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From New Skills Learned To Old Friends Returned

Week 51

Oh my God!

Michael is doing bacon and eggs on the barbecue. It smells amazing.

Randall should come back from Canada more often.

I cannot believe I am about to say this, but I missed the big fella.

Do not get me wrong, I have a lot of time for Michael’s best mate, but I had not realised his absence, even from the background of the daily grind would create a vacuum.

Who knew?

The boys are out the back animatedly discussing the merits of Taronga Zoo.

It is lovely to hear their banter. Especially when it involves baby girl at the centre.

This is not to say the previous conversation regarding what makes a good French fry was not just as valid, but we all know I think Little is better than hot chips – and let’s face it, fresh salty chips are pretty bloody good.

Emily is asleep in her cot, and I am attempting take three of this week’s post.

Every time I have started, for some reason my computer has completely wiped the file into nothingness.

I guess I should preface the following with the phrase this week has been hard.

Hard in the way that I have wanted to run away and cry for no reason.

Hard in the way I have been on my husband, our daughter, and me.

I have not been easy to live with, and I do not feel good about it.

Writing this is like angrily scribbling with all my might through layers of butcher’s paper until the thick coloured marker goes fuzzy with over use, just as I would do when I was a little girl, completely frustrated with the world, and unable to express or articulate my internal turmoil.

Yep, in other words, I am a three year old, having a tantrum, and it is not pretty.

Actually, it is pretty brutal, so strap yourself in; it is going to be a long ride.

Therefore, it is with this in mind, I apologise in advance for the coarseness of my words, be it in structure, essence, or vibe.

This week has felt like a thousand years.

Michael and I are shattered. For whatever reason we have both hit the wall in the same week.

I thought it was only me who was having trouble staying awake in ordinary situations, but then Michael confessed to falling asleep on the lounge at 9:00AM while Emily made use of her toys on the floor in front of him.

I could not help but laugh, because little does he know, I can fall asleep while lying on the floor and she is crawling over me, while I am sitting on the train, or worse still, while I am standing and treating a client.

I previously thought people who could sleep while standing up were an urban myth, but oh no! It is definitely possible.

I probably should not admit to that last one, right.

I have been so exhausted that working out has been put on the back burner.

I tried a couple of times, but I kept making stupid mistakes that could have left me injured. Therefore, I surrendered to a spontaneous rest week in the hope that I would miraculously find some more energy from somewhere.

Yeah ummm no.

Monday did not start in our usual way, but rather ended up a bit of a rush.

I decided to work an extra day this week, as it is all about making hey while the sun shines, so to speak.

This meant we were all out the door by 8:05AM in order for me to be on my designated train.

After dropping me off, Emily and daddy decided to go to the good park to meet our friend Oliver and his mummy.

However as it turned out, the whole gang arrived, and everybody had a fantastic time.

By 10:30AM, the park was rockin’. Kids clambered over one another as they climbed the equipment, parents stood in small groups and caught up on local gossip, and everyone was having a good time.

Apparently, there was one lone pretentious parent who refused to take the stick out of her butt and simply enjoy the atmosphere, but given we live in a historical hot spot for such behaviour, we are surprised we don’t run into them more often.

For the most part everyone we encounter on the playground circuit is just as down to earth as we are.

Thanks everyone for making our foray into parenthood so enjoyable.

By 11:30AM, the kids had pretty much worn themselves out, and everyone dispersed for a nap.

I was running late that day, and did not get home in time to put baby girl to bed.

They had gone to another park in the afternoon, so I am not surprised the cutie cute cute cute was out like a light when I snuck in the front door.

Playing at parks is very tiring. Especially when there is so much adventuring and exploring of new things and old to be done.

Each day Michael and Emily come back from the park he regales me with stories of the new things she can do. Be it walking across the rickety bridge, sliding across the rickety bridge, crawling sideways across the rickety bridge, or any number of other experimental progressions as she works out the best way to get from one point to another.

Up the slippery dip, down the slippery dip, head first, feet first, or any which way you can first.

Whenever they go to the good park, her favourite game is to climb up the equipment to the very very top then crawl off the edge into daddy’s waiting arms.

Her trust in us is a privilege, and not something we take for granted.

We are so proud of her independent spirit, and do what we can to foster her curiosity.

I am not sure where Monday went, but wherever it disappeared to, we are not getting it back.

Downton Abby is one of my favourite shows on television, and it hardly felt like I was home and dinner was served before we were settling down to watch the drama unfold.

They had better replace that series with something else just as fabulous, because otherwise what is a girl left with to watch?

Tuesday was an early start as I had acupuncture first thing, followed by coffee with my friend Susan.

Oh boy did the mama guilt kick in hard as I crept out the front door that day.

It is not often my heart strings are pulled so violently in just that specific way.

Susan is one of those people, so well versed in her area of expertise, that I know I am always going to learn something new, which is why I would not have missed our appointment for the world.

I find spending time with her extremely intellectually stimulating. Her knowledge base is extraordinary, and I am like a sponge trying to soak it all up. My only regret is that I am not well versed enough in the subject matter to ask good questions or hold up my end of the conversation.

I promise I will do some reading before we next meet my friend.

We met at our favourite coffee shop, and let me just say the pizza dough smelt fantastic.

Our coffee was fabulous as usual, and the only reason we parted was because they asked us to leave in order that they may turn the tables for the lunchtime rush.

Otherwise, we may have well sat there for a little longer.

Meanwhile daddy and Emily headed up to the good park for a second morning in a row to play with Abagail.

I am told much climbing was to be done, some sliding down the slippery-dip head first, and definitely lots of swinging in the safe swing.

I have been intent on procuring Little her own Emily sized lounge chair for quite some time, which is why on Tuesday afternoon I could be found wandering in and out of random shops throughout one of our local malls, asking if they were Pottery Barn. With each shop I entered, a shop assistant would direct me to somewhere else, one level up, two shops over, around the corner, rather like a treasure map of my own making. Eventually one of them took pity on me, and walked me the three doors down to the shop I was after.

I had a vague idea of where the place I wanted was situated, but in the end it was two levels higher than I originally thought, and located on my right not the left.

It is one of those shops that is all cutie cute cute cute, and if a girl had a shitload of money to drop, that would be a good place to start. However, after checking out the merchandise a little more closely, I was not happy with the quality comparative to the price point. Thus, I walked out with nothing.

The question is, do I now brave eBay, or keep looking elsewhere.

I mean I am still reeling from the last disaster, which by the way, I still have not relisted.

I mean if there were ever a good place to try out my best sales copy writing, selling second hand clothing on eBay would be it, right.

Shopping is exhausting, and God knows why I thought it would be a good idea to go on my own.

At one point, I found myself wandering around Kmart, trying to psych up for the search ahead. However, did I go look at the toys? No.

Did I go look at nickers for Little? No.

Did I go look at the backpacks? No.

Did I try on jeans for me? Yes.

But could I tell what colour they were in the shithouse lighting they have? Ummmm no.

Did I really want them anyway? Not really. But I wanted something. Anything which actually fit would be lovely. If it looks hot, at this point that is a bonus.

So why did I bother? Oh, who knows?

It has been so long since I have gone shopping. However, it is not nearly as fun as I found it in my twenties. Which kind of sucks actually, because I have fond memories of said pass time.

I looked at a new stroller for baby girl, something smaller, lighter, and skinnier than what we have, and I thought I found one. However I am rethinking that idea, as after I put her in one similar two days later, and it cut off the circulation beneath her knees, and offered no support for her back, I realise I will have to consider other options.

I cannot believe I walked out of the budget department store with nothing. Well actually, I can, because I was so tired, but I forgot all the things I have been plotting and planning to look at for weeks.

You see. This is what happens when fake date night with my sissies is no longer in play. If they were here, then of course I would have all the things I had desired, as well as some stuff I did not know I needed.

I mean everybody knows that Kmart is best after midnight and before 2:00AM, preferably followed by a quick maccas run, What was I thinking?

It was so hot when I dragged myself home on Tuesday afternoon that Little had to go for a swim in the clamshell pool.

Each time she does, she learns a little something new.

Tuesday it was the art of dog paddling.

That kid has good instincts.

I mean we have no idea what we are doing, but we just keep plonking her in there and hoping she will figure it out.

Whenever she happens to go under now, she is up and out, and to the edge before we can reach her. And she is getting better at not crying as much when such inevitabilities happen.

I wonder if we should take her to swimming lessons, or simply do the fundamentals ourselves.

The idea of putting Little in a pond full of chlorine and urine is not exactly appealing, but…

Wednesday I am not sure who got up for breakfast with one baby girl. I suspect it might have been Michael. Because given the unbelievably bitchy mood I have been in for most of the week, surely I would have remembered stumbling down the stairs with one package of toddler goodness in my right arm.

Although who really knows.

Because given how bad I felt about leaving her the day before, and how little time we had actually spent together, now I think about it a little more deeply, chances are it was in fact me who got up with her, eager to enjoy every moment we could squeeze out of the day together.

On the one hand, I feel guilty when I do not get up with her, and on the other, there are times when I am almost resentful when I do. Because I know if I had a little more sleep, I would be a better functioning mother, wife, friend, employee, and every other role I fill in the saga of my life.

I know that sounds terrible and heaven help me if Little reads this before she is mature enough to understand the spirit in which I say this.

For in no way would I ever want her to think I did not want her or regretted bringing her into this world. Because that is most assuredly not the case, and nor will it ever be.

Michael and I always laughed at people who said having kids was by far the best thing they had ever done, but now we are those very people we secretly scoffed at and ridiculed.

Umm sorry whoever you were. Obviously, we have seen the light.

Sweetheart mummy is very definitely human, and right now, I am being a shit parent.

I do not know what has come over me of late.

I am tired, I am snappy, and I am way to short with you and daddy.

I know it will not always be like this. However, I cannot imagine a time when I am not half-dead with sleep deprivation.

Lately baby girl has been a three bottle a night baby.

In addition, just to cement my shit parenting status for sure, it is not I who gets up to her, but Michael. Which of course means where is my problem in doing the dawn shift?

Once we are on the kitchen floor, bowl of oats in one hand, spoon in the other, and playing kiss my toes while find my mouth, which by the way is akin to rubbing your tummy with one hand, and patting your head with the other, I am so humbled, privileged, and pleased we get to spend this time together.

It is those first few moments where I am still horizontal and trying to rub the sandpaper from my eyes where I struggle the most.

I love you sweetie, and yes, although I am having a bad week, I would not change a thing.

I know that other parents would give their right arm to spend more time with their children.

Sure, we have swapped money for moments, but it has been our choice.

In an ideal world, I would love to work more from home or with the family, and not have to give up anything.

Alternatively, if I had a job I really enjoyed, and could sink my teeth into, then maybe leaving my fun loving family would not be so difficult. As I would find fulfilment elsewhere.

For us, we did not choose Little so we could put her in day care, which is why Michael stays home.

Well that and he hated his job way more than I could ever dislike anything I do, so it just made sense.

I may complain about my occupation, but there are aspects to it I like. Whereas for Michael there was nothing about his role which made him happy.

I have to keep reminding myself, or have Michael remind me, it will not be long before Little is making her own breakfast, and feeding her own self.

Soon she will not need mummy to sit with her and direct the spoon into her waiting mouth.

Soon she will not say yum yum yum with every spoon full.

Soon she will not want me to kiss her toes and make her giggle.

I mean as it is, now I am the mama who has an almost one year old, and remembers what it was like to have a new born who liked to be wrapped in a pink blanket, smelt divine, and peeped out from her cradle as we passed.

Now I am the mama who remembers the totally out of perspective importance of tummy time, the beauty of holding Little to my breast, and the convenience of her not being able to move.

How strange it is to have to consciously remember and remind myself of these things as opposed to being in the thick and the overwhelm of it all.

It still brings a smile to my face when I think about those first six months.

Now I am in this place. And this place is hard. I do not want it to be hard, but oh my goodness; it is a bit of a slog at the moment.

Dragging a heavy suitcase with those crappy wheels through wet sand kind of slog.

The last month has felt slow and arduous, like climbing a mountain with trillions of tiny rocks slipping from beneath my feet with every step I attempt.

Well if there is one thing for sure, parenting is a great way to build up endurance.

I wonder if I have appreciated the journey enough.

I hope so.

After all, two years ago, we did not have our little bundle of joy.

Two years ago, I was questioning whether Michael and I would make it.

It is funny to think about how tenuous those first years of our relationship were. Especially with how solid we are these days.

I love you honey.

Two years ago, we did not have a business built to make a difference in the world, only an idea stuck in my head.

Whereas now it will take very little action to get this thing to fly, and I am a little bit excited.

Actually, I have not thought of it in these terms before, and as I write, I can see how far we have come.

Sure, it may have taken more time than I would have liked, but I can see it unfolding in just the right way.

Two years ago, I was sad we were not at the Jazz on the lawn twilight concert around the corner, but now I am more worried as to whether all that swing will keep the baby awake.

Oh my God, two years ago I never would have considered baring my soul in a blog.

Two years ago, I would not have thought it possible to be this happy, this hopeful, or this healthy.

I know Michael is in just as much need of a break as I am, and as far as that goes, I have a little something up my sleeve. However in the meantime, I need him to take Little out for one of the days I am not at work, so I can get some other businessy type stuff done without feeling bad about it.

Oh, my God imagine if I went and had my nails done! And not for any other purpose than because I could.

By this, I mean not because I needed them done in order to present well in a certain situation, but just because.

Working out is amazing, but even that is with a bigger end goal in mind.

And although it has a million other benefits, I find myself not completely relaxing into the purity of the process; because I feel like it takes away from other things, I could or should be doing. Be it playing with Little, working on the brand, writing this blog, cleaning the house…

Oh God did I just say that last one?

Seriously, someone needs to take me out for a glass of wine.

This cannot be the sum of my life. Can it?

Since I have started this instalment of the Blunder Weeks, Randall has gone home, Michael has gone for a swim and returned, baby girl and I have enjoyed a quick lunch, as she wasn’t really into her meat and three vegetables, we have played in her bedroom, she had a short rest, we rang nanny, and spent half our phone call trying to fish nanny out from behind the lounge where Emily posted her.  Moreover, lucky mummy, because now daddy and Emily have walked to the good park for a big ass play.

I think they have pretty much been a two parks a day pair of playmates for most of the week.

No wonder we have such a healthy and strong baby.

This is exactly what we had wanted for her before she was born – an outdoor lifestyle filled with learning new skills, playing games, eating dirt, and having fun.

Therefore, it is not as if either of us is not pulling our weight.

Well actually, he is doing a great job; it is I who is letting the team down.

I need to approach my role in this family from a different space. Because right now, although I am keeping us just above water, it is by no means the quality of life I would like.

For example, buying our own home is so far out of the realm of possibility, that I don’t think the galaxy it is a part of has even been discovered yet.

The only thing which keeps me optimistic is that a few years ago, I kept seeing a cheeky curly haired girl of about three or four years old sitting in our big country style kitchen in the house that we had in my mind’s eye whenever I thought about our future.

It would pop in there completely unbidden, and refuse to leave.

Obviously we have the cutie cute cute cute, and we were not having children, so does this mean the house is on its way?

Michael keeps teasing me about the curls, which may or may not be sprouting from Emily’s head.

I keep seeing the outside of a big house with a flat yard when I make my lame ass attempts at meditating while on the train to and from work. However, the picture is dull and almost too far out of focus for me to recognise it.

I know in order to stay sane I need to concentrate on what we do have rather than what we do not. However sometimes it is difficult when we live in such an either or universe.

And by we, I mean me of course. Somehow, I do not think Michael lives with quite the same limitations or harsh judgements.

I swear to God I have been abducted by aliens, and replaced with some bitter nasty cow bitch-face selfish mole version of myself.

Admittedly, what else I need is to find time to turn up to the page Julia Cameron style each and every day as I did before having Emily.

Even my dreams have been jagged edgy and harsh.

I note even as I write this, there is a cathartic release of energy as my thoughts and feelings become memorialised in ink.

Forty-five minutes in the morning would be wonderful, but that is forty-five minutes less sleep.

Ummm… So do I attempt to go for quality over quantity? Hmmm…

I feel terrible about not being kinder to my family.

Then there is the example I am setting for little.

Oh holy shit!

This week I feel like I have set us up for failure, and I do not know how to undo it.

I keep finding myself in complete opposition to whatever circumstance we are in, and I cannot see a way out.

My decision-making ability is shocking, and it is not until Michael says something or the damage has been done, that I am able to see the error of my ways.

I know I can do better, so why am I making this such a struggle?

Emily and I played happily in the lounge room on Wednesday morning, until daddy took over the reins.

I was so tired, and could not rouse myself from the fog and drowsiness, which overtook my being that I headed back to bed.

Apparently so did Emily for a little while, which allowed Michael to get some all-important secret boys business done on the computer.

Honestly, I have no idea what he does on that thing. All I know is that he does not always like to be distracted.

I was on a mission to take baby girl shopping.

We were going to go buy her some new nickers if it killed me.

I mean what kind of mother would I be, if I could not even take our daughter on an expedition for underwear.

Oh yes, in my state of mad hatterness, I made this mean something about me, and whatever that was, let’s just say it was not good.

To be honest, I was not looking forward to another long afternoon of trying to keep her occupied in our humble abode, so shopping was a great excuse.

Not only did I need a distraction from my intense self-criticism, but also I needed to remind myself of my capabilities as a functional human being no matter the cost.

After lunch, Michael kindly helped me into the stupid complicated baby carrier, and we set off.

As usual, Emily showed her depth of character, and allowed us to wiggle and jiggle her into the contraption without complaint.

I would like to say we are getting quicker at this thing, but no. It still took us a good fifteen twenty minutes of wrangling and adjusting to get us semi-comfortable.

We had not even made it to the end of the park and I had to turn back.

I simply could not cope with the weight distribution.

However, this gig was not over yet.

Because as I said, I made this particular task significant, we were going to complete it, and I was going to feel good about it come hell or high water.

I struggled to hold back my tears as I unlatched the gate and met Michael at the front door.

I felt like a failure.

We just caught him as he was coming out of the house, towel, keys, and swimmers in hand,   on his way for a swim.

I cannot carry her in this, I said, gesturing to us.

Neither of you look comfortable, he said in response as we sat down and he began to untangle us from the stupidest most expensive baby wearer in history.

Come on baby girl, I said with a grim determination as I strapped on the hippy thing, and hoisted her up and over the seat.

Let’s go shopping.

Having her on my hip was much easier.

Instantly I felt happier and more confident with the task at hand.

I am not the only one who needs more stimulation, and shopping felt more like a contribution to Emily’s wellbeing than anything else I could come up with in the interim.

She likes going on the train.

I was super impressed that we remembered to tap on, even though there was no real need.

The gates at our destination are usually open and well manned. They would see me coming from a mile, and I would not have to do a thing.

The train had been empty on our way up, so Emily had amused herself by latching on to the yellow handle behind the seat and licking the window.

I know I know, I too was horrified at this, and am still praying to God she has not caught some rare unidentifiable train window licking disease.

She was so quick.

Oh and to think up until now I have done such a good job at shielding her from such germy germs germs.

Our kitchen floor is one thing, as is the woodchips in the park, daddy’s shoelaces, mummy’s cane handle, or any number of things I do not yet know about. But the train? Oh God the train!

Sure enough, as we disembarked from our chosen mode of transport, and made our way up the stairs and across the concourse, click click slide came the sound of the railway gate opening to let us pass.

Oh, if only all stations were this efficient I thought as I swiped my card and did not hear it tap off.

I know I should be more concerned about that, but given how many times it comes up as invalid or please try again, I can see there is a force more powerful than my temperamental nature at work.

Too bad they have taken out the tactile way finding markers though, because admittedly a row of those strategically placed would make my life even easier.

However who am I as an end user to argue with the bureaucrats that be.

I mean at least there is no digital multi media advertising blasting through the speakers at this particular station.

What is that saying; beggars cannot be choosers… And so often, that is how people with disabilities are made to behave.

Society has a lot to answer for in how the concept of disability is constructed.

However perhaps dissecting that particular topic is best left for another day.

Our first stop was Kmart, as they reportedly stocked Little sized nickers.

However, after twenty minutes of our searching, and absolutely no customer service, we finally found someone who could track them down.

I sat Emily on the floor in front of the girl’s size two to three nickers, and let her pull the packets of five off the rack at her leisure.

If there was going to be no one around to help me, then yes, I was going to be the parent who allowed my child to create An epitaph of pastel packages to memorialise our time.

We had wandered around for ages, baby girl in one hand, my cane in the other, and our loudly discussing the things we passed and the things we were after.

Not one person stopped to ask if we needed any help.

Talk about disappointing. NO wonder I leave that shop with nothing most of the time.

By the way, what sizes do baby girl socks come in? Because we found a rack of socks, but they all felt the same.

Eventually afore mentioned staff member who I am sure our very appearance guilted her into looking on our behalf returned but with no luck either.

Funny how as we left the store, the person on the door decided he needed to flex the single ounce of power he had and ask to check our bags, even though he had deliberately not intercepted us as we entered the shop to direct us to our chosen department.

I mean we gave him a good chance, as we slowed our pace even more, and I asked baby girl where she thought the baby clothes might be, before taking a second and answering it for myself.

Umm yeah, way to go dude.

You suck!

What an anti-climax I thought as I debated whether or not to trapes the length and breadth of the centre and go to Target.

I had already been there four days earlier; did I really want to pay a$5 for three pairs of the tiniest nickers ever?

Well no, However when a certain cash strapped girl compares that to some of the designer baby shop offerings, I have to admit, it really is decent.

I wonder if Einstein ever imagined his theory of relativity being applied in this way.

It seemed too early to go home again, so onwards and upwards we walked.

This time I was careful not to leave the confines of the closed in shopping area, just in case I could not find the other door to get back in.

As it was, a stranger had helped me entre the centre in my not so usual place. Thereby saving me a massive walk as I detoured in circles to get where I needed to be.

Thank you lovely person.

I wonder if I will ever get the hang of that entrance.

We were just passing the donut shop and I was wishing for one of those hot cinnamon blobs of doughy deliciousness, when we heard a familiar voice.

The door person for Target loves Emily.

You’re back, you’re back, she said in her cheerful British accent.

We need more nickers, I exclaimed as she came to meet us and give baby girl a kiss.

Before I knew it, Emily was off my hip, and happily buttering up Brigitte.

Umm, ok, I said to sweetie pie, as I glanced at one very glowing shop assistant.

Are you going to come with mummy while we look at strollers and pick you some new nickers, I asked one giggling baby.

I am fairly certain I could have left her with her new friend, and they both would have been tickled pink, but in the interest of occupational health and safety, I put missy monster back on my hip, and off we set.

Another shop assistant took us to our department, and proceeded to describe every stroller, and even get the ones we wanted to try down from their display case as a matter of course.

What a difference a store makes, I thought as we apologetically made her put them all back again.

If the one I had liked had been half the price, then absolutely I would have bought it then and there on the spot, and wheeled Emily out. However, the asking price was too much in my opinion. So for now, I will continue to carry her wherever we go.

Unless of course I am in need of an adrenalin rush.

We met our original meet and greeter at the front of the store, and Emily was once again in her arms.

They had the best time as we waited for a register.

We do not force Little to go to anyone she doesn’t wish to go to, so to see her have such an infinity with this woman was somewhat surprising, but heart-warming nonetheless.

They played clap clap, and whose badge is it anyway, along with kisses, cuddles, and tickles under the chin.

I think Emily was almost sorry to have to stop their game and come back to me.

What I would not do for a cup of coffee, I thought as we made our way back along the centre floor.

It was about mid-afternoon, and Little looked tired.

I decided I would sit and give her a bottle, and if she happened to fall asleep in my arms, then I would happily sit with her for the following hour or so while she slumbered.

I remembered my sister telling me that those stupid lounge chairs are never in the same place twice, so look anywhere you might think they could be.

Sure enough, the first cross over clearing with a different coloured floor we came to had two of those chairs and a whole bunch of short roundy roundy sit upons, which snaked around them in some wanky designer way.

Emily was half way through her bottle, and those little eyes were almost closed when another mama stopped nearby with a screaming toddler.

They stayed just long enough to wake Little right back up again and give her a second wind.

However, I guess that is what you get for feeding in a public place.

Umm thanks universe.

Moreover, here I naively thought that finding those ever-elusive lounge chairs would be the solution to all my problems.

I so should have gone to the coffee shop and coughed up the $4 for a skim cappuccino and a less comfortable seat, but with a more transient atmosphere.

After her bottle, I let her wander by herself for a little while and explore the area.

The look on her face of ecstasy as she discovered the freedom and space of the almost empty shopping centre was priceless.

However once again I had forgotten to put her bells on, so it was more difficult to keep an eye on her than it otherwise could have been.

When will I remember to use the resources we have?

On our way home it was very crowded in the train, and I was worried we would miss our stop, either due to not hearing the announcement over the dull raw of the school kids, or no one getting out of our way as we pushed through the seemingly oblivious throng of school bags.

I had to laugh when Emily whipped a girl’s hat off her head as we shoved our way passed.

Thank you to the elderly gentleman who held out his hand and helped me step off the train. Normally I would not need such assistance, but given how busy and stressful it was, your jesture was greatly appreciated.

As we walked home, daddy drove passed and wolf whistled at us.

Good to know I still have it honey.

Back in the pool, we hopped, after a nice snack of watermelon, banana, apricot, and plums.

Emily loves her fruit.

My grandpa would be so proud if he were alive.

Speaking of which, grandpa, if you are reading this, and you would like to leave us $2 in the washing machine the way you used to, that would be great.

Thursday is mummy’s usual workday, so off I went.

Early morning acupuncture went well, but my day was fairly quiet.

To be honest, much of it is my own doing, as I can feel myself disengaging from the place on a deep level in preparation for something new.

I still have no idea what that might look like, but I am quietly optimistic at the prospect of something different.

I cannot be sure if the nagging pain in my right shoulder is my body screaming at me to get a wriggle on or if it is a supreme act in self-sabotage.

Oh, God please be the former please be the former please be the former…

I find myself quietly examining the myriad of short courses being offered in accessibility, and wondering if I ought to brush up on my skills.

However more importantly, I find myself softly questioning if there is a space for me in the sector, and whether it is worth picking up that thread again.

My friend Amanda calls me the business jypsey, because she reckons I have the ability to see further into things than most, and can pin point what stragegies will work for someone, but not necesarily someone else.

She is such a honey.

I feel like if I continue in the same modality I am currently in, then we are going to continue to tread water. Whereas if I find ways to move toward what we are striving to achieve, then our prosperity will improve.

The question is how do I put a puzzle together, when I do not yet have all the pieces or know what it ought to look like.

I am so good at this for other people, but heaven help me when it comes to myself.

So many things to think about.

However in the meantime, there are bills to be paid, food to purchase, and a roof to be kept over our heads.

While I regretted forgetting to take my lap-top to work in case of such opportunities to write, Michael and Emily made their way to daddy’s swimming whole for a quick dip, and to feed the duckies.

Apparently, they sat in the shallows, and Emily experimented with running sand through her fingers.

She has only touched sand once before, so it took her a little while to get used to it.

Then Michael popped her back in the pram, and she watched him go for a swim in the deeper water.

Emily does not like to put her head under water, so Michael led by example in the hopes that she will get the hang of it.

He dove under to show her it was possible, and then would wave at her as he came up again and give her a big reassuring smile.

My hope is, they will make the most of the warm weather and water, and do more of that type of thing before the season turns.

Feeding the ducks was fun fun fun.

Emily has no fear of animals, and I pray it will always be as such.

The duckies were a bit quick for her to catch, but they came ever so close as Michael offered them the scraps of bread they had taken with them for that very purpose.

My next mission is to buy a print/braille Touch and Feel book about ducks from my friend April, so Emily and I can read about them.

I was first home later that afternoon, which allowed me to get a little work done before being greeted by a very happy baby.

It appears no day would be complete without us having a dip in the pool and a fruity snack, so that is exactly how we spent our time.

Emily loves to practice climbing in and out of her pool like a big girl.

One foot in, one foot out.

Two feet in, two feet out.

Two feet out, two hands in.

Splish splash splosh.

That little naked bottom is so cute.

Thursday night was a complete disaster in terms of baby girl sleeping.

She went down reasonably well, but was restless the entire evening.

By the time we were into the second episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, our little one was screaming inconsolably.

So much for that time wasting trash talking indulgence, I thought as I turned the television off, and headed upstairs to where Michael had been trying to settle our cutie cute cute cute.

Poor Little just could not pull it together.

Neither of us could figure out what was wrong with her.

Yes, she had been a bit off colour, and showing symptoms of a cold the two days previous, but nothing we could not handle, or so we thought.

We had given her pain relief earlier in a bid to keep her temperature down, but to no avail.

She was so cold and clammy.

I felt helpless as I held her in my arms and she let out her distressed cries.

She did not want to be with daddy, she did not want to be with mummy, and most most most of all, she did not want to be in her bed.

I put a blanket on the floor, and lay down with her. She with her head on my tummy, and rocking back and forth on her knees.

I cannot remember the last time I have seen her so uncomfortable.

Eventually I broke our cardinal rule, took her out of her room, and brought her into us, where Michael was reading his book by the soft lamp light.

I sat her between the two of us, nestled in the folds of our covers, and we quietly played together while she regained her composure.

I love intimate moments like that.

Little lying between us, her babbling, our chatter, and a blanket of trust.

After half an hour or so, I took a sleepy head baby, or so I thought, back to her own comfortable bed.

Umm, yeah, no.

The poor honey once again screamed her head off.

Again, I was at a loss as to what to do, and felt powerless to resolve the situation.

The energy in her room was like nails down a chalkboard, and even that I could not combat.

Eventually Michael took over, and although it took him a while, Emily did manage to somewhat settle.

As usual Michael got up to tend to her needs in the wee hours, while I lay semi-conscious fretting about everything under the sun.

Should I light some frankincense in the Greek fashion, and go through the house with the livani?

What was I going to do about work?

When was the electricity bill due?

Had we missed the car service?

Call the dentist.

Organise Little’s birthday.

Download a new book to read…

Friday morning I would have done anything not to go to work.

I left as late as possible, thereby allowing Michael to catch up on some much needed sleep.

However, I knew I would have no clients.

To my mind, it was such a waste of time and resources going in, when I would have been far happier and more productive sitting at my desk overlooking the still green Japanese maple tree outside my window and sorting out more of the details, which go into running a website.

After all, those terms and conditions were not going to write themselves and there was still the small matter of the free SSL I still have not figured out.

The only thing, which propelled me on to the train, was Michael’s lack of belief in that type of instinctual knowing.

He is of the opinion if I am at work, then maybe just maybe I will make some money. Which is fair enough, but trust me, there are days where a girl just knows.

Just as I had given up on working, and was saying good-bye, John, the best baby mechanic ever, offered me my second treatment for the week. Actually, that was one of the reasons I was so late on Monday night, because I was seeing John.

Lord knows I must have needed it, because I was a mess.

I have been so discombobulated, that I did not even know I was in pain.

Once again, thank you sir, I am feeling much better.

It occurs to me that while Michael may swim for his hobby, I tend to have osteopathic treatments as mine.

Lord knows what I will do when John and I inevitably part ways.

Meanwhile while I counted the minutes on the clock, and sort of hoped the phone would ring, but mostly not, Michael and Emily made their way to the library.

However for almost the first time in history, there was no one, up there they knew.

Emily had a good time, dancing and singing, even when nobody else was, so that is the main thing.

Friday afternoon was spent quietly at home, and when I arrived, we partook in our usual ritual.

I know I have said it before, but that clamshell on the side of the road was one of Michael’s best finds.

It has been so smoky from the back-burning happening in the area lately that we have had to empty it every day due to the accumulation of ash on the surface.

Getting Emily down that evening was not nearly as traumatic as the night before.

Those Chinese herbs Dong, my acupuncturist has given me to drink are not nearly as bad as they could be.

My body must really need them if I am not gagging at the taste of them.

I wondered if they were part of the reason I was feeling so crappy. Perhaps I had been detoxing all week, and did not notice?

Whatever the case, I had not been aware of any difference with my vision. Not until Friday night as Michael and I sat gazing indiscriminately at the television, when I made him check the colour settings to see if they had been tampered with by one clever Emily Kate in the midst of her playing with the remote control.

However, Michael reported everything was as normal.

I did not really believe him, because to my eye everything was too too bright, too big, and too oh whatever that is.

We have since swapped seats in the lounge room, and although he has not changed the colour settings even though I would prefer he did, something is different with what and how my brain is interpreting images.

Although to explain, it is almost impossible.

It is not so much overload, the way I thought my brain would respond with even the smallest of improvements, rather it is over joyed. It is almost as though I cannot get enough of this new unquantifiable thing.

However, anything, which takes away the eyestrain, the headaches, the squinting, the throbbing, and the overwhelm is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Therefore, I will continue with the treatment for as long as is necessary to maintain some semblance of eye health.

This is not to say we were not in bed by 9:00AM, because we absolutely were, but it was a nice little affirmation to end the working week upon.

Thank you Dong for persevering with me, even though we do not know if there is an outcome.

Saturday will be forever known as difficult day.

Potty training is in full swing, and of course, that means there are going to be spills and messes to clean up.

Nothing in how children develop is linear, which means of course some days are going to run more smoothly than others do.

Saturday was not one of them.

Oh God, I should have stayed in bed.

Emily and I woke up nice and early, and were down stairs before the sun had properly risen.

Between you and me, I had been hoping Michael would have taken this one, but alas, it was not meant to be.

My first mistake was placing too much emphasis in putting her on the potty first thing in the morning.

She sat there well enough, but without a result.

I put a pair of nickers on her, and hoped for the best.

The problem is trying to guess when she needs to do a wee is really tricky.

I was reading somewhere recently, that babies cannot control the reflex to hold their bladder when it is full before the age of two.

So not exactly encouraging news.

This led me to question, am I pushing her too hard too early?

Sure, she seems interested, but am I looking through lenses of wishful thinking?

Fast forward twenty minutes, and two slices of peanut butter toast later, and just as I was lifting baby girl back on to the potty, I heard her water hit the floor.

Oh dear, I said cheerfully as I began to peel her wet nickers off, and wipe up the spill.

My heart broke as she tried to clean it with me.

Its ok sweetie, mummy can take care of this, I said as I dabbed at the kitchen floor with a tea towel.

I wish I knew how to do this and have it a positive experience for her.

Under no circumstance do I want to demoralise or demean her as we go through this part of the path, but how do I know I am not inadvertently humiliating or shaming our daughter into thinking or feeling bad.

I am so out of my depth.

We played happily on the kitchen floor for the next two hours.

Emily still loves to rearrange my cake-baking drawer, and cannot get enough of the spice cupboards.

Oh, my God imagine my horror when I found her playing with the thankfully much blunter than it used to be blade of the food processor.

God knows where she found it, because I have been looking for that bad boy for weeks.

Ever since I discovered she could open the cupboards, I have been hunting for anything sharp, poisonous, or a possible hazard, and moving it to higher ground.

There is going to be nothing left at this rate.

Suddenly there are so many potentials for things to go wrong that I had not seriously considered up until now.

Parenthood definitely keeps you present, because no matter how prepared you think you are for the next stage, you are not.

Well at least I am not.

I know there are several counteractions we could take to resolve some of these worries, but putting up a barrier between the kitchen and the lounge room is not an option we wish to explore.

Child locks are the next idea, but given we live in a rental, we are not sure how they work, and whether we can find anything to suit our shitty cardboard kitchen.

I hate our kitchen.

I wonder how long she will be obsessed with this stage.

I think Michael wants to get her a play kitchen for her birthday, but whether or not that means she will stay out of ours, who knows.

Is age one too soon to get her a tin tea set with dotties?

I have been collecting old china cups for ages, and I even have some for Little we can use when she is a little older for our tea parties.

I mean if we have it, why not use it.

The things I have in mind for her are less fragile than my 1930’s and 1940’s mad hatter items, but just as beautiful.

My hope is they will make her feel special.

The timing could not have been worse.

Michael had just wandered into the kitchen bleary eyed, Emily was in the spice cupboard hurling unopened packets of dried herbs and spices across the room behind her, and I was putting away the dishes from the evening before.

Once again, I was just putting down the last bowl, and had intended as my next move to scoop baby girl up and put her on the potty waiting at my feet. When as I reached beneath her, I felt a familiar warm liquid dripping between her legs.

Aww sweetie, you are doing a wee, I said as I waited for her to finish, my hand instinctively cupped as though I could somehow catch the droplets.

Depending on what she is doing, sometimes she is aware of the situation, and other times she is not.

This time she was oblivious.

I turned around to grab yet another tea towel from the second bottom kitchen drawer in order to give the cutie cute cute cute something solid to stand on while I undressed her, and figured out how to clean up the spill.

Michael stood looking at me and regardless of whether it is true or not, I perceived nothing but judgement of my bad parenting coming from him.

Anyone who knows my husband, knows that is not his style, but by golly I was sure he was looking at me with daggers and disgust.

As luck would have it, Emily slipped over, and needed up belly first in a puddle of urine.

Aww, honey, I am so sorry, I said as I picked her up.

She is covered in wee, he said as I pushed the tea towel over the wet spot with my foot and stood on it while trying to disentangle a squirmy wormy protesting Little’s shirt off from over her head.

Umm yeah, I know, I snapped back.

Stop judging me, I will handle it, I continued as I pushed passed and headed upstairs for the shower.

I am putting us in the shower I called back as I exited the room.

He must have known better than to protest, because he said nothing.

Michael has always been against putting Little in the shower, so we have never done it.

However, to my mind, this was the easiest, quickest, and cleanest option.

Wiping her down was not really going to work and running a bath seemed too long a wait.

I would simply turn on the shower, adjust the temperature, and we would get in, me with my pyjamas and all.

And this is how Emily became introduced to one of mummy’s favourite things in the world – a nice warm shower.

She was fascinated to watch the waterfall from the head, and loved how it felt on her belly and her back. However when I put her head under she began to cry.

Yep, should have started it when she was younger, but I cannot have this all my own way. After all, Michael does deserve a say in how we raise her. Lord knows he is better at this than I am.

We got dressed, and headed back downstairs.

I apologised to my husband for being snippy, and we went back to our playing.

I am not sure what happened next, but I think it involved my feeling utterly overwhelmed and hopeless, so I went back to bed.

Michael took care of Emily for the next couple of hours, and when I awoke, feeling somewhat more myself he left the house and went for a swim.

I spent the short time I had between my waking up and Emily waking up from her daytime nap getting her pool nice and warm so we could spend the afternoon swimming.

Michael had graciously replenished it earlier in the day for us, so why not make the most of our favourite pass time if we could.

Sometimes finding ways to occupy our little girl makes me nervous, and I am worried I am not doing giving or being enough for her.

The cutie cute cute cute was starving when she awoke, so we had a light lunch, given she was off her food for some reason, and then she happily pulled every toy off the shelves in the lounge room.

Mid-way through her game she began to make the grunting noises she does when she needs to do a pooh, so I checked if this was correct, quickly undid her nappy, and put her on the potty the way we were accustomed.

She barely sat there long enough to finish her business before crawling away in protest.

I managed to somehow wipe her bottom on the move, and let her go on her merry way.

I knew she had not finished, but there was no way that kid was letting me put her nickers on.

Therefore, I figured I would simply let her be naked baby and wait for the signs she needed to go again.

Oh dear, and this is where it came undone.

I checked her five minutes later as she stood engrossed at the corner table.

God knows when or how she had done it, but there was pooh everywhere.

Pooh on her hands, on the table, all over her body, the carpet, her T-shirt, everywhere.

I did not know what to do first.

As I picked her up, intent on rescuing her from putting it in her mouth, I ended up covered in the icky sticky mess also.

I wiped one hand, then the other. However the goo just kept spreading. The more I wiped, the further it went.

One hand then the other, one hand then the other.

It was as though it materialised out of nowhere.

Michael said this would happen, but I had not really concerned myself with the eventuality.

Honestly, I did not think it would be as bad as this.

Oh, God she had put it in my hair.

I tried to wipe the table, but quickly gave up on that in favour of dumping her in the pool.

The problem was I had not taken a washer out in preparation, or a towel.

I was naked under my sundress, so taking that off and using it as a cloth the way I often did when I was in fact wearing underwear was not an option.

We were stuck.

As I rubbed water over her little body, and she cried in response to my touch, I never quite knew if I was doing more harm than good.

I kept finding shit everywhere.

I mean everywhere.

I would think she was clean, only to rub my forearm against her and find it had rubbed from me back to her.

The whole thing was paradoxically distressing and almost comical.

I held her shiny slippery body at arm’s length as I carried her back inside and tried to dodge the pooh globs scattered like lily pads across a pond on our lounge room floor.

Once I had her upstairs and safely in a nappy, I moved everything I could from our bedside tables, closed the doors, and headed for the shower myself.

I had attempted to put her in her own room with all the good toys and the mirror, but apparently, that was not acceptable.

I scrubbed my skin as fast and hard as I could to make sure I was clean.

I knew that at least if I were clean, I would have a better sense of smell to figure out whether or not my little mischievous one was also all squeaky clean and hygienic.

Talk about the quickest shower in history.

I could hear her unstacking nappies from the nappy changing space, but who knows what else my monkey legs would get up to if left to her own devices in the not so child proofness of our bedroom.

I could still smell the residue of pooh on Emily’s skin, but could not find it.

Thankfully, Michael would be home soon, and he would be able to double-check her.

After all, maybe I was just paranoid.

I then placed madam butterfly bottom in her low chair armed with a tray of her favourite snacks, made sure she could see me, and I began the task of cleaning up the disaster area.

Every time I put my foot down in order to move to the next scene, my foot would squash something gooey and wet further into the carpet.

Could this day get any worse, I wondered as I made even more work for myself.

Why was it when I put my hands down in a sweeping motion I found nothing, but whenever I stepped with my full weight in order to regain my balance I managed to find a wayward peace of pooh.

It was infuriating.

Michael came home mid-way through this process, took one look, did very well not to sigh heavily, and I skulked off shamefully into the kitchen to keep Emily amused.

By no means was I upset with her, but rather with myself for not being on top of things.

I thought I had done a really good job of mopping up, but apparently not.

I had checked and rechecked the lounge room time and time again.

I had wiped, dabbed, scrubbed, rubbed, and tried to clean up as best I could, yet still Michael had to intervene on somewhat of a large scale.

I felt terrible having him come home from his relaxation to this.

Just when I thought there was no way I could cope with another three bottle night, and was considering such drastic measures as letting Emily cry it out, our beautiful baby girl put herself to bed last night.

I sat quietly next to her cot holding her hand through the bars as she cooed quietly, and we built a bridge back to equilibrium and harmony between us.

I know there are nights we are going to need to do this, and sometimes it will be she who extends the olive branch, and other times it will be me.

Last night my wise and wonderful offspring brought me back from the brink.

Thank you my darling – I love you so very very much.

I know the nights when she settles herself to sleep in her own way in her own time she usually sleeps more deeply and for longer.

Last night was no exception, and guess what? She only woke up once for a bottle, and fell back asleep for another five hours.

Sure, we may have been up at just before 6:30AM, but it was enough of a change in routine to leave me a little more buoyant.

I had hoped Michael would get up with her, as we usually take one weekend day each for a sleep in, but given what a horror day Emily and I had experienced yesterday, I wasn’t going to push it.

He looked and acted more tired than I did, so I happily padded downstairs with our sweet girl and let her pull the blanket off me as I lay languidly on the lounge.

By 7:00AM, she was showing signs of being ready for breakfast, and by this, I mean she had crawled into the kitchen and was eating onionskin from the potatoes drawer.

However, I was not ready to make her oats, so I snuck up and took a bottle of milk from the pile beside Michael’s bed, and hoped it would buy me another twenty minutes on the lounge.

Ummm, no. Of course, it did not.

Therefore, sooner than I had anticipated, I was standing over the stove stirring oats and almond meal in a hot pot so my very hungry caterpillar could have some food.

She seems to have lost her words for breakfast and park. They have been replaced with vavavavava fafafafa and the occasional nagnangnang. Although oh-o is still her favourite for the week. Closely followed by bird, book, and dada.

I know she sort of has a sound for mama, but I think it is more a sound she plays with rather than an associated word with meaning.

And this pretty much brings us to the beginning of our story.

Emily and I playing on the lounge room floor, Randal-sneaking creeping through the front door in case sweetie pie was asleep, him getting stuck at the toddler gate, while Michael hung the first load of washing out for the day.

Yep, best husband award goes to mine, that is for sure.

Meanwhile baby girl amused herself by chasing Uncle Randal around the house with a little help from mummy.

Her favourite new skill over the last few days is to walk while holding hands with either mummy or daddy. It does not matter if we are in front or behind, just as long as we are fast fast fast.

I think we might have a runner on our hands.

I have a feeling as Little grows; she and Randal are going to be good friends.

She was also very proud earlier today, to show him how well she can climb into her clamshell pool with all her clothes on.

God love her, she is adorable.

As I said, this week has felt like a thousand years.

But thank goodness today has been better than yesterday.

Granted I cannot imagine ever feeling truly refreshed and revitalised ever again, but you never know.

I am not quite up to spending the night away from Little, even though I fantasize about it on occasion, but I am sure that will come soon enough.

No doubt, the universe will orchestrate something to force my hand, but as far as I know, we are not there yet.

Are we?

Published inThe Blunder Weeks

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