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It Doesn’t Get Easier, Things Only Change

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ThngschangeFour years ago, I was chatting with a colleague about family life. Her husband was a fly in-fly out mine worker. Two weeks home, two weeks away. She admitted that the family was used to the schedule, but that it was still overwhelming for her when he went away.

I stupidly said, “At least your kids are older, so it must be easier.

Her kids were pre-teens and teenagers, you know, ones that could wipe their butts and weren’t asking to be carried every second and weren’t sucking on her boob all day. (That’s the phase of parenting I was going through at the moment with a 2 year old and a baby on the way).

She nicely said, “Actually…

And, went on to describe how things don’t really get easier, they only change.

Now I get it.

Yes, it does get easier in some ways.

They sleep better, need to be carried less, can speak more, etc.

But, the strain and shock of adjusting to a young child, and especially of being a new parent, morphs into something else… Something more mentally demanding. Something requiring more patience. Something more high maintenance and that is more refined.

The days when I thought I couldn’t lift another tiny human being have been replaced discussing how much and what sort of screen time is appropriate.

The days of little sleep, have been replaced with negotiating a million unreasonable and unusual requests.

We used to get by with one little walk outside a day, but now they need much more. Dance lessons, swimming, bike rides, you name it.

The days when I swear I could not wipe another butt, oh yeah.. sorry, I’m still in those days, let’s not go there.

And, over the years, MY needs have changed too!

When they were babies, I knew in my heart, I wanted to be no place but home. Now that they’re older, is this what I really want? How much of myself do I want to put back into the workforce? Is my outside-the-house-work fulfilling enough that it validates being away? And, if I am away, how much of the household and of the kid’s emotions should I be willing to sacrifice to do it? They still need me… but I need myself too.

And, do I really have an excuse to not have dinner on the table or a clean house? After all, I don’t have a baby anymore… so what do I do all day??? Can I justify my lack of ‘domestication‘ now that my kids are older. True, they’re older, but it doesn’t make it easier.

I’m sure one day it will get easier. Like really easier. Like, when they either move out, or turn 25 (arbitrary age, because that’s the age I seemed to sort myself out). But, for now, it’s not. Being a parent is a challenge, no matter how old the kids are!

Special Note: This post is not to leave new mothers feeling hopeless! If you are struggling in the early years, with physical pain, or emotional trauma, things will get better… be sure to seek the help you need.

Slippery Tofu and Rice, No Problem! The Journey of Baby Led Weaning.

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Down the hatch!

When Margo was about 3 1/2 months old, and tipping the scales at 14 or 15 pounds (~6 kilos), both my mom and grandmother had already been after me for weeks to start Margo on solids!.  My original thought had been, that unless she could put the food in her own mouth, had grown a few teeth and was sitting well, I wasn’t going to bother starting her on solids at all.  If anything in parenting ever confuses me, I always think, ‘What would the cave people have done?’.   Read the rest of this entry

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: A Gem on the Gold Coast

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Big Red Kangaroo. He’s got this chesty muscle thing going on.

I love being a tourist in my own town.  For the past ten years, I’ve lived in areas that were mostly resort or transient type places, and I have always done the tourist thing with full enthusiasm!  There is a place here, on the Gold Coast of Australia, where the tourists, especially huge tour groups from Japan and parts of Asia, come to flock.  (And, um, hello, aren’t we all tourists everywhere we go on this planet?). Even though it’s sometimes full of tourists waiting to have their photos taken with a koala or snake, there are plenty of locals who flock there too!  You can also go there on some days and there is hardly a soul to be seen.  Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is 10 minutes from our house and you better bet hat I have a year pass!  It’s on a huge piece of land that is all natural bushland/rainforest.  I’m really against things like zoos and animal circuses, but this place is special.  They have an animal hospital and most of the animals they have are there because they were injured, rescued, endangered, etc.  They have daily feedings of wild lorikeets (these really cool little parrots), they have animals shows and the focus is to educate the public about protecting and preserving Australian wild life.  They have a CHOO CHOO TRAIN!  A real train that runs around on a track!  Lately, on some of the days that I’m too tired to walk around, I can just sit on the train and go around and around the park for about an hour and Margo never asks to get off. Read the rest of this entry

Test the Water First, My Little Sensitive One.

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Margo on the Beach

She sat there for an hour and a half waiting for Art to get out of the water. Duranbah Beach.

Today, I took Margo to see matinee of The Wizard of Oz, put on by the high school where I was teaching at. We talked about about it, I explained to her there would be people dressed up like Dorothy, a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion.  The lion part concerned her a bit, then, I mentioned Toto the dog and the monkeys.  On the drive there, she asked me about a hundred times, ‘Where are we going?’, ‘Will there be lions and tigers there?’.  I could see where this was all going.  However, I really wanted to give it a go.  I thought she might actually be able to sit through at least 15 or 20 minutes of it (that was all I was hoping for).  The only type of show I have taken Margo to was the circus (not an animal circus!) one with acrobats, etc.  She was 17 months old and barely made it through, but still enjoyed it and talked about it for months!  She’s never been to the movies, she doesn’t watch tv, etc…  but I thought maybe a play would be all right.

I’ll tell you how long it lasted: Exactly 5 seconds!  We arrived a bit late, the ushers took us in during this quiet part of the show, it was pitch black inside, the usher, who was a nice kid I taught last year, who is at least 10 feet tall, took the tickets out of Margo’s hand (unknowing to him that taking ANYTHING out of 2 year old’s hand is asking for it), then upon handing them back, dropped the tickets (big drama for a 2 year old, again), then Margo saw the stage all lit up and that was it!  ‘Mommy!!!  I want to go HOME!!!’.  Everyone in the proximity whipped their heads in our direction.  Ugh, bad timing I thought, I gave about two seconds to desperately try to ease her mind, but it was all over but the crying.  We never even made it to the seats!  By the time we got back to the car, she was asking to go back, I said, ‘Sorry, we have to go home now.’  That made her even more upset. Read the rest of this entry

Oh, Wednesday! A Day By Myself.

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Oh Wednesday!

Fun times ahead today!

I already admitted that I sent Margo to daycare while I was at work in, ‘You Can Strip Me of My Attachment ParentingBadge…‘ post, but did I forget to mention that now that I’m not working, she still goes one day a week!  We’re in Australia.  The closest relatives I have live in Singapore and Hawaii, and Grandma and Pop pop live on the East Coast of America (they have still yet to visit,,, ahem, if you’re reading this!). Read the rest of this entry

Me First!!! Elimination Communication with a Two Year Old

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Me First!

Haha! Me First!

We only have one toilet in our house. At nearly 36 weeks pregnant, I KNOW that my 2 year old has better bladder control than me! Ever since she was 14 months old (she’s 2 and 4 months now), she has been dry through the night. She used to wake up and I would take her, but at about 16 or 18 months, she started consistently sleeping 9 or 10 hours at night without having to go (not always sleeping through of course, wanting boobs, but not having to go). How does this kid have such incredible awareness of her bladder and bowls? Even with the #2s, if we’re out and she has to go, she COMFORTABLY waits until we get home to do a poo! She uses public toilets, no problem, but just states that she likes to wait for #2 until she gets home. I understand, don’t you? I’m sure it’s because of the Elimination Communication I’ve been practicing with her since birth.

Read the rest of this entry

Who Says ‘No’ the Most, the Parents or the Toddler?

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Saying ‘No’ sort of goes along with toddlers like eating pasta and spilling things down their shirt.

No face!

Haahaa, I’m watching every move you make!

Yup, I heard it loud and clear. Just the other day in the shopping centre, a 4 or 5 year old girl threw a container of strawberries in her mother’s trolley, the container burst open, strawberries spilled everywhere and the mum yells out, ‘YOU STUPID IDIOT!’. The shops were crazy busy, but everyone heard it. Myself and a handful of mothers were standing around for a split second with our mouths gapping wide open. Read the rest of this entry

An Intro to Elimination Communication: Responding to Your Baby’s Elimination Needs

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Elimination Communication: Did you know there is an alternative to toilet training?

Margo on her potty at 3 1/2 months old.

Who on Earth would bother taking their newborn baby to a bucket every time the baby had to ‘eliminate’, or do a wee or poo?  Well, I did, and here’s the story of how it started.

Like so many parents-to-be, throughout my first pregnancy, I kept having this nagging feeling somewhere in the back of my mind: Was I really going to have to deal with dirty diapers and wiping a kid’s bottom until she was 3 or 4 years old?  How hard would toilet training be? Read the rest of this entry