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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The best of times, the worst of times....

On the good side of things, JBB is now 6 months old. Those 6 months have been the best and most cherished of my life. Every day he does something new. He is smiling and laughing more, he is starting to push up onto his knees, he is absolutely loving his swimming time each week. He is as cute as a button and every day, I love him more than the day before. Today, he was sitting with me and he spent minutes mesmerised by the faces that I was making at him and then when he was in the jolly jumper and JourneyDog was running around him, he was laughing hysterically - these are the precious moments that I love.

On the bad, my dad has been in hospital again and the situation is getting harder and harder for both my mum and dad. My brother's best mate from childhood died from cancer this week - he was only diagnosed 3 months ago and leaves behind his wife and 3 boys. He was a wonderful bloke from a beautiful family - sometimes life just does not seem fair.

On the positive side of things, my brother was a part of the eulogy. This is my brother who was deathly scared of public speaking who in the past 18 months has gotten sober and gone through rehab, got a hugely responsible job and is a runaway success at it - I couldn't be more proud of him. My brother was so close to death himself, he was dying in front of our eyes and to see how he has turned his life around makes my heart swell with love and pride.

On the bad side of things our neighbours in New Zealand have suffered a disastrous earthquake. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the friends and families of the dead, injured and missing - it is a heartbreaking event for all New Zealanders.

It is times like these that make me realise how I really must treasure every moment of our lives. I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Overtired baby

We had a very big weekend. JBB and I went swimming again on Friday and then we had lunch and went to see my Dad who had just gotten out of the hospital. On Saturday we all trekked to the country for our brother in law's birthday party - the drive was a killer, roadwork everywhere, so it took way longer than it normally does!! We got home after 9pm (I know, not hugely late but we had been out all day). On Sunday, we went around to my Mum and Dad's place for a birthday party for our niece's 11th birthday. On Sunday night, JourneyMan went to the movies with his best mate for his birthday.

In short, people, we had a very busy weekend and what we ended up with was one overtired little baby. He normally doesn't cry too much but Sunday and Monday were full of mega screams. He was so tired that he wouldn't sleep for more than 10mins without waking up and screaming. I ended up holding him for both of his morning sleeps (generally he has a short sleep at around 8:30am and then a longer one at around 11:30) but by the afternoon, he had a lovely, long afternoon nap and was back to his chipper, smiley self.

It was a good lesson. There wasn't that much we could do about the fact that we had two birthday's on the weekends but I learned that I must put JBB's schedule front and centre. I also learned that if we do have a busy time that we need to make sure that there is a down day right after so that he can catch up on his sleep. That being said, he is a very social baby so I definitely need not deprive him of outings, he loves the stimulation. He is having a nice long morning nap right now and then we are going to go for a walk up to the shops.

Here are some cutie pie pics that my auntie took when we were out to lunch a couple of weeks ago!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Well people, I had a fabulous day with my little JBB yesterday. Apparently he was an angel at the creche - though he did not like being by himself in the play pen - he likes watching the kids run around does this little man, I think he is a little social butterfly. After a good hard workout, I picked him up (and was hugely rewarded by one of his million dollar smiles) and we went for a swim. It was the first time that I had taken him to the pool by myself and this is a great one as it is heated up for good temperatures for the babies and toddlers.

It was an extremely interesting experience. There is something that I had not admitted to myself and honestly, when I tell you what the realisation that I had was, you are going to think that I have some sort of brain disorder. Okay, after I had changed JBB into his cute bathers and wrestled all of our stuff down to poolside, we eased our way in. I finally looked around a bit and seriously, it was mother and baby central. There were so many mums and kids around that it was ridiculous and that was when I had the realisation - I'm one of them, I'm a mother!! This really floored me and of course I had to laugh at how long it has taken for me to realise this very important fact.

I have been going to this gym for years, the mothers and babies have always been there and of course at first I looked at them and thought 'soon I will be one of you' but after awhile I learnt to avert my eyes - I was worried that I would never be one of them. Now I am one of them. It was a strange feeling, I thought that it would have meant more to me than it actually did. What meant the most to me was that JBB had an absolute ball in the pool, we had the most beautiful, fun time together. I am a confident swimmer, I love the water, it is extremely soothing to me, I am calm and confident around the water (but extremely vigilant!!) - I hope that this love of the water is something that I can pass on to him.

When battling IF, I thought that the word 'mother' would be the be all and end all to me and certainly it is in some ways but I think about how I viewed it then and it was really all about me, what I could give to a baby if I had one, how it would effect me, what I could do to nurture this human being. Now I realised that being a mother is not about me at all, it is about the child. It is not just what I want anymore, though of course I still like to have time for myself so that I can be sustained as a person. It is not about what I think is nurturing because each child is different and likes to be nurtured in different ways. I think that if we can allow it, the mother is created from the child and not the other way around. I don't know if I am making sense but it has been a profound realisation to me - it has reached right into the heart of who I am and who I hope to be.

Another realisation that I had was that in some small, strange way, I didn't really want people looking at me with JBB lest I be seen as being show-offery. I've never really like the attention on me, the only thing that I was nervous about on our wedding day was that everyone would be looking at me. What a strange feeling to have, I was quite surprised by it because I am absolutely proud of JBB, I love people looking at him - it would hurt my heart though if I was someone that a person struggling with IF looked at me with JBB and they were hurt by our carefree fun. I still stand next to my IF sisters and I do not want to ever hurt anyone though I realise that unless I have a little bio of my experiences pinned to my shirt, people will make just assume that we didn't have a struggle to get this little fellow.

I also realise that I look at my own mother differently now. I knew that she had done a great job in raising the four of us kids - though we have all had our issues, we have been strong and fought through them. I look at her now and realise the time she spent allowing me to become the person that I am today. At one point in my life, I wondered why she didn't push me to become a more competitive swimmer, I was pretty talented apparently and I had thoughts that I might have gotten somewhere if she had of given me some nudges. When I asked her a couple of years ago about why she didn't push me, she said that if I really wanted to be a competitive swimmer, I would have made it happen myself, I wouldn't have let anything stop me from becoming it. I used to be dissatisfied by this answer because I thought that she had somehow taken away some success from me because she didn't want to push me. Now I think that she was right, she knows me very well - when pushed, I generally rebel and end up hating whatever it was that I was doing - everything has to be my choice. In the end, she gave me a wonderful gift. I still love to swim, I still love the water, I still find peace there - if she pushed me, that would have most likely not been the case.

I also remember walking with my mum after a failed cycle. I couldn't stop crying and she grabbed me and hugged me in the middle of the walking track, with tears streaming down her own cheeks. I remember her saying, please let me do something to help, please just tell me what I can do. I have tears streaming down my face now remembering that day, I was so caught up in my own pain, I didn't realise her feeling of helplessness at not being able to do something to ease the pain in me. I am not saying that it took me to be a mother to realise this but I just think that I am finally starting to heal from all of those failed cycles because I didn't have the time before, I was still mired in the struggle and using all of my energy just to survive.

My mum said something lovely to me today. She said that she was so proud of how I am doing with JBB. She said that she loves it how calm and confident that I am around him and how great and at ease he is with other people because I have not been shy about letting others interact with him. I can't tell you what this means to me.

I am one very, very lucky woman!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bad habit intervention (confession post)

This is a hard post for me to write because I would like it if I wasn't like this - I would like it if I didn't have to write about this. It plays against my perfectionism - I hate to give a bad impression of myself but what the hey - I am going to have to come clean, I aint perfect sisters and it is about time I realised that I will never be!!

So, JourneyMan and I had a talk tonight and I have realised that we need to have an intervention on ourselves. We have gotten into a bit of a rut of not doing stuff. We have become the 'not doing stuff' family, the 'looking at the four walls' family, the 'watching crap pay TV family', basically, 'the lazy family (foof, that one hurt).

It has been a combination of things that have caused this. For me, the pregnancy was tough (I realise that anyone who is struggling with infertility is probably yelling at the screen right now 'cry me a river - woman who has gotten everything she wants in life'). It was tough though in ways that I didn't expect it to be. I lost all of my fitness. I put on mega amounts of weight when I swore that I wouldn't. I was uncomfortable. These are not big deals and seriously, I am not saying that they are but I am trying to explain how I got to be in such a rut. After the battles of infertility and withdrawing from my friends and family, I got used to it. This was compounded in the last part of the pregnancy because I was pretty uncomfortable and without energy so I spent alot of time on the couch. I was very close to being a shut in and I really had a hard time moving myself out of that space - I am still working on it but I still have quite a long way to go.

Enter JBB and I struggled at the start. The sleep deprivation was to be believed and I was not handling the questions of JBB's 'exotic looks' very well, in fact it was a major stressor. Then JourneyMan lost his job and we didn't have any money to spare so we spent most of our time around the house. The crazy Melbourne weather didn't help matters - one day it was humid like Bangkok, the next day was a deluge of rains, then the day after that it was 40 degrees celcius (I believe that it is 104F). In fact, we have had an amazingly wet spring (and into summer) so I really didn't get myself together walking and getting outside - there always seemed to be an excuse. Yes, I do realise that all of these things are just excuses and seriously bad ones at that.

Lastly and not least (and seems to be the root of the problem). I seem to have developed a fear of taking JBB places. I noticed it pretty early on and I have tried to break myself of it by going out on my own with him but I haven't done it often enough to break the fear. I have told myself that it was for his own good so that I could get him into good sleeping routines etc but honestly, at the end of the day, it is all about fear. I am not exactly sure of what I am afraid of - the effort that it takes to go out. Not really, I have his bag permanently packed so that I just have to add a few things and I am out the door. It has just occurred to me that this may also be a form of my perfectionism - that I don't want to do something 'wrong' in public, that JBB might cry and I will see looks of judgement. Holy cow - I know how this sounds and I am thinking 'nutter' in my mind very clearly. The realisation came to me today. JBB was pretty grumpy yesterday and I was completely convinced that he was teething (and he may be) but I was out pretty much all day today and he was happy all day. I had to face facts today, people - he loves going out and I, as his mother, have to get of my arse and entertain this child!!

Okay, so I have gotten those confessions off my chest and I hope that you haven't walked off in disgust at my whinging about all the good in my life and seriously the sensory deprivation of this child. JourneyMan is also in the poo because as a family have not done a great deal of things together either, which is really sad - we are both going a long way to a smacked bottom! A couple of weeks ago, we went over to my brother's place whilst they were away for the weekend to loll about in their pool (my bestie came along for good measure) on a super hot day. We had an absolutely wonderful day and again, JBB absolutely loved it. For the most part, though, we have been 'the lazy family'.

This stops here, people!! There are some changes afoot in the Journey household. I signed up JBB for the creche at the gym today so he is going to creche for an hour and a half whilst I work out, then I am going to take my beautiful little man for a swim. When JourneyMan gets home, we are going to take JBB for a walk around the neighbourhood. This will give him some much needed fresh air and JourneyMan and I some time to talk about our days. We are headed to the country on the weekend for the day for a Hawaiian themed birthday party for JourneyMan's sister's husband's birthday (JBB has the cutest Hawaiian shirt and short set that his uncle got him on a trip to Hawaii - cuterson!!) which will be a fun day and then on Sunday, we are going to find a park and have a play.

I don't like fear and my way of dealing with it is to face up to the situations but I also don't want to go too far the other way. I am still going to be conscious of JBB's schedules and keep his life fairly settled but I am also going to take him out into the world more. The funny thing is that I was always the travelling girl - I have seen heaps of the world, I have done so much in my life and tried so many things. I have been brave and adventurous - I would really hate for JBB to grow up only knowing a cautious, shut in of a mum. I want him to see that his mum is fun, adventurous, willing to try new things, happy to get out in the world and smiles and laughs often.

Do the scars of infertility ever heal? I hope so, I really do - I want JBB to know the person his mum was before the disappointments changed who I am. I am determined. That is one thing I can say for sure, I am like a dog with a bone - I will heal, I will get out of this rut, I will bring the fun again!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nature Vs Nurture

This has been on my mind alot lately. Not in any huge way (donor genetics vs my nurturing) but in a thankful, wondering type way.

So what do I mean? Firstly, let me touch wood because I am superstitious and I don't want anything good changing. Okay, wood has been touched. JBB is super dooper easy going. When it is his time to go to bed (he shows me by yawning, and his eyes glazing over), I wrap him up, he sucks on his dummy for about a minute and then he is in snoozeland. When he wakes up in the middle of the night (very rarely - usually only if he is cold), he doesn't bellow at the top of his lungs, he just starts chatting.

If he does cry - he definitely is telling me something, he is hungry, he is hurt, his nappy needs to be changed or he is tired but really, he doesn't cry a great deal. He is generally a pretty serious fellow though and you really have to be entertaining for him to crack a smile or give a giggle. He is completely curious about everything that goes on around him and especially if we go out, he does not like to nap cos he doesn't like to miss anything.

So, I guess I have been wondering - was he just born a cruisey type of little dot or have I done something to help him along that way? The main things that I feel that I bring to the table are:

1. Attentiveness - I am always looking out for what makes him happy, what he likes, what he doesn't like, play with him when he wants to and give him time on his own when he needs it. I give him plenty of hugs, I talk and sing to him as much as possible and I (for the most part) let him dictate how the day will go.

2. Routine - certainly our night routine is down pat, he has a bath with me, his dad dries him off and reads his bedtime stories and then I wrap and settle him for bed. Our days are a little more changeable but he is falling in to a pretty consistent routine.

3. Love & gratitude - there are not enough words to describe how much I love this little mite - every day since he has been in my life has been my best day. My Auntie was holding JBB on Friday and she said that she looked at him and her heart turned over - I know exactly what she meant, I have been brought to tears on many, many occasions since he came into our lives. Some days, JourneyMan and I look at each other wonderingly and talk about how lucky we are.

This is all just conjecture though - in my heart of hearts, I pretty much know that JBB was born a beautifully natured child and all I can hope is that I can nurture his innate gifts into fruition.

He is the gift of my heart.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A lovely award!

I am very flattered that I have received an 'I love this blog award' - thank you very much to The C's for the nomination

Here's the award -

Here's the guidelines--

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award. (thanks again to the lovely C's)

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Make sure you contact these bloggers to let them know about the award.

So, 7 Random Things About Me:

1. I like a list for everything I do. Not much of a shocker to anyone who has read a few of my blog posts as a bulleted list is a regular occurrence on my posts.
2. I have a great memory for song lyrics but song names and artists (as well as book names and authors) escape me - this is an enormous annoyance to JourneyMan
3. I like to be covered both in bed and sitting on the couch - this is pretty uncomfortable in summer when I must have a sheet over me in bed and even when sitting on the couch, I will hold a cushion or something and have the airconditioner on.
4. One of the things that I am most proud of is my mental toughness. Once I set my mind to something, I keep going and going until I achieve it. This helped when I ran the half marathon as well as when I did the 100km walk in 48 hours for Oxfam.
5. I luuuurrve amusement parks - especially ones with waterslides!! JourneyMan doesn't know it yet but I have found a water park that we can go to in Thailand when we go over there later in the year - whoo hoo, I loves me a water slide!!
6. I really want to run a marathon one day. Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Games a few years back and JourneyMan and most of my family were at the finish of the marathon that was won by an Australian woman Kerryn McCann - the noise as she entered the stadium in front of 100,000 was absolutely amazing. She was a mother of two kids when she won that marathon. She subsequently died of breast cancer but I after seeing her amazing feat, I always thought I would like to run a marathon once I was done having kids.
7. I hate showers and have baths instead. Melbourne has had water restrictions for years without count so I try to have it as shallow as possible so as not to waste water. This is also prime reading time for me. JBB's nighttime routine includes a bath with his mum, and then his dad will dress him for bed and read him a story whilst I have a little read in the bath, then I get out and wrap him and put him into bed.

Here are the blogs that I nominate for this award:

These are my recent discoveries:

1. Mrs Gamgee at Hobbitish thoughts and Ramblings
2. Silver at Hope for the Best
3. Cherbear at In a Nutshell
4. Dora at My Preconceived Notion
5. EBC at our new plan A
6. Roccie at Roccie Road
7. Mrs La La at Empty Uterus Syndrome
8. Elphaba at Runny Yolk

These are some old friends that I would like to nominate, cos I loves ya's all!!

9. Lifeslurper
10. Chelle at Once an Infertile
11. Wifey at Journey Through Infertility and TTC
12. Circus Princess at Circus Children
13. Jill at All Aboard the Pity Boat
14. AL at Mission: Motherhood
15. Miss Tori at The Winding Road to Parenthood

There are so many others - I hope that you don't feel left out!!

I love a sunburnt country....

This is a line from a very famous Australian poem 'My Country' by Dorothea Mackeller - the most known stanza of this poem is as follows:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

This is Australia to a T. It is an amazingly beautiful country and as well as being bloody scary.

It has been rough for many of my countrymen and women in these past weeks. There have been massive floods in Queensland as well as my home state of Victoria - much damage has been done to properties and unfortunately there has been lives lost.

In the South, we have been sweltering in the heat and in the far North as I write this, a category 5 cyclone is just about to hit many town and cities - 89,000 homes are already without power and the worst of it is yet to come. Emergency services are grounded - these people are on their own.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all in FNQ who are battling Yasi - I hope you and your families are all able to stay safe.