Devin has been incredibly spoiled. So spoiled that even now, at 9pm on Boxing Day, he still has two unopened presents under the tree, after opening the majority yesterday and another two today. That’s what happens when the only grandchild also happens to live five hours away from Grandma and Poppy for most of the year.

I am extremely grateful for my parents’ generosity, to all three of us. I could say much more, but I’m reluctant to talk about gifts for much longer. With no religion and no desire to be religious, Christmas (as irrelevant as the name is to us) is basically left to be about food and presents (to those brought up in a christened-but-actually-agnostic family, in a Christian-majority country), and it’s nice to have a family to have that with.

It’s raining, I’ve had far too much chocolate (but I want more) and I’m not sure what we’ll do tomorrow. My mind isn’t relaxed, and I’m still anxious about a lot of things, but I feel very thankful.

Three’s company.

My sister just visited for a few days, and it made me realise all over again how trying it is to be raising Devin with no family or friends around. Or even daycare. And how bored and frustrated Devin is with us.

We went out together, alone, for the first time in 13 months. Thirteen. And I’m just realising now as I write this how insane that is. Like, how have we lasted this long? It’s hard to maintain a relationship with your partner when there is always a third wheel, even if the wheel is your offspring. We’re all pretty frazzled and tense at the moment. But we’re doing our best. Things will get easier.

Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside.

I know I don’t post often here, but I do actually write and save regularly with the intention of eventually making a post. At least half of that I delete because I often write when I’m angry, frustrated or upset. The rest is unfinished snippets and thoughts that trail off. My attention span and short-term memory are terrible, and when I do finally think of the sentence I’ve been searching for, I frequently forget it before I can type it out. Yes, it’s that bad.

So here is something I started writing a while ago. It’s not so interesting, but it’s something.

I am in a position where I’m suddenly seeing a lot of pregnancy announcements, and with each new one, I feel a pang of envy and instinct –
Have a baby, have a baby, have a baby.

I would like to be pregnant again. I would like another baby. And another one. I told Jene one day that even with the three of us, it feels lonely sometimes. Like someone is missing.
It’s not just a case of primal urges trying to override my rationale (though they do try very hard). I have given it a lot of thought. I do logically want more children.

But not now.

Whether because Devin is a ‘difficult’ baby, or because I am a ‘difficult’ mother, or both, caring for one baby has been very taxing. I’m almost inclined to say that I want to get a handle on parenting one child before I add another, but honestly… at what point will that happen? If at all? Every age is going to bring new challenges, and I will always be just a little lost.
I think what I’m actually waiting for is confidence. Understanding that sometimes I won’t know what exactly to do, but knowing that we’ll still be all right. At the moment, I’m still learning how to cope with one.

Of course, there are other deciding factors. Not least of all that I still have quite a few years of fertility left.
Although in saying that…
Since I had my first baby at 21, I’d really like to be finished by the time I’m, say, 30.
It might be possible for me to have a child at 40, but I don’t really want to be starting all over again when my eldest is 20 and has (potentially) moved out of home. I would really like to bunch my child-raising years together, as much as possible.
This is, of course, just my ideal.

And now that you’re all caught up on my family planning, I’ll make my hasty exit.

I’ve been waiting so long to be where I’m going…

My past week hasn’t been fantastic. Between Devin’s bad sleeping (and consequent daytime tantrums), crappy weather (cold, cloudy, a little rainy and ridiculously, irritatingly windy), and a serious slump in my self-confidence, it’s just been quite trying.

Today, though… Oh. It was sunny, fairly warm (a balmy 16 degrees Celsius) and just a little breezy. Our bog of a back lawn is finally getting the chance to dry out (well, slowly), and we were able to play outside comfortably without a bone-chilling wind cutting through all our layers of clothing.

Devin slept in until 8:30 this morning – unheard of! Admittedly, it was after I spent almost an hour getting him back to sleep at 5am (he was really not ready to be awake), but that’s ok.

Jene got up with him, then woke me at 9 so I could take the car in for its registration check.

I was dropped back home and shared breakfast with Devin, Devin napped for 40 minutes (a little short, but he did sleep in). I discovered mold on the underside of our mattress, which wasn’t so pleasant. This rental house seems to be very damp.

We hung around in the backyard for a while. Devin ate some sand and got muddy on the grass. He drooled and whinged and flipped the pages of my book, and couldn’t manage to find the weed flower I put in his hair.

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I was picked up to collect the car while Jene and Devin cooked their lunch. I came home, hung some nappies on the clothesline and made my lunch while the boys ate theirs and watched baseball.

Devin and I went for a little wander around the creek behind our street. He walked for a bit but got tired. He wouldn’t keep his hat on. I took a  picture of my feet while Devin was busy with a piece of bark. We checked out the two lawn mowers doing work on the sports fields, and then Devin attacked a willow tree.

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We came home, Jene took Devin into his study and played music until Devin fell asleep.

When he woke from that nap, he helped me take the things off the line. He ate half a jar of chicken bolognaise (a victory!) before we ordered cheap Tuesday pizzas. We ate them and all played together for a bit before Devin had his bottle and went to bed, and now here I am.

It wasn’t an exciting day, but I just woke up in a better mood than previous days. Being outside, being warm, improved it even more.

… And now I’m tired and I can’t think of a way to end this.

I am a great writer.

A weekend away

I’ve been feeling stressed and tired and crappy lately, and haven’t felt much like writing anything.
My problems pretty much boil down to this: I do not like being an adult.

Moving on.

Last week, Devin and I drove 420km (over 7 hours, ugh) for my uncle’s birthday. It was Devin’s first time meeting my paternal aunts, uncles and cousins, and the first time I’d seen them all in over two years.

I don’t think I appreciate enough just how well-behaved he is when we go away. He travels really well. I know a lot of babies don’t like car trips in general, let alone long journeys, but Devin has always been cool with it. The last hour is never great – on the way there last week, he had a meltdown and we had to stop for a long break just as we were getting close, and then he cried the whole remaining time, while I navigated awful traffic and pouring rain and dusk and not being entirely sure if I was going the right way. (I was.)
It’s only when it’s all over and I recount our journey to someone, and they say, “Oh my god! It took that long? And it was just you?” that I realise what I accomplished.

He’s not terribly unsettled while we’re away, either. Refusing to take naps was probably the most difficult thing he did this last trip, and I’d say it was because there were so many new people to watch that he didn’t want to miss anything. He didn’t have any tantrums, and he still slept well at night.

So, good job, Devin.

His Grandma and Poppy gave him lots of new clothes and toys, including this hat.


Most people slept in tents, but we arrived a day earlier and had a room inside. (There were more tents here later.)


He ate a milk arrowroot biscuit while watching cows.

I don’t know if he liked the biscuit or the cows better. Probably the biscuit.

Molly thought she might fancy a biscuit, too, but Devin wasn’t sharing.

Then Poppy came over…


… and this happened.


I have no idea why, but Devin takes a long time to warm up to my dad whenever we see them. The last time we visited, he was happy to be held by him by the end of a week. At the beginning, he wouldn’t even look at him. It happens every time.

With so much noise and excitement, Devin didn’t go to sleep until 9:30 that night. When he did, I took some photos of the encroaching fog.


And my youngest sister, who was dressed as 99 Red Balloons.


About that – It was a ‘come as a song’ party. I chose Iron Maiden’s ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’, bought a black shirt, a silver pen, and drew an analogue clock showing 11:58. Then I added some stars and a moon. And drew the Iron Maiden logo on the back. Just to cover all my bases. I thought there’d be no way anyone else would come dressed as that song, and probably very little chance that anyone would even guess the song.
Excluding my sister, apparently. She had written 11:58 on a piece of paper and was going to pin it to her shirt.
Of my two sisters and I, I am the one far more likely to know an Iron Maiden song, but it was actually only because of Jene’s repeated playing of their Route 666 DVD that I knew it.
So I was pretty shocked that that’s what she’d picked.
My mum had 99 Red Balloons planned but wasn’t keen on dressing up, so that was that.

The next morning, I took a picture of the same field.


And my middle sister.

Before we set off on the journey home (6 hours this time), we had a photo of the offspring. This one wasn’t the best – it was hard to get good pictures of all of us together when we were younger, and it’s still hard now.


(My dad is one of four – the oldest brother has one son, the second brother has two daughters, the third brother has three daughters, and the fourth brother has four sons. I really like that!)

And then, Devin returned to his quiet life with just Mum and Dad.