As I sit down to write this, propped up on seventeen pillows, my hair dripping, and wearing my third pair of pyjamas for the day, Michael is downstairs cooking dinner, and sweet baby girl is finally asleep in her cot.
The poor little thing fell asleep standing up, her head resting on the top rail.
She did not want to be in mummy’s arms, she did not want to be in her bed. Therefore, I simply sat down next to her, held her hand through the bars, and let her cry it out.
Thank God, it did not take too long for her lack of sleep to catch up.
I feel like it has been another ginormous day in our corner of the world.
In the meantime, Monday morning was so long ago, it is difficult to think that far back.
Whatever we did, it was an early start.
Mid-morning we took a family trip to the doctors in order that I could get my final travel vaccination, thus be ready for whatever 2016 has in store.
Oh, please be something good, please be something good, and please be something good…
When we returned home, Emily went down for a nice long nap almost immediately, thus allowing Michael and me to get stuck into our respective chores.
Mine being to finish last week’s late running blog, and his to do all the things he does.
We had arranged to go shopping with Kat, a friend from our university days later that afternoon, and I was beginning to worry sweetie pie would not wake up in time for us to leave.
However just as I was packing her nappy bag, I heard our munchkin calling.
Unless she is really upset, we try to always give her a few minutes to herself before going to fetch her.
Not only does it teach her self-sufficiency, and delayed gratification, but it gives her a chance to decide if she really wants to wake up fully, or maybe just maybe, miracle of all miracles, settle herself back to sleep.
Not that she has ever taken that option during the day, but a mama can live in hope.
Michael and I almost take turns popping our head’s above the landing, because it is always so fun to see her reaction to us.
Come on sweetie, I said as I hoisted her out of the cot, we have to go and meet Kat.
Kat gave us little dolly as a gift before Little was born, so naturally we had to take her with us.
She has been living in the car the last six months, which is why she has not received a mention in a while however, as for Zebra, Cheetah, and Moussy; I am really really really hoping they are in the alternate toy box. Because if not, then this means there has been a mass escape, and they could be anywhere by now.
All I can say is thank God for naughty dolly. She is smart and lives in the nappy bag, thus gets to go on every adventure, whether we intend her to or not.
Little was still bleary eyed as we changed her nappy, and put her in the pram.
Michael walked us to the station, and literally put us on the train. Therefore all I would have to do was push Little from the train to our designated meeting area, which of course was the only coffee shop I know how to easily find – the same one where I meet my in laws.
My vision was having trouble adjusting to the comparative dimness of the train, when the woman spoke up from opposite us, and asked if I had a problem with my eyes.
Yes, I answered, without thinking. I mean what else was I going to say.
Hers was a mixture of pity and curiosity with a touch of good intention thrown in for luck.
We cordially chattered as we travelled, however when it became time for Emily and I to disembark, she was more of a hindrance than a help.
I never know how to explain to people that sometimes their help can actually make things more difficult. Especially when they do not really know what to do, but are desperate to do something.
This was one of those moments.
The poor woman was frailer than we were, but she wanted to help lift the pram.
Now that I managed to quell by moving more swiftly than I would have liked, and through definite reassurances that we were fine.
However, her insistence on walking with us down the platform to the lift, I could do nothing about.
The problem arose when she kept talking, which distracted me from all the listening I must do in order to find my way. Not to mention adjusting to her pace and rhythm, completely threw my footfall, which meant what the pram was picking up was slightly different than I am used to, thus what my other senses were picking up shifted accordingly.
Multiple platform transport hubs are very echoy places, and there is a lot to take in from an audible perspective in order to keep orientated, and on track.
For example, there are the trains coming and going, announcements over the speakers, other people’s chatter, and a million different obstacles in the form of poles, seats, vending machines, commuters, garbage bins, landscaping, and even the odd worker.
Ummm, sorry train guard for literally running into you as you stood on the way finding markers signalling for our train to continue its journey. I simply did not notice you with everything else happening around me.
Not only does a girl have to strategize where she will get on a train, but where it will set her down at her destination. Which end is the stairs, how long is the platform, is there a building in the middle, or is it placed on the side…
As it was, we had literally literally just made the train. As in, we were descending in the lift to the platform when it pulled into the station; therefore, there was no time to situate ourselves in a better position.
This meant I was a little unsure as to just how far we needed to go in order to find the lift when we disembarked at the other end.
I mean of course I knew where it was, but in exact relation to where we were at any given time as we walked down the platform was another matter
After all, it is not as if I can look ahead and spot it glimmering in the distance.
Clearly, Emily and I were better off than this little old woman visiting Sydney from the country, and still recovering from surgery, but we accepted her need to feel as though she was contributing to us was greater than my need to simply get on with our task.
It was almost as though her anxiety regarding our state of being rubbed off on us.
I ran into a pole, another person, the front of the lift, the side of the ticket barrier, and finally finally thank God my friend Kat.
I have never been so clumsy with the pram, and it was disconcerting.
The more she tried to help and redirect us, the worse it became.
What I really needed, but could not find the space in my mind, let alone her reality to ask for was to be left alone so I could concentrate.
Kat had thoughtfully waited for us just outside the ticketing area so we could walk together.
This was a lovely surprise, especially considering it was looking like I would have to walk with the Good Samaritan the entire way to our destination.
And heaven help me if that were the case. Because the way we were going, we might not have made it.
I know I make it look easy, and we all know I would not have it any other way.
However make no bones about it, this, it takes an immense amount of consideration on my part to do something as simple as direct us to the overhead walk way without actually hitting the fence because I misjudged the entrance, and got my angling wrong from seven metres further back.
Purely out of courtesy, I waited, and we bid the nice woman good-bye, I handed Kat the pram, whipped out my cane, and off we went.
It took Kat a second or so to get used to the pram, but off we went with one baby girl, and us excitedly chattering about all our news.
We had not caught up in person since just before I had Little, therefore naturally there was a lot to be said.
We found a corner table situated on the shady side of the walk away with a window for Little to look out. Thereby creating our own little square of protected play area, the pram providing part of the third wall barrier, and Kat helping to guard the fourth.
I had never realised where the coffee counter was before. I had assumed for whatever reason that it was right up the back of the bookshop. However there it was, sitting loud and proud on the right hand side entrance to the front.
Hmmm, next time I will be able to get my own coffee, instead of sending my sister in law, I thought.
I was mad at myself for forgetting to pack Little’s picnic mat and her bibs, so we had to make do with her change mat for ground coverage. At least for the food portion of our plan.
We set her down beside the table with a couple of toys, some snacks, and a book.
As usual, she played happily while Kat and I spoke.
Occasionally she would come to Kat or me for a cuddle, and some human interaction, but for the majority of the time she was happy doing her own thing.
Kat and I were each relieved that Emily took to her so well.
Not having her bib was bothering me, but only because I knew she would make a mess, and her dress would be dirty. Then what would people think of my parenting abilities, if my child were wandering around with old food stuck to her clothing?
I mean obviously I cannot see such detail for other children, therefore, I assume it simply is not there. Well actually, assume is not the right word, rather it does not even enter my consciousness if it is or it is not. I am too busy trying to look after us to even contemplate such ideas.
Where are we, where do we want to be, why does everything look the same, I wish the light were… Oh, are you ok Little?
The point is I do not want baby girl to look like a grot if I can help it.
I am not sure how long it was before Emily decided it was time to go, and by this I mean, she broke free from our makeshift playpen, and began to wander off.
Part of me likes to have her explore our environment, but part of me is also trying to teach her to stay close to mummy. Therefore, I become conflicted as to how to handle such inevitable situations.
Do I let her go, and follow her lead, or do I keep bringing her back to me and reinforcing she should stay with mummy.
My worry is that either way, I will be creating a monster.
Either a monster who turns into a ratbag, and refuses to sit, but should be applauded for her curiosity and inquisitive nature. Or a “good girl” whose spirit has been broken, and who refuses to try new things.
As I have previously said, we try to give her as much free reign as possible in other situations, hoping that when we do need her to stay close, or sit still, that she can learn to respect it. However, honestly, who knows.
I had to laugh at myself as we packed everything up, including the baby, and stacked the pram in preparation to leave.
Long gone are those days of simply picking up my handbag, and moving on.
Again, I handed Kat the pram, and off we set for the toy section at Kmart.
Kat wanted to buy Little a birthday gift, and this seemed like the best place.
Wow wow wow!
I know in the previous week’s Blunder Weeks post I declared my dislike for shopping, but wait for it… I stand corrected.
I simply have not been shopping with someone who is sighted, and loves loves loves it as much as I do.
What a difference a set of working eyes makes, I thought as we wandered in, and I asked Kat to find something, only to have her point to the left, and say, there it is, not three feet from where I stood.
How had I not seen this the week before, I asked inwardly.
Oh my God, I said in wonder and amazement, as I felt along the stacks of merchandise to the pile of kids fold out foam lounges.
How easy was this?
As we browsed, I continued with my questioning, only to have the same result repeated.
Who knew there was so much stuff in such close proximity, I thought as we kept finding item after item, no mess, no fuss, and lighteningly fast.
This was brilliant!
Kat, will you take me shopping again, I asked hopefully.
I had forgotten how much fun this could be.
One of our best moments came when we stood in the shoe section, only for me to look over and note the camel coloured boots staring at me immediately to my left.
Oh my God, they were a version of what I had been hoping to find for years.
Kat, can you find me a size six, and a size seven, I asked without thinking.
Sure, she said, rummaging through the wracks, and producing the goods within thirty seconds.
That would have taken me at least ten minutes, and the way I go about it is a far cry from efficient.
I simply start pulling shoes off the wracks, and trying them on. Then if they are too big, I start putting the souls up against other souls until I find something smaller, and the whole process starts again until maybe, or maybe not, I find my size, or I get sick of it and walk away with nothing.
Usually I walk away with nothing.
As I was trying on my foot attire, Kat went and found Emily some pairs as well.
How delightful it was to be trying on shoes of all things, with my baby girl.
At first she was not sure about it, but when we got those sparkly red Dorothy shoes on her feet, she burst into little baby giggles.
We kept finding the cutest little footwear, which were adorable, but not in the sizing, we required.
However far from being disappointing, this made the game more fun.
I had not had a shopping experience like this in forever, and my happiness was palpable as we strolled animatedly through the store.
Next stop, women’s jeans.
My aspirations for a pair of designer skinny jeans, I had long since put on hold due to a lack of cash flow, and not quite knowing what size to buy due to my fluctuating weight. However, I was still desperate for something that at least fit.
Again, Kat was a superstar with her abilities to find me something decent, and in a size, which would work.
She went through the piles with an expert hand.
Nope, nope, nope, oh God no, ugly, really ugly, really really ugly, not bad but no, and finally a yes!
Thanks Kat, you rock.
How did she do it?
I kept marvelling at her speed and shopping agility.
Sometimes I cannot wrap my mind around how much easier it is to do things with vision.
This does not mean I think my life is hard, because to me, it is just life.
However, I really cannot begin to understand the other side.
So what is worse, to have had vision and then lost it, or not to have had it at all?
An unanswerable question if there ever were one.
As we stalked the back corner of the toy section, we came across an A-frame combination chalk board/white board combo, which Kat really liked.
I want to get that for Little, she said as we began to pick the packing tape from one of the unopened boxes.
I mean how is a girl supposed to buy something, sight unseen.
I wanted to touch the quality of wood, so that I too could get a feel for the product.
No sooner than we had prized the box open, and I was dipping my fingers into the contents, did a staff member materialise out of nowhere, ask us if we needed any help, and almost closed the carton on my hand.
Umm, no, we said in unison, as we stepped back in surprise.
Again, where was this chick the Wednesday previous, when baby girl and I had cruised the toys looking for inspiration, but coming up with nothing but cognitive colour overwhelm.
We asked her to show us a toy kitchen, but as there was none on display, she apparently could not.
However nor could she answer our questions about it, which is why we left with nothing.
I mean what good is a toy section if there is nothing on show.
All that shopping had made us hungry, so we decided to head back to our original café. Not so much because we enjoyed the food, but because we knew it to be a safe, yet stimulating place for Little.
As we sat down to eat, I knew I should have fished Little’s change mat back out from the bottom of the bag, but for whatever mad hatter reason, I did not.
Honestly, I was so worn out; I could not be assed finding it, even though I knew it was the right thing to do.
I was so worn out, that I forgot to be a good parent.
Which is when it happened…
Before I knew it, Emily had gotten her own lunch box out, somehow opened the lid, and was helping herself to squares of watermelon.
Obviously, there is nothing bad about an independent child, but give me a second, and it will become apparent
I was so proud of her independence, and her ability to self-serve, that I did not worry too much about the spillage of her frozen peas, three carrot sticks, and a rogue peace of cheese on to the carpet below us.
Good Lord, to my thinking, surely they must vacuumed this area every night, so it can’t be nearly as disgusting as my kitchen floor, I thought as I let my daughter quietly sit, picking her food from where it was strewn.
She was doing such a good job of trying to keep it neat and tidy, that I did not want to break her concentration.
Oh but I so should have.
I so should have put that change mat down.
What the hell was I thinking?
Excuse me, a man with an American accent said from behind me. Your baby is eating her food off the ground, he continued.
Yeah, I know, she is grose, I said casually. Kat echoing my sentiments as I pretended to look under the table.
However thinking about it now, clearly the apple does not fall far from the tree, right. After all, it is I who allows and encourages such a relaxed, and shall we call it experimental organic approach to food.
You know that is bad for her, right. He continued. That is not the good bacteria you find in the backyard you know, that is the bad bacteria that could really really make her sick, he went on. Obviously agitated at the relaxed nature of my remark.
It can be no worse than her licking the bottom of my shoe, I thought as I took his remarks on the chin.
I knew he was right, and was not about to defend myself.
Yes, I know, I said, and thank you for your concern, I responded dismissively.
He went to leave, and then turned around to tell me he was a health professional.
Again thank you sir, I said in my courteous voice, I know I should have put her mat down, it was my mistake.
He stormed off, obviously irritated at my poor parenting, as he should, I thought as I let the full force of my misstep sink in.
I had already been feeling guilty about it, but to be called out on it was embarrassing.
Not as embarrassing as I thought it might be, but embarrassing enough nonetheless.
After all, I had left myself open to that kind of criticism, and he was right. That floor probably could make her really really sick. So if it did, the burden of guilt would be solely on my shoulders.
The truth was, I knew better, and I did not act upon it.
Sure not looking after myself is one thing, but potentially putting Little in danger is quite another.
Obviously, I had not fully considered the consequences of my thoughtlessness.
Sweetie, I am so sorry for not taking better care of you.
Let us just say, the picnic mat went straight into the nappy bag when we got home.
I could tell the man’s words had affected Kat, even though they were not directed at her.
I felt bad about this, because it was not her fault Little was eating watermelon from the ground, it was mine.
I waited for my indignation to set in, but it did not.
The man was right, so how could I be anything but thankful for the reminder to take more care, be more vigilant, and look after the details of things.
I look at it this way; there is no way I will ever not put a mat of some sort down for her ever again when we are in public.
The one upside of this entire situation was, this man did not realise I could not see, therefore his only judgement was of me as a bad mama, not as an incapable, incompetent, totally off the mark, blind mama.
He was not using my disability as the problem, the way so many people do. Therefore, regardless of what he thought, it was kind of refreshing.
Sometimes a girl has to be willing to accept the judgement, and just move on.
Even though it was getting late, again we packed baby girl up along with all our baby paraphernalia, and our new shoes, and then headed for Target.
Yep, we bought shoes together.
A pair for mummy and a pair for Little.
Her first actually.
Somehow, we had it in our minds, that maybe they would have better toys, which is why we lugged ourselves in the opposite direction to where we had been.
The question mark over us simply kept nagging, and we could not resist.
But, ummm, no!
They had nothing.
And honestly, I do not know what the hell they have done with the lighting in there, but I could not see a thing.
So much so, that I ran into a shelf, bumped my head, and began to bleed.
Now that was embarrassing.
After wasting our time and energy, and walking out suitably unimpressed, we still had the drawing board we had seen earlier on our minds. Therefore, there was nothing else for it, but to head back to Kmart to purchase it for Emily.
Kat is one of those super clever, creative, and just a little bit crazy people who loves the same type of hands on educational, motor skill encouraging, brain stimulating, imaginative play provoking toys as I do, so when she said she really really wanted to get Little an artist’s easel, I was not going to argue with the girl.
Getting it home might be difficult, but it was doable. All we had to do was figure out how. And that was a detail best left for after we bought it, rather than before we laid the cash down.
I mean where would the fun be otherwise.
The box was so big we had to put it into a shopping trolley just to get it to the checkout. Therefore carrying it to the station was not going to be an option.
This meant, Kat took the trolley with our shopping, I took the pram, and off we set like a mini convoy.
We hit our first bump when the ascending travelator ramp thingy was not working. And although I could get the pram up, she could not coax the trolley to move because its wheels kept getting stuck in the surface groove the way they are supposed to, in order that the trolley stays stable when the mechanics of the modern day convenience are actually working.
I was just debating whether I should call her up to hold the pram, and I would run back down and fetch the trolley when I heard a lady helping her heave the beast toward us.
Already I was laughing, because this was going to be an interesting exercise in logistics management.
I mean it was not as though I could abandon baby girl, even for a second to go and lend a hand, so what else were we going to do.
Things went smoothly as we exited the mall, but when we got outside the sun was setting, and sitting at that awkward angle where it is right in a girl’s eyes, and she can see nothing but its shining glory. Which when you think about it is pretty spectacular, but not always convenient.
I am so blind, I thought as I pushed the pram toward the sound of the big roundy roundy fountain we can see from the café window.
What right do I have to be doing this, I questioned, as I squinted my eyes, contorted my face, and tried to soothe a crying Little. She too had the sun in her eyes, and was not happy about it.
I swung the pram around, and began to pull it behind me with one hand, and whip out my stick with the other.
I must be crazy, I laughed inwardly as I stumbled along, my cane getting caught in what seemed like every crack, my body half twisted, and the pram hitting the back of my legs with each step. But who cares, because we are doing it, I thought happily as we continued on our way.
Granted, not exactly graceful or easy, but we managed – sort of.
Meanwhile Kat was struggling with our wayward trolley, and the whole situation was becoming quite comical as we headed toward the train line.
Is this the right way, Kat asked, also squinting, and shading her eyes with her hand.
Ummm, are their cafes on either side of us, I asked, in a bid to get my baring’s.
So many times, I have wandered half way down the other fork in the road passed the waterfall fountain before realising I am in the wrong direction.
Yep, she said as I literally bumped into her.
We burst into laughter at the ludicrousness of our making.
Hey, we are creating a memory, I said to her as we tried to cross the road into the shade.
Kat must have got caught on something, because as I attempted to swing the pram frontward facing beneath the building’s shadow, we caused chaos on the footpath.
However, the pedestrians surrounding us did not find this nearly as funny as we did, which only served to have us laughing louder.
My knees were weak with joy as I tried to regain some composure.
People often assume that because I cannot see, I do not know they are watching me. However, that would have to be blindy myth number seventeen.
We know people, we know!
We just do not always care.
And when we do, we are made to feel as though it is our problem for being ogled at, stepped on, judged harshly, or in the way.
So what is a girl left with?
Kat was a complete crack up, which kept me in hysterics.
We still had not gotten this bad boy on the train, and as far as I was concerned, that was going to be the biggest challenge.
We dumped the trolley at the top of the station, I took the shopping, Kat took the pram, and down on to the platform we went.
The train was already standing there, and I was not sure how long we would have.
The best thing I could think to do, apart from have Kat come with us, even though she was headed in the opposite direction, was to get her to load the shopping on to the train as I wheeled the pram. This way, worst-case scenario she would get caught with us for one station, rather than us getting left on the platform while our shopping travelled alone.
As luck would have it, the lift almost lined up with the head of the train. Therefore we did not have to walk far to be positioned in an unmissable place.
We headed for the first set of doors on the first carriage, that way there could be no mistaking where Michael would meet us.
The front is always the front, the back is always the back, but sometimes the middle can be open to interpretation.
He had offered to come and pick us up, but I had declined because of the traffic, and the usual reason of by the time he got there, we could be home.
It turned out we had loads of time, and Kat actually left the platform before our train had departed.
How often does that happen, where I worry, fret, and strategize for something to be one way, and it ends up being so much easier than I dreamed possible.
It had not even occurred to me we would be lucky enough to be on a terminating train, thus have minutes instead of moments to embark.
If I had known that, I thought, I would not have stressed so much about how we would complete our shopping expedition.
The train vestibule was empty, which normally would be something enjoyable. However, the guard’s announcements were not very clear and I swear to God he said we were at our stop, four stops before we actually were.
I was afraid we would miss our station, and either have to backtrack, or wait for the next train because I had miscalculated the number of drop off points between where we were, and where we wanted to be.
I kept trying to peer out the window and guess our location, even though I knew this to be a fruitless exercise.
Emily was growing restless, and I had to keep reassuring her we would be home soon, and daddy was coming to meet us in a few minutes.
She handled really well, and I was so proud of her.
She had been such a good girl, and not complained once about being strapped into her pram for so long.
Well done honey.
As we pulled into our destination, I shifted our shopping as close to the door as I could get.
If Michael was not there, my plan was to hold the pram with one hand, my wrist through the safety loop, step off with one foot, gently pull the easel box out and lay it on the platform with my free hand, reach back, then wheel the pram off the train, backward the way I normally would if we were alone.
I figured being next to the driver would also have the added advantage, of at least the guard, wherever he was, would look in my direction before giving the signal for the train to move on.
However just like clockwork, Michael was on hand to take the pram, and we got off without a hitch.
It had been a big day, but as tired as baby girl was, she was so excited to be out of her pushchair, that we let her play in the lounge room for almost an hour before attempting to give her dinner and put her to bed.,
She fell asleep in Michael’s arms almost instantly when he gave her a bottle, and I do not think we heard from her until 1:30AM the following morning.
Thanks for a great time, Kat, let us do it again soon.
Tuesday came too quickly, and it was too dark as I crept out of the house.
The days are currently getting shorter, as we head into autumn then our winter. And I was shocked at how much darker it was as I walked across the bridge on my way to acupuncture.
It had only been ten days since I had previously walked it, but oh my goodness I found this so much harder.
Not physically as such, but mentally. Not for any other reason than my eyes ached, there were more people, and I did not trust my cane.
Sometimes it is like that. Canes are like shoes, they can take a little while to break in.
The one I happened to be using is longer than I normally like, but it is great for when a girl gets up a little speed, and that rover wheel glides right over the bumps and lumps no problem. What’s more, it is silent. Therefore, I do not have to listen to the usual incessant tap tap tapping.
Do not get me wrong, this too has its ambivalence, because if I cannot hear it, then it would stand to reason, neither can anyone else. Which then means they do not get out of my way.
However as with everything in life, there is always a degree of give and take, and sometimes the quiet coasting vibe is worth it.
It just was not the right thing for this particular morning is all.
Granted I did have a second cane in my bag, but for whatever reason, it did not occur to me to switch them over. Not even as I hit the central business district where normally I would trade my runner cane in for something shorter, noisier, and matching my outfit of course.
Yep, I am that blindy.
Given how taxing I found the bridge walk earlier that morning, I opted to catch the train all the way home.
I knew Michael and Emily were at the park with their friends, and I seriously contemplated hopping off and going to find them, but when I did, the sun was too bright, the shade to dark, and the traffic too noisy for me to handle.
Therefore, I headed home to enjoy the green outside my office window, and to get some work done.
I still had not finished the Blunder Weeks post due two days earlier, so really I needed to get my act into gear.
Because no, Tuesday is not the new Sunday.
I had about an hour to myself before Michael wheeled one very tired baby girl through the gate.
We said a quick hello, they told me about their morning, and then daddy put her to bed.
As usual, he took advantage of my being home, and went for a swim.
Emily and I spent the afternoon playing on the kitchen floor before daddy returned and took her down the park in the hopes they would run into her new friend Sebastian.
Wednesday one baby girl did not wake up until almost 8:00AM. Michael and I were shocked when we looked at the clock.
Sure, it had been a long night, but oh holy wow, this was amazing.
Daddy and Little went down stairs, leaving me to luxuriate in bed for the next hour.
It was a relief to ease into the day, and I found for once I had the energy to happily execute my plan.
I would go to Kmart, buy some more jeans, find a present for Emily’s friend Ronya, then come home and bake a cake in time for Auntie Colleen’s arrival just after lunch.
I would have happily taken baby girl with me, but Michael graciously offered to keep her with him.
After all, they had jobs to do mummy, so I was told in no uncertain terms.
Apparently hanging the washing out is not nearly as much fun without Emily watching.
Although these days she tends to do more eating of grass, escaping from her chair, and trying to get in the clamshell with her nappy on than actual supervision of the washing.
Things must be improving, because for the first time in ages, I was not upset with the weather for being a beautiful sunny day. Sure, it was bright, but it was not unbearable the way it has been.
I felt light and happy as I hopped on the train and travelled to my destination.
How lucky I was to have this time, I thought as I quietly walked along, minding my own business, and soaking up the autumn sky.
How internally liberating it was to feel gratitude instead of guilt.
It was not that I was necessarily relieved not to have sweetie pie with me, but rather I was cleanly and crisply appreciative of the relative ease and quickness I could achieve my task on my own.
I went to the Kmart with the good fitting room chick, who I knew would give me an honest opinion about my potential clothing purchases.
Although between you and me, I am still questioning the wisdom of those size eight white skinny jeans.
I know it is more comfortable for me to say I do not let my blindness affect me, but the reality is it does. Be it something as small as my food choices when I am at a restaurant or something as big as my career options.
For example, another reason I chose this particular Kmart was because it would not be as crowded, and there were not as many roads to cross to get there than if I had chosen the other. Not to mention, with this one, nor would I have to walk directly toward the sun, or negotiate as many obstacles, oblivious people, or multi-media advertisements along the way.
So sure, it may not have been as big, but definitely worth the possible lack of stock risk.
After all, this was the Kmart without the Little sized nickers I had been after the week before, even though in theory they should have been on the shelf.
I wandered what else they might not have.
I had hoped to purchase some shoes for Emily’s best friend Ronya, similar to the one’s Kat and I found for Little on Monday. However even with the shoe stock guy’s help, I could not find anything I was happy with. However, I did not want the man to feel defeated, so I took the options he found for me to the checkout before discretely dumping said goods on the counter, and telling the girl I had changed my mind.
After all, I did not want to come across as ungrateful for the help.
Customer service is so rare in that joint, that I wanted to encourage said feel good behaviour.
Even though the gentleman in question went out of his way, I could tell it too gave him a sense of job satisfaction. So a win win for both of us. And isn’t that an integral part of the dance?
I raced home to find one cheeky baby girl talking to herself in her cot.
That is not sleeping, I said as I poked my head around the door.
She gave me the biggest smile, as I walked in to pick her up.
I have to be careful how I go about that, because she gets so excited, that if I lift her up directly, without extending my arms as far as I can from my body as I raise her, then she bangs her running legs on the cot bars.
Little, you give the best cuddles.
She helped me bake a square chocolate cake by sitting on the floor, eating onionskin, pulling all the spices out of the cupboard, rearranging the cake baking drawer again, and watching intently as I plopped the eggs into the mixing bowl from a great height. She also did some stirring of the mix, played with magnets, closed the kitchen door on us then cried, and ate half a banana in one bight. Or at least I think she ate it, but who really knows. Maybe it is under the fridge and I have not noticed.
We were just having proper lunch, and discussing which one of Auntie Colleen’s pretty outfits we would put on baby girl when we heard the gate.
Emily loves the gate, and depending on her mood, either waits expectantly for the visitor to walk in before she flashes a smile, or crawls as fast as she can to greet them.
We have such a little person on our hands now.
Where oh where has my baby gone?
As usual, it was lovely to catch up with Colleen, and Emily had a lovely time crawling from one lounge to another as we caught up.
Afterward Michael quickly ducked out for a swim while Emily had her nap and Lord knows how I frittered away my afternoon.
Given Colleen did not try any of our freshly baked cake, I put it in the freezer, and let it become part of Little’s who knows what this will be but I will think of something first birthday cake.
I had planned on sending Michael to the library for the retro inspired Women’s Weekly Cake Decorating classic, but I do not think the idea travelled from my brain to my mouth.
As usual, Michael and Emily spent the latter part of their evening down the park, and only returned when she was all worn out.
Thursday was an early start due to mummy’s acupuncture appointment. Oh boy did I not want to get out of bed. However given baby girl was up for a bottle at 4:39AM and I was due to rise at 5:00AM it was nice to lay with Michael for ten minutes and have a coherent whispered conversation about nothing in particular the way we used to when Emily was just a hope.
Then there was the spectacular sunrise in our part of the world – A bright-burnt orange fiery sky.
Followed by the mind blowingly good cup of coffee from the blue shop, which I swear to God almost, gave me an orgasm over the first sublime sip.
Totally, worth the extra 30c I had to pay because I was using my card instead of cash.
Meanwhile daddy and Emily chose grocery shopping over going to the park with their friends. Michael was on a mission, and besides, we needed bananas.
Again, it was another quiet day at work, which worries me.
I have not been doing my abundance meditation lately, and clearly, I need to get back into that shit, because it is the only thing, which seems to soothe my fretful mind.
Sure, I can see things slowly transforming, as I surround myself with the most amazing people, but oh, my God it cannot come soon enough.
Apparently, there were too many things to do, such as pots to bang, spices to remove from the wrack, toys to pull apart, pools to climb in with all one’s clothes while daddy hung out the washing, and cuddles to give that baby girl could not possibly sleep. This meant when they picked me up on Thursday afternoon although Little was happy enough, she was also delirious.
There was nothing else for it, but for her to sit on the kitchen floor, while mummy baked yet another square chocolate cake in preparation for the master peace that would eventually become Little’s first birthday cake.
Finally, finally, we could not take it anymore, and Michael went on a pilgrimage to Bunnings in search of some child locks for the kitchen cupboards.
Why buy a doorjamb when a g-clamp will do the job, he said as he fastened one to the laundry door.
How sweetie pie has not slammed her fingers yet, we have no idea.
Her obsession with opening and closing doors, drawers, lids, and containers of any kind continues. Along with undoing daddy’s shoe laces, climbing up and down off the lounge, mummy’s bed, the side table, back step, and in and out of her clamshell.
However, her favouritist new game is to chase the big purple ball her and daddy found in the park several days earlier.
It is very smooth and slippery, which means it is difficult to pick up for tiny fingers, which is why Kat and I bought the second one with all the bumps over it earlier in the week.
We thought she would go down really well, as she could barely eat her dinner due to being so tired, but the poor cutie cute cute cute was restless.
6:13AM on Friday our little alarm went off, happily chatting to herself in her cot for a good fifteen minutes as is her new custom before calling out for daddy to come and get her.
I tried to get up, but could not face it. I just needed that extra half hour. However what I would not have done for the opportunity to once again stay in bed, sip my coffee, and hang out on social media the way I had forty-eight hours earlier.
We really need a passive income.
With each passing day, I can feel myself slipping further and further away from my current profession, but toward what I do not know.
Again, I can feel the possibilities opening up like a flower in bloom, but I cannot quite touch, taste, smell, or articulate them.
By 8:04AM, we were out the door, daddy and Emily dropping mummy at the station so I could go to work, before they headed up the park to play with their friends.
I am so happy they get to do that, and we have such down to earth people around us.
You are great company guys, and I love hearing about all the funny little moments and happenings when I return home.
As usual, Emily had the most most most fun at the good park, and did so much playing that she needed a two-hour nap to recover. Only to go back and do it all again in the afternoon.
My day started out quietly, but thankfully got busier as time went on.
I still managed to leave early though, and meet my fabulous family down the park near our house where they had been waiting for me.
It seems like an age since we have gone to the park together, as was our custom a few months ago.
Unfortunately the sun has been too hot, and too high in the sky for us to meet there of an afternoon. However now daylight saving is drawing to a close, our park playing possibilities are re-presenting themselves.
When I arrived, a very happy baby greeted me half way across the woodchips.
I had not been in the park with her for so long, that it came as quite a shock when she crawled from one end to the other, chasing a cheeky magpie who kept hoppity hop hopping a few steps away, just as she would get close.
Bird bird bird bird bird bird bird she kept repeating with every cutie cute cute cute bear crawl step.
Emily loves birdies, so this was an exciting turn of events.
I was amazed at how she would pick up a leaf, a stick, or even some woodchips and hold them up to show us.
She will put things in my hand if I squat down to her level and ask her to show me, but it is not an automatic jesture for either of us yet. I am still trying to wrap my head around having an almost toddler.
Someone who independently interacts with their environment.
Someone who can almost walk.
Someone with their own thoughts, feelings, and personality.
Someone who is separate from me.
Now that is something I have no idea what to do with.
I feel as though I have only just gotten my head around being a mummy with a baby. But a toddler?
Surely, that is someone else.
We have been one for so long, so this latest realisation on my part is rather fragmenting.
What do you mean she is all the way over there, and I am here, I find myself asking the universe. How can that be?
I have gotten used to having her within arm’s reach, and this, this is too much.
I find myself wanting to have her positioned closer on some level. However just as equally if not more weightily, I am so proud of her progress.
What are we doing with a little girl at the fence, I ask Michael in disbelief at just how big and independent she suddenly looked.
We certainly do not have a baby any more, He laughed.
When I confessed my feelings of separation anxiety to my husband as we sat on the lounge later that evening, he just squeezed my hand in that way of his, and shook his head in disbelief.
By no means am I jealous of their relationship, but I do wonder if I am doing enough with, and for her.
In other words, does she like me?
Yesterday morning Michael got up with a bright eyed bushy tailed cutie cute cute cute, which left me to sleep in.
Again, I could have stayed there all day.
I heard them leave on an adventure, but I could not rouse myself to the surface of things despite how stupid my dreams were becoming.
Oh how nice it would be to sleep peacefully, and have my brain quieten down enough for my dreams to be sweet the way Michael wishes for me every night before we go to bed.
However, it is almost easier to stay, awake than try to sort through the turmoil, which lay beneath my consciousness. Except it is not.
I read an article, this week, which suggested parents never sleep properly, again, because by the time they are able, their physiology has altered in such a way, that it is irreversible.
When I told Michael this, he said he was too tired to care.
He really needs a rest, and I desperately wish we were financially stable enough that I could give him one.
How lovely it would be to send him away for the weekend, or take Little with me somewhere in order for him to get some sleep.
I cannot imagine spending a night without her regardless of my weariness.
As usual, he has been taking most of the night shift, apart from the occasional cuddle where only mummy will do.
Honey, you are a star.
I was just finding my feet when they came back with a pram full of shopping.
Apparently, we had run out of coffee.
And everybody knows we cannot have that.
We can never have that.
Our morning was spent pottering around. Michael downstairs, Emily with her toys, and me wasting time on social media.
I should have been doing a workout, but again this week I have been slack with that.
Oh but do not worry, I am paying the price in the form of some serious body loathing issues, the likes of which I have not experienced in years.
After Little’s nap, we headed out to her friend Ronya’s first birthday party.
Ronya was born a week before Little, and they are good friends. Their birthing stories are remarkably similar, but their personalities are definitely different.
It was being held in a local community hall, and the place was decorated beautifully.
There were balloons, music, plenty of amazing food, and of course, all our friends were there.
It had been ages since I caught up with the other mothers, and it was fantastic to see them all again.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy there company.
Ladies, you are spectacular.
Emily is not the most social of children, but nor is she clingy either. She tended to wander around, do her own thing, and play with the bigger kids.
The funniest moment had to be when a balloon popped in her hands, and she did not flinch.
We had been wondering how she would react when that eventually happened, and were almost dreading the possibility.
I am so glad it is over with.
Ronya had the most amazing cake, and I had to laugh, because I knew there was no way Emily’s would turn out looking anywhere near as polished or professional.
As it was, I had only discovered the supposed wonders of fondant two days earlier, and had not yet tried it for myself.
I had never considered wedding cake icing as a potential source of creativity in my arsenal.
When I was a girl, I had a friend whose mum was much older than the other parents were, and who decorated wedding cakes for a living.
Therefore, I had always associated the idea of that kind of icing with the elderly.
The poetic justice of it all being, I will be that mama.
Well maybe not the mama who ices cakes for a living, I mean we all know I suck at that, but I will be the older mama.
It was so hot when we returned home, that Emily and I headed straight for the clamshell while daddy went for a swim and a nappy run.
Oh dear, but as we sat in the kitchen the way we often do, disaster struck.
Emily gave the signal that she needed to do a pooh, so as always I asked her if she wanted me to get the potty.
Her version of yes, a smile, and a quick excited bob up and down, affirmed it, so I raced into the laundry and brought it out for her.
As Michael suggested, we now only ever use it in the kitchen, because that is where the hard floors are, and let us be practical about this, they are much easier to clean than our once beige carpet.
Anyway, baby girl did her business, and oh boy did it smell.
Holy moly Little, what have you been eating, I said as she stood up and peered back at her creation.
I am not sure how much she understands, because sometimes she will sit on the potty, do nothing, then stand up to see if anything has magically appeared.
The whole thing happened very quickly, and I was not sure if she had finished, but after several more attempts to get her to sit back down, and her not having a bar of it, I gave up.
rather than put the potty up high where she could not reach it so I could wipe her bottom and put some nickers or a nappy back on her, for some reason I opted to go empty the potty in the bathroom instead.
I had planned to be quick, but that particular present was not going anywhere without a fight, which is why Little followed to see where I had gone.
I heard her cry, but thought nothing of it, as I reassured her I was close, and scooped her up on my way back through the lounge room to the kitchen in order to sort her out.
Still I could smell pooh, but could not figure out where it was coming from.
In the meantime, I put a nappy back on her, and continued to go back and forth through the lounge for one reason or another as we played.
The smell of pooh lingered strongly, but no matter how hard I sniffed, I could not isolate where the source was coming from.
Eventually I simply assumed it was just a hang over from that little beauty she presented me with earlier.
I had felt her top to toe, and leant in close and sniffed her skin, thinking maybe she had some how gotten it on her hands.
However there was nothing to be found on her body.
It would have been about the sixth time I walked the area when I felt something disgustingly sloppy and wet under the tip of my toes.
Immediately I knew what it was, and my heart sank.
Oh God, this was a repeat of last week’s pooh explosion.
Michael was going to kill us, I thought as I hopped to the bathroom and cleaned myself up.
As I carefully padded back through to survey the damage, it kept getting worse and more widespread.
Hmmm, so how to keep Little occupied, I wondered frantically as I heard her slapping through the kitchen.
Last week I had used food, but we had just finished a long luxurious high/low tea, and surely, nothing else would fit in her tummy.
Therefore I grabbed the play pen we had to have but have used only once, snapped it together, put it where she could see me, literally threw some toys in with her, and proceeded to dab at the mess with a couple of wet cloth nappies, of which we also had to have, but have only ever used once.
Oh my goodness it was absolutely everywhere.
Just when I thought I had finished, I would find some more.
How had none of this ended up on her body, I wondered as I continued to feel around the floor in search of the smelly culprit.
I rang my husband, and was surprised when he picked up the phone.
He sounded so happy, as he had just found a working lawn mower on a clean up, and was all excited about bringing it home and doing our lawn.
Ummm, Emily and I have had an accident, I said.
His tone immediately dropped, as he knew what I was talking about.
Oh no, he said in response. Just put the playpen around it, and I will fix it when I get home.
In other words, do not make a bigger mess.
Umm, I have tried to clean it up, I said.
Ok, so just leave it for me, he continued.
After I got off the phone, I was moving my bucket of hot soapy water, and came across the biggest pile of pooh yet.
But what surprised me more is the item sitting in the middle of it.
I had not seen my phone all afternoon, but apparently Little certainly had.
There it was pride of place on the top of her business.
Well, at least I found my phone, I thought as I picked it up, and began to wipe it off.
I am so buying a waterproof case for that thing, I have since decided.
I could not help but laugh at the situation.
Poor daddy came home and made everything better.
Thank you honey.
Again, Emily was too tired and agitated to take her dinner from me, so we skipped it and went straight for the bottle and bed.
As with This morning, it was my turn to get up with madam butterfly bottom.
At least the sun had risen, I thought as I heard her calling. Therefore, it had to be closer to 6:30AM than 5:30AM, and that was surely a good thing.
She had only woken up for a bottle once last night, and a quick cuddle, which meant we all, got a good night sleep.
Mama is still a word she uses periodically, and although we know she knows it is for me, it is not always used as such.
I had a birthday cake to fashion, so getting up and getting our day started was not a chore.
I had been looking forward to it all week.
My plan had been to spend our Sunday in the kitchen, creating beautiful food for Littles little girl party we are having tomorrow.
Yes well, umm, the best-laid intent, led us down the garden path.
Little has been off her food lately, although if you asked Michael he would beg to differ.
However when she is with me, our sweetie pie is not eating as much. Be it the things she feeds herself, or the things we feed to her. Especially the latter.
At first, I thought it might have been her teeth, but now I wonder if we are in the beginnings of the fussy period.
Good God I hope not.
Which is why this morning when she refused vegetables, chicken, and porridge, we settled for a banana, followed by half a slice of vegemite toast, which she mainly used to paint mummy’s arm with before crawling away.
Michael had offered to help with Emily’s cake, but what I thought he meant was that he would look after her while I iced it.
In my head, it was all going to go so smoothly.
Funny how the universe had other ideas.
I had bought some fondant on Friday, however being new to this caper; I did not know how much we would need, or how far it would stretch.
For days, I had been watching You Tube videos on how to work with fondant, but none of them mentioned how far any set portion would go.
To my mind wedding icing was going to be the answer to my icing prayers.
If as they said it was like plasticine, then what could possibly go wrong?
How had I not discovered this stuff before?
Imagine how much neater my cupcakes would look, if all I had to do was roll this stuff out, cut a circle, and squash it on.
Surely doing a big cake would be the same technique on a grander scale?
Why were all the Facebook mummies telling me it was going to be difficult?
I pulled the two square cakes from the freezer, as our almost toddler pulled my pants down around my ankles.
That is the problem with wearing the pyjama pants I wore when I was pregnant, they do not quite fit as they once did.
As it was, these were my second pair for the day.
Breakfast had been brutal.
I had envisioned making my fail safe chocolate mousse, and layering it between each cake in order to make it a little bit fancy, a little bit higher, and give it a little more shape.
However, my fail-safe mousse failed.
The only thing I can think which I did differently than what I usually do is I used a dessert fork to stir the egg yolks into the melted chocolate instead of a teaspoon.
Surely, that cannot have been it, could it?
Either way, the end result was a lumpy clumpy mess, of which I had to save by sieving and whipping into the makings for ice cream, and use as a kind of glue between the cakes.
So yes, this was a setback, but nothing to get my nickers in a knot over, right.
I tried to cut the top layer off each cake in order to make two flat surfaces, which would match up.
Tried being the operative word here.
I am hopeless at puzzles, paper mashie, cutting cheese straight, drawing, painting, and writing my name neatly.
Anything crafty actually.
Therefore, it is no surprise my cake did not look as I had envisioned.
They were certainly flatter than when I had started, I justified after I got sick of scraping crumbs with my bread knife.
Sure it was a dodgy job, but who would know?
After all, every cake needs a story, and this was going to be no exception.
Carefully carefully, I placed one cake on top of the other, and lined them up perfectly, or so I thought.
I was just filling in the gaps with the crumbly cake parts my not so straight cutting had created between the cake layers when Michael stumbled into the kitchen in search of coffee.
He took one look at my cake, and pretty much said it looked terrible.
The edges didn’t line up there were gaps, and what kind of square did I think I were making?
Over coffee, we discussed various options, including making a whole new cake, crumbling this one up and double baking it, then turning it into something else entirely, before we settled on him trimming the edges to make a square and see what came of things.
Again, this was not an impossible obstacle, it just needed some rethinking.
He worked away for a while before presenting me with a beautiful square which looked more like a present than I had dared hope was possible out of the café meg kitchen.
Communication is not my thing, especially when it comes to having to explain cookery strategies.
And although I had been researching Fondant, I had to remember that my handsome talented cake-cutting husband had not.
He taped some baking paper together, thus making me a temporary rolling mat, and I got to work.
Who knew that 250 grams of Fondant would barely be enough to cover the top of our already shrunken cake.
I rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled until the mixture was as thin as I could get it.
Work quickly the package had said. Therefore work quickly I did.
Michael had already prepped my cake by painting it with the failed mousse mixture I had used in the middle of the cake, ready for the fondant to adhere.
Honey, can you see if you can make this any bigger, I asked as I handed him the rolling pin.
My kitten arms could only do so much.
He rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled, but did not get too much further than I had.
This was proving to be an experiment in progress, and we had to think fast.
We opted for cutting the dough into a square shape before stretching it over the cake like a blanket.
Our theory being, that even though we knew it would not cover the sides, at least it would give us something neat to work with.
The problem was, fondant changes shape when you lay it across a cake surface, as it should, but this was our first time, so how were we to know?
I desperately wanted to help, and was feeling bad about all the time I was wasting by insisting we work with this product instead of frosting our cake in the usual slap dash way.
However, I had a dream of creating a cake, which looked like a gift, all, set with a pretty pink bow, dotty spotty paper, and even a pretty gift tag, which said happy birthday Little on the front.
I know, it sounds sweet.
The next problem we faced was that we were out of fondant.
Michael gallantly offered to go up to the supermarket and buy some more, even though this was going to take yet more of his time that he had intended to spend swimming with his best mate.
He raced up the shop, while I tried once again, to put Little down for a nap but with no luck.
She was not having a bar of it; even though it was obvious, she needed to sleep.
Why do almost toddlers do that?
He returned with a better brand of rollable icing than I had bought, which left me wishing we had followed his idea of not putting our small square of fondant on the cake, but waiting to see if we could get something bigger.
However, it was too late to go back now.
I had thought it would be easy to slap a couple of strips on the sides and call it done, but my perfectionist husband, rolled, measured, and cut, the product to fit our cake perfectly.
This made me feel left out. Because I was the one who wanted to decorate the cake, but there was nothing for me to do but look after Little.
I felt jealous, stressed, and helpless all at once.
What kind of mama was I, who could not decorate a cake.
Wasn’t this my rite of passage?
Wasn’t this what I was supposed to be doing?
Slowly but surely the cake came together, and with every step, every stop, and every start, we would stop and discuss the next option.
Six hours later, yes count them, we ended up with a cardboard box cake that looks like it has been decorated with coloured markers.
Not a three dimensional ribbon in sight.
I was so frustrated, because we could have achieved the same result in less than fifteen minutes if I had chosen the path of least resistance and reached for the piping bag.
However, I know I should be thankful, because how many women wish their husbands would get more involved with the details of things.
Sure, it may not be what I was hoping for, but better luck next time.
However when all is said and done, the cake is beautiful.
And the most beautiful part about it is that we made it as a team.
I made the inside, Michael made the outside, and Little inspired us to do so.
We knew it would not be perfect like in the cake shop, but what I did not know, but as usual, my husband did, was that it is perfectly beautifully truly madly deeply us.
It was mid-afternoon before Michael left the house to go for a swim, and Little and I were left to our own devices.
As tired as she was, we played happily enough with her toys.
I tried to get her into the clamshell pool, but she was not particularly interested in staying there for too long.
She preferred the part where I wrapped her up in a big fluffy towel and gave her cuddle to anything.
I let her wander naked around the yard for a while, before distracting her by ringing grandma.
Again, I tried to feed her dinner, but she wanted to do it herself.
Therefore I gave her some of daddy’s spiced gingery meatballs, a bowl of frozen peas, some cucumber, a slice of tomato, half a banana, and two pepper crackers, then let her loose.
I had given her two extra bottles throughout the day to ensure she was keeping up her nourishment, as I did not think the lone mandarin she swallowed at lunchtime was enough.
Here is hoping she sleeps well tonight. After all, we have a fun day ahead.
Please do not rain, please do not rain, please do not rain…