We completely rocked this week.
Even though I ended up outside the house 4 days in a row, we still completely nailed it.
Note to self, 4 days is too many.
As in about four to many.
So Lotto God if you are reading this…
By Saturday, there was no way I could have left Emily again. However, I digress; let us go back to the beginning.
Starting with a kick ass picnic in the backyard on Monday with Emily’s friends.
And by kick ass, I mean totally awesome!
We had an amazing day.
I am not sure if it was because I did not have to waste precious energy trying to get somewhere, or whether it is that finally I have adjusted to being a blind mama.
What I mean by this is, remember how last time we had her friends over, and there was only two of them, but I found it stressful, exhausting, and somewhat humiliating?
Well this time it was completely the opposite.
I felt confident, energised, relaxed, and present. No part of me had to strategize, stress about what was going on, or how I was going to do something, or not do something, or a million other things.
Moreover, there were six rug rats to keep track of.
Therefore, hands up who is feeling clever.
I did not care I could not make eye contact.
It did not even occur to me to care.
And it always occurs to me to care.
Things simply were what they were.
As usual the company was fantastic – thanks ladies.
However, what made this time different is my instincts have sharpened, and my ears have finally become attuned to the micro sounds of those silent stealthy crawly babies.
Perhaps it is because Little is becoming more mobile, so my awareness and skills evolve in tandem with hers, or perhaps it was simply because I am becoming more comfortable with our little mums and bubs possy.
However, I knew exactly where each baby was at all times. Therefore, I did not have to worry about accidently stepping on anyone, or them squashing Emily, or any other such nonsense.
I did not feel judged, be it by some unseen external force, or more importantly by myself.
It was just so easy.
Michael commented later in the evening, that for the two and a half hours everybody was there, none of the babies cried.
Which when you think about it is phenomenal.
Six happy babies. How does it get any better?
As usual, we exchanged recipes, food ideas, antidotes, sleep stories, and general chitchat.
One of our best moments came when everyone began to arrive; Emily had been grizzling all morning, and even a trip to the park did not completely console our little grumble bumblebee. However, when her friends walked through the door, she was instantly transformed into a calm content smiley host.
In fact, we barely saw her for the entire time, as she chose to sit with her friends Ronja and Abbigail.
Michael and I probably could have left, and she would not have noticed.
We see this as a compliment to the collective character of our group.
Emily is very discerning when it comes to socialising.
As I have noted before, she has her smiles for strangers, her smiles for us, and her smiles for her favourite things.
Which by the way, swinging is still the best.
Tuesday saw Michael and Emily pottering at home. The rain thwarting their second trip to the park for the day. Which turned out not to matter because what better thing to do on a rainy day than sleep really really well. As in 2 2 hour naps type well.
Completely unheard of in our universe, but these days we take the sleep where she will have it.
The weather was so terrible that I had to walk home on my own, which baby or not is a rarity, but it was lovely to walk in the front door to big smiles cuddles and coos. And that was just my husband.
Wednesday Michael and I tag teamed with the baby, so I got to spend a lovely rainy afternoon reading books, tossing balloons, blowing raspberries, getting kisses, and having a beautiful time with one Miss Emily Kate, while daddy disappeared for some downtime.
He does an amazing job raising our daughter, and works hard to take care of the daily details of keeping our family life in some semblance of order.
Without him, I would live on vegemite toast, and by now, I would be wearing disposable underwear.
I spend a lot of my time feeling as if I am playing the part of the foolish husband who does not know where anything goes or what the system, routine, or ritual requires.
He and Emily seem so on top of things, and I am half a step out of time.
This is why when I get a chance to do the washing, cook dinner, get up early with baby girl, clean the bathroom, or any number of other mundane tasks I try to embrace them.
The problem is, especially in those early mornings, where once it would have occurred to me to get said jobs done before breakfast, now I am lucky if I think about them.
These days it is all about her royal cuteness.
I am too busy playing with her, to think of anything else.
Therefore, it always surprises me when Michael comes down stairs of a morning, and loads the washing machine or unloads the dishwasher.
I am left scratching my head, and wondering why I had not thought of it, and how he did.
I know being the househusband is his role, but I used to be so on top of this stuff.
What surprised me on Wednesday was how good it felt to be back in a corporate frock and heels. Not very high heels mind you, because I had a long way to walk, but heels none the less.
Did you know it is so much easier to walk in a dress than in trousers?
As I rolled my stockings up my leg, I remembered how much I missed that life.
That life where I felt… What is the word I am looking for? Not useful, normal, important… No, none of those. I cannot quite put my finger on it. Perhaps the word I am looking for is pretty, professionally competent, and/or prosperous.
It sounds like a facade I know, and to be honest I have spent much of my life living as that two-dimensional cardboard cutout.
Let us simply call it old insecure egocentric habits dying hard.
However, either way, there must have been some good, some truth, and some vibrancy in that life; otherwise, I would not have found myself missing it for half a second.
Maybe clothes should not matter, but in my world, they do.
Not as much as they once did, but they are something I enjoy.
Now I enjoy them for Emily. Which is why, thanks mum, and she will be having a Christmas Tutu.
Not that I actually did a good job on Wednesday, as I am so out of the loop regarding accessibility these days.
Goodness, I am hard pressed to throw together a word document properly right now.
When it comes to the ins and outs of inclusive design on a technical as well as user experience level, I feel completely out of my depth.
It is almost ludicrous to think, once upon a time, I was good at this, and I knew it.
Now I know almost nothing.
Thursday I sucked it up, and worked late again. While Michael and Emily went on a secret mission for an edible garden. However, said mission was soon aborted due to inaccurate information courtesy of Google, and a plant nursery, which was “crap”.
Not being able to kiss sweetie pie goodnight of an evening is difficult.
I am experiencing a massive conflict of values around this issue.
Admittedly, it was a little easier this time around as compared to the first, but that was only because I am trying to keep the end game in mind.
However, I do not want to sacrifice the now for the future, and that is exactly what I feel I am doing.
I know I have to step up and find another way.
Which funnily enough seems somehow to be almost conceivable now I have decided to do what works, rather than what works for everyone else.
Honestly, I do not know why it has not occurred to me sooner.
Friday brought us back to story time.
I left the house a little later than usual, partly so Michael could have a well-deserved sleep in, and partly so I could enjoy a quiet coffee with him as Emily went down for a morning nap.
It had been so long since we had indulged in such a luxury, it felt unnatural, and I could not think of anything to talk to him about.
We then walked to the station, where we went our separate ways.
As usual, story time was reported to be a hit.
Even if the librarian rather sucked. However, everyone knows Emily is not there for the songs or even the snacks afterward. She is there for the smiles and the mischief.
Michael and she then headed to the Dam where they met Uncle Randall for a swim.
Emily dipped her toes in the water, and sat in the pram under a tree and kept the duckies company while daddy and Randall made the most of the sunny day.
Apparently, she did not stop smiling the entire time they were there.
I am so proud of Michael for going, because I know it was kind of a big step to take Emily with him alone. He was nervous about how she would go sitting on the bank, as the water is not quite warm enough for baby girls to have a proper swim yet.
However, not to worry, because big tall handsome daddies can handle such conditions. So all was not lost.
Now we are back to where we started.
Forever known as blindy brunch Saturday.
Thanks to Liz, Dave, and Rocco for making the effort to come over.
We all had to push through our respective barriers, be them internal or otherwise, and I aknowledge said barriers, and raise you one guilty conscience.
As I said, there is no way I could have left Emily for a fifth day in a row. SO regardless, of what we decided to do, I would have had the baby on my hip.
I needed to spend time with her the way a fish needs water.
To be honest I thought about cancelling on several occasions.
I am glad I pushed through though.
Michael graciously took on the role of houseboy, otherwise known as best husband ever, and took care of the details. Thus leaving us to relax and chat.
What can I say; café Meg has some great staff.
Emily’s highlight was playing with Poppi the guide dog – after seeking explicit permission off her handler and harness free of course.
I am not sure who kissed whom, but there was some serious affection going on between those two.
Yes Poppi, we saw you holding hands with Emily. Do not deny it.
I never thought I would say this, but I may have under estimated the value of having friends in a similar sightless situation.
Obviously, lack of vision is not a good enough reason alone to be friends with someone that would be ridiculous.
That would be like saying ok, so you have blue eyes, and so and so has blue eyes, so you should be friends.
However, it is surprising how many forgive me for drawing a line in the sand, but sighted people think that is how it does, or rather how it should work.
So now that I have burst that bubble, let me go back to saying how maybe my resistance to cultivating friendships with others based on a visual acuity was not always in my best interest.
Moreover, although I have countless examples of how and why I formed said point of view, it really would be a waste of words to defend it.
Suffice to say, I work hard to “fit in”, and I do not do bumbling blind idiot, or pathetic blind person very well. Nor do I tolerate it in others.
But being able to have an open and honest conversation about some of the challenges involved with living in a sighted world with other people who not only appreciate my humour, my bitchiness, my Sinicism, and my seriousness is proving to be somewhat more rewarding than I ever imagined.
Sure, I may not have intended to confess to flashing the painter instead of my husband, but hearing that knowing laugh made it less cringe worthy in my mind.
It was supposed to be a private moment, but I just cannot be sure…
How was I to know a stranger was standing at the kitchen window?
Obviously if I could see…
This morning Emily and I took the train to our local shopping centre and met my mother and sisters in law for coffee.
I have not taken her out in the sling for ages.
I was amazed at how easy it felt.
Although forgetting my sunnies was not a good idea, but nor was it a deal breaker.
However, we found everyone ok, as they kindly agreed to meet us at the only café I can confidently identify in the entire place.
However, Little is becoming a bit finicky around anyone who is not her mummy or daddy.
I noticed it yesterday when we had company.
Normally our resident four something AM alarm clock and nose picker loves to be handed from person to person. However, yesterday and again this morning she showed a definite preference for being with me.
I am not sure if this is because we have not spent nearly as much time together this week, or whether it is one of those developmental hazing rights we both must pass before moving any further along the board of life.
However, I really hope people do not take it personally.
Let us talk food.
High/low tea has become an institution in our house.
This afternoon Emily ate cheese and olives.
She loves cheese, but who knew olives would be worthy.
I love the moment where I get to slide my back down the kitchen cupboard as I plonk myself on the floor next to her, and hand her some food.
Did you know baked sweet potato has a fling factor of 9.4 out of a possible 11?
However, it does stress me out, because I am paranoid she might choke, and I will not know, and…
At least when it comes to feeding her with the spoon I am getting better, but God love her cutie cute cute cute is determined to make my life easier.
Sometimes she will grab the spoon, sending whatever mush flying across the room, while other times she will grab the pouch and squeeze it just the same mummy does.
I caught her sucking on an almost empty pouch the other day like a straw.
I have never shown her how to do that, so I am not sure how she figured it out, but it is an efficient way of getting the food out.
If nothing else, our daughter is resourceful.
When it comes to my milk, she is less and less interested.
I went twice this week without feeding her for an entire twenty-four hour period.
I am trying not to make it mean anything.
However, I do wish she would drink from me, not only because of the connection and the intimacy it creates, but also for her immunity.
On the toy front, not much has changed.
We found Cheetah hiding in the cupboard.
Musical owl is her new favourite because if you press his belly he plays music.
However, apart from that, it is all the same same same.
Her rocker is still fascinating, which is just as well, because most everything else she plays with because there is nothing else.
I am not sure we can wait until Christmas; I might have to hit eBay up for a couple of bargains to keep us going in the meantime.
Project accidental potty is continuing to roll along nicely.
We are still not sure if it is our timing, or if she is beginning to understand but now she likes to get off immediately after she has done her wee.
Mummy just has to learn the cues better.
Her favourite new amusement is to shout out the word Bwaaa while simultaneously throwing her arms and legs out.
It is hilarious, so now we have all taken to doing it.
And by we, I mean mostly me.
Although who knows what goes on when I am not there to keep those two in line.
There has not been a lot of progress on the language front, apart from some serious experimentation with her vocal chords.
We could have a Tibetan monk on our hands based on some of her new sounds.
However watching her continue her crawling is delightful.
I came home one afternoon this week to find daddy on the lounge room floor showing her how it is done.
Our caterpillar can now do a supported forward bend if mummy helps, along with a pyramid, and supervised staff position. However, she has boat pose, locust, and cow down to a fine art without my help.
I can feel her hamstrings getting stronger and more defined, and ever since Lucille showed her how to roll over properly, she has taken to it like a duck to water.
When it comes to sleeping, this week has been a rough one.
We have been wondering if we will ever see our little girl who used to sleep for six or eight or sometimes even ten hours at a time, because at the moment we are lucky to get four before she is awake again.
Mind you, last night was a little better, but putting her down of an evening is becoming a nightmare.
We know it is all a part of the process, but o, my God it can be traumatic.
Tonight for example, it took us over an hour.
She worked herself into such a state.
We are not used to this kind of resistance.
However having said that, during the day she is sleeping up to 3 hours at a time.
So go figure!
After years of cultivating the habit of writing first thing in the morning, I still have not learnt to write around her schedule, which is a shame, because if I did, I could get so much more done.
This week I confess to not being sure, I want to own a business.
This week I want life to be easy.
I want no responsibility, no risk, and no uncertainty, or at least that is what I tell myself.
As usual, I have no idea as to which direction to head. And that ladies and gentlemen is always the problem.
Therefore, I end up going nowhere.
Good Lord I hope I can teach Emily better than this.