No more nappies – a coming of age…

Today marks a momentous occasion in my life – after a one week trial, my youngest child is now completely nappy free.

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No more night nappies!  He has gotten into the habit of doing a big wee before bedtime and going to bed commando style.

Why am I so excited you ask?  Because 10 years, 5 months, and 3 weeks ago our eldest son was born – and the nappy era commenced and has never stopped since!

Twenty months later son number 2 was born, and there were more nappies – newborn nappies and toddler nappies.  Within four years, another 2 sons were born, and the nappy wearing continued, this time with the addition of night time nappies.

Newborn nappies, toddler nappies and night time nappies.  The nappy population in our house was ridiculous.

poopoo pro

Gradually, over the years, as our boys learned to ‘tie a knot in it’ during sleep hours, the nappy population in our house dwindled, until the youngest was the only nappy wearing superhero in our midst.

But now, that’s all over. He too can ‘tie a knot in it’, and we are free of nappies!

Free.

Free.

Free.

But then I, stupidly, decided to do the numbers – having a business degree means that I always have to look at the big picture financially. I shouldn’t have, because it is depressing.

So, taking the full time nappy wearing years down to, let’s say, 9 (because Master 4 has been toilet trained since he was 3, a bit over a year ago), that allows for the following calculations:

There were 6 years out of that 9 in which only 1 child was wearing nappies at 4 changes a day (conservative – we all know there are days when there are many more changes,  especially in newborns.)

=365 days *6 years *4 changes per day = 8,760 nappies.

The remaining 3 years consisted of 2 children wearing nappies at the same time – newborn and toddler, so we will go with 8 changes per day combined.

= 365 days *3 years *8 changes per day =8,760 nappies – which is the same as above because the years and number of nappy changes are inverted.

Added together this comes to a total of 17,520 nappies in that 10 year, 5 month and 2 week time period.

But, wait!  There’s more because the above calculations don’t take into account the year that kid number 4 was solely in night nappies, so let’s add another 365 to that, which brings us to the grand total of 17,885 nappies.

surprised baby

17,885 nappies – that’s freaking ridiculous!

Yes, we could have gone with cloth nappies, but seeing as I was working, either full time or part time, up until the birth of number 4, there simply wasn’t enough time to do everything. So we compromised and went with the disposables. Not good for the environment, I know, but I do make it up in other ways.

standin baby

Nappies vary in cost, depending on where you can source them from and in what numbers. So, let’s suppose that I was able to get them for 20 cents each.

0.20*17885= $3,577

That’s the cost of a small second hand car.

Or a romantic holiday in Fiji.

Or 2/3 months’ mortgage repayments.

With the average cost  of raising two children  to the age of  21 (in Australia) currently estimated to be close to $800,000, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-23/kids-eat-into-family-budget-like-never-before/4708076  there is no doubt in my mind that the grand total of their nappy bill will pale in comparison to what the rest of their lives will cost us.

It’s just lucky that they are so perfect and gorgeous and cute and wonderful…

 poohing baby

The Daddy Factor, part 2…

A few months ago I posted a blog (The Daddy Factor)  about my husband taking our three older boys out to lunch in a food court and how three elderly ladies felt the need to tell him that the boys were exceptionally well behaved. Then they said to him: “It’s great to see how well behaved your boys are. Please pass onto your wife that she’s done an excellent job.

Well, after last week’s effort, I hate to think what they would have said to him, and am positive that they would not have passed their compliments on to me. In fact, I am pretty sure that they would have been ringing Child Services and reporting us…but let’s start at the beginning…

We are big fans of the show, The Big Bang Theory, in fact, our ten year old can quote episodes verbatim and our eight year old bares a remarkable resemblance to Sheldon (both physically and emotionally).

Fellow fans may remember the episode where Raj attempts to imitate American sayings, but gets it wrong and comes out with a mish-mash of quotes that don’t make sense. Well, apparently our six year old, Lachlan, was paying more attention to that particular episode than we thought.

While at a food court, eating lunch, the boys were reminiscing about their favourite sayings from the show. Lachlan joined in and said, that the top of his voice, while waving his sandwich around in his little hand,

“Hey, remember when Raj said: IN YOUR ARSE!”

Of course, the entire food court heard him and turned their stunned faces in the direction of Jason, who was now choking on his lunch.  The two older boys were as stunned as the rest of the food court population, while Lachlan, oblivious to his blunder, was smiling and dancing.

The eight year old pointed out that Lachlan had gotten it wrong.  Raj had actually said: “Shut Your Arse!”, meaning to say “Shut up”.

Jason pointed out that in either case, it was not appropriate language for children and they shouldn’t say it again. Especially in a large public space, like a food court.

Fast track one hour later – Jason and the boys are happily ensconced in their seats at the movie theatre, waiting for the main feature to start.

A young child, sitting with his family in the same row, had been talking through the trailers, but no one cared because he only looked to be about four years old. We’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

As the main feature started, the small child continued to chat, even though his parents had tried to shush him.  We all know it’s impossible to tell a small one to be quiet when he has something to say.

Lachlan, however, thought otherwise. He leant  forward in his seat, turned toward the child and said, loudly:

“Shut your arse!”

Yep, you read correctly. Our six year old told another child to shut his arse. In perfect context. Perfect timing.  Not in a busy food court, but in a quietened movie theatre where everyone could hear.

Jason was stunned into silence, as were the older boys – especially our ten year old, Ethan,  who was sitting next to the mother of the other child. Ethan chose to let the backrest of the seat swallow him whole as he disappeared into the tweedy upholstery.  All that remained were to enormous, shocked blue eyeballs that were bulging out of his head in an attempt not to laugh, mixed with utter shock at what Lachlan had done, and fear that the mother would blame him.

Jason and his rugby player physique joined Ethan and made himself as small as a 100kg man can be, as he too disappeared into the manky upholstery of the seat.

And me? I wiped tears away from my eyes in hysterics, as this was relayed to me later that afternoon. I was at home writing at the time, so missed out (for once) on the public humiliation that comes wrapped in the gorgeous bubble that is my six year old, Lachlan.

But, the next time his teacher tells me that he is having trouble comprehending  things at school, I will be able to tell her otherwise!

The drive to school is…

crazy[1]The journey from garage to school yard each morning is often fraught with tears, bickering  and temporary insanity…and it’s only a four minute drive to school…

7.57:00 am – I do a final cattle call for everyone to board the ‘school express’ that is currently welcoming  passengers in the garage. There’s no need to show your tickets, just put your school bag and hat in the boot, climb on in to the car  and do your seatbelt up. Let’s go.

7:57:10 – Two older boys have managed to find the door into the garage. Don’t be too impressed that they have done this within ten seconds because I have been gently encouraging them since 7:45 to put their bag in the car and get in. The twenty metres between the television and garage door is the longest journey of the day and can take up to fifteen minutes at times.

7:57:15 – Same two boys begin to argue because they have both tried to squeeze through the door at the same time, unsuccessfully.  Push has come to shove and one is sporting a sore shoulder from banging into the door frame and the other has managed to trip over his own feet. They are blaming each other.

The two younger boys are still chasing the dogs and each other in the backyard and are, conveniently, unable to hear me calling them.

7:57:35 – The two older boys have found the boot and thrown their school bags in it. They both land upside down which means that the entire contents of their lunch boxes has now been upended and will resemble scrambled dog food. This will not look appetizing come lunch time so it will not be eaten. Instead, it will come home untouched at the end of the day, resulting in another lecture from me about how our World Vision children would kill for such a feast.

The two younger boys are still playing in the backyard. They now look at me when I call them, but ignore my voice and hand gestures as I wave at them. I am worthy of a place on the Olympic Charade team.

7:58:00 – The two older boys are now sitting in the car, arguing because one shut the door too hard. There is a permanent seating arrangement in the car: birth order numbers 1,3 and 4 cram in the backseat together and number 2 sits in the spacious passenger seat, even though he is the skinniest of the lot. This is because he and number 3 have a symbiotic relationship akin to petrol and flame. The only other seating option is to put one of them in the boot, but I am told this is illegal.

7:58:20 – The two younger boys are still in the backyard and are smiling at me as my voice climbs to a sopranic rant. They continue to play.

7:58:30 – I open the back door and tell them that if they don’t get into the car right now they will never see the inside of a packet of crisps or icecream wrapper again. They move faster than the speed of light and hurl themselves into the back seat, squashing number 1 in the process. Number 2 smiles smugly from the front seat.

7:58:40 – I ask if everyone has remembered their hats. Eight eyeballs stare blankly at me. I get out of the car, retrieve said hats from the garage shelf, mumble a quiet profanity, and throw the hats in the car.

7:58:50 – I start the engine. Number 4 is hitting number 1 because he doesn’t want his older brother to clip his seatbelt in. He wants to do it himself, but then gets frustrated because he can’t do it himself. Number 1 offers to help, which results in physical abuse from number 4 in the form of tiny, fisty punches.

7:59:00 – Number 3 has started to make the world’s most annoying sound – ‘eeeeeooooooo, eeeeeeeooooooooo, eeeeeeeeeeooooooooooo’ at approximately 97 decibels. Symbiotic relationship with number 2 kicks into action and we have lift off – a volcanic eruption from number 2 and a satisfied grin from number 3 as he continues his unmelodious  screech.

7:59:10 – I groan, inwardly and silently, so hard that my lungs deflate. I then allow myself to fondly reminisce about the days when leaving the garage was a easy as getting in the car, turning the engine on and reversing.

7:59:20 – An ear piercing scream  snaps me out of my daydream and back to reality. Number 4 has pinched number 1, who is now clutching his upper arm in pain. I tell number 4 that his behaviour  is not ok. He bursts into tears. We haven’t even reversed out of the garage yet and everything’s turned to hell already.

7:59:30 – I lose my shit.

7:59:55 – I continue to lose my shit.

8:00:30 – I am still losing my shit.

8:00:45 – I have finished losing my shit. The car is filled with stunned silence.

8:01:00 – During the minute of losing my shit I have reversed out of the driveway and we are now only 2 minutes from school. The car is still filled with stunned silence.

8:01:30 – The guilt hormone is released from my endocrine system at the rate of an overflowing dam. I am the world’s worst mother. All I do is yell at my kids – just ask my neighbours, they’ll tell you. I don’t deserve kids.

8:01:45 – No, really. These kids are great. I’d give them the beating heart out of my chest if they needed it.  Look at them. They can’t help it – they’re kids for god’s sake! I’m the adult. It is not OK to lose my shit.

8:02:00 – I apologise for losing my shit, although I phrase it in kid-friendly terms.  I tell them how much I love them and that I don’t want to be a screaming mummy. If they would do as they were told and not fight with each other, we could all live happily ever after. They all nod. I smile, even though I know, without a doubt, that if I were to ask them to repeat what I had just said, no one would be able to do it.

8:02:30 – We are nearing the school gate and all chatting happily.

8:02:45 – We pull up in the car park and get ready to unpack the bags and walk into school. I am so thankful for the last 15 seconds of family happiness that I feel like a true earth mother. Maybe I am a better mother than I give myself credit for? After all, 15 seconds of no fighting, screeching, tears or punching is pretty good!

The Angel Mother…

She knew, from the very first moment she held him.  The small, helpless bundle she cradled so lovingly in her arms, the tiny little boy was so much more than a gift from above.  She’d waited, so long, and with such heartbreak for this moment, and it was even better than she’d ever imagined.

And now they were finally  together, she made the promise never to leave him. Not ever.

The sleepless nights spent nursing him were a joy, because she had lived the alternative – a full night’s sleep on an empty heart; a heart waiting to give so much love to the tiny person to whom she now belonged.

His first smile brought tears to her eyes- happy tears for a moment in time shared between just the two of them.  A moment in time that would forever be locked away in her mummy box of treasured memories and later recalled with such clarity, that each time it was retrieved, it felt like the first time, again and again.

His first step, his first word, the first time he said, ‘I love you mummy’. The bond that had formed between them was one that could never be broken.  All precious beyond words.  Sacred moments.

She kissed away every little tear that rolled down his rounded cheeks, soothed away every scrape and bump with a special mummy kiss and a bandaid that restored a smile to his sweet little face and huge brown eyes.

She came running when he called out for her in the middle of the night, frightened by a bad dream. She held him in the safety of her arms until his breath slowed and he returned to slumber.  Then she sat and watched over him as he slept; because she had promised never to leave him. Not ever.

His first day at school was a jumble of emotions. The pride at seeing him take his place in the world, and the fear of having to let him go.

At the end of the first day she wrapped her arms around him tightly, as if she could retrieve every moment of his day and store it in her heart for the next day, when they would again be apart.

She attended every school athletics carnival, swimming day, and award presentation. She spent hours sewing costumes for dress up days; every thread laced with love and gratitude for the gift she had been given.

She spent hours in the wind and the cold, cheering from the side-lines during football season, until her voice croaked, her pride swelling each time he got close to the ball.

During the relentless Australian summer, she would bake in the heat to watch him play cricket and give him a cool drink and piece of fruit at each break.

His first part time job – delivering news papers and milk before school. Her beautiful mummy heart bursting with pride at how responsible her son had grown up to be and at all the promise the future held for him. The excitement at what magical times lay ahead.

The first girlfriend, the first broken heart. A feeling of helplessness as her words and love gave no relief. His pain endured. It had to. She knew this, for him to learn, to grow, to mature.  Her heart was heavy with the burden of this knowledge,  but she knew  that she too must endure this pain so that she could learn, and grow and mature into a mother of a teenage boy.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Her body is ravaged by an incurable disease. But she doesn’t think about herself. Her only thought is for her son.

She fights with all her strength to stay because there is still so much to do. So many memories to build.  So many milestones yet to reach– graduating from school, the start of a career, falling in and out of love, a wedding day, and the most magical day of all, the birth of his own child – the grandchild  that she would give anything to hold in her arms.

Within only a few short months, her body is broken. No matter how determined she is to stay, no matter the love between mother and son, it is not enough.  The disease takes her life, and the boy’s life is changed – forever.

The years pass and the boy grows into a man.  He achieves his professional dreams. He falls in and out of love.  His wedding day  is just as beautiful as his mother could ever have imagined.

He experiences the miracle of new life as he welcomes his own little boy into the world. The heavenly mother watches over the baby each night,  as his chest rises and falls in time with each little breath.

She has not missed a single moment of her son’s life.  Not one. She has been there for every milestone, every day of happiness, every day of sadness.  She has watched, beaming with pride, as her son grew into the man she always knew he would be, because even death itself could not break the bond between a mother and her child.

She will continue to watch over him, and his family, because she is his mother and she promised him that she would never leave.  Not ever.  And one day, when it is his time to leave this life, she will once again wrap her arms around him and welcome him home.

Please, ladies, remember to get a pap smear and breast examination every two years. If your instinct tells you that something is wrong – please seek a second opinion.

In loving memory of all the Angel Mummies.

xxxx

mum and bub