107 – Home again, Home again

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Ahhhhh Home. I flew in this afternoon and the GD picked me up before we collected the lads. You know that lovely feeling of coming home to see your fam, walking in to a clean house, the familiar smells and fur children all lined up ready to greet you and purr/wag themselves silly?

Nah. Not so much. The house smells like a mixture of farts and vomit. It looks like a fucking tornado hit it, and the fur children were only interested in me as long as it took for me to nag the GD to feed them. The wee lads were pleased to see me though ‘What did you bring us Mum?’ and the poor grumpy Dutchman who WAS pleased to see me was greeted with me saying ‘WHY did you bring the van for fucks sake?’ (I don’t like sitting in the dogs spot). Poor man was rushing to get to me on time from work and did not get the grateful wife he expected. The Bitch is baaaaaack!

The poor buggers had a rough week. I arrived in Chch on Sunday night and I got a phone call on Monday from the GD to say that he had left work and was on his way to Daycare to collect Master 4. He wasn’t well and couldn’t stay. This led to a really grumpy Dutchman because he was missing work to take him home. Updates through the next 24 hours revealed that he was contagious – the GD soon caught the lurgy and then both of them had the throw ups. Poor Master 7 was so bored at home with them both. And I was in Chch completely unable to help….

Oh dear how sad! I had a wonderful week of baby snuggles and leisurely walks with the dog Dave. My sister really just needed me as a pair of extra hands – the first time her husband has gone away for work since their daughter was born – and I was very glad to help. Is there anything more snuggly than a teeny weeny baby? Variously sucking her thumb, a bottle or my arm in our cuddles she was a lovely little pink bundle (baby girls get dressed in SO MUCH PINK) and we had many a lovely chat – me chatting obvs and her just sort of gurgling and exclaiming. She is my sister’s first baby and she is still in that mode where she can’t do anything when the baby is awake. I am a very willing baby holder.

I flew down with the intention of using my time down there to withdraw from all the naughties I had picked up again over Easter. Sugar, Dairy, Coffee, Crunchy and Raw. Along with them I had taken with me – Itchy, Flakey, Achey and Redface.

But you know what? Withdrawal didn’t happen. I fell in to the ‘new baby survival’ habits that my sister was already in – grabbing a snack of whatever you could whenever you could, ‘treating myself’ to coffee when exhausted and wanting a pick me up, I ate her entire supply of apples. I am not meant to eat Apples. I was out of control man. And the more I told myself that I had a handle on it and could stop anytime – the more I couldn’t. I even found myself eating chocolate in the car on the way home from doing a food shop for her. In secret. I don’t eat food in secret! I normally roll around in my food shame in public! All out there and ridiculous for all the world to judge. Bizarre behaviour.

And all those side effects of my damaged guts that I was getting a handle on have started to rear their ugly heads again; Fucked up skin, exhaustion (when doing absolutely nothing!), bloating, headaches and feeling like shite warmed up. You know that not very ‘clean’ feeling you get inside when you don’t eat enough veges? I used to get it flatting – I’d be jonesing for some broccoli after too many days of two-minute noodles and beer. That’s pretty rock and roll eh? Craving broccoli? That’s me baby – I get all excited about leafy greens.

Anyway. I had a lovely time in Chch. I didn’t blog because I spent my evenings cuddling my wee niece or sleeping ha ha. But I am very pleased to be back as the bosom of the family again. I have had some lovely cuddles with my big boys this evening and they were actually pleased to see me too – not just the pressies ha ha.

Moving forward my plan is to do a really good food shop, clean the house and get my shit prepped for school to start on Monday. I need a clear space in my head and my house to get back on track. Start as I mean to go on – Term two will be the start of something good.

Here are some pics from my wanderings round Christchurch – mostly nature and shit – if you’re in to that;

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Day 102 – Landed in Chch, cluck cluck cluck

Mmmmmmmmm Baby snuggles. So good. And she is a real little snuffler – like a little hedgehog. My poor niece (and sister and BIL) has suffered with reflux and terrible wind since birth. They were going out of their minds with a screaming baby until a couple of things happened. A. The pediatric nurse they see suggested that maybe she was plain hungry – my sister can’t make much milk so they have introduced bottle feeds as well and B. They started giving her gripe water and reflux medicine to stop her oesophagus from burning. She still gets terrible wind though poor kid.

Now she is finally putting on weight – much to everyone’s delight – and sleeping through the night (oh my god my kids STILL aren’t sleeping through the night) but she still has tummy stuff. Kris is off the dairy and spiceky food but baby still is not having a good time.

I am very tempted to mention the thing about gluten upsetting babies tummies when they are wee if they are coeliac….. but I won’t. Ha ha. Anecdotally it seems that every child diagnosed on the Coeliac Disease NZ page had funny tummies when they were little – and when Mum took out the gluten they felt better.  But my sister is very proud of the fact that she doesn’t have coeliacs – being related to me of course but not by both parents – and she will not be happy if I suggest there could be anything there for her precious little angel. Fair enough. New mums get a LOT of unsolicited advice and opinions and that’s not my job. I am here to help.

I got to have my first alone time this evening when Kris took her man to the airport for his trip to china. We had some hairy moments when there were nearly tears but I remembered some of my windy baby holds and we powered through. She’s so wee and cuddly and I am SO in danger of getting super clucky.

The temperature is set to drop here in Chch overnight so we’ll see how I survive!

89 – cluck cluck cluck

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I’ve been sitting here tonight daydreaming about going to Christchurch in a little under a fortnight, and snuggling my new baby niece. She’ll be nearly three months by the time I get to meet her but she’ll still have some of that ‘fresh out of the wrapper’ loveliness that newborns have.

And this is where I get a little panicky ripple up my spine. Because it wasn’t so long ago that I was really motherfuckingly clucky. Like really. Like I had just this minute popped out the second one (it was almost a ‘pop’ it only took three excruciating hours) and I was talking about a third. And I had always imagined me with four teenagers round my kitchen table so ‘just one more babe’ didn’t seem too unreasonable. A girl. I have two boys, now it’s time for the girl.

Everytime I brought up the issue the grumpy Dutchman got pale and said ‘Really?’ gesturing around our rubbish dump house, that had previously – pre kids – been so immaculate. He can’t for the life of him understand why I would want to bring another sleep sucking, money sucking and life force sucking creature in to our finally-sorting-itself-out little family. Just when our youngest is SO close to starting primary school, thus ridding us of our $400 + fortnightly bill. He doesn’t ‘get’ my want of lots of teenagers (his least favourite age group) and he is terrified of the thought of having a daughter (cave man dad=protection and female innocence ideas all cramming to the front of his brain when he thinks of ‘pink’ offspring, no amount of ‘babe she’ll be my daughter and therefore pretty badass’ consoles him).

In the past four years I have come to terms with this and am eventually getting to the point where I agree with him. To an extent. It makes no sense to get preggers while Deaning for one thing. I can’t take time off from my girls, the inconsistency of pastoral care will fuck the balance and I have finally gotten all 270 of them working pretty well as a cohort. But the bit that has turned my mind the most is my foodtard-ness actually.

I really enjoyed being pregnant. I know that sounds weird but I really liked not having to fake a waist. I really like ‘dressing the belly’, and playing with tight clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear (picture a skin tight leopard print baby bump and bright red lips). I had heaps of energy, my skin cleared up and people were really lovely to me. I had the perfect excuse to eat literally ALL the time and it was also a really good reason to sit on my ass if I felt like it. The GD thought it was really sexy. But the first 12 weeks weren’t great. I was one of the lucky ones (who don’t throw up)  but just felt a bit ‘meh’ the whole time. I have heard horror stories since and I know in comparison it totally didn’t suck that bad. Well my first trimester turned me into a horrible bitch and only junk food made me happy. All the delicious, calorie laden, deep-fried junk food that I am not allowed to eat now.

If I got pregnant tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to eat mountains of cheesy pasta, really good deep fried fish and chips, Lasagna, Hamburgers – all the gluten-y, dairy filled goodness that I craved. I would have to make do with ‘mymite’ and avocado on toast, oak baked beans and other ‘safe’ stuff for my tummy. Bleurgh.

The thought of being pregnant now is a little scary to be honest. I know I would still enjoy the pregnant thing, I fucking LOVE newborns and I am like a dairy cow when it comes to breastfeeding – I made enough milk to feed all the babies on the street believe me – but now I’m older and my gut is broken. I wouldn’t be able to veg out on junk food. I am scared that my old age would mean dropping the ‘baby weight’ wouldn’t be so easy in my late thirties. That’s vain but it’s real. Also – it’d be another big gap between the kinder. Two in primary school and a newborn.

Knowing my luck I’d probably get another boy too. (you know I love my boys right? good)

So I have to suck up all the goodness and ‘fresh out of the oven’ smell I can from other people’s newborns. I can’t breastfeed them – that’s creepy – but I can make delicious food for their Mums. I can snuggle. I also have a kitten who I call Baby. Ha ha.

If I woke up tomorrow pregnant I wouldn’t be devastated. I’d be surprised – it is a week night after all – but I’d be ok. Don’t ask the GD what he thinks though.

Day 82 – cooling down

I am cold. Rocking the hoodie and slouchy tights combo on the couch and feeling cold. That’s no good people. It’s only the end of March! And I am going to Christchurch in April – I am going to freeze. But, with the cooler months come the lovely cozy tights and fantastic coats and jackets. The cape coats and the trench coats and the leather jacket/hoodie underneath combos. All the delicious-ness of warm winter clothes. I do like wearing what amounts to a duvet for three months of the year. And it doesn’t really get cold in Auckland, not actually cold. Just cold enough for the look of it and that’s all that matters really.

It does however get cold in Christchurch. I am going to hang with my new niece Miss 2.5 months and her mum, my sister. My brother-in-law is going to China for work and I am going to co-parent for the week to help because she’s just wee still. My sister has all of these wonderful brand-new-mum ideas of ‘sleep training’ Sophie and ‘getting her on a schedule’ while I’m there to help – ha ha. I think the theory is that because I’ve already had two and they have lived that I am meant to be some sort of expert. It’s not like my sister to be this naive but I appreciate her faith in me.

It will be nice to have a week ‘off’ life, I am looking forward to it but I keep reminding myself that I’ll be living with a very young baby again for a week so it’s not exactly a rest!

Monday dawned low and long, the boot camp ladies and I blinking as we adjusted to the beginning of the working week. Monday is my no-stopping day at work and I basically lurch from teaching to meeting to teaching so it was good that I had done some prep yesterday. The GD was working a new location today so instead of making sure he was ready earlier than usual he did his man thing of relaxing, lingering over his coffee, long shower doing who knows what (when I should have been showering – it was my turn man!) and then rushing around like an angry bear because he was late – dragging the reluctant and barely awake Master 7 to school in his wake. Because I was organised I managed to have the fastest shower in the world, feed all the children – furry and dutch – get my shit organised and get to school within time enough to not be late. The GD says that it is not a competition. But he only says that because I am winning.

Trying to pull back again this week. Reminding myself of the mission. The Healing and Balance objective. Remind myself to ‘crowd out’ with lots of cooked veges and good fats and bone broth and to trim all of the no-gos that have been slipping in out again. Run with the dog, Try to get to a yoga class. Be mindful.

Day 67 – I’m baaaaaaack and I brought a little friend with me…

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Hello! Missed your face! Nah not really ha ha – it was so good to be out of town for the weekend, just me and the grumpy Dutchman, we didn’t miss anyone!

As much as we love our little grumpy dutch-kinder, it was awfully nice to be just me and my man for the weekend of our wedding anniversary. Just like the good old days, we loaded up the boot and headed off to the Coromandel to lie around, read our books, op-shop in Whitianga, have a fancy dinner out without anyone running round the restaurant like a mental person or ordering four different things only to declare that they ‘weren’t hungry anymore’. The GD did really well.

It was raining when we got there but it was fine actually – we just got wet.

Hahei Beach
Hahei Beach

We wandered around Whitianga like hippies with no jobs. Like the ‘before’ us. The GD bought books and I bought shoes from the church shops (don’t be grossed out I will clean them) and we sat at a beautiful spot and read our books while the world went on around us. The waitress stopped to say that she liked how comfortable we were reading together and the GD decided that she must be in love with him and was hitting on him. Of course! That must be it.

The few times the GD stopped talking were really tranquil. Seriously, he talked the WHOLE drive there, for most of our stay, and then ALL the way home. The man can talk the ass off a donkey. Hell he can talk the ass off an elephant. He nearly talked the ass offa me! You know that Mother thing where you can’t imagine what life was like before you had kids and there wasn’t someone saying ‘Mum, mum mum‘ every five seconds? I remember now what I could hear. It was the GD. ‘Babe, babe babe!’ He likes to ‘educate’ me. He likes to wind me up. He likes the sound of his own voice is what he likes.

The GD in his happy place
The GD in his happy place

Because we were taking a break from life, this also meant taking a more relaxed approach to my restrictions… Unlike the good old days we were not sleeping in our car, and it was good that I had mentally prepared myself for this ‘relaxed approach’ because at the B & B where we booked the guy was really rattled initially when I said I was gluten-free. Which is really frustrating because when we booked in September last year I specifically mentioned that I had coeliacs and would happily deal with breakfast myself if they didn’t have GF options (I like to give peeps fair warning to get out of feeding me if it freaks them out). We had a whole email exchange where he got increasingly short and rude about GF food and cross-contamination and using the same toaster not being ok. So I mentioned my ‘special needs’ with trepidation when he asked about breakie. I ended up having a ‘lite’ version of Thom’s breakfast and he tried really hard in the end – he kept running out of the house with random food to offer me and I like to think we educated one more person on the way. But it is annoying to be the awkward one.

I was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want to feel stressed about eating while we were away without a kitchen and so I made a decision to eat well where I could and to allow a few treats. Like a Flat White each morning to make up for my lacklustre breakfast, and my first ever Creme Brulee after our fancy dinner. YUM.

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And THEN. On the way home we adopted a kitten. We were walking around in a completely relaxed state when he came up on my news feed as still not having a home. My friends who had found him couldn’t keep him and the SPCA had no room at the inn so I mentioned him to the GD. And he must have been feeling really relaxed because he said yes! With little thought to how our dog and cat would feel we threw caution to the wind and said we would collect the little dude on the way home. Colin is 6-8 weeks old (he is a foundling so we don’t know for sure) and he is a confident little bugger. He has settled in to his new house really quickly. Although I think Molly may take a while to forgive us.

To top the evening off poor master 7 was violently ill. He will be going to work with daddy tomorrow poor kid. Glad to be home!

Day 14, Coffee – sort of, last day with Dave (and my Sis) and I get to see my little men!

photo 1 (9)Today was my last day in Christchurch, and Kris took the afternoon off to hang with me, so we went to the cafe that Cath had taken me to for lunch, The Herb centre Dispensary – because I was having a massive sugar craving and I knew they did no-refined-sugar desserts….

Before you throw your hands in the air aghast and lose all my faith in my hard-core stickability you’ll be pleased to know that once we got there I decided against any dessert/cake/slice no matter how sketchily it fit into my gut healing restrictions. When they take the refined sugar out it usually means that they are using dried fruit or honey as a sweetener (nothing artificial because it was wholefoods central) both are off the books for now. I had been all excited but once I got there decided that it wasn’t worth starting again – especially with the leg aches – and thought I would treat myself to a DECAF, rice milk Flat White. Yes I said it. And I know this is not a ‘real coffee’ (Kylee) and I would have been scoffing and throwing my hands up in the air as well – for fucks sake I won’t even drink Starbucks coffee (because it’s gross duh) – but I really felt like I had to try it. And surprise surprise it tasted like coffee. So much so – and the with the consequent speedy feeling I had afterwards – I think she slipped me real caffeine man. There was some confusion with me ordering because initially I hadn’t realised I could have a fakey fakey coffee, so I ordered tea. Then I realised and went back and I think it was all too much. So although it had rice milk – you could taste that – I think I got caffeined. Well, my mouth still feels weird anyway, and I’m still up and it’s 11.30pm oh my god.

Anyway, I got to the plane having only had a smoothie between lunch and flying so was starving, no snacks on me and nothing to buy, nothing to do but suck it up – cue stomach pains etc – but I know you ‘normals’ get that too when you starve yourself so nothing interesting there!

On the plane I was sitting between two dudes, who I thought were really old then realised I was probably within ten years of age with them and felt OLD, and of course they sat with their legs wide open and reclined right back and basically claimed all of the plane to themselves. Fuck that shit. I pushed my elbows out, reclined, dropped my knees, put my headphones on and raised my book. Ain’t no way you gonna encroach upon this hangry mamabears plane space motherfucker.

Flight was otherwise uneventful; no nice air host person I don’t want the teeny tiny cookie time (boo hoo) or the horrible GF (suspect) vege chips, nor do I want a perculator coffee (YES I DO DAMNIT) and thank you but no I don’t want the boiled sweetie to help my ears pop. So many lies. I wanted ALL of the boiled sweeties. I wanted to fill my overstuffed and threatening to burst carry on luggage with them. But I am very restrained and my willpower is great. or some shit.

I was sad to be leaving Dave and Kris, but pleased to be coming home to my little lads – it was SO good to see Master 7 standing right at the gate when I came through – but ssshhhhhh don’t tell them – Mama could have stayed another couple of days reading my books and mooching about and coped quite well…

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Day Twelve – headaches and cold weather…

Urg. Sugar withdrawal is kicking in. And the Dairy and Sugar from Saturday night has manifested itself in a rash or red bumps/pimple things on my neck and shoulder and my face is SOOOO red. Feel pretty gross. So not pretty right now.

And on top of it all I have had a headache alllllllllllll day that I couldn’t shake. The sky is grey and it was cold too. I think the weather affects me more than I’d like. I don’t cope with grey skies very well.

On the positive – I had a lovely visit with my friend Cath and her two little lasses – they are super cutie cute and we had a lovely FREEZING walk round the Botanical gardens. I was going to go to Sumner and show myself around but it was too cold and I ended up in the mall….. I will try again tomorrow.

To try to ‘re-set’ I made us a delicious dinner – stir fried chicken and assorted veges. And I am currently fighting very strong cravings to eat ALL the fruit in the house. No fruit for me…. I need to get through the headaches and out the other side…..

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Day eleven, sugar hangover and new food

Morning, I mean afternoon – no actually it’s the evening isn’t it? My head has been foggy today and I don’t know if it’s because I stayed up late (11pm shocking!) or I woke up late (7.30am – even more shocking!). I am not a late night gal nor am I a late riser and I am blaming this weird sleeping squarely on the sugar high I got from my delicious dessert last night. Also today I have smashed 2 nectarines and a whole bunch of strawberries so I guess the sugar cravings have kicked back in…. Back to square one and cold turkey on the fruit tomorrow.

Oh well my fault. We met one of my sisters mates for lunch today, she is good fun and the cafe we went to did the whole ‘we can make any meal GF’ for you thing which was great. They faltered a bit when I asked if that was coeliac safe (two different things believe me) but were very good with my ‘special needs’ ha ha. I ended up having poached eggs on their own GF bread, GF bacon and baby spinach which was delicious and kept me full (albeit I slipped some strawb’s in there) until dinner time.

The weather is not amazing today – raining on and off – grey skies – which always affects my mood – makes me irritable and snappy – and I get Monica-styles white girl afro too… s’not pretty or cute.

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In other news I have nearly finished another book – fuck I LOVE hours and hours of uninterrupted reading – I was such a geek when I was younger and unencumbered, I’d just read and read and read…. and (maybe) unrelated; I have bought my two little lads their ‘Mummies-been-away-and-didn’t-miss-you-at-all-but-I-still-love-you-really’ guilt presents and sent postcards, but there isn’t a lot of exercise going on… Yoga and boot camp will be ON when I get home. Damnit. NO remember – it’s good for my soul and stress and shit…. No really it is!

Kris made us delicious Larb Gai for dinner tonight and we ate it wrapped in lettuce leaves – must try this for other food – it was delicious and satisfying. She said it was super easy to make so I will be looking up versions of it when I get home to try with the lads and the GD. YUM. And also eating other stuff wrapped in lettuce leaves (although technically lettuce leaves are raw greens and I should be avoiding them – but no sore tummy yet from raw veges or chillies so fingers crossed!)

Three more days and I go home to my boys, I guess I do miss little lad cuddles in the morning – I even missed the GD today when I was mooching round the shops and found some records (but don’t tell him that!).

Day ten – 29 degrees in Christchurch today

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  • I fell of the sugar wagon today. Deliberately and with forethought.
  • and the Dairy wagon (but it was an accident).
  • Lack of exercise too, although went for multiple ‘waddles’ with me sis’ (she waddles and I walk slowly next to her).
  • It was hot and we toured through Lyttelton and the port hills.
  • I am not beating myself up about the sugar – the restaurant was fancy and the dessert was DF and GF. And I reminded myself that I am starting the ‘I quit sugar’ program on the 22nd. But that this is not an excuse to go cray cray until then. A simple blip. But I ain’t gonna kill myself man, the dessert was goooood.
  • I have read three books since I got here.
  • Bliss.

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Day Seven, flying away to the flatlands

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Evening,

I write this from the broad expanses of my sisters giant counch, in her giant lounge, to the wet crunchy soundtrack of her Boxer dog Dave masticating a chew toy. I am SOOOOOO full because we checked out a GF (coeliac friendly) Fish and Chip shop down here and it was YUM. The house is quiet and modern and Master chef is entertaining us….. and I am thinking about the crunchy bits left in the chip wrapper…

I always forget how flat Christchurch is until I get here and now am faced with the daunting task of jumping in Kris’s car tomorrow and finding my way around – with no one landmark to point myself at I will be relying heavily on GPS to help me. We made a pitstop at the stupidmarket for me to fill up with veges and supplies – I am going to make Kris the chicken ‘poppers’ for dinner one night because I am excited about them ha ha. I grabbed almond milk etc and will be making smoothies for us for breakie tomorrow too – sorted.

Bootcamp this morning, and then a lovely walk through the forest near the sister’s house with her dog to show me the ropes. I won’t be bootcamping/yoga-ing for the next seven days but WILL be dog walking, sunbathing and reading lots of books.

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Ahhhhh Blisss.

You might hear from me over the next few days…. but then again you might not 😉