Toddlers Are Quite Lovely When They’re Your Own.

I was listening to an interview on a podcast this week, where the interviewer asked his guest if the good in children outweighed all the hard shit. I haven’t stopped thinking about this comment. Because, it is hard. Not ‘parallel parking hard’ but hard in that fact that everything – when you have a kid – always seems as if it takes that much longer. It’s mind boggling when I think about how one times 2 year old has completely thrown our lives out of sync, but for the better.

So, to answer your question, Mr DJ, yes, the good absolutely does outweigh the bad.

I feel like my last few blog posts have been somewhat negative. I’ve been writing a lot about the ‘busyness’ of it all. But I don’t often reflect on this little person and just how amazing he is.

I’ve never really liked other peoples toddlers. Babies are adorable, all peach fuzz hair and soft skin, but toddler? What’s there to love about some one else DNA with miles of snot dripping out of their nose, too long and always dirty fingernails, slogan t-shirts and irritating mannerisms. Call me harsh, but (and I’m a kid person) they’ve never really held appeal to me. When people share videos of their kids doing nauseatingly annoying things and then narrate it in baby talk “Tommy wikes wapples”, I could actually just vomit in my mouth. Except now I share all the videos of Carter (except, shoot me if I ever talk to him in nonsensical rhyming ridiculousness).  I used to think that when people told me ‘the best was yet to come’ it was to make themselves feel better, and I would look smugly at my sleeping infant and think never. Never could it get better than this.

But then he turned two and all the potty-training, new bed, will-he-ever-sleep-again drama came and went, and what emerged was this incredibly smart, conscientious, aware, loving, kind, wonderful little boy in my life, and I simply cannot get enough of him.

Motherhood is a complete oxymoron. I miss him terribly during the day and cannot wait to see him after school, but a sense of me also dreads the hours until bedtime. He’s going to need me, and want me, and whine and then want food and maybe then wont eat the food I cook and then he will moan when I want to go wee and want a sweet before supper or hug the dog too hard and be demanding of my attention when I just need to edit some photos for client and then type up an email for my boss but oh my god I only have him for 2 hours a day what is wrong with me.

So often I take the time I have with him for granted, and so I’ve been consciously trying to spend a solid 30 minutes a day with him, uninterrupted. I know that sounds ridiculously short, but you try put away your phone, your distractions, dinner and work and actively just sit with your child and chat.

I try start from the moment we leave the school. I love the way he runs into my arms, proudly pointing at me to his friend saying ‘my mom’. He wraps his arms around me and stands on my crouched knees to give me a kiss. Getting out of a school is a minefield of distractions, from creche dogs to sandpits and wayward two-year-olds vying for this attention. I have mastered the art of bribery and now always have a treat on me to tempt him to the car faster. Once home I try and ignore the carrots that need julienning, the rice that needs steaming or the bags that need unpacking. Instead, if I’m early enough we make a pt of tea, sit outside and catchup.

Carter is incredible. The things he knows and says and shows me. His little sentences are now 4, 5, 6 words long and his attention to detail is amazing. He has this way of tilting his head when he’s trying to convince you of something, and a little frown he he’s genuinely confused by something. Everything that I don’t want him to do, that he wants to do, gets met with a ‘5 more minutes’ plea from his earnest face and god forbid there’s ever a mess or spill of any kind, he will spend years cleaning it up.

He dances like his mother (badly) to music but dawdles like a sloth in peanut butter walking into school in the morning. He adores babies and dogs and will spend the majority of his time looking for either one to love.

He is so independent and insists on doing everything himself (this, my friends, is why parents are never on time). He fights bedtime like a purple star recipient and sat through is first theatre show better than a 5 year old.

This kid he is bloody terrific. Even with a runny nose and always-dirty-fingernails.

Toddlers. You really do like them more when they’re your own.



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Milestones Vs. MILESTONES.

Raising humans is all about milestones. From the second you conceive to the 12 week scan, from trimesters to hospital bags. From birth to burping and rolling to sitting. From standing to walking, to running. Teething and solids and sleeping and laughing. Every single thing out child does as they grow up is checked off against an invisible board. Carter hit his milestones beautifully, like a well oiled machine, and as proud as I am that he is the smiling owner of a full set of teeth, sleeps through the night (jinx that and I will cut a bitch) and has the hand eye co-ordination of a small genius, it’s the lesser known milestones that have truly blown me away.

One such giant leap of success happened this past weekend. Keep in mind that before he was an hour old he had been handed to a complete stranger in the recovery room to be ogled over and snuggled. Before he was a day old he had been passed around like a joint at a music festival and before we left the hospital after 4 days (also known as the one time I had 24 hour help) he had been met, kissed, cuddled and pawed by 51 different visitors. And I loved it. I wanted to raise my son to be outgoing, independent and attracted to strangers (nice strangers, not men in sweetie-van strangers). Alas, Nature had other plans, and despite my relaxed parenting style my son grew up wanting no one more than a select few teachers at school, grandparents and his mom and dad. Child friendly restaurants were wasted on us as friendly minders offered to watch him while we caught up over precious conversation wine, and instead he chose to sit on our laps and cling to our legs like an octopus monkey. He didn’t want to play alone and many an hour was spent literally sitting with him as he tentatively explored jungle gyms and swings. He is in no way strange, just slow to warm up, and most social events were spent coaxing him to interact with other adults and him only obliging as we were about to leave.

On Friday however, things changed. We went fora quick bite to eat at a kid friendly restaurant across the road and as we arrived my child spotted the sandpit. Excited squals of ‘san san san’ and he happily trotted off on his own to play. A few minutes later he voluntarily ran inside to watch a puppet show and actively chose to find a minder and sit on her lap. My heart grew and broke at the same time and like any sleep deprived irrational mom I then had to go in to check on him several times and take a all the photos. Barry and I stared at each other like dumb-wits from across the table and verbally declared our astonishment. Since then he has taken to independence like a duck to water and now treats the world slash garden as his oyster. Who knew that watching your child ramp his green push bike up a stair could make you feel like you’ve won gold at the Olympics.

So, thats it really. No major epiphany except the fact that I can marvel at him daily. People always say it gets better, and I never ever believed them. I thought they were just trying to make me feel better about the fact that they were always dirty and sticky and doing dumb things. But I can personally endorse this theory now – it gets so much better. Hell, these small humans are great hey?

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15,897,600 seconds.

It’s amazing how time differs for different things.

Pregnancy. The 40 longest weeks of your life. Then your baby is born, and its ‘blink and it’s gone’ fast. Everyone tells you how quick it goes, everyone. You believe them, but you don’t quite get it until it’s your baby. One minute he’s next to you in the hospital bed, drowning in his new-born baby grow, all pink face and puffy eyes, and the next thing he’s rolling, and sitting, and shouting, and eating solid food (sometimes) and you’re booking his first birthday party in your diary.

Carter James is 6 months old today. Half a year. I can’t quite believe it. On one hand it happens too quickly, and on the other hand I can’t remember a life before him. How did I fill my time for the past 31.5 years? (Actually, that’s a silly question. I slept, and exercised, had boobs that stayed in their bra, had a clean house and went out, a lot.)

6 months. 184 days.4,416 hours. 264,960 minutes. 15,897,600 seconds.

I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy having a baby older than infant sized. Honestly, I found them exhausting to be around. Always moving, always vocal, always needing stimulation and always so busy. SO BUSY. My naïve pre-mom self thought that newborns were perfection. You could doze with them on your chest, dress them in doll sized clothes, and gaze adoringly at them for hours on end. While this is all true, and while Carter’s newborn stage was one of the highlights of my life, I cannot explain just how much I am enjoying him more and more as each day passes.

I’m sorry, moms, for ever judging you when you posted another ‘solids’ pic on Facebook, or gushed about teeth, sitting or milestones. You deserve to post them. It’s an incredible feeling to watch this tiny, helpless (read: boring) infant turn into a small human who swallows, and grabs, and chats and rolls and learns new things every single day.

Carter smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, got his first tooth at 5 and a half months, and then straight away a second, sat just before 6 months and fell off the bed the very next day (induction to parenting I suppose). Carter laughs at funny things, grabs and chews everything in sight, gets frustrated when he can’t do something on his own (definitely his moms child then) and smiles at everyone he meets.

So yes, whilst I may be in a spin about just how fast they do grow up, I am also shit excited for the next 6 months, and the next after that. Because watching your child grow up is a privilege that just cannot be explained.

Happy 05. Birthday to my beautiful son.

6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
Carter is 6 months old today!
Carter is 6 months old today!
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Wishing It All Away

When I first fell pregnant, people would comment about ‘how my life was about to change forever’ that ‘I wouldn’t have time for anything’ and to ‘forget about blogging ever again!’.

Towards the end of my third trimester (or as I call it, 2019) people would say how it was ‘easier out than in’ and remind me to sleep while I could.

Then, he was born, and amongst the genuine warm wishes and congratulations came the well intentioned advise of ‘don’t worry it gets easier’ and ‘just wait until he’s 3 months, that’s an awesome age!’.

I’ve also been told that it gets better when he smiles, or when he learns to sit up, walk or talk. 2 years of age is awesome people exclaim, whilst others tell me that 5 is the magic year.

I have had countless people message me, or email me to ask how it’s going, and whilst I am always honest (“Oh, he was a bit niggly today” or “he’s waking up more during the night”) I never paint a picture of doom and gloom. Even so, almost every single person automatically responds with a ‘don’t worry it gets easier’. It’s almost as if they haven’t heard me when I’ve told them how much I’m loving it, or how good he is, or that I’m so fortunate that I’m a creature of habit and so the daily routine for is not a burden, but a joy. I haven’t found it hard (yet?) so why does everyone expect me to?

Why are we always wishing time away?

I don’t want to close my eyes and wait for my baby to be bigger, I don’t want to wish away every single day. Already my heart is sore at the thought of leaving him in 3 moths time to go back to work.

I’m so tired of people trying to get my child to grow up before his time, that I’ve decided to find something new, wonderful and special abut Carter every single day. It’s not difficult. Some days it’s the sound he makes (exactly like a hadeda) for no reason at all. Other days it’s the rocket fire diarrhea just as I’ve changed his nappy. Today, he came with me to a studio and chilled for 1 and a half hours while I did five voice overs. He’s also started smiling, and gazing at objects for hours on end. Sometimes he grabs my finger so hard it goes white, and other days he patiently waits while I fumble with his nappy, trying to get the bloody frills out. I even love it when he wees all over me during a change, projectile vomits down my hair during a burping session, or head butts my boob during a feed.

My baby boy is 4 weeks today, and already I feel like time is going too fast.

The sitting and the walking and the slamming of bedroom doors in his teenage years can all wait. For now, I want to breathe it all in, and enjoy every single second that I have with my new (ish) born baby.

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