Sunday, October 30, 2011

Teenagers.. the perfect birth control

Hello lovely bloggy friends.- this may be too much information. Mum and Dad stop reading here....

I have just got off the phone from a friend who has 2 children. Kidlets. Fun sized. Toddlers. They are as cute as a button and full of energy. They are hilarious and stubborn, adorable and exhausting.
Mum is struggling with the day to day grind and waiting, desperately for better days. I am trying to be encouraging, to tell her that this, too, shall pass. Then she says something that has me cackling like a witch, shaking my head at the absurdness of her assumptions.
She said ” I can’t wait til they are teenagers and me and hubby can get our private time back.”
OMG- poor delusional pet. You truly have no idea, do you?
I made agreeable soothing noises whilst trying not to totally decimate all her illusions. But here my friends, here is my honest responses to her statements.

When they are teenagers we can have private time.
Yes, as long as that is in your bedroom, with the door barricaded and plenty of food left out for the carnivores.

When  Y gets his licence he’ll be able to take himself to places and I can stop taxi-ing
Yes, that’s true, then you can take to rocking in the corner worrying about his driving, his car, his friends, the cost of fuel, the cost of insurance and the other drivers on the road.

As they get older they develop a more refined palate and will eat pretty much everything.
Ummm … as long as ‘everything’ comes in a brown bag with a side order of fries and a coke. They will still tell you where you can put the broccoli. 

They start appreciating the value of money, and don’t ask for everything at the supermarket.
This is true. They stop asking at the supermarket. They start asking for cold hard cash. For shopping. Or phone credit, Or piercings,  Or whatever. Value for money is in the eye of the beholder and apparently enameled skull rings through the belly button are expensive. Cool, but expensive.

When all their teeth are here I can stop worrying about 'phases'.
Oh sweet peppermint.. are you freakin' serious? Yes their teeth are all here, along with breast and penises and boyfriends and girlfriends and hormones.. have you heard of hormones?? They are bigger better and stronger than than you have ever anticipated. It's all a phase, from the cradle to the grave, from birth to walking from learning to write to learning to hide a love bite- the whole thing is a phase.. it never never never ends!!

and this.. this final moment of sweet blissful ignorance....

We can have spontaneous sex. 

I admit I laughed. Out loud. I may have rolled on the floor. Snorting

Well, you are right there my friend. Spontaneous as in... who knows if or when it may or may not happen.. yes the teenage years are all about that. 

Going from a time when you had from 7.30pm to get your 'sexy on', to telling the teens to turn the lights out when they go to bed.
Going from wondering if the baby will cry in the midst of passion, to wondering if a teenager will wander in to the kitchen for a mid-eve snack 
Going from being very quiet so we don't wake the baby, to being very quiet so we don't gross out, horrify or generally disgust all under the age of 20.
Going from hoping for a 20  minute window between breastfeeds and baby rocking to hoping for a 20 minute window when someone doesn't ask when the internet will be up and running, can I produce a model of a volcano for science tomorrow and why haven't I taken up the school uniform skirt to the width of a bandaid. 
Going from wondering how we can be responsible for a tiny person in the next room, to wondering why we are still responsible for the 3 large people just down the hall .
Going from just needing the right time and mood,.... to just needing a back rub, a weekend getaway and four kids at friends houses for sleepovers to get in the mood....

Yep.. when they are teenagers it will be easier... or not.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Post Natal Depression -

Today I wrote this about my first days with my first baby. It's no secret that I suffered from Post Natal Depression, and have managed to walk back out into the sunshine. Depression in general and Post Natal Depression in particular is a truly personal and individual condition. I have been asked what PND feels like and I can only give you a glimpse of my own experience. This is by no means a blanket description for all PND.
Blogging is scary, hilarious and sometimes confronting. Anyone looking for a pretty, fuzzy story needs to stop reading here. I'll be funny tomorrow.


17 yrs ago

This tiny baby. In a blue wondersuit, just like in the books in the “New Mummy” bag at the hospital, freshly washed, diapered and powdered.

Except this baby is screaming. S C R E A M I N G  Red faced. Angry. Rage filled and desperate for someone, anyone , to stop the pain that digs like a blade into his belly. He is only new here, and already he knows that no-one has any clue. He knows these people have never done this before and they are clearly out of their depth.
 He cries when he’s held. He cries when he’s laid down. He cries in the rocker. He cries in the car. He cries whether he is clean or dirty, hungry or just fed.
He cries

She sits in her dressing gown, .Mismatched shirt and pants and milk stains on both breast pockets. Her unwashed hair is caught in a clip, her face void of makeup, the only nod to vanity being a quick scrub of teeth. 

She rocks the cradle. Rhythmically, calmly, humming a simple, wordless tune.

And she prays.

“Lord. I Know He will not be safe. I know that somehow I will do wrong and he will die. I will drop him in the bath accidentally. Or not hold him right. I will not recognise signs of respiratory distress, or I will choose the wrong first food. There are spiders and snakes hiding in the garden, waiting for their chance. I don’t dare take my eyes away from him. How do I decide the safest transport in a car – windows up means if we crash into a river the car will fill slowly, but it will be harder to get to my baby. Windows down mean he will be without air quicker but I can get him out through the window.”

She knows with absolute certainty, that somehow, despite her very best efforts, something awful will happen. Despite all her planning, reading, checking and second guessing, somehow this little precious life will be taken from her. 

And so all day, she prays. " Please protect him from me. Please let him die in his sleep. Let it be painless,  peaceful, and not my fault".

Yes. As horrible, unbelievable and cruel as it seems. Yes she did.


All night she sits beside his cot. Holding his hand. Watching his little chest go in… and out.

Breathe in and out.

Breathe in and out.

Watching watching watching.

Now praying that her prayers of daylight will go unanswered.

Checking and re-checking that this little person makes it to daylight, to a new day.

Exhausted, so exhausted.


Sure she’s the worst mother on earth.


Sure no-one will understand how she feels.


He cries.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Swish like a fish

Our family has spread out and it takes planning and pinning down to get us all in the same location at the same time. Last weekend was our first totally planned Wilson Family Get-together, With Me and the Man I married and our four kids, Brother and Wife, their 3 kids and there new daughter-in-law, and my Sister, hubby and their 4 kids, Plus Mum and Dad Wilson - That's 20 people.
My sister in law did an awesome job organising accommodation, meals, activities etc ( she is a Primary School teacher and I think school excursion planning has prepared her well), we all arrived, ate, played, slept and ate more. It was lovely to see all the teens hanging out together, they all tolerated and indulged our 7 yr old late addition and she responded by falling madly in love with the young bride and groom.

So, part of the plan for the weekend was to do an early Kris Kringle style present swap game. Each person brought a wrapped $5 present, to be placed on the table, and we all drew numbers. No.1 choses and unwraps a present. No2. can then chose to steal No1's present or open a new present. No3. can steal from either 1 or 2 or a new present.... make sense??  If your present gets stolen, you can steal from someone else or unwrap a new present.

Anyway I decided it would be funny to have a little goldfish as a present.
Goldfish don't do well in our house. The longest one has lasted was about two weeks. But the other households have fish and enjoy them, so I thought "Why Not, they will love it?" ... Here's Why Not...

Son and I went to the pet store to purchase a fish. I explained to the pet-shop-lady how I'm not very good with fish and she assured me I could not hurt it in a 24 hour period.
We chose a very nice fish, all goldy and swishy and happy. Pet-shop-lady gave us lots of water so he could travel happily. Off we went.
Back in the car I realised I needed to run into the nearby dollar store for Christmas wrapping paper. I put the fish on the seat, went into the shop and returned to the car.
I unlocked the car and sat down.


I sat on the fish.

Yes I did.

I jumped up and looked in the now deflated bag... no fish!
I looked in the now soggy footwell of the fish!
I opened my car door, and there he lays gasping and flapping on the bitumen.
Poor little nemo fella! I scooped him up and put him in the inch of water still in the bag.

We went back to the pet store, me ashamed, head hanging low and clutching a sad little droopy plastic bag.

The poor pet-shop-lady really was a bit stunned . She said "You can't have killed him yet, you only left 10  minutes ago".
I admitted that while the fish was still alive (just) he was possibly a little bruised, and possibly quite angry and traumatised.

We got a new fish.
I was not allowed to carry it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The first few weeks...

My good friend ( and chief bridesmaid.... many moons ago) had her first baby last week. His name is Mark and he arrived healthy and happy, via C-section in Perth, Australia.
Today, she and her hubby have taken their precious little man home.
I can't help but think back to the day the Man I Married and I took our first little blessing, Jack,  home, seventeen years ago.

He was so tiny, under 6 lb, sunshine yellow from the usual post-birth jaundice, and deliciously unaware of how inept his new custodians were.
I remember how impossibly small he looked, like a soft puddle in the bottom of the baby capsule. We drove home slower than a 90 yr old Nanna out for a Sunday Drive. We diverted around pot holes and fussed over whether the indicator was too loud.

Jack slept.

We carried him inside. (after I nearly whacked his little head off on the top of the car door jam). We placed him in the cradle. We stood back and sighed. Nine months of waiting, planning, preparing and reading. The baby cupboard was stocked with minute singlets and Babygros, nappies (diapers in the US), mittens and socks. The bookshelves were stocked with What to Expect In your Baby's First Year, Babyhood, The Johnson and Johnson Baby manual, How to Daddy, Babyfoods for Beginners, Parenting for Dummies and Positive Parenting. We had it covered.

The silence stretched for eternity. Now what? After all this time of waiting, he was finally here.

I think that moment in time... was when it all went arse-up, downhill, belly-up, face-planting, hooley-dooley, what were we thinking and what kind of irresponsible hospital lets two totally inadequate, barely out of their teens bring home a baby without even a home inspection!!!!!???

Jack cried.
And cried
And cried

My Mum had come to stay with us the night before the birth and for 2 weeks after. She was wonderful. She was kind. She was experienced.
She rocked, cuddled, swaddled and burped. I worried I'd drop him accidently in the baby bath
She held that angry little boy while he told her his worries, I fussed over how wet a nappy has to be for me to accurately measure his urine output and assess the efficiency of my breastmilk.
She held him on her shoulder as he sobbed in her ear. I sobbed in her other ear.

And then, after two weeks she had to go.

I can remember like it was yesterday, sitting on the couch with her. Mum with Jack in her arms trying to convince me to take him, so she could get in her car and drive away. To this day I can not imagine how her heart must have ached, how badly she wanted to make it okay for me
I wailed "You'll have to take him with you. He doesn't like me". She so gently replied " Oh sweetheart, he does like you, he just has to get used to everything".

She walked to her car, started it and with a wave and a smile she drove away. I have never felt so alone in my whole life. She drove to just around the bend and pulled over to bawl her eyes out.

Of course Jack and I became friends,  he has managed to survive to 17.
I discovered that you can allow a baby to cry for the two minutes it takes to get a block of firewood. Contrary to all my expectations, there were no anaphylactic reactions to apples, rice or chicken. He never did get bitten by a snake or stung by an angry swarm of wasps and thus far his little neck is intact in spite of schoolboy rough play.

I walked, waded and doggy paddled through depression. I learned I am not and don't have to be perfect. I learned that kids can eat weetbix for dinner, and a baby does not have to have a bath before 11am each day. I learned to be kind to myself. I learned that my little boy and the three precious girls really do love me, no matter what I do. And once they get used to their crazy, neurotic Mum, it's all okay.

I am grateful we have survived this far. I do not want to go back to the first baby, the uncertainty, the questioning again. I would, frankly, rather staple my head to the carpet.

Yes we survived the first baby. We as parents have raised him.  But somewhere deep down there is a little pocket in him, kept especially for his Nanna.

I know it, he knows it and she knows it.

To my Mum, who I know will read this. I love you, thankyou!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

School Holiday Day 7 (Alternative title : Always Knock First)

We made it to Day 7 of school holidays.

The sun has come out to join us today and you can almost hear the plants and grass sighing with pleasure and relief. Daylight Savings started at 2am this morning and on the surface all looks peaceful and calm.

Early morning ph call from a distressed friend saying she just walked in on her 14 yr old son. Walked IN -As know, WALKED IN !!!!  Oh MY!!!  What should she do? What should she say? How can she ever look him in the eye again? Can I come over and help her scratch her eyeballs out? Which therapist do I recommend? I believe she has learned the valuable lesson of Always Knock first. He will be off to the hardware store to buy a barrel lock for his door.  I am still chuckling.

Miss 7 seems almost recovered from her nasty cold. She has bounced back with the exuberance and energy of a Labrador Puppy. The sight of her out on the footpath on her power wing scooter is breathtaking. Oh yes, there she goes now, like a flash of rainbow, red leggings, purple t-shirt, lime green bikini bra, sparkly silver tutu, fairy wings and Barbie gumboots. Not even the neighbourhood dogs dare to bark at this enigma, as the retirees gardening smile and wave indulgently.

Miss 13's hair has, against all odds, not fallen out. She is charming and sweet, helpful and funny, as long as she has a friend sleeping over. I have always said she would be my challenge child - there is a saying that "what you say becomes your truth" - May I present exhibit A .Deep down I know it is because we are alike, we are both cynical and analytical, quick to take offense and stubborn to the end. Deep down I know I have to find a new strategy to work with her.

Miss 15 is yet to have holes poked into her ears again. We are saving that event for next week. She is artistic and spends much of her time with a sketch pad. I asked her to draw me a new avatar as a nurse.

Yes. Because that's what I wear to work as a nurse!

Master 17 has not moved out into the group house. Apparently there is no pay TV (or electricity) LMAO.

The Man I married is still watching Star Trek. How can there be this many episodes. And why do they all speak perfect English?