Saturday, January 29, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

* I wrote this post earlier today but have been inspired to edit it after reading Maxabella's "Things I'm Grateful For". I was going to write a whole new post but decided that this post gives a good summary of things I'm grateful for. Like my gorgeous husband and my amazing son, who put up with me and make my job so easy. I'm grateful for fab friends, near and far, who are there for the good, the bad and the ugly. And finally I'm grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to us in this crazy, exhilarating city I now, sometimes reluctantly, call home. On a smaller scale I'm very grateful for aspirin, peppermint tea and the burgers at The Gallery in Tong Fuk...

I spent yesterday at home with a serious hangover. My first proper hangover in about two years, and it hurt, bad. It was one of those head-splitting, room-spinning, stomach-churning, lie on the bathroom floor in the fetal position hangovers. The kind that requires asprin, soft drink and greasy food to recover from. The kind of hangover that I'm only now, 36 hours later, seeing my way out of. I'm actually blogging in bed, in my pyjamas, it's that bad! But it was so completely, without a doubt, entirely worth it!

Last week wasn't a great week. We had some not-so-good news from home which was like a kick in the teeth. J is still teething and grumpy so we haven't had a lot of sleep. I've also just generally been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately; a combination of not getting my own way on a few occasions, feeling fed up with our pathetic excuse for a kitchen, helper jealousy, and post-holiday/winter in Hong Kong blues (with a pinch of PMS thrown in for good measure...). But I've also had a few reality checks this week too. Reading about the devastation and flooding in Brisbane and yet another tragic shooting in the States made my problems seem pretty insignificant. So instead of feeling sorry for myself I moved onto feeling like a whiny, selfish, spoiled expat - which doesn't help anyone either. Realising that my moodiness was contagious and was bringing everyone else down, I decided that it's all relative and it's ok to complain about little things occasionally if you keep them in perspective. I also decided that I needed to do something radical and fun, and nothing could be more radical for a bookish, stay-at-home mum like me than a night out in downtown Hong Kong.

Thursday night was a birthday celebration for a friend. I was a reluctant partygoer initially, fearing an almighty hangover, and vowed to "take it easy" but my friend K and I missed the ferry from Mui Wo and HAD to have a mai tai at the China Bear while we waited for the next one. At that point I gave myself permission to unwind and see where the night went. Well, the night went a lot of places and ended at 3am, a time when I'm normally being roused from a deep sleep to retrieve a dummy that's fallen on the floor.  We kicked off the official celebrations with dinner in Soho, followed by strawberry daiquiris at Soiree, several bottles of Prosecco at Lei Dou, vodka jelly shots somewhere random in Lan Kwai Fong and late night dancing at Insomnia. Before you start to think I sound like I do this all the time, I have to admit that this was only the second time I've had a big night out since we moved here, I am really quite sedate most of the time. I couldn't, and wouldn't, have done it if I'd had to get up and function on Friday, but my husband's at home and I had a commitment from him that I would be absolved from all parental responsibilities for 24 hours so I could get out and have some fun. And I did just that - I partied like someone who only goes one night out a year! It was so great to get dressed up and to carry a clutch instead of a nappy bag. I loved having a really good catch up with girlfriends and oh, how I've missed grown-up conversations! And did we dance? Yes, we danced like our lives depended on it. In our group of 8, all but one of us was married and half of us have kids (we have 7 kids between us to be exact), and 3 of us have birthdays this month, so it was a well deserved night out with much to celebrate. I haven't had that much fun in a really long time. Sad, but true.

I do realise how lucky I am that I have a husband willing to take over for that period of time, that I didn't have to work on a Friday and that I have such a great, fun group of friends, but I want to say to all the mums out there, if you need a break - take it! I feel fantastic for having had some fun (or at least I will once my body stops protesting!). I love everyone after a drink or two, and I'm still basking in that benevolent glow, despite the hangover. Around 5am yesterday I woke up, spooning the dog, and feeling like a terrible mother because I forgot to buy milk before I went out and I kept waking up every hour or so until 9, at which point I realised there was no anxious knock on the bedroom door, with my husband shouting "babe, there's no milk!!", no distressed cries of "mumumumum!" from downstairs; all was well and under control. So I took an aspirin and went back to sleep, secure in the knowledge that I'm not a terrible mother, just a lightweight when it comes to drinking.

While we're on the subject of celebrations, it's my birthday tomorrow. When I was a kid my birthday always fell around the end of the summer school holidays, sometimes it was even the first day back at school, and I hated it. I've struggled with the fact that it's now a winter birthday, and most years I have to compete with Chinese New Year. This year it falls on a Sunday; apparently the most inconvenient day to have a birthday in Hong Kong. We learned that it's absolutely impossible to get a reservation for brunch anywhere special on the last Sunday before the new year, as every Tom, Dick and Harry are out celebrating the upcoming year of the rabbit. Our friends can't come out anywhere either, as most helpers have their day off on a Sunday. And to top it off my husband has to work tomorrow night, so we can't even have a drink together (although that's the last thing I want right now!). But believe or not, I'm not complaining one bit! We're having breakfast in Mui Wo and my husband's going to make his amazing flourless chocolate cake for me and we'll have roast lamb for tea, just the three of us; and it will all be lovely. At my age, tea and cake are the perfect way to acknowledge a birthday, and I've done more than enough celebrating this week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crime and Punishment

Lately we've started thinking about discipline. J is testing the boundaries more and more each day, and saying "no" very seriously and emphatically just sends him into fits of giggles - not an effective way of getting the message across, clearly. Lots of friends use the time out/naughty corner technique and it seems very effective but J is still too young for that to have any impact yet. We do however, feel like we need to set the stage now and pre-empt any bad behaviour by making it clear what is and isn't acceptable early on (let's face it, we're in for a challenging time; he takes after both his parents, and we were both very naughty toddlers...).

We are not fans of smacking/spanking and don't want to go down that route. This isn't intended to be a rant arguing against the psychological effects of hitting your children, but I do know a little bit about Behavioural Psychology from my teaching days. Studies do show that physical punishment just doesn't work, for a lot of reasons. When I was at school corporal punishment, like the cane, was still an acceptable method of disciplining children. The nuns were the most likely to use it and seemed to take particular pleasure in inflicting pain on my unruly classmates, and this was when I was in primary school! My parents would threaten us with the wooden spoon sometimes and my Nanna kept a leather strap in the kitchen cupboard. Neither of these objects were ever used on us, it was utterly terrifying just thinking about it, and that was enough to keep us in line. Back in those days it was more common and certainly more acceptable to smack your children. These days I think child protective services would be knocking on your door if they heard you had threatened to hit your child with a spoon, whether you actually intended to or not. Times have changed and I think there are many very good reasons why.

Personally, I hate the thought of smacking a child; I can't even discipline the dog! I remember being smacked as a child, not often, but occasionally. The threat of it was always there and that was enough for me. My brother tended to push the boundaries more often and wore a red bum fairly frequently. I very clearly remember my mum slapping me on the leg once for shouting at my brother. It didn't hurt much but I'll never forget how it made me feel. I strongly believed that, on that occasion, the punishment did not fit the crime, and the emotional scar was much deeper than the physical one. I don't ever want my children to feel that way, no matter how naughty they may be. I can't say I won't ever smack them, but right now I'd like to think that I won't. I just have to look at my son's cherubic little face and I can't imagine ever laying a hand on him. At the same time I can't imagine him ever being naughty enough to make me that cross, but we've still got a long way to go, and I'm not that naive.

Before you stop reading because I'm starting to sound holier than thou, I have to tell you a story. Several months ago I smacked my nine-year-old nephew, B. He has had a less than ideal upbringing and has a lot of issues. He can be a very sweet boy a lot of the time but he can also push the best of us to our limits. We had all gone to the local sweet shop one morning, where he was given all sorts of treats without showing any gratitude. I let this go because I'm not his mother. He complained a lot about other things he wanted and things he wanted to do. I let this go too. Then when we were getting in the car my mum, B's grandmother, asked him to do something for her and he replied with something along the lines of "do it yourself...". Without thinking about it I slapped him across the arm (much like I would do if my husband said something inappropriate or offensive) and said "don't you dare speak to your Nanna that way!" He instantly burst into tears and said "don't you hit me that way!" I felt absolutely awful. Partly because of his reaction but also because I did it without thinking, it was just an instinct. Some of you out there will say it was warranted, others who know the child in question might say it was a long time coming, but in my heart I knew it was wrong. I took him aside when we got home and apologised. I explained that what I did was wrong, but that he was also at fault. I think the apology negated any impact the punishment may have had but even then, it took me a long time to regain B's trust.

I've seen parents smack children, both in their own homes and in public, and I always sympathise with the child. I don't believe humiliating them in front of others is ever a good way to teach them right from wrong. I also feel that smacking a child, especially when their crime is a violent one, is outright hypocrisy. I find it hard to understand why parents would knowingly send their children the message that it's ok to hit someone smaller than you if you believe they've done the wrong thing. I'm aware that I'm at risk of offending a few people with this particular diatribe, so let me just say that I believe every parent has the right to discipline their children the way they see fit. It is a very personal decision, albeit a potentially controversial one. As I said, I'm not perfect; I'm only human, and we're all liable to outbursts every now and then. Sometimes instinct leads the way over reason and we lose our tempers and smack our kids. This isn't by any means justification for corporal punishment; regardless of instinct, we should all be held responsible for our actions if we're to have any hope of our children taking responsibility for theirs. I think the best way to teach them self-control, respect for others, and non-violent conflict resolution is to lead by example.

After all that I think it's clear what we're NOT going to do when J starts acting up. We still have to solve the dilemma of what we will do. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Biting Off More Than He Can Chew...

We have a biter on our hands. J only has six teeth (for now) but he's using them to full effect. He has always put everything in his mouth and when his teeth emerged he started nibbling on everything too, but lately he's been biting us. I made the mistake of yelping in shock when he first latched on to my finger, so now he thinks it's funny. It's not just stray fingers that linger too close to his mouth that he likes to grab hold of; last week in Bali he attacked my shoulder and my neck. He also drew blood once biting my stomach through my shirt! He doesn't let go either. I've had to pinch him a few times to make him release his jaws from their vampire-like grip on my skin. This new behaviour came as a bit of a surprise to us so we've had to come up with an emergency plan for dealing with it. At the moment when he bites one of us we say"no" and put him down. He breaks into a wicked grin until he realises we're serious, at which point the crocodile tears are turned on. We then have to try not to laugh at this display of fake distress. None of this has stopped him from trying to bite us both, but at least while it's winter there's less bare skin vulnerable to our little piranha's chompers. Any suggestions would be much appreciated as I'm a little weary of wearing teeth marks.

While we're on the subject of teeth, J is teething again. It's been a while since the four teeth on top popped out (all at once!) so we knew we were due for more sooner or later. We got back from Bali and had a few sleepless nights that were clearly more than the result of holiday disruption. I took a peek in the little guy's mouth and no less than four canines and molars (all at once!) were on their way. We've come to rely on Nurofen, Bonjela and a homeopathic remedy given to us by a friend for our sleep this week. I know Bonjela is a bit controversial and not recommended in Australia, but our GP here gave it to us, and I'm all for anything that stops the constant crankiness and mouth angst (and yes, maybe the biting too). I don't care what anyone says, teething is a fresh hell each and every time.

On the upside these new pearly whites are making mealtimes a lot easier. I mentioned in my last post that J has started eating what we eat and so far this is going surprisingly well. We even try to eat together, instead of feeding him first, then eating our dinner on the sofa in front of the TV. We haven't managed to wean him off the Wiggles at dinnertime yet, but we're working on it. Eating while we eat has made our boy more adventurous too, he will try anything. It's been fun thinking up recipes that we can all enjoy and watching him enjoy food that we love. Not having to cook separate meals and puree everything has saved a huge amount of time and energy, and I have a renewed passion for cooking family meals (having to cook with a tiny benchtop stove/oven all year had broken my spirit). Cooking for one hasn't been fun either; I always struggle to cook anything remotely interesting when my husband's away but now that J and I will both eat what I cook I'm making more of an effort. He eats just like I do too, very slowly, which is awesome. He waits until he's completely finished one mouthful before accepting the next. Growing up I was always the last one at the dinner table, and my husband eats so quickly that he's usually halfway through a meal before I've even started, so I'm thrilled to have someone sitting beside me, eating at the same pace, taking the time to enjoy every mouthful. I just wish my fingers weren't on the menu so often!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bali Hai!

Well, we're back, and it's about 20 degrees colder in Hong Kong than it was in Denpasar so we're struggling a little. I've just been introduced to a new blog ( and coincidentally the author was also travelling to Bali this week. She wrote about not blogging for a couple of weeks and confessed that it would feel like she was leaving something behind. I have to admit I felt the same way. I left my laptop at home (which felt like going away without one of my limbs) so I wouldn't be tempted to blog but I was thinking about it all the time; what I was going to write about, clever spins on things, tips I wanted to mention - I'm definitely addicted! Anyway, here's the rundown on our fabulous week in paradise (and a few of the lessons we learned about travelling with a toddler, some of which may be obvious to the rest of you, but we're novices)...

First I have to say that J was brilliant, as I had hoped. The flight down (4.5 hrs plus about 1/2 an hour delay on the ground) was pretty horrendous but he coped so well with the change of scene. He slept well, ate well and didn't make a fuss when we dragged him from one place to the other. Instead he got excited each time we walked out the door or got into a car, taking it in his stride as part of the adventure. We were thrilled and loved watching him loving every minute of it. We have been to Bali three times now and have loved it every time. This time was different, and I think if it's even possible, we now love it even more. I can't describe the feeling I get walking out of the terminal at Ngurah Rai airport and taking a deep breath of that warm, frangipani scented air; I instantly feel lighter. However, before being granted that lightness of being, we had to learn Lesson Number One: When travelling with a toddler, it pays to buy your visas in advance. Even though an immigration guy helped us out, the whole visa process still took almost an hour. Not a welcome delay when you've had to contain a toddler on an aircraft for 4.5 hours already.

We had booked two nights in Nusa Dua at the low-budget, but very nice, Matahari Terbit Bungalows (the website doesn't do it justice... 

We took a gamble, based on reviews on Trip Advisor, and fortunately it paid off. The rooms were huge, comfortable and clean, and being a small resort, there weren't too many other guests. We had the pool to ourselves (at the very unsocial hour of 8am) every morning, and the beach was ours too. The staff were amazing and would swoop in whenever we were eating and take J for a walk around the grounds or into the kitchen. Lesson Number Two: The Balinese LOVE children! Take advantage of this and let them be your pseudo-babysitters if you have any hope of eating a meal in relative peace. 

The weeks leading up to the trip were pretty hectic so we were pretty exhausted and very ready to unwind. We reverted to the old "sleep when the baby sleeps," napping during the day and crashing for the night at 8pm. We did still try to take advantage of our surroundings and the perfect weather, and one of the highlights of the trip was taking J for his first ever swim in the sea. We stayed in the water for so long that he fell asleep in my arms, lulled by the gentle waves. A gorgeous, unforgettable afternoon.

We also put J's tastebuds to the test on this trip. Lately he's been more keen to eat what we're eating so I've stopped cooking separate meals for him. Travelling proved a challenge and we struggled to find suitable meals at times. To his credit, he was willing to try everything we put in front of him, including fish and chips, sate, nasi goreng, noodles and all sorts of unusual fruits and vegetables (and stuff like ice cream and pringles that I would never feed him at home!). There were nights, however, when he wouldn't eat anything other than a safely packaged bowl of pre-made pureed vegies. Supermarkets were hard to come by and in Nusa Dua we had to rely on the UHT milk from the local Circle K, and the hotel's daily fruit basket for J's banana supply. Herein lies Lesson Number Three: No matter how confident you are that your child is a good eater, don't assume that he will be as willing as you are to indulge in the local cuisine: always take food with you!

After two blissful nights we travelled on to Ubud. We booked our accommodation on short notice so there wasn't much in our price range available. Luckily (again thanks to Trip Advisor) we came across the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas and Spa. I hesitated when I read reviews from couples who had honeymooned there and wondered if we'd be kicked out for bringing a toddler into such a place but I needn't have worried. We were upgraded from a suite to a self-contained villa, and once again the staff could not have been more helpful. The villa was private and secluded, ensuring we didn't bother any unsuspecting honeymooners, but it wasn't so luxurious that we felt out of place with a child (we just wish we'd discovered it before we had a baby!). 

The Balinese massage at the spa was well worth the trip and the staff in the restaurant made such a fuss of J that we felt like we were amongst family. We ate out at one of our favourite restaurants in Ubud on our first night and even managed a lychee martini (heaven in a glass), but J was looking for what we came to call his "backstage pass" and wouldn't settle until one of the waitresses took him to the kitchen. Lesson Number Four: A hungry, tired toddler does not equate to a relaxing night out. The rest of the time we got takeaway or ordered room service and made the most of the outdoor dining area in our villa, when J was already in bed. J ate before us, strapped into his portable highchair, with his Wiggles DVD playing on the laptop. Taking that along was a decision we did not regret once!

When we did venture out with the little guy he surprised us by dancing along to the traditional Balinese gamelan playing in many places. He also developed a penchant for mocktails and fruity juices. Whenever D or I ordered one he'd practically leap from the table shouting "Ta! Ta!" and pointing hysterically at the glass. Poor guy looked like he'd been deprived of drink for days! At least it ensured that we stayed alcohol free for most of the trip...

Apart from missing a nightly mojito on the beach, we also failed to do anything remotely cultural. No temples, no traditional dancing, not even a minute spent running away from monkeys. We were glad we'd already been to Bali and done all that because we would not have had much fun if we'd gone along expecting a cultural tour of Ubud. J is notoriously restless (and a little boisterous), and he doesn't cope well being out in the heat. So we figured, rightly so, that we'd all have more fun in the pool. Lesson Number Five: On your first holiday with a toddler, visit somewhere you've already been so you don't feel the urge to explore every inch of the local area (unless your child has been backpacking since birth...)

One of our days in Ubud we hiked along the Tjampuhan Ridge as far as we could go with a 12kg sleeping baby; our Ergo proving invaluable once again. He woke as we were enjoying an iced tea overlooking some rice paddies at the top of the ridge. It was about as close to a sightseeing trip as we got on this holiday.

I did sneak out on my own one morning to the local market, just to feel like I'd "gotten in amongst it" just a little. My husband compensated for the lack of culture by engaging everyone he met in a conversation. A lot of people approached us and asked about J, how old he was etc, so D turned the tables and asked them about their kids, where they were from, how far they travelled to work. He had some really interesting exchanges with local Balinese people and found this more rewarding than any of the usual tourist traps.

For most of the time we lay by the pool, napped, chased J around the villa, ate copious quantities of mie goreng, and I even managed to read a book, a whole book! It all sounds idyllic, and truth be told, it was, but we did learn one other thing; travel takes on a whole new dimension when you have a baby. We'd been to Bali twice before but visiting the country for the first time with J we saw a different side to the place. It was still one of the best holidays I've ever had but when we arrived at Hong Kong airport at the end of it my husband and I turned to each other and asked "so how was your holiday?" We took it in turns to look after the little guy and didn't get a whole lot of time together; it really felt like we had separate holidays! We have a lot of photos of J and I, and a lot of photos of D and J, but not a single one of the three of us together. I guess if that's the only complaint I have, I'm not doing too bad. Bali is an awesome place and the people are incredibly warm and genuine, and we can't wait to go back.

PS: Regular readers will notice I've changed the look of the blog yet again. I'm having a hard time finding a background that fits, much like shopping for clothes in HK! So I've gone with lanterns in honour of Chinese New Year. Part of my attempt to accept that I do in fact live here...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

Firstly I have to tell you all about something very exciting that happened this week. I'm very proud to say that this blog was featured on the "Little Steps" website as one of Asia's Top Mom Blogs! I started the blog when I was sleep deprived and feeling a little isolated and crazy, and spent my days wondering if anyone else had the same thoughts and feelings I did about motherhood and Hong Kong. The response has been amazing, and you've all helped me see that I'm not alone. It has started many interesting and valuable conversations, with old friends and new ones, and has evolved into more than I ever expected. So a big Thank You to everyone who has read or contributed in some way! Check out the plug for A Mummy in a Strange Land at

Now I want to follow on from my last post (And Baby Makes Four...?) a little bit. Last night we had dinner with friends and midway through the evening the husband of the pair (who doesn't read the blog) asked when we were having our next baby. The wife (who does read the blog) shrieked "you can't ask them that!!" I just laughed, and the conversation that followed got me thinking about the assumptions that we all make about each other. These lovely friends of ours have triplets, three beautiful, healthy boys. Most people would assume that an instant family of three is a blessing, and more than enough, but apparently they still get asked why they're not trying for a girl! People assume that when you're in a committed relationship, you must want to get married one day, and after you're married the assumption is made that you'll have children. We assume that once a couple has had one baby, they'll soon start thinking about a second, preferably one of the opposite sex to the first, so they'll have one of each. I don't know why it is that we have these preconceived notions about families and relationships but I know a number of couples who have been happily committed for years, and have no intention of getting married, nor any need to. One couple we know have been married as long as we have and don't plan to ever have children. They're quite content with each other and their dog. We also know more than one couple with only one child, and they like it that way. The children are also pretty happy with the arrangement too.

It does seem natural to assume that once a couple has had one child, they will want another one at some point. Apart from the dangers involved in making that assumption in the first place, there is also the potential for upset when asking "so when's the next one coming along?" if the couple have been trying for number two, without success. If you've fallen pregnant quite easily the first time round but have difficulty with the next one it can be incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking, and people asking you if you're pregnant or if you plan to be, doesn't help. For now, since I'm not actively trying, I don't mind so much, but I'm curious to see how long it takes before people stop asking: when they might start tiptoeing around the topic - just in case it's a delicate subject. When you think about it, it really is a delicate subject. When you ask someone if they're trying for a baby what you're really asking is "are you having loads of sex and hoping to get pregnant at the moment?" But because no one ever puts it that way, I guess that makes it ok to ask!

I think we make these assumptions because getting married and having babies is what people have done for hundreds of years, and when we're lucky enough to find joy and contentment with our marriages and babies, we find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn't want the same life. Hopefully as our ideas about what constitutes a relationship and a family change, so too will the assumptions we make about what makes people happy. Whether you believe in the standard nuclear family, or you're a diehard, child-free singleton, one assumption you should never make is that someone is already pregnant. Not drinking at a party or having a bit of a pot belly are not always signs that a woman will soon be hearing the pitter patter of little feet. It's quite possibly the biggest nosy parker crime you could commit (and is typically committed by men) but no one should ever ask "when are you due?" Unless you know with 100% certainty that a tummy is the result of a bun in the oven and not just a big lunch.

The boys and I are off to Bali for a week and I am so looking forward to it. There'll be a big fat post with lots of photos when I return, and hopefully loads of praise for my perfect little traveller!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And Baby Makes Four...?

Before any of you get too excited let me state for the record I am not pregnant, nor do I plan to be anytime soon. This is just a topic I've been thinking about for a while now.

It seems that no matter what stage you're at in your life people are always asking you when you're going to do the next big thing. Not long after we were married, everyone wanted to know when we were having a baby. Our first arrived and then it was "when's the next one?" My husband's voice was one of the loudest in that particular chorus, exclaiming that he was more than ready to start work on number two before we'd even left the hospital. Apparently many new fathers are struck with the same desire to procreate, and I'm sure the obstetricians must inject them with something while we're busy pushing out babies. I think the response they get from their wives is generally the same too.

Someone once said, the decision to have your first baby is made with your heart, but the second time round you decide with your head. This is definitely true for me. I fell pregnant late in 2008 without really trying and suffered a miscarriage early on. I had been wanting a baby for a long time and the trauma of this loss only strengthened that. The whole experience, an uncaring and incompetent doctor, four days in hospital, and a lot of uncertainty, left me feeling broken and distraught. I knew the only thing that would make me feel whole again was another pregnancy. There was no thought put into timing or money or logistics, I just had to have a baby. I was lucky enough to fall pregnant almost straight away, and was anxious for most of the first trimester, but I was right: my new baby healed me.

Now he's not so much a baby anymore but a proper little boy, I'm starting to feel that same longing for a baby. I was looking at photos of J from the last 12 months and remembering how tiny he was, and how much joy it brought us as he moved onto each new thing. I really want that again. But... here's where my head steps in. I think to myself, when I'm having these thoughts, J is only going to be little for such a short time, I should enjoy every minute, and make the most of having the time to be with him all day. And it's only been six months since I stopped breastfeeding, am I really ready to hand my body over to another little person again? I'm nowhere near fit enough to fall pregnant, should I spend another year trying to get into shape, or just go with it since I'm going to be out of shape again pretty quickly? Could I cope with morning sickness and bone-crushing tiredness, and chasing after a very active toddler at the same time? What about after the baby arrives...trips away would be much more difficult with two, and we'd have to move, our house is too small for the three of us as it is. On the emotional side of things I wonder if I'd have enough love for two, would J still love me or feel like I'd betrayed him? Would both kids end up loving their daddy or the helper more because Mummy is suddenly too tired to think rational thoughts? There's really so much to think about!

My husband recently heard of a study that determined that, between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, many important neurological and emotional developments take place. The study suggested that it would be best not to introduce another baby into the family in this time, you should do it before or after. So now he's off the new baby bandwagon and wanting to wait. This year we also have a tight budget and D's promotion to think about. Another spanner in the works is the damage done by J's birth. I had a fourth degree tear (if you don't know what that is, be grateful, you don't want to know!) and have been advised to have a caesarean next time, a thought that fills me with dread and makes me feel physically ill. I figure that since I'm already broken and there's less than 5% chance of another serious tear, I should be allowed to deliver naturally. I think when it comes down to it I'm going to have a battle on my hands to find a sympathetic obstetrician. I'm sure by now many of you are thinking I'm crazy, probably even wondering why I'd consider another child at all, so you can imagine the response I'm going to get from my doctor when the time comes. It's going to take me a while to get my head around it all and decide what I really want to do.

I think, despite all the arguments for and against having another baby anytime soon, what's really holding me back is wanting something to look forward to. I've always wanted 3 children but now that I know 2 might be all my body can cope with, I don't want to be done just yet. As much as my son, and a future child, will make me happy, I'm not ready to know I'm never going to go through it all again. I think I may have been injected with something too, or maybe it's my ovaries taking over my thoughts, but even the sleeplessness, colic, sore boobs and hormone fog, don't seem so bad now. For now it's nice to know that I have all that, and all the great, wonderful bits to look forward to. One day.