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Never meant to be easy

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Sunday, 1 June 2014: One Year and Two Months Old.

Study with a sick kid was never meant to be easy.

That’s right…. Sick. Poor Baby Ayla is sick again.

The symptoms are the usual; medium-high temps, irritability, lack of appetite, clinginess, and no doubt tomorrow she’ll be diagnosed with a virus and told to stay home.

I would have loved nothing more than to spend the day on the couch, my sick baby girl asleep on my chest and my Hubby absently playing with my hair, but alas, there was work to do!

Uni work mostly – my final assignment of the semester – but plenty of house work, renovation work and normal work as well.

Hubby tried his best to help but Ayla really only wanted her mummy… her mummy who kept staring at the stark glowing computer screen and punching hundreds of dull sounding buttons.

When I did release myself from my desk to pick Ayla up, I was swept up with the renovation work Hubby was doing and spent the time running errands with one hand.

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Attempt #2… Success!

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014: Three Hundred and Forty Four Days Old.

Ayla and I had our second attempt at day care today and this time it was a success.

Mind you like last week Ayla refused to sleep during the day for some reason, squeezing in just one 30 minute nap around lunch time, but she seemed happy and content enough to be sent off to school!

I was feeling much more relaxed too and I was really looking forward to starting a new chapter of parenthood that will mean mummy can get some time to herself every now and then.

So out came Ayla’s first set of daycare clothes (pictured) and her little baby sneakers. Her bag was packed with a hat, some nappies and cream, a change of clothes, a zippy-straw cup, some expressed milk and a bottle.

Then off we went!

We arrived just as the babies were waking up from their naps so the kids were bright, bubbly and happy; I was actually surprised at how friendly and outgoing some of them where, coming up to meet me and Ayla and promising to look after her for me.

I put Ayla down in the play yard and she sat motionless with wide eyes, staring at all the commotion around her. The other children kept bringing over toys for Ayla to play with, gently patting her head and trying to read to her but after about 15 minutes I think it got all a bit too much and Ayla started to cry.

I picked her up and gave her a cuddle and one of the day care mums brought out a baby couch for her to sit on. After a little while when Ayla seemed more settled and confident, I sat her on the little couch beside me and from then on in she was back to her old self.

After about an hour it was afternoon tea time at the centre and time for me to go to uni. The day care mums took all the kids off to wash their hands and get ready to eat and as I left Ayla was sitting up in a high chair about to get stuck into a piece of pear, a slice of orange and a square of sultana cake – happy as.

As I was leaving I tried explaining what was in Ayla’s bag, but I felt like such a bad parent when I could hardly answer any of the questions the day care mum had about Ayla’s routine!

  • Will she need a nap this afternoon? Umm… probably, she’s hardly slept at all today which isn’t like her.
  • What time does she usually go down for her afternoon nap? Umm… I don’t know, she hasn’t been having arvo naps for the last couple of weeks, but she used to sleep anywhere between 2 and 5pm!
  • Should we give her a bottle if we put her down to nap? Umm… you can certainly try but she’s never taken a bottle.
  • Which bottle should we use, does she have a preference? Umm… no, neither, both? I’m sorry! I’m just not sure, she changes every day!
  • How much food will she eat? Umm… that changes every day too! She was having three solid meals a day but lately she’s dropped back to just snacks and milk.

I was worried they thought Ayla was a spoilt brat but off I went to uni, keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Ayla would be her usual wonderful self and wouldn’t turn into a sleep deprived monster!

When my class finished, and I was pleased to have only thought about Ayla every fifteen minutes, I couldn’t wait to get back to pick her up.

I arrived to find Ayla exactly where I left her, sitting up in a high chair but this time having some pre-dinner snacks. When she saw me Ayla squealed with delight, throwing her plate of food to the floor and kicking her legs in uncontainable excitement.

The day care mum picked her up and brushed off the crumbs then took Ayla off to the sink to wash up. The whole time Ayla couldn’t take her eyes off me, pointing at me with her wide tired eyes.

The ladies at the day care literally gushed about how wonderful Ayla had been, and they had so many wonderful things to say that I don’t think they were just being nice!

Apparently Ayla had been truly wonderful and friendly, ate lots and played really well with the other kids. They said that she had had only one moment of sadness which was easily rectified by a bit of distraction, and one even said she would take care of Ayla any time!

I realised that although my vague recital of Ayla’s routine earlier could have come across as high maintenance, the truth is Ayla is just easy going and placid. Ayla doesn’t need strict rules because she’s happy to go with the flow and adapt, and that’s one of the things that makes her so damn lovable!

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D-day disaster

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014: Three Hundred and Thirty Seven Days Old.

Today was D-day (“D” standing for Day Care”) and it ended in disaster.

The morning started off smoothly and to plan; Ayla had slept well, she had some breakfast, a bath, and I even got her day care bag all ready complete with labeled clothes and expressed milk.

At around 10.30am Ayla was looking tired, and although she was rubbing her eyes a little earlier than I expected I decided to put her down for a nap and planned to get stuck into my uni readings, preparing the dinner and doing some washing while she slept.

But by midday Ayla still hadn’t slept – apart from accidentally falling asleep for 10 minutes while I was feeding her – andI was completely frazzled.

The washing was beeping, the frying pan was burnt from being on without having anything in it, the flies were trying to get to my half chopped veggies, I hadn’t gone near my computer and Ayla was crying. It was overload to my stress levels.

Ayla was just really clingy, she would settle in my arms but as soon as I put her down she would start coughing then wake up and cry. This cycle went on, and on, and on, until Ayla’s eyes were red ringed and darkly shadowed and my nerves were completely shot.

I knew there was something wrong that was keeping Ayla from sleep, whether it was a virus, her teeth or something else, which made me feel bad for her and had me questioning my own judgement about leaving her at day care while I went off to uni.

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to take Ayla to her first afternoon at day care when she was so tired, upset and irritable so I made the decision to give Week One at uni a miss in order to take care of my baby girl.

Although I was happy with my decision, I think all the stress and pressure of the last couple of weeks finally caught up with me and I found myself in tears anyway.

Thankfully, like a knight in shining armour, Hubby came to the rescue by taking the afternoon off work to come home and look after Ayla.

It was a gesture so small and simple but it meant I got a whole three hours to myself to de-mummify, engage with a world outside my four walls and do something purely for me.

We’ll just have to try day care again next week.

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Enrolled

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Friday, 28 February 2014: Three Hundred and Thirty Three Days Old.

Well I did it… I enrolled Ayla in day care today.

I found out yesterday that going back to uni this semester means attending class from next Tuesday, which in turn brought finding a day care spot for Ayla up to the number one priority.

Ayla’s been on four waiting lists for months now – one since before she was even born – but it turns out that even finding care for just one day per week is a feat in itself!

After calling over a dozen centres in the area I decided to try one of our waiting list centres on the off chance they’d have a vacancy for the day I needed, if not the whole week.

And as luck would have it my second choice centre only just this week received a cancellation for a baby on Tuesdays so Ayla is in!

But oh my gosh it’s all happening too fast!

I took Ayla in to the centre today to check it out; it was nice, but not like home.

Ayla was excited by all the other kids, and we were there at lunch time which looked civilised, healthy and delicious.

The day care mums were lovely, talking me through the routine in great detail and making sure all my questions were answered.

At the end of the tour, when the time came to fill out the enrolment papers, the Director asked if I was feeling comfortable.

It was a hard question to answer!

I feel comfortable that they will take care of my Ayla, and I feel comfortable that she will have fun with all the other kids there.

But I haven’t been apart from Ayla for more than three hours since she was born, and the thought of leaving her in a strange place with people she doesn’t know makes my stomach do flips.