this parenting caper : the santa lie

posted on: Monday, December 24, 2012

Do your kiddos believe in Santa?

This year the preschooler (in his very last last year of preschool) asked if Santa was real. I said, "What do you think?"
"I think he isn't"
"How do you think the presents get delivered?"
"I think someone dresses up as Santa and delivers them."


When I was three years old I asked my mum if Santa was real. She said no. The end. I didn't feel it ruined Christmas for me, presents still appeared in my stocking on Christmas morning and I still felt that it was a time of magic and fun.

Now the best thing about Christmas is the kids -- their excitement and joy, their enthusiasm for tinsel and lights and Santa visits (real or not) and the tradition of having the family all together.

It seems a little odd to me that we tell our littles that once a year a stranger secretly enters our house in the middle of the night and leaves us presents, if we've been good.

You know that whole 'naughty and nice' thing? It drives me bats. Santa does not come to children who are good (if we go with the Santa thing), he comes to children of privilege whose parents have enough money to give them gifts. Why do we lie about this?

So what have I told the preschooler?

I have told him that I believe in the spirit of Christmas, that Christmas is about showing the people we care about that we love them and taking time to be together.

I guess there's a part of me that still wants to believe in magic too.

That loves suspending my disbelief.

And through the eyes of my children the best memories of my own childhood come alive and I relive the anticipation and excitement of the holidays all over again.

May your days be merry and bright.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a million hugs for you and your little ones. See you in the New Year!

{More photographs by the lovely Lisa from Lisa Jay Photography.}

sakura bloom sling diaries : discovery

posted on: Thursday, December 20, 2012

Once upon a time a mother said to me, "What they don't tell you is that from the moment they're born they start leaving you."

This made me a little teary, as most statements like this have done since I became a mama, 15 and a half years ago.

But I never forgot those words and I believed them straight away.

I was 19 when I became a mum. I was eager to get on with my life, find my own path, leave my parents behind.

But not really.

I talk to my own mother on the phone most days and always have. I still live a car ride away from my parents and the town I grew up in. I love my parents and value their opinions and judgements beyond measure. It might surprise them a bit to hear the latter, because they think I do whatever I want, regardless of what they say. I say, there's a difference between listening and agreeing.

Now I have my own beautiful brood and I understand acutely the pull on both sides of the divide: the parent, the child and the space in between where each other's wishes reside. 

It is really hard to come to this parenting caper and put one's own prejudices aside.

This past weekend the baby took her first steps. I felt so, so proud. And if the wide smile on her little face was anything to go by, so did she.

Last week the kiddo dressed in his first ever big school uniform and spent a morning at school. He walked off with his teacher without a backward glance. Well, actually, he did turn once to yell, 'Rosie!' He ran back to give his sister a kiss goodbye. She seemed a bit bereft that he was leaving her.

There are a million different ways to live a life. Sometimes it's hard not to be afraid. Sometimes it's hard to let go.

But I truly believe that allowing my children to discover this world on their own terms, plus unconditionally loving them, is the best gift I can give them. 

To shield them from the truth, or to hope that they don't discover what is real, is to hold them back from the most profound experience of what it means to be human. Well, that is what I think.

So what I will do is love them like crazy, hold their hands when they need me to, and let them run off when they're ready to go.

I will try to explain this world to them and arm them with all they need so that they can take care of themselves, so that they can help others if called upon, and  so that they can suck the marrow out of this life and all it has to offer.

I will trust that the love I have for them now; the experience I am having of raising these small people, will carry me through the years that will come when they have flown away. And that the love and care they feel now will stay with them for the rest of their lives, however they choose to live them.

This post is part of the The Sling Diaries, Vol. II for Sakura Bloom. You can follow along on Pinterest and Facebook.

{Photography by the lovely Lisa at Lisa Jay Photography.}

giveaway : love to swaddle up {closed}

posted on: Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back when the lady was a squishy newborn I had a nice little routine for her around bedtime. After she'd been up for about an hour or so, or if I saw her starting to grizzle or get wriggly, I'd give her a cuddle, tell her 'it's sleepy time' and carry her up to her room. I'd draw the blind, check her nappy, change it if necessary and put her in her sleeping bag.

Then I'd kiss her, lay her in her hammock and pat her if she needed it, sometimes for up to an hour, (also from around 2-4 months she used a dummy to drift off) and then I'd leave her to her nap.

I have never been good at swaddling so I rotated two or three Love To Swaddle UP sleeping bags (the Lite ones as it was summer time) -- they were perfect. The tiny lady could still move her hands to her mouth but was snug enough so her startle reflex didn't wake her up (or not so that I noticed), and I never had to worry about loose bedding covering her face.

Today I'm excited to be giving away not one but two Love To Swaddle UP sleeping bags and wash bags, thanks to Love To Dream. Yay!

what will you win?
Two readers will each win a prize pack with a Love To Swaddle UP and a Love To Dream wash bag, valued at $49.90 AUD.

what do you need to do?
Follow baby space on Facebook and comment on this post telling us who will be swaddled in the Love To Swaddle UP.

Two winners will be chosen on the 19th of December 2012. This giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!

ETA: Please include your email address in your comment so you can be contacted.

Giveaway closes at midnight, Sydney time on the 18th of December 2012. This giveaway is open internationally. If the winner is not contactable via email within 24 hours the giveaway will be redrawn. 

baby : 10 - 11 months

posted on: Monday, December 10, 2012

These last couple of months have flown by. Last time I looked I had a tiny baby and now miss lady, while still little, has made all sorts of developmental leaps. I think sometimes I underestimate her because she's the baby of the three -- I forget that she can understand so much now.

Now she shakes her head 'no' or nods her head 'yes' (usually about food). She has become a pickier eater and has spurned all my great home-cooked veggies in favour of rice, avocado and lots of finger foods. For snacks she loves fruit and yoghurt and toast.

She points to everything, loves seeing the dogs around our neighbourhood and ducks in the park. She can give me a toy if I ask her and thinks her preschooler brother is hilarious. He is always trying to make her laugh. She loves hugs with her biggest brother -- she is a great snugly hugger now; she wraps her arms around our necks and rests her head on our shoulders. It melts our hearts. She has so many big people to love her -- her 15 year-old brother is as tall as her dad now.

Her main word is dada and he is the only person she calls by his name. When she calls for me, she does it with a cry.

She has just dropped to one day sleep (so I am typing this as she plays in the lounge room. Yo Gabba Gabba might be on TV too ;) and she is having one and a half or two bottles a day plus a breastfeed. I can feel my hormones shifting as all that lovely oxytocin (the breastfeeding hormone) is depleting. But mostly we are doing well and weaning slowly. Miss lady, or my vanilla bean as I sometimes call her, loves giving me big 'kisses' which sometimes leave bruises. I teach her to be gentle by telling her ('be gentle') and stroking her head or arm to show her what I mean. She is a great rough and tumbler because the preschooler wrestles with her.

On her next update she will be one! I can't believe it. I still haven't written her birth story, but I want to -- if only for her, in case she'd like to know about it one day.

Next year will bring all sorts of changes for us: she will be starting daycare for two days a week, the preschooler will be starting big school and I will be going back to uni. And I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of all the sleepless nights. It's exciting!

If you fancy catching up on the lady's babyhood here she is at 9 months8 months7 months6 months5 months4 months3 months2 months1 month and newborn.

{miss lady is wearing a vintage terry towelling suit with an owl and pussycat print that used to be mine as a babe. she is looking at these board books: 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, 'That's Not My Monster' by Fiona Watt, 'Where is the Green Sheep?' by Judy Horacek and Mem Fox, ' Being Together' by Shirley Hughes, which was her biggest brother's book and 'Baby Animals' which was her dada's  baby book.}

christmas giveaway : gift extravaganza {closed}

posted on: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Would you like to win this gorgeous sleighful of Aussie, French and New Zealand gifts valued at approx $550 AUD? One baby space reader, anywhere in the world (with a postal address) can win this amazing haul of goodies. Yay!

what will you win?

1.Merry Christmas banner from Love Mae, valued at $79.95 AUD.

2. Hand knit, toddler bonnet, made with 100% wool from Typically Red, valued at $33 AUD.

3. Organic newborn gift set with a long sleeve body suit, knotted baby hat, terry towelling bib and baby wrap from Nature Baby, valued at $94.95.

4. Woodland Critters Bamboo dinning set with plate, bowl and tumbler from Love Mae, valued at $29.95 AUD.

5. Handmade Worry Not Doll and Birdy rattle/teether from Once I Was valued at approx $24 AUD.

6. Christmas Snowflake Doilies from Love Mae, valued at $44.95 AUD.

7. Hand screen-printed Fable Baby Leggings in organic cotton (you can pick the size, print and whether you'd prefer footed or footless) from Down That Little Lane, valued at $49 AUD.

8 and 9. Playtpus Softie (similar to the one pictured) by Two Little Banshees and Ka Pai Tea Towel by 326 from Antipodean Love, valued at approx $63 AUD.

10. Two handmade cushions made from upcycled fabrics (similar to the ones pictured) from Rhubarb and Apples, valued at approx, $50 AUD.

11. Handmade Vintage Clouds mobile made up of teeny hot air balloons crafted using a vintage cloud print from Empire Lane, valued at $49.95 AUD.

12. Under the Sea Bamboo dinning set with plate, bowl and tumbler from Love Mae, valued at $29.95 AUD.

what do you need to do?

1) Visit the sweet stores above and peruse their wares, (you're in for a treat!).

2) Leave one comment on this post sharing what you're most looking forward to this Christmas. Please include your email address in your comment or link containing your email address (eg: Blogger profile with email) for your entry to be valid.

One winner will be chosen on the 17th of December 2012. Good luck!

ETA: Congratulations to winner Max from Blackbird has Spoken who said, "Nice! My wee girl turns 3 a couple of days before christmas and 'gets' christmas, father christmas, the elves and reindeer and everything for the first time. It is MAGIC having a little believer in the house x"

Thank you for playing everyone!

Giveaway closes at midnight, Sydney time on the 16th of December 2012. This giveaway is open internationally. If the winner is not contactable via email within 24 hours the giveaway will be redrawn. Please note that the gifts are being sent out by the individual suppliers and will most likely arrive after the 25/12/12.

fun stuff : cosmo pregnancy magazine

posted on: Monday, December 3, 2012

This time last year I was as big as a house and as excited as I've ever been. I was on the homestretch to giving birth and meeting the little baby I'd been growing for most of the year! I recorded my pregnancy's progress here on the blog, but I also kept a week-by-week diary for Cosmopolitan Pregnancy Australia. 

Now that the lady is nearly one year-old it's so fun to read back over my journey -- all those things you think you'll remember forever but forget so quickly (like the way I was sleeping on the floor in my third trimester, or my lamb chop obsession in first trimester, hah!).

If you'd like to see, Cosmopolitan Pregnancy Australia, Issue 26 is on newsstands now :)

Did you keep a diary through your pregnancy? Or if you're pregnant now are you taking notes? I'd love to hear!

p.s Some of my fave online maternity series if you haven't seen them already: Bleubird Vintage, Pacing The Panic Room and Carolee Beckham.
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