Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Things are better. I like my daughter. Will keep her. My son too, although the 4 year old attitude is amazing, little punk.
Things on my to do list. If you fall asleep whilst reading it I can't blame you, life is so very mundane these days.
- christmas shopping
- grocery shopping
- rearrange wardrobes in 3 bedrooms
- transfer all cds from plastic covers into plastic slips.
- collate all my journal entries from the past 15 years, along with letters, mementos, photos and create some seriously kick ass scrapbook like things.
- get my hair done. It's horrendous. I wouldn't look in the mirror, however just last week we had new cupboards put into 2 bedrooms and they are fitted with floor to ceiling mirrored sliding doors. Talk about vanity.

Things I have done that are positive
- Joined the gym. Mostly as with school holidays looming I was starting to panic at the prospect of having both children in my care all day long. This way I can hand them over for 90 minutes and get fit by default.
- started seeing a shrink, under a government initiative to help sufferers of post natal depression I get 12 sessions that should cost $212 per hour FOR FREE. This is fantastic. The shrink - ing part is difficult, but I will save that for another day.
- had sex.
- smoked a joint & drank some wine. Sure its not the most responsible thing for a breastfeeding mother to do, but she was asleep at the time (in cot, not on my breast, just to clarify) and it felt so good. A really handy coping mechanism I shall have to remember.

Just found out if I miss the r in breastfeeding it becomes beast feeding. Apt. I needed a title for this blog.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Wardrobe

Had a bad day today. 2 cups of coffee and I've been an edgy princess all afternoon.
The day started well, walked to the oval with baby in a pram, dog on a leash, boy & soccer ball close by. Baby fell asleep, dog fetched a stick over & over again, boy & mum played soccer, totally nailed it. Everyone was happy.
Come afternoon it all went slightly pear shaped, a sick hubby, a catnapping baby, question upon question from the 4 year old and a tired me. I'm really not at my best when I'm tired. Sorry family.
Next Friday I am going with some friends to see a play called "The Wardrobe'. Something darkly humorous about a mother of 3 boys locking herself in the cupboard at home for some respite. I can relate.
Only I'd lock myself in the shower, with hot water to drown out all the noise.
Maybe I'd take some wine & nibblies in too, plus my best fluffy towel.
Burn some oil, light some candles.
Maybe a book, I could run a hot, hot bath, throw in the good bubbles.
I think I'm salivating. It won'y happen yet, but it will happen. One day soon. I won't stay in forever, maybe a few hours.
It's a date. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Do List

There are several things I have on my To Do List, including :
Buy an umbrella. The Wet is here early and I keep getting rained on. As do my children. So make that buy 2 umbrellas.
Sort out my 7 boxes of mementos. Dating back to my early childhood through to my latest childs birth they are a mish mash of letters, cards, photos. It is a job so large I cannot face it. Yet. One box at a time perhaps.
Get a bikini wax. That thing is not pretty.
Find my sex drive. It's vanished, gone, disappeared. I used to be so proud of it, now I can only remember it if I try really hard and even then it's just a vague recollection.
Get a massage, or possibly several. One a day would be lovely.
Work out what I want to with my life. Write down some goals. My very own Bucket List.
Sleep. Thats right. Sleep for more than 4 hours without waking.

I possibly spend more time writing lists than actually achieving any of the things I write down. Still this ones public so anything could happen.

Angry Mother

12 weeks tomorrow, she's lovely, I keep reminding myself of that, precious, one of a kind, feisty, beautiful. But how she winds me up. Intentionally? Perhaps not. Hard to tell.
Courtesy of no longer being a pot smoker, after being one for many years, it seems I am now able to feel extreme rushes of anger. As a smoker, I had always just presumed I was a chilled out sort of a gal. Not so, apparently that was the THC working its magic and in fact I am prone to feeling rather distressed when under duress.
For example when my tiny child screams periodically at me throughout the day, due to being unable to fall asleep on her own as she finds her mothers arms the perfect place for a quiet nap. Unfortunately, I have many things I both need and like to do during the day, such as make & eat lunch with my son, drive a car, attempt household chores and of course wipe my bum. Therefore it is necessary for me to put my sleeping child quietly down, sometimes in her cot, sometimes on my bed, occasionally on the rocker.
Unfortunately I am perhaps not doing this correctly, as 9 times out of 10 she lets me know I have failed by waking up and screaming at me.
It's not fun for either of us, I feel guilty, hopeless, not to mention annoyed and of course, angry. How fucking hard is it to sleep? Stop acting like such a baby. Oh wait, right, I see.
There are times when I love her fiercely, adore her, she makes me melt and so proud. Then there are moments, short bursts where I'm so frustrated, so crazy with her, so angry.
All that I can do, in this state, in my tired world, where it's all so fucking hard, is turn to music. So I place my little girl calmly in her cot, shut the door and walk away, put my earphones in, ipod on, turn up the volume and enjoy 10 minutes of nothing but music that I love. I have even created a new playlist called 'Maggie' in honour of these times. Filled with tunes that are both heartfelt and emotional. Think Moby 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad' or Missy Higgins 'All For Believing'. It makes me a calmer mother, possibly not the greatest mother, but a better mother than I was 10 minutes before.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


They say babies give you the first smile at around 6 weeks to stop you from throwing them out the window, to make you fall in love with them all over again. Unfortunately this little family is still waiting for our babies first smile, 7.5 weeks in and the closest I have had is a slight grimace that out of love and desperation I am calling an attempt, a test run, perhaps an upside down frown.
I saw my neighbour from over the road today, she came by and asked how baby was doing. I said 'Don't you hear her?' to which she replied 'Yes, yes I do, the poor little thing'.... What? Her? What about me? But that got me thinking, how even though it seems this 5 kilo screaming machine has entered my life to cause me pain and distress and change me from the easygoing happy soul I used to be...that probably she is feeling a hell of a lot more pain and distress and confusion than her selfish mother is and my job is to love and get her through it.
I have read many many baby rearing books in the past few weeks, one of the theories that stood out was a Doctor who wrote that babies are born 3 months too early, that essentially they are still fetus's for that first 12 weeks and need to be close to Mum and rocked and jiggled and shushed and held. Which by the way I am doing for about 8 hours out of every day, so I'm giving it a red hot go, it's just my daughter seems to think I'm getting it wrong. The definition of frustration is walking & rocking & shushing your baby to sleep for 30 minutes only to have those little eyes pop wide open the moment you set her down, not to mention the wail that erupts from those precious lips. Repeatedly throughout the day, so you end up have expended far more time and energy in trying to get the baby to sleep than she actually spends sleeping. Good for the upper body though, these arms are looking tight!
I met up with some Mum friends the other day, all of whom have at least 2 children. Upon erupting in tears as soon as I sat down they each offered some of their own experiences of mothering more than one child, each having their own horror stories of unsettled babies. "I hated her for the first year" said one. "I used to think of ways she would die and what songs I would play at her funeral" said another. "I threw mine down in the cot one day and she bounced up and dented the wall" admitted another.
So suddenly I feel almost free from the guilt that has been eating away at me, the negative thoughts that pulsate through my tired brain telling me I'm hopeless, I'm doing something wrong, There must be something wrong with her, I'm a bad person... Dare I say it but it turns out I'm normal?
So the advice? Plenty of it. Took 2 things away with me. It will get better. It better. And get a housecleaner. I'm in.

Monday, September 27, 2010


More of the same really. I inhabit a universe where I alternate between great love and great distaste for my baby. Call it colic, reflux, angry baby syndrome, whatever it may be she has been sent to me to test me, my patience, my strength, my character.
I thought about removing my last post, I felt ashamed when I reread it. How can I possibly say I want to shake her, to watch her bounce? Yet I feel that it helps to write it, to expose myself, to be truly honest. And just to clarify, I won't do any of those things. I've just never felt so incapable, never had my self worth so rattled. My confidence as a parent and perhaps even as a person is rock bottom. Why is she so unhappy? Why can't I get her to sleep more? Why does she cry so long and so loudly? Why doesn't she like us? What do I do?
My mind isn't the only thing hurting, my body feels ready to fall apart. All the walking, holding, bouncing, swaying is taking it's toll on my poor back, shoulders, legs, arms. I feel as if I've aged 10 years. Ridiculously I felt so fit and healthy during her pregnancy, now it's hard to find the motivation to walk around the oval. Perhaps I can blame that on the heat, the terrible beginnings of the Darwin build up.
I've given up coffee in the hope it will make a difference in her sleeping patterns, the same with alcohol, that sweet glass of wine with dinner has been replaced with water, apparently its better for you. Next on the list is chocolate, but I'm afraid if I give that up too I'll have little to no joy in my life. Mind you comfort eating has never been so good to me, thank you food my frenemy.
On the upside we have a dog who I have to walk so everyday we do leave the house and enjoy the thick Darwin humidity by venturing to a park or oval. So far she hasn't bitten anyone else, it seems my parenting of the dog is working out fine. I jump in the pool with my son to cool off and spend a small amount of quality time with him there. I've reread the entire Tomorrow series by John Marsden, the final installment of Harry Potter & a couple of Jonathon Tropper novels, wonderful. I've started cooking again, producing some form of dinner each night. My partner Josh has stepped up completely and I love him all the more for it. My son is a champion who still seems to love his sister more than the rest of us. The only playing up he has done is to start swearing (at the appropriate times, eg drops his cup of water and says 'shit'), but he gets that from me so I'm not too fussed.
So despite my post natal depression result (yes you are tested) being sky high (not in a good way ), essentially I'm doing all the right things. And apparently she will get better and my life will be happy again. I'm not unhappy as such (after all she only wakes up once in the night, I should be counting my blessings), I'm just wobbly. Wobblier than I've ever been. But I do love her, I promise you that.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Bad idea to write when I'm at my lowest...but I've had these thoughts running like a freight train through my scrambled, tired brain for days. So now to distract myself from my baby's tortured cries, screams, wails, I'll write it out and hope that brings some clarity, goodwill, release.
So she's not what I expected. She doesn't do the things I'd like her to do, doesn't act in an easy manner, isn't playing the game the way I envisioned she would. She's 3 weeks old.
I feel like throwing her across the room sometimes. Dropping her in her cot & watching her bounce. Screaming back at her, shaking her, locking her in her room & walking away. Am I brave to write this out? Or am I weak because I think it? Am I depressed? Or am I simply so fucking sleep deprived I want to fall down on the floor and not get back up again?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Once bitten

My dog bit a man today. He was an old man, with brittle skin, hence the reason he bled so easily when she nipped him below the knee. He was riding his bike past, she was on the leash, but unfortunately my step Dad didn't have a tight enough hold on the leash and she had room to move, to leap, to jump on the poor old guy and make him bleed.
I feel sick about it, uneasy, worried. My Mother has already started carrying on about not trusting the dog around kids and if shes done it once she will do it again, perhaps someone who lives out bush could take her. Initially I felt frustrated with Don, thinking in some way it was his fault and it never would have happened if I'd been walking her, not worrying about how big a shock he received, particularly when the old man started hurling obscenities at him and circling him trying to get a hold of the dog. So now I can add guilt to my list of emotions.
What is so sad and difficult for me is my lack of control in so many areas at the moment. I knew that I was needed for the oh so important job of milk producer and baby pacifier and I was happy to commit to that, I was accepting that this was who I had to be for the first few months of my helpless babies life.
What I didn't expect was to lose some of the relationships I've spent so long cultivating, namely with my dog and so sadly with my son. I'd read about what can happen, dogs start acting up and she has been proving that to a tee, pulling washing off the line, jumping up on people, barking at nothing. But biting a stranger on a bike is serious, it's a problem, it CAN'T happen again. It's going to involve some long discussions and possibly some hard decisions.
The relationship break down (I'll be slightly melodramatic about it) with my son is another story, causing my heart to break a little every time he rejects me in favour of someone else, mostly his Nanna or his Dad. I should be happy for them, but I'm not really, I'm seething with jealousy and hurt. Never mind how frustrating I'd find it if he wanted to be with me all the time, I guess I kind of want the best of both worlds. He and I have had this wonderful, intimate relationship where I've had the privilege of being able to treat him almost as an equal, as a grown up, sharing my time and my love with him without question, without a problem. Now I'm expecting him to act adult like and to understand the boundaries that having a new baby bring and it's driving me crazy he won't play the game. And sharing my love around is harder than I thought.
That doesn't make it any easier when he tells me to get away from him, won't let me in the same room with he and Nanna, won't tell me what he did at preschool that day. It really shits me. I know its normal, I know it could be worse, but I feel sad, like I'm kind of grieving for my little boy who doesn't need me as much anymore because he thinks I don't need him so much. If only he knew how much, more than ever, I need my firstborn, my big boy, how much I love him.
That melodramatic enough? Last night I was feeding the baby to sleep, tears pouring down my cheeks as I sat it out alone, in the darkened nursery, silently willing this baby to sleep. In crept my little boy, padded over to me and said 'I'm here Mum, just checking you'. So the tears kept pouring, but they were much happier than before.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Family Dynamic

Our baby was born on a Wednesday. That same night her Granny flew up, the days that followed were interesting as I've mentioned in a previous blog. She stayed until the Saturday morning, at which time my parents (Mum & StepDad, here on in to be known as Nanna & Donno) flew in for shift change.
Since arriving they have firstly been an enormous help. My son thinks they are wonderful and so far I haven't had to cook a single meal, lucky, because I'm fairly sure they would be sick of beans on toast by now if I had.
However they have started to take a few liberties as the days wind on, Donno finds it virtually impossible to sit still unless he is watching the news and even then he likes to talk through it, discussing current events with us and lamenting the state of the world. Otherwise he can be found playing with my son (good, excellent even), or wielding some sort of power tool in his hand hoping to hang something. So far he's put a mirror on the wall (no problem, although next time Donno DO NOT start the drill whilst the baby is sleeping or serious harm could happen upon you), he's hung some hooks on the door, curtain rods up, floating shelf on the wall - my spare room is looking fantastic. HOWEVER please do not drill into my wall to hang 1) a tea towel holder or 2) 4 coffee mug hooks or 3) a towel rail. These are not necessary. You guys can live without these things. Find something else to do.
Then there is my Mother, the wonderous Nanna. She was made to be a Nanna, all cuddly and soft and fun. We do have one issue though, that issue is food. It runs in my family that to go without food for over 3 hours results in low blood sugar, very short tempers and cranky pants. My son has inherited this from me, just as I did from my Mother and so on and so forth. So Nanna continually feeds my son, healthy food so it's not too much of a problem. The problem lies with my new baby and my Mothers insistence that whenever she is unsettled, or crying or heaven forbid sucking on her fingers that she is hungry. Possibly starving. I am reaching into my realms of stubborness and refusing to feed my baby more than once every 3 hours. This means at least 4 times a day, just as things are getting slightly stressful, bub is fussing and I'm in a constant state of tiredness, the call comes out. 'Just put her on the boob Clare', 'Shes probably hungry love', 'Shes sucking her fingers, must be time for feeding' . I find it terribly hard to argue with my Mother, we are lovers not fighters in that bloodline, so instead I'm finding it quite effective to merely 'Shhhh' her, short and sharp and mostly effective.
The ironic thing is my Mother talks up the fact that she fed each of her 3 children until we were 1, she always had milk and all we had to do was cry and her breasts would be spurting milk for us to lap up. I say ironic because to this day all 3 of us battle various addictions, the 3 main ones being nicotine, alcohol and food (it's my frenemy). Could this have anything to do with us being shoved on a breast to soothe us at the slightest cry? I won't say as much to my Mother, but I'm smug with the thought of it.
In the meantime my baby can cry for that long 1/2 hour before feeding and I'll listen to it and enjoy the fact that shes able to tell me something is the matter. Eventually I'll feed her and enjoy the fact my breasts aren't lactating machines, they are doing an effective job of supply and demand. Well actually they are lactating machines, fairly efficient ones and I am the firm, but fair, boss of them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No labels required

A daughter! A beautiful, screaming, 9 pound parcel of daughter, filling me up with so much love, so much joy, her very essence runs through my veins and beats my heart, my precious baby.
Its a matter of hours before my mother in law (Granny) is on the plane, even going so far as to wait on stand by for a seat that evening. She visits the next day, slightly uncomfortable in the public hospital setting, seeming pleased with her first grand daughter if a little shocked at her size and delightfully squished up face (it was a tight fit getting out). We go home that evening, it's a terrible night, lots of crying, terribly broken sleep, the beginnings of my pregnancy blues kicking in. Granny asks me about it the next day, then laughs and comments about 'the fun and games' of it all. Not really, I say, not really very funny at all.
That day is better, my baby sleeps alot, feeds more, looks so peaceful, still squishy but calm, serene, sweet. Granny comes and peers over my shoulder at her sleeping grandchild. 'Well, shes certainly not a delicate child' she says, inserting a metaphorical knife into my heart and twisting it, with those 7 words.
Lets be clear on whats happened here, my little girl looks JUST like me, she's THREE days old and already been judged on her appearance not by a stranger, but by her Grandmother!? I flounder for a response, cant find one, feel my blood boiling and my heart breaking for my beautiful girl who has a skinny Granny that judges by size. Never say that to her or me again, I think to myself, but still can't say anything, the rage in me is so great.
It was a lesson I had learned by about the age of 7, when the annual school class photos rolled around and I was shafted up the back with an entire row of boys and one other girl, while all the 'delicate' girls sat with their knees together in the front row. Not to mention getting to be one of the 'solid' girls at the bottom of the pyramid during that torturous time of school gymnastics. I took it all on the chin, learnt to use humour & self depreciation to take the edge off any emotional pain that 'not being delicate' might bring.
In my teens a sly bout of bulimia here and there helped me fit into a size 12, what joy there was in banishing those size 14s to the back of the cupboard. Couldn't maintain the pain of all that, so in my early 20s it turned me into quite the feminist, actively rejecting the role of being 'little' or 'pretty'. Then I found Josh, who loved me. And it turned out that was all I needed to feel delicate, beautiful, lovable.
Not that I'm a fan of delicate, not that its something I hoped my daughter might be, I guess I just want her to have the option? I'd much rather her be strong and brave, fun and joyful, happy and healthy and most of all proud of who she is and where she comes from. For her to know her family love her entirely as she is, for everything she is and can be. So Granny, if I dare ever show you this, just love her, no labels required.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Four weeks away from giving birth to my second child and it's fair to say I'm a little nervous. I was born a worrier and the thought of a new child to share my love & time with gives me plenty of material with which to worry. What if I don't really like this one? What if I stop liking my other one? It's never a question of love, that is unconditional, it's the day to day operations of being a good person, a good example, a good mother that I worry I can't maintain.
What if this one cries all the time & I don't get enough sleep? I'm a terrible person without enough sleep, terrible. What if it doesn't come out on time (or better yet early) & just grows and grows into a 10 pound monster? I couldn't bear it. I already look like 'I'm about to pop' (as the old ducks like to say) and I don't want to have another big baby, been there done that and I'm not keen to repeat the experience.
Initially I told myself I make big babies because I eat so well & I'm rather 'big boned' myself, I've since come to find that generally you have a big baby if you eat too much food. That was hard to work out. Story of my life. Eat less and you might lose that excess weight that so bothers you....but who wants to be hungry? I really like feeling full after a meal, it's comforting.
Now I come to find I'm making my own children fat, the shame, the shame. If only my mother in law wasn't so thin, and my partner so capable of sustaining himself on 2 meals a day. Imagine only 2 meals a day, it almost makes me sad for him.
It's been too long since I last blogged & I'm going slightly mad waiting for a baby to come. Next week would be great. I've entered that stage where when people ask how I am I think it's a trick question, what are they trying to say? Paranoia, maybe, but any glow I once had has turned into a sullen simmer. 'Not long to go now love?' they ask, everytime they serve me in the supermarket. "no no, hopefully soon' I smile politely & give too much information out to a perfect stranger.
Whats worse- lumbering around for another 4 weeks waiting to meet my baby, or having the baby early & theres no turning back, not to mention the possibility of a mother in law coming to stay and help....but thats a whole nother blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

School Days

It's Week 8 of my sons first term of preschool, an endevour much more stressful & overwhelming than I ever imagined, but today we've had a break through. He's a serious child, never more so than when we walk in the preschool door to the bedlam that is 20 odd 3 & 4 year old children of many shapes & colours on a Monday morning. Each teacher greets him with a cheerful Good Morning How Are You chant & he responds with a scowl & averted gaze. This is not a trait he gets from me, I prefer to treat most folks as long lost cousins and give them a smile that says 'You've made my day just by being here'.
This morning it was much the same, an excited wait to get in the car for preschool involving much chatter about the things they will do, upon exit of the car the sullen face & concerned eyes. Not a word to be said. However when I picked him up this afternoon his teacher made a point of coming over & asking me was this really my child I'd left here as all day long he had been chatting and playing and smiling(!?!) and even singing this afternoon! What progress! I'm bursting with pride as though she's just told me he's the best child she's ever had the pleasure of teaching in all her 40 years experience. Which possibly he is but I'll keep that a secret between just her and I.
When I was at preschool I remember feeling shy but kind of sucking it up and just getting on with it. I'm coming to see my son is very different to me (huh? really?) in that he bides his time, doesn't be/say/do anything he doesn't feel comfortable with and is just cautious by nature. And I almost envy him for it because I can think of countless times I've just gone along with things so not to rock the boat, that I've tried to be someone I'm not to fit in, that fitting in was so very important to me (and possibly still is?)...and it takes a 3 year old who I would adore regardless to show me what it is to be comfortable & perhaps confident in your own skin.
From the moment I met my son I knew I loved him more than anything and that I was the best person to be his Mum, since then there have been many times I've questioned that, wandering when somebody was going to see straight through me and realise I had no idea what I was doing & my expectations of my child were huge and at the same time so simple. Be happy. Love. Learn. Teach. And thats what he does.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Blog #1. So many thoughts that run through my brain day in, day out, washing dishes, playing snap, washing clothes, tidying rooms....time to put them onto paper, or a computer screen, hopefully touch typing will come easier with time.
I'm the mother of one, a boy, he's 3 and nothing like me. It seems the blood that runs through his veins is almost purely his Fathers, they look the same, act the same & seem to think the same. If it wasn't for my sons slightly sensitive side (slightly? he cried after preschool today when he accidently took the wrong hat?How do I parent that? "Toughen up champ?","Don't worry be happy?", " Whats wrong with you thats not your fucking hat, give it back!") I'd have trouble believing he was mine.
Despite our differences I love him, I'd die for him, I'll protect him & nurture him for as long as he'll let me...and yet within the space of an hour I want to walk away from him throwing a hissy fit in public, walk away & leave him to work his own shit out. Is 3 too young to work your own shit out?
I want to grab his shoulders & shake him and say 'just fucking say hello to someone when they speak to you, just fucking wave at them, respond, do something, don't just ignore them, don't scowl at them. He does this every morning I take him to preschool, scowls at the teachers as they happily say good morning....i'm not ashamed of him, in fact I'm very proud of him it's just that I don't understand where he's coming from sometimes, I don't know why he reacts in certain ways. Its unfamiliar to me and worlds away from how I am, in fact I take pleasure in greeting everyone, shop assistants, people in the street, any stranger will do....maybe he's rebelling already? Maybe I embarrass him, already?! There is a high probability of that happening, I just didn't think it would happen so soon.