It is mid Sunday afternoon.
Emily is asleep, and Michael has gone shopping for wipes, and maybe a new pair of shoes for mummy.
He said he would take me, but he didn’t want to drag me around with the moon boot.
Fair call, I suppose.
So when he offered to buy me shoes, I was not about to turn him down.
It is a rare occasion indeed when he will take me shopping, and even then, it is usually with a grumble and a hurry up.
So this is new!
Granted, it is a risk, but he can always take them back.
As usual, I am not sure how many minutes I have to complete this task, but with any luck, there will be enough.
This week has been awesome!
Not over joyed everything is roses type awesome, but Emily is awesome awesome.
We have made it to the promised land of who is the most adorable baby ever.
Mammas who have walked this path before me said we would find this beautiful clearing in the forest just over the threshold of toddler territory, with its babbling brook of laughter, smell of independent play, loving cuddles, cheeky personality, curiosity, ferocious appetite, and utter gorgeousness.
Well we have.
We most certainly have.
She has been so easy.
And oh so much fun.
Well ok, from breakfast to bath time, yes, but bedtime not so much.
Growing growing growing.
Even her hands have grown.
Suddenly picking her up and she is a bundle load of joyous potatoes.
Where has my baby gone?
Even Michael has had to change positions with her, which means although she still has her spot; it is now on daddy’s hip, rather than in the crook of his arm.
I don’t know how to function with a toddler though.
I remember when she was first born; it took me ages to get used to her presence.
Well I sort of feel the same all over again.
I need to learn her sounds, her silences, her speed, and her sneakiness, because now it is all different.
I find it really hard to get anything basic done such as the washing, the cooking, the dishes, or the bathrooms, because coming to grips with this new stage of development is all engaging.
I am not confident I know exactly what she is doing through the eyes in the back of my head yet.
Her wiggle wiggle bottom bottom, slap slap slap crawling crawling crawling has been replaced with a pad pad pad toddle toddle stumble.
And oh, boy is she quick!
I don’t even know how to explain how her I am up to no good, and her I am completely absorbed silences have changed, but they have.
It is subtle, but it is there.
My ears are not fluent in this language.
The way she plays with her toys is different.
The way she talks is different.
Oh my goodness, the way she makes me chase her for a nappy is different.
I mean talk about cheeky.
She finds corners, nooks, and crannies in our house that I didn’t know she knew.
I mean I have to congratulate her on her agility and her resourcefulness.
Because making mummy crawl under the dining room table is sure to slow me down.
Or if not under, then around it in a bid to try and catch her as she wriggles from one end to the opposite end depending on where I am situated.
Yeah umm, who feels like a certain cutie cute cute cute is running rings around them?
I used to be smart.
Really really smart.
But we all know I have nothin’
Not to mention somebody with a bare bottom being able to get behind the television cabinet, the corner table, and just out of reach from either end in the red pop out tunnel, really is clever.
The only thing, which is the same, is the fight we have when she needs to go to sleep of an evening.
Good God I dread that hour.
Yes, an hour.
Monday kicked off with mamma’s technology being a pain in the arse.
I swear to God the moment I can afford a virtual assistant, I am definitely getting one.
I cannot believe I have considered it a luxury or an out of reach item so I daren’t consider it.
The amount of time I waste trying to do stuff myself is ridiculous.
Utterly mind blowingly ridiculous!
Tens of Thousands upon tens of thousands of dollars type ridiculous.
And for what?
TO prove I can do it myself?
Well maybe it started out like that, but now it is simply an essential until we are up and running.
Michael may be the best husband, but he doesn’t have the skill set or the speed for what I need.
My friend Jess offered, but I know she would keep coming up against the same barriers as I do.
How the hell can I pick the pretty blue necklace, if I cannot see the pretty blue necklace?
Everybody knows sales copy cannot be trusted.
Holy shit, the amount of crap I have bought from eBay thinking it is one thing, but it really being another is shameful.
I mean even my wedding dress wasn’t what I thought.
Although, let’s be honest, it was beautiful amazing.
As in best dress, best day, best dessert ever amazing.
However for the most part, my best of independent inspired intentions have been a disappointment.
To be frank, I cannot believe how I haven’t realised what a dead horse I have been flogging up until now.
So there was nothing else for it, but for me to get in the kitchen and make spanakopita.
It has been ages since I have cooked properly, but there were a few ideas stuck in my head, and I needed to work through them in a nutritional alchemy type way.
I can’t be sure I found a solution, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
I am better all round when I take care of my family first, and the world second.
It is the little things.
On Monday, it was about the food.
I had so much fun pottering in the kitchen, sometimes with Emily at my ankles, sometimes not.
I am not sure I got anything sorted in my head, but I did feel better.
Still the research for the business continues.
I can see it coming into focus, and I have brought it back to my original vision.
And although I am under no illusions as to how quickly it will make us a profit, the way I once was, I am getting excited about it again, and it does feel more concrete.
I haven’t found a supplier I am happy with as yet, but oh, my God it is going to be fantastic when I do.
Michael completely nailed our book keeping this week, and has promised to stay on top of it this year.
I mean he was pretty excited when I said yes; he could take the credit card and go to Officeworks as a reward for his diligence.
Whatever keeps the man motivated and happy.
I think the trick will be redirecting his energies from one set of details to another.
For example, we can both cook dinner, but only he can design our graphics.
Therefore, we need to divide and conquer our elephant in a different way from now on.
I love you honey.
My still not physically having any involvement in the grocery shopping is throwing me off my game, as I never quite know what we have in the pantry.
I do my best thinking while wandering the isles of the supermarket.
Which is also where I do my best buying.
Fish source, soy source, chilli source, olives, capers, ginger, tamarind…
I would take a sneaky look now, but Michael has promised me a special treat for dinner, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Although between you and me, I am fairly confident he cannot beat last night’s sexy honey soy chicken wings and fried rice.
That dish has become a staple in our house, and I love it.
I am not sure how he does it, but I swear to God each time he does, it gets better.
Who knows where Tuesday and Wednesday went in our universe.
Mamma took on two new paid projects, one of which I am surprised to be feeling good about, and the other, which scares the shit out of me, but I cannot wait.
With the first one, it was a surprise.
I had flipped and flopped about it for months. As when it was first brought to my attention, I had considered it a step side-ways, and when I felt into it, all I could see was us continuing to drown in the same ocean of unhappiness and poverty.
But still, it kept coming back and nibbling at my toes.
So back and forth, we went, and finally, I played my last card.
Which to my mind was going to be the deal breaker, but happened to be the dealmaker.
Proving that honesty really is the best polacy.
I am not a long-term prospect, I had said.
As I cannot see myself doing this for the next three years…
The conversation took all of three minutes.
But the moment it was decided, I felt lighter and happier about the prospect than I had ever expected.
Whether it was the simple change of scenery, better hours, the prospect of working five minutes from home, or something else I cannot say.
And although I still go back and forth in my head about it, I can see it as a step forward, but in a way, I had not foreseen.
The universe really is helping me out on this one.
So watch this space.
A personal transformation is afoot.
While the second project is big big big, and has the potential to empower thousands of people.
So what is not to love about that?
Although how the hell I am going to pull this off, I have no idea.
What I do know is that I would do it for free, and the fact they are willing to pay me is intimidating.
I haven’t quite come up with a strategy yet, and I have a feeling I am going to need to hike up a mountain or two before it comes to me.
So if you know of any…
The best part of all, is that they recruited me off my much neglected and scantily clad LinkedIn profile.
Therefore, the pressure is different.
However, I am really looking forward to the challenge.
Granted, it isn’t where I thought I would be going, given I literally had decided to focus just on the product side of our business, but when opportunity beckons, and it is this good, a girl can’t help but heed the call.
Therefore on Tuesday afternoon, when I was giving myself a hard time about not getting enough accomplished that morning, and by that I meant not being able to transfer my domain name across from one registrant to another due to the lack of website accessibility, I had to pull it back and remind myself that I had just agreed to take on an international project of epic proportion and that was pretty cool.
So take that poor self-esteem, because you suck!
The more I think about it the more I realise I need help.
I mean my time is valuable, and I need to be spending it elsewhere.
Not ego I’m so good valuable, but I should value it more type valuable, as it is all I have.
After all, it isn’t like I can get it back again.
All week Emily just got better at her walking.
Sometimes up, sometimes down.
She had some cracker stacks, and I really felt for her.
I try to understand her toddler brain, and all day I am an excellent and attentive mother. However, of an evening, I can be a monster.
All day I will put her shoes on a million times without complaint, even if she takes them off the moment I slip them on her feet and literally hands them to me and asks for them back on.
All day I will sort through pegs, pass toys back and forth, wander the yard, push the swing, the seesaw, the car, the bike, the trike…
All day I will sit at her table and eat left over peas and corn.
All day I will sing songs, play games, build towers, and wear a mixing bowl on my head if that is what she wants.
But oh, God when it is dark I lose the will to live.
And by live I mean mother and be patient.
Thursday I had gone to work, and had a particularly shit day.
I love the people I work with, but I am so unhappy there. And I hate that.
The problem is, I don’t want to like what I am doing.
Oh, I know it sounds strange, but it is true.
I am unwilling to enjoy it.
The moments of accomplishment I do find within the work are so fleeting, and it isn’t worth the drudgery to me.
Not to mention I have grown to hate the commute.
Again, I can only hope things are changing.
Please please please may I be in a position where I don’t feel trapped in a life I do not like, or a job I cannot leave.
If I don’t work, then we don’t eat has been the mantra running through my mind, and it isn’t the ethos I want for us.
However what I hate most of all, is how I come home drained, and then take it out on my husband and our daughter.
Hello 2:00AM Friday morning when a certain sweetie pie would not go back to sleep.
Even to write about this I feel terrible.
I had yelled at her something along the lines of that, the routine was always the same and that she needed to sleep.
It had already taken me an hour and a half to get her down at 7:00PM the evening before, and now this.
I was stressed out about the electricity bill, and the fact that I hadn’t made any money that day.
I was also stressed because a well-intended good-natured post I had put up on the freecycle site had offended someone, and they were giving me an extraordinarily hard time about it.
As I sat with her, and moment after moment of getting her to sleep, only to have her wake up the minute I tried to leave the room sent me over the edge.
The conversation in my head that I really ought to have had with Michael about my concerns was made manifest in my anger toward Little for not sleeping.
So much so that I had to walk away.
I stomped down the stairs and left a sick Michael to deal with her.
I felt guilty about it, as my anxiety had made matters worse.
Not only did it not help Emily calm down, it had woken my husband, and I was a mess.
I desperately wanted to walk out the door and never come back.
I am not made for mothering, I thought as my hand reached for the latch.
But then it hit me, where would I go?
I had a dressing gown and bare feet.
It wasn’t like I could get in the car and drive to the beach.
I was stuck.
Stuck stuck stuck.
What was I going to do, go to the train station like a derelict?
It was freezing outside.
I visualised myself going into our room and taking a suitcase down from the top shelf of my wardrobe and throwing some clothes in.
However still I was stuck with where would I go.
The truth was, I have nowhere else to go.
And what am I trying to get away from anyway?
Sadly, or not so sadly depending on the way a girl looks at it, I would be taking my bad self with me.
SO that wouldn’t really solve anything.
And did I really want to go?
Or did I simply want to have our family in a better financial position where I wasn’t failing us.
The mind boggles…
So I settled for limping to the kitchen and having a couple of painkillers with a glass of water before taking a few deep breaths and sneaking back upstairs rather sheepishly into our bed.
I waited for Michael.
It took him forever to settle the baby.
I just couldn’t face going back in there again.
I don’t understand why she doesn’t like her room.
Much of the time during the day, she’ll go down without an issue.
Most of the time at night, she is quite happy to go to bed.
She climbs the stairs by herself, shows me her clothes in her drawers, and then we curl up in the one hundred year old rocking chair, and she has a bottle.
But the moment her milk is finished, oh my God, it is on for young and old alike.
Cry cry cry…
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if I am there or not, she will just scream, grizzle, and generally make it known she is really unhappy. Even though she really doesn’t want to be downstairs playing.
I mean what is that?
Whatever or wherever she wants my hand, it just doesn’t work.
She usually threads it under her tummy, through her legs, and hooks her left knee over the top.
I cannot say it is comfortable for any of us, and Lord knows what her aim is, but that is how she likes to play it.
I have tried replacing it with a toy, which she can hug to her chest more, but she isn’t interested.
More and more, Michael and I find ourselves just walking out of the room and letting her cry it out.
Sometimes it works, and she is asleep before either of us has hit the kitchen, and other times oh it so doesn’t work.
Other times she works herself into such a bother, that it takes another forty minutes to calm her down.
If I could understand her logic, then I would know how to help.
And to think I thought she had reached the height of her abandonment issues months ago.
When Michael eventually came back to bed, he asked without judgement if I were alright.
Nope, I had responded, trying not to cry.
And then I explained it all to him.
Everything I was afraid of, everything I had been thinking, and everything I didn’t know how to fix.
As I spoke, it was as if a burden were being lifted.
Not because I was throwing it at him to deal with, but just because we were having yet another long overdue conversation.
But this time it was different.
This time there was something in his response, which had a depth, and breadth to it, which I knew, was solid.
Because he too has a hollowness to his words when all they hold are the best of intentions.
And we all slept soundly until 5:30AM, when Little woke us up for breakfast in bed and a quick cuddle.
I knew my behaviour had not been forgotten by her, as things were different between us.
She was more cautious, and stuck close to her daddy.
Normally she would jump all over me, but on Friday, she didn’t touch me.
Even when I came down the stairs an hour after her and daddy had gotten up, I didn’t receive my usual greeting of babble and snuggles.
Michael tried to assure me that everything was fine, but I knew it wasn’t.
I am sorry Little.
I didn’t mean to scare you like that.
All day I fretted about it.
How would I make it up to her?
How would I undo the damage I had caused?
How would I make us friends again?
And most of all, what could I do differently to ensure I never lost my temper like that again.
Michael says I need to find a firm voice.
I know he is right, as all I have is a soft voice and a very very loud angry voice.
There is no in between.
Even as I got home later that day, still things weren’t quite right.
Sure, her and daddy had been to the library in the morning, and we walked down the street blowing raspberries with one another as is our new habit, but there was a note of discord under the surface of our interaction.
It really wasn’t until we hopped in the bath together after high/low tea that we began to find our rhythm.
Ever since I broke my foot, we have been having a bath together of a nighttime.
Not only does it give us that skin to skin contact, which promotes trust and intimacy, and we get some one on one time, but it has helped me to take the weight off it for a half an hour or so.
It is still swollen, but I am pleased to report at least it is on the mend.
Mind you, I am so sick of wearing the boot.
Hindsight suggests I should have stayed right off it the way a normal person would have, but insanity, necessity, and the challenge of it all cannot go back and be changed.
So here I am.
My foot up, a cold cup of tea beside me, a beautiful sleepy baby in the next room, and a husband moving heaven and earth to make me happy.
Yesterday mum and Nicole came over for a visit.
Emily and I had taken her car and met nanny up the street before coming home to sit in the sunshine.
I felt terrible for mum as she handed me something, and I hadn’t realised.
It wasn’t until Michael told me to hold my hands out, because she had something for me that I had recognised there were an object in front of my face.
Obviously, my husband has been living with these gradual changes to my vision so for us it is pretty stock standard.
However, for mum, it must have been quite a jolt, as I have always been able to track movement, and clearly, this I had missed.
Not once, but twice within five minutes.
However, none of us said anything.
Nicole arrived just after nanny had volunteered to take Emily to the park.
Well actually, I had sort of volunteered them.
Baby girl clearly wasn’t going for a nap, as it was way too exciting to have someone to play with, daddy had gone out to do the groceries, and mamma had a quick favour to do for a friend.
Letting Emily go to the park with anyone who isn’t Michael or myself is a big deal.
I wouldn’t have done it, apart from the fact that I was confident Nicole would be close, and she is one of the most common sensical people I know. And I know that Michael has a lot of time, trust, and respect for her.
So thanks sissy.
And sure enough, just after nanny and Emily had left, I hear my sister’s voice calling to me from the bac gate that she was going to the park with the others, unless of course I was lonely and wanted some company.
Mum had suggested I watch a midday movie, which I almost laughed allowed to in response.
Only because I had been thinking earlier in the week, just how far I had come, in that not only did I no longer indulge in such a guilty pleasure, but long gone were the days that I thought getting up to watch that were an accomplishment.
Because trust me, there were times in my life, I was capable of little else.
But mostly because the last time I had done that, I was thirteen weeks pregnant, and was waiting for Michael to come home and feed me chicken soup.
These days I am proud to say I have far too many other things I want to be doing instead.
Saturday afternoon’s agenda included a quick accessibility audit, which had unexpectedly come up the afternoon before.
Again I have to laugh, because wasn’t it a week or so ago that I had decided to stop splitting myself in half and just concentrate on our product launch?
Yet here I was, racing through a document at warp speed while discussing it with the project coordinator in question on speakerphone while I could hear Emily, Nanny, and Nicole whooping with crazy times in the park outside my office window.
It seems that every time I concentrate on one thing, the opposite keeps popping up, which is why I always end up confused about what I should be doing.
Is it self-sabotage, or is it a sign?
Anyway, as it happened, I was just wrapping up when the three park players walked in the door.
Good timing ladies.
After that, we all played in the loungeroom for the afternoon.
Mum isn’t around often, and I forget how her parenting style is different to mine.
Sometimes when she would do something, Emily would look at her like she was an alien.
Sorry honey, it takes all kinds.
Thanks for visiting mamma bear.
Eventually Michael arrived home with a gazillion bags of groceries, and after putting them away, he took Emily down the park for a quick run around so I could draw us a bath and pack up all the toys in preparation for our bedtime routine.
The pressure was on, because after all, the magical sleep fairy Nicole had visited, and maybe just maybe Emily would go down without a fight.
Sure enough, just as so often happens after sissy comes over, Emily drank her bottle and didn’t even roll over to go to sleep.
Although between you and me, I think part of that might have been because she didn’t have a nap all day.
We try not to encourage that too often, because what happens if she drops it all together?
Oh God, perish the thought.
Emily Kate, I love you, but I also love it when you are asleep.