being a domestic goddess. I know the basics to clean but I really am not very good at it. I just don’t seem to have that gene in me.

My story starts with great intentions. I had a day off at home, alone, so a perfect time to do those chores I tend to put off when little monkey is around (you know mop the floors, or clean the shower anything that involves water and could cause slippage and head banging).

The washing machine had finished its load and I pulled out the mattress protector. I realised to late that the spin cycle had really done nothing for getting water out of my mattress protector and water went everywhere. Ok I can deal water dries pretty quick. All good. Mattress protector went into the dryer and I turned the machine on.

Next thing I know the clothes washing powder box is falling off the dryer and spraying powder all over my nice wet floor.

Awww crackers and cheese.

Now I had a sludgy colourful mess on my floor. Wonderful. This would clearly require more effort. Now if you think things were going bad previously you would be wrong. This is where things went bad.

In my infinite wisdom I thought “well the powder is wet now, I can’t vacuum it, so why don’t I just wash it down the drain. Yea brilliant idea what could possibly go wrong”. So I filled up my bucket with water and stood behind the pile of soggy powder facing the drain and dumped my water aiming for the drain.

Well I don’t think I need to paint a picture of what happened next water, sludgy powder and now soap suds went everywhere. Realising my mistake I slid across the floor and got more water (cos clearly that will make it better) and kept furiously pouring water on the floor and pushing the excess down the drain.Eventually the floor stopped having a bubble effect look, and was not slippery. This though took several trips to the tap, the help of a mop and several towels.

Some how I defied the laws of gravity, physics and slipperiness and didn’t fall on my ass ( I suspect all the Gods of which ever belief are out there were laughing their access off at me) and now my floor is well super effing clean and not slippery. I think I missed my calling as an ice figure skating dancer cos I seriously owned that slippery floor.

So I think the lesson learned is next time either wait for the powder to dry and vacuum it up or just use your hands and scoop the mess up.

Hope you had a laugh and I am currently working on several posts that should be coming up over the next few weeks.

The A-Z of my beautiful Toddler

Sorry i have been MIA for a little while. I thought i would start with a bit of a fun post to dive back into the fold!

This is the A-Z of all the things I love about my little boy. Some things about my gorgeous 18 month old get tiring, but I am so so lucky to have such a wonderful little boy.

Adorable
Blonde
Cheeky
Devious
Eloquent
Full of beans
Great
Happy
Innovative
Joyous
Kisses
Loving
Mischievous
Noisy
Obsessive
Perfect
Quaint
Remarkable
Sticky
Tantrums
Unreasonable (at times)
Vigilant
Whimsical
X-cited
Yells (alot!)
Zealous

I would love to see the A-Z of your toddler!!

10 Reasons Why I Think My Child Is Really A Dog

I have come to the conclusion my child is really a dog. I am serious, the more I think about it the more I see the similarities. It’s a little scary.

Here is 10 reasons why:

  1. He REALLY likes playing fetch.
  2. Goes bonkers when he sees a bouncy ball.
  3. Likes to eat cat food.
  4. Likes to run through the house wet and dripping when he has finished his bath (he doesn’t need to shake he drips with alarming accuracy and manages to get water where I wouldn’t guess).
  5. When asleep in the bed with us, seems to occupy way too much space then his body physically needs.
  6. Follows me to the toilet for supervision.
  7. If he is focused on something else (cat food, ball, running away) he will ignore me. But if I open his favourite food, then zoom he is at my feet in a flash.
  8. Is fascinated with touching gross stuff .
  9. He drools A LOT.
  10. He will do lethal farts and be the picture of innocence. Will wear the “why are you looking at me? I didn’t fart” face without any guilt.

My Experience With Breast Feeding So Far

When I became pregnant with Mouse, I knew I would breast feed. It was my intention to breast feed exclusively. I eagerly read the book provided by the hospital on breast feeding. I paid close attention in class. I thought I was prepared even if still nervous about it. Many of my pregnancy dreams involved breast feeding for the first time. It was constantly on my mind.

There are many reasons to breast feed, including boosting your child’s health early on. A baby gets more nutrients from his or her mother’s milk than from formula. This helps with the immune system and development. Not to mention mother’s milk is free.

Despite my best intentions, I ran into trouble early on. My milk didn’t come in fast enough and I was forced to supplement with formula. Mouse was introduced to the bottle three days after she was born. We were fortunate that she took to it without any difficulty. Although I have nothing against feeding formula to babies, I took it hard that I had to supplement my breast milk with formula. Given my emotional and sleepless state at the time, is it any wonder?

I almost gave up breast feeding several times during those early weeks. Between getting the latch just right to surviving the cluster feedings when she’d feed practically nonstop all day or night . . . I can’t tell you the number of times I was in tears over the process. I was told to hang in there for at least six weeks. If I was still having trouble and wanting to quit by that point, then I could. Somehow I persisted. Amazingly, or so I thought at the time, when that sixth week mark hit, I no longer felt breast feeding was a hopeless cause. I was enjoying it. How could I not love those moments when my little one fell asleep, cuddling my breast, satisfied?

As the time approached when I would have to return to work, I began to despair. I wasn’t able to find time to pump. I had maybe two frozen bags of milk for Mouse. A friend suggested I pump an hour before each feeding. The problem with that was Mouse was eating every two hours. While I could do it, I wasn’t up for it. All I would do all day is pump, feed, pump, feed. It just wasn’t practical. Breast feeding was a two handed job for me and so pumping while she fed on one breast was not an option either. I am sure there were other things I could try but my frustration got the better of me.

I resigned myself to the fact that Mouse would take formula while I was at work until I built up a supply. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t being given formula occasionally already.

Mouse is almost exclusively on breast milk now. We feed her by both breast and bottle. I pump at work during the day, and find it quite challenging. I am not one of those women who is overflowing with milk. I can count the number of times on one hand that my breasts have leaked. Although sometimes my breasts ache when full, they don’t hurt the way I’ve heard it described by other women. When I asked a friend how many ounces she pumps a session, she described filling one bag and needing to grab another and filling that one as well–with one breast (a good tip to remember: never compare yourself to others). I’m lucky to get an ounce some times. The most I’ve gotten from one breast is two and a half ounces–and that’s first thing in the morning. It feels like it is not enough, but I have heard it is normal. It’s too early to tell if it will be a problem later. For now, Mouse is fed breast milk from the bottle at daycare and I nurse her when she is home with me.

Soon I will be introducing Mouse to solids and then it will be a whole new ballgame . . .

Do you (or did you) breast feed? What difficulties, if any, did you run into? What about pumping?

Buying a Stroller –The Mountain Buggy Swift

D103492CHILLI000[1]Choosing a pram/stroller is one of the “big decision” items to purchase before your little one arrives.  There are so many to pick from with many different features and a wide range of prices.

I highly recommend:
a) Asking friends/other parents what they recommend
b) “Road testing” and asking for advice at a baby shops with a good range.

We went to our local Baby Bunting, came out with the Mountain Buggy Swift and couldn’t be happier with how it has performed over the last 9 months.  In addition to being impressed with it at the shop, we also had a few friends recommend it.

Things we considered:

1. Number of wheels/robustness – We went with a 3 wheeler as it was better for running (many good intentions!) with more suspension in the wheels and better direction control.  Mountain Buggy also has the larger models, the Urban Jungle and Terrain which have even better suspension but weigh more.

2. Weight – at 9.5kg it’s not the lightest stroller out there, but it is one of the lighter 3 wheelers, and light enough to lift in and out of the car reasonably easily.

3. Dimensions – Will it fit in your boot?  Important factor as you are not likely to change your car to fit your pram!  And is it narrow enough to easily fit down aisles at the shops?

4. Manoeuvrability – Take it for a spin to make sure you are comfortable with it

5. Adjustable handle – With quite a large height difference between me and my partner this was important.  We actually found that some strollers did not have a handle that went low enough for me

6. Applicable age – Not all prams can be used from birth, and many require purchase of a bassinet to be used from birth, thus requiring extra outlay of money.  We liked the swift as it could be adjusted to lie flat so that we could use it from day one.  There was also the option to buy a bassinet to go with it, but decided we did not need it. It can also be used up to age 6.

7. Tray – It can hold up to 5kgs and is a fairly decent size.  Amazing how quickly it fills up though!

8. Forward or rear facing? – One of the disadvantages of the Swift is that you cannot have your baby facing you.  There is, however, a peek-a-boo flap in the canopy, and the bassinet/carrycot is rear facing if you buy it.

9. Braking system – We wanted a system that easily locked out both wheels at once.  The Swift uses an easy to use foot brake which locks out both wheels.

10. Price – At $599 rrp ($499 on sale) it is a mid range stroller.  About half the price of the Bugaboo, but a lot more than the cheaper ones out there.

11. Folding – The Swift can be opened and close in pretty much one step, very easy to use.

12. Sun cover – The canopy with a fold out mesh visor is good on most occasions, but when the sun is particularly bright or low, the optional zip on sun cover has been a winner.  It is very common to see mothers out with their prams with blankets or sheets draped over them to block out the sun.  We found that we did not need to do that with the sun cover as it sufficiently blocked out the sunlight, while providing good airflow through the mesh material.

13.Other optional accessories – We also purchased the rain cover which fits really snuggly over the stroller, and a sheepskin liner to add extra softness and warmth for the baby.  There is also a Mountain Buggy sleeping bag you can get which looks ultra cosy!

14.More than one? – Another disadvantage of the Swift is that it is not adjustable to allow for 2 babies.  Although I notice that Mountain Buggy are just about to bring out the +One which will fulfil this need.

15. Travel – For travelling (especially travelling by plane), or even for day to day use, a lighter, more compact umbrella type stroller might be more appropriate.  One option is to buy a cheaper second stroller for this purpose, or you may want to consider buying such a stroller in the first place.  Maclaren, for example, make some excellent strollers that are just about as light as you can get, but still can be used from birth.

It can also be worthwhile having a look at the Australian Standards to see what other factors you might want to consider.

When a baby dies – A guide to grief.

Last year, on the first of January my second child was born. Her name was Ariana Rose, and she was born at 29 weeks gestation with a multitude of medical problems. We lost her four days later. I felt like I had been sucker-punched the day we were told she would not survive. For eleven long weeks before her birth we had held out hope and faith that she would be healed. That she would recover. That she would be strong enough to fight whatever was attacking her body. It wasn’t to be.  We were supported – we were loved, we were held and we were carried through what was undoubtedly one of the worst times in our life. Ariana wasn’t just our daughter. She was a sister, she was a grandchild, a niece, a cousin. She had the potential to be so much more.

In all the amazing moments we had with her, there were some truly, truly awful ones. In total innocence, people can say the most horrific, insensitive things to a family who are not only battling through a difficult pre-natal diagnosis but the aftermath of losing their child.

Things we were told included:

– It’s better this way. She would have had a horrible life.

– Why are you continuing the pregnancy, the sooner you let go of this one the sooner you can try again.

– Don’t tell Lucy about the baby dying. Just get pregnant again and let her think the baby is the same one. (That might be acceptable for some, but we wanted the chance to let her grieve her sister, we wanted to be honest in our home about our emotions, and our grief. Children are not foolish, they know when their parents are sad and upset. We wanted to eliminate confusion for her by being upfront and honest, and her sister Ariana deserves a place in our lives, and deserves to be recognized.)

– Why are you putting her name on things – she’s not here.

– Hide her things from Lucy, it will just upset her.

– God had other plans

– She’s in a better place

– You can have another one

The worst thing I think anyone ever said to me was “Keep praying”.  As though I had not been doing that, every day since I got the first positive pregnancy test. Praying was what we had been doing, for the eight months prior that it took us to conceive her. Praying was what we did as I landed the ER time after time with cramping and spotting in the early days. It was what we did as we told our first child Lucy at the tender age of 2.5, that she was going to be a big sister. It was what we did at every scan, right up until the one two days before her emergency delivery when we naively believed she was improving, that she might be getting better. It was we did through the emergency cesarean. It was what we did when we saw her, when we touched her, when we though about her. It was what we did when we made those phone calls, to tell our family to come to the hospital. It was what we did when we sat our not-quite-three year old daughter down, and told her that her baby was going to die. We prayed.

I am sure that the intent was good, but those two words implied to us that our grief and fear were misplaced, that we should give it over to some higher power and just keep praying. Those two words told us that we didn’t have enough faith, that all we had done wasn’t good enough and that we were responsible, that had we prayed more, we would have had our daughter healthy and in our arms.

It infuriated me.

The thing with insensitive comments is that they genuinely do come from a good place. But when you’re two days into a lifetime of living without the baby you’ve carried inside you for six months, hearing that you can have another baby does not ease the pain. Grief is very literal – if you say It’s better this way, I am going to hear “It is better that your baby died”. I will not hear “It’s better your baby’s pain is gone, and that they are at peace.” I will not hear “It is better because as much as you love your child, subjecting them to a lifetime of pain and suffering and physical immobility and brain damage just so you can hold them each day is selfish, and you made the right choice.” I will not hear any of that.

I will nod my head, and hide my tears from you.I will walk away with empty arms and a broken heart while my mind screams out, “You don’t understand”.

And you will not understand.

I will not expect you to understand. If you want to help me, all you need to do is hold me. Hug me tight, and tell me that you are so sorry, and that if I need you, you will be there. Let me cry. Ask how I am. Ask about my family. Mention Ariana’s name to me. You can’t ‘remind’ me about my baby. She is on my mind every.single.day. I like it when she is on your mind too. Talk about her with me. Tell me that you saw a butterfly, and she reminded you of Ariana.

These things can help me.

And, if in doubt and you really do not know what to do, or say. Do not hide. Do not avoid me.

Tell me. Say to me “I just don’t know what to say”. And I will tell you, that I don’t know what to say either.

But I will appreciate your honesty.

And that will help me too.

 

Working from home

I’ve been working from home. It’s new for me, I’ve never done it before and I’ll admit upfront I had a lot of expectations and preconceived notions about it.

Some days I felt as though because I was working from home my working hours were not as valuable as my husbands. For example – If he was working from home, I’d be doing everything for the kids, keeping them quiet while he’s working, and entertaining them. When I’m working from home, I still do almost everything. I get the kids their drinks, I make the bottles and feed the baby, organize snacks etc.

Of course, I’m not superwoman, but stuff starts to slide after a little while. And sure enough, stuff did.

The laundry pile that is normally always done, folded and put away has been multiplying on our bedroom floor. I have no clothes left in my dresser – nor do the children. Every thing we need, we have to hunt for. The dishes get washed, but rarely get put away. The dishwasher is loaded, but never emptied. I used to vacuum twice a week, currently once a fortnight is a triumph.

Parenting and working is HARD. I was happy to work from home, It meant I could be there with my kids but what I hadn’t expected was how much more work I would do outside the general “9 – 5”.  I hadn’t anticipated the hours I’d be putting in after the kids were in bed, during the time that I’m used to relaxing. After the kids go to bed, it used to be the case of a quick tidy up, wash the dishes, maybe do a load of washing then veg with my husband. Lately though, The kids go to bed, The dishes and the laundry get done but then I have a million other things I’m trying to do as well. I lost most, if not all of my “me” time. I lost a fair whack of time with my kids, too.

I enjoyed what I was doing, but it was only ever short-term. Maybe if it was a longer thing and I’d had more time to get into a routine with the work, and the kids and the house I could see it as a long-term option. But I didn’t, and I don’t.

The truth is, when I’m home, I want to be home. I want to be able to play with my kids, watch a movie with Lucy and eat popcorn. I want to have the time to just be with them. When I’m at work, I want to be able to work, I want to be able to concentrate. I want to set myself goals and achieve those goals.

I didn’t hate working from home. Some days, it really suited me. Admittedly, most of those days were the days where I only had one of the children home with me. The baby is easy to occupy – He just rolls around the floor, and occasionally wants a fresh nappy, a bottle, or a nap. The 4-year-old is slightly more demanding though totally self-sufficient in getting snacks, drinks and toys – but wants me to play with her. Other days, the kids were hectic, the house was trashed and the last thing I really wanted to do was to sit down and work.

It’s about priorities, and organisation.

I enjoyed it. I really did. But I learnt a lot about me, and about what I want from an employment opportunity.

I think that for me, working from home was harder than if I had needed to get everyone organized and dropped off so as I could go into the office.  I’m happy to keep home and work totally separate. Originally I liked the idea of having the kids at home with me. But really, what’s the point in working from home if you’re too busy to play with your kids anyway? I like the idea of sending them to childcare while I ‘go’ to work much better. At least there they are being stimulated, and played with and cared for. I started feeling as though I was neglecting them a little.

It’s a hard balance.

What do you think? Work from home, or ‘go’ to work? Have you tried it? What worked for you?

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