Toddler taming, naptime nightmares and poo, lots of poo

This week has been less than ideal…which is a parental euphemism for horrendously hellish. Yes, I know it’s only Wednesday but I’ve already felt the urge to put my head in the oven and turn on the gas about 52 times.

I dragged my exhausted lardy butt out of bed at ridiculous-o-clock on Monday to be greeted by Moo’s usual Weetbix throwing and toothbrush refusal. By 9am, it became clear that any attempt on my part to take my eyes off him would be met with destruction.

While trying to get Hugo down for his morning nap, I returned to the living room to find that Moo had fed Wilbur (the dog) four chocolate biscuits, decorated the floor with Krummies breadcrumbs and Superglued his hands together (with the glue I was using to fix the three ornaments he broke last week). The good news was that Wilbur managed to digest the bikkies without throwing up and my nail polish remover freed Moo’s hands with minimal screaming (thanks Google). In retrospect I probably should have left his hands stuck together because in the arvo he ate half a tube of hand lotion for entrée then took one bite out of each apple in the fruit bowl for main course which resulted in him pooping out an apple sticker.

As most parents with littlies would know, naptime is the peaceful sanctuary amidst the chaos when you get to sit down, drink a HOT cup of tea, watch something other than the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and exhale. As suckers for punishment, Lach and I moved Moo from a cot to a single bed over the weekend. As a result, our easy pre-sleep routine has turned into a nightmare. Instead of putting Moo into his cot with a kiss and him rolling over and going to sleep, we now have to repeatedly place him in a horizontal position only for him to pop up like a jack-in-the-box and climb out of bed straight away while either crying or laughing his head off, sometimes doing both simultaneously.

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On Monday it took three stories, 30 minutes and 45 lie-downs to get him to sleep…and then instead of sleeping for 3 hours, he slept for 40 minutes (thank you Melbourne thunderstorm). While trying to get him to go back down, Hugo woke up screaming which resulted in me running from room to room alternating between rocking Hugo back to sleep and putting Moo under the covers…over and over again. After an hour, I gave up and Hugo ended up sleeping on my shoulder while Moo watched Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and tried to ride Wilbur around the living room like a horse.

Only one word can describe Tuesday: crap. The daily poop count was Moo: 5, Wilbur:3, Hugo:2. As a result of his overzealous bowel, Moo ended up with nappy rash and the poor bubba screamed every time he sat down so I had a 13.5kg Velcro toddler on one hip and a 7.6kg nearly 4-month-old on the other. Hugo is a poopcrastinator and likes to spend 3-4 days working on a poonami before it explodes down his legs, up his back and all over me. While I was dealing with his epic evacuation, a bored Moo decided to decorate my iPod with black permanent marker and unpack the contents of my handbag and three kitchen drawers. By 11.30am I was praying that naptime would improve…but it got worse. It took 45 minutes and 65 lie-downs to get Moo to stay in his bed and go to sleep. Thank Buddha once he was down he slept for two hours and I had a chance to rest my back and cry into a bowl of cold oats.

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In the arvo I thought I would escape the mess and take the boys to the park. After an altercation with a fellow toddler over whose turn it was to go down the slide, Moo perked up and had a ball…until Hugo started squirming for a feed and I had to hall my titties home. Leaving the park was not high on Moo’s preferred list of things to do so after throwing his babyccino all over the sidewalk, he spent the 30-minute walk home screaming blue murder while passers-by gave me sympathetic looks laced with a side of judgement. Needless to say I have never been more relieved to hear Lach’s key in the door when he got home from work. I was even more ecstatic to see his wine club delivery on the porch.

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After watching half the Dancing with the Stars finale with a breast pump and a glass of Pinot, I fell into bed at 10pm only to be woken by my hungry cherub at 11.30pm, then 1am, then 3am…

Today I had said, “Please stop putting your car in the scrambled eggs” 13 times before 7am…

Thank God they are cute.

Disclaimer for the mummy trolls: Yes, I know I am lucky to have conceived two gorgeous, healthy boys and am very grateful. Yes, I love them more than anything. Yes, I know there are people having faaaaaar worse weeks than I am. No, I would not change anything about my life. Sometimes one just needs to vent. Yes, I feel better now. 

Letting go of tutus and tiaras

WARNING: This post contains gender stereotyping on a grand scale.

I never had any doubt about wanting children. As a little girl I would cradle my freakishly life-like porcelain doll, rock her to sleep and imagine one day being a Mum.

I’ve always been a massive girly girl. My Barbie collection was epic. Not only did I have the entire Barbie and the Rockers get-up (all band members plus stage, tour bus and instruments), I had Hawaiian Barbie, Ken and Skipper along with a custom Barbie beach buggie and a random Barbie horse on wheels. Despite being mildly pigeon-toed, I donned a pink leotard for ballet classes and stored my enviable hair accessories collection in a tin covered in Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake stickers.

So it’s no surprise that in all of my imaginings, I would one day have a daughter who loved My Little Ponys and shared my ethos of ‘more is more’ when it comes to tulle, bows and sequins.

Barbie and the Rockers

When I met Lachlan my desire for kids grew even stronger. It was only when I saw him rough-housing his nephew that I started to think how great it would be for us to have a son. You see my husband is half-bogan – he loves footy, car-racing, Melbourne Bitter longnecks and is disturbingly attached to his Bintang singlet and knee high custom made ugg boots. Yes I know some girls love camping out on the hill at Bathurst and happily deliver their AGB in toilet blocks that smell like fermented meat-heavy faeces but if a girl had half my DNA, her penchant for UDLs, arm tatts and polyester would be severely compromised.

So my new baby dream was to have the perfect pigeon pair – a boy that could help Lachlan wax his 1964 EH Holden, and a girl that I could hit the Boxing Day sales with.

We were half way there when I delivered our gorgeous little Moo in January 2013. When he arrived in all of his magnificent, howling glory, we were overjoyed. As the months rolled on I discovered that I loved being a ‘boy mama’ – Moo’s increasingly adventurous and fearless spirit entertained me more and more every day and the clothing selection on offer was surprisingly cute and varied. He became my little mischievous prince with the most affectionate and loving nature.

In late 2013 we got the shock of our lives when I found out I was expecting again. Lach was convinced we were having a little girl but I was 75% sure from day dot that another little mister was on the way. At our 20-week ultrasound my intuition was confirmed. Was there a feeling of disappointment when the technician pointed to a doodle? Yes, but it had nothing to do with not wanting another little boy and everything to do with mourning the daughter we will never have.

I gave myself a few hours to let her go and face those feelings that we are never allowed to admit to for fear of being labeled unappreciative. I thought about the ballet lessons I will never take her to, the curls I will never brush and braid and the wedding dress I will never help her pick. Then, after saying goodbye to my little ‘Eva’ (she was going to be named after my maternal grandmother), I focused on the beautiful little soul in my belly and I started to feel excited about all the adventures we would face together.

I also thought about how lucky we are to have conceived two magnificent boys naturally despite being given only a 5-10% chance. I thought about all the people struggling to conceive and all the women who desperately want children but whose life stories have veered in a different direction. And I thought of all the joy my Moo had brought me over the previous year and a bit.

When Hughie arrived on 29 July, I couldn’t imagine wanting anything other than another little man to love. Every week a stranger or a friend says, “You’ll have to have a third, go for the girl!” and I smile and say, “No, we are done. I am incredibly happy with my two boys.” And I mean it.

Moo’s Mum’s Must-Haves: The Basics

If you’re about to have a baby and wondering what you might need, or if you’re looking for a gift for a friend’s baby shower, here are my humble recommendations.

Bright Starts Bouncer
Put your baby in the box seat as you do your daily ablutions. The bouncer is essential for any mum who wants to shower and go to the loo without listening to bubba scream incessantly from the living room. It will also come in handy if you’d like to eat anything other than Thai takeaway after bub’s arrival as it’ll keep him occupied on the kitchen floor. Available at Target for $49.95 (about the same price as a red duck curry, two roti, coconut rice and a prawn pad thai).

Bright Starts Bouncer

Organic Hub-a-Bub wrap
You rock your newborn for 20 minutes to get her to sleep then place her gently in the cot and hold your breath. As you tip toe out the room, you hear an inhale that becomes a squawk that becomes a waaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Repeat x3. Eventually you accept defeat and wonder how you’re going to get anything done while having to hold your bub through her nap. Enter the Hug-a-Bub. People always told me to just relax and forget the housework while bub was young. That’s all well and good if you want to live in a sty, stink from a lack of clean clothes and die of salmonella because you don’t have a clean plate to eat off. Reality is, shit needs to get done and the Hub-a-Bub will help you knock off a few duties while baby sleeps nuzzled into your sweaty boob crack.  The Organic Hug-a-Bub baby wrap is available online for $99 or at most large baby stores.

Hugabub baby wrap

Sophie the giraffe
This French long-necked plastic mammal has become the staple baby shower gift. Long before Moo started teething he was slobbering all over her little brown ears. Sophie now lives in the car, where she provides Moo with endless chewing and squeaking joy when we go on trips. Word of advice, if Sophie finds herself having a sleepover in the dog’s bed, don’t put her in boiling water. While it will serve to disinfect her, she will also end up mute. Moo is now on Sophie number 3…Sophie is available at most baby stores including Babies R Us for $26.99.

Sophie the Giraffe

Mimco nappy bag
Just because you have to wear elasticated pants and tent-like tops to hide your post-baby jelly belly, doesn’t mean you have to forgo fashionable accessories. I’ve always loved Mimco products and their nappy bags are gorgeous and reasonably-priced for an item you will use everyday. Splurge on yourself and get a matching wallet. It’ll probably be empty for a while (or for a long while if you’re on 12 months maternity leave like me) but you can fill it with passport photos of your baby, Coles petrol dockets and maxed-out credit cards. Mimco nappy bags are available instore and online for $249.

Mimco nappy bag
Sangenic nappy disposal system
I applaud the environmentally-friendly hemp-wearing Prius-driving vegan hippies who can handle scooping poop out of cloth nappies. I’m not one of them. Once that Huggie full of mustard-coloured cottage cheese has been removed from my bub’s bum, I want it (and its odour) to disappear as quickly as possible. The Sangenic nappy disposal system allows you to pop the nappy in the top and wind the lever so it seals off the offensive odour. Once the bowel movement has been sealed off, the film neutralises the smell and fights the bacteria. No more running out to the garbage bin squealing in your PJs. The cassette refills are a bit pricey at $15 each but your nasal cavity will thank you. The Sangenic Starter Kit includes 6 cassettes and is available from Baby Bunting for $75.

Sangenic nappy systemCloth nappies
No, I am not retracting my aversion to cloth nappies as stipulated above. These aren’t for poop, they’re for puke. I was lucky enough to be blessed with a baby who suffered from severe reflux until he was about five months old. After each feed, Moo would projectile three litres of breastmilk across the room sometimes drenching our dog (and almost always saturating the couch) in the process. I would go through about ten of these spew rags a day. Even if your bub only does mild spews, a pack of cloth nappies will always come in handy. They’re super absorbent and if cupped in front of baby’s mouth they ensure minimal splash back…and they’re a lot cheaper than buying a new couch. A pack of 12 cloth nappies costs $20 at Baby Bunting.

Cloth nappies