28 January 2010

Splashes and Giggles

My girls recently started having baths together. Once MissyMoo2 started sitting, I decided to do it; partly due to laziness and partly so they could have fun playing together in the bath. Okay, it was mainly due to laziness - getting two kids clean at the same time just seems to make sense.

When they sat facing each other in the bath for the first time, the looks on both their faces was priceless. I wish I'd brought a camera in with me (actually, I'm glad I didn't - you'll see why).

MissyMoo1 did her beautiful awe-struck look and said a long "wow" to give it full effect. With the size of her grin eclipsed only by the depth of her dimples, she could hardly contain her excitement that her baby sister was finally big enough to play in the bath with her.

MissyMoo2 gave a smile so big it showed off her tooth. She looked adoringly up at her big sister, confident that life just didn't get any better than this.

Well it did.

MissyMoo1's experienced hand smacked the water, splashing everything in about a half metre radius (hence my relief at not having brought the camera so close to the bath). At that, MissyMoo2's expression ascended to absolute glee. With beads of water on her cheeks, she looked up at her big sister and then down at the water. Smiling, she started splashing away with both hands and chuckling. For the next couple of minutes both of them were splashing and giggling -it was a joy to watch and I found myself giggling along with them too.

Who needs bath toys when you can splash your sister?!

25 January 2010

Short Story: MissyMoo1's First Journey

As promised, I am posting the story I recently entered into a short story competition. I am fairly happy with it, although I could have used an extra 200 words or so to get it just the way I wanted it. Alas, the word limit was my foe. Unfortunately the story did not make the short list, but that's ok - the prizes weren't very good anyway!

The topic for the competition was pregnancy, birth or the first five years of a child's life. The story had to be non-fiction and attempt to move the reader either to tears or laughter. (Just in case the story is so bad that you're not sure - I was not aiming for laughter).

Here goes:

The utensils on the table next to me glistened in the light from overhead. Its fluorescence made them seem all the more cold and sharp. Although I did not want to look, I could not turn away from that table. I stared in disbelief that those implements resembling medieval instruments of torture might be used to pull the fragile newborn baby from my body.

The obstetrician entered the room signalling that I would soon begin to push out our much-anticipated, nine day overdue baby girl. I was exhausted. I had been in labour for 20 hours, including all through the night before. I was hungry. I had not eaten for 24 hours because there had been complications during my labour and my body needed to be prepared for a possible caesarean. But here I was, nearly at the end and ready to push out my baby. I was given lemonade to help me through, which neither quenched my thirst nor satisfied my hunger, but in my state I was happy to take what I could get.

The midwife and my husband put my legs in the stirrups to prepare me for pushing. I could not move my legs or feel anything at all from the waist down thanks to the epidural. Hubby squeezed my hand and I smiled at him. We both knew that soon our lives would be changed forever.

The midwife watched the monitor beside me and told me when to push. I gritted my teeth but I could not feel anything. I had no idea whether I was actually pushing or just holding my breath. After almost two hours of encouraging words and caring faces, the mood in the room suddenly changed. I looked up and saw the midwife and the obstetrician looking at each other with concerned expressions. The midwife noticed me looking at her and managed a smile. I then turned to Hubby and I could tell from his face that he had seen it too.

They told me that I was pushing hard and doing so well; they knew that I was tired but I was nearly there. The obstetrician said that the baby was getting distressed, that we had to get her out soon and that they needed an extra special effort from me. The obstetrician spoke a little too quickly and a little too loudly. She sounded stressed and it scared me.

I was so tired; I just did not want to push any more. After all that time, none of it seemed real. I could not imagine labour being over and having our baby out in the world with us. But after hearing what the obstetrician had said and how she had said it, I was terrified that something bad was going to happen. I took a deep breath and, fighting back tears, I pushed with all that I had in me.

When I next looked up, I saw people pouring into the room. Missy Moo 1 had been born, but what I had pictured as the happiest moment of our lives, a moment to savour, was a blur of confusion and noise. She was placed on my chest but I barely had time to wonder how to hold her when her limp body was swiftly taken from me. I looked for her but she had disappeared behind a wall of nurses. After an eternity, she was wheeled back to me on a trolley. I kissed the top of her head – it was all I could reach – before she was whisked away again, this time to a nursery on another floor of the building.

The room began to spin. I felt sick. Words and phrases were diving out of the obstetrician’s mouth and swimming around my ears: big baby; shoulder stuck; had to break her arm to get her out; no heartbeat; resuscitated; alive; possible brain-damage; know more in a few hours.

I was barely conscious, but I still felt hollow inside. After everything we had been through, I was not holding my baby. The little one had gone from the protection and warmth of my womb to a sterile incubator where she was fighting for life. Instead of being cuddled by her parents, she was surrounded by glass. Hubby was with her, holding her hand through the porthole in the incubator. It was the least we could do and the most we could do.

While my broken body was being repaired, I was unsure of whether to sleep or vomit. Thanks to the epidural I was not yet suffering from the physical pain of the ordeal, but it could not block out the emptiness and guilt I was feeling. Moments ago, MissyMoo1 had been inside me and Hubby was holding my hand; now they were both gone.

I was still in my bed when I was taken to see my daughter. I felt apprehension as I was pushed into the lift and down the corridor to the nursery. While we mere moving, the nurses apologised for taking MissyMoo1 away from me so quickly. MissyMoo1's first APGAR score had been zero, so they had needed to act quickly. I could hear the compassion in their voices. It was the first time I realised just how close we had come to losing MissyMoo1 before we had even had a chance to meet.

When we arrived I saw Hubby standing next to a glass box on a trolley. Inside was my MissyMoo1, with tubes up her nose and in her tiny hands. It did not seem fair that someone so small and innocent should be suffering so much. I could not believe that she was mine. I reached into the porthole and touched her arm. We were sad, scared and scarred, but we were all together again.

23 January 2010

Blog topics

Okay so I've been looking at my blog posts so far and, rather than being a creative outlet, this has become a bit of a "mum's blog". I had hoped to be a bit more versatile than that, but I've come to the realisation that mummy stuff is what I do these days and therefore what I know and what I write about. It definitely provides for more interesting topics than my last job which would have just inspired me to rant about the unnecessary complexities in the Corporations Act.

My aim is to broaden the scope a bit but of course to keep up the mum writing too - the girls just provide me with so much material!

I entered a short story competition a couple of weeks ago so when I get my act together I'll post the story on this blog.

Ciao until next time.


21 January 2010

Porridge Hands

Breakfast was a blast this morning.

I sat MissyMoo2 on a wrap on the floor to eat her porridge and pureed apple mix, yum yum. The first few mouthfuls were easy & uneventful. Soon after beginning her breakfast, though, MissyMoo2 decided to make things a little more interesting.

MissyMoo2 is one of those babies who likes to touch food with her hands and put non-edible things (for example, play dough) in her mouth. This morning was no exception. Every one of my attempts to keeps the bowl out of her reach resulted in MissyMoo2 crying and then clamping her mouth shut tight when I attempted to put a spoonful of food in. Making funny faces worked a few times; singing a silly sing got her mouth open a few more. But then my tricks stopped working.

Out of ideas, I did what any mother who had just been outsmarted by a 7-month-old would do: I succumbed. Instead of worrying about the mess, I decided to think of it positively - as an educational experience.

The look of glee on MissyMoo2's face as I put the bowl within reach was worth it. First she put a couple of fingers in the bowl, then took them out and licked them. Next, she put her whole hand in and then the other hand joined in the fun too. She started laughing and splattering around in the bowl. When she was finished there was food on her face, her legs, her hands, my legs and I think we also managed to get some more in her mouth. There was very little left in the bowl.

MissyMoo1 came over to see what all the fuss was about. She pointed and laughed, saying: "Mummy, she's got porridge hands!"

14 January 2010

Watching Charlie & Lola - Post script

I can't resist adding a post script to the post about watching "Charlie & Lola".

Before I begin, just a bit of background. Like most 3-year-olds, MissyMoo1 is very fussy with her veggies. The only ones she will eat without a level of negotiation worthy of securing a peace treaty between warring nations, are steamed potatoes and steamed zucchini, both with the skin off.

MissyMoo1 and I were watching the DVD again today on a rainy afternoon. The first episode is about Lola's fussy eating and how Charlie manages to get her to eat her veggies. The first vegetable is a carrot. Much to my amazement, before we even got to the part where Charlie says that carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter so that Lola will be interested in eating them, MissyMoo1 said to me: "Mummy, can I have a carrot, pleeeease?"

"What was that sweety?" She asked for a vegetable and used her manners the first time? I couldn't believe my ears. She repeated her request and I gladly got up, peeled a whole carrot and gave it to her. And ... she ATE it!

I love tv which is a good influence on kids :-)

12 January 2010

Confession of a Housewife

I have something I need to get off my chest. It's a little secret I've been keeping for a few months now. I wouldn't call it an addiction, rather, a guilty pleasure. It's not something I am particularly proud of, but I may not be the only one...

I realise that making an admission of this sort on a blog could be akin to telling the world. The voice of reason tells me that this isn't really the case, as not many people will actually read what I write. The voice's opposing whisper says that when it is public, I will feel better about it: exposed but free.

And no, the admission is not about me hearing voices in my head (the topic for a future blog post, perhaps?).

This confession is about a typical homely task. Some do it, some don't. Ironing. I used to avoid it at all costs. When I was in the workforce, I tried to get by mostly with work attire that did not require ironing. I would hang clothes in an attempt to get the creases out and ironed only as a last resort. When Missy Moo was a baby and I was at home full time looking after her, ironing hubby's work shirts was the extent of it. I had a uselessly thin ironing board cover which would press the ironing board's grate pattern into the shirts, so I sometimes used the hanging up trick for hubby too, particularly in winter when he could wear jumpers over the top of the shirt.

But a few months ago, something changed. I can't quite put my finger on exactly when or why, but I began to iron more. It was not as if I suddenly had more time for ironing. I had been at home full time with MissyMoo1 since early on in my pregnancy with MissyMoo2. Baby was two or three months old when the increase in ironing activity began, so with two little ones to look after, I actually had less time.

Then I began to notice ironed clothes on other people ... and I liked what I saw. I began to be able to differentiate between people who were wearing ironed clothes and those whose clothes had perhaps just been hung up in the wardrobe (my old trick). The ironed clothes just looked so ... smooth. It was a revelation, as if, after 28 years, my eyes had finally been opened.

The next chance I got, I bought a new ironing board cover. It was smooth with luxuriously thick padding. It was also pink - my little indulgence considering I'm the only one who does the ironing in our house these days.

The next time I did some washing, I put away the clean underwear, socks, singlets and pyjamas. Most other things went in the ironing basket. I got out the equipment, filled the iron with water and let it warm up. Then I got to it fervently. My steam engine of smoothness made the evil creases disappear. It was ... enjoyable.

There, I said it. I like ironing. I find it enjoyable, satisfying, relaxing. I LIKE IRONING!!!

What has become of me? How could I, formerly a sworn enemy of any task pertaining to home life requiring effort, be taking such pride in steam-pressing clothing? Perhaps I am less exciting these days; perhaps it is a function of spending more time at home. All I know is , I feel good about it, and I feel good about telling you.

I'd better go, I have some ironing to do.

05 January 2010

Watching Charlie & Lola

I'm sitting on the couch with MissyMoo1 (3) watching "Charlie & Lola" on DVD. MissyMoo1 doesn't mind a bit of tv in the afternoon after a day of playing (it's a hard life!). She used to have an afternoon nap but these days that rarely happens. I tried to make it happen for a while there but the making was not terribly condusive to producing the relaxed state required for sleeping. So now zonking out in front of the tv for some pre-schooler viewing is fine by me.

I'm quite a fan of "Charlie & Lola" actually. It's one of the few kiddy shows that hasn't yet made me want to go and clean the kitchen, or shower, or toilet, just to have an excuse to leave the room. Charlie seems to teach Lola a lot of things I would think would be in the parent domain but apart from that, it's wonderful. Charlie also seems to have a lot of patience for a little kid but then how could you not with a little sister as cutey adorable as Lola.

It has made me wonder what pearls of wisdom MissyMoo1 will be passing onto her little sister. Scamming lollies will probably be high up on the list and perhaps learning to jump like a frog. Judging from the way the two of them have been playing together so happily lately, I'm sure they will be sharing secrets and ganging up on their parents to get what they're after, which is exactly how it should be.

Now that MissyMoo2 is sitting up to play, the girls are fighting over toys and making each other cry one minute, then smiling, cuddling and sharing the next. just a minute ago, Missy Moo1 gave her sister a soft kiss on the cheek, then put a toy on her head and laughed at her. The show we're watching makes me wonder what the girls will be like when they're a bit older, but right now, they're just awesome :-)
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