Benedict’s new bed

Since before Benedict was born, I’ve been looking at cots. I hated all of them. I searched and searched for a miracle; stylish, made out of actual timber, not too expensive cot. Alas. None showed themselves. I gave up. I researched hammock beds. Perfect. For the first five months of his life Benedict has been sleeping in his hammock. Many adult people would like one – including me. Even Ed thought it was cool and asked why Benedict was the one with all the cool stuff? This from a kid with three iPods!

Sleeping Baby Lying

The hammock bed was great everything went along. And so I forgot about cots for a while and concentrated on other things.

Benedict grew and grew and soon my back was creaking from lifting him in and out of the hammock. It’s tricky. It moves and now he is more agile when he throws his hands out he catches the sides – difficult to put him into bed if he is holding on to it!

Busting out of the hammock bed

After another fruitless week of searching we finally came across this beauty! Thanks to Liz for recommending it and for letting Benedict copy Liam. Awaiting delivery as we speak! Big boy bed, here we come.

The New Yorkers are piling up

I’ve had a subscription to the New Yorker since 2006. I love them. Often there have been periods where, due to their frequency of publication, I have had a couple of weeks pile up. OK so sometimes when I was really busy it may have been 6 or 8 weeks. Now below is a photo of the pile of unopened New Yorkers resting on the cross-bar of the bedside table. There are probably 15 magazines in the pile. There are a few that are optimistically opened but most of them are in their plastic. Even with the housework ban, it is hard to keep up!

The New Yorkers

This is the sort of thing that people mean when they say things are different after they have children. I can still do the SMH quiz every Saturday, I still get the ‘Get It?’ every week, (that’s my litmus test to see if I’m losing my mind) but if I make it through the first couple of pages of Spectrum or the mag, I’m doing really really well. I started reading March of Patriots in February. I’ve read only 100 or so pages. The concentration required fails me. The interest is there; but fatigue beats me every time. I have finished a couple of books, at the expense of the New Yorkers. Things are different now.

First mothers’ day

My first mothers’ day was one of the happiest and most lovely days since Benedict was born.

It started well with a sleep in – til 07-30 – well done Benedict.

I had tea in bed. Lovely breakfast, got to watch most of insiders – without too many interruptions which was a real treat!

Robert collected some lovely relaxing things into a fabulous red box for me. A book, Ian McEwan’s Solar, a Miles Davis CD, lovely L’Occitane candle. He also went to Aesop and asked them to look me up on the database so he could buy the thing I was about to run out of. Gorgeous. He said he tried to get all the things so I could relax and use them all at the same time.

The rest of the day was relaxing and peaceful spent with my two best boys.

A quiet sunny moment

Five months – how time flies!

Stripey and Stripey show

Five months old today! Celebrated by sleeping in until 07-30am! Woo Hoo. Best sleep for weeks.

The itchy and scratchy show seems to be coming under control and Benedict’s skin is looking and feeling like the gorgeous baby he is. The dermatologist consultation was very useful. We were on the right track but just not doing enough. We were reassured and have the knowledge now to manage what is a mild case of eczema that will probably resolve by the end of his first year. Sleep has been much improved.

Made an impromptu visit in to the office to say hello. Robert ran around showing Benedict off! I finally tracked him down in the arms of Louise, looking slightly fragile but ok. My earlier resolve to keep to the long middle of the day sleep has been blown out of the water this week, but it doesn’t really seem to be making a big difference.

The past few months have flown by. Better remember to stop and admire the view a bit more, it’s rushing past!

Drink from a glass? Give me something harder mama!

Sippy cups are for babies!

Benedict has been interested in what we eat and drink for a few weeks. A couple of days ago he reached for a glass I was drinking from. To see what would happen I held it up to his lips. He immediately pursed his lips and drank a sip of water. No dribbling, no drips just drank it. Give me something harder to do mama!

Am I ready for solids?

Yum! Farex.

I am constantly surprised by Benedict. While I am sitting around obsessing about what to do, he just very often takes charge and shows me what needs to be done.  While I’m busy deciding what to do about solids and the potential risks of allergens and the issues to do with exacerbating his eczema and blah blah blah about six months of exclusive breastfeeding, Benedict one afternoon just quietly started sucking the oaty goodness out of the muslin bag from his bath! The idea of the oat bag is to assist his itchy skin. So after a while in the bath the little bag becomes just like porridge with the oat colloids oozing out. He clearly liked it.I went out and bought some Farex the next morning!

Of course as soon as a spoon came toward his face, Benedict opened his mouth expectantly. Just like his mama and his dadda, he loves his food!

The housework ban and why I cannot cope!

The housework ban

Almost two weeks ago my doctor banned me from housework. No mopping, no sweeping, no scrubbing. I am to eliminate repetitive movement of all kinds if at all possible.

I have a repetitive strain injury to my right arm. I have an almost 8 kilogram baby who provides enough challenge to my arm.  I know why I have this injury and I know how. By doing too much and by doing it too often. By lifting things that are too heavy. By shifting tonnes of dirt in the vegie garden, by myself. By incessantly cleaning the house before Benedict was born and after. It has taken years to develop to this point. I am profoundly right-handed and find it really difficult to alternate my hands or use the other arm.

But back to the housework. I am, as I said, banned. So Robert has taken over. I should be glad. He’s prepared to do it. We might avoid the expense of a cleaner. So why am I so unaccepting? Why am I so critical? Why can’t I just leave it alone? Why?

The itchy and scratchy show – my baby has eczema

My worst fears were confirmed Monday 3 May when the GP gave a diagnosis of eczema. We had noticed little rashes and red patches. Then it started to get worse. I changed the washing power and started to diligently remove all the tags from his clothes. I carefully moisturised his skin. Nothing really helped.

All calm

I went to the supermarket and bought everything I could find that was soothing without being irritating.  I went to see the community nurse who gave me some tips but told me to see the GP straight away. The first appointment was several days away. We had been up every hour at night for about a week and a half. Robert and I were just exhausted and I was starting to lose confidence all together.

The worst day of motherhood so far was Sunday 2nd May. I was at a birthday party for a friends’ one year old. It was at their house in the country. Benedict’s cheeks were a red angry mess, he has an infected patch on his scalp and he was miserable and clingy. I was standing on the edge of what would have been called the ‘home paddock’ in the old days facing away from the party staring in the hills. Tears rolled uncontrollably down my own cheeks as I tried to comfort my poor baby. I couldn’t turn around and I couldn’t attract Robert’s attention. I just stood their hoping he would come and find me. We left soon after and I cried all the way home and all night.

It is completely heartbreaking to see your baby suffer and to not be able to help him.

After the GP visit I was laden with prescriptions and a list for the chemist. I handed it over and 10 minutes and $100 later I returned home with a raft of creams, lotions, and medicines. The first night after the treatment started was better and then things improved. We waited until we had caught up on some sleep before we started the slow process of re-training our baby to sleep and self-soothe again.

We have an appointment with a dermatologist in two weeks to attempt to identify the cause and perhaps receive some more targeted advice about how to manage the symptoms.

Big night out

I was having a difficult week. Things were piling up. Sleep was rare and hard to come by. There were tensions everywhere, emotional and physical. Things were, just quietly, pretty shit. I was trying to rest when I got a text message from Karen. She invited me to meet her and Theresa at Tilleys for coffee at 8pm. Ooo going out! Without the baby!

I sent Robert a message who told me I HAD to go. I sent Karen a message saying yes I’d come and that by ‘coffee’ I hope she meant ‘wine’. Of course she replied. We sent a message to Liz too.


Lovely lovely wine


I carefully sorted out the afternoon. Bathed and feed Benedict and put him gently to bed. I was then dressed up and ready to go out before 7-30pm. It’s a ten minute trip. I stood around the living room cooling my heels. Robert and Ed eyed me suspiciously. I folded washing and pretended to watch the 7-30 report.

We all were exactly on time but trying not to be. We all dressed up. We all wore makeup. It was fabulous! We drank champagne and talked about our lives, our babies, our careers and for a little while we felt like our old selves again. It reminded us of the importance of looking after ourselves, so we could be better at looking after everyone else.

The value of mothers’ group … or thank you Karen

Somehow mothers’ group passed me by initially. I was told on my home visit by the community nurse how to join and that I should call straight away but I was reluctant. Why did I want to do that I thought? Bunch of mothers’ talking about poo! How very very wrong I was. I managed to survive for the first few months. Then at the urging of my friend Karen I asked Liz if I could gate crash hers. I knew at least two of the people and their babies were very close in age to Benedict. Luckily for me everyone else was ok with it and now I couldn’t live without it. I’ve met lovely people and there is nothing like being in the same boat to make you feel better and to reassure you it’s not you, it’s the babies!


It's not you; it's the baby



Rolling, rolling, rolling


June 2010

For quite a few weeks Benedict has been practising rolling. Kicking his legs in the air, waving his arms, and throwing his weight from side to side while lying on his back. He hasn’t yet been able to pull his arm out from underneath him. On 29 April at exactly four months he pulled his legs up underneath himself while face down. He was propelled onto his face by the momentum and the weight of his head!

Today on the kitchen floor he managed to roll from his front with his arms stretched out to his back. He surprised himself as well as me. He lay there on his back with a startled look on his face. Later in the morning he did it again. It is now the beginning of the end and the start of full babyhood complete with chewing on everything and learning to craw. He surprises me daily with his development and how quickly he changes.

Where’s the baby?

There is a frightening moment experienced by many new mums at night, in the daytime, in bed, in a chair, it doesn’t seem to matter where you are; when you wake up searching for the baby. I woke up in the second night at home shouting ‘where’s the baby? where’s the baby?’ In your sleep deprived and overloaded mind you have forgotten that you have been out of bed, fed the baby, returned to your bed and gone back to sleep. In your mind you still have the baby with you and have lost it, rolled on it, dropped it over the side of the bed or worse. It is a truly horrifying experience.

It is amplified because you sometimes do have the baby in bed, and fall asleep for a second, or for an hour. Or you are lying there with the baby on your chest until your partner takes the baby away from you so you can continue to sleep. Or you fall asleep with the baby in your arms in a chair.

I had the ‘where’s the baby?’ moment about three times. I fell asleep with the cold packs that were making me feel a lot better resting on my chest. When I woke up I was convinced I had lost the baby only to discover that the cold packs were warm and had slid off. I frantically searched through the bed and bed-clothes for Benedict. I turned the sheets over, and the pillows and then got out and pulled the bed apart. No baby. By the time I had done all that I was wide awake. I realised I was in bed by myself.  The baby was safely asleep in his hammock.


Sleeping Baby Lying