Down the rabbit hole

Gosh I never realised how much my newest obsession would take over my life!!
If I’m not baking or decorating cakes, I’m researching techniques, watching YouTube tutorials, flicking through endless Facebook pages of fantastic out of this world cakes, testing recipes and yes … More than a little eating cake too!!

I feel like I’m falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland and discovering this amazing world I never new existed.

There are times I doubt my abilities, usually half way through a cake when I remember that no one has taught me anything and I’m really just making it up as I go along, but boy is that a fun thing to do!

I’ve made some lovely “cake friends” been inspired on infinite levels, but I think the thing that’s made the biggest impact on me…. Is that when I finish a cake, I look at it and think “I made that” and I am CHUFFED!! I haven’t felt like I was good at anything since … Who knows?

I love my life and my kids, but having a little mini achievement in cake form every now and then has been good for my confidence and good for my soul! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still done those 6 loads of washing, emptied and stacked the dishwasher an obscene amount of times and cooked meals too but in between all that I’ve made something to be proud of and that’s rather cool.

So here’s a few of my latest cakes. As I fall deeper down the Rabbit Hole.

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Are my devices dictating my days?

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It’s nearly 10 at night, my boys have been interrupting my sleep most nights lately and I’m tired…. But I’m also trying to sort something through in my head and I’ve found this to be a really good way of doing that… So here goes.

Today I spent 3 hours at a shopping centre.

My 4 year old was at Kindy today, and my friend and I decided to do the grocery shop in tandem. 2 grown ups, 2 kids, possibly easier than each doing our own separately. Definitely more fun.

As often happens with us, we got distracted. Shopped a lot, spoiled our kids, had a cup of tea and shared a muffin, and finally got around to food shopping while causing the average shopper to look over at us and frown..”why are these two grown woman laughing and having such a good time at Coles?”
Which we thought was quite hilarious but I’ve been thinking about it all day….

Why?

Well, today I went grocery shopping, spent time with a friend, and my baby and had a great time. Nothing too crazy about it…. So why isn’t every day like that?

My name is Tanya and I AM AN ADDICT

Not a substance, not alcohol or even smokes…. Im a technology junkie….
It must stop.

Today I was in the moment. Even though I did get a bit frustrated as the hours (did I mention it took 3.) ticked by. That was only because I knew poor Taj was going to be lucky to catch an hours sleep. Mostly I was just happy to be there, at that time, with those three people.

Stay with me….

When I’m at home, it can be quite different. I must admit my devices are my go to thing, when I’m frustrated with the kids, I pick up my phone and txt a friend. Could it wait until I next see them for coffee and a chat? Absolutely. Does it? No….

When the kids are having lunch (yes I’m ashamed of this one ) I more often than not, grab my 5 minutes quiet time with a cup of tea and my iPad. I play a game of words with friends or draw something, I catch up on some adult goss and ogle some inspirational cakes on facebook and then get back to the mummy and housewifery and cake making jobs I have to get to.

Am I saying I’m a bad Mum? No I’m not. I still feel confident that I am a good mum to my boys. Am I as good a mum as I can be? No. Am I a present Mum…. Not all the time no… And thats where things are going to change.

My husband and I were in the lounge room the other day. Our 1 year old was up past his bedtime (again) and I was waiting for him to burn out before giving him a breastfeed (yes… Still… But thats a whole other blog) and try him back in bed. So it’s 8 o’clock or later… I’m playing scramble with friends on my iPad. And Mr T is throwing a balloon around the room. Am I paying him attention… No not really (8 o’clock, surely that’s me time right?) and Taj walks up and hits me square in the face with a balloon. And my husband says “yeah I agree Taj, your little brother iPad is getting more attention than you tonight. ”

I HATE to admit this. But he was (a little bit) right. Sure it was late and I was tired and frustrated, but does that give me the right to not be present? How many funny things do I miss my 1 year old do, how many conversations have not been had with my 4 year old, or have I missed hearing him have with his brother (or a batman action figure for that matter) or not had with my husband (only during ad breaks of course)

If being present makes grocery shopping fun, does it make cleaning the toy room fun? Am I going to get all spoon full of sugar happy with the kids in the morning when I’ve packed my phone, iPod and iPad away?

I’m not saying I never spend time with the kids. I do. Lots of it, we still make things, and cook together, jump outside, play cubby houses, but maybe we don’t do that enough, maybe those times when I sneak off for a cuppa and ”my fix’ something really magic would have happened with the 3 of us and I missed it. MAYBE and heres the kicker, maybe, I can be the person that makes people frown and say “why is that grown woman having so much fun” all the time. Because life is pretty fun, and having friends, and kids and (most the time) a husband is pretty great, and if we weren’t rushing around trying to get things done, or trying to get “me time” or whatever other reasons we have for not being entirely present with those who we love the most, we’d find that
THIS MOMENT, RIGHT HERE, WITH THESE PEOPLE IS ALL THAT MATTERS…

Sometimes it’s hard to judge ourselves as mothers. It’s a tough gig and sometimes you take whatever help you can get. I have a friend in qld who I really only talk to on my devices. Our friendship would not exist now without reconnecting on Facebook and chatting on words with friends and realising we have similar values and beliefs. There were days when I was getting used to being a mother of two where those conversations were a lifeline.
Now, though, the devices have become a lifeline… And I’m not evening sinking.
I have some really good stuff going on at the moment. My life is good, My kid are fantastic and I want to be present for them.

So it’s time to ease up on the technology…. Less iPad and iPod and More I paint, I play-doh, I play and I pretend.

Im not saying my devices are evil… Maybe just that excessive consumption may be harmful to your health.

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Roller coaster rides

Things have been a bit crazy around our house lately.

It’s our first school holidays, our younger boy, Taj, just started walking and their Nana came and spent a week here for Taj’s first birthday.

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None of these things in themselves turn your life upside down but all combined with being a crazy cake lady, it makes for a pretty full on couple of weeks. First of all, Taj turned one…. Being the crazy cake lady that I am I set myself quite a challenge. A 3D treehouse based on the raa raa the noisy lion cartoon. The kids actually behaved themselves and I managed to get the cake done in a day. I am unbelievably happy with it.

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That day I had baked a giant carrot cupcake and a dozen carrot cupcakes, so when may husband went to pick my mum up from the airport I couldn’t resist and threw together some matching raa raa cupcakes a for his party. (I am such a sucker!) its amazing what you can achieve when the kids go go to bed and stay in bed!

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Having my Mum here is so nice, she adores her grandsons and they adore her. Especially Jayden who has cottoned on to the concept that nana doesn’t see him all the times so will buy him pretty much whatever he wants.

He has been asking for about a month for a toy that shoots spiderwebs like spiderman. When I said no for the hundredth time he suggested that maybe Nana might like to buy it for him.

When we walked into the shop my 4 year old led us to the toy section, then walked up the aisle scanning the bottom right corner of each shelf until he found it. He didn’t ask for anything else. That was it. We paid and he was a super happy lad… Until 5 mins after we opened it but that’s another story!

The day after mum got here, I got up early and finished the giant cupcake

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Then we had Taj’s first birthday party. We are a lucky family and have such amazing people in our life, it was a very low key but special day (cake went down a treat too!)

We also managed a 70th birthday party, an evening at the Theatre. Mary Poppins the musical. If you get a chance to see it you simply must!, a few cup of tea dates, a trip to the zoo and I also made this cake

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When mum goes home I always feel a bit low. It’s so hard not knowing when I’ll see her. Jayden also gets more demanding. Nana played with him WHENEVER he wanted! so surely mum should too. Taj started walking this week as well, and that’s been the biggest drop on my roller coaster! I’m so proud of him… But he seems to be so excited that he can’t sleep at night. I’m spending a few hours settling him in the evening. A few times it’s been midnight!!!!

I’m feeling pretty frustrated about how little quality time I get to spend with Jayden with Taj being so demanding at the moment. Jayden and I were so close when it was just he and I, now there’s very little time to do things together without Taj coming in and fighting for my attention (he has a short temper and makes things quite difficult!) plus he’s a school boy now and that is definitely becoming evident. He’s always asking to play games rather than play with his mum.

So I guess what I’m getting at, isn’t it funny how you can be on top of the world one minute and feeling so flat the next. I’m sure getting some sleep will help… But how does a 1 yr old wield the power to affect an entire family dynamic? WHY has my boy who has slept through just about every night since 6 weeks old decided to defeat me? I’d be pretty lost without my great friends to vent to that’s for sure. That has honestly taken me 4 hrs to write in between all my Mummy jobs and I am shattered!!!! So thanks for that my blog diary 🙂 I feel better now!

Things I had forgotten from last time around …

My 7 month old is on the move. I am terrified!!!

Of course he is my second so I’m not quite as caught by surprise as I was with every turn my life took when Jayden was born. However Jayden was quite lazy and didn’t crawl until 10 months. Taj is moving from room to room now at 7 months. I’m impressed and proud, but also sad at how fast he’s growing up, and truth be told, a bit annoyed too!

It is soooo much more work. Vacuuming, which was a once a week chore is now a daily task that I have to try and fit in while both children are occupied but not asleep. I am constantly “tidying” (or more accurately put, cleaning up after my whirlwind almost 4 yr old) and all of a sudden we just seem to have too much STUFF!!! There are little spaces everywhere that Tajy can crawl into but not crawl out of!

Our gap between boys is larger than most of my friends’ kids at just over 3 years, and I am feeling the gap mostly in that I had forgotten how much harder a 0-2 yr old is to look after than a 2-4 yr old.

From around 2 years old I could put Jayden in the bath and then go and get his dinner ready, or get ready for work (when I worked nights) all in the next room, and all the time listening and talking to him. But my hands were free! Now I’m back to sitting in a puddle on the bathroom floor, while I try to correctly anticipate each boys hunger/tiredness level and time the dinner, bath, bed routine correctly… Time management at its most difficult and that’s only with 2 – you ladies with 3 or 4 kids are amazing!!

Being that I am a sucker at heart, and love seeing Jayden’s face light up at the sight of a tree. Jayden and I dug out the Christmas box this week and erected our tree, in the process creating a giant, twinkling, dangerous obstacle for Taj to be constantly drawn to!

I had forgotten the simplicity of being able to say “no” or “stop” to a child and them understanding!!!!

Taj is a great sleeper, which in honestly I had not been prepared for at all. Jayden was a nightmare from birth – 3 inclusive. No joke!!! He needed to be rocked to sleep as an infant (our fault) and poor Jon and I would have to tag team in our efforts to put him to sleep at night. He would wake for 2-4 breastfeeds a night and when he was 14 months and I cut out the breastfeeds he just went on waking for a bottle. When we transferred him from a cot to a toddler bed, he would let us tuck him in, wait til the door was shut, and hop right on out and sleep on his carpet!!! We tried EVERYTHING, he did that for about 9 months and then one day just decided to stay in his bed….

Anyway, all that kept in mind, the part I was most terrified about having another baby was the sleepless nights. Especially considering that I really was only getting sleep for the last 2 months before Taj was born. Taj has slept through 10-12 hrs 95% of nights from about 6 weeks. He is AMAZING! I did use sleeping bags with him from about 6 months, try VERY hard to never rock him to sleep unless he’s very distressed and think we’re generally just much calmer with him but that part has been a lovely surprise.

Even with all the surprises having two kids has brought, and all the little details I had so conveniently forgotten, I’m finding it truly amazing to see how two little people, from the same parents, brought up in the same environment can differ so dramatically.

I wonder in what other ways they will differ and what common interests they will share.

One thing is for sure, the greatest gift I have given Jayden, is his brother Taj. They adore each other and watching them play is the highlight of every day.

Anyway, I’m off to vacuum, tidy a toy room and childproof a Christmas tree.

Until next time …

Brave

This year hasn’t been a great year for Our family.

My grandfather passed away in February. He was too young and too far away to properly say goodbye.

My pregnancy with Taj was exhausting. His labour was a very difficult, very quick 2 hours in which he nearly died. I struggled a bit with a few postpartum things and the first three months after he came home was a test to our little family.

Then a few months ago my three year old son got very sick over night. He was in the bath and told me he had a sore tummy. Within a few hours he was vomiting. The next morning he was lethargic, feverish and completely different to my normal happy boy.

It took us 3 emergency room visits over three days to have him properly diagnosed. By which time he had a perforated gangrenous appendix.

He was incredible.

When we were at home with him and I was worried I would say. “Are you ok Jayden?” and he would say “yeah, I’m ok.” In between grunts of pain. He didn’t scream, or cry really. Just waited for Mum and Dad to fix him. He was so amazingly brave.

After his surgery he reacted badly to morphine, he had trouble passing the wind remaining in his stomach from the operation and was in a lot of pain. His stomach was distended and must have been so uncomfortable.

I felt completely useless. All I could do was hold him as gently as possible, and show him as much love as I could. Saying over and over. “You’re so brave Jay. I’m so proud of you. You’re so brave.”

I struggled leaving him with his Dad in Hospital each night, but with a 4 month old baby that was the only option.
I felt like I wasn’t giving him what I needed to give him as a mother. I was frustrated at not being there to look after him and give him all the cuddles in the world.

Somehow my role as nurturer was being taken away.

Now Jayden is fully recovered. Even though his Dad and I will never forget what we went through, hopefully Jayden will.

Today he was lying on the floor with his baby brother. Jayden was tickling him and Taj was laughing. They were looking at each other with eyes that express every ounce of love that they have for each other.

Jayden suddenly and with great emotion grabbed Taj, cuddled him and very quietly I heard him whisper. “Taj, you’re so Brave.”

Now. I know that is not the right context for this sentence. However it’s the right sentence for that emotion. It communicates that feeling for him of being overwhelmed with love. Like I was at the thought of losing him.

I won’t beat myself up anymore at not being able to be there for Jayden. Maybe I wasn’t there physically as much as I would have liked to be. But emotionally I seem to have hit the mark.

So instead of struggling with the year we’ve had and the things that have been taken from us. I’ll take a leaf out of my boys’ book and just be Brave.