My Daily Schedule – With an almost 6 and almost 4 year old.

This schedule is for Monday, when both my boys go to Year 1 and Kindergarten. I’m also pregnant!

6:30am – My husband and I wake up. We have a cup of tea together and eat breakfast.

7:00am – Boys wake up, I make them breakfast.

Depending on how much they’ve eaten the night before, they will eat quickly without distraction. Or dawdle with one toasted crust until I’m pulling my hair out and screaming at them to hurry up.

I pack two lunchboxes with fruit, sandwiches, biscuits, and a water bottle.

7:30am – Husband leaves for work. I hustle to get the boys ready for school – brush teeth, change into school clothes, pack school bags, put on socks and shoes, eat vitamins, put on sun cream.

Depending on their mood that morning, they will enthusiastically bounce from one task to another, completing everything in 30 minutes. Or they will dawdle and procrastinate until I’m pulling my hair out and screaming at them to hurry up.

8:00am – I get myself ready for the day.

Depending on MY mood that morning, I’ll be pulling my hair out and screaming at the kids. The morning routine is usually the most stressful for me – especially while pregnant and lacking patience.

8:30am – Drop off older boy to Year 1 classroom.

8:50am – Drop off younger boy to Kindergarten classroom.

9:00am – I wish I could say that I have 6 hours of doing absolutely nothing, while the kids are at school.
But I don’t.

I have doctor’s appointments. I’m getting my hair cut. I have to buy plastic tubs for under bed storage. I have to pop into my mother’s place to pick up something. I have to clean my bathroom. I buy a new cartridge for my printer.

I guess it’s particularly cool that I can do all these things without children.

But as all mothers with school aged children say – “6 hours goes by SO quickly!”

3:00pm – Pick up older boy from classroom.

3:10pm – Pick up younger boy from classroom.

3:30pm – Arrive home. I make a snack for the boys.

4:00pm – Older boy does some reading homework with me.

4:30pm – Boys play, while I start putting dinner together.

5:00pm – Husband comes home. He takes the boys for a walk, or a bike ride, or kick a ball in the park. I usually have to lie down at this point.

6:00pm – We eat dinner.

7:00pm – Kids get bathed.

7:30pm – Kids go to sleep.

8:00pm – Husband washes dishes.

10:00pm – I crash into bed.

Read all my daily schedules (when my kids were at different ages).

Making Baby 3, Pregnancy Week 22 – Going Natural

I’ve been thinking about the kind of delivery I want to have.

For my first baby, I wanted to do things completely naturally.

I went to a special family birth centre, where there were no doctors – just midwives. This was part of the public health system, which in Australia, is pretty well resourced compared to other countries.

They had an extremely tough screening process to make sure that all admissions were completely low risk. They encouraged the use of aromatherapy, music therapy, hot baths, and pethidine gas as forms of pain relief. All birthing suites looked more like a large, gorgeous hotel suite, rather than a hospital ward. It was a really wonderful set up.

Unfortunately, during the labour, I developed several complications and was rushed to the main public hospital. I had an epidural, I had a natural birth, and I delivered a healthy 3.4kg (7.6 pounds) baby. Total labour time was 15 hours.

After the birth, I started to bleed, and was put on high alert for emergency surgery. I ended up needing a blood transfusion and intensive care. I spent several days hooked up to monitors, drips, urine bags, and all kinds of machines… and I was unable to hold my baby for 3 days.

I spent the next 3 months being sore, very weak, and needing to recover and heal in all kinds of places.

It was certainly not the “natural” experience I was hoping for!

But I was extremely thankful for the doctors and nurses who looked after me, and that despite it all, my baby and I were fine.

For my second baby, we chose an obstetrician who came highly recommended and was extremely supportive of natural births. The hospital was a lovely little private hospital, with a very big price tag. Thank heavens for private insurance!

My second birth was textbook. It took a total of 6 hours. I delivered a 3.6kg (8 pounds) baby, with no drugs, no pain relief, no tearing, no complications. It was all completely natural!

But unlike my first delivery (with an epidural)… THIS TIME I felt every contraction, every spasm, every spine-tingling, bone-rattling, blood-curdling, skin-crawling, knuckle-crunching, debilitating, horrifying, complete shocking pain.

I admit, it took me by surprise.

I wished I could say that I was strong and resilient throughout it all. But I wasn’t.

After 5 hours of it, I broke.

It completely and utterly defeated me, and I wanted to just lay there and die, and let someone else get the baby out. The doctor (who was just wonderful) came in, urged me to try a little bit harder… I pushed, and the hey presto, the baby came out.

My recovery after the birth was amazing. After 2 days, I was bouncing around with no pain, no wounds, no needles, no drips, no sore bits. I felt great!

ANYWAY. So with all that on my mind, I’m wondering whether I want to go completely natural drug-free again, or have the epidural.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

The School Canteen

This morning, after getting the boys ready for school, I found my 5.5 year old son trying to pry open his money box with a screw driver.

Firstly, where did he find the screw driver?

Secondly, why did he need money?

He looked up at me, and told me that he needed to take some money to school to buy an ice cream from the canteen at lunchtime. He has a few friends who were going to help him.

My child? Going to the canteen? With friends?? He just started Year One two weeks ago!

I was suddenly thrown back 20 years into a self-made, childhood pit of canteen-envy.

I was never allowed to buy things from the school tuck shop. I was so jealous of all the kids who were allowed to have icy poles and lemonades in summer, and warm cinnamon rolls and hot cheesie buns in winter.

I remember hating my lunch – my mother’s sandwiches.

Don’t get me wrong. My mother is a fabulous cook. Growing up on Christmas Island, my mother and a few other mothers would come to school at lunchtime, and set up a picnic for us. There were metal canisters of hot soups, warm rice, yummy meat stir fries with juicy vegetables. There were fried noodles and fish balls, poached egg and pork buns. We were spoilt.

But later, we moved to Australia. And perhaps she believed that being in a Western society, we had to have ham and cucumber sandwiches, every single day, by way of integration or something.

I just wanted noodles and rice.

So unbeknownst to my mother, I started to throw away every sandwich pack she made me. I stole money from the family coin tray, and bought pies and buns from the canteen.

I was so naughty!

So I looked at my child on the floor of his bedroom, screw driver in his hand, and I had one of those unforgettable parental moments where I JUST DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!

The school actually discourages Year One kids from going to the canteen until Term 2, unless they have an older sibling / friend with them.

So do I ban him from the school canteen?

Do I simply give him some money and let him and his friends work it all out?

Who are these friends who go to the canteen anyway? And how old are they?

Do I let him buy whatever he wants?

How often will he want to go to the canteen?

What if he starts throwing away the sandwiches THAT I WAKE UP AT 6:45AM EVERY MORNING TO MAKE FOR HIM!!!

After a couple of hours of thinking and nutting things out – which mainly consisted of me trying to deal with my own childhood insecurities – I got hold of the canteen menu, and decided that every Friday he can go work out how to buy himself an icy pole for 40c.

Fingers crossed that it all goes well.

Making Baby 3, Pregnancy Week 21 – The Anatomy Scan

Last week, I had my 20 week ultrasound examination, sometimes called the anatomy scan.

This is when they examine the baby’s head, brain, face, lips, heart, stomach, lungs, abdominal wall, kidneys, bladder, spine arms, legs, hands, and feet.

They measure the growth of the baby, the baby’s heart rate, the position of the placenta and amount of amniotic fluid.

Most life-threatening abnormalities can be detected during this scan. And you can find out the sex of the baby.

I was quite tense for a few days leading up to the scan. Probably more tense than I was willing to admit at the time.

I was deeply concerned about my baby’s health – mainly because we conceived using artificial means, with my husband’s frozen sperm, which was gathered when he was quite sick.

There was almost no evidence that cancer, or chemotherapy has a negative effect on a man’s sperm.

So although I tried to be calm and sensible, I could feel the rising anxiety inside me. It made me irritable and emotional. It took all my energy to remain composed on the outside.

For this scan, I had to drink one large glass of water, one hour before arrival. I was a bit annoyed about it, because this was bound to add to my edginess.

I arrived, and there was a long queue. I was getting tense.

There was a slight problem with my referral. Slightly more tense.

I had to sit and wait. More tense!

When it was finally my turn, I lay on the chair while the sonographer did her thing.

My fingers were twisted in a white and pink tangle. My muscles were knotted up. My back was stiff. My neck was tight.

She made some polite chit chat, and then gave a commentary on what she was doing, what parts of the baby she was checking, head circumference, length of legs, heart beat, blood flow, 10 little fingers, perfect little toes…

All is well.

Baby is absolutely perfect.

Did I want to know the baby’s gender?

Yes.

“A boy! Congratulations! You can go to the toilet now.”

So I ran to the toilet. I returned to the sonographer.

I lay back on the chair. And I relaxed.

I realised what had happened. I realised the good news. And I started to cry!

I cried!

All my tensions were released. All my worries, all my anxieties, angst and fears, washed away into a little soggy bit of tissue.

I was so happy. My little baby is perfect. My little baby boy!


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.