It is 7:00PM on Sunday evening as I sit down to write.
Little is down for the count, and although it has only been fifteen minutes, I haven’t heard a whimper from her little body.
Lord knows I filled her chock a block of food tonight.
I hadn’t meant to give her dinner. It just sort of happened.
Michael was busy doing other things, and baby girl could not wait.
I gave her what was left in the sashay of vegetables, which is where normally I think my husband stops.
However, I could see madam butterfly bottom was still hungry, as evidence by her putting the bowl to her face and trying to lick it clean.
I have never seen her do that before, and when I questioned Michael regarding where she got it from he claimed not to know.
Hello human instinct.
I knew I had to work fast, and the only thing I had close to hand was the appley appley almond meal and all spice porridge we made this morning.
I started by giving her a small single serve, thinking she would just want a top up.
Three extra-large servings after that and she was finally full – I think.
Well, that was when I gave up.
Between us, we had painted each other, the high/low chair tray, the kitchen cupboards, and the surrounding floor area.
I don’t think daddy was too impressed when he walked in the kitchen after his shower.
But that is what you get with a blindy wife and independent toddler who thinks she can feed herself.
In my defence, it isn’t as though I set out to make such a mess.
However, Emily and I are a team.
She has this way of distracting me by doing something with her left hand, and while I am busy focusing on that, she reaches forth with her right, and digs into the dish.
I blame the famous Darcy reach.
She is so quick, and even though I am certain I hold the plate far enough away, she still manages to get her hands on it at some point.
And if not that, then at least the spoon.
Alternatively, it is the drippy droppy crumbs from the table.
Love you Little. Thanks for making dinner so fun.
Anyway, so here’s hoping that it is as my mother in law suggested, the reason Emily isn’t sleeping well, is because she is hungry.
Lord knows I don’t sleep well when that is the case, so I completely understand.
However putting this concept into a currency that my handsome husband can absorb has been a case of trial and error.
However when I mentioned it to him five or so minutes ago, he finally seemed to internalise what I was saying.
If it helps her sleep, he had said.
Oh yeah baby!
Monday morning started with a flurry of activity.
In a bid to hopefully make some more money, so we could indeed pay for the coming month’s rent without selling a kidney on the black-market, I had opted to go to work.
Still I hate leaving baby girl, but it has to be done. At least for now.
I keep imagining myself working from home, so I can hear the happy gorgeous sounds of my family in the background as I change the world, but we still aren’t anywhere near that.
Secretly I don’t think we ever will be.
I think this is an expensive hobby, which I need to give up.
The question is what will I replace it with.
More of the same?
More difference making ideas, but no capacity to bring them to fruition.
I know it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to recognise I am not my usual bubbly self of late, and I do apologise for it.
To be honest, I am sick of myself.
So how anyone else manages to read through my bleak undertones each week, I will never know.
The problem is I don’t know why it is that I am struggling.
Ok, yes I do.
I keep asking myself, if we were prosperous, would I still feel like this, and the answer keeps coming back as a resounding absolutely not.
I have never been responsible for two other beings before, and this is kind of scary and high pressure.
More money would allow us to breathe, and right now, we don’t have any room for error, accident, or bad luck.
Where the heart of the conflict resides however, is my feeling as though I need to do everything. I feel guilty when I do work at home, and I am not looking after Little, even though it is Michael’s job, for want of a better word. Alternatively, I feel guilty when I am working outside the home and have left Little and Michael to their own devices.
It isn’t that I don’t trust him with her, but that I don’t trust he is having a good time.
I feel like I can’t leave the house for a continuing length of time, because when I am there, he is eager to escape. Therefore, I read the situation, as he doesn’t want to be with her.
So, I am left feeling caught between a rock and a hard place. One Whereby I cannot win. Because if he is like this now, then what will he be like if, I was here less often.
Whenever I broach the subject, he says that I am interpreting it all wrong.
I would be happy for that to be the case, but why then, do I keep coming back to the same place.
Work was slow, but at least it was something.
I have to wonder how much truth is in the saying beggars can’t be choosers. Because right now, I am feeling as though that is where I am.
I have thought about this a lot lately. And I think one of the reasons I am so stuck on a professional level is because I feel like an absolute fraud, and I don’t want anyone to find out.
Therefore, if I stay here in the gutter of obscurity and poverty, then I won’t have to explain myself or be accountable, or questioned about my abilities, skills, and so on.
In other words, there will be no expectation put upon me.
I won’t have a reputation to defend or cultivate, and nobody will ever have to know.
To be honest, I have always felt that way no matter which job I have been pretending to do.
I may look semi-qualified on paper, but I know nothing.
As in, there is seriously so much I cannot do, that I would not employ me either.
My resume reads like a termite-riddled plank of wood.
I just don’t know how to make that puppy look good.
How do I explain the gaps in my employment history, which are largely due to a gazillion forms of discrimination, people’s assumptions, and technological barriers.
As much as it pains me to say this, I stay where I am, because nobody else will have me. Sometimes I move around in the industry, but I never go far.
The truth is I never wanted to work in this profession.
As in, this is the last thing I would have chosen for myself if I thought I had any other option.
Unravelling it now, I realise that I stepped into this feeling choiceless, trapped, and bullied, and have never been able to step back out.
Come to think of it, I have felt that way most of my life.
So I guess there is something to ponder.
If it were wrong from the beginning, and I mean really wrong wrong wrong, then is it any wonder it is not right now?
After all, I had to do something.
It wasn’t as if I could get a job in retail, or waiting tables, while I figured this all out.
I feel as though I am sinking in quicksand, and there is no way out. But the biggest difference now is I have a family to look after.
Even when I go and do other things, I keep being sucked back into the vortex. Be it out of desperation, low self-esteem, a promise of its only temporary, the falsity of at least I am good at it, or a million other half-truths.
However regardless of the reasoning, something has to shift.
I am so sick of feeling like shit about this, but I don’t know what to do to make it better.
Sure, I can go back to university and get another qualification, but how is that going to help in the meantime?
I mean apart from that I would absolutely love love love it.
In fact, I cannot wait.
However the do what makes you happy thing doesn’t exactly pay the bills. At least not at the moment.
It is rather like telling someone with a disability they should be grateful. Because yes, that is going to make an amputees arm grow back, a Deaf person hears a wheel chair user be able to walk the stairs, and a blindy regain their sight.
What I am saying is, gratitude and positivity alone, are not always enough.
Mind you I am not doing myself any favours by wearing this grumpy coat either.
While I worked, and wrote, and wished for more coffee, Michael and Emily did their usual chores.
This involves a lot of playing in the garden, and a little housework.
Although according to Emily, unstacking the dishwasher, and loading the washing machine, is definitely a game. Along with watching the washing be hung out, yep, she still does that, and unfolding it as daddy tries to put it away.
Then there is climbing up on the printer and taking stuff off his desk, with or without his permission, unstacking the baking wear drawer, daddy’s CD case, and the nappy bag.
Crawling over the lounges, under the dining room table, and through daddy’s legs.
Thank God, she hasn’t figured out how to get into the pantry yet.
In terms of the garden, there is the rocking horse, Flintstone’s car, trampoline, upside down clamshell, climbing frame with the slide, picnic table, and pulling the stakes out of daddy’s tomato plants.
Along with the ants nest, back stairs where she is not allowed, and doing big laps through the front door and around to the back. Stopping only to eat leaves, pick up the watering can, sit on the numerous kids sized chairs scattered around, or play with any of the afore mentioned items.
Michael and I have the kind of relationship whereby if we aren’t together, we will ring one another fairly constantly.
It isn’t unusual for us to speak at least once, if not twice a day when I am at work.
However normally, at least these days, it is for a specific purpose such as do we need milk, how is the baby, can you find… Or the occasional spontaneous deep and meaningful.
So imagine how loved I felt when he rang while Emily was asleep at lunchtime, just to see how my day was, and if I were ok.
Thank you darling, that was very romantic.
Miss Darcy then insisted on their spending their afternoon in the good park along with every other mum with toddlers in our area.
They played lots of games, spoke to lots of people. Did lots of climbing, crawling, and cuddling.
I don’t think a day goes by where Emily doesn’t abscond with another child’s ball, at least for some of the time.
She is obsessed with chasing them around.
Her favourite game at the moment besides the rocking horse when we are at home is to play catch.
And no, I don’t mind that my one year old is better at it than I am.
I feel bad when I ring to say I am coming home, and Michael packs baby girl up, because they always sound like they’re having so much of a good time.
I can hear all those little voices in the background, and it is delightful.
So how do I get that behind Emily’s laughter as a ring tone?
As always, they met me as I disembarked from the train, and we all headed home.
Afternoon tea was its usual fun affair, whereby I got to spend some quality time with baby girl before heading into the bedtime ritual of dinner, bath, and bed.
I keep thinking maybe I should up my work hours, but I really really really value our afternoons together, and cannot reprioritise them for something less meaningful.
And there is the problem.
I cannot find meaning in my job as of late.
As in no aspect of it brings me joy, a sense of purpose, or a job well done.
Even when I know I have knocked it out of the park, I don’t get that buzz which has always been just enough to keep me going.
She is only going to be small for such a short time, and I don’t want to miss any of it.
I know it seems as though many of our days are the same, but there is always some intricacy or another which makes each moment so different. Be it a new micro movement, an advancement in language, a look, a laugh, a new game to play…
Sometimes it is simply her outline, which has changed.
Sometimes it is the way she mimics what I do by patting the floor exactly where I have as an indication of where I want her to lay down, or how she likes to hide bickies down my cleavage for later.
It can be the way she sits at the picnic table with such patience as I organise her a snack, or how quickly she becomes competent with a new toy.
It is how I have to keep reminding her to sit down in the bathtub, or the way she looks at me when I give her a bottle.
The thousand times she steels my sunnies, reaches for my coffee, or points to the birds in the trees.
How she wraps her little hand around my finger, stomps her feet in happiness, tries to climb the stairs in a standy uppy stance, her froggy bottom, and oh my goodness, that beautiful ever changing smile.
There are just too many things to name.
Michael tells me she looks nothing like her baby photos.
I find it hard to imagine her anywhere other than where she is right now.
Remembering is not natural, and projecting is not possible.
Emily is Emily, and these ten seconds are all we have.
I try to freeze our most intimate moments via either an image, or a peace of text, but nothing captures the beauty of our present.
The crunch of her biscuit, the wave of a hand, or the sound of a new word. And that baby smell. That beautiful baby smell!
It’s like a drug I tell you.
I try to soak it all up, etch it into my being and my brain, and be grateful for absolutely everything, but still the tick tick tock of time slips through my grasp.
I am definitely the mama who likes to be there when she wakes up, and when she goes to sleep.
How on earth am I ever going to leave her for a night?
Michael keeps telling me I can, but… I so can’t.
It would have to be something pretty monumental to take me away from my family for any length of time. And at this point, I can think of only one potential project, which would allow that.
This isn’t to say I am not open to anything else, so if the universe wants to test me out, I am more than up for the challenge.
However as I said, it would have to be pretty bloody worthwhile.
Putting Emily to bed on Monday night was a breeze.
For the first time in, I have no idea how long, she self-settled. As in we put her down, she rolled over, chattered to herself for about half an hour, and fell asleep. As in without mama or dada being in the room to facilitate.
Well done honey bunch.
The only thing I can think of which may have prompted this, was I took some advice and turned the cot around, changed the colour of her sheets, put her sheep skin fluffy under the mattress protector so she could snuggle in, the way she did at Katie’s house with the makeshift blanket mattress, and dressed her in pyjamas with feet which were way to big.
I feel terrible, because I think she has been cold.
Tuesday was another workday. Again it was slow, but not entirely a waste of time.
Admittedly, it helped that Little didn’t wake up until 7:30AM, and was a happy girl from the get go.
We haven’t had the joy of her cutie voice chatting to herself then calling us for quite a while. As lately, the poor sweetie pie has woken up crying and miserable.
Thankfully, I also woke uplighter, and more empowered than I have been in ages.
Something felt as though it mysteriously shifted while I slept, thus leaving me with new unconscious and as yet intangible possibilities.
I felt hopeful.
Hopeful that things were going to be better.
Hopeful that I could make a difference.
Hopeful that we wouldn’t lose our house and have to live in an industrial bin behind Woolworths.
Hopeful enough to consider putting down the stick I constantly carry to beat myself up with.
It also helped that I spent my train trip making love to my coffee, and deliberately annoying the large important gentleman who simply had to sit next to me and conduct his large important meeting with his colleague beside him.
Dude, if you are that important, get a car.
Meanwhile Michael and Emily went home, spent the morning doing housework and playing in the garden, as it was too wet to go to the park, and then she went down for a nap.
I still get butterflies in my tummy sometimes at the delicious thought of seeing my husband. However now it is mixed with a delightful anticipation of seeing our beautiful daughter.
I couldn’t wait to get home on Tuesday afternoon to see them.
I love meeting them at the station, and walking home together in time for afternoon tea and a play.
I love the bedtime routine.
Well, most of it.
Getting Emily to sleep took forever. As in, I sat there for an hour as sweetie pie cried and cried and cried. For some reason, which I suspect may have had to do with her teeth, and her tummy, she couldn’t get comfortable.
She had been sucking her thumb a lot, which is usually a sign that things aren’t as they were. And the sound of her sucking her bottle was different from usual.
Super daddy had to come in and save the day.
I don’t know what kind of magic he’s got going on, but he is so much more adept at getting her to sleep than I am.
We have given up on the half bottle thing, and gone back to her 120ml portion in a bid to keep her asleep for longer.
The jury is still out as to whether it is working.
I have been trying to feed baby girl in her bed, while Michael still brings her in with him.
For weeks, I have been wondering why he does this, and finally he explained it is because that is how she gets her cuddle.
Now if only I could get him to navigate the space between her room and ours without putting the bright overhead hall light on, my world would be perfect.
It got me thinking, am I trying to push her away too soon?
Sometime I can be mean and cold without even knowing it, and I need him to pull me back into line.
At the moment, all I know is that she is having a growth spurt, And no matter what I dress her in, it is the wrong thing. It is either too warm, or too cold.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t get any of this right.
I seem to be out of step with the world around me.
For some reason I am not reading the signs.
Hell, I am not even aware of them much of the time.
Wednesday morning I was so excited to get up with baby girl.
Two days is a long time to be apart. Especially because we had only had two days together before that.
I was looking forward to our girly time. My plan was to kick daddy out of the house all day so we could do our thing. I had hoped he would spend the time doing what he wanted, but as it worked out, he spent his day driving around Sydney on my behalf picking up some more equipment for Emily. And a special present for Rosy May.
Yeah I know, best husband ever ever ever!
I was over joyed at our pending purchases.
That freecycling website just keeps giving and giving and giving.
Here’s to consumerism!
I brought Little into our bed for a cuddle as she requested before taking her downstairs to play and have breakfast.
I was relieved to find there was not enough milk to get us through the day, because that meant we had a valid excuse to go to the supermarket.
I know it sounds strange, but I needed some cash, and given it, it has been forever since I have used an automatic teller machine, I wasn’t confident I knew which buttons or sequence to press anymore, so the supermarket was the next best option.
I couldn’t remember if our cash machine had a headphone jack, and besides, trying to use those things with one cutie cute cute cute on my hip is impossible.
Michael calls them the stranglers, Emily calls them breakfast, and I call them sanity savers. In fact, I am using them right now to listen to what I am typing.
We’re going to go get some milk, I whispered to my sleeping husband as I snuck back upstairs to get dressed.
Again, I wondered whether to take the pram or the hippy thing, but again I came to the same conclusion. Getting through the checkout was far easier with the hippy thing.
Because at least the shop assistant would recognise my disability, and be a little more patient.
Therefore, I hoisted a pink pyjama girl on to my hip, and off we trotted.
You’re getting heavy, I said to her as we walked up the hill to the main road.
This really translates, as mummy needs to stop maing excuses, and build her strength and endurance up again.
By the time we entered the supermarket I had decided we couldn’t get through the day without bananas, some olives, and maybe some feta.
I had even toyed with the idea of getting an avocado. However by the time we picked a bunch of bananas, and I was strategizing as to how to get the deli guy’s attention, the avocado thing had slipped my mind.
The deli guy approached me, and after placing our order, he came around the front of the counter to put my items in our basket, as I didn’t have enough hands to reach for them between Emily, my stick, and juggling our fruit.
As usual, baby girl won him over in an instant, and they stood smiling at one another for a long moment.
I think almost every staff member in that shop knows Emily and Michael by sight, if not by name.
After collecting our treats, we headed for the dairy cabinet. However, there were piles of unstacked goods in front of where we needed to reach.
Thankfully, the milk manager was there, and asked us what we needed. I explained to him that normally I count across for the carton, but before I could finish my sentence, his side kicked who helped us last week handed me my item, smiled, and said have a good day.
Got to love good customer service.
We must have made quite an impression.
Emily waved good-bye for us, and we headed for the exit.
As we were going through the checkout, the gentleman in front was saying how good the avocados were. I made the off-handed comment that I had forgotten to pick one up, and when he suggested I go back, I explained that it was all too hard. Next thing I knew, he had gone back and picked me two.
Talk about a random act of kindness.
Thank you sir.
The checkout operator recognised baby girl, as she is quite the regular with her daddy.
Therefore, I had no qualms in handing sweetie pie over for a quick cuddle while I packed our shopping into my bag.
When things like that happen, it gives me a real sense of community. So thank you everyone for taking the time to notice, and take care of us.
It is the little things, which make such a difference to my experience in the world. And this type of thing builds my confidence, and encourages me to try even bigger things.
Take that supermarket, I thought as we walked home. Not one, but five things. We are so clever, I continued in my congratulatory tone.
Now I know we can do this, we can move on to other tasks. And now Michael won’t have to worry.
He says the more often I go to the supermarket, the more people will get to know me and help.
For my money, the more often I go to the supermarket, the less he will have to.
Granted, I may not be up to finding the water crackers, soymilk, the good ice cream, or any more than one fruit at a time, but I am making progress.
I know he worries every time we try something new.
Not because he wants to control us, but because he is papa bear protective.
We arrived home without incident, and crept inside because daddy was still sleeping.
When he woke up fifteen minutes later, Emily was ready for her second breakfast.
So we all sat outside in the sunshine. Daddy and mummy with a cup of coffee, and Emily with her banana, olives and feta cheese.
How anybody does kids without a back yard I will never know. But hats off to you.
The rest of the morning was spent doing chores around the house.
Michael upped the romance by surprising me with a second cup of coffee as I folded clothes upstairs, and then proceeded to help me complete the task.
Hello husband of the year.
After which, he readied himself to leave on a mission for a tricycle with a handle.
This may not sound like much to anyone else, but it is a symbol of simultaneous normalcy and that wanker term called adaptive parenting. Because now I can push Little around with one hand, and use my cane in the other. Thereby eliminating the either or scenario of which to take. The hippy thing because I get to use my cane, or the pram, because Emily gets her space.
I felt sorry for him, because he had four different things to pick up for me in four different locations.
In my mind each suburb isn’t too far away, but I suspect reality is something else.
It took him most of the day.
Lucky for me he likes to drive. And lucky for him he likes to swim.
After all, his favourite Dam in the whole wide world was where he was ultimately headed.
Meanwhile Emily had a three-hour nap, and even managed to self-settle.
I deliberately spoke to my friend Liz on the phone while she was doing so, in order that I wouldn’t be as tempted to go up so soon.
Thank God, the tactic paid off, because sometimes it does not.
I had half planned to take us to Kmart for baby girl socks, as I had forgotten them the other day, but it was too nice of a day to be inside. Therefore, we spent our afternoon having a tea party at her picnic table, climbing on the climbing frame, and driving her car up and down the property.
For the most part, she was happy, but thank God, daddy came home when he did, and took her to the park.
I think little green marinas have taken over my brain again, because when it grew dark, I began to catastrophize about what might have gone wrong. As in, maybe my husband was lying unconscious under the swing set, and baby girl was wandering around alone down there.
It turns out; as usual, they were having way too much fun with some other kids, and couldn’t possibly come home any sooner.
Not to mention, they were only gone half an hour.
Why oh why do I do that to myself.
The bedtime routine went without a hitch, and Michael gave baby girl her bottle. What do you know; she went down without a peep.
Well done sweetie.
And thank you.
Again, I was relegated to the upstairs office so that Michael could watch a boy movie.
We have a second television, but it isn’t plugged in.
I refuse to have one in the bedroom, as I know my husband would gradually begin to watch it while we were in bed, and I hate that idea.
Everybody knows beds are for sleeping, or sitting to write blog posts in.
Thursday morning started with a semi-grumpy girl calling to us from her cot.
I fetched her for a cuddle, but she was too wiggly and wriggly to stay in our bed very long, so daddy and she headed downstairs.
It was another workday for me, so I was largely left to my own devices in order to be ready in time.
Trust me, it takes far longer to have a shower, throw on some active wear, and pack my bag than it should.
The only thing, which motivated me to get out from under the covers, was the memory that Michael had promised I, could wheel Emily to the station in her new tricycle with the handle.
However when it became time to leave, he expressed his concern over how I would manage, and that maybe it would be better if we practiced up and down the front path first.
There was no way this was going to happen. I mean, the station was our dry run, as far as I was concerned. And besides, he could always take over if I couldn’t do it after all.
Needless to say, I got my way, as evidence by how loudly I shouted it from the tops of social media later in the morning.
I never like having my photo taken, because I don’t know how to position my body in flattering poses, how to make my smile lovely, or hide the blindisms.
To my mind, I always end up looking stressed, strained, uncomfortable, and stupid.
However sometimes it has to be done.
This was too important and too big of a leap forward not to be publically paraded.
I had always considered a tricycle with a handle an extravagance, or just another unnecessary accessory.
Sure, Michael, Emma, my orientation and mobility instructor, and I had discussed it as a possible option when Little was still growing in my belly, but apart from the fact I had forgotten the conversation until my husband reminded me as we stood outside our front gate, me with a red spotty dotty cane in one hand, the tricycle in the other, was that I didn’t think it would happen.
The lesson here being, not everything has to be specially adapted to fit a blind parent. Sometimes all it takes is to repurpose mainstream things for a girl’s own means, motivations, and mind-set.
Glory to the engineer who put this bad boy together!
I was in heaven as I pushed Emily toward the train.
I could feel Michael’s apprehension as he walked behind me, and then beside me. Although he wouldn’t admit it.
Normally I love having him with me, but his nervousness was agitating, and his insistence on walking next to me, when we already took up most of the path made it more difficult for me to navigate.
Thankfully, he began to relax slightly as we journeyed, but still I could tell he wasn’t over the moon about it yet.
However when I spoke to him a couple of hours later, and announced my intention to take Emily to Greek Easter the following week with it, he didn’t bat an eyelid.
In fact, he was hoping to organise a catch up with his best mate on that day.
Sometimes it just takes him a second to keep up with me.
Again, I don’t think it is that he doesn’t trust me. He simply worries for our safety.
Work was slow, but I tried not to worry about it too much.
I actually thought we were a week further ahead in the month than we actually are, so when Tamie pointed out it was only April 21, I breathed a sigh of relief.
My sense of time is so warped at the moment.
I stayed back a little later than usual, which sort of threw our afternoon routine out.
Michael tells me they had a difficult day.
Their routine was as normal; they played in the garden for the morning before heading to the shops for some milk and vegetables. Following this, they came home and Emily had a nap.
In the afternoon, they went to the good park, where they met more kids, played with somebody else’s ball, and climbed on everything.
They are building quite a community for themselves.
When they picked me up from the station, Michael brought our new tricycle. I was so excited.
I pushed that bad boy home at the speed of light. Michael jauntily loped along behind, and everything was easy.
Whatever apprehensions he had, they were clearly resolved.
The only mistake I had made was that because I needed to use the longest cane I have with it, I didn’t take a shorter one for the city. This meant my orb was longer and wider than usual as I barrelled through the oblivious school holiday crowds.
I apologise to the people I accidently ankle tapped, but not the ones who deliberately stepped in front of me.
Getting Emily down was easy.
Oh, I love the evenings like that.
However, she lulled us into a false sense of security.
Again, our night was super unsettled. The poor little thing had a temperature, her ears were hot, and she just couldn’t get to sleep.
Somewhere around the 2:00AM mark after each of us being up with her for hours, we brought her in for a cuddle.
I wasn’t cranky, because I know the I am in pain cry. It doesn’t piss me off like the other one.
Again, how does a mama refuse such a request.
Even if she does do it to manipulate us, I don’t think that is something we should ever turn down, and Michael agrees.
Once we brought her in with us, she began to play.
I didn’t mind so much because at least she was happy and distracted.
I had stripped her off half an hour earlier and wiped her down with a cool washer of vinegar and water in a bid to bring her body back to homeostasis, also known as calm baby. Therefore, I was relieved when it seemed to work.
After twenty or so minutes of fidgety chatter, I told her we were going back to her bed.
I know I have touched on this before, but we still haven’t quite met in the middle.
It is not natural for me to tell her things, as I would rather ask her.
Unless of course it is come to mummy. Now that is definitely a non-negotiable phraise, and she knows it.
However, in other situations, I find it more effective for example to ask if she is ok, rather than tell her. This way she gets to check in with herself and make up her own mind rather than rebel against what we are dictating.
While Michael works the other way, and seems to tell, her things more than ask her.
I am really torn between his approach and mine. Because I wonder if by asking her would she like a fresh nappy, would she like to go to bed, would she like a bath, and a million other questions, am I giving her too much responsibility too soon, or am I simply allowing her to decide for herself and learn about actions and consequences.
I know that Michael does what we all do, which is take what we hope is the best things from our parents, and passing them on.
Often I can hear his father’s voice in his phrasing, as I am sure he hears my mother in mine.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it grandpa.
And I know for example his telling Emily she is ok rather than asking her, is his way of showing her that she is fine, and falling on her bottom is nothing to worry about.
So I guess all in all, we are doing the best we can.
However I wish he wouldn’t start a sentence with the word don’t. Because to my way of thinking, don’t fall, is only going to plant the seed rather than prevent the act. Whereas I try to frame things in a more positive reference such as be mindful of the edge.
I know it is merely a difference in parenting styles, and pretty much everything else we are on the same page. But I guess it goes to show how much emphasis I put on words, and the semantics of language.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe I am worrying too much about this.
I mean it can’t be that bad.
She certainly seems to play by herself a lot more when she is with him as compared to with me.
Friday morning Michael dragged himself out of bed with our grumpy girl.
She had literally been up every hour on the hour and then some.
Normally she will either sleep well for the first six hours and then be unsettled, or vice a verse. Therefore, we are claiming Thursday night as the worst night we have ever had in terms of sleeplessness.
My dreams are pretty shit lately, so again I don’t know why I choose to sleep when reality is linear. But I could barely open my eyes as Michael placed Little to jump on me.
I chuckled to myself as she sat on my face, kicked me in the head, and tried to open my eyelids with her fingers.
It won’t always be like this, I thought as she played flop across my belly.
I love that game.
I also love how she now rubs her hand back and forth gently across my skin, tucks her arms and hands down in front of her as I lift her to my shoulder like she is shy, or tries to tickle me under the chin every chance she gets.
She still pinches my nose, tweaks my nipples, and puts her fingers in my mouth just as she has always done.
But Sometimes she just comes to me for a cuddle, and no other reason. Not for comfort, not for climbing, not for company, but just a lovely random affectionate hug.
I love you Little.
Buckling her in the new tricycle takes forever, and as I wheeled her up the path, I wondered just how comfortable she would be in sitting in this apparatus all day.
We haven’t figured out how to adjust the seat back yet, and there is nowhere for her to really just put her feet up in front of her level to her hips the way her big pram allows.
As we reached the concourse, my train pulled into the platform.
This time I had packed two canes. One for the walk and one for the city. However as Michael handed me my second one so I could race down the stairs, he had folded it up.
This slowed me down considerably, not to mention I couldn’t do the stairs as quickly as I once did when my vision was better.
I just reached the doors of the train as they shut.
It is not often I miss a train that closely.
When Michael and Emely met me on the platform a few minutes later, my husband was fuming. He said that the guard had seen me, yet still opted to move the train on.
It was my fault really, I responded. I should have been earlier.
Maybe the guard and I had some karmic shit to work out.
It was the longest fifteen minutes until the next train, but at least I got to spend more time with my family.
I was nervous about my first nine-hour day, and not being there to put Emily to bed that evening. So maybe it was a small act of self-sabotage on my part, which caused my delay to work.
Not that it mattered terribly, because the day started very very very slowly.
As I hopped on the train, a gentleman gave me his seat, and commented that it must be difficult to get on the train with a cane and a cup of coffee.
I replied that I would never give up the coffee, but gladly give up the cane.
He laughed, and then I proceeded to tell him all about our new tricycle.
Yep, I am that excited about it.
Freedom is not an indulgence, and now that I am concentrating more on having that, rather than money per say, I am much happier.
The Tricycle is a symbol of just such freedom. And although it did not cost us coinage, it did cost us time. However the essence of what I was originally after has been realised.
Not to say that money isn’t easy, and wouldn’t be lovely, but… Maybe if I go for freedom, then things will show up in ways I haven’t even imagined.
Bring it on universe.
It was hard to be at work all day, especially when I calculated the amount I was earning per hour if I broke it down like that, and compared it to what I was missing out on.
A trip to the library, playing in the garden, a walk through the park, sliding down the slippery-dip, high/low tea, bath time, and a kiss good night.
However, I amused myself for the afternoon writing up each individual page’s sales copy for the business.
They somewhat just came to me of their own accord.
Which between you and Me, I have been trying to write them for almost two years,and the words have not come.
I know it sounds ridiculous, and it shouldn’t be that hard, but the writer’s block was real. All too real.
So I guess in that way, I was lucky to have a quiet afternoon.
I think one of my biggest hurdles has been my fearfulness of the blindy community.
What I mean by this is those hard corers who live breathe and embody the old parading of disability and are resistant to change.
They are the people who are so stuck in the entitlement and victimhood of it all, that they make the rest of us look bad.
But Somehow, I had it in my head that their approval would either make or break my business.
Talk about having it all back the front on some level, because they aren’t even my customer base.
My customer base is those sassy blindies who don’t take themselves too seriously, and are wanting something other than what they are currently being offered.
They want more from life than platitudes and handouts.
They want to be recognised for the fabulous people they are, not the fact that they cannot see.
My audience are discerning, they know what they like, and they know they’re worth more, even if the rest of the world hasn’t caught up yet.
No stereotypes allowed.
Wow, that is as close as I have ever come to articulating my ideal customer.
I still think it has a way to go, but at least it is a start.
As it happened, Michael and I had found ourselves in a deep and meaningful about the business when he rang while Little was asleep.
I hadn’t realised he felt terrible about not doing the photos, discussing the graphics, or helping me with any of the other visuals the way he has been promising forever.
I had decided he wasn’t interested in supporting me; therefore, I should just put this puppy to bed once and for all.
After all, it is costing us money rather than making us anything. Let alone the difference I had envisioned.
After she woke up, They did go to the park for a brief time.
Michael said she was a little grumpier and clingier than usual, but her ears were nice and cool again.
The poor little thing was in bed by 4:50PM, without a bath, dinner, or her pyjamas.
I hear it was a monumental meltdown, and nothing helped accept a big fat bottle and a nice comfortable cot.
Oh well, whatever works.
I felt guilty I wasn’t there, because maybe a kiss from mummy could have made it better.
Meanwhile, I had thought working late, meant that I would get a nice quiet empty train home.
Holy shit, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Not only did the carriage smell like old farts, but it was packed.
Packed with weirdo crazies, who were very very noisy.
Weirdos who didn’t respect other people’s body space.
I hate being squashed on a seat, especially when it is not necessary.
The lady next to me was grossing me out with her very presents.
Then there were the group of gentlemen across from me who just weren’t my cup of tea, along with the very loud family in the corner.
As in seriously people, use your indoor voices on public transport.
The whole trip there was a strange vibe, which had me on edge.
I was actually relieved to see the train ticket police come through, and kept one of them talking with me for several stations until it was time for me to get off, because I didn’t want to be left alone with these nutters.
Just when I thought I was home safely, and was busily strategizing the next block’s walk, but had gotten waylaid by the electronic ticketing tap tap machines not working, a drunken guy approached me and offered me a hand.
Ok, approached isn’t the right turn of phrase. Rather he forced himself upon me.
I assured him repeatedly I was fine, and made this journey on a daily basis, thus I was quite capable of managing.
However, he didn’t listen.
When he grabbed my shoulder, I nearly fell down the stairs in a reflex action to get away.
Why oh why nobody else thought it prudent to intervene as a clearly intoxicated man harassed a blind woman, I will never know.
I mean there were hordes of people surrounding us as this was taking place.
He kept asking me where I was going, and although normally I would lie, and head in the opposite direction, I was tired, and eager to get home to my husband.
After all, he was expecting me, and I didn’t want him to worry either. Therefore, I kept my original course.
And I was tired.
It all took place so quickly.
I was in a tail spin.
The gentleman in question insisted on walking beside me, which made it even more difficult.
For months, the streetlights over our zebra crossing near the station have been out, and it is a dark and disorientating walk home.
I worry that a car won’t see me, let alone the gazillion obstructions depending on the day.
Firstly, there is that tree which always jumps out at me, the possibility of garbage bins, discarded furniture, a wayward shopping trolley, and the affection of the not so slutty slutty cat I need to be aware of.
The man tried to grab my hand, but I yanked it away.
Again, why wasn’t anyone else stepping in?
It was obvious I didn’t know him, nor did I want to have anything to do with him. However, I was left to fend for myself. And the point is I couldn’t.
I don’t deal with drunkards very well.
They are my Achilles heal.
I felt vulnerable, isolated, alone, and helpless.
Again, he tried to grab my hand, and I pulled it away, saying that I was fine.
However in the act of doing so, my angles were off, therefore I ran into a bush – three actually.
I didn’t care about the humiliation, in fact I didn’t even notice. I was more interested in getting out of the situation, and having him not know where I live than anything else.
I felt as though I needed to placate him at almost any cost. Because that was the fastest way, I would be free of him.
Clearly reasoning and reassurance wasn’t working.
Why would it, the man was heavily intoxicated.
I wasn’t sure what a violent fuck off from me type response would illicit in return; therefore I felt I was left with no choice but to submit.
Keep calm, keep calm, keep calm, and it will keep him calm, was my mantra.
It wasn’t so much that I was afraid for my safety, but something more subtle.
I felt intruded upon in the most intimate of ways.
My husband and my sisters are the only ones who hold my hand. Why was this man trying to make such a personal jesture?
I kept thinking that surely he couldn’t have been going in the same direction as me.
I was relieved when we reached the entrance of the park because I thought we would be parting ways. At least that is what his conversation indicated.
For the billionth time I assured him, I didn’t have very far to go, and that my husband was expecting me.
He had asked who was coming to get me, as we stood at one of the darkest points of my journey, and I explained that normally it would be my husband, but given it was so late, he was home with the baby.
I had hoped this would deter him.
But of course not.
It was obvious the guy had a mental illness, and I was extremely uncomfortable with how he kept calling me beautiful.
The funny thing was I think he really meant it.
But instead of making it less creepy, it made it more so.
Over and over and over again, he kept saying it as though he were fixated.
For a third time he grabbed my hand, and I submitted with my wrist. Clearly, I wasn’t going to get rid of him, and I needed to ease myself into a position where I was closer to houses, and a better-lit area.
Nobody from the blocks of flats beside me, would have batted an eyelid if they heard or saw anything, as we constantly have teenagers in the park yelling and arguing at the top of their voices, so why would this be any different.
I tried to hold him at arm’s length, and put my wrist up in the air.
But he kept dragging it down.
He refused to let me walk home alone, and detoured out of his way in order to see me to my gate.
Not my proper gate, but the main gate of my complex.
I felt violated, dirty, and disgusting by the time I said good-bye.
I know he was harmless, but oh my God!
He had told me about his divorce, and how a friend of a friend was a blind piano tuner, and did I know him, along with a million other facts or fiction that I didn’t want to know.
I knew I should have rung one of my sisters to walk me home before I got off the train, because maybe then this wouldn’t have happened.
I have never had a problem walking home in our area after dark. Be it 7:00PM, or 1:00AM.
I guess it serves me right for trying to force the universe into a corner.
My decision to work that afternoon had not been taken lightly, but it had been calculated to bring me financial gain.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off the way I would have hoped, but sometimes that is what happens when a girl rolls the dice from a place of fear instead of fun.
Maybe if I hadn’t stayed back that extra five minutes, I would have made an earlier train.
Maybe if I had stayed five minutes more, I would have missed the wacky train I was on.
Maybe I should have taken the lift instead of the stairs, because then I would have tapped off at a different machine, and wouldn’t have been held up.
Even writing about it now I feel icky sticky, and as though I need another shower.
When I arrived home, Michael was just coming down the stairs from giving Emily a bottle.
Apparently she had been super restless all evening.
SO the next time she woke, I raced up to her room, put my hand in hers, gave her a drink of water, a kiss on the head, and put her back to sleep.
I could tell by the way she hushed at the sound of my footfall on the floorboards, that she knew exactly who it was without opening her eyes.
No part of her pulled back as I reached with my fingertips to find her.
It was as if we were one person.
All she needed was to know I was home safe.
There was something about her demeanour, which told me she had been worried.
Which in turn then made me worry, because I don’t want her to ever feel responsible for me.
Michael says I will have to go out more so she can get used to going to bed without my company.
We didn’t hear from her for three or four hours after that.
However then she was up every hour or so.
I was desperate for a scrubbing brush and to wash the boy germs off, but I also wanted dinner.
Thankfully, Michael hadn’t quite made the pasta, so I had five minutes.
When I told him my story, he was quite easy going, and suggested it might have been a neighbour.
I told him I didn’t think so.
However when the front light came on with no accord, and I joked that it might be the drunk guy coming to find me, his energy changed, and he became more protective.
He was almost fierce in his response.
Consider yourself on notice drunken stranger.
After dinner, we were both falling asleep on the lounge, so we crept up to bed by 9:30PM.
Sometimes he will read, but not that night.
I think we were asleep within about ten minutes.
At one point when I stumbled in to search for Emily’s dummy, she was so excited that she did her running legs. It took all my strength not to burst out laughing at the action.
As we lay in bed talking about our day, I had said to Michael I would get up with her on Saturday morning. However the hour and a half I had spent up with her at 3:00AM, had taken the stuffing out of me.
Admittedly, some of that was with her perched between us in our bed as the rain pitter-pattered gently on our roof, which was lovely.
It is at those times, when I love to have Little in my bed. However, I have changed my mind about wanting her in with us all the time. Therefore, after fifteen minutes or so, I picked my not quite asleep beautiful baby girl up, and took her back to her bed where she would be more comfortable.
TO my mind, this was our compromise; she got a cuddle, and to know we are right next door, just as always, and I got to lay down instead of sit naked on her bedroom floor, with my arm twisted through her cot bars in order for her to hold my fingers.
It only took another twenty minutes or so to resettle her, but I knew if I persevered, she would go down.
After all, her feet weren’t moving, which is usually how I know she is ready to sleep.
SO when it hit 6:00AM, and she came in with us again for another gorgeous snuggle, I could not get it together.
I was walking the edge of a migraine, and needed to sleep it off.
However when I asked Michael if he was ok to get up, he had complained that he felt the same as always, which means utterly exhausted, Because he hasn’t slept in a year.
In my head I responded with a well that isn’t true, because you have had nights away from us. But there was no point in saying it out loud.
I mean why create an argument, when there was no need.
I swallowed my retort, apologised for not being able to pull myself together, and rolled over with a guilty conscience, while he and Emily went down stairs to start their day.
I knew that once he was up, and had poured a cup of jo down his throat, he would be fine.
I know I get nervous about spending time with her, but I love our early mornings. So to give one up isn’t exactly easy.
It is just those first two minutes I struggle against.
Sure enough, after the crappiest Three hours sleep ever, I came down, and found them stacking blocks on the lounge room floor.
Whereas if I had gotten up with her as we agreed, by the time he had come down, I would have had to have gone back to bed for the day, if not the weekend.
Sometimes I don’t tell him when my headaches or my eyes are going to pop out of their sockets, so I understand his grumpiness. After all, taking care of Little is a much harder job than what I go and do each day.
So of course, he has the right to expect a sleep in every now and then – he’s earned it.
It was too wet for us to do anything, so we played in the lounge room.
However, for some reason the house felt too small and too dark for the three of us.
I was relieved when Michael announced he was going for a swim, and to do the groceries, because it meant the stupid radio would be turned off, and Little and I could have some quiet time without that extra audible stimulation, that I swear to God he doesn’t even hear most of the time.
Blab la blab la bla… On and on it goes.
He refuses to wear headphones, so I have no choice but to listen to the garbage whichever DJ is sprouting for the day.
I worry about how this effects, or will affect Little, but every time I bring it up, the subject gets brushed over with a wave of his hand and a yes dear from his mouth.
Shock jocks aren’t my thing, and rarely do they have anything positive to say. Therefore, I don’t want Emily growing up with talk back as the sound track to her childhood. But at the moment, I am fighting a losing battle.
I tried to get baby girl down for a nap, but she would not have a bar of it.
Thankfully, she played happily in her cot for almost forty minutes, so I guess that is kind of resting.
I didn’t know what else to do with her, so I brought her back to the kitchen, and we ate lunch, rang grandma, and had another bottle before going back to bed.
The second time was a success, which meant I had an hour to work on this post before Michael returned, and the cutie cute cute cute woke up.
The remainder of our afternoon was again spent piled up on top of one another as the rain drizzled.
I had tried everything to keep her occupied.
We rotated the toys, ate bickies, raced through the dining room table tunnel, and she even climbed into the tricycle, and begged us to push her around the loungeroom.
Michael said she used it as a stepping-stone to climb on to the dining room table early in the day.
I should probably be more concerned than I am about that, but all I can think is what good use of her problem solving faculties.
Imagine looking at a series of objects, and repurposing them into a staircase of sorts for your own gain.
Very clever baby girl.
Eventually none of us could take it anymore, and Michael had to take Little for a walk in the pram.
I had to giggle when we were in the bath; she picked up her duck, looked at me, said yoo-hoo, and squirted him at me the way daddy has taught her.
Ha ha, but what she didn’t know was that she was doing me a favour.
After all, I had planned to get out of those banana soaked tracksuit pants anyway.
But well done sweetie pie, that was good aiming.
Why do I think I am always going to come off second best in these water fights.
Following this, we played in her room for a while, where I found a pile of clothing I had forgotten about.
Finally when I thought she was ready, we read a book on the lounge, each of us in our comfortable warm pyjamas, then I gave her a bottle, and put her squarely in the middle of her cot as always.
However Getting her down was a nightmare, and Michael had to intervene as usual.
I think he was determined we would eat our roast lamb in peace.
Yes, the title of baby whisperer truly does belong to you.
Once again, I was relegated to the upstairs office, also known as my bed, so Michael could watch a movie about vampires.
I am not good with anything like that, so was happy to oblige. Besides, I had a blog to write.
I also had a website to build, but that didn’t happen.
I thought I would trick fate, so I stayed in my pyjamas while I slept. My theory being, that if I were ready to get up for Little, she wouldn’t wake up.
Well it worked until 5:15AM, which was when I once again found myself huddled on he her bedroom floor with my arm-twisted through her cot bars so she could wrap her tiny hand around my fingers.
I hadn’t realised how late it was, because if I had, I would have left the sweetie pie to sleep with us after her bottle instead of giving her a quick cuddle and taking her back to her own room.
I have a feeling she was freezing, because even though she was in the warm pyjamas from nanny, her hands were cold, and it took me an age to warm them up again.
Meanwhile she fidgeted, fiddled, wiggled, and wriggled.
Sleeping for a minute, crying for five more.
At 6:10AM, I lost my cool, and went back to my own bed. Only to have Emily scream down the house in protest.
I had watched the light begin to poor through the cracks in her blind, and listen to the birdies awaken. But still I hadn’t computed the time.
So I was surprised when Michael told me.
He asked if I was ok to take Emily, which I was, so off we set.
Breakfast was our first order of the day, whereby she ate a banana while I made her toast, and ate her toast while I made her porridge and pasta.
I figured part of my misery lately has been that I am not doing enough cooking.
Cooking is one of the ways I like to look after the world, and this morning it was with carbs.
I couldn’t ignore Little’s fish kisses on the glass after breakfast, so even though the ground was wet, I let her tumble out into the semi-sunshine for a play.
By the time I took her up to jump on daddy an hour later, she was suitably soaked.
Good work sweetie.
Michael decided we were due for a family adventure.
I try to be enthusiastic when he says this, but I find it difficult. Especially when I know, a long drive is going to be involved.
This morning we headed toward the ocean.
Well not quite.
It was a creek, which opened into the ocean.
Actually, it is somewhere I would love to live, but it isn’t accessible enough.
Emily was rather serious as we explored the picnic grounds.
However as soon as we put down the rug, and handed her a banana, she perked right up.
Then when daddy started feeding the ducks, it was as if all her Christmases had come at once.
Emily loves animals.
Surprisingly she didn’t try to chase them. Be it because she was busily eating half their bread roll, or because she knows better, I have no idea.
However the moment a kookaburra flew down to take her left over fruit; she was after him in a second.
Not to scare it away, but because she wanted to make friends.
I wonder if she thinks the ducks are too big.
I felt such peace and contentment as we sat there quietly.
This is what I had always craved as a single woman.
This is what I had always thought was missing for Michael and me before we became parents, and we used to go out on the weekends in search of the perfect nature spot.
To say I felt complete isn’t quite right, because that would infer that I was not complete beforehand. Therefore, I will describe the moment as full. It was a moment of utter fulfilment. None of us needed anything more for the hour, we were there.
Michael and I discussed the prospect of moving to the area, but as we drove around it later, and he deliberately pointed out how many snakes I would have to share the island with, which was my ultimate let’s give it a go for a year type scenario, I began to have second thoughts.
For the first time we considered it from a truly practical and accessible viewpoint, and as to how it would fit with our life now, what we wanted for Little, and what we needed for ourselves, and unfortunately it is just too remote, and there aren’t enough facilities, footpaths, or services nearby.
The detail, which tipped us over the edge, was the lack of children’s playgrounds.
Therefore, it looks like this particular spot on Sydney’s northern beaches is out.
I don’t know what it is about being in the car, but it makes me snappy.
Quite often, I hear Michael ask me if I am ok. Usually after, I have answered or said something too briskly.
Even with the box of stupid new Barbecue Shapes to keep me occupied, I was not relaxed.
Emily had a sleep for most of the way home, which was lovely. It meant that we would be set up for a lovely afternoon.
Michael dropped us off, and went for a swim.
He tells me the water although freezing was far more inviting than the day previously.
The day previously whereby he had chickened out completely.
It looks like this marks the beginning of bush walking season.
Meanwhile Emily and I sat outside and ate our lunch in the autumn sunshine.
We had instructions to go on a red capsicum hunt as a part of our dinner. So after fifteen minutes of chasing around varying stages of nakedness baby, strapping her into her tricycle, and gathering my gear, we were ready to go.
I had thought it would be a breeze.
Why was it so easy when Michael was with us, but the moment I set out on my own it was a challenge?
Not only was the sun in the wrong position, so Emily and I were left squinting, but there was a strange edginess in the air.
Every car which whizzed by was fast and aggressive.
Every couple we passed were arguing.
Even the birds overhead were squawking angrily at one another.
Slowly I walked along with my cane in one hand, and Emily’s bike in the other.
The one thing I had never banked upon in a million years was Emily wanting to hold my stick as we walked.
This made things very awkward. Not just from a navigational standpoint, but from a what will people think of me position.
I was afraid that her insistence no matter how I tried to discourage and redirect her on holding my stick with me would be misconstrued by the general public as my needing my daughter to help, and actually training her to do so.
Already I am getting a growing sense of her feeling responsible for me.
Tap tap scrape scrape scrape rattle bump.
Up the hill, over the railway bridge, and down the other side toward the supermarket me travelled.
Michael had already warned me not to take the short cut directly over the station because the lifts were not available.
Apparently, the concrete floors leading to said elevators needed painting. Because yeah, that is a great use of taxpayers money, and the transport budget.
Heaven help us that we actually have more guards on the trains or more staff at transport drop off points to serve the people.
Remind me again why city rail cannot do without the multimedia advertisements.
I had thought that my carrying the cane would mean that people would be mindful of our presents.
Sadly and frustratingly, I was mistaken.
The amount of people that played their own version of chicken with us, or who refused to get out of our way as we entered the shopping centre was ridiculous.
I was ready to scream obscenities at the top of my lungs in retaliation of such mindless and inconsiderate behaviour.
No longer do I feel a shamed because I cannot do something, or proud because I can.
I am simply another mama trying to get on with her day, and surely, people ought to be able to respect that.
I couldn’t figure out why the supermarket was so crowded.
I stopped to pick us up a basket just in case we wanted to buy more than one item, and I was nearly barrelled over by some chick busy looking at her phone.
Apparently waiting for me to put the basket on my arm was too much hassle.
We gingerly made our way to the fruit and vegetable section, weaving in and out between the display cases, trying to dodge people, trolleys, and small children.
I am still getting used to the feel of the tricycle and how it reads, not to mention my cane is too short for how I am sometimes positioned, and Emily’s superb teamwork, which restricts my movement.
Therefore, it wasn’t easy.
Noises buzzed around me, and it was almost too much to take in.
Granted some customers were lovely, and offered to move obstacles out of my way, but the staff were either too busy to notice, or chose not to help.
I think I passed three of them between the bread rolls and the limes.
I know I could have asked for help, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like it.
I wanted one of them to approach me.
After all, I was doing the best I could, and surely, they could see I had my hands full.
Admittedly, Emily’s holding my stick did come in handy as we wheeled along the isles and I touched everything with my left hand.
Admittedly I felt self-conscious doing so, but if no one was going to help me, then I would bloody well touch every food stuff in the entire shop.
Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, other tomatoes, string beans,zucchinis, squash, fatter cucumbers, and finally capsicum.
Look Little, I squealed with delight, we found them.
Again, I am fairly certain a staff member stood gaping as I picked first one, then two, then three up and fondled them affectionately.
We only need one, I continued talking to Emily, but which one do you think is best, I asked as I bent over the back of her head and showed them to her.
I like to get her involved where possible.
Eventually I settled on a firm beauty, put it in my basket, and contemplated the next item of business.
I knew I needed more things, but I couldn’t remember what they were.
Hadn’t I thought about getting a new bath mat on our way there, along with some desiccated coconut so we could make ANZAC bickies, maybe a chocolate treat for mummy, and some more formula for baby girl?
But all these things escaped me as I tried not to run into the chase stand.
Person after person almost kept tripping over us, and I began to swear under my breath.
Why can’t people watch the fuck where they are going, I muttered angrily after the fifth person brushed against my arm.
Sweetie this is all too hard for mummy, I said a little more loudly.
I felt guilty telling her that I couldn’t cope, and we needed to leave, because I want to be the super mum, and I don’t want her to worry. But I couldn’t help it. I had to keep voicing it.
Half way toward the checkout, I had a hankering for a can of coke, but had no idea where to find one.
I know they are situated near every second or third exit point, but I never seem to notice them.
What a strange craving, I thought as we lined up behind a trolley.
Finally, a staff member approached us, and asked if that was all I had.
Yes, I responded as he took my basket and led me to a counter.
He said he knew me because he had helped me before, and he knew my husband.
Everyone knows my husband, I replied with a laugh.
The lady serving us seemed to take forever, and I wasn’t sure if I had given her the correct money, because she was taking so long ringing my solitary good up.
Eventually she gave me my change, smiled at Emily, and moved on to the next person.
Somehow while waiting for her I ended all tangled up. Therefore, it took me an extra couple of seconds to get moving.
The feeling of being rushed on only served to heighten my anxiety, and make me fumble more.
As I went to push Emily out the gate, I thought her wheel was caught on the edge of something.
I continued to push, but was horrified when the lady announced that the chain was still across the exit, and that is why I couldn’t get through.
Unbeknownst to me, I had been strangling Little.
How the fuck could something like that happen, I gasped inwardly as the original staff member jumped to my rescue.
I am so so sorry he apologised.
I didn’t know it was closed, I said almost in tears.
My cheeks burned with shame as I looked at the woman.
Why you didn’t tell me, did I ask. I didn’t know, I just didn’t know! How am I supposed to know, I continued, mortified and afraid.
She didn’t say anything.
I was trembling as I walked out of there, and had to sit down on a bench.
Just give me a second to get organised, I said to Little as I parked her in front of me.
After putting the capsicum in my shoulder bag, which incidentally is definitely the wrong shape for holding a cane and a tricycle, I leant forward, and with the biggest smile I could muster, I asked Emily if she would like to go and play in the library.
Her response was a full body nod, and a resounding here, which means yes please mummy.
So off we set.
Again getting out of the centre was a nightmare, but be made it.
As I crossed the first set of lights, my angles were a little off, and I bumped us up the curb.
I know I really ought to slow down, but I worry about not having enough time to get across the road, and want us on the relative safety of the footpath as soon as possible.
So far, I haven’t run into any poles, but it is only a matter of time.
Emily waved at the cars as we waited for the next set of traffic lights to buzz green.
I always feel exposed walking up the path to the library, as it is so skinny, and so close to the busy busy road.
What if a truck runs up the gutter and hits us, I often think as I horridly make my way along the siding.
I knew we were close to the ramp, which leads to the entrance, but the sun was blinding me. I literally had to stop and listen for the entry point. Whereby I had to listen for the fat echo off the wide-open space, and then the long narrow echo of the skinny space.
Something about how the breeze flowed from my left, let me know precisely where the ramp was, so I headed up without a hitch.
Still Emily held my cane, which made it awkward because I could not be beside her, therefore had to let the body of my cane go, and hold the tiny loop which slips over the end to keep it all together with it is folded up.
Thanks sweetie, you are a good helper.
Again, I wasn’t sure if the library would be open; given it was a long weekend. However low and behold, the doors opened, and we were permitted entry into the room which houses so much knowledge.
We made it, I said to Little as I wheeled her between the shelves of books toward the toddler’s area.
We could hear children playing, and she began to get excited.
Reluctantly she gave up my cane as I parked her transport, and unbuckled her tiny body.
Are you ready to play, I asked as she wiggled into my arms.
Then I placed her down, and she crawled off into the distance.
Oh, I have forgotten your bells, I said rather too loudly as her face planted into a cushion.
This would mean I would have to be the helicopter parent, when all I really wanted to do was allow her the freedom to explore without my awkwardly hovering half a metre behind.
Michael says he doesn’t allow her to go much further from him either. However I am fairly certain his not that much further is a far cry from mine.
But thanks for trying to make me feel better honey.
For some reason I am intimidated by the people in the library.
It feels like a hard space to get to know.
Things muffle, yet echo and bounce simultaneously.
I find it hard work. And even harder to get my barings.
The room was crowded, and it was difficult to discern where everyone was, let alone how they would respond to a curious baby girl in their midst.
She loves people, and loves to climb into their laps. Especially when they have books to read.
I am always worried they will get angry at her.
I felt as though I spent the afternoon trying to redirect her attention to anything and anywhere else apart from where she wanted to be.
At one point as I took a photo and sent it to Michael so, he would know where we were, she wandered off, and I couldn’t find her.
Again, if I had brought her bells, this wouldn’t have been a problem.
Emily, where are you, I called repeatedly. But no answer.
I knew she couldn’t have gone far, but in which direction had she headed.
Emily, Emily, I called again, this time a little more panicked.
A staff member was putting books back in the shelves, but discretely ignored me as I searched for my child. Even though it turned out that, she could see exactly where my baby was, which happened to be going through the waste paper basket at the end of a row of shelves.
Oh, you found the rubbish bin, I exclaimed as I picked her up.
This time I made sure, I was indiscrete.
Good work honey, I continued as I took a piece of paper and passively aggressively dropped it on the floor at the librarian’s feet.
Maybe if she had bothered to aknowledge me, I might have put it where it belonged, but I thought her behaviour had been bitchy, therefore this was my way of letting her know it.
I mean if that had been me, and a mamma had been calling her child, and I could see a baby-sitting not two metres away, I would have said something along the lines of is this one yours?
Maybe it is just me, but I didn’t think she held up her end of the social contract.
It was as though she put her head down, and actively tried to shrink into herself with the don’t ask me anything vibe.
Michael says I could have asked her if she had seen my baby, but honestly, I was too busy looking for her to have those words escape my mouth.
I think at the time, I thought they had, because they had run through my head so clearly.
Emily crawled around the way she does, and eventually happened on a rather large pair of male’s shoes in the corner.
This led to her having a good game of pass the golfing magazine between her and another patron, while I sat awkwardly and felt as though I should apologise for our disturbing him.
However they seemed to be having fun, so after the perfunctory let’s leave this man alone, I left them to it.
Back and forth, they went with the magazine. Emily most pleased with the interaction.
So far, she had no luck in finding a friend. But this was the door that opened her to a new world.
Five minutes later, she had found a couple of big girls reading in the opposite corner who were more than happy to dote upon her.
They carried her around, read her books, held her fingers while she ran across the room, and gradually got more and more loud until their parents told them to leave the baby alone in those all too loud angry whispers.
Meanwhile I followed them around like a lovesick puppy. Half a shamed of myself, because I need to see what was happening, and half worried for Little’s safety. After all, it was obvious that these girls did not have younger siblings. Although it was lovely to hear them say, she was the cutest thing in the whole wide world.
Thank you girls.
Emily then spent her time crawling across the tops of lounge chairs, licking the windows, and jumping into beanbags.
When I asked her if she needed some water, she said yes, but when I handed her the Sippy cup, she rejected it with a flourish, and began to cry.
Oh, I’m sorry honey, mummy didn’t bring the other cup, I said as I tried to offer it to her again.
Clearly, the green and purple Sippy cup was not what she wanted.
I knew it wouldn’t be when I threw it in my bag, but I couldn’t find the white bottle she liked at the time.
Ok then, let’s go home, I continued.
However, she refused to get into her tricycle. So I let her down, and she immediately headed for one of those angry parents.
She climbed up on to the wooden table beside her, and immediately made friends.
Then promptly Stoll said side table, otherwise known as the truck, and began to push it around the library.
After ten more minutes, she began to lose the plot, so I picked her up, and this time did manage to get her strapped in to our chosen transport for the day, and we headed home.
Thankfully going home, we didn’t have too many encounters with other people. Although Emily did insist, once again on holding my cane and still I worried about the judgement of others.
I cannot count how many times well-meaning adults have said that won’t it be lovely when Emily can guide me around.
For God’s Sake people, this is not why I have a child.
Leading me is not her job.
I was surprised to find Michael still hadn’t arrived home as I unlatched our gate.
Emily waited patiently as I unlocked our front door, and we went inside.
When I handed her the water bottle she has always used, which is a baby bottle with a set of handles, she sculled its contents completely.
It had occurred to me that she hadn’t actually eaten too much that day, so I gave her the bottle of formula we had forgotten to have earlier that morning, and we sat on the lounge and had a nice cuddle.
Then daddy came home, they went to the park, and I did my usual chores of running her a baht, getting dinner ready, and laying out her pyjamas.
This brings us to where we are.
Clearly, it has been a big week, and I feel as though I have been put through the ringer. However, I am pleased to say I also feel as though I am coming out from under the cloud of misery I have been living with for quite some time now.
So here’s to sunny days and good times ahead.