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A new Mum 11 months later

February 11th, 2011

This week Hamish turned 11 months old. It’s very hard for me to believe that a year ago he wasn’t around and we were just getting ready for his imminent arrival; I was on my last weeks at my job before maternity leave and we were preparing for a visit from my parents.

The plan always was to take 6 to 9 months off before returning to work in a part-time capacity. On a few occasions, I was told that I should keep an open mind, that I may not be so keen to return to work once the baby was born and I’d stayed at home for a while. Though I never discounted that as a possibility, knowing myself, I felt it pretty remote.

Hamish was born and he was everything we’d hoped for. He was perfect. From the start he was a great night sleeper – so much so that he failed to gain his birth weight as I wasn’t waking him – never wake a sleeping baby, right? Right, except when wrong. We had to start waking him during the night so he’d feed regularly. He grew and started smiling and cooing and doing those baby things which, until you are a parent, you don’t fully understand how much they will melt your heart.

As enthralled as I was, I also felt guilty. Guilty because being a new mum really is rather boring. And though I think there are very few mums who would disagree with me, I felt worse because I had it so easy compared to some: my baby was such a good baby; my husband was supportive and helpful; and we were secure enough that I didn’t have to work.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted, what would be best for Hamish and what would serve us best as a family. I read a number of articles: stay at home mum vs. career mum. The debate is heated, and everyone has an opinion: mums who return to work are selfish and letting others raise their kids; mums who stay at home are lazy and boring.

All this just to say that my decision to go back to work 4 days a week (3 days in the office, one day from home) when Hamish was not yet 6 months, was long and considered.

I have the utmost respect for stay at home mums. My mom was one for most of my upbringing. She has strength I will never have. Staying home and raising children is hard work with the rewards only coming much later (if they come at all). In many ways, I will admit that my going back to work was the easy option. At the same time, for us, I think it was the only option. I am a much happier person when I am working. As a happier person, I am a happier mum (and, I hope, a happier wife!).

But still things were not perfect. I work for an agency. Our clients don’t necessarily understand that we are people too and that we have families and can’t work 24 hours a day for them. My one day working from home was difficult on both Hamish and I – he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved, and my work was piling up, making me stressed. For that reason, I went back to full-time a few weeks ago.

Though Hamish is now at daycare 5 days a week, he is thriving and happy. When he is with us, we can give him our full attention. It is definitely quality time over quantity but I have come to terms with that.

It is a juggling act. I have up to a 4 hour commute daily. Duncan has to pitch in a lot – picking him up from daycare and doing the bedtime routine are just two of the many things he does. Two days a week, I leave early so I can spend some time with Hamish before bed. I still get mixed reactions from people when I say Hamish is in daycare full time but I’ve started learning to ignore them, or at least not to get defensive. If there is one thing I did learn from reading all those articles and the resulting comments, is that everyone is striving for the same thing: the best life for their kids. So far, I think we’re doing just fine.

Hamish on the deck

Happy Australia Day!

January 26th, 2011

Hamish says: Friends, bogans, countrymen: Don’t be un-Australian, eat lamb on Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day!

Admissions

December 11th, 2010

Today Duncan gave me an early Christmas present: a visit to the hair salon for my first hair cut and style in a year. I had planned on going short. Quite short. But the hairdresser talked me out of it, saying that shoulder-length suited me and is easier to care for. She also said it would be easier for me to blow dry. Without thinking, I said, “oh, I don’t have a hair dryer.”

You know that scene in the wild west where the tumbleweeds blow around? Yeah. That’s kind of like what the silence was like.

She responded with, “But… What do you do when you go out at night?”

I just admitted I didn’t own a hair dryer. I wasn’t about to admit that I didn’t go out at night. She may have thrown me out of the salon.

“I let it dry naturally and then, you know, add product.”

“Oh right. Well that’s ok then.”

Birthday Present

July 16th, 2010

When I was young, one of my favourite times of year was back to school. Yes, I know. FREAK. But the start of school meant virgin notebooks. I loved those pristine, lined pages and unscuffed notebook covers. Those first few days of school, my note-taking would be meticulously neat with the pen selection being paramount – the ink had to run smoothly without smudging or transferring through the paper to the other side. Hm. If Hamish turns out to be a weird kid… you know who to blame.

Now for my past birthday, Duncan bought me a Moleskine. Moleskine are not cheap notebooks. And as such they cannot be used for such mundane tasks as beside-the-phone-scribble-paper. And therein lies the problem. What to use it for? Whatever I decide, the purpose needs to be worthy. It needs to be something I can do in an artistic and attractive manner. (Think Jamie Oliver’s notebook in his series “Jamie at Home”.) And once the topic has been decided, then comes the decision of the pen or pens to be used to achieve the desired effect, while not running and leaving blotches everywhere. (In case that is actually the effect I’m after.)

Well my birthday was over 3 weeks ago now and I’m still no closer to deciding…

I have hands!

June 1st, 2010

This one is for you Alison. He has hands! He can grab things! Soon he will learn he has a mouth! And the things he grabs can go in his mouth!


Enthralled

May 24th, 2010

OK so apparently the 24th of May I was really bored. Cuz here is yet another video of Hamish. I think this must have been the first time he showed any interest in the mobile above his cot. This is exciting because it allowed me 10 to 15 minutes to do what I wanted to do. As long as I kept rushing back to his bedroom to re-wind the mobile…


Kung Fu Hamish

May 24th, 2010

One day we went a little overboard with the video-ing. I can’t remember if it’s because all of a sudden he was doing all these new things, or if all of a sudden we decided we should be documenting things, or maybe I was just looking for something to do. Anyway, after a feed, Hamish’s arms would take on a life of their own. I’m not sure he was aware of what he was doing. When he was really little, it was very much like he was conducting an orchestra. That evolved into a form of martial arts. Watch this with the song “Kung Fu Fighting” running in your head. (I was too lazy to add the track to the video.)

At about 12 seconds, look out for the stretch. He loves a good stretch.


Hamish speaks

May 24th, 2010

A cinematographer, I am not. But with the grandparents (and aunts/uncles/cousins) 000s of kilometres away in either direction, these amateurish videos are a way of me keeping them up to date with Hamish’s progress. Expect more to come.


Stick a needle in my eye

May 9th, 2010

Before Hamish (henceforth known as BH), I swore I’d never turn my blog into a place where I recounted his every move from first smile to poop stories that are humourous only to his parents. Well after 8 weeks I have come to the realisation that I need some sort of creative outlet or I will go mad. And as I am doing little else but looking after Hamish, you will have to put up with more than expected posts about him.

Yesterday was the first day that we were alone – Duncan was working in the city. The day didn’t start wonderfully, with Hamish waking at 4:30. And when I went and picked him up, he puked down my cleavage. Most of the day was spent trying to get him to sleep and stop crying. Though we had a few successes – taking the dog for a walk, getting the laundry of the line (small things…) – the day was trying enough to require a small glass of wine. And yes I am breastfeeding.

As trying as yesterday was though, all is forgiven today as he slept through the night to 5:15 and is currently sleeping soundly in my arms. (This was typed one-handed – something I’m becoming increasingly proficient at.)

Hamish at 7 weeks

Things I have learned in 5 weeks of motherhood

April 14th, 2010

I have learned an awful lot from my son these last 5 weeks. (Still feels odd to call someone “my son”…) Unfortunately I don’t know if these learnings are transferable to another baby, if they are relevant only to boys, or specific only to Hamish:

  • Do not trust a quiet baby on a change table. Urine to the face or faeces all over the change table cloth is forthcoming.
  • A baby is never happier than when they have just farted or burped. Upon reflection, that’s probably a boy thing, and not even limited to baby boys.
  • You think babies don’t know what you are saying. But they do. As soon as you profess out loud that yours is an angel, they will become the devil incarnate.
  • As tired or cranky as you are, all it takes is a smile from your baby and the sun will shine once more.
  • I had plans for my maternity leave. Lots of items on my to do list that have been sitting there for a while, waiting for attention. Hamish doesn’t seem to care. “Plans? You have plans? Well let me just change them for you.” If I get one thing done a day, it’s been a good day.
  • Following on the last, babies are not predictable or logical. Give in to the natural chaos or go down in flames.
  • Hamish is always the cutest baby.
  • No matter how hard I am finding it, there is always another horror story to let me know how lucky I really am.
  • Wake a sleeping baby if they are not feeding enough. If they have been screaming all morning and they are now sleeping when it is time to feed, ignore the nurse’s advice and let him sleep.

Hamish at birth

At birth

Hamish at 1 week

1 week old

Hamish at 2 weeks

2 weeks old

Hamish at 3 weeks

3 weeks old

Hamish at 4 weeks

4 weeks old

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