Again, this week’s blog has felt like a chore.
In fact, I have put off writing it until the last minute.
Thank God, our days have not been as eventful as the last couple of weeks, which means there will not be as much to report upon.
It has all been pretty homey and mundane really.
But aren’t they the moments that count?
The cuddles on the kitchen floor.
And boy, oh boy are they the best cuddles ever!
Little, you give amazing cuddles.
Amazing amazing amazing!
I cannot express just how contented I feel for all those hours we put in on the kitchen floor together.
As in, there is nowhere else I would rather be than sharing frozen peas with my baby girl.
Mind you, there have been some half-masticated foodstuffs she has offered me lately that have almost made me gag.
But still I play the game, and eat them with enthusiasm.
Here’s hoping she doesn’t see the grimace of disgust cross my face momentarily as I realise what she has placed to my lips.
The problem is, if I don’t take her offerings, she looks so dejected. And I never want to make her wrong in that way.
Because as we all know, there are going to be so many people in the world who will do that, the last thing she needs is for me to be one of them.
Our days are filled with the repetitive pattern of learning and growing.
The bonding over afternoon bickies and cheese.
Trips to the park, the shops, and back to the park again.
More bickies, more cheese, and more cuddles.
Laps of the backyard, rocking on the rocking horse, vegemite toast, bottles of milk, shape sorters, seventeen different emotions in less than a minute, and the best games of peek-a-boo ever!
Oh yes, and of course, so I do not have to continually mention it, let us just assume that Emily has been in our bed every night from various points onward.
I know I said this is what I wanted, but seriously, I have changed my mind.
Neither Michael or I, or even Little get a decent sleep when we are all together.
I still think it is because she is cold.
However, Michael still differs in his opinion.
Things became so concerning by this morning that we had to get the baby book out and see what it said.
Not the big baby book, because we have already read that chapter on sleep, but the other baby book.
I know it is hard to believe we have more than one, but we do.
This week has been all about the ehhhhh accompanied with the index finger point, rather than someone using their words.
We are amazed at how well she can distinguish her things from among our own.
That girl can spot her favourite purple water bottle from in among mine from thirty paces.
Monday morning began with a quick yoga session and a slow cup of coffee.
Michael took the hit and got up with baby girl while mummy tried to avoid the pain in her neck by going back to sleep for an hour.
It seems that Monday is becoming blog day, as once again I found myself sitting at my desk for a large proportion of the time, and catching up on the previous week’s post, as Michael and Emily played in the yard below Oh, and for the record, this doesn’t mean there is no longer a café meg, it just means we’ve expanded our grand estate to include something for the little ones.
The same feisty cook is in the kitchen, and we have most of the same run down mismatched bistro style tables I love.
Although I am back on the hunt of a big eight seater setting, along with a deck chair or two, an outdoor heater, and while we are at it why not a cubby house for baby girl.
By eight seater, I really mean twelve, and by cubby house, I really mean castle, seesaw, slip and slide, rock climbing wall, basketball ring, and whatever else the universe wants to bring us.
We were supposed to get Katie’s and Rosy’s plastic play equipment when they moved, but, as we could not find a way to get it from the highlands to Sydney, we are still without a plastic dwelling for our collection of best toddler territory ever.
I mean, a girl can dream, right?
Somewhere around lunchtime, my husband was desperate to go to the supermarket, so he put Emily down for a nap, and headed off on his nappy pilgrimage.
Sure, he may have come home with several versions of chicken something, which if it were me, I would have avoided like the plague, but we know how Michael likes what he considers to be a bargain, even though chances are he will end up disappointed with the quality of said over all product later, but falls for the convenience almost every time.
I think it is a throwback to his Batchelor days.
However I have to give it to him, he did come back with nappies. And a treat for mummy, so I guess I cannot complain.
Meanwhile just as Emily woke up, the postman came barrelling through the gate with a relatively large box.
Emily’s eyes lit up when she saw it.
What is it, she asked as I carried her on one hip, and the mysterious package in the other.
Let’s get some scissors and have a look, I replied as I put her and it down on the floor, and she began to examine the outside with enthusiasm.
The last box we received had her princess dolly and pram inside.
I had thought she would not remember such a thing, but now I am beginning to rethink my estimation of her cleverness.
Because why or how else would she know it contained something good, and that we would have to indeed open it quick sticks.
I sliced the box open, and carefully put the scissors back on the table out of a certain cutie cute cute cute’s reach.
However, I need not have bothered, because she was absorbed in pulling copious amounts of chocolate from our package to worry about the shiny sharpy pointy scissors.
Yep, chocolate chocolate and more chocolate.
Different shape chocolate, differently packaged chocolate, and differently flavoured chocolate.
Along with the mandatory foamy filler, which I am sure is no good for baby girls, but I am just as equally sure someone actually ingested before I managed to scoop it all out.
I had forgotten that our friend Den had emailed to say he was surprising us with some kiwi chocolate.
I knew it would be good, as this was the man who introduced me to some of the finest white wines I have ever tasted from the same region.
However, I was not quite expecting this type of delicious abundance to land on my doorstep.
So yeah, other people might get bills, but we get sweet treats.
Den, your generosity knows no bounds.
Thank you ever so much for sharing your culture with me.
Meanwhile daddy came home to find Emily in the middle of a chocolate party.
Not eating it of course, just rattling the wrappers.
So in a bid to leave mummy to her sugar fix, Emily and Michael headed down the park for a quick play before dinner.
As usual when they returned home, her bath had been run, and her dinner made.
However, why eat solids when there are peas and cheese to be had instead.
So much for our non-fussy eater.
It seems that Emily lives on bananas, apples, blueberries, bickies, rice-cakes, vegemite toast, green peas, and cheese.
Now I cannot say what the problem is with sweet potato, but apparently, it is an issue.
Every time I offer it to her, she ends up throwing it at me.
While solids are practically off the table.
We are hoping it is her teeth which are bothering her and that is why she doesn’t want to eat the yummy food Michael makes for her, rather than her simply not liking it anymore, but who knows.
I have read about these food phobias babies get when they are just about to walk.
We were hoping all our diligence around providing her a variety of foods might have saved us from this anomaly, but perhaps not.
Tuesday morning was a bit of a rush.
We were due at Macquarie uni by 10:00AM so we could have coffee with an x-colleague of mine.
However, toddler time being what it is we did not arrive until 10:30AM instead. Which all things considered I thought wasn’t a bad effort.
Besides, it is not like those academics or administrators are not flexible, so our tardiness was not the end of the world.
Sorry people, but you know it’s true.
It took some convincing to get Michael to agree to us taking the bus. He had wanted to drive us, but honestly, I thought it would be easier just to go by public transport.
Finding a parking spot in that place is ridiculous, and we all know Michael’s sense of direction is not brilliant.
At least I knew where the bus would drop us off, and how to orientate myself from there, or so I thought.
Therefore, it was with reluctance, and after much assurance, we would be fine, he walked us up to the bus stop.
Then when the bus arrived, and he had triple checked it was the correct one for us, we transferred baby girl from the pram to the hippy thing, as that was easier for me considering our mode of transport and where we were headed, and we were on our way.
As usual I had considered all our options, but given the somewhat inaccessible nature of the Macquarie campus, or if it is accessible, it isn’t usable, if one wants to get technical about it, I just figured it would be easier to be without wheels.
And I was right.
I was right because although there may be ramps, a girl might have to walk three parts around a building to access it as opposed to the stairs.
Emily was fidgety on the bus, which is so unlike her when we are travelling.
I felt bad for the other passengers as she fussed and grizzled.
However, there was not much I could do.
I tried distracting her by looking out the window, rummaging through the nappy bag, and letting her play with my sunnies.
However the problem with the nappy bag is, that is where the good stuff is, such as peas, cheese, milk, and bickies. And those are the things I try to ration out in order of importance.
For example, peas first, bickies and cheese second, banana third, and finally as a last resort out comes the milk.
Just as we arrived, I handed her the dummy, and she was much more settled.
Thankfully, the bus driver dropped us off on the same side of the road as where we would be picked up from, so all I had to do was find my way back to that exact spot.
Now that I could handle, I thought as we stood in the middle of a path I did not recognise.
I am really good at retracing my exact steps, no matter how many twists and turns I take. But this, this was strange.
I had worked at Macquarie for eighteen months or so, and although I was off campus most of the time, I had managed to finally get my baring around that joint, but here we were, and everything was different.
The last time I had been up in this neck of the woods, the Hearing Hub was still a construction site, and the bus had dropped me off just outside the ugly stripy library.
But at this point, there was no ugly stripy library to be seen.
Well if there were, I certainly could not see it. And there in lay the problem.
I could not see a thing.
I used to do this campus without a cane.
Mostly because I was a shamed of having one, and probably not because I did not need it. Although at the time, that is what I had convinced myself.
Oh, I have fond memories of those days when colours were colourful, details were details, buildings were buildings, and sunshine was my favourite kind of light.
But denial and shame are powerful motivators, and it is amazing what a woman can get done with those two driving forces pushing her forward.
So there we stood, sun shining overhead, on a pristine path, some squares in the distance, which I will assume, were buildings, and no idea about how to get to our destination.
I had thought we were somewhere, when we were somewhere else.
I was just backtracking all the way to the station so I could start this walk again from somewhere I was confident when a student stopped me and asked me where I wanted to go.
We must really look lost, I said to her in response.
She laughed, yes you do.
We are looking for the ugly stripy library, I said.
I figured if I told her, which building we were after she probably would not know. Because whoever named those things was on some serious drugs.
The whole place is like a series of bad extensions. Nothing matches or makes sense
Once we got our direction, I tried to follow her instructions to the letter.
However her there is a crossing about ten metres up really meant about fifty metres up, so we ended up firstly in a grass ditch, and then across another crossing which led to a dead end.
I am sure it used to go somewhere, but these days it is like the stairway to heaven.
So again, we back tracked, and tried again.
Finally, after some serious thought and good old-fashioned guesswork, we found ourselves at the back of the ugly stripy library.
From there it was easy, as the building of rabbit warren offices I wanted was right next door.
I could barely believe it, as I could not see the ugly stripy library as such. It was more that I had recognised the particular sound of the air conditioning system and the angle of the stairs that I knew where I was.
The colours on that thing used to affront my senses.
I felt vulnerable and sad for my loss as I carefully balanced baby girl and trod carefully down the steps.
How had it come to this, I had thought.
And more to the point, how had I not noticed.
I knew things had deteriorated over the last year or so, but this; this was terrible.
We found my x-work husband sitting quietly in his office, and within about three minutes, he and Emily had made friends.
He had sat on the floor with us, and they had both had a sip of their water, which as everyone knows, that means you are friends.
I warned him that she would probably try and share her peas with him later, and that he was absolutely to accept the jesture and go with it.
I explained how we worked with the philosophy of sharing food led to sharing of friendship, time, and toys; therefore, he was to set the example.
And sure enough, as we sat on the grass in the big courtyard a few hours later she did share her lunch with him.
However I have a feeling that wasn’t the only thing they shared, because when baby girl got home, under no circumstance was that wired little thing going to sleep.
Meanwhile we sat chatting and catching up, as Little explored the space between us.
Occasionally she would go under the desk and pull out a computer cord, but for the most part, she sat playing with her toys or climbing in and out of the bookshelf behind the door.
As we conversed, I wondered whether I would want to work there again.
The answer was a yes and a no.
I know I want to work in academia, and find something more meaningful and intellectually stimulating in my work life, but could I find a place in that institution again?
I mean one of the only things it had going for it was the location.
To be honest I felt sapped of energy.
The place seemed so quiet, as in graveyard quiet, and not the buzz of activity that I had reminisced about in my imagination.
Where was the life, the laughter, the love of higher learning?
Maybe I need a workplace, which is full of fun, I thought as I soaked in the lack of ambience.
How depressing, I continued as we spoke.
At some point, another colleague came and sat with us, and Emily used the left over tea in her cup for finger paint.
Between you and me, I cannot say I am surprised it ended up on the carpet.
The moment she put her cup down I knew Emily was going to knock it over.
Inside I cracked up inside as I watched my colleagues navigate toddler territory.
It is funny the things I now anticipate as a mummy that I never would have considered before having children.
I knew exactly what Emily would do, and how long it would take her to execute it, once she had decided a course of action.
While the other two people in the room seemed oblivious to her scheming.
You’re so cute Little.
I had to laugh, because once, I was that person who did not know. However now I am on the other side and it is all so wonderful and strange.
I love it.
We all spoke about accessibility for a while before Michael, Emily, and I headed for coffee.
It was lovely to see him, but I was aware of just how different our lives had become since we last saw one another.
Now my world revolves around this pink bundle of happiness and sunshine, while my career comes a distant second.
Whereas when we used to work together, it was work first, and children were off the table.
In fact, I am not even sure my husband and I were together for much of that time.
He had offered me a pastry, but I did not want to eat something that delicious in front of Emily and not be able to share it. Therefore, I settled for my usual cappuccino.
Again, Emily was her beautiful contented with company self and sat eating her peas and cheese next to me as we continued our conversation.
She is such a superstar when we are out.
I hope it will always be so as she grows.
However, that is when I became the irresponsible parent.
I know I have claimed bad mothering before, but I have since taken it to a new level.
I am still cringing at this one.
Oh man, it is bad.
As in what the fuck was I thinking?
After finishing my coffee, I had handed Michael my cup the way I would normally do.
In my head, handing it to him meant that it was gone.
However, he had simply put it down beside him in readiness for when we got up to put in the bin the way he would have done if we weren’t in the company of Queen Emily.
The problem was Little must have seen it, and had reached over and picked it up without my notice.
How I had not noticed is the first question in a long long line of what the hells.
Most of the time I know her movements by a change in atmospheric pressure, the same way she knows mine.
But this I had not heard, sensed, or seen.
So much so, that I could not make sense of the situation on any level.
As far as I was concerned, my baby may as well have had two heads it was that strange and unreal to me.
And oh so unexpected.
I looked down to see her sucking on the lid like a Sippy cup.
I knew there was nothing in there, but still, the sight was so bazaar that I could not make heads or tails of it for a second.
There was such a disconnect between what I was seeing, and what she was doing, that I did not know how to react.
It was as though someone had told me that everything had changed, and now two plus two equals five, when in fact of course I know it equals four.
I kept trying to peace the puzzle together and make it fit into a context I could understand, but kept coming up short.
This all happened within about a second of course, but it felt much longer.
I took the cup off her, and again gave it back to Michael.
Somehow in my mind, out of my sight meant also out of hers.
Yeah, what was I thinking?
However again, not three seconds later I looked down to find her sucking on the same thing.
Then, before I knew it, she had two of them.
Oh don’t worry, he had said, there isn’t anything in them. As though that was supposed to make me feel at ease.
Again, I could not make sense of the situation.
It was as if my brain had fallen out of my head.
He is telling me it is fine, so it must be, I tried to reason.
But what was my daughter doing with not one, but two empty coffee cups in her hand?
Coffee cups were bad for babies. She was a baby… And so it went.
Emily Kate, what do you have there, I had finally managed to ask as I gently removed each offending item from her grasp.
Again, I handed them to Michael and explained that she probably should not have them.
He put them somewhere else, only to have Little climb over him to get to them again.
Each time this happened, it was as if she became invisible, and I had no idea how she had done it.
Talk about some pretty awesome quantum leaping my sweetheart.
I kept trying to tell myself that surely sniffing coffee would not be bad for her, but it was as if any diligence I possessed had deserted me.
What was I thinking?
Finally, I just let her play with them.
And it was not until after we had parted company with Michael that I had realised just how remiss I had been.
I searched my mind for an answer as to what had come over me, but came up empty.
Normally I would be so all over that type of thing that it is ridiculous.
It was as if being in his presence, I had forgotten how to be a parent.
Sweetheart, I am so sorry.
Why or how mummy dropped the ball like that, I don’t have an answer for. However, I will try not to let that happen again.
I was frustrated as he walked us to the bus stop, because I knew we only had a few minutes, but he was intent on taking his sweet loping time.
This meant we just missed our bus, because he hadn’t believed me when I had pointed out that our particular bus stop was furthest up the hill to the right.
I was exacerbated as he left us with a twenty-seven minute wait. As it wasn’t he who had to keep a tired toddler occupied for almost half an hour.
I thought about walking to the station and getting the train, but by the time we had done that we may as well have either called my husband, or simply waited for the bus anyway.
Perhaps I should have expressed myself at the time, but instead, as usual, I simply swallowed my words and sat down on the pavement with baby girl as she picked pebbles from around a tree.
Thankfully, the girl who was also waiting for our bus had a four-year-old sister at home, so she kept sweetie pie amused.
She held her on her lap while I fondled through the nappy bag for a banana.
This meant our wait wasn’t as torturous as it could have been, but it was still longer than I would have preferred.
I tried to console myself with everything was fine, and I thought she would fall asleep on the bus going home with a bottle, which she did not.
At one point along our journey, I thought she might doze off in my arms, but apparently, it was just too exciting to see all those people travelling.
So she promptly stood up, and made faces at the person sitting behind us over my shoulder.
At least she was happy, I thought as we rounded the corner from one arterial road to another.
Daddy met us at the bus stop, and that is when the chatter started.
Chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter.
Oh my God, I thought as I watched her ride her rocking horse in the afternoon sun, the caffeine did rub off into her system after all.
Could sniffing it do that, I wondered.
Oh, my God what if she drank it.
What if there was some in there…
But there wasn’t. I checked them thoroughly, I argued with myself.
But what if there were?
I shouldn’t have let her have them at all.
I would never do that.
What was I thinking?
The questions began to race through my mind.
Oh, my God, I am the worst mamma in the world, I continued with my inner tirade.
I think I was so a shamed and horrified at my negligence that I did not even tell Michael about it. And I tell him about all the terrible things I do or don’t do when it comes to parenting.
All afternoon she was a bundle of happiness and words.
It was as if going out had sparked her up.
Whereas I was so exhausted that I had to go to bed for a few hours and sleep.
This too made me feel bad, as we had come home, and Michael had indicated his plans for the afternoon, which mostly involved him and baby girl having some time together, but first, he wanted to do a quick job, however I just couldn’t hold on any longer.
It was as if the life had been sapped out of me and I needed to reboot.
I am sorry honey, I said as I handed him the baby, you are going to have to take her now because I cannot do this.
When I came down two hours later the cutie cute cute cute cute was still chatting.
Apparently, they had been having a great time in the yard, and were headed to the park for their afternoon play.
As usual when they arrived home we went through the normal bedtime routine, and Emily was asleep by 7:00PM.
Every night after dinner, I promise myself I will either work on the blog, the business, or both.
Yet every night after dinner, I am so rat shit tired, that I get neither of these things done.
So then, every night I go to bed feeling guilty about not moving forward, and promising myself that tomorrow will be different.
Tomorrow I will exercise.
Tomorrow I will write.
Tomorrow I will tick off that micro action which will get us progressing in the direction we want to go.
I do not know what happened to Wednesday.
I can only assume it was unremarkable in terms of what we did, because when I asked Michael, he had no idea either.
Chances are they went to the park, ate bickies at the picnic table, we played in the yard, hung out the washing, and she may have had a short nap, before doing it all over again.
Undoubtedly trying to get her down on Wednesday night would have been an exercise in extreme patience, before once again having her in our bed ready to start the next day.
Thursday I went to work, and in my down time began to write an article about the use of heading levels when marking up a document or website.
It appears to me that I have only so many words I can write within a seven-day period. And once I have met them, or the comparable amount of hours, whichever comes first, then there is nothing left in the tank. Which is fine if everything flows, but when it does not… Oh God when it does not.
And although this blog doesn’t make me any money, I persevere with it anyway in the hope that something might indirectly come of it.
God knows I don’t want to be one of those social influencers, which is why hardly anyone knows my corner of the web exists.
However, I would like some financial gain to come from the countless hours I put into this thing.
Not that the afore mentioned article will make me any money either, but it is a step in the right direction in terms of building a professional brand.
Sure, I might not like the cliché of being a blindy working in the accessibility sector, but the truth is it does matter. And isn’t that what I want? A job that means something to me?
So although I love the idea of our canes and other products, and once had big plans, which I was oh, so sure would work and revolutionise an industry, now I am not so sure. Therefore, I am playing it safe.
I am hedging my bets so to speak.
I am hoping that if I build a good reputation in the inclusive design sector that in turn will lead to other more interesting things, which in turn will eventually lead to my shoe line.
Ahh, yes, those sweet sweet foot decorations.
And that in turn will come back around to my canes.
However in the meantime, more people will know and understand the importance of accessibility and inclusive practices within their businesses; I will have made some money, had some fun, and honed my skills.
So what is not to like about that?
I have compared headings to hairpieces in a bid to make the whole idea of accessibility more palatable.
Whether I ever finish it is one thing, and whether anyone actually ever reads it is another. But who knows.
However, I have to admit, it has taken up more time than I would have liked.
In my mind’s eye, I can see it so clearly, but when it comes to committing it to paper, I am at a loss.
I can explain this stuff so clearly, when I am having a conversation with someone, but for whatever reason I become a blubbering grammatically incorrect mess.
It is as if I have forgotten how to write, and only know how to blog.
And even that I am not doing with any type of fines lately.
Meanwhile Emily and Michael had yet another unremarkable day of park playing, washing hanging, shop going, nap not having, snack eating, solids avoiding, pick mummy up drop mummy off fun.
While Friday was pretty much a repeat of the previous day for all of us.
However, I do believe Emily did have a tiny nap, and they did go to the library for big girl story time.
By this, I mean they went to the earlier session for eighteen months to three year olds.
Apparently, there is a lot more action to be had in that group, and Emily was not the youngest there.
This surprised us, because we were worried they would make us wait until she was older.
As usual, she played with her friend Ronya afterward, and they got up to all sorts of mischief.
Michael said he hoped she would fall asleep in the pram on the way home as she sometimes does, but it absolutely was not going to happen according to Emily.
When it comes to sleeping, we are praying this new no nap thing is not the beginning of the end of day sleeps.
I mean we would not mind if she slept better during the night, but as it is, we do not feel like she gets enough good quality zees.
So hang in there baby girl.
Sleeping helps you grow big and strong.
Meanwhile, the baby mechanic had treated my neck again, and still it was not much better.
However we did have a fruitful conversation regarding my attitude toward money, and I have to wonder when did I give up?
When did I decide it was all too hard?
And when on earth did I become such a pessimist?
My God, even my husband looks at me and shakes his head at my bleak outlook.
Holy shit, this isn’t me.
This isn’t me!
I am funny, happy, lucky, resilient, clever, and most of all I am optimistic.
This, whatever this is, is the opposite of all that.
This is horrible.
Saturday it rained all day, so we could not go outside.
Whereby Emily and I nearly went stir crazy in the house.
It felt like such a long day.
By Saturday afternoon, we were desperate.
Emily had not gone down for a nap yet again, and we were worried about this new phase. Because what if it was not a phase. What if it was simply the new routine?
So we finally bit the bullet and spent thirty minutes putting the travel cot up in our room so she could sleep there instead.
Yeah, umm, no.
It is actually really easy to put up and pull down if you know how.
However, I had forgotten.
We both became so frustrated that we were ready to put it in the clean-up.
However then Michael had the brain wave of us reading the instructions.
Yeah, I know. It is the option of last resort. But sadly, we had to take it.
And so it continued.
The endless rounds of block building, hand holding, book reading, quick cuddling, crawling over mummy, hair pulling, water drinking, chaos making, clock watching, toddlering ever.
Not to mention, daddy could not get a look in.
It was all about the mamma.
Mamma for breakfast, for lunch, and for tea.
Not that tea was anything much really, apart from bickies and cheese.
I mean eventually I got a bowl of solids into her, but only after playing the best game of hide and seek with daddy ever that lasted twenty minutes. She instigated it, so we were determined to play it out.
This involves Emily and mummy going into the laundry, which is located just off the kitchen, and then us running out and playing peek-a-boo with daddy.
Emily holds mummy’s index fingers as we walk, and daddy’s response is to bend down and say the magic words and tickle her tummy with gusto.
We will go into the laundry, she will stop at the washing baskets, turn on her heel and give a cheeky smile just in case daddy’s head is already around the door, and if not, we come barrelling out, she turns her head, giggles, and daddy jumps into action.
It is so much fun.
We usually all end up laughing at one another.
What can I say apart from Little’s giggles are infectious.
This was accompanied with a good old-fashioned dance party in our kitchen.
Michael could not have been more proud than when Emily started bopping along to Elvis Presley.
He has found a radio station which plays the songs he grew up listening to with his parents on a Saturday night, and loves nothing more than to be in the kitchen preparing dinner and listening to his music.
We were having such a good time, but then it happened.
For whatever reason Emily and I had headed upstairs, and she had found her dummy.
I had carefully watched her climb up, and had been thinking about how the last remnants of babyhood were disappearing.
As no longer did she have that trade mark froggy bottom look when she crawled.
We were playing the put that back game, when suddenly she bolted from her room, along the landing, and started down the stairs, all with her dummy in her mouth.
I was just coming around the stair railing to position myself in the protective stance, as I don’t like the way she swings off the top step with one foot, regardless of how many times I try to teach her to go down bottom first.
Oh God, when it happened…
She slipped, and began to roll down the stairs.
She wouldn’t stop, and my heart was in my throat as I heard her head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet hit each step with a clunkity thud thud thunk.
I could not chase after her because I was worried I would step on one of those tiny hands.
I was frozen with mortification as I stumbled down the stairs after her anyway.
I kept trying to catch her, but she kept rolling out of my reach.
I felt like the worst mother in the world as Michael materialised from the kitchen over the toddler gate, and half way up the stairs within about three seconds flat.
I don’t think Emily had even stopped moving before he arrived, a look of horror on his face.
He scooped her up into his big strong arms, and they went to the lounge room.
He was giving her the once over by the time I reached them, and she had stopped crying and was already focused on her bottle of milk sitting on the edge of the dining room table.
I was so worried I had broken her, but we could not find anything.
It had all happened so quickly, and before I knew it, she was drinking her milk, and daddy was putting her to bed.
I had wanted to spend more time with her to calm her down, but because she had spotted the magic milk, we felt as though we ought to follow through with the regular routine.
Naturally, she was quite unsettled for the next few hours.
My concern then became about her having a concussion.
I spoke to Michael about all my fears and guilt, but of course, he said all the right things and reassured me she would be fine.
Baby’s bones are really hard to break he had said.
They are just so soft and stretchy.
On an intelligent level I know all this, but when it comes to Little, let us face it, I am a mess.
You’ll know if something is wrong, he had reassured me.
However, would I? Would I really know? What if I had missed something, I thought as he gave me a hug.
I was so shaken by the entire incident.
That sound. That sound. I will never forget that horrible sound of my baby thumpity thump thumping thud down the stairs.
It was a rough night on Saturday night, and quite understandably.
I too would have had a headache if I had thudded bumped and thumped down those stairs like that.
Occasionally when I went to pick baby girl up to soothe her, I would feel like I was making it worse.
Sometimes I would try to reposition her arm or her leg and she would cry out in pain.
All night I worried.
Eventually Michael brought her in bed with us, and she slept nestled in his arms until morning.
Nothing quite like the healing of daddy’s heartbeat to help a cutie cute cute cute feel more herself again.
Only instead of me getting up for breakfast wit
Emily, it was her daddy.
Most of our day was spent playing at home.
By this of course I mean, Little holding on to mummy’s index fingers and walking around the yard.
Ok, so it was not that bad.
She was quite pleased to be outside and playing on her equipment alone.
However, I did keep a close eye on her.
Again, we simply slipped into the mundanity of toddler territory, and before we knew it the morning had vanished, Emily was ready for a nap, and Michael had announced his intention to go for a bush walk.
I was secretly pleased at this, because whether he admits it or not, the man is better when he exercises.
Emily and I were eating bickies on the kitchen floor when he arrived home, a bottle of bourbon in one hand.
That is unlike you, I thought as he told me to sit down.
I am down, I said as Emily climbed over my legs.
I have some news…
I raced through the options in my mind, as I ticked off each of the family members.
If it were one of them, I thought, he would not have a drink; he would be in the car.
Whatever it was, I knew it would change our lives forever.
When he told me, my jaw dropped.
I could not believe what he was telling me.
No, we had not won the lottery, but given how unexpected his revelation, we may as well have.
I could not wrap my head around what he was saying.
To be honest, neither could he.
I had spent the morning baking him the most amazing apple pie.
As in seriously, this thing kicked arse.
Only to have him tell me just as I was popping it in the oven that he was no longer going away with his best mate, as the man had not even booked the accommodation…
I had been so proud of myself for packing his bag earlier in the day, and having everything organised. But now I would have to unpack that bad boy, and I hated that job.
Do you know how much emotional, mental, and not to mention physical preparation I put into the idea of your going away, I had said to him before he went for his walk.
Yes, I know, he had responded.
I have to trust he does, but I don’t know that anyone really knows.
I mean, sometimes I still get anxious about him leaving me with Emily on my own as it is.
Even for a few hours.
I know it is ridiculous, given how surreal it feels not to be that new mum anymore, but sometimes there is still that pit of dread in my stomach, which says I cannot look after her.
But here he was, telling me the real reason he could not go away.
Granted it was nothing to do with him, but still… Neither of us had seen this coming in a million years.
Good God, no wonder he needed a drink, I thought as we went back and forth trying to process the news, and still find a way whereby my husband could have a holiday anyway.
I was upset with myself that we did not have the money for him to go on his own.
As it was, I had been nervous about him driving all that way on minimal sleep, so on the one hand I was glad he was not going.
However on the other, I felt bad for him, because this annual pilgrimage down the to the sapphire coast of New South Wales was something I knew he needed.
Every time when he returns he is refreshed, renewed, and suitably reflected.
However now, now he could not go, because we literally could not afford it.
As it was I had stretched our finances so far that I was not sure we would make rent, and had given up on that prospect a week or so before.
I knew it was important for him to take this trip, but sometimes the good of the tribe had to be put before the good of the individual.
Eventually after much toing and froing, he had concluded that it was not prosperously possible for him to go, so he would stay home instead.
So this is where we are.
Michael’s bag is still packed at the front door, Master Chef is on in the background, Emily is asleep in her room, and I am sitting with these most unartfully crafted words, and wondering why oh why I insist on doing this.
To my husband, I am sorry you are unable to go away.
To my daughter, sweet dreams baby girl.
And to myself, breathe; remember to breathe.
The rest will take care of itself.