The things I didn’t know I wouldn’t know

I originally published this on September 24, 2011 when my first was a wee babe. I was talking about this post in the car the other day with a lass who hopes to be a mum very soon. I told her that everyone having a baby obviously has a different experience, and that some find this motherhood gig easier than others at first. Hell, all the time! It depends on so many variables.

I really felt like I hit the ground running when I had my kids. Like I was born for this. Sure there were hiccups, I remember one particularly stressful night sleeping on the floor of the baby’s room covered in a kiddie bath towel, but for the most part I had complete confidence in me, my baby, and knowing how to get by and thrive. Until this happened:

Miss Veggie Baby has been sick this week. Snotty, dribbly, incredibly out of sorts and not sleeping.

Two nights ago she screamed inconsolably for ages, which is incredibly out of character for her, and I found myself wondering… is it something I did?

And I realised this has been quite a running theme throughout the last six months… is her behaviour from something I’ve done? Something I haven’t done? Are the choices I’ve made the right ones? Why is she crying like that? Why hasn’t she pooped today? Does she hate my cooking? What if?

Given that they can’t tell you what is wrong, one is reduced to insane guesswork, leaping further and further into assumptions and musings and plain old guilt.

Was she crying because she was teething? She was immunised the day before, could that have been it? Was she reacting to the eggplant puree she’d had for dinner for the first time? Did her stomach hurt? Was she tired? Was she hungry? Would going for a walk in the fresh air help? Was it because I ate that English mustard when I was 8 months pregnant with her?

Did I put enough sunscreen on her? Is the water too cold for her feet? Should we sit more in the shade? Is it ok if she eats the sand?
That thing hasn’t been sterilised, should she put it in her mouth?
Should I really let the cat sleep with her? They love each other so much and he has never hurt her. He just curls up at her feet. They need to co-exist in the same house, should I let them be friends right from the start? Should I lock him in the other room?
Should she be eating a rusk and lying down? She seems to like it. Should she even be eating a rusk at this age? Did I start solids too early? Should I really be buying her pink things? Is she watching too much TV? Should I not have turned the TV on until she was two?
It’s been strange for me, as I love researching and I love knowing and I love being in control. I love knowing what to expect, and what to do when it happens. Nobody ever told me I’d spend the rest of my highly-educated life staring at a crying baby and knowing nothing concrete, just going with my gut.
But what if my gut is wrong?
Ps… they stop crying after a bit. And they start telling you what’s wrong. Loudly. And usually while other people are watching ;-)
Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Kids Live Here

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Bye bye house with the crazy pink carpet!



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These are the Golden Days

Image credit:

Image credit:

The other day I was buying one of Smalls’s birthday presents, and I couldn’t resist getting myself a little something too. This These are the Golden Days print sums up pretty much exactly how I feel about parenting my two- and three-year-old right now.

They are hilarious. And totally adorable. One serious, verbose, sensitive, kind, and completely incapable of having the wool pulled over her eyes. She is sharp as a tack, that one. Doesn’t miss a thing. Is an interesting conversation partner, and has just started drawing circle people with sticks for arms and legs.

The other is a big-toothed grinning menace, who never says the first half of her words, who sits on the toilet fully clothed but makes the “pssh” noise like she’s actually doing something, mangles “sandwich” like you wouldn’t believe, and randomly hugs me and strokes my hair. She puts her hand under my chin and says “orright?” and then toddles off on her tiny legs.

Neither of them can pour their own cereal or make their own sandwiches, so we’re nowhere near out of the Intensive Parenting Woods (I hear that’s where the Big Bad Wolf lives), but it’s also not the 24-hour-a-day onslaught that is a newborn (or toddler and a newborn, heaven help me).

Next year is Kinder, and the year after that is SCHOOL OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP and I’m right in that spot where I could freeze time and hang out here forever, making playdough and baking cakes and buying tiny shorts. These guys are fun and interesting, and while still totally toddler-irrational from time to time (not to mention the picky food issues), they are a joy to parent.

Remind me of this when someone’s stolen the other one’s eyeliner and someone is out past curfew with their phone turned off.

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My Parenting Style, Summed up in One Image

Peter-Rabbit-BirthdaySmalls is two today. And as I was going through the photos of her first birthday party (it was a Peter Rabbit theme complete with carrot cake because of course), I came across this one I forgot.

I had tried to order cupcakes from a friend who is much better at decorating them than I am, but she had to pull out at the last minute, which meant my earnest but skill-less efforts were all that I could provide on the day. Knowing full well nobody would give a shit if they were ugly (as long as they tasted good) and as long as there was plenty of good food, sunshine, happy people, and a jumping castle everyone would have a good time, I put down my first attempt at a garden cupcake with a grimace, but also a shrug.

What everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It totally sums up my whole approach to parenting, though: Try hard, do your best, do it with love, and when it falls short of your high ideals but is still enough, then take the piss out of yourself.

Then go have a beer or something. Enjoy that sunshine.

My parenting motto coming soon to a pinnable Pinterest image near you.


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Kids live here

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Imperfect mothering

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A little while ago, Rachel from A Mother Far From Home emailed me and asked me some curly questions about my parenting. She was going to compile them so her readers could feel a little reassured that we’re all just trying to do our best, and that nobody is perfect.

I’m so imperfect I couldn’t even get my reply email back to her on time! I started answering her questions, then I got distracted, and before you know it, I hadn’t done my bit. Eep.

So in the interests of having a bit of a chat about parenting honestly, here are my answers. You can read everyone else’s here. I LOVE that picture of Rachel and her kids. That’s basically how I feel every day.

1. What part of motherhood and parenting do you feel really good at?

Nurturing, communicating effectively, being spontaneous, being fun, being present (most of the time) and not freaking out. Especially when they cover my house in 5 kilos of flour.

2. Where do you feel that you fall short?

I’m not very patient when I haven’t slept well (or am hungry, whoa), self restraint when frustrated, keeping the floor clean. I also suck at the work-at-home mother balance occasionally. Both ways – either working when I shouldn’t, nor not working when I should.

3. How do you overcome the plague that is mother guilt?

The only thing I feel guilty about is when I lose my temper, or something similar, and so I try to cut myself some slack. Two toddlers would drive anyone to breaking point eventually! I just apologise, make amends and move on. I don’t feel guilty about taking time out for me, or for working, or anything of that nature. I am an attentive, caring, nurturing mother who occasionally goes out without her kids and works from home two days a week.

4. On your deathbed, what do you want to be able to say you taught your kids?

To feel the fear and do it anyway while living and letting live. And how to make an excellent cup of tea.


What would your answers to these questions be?

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Kids Live Here

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Tiny tyrants have taken over the house. It’s kinda fun. But I’m not gonna lie, I can’t wait until they can pick up their own tipped-out pencils twelve times a day.

What’s it like at yours?

What are you sick to death of doing for the eight-millionth time?


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Picasso Baby (otherwise entitled “My Kid Won’t Stop Drawing on Shit”)

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I have a kid who is obsessed with drawing. She will draw anywhere, at any time. If the house is quiet and I’m not sure where she’s gone? She’s at this table, drawing.

Or she’s drawing on the bathroom floor. Or the hallway walls. Or the kitchen table, her bed, the carpet, herself, the closet in my bedroom, and all of her dolls and teddies.

She will fill an entire scrapbook in two drawing sessions. Tight little scribbles, endless circles, every colour under the sun. 

I have always said I hope my children are creative. I feel as though academics and sport and music and all the other things kids like to do and excel at, they can be taught. I think creativity can be nurtured, but is mostly innate. I hope she dyes her hair green and lives on an art farm in France and never shaves her armpits and sleeps with her favourite paintbrushes under her pillow. 

Every single time I think about her drawing, I end up singing this song. So, that’s a lot. But I’ve had this album on repeat for months, anyway. Picasso, baby!

No sympathy for the King, huh?

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