ten things I can do with one hand, thanks to motherhood

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When you’re carrying a baby around for what feels like 99% of your day, and you’re very lazy/stubborn when it comes to putting on your sling, you get pretty nifty doing things with one hand. Here are some of the things I’ve learned to do with one hand thanks to my babies. High five to motherhood skills!

  1. Chop vegetables. Albeit a bit chunky, but chopped nonetheless.
  2. Put jackets on bigger kids. With a bit of yanking.
  3. Make cups of tea. Including a slightly risky manoeuvre in order to get the stove lit.
  4. Go to the toilet, pants down, pants up, etc. Yeah! (Skinny jeans = an extra ten points.)
  5. Type, write blog posts, reply to emails, and so on (eg. this post right now).
  6. Bark commands at anyone within a 500 metre radius. Just kidding, I can bark commands with or without one or two handed gesticulation. I’m very talented like that.
  7. Wash dishes. Ok they aren’t great, but useable. If it is the difference between eating and not eating…
  8. Put loads of washing on. This one is not much fun as it also requires a deep squat to get down to my machine. That combined with seemingly dissolved pelvic floor muscles and an extra 5kg is a no brainer: avoid if possible. (Avoiding washing is always possible.)
  9. Open packets of m and ms and eat them.
  10. Eat double cream by the spoonful out of the container… I’m not going to lie, this is something I excel at.

So I have to say my skills have increased dramatically over the last five years. I’m not sure how helpful the above list will be on my CV though.

What do you do while wandering around with babe in arms?

it was you

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I look at this photo of myself from last summer and cannot comprehend it. It was you growing inside me. I watch a video that I took of my stomach bouncing and jostling as you kicked me, and now, knowing you as I do, I just can’t understand that it was you in there, doing that.

That you were so close all that time and I didn’t even know it. That you’re here now and that you were here all that time too.

It’s been seven weeks since Pearl was born. She’s a lovely, round, squishy, smiley baby. KB has gone back to work and friends and family have (almost) all had their first cuddles. It seems that real life has continued, as usual.

But here I am, still getting to know this tiny human. Still marvelling at her sounds, her smell. Still tired and up all night and finding my way. Still feeling like it’s new, but old, all at the same time. Still wondering how all this happens, and why.

Still amazed by the fact that we made three humans.

I can’t think of where else to go with this post beyond that. I made humans. The end.

9 x 7 x 498 – 16 + 52* or thereabouts

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9 = the number of baby jigging steps** it takes me to get from one side of my bedroom to the other.

7 = the number of seconds it takes me to walk the nine steps.

498 = the number of times I paced up and down staring longingly at my bed and the wide mouthed sprawled snoring man in it at 4.30am this morning.

16 = the number of times Pearl fell asleep only for her eyes to swing open again as if nothing had happened. What? Oh no, I wasn’t sleeping [laughs], I was just momentarily checking out the inside of my eyelids.

52 = the extra laps I did after she was finally asleep, just for good measure.

I don’t have a mathematical brain but I’d say that the above algorithm took a fair percentage off my recommended/preferred nightly hours of sleep.

So. Six weeks. The six week mark. A wonder week if I remember correctly? I’ve spent the last couple of nights like this, it’s been the first time since she was born that I’ve had to work really hard to get her back to sleep. They’re tricky, aren’t they? The way they look so deeply asleep one moment, then wham, the eyes are wide open again. But then you feel that comfortable warmth as her body finally relaxes and moulds to you. Got her!

It’s a strange kind of walking meditation, if you let it be so.

* estimates only.
** smaller than regular steps.

adjusting

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Saffron hauls herself onto my lap while I’m breastfeeding Pearl. She grabs each side of my face and forces me to look at her while I’m ushering lots of “careful, careful, careful of the baby.” She looks at the baby. “I love your baby, she’s beautiful. ” (“luff”, “boo-full”) she says. She thinks momentarily. “Now your baby has come out, there’s room for me in your tummy again.”

This has been a common thread of late, Saffron commenting on the appearance of the baby, and the vacant accommodations she has left behind. And how she would dearly like to climb back into said vacant block. Please.

I look at this enormous creature perched precariously on my knee, her gigantic deep brown eyes staring at me, eagerly awaiting a response. I’m confused. Only three weeks ago this huge being was my baby. I would pick her up like a tiny doll and balance her on top of my rounded stomach. I would play with her soft curls and wipe vegemite from her stained baby lips. Now she appears in front of me like a monstrous Japanese cartoon; all eyes and head and face. She reaches out a finger and pokes the side of Pearl’s face. “Can I kiss your baby?” (“tan”, “tiss”) She asks, sick of waiting for a response to her request to climb back inside me.

She kisses the baby then pulls my hand away from where it is rested, cradling Pearl’s back. She holds my hand and makes sure I can’t touch the baby with it.

We are all adjusting to this new way of life, this new being who is suddenly in our family and in our space after an eternity of pregnancy. Adjusting to my constant “shhhhh’s” and “careful’s!!”. Adjusting to the crying, to the constant commands of this tiny person.

And then I see my eldest two daughters playing and hugging and kissing each other. I see them holding hands tonight while we walked to get fish and chips. I see them giggling together and whispering rude secrets (namely about poo). And I remember when Saffron was this tiny thing in my arms and Nell was the giant child poking and prodding. And I know everything and everyone will be just fine.

newborning // the third time around

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The big girls are at kinder, the baby is asleep. There are vegetables roasting in the oven for a frittata for tonight’s dinner. The washing has been put on and some episodes of Mad Men watched. Papers and pencils have been thrown into drawers and doors to messy bedrooms closed.

Newborning, the third time around… things are chaotic with three, but surprisingly there is an overarching sense of calm that comes with a little bit of knowledge and previous practice.

In the night when Pearl is wide eyed and grizzly, I’m not in a flood of tears wondering what has happened to my life. I cuddle her close and breathe in her milky scent. I close my eyes when I can and go through that mental list – milked? changed? warm? tired? comforted? I remind myself how quickly this phase passes and life moves on.

Before I go to bed at night I quickly line up supplies for my nightly motherly duties – terry cloth towels, a few nappies, wipes, a full water bottle and a snack. I breastfeed in bed and close my eyes when I can. Nowadays nothing gets in the way of precious sleep time – if I can help it.

I’m slowly recovering from the birth and while life does not yet have a new flow, I have a new vision of how things are going to be. I know these sleepy newborn days don’t last, I know this round baby will soon open her eyes fully and begin to see the world around her in a new light. I know things will be busy and full when friends and family slowly move on with their lives and the food arriving on the doorstep and the kinder pickups gradually diminish.

Part of me is nervous, but the other part knows (read: hopes desperately) that I’ve got this.

this time, one year ago

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You were cradled in my arms, all bunchy and squished. We were in bed. I was most likely eating something. (Food tastes so good in the days following childbirth, don’t you think?) We were surrounded by loving family. We were at home.

A few hours earlier I felt your soft hair flowing through my fingertips under water, moments before I held you for the very first time and felt your skin against mine. I looked down in surprise to find you were a little girl, not a wee boy as I had thought during my pregnancy (due to nothing more scientific than a dream three years prior).

Well my darling pixie babe, you have been full of surprises this past year, some which have delighted, others which have perplexed your tired mama.

Your lively nature and determined spirit is contagious. You make us laugh each and every day. You squark and kick your legs when you don’t get your own way and we all know better now than to refuse your commands. We simply obey. We cuddle you at night and touch your face and kiss your cheeks. We rub your tummy and feed you and tickle your toes and smooth our hands over your skin in the bath.

Happy first birthday my sweet, vivacious girl. My life is forever changed for the better with you in it, you bring me daily joy and a love so deep and complex and fulfilling and all-consuming that I am completely and utterly addicted to it, and to you.

We love you deeply and dearly little pixie. May your second year be just as bright as your first, and on and on.

Big love, your mama.

weekending: a night away from baby

Tomorrow I am spending my very first night away from my little Pixie. I’d like to say I’m nervous and apprehensive like I was the first time I spent a night away from Birdie, but I’m nothing of the sort!

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I will be in the midst of the photos above with an ace lady eating chocolate and being cosy and talking and walking and drinking coffee… HANDS FREE. I’m all a jitter just thinking about it. Better go pack!

What are you doing this weekend? Hope you’re looking forward to something, where ever you happen to be.