I celebrated yet another birthday last week and I have to say, it was one of the best yet. At least in comparison to the last few years. I’m not sure if it is entirely because I finally found my peace, but it definitely is a large part of it. It also helped that I received numerous messages, texts, emails and phone calls, as well as presents complete with heartfelt written cards. Add to all of that, I had two consecutive days of good food and dessert. What more does a girl need, really, right? :)
There’s something about birthdays that always gets me into a reflective mood. This year, on my birthday, I am again reminded that I have a lot of good people in my life. Ones who chose to love and care for me, ones who are silly enough to stay even when I am not easy to like. Ones who came a very long time ago, and ones who was supposed to only walk past, but decided to remain. I have struggled in the past two years or so with the thought that I had no one, that in my time on earth, I am alone. Where others have their support group at their disposal, I am alone. It turns out, the very people I wished for, I already have all along. I spent too much time grieving over those I’ve lost, instead of appreciating those who stayed. It must be so tiring for them to have to constantly show me that they’re there for me. For that, and them, I am thankful.
I am also grateful for the gift that God has given me: in the form of the most perfect little man that has ever existed :) He has brought so much joy into my days, challenged me in every single way, but have made my life complete. He taught me to love myself more, to accept myself unconditionally, and most importantly, to be grateful of everything that is in my life. I could not have asked for a better person to call my son. My husband isn’t too bad either ;)
Thank you again to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me this year, wherever you are. Thank you to everyone for reminding me that I am never alone, that with you in my life, no matter the distance, how often we meet, you are around. Thank you for being in my life. I love you all from the very bottom of my heart ♡
I should be doing my assignment that is due tonight, however, as the world’s best procrastinator, I started thinking about what Mr E said to me the other night instead.
We were discussing about how commercialised Mothers’ Day is now, how everything is all about “buy buy buy” and “spend spend spend”. I have told him that I didn’t need any flowers, or chocolates, or jewelleries. In fact, I don’t need anything. He then commented how he’s in two minds about giving me time for myself or spending more time with Little E, as really, it is called Mothers’ Day for a reason.
I had to agree with him. Though it is my third one, I can’t see how this time around would be any different from the last two. The day being just like any other Sunday, but I get a handmade card and probably an extra kiss. I have been out and about alone since Little E arrived, however, I still feel a bit of the guilt doing it. Perhaps not when I’m doing errands, because, well, they’re for the benefit of the whole family, isn’t it? But when I am out shopping, or going out with my gfs, or just doing my own things, I still feel guilty. I also spend the whole time thinking about Little E and how I wished he was with me >_<
Am I alone in this conundrum?
Anyway, I thought this would be a great idea for those in Canberra still looking for a Mothers’ Day present. My little one would absolutely love to go on it – he loves train AND he gets to eat on it! Double score! :)
If I can’t post before next weekend: To all the mothers, and fathers/sisters/brothers/aunties/whoever-you-lovely-people-are who have to be “mothers”, have a wonderful wonderful Mothers’ Day! May all your hardwork (both physically and mentally) be appreciated, if not that day, in days to come.
Mr E and I recently celebrated our 12th anniversary. Going into our 13th year together, we both felt that time has definitely gone quickly and yet, not really. For me personally, I can’t really remember what life was like without him around, other than perhaps less calm and more spontaneous in many ways.
I know it is a lot nicer to say how awesome he is, how good he has been for me, the positive affect and influence he has on my life is immeasurable; rather than how annoying he could be at times, how his meticulousness and carefulness frustrate me, or how unspontaneous he is. But then that would make such a boring post, to the point of just being boastful.
So, I won’t :)
To my rock, my constant, my love, happy anniversary. Thank you for letting me be me, for letting me keep my individuality. Thank you for holding my hands and wiping my tears when things got rough. Thank you for giving me the two things that I never had before I met you: security and acceptance.
Well… The last three weeks had been hectic or what? I caught the flu, of which I am still trying to get over. The doctor I saw gave me two days off work, which helped a lot. I don’t know if it’s stupid, but I feel less bad taking time off work when I have a doctor’s certificate to say that I actually am sick and therefore, cannot go to work? Because it served as proof of sorts that I’m not just chucking a sickie?
Anyway, during that same week, I had a 40% uni assignment due. So I had to do it in between naps and hot baths (the steam helped clear up my sinus). Mr E gets a super duper special mention for being so awesome with the little one. I was able to concentrate on my assignment, while he entertained Little E.
It was kind of lucky, yet unlucky, that the assignment was due just before the Easter long weekend, as we marked another first for us that weekend – our first ever car trip to Melbourne! It was the longest drive we had to do (not counting the car trip from Queenstown to Christchurch, NZ – as Little E was still very young then) and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous. We are used to the drive to Sydney as we have done it a few times, but Melbourne is almost double the distance!
Our stop at Gundagai was a very brief one for refuelling. While Mr E filled up, I took Little E inside and gave him his first snack of the day. The stop at Holbrook was to see the submarine and an early lunch at the Holbrook bakery. Little E loved going up and walking around the submarine, so did Mr E, actually ;) After the stretch for the legs there, we made our way to the bakery. This bakery was suggested to us by a few people so our expectation was pretty high – bad move. While my burger (with the lot) and Mr E’s apricot slice were excellent, Little E’s sausage roll was the SALTIEST food I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was THAT salty. Our sweet bun was also pretty bad, the bun a little stale and dry. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the lunch, there’s something about being in a little country town that is super relaxing :)
The drive to Violet Town was the hardest. After a thousand repeats of Baa Baa Black Sheep, Brother John, and Where is Thumbkin, a million rounds of spot the truck/van/bus games plus a couple more snacks, Little E finally had enough and had a total meltdown. He didn’t want to be in his seat, he wanted OUT. NOW. Big fat tears ensued, with a lot of high pitched crying. Luckily, it only lasted for about 10 minutes, after which he promptly fell asleep. Phew.
He woke up just before we got to Violet Town, where he was able to play at the playground! Yay! We also watched some construction workers do their thing, plus we saw a garbage truck. Violet Town was another short stop, with a quick walk around the town (there were only about a block of shops) then straight to Melbourne.
We didn’t really time ourselves properly, as we got to Melbourne as the peak hour hit. I believe it took us more than an hour to do about 50km – luckily, there were loads of buses and vans to spot to keep Little E distracted.
Snacks I packed for Little E: two sliced apples (each in a container), grapes (I had about three containers worth), some muesli bars, and a box of strawberry Pocky. I also made sure that there were two water bottles filled at each stop, as I didn’t want Little E to dehydrate. I did pack some toys for him, but he didn’t really play with them, preferring to interact with us instead.
Our time in Melbourne itself was wonderful! Little E took on his uncle L straight away, becoming severely attached to him from the get-go. Poor uncle L didn’t get a break the whole weekend, giving us (Mr E and I) lots of time free to relax mwaaahahaha… Uncle L did have himself to blame as he gifted Little E a small garbage truck toy, complete with a rubbish bin! Little E is sooo obsessed with garbage trucks at the moment :) We had to repeatedly apologise to my SIL if the weekend totally turn BIL off kids forever. Kids sure are intense, aren’t they?
We didn’t really do much in terms of touristy stuff in Melbourne, as the main purpose of us being there was to spend time with the in-laws. We frequented the playgrounds, had delicious food and basically had good quality time with everyone there. We watched a movie, played a game and even a couple of Mr E’s aunties from QLD made it to our Easter Sunday brunch :)
Talking about Easter, we got away with tricking Little E that those chocolate eggs were merely colourful balls again (just like last year) lol we gave him some of the mini eggs to try, then distracted him with his garbage truck while we quickly hid the eggs. More chocolates for us! Though I don’t think we can get away with it next year :P
As an added bonus to our already awesome trip, we got to catch up with a friend of mine of 20 years and her family. She has two boys and they were really good with Little E. It was such a good experience spending time with them as it opened up my eyes to what life would be like with two little boys! They sure are boisterous, but so very entertaining :) We also were able to meet up with another friend for brunch the day we left – it was definitely busy social weekend.
The drive home was uneventful. This time, though, we broke the trip into two days – staying overnight at Albury. We picked the accommodation the night before at random, ending up at Ecolodge Paddlesteamer Hotel. It is located in South Albury, very much the first couple of hotels you see when you got to Albury. The best thing about the hotel was that across the road, there was a really awesome playground. We got to Albury around 4pm, so we were able to check out the playground before we go to dinner and meet up with yet another friend and her partner.
It was while I was preparing Little E for bed when I suddenly realise that my baby boy? He’s not a baby anymore. Our room had a queen and a single bed, and that whole night in Albury, Little E stayed asleep on the single bed alone. Where is my baby? How is it that we can now just rent a room at a hotel, and he is able to sleep on his own bed. No more portacot, no more sleeping on the floor. On his very own bed. Sigh! Time sure does go fast.
Now that I know that we can do looooong car trips, we will surely go on a lot more. I personally hate being stuck in a car for so long, but I do love going to places and see what they have to offer. One of the friends we caught up with told us to go to Woollongong for our next trip, I think we may very well have to :P
Looking at how awesome Little E is, how proud we are of him, and of us for being able to raise such a well-mannered, happy and healthy little boy, Mr E and I would wonder what we did right. How did we do things to have him as he is now. We weren’t (and still aren’t) book-readers when it comes to parenting, we mostly trusted our gut feelings and consult with other parents. We wished that we had written down what we did, as we obviously want to repeat with our next one.
What is interesting, however, is that we both remember what we did wrong (in our minds). Things that we wished we had done differently, and will next time. Things that we will do more, and things that we will do less.
For me, personally, I will stress less about timing. I most probably won’t be as strict with nap time, meal time, etc. I would probably carry him more, adopting the “baby wearing” philosophy, instead of relying on the pram. I would be more patient with him over his sleeping patterns (or lack thereof). I would not use adult washing detergent, even the sensitive ones, on his clothes. I would care less about mess from day dot. I would let him share our bed, even if only for daytime naps. I would burp him more (or at least, take longer time to try to) after each feed. I would express a little bit before attempting to feed him so he wouldn’t be as overwhelmed (or gassy). I would express and introduce the bottle so that Mr E gets the chance to feed him. I would not hesitate letting him sleep on his vibrating chair earlier if it means we get some sleep.
These are the things I could think of so far.
The problem with reflections like this, is that I invariably end up nitpicking over what I did. Things that seemed right at the time, starting to feel wrong now that I thought about it again and again. A few parents have told me that you make mistakes with your first child that you tend to learn from and not repeat with subsequent children. Parenthood is such a learning curve, each child is different and so parenting ways need to be flexible and adaptive to such child.
If you’re a parent of one, what would you do differently next time? If you are a parent of more than one child, did you do things differently each time you have a baby? Were there things that worked on all kids?
PS. on a totally unrelated note, all photos are taken at the Mercure Hotel in Liverpool, Sydney. It has THE best playground and pool! The room was so spacious and the service was great. Can’t recommend it enough if you ever need accommodation in Western Sydney :)
The Austrian Australian Club
Ph: 02 6286 5793
I first went to the restaurant with my Mothers’ Group mums for our first dinner get-together sans kids. It was such an awesome night and I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. I wasn’t sure whether the food was good because I had loads of fun or because the food really was good. I did remember that the chips were amazing though.
Anyway, hearty German/Austrian food is definitely up to Mr E’s alley so I had to take him there and reconfirmed its awesomeness And I did, a fortnight after ;) with Little E in tow, hungry and ready at the door at 6pm (their opening time).
I had the chicken schnitzel with chips, bread dumpling and pepper sauce on the first visit. On my second one, I ordered the pork schnitzel, again with the amazing chips and mixed vegies (had to order this because Little E was there and I wanted him to have vegies). Oh, and a side of gravy.
A little side note, am I the only mum who ordered healthier food when the little one is around, just so that he eats better too? That just by having him around is actually good for me? Heh.
I digress. Mr E ordered the lamb schnitzel with red cabbage, sauerkraut and an extra side of spetzels (which is noodley pasta thingies). The serving size is very generous, with us three sharing the two orders and we had more than enough. Little E would have eaten almost the entire serve of red cabbage, preferring it on top of everything else, so weird!
Just as I remembered from the first visit, the chips were amazing. I would just go back again and again for it. I didn’t like the pepper sauce nor the gravy, but I thought the schnitzels were really yummy. As per the order of prices, the lamb was the best, with the pork coming last.
Though we were really full already, I couldn’t resist not getting dessert as I didn’t get any the first time I was there. We shared a black forrest cake with ice cream, Little E eating and scooping faster than I’ve seen him done before. We think he liked it lol
It took a little longer for our meals to arrive the first time I went, but I would imagine it was because there were 7 orders on our table. The second time around, our meals didn’t take long at all to arrive. I had the same waitress on both occasions and she was really friendly. She was patient with Little E, waiting for his response when she asked him if she could take his plate away. Which he didn’t give for almost a whole minute, out of shyness. When he finally did, she just laughed and didn’t seem to be rushed at all.
We were the first people there, but the place did fill up as the night progressed, mostly with families. The mum friend who suggested the place did tell us that we should book as they get pretty busy. I would recommend the same, most especially if you need a highchair as I could only see one available. Mr E said to me as we left that we’re definitely going back there for their other meals and I have to agree with him :)
Things I learnt from a recent brief stint of single parenting:
When the only thing that could distract your 2yo while you make dinner is letting him line the entire floor of the kitchen and dining room with all cooking tools and tupperware you own: YOU LET HIM.
At the end of the day, when he’s finally asleep, on his bed, and you can’t be bothered packing up all mentioned items above, then DON’T. You need him distracted while you make breakfast anyway.
When you’re really late for work and he’s only on his second mouthful of breakfast, SIT BACK and ENJOY your coffee.
When he wants to go in with you while you have your “quick” shower before work, DON’T LET HIM. It’ll turn out to be the longest shower you have since the day you had him 2 years ago.
At the end of the day, when he looks at you sleepily and he tells you that he loves you, PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK. You did it all yourself and he still loves you! Well done, mummy.
You start to realise that occasionally-annoying man you married, isn’t all that annoying after all. That you want to keep him around, if only so that you can stop being 100% alert 100% of the time and not wake up at the slightest noise at night (turns out, broken flyscreens and wind make the weirdest screeching noise).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, big kudos to single parents out there. You deserve a medal!