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From Another Year Past To An Aging Cast

Week 42.

I write this while Michael and I watch television after dinner.

I promise it will not be as Tolstoyish as my usual posts, as unfortunately I cannot remember everything which took place over the last week.

As usual, my lack of note taking, and newly aquired lack of memory have gotten me in trouble.

When will I learn to spend ten minutes a day on this particular project, as opposed to the four or five hours of stilted and jilted writing, it takes me on a Sunday evening.

Yes, I know it is difficult to believe, but such literary works of art take time.

Tonight it feels as though I am scratching my words into sandstone with a twig. They are taking forever to craft.

I keep stopping and starting, while I try and think of the right words to say.

For anyone who is a regular reader of my work, I guess it is pretty obvious when I am in the zone, and when I quite clearly am not.

Be warned, tonight is one of those nights where there is no zone.

Tonight was the first time I considered not writing a post at all.

I know, shocking, right.

Forgive me, but it was only a momentary lapse in sanity. I am good now. Thank you for asking.

Personally, I blame it on the physical tiredness I am currently experiencing.

My sleep feels so wasted, as my dreams are full of turmoil and chaos. It is almost easier simply to stay awake. Accept that it is not.

Oh God what I would not do for a few hours peaceful sleep.

However here is the conundrum, if I were to get it, I would not know what to do with it. If for example Michael and Emily were not with me, I would miss them. Therefore, the peacefulness would be lost on me.

Not that my internal restlessness is their doing of course.

I know I need to head back to the subconscious liberation, which is the creative garbage disposal of Julia Cameron’s morning pages. However between the baby, the blog, the banter in my head, and the business, I never seem to find the time.

Sure, I could write them now, but then how would Week 42 be written?

So on that note, let us get started.

Our week has been filled with the crazy antics and intimacy of family life, so in other words, nothing exciting.

These included such gems as rubbing vegemite into the kitchen floor, and then licking it off. Discovering what it really means when mummy says her tea is hot. Sitting in the crook of daddy’s right arm while he smashes carrots. And generally being very adorable and cheeky.

Emily and I have spent a lot of time together over the last seven days, and it has been fabulous!

Our week has been filled with food festivals on the kitchen floor, toys and puzzles in the bedroom, kisses for the baby in the wardrobe mirror, cot climbing, chasings under the dining room table, books on the couch, stacking cups on the floor in the lounge room, picnics in the garden, swims in the pool, and trips to the park.

She loves that baby in the mirror. They have wonderful conversations and playing together.

Bububububu… ada, which means hello, and thhh fff phhh, whatever those mean.

We have rearranged her room, so she can see said baby in the mirror when she wakes up.

I thought it would help keep her amused, so I could get five minutes more sleep, but oh no, that was wishful thinking.

Monday I was cognitively exhausted, so we simply stayed home and played throughout the property. For some reason I simply could not pull it together.

Parenting is relentless, and it is not that I want to give it up, but Oh God I need more energy. My enthusiasm is no match for my weary body.

Hanging the washing still tops the list of favourite things to squeal about. And why wouldn’t it? All those pretty colours flapping in the wind and a mama who plays peekaboo among the sheets are pretty exciting.

Daddy snuck off for some much needed alone time, which meant a swim in the big boy dam .Therefore Emily and me had a swim in the shell pool instead.

It is good that Michael trusts us to play in the water when he is out. I wonder if it has occurred to him, something untoward could happen.

Lord knows it crosses my mind often enough.

When she slides on to her belly, which she is doing more and more as her confidence in the water grows, I have to put my fingers under her chin to keep checking her mouth and nose are above the surface.

It is not that I am against her putting her head under, but I would prefer she were more obvious about it.

My worst nightmare is that she will inadvertently go under, I will not notice, and the unspeakable will happen.

I feel like I am over vidulent, and hampering her learning, but what else can I do? ,

The worry never stops, does it?

Tuesday was pretty much a repeat of the day before.

Hello toys, hello tost, hello sunshine, and oh hello water play, how are you?

Michael has been doing the night shift, so I have been trying to do the early mornings. Oh boy have they been early.

However gone are the days where we can get up, Emily will play happily on the floor, and I can read, write, or get in a quick yoga session.

My body is begging for exercise, yet who has the time?

My weighted hula-hoop is moved from place to place as I navigate the shemozzle, which is my office. However, it never is put in the most useful place of all, around my hips.

Ladies if you are looking for a quick and easy exercise regime, hooping would have to be it.

Five minutes a day with this, bad boy and you will be seeing results within weeks.

Once you get past the initial bruising of course.

However, that is another story.

Little wants someone to play with or watch her play every second as in literally sit quietly, and watch. No Facebooking, no phone calls, no quick dashes to the kitchen to make tea, no housework, no reading books, writing blogs, or playing with other toys. Just watching her sing her little songs, talk to herself, and play with her things.

Therefore, that is what I do. It gives me plenty of time to think about, and then promptly forget how I might like to write the moments, which make up our day.

Sometimes I think she should have been a twin, because she loves company. However, I totally understand why the universe did not deliver on that one.

Sure it would have been fun, but being able to give Little my full and undivided attention is such a gift. And I would not change it for the world.

Sometimes I wonder if we should give her a sibling, but my higher self knows this is not the answer for us.

It has taken a while for Michael and me to meet in the middle regarding this issue.

For such a long time he has been staunch on his no no no, absolutely not. While I have been fantasizing about pushing that envelope a little further.

However recently something has shifted and we have both hopped off our respective fences, and found a quiet agreeance in the space between us.

Now when we talk about it, the edges have disappeared from our words, and the taunting and teasing from our voices.

I like where we are, and no longer do I need to wage war against the what if God.

What if we did this… What if we did that… What if what if what if…

Now, there is no more what if. There is contentment, closeness, and consideration.

I am peaceful with our choice, and am enjoying that we no longer need to defend for or against our viewpoints with one another.

As with every relationship there needs to be cooperation in order for harmony to be present.

For example, in our case, a more experienced someone builds the tower, while a certain other smaller someone knocks it down. A I’m still learning someone empties the puzzle, while a certain other bigger someone puts it back together. A taller someone makes the toast, while another cuter someone eats it. And so it goes.

Dragging myself out of bed is not always easy, but it is so worth it to see her happy face as I walk in the room.

Hi, she says in her tiny girl voice as I poke my head around the door.

Good morning, I answer in a chirpy voice. Did you have a good sleep?

Sometimes it is the rustle of her happy running legs on the sheet which tells me our day is about to begin, or the pace of which she crawls to my end of the cot if she is not there already. While other times it is the tone of her chatter or the sound of her dummy clitter clattering between the bars.

This week she has learned to stand in her cot, and it is adorable to run my hands along the railing and run into her cutie fingers gripping the inside edge.

Sometimes we play kisses through the gaps.

I swear to God every time I pick her up from a slumber session, no matter how long or short, she has grown.

How is that even possible?

On Wednesday morning, we put on our pretty frocks, and prepared to leave the house.

I had been putting this trip off for as long as I could, trying to decide whether I should go alone, or take her royal cuteness with me.

Whom am I kidding; I was always going to take her.

Honestly, I do not know how to leave the house, unless it is for work, without her on my hip.

Daddy needed a birthday present, and we were just the girls to get it.

I had been given a gift card for Christmas, and could not think of anything better to spend it on.

Sure, there are so many things I need and want, but whenever the opportunity arises for me to have something for myself, my mind goes blank.

So I put sweetie pie in the new soft carrier our friend Katie Lee had given us, and off we set – destination, the local shopping mall.

We ambled from one shop to another without incident.

First, we went to the pretty dress shop, where Emily was in awe of the pretty dresses and the sparkly tutus.

We stopped to play with a little boy whose mummy was buying him a tie for her wedding, and have a chat with the shop assistant.

Then we moved on to one of the low priced department stores in search of daddies present.

I was surprised when the bolshy English woman at the front of the shop walked me all the way to the men’s department before handing me on to someone else who could help me.

This never happens in big places like this, I thought as we wandered through the rows and rows of clothing I can no longer properly or easily identify by myself. Especially with one cutie cute cute cute resting on my chest.

Emily sat happily in her carrier the entire time.

Smiling at the staff, talking quietly to herself, and generally playing quietly.

Rarely did she reach for anything, but when she did of course, I paid attention. After all, we were looking for a birthday gift for daddy.

I never quite know how much she understands, but I never stop talking to her none the less.

I explain various points of interest in our environment, a pink flower, up the steps, down the steps, on to the train, off the train, over the bridge, into the building, on to the escalators, where is the toy shop, oops, would you like some water, what can you see, and so on.

Chatter chatter chatter.

Emily is so much fun to take with me.

Step by careful step, we walked through the shop. A pair of jeans on one arm, and my super-duper long cane in the other.

However when we got to the checkout there was a problem; one snaky line, and however many registers.

I miss the old lay out of separate cues for each payment portal.

How am I supposed to know where to go with this sheep herding set up?

So back to the bolshy English woman we went, and she helped us find our way through the process.

I kept thinking we really ought to stop because Little must surely be hungry.

However, I could not find the courtesy chairs. While no one seemed nice enough to stop for me to ask.

It had not even occurred to me to search for the baby change rooms.

Thank God! Because if it had, I would have been upset that I weren’t confident I knew where they were.

Therefore we kept walking.

The other store I wanted could not have been further from where we were if it had tried.

We walked and we walked and we walked, but we still had not reached its doors.

Finally, I found a wooden bench to sit down. I thought I would give Little a quick bottle, but the woman on the other end was staring at us in a certain way which did not make me comfortable.

Sorry sweetie, I said as I heaved myself up. Let’s keep going.

We were just about to give up when I accidentally found the entry to our final shop.

However, the greeting woman was not as helpful.

This time we were completely left to our own devices.

By the way, which dickhead actually designs the lighting in these places? As in seriously! Surely, you could do a better job.

It was not easy to find daddy a pair of board shorts, but Emily found them.

As I said, she does not often reach for things, but as we passed a particular rack, she suddenly reached out and literally pulled them off the display. And the rest as they say is history.

Happy birthday my darling, we hope you like your presents.

I was worn out as we made our way home. While Emily guzzled her bottle and pulled faces at the other passengers on the train.

What can I say; a girl has to somehow keep herself amused.

I was proud of myself for carrying her the entire time.

I was proud of her for allowing me.

She is such a cutie cute cute cute.

As we waited for daddy to return from his swim, Emily did laps of the lounge room.

It was the one time she seemed happiest to explore our house without me on her heels.

These three-hour shopping marathons might need to happen more often, if it means mummy gets to be more than a climbing thing.

Every day she gets quicker and quicker. Her arms and legs grow stronger, her technique changes, and her personality more bountiful.

Her standing has improved, and she is right up on those hands and knees now. However when she reaches the kitchen floor, she gets up on her hands and feet, and walks in like a downward

Dog. Her other new poses include, cat pose, head to knee with mummy’s support, and sleeping child I know she is processing a particular primitive reflex, but I cannot remember which one.

Good work baby girl. .

Thursday mummy headed to work, while daddy and Emily pottered at home.

When I asked Michael what they did, he could not remember either.

As usual, they picked me up from the station and we went for a play down the park.

Oh my God I am not fit enough to do this little girl justice.

I do not want to be the parent who says let us go home because I am tired, but on Thursday, I absolutely was.

I had finally had a busy day at work, and although I was feeling more positive about the situation, my body was lagging.

It almost goes without saying; I slept in the New Year.

Friday saw another early start, and another fun day.

We dragged the big fairy-tale mat out into the back yard, stripped off the baby, lathered her in sunscreen, plopped a hat on her head, and played with her toys beside the pool.

Yes Jessica, we are finally using it. And it is fantastic! Thank you for suggesting we make the investment.

I was surprised how well Little stayed within the boundaries of the soft rubber.

I was expecting we would need to get the playpen out, but it was so not the case.

Although maybe I should put it, up around the pool.

She pretty much stayed on her mat the whole time, regardless if I got up and left or not.

Meanwhile Michael busied himself by assembling the various baby gates our neighbours kindly lent us for the upstairs rooms.

We are much more confident in allowing her to play by herself in her room now.

These things are far more stirdy than the wooden ones my sister in law let us borrow.

Later that afternoon, again I gave into the physical fatigue, and laid down for a nap.

Michael took Emily to the shops and the park so I could have a proper rest. As in a rest without half an ear on what they were doing. Because there is always some part of me listening to their antics.

Thank you honey, I needed that.

Saturday was Michael’s fiftieth birthday.

Unbeknownst to him, his mother and I had organised for his   family to come over for morning tea.

Michael is not a fan of surprises. However, you think he would know by now, I always have a little something up my sleeve for his new number.

I was hoping for something bigger, but we simply do not have the money for my usual creative offering.

He was not over awed by the influx of visitors, because as I found out later that afternoon, he was worried the house was not tidy enough.

There were gumnuts on the pavements, dust bunnies on the piano, and probably crumbs on the kitchen floor from Emily’s and my buffet breakfast.

I did the best I could, however I did not think about the leaves at the front door, or the junk on his desk.

However, none of that mattered, because we all had a good time.

Emily played on her big fairy-tale mat with her big girl cousin Alyssa, while everyone crowded around the two tiny bistro style café Meg tables on an assortment of mish-mash chairs, square pods, and even the piano stool.

I have wanted a big   outdoor table, chairs, and other paraphernalia for ages. Moreover, every time we have more than a single visitor, I feel inadequate about our seating arrangements.

However, I cannot find, or afford what I would like.

It does not help; Michael is not a fan of that outdoor wicker stuff. Therefore, there goes my outdoor lounge setting.

He must have liked his Emily present, because as soon as his parents left, he was out the door and to the Dam for a swim.

Today it was yet another early start. However by 8:00AM Emily was back in bed asleep, and I was curled up on the lounge.

She did not wake until after 10:30AM. I could not believe it.

I had not heard her or Michael rise.

Emily’s social life has become our social life. Which is why today we were at her friend Oliver’s first birthday party.

As usual, mummy was overwhelmed with all those people. I had forgotten to take Emily’s new bells with me so I could keep track of her if she wandered off. However, I need not have worried, because our baby girl pretty much kept close to either her daddy or me.

Sometimes she would venture a little further, but nowhere really out of arms reach.

Although we are sorry Owen, but your bickie was just too good for the taking.

I know I should not be proud of her for doing that, but I secretly am.

Maybe it is because it is not something I can do myself.

I admire her resourcefulness, boldness, and will to survive.

She certainly would have lived in ancient times.

Whenever we are in situations like that, where there is a lot of food set out buffet style, I am unable to deal with the practicality of choosing myself something to eat, so I usually go without.

I am getting better at making small talk with the other mothers, and even beginning to recognise some of them from other places.

Oh hi, we met at the library, right.

Aren’t you apart of such and such a group?

It is strange the sense of community parenthood brings. Somehow we are all connected.

We have figured as long as we remember the names of the kids, we are usually ok.

What is RIA’s mummy’s name again?

After we got home, via a quick trip to a neighbouring suburb to pick up a freeby ride on bike for baby girl, thanks local freecycling Facebook group, Emily and I settled in for high/low tea.

It turns out my disappointment over our becoming neat eaters was short lived.

This week we have taken mess to a new level.

As in with every meal we share, each of us needs a new outfit, and usually a bathe of some sort.

Today’s effort was particularly spectacular.

Although I must confess, today I did not share the cherries our neighbours gave us a few days ago, the way I normally do, even though she love love loves them.

They were just too good!

I did not even share them with Michael.

However after two banana soy flavoured rusks, one slice of buttered toast, and a slice of cucumber, I did let her feed me porridge.

Ok, so let is maybe not the right word, but rather she hijacked the bowl.

As a joke I licked the coconut infused goo off her fingers, which she thought was the funniest thing she had ever seen. However, what was even funnier was after I had done it, she told me I was a good girl. Because that is usually what I say when I am feeding her.

I love you Little.

Things got so out of hand, the kitchen needed a clean, her chair cover needed a wash, and we had to have a bath.

Michael has no idea how we do it. However, I do not want sweetie pie to be afraid of food, so I let her feel the textures of things in the hope it will encourage a more flexible outlook when she is older.

Speaking of which, this week I have finally given Emily a bath.

I had never actually run one before until Monday night.

Bath time has always been Michael’s job. Much like driving the car.

However, on Tuesday night, not only did I run her bath, but also I plonked her in.

Yay mummy!

I was half way through washing her when I suddenly stopped and thought about what I was doing.

I looked up with alarm to Michael when I realised I was holding a slippery slidy baby in the bathtub.

Can you take over, I asked.

Nope, you’re doing a fine job, he said in response.

So there I was, my not so baby baby, nine and a half months old, and I was giving her a bath for the first time.

Tonight I did it, and we were alone in the house.

I am lucky to have such a supportive husband, who makes sliding into motherhood as quiet, soft, and easy as I need it to be.

Thank you darling.

On the toy front, the activity table has been getting quite a workout. Along with the humpty Dumpty Russian, nesting dolls, the stacking cups, and the spinny thing Nicole gave her.

Occasionally big bear gets a look in, and dragon gets a nod, but really, if it does not make noise, she is not interested.

I always thought noisy toys would drive me crazy.

I had visions of us giving her only wooden toys to play with.

Yeah, I know. We will tick that one off the never ever list also.

However, what surprises me is that the noisy toys are quite useful. When I can hear them, I know exactly where she is, what she is doing, and that she is safe.

So bring on the noisy toys I say.

While on the talking front, our little parrot is becoming cleverer.

We now have a word for hi, hello, toast, toys, bear, baby, daddy, carrot, good girl, book, bird, pooh, and pool. Although those last two are pretty much the same, so as with everything Emily, it all comes down to context.

It is not so much she has a word for mummy, but rather a particular tone.

Bweee has replaced bwa for the happy word, lalalalala is her song, th is her newest sound, while vvvv wawawa and fffff still get a periodical workout. However blowing raspberries is still the best.

She is getting really good at repeating us in her own little way.

I have to laugh, because although the idea was for her to be emulating our sounds, there are a lot of sounds we make to emulate baby girl.

If daddy grunts, she grunts. If I smile, she smiles – I can hear it in her breath.

Overall, we have had a happy week.

Project potty is on pause, for no other reason than I have done nothing about it. However I do have a question regarding wiggle run away cheeky bottoms and dirty nappies. As in how am I supposed to change them?

The wet ones are not problem. I simply take them off, and let her go.

I always thought it would be cute to chase her around the house. Following that cutie bare bum as it deliberately crawled away from me, but I have to say, as adorable as it is, it does present certain challenges.

So far I have mastered the on her tummy nappy change, and the standing up nappy change, but I miss the lying still on her back nappy change.

I have to confess, I have also had difficulties in the kitchen.

Again I always thought it would be nice to have a little one climb up my leg while I was cooking, but it to has its own challenges.

Make no mistake, I love having her little hands grip my pants and pull them down as she pulls herself up. But how do I help little Bambie legs when she is behind me, my body is pressed against the bench, and I am not flexible enough to twist round and lift the cutie cute cute cute up?

Thank God for swings and round abouts. Because just when I think I have lost my baby to the next stage of toddlerhood, she turns around and does the cutest baby action. Be it curling up in my arms, crossing her legs a certain way, or even making a particular sound.

She is so beautiful!

On the sleeping front, we are experiencing some changes. I think.

Slowly but surely she is learning to settle herself to sleep during the day, although it does take her half an hour of whinging, whining, and other such ploys to gain our attention before she gives up and falls restfully into a nice slumber.

I sit outside her bedroom door on the landing, just out of her line of vision, and monitor the situation.

We do not like to leave her to cry it out, but of course, different cries mean different things, so as long as she is not howling the house down, I simply sit and listen.

However she has become tricky with her sounds, and sometimes I walk in to find her flat on her back, dummy still in her mouth, and the ugly I’m in so much distress cry coming from her mouth.

Funny how the moment she sees me, there is a big smile and everything is ok.

Michael says she can actually make that same sound with a smile.

She is still waking up twice a night for a top up, but at least the days she does sleep, it is for hours rather than minutes.

Apart from Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday

I swear to God there is no picking it with this one.

Sometimes when we are in the midst of a yes it is time to go to sleep, and no I am not getting you up type debate, I have to stop, breathe, and count to ten. However, doesn’t every mother?

I do not want to spend my time fighting with her, but she has to learn.

Sure if she did not need the sleep, of course I would let her stay up.

However, growing girls need their rest.

So we battle it out for five minutes more.

Michael hates it, but he cannot always discern her cries in the same way I can.

The way they sound through the monitor is entirely different to how they sound unfiltered to the naked ear.

However, I think my persistence is starting to pay off.

Sometimes she even goes to sleep without her dummy.

Could this be the beginning of a beautiful new breakup?

Her compulsion to pull my hair has lessened, and she only bit my nipples a couple of times this week.

Surely, this means something.

This is not to say she has stopped pulling it all together, or stopped using the tenderest parts of my body to sharpen her teeth and rub her gums, but it is a start.

Sadly, I think I am almost becoming desensitised to the pain it causes.

Lord knows how I have any hair left though.

I like that we still hold hands while she drinks her milk, although madam butterfly bottom is starting to hold her bottle by herself more and more.

Much of our deepest communication occurs through touch.

This is why I am not worried about how things are developing, or whether or not they actually would, the way I did when we first brought her home. Because everything is happening in its own natural time, and I can see that.

The way she cups my chin, or hooks her foot over my shoulder is so different to how it was three months ago.

Nevertheless, if there is one thing I will always enjoy, it is how she falls asleep in my arms, or as I carry her up the stairs to her cot.

It frightens me I will never know the last time for something until it has passed. Therefore, I try to savour everything. Even the 3:00AM ah ah ah I am so hungry wake up call. Because it won’t always be like this.

Our little girl is growing up.

We love you baby girl.

Published inThe Blunder Weeks

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