Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The paradox of exercise

Went walking around the golf course with the Mr this morning. Just three holes, mind you. That's about all I can handle.

And about all the bubs could handle too. She was getting restless by then, so while Mr kept playing I walked home.

It only took 10 minutes, but the bubs screamed the whole way. So instead of going by the road, I decided to take the short cut which is straight up the slope over the empty blocks that back on to ours. We'd done it before. The difference however was, one, last time Mr was pushing the pram, and two, that was before we had so much rain and the grass was not as long...

In short, lugging the pram containing a screaming baby up the hill through shin deep grass and sour sobs was the toughest work out I've done in a looong time.

Bubs was fine as soon as I got her out of the pram. The pram stayed in our back garden while I carried her up the steps to our back verandah. And that's where I collapsed into a chair to recover enough to get up the rest of the slope to our front door, the only way I could get in.

And as I sat there dying and seething that I'd even agreed to go walking around the golf course, I decided that was tge worst thing I'd ever done and I would never do it again...

Not happy...

But then, the funny thing about exercise is, that after you recover and that feeling of intense hatred for the strenuous activity you just did and the pain you endured... Once the feeling that you're dying fades, you discover you've never felt so alive.

Those exercise endorphins work so much better than eating a piece of chocolate. (It's just not as easy as eating a piece of chocolate to get there!)

I guess that's the lesson in life, isn't it. You can take the easy way for instant gratification and short lived pleasure, but it's fleeting and too often leaves us feeling dissatisfied (like eating chocolate). Or we can push through the hard stuff, do things the long way but the right way, and gain the real rewards and lasting benefits (like climbing a hill).

And like my favourite Pinterest quite recently says, 'A baby is a reason, not an excuse.' I don't want her to have to take care of me later, because I didn't take care of me now.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Advice for First Time Mums

Normally I'd stay right away from advice given. You'll get more than enough of the unsolicited stuff on this voyage into motherhood.

But this advice I want to give is of a different sort than the best way to raise the baby, thoughts on feeding, sleeping, dressing, soothing... and all those other things that every man and their dog becomes and expert on when they see you're a new mum. Because, in the end, you realise all those things don't matter half as much as we thought they did.

The problem for a first time mum, of course, is that by the time you've figured out what's really important, those precious, fleeting days have passed you by already.

So here's my 2 cents worth for focusing on what really matters.

1. Do as much baby gazing as you can.

When you look back at this time, you aren't going to remember or care whether your washing was done or not. Wouldn't much rather be full of memories of that tiny little precious bundle? And it goes by so fast. 4 months in and I already could barely remember her at her newborn floppy size.

Absorb it. Imprint on your brain. Spend hours just breathing her in.

It will make all the hard stuff and sleeplessness worth it, if you just focus on absorbing the memories.

2. Don't let anyone devalue playing with your baby (not even yourself!)

If you spend the whole day just entertaining your baby and get absolutely nothing else done, well, good!

Maybe others will think you're lazy. Maybe you'll even think it of yourself from time to time.

But, for one, keeping a baby entertained all day is not as easy as it sounds.

And, two, you are doing immeasurable good for the foundations of that child's self worth, security and confidence by giving them that engagement. Will your child, when she is old and secure and happy, look back and say "Mum, why didn't you spend more time washing clothes and sweeping the floor, and less time playing with me? Why didn't you clean the house more, and have less of a relationship with me?"

I doubt it.

Don't let anyone make you feel that this is less than vital.

3. Find some switch off time

With all that baby loving, of course, there is the bare fact that it is exhausting. Being 'on call' 24/7 to that little person can take it's toll.

I was finding that even when I got a 'break' from the caring and nappy changing merry-go-round, I wasn't able to switch off because I was still being called on for advice, answers and attention; "Where are the wipes?" "Which cream should I put on?""Do you think she's tired?" and even the "Look at how cute she's being!"

If you're breast feeding, feed the little munchkin, and then palm her off to Daddy or Grandma for a few hours of switch off time, where you are not on call at all. If you have to, leave the house and switch off your phone so no-one can ask you questions. Don't feel guilty about it. They will cope for a couple of hours, and your brain will get to reset and refresh from the constant pressure of being 'on'.

4. Take videos

A lot of us are lucky enough to iPhones and all sorts with us at any given moment these days. Take videos. Photos too of course. I'm sure you're already doing a lot of that. But take as long a video as your phone's memory will allow.

You might think it's just mundane footage - and maybe others will think it is - but in a few months, years, decades time, you'll cherish these glimpses into the past.

That sums it up really. Cherish the mundane as much as you can. One day they will be your most precious memories.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monthly baby pictures

The best way to capture the growth of your new baby is by taking a photo at regular intervals with something consistently static to give perspective.

I chose a washing basket, something that stays the same size and is easy to get at the same angle every time. You could also use a certain toy, a box, or even a long wooden ruler or something similar. Ive seen one where they put the baby in the same outfit every month, so it started off a bit to big on a newborn and then got progressively tighter until it pretty much wouldn't do up. That was cute but eventually it would just get too small to be practical.

I haven't thought of an idea that works better than the washing basket for ease and
longevity yet, but comment below if you have.

In the sleep deprived haze that is the first few weeks (years?) of a baby's life I forgot to take a newborn photo like I meant to so I only started at 1 month. And I tend to take them late every month so rather than 6 months she's actually 6 and a half.... I figure it's a photo of her 'within her 6th month' rather than strictly on the dot ;)
The idea is still there and you can see the growth.

Once she gets to 12 months I'll finish with the monthly photos. But - banking on my daughter being fun loving and cooperative ;) - I'd like to continue with a yearly photo on her birthday right up until she is 18 or 21... Depends how long I can convince her to do it for. (Or if we've broken that washing basket by then!)

Can you imagine a 15 year old in that basket? Haha. Will make a great display at her 21st. :)

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