What Is It To Be A Mom?

It’s repeatedly telling your child to please not eat the computer mouse cable, to please not sit in the dog food bowl and to stop wiping their macaroni fingers on new couches.

It’s casually referring to their poo’s as ‘chicken korma’pre-gastro for sure’ and ‘bok pellet hard’ with your partner nodding their head in sage agreement.

It’s thinking a lie-in past 5:30 am is a treat

It’s going to the shops, on your own, to buy something or yourself and returning with baby sunblock, nappies and a new toy

It’s yelling ’keep making a noise, I’m coming right back’ as you leave them in the bath to quickly find towels/soap/facecloths/your wine’

It’s understanding what they want, and when they want it, even when they cant say a word

It’s having someone watch you got to the loo – even for a poo – for the rest of your life

It’s wanting them asleep when they’re awake, and then watching them when they sleep willing them to wake up.

It’s not so subtly rolling your eyes when non-parents tell you how busy/stressed/broke they are

It’s secretly being relieved when your child is the bitee and not the biter

It’s the sweet-grab-to-shut-them-up in the middle of the shopping aisle even though you swore you never would

It’s the catching them doing something new and feeling you might burst from pride

It’s repeating the same thing, for hours on end, just to get them to laugh again and again

It’s wondering why you ever thought you were poor when you didn’t have kids

It’s admitting that you can no longer wear white, or anything that costs more than R300

It’s cursing them for the state of your body, while eating more chocolate and staring into your 3rd wine glass

It’s berating yourself for being a working mom and wondering if the guilt will ever really end

It’s the magical limb stretch you do when driving, just to retrieve their dropped dummy/water bottle/tree leaf

It’s the automatic stop, freeze, listen motion you make whenever you hear a small child cry

It’s the promise to yourself that tomorrow you will be stricter, better, more attentive, more aware

It’s the greatest, hardest, best, most fun adventure you will ever go on

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The Magic Of Mom Groups

About a year ago I wrote this blog post on Mommy groups, and the absolute drama that generally accompanies them. Although I was referring 99% to Mommy groups on Facebook, I still alluded to WhatsApp groups. And I now need to retract a little bit of that article.

You see, for the past 8 months, I’ve been a part of a mommy Whatsapp group that has completely changed my previous perception.

At first, I was skeptical. The constant videos and posts chewed through my precious data and I confess – sometimes annoyed me. So I changed my download-over-wifi-settings and adjusted my mindset and watched as these ladies on this group turned into friends, confidantes and trusted advisors.

When you have a child, things shift. Friendships will alter. What you once had in common (last minute after work drinks, spontaneous Saturday braais and long lazy brunches) become less and less so. I often hear child-less friends talk about friends with kids and moan about how they’ve changed and how the friendship is different. And I totally get that. But there’s also a little bit of blame that needs to be placed on the friends without kids, because they – without realising it – do pull away. I have best friends who’s house I haven’t been invited to since Carter was born, friends who don’t even think of inviting us out because they assume we will say no, and friends who just don’t understand that I’m now a permanent +1. And that’s OK. I was that friend once too, and no matter how hard you try and try, the empathy can never be there until you are there.

So the slight shifting (albeit temporarily) of one friendship means there’s room for another – and I’ve found that in a group of moms who I tell my deepest darker secrets and fears to. Some of these ladies I’ve never met. Some are younger than me, older than me, some have 1 kid, some have 3. But the one thing we all have in common? Our children. We are a group of moms who – simply by having kids at the same school – have formed the most incredible bond. These are the people who check in daily about things, remember job interviews and dietician check ups. They were the first people to jump on board and support me when I took up photography as a serious hobby and who talked me off a ledge when I sent screenshot after screenshot of before and after photos. These are the ladies who are the first to offer help and food when your baby gets sick, who cheer on your child’s milestones and who have your back when you’re going through a rough time. These ladies know more about my son than friends of 25 years do. They share recipes and milestones charts, photos of cellulite and memes on motherhood. They smuggle Pick n Pay animal cards into your sons backpack and scour the shelves for swimming nappies for everyone an hour before the lesson is about to begin.

I’ve spent the last 2 days in hospital with a very sick baby, and the hourly messages of support and gestures from these ladies have meant the world. We laugh over post baby vaginas and cry over virtual glasses of wine whilst we share out lives through a smartphone screen. They have become an invaluable part of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the empathy and love they show not only me and my son, but each other as well.

So, whilst I treasure each and every friendship I have, it’s these ladies who have seen me through a few bumpy patches lately and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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Why I Can’t Have Nice Things (And other motherhood realisations)

I had big plans yesterday. I went to gym and hit the grocery shops straight after – which meant I would have a solid 2 hour break when I got home as Carter would go down for a nap. Two hours guys, clearly the peeps who built Rome weren’t moms, ‘cos if they were it would have been done in 90 minutes with time left over for (hot) coffee. Sadly for me, in an effort to get Carter to sit still in the trolley long enough for me to buy toilet paper and dog food, I bribed him with a strawberry milkshake.

A milkshake which, 10 minutes later, ended up all over him, his car seat, my car interior, me and the groceries. So instead of the blissful 2 hours off that I had anticipated, I spent it scrubbing my son, hosing down the car chair, vacuuming my car seats and trying to calm a screaming toddler with heartburn. Once he was sleeping passed out, I was already up to my ears in vomit and reflux juices so I decided I may as well take advantage of my dirty state and wash the dogs, do the dishes and clean the house.

Yesterday, a friend and fellow mommy-blogger Sheena posted on Facebook about reprimanding her son for standing in his spaghetti bolognaise. I read it, barely blinked (because naturally that’s what kids do with pasta) and moved on. But it led me to realise one very important thing. We took so much for granted before we spewed forth a human.

I will never again take for granted things like being clean and wearing white (I know, because I wore a white shirt yesterday. To a 3-year-olds birthday party. 14 seconds later it was covered in blue sucker spit and mud. 144 seconds later it was also then covered in more vomit and water, as my son had decided to throw up in the kiddies plunge pool.

I will never take again for granted the luxury of a completed conversation. Chats with other adults last no more than 4 seconds before you’re dashing off to rescue your kid from getting stuck in a trampoline spring/wrestle 2 mops and a dog leash from their hands/run off to stop them from falling in a pool/grab a knife out of their fingers/pluck a small stone from their mouth/stop them from shoving 3 pork sausages into your handbag*

I will never again take for granted shiny gadgets that once belonged to me. My iPad met an untimely death yesterday when (mid Paw Patrol) it was flung off the couch and on to the tiled floor and my computer mouse – now Carters favourite toy – got thrown in the bath.

I will never again take for granted the smell of a clean car. Somewhere, in the last 16 months something has died in my motor vehicle. I suspect a half chewed piece of biltong that will forever remain mysteriously hidden between two seats. Also, it now smells like strawberry vomit.

I will never again take for granted a solid nights sleep, eating food off a plate that’s not being grabbed at my grubby paws, shouting ‘don’t pull the dogs nose/ear/tails’, not having to padlock the grocery cupboard and having a disposable income

I will also never take for granted having my son, because the mess, exhaustion and poverty is all so worth it. Except, maybe not the poverty. Momma really likes nice things.

*All actual things that happened on Saturday.

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Proud.

I don’t have a Facebook account or an email address for my son. I have this blog, and from time to time I write only things about my son. This is one of those times.

You always think that you will remember every single second of your child’s development and life. But honestly, you don’t, and even though he’s only 15 months I’ve already forgotten the exact age he was when he walked, talked or hit a milestone. I don’t know what his first words were – everything in the early vocabulary stages sounded like ‘mom’ and suddenly, before I knew it, he was learning so much that it was hard to keep up and make notes of everything new he was doing.

What I do know for certain is that he is awesome, and my physical love for him is so large I feel it might suffocate me. He is funny, like really funny. He mimics and jokes and goofs around that sometimes I wonder how I made this great little kid. He eats non-stop – from sandwiches to snoek and kefir milk. He has this way of walking, while carrying a handbag that makes you snort laugh and he is interested in absolutely everything. He watches birds and ants and when not trying to eat miniscule grains of god-knows-what off the floor he is wobble-running and exploring and marveling at his surrounds.

Fiercely independent, he often drives me mad with his insistence of doing everything himself – from manually eating rice, to (badly) brushing his teeth and washing his face. He tells me what he wants and how, and lord help us if we don’t agree.

I enjoy spending time with him so much, but bedtime is still my favourite occasion. He’s become my number one photography subject and I fear I may need a million terabyte hard-drive to save every memory I’ve every captured.

I still walk in his room every night before I go to bed to kiss his little face, untangle arms and legs and cover him with a duvet that he never keeps on.

He’s my reason for wanting to better myself.

It’s not his birthday, or a special age, but it’s been a week – where big changes are happening as I’m leaving my job after three and a half years – where I’ve had a lot of time to think and count my blessings, and Carter James is by far my biggest.

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On This Sickness Thing.

Everyone is a perfect parent when they don’t have kids. Then you have kids, and everything you thought and said pre-spawn files right out the window and hits some poor unsuspecting low flying duck in the face.

When I was a non-mom, one of the biggest ‘my child will never be like that’ thoughts I had was around sickly, snotty kids. Everywhere I looked there were babies and toddlers with runny noses, unwell children, coughing children and people bailing on social events due to said snotty coughing unwell children.

When Carter was born I handed him around to everyone within sight like a bad scene from the Lion King. “Touch him” I would screech, “hold him” I proclaimed “let him be exposed to all the germs” I yelled. And he did, and he was, and he was fine.

Even when I sent him to crèche at the tender age of 119 days I was met with disgust from most people, people horrified at just how many germs he would be exposed to. Steadfast in my belief that my child was a Kearney, and therefore healthier than a pot of organic yoghurt, I insisted that crèche would be the best thing for him. “immunity building” I think is what I said. And for the next three months it was great. I had a healthy, happy contented kid. Until one day – when he was seven months old – school phoned. Carter had a temperature. I was more panicked than Trump on a windy day, I raced to the crèche, fetched my utterly miserable child and spent the rest of the day wondering how he could have gone from farting and happy to 40-degreed and miserable in the space of a few hours. A few days later he was A-Okay, back at crèche and everything was just dandy. Except his immune system seemed to have been activated – like breaking that wee seal at a night club – and suddenly the crèche calls were more frequent. Not to say he was always sick (in-fact, he’s more healthy than not) but if there was a bug or virus doing the rounds, then my kid was bound to catch it.

We had our fair share of colds, eye infections and UFBD (Unidentified Filthy Baby Disease). In June he got gastro turned dysentery and in the past week he’s been off school with sinus infections and semi-bronchitis. Yes, that’s a thing.

He’s not alone, kids are foul creatures, and all the spitting, drooling, toy swopping and face touching means that germs will spread faster than a gossip session at ladies night. So, is my child more healthy or sickly than his peers? Absolutely not. Around 98.7% of my phone data is used up on mommy chats discussing our small humans bloody stools, projectile vomit and gunky eyes.

I already have game plans for illnesses that don’t exist. His medicine box is stocked for everything from a sore toe to a tsunami, Life hospital will be my destination of choice should he ever need to be admitted (they have beds and food for parents!) and bedtime vitamin administration is a mini assembly line.

Not that any of this will work, because they’re kids, man. And their small little bodies mean that they have much weaker immune systems. What might make us sneeze four times could cause them to need an antibiotic drip and a 5 hour nap. We have to remember that essentially they need to get exposed to everything at least once – so whereas you and I are revolting tainted grownups, our pink footed little munchkins still have a long way to go.

So, whilst Winter may be a hell pit of sickness and snot, at least I know his immune system is getting an excellent workout, and slowly building itself up to Kearney standards.

PS – If you are looking for a list of medications to stock up on for your little one, for those ‘just in case’ moments, may I suggest using this handy list I’ve complied, below.

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On This Sleep Thing.

I had a conversation with a friend last night who is keen to start trying for a baby. His wife is (naturally) very nervous. Amongst other things (gaining weight, finances and hormones) she’s worried about the lack of sleep a new baby will bring.

And I don’t blame her. Carter is perfect in many regards, but when it comes to sleeping, he’s a bit of an under achiever. And he’s over a year. So it’s not as if I haven’t given him a fair chance to prove me wrong.

Lack of sleep is 100% guaranteed when you have a child. Your newborn might sleep through from 6 weeks, but like any wild animal they can turn on you at any time. I know friends who smugly told anyone they met that their newborn slept through. And then said newborn turned one and never slept again. I know moms whose eleven-year-olds have sleep regressed, and I know my story – a baby who naps beautifully during the day, falls asleep on his own within minutes, but who sleeps through the night only 30% of the time. He’s 14 months. Which means that I haven’t slept through the night in 5475 days. That’s a lot of no napping, a massive rest respite, a sad RIP REM.

Now, before you dash off to your nearest Doctors office and swallow a box of birth control, I do have two pieces of good news: 1. You don’t actually need that much sleep and 2. It gets easier.

The only way I can liken coping on little to no sleep is to compare it with fitness. Have you ever trained for a race? Let’s say you have, and let’s say it was for a 10k. Let’s also assume that you were starting at a zero base – couch potato level. Your program starts you off gently, maybe a 2-kilometer run/walk the first day. Your heart rate spikes, you’re out of breath and you finish sweaty and exhausted. It’s possible that you may wake up the following day fucked. Your head foggy, your body swollen and battling to function for most of the day. You wondered how you could ever do more. But then the following week you have to run a solid 3 km’s, and it’s bloody hard, but you didn’t walk once, your body is a little less stiff, and you feel slightly happier. Within 4 weeks you are cruising a solid 5k’s and possibly beating your time. When race day approaches you’ve got this 10 k in the bag. You finish, tired but unbroken, and suddenly you start thinking about another race – perhaps a 21 k this time?

Lack of sleep is a bit like exercise fitness. If you happen to be a parent, think back to a time when you were kid free. If you are currently kid free then, well, damn you, you well rested bastard. Right, so thinking back to BC (Before Children) – you were used to long nights of unbroken sleep and a routine that was all yours. Now imagine you went out on a bender, got home late after a wine-fuelled dinner party or were babysitting a small human. All of these actions are guaranteed to result in less and broken sleep. Remember how you felt when you woke up the next morning? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

But then you had a child of your own and that first night back from the hospital meant no more nurses or staff to help you. And then your baby had to wake up for a feed every 3 hours and – like a blind drunk – you stumbled from room to room, boobs exposed, bleary eyed and tried to do what you needed to do. You’d wake up in the morning, and how did you feel? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

This goes on for a few days – you’re probably still so used to not having a kid that you’re sleeping through some cries, your 2-am alarm and the baby monitor beeping. You wonder how you will ever get used to the constant waking up. And then a few weeks pass and suddenly you wake up without needing an alarm, feed the kid with military skill and it all starts feeling easier. A few months in and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething,

Fast forward a few months and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething, colicky or in pain. You sleep less and less but function better and better. By now you might be back at work juggling deadlines, demands and clients. On 18 minutes of sleep you’ve put together proposals, dominated meetings and finished budget forecasts. You are acing this. You are running your 10k.

Turns out, the less you sleep the easier it becomes to not need sleep, and little rest no longer means you can’t function the next day. Our bodies are amazing things, and simply adjust to help us cope with this change in our lives.

That being said, combining the two can often be dangerous. I went out on a wine fueled bender last night, and also happened to be on baby duty. I am fucked today, eating McDonalds at my desk, my head throbbing, my eyes swollen, wondering how I’m ever going to function again.

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The Devil Is In The Details. Jokes. The Devil Is In The Sippy Cup.

Being a parent is hard, right? So why manufacturers of children’s products must now go and make things for parents to use even harder, blows my mind.

Take this here sippy cup. A pretty innocent looking device, right? Wrong. This here cup o’ Satan was bought en route to Clarens a few months back, when we realized we had left Carters one at home. The easiest part of using this plastic shit storm was taking it out of the packaging. From there it was all downhill. No matter who I called, what I Googled, or how many times I read the instructions (and I mean really, a sippy cup that comes with a ‘how to’ guide should have already raised some red flags) I just couldn’t get actual liquid to come out the straw. Husband, driving, scoffed at my red face and angry neck vain. Except then he tried to make the fucking thing work and also failed, miserably. Upon arriving in Clarens my mom and dad rolled their eyes at us, but they too succumbed to the devil that is this cup. Not even trying to cut or burn a hole in the rubber straw of death would result in actual liquid coming anywhere near my child’s mouth.

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He looks like he knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t.

Apart from the cup that now resides at the bottom of a landmine somewhere, other ridiculously difficult parenting items I’ve encountered are:

  • Car seat buckles. Is it just me or is getting your toddler strapped into one of these the equivalent of trying to put a bra on an octopus?
  • Speaking of car seat buckles, what about the actual car seats? If prompted with a million Rand or a full nights sleep, I still don’t think I could get the thing strapped in properly. There have been multiple times that I have broken down sobbing in a car park, on the side of the road and even in my garage because the car seat had been removed and had to be put back in. When Carter was 6 weeks old I went away with my folks to the bush, as my husband had to work. This meant moving the car seat and base into my dad’s car. FORTY minutes and several YouTube tutorials later the thing wasn’t even remotely stable and we had to drive to a neighbours house in the hopes that they could help.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
  • Battery operated kids toys. I mean really, who has time to now find a battery, a screwdriver and a PHD to try get Thomas the fucking tank engine to actually engine. Not I, sir. Not I.
  • In-ear thermometers. We splurged on a Braun device that nearly cos us our home loan. The thing has never given an accurate reading. One time my child, the pot plant and a mug of coffee all clocked in at the same temperature.
  • The spoon dispenser that comes in a formula tub. People, if you really need NAN to give you a leveler to level some powder, then I feel you probably should never have had a child. I’ve assembled a dining room table faster than I have this ridiculous spoon.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.

 

Luckily, not everything made for babies is adult proof, and some clever companies out there have actually realised that a parent generally has about 1.3 fingers available to do anything, and have actually helped cater for this. So, credit where credit is due. I present to you: baby products that don’t suck.

  • Colour coded onesies. Oh, you think you don’t need these, until your child learns to move. And then you wonder how you ever lived without them. The geniuses behind this brand know that changing a baby is like standing one-footed on a bucking bronco whilst holding a tray of fine china. Impossible. These onesies come with colour coded pop rivets, so you get it right the first time. Happy baby? Check. Potential of mom keeping her sobriety that night? Double check.

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  • Dummy straps. Again, in Clarens, we forgot ours and panic ensued. I resorted to buying some ribbon and a safety pin (excellent mothering, I know) to make an impromptu one. If you have a dummy loving baby, you do not want to forego a dummy strap.
  • A sippy cup that does actually work, and won’t leak everywhere. Meet your NBF. It’s adult still proof (I know because I’ve tested it on several family* members with no luck) but the kids love it. Did I mention its spill proof?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
  • Tupperware. In any shape or form.
  • Toys that require no setting up, switching on or batteries. I’m talking plastic balls, rubber dinosaurs, building blocks and the contents of mom’s makeup bag.
As long as you'e not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.
As long as you’re not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.

Disclaimer: It’s taken me hours to think of anymore. Surely not all baby things are adult proof? What kid device has changed your life?

*I’m beginning to worry that maybe these products aren’t at fault and that perhaps I just have stupid family members?

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Are Moms Born Martyrs, Or Does Society Make Us That Way?

It was my turn to train this morning. My husband and I alternate days, so while he parented hard and got Carter ready for crèche, I hit a spinning class while it was still dark. I always keep my phone on me when training (because, mom) and at 6 am it beeped with a WhatsApp from my husband. (A bit of context to the story – last night I mentioned that Carters eye had flared up a bit at crèche and his teacher said if it got worse he shouldn’t come to school) So, 6am, me nowhere near the vicinity of my child, the following ensued:

Husband: “What are we doing about Carters eye”?

Me: “So-and so, so and so’s mom, has said she has eye meds (a mom on my WhatsApp group from crèche). She says she will bring to school for Carter

Husband: “So, do I take him to school?”

Me: “Your call, I don’t know how bad it is”

Him: “It’s fine now but it might build up”

Me: “Ok…”

Him: “So how do we get meds?”

Me: “Well, what I would do is to go ask his teacher if so and so’s mom dropped off the meds like she said she would. Otherwise, go to a pharmacy”

Him: “Ok, but if he doesn’t go to crèche then I won’t get the meds”

At this point, my spin had turned into a static as I frustratingly smashed out responses to what I considered to now be the world’s most frustrating conversation.

Me: “I’m leaving gym, I’ll be home in 20.”

And THAT my friends is where we turn into martyrs. Because after 15 minutes of a back and forth conversation that was going nowhere, I felt that unless I went home and sorted it out, it wouldn’t get done.

The thing is, in my husbands defence, he knew exactly what to do, because he’s a magnificent parent – in some ways better than me – but I think, like a lot of husbands, they rely heavily on us to take the guess work out of everything because we just make it so easy for them. Because of course last night I asked a mom group for advice before bed because this is what we do – we plan ahead. All the time.

There is always food in the house, handmade baby dinner is stockpiled in the freezer, toilet paper magically appears on the roll, spices and herbs don’t just finish and there’s always a tin of ‘how did that get there’ dog food just in case we run out of pellets.

I think as women, and moms (and yes, I am absolutely generalising) we take on everything for everyone and because we have been doing it for so long that it’s just become absolutely standard to let us run dry and bleed all over the floor, because we will still get it done.

If I think about the list of every-day items that are on my to-do list, I could vomit. Keeping the family alive aside, scope creep items such as presents and gifts for everything from Fathers Day to birthday presents for that colleague that no-one likes you but you feel sorry for. Dog vet visits, thank you notes, mentally prepping the hors d’ouvres  you’ve committed to making for a party that starts exactly 8 minutes after your work day has ended, restocking the fucking tomato paste. It all comes down to us. Even then, if someone rattled off a list as long as their arm to me I would still then offer to help, because this is what martyrs do.

So, manic bitching aside, what’s the answer? I think the only solution is to just actually trust in someone else to do it if they’ve said they will. But let’s be honest, that is a lot easier said than done, especially when the person (ie me) is an A type OCD control freak who likes things done properly, and done yesterday.

So, starting today soon I’m going to try my damndest to empower those around me to get their own shit done, and to learn to trust in the abilities of other people – because I know that they can do it – I just need to let them. This applies to all aspects of my life – personal and work. No more fixing everything for everyone, no more doing everything when I don’t have to. Except Googling ‘how to clear up a 1-year-olds gunky eye and prevent near-divorce in the processes.’

I feel like that should probably be top of my list.

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A Farmyard Themed First Birthday Bash

We all know my day job is Digital Account Director, and my fantasy job is party planner, right? Well, it’s true. So with Carters first birthday on the horizon I decided to put my hobby to good use and plan him a little farm themed birthday bash at our house this past weekend.

I had the best and worst time making all the decor and baking everything. I say worst because it took forever, and best because, well LOOK AT IT 😉

Thanks Pinterest for the sheep and pig cupcake ideas!

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Luckily Im a massive hoarder so I used old formula tins which I wrapped and decorated, bread boards, platters and containers I had lying around. I also bought a lot of stuff from China Town – like paper lanterns, plates, napkins straws and bottles.

The harvest table

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9 months of Carter, and as my husband so delicately put it: “Glass bottles for small children, fucking smart”.

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The kiddies eating area

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They look more like ‘Angry Birds’ than chickens…but I decorated paper lanterns to make farm animals…sort of. 
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Let’s talk about the cake, shall we. I have never baked more than a vanilla sponge, but was adamant that I would make a 3 tier monstrosity that I found on Pinterest. So I did. It may have taken me close to 20 hours, but the result as SO worth it… and the cake was delicious to boot. I did have some help the day before when two friends came over to help me ice and assemble… and drink several litres of wine in the process.

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Boys will be boys. My dad and Carter having a blast on the jumping castle. 

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Little farm dudes all dressed up 

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The jumping castle we hired came with a free Granny and her assortment of small children

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I scattered hay bales around the garden, and covered them in hessian and checkered fabric. 

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One.

 

Bella kept me up all of last night. She’s constipated, so I pretty much spent most of the night letting her in and out the house to drag her sore bottom around on the lawn for 20 minutes at a time. (Bella is a dog, for those wondering why I would assist a small human in using my grass as an arsehole scratcher at 2 am*)

Excellent way to open a story, I realise, but the point I’m trying to make is that last night brought back so many memories of your first few months. Of setting my alarm every 3 hours to breastfeed you, change your bum and clothes and rock you to sleep. I’ve forgotten about just how broken I was in those early days, and just how much you needed me to literally keep you alive during the night.

Fast forward a year and your dad and I had to wake you from your deep slumber at five past seven this morning. Eventually, we roused you with a badly rendered version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to which you responded with bed hair and a skew smile.

You are one today.

One.
One.

One year of memories that I can’t even begin to touch on, but let me try.

The 5th of May 2015 was the happiest day of my life. Those 4 days in hospital passed in a blur of people, photos, tears, laughs, gifts and heart-stopping joy. And then we brought you home and the family engulfed you in their love. Four months of maternity leave meant 24/7 bonding and addiction. I could (and did) watch you for hours on end, took you everywhere with me, to baby massage, baby reflexology, gym, lunches and even a couple of bottomless champagne days with the girls. For 4 months I made hundreds of cups of tea and coffee for the endless stream of visitors, washed a never ending stock of bottles and changed a lifetime of nappies. You smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, lost all your hair and grew some back like Baldy Man. We did a newborn shoot, and 6 week shoot and I broke my Instagram on your sweet, sweet smile. Your eyes stayed blue and your face stayed beautiful and your character grew daily.

Then I went back to work and realised that I was OK with that. You started at crèche and teacher Anne and Akhona loved you like I did. They still do, all your teachers and their (much better) rendition of Happy Birthday when I dropped you off this morning left me grinning but you not quite sure.

At 5 months you popped a tooth, and another one and then you had 4. By then you were sitting and sliding and I knew my days of ‘relaxing’ were limited. You had visited the bush house, the dam and been on your fair share of dinner dates as well.

In December you started crawling and chose a time when the whole family was together to do so. You spent most of your Summer months naked and in water and are still happiest when doing both.

I remember being exhausted when you were about 7 months, it was a hectic time for all of us. Thanks for still loving me even when I was snappy and grumpy.

You’ve been standing for ages now, but unless supported by an object are still too scared to take that first step.

Your curiosity for life amazes me every day. You still startle and then grin when you see your reflection, and still howl like an injured duck when I pluck you from the bath.

Eventually that 5th tooth popped and you started sleeping again.

You’ve been to triathlons and the beach and running races and cycling events. You’ve wormed your way onto guest’s laps at a wedding and drunk their champagne. You still have so much more to explore.

You are cheeky, and fierce and have that second child syndrome, even though you’re my first.

We gave you a chocolate cupcake this morning and you hated it. But I’m sure the Flings I packed for your class party will go down a treat as they always do.

Carter, happy first birthday my magical boy. Keep smiling, keep challenging me and keep being fascinated by the world.

I love you, so so much.

 

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Born

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xmas with grannies
Granny time at Christmas
first haircut
First Haircut

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christmas

beer

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beach

 

bum

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Cousin Love
creche
Creche ready

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bald
Baldy

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cake

 

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