Tea is very important, AKA my Hospital List.

I don't enjoy being a patient in hospital. I enjoy hot lunches in hospital because
  • Someone else cooks the meal
  • Someone else brings me the meal
  • Someone else takes the dirty dishes away and does them

Those things and the mechanical bed aside, I'd rather be at home. But I thought hard about it this time and here's what I've got with me this time to make hospital feel a little bit more like home.

My own mug, loose leaf tea and tea bags

My public hospital supplies either paper cups or plastic mugs with meals. Tea out of a plastic cup? Mrs Smyth Snr drank one today without dying, but I think she was blinded by the delicious Pippa.

My iPhone alarm clock dock.

Hospitals are NOISY, man. I'm in a private room this time but it's right next to reception. Mr S and I can tell you all sorts of gossip we've overheard. I'm also a hefty iDevice user, so having the dock means my phone is always charged, we can listen to music to drown out the bogans hospital noise, and I know what time it is.

My own pillow

I hate being away from home, so my boomerang pillow is a must for me here. Smells like home, comfy like home.

All Manner Of Food And Drink

As I look at my bedside table and tray table I can see:
  • Grandmarg's Banana Cake (Best Ever, recipe to come!) Gone. I ate this in record time yesterday.
  • A box of Cadbury Roses chocolate thanks to Melina
  • A bottle of Coca-Cola
  • Jug of water and glass
  • Peppermint loose leaf tea and infuser
  • An apple
  • A banana
  • A box of Oreos
  • A box of Ladurée French tea a friend brought in for me yesterday.

There's also another bag of fruit on the floor, a box of Oreos in the cupboard and a packet of Ritz crackers in the cupboard. I'm hungry now.

My iPad, charger and stand

Enough said, really.

Hair Ties

Man, these are such a necessity for me. I get around with a ponytail most of the time, and having been stuck in bed for a couple of days, my messy hair has been getting the better of me. I even brought my hair dryer this time. A good fringe gives me faith to face the day.

Toilet Paper

Standard issue toilet paper doth not a happy woman make. Ok?

Garnier BB cream and Garnier Dark Spot Corrector

Not a sponsored post! But it could be, I love it so very much. The corrector has come with me, only because I like a light moisturiser under my BB cream. I cannot gush about the BB cream enough. After a night where I had 90 minutes sleep total, broken into three sleeps (!), I still had compliments on how well baby must be sleeping because I looked so rested.

Notebook and Pen

So useful. Keeping track of feeds, writing down handy hints from the best night midwife ever (Terri, the homebirth midwife for those in Hobart following along) and making notes about my artillery of heavy drugs. As Mr S isn't staying in hospital with me this has really helped me feel more relaxed and less worried about forgetting anything.

So there you have my very simple hospital survival list. It doesn't state the basics, such as enough maternity pads to create your own padded cell or breast pads, but this is what has helped make my life more comfortable so far.

What's your additions?

And oh yes, this.

40 weeks...

Yesterday when I woke up this is how I looked.
Meet Pippa Jane Smyth. She came into our lives at 9.15am yesterday morning, 2nd November 2012.
She required an exit via the sunroof, and at 4.7kg... Let's just say I'm quite relieved that she was a Sunroof Entry into the world. It's been decided that Mama Smyth don't make no small babies.
Pippa smells delicious and has Mr S and I wrapped around her little tiny fingers and toes. She is so far the identical image of newborn Millie, resplendent in her rosebud mouth and chubby chubby chins.
Millie is exceptionally taken with her little sister and is enjoying all the spoiling that comes with having Nanny and Poppy Smyth AND GrandMarg in the house. When they came to visit yesterday, Millie chased her banana cake (GrandMarg) with 3 Oreo cookies that she spotted on my tray table and I heard there was some treats from Nanny Smyth as well. Sugar, Toddler be thy name.
I'm off to PippaWatch and have another cup of tea. Zzzzzzzzzz.

The Final Countdown

So here we are, at week 39 + 5 days. There's a very real possibility that I'll be holding a newborn within a few days. It's really quite a strange feeling. I look at Millie, and our life as is, and to suddenly throw another child in the mix? It's doing my head in.

My in-laws arrived yesterday and have spent the morning cleaning my spare room out, putting things under the house, entertaining Millie and baking banana muffins for M's playdate. I have been... well, essentially freaking out.

How will Millie cope with the new baby? How will I cope with Millie and the new baby? Will I ever sleep again? How will we ever eat meals again? What if I can't feed the new baby? (I know the answer to that one, duh.) What if? What if? What if?

I know it'll be fine. Because aside from every reassurance I can give myself, it will have to be fine. We will muddle through sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums and crayon on the backs of chairs and milk everywhere and we'll be fine. Better than fine. We'll be awesome.

So I leave you with this...

But tell me... what are your tips?

Baby Br... Wait, what was I saying?

In the last few weeks I've:

  • Forgotten my name (this happens regularly)

Tried to check Twitter with the device in my left hand...
the television remote.

  • Forgot how to use my eftpos card this week, and when the very nice man at the post office corrected me, I said somewhat indignantly 'I know!' and he said 'Do you? Really?'. Bastard. He was right.
  • Tried to put my tea cup in the bathroom sink.
  • Walked into countless rooms and forgotten why I was there.
  • Used iCloud's 'Find my iPhone' feature more than once to locate my phone. Only to find it next to the mousepad where once clicks the mouse on 'Play Sound on iPhone' in iCloud.
  • Wandered the house to find my phone, only to realise it's in my pocket.
  • Told someone that I worked at '<business name> in Huonville'. They said 'Isn't that in Hobart?' I said 'No, Huonville.' 'Huh.' 'WAIT, I said Huonville? I meant Hobart. They both start with "H".' Just kill me now.
  • Trailed off mid-sentence with absolutely no idea of what I was saying in the fir...
  • Reminded myself that I actually need to take M out of the car when we get home, and not just wander inside myself.
  • Forgotten to check my diary to see what I've written down to do so I don't forget. Yep. I know.

Sent a fantastic sewing tutorial to someone on Twitter. Sans link. Cringe.
I can't believe how badly baby brain has affected me this pregnancy. I hope it'll go away after the baby's born? Maybe?

How's your baby brain? Please tell me I'm not the only one?

Toni and David

When I was pregnant with M, Mr S and I affectionately named the Braxton Hicks contractions Toni (Braxton) & David (Hicks). Conversations between us used to go a little like
'How are Toni & David today?'
'Toni is singing her greatest hits and David is banging on about Human Rights. I mean, quite rightly so, but he's particularly vocal today.'

Thankfully, Braxton Hicks contractions end when you give birth, so I didn't need think about them for not very long at all a little while. This time around they started up EARLY. As in, from about 13 weeks. Which is manageable when one's baby isn't particularly huge, therefore the surface area for a Braxton Hicks isn't particularly huge either. But now, LORDY. Given that my baby, therefore my uterus IS particularly huge, Toni and David are very active.
'Toni will not shut up with "Un-break my heart" and David is very shouty. Very very shouty.'

Or when one hits in public people around me start to look very concerned. I have pregnancy induced asthma this time around so the squeezing of my entire middle coupled with my reduced lung capacity often has me feeling a bit pale and breathless.
'Er, are you in labour? <nervous giggle>' I'm highly tempted to say yes, just to see what they do.

So for the next few weeks Toni and David will continue to sing on loudly and bang on about human rights, and then I'll give birth. And I will make sure I will not have to think about it for a bit longer this time.

Life with a newborn

So teeny tiny!
Our 'baby' year with Millie is drawing to a close. I can't believe she's almost one. She is such a joy to have around and cracks us up all day long. Whenever my friends said 'My baby is hilarious! You wouldn't BELIEVE the things she does.' I'd always smile politely and wonder what drugs they were on. But now, I am a convert. My baby is hilarious.
I digress. (Have I mentioned that I am also a baby bore?)
As our baby year with Millie is ending my sister's baby year will be beginning in the blink of an eye. And it's gotten me to thinking about our year with Millie, and how on earth we I coped. The big key for me was organisation. If I couldn't control anything else at all in our day (like eating or sleeping) I could control how things could pan out. It was the simplest things that my mother laughed at when I told her, but things that helped Mr S and I no end.

Change Area aka How To Avoid The Poo
There are no photos of this because this part of the lounge room looked like a bomb site a lot of the time. We have little plastic baskets under the change table. One had lotions, creams, thermometer, panadol, nail clippers in it. The other had face washers. Another had cloth nappies, another disposables. The bottom shelf had white terry square nappies and coloured terry square nappies. Wet wipes usually lived on the dining table next to the change table. We did not eat at the dining table for about six months, never fear. Also, now Millie is mobile the lotions & creams basket lives in the top of our pantry.
We had another plastic basket that I would often prepare in the afternoon for bathtimes. I'd stick a wondersuit, singlet, nappy and nappy rash cream in this. Seems overly simple (thus Mothership laughing at me) but 5-7pm used to be somewhat hellish in our house so it eased my mind to know that everything we needed for bathtime was right there and ready to go.
Mr S adds that his hot tip is to make sure there's always a clean white terry square on the change table to put the baby on to. As I've mentioned before we use white terry squares for the business end of the change table, and anything to do with bottoms, and coloured terry squares for faces, to place on the head end of the change table (M used to vomit quite a bit), keep around for feeding etc etc. Mr S also used to tuck a clean white terry nappy into his waistband with the other end laying on the change table. This protected him from... erm... explosive matters approximately 90% of the time. (The other 10% were well aimed and therefore one could only be impressed.)
Coloured towel for the head, white for business end.

See the blurry legs? This is what you get to deal with.

We started setting out our early morning kitchen things the night before, and it's a habit I still do now. For us it's coffee, tea, mugs and spoons. Let's face it, if you're up at 5am, it's a welcome sight to see your first hit of caffeine ready to go. Also fill the kettle up the night before for extra smiles. Everyone repeat after me, first cup of coffee.... ahhhhhh. Also, if your bub has bottles, boil the kettle before you go to bed so there's cooled, boiled water ready to roll in the morning.
I hate myself for saying this, because I am only a recent convert... but wash up. A lot. Like, after every meal. When there's only you and a baby home during the day, it takes approximately thirty seconds to wash your lunch dishes. I have found that if I do not do the dishes and high chair table after every meal, by dinnertime there's been some sort of strange party in the kitchen and the dishes have shared drinks and played seven minutes in heaven and there's far more dishes than before. It's a strange phenomenon. But yes, dishes, often.

As I've previously mentioned, we cloth nappy mostly during the day with disposables at night. We are inherently lazy so we assemble each cloth nappy right down to the liner placed inside and clip them up, ready to go. Then when you are wrestling a mini Incredible Hulk changing the light of your life's nappy, they are there, ready to go. Biodegradable, flushable nappy liners are mandatory. Cost vs spraying unspeakable volumes of poo into the toilet... I'm happy to pay that money. It means that instead of unspeakable volumes of poo, it's often just volumes of poo.

Around The House Basket
I've mentioned this before, and I'm fairly sure most of you looked at me with collective 'You're Such a Weirdo' eyes. I was SO tired and SO forgetful in the beginning that to save my own sanity I trotted a small basket around the house with me for the first few months. It had
  • My mobile phone
  • The cordless home phone
  • Spare breast pads
  • My notepad & pen
  • A muesli bar and
  • Hair ties

When I would be often pinned to one spot for an hour or so feeding, this was great. Everything I could possibly need quickly, right to hand. You could also add television remotes if you so choose. Vodka optional, potentially not the best idea before 4pm. (What? In winter the sun sets early here.)

Clothes Washing
Show me a baby that doesn't generate a bootload of washing and I'll call you a liar. I know it's the last thing you feel like doing at 3am, but let's face it, you're awake and up already so put a load of washing on. Then it's ready to hang out, and forces you to go outside, at least twice during the day. We are lucky that our laundry is outside our house so the noise isn't an issue for us. That said, even if your laundry is inside, put it on anyway. I think it's best everyone gets used to a bit of nocturnal noise. The other way to look at it is that if you're not sleeping, no one is. As for the hanging out and bringing in and folding... well, you're on your own. My most loathed jobs and I am exceptionally bad at it. The clothes have been known to stay on the line for a few days, and it's only when we are missing things ('AMY! HAVE YOU SEEN MY SOCKS?') that I remember I put the dryer on four days ago.

If you are a newly breastfeeding mama (I have no experience of non-breastfeeding Mamas, so excuse my ignorance please) you will be hungry. All. The. Time. My mother was wise to this fact and when she stayed with us after Millie was born she would provide me with food for all hours of the day and night. Mr S would help me get set up to feed Millie at 3am, then bring me a perfectly quartered egg sandwich tightly wrapped on a plate that my mother had prepared during the day and put in the fridge. Never has an egg sandwich tasted so good. If you're making a lunchtime sandwich, make two, and put one in the fridge for later. If you have an aversion to fridge cold sandwiches, think of it like a) hospital sandwiches and b) stop bloody complaining, it's food you don't have to make for yourself on the spot.
Ditto meals. Put one half of the dinner in the freezer. It's so much easier! Label everything in the freezer, and if you're extra organised, write a list for the front of the fridge with the freezer contents. That way, you can think about dinner in the AM, scan your fridge list, imagine it's like ordering takeaway, just with a 12 hour wait, and put your frozen meal on the bench to defrost. Dinner is done!

The Nitty Gritty
If you're way too tired to understand this, take heart. I understand. Here's the cheat's list of everything I've just said.

  1. Change Area: Nappies, Wipes, creams. A garbage bin close by is extra handy. Baskets to put all this stuff in is extra handy.
  2. Change Area: Coloured towels. White for bums, coloured for faces. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.
  3. Cloth Nappies: Nappy sprayer. Essential.
  4. Kitchen: Set up your mugs for morning coffees the night before. Boil the kettle for bottles. 
  5. Kitchen: Wash up. Often.
  6. Around The House Basket: Daily essentials, right at hand.
  7. Clothes Washing: Wash in the middle of the night. Stuff the noise.
  8. Food: Freeze meals. 
  9. Food: Prepare sandwiches for nocturnal feedings.
  10. Food: Label your meals and put a list of frozen meals on the fridge.
What are your hot tips to add here?

The soundtrack to our lives (a letter to Paul Kelly)

As a kid, music was the backdrop of my life. My parents often had the radio on, or we listened to the endless Queen, Beatles and Boney M cassettes or the records. We never owned any Paul Kelly records but I somehow know all the words to most of the songs.

Fast forward twenty-something years and I play 'Dumb Things' on the banjo in one particular lineup of my band and I love the simplicity of his songwriting.

October 2010 - My job at an independent bookshop in Hobart means I look after the bookshop branding, marketing and produce all our printed branded material. It's highly exciting because Paul Kelly is coming to promote his new book 'How To Make Gravy' and will be playing a few tunes. My music skills come into play as I book stages, organise sound engineers and gear. I plan to park my pregnant self somewhere comfortable and enjoy the show, knowing that along with many others, I helped to make this happen.

Then I realise it's three days before I'm getting married, and on that particular evening all of my family fly into town and we're having a dinner so I won't be able to attend. Bollocks.

I mention this in passing to my brother and wish out loud that we could attend at least of the A-Z concert tour that Paul Kelly is playing in February, but after the wedding, and the impending baby it's not really something we can afford. Then, it's wedding time and thoughts of Paul Kelly serenading me and only me 300 people in the bookshop are gone.

Hooray! Mr S and I are finally married! (only took us 10 years!)

My brother surprises us by sending Mr S and I to all four nights of the A-Z concert as our wedding present. We will be dead centre, five rows back from the stage. Oh my!

35 weeks
February 2011 - I am 35 weeks pregnant. Yet, night after night, Mr S walked and I waddled went to the Theatre Royal and listened to the beautiful songs of Paul Kelly, with accompaniment by Dan Kelly. Some songs we know, some songs we don't. But oh, the atmosphere. And oh, my massive belly barely fits in the row. To enter and exit the entire row had to stand up and shuffle out to let me past. I hit more than one person sitting in front of me in the head with The Bump. Lucky them.

Mr S and I waiting for the music to start!

I've waffled on here about the power of music and how I believe that babies take in sounds and songs in utero. I played my last gig at 32 weeks and Millie kicked along the entire time. Throughout all four nights of the A-Z concerts she rested in songs I didn't know and kicked up a storm in the ones I did. Notable songs: 'Before Too Long', 'How To Make Gravy', 'Down To My Soul', 'Foggy Highway', 'They Thought I Was Asleep' and 'Dumb Things'. She kicked so violently that I had Mr S pressing on the bump to try and calm her down. It didn't work, she was a stubborn bump (I had to press her around in utero to move her head from under the guitar body at one gig... she didn't, then switched seconds before I started playing.) and she is a stubborn baby. Apples, trees and all that.

The stage.

I remember being so tired by the fourth night of the concert, but forcing myself to push through because really, this was a once in a lifetime experience. I knew I'd be grateful later.

March 2011 - Fast forward again. Millie arrives and once Mr S goes back to work and my mother goes home it's errr, me, and a baby. What now? She cried a lot. She was learning to be a baby, and I was will always be learning to be a mother. (Never has my Aunty Carol said wiser words to me).

I would sing to her because I was not entirely sure what else to do. We bounced on the Swiss Ball in the mornings because she liked the movement. I sing. We walked around outside. I sing.

When Millie was 4 weeks old I tried her in the Hugabub wrap in an effort to ease my aching shoulders whilst still being able to hold her. 

By 5pm my overtired baby would be, well, overtired. And we all know what an overtired baby sounds like. No? Like this.
Until I would put on 'Before Too Long', max out the volume on my iMac and sway around the room. After 2mins 28 seconds, silence, snoring bubba. As time wore on, she'd be out by 31 seconds. Now, 9 months on, the opening jangle of guitar strings grabs her attention. This was a brilliant trick because it means I get to eat dinner a) with two hands and b) with Mr S, not one of us eating and the other baby-wrangling.

We listened to Paul Kelly in the car to put M to sleep. We listened to Paul Kelly in the lounge room to distract her and put her to sleep. I have the A-Z concerts on my iPhone and iPod and they get plugged into the speaker dock in the bedroom and we have a listen before a sleep.

If we're out walking in the pram I put it on my iPhone and we listen to it if she's feeling a bit fractious.

There is a Paul Kelly for all occasions. 

We listen to a lot of music again. I found that I was silent for a long time, and I think perhaps it never occurred to me to put music on because there was so much noise from suddenly having another person in the house. But now, oh, how we love the music.

Mr Kelly, thank you for the music. I don't know that you'll ever read this, and I'm sure my story about how you've spent the last few years with my family is not unique, but you need to know how special it's been to us so far.

Merry Christmas.

Out and About

A rarity... but so very beautiful.
A little while back I read an article online somewhere (can't recall, BabyBrain!) about a mother who classified herself as a 'Stay At Home Mum'. Not a 'I am a Mum who doesn't leave the house to work' kind of stay at home Mum, but the kind who stays at home with her kids. As in, everything she does with her kids is home based. I have friends who are the complete opposite to this and live with their kids in the car, zipping around doing all sorts of outings.

I confess, I too am one of these Stay At Home Mums. Why? The few times Millie has kicked up a fuss in the car seat for prolonged periods of time (68km is the new record as of last week) I'm scarred enough to not want a repeat performance. I rattle easily and a screaming, howling muffin in my back seat is really distressing and distracting and makes me feel unsafe driving.

I hear you saying 'Why don't you just stop to settle bub?' I have and I do. She is calmed when we stop and have a cuddle/feed/remove jumper/replace jumper/find a toy but as soon as we move again... BackSeatAgeddon. I prefer to grin and bear it howl along to just get where we're going.

Once we're at our destination she's fine. Has a blast.
Lunch by the river? Sure!
Playing with friends on the grass? Sure!
A walk around the shops? Sure!
Drive home? NOOOOOOO.

So we stay at home. We occasionally venture out into our town and slightly further afield, but again, the last time we did that she screamed all the way home.

Mr S takes her out on their Daddy Daughter Days and she's relatively fine, and when we go out together with M she's also fine, so I know it's just how I deal with it that's the issue here. I feel trapped a lot. I've let friendships fall by the wayside because I can't bear the thought of venturing out for an hour each way of potential screaming. I'm not proud of that and I hope that by keeping up with emails and phone calls my friends will still be there when we're on the other side of this.

I want to change this. I'm mentally planning all sorts of small outings on our days at home and I'll work up to longer drives.

I don't think I'm the only one that feels like this?

Are you a Stay At Home or a Out and About Mum/Dad?

So... your friend's having a baby...

Yes, this is my mailbox.
This is the first in a series of posts about baby stuff. My sister & her husband are having their first baby and my friend's just announced her first pregnancy too, so I figured it was as good a time as any to lay out a few things for them.

We were so lucky to be surrounded by such generous friends before and after Millie was born. Since I was about 4 months pregnant friends would (and still do) turn up with buckets of clothes for us to sift through. I think I've passed on about 4-5 full garbage bags of clothes to friends and various charities. And Millie still has more clothes than we could ever wear out.

So I thought I'd write a list for my sister Salad and my friend Sarah, but in all honesty, this list is probably for you, potential gift buyer.

In my experience there's three kinds of gift buying for babies and their parents: Sensible things (plain white singlets, Wondersuits, vodka), The SO Useful But Highly Pricey So New Parents Can't Afford It (Wrap Me Ups, digital baby monitors, 1L Bombay Sapphire) and The Pricey But Lordy Me I'm Stoked You Bought It For Us (beautiful baby hats, a handmade blanket, good quality bibs, top shelf scotch).

Let's cover all three, shall we?

Sensible Things
My mother in law excels at purchasing within this category and most things she's purchased for us have been absolute workhorse items.

Size 0 Hoodie= Winter Coat.

  • Plain coloured singlets in a variety of sizes. I suggest from 000-1. The bigger the more easy to put on your a) precious bendy newborn b) your wiggling, twisting, vocal 7 month old.
  • Bonds Wondersuits. Again start with 000 sizing, anything smaller won't generally get much wear.
  • Packet of 10 Facewashers. These will get used for everything, but probably rarely for washing faces.
  • Baby socks. Newborn sizes are gorgeous, but don't forget about the 6mo+ sizing. 
  • Baby booties.
  • Muslins.
  • Your favourite brand of wet wipes (trust me, new parents have NO idea, and we used every kind we were given until we found some we liked. Alcohol free & soap free is a MUST.)
  • Baby toys. We were given lots of toys that saw us through to about 4 months, and it's always useful if they're toys that won't be interesting until bubs is grasping or able to move their head around with a bit of control. Millie was given a Lamaze dragon that she still loves now and was a gift from our mates Geoff and Dani. They gave us Bruce The Confident Dragon when they asked what could they get - I said the most useful thing they got. There you have it.
  • Clothes. Don't buy anything that buttons up the back or anything that doesn't button up the front. I don't think Millie wore anything that didn't button up the front until she was about 3 months old. I was too afraid of breaking her! The most useful piece of clothing we were given was a navy zip through hoodie in a size 0 from my brother Ben and his girlfriend Stacey. Millie wore it all through winter as a winter coat, and because it's a size 0 it went over EVERYTHING. Brilliant.

So Useful But Highly Pricey So New Parents Can't Afford It

Wrap Me Up. Picture from Love To Dream.
  • Wrap Me Up. We were given one & loaned two. Amazing. M spent so much time in these instead of fussing with swaddling all the time, but at $40 they're not really affordable for everyone. Band together & buy your friend at least one - they'll thank you. We also purchased one the next size and we've only just stopped using it.
  • Seriously. Buy your friend one.
  • If your friends are cloth nappying, get them a voucher from somewhere like Darlings Down Under (although there are heaps of places) that sells a variety of nappies. Or buy them your favourite kind. Again, at $15-$40 ea MCNs can get pricey, so any extra are much appreciated. My work did a collection and bought us two Baby Beehinds MultiFits and that was the best gift they could have given me!
  • A platter of Mum & Dad's favourite food. My bestie Charlotte stocked my fridge at home with brie, prosciutto, coca cola and dips and chutneys and lots of easy to eat yummy food that I couldn't necessarily have in pregnancy.
  • A good thermal cup. Gone are the days (mostly) of a piping hot cup of tea that you need to blow on to cool enough to drink. It took me a few months to cotton on to it, but I remembered that I had these Bodum Canteen cups and now my coffee stays hot enough to not want to throw it at the wall. They're also a good small size and not plastic. I loathe massive thermal coffee mugs with plastic handles and plastic outers, so I find these cups perfect.
  • A digital ear thermometer. My in laws gave us this Braun one and it's so handy to quickly check your screaming volume knob stuck on 11 bundle of joy's temperature, to rule out a fever if nothing else. If they hadn't gifted us this one I'd be trying to sort it out with the free Panadol forehead strip at 2am.
  • A nice notepad and a nice pen. My mate Evie gave us a fancy little notepad and a beautiful pen in hospital as she said every Dr, Nurse, Midwife, Physio etc would tell us something and we wouldn't remember it. And it was the handiest thing we were given in hospital. We recorded Millie's feeds in it in the beginning and then when our midwife asked us when she'd fed we could flick through and find it, because lord knows I couldn't even tell you what day it was.
  • Walking in the sunshine using my ErgoBaby
  • An ErgoBaby. Obviously this is a highly priced item, and I know that everyone likes a different baby carrier but I'd be stuck and sad without our ErgoBaby. I purchased mine second hand but I'd happily pony up for a new one. If your friend is of the baby wearing kind, this carrier is ace.

The Pricey But Lordy Me I'm Stoked You Bought It For Us
Millie is very lucky to have lots of substitute Aunts and Uncles who buy her a lot of very pretty things. This is also great because Mr S and I are a bit sensible, and her Aunts and Uncles buy her things I'd LOVE to, but can't quite justify.
Out for a wintery walk with my Toshi hat on.
  • Millie was given this Pink Pussycat Toshi hat by her Auntie Skye and Auntie Jennie, and it is SO soft and warm, and lasted the entire winter without a tear or even a pill. I'm sad she's outgrown it.
  • Beautiful fairy lights for above a cot. So pretty!
  • A handmade quilt. Millie was given one made by my bestie Charlotte's Mum and it hangs above her cot at the moment. I believe every child deserves at least one handmade blankie.
  • Good bibs. Left to my own devices I'd probably have bought cheap bibs. But again, we were given so many bibs and my favourites are the good, heavyweight handmade ones. Snaps are a must - Millie can pull the velcro ones off!
  • A 'lovey'. Again, left to my own devices Millie would probably have some square of towel or the like, but she was given a Kaloo Liberty Doudou Comforter and loves going to bed with it now. The Kaloos are soft and cuddly and just the right size for Millie's meaty paws little hands to hold.
  • A 'nice' jumper. Regardless of all of the second hand clothes we have for Millie, it's so nice to put on a 'nice' jumper/hoodie when we're going out somewhere. It could be the country girl in me, but I love the idea of having a 'good' outfit to pull out if we're going somewhere special.
This is all things to purchase, but honestly one of the most valued gifts you can give is your time.
I had a difficult labour resulting in a caesarian section, and whilst I had to be up and moving I couldn't do much beyond sitting on the couch. Friends drove down (we are 50kms from Hobart) and did the washing up, made me lunch, hung out the washing, did more washing, held the baby, put frozen meals in the freezer, vacuumed and left. Amazing.

The best gift from family was from my mother. She spent two weeks with us starting a little from before Millie's birth until she was 10 days old. Mum stayed in Franklin (10km away) and would turn up at 8am every morning, make us breakfast and cups of tea, lunches and dinners. She did washing, washed the floors, vacuumed, held Millie for hours on end whilst Mr S and I slept, and was just here. But not in the way. Then we'd eat dinner and she'd go home. Rinse, lather, repeat.

I was initially apprehensive about this arrangement because I was worried about Mum being in our space. However this was the best gift we could have asked for. Mum got to bond with Millie whilst being the help we needed but didn't realise we needed. Thank you Mum!

So this is my list for now... what can you add?

A Photo Digest.

My friends, it turns out that a crawling baby makes things on a whole SO much easier. Day to day, Millie has more independence and is so happy to explore. This stage is so much fun. She crawls around and explores the lounge room. After a hasty day of childproofing (because it turns out that in our house, crawling was not a gradual thing, just an instantaneous happening) the lounge room is MilReady (tm).

So I have a bit of no-baby-in-my-arms time now. However, crawling is not enough for my darling.

She wants to walk.


Three days after she learned to crawl I caught her in my peripheral vision pulling herself up and planking, yoga style on a box. And now the coffee table.

Seven days after that I saw her planking on her Fisher Price walker and pushing it forward, taking four steps in the process.

Again, WHAT?

So Mr S and I spend our days putting cushions in front of the pointy edges of the coffee table, replacing the cushions around the pointy edges of the coffee table when she decides it's ace fun to pull them out everywhere, nursing her bruised forehead, crawling around the floor with her, putting CDs out of each, nursing her bruised cheekbones, replacing the cushions again, nursing her bruised head... you get the idea.

I haven't mentioned the talking either.

Two weeks ago she busted out 'DADADADAD'. Thanks kid. I love that I spend most of my days, and most 5ams with you and you can't wait to see your father. Then last week I heard a faint 'Mamamama'.

On the weekend she crawled up to me, tugged my trouser leg and said 'Mama? Mama?' Melt.

Yesterday she learned to clap. This learning business, it never stops, does it? She's experimenting with some other sounds appearing and it's so fascinating to watch her change and grow every day.

Here's some photos from our week for you to moon over look at...

Hanging by the river in Huonville

Sunday arvo with Dad.

Millie & her boyf Oliver.

Millie's first Amy Kendall & The Kitchenhands band rehearsal.

She's an Aussie kid with her Saos.

Millie spies...