Travelling for work: Tips to help kids when they’re missing Mummy or Daddy

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Dave returns today from an 11 day work trip and lord that plane can’t get to Auckland soon enough.  I find it super hard to parent without Dave as he’s the steady, stable half and I’m the emotionally fractious one who struggles to hold her shit together!  The boys seem to get on with daily life without Dave but despite the volume being lowered somewhat in the house (always a welcome change imo!), there are many notable points throughout the day where we all miss Daddy.

Nixon is now 2.2 and this is the first trip when he’s actually shown interest in chatting to Dave on the phone.  This helps of course, but is doesn’t assuage the never-ending questions;

Where’s Daddy?

Where’s Wellington?

Daddy in Nu Ziland?

Daddy on a plane?

You get the picture.

Ethan who’s almost 11 tends to miss the things he does with his Dad, so he’s been dreaming up elaborate fishing trips and getting his tackle box ready because as soon as his Dad walks through the door there’s a HUGE agenda waiting lol. Roll back three years to when Dave was in Europe for 6 weeks and things were a wee bit different.  Ethan didn’t articulate it so much as show us in his behaviour and emotional outbursts, how much he was struggling with his Dad’s absence.  It took us weeks to get my young man back on an even keel once Dave returned home, travel weary and with lots of laundry!

So, when Maria from Happy Mum, Happy Child asked me if I had any ideas to help her 3 yo daughter deal with increasing separation anxiety when her Dad travels, I put my thinking cap on and came up with some easy to implement tips.

5 Tips to Help Kids When They’re Missing Mummy or Daddy

  • Make the absence visible 

Missing Mum, Dad or a significant other caregiver isn’t something to be brushed off and glossed over.  Acknowledge how little ones are going to feel and give them tools to cope.  Make the time away something tangible that they can see and measure by printing out a blank calendar page like this one and marking the number of days until Mum/Dad return.  Combine this with a big goofy picture of the damn parent that gets to escape from the house your other half and you’ve got yourself a DIY shrine to your significant other!  Just what you always wanted lol.

  • Give Little an Important task to do 

Creating  a ‘responsibility’ will initiate purpose and a little distraction.  If Dad has a ‘very special’ task that he normally does, like feeding the dog, enlist your Little Guy to take over this job, emphasizing that we must ‘soldier on’ and all pitch in without Daddy…….I know, I know lol.  If this is out of the question try entrusting a very ‘special’ item belonging to Travelling Mum/Dad into the care of your little person.

  •  Ooohh, look, there’s mail for you!

A short, pre-written daily note from Mum/Dad ‘arriving’ in the mailbox could be just the ticket to getting through each day.  Keeping the travelling parent front and foremost in Little’s mind really is key I think.  This way they are less likely to experience sudden pangs of ‘OMG I miss …….. so much!’.

  • Use Technology

Make use of the myriad ways we can use technology to keep in touch.  Send texts, pxt, FB messages, emails to the travelling partner, use IG, Skype, Facetime and let your Little take the lead here.  Help them to make a list of three things to tell Mum/Dad about their day at kindy or school and encourage your partner to tell them 3 interesting things about the place they’re working.  Familiarity with what each other is doing will help to minimise the ‘strangeness’ of someone being away.

  • Plan Something to Look Forward To

Make homecoming a double whammy.  When Dave arrived home from 6 weeks in Europe, 7 year old Ethan was sure that what Daddy would want most in the world was a disco.  In our lounge.  So  ::sigh:: we shopped for disco snacks, made a playlist of all of Ethan’s Dave’s fave Katy Perry songs, we pulled the blinds and my jet lagged husband had a cracking time limbo-ing and eating Twisties.  Kids LOVE this shit, plus it will give them something to focus on and plan, rather than fretting about missing their Mum/Dad constantly.

Somedays will be rough, I guarantee it.  Maybe most days if I’m being completely honest.  When your routine changes in a household due to one parent travelling, take liberties, run with it!  I order Ethan a Pita Pit for lunch now and then when his dad’s away, we eat breakfast for dinner and we have Fish ‘n Chips! – Dave hates all of these things so we pony up and make the most of our time sans Dad.

Good luck Mama’s, and if all else fails, there’s the TV, YouTube and wine xx

 

 

 

 

Meeting Friday with a Fistpump

Every time Dave goes away for work, which is far too often at the moment, I brace myself, I fortify my parenting intentions, I pray for congenial children, I clear my schedule and I cross my fingers.

Dave left at 3.30am Monday morning and it’s now 10.06pm Friday night and he’s still in transit somewhere between here and Wellington.  I miss him! 

Roll your eyes etc, what’s a week you say?  Hold your horses, a week is nothing.  You’re right.  But any change to a family’s schedule requires a bit of juggling and shuffling around and that’s what I did this week.

Dave is the Master of the Mornings in our house.  The man can literally spring out of bed after a minimum of sleep and greet his boys with all the enthusiasm in the world.  Which makes up for my decidedly frowny demeanour most mornings.  This week I realised I needed to get up well before the kids to help breeze through the school departure routine.  I wouldn’t say I made it out from under the duvet well before Ethan and Nix but I was able to make my bed before Nix began his dawn chorus!  It’s a start!

After a calamitous breakfast on day 2 when Nix descended into full blown head-banging-tantrum mode, I decided that our usual family smoothie routine was just too hard to manage on my own.  We finished the week with porridge or eggs for breakfast and I made my smoothie after E left for school and Nixon was settled into play time.  Everybody wins.

My wonderful Mum lives here from Monday to Thursday so she made the evening witching hour that much easier, taking Nixie out for a walk, cooking dinner or staying home whilst I ran Ethan around to swimming and rugby.  

One thing I’m really conscious of at the moment is trying to reclaim some hours in my day.  Because I’m falling behind…….in my life!  You know how you just get stuck in a routine, you do certain things at certain times of day, on certain days of the week, and it just kind of sticks?  No?  Well, we needed food, it was 4.15 on Friday afternoon, a time I would never normally consider going grocery shopping, but what the hell.  It had finally stopped raining so I took it as a sign and the boys happily ate their way around the supermarket.  It meant a dinner rush when we got home but ironically Nixon only ate the beetroot on his plate anyway so…….could have taken it a bit slower I guess!  

Anyway, it’s Friday, Dave’s plane has landed and I’m looking forward to changing no nappies tomorrow! Have an awesome weekend everyone xx

 

How to Have the Best Mother’s Day EVER, Simplified

Preface: I truely hope all the Mama’s, the Step-mums, Foster mums, Nanas, Dads doing it solo, extended family superstars and anyone raising loved and happy little people had a amazing day yesterday however you chose to spend it x


After careful, mostly, scientific analysis- you know how we do it here at The Best Nest! – of the many Mother’s Day facebook posts, tweets, Instagram pics and blog posts it appears that however you were celebrated (or forgotten as the case may be) on your special day of Mothering, there are two definite camps when it comes to Mother’s Day expectations and we will all fit into either one or the other.

This year it seems that there were many successes, many gifts of Chocolate Salty Balls Lindor Sea Salt Caramel Truffles and many happy Mums.  But there were also disappointments, cries of ‘the WORST Mother’s Day EVER’ were heard ringing around the country as husbands failed to meet expectations which had been cumulatively lowered each year anyway.  Kids couldn’t stop bitching for ‘one damned day’ and the breakfast in bed failed to cook itself……again.

So, I’ve thought about this long and hard and come up with an easy dichotomy with which Mum’s and partners can easily identify and avoid future Mother’s Day mishaps at all costs.  It’s best you figure out which kind of mother you are as early on in your blessed parenting journey as possible as this will make for many happy annual celebrations of your uterine prowess.

Type 1.  The Mother-Me-Up-All-Day-Long on Mother’s Day Mother

This mother is the one for whom kindergarten teachers toil long and hard supervising their minions and churning out craft-paper cards year after year.  This mother knows what she wants and she wants a day with the kids and her partner if applicable. She wants celebratory brunches with family, cards with badges saying “#1 MUM”,  she wants special ‘family’ outings and activities, walks on the beach – together!  She wants to cram in as much mothering as she can on this special day that’s just for her.  She’s easy to please so flowers from the neighbor’s garden picked by dimpled wee hands will be perfect.  

There are potential problems though so be warned.  The potential for children to ruin this mother’s perfect Mother’s Day is huge.  Kids get mothered every day of the year, so their natural urge for extra-mothering on Mother’s Day may not coincide with the lunar calendar.  In short, the kids could turn on a dime, refuse to play nice and retreat into the bickering asshole state that simmers below their cherubic exterior.  As the Mother-Me-Up-All-Day-Long Mother’s happiness on Mother’s Day is dependent upon the ‘Happy Family’ experience, bribing the kids is recommended.

This mother is not me.

Type 2.  The Give-me-Peace-and-Quiet-Whilst-Rewarding-Me-From-Afar Mother

This Mum loves you, but does not need you all up in her grill on Mother’s Day.  It’s HER day after all, and she is quite happy to spend it as far away from the sticky, clutching dimpled hands of her gorgeous babes as she sees fit.  This may be just in her room.  With earplugs in.  And the door locked for a few hours.  It’s respite she craves, a break from routine.  She may want to FINISH a book!  Or start one, let’s be real.  This mama doesn’t need a family outing, she would rather have a bath by herself, or a pedicure, let me emphasize this point; no Mum is ever going to be disappointed with a pedicure for a gift.  This mama may seem like a weirdo, but she’s really just like you or me.  Ok she is me, and what she really wants is to be rewarded for her duties to family life by a lack of family life for a day, even half a day would suffice.  Too easy.

The main problem with Type #2 mothers is about half-way though their allotted Mother’s Day exile the guilty pangs will begin to set in.  Hateful little stabbing knives that ruin the peace of child/husband free solitude and threaten to sabotage the illusion of calm.  The guilt expands into full blown hallucinations which culminate in the Type #2 actually thinking that maybe she got it all wrong and she’s really a Type #1 after all and where are her babies, WHERE??????  “Let me MOTHER THEM!!!!!”.

It’s so, so sad.

So basically, you can’t win.  But you can survive Mother’s day.  Find yourself a charming little anecdote with which to bolster your spirits and soldier on until wine o’clock.  I love this little one I received on a gorgeous handmade card from my friends at My Fun Box;

Mums are like buttons…..

They hold everything together!

Hold it together Mamas, there’s always next year xx

 

 

 

 

Thou shalt not judge my parenting on Mondays

Nix turns two in 2 months and he’s all about the tantrums.  All.  The.  Time.

I can deal with this just fine, however, a grande mal paddy sometimes causes a bit of a time crunch when you are trying to leave the house by 9.30am.  God that sounded like eons of time once in my life – getting on your way and in the car by 9.30?  pfffftttt, nothing to it.  Now I’m on struggle street with such an ‘early’ departure, I hate it.

Anyway, swimming at 10am + a multiple paddy morning = frazzled mama.  I realized about halfway to the class that I had failed to pack Nix any swimming togs.  I had a disposable swim nappy so that would have to suffice.  But the LOOKS!  I was officially deemed ‘that’ mother in the eyes of my peers, the instructor was quite horrified  and every time I launched Nix out of the pool with gay abandon all eyes followed his nappy clothed, swimming trunk-less bottom as if at any time it was going to blow!

We survived the lesson and in the creepy silence of the changing room where no-one talks to each other, the Mum next to me began cursing under her breath.  My swimming togs faux pas was trumped by a forgotten bra!  My worst nightmare.  It was obviously Monday-itis all round.

We emerged from our joyous time in the chlorine and headed to the mall to pick up a few things.  Much like taking Nixon to a restaurant, taking him shopping is also an exercise in speed, distraction and mostly just speed.  He hates being confined to his stroller with a passion.  A very loud and vocal passion.  When I saw there was no line at my $10 eyebrow waxing joint I made an executive decision – we were going in, stroller and all.  I handed Nix my phone {breaking parenting rule #71 right?}, found him some videos of himself to watch and told the beautician it was Go Time – we had a ticking time bomb on our hands.  She was totally the mistress of speedy wax jobs and I headed on my way, ready to brave the mall, with the addition of bright red waxing marks on my face. Such a babe.  

It was then a caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and learnt a hard lesson; my trackies may be from Country Rd, but this does not make them fit for wearing in public.  One word, pajamas.  

So I was feeling really pumped up as we hit Kmart (not) and there were signs that Nixon was rapidly descending into shit-losing-mode.  I found The Wiggles on Spotify and pumped it up to full volume and handed him my phone again, I know I know!  I skipped the ‘trendy’ homewares section and powered through to the boys clothes department.  Nix needed some winter play clothes so I wasn’t leaving until I had them.  

By the time we left the shoes, it was all over.  Back arched, screams at mega-decibel level, I ran to the check-out only stopping to demonstrate my next display of uber parenting – I grabbed a Kit Kat and a juice bottle and said ‘have at it kiddo’ {Breaking parenting rule #3 I’m pretty sure}.  I had bought myself enough time to pay for the clothes, and power my way through another store to pick up Mum’s Mother’s Day gift.

So yeah.  Monday.  As I said to the bra-less mother at swimming, “it can only get better from here right?”.

 

These are my people. Even the toddler.

Yesterday I turned 36.

Ok.  I’m cool, just had to let that sink in for a minute.

Having 2 kids with an 8.5 year age gap means that the four of us often go in different directions. If Ethan has a rugby game and it’s pouring with rain, either Dave or I will stay home with Nix. When I depart to deliver E to pool training, battling rush hour traffic on Lincoln Rd, Nixon will stay at home with Mum.  If there are errands to run or events to go to at nap time, one of us hits the road and the other stays home with bubs.  This is how we roll.  But it kinda sucks.  Going places as a family is kinda the point of having, you know, FAMILY.

So yesterday Dave was hounding me all day about what I wanted to do for my birthday dinner.  My lazy-girl inclinations were screaming fush ‘n chips however my birthday girl sensibilities won and I suggested taking Ethan out to eat with Dave and I. I know no-one believes me when I try and explain why taking Nixon to a restaurant doesn’t immediately spring to mind as one of my Top 5 things to do on my birthday, so I won’t even go there.  All I will say is that it is very, V E R Y stressful.

My limited birthday dinner guest list was overruled by Dave and we headed out to eat at The Flying Burrito Brothers with Ethan, my Mum and Nixon in tow.  < I highly recommend TFBB as a kid friendly place to eat, they have high chairs and the food comes out quick! >

Thank goodness!  How wonderful it was to sit down with my favourite people in the world and share great food and appreciate just how lucky we are to have each other.  I’m pretty sure the other diners weren’t all up the good vibes but hey-ho, ’twas ma birthday bitches and I’ll bring my cray-cray 22 month behemoth out to eat if I feel like it!  And, I think I’ll start doing it more often as well.

Dave and I ate out all the time when Ethan was a baby and toddler.  We were living in San Diego at the time and food was cheap plus, Ethan was a very different child to Nixon.  Nix struggles to remain in his high-chair at home for the duration of a meal, so expecting him to do so in the new/exciting environment of a restaurant where there are people to woo, nooks and crannies to explore and food to steal off of every table is laughable.  

But laugh we did.  Our reservation was for 6pm and we were in the car and on the way home by 7pm!  Bam.  I’m not going to lie.  I found it fever pitch stressful, it felt like we were running the amazing race, hurtling towards the next food drop, hoping it would arrive before Nixon lost his shit and rappelled from the high chair.  But we were together on my birthday.  I may not have eaten much of the avocado salsa before Nix commandeered it for his own high chair entree but I enjoyed my shrimp fajitas and my delicious glass of wine and most of all I enjoyed my people.  Being out in public, as a family, with all of my people.  Even the littlest one xx

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Flying by the seat of my pants.

Last week saw the somewhat anticipated beginning of Term 2. After a lovely, lazy two weeks of school holidays E left the house last Monday happy and ready to get stuck in to another school term. Compared to holidays past, the Easter break was chilled and calm. I made no School Holiday Activity Lists as I have done in the past, in fact there were only two days of ‘planned’ excursions over the entire break. Quel horreur!
It was bloody good. And cheap.
The Problem With Last Week began upon Ethan’s return to school. See, I forgot to kick myself out of school holiday mode and spent the rest of the week trying to remove my head from my ass the clouds and get some shit done.  Nixie was very busy getting shit done as he picked up another bout of rotavirus the week before, let the good times roll!  

So it was the kind of week where permission slips and gold coins were scrambled for 5 minutes after E was supposed to leave for school, dinners were freezer-to-microwave affairs – unplanned and unremarkable, I was out two nights, further complicating matters and leaving me even less time to, well, not do Very Important Stuff.  Like be an awesome mum and wife : (

Sigh.

The ‘work’ week ended with Dave and I having a big fight about an outdoor project we were going to be completing over the weekend.  Ridiculous, but the culmination of a very stressful week for Dave and a useless, self-absorbed week for me.  I’ve been focussing on all the wrong things, neglecting the right things and letting my beautiful family slip by the wayside.

This week will be better.  The work week is already a day shorter so I’m winning already.  We had such a great long weekend, Dave and I are totally back on the same page and aside from him smashing his face skateboarding in the weekend and chipping a tooth badly (read: $$$), I’m ready to rock this week!

I hope you guys are on track for an amazing week too xx

 

Hello Nixon | 20 Months “BUBBY-do”

Mummy Blog NZ New Zealand Blogger These are the days you wait for.

I also have a feeling these are the days you miss the most when they are gone.  My faithful sidekick, with me every minute of the day, screaming “BUBBY-do!!” at every turn, at every milestone throughout the day – laundry, meal time, bed making, dog walking, potato peeling, unloading the dishwasher……..son, your domestic training has begun early!

I have never felt so utterly happy and at peace as I did today while I was mowing the back lawn.  Weird, I know, but when a little person is just radiating joy because the two of you are out in the yard, mowing and pretend mowing together, it’s a nice little reminder of how simple life can be – and should be?  I know every parent believes in their child and loves them more and more with each passing second, and I’m totally having one of those ‘my kids is the shit’ moments, but I just wish every single person I know could experience how hilarious and smart, loving and amazing Nix is at this special age.  So close to two, and yet so far from the baby he’s grown out of.  He’s one of those kids whose personality is so huge it takes over the whole house and has everyone wrapped around his little finger, hoping to be next in line for big, slobbery hugs.

The things that make Nix happy are many, varied and random;

  1. Favourite book – Tiddler
  2. Favourite food – Beetroot and avocado
  3. Favourite toy – Trucks
  4. Favourite person – Ethan + E’s friends
  5. Favourite show – Little Einsteins
  6. Favourite jams – The Wiggles
  7. Favourite Soft Toy – Leapfrog Puppy & Sharky
  8. Favourite topic of conversation – Diggers 
  9. Favourite pastime – Helping “I help it”
  10. Favourite weirdo habit – carrying his baby powder around ‘PowPow’

The things Nix hates are also many;

  1. He still hates having his diaper changed.  I don’t blame him, an unfortunate side-effect of Hirschsprungs Disease
  2. He does not enjoy the locks on the pantry
  3. He does not enjoy following instruction at swimming lessons
  4. He is still fighting his battle with Sandpit Rage, it’s a long, hard road
  5. He hates it when we drive somewhere that ISN’T the Nor’Western Motorway ergo no diggers, this makes Nixon very, very angry
  6. He hates it when his mash is late and taking too long to cool down
  7. He very much dislikes getting out of the shower
  8. He appears to be very afraid of spiders and bugs
  9. Despite being filthy and playing outside most of the time, he dislikes his hands being dirty
  10. When he is with his Dad en masse, ie the weekends, he hates being out of reach of him.  Dave can’t easily go swimming, or disappear from sight.  Nix loves his daddy.

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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?

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Turning a corner | Weaning my toddler

Nix has always hated the car.  Vehemently.   Road trips are a knife edge experience of gritted teeth as we wait for him to lose the plot and turn on his air raid sirens.  Child is L O U D.  He has been this way since birth, and looking back I wonder if his body position in the capsule and carseat was painful for his wee tummy for his first 9 months pre-Hirschsprungs diagnosis.  Until he was about 6 months old he would be in tears or close to it after only 5 minutes into our journey.  School pick-ups were a nightmare if we arrived early, let’s just say Ethan never had trouble finding the car thanks to his baby brother!  I also suffered a lot of postpartum pain for months after Nixon’s birth,  the simple task of getting the capsule in and out of the truck required heroic effort that I simply didn’t have most of the time.

So, we stayed at home a lot in the early days.

Yesterday we popped up the road to go to the bank, the post office and the vege stand – no stroller or carrier and I didn’t hold Nix while in the shops.  Because this little free spirit is generally a non-compliant tornado, I’m quite loathe to let him loose in public, however it’s time for him to learn and for me to get over my mental block regarding taking Nix out and about. Yesterday he we did great.  Awesome even!  Quite a line in the post office sent fear shooting through my heart, but we survived with only a small tantrum when Nix couldn’t press the eftpos buttons for me – that I can handle.

I was driving home and we were chatting away about diggers and diesel in the truck, Our House, ‘Nouie’ = Louie and a myriad of Nixon’s other favorite topics, when I realised it was all I could do not to pull over and just sit and stare at him, to try and drink him up with my eyes.  

I remember being wonder-struck with Ethan at around the same age.  This Autumn season of baby-ness before they turn 2 is one of my favorite ages.  Every day when he wakes, Nix seems to be joining more and more words together, finding new and more inventive ways to make mess and lavishing hugs and kisses on all of us with much gusto.  

What’s really got me feeling all gooey is that I know it’s time for me to stop breastfeeding.  Nix will be 20 months in a couple of days and is 15 kilograms of raging baby bull.  Feeding this particular baby bull is no easy task.  He yanks and pulls and whips his head around, he kicks my face and thrashes like a shark in a net.  It ain’t pretty.  But it’s quite lovely still.  I’m ready to move on but I know without a shadow of a doubt that Nixon will not give up the boob on his own.  After months of thought and ummming and ahhhing over the issue, today was the day we started weaning – no good reason why, I just had an idea I thought I’d try.

Nix asked for milk {or guhhhguhhh as he calls it, don’t ask!} at around morning tea time which was weird as he never usually feeds then anyway.  I jumped up and said “guhhhhguhh all done, but you can have some Big Boy Milk”.  I proceeded to make a huge fuss about the pouring of the Big Boy Milk, complete with a fancy bendy straw, and voila!  The boy drank cows milk.  Just like that.  

Naptime at 1pm was not quite as easy, there were tears but we survived.  Just.  At bedtime Dave and I introduced a new routine of quiet time with both of us, a book and some more Big Boy Milk.  I followed this with his normal nighttime routine, sans breastfeeding of course, and it worked.  He asked again for good ol’ guhhhguhhh, but I stuck with the party line of “all done”  and that was that.  Off to sleep without a peep.

And I just feel conflicted, sad and weird.  But I’m also damn ready to ditch these crappy bras I’ve been wearing for 2 years and put on a dress!

So wish Nixon and I luck.  He’ll be fine.  Me, well, time will tell x

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Toddler Swimming Lessons | The Great Equaliser

In true second child fashion, Nixon began swimming lessons last week at the ‘advanced’ age of 19 months.  Ethan on the other hand, had his swimming debut at 3 months and has never stopped – 10 years of swimming $!$

Dave and I were in complete agreement that the need was not there to subject ourselves Nix to hours upon hours of singing nursery rhymes in the pool while spinning him around like a motorboat.  Child loves the water and has had plenty of swims over his two summers in pools and at the beach, so we decided to wait a bit until he could actually comprehend swimming instruction and potentially benefit from it.

Unfortunately our weekly swimming lesson seems to be the thorn in my schedules side.  I can’t seem to remember the damn date/time.  We completely missed the first lesson, I was at the library, chatting away to another mum about how our lessons were beginning the following day, only to get home, check the calendar and find that I should have been in the pool that morning instead of talking about the pool.  Monday was my chance to redeem myself – I was prepared for the 10.30 lesson, I was packed and ready to go {apart from being actually in my togs, dressed and with my teeth brushed}.  I was almost ready to go!

Then I walked by the damn calendar and 10am leapt out at me like a cattle prod.  10am!!!  It was already 9.40 and…..see above…..

I think I may have been trying to sabotage swimming as the make-up lesson graciously offered to me for being so ditzy the week before was a freaking nightmare.  A terrible, toddler nightmare.

Dave was working from home so decided to come and ‘work’ via the pool.  We thought it would be a great idea for him to take Nixie swimming as you never know when he may be able to attend again right?  Such a bad idea.  Nixon dominated the whole lesson, bossing, yelling, screaming NO NO NO.  You would think he didn’t enjoy it – truth was he was having a great time, as long as he could do what he wanted to do.  Baby boy had zero tolerance for listening to instructions, no time whatsoever for doing what the other bubs were doing and certainly no interest in co-operating with his Dad.  It was almost embarrassing.  There, I said it.  My son’s volume goes up to 13 and he DEMANDS attention.  The only time he stopped yelling at everyone was when he and Dave would ‘swim’ past the seating area when he would raise up a little arm and wave at the spectators with a huge smile on his dictator-like-angel-face.  We left without even getting changed and simply popped a dry nappy on Nix in the car.

I was so scared of a repeat performance.

Luckily we arrived with minutes to spare and Nix was on his best behaviour.  We only had one incident where he climbed out of the pool and ran away from me, laughing of course! This was the moment I realised that when you are in a pool filled with numerous small people and their parents {and who knows what volume of wee mixed with chlorine} you are all equals.  There is no time to visually measure yourself up against the other Mums, to check out mani-pedis and the brand of swimwear each other is wearing – my nana-esque tankini is from Shanton if you were wondering.  There is nary an ounce of grace and beauty to be found in my being whilst I am in the pool with Nixon for his swim lesson.  It feels like helping a blindfolded baby hippo/octopus navigate through Farmers when all of the pensioners are shopping on cardholder day.  Excruciating in other words.

As I was hoisting myself out of the pool after my naughty boy, I caught a glimpse of another mummy blogger waving at me from the seats.  Of all the times in my life to bump into one of the most put-together, 10/10 babein mamas it would be on the day I was running super late, ergo I look like shit, I’m in my togs in public – FML –  and I’m wrestling with Nixon.  Too good I tell you, but you know what?  None of it mattered.  My little guy had so much fun in the pool which was a huge relief and I loved the feeling of his little hands gripping me tight around the neck when we did exercises he wasn’t quite sure of, I loved the joy on his face when it was time to jump off the edge of the pool and how it felt to catch him and pull him close.  I loved the whole damn, wet half hour and I’m kinda looking forward to next Monday to do it all over again.

God, this parenting gig never ceases to amaze.

Toddler Swimming Lesson