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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

Month

October 2011

Month Four

Child thing
You  make my heart sing
You make e-ve-ry-thing
Gooey
(Especially my heart.)

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<3 Today

My eyes are actually aching from exhaustion, but I couldn’t go to sleep without piecing together some coherent thought on this heartbreaking article I just read.

Mothers of dying children… There’s a large part of me now that flinches when I know there’s news about death, dying and pain involving babies. I want to run far, faaar away because the mere whiff of what that pain could be like if it were MY child already taps into some black, dark, suffocating place that scares the bejeezus out of me. I don’t want to remember that babies can and do die – some slowly and painfully. And personally knowing parents who are suffocating now… who actually live with a dying child, who know that his or her life will be cut very short, fills me – a mother of a living, healthy baby – with much gratitude and crazy, crazy guilt.

It was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Saturday. And as if life didn’t present enough cruel ironies, I had spent much of Sunday and yesterday lining up a stack of enrichment classes and play dates and schools and childcare options for Arddun, instead of living in Today. Schools. She’s 4 months old, but in typical Singaporean/Canberran fashion, I was filling in a small stack of application forms for pre-school and enrichment classes that would take her up to college. Such an optimist. I have to remind myself that I do not believe in karma. That God is not vengeful, and that even if I seem to be building up barns for tomorrow ala Luke 12:18, I pray that He’ll forgive my arrogance and give me time with Arddun anyway. Years. Decades.  Please.

I spend so much time trying to master parenting – but Emily Rapp hit home when she told all of us that parenting is about loving my child today. ElilyMommy gave a great quote on Facebook the other week: When in doubt, love. I am filled with so much doubt constantly –

Is she sleeping enough?  Is she napping too little?

Is her brain given every opportunity to develop properly?

Is she drinking good, fatty milk? Is her poo the right colour?

When should I start baby sign-language? Am I reading enough books to her…

If you were to infer my parenting philosophy through my example, it seems to say “When in doubt, google”.

I think I need to remember that Arddun is not, ultimately, mine. That she is, like I am, on borrowed time. That the big stuff isn’t always as big as I think it should be. That dwelling on the past can be as unhealthy as living too much in the future. When Arddun and I have Today.

Crossing the line

Was just updating my Yummy Mummy gift ideas page, when I came across…

Fake pregnancy test

The sales site had a spruik about the product, and I think it’s almost as insane as the gag itself:

It’s the home pregnancy test that is always positive! Ladies, now you can find out if you’ve found Mr. Right with this hilarious prank! Will he stick with you if he thinks things will get complicated? This outrageous prank will have your guy sweating! Or sleep with your married boss and watch him squirm (Maybe you’ll get a raise!) The laughs are endless!

Yuh. Not making it to my gift list.

Not a homebody

Sorry for the radio silence, but Arddun and I have been having too much fun, you see.

A few things have changed since Arddun turned 2.5 months.

  • She learnt how to go to sleep on her own.
  • She found her voice and started chatting in Baby to everyone and everything.
  • She started fitting into all the super-cute clothes everyone bought her at the baby shower.

This, combined with the fact that I’ve gotten friendly with individuals in my all-new, all-lovely Mother’s Group (thank you ACT Health) and that Canberra weather has, on occasion, remembered that it’s now Spring, has practically formed an imperative for the two of us to spend almost every afternoon painting a satellite town red.

My daughter, I am pleased to say, is turning out to be great company.

Whether it’s a day out alone at Floriade or a movie with the ladies-and-babies from Mother’s Group, we generally have a ball. There’s the occasional tetchy afternoon of course, but nothing insurmountable. Nothing that a quick jiggle in the pram or Ergo wouldn’t fix – mostly because she’s agitating for a nap.

And I have to say that as much as I understand that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, it is SO CONVENIENT to be a walking milk bar. Because ’em boobs? They are baby whisperers, man. They calm heartache and soothe tired brows and salve baby hurts and quench tiny thirsts and sate rumbly tum-tums. I don’t know that we’d be quite this outdoorsy without the boob factor.

Which is why I blog now, because I have a hunch that this glorious phase is about to be interrupted for a little while. Tony and I suspect that Arddun’s teething. I know, I know… babies are supposed to teeth, on average, at 6 months. But if that’s an average, then it suggests some sort of bell curve where perhaps some babies could be early. And while nothing’s poking through, I think there’s some furniture-dragging in her little gums, the poor munchkin. I say this with lots of mumsy sympathy now because she’s currently asleep and not latched on. Because her latest party trick is to latch on, and then GNAW.

When that happens, my yelps tend not to be mumsy and sympathetic.

So while she’s generally good-natured and gurgles like a brook, she’s now also getting all over the place with her sleeps and her feeds. I caved in the other week, and finally bought into the Manhatten Mommy’s Must-have –  I got Arddun a Sophie. Straight from France, too. Didn’t see what the big deal was, apart from the all-natural food colouring and the fact that it has a very loud squeak… until Arddun grabbed its little legs and shoved that giraffe’s nobbly head into her mouth and there was an appreciative silence, except for the systematic sounds of a baby chewing that head for all its worth. (Which would be $34.99 if you buy from Babies R Us, $29 from Baby Bunting, and $19.90 from France on ebay. For a friggin’ rubber giraffe!)

With teeth also comes the imminent weaning stage and while she’s only coming 4 months now, I’m already looking into the most efficient yet healthy way of producing baby food. Suddenly, spur-of-the-moment outings look a little less likely in the foreseeable future. My zippy little Skiphop nappy bag will probably have to be replaced with one of those Giant Mumsy Bags of Eternal Abyss. You drop a baby spoon in there, and it free-falls for days but man, it holds EVERYTHING.

And so perhaps I am mourning the impending temporary loss of easy-breezy outings with Arddun, precisely because I’ve fallen in love with her company and all our little gallivants of late. But as with everything else, I’m sure we’ll figure out a new rhythm and the beat will go on.

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Cute overload

 

This is my mommy's Mother's Group. They decided that it'd be ha-la-rious if all of us got on a mat in a flower formation, and promptly went nuts with the camera.
I'm Arddun, the one with the Marilyn Monroe-inspired skirt and the ribbon on my top that suggests I'm God's gift to mommy and daddy.
Arddun holding Alex's hand
There are 6 boys in this Mother's Group. The one in the green shirt? His name is Alex. Don't know him very well, and I'm still deciding if I want to be friends.
Arddun holding Alex's hand
I've decided he's cool, and worth hanging on to. But to be really, REALLY sure...
Arddun eats Alex's hand
Taste-test. Considering I'm teething and Alex didn't mind lending a hand, I think we're going to be very happy together.

 

 

 

20111006-085251.jpg

It’s Arddun’s maiden trip on an Action bus, and she seems to be enjoying herself. The car’s in the workshop this morning and I thought I’d be brave and try public transport WITH pram AND nappy bag AND everything else in between. So far, so good…

Update: Return trip. 3:11pm

The good:

  • Not having to park at Canberra Centre and forking over some rude amount after movie and lunch.
  • Not having to park – period. Which means not having to pack and unpack Arddun and pram/capsule/other in and out of the car. Especially when she’s decided to take a nap. Sure the bus ride’s longer. But by the time I add up parking and fiddling, it comes up to about the same, really.
  • Not having to drive. Which means giving Arddun almost my full attention when travelling. Which SO beats dealing with idiotic drivers. Except if the idiotic driver happens to be the bus driver. But hey, you can’t buy perfection for $2.

The bad:

  • Having to travel light. Gotta keep shopping to a minimum so if I were planning to go nuts at a Myer sale, I’ll probably need the car.
  • Civic bus interchange. Specifically, dealing with cigarette smoke while waiting for the bus at Civic bus interchange. Dodgy and annoying.
  • Not travelling during peak hour. Because I take up 3 wheelchair access seats – two to flip up to make space for the pram, one to sit on – it’s not exactly rush-hour friendly.

The ugly:

  • Dealing with buses that have crap wheelchair-friendly suspension. Our return trip was an exercise in pram acrobatics because the bus – though claiming to be wheelchair-friendly – barely curtseyed an inch when the driver tried to lower the entrance step nearer to the curb. And because he wasn’t that great at stopping near the curb to begin with, I practically threw the pram out of the bus so it could make the gap. NO help from any of the young men around me, of course. Chivalry died in a blaze of fire in the 1950s, its charred remains eaten and then spat out by mongrel dogs. Or so it seems.
  • It rained on the return trip and although we had the rain cover for the pram, I think Arddun felt like she was in a fishbowl towards the end.

VERDICT:
I’d do it again. It was relatively painless and I loved not having to waste money or braincells over parking. Plus, Arddun was cool with it until she had to go under the rain cover.

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