There are countless snap-worthy moments on any given day in my household. Rascal is always doing something adorable or hilarious or sneaky or interesting. All of these deserve a quick pic to record in the Facebook brag book.
I remember when Rascal was only about 9 months old that something quite important dawned on me, an epiphany you might say. I had been busy when I turned around to see Rascal doing something absolutely adorable. I instantly thought to myself ‘Quick! Where’s the camera?!’ followed by a mad search of the immediate area. That located no phone so I leapt up and dashed into the kitchen. Nothing. The bedroom. Nothing. I finally located it in the spare bathroom (who knows why) and ran back to the living area. Rascal had long since moved on to something less adorable and I sighed in exasperation and sat back down. Not only had I missed the photo opportunity but I had also missed the moment myself. Missed. The. Moment.
Never again would she do that exact thing in that exact space of time at that exact age. And I had missed it because I wanted a photo. I began to think: is it possible that our obsession with posting pictures on some form of social media is preventing us from enjoying life to the full? It’s fine if we have the camera there and ready and can just snap it, but leaping around the house looking for it or being so disappointed that we don’t have the camera, prevents enjoying the moment for what it is. Something that can never be repeated again.
And another thought came to me. I actually don’t have to share every cute little moment with any one else! Some moments are best savoured alone and in my own memory. Some moments are just for me. It was ok if I missed recording it. It didn't mean it hadn't happened. So I began to be more content in the moment. If I missed the photo it didn’t matter. I would remember it and comment on it myself!
As Rascal has been growing up and providing exponentially more snap-worthy moments, I have tried to remember that epiphany. I must admit I occasionally have a desperate moment where I wonder where the camera is but I have learnt to not miss the moment myself. If I catch it on camera, great. If not, I make sure I at least catch it myself!
One evening last week, I decide I need to hose down the front driveway as we had had a load of white rocks delivered a few days before and they had left a layer of white dust on the charcoal pavers. So I set 19 month old Rascal up in her sandpit nearby and began the rhythmic hosing, quite therapeutic really. I knew, though, that it was only a matter of time until Rascal had to investigate.
And this happened about 5 mins in. Out of the sandpit she pops and wanders over to the hose. She starts casually putting her hand in the water and I humour her as it is a hot day and I don’t care if she gets wet. I think vaguely that I should have changed her out of her white shirt but can’t be bothered stopping the procedure now to do it. I continue hosing, gradually moving further and further down the driveway. She has started stomping in the puddle created by the hose now and is enjoying herself immensely with little squeals of delight echoing around our quiet street. I accidentally spray her a few times and she is equally delighted by this. The water is getting muddier and dirtier as I get closer to the end of the driveway and once I reach the footpath, Rascal decides that she has had enough of this petty hand touching and stomping and goes right in.
She launches forwards on the footpath straight onto her tummy (and her white shirt) into the muddy water. She instantly starts ‘swimming’ like she does in the bath and lays her face in it, drinking the gritty water happily. I sigh helplessly as it’s too late to do anything for the shirt and she is having so much fun. I decide to just finish the hosing and then we can all go inside. So I finish the hosing and turn it off. Rascal is still ‘swimming’ and leaps up when the hose goes off. She looks absolutely hilarious covered in mud, so I decide I want a picture. I dash ahead of her into the house to get the camera and close the door between the garage and the house to prevent her muddy body from entering.
This is where the disaster bit starts.
For some reason, though I have never done this before, Rascal thinks that, because I closed the door on her, I am banishing her permanently from the house. She starts to wail. I grab the camera and open the door, saying “it’s fine darling, mummy just wants a picture.” This declaration only results in louder wailing and she is now trying to force herself into the house, her tears mixing with the mud on her face. I soon realise that my dreams of getting a picture are over and put the camera down. I’m about to let her in when I realise I don’t have a towel. She is reaching desperation point at this stage and I’m not sure if she is starting to feel a bit cold or what but she REALLY wants to get inside! I let her in and take off her shoes and say, “please wait, mummy needs a towel” very firmly. Luckily the linen press is not far away and I get one within seconds but she has already made it to the hallway, crying loudly by the time I get to her with the towel. As soon as I pick her up in the towel she starts to calm down. She must have been cold. I sigh with relief. The worst is over.
Or is it.
We arrive at the bathroom and I decide that I will have to chuck her in the shower because she is completely covered in mud and we have to go out after this to pick up Daddy from the airport. This is another very important part of the story because if I had had another set of hands available, none of the disaster bit would have happened. Anyway back to the disaster. I take off her wet clothes and start the shower. I’m just about to put her in and take off her nappy to realise she has a poo in it. Ughhhh! I don’t have any wipes. This isn’t good. I make a snap decision to chuck her in the shower and wash the excess poo off her bottom in there. I must admit I didn’t bother to check how much poo was on her bottom. But anyway. I put her in.
The bottom of the shower instantly fills with poo, or so it seems. Ahhhhhh! Yuck! I say, “stay standing, I’m going to get wipes.” This would have been a confusing instruction for her as we spend most of our shower time trying to get her to sit down but anyway, I hoped it would be a simple thing. I dash into her bedroom, which is less than 4 metres away and grab the wipes. As my hand latches onto the packet I hear a ‘slip... crash.... waaaaaaaaa!’ from the bathroom. She’s fallen over. I dash back as fast as I left (bearing in mind I’m 24 weeks pregnant and starting to resemble a whale). Sure enough she has slipped over. And now she is laying on her back.... in her own poo pool. I let out another scream of horror, then grab her off the bottom of the shower and start madly wiping what is left off her bottom (which isn’t much by now) and her back. I then shoo all the remaining poo down the drain.
Sighing loudly, I grab a few bath toys and give them to her. I then stand there trying to catch my breath. She sighs also (loves to copy when I sigh) and sits down on the bottom of the shower. She then grabs the toys, closes the door to the shower and waves goodbye to me. It’s like as if she’s saying ‘ok you’ve done enough. Now just leave me to my fun.’
All of that happened in the space of 5 mins. And I am left wondering how a fun jaunt in the hose water outside became a desperate, slippery, poo-covered disaster!
I am currently just over half way through my second pregnancy and it is going so fast this time around! Leading up to the 20 week scan, my husband and I were very excited to find out whether the baby was a girl or a boy. We already have a beautiful girl, Rascal, and she is so cute and entertaining. As I approached the day of knowing, I was thinking about what this baby was. Unlike with Rascal, I have felt no instinct. I had absolutely no idea what it was! And with Rascal, my instinct was completely WRONG! I thought she was 100% a boy and she was actually 100% a girl! So I had not let myself think about the second bubby because I didn't see the point! If it was a boy, well we didn't have one of those, so it would be nice and if it was a girl, Rascal would have the sister I had always dreamed of and prayed for. So I couldn't lose either way.
When I was a child, I used to pray and dream that my mum would get pregnant again (I already had a little brother) and give me a sister. I couldn't think of anything better than a sister but pray as I might, Mum and Dad weren't having any more kids! When talking about this to my mum several years ago, she confessed that she, too, wanted a sister as a child. Her mum did get 'accidentally' pregnant quite a few years after having my mum and her brother, but alas it was another brother! So for the past two generations, the women in my family have been sisterless!
Finally the day came when I could find out what my second bubby was. Everything was healthy and forming correctly, which was a relief as always, and then the man said "If you're wanting a boy, you're going to have to go back for a third because this one is a girl!" We were very happy to hear what it was, whichever option and left the imaging clinic to call all the family and tell them. Rascal was going to have a sister! Lucky girl!
Once all the family knew, we started telling friends. And over the next few days and weeks, we told whoever asked if we knew, as I have never been able to keep my mouth shut about good news! I wasn't prepared for the reaction that I received from quite a few people. At least 10 people that I have told reacted with deep concern and sympathy. "Are you ok?" "How do you feel about that?" (hand resting on my shoulder) "How are you coping with that?"
The first time I just said "Of course I am ok! Rascal gets a sister! I always wanted one so it's awesome!" The second time I looked at the person for a second to make sure they weren't joking and said something similar. And I have become more amazed as the weeks have gone on. People think that I am meant to be in the depths of depression about this! I really don't get it! They are offering sympathy that is neither wanted or needed. There is nothing to be upset about!
I have come to the conclusion that they must be the ones with the problem. I didn't know there was a rule that said you had to have a girl then a boy. Or a boy then a girl. I guess I just find their reactions quite confusing and it makes me question whether or not I should be disappointed! Which of course, I know I shouldn't. God meant for me to have two beautiful girls and that's what I'm going to have! I have always wanted three kids, so we will see what the next one is, but you know what? I don't care if it's another princess! And please don't give me any sympathy for it!
In the last month, Rascal (now 17.5 months) has been going through several fazes with different favourite words. The one I want to tell you about is "stuck." It all started on a Sunday when she was riding her trike at the social cricket game Daddy was playing in. There was a lovely concrete area and then a grassy area. She had just worked out the word "stuck" a few days before but it hadn't yet become an obsession. She would ride off the concrete onto the grass and call out "stuck!" to me sitting in my camping chair. I would call back "just push a bit harder" and she would, with all her might and then become "stuck!" again. I got up numerous times that afternoon to get her un"stuck" and didn't think much of it.
Little did I know that "stuck" would haunt me for a week or more! We started the week with everything being "stuck." She couldn't open a book so it was "stuck." She couldn't move her foot because there was a teddy in the way (a teddy that weighed less than 200 grams...) so she was "stuck." She would come to a cord that crosses our hallway (temporarily) and couldn't walk over it (although she'd been walking over it for weeks) and so she was "stuck." Everything, and I mean everything, made her "stuck!"
Thankfully in the days and weeks that have followed that faze, there have been others. We are currently in an "up" faze, which includes getting up (and down - though today I did hear her say "dow" when she wanted to get down so maybe we are about to enter a "down" faze...), the garage door going "up, up, up" and many other "up"s! There has been the "trees" faze which involved yelling "trees" every time she saw the little collection of trees in pots on our alfresco waiting to be planted. It was accompanied by intense swaying which indicated that she wanted me to sing "The Trees are Gently Swaying" on repeat for at least an hour. There was, and still partially is, a "gone" faze going on where if she doesn't want something, especially in the food department, it is miraculously "gone" although it sits in front of us. There is also currently a "star" faze because all she can see is the star on the Christmas Tree not the actual tree itself. That always must be accompanied by "Twinkle, Twinkle" also on repeat.
It is wonderful watching Rascal's language develop. She is going to be a chatterbox just like her mummy, I can tell. Looking forward to what other fazes we may have coming up. Hopefully none of them involve being stuck!
We are rapidly approaching Christmas and the whole world is excited. They want to buy presents, get presents, set up the tree. I must admit to never being a crazy Christmas person. I enjoy setting up the tree because it's pretty and it's a tradition and I enjoy the Christmas story and some of the carols being sung. But I struggle with the commercialism that surrounds Christmas have become a little cynical when I see Christmas decorations in shopping centres as early as September. I grew up, thankfully, never believing in Santa or any of the other untrue things relating to Christmas. The question has to be asked, what kind of Christmas do I want Rascal and her little brother or sister to believe in?
I know I want them to have truth but have fun with it, like I did as a kid. As a Christian, I want them to understand the true meaning of Christmas, even if it isn't at the right time, and focus on giving, not receiving. I recently saw on Facebook an excellent idea for Christmas treasure hunt to find Baby Jesus. I think that is a beautiful thing to do with little kids. It somehow needs to be not about how much the kids can get at Christmas, but how much they can give and what they can be thankful for.
Lots of people call me a grinch for ignoring Santa and all his traditions, but I don't believe in lying to children about things like that. I believe you can have a lovely Christmas with giving and receiving gifts and being reminded of the ultimate gift that God gave to us in the form of Jesus, His Son. I don't think it all has to be about spending loads of money, which, quite frankly, I don't have, and dressing up in red suits.
I have also heard a fantastic idea for older children where they focus on making a gift box for someone specific. They make cookies, cards and other lovely things in the gift box in the weeks before Christmas and deliver it on Christmas morning. It might be for a lonely person, or a struggling person or family. Or it might be a hidden present where you put it on the doorstep and run away. I can't wait to try some of these things as the kids grow up.
I hope that, somehow, my husband and I can instil in our kids some of the core values of life through our celebration of Christmas. It can be a time of giving, sharing and family without being about what we want and whether or not we got it. I hope to be able to post many a story of successful Christmas activities in the years to come.
My family and I are embarking on a new journey. We are adding to the family. We have just told our friends that we are pregnant with bub number two! We are very excited about this and can't wait to meet the new addition, even though it is numerous months away yet!
I must say, much to my husband's horror, that I could get addicted to this. I love waiting to see who has been created inside my womb. I was the same when pregnant with Rascal and it has been an absolute joy to find out who she is and who she has become so far. I am now itching to see who this number 2 bubby is. Will it be a boy or a girl? What will their personality be like? What will they look like? And I could go on and on. I could seriously get addicted to becoming pregnant and waiting to see who the little person is. We might end up with 20 kids! Well, I seriously doubt that, but I am addicted after all!
Will it be a boy or a girl? That is the question. I get many people, and I used to be in the category, who say things like, 'I bet you're hoping for a boy' or 'this one had better be a boy." And surprisingly, now that I'm on the other side, I don't actually think like that. The decision has already been made and it is out of my hands. I have loved having a girl with Rascal and I would honestly love another girl. I would also love to have a boy, so I wouldn't mind if it was one of that variety either! I used to shake my head in disbelief when people said 'I just want a healthy baby.' I would be thinking, 'as if they don't want a boy!!!!' It's funny how the mind changes as you enter different life stages. Because I seriously, honestly, one hundred percent do not mind what it is. I will definitely find out, as I don't have the patience to wait, but I will not mind!
I am looking forward to this journey again. Looking forward to feeling a baby move around in my tummy. Looking forward to meeting them and finding out who's been in there kicking me. It will be a ride!
Rascal is 16 months old now. About 16 and a half if you want to be finicky. She has always been extremely cautious about everything, but lately this seems to have gone out the window as far as going 'up' is concerned. She has just discovered climbing. Now I know that many children discover this very early on, but remember that Rascal has always been extremely cautious. Just recently, she decided that the footstool of my rocking chair, which also rocks, was an interesting place to climb. She climbs up on it and rocks dangerously, and Mummy, who isn't used to such stunts of daredevil level, holds her breath most of the time! One time, she rocked a bit to ferociously and off she came, head-first into the cot, which is a lovely soft landing spot, NOT! There were tears and Mummy admits to saying "I told you so." She still goes on it though, so apparently not fazed!
This morning, Daddy was sitting on the bed, tying his shoelaces. Rascal was sitting in an empty suitcase that has been there since I returned from a trip over a month ago. She loves this thing and sits in there to read her books. Anyway, the next second he knows, Rascal is sitting on the bed next to him. She now climbs onto the bed.
All this climbing is great and I am gradually adjusting to it, but the problem is, no matter how hard and how long I have been trying to teach her to turn around to go down, it just doesn't seem to be getting through. For months I have been reminding her to turn around, turning her around physically and helping her to learn how to do it. She was on the bed a few weeks ago and refused to turn around when Daddy was telling her to, so I said 'just let her go so she knows what happens when she doesn't turn around.' (Note that our bed isn't high, but a lower design). So he let her go. She dove off head-first. And kept crawling in the direction she wanted to go. No hesitation. No injury. Great lesson learning! So whereas climbing is one thing, I am waiting for the day that she head-dives off something too tall and seriously injures herself.... though I hope it never happens.
It's funny how, as a mother, you have to readjust your mindset every few weeks or months. Once they start rolling, you can't leave them somewhere they could roll off. Once they crawl, you have to move everything dangerous away on the floor. Then they stand and you have to move everything the next level up and so on. It is a constant readjustment of attitude and thought. But I guess that's the challenge! And most of us rise to it with very little injury to ourselves. And, amazingly, very little injury to the babies!
Rascal has always been quite a neat child. She makes a small amount of mess when eating and playing but nothing to write about. Her birthday cake smash, for example, consisted of her making dainty little pinches at the icing and eating it one pinch at a time. So I guess, although she is outside sometimes, she doesn't have a lot to do with dirt.
Our family has just moved house to a newly built house. It is lovely, and, as we designed it, exactly what we wanted. So there have been a few weeks of hectic moving followed by a few weeks of finding a spot for everything, which hasn't concluded yet. In the last week, though, we have tried to make a garden out of our dirt. And, quite frankly, we don't care if we never see a piece of dirt again!
Rascal has had several opportunities to be involved in the dirt. The first time I intentionally dressed her in dark coloured clothes and then let her loose with a pile of top soil. She wasn't that interested in the top soil, only the road. Luckily we live in a small court which isn't a through road, but I couldn't believe that she wasn't interested! I guess she's just not a messy child. After a few minutes she played in it a bit but preferred the water and grass and other things to play with.
Because of all our landscaping, the house has become a dust zone. She loves this and will crawl along through the 1mm dust layer on the floor, leaving her tracks everywhere she goes. She plays with the dust, eats the dust and loves to help me try to vacuum the dust (which I have given up on until this is all finished). So it appears she likes dust, not dirt. I can't wait til it's all over and dirt and dust don't rule our lives anymore!
I just read a post by one of the pages I ‘like’ on Facebook. It was a picture of the gorgeous Princess Kate holding the new Prince George, with Wills and dog posing beside her. They both look very happy. The person posting the picture made a comment about how they secretly hope life is as chaotic behind the scenes as theirs were with a newborn. This reopened an old ‘wound’ of mine from early parenthood.
As I approached the end of my pregnancy, I would constantly get comments (and I’m sure every pregnant woman does) about how I need to enjoy the last few moments of freedom, enjoy the last few weeks of unbroken sleep, of sleep at all for that matter, the last few weeks of organization – before utter chaos, sleep deprivation and horror descends on your comfortable life. This would frustrate me to no end. This poor child isn’t even born and people are trying to conform her to a certain type of evil child who causes her parents no end of grief.
I had a different approach to parenthood. It was: assume the best and be prepared for the worst. I did not go into the process assuming that I would get no sleep, be completely messy and disorganised and live in my pajamas. I made a pact with myself before bub was born that, every morning, I would get up and have a shower and get dressed, no matter the amount of sleep gotten. Obviously sickness would be the only exception here. I assumed that life would go on very nicely with a beautiful little addition to the family. I had a very positive outlook on the whole thing and it angered me when everyone tried to pin horror and insane screaming on a small, yet unborn, creature.
"Anyway, bub was born. She was perfect as all babies are to their parents."
Anyway, bub was born. She was perfect as all babies are to their parents. She came home. I got up every morning after about 8 hours of sleep, not unbroken, but excellent sleep. Had a shower every morning. My house stayed organised. I had a happy, content baby who fed every four hours happily. She was in the 98th percentile for weight, so all the critics that told me I had to demand feed could go jump for all I cared. Anyone who saw her would consider her a happy, balanced, content and secure baby.
At about the 6 week mark, when she hadn’t turned into a horror child as everyone had predicted, the same people who had wished evil on me earlier were now jealous and angry. They said things like ‘wait til 12 weeks.’ Or ‘don’t worry, you haven’t escaped this easily.’ It would drive me insane. Why did they have to wish the worst on their friend, because these were ‘friends’ of mine saying this. Why was everyone out to make her horrible when she clearly wasn’t? And by the way I believe every baby is beautiful and good, just sometimes their circumstances make them unsettled for whatever reason.
We reached the 12 week mark and she still wasn’t awful. They all gave up wishing ill on this child and said things like ‘I hope your second child is the most ratty, awful, screaming child.’ Why? Why do you wish that? Why would ANYONE wish that? And these were friends of mine.
I believe that a large percent of a baby’s temperament comes from the mother and father’s reactions to things. Their attitude, expectations and beliefs. I was always confident and positive. She fed off that. I didn’t like it when people wanted to make her unsettled and unhappy all the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are many situations that are out of the parents control that can make babies unsettled and unhappy. I am not saying that this is the only factor. And I am not saying that if your baby is unsettled or unhappy that you are not a confident or positive mother. Not at all. All I am saying is I wish people would allow babies to be non-screaming, non-disruptive joys! And I wish they would stop wishing them otherwise when they are content and happy.
My Rascal is now a 14 month little lady. And still a joy. Occasionally when she’s teething she might whinge (see The West Ausralian Whinge
) but in general she has remained a happy, content baby and sleeps beautifully at night with about 5 exceptions over the course of her life. I have no idea what will happen when I have another child but I am certainly going into it with the same attitude. And I sincerely hope Kate and Wills are having a wonderful, calm, contented time with their little bundle of joy. There’s no reason why they can’t!
The definition of ‘whinge,’ according to the Google dictionary, is: to complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way. I have experienced this first hand in the last few weeks. Here is how it happened....
It all began when Rascal was sick. And don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with a sick baby whinging. It is a natural thing and I do it myself when I am sick. The poor little thing had a temperature, stomach bug which included vomiting, cough and stuffy nose. And all this whilst travelling to W.A. from the eastern side of the country. So, she really had reason to be unhappy. She would whinge quite persistently throughout the course of the day. When playing, when eating, when going to sleep, whenever I moved more than 1 mm away from her. It was quite draining, but once again I didn’t mind as she was sick.
Rascal was sick for about a week and all the members of her travelling party were infinitely happy when she started to improve. We couldn’t wait to see the end of this incredibly annoying whinge! So we waited for signs of its disappearance. We waited... and waited... and waited. And it didn’t go. In fact it increased in volume the more well she felt. The habit had been locked in. She had developed a West Australian Whinge.
"Even if she was happy about something, she would whinge before smiling. She would whinge when put in her highchair even if she had been reaching up to it for the past few minutes because she was hungry. She would whinge if you picked her up, even if she had been reaching to be picked up. She would whinge when she got in the bath even though she loves the bath and always wants to go in there."
Even if she was happy about something, she would whinge before smiling. She would whinge when put in her highchair even if she had been reaching up to it for the past few minutes because she was hungry. She would whinge if you picked her up, even if she had been reaching to be picked up. She would whinge when she got in the bath even though she loves the bath and always wants to go in there. It was really getting too much. I and my family, who were travelling with me, were all on tender hooks. We were so tired of this whinging sound and close to losing our minds!
One morning I woke up. Rascal had slept all night without a peep, as she usually does when not sick or teething. She was happy and cheerful. Apart from the whinge. Anyway, I had had enough. I knew she was practically fully better. I knew it had just become a habit. So I decided swift action was necessary. Each time she whinged, I would say firmly “No.” This usually resulted in Rascal bursting into tears (refer to "A Delicate Soul"
). At first she cried a lot after I said ‘No.’ Well not really a lot, but a lot for her. About one minute. Then she would cry less until she didn’t cry when I said ‘No’ to the whinge. Eventually, over the course of the day, the whinge started becoming less and less. She wouldn’t leap to whinge at the first opportunity. Instead she might smile or laugh, as she had before, in response to something. It was refreshing! We were all excited to see the real Rascal back again! Especially my brother and sis-in-law who hadn’t seen much of Rascal so far and had a very non-typical introduction to her while she was sick and whinging. We were all happy to see the smiley, laughing girl back.
We have lovingly named the whinge the West Australian Whinge as she developed it whilst on holiday there. Every time she whinges about anything since returning from our holiday, we comment and say “Not that West Australian Whinge back again!!!” It will be forever in our memories!