Stuck on the couch

I spent a lot of Leo’s early life on the couch. He spent most of his day either breastfeeding, bottle-feeding or asleep on me. Jeff would leave for work and I’d be on the couch, and then he’d come home and I’d still be on the couch.

Jeff on couch
Jeff stuck on the couch

Jeff was much better at being stuck on the couch than me. He always seemed to manage to have a snack in his hand and his laptop nearby.

I always managed to be busting to go to the toilet or thirsty or hungry (or all three) but I didn’t want to move in case I woke Leo.

Looking back at photos from that time I have made an inventory of all the stuff I can see in the photos. It was like my office and I had a good set-up going on.

  1. Glasses of water
  2. Breast pump
  3. Bottles
  4. Pillows covered in blankets and towels
  5. Cloths for wiping up baby vomit
  6. Tissues
  7. Parenting books
  8. Picture books
  9. Motillium (to increase my milk supply)
  10. Laptop
  11. Phone (landline – didn’t have a smart phone yet)
  12. A toothbrush (a lactation consultant said that stimulating the breast with an electric toothbrush could help my supply)
  13. Vitamins
  14. Snacks
  15. A notebook and pen to write down the times of all his feeds

Memories!

For those of you who are new to our blog, the reason we are writing about all this stuff is that we have written a picture book for new parents to remind them how great they are doing. It is the book that we wish had when Leo was little. You can read more about our rough-around-the-edges look at early parenting here.

We have been working on it for years (in our heads), and actually did the writing and illustrating over the past year. The book is finished! We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on the 2nd of August so we can print a small run of board books. We would love your support – more on that soon.

This is is one of the spreads from the book. Our brown couch from this era has a supporting role.

Lonely

 

Things I see differently post-kid

We are loving this project a lot. It is like our third child. Both Jeff and I have been working on it full-time (with many, many breaks to look after our actual children and Jeff doing paid work) for five months and counting.

If this book is successful I dream of also doing You’re Doing Great, Kid and You’re Doing Great, Toddler.  Jeff wisely tells me to take one thing at a time.

But just say that I was thinking a little bit about You’re Doing Great, Kid. I might think of a list of things I see differently after having a kid, for example…

  1. Hiding vegetables – gives a great sense of satisfaction
  2. Bribery – happens. Also called ‘negotiations’
  3. Hummus – makes vegies palatable
  4. Buying in bulk – it’s like I am permanently getting ready for the apocalypse
  5. Kids eating in the car – I used to think ‘why would you do that?!’
  6. Messy, gross cars – see above
  7. Mini vacs – self explanatory
  8. Toys I didn’t play with as a kid because they were ‘boys’ toys’: Lego, paper planes, trains, cars – are actually super fun
  9. Sushi train – food as soon as you walk in the door and it’s like an outing (bonus!)
  10. Community
  11. My parents – I used to love them and now I love them even more
  12. Having a bath before bed – is actually really nice. I used to be a shower in the morning gal
  13. Choc chips, sprinkles, smarties and hundreds and thousands – add to snacks so kid will eat them
  14. Bubble bath – makes reluctant kid want to bathe
  15. Going to bed early – ROCKS!
  16. Absolutely scoffing your food – Jeff and I call it the ‘parental inhale’
  17. Chest freezers and big-batch cooking
  18. Ordering EVERYTHING online
  19. Drive thrus – don’t need to get out of car
  20. Young men – I used to be a bit scared of young men and now I look at them fondly because I imagine Leo and Clem being that age
  21. Paying a cleaner.

What didn’t you understand until after having a kid? Leave a comment below.

Ten questions for Mums and Dads

  1. Favourite children’s song
  2. What does it look/feel like to be “doing great” as a parent?
  3. Best parenting hack you’ve discovered
  4. What do you miss about pre-baby life?
  5. Parenting win of the week
  6. Parenting fail of the week
  7. Winning meal of the moment
  8. Craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your baby/kid to sleep or stay asleep
  9. Three words to describe your child/children
  10. What have you learnt from becoming a parent?

My Dad is a statistician, so I love filling out surveys. :)

My answers:

  1. ‘Hush Little Baby’ gets Clem to sleep
  2. House a bit chaotic but I make time to do yoga
  3. Start making dinner in the morning (or the night before)
  4. Time alone to faff around
  5. Making time to wrestle with Leo before bed
  6. Raising my voice
  7. At home: dahl and rice. Out: sushi train
  8. Drove to Bundeena and back just so Leo would have a sleep in the car. Did a pee in the shower because I was wearing Clem in the baby carrier and I didn’t want to wake him up.
  9. Leo: enthusiastic, kind, chatty. Clem: determined, musical, joyful.
  10. Managing on less and broken sleep, multitasking up the whazoo, less procrastination.

Thanks to Kaley Hawkins from the Longest Shortest Time Mamas Facebook group for the inspiration for this, and to Tabitha who came up with some of the questions.

 

They f*** you up, your Mum and Dad

My Dad used to quote the first verse of this poem to me when I was a teenager. It was his catch-all disclaimer for any parental failings I accused him of.

This Be The Verse

By PHILIP LARKIN

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had

    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern

    And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

Whenever I am taking parenting too seriously I think about this poem and it never fails to give me a smile. There is something charming and disarming about rhyme. I hope that our book (with its rhyme and all) contains some of the humourous spirit of Larkin’s poem.