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Archive for November 2010

Holding onto your balloon outside seems to be a lesson that can only be learnt the hard way! I remember losing my first balloon. It was at Australia’s Wonderland (back in the day), and my parents had grudgingly spent the outrageous $10 for one of those shiny silver ones with a cartoon character on it. In my usual, stubborn style, I refused to let them tie it to my wrist. I think we got about ten steps before I let it go. My younger sister, who had consented to the wrist-tying, did not lose hers…

Tiernan and Molly were given helium balloons today, at a car yard (see previous post). They’ve had them before, and miraculously never lost one. Today, Tiernan’s balloon survived the trip home, and the walk from the car to the house. But then he snuck back outside with it while Tom and I were busy unloading the car. I turned around to find Tiernan pointing up at something round and yellow floating up past the roof of our house. And it was too late. Tiernan calmly watched his balloon get smaller and smaller for a few moments before hopefully suggesting that it might start to come back down now. When I broke the news to him that it wouldn’t, he remained calm for a few more minutes before saying, “But look, it’s coming down now!” It wasn’t. It was just barely visible against the cloudy sky, and it definitely wasn’t coming back down. That’s when he realised that he’d lost it for good. And his poor little heart broke. His face crumpled and he cried big, sad sobs for at least half an hour. He only cheered up, temporarily, when we promised to try to get him another one next week when we pick up our new car (which has changed his opinion of new cars, incidently, as he had previously been adamant that we were not getting a new one, ever). But then he bravely tried to tell his Poppy about it over the phone, “Poppy, I lost my balloon outside. It… it… it… (breaking down again) wentupintotheskyandDaddy’sgoingtogetmeanewonebutI’msad… wah!” Some warm milo helped him to feel better again, until he got upset because he thought Neave was laughing at him. Well, she actually was, but she laughs at everyone.

So my poor boy needed some TLC, and about five tuck-ins tonight, because he was grieving for his lost balloon. But we still weren’t done, because before he fell asleep, a storm blew over, and Tiernan, who is usually frightened of storms anyway, was worried about how his balloon was coping. Of course I couldn’t tell him that it had probably burst way before the storm came through, so I told him that the wind would have blown the balloon far away and that it was safe from the storm. He was satisfied with that, and went to bed saying, “My lucky balloon is very safe.”

Oh, he’s so precious!

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Shopping for cars is not fun. I thought it would be fun, but it isn’t. We have been car shopping for two months now, both at home over the internet and, you know, physically, and it sucks. My main reason for wanting a new car, to begin with, was so that I could separate the kids (they currently sit across the back of our sedan), so that I wouldn’t have to put up with them tormenting each other constantly while we drive. Plus, once we turn Neave’s seat around to face forwards, the three seats won’t fit across the back unless we buy smaller ones. Since we have already spent about $1000 on car seats (one each for the kids and one spare), I do not want to spend a single cent more on them, and would rather buy a whole new car (for 30 times that price) that fits the damn seats we already have. Shut up, it makes perfect economic sense.

It was surprising to discover how few cars out there actually cater for families with three small children – especially since the laws have recently changed, meaning that children need to be secured to an anchor point until they are seven. Personally, I am happy about the law-change because I think it makes kids safer, but really it’s not very practical. If you have three kids, three years apart, you will have at least one year when all three kids need to be seated with anchor points. And if you are insane and have three kids in under three years, then you will have four years of trying to wrangle with seats, harnesses and anchor points for all three kids… Now show me a sedan in which this can be done, preferably without fuss.

A lot of our initial car shopping was done sans-kids, or at least sans the older two kids, until we used up all our babysitting credits with the grandparents. Also, Tom works on weekends quite often, so we started having take them with us during the week when Tom had time off. Really, taking three little ones to a car yard is just asking for trouble. And we knew that, but we did it anyway. They can’t help touching the cars. They can’t help hiding behind the cars. They can’t help climbing into the cars. They can’t help putting their muddy shoes onto the only bit of carpet inside the car that isn’t covered by plastic. They can’t help honking the horn. They can’t help spitting their lunch out onto the seat. They can’t help opening the doors really hard and denting the next car along. They can’t help kicking and screaming as you try to round them up and put them back into the double pram. They can’t help fighting when they’re finally back in the pram. They can’t help grabbing onto the mirrors of all the cars you pass as you try to get the hell out of the car yard before someone throws you out…

Luckily, most of the sales people who were actually brave enough to approach us were really very friendly and understanding. Or they tried very hard to be understanding, and didn’t wince too much as we damaged their cars. Some weren’t friendly at all, which is pretty stupid because only the very interested, very-serious-about-buying, customer would actually bring their family along to buy a family car.

One dealership in particular, who shall remain nameless (this isn’t an ad, after all), went to great lengths to accommodate and welcome us, and help us to entertain the troupe while we mucked around with car seats and measurements and test drives and asking millions of questions, and what-not.

And how did we repay them? We bought the damn car!

Neave, 6 months

So, I’m feeling all sad today that Neave will be my last baby. They really are so lovely, and I know I will miss many aspects of having such a tiny, perfect, loveable little person who fits perfectly in my arms and who would be happy to just stay there all day if I let her! Even though it’s not very long ago that Tiernan and Molly were babies, it’s quite difficult to remember exactly what they were like, as they have grown and changed so much. So here are my favourite things about babies:

1. I love the smell of their breath, all sweet and milky.

2. I love how their whole face lights up, and they just can’t help giving an excited little wiggle, when they first see you after a sleep.

3. I love how tiny they are – how is it possible for those fingers and toes to be so small?

Tiernan, 1 day old

4. I love their smiles and giggles, and how they find the most random things absolutely hilarious. So you do them over and over and over again, just to hear them laugh.

Molly, 4 months

5. I love it when they first ‘discover’ their voices, and you can goo and gaa with them like only a parent knows how!

6. I love their first, clumsy attempts at grabbing things, and how anything they do grab goes straight into their mouths.

Molly, 9 months

7. I love how their tiny little arms can only just reach above their gigantic baby heads!

8. I love how, when they are tired, they ball up their fists and rub their eyes in that cute, baby way.

9. I love the privilege of being the number 1 person in someone’s life, and being able to feed, nurture and bond with them.

10. Most of all, I love when they fall asleep in your arms and you lose time just watching them and marvelling at how perfect they are. There is nothing quite like having a baby all snuggled up against you, trusting and depending on you to love them and keep them safe. Their soft breath on your skin is the warmest, fuzziest feeling in the world…

Tiernan, 1 month

I could write plenty more, but I think my top 10 will do. I guess I’m feeling bittersweet because Neave has entered my favourite baby stage –  from 6 to 9 months. It’s my favourite because they are so much more interactive, and they learn to eat, sit and crawl all within a few months. They’re still babies, but they develop more personality and start to fit into the family routine a little better. So this is the last time I will get to experience these things as a mother, and while I am looking forward to the many things I love about not having a baby in the house, I am also going to cherish all the things I love about it!

Neave, 1 week old

Neave, 6 months

Molly: “Heeooare!” Here you are. Offering Tiernan a spoonful of Neave’s leftover mashed pumpkin.

Tiernan: Opens his mouth for Molly to feed him.

Molly: “More?”

Tiernan: “Hmm, thank you but I’ll just have my own food now… But you’re a good feeder, Molly.”

Molly: Nods her head, “Yeah.”

Cute! It’s so lovely to witness short snippets of them being nice to each other – it feels like I am constantly telling them to stop being horrible, but they do know how to be kind. I love them!

I had a pretty unproductive, uninspiring, un-fun week last week, and consequently didn’t feel like writing anything open or honest about my life. I wanted someone else’s life for a change, actually! Really I was just feeling down in the dumps, and so when all of the usual things went wrong for all of the usual reasons, I put it all back on myself and started to think that I clearly wasn’t the right person for this very important job of raising three young children. Someone fire me now and I’ll go find something else to do! Something that pays!

Luckily, I’m old enough and wise enough now (ha ha) to know that I was just experiencing a temporary slump in mood, and that I would be able to find my way out of it in a few days. And I did. I’m learning to recognise that, every now and then, I let every little thing get on top of me, when normally it wouldn’t. It usually has to do with feeling like I’m not doing anything properly – I’m doing a half-arsed job of too many things and not doing any of them well. So I get into a flap and waste a lot of energy being upset about all of the things that I’m not doing, instead of just concentrating on the things I can do. In my former life (as a non-mother) I was a perfectionist – “anything worth doing is worth doing properly” was a bit of a motto. Not any more – I just don’t have time. I’m a big believer in cleaning around things, mopping between the legs of chairs instead of putting them up, pushing things aside as I vacuum, and only doing behind the couch every few months!! Near enough is good enough. But every now and then the perfectionist side of me resurfaces and I feel like I’m not achieving anything at all. So, last week, nothing got cleaned or tidied, clothes weren’t washed, dinners were only vaguely nutritious (and late!), and much TV was watched by the kids while I ‘flapped’!

Anyway, I’m done flapping now. Next week will be better. I will do what I can, and not worry about the rest. Today has been a good start – I’m going to pat myself on the back for spending quality time with the kids, cleaning the toilet, vacuuming and mopping the floors, and not losing my temper too badly when Molly pooed all over everything, again. And I’m going to ignore the fact that I haven’t washed any clothes in 3 days, the bathroom still smells of wee, and the kids were still in their pyjamas until 12:30 in the afternoon. Life’s good!