Raising Will


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Raising Will’s Adventures with Target

*Disclosure: I was gifted some items for my attendance at the below event.

Last Friday I was invited to take a look at the new range coming soon to Target’s Baby Collection. And being the shop-a-holic that I am, how could I refuse getting amongst the cuteness that is everything baby.

As a loyal Target shopper, I already knew about their reasonably priced quality and their development team’s commitment to safety. Their upcoming ranges are no exception to these rules and definitely worth getting excited over.

There’s been a shift over the last two years for Target’s baby product development team. They’ve been taking a more contemporary focus towards their nursery decor and manchester; moving away from the old pink and blue stereotype and towards fun brights and bold prints, but also paying attention to natural, earthy tones too. Taking their cues from top designers overseas, their consistent ability to meet their market is obvious whenever I head in-store. And this special bloggers preview didn’t disappoint.

So what did I get to check out first hand before it hits stores in February? What’s big next season I hear you ask?

Think clouds, triangles, little people furniture, greys, even a splash of neon and some dachshunds!

Coming to a Target store near you...

Coming to a Target store near you…

*insert applause here* Yes, I think they’ve got it right too….. yet again!

And taking a look into their current range of nursery decor, manchester and clothing, I was in love. Robots, elephants, colour and classics all in a simple, vintage style and PERFECT for my two little guys. I’ve put a few of my favourites below…

Small Boys at Target Australia
Target is hitting the spot for my small boys – check out the items below:

Are you loving any of the above? What would you like to see come to Target?

*Disclosure: I was gifted some items for my attendance at the #Targetlovesbloggers event although I was not obliged to write any posts about the event. I have not received any payment for my comments and all views are my own. 


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Think Again Mama: A Letter to Myself

Dear me,

I see November 2013 is rolling around and you are getting that itch. That hankering for the ovary-tingling smell. That uncontrollable urge to hold ALL the babies. That sly glance at assorted newborn-sized cuteness. That desire for an uncomplicated little bundle who’s needs are so simple. That thought of proferring your uterus to a wriggly tenant on a nine month lease…..

STOP!

Stop right there Missy!

I give you Exhibit A:

Screamy Baby

Screamy Baby

And Exhibit B:

Tantrumming Toddler

Tantrumming Toddler

And through your newborn-coloured glasses you may not remember the following:

1. At least four weeks of house-bound pain and invalid-ness;

2. Two hours of sleep a night if you’re lucky;

3. Boobs the size and weight of the bag full of nappies you have to lug out to the bin every three hours;

4. Being tethered to a little person who demands you frequently otherwise SCREAMY happens;

5. Always being 30mins late…. ALWAYS;

6. Waving to the wine bottle as it passes;

7. Fashion dictated by whether or not you can get your boobs out quick enough;

8. Unless you want it stretched, broken or eaten – no fancy-schmancy jewellery;

9. Only taking a purse, phone and glasses for yourself in a 45kg bag of crap for everyone else;

10. Getting. Nothing. Done;

11. Stubbing your toe on various tractor-related sharp and pointy things;

12. Never going to the toilet alone….. EVER;

13. Having absolutely no idea whats wrong with the writhing screaming bundle in your arms;

14. Tantrums because the top fell off a sandwich or the juice is in the wrong cup;

15. Being drooled, spewed, weed and pooed on all within 3 minutes;

16. Wearing the drool-spew-wee-poo clothes for four days because the washing machine is running overtime washing kidlet clothes;

17.  Killer back-ache from leaning over the bath/cot/couch/floor/car and under the bath/cot/couch/floor/car – yes! Under the bath!

18. More Peppa Pig, Wiggles, Play School and Pingu than any sane, normal person should have to handle;

19. Always… ALWAYS being required to share half your meal;

20. And NINE MONTHS of feeling like a hungry whale that somebody perched atop two tree stumps and sent off in a V8 Supercar to drive up and down from Bright to Falls Creek at 80km/hr.

Yep! ALLLLLL that!

No –  I don’t want to see……

I said don’t show me!………..

Nooooooooooooo!

Can't handle the cute...

Can’t handle the cute…

Ah crap….. As you were.


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Getting happy after Baby

I had a hard time with the end of Xavier’s pregnancy and his birth. After ten weeks of crippling pelvic pain followed by nineteen hours of excruciating posterior labour followed by what felt like the world’s most traumatic c-section, let’s just say when I held my baby boy for the first time (three hours later thanks to his trip to Special Care) I was in a funny place.

And not funny ha-ha.

While I pottered around in my hospital room for the next ten hours in my clouded, funny state – a familiar feeling crept into my right shoulder. Not only was I dazed and confused, I was now in breath-taking pain thanks to a surgery complication the midwives refer to as ‘shoulder-tip’ pain (I’d also suffered this when I had Will – I knew no fun was coming my way any time soon). Caused by air pockets under the diaphragm referring pain into the shoulder blade – I was literally stopped in my tracks; couldn’t sleep; couldn’t move. As forty-eight hours of this came and went with about two winks of sleep and big fat dose of Pethidine, I somehow emerged with a  little champion breast-feeder. I still don’t know how I survived those first days to be honest. I’ve never felt so unlike myself…. ever.

There's a storm inside...

There’s a storm inside…

Unlike myself? That’s totally how it was. I was full of anxiety about my boys and how I was going to handle them. I was full of disappointment for not achieving the VBAC I had so desperately hoped for. I was full of vicious sarcasm for any midwife that rubbed me the wrong way. I was full of anger for the hospital and doctors that brought Xavier into the world while I screamed in terror at the feeling of all my insides being pulled out. I was full of fear about the thought of another pregnancy (yeah I know – why the HECK was I thinking about that!). If I’d been full of a colour it would’ve been dark, dark grey. I felt cheated, powerless, weak and scared. Not. Me. At. All.

And at the time, I knew this wasn’t me. It was a little surreal, like I was watching it happen to someone else and I was giving them advice about breastfeeding, breathing exercises, feeling grateful and thinking positive. It was as if I was floating above my body shouting ‘this will pass’. But alas, my body was determined to stay in the storm.

Then we came home from hospital. And I cried. A lot.

At Xavier’s four week check, the Maternal Child Health Nurse asked that stupid* question – ‘Are you OK?’…

I wasn’t OK…

I was not OK.

The problem I had wasn’t with my baby. The problem I had was with me and I realised I needed to deal with the dark grey that was clouding my brain.

At the very moment that I understood how serious my situation was becoming, I felt my floating self come down and walk next to me. It’s voice became stronger. Every time I caught myself being negative, my floaty self would sit on that negativity with sunshine blazing out its bum saying “You are ok; this was just something that happened; you are not a failure; forgive yourself”… There was a real internal struggle going on inside me and I’m sure when people weren’t looking, my two selves were literally wrestling each other.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week | Nov 18-24 | #bePNDaware

Next week is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week.  15% of women and 5% of men will be diagnosed with this condition in Australia this year, so it’s important that people are aware of the signs and have the confidence to seek the assistance they need. Whilst I wasn’t diagnosed with PND, had the MCH Nurse not confronted me about my feelings that day, this may’ve been a completely different post.

One of my favourite bloggers, Naomi at Seven Cherubs faced a true battle with Postnatal Depression. When I was in the dark, I watched Naomi’s vlog post here and identified with so much of what she had to say. Sometimes its the sharing of stories that can be the best therapy – knowing you’re not alone in your battle.

Looking back now from my place in the sun, I know which self won my battle. I’m so glad that the grey is all gone and I have accepted what happened to my body. I can get on with life. I can dream about another pregnancy  I can breathe. And when someone asks me “Are you OK?”, I can say “Why yes, thank you.”

* This is NEVER a stupid question!

Click Here to check out PANDA’s Fact sheet on Postnatal Depression

If you or someone you know needs help you can all the PANDA national helpline on 1300 726 306 or visit www.panda.org.au

**Part of the Postnatal Depression Awareness Week Blog Hop. Click on the link below to see all the amazing posts**



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Babywearing with Hug-a-Bub

Last week saw the art of babywearing celebrated across the world with International Babywearing Week. One of my very favourite baby products threw me into a great little challenge for the week but before I talk about that, I want to tell you about how Hug-a-Bub became my ultimate baby accessory.

Welcoming our new little guy into the world was so exciting, but I totally underestimated how hard it would be to get stuff done when I had another mini human to worry about. I found Xavier needed to be held all the time, but I also needed my hands free. So I dug around in the wardrobes and pulled out our old Baby Bjorn Synergy that I purchased when we Will was little-r.

Baby Bjorn Synergy

Baby Bjorn Synergy (now called ‘Active’)
Image Credit: Baby Bjorn

As I pulled on the stiff contraption over my sore, breastfeeding chest and my twingey Caesar incision – I winced. ‘I remember why we hardly used this thing. What a waste of money‘ I said to myself. Alas, I picked up screamy Xav and placed him in the carrier. Major Fail. The poor boy hated it. Where Will had thought it was the bees knees (even though his Mum did not),  Xavier’s reflux and temperament had rendered the thing useless. He fought it every minute, never relaxed and just screamed more. I took my cuddly boy out of his Swedish nightmare and tried soothing him the old fashioned way – in my arms. Everything else would have to wait.

Two hours later, I’d finally calmed the storm and Xavier was asleep. I however, was not.

My mind reeled. How could I possibly cope with having to hold a newborn constantly and entertain a demanding toddler/clean the house/do the grocery shopping!?

Vowing never to use my Baby Bjorn Synergy again, I put out the call on the Twitters as to the best babywearing products for a cuddly newborn. The gorgeous Zoey from Good Googs came at me with:

What the Twitters said...

What the Twitters said…

So off I went to research on the Hug-a-bub website. Within seconds I was in love with their organic wrap carriers. They looked divine and so very snuggly. Best part about the whole thing was that Hug-a-bub had a great deal happening at the time for their Facebook fans – it was a sign! Out came the credit card. An order was placed. By the Post Office I waited!

One very quick postage journey later, I had my divinely soft Organic Cotton Hug-a-bub wrap in my arms. Straight on it went as the little fella began to make his drama known to the whole street.

Five minutes later – screamy baby turned into dreamy baby:

Dreamy Baby... Thanks Hugabub!

Dreamy Baby… Thanks Hugabub!

The more I used the Hug-a-bub, the better I got at tying it correctly. I always underestimated the tension I needed but after a few test runs I had it figured out. After weeks of baby-wearing I now have it down-pat and could probably do it with my eyes closed; and lucky, because the Hug-a-bub is pretty much Xav’s favourite place to be. He sleeps soundly and twice as long than if he was in his bassinet.

For a practice that can be seen on ancient murals in the Pyramids of Eygpt, babywearing has had a long time to prove itself. It has been found to increase maternal (and even paternal) bonding, lower rates of post natal depression and it encourages a calmer infant as their needs are often instantly met. And don’t even get me started on all the things I can now DO!!!!

Babywearing in ancient times...

Babywearing in ancient times…
Image Credit: Marie Parsons

That brings us to last week – International Babywearing Week. The challenge was set on Hug-a-Bub’s Facebook page to take a photo each day inspired by different words – very similar to the Photo A Day Challenge by a favourite blogger of mine: Fat Mum Slim. I had my trusty phone at the ready and Instagrammed the shiz-nit out of last week. You can see the results below:

Hugabub Week

Our photos for Hugabub Week…

So the last few weeks with our new son has been amazing – made all the more so by this brilliant, simple piece of baby equipment. Xavier is most of the time happy and content – and when he isn’t he goes in the Hug-a-Bub and GETS  himself happy and content. I am definitely recommending the Hug-a-Bub to all of my friends (that includes you guys!) – The Perfect Baby Shower Present – Amazing.

*Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I have not received any incentive for writing it – I have just been so impressed by the Hug-a-Bub that I wanted to share it with you all.


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Announcing the Arrival of…

Well, it’s been a whirlwind 4 weeks and I’ve finally been able to find some time to sit down at the computer! On Aug 1 at 12.06am, we welcomed our #2 ball of love into the world via Caesarean Section after 19 hours of posterior labour.

Hubby and I are very pleased to announce the arrival of…

Xavier Thomas
3692 grams (8″ 2′)
Length: 52cm
Head Circumference: 38cm

Introducing Xavier

Xavier Thomas – Cuddles With Mum

I will one day write a post about his not so awesome entry into the world, but it’s all still a bit too raw for me to write about yet – so that will come later down the track.

Xav is an angel baby and is feeding like a dream – and if you remember reading about Will’s breastfeeding complications you will know how much of a luxury it is for me to have a baby that just latches and away he goes! He is thriving and at his 4 week check it became apparent that his giant head (which I totally blame for the caesarean) was even GIANTER again! The equivalent of the average 4 month old boy to be exact!

Brothers - Will and Xavier

Brothers – Will and Xavier

I’m very slowly adjusting to life with two little boys (and one big boy) – it’s a hard slog full of complete chaos and unpredictability – but it gets better every day, just as I get better every day as I recover from the c-section.

Anyway – I look forward to sharing Xav’s milestones here as he grows alongside his big brother Will (who is proudly sporting a ripping case of the terrible twos!).

And hopefully, blogging becomes a bigger part of my life again in the very near future – Lord knows I miss the therapy! Ha!

Bump @ 31 weeks 5 days


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Help… I’m Pregnant… And I can’t get up!: The Joys of the Third Trimester

So I’m 31 weeks and  5 days pregnant today. It’s a little hard for me to believe that, if my last birthing experience was anything to go by, I could be holding a new baby in my arms in precisely 5 weeks and 3 days.

* falls off chair*

*gets back on chair*

This pregnancy has been a completely different experience to what I had with baby Will. Where my first pregnancy was all sunshine and rainbows and yoga and acupuncture and day-time naps and massages and nursery decorating, this one has been painful and exhausting and dehydrated and disorganised and stressed and nursery is still a pile of crap in the spare room and keeping up with a toddler is doing my head in.

I don’t think I could miss my last pregnancy more if I tried.

Don’t get me wrong, the phenomenal amount of love I feel for the little bean growing inside my ever-increasing belly is… well… phenomenal. I’m just over my body whinging at me about the hard time it thinks it’s having. GET OVER IT BODY! Not that much longer now, surely you could give me a break from those nerve impulses you’re sending from my pelvis telling me that I am in constant pain. And I’m positive that my stomach can handle more than a glass of water without burning the crap out of my oesophagus! 

“Dear Body,

Get a grip on yourself. It’s a baby, not an elephant.

God, I hope it’s not an elephant.

Sincerely,

Michelle.”

So, I’m hoping to bring back some peace to my pregnancy. A visit to the health food store and a Homeopath today will hopefully make me feel a bit better. Think I need a cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea. And maybe I’ll make a cake. Because in my experience cake fixes most things.

What herbals did you go nuts over when you were pregnant?


Did they work for you?


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A hello, a baby, and a great big wheel-barrow…

Why hello there!

It is me! I have returned!…… again.

So much has happened since I last blogged. And it’s been happening everywhere – my home, my neighbourhood, my friends, my mind and not least of all MY BODY! For those out of the loop, this should explain a few things:

Bump #2 at 12 Weeks

Bump #2 at 12 Weeks

Yes, that’s a baby bump you see. Our three is due to become four in early August. Here’s hoping it’s a little less fast-paced than Will’s entry into the world, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ve really been feeling the pregnancy this time around. Where it was a breeze with Will, this little one has been nothing but trouble (which I’m hoping is not a sign of things to come). And not trouble as in stuff-wrong-with-the-baby trouble, just trouble as in I-think-I-might-be-having-every-bad-pregnancy-symptom-under-the-sun trouble. The first three months were so icky-sicky that I struggled to do anything and Will was lucky he was bathed and fed most of the time. Poor little ferret – but he’s taken it all in his stride and is still as rambunctious as ever.

A rambunctious little toddler...

A rambunctious little toddler...

Onto my head though… It’s beginning to clear from the pregnancy fog, but (and you know I love metaphors) have any of you just found yourself piling so much stuff into your barrow that you begin to realise it’s tipping over? What do you take out? What should you replace? Do you really need that in there? Anyone want to help me push? Oh Bugger! The wheel fell off! That’s pretty much my head at the moment.

I have so many things floating around in my brain-space right now and I find myself getting to this barrow-about-to-floweth-over stage; that’s when big changes in my life happen. The last time my barrow nearly tipped over, we moved 250km to a new house; a new town; a new outlook. Looking back at some ‘barrow moments’ in my life, I’m beginning to realise that this might be how my head chooses its way. I pile all of these potential paths into my barrow and when it tips, the one that I manage to grab first seems to be the one true path that I was looking for and end up pursuing whole-heartedly. Kind of like the first thing you’d save if your house was on fire.

What’s in my barrow at the moment I hear you ask:

1. Knowledge is what I crave. Should I go back to Uni? Would Psychology be beyond me? How on earth do you muddle through the application process without your High School Career Advisor pulling out the stops? Could I handle a study workload with a toddler and a newborn?

2. Writing is my passion. Why have I stopped? Will all (yes, the whole handful of you) my blog followers still remember who I am if I came back to blogging? Do I really want to grow my blog into a business? I should really go to a conference/networking event and get my bloggy-mojo flowing (reading all the tweets about Digital Parents Conference 2012 is sending me greener and greener as I type). I’m craving some article-writing for happychild and I really should email the gorgeous publisher, Yvette. Must make time must make time must make time!!!!!

3. Creativity is happiness.  I think I officially have 1 million creative projects on the go. I really need to catch up on Project Life, do some sewing for our new arrival, and stay away from creative inspiration for a few weeks so I can be inspired to finish the stuff I’ve already been inspired to start!

4. Community is filling a gap I never knew existed. I’m throwing myself into roles in my local community and it’s a good feeling to be making our area just that little bit more awesome. Have I bitten off more than I can chew with a Project that I am developing through a Leadership Course being run by our local shire? Is it really as good-of-an-idea as it sounds in my head? Am I even really qualified to be considering this?

5. Life is hard. The house always needs attention. There are people to be fed and watered. There are not enough hours in the day, dollars in the bank or chocolate bars in the fridge. I should spend more quality time with my husband. There are too many loads of washing. Fuel and groceries are ridiculous and I should really make more of an effort to save money. 

Ranty brain-dump over. The worst part about running around with a giant, metaphorical wheel-barrow all the time is that you get tired. I really need to work out a different way of fielding my needs, wants, hopes and dreams. This barrow is getting too heavy to push at 5 months pregnant.

Do you cart around a ‘barrow’? How do you sort out what’s really important to your happiness?

Happiness

*Image source: Happy To Inspire*