Saying our goodbyes

Sometimes when you say bye, the Little Mister waves. Sometimes he doesn’t. He’s getting lots of opportunities to do it this week. We have started saying goodbye to our friends and the Little Mister’s friends and playmates.

He has only known them for a year. They’re just getting to take notice of each other. Although only to take toys off each other. It’s still not quite playing together. Through Milin I’ve met some other wonderful mummies and become closer to people I already knew. He’s just starting to get to know Wellington, the city he was born in, and we are saying goodbye.

It is less than a week until we go. We said goodbye to some very good friends on Saturday. Over a drink and some snacks, while the babies played with cars and trucks at our feet, we looked back, looked forward, and I tried not to cry. It’s hit me this week. I’m leaving a life I love, I’ve already left a job I loved, and we are parting ways with too many people.

It’s too late, Tony said, to change your mind. There were boxes all around us and I still had packing tape in the hand I didn’t use to wipe away the tears.

Of course, you can’t have everything, and this has been my choice. It’s ok, I think, to be sad for what we’ll leave – while at the same time being excited for all that will be new.

On Saturday, the wind howled around us as we walked to our leaving party. It made me feel better about going. But on Sunday, Wellington turned on it’s sunniest most beautiful charm. Under a bright blue sky, the Little Mister squealed when I put his toes in the icy water of the South Coast. He might grow up like his father and rarely swim in the sea, but I hope not.

We took him to the aquarium where he got his fingers in the water and played with the seaweed after pointing at the big fish and octopus. We said goodbye to our antenatal group – our first baby club – our group who got to know each other so well because we were all sleep deprived at some point and getting desperate for tips, advice, anything that might work. Tomorrow, more goodbyes. More friends the Little Mister and I have in common.

We will wipe away tears though for this windy city, and very soon, as long as the snow clears and we can land, we will say hello.

You Made My Day

I KNOW there will come a time when we stop celebrating the Little Mister turning a month older, but that must be at least a year or so away. Today, we celebrated eight months. Eight months! It’s been two thirds of a year of getting to know each other, adjusting to sleep deprivation, learning some big lessons, laughing lots, crying too, and discovering a whole other level of happiness.

So to mark eight months, we crammed a fair bit into the Little Mister’s day. It was the last day of winter, and the sun shone over Wellington. First up was the swing at the park with his nani ji. Milin loves the swing. Today, he couldn’t wait to get out of his buggy and get onto it. Which was good, it tired him out nicely for his second nap.

With his grandparents and me, the Little Mister spent the afternoon at Oriental Bay. The sea was calm, the fountain caught his attention, and I found myself remembering the last time I’d put my toes in the ocean there. It was Christmas Day, the day the doctors had wanted to induce me, but we bought ourselves and the Little Mister a bit more time. Christmas morning was spent at the hospital and I was discharged after two nights there. Still pregnant.

Today, the Little Mister wasn’t sure about sitting on the sand. He didn’t mind watching the water lap at the shore, but really it was a short stint on the beach. He didn’t let me rub sun cream into his face, and so spent the afternoon looking like an Australian cricketer with zinc-based sun block on one cheek.

So, we went for a walk, which the Little Mister was much happier about. People watching, today, trumped watching the ocean. And then a stint at the Beach Babylon cafe saw me become probably the proudest mum in Wellington. My eight-month-old, he was perfectly behaved. While we had our tea and cakes, Milin sat in his high chair, chomped for a while on Sophie and his set of keys, smiled flirtatiously with the other customers, and spent the outing being generally charming.

I thought I was being optimistic when I left the house with a pouch of pureed fruit and two teaspoons (one for Milin to hold, one for me to use, and feeding time can happen anywhere). But, I pulled out the pouch and two metal teaspoons, put on the bib I had also brought along, and started to feed my boy. He kept up with his tremendous run this week of eating solids. He seems only to be eating pear, apple and banana (pureed together by Heinz) – but he ate lots. And slept all the way home. Yep, I’m the proudest mum in Wellington. Happy eight months my cheery little Milin baby, you made my day. Again.



Baby Brain

Pregnancy was, for me, a long eight months of myths being shattered. I never glowed, until the end when it was summer and lugging around an extra 20 kilos left my forehead with a permanent sheen. I never felt great or had lots of energy, even after being prescribed high dose iron tablets. I rarely felt as if I was going through one of life’s most magical times – I just felt like I was carrying around alot of extra weight and it was making me feel pretty anxious, tired and stressed.
But there was one aspect of my pregnancy which conformed to the stereotype – baby brain.
It turned out that baby brain wasn’t a myth at all. For me, it was this weird inconvenient phenomena that turned my usually organised, punctual, together self into, quite frankly, a mess.
It wasn’t just a case of a little forgetfulness either. It was doing things like driving to the shops at Lyall Bay and having to come straight home again because once there I had no idea what I had intended to buy.
It was a case of completely forgetting social engagements and just not turning up. I’m still sorry about that.

Once I accepted that my somewhat impaired mental function was yet another of the tests of pregnancy, I consoled myself with the naive belief that it was only temporary. Well, I’m still waiting to get my marbles back. Because the worst thing about baby brain is now that Little Mister is nearly six months old, I’ve still got it.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. From a quick poll of some of the other amazing Wellington mummies I have met on this journey, baby brain has a habit of lingering around far longer than is welcome. Kind of like those last five kilos.

This week, I took afternoon tea along to one of our baby club activities. I thought it was my turn. It wasn’t. On it’s own, this kind of slip up isn’t so bad. But, I did the same thing three weeks ago. It turns out I’m on the calendar for taking afternoon tea next week – which I would have known had I checked my own diary. How on earth did I get this wrong -twice? I never would have got dates like this confused pre-baby. On the plus side – Tony scored some home baking this week that he was certainly not expecting.

Further proof of my diminished mental skill is becoming increasingly obvious in my decision making abilities. I’ve never been an indecisive person. But now, ask me to make a simple choice – particularly when I am already actively doing something else – and I’m stumped.

Which ties in with another new problem. I’ve lost the ability to mentally multi-task. All that criticism I have heaped on Tony over the years for not being able to do it, and now I’m even worse than him. It seems that my brain just can’t cope with turning the cogs or making a decision when it’s already keeping me going at something else. Tony kindly volunteered to take Milin for a buggy walk today so I could have a little time out. But when he asked me if I thought they should take the long or the short walk around the block – it was too much for me to compute.

When my brain allows it, I’ve been thinking about this, because I don’t want to end up unable to make the simplest decisions, or make a habit of turning up at the wrong events on the wrong days. So far, my take on it is that the Little Mister takes up so much head space that fitting the rest in his hard work. I’m constantly thinking about Milin. How long has he been up? Is he starting to look tired? If we’re leaving the house at 11.30am what time should I try to put him down for a nap? What food shall we puree up today? Is the heater on in his room? Should I take some pear out of the freezer? Why isn’t he hungry yet? Is he warm enough? It goes on. All day. All night.

Oddly, I’m still able multi-task when it comes to Milin. Making my lunch with one hand, while having him on one shoulder, and making a game out of it for him while singing a song at the same time seems to be no problem. It’s just finding the brain power for all the other aspects of life sometimes feels like a challenge.

So maybe, with my mind full of thoughts about the Little Mister, plus a little bit of sleep deprivation thrown in, there just isn’t room for some of the small stuff. Which, I guess could mean that Tony keeps getting bonus home baking on the days I get it wrong. Which, given that I seem to be finding less and less time to cook us real meals, perhaps isn’t a bad thing after all.