Friday, 19 July 2013

Is this blog harmful to my child

Tomorrow is Latte Mum's first birthday, and I'm starting to wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew. This digital age we're living in both excites and terrifies me in equal measure.

On the one hand, I get to blog about my caffeine-induced Latte Mum adventures and connect with other parents around the globe (too amazing for words). On the other, the internet is luring our tech-savvy children into an increasingly wicked web, potentially exposing them to anything from degrading sexual exploits to faceless cyber bullying. This world we're living in is very different to the one I can relate to from my childhood.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as my increasingly independent toddler embarks on his own adventures without me. He's no longer a helpless baby that thrives simply on breastmilk, love, a clean nappy and a soft toy to cuddle. He needs constant stimulation, interaction with the outside world, loves anything with a switch, loves anything that resembles a phone or remote, and "i-Pad" was one of his first words. I can no more keep him away from technology than I can from growing up. And there will come a time when I will have to rely on the life lessons we have taught him to ensure he makes the right decisions, because he will be a teenager in little over a decade and I won't be there to hold his hand all the time.

I have a responsibility to protect him as much as possible, and cyber bullying is my primary online concern.

At the moment, he is blissfully unaware that he is my muse. When I chronicle his life through Facebook, he has no choice in the matter. When I share my mummy journey with the world through Latte Mum, he can't approve the content beforehand. But, he will be googling his name soon and so too will his classmates.

I keep coming back to one thing. Judgement. Yes, that intangible yet essential element that every good parent should have, and I really hope I have enough of it.

I hope I use enough judgement to refrain from saying anything on this blog that negatively affects my child in any way. I'm sure I will use my judgement when navigating my way through the toddler tantrums, school homework debates, and whether or not we should buy him a car when he turns 18. I certainly hope I use my judgement to assess risk and keep him safe and out of harms way.

Surely between my husband and I, we have enough judgement to ensure we make happy memories for our child rather than plant the seeds for some weird phobia that he just can't shake. Right?! I mean, we didn't name him North West so that's a good start.

So, my fellow Latte Mums, after a whole year together I am starting to panic about the best way to proceed with this blog. Do I keep going as I have been? Do I change my focus, and talk more about me and less about the bambinos? Keen for your thoughts!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Ah-chooooooo!

Our little household has been battling the dreaded winter lurgy this week. Even as I write this, I am sneezing over the keyboard, my head feels like it's going explode and my body's aching. It really is as gross as it sounds.

The epidemic swept in and blew us over without warning. It started with the little guy, picked up I'm sure from an infected sandpit toy he was playing with at playgroup. My husband fell next, clearly affected more than anyone could imagine. So much so, I thought he was going to die of man flu at any moment. After looking after the two of them, it was inevitable that I would be next. 

Through the mountain of tissues, throat lozenge wrappers and eucalyptus vapours, I managed to learn a few things this week.

Tissues, tissues and more tissues
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4048824638/
1. There's nothing sadder than seeing the little man's face with watery blue eyes and a red runny nose, looking at me for some miracle cure that I don't have.

2. After clearing his first year of life without any ailments, it was only a matter of time before playgroup and therefore coughs, colds and tummy bugs became part of our lives.

3. My usually very capable husband becomes completely incapacitated at the first sign of a sniffle. Far from being a myth, man flu really does seem to be the deadliest disease on the planet. Thank goodness he's going to be ok... this time.

4. The little man doesn't care that I feel like crap and am unable to take anything other than lemon & honey tea to make me feel better (thanks to the bump). As such, it was business as usual for me this week.

5. I don't care that I feel like crap and am unable to take anything other than lemon & honey tea, because the only thing that makes me feel better is getting a kiss from my recovered little boy. Which I got today, in abundance.

* Tell me, how do you keep the bugs at bay in your household?

Monday, 8 July 2013

Walk this way

How could it be that my [not so] little boy got his PhD mere moments after entering the world, yet I am still waiting for him to take his first solo steps?

Fast approaching the 18-month-mark, he is growing-up before my very eyes in almost every respect.

He goes to sleep at night as a cherry-cheeked bub, with curly blonde hair slightly damp from his bath, and a woollen onesie that shows off all his delicious rolls. He wakes up the next morning as a boy. "Have you grown overnight again?" I ask him gently every morning as I lift him out of his cot. He grins back at me with that winning smile of his, and nods earnestly like he knows what I'm asking.

Then he'll go about his day - pointing to the fruit bowl and asking for a "nah-nah" instead of his toast, muttering "uh-oh" as he drops something else from his highchair, taking off his cardy and then deciding he needs it back on again, chatting gently to his teddy before giving him a big hug and then chucking him to the ground, stacking his blocks and knocking them down, playing peekaboo with the dirty tea towel, reading/ripping his books, waving and blowing kisses at the girls (of all ages) he sees in the supermarket, saying hi to the kid next to him in the playground, and anything else that important busy toddlers do.

Except, walk. When will you walk little man?

These shoes were made for walking...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_sorense/6062738459/
Nevermind that he could stand in his cot at the age of 5 months, nevermind that he was cruising the furniture at 9 months, or running with his walker at 13 months, or can walk next to me holding onto nothing more but my little finger. Nevermind that his mother is 5 months pregnant and soon will be incapable of carrying him much anyway. He just won't... let... go.

We have tried everything. Giving him a walker, then taking away the walker because we thought he was relying on it too much, then giving it back to him again when he lost all confidence in walking without it. We've moved the furniture to encourage him to take a step between things, but he just drops to the ground and crawls to the coffee table instead. We've tried holding his hands and letting go, holding under his arms then letting go, holding his waist and letting go, enticing him with an iPad, enticing him with food, enticing him with money. I've even refused to carry him when I'm in the house so that he can realise how slow and boring crawling everywhere is. But he just grins, and plods along on all fours in his own good time.

I know he'll let go one day and take a couple of sweet steps on this own, and when he realises he can do it, he'll graduate to running straight away I think. I just hope this little cautious streak of his extends to his teenage years too, and makes him think twice about driving fast in a boy racer car.

Tell me beautiful mums, anyone else out there have or know of a late walker too?

*This post of mine was first published on Mouths of Mums

Friday, 5 July 2013

If mothers are saints, single mothers must be...

I've come to the conclusion that I would make a terrible single mother.

How do I know this? Well, I've been sans husband for five days this week and feel like I've just run 10 marathons without a drinks stop. He was overseas on a work trip, keeping in touch via text and Skype, but his physical absence has been severely felt in our household.

This is kind of hard for me to admit, but you'll see what I mean when you hear about my week (which I tell at the risk of offending feminists globally)...

Day 1: I busy myself by tidying the house with the smug satisfaction that it will actually stay clean for the whole week without him here to mess it up. I start to miss him as soon as the vacuum is switched off, and can't believe I have so many days to go until he's home. At 8pm I realise it's rubbish night and there is no adult male in the house to do the dirty work, so I dutifully wheel the bin down the drive in the dark and freezing cold - no one else has their bins out though... is rubbish night still Sunday?! I have no clue and decide to leave it there as can't be bothered pushing a full bin back up the drive.

Day 2: Wake up feeling exhausted and remember too quickly that I won't be getting a break anytime soon given I'm partnerless for a few more days. This doesn't fill me with joy. I get the little guy out of his cot - thank goodness for his cheery face and soft cuddle! Given his Daddy isn't there to listen, I tell him instead about how sore my back is and how I could barely sleep thanks to his little sister kicking me all night. He stares at me blankly from his highchair, and possibly rolls his eyes.

Day 3: Decide to forgo my little toddler's bath and just give his face and hands a good wash instead. Could barely bend to lift his slippery self out of the bath tub last night and don't think I can risk putting my back out for a second night in a row. He doesn't really need a bath anyway, does he?! I'm sure he was telling me earlier in the day he hates them... let's just go with that, and wait till his Daddy's home.

Day 4: Despite packing our week full of play dates and activities, the lack of evening conversation is starting to catch up with me and I find myself rambling on to complete strangers about anything and everything in a bid to reach my weekly word quota. The pouch of soup I have for dinner tastes like crap, and I start to wonder why I make an effort with dinner when he's here but can't be bothered when he's not. My pledge to not eat any more cakes or slices goes out the window as I tip the soup down the sink and feast on a muffin from the pantry instead.

Day 5: Toddler nightmares throughout the night and midnight cuddles with little tears pooling on my shoulders, resulted in a double dose of exhaustion today and I struggle through the day in a haze akin to having a newborn in the house (good training I guess). Thank god he's back tonight.

So if mothers are saints, single mothers must be goddesses of the world that deserve a diamond-encrusted medal. I've had a glimpse into your world, and I take my hat off to you ladies.

Exhausted on Day 4, I sit down to finish reading the paper then hear "activity" in the kitchen drawers - a spicy disaster was avoided just in time!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Second pregnancy surprises

Everyone says your second pregnancy will be different to your first. As with most other things I was told about motherhood, I decided to ignore this statement too. Of course I will take as many pictures of my growing belly the second time around, I thought. Of course I will be as fascinated by the week-by-week changes and the first fluttery kicks as I was the first time, I decided.

Now over halfway with pregnancy number two, I think it's fair to say my experience has been half-half.

My Top 5 pregnancy experiences that have stayed the same:
  1. I have taken the same number of bump pics as the first time around. Granted I didn't set a high benchmark to start with, but still!
  2. I feel ravenous all the time.
  3. Even though I know that weight gain during pregnancy is healthy and normal, and even though I know I will eventually lose the baby weight, I still worry when I see how much those scales jump up each week (particularly with the number of muffins and cookies I eat, see point 2).
  4. Everything annoys me - from my husband's breathing to the way the supermarket scanner beeps at the checkout.
  5. I can't wait to have a big fat glass of wine (a common theme in previous posts too, you might say). My body didn't get the memo about finding anything not allowed during pregnancy repulsive - instead my mouth waters whenever I smell red wine, white wine, beer, gin...


Proof of point 1: Baby bump #2 at 21 weeks... just the other day!


My Top 5 pregnancy surprises unique to #2:
  1. My body feels more efficient this time around. My bump is smaller than it was at this stage the first time, I feel like I'm more mobile, have more energy and I'm not aching as much. Let's hope this continues!
  2. I feel more emotional when I feel kicks and when I see our little baby on the scans, than I did the first time around. It was surreal back then. Now I know how wonderful the end product is, I'm even more amazed by the little person growing inside me.
  3. This time around I got to experience morning sickness. Yay.
  4. There's a very excited little person who also gets to enjoy the experience this time around - is there anything cuter than a chubby finger pointing to your bump and exclaiming "Bubba!"
  5. It's a girl!
Tell me, what were/are your expectations of your second, third, fourth (or more!) pregnancies? Have you had the same experience as me?