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From Birthday Hugs To Ladybugs

Week 53

It is 2:00PM on Sunday afternoon as I begin to write.

I am sitting cross-legged on my bed with a cup of tea and a tiny French pastry for sustenance. For some inexplicable reason they are not my best work. Probably because I made them with a tinge of should, rather than for the sheer joy of it.

Emily is fast asleep in her cot. Her little belly poking out from between her red pants and white top.

I thought it best to take her bright orange sparkly tutu off.

This morning was her big girl birthday party with the ladybug cake for the family.

All hail oh Master of Fondant.

Michael did an amazing job of turning my stainless steel mixing bowl shaped cakes into something spectacular.

As usual, he has made the most of his time, and snuck off for a swim.

I cannot begrudge him the afternoon – he did much of the work for the party, and has been up the last few nights with a not so well baby girl.

A swim will revive his body, mind, and spirit. While a good long blog, post will revive mine.

Again, this week I feel as though I am using a crayon with my non-dominant hand to write. The words feel bulky, cumbersome, and childish.

I know practice makes poignancy, but I do not seem to have the time – or the time management, if we are going to get picky about it.

Moments seem to slip through my fingers like sand grains. Beautiful, crystallised, unique treasures, which no matter how hard I try, I will never get exactly the same combination again, regardless of how many hand fulls I pick up in a bid to recreate the exact sequence of granules I had previously.

Do I write, or do I exercise. And if we break it down even further, if I exercise, do I hoop, yoga, or seven minute hard-core it. And if I write, do I spend time on slogging through bullshit job application criteria, or putting together sales copy and conditions for the website. I mean neither is going to make me any money in the immediate future, as in by 3:00PM this afternoon, but which is the less risky? Next on the list is, Do I play with baby girl, or find a hobby that will take me away from her. Do I clean the house, or simply leave the house.

I am stuck in the no man’s land of indecision.

Too bad time does not stop while I figure this all out

My thoughts are choppy like a restless sea on a stormy day. They abruptly rise, break, foam, and fall with little regard for the aesthetics around them. Crash bang swoosh… before they are sucked back under the surface of my consciousness, and out to an unknown destination far from the shoreline of sensibility.

This is not to say I do not feel calm, relieved, and a sense of accomplishment about the events of Her Royal Cuteness’s birthday week, for that side of things has been wonderful.

It is the darker, seedier side of my world, which has me wary.

I am angry about something.

My use of language is what gives it away.

I use harsh words with heavy dull blades designed to bruise not maim.

I wonder what I need to do in order to work this frustration out of my being.

Monday began with a big birthday bash.

By 8:50AM, we were in the good park, waiting for Emily’s friends to arrive.

I have a history of arranging parties, and absolutely nobody showing up. Therefore, when it got to 9:15AM, and nobody had come, I began to get a little nervous.

Not that I would have minded. After all, the important people were there. Mummy, daddy, and Little.

We were having the best time; Emily climbing up the equipment, and showing me all the things her and daddy usually do on their own.

He was not joking when he said that she launches herself off the top of the castle without missing a beat.

Her faith in that we will catch her fall is not even a question.

She does not even stop to look.

Sure enough, of course one of us is there every time.

It was actually a blessing that we were the only ones at the park to begin with, because it allowed me time to discretely orientate myself around the equipment, and learn what was where without risking stepping on tiny fingers or toes.

So thanks everyone for working off toddler time, it really helped a blind mama out.

Somewhere around the 9:30AM mark first one person, then another began to wander into the playground.

Each pram baring a baby, a bottle of water, and a birthday gift for sweetie pie.

We were so surprised, as we had not expected anything.

The organisation of our gathering had been as casual and word of mouth as we could make it, and as far as we were concerned, it was all about the play.

For weeks, Michael has come home and told me about what fun all our friends have had at the good park, so I was really looking forward to experiencing the joy. And Emily’s birthday was the perfect reason to get involved.

As it was, Michael had organised the gathering to fit around most people’s schedule, which was fine, because in our corner of baby land, the more the merrier. Which is why we have not one, but eight tiny chairs for tiny people to sit on, even though we only have one child.

I like the idea of our house being the place where the kids come.

Not just because I see it as a compliment to the warmth and welcoming atmosphere, we hope to provide. But on a practical level, sometimes it is difficult for me to get places, but if people come to us, then I can spend more time enjoying the interaction, rather than strategizing about the logistics of it.

We had brought fruit for the kids, and made a cake for the adults, but as far as presents went, we had not given it a thought.

Thank you everyone. We really do not know what to say.

All the usual gang was there, and as luck would have it, my friend Vanessa who I used to work with when I had a proper big girl job where I got to wear tall heels, pretty corporate dresses, drive my boss crazy with my determination, intelligence, rogue attitude and easy going but effective methodology. not to mention  create actual change in the world – even if it was my tiny corner of the academic landscape, was in Sydney for the week, therefore she and her family of three put in a cameo appearance.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy her clever company. And could have spent the entire day talking with her. Be it about our baby’s, or anything else, which came to mind.

There is something comforting about knowing someone before being a parent, and then becoming parents together.

It is as though although life has moved forward, and we have gone our separate ways, we are still in step on a fundamental level.

By this I mean, I know that my attention being primarily focused on one cutie cute cute cute, will not bore or offend her, because she to, is in the thick of the baby land fog.

Needless to say, it was lovely to catch up girl.

By 12:00PM we had worn all the babies out, happy birthday had been sung, the box cake had been cut, and everybody was back home.

Emily slept for a couple of hours, which was brilliant, as it allowed me to work on writing Emily’s birth story.

For months, I had been dabbling with it, but as we slid to the magic one-year mark, I felt like it needed to be down on paper in greater detail.

Putting it up made me feel vulnerable, and even now, I do not know how I feel about it Although of course there is more I wish to add.

As usual, Michael went for a swim, while Emily and I played quietly at home.

It had been a big morning, and as social as madam butterfly bottom is, she to needs her down time.

Nothing quite like a long lunch to keep a lady occupied.

Still she was on her I can do it myself streak, which meant I kept having to find her things she could hold herself.

Hello frozen peas, is it possible to have too many of you?

Daddy had made some pretty spicy meatballs the day before, just the right size for tiny fingers to hold, as someone happens to crawl around the kitchen and finger paint on the cupboards.

So much for my baby girl who used to sit in her chair and eat.

Now it is all about snacking on the move.

We try and contain her to the ecosystem of the kitchen floor, but sometimes it is not easy.

Anyway, I gave her some of his meatballs, thinking if we introduced some new flavours now, then maybe she would not reject the idea of spices later down the track.

Michael had said we could not be afraid of giving her a little heat; however, I had made the mistake of handing her one, before I popped one into my own mouth.

Umm, oops!

Sometimes she won’t eat something until she sees me do it first, yet my instinct is always to nourish her before myself. Which is why I find it so confronting when Michael eats something I have earmarked especially for baby girl. I wonder how he can possibly do it.

I am fairly certain it is because his relationship to food and poverty is different to mine.

He has never wondered where the next meal is coming from, let alone the next paycheck, or where he will sleep that night. Whereas I have worried about all these things, thus am desperately afraid of them being part of my reality again.

I try not to project them outward, but it seems the more I attempt to contain them, the more wild and unruly they become.

And here I wonder why we have nothing…

Ummm, it is not exactly rocket science, is it.

My husband is a born storyteller Be it through his music, his writing, his terrible jokes, or his cooking.

We both love narrative, which is probably why we get along so well.

These particular meatballs were like a three part harmony. First, there was the gentle smokiness of the paprika, followed by a hot hint of chilli, and then a kick ass kiss of ginger, which lingered long after the delicious morsel, had been eaten.

Emily was hilarious, because as the song of taste progressed, and the ginger began its monologue, Emily got louder and louder with her proclamations of yum yum yum.

I thought she would not like it, but she kept going back for more.

Well, that is one trinity of flavours covered, I thought as I offered her another meatball.

Although the cutie cute cute cute is not walking yet, she is mighty quick on all fours.

I had forgotten the downstairs gate was open for all to entre. By all, of course I meant me.

However before I knew it, Miss climby legs was almost to the top of the stairs. However in a strange twist, which I still have not been able to work out, her nappy was alone at the third step.

Now I understand that having a bare bottom gives a baby girl more speed and agility, but how did she remove it in the first place?

Up into mummy’s room she went, and proceeded to rearrange the nappy change table.

Why she needed to suck the edge of each nappy before hurling it behind her, I will never know. However apparently it helped.

I am worried we are not giving her enough oral stimulation, because she keeps bighting me.

It is lovely to have an outdoor kid.

Every time we open the back doors on to the garden, she is straight out into the sunlight.

Her and daddy will water the plants, sweep the paths, and sometimes, but only sometimes, daddy will even mow the grass.

He had found a hand mower in a clean up a few days before, however our green green lawn was too long. Therefore, he spent the bulk of the afternoon with the whipper snipper, trying to tidy it up, and remove the weeds, which insist on growing through the cracks in the pavement.

Thanks honey, the yard looks much better.

Little is not afraid of loud noises at all. Be it the vacuum, the blender, or any sort of power tool. Therefore, when daddy was doing the gardening, she would insist on leaning against the screen door and watching him.

Then I am fairly certain they went for a quick trip to the park to make sure she was nice and dirty for her bath.

For somebody who has love love loved their clamshell pool all through the summer, they are not very keen on staying in the tub too long.

Even getting her to sit down in there now is proving difficult.

I wonder why.

Do all kids not like their baths at one point or another?

Up until a week or so ago, she would play there happily, as long as we wanted to keep her in. Whereas now we have barely put her in, she refuses to sit, and is trying to climb out before we have had time to wash her face.

My next question is should we start using some sort of soap product on her now?

For the last year, we have only washed her in water, in order that the natural oils in her skin develop, and do the work.

Getting her to bed is sometimes like trying to calm a Mexican jumping bean.

She will move her legs, her arms, crawl around her cot, fidget, and fuss, roll over, roll back, move her legs some more…

On Monday, I think it took us forty minutes.

Admittedly, she had a big day, so I was prepared for our cuddle and a chat. However, something is different about her manner and I cannot quite put my finger on it.

Perhaps it is that she is growing into more of a little girl than a baby.

Three bottles three bottles three bottles.

Three bottles on the bed stand at night; one was finished, and out went the light…

I am still worried our cutie cute cute cute is not eating enough during the day, which is why we still give her milk at night.

Every time I talk to Michael about it because I am frustrated, he gently reminds me she is still a baby and this will change soon enough.

He is correct of course, and she is still growing at twelve to the dozen. In fact, by the time, she is sixteen or so months, and those similar but not the same as puberty hormones kick in, her brain will be four times the size it was when she was born.

This is about the time when speech should start to develop – or at least that is what I have read. Which is why in my more sane moments, where I have a degree of perspective, I am happy for her to keep sucking down that synthetic nutrient rich formula in the dark.

The question is where does my frustration come from. Is it really about her waking up during the night, or the judgement I feel from other parents because we have not weened her off.

Insert annoying elevator music here.

Thanks for getting up to her honey.

Tuesday morning started with breakfast in the usual place.

We let daddy sleep in.

I was due for coffee at 10:00AM; however, I feel bad about organising Emily and me to go out when Michael is catching some extra zees. Because even though he says it is fine, it is still nearby noise and movement.

As with any outing these days, I was debating whether to take the pram, or simply carry baby girl on my hip.

Back and forth all morning I went Pram, carrier, pram, carrier, pram carrier pram… No carrier. Or maybe pram.

Ring to push back coffee – pram or carrier.

Kiss Michael good morning – pram or carrier.

Have a shower – carrier or pram.

Dress Emily in designer clothes because we are going to a snazzy shopping centre – pram or carrier…

Strategize about transport, train barriers, lifts, how far it is to walk, the glare factor the friend factor, and the husband factor – pram or carrier.

Pack the nappy bag – pram or carrier.

It was not until we were literally walking out the door I decided on the pram.

Michael took us to the station, and put us on the train the way he often does when his girls are going on an adventure.

I thought I had made it clear that we would be ok. I had taken into account the possibility of rain, and was prepared to deal with the consequences. In fact, this is what had pushed me over the pram taking edge.

At least if it rained, the pram was easier to cover than if I were to try and keep baby girl dry on my hip.

After all, it was not as if I could hold her with one hand, a cane in the other, and an umbrella if we needed it. Therefore, I would forgo the physical contact with our daughter, the far too ingrained identity and symbol of safety of my cane, and the convenience of nothing but us to deal with for the option of keeping her dry if need be.

Yeah, I too had to wonder when did my cane become such an iconic symbol.

We were headed to the place where the bigger Kmart is situated. Which meant given the inconsistent customer service at this particular train station, the multi-media advertisements they refuse to silence, the demographic of the area, the endless dark grey of the architecture,footpaths,poles, benches, and café chairs,  as well as a myriad of other factors, I knew this could be a disaster.

As usual, I was prepared to turn around and high tail it out of there at any point.

The moment we were on the train, my somewhat serious companion made friends with the lady beside us.

We chatted the whole way to our destination.

I was surprised when she offered to wheel the pram off the train for me, but she seemed nice enough, so why not, I thought.

However, I was even more surprised when she immediately hopped back on the train after making sure we were safely parked on the platform.

I had assumed she was getting off with us, otherwise why would she have suggested helping a blind mama out.

Thanks for making our life that little bit easier lady in the white shirt and the pretty accent.

It took me a moment to get my baring. Was the lift to my right, or to my left.

However then I heard someone’s footsteps on the stairs to our right, and knew we needed to head left.

As we stood at the elevator, another lady approached and asked if we needed any help.

No thank you, I said politely, we were fine.

However, she too pushed the button for us, hopped in the lift, pressed the down button, and promptly left us alone.

Hmmm, I thought. Maybe I do not look as sighted without the cane as I thought.

When we reached the concourse, again I had to find our location. Left or right, left or right, left or right.

I do not normally take the elevator, and as I have said previously, the smallest change in my route, can really throw a girl for a loop.

I know how to use the stairs, and each of the three escalators, but rarely if ever would I take the lift.

Why press a button, if there is a way I do not have to.

Pressing a button is just another seventeen actions I have to factor into my thinking; therefore, I would rather save that grey matter for something else.

Something else such as coffee, shoes, or changing Emily’s nappy.

I did not listen, but rather turned to the left. Because in my head, we were located at the right of the gates not the left. I thought we were further to the north in a relational context than we actually were.

it is not until I heard the distinct echo of my footsteps bouncing back at me from the big broad wall in front of me I realised we were headed in the wrong direction.

Oops, I said to Little, as I swung her around.

The place was deserted. Probably because we took so long to disembark from the train. However, it is still a relief, I thought as we head toward the barriers.

Thank God, my opal card is in my pocket, because there is no way those magic gates were going to open without it.

The station staff has a history of barely recognising my mobility device. Which is ironic, considering how close they are situated to a Guide Dogs NSW office.

Tap/beep. the red triangles part like Moses’s sea to let us through. However, I was worried we were going to get caught. Because by the time I put my card back in my jeans, and started pushing the pram, seconds had ticked.

Getting us moving again after we have stopped, especially with one hand, and a skinny space is not easy.

I rammed her left front wheel into the ticket machine thingy, which slowed us down even more.

Ever since seven or so months into my pregnancy, when a station staff member shut the gates on my big beautiful belly, I have been super wary of travelling through the electronic barriers.

I miss the traditional human intervention pushy open gate.

Sure, the man apologised, but the damage was done.

So having the pram, and only having Little part way through, while knowing those computerised red gates of doom can close at any flash of a second is anxiety provoking to say the least.

At least if it is my hips they hit, I can swear about it. But her? Holy shit!

The place was not as busy as I know it to be, even as we stepped into the arcade.

However, I had forgotten where the lifts were.

I thought about taking her up the escalators the way I normally do in a shopping centre, but didn’t feel like receiving the judgment, or being in the way of other people.

I strained and looked, and looked and strained.

It was too glary with my sunnies off, and too dark with them on.

Seriously, I need to buy some more, which have different lenses for different days.

When I had first started to go to mums and bubs, we used to meet at Chatswood library. However because I was not confident I would find the group in the middle of the park outside, I would opt to meet someone at the station so we could walk down together.

Thank God I had made that trip once before, I thought as I headed in the general direction of those silver sliding doors.

Because although there was a lot to take in, I remembered that when we exited the lift, we walked across a bridge of sorts to reach the open air mall, which put us to the left hand side of the black sculpture thingy. Therefore, it would make sense that the lift would be somewhere further back than the escalators…

I could feel the change in air pressure as we crossed under the afore mentioned overpass.

Yay me, I thought as my pram hit the dark grey tower, and I fumbled for the button.

Thank God nobody was around, I continued, somewhat embarrassed at my awkwardness.

Sometimes I worry what Little will think of me as I stumble and bumble like my Parisian counterparts in the sixteenth century, made to fight each other with their canes in the middle of a park, in order to be thrown a slice of bread for their tea.

It is difficult not to project my feelings of shame and inadequacy on to her, and I am aware I will have to be super vigilant about this as she grows. After all, these are my demons, not hers. And they should not be handed on like a secret recipe to the next generation.

We were able to get up some speed as we headed down the hill toward the crazy angled crossing.

It felt good to pick up my pace, and push the pram as though nothing were wrong.

However, between you and me, I could not see a thing.

When we reached the bottom of the open-air mall, I had not lined us up properly at the lights. However, I did not realise this until we bumped off the step, and it was too late to backtrack.

Sorry sweetie, I said as I veered to the right in order to meet the ramp back on to the path.

I locked on to another woman with a pram, and followed her the two blocks to the snazzy shopping centre.

I cannot say why, but I knew she was headed to the same place.

Thank God for that, I thought as I bumped into the glass frontage, while trying to wheel us around a sharp corner inside.

Even though I had hit the way finding markers, the glass door only slid half way across them. Therefore, it was a mistake anyone could make, I thought as the lady looked back at us with a strange curiosity.

The lift is up here, she said as I laughed, and straightened us up.

Again, I wondered was this because I looked blind, or just really really lost.

Emma, my orientation and mobility instructor had walked with me around this particular shopping centre when I was pregnant, but I had forgotten about the secret lift It only travelled half a floor up, and half a floor down..

This too was one of the reasons why I had toyed so long about whether to use the pram.

I knew where all the escalators were, but given I had wanted to go to Kmart, and exchange a pair of jeans, yep; I was still questioning those white skinny ones I bought on an idealised image impulse. and could not think of how to go about it without using the stairs… I had settled for throwing my item in the bag, and seeing what happened. After all, it would not matter if I did not get to shop, because I could go back another day.

As luck would have it, the lift was the one, which led to where I wanted to go, so we were in luck.

I was a little nervous about what to do, because usually when I want to get a refund, or swap something over, I have my cane, and people are much more accommodating.

By this I mean, someone will often go with me to find what I am looking for, or they will automatically hand me a pen and put my finger where I need to sign, and most importantly, they will not roll their eyes if I hand them the wrong card.

Tiny details, but tiny details, which have a big impact in my world.

As we wheeled into the store, I had no idea where we were in the cue.

Had someone just pushed in front of me, I wondered as we waited and waited and waited.

Eventually we were served, and it was all too hard. Therefore I asked for a store credit, rather than trying to find what I was after.

By this, time Emily was getting restless and my friend Liz had texted to tell me she was in our designated meeting spot.

As we trawled the centre for a decent coffee shop, me pushing the pram, her giving directions, I am sure we got some funny looks.

Up and down the escalators, we went before settling on a café I had heard good things about.

Emily sat quietly in a highchair, as we ordered our drinks.

This time I was not taking any chances.

I spread out her mat below us, put out her toys, had the wipes on the table next to me, and gave her a biscuit.

Where was that well-meaning health professional who I had left so distraught from last week now, I thought as I smugly watched my daughter devour a banana, smile at Liz, and bang her water on the table.

She was such a good girl, and sat happily for ages.

After she was full, I put her down on the floor to play.

Again using the pram as part of a barrier between us, and the outside world.

However being situated in an open area made this more difficult.

She unpacked and packed the nappy bag as Liz and I continued to catch up. However, it was not long before Miss curiosity wanted to explore the area.

No longer was smiling and squealing at the woman dressing the mannequin in the shop window opposite enough.

I took the opportunity to put into practice our come to mummy request.

Sometimes it would take two or three calls, but usually she would come back as instructed.

It was mind boggling to watch her push the boundaries by watching me, wriggle herself backward, and see what I would do, before returning.

Sometimes if I were laughing, she knew she could inch that little bit further away from me. However when my tone changed, and it truelly changed, she would come back without hesitation.

This was good to know for each of us.

However, what led us to ultimately leaving the café was not my having to get up every thirty seconds to bring a baby girl back, but the undeniable fact of a dirty nappy in our midst.

Luckily, Liz was with us, and although she does not have children, she can read signs.

Can you help me find the parents room, I asked her as we packed up all our things, and she paid the bill.

Clearly, I had not given enough attention when Emma, my orientation and mobility instructor, had shown me, because I could not remember where they were in relation to where we were.

I knew there was one behind the toy section in David Jones department store, but thought there surely had to be some closer.

The problem with orientating and mobilitying places when one is pregnant, is that everything feels so much further away than it actually is.

Liz led us to where we needed to be, and baby girl and me entered into our rite of public parenting room passage.

I did not bother to check if anyone else was in there as I felt around for the nappy disposal bins, taps, soap dispensers, changing areas, and other such essentials.

I must have looked quite a sight. Parking the pram, then literally running my hands over the walls and benches to discover my environment.

I figured there was no point in getting Emily out before I knew where things were, because nothing would be worse than her having a dirty bottom, and me not knowing where to put her old nappy.

Come to think of it now, I am fairly certain I left a spare nappy on the counter somewhere, because I swear to God I got one out before I took hers off, but when I went to reach for it, I couldn’t find it. So I was left with her standing on the table, banging on the mirror, no pants, and with a packet of wipes at her feet, while I reached across the room with my free hand, and quickly as possible pulled another nappy from the bottom of our buggy.

Madam butterfly bottom was quite happy and occupied with her own reflection, so I was fairly confident I had a couple of seconds to accomplish project nappy retrieval. However, I did not feel good about doing it. But what was the alternative? Put her on the floor with a bare bottom, or back in the pram… Lifting her on to my hip was going to be more trouble than it was worth. She was happily engrossed in her baby in the mirror game, and sometimes tearing her away from her concentrated play causes great upset in a baby girl’s universe. Therefore, this small act of calculated risk, and potential disaster and irresponsibility was what I opted for instead.

Obviously, in hindsight, maybe I should have taken a different approach, but I did what worked in the moment, or so I thought.

After this, we went and sat in a set of random lounges to continue our conversation.

Thanks to Liz, and our pre-coffee meanderings, we had discovered a freebee children’s play area. However, Liz not having kids, and being quite sensitive to the noise they can make, I thought it best to avoid said play space.

My plan had been to take Little there afterward, when we were alone.

Sweetie pie was well behaved enough, although she had energy to burn.

Normally she would sit quietly beside me, read her books, play with naughty dolly, rattle her bells, and pull everything out from under the pram. But on this particular day, she wanted to explore the wide-open spaces.

Come to mummy, I would call when she got out of earshot.

I mentally chastised myself for again not remembering her bells.

Again, sometimes it would work, and others it would not.

Part of me wanted to follow her to see how far she would get, but I felt bad for leaving Liz while we explored our dynamic.

When I looked down at my watch, it was 12:46PM; no wonder Little was seeing how far she could go. This was well past her naptime.

So I gave her a bottle, put her in the pram, and she promptly fell asleep.

This was our cue to leave.

Michael had run to see if we needed him to come and pick us up, especially given it was raining. However as usual, it would have taken him longer to get to us, than for us to get to him. Therefore, I said we would play it by ear, and that depending on how heavy the rain was, I would either wait it out, or push on regardless.

I had never pushed the pram in the rain before. So this was going to be interesting. But is not this precisely why I had brought it in the first place. Clearly, the universe was going to give me a chance to prove myself.

For a good five minutes, Liz and I stood just inside the glass frontage of the centre trying to figure out how the pram rain hood clipped to the pram.

In the end, I randomly velcroed it on, probably entirely the wrong way, but at least Emily was covered, and we set off into the swish swish pitter-patter slish slosh noise outside.

To my surprise, pushing the pram in the rain was not that different to pushing it in the dry.

The feedback from the pavement was practically the same, and after all, we were pretty much just retracing our steps from before.

I have often walked in the rain, so am used to the difference in sound quality.

One-step at a time, just one-step is what I kept telling myself.

Slow down, just slow down. It does not matter if I hold other people up, or they have to walk around me, I continued.

I am used to being that woman on a mission. The one who thinks fast, acts fast, and moves with purpose. However when I have Little on my hip, or especially in the pram, I become the person who travels at what seems to me to be a snail’s pace, I take up far more space, and although I am not oblivious to everything around me, often I do not know which way to move in order to keep us safe, yet not be in anyone else’s way.

I may not create a bottleneck at the end of a skinny walkway, or stop to adjust my bag in an entrance, or any number of annoying habits some people have, but I am acutely aware and apologetic for creating an obstruction in the flow of busy movement.

It was not until we hit the open-air mall that I picked up speed and stretched my legs out as we worked our way back up the hill toward the lift.

As we got closer to the top, I began to sniff for the hairdressing salon, which had been on our left as we headed out. Once I found that, I knew we would be close to the little bridge, which would lead us back to the elevator doors.

Bingo, I found it.

I laughed at myself for being worried we would not.

Nobody could miss that scent, I thought as it assaulted my nose.

As I pressed the down button, a sound I had not noticed on our way up, interrupted my thoughts.

Good god, that noise could wake the dead, I thought as the beep rang in my ears.

Sure enough, it woke my sleeping baby.

See, I justified to the judge in my head, this is exactly why I prefer escalators.

If I had not have pressed that button, it would not have screeched at me, and Emily would have had more than twenty minutes sleep.

It seems to me, whenever I try to do something in order to fit in, rather than following my instincts, it leads to trouble.

Good God, I had even considered just picking up the pram and carrying it down the stairs. However given we sacrificed lightweight for the convenience of a one handed fold down option, which by the way I have never had to use in the way I thought I would, trying that wacky idea was not viable.

The truth is the glare was too bad, that I was not confident about the escalators, and was having a brain blank about which was up, and which was down.

I think somewhere in Singapore, they have implemented directional audio signals for their escalators. Why we do not have such simplicities here, I do not know.

When I reached the train barriers, I thought I would be all grown up and clever, and take us through one of the skinny gates – just like regular people.

The reason I often use the fat gate, even when I am alone, is because I know where it is, and know it can open both ways. Therefore, I do not have to line myself up with the green light, or risk my card rejecting the computer the way it often does.

However, who knew the pram does not fit.

Again, I was embarrassed at my blindism. Because anybody who could see, would know their pram would not have fit just by looking at it.

Me, I had to try it in order to find this out.

So with my tail between my legs, I backed out of the space, and continued down to the end barrier where we had exited. Praying nobody had noticed my mistake.

I understand that my relationship with my disability can be somewhat rocky, but this shame and humiliation I am experiencing at every turn lately is driving me crazy.

I know it does not have to be like this. But this week, this week it just is.

Although what has triggered it, I cannot say.

However given I had already tapped on, we could not get through without a staff member intervening.

Another commuter took pity on me, and read the rejection message coming up on the screen as I continually tried to retap on before she found us a worker to let us through.

When I explained to him that I had a vision impairment and normally had a cane instead of a pram, he took it upon himself to walk us to the lift, and up on to the platform before handing us over to someone else who made sure we embarked the correct train and found a seat.

I am sure they would have had someone else meet us at the other end, if I had not made it clear my husband would be there.

As I said, a station full of inconsistencies.

Just like clockwork, Michael met us as we disembarked, and walked us home.

I am going to go for a swim, he said as he put Little in her cot after a second bottle.

I was surprised, because I had assumed he would have been when we were out, and for whatever reason had decided against it.

In his mind, he was waiting to see if we needed him, because he didn’t want to leave us stranded if we did, and he were far far away.

How can I argue with that kind of logic, I said silently, as I sucked up my exasperation.

I had been out all morning with baby girl in order to give him some time out, and he had not used it the way I thought he would.

I know it makes me sound like a control freak, which of course I am, but I was looking forward to a couple of hours to myself in return.

Although what I would have done with those hours remained to be seen.

Because the hours I have, are usually spent doing something for the family, or something with a dual purpose, rather than for pure relaxation.

In return, this means I end up feeling burnt out and resentful, which translates as, no matter how much my husband does for us, some part of me feels like it is never enough. However, what is really never enough is the energy I have for myself because I do not refuel.

Michael headed off for a swim, and I tried not to feel horrible for making him feel horrible about it courtesy of my sharp tongue and pissy tone.

One would think I should have grown out of my passive aggressiveness by now, but unfortunately, I clearly have not.

Meanwhile Emily and I played happily in the kitchen.

She was exhausted, but not quite beyond happiness.

We unstacked bowls, used them for hats, shared a mandarin, listened to a story on mummy’s phone, played with blocks, chased the ball, and generally had a good time like we always do.

Before we knew it, Michael was back and taking Emily to the park, while my job was to enjoy a nice hot bath, and continue with my book.

I contemplated a glass of wine, but decided against it. Partly because I really did not feel like it, but mostly because I did not want to inadvertently encourage alcohol in the house.

Whenever Michael drinks, it makes me uneasy.

It is a hangover from my alcoholic father, which no matter how much time, space, or happiness passes, I cannot shake.

Michael can reassure me I am safe until he is blue in the face, but if he picks up so much as a beer, even on a hot summer’s day, I am immediately edgy.

I wish it were not like this, but…

But I can barely breathe even writing about it.

Even though I have the most amazing life.

Even though he is the most amazing man.

It has taken a long time, but over the years, we have come to an uneasy truce regarding this issue.

When we first met, he was the quintessential bachelor.

He drank a lot, smoked a lot, ate a lot of boy food.

He once told me that before I came along, he never smiled.

Now it is rare to see him without a smile.

The poetic injustice is he has no problem if I indulge, be it at home, or out with the girls. In fact, he encourages it.

Not so he can then have permission to poor himself a bourbon, but because he wants nothing more than to see me happy and relaxed.

I know, the hypocrisy is bitch slappingly obvious, isn’t it.

The worst thing is I quite like a Champaign or two, given the right circumstances.

I wish I were lighter hearted about it.

I am quite envious of those with a healthy happiness surrounding alcohol consumption.

This is not to say it makes me unhappy, or my relationship with it is unhealthy.

What I am saying is that I am afraid of it.

Afraid in the most irrational and traumatic way.

Like most people, I have some great drinking stories from my younger days when I could bounce back without batting an eyelid. And I would not trade these for the world.

My question is how can I drink without feeling the weight of the enormous double standard I invite to the party as well.

Therefore, I sauntered back upstairs, hopped in the second bath I have run for myself since having Emily, and slid into the soft depths of its warm embrace.

By the time my two mud monsters had arrived home, I was sitting at my desk working diligently on the blog.

It is just as well really, because the cutie cute cute cute was covered in dirt, and needed that thing way more than I had.

It was difficult to sleep on Tuesday night because I was so excited about Emily’s pending birthday.

Each time she woke throughout the wee hours in the morning, I bit my tongue, and did not wish her well.

Instinctively I knew Michael was waiting until we were all up, and yes, that does include the sunshine before saying it, and I did not want to ruin his moment.

Hello 7:04AM.

Finally finally, we made it.

Wednesday was Emily’s actual happy birthday. Yay! We had survived the first year of parenthood.

We are told it gets easier from here on. But is that true?

What better way to start the day than with baby girl’s twelve-month vaccinations.

Given we are new at this; we thought they would be putting her needles in her legs the way they had previously. Therefore, we put her in a cute long sleeve top, and shorty short short shorts.

However, it turns out for this set; they stick them in the arms instead.

Who knew.

It was then decided we would take her to an indoor play centre, as it was raining, and our plans for the beach had been thwarted.

I was upset, partly because I had not yet had my coffee, and partly because I had forgotten my sunglasses and it was so glary. Or so I thought. But did I look in the magic nappy bag to see if they were there? No, of course not. Not until we got home later that afternoon.

I had thought we would go home first, regroup, and come up with a plan.

In my fantasy mama world, I envisioned us going for lunch at my favourite Persian restaurant. However that would take more cash than we currently had, so ummm, no.

We had never been to an indoor play centre before, and let me just say it was interesting.

Ok so it was more like a baptism of fire.

Chaos. Chaos is the only word I can use to describe it.

Oh my God!

We walked in to a very noisy, dimly lit café, filled to the brim with mothers and toddlers.

Fill out this form please, the girl behind the reception/coffee counter said.

Michael looked at her strangely.

I could see he was wondering why we would do that.

However thinking about it now, I guess it is a safety thing in case of fire

Does your child have socks, he read allowed.

As it happened, I threw a pair in my handbag because I didn’t know what the weather was doing.

Why would they need socks, I asked.

I am not sure we really got an answer. However, when Michael looked around there was a sign saying no shoes, but must have socks in the play area.

On closer examination, he saw that no one was wearing socks, and one kid still had their shoes on.

We may or may not have fibbed about Littles age, because we did not want to pay the exorbitant price tag.

I mean technically she was still an hour and thirty seven minutes off turning twelve months.

Would you like coffee, the girl asked as we slid our paper work across the counter.

God yes, I answered. My relief palpable at the thought.

This one is on the house, she said because it is your first time.

Ahh, so that is the winning formula, I thought. We will just test all the play centres out and see if I can scam a cup of jo.

But oh my God, have I mentioned the chaos?

The vibe was volatile, as I felt the women around us surreptitiously evert their eyes away from my hideous not so white white cane.

Maybe I should have brought the superman one, I mused as we awkwardly weaved through the too closely situated for a pram to get through tables and chairs.

If we don’t aknowledge her, she won’t exist, the room seemed to say in a collective breath as the hustle and bustle of gossipy goodness dripped from the walls.

Finally, a staff member handed Michael my coffee and cleared a place for us over near the baby’s area.

Michael sat me down on a low dark lounge, where I completely got my blind on.

Cane up against the window, headphones in, phone out, and coffee carefully placed in front of me.

Michael and Emily went into the fenced tiny person’s area for a warm up play while I avoided the room by scrolling through my Facebook feed.

Boredom and that stupid blindy awkward sense of isolation set in. However being able to pick Little’s voice out of a crowd was somewhat reassuring.

Mind you, this is not to say I would ever bring her to somewhere like this on my own, because even I had to concede that would be madness.

These women were like a pack of wolves, and we were not a part of their clan.

Everybody at the park was always so much friendlier and open I thought as I glanced around, and tried to distinguish a clear path with my ears so I could get to Emily.

Sometimes when I call her, she calls back, which is lovely.

Emily, I called from my corner.

Sure enough, Michael says she looked up before answering me, and then making her way across the cushions to the fence.

When I got to her, she put her tiny hand through the bars and tried to pull me in to show me something.

Are you having a good time, I asked.

Yes, Michael answered for her.

I had not left my corner for more than thirty seconds, but when I turned around to feel my way back, someone had sat down, and was obnoxiously speaking into their phone about their $880 half day rate, and how they would not manage such and such an event for anything less…

What a contrast, I thought, as I again stared at the chaos. The screaming kids, the millions of mothers, and this cool, calm, collected woman with her highflying corporate manner.

How nice it would be to have that as my biggest problem, I thought, as I tried not to listen to her negotiate.

She is lucky she can afford to bring her kids to a place like this, I assume quietly as I sat peering into the noise.

Money is like the fishing line, which catches me in the throat right now.

I know that stressing about it is scaring it away, but Oh my God, how am I supposed to breathe through this constant anxiety and apprehension.

Why didn’t I use my time more wisely, before we had baby girl, I chastise myself every time I think about it.

Which by the way is all the time.

Let’s go outside, I called to Michael in a bid to break my broken record.

So he came and got me, and led us out to an area where there were a few Flintstone inspired cars, a tiny slippery dip, a crocodile seesaw, and some other plastic climbing equipment thing which I would love in the backyard but Michael says no.

Emily loved the car, and immediately started turning the steering wheel the same as daddy does when he began to push her.

I have never seen her so happy to be sitting in the one place for any length of time in ages.

I reckon that if he had been willing to push her around in that red and yellow thing all day, she would have gladly allowed him.

I wish we could get her one for home, I thought as I watched them play.

However, I am not sure how long it would be until she grew out of it, I continued.

Sometimes I see them on the freebee website, but the feed never comes up in a chronological order, and I am too slow to jump on the sold please bandwagon.

That site has been great, and we have found both some good and bad stuff. However, it is a lucky dip.

I swear to God there must be people who literally sit there all day every day with nothing else to do but watch for new items to be listed. Because no sooner is the good stuff put up, and in less than a minute, it is sold.

Who has time, or the inclination for that shit.

The one thing I regret not bidding on is the 180cm tall cardboard castle which was up for ages. However, I made the mistake of showing Michael first, and he said no.

I have since learnt that if I think I want something, to go for it, and then send him to pick it up for me.

Worst case, if we decide it is not worth it, and then we can repost it for the next person.

After the car, we headed to the large wooden adventure playground with the big big slide. However, we had not dressed Little in good slippery dipping clothes, as she was wearing her afore mentioned shorty short short shorts and a long sleeve top. This meant she kept getting stuck on the way down as her skin rubbed on the surface of the equipment.

All was not lost however when we spotted the biggest trampoline ever.

It was empty, so we unzipped the netting and placed her on the springy surface.

Her weight was not enough to make any movement, but no, sooner than we had begun to help bounce her, three little girls in fairy dresses crawled in and jumped jumped jumped.

This is not going to end well, we thought as we cautiously watched their bodies float through the air, and their feet come dangerously close to Little’s tiny fingers and toes.

Michael looked for signs of distress, but baby girl just sat being tossed around like a cork at sea, and smiled her beatific smile.

Other parents were amazed at her happiness. Even as she was bounced backward, lost her balance, flipped over, and ended up face down on her tummy in the opposite direction to where she had originally started.

She simply looked up, tapped her foot, and gave us the impression that it was exactly what she had expected.

The fairy dresses came and went, and gradually Emily became more confident and curious.

By the end, she was standing up, holding on to the netting, and trying to bounce herself.

I was getting sick of the stilted awkwardness if I tried to talk to the other mothers as we chased our children.

The cane seemed to make them uncomfortable, and embarrassed, and oh my God so condescending in their tones.

So I thought I would try a little experiment, just to see how spot on my awareness truly was, or whether I were imagining the entire thing – I put it away.

Nobody seemed to bat an eye-lid as I folded it up, put it in my handbag, and picked up baby girl.

Oh and that reminds me, what do other people do with their handbags at places like this?

I did not know whether to put it in the bottom of the pram, or what.

Is there an etiquette for this type of thing?

Having it on my shoulder was annoying, but obviously, I did not want to leave it unattended.

Next stop after the old-fashioned seesaw was the ball pit.

Michael had been reluctant to let her go in, but I knew she would enjoy it.

For somebody who is so climby, I was surprised when she did not take the opportunity to explore the squashy patted maze of ginormous tunnels and stairs.

As it was, I had to seriously encourage her to enter the play area. However once she was there, she had a great time sliding herself back and forth over the pretty colours.

Her game largely involved crawling up the ramp, throwing a ball out, climbing out the circle entrance to retrieve said ball, throw it back into the pit, and then climb back in after it before repeating the process repeatedly.

She is obsessed with balls and balloons at the moment, and can easily spend twenty minutes chasing one around the house.

It is lovely how she is beginning to play more independently.

However, the moment mummy attempts to sit down at her laptop, or pick up the hula-hoop, she needs a cuddle or some company.

I observed with interest, as the same seemingly snobby bitchy women who had either ignored or patronised me not five minutes before, now began to relate to me differently.

Differently as though, I was one of them, and not a leper from the colony.

How interesting, I thought as I listened for Little.

Why now was it ok for me to squat down and find the edge of a play gym, talk to someone else’s child, or make small talk about how busy it was. However if I did any of these things with a cane in my hand I was frowned upon, and seen as a personal affront to the pristine landscape of mothering in a play centre.

The assault on my senses was huge, and I knew I would pay the price later, but for right then, I just wanted to fit in.

We knew Emily was getting tired, but she really needed a nappy.

Michael said she had a meltdown when he went to change it, so maybe it was time to go home.

After all, we had been there for hours.

Surely, she would fall asleep in the car, we thought as we drove the thirty minutes back to our dwelling.

However, there was not a sleepy face in sight.

Nothing another bottle would not fix, we thought as we gently placed her in her cot.

But nothing.

Nothing but noise.

No sleep today, I thought as I lifted her out of her bed and we padded down stairs.

Michael had gone for a swim, so we were left to our own devices of snacks and books.

When daddy returned, naturally a park run was in order.

We must have worn her out, because guess what; she slept from 6:15PM through until 6:00AM.

You go girl!

We could not be any more proud.

Michael and I had made the mistake of waiting up for her.

She had been too tired for her solids at dinner, so surely she would need a snack, we thought as the clock ticked ten, then eleven, then twelve.

However not a peep.

I tried not to worry, but I was not about to go and check on her as I did not want to wake her up.

Surely, my intuition would tell me if something was wrong, I tried to reassure myself. However just as I was hitting the brink of my anxiety, I would hear her stir and roll over, and peace would be restored.

All night I kept waking up, waiting to hear a noise from her room.

Thursday morning was a super early start as I had acupuncture.

Things have levelled off in that department, but I think I may have been taking my herbs incorrectly.

We have since upped the dosage, and the pain has again subsided.

Things are no worse or no better.

At least it does not hurt to be at work anymore. Well not in an eye achy kind of way.

Sometimes Michael and I talk about how we would love to be writing and publishing, and the air feels light and fresh.

We get excited about that being our life, and the concept of Little growing up in a creative household.

But how do we make that happen.

Happen in a real kind of financially sustainable way.

A not so deeper part of me is convinced my work is not good enough.

There are so many things I want to say, but do not.

There are so many thing I ought to say, but cannot.

There are so many things I do say, but maybe should not.

Work was fairly quiet that day, and I confessed to my boss just how disengaged I am feeling.

The thread, which binds me to my profession, is more frayed and worn than I have ever known it to be.

I have to stop myself from throwing out the paraphernalia I keep at home just in case.

Meanwhile Michael and Emily had thought they might go to the zoo, but the threat of rain kept them inside for most of the day.

Fortunately, they got a play in the park after dropping me at the station earlier in the morning, but not much else.

They pottered quietly for the day.

However Little wasn’t quite herself. Her vaccinations were messing with her tiny body. Normally she handles quite well, but these ones were different. It was not so much she was tired, but sort of listless.

By the time I reached home on Thursday afternoon, she was a bit of a cuddly mess.

I went to give her a bottle and put her to bed, but the formula did not smell quite right.

I ummed and aaed over it for ages.

Do I give it to her, do I make her another. DO I give it to her, do I make her another.

On and on it went as I took the lid off and repeated the sniff test.

Something was not quite right, but I ignored my instincts and decided it was my imagination.

The moment she scrambled to put it in her mouth I knew I had done the wrong thing.

Wrestling it back off her was not going to be pretty.

Before I knew it she had drank the entire 120ml contents, and I was waiting for her to throw up.

Again, she was like a Mexican jumping bean as I tried to put her down, but pretty much went to sleep without incident.

Still I waited. But nothing.

Hours past, and she woke intermittently for a cuddle or some water, but there were no adverse effects to my recklessness.

It was a long night,

As usual Michael did his super hero antics and got up to tend to the cutie cute cute cute.

Friday morning I dragged my sorry ass, all be it reluctantly back to work.

I knew I would have an extremely quiet day.

I just wanted to hide from the world.

Sure enough, my vision came to fruition.

Which is why by the time it got to 1:00PM I was ready to leave.

Sure, I felt guilty about not contributing financially to the household the way I am supposed, but oh, my God I really need to be doing something else.

Something where I can find greater personal meaning and satisfaction.

Ummm, universe, if you’re listening, can you help.

Michael and Emily had intended to go to the library, but given it was a 5:30AM start, the deck was stacked against them.

By 10:30AM, she was sound asleep, so Michael took the unusual decision of foregoing story time in favour of catching up on some of his own work while our baby girl rested upstairs.

Apparently, she did not wake for two and a half hours. However when she did, she had a giant pooh in her pants. And this was the beginning of what we will now call the forty-eight hours of pooh.

The poor little thing has never eliminated so much waste in such a short period. It just kept coming and coming and coming.

At one stage, while Michael was at the supermarket, I rang him to see how long he would be, because I was afraid of what I might find in her nappy.

His first words were, If there is pooh on the carpet, I am not coming home.

I had to laugh, because if I had taken off her nappy the way I often do when we are home alone, there surely would have been.

However, toilet training has been thrown out the window for the time being due to a lack of interest.

There are just too many fun things to explore, climb into, chase, throw, and find for a baby to worry about wet nickers – or so I am led to believe.

Not to mention it is difficult when I am not with her all the time to keep things consistant.

Of course, if she decides the want is there, then we will begin again.

She knows what a pooh is, and sort of where it comes from, and gets excited about the potty if I ask her, but she isn’t willing to sit there long enough to get a result.

Now if I put her on, she makes the noise, gets up, looks around, and is astonished to find nothing in the bowl. However she won’t sit back down to try again.

I am wondering whether it is simply worth putting her on every time we change her nappy, and just getting used to the idea all over again.

Don’t tell daddy, but I did find her with her head in the potty, skating across the kitchen floor in a bear crawl the other afternoon.

Obviously, it was clean and empty, but I still do not know if I should let her play with it.

My little yoga baby loves to downward dog. So using the potty for a headrest seemed like a good idea.

And to think I have not even taught her about extreme yoga yet.

She has moves I try and emulate, and just don’t have the strength.

Although I have to admit, it is cute to see her sleeping in child’s pose.

By Friday night, party preparations were well under way.

Little was in bed, Michael’s meatball mix was made, and I had just remembered I would be making another birthday cake.

I had rung my mother in law at Michael’s suggestion to see what she thought about my using our stainless steel mixing bowls for cake tins.

I mean how else was a mama to get the lady bug shape.

We both decided it should work, and that they would not melt, but I would have to grease them up thoroughly first.

Again, after a rough night with gazillion nappy changes, daddy was a champion and got up early with baby girl.

Worrying about what we are going to do is so taxing, and my energy levels are at an all-time low.

I am beginning to wonder if there is something more going on than simple parenting fatigue.

By 7:30AM, they brought me a cup of coffee, and the housework was well under way.

My aim for the day was to trash the kitchen.

First item of business on the agenda was Little’s birthday cakes.

They needed to be cool by mid-afternoon so Michael could turn his decorative genius, and transform them into the most beautiful ladybug ever.

Thanks to my friend Tamie, who had given us the fondant, this job was going to be a lot easier.

Both Michael and I prefer fondant over traditional icing, as we somehow find it easier to manage.

Maybe he has found a new calling.

I tripled the mixture of the go to recipe in my head, and got started.

It took forever to beat the ingredients into submission.

I was worried we would not have enough, so kept tinkering with this and that, adding a pinch of salt here, quarter of a cup of sugar there.

More milk, we needed more milk.

Eventually I was sort of happy with the mix, however maybe in hindsight I should have added that extra 200g of melted dark chocolate, because when I tasted the remnants from the baking tin later as it came out of the oven, I was concerned about the lack of richness in the flavouring.

Tamie had suggested we buy a slab and simply cut the shape out. However not only had this never occurred to me, but to be honest I like the alchemy of baking from scratch.

The main shell of the ladybug took hours to cook, as it was so big.

My cakes never rise, but this one continued to grow up up up and over the rim of the dish.

However when I turned it out onto the cooler, not only did, it slide out without incident, all the hot air deflated, and I was left with a flat base.

The smaller cake however, took a little prying, and plopped out on to the cooler, leaving some of the mix stuck to the bowl.

In the meantime, Little had gone down for a nap; Michael had vacuumed, mowed the lawn, and cleaned the bathrooms, and various other bits and things. While I had made the mixture for cheese and spinach triangles, a mint and cucumber yogurt dip, hummus, and was preparing the puff pastry for French pastries.

When Emily woke, daddy gave her lunch before heading out for a swim and to run some errands.

Baby girl played in the kitchen as we waited for our pastry goods to cook, and prepared the dirty ice for the fondant.

By the time Michael returned to take Emily to the park, I was over being in the kitchen.

Of course, we had enjoyed a lovely afternoon together, sharing food, as in literally sharing food. Little has taken it upon herself to feed mummy the way I feed her. However, it is not usually a spoon, but whatever has been in her mouth.

Soggy rice crackers are so delicious.

I know it sounds as though we do the same things over and over again, which of course we do.

However, it is not as boring and mundane as it sounds.

There are a thousand intimacies, which make our life of learning interesting and worthwhile.

For example, the way Little will climb up to have a cuddle, or crawl after a rogue spice jar.

Her babble when she plays with fridge magnets or her excitement when I show her a banana. Even watching her climb across the lounge, knock out big bear, or play with her Zimmer frame, but not in the way it was designed for, is fun.

She is such good company.

And as strange as it sounds, although I can see how other babies her age all do similar things, she does not actually remind me of anyone I know.

Sweetie, you are unique!

Her understanding and ability to communicate with us becomes more in-depth day by day.

Now I can ask her if she would like a bath, a bottle of water, a biscuit, a book, or to see the birds, and she can respond.

I can ask her to follow me, and she does.

I can ask her to wait, and she does not.

It cracks me up how she stands at the toddler gate and cries for her daddy while he goes to the toilet.

But she does not do that with me.

One of my favourite things to do is introduce her to new things.

SO given her bath phobia of late, on Saturday night when she came home all grubby from playing in the park, I put her in the shower.

My intention had been to get in with her, but for whatever reason it did not work out.

At first, she was wary of the water.

Little will hold back until she figures something out.

I put my hand under to show her it was ok, and then she did the same.

First one hand, then the other.

Her fascination at the droplets running through her fingers was enchanting.

She knew she was safe, as I had my arm wrapped around her nice and tight.

Gradually she got used to the sensation and began to stick her belly under, her feet, and her arms.

However, the best part was when the glass started to steam up and she found the essence of finger painting.

Her artwork caused her to forget her apprehension about the giant waterfall, and she stuck her head under in order to get a better angle for her creation.

She was concentrated on watching the water when daddy came in.

However rather than be happy to see him, she burst into tears and climbed up his leg.

We went through the usual Mexican jumping bean bed routine. First Michael would go up, and then I would tag team.

Eventually however she went down, and we got to eat our dinner and watch the last of Bear Grills in relative quiet.

Michael opted for icing the cake first thing in the morning rather than attempting it so late at night.

He assured me it would not take nearly as long as the last one, and that he had a plan.

Unbeknownst to me, he too had checked out a couple of cake photos and instructional texts on how to work with fondant.

Nothing like experience to show a man how it is done, he would tell me.

He sees the box cake as a bit of a failure, thus was determined to do better this time around.

And this time around, I would not feel bad about letting him create something beautiful.

6:30AM and our little alarm went off.

There was no time to dilly-dally. Her party was due to start at 10:00AM, but I knew my parents in law would be at least half an hour early.

Emily and I played on the lounge room floor with her toys while daddy concentrated on his red and black task.

Funny, because the same silence came from the kitchen that comes when Emily is doing something she should not.

Sure, enough, 9:30AM, my head was in the pantry looking for serving platters, which by the way I do not have enough of, and I heard grandma and grandpa come through the door along with the aunts.

Emily sat outside with the grownups while they drank their coffee, and ate her biscuits.

She still was not 100%, but was in better spirits than she had been previously.

Next to, arrive were Michael’s sisters, my mum and sister, and seven of the ten of Emily’s cousins.

Emily’s godparents came, as did our neighbours.

Before we knew it, the party was in full swing.

There were dips, and fudge, and Michael’s favourite, meat pies and sausage rolls.

Our abundant daughter received gifts from every direction.

Thank you everyone, I think she is set for the next six months for clothes and toys.

Everyone oohed and aaahed at the biggest best ladybug cake ever!

Who knew my husband had it in him.

Darling, you are gorgeous. Thank you so much.

By 12:30PM baby girl was exhausted, and everyone had started to go home.

We tried to get her down, by letting grandma give her a bottle, but it was all too exciting to sleep.

Travis and Jasmine, her little cousins had offered to take her to the park, but Michael had said he would prefer she stay at her party instead. However, thanks for the thought kids. You can take her next time.

In my mind, mum and my sister Nicole were going to stay for a while afterward, so we could discuss such riveting things as my next hair colour, what I should do with my ailing LinkedIn profile, and how to go about applying for an entrepreneurs grant mum had seen weeks before.

I knew Michael would be going for a swim, so it would have been nice to have the company.

However, as is so often the case with best-laid plans and all that jazz, it was not to be.

And this is how I happen to be where I am now.

After the party, Emily spent an hour wandering around the yard, just talking to herself and winding down.

However since I have started writing this, Michael has come home, Emily has woken up, they have gone for a walk, and gotten caught in the rain.

She has had the deepest bath ever, which funnily enough is so much better tonight than it has been in weeks. Dinner is almost cooked, and it is time to relax on the couch and watch mindless television for an hour.

I am relieved the week is over.

I thought I would feel differently now that Little is a year old, but to be honest it is much the same as it was before.

As they say, the days are long, but the years are short.

Happy birthday Little. We love you.

Published inThe Blunder Weeks

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