baby J

We laugh but it’s true

  
So I thought instead of keeping all the ‘lol’ slash ‘face palm’ moments to myself, I’d share some! Here are some of my experiences and musings from our baby journey so far…legit. 😉

• you’re actually getting out of the house! *high five* you change out of your size-too-large leggings and sicked-on tshirt and you think your outfit is on point…only to realise that yes, you STILL have baby sick on you in places you didn’t realise you’d held your baby in clothes you’ve only just put on…

• your baby is an absolute angel for your friends and relatives, but the second you’re alone together and one-on-one, she transforms into the single loudest human being ever

• pushing a pram uphill makes you feel like you’re on The Biggest Loser and Michelle Bridges is screaming at you…from within the pram 

• I wasn’t guna be one of ‘those’ weird parents, but yep – I tasted breast milk

• a baby farting with absolutely no shame or understanding of what’s just happened can actually be the funniest thing ever

• the ability to spend long enough in the shower to wash your hair is like receiving an Oscar – you just wanna stand there, holding that shampoo bottle and thanking everyone who made it happen

• there’s no such thing as breakfast, lunch and dinner anymore – they’re all now lovingly referred to as ‘babyisasleepruntothekitchen

• you’d better make sure you have a huge house and some kind of industrial sized shed when you have a baby, coz for small things they come with a big pile of crap…prams, change tables, bouncers, clothes clothes and more clothes; nappies, oodles of wipes, toys, wraps, blankets; carriers, car seats, ‘accessories’ (what the heck? Is my baby a Nokia 3315 that needs a glittery dingle-dangle and multiple cover choices with do-it-yourself sticker art?), sun shades, wind protectors and rain coats (oh yes we’re all about shoving that baby out into nature…), oh and did I mention nappies?

• forcing mini-baby-friendships on your baby is really fun NOW but I have no doubt I’ll probably cop it in 18 years when she’s whining to me about her embarrassing naked bath photos with this forced-friend…like mother like daughter

• finding an empty pram park at the supermarket is like finding the lost world of Atlantis…

• ‘one size fits all’ only works with baby clothes if you’re dressing a cabbage patch doll…

(Image courtesy of pinterest)

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baby J

I have just met you…

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(Courtesy of Pinterest)

It’s been 6 weeks since our team grew by one – SIX WEEKS! I can distinctly remember 6 weeks before she was born – I was well and truly over being pregnant. 1000% done with that period, that ‘waiting game’…and now we’re 12 weeks on from THERE! I can’t tell you how the days go by…it’s not as if we actually do a great deal, realistically…the first few weeks were purely feeding, nappy changes, sleeping, burping and learning that anything more than about 5 hours in a row of sleep is a rare gem! 😉 But as the days have rolled on, we have gotten to know our little teamster – some of her likes, her patterns and her little quirks and in the last couple of weeks, we’ve even seen that gorgeous little grin get bigger and brighter!

For those who know me, they’ll atest to the fact that I’ve not ever really been a clucky person…a friend handed me her new baby once and I remember thinking “well…what now? what do you do with it now?” So it’s been such a random experience with my own new baby because – and wait for it now – I just literally met her and I already can’t really picture our family without her! In the words of Doug from ‘Up’

“I have just met you and I love you!”

There’s a deepness to that love that extends beyond the fact that she might be screaming in my ear at 3am…or pooping all over her onesie that I just changed her into…or clawing at my face with her needle-like fingernails…there’s a love that comes from somewhere else, somewhere bigger and greater than I am, that overrides any of the anxious or depressed or overwhelmed feelings I have.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from smooth sailing! I still struggle to truly distinguish between her different cries and teaching her to self-settle isn’t as straight-forward as books led me to believe. Breastfeeding is a b*%$# sometimes and the photos I saw in blogs or articles of ethereal women whipping the boob out with a placid little bub sucking away, now just make me laugh! I still haven’t got the whole nappy-change-new-onesie routine down and yes, it’s hard to remember to have tummy time AND read to her AND play with her AND go outside AND feed AND sleep AND burp AND everything else all the books and advice are telling you that you MUST MUST do in a day…!

BUT -> 6 weeks ago our lives changed dramatically and we are both still in awe of how this little person – complete with her own DNA, thoughts, emotions and personality – has weaved her way into our hearts! The fact that those gangly arms and legs, thick head of dark hair and sweet little smile was inside me not that long ago continues to blow my mind! 😉

Every day is filled with new or different experiences – new milestones or new challenges, but at the end of each day when we’re all climbing into our respective beds and bassinets, there’s not really any other way we’d have it!

baby J

Screaming

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She screams, I scream, we all scream…but there’s no ice cream involved. It might be 2:45am, it might be 11:15am or it might be 7pm – the time doesn’t matter, she’s hungry or hot or cold or has a wet nappy and she NEEDS our attention and she needs it NOW!

Adjusting to life with a little one is like nothing else. You can read all the books, all the blogs; watch all the clips, pin all the pins & have thousands of conversations…and still, nothing truly makes you feel ‘ready’ for caring for 110% of another human being’s needs.

So much has to change now that duckie is in our world – everything from when we eat and sleep to when we can go out of the house or even simply check the mailbox. Neither of us was oblivious to these huge shifts, but of course when reality is actually upon you it still feels surreal.

This week, there were two major stand-outs in my adjustment to our new journey:

1) I have a long way to travel in developing my patience. If I can’t fix her needs, I get frustrated too quickly. If I can’t stop the cries or settle her down, my initial reaction is to pull the plug and pass her over to my other half who (somehow!) has endless patience and a repertoire of songs to sing as he works out what she’s trying to tell us. Thank you God for that man – he keeps me sane, helps me breath & is somewhat of a baby-whisperer!

2) I have to learn how to be a different kind of friend. I can’t hold the friendships I have in the same way as I did before. My priority has to be my family unit & the daughter who relies on us for everything. This means that yes, catch-ups will be different, attending events will be different & generally being ‘around’ will be different. However, instead of wallowing in this shift & feeling guilty, remembering that change is the only constant in our lives is important. If friendships were strong before duckie arrived, they’ll be different – but they’ll be strong with her addition to them too.

There are moments when I feel like throwing in the towel, but if I can pause…take a breath…and look at her little hands and lion’s eyes, I can know that God wouldn’t bring us TO this if He wasn’t going to walk with us THROUGH it too.

baby J

‘Giving up’ isn’t giving up…

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Giving up isn’t the same as giving up.
Raised eyebrows? Hold up a second 🙂

I’m talking about transition, change or different directions when I say ‘giving up’ – the idea of releasing your grip on something in your life and ‘giving it up’ – surrendering your control over it – to an all-powerful God…and this is NOT the same as simply giving up.

‘Giving up’ – a verbal act of admitting defeat – yielding, relinquishing, renouncing…THIS kind ‘giving up’ isn’t what I’m talking about. When things change in life – whether it’s a positive change or not – sometimes giving something else up in order to embrace that change is necessary. Sometimes there are moments in our journey that are so essential to the pressing in of our God on our lives that giving something up in order to be more available to His calling is primary.

This doesn’t mean you ARE giving up – it doesn’t mean that dream is dead, that relationship is lost or that job is never going to be the same…it just means it might look different. It might be that your ‘giving it up’ actually re establishes it! It might look different but in His time, it might be stronger, yield more fruit or be more enjoyable and had you NOT given it up when you were asked, you might never have discovered that!

My encouragement for you is that you seriously consider ‘giving up’ whatever it may be to a loving God & waiting patiently to see the outcomes…they may not come straight away and they may look different, but He works all things together FOR GOOD.

I am learning this all firsthand and whole-heartedly with the latest member of our family unit – hubby and I welcomed team member #3 on the weekend and with little hands and lion’s eyes, she is such a sweet edition already! But with a new baby, change is 100% inevitable and 100% not always comfortable. Relationships have to change, commitments have to change, work has to change, priorities have to change and sleep habits have to change 😝

But with each new moment we spend with her, we see God’s handiwork and His fingerprint intricately woven into every fibre of her little being and the ‘giving up’ doesn’t feel like such a big deal when the gain is so much deeper.

Yes there are hard moments of missing the old days, but if I’m not flexible in life with the responsibilities God gives me, why would He ever give me more later?

So be encouraged! Know that He knows what He is doing and don’t be afraid to give up once in a while!

baby J

More lessons from the bump

johnny cash

I use ‘bump’ loosely…when in reality it’s like an oversized basketball concreted to my front! 😉

Anyway, this music legend just about sums up where I am right now in terms of welcoming Baby J into this outside world super soon…it’s the overarching feeling I have that on a general day, outweighs the nerves and the unknowns.

So I thought in light of these flutters of excitement intermingled with jolts of nervousness and anticipation, I’d share a few more lessons I’ve been learning with the bump 🙂

#1 – Flip flops are my friend. I am quite literally down to a pair of flip flops as the only shoes that fit and given that we’re still in winter here, that’s not ncessarily ideal…! My feet are so swollen by the end of each day it’s a wonder I can actually walk! 😉 I’d heard about swollen feet and ankles in pregnancy, but until you experience it for yourself it’s a bit of an enigma!

#2 – I’m ok with strech marks…seriously! It took nearly this whole time for me to see any evidence of these and to be honest, I’d been hanging out for them! I wanted to see that Baby J was growing and therefore my skin was streching. This said to me that Baby J was a size that he/she should be and was doing what he/she should be doing in there. These are my stripes. These are the stripes that I’ve earned during this period and it’s pretty amazing that the human body is able to strech out this much to house a small other human!

#3 – Pregnancy books are b-o-r-i-n-g! I thought I’d enjoy reading them – I thought I’d like to soak up the knowledge and highlight and sticky-note and fold down pages…but in all honesty, I find them to be a real bore! And it’s no particular author or book – it’s just kind of the topic and structure of them in general…don’t get me wrong, the information is important and useful but man it’s a slog for me to get through a chapter or two!

#4 – Swimming is the beeeest! Well, I already knew I loved swimming – I’d swim every day if I had the chance – but swimming while pregnant is awesome! I’m weightless. I’m mobile. I’m flexible. I’m comfortable. I can float on my back and swim on my front and my skin isn’t itchy! It’s ridiculously refreshing and calming and oh man I can’t rave about it enough! Haha swim swim swim…! 😀

#5 – Pickles…I love them. Now, I’ve read the stories about pregnant women wanting ice-cream with pickles at like, 3am – but it wasn’t until I felt like a toasted cheese sandwich with sliced pickles that I realised the gravity of this precious vegetable. They’re sweet. They’re sour. They’re delicious…not with ice-cream, but BOY are they good with melted cheese on toast! If I were to order a cheeseburger right now, I’d ask for extra pickles. If I need a midnight snack tonight, I know what I’ll be having. I’f I need an afternoon snack, I know what it’ll be. It’s not a ‘craving’ per se, but it sure is what my toasty machine sees a lot of these days…! hehe

But I think the most important thing I’ve been learning is #6 – God’s timing is sovereign. 100% – in every situation – in every life stage, His timing over-rules my own, despite how brilliant I think I am 😉 This isn’t always easy to comprehend or even accept…a lot of the time, I don’t even really consider that God truly knows what He is doing, I just sort of take it for granted. I whinge, I complain, I get annoyed at what God is doing…but in reality, He has me exactly where I should be and sometimes it takes a great whack to the system for me to realise it fully. But when I do, I’m thankful for His timing. I’m thankful for His patience and I’m thankful for His ongoing love.

I’m sure I could list so much more than I’ve been learning during this part of my life, but I’ll leave some sleeping dogs where they lie…!

What are you learning?

baby J

One of those days…

Deut 31:8

Deut 31:8

Recently – really recently – I was having ‘one of those days’. You know the ones I’m talking about? Things don’t go all that smoothly, emotions are high, thoughts are spiralling, there are no booked appointments or places to be in the calendar and you’re by yourself with the rain pit-pattering on the roof outside.

One of those days.

It started with some photos on social media and sort of went from there. For those playing at home, I’m in the final weeks of pregnancy – our first. It’s been a rough and rocky journey and it isn’t over yet! On the weekend, we went to a precious friend’s birthday and of course, there were cameras flashing and poses being struck. It wasn’t until a few mornings after that I saw these photos on social media…and the part of my brain and heart that focuses on self-image and preservation fell through the floor.

On a general day, I’m actually a fairly comfortable person. I’m not a size zero. I’m not triathlon fit. I like a burger with my apple pie sometimes and I am particularly partial to Black Forest chocolate. I go to the gym, but I’m definitely no junkie. I’ll be honest – it took me some years to get to this place of contentment though. My husband has a large part to play in how far I’ve come in how I see myself though – it took some time and I slip occasionally, but more often than not I see me as he does and I see me as an individual creation of my Creator too. I am the way I am because He designed me this way.

But being pregnant puts a totally different spin on things that I wasn’t prepared for, especially with hormones that seem to have a mind of their own! I saw these photos from the party and was utterly disappointed in what I saw. My face was round and pudgy, my eyes were dark and tired looking and my smile looked off centre because of how much extra weight I’m carrying. Yes, not everyone could probably tell, but I sure as heck could! I remember someone saying that I was glowing but all I could think was ‘glowing? – try sweating profusely!’

So my day began with a sunken feeling in my heart and mind at how much I didn’t look like me – at how round I look, at how tired I looked and at how uncomfortable I felt. These feelings only aided in my funk…it’s been such a long nine months and the end isn’t quite here yet…will I ever feel like me again…will I ever be content with me again…why haven’t I been able to enjoy parts of this process…what does all this mean for when Baby J is actually here…?

So many thoughts and feelings rolled around that day. It wasn’t a positive day. I busied myself with tasks and housework and letter-writing, but my mind kept coming back to the negative. I found a verse that stuck with me later in the day – but I’ll be honest…I still haven’t fully recovered from my ‘one of those days’ days and for now, I guess that’s ok. Each day is different, each moment a fresh chance and the journey has already been walked – I just take it one step at a time…one step…

baby J

It’s the final countdown…

  

As the week’s creep on and the number of days between our family going from 2 to 3 get less and less, the hot reality of what lies ahead starts to take shape…

There’s good things about that and also challenges. If I think hard about the rawness of what could lie ahead for us as new parents, there are things that terrify me and I’m left with one thought – “I don’t have ‘mother’ in me. I don’t have that instinct…do I?”

I think about the huge responsibility of raising a functioning human being in this broken world and I can’t help but wonder what God is doing…I don’t know how to teach someone to speak?! I don’t know how to cut newborn fingernails?! I don’t know how to swaddle or burp or bathe or clear the nose of a tiny human who is depending on me for absolutely everything?!

I can’t think of the last time I actually taught anyone anything significant or poignant – how do I now teach a child how to speak or that hitting is wrong or how to brush your teeth or that you should wear a hat in the sun?!
God, what am I doing becoming a parent?!

…you see my spiralling thoughts, leading to a dark place of despair and fear. That isn’t where an expectant mother should be. She should be ‘glowing’ and filled with joy and anticipation at the bundle of cuteness that’s coming just around the corner…

Now, don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with thinking about the hard practicalities of parenting and crying out much like David did in a lot of the Psalms…but to dwell in a place of darkness and fear isn’t healthy.
For me, I have to work harder than others to be positive and find the up side to things. And I’m ok with that. So at this time in my life, it’s an EXTRA effort to find peace & joy & strength from God in His word. He has also gifted me just the best husband I could ever picture for myself who walks patiently with me, holding my hand and whispering words of encouragement in the tough times, and celebrating with me in the good times.

To help during these times of dim thinking, I’ve discovered a couple of collections of verses…and I leave you with one today. I come to these verse collations and stop, pause, spend a moment – I read, reread and think about the gravity of the words in front of me until I feel ‘light’ again. That’s the power of His word…bringing light to darkness and peace to despair.

GREAT is our Lord, and abundant in POWER; his understanding is beyond measure. <Psalm 147:5>