Christmas 1998… bank balance… zero

Ritchies supermarket

Coming up to Christmas the year I finished high school, I was met with a shocking revelation – I had no money to buy presents for friends and family. My once-weekly evening job saw me earning more than enough to get by, in a time where my parents were still paying for my essentials, but the office closed over Christmas… and my pay checks would dry up. I had been thoughtless with my money. It’s not that I spent a lot – but I sure spent a lot on things I didn’t need.

I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I did not want to admit that despite pocket money and a job, come Christmas, I would be broke. In that moment I vowed that never again would I put myself in such a position. And I did what anyone would do… I concocted a lavish internet scam.

Just kidding… the internet was barely a thing back then…

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We’re all doing great, but it’s still been a long four months

baby Sam

The first weeks with a newborn are brutal – exactly like they say. Brutal in ways not even thought possible. It’s just everything rolled up together – emotion, hormones, recovery from birth, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, learning to keep a small creature alive, him learning how to be alive, and just coming to terms with the fact that you’re now stuck with this guy forever.

When Sam was between 2-3 months, it got a little easier. There was a noticeable shift. And again it was a combination of a lot of stuff; both of us were better and faster at feeding, so despite the 2 hour nightly wakings, there was more time between to sleep; we were both learning how to survive so could just cope better; he was still sleeping a lot during the day, so I had more time and flexibility to myself.

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Cabanossi – the word we invented

Cabanossi

When I was growing up a friend and I invented the word Cabanossi. Or at least we thought we did. I don’t actually remember what we thought it was, just that it was a word that came out of nowhere and was… kind of amusing. When I questioned said friend on this recently, she gave me some insight I had forgotten. Apparently we renamed the old ‘Fags’ (you know the fake cigarette sweets) Cabanossi, and fed them to our Barbies. Yep. True story.

Perhaps the more tragic thing is, I actually didn’t realise that Cabanossi was an actual thing until I moved to Austria and found Knabber Nossi and Kaptn Nossa in the store. I thought… woah… that’s really close to that word we invented. And then it hit me… we didn’t invent the word. Cabanossi is a type of dried sausage.

Facepalm. But hey, sometimes it takes some time for these things, and sometimes it takes moving to another country.

My favourite baby products – 0-3 months

Baby bouncer

I did a lot of research before Sam was born on what babies needed. In particular I researched what was not necessary. You always hear about how half the stuff recommended is just marketing and I figured a minimalist approach would be the way to go. But of course, some of these things that you don’t really need can be gold… and the key to saving your sanity. So read on for my top 10 products that I’ve used in the first 3 months.

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Switching back into Aussie mode

budapest

There’s something that happens when someone from Australia comes to visit me in Austria. I’ve observed it myself when other non-Austrians have visitors from their home country. The talking moves quicker, the accent gets thicker and the slang starts rolling out. It’s the same with me. It’s unintentional but almost unavoidable to switch back into Aussie mode.

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When Larry met Sammy

Going to the pool with baby

Going into pregnancy I already knew about the (allegedly) hellish fourth trimester and had made the decision that for the first three months after birth I would be making no fixed plans and having no expectations on myself or my child. So when my parents cancelled their September trip due to Covid I was half glad. Sure, it would have been great to see them and for them to meet the baby, but I wasn’t sure I wanted guests in the house in the first three months, even my parents!

No one was more surprised than me, when, five weeks after birth, I resumed my almost daily swimming regime at the pool. It was an important step for me, mentally, and physically, and although I wasn’t pushing myself to go every day, it just happened that I could, so I did.

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Great feeding expectations

breast pumping and sanitising

I tried not to have too many expectations about what would happen when baby came home. The one thing I knew was that every child is different, and every parent’s experience is different. In fact, I was expecting the worst, and so far, apart from the first difficult weeks, things have not lived up to my dire expectations.

But when it came to pumping, it turns out I had very unrealistic expectations.

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What’s the rush on the nursery?

In preparing for the arrival of baby Sam, I made a list, as I tend to do. I marked what could be done before the birth, and what could be done after. I marked what needed research, and where I could purchase everything. The list was thorough, a culmination of googling baby necessities and talking to friends.

The nursery was a thing, so I designated a room – or rather – the room designated itself – the only one without a bed in it that didn’t sometimes get used as a guest room. I wasn’t one of those people keen to paint it or buy a whole lot of new, purpose-built furniture. We had an old desk, which could double as a change table. The chest of drawers could be cleaned out to house baby clothes. And the wardrobe could just stay there because… well how much stuff do babies really need anyway?

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