Monday, 28 July 2014

Nine months old (and I'm not ready)

On the day our Gracie turned six months old I tucked her up snuggly in her bed, and then I curled up in Hubby's arms and had a big cry.  I was completely overcome by this enormous amount of emotion; love, pride, happiness, and sadness. My baby wasn't so much a baby anymore. Six months had come and gone so quickly...too quickly, and I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my newborn yet. I wasn't ready to accept that she'd been in the world a whole half-year and could already giggle and roll around and scoot across the floor. I just wasn't ready...

Well, that was three months ago. Tomorrow our Gracie Girl is nine months old. And regardless of my objections the world hasn't stopped turning or the clocks stopped ticking. Time has rolled along just as fast as ever and our baby girl is now a toddler.  She is a little person with a big personality. She knows what she wants and when she wants it and can easily bring your attention to that fact. Our girl is only weeks away from taking her first unassisted steps. She already stands up tall, walks between the furniture, and pushes her highchair around the living room. She has learned to climb the stairs, and races up them ever so quickly at the mention of bathtime each evening.  Bathtime no longer requires her bath seat; instead she prefers to stand up and hold onto the tap as we wash her hair under the shower.  If she decides she'd like to sit down and splash she'll reach for the bath plug and promptly put it in it's proper place so the bath fills up with bubbles.   

Gracie loves flipping the pages of her favourite Peppa Pig book as her Daddy reads to her every night. This has become a very beautiful little routine they share, and as much as I'd love to join them in their moment, I always leave them to be just the two so they can read and cuddle before sleep time.  In just a few days after starting her Daddy book time Gracie surprised us both with her first fully formed word - Dad. We both beamed with pride. 

I love this little bubble we are in right now.   The eighth month was a long, hard, sick month. But it was also lovely and fun and adventurous. Gracie's little personality grows bigger every day as her mind and body expand and she becomes SO much more capable.  I want time to slow down. I want Gracie to slow down!  I know the months ahead bring even more milestones that will resemble less of the tiny baby she used to be and more of the little girl she's becoming.  I am not ready to move on yet. 

I love our Gracie Girl with her Daddy's cheeky grin and love of chocolate. I love how she can sit so still and calm staring at the trees blowing in the breeze one minute, and be chasing after the cat, giggling with excitement the next.  I love that we share our own special Mummy-Gracie language made up entirely of little grunts and growls. And that I can bring her back from tears with just the right sound and start a whole conversation. I love that she still sleeps in our room, in her cot, so that she can share our heating and I can listen to her snore. And I love the bond of breastfeeding. 

But I am sad because I know that soon winter will be over and she'll move back into her own room. Because my time at home with her everyday is coming to an end soon and we must start preparing her for daycare. I am sad that the time has come to wean her off the boob and encourage her bottles.  And I worry that she won't understand why there are so many changes at once. 

Our dear, sweet Gracie Girl has brought so much love into our home, into our family and into the world.  We are truly blessed to be her parents.  These last nine months, plus the nine while I was pregnant, have been the greatest of our lives.  Who knew such a tiny, perfect little person could take such a hold of your existence? 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Keeping my cool

I'll admit I'm a bit of a hot head sometimes. I can get pretty cranky pretty quick if the situation provokes it. And with the recent events of sickness and lack of sleep in our house I've felt myself losing my cool faster than usual.  I haven't always been this way.  It's only a semi-recent behavioural change in me that I don't love at all and work every day to counteract. So yesterday I felt a surge of pride (is that the right word?) when a particularly demanding and annoying day could have got the better of me. 

Gracie's nap schedule has changed around AGAIN this week. Her usual twice daily hour-and-half sleeps have been replaced with a brief 30minute nap that leaves her neither refreshed nor happy. And as much as I shush and bounce and cuddle she fights me off and tries to play. This is fine until about 5pm when all hell breaks loose and she becomes an overtired monster who wants dinner early, refuses to sit still, doesn't want to get out of the bath and won't let us put her PJs on.  And as predicted she falls asleep super early.  Which brings us to yesterday. 

Gracie's day started at 3.30am. She woke and made her usual "gimme them boobies" noise and so I complied. This usually lulls her back to sleep til about 7am. But no, not yesterday. So we bounced and cuddled for 30minutes with no effect. Rather than tearing my tired hair out I put her warm gown on and took her downstairs.  We ate a very early breakfast and had some paracetamol for teething pains and within an hour she was asleep again. SUCCESS!

She woke later that morning at 8am to restart the day a little happier and so did I. But come 10.30am and her morning nap and we repeated the same as the day before. After 35minutes she was awake and bright-eyed, ready to play. So instead of trying to wrestle her back to sleep I popped her in the highchair for lunch. She was visibly tired, but ate a big bowl of fruit and yoghurt before reclining with a rusk to watch me finish my bowl of soup. No tantrums, no crying, just chilled out. SUCCESS! 

After lunch we played in the garden. I watched with held breath as she scooped a giant handful of mud from the garden and put it in her mouth.  But we just washed her mouth out and kept playing. By 2pm she was struggling. The playing had turned to whinging and she was refusing to let me pick her up. So, mustering all my calm I held her hands as she walked up the stairs in front of me. We climbed into bed and had a feed. Within 20minutes she was asleep. SUCCESS!  And the best part of all, so was I! DOUBLE SUCCESS!!

I woke first at 5pm. Ah crap, we overslept and the evening routine is going to be all out of whack. Dammit dammit dammit! So I woke Gracie who rolled over and gave me her sweet, sleepy baby smile.  Downstairs Hubby was on the phone speaking with a mechanic.  Apparently his car wasn't running well and had refused to start, requiring him to pull it apart to find the problem. Not the battery - crap, that means it's something bigger and more expensive. And to make matters worse he needed his car for work early tomorrow morning. DOUBLE CRAP!  Luckily we were able to borrow his sister's car for the remainder of the week until we can get his repaired over th weekend. Unfortunately this meant dragging Gracie out after dinner to go and collect it. And we all know how much Gracie loves a car trip!  

So cut to our drive home. It's already 7.30pm and we are now cutting into bath and bed time and Gracie knows it. She screams the whole way home, voicing her utter discontent over the fact that she is squished in her car seat rather than playing with her bath toys and getting snuggly in her PJs. I sing and talk to her from the drivers seat, trying to calm and reassure her that all will be back to normal very soon. We arrive home and immediately head towards the bath. I strip her off and in she hops. Order is restored. SUCCESS! She's now very tired but the simple task of having a bath has brought order back to her evening. She knows now that soon it'll be pajama and Daddy book time, then milk and sleep. I keep singing and talking to her and the next 30minutes of routine go quickly and smoothly.  SUCCESS! 

You have no idea how much of a win that felt like. A big day with a big change of schedule that could have put us all in a bad mood. But I consciously did everything I could to not let it get the best of me, and the best of our day.  And it felt so good to see the positivity paying off. I can't help the fact that Gracie may do something different every day, but I also know she thrives on routine to keep her calm and help her feel supported.  I can't predict crappy circumstances like a broken down car, but I can change my reaction to it.  I don't want to be a
cranky, anxious Mum. I don't want to be snappy and overwhelmed. And yesterday felt like a major step forward. So yeah, maybe proud is the right word. 

What makes you snap? 
Have you got any sure fire calming tips?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Weekly brain dump

So I haven't kept up with this little feature since April because I'm a slacker. So I thought I'd give it another shot. And since it's a lazy Saturday afternoon I've got five minutes to spare!

Gracie's ears are much better now. The antibiotics worked their magic and she's no longer pulling and scratching. Unfortunately stopping the antibiotics made her susceptible to Hubby's horrible flu bug, which she promptly picked up. That too brought us several days and nights of crying, coughing, boogers, belly aches and very little sleep.

In order to maintain sanity and achieve a somewhat acceptable sleep regime we fashioned a pillow prop for her cot and then used bolster pillows to stop her from rolling onto her belly. And let me tell you SHE HAS NEVER SLEPT BETTER, sick or well. It's like magic. Something about laying on a slight 45 degree angle and being tucked in tightly has changed the sleeping game entirely. And now she's starting to recover we won't be changing a thing! 


I have finally reached the end of my parental leave and have begun cashing in some annual leave at work. Which means the countdown is officially on to when I go back. I think I'm having a panic attack just writing about it. I have less than four months to go.  

I haven't receive final confirmation from Gracie's daycare on which day they can take her and that's making me quick nervous as I need to start the return-to-work prep and paperwork. I know I should harass them a little more to get it all locked in, but I think deep down I'm kind of hoping they'll tell me they don't have the room for her anymore. Not that we can afford for me to stay home without an income. I just don't know if I'm ready yet for everything that's fast approaching. 


It's been a week of tragedy. Both in our immediate lives and around the world.

Two very dear families we love have both lost pregnancies within days of eachother. Both requiring hospital visits and surgery. There is nothing you can say to ease their pain, all we could do is offer our unwavering support and love.  It has been something that hit a nerve in me that I didn't think was still so raw and fresh. And yet I found myself weeping at that all-too-familiar feeling of heartache and confusion and loss that I knew they were experiencing. 

And then we turn on our TVs to hear horrendous news of a plane being shot out of the sky and lives being torn to pieces. There are people fighting  all around the world and so many innocent lives are being caught in the crossfire.

On behalf of the Sunny Family I want to offer our deepest condolences to all the families of those who have perished. Not a minute goes by where we don't think about you and feel your grief. We pray that God brings you some peace in these troubled times. The world mourns with you. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

One sick girl

Winter is here. It took its sweet time but it finally swooped down on us in a flurry of super cold nights and windy days. We went from 15'C to 4'C evenings overnight. And no, we were not prepared. And neither was our little Gracie. After a fortnight of craptastic sleeping and behaviour we were not so shocked to find out she has a double ear infection. 

I had suspected she wasn't well for a week or so. And as the doting nurse/Mummy that I am I took her to the GP and demanded that they look into her ears, feel her glands and check out her throat.  The result was a very nonchalant reply that went along the lines of "it's just a growth spurt and you just need to keep an eye on her and blah blah blah". So I took her home and did as instructed.  Five days later Hubby and I found ourselves up til 4am with a screaming baby girl who hadn't slept in eight hours and, despite dosing her with ibuprofen and paracetamol, could not be consoled.  The next morning I stormed back into the GPs office, armed with an appointment with our usual doctor, and asked for a second opinion. He took one look at her ears and declared it as a full-blown infection. I was livid; we started antibiotics that afternoon. 

I suck at having a sick baby. I am a nurse and I am horrible at having a sick baby. I thought I'd be able to rock this kind of situation but I feel like I've done the opposite.  I got short-tempered and frustrated. I cried when she cried. I attempted to force antibiotics and pain relief down her poor little throat and when she refused I handed her over to her Daddy instead. At work I didn't cry over patients. I didn't slip meds into their food.  But I wasn't their parent. I wasn't their Mummy. They weren't my first-born baby with their very first illness. And we've never had to deal with all this stuff before.

So it's been a week. Gracie has reluctantly swallowed each foul dose of antibiotics. She's spent many a night falling asleep on my chest and sometimes stayed there the whole night.   And she really has been a bloody champion about it all. She's put up with my incompetence, with her aches and pains, and the horrible belly cramps that come with antibiotics. She's giggled and played, chased The Boo around the floor, and given us the warmest cuddles.  And finally she is getting better. Thank goodness!  

Oh, and isn't she just the cutest little sickie?