10 Things I learned from a Baby

    1. Nails can be painful tools of destruction.
    2. The underside of chairs can be quite interesting, as well as specks on the floor.
    3. Distract distract distract.
    4. Anything can be a toy.
    5. Repeat repeat repeat till you get better and till you get good.
    6. A lack of sleep makes anyone cranky – I can vouch for that personally
    7. If you’re not understood / heard the first time, make more noise
    8. Our reflection is a pretty funny thing
    9. Don’t expect any two days to be the same
    10. Laughter, tickles and cuddles make everything better


Take the Time

It may feel like you are always rushing somewhere
Take the time to look people in the eyes
Take the time to smile
Take the time to be present in the now and not always looking ahead
Brushing past the people who matter

It may seem that we should always be heard
But take the time to listen, just listen
Take the time to pause and empathise
Take the time for silence instead of
Always thinking of an intelligent response

It may seem that the child is not cooperating
Take the time for patience
Take the time to see eye to eye with them
Take the time to be silly
Instead of working to your agenda

Take the time to make memories
Take the time to make as many moments good ones

There is always so much to say
There is always something to do
There is always something to watch
There is always something we need
So many places we need to, and want to go
But at the end of the day
We need time to recharge, refresh and refocus
Why not take the time during and not after?

Take the time for patience, especially with children and the elderly
Take the time for empathy, especially to those in need
Take the time for yourself,to recharge and fill your cup
Take the time to figure out what is important to you
Before you get swept up in things that don’t matter

At the end
We all run out of time
Spend it well

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Motherhood – at 10 months

Motherhood is emotional.

The abundance of love for that little one; the amazement at how quickly they grow; the exhaustion of trying to keep up (and possibly the lack of good sleep); the fear and worry that something bad could happen and the determination to try to mitigate, foresee or prepare for any such eventuality. Need I also add the guilt when we get frustrated and lose our temper and the pressure of being the main carer for such a precious thing.

This is like no paying job I have ever heard of, seen or had. It makes no sense to "act professionally" because you are so emotionally involved, yet we need to moderate our emotions as the child will always pick that up first.

There is no gym that prepares you for the amount of shoulder, back and arm strength that is required to pick up, carry around, rock and play with a child; whom while you are thankful they get heavier each day, your body really starts to feel its age.

There is no change management tactic I know that works here. I've always prided myself on being adaptable and open to change. So it frustrates me that I keep expecting, or rather hoping, for things to work consistently. Perhaps my logic is, "Since I'm not doing anything different, things that worked before should continue to work." Rocking to sleep used to work, why won't it work now? Dummies were my fall back and now she won't take it! I have to keep reminding myself of my husband's words, "she's changing all the time, you can't expect the same things to work." It's true, I just wish my mind would keep up with that and find new solutions to ever changing situations and challenges.

And then there's Google. We all fall into the trap of googling anything and everything, and let's be honest, this started even before we became parents but probably peaked during pregnancy and the first 6 months of being a new parent. Add to that any well-intentioned advice from professionally qualified individuals and those who have been "industry tested" (friends, grandparents, other mothers, etc), parenting books and any other tidbits of information we glean from blogs, random conversations in childcare or playgroups etc and you've got a mind blowing amount of contradicting opinions. "Do what you are comfortable with" seems to come up quite often but you know what, when I have a screaming baby perhaps I need to change what I'm comfortable with in order to make a change.

That doubt is what gets me. When things are manageable, I cruise. But when they're not, I re-evaluate what I have read and reconsider my decisions and then worry that I haven't been making the right decisions to start off with, that I have started my child on some horrible practices and that the routine we had for the last 4 days are bad, and that when she is in childcare she will scream inconsolably because I haven't sleep trained her. Don't tell me to trust my instincts because that flies out the window when she is screaming and my ears and heart hurt from her cries, yet my mind refuses to back down from whatever routine I am trying to instil, and finally when she does fall asleep, I scold myself for making it so hard on both of us.

But at the end of the night when she's sleeping, I miss her and all I know is that we will be alright. Soon she will not need me as much as she does now, and I will miss that more than I can imagine.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: I have a huge amount of respect for stay home moms, more so now that I have had a taste of it. Even more respect for moms doing it alone and moms whose kids are not well. I keep you in my prayers.
To all moms, you are doing a great job, and it's okay to be frustrated or angry or confused or lost. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear and if you have someone to share the load, even better.
Partners, share the load, actively. Mothers don't have all the answers, we are also just figuring things out (at least I am).

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The origin of “Papa”

The premise of this article is my opinion and is not backed by any official, science-y research.

All babies apparently start with the same base sounds when learning to speak. One of the most common is "bababa" or "papapa" which commonly refers to "papa" I.e. Dad. In my family, my little one still has not said "mama" despite all the affection we share for each other and the fact that she only sees her dad for 2 hours a day if she's lucky.

So WHY is she not saying mamma when She probably hears that word more often? I'm not upset, just confused as it didn't align with how I understood language was learnt.

I puzzled about it again today when I finally came to the conclusion that since language is arbitrary and men are self indulgent, they must have assigned the first and most common sounds to refer to them as father. It could also be because historically women have always been seen as weaker and less than the man, so obvious a child would call for dad first right?

I'm just going to believe that my little girl means to call for me in this increasingly gender less society and not assign random meanings to her loving sounds. I mean when she's tired or upset, she stops crying only when I hold her! Come on, is there any better indication of what she means by "papa" or "baba a" or even "dada"?

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Thank you mom and dad

Just wanted to take some time out of my already scarce amount of sleep to state firmly and boldly:

Thank you to all those parents who are now grandparents helping with the care of their grandkids – even for a while.

I know you will only do what you think is best for my baby because you love them as much as you love me. If not more. (Who am I kidding, definitely more.)
You have given me some time for myself, to think, to compose my emotions, to rest, to pretend I am a kid again and go on crazy theme park rides.
You have given us shared experiences we can all reminisce about. You now also know what is "behind the scenes" when taking care of "this cutie".
You have given me an idea of what you were like when I was little, the time I can't remember anything of. I now understand a little more of what you had to go through and how different you must have been when we were young.
You have provided us some distance so I have the luxury of perspective to renew, persevere and be better.

So thank you! Thank you for your unconditional love, your generosity and the deep well of energy you draw from (Grandmas more than Granddads specifically here). I know how hard it is and I appreciate how much more demanding it must be on you physically.

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The Wait

To sleep or not to sleep – how is this an actual question?

Well, if I go to bed, the baby might wake up before I actually enter REM sleep or worse, just as I am about to fall asleep. I will then have to drag my grumpy butt off the bed to the cot, put her back to sleep then drag myself back to the bed.

If I don’t go to bed, there is no telling what time she will wake up and I could be sitting here for hours before I drag my grumpy tired butt off to the cot when she finally wakes up.

On the other hand, if I “go” to bed and perhaps make enough noise to wake the baby up, then I won’t be grumpy or tired and can go to bed after she goes back to sleep! Now the decision is, should I do that now or later and will that work?

Wait, did they say never to wake a sleeping baby? Or was it a sleeping bear?…

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Call me slow but only when I gave birth to my first child that I realised that a “birthday” literally meant the day a baby is born.

I mean, I had always associated birthdays with fun, cakes, family and laughs (I am a lucky kid). Now it was associated with hospitals, nurses, doctors, uncertainty, a whole range of emotions from an underlying fear, worry, to excitement, joy and immense love paired with the knowledge that there was so much out of my control on that day.

I always wondered how my parents could remember the time of my birth. After I experienced it, I realised, who could forget…

I hope that I will always remember the emotions my parents went through on my birthday and thank them for never popping the birthday bubble by telling me that day was possibly one of the scariest yet most joyful day of their lives.

Thanks mom and dad, I now understand the change I had wrought in your lives – the worry and the joys. Thanks for letting me grow while always being there to support and guide me probably while wishing time would stand still and that I wouldn’t grow up so fast.

My baby isn’t even 1 yet and I already feel this way.

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A Different Place

The world was a different place.

Salty, wet, cold. This was the world we lived in. There was little land, yet, the water felt more like land than land itself. Our boats were like extensions of our bodies, extensions of our legs. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, we wouldn’t be able to survive. This is all most of us; and those that have gone before, have known.

Images of the world that existed before enthralled me. It started the first time I dived into the warm salty ocean the summer I turned 6 and found a little “trinket” – as mom calls the things I find and collect. I can still see the glint of metal at the bottom of the shallows surrounding the scarce land when I close my eyes and the non-organic feel of a man-made shape when I close my palm.

Perhaps that is why I feel a little different from those around me. I wondered what would it be like to live mostly on land; to explore mostly on foot instead of by kayak; to eat species that dwelt on land instead of in the water. To hear the chirping of birds instead of the constant whirring of the ocean. What would my skin feel like if it was mostly dry instead of constantly being drenched in salt water or salt crystals?

I wonder.

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Turning 30.

30. Are you ready?

I think the answer most of us will give is: No! (Perhaps this would be the same answer at every birthday after 21 but most definitely when we turn 30!)

Maybe because we felt that the 20s were our best years and now they are over. But from personal experience, I think there’s nothing to be afraid of but so much to look forward to!:

  • In our 20s we may have still been searching for ourselves but now we are more comfortable in our own skin;
  • In our 20s we may still be searching for a partner, but now we have found one or are clearer on the qualities we value in a partner;
  • In our 20s we probably cared more for ourselves instead of connecting with our parents, in our 30s we are able to speak to them more as adults;
  • In our 20s we probably started our careers, but in our 30s we realise what is important to us. Perhaps a hidden passion, talent or simply a change of focus;
  • In our 30s we start looking deeper into relationships, ourselves, those around us and start focusing on quality instead of quantity. We start planning / looking ahead while being introspective a little more. It’s not the end of our best years, but the start of them!

Perhaps it is the fact that we are “leaving our twenties behind” and so blatantly moving on to the next decade of our lives that causes a jolt in the form of reflection, review or even denial and disappointment at what we have and have not achieved. This probably happens every 10 years as we age another decade. But think about this…

Babies have no idea what a birthday is, or a cake, or presents or what the point of a ‘party’ is. So the birthday is more of a milestone celebration for the parents and surrounding family, a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate the joys (and exhaustion) of having a little one in the family.

Most children lucky enough to have their birthdays celebrated adore birthdays. Games. Friends. Family. Cake. Food. Fun. Essentially, being the center of attention showered with lots of love and presents.

Teenagers usually like to spend their birthdays with their friends and to do something special on that day. Usually involving going out for dinner, drinks (if they are of age) and if they are in a relationship, time with the special one.

To parents, birthdays is the day our child was born!

I have heard the sadness in my 65 year old father’s voice when he talks about things he is no longer able to do or the pains that he is having. I have seen it first hand, when he had to ask for help as he is not able to see as well as he used to. I feel older myself with every new strand of white hair and aches in places that never used to ache. No matter how much we try to delay it, our physical form ages.

But we can still try our best to cherish how every birthday feels different and it’s not about the number but about how we choose to spend our time.

Embrace life, embrace aging. I’m ready for 30, are you?


Facebook: The hidden messages

I’ve recently been on Facebook and I sometimes feel there are hidden messages behind status updates…

What you see:
xxx is very upset

What they don’t say:
xxx is very upset and really hopes someone can ask me why and show some concern because I’m really down but can’t seem to find someone around me to talk to and even if I could, I need the care and concern of as many of my 453 friends as I can get because this is really big, at least to me, right now.

What you see:
xxx is annoyed that some people never get it

What they don’t say:
xxx is annoyed that some people never get it. That somebody is someone who is also on facebook and hopefully that person sees it and realises that this post is referring to them. They probably won’t because they just never get it and I can’t give it to them straight to ensure they get it. Like this comment people! Comfort in solidarity!

what you see:
xxx is happy being single

what they don’t say:
xxx is happy being single but is waiting to find that someone to love her for who she is!! Any single guys who may possibly be interested on her friends list, take the hint and drop her a message now!