#740 ‘Not the best’ childhood milestone

Baby girl hit a milestone last night.

Not the good kind.

As your child grows, it is ALL about the milestones. Rolling over. Sleeping through. Solids. Crawling. Babbling. Walking. Talking. Toilet training…

It just goes on and on and on.

We hit another milestone last night. In this thing called Parenthood, where the first sign of anything horrible

  • her first scraped knuckles when she fell pushing the bin up the driveway
  • her first head blow
  • the first sign of blood
  • the first proper vomit – down my leg no less

well, we ABSOLUTELY FREAK OUT, we stuck to routine and did just that last night.

Baby girl woke in the middle of the night. Crying and so upset. And then…

Dum da dum dum.


I won’t go into detail, just for the sake of her privacy as I write about this on this world wide web with almost every single eye available to stalk see, but let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.

Fellow parents may guess, anyway.

We were horrified. Shocked. And then extreme sadness and disappointment… at ourselves. We as parents, had FAILED her.

We went to bed as she soon settled, after I had called ‘Nurse On Call’ (I should have them on speed dial) and spent a good half hour both in the silent darkness, the other half whispering to each other “how the hell did this happen?”

Relief for me this morning, as she woke happy and cheerful – nothing like the upset and crying image of the night before. Off to the docs we went, to find out…

It was not all bad news. Annoying yes. Serious, no. Apparently, for kids her age, it was very common.

A quote keeps going through my head today. My Mum on the phone, saying “you saved her.” Yes, maybe a bit dramatic Mum, it wasn’t life-threatening….

But then, gratitude came along, as it always does, especially when I am writing for this post. It was gratitude in that I decided to stop, think, pause, and pat myself on the back, because she was right.

If I hadn’t been as attentive as I was, I wouldn’t have caught ‘it.’ It would have gone undetected, and for God knows how long… I shudder at the thought.

But I did see it. It isn’t serious. There are far worse things out there, and as long as you can treat it quickly, you know your kid is still doing well.

Sure, she is growing up. She is doing 4 year-old things, learning and saying 4 year-old phrases, and also subsequently, catching 4 year old things… It’s a part of this growing up process. I am grateful for her growth, yes… just as long as it means I can buy an over-the-counter product if need be…



#720 Teamwork and vomit.

Today we f&%ed up royally in the parenting game.

When I got home from work, baby girl engulfed me in a huge hug and flurry of kisses, before going on to explain that when she swallowed, it felt a bit sore… it tickled her a bit.

Having heard her cough a little last night, I thought she might be a little run down. Nothing major.

Even so, when Hubbie came home from work, together we asked her if she was okay to head out, or if she wanted to stay home and chill. Not only was it a Saturday afternoon, but it was the beginning of our holidays together, and we had been wanting to check out this Boho Luxe festival at Carlton… because, going BOHO.

She was first this way, and then that… before finally deciding “let’s go.”

I wiped her nose in the car as we drove the hour there, and then she fell asleep.

I gave her some snacks upon arrival. She was good. We walked around the market – it was not so good. Sure they had things like homewares and jewellery and tents and caravans, and clothes, ALL the clothes –

Wait. Hold up.

They had kids clothes, yes some gorgeous stalls. They had women’s clothes aplenty. 

But the main reason we had come, after Hubbie had been busting me for weeks about it…

The men’s clothing?

Practically NONE.

A couple of shirts here, and a small rack down one end that looked like second-hand wear… that’s it. How you could promote and create a Boho Festival, say that Byron Bay is coming down to Melbourne, and then NOT have men’s clothing, is beyond me. Ridiculous. Very, very disappointing.

But we had driven all that way, and baby girl was whining, so we headed towards the food trucks to get her some chips. But nope, that would also NOT DO.

Fine. Did she want a happy meal on the way home? (see we were horribly failing the parenting game even before the peak nightmare moment of the night).

Yes, she did. She was tired and dragging her feet, and we thought best we don’t push it, so we left for home… another hour drive.

Into Maccas we went, to be met with a 20 minute wait at the drive-through. Why we didn’t walk in and order was beyond me… oh that’s right, we were crabby from having driven into the Boho Luxe festival for nothing, and just couldn’t be stuffed.

It only got worse at home, when she then wouldn’t eat the happy meal, she just nibbled at some bread… and when I felt her head, she was hot… and then guess what?

The digital thermometer wasn’t working, and the kids Panadol meant to reduce the fever (that I wasn’t even sure of since I couldn’t get a reading, but a mothers touch just knows) was out of date, from November 2017.

Sigh. What else could go wrong?

Lots apparently. I sent Hubbie off on a wild goose chase, where he went to the supermarket to find they had no kids Panadol. No nearby chemists were open at that time either. While he was out and baby girl was lying on the floor complaining of being cold and watching Nick Jr, I called the ‘Nurse on Call’ and got some numbers of ‘kind of’ nearby places that were open then.

And off again Hubbie went. But by the time he got home, it was very late, and now baby girl was beyond reasoning.

She would not have the Panadol.

She was crying, and crying. Absolutely impossible. I tried to tell her that she was too hot, and that if she didn’t have the sugary sweet liquid, she’d have to go to a doctor. Nope she didn’t want that… or the Panadol. Sigh.

And when I went to check her temperature under her arm, she was so freaked out by the pointy shaped thermometer, thinking it to be a needle, that she pressed herself against her bedhead as I brought it near. I somehow convinced her it was ALL OK, and came back with a reading of 37.6 celcius. Not quite too high, but getting there. And after much tears, I got her to drink some of her Panadol…

the sticky and sweet liquid went down her throat… she wretched…

she gagged…

a little bit of the liquid bubbled up from her throat and out of her mouth…

she gagged again…

“No, no, have some water, you’ll be okay…”


She vomited, all down to the floor, somehow missing herself but getting my pjs and a whole leg covered in the gunk.


Oh man. Could this day get any worse?

After cleaning her up, we left everything as it was, and she fell asleep.

So what the hell am I grateful for here?


Our stupid trip to the massively disappointing Boho Luxe festival made our sweet little girl even worse as she exhausted herself walking, and by not eating anything fell into an even deeper spell of fever.

We felt horrible. We still do.

But even so, through the frustration and phone calls, the running here and there for Panadol, the “get me more paper towels!” and getting cranky with one another, we came together for the most important cause, and somehow got to the end of it all.

For one day anyway.

It’s called Parenthood, it’s called survival, and it’s what all parents experience at one time or another, the true test of a relationship – kids.

If you can practice teamwork through kids, bohos and vomit, and get through – you’re doing well.


#718 The beginning of 4 year-old kinder and freedom

Today was baby girl’s first day at 4 year-old kinder, good and proper. We got out of the car 10 minutes before drop-off time, I plopped on her backpack, and then prepared myself for 5 hours of ‘me’ time.

But then, I saw another car. People were coming out of this car too, getting ready for kinder, too. The Mum. The Dad. The little girl kinder-goer, and her little brother, still too young to attend. And then the clincher, the grandparents.

I hadn’t expected it. The wave of emotion. I was happy to see such a beautiful family, all-encompassing supportive sight. But it made me immediately think of my own parents, and how far they were from us, and how dropping in to see off their grand-daughter as she attended her first 4 year-old kinder session, was a difficult endeavour to see through.

I blinked past the emotion, and charged on through, following her inside.


I mean, this was the same kindergarten she had attended last year. One of the teachers was the same. As it was, there was no difference to her in this year and last – okay sure, there were new kids, and a new teacher… but that was much of a muchness. Nothing was really different.

Except for the beginning of 3 kinder sessions a week. She was starting a proper routine.

I had to turn away from the picture of happy families inside. Sooo many Mums and Dads abound. I kept thinking of Hubbie, and how he was at work, and not there. ‘It’s ok,’ I told myself. ‘He was here last year when she started 3 year-old, and she didn’t give a shit when we walked off, and then I bawled my eyes out in the carpark while he went back to work.’

He had been there, sure. I just wasn’t expecting all those parents. It gave me wobbly feelings.

I followed her around the yard. Watched her slide down. Swing. Jump. Played shop with her, exchanging bark food, for bark money. Paint.


She drew the water from the beach. I felt myself choke up as I asked the teacher to take a shot of us together, and soon after that I asked baby girl “is it okay if Mummy leaves now?”

“No!” she said. I told her I would then let her decide, and sure enough not even a minute passed and she said “you can go now Mama.” That’s the truck with her you see. She has to be in charge of everything… her terms, even if you mentioned it a moment ago.

We engulfed each other in a flurry of hugs and kisses. And as I walked out the door, I looked back and gave her a little wave. She waved back… and then I watched as she turned away.

See, the ‘freedom’ in the above post title? It’s not mine I’m referring to. It’s all HERS.

I walked back to the car, trying to suppress the sob rising in my throat, not understanding why I was acting this way. My face screwed up in protest.

It was simply, the act of growing up. She was becoming a big girl. I was grateful that she had walked into the classroom easily, as too often last year she played the ‘reluctance’ game, hanging back while other parents and kids walked on by, while I played good cop/bad cop, trying a variety of tactics to force, beg, reason with her to go inside.

Is that why I was so up and down? My nervous emotions at her entry going into today? Everything was the same, right?

No. She was older. And only a year away from prep. I can say now with certainty, I won’t be able to cope when that day comes.

I have all this extra ‘me’ time on my hands now. I should be ecstatic. I was initially. But now all I can do is think how I have even more time to think, about my girl, still so dependant on me, becoming more independent as the year goes on.

I took her straight to the bathroom as we entered the house in the afternoon. Stood her in the bathtub, shoes and socks off. Explanation? Sand pit. Say no more.

She stood there, one hand against the tiled wall, the other hand washing her foot of debris, and then alternating feet, the other in the air to be washed. I went to hold her steady, to help her.

“Noooo Mama. Leave me alone.”

I stood back. “Awww. Honey you can’t say that to me, not today of all days.” Still I let her do her thing, and as she finished her foot slid a little in the bathtub – not dangerously so, but enough to make her jolt a bit.

“See?” I said matter-of-factly, my eyes welling up again. “You do still need me! You’ll still need me for another 15 years at least.”

And then I smiled, as I again tried not to cry. “You’ll always need me,” I whispered.

That afternoon, I called my Mum.


#658 My Girl

She sensed my mood and melancholy. She followed me up the stairs eagerly.

It wasn’t until we were on the bed, that she saw my face, wet. Her face mirrored mine within moments.

I calmed her down, though I should have been calming myself down. A stray tear rolled down my cheek, and she pointed to it.

“Tear,” she said. “Mama no cry… I get tissue.”

And off she went into the bathroom, only to come back and dab at my face with it.

“Thank you honey.”


“A little bit,” I said with a faint smile, mimicking her common phrase.

She then proceeded to try a variety of tactics in making me ‘better.’

  1. Kissing me 100 times.
  2. Cuddling up close to me.
  3. Being silly to make me laugh.

and then the clincher:

A game started, where I said to her “you’re the best,” and she responded “you’re the best,” and we were going back and forth for ages laughing and cacking up, until I said –

“Hold on. What if we’re both the best?”

But that wouldn’t do. Suddenly her Dad was the best. We roared with laughter.

“Are you stubborn?” I cheekily asked her.


What an answer from a stubborn girl.

Only baby girl can turn my frown upside down, my sadness into laughter, and my tears into ones of joy.

She really is the best.


#584 Beautifully treacherous lookout

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.


They say. And they are right.

Moments before I took this photo, I was crying. Not from happiness at the gloriously serene, glistening, and picturesque bay water before me.

My tears stemmed from fear. Intense, sudden and wild fear, that manifested into acute anger and overwhelming sadness.

It all started after our lunch. We were spending the day together as a family, mid-week, which was reason enough to celebrate. So we lunched of course, on pretty meals like this one:


and then we headed over to Mornington Park, where baby girl let off some toddler-steam on the slide and swing… and after a while we let our feet lead us off into uncharted territory some more, and followed the sea view, all the way to the point of the pier, heading up up up to the rocky lookout which faced the beautiful image of serenity above.

Hubbie had to go as close as humanly possible to the edge. Baby girl followed him. I instructed firmly, that he MUST hold her hand. I couldn’t keep up with them because I had small heels, and was trying not to break my step in amongst the uneven dirt and rocky path. They headed on towards the edge, as I watched helplessly, yelling out to him “hold her hand!”

He did. But I was slowly dying inside. Here was a 4 year-old, curious toddler, letting go of her Dad’s hand every so often to peer over the rocks at the edge of her feet, rocks that in my mind could give out at any moment. She didn’t understand danger: as a toddler, they are not wired that way. It’s the reason toddlers get into so much trouble, they have an inability to judge what is before them, and the obvious consequences that come with it that usually, adults are equipped with by the time they are, you know, adults.

Usually, adults. I say that because Hubbie, is STILL a child.

This is why I was so concerned. He laughs in the face of danger: hangs over far too much over a 25-storey railing; he’ll walk along a brick wall where one side is a path, the other a dangerously high drop to breaks-ville; he will jump and climb up and off of any kind of climb-worthy apparatus, without so much as a care, second thought or slow deliberation.

Also, he had just had two double-shot coffees – and that with his childish and wild genetic composition, was a BAD combination.

Here he was, with our pride and joy – MY pride and joy – standing casually, a bit too TOO close, to the edge of a rocky drop where the other side of the steep descent was dangerously pokey rocks, and smooth, still, ENDLESS water.

I was dying.

As I approached them, I was in a serious state of panic. They were so calm, so chilled about it all. Peering over the edge, getting closer to the descent. I started to cry. And I yelled out some choice words to him. I painted a stark picture, and it got his attention.

He took baby girl’s hand, and they started to walk towards me. “Come on baby girl, Mama is upset,” he said.

“Sorry Mama,” she said.

“Just go over there,” I said breathlessly, as I ordered them back up the wooden steps and to the stable, safer, lookout point.

I turned back to the water, and breathed.

And breathed.

And soon after, I snapped that picture.

And I was grateful. Because the beautiful image before us, could turn ugly in an instant. l am an eternal dreamer, but a realist too. And though I am a glass- half-full gal, I have seen too much sadness to stick my head in the sand anymore.

Life and everything in it, terrifies me to no end, ever since baby girl entered our world and made it so precious. I am grateful for the beauty in it, but I always look behind me, I always check my footing, to check there are no uneven rocks.

I love views like this. And I will continue to photograph them. But under still, calm waters…





#569 My nurse

Not only do I have a cheerleader.

Not only do I have a monkey.

Not only do I have a princess.

Not only do I have a clever cookie.

Not only do I have a mini me.

But I also have a Nurse.

I was very worse for wear, emotionally speaking, today. I had a good cry, and baby girl saw me in this state. I waver between wanting her to see me in all my facets and understand that adults get upset too, but I also worry about stressing her out and placing undue worries on her sweet head, and so I try to hide it from her at times too.

She saw me covering my face and wiping away my tears.

She wanted to make me happy. She rubbed my back. She pulled me over to her toys and got me down to play with her.

My mind was weighing on me too much. I went to lie on the couch.

Soon she found me. She got a lip balm she has recently discovered, and promptly applied it to my lips.

Then she took her flowery-framed toddler sunglasses, and put them on my face, to make me, in her sweet words, “more happy.”

Next she took the throw draped over the couch, and covered me in it. By this stage I was feeling better with all of this attention, and was starting to lap up her dedication to the cause.

She then lay down next to me under the throw, and we cuddled there on the couch, while the wild weather that has been shocking Spring, unleashed through the windows outside.

She sat up, a thoughtful look on her face. I was about to launch into a gentle spiel of how big people can also get upset sometimes, just like little people, but decided to ask her a question first.

“What are you thinking baby girl?”

A pause.

“A toy.”

I actually burst out laughing. Here I was thinking she would be scarred from seeing her Mum so upset, and instead she was thinking of a God-damn toy.

I laughed, and she laughed with me, mimicking my airy/breathless/cackly laugh.

We went to the shops soon after.


This girl, wearing a Unicorn skirt on top of her trakkies, a Unicorn headband, sunglasses as if it were 30 degrees out (it was like, 3) and her Olaf band-aid on her forehead from where she had busted her head nicely days earlier from bashing it against a glass coffee table, got her God-damn toy.

She totally deserved it. She had literally saved me. If it weren’t for her, I would have been in that funk for a long, long, long, sad time.

She can have all the toys in the world. My nurse.



#554 That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things…

I was shocked, and then immediately saddened, to learn today that the Mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, had passed away last night.

I knew she had been sick, but still I had had no indication that her condition was getting worse. I knew it might be a long road ahead, which is why I didn’t see this coming.

I called my friend, and told her if I were closer, I’d give her a big hug. We cried. I sent her my love and support.

Then I got off the phone, and sat, with some more tears, before baby girl found me and took me into her play area.

I was grateful. Grateful I could do these ‘Mum’ things, and even just as grateful, that I still had a Mum.

I called my Mum and told her the news. We spoke some more, and it was so nice that when I called, I could hear her voice.

Later on I made a cake with baby girl. I used some sponge cake that had passed its use by date, and also some cream that was weeks old, but had been unopened.

Both were perfectly fine.

I threw in some melted chocolate, and melted white chocolate, that I had used for recipes weeks and months ago, that had gone hard again in the fridge, and melted them again.

I whipped the cream. Added berries.

And the cake was pretty damn good.

How is this at all relevant? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. About re-using what you think is no good, and holding it all together…

That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things.