My Husband Would Rather You Didn’t Read this Blog Post

Husband Blog Post - Andrew and Hammock

February

The shortest month of the year has just been and gone. With both Valentine’s Day and my husband’s birthday nestled in February it is a month where a focus on Andrew, our relationship and love seems unavoidable.

 

Uniquely Mr. S

I fell in love with Andrew a long time ago but have found over the years many of his idiosyncrasies interesting, even lovable. Here are a few:

He is a quiet, stoic man. Case in point – we had elected not to find out the gender of our firstborn so when our son was born it was an exciting time. Andrew called up his parents and in a calm voice said two words: ‘Yep, boy’. He does however become animated whenever he finds a typo in a newspaper article.

He has a lot of regulations about how a dishwasher should be stacked correctly will rain wrath down on anyone who attempts to wash the sharp knives in there.

In no particular order he loathes crowds, mushrooms, Facebook, horror movies, spicy food, and most bizarrely, pizza. Yes. Pizza. Everyone likes pizza.

He peels bananas from the bottom. Just because.

He doesn’t think people should wear t-shirts of the band they are going to see in concert but it is perfectly acceptable to wear another band’s t-shirt to that concert.

 

Grumpy Pants

I like discovering these things about my husband. But my goodness at times, I get grumpy with him! As usual it is about the tiniest things – he was telling me off about my driving this morning. But really it is always about the big things. Obviously he doesn’t trust me, thinks I am a terrible driver, always knows better… all the things my angry brain says to me.

To reduce my cognitive dissonance – I married this man and we produced two incredible children together so there must be something there – I find it helps to do an exercise where I list out things I like.

So here goes…

 

Love Letter

Andrew,

Sometimes I find it hard to unconditionally love you so I thought I would write a list of some of the reasons (conditions??) of why I love you instead…

I always think you are very handsome, especially when you have the right amount of stubble (I never notice or care that you are bald)

You are a fantastic daddy – you are a rock star to Dylan and Eloise

You are very practical and do lots of things I wouldn’t ever do myself like fixing doors, fridges and toys

You have great teeth

I am very grateful that you don’t follow sports or spend whole weekends watching cricket or motor racing

You show love through action and I am eternally in your debt for washing and vacuuming my car

You make a mean stew and a tasty lasagna

I like your intellect, dry sense of humour and your ability to pick up cultural references (you told me what ‘jump the shark’ means)

You freely give out good hugs and sometimes if I am really lucky a nice back massage

I love you, Julie

 

Just writing this list has put me in a better frame of mind. I guess I should do it more often. It is probably good that there are cultural institutions like Valentine’s Day and birthdays that remind us to love what is right in front of us.

 

References

The Five Love Languages Book: The Five Love Languages on Amazon.com

‘Jump the Shark’ definition via the Urban Dictionary:

A term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. The origin of this phrase comes from a ‘Happy Days’ episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on waterskis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show.

Husband Blog Post - Andrew and Eloise on Beach

 

100 Days Old

100 Days Old Blog Post - Image of Eloise

All About Me

Our baby daughter, Eloise, entered our lives just over 100 days ago. Although the focus at home has been baby, baby, baby, I have recently realised that the previous two blog posts were all about me.

I wrote about my pregnancy, my labour, my birth. Cute photo aside, Eloise featured as a minor character in both those stories. It was time to turn the spotlight onto her – to make her a star.

What to Write About?

So I sat down at my keyboard to write an entire blog post about our brand new baby. And just stared at a blank page. What on earth was I going to write about?

New babies do NOTHING. I couldn’t just write about the ‘nothing’. No one wants to read about the ‘nothing’.

Then I realised that I was focusing on the wrong thing. I was targeting the ‘nothing’ part as the problem. That wasn’t the trouble at all. The real issue was that I had the verb wrong. Being a brand new baby is not about ‘doing’, it is about ‘being’. Just the fact that Eloise is here, that she IS should be enough.

We often forget we are ‘human beings’, not ‘human doings’. I think babies are around to give us the occasional reminder.

Its Called the Present Because It’s a Gift

For instance, new babies only know the present moment. There is no past or future for them. They live only in the now. Somewhere along the way, growing up, we lose this ability. Often, we forget that it is important and find ourselves dwelling in the past or racing into the future. Or perhaps we are told how vital being present is, and then try to reclaim this ability by attempting meditation/ taking some deep breaths / stopping to smell the roses.

However, for me, most of my attempts at being present feel forced. I put aside a few minutes to do some meditation.   When I take deep breaths, I have to add a mantra to it (“In – Calm, Out – Peace”). I have never seen a baby do this. They just breathe. Slowly. Properly. I envy their effortless ability to just be.

Always Choose Need over Want

A parenting rule that I try to live by is when in doubt, always choose a need over a want. Dylan wants to play outside when its dinnertime? He NEEDS to eat and WANTS to play. The answer becomes obvious.

With brand new babies, what is really nice is there is almost no conflict in this area. They need to eat. They need to sleep. They need to be warm and dry and comfortable. They need cuddles. That’s about it. You may have to decide between different immediate needs, but it is all needs. Infants are here to show us that it really is the simple things in life that matter the most.

I Hear You Loud and Clear

Babies have a very clear form of communicating to us. Of course, we might not know what they actually need, but they are not shy at letting us know that they have a need for something.

Adults might suggest, hint or query which can leave room for all kinds of misunderstandings or breakdowns in communication. Babies, on the other hand, command your attention. We are told straight up that something is not right and needs to be changed. Being given a command is extremely refreshing.

Babies Know Everything

So my first real blog post dedicated to my daughter Eloise is actually one of extreme gratitude. On the outside, it is obvious what I am thankful for. I now have an amazing, gorgeous little girl.   Dylan now has a sibling. And she completes our little family.

But it is the lessons that are taught to me every day that I am even more appreciative of. Eloise, you live in the present, you know what you need and communicate it to me in an authentic manner. You innately know how to live, how to just be human. I am in awe of this instinctive ability.

One Hundred Years Old

My main hope for you, Eloise, is that you naturally carry these traits past your first 100 days. I hope that they last for the next 100 weeks, 100 months or even 100 years. It is lovely to imagine you at a grand old age, shuffling slowly but deliberately out to your garden simply to smell the roses.

100 Days Old - Eloise in Pink

Letter To My Baby

Letter to My Baby - First Birthday Picture - Boy

The First Birthday Milestone

Dylan, you will be turning one very soon. My tiny quiet baby has grown into a loud, robust and wriggly almost-toddler. Nearly every parenting cliché ever voiced has come true this year. It has certainly been the steepest learning curve I have ever undertaken. The days were sometimes long, but the year was short. Children really do grow up so fast.

 

What You Have Taught Mummy – 1

Most self-help books I have read have had great concepts to improve my life but I have always found it difficult to picture their practical application. For instance they declare that you should always try new experiences and live life to the fullest. They say don’t ever give up on your goals or let failure overpower you. You need to knock obstacles out of the way and focus on what you want. Clearly define what you don’t want and eliminate it from your life. Until now, this all seemed kind of trite to me.

Dylan, you like discovering new things and you don’t give up the first time when something doesn’t work. You try and try and try and try again. You fall down and get back up. You focus on what you want and go for it. You overcome obstacles (like other toys, furniture and Daddy) to get what you want (usually my mobile phone if it has been left anywhere accessible). You don’t ask permission. And you clearly show us what you dislike (broccoli, having your face wiped) and don’t want to do (taking naps). Thanks to you, Dylan, I have come to the realisation that to get more out of life we should all be a bit more like you, curious, bold and fearless.

 

What You Have Taught Mummy – 2

When I first when to ‘Mums and Bubs’ yoga, at the end of the class the yoga teacher asked us to look at our wee babies and say to them “thank you for being my teacher”. And I have to admit, I thought this was all a bit ‘woo-woo’. But perhaps there is something to this.

When I go to get you out of your cot in the morning you give me the biggest grin and jump up and down ferociously. Every day you wake up excited and happy to be part of this world. We share a laugh constantly, often about the silliest little things. The other day you were cracking up because I was swiping at one of your toys and moving it across the floor of the lounge. It kept you amused for a good ten minutes, chuckling away. You often laugh for absolutely no reason at all. You don’t care what you wear or if there is a mess or if you have food on your face.

So now I understand what my yoga teacher and all those meditation gurus have been trying to tell us over the years. Laugh loud and often. Live in the present moment and be happy and grateful for the simple things in life that you have now. Thank you Dylan for being my teacher.

 

My Big Secret

I kept hearing about this enormous blast of love that mummies got the instant they held their newborn child for the first time. One of my friends said she forgot the pain of labour as soon as her little girl was in her arms. I was looking forward to that (the love part that is – the reduced pain part being an added bonus).

And it just didn’t happen. I felt many things when you were born – relieved for having a straightforward labour, proud of myself, grateful for having a healthy baby and awestruck by how tiny and perfect you were. But there was no overpowering feeling of falling in love.

I didn’t really mention it to anyone, just hoped that everyone assumed that I had instantly connected with you, my beautiful baby boy. But day-by-day I was wishing and hoping that a ferocious crackling love would suddenly hit me. I knew deep down that it is something that cannot be forced, an organic emotion that cannot be willed into existence. But I kept thinking there must be something I could do to bring it on.

All of a sudden you are nearly one year old and I realise although I was hoping for this fresh surge of love, I failed to appreciate that I have slowly developed a simmering kind of love that has been bubbling in the background all this time. Every day it keeps rising a little more towards boiling point. It is now a magnificent love, enormous and powerful.

I am not saying it is a better way of loving than an instant kick-start. But I am excited and happy to know that it doesn’t really matter, that I love you and it is endless and wonderful.

 

Happy Birthday

I have learnt so much from becoming your Mummy in the last year. You remind me every day of what is really important in this life. I look forward to loving you and learning from you for many, many, many years to come. Happy birthday Dylan.

Love, your mummy, Julie

Letter to My Baby - One Year Old Dylan