The worst part of parenting?

Nope, although the sleep deprivation was bad when Asher was still a baby it wasn't the worst bit for us. The lack of spontaneity in our lives now doesn't bother me at all and although we rarely go out to nice restaurants not having the money or opportunity isn't a real problem for us. Before Asher arrived I thought the gross bits of parenting would be just awful but I now just laugh when I realise I'm wiping snot off a little nose with my own clothing and even today's cheerful game of peek-a-boo around the toilet door whilst stuck on the loo with diarrhoea wasn't that bad. For me, the worst bits of parenting are the relentlessness and the not knowing whether you are doing the right thing.

The relentlessness is realising that this demanding 24x7 job is never going to end. Even when you aren't 'on duty' you are on call in case of emergency and even when your kids are adults you will still worry about them. I'm getting more and more used to this part, but it really hits home occasionally. Especially when people tell me they are going to be off work for a month, holidaying on an island for a week and then driving down the coast for a few weeks, stopping where and when they feel like it (er, have a great honeymoon Niki and Ryan!)

The not knowing is different. At this stage I'm not sure I'm ever going to come to grips with it. Apart from the physical evidence of Asher growing, learning and obviously thriving there are times, many of them, when I'm just so conflicted about what I should be doing. I remember my own parents always seeming to know exactly what was and wasn't allowed (and why), what the right thing to do in any circumstance was and also why (when that reason was 'because I said so' I still believed them). I now realise that a lot of it was bluff - it must have been!

The part of our lives that I'm most unsure about centres around food and eating. Sanjay, not normally one for stern pronouncements, stated that our child would not be a fussy eater. He started saying this well before I got pregnant with Asher and continued to proclaim it until about the time Asher started wanting to make his own choices around food, sometime before he was a year old. It turns out we have somewhat of a fussy eater, even considering the normally capricious nature of toddlers. Now, the unsure-ness plays into all this when I try to work out what I *should* be doing about it. Will he get scurvy if he has absolutely no fruit or vegetables besides sultanas for a month? Is the protein in cheese, yoghurt, Weetbix, butter and bread enough? Will he turn into a spoilt brat if I keep offering him things each dinnertime until he deigns to eat something? Will the impulse to give him a good shake be too strong if he screams like I'm forcing him to eat dishwasher powder when I put some in front of him for dinner that was a favourite yesterday? Should I let him go to bed with no dinner if he doesn't eat the first two or three things I put in front of him? Even if we gave in and decided he could live happily on nothing but Weetbix for breakfast, vegemite sandwiches for lunch and brie for dinner would he survive? Why is something that he can't get enough of one day imperiously rejected with no hope of him even tasting it the next? It's driving me crazy and I don't really know what to do about it.

At the moment he does eat Weetbix with milk and yoghurt for breakfast. He nibbles on vegemite sandwiches, sultanas and sometimes some crackers or a biscuit from about 10am until midday. He might have a cracker when he wakes up from his sleep but then from 3pm until dinnertime I don't let him have anything so he has some chance of being hungry for dinner (between 5pm and 6pm). For dinner, which is the problem meal, I usually offer him leftovers from our meal the night before or something from the freezer that he has liked in the past. Occasionally I am able to get a few kernels of sweetcorn into him and he'll often eat something involving rice (a month ago it was risotto, now that is considered poison and he'll eat dhal and rice). He generally won't eat finger food for dinner (er, unless it's toast) and anything green, such as a speck of parsley, will be either spat out if it's not rejected outright. We can't eat with him (we don't want to and it doesn't fit in with Sanjay getting home from work) and I do everything I can think of to make meals pleasant and stress free. I suspect that he'll continue to be healthy (perhaps he extracts nutrients from the air?) but the real problem is that it's driving me absolutely batshit crazy. I'm going to get my ever-patient and enthusiastic mother to feed Asher when we head up to Crowdy Head for Christmas. Until then I'll just try to rustle up some inner reserves of peace and zen-like calm in the face of the dinner-time tantrums - and getting a gin and tonic for me will have to be just part of getting Asher's meal ready.


Hatch, Match and Dispatch

When my grandmother was alive she used to love reading the births, deaths and marriages section of the newspaper. She used to read out loud any notices that really caught her eye and used to call the section of the paper 'hatch, match and dispatch' which I thought was hilarious when I was a little girl. Someone speaking so irreverently of Such Important Things! Imagine! Anyhow, today I'm doing my own little notices section here.

The Birth: The most recent baby to arrive in my circle of friends is the long-awaited Otto. He was born on the 14th of November after what sounds to have been a really tough labour. I really wish his parents were still in Sydney rather than in Dunoon so I could smell him, but his daddy's blog is as close as I can get at the moment.

The Marriage: Yesterday, we went to what we thought was going to be a housewarming for our dear friends Niki and Ryan but it turned out to be a surprise wedding! It was one of the loveliest weddings I've been to - relatively small and, since it was disguised as a housewarming, it was in the garden of the couples lovely house. They just looked so happy! (for photos click on the Flickr link in the sidebar).

The Death: Well, it isn't much of a death really, but here at Palais du Chhabra we're really happy about the end of the Howard government. It's looking like The Greens didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped (a landslide victory in both upper and lower house) but given the situation in Australia at the moment the result is pretty much as good as can be expected. We now get the joy of watching the Liberal party implode in the vacuum left by John Howard. Check out the Political Compass if you're still feeling the post-election glow and don't know what else to do with yourself for five minutes.


A photo at last

The irony of finding my camera but not being able to find the battery charger is almost too much. The camera had a tiny bit of juice so we took it when we tried Asher in the apartment block's pool and spa. He preferred the spa because it was warmer, but I think he liked all of it.

I think I've decided to upgrade from our very old Canon PowerShot S45 though, since it really is about to fall apart (the screws that hold it together are slowly dropping out, among other problems). I want a point-and-shoot rather than an dSLR and the Canon PowerShot A720 IS looks like it'll do what we want it to do pretty well, without being too expensive (we love our mortgage, we really do).
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Three things:

I felt kind of ashamed of how bitter I felt earlier this week. We met up with one of the mothers from our original 'New Parents Group' Organised by the Early Childhood Health Centre. She has just had her second baby so she had one little girl who is 18 months old (in daycare when we met up) and one 10 day old baby girl. She was telling us how easy her second baby was, how the little girl just slept for three hours at a time and how easy it was for her to go to the gym because…. At that point there was the sound of our collective jaws dropping because not only was this woman out in public, wearing proper clothes and makeup, at ten days post-partum but, just like with her first baby, she had ALREADY BEEN BACK TO THE GYM (after a vaginal delivery). I think all of us felt a strange mixture of jealousy, bitterness and a strange smugness. I'm not sure where the smugness came from, perhaps we felt like she was missing some parenting rite of passage? Maybe it was like that wistful feeling you get when you feel that 'kids these days' have it so much easier with their mobile phones and internet and never having to walk to school in the snow, up hill, both ways…..

I also discovered something much nicer, yet possibly also more scary. Asher is a water baby! A few of us went to the beach on Friday afternoon and the kids were pottering about playing in the sand and we were sitting on our rug chatting and watching them. Asher and one of his best little mates started to head toward the water and as I was starting to get up to follow the other mum told me that her little boy always stopped at the very edge so I paused and watched as Asher, ignoring the other little guy who did stop kept walking into the warm calm water until a tiny wave and the uneven sand conspired to trip him and he landed on all fours. I was racing the few metres down the beach by this point to rescue my 'little darling' who was completely calm and desperate to get back in the water when I hauled him out (hey, I thought he was going to need me to comfort him). Anyhow, he spent the next hour naked just walking around in the shallows holding my hand, pointing to and exclaiming over the water, the sand, twigs and leaves, litter, our shadows, lumps and dips in the sand and our own toes, under water and half buried in sand. It was absolutely delightful and he sleep like a log afterwards, but his complete lack of fear means that I am going to have to be beyond hyper vigilant over summer when we are anywhere near water. I might try him out in our pool tomorrow (our block of apartments has a pool - photos later, when I have a camera).

In other news - our outdoor table was delivered today. Apart from our qualms about the likelihood of it being made of Indonesian rainforest, we really love it. It will easily seat eight, the chairs are pretty comfy and its raw teak and smells just wonderful. Thank goodness we can eat outside now (the old table was plastic, and it's legs were so dodgy it would wobble every time you tried to use cutlery. Happiness! (Except no photos because I still don't have a Camera. I want a point-and-shoot digital for less that AUD$700 which gives me really good image quality, minimal lag between pressing the shutter button and the picture being taken, the ability to use manual controls and a decent optical zoom - any ideas?)


Camera - still no pictures

Yay! I got my camera battery charger back! Boo! I can't find my camera in the midst of all the half unpacked boxes. I'm slightly nervous because I haven't seen it since we moved, but it must be around here somewhere. I'm going to look for it tonight because I want to take some pictures tomorrow - a few other mothers are coming around with their kids to watch the most overrated horse race of the year and I'd love to be able to take a snap or two.

BTW how long do I have to lose it for before I get to buy a new camera? What if I tell you it's on it's last legs - the sliding lens cover which turns the power on and off is really loose and feels like it's about to fall off and the camera is almost five years old....


We've Moved

Asher helps to pack
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
I've been waiting to post until I could include a pic or two of the new place but I left my camera battery charger at Sanjay's parents house on the day of the Mundan and my camera has no juice left, so I'll have to settle for a picture of the packing.

The move went as well as could be expected, considering we weren't really packed up properly. The movers came at 2pm on Friday and finished at 9pm and we did 8-10 car loads over the weekend. I had some wonderful friends looking after Asher on Friday afternoon and my mother was around for much of the afternoon ferrying people where they needed to be, keeping us fed and calm and helping out with Asher for the bedtime routine while Sanjay was back at the old place helping the removalists get the second load on the truck.

Asher was just amazing. I credit his general amazingness and also our repeated conversations about how 'mummy and daddy and Asher and all our things were all going together to the new house' but we also worked hard to keep the routine as normal as possible, just in a different location. Our little boy who has never slept at all well outside his own cot in his own room has had no sleep disturbance and he has not been any clingy-er or less cheerful than usual. Although the little guy doesn't say that much he certainly understands a lot!

I think perhaps I'm having the hardest time of any of us with the settling in. I have the shits that everything is everywhere, that I can't find things, that home smells so different, that the new dishwasher doesn't clean as well as the old one, that despite living almost on the ground floor I'm still struggling with the pram and the groceries when I get home, that I feel like I'm getting no help with getting unpacked and organised (Duh! Sanjay is at work during the day and can't help Keda!), that we've got so much to do to make the place ours and the list goes on. I realise that these are all pretty petty complaints but added together they seem almost overwhelming to me at the moment. I suspect I'm far more a creature of routine than I like to think I am. I'll update next week with how I'm feeling about it all once we've had a weekend together to get a bit more settled - I expect things will be a little more positive by then.