Tag Archives: mothering

Packing a Playground Punch

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Playground Etiquette 101

Lesson One – Supervise your kids.

Lesson Two – Lesson One does not mean leaving a box of hot chips on the bench seat for your toddler to share with the birds while you disappear for a coffee with your girlfriend, all the while assuming that your 4-year-old will be looking after said toddler and his bird poo chips.

Lesson Three – If it is essential that you remain well away from the playground perimeter so as not to spill your coffee on unsuspecting children during your engrossing and animated conversation with your girlfriend, at least sit on your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair with your face in the general direction of the playground in case your toddler should pace the fence line crying, “Mummy… Mummy…” and not find you. You wouldn’t want to be accused of neglecting your toddler.

Lesson Four – It is important that you maintain eye contact with the park and, specifically, your children during your coffee gossip session in case your elder child should punch (yes, punch, not hit or shove or push, but closed-fist punch) an unsuspecting toddler whose father is standing close by, supervising (see Lessons One and Two).

Lesson Five – When father of unsuspecting toddler ROARS (as a Lion should) at your child, attend to the situation immediately. Do not wait for unsuspecting toddler’s father to dish out the reprimand and swift lesson in social graces then scan the horizon far and wide while shouting, “WHO OWNS THIS KID?” No amount of “Oh my God, I’m so sorry, what happened?…” will make up for your lack of presence.

Lesson Six – Whisking your 4-year-old away from the playground to momentarily stand by your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair while you adjust your bling, take another sip of your coffee, titter with your girlfriend and flick your 18 shades of bottle blond to stylishly surround your designer knock-off sunglasses is not taking disciplinary action (as torturous as watching your personal grooming routine may be for a 4-year-old… or anyone, for that matter).

Lesson Seven – Sending your 4-year-old back to the playground with a soccer ball to kick around the equipment is also not discipline, even if you shout after him, “And see what your brother is whingeing about”. Said brother is still plaintively calling for his mother between bites of bird poo chip. He needs his mother. That would be you, Miss Glamour-Puss.

Lesson Eight – If you should decide, despite this course in Playground Etiquette, that you will continue to use public playgrounds as free daycare, other parents as free (and unwitting) babysitters, and local wildlife as custodians of your children’s less-than-nutritious afternoon tea, then at least ensure that any conflict of the above nature does not take place in full view of the unsuspecting toddler’s mother lest she trawl the net for “How to make a Voodoo Doll” that very afternoon. (Yes, that would explain the stabbing pains in your eyes, your 18 shades of bottle blond loss and the mysterious collapse of your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair atop your designer knock-off sunglasses. Go figure.)

Lesson Nine – Remember, always, that it is people like YOU who destroy the sisterhood of motherhood. It is people like YOU whose toddlers approach breastfeeding strangers to show their pretty flower to, because their mother is too busy being… somewhere else entirely. And it is people like YOU who will, one day when you are old and crotchety with blue hair and bent back from those years of carrying too much bling, be left by your children in a fenced area with all manner of ‘fun’ activities to occupy you while your children go off and… well… just go off.

Lesson Ten – If you are in doubt about the slight variations to Playground Etiquette that may apply to indoor settings such as shopping centre play areas, doctor’s waiting room activity centres, cheap-and-nasty burger outlet playlands and the like, please complete Playground Etiquette 102 next week. In the meantime, say the following prayer for forgiveness:

“I, Miss Glamour-Puss, have been so busy farting higher than my arse (my grandmother taught me that saying – it’s great isn’t it?!) that I have not realised that my accessories baggage… children need more than entertainment; they actually need my attention. I promise to make eye contact with them from time to time… regularly and I promise to handledeal withtolerate… nurture them every week… day. I will do this begrudgingly… willingly and with love. Amen. (PS: can I have another picnic chair and knock off sunnies too? Ta.)

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Cringe-worthy

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Kids are talented, some more than most, and Blossom really showed what she was made of the other day.

I had to do some fruit and veg shopping and then quickly duck down to the Motor Registry Office to sort out the registration for my new urban assault vehicle. It was to be a short-ish trip, and The Little Lion wasn’t well anyway, so I decided to go sans snack box. Bad move to begin with.

No sooner did we arrive at the green grocers, did LL kick up a fuss that he wanted ‘fout’. It was quite a fuss that extended to not wanting to sit in the trolley and wanting to ‘queez’ every item on the green grocer’s shelf. But I’m getting pretty adept at handling LL’s moments. I don’t even feel the eyes of every stranger in the store boring through me any more. I just carry on as though there is nothing unusual going on. But this time, LL set Blossom off and it became dire in no time.

They feed off each other, don’t they? One cries and the other trumps them with a howl, then a wail, then a scream. When the volume reaches fever pitch, the coughing and spluttering starts, or the flailing limbs or the flying spittle. It was spectacular and I thanked the heavens I hadn’t attempted the side-by-side trolley thing. At least LL wouldn’t be able to scratch, bite or eye-gouge Blossom, so long as I kept the baby carrier far enough away.

I figured my only chance at finishing my shop was if I managed to calm one or both of them. And quickly. I could see the manager’s hand on the telephone, phone book open to Social Services as I handed LL a banana, making a big deal of adding a single, loose banana to my bag to prove I was not trying to rip them off. I could feel the manager’s fingers caressing the 000 button on his phone.

LL stuffed the banana in as though he hadn’t eaten in a week and proceeded to shred the skin onto the floor, but Blossom kept up the fight. She was screaming and fighting the carrier like it was a straight-jacket, so I decided to turn her around. Maybe she just wanted to see what was going on instead of being tortured by the smell of mum’s milky bosom.

I unclipped her, hoisted her out and in so doing, squeezed just the right amount on just the wrong spot. I have never heard volume like that from a 5 month old before. It reverberated through the shop. It sent shock waves that rattled the cash registers and sent apples tumbling to the floor (OK, maybe that was LL helping himself to an ‘apool’ while my hands were quite clearly full).

An innocent bystander, clearly horrified by my daughter’s lack of decorum, gasped, “Oh dear!”

“Excuse me, well, her, I mean…” and then I realised what she was actually gasping about. It wasn’t so much the ear-shattering noise as the ungodly stench that followed.

Yep. It was enough to wilt the lettuce. It was the kind of stench that you run from, but it lingers and follows and trails you wherever you go, so there’s no denying it’s yours; the kind that burns into your clothing and drifts past, long after the memory has faded.

Blossom was triumphant and as her face broke into an enormous smile, she puked all over the kiwi fruits.

You can guess what we’ll be eating for the next few weeks. The manager was so glad to see us go that he didn’t bother charging me for The Little Lion’s extra banana and he offered to carry my bags to the car.

Later, as we waited in the Motor Registry Office, LL scrawling all over the forms they leave lying around on tables that are just the right height for toddlers to reach, I reminisced about all the cringe-worthy moments my children have given me and had a quiet chuckle to myself. Like the time LL commented on top note when he saw a very obviously very sick man being wheeled out of the hospital, life support buzzing, helicopter waiting, with a wave and a congenial “Night-Night!”. Or the time he tried to kiss every child at the playground because it was time for us go. Or the time he pulled my top up at the bank because “Bubby boobie.” Or the time he did a Poo-Splosion of gargantuan proportions while we were shopping in Spotlight, covering me , himself and the baby carrier in a yellow-green paste…

Yep. If you can’t laugh about it, you’ll die. It’s as simple as that. And given Blossom’s form, there’s plenty yet to come.

Lessons from Last Weekend

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Lesson 1 – Take The Arsenal

Never ever ever travel anywhere without an arsenal of every kind of drug available over the counter (or not). This includes kids’ versions of said drugs, but really, anything will do. If possible, include some kind of sedative (for you and/or child). Ensure the arsenal is kept near at all times, but especially at 9.30pm when your eldest child is likely to wake, realise that dad, granny and everyone else is at a party so mummy is vulnerable, and will begin TO SCREAM INCONSOLABLY for no apparent reason. At this point, begin dispensing drugs so that your eldest child does not continue screaming for the next THREE HOURS!

Lesson 2 – Stick To The Plan (otherwise known as Don’t Feel Guilty or Don’t Be Nice)

When, during your child’s screaming fit, you realise that Granny has no appropriate drugs in her house and you ring Husband at party, ensure you have a clear idea of what you want him to do. Advice (or lack thereof) over the phone is not enough. When your child suddenly stops screaming, smiles and says, “Mummy talk Daddy. Mummy cranky. Ha!” DO NOT change your plaintive cries for your husband to return home NOW! Do not be fooled. Your child has not “calmed down”. He has not “settled”. He has simply reached the Midnight Madness which makes your child appear wide awake, jovial, but dissatisfied with everything from where he is sleeping, where mummy is lying, the position of his teddy bear, etc. This is no less torturous than the screaming and you still require backup. Don’t pretend you’re ok.

Lesson 3 – Cake And Tea At 1am Is Not Okay.

When Husband, Granny and Aunty return from party (drunk-ish enough to think your child’s antics are quite funny), do not graciously accept to share cake and tea with them while your child sits on Daddy’s lap and partakes (in YOUR piece of cake, of course). The reason for this is twofold – they will want to share with you all that you missed at the party (including photographs) and they will continue to remind you of how funny it is to be sharing cake and tea with a two-year-old at 1 in the freaking morning! Your nerves will be frayed enough. Don’t do it to yourself.

Lesson 4 – Don’t Go Back For Seconds

Try to avoid repeating the scenario the following weekend. Why? Well, I’ll tell you after this weekend at Granny’s house.

It’s Flog Yo Blog Friday! Hop over to Lori’s list at  http://www.rrsahm.com and browse some fab blogging!

And so it begins

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There is only one way to sum up my day on Monday – 3pm nip. No, that is not a typo. I did NOT mean to say 3pm nap. I meant 3pm nip. In fact, it may well have been a double shot… I can’t be sure. And no, I was not guest DJ-ing on my local radio station, though if I was, the double shot would probably have been an ACDC coupling of “Problem Child” and “Highway to Hell”, or maybe Rage Against the Machine “Know Your Enemy” and “Take the Power Back”, but alas, it was a double shot of Dr Smirnoff’s rescue remedy.

“What?” I hear you cry. “What could drive a warm, responsible, earth-mother goddess to drink at 3 in the afternoon?!”

A 2-year-old, I tell you. A 2-year-old.

I didn’t believe it  was possible. I thought “The Terrible Twos” was a scare-campaign, kind of like Y2K, hysteria perpetuated by mothers looking for something to blame for their children not being perfect minature adults like their outfits and hair-dos suggest they should be.

 Humble pie, people. I’m eating it by the trailer-load.

It began at 5.30am with a warm bottle of milk designed to put him back to sleep. It had the opposite effect of quelling his hunger and sparking him to life. I managed to convince myself that the shouts of “MUUUUUM! MUM! MUM-MUM-MUM!” coming from his room were part of my tortured dreams for a full 10 minutes before I caved in and dragged my sorry self out of bed.

The 5.30 start progressed to a 5.50am tantrum – NO NAPPY! NO-NO-NO! – followed by a 15 minute battle to get a jumper on him, a pair of track suit pants and his slippers. Why do I bother?

This was followed by 40 minutes of raging because I refused to grant his request for George Monkey, even when he brought the DVD to me with a sweet “Preeeeze Mummy”. I don’t know. Is it unreasonable for a mother not to want her 2-year-old in front of Curious George at 6 in the morning? Stupid, perhaps, I mean I was clearly asking for a fight on that one, but surely a line has to be drawn…

Anyway, all attempts to distract him with breakfast failed – No chair. No Weet Bix. No Toast. No no no no no. Tanie? Preeze Mummy, Tanie? Again, is it unreasonable for a mother to want her child to eat something slightly more sustaining and with a slightly less laxative effect than sultanas for breakfast? So I compromised and put the sultanas in his Weet Bix.

Well, wasn’t that the red rag… For those of you unfamiliar with the extraordinary properties of Weet Bix, when thrown around the room and not cleaned up within 75 seconds of hitting any kind of surface, Weet Bix mush dries like cement. In fact, I am considering using it next time I am in need of some cement render. Fortunately, LL was courteous enough to go around picking the sultanas out of the globules of hardening brown slop to compliment the cold spaghetti he had dragged out of the fridge and up-ended on the floor. A nutritious breakfast after all.

It was at this point in our morning’s kitchen redecoration that Blossom woke, demanding to be fed. And it was at this point that LL decided it was imperative that he climb to the very top of my head using only my hair as leverage. Blossom, unable to feed with her brother’s overwhelming presence became increasingly frantic and I lost the last handle I had on my morning’s composure. “Oh, just go away…” I blurted.

That’s right, folks. I said it. And yep, it was repeated back to me ALL FREAKING DAY!

I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my attempts to go the beach with a girlfriend and her daughter (of course forgetting Blossom’s hat on only the sunniest day since February), or LL’s 20-minute cat nap in the car at 9am, throwing all hope of a decent afternoon nap out the window, or his sudden fragility in the coffee shop where we tried to hold a civilised conversation. Nor will I detail Blossom’s increasing fussiness at not having a single peaceful moment to suck to her heart’s content, or LL’s refusal to eat when in said coffee shop and his demands for lunch about 10 minutes after we arrived at the beach, his dissatisfaction at what I had packed and his wails for Chippies when he saw those damned golden arches on the drive home. It was then that I finally gave in to his whim. I needed comfort. NOW!

So we drove through. Him a juice and chips, me a Big Mac with no meat patties and a vanilla thick shake . Yes, you read right. No meat. I know, I know – it’s a lettuce and pickle roll, but I’m vegetarian, so I get the sugar bun with the plastic cheese and the mysteriously enticing sauce and then throw a veg burger on it when I get home. At least, that was the intention until LL pushed a chair to the bench where I had carefully place my burger-to-be out of harm’s way.

It was something about the little shreds of lettuce fluttering through the air before they hit the floor, the way the pickles stuck to the cupboard doors, the way the bun perfectly complimented the strands of cold spaghetti and the splattering of cemented Weet Bix that just did it for me. I cried over spilled burger-to-be, and when LL asked with grave concern, “You arite, Mummy? You arite?” I wanted to scream, “What the fuck do you think!?”

Instead I tried getting him sorted for bed time. This was met with the kind of reception you might expect: “NO no no no no… Run run, Mummy. Run run!”

From past experience, I know this is LL code for “I’m not going to settle down until I have done a monumental poo and that monumental poo is not going to happen unless I am given ample space to move and ample solitude to bear down in private.” So I sent him out the back door with a flourish and settled into the armchair in Blossom’s room to give her the first bit of quiet attention she had had all day. It was not long lived.

She suckled, she drifted, he crashed through the door, trailing and ungodly stench. I held my ground and composure.

“Poo-ey Mummy!”

“Mmm-hmm,” I said quietly,”We’ll finish boobie and then we’ll change your nappy.”

To which LL demonstratively sat down, rubbed his backside from right to left and grinned, “Squish!”

The conversation repeated, to which LL shouted, “NO!” and ripped the velcro tabs of his nappy open and did a delicate little squat to ensure the nappy dropped all the way to the floor. I practically dropped Blossom, whipped the nappy over his shit-covered backside and dragged him to his room amid violent protests (from both of them).

Bed time brought a battle over where to sleep – No cot. No cot. NO COT! – and by 3.07pm, when I had finally managed to get Blossom to bed and The Lion to sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room, I went to the kitchen.

I sat on the floor with my burger-to-be lettuce and cold spaghetti and a glass filled liberally with Dr Smirnoff. Neat. On ice.

And I damned well deserved it.

A Tale of Two Babies – Part 2

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I am one of the lucky ones. All we have to do is think “baby?” and one appears. At least, that’s how it went with both of ours thus far.

I blame my cousin for prompting me to go for take two. At 7 months pregnant she was so beautifully round and radiant and excited and… well, the Little Lion was 1 and just cute and funny and joyful and I thought, “Heck, I can do that again and I can do it right this time – no lounging back on the couch, no sitting for hours on end, make sure that baby is back-to-front for its grand entrance into the world, have my natural cow on all fours birth rather than 32 hours of AGONY…”

So we did. We thought “baby?” and within 5 minutes I had blown out to the size of a small hippo. By four months, people were asking when I was due to give birth to that monster-baby inside me.

There was nothing beautiful about being round the second time ’round. It was just hard work. I was buggered. My back was buggered. My ankles were buggered. My pelvic floor was… well that’s a saga that continues.

I did spend an enormous amount of time on all fours, much to the Little Lion’s joy. Not only was mummy growing a continental shelf upon which he could sit, but she had also, apparently, turned into a horse upon which he could ride, tirelessly, up and down the hallway crying, “CLIP CLOP, MUMMY! CLIP CLOP!” When the Little Lion began crashing into the continental shelf as though it was a pillow, we knew it was time for baby-prep to begin.

I bought every book I could find that dealt with new babies, becoming a big sibling, mummies with babies, sharing with babies, etc etc, but do you think the Little Lion was at all interested? He knew there was a baby in my tummy. We’d talked about it. But he did not want to know about random picture book strangers and the babies that their mummies brought home. Sorry. 

(Warning: Shameless self-promotion ahead.)

So, I made a book: A Toddler Transitions Story that told the tale of the Little Lion and the big adventure he would go on when the baby was ready to come out of Mummy’s tummy. It was complete with photos of himself, of his Mum and Dad and Nanna and Papa and all the places he would go and things he would do. AND HE LOVED IT! It worked like a dream. He read it every night and before long, he was telling us the story of the adventure he would go on when “Bubby” came out.

(I produce them, fully personalised with your pics and details and professionally printed, so if you know anyone expecting, pass it on!  It’s the best preparation for a toddler that I have come across and it’s a beautiful keepsake to look back on too. I also write stories for all the major transitions a toddler may face – moving house, starting daycare, illness, toilet training, changes in family circumstances, etc. So check it out! www.nadineneumann.com.au)

 

OK, self-promotion done, now on with the story of B2.

 

So, when I wet the bed in a big way one night in May, we were all ready. Contractions began the same way they had with LL’s arrival, so I thought nothing of it. I was relaxed and repeated my mantra of “this will pass, here comes baby, this will pass…” I went silent with each contraction and focussed on relaxing my face. Did you know that the jaw is related to the vagina in chinese medicine? So a relaxed jaw = a relaxed nether-region, or so they say. And did you know it is almost impossible to hold tension without holding it in your face as well? So a relaxed face = relaxed body, or so they say. I visualised as well – baby moving down, everything being soft for it’s travel down and out…

I made LLs meals for the next day, I put on a load of washing, I ate some breakfast, I engaged in conversation with the friends who had come in those wee hours to look after our Little Lion, and every five minutes I would excuse myself, breathe and wait patiently for the moment to pass.

A couple of particularly strong ones and I suggested it was time to go. Yes, now. Really. Now.

Two minutes down the road and I declared, “I really need to poo.” Warning bells were ringing somewhere in the distance. Mr D almost stopped to let me take that dump on the side of the road, but thought better of it, gave me permission to crap on the towel that covered the front seat of his work truck and put his foot down. Every bend in the road, every bump was Hell. I couldn’t sit any more and the contractions were coming hard and fast. I kept breathing and visualising and reminding myself that it would pass while bracing against the jolting of the truck. I vaguely remembered something my sister-in-law had said about poo and babies coming, so I tried not to poo in the ute.

When we got to the hospital, I crouched on the floor and held the door for Mr D and the bags. Then, 5 meters on, I crouched and waited for the midwife to open the ward door. Then, 5 meters on, I crouched at the side of the bed and apologised for shitting my pants. Then, a minute later the midwife said, “Oh, we’d better call Doctor,” and I said, “There’s the burn” and she said, “Go with it”, and Mr D knelt on the other side of the bed and held my hand and I said, “here we go” and then…

Well, all I remember is one contraction, me shouting like a well-seasoned soccer mum, “COME ON BABY!!!” and that was it. Done. Babe in arms, husband in shock and me, once again, laughing the hysterical laugh of a drunkard. 2hs and 12 minutes. No more than 10 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Never even made it to the bed. Mad cow on all fours on the floor birth, done. Stitch free.

 When doctor arrived, the midwives were mopping the blood off the floor; I was reclining in a beanbag, pumping with adrenalin and absolutely euphoric; baby was snipped and tied and looking around; Mr D was pacing and repeating “How good is that? How good is that?! HOW GOOD IS THAT?!” to which I replied, “If that’s how good it is, let’s have heaps!” Doctor gave us the thumbs up, declared that he felt a little useless and went back home to bed.

It was like I had been to a late-night movie and won a baby as a lucky door prize. I was fighting fit the next day and within 48 hours I was Clip Clopping the Lion around the maternity ward while bemused nurses tried to remind be that I had just had a baby. He never asked about my tummy. He didn’t need to. Bubby was there. He could cuddle Bubby and he knew that he would visit Mummy and Bubby for a few days and then they would come home.

Blossom has been the perfect baby ever since. Bless her beautiful, relaxed little soul.

A Tale of Two Babies – Part 1

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This whole birthday thing has made be nostalgic. I’m also sick and illness does a misty-eyed Mumma Nadz make. So I’m going to share a story. A story of plans made, intentions dashed, illusions shattered and second chances. Part 1 goes like this:

(A word of warning for readers who have not yet ventured down the baby path: This post contains graphic information that may turn you off all together. The writer recommends that you defer your decisions until you have read Part 2 of The Story where things get a whole lot nicer.)

I have mentioned before that I was a swimmer. A swimmer who competed at Olympic level. This is not a badge of honour I wear proudly, but a fact I mention here to put my approach to childbirth into some kind of context. Pain? I had been to the extreme of it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Endurance? I had found my limit and gone beyond it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Emotions? I had seen the most exquisite highs and blackest lows, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Lack of control? Check. Physical mayhem? Check. Facing the unknown? Check. Check. Check.

Childbirth did not scare me. It was going to be like a really long Step Test, a VO2Max set, a ‘Hell Week’ squashed into one day. I would breathe, like I had done in training millions of times. I would be pushed to the point of delirium and convulsion and I would just keep going like I had done in training millions of times. I watched the videos. I read the magazines. I studies the photographs of watermelon-sized heads pushing through cherry-sized vaginas accompanied by shit and blood and lumpy, white goop. And I had made peace with the thought that I was going to disgrace myself in front of a team of doctors and midwives and my darling Mr D. I was going to have a baby.

Instinct had told me that a birth plan was a stupid idea and my obstetrician had confirmed the hunch. “It becomes nothing more than a list of the things that didn’t happen or a list of the things that stressed you out.” So I had no plan. Only intentions and rough strategies and a clear picture of how it would all go down… No, that’s not a plan, okay?!

Sally MacLeland ran the final of the 100m Hurdles at the Beijing games. Mr D and I stayed up to watch it. She exclaimed in breathless wonder “Are you serious?!” in her post-race interview and The Lion popped his sack. Within 10 minutes the contractions started and from that point on they were so strong I couldn’t talk or stand and breathing was the concerted effort I had anticipated in the latter stages. And they were regular at 5 mins apart. And they didn’t go away completely between them.

“I think I’m having this baby soon,” I said to Mr D and he called the hospital, we went in for a check and they sent me home with some Panadine (that did squat) and the recommendation that I rest up and call back when contractions got to 3 minutes apart.

I did everything right. I spent hours in the bath. I tried walking around the back yard, squatting every five minutes to moan a mantra and breathe. I nibbled on jelly and sipped on cool soups for a second or two in the less intense moments. And I did this all day and well into the next night. A very, very long Step Test training session.

When the contractions hit 3-minutely and my moaning pitch escalated to the distressed moo-ing of a cow, we called the hospital and went in. By midnight they had examined me and declared,

“Congratulations, Nadine, you are four and a half centimeters dilated!”

“Four and a what?! I’ve been… AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH…whooo… whooo… whooo… mmm… mmm… mmm… for 24 hours and I’m not even half-way there?!”

It seems the Lion was back-to-back, back-to-front being the way the little suckers should come out. He was jammed in there like a little champagne cork and he wasn’t budging until he either voluntarily turned around or the doctor got the scissors and cut him out of his packaging. I was no longer part of my body. I needed sleep so badly I wanted to die. They encouragingly told me that I could be doing this for another 24 hours and Mr D came to the fore.

“This is the good advice we said we’d take” and I, incapable of holding myself above the water in the bath, let alone coherent speech, said, “Don… car… nee… slee… nee… slee… nee… slee…. i…i…i…IIIIIII-YAAAAHHHHHHHHH ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… ngggrrr…!”

Epidural. “Whoomp-whoomp-whoomp” of the Little Lion’s heart. Fogginess. My leg fell out of bed at one point and I had to call to Mr D to put it back. Another 8 hours and I was ‘allowed’ to push. But push what where? I couldn’t feel anything, so I pretended. And, it seems I pretended good. In fact, I pretended so good that I catapulted my placenta into the doctor’s chest so hard it splattered his crisp, white business shirt and he fumbled it like a muddy football.

32 hours later and The Little Lion stared at his father for 10 minutes while Mr D cried like a baby. I laughed the hysterical laugh of a drunkard, every single one of my intentions laying shattered on the floor. And we’ve been laughing and crying and laughing again ever since!

Olympics? Piece of cake.

Happy Birth-ing-day

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My favourite café is attached to the organic grocery store near my home. I just love the feeling of relaxed warmth it exudes and I always leave feeling completely energised and inspired to live a ‘connected’ life. Of course, life has a way of eroding that feeling, but I always know I can go back for a top up with a flat white (decaf, of course).

The other day I dropped The Lion off at his one-day-a-week-adventure-at-family-day-care (which he LOVES!) and I stopped in at The Cornerstone. Blossom was complaining loudly that “Two hours between drinks is plenty, thank you!” so I had to get my boobs out somewhere, right?

As I ambled in, I noticed a girl I have met on a few occasions. You know how it is – you’re friendly but not quite a friend; she’s the friend-of-a-friend and you’d love to befriend her but you don’t quite know how to bridge the middle-man?

Anyway, she was there talking with a group of women seated at one of the tables. They were having a raucous laugh and, at a quick glance, I could tell they were all ‘school mums’. I’m still a couple of years off graduating to that rank, so I made the immediate decision not to intrude into what appeared to be the inner sanctum.

But Blossom breaks down all barriers. As I was ordering my decaf, one of the women said “Speak of the Devil! She’s gorgeous! I want another one just like that!” to which friend-of-friend turned, recognised and greeted me with a warm ‘hello’. Inner sanctum reached without graduation. Blossom rules!

These friends were marking one of the women’s “birthing-day”. Her daughter was turning 12 and they were celebrating that incredible rite of passage that all mothers have to go through. And I thought that was pretty great, so I tried it last week end when my Little Lion celebrated his second year.

It was beautiful to just ponder how clever I am, to have a glass of wine and congratulate myself (and Mr D, of course) on our parenting. Whether good or bad, we always try to come from a place of what is best for our kids and, having done two years of that, it was really nice to pat ourselves on the back. I’ve been to the Olympics and trust me, raising kids is bloody hard!

It also reminded me how, on her birthday, my mother always sent her mother a bunch of flowers to say “thanks for having me”. My sister, being naturally sentimental and always the thoughtful one, carried on the tradition. It often made me feel like I was being selfish for not saying “thanks” in the same way on my birthday.

But now, in becoming a mother, I have realised that it’s not about getting a “thanks for the effort” on your child’s birthday. It’s about remembering the incredible gift we have been given as women; the privilege, the effort and strength inherent in becoming parents.

We get so engrossed in making the birthday a magical time for our little ones, a time to show them how glad we are that they came into our lives, that we forget the role we, as parents played in that event.

So, when your little charges next mark another year of growth and development, take some time to celebrate the miracle of motherhood, the journey of fatherhood and that stupendous moment when that little being entered the world and took their first breath.

Just think – YOU DID THAT!