Am I the most special Mum in all the world?

” Why don’t you make your blog more  about us – more personal?”

I stared at my husband in shock.

“Really? You want me to write about our life like a diary?”

“Well you don’t have to be exactly truthful,” he replied. “You’d have to describe me always popping off to the gym.”

Interesting. So Tom wouldn’t mind if my blog was a diary if it made him look buff. He does actually go the gym quite regularly, but he also spends time lounging on the couch watching fishing shows. Perhaps I should only write about the edited version of my life… Edited and a little embellished.

So here it is!

Dear gorgeous, lovely ladies who read my blog,

Today was a typically hectic day for our little family. Last night was a little crazy as Eloise went to sleep at 10 past 7. I know! She’s all over the place that girl. I think it all comes down to Tom putting the wrong toys in her bath. She usually only has blue and white. That yellow duck in the bath did nothing to help her wind down routine. Tom’s twice daily gym visits and bulging muscles must be muddling his mind. 

Anyway, after having such a late night, she slept through to 7.30 am. It wasn’t until 8 o’clock that we were both up and sipping our morning smoothies. It took me that long to pick the fresh berries grown on our balcony. Tom was busy in the kitchen checking on our home made yoghurt and the little Princess was practising her baby yoga. Such a cherub!

 I had arranged to meet one of my Mummy friends for coffee at 10. But sadly her baby’s nap was a little early and my darlings nap was a little late so we were both stuck at home. Of course I perfectly understand. You just can’t mess with naps! Who knows what awful things could happen?!

Luckily nothing went wrong for our afternoon plans. You may have heard me talk about my darlings musical ability in the past? I try to tell myself its normal child play – that she isn’t unique, special and talented. But I also know I’m truly blessed to be given this opportunity – this gift that I can cherish.

 A good friend, who appears regularly in productions at Opera Australia, has agreed to come over once a week to tutor her for about an hour. Today he was so captivated he stayed a full two hours.  I sipped a green smoothie on the couch and watched them together. I can’t explain my joy to see my little darling watch him as he sang in Italian  When he had finished she wobbled over and gave his hand a squeeze. Her way of showing she perfectly understood. We snap chatted and instagramed  the moment so its always in my memory.

The little darling went off easily tonight. At 7.10 I was sipping a glass of wine and thinking back to that precious moment. I’m such a special person being a mother to this special, special little girl. I know there are lot’s of other mothers in this world but somehow I feel like I’m the first mother. The only mother. I’m THE mother. I’m special too. I’m just so very special.  xxxxxxxxxxx

Getting rid of the Mummy Martyr

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Is it just me who sometimes falls into having a victim complex? Sometimes I start thinking I’m a martyr and forget I’m mum.

So I’m at a BBQ and another Mum asks me about how my baby is sleeping. I tell her she is in bed by about 8.30 and usually wakes up twice during the night.

“Mine is in bed by 7,” she replies. “Otherwise he becomes over tired. Actually its great, he’s been sleeping through since 6 weeks.”

My first reaction is to think that this mum is so judgemental. She thinks I’m a bad mum because my baby doesn’t sleep through the night. She thinks she’s so bloody superior!

Well lately I’ve been telling myself to just get over it. I’m not a victim and I should have confidence in myself as a mum. The other mum is probably just proud of her own child. And even if she does think I’m hopeless – who cares?! I know I do my best.

If a mum tells me they adore co-sleeping, it doesn’t mean they think I’m evil for using a cot. If I talk about how I love breastfeeding it doesn’t mean I think mums are bad people if they use formula. It’s great that mums have the freedom to talk about their opinions with each other. I actually love it when a mum is informed and passionate, even if I don’t agree with everything she says.

I don’t want to waste another second worrying about feeling judged. I would hate to pass on insecurities to my daughter. I hope she always does her best, does what she loves and what she know’s is right. Only she can truly judge the integrity of her actions.

So goodbye mummy martyr. I never liked you much anyway.

Why I love Baby-led Weaning

Anyone who knows me well knows I probably take food too seriously. I just can’t help it.

Food is one of the great joys of life. It’s not just fuel. Food is bound up with family, talking, laughing, art, passion and traditions.

In Nigella Lawsons recipe book, How to Eat, she talks about her first pregnancy. In a short anecdote she describes chatting to an obstetrician at a party about breastfeeding. She was excited to learn that the taste of breast milk changes, depending on what the mother has eaten. In this way, the baby becomes accustomed to a variety of tastes. Amazing!

When it came time for Eloise to start eating, I hoped I could pass on my love of food. At first I was going to go down the path of making my own purées. However something about spoon feeding mush didn’t seem to work for me. I didn’t feel comfortable with it.

I’d heard mothers talking about forcing, distracting, coercing, persuading, shoving and tricking their baby into eating. This made no sense! Why would you need to “force” someone to do something as enjoyable and natural as eating!

You don’t force anyone to laugh, or sing, or look at a beautiful sunset or to play. Surely a baby simply wants to eat.

Well luckily I remembered a friend of mine, whose baby I’d seen eating a bowl of strawberries. The baby had been feeding herself. This friend put me onto information about weaning that can be found on the Australian Breastfeeding Association website. They call it starting with “family foods.” This type of weaning is also called baby-led weaning.

I have loved, loved, loved going on this baby-led weaning adventure with Eloise.

Why do I love it?

Well here are the best things about it.

Little Preparation

Since Eloise has started eating, I’ve hardly had to make any adjustments to my cooking. I’ve just given her what we’re having. My only change is I’ve started cooking with more vegetables – which has to be a good thing. She started off with cucumber sticks, roasted vegetables, avocado, mango, bread and strawberries. Now she can handle pretty much anything. She can suck up spaghetti covered in mince, scoop up rice, loves daintily picking up peas and kidney beans, chewing on steak and (to my husband’s horror) even loves her broccoli.

Food is a time for learning

For a while Eloise did more playing then eating at meals. But this didn’t matter. I would always give her a breastfeed before a meal so she wasn’t frustrated by hunger. Her skills in handling food have slowly increased and she has explored a variety of textures and colours.

I’m never worried about Eloise choking on her food. By letting the baby explore food at their own pace, they learn how to chew and swallow and how much to put in their mouth.

Food is family time

I loved how baby led weaning encourages parents to let babies eat at the family meal. It shows the baby that food is a social activity. It didn’t take long before Eloise was very excited to be put into the high chair. She knew the fun was about to start!

With this type of weaning, there is no need to give the toddler special food, like nuggets or chips. They are already accustomed to eating what the family eats.

Food is for eating

At first baby led weaning can be quite messy. What’s life without a bit of mess? You just need to take a few precautions to minimize the damage. However I’ve found that the mess has dramatically decreased lately. For a while, with Eloise, it was 50% play and 50% eating. These days she does a lot of eating!

My Mums brothers are both very tall men with huge appetites. They love their food. At one family gathering they were enjoying one of Mums meals, and at the same time watching Eloise eat. She must have been about ten months and was sitting up in her high chair feeding herself. In typical fashion, Eloise was eating with great gusto. My uncles looked shocked and I was worried that they didn’t approve for some reason.

“You know it’s quite appetizing watching her eat,” one of my Uncles said.  “She really enjoys her food.” Eloise continued to enjoy her meatloaf and vegetables and so did my Uncles.

And that’s food for you; food that we love, food that brings family together and food that is eaten because it simply makes us happy.

For more information on Baby Led Weaning you can visit the Australian Breast Feeding Association.

Pinky McKay also has a good article explaining the benefits of baby-led weaning.

If you’re really keen, you should buy the book. Baby-led Weaning, Gill Rapley and Thacey Murkett. The book answers every question or concern you could possibly raise. It’s extremely practical and gives excellent guidelines on how you can actually make baby-led weaning work. 

Mum Needs Sleep

I sat down to reflect on my first mother’s day with a baby.
I wanted to say something profound and beautiful. But it’s been a long week.
So here it goes!
I’ve leant that it’s hard to change a nappy when your baby is crawling away. I defy anyone to look glamorous or in control when that happens!
I learnt that everyone assumes you are pushy when you have a pram. The truth is, I often am.
I’ve learnt that I’m still the same person as before. Maybe I cry more in movies but that’s the biggest change.
And lastly I’ve loved being welcomed into the Mum club.  I’ve noticed that Mums with three or more kids have an amazing sense of humour.
Not very profound I know but the thing every Mum needs most is sleep. So instead of digging deeper I went to bed. After all, what every Mum really needs is another hour of sleep. We live in hope!