The Flipside Of Love

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I love my family. I love my husband; by jove I love that man. I love my friends, the whole crazy lot of them. They’re our village.

But this kid…. This kid is different.

Maybe it’s the instant nature of it. I felt it the moment I held him, and I know it’s not like that for some people. It can take a little while to get your head and heart around this new being in your life. But it hit me full force, crazy pregnant lady hormones or nay.

And almost with the same force, I felt the fierce grip of fear.

I looked into the eyes of this tiny baby and realised that although I could with all confidence say that I would do anything for him, be the best kind of parent I could possibly be and give him all the love and support he would ever need – his future was not entirely mine to design.

And that scared the bejesus out of me.

I don’t mean this in a scary-dance-mom kind of way. I don’t have my sights on his career or academic/sporting life (though, I have a big plans for the use of novelty outfits and the like). I mean that I realised all of the things that could have been his life and that could still be his life simultaneously. Every news story, horror story, health warning and natural event that I’d never taken much notice of suddenly hit me like a tonne of bricks. Talk about an empathy baptism of fire.

But what to do with this fear? It can devour you whole if you let it, and dampen that pure love that made you radiate. But I think recognizing that it comes with the territory, that being able to love with such force has to come with a flipside of fear, makes it somehow bearable.

I suppose it may sound melancholic, but it’s important to discuss it. It’s only when we talk about our fears that we can recognise them, understand why they’re there and figure out how to live with them. I don’t want to helicopter around August, or instill a fear of the world in him. I don’t want to bang on about what could go wrong, and I don’t want those thoughts to consume me either. I want him to develop a healthy curiousity and interest in what’s happening around him, in other people and I want him to find his own place in the world.

I still worry. I will worry. It’ll probably give me more grey hairs and the like. But I deal with it knowing that it’s going to be there regardless, that all I can do is love him with everything I have, and that in order to enjoy this beautiful gift of bursting love, I have to accept it will always be there.

I think I can be cool with that.

 

August – 3 Months

 

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Time flies when you’re having fun. Or perhaps more accurately, when you’re feeding, rocking, singing, crying, loving, sighing and breathing baby.

We knew we’d love this kid, but we didn’t know the extent of this love. At times a heart-wrenching love, when it seems the world is so big, and your baby so small.

Excited calls of  “ooh, come look at this!” still ring and will continue to ring throughout the house, when we want to share with each other this silly face, the first roll, or a huge-mungous poo that this little thing presents to us. We laugh a lot, and now sometimes all together, when August figures a giggle out.

He’s grown in length, but not particularly in girth. His contemporaries are bubbling and bursting at the seams, but he suits his petiteness. He often captures attention because of his likeness to a miniature person, not just a baby. Bottle-shop attendants, key-cutters, and librarians have not escaped his charm, much to my amusement. And he knows how to turn it on.

I can remember life before him, I don’t hold with the adage that you forget. But this is a different life, a one that bring such highs, such swells and a little fear. But it’s all good. It’s where we want to be.

Happy 3 months August. We’re on the edge of our seats to see what 4 brings. And we love you so very much.

My kid is a jerk, please don’t judge

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Exactly one year ago, I was a pretty smug biatch. I had a two-and-a-half year old daughter exhibiting absolutely no signs of the much maligned ‘Terrible Twos’ and I put it all down to the fact that I was the best mum in the goddam world. Obviously.

She said her pleases and thank-yous unprompted. She was kind and gentle with smaller children. She spoke politely, albeit eccentrically, to her elders. She never ran off – in fact, I often complained of having the opposite problem of her incessant dawdling.

The parents and their rude and rowdy tantrum-throwing toddlers, looking tired and defeated, were doing something wrong. I never said anything aloud to suggest it, but I judged them. And pitied them. And I went and got myself knocked up a second time because I was obviously so bloody good at raising angels.

A lot can change in a year.

Yesterday, my daughter yelled at a friend of mine, who was being so kind as to draw her a picture, that she DOESN’T LIKE GREEN! Not only untrue – she changes her favourite colour as often as her underwear and green has featured heavily – but incredibly rude.

Knowing she was adjusting to life with a new little brother, last week I took her out for a hot chocolate and some quality time with Mama while he slept in the pram. I even threw in a cupcake. Halfway through her drink she LOST HER MIND because she decided she wanted a juice instead.

She pushed a girl’s bike over at the park. She climbed every Ikea display she passed. While dressing her one morning she told me I stink.

She demands treats for breakfast EVERY MORNING. Getting her around the supermarket is a gauntlet of unreasonable demands from lollies to baby socks. She refuses to say goodbye when guests leave our house, instead opting to stomp her foot and make grunty noises. And forget unprompted manners – I’m lucky if I can pry a thank-you out of her.

Impervious to bribes, threats and reason (no you can’t have an apple because we’re fresh out of apples), this kid has no concept of time except RIGHT NOW.

Like all good parents, we took to Google to tell us what’s what and we found A LOT of people in the same boat. Mostly they blamed Day Care, but I knew better; this had nothing to do with being around other badly behaved kids. The simple fact of the matter is this: my kid is a jerk right now.

We’ve labelled her ‘The Threenager’ and we know it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. I know it’s temporary. I know it’s not some long-term personality indicator. But man, it’s rough. My days with Hazel used to be filled with hilarious anecdotes, now they’re filled with power struggles. Sometimes, putting her in Time Out actually makes me glad. I make a cup of tea and get nostalgic about the two-and-a-half year old I once knew.

But there’s always a silver lining, right? Well mine is this: if I see a parent with a rude and rambunctious child, tearing up all kinds of hell, I no longer judge.

I give them that tired and defeated smile of parental solidarity and shrug as if to say ‘Kids, who needs ’em?” Then quickly get my kid out of their way before she tells them they stink or demands their milkshake.

Let Me Be Your Daddy Blog

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My husband was actively involved in my pregnancy (up to a point of course, and then the eating of donuts/carrying of child/aches and pains were all mine), and was also involved in the planning of said pregnancy. And now that we have August, we co-parent as much as possible. Sound too good to be true? The fact that to many people, it does, is the issue here. There are heaps of great Dads that are taking an equal share of raising a child, but do we hear about it (apart from when it’s reported in wonderment)? Nope.

Throughout my pregnancy and now as a Mother (always with a capital for marketing purposes), I have at my fingertips an overwhelming amount of information, mostly in the form of Mummy blogs, ranging from the inspirational to the contrived. Some I felt resonated with me, but others were eons away from my way of thinking. But that’s cool – I have a heap to choose from. From the very beginning of this crazy child-rearing adventure, I was learning and absorbing. But I soon realised that my partner hadn’t been worded up on this stuff, nor had he even been invited to the party.

See, he’s a Dad. And therefore, he’s struggled to find a blog for this role. He wanted to be able to connect and share this new experience with other like-minded Dads, preferably in the same country. But it appears that the Daddy Blog is a rare beast. When he did find a ‘group’, the promise of beer, sport or food was apparently necessary to grab and keep a male’s attention, and often overshadowed the main purpose of the group. He was dismayed, and I can’t help feeling that this is hugely patronizing to those men wanting to connect with other fathers, and this certainly didn’t fly at our house.

Why do we do this? I don’t want to downplay the value of the parenting blog or forum, in whatever format it works for you – but it appears as though women have staked a claim in this area, with an almost righteous attitude about it. There are clubs, awards, societies, and everything in between for mothering blogs – in the Kidspot Voices of 2014, the parenting blogs in the Top 100 are all by women, with various forms of the word “mum” in the titles.

The reality is, women are continuing the vicious circle of parenting roles by keeping men out of the loop, and I’ve found that the assumption is continually made that if something needs to be researched or checked in regards to our son, all eyes on me. Why do I need to be the one to Google, call or ask – that’s a BIG responsibility dude. Ask my husband. Get his signature on August’s immunisation form. Have him sign the boy up to a daycare waiting list. His handwriting is much nicer than mine.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that just because a women is writing a blog about parenting, there isn’t a place for that. We have bits that men don’t, and these bring with them a whole range of fun stuff to LOL about (or FML about). But there should exist a more shared experience, where the joys, trials, and hilariously confusing aspects of having a child can be discussed by everyone involved. And this, in turn, will go towards both parents taking on a more equal responsibility.We know of a couple of great fathering blogs, like this one, and we love people like Brian – but we hope ours will also become somewhere for everyone to go and laugh at ourselves and our kids equally.

Spread the love peeps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sons of Eccentricity

FREDDIE & AUGUE

So….

How did you spend your last six weeks? It’s been a bit of an extended absence from the Daughters because, well, we added a couple of Sons to the mix. You heard me. Sons. And nobody was more shocked about it than we were.

Not totally shocked. I mean, we both knew we were having babies. But boys? Really? TWO of them? Neither Caroline nor I knew what we were having, but already having one daughter (and Hazel totally owns her ‘eccentric’ genes) I just kinda expected to have another. And I just kinda expected Caroline to have one, too. And everyone just kinda expected it. In fact, when I worked out the baby odds in my head, it went like this:

Most Likely: A redhead girl
Moderately Likely: A girl with hair that isn’t red
Less Likely: A redhead boy
Practically Impossible: A boy with hair that isn’t red

But then on the morning of the nineteenth of March I got a text from Caroline’s husband that stopped me in my tracks and brought a sentimental tear to my eye: I am holding our son. And so Augie the boy baby was the first surprise.

And then almost four weeks later on the fifteenth of April, along came the second: Freddie the boy baby. I knew something was up when the doctor exclaimed during delivery “Ooh, you’re a lot bigger than your sister was.” (She wasn’t joking – 55cm and 3.97kg). I never specified largeness in my baby odds, but as a particularly small human myself I didn’t feel I needed to. He is a big boy and I am a small girl – the concept floored me, and floors me still. In all fairness, his hair is auburn so he falls somewhere in between Less Likely and Practically Impossible on the likelihood scale and combining that with his unmistakably pointy chin and bowed lips, I can be assured that Frederick Francis Constable is indeed flesh of my flesh. And I adore him.

FREDDIE

So the adventures of Augie and Freddie begin. Won’t you follow along with us? We promise not to keep you waiting so long again.

A Prayer for New Parents

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May you give birth in the manner of your choosing;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those who did.

May your breasts be plentiful and hardy;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those whose are.

May you understand and accept, without reservation, that there is simply no such stage of human development called ‘sleeping through the night’;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those who are delusional on this matter (and bless them, for they are probably sleep deprived).

May you realise that the pram does not maketh the parent;
And in doing so, save approximately $1500.

May you find beauty in the post-partum body, without berating, parading or popular-trading the pinnacle of ‘motherhood’ as a toned, muscle-wrapped body;
And may you never venture to the Instagram accounts of Miranda Kerr or Rebecca Judd.

May you never resort to baby sign language;
For it is mumbo jumbo, I tell you. Mumbo. Jumbo.

May you sleep in whichever configuration works for you, your child, your life, your family;
And may you awaken most mornings at least mildly refreshed, without somebody’s feet in your ribs or wet nappy on your face.

May you realise that you are the most influential person in your child’s life and that it is your everyday actions (not TV, books or popular culture) that will ultimately shape their character;
And may they pick up at least one hilariously bad habit or embarrassing mannerism of yours to serve as a daily reminder.

May you find comedy in toilet training;
For there is tragedy enough in this world without finding it in poo.

May the parenting forums filled with judgmental, ill-informed and badly written ‘conversations’ eventually implode;
And may you have the strength to never go online until such time.

May you forgive yourself quickly for not enjoying ‘every’ little moment;
For it is a scientific fact that kids can be jerks sometimes and enjoying that would be weird.

May you go to bed each night knowing that your love and best efforts are enough, that YOU are enough, and that your child loves you just as you are;
And may you actually get some sleep.

Bodies and Babies – The Feedback Session

On a scale of one to ten in the “whelmed” department, it’s pretty safe to say that Amy and I have exceeded the numbers and have spilled into the “over” section.

Overwhelmed indeed.

What we’ve loved is the sharing of other people’s stories, and it has made it clear to us that these tough topics need to be discussed openly in a place without judgment, agenda or an intent to spark debate. I mean, we LOVE a good debate (don’t get me started on pyjamas vs au natural), but that’s not the intent here.

We thought that today it’d be nice to roundup some of the encouraging comments and feedback we’ve received from our last couple of posts that really seemed to resonate with readers. We’ve had strangers and close friends share their stories with us, with so much to be gained from this exchange of experiences.

There’ll be plenty more where that came from folks!

An Ode and a Farewell to This Baby Body

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“Hell yes to all that!!  I actually made the very bold statement to Dave the other day that, for the first time in my adult life, I actually feel sexy. And it all began when motherhood came knocking. Didn’t see that coming. Yay to a beautiful body, flaws and all, but most of all: yay to a newly refreshed mind, heart and soul.” Brooke

“After motherhood we accept our bodies for what they are. Amazing.” Hannah

Let the Tough Times Roll

Let the Tough Times Roll

“This was beautiful Beautiful. Reading this has had a huge impact on me and helped me with something I’ve been dealing with in an unexpected way. No over sharing here but a case in point of how allowing people into you vulnerability can reflect their own and help them deal with it. Thank you!”  Richard

“Thank you for sharing your experience, I think the more women talk about these kinds of things, the better we can all deal with them. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as oversharing. I didn’t think I could like Hazel anymore than I already do, considering I’ve never met her, but am glad to be proved wrong! She’s wonderful, and so are you xxx” Leila