1 year later…..

Well we did it, we survived a whole year just the three of us!

Im not going to lie, it’s been the most challenging and exhausting year of my life but also the most fun and exciting time too!

For those of you that know us (and some of you that don’t), you’ll know that our little one was a HORRENDOUS sleeper, I reckon that about 9 months of my life were consumed with either trying to get her to sleep, coming up with theories about why she wouldn’t sleep, talking to people about her sleep and arguing with my hubby about her not sleeping!

I think after this time we both just resigned ourselves to the fact that she just wasn’t a great sleeper! But she has the best personality and I couldn’t ask for more! She makes me laugh constantly and is my best friend in the world!  Can’t have it all right? In fact, I’d say we’re pretty lucky!!

Heres a few things I’ve learnt over the first year:

1. It is in fact possible to survive and somehow function on minimal sleep! Don’t ask me how but you just do! Yes you’re forgetful and walking around in a daze but you’re awake, you’re taking care of a baby and getting by!

2. Every baby is different. Ours didn’t sleep 12 hours a night like most in the mums group, ours wouldn’t take the bottle…. you can get down about it or you can get on with it, when they’re ready they’ll let you know!

3. Relationships are HARD. First there’s your hubby, the one person you’ve always turned to is also just as exhausted as you, tempers are short, life’s hectic and been turned upside down and neither of you have a clue what’s going on! It’s natural to fight!! Then there’s your friends, you don’t think they understand your life and you’re right, why would they! Their lives haven’t changed! Your real friends will stick around, and they’ll become an important part of your baby’s life too!

4. It really does take a village. Especially when you’re on the other side of the world to your family and friends! Let people in, don’t be afraid to ask for help and keep sociable!

5. Routine is a necessity. Me and my husband had no clue what to do with a newborn baby. We didn’t know we were meant to have a routine and looking back  maybe that’s why we spent so much of our time awake in the night and rocking or feeding a baby back to sleep! Routine is important to a baby, how will they know what’s going on otherwise!

6. You’ll experience love like never before. I honestly never thought I could love someone so much! My heart is so full of love for my baby, I miss her when she goes to bed or if I’m out! She makes me smile just when I hear or see her. ❤️

7. Stop buying unnecessary shite. Yep, you’ll see adverts for things and find yourself clicking “ add to shopping basket” in my front room I have a rocking caterpillar, a rubber donkey, a huge jellycat, a leopard print baby armchair….STOP!!!

8. Mums group becomes your saviour. These girls have been my rock. From a bunch of strangers in a room with newborn babies they’re now my very close friends and I couldn’t have done it without them. From texts at 5am, to bitching about our partners and multiple weekly play dates with wine they’re amazing!

9. Coffee is amazing. I’ve always been more of a “make us a cuppa” kinda girl so have always had the opinion that all those people ordering their morning coffees were kind of coffee wankers… but Lo and behold I’m one of them now… In fact I’ve been known to loiter outside the coffee shop at 7am and sign throughout the day “ gosh I’m tired, must need a coffee”

If anyone else has any other things they’ve learnt we’d love to hear them too!

And well done to all the other parents on surviving the first year, it sure was tough!

xx

 

The absent aunt

In the same breath that I told my sister I had quit my job, bought a bus and was going to hit the road on an indefinite adventure around Australia she told me she was pregnant. This was terrible timing considering that in the 32 years she’s been alive we had lived no more than 2 hours away from each other. Essex, Uni, London and Sydney, we had monthly meetings over a bottle of wine or 7. We always went big and we never remembered going home. Now she actually needed a big sister rather than a fellow white wine demon I was driving off into the sunset. But these things happen and we were both about to embark on our own, very different life adventures.

By the time Jot and I left Sydney at Christmas 2016 Aff was three months pregnant. I spent my days exploring the beaches of this beautiful country and my evenings knitting tiny squares of green, pink, yellow and white fluffy wool. I imagined the end result of a beautiful blanket that my niece or nephew would become inseparable from and be bullied at Uni for having on their bed in halls. “My Aunt Kate made it for me when she lived in a bus,” they’d say with pride and defiance tossing their thick ginger locks inherited from their parents.

When Emily Louise Jones was born on 18th of July 2017 in Sydney I was on the other side of the country in Perth. If you aren’t familiar with how bloody big Australia is you might be forgiven for thinking that’s a drive or a short flight away. Nothing in Australia is a short drive away, in particular that little trip which would take 41 hours of non stop driving at 100 kilometers an hour. Geography and logistics screwed us and poor Aff had no family visits while in the hospital with her newborn daughter and no extra help when they got her home.

6 weeks after Emily arrived Jot and I hopped on a red eye flight headed east to Sydney. A mere 5 hour flight later and my sister opened the door to her house holding her dark haired daughter Emily. My niece. I handled the situation like an adult and burst into tears. Once my contact lenses had stopped swimming in my eyes and a quick reminder from Mum on how to hold babies, I had the tiny human in my arms. I loved her immediately and stared at her trying to memorise her perfect little face. From my backpack came the presents that I’d been gathering for her over the last 6 months as I saw them at different markets and toy shops around the country. Then I gave Aff the blanket that I had been working on for the last half a year. The resulting “ohh’s” and “ahh’s” from my sister, mum and partner told me I had nailed the knitting malarky.

We spent the next week as an army of women looking after the little baby. At age 34 I had somehow never spent a lot of time with babies or children. In fact I think I could have counted my kid filled hours on one hand, since being one myself that is. But my intro to babies was enjoyable. The bouncing helped my step count and I enjoyed the smiles from strangers as I pushed the pram around Bondi. I changed my first nappy, and second and twentieth. My sister dressed Emily in pink baby grows and I changed her into yellow ones. For that too short amount of time my sister had the village they say it takes to care for a child. Then Jot and I had to get back to our travels, and Mum and Dad had to fly back to London.

That Christmas we all saw each other again as families do. This time Jot and I flew from Perth to London and The Jones’s made the 24 hour flight from Sydney to London. By now Emily was 5 months old and much more durable (if you can say that about a baby) so a lot less scary. I lived under the same roof as her for two weeks which was the best Christmas present ever. A few times I got up at 6 to take over from my sister and Emily, the non sleeping baby and I would hang out watching crime dramas on Netflix while the morning sun melted the frost outside and everyone else slept. On Boxing Day I wanted to show Emily the Galea tradition of a walk in the freezing cold (and reach my step count) so I bundled her into a snowsuit I wish came in my size, tied her to my chest and off we went into Epping Forest with Nana Jan in tow.

After Christmas was over and we all headed back to Australia, Jot and I hung out in Sydney to catch up with friends and get some more Emily time in. We showed her the Opera House and Bridge, we took her to an art gallery, we told her that we were really sorry that we lived so far away from her and promised we’d be there for all the big moments if we could be.

July came and in buslife we had made it to the east coast meaning we were about 3 quarters of the way around Australia. I turned 35 and a week later Emily was turning 1. Practically twins. Aff was throwing a first birthday for her to celebrate the fact that she and Dan had survived a year without sleep. As I was shopping for a train set for her birthday present I realised that this was one of the moments that I wanted to be there for. One of the big moments. So at short notice, as with we most things we do, Jot and I booked flights.

During the three days we were in Sydney, Emily and I spent a lot of time together. Naughty Auntie Kate even kept her home from daycare on Friday. I discovered that it isn’t possible to drink a take away coffee and push a pram at the same time. And that a one year old is unable to peel their own banana. We went shopping and she helped her Aunt Jot and I plan what we are going to wear for our upcoming wedding. She seemed like a pro at shopping so I suspect my sister has her in training as her tiny shopping buddy already.

Of course 1 year old Emily won’t know or remember that I was at her 1st birthday party. And I doubt that adult Emily will be that fussed. But it was important to me that I was there and it seemed to make my sister and brother-in-law Dan pretty happy. I have an awesome little niece and I can’t wait to step up as an Aunt and make more memories with her when we get back to Sydney.

 

Long Haul travel with a baby….✈️

I think most of us will agree that flying long haul is a pain in the arse! But when you live on the other side of the world to your family and friends what option do you have….? I know! Why not make it harder for yourself and travel without your husband and instead go with your 10 month old baby!

I’d say I was probably extremely sleep deprived when I made this decision….

But being in the last stretch of maternity leave I was dying to get home and spend some time with my favourite people! All my friends at home have kids so it would be perfect!

So, a few weeks before the flight I started to get organised…for those that know me you’ll know that I’m more of a last minute kind of packer, makes it more of a surprise when you get to the other end and have no idea what you’ve actually packed 😂

But this time I decided to be mature and as I was packing for two I actually took it seriously. We had changes of clothes, food, individually packed nappy bags, wipes, toys, you name it, we were set!

We got to the airport early, sat down and had lunch, I even squeezed in a glass of bubbly! Holiday rule right?

Next stop customs. This was fun, baby’s milk, baby’s water, Ipad, liquids, everything out..oh and the baby!

She clearly gets her suspicious look from me as every time we go away we both get stopped and randomly searched. (I get it, to an outsider I probably do look mental…. big eye bags, half a bottle of dry shampoo emptied onto my hair and covered in baby food. I’ve clearly got the time to also be a drug smuggler…..)

Being able to take the stroller all the way to the gate made a world of difference. Bubs could sleep whilst waiting to board and I could save my back for the next 24 hour shift!

We flew with British Airways, Sydney to Singapore, Singapore to London and vice versa on the way home.

Its funny when you board, you can literally see people groan inside when they see a baby! I get it, I would have been the same pre baby! On our journey back to Sydney the lady next to me was stuck between two babies, she asked on both flights if she could move but the flight was full. Immediately I was on edge, especially as mine isn’t  what you’d call a sleeper! But Lo and behold on the first flight she was an angel and on the second, the woman managed to sleep through her crankiness and even held her for me several times when I got my bags out.

I can’t thank the staff on board enough, they were wonderful to me and my little one! I felt like I could ask for help when I needed to which isn’t always easy.

I ate my dinner with them while they entertained the baby, there was a constant supply of coffee and chocolate and plenty of cuddles for bubs too!

We made several new friends, a mixture of other parents and basically anyone that’s needed the loo as that’s where we were loitering 😂

Everyone was so kind, in the airport, in the queue and on the plane. Random strangers made a long and hard journey bearable! Oh apart from that one bloke that grumbled at me that he’d only managed 6 hours sleep the whole flight…. ✌🏼 Clearly no one told him that kindness makes the world go round. Twat.

I cant say I’ll be in a rush to do the journey solo again, on top of the flight jet lag for a baby is a bitch. Ten pm in our house at the moment is PAAAARTY time! 🎊🎊😛

Top tips for travelling with a baby:

– be organised, have nappies, wipes, food, clothes etc on hand

– Sleep when the baby sleeps, don’t be tempted to watch the latest film, you don’t when they’ll next sleep..

– accept help! Even if someone offers your baby a cuddle so you can go and freshen up GO, GO, GO!

– buy new toys to keep your baby entertained. (Be it ten minutes at a time)

– fly BA, they’re fab! 👍🏽

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad…I think mums broken….😷😷

Dishy doctor.

Sleeping for days.

Dropping a dress size.

Sounds like heaven to most of us doesn’t it….?

But not when it comes hand in hand with not one but two bouts of bloody gastro!

Its all been fun and games in our household the last few weeks… a few of us in the mums groups, mixture of mums and bubs have been down with the gastro bug. Judging by how us adults felt I can’t imagine what it’s like for the little ones 😩

Whilst I was laying on the bathroom floor at one point all I could think was “I want my mum”

Then reality set in and I realised oh shit, I am the mum!

Whos going to look after me? 😭

So up steps dear old hubby…. having not been sick since bubs came along I didn’t realise how hard it was without any family here! Gastro sounds like nothing doesn’t it but I have a little person relying on me all day every day!

And of course because you’re contagious you can’t ask anyone else to take your baby!

So….my husband had to have a week off work and take over!

For that week he was mum, dad, chef, dog walker and cleaner…. (well maybe not cleaner 😂)

In between hugging the toilet I was asleep for hours on end and absolutely bloody useless!

The first few days consisted of hubby popping his head round the door “what shall I feed her?” “What shall I dress her in?” But by day two they had it all nailed 😀😀

They got their own little routine going and sounded like they were having a ball!

( I also suspect that on their “daily afternoon walk” to the swings they may have diverted by the pub for a swift pint for dad but who am I to judge? 😊

Our little one is a bit of a diva and has never really taken a bottle apart from when she feels like it so I was having to breastfeed too which was making me feel even worse 😩

At the end of day three, my husband was sat down with a glass of red and a lovely juicy steak. I sat there chewing a dry piece of toast glaring at him when he suddenly said “you know, I honestly don’t know how you do it every day. Going to work is a lot easier” HALLELUJAH. It had taken a week of me feeling like shit but he finally knew! Being a stay at home parent is BLOODY HARD!

After I had recovered I laid low for a few days to recuperate and make sure I wasn’t going to pass it on, I had serious cabin fever by this point and was dying to get out! I couldn’t wait to spend time with my baby girl and get out in the fresh air! My already pasty British skin was bordering on translucent by this point!

Then a week later the second round hit me and there I was back in the bathroom again! Not happy! Anyway to cut a long story short, we went through the same as above all over again, except this time I was given an injection to stop the vomiting and put on a drip to rehydrate! Thankfully that helped and I was back up and running a few days later!

Im on my ninth load of washing in three days and have scrubbed the house from top to toe! I’ve been to brunch with the girls and done some online shopping, I’m clearly feeling back to normal! 😀😀

And some positives from the shitty situation (excuse the pun) 😂

– bubs didn’t catch the bug 💪

– me and hubby managed to work as a team 👫

– I’ve lost those few extra kilos just before my holiday 😂

Every cloud ☁️☁️☁️.

My Little Sleep Thief 🤱🏼😴

I’m always the first to crack a joke about having a baby that doesn’t sleep….but the reality is it’s actually really bloody hard!

My little girl is 8 months old now and  has slept through the night once. We don’t know why it happened or if we did something differently but it’s yet to happen again. And of course I had to keep checking on her so didn’t sleep anyway….

My hubbie is out the house for 11 hours a day Monday to Friday and without much sleep the night before those days can sometimes feel like an eternity.

Anyone that you speak to wants to chat about the subject of sleep, the very first thing is “ah what a lovely baby, is she sleeping through?” I smile through gritted teeth at the little old lady in the shopping centre, the neighbour from upstairs and the mum in the coffee shop all the while thinking “what bloody business is it of yours” before remembering they’re just being polite so I hit the reset button and launch into conversation. One day I’m sure I’ll be able to say yes! 🤞🏼

Anyway, so when I say she doesn’t like to sleep, I don’t mean only doing 4 or 5 hour stints, I’m talking waking sometimes after 20 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour, multiple times a night!

Id somehow got myself into a habit of rocking bubba to sleep so most of my time if we’re at home was spent pacing up and down with her in my arms. Oh and if that didn’t work, the magic answer had become to pop my boob out, that fixes everything right? WRONG. So not only does she now need to be rocked but also fed to sleep! What had I done?

Add into the mix 3x 20-30 minute catnaps during the day and she’d be back up and raring to go again and I admittedly was starting to lose my mind! Some days I would spend over half an hour settling for her to wake up after 7 minutes!

There wasn’t any time to cook, clean or have any time for myself, things were getting on top of me! I’ve got a permanent mumbun and don’t even get me started on my fake tan! 😂

People always said about being tired but it’s honestly like nothing you’d ever imagine, I have turned into a human zombie.

The past two weeks alone I’ve:

– thrown my bank card in the rubbish

– gone out (twice in the same day) to buy milk, come home without it

– gone to the post office minus the parcel

– paid for my shopping in the supermarket and left it there

Sometime I get to places and have no idea how I got  there! 🙈🙈

Over the 8 months I’ve gone to the early childhood centre numerous times and pleaded for help, it all seems simple when they explain to me about a routine do this, do that but a) it’s hard to take in when you’re sleep deprived and b) these routines don’t seem to work with a catnapping baby..

After being that mum that cries to the nurses on the helpline, finally my referral to the team at Karitane Parenting came through, we had an appointment, there was light at the end of the tunnel!

We arrived there armed with the baby’s sleeping bag and of course Jellycat, the aim was to show the nurse at nap time how we get her to sleep…

After 20 minutes of hubby rocking and ssshhing while she cried, eventually she fell to sleep in their cot. Typically that day the nap lasted a whole 45 minutes!

In that 45 minutes the nurse went through so many things with us and asked us how we wanted to approach it. I was so worried that she was going to tell us to put her down, walk out and leave her to cry herself to sleep, I knew that neither of us were strong enough to do that! But she listened to us and gave advice. Not only about sleeping but feeding, what times she should actually be eating , sleeping, playing. I had generally just been putting her into bed when she seemed tired hence all the little catnaps…I also learnt about the nutritious side of things and got some tips on what we  can feed going forwards.

I actually left feeling positive and reassured that although the baby doesn’t sleep we are doing a good job!

We’re now on day 5 of the routine and can definitely see some improvements already! Its been tough, there’s been frustration, upset and tears and that was just from me!🙈

But hopefully we’re going to be able to stick to it and our little girl can finally get the sleep she needs! (And us too of course!)

(And with any luck my brain might start functioning too!)

Thank you to the team at Karitane Parenting for pointing us in the right direction! 👍🏽

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Mummy Mates….👭👭

Let me start by saying I have the best girlfriends in the world; we’ve been solid friends for most of our lives. Having gone to school together we know all there is to know about one another…ever heard that expression “we’ll always be friends, you know too much about me..” 😂 So you’re probably wondering why I would need to make new friends right??

Well, 6 years ago I decided that it was a good idea to move to Sydney from Essex…(think I may have been a little tipsy at the time of my decision considering I hate flying, can’t stand the heat and hate the beach but we won’t get into that now…)

Most of my friends that I’ve made over here are drinking buddies, we’d go out after work on a Friday, hit up the pubs and beaches on the weekend, attend summer festivals and the odd boat party….life in Sydney was great!

But life changes, I met my other half, the inner old lady came out in me, we bought a dog, a house, got married and wanted to start a family….

We were the first of our friendship gang to get up the duff and to be quite frank, I really don’t advise it….

Of course your friends are excited when you have a baby, but until they have their own they just won’t get it. And I’m not judging as I was the same no doubt before I became a parent…

Over time the invites slowly but surely are becoming either last minute or not at all, people cancel arrangements due to hangovers, late nights etc, whilst we’re knackered from having a baby our friends are knackered from going out, we’re all on a completely different page.

Life is hard with a baby (especially one that doesn’t sleep), the last thing you need to be worrying about is your friends…

As far as they’re concerned, if we have to go home at 7pm for a bedtime schedule we’re the party poopers. Why should they care that I won’t be drinking because I’m breastfeeding? Or that I haven’t slept properly in months? It’s not their problem.. Not only that but with me not working and my world revolving around a baby I guess maybe my chat isn’t that interesting….

I spent months feeling upset, confused and most of all hurt. Theres been tears and a lot of anxiety. It’s taken me a good six months to realise that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. They’re still my friends and always will be, we are just at different stages of our lives right now.

Which leads me onto how important it is to make other mummy mates…..

When I was signed up to the Bondi mothers group a few weeks after giving birth my first thought was ok, how the hell do I get out of this?!  My mind went into overdrive…

“How am I going to leave the house with a baby?” “What if my baby cries?” “What if she needs feeding?” “What if no one likes me?” “ Where shall I park?” AAAAGGGHH!!!!

My husband was calm & patient and had an answer to all my ridiculous worries and encouraged me to go… he took the morning off work, drove me there and walked in with me. As soon as I saw some other mums sitting there with tiny babies looking a mixture of exhausted and unsure I felt a little better….

I manage to introduce myself, breastfeed in public, calm a crying baby and listen to the group, what do you know? We’d taken the first step and survived!

As the weeks went on, everyone became more relaxed, we started to meet for lunch and a wine, which turned into chatting about our babies, our husbands, our sex lives, you name it!

Although the group has somewhat diminished, there are still several of us that meet up a few times a week for swimming, yoga, walks,  and of course the two crucial things in life, coffee and wine 😀


My little one is nearly eight months old and I can honestly say that I couldn’t have got through it without these girls!! I knew nothing about routines, feeding, sleeping, to be honest I’d never even changed a nappy before!

We text every day about last nights sleep (or lack of…), we’re genuinely pleased for each other if our baby sleeps for a few hours straight, we share tips on things like breastfeeding, poo, eating and all other really interesting mummy stuff 😂 I feel able to send a text and say things like “my husband is beng a pain in the arse or “my baby is mental, help..”

They get it.

We are all getting to see our babies grow up and learn new things every day. Its so much fun! Their babies have become my babies friends and I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way.

Being a clueless mum living so far away from my family I needed all the help I can get and I can safely say that my mothers group has kept me sane!!

Being a mum is a roller coaster. Every day has its ups and downs and trust me, you need some good friends around. 👭👭👭👭

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoever named it morning sickness was a lying bastard….

“You look positively glowing” was not a phrase that I ever heard throughout my pregnancy…in fact, if someone had said it to me i would know never to trust that person again!

The phrase that I became most familiar with was more along the lines of “bloody hell mate, you look like shit.”

So you hear about this thing called Morning Sickness right? And if you’re anything like me you’ll envisage it to be not that bad at all. In fact, looking back when colleagues and friends were ever discussing it I probably would have rolled my eyes and thought man up love, I bet I feel more nauseous than you right now. That’s probably because I was a frequent visitor to Sydney’s mid week happy hours…but still…

Anyway, karmas a bitch, turns out I should have been a lot more considerate because in actual fact Morning Sickness was the WORST experience of my life!!

So just to give you an idea of experience was like for me…around week 5 I started to feel a little queasy in the morning when I woke up..I remember being delighted! I was PREGNANT and my body was telling me!

I was armed with dry crackers, ginger, you name it I had it, I was ready for this right?

WRONG.

My sickness gradually became worse and worse as the days went on, and not only was it in the morning but was for some reason with me all day and night too…

By week 7 I had to tell my colleagues and boss that I was pregnant, otherwise they would surely be wondering why I kept running out the door to the loo every five minutes…

BUT, there was light at the end of the tunnel, as my friends, my mum, my mother in law all assured me that as soon as we hit 13 weeks I would start to feel marvellous..

So, 13 weeks came and went and the sickness was still very much with me.(As were all the useless bits of advice, oh have you tried this, my friend tried this…trust me I had tried everything!)

And when I say sickness I mean sickness, not just feeling nauseous but full on vomiting. I’m talking the kind of sickness where I had to get off the bus and train in the morning and throw up. I was starving hungry but whatever went in came straight out. Every day I would pray that it would subside through the day but no such luck. I was vomiting all day and through the night too. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and stay there forever.  My obstetrician prescribed three different types of medication throughout my pregnancy, I’m sure they delayed the sickness some mornings but other day s I couldn’t even keep the pills down….

So, as you can imagine, by the time I’d reached halfway I was well and truly fed up.

I had no social life, I couldn’t enjoy eating for two and i’m pretty sure that I smelt of vomit. I have no idea how I held a job down, although I was dragging myself to work most days, I looked like shit, spent half the day in the bathroom and could barely function.

By now, I had resigned myself to the fact that this would continue to the end.. my mantra became “it will be worth it, it will be worth it..” And then, just like that my body decided to kick me when I’m down….yep, I had started to wet myself. So every time I vomited, I also weed. FUN.

All I wanted  was my mum,  but with a 24 hour flight between us this proved tricky.

We had to make do with FaceTime where I would cry to her or have to cut our chat short as I ran to the bathroom. But still, it’s the little things that got me through.

After a few weeks of this, me and my husband got into a routine, when I would jump up to be sick he’d run in and lay a towel down.. he’d then return five minutes later with a mop and a fresh pair of undies. Previously, if you’d have asked me how I felt about my husband seeing me vomit and wee simultaneously I would have answered “MORTIFIED” but honestly… I didn’t have the energy to care.

I was a 31 year old wearing nappies. Every time I laughed, cried, sneezed or vomited I would wet myself. It was daily hell.

I wound up in hospital a few times from being so dehydrated. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and just couldn’t wait to have the baby!

This went on right to the very end, i remember being on the delivery table during my C section when the nurse observed “ she’s vomiting, get a bag…”

My obstetrician glanced up, says “ ah she’s used to it, don’t worry” 😀😀

I can safely say it was nine months of hell but you know what, i’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I was right, it was worth it!

So just remember, if you see someone looking a little peaky, be kind. And maybe give them a hug. You’ll make their day.