Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The wrap up post that isn't a wrap up post

I feel the urge to write a wrap up post. One that notes any achievements, the highs, the lows, the ins and outs. But the motivation wanes almost as soon as my laptop boots up. And it is a quick boot.

I'm struggling to put pen to paper and fingers to keys right now and as a result my head is swirling with thoughts that need to be purged. They're keeping me up at night and distracted during the day.

It feels like I can't even have a conversation anymore because I forget what I'm saying as all the thoughts wrestle amongst themselves vying for attention.

None of these acrobatic thoughts are profound, or even mildly important. They are as mundane as they come: sweep the floor, make some muffins, don't forget the appointment on Tuesday, visit the grandparents, pick up milk on the way home, write a blog post. If they were life changing thoughts I might feel less annoyed that they're keeping me from doing anything.

I know this is part of feeling a bit low, so I know it will end soon as my mood continues to lift and I return to a sense of normalcy. But right now, right in the middle of it, I'm exhausted. Bone tired.

I started wearing a fitness tracker that I got for my birthday and it also tracks sleep patterns. After seeing the results, it is no wonder I'm so tired. An average night for me is 5.5 hours sleep, awake 4 times, restless 19 times.

So there will be no wrap up (please, we all know it would centre almost entirely around the beautiful little girl we made and her most spectacular birth). And as for goals for the New Year? Well, a focus on health - my mental health. Doing something to relax, something I enjoy, something just for me once a fortnight. Having dedicated work days and not doing work on the off days. Keeping my house tidy (when it is finished). You know, the stuff normal people do.

It will be operation do not burn out. And it will be done. 2014 will be full of awesomeness. And sleep.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Letter to Bobbin - four months old

Dear Bobbin,

Hey there, not so little girl! Merry Christmas and happy four months.

Yesterday we celebrated your first Christmas and it was so lovely. We spent the day with us and your Perth grandparents, your Aunty Penny and your Great Aunty Colleen. You were a little grumpy the last few days, a little under the weather, but after lunch and a big sleep you perked up and became your usual smiley self.

You got some lovely gifts; some bibs, a brush, a Babushka, a feminist tshirt and your first ever Barbie doll. It was pretty funny to get those last two on the same day!

I am amazed at how different you are to your brother already. Your personalities, whilst both chilled, are stark opposites. You are much more vocal, put everything in your mouth (Tricks never did) and are quick to let us know when you're frustrated. And you continue to look more and more like my side of the family every day.

Right now your favourite things to do are sit in the Bumbo and bang your toys, chew Sophie the giraffe's back foot, chew your own foot (always with the feet - it is a disturbing trend, m'dear!), chill out on me in one of the carriers or laugh at your brother.

Because it is all anyone seems to ask about, you do sleep pretty well. You wake once or twice a night for a feed and then fall right back to sleep. You spend a lot of time in our bed, and your brother is still coming in to bed with us so it is getting a bit squishy! We will have to upgrade to a king size bed I think!

Having you close all the time and watching you fall asleep is just divine. You put your arm over your eyes and your feeding and breath slows. It is the most relaxing part of my day, I can't help but feel calm when you are so relaxed.

I grow more and more in love with you every day. I am so lucky to have you and your brother.

Love Mama xxx

Monday, December 23, 2013

A much needed parenting win

I'm not the parent I want to be right now. This whole PND malarkey is kicking my butt in terms of patience and acceptance of kids being kids. I have to keep reminding myself that Tricky is only three, because he just seems so much older now that Bobbin is here and he has a booklist I have to buy for kindy next year. KINDY!

Tricks has had some major adjustments over the last few months; his aunty leaving to live overseas, losing his bedroom, his backyard, and then the lounge room where he would play, gaining a sister, his beloved day care teacher leaving and of course having a mother who is not as bubbly and fun as she once was. It is so much in such a small boy's life and understandably he's pushing boundaries and figuring out where he fits.

Last week he had conjunctivitis. Have you ever tried to put eyedrops in to a stubborn three and a half year old child's eyes? One who doesn't like anything done to his head at all? OH it is glorious fun. The highlight of my day and just the thing to reduce me to tears because IF YOU JUST SAT STILL IT WOULD TAKE TWO SECONDS NOT TEN MINUTES!!!

My usual negotiating and firmness has been replaced with bargaining, bribery and, I'm ashamed to say, threats. I even pulled the biggest threat of all on him... that Santa would not come. As soon as I said it, I regretted it. Because the behaviour wasn't "naughty" and therefore in need of consequences. He was scared. Absolutely petrified it was going to hurt. If I tell him off for telling me how he feels, what sort of message is that sending him?

I felt awful and his little frown broke my heart. I swore there and then I wouldn't let this bastard PND screw up my kids. I would have to get my creative parenting mojo back.

And today, I did.

Right now, his eczema is flaring. I've tried countless techniques to get cream on him but he hates it, again based on fear after one extortionately expensive cream stung him terribly. So, after refusing cream and being unable to even force it on him, he wakes up screaming and scratching until he bleeds. Every goddamn night. Something needed to be done.

I went to the shops and bought a new tube of cream and grabbed a $2 sheet of Lighting McQueen stickers and wrapped the former in the latter. I raced outside to show Tricks our tube of 'Rust-eze' and his whole face lit up. It was magical. I told him that this was the same type of Rust-eze that Lightning McQueen used and it would make him run, scoot and ride faster. Yep, I lied. And I'm damn proud of myself.

For the first time ever, he let me put cream on him without crying and begging (from either of us). Then, with the biggest smile ever, he ran around to see if it was working already. We whooped and hollered at how unbelievably fast he was going, and he was pleased as punch.

It might sound pathetic that I'm so proud of this, but if you knew what a fight it was every time he needs this cream, you'd be fist bumping and air punching too. And I feel that maybe, just maybe, a little bit of my mojo is on its way back.

Friday, December 13, 2013

First Aid Saves Lives

This is a C2 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

What would you do if you found your child unconscious? If they tipped boiling water over themselves? If they started choking on a grape? If they had a severe allergic reaction and their throat started to close and they couldn’t breathe? If you found them floating in the pool?

Would you panic or go in to lioness mode?

Well I’m going to tell you, Lioness mode means squat if you don’t actually know basic first aid.

About a year ago, Tricky choked on some food. I don’t even remember what it was now, but we were all sitting having dinner and he went quiet, and we all know quiet and toddlers don’t mix. It usually means they’re up to something, but in this case it meant his windpipe was blocked.

I looked over and he was trying to heave up what was in his throat but he couldn’t. His eyes were wide in panic and there was saliva dribbling out his silent mouth. I grabbed him up to flip him over and smack him on the back and whatever it was, thankfully, popped out straight away. He coughed his little lungs up and cried buckets (whether from the shock or from having his mother yank his arm and thump his back, I’m not sure). In that moment, just like the first cry of a new born babe, it was the most brilliant sound I’d ever heard. The whole thing, from start to finish, would have been 5 seconds at the most.

My mind raced with quite a few expletives and what ifs but mostly it sung a happy tune of thanks for doing a first aid course. Then I berated myself because I still hadn't done the refresher I swore I'd do when Tricky was born.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a child resuscitation course at St John Ambulance the other day and finally got my refresher, albeit four years after I started thinking about doing it. Turning up to find out that my classmates were actual celebrities, Amy Zempilas, Jessica Bratitch and Elissa Griesser, meant I almost needed CPR myself. But I had thankfully taken along the buffer. And by buffer I mean Bobbin.

Not content to just be the cutest baby in the room (erm, she was the only baby in the room) Bobbin decided to really make a name for herself and proceeded to do a poo explosion all over my leg when we were only a few minutes in to the course. Oh did I mention that we were BEING FILMED FOR TELEVISION?! I excused myself and tried to clean us both up as much as I could and seriously considered just legging it and not going back because, well, poo stains don’t look good on camera. And as much as they say “breastfed babies don’t smell”, IT’S A LIE!

But I continued on with my poopants and the others should be applauded for being gracious, helpful and above all, not gagging. When it is your own kid it is tolerable, but someone else’s? Kudos, ladies, kudos.

I’m glad I did stay because the long awaited refresher was awesome. Our instructor, Brooke, was amazing and so passionate about teaching people these basic, life saving skills. It was great to learn that the number of compressions to breaths is now easier to remember, that you can’t hurt someone with the defibrillators available at shopping centres and that a shocked person doesn’t jump a metre off the bed like they do in the movies.

Here we are practicing compressions on child mannequins. For the record, we didn't purposely dress all matchy matchy.

L - R: Amy Zempilas, Jessica Bratitch, poopypants and Elissa Griesser
You can check out the segment below. Let's all be thankful it is not smellovision.

I also learned:
  • The likelihood of a person making a full recovery improves if they receive first aid in the initial moments after the accident
  • The average time it takes to get an ambulance to the scene is 10 minutes
  • Irreversible brain damage can occur if the person goes more than 4 minutes without oxygen
  • St John Ambulance have been running first aid courses in WA since 1892!
Brooke demonstrating how to use a defibrillator on a baby
We go to so much effort to keep our kids safe; vaccinations, power point guards, securing furniture to the walls, locking away poisons, having pool gates and teaching them how to cross the road safely. But accidents do happen and you can’t control how other people set up their houses. It makes sense that you’d learn the skills to act if something horrible should occur.

It was quite confronting to practice CPR on the child mannequins and even more so on the baby mannequin. Resusibaby and Bobbin were exactly the same size and doing the compressions and puffing air in to it's little lungs actually made me quite emotional. But now I know exactly how much air fills a babies lungs, not because I've read it, or heard it, but because I've practiced it.
Behind the scenes
St John Ambulance know that you don’t have a lot of time to spare so they have the Child Resuscitation Awareness course which is only 2 hours long and costs $49 per person. As the name suggests, it focuses on babies and children and covers things like choking, drowning, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Certificates for everyone
As it happens, I’ve got a $50 voucher to give away which you can use towards any course or even a first aid kit if you wish. You just have to tell me one reason you should become a Super Mum and learn (or have a refresher) for first aid.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Glow's Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 2013

This is a S1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy
I love Christmas. L O V E, love. It might sound corny, but my favourite part is giving people presents. Yes, even more so than receiving them. That look on their face when they open it and really like it (or perhaps are just really good at faking it) just makes me go all warm and fuzzy and gooey and stuff.

I have a few people that are hard to buy for though and I search high and low through the catalogues and the gift guides to see what is out there because ain’t no chance I’m wading through the shops with a baby and a threenager waiting for inspiration to hit.

Instead, I’m making a list (and *ahem* checking it twice) and heading online as much as possible. To circumvent the extortion that is delivery prices, I’ll be using the Click & Collect service at BIG W. It’s pretty simple: you shop online like you usually would, then select which store you’d like to pick it up from – it’s available at every store. It takes a couple of business days and you’ll get a text or an email when it’s ready to pick up and all you do is show photo ID. No gigantic check out queues, no trolleys with a mind of their own, no children begging you for every single toy you pass and no delivery fee. Fab. Plus you don’t have to wait around all day for couriers and delivery trucks or worry that your parcels will be knocked off if they’re left at your front door in the universal “I’m not home” position.

To help you out a bit, I’ve collated my top five presents in a few categories for you. It’s kinda a wish list for what my family want, so, err, do keep that in mind if you’re coming over to my place on Christmas Day.

Glow's Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 2013

Donna Hay, The new classics - $28. This chick is amazing. I view her books with a sheet of plastic over it to prevent the drool ruining it.

Jamie Oliver, Save with Jamie -  $24. The flagship roast is the bomb diggity!

Preserving starter kit - $35
. Because Mason Jars are all the rage, or so Pinterest tells me.

Maggie Beer, Maggie’s Christmas - $34. Nawww, I love Maggie. I love her quince paste more though.

Russel Hobbs Stick Mixer - $49. No kitchen should be without one of these. I’m a devoted fan.

iPad Air - $568. Fancy pants thinner and lighter version

Canon EOS 600D Digital SLR - $494. Team this with a book about photography so they actually know how to use the settings

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - $64. (PS3, Xbox360 or WiiU) Super heroes and LEGO? Yes please!

LEGO Star Wars Death Star - $598. No explanation needed. It’s the Death Star, c’mon!

Doctor Who Dalek War Box Set - $33. Exterminate! Doctor fans will appreciate a box set.

Sperling Deluxe jumbo picnic rug - $28. Team with a homemade voucher entitling the bearer to one romantic picnic

Armor All Detailing kit - $24. Because they might not be able to clean a toilet, but the car is always pristine

Keter Cool Bar - $68. After being all rugged you need to cool down, right?

Lifetime netball play system - $79. I always wanted one of these but was never allowed. Poor me.

Caribee Quencher Hydration pack - $54. Map Guy would love this when he goes mountain biking.

iPod Nano - $158. Team with an iTunes voucher and you have an awesome present

Hunger Games box set - $30. Because everyone should know the book is so much better than the movie

Laser ipod/iphone speaker dock with alarm clock - $38. Waking teens up is hard work, at least this way they’ll wake up to their favourite tunes

One Direction Secret Diary Set - $5. *insert hysterical screaming here*

Despicable Me 2 DVD - $28. Huzzah for minions!

Classic Case of Dr Seuss - $50. You cannot go wrong with books!

LEGO creative bucket - $38. They won’t even realize they’re learning while they play

Crayola Marker Airbrush Kit - $30. Encourage creativity with funky stationery

Skylanders Swap Force: Flynn's Ship Storage - $88. WOO! Skylanders are everywhere!

Barbie digital camera - $40. Look at the world through your child’s eyes – I love lookingat the photos Tricky takes – cars, his own feet, erm, dog poo, and puddles feature heavily in his snaps

Wonky Donkey Boxed Set - $16. Because everyone needs to know about the spunky, hanky panky, cranky, stinky dinky, lanky, honkey tonkey, winky, wonky donkey.

Tinkers Sand and Water Table - $30. Water tables are a great way to cool down on a hot day.

Little Yellow Digger box set - $16. This is such a brilliant book, one of Tricky’s favourites

Bright Starts Jungle Safari Gym - $40. Bobbin bats at her Jungle Gym and talks to the animals.

Fisher-Price Ballapalooza - $128. If these came in adult size I would buy one immediately. Child size will have to do.
___ ...___ ... ___

These are, of course, all available at BIG W!

I asked some of the kids at Tricky's pre-kindy what they wanted for Christmas and this is what they told me:

For the chance to win a $100 voucher to spend at BIG W tell me what is on your Christmas wish list this year?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The internal monologue of the anxious chick at the PR event

This is a C2 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy
Last week I went an awesome PR event. A cake decorating class (with no obligation to blog, I might add) to help celebrate Appliances Online’s 8th birthday and help spread the word about their cake decorating competition (you decorate an appliance themed cake and hashtag it #AOLbirthday to win awesome appliances – ends this week so spit spot).

Now we all know I’m fond of appliances. When this renovation malarkey is finished I will have an entire cupboard space dedicated to them. It will be like a shrine and I will worship at the alter of convenient and fast food preparation. So I said yes. Then the whole “OMG I HAVE TO INTERACT WITH PEOPLE WHEN I FEEL LIKE CRAP” thing hit me and I wondered why the hell I was doing it.

Cake. Cake is why I was doing it.

So here’s how it went…

8:15am OK. Nappy bag? Check. Phone? Check. Child looking adorable in cutest outfit? Check. Go, go, go. Do NOT be late. Everyone will stare at you and think you’re rude. I repeat, do NOT be late. If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late. Don’t forget to pick up Georgia.

8:45am Sweet, Georgia is on time. Could not handle being late. Oh wow, she has a present for Bobbin. I feel bad. I don’t have anything for her. I didn’t get her anything when her kids were born. I didn’t know her when her kids were born but that is beside the point. Set GPS and drive. Do NOT be late.

9:30am Where the fuck am I? This is a house, not a cake shop. I followed the GPS and it has taken me to the wrong spot. OH SHIT. It autocorrected the address. We’ve come 20 minutes out of our way. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit! I’m the biggest dickhead in the world. Who doesn’t check the address? What moron named two streets so similar? If I find him I’m gonna smack him upside the head. Fuuuuuck It’s OK. It’s OK. Go now and you will still be on time. WHY THE FUCK IS THERE A TRUCK DRIVING SO SLOW IN FRONT OF US?!

9:40am Bobbin please stop crying. Is it drive slow in front of Glow day? FECK!

9:45am Bobbin pleeeeeeaaaaase stop crying.

9:50am OK. Baby has milk. Baby is more important than being on time. People will understand, surely. When the kid is hungry, you have to feed it. They’ll understand. Should I tweet them?

10:01am YOU’RE LATE!!!!!!!!!! Go home. Just go. Drop Georgia and go. Pick her up after. Make an excuse. Oh god I’m so dizzy.

10:05am OK, they haven’t started. It will be OK. Who are these people? Repeat their names so you don’t forget. Woo, Bobbin is best buffer ever. Yes, let’s all talk about the baby.

10:10am Walk out, the baby is crying. People don’t like crying babies. Boob. Yes, boob. Boob fixes everything. Go back in. Oh shit, what did I miss? Who is that talking? I shouldn’t have come. I wonder if I should take a tablet to calm down? Oh they have free delivery. Cool.

10:30am Everyone is being nice. This could work. Stay with Georgia. Stay with Georgia. Stay with Georgia. Smile. Nod. Smile more. Talk. ACT NATURAL.

10:35am Baby smells, excuse yourself. Oh bloody hell, it’s leaked on to her clothes!!! Wardrobe malfunction!!! ABORT!!! ABORT!!! Will they notice she’s changed outfit? They’ll all know it went everywhere. Oh shit, is it on my clothes?!

10:40am I don’t think they noticed. PHEW! Do some of the cake thing. You came for cake. Do it. It looks like you’re not having fun. Talk to people. Smile. Laugh.

11:00am You’ve done cake decorating, why are you not getting in there and doing it? Baby is no excuse, she’s in the hugabub, she’s fine. Take a photo. Put it on Instagram.

11:30am Is it rude to just offload my kid on to these people? They keep offering. They seem to really want to cuddle her. Do it. Oh, she likes them. Look at her smile. Wow, I love her smile. Happiest baby ever.

11:40am Make a Santa? I can do that! You’ve done this before, all is well. Oh baby stinks again. Wow, the staff are so nice, I’m so glad I made a point to remember her name… shit. What’s her name?

11:50am It’s OK to breastfeed in a commercial kitchen, isn’t it? I’m sure it is. Of course it is. Just do it. Excellent. Sit back and relax for a bit. No, keep doing the Santa. Everyone will think it sucks. Try harder. Wait, don’t try so hard, you look like a… try hard. Smile. Make a joke.

12:00pm So tired. Don’t let anyone see you yawn, they’ll think you’re bored. Being “on” is exhausting.

12:20pm Sweet jesus I get to take home an appliance? Duuude! I was coming for cake! Awesome.

12:30pm Talk to camera or you look like a selfish bitch. I bet I look ugly and fat on that video. Say thank you. Say it again. Once more, for good measure. Thank the other girl. Oh crap what was her name again? They are such lovely people.

12:40pm Get in the car. Don’t hit the pole while everyone is watching. Go, drive. Oh shit, wrong way. Um, fuck. Where am I? Fuckity, fuck. Oh god. It’s coming. The panic is coming. Stop moving your hands like that. Calm down. It’s not safe to drive when you’re like this, you need to calm the fuck down NOW. YOU’RE AN EMBARASSMENT! Apologize to Georgia. Profusely. She’ll never want to come out with you again now for sure. Shit. Stop apologizing now, you sound like a tool.

1:00pm OK. Blood pressure returning to normal. You can do this. Georgia is so nice. It’s awesome to have fun friends.

1:30pm You’re alone now. You did OK. Hopefully they didn’t notice you were ready to snap. Maybe they think you’re just aloof and not a total bitch. You can let go of that fart now.

Anxiety is exhausting. I needed a two hour nap when I got home to recover. These meds better kick in quick.

Do you freak out?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Homemade Holiday Fashion

This is a S1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

Now I could sit here and tell you to wear the latest designer outfit on Christmas day. I could use words like ‘on trend’ and ‘arm party’ or whatever. But I am not on trend as my elastic waist banded pants will attest, and the closest thing to a party my arm gets is the Hokey Pokey. Because that’s what it’s all about.

So instead, I’m going to show you some homemade fashion using some inexpensive shoes we grabbed at BIG W this week. This would be a great activity for pre-schoolers through to tweens and some teens (depending if they’ve reached the grunty stage yet). It will work well for a one on one session with just your child, but if you gather some friends together and have a crafternoon party you can have a fashion parade at the end.

Tricky and I set ourselves up in the carport for a crafternoon with our stash of goodies from BIG W and got to work personalizing our footwear. We started with the big guns – the canvas shoes! A pair of these, already decorated, would make a sweet gift (gardening shoes for Nanna perhaps?) but how cool would it be to give a plain pair and a packet of stampers? It’s a great gift activity for less than $15.

As you can see we went to town with the stampers and the glitter glue then Tricks decided he’d like to think outside the square. And so it came to be that one shoe has a balloon and the other a button, stuck right on top. Ahhhh pre-schoolers. Love ‘em.

Things to use on your canvas shoes:
  • Glitter glue
  • Stamps
  • Markers
  • Puff paint
  • Pens
 Then we whipped out the Wavezone thongs, which at less than $3.50 are a steal!

As you can see from the top image, I grabbed a handful of those impossible to blow up balloons, cut them in half and tied them on in a simple double knot. I was stoked with how they turned out and think it is actually really effective. I would totally rock these pool side for a bit of fun!

Tricks decided to make Monsters with his thongs and proceeded to glue googly eyes on… until he noticed the pom poms and changed tack. While he was doing that I glued some buttons on to another pair.

He was so proud of his canvas shoes and thongs and he proudly showed them off to Aunty Penny who had been jiggling Bobbin on her lap for most of the time.

“Wow, Tricky! Those shoes look fantastic! Where are you going to wear them?”

To which he replied “On my feet.”

Doesn’t get better than that.

Other ideas for your thongs:
  • Tie on strips of scrap fabric – use an old shirt that doesn’t fit anymore.
  • Wind wool around the straps
  • Braid over some friendship bands
  • Tie a scarf around the straps then around your ankles
  • Glue on sparkly gems
  • Use glitter pens to draw designs
So I'll be wearing my fab canvas shoes on Christmas Day for sure. I'm not sure what else I'll be wearing but I'm thinking maybe something from the exclusive Peter Morrissey range. I took some change room selfies to help me figure it out:

To win $100 tell me your top Christmas fashion tip?


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