2014 Recap

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It’s been a crazy year to say the least. From my lack of posts it probably feels like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, but I assure you that I’m still here. My year has pretty much just revolved around this tiny little person who at the moment is rolling around at my feet, determined to make as much noise as possible today. She certainly makes every day interesting. I don’t even remember what it was like to have a newborn, only that no one was getting any sleep in the early days.

She changes every day and every time I think I’ve got her figured out, she changes it up. It’s pretty amazing how fast she changes and grows, and it’s amazing that only a few short months ago she was just a helpless thing that just ate and cried and (sometimes) slept, but now she’s a real little person. She has likes and dislikes, preferences for things, loves to explore the world and is getting more mobile by the minute. I can see some of my and her father’s personality in her. She’s like me in that she wants to be involved with everything and doesn’t want to miss out. She is grumpy when she is initially woken up, but her personality shines through once you give her a bit of time. She takes time to warm up to people but once she does she is warm and happy. She loves to observe the world around her. She’s like Mr Cookie Loves Milk in that she is endlessly curious and analytical. When she studies things she does it with such concentration and intensity. She doesn’t fall asleep or stay asleep easily. She knows what she wants and gets it, including anything with lots of buttons and things to play with (Playstation controller, keyboards, remote controls). Then there are things that she does that are just her own. She can’t sit still and needs to always be moving. She is strong willed, determined and very vocal and she lets you know when she doesn’t like something. She bounces back quickly. She is independent and tries to do things on her own and doesn’t always want to be held, but sometimes that’s what she needs.

She’s a beautiful little person who fills me with so much love and so much frustration, usually in the span of only a few seconds. The great thing though is that she and I are both learning about each other and the world. It’s been a crazily steep learning curve. As she changes I will have to adapt as well, something I haven’t always been very good at. I like predictability and stability, neither of which I have at the moment with her. She is teaching me to be more flexible and to go with the flow. She and I are much happier doing things a step at a time instead of trying to fit a mould. She is definitely not a textbook baby, but I am a textbook kind of person.

So at the moment I have been very preoccupied with her, to the point that I don’t even remember myself anymore. I haven’t worked since March. I haven’t slept a proper night through since I went on maternity leave. Some days I feel like I can’t get anything done. I have been more obsessed with sleep (or the lack thereof) than anything in my life so far. At the start of my leave I was so naive. I thought that I would be bored, but I just don’t have the time for anything. I thought I would be able to achieve so much, learn so many new skills, do online courses, bake, cook, clean, draw, paint, create, read, exercise… So much for that! I’m lucky if some days I’m able to shower, eat, and maintain my sanity. I’m definitely not alone though. There are so many blogs and articles that I’ve read this year (because I really just can’t commit to anything that takes me more that 5 minutes to read at a time) that describe my situation perfectly. I never understood what it was to be a parent before actually being one.

My (currently childless) brother was asking me for advice about parenting and honestly most days I still feel like I’m in way over my head. I didn’t want to scare him about all the challenges that I’ve faced, but I also didn’t want to sugar coat it for him the way people did with me. It made me feel unprepared for the reality of it all. I know every child is different and my little girl could be easier but it could also be harder. I just think that no one has it all figured out and that every day is full of new challenges and wonders. It’s cliche, but it’s easier to be flexible and just go with the flow, taking it one day (or even one minute) at a time.

I waste a lot of time and energy worrying about things that may or may not happen. It’s an ongoing project for me, trying not to worry and to just deal with things as they come up, but it’s also something I’m looking forward to in all the years to come in the parenting journey. I’m slowly learning that no one has it all figured out and we can only do our best to not screw up our children. I’m definitely not perfect, but neither is anyone else and that’s okay.

So I didn’t achieve anywhere near what I had wanted to over the last year with my silly goals and resolutions, but I have become a stronger and more capable person within myself. I have also managed to keep our daughter alive and well for the last 8 months (with a lot of help and support from my husband and family and friends) and that in itself is a pretty amazing achievement! I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for our little family.

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Project 365 2014 – Day 105 – I’m Reading This

Day 15 - April Photo A Day - I'm Reading This

Day 15 – April Photo A Day – I’m Reading This

So my due date has come and gone. I’m passing the time by eating sensibly, napping on the couch, watching bad TV, playing the Lego Movie game, and reading baby books I borrowed from the library. Most of the books are baby books and eating better. The ‘Slow Death By Rubber Duck’ is just to break up the baby obsession.

The doctors are letting me go for another week with monitoring because my blood sugar levels are good. I hope the little one comes soon.

Project 365 2014 – Day 97 – Where I’d Rather Be

Day 7 - April Photo A Day - Where I'd Rather Be

Day 7 – April Photo A Day – Where I’d Rather Be

I am still waiting for this baby to come out, and I’d much rather be holding her in my arms instead of carrying her around in me still, with all the heartburn, aches and pains, crushed bladder, swollen feet, gestational diabetes, restless nights, and general tiredness. We’ve got the nursery all set up for you little one, so come on out soon so we can meet you!

Unnecessary Baby Stuff

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I’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been good in some aspects (sleeping in, napping when I want, slothing around and catching up on bad reality TV ie. My Kitchen Rules and The Block). It’s also been good because I’ve finally washed all the baby stuff we’ve gotten. I feel like the baby has more clothes than what I do, and that’s a lot! It’s weird not going to work, but also nice. Everyone keeps telling me that I should just relax and enjoy and take it easy, but there’s always a part of me that feels like I should be doing more (still haven’t finished packing my hospital bag and I’m technically at full term now!).

One of the things that has been occupying my time is reading baby books and going on the internet, including my good friend Pinterest. It’s so easy to just Google things, like what I should pack for my hospital bag when I’m stuck on ideas. What’s really annoyed me though is how over-medicalised and generally crazy and over the top some American blogs and sites are. I guess it’s just like everything, to take it with a grain of salt and just use the information that I find useful, ignoring the rest. I still can’t help by find some things really irritating though, just like crazy parenting forum acronyms. I know I should just ignore it, but I think I’ve just got too much time on my hands at the moment. So here’s what is annoying me.

Too much material stuff. How can one tiny little baby possibly need all this stuff? Now I might not really have a good idea of what a baby really needs and what is just convenient, but some of the ‘essentials’ lists are just insane. There is so much baby stuff that they only use for a short period of time, yet people buy this crazy stuff. Here’s a list of really useless stuff that no one needs at all! Every time I walk into a baby store I feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have in there.┬áBabies really just need love and attention and you know a few other little things. A diamonte encrusted dummy or a wipes warmer is not something I would consider an ‘essential’.

Too many crazy rules. There is so much angst over whether babies are developing at the right rates and what they are meant to do at what stage and then of course stressing out over it. I can see myself doing the same thing, comparing my child to other children and stressing about it. I just need to remind myself that everyone develops at their own rate and not to stress about it too much. While we’re talking about stress, I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on sleeping through the night. I remember learning about sleep cycles during uni and newborns don’t have sleep cycles like adults do, so why are their so many rules and books and advice on getting them to do something that isn’t natural to them? It’s not forever and eventually they’ll settle. Parents just need to do what works for them.

Too much emphasis on God and religion. Now I’m not religious and I have nothing against religion, but it really irks me when people say that they are just putting their trust in God and it’s not God’s plan to have children, and thanking God’s good grace for getting through labour and the difficulties of coping with a newborn. How about these people give themselves and their partners and support people some credit. It’s not God that got them through. It’s just themselves.

Professional baby photography. Now, I know it’s pretty important to get photos, but I was reading a few posts about there being professional photographers in the US who are affiliated with hospitals to get those all important perfect newborn shots. Don’t even get me started on a ‘cake smash’ photo shoot. Very contrived.

Professional maternity photo shoots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think these are sometimes a bit cringeworthy. Nothing wrong with getting photos while pregnant to remember what you looked like, but some of the poses are a bit… It just makes me feel embarrassed for them. Just like an engagement shoot, I think it’s very American and very unnecessary.

Going home outfits. I can’t believe people actually go out and get crazy designer wear for the baby to go home in. At first I thought I needed to get a ‘going home’ outfit for safety or comfort purposes (keep the baby at the right temperature etc.), but then I quickly realised it was just all for photos and show. Everything has to be ‘picture-worthy’. I think regardless of what the baby is wearing, he or she will definitely be picture-worthy. Just get a random onesie and a blanket and a safe car seat and I think that should be it!

Elaborate baby announcements, gender reveal parties, crazy baby showers. I think all of these are kind of cute, but entirely unnecessary. I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until I started going on forums. What happened to just telling people? And don’t get me started on baby showers. Some of them seem really over the top, when really it should just be about catching up before the baby comes. My workmate was saying that it doesn’t stop there. Kids birthday parties are getting more and more elaborate as well. It feels like it never stops and people are just trying to show off.

Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. I clearly have too much time on my hands, and feeling overly judgmental today! Even though there’s a lot of crazy advice out there, there are some really practical blogs I’ve read that make me feel a bit more sane and more to my liking. Who knows, once the little one pops out I might think otherwise.

 

Also on a completely unrelated note, I was reading an American food blog and there was a post on how to make home-made whipped cream. Seriously? Is this for real? As if you need an actual ‘recipe’ for that. Do they only buy things in canned form? Growing up I had never even heard of any other way to make whipped cream other than, you know, whipping cream. The comments on how amazing this method is astounds me. I also hate recipes on Pinterest that use instant pudding mix, cake mixes etc. Instant turn off.

Project 365 2014 – Day 92 – In My Hand

Day 2 - April Photo A Day - In My Hand

Day 2 – April Photo A Day – In My Hand

Still waiting patiently, so here’s another very unmotivated photo of some baby socks. I’m all packed and ready to go, and really wanting this baby to come so I can hold her in my hands instead of some incredibly cute tiny socks.

Project 365 2014 – Day 83 – One Of A Kind

Day 24 - March Photo A Day - One Of A Kind

Day 24 – March Photo A Day – One Of A Kind

We got given a heap of second hand baby socks amongst many other things. Unfortunately not all of them have a match, so here are all the odd ones. I figure we’ll probably lose a whole lot more anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with mismatched socks.

Project 365 2014 – Day 35 – Childhood

Day 4 - February Photo A Day - Childhood

Day 4 – February Photo A Day – Childhood

My mum used to make clothes for my brother and I when we were little. I’ve always wanted to learn but it’s still on my to do list. I was very excited when one of my workmates (who is also pregnant) gave me this dress that she made for my little one. I hope that one day I can also make things as cute as this is so that my child can have the same memories.

Project 365 2012 – Day 57

I don’t normally do photos of babies or people for my 365, but I’ll make an exception for this little guy. It’s my cousin’s second, born last Wednesday the 21st of Feb. Today we decided to go for a visit. He’s a very sleepy little guy and didn’t cry once when we were there, not even when I was holding him (and I make all babies cry) but I’m sure he’ll perk right up soon enough.

Sleepy Time

Project 365 2012 – Day 5

Patience

This, like all my other projects, takes a lot of patience. I’m currently in the process of knitting a blanket for a special someone who I’m yet to meet (no, not mine just to clarify!). Hopefully I’ll get it done before the end of February in time for his arrival. However, it’s already taken me 3 months to get a third of it done so I don’t like my odds. If I knit quite a bit every day I can maybe make it, but after working overtime today and feeling exhausted, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Also my hands get tired after a while. As long as I get it done before winter I’ll be pretty happy, and hopefully so will the recipient.