Who’s more tired?

There’s a game called the ‘who’s more tired game?’, I think most parents know what I’m talking about. My husband thinks he’s more tired because he works all day and wakes at night when the baby cries. I think I’m more tired because my work isn’t 9 – 5 anymore, it’s from when I open my eyes until I close my eyes. About a month ago my husband said his life was like the movie groundhog day (he was 60 hours into an 84 hour work week). I wasn’t sympathetic. ‘I’ve done a 150 hour week’ was my reply which I can hear myself saying in the most annoying tone. I hadn’t been that angry since I went mental and threw a game controller after losing in NBA Jam. I started to take deep breaths, I needed to calm down, it was obvious that I was more tired. How could he not see that?!

I was in labour for 21 hours when I gave birth and let me tell you I was tired. I was pretty dramatic in hindsight, wobbling my head from side to side, deep breathing in a daze but then again I had just given birth to a TINY HUMAN BEING! My little babe had a traumatic entry into the world being yanked out of my vagina with a vacuum seal so was taken away from me. It felt like I was in the delivery room forever being stitched up. My husband eventually returned to tell me the baby was fine. He was all in a hypo carrying around my placenta in a big yellow bio hazard bag and I was just zonked. He eventually went home and had a good few hours sleep. I was able to visit bub briefly then put in my room to ‘sleep’ but I couldn’t because I needed to urgently tell everyone the baby was born after my brother posted on facebook before I had a chance to tell anyone. Then my head was looping the fuck out from all the drugs so I had to keep my eyes open just to feel normal. Clearly I was more tired then.

I didn’t sleep the next day because people were constantly in and out of the room – one lady asking if I was doing my pelvic floor, another asking if I wanted to talk about the traumatic delivery, another talking about contraception (not necessary) while another looked at my stitches. There was no such thing as ‘rest time’, talk about hectic. I went home the following day and then the real lack of sleep began. People told me ‘sleep while the baby sleeps’ but I didn’t listen. I was going to DO-IT-ALL I was woman, hear me roar. I cleaned the house, did the washing, cooked gourmet meals, I refused help. I thought I could handle it, then the sleepless nights got on top of me. I’m not sure if it was week 2, 3 or 4 because it’s such a blur but one morning I could not face getting out of bed. Nights were so hard back then, I’d get to 7pm and think ‘I can’t wait to get into bed’ then remember what was ahead of me. I’d have an overwhelming sense of dread and then delay going to sleep which makes no sense. I was definitely more tired then.

lavender vibesHere we are now just over 5 months in and I still can’t sleep while the baby sleeps during the day because he catnaps. We’ve separated (the baby and me) because old-mate-have-a-chat is too noisy. He has a cot sensor which I’ve tested vigorously to ensure I can hear it should he stop breathing for any reason so I’m not concerned about him being in a different room. Nights are much easier to handle now because I’m not up for hours feeding and settling him to sleep. I still have mornings when I hear him chatting and I telepathically tell him to shut the f up and let me go back to sleep but I get out of bed, shuffle to his room, look in his cot and his excited giggling face melts me and I say good morning, have a coffee and get through each day. I’ve made it out of the newborn mombie (mum-zombie) phase alive but five months of limited sleep has taken it’s toll.

So who’s more tired now? The truth is we’re both tired. We’re both so god damn tired. We laugh about the times before we had a baby that we thought we were tired. My husband is actually amazing, he gets up early and goes to work for 12 hours, he comes home each day and bathes the baby then cooks us dinner while I feed the baby and put him to bed. I’m glad we’ve stopped playing the ‘who’s more tired game’. We’re on the same team now, if one of us is tired the other will step up. The competiveness between us was pointless and besides…clearly I’m more tired.

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Is he a good baby?

There’s one question that’s really starting to bug me. If you’re a mum then you’ll know this question well. It’s the ‘Is he a good baby?’ question. Usually I answer yes with a smile and nod gratefully when I’m told ‘you’re so lucky’. Sometimes I’m not even asked, I’m just told ‘you’re lucky you have a good baby’. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s not a BAD baby and I do feel lucky for that but here’s why he’s not a GOOD baby:

Is he a good baby

He isn’t a good baby when he decides to vomit…

We just returned from a holiday and even with five jumpers and two pairs of jeans I managed to stink the whole trip. I even did a load of washing on day 3 but it didn’t make a difference, he would just spit up on me again. I don’t even know why I bothered looking when my husband would ask me what was on my jumper.

He isn’t a good baby when I’m trying to settle him to sleep…

For a very long time and occasionally still I am rocking, fit ball bouncing, swaying, moon walking – whatever it takes to get him to sleep I am doing it. I had no idea how many tears and how much time would be spent trying to get the baby to sleep.

He isn’t a good baby when it comes to sleeping at night…

A good night is being woken up twice, a bad night is being woken up 4 times and a really bad night is being woken up anywhere up to 11 times. Enough said.

He isn’t a good baby when it comes to sleeping during the day…

Catnapping is where your baby sleeps for 10-30 minutes at a time so basically ‘sleeping while the baby sleeps’ is impossible. Sometimes it takes longer to get the baby to sleep than the baby actually sleeps. That means getting through each day involves coffee, tears, co-sleeping and the occasional breakdown.

He isn’t a good baby when he has wind…

When he was a newborn, wind was a major issue for us. I got bad advice from a midwife and didn’t burp him enough and it all built up. I soon realised he had wind issues when he would turn red, strain and cry but there was nothing in his nappy. I began to think he had colic but muddled through with massage, bicycle leg movements, infacol, lots of cuddles then finally fennel tea. Now we’ve started solids it’s happening all over again.

He isn’t a good baby when I’m driving…

I thought babies were meant to love car trips and he did at first but after a few months it felt like I couldn’t drive anywhere without him screaming. I would drive along one arm on the wheel, the other arm sticking a dummy or bottle in his mouth. Every car trip was filled with guilt as if I was torturing the poor little dude. I was telling someone today he’d grown out of it but guess who pulled over today to rock and shh their baby in a carpark… yep me.

He isn’t a good baby when it comes to feeding…

If you follow my blog you’ll know that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. Expressing for me is a major pain in the ass, I just can’t be positive about it no matter how hard I try to be.

He isn’t a good baby when it comes to teething…

He started teething at 3 months on the dot. He had a temperature and was grumpy and had red cheeks and I could feel and see the white teeth through his gums. The teeth haven’t cut through yet and are there some days and gone others. Some days there are several little sharp points, those days are hell where no amount of panadol, teething gel and cuddles work.

He isn’t a good baby when he cries…

He cried at the baby spa so missed half his massage, he cried when I was on a group walk and had to carry him half the way, he cries going to sleep, he cries while he’s asleep, he cries waking up, he cries when he can’t roll over, he cries when he can’t stand up, he cries when he’s hungry, he cries when he’s tired, he cries when he’s not feeling well. That’s what babies do – they cry and you feel responsible and it’s shit.

Is he a good baby?

So now we all know my baby is not a GOOD baby and he’s just a NORMAL baby why the big deal about the question ‘Is he a good baby?’.

The truth is I feel offended when I’m told I have a good baby because it minimises all the hard work that motherhood brings and implies I have it easy. If you see a baby like mine that smiles on cue, rarely cries when he’s out in public and will quietly sit in his pram like an angel don’t assume that it’s easy because there’s no such thing as an easy baby. So what do I want people to say to me instead? ‘You look like a great mum’ would be nice.

Fat Camp

I thought that Throwback Thursday was a perfect day to post about the time I went to fat camp. If you follow my Instagram @lavendervibesau you would have seen this photo I posted:

Throwback Thursday
Throwback Thursday

That was 4 years ago now and the result of months of hard work. The funny thing is I didn’t go to fat camp to lose weight, it wasn’t even called a fat camp, it was called a Thai fitness bootcamp. I went to support my brother who wanted to go to improve his fitness. He had a bad car accident years earlier and wanted to get fit after a long recovery. He organised the whole thing and somehow I thought that I was going to a lovely retreat in the mountains. I imagined spending my days getting massages, doing yoga, lying by the pool and occasionally attending training sessions that I would ace because everyone else in the group would be unhealthy compared to my fit self. I couldn’t of been more wrong.

We arrived, checked in and attended the group meeting where we received our program. I quickly realised this was no holiday camp. Our program consisted of nine hours of exercise a day! Yes that’s right – NINE HOURS A DAY not including lettuce breaks. There was only eight of us in the group so clearly they would notice if I disappeared to lay by the pool. Being the competitive person I am, I sized up the others in the group and put myself roughly at the top in terms of health and fitness. There was a Nike marketing representative who ran every morning so she was probably fitter than me. There was an ex army guy but he was way older and at the end of a lengthy honeymoon with his wife so I ranked myself in with them. There were two really attractive girls that said they were training for a marathon but they seemed more leisure than lifting weights. Their mother was no match and then there was my brother who was bigger than me and recovering from an accident so obvs he was no competition. We had our weigh in and I was surprised at my measurements, maybe I was more out of shape than I had realised. After our weigh in we had ‘before’ photos taken then went straight to our first training session. It was horrendous. It was circuit training and I actually thought I was going to die. I looked over at my brother who was coping fine, there was no way I could be doing worse than him. I think I actually went into shock, my dream of 10 relaxing days in Thailand was shattered.

The next day I woke up so sore I had to lean on the bathroom vanity to get up off the toilet. Even the one step down out of the villa was too much to bear. We went for a long hike through the jungle up a huge hill which was so beautiful I could almost distract myself from the pain. I was starving after my raw food breakfast of some kind of seeds in almond milk but it was off to a fitness centre miles away (walking of course) to complete a fitness test so we could track our results. The sun was beating down on us and I was just lucky it wasn’t humid. I had blisters on my feet already but I was optimistic as I walked near the front of the pack. We arrived to complete our beep test which I was still confident about because I used to be a long distance runner so knew it was all a mental game. I was going to kill it, pain is weakness leaving the body and all that shit. Well I was terrible. I got a 4 which is laughable and considered very poor. I was so fucking bad that even my brother kicked my ass. Immediately afterwards I text my dad to let him know that my brother had beaten me and my dad said it was the funniest thing he had heard in his life. I was meant to be there to support him!

The week of fun continued. One day we cycled up a mountain for four hours avoiding huge lorry trucks with the reward being a horrible elephant retreat where men were poking them with sticks so they would do tricks. Another day we walked so far I asked the Nike representative to check if my Nike jogging shoes had worn down too far to be safe for exercise. My muscles were so sore that the massages we received nightly were torture. The sauna sessions were so dehydrating I drank too much water and needed to pee all night. One morning I thought I could not keep going. I did not sign up for the biggest loser and I would just not show up but I felt guilty and the pressure of a small group made me go. Day by day the pain went away and by day 5 the sessions weren’t easy but definitely not hard anymore. I felt like I had lost heaps of weight from how my clothes were fitting and I could tell I was less bloated from the hell diet raw food diet we were on.

On day 6 tragedy struck. My knee gave away. I had previously undergone two ACL reconstructions on my left knee. The first time from netball, the second time I say it was from jumping a puddle but might have been from stepping off a dancing podium onto a stray bottle at Club Bayview. So here I was with a swollen knee on ice unable to participate much. It would have been welcomed on Day 1 but I only had one day to go and I wanted to beat my brother so bad on the beep test. The last day came and my knee was so bad I couldn’t even do the beep test! I turned up expecting a relaxing holiday, realised I was in biggest loser territory, still thought I could kick ass but then couldn’t even finish the week! Here is the before and after photos and results from one week of bootcamp:

One Week Results
One Week Results
Results
Results

Even though I didn’t pass and my brother won in the fitness department. I felt abso-bloody-lutely AMAZING. I thought I was Cindy-Crawford-American-flag-bikini-cut-off-denims HOT. Clearly I wasn’t anything like that but who cares I felt wonderful. I couldn’t wait to see my boyfriend at Bangkok airport, he had been away with a mate in Phuket for a week of partying and he was going to die when he saw the new me. When I saw him I thought he was literally going to die but not because of the way I looked but because he had partied too hard and ended up with both flu and gastro. He was so skinny it was like he’d been at a boot camp for months. I felt so ripped off, I had worked my ass off while he partied and he was slimmer than me.

I didn’t see the before and after photos until they were emailed to me at home. I was horrified both at the way I looked before and the way I looked after. Not because I thought I was so overweight but because I was clearly so puffy and unhealthy. Years of junk food and alcohol abuse had taken their toll. It was time for a change.

My boyfriend and I had already quit our jobs before the trip and had planned a 3 month holiday camping along the Western Australian coast so we took the opportunity to eat meat and salads for every meal, we trained for 30 – 60 minutes every day which wasn’t hard after participating in the biggest loser. We swam in the ocean, took long walks along the soft sand and the result was:

Months later
Months later

I obviously don’t look like that now 4 months after having a baby but my brother is currently in Thailand on another fitness camp so today had me reminiscing about how wonderful I felt. My husband and I are planning another long 3 month camping trip at the end of this year so while he takes care of the baby I will be getting my fitness back on track. Watch out Kayla Itsines I’m coming for ya.

That skirt fit me for one day
That skirt fit me for one day

 

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Baby tracking

Guys I’m addicted to baby tracking. I first read about baby tracking when I was looking up advice on sleep training. I downloaded an application on my phone and started a couple of days after bub was born. At first it was necessary to make sure he was woken and fed at the right times. Then it was helpful when I saw a lactation consultant and she needed to know his feeding habits. Then when breastfeeding failed it was good to track how much I was expressing to make sure my milk supply didn’t go down. Fast forward four months and it has become an obsession. A completely unnecessary obsession.

The baby hasn’t been on a routine since he was a week old (if ever) but every time he goes to sleep or wakes up I record the time. Every time he feeds I record how much he drinks. Every nappy change whether it was wet, dry, dirty or mixed. Every time I express I record the time and how much. I’ve stopped being intuitive about what his needs are and I’m relying on an app to tell me what is next. Talk about a generation Y cliché! When he wakes at night I check my phone to see if I should feed him instead of listening to see if he’ll go back to sleep. During the day I try to force a feed on him then realise he’s not hungry.

Yesterday I read a blog about relaxed parenting and realised I’ve become uptight. I obsess about the number of hours he’s slept in a 24 hour period, how much he’s drunk, how much I’ve expressed. I interrupt conversations to enter something into my phone. I’ll stare at a bright screen sometimes 11 times a night keeping me awake longer than necessary. I’m not being present. I’m so worried about what the baby should be doing that I’m not paying attention to what he actually is doing.

So yesterday I decided to stop tracking and you know what I’m already relaxed. The baby is relaxed too, he pissed all over me during nappy free time but I couldn’t care less.