Being a mother changed me. An old cliché but a true one for me. I would never have guessed pre-baby that I would become so… crunchy? A baby-wearing, co-sleeping, anti-antibiotics crunchy mama who is still breastfeeding her toddler at almost 21 months.
I am learning new things every day, about my baby, but mostly about myself.
The one thing I did know pre-baby, that I am surer of each day, is my conviction to homeschool. Most of my friends just think I’m crazy, but Hubs and I talked about this even before we were dating. In fact, that he found it amazing (and didn’t think I was crazy) was probably one factor that led to us getting into a serious relationship, then marriage, then the baby.
So here it is, in writing. After having done everything the way we were always told to, after being the compliant eldest children that we are, after excelling in the education system and still being vastly dissatisfied, here is our foray into the unknown. By the grace of God, we hope for something different for The Toddler. We hope to cultivate a life-long love for learning. We hope for less standardised tests, and more opportunities for growth at his own pace. We hope for less time in the classroom, and more time learning through play. We hope for less competition, and more compassion.
I think a new blog post after six months of radio silence warrants a little celebration… with a guest-list of one. Because I have been so dreadful in updating this, I decided to at least put my tweets up on the sidebar. I am embarking on a daily-tweeting experiment, so that should keep some parts of this blog up to date.
In other news. 19 months coming up, and The Baby is officially The Toddler. I can’t even begin to capture all the wonderfulness that is toddlerhood, just that I like it FAR better than babyhood. If I haven’t said it enough, I am so thankful for all that I have.
Toddler: “COCKROACH!!!” (Pointing to one on the floor.)
Me: “Ok, don’t worry, I’ll get it.”
I get some tissue, grab the cockroach and flush it down the toilet.
Toddler (looks at me quizzingly): “Cockroach?”
Me: “It’s gone.”
Toddler: “Put back!” (Pointing to where it was before.)
Hubs: “It’s gone. Mama flushed it. What do you want with the cockroach?”
… Well, at least he didn’t ask to eat it.
I had in my mind a post about how the past year has been, following The Baby’s first birthday celebration. We had been cruising for quite a bit, so the post was all about how wonderful and fluffy parenthood has been.
Over the weekend, however, after several close shaves with the dreaded mastitis, it finally hit me. I was down with fever and chills and lumpy boobs. Of course it had to happen while Hubs was away on army duty. So physically I was down, and emotionally — I’ve got to admit, I don’t know which was worse — I was embarrassed. Mastitis at 12 months?! Wasn’t this the sort of thing that happened early on? Shouldn’t I be immune to this after all I’ve been through?
Thankfully, after lots of hot showers, rubs, cold cabbage leaves, and then resorting to lecithin treatment, I am finally feeling much better and hopeful that I will not have to go under the knife.
Instead of trying to recreate the post I would have written pre-mastitis, I shall leave you with this funny and contemplative piece. I liked it so much that I read it twice despite it being so freaking long. It is also a masterful example of online media use, and one of the few that I’ve read that cannot be wholly translated to print.
The birth of my child was arguably the worst day of my life, but it provided a wonder beyond anything I could have imagined. I believe that my life would have been infinitely poorer without my infuriating, nerve-wracking, magical, smart, loving and funny daughter. Whether that is empirically true or purely delusion is totally irrelevant.
– “Didn’t we almost have it all?” by Colin Yeo
So my first real day being a SAHM was great, but also because I still have loads of help, with everyone kept indoors by the haze outside. I even completed a piece of translation work for our church after dinner, interrupted intermittently (but not too disruptively) by night feeds.
I have so much I want to do as SAHM, but more pressing is the unpacking and packing to do with the move of house.
Unfortunately that is being put on hold because I’ve been reading this story on Neil Platts’ I Am Breathing. More specifically, I have spent a couple of hours now reading his riveting blog.
Hubs and I have had a few discussions on how we would prefer to die; what kind of untimely end would be best? Quick and painless like in an accident, but leaving behind shocked family and friends? Slow and painful like a long-drawn illness that will take its toll on everyone close, but enable you to say your goodbyes and make your peace? It’s not as morbid as it sounds and as with most other things, we agreed this was an easy decision. All hypotheticals of course, since we don’t get to choose, so we will just take each day as they come, and be thankful for all that we have!
The Baby decided from his first day home that he did not like diaper changes. He would cry at the top of his voice throughout the entire diaper change until the deed was done, and a clean diaper was put on and sealed. This doesn’t sound too traumatic, but if you throw in consecutive projectile poop at 4 a.m. and inexperienced, blurry-eyed parents, diaper change time can stretch to 15 min, which feels like 15 years when you have a baby yelling in your ear the entire time.
I remember during one particularly frustrating change where we had to throw out a third consecutive diaper in 10 min. In my desperation to get The Baby to stop crying, I tried pleading with him: “Please. We know you are soiled, we are working on it! The more you struggle, the longer this is going to take! Please just wait. JUST. WAIT.”
In that moment, I wondered how many times God must have said the same thing to me; how many times He must have tried to show me His grand plan, only to be met with distrust and primal understanding (or misunderstanding), and me trying to struggle out of my discomfort.
The waiting is the hardest part. The Baby learnt this quickly, I’d better too.
Visited a friend and her four-week-old bub today, and was instantly hit by the recollection of those tough early days. She talked about how lost she felt, how tired she was, how she had completely underestimated looking after a newborn. I nodded in sympathetic agreement, just hang in there, I told her.
I asked my gynae (who has three boys of her own) at my first post-natal check-up, why everyone only talks about the joy of motherhood, and no one prepares you for how debilitating it is? She smiled her wise smile: because you wouldn’t believe it if you were told how tough it is, because no matter how prepared you think you are it will still hit you real hard, because there is no point in getting a pregnant woman all down with these thoughts, might as well keep them happy so that they can carry the baby in the best possible condition.
At 5.5 months, The Baby has really blossomed now; we can take him anywhere and he is a delight to be around. He is so smiley, interacts so well, babbles and gestures frequently… just an absolute delight. It took us some time to get here though. We soldiered through first 3-4 months, that really seemed like 3-4 years. But there are no short cuts. We have learned that most of the things we worry about, are things that they will simply outgrow. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still exhausting, and there are still teething and other bad days, but now there is so much laughter and joy on a daily basis, without the tears of cleaning up the cot after a 4 a.m. diaper change.
So hang in there, please. Call for help. Eat well. Sleep when they sleep. Hang in there. It will get better… then worse… then better. Mostly better.
Hubs and I caught Les Misérables on New Year’s Day as part of TWR‘s fundraising screening. The event was really well organised, and the show left us both speechless.
Neither of us had watched it before, and I only briefly read it up online before the movie. I thought it was sad and Hubs thought it was inspiring. It was both, really. I cried a river. Then I read this piece on the blessing of adoption and cried some more.