Sunday, September 29, 2013

Often devoid of wine

After a rinse-and-repeat type of fortnight, my daughter and I broke the monotony mould today and got out of the house to have lunch with a fantabulous bunch of friends. 

It was an excellent little adventure - the company was predictably good, the cafe was refreshingly child friendly, the food was scrummy and the sunshine  even showed up and put in a full day at the office. 

Somewhere between tasting the berry coulis and doing my best to stop Buggy from licking the highchair tray, conversation - as is to be expected among a group of friends - turned to what we have all been getting up to as of late. 

As everyone rattled off their latest life instalments, I started to feel a peculiar sense of mumness creeping in. Threw off the nine-to-five chains and started freelancing. Getting ready for graduation. Saving to spend a(nother) year in Europe. Bought a house.

Solid life gems with plenty of substance, complete with interesting back stories and future leads. The type that make you put on your best inquiring face and probe to find out more, and spur a tsunami of head-nodding around the table.

Really? Had no one else been washing wee off their sock? Rolling around on the floor like an oversized toddler in the (completely false) hope that the baby might copy? Singing the same song over and over and over and over again because all the other songs in the known universe inexplicably elicit a quivering upper lip? Washing banana smoosh out of their ponytail AGAIN? 

Having spent the last five and a bit months in a new mummy cocoon, and the two months before that wallowing on the couch in heavily-pregnant-during-an-unprecedented-summer-heatwave-misery, it seems impossible to me that the world has continued to spin on its ordinary axis. 

In the space of 13 months, just a smidgen over a single year, my reality has become a complete unreality and the unimaginable has become the every day. 

For now, there are no more work functions, no more Friday night drinks, no more spontaneous romantic weekend trips down the coast or up the mountain. There are no more sneaky cigarettes, no more Sunday sleep-ins, no more carefree 'pops' to the grocery shop. 

Instead, there are the mum days. The wonderful and wondrous, mad and maddening mum days - sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes akin to dragging your feet through a concrete swimming pool, often devoid of wine and always measured in nappies. 

And while a trip to Europe sounds positively blissful, I'll happily take the curious mum days for now. Although, a relaxing overnight trip to a European inspired hotel with a complimentary buffet breakfast wouldn't go astray!

M x Follow Mumdanity on Facebook and Google+

Friday, September 27, 2013

Baby Food: The Early Days

Once upon a time, I was a clean person. 

I wore freshly laundered clothes, happily bereft of stains and pulls and holes. I washed and blow dried my hair at least twice a week, with the added goodness of a straightener and styling product thrown in from time to time for good measure. Ablutions abounded - brushing, flossing, plucking, cleansing, clipping, toning, exfoliating, conditioning, shaving and moisturising. 

During pregnancy (when I became a shiny, oversized balloon woman) my cleanliness and self-maintenance schedule shifted. Trips to my hairdresser went down, attempts to ward off stretch marks went up. I tried everything I could get my hands on: oils, lotions, cremes and creams, soaks, treatments and scrubs. While my hips and thighs are living proof that my attempts were futile, I was sure as heck one nice smelling pregnant lady.

Since my daughter came along, my standards have naturally slipped. In the last five months, my hair has descended into the untamed category and the only pair of jeans my postpartum hips will fit into have developed a serious undiagnosed spotty rash. The hood of my hoodie has also proved its worth as a spew catcher, but that's something I'd rather not remember in too much detail. 

I was just acclimatising to my new messy world of spew, milk, unidentifiable liquids and unpleasant nappies (or diapers, for those of you playing at home on the other side of the big blue fish pond) when solid food turned up and crashed my party. DAMN YOU FOOD! 

Now, solids weren't meant to make an appearance in our household until next month at the earliest. My husband and I had been hoping to delay the introduction of solids until the magical six month mark for the sake of our sanity and so we could cut our teeth, so the speak, with baby led weaning.

We had chosen baby led weaning from the myriad of theories and strategies that float around the mummy universe because it made the most sense to us and seemed like a fun and logical (albeit messy) way for my daughter to discover the big wide world of eating. We understand it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly sounded like ours.

Our plan was straightforward: baby feeds self and develops great relationship with food, Mummy doesn't have to make any special baby foodstuffs, Daddy doesn't have to master the art of spoon aeroplanes and the puppy gets to steal dropped leftovers. 

Oh, it was going to be grand. Then, at four months, my daughter sprouted two front teeth. Over the next month, she started chewing, then biting. She started reaching for my plates and spoons. Then, when Mummy was perhaps paying a little too much attention to the computer and not quite enough attention to the baby, the baby launched herself across my lap, bit into my unsuspecting banana and immediately turned into a hungry little food monster. 

It seemed a little too early. What about the six month solids guideline? What about the timelines we had been told about at childbirth education? What about Doctor Google's stern advice and warnings? In the end, we decided to take a little bit of advice from all the different columns and apply a bit of commonsense to create our own workable solution. 
Baby sitting up in the high chair by herself? Check. 
Baby demonstrating good head control? Check. 
Baby no longer thrusting her tongue? Check.
Baby showing an interest in food? CHECK!

And so, as with all master plans relating to babies, our baby led weaning plan was thrown a little off course. As our daughter's intentions toward food were clear, but her hand-to-mouth coordination couldn't quite keep up with her hunger, we had to introduce the spoon. Not to be entirely thwarted by inexperienced fingers, we developed a bit of our own haphazard hybrid system, giving finger food as a starter and the mushed variety for mains, mixed with a bit of expressed milk as a surprise baby bonus.

So far, the hybrid system is serving our little household pretty well. We're playing with a small amount of food once a day, but making sure its business as usual at the breastfeeding milk bar. Food is (sometimes) going in the mouth, hand and eye coordination is on the up and up and my little girl seems to be a pretty happy little vegemite all round. 

Since food rocked in, though, my last hopes of cleanliness have jumped out the window. Spoon or not, a typical feeding session ends with the baby having some type of gloopy mush up her nose, in her ears and smooshed through her hair and eyebrows. Most of the food ends up on the floor, on the dog, in the crevices of the high chair or in a deeply intimate relationship with the tile grout. 

Certain foods are quickly emerging as the nemesis of cleanliness. Steamed carrot has proven to be particularly nasty, leaving my white bowl and my white kitchen bench and my white round-the-house jumper stained with a permanent orange reminder of Baby Food: The Early Days

I fear I have morphed into an unfortunately effective food magnet, with an enviable magnetic field. In the last five days alone I've found rice cereal painted down the front of my pants, a chunk of carrot squished under my arm, and banana remnants on the sole of my foot and stuck right through my ponytail. 

Feeding my daughter solid food is taking its toll on my personal standards. My cleanliness care factor is rapidly diminishing, my attempts to shower and look nice before the noon food explosion have all but stopped and it takes more than one serious mess to make me bother to change my shirt ... is it time to panic yet?!

Baby: 26 points. Cleanliness: 0 points. Mummy: -17 points.  

Tomorrow, joy of joys, we will experiment with pear or zucchini for the first time, depending on how the mood takes us. Please excuse me while I go and dig up something green to wear to help camouflage the experience. 

How do you tackle food time in your house?
Have you tried baby led weaning?

M x

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

No chip off the old block

Mum blogs. 
Mom notes. 
Mother diaries. 
Mama journals. 
Mummy chronicles. 

Yep, you know the ones. 

Tales of regurgitated carrot mush, thrown sippy cups, burnt casseroles, irritating and irritated significant others, teething gums, terrifying pooplosions and unfortunate child-picks-nose-in-public incidents. 

Sagas of lost blankies and the treacherous journeys undertaken to retrieve them, and unintentional novellas intricately debating the pros and cons of dressing your munchkin in onesies with feet. 

Long-winded discussions of how to remove the now-rock-hard regurgitated carrot mush from where it has been trodden into the carpet - complete with every detail you never realised you never wanted to know.

As a first-time-mum to a very cheeky five-month-young baby daughter (let's call her Buggy), I have been trawling my way through plenty of these blogs in the excruciatingly small hours. Never one to be left out of anything, I have decided to dip my toe into the mummy blogging swimming pool and see if I can swim. 

Now, I would love to tell you that this blog will be different, that MY mum blog will be a chip off the old proverbial block - you know, refreshing and groundbreaking stuff, only dishing up precious gems of absurdity and treasure for you to read over your hot morning cuppa and freshly baked wholegrain muffin. 

Alas, though, here we are in the real world. And in the real world, we all know that my mum blog will follow the typical trajectory of a typical mum blog. I will no doubt slip into complacency and post mundane revelations, typical childhood milestones, mummy dilemmas, angry rants and the occasional off-topic ramble. 

And you, dear readers, will probably be lucky if you get to read my posts with a cold cuppa and a wanna-be-low-fat-muesli-bar in hand. Sigh. (Unless, of course, you have not yet morphed into a parental being, in which case your latte will be steaming and you'll no doubt be clicking over to a more enthralling blog right about ...)

Regardless though, I will press on and try my best to tap up some posts worthy of your cuppa time, and worthy of this little corner of the tangential abyss we like to call the internet (or is it just the web these days, I can never keep up?!) There will be stories to narrate, embarrassing lessons to explain and disasters to recount - plenty of mum days in all their honest glory.

So onward, upward, and right now, to the laundry! 

M x

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