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.