Tuesday, September 30, 2008

missing the arms of morpheus

God, I miss you Sleep, my darling, my beloved. I don't think I appreciated you enough. You've forced me to start an affair with Coffee Pot, and although things are going well,I'd dump him in a second to have you back.

Luckily Teddy is as cute as a button.

Ivy has taken to waking up at 6am and moaning until we get her out of bed. The other morning she said her longest sentence yet. 'Wake up, Mummy and Daddy!' This morning we were all up early negotiating the day ahead after we made all her stuffed toys perform 'New York, New York'. (Anything to escape 'The Wheels on The Bus'.) It's a complicated system... OK, so you'll take the kids for an hour while I have a bath, then I'll take them while you go for a surf, then I'll take them while you do the tax, then you'll take them while I do the kitchen, then we'll all hang out this afternoon.

Keith and I know where our pecking order is in this chickenhouse. Yesterday while I made the bed Ivy sat in the middle and demanded juice. 'OK, shall we go and get it?' I said. She looked at me implacably. 'Do you want to come and get it, or shall Mummy just be your servant?' I asked. 'Servant,' she said decisively.

Teddy feeds often, grunts for hours and also does this wierd trick where he soaks the back of his clothes...but not his nappy. I can only think he's throwing up at some bizarre angle. I try and figure it out as I change his clothes in the middle of the night, but my brain isn't capable of thinking in more than one-syllable. I'm lucky I can get it together to attach him to my nipple and not my earlobe.

Speaking of nipples, we all went to get hot chips last night and while in the shop, Ivy looked down Keiths top, commented 'Nipples..' and then suddenly tried to breastfeed. I guess she thinks Teddy just bites Mummy for a while because she just about took a chunk out of Keiths nipple. Poor Keith was really in pain and I just managed to say 'Don't bite Daddy, Ivy,' before I had to turn my head away to hide the tears of laughter. I am a bad person.

Monday, September 22, 2008

two wondersuits good, two wondersuits bad

'May you live in interesting times', goes the Chinese curse. OK, I'm cursed. Life gets more interesting by the minute.

Let me tell you a tale of two days this week.

Teddy slept most of Sunday, waking up only to feed and be cute in short bursts. Ivy was full of fun; playing her favourite games like 'Does This Go On My Head?', 'Go to Sleep, Dodo' and 'Did Somebody Say Rubbies?' Sometime I'll outline the rules of these - lets just say they all crack her up sideways and never get old.

In the morning we went to the shops where I bought pretty clothes and strangers admired our offspring. At lunch we read the paper and all slept, then Keith and I sorted the house out, doing bad little dances to Amy Winehouse and the Keating soundtrack. I made Ivy some yoghurt paint. She ate most of it and then helped bake banana bread. Keith stained his bookshelves out on the sunny front deck.

Happy happiness!

In the night, a sneaky demon came in through the window and subtly buggered our biorhythms, altered our ectoplasm and messed with our mojo.

Things began to go wrong early on Monday, and spiralled downwards until the afternoon ended like this:

The evil demon suggested to me that today was a good day to clean and sort out the pantry. Little Ted was ratty and Ivy was only happy when I sang 'The Wheels on The Bus' in an endless, mind-melting loop. Eventually I set her up on the kitchen floor with some bowls, spoons, cups and a big container of Puffed Wheat. She played away merrily , and I felt pretty pleased with my fine Montessori self. Then Teddy began to wail. He just wanted to be held (again - great day to clean out the pantry, non?)

I went to give him cuddles. 'Milk?' asked Ivy. 'Of course, little one,' I said. 'Have a big cup. What a good job you're doing there.'

As I changed the baby's nappy on the floor, Ivy pressed a brimming spoon to my lips. 'Eat?' she insisted. I wondered why there was milk in the spoon when the penny dropped.

The kitchen floor was a soggy, squelchy cereal river. Damn you, Maria Montessori, and damn your fancy ways.

It might give you some idea of how the afternoon progressed from there if I tell you that the floor didn't get cleaned up for another two hours. Two hours of a screaming toddler, a baby who would only lie on my neck and every inch of kitchen counter covered with old wheatgerm boxes and out-of-date packs of gummi bears.

Tuesday better, Wednesday great, Thursday magic.

Roll on Friday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

nipples and negotiations

Things are busy. Teddy is a beautiful child and Ivy gets funnier with every day, but nothing much gets done. I'm feeding every three hours and the house is strewn from bumhole to breakfast-time with toys, books, unfolded washing, things the baby has thrown up on and whatever pieces of food Ivy is saving for later. Life has a whole new kind of magic as we get used to the new shape of our family.

Yesterday morning Ivy woke early so Keith got her out of her cot and delivered her into the big bed, where Teddy was tucked next to me. We all tried to get back to sleep while Ivy muttered and sighed to herself. (A sample conversation: 'Igglepiggle. Pants. Down. Flying! Boys, park, cheese, dummy. Row row, baa baa, one, two, eight. Cool, man.' She leaned over my shoulder and breathed into my face: 'Teddy. Sleeping.' 'Yes, sleeping,' I said. 'Shhh. You go to sleep too.' She lay back down for a moment then popped up next to my ear again. 'Nipple,' she whispered gravely.

Taking the two of them out at once is a complex logistical exercise, the successful completion of which is still beyond me. I tried to 'pop down' to the post office yesterday. It took me an hour to get out of the house (feed the baby, pack bags, slings, Ivys leash, box of nice for the car, change babys spew-strewn top, change mine too, find Ivys shoes, calm a tantrum, liberate the keys from where Ivy has helped them 'hide', pack everything into the car, stop, breathe deeply, imagine a cool, flowing river.)

Once at the post office, Ivy wanted to play a game where she opened the fridge door, touched all the milk and shut it again. When I suggested she stop, she threw herself on the floor and wailed with abandon, before trying to run out the door and being stopped abruptly by her leash, just like a wilful puppy on a choke chain. Unfortunately this sent her sideways where her head stopped the momentum by connecting with the lolly counter.

So that left me crouched on the floor, Teddy in one arm, trying to comfort her with the other while she wept 'Head! Bang! Up? Up?' "Mummy can't lift you up at the minute,' I repeated weakly, until finally, I crumbled. 'But would you like some chocolate?'

Immediately the crying stopped.

'Chokit?' she gulped, through the tears. All was well. She's definitely her mothers daughter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

foxy baby

After a month of debate, Keith and I have settled on a middle name for the little man. It's Fox. Short for Fantastic Mr Fox, the Roald Dahl character.

We're going to give all the babies literary middle names. Characters with traits, ambitions and qualities to think about, if not aspire to. Hippy-liberal pretentiouness? Maybe... But hey - at least we're not cursing the kid with a name like Tallulah does The Hula in Hawaii, like a recent couple in NZ. (Really.) And it could be worse - we're not spelling it Pho'x.

The Fantastic Mr Fox is a wily creature who outwits and outsmarts the nasty farmers on his tail. He's a sharp, enterprising family man with style. And he knows how to throw a party.

Ivy's middle name is Scout after the female protaganist of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. She's curious and questing, feisty and fearless, lovable and loving. She seeks social justice, questions authority and stands up to the boys.

Fox and Scout.

Thems our babies.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

introducing theodore

Well, it's been nearly three weeks and I feel like I'm just emerging from the fog.

Early parenthood is a blur - it has to be, or you'd never do it again. Little Theo aka Teddy aka Banana was born weighing 3 kilos on August 14th. He's a blond grommet, with big navy blue eyes and dimples. Cute as a nughty button. Right now he's asleep on my lap as I type one-handed. He looks like Yoda with his little-old-man wrinkles and his grumpy sleep face.

Keith is having a great time on paternity leave, spending his time playing with Ivy and lookingt after me , Theo and the house. Ivy, as you can imagine, is in heaven. All Daddy, all the time. She's not been at all jealous of the baby and likes to give him kisses, pat him on the head and help change his nappy. She has learned to say 'balls' and 'nipples'.In fact, she's been just beautiful.

We're working our way through all the meals in the freezer, doing crosswords and watching a super-glam seris called Mad Men, set in 1960's New York. I enjoy critiquing the ultra-glam hair and fashion as I sit on the lounge, topless, hooked up to a breast pump and blowing my nose on a spare nappy.

I had a rough time recovering from the caesarean this time around and also managed to score the evil midwife shift at the private hospital where I had to spend a week. There were a lot of tears. I thought after breastfeeding Ivy for eight months that my body would jump back on that bike with no problems but was sorely wrong there - sore being the operative word. For two weeks my nipples were cracked, blistered, and even bleeding. Allow me to indulge in self-pity for a moment here - imagine a tiny chef using a cheese grater on your delicates every three hours around the clock...and then add post-operative pain, massive hormonal shifts and an aching back. It's not the picture they paint in the Kleenex commercials.

All is improving thjough - I'm wearing clothesand Teddy and I even went out alone yesterday on a mission to the library and the coffee shop. Luckily, Theo is a very easy baby. He's squirted a mustard poo-bomb at me at high velocity, and thats about the naughtiest trick he's managed. He's been really quiet, but is starting to perk up more - at night he grunts and sqeuaks loudly for an hour after every feed. Its like sharing the bedrroom with a tiny drunk wombat.

Heres a few pictures of the new family setup and the little man himself.

Thanks to everybody for your cards, calls and packages. It's your support, and the tiny violins, that get me through the nights.