Month: May 2014

C’mon get appy

Who knew there is so much fun to be had on a mobile phone that doesn’t involve chatting to your mates, sending an MMS or shopping online?

It’s apps. They’re great. Besides your usual, EVERYONE must have apps (Instagram, Facebook, Urbanspoon, Shazam) there’s numerous pregnancy/baby/parenting ones that are as handy as a wet wipe.

Throughout my pregnancy I used Baby Bump. Enter your due date and each week there’s some info about what’s happening to you, how baby is growing (and strangely the size bub would be if it were a fruit or veg) and a countdown so you know how many days you have left before you’ll be able to see what you’ve been lugging around for 9 months.

It has tips and limited info, but I just liked to be able to peek at it every now and then. It was free and certainly added to my excitement about having a baby as each week my colleagues would ask me how big bub was. “It’s a grapefruit already? Wowsers!”

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There’s lots of similar ones out there and some can be quite involved, with space for your bump pics or the ability to connect with other mums-to-be.

Once we brought Millie home and I was in my ‘zombie cow’ state (half asleep and breastfeeding around-the-clock) I found the free app Baby Feed quite useful.

It charts how long baby fed for, on what side, how long it’s been between feeds and if you do a nappy change before/after a feed you can record if it was a poo or just a wee.

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I didn’t use it for long, but Baby Feed was good in the early days when you just can’t remember any details about anything. The only problem was this zombie cow often forgot to start or stop the timer. Never mind.

I continue to use The Wonder Weeks app after being told about it in one of my first mother’s group meetings.

The Wonder Weeks is a book written by an infant development expert from the Netherlands and has been condensed for use on an iPhone or android mobile.

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After entering your baby’s birth date (or corrected age in Millie’s case – she was prem and born 4 weeks early) it will provide a chart in weeks and indicate when your bub will go through a ‘leap’, or developmental milestone.

According to the author, leaps are when your baby’s brain is changing and so coincide with fussy periods your baby might have. So if bub is particularly sooky or miserable, it’s likely he or she is in the middle of a mental development phase.

It’s certainly interesting. The chart shows what stage your baby is at in terms of age and shows upcoming leaps with a solid line and indicates the weeks your bub might be fussy (storm cloud) or happy (sunshine).

Some mums look to the chart and dread the stormy periods because their bubs behave almost exactly as the chart predicts.

I didn’t really notice too many swings in Millie’s attitude to worry about the pending storm clouds, but it was great to read a summary of the leap as well as to learn what her new abilities would be and when we’d start to see her do them.

The app charts your baby’s leaps until they are 84 weeks old (Millie is about half way through).

Have you discovered any useful baby or parenting apps? Tell me what they are below.

Uncle Masha joins the babysitter’s club

In the first few weeks after Millie was born, I spent a lot of time buying things with the help of my iPhone and trusty credit card.

Newborns tend to sleep and feed all day. Plenty of time for a bit of retail therapy. Well, LOTS of retail therapy.

In those early days I managed to snap up tickets to Richmond’s first AFL finals appearance in many years and seats to Russell Howard’s comedy show Wonderbox.

Russell Howard’s Good News is one of hubby and my favourite shows (it’s on SBS 2 for those of you playing at home).

I bought some tix waaaay back in August 2013 and the show was last night. Long wait. Worth it.

Anyway, because it was so far away I didn’t anticipate it would be difficult for me to leave Millie with someone other than hubby.

I’ve gone to dinners and parties here and there but Millie Moo has been left with her dad.

It was the first time we’d been out together and without our girl since she was born. She’ll be 10 months old on the weekend.

My brother lives close by and was a willing applicant for the babysitting job.

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Masha Moo and Millie Moo. Mutual love.

I have no problem leaving her with family or good friends, it’s just that I have to leave her!

Some of my friends from mother’s group are starting to go back to work after maternity leave and dealing with having to leave their bubbas at child care for the first time. Everyone struggles with this decision. It’s not easy.

Luckily the show was in the evening and I put Millie to bed shortly after Matt arrived.

On the train on the way in to the city, I sent Matt a text (couldn’t resist, just had to check everything hadn’t gone pear-shaped in the 20 minutes since we walked out of the house).

Me: “Still sleeping?”
Matt: “We’re at the pub.”

At about 10pm when the show finished, I sent another SMS.

Me: “Everything ok? We are about to head home.”
Matt: “Yep fine, still at pub. We’ve had enough anyway, see you at home.”

As predicted, Millie slept the whole time. We were back home about 10.30pm and Millie didn’t know we’d left.

The biggest drama Matt had was trying to find where we kept the tea towels.

Woodland critters & little people with Big Dreams

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My grandmother would occasionally give my brother and I a small amount of pocket money when we’d come to visit.

We’d excitedly scoot down to the neighbourhood toy shop and get lost in a fabulous world of books, dolls, toy trucks and colour.

We only ever had the money to buy small items – most of the time I’d purchase a sheet of stickers and Matt would buy a bouncy rubber ball or a Matchbox car.

It didn’t matter that we walked out of the shop without the big-ticket items, half the excitement was standing in there in awe.

I can picture a mini Nat and Matt in Melbourne’s delightful Big Dreams, eyes widening at the floor-to-ceiling goodies, mentally writing our Christmas wishlists.

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LuckyBoySunday doll and Uimi merino blankets
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Heico fawn lamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s such a lovely store, even as a grown-up I can happily while away my time finding little treasures for my little treasure.

Deers and rabbits in toy or lamp form peer from between the bath toys, knitted dolls and windmills.

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Musical fairy jewellery box

Millie’s ‘woodland critters’ nursery is decked out with a mushroom night light and Maileg floppy bunny from Big Dreams. They are items I’ve bought her that she’ll be able to keep forever.

Shoppers are bound to find something here for their littlies that’s original, top quality and just perfect.

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Big Dreams, Collingwood. PHOTO: Laura Hannan Photography

Big Dreams, with stores in Collingwood and Northcote, has just released its Winter Magazine. It’s a beautifully presented catalogue of new products, styled and photographed by Big Dreams staff.

It’s too nice to dog-ear the pages, but flicking through the edit of clothes, shoes, toys and gifts it is easy to covet one of everything.

I have just snapped up a Moover wooden doll’s pram, some unbelievably cute Minnetonka moccasin booties and some polka dot merino tights from Lamington. I still have plenty more on my shopping list for Millie (it’s her 1st birthday coming up…ok hubby?).

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Goose takes a gander at the Big Dreams goodies

Visit one of the two shops to find Schleich figurines, Heico lamps, Hunter boots, Bajo wooden toys, a huge Bobux baby and children’s shoe range and colourful clothing and sleepwear from Minti, Bobo Choses, Mini Rodini, Petit Bateau, Hatley, Tutu du Monde and Oishi-M adorning the shelves. Most items are available to buy online too.

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Aussie brands including Sapling Child, Oishi-M and Melbourne’s Fable Baby are popular

Big Dreams is at 336 Smith St, Collingwood and 269 High St, Nothcote, online and has profiles on Facebook and Instagram.
To download a copy of the new Big Dreams Winter Magazine, click here

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Tutu cute

*This is a sponsored post

My love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is my first Mother’s Day. Yay. I had my almost Mother’s Day last year, but despite the big bump, I didn’t really feel like a mummy yet.

I don’t plan for tomorrow to be any different to any other day. But I love the fact that the day celebrates all mums – and this year I’m one of the lucky mums who gets to give kisses and cuddles to their child and relish the chance to be appreciated and loved.

But in equal measure, I’m dreading it.

My own mum won’t be here.

Jo-Anne, Millie’s beautiful grandmother and my darling mum, died after a relatively short battle with cancer in August 2010.

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Mum and mini me, 1979

She missed my wedding day and the birth of my precious baby girl. And as much as I love and enjoy Christmas, Easter and birthday celebrations, those happy events are also tinged with absolute sadness.

It’s not fair.

Mum was the kindest, most selfless and caring person I’ll ever know.

She brought up my brother and I on her own and always put her children first. She made sure we never missed out on anything, even if it meant going without herself.

She’s the one person I wish could have walked me down the aisle and been there to help welcome little Millie Jo-Anne into the world.

I’d ask mum for advice on everything – from which shoes to buy to career choices.

It’s been tough to go on with life as a wife and mother without her guiding hand. I wouldn’t second-guess some of my choices if she was here to reassure me that it’s the right thing to do.

Jodes (that was what my brother and I called her – long story) was my best friend.

I can only hope I have the same sort of relationship with Millie when she grows up.

I wish all the mums out there a very, very happy Mother’s Day but shed a tear for all those people missing their own mums, the mums missing children and the would-be mums struggling to have a baby or whose circumstances prevent them from doing so.

It’s a beautiful day but it also really, really sucks.

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Baby on board Qantas flight 21

Hubby and I did something we’re so glad we did, but the thought sends shivers up the spines of many new parents.

We took baby on a long-haul flight.

Millie’s little head peering from the pages of her fresh new passport now proudly sits beside arrival and departure stamps from Japan.

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Millie’s tiny round passport head

We share a love of travel and our own passports are reminders of marvellous trips to places including Mexico, China, Europe, Africa, Thailand, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the US.

We want to be able to continue our adventures – but from now on will be as a family of three.

Travelling is not as simple as it used to be. But with some preparation, a relaxed attitude and the realisation that it won’t be the same sort of holiday you’re used to, it can be just as amazing.

Maybe even more so.

Lots of passengers gave us a smile as we walked onto the plane. I could see their forced grins were disguising the look of panic as they thought “please, please don’t let this baby be seated near me”. Other parents gave us reassuring nods: “Yep, we’ve travelled with a baby. IT’S HELL IN THE SKY. Good luck, fools.”

We’ve checked in. We’re doing this.

Flights to Tokyo’s Narita airport with Qantas are in the evening. It was perfect for Millie. In her jarmies before we hopped on board, all she really needed was a feed…which in theory would lead into a big sleep.

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Your pilot for today is…

We requested seats in front of a baby bassinet and luckily for us we nabbed one. At 9 months old, Millie would have been too heavy and squirmy to hold in our arms for the flight.

The bassinets are small (maximum weight 11kg) but worth it to allow you to get some rest during a flight. Even if bub doesn’t sleep, it’s somewhere to put them while you eat.

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Snug as a bug in the sky-high bassinet

We kept Millie’s routine the same in the days leading up to the flight and ensured she got lots of sleep for the day of departure.

She was a bit unsettled on the way to Japan, waking every few minutes or so in the first hour. Planes are noisy. There’s lots of distractions. Until bub falls into a deep sleep, it proves hard to keep those eyes closed. I picked her up and wandered into the aisle and jiggled her a bit until she was in the land of nod. Little champ slept for almost 6 hours.

In the way home she slept even longer (oh, I appreciate how lucky I am that this happened. Still pinching myself).

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Sleepy bean on the return flight

My tips? Bring blankets and a sleeping bag (if you use one) so baby is cosy and has her familiar ‘sleepy’ cues. Planes can either be very stuffy or very cold so bring comfy outfits – onesies with the feet enclosed are a good idea – to suit either scenario.

A muslin wrap is a must and can be used as a blanket, cover for the bassinet, change mat, play mat or bib. Mine is from The Little Linen Company and is very light, so packs easily.

I also packed Millie’s FLATOUT bear and floppy teddy so she felt more at ease.

Bring snacks. If Millie became fidgety or sooky I found that rice crackers, baby biscuits and other little treats were the best. Just keep them in a clear ziplocked bag to show Customs on your way through.

Feed or give your baby a bottle during take-off and landing to equalise ear pressure. A dummy works well if your bub takes one.

Let bub crawl around or lie on a blanket in a quiet spot in the airport to help dispel energy before boarding.

I carried Millie in a baby carrier while waiting in the terminal and for carrying her onto the flight. A little walk around the airport and gentle swaying and patting while she was inward facing sent her off to sleep while we were waiting to board. It’s a lot easier to settle a baby who is not overtired, so these extra zzzzzz made for a calm Millie.

I brought along a nappy bag that doubled as a handbag. The less baggage you have to haul around, the better. You have a baby to carry now, remember? Mine is from Budu Baby and not only looked lovely while I was touring around but managed to fit all the Millie travel essentials (nappies, wipes, dummies, toys, snacks, blankets, a muslin wrap, sleeping bag, spare clothes, socks, a jacket for departure and my wallet/phone/passport etc).

If your bub does cry, don’t panic. What sounds like the loudest, most piercing scream to us is merely background noise to other passengers. We’re tuned in to every noise from our little one. Other people are not. The engine roar will also be louder than any noise your baby can make. It’s never completely silent on a plane, and cries are muffled.

The other very important thing to remember is: headphones. No, I don’t suggest you use them. It’s reassuring to know other passengers do, and will. Everyone enjoys a good in-flight movie and there’s no way they’re going to be disturbed by your baby over the sounds of the latest action flick.

Relax. As much as you can. Babies can smell fear. The happier and calmer you are, the happier and calmer your little traveller is likely to be.

Bon voyage!