Monday, November 26, 2012

It's a rollercoaster!

Hi there, how are we? I'm alright, getting over a cold, which unfortunately I've passed on to our favourite little lady. It sucks because there's not much you can do... we're trying all the recommended things including a vapouriser in her room, baby vicks on her tummy, back and feet (yes, you read right feet!) and even saline drops in the nose and attempted the sucky snot thing very unsuccessfully. All have not appeared to improve her cold, but she hasn't got any worse either... so we continue to soldier on!

Anyways, since I enjoyed the last update so much I thought rather than documenting our recent activities, I'd explain my 'rollercoaster' of emotions that comes hand in hand with this whole parenting caper. So, without further adue.... here is my (not exactly comprehensive) list of emotions that I experience on a daily basis as a new mum.
1. Stress.
Stress, whilst not the most common emotion I experience, does seem to jump to my mind first. Mainly self inflicted I am constantly feeling a level of stress in caring for little dearest. Everything could be a ok and I'll still contemplate all the things that could go wrong. Its ridiculous I know, particularly when she's consistently well fed and rested, but you can't help feeling overwhelmed with the pressure that comes hand in hand with keeping a little person alive.
Stress also manifests itself into other areas such as outings. They always appear to play on my mind more than staying at home. At least in the confinds of my home I have my stuff and am free from possible judgment from others on my parenting, or lack of parenting (hehe) skills.... again, ridiculous I know. But its impossible to remove this stress, trust me I've tried. The way I feel better about heading out and about is through crazy preparation, which for those of you that know me well, is not difficult for me to achieve ;-) With a well packed bag and a nanny (laura) or father in tow, I feel I can conquer any outing, birthday parties, trips to debating, anything! I'm prepared for almost everything... or so I thought.

Chloe with Auntie Laura :)
Recently on a trip to target to grab some new cot sheets, Chloe began to fuss in the pram, I at first ignored her, knowing she was not due a sleep and had recently been fed, however the fussing continued. So I began to rock her in the pram and placed Jacques in sight at this point she quieted and I began a conversation with the women in front of me in line to pay. Chloe after a minute or so cried out at me again... I then resorted to picking her up for a cuddle, as that solves everything, whilst continuing a chat with the lady. As soon as I picked her up, I felt it, at the exact moment the lady I'd been talking to spotted it.... a poo explosion like I've never seen/felt before.... Stress (and embarrassment) turned me red, thankfully Laura was with me so I left her in line to pay for our purchases and off to the parents room I went. Thankfully Chloe was not to stressed out and was happily chatting away to me as I felt poo slide further down her leg.... YUCK! As I reached the parents room, it had made it to her socks - I apologise to anyone not loving the description - quietly I placed her on the change table and pulled out a new nappy, wipes, new outfit (including socks and singlet) and began searching the bottom of my bag, the zipped compartments, everywhere for a plastic bag. Nope, no plastic bag, nothing to put the soiled clothes in.... oh dear! I now carry not one, but two bags just in case. hehehe.
2. Guilt.
Being a mum of a healthy, happy, good sleeping bub comes with so much guilt. Despite having a relatively straight forward birth, a supportive husband, no issues with breastfeeding and a baby that is now consistently sleeping through the night... I continually find myself exhausted which makes me feel incredibly guilty. Particularly when I hear stories from other mums about trips to the ER, 2 hourly feedings around the clock, battles with breastfeeding or emergency c-sections. How can I complain when I have it so 'good'? This has crossed my mind many a time.
Guilt also crosses into not only my guilt for complaining but also if I unintentionally hurt Chloe. The first time I accidently hurt her was when we started leaving one arm out from her wrap at night. I woke her for her 7am feed and saw scratches on one side of her face, realising it was her nails I tried to bite them (like daddy does) but couldnt do it, so I got out the nail clippers... everything was going really well until she squealed like nothing I'd ever heard before.... I quickly realised that the kid-friendly clippers had caught her skin and I'd cut her. I felt terribly guilty for hurting her.... The second time was a few weeks later at her first birthday party in a park, despite being in a hat, in the shade, she managed to get burnt on the right cheek.... which again, filled me with terrible guilt. More recently she has caught a cold from me, even despite my best efforts to not cough on her and continually wash my hands. Its hard to not beat yourself up when stuff like this happens. And googling things like 'baby sun burn' images - does! NOT! help!
3. Sadness.
When I say "sadness" it is not like, lock yourself in the cupboard and cry uncontrollably, its more a feeling of grieving. Like the first night she slept in her "big girl" bed, when I looked at her and thought 'naw....she's growing up so fast'. Or the sadness I feel when she cries and I know I need to leave her... because she is crying to be picked up and its bedtime.... I am flooded with inner turmoil. I know what my heart wants to do but my head says something entirely different. This only lasts a few minutes, but it is the LONGEST and sadest few minutes of my life!!! So many times I have sat by her door and held back the tears only to go in moments later and have a 'naw' moment as she lays there sleeping sweetly.
4. Excitement.
Obviously this is the best emotion and while in the beginning these moments of excitement were fleeting, few and far between. As well as being constantly second guessed (is that a smile or wind?) or worse still a blur in the exhaustion. Now they are much more frequent, long lasting and enjoyable. Each day she is becoming more and more alert and animated; smiling at me and 'talking'. Her world has become 'a world of discovery' and I'm happy to be taken on this magically ride!

Look Mum! I've got it!
Things that seemed boring or ordinary are suddenly hilarious or incredibly interesting like Richard Wilkins, who had her cracking up for about 3 minutes Friday morning on the tv. Or Laura's fingernails when waved in a fluid motion infront of her face almost always receives a smile. Simple things like discovering she can hit things with her hands, or lift her head, blow bubbles, even more recently rolling over and holding things in her hands - all receive a reaction now, and with it comes an overwhelming sense of pride and excitement. Each of these events, fills my heart to the point of explosion, as I am so amazed by her each and every day. In life its easy for us to focus on the negative things.... but I challenge you to try and think negatively when Chloe flashes you a giant toothless grin.

 Til next time, xxx

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Things I've learnt....

Where does the time go? It feels like only yesterday I was writing to you last, but also a lifetime ago as well - if that makes and sense. So much has happened in the last month or so and its difficult to know where to start. So rather than laying out a timeline of activities from then to now, I'd rather share with you a list of things I now know, that I didnt pre-Chloe....

1. It is normal to not know and that things will inevitably change.
Chloe and I were thrusted together and I felt this overwhelming expectation to know what to do and how to do it. I was consumed with the idea that because I'd read all the books, I would know how to do it all. But I have quickly learnt that books are great but there's nothing like practical, hands on learning to throw all the literature out the window! Whether it was wrapping Chloe, sleeping positions or how to bath her it all became a game of trial and error. Then just as something would seem to be working, she'd go and change it up on us! But thats all part of the fun right? As one good friend said when I confessed that I still had my mummy training wheels on.... she poignantly pointed out that "They never come off".

2. Babies are time consuming!

Before Chloe, I was riddled with the concern that I would be bored out of my brain and this was compounded by many people asking me how I was going to fill my spare time. How wrong I was. Chloe is an all consuming job. If she's awake, she's feeding, needing a nappy change, I'm playing with her, bathing her, singing to her, carrying her, cuddling her and so on. If she's sleeping, I'm sleeping or feeding myself or showering or trying to resettle her or getting washing done or trying to fill in the ridiculous amount of paperwork you need to complete for a brand new human! Not to mention the production required if I need to get her out of the house for something. I have to say though, in the last three weeks, I've have live in help. Laura has been staying with us and has been an amazing help. If I need to shower and Chloe wants a cuddle I can pass her to Laura and not feel guilty as I know her and I are having our needs met. She has been a godsend!
3. Chloe's explosive power.

Poo Face
Despite looking like an angel, Chloe's poos can pack a serious punch! Being a breastfed baby her poos are less solid then formula fed bubs... or so I'm told. They explode out of her with such power it has left many a visitor questioning the safety of her nappy being correctly on. Its hilarious watching her and their faces as the rumbles rattle through her which can last 10 or so minutes, yes! this can last for up to 10 minutes! and occasionally ends in a poo blowout. The best poo story we have is when we were still naive and would change the nappy midfed to wake her up. One time, Jarratt took her to change her as she had fallen asleep during a feed. I sat in the lounge room as they disappeared down the hall and into her nursery. A few minutes later I heard a meek cry of 'help' come from the room. Not sounding desperate, I took my time making my way to her room. Upon arrival there was Jarratt mid nappy change, drawer open... there was poo on him, poo on her, poo in the drawer, poo on the floor.... all I could do was laugh. It remains one of our favourite stories to share and we have now developed different ways to wake Chloe midfeed. hehehe - you cant become poo covered by tickling her feet.

And it doesnt stop at poo.... Chloe has also had one bout of a projectile vomit that occurred early one morning during her feed. Thankfully it was a saturday and Jarratt was home as a result I was able to palm her off and have a shower. Ahh.... the joys of parenthood.

4. The power of routine!

Chloe with cousin Thomas
We've had Chloe in a routine from day dot. Whilst this may not be everyone's cup of tea, it has worked for us as Chloe is now sleeping through the night (7pm-7am). Also it has helped me with working out her needs... as if she begins to cry 30 minutes out from a feed or sleep I know whats wrong and dont panic... which comes hand in hand with this whole parenting thing, panic that is. It also helps us in getting out and about, as we can plan things better as we know what she'll be doing when. This came in real handy last weekend when we took our first family trip to Brisbane to visit Adrian, Caryn and Thomas in Brisbane. And whilst sometimes she'll be having an off day and stray from the plan a little, its not the end of the world. For example, whilst in Brisbane it was hotter than she was use to so she cried for an extra feed, which she got.... so even though we are following the routine, we're not rigid with it.

5. Crying is normal.

Chloe with Jacques Phillipe
It took me a LONG time to get my head around this! Once I understood that Chloe's crying was her way of communicating not necessarily because she was sick or in pain, the whole managing crying became a whole lot easier. I have also got better at recognising different crys and my all time favourite is the one she does when I put her down in her crib at nap time... A little cry that when translated I'm sure would be "helloooooo?! I'm in here all alone...I'd much rather be out there with you! helllloooooo...." and after 10 minutes max it's na-na's. Very cute! Am I a terrible parent for saying this is my favourite cry? I hope not.

But on the other end of the spectrum is what I have named the 'trifecta' cry. Where at least three things are wrong in Chloe world. The other day having correctly guessed wind and being cold she was still crying, I checked the bum, offered some boob, waved Jacques (her favourite toy) around in front of her, sang... then finally exhausted put her down at which point she stopped and chilled right out.... turns out she just wanted some alone time. hahahaha.

6. Boob does not solve everything!
I'd read a bunch of literature pre-Chloe that basically said 'if all else fails... feed your baby'.... milk, it seemed was like a miracle drug that could solve everything! Unfortunately this is not true for Miss Chloe, unless hungry she will throw herself backwards and push away from me almost clearly saying 'get that away from me!"

7. They will surprise you.

Chloe is the queen of meeting and exceeding my expectations. I often find myself in a panic about this or that and more often than not once the situation is encounted and dealt with I am left wondering what I was worried about. Jarratt is a big help in this. His calm nature and support has got me out of many an anxious pickle. Whether it be the baby acne outbreak, a funny colour nappy or bigger things like flying to Brisbane, he always has this positive attitude that everything will be ok and its impossible for thatnot to rub off. I know I often say how thankful I am to have him as my husband and in my life, but this whole adventure has been much better because I have him holding my hand along the way..... through good, bad and ugly.

8. You realise you could never love something so much!
I honestly thought I could never love anything as much as Jarratt... but Chloe is a close second. I knew I would love her, but I never realised it would seep into everything. My heart swells with this feeling of utter love everytime she gives me a toothless smile. If she even whimpers my heart jumps into my throat and I feel this need to quickly fix her problem. I can spend hours watching her sleep, play under her play gym, bounce in her bouncer... anything! She is without a doubt the second love of my life and I often find myself looking at her in disbelief that she is really here and questioning how Jarratt and I were able to make something so amazing and beautiful. I really feel like I've won life's lottery in having such a fantastic husband and bub. Who knew I was such a sadcase and soppy girl... ha!

Well I guess that's it.... I'm sure there are other things that I will think of, but thats the top 8 that spill from my brain at this current moment.

Love you all, xxx