Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

We are having a lovely quiet Christmas Day. Santa brought biltong which goes very nicely with champagne... It is sunny and breezy and warm, the Greeks next door are barbequing and playing their music and we could be on holiday in the Greek Isles.

This morning Princess woke to a heap of presents under the tree and by the fifth one totally had the hang of ripping wrapping paper. She even got to unwrap the pressies for King, Milord and me, and was very gracious about passing along the contents after a little testing.

We have skyped all the family around the world who have broadband, and I'll ring my sis in South Africa once it is morning there. I am a new skype convert - my Mom and my Dad and my SIL were all able to chat and watch us open presents almost as if they were here.

The ballerina dress is from my SIL. It is glittery. So are we now. So is the house.

Christmas dinner will be timed for about 5pm, which is Princess' dinnertime and we will all eat together - should be fun, we never eat dinner together! I'm doing roast chicken with a red wine and rosemary jus, roast baby potatoes and roast sweet potato, brussels sprouts and carrots. yum.

May you have a wonderful time with people you love over Christmas too.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Your Royal Fix

Where'd the last 3 weeks go?

I've been a bit blah. The Groundhog-Day thing of babies and housework sometimes gets me down, and while I'm enjoying Christmas for Princess' sake it does make normal shopping stressful. Plus schools are out so everywhere is full of big kids who don't take care around toddlers, and the usual toddler activities are suspended until the new school year so we're stuck at home. Friends are busy and family is distant, husbands snore in the few hours of the night I am allowed to sleep, and it keeps raining.

Bah Humbug.

Actually things are pretty good. Princess is bright, articulate and funny, and King sleeps an 8 hour stretch most nights and is full of endearingly wonky smiles. Milord and I are rubbing along fine.

My kids have only 2 (much older) cousins, which is a shame as I have oodles of cousins close to my age and it's great. On the upside all my cousins are currently having kids so Princess and King have lots of second cousins their age. 21-year-old Cousin A was in Sydney (from Brisbane) for work experience for a couple of days and dropped by for dinner. She's lovely:

And this is 14-year-old Cousin S who was in town a few months back and stayed over for a night. She lovely too, just rather... 14... and nearly got a clip round the earhole from me when she got cranky with my toddler:

You wouldn't think they're related would you? Milord's sister married a man of Italian descent and their girls have taken those genes, while my kids are so fair they're practically translucent!

I put up the Christmas tree the other day, with a little "help" from Princess! She's pretty good with it especially now that I've shown her how to take the ornaments off without breaking them...

King watches us in bemusement...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The King

King is 3 months old. He's usually a really cheerful little chap and has started happily cooing and gurgling to us. I have a feeling he's going to be as vocal as his sister!

He's a big lad. He weighed 7kg and was 63cm tall a week or so ago, which puts him at the 90th percentile of the "normal" range. At the same age Princess was 5.5kg.

Most nights King settles around 9pm and only wakes once for a feed. His day naps don't have much of a pattern, but this could be because Princess' needs often come first so we are out and about a fair bit. Luckily King loves being out and moving in the car/pram/carrier! He sleeps or watches the world go by.

King adores his Big Sister. Which is a good thing because she enjoys stroking his head and "kissing" him (touching noses is how she kisses us).

Our only concern is his wonky mouth... When he was born we were told he had a skew jaw from how he'd been lying inside me, and it'd come right. 2 months later it still hadn't, so I went back to the pediatrician. Now it seems King may be missing the nerve that controls the cheek muscles on one side... so when he cries or smiles his mouth doesn't pull back on the left. He also has no dimple or nose-to-mouth grooves on that side.

(I've been told to document his facial movements when crying and smiling to see if there is change - I don't usually photo my kids crying!)

The bad news is that it won't get better.

The good news is that it won't affect his speech or eating, and someday we could try a surgical workaround. It's also not as bad as it could be - he can close his eye and furrow his brow and he does smile a little on the left...

Isn't that a gorgeous smile? How much more gorgeous would it be if it wasn't wonky?

*sigh* I shall just have to get over myself and accept that my boy has a skew smile. Yes yes whatever, but my child shouldn't be wonky!

Friday, 2 December 2011

I'm being tested!

Things you don't really want to happen when you are handling your kids solo:

1. Princess doing a huge poo in the bath. Even though I was in the bathroom I was busy with King and didn't notice until the water was all brown. And she was drinking it! *shudder* I hate potty training.

2. A huge wasp invades the living room (I'm allergic to bees and terrified of wasps). Turns out it was after the enormous spider!!! Luckily both kids were elsewhere... I drenched the spider in bugspray (I think it was already paralysed, but I wasn't taking any chances) and then emptied half a tin towards the wasp who thankfully flew out the door. Then I flicked the spider out too. I hope the wasp doesn't come back looking for it! (Hey cuz, I thought of you - remember when I stayed over and your fella was out and we dealt with a great big spider?!)

3. King stops settling at 9pm and instead screams until 10:30pm. Then wakes twice in the night instead of once. Then does a huge poo at dawn so only goes back to sleep as Princess wakes up. God I'm tired.

2 nights to go... heeeeelp!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Solo Parenting

Milord is away for 4 nights on business. I was so intimidated by this idea that I rang up RuralChick and organised to go and stay with her. She is also on her own all week with 2 (older) kids. We planned to put up her Christmas tree and to bake cookies, and it would have been great fun. RuralChick adores babies so would enjoy handling King, and her daughter would have enjoyed playing with Princess. I was going to cook a couple of meals and drink a lot of wine!

Sadly RuralChick's kids have both come down with a nasty virus (which might even be whooping cough!) so I'm not going - it would be simply idiotic to knowingly expose my little ones to that sort of thing.

Last night was night 1. I got through it with a fair amount of wine...

The hardest part is managing bathtime and storytime, because I need my hands (and body) free to manage Princess in and out of the water and into her PJs. Then I need a certain amount of silence in which to read a book! *sigh* It was not much fun, and I may have skipped a few pages [chapters] of whatever I was trying to read with a squalling son in one arm. Then dinner was just too difficult to attempt with King being very unsettled - I had a couple of bowls of chips.

I miss my husband just because I love him of course, but having that extra pair of hands to tag-team the grumbling baby is what I really miss!

King finally fell asleep at 10pm, I had an apple to clear my palate, tidied up a bit and crashed into bed and slept quite well until 5am when King woke. He went back to sleep at 6am and I managed a bit more sleep myself until both kids woke at 7am.

I'm pretty weary, but it could be worse.

This afternoon I will knock up a risotto so that I have something easy to eat with one hand tonight. And I may skip Princess' bath.

3 nights to go...

Update: it is 10pm and King has finally settled. We were doing great until 6:30pm and then he just went mental... hungry but not wanting milk, tired but unable to sleep, scream scream scream (not unusual but pretty rough alone). At 8:30 I just put him in his cot and went off to pick up toys and wash dishes with the scream scream scream coming down the passage... At 9 he finally conked out whimpering in my arms, and at 9:15 I changed his nappy and got a bottle into him and now he is sleeping like an angel.

I need a hug.

I've just poured the last of the bottle of wine and got out some chocolate, and am going to sit quietly with my book for a little while before crashing into my blissfully huge and empty bed!

The risotto was an inspired idea - Princess loved it (risotto's pretty good for a toddler determined to work the spoon herself as it's sticky) and at least I've had a proper dinner tonight albeit eaten standing and rocking the baby. Bacon and broccoli risotto (plus capsicum, carrot and zucchini because Princess and I need a veggie boost) - very yum!

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Princess

I'm working on a post about the King, so in the meantime here is a post about my Princess!

Princess is a delight. Bright, funny and very sweet. She counts to 20 easily, strings long sentences, and understands choice and negotiation. "Would you like x or y?" "If you wee on the potty you can have a sweetie." "Finish your broccoli and then you can get down."

Edit: That's finger paint on her face. She is grubby not hurt!

Princess has now "fallen in love" with her baby brother. She says "Hi James!" when she sees him and wants to gently touch him and hold his hand. She tells people he is her "Baby Brother!" and lets me know that he is crying/sleeping/yawning etc.

Princess already has the hang of Daddy's iPad. Seriously.

Working on her Emo look already...

Princess is fascinated with water. We let her "Play Puddles" on the side deck.

I go to a few playgrounds and playgroups and Princess is really good around other kids. Actually she mostly ignores them, but I prefer that to the hitting/snatching/pushing stuff I see the others doing.

While Princess still isn't quite walking she can stand alone for short periods and can walk across our lounge (from Mummy to the sweetie on the couch). I think it is now a matter of confidence. I've seen her recover her balance surprisingly well sometime - she just has to do it all the time!

Here comes BatGirl!

Watch out world!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

First Cold

It's 5am. We are having a horrible night. Again. Poor King has caught his first cold and is a bit snotty and can't breathe properly. I think he may have been coming down with it for a few days because we've been having rotten nights for the last few. Where he was sleeping an 8 hour stretch and only waking just before dawn he's now up twice in the middle of the night and very grumbly the rest of the time.

This is the only place King can sleep. I'm not very good at sleeping upright myself, so I might as well blog... it's one of the easier things I can do with 7kg of boy strapped to my front!

The poor little mite caught his cold off me. I've been a bit uck since Sunday, and although I now feel better I've got an irritating cough. So he's got that to look forward to too!

In the meantime we're treating him with paracetamol, nose drops and a snot sucker. It is enjoyed as much as you might imagine!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

In Vino Veritas

Feeling a bit blue today.

Last night Milord was several sheets to the wind when I offered what I thought was constructive criticism on his failed gravy... and he blew up. "F*** you! I give you everything and I get nothing back!" etc etc etc while I sat in wide eyed silence.

He's under a lot of stress at work, and has been covering for someone on leave too for a couple of weeks. He'd had Princess all morning for swimming, took King for 5 clingy hours in the afternoon, and had cooked us dinner which hadn't turned out quite how he wanted. He's been turning down cocktail evenings and cutting pub visits short to be home to help me wrangle the kids through their evening routine.

I know he misses having a social life. Hell, I haven't had an evening free... since April I think when Mom was here. I rarely have 15 minutes free of the kids on a weekday. I didn't think I was personally responsible for Milord's lack of social life though - he chose to have this family too. I need him to help me in the evenings - yes I could cope but it's no fun managing bathtime or reading a story with a screaming infant in one arm!

I thought I was doing enough in return. The kids are clean and fed and mostly well mannered. The house is sort of tidy and the groceries are packed away. We have clean clothes, towels and sheets. I make a point of thanking Milord for being such a good husband and dad, and for coming home in time to help me. I even initiate sex sometimes when both kids are asleep and Milord is awake... which is a rare alignment of planets!

I honestly don't know what else I could give. Apart from not expecting him to be straight home after work and around on weekends I suppose... but I don't want to be on my own for evenings and weekends!

So Milord had his rant, and I resumed trying to settle King while pondering where my marriage had gone so wrong. Half an hour later Milord apologised, saying he'd realised he was talking rubbish, and hugged me and I wept. Then Milord went to sleep and I carried on settling the baby.

Ironically Milord is out all day today playing golf.

This morning Milord took the 5am feed so I got 2 hours extra sleep, and he cooked us an awesome breakfast, and he apologised again... but I am still blue. Is my marriage in trouble without me noticing? Have I fallen into the trap of being such a focused mother that my husband feels he is neglected?

What do I do? I'd love to have Date Nights, or join Milord in the pub etc, but I think King is too little (and demanding) to be left with non-family for an evening, and I have no family here to help me. He's also too demanding for us to even consider having friends over for dinner!

I think we are probably ok, and it's just a rocky patch while the baby is so needy. Princess was jolly awkward until 4 months old, and then she started settling at 7pm and we got our lives back a little.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Post-baby Body

Here I am again with a post-baby body. *sigh*

I seem to be stronger and have less aches and pains than last time. I guess the constant toddler wrangling pre and post King have kept me sort of fit! My arms are certainly extremely strong from all the lifting I do.

My belly is flabby, but I'm having trouble finding a moment for a set of ab exercises. Princess thinks Mummy lying on the floor is an invitation to play, and I don't often get to put King down during her naptime. Even if I do manage 15 mins of kid-free time, I tend to use it to accomplish tasks that are difficult with a child attached! And while King would be happy to be pushed along in the pram all day, Princess wants to get down to play and explore, so long walks are rare.

One thing I can try to control is my intake. Now that breastfeeding is a distant memory I'm having to deal with a very slow metabolism... I wonder if this is my body's way of conserving fat stores as a new mother? I'm sure I lost fat easier than this before I had kids!

On the upside, I am the same weight I was when I got pregnant with King so I have already lost that baby weight. Now I just need to lost the 4kg I am still carrying from Princess... not a huge amount right?

I had a small weight gain last week and decided to take action! No booze until I get under 74kg. I thought this would be an easy achievement before the weekend, but alas! it seems I will not be having any wine tonight. Unless I have a stupendous bowel movement before then... but that's a bit too much information!

Weight: 74.5kg
Goal: 70kg

Wish me luck!

Ooh! Ooh! I just stepped on the scale, and somewhere this morning I've lost over half a kilo without anything stupendous happening - I must have had water bloating! 73.8kg - I can have wine this weekend yippeee! (yes yes, but it's my only fun thing ok)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Your Royal Fix

King in his Bumbo chair. He lasts about 10 minutes while slowly wilting to the side...

He is a lot more comfy supervising the kitchen from his playmat!

Princess has to try everything too of course (she also lies in the playmat sometimes).

Princess loves painting and drawing, which is great because so do I and it's brilliant on a wet or too-hot day. And I can do it with King in a carrier or in one arm if necessary!

Also pencils.

And marker pens. Yes, she appears to be left handed - we don't know where that's come from!

When drawing gets dull we might mess with stickers.

...or we can just play with the pen lids!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

OMG! Busy

K[l]ing[on] doesn't like sleeping anywhere except on Mummy or moving in the pram during the day. After a feed he's happy to play on his mat for about 15 minutes and that's when I run around like a nutter showering, dressing, cleaning, making food or trying to give Princess a bit of Quality Time. Then I have to pick him up again...


And No I can't leave him to "settle on his own" - he just screams more and more and more, turning deeper shades of sweaty purple until I finally cuddle him and he snorts and whimpers and hiccups and sobs and I feel like the world's worst mother.

He's sleeping well at night though - he went for 8 hours last night! So I can't really complain. It's just impossible to get anything else done until Milord gets home and takes turns carrying the little guy.

Princess is now getting jealous I think. She wants her Mummy to be able to read/play/puthimdownalready! and when I can't she makes mischief, knowing I can't easily stop her!

It's all a bit... tiring? Stressful? Annoying? But we're OK ;-)

My Dad... is not OK. The growth they cut out is nasty, and that's the second nasty in his abdomen in 2 years and so... well... not a good thing. He's being ever so brave and positive and he feels Fine Really! and doesn't want to talk about it. Which I can relate to.

Milord lost his mum not that long ago to serial cancers though, and he's encouraging me to hop on a plane and go visit Dad while he's still himself before any chemotherapy. If it wasn't for money/kids etc I'd be on my way already! And of course Dad insists he's Fine Really! and I shouldn't come...

We shall see. Milord has offered to take leave and stay home with the kids and we're about to remortgage the house for a bit of cashflow, so perhaps visiting my Dad would be a pleasure all round?

It's taken several broken hours to write this, and now everyone except me is in bed... must go sleeeeeep! photos some other time ...byeeee!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

8 Weeks

King is 8 weeks old and it's the magic number!

He sleeps for a 7 hour stretch most nights and only wakes up for one night feed, which means Milord and I are starting to feel human again. During the day he's beginning to have longer naps too, so I can actually get stuff done and I can play with Princess who has been ever so patient. She's thrilled to have Mummy reading books and colouring in and doing puzzles again.

Until the afternoon and evening anyway, when King gets unsettled again... but that's getting better although it drives Milord crazy! "Why won't you sleep?! You can't be hungry AGAIN!"

I can remember Princess being the same, so I assume it'll pass in a few more weeks.

King is now taking an interest in his surroundings, and likes sitting in someone's lap watching events. He'll follow a rattle with eyes and head, although it'll be months before he reaches for it. He'll tolerate his playmat for about 10 minutes at a time, and on his tummy he can almost lift his head up. He is giving adorable wonky smiles to his Mummy too (he has a short jaw tendon from how he was lying scrunched up during gestation, but it's getting better).

King seems a happy, placid baby so far. Hooray! I thought for sure I was going to get a manic one after being so lucky with Princess!

As for Princess, today we saw a paediatrician for a checkup to see if there is a physical or neurological reason for her late walking. The doctor couldn't see anything wrong, which is reassuring. She's just not bothered and jolly stubborn about resisting the exercises I'm supposed to put her through! Even chocolate isn't a good enough reason sometimes. I'm lucky she's such a sweetie as she has an iron will!

Milord says the stubborn streak is all him. I say the sweetness is all me!

And as for me - I'm now fed up with my blobby body and have enough energy to contemplate doing something about it! In fact I should be off doing a 10 minute tummy workout now. Hmm. I'm sure you're happier with me blogging, right? Okay then!

My weight has stayed around 74kg since having King. I've stopped breastfeeding at 7 weeks though, so now there is nothing burning my extra calories and I have to cut out snacks and reduce my portions. *sigh* This is surprisingly difficult after being able to eat anything and everything for so long! I'm easing into it...

In case you're wondering - I stopped breastfeeding because just like last time I don't have enough milk, and once I start supplementing my boobs go "phew" and stop producing. So a feed on both boobs has to be followed by a full bottle of formula regardless and a feed takes an hour! I don't have that kind of time, I hate having sore leaky boobs, and breastfeeding didn't really thrill me anyway. 7 weeks is pretty good going to my mind, and it's how long I lasted with Princess too!

Hmm what else? I've just had the Mirena IUD hormone thingy inserted so I'm safe for 5 years. No more kids for me if I can help it!

Oh and... can you all send my Dad good vibes? He's had another growth removed from his innards and we're waiting to hear if it's malignant.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Your Royal Fix

Still coping... just. King dislikes being put down to sleep - I'm thinking "Klingon" would be a better nickname right now! When I have a free moment I shower or tidy or sleep. Or give Princess some undivided attention! Luckily she's not upset about King always being on Mummy or Daddy, or screaming in the rocker at my feet if I absolutely must have both hands free.

I am typing this post with King sleeping on my shoulder.

I'm fine in myself by the way. No depression or even baby blues - I had such great support in the first month that it was easier than with Princess, and even now Milord tries to be home in time to pick up the slack by Princess' dinnertime.

King had his 6 week check on Monday, and a set of vaccinations. He is 5.5kg and 56cm tall - he's growing like a weed! He's not off the scale, but I think he might be a big boy.

Rugby World Cup - South Africa vs Australia. The Saffa Oz house gets into the spirit! (For those not following the rugby Australia won. tch. Tomorrow Princess will be wearing gold too)

Milord multitasking - minding Princess in her bath and King in his rocker while on the phone to work!

Mummy's on the floor! Attack!

King in rare happy moment off Mummy.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Your Royal Fix

I'd better blog a couple of things before another week flashes by!

My Mom went home on Saturday, and it's a whole different ball game without her help! Plus I miss her horribly anyway... even Milord was sad to see her go - praise indeed from a son-in-law.

King was 4 weeks old on Monday and 4.4kg. That's a gain of over 1.5kg since we came home! He's a right greedy guts. My boobs are no longer keeping up so he gets a couple of extra bottles a day too now. Thank heavens for formula - we'd both be very unhappy otherwise. He's plumped out beautifully!

He's a "good" baby apart from needing to eat quite often (and OMG the poo! What goes in must come out...). During the day he can be a bit needy and doesn't like being put down, but once he settles in the evening he's a good sleeper. He wakes about every 3 hours for a feed but these are getting faster and he goes right back to sleep so it's not too onerous. I'm getting about 6 hours of broken sleep, which could be worse.

Princess is still not jealous, which is amazing because she doesn't see me without King much! We've had to get used to having him scream a bit while I get on with things - otherwise Princess and I would still be starving in our PJs at midday!

Princess is now 13.2kg by the way, which is bang on average.

Princess has started walking! She'll go for miles holding on with one hand, and has begun launching between someone and the couch with Smarties for encouragement.


I can only credit Mom with this achievement, plus she half potty trained Princess too! I'll continue her good work once I don't have a baby attached constantly...

Right, let's see if I can steal a nap before one of my kids wakes up!