#464 A new way to Write

I had it REAL good when baby girl was in fact, a baby.

I mean, aside from the not-knowing what the hell I was doing, second-guessing every decision, crying a fair bit, being sleepless and fatigued most of the time, and just wondering when this confusing and struggling never-ending stage would pass.

But then, came the naps. That’s how I had it good.

During her day naps, baby girl would sleep for hours. Sometimes her day naps combined, would equal about 5 hours of sleep time for her, and non-baby time for me, a day.

This was really good. At first it was all catch up on this, maybe I should meal prep for dinner, pay an online bill, make that important phone call I’ve been putting off for 3 months, and wash that pile of soiled baby clothes that will re-fill by the day’s end.

But then, she settled a bit…. while the naps remained.

And as she settled, so did I. I relaxed into Motherhood, and so began journalling again.

I really wanted to capture as much of parenthood and her early months and milestones as much as I could, and so recommenced a fave past-time of mine that I hadn’t done for quite a while, a past-time that I both love and loathe simultaneously. I feel like I HAVE to do it, and that is exactly WHY I loathe it. Because I feel it needs to be done.

And I can’t stop.

And then, I relaxed MORE into Motherhood. And I began to do some food reviews, here and there, read some books, start notes on them that would eventually become my book reviews… and hell, I even started my parent blog, SmikG.

And years later, that followed with this one.

Now as the years have passed, her nap durations, as her naps, have significantly reduced to just one a day. It’s still allowed me some great ‘me’ time, to do whatever I need to do, and yet I always try to do what I feel I need to: write in some capacity, however I can.

However recently, I’ve come to a realisation. With baby girl getting cheekier and cheekier at bed time, her hyper-activity shooting through the roof, I decided I had to do the only thing that made sense.

Drop the nap altogether.

It was doing me good, because it meant she was more tired (or so we hoped) at bedtime, since she hadn’t napped at all during the day, and would be ‘out’ quicker. Well yes. She is ‘out’ a bit faster, a bit less reluctant to drink 15 sips or water, go to the loo 7 times, jump on the bed 10 times, and then ask for a tummy, hand, arm, leg, foot and back massage, following her 3 books read to her by lamplight.

Yeah, a bit less.

But anyway, bedtime routines are somewhat better. She does go to bed slightly earlier now. But it means my writing time during the day, IS GONE.

R.I.P precious writing time.

Or so I thought.

She’s 3 and a half, I thought today. Often, she is quite happy to play on her own, build some blocks, or watch some Paw Petrol.

Surely she would let me do some writing. She’s not 2 and climbing over me to grab at the laptop as I pay a bill or buy the one concert ticket I’ll be going to that year.

A year and a half, makes a difference.

And so, today, I tried. We had had our coffee/babycino/cake break, she was fuelled, she had Nickelodeon shows on in the background, a whole family room full of toys including her new Sofia the First mini figurines, and I sat in the same room as her, and began to do what I started all those years ago, so tentatively, while she was out cold in another room –  I began to write.

Journalling in fact. And there were times I stopped, and she called my name, repeatedly, and I looked back over my shoulder. Repeatedly. And she left the room and came back, and even walked on over and yelled “O” multiple times after looking at the keypad. But after about 90 minutes, I had written 3 pages long.

3 pages! I was a bit surprised, yet pleasantly so. Had I just learnt a new way to write? Multi-tasking, with child in room, interrupting me every so often?

And I did it?

I did it. Yes it wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was done. My quiet writing time may be over, but that’s not to say, I can’t write if I don’t want to.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

No excuses people. That’s what I take from this. No excuses. And I’m pretty chuffed with that 🙂

 

#453 Photos

My sister always says, that it is so worth taking heaps of photos, for the memories that will come to you later as you look back on them.

She speaks with a lot of experience. She takes, HEAPS of photos.

She doesn’t have many photos of when she was a baby, and so I think she has spent the majority of her life, kind of making up for that fact, and making sure that her kids, will have tonnes of them.

I think I’ve kind of taken that from her. I too, love photos. Currently there are approximately, no exaggeration, 2000 of them waiting to be filed into photo albums at my less than likely leisure. I fell behind before baby girl was born, and thinking like the stupid parentless ‘know-it-all’ I was, that I would catch up while on maternity leave with her…

Yeah, right. Like that ever happened. 3 and a half years later and they’re still PILING UP.

But anyway. I love them, and in the most old school way – hard copy in a PHOTO ALBUM.

I’ve been doing heaps with photos lately, and it’s just reminded me how amazing and beautiful these snapshots into time can be.

In just over a week we’ll be celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We’re doing a few special things on the night, and one of them, to highlight their 5 decades together, is the photo collage I’m putting together, of one decade each per large cardboard sheet of paper, with as many photos as I can possibly muster crammed into all 5 sheets.

When I took my usb stick of anniversary photos over the years to the photo centre, there were 647 files.

647 photos.

I knew I had to scale that back, BIG TIME.

I told myself I’d only select 150…

then I got to 150 and said I’d select up to 200…

then I got to 200 and said 250 MAX.

Which is how I ended up at 255. Close enough.

Today when I took the developed photos to my sister’s place, for our little debrief over the anniversary party (who would sit where, what we would say, what would go where, what time that would occur, etc, etc), she flipped through the photos quickly, grinning and letting out “oh wow!”s, complimenting the broad selection, and happily going back in time to as far back as the late 60s, as she saw my parents journey again from start to current day.

Seeing the reaction on her face was great, and later at home as I trimmed the photos back, removing blank spaces and tightening it up so I could surely fit 50 photos per large page, I couldn’t help but pause and smile several times, observing my parents youthful looks, almost laughing out loud when my parents were too laughing in the photos, grinning with fondness at family photos through the decades, and just generally reminiscing with warmth in my heart.

I know, I sound like a hallmark card. But really, I loved it. I love photos. And I think the guests at the party, my parents’ family and friends, and my parents especially, will really enjoy the snapshot through the ages.

50 Golden Ages. 🙂

#451 A girl that sleeps

Zzzzz.

Zzzzz.

Zzzzz.

That’s all any parent ever wants, right? A girl that will sleep. A child that will sleep. That has to be the greatest gift, from God to parent.

And if you don’t ‘believe,’ well then that has to be the greatest gift, from your child, to you.

Sleep.

You know you have reached a turning point, a pinnacle of your parenting lifespan, when you start to wake your child.

You get out of bed before them.

You make noise around the house in an effort to wake them up.

And when you walk into their room, their head goes up begrudgingly, before slumping back into their pillow.

Then you walk away, with a laugh. Because you know, the tables have turned.

Mwa ha ha.

Today, after waking up in bed for over 30 minutes, I forced myself out of bed just before 10am. I had gone to bed at 1am, I’ve been under the weather, baby girl has been sick, and this in turn has had her waking and crying from her harsh coughing and rough feeling throat. We’ve had interrupted sleeps for the last 3 nights.

I went downstairs, and was opening blinds, banging cupboards and taking out dishes, when a disheveled looking baby girl, hair all over her face, ran wildly from her room, looking to see where the source of the noise was coming from.

She found me in the kitchen. She beamed, we hugged warmly, and then we started our day.

After 10am.

I love these days 🙂

 

#443 Beautiful things at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Baby girl was only little when we learnt of her hip dysplasia. Her left leg socket wasn’t fitting snugly around her thigh bone, creating the possibility of the bone slipping out, and not forming properly, and in turn hampering her future prospects of walking normally.

Or something to that effect. It’s not that an uncommon thing, as I soon learnt, though at the time I was absolutely distraught. My baby girl had to wear a leg brace from the early age of 8 weeks, for nearly 5 months, with the upside being that she was able to spend the second half of that time wearing it only at night, allowing her the possibility of movement during the day.

This of course pushed back her rolling/crawling/walking milestones. I was still impressed however when she took her first steps at 16 months – that was her willpower to move about and cover as much ground as she could. My trooper girl.

All is good now. She stopped with the brace when x-rays showed the socket wrapping around the bone, securing it more tightly, and follow up x-rays over the years showed further positive progress in that area.

Which is why we were at the Royal Children’s Hospital today. These doctors have a predisposition for cautiousness and check-ups.

I was so pleased to see the halls, walls and rooms in a new light this time when we walked in, about 2 years after our last appointment. The lift interiors had brightly-coloured drawings covering from top to bottom, and on the ground floor there was a windy climbing pipe contraption, with a huge mechanical butterfly upon the top with its wings slowly opening and closing every so often.

In the orthopaedic section there was a craft table set up for the kids, where they could colour in, paste scraps of material on paper, and create some special artwork to take home. Volunteers oversaw this area, helping out the kids where needed, and nearby there was a playmat with building blocks and cars to push around.

Soon, there was a “choo choo” sound, and whether coincidence or not, an odd-looking clown then wandered by to entertain/make fun of the kids. He blew up bubble-type balloons, called children “Nanna” and “Adidas” (“because that’s what’s on your top”), but most importantly, he made them laugh and smile.

He made them forget they were in a hospital. All of these things made the children forget, if only for a bit.

And isn’t that a precious thing… while we wait for a world where children never fall sick, in the meantime let’s make the world a little happier, a little more fun, a little brighter for the ones who do need to visit a doctor for whatever reason…

… and I’m so happy to see an institution like the RCH, doing just that. It makes me proud to be a human.

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And, baby girl is doing well 🙂

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#401 Wiggles Band-Aids

I should really be grateful for my parents and my sister coming to visit us today. It has been way too long since my parents were over, and I was so excited to show the fam around, and head out by the bay into the still and fresh air, and say “here’s home.”

But no. Instead I am grateful for freaking Wiggles Band-Aids.

Because not even 15 minutes after their arrival, baby girl decided to bolt, Usain style, around the corner of the house, for no other reason other than she is a toddler and running is as normal to her as is refusing bedtime, wanting to eat chocolate, and deciding that Mum must not shop in peace. (For any non-parents that are confused, that means all of the above are NORMAL).

She tripped and fell on the uneven path out the back (one of our 1 billion to-dos on our no-existing to-do list) and scraped both her palms, so much so that skin was now missing. It didn’t look too bad – sure there was blood – but still, knowing that the skin had ripped off, even if ever so slightly, I knew it would be stinging.

And then there was the crying. Sure, she is a dramatic one, but she is also a trooper. She is tougher than some boys, and will normally get up after a fall, dusting herself off. That is how we raised her – ‘no fuss, up you go.’

But she would NOT stop.

I don’t think she was use to the constant stinging pain. Nothing would help, yet eventually after screaming the house down, we tried washing her hands, and also, applying Band-Aids.

She has never to this day, allowed Band-Aids on her. Which has made my life hard at times, because when I want to help cover a wound she’s gotten, she will scream “no!” ’til red in the face, and continue to wail. And cry. And moan. And scream.

While I rip my hair out trying to figure out how to help a girl that doesn’t want help.

But, after the application and removal of 8 Wiggles Band-Aids (this was due to the fact that as soon as they were on, they had to come off), we succeeded. Her last pair went on about midday, and thank God they’re still on. She’s napping with them.

Thank F&^% for themed Band-Aids. I don’t know what I would have done without them today.

#397 A forever spot on my lap

It’s the little things…

As baby girl grabbed my outstretched arm and tore me down into the rumpus, promptly telling me to “sit” on the floor, I could only wonder at what she had in store for me. For us.

She grabbed the remotes and plonked herself on my lap, as if I were a trampoline. She pressed a few buttons, and scurried herself further into my lap, cosying herself deep just like a joey would find comfort in her mother’s pouch. She grabbed my arm and wrapped it around her body, for extra support.

And so we began to watch Frozen. We watched a few scenes, and since I’ve never watched it from start to end, rather just heard bits and pieces from the movie here and there as I did stuff around the house, I found it interesting to watch some key scenes: as I conveyed this, I could sense baby girl’s intense pride at ‘Mum taking notice.’

Soon enough though, she was up and off my lap again, re-enacting the scene in front of us as it played out, of Anna singing to her sister through a closed door “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” I watched in amusement as she acted this all out, shyly yet very happily, and I showered her with praise. Once that song was over, back on my lap she went, cuddling up again.

…that are in fact, the big things.

You might be able to tell, if you frequent this space often, that I write quite a bit about baby girl, and the grateful moments I have with her, by watching her grow, joining in with her fun, and taking pleasure in these precious moments of her youth.

And it comes to stand, that although parenthood is full of trial and tribulation, with more than its fair share of headaches, anxiety, stress and uncertainty, it is something that gives the biggest payback. It is something that gives, in and of itself.

Baby girl is the light of our life. She is a little thing, but she is in fact, the BIGGEST THING.