21 February 2012

And up

The last week and a half back on the island has been wholly good. Awesome even. And - halleluljah - I can't recall a low point.

Most afternoons we've been at the beach. And most days, I either do yoga or walk. Some days, both. That is, walk + yoga + beach. This is HUGE. And impossibly easy. I can't believe we didn't think of it sooner. After K gets home from work, I do a fast walk (with tunes) to the beach - and then maybe a walk on the beach, or maybe yoga. K drives to the beach and babywrangles whilst throwing a line in. (Fishing is his new thing - the beach is his always thing.) We mix it up different ways, some days I do yoga early while the boy sleeps. Whichever way it unfolds, it is brilliance, and we both get what we crave. We have been SO much happier since this little routine evolved. 

And. I have been getting way more stuff done during the day. The boy is sleeping better (read: normally, ie, when he isn't awoken by the need to vomit/me clanging a pot/stupendous heat/etc, etc), and is ever-so-gradually becoming more okay with not being permanently attached to me. Yesterday he was happy to be in his Fantastic Standing Up Machine (an activity station we borrowed which he loves because he can assume a standing up posture and look around) for long enough for me to wash bottles AND make formula. Un. Precedented.

I also 1) rolled my first ever ball of wool to start the long-awaited baby blanket AND almost finished a paper crane mobile I started a year ago, 2) applied for federal monies that go along with having a baby and sussed out a tax issue that had been bugging me, 3) started updating our address details with the gazillion outfits that need to know, 4) placed a bulk order for cloth nappies, 5) bought a new wok, and 6) blogged, edited recipes and wrote emails back and forth to the ABC who invited me to have some recipes featured on the new release of their Foodi iPad app!! Woot! (This news alone did wonders for my general vibe and reminded me I have 'stuff' outside the babyhood.)

[Note: I have been trying for six months to get to most of these jobs. Further note: I probably did even more stuff which escapes me now. Final note: the feeling of momentum with getting stuff done makes me so happy I could pop (or at least stay up way too late to get more stuff done)].

As further illustration of how amazing this is, my days usually go something like this. Wake stupidly early, feed the boy. Put him in his chair while he's happy so I can make coffee/breakfast. Play with him, feed him, get him to sleep. The forty-minute 'stealth ninja' sprint begins and includes as much as possible from the following: get dressed and roughly cleaned up, wash and make bottles, do last night's dishes, keep the perpetual motherlode of laundry churning, try to keep a very large, open-to-the-elements house cleanish tidy liveable, eat lunch, make lists of things I must do but never seem to get to. If he's not sleeping well, the forty-minute sprint becomes a twenty-minute sprint with interruptions to get him back TF to sleep. He has anywhere between two and four sleeps a day. And sometimes I accidentally clang a pot and *bugger shit fuck* wake him.**

Our night time routines have also improved markedly in the past month or so. We are mostly eating dinner together now, which makes a lovely change from the tag-team affair that reigned for a long time after E came home from hospital.

I'm loathe to call it too early, but hey, I'm on a roll. This feels like considerable improvement. 


**This is why I haven't called/written to anyone/blogged and have struggled to do any yoga/walking for six months :)

15 February 2012

Six months...

I can't believe we have a six-month old! (Six and half now... but meh.) Who should be only four months... and is, gestationally, so is doing four-month old things. Like...

Gurgling, babytalking, blowing raspberries, dribbling copiously, chomping on anything he can get his hands on... all of which may escalate to shouting as he grows impatient with not being picked up/being unable to explore the world around him/sore gums/?????

Laughing his full-bellied, delighted laugh, especially for his Dad. Even when K does something as simple as walk in the room. Which I think translates as... I ADORE my Dadda. (If I was a comic-sans, every-letter-a-different-colour, blinking ClipArt kind of person, 'ADORE' would be tizzied up thus.) I love this photo, even though it looks staged (it wasn't - just an afternoon at the beach, sitting on the tailgate... he didn't even know I had the camera).

Becoming shy around strangers, including his own reflection if he is feeling a bit grumpy/out of sorts.

He has recently developed an untamed 'rodeo' arm when on the boob/bottle. Hilarious.

And still sucks the air in his half-sleep after the boob/bottle is gone. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Is happiest in arms. And happier still, high on one of our shoulders where he can see things best.

Has one long eyelash at the outer edge of his left eye that points down. Loveheart nostrils. The cutest little random dimple between his tummy and chest. Big 'little' toes that promise to pose problems for off-the-shelf footwear. And the sweetest little excitable pant.

Loves being read to. Though if he's in play mode, the words take a back seat to getting his mitts around the book.

Is most chilled out when outdoors. Absolutely. LOVES. The beach. And can be amused for a very long time by the old pandanus in our yard which make a papery sound in the wind (of which we have plenty).

Loves watermelon... but really mostly just has eyes for milk. Speaking of which. We've been blessed with one HUNGRY little caterpillar. There is no longer a need to explain his early arrival, as people's first reaction when told he is six months is something along the lines of 'OMG, he's huge!'. He's big. Twelve-month old kind of big.

I look at photos of when he first came home, or *gasp* from hospital days, and I cannot believe how small and skinny he was. He's put on eight kilos in six months... making him around 10kg now. I find it bizarre how I get stuck in the moment, almost unable to imagine him beyond now. When he was that small we never believed he'd be this big. And now it seems impossible that he will soon sit up unassisted, or crawl, or talk or ... stand. But hindsight tells me these milestones are only heartbeats away.

11 February 2012

Oh civilisation, how I have missed thee

Just back from eight days in the Vegas. E and I travelled over on our own and K joined us after four days - our first real time apart with E around. A few minor travel stresses - eg, scrambling to connect the car battery while the babe screameth in the blazing sun, shoehorning him into a too-small capsule in a hot car, a non-sleeping baby for the first few days - but on the whole, really positive. 
I got a badly needed massage, haircut and counselling (useful but I nearly swallowed my tongue when I paid the bill), a visit to the craniosacral therapist for E, and some bricks-and-mortar retail therapy. (My online procurement now verges on embarrassing and is the butt of jokes amongst the rangers who collect our mail... though is totally reasonable given I did not shop for E when pregnant. And, hello, live on an island. But I digress.)
The city. We stayed with friends R + J and little M for three days. We walked every day and clocked up quite a few clicks to and from the local Fountain Lakes. I even had mini-conversations with other peeps-with-prams. I procured the boy some decent bibs (why oh why are they mostly all crap? and velcro, bane of my laundering life), more clothes (hello size one!), toys (sounding the death knell to our boycott of plastic toys) and a cute owl moneybox and even cuter fairtrade owl backpack. We borrowed a playmat - one of those types with the arches which you can dangle stuff from - and an activity station that he can sit upright in. Both of which he LOVES. Why I did not get these types of things sooner... *Bats head* Other purchases: a second carseat to follow the other recently acquired one, and a cot.
Some interesting stuff. The craniosacral therapist felt inside E's mouth and knew he didn't take a dummy. Huh. She said he had a very high palate. And because of that, probably wasn't drawing so well during breastfeeding. Huh. And that would affect my supply. Huh. Wow. She also said his gums were very inflamed. Which we knew. But at the back too. Hmm. Odd. This week molars, next week puberty? She also thinks he should have some relief soon from his reflux. We live in hope.

Our craniosacral visit was followed by a very satisfactory hour of book browsing and purchases at Riverbend and Lifeline in Bulimba, punctuated with caffeine and facilitated by a long-sleeping baby.

I also met up with a girl who was interested in donating breastmilk. At my fave cafe in Paddington, from the days when I lived down the street and around the corner. She had a little boy, the same age as E, and it was so good to chat about baby stuff with someone of similar ilk. We traded birth stories and ate breakfasts in the early afternoon. And the boy? Surprisingly OK - even smiling across the table at the other baby. Not sleep deprived/crying/a vomiting volcano/crazed with hunger/cranky/high maintenance as I'd feared. Holy crap! I felt human! And walked away with just over a full feed of milk for E. Happy!

What else? We had a visit to premmie playgroup at the hospital, which I've never been convinced we learn anything from, but we go anyway just in case. Got the boy registered with Medicare, FINALLY, after months of dodging inquisitions at the doctor's/hospital ("uh, we've just lodged the form..."). But most exciting, E had his first food - watermelon. Did his eyes pop out of his head or what? Totally not what I had planned but it just sort of unfolded at R + J's. Probably nice for him in the stupendous heat anyway.
And. Underscoring my reconnection with civiliation, the girls who were in my midwifery group are planning their first meet up. And kindly scheduled it to coincide with our next trip over! Will be my first official 'mothers group'.

And the learnings. Yes, I realised I have been way too isolated. That I can do this trip on my own. That it's hard work, alone or not. That I have a couple of willing babysitters that I totally need to call on. That the boy will refuse to sleep, and cry, and cry, and cry. And though I will also miss out on sleep, this is not too dissimilar to being at home. And EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. And I LOVE living on an island, at a lighthouse, away from people and the crazy, concreted, smelly, loud, shopping-malled world, but I also need people and the crazy, concreted, smelly, loud, shopping-malled world, sometimes. (But not too often.) And E does too. For all the non-sleeping, he thrived in new environments. He charmed people wherever we went with his huge cheeky grin and screechy giggles. And got to spend time with his Nana and other little people. 

It felt like we were away forever. The house is a festering mess, but it's good to be home. We picked zucchini and tomatoes and basil and rocket from the garden and had a late dinner of fritatta. The boy slept well but woke in the pre-dawn. Life chugs on. I will be taking mental health breaks more often, methinks.

01 February 2012

The only way is up - or life in the land of vomit and depression

My aspiration to write here more regularly (dare I declare, weekly) has wafted into the babyland ether. Then there was an app without a 'save' function (wtf?) which wafted away my draft, leading to large clumps of hair being pulled*. At least I am holding on to my other new year aspirations - yoga and walking - thus far. I even did a solo walk to the beach, followed by yoga on the shore as the sun set and a rainbow fell upon our house! Has to be some sort of omen! (Bigtime thanks to K for the suggestion, and for baby wrangling.) Anyway, all those blog posts I quasi write in my head... poof, gone. So here's a list of sorts. Just a warning, what follows is not exactly bathed in positivity. Hint: look away now if this is likely to upset. The next one will be positive, I promise.

1. Sometimes I just long to put the boy in the pram and go for a long fast walk. Or even a short fast walk. Alas, we have one 'sealed' (and I'm being VERY generous) road, and that's our driveway. We do a bumpity cross-country meander down to the heli-pad most days, but oh, to burn off some energy with a proper walk. (The kind of walk I'm talking about is not the kind that can be accomplished with an almost-10-kilogram baby in the Ergo, though I do need to figure out how to put him on my back in it so he can look around.)

2. When I lament like this, I make myself look out the window. It's easy to become blase about where we live. Especially when some days it's hard to leave the house. For explanation, refer to roads issue (see point one), add vomity, heavy baby, stupendous heat and non-stop rain. 

3. Still frustrated by milk issues. And time issues, while we're at it. And just getting-to-grips-with-babyland issues generally. I badly need - and want - to get over it. I am booked in to see a postnatal counsellor.

4. Mothers' groups. After much fruitless trawling, I've concluded that being more active in the blogosphere is the only way I'll get to share with other mums of similar ilk. Unless I want to haul myself off to the city for this purpose, which is such an exercise in stress and anxiety that I would much rather put up with my existing stress and anxiety in the comfort of my own home. See point five. Also on this theme, wondering how to reconcile my two online selves, as I feel the pull back to this blog...

5. Trips to the mainland do my head in and deplete my already-thin reserves of calm. With all the appointments and extensive provisioning for The Life Remote, these trips usually result in a non-sleeping baby, stress and anxiety for us and a generally unpleasant vibe. I would much rather stay at home. See point four.

6. Our first date in six months, which I'd teed up a week in advance, evaporated due to a non-sleeping baby - and therefore, non-sleeping us - and general feelings of crankiness. Also see point five. 

7. Somehow, despite knowing all this, and having just returned from Brisbane, I'm going again tomorrow. Just me and the boy. For a flurry of appointments. I have no idea how I am going to carry all our stuff, drive the car and juggle a vomity baby. It will either harden me up for future solo-travels-with-a-baby, or turn me into a blathering hermit.

8. Maybe this should have been point one. Poor E still suffers quite badly from reflux and on a hot day, will vomit after each feed, in between feeds and just randomly - so pretty much all day. It is SO frustrating and depressing seeing him in distress. And spending vast lumps of time endless days forever feeding. We took him to see a craniosacral therapist who instantly helped his neck stiffness - he'd been almost unable to look left. Hoping this will also fix his now-very flat-on-one-side head. And of course the reflux, which we were told is exacerbated or possibly even caused by his spine being slightly twisted from his birth. Which impinges on the vagus nerve which has something to do with digestion. Anyway. It feels good to be doing something about it.

9. eBay! Oh joyous rapture! See - a positive! I'm sure the rangers all think I'm holed up here at the Cape whiling away the man's hard-earned. (Our mail comes via the ranger station - and luckily I have my own hard-earned for another six months.) Latest purchases: a happy hangup for the boy (I live in denial naive desperation of prolonging the daytime catnaps), three wooden Manhattan Toy things, some books and a fancy sleep-bag.

10. I'm not sure this list even makes sense. It's late, my thoughts are mud but I'm pressing publish anyway.

*Sorry if you got an email with a blank post... I'll spare you the tribulations of useless Blogger apps.