My Baby is two! Happy Birthday Nixie xx

Two years after a baby is born, they turn two.  Strange but true.

What you never expect is just how quickly this happens, how every day feels like they were just born yesterday, like you just woke up and became a mother of two boys um ………. last week wasn’t it?

I called Nix Baby Hippo before he was born as I knew he was going to be huge (I was right) and huge he still is.  I think his size has a lot to do with how old he seems, his ridiculous vocab and sentence composition also contributes to the impression that he is much older than a newly minted two year old.

Everywhere we go people fall in love with him.  His personality is just like his physical self, larger than life and ready to take charge of any situation.  Nixon will eat anything, talk to anyone, take on any playground, animal or obstacle and do it with a smile and the thank-you-you’re-welcome combo of his trademark “kill you with kindness while I steal your toy” manners.  

More than anyone else, Nixon has his big brother wrapped around his little finger.  Ethan was so excited about his little brothers birthday today he could barely sleep himself last night!  They have the most lovely relationship and it’s increasingly obvious what an important role Ethan is going to play in Nixon’s life in the years ahead – vice versa of course!

Predictably, Nix was suitably spoiled.  I’m a shopping monster when it comes to the kids birthdays and this year fell in love with the New Zealand made vintage toy brand Fun Ho!  Nixon loves these aluminium die-cast trucks and diggers so much that it was time to invest some money and get him some of his own.  We decided to skip the party this year.  Or, to be honest, it wasn’t really a decision, more like, oh shit, Nixon’s birthday is next week and we don’t have any time to plan a party!  Life has been ridiculously busy lately, there is always one of us coming and going and it just felt right to let it go and do without a big “occasion” this year.

What I did do was take a little mate and his lovely Mum to Kiwi Valley and we spent a perfect morning wandering around the farm, feeding the animals, we had horse and tractor rides, played on the playground and enjoyed a relaxed lunch at the cafe.  No stress, and barely anyone else there!  The last time I went there was when Ethan was a similar age and I loved it just as much this time as I explored with Nixon.  

Parenting a two year old is akin to living on the edge of your seat, in a car, with no seat belts, driven by a crazy person who has an aversion to braking.  You never, ever know what’s around the corner and lest you forget, there is no rhyme nor reason to their reaction to ANYTHING.  Be prepared, yes.  But be prepared to be unprepared because I seriously never know what Nixon is going to throw at me (or the walls/ceiling) from day to day.  Most of the time I leave the house running, well, moving as fast as I can whilst herding cats Nixon, the mess we leave in our wake is unfathomable, I always forget something and have to return to the house and I’m invariably late.  Which is a Melissa No-No.  I’ve done it before with Ethan and this (last) time around I’m trying to let it go a bit more and adore these fleeting toddler years before they disappear and I’m left wondering who I was doing all that vacuuming for anyway?!

I love you more than you’ll ever imagine, baby boy.  Happy 2nd Birthday Nixon xx

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

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Acquisitions | SwimFin Swimming Aid + Giveaway

Learning to swim and learning at an early age is non-negotiable in our house.  Ethan is now 10 1/2 and has been in lessons since he was 3 months old – kid is a fish!  Nix began a little later but is now doing really well in the pool (and I’ll be doing really well as soon as he graduates to the independent swimming classes!).

Needless to say we have tried and tested pretty much every swim aid under the sun and there has been one common denominator with both of our boys – they HATE flotation devices on their arms.  They hate putting them on, they hate keeping them on and they really, really don’t enjoy their time in the pool when they’re wearing them.  Back floaties work so much better for us and the SwimFin is just the best out there.

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SwimFin is a unique, self-adjusting swimming aid for all ages and abilities and it’s pretty darn cute to boot.  Before he got sick, we took Nix to our local pool while Ethan was at Swim Squad and had so much fun as he took to the water with his amazing ‘shark fin’.  Dave was on swimming duty while I fielded questions from pretty much all the parents in attendance about Nixie’s cool new swimming aid!

Take a look at how stable and steady Nix is as he ‘swims’ from Dad to the side of the pool!

Things I love about the SwimFin;

  • It’s so easy to get on!  There’s no mucking around sizing straps, the velcro is quick and allows this product to grow with your littles.
  • Like the description, the SwimFin totally self adjusts, Nix was kept upright and in a position where he could relax without freaking out that his head was going to go under.  I have never seen him so confident in the pool.
  • The colours are super fun and bright and the construction is amazing.  I felt really confident about Nixon swimming with this on as his aid.
  • It’s non-inflatable, I actually can’t think about how scary it would be if a blow up floatie popped!  SwimFin is made from soft but sturdy moulded EVA foam
  • Nixon is just 23 months old and entirely capable of getting himself to the edge of the pool while he’s wearing his SwimFin.  You can see from the video above that his natural response is to paddle hard with his little arms, much more effective without bulky floaties on each side!

 

SwimFin is available here in New Zealand in a super cool range of colours.  Purchase online at www.swimfin.co.nz RRP$46.95.  

We love this product and are so excited to be able to give away a SwimFin pack to one lucky reader!  To be in to win, head over to our Facebook page and follow the instructions on the SwimFin image.  Competition closes 25/6/15.

Oh yeah. Hirschsprung’s is for life damnit.

Friday, 12th June 10pm: I’m in my bed, eating the hell out of a packet of Lindor Balls.  I just got out of the shower.  A long shower into which I took my trés classy bourbon-in-a-can and sat on the floor.  I didn’t cry, but I could have.

This week broke my baby.

{If you’re a new reader, and not sure about Nixon’s Hirschsprung’s Disease, these posts will fill you in > Nixon and Hirschsprung’s Disease, Last Night’s Hospital Dinner}.

There were a couple of factors contributing to our slow admission that there was something seriously wrong with Nixie this week;

  1. He is teething hard out.  His two year molars are mucking around and I blamed his diarrhoea and general lethargy and grumpiness on this.
  2. Dave, Ethan and I were literally walloped with what we can only imagine was food poisoning on Monday night.  The.  Worst.  Thing.  Ever.  You don’t need details.  So, as you would, we assumed Nix had the same bug. 

Wrong on both counts.  

When he woke up in vomit on Wednesday morning and actually couldn’t do anything but lay on his side, barely able to even speak we rushed off to Starship, with my bags packed.  I knew we would be staying and I instantly knew that he had enterocolitis – a Hirschsprung’s Kid’s nemesis.  

After failing him for a week, I finally got something right.  Surgeons from his operation last year came down to assess him in the ER and he was admitted fairly quickly.  Not that we settled on the ward quickly.  It took a gargantuan EIGHT HOURS to achieve that feat.  We arrived at the ER at 8am, there was no-one else waiting and we were triaged and seen by the doctor very quickly.  Once it was established Nix was going to need IV antibiotics and fluids the shit hit the fan.

Nix has good veins but also a good layer of fat hiding his veins.  The doctor got a line in on first attempt after not too much hassle.  Nix didn’t like it but that was to be expected.  An hour or so into his fluid replacement a nurse arrived to administer his first dose of antibiotics.  She noticed the IV had tissued and Nixon’s arm was rapidly swelling like a balloon because it was filled with maintenance fluids.  Great.

Second attempt.  Same doctor pincushions him in three separate spots, puts line in, pulls line out.  Nix is being restrained by both Dave and I and two nurses while a play therapist tries to interest him in Thomas the Fucking Tank Engine while his eyes are rolling back in his head and he is screaming and thrashing like he’s possessed by the devil.  In the middle of this another doctor runs in and says “lets give him some nitrous and see how that helps calm him down”.

Slightly better result.  Nix isn’t speaking in tongues at least, same doctor gets line in and rapidly disappears.  Nurse goes to administer antibiotics and can’t.  Again.  Doctor no-where to be found, new doctor takes over.  End result achieved by rolling Nixon in a sheet and me pretty much lying on top of him crying my eyes out with Dave doing the same on his lower half and two nurses assisting.  Play therapist gone back to playing, because quite frankly, this has gone WAY past the point of iPad intervention.

Absolutely the worst experience of my entire life, and I’m sure Nixon’s.  Patients cannot go up to a ward without an IV in, and Nix needed those antibiotics mainlined quickly.  X-rays earlier in the day showed his bowel was badly swollen, confirming Hirschsprung enterocolitis – a life-threatening complication of Hirschsprung disease resulting in a grossly enlarged colon, often followed by sepsis and shock. 

This awful, awful series of events had rendered my sick, exhausted boy into a terrified little puddle, clinging to me for dear life.  Signs of his severe anxiety grew over the course of our 3 day stay, culminating in diaper changes becoming a two man job as Nixon’s severe, thrashing, physical protests made it impossible for ether Dave or I to complete this once simple task on our own.  When his bowel movements were as frequent as every 10 minutes you can imagine how emotionally and physically draining this was for all three of us.  

The four hourly obs by the nurses elicited the same response.  So does oral meds.  You actually can’t even imagine the state twice daily rectal washouts leaves Nix in.  Seeing my once bullet-proof-happy guy go through multiple hysteric episodes each day, is heartbreaking.  I don’t know how to fix it.

We returned home this afternoon, with a shattered little boy.  The visible distention in his belly is gone as well as other signs of untreated enter0colitis (which are too gross to bore you with!), so now it’s time to heal.  

My Mum and Dave, who were both ill themselves, were amazing last week, holding things together at home for Ethan (who was also unwell!) and keeping things as normal as possible for all of us.  I’m sure the dogs were very happy with their respite from Nixon, who loves them so much that he actually terrorizes them with the ferocity of his hugs, too bad suckers, he’s back.

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It’s now Saturday at lunchtime and the promise of being at home has been tarnished by a morning of yelling and bitching at each other, frustration, hysterics and terrible behaviour from Nixon (totally understandable, but so hard to deal with) and just trying to get back on an even keel when it feels like we’ve lost an entire week.  Nix slept all night – so did I, and is showing signs of improvement today.  The nurse on the surgical ward sent us home with exactly the right amount of supplies for today and Sunday, not a ml of saline to spare and the home help nurse said the supplies we need are out of stock so we won’t receive them until mid-week.  That’s the next battle.  Just keep swimming. just keep swimming………

Thank you for all of your love, it is so appreciated xx

 

Daily Look | Winter’s Bounty

Between Mum’s place up north and our own trees (which are producing fruit in bulk for the first winter ever!), we have lots of home grown citrus and the babes are loving it!  Nixon is obsessed with mandarins.  I peeled him two for morning tea, then continued hanging out the washing.  Upon my return 5 minutes later I found the detritus of his tasting platter.  He’d climbed up onto the bench and been on a rampage through the fruit bowl.  This situation replays over and over in some way or another every minute of every day.  It is, Life With Nixon.

Daily Look | Second Breakfast

Both our kids are BIG fans of second breakfasts.  If Nix has had porridge or eggs for breakfast he’ll devour a small smoothie in a mini milk bottle at about 9am.  At least if he starts the day with THIS much goodness in him I don’t stress too much about the amount he eats at dinner – which is when the wheels fall off lol.

Daily Look | At the End of the Path

Some days you just have to put on your overalls and go riding in the rain.  Or Mama will go cray-cray.  He won’t melt, he’s warm and so so happy, plus the potential for puddles is all a bit too exciting!  It’s hard to remember to say yes and think outside the box but when we do it can be so rewarding right?

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The lost art of “getting shit done”

Today I crossed one task off my to-do list and added 4 more.

One.

The tasks on my list are not even that onerous or time consuming.  They simply require my undivided attention for a small period of time.  Therein lies the conflict.

Nixon is also small but requires my undivided attention ALL of the time.  Resisting the yellow-haired dictator results in tantrum after tantrum and much headbanging on floors and walls – I am actually counting the seconds until this precious phase is over, as a legitimate, albeit self-inflicted ‘boo-boo’ drags a tantrum into a whole new level of pain, for both of us!

The confounding truth about parenting a toddler is that change is constant.  What is working perfectly for us on Monday defies all laws of reason on Tuesday.  I had us settled into a great morning routine which allowed me a small window – measured by Peppa & George Pig – to sit down, reply to some emails, edit some photos etc, maybe do some paid work {WTH!} or at the very least attend to some yawny household admin like re-registering my truck, changing electricity providers or just cleaning up the damn place!  This week, Peppa has lost her mojo and she’s taken mine with her.

Everything I do manage to get done has a price.  The vacuuming gets done because the tupperware drawers have been emptied.  I get to brush my hair because Nix is throwing the contents of my bedside drawers out of the window {brushing my hair takes a L O N G time btw}.  The laundry gets hung on the line while the three dog bowls are hidden in the garden.  If you don’t laugh you cry right?

I’ve got to lower my standards a bit otherwise Nix and I never get out of the house, which isn’t healthy for either of us and buying in to the cycle of cleaning constantly with a toddler on the loose is a recipe for madness I’m sure.  We have decided that painting our new skirting boards whilst Nix is still crashing ‘vacuuming’ with his wooden trolley and racing his plastic motorbike through the house is an exercise in futility.  I’m going to try and apply this sort of pragmatic thinking to my days as a SAHM in general.  

Nap time is pretty solid right now, 1-3.30, Ethan gets home at around 2.45pm so I have 1 hour and 45 minutes to sit, think and do.  And by do, I don’t mean housework – that shit never ends and no-one really cares if the laundry is put away on Wednesday or Thursday do they?  So, welcome to my new ‘ME’ time.  So far I have shopped online for a new pair of Nike Roshe, text a friend and I’m going to finish writing this blog post after only beginning it last night!  Miracles occur every day apparently and this, my friends, is one of them.

If you have any tips for finding your daily rhythm, I’m all ears because I feel like I’m floundering in a never-ending groundhog day – or is that just how all mothers feel?

Toddler Baking New Zealand Mum Blogger

 

Sandpit Rage

So one day toward the end of winter last year, I had this freaking genius idea to turn a corner garden surrounded on two sides by concrete into an in-ground sandpit.  Bordered by railway sleepers, complete with driftwood and spendy, smooth river rocks, over-flowing with just the BEST sandpit toys {or whatever dregs I found in the tupperware drawer}…….are you picturing this?  It will only take an hour or so I told Dave.

Two weekends later……

Hours of fun for Nixon we thought.  Made even better by the child’s obsession with diggers and dump trucks – oh snap we have a large fleet of those!  Into the sandpit they went.  

And it is awesome.

And we do love it, plus I think Nix thinks it’s ok.

There is a dark side to amazing sandpits though, something no-one talks about.  It’s kept under wraps, bringing shame upon the family because society just hasn’t come to grips with it yet.  Let’s just say if Nixon were a foreign tourist, strangers would be taking the keys to his sandpit off of him.

Nixon suffers from Sandpit Rage.

What begins as a fun game of diggers and dump trucks ends in fists raised to the sky, little muscles bulging, curses and expletives disguised as toddler-babble ringing around the neighborhood at max volume and me carrying Nixon under my arm kicking and screaming back into the house where we can hide our Sandpit Rage behind closed doors.

You see, the diggers don’t always dig in just the ‘right’ way.  The dump trucks sometimes miss their mark and aren’t parked in the optimal spot for sand loading to commence and shit, sometimes everything is just way too yellow or sandy……….and the rage ensues.

When I was pregnant with Nix, Dave and I would laugh and say “there’s no way #2 could be worse than #1” and by worse we meant more intense, more stubborn and with a stronger will.  “There’s no way that could happen right?” laugh, laugh, laugh.  Oh yes way.  It happened and it happened good.

So now, instead of the lazy afternoons we imagined, spent outside, playing calmly and quietly in the sandpit, we now count the minutes of relative peace until it all turns to custard and Nix throws his toys.  Just a phase?  Fingers crossed.

So, who’s up for a play date at our house?  Sounds fun right?

 Toddler in Sandpit Tantrum New Zealand Mummy Blog