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parenting

This day. These hours.

I have been selfishly pining for this day all week.

I have;

  • silence
  • light rain
  • an empty house

and holy shit does it feel good.

Dave spent the week working in Wellington and upon his return yesterday, Nixon gave him a cursory glance and a quick high five then resumed following me around, tugging on my shirt, standing on my feet {which I hate more than anything} and yelling “MAMM, MAMM” every five seconds for around 8 hours.  I just sat here holding my head after typing that, feeling like a bit of a failure for complaining about my beautiful little guy, but yesterday was a struggle – on top of a myriad of 10 year old struggles over the past 5 days ::::::shakes fist at Xbox – bane of my life:::::.

When Dave did arrive home at around 10am, he was so busy with work that he spent the day chained to his laptop, no relief in sight.  Except naptime.  The day before, Nix had napped for 3 1/4 hours so my respite expectations were high.  Too high it seemed.  1 hour was all we got plus a screaming wake-up after which it took me about 25 minutes to calm him down.  I ended up popping him in the baby seat on my bike, grabbing E and cruising the streets for a while simply because surely no-one could demand anything from me when I’m on a bike right?

We salvaged the afternoon with some ice cream and a lemonade popsicle for Nix {oh yes I did!} and headed home for the dinner shift.

Keeping me going throughout the day was the promise of an evening run.  Headphones in, Hole, Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana spurring me on as I try not to die from breathing in the hottest, most humid air ever.  Pumped.  Until E decided to run with me.  He normally rides the 5.5km so I was really unsure about how it was going to play out.  I imagined him giving up 1km in and me having to drag him home, totally gutted because I couldn’t get a good workout in.  Kid smashed it.  He power walked when he needed to, told me to go ahead then chased me down, he filled my mama-cup to bursting just when I needed it.

Need it I did as Nixon fought bedtime {something I had also been looking forward to all day} for like, the first time in his life wtf.  9pm was when Dave and I sat down to eat dinner.

Oh day of days.  Nothing totally bad happened, so……so,  gawd, it must have been me.  Me at the end of 5 days of solo-parenting through the last week of the school holidays.  That and I’m still pissed about getting attacked by a rooster.

So, I don’t have a whole day to pull myself back together into the Model of Motherhood perfection that I normally am HA, but I do have about 3 hours until the boys arrive home from their trip to the museum – overtired and overdue for a too short nap no doubt, but ready for a cuddle with a grateful and recharged Mama.

Toddler Life Mummy Blogger NZ 

 

 

Mummy multi-tasking and the demise of productivity

Mummy multi-tasking and the demise of productivity

I was phaffing about the other morning trying to do All The Things simultaneously as per usual. I wandered out of the bathroom whilst brushing my teeth, thinking that I would put the washing on.  En route to the laundry I spied an errant plate, scooped it up and headed for the kitchen. On my return to the laundry I was caught in a quandary, I had noticed we were running low on dishwash liquid and really needed to add it to the shopping list before I forgot, but the washing really needed to get started, oh yeah, and my teeth were clean by this point so I also needed to head back to the bathroom before that ” I’ve had something in my mouth for WAY too long gagging” began.
At this point I was actually rooted to the spot, turning back and forth, 180 degrees in indecision.
Enough is enough. My focus is shot and adult onset ADD is not something I’m keen on adding to my list of mental tics! It’s time to turn back the clock about a decade I think, back to a time before the crippling blight of mummy multi-tasking got its hooks into all of us. Now keep it in context, when I talk about multi-tasking, I’m not talking writing spreadsheet macros whilst working on a presentation and simultaneously translating my blog into Chinese for the wider enjoyment of my readers. I’m a stay at home mum, no, a decrease in productivity will not have a major effect on the GDP of New Zealand, but it does frustrate me enough to want to do something about it.
So, I’m going to try to slow my body and more importantly my mind down and practice a few simple things as I go through my day, task by task, moment by moment.

  1. Be still. Remain where I am. Sit.
    I tend to look at my house {and my day in fact} as a series of individual blocks, or tasks that make up the whole.  Instead of roaming the house getting caught in the pattern of ‘pick something up, put it away, repeat’ in which I end up doing laps of the house but never completely finish tidying any one room, I’m going to try to completely finish one area/task before moving on to the next {or getting distracted by FB!}.  When I – rarely – sit down, I want to make it count.  I plan on sitting and eating breakfast and lunch with the kids instead of standing in the kitchen, sitting and replying to all of my emails at once instead of pounding out one and forgetting the rest for days and making down-time phone free time.
  2. Prioritize and stay on task accordingly, kids being #1 priority!
  3. Allocate a certain amount of time for productive housework, cooking, blogging and stick to the time limit.  Knowing I don’t have all day to vacuum and mop the floors will certainly help me knock it out super fast.  This will also free up more time for things I actually enjoy doing.
  4. STOP procrastinating.  Tackling issues as soon as they arise or completing undesirable jobs asap will stop them becoming bigger than they are and taking up more mental real estate then they deserve.

Ok, I’m really good at making lists, the hard part is implementing these simple ideas into my day-to-day life.

2015, I deem you the year of Unitasking!  Who’s with me?

p.s This post took me 24 hours and approx 6 sessions of up-down computer time before I hit publish arghhhh!  It’s time to stop the madness.

 

 

T-7 Days. You know what I’m talking about.

I’m not going to write my usual bitch ‘n moan style post about the school holidays as I’m not feeling it this year.  E and I have had some hard days, but we’ve moved on and had some totally kick-ass days too.  Those days make it all worth it.  Being 10 is hard but I think after a lot of talking and thinking on both sides, Ethan, Dave and I have landed at a good place to kick off Term 1.  One of the most amaze qualities I’m noticing in my big boy at the moment is his ability to completely separate whatever feelings/frustrations he has going on with his Dad and I, and still lavish heaps of love and attention upon his little brother.  Nixon is so lucky to be forever under the wing of such a natural big bro.

Dave is heading to Wellington to work for the next week so the boys and I have some fun activities lined up that we will mix up with low-budget days exploring and beaching.  Aside from the  l o n g  days of solo parenting when Dave’s away, I’m feeling a bit stressy about my running – I won’t be able head out first thing in the morning for 5 days!  I’m such a massive creature of habit that the thought of running at night once mum gets home and it finally cools down kinda fills me with dread.  To say I’m inflexible in my routine is a bit of an understatement!  This weather has made for such a stunning January it’s been easy to maintain my little goal of saying ‘yes’ and milking summer for all it’s worth.  The flip side of this {of course there is always a flip side right?} is that my blogging motivation is lacking, but I’m definitely not beating myself up over that.  It’s not the season for me to write, but I have been working on some exciting plans and partnerships for the months ahead, things are ticking along at The Best Nest and I’m so excited about 2015!  

That’s all, go forth and may your Sunday be maxxed out with awesomeness!

Mummy Blog NZ New Zealand

 

 

 

5 Tips for Easing into Potty Training with your Toddler

5 Tips for Easing into Potty Training with your Toddler

After Nixon was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease we were told to expect that toilet training would probably be late, be very hard work and would likely take a lot longer than other children his age.
We were prepared for the worst basically.
What we have noticed however, is that post-op he does have sensation when he is toileting and he is letting us know when he has any action going on down there! Just more testament to the amazing skill of the surgical team at Starship I suppose, but our babes recovery has been nothing short of a miracle to us!
So, naturally, with all systems go in the plumbing department we have begun thinking about toilet training and all the trials and tribulations that go along with it.  We’re not going to rush things; potty training before a child is ready is totally detrimental to the whole process in my opinion, but Dave and I have discussed getting the ball rolling at the end of summer to capitalise on his cognition and the warm weather!
Trying to remember the process we used when potty training Ethan has been doing my head in, it’s a bit like dumpster diving into the depths of the mummy-brain archives. Much like the pain of child birth; I think the tricky times like bed wetting and endless laundry get buried amid happy milestones and cute Instagram photos lol.
I have remembered a few tricks that worked well with E so I’m going to document them here for my reference as much as anyone else’s!

  1. When we decided it was time to begin daytime potty training I ensured that we could have at least 3 days of uninterrupted home time so the potty was always easily accessible and accidents resulted in minimal fuss.
  2. We had previously planted the seed the month prior with lots of positive talk about using the bathroom and losing the nappies.
  3. Be prepared for no pants, hence we will be beginning potty training in summer.  Pulling pants, underwear, shorts, whatever, up and down is only going to complicate an already complicated skill your child is going to learn.  If they are bare bottomed the are much more likely to succeed in making it to the potty on time.
  4. Celebrate the victories and gloss over the accidents completely.
  5. Take the next step of night training very slowly.  When toddlers begin waking with a dry or slightly wet nappy and they have mastered day time training, you’re probably good to go!    We made sure we eased into this phase with supplies at the ready; mattress protectors or Brolly Sheets – make sure you have at least two so middle of the night accidents can be quickly cleaned up, and training pants such as Huggies DryNites to help ease the transition out of nappies and into underwear with minimal bedwetting.  These were invaluable for Ethan; they represented a graduation from nappies – a Big Boy pair of pants that acknowledged his successes.  To help establish the new dry-night routine, Dave and I always lifted Ethan to the toilet before we went to bed.  We did this for months which helped build his confidence and ensure we all got a good nights sleep.

So,  we’re going to think on that for the next 8 weeks or so and see how Nixon’s progressing come Summer’s end.  It’s good to feel like I have a little bit of a plan in place as we head into this next era of no diapers!

This post was sponsored by Huggies DryNites.

 

 

 

The Boy/Girl Conundrum

The Boy/Girl Conundrum

Before finishing off Nixie’s Christmas Shopping yesterday, I was enjoying a bit of downtime getting my nails done and chatting away to the nail tech.  We were {of course} discussing our kids and their Christmas wish lists.  She was so sad to hear that I had two boys and commiserated over this fact for what seemed like forever! I have never found myself lamenting our lack of girl-children, I can’t say I haven’t thought about how nice it would be to have some pigtails to wrangle or some dolly’s to dress-up but what can you do?  We have been so blessed with two amazing boys that I can’t say I feel too unfortunate lol.

She did make a very valid point, one that had already been hovering in my head for a few years;

A son is a son till he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life

This really old fashioned notion is so true for our family.  Though Dave certainly misses his family back home in the states, he barely had to think twice about moving across the world to bring his little family to New Zealand to live – because that is what I wanted.  The same is true of my brother, he and his wife are planning on moving back to the states next year, while I can’t imagine living that far away from my mum ever again!

Both of my kids are super capable and self-confident and fiercely independent.  They will leave.  They will fly the nest and do amazing things.  This I am sure of.  And this is what they should do, and what any mama worth her salt will want for her kids.  But if I’m perfectly honest, it does make me feel a touch sad.  I LOVE all of their very boyish traits and their rough and ready, permanently barefoot and dirty attitude to life.  I love the rugby, the diggers the frogs, the constant eating, the guns and the noise.  I’m just not sure I can imagine life when all of those things are memories and my sons are not as close as I’d like.

What do you guys think?  I realise I’m totally jumping the gun here, but ahhhh, my boy babies, I want them with me forever!

 

Being PRESENT means learning not to sweat the small stuff

Being PRESENT means learning not to sweat the small stuff

Thanks to Rexona Invisible Dry for sponsoring this post – originally published on nzgirl

I am a Mum.  I am also a stay-at-home Mum.

Every choice you make as a mother comes at a cost; the equal and opposite alternative to your decision to stay at home or go to work will always be there, niggling a little on those tough days and always reminding you of what you have given up.

For me, dealing with the daily predictability of an unpredictable toddler and a pre-teen means I have to stay focused and keep my head in the game – the game may be as unglamourous as getting the laundry done and the beds made but that’s my reality right now.  Getting stuck in my own head and focusing on the minutiae of everyday domestic life will no doubt result in a spanking clean kitchen but it won’t help ease the professional yearnings I left behind when I bid adieu to paid employment.

But, being present, visible and in the moment with my kids does and will fulfill me in ways that I never expected before I had children and that I don’t think I could replicate any other way.  But, you have to be open to that fulfillment.  Over the past week I’ve been practising a little trick I call Stop & Drop.  Basically, I have promised myself that when my 1 year old brings me that book about diggers we have read 172 times already today, I will stop what I’m doing, drop the dish towel and sit on the floor and read to him.  When my big boy wants desperately to show me his Minecraft creation that I have zero interest in, I will stop what I’m doing and sit at the computer with him for five minutes and simply look and listen.

Breaking the habit of saying “No, Mama’s too busy” is hard, it requires me to let go of my ‘perfect house’, ignore the crumbs on the floor, breathe through nap-time strikes and relish this time with my babies above all else.  It’s learning not to sweat the small stuff, and radically loving the bigger picture, be it your kids at home with you each day, or the joy you feel when you pick them up from daycare.  In both my prior role as a working mum and currently as a stay at home mum, one thing I simply don’t have time to worry about is excess sweating.  Post-baby body issues and being spotted in your around-the-house uniform of yoga pants are enough of a battle without the stress of ruining your clothes with sweat stains.  Rexona Invisible Dry has worked for me, the 48 hour protection keeping me feeling fresh, even on those days when a shower has slipped to the bottom of the priority list!

There are many areas where we can feel like we’re failing as parents, try sweeping the slate clean, cutting yourself some slack and getting real with the expectations you have put on yourself as a mother.  Make some micro-goals and try and work them into your week;  if you’re worried the amount of fish finger dinners getting served, allocate one night a week to try a new, healthy recipe, if you’re worried about screen time incorporate some outdoor activities or simply get down on the ground and drive toy cars around the house for half an hour.  Simplify and you will be amazed at how your kids react, they will LOVE it!

Practise makes perfect but simply being a mother who is visible, present and accessible to her children is the best kind of mother there is.

Get.  Out.  Side.

Get. Out. Side.

After a slightly bumpy start to the weekend involving husband away on a work project, bronchitis, being locked out of the house, bleeding/vomiting dogs, dogs shitting on carpet, grumpy-ass children, children weeing on carpet……culminating in Fish ‘n Chips and bourbon on Saturday night, I woke up on Sunday and told myself “today is going to rock”.  And then I told the children and they seemed to take this on board quite well at 6am, Nix gave me a fist pump, we laced up our runners and hit the streets.  Ethan normally complains like a man possessed about having to exercise with us, so I wasn’t prepared for his sparkling attitude and his decision to RUN so he could hang with me instead of riding his bike.  Things were looking good!

The weather was also amaze.  There was nothing else to do but go to the beach.  I made things as easy for myself as possible and took one bucket of toys for the boys and one large bag with all of our gear, food, towels and baby stuff.  I needed a beach where I wouldn’t have to park miles away, so got some local knowledge from one of my girlfriends and we hit the sand at an awesome uncrowded spot with lots of lovely sandstone rock pools for the boys to play in.

Best day in a  l o n g  time.  Sometimes when you’re finding things a bit tough, I think you just have to make a decision that things WILL be better.  And just make it happen.  Do epic shit.  Use all the internet motivational catch-phrases you need but just make a decision and roll with it.  Also simplify, lower your expectations and most importantly for me, leave the damn house!

Have a wonderful week lovelies xx

Kids getting fit
Kids on TrampolineBaby at the BEach
Baby in rockpool
NZ Summer Rockpooling
Summer in NZ

Your baby will sleep…….I promise

Baby Sleep
Thanks so much to Sovereign for sponsoring this post.  As part of their #lifetakecharge campaign Sovereign have identified sleep, along with eating well, exercise and happiness, as four essential pillars to well being and I couldn’t agree more!

Sleep (and in many cases, the lack thereof) can be all consuming, markedly more so when you are juggling your own sleep requirements with those of a baby or toddler!  Being awake {usually multiple times} in those strange, dead hours of the night is weird, it wrecks havoc on your brain and body which desperately needs rest and recovery after the physical, emotional and mental strain of welcoming your new baby.  Tending to your child with some degree of parental prowess after being screamed awake at 3am is surely one of humanities most under-rated tasks, though new parents are blessed {?} with that instant hyper-alert awakeness that only your crying child can evoke.  I’m 10 years deep in this parenting gig, and the sound of my eldest son stirring in the night can still wake me from twenty paces I kid you not.

When I think back 16 short months to Nixon’s hazy newborn days, the one thing I regret is stressing so much about how much sleep he was getting, or not getting.  With some hindsight, and a slightly less foggy brain, I have realized that his wee micro-naps of half an hour here and there suited him perfectly in that transitional first three months.  He has always been an excellent sleeper at night (except for the first month post-op) and a hyper-vigilant somewhat rubbish sleeper during the day.  Obsessing and counting the minutes he slept did nothing to help either of us move past each difficult sleep regression and milestone.
What did help in the early days was a pencil and notebook.

I started recording the basic details of his day; wake up times, feeding times, alert times, sleep times.  What emerged was a pattern that I recognised immediately as our eldest son had blissfully nursed himself to sleep for the best part of his first 6 months, every nap and every bedtime.  This worked beautifully for Ethan and I but it wasn’t working with Nixon.  I switched things around to a pattern of wake, feed, play, sleep – with only a small comfort nurse before naps and bedtimes.  This ensured that Nix went to bed awake and quickly settled himself to sleep.  Previously his hyper-vigilance would result in him waking after around 15 minutes if I popped him to bed after falling asleep while nursing.

Figuring out a daytime schedule that worked for us set us up for wonderful sleep patterns at night – mostly.  I fully believe that sleep encourages more sleep.  To this day Nix will have a disturbed, unsettled sleep at night if he has not slept well during the day.  We definitely went through some rough patches where Nixon would wake every two hours wanting to nurse back to sleep, and these nights were the  l o n g e s t  and hardest of my life.  I cried and I totally bitched at Dave because he couldn’t do a damn thing for a baby that only wanted me and my milk.  

By 9 months I knew Nixon was old enough (and I was brave enough!) to start cutting down those dreaded night feeds.  Dave and I made a plan, we woke together, watched the clock, knew how long we would let Nix attempt to settle himself and we knew what we would do if things weren’t going to plan.  Four days later and we had a baby sleeping through the night.

This all went out the window after multiple hospital stays and Nixon’s pull-through operation, but we revisited our night-time strategy and within a week, bub was back on track and we were once again getting an acceptable amount of sleep.

As I mentioned previously, getting Nix to sleep during the day used to cause me so much anxiety.  It’s taken 16 months but I’ve pretty much got it under control, this week anyway!  Before naptime we read a book, change Nixon’s nappy, get the cot and sleep sac ready, pull the blind and settle down for a quick breast-feed in the same spot.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Nixon knows what’s going on, there are no surprises and sleep usually follows.  

Finding a good routine is hard, and trying to adhere to one can sometimes make you feel like a big, boring stickler, but I truly believe that a consistent routine helps babies, toddlers and big kids sleep and sleep well.  

Bon nuit xx

 

 

The Age Gap = A Very L O N G Week

 mummy-blog-nz-age-gap

Pass the wine.  

For the past 13 months I have been self-righteously patting myself on the back, mentally high-fiving because the huge age gap between our kids has been a huge non-event.  And truth be told it hasn’t been difficult in any of the ways one would expect;

  • Ethan has not been jealous of his little at all
  • If anything juggling a newborn with a very busy 8.5 year old was only minutely difficult
  • E loves playing with nix and vice versa
  • E delights in all of his bro’s developmental milestones and is as proud as punch of his wee brother.
  • These two are so close and adore each other in a way that is going to result in the strongest bond that they will treasure as they grow older.

There has been a storm quietly brewing though.  Stewing and simmering, rearing it’s head every now again amidst protestations against iPad time limits and run of the mill simple requests are being constantly met with opposition and resistance.

It’s doing my freaking head in people.  

I have to admit, The Age Gap problem is real and it’s pretty much living in my head.  Changing channels between the totally transparent requirements of 13 month old Nixon and the ever-changing, complex analysis and head-nodding required to keep pre-tween E on an even keel is SO HARD.  I almost cried and ran to my room about 17 times this week.

Big is going through a phase which apparently requires compulsory attempts at control of all situations and as many arguments as you can fit in the day.  Thank god I have a hair appointment on Saturday as I can actually see my grey hairs growing before my eyes.

So.  That’s life at the moment.  In baby news, Nixon’s bum rash has stopped bleeding and his appointment today with the surgical team went really well!  He also loves meatloaf and making animal sounds.  Yah age gap!

The Life Cyclone.  You know, it’s just like yours right?

The Life Cyclone. You know, it’s just like yours right?

Oh this week.

Oh every. single. day of this marathon week of crapness.

Currently on day 12 of massive sinus infection.  Dave took the day off on Tuesday as I was completely useless and took my ass to the doctor.  I cried in the waiting room and I blubbed in the doctors office about how every fibre of my being hurt and that there was just SO much green shit in my head that it was surely addling my brain.  Antibiotics seem to be taking their sweet time to kick in because I still feel like shit, like I’m drowning from the inside.  In a sea of snot, it’s delightful no?

Yesterday morning Nix did the unthinkable.  He slept for 3.5hrs.  I also did the unthinkable and went to bed and laid down for 3.5hrs.  I’m pretty sure the only reason I let myself do this is because Gil from Mudbird Ceramics did it and I thought,’wow, she’s clever, resting when you don’t feel well?  amazing’.  Felt so guilty though, for doing nothing for so many minutes in a row!  Mummy guilt sucks.

So, Nix wakes up happy as, I grab him, breastfeed him and take him over to the changing table to freshen him up.   I then realised exactly how completely stuffed up my head was because I had failed to notice the acrid stench of one of Nixon’s Poo of the Month poo-splosions.  We all get very excited when the babe poos because it so rarely happens and thus, it’s guaranteed to be a doozy when it does.  Nix eats a diet really high in LSA and quinoa to keep his little bowels on the move so things coming from the nether have the un-wipeable consistency of a sand cheesecake.  The only way to move on from Poo of the Month is with a water blaster/bath.  I cleaned Nix up enough so I could pop him on the floor whilst I retrieved the laundry basket baby bath, making my way through the house {wondering why someone would hide the laundry basket baby bath FFS} I noticed a poo skid on the carpet.  There were also two poos on the carpet.  Brilliant dogs we have, they bring me SO much joy.

Found the tub and headed back in to Nixon’s room just in time to see his little wang arcing a stream of wee onto his sheepskin rug.  Bullseye.  My morning complete.

I’m not even going to mention the dramas with E this week, they weigh too heavily and put in perspective how trivial poos and Shi-Tzus really are.  I have a feeling these coming pre-teen years are going to be so testing, thank God for my amazing Mum who has whisked him away for the weekend pre-empting any Cyclone Luci tragedies in our house.  I kid, I kid ……. almost completely joking there!

What about the sunrise this morning?  Our whole house was lit pink when I woke.  Amazing.  Cyclone’s going to be hopefully a tank-full of fun!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

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