DOING: typing on my computer while Joan naps - it's the same story every time. Though at the moment I’m using my old computer, which is SLOW and the mouse does a freak-out-dance every minute or so, buzzing across the screen uncontrollably. I cannot login to my blog or work site, as the computer is so outdated and needs upgrades, but Word still works. So I’m sitting here with a fresh cup of copy typing. It was an early start today, Joan woke at 4:45am and would NOT go back to sleep despite us trying EVERYTHING. She’s one determined little lady. So we got up, made pancakes and went on a walk.
HEARING: Ben working in the study, a plane overhead and the white noise app on my phone (set to “heavy rain”). If you’d have told me when Joan was a few months old that I’d still be wearing her for most of her naps and we’d still be using the white noise app I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are, and now, it’s just what we do. Even more so lately, as when she has a cold I particularly like to wear her for her naps - being upright on my chest it helps her sleep soundly and keep her nose clear.
EATING + COOKING: we’ve been making porridge for breakfast, and sometimes lunch or dinner for Joan if we’re eating foods that aren’t bubba-friendly (which this month looked like takeaway pizza in bed and super hot curry). Joan is really starting to show preferences for foods and porridge is in her top favourites. I've also been eating a lot of this slice with tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. Other than that we’ve been eating lots of scrambled eggs, potato, sweet potato, frozen peas, cabbage and kale. Broccoli and cauliflower, too, usually roasted. We’re going through our freezer in anticipation of the move, which means selecting a container in the morning, lamenting the fact that I never label anything and findig out later that evening what it is we’re eating. Invariably it’s lamb stew, lentils, beef cheek, meatballs or tomatoey zucchini pasta sauces. Good, hearty, comforting food for Winter. If it’s not a freezer-meal, I’ll cook some veg and make salmon patties or go the “abundance bowl” route with quinoa, veggies, roasted chickpeas and canned fish or a fried egg.
DRINKING: smoothies have come back into my life this month. My go-to is this cacao + oat thickshake, however lately I’ve been replacing the nut butter with ¼ an avocado, upon suggestion from someone on instagram. It’s good! Joan adores smoothies and fresh veggie + ginger juices, so that’s something we’ve been doing lately, going on smoothie or juice dates. We use this great cup for thin liquids and she shares my straw for thicker smoothies. Last weekend we went out for a pasta date (our favourite) and shared a carrot, orange, ginger juice. I'm fairly certain she like the act of sucking on the straw just as much as the liquid, if not more, but I'll take that.
READING: I’ve just finished Not That Kind Of Girl, by Lena Dunham. I adore the show Girls and find her work there to be relevant and refreshing. The fact that she gets naked on screen so much and the fact that I find it refreshing to see a body like hers “on display” shows how screwed up the media is in only showing one type of body for so long that I forget what other bodies look like. Diversity is important. Anyway, I’m on the hunt for some great fiction that is easy to read and not too trashy (I say that 100% without judgement, by the way. Some people like trashy reads and trashy tv, and I totally get why, it’s just not my thing.) It’s not like I’m wanting to read Tolstoy or anything, just not present-day dating type stuff, you know? I prefer historical fiction, BBC kinda vibes... Please send through any recommendations!
WANTING: to get my eyebrows waxed. It’s been over a year, people!! And I haven’t touched them. They’re super light, so you usually cannot notice but it’s gotten to the point where you can actually notice and that’s totally fine if you like it that way, but I prefer my brows a little more groomed. I also like my legs shaved but who has the time for that? It’s winter and all, so it's not uncommon for that to happen, but I got the reminder recently that I'd left it too long (it's always a sign when I can feel my hairs bristling in the breeze when I move about). I’m taking care of it.
PLAYING: Joan and I have been playing “putting things in the box and taking them out again”. She has a shape sorter toy thing but prefers to use random objects and boxes for this. When she gets so into it and concentrates, I just sit back and watch her mind tick. It’s gorgeous.
DECIDING: when Ben and I can go on a date. Things are a little busy right now, and weekends are booked up, but I do want to make the time to hang with my original bff, just the two of us. We’ve done less of that than I thought we would since becoming parents (surprise surprise) and I think it’s important we start making the time. The grandparents are super keen for solo Joan time, too. I thought we may go to see the new Bourne movie but I looked it up on IMDB and it only scores a 7. Do I really want to use my free time on a movie that gets below 8? Nope. I actually really want to see Captain Fantastic but I don’t know when/if that’s coming to Australia. So we may just do a coffee + shopping date. And that’s pretty darn good too.
ENJOYING: watching the birds fly around from outside our living room window. Joan’s first word was “bird”, and since forever we have been pointing out the birds on our walks. She is fascinated by them. We’ve got this sweet spot in our living room/kitchen area with huge windows where we can see them fly by. If we wait there, staring, we’re guaranteed to at least see one “BUD” and usually more. Watching her watching them, waiting with anticipation and announcing what she sees with such enthusiasm, pointing and exhaling in awe, is quite seriously the best thing in my life. We'll miss this spot when we move house next month, so will no doubt promptly find another bird watching spot in our new home. I used be scared of birds but now I just deal with them because Joan adores "buds" so much. I'm still suspicious of any that get too close and maintain that they have freaky beaks that can pick your eyeballs out, but I'll deal with the rest of it. Because they really are lovely to watch.
LOOKING: for good pillows. We need to buy some more, I dare not think how long we’ve had our current ones. And I’d like to buy some with good materials, seeing as we have our faces on them for hours upon hours, but I have no idea what that really means or where to start. Is anyone a pillow expert? I’m kind of a dingbat when it comes to fabrics and materials.
LOVING: the sunshine and warmer weather. I adore winter, mainly for the cozy vibes and warm knits and slow-cooked comfort food, but this week I remembered how sweet spring feels and now I’m stubbornly excited for sunshine and sandals and salads.
BUYING: we bought Joan some new shoes a couple of weeks ago. Seeing my baby girl proudly walk/run around the old-school shoe shop in her new, little boots after getting properly fitted was entirely too much for my mumma heart. There weren’t a lot of options in her size, as she’s pretty tiny (size 3), however we found a pair of fancy Italian leather shoes that were half price and suited her perfectly. She clunked around to begin with, but soon enough owned them and confidently roamed the room, exploring every corner, as she does. Oh, my girl. She is such a rough and tumble go-getter. People say it must be hard now to keep up with Joan now that she is walking, but she’s always moved a lot and kept me on my toes. What I truly find challenging and draining is keeping her happy and distracted when we are at the shops or out somewhere and she’s wanting to explore and run around/grab everything/put stuff in her mouth/pull down shopping displays/dive into baskets….and I cannot let that happen because most of the time it’s not safe, you know? But she’s too little to truly understand why she can put some things in her mouth and why other things she cannot, or why she can play in some areas but not others. I show empathy and let her have her feelings, and explain why, and I'm excited for when she shows more understanding in this regard. At the moment it's a lot of back arching + screaming, which breaks my heart. And while I let her express herself, I also try to avoid those situations in the first place and distract her so she doesn't feel too frustrated. It's my job to keep her safe and let her express her feelings and let her know that it's ok and that whatever she's feeling is never too much for me. THAT is what I find tiring, particularly if I’m tired to begin with. I've pretty much been following my instincts with parenting so far, however recently I felt like getting a little guidance from experts in helping me tackle challenging situations. Upon encouragement from a reader (thanks, Sophie!), I found RIE and their resources and really relate to it. I lovely following Teresa Palmer and we parent in similar ways, so I appreciated her round-up of resources on her site Your Zen Mama, which led me to Janet Lansbury and her podcast. This reading and listening has helped affirm things and put what I'm trying to do clearer in my mind, which is good because I feel like I have a toddler on my hands already. And Joan seems to be responding already. Previously I'd sneak out trying to have a quick 1 minute shower while she played in her safe area hoping she'd not notice and continue playing happily, but babies are so perceptive and she'd invariably come crying for me. Since I started saying "I'm going to have a quick shower now, Joan, I'll be back in a minute", she has not come knocking on the bathroom door. Babies understand so much more than we realise, and while I've always narrated what I was doing and chatted to Joan, I'm now involving her in the decision making process more and having her help me (which is making nappy changes easier!) and encouraging her to choose from two options... and I am honestly freaked out by how much she understands. So while I thought I'd have a few more months before needing to get into this, I'm starting early and looking to RIE and other schools of thought for inspiration and encouragement when it comes to parenting a toddler, creating boundaries and following through with natural consequences. It feels like a good fit for both of us and I'm excited to see how our relationship evolves as we both grow.
PLANNING: on making banana bread when Joan wakes. I'm also planning what I need to do for her party we're having on the weekend. I want to do as much as possible before the 27th so I can spend the day dancing with my girl and husband, drinking champagne and celebrating one year of parenthood.
WATCHING:The Killing, season 4. We’ve also started The Jinx and I’ve recently finished Marcella (fun fact, Joan was close to being called Marcella). Crime mysteries are my thing. I have attempted watching Stranger Things twice now but it's always at night and I'm always alone (besides Joan asleep next to me), so after only five seconds I get scared and turn it off.
SAVOURING: every day before Joan turns one. She already feels like a toddler and no longer my little baby, and I cannot quite believe that in less than two weeks she will be a “one year old”. Far out, man!
CONSIDERING: getting fish & chips for dinner because it’s warm outside and feels right! I’ve bought ingredients to make shepherd’s pie, though, and if I know myself I’ll end up making the pie. If I were to ask Ben he’d totally be the devil on my shoulder – “YES!”, he’d say, “Let’s get takeout! Fish & chip!! Oooorrrrrr what about Chinese?” The dude loves takeout Asian, the dirtier the better. Yeah, I think I’ll make the pie.
WEARING: I finally (clearly a bit late) opened up the suitcase containing my winter clothes, and have been rocking knits my nana made and wore when she was my age. She is one talented lady, the quality is outstanding. There’s one red and white jumper which fits snug and has a high neck. When I wear it I feel like a Swiss gal, a true “Heidi”.
FEELING: Content. And balanced. I’m honestly surprised how balanced I feel, as someone whose mood is (or perhaps more accurately, was) greatly influenced by how much sleep they get. Every night with Joan is different and so each morning I wake at a different place on the scale of exhausted to well-rested. But now, oooooh some 7 or 8 months after I stopped looking at the clock overnight and worrying about how much sleep I was getting, I feel really content. On the days I wake tired, I know they pass. If it's a work day that can be tough, but that's when I really do the “treat yo’self” thing and prioritise whatever self-care practice is most achievable, because I know that good, wholesome food + a walk in fresh air does wonders in helping me feel like a person again. Thankfully I love my job and feel energised when chatting to clients, regardless. And on the days I wake feeling refreshed, I make the most of a clear mind and good energy and I get things done. In the early weeks after Joan's birth I would cry big tears to Ben that I was soooo tired, and that I only cared because I just wanted to be my best for Joan. Now I understand that rough days happen, in fact they’re a substantial part of our lives, especially with little ones who demand a lot from us, but that doesn't mean you cannot also feel really good at the same time. I now realise that for the foreseeable future, while I have a young child (and hopefully more), this is how it will be, this dance between feeling so happy you could burst AND feeling so drained you just want to stare at a wall and then sleep for twelve, uninterrupted hours. This first year of motherhood has been tiring in ways I couldn’t fully comprehend before becoming a parent, and at the same time even more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.