05 January 2012

The dummy dilemma

I've been meaning to write this post for a long long time but seem to have never found the time until now! The question of dummies is a vexed and controversial one. Do they help or hinder? Do they cause middle ear infections? Do they help to prevent SIDS? Do they ruin kids' teeth? Are they necessary?

When I was pregnant I decided not to introduce a dummy. I'm not sure why I decided this considering both Daniel and I had been serious dummy addicts as children. We both (strangely) had a special attachment to our dummies that often saw us with multiple dummies at any one time (in the mouth and hands).

Me at about Layla's age with my dummy (note the uber cool '70s vest - gorgeous)
Despite all the warnings about giving a dummy at an early age (breast refusal, nipple confusion, causing milk to digest too quickly) I decided to give one to Layla. She had demonstrated that she was a sucky baby and I decided to substitute a dummy for my little finger so I could achieve some degree of separation when she was a newborn. Initially I rarely used the dummy. It's primary use was to provide comfort in times of distress and an inability to settle. I only increased the availability of the dummy on the advice of a mothercraft nurse who observed the relief it brought to Layla. From that time on, Layla and her dummy have become inseparable.

Many friends have decided to take away the dummy from their babies/toddlers at various stages for various reasons. One of the main ones was due to the night time replacement nightmare. I was somewhat shocked that as a newborn Layla was unable to hang on to the dummy and that I constantly needed to replace it when it fell out. I had recalled stories of friends who cursed the decision to introduce a dummy due to the constant need to replace the plug throughout the night. It was due to this stage that I decided to look for a solution. This was when bunny was born!

Bunny is Layla's comforter. It is a strange object. It is comprised of a bunny's head attached to a soft fabric square. I started placing Bunny with Layla and I when I breastfed her from an early age so that it developed a sensory link to me. Before too long, Bunny was a regular feature at bedtime, providing comfort and a magical settling ability. Due to the dummy dilemma, Bunny had a renovation and became even more special. I sewed plastic press studs to the corners and then clipped two dummies to her. Layla had learned to locate Bunny during the night and was now able to find her dummies for reinsertion no matter the evening hour. Brilliant!
Due to the hour of this posting, Bunny was unavailable to have her picture taken.
This is an artists impression (hardly does her justice!)
Layla and her Bunny are best of friends. They have a very special relationship. Despite this, Bunny stays at home and in Layla's bed to ensure she is always available at sleep time. Bunny has a number of stunt doubles including one that lives in the wardrobe for emergencies (when Bunny #1 is being washed - she gets a lot of loving) and one that lives at Nani's place for when Layla is there when I am at work.

So what about the dummy dilemma. Did I do the right thing? Do I love or hate the plug? Who knows. There are times I love it and times I hate it. All I know is that Layla likes it and it is comforting for her. My parents still recall their concern over my dummy dependency to the point that they were worried I'd be walking down the aisle as a bride with it! Despite these concerns, I gave it up when I was ready and I believe Layla will too.

There is no right or wrong answer. You do what you need to do in order to bring comfort to your child. Whether it is a dummy, a comforter, their finger/thumb, a teddy or a doll, every child is different. Deciding whether to introduce or maintain a dummy should not be a dilemma but rather something that you decide to do given the circumstances you face.

04 December 2011

The way to be a good Mum

I've always known Mums. My Mum, her Mum, my Dad's Mum, friends' Mums and Grandmothers. Every Mum I know is different. They look different, act different and work differently. Despite these obvious differences, there seems to be one accepted way of doing things when it comes to raising children. Why is it that we can all be different as people yet it is expected to conform as Mothers?

Whether you breastfeed for 2 minutes, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years or never,
you are still a good Mum.
Whether you choose to follow a routine or let your child decide how their day runs,
you are still a good Mum.
Whether you decide to give your child a bedtime or wait until they fall asleep,
you are still a good Mum.
Whether you feed your child organic vegetarian meals or junk food,
you are still a good Mum.
Whether you have a natural birth or a Cesarean,
you are still a good Mum.

No matter the choices you make, you're a good Mum if you love your child and provide a loving home for them.

To expectant Mums who may be nervous about their imminent arrival, know that as long as you love your child and act in their best interest, you will be the best Mum they will ever have. We are all different, our children are all different and there is no one way of being a Mum. Good luck and take it one day at a time.

29 November 2011

Ever wondered what is going on in there?

Yesterday Layla turned 19 months. We have entered the next phase in the lead up to her second birthday, that heralds so many changes as she transitions from a baby to a child.

The other night, Layla and I spent many hours awake for no particular reason. While these waking periods have now become somewhat infrequent, I often find myself thinking, as I sit in the dark, about how many nights and hours I have spent holding Layla at night since she was born. So much has changed during that time. In someways it feels like we brought her home form hospital yesterday and at other times it feels like a lifetime ago.

Over the past months Layla's self designed signing skills have developed exponentially. She has managed to develop her own way of letting Daniel and I know what she wants without transitioning to fully developed speech. While she is talking more and more each day, she relies heavily on her sign language to get her message across. Last night her performance would have impressed even Marcel Marceau. She told me, through her signing, that she required me to pat her in order for her to to go back to sleep. This was after she signalled the need for a drink on several occasions.

It is amazing to watch how her skills and ability develop as the days and weeks fly by. I found this amazing website that focuses on baby/toddler/child brain development. Select the age bracket and the interactive website shows you the parts of the brain associated with certain skills and their development. I was entranced for hours the other night as I learnt and contemplated all that is going on inside of Layla's cute little head.

20 November 2011

The fascination of one's self

My sister always says that there is nothing more fascinating than one's self. Ever noticed that people (me included) cannot help but check themselves out when passing a shop window, standing in a lift with a mirror or in the rear vision mirror of their cars? There is something strange, disturbing yet comforting in seeing your own image. It is amazing to see how Layla reacts to herself in the mirror. She is and has always been fascinated with pictures of herself. I'm still not sure she realises that the little person staring back at her is herself. Beyond the fascination of the mirror, Layla is mesmerised and obsessed with photos and videos of herself taken on my phone. She asks to watch them everyday without fail and generally has a melt down when I bore of the activity and pack the phone away.

No matter if you love or hate having photos taken of yourself, when the expiry of your drivers licence or passport rolls around, most of us cringe at having to have our photo taken. Just recently I was faced with this dilemma. I pulled out my expiring licence and closely examined the picture. There I was, in my licence photo, wearing a suit, posing for the image that would grace my ID for the next five years. Who was the girl in the photo taken five years ago? She was a single career woman who was living with her boyfriend in Randwick. She worked very long hours and was dedicated to her career. She went to the gym 4-5 times a week and spent her weekends socialising with friends and family. She travelled extensively and had no idea what the next five years would hold. As I held my licence, I began to wonder where I would be in another five years time when I once again would be faced with a licence renewal. Did I want to look back at my photo and think "Wow....look how tired and dishevelled I looked! Being a new Mum really took it out of me"? I certainly did not. So, as a result, I did something very vain and contrived. I got dressed up, put on make up and jewellery and took myself off to the hairdressers for my normal cut/colour visit. After a number of hours in the salon chair and feeling a million bucks, I went to have my licence renewed. The photos was taken and my image captured for the next five years. I never thought I would ever say this about my licence, but I LOVE the photo. On days when I feel tired, worn out, filthy and exhausted, I look at the photo and smile. Under the caked on food, the old jeans and runners as well as the tightly tied back hair lies woman who is momentarily hiding. I'm sure she'll be back for good when the next photo is taken!

So enough about me! My stories were not the reason I started writing this blog. The reason was to share ideas and insights as well as lessons learnt about being a parent. I recently followed the idea of Layla's fascination with photos of herself by making her a book about herself. I was inspired by a cousin of mine in Melbourne who put together a photo book of her son for her husband on Fathers Day. I decided to create a book for Layla called "Mamma, Dadda and Me". The book tells the story of Layla - from my pregnancy, through to her birth and onto all the things we love to do together. I had it made in a small soft cover size that Layla can read herself. Needless to say that the book has become a bedtime favourite (actually any time of the day!). The project cost me under $10 delivered and is not only a fascination to Layla but a beautiful keep sake.

"I love my Dadda, I really really do. I love my Mamma, yes it's true.
I love the places we go and the things we see.
I love all the things we do together.
I love my Mamma and my Dadda and they love me!"
I took up a recent deal on one of the multitude of daily deal sites and made another book for Layla. This book is called "My Family" and features pictures of Layla, Daniel and I as well as Layla's grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I can't wait for it to arrive in order to show Layla. She is going to be thrilled!

17 November 2011

Joining the club

Before I had a baby, I felt that a number of friends with new family additions had forgotten me. It seemed that when their small person arrived, their friends got let behind. I was angry, miffed, concerned and generally lost as to the reason. When I had a baby, it wasn't long before I understood the reason for the disappearance of my once friends. It seemed that this tiny person occupied so much time, that there was little, if any time left for the previous social activities that had dominated my life. It wasn't a reflection on my friends but rather a sign of the times. I had joined a club where free time is measured in minutes rather than hours, indulgences are limited to things I once deemed to be necessities and topics of discussion shift to baby development, feeding and sleeping.

This got me thinking about the concept of joining a club. I bought a new wallet a few months back. It's a lovely colour and style but somewhat insufficient. I have so many club cards that I can hardly close the wallet. There are cards for clothing stores, coffee shops, sellers of kids stuff and fitness groups. Despite a recent cull, the number of cards are out of control. The cards tell a story of the things I like, the places I go, the things I do and places I belong. I feel a degree of commitment to these providers as evidenced by my need to carry their cards around everywhere I go. I believe that these providers peddle goods and services I want, need and believe to be the best for me. When I had a baby and joined the parental club, there were a lot of invisible club cards I started carrying without even knowing it. These cards were for certain brands, practices, beliefs and alliances that I believed to be the best and right for me and my child. In taking this stand on my club membership alliances, I joined the debate as to what is best and right.

I recently read this article that struck a chord for me.....

As women we forget that everyone has a right to make choices as to the clubs they join, based on what is right for them and their families. There are no right and wrong answers but rather the best choice for individuals. We need to stop pressuring other women to join one club over the other or comment that the choice a woman has made was wrong. Whether it is the brand of pram, breastfeeding over bottles, whether to offer a dummy or not, co sleeping or baby sleeping in their own beds, baths over showers or when to start solids, every mother has a reason for the choices she makes. Normally this is based on what is right for her child, her family, her relationship, their homes, her activities and so many other factors. So let's stop bagging each other for the clubs we belong to and realise we are all a part of the same club - Parenthood!

02 November 2011

A picture tells a thousand words

Layla is now 18 months old. Our days are busy with playing, learning, tantrums and exploring. Layla talks constantly. Her vocabulary is developing all the time. She understands everything and complements her jabbering with signing and hilarious facial expressions. You quickly realise with a baby and toddler, that everyday is about learning new things. Layla mimics our actions and behaviours as she learns how to exist as a little person.

I try to turn most of our activities into a learning experience. Bath time is no exception. Right from when Layla was only a few months old, we have always had books in the bath. Each night we read these stories and sing songs to match the pictures. I wanted to add a new dimension to bath time that matched her current stage of development. I recently purchased a cheap laminator from Office Works. I was surprised that I was able to get the machine and sleeves for under $30! I went through all of my old magazines and cut out a range of pictures of relevance to Layla - food, animals, clothes and plants. I then laminated each picture and cut them out. Now we use the pictures as story and talking points in the bath.

As time goes on I plan on introducing letters, words and more pictures to our bath time. The laminator has also come in handy for laminating photos of family and friends to use in games and everyday learning.

13 October 2011

Let them eat cake!

I am fairly strict when it comes to Layla's diet. With a family history of diabetes and my sweet tooth, I try everything I can to avoid giving Layla sugar. Over the past four months, we have had serious night waking problems. Upon a change in her diet (exclusion of cows milk at night and no fresh fruit after lunch), we now have a toddler who is sleeping through the night. I am always looking for new and exciting snack ideas to keep Layla happy as the afternoons draw on. We have a steady stack of savory muffins in the freezer that most days are either loved or hated by Layla depending in the direction of the wind . I came across a recipe the other day that looks like becoming a new favourite.

Thanks to some well meaning family members, Layla has developed a taste for honey cake. She calls it Goo-Goo and walks around the house in the afternoons asking for it. Tonight my husband asked me how I knew it was cake that she was asking for considering she had only tasted it a few times in recent weeks. I explained that when I ask her whether she wants a sandwich, she says Goo-Goo. When I ask if she wants some fruit, she says Goo-Goo. When I ask if she wants cake, she displays a massive long lasting smile as a clear direction as to her desires.

So here is a new recipe that should satisfy Layla's desires for Goo-Goo and my plans to maintain a healthy toddler diet.

This recipe is adapted from Citrus and Candy

Apple and Zucchini Bread
195g plain flour, sifted (I used half plain and half wholemeal flour)
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
120ml canola or vegetable oil
190g light brown sugar (I used 150g of Xylitol)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large (or 2 small) zucchini, grated (to make about 1 to 1.5 cups)
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated (to make about 1/2 cup)
50g chopped roasted walnuts (optional)(I excluded the nuts)


Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a large loaf tin (about 22 x 13 x 8cm).
Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and set aside.
With an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until well blended.
With a wooden spoon, stir through the grated zucchini and apple then add the sifted flour mixture and nuts and gently stir until just combined (do not over mix).
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the bread has risen and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack then remove bread from tin. Can be served plain at room temperature.
Bread can be frozen or kept for a few days if well-wrapped or in an airtight container.

So the Goo-Goo is sliced and frozen for the next afternoon snack. It tastes like a combination of carrot cake and banana bread and I am sure will become a family favourite.

31 August 2011

I admit it.......I'm a liar!

The other day a friend posted on FaceBook that her darling baby boy had decided that 5am was an appropriate time to start the day. Given she is a friend and her son is young than Layla, I thought it was appropriate for me to comment on her status. I noted that we never stared our day at 5am and perhaps some controlled crying was in order. Shortly after I relied to her post, I realised what I had done.

I had turned into one of 'those' Mummies who either:
    a. has an unusual baby who sleeps well and has always been a dream sleeper and thus has no clue what Mummies with non-sleeping babies actually go through;
    b. a Mummy who, thanks to sleep deprivation or the need to save face, paints an unrealistic picture of her baby's sleep habits; or
    c. a Mummy who has simply forgotten just how hard the first year really is.

I think I fall in category C.....either that or I'm just a big fat liar!

Just the other day while discussing Layla's sleep habits a member of my extended family said that he did not remember his kids ever going through a stage of unexplained night waking. I must admit that I felt truly crushed when he said it. Over the past three months, Layla has been waking in tears for 2-3 hours EVERY night. I have no idea why - perhaps it is separation anxiety or teething. What I do know is that I have had heaps of advice, read plenty of books and done a fair bit of soul searching. So far I have no answer. I've tried all the techniques. Even holding and rocking doesn't seem to work. Each night I hope tonight will be different, but generally it isn't. I'm fumbling through each day feeling like a zombie with little if any light at the end of the tunnel. Layla sleeps well during the day and goes to bed easily and quietly. It's the night crying that I am at a loss to understand. I know that this can't last forever but three months on I've accepted it to be the norm (for now at least).

As Mums (and Dads) we try so hard to help our children reach their milestones. Sleeping is just one of them that seems to preoccupy our consciousness so much of the time. All we want is for a sense of normality to return our lives and for your children to progress. Despite these humble aims, there is a real sense of competition in needing to prove to each other that our child is progressing faster than another.

So in short, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I have had to start my day on a few occasions at 5am (despite not liking it one bit). I have also had 16 months of night waking that I am fed up with and hugely embarrassed about. Sleeping at our house is a long way from being normal or perfect.

As a result of this blimp, I promise to be more aware that every parent goes through their moments of unexplained behaviour that we'd rather not admit to. All you can do is hope that tomorrow things get better!

21 August 2011

Looking in the mirror

Needless to say, I don't remember what I looked like as a small child. There are some days that I hardly remember what I looked like yesterday or last year. Photos and video provides us with an experience in time travel that lets us go back to the way life used to be. I've often looked back at photos of the hideous fashion faux pas of my teenage years, the time I spent travelling when I finished school, even my early school years that seemed like a lifetime ago. However, it has been my recent reflections on my toddler years that are absolutely fascinating to me right now.

I've looked at these photos over the years with fondness of times gone by but now that Layla is at a similar age, I am mesmerised. I look at these photos and I used to see the innocence, my childhood, the happiness. Now all I can see is Layla!
As a grandparent, my Mum often tells me of the delight she feels in being able to spend so much time with Layla as it lets her experience my childhood all over again.

These photos have made me think about the journey of life I have taken and all that lies ahead of Layla. I wonder whether our paths will be the same or different.

When your child is born, the moment is so emotional and awesome that the enormity of the reality of life can be lost. As newborns, their personalities are barely present. As toddlers, who they really are starts to shine through. There is something so special about having a child who looks like you. It is quietly satisfying but mostly scary. Everyday I look at her and see myself and wonder what the future will bring.

So my favourite thing right now is anything to do with photography. I'm loving my iPhone and it's ability to capture photos and video where ever we are. I'm also loving my investment in a digital SLR camera. I realised a little while back that I was missing so many beautiful times with Layla and that my compact camera was letting me down. So I took a deep breath and jumped in  with both feet. All I can say is that the shots are amazing, I'm obsessed with learning more and buying new lenses and now kick myself for not doing it earlier.
My Nanna owned one of the first portable (ha!) video cameras. The contraption had a camera and a bag that housed the recording equipment. She lugged that thing around on holidays and always had it set up for family special occasions. Ironically, my Nanna has been gone for over twenty years now yet the memories of our childhoods live on. Being able to watch myself at Layla's age brings a whole new perspective for me to her childhood, the amazing job my Mum did in raising us and how much life has changed. I hope to be able to pass on the memories my Nanna captured along with my snaps to Layla so that the memories continue with the generations.

20 August 2011

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

The milestones of a child's development are amazing, painful, wonderful, scary and extremely tiring. Having survived the first year, Layla and my journey continues. I've spoken about the fantastic book 'The Wonder Weeks' before. The guidance on riding the waves of developmental leaps has been like having a special voice of comfort in times of worry and change. However, the latest leap has been more than trying. Over the past almost three months Layla has been going through some major changes. Her mind has been working overdrive. We've had serious separation anxiety resulting in hours of crying and night waking. There has been gastro and a cold to top things off. I've been a walking zombie going to work on two hours sleep and my marriage has been tested as the effects of sleep deprivation take it's toll.

The journey Layla has been preparing for came to fruition over the past two weeks. Her journey of a thousand miles has started with a single step. The first steps came a couple of weeks back while I was at work. She took a few unaided steps while with my Mum. I was both pleased and proud as well as devastated to have missed this milestone. The weeks that followed have been filled with attempts and falls, frustration and joys. The single steps has rapidly evolved into confident walking. We've graduated from soft leather slippers into big girl walking shoes. It is delightful to see her face fill with confidence and achievement as she conquers each days next walking challenge. The steps are becoming strides. Soon walking will become running. The complacent baby in her pram has become a boisterous toddler determined to walk everywhere despite the risks and dangers.

I'd like to say that the past fifteen months has flown by. In many ways they have but in other ways, the journey has been made up of many hard, challenging, sad, happy, tiring, exciting and slow steps. Each developmental leap has posed a new dilemma for me as a Mum and for Layla as a growing child. This last leap has been the hardest so far. I thought that as each step was achieved, things would get easier. In actual fact, each step build on the one before. Each step is steeper and higher and further away from the one before it. I look at back at newborn babies and pregnant women in the street and can hardly believe that I too was here not that long ago.

In order to mark each step, I have decided to commence a new project. I've decided to photograph each of Layla's shoes and build the pictures into a montage paying tribute to the huge steps we have taken together. I want to capture the new shoes as a symbol of anticipation and excitement that the future holds as well as the tired, worn and experienced shoes that show where we have been and how we survived. At times I feel like I have lost my opportunity to be creative now that my time has dwindled. This project will let me build a living tribute to the journey Layla and I are on. I look forward to being able to share the end result with you.

25 July 2011

Hello........is it me you're looking for?

Before I had Layla, a number of my friends had already had babies. Our relationship changed once their babies came along. I used to think that this change was because I didn't have a baby and these friends had joined a new friendship group - parents with kids. What I now realise is that our friendship changed because their lives changed. The clear delineation between week and weekend, the concept of having nothing to do and the luxury of being able to spend hours just relaxing with friends are things that disappear when little people arrive. When I joined the club, I finally realised why our friendships had changed. It was not because the love was lost or the friendship was not valued, but rather time is so limited and getting through the everyday demands often leaves little if anything left. I never imagined it would be like this.

Over the past four months, my life has undergone yet another monumental change. I went from wife and mother to working mum. Life has never been busier. To complicate matters, Layla has been struggling with teething pain and separation anxiety issues (I could (and may write) a whole post on this). Despite all of this, I am constantly amazed by what is possible. I used to whinge about going to work on less than 8 hours sleep or feeling overwhelmed by the demands of running a home. Nowadays I've found myself at work 'functioning' on 2 hours sleep and continuing to juggle shopping, washing, meals, cleaning and entertaining all with a smile (most of the time).

Layla with pink teething cheeks - 14 months
One of the things that seems to have fallen by the wayside in my haze of exhaustion and hectic goings on has been my blog. Many of you have noted how much you miss it and wondered if I was still going to write. Many a topic and headline has circulated through my head over the past few months teasing my back to my blog. It has not been desire that has kept me away but rather a sheer lack of time. So here is my first post since my break. I hope to follow it up shortly with more insights, feedback and generally baby/toddler chatter. See you soon!

08 May 2011

Through the Looking Glass

As a child, my father read to us of far away places, different cultures and beliefs as well as fantastic worlds of mystery and intrigue. I recall him reading us the works of Lewis Carroll, particularly that of his 1871 work Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Far removed from the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland I was familiar with, Through the Looking Glass was a book that I found interesting but scary. The world on the other side of the looking glass was backwards, things looked the same but were opposite and so many things Alice thought she knew were turned upside down.


I've been doing a bit of reflecting on the year that was. Now that Layla has commenced her second year, things are so different to the challenges of year one. Don't get me wrong - there are still plenty of challenges, but things are very different. We know each other and despite her changing every day, I feel like I've got this Mummy business somewhat under control.

A number of my friends have recently had babies and watching them as well as Layla reaching one has made me revisit my experience. In my professional life, I am an organised, logical and determined woman. I take on challenges with excitement while seeing hurdles as a development opportunity. Before I had Layla, I was a person who got things done, always presented well, knew what was happening and always managed to squeeze the most out of every day. I always knew I wanted to have a child. My maternal instinct was strong and as the years ticked by, I continued to yearn for a child of my own. Having seen my friends have their babies and having spent plenty of time babysitting and nannying in my university days, I felt I knew what to expect and how I would cope. If that was the case, then why when I had a child did I feel like Alice going through the mirror into an upside down, back to front, parallel universe? I was no longer the organised, confident, professional, presentable woman. Instead I was the teary, messing, tired, confused Mum who stumbled from one day to the next unsure as to what was happening on the other side of the mirror. I really shocked myself as to how I fared and how I felt.

I wonder how people saw me during this phase? Did they see me the same way as I saw myself? Did every new Mum feel this way? A few months ago, I was standing in the lift at Westfield. Layla was in the pram, covered in food, her face was filthy and her running nose was reeking havoc on her delicate skin. I was in a tracksuit with remnants of breakfast caked in my leg, my hair tied back to conceal the need to wash it, no make up on, just the bags under my eyes that told a tale of yet another sleepless night. I looked across the lift to see a woman with a young baby, immaculately dress, hair and make up done to perfection. I felt like I was looking through Alice's looking glass yet again. It made me wonder whether the experiences of new motherhood are always what they seem to those on the outside. I wondered whether her baby was a good sleeper, did she have help at home, did she forgo that extra hour of sleep in order to prepare herself? I wondered what she was thinking as she looked at me.

When people would ask me how I was going during that first year, did I tell the truth or did I smile and put up a story of perfection? When I ask my friends do they tell the truth? Does everyone struggle like I did to come to terms with the change or do some people just take it in their stride? Looking back, I feel embarrassed about how desperate I felt at that time. The sleep deprivation sent me crazy. I was no longer that confident professional woman but rather a crazed, tired Mum wanting to stop the ride and get off, if only for a short while. Did I whinge too much about the problems I was having or did I put on a fake happy face and pretend that this was everything I had wished for? I think I did a bit of both. Looking back, I'm a bit shocked that I didn't sail through the early months. There is no doubt that I put in the effort. The problem was that I expected perfection instead of reality.

The first year is the hardest. I never really knew that before I began this journey despite all my reading and preparation. Overall, I survived and so did Layla. We made it past the milestone and are now continuing our journey, this time on the right side of the mirror.

Wishing all the Mummies - tracksuit wearing to perfectly coiffed a wonderful and happy Mothers Day. The ride of motherhood takes you to places you never expected, you never want to go to again and can't wait to revist, all at the same time. Quite a ride!!