Tag: grandparents

The Happy List #21

Each week I write a list of the things that have made me happy. Sometimes I feel excited about it and at other times I have to dig a bit deeper, because I’m tired or something really annoyed me or turned to shit. You know – first world problems and all. I keep going because I think it is important to remember the good things, even if you’re not really feeling it. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives – our brains seem programmed that way – so I like to bring the positives to the foreground so I can appreciate them properly. Even if they’re really simple moments, they are still nice to think about.

So here are the things that have made me happy this week…

I survived something I was really nervous about

That’s it really. We’ve all been there. How good is the relief after all is said and done?

Watching 2009 Kez get closer and closer to finishing uni

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of that ‘on this day’ feature of Facebook. I like looking back on what I was doing/thinking/posting however many years ago on any given day. All of my pre-2009 posts are full of stress about uni and studying! Firstly, I am sure I bored the heck out of my Facebook friends at the time because it was all I went on about for a while, but secondly, it brings back just how full on and intense my course was. I was with a great bunch of girls who all pushed to do our best and I am so grateful for that. It was my second go at uni (I tried teaching but it wasn’t for me) and I really appreciated my tertiary education so much more by then. I was NOT going to fail. This meant that the pressure I put on myself was immense, but it paid off. I am so happy for 2009 Kez each day as she gets closer to graduating (she has just finished her classes and is preparing for exams). I am grateful for my degree in Behavioural Science every single day, because I might not be using it so much in a professional sense these days, but it really shaped and informed my views about the world around me, the decisions I make, and my understanding of why people do what they do. I feel like it’s made me a better person.

2009 Kez does put me off doing any further study for now, but I hope Future Kez gets inspired at some point.

A bottle shop opened up around the corner from my house

Um, hello. No explanation necessary.

I baked and it turned out great!

I wanted to make something nice to take to the inlaws’ for my father in law’s birthday. I knew nobody would mind if I bought a cake, but I hadn’t baked properly in a while and it felt like a good idea. I’d had a big week and it felt kind of therapeutic. I was a bit nervous because whenever you make a big cake, you can’t cut into it or taste test it until it’s presented to the recipient/s. I could not have been happier when it was cut open and everyone declared that it was delicious. Phew! I think the chopped up bits of Mars Bars on top might have helped my case too haha. This is a terrible photo but there was no time for styling – this is real life and everyone wanted to eat it!
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The Little Mister named his toy dog after my childhood dog without even knowing it and my heart burst

Last night the Little Mister told me his stuffed toy dog’s name was Bo Bo. I was taken aback because that was the name of the first dog family dog we ever had growing up. He was a special pooch – a real character. What a blast from the past.

I told the Little Mister about the real Bo Bo and how amazing it was that the toy and the real dog had the same name. He looked so happy with that. I asked him if Nanna and Poppy had told him about Bo Bo but he said they hadn’t. I couldn’t remember ever really bringing it up either. He carried his newly named Bo Bo everywhere with him around the house and asked to sleep with him and while I really don’t think there’s room in his bed for another comfort item, it somehow got past us (i.e. Mr Unprepared was a bigger softie than me).

I think I have something in my eye. I mean, what are the odds? He went through a phase of calling everything Poo Poo or Pee Pee, so you know what we’re working with.

Even if he has been told about the real Bo Bo and we’ve just forgotten (or his information about Nanna and Poppy not telling him is a bit dodgy), I still think it’s incredibly touching. Especially as he’s been missing my brother who moved interstate and his grandparents on both sides have been travelling a lot.

NAWWWWWWWWWW.

Kids can be really annoying but they also really get you in the feels.

So what’s on your happy list this week?

Never forgotten.

My dear readers. I have some sad news, I’m afraid. As some of you may know, around three months ago my grandfather passed away and was finally relieved of his dementia. His wife – my beloved Nana – was left behind and we spent some special quality time with her while we were in Tasmania to celebrate his life only recently.

Well, my friends, Nana passed away on the 4th of July. While this is an American day of Independence, I believe it was Nana’s too. She went peacefully in her sleep, sitting in my grandfather’s favourite chair. Isn’t that just heartbreakingly beautiful? A lifelong love story with a poetic and romantic ending.

It’s such a bittersweet feeling. Knowing they are reunited is comforting. They always used to joke about death  (somewhat unconventional as they were) and decided they wanted to go closely together after living long and happy lives. I am so glad their wishes came true, but it’s tough to be left behind sometimes.

My Nana was pretty amazing. She’d just been ‘rediscovered’ across the world, in her retirement home after being a poster girl for the war effort, working on the barges in Britain. She was famous again at last, with requests for interviews and TV commitments. She found it tiring, but I think she really did like it. I am so proud of her.

Soon I will travel with my family (Mum, Dad and my brother) to spend time celebrating her life in Tassie again (very unexpected so soon). It will be just me, leaving Mr Unprepared behind to look after the Little Mister – the longest I’ll have ever left him for (but that’s another story). Red eye flight here I come.

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Rest in peace, Nana. We miss and love you. Say hi to Granddad Kenny for us.

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Getting back to real life.

So the past week has been one hell of a ride! We headed interstate to say a final farewell to my beloved grandfather and to celebrate his life. It was a really great trip for the soul, and while I had to soldier on with my bruised coccyx and a tired (but amazingly well behaved toddler), it was something I really felt we needed to do. Now we’re home and a new week is starting. My husband is back at work and it’s just me and the Little Mister. Oh, sorry…the Little Mister and I. After a week of craziness and people everywhere (we totally took over my uncle and aunty’s house), I need a bit of motivation and encouragement to get back to real life as smoothly as possible! I also want to celebrate the things I learnt/had reinforced while we were away.

Here goes 🙂

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Upon hearing the news of my grandfather’s passing, I felt like life was being just a tad too stressful. Damn you, life! But then I realised that this trip away was just what I needed. The (re)connections we made with family were priceless and reminded me of all the good and important things in life. I had been very tightly wound for a few weeks prior to our trip and I feel like I’ve been unravelled again. I have a few things to resolve still, but I feel much better than before we left.

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I am thankful for so many things right now. It feels good. Everything from the love of my family to that feeling you get when you come home after a wonderful holiday and you sleep in your own bed (or kind of not really but you know what I mean relax in your childproofed home as the Little Mister plays)! I have some challenges ahead and I need to remember to be thankful for the little things that keep me going.

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I love Roald Dahl 🙂 I think that my spiritual beliefs and my willingness to believe in the kind of ‘magic’ I think Mr Dahl was referring to are what got my family and I through a challenging time with the loss of my grandfather. He was an unconventional thinker and he really believed there was more after this life. If anyone believed in the magic, it was definitely him. This gives us great peace.

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I am really quite exhausted and while I need to recover from our trip, I also have to look after the Little Mister each day. I don’t want to feel dread when I hear the alarm go off in the morning (or the Little Mister cooing away in his cot). I want to feel determined. Determined to make the best of each day and give it all I’ve got to look after my little man and our home, so that I can fall into bed each night feeling great about my efforts.

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It’s as simple as that. Bring it on! 🙂

Goodbye.

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Yesterday morning, my beloved grandfather, affectionately known as “Kenny” passed away. He had suffered from a form of dementia for around 3 years and he left this world peacefully, holding my Nana’s hand. I am very sad, but I have an absolute wealth of lovely memories to draw on when I feel this sadness and I find great relief in knowing that he is not suffering anymore. I have no doubt that wherever he is now, he remembers each and every one of us who were loved by him during his time on earth. I am not usually one to announce something like the death of a loved one via blogging or social media, but I just cannot let this pass without sharing with you what is going on in my life and how special Kenny was/is to me.

My family will be travelling interstate to celebrate his life with my dad’s side of the family as soon as we can.

RIP Kenny. We love you. But you already know that 😉

The Little Mister’s first proper sleep over.

Pic: Yes, it was!

Last weekend something big happened. Well, it was big for me. That’s what she said. Oh. Ew. Let me start again…

Last weekend was a significant event in the Little Mister’s life. Actually, it probably wasn’t really a massive deal to him, but it was to me! Last weekend was the Little Mister’s very first proper sleep over at the grandparents’ place. We didn’t pick him up at midnight, we didn’t come back to stay the rest of the night in the next room just in case. We went to our house and slept in our own bed and picked him up in the morning.

AND EVERYONE SURVIVED!!! 🙂

Well, by the next day (or two) all four adults were no doubt still feeling a bit worn out, and the Little Mister seemed really cuddly and wanting more sleep, but we all did it. My husband and I had the balls (figuratively speaking on my behalf anyhow) to leave him behind without stressing over him, my parents were willing to take on the challenge that is an 11 month old who requires childproofing to a ridiculous standard (think: ASIO), and the Little Mister SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!

I am very proud of all of us!

The last real spate of night time babysitting before that had been when the Little Mister was only about six months old. Old enough to be a bit too aware of his surroundings and definitely at the age where separation anxiety had kicked in big time. It was nerve-wracking to say the least (although I must give credit where it’s due – the Little Mister did make us pretty proud in the end when it mattered)! I was a bridesmaid in a wedding, so my bridal party commitments vs Little Mister…well, you can imagine the struggle! It was hard wanting to be everything to everyone but not quite succeeding. A definite life lesson in that!

When we received the invitation to another wedding a few months ago, we realised that by the time the big day arrived the Little Mister would be almost a year old and definitely easier to leave overnight! Hallelujah, we cried. WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS and more importantly, we could ENJOY it! We checked that my parents wouldn’t be busy travelling around or enjoying their active social lives (damn baby boomers are very unreliable babysitters haha). We psyched ourselves up. We negotiated the terms of this babysitting arrangement and we MADE IT HAPPEN. As the date drew closer, great things began to fall into place. The Little Mister began to sleep through without any anxiety (not saying it won’t bite us again but things have been good lately – don’t wanna jinx it) and he began to remember faces and places a lot better, meaning that he recognises my parents whenever he sees them (they get the biggest smiles and wiggly cuddles) and knows his way around their house (like how to climb stairs – eek! – and where the good toys are). We were golden! These things helped a lot and while it could have all been a fluke, I’ve decided (against your will – unsolicited advice – woot!) to share the factors that may have helped all to have a successful night!

Routine

While we’re always open to things not quite going to plan (I think that’s a pre-requisite for having a child), we do have a pretty reliable daily/nightly routine that works for the Little Mister. It evolves over the months as he grows and changes, but we manage to keep things on an even keel most of the time. Because he usually knows how we will react when he cries at night, when he is supposed to have his bath, his sleep and his food, he seems to feel secure and happy. By asking my parents to adhere to his usual routines as best they could, it seemed to help him feel safe and secure despite being in a different place, looked after by different people. They helped him keep his routine, so he probably concluded that it was all good and his needs would be taken care of. I used to feel guilty leaving a big list for my parents (or inlaws) detailing his routine. I thought it might seem insulting – I mean, these people raised my husband and I and we’re still alive! It’s not like they’re new to the parenting game! However, I’ve come to see that the list was comforting to my parents (they kept asking me to write it all down before we left) also. They don’t want to do anything to disrupt him either and they wanted him to be happy and at peace with the arrangement 🙂

The sticking-to-routine thing also helps the Little Mister settle back in with us after a night away. While we don’t mind things being a bit out of whack for a night or so after a routine change, it is nice when he comes home and there’s no real adjusting to do! We can all just recover from our big night together and get on with normal life again!

Something from home

OK, so I will admit it. We packed up what felt like half of our entire home to take to my parents’ house. My parents do have a lot of things they have purchased and set up in their house for the Little Mister to use, but we have a port-a-cot and other such things and it just seems easier to bring it over than for my parents to buy everything he could possibly need when he only stays with his grandparents on either side for extended periods of time occasionally. However, we were able to do things like use the fitted sheet he’d been sleeping on in his cot at home in the port-a-cot so it smelt and felt familiar. We brought along his same sleeping bags that he’s used to and his cherished giraffe comfort blankie to sleep with (we may have created a monster – he won’t sleep without “Giraffey”). I also packed a couple of his favourite little soft toys from home in case he should get a bit anxious – it’s all to do with the smell and the feel at this stage!

While we did pack a LOT of “just in case” things, which made our carload much heavier, it brought me comfort knowing that the Little Mister was prepared for any situation. I know it brought my mum comfort in particular, because like me (where do you think I get it from?), she likes to be prepared for anything and everything. I didn’t want them to get caught out in a crazy teething situation (for example) and have no baby panadol or teething toys on hand. It would make the day/night much less pleasant for everyone! Selfishly, I also wanted there to be no excuse to get a phone call in the middle of the night to come and get him!

Stress-less strategy

While I am able to switch off my mummy guilt for leaving the Little Mister so I can go have a good time (I’m sure he didn’t miss us that much haha), I do worry about whether he’s being good for my parents. I like to have peace of mind that they are having an enjoyable time too. Otherwise I get daughter guilt! I know that if all is well, the Little Mister should definitely be peacefully asleep by 7:30pm (his usual bedtime is 7pm), so I asked my mum to text me to let me know that all was well. This allowed me to feel reassured that I would find out how he was sleeping, meaning that from 7:30pm I could either slip away for a minute to talk out the situation with my mum on the phone, or I could get the good news and relax for the rest of the night! Having this strategy meant that I didn’t spend the whole night WONDERING. We all know where WONDERING all night gets you!

It was great when I got the good news text at 7:30pm to let me know that he had whimpered a bit (testing my mum out a little haha) before settling well. Yay!

The rest of the night I felt so much more relaxed!

I also like to stress to whoever’s baby sitting that I actually do want any bad news. If I think that someone is going to try to hide the fact that there have been some troubles from me because they’re too scared of ruining my night, I actually feel worse. Just give me the good, the bad and the ugly! Gives me a chance to suggest any little things that might help a situation – a strange quirk the Little Mister might have that only his mummy or daddy might know about. Could make the whole night a lot more enjoyable for the grandparents too! Also, lets me know if I want to cut my night short, which I would rather do if the Little Mister was very sick or distressed than go the whole night oblivious and feel like the worst mother ever later on.

Out of sight, out of mind!

It’s not entirely possible. We’re not frickin’ robots, you know. But I tried really hard to focus on enjoying my night out. I had to put the Little Mister at the back of my mind (in the most loving way possible of course)! I was at the wedding to celebrate with some very good friends, and it was somewhat of a date night for my husband and I. A much needed one! I had to make sure that I didn’t watch the clock constantly and be all like, “Oh that’s his afternoon tea time, oh that’s his bottle time, oh I wonder what he’s doing right now, oh it’s cold outside, what’s he wearing? I wonder if he’s eating all of his dinner?”

At some point you just have to trust the babysitter/s and let it go! I tried to limit my “thinking about the bubba” to just the 7:30pm text I was expecting from my mum and I succeeded! It felt good to just release it all for a night. That’s where the stress-less strategy kicks in, because that strategy can make all the difference in your ability to relax and remember all of the good things about being kid free (temporarily)! Live that dream (temporarily)! Haha.

Also, it’s good to get out once in a while. Absence really did make the heart grow fonder. The next morning I was so excited to go and see the Little Mister at my parents’ house! I wanted a cuddle! In fact, my husband and I got the greatest cuddles all of the next day 🙂 It felt nice to be missed as well! We have to make the most of that feeling – I’m sure the Little Mister will reach an age all too soon, where he’s thinking, “Damn – Mum and Dad made me come home! I want to stay out!”

I know that none of my unsolicited advice is particularly revolutionary, but it’s just solid stuff that seemed to make a difference in the experience for my family 🙂

I’ll get back to you in another who-knows-when/x amount of months when none of this works anymore 😉

Got any other tips or stories to share? x