We bought a house! Wow and yay!!!!!! 

It’s been such a long process – we’ve been seriously looking ever since I went back to paid work and it’s been an exercise in frustration and disappointment. It had started to feel like we would have to give up and look at renting somewhere different next year (mainly because of access – our place is down a flight of stairs from the road, and in Wellington that means not just 4 or 5 steps but 40 or 50 steps). And now we have a house! We’re moving in 3 weeks! We better get our act together. 

Half of our deposit is coming out of our KiwiSaver accounts. I feel like we owe Michael Cullen a beer. 

Use your words

A few days ago the little dude was playing on the rug in our lounge and I was sitting on the couch watching him and occasionally engaging with what he was doing (Him: “Minny. Minny? Don. Don! Donnnn.” Me: “Miffy isn’t gone, she’s on the chair, look behind you”, etc). So he’s busily playing and then he suddenly leaves his toys and starts whinging and comes trotting up to me and tries to scramble into my lap.

I buddle him up into a cuddle and say “what’s up my darling? Is something sore?”

“No”

“Are you just a bit tired sweetheart, do you think it’s time for the bath soon?”

“No”

“Do you need a new nappy? Is it uncomfy?”

“No”

“Is it just a little bit of random toddler angst?”

“Yeah”

“You just want a cuddle to feel nice again?”

“Yeah”

The next morning he comes up to me and makes a whinging noise and reaches his arms up to be picked up and says “anst”.

———

He doesn’t say “me”, instead he points at his chest and says “dis” (this).

———

Last week I said “turn round” meaning “turn round approximately 180 degrees” and he turned round and round and round and round until he fell down dizzy.

Does it get easier…

Some people with older kids are fond of telling me that it doesn’t get easier, it just gets different.

Ok maybe, but if you go away for a weekend with a ten year old and they wake at 5.15am because birds are squaking outside, they can check the clock and then either go back to sleep or watch cartoons or read or something – and you can stay in bed, right?

Random list of ways that being pregnant with number two feels different

I keep losing track of how many weeks pregnant I am.

The due date is not etched into my mind. Baby is expected in late March. Due dates are stupid rubbish.

I have given almost no thought as to things we’ll need to buy.

Late March feels very far away.

I feel less connected to the baby compared with this stage when I was pregnant with the little dude. The very forceful presence of the toddler in my life doesn’t leave much room to be constantly conscious of being pregnant.

I’m less worried less about all the pregnancy do and don’t lists.

Monthly antenatal checkups seem very frequent. I have almost no questions.

I don’t want to go on maternity leave as far in advance of the baby’s arrival.Last time I felt like I wanted mental space away from work to do nothing except be pregnant and prepare for baby. This time I’m not so concerned about that.

I’m not really thinking about how it will be when the baby arrives, how it will upend our lives. I know that we’ll adjust like we did before.

I wonder what the baby will be like as a toddler and as a crawler. Last time I couldn’t think beyond newborn. This time I actually need to remind myself that the baby will start off a tiny squidge.

Search continues for schools silver bullet

Very brief thoughts, because I’m at work – boils down to you can’t solve deprivation without solving deprivation. 20 years ago just as the 90s welfare reforms were biting I was eight years old at primary school, and my primary school was the closest school to a block of dire council flats in a rapidly gentrifying area. In my class there were many kids who formed part of that “long tail of underachievement”. It’s not rocket science why they do badly at school. I started school knowing how to write the alphabet and count to 20, with a full lunch box every day and warm clothes and a house where parents were present and engaged in my learning. It was like I only had to run a half marathon after months of training and they had to run a full marathon without any training. By the time I went to uni, I didn’t know any of those kids anymore. And I certainly don’t often meet people in jobs like mine who came from that sort of background.

Search continues for schools silver bullet

The small stuff

I blogged last night about parenting for the big stuff – emotional regulation, sleeping, eating. A lot of parenting is also the small stuff. Trying to get them to not throw food out of the high chair. Trying to get clothes on them that suit the weather. I aim to pick my battles with the small stuff. My rule of thumb is, do adults do this thing? If the answer is no, then it’s probable that it will self-correct. If the answer is yes, then it’s something that requires sustained parenting focus over the next several years. 

Adults often behave with appalling rudeness. Adults are often petty. Adults who have good jobs and are pillars of the community and see themselves as generally functional people are often really not good at listening to other people’s perspectives. Adults are often loathe to acknowledge that they’re wrong. 

So when choosing whether and how to address a behaviour that I don’t want him to display, I try to first think – wait, what are the stakes here? Sure, if I laugh the first time he blows a raspberry with a face full of milk he will do it again – but how many adults do this at every meal? Is there any risk that he’ll grow up not knowing that it’s rude to spit out a drink? Not really. So I’ll confiscate the cup and explain that milk is for drinking not spitting, but I don’t need to actually worry about the behaviour. 

Which is well and good at home, but the difficulty is all those times we’re not at home and he is a toddler being a toddler, and I want to not be super critical towards him and at the same time I don’t want random strangers to be super critical towards me. When I’m in a public space with the little dude and not with another adult, I often feel like I’m performing the role of Calm and Competent Mother in Public. Do other mothers feel like this sometimes? And while I know that I can never perform this role to the satisfaction of everyone in the audience, I still really don’t want to be heckled. 

Sometimes I try to imagine instead that there is someone in the audience who is just my kind of parent, but her kids aren’t there right then (maybe they’re all grown up) and she’s looking at me with total sympathy and understanding but my back is turned and I can’t see her, and if anyone heckles me she’s gonna take them to task. 

The ‘mommy wars’ are the patriarchy’s latest attempt to control women | Kim Lock

Such a great article. I wrote about the playground war ad last year, including how I find that parents of kids the same age are the least likely to judge because they know how life is. So much ughhhhhh at this campaign. So much ughhhh. 

The ‘mommy wars’ are the patriarchy’s latest attempt to control women | Kim Lock