Two is a magical age at which many things that previously had to be asked for have become accessible. Nursing 1’s “help yourself” moments are sometimes messy, like the time flour got spread all over the kitchen floor (she did try to help me clean up!), sometimes problematic, when she finds dad’s tools lying around, and sometimes hilarious, like the time she got stuck in a slippery puddle of dog shampoo on the bathroom floor. But by far her favourite thing to help herself too is the fruit bowl. I have often found her helping herself while I’m busy in another room, and sometimes she even shares with Nursling 2.
After putting Nursling 2 down for a nap today, I once again found her sitting at the kitchen table, pear in one hand and pear core on the table. But it wasn’t until after her I put her down for her nap that I realised the fruit bowl wasn’t 2 pears down, but 5. Surely she couldn’t have eaten them all? No suspicious cores… no sticky marks… where could they be? I looked around but they weren’t forthcoming.
After naptime, Nursling 1 finally did lead me to them, where they were hiding in a loot bag leftover from her cousin’s birthday party.
Meanwhile, Nursling 2, who can now stand and walk too, is getting up to some shenanigans of her own and is carefully and methodically emptying the kitchen bin.
A day with toddlers is never dull, that is for sure!
Dear friend with a new baby,
Please forgive me for staring at you and your baby.
You see, you can’t possibly know, but your smile when you look at her reminds me of the precious happy weeks before my world turned upside down. Those times I had with my own newborn when she was just a thriving baby and I was just a mum doing well despite the demands of a toddler as well.
Dear friend with a new baby,
Please forgive me if I seem nervous around you, and I feel I struggle to know what to say and stand awkwardly. I can’t help but remember what happened to me, and fear for you as well. I am relieved when you say you are well, but for no good reason remain fearful, and keep looking for signs that things might be going awry.
And sometimes I struggle to relate to all the normal day to day experiences that you have with your baby because mine were so very different.
Dear friend with a new baby,
I’m sorry if I sometimes come across wrong, but above all I am so glad for you! I am glad this new precious bundle is in your life and that you are both well. And I will say a prayer that it stays that way.
Feeding two girls means wondering how I can possibly fit a 2 year old and 10 month old fit on my lap with access to my breasts at the same time without them being on top of each other.
Feeding two means stacking them on top of each other anyway and hoping that no-one wriggles too much or kicks the other one.
Feeding two means sitting one on top of a pile of books that the toddler has just read to avoid them being stacked on top of each other when they’re already tired and cranky.
Feeding two means rationing the toddlers feeds when the baby is sick and has lost her appetite so the baby gets enough. Negotiating with a toddler defies logic.
Feeding two means feeling like a milk truck some days when they’re both sick and we’ve been feeding on after the other all day.
Feeding two means beautiful moments with both girls when our eyes connect during a feed. It means tickling one while the other finishes, or reading a book to the other when things are reversed.
Feeding two means having nipple thrush is twice as painful.
Feeding two means bites from the teething baby and tooth mark rings from the toddler when she gets lazy and rests her teeth there.
Feeding two isn’t always easy, or comfortable. But it hasn’t been worth it for us, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Recently, we discovered the joys of homemade yoghurt.
Nursling 1 was already a great yoghurt eater. When asked “are you hungry?”, her most frequent response is “Yoghurt?” followed by a dash to the kitchen to get out a bowl and tug on the fridge door. Seriously, she would eat yoghurt for breakfast, lunch and tea if she got the chance.
Daddy was also known to down a whole kilogram tub when we bought it crazy cheap marked down because it’s use by date was the next day.
Now our family yoghurt consumption has gone from approximate 1kg tub a week, with the occasional markdown yoghurt binge, to approximately a metric tonne (okay, I may be exaggerating here, but it isn’t unusual for me to make 4 or 5 kg batches per week). And there is a good reason why, not only does it work out cheaper than the yoghurt we were buying before (when you get the sachets on special that is, or my diy milk powder version which works out to $1.65 a batch), but it beats the regular store bought one for taste and overall experience hands down. Especially banana. Seriously, if you get into making your own yoghurt, which you definitely should, just make lots and lots of banana flavour.
Did I mention that it’s also ridiculously easy?
Now nursling 2 has started to get in on the action as well, happily downing a whole baby-size portion of yoghurt when its offered. Generally followed by, “mmmmm” noises, messy grins and lots of bouncing up and down in the high chair.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to eat more yoghurt.
Today was the first time since I left Helen Mayo House that I got the pencils out and drew a picture. It has been a long time coming. I started drawing as a sort of documentation of my mental health journey when I was pregnant with nursling 2. Sometimes a drawing helps me to express what is going on for me mentally and emotionally in a way that I can’t do with words, particularly when I am mentally unwell. Then, I find, having gotten these things out of my head and onto paper I am better able to explain what the drawing is about that I was able to verbalise what was going on for me in the first place.
As well as helping me to express myself, drawing has also been a great method of self care, as it allows me some time to myself, is relaxing and enjoyable. It works for me much the same way as a walk by the beach, a hot shower (or cool at this time of year) or baking a batch of biscuits. Needless to say, I did a lot of drawing and colouring when I was in Helen Mayo House. As well as passing the time, it helped me to begin to recover.
Here are a few of the drawings that I have done over time (please be kind, I am very much an amateur):
The Long Road to Wellness
Rocked by the Storms of Life, Anchored by God
Drifting Through Life
Drawing isn’t for everyone, but everyone goes through stress and tough times. Please be kind to yourself. Take time to care for yourself because it’s the only way you’ll find the energy to keep caring for others.
Oh, how I love to glide,
As I sit here in your seat,
Just a little force applied,
Then forward, back, repeat, repeat!
Nursling one and nursling two,
Both girls snuggly in my lap,
Both girls here enjoying milk,
Oh, these times are far too few!
One foot going tap, tap, tap,
Here we glide as smooth as silk.
I love to hear the odd little squeak,
As back and forth we go,
And the repeated moaning creak,
As we rock here to and fro.
Rocking chair, o rocking chair,
Many a cosy moment spent in your thrall,
Sunggled up in your embrace,
Morning or night you care,
Not at all, no not at all
As we rock at your easy pace.
Dear rocking chair your gentle touch,
Has two little girls now off to sleep.
Deep, steady breaths revealing much,
Two little girls sleeping, not a peep.
But tell me this, o rocking chair,
Now that they sleep soundly so,
Now that they are quiet, warm and fed.
How o sweet rocking chair,
Now that I must up and go,
Will I get them still sleeping into bed?
Somewhere along the line somebody told me that the poos of breastfed babies smelled sweet. Don’t believe this, it is a lie! Breastfed baby poos do have a distinctive smell, but it’s not sweet; more yeasty than anything else, and not terribly offensive.
Toddler poo, by comparison, is in a league all of its own! One could be forgiven for mistaking breastfed baby poo as sweet compared to toddler poo.
Here are some other revelations that parenthood has uncovered for me:
- Nappies amplify farts. No joke, it sounds like there are fire-crackers going off in there!
- Newborn wee in disposables does actually smell sweet. Like sweet egg custard to be precise.
- Apparently you don’t have to play to get dirty. In fact you don’t have to do much of anything at all. The amount of hand gunk and toe jam that nursling 2 produces without really doing anything with said appendages is remarkable. This isn’t even mentioning underarm and behind the ear gunk!
In honour of the election, in accordance with the old voting place sausage sizzle tradition, hubby, nursling 1 and I partook of a democracy sausage after voting last Saturday. We were in the car on the way home when nursling 2 began to complain about her lack of lunch.
“She wants her 2nd hand democracy sausage,” daddy remarked. But sadly democracy milk would have to wait until we got home (it’s election day, so we’re labelling everything democracy). What didn’t have to wait was an extremely relevant conversation about democracy nipples in which who has the rights to my boobs was sorted out (no hung parliaments or weeks of counting ballots here!).
It is decided that each of us gets a vote and 3 candidates are standing for the 2 vacant seats, nursling 1, nursling 2 and daddy (TMI I hear you cry! Don’t worry, there’ll shortly be a completely non-kinky explanation I assure you). Daddy decides that I’m ineligible to run.
We assume that nursling 1 and 2 are voting for themselves. Daddy also votes for himself, which leaves me with the deciding vote. I vote for nursling 2. That’s one seat decided. The second will have to be decided by preferences. My second preference is nursling 1. Nursling 2 has chosen to preference daddy because he doesn’t pull her ears while she feeds. Nursling 1 has chosen to preference nursling 2 because she likes to pat her head and/or pull her ears while feeding which makes her preference redundant how that nursling 2 is has won a seat. Sadly daddy’s second preference cannot be to himself as he’s already voted for himself so he preferences nursling 1.So nursling 1 wins her seat back. Hooray!
Hold on, what does daddy want boob rights for anyway?? Turns out he plans to create a milk shortage, resulting in the prices of milk sky-rocketing and will then make his fortune on-selling the milk to whichever nursling didn’t win possession of their own milk-making apparatus. Sorry daddy, your schemes have been foiled.
So in less than 5 minutes the 2 vacant seats have been filled, the sitting term, however is yet to be decided. If only national politics moved this fast!
I decided to make a batch of lactation cookies, or boob biscuits (because I am Australian, not American).
Reasons normal people make lactation cookies:
- Their milk supply is low
- They want to increase their milk supply
Reasons that I made lactation cookies:
- I felt like making eating biscuits and needed a good excuse to do so
- Brewer’s yeast and flaxseed meal are expensive so I don’t want to waste them (and since I’m not normally into “health” or “super” foods I don’t use them otherwise)
- Procrasti-baking and avoiding dishes while making more
- Nursling 1 is having an extra long sleep so I have time up my sleeve
Any resulting boost in supply will be a welcome surprise for nursling 1, who certainly won’t mind the extra “gok”.