Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No experience necessary, apply within

Today was my last day of work for a while. I'm going to let my inner feminist come out to play and say that more accurately: Today was my last day of regular paid work for a while. Because we all know that the real job starts soon, being a mother. Yes, the poorly paying, crap hours, do it for love job of a lifetime.

Ellen Page said it best in the movie Juno when telling her boyfriend she was pregnant: “Cos you know... they say pregnancy often leads to... you know... infants” Its not that I'm just figuring this out, I've been aware of how these things work since I was about nine years old, but now its becoming more and more of a real thing as opposed to just a concept which it has been up until now. Assuming that Tricky comes on his due date, which is unlikely considering only a mere 2-5% of babies do, I have eight weeks to prepare. I can handle eight weeks; I can do some painting, decorating, re-painting because I've changed my mind on the colour scheme, and even clean skirting boards in that time if I so choose. But what if the little sucker comes early?

My sister (who I was keeping anonymous but insists on commenting as 'Aunty Penny') attended a farewell party of her work friend, Cass, who was about to have a few weeks off in preparation for the arrival of her bub. There were presents and cake involved, so understandably everyone had fun. But the baby had other plans and decided to come THE VERY NEXT DAY! As a result every time Tricky moves today I look down sternly and say “Not yet, kiddo!” in my best don't-mess-with-me-I'm-your-mum voice. Because we all know that would work.

Even the antenatal classes are still focussing on birth – yes I need to know lots of things about that, but in the scheme of it all, that is going to be a very small part of the whole having a baby adventure. What happens after? I'll have some midwives and nurses for the first few days but then I have to take this small, strange looking creature home and he'll be entirely dependant on me for EVERYTHING! Hubby has never changed a nappy in his life and only recently held a newborn for the first time (looking highly uncomfortable and completely sh*t-scared, I might add). Now the two of us are supposed to keep this thing fed, clean, warm, entertained and alive. When does the training for that start? It surely can't be all 'on the job' can it? This is slightly more important than my high-school job at Kmart and even that came with a three day training course! If you want to get a bit dramatic and go all 'A Current Affair' and 'Today Tonight' on it, this is the future of our country I'm raising and I'm expected to just wing it? Sheesh! No wonder new mums are tired, they spend half of their time caring for the baby and other half wondering if they're doing it right.

When leaving work today I was amazed that each person used the same words – they all wished me luck on the “impending birth”. But whenever I hear the word impending, my head automatically assumes the next word is doom. So that's all I heard all afternoon, “Good luck on the impending doom” followed by a smile and quick hug. Thanks, the doom thing freaked me out but that pathetic awkward squeeze makes everything OK.

How long did you have off work before bub arrived? Did he/she come anywhere near the due date? Leave a comment.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Godparent vs Oddparent

This post may prove to be my undoing, because I'm going to talk about one of those subjects that tends to get people very hot under the collar (and not because there is fresh baby spew there)... religion.

My beautiful friend, Emily, is becoming a Godmother in a few weeks time and allowed me to pick her brain about what exactly being a Godparent entails these days and how she thinks she'll respond to the challenge. The invitation to be little Evan's Godmother came as a bit of a shock to her since she was never christened and not religious in any way. So with her self professed heathen-ness, Emily sees her role as being a support person not only to the baby but the parents – something she would have done anyway even if not asked to be a yummy (God)mummy. Currently that support is shown in way of copious amounts of cuddles and baby talk. An excellent start I think. She won't be the sort dishing out unwanted advise and telling the parents that they're doing everything wrong, because as she points out, that's not a Godparent's job – that's the In-Law's job.

The role of Godparents seems to have changed to be more hands on in recent years. Or perhaps that is just my view since although I had plenty to do with my Godparents, it was more in their original roles as my great uncle and second cousin. Their status as 'the chosen ones' wasn't really mentioned. My childhood understanding of the reason for having them was if your parents passed away, you automatically got given to them. I remember thinking “Which one would I go and live with?” the bachelor uncle or the married with two kids cousin? I always felt a little bit bad after wondering, as if somehow thinking about it would make it happen (if you're wondering I chose the cousin, just because her kids had a Playstation – I'm that shallow).

These days when my friends have their children Christened the decision of who the Godparents will be has been known to cause massive rifts. Aunty Mary is upset that she wasn't chosen and your brother thinks that he'd make a much better stand in parent than Uncle Bob, despite his numerous convictions and drug habit. In terms of playing happy families, these decisions can have massive consequences. Perhaps that is why, in my own experience, its becoming more the norm to choose friends rather than family for this role. If you can't keep everyone in the family happy, don't choose any of them!

Friends who are Godparents themselves seem to take the role very seriously, and swell with pride when introducing the little munchkin - its not just their mate's kid but their Godchild. Because what better proof is there that someone thinks you're awesome? They've entrusted you to help raise their child or look after them if something terrible should happen.

The other option these days for the non-religious folk is to have a “Name Day” where you have a civil ceremony pretty similar to a Christening, just minus the man in the robes at the front with the holy water. You pick 'guardians' to take on the Godparent role and hey presto, you have a Name Day, complete with cake. But I don't see myself going down that road either – to me it screams “I want you to give me presents”. Because the people you would invite to one of these celebrations would normally be your closest friends and family, the same ones who a few weeks earlier probably gave you a little something for the baby's birth. How many rattles does one child need after all?

After all that though, I'm not bestowing that honour on anyone. Like the delightful Emily, I too am a heathen (doomed to spend eternity in purgatory according to my Catholic upbringing) and don't want to have Tricky baptised in to a system that I don't support. I'm attracted to the concept of adults making their own decisions about faith, so when Tricky is old enough to understand the complexities of religion, he can decide for himself what path to follow.

Having a pretty un-religious family this isn't going to cause any problems. I'm not too sure what I'd do if I had very traditional In-Laws that demanded their grandchild follow the way of the church. Would I fight it or just go with the flow for the sake of peace and unity? I'd like to think I'm feisty enough to stand up for what I believe in... but I'm so open to suggestion that if I was presented with a super cute Christening outfit for Tricky I'd probably at the church steps in no time. Again, yes, I'm that shallow.

The only problem I can foresee with the 'choose your own adventure' path is that Tricky will join some bizarre religious cult where you can only wear fuchsia and have to shave the left side of your head. That would make such a lovely addition to family holiday events, I'm sure. "Could you pass the salt please Lord Tricky of the Holy Fuchsia Order?"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hippy Bottomus

I was going to wait until I got a chance to use these, but I'm overwhelmed with the gorgeousness and couldn't resist any longer!

Hubby and I have decided to go down the cloth nappy road for a number of reasons;
  • better for the environment (even when taking in to consideration the extra washing and detergent used) - because disposable take up to 500 years to decompose
  • cheaper in the long run – a set of 24 nappies has cost us $240 whereas disposables for two and a half years cost approximately $4000
  • Hubby and his siblings developed very bad skin allergies to disposables when they were babies
  • just as easy as disposables if you buy modern cloth nappies (no folding or pinning)
After much research on the types of materials used and the differing styles of modern cloth nappies available I chose to support a small business run by Sharon Moreno from the northern beaches of Sydney. The fact that her company had the coolest name also helped the decision... Hippy Bottomus! Not to mention a super cute logo.

Not only do her nappies come in a range of fibres ranging from organic cotton, hemp and bamboo through to super absorbent and quick drying microfleece, they are also adjustable to fit 3kg-13kg babies! So you buy one lot and that's it! These little gems are waterproof so you don't need those HUGE UGLY plastic pants over the top, they go on and off just as easily as a disposable but most importantly come in a range of super funky colours and patterns! I'll add a few more exclamation marks now because the paragraph just doesn't have enough!!!

The set that awaits Tricky

Even if pretty soon they are not going to be looking so funky (or should that be looking funkier on the inside?), for now they are lined up taking pride of place in Tricky's room, patiently awaiting his arrival.

Please note the above is my opinion and I was not paid or
influenced by the company in any way for writing this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great Expectations

This week has been a whirlwind of both weather systems and emotions, and like everything at the moment it has me thinking about Tricky and his future.

Hubby and I had a very short trip down to his home town of Albany for the funeral of his music teacher, friend and mentor, Peter Rasmussen.

Mr Ras (rhymes with jazz) was such an inspiration to everyone he met and his passion and great skill almost single handedly created the thriving music scene in the Great Southern - if I was to list the bands he was either in or was the conductor of, we'd be here for weeks.

Such was this man's popularity with both young and old there had to be two officials directing traffic on the road to the church where his memorial service was held! The Albany City Wind Ensemble comprising some thirty plus members were on the stage (with sheet music and tissues on their stands) providing the music for the service including the most brilliant farewell song called “Instant Concert” (played when the pallbearers removed the coffin to go to the burial).

You have to hear the song to truly understand how brilliantly uplifting it was to say goodbye to Mr Ras with this song (the clip below shows the song being played by the South Australian Police Band) a fitting send off for someone with, I'm told a wicked sense of humour. Because that's the thing – I only met him on two occasions and didn't actually know him, I only knew of him through the countless stories told to me by Hubby and his friends.

My first time meeting Mr Ras, I could see Hubby swell with pride to mention to his musical mentor that he had married a muso! The fact that I play saxophone and not the trumpet was quickly glossed over, as both Hubby and Mr Ras were partial to the brass. But I was a muso none the less, and I got Mr Ras' approval. I was thinking this as the music swelled toward the end of the ceremony and felt Tricky do somersaults every time the timpani was struck. When I mentioned Tricky's response to the timpani a wry smile crossed Hubby's face to be quickly replaced by a look of fake disgust when he whispered to me “Oh no, our child is going to be a percussionist!”.

With musical parents Tricky will be exposed to many genres from birth, and I would love for him to experience as many instruments as possible. Its never to early to start I'm told, which is why you can get such tiny weeny little violins. So what do I wish for him?

Other than the standard health, happiness and the hope that the teenage years aren't too atrocious, I do have little daydreams of him playing an instrument (normally the trumpet because that would suit my budget – we already have one!) and taking him to band practice, although the day dreams stop before I have to bake a cake to help raise funds for the next band trip. I'm not too sure of the reasoning behind these dreams – do I want him to follow in my footsteps as a way of confirming to me that I made good choices? Or do I want him to have those experiences because in my memories the ones with music in them are the best?

Music opened up a whole new world to me and brought many friends and experiences not limited to “this one time on band camp” stories. The feelings of pride and accomplishment that would come when you'd mastered a difficult piece of music or won a prize in an eisteddfod were addictive.

I suppose all I can wish for is that Tricky finds something in life that he has a passion for, be it music, sport, science, art or the thousand other fields he'll have to choose from. If he is anything like his father he'll be a strange mix of a few very different areas: science and technology, music and V8 motorsport.

In loving memory of Peter Rasmussen
13th September 1947 - 16th March 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

“And then he ran in to my knife...”

There is a fantastic scene from the fourth series of British comedy, Coupling, where a very pregnant Susan is having a fight with her partner, Steve. Steve mentions that its unfair how now she is pregnant she has an excuse for everything: all she has to do is say “HORMONES” and suddenly she's off the hook. He laments further, claiming if she can say that when he too is full of hormones (like everybody else) then why can't he, during an argument say “Sorry dear, testicles”.

Which brings me to my point (yep, I've got one). I've always thought that the excuse of “hormones” was a bit pathetic. I've never really been a big PMS sufferer so have never had to grasp the concept that strange chemicals being released by your ovaries could change your behaviour so much. So pregnancy and its trillions of hormones have created a very steep learning curve for me. To put it bluntly, I've turned in to a bitch.

We've all had those days when everything goes wrong; you're running late, the car in front stalls, the woman putting through our groceries seems more interested in telling you her life story than actually scanning your Weetbix box and you're ready to snap. At these times we (meaning I) smile politely and nod, while in our heads we are saying nasty things we wouldn't dream of ever saying out loud. It's a handy mute button feature that saves us from being punched in the face. These days, even after twelve years of Catholic schooling teaching me to turn the other cheek and 'do unto others' etc, my mute button has started to fail.

So far I've been able to restrain myself and this faulty volume control has not been unleashed on an unsuspecting public. No, much worse than that – it is directed at those people who least deserve it (not that the check out chick deserves it, I'm sure she's lovely). Hubby has so far had to deal with the majority of it, albeit with what I believe are truly courteous warnings before hand such as “Watch out I'm cranky and you're within striking distance”.

The other person to be on the receiving end is my sister, although I'm not actually being mean to her, I just use her to vent to. Its quite cathartic for me, and she gets a kick out of getting the latest gossip about whomever has pushed my buttons that day.

But are these victims people actually pushing my buttons? Has everyone suddenly gotten stupider and more annoying? Plain and simple answer is no, I've just turned in to a super sensitive hormone filled sack without an ounce of tact.

It reminds me of my favourite song from the musical Chicago which I was lucky enough to see on stage this week for the fifth time (slightly obsessed). It's called 'Cell Block Tango' and its women singing about the men they have killed – they say that it was a murder but not a crime - would 'hormones' hold up in court as grounds for justifiable homicide? For Hubby's sake, maybe don't tell me the answer. “...He ran in to my knife TEN TIMES!”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Antenatal or Anti-natal?

On Wednesday, Hubby and I went to our first antenatal class at the hospital that Tricky will be born in (assuming that is that he doesn't shoot out in the back seat of the car on the way there). There were 14 couples in total and we all looked extremely nervous and the women all held their hands protectively over their bellies. We ranged from 27 to 33 weeks pregnant with one set of twins in the group! It was very interesting to see the difference in sizes of everyone – some of the people who I thought were so tiny were the furthest along.

All but one of the men seemed keen to be there, and it was their job to introduce the women and say how far along we were and who the obstetrician was. Every man who tried got it right or was only a week off, which impressed me no end. I asked Hubby how he remembered how many weeks I was and his response was “I just counted back from the due date”... so he only got half points for the weeks, but at least he remembered the all important LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT ENDS NOW date. Who could forget?

The class was run by a lovely midwife, Gay, who told us about the three P's: Pelvis (those boney bits), Passenger (Tricky) and Powers (contractions). It might just be me but I thought it strange that a gimmick be needed to remember only three things – and those things are unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry. “So I've got a kid in me and I'm having contractions... any minute now he'll pop out my belly button” No sorry, even stupid people realise the impossible bending of the laws of physics that is about to take place.

Gay had a baby doll with an umbilical cord (dressing gown rope) attached to a placenta (knitted woollen ball) that she was pushing through a toy pelvis. She was squishing the doll around and shoving him in all sorts of positions, explaining the difference between posterior and breech and so forth. It I wasn't pregnant I wouldn't have thought twice, but I found myself thinking “ooh be careful of the baby!”. At that point Gay put the doll in a plastic bag to simulate the amniotic sac and I had to restrain myself from getting up and showing her that the bag had written on “NOT A TOY. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN”. She could have at least started the demonstration with a “Do not try this at home” warning. I will, of course, blame hormones on my need to protect an inanimate object that didn't look at all like a real baby. Hormones are my fall guy.

What was slightly disappointing about the class, seeing that it was run by a midwife, was that it was very much directed towards having a caesarian. Every few moments we were reminded of all the things that can go wrong – at no point did she mention that women all over the world since the beginning of time have managed to push out their babies with a minimal of fuss, when surrounded by people who are encouraging them. Its still medically safer to have a baby “naturally” yet everywhere I turn I'm encouraged to have Tricky cut out as if he is a tumour. I at least want to try. I trust that my body instinctively knows what to do – evolution may have screwed up with the 10cm diameter in which to get him out through, but hey, the kid has a mouldable head! Phew – go you fontanelles!

Next week we will learn all about pain relief... so I'm preparing myself now for all the lame jokes about sharing the gas with Hubby.

Did you have a planned c-section or an emergency one? Or were you encouraged to trust your body?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mummy, where do babies come from?

This week at work I had a rather startling experience. When someone says “My job means I get to meet people from all walks of life” I wonder if they could actually meet as wide a selection as I get to meet at my place of employment. I'm a freelance makeup artist but for regular income I work in a pharmacy just outside the city, and you meet people not just from every walk of life, but every crawl, skip, hop and jump of life. Not a single day goes by there without some sort of interesting person popping in for a chat – we've had the usual pharmacy suspects – elderly, young parents, drug addicts etc, but because of our location we also tend to get a few “Perthonalities” from TV and football. It can get very hard not to stare at the footballer's legs while their waiting for their medication.

Most of the time they chat and even call me by name (I wear a name badge - it's not that they like me so much they remember me), we exchange pleasantries with more often than not them asking about Tricky while I pretend to not know who they are or what medications they take. Oh that's for impotence... wow!

But then you have those days when it's not the pseudo celebrities that are the highlight. Last week one of the 'regulars', Justine (not her real name) a lovely male to female transgender, came in. We normally chat about all sorts of things ranging from boring weather to the latest makeup trends. She's fantastic and bubbly, always brightening my day. But this time was different. Justine started asking me all sorts of questions about pregnancy. I didn't mind at all and started blabbering away, happy for someone who actually wanted to listen. However when the questions changed to include such gems as “How did you know you were pregnant? What symptoms should I look out for?” I nearly fell over. I didn't know how to reply!

I have absolutely no proof the Justine was delusional and asking for herself – she may have been asking on behalf of a friend or even a daughter. But that didn't matter, because in those few nanoseconds half of my brain seized up and decided not to do any more thinking. “How long did you have morning sickness for?” she asked me. I had it for around 13 weeks but do you think I could say that? With half a brain out of action all I could manage to say was “forever”. She laughed and waited for the real answer to come... it didn't. I was gobsmacked. A sudden influx of customers and I was too busy to finish our conversation – I've never been so relieved in my life!

I suppose it is better though than the intellectually disabled lady who in her own way of wishing me luck said to me at 25 weeks, “Gee, I hope you don't have a miscarriage”.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Best Nest Quest

One of the primal instincts of motherhood is upon me. I'm nesting! Or at least I'm trying to.

According to the source of all information worth knowing, Wikipedia, nesting can be characterised by a strong urge to clean and organise one's home. Its not just limited to the baby's room, women have been known to unscrew every knob on the kitchen cupboards to disinfect the screws (that's not going to happen at Casa de Glow-Less), organise the pantry in to food groups and start major renovations.

The urge to clean hit me a few weeks ago. A domestic goddess I am not, so Hubby was completely shocked to come home and find the washing done, the floors vacuumed and the kitchen shining so brightly that a welder's mask would have come in handy.

I've mentioned before that I bought a lovely second hand cot - it was a nice varnished brown but I wanted it to be white just because I'm difficult. The recent heat wave means I haven't finished the transformation yet, but when the weather cools down a bit I'll be back out there with my dust mask and sander! There is something a little bit freaky and yet a little bit provocative about a pregnant woman using power tools. And nothing says sexy like protective ear muffs.

My only problem with the whole nesting adventure is that I'm desperate to paint Tricky's room but I can't! Hubby's parents are coming to stay with us for a few days soon and its currently a guest bedroom, so they'd end up suffocating from the painting fumes for sure. A lot of people would probably think the demise of their in-laws would be a blessing, but I actually love mine. Plus when you think that she can sew and he is the world's best DIY-er, they're going to be pretty handy to have around when Tricky starts growing quickly and breaking things. I'm actually wondering if it would be bad manners to ask them to move the furniture from the now defunct guest room for me on the day they leave? “Thanks for staying, now get to work”. Too much?

As I can't do all the big jobs I want to do, I've been busying myself with other slightly pointless tasks like folding baby clothes so neatly they could be on display in Pumpkin Patch and organising them in to sizes. I even made up labels so that at a glance it could be seen that this pile is 0000 and this one is 000 – because surely taking two seconds to look at a tag would be too hard, and one should never assume that just because this pile is to the right of 0000 it is therefore 000 (even though it is – if I could alphabetise it too I would!). I'm not so daft that I don't see how incredibly stupid this is and that makes it quite frustrating. I've turned from a person interested in world events and politics (plus a bit of celebrity gossip if I'm honest) to one obsessed by pieces of material so small they could be mistaken for a hanky.

There is one positive of having to wait to transform Tricky's room in to a relaxing haven where he will sleep soundly and never ever cry (spot the delusional woman). If I finished his room tomorrow then what else would I do between now and bringing him home? In this hormone affected state I might turn in to a screw disinfecting freak! Or clean the skirting boards with a toothbrush! Oh the horror!

Did the nesting urge hit you? Did the staff at Bunnings know your name by the time you were 35 weeks? Leave a comment.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My milkshake brings all the babies to the yard

Lets for a minute ignore that my header has turned a rather lovely shade of what can only be described as 'baby poo brown' (I didn't change it, it just appeared like that and the settings page is still telling me its black background – is it the universe getting me ready for baby poo?)

What I really want to talk about is boobs. I'm slightly obsessed with them. Breastfeeding, a kilo of extra boob and now breast milk – definitely sensing a theme here.

At a dinner a few weeks ago the topic kept turning to babies as I'm the first one out of Hubby and I's closest circle of friends to be pregnant and so its all new and exciting for everyone. Since I could talk underwater about it, we're a perfect match – they actually want to listen and even ask questions! So naturally with a group of twenty-somethings talking about pregnancy and babies the burning question on everyone's lips was “Will Hubby taste the breast milk?”. No one seemed to care if I would, but WOAH a man tasting it – that warrants an entire heated debate!

At this point one of the people at our table looked quite freaked out and uncomfortable and I'm putting it down to the fact that she is six years younger than me and therefore in her mind, breasts are only used for sexy things. I admit that six years ago if anyone mentioned that those suckers were actually there to feed a baby I would probably have passed out. So while she tried to look very interested in the pattern on the table or menu or whatever, the rest of us got on with the conversation at hand.

I'll be the first to freely admit that I'm going to try it. Probably multiple times because the consistency changes during feeding (the beginning bit is apparently more watery and the end is full of fats to create buddha babies). I'm curious but I won't go as far as expressing enough to put on my cereal in the morning, because that's just creepy in my opinion.

Hubby hasn't decided yet, he's still moaning that 'the girls' aren't going to be his for much longer. I told him he shouldn't whine about that, they were never his to begin with. In fact I should be the one upset since they won't be mine any more! I'll be a milk bar on legs.

I do have one friend who managed to turn her lactating breasts in to weapons and would squirt her husband from five metres away. She is a woman of many talents. So far I'm not tempted to try that, but I'm a firm believer in the 'never say never' school of thought.

So have you or would you taste your own or your partner's breastmilk? The poll (top right hand side of the screen, below the stork picture) will be up for a week for your responses. If you're feeling brave leave a comment below on your own experience.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I'm looking very much more pregnant these days. In the mornings I have a small, compact bump but by about lunch time all my abdominal (or is that abominable) muscles have given up and Tricky kinda sticks out in to the world as if to say “Here I am!”. The problem with this is I never know from one minute to the next how big I am and when trying to squeeze past people on the train I end up brushing against them – if my belly button decides to pop out one day when this happens I'll be charged with indecent assault for sure.

But there is one completely awesome part that I'm pointing out to anyone within earshot: for the first, and most likely only time in my life, I have rock hard abs, baby!

At my most recent obstetrician appointment Tricky was measured and is one week bigger than average in size and weighs just over one kilo. Considering I was a massive heifer of a thing weighing in at just under 4.5kg (9lb 6oz) I'm starting to worry this sucker is gonna be HUGE! I've put on 5kg since being pregnant and on average the last trimester you load on another 5-7kg as all the bub is doing right now is piling on fat to get that gorgeous Michelin Man look.

I've been looking up weight distribution in pregnancy and less than 30% is baby. Which in my mind means there is 70% pure fat. But that's not true, even if my thighs do tell me differently. The average weight gain is 14.5kg and is distributed thus:

3.5kg baby

1kg placenta

2kg increased fluid volume (currently pooling to create beautiful 'cankles')

1kg uterus

1kg breast tissue (hello boys!)

2kg extra blood volume

3kg maternal fat stores (half on each thigh and bum cheek I think)

1kg amniotic fluid

Average is such an attractive prospect. This is one of those times when being above average is not really what you want. Its fine on school reports, lovely on IQ tests, and bloody brilliant on wage slips, but put it on birth weight and *shock horror* head circumference, it quickly loses its appeal. I'm sorry, that monstrous “thing” is meant to come out of where?! An elective caesarian section is looking more attractive by the day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Budget: Mission Impossible

I now understand the pressure the treasurer feels each year when he hands down the budget. Some people will be happy, laughing all the way to the bank, whilst others will miss out and have to make each dollar stretch further. Fitting everything you want in to a budget is hard work, and I'm not sure my experience with budgeting has me in a very strong standing to be our next federal treasurer... because I've FAILED.

The initial mission was to spend $1000 on Tricky's first year of life, not including medical expenses. Well pretty soon after looking at the prices of everyday items that was blown well and truly out of the water and instead it became a budget for getting ready for Tricky's arrival, in other words preparing a nursery.

So what goes in a nursery budget? Things that I immediately thought I would not include in the budget would be baby wipes and the like that I could just put in to our weekly grocery list (I could always forgo my packet of Magnum icecreams if needed). But then I decided that I would purchase modern cloth nappies instead of disposables – now if I'd gone down the disposable path I'd probably have included them in the weekly shopping too (possibly causing us to swap to homebrand tomato sauce, even if it is like flavoured water), but the environmentalist in me means I've put the bulk purchase of cloth nappies in to the budget... and it's not liking it one bit. Kermit was right when he said it's not easy being green.

With eleven weeks to go before Tricky is born I've gone over budget by $149.50. I could have rounded that up to make it look prettier, but the psychological effect of that 50c is HUGE! I originally included maternity clothes in the budget but as I got nearer and nearer to the big $1K I took them off.

The breakdown of things I've purchased from most to least expensive:
Modern cloth nappies $240
Pram from ebay (RRP $400) $230
Drawers from ebay (RRP $300) $192.50
Cot from gumtree $150
Change table/bath from gumtree $90
Primer/paint for cot $55
Hugabubg from gumtree $50
Sheet sets x3 from BKM $47
Baby monitor from gumtree $25
Window shade $18
Jolly jumper from BKM $10
Nappy bag (RRP $90) from BKM $10
New Romper $10
Baby gym from ebay $8
Books from BKM $6
Rattle (so cute couldn't resist) $4
Shoes from BKM $3
Wall vinyls from ebay $1

All that equals a whopping $1149.50

I still need to buy paint for the walls, some shelves, a nappy tub and a car seat that will cost about a million dollars (one thing I don't want to buy second hand). I guesstimate that I'll end up spending about $1700. Failed. Big fat F on my report card.

But then again, it depends what you think failure is. Do I really think I've failed? Nah. I'm actually pretty chuffed at what I've achieved and how much I've learned. I was never in to buying second hand, but now I think I'm addicted. Why pay so much money for something that is going to be drooled on and chewed for a few weeks before Tricky either outgrows it, destroys it or becomes tired of it?

Through my searching for bargains I've come across not only some fantastic websites and markets, but some really lovely people who when hearing of my self imposed budget were more than happy to throw in a freebie! Though the kindness of friends, strangers and some excellent websites I've scored a bunch of stuff that helped the budget a lot! The freebies include:
  • Pram cover worth $50 from one of Hubby's workmates
  • A heap of baby and maternity clothes from a friend with a 5 month old
  • About ten baby blankets and books from Yoink
  • Vibrating bouncer from Gumtree
  • Baby gates from a friend (who got them from another friend at his work)
  • A change table mobile from the lady who sold me her baby monitor
So yes I've gone over budget and yes, I'm going to go even further over. But I've not scrimped on quality, nothing I've bought would endanger Tricky (I removed the razor wire from the bouncer and will make sure to get rid of the broken glass from the cot before I put him in it), and as a result when I stop working and again when he's born we won't have to struggle to make ends meet. It also means we can use the baby bonus on the truly important things in life, like plasma TVs.


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