A few days ago, my little Missy Moo turned 5. Five whole years old. That means I’ve been someone’s mum for half a decade, people.


Anyway, I’m continuing with my now half a decade long tradition of writing about who my wonderful girl is now she’s 5!

  • She is so determined. She will just keep doing something, even if she’s bad at it, over and over and over until she gets it.
  • She’s got a killer vocabulary. Off the top of my head, in just the past day, I have heard her use the words significantly, obviously, seriously, magnificent and destructive, all in context (although sometimes slightly mispronounced).
  • She has truly embraced farts as the funniest thing on the planet. She makes fart noises, or sometimes just yells the word ‘Fart’ or ‘Poo’ and laughs. Good times.
  • She cares about her brother. She’s honestly so helpful. Even when he annoys her, she’s always got time for him, and she’s always got his back as best she can.
  • She’s started watching Star Wars with her dad and loves it. She tells me that Han Solo looks like her Papa.
  • She always complimentary. Just this morning I dropped something and said ‘Whoops! Mummy’s a doofus!’ she’ll say to me, very sincerely ‘No Mummy! You aren’t a doofus! You’re a flower!’
  • She plays such intricate games with her dolls. Whole worlds are created. It’s amazing.
  • She continues to shock me with how much she absorbs random stuff we tell her. We’ll just be sitting there and she’ll just say something like ‘Everything in the world is made of atoms’ or ‘Carrots have vitamins to help you see in the dark’ and I realise that she does listen when we explain the world to her.
  • She doesn’t take any crap. I’ve seen her break up fights on the playground and separate the offenders until the can play nicely.
  • She is the most extroverted person on the planet. She needs human interaction from the second she wakes (often at 4:45, uuuuuuuuuugh) until the second she falls asleep.
  • She loves to hear stories from everyone’s childhood, and gets me to tell her stories until I can literally remember no more. It actually makes me wistful for my Pop who passed when I fell pregnant, as he loved to tell stories of his life – they would have been a perfect match!
  • She’s got no fear. She whips around on her bike at speed, jumps off walls, and does acrobatics on the swing set, much to the detriment of my heart.
  • She listens to music and learns the words of all the Disney songs by heart. She does a pretty great rendition of ‘Reflection’.
  • Whenever ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ comes on in the car, we argue about who gets to be Ursula.

I love you Moo. The more I get to know about you, the more I love. You’re the best girl in the world.

He’s Two!


My baby Bear is not so much of a baby any more. And even though over these last two years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find time to write, I always show up for the birthday posts, if nothing more than for a little record keeping. This is only his second, but oh, what has changed in a year!


Bear, here are the things that I think of when I think about your now two-year-old self.

  • Your goofy, expressive little face, complete with ever so slightly chipped front tooth from one of your many falls. You are so cute, both when angry and happy.
  • Speaking of falls, you are full of adventure and are quite the little dare devil. You seem to be fixated on confronting your own mortality, taking your little pink hand me down trike to the top of the tallest hill you could see and then rolling down at break-neck speed, with little to no regard to the effect you are having on the cardiac output of those watching.
  • You are so interested in everything technological. You somehow configured our Wii remote to function as a universal remote for the TV and you constantly are accessing settings I didn’t know existed on my phone.
  • You love cars. You brum them around the house, up and down walls and then park then in neat little rows. I find them everywhere, in the pantry, in my handbag, in my bed. You are obsessed.
  • Time outs. When you get a time out for being naughty, you dramatically throw yourself to the side and sit there sulking until it’s over.
  • When you are angry, you just walk around kicking things, and throwing whatever your little hands can reach on the floor.
  • Yet despite the fact you can be more than a little rough, when someone is genuinely crying, you always go and hug them, and say ‘You OK. You OK.’
  • When dogs in our street bark, you yell ‘Woof Woof!’ back at them.
  • When you eat something you love, you close your eyes, and sway from side to side, while going ‘mmmm’.
  • When we go somewhere, you always come back every so often and say ‘Mama’ and when I bend down, you give me a quick hug before going back to play.
  • When you want a kiss in bed at night, you pucker your lips until I kiss your nose.
  • You love saying bye bye. You even said ‘Bubye’, complete with sweet little hand wave, to the Millennium Falcon as it flew off when you were watching the new Star Wars with Daddy and Moo.
  • When something unpleasant happens, whether it be you dropping your cup on the floor, or a raging warehouse fire you saw on the news, your reaction is the same. A shake of the head and a concerned ‘Oh No! Oh Dear!
  • You love to just be with your Daddy, and watch him do things on his computer.
  • You love to help with building things. One time, I even watched you patiently hold part of an elliptical in place while Papa screwed it together.
  • You are legitimately the most ticklish kid alive. And if we stop when we think you’ve had enough, you always ask for more.
  • You would live one blueberries alone given the option. More than once, I have found you at the end of a stolen punnet.

I love you so much Bear. Here’s to two-year-old you! Happy birthday my sweet boy!


Eye bags for days.

I am so tired. So very tired. I am so tired that I feel it in my bones. I am so tired that I feel it has changed how my face looks. I am so tired it has changed how the skin around my eyes sits. According to my Fitbit I have averaged 3 hours and 43 minutes of broken sleep per night in the two months since I purchased it. My sleep debt is so high that I fear it can never be repaid, no matter how many sneaky sleep-ins I manage to bargain for with my other half.  If my sleep debt was a mortgage, the sleep bank would be foreclosing by now for lack of repayments.

The life of a chronically sleep deprived person (CSDP from here on – partially because I’m a scientist and we turn everything into acronyms, and partially because I’m too tired to keep writing it out) is different to that of our well-rested brethren.  A CSDP awakens in the morning (the early, early, morning, most days – it is morning in the loosest definition of the word, as the sun is still asleep) there is a feeling that you get, upon standing. It’s the feeling of being right on the edge, the precipice, of either bursting into tears, or vomiting. You feel like an iPhone that’s under 20% battery and has switched to low power mode – you are dimmer, and you no longer do anything without prompting. A CSDP stumbles around like a drunk at the end of a big night, assembling what hopefully becomes food and coffee, anything, anything to give you the extra energy recharge that you were so cruelly denied during the night. The sound of coffee being made is the song of our people. You choke back the bright yellow, strongly artificially flavoured, weirdly fizzy and ever so slightly grainy drink that is a 90% dissolved Berocca that you gave up on waiting for and just mixed with a spoon, willing it to give you the b-b-bounce you crave.

CSDP’s will have at least one conversation per day that begins with ‘You look tired’ and a sympathetic smile. This will be said to you so much that you will have a standard answer you give. Over time, this answer will degenerate to ‘Yep’ because your ability to remember something more extensive has decreased, as has your will to continue a conversation with some random who clearly doesn’t understand your life.

People will tell you to get some sleep. Those people have misunderstood. You are not sleep deprived because you don’t want to sleep. You are sleep deprived because you can not sleep. Either because you have insomnia, or have something stopping your sleep (shift work, kids, anxiety, annoying dog that barks all night, etc). They don’t understand that not being able to sleep is not the same thing as not being tired. They will often cite articles linking lack of sleep to various health concerns. This will only make you feel worse, as I have pointed out earlier, you are not forgoing sleep as some kind of hobby. And now you have been reminded of your impending doom. Whoopee.

Well, my CSDP friends, I have hope for you, and it doesn’t come in the form of a magical awake pill. Below are 4 ‘all natural’ ways I myself have maintained consciousness on the days when the Sandman is chasing me:

  1. COFFEE. Well, duh. However, I am talking of a novel approach from this long time awakener. I am not talking about regular coffee – that warm hug in your hands, that re-energising elixir, and the calming, comforting ritual of sipping it. I am talking about instant coffee granules. On a spoon. And straight into your mouth. ‘That’s gross!’ I hear you say. Yes. It is. That is, indeed, the point. You need to ingest something truly disgusting, something that will jolt away any kind of comfort and by doing this, lurch you into the land of the living. The following will also have a similar affect: soy or fish sauce, chilli and vinegar. You can even do apple cider vinegar if you’d prefer to look like someone who’s health conscious instead of some marauding zombie who is attempting to pass as human.
  2. Stand up for yourself. And by that I mean do not sit down. It’s pretty hard to fall asleep while standing, and even more so while in motion. Do not sit, lean or support yourself on anything. Move if you can muster the will. It doesn’t have to be exercise. It doesn’t have to be productive. If you have to sit, sit on something uncomfortable, or teetering, so you are kept awake by either discomfort or adrenaline. However, be wary of the latter, as CSDP’s are using lacking coordination, so you could be in for a fall. Avoid the couch at all cost. Yes I know it looks comfy. DO not go there. It is a trap.
  3. Be emotional. Read something upsetting, whether it be a news story about an idiot politician, or something really creepy and unsettling. If your mind is racing, you probably won’t fall asleep. Nothing that makes you cry though. That’ll put you straight down.
  4. Drink water. Lots of water. Partially for health, hydration, blah, blah, blah. Mostly because if you need to go to the bathroom, it’s pretty hard to fall asleep. And once again, you will appear health conscious instead of deranged. Genius.

Hopefully one of these will help you feign wakefulness when you most need it. If you have something better, pleas let me know. We CSPD’s have to stick together.

And, lastly, if you know a CSDP but are lucky enough not to be one, and you find them asleep on the couch, for the love of God, leave them alone. They need this.

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. These have only been tested on me, and not in the ‘I’m going to win a Nobel Prize for testing this on myself’ kind of way. This is not medical advice. If this looks like medical advice to you, you really do need some sleep.)




I didn’t know that when I was Twenty


Today marks 30 years since the day I came into this world. I was 6 weeks early, and this seems to be how I’ve lived my life. I am always the first to do things in my group of friends – the first to start uni, the first to marry, the first to have a first, and then second child.

Turning 30 is a milestone. I think any time you change a decade you look back and see what you’ve accomplished, and if you are where you thought you’d be. Ageing in itself doesn’t bother me – none of the people I consider role models are on this side of 50, and generally speaking, in my field of work, (although not in the place where I work), age is synonymous with competency, so I embrace the ability to not be in my 20’s any more.

For me, life is decidedly different to what I had planned – although at 20, I was planning my wedding, I thought I would be a doctor. I’d maybe have one child, if any. I’d own a house. I’d have worked overseas.

Things change. I had Moo, and I no longer wanted to be a doctor. I can’t explain it any other way than it just stopped pulling me. That doesn’t mean I did nothing – I focussed on my medical science job and got promoted. I wanted to have a second child and so I did. I don’t own a house, and most likely, will not, any time soon. I’ve never worked overseas, although I have travelled. I’m not sad that things didn’t turn out as expected – I don’t have regrets about it. That in itself is unexpected. I have learnt when things change from what you planned, sometimes it’s because you didn’t know enough to plan what you really wanted. I didn’t know that when I was 20.

Other things have changed too. I have lost all my grandparents in the last 10 years, which I never would have thought would happen. I have had friendships last through my 20’s. Some friends I still see and speak to weekly. Others I speak to less often, but when I see them, it’s like no time has passed – they are also friends for life. More still have sadly fallen away. Some friends that moved through so fleetingly that I didn’t yet know them when I turned 20, and now, they are already fond memory of earlier times and not much more. It’s funny how transient relationships can be, when others are as unmoving as bedrock, and you can never really predict which way each one is going to go. I didn’t know that when I was 20.

Hard things have happened. There’s been a lot of sickness, and as mentioned above, a lot of death. There has been a lot to deal with in the last 10 years – money issues, health issues, both mental and physical, loss and gain of jobs, promotions that resulted in much more work than expected, and even a natural disaster thrown in somewhere near the middle. I thought things like that would weaken me, weaken my marriage. But despite not so certain appearances during all this, I’ve come out tougher and smarter. Sometimes, bad things are necessary so that growth can happen. Sometimes, you need bad things to appreciate the good. I didn’t know that when I was 20.

When I was 20, I was so obsessed with how I looked, or more precisely, how I measured up to how the world said I should look. To be acknowledged as attractive meant more to me than most things. Even at my best, I have never more than pleasant-looking, so this validation was often reserved to my then-boyfriend/now-husband, and close friends, so my self-esteem was often low. And then I got married, and had significant health issues that took several doctors and several ill-advised and side effect riddled prescriptions. My face and body changed rapidly, and has never returned. They changed again, though not as markedly, after each child. And my husband, he just didn’t care, or notice. If he did, he is the best at hiding it. If you asked him, he would tell you that I am still the most beautiful woman in the world. I am glad he thinks that, but I know most others don’t. That would have made me really sad once upon a time. But now, it just doesn’t. I just don’t care. Now, the compliments that stick are ‘You are so smart.’ ‘You’re doing a good job.’ ‘I feel better because I talked to you.’ In fact, the compliment I always go back to, the one that helps me get my self-esteem back, occurred after my Nannie’s funeral almost three years back. We were at the wake and I was standing with my mother. I had helped out as much as I could that week, trying where possible to take the burden off everyone else as much as I could. My aunt came up to me and put her arms around my shoulders and said to my Mum ‘You know, if there was ever a war or anything, I would want Anneke to be on my side. She just gets things done and sorts things out. She’s a rock.’ If you had told me, 10 years ago, that being the one who people can count on when things go pear shaped would make me feel better than being thought of a physically beautiful, I couldn’t have imagined it. That when you have low self-esteem, helping other people feel better about themselves or their situation would actually improve yours. I didn’t know that when I was 20.


10 years ago, I thought I was so very smart. I was. I am. I’ve always been smart. But I confused intelligence with knowing stuff. And that is not the same. Looking back over what I’ve learnt in my 20’s shows me I have a lot more to go, and a lot more to learn. On my 40th (which will hopefully be spent on an amazing holiday – hint hint Rhys), I’ll look back and see what I know that I didn’t know when I was 30. I hope it’s a big list.

If you could talk to yourself from 10 years ago, what would you tell them that you now know that they didn’t know then?


12107897_10153790012643013_2201877491838295871_n (1)Moo is four. I can’t believe this has happened already. This time next year, we will be preparing for her first year of school – it’s actually crazy! But turning four means one thing – it’s time to do my list of things that make four year old Moo who she is.

  • You make up your own colour names. The other day, you decided to call everything magenta ‘Arknargreen’ instead. I had no idea what you were talking about at first.
  • Your drawings are so detailed. You draw bodies and eyebrows and facial expressions. You draw sea monsters and fairies and gardens and parties and picnics. I treasure all of them.
  • You always tell me you can’t possibly go to sleep, even if you’re exhausted. But you always do.
  • You run everywhere. If I ever want you to get involved in something quick smart, all I have to do is tell you it’s a race.
  • Everywhere you go, you always make a friend. You are so amazing at making friends. It makes me uncomfortable even watching you, but it’s amazing.
  • You are tough. You’ll hurt yourself, and unless it’s bad, you just go ‘OOh’ and then keep going.
  • You love to have a chat. Sometimes, we just lie together and you will talk to me about everything under the sun.
  • You adore your brother, and even though he annoys you a lot, you change your games to incorporate him, and if he ever needs help, you’re just there.
  • You truly care about me. Like the time you came home from an outing with Dad all sad, and when I asked you what happened you said ‘Oh Mummy, I TRIED to get him to buy you jewelry. Because you need some beautiful jewels.’ So thoughtful. Or the time I cut my finger and you disappeared, only to return 30 seconds later with a princess band-aid ready to go.
  • You always talk about your wedding, and how you are going to dance with Daddy, and how he will wear yellow dandelions in his pocket.
  • You have an amazing sense of humour. You’re always having a joke.
  • When we have ‘at home discos’ you shamelessly direct everyone like an aerobics instructor. You’re so confident.
  • You always look for a different way to play with toys. People will tell you how something is supposed to be used, and then you will say ‘OK, but I want to do it this way’, and will come up with a whole new way to do it.
  • You can put an outfit together like nobodies business. You have a really strong idea of how you want to look at all times.
  • You still love hugs.

I’m so proud of you Moo. You’re the best!

Baby Bear is One


A year (and a week ) has passed since Bear came into our lives, and what a year it’s been. I can’t imagine our lives without his happy little face in it now.

Every year, around her birthday, I write a post about my daughter to remember how she was at that time – I wrote a letter when she was one, but when she was two and three, I wrote a post about all the little idiosyncrasies that defines her at that age. I want to write the same for my wonderful son. So Bear, here it is – the things that made you, you, when you turned a year old.

  • When you wake up in the morning, you yell ‘Dadaaaaa!’ DaDAAAAAA!’ Until someone comes and gets you. Thank you for always calling your Dad so that I can easily get out of it, haha.
  • When you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, and I say ‘Ah ahh’ you turn around with a charming little smile on, and say ‘AAH! AAH!’ back.
  • You are amazing on anything with wheels. You whiz around in the walker your sister was never really interested in, performing three-point turns with ease, and if you sister sits on the back, you pull her around, despite her being almost twice your weight.
  • You say ‘Ta’ when people give you things.
  • You are weirdly obsessed with the credits of TV shows. You don’t really show any interest in TV, but when  a show is playing its credits, you drop everything and watch them, only resuming activity when they finished. You are particularly enamored with these – the credits from Star Trek – Voyager. Some days, putting these on is the only way I can get you to sit still long enough to dress you.
  • You adore music. You will lay on my chest and listen to anything patting my arm as we sit there so quietly. I love how peaceful you are.
  • When you are tired, you love to snuggle up with me and lay quietly. You make me feel so loved in those moments.
  • You kiss me goodbye when I have to go, it’s the best.
  • Although you are normally a peaceful boy, you occasionally get really angry at inanimate objects and just start telling them off at the top of your lungs.
  • When ever someone says hello to you, you give them a truly charming smile.
  • Sometime I  hear you and you sister playing this game where you both just yell a noise at each other, the volume ever-increasing. The first time I thought you were fighting, until I looked in and you both had massive grins on your faces.
  • You sister is your hero. If you find something that makes her laugh, you do it over and over and over, giggling hysterically.
  • The look of pride you get when you manage to get up on something really tall. It’s adorable.
  • You are OBSESSED with the destruction potential inside the dishwasher. If you hear the soft click of it opening, you appear at the speed of light next to me, wanting to climb in and smash.
  • You are such a poser. If you see a phone or camera come out, you look directly into the lens and smile. You are the easiest kid to take photos of.
  • When your sister annoys you, you just start yelling at her. I shouldn’t find this funny, but your angry baby non-words make it so.
  • You learned how to say your sister’s name, even though it’s a hard one for a baby, because you obviously really needed to say it.
  • When we walk you in the pram, you giggle and kick your legs the whole time.

I love you so much, my baby Bear. I’m so glad that you’re here. Here’s to another year of getting to know you.

In the shower

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It’s 10:25 pm. The kids are asleep after a battle of wills. My husband is mucking around on his computer in the other room, a much needed debrief after finally making it home from work at about 9:30pm after a 14 hour day.  I woke for the day at 5:04am. Today I have dressed children, cooked, cleaned, played, comforted, fed and generally just did not sit down. I started going to bed when my husband arrived home, but the minutia of finishing of for the day has taken almost an hour – prepping bottles for the baby, day care gear for the big one, putting in one more load of washing, emptying and refilling the dishwasher, and a final whip around to check there is no small but treacherous toy on the floor which will cause an excruciated midnight yelp that will wake the whole house when I inevitably wake to check on my little ones.

I am finally having a shower.

Showers to me, kind of symbolise the life change that has occurred when I had kids. Before my kids, they were extended affairs. I exfoliated, washed my hair, conditioned and shaved my legs all in a single session, without even thinking about it.  I could relax in the solitude. They were refreshing, replenishing.

Now, each task is done at warp speed, and I rarely have time to do all of the above in a single session. I am rarely alone – often a baby splashes at my feet, or an almost four year old sits across from me, telling me about the episode of My little Pony where Rainbow Dash had Fluttershy’s cutie mark, and asking me about the stripes on my stomach that she and her brother so kindly bestowed.

Even on the rare occasion when I am alone, like tonight, when they are asleep, I am constantly stepping out to answer phantom baby cries that fade as soon as my head is out from under the water.  Even tonight, as I am able to move at a more reasonable pace, I don’t, conscious of every minute that drips away, taking precious sleep with it, premptively exhausting me for the paid work day starting at 7am tomorrow morning. I even find myself scrubbing the shower screen with something that smells of oranges and makes my eyes tingle as I wait the two minutes for my conditioner to soak in. I have no time to waste. I have no time.

As I think this to myself, the weight of it sits on my shoulders. The weight of this life I wished for, this life I wouldn’t change for anything, this life I love. I can feel it. And salt water pools in my eyes, free falling down my cheeks, mixing with the warm shower water and flowing down the drain. I am crying in the shower.

This is not the first time I have cried in the shower. This will not be the last. Make no mistake, I am not crying from sadness. It is a like a pressure release, a valve letting off steam. All the adult emotions I’ve kept in because I don’t want my children to be exposed to them. The stress about money. The guilt from working, and by doing so, not being able to be the perfect mum. Conversely, the gulit of not being all there when I am at work. The deep, to the bones tiredness that no amount of coffee will relieve, that has left my eyes so shadowed that concealer can not fixed it, and  permanently light pink . The fact that my brain has caused me to forget what I’m speaking about mid sentence, and to sometimes just use the wrong words all together. The expectation to look and act like the woman I was, when so much has changed that I barely recognise her anymore. The nagging feeling that I am relying on the unconditional, ‘til death do us part love of my husband a little too much sometimes. The intensity of being so very, very, important to someone that your mortality is constantly in the back of your mind. The heaviness of having to make even the most trivial of decisions for an entire group of people, and the hypervigilance that results. The exhaustion of always being the one that drives, of being the one that gets everyone together, that gets everyone out of the door.  It all just sits on my shoulders, and I slowly smile less, nag more, become more shrill.

But here, in the shower, I can let it out. No one will hear. I will not have to explain why I am crying, and how that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. I can have my cathartic indulgence, and let all evidence run down the drain with everything else that has hit me that day. I can recalibrate. I can step out feeling more centred, ready to sleep, and ready to handle more of the same, but without the weight for a little while.

I turn off the water, dry myself, dress and lay down in bed. I’ll sleep well tonight, if I am allowed.  And if not, there is comfort in the fact that there will be a thousand parents awake with me. Just like I take comfort in thinking I’m sure that I am not the only one who cries in the shower.

Horses for Courses

The same. But different.

The same. But different.


A friend of mine recently commented on her Facebook page that she had noticed a huge amount of really nasty things being said by mothers, to mothers recently. It’s not new, and I have written about it many moons ago, and it astonishes me it’s not getting better. It’s generally termed the ‘Mommy Wars’ a term that I despise, as it just sound belittling. But, regardless, recently, I have noticed a lot of really crappy comments directed at people for making normal parenting decisions. People getting ripped apart for choosing different methods of child rearing, everything from how you feed your baby, to  whether you make your child do chores, to whether you let them play in your yard seems to draw judgement and commenting from all over. There seems to be little love lost between mothers, and it’s sad.  There are people out there who genuinely believe parenting is a formula – you feed your children this, use this routine, discipline them like this, train them to sleep like this, and you will end up with a perfect child. But worse is, it’s started to become that any deviation from this formula means you are doing it wrong, or even, as I see implied by internet people constantly, are unfit to parent. No one is immune – in the last few months, even Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Alba have drawn heat for feeding their kids food. I am not even making that up. It’s the dumbest thing.

My children have a lot of similarities. They are both easy going, and they both seem to like to talk (or babble, as the case may be) a lot. But, they are, already, very different. If I had to sum up my daughter in three words it would be confident, independent and empathetic. If I had to describe my son, it would be peaceful, happy and cuddly. Moo loves me, adores me, that she makes clear. But she never needed me as such.  She disliked being held unless she was ill, in pain, or overstimulated. She’d scream like a banshee if I attempted to wear her, and even preferred the pram facing out so she could watch the world. We had a lot of issues breastfeeding (incidentally, new mums, if a health care nurse’s response when you tell her you are in constant pain, and your baby is making you bleed a lot when she feeds, is a long the lines of ‘ That’s ok, it’s just extra protein for the baby. Just keep going’ see a different nurse. This one is not good at her job). When it settled down, Moo nursed to get food and food alone. I had no issues pumping, so she didn’t switch fully to formula until about 9-10 months, but it wasn’t even a blip on the radar. We did gentle sleep training with her when she was four months old, after her colic had settled, and put her in a routine, and she was in her element. She hated having us there when she was trying to sleep – she would cry until we left. Then, she changed when she got to be a toddler, so we did too, and self settling gave way, and became us cuddling her to sleep, and co-sleeping on the nights she didn’t want to be alone. She started solids at 6 months, as recommended. She was in a proper bed at around 15 months. I took toilet training slowly, and she ended up doing it herself, which has meant that she now has no issues. As she’s gotten older, we’ve given her a lot of independence, and she’s thrived.

My baby Bear, on the other hand, loves me, but also, he needs me. He loves to be worn. He loves to be held. He, until recently, has preferred the pram facing in. He fed easily and without issues, except for being a slow poke (during growth spurts, it was not uncommon for him to feed for 18 hours a day for 5 days). As I have weaned him to avoid the discomfort of holding over feeds while at work (pumping, unfortunately, did not work well this time) he has stopped sleeping through the night, and part of me wonders if it’s so he can get the same volume of cuddles in (I was feeding him for about 4-5 hours in total every day, so a lot of cuddle time). He has not had sleep training. In his day naps, he plays with his glow worm until it sings him to sleep. At night, he is either cuddled or fed until he drifts off. He has a routine, but it’s more fluid, and more led by him. He started solids at 4 months, and loves a lot of the food Moo hated (rice cereal, rusks) and doesn’t like things she likes (watching the disgust on his face when he eats mashed banana is something to behold).

If I had raised Moo, like I have raised Bear, she would’ve been unhappy. Really unhappy. If I had done with Bear just as I did with Moo, he wouldn’t have done well either. If I can’t even raise two kids in the exact same way, there’s no way there can be a uniform approach. There is no formula. What you have proven works, by getting your child through alive and happy, is what works. Unless you are endangering your own child or others (and I mean properly endangered, not ‘you are poisoning your children by not eating organic’ endangered) your choices are both valid and no one else’s concern. And wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped comparing, and judging. Parenting is hard. We are all flying by the seat of our pants, even if we don’t want to admit it. It shocks me that someone who understands this can then throw stones at another. Imagine how much easier this could be if we didn’t feel judged at every turn. Imagine if we could just be parents.

Working Class



It’s been such a long time since I’ve last posted. A really, long time.  I’ve noticed, that a great number of my posts over the last year have started this exact same way. Turns out, when I have two kids (whether in utero or out) I find it hard to make time to write, which bums me out, as I love it, and I’ve had so much I’ve wanted to write about.

As always, it’s been hectic. Most of our lives are, I’m sure. Since I last posted, my gorgeous, wonderful little boy (who I feel bad for not writing more about!) has started solids, gotten two teeth, turned 6 months old, been christened, started to scoot backwards, and even given himself his first real minor head injury. My daughter has continued to grow and become more herself every day, has had her first run in with a bully, and has been to the emergency room for the first time. And me? Well, I’ve kept us all alive, and I’ve just gone back to work.

Now if you remember with Moo, I was not what one would term super excited about working again, although I did try to remain positive. This time was a little worse. Moo, having gotten quite used to me being home, has taken a bit of adjustment this time around – that didn’t happen when she was 6 months old. Bear has taken it well, and I’m happy (and lucky) that he will get to have a close relationship with his grandparents through this. But this time, the main issue is me – I just wasn’t ready. Last time, I’d started to get back into personal routines, started to get myself back a little, started to feel like I was in not only in control of the kid situation, but also myself – and although work did make me feel like I went backwards a bit, it was OK. This time, I felt like it’s taken longer to get myself back, and in fact, I feel like although I have the whole ‘two kids’ thing well and truly down, I’m not back to myself yet, and consequently, I didn’t feel ready to go back to work. I knew the added time would make me step back further. And I feel a little bit crappy about it. I am sad about leaving my kids. I am wistful about losing that time with them. I am disappointed (and sore) about having to wean my son earlier than I was ready for – felt like I could have gone another 6 months, easy. I’m exhausted as my kids still tag team me most nights.  I was worried about becoming more time poor, when I already felt like every second of my day was allocated (and very little of that allocated to myself). But the money ran out, as it does, so there were no options.

But, again I’ve tried to remain positive. So I’ve made a list of the top 10  pros for me of being a working parent:

  1. Getting dressed nicely. I get to wear my nice dresses and match my shoes. I put on make-up, I have a shower. Yes it’s before 6 am, but when I look mildly put together, I feel better about the whole situation.
  2. The drive to work. I get to listen to my own music, without having to up the volume to eardrum shattering levels to drown out the cries of ‘ Mummy I want PRINCESS SONGS!’ coming from the back seat. I get to be by myself. It’s amazing.
  3. Morning coffee. It’s hot. It’s uninterrupted. I have it in the sun most days. And after a night of broken sleep (which is most nights) it’s pretty much the best thing that’s happened to me.
  4. The *ahem* facilities. No one walks in or yells outside the door while I am using them. The privacy is unheard of.
  5. I don’t have to explain where I am going every time I leave a room.
  6. Lunch – see No. 3.
  7. I can feel my parts of  my brain that have lain dormant grinding back into use. It’s a good feeling. I feel like a fog is lifting, and I can feel everything starting to move more quickly in there.
  8. The feeling of accomplishment. I accomplish a lot at home, but there is no acknowledgement (because they’re kids and I’m their mum- why would they acknowledge me fulfilling what is a natural part of our relationship?) and most of it has to be repeated the next day, which makes it all seem futile when you’re feeling a bit low. At work, I am acknowledged. People appreciate my work. People see that I’m worth something. When you’re at home, even though your role is just as important, and you’re worth just as much, you begin feeling worthless when no one acknowledges your efforts.
  9. The interaction. I can talk to other adults. Even though my introversion means I don’t crave this, even I have to admit it is good to have a conversation that revolves around higher matters (or TV shows whatever,) sometimes.
  10. Coming home. I miss my kids so much. The happiness I have when I see them at the end of the day and they are so happy to see me feels like a sunburst on a cloudy day. And even though I’m tired, I feel like I have more patience for them, and because I work hard to make the shorter hours worth more, our time in the hours after work is, I think, often a higher quality than how I am at 5 pm after spending the last 12-13 hours with them.

Truth be told, I would have loved more time, weeks, months. I would’ve loved to go back with a 9 month old, or 1-year-old son, (or even a two-year old, if we are living in a dream world), instead of a barely 6 month old. I mean, look at us in that photo up there. Who wants to leave those two? But, at the end of the day, it’s not all bad. And it can only improve from here – right?

Enjoy every moment


When Moo was born, I was given a lot of ‘words of wisdom’ and advice from well-meaning family, friends and random street people. These ranged from helpful things like standing next to your baby instead of downwind for nappy changes, and things that made us feel better about ourselves, like my mother’s wise words to my husband ” One night you will feel like you want to just throw the baby out of the window. Everyone feels like this. As long as you don’t actually do it, it’s ok. Just take a breather.” Then there was the marginally less helpful advice, like “Sleep when the baby sleeps” (yeah OK. I’ll cook dinner and do laundry when the baby does those things too, shall I?), “That baby needs a hat/socks/mittens, she’ll catch cold” (in Brisbane, in summer, when the temperature is approximately 40 degrees and the humidity is sitting around 10,000%) and perhaps my least favourite piece of wisdom “Enjoy every moment. It goes so fast”.

Now I had reasons for hating this gem. Mainly because it’s impossible. No one enjoys functioning on low amounts of broken sleep. No one enjoys sorting out feeding in the first few months. After the initial load of baby washing where you’re all like”‘Look at these idle widdle sockies!” no one likes washing baby clothes, because you have to do it daily, and one load of baby washing contains approximately 500 individual items to sort and fold, as they are all so small. No one enjoys being thrown up on (even though you do become largely indifferent). Nobody likes changing nappies. Nobody likes having to fit half the house in a bag when you leave it for the first few months. Nobody likes that feeling of being busy all day, yet to the outside world, appearing to have done nothing all day. Nobody enjoys it when despite you have run through the big 7 (hungry, dirty, tired, hot, cold, overstimulated, general discomfort) your baby will inexplicably not stop crying. These are things that occur to a new parent daily. These moments are not enjoyable. And  when you’ve recently had that old chestnut dropped on you by a well-meaning grandmother-type in the rows of Aldi, as you, on 3 hours of broken sleep, and with a tiny human in tow, try to remember where in the hell they keep their cling wrap because there is NO FREAKING SIGNAGE IN THIS STORE, when you realise that no, you are not actually enjoying this moment, you also have a tidal wave of guilt wash over your already mother-guilt-ridden self. Because, you think as you internally beat yourself up,  if you were a good mother, you would be enjoying it. If you truly loved your child, you would love this moment.

The second time around, it’s easier. When people I don’t actually know give me advice, I’ve perfected smiling brightly and making positive sounding noises while Copacabana plays in my head. And this time, I realise how stupid and unattainable the advice of enjoy every moment is.

But, funnily, I now understand why they said it.

Every stage of life has its good and its bad. Sometimes, the bad significantly outweigh the good, and you go into survival mode, head down, bum up, willing for it to end soon. Having a new baby is like that- even a stereotypically ‘easy baby’ is still a huge and difficult adjustment. So you go into survival mode, thinking you’ve just got to get through, and you will nary give it a backward glance. But, you will. You will miss it. Not all of it. Not always even most of it. But you will think back on those things you used to hate and your heart will tug for the good bits. The 3AM feeds when nothing in the world exists but the two of you. The feeling of heaviness of the baby that can’t support their own body weight. The rhythmic patting on the back of a child who can’t go to sleep without you. The unfocused, darting eyes, becoming clear when they meet yours. The gummy, whole face smile because they just saw YOU. It’s fleeting in a way you don’t realise until it’s over. You wish away this stage because overall, it’s difficult, but when you think back, you realise these thing, they’ve all happened for the last time. If you’d known the next night they were going to sleep through, you wouldn’t have rushed back to bed, but indulged in a little late night baby gazing. If you’d known the next day, they wouldn’t need you to carry them any more, you would have carried them wherever they wanted that day. If you’d known that the next night that they would fall asleep without your help, you wouldn’t have kept wondering if your show had started. If you’d know it was the last time, how different it would have been.

That is why they say it. Because they think back on it, and regret not treasuring that last time. They advise you, hoping you won’t make the same mistake. But you do. Because it’s impossible not to. It is inhuman not to.

Bear has already had a few of these last times. He’s growing and changing so quickly. He will have a whole bunch of firsts this year, and a whole bunch of lasts. I’ll be honest, some of them, I’ve missed. I’ll admit, too, that both my kids are in pretty good stages at the moment. Moo’s threenager-ness appears to be on its way out and I have such a great time with her lately. Bear is in that excellent stage when he is no longer a newborn, so doesn’t need to feed ever 2-3 hours, but is still immobile, whilst also being a bit more robust, interactive, and easily entertained.  But regardless, this time around, although I am not enjoying every moment (not even close), I am not wishing any away either.  I am taking opportunities to enjoy my Bear and my Moo today.