Born Again

There isn’t any religious theme or Christianity embedded within this post, despite the suggestion of the above title, however the element of re-birth is very strong, and quite appropriate given the subject matter.

Spring is coming. But no, that’s not all this post is about. I only realised it earlier tonight when Hubbie told me tomorrow was the first day of it, and I don’t know how I hadn’t realised it earlier; as much as August is such a festive and happy month, and it’s all anticipatory with excited thoughts of the warmer months ahead and all the opportunities for getting out and about and being out in the sun, I’m always so happy, enraptured in fact, when Winter finishes. I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of returning to work and dealing with massive separation anxiety from precious baby girl, to even understand that today being August 31st meant the end of the cold season, ’til it was told to me.

We’ve had a pretty spectacular preview of it too. The last week has shown many beautiful, bright, still and sunny days, and it still amazes me just how much weather plays an integral role on my mood, even though every Winter I go “blah,” and then every Summer I go “yippee!”

But it’s more than that. This time last year I had a 2 week old baby. I was severely sleep-deprived, insecure, and in shock, the days stretching out before me like they were weeks, the nights dreaded and never-ending. Slowly, over those first few weeks, whenever I had a breakthrough “I get this!” moment or a parenthood ‘understanding,’ I grasped that glimmer of help, of hope, of happiness that suggested to me that things were going to get better, like everyone who had kids before me was assuring me, which I just couldn’t fathom in my zombie state. As down as I was at times, confused and indecisive about EVERYTHING, I was still that glass half-full gal, and I held onto all those moments where things were on the improve.

Little things. That’s all they were, but by God, they were the big things. Baby girl sleeping an extra hour. Not crying as long. Falling asleep without me trying. Finally breastfeeding! – now that was a task and a half. Bit by bit, things were on the rise, and the weather was getting better too.

The weather, as always, was something I was desperately holding onto. Even during difficult days, if the sun was shining outside it lifted my spirits, and a quick 15 minute walk around the block pushing baby girl in pram, significantly helped my mood. The weather is always – though I hate the dependence – something I rely on so much of the time, even when I’m not thinking about it, and in those early weeks and then months, it was getting warmer and getting easier, at the same time.

1 year later, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am blessed beyond words, with the most clever, cheeky, curious and very cute baby girl. I look back at those dark days, now just a blurry distant nightmare, asking myself ‘was it that hard?’ I know that, yes, yes it was very hard. No one says parenthood is easy. But that’s what makes it so rewarding. I don’t understand how you can be in such a confused and frustrated state, so devoid of any happy emotion, and then you get that sleepy smile that newborns do, and it’s all ***heart melting*** And that’s it, you’re gone, you’ve succumbed to the power of this little human, and for the rest of your life when they smile, every inch of your heart and soul will smile with them.

The weather saved me, back in those days, many a time. You have a baby, and your whole life is turned upside down. It’s a completely different way of life, and though you are living through the warm months, enjoying them, your way of life is far removed from what it used to be, which at the time you are completely oblivious to. All I was thinking of was the little things and the little milestones that I was slowly accumulating as baby girl got older.

The good weather, reinforcing, telling me to keep going. ‘Things are gonna get better. See that milestone? Things are easier, they’re better.’

Constantly.

And it was only this last week or two, when we had an influx of happy Winter sun, that it hit me: I remembered. I remembered warm weather, and how it used to be.

It’s not like I forgot the warmth. It’s more that I forgot the things we used to do and the life we used to lead while it was warm. I was so focused on getting through, counting the good moments, counting the days, then the weeks: “she’s 14 weeks… 15 weeks… 16 weeks – 4 months!” that I let go of all memories of how our life was, before baby girl. I had to. Thinking too much of the past, looking back, was ineffective. Our lives had changed forever, and for the better. I couldn’t wait to be going out and doing things with baby girl. I counted down the days.

However there was that little part in me that remained, that every now and then reminded me of how things were the year before, thoughts that I pushed away because they wouldn’t do anyone any good. We didn’t regret, we were happy with our little family unit, but as is natural, you can’t help, as is the human nature of things, to ‘want it all.’

I’d forgotten, and ignored, for so long. And finally, just days ago, driving to baby girl’s 1 year maternal child health nurse appointment, looking at the fun hipster-shirt Hubbie had on as the afternoon sun shined down brightly on him, I remembered. And I went “wow.”

Now, as I preview, and look back at the huge, amazing, monumental year we’ve had, with so many changes, and happily now more ups than downs, I can say that I feel re-born. We’ve dealt with death, we’ve dealt with birth, and we’ve dealt with a whole range of emotions in between, every single one on the scale.

And now, things are getting easier. Breastfeeding will be a thing of the past in a few weeks. Baby girl is eating food, so, so well. She’s becoming more independent.

And the sun is out. It’s shining, it’s warm, and I’m thinking of all the things we used to do… and I can’t wait to introduce them to baby girl 🙂

I felt like I was in this little world of our own for so, so long. And now, we’re coming back. I’m back.

Watch out world.

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Happiness Is… #5

Hubbie’s well-timed jokes.

Similar thread from another ‘Happiness Is,’ but I just had to share regardless.

I was so shitty yesterday morning (not actually my fault because this time it was hormones), and because I had vented onto my parents that morning of course I had guilt, and that guilt turned to anger and frustration, and that just made me more shitty well into the afternoon.

Hubbie came home from work, and with his car still running in the garage, came inside to get some paper towel. “Bird shit on my car.” Again. Hubbie’s car is this orange-gold colour (fusion is the name, if that helps to paint more of a picture) and for some insane reason birds are always crapping on his car. He’s coming home from work, unfortunately usually when it’s been a beautiful day out, and fuming that the birds targeted his car, again. He’s tried parking a few metres front and back from his usual spot to see if it makes a difference, but gets the same result every time.

Winter has kept the birds at bay, however with some awesome sunny days occurring lately (remember my excitement about the 20 degrees?) the birdshit has returned. Hubbie is a big car enthusiast, but I think the shit would be annoying even if you didn’t care much for cars. It’s shit, after all.

Funnily enough, maybe because he hasn’t had to deal with it lately, he wasn’t too shitty (pardon the pun) about it. He came back from cleaning it up, and I tried to kindly inform him of my mood: “Just warning you, I’m really sensitive, and really cranky today.”

He was ok with that, and we kept kind of small-chatting. And THEN –

“I saw all that bird shit on my car, and it made me think – ” (Here I foresaw something funny about to occur) ” – I felt like I should take a dump on it too.”

OMG. Thank you Hubbie for breaking my cranky spell.

I had one of those great laughs where you do the ugly face laugh, and then you can’t breathe. “Haw haw haw.” It was great.

Sometimes we forget to laugh. Which makes it all the more important to surround ourselves with the best people, who hold our best interests at heart, and who make us laugh, the best.

Which group?

I’ll admit. I can be quick to get upset at those closest to me.

I think I get it from my Mum. I have a short temper, and I can flare up quite quickly, feeling sorry for my outburst almost immediately.

I get upset by many things. I’ll feel like I’m the only one putting into a relationship; I’ll feel slighted by someone; I’ll feel ignored by another. I hate to come from an ‘entitled’ frame of mind, but those who are dear to me, I hold very dear to me. Once you’re in the circle, you’re in. And I put those in my circle on the highest of pedestals. I love them so very dearly.

There comes many times in life when someone you regarded so very highly, does something that has you questioning them, and wondering about the nature of your relationship. This usually happens after the big life milestones, as Hubbie and I have played witness to: getting married, and then having a kid.

There’s been a few people who we have been surprised by. That’s all I’ll say. One friend of mine surprised me, and one friend of Hubbie’s surprised him (ok I’ve said more). And both times, despite our histories with both these friends, we went “Stuff them.”

A little time passed. I kept thinking about my friend. And I realised, the reason why I was hurt, and I just couldn’t let it go and ‘stuff it,’ was because we had such a great history. Was I going to be so frivolous and consider throwing away our friendship, without even giving her the benefit of the doubt? She at least deserved that, after all we’d been through.

If I had done something, I would sure as hell want someone to not just write me off and come up to me instead, saying ‘hey you smikg! You pissed me off!’ And then we could discuss it, and hopefully come to some kind of understanding. Shouldn’t I extend the same courtesy to others, of that which I would expect from them?

I told Hubbie this. I asked him “is your friend worth it?” He is. Many people have told us that it’s better to approach people and get things out in the open. Which we’ll both do I think, with our respective friends.

Although nothing is quite resolved in this regard, it’s made me think a lot. So often, we get so upset, even at the little tiniest trivialities of everyday life: “that idiot cut me off!” “why did she jump in front of the queue?” “why won’t you sit still for a nappy change?!” (baby girl lately).

We get upset at these little things, and then we let these little things infiltrate our relationships, and then we start getting upset at everything, at everyone. It’s just not worth it. We don’t know what other people are going through, and what is happening in their lives. Shouldn’t we give them the benefit of the doubt? That person that cut you off might be in a real rush to get somewhere – do you want to be in the unfortunate situation to be in a mad rush like he is? No, let him go. Give him kindness, he has problems. That lady who jumped queue? Again, she might be really busy, and have her family waiting on her so she can tend to them hand and foot. She doesn’t get a break. What are you gonna do, let her know she’s delayed you by two minutes? Just let it go.

Choose your battles. Baby girl doesn’t wanna sit still lately. I remind myself it’s a beautiful thing, her curiosity, and how she wants to discover everything. I’ll just have to adapt to her and find another way to put her nappy on (how many ways can you put a nappy on?! Anyone?!)

This is a post however, about groups. And often in life, it IS necessary to let people know that it’s wrong for them to be doing/saying whatever it is that’s not right.

Does this person have a lot on their mind? Could you cut them some slack? Is your relationship worth it?

Or is it same old with this person? Are they being unnecessarily rude and cold? Is it in one ear and out the other?

Do you save, or do you throw away?

Happiness Is… #4

The weather. That elusive and forever changing intangible thing that is always the source of so much frustration/pain/elation.

It is 20 degrees tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time we had a ‘2’ starting digit on the weather report. And it is only August. In lead up to this fantastic Friday, it was also warm today… so much so I actually felt warm this morning, like I might have to put on a t-shirt.

Woah. Just take it easy there. Really?

Can you smell that? It’s Spring. It’s a coming 🙂

Things that shit me… #2

Definition of RSVP: répondez s’il vous plait. (French = please respond)

I have grown to despise those who can’t, or due to some inane reason, RSVP on time. Or worse, at all.

We’ve had a couple of events all in the same month: our baby girl’s Christening, followed weeks later by her birthday. Do you think all guests invited were able to let us know of their in/attendance?

No.

There were those, that when we called them AFTER the RSVP, told us that they were indeed sorry for the oversight of not RSVPing on time. These people, barely get a pass. Then there were those, who when I asked them politely if they had received the invite, responded almost defensively, assuring me they were going to let me know they were in fact coming to our event. When? At her next birthday?

Then there were those who we had to chase. And there was that one, who ‘changed their minds,’ making me go into a change seating frenzy at the 13th hour.

Grrrr. Argh.

I’ve come to one conclusion. Those lacking any RSVP etiquette will not be receiving any further invitations from us (if only it were that easy) as well as a right royal ‘up yours’ and the extension of my most tallest and middle finger.

Also, I came upon the most fantastic idea. From now on, those who don’t RSVP on time, just won’t be allowed to attend. This is best put into place when of course the function you’re holding is outside of the home. When they call with ‘am I too late?’ the reply will be, ‘yes, yes you are.’

Or ‘we’re coming.’
‘Oh sorry, you actually can’t come, the deadline was last week.’

How gratifying to stick it to someone like that.

I hate chasing people. I invite you, I send you an invitation, and at the very least, you should let me know if you’re attending. Failure to do so will now result in the expulsion from all future fantastic parties by moi.

Annoying people, hmph.

The Power to Break

If you were able to break the heart, or mind, of the most irritating/selfish/impossible/difficult person you knew, would you do it?

Would you break their heart? Would you break their mind? Would you change their life, and make them miserable, as they have made you?

I read a saying sometime last week about treating all people with respect – even those who treat you disrespectfully. Treating all with respect reflects on you, and if you treat some badly, regardless of how they treat you, that still reflects on you.

It is a difficult question, especially when faced with someone who is never held accountable, always turns events and situations around to suit themselves, and is never wrong.

Impossible people are never wrong.

I have the power to hurt. I have the power to hurt really bad. I initially thought the only way to have peace for myself was to say everything and move on, knowing full well the agonising words that I’d leave in that certain individuals mind, rotating around in their head for the rest of their lives.

Then I came to the conclusion that no matter what I said, as mentioned previously, they would turn it all around and make me the bad guy, they the victim. As per usual.

I have a real issue with accountability, and people being held responsible for their very hurtful words and actions, and by God this person has a million of them, and counting. I want to tell this person, and make them aware of their short-comings, if only so they open up their closed eyes and realise ‘hey I’m not perfect. I’m far from.’

But I know by doing so, I’ll be opening up a can of worms.

But by not doing so, the feelings and thoughts stew inside of me.

They need to be told… but at the same time, do I want to be that person… that person to break them?

I don’t want to be a person that breaks.

Bed

Last night I was sitting on the couch in my pjs, feeling cold. I looked at the throw that usually sits slung over the middle of the couch when I’m trying to make it look pretty, or spread out in a lump when Hubbie is done getting himself warm, and wondered, ‘why don’t I use it?’

I hate bullshit. When we were looking at building, many, many years ago, we got so skilled at display house-hunting, that within seconds of entering a home we’d look into the first or second room from entry and say “bullshit room,” and make a quick exit.

We didn’t want a bullshit room. One of those rooms that sits there, insanely decorated, with pristine unused furniture, untouched carpet, and a sickly-clean smell finish. We wanted all the rooms, in our then searched-for home, to be used. We didn’t want a scared-to-breathe upon space.

I looked at this throw, used by everyone (even our guests, family and friends) but me, and wrapped it tightly around me as I stretched out on the couch. It was so nice and warm and snuggly, that I seriously had to ask myself if I’d been bonkers not using it this Winter as much as I should have.

Then came time for sleep. I was so comfortable on the couch, rugged up by said-upon throw, that I could have quite easily let myself doze off there. Going up the stairs seemed such a task, and then brushing my teeth… it all seemed too hard. However the object of my desire, Bed, loomed welcomingly in my mind, and I trudged up the stairs.

It was while brushing my teeth that I thought to myself: ‘Bed is always looked forward to. Bed is something loved by so many…’

And then of course the next rational thought that entered my mind was –

‘If I had to come back as an inanimate object in another life, I would choose to be a Bed.’

As you do.

I thought ‘had to,’ because I think most people would rather come back as a live being, be it human or animal, rather than a rigid piece of furniture. But even some people and animals don’t get the type of love bestowed upon them like the good ol’ faithful Bed does.

Let’s contemplate.

At the end of the day, we all look forward to bed. When you’re really tired, and you get to bed, I don’t know about you but I do that snuggling thing into my pillow, making that “hmmm mmmm” noise where I’m trying my best to imbed my face into it and wriggle my body into the mattress.

Bed is soothing. When you’re sick, or grumpy or upset, you usually head there. You head there for time out. In the morning when you wake up, you don’t want to leave Bed. The love and loyalty one holds for their bed is unparalleled to any other inanimate object.

Bed does take a thumping at times… but it’s a good thumping, and if you think about it, it’s almost like Bed’s exercise, so that it doesn’t get too rigid and stiff in its constant state. It’s a place of comfort, rest, pleasure and time out.

The only exception to this love for the Bed are kids. Babies and children, AT TIMES, are probably the only ones that don’t appreciate Bed so much. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who sleep, as the thwarted saying goes ‘like a baby,’ but if you think of the first early months (sometimes years God forbid) of a child’s life, waking up every couple of hours, sometimes wetting the bed, other times being sick and vomiting, and then for older kids just defying the idea of sleep in the first place, Bed doesn’t really seem so regarded amongst the very young.

But then again, you can be an over-rambunctious hung-over adult following a night out and fall into the peeing, vomiting and waking every couple of hours category too.

However most of the time, these weak-bladdered, sick and sleep-delinquent children grow out of their bad habits, and grow to love the Bed, as we do.

Bed. The place of magic. Magic inanimate.

Sick

I’m sure as pre-parents we’ve all done it; certainly, I know I have. You see your friend, or family member, and they’re telling you how their child is sick.

‘Ew,’ you think to yourself. Be careful with those germs. You wonder about all the snots, coughing and spluttering that is going on in their house, and then sure enough, your friend gets sick from their child.

‘Be more careful,’ you think. ‘Don’t catch your child’s germs.’

Huh.

Well, then comes the time when you have a child. And all of a sudden, your child gets sick.

My baby girl has been sick.

And what did I do? Did I ‘be careful’ not to catch those germs? Did I stay away from her?

Hell no. I cuddled her, kissed her, engulfed her as per usual, and every time snots flew out of her nose when she sneezed, or she coughed, or she whinged about being sick, I ran to her, not from her. I went “awww,” and tended to all her sickly woes. ‘I don’t care if I get sick,’ I said to myself. ‘I’d rather be sick, and take on those germs, then have her be sick.’

What a difference having a child of your own makes.

Then, you get sick. You think ‘Shit. I forgot how bad this can get.’

I am currently sick.

Orange a ‘Top

Stovetop
100 Leicester Street Carlton

Oh sweet, sweet Carlton.

Hubbie and I have had a looonnngggg love affair with this inner-city suburb. Back before our married days, when we weren’t at my place, or at his place, we were in Carlton. Lygon street to be exact. The “little Italy” tree-lined street was our constant go to place, when we wanted a bite to eat, a drink to wind down with, or a dessert to indulge in. Though we came to Carlton again and again, we seemed to frequent the same restaurants, until we somehow happened upon another one, usually out of boredom from the old place or sheer accident, so that despite our constant visits we haven’t visited them all (I’d like to meet someone who has) but we have a fairly good feel of what side of the street you need to venture out to if you want a crowd of pre-nightclub owls, the posh family friendly side, or if you have no preferences and don’t mind being haggled into a venue with promise of basic herb bread and the first two drinks free.

Still, I love it.

I didn’t find myself on Lygon street on this such day in July; rather, it was a few streets over near Melbourne Uni, in a kinda industrial looking street with orange uniformed men getting busy on a building worksite nearby, that I made my way to.

I was meeting two work friends at Stovetop, and was pleased once locating them to find there was ample room for the pram in the corridor section of the café. It was a bit drafty with some entrance doors up ahead, and Winter threatening outside, but for room, it would have to do.

From the little time I spent walking by the main café area, it seemed to be decked out nicely, definitely more of an industrial décor thing happening. It was cool. For a Saturday late morning they were busy, but not swept off their feet busy kind of thing. We placed our orders and I asked for my cappuccino to come with my meal – waitress said she would do her best. It came a couple of minutes before the food arrived – so she passed.

I ordered:

The Cinnamon Waffles with pomegranate molasses, vanilla bean custard, agave and house almond dukkah

2014-07-12 11.20.28

Upon arrival it seemed rather brown, and whenever I see an all-brown or all-gold plate I can’t help but think ‘fried chicken, hot chips, all bad, bad food.’ Colour is best, and I was starting to wonder if I’d gotten too excited at the thought of custard and whether I should have gone the interesting-Dr-Seuss-sounding green eggs on toast, when I lifted the top of the waffle sandwiched down onto the other, to find:

2014-07-12 11.28.19

Colour. Some yummy pieces of orange placed strategically upon the custard. Custard. Custard is so good in the morning.

My meal was great, after all. Very cinnamon-y, very citrus-y. The custard was a great balance, and the dukkah I found very, very subtle, but still a great compliment. It did leave me with a little of that ‘oh I should have gone the savoury route’ over-sweet feeling, but that’s no fault of the waffles, more my preferring-eggs stomach.

My friends were rapt with the appearance of their meals, as the presentation was pretty spesh. And they seemed pretty happy with the taste too.

The cappuccino was good, but nothing overly fantastic that made me go ‘wow’; likewise, it wasn’t bad either, just in the middle. Stovetop’s website does mention its few coffee varieties, so maybe it’s just their standard cup that didn’t tickle my tastebuds. I still drank it, and it helped me dip baby girl upside down and go “weeee!” umpteen times, so it did the trick.

I did have to ask for sugar, so I don’t know whether our little dish just got lost somewhere between set up and brekkie. And being in the corridor, we did get a tad forgotten at the end (though one waitress was all eagle-eye and replenishing us coffee drinkers with water jugs) when I had to go ask for the bill. But friendly nonetheless. I think one waitress caught on to my blogger vibe when she saw me take a photo of my food, appearing extra friendly when delivering the bill. Damn, I must be more discreet.

Food: 7/10. Yum, the custard and orange was a lovely combo.

Coffee: 6/10.

Ambience: Easy going and chilled, apart from when baby girl started up her rehearsals of vocal acrobatics.

Staff: Friendly, however I think they’ve had to serve a few too many yuppies.

People: Generally a student crowd, though a family were sitting near us at one stage. Think laptops.

Price: Good, my tally was $17 ish all up, which is great for inner city.

Advice: Good place to hide out in from the rain, check your emails, do your assignments, and have room to move around in.

In a nutshell: Because I actually think I was Italian in a past life, I think I’ll keep sticking to ‘my side’ of Carlton, the tree-lined, pizza-themed end. If I’m ever on Leicester street, I wouldn’t mind trying their lunch, and maybe their specialty coffee. Will be a bit nicer when the construction a few doors down stops.

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Wrecked fingers

I just finished writing up 31 invitations and 31 envelopes to send out for baby girl’s 1st birthday. My index finger was totally crooked and bent inwards with grooves along one side where the pen was practically cemented. The feeling is returning, thank God. It didn’t look pretty.

Fortunately those muscles are now resting as I type. But it occurred to me. One of those ‘absolute truth’ insights that I’ve been reading about courtesy of my year-long reading task “The Happiness Project.” It’s nothing magnificently profound, but still, made me smile.

More often than not, the people who you can count as the closest in your life will be those who can identify your handwriting amongst those of strangers; and in my case, actually be able to read it too.

Having this lightbulb moment, I remembered a friend’s Baby Shower I attended earlier this year. She was in the ‘opening presents’ part of the afternoon, and upon coming across my present, looked at the card stuck on top of all that cello and immediately looked up at me. I was like “how did you know it was mine?” And she replied “I could tell from your handwriting.”

We’ve known each other for over 20 years. Although my handwriting has changed slightly every now and then, little subtleties have remained the same. Much luck our friendship I guess.

It’s moments like those that really make you think, when you discover with pleasant surprise that there are those around you, who really KNOW you.