Monday, September 24, 2012

Blobby on the road trip

I thought I would write a separate post about how I, and blobby fared on the holiday. I wrote before we left how I was feeling very anxious about this. Overall, I did better than I thought.

The drive down was ok. I found that I was very nauseous every day. And when we stopped the car, blobby thought we were still moving so I had some terrible dizziness, but this did settle down after a few minutes. I found I got very tired after our few days out and about in Sydney, so we made the decision to pull back a bit on activities, and mainly on catching up with people (so my sincere apologies to anyone who wanted to see us and didn't). The lack of sleep was starting to knock me a bit, so having a quiet day once we got to Canberra was absolutely necessary. Even with this, by the time we had done the National Museum, I was done. I really couldn't have done too much more.

However it wasn't until the drive home that I really hit the wall. That day of driving was a bit too much. By the time we had made it to our hotel I was shattered. It is hard to describe, but my brain just shuts down. I can't think, or do basic things. It isn't a nice feeling.

Unfortunately, once we got home, I didn't quite have the chance to rest. The following day was a swimming day, and I had a billion loads of washing to do. The kids seemed a bit unsettled and both had been up during the night. By the Thursday I was really struggling; to the point where I nearly called up my neurologist to ask to be admitted. I was so nauseous, I felt like I wasn't coping.  James had to remind me that even though I felt bad, I was nowhere near as bad as at any time in the past.

Thankfully the kids went off to daycare on Thursday and I pretty much spent the whole day in bed. Friday was better, and by the following Monday I was feeling nearly "normal". (well as normal as I ever feel).

I am glad that I had increased my dex before we went. I don't think I would have made it through the week without that. Unfortunately it has now given me some insomnia (I probably had that a bit while we were away but was so tired from doing things that it balanced out. But now I am rested again it is kicking in) which is frustrating as it makes me even more fatigued during the day. 

So generally I was pleased with how well I coped. I have to remind myself that I can do these things without falling into a heap. Yes I do have to factor in more rest time, but I don't have to be afraid of what blobby is going to do to me. So we now have to get back into a normal routine. I have started a resistance progam at the gym and am now going 4 days a week so hopefully that will help with my energy levels as well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our big trip away - part two

There has been some suggestion after my last post that the car trip with the kids didn't sound that bad. I did miss adding in Angus' contributions. He had his blankie with him. Which he would drop. WEEAAAHGH. I'd turn around and pick it up. WEEAAAHGH sigh. Pick it up. WEEEEEAAEEAHGH. Grrrr. Eventually we tied it to him so he couldn't drop it. WEEAAAHGH. hmmmm someone thinks this is a game.

We had left Sydney a bit later than we thought, and had made sure Charlotte went to the toilet before we left. An hour later "Muuuum! I need to go wee wee. I'm going to explode!". I can tell you that an hour out of Sydney there are no public toilets. No truck stops. No pullovers. We found an emergency stopping zone which I can assure you, did not feel safe. Luckily we had packed a potty with us (thanks to one of my Mum friends for that recommendation, certainly a lifesaver). Put her on it "I've run out of wee". Grrrrrr.

We finally made it to my sisters house just outside of Canberra and had gorgeous baby snuggles with baby J. She is just so divine, and tiny, and snuggly and gorgeous. It was lovely to be able to spend time with my sister and her family. We had a lovely dinner out at their local pub and an early night. We were pretty tired at this point. Sharing a room with both kids does not make for a good nights sleep, on top of how busy we had been. So the next day we had a quiet day hanging around home, with some more snuggles. We did manage a trip to a local cellar door for afternoon tea (and some wine tasting, yummo. I can't remember the last time we did wine tasting).

Our next day we went to Questacon. This is a huge must for anyone visiting Canberra. I wasn't sure how much Charlotte would get it, but she loved every bit of it. It helps that there are so many exhibits that are hands on. She could push buttons, pull levers, play with things. There was even a robot! Questacon also has an area called mini-q which is set up for under sixes. There is a water play table (although the smocks provided aren't quite waterproof) which Angus LOVED. There was a climbing frame, and these fabulous role play areas (a space ship, bakery, garage, vets, construction site). Both kids had a ball here. James also had a great time, going on the free fall slide. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was the kid...

The next day we went to visit the National Museum. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with this. The exhibits didn't feel cohesive, or with a clear direction. And what I thought would have been important (such as personal items of Captain Cook) were tucked away in a corner. At one point, we let Angus out of the stroller to run around. I guess we were both quite tired. I thought James was watching him, he thought I was. Next thing I hear a whoop, whoop, whoop sound. Hmmm, that sounds like someone could be climbing on an exhibit. ANGUS NOOOO! He decided he wanted to get a good look at the Model T Ford. oooops. Time to go, so we headed up to Black mountain for some more afternoon tea instead. Charlotte found the concept of a black mountain with green trees very fascinating.

Our last day in Canberra my sister looked after the kids and we had a lovely lunch out. James then went off with my sister to see a concert while I looked after the kids (Uncle C, not the Sydney Uncle C, the other Uncle C) had been called out to a fire (he is in the CFA, but it was very exciting to see a real fireman in his uniform!). It was time to pack up and head home, very tired, but with lots of sightseeing achieved! And it was so wonderful to see my brother and sister, nephew and of course, baby J!

Our drive home was a lot better than the way down. However we made a bit of an error in judgment by trying to make it to Tamworth (from Canberra). We made it, but that last hour was a real stretch. The kids were actually quite good. We finally found a DVD that kept them both happy (Play school) and we worked out that plying them with muesli bars kept their hunger at bay. Angus did have a poo explosion, but thankfully Charlotte didn't have an accident at all the entire week. We finally arrived home (and yes Charlie was still there, happy as a cat can be). I am glad we did it, and made the effort to do lots of activities, but also happy to not go away for a little while.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy 18 months Angus!

Angus is 18 months old today. I can't believe how fast that has gone. He is turning into a little man right before our eyes. I have been trying to hold onto my "baby" but I think I have to accept that he is now a toddler.

The last few months have seen quite a few changes in him. Sadly, I think of his development as before I went into hospital and after, as really there was a whole month where I hardly saw him. Of course there were some big things at that time - he stopped breastfeeding, and James managed to get him to sleep through (well some nights, he still doesn't sleep through every night, maybe one in 3).

During that time he also became attached to his blanket (or "blankie"). This has irritated me no end as it is an entire blanket, that he insists on carrying around (think Linus from Snoopy). Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with children getting attached to toys (Charlotte still has her elephant that she's had since birth). We have supplied him with no end of adorable stuffed toys, some of which he likes, but none are as precious as that blankie.

He also became more independent with his eating. Which is great. Now we just have to give him a bowl and a spoon and fork and he feeds himself. It can get a bit messy. For a while there we could tandem feed (we would both have a spoon and I could alternate mouthfuls) but now if I even approach him with a spoon it causes a bit of a tantrum. He is a tiny bit fussy with foods although pasta and carrots are his favourite. I think he picks up on what Charlotte will and won't eat and reacts accordingly. He certainly copies everything else she does!

Angus is definitely acting like a little boy. His favourite toy is a truck although he will happily play in the toy kitchen for ages on end. However he LOVES being outside. I am so grateful the weather is warming up as he never wants to come inside. And if there is water to play with, well.... Angus is also a bit of a climber, and a jumper. I caught him yesterday climbing up onto the ottoman, and then leaping from that onto the couch. Which sounds ok, except the couch was probably about 2 feet away. He did make it though, just, rolled off, giggled, and did it again. We are starting to see more and more of this mischievous side of him coming out.

One area of his development that I have been concerned with is his language. I know, all boys are slow, but I wouldn't be able to call myself a good OT if I wasn't worried about meeting milestones. Up until recently he really didn't have any words at all. And what words he did have actually disappeared (he went from calling us Mama and Dada to just being Mama). However I am delighted that since our holiday his vocabulary has increased dramatically. We are now getting a word every day which is great. I still think he is behind, and I will still keep an eye on it, but I am reassured that we are heading in the right direction.

I certainly have no worries about his comprehension. He understands everything we tell him and can easily follow directions. He is at that very sweet stage where he wants to help out with things. So he puts the cutlery from the dishwasher away, helps feed the cat, puts clothes in the basket etc. I do love this stage of development. Apart from the whingy, clingy behaviour that is. But then I also like getting cuddles.

When Charlotte was this age I had terrible morning sickness, and I know I felt bad that I couldn't really enjoy her. I am determined to treasure every moment of this wonderful age with Angus.

Playing in the TV cabinet, as you do

Playing at the beach. He was a bit scared of the waves but loved the sand

My adorable Angus

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our big trip away - part one

We got back from our big trip away last week and it was fun. I say that in a "oh my god why oh why did we think travelling with two small children was a good idea" way. I realised that you just have to change your expectation of what travelling with children means. For them it is all about new experiences. For us it is about bundling those experiences into small, manageable, bites that don't leave all of us exhausted and cranky.

The drive down probably didn't start well. Less than 5 minutes after leaving Charlotte asked "who is going to look after Charlie (the cat)". We replied that her uncle was going to house sit for us. Suddenly it began "I missss Charlie, I want to seeeee Charlie, I waaaannnt to go hoooome". We tried to distract her with the thought that we would be visiting our new niece, baby J. Which worked "I want to see baaabbbby JJJJJ, I want to seee herrrrr nooooowwww, this is boooring, driving is boooorrrriiiing". sigh.

I was quite paranoid about Charlotte's toiletting on this trip. She can sometimes leave it a bit late so I thought I would ask her frequently if she needed to go. No she would say. 10 minutes later "I got wee wee coming!". So we did schedule frequent stops, and often where there was a playground. Playgrounds became our favourite thing to find. "But I want to stop at a plaaaaaayground". sigh.

After lunch on the first day we plugged in our new toy - a dual dvd player. James and I have previously eschewed technology like this but have since decided that if it is there, we should embrace it. We also stupidly gave Charlotte the remote. The conversation went like this: "I've dropped the remote, where is the remote, it's not working, I dropped the headphones, Muum Angus has the remote, Mum Angus has the headphone wrapped around his neck, Muuuuuum Anugs is pulling on the cords". sigh.

With relief we arrived at our hotel which was so exciting. There was a BED just for Charlotte, and in the same room as Mum and Dad!! I cannot stress how exciting this was for her. Unfortunately it meant getting both of them to sleep was a challenge and eventually we just had to turn all the lights off (at 8.30pm) and go to sleep ourselves.

The second day of driving brought more loo breaks (and the chance to pat some horses), more playgrounds, more dropped remotes. It took us a lot longer than we thought to drive just a few hundred kilometres. However we finally arrived in Sydney and to Uncle C and K's house (and another playground). We had a yummy dinner out at a local restaurant (although a tip - if they don't have a highchair, it probably isn't going to be a great experience. My apologies to the other diners).

The next day was a typical Sydney day with glorious weather so we headed off to the train station and to Circular Quay. The kids loved this (not having been on many trains before) and there were just so many things to look at. Trains, boats, planes. The fact that we were also looking at one of the most beautiful harbours in the world was lost on them, but we appreciated it. A fun ferry ride later and we were in Manly. The weather was a bit nippy, and we had no intention of swimming. May I suggest that it is a mistake to take a toddler to the beach if you don't want her to get in the water? We may have had a bit of a tantrum at the beach. But fish-n-nuggets (what Charlotte calls fish and chips) was enjoyed by all (well except me, I don't eat fish) followed by an ice-cream.

Day two and we met up with a good friend and her daughter at the Sydney Aquarium. Again this was so much fun for the kids. There were fish everywhere! The kids just wanted to run from one exhibit to another. After some lunch we went to the water playground at Darling Harbour. I strongly recommend this for anyone going to Sydney. It was fabulous, with water bubblers, and rivers flowing. We just stripped the kids off and let them play for well over an hour. It was hard to get them away!

The next day we packed up, feeling very tired, to head off to Canberra and to finally see baby J!