The top 20 spam responses I wish I’d sent.

You’ll wish you sent number 8. No, really, I’m kidding. Click bait annoys me nearly as much as spam.

I’m small time. I don’t have trolls yet, probably due to the fact that they haven’t cottoned on to the fact that by way of having a brain, I am pro-vaccination, and by way of my children eating up my brain-cells, my parenting skills leave a lot to be desired. However I do have spam. ALL the spam.

I thought that given that I’m feeling caring and sharing this Sunday, I’d list for you the top spam comments I’ve received this week and what I would have loved to have said in reply had I not deleted them all.. Grammar, punctuation and frequently logic is absent in these mass-produced worms of annoyance – I haven’t altered any of them. All writing below belongs to others (apart from my sensible replies). I’m taking no responsibility for the face-palming that may occur after reading.

spam

Image credit Vince_Lamb

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Leave your favourite spam comments below. They may not appear immediately, because given the above, I’m having to filter…

 

 

 

The rise of the magical birthing fairy

There’s this temporary insanity that occurs immediately after a baby exits your body. It causes you to feel like you don’t need to sleep (which is good, because your baby generally feels the same way) and makes you feel like standing on the hospital steps, dressed up in a white (and yellow) gown and smiling at strangers. Or perhaps that only occurs in fairytales.

The magical birthing fairy

12h post birth, I was definitely up and about but due to the lack of a stylist, I was dressed in a uniform of black, accessorized with black and attired with the tent-like underwear of all post-birthers and Bridget Jones which made a fabulous change from the underwearless indignity of the hours before. During the moments when my child slept in the arms of my husband and I had finally stopped the glamorous post-birth vomiting, I had had a long shower, punctuated only by the challenge of not being able to get up after I crouched down and realized that my epidural may not have worn off as much as I thought. I straightened my hair, put on makeup and attempted to remember my own name, and what I had named my baby. I sound like I had it together right?

12h post birth, no stylist, but a strategically placed child and a camera filter

I had high expectations to live up to. You see, my name is Kate, and 2 days prior, the other Kate the magical royal birthing fairy had appeared for the first time across the entirety of world media smiling on the palace steps and looking like she had just been opening orphanages or doing good deeds rather than aiding the exit of the crowning prince. She’s backed up that even by looking even more stylish second time around.

There has to be magic at play as the reality of birth can be markedly different. According to palace (or tabloid) reports, Kate this time only had a 3-hour

labour (magical, but likely still painful) and a delivery unencumbered of major abdominal surgery. Some mothers are less lucky. Some haven’t slept at all in the days leading up to the grand event, some have had extensive labours ended with traumatic interventions. Some may not be able to walk at all at this stage due to pain, or dizziness related to blood loss. Some women won’t get pictures like this as their baby WON’T STOP SCREAMING. The process can be pretty traumatic for babies too.

5 mins post birth - the only time I wore a white gown
5 mins post birth – the only time I wore a white gown

Recently there’s been a rise of the magical pregnancy fairies (or possibly storks) where women demonstrate on social media the miraculous event of looking like they have maybe just had a large meal then exiting the hospital with a full-sized infant thanks to the miracle of abdominal muscles that could compress concrete.

1 day pre-birth, I looked like I'd swallowed a hippo
1 day pre-birth, I looked like I’d swallowed a hippo

They then rub salt in to Caesar wounds nationwide by appearing in tiny bikini underwear days later in some sort of fitspo pregspo hybrid of humiliation to the saggy stretched abdomens amongst us. There was a huge backlash against this as is already starting against the wonder of the Duchess of Cambridge’s stylish recovery. I’m completely against people who judge anyone on how they look or recover from a major life event whether that is really ‘well’ or really badly. I just want there to be more acceptance of the fact that for anyone, it is an intensely individual experience and that success isn’t measured by instagram.

I’m ready for a redefinition of the birth event. Birth success doesn’t relate to how a tiny person exited your body, or how much you feel like running a marathon either before or after the event. It isn’t about whether you needed pain relief or whether your best-laid birth plans resembled reality or whether your abdomen can in any way be contained in bikini underwear or white frocks. For me, it’s about safety and the exiting of a healthy and well newborn from a cushioned existence inside to the world that is a new one ahead of both of you, however that occurs and that’s something to celebrate.

It’s also about knowing how much difference can be made by a stylist and make-up, careful positioning of an infant and a blanket in front of a post-birth abdomen. For the rest of us, I’m sending my upcoming Mothers Day wish list out to the world and it’s going to include control pants.

No-Cry Fly Solution – Part 3

Surviving in-flight with a small lap buddy – is it possible?

 

A photo posted by Kate (@mymotherlife) on

There should be an in-flight safety demonstration of how to survive the flight with kids AND keep your sanity intact. I’d love it.

“In the event of noise, Earplugs will drop down from above. Shots of vodka will be promptly provided and if the noise is emanating from your child, you will be given the opportunity to change your name and upgrade to first class while leaving your child in the care of our lovely flight attendants.”

I’ve made this recommendation to all major airlines, but no-one seems to be getting on board with my plans. So today I’ll give you some alternative solutions. Name-changing remains optional.

Starting at the start. In the words of all good celebrity journos at a red-carpet showdown – “Who are you wearing?” Answers should include:

  • Your baby in a pouch or sling. Especially if you are travelling alone. Prams only make it as far as the gate if you are lucky and planes can be long long long and even longer with a wriggling toddler and arm circulation being cut off by hand luggage held awkwardly.
  • Black, black and more black (or patterns, bonus points for multiple colours.
  • For the baby – colours as above. Comfortable clothing. Basically the diametric opposite of red-carpet wear. Put them to bed in it the night before if it is an early flight – much easier than trying to dress a grumpy elf in the morning. Also, easy on, easy off. Remembering that any emergency changes are going to have to take place in the pleasant and inviting environment of the airplane toilet. You seriously don’t want to be stuck there doing up buttons. Now is not the time for cute.

At the gate, check your stroller early before boarding as it is one less thing to navigate at the crowded gate when you get to push past all others waiting as they call for those travelling with infants and young children to board first. Have them strapped up in their carriers and ready to go as you’ve just won the boarding lottery. Seriously, this next part is the best. You get first dibs on all that overhead locker space. No fighting with people carrying on-board flatscreen tv’s (yep, I’ve seen it happen) or vast amounts of duty free. Nope, your liters of vodka and industrial quantities of nappies get preferential treatment. If you are worried about ear pain or feel your child needs paracetamol, 15-20 mins before boarding is probably the best time for a dose as it will give it enough time to take action before it is needed.

DON’T SEDATEIn the baby and toddler age group, Phenergan and other sedating medications aren’t recommended due to an occasional tendency to stop them breathing which is dangerous enough on solid ground, let alone up in the sky. See your doctor beforehand if you want to talk things through.

Now about ears. Lets talk about why they hurt. When you can’t open up your Eustachian tube (a little passage between your inner nose and ear) due to not being able to ‘pop’ your ears by yawning or when they are blocked due to a cold, you get a little pocket of air stuck behind your eardrum that doesn’t equalize. What does this mean? When you go up, air expands, straining the drum and when you descend, it can cause more pain as the drum sucks in when the air shrinks.

OUCH. No wonder they cry. Drinks and dummies can help, as can paracetamol, but sometimes it’s just a matter of riding it out and dreaming of the beach at your destination.

There are more reasons that babies cry on flights though – sleep deprivation, the fact that it isn’t home, the temperature is wrong, it smells wrong, they feel sick, it’s noisy, they have to wear a seatbelt, they can’t walk around, they’re hungry, thirsty, they dropped a sultana, the baby in the next row looked at them wrong or maybe they just hate everyone else on board. It’s possible. Basically most reasons aren’t at all avoidable so just do what you can about the things you can change (like hiring a private lear jet, I hear they smell great and totally do away with the hatred for flying with others) and for the rest, just overact any settling and mutter to anyone staring, “oh the poor darling, it’s just their ears” as it is easier to gain sympathy and understanding than by telling people “it’s not me, it’s totally you they hate”. Performance Parenting – wins friends and influences people every time.  

Things to make it easier:

  • Food, drink or dummies on ascent or descent
  • Food or drink accessible at all times, especially for babies who won’t get anything on most flights and even if you do get a child meal, quality varies, so always good to have something you know they will like and eat.
  • Comfort toys, blankets and anything that smells more like home than recycled air and armpits.
  • Distractions – people, toys, the in-flight safety sheet, more food
  • Making friends with your neighbours before the screaming starts. So much harder to hate a baby who you know. No need to go overboard with care packages etc. Clearly other people have standards and guilt complexes much greater than mine.
  • Paracetamol if you need to try something in-flight and you haven’t given it before boarding.
  • Walking and more walking
  • If you have booked a seat for your baby or toddler, car seats can be a really useful way of making them feel more like this is just a regular trip. The CARES in-flight harness is approved for most airlines (just check with yours first) and allows a whole lot less wriggling than the waist belt.
  • The best quality nappies you can find are essential – you’ll have to change them less and they can do more to contain a blowout of epic proportions. Have a few with wipes and spare clothes in a separate pack that you can whip out of your bag at a moment’s notice.
  • Don’t worry about trying to time meals to the time zone of your destination or preserving the perfect sleep routine on-board. Kids are notoriously difficult to get over jet lag, it is easier to have them happy on board and reset routines once you arrive.
  • Know you will survive. People have been flying and flying with kids for a long time. My parents took me on an epic 3 day flight to Europe when I was 2 with 5 stops (no actual stop-overs) on a trip that involved vomit and tears and they still seem to be willing to travel, as am I

A photo posted by Kate (@mymotherlife) on

If all else fails, there’s always the vodka. Stay tuned for the sanity savers coming up soon on the blog – heaps more on jetlag for everyone, not just the kids and childproofing tips for perilous destinations – like anywhere other than a padded room.

What solutions have worked for you?

Have you had the nightmare flight as a result of your kids or someone else’s? Hit me with your best tips below!

A little white lie wouldn’t go astray, would it?

IMG_1770Let me start this off with a disclaimer. I hate shopping. I hate it on the best of days, I hate it in the supermarket, I hate it in the giant fluoro-lit dens of the unnecessary furniture shops and I really really really hate clothes shopping. Bane of my existence, this whole wearing clothes thing.

This may be a result of growing up in the tropics, where it would have been totally climatically possible to get about with no attire, but it is entirely impractical in the winters south of the country (not to mention likely to end me up in jail for indecent exposure). Due to this, I’m pretty unhappy when anything makes the whole procedure of purchasing said attire any worse. Honestly.

Honestly, honesty is overrated. I needed a dress for a truly fabulous wedding I was going to, which took me out of my usual comfort zone of a quick stealth visit to shops where I know my size and don’t have to cope with the hues of jaundice that fitting room lights impose on my complexion. I was already scarred from a swimsuit purchasing endeavour in my recent past where due to the tight fit of the compressing garment and an inconvenient shoulder injury, I found myself trapped in said suit, arms flailing about above my blindfolded head. I looked like some sort of a piñata weapon as I banged in to every possible surface of the change room in my distress.

This dress shopping exercise though? The human piñata stick pales in to insignificance.

3 shops, 2 towns, young and old assistants, there was no common theme in the shops I went to apart from the presence of dresses. And the honesty, oh the honesty…. Unsolicited descriptions included the following words “back fat”, “rolls”, “frumpy”, and helpful advice like “this would look so much better with control underwear”. Some of these were uttered in earshot of other customers as well. I’m not an overly sensitive little flower (clearly I’m not little if the descriptions are anything to go by anyway), but the whole exercise had me close to breaking point (by that I mean quitting shopping, and drinking wine until I no longer cared about how I looked).

I’m not against knowing what I actually look like in an outfit I’m shelling out cash for (most fitting room mirrors help me with that in far, far too much enlarged detail), but unless it comes from a friend, I’d prefer it padded with some softer love and white lies. Bring me another dress, tell me you aren’t sure about the cut, or the colour, or even how it might conflict with the alignment of the solar system, just don’t mention my back fat.

Epilogue: I did buy a dress, I loved it, it looked good AND I didn’t have to speak to a single shop assistant about it. I’ll be wearing it to all future events so that I NEVER have to do this again!

Are you hitting the shops today? What’s the worst changing room experience you’ve ever had?

Humans, Sexism and the Surgical Trade #callthemoutonit

Dear Humans,

I’m making an assumption here, that you are all human. I’m good at leaping to conclusions though so feel free to call me on it if I’m wrong.

I’m also good at cutting and sewing. My high school home economics teacher would beg to differ on that particular point, but given my home ec classes included making blancmange, I’m going to go with the theory that she didn’t know what she was talking about. Apart from the time I put that needle through my finger. It did look pretty with the thread sticking out, but I digress…

So lets get back to my skills. Cutting, sewing, fixing things. Doctory stuff. But I’m not a surgeon. Nor will I ever be one. This week reminded me why I didn’t pursue that line of employment. Apart from the ridiculously early mornings that is. I’ve had a couple of kids since then so my skills in mornings appear much better refined. There are 3 reasons that I am not a surgeon though and they were the three men who coloured my view of the surgical profession well past the point of no return. I have had surgical colleagues since who have behaved with nothing but respect, but these experiences made me realise that equality still had a long way to go.

Reason 1: The surgical trainee and anatomy tutor who told me in an exam “ten bonus points for wearing a skirt” in front of even more senior examiners and used to ask me regularly if I was wearing underwear as well as purchase me (unrequested) cocktails at events that already had free flowing alcohol

Reason 2: The surgical trainee who put his hand under the front of my crop top in a surface anatomy class (we were required for the class to wear crop tops and bike shorts) and not one other medical student blinked an eye.

Reason 3: The surgical trainee who got my details from the medical faculty and stalked me, leaving me to turn up to tutorials with only him in attendance and leaving 15 messages on my phone at a time.

Notably, the first two trainees did this when I was a 17 year old medical student, having moved across the country to go to uni. I was all of 20 for the third.

Caroline Tan speaks out about sexual harassment in surgery
Caroline Tan speaks out about sexual harassment in surgery

These men are surgeons today. It is unsurprising that with the recent discussions raised through media comments from Gabrielle McMullin relating to the treatment of Caroline Tan, that more and more people within the medical community have been given the confidence to speak out. I’m no longer afraid to speak up. I no longer want to be a surgeon and am happy that the surgeons with whom I work will not judge me for my comments. I know many female surgeons who are absolutely amazing and I know that they have struggled to get where they are, but I hope that they’ll be able to #callthemoutonit if these issues occur again.

Lets be humans together and realise that crowdsourcing change is the new black. If we #callthemoutonit when sexism is seen, then change can occur.

The No-cry Fly Solution: Packing it In

How to pack that carry-on suitcase to rival Bear Grylls style emergency provisions. Did I say suitcase? Hah! You know I actually meant 7kg shoebox right? Try popping your average nappy bag on the scales, or measure its zip-popping dimensions and you’ll get what I mean.

Basically, flying is just like a trip to the shops, just with less stuff, and less shopping. So nothing at all like shopping really now that I come to think of it. Just like shopping is easier on your own, so is flying, but sometimes you still need to take your kids to the supermarket and sometimes, putting sanity to one side, you need to fly.

super supermarket

So, packing, somewhat of an art right? Even more so with kids.

Let’s start with the essentials. FOOD & DRINKS

If you didn’t tune in last week you might have missed my key point for small people:

No seat = No eat.

On most flights, especially domestically, you would be pretty lucky to get anything other than peanuts for your child, which I totally wouldn’t recommend by the way. There are places to test a babies ability to eat chokeable or new foods, and 30 000ft isn’t one of them. So it’s BYO all the way. This is great if you have a breastfed baby and breasts. Saves on packing immensely. I also love breastfeeding wraps for their ability to cut out distractions and make a small child think it is nighttime.

If you don’t have breasts, or if your baby is nourished by other means, no great dramas, you just have to pack what you need. Your baby usually has 2 bottles over the flight time? Take 4 in-case of delays or increased thirst. Have your formula all measured out and the bottles filled with water ready to go. The liquid restrictions on flights do not apply to baby supplies. Also BYO spoons – especially for the early eater.

IMG_9621 2

For food? Lots of small snacks, audited for messiness. Think of options that will keep them full, not spill in your bag and keep them amused for as long as possible. Avoid too many sugary snacks on longer flights to avoid the inevitable sugar highs and grumpy lows. Same with smelly food. Keep it away from me, especially if a child is eating it on my lap, NOT my perfume of choice. Also plain food is good, and try not to let them over-eat. Excess stomach gas expands at altitude and means all that pressure with either make them grumpy, or cause a double ended baby explosion. Have a look here for snack suggestions for the 0-2yo  . My favourite snack trick? Cheerio’s cereal – I can pretend it is helping their fine motor skills and maybe get enough time to eat my own food (Note: this only works if they either have their own seat or if they are eating it from a small bag, otherwise you end up accessorizing with it)

Keep all your food in a separate bag so that you can pull it out of your carry-on, especially if you have managed to nab the bassinette seats. This is because you won’t be able to have your bags there for takeoff and landing which is just exactly when you need the most distraction and ear-popping effects of chewing and drinking. It’s like they’ve planned flights as some kind of torturous toddler hell. If I designed flying, it would involve the insides of the plane being a giant bouncy castle, or just first class only. I’d settle for that.

Emirates A380 Bar – My ideal in-flight solution

 

My favourite travel invention (OK, I have lots, but this is one of the best) is the disposable bib. It took me a little while to realize that bit at the bottom flips up as a catcher, but once I did there was no stopping me. I still use them for messy travel meals for my horrified 4yo. Anything that saves you putting dirty laundry at the bottom of your bag and only remembering when the mould begins to talk to you.

Neat segue there, right in to my next packing topic – CLOTHES.

There is a reason that I wear black to travel in. This fabulous colour takes inspiration from small, messy people. Yes, there is still stuff that shows up on black, but if you have to do a quick bit of laundry on-board, a wet black t-shirt is infinitely better than a wet white one, playboy models aside. Same for kids. Dark colours. Saves rocking up at Heathrow looking like you have been the victim in some sort of slasher movie thanks to airlines that still serve tomato based dishes.

 

Not a great in-flight solution
Not a great in-flight solution

 

Also lots of outfits. For everyone. In every season combination imaginable. I was reminded of this by a friend recently after an on-plane incident with her little one that shall be referred to only as vomitgate. Also, poo-explosions. Heaps more common in-flight which is exactly the worst spot for them.

Again with the separate bag in a bag theme that I mentioned with the food, have nappy equipment ready to go so that you don’t have to try and negotiate your carefully packed bag in-to a toilet that is approximately the same size as a refrigerator.

Nappies – as per drinks – think of how many you’d need, double it and then throw in a couple more. Nappies are also great for wiping up large volume spills while pressing the call button repeatedly to send for help. Wipes – see calculation above and then fill your remaining baggage with them. I also love taking facial cleansing wipes as my freshen-up until the day that I’m fabulous enough to be let in to the first class showers. It is nice to pack a few things in your bag to make you feel like a human on long flights – like deodorant and hair-brushes. Inevitably they’ll remain packed at the bottom of your bag, somewhere under the 9th packet of wipes, but just in case they don’t, here’s a tip – don’t spray deodorant liberally in the plane toilet. It may just result in the alarms going off and no less than 3 crew members opening up the cubicle and barging in to me with my shirt up and underarms on show. It may have been better to smell.

 

DISTRACTIONS

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, well maybe not the blue, or the borrowed, but you get my drift.

Old toys – what keeps your child still and entranced at home – is it a favourite book? A puzzle toy? Something quietly electronic? For anything that needs batteries, take loads

Something new – Does your child like unwrapping things? Having new toys wrapped up in a few layers of different coloured paper adds to the time that they will remain amused for.

Crayons are always a better bet than textas in terms of leaking and not turning up at the airport looking like your child has got a sleeve tattooed on the streets of Bali. Stickers and sticker scenes are great. Fabric activity books are lighter than board books. My 18month old is currently in love with small animals and cars and will happily play with them on a tray-table. Magnadoodles are also a no-mess drawing option. Take a scarf and play hide-and seek with the animals underneath it, finger puppets are great to have in the kit too.

Again – compartmentalize – that way you don’t give away all your treats at once, but can easily find a few small things when you are trapped for takeoff and landing. The pocket in front of you, even in a bulkhead is usually still within arms reach and is a great place to store all those little items

COMFORT

A special toy and a couple of dummies (preferably with dummy clips due to dummy spitting at inopportune times). I also travel with a lightweight infant sleeping bag on longer flights as this is a big sleep cue for my smallest passenger.

Paracetamol – there is only so much a dummy or favourite teddy can fix. Especially for longer flights, this may be the pain relief that makes it bearable if they aren’t coping early on in the journey. I will mention Phenergan and other sedating antihistamines. I don’t use them, my kids are in the 10% that react with a whirlwind of energetic energy. I also don’t recommend them and they aren’t advised in babies and infants which is the group I’m mainly talking about here. See your doctor for further information.

Regular medications should be kept in your hand luggage with you just in case of delays or need on-board. If you are travelling with epipens or diabetic needles, see your doctor for a letter so you can take them on-board without drama. Also look at temperatures for medications and consider travelling with a cool-pack for longer flights.

I promise the on-board pack is easier than this
I promise the on-board pack is easier than this

LOGISTICS

Keep your passports / tickets etc in a pocket that is easy to reach, pack a pen in the same spot

Snap-lock bags are my other favourite thing – keeps everything safe from moisture – I tend to keep my passport in one. Take lots – they are great for wet / soiled clothing or nuclear waste *Note* – not guaranteed for nuclear waste.

Don’t forget your baby carrier and if you are wanting to take your tiny, zippy fold-up into a handbag, pram of choice, then check with the airline first to make sure they will accept it, and that you will be able to take your other bag on in addition. Given the choice between a pram and a bag full of essentials, the bag is always going to win.

No-cry fly checklistClick here for the No-cry fly packing list printable

Next week, tune in for ways to make other passengers fall in love with your adorably well-behaved baby in-flight. Completely drug-free, promise! These tips will adhere to all international doping regulations.

Sign up for our email notifications now so you don’t miss it. Kind of like those upcoming flight emails that always remind me that I need to get packing immediately!

 

 

The No-Cry Fly Solution – Taming the sky demons – Part 1

I’ve found the perfect solution to making sure children don’t cry on flights. Works 100%, every time. Guaranteed.

LEAVE THEM AT HOME…

The last time I got that lucky, my flight was still disturbed due to a nasty storm that resulted in the teenagers in the row in front filming a goodbye video. Not a screaming child in sight though. In an event unrelated to turbulence, I was the one who ended up crying while reading The Happiness Project, which is kind of ironic really.

Anyway, from my smug position today with an entire seat to myself, I’m going to give you all the knowledge I have. That’s right people, I have a single ticket on a 6.30am commuter flight, filled with the unexpectedly awake and bleary-eyed faces of the childless and it is from this position of extreme, knee-bending comfort that I’m going to help you get through your next flight with a lap passenger. (P.S. If you have a lap to yourself and are phobic of other people’s lap-passengers, 6.30am seems to be an excellent time to travel).

My kids fly a lot. They are pretty much awesome at it. They’ve had ear-infections and had to fly and not let out so much as a whimper. The only possibly memorable time of outpourings of tears was on Ham-man’s first flight, where just as the seatbelt sign came on, the poo-explosion to end all poo-explosions occurred. He was grumpy, I was grumpy (read hysterical) and we were trapped in our highly contaminated seatbelt for what seemed like an eternity. Hideous.

Unfortunately, most of their flight skills so far appear to be about luck alone. I’m not going to pretend to have all the solutions. I can’t get my 1yo to hop in his car seat without a back-arching display of gymnastics, followed by vocal screaming that appears to only stop when he is asleep. Somehow on planes though, he manages to hold it together, although I fly with a constant look of fear, that today is going to be the day my child is outed as a sky demon.

 

The car demon strikes while his brother sleeps through it all
The car demon strikes while his brother sleeps through it all

So you’ve decided that you want to take your baby flying.

Great timing – the end of one holiday is always the best time to plan another!

First up – are you really sure this constitutes a holiday? Will being away from home and babysitters and transporting yourselves to a completely new un-childproofed domain of cupboard opening amazement result in relaxation? Just while we’re on that topic, who puts carving knives in the bottom drawer of a holiday rental kitchen? Seriously people….

Assuming you have come to terms with the prospect of a whole new kind of stress and still want to take that trip, I’ve got the following tips to help keep your sanity intact. At least until you find the baby with aforementioned kitchen knives. Give. Me. Strength.

 

The planning

  • If you have long-haul flights, book a bassinette seat and check the max weight – this differs for different airlines
  • Confirm and reconfirm that bassinette and get to the airport super-early to make sure NO-ONE gets near it. Seriously. These seats are like an upgrade. If you weigh less than 10kg that is. For the rest of you, you get slightly more leg room, which is directly off-set by having a child on your lap for the 90% of the flight they are not asleep.
  • If the flight is shorter, choose your seats carefully – get an aisle so that you can stroll up and down with a mobile child, or hand your baby off to the nearest hostie. Also works for older children with bladders the size of a thimble.
Flight attendants are always a great source of help. And red pyjamas.
Flight attendants are always a great source of help, hair style inspo and red pyjamas.

 

  • No seat = No meal. Plan ahead for your non-seated bigger babies and have loads of snacks and drinks to distract them.Read reviews to see what child friendly facilities your airline has, and if it doesn’t, pack the extras (electronic distracters, snacks etc) accordingly. 
  • When checking in with a baby too big for a bassinette, see if there are any spare seats on the flight as getting a spare seat next to you is like winning the lottery if you have a baby. More so if you are travelling on your own as just a quick heads-up – you can’t fit a baby underneath your tray-table so your options are either to starve, or make friends with your neighbours who may let you balance a snack on theirs.
Clearly no room for a tray-table

 

  • Flight timing. I’m not particularly fussed with this. It could work either way. Do you plan your flight for a time when your baby is tired and risk flight delays and a super-tired, grumpier baby, or go for a really awake baby with WAY too much energy. Same goes for night vs day discussions. Just choose cheap option and if it is early in the am, send your kids to bed in tracksuits so that getting them up is a less painful process (*Note – this is in no way a guarantee)
  • If there is potential for a stop-over – take it. Anything that helps with jet-lag is ok in my book. I’m going to cover more on jet lag in upcoming posts, promise! It’s like the whole family gets transported back in time to be some awful hybrid of sleepless, newborn quadruplets. I repeat – are you sure this constitutes a holiday?
  • Get to know your airports. Is there a long walk? Can you take your stroller to the gate? Will it fold enough to be put in the overhead locker (eg. mountain buggy nano). Will it be delivered back to you ar the gate or in oversized baggage only? I love strollers most for that in-airport dozing (and also it gives me a hook to carry all that duty free) but if there is a hint of a stroller-less walk, with a potentially deeply sleeping child, pack a baby-carrier so you have your hands free for all those pesky details like passport checks and immigration.
  • Speaking of immigration, fill in all your cards in advance. Nothing worse than trying to complete things with the wrong hand while a toddler runs off in a different direction.
  • If you are blessed with a runner – consider a leash. Especially if it is busy. There are only so many times you can stop a small person from trying to run the wrong way through immigration before the authorities protest. I like this one from Dream Baby, we also used it to attach a special teddy to the pram when out and about so we didn’t lose it!
  • Packing – I’m going to go through a full printable checklist in next week’s post so sign up today to make sure you don’t miss it!
  • If you are worried about your child’s health at all, see your doctor before you travel. One of the main danger times for ears is actually as your child is recovering from an ear infection and obviously if your child has anything contagious, don’t fly. Aeroplanes are a hotbox of re-circulated germs and the one of the main ways that diseases spread worldwide. There is a high chance that if I am the doctor that gets called for on your flight, I may have already had a glass of wine, especially if travelling sans kids (although the 6.30am flight today would be pushing boundaries of wine, even for me) so it’s definitely a better option to go to a doctor before you leave.
  • If you are travelling overseas at all, get your child vaccinated. See a specialist travel health centre as often children will be able to have vaccinations earlier than scheduled and children are some of the most at-risk and vulnerable travellers. You may not be going to an exotic destination, but there are still loads of vaccine-preventable diseases riskier in other places than at home.
  • Finally, TRAVEL INSURANCE. I cannot say that loudly enough. TRAVEL INSURANCE – just in case you missed it the first time. Again, domestically less of an issue, but kids get sick and injured – with a remarkable degree of frequency if you are in our household – and medical costs overseas can skyrocket. Also check your insurance re: pregnancy as there are lots of different rules and regulations as to what is and isn’t covered.
Packing for travel kids
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Tune in next week for the No-Cry Fly solution – Part 2 – the packing – or how to survive with one outfit because your suitcase is full of nappies and wipes – complete with a check-list to make sure that nothing is left behind in the panic.

Sign up to our email notifications now so you don’t miss it! It’s like the insurance thing, I’m just going to keep repeating myself. Bad habit related to negotiating with a 4yo. Fails to work then too, so I might just resort to begging. Or wine. Anyway. Must kick back and enjoy EVERY moment of plane freedom while I can.

What are your tips to decrease small person noise and save sanity when preparing for a flight?

 

Backwards resolutions from a Monday dieter…

I know I’m late to the party, given it’s already mid January, which is probably part of my problem, but if I see one more article with “New Year, New You” I’m going to scream. I’m all for a blank page and fresh starts, hell, I’m the Monday dieter of all Monday dieters, but, you know what, I quite like me.

Like an old house that you first fell in love with as a newly-wed, I am the cracked and slightly broken façade that grew my babies and lived my memories. Sure, I’d love to renovate myself with some time and money, and lets face it, some significant structural changes need to be made, but on the whole, I’m not ready to be a totally new me. I’m not there in the weekend makeover stakes. I’m currently questioning if a walk to the pub counts as exercise, so short term resolutions and rapid change? Clearly not my thing.

I’m a bit jetlagged with life at the moment. Not in the I’ve just flitted around the world to fashion week in Milan jetlag, but more that it is all passing by at such a rapid rate, I haven’t caught up with myself yet. I answered a question about my age the other day with a good 4 year underestimation. I’m not trying to pretend I’m younger, but my brain appears to have stopped somewhere around the birth of my first child. Possibly due to the fact that I haven’t had a decent sleep since then. I’m not ready yet to race in to a new life of change when I haven’t yet had a chance to catch up with the old one. (Can I say I’m not ready ANY more times in this post? I’m like a stuck record. Seriously. Still thinking about that pub question by the way.)

Last year I had a New Year’s manifesto. I decided that a resolution wasn’t quite enough to encompass all the things I wanted to change, so I wrote a book. With neatly tagged chapters of all the things that were wrong with my life. I then promptly closed the book and continued on in denial, not looking at it again until last week. It’s like looking at an old teenage diary (with only slightly less complaining about how crap I am at maths and boys, I seem to have substituted that for my general crapness at all things tax and the boy issues have been swapped for my crapness at parenting boys rather than dating them). I want to cringe when I read it, both at my chirpy pollyanna tone and all the unchanged, unactivated goals (Goals should really be activated, not almonds. I prefer slothful almonds – Pete Evans, take note).

Clearly the manifesto didn’t work. I should have referred to Karl Marx for advice. Or Lululemon, although really, “breathe deeply and drink water” is probably something I could have figured out myself sometime during my 6 years of med school bookishness, and sweating? I prefer moisturiser. Don’t even start me on children being the “orgasm of life”.

 

So this year, I’m doing the opposite of what I usually do. Mostly that will involve looking at things that the slightly older me

is good at and that I enjoy and figuring out a way to make those things happen more, rather working on making crappy times happen less. Worth a shot anyway!

There is a bit of a concern though that I may just be really good at drinking wine, spending and eating. I’ll update you in 12 months on that one. Sometime after spending 6 months in Europe. If I fit in a plane to get home.

 

How do you keep your resolutions happening? What’s been your biggest challenge in keeping them going so far?

 

 

 

Emotional telepathy and juicy gossip: A how-to guide

There are certain facts of life. You know the ones, where someone sits you down, puts an arm gently around you and shows you Mark Latham’s column in the Financial Review.

FACT: The Fin review doesn’t just review finance.

FACT: Mark Latham is a provocative douche. (Click here to sign a petition to have him voted off the island)

 Then there are other facts of life. (No, not those. My 4yo is still under the impression that babies pop out of your belly down a giant slippery-slide. Until my obstetric colleagues find a way to make that happen for real, I’m not going to ruin the illusion).

FACT: Babies do not, as yet, have anything to do with a slippery-slide exit (My pelvic floor would beg to differ here).

 So let me talk about the other facts of life.

FACT: You are all somewhat human. Unless you are a cat, in which case, well done for being literate. Reading blogs is clearly the way out of a life of cat litter trays and in to middle class cat society, with running water and all.

Image: Raoul Trifan, flickr
Image: Raoul Trifan, flickr

FACT: Other people are also human (Except possibly Mark Latham, I can make an exception there).

 So now we’ve got over the whole animal classification thing (don’t worry believers, I’m not going to mention evolution. I’m all for a world that gets its shit sorted out in 7 days of creationism, but clearly there have been some teething problems that haven’t been ironed out yet. And dinosaurs are really cool. I’m quite happy to have evolved from a fish with feet, although the weather is really hot today, so I’m kind of wishing I could go back to my semi-amphibious lifestyle. Ah look, I did mention evolution after all. Sorry. Can’t help myself, given we are talking facts and all).

FACT: I can’t read minds (Can’t speak for you, but if you can read minds, you’ll already know where I am going with this. The rest of you are just going to have to wait.)

 FACT: Lots of people have stuff going on that you have NO idea about.

I’m privy to a lot of knowledge about people. Being a doctor is kind of like being the most popular girl in school, where everyone tells you their secrets (I’m assuming that was what happened if you were popular. Not something that I really had to worry about. Cool crowd, feel free to chip in here if I’m off track).

I can’t pass on the secrets that I hear though, you know, medical ethics and all that, and in a most cases, the people who tell me their secrets don’t go on to broadcast them on national radio, but they feel better for sharing AND it helps me understand what they are going through.

All that this means is that there are A LOT of people out there with stuff going on that you can’t see. You don’t know who has run out of money, been given a diagnosis that they don’t want to tell anyone about, who is paralyzed by anxiety , being bullied at a job they hate or has a child with serious issues. You don’t know who is working 60h weeks to send money back to a family struggling to get fresh water, or who is deciding not to be treated for cancer because they live 200k from the nearest treatment centre. You don’t know who hasn’t slept properly in 4 years (oh actually, I can tell you that one, that would be me).

4330688720_f607a758b7_z
Image: Dr Case, Flickr

So I’m going to tell you about telepathy and the best way to find out all the juicy things you want to know about people. Continue reading “Emotional telepathy and juicy gossip: A how-to guide”

Hollywood advice, Kate style

Dear Kate,

 

Welcome to the Wimmera. As we have a few things in common, including a fabulous celebrity name, a travel habit and a collection of children, I thought I’d fill you in with some tips and tricks about surviving your time here.

I’m probably more likely to be recognized in the streets here than you, so I can give you some good disguise tips. I’d suggest blending in, go with trackies and sneakers for daytime outings, especially if you can convince a small crying child to accompany you. That always dissuades conversation. The people who recognize you here are much more likely to greet you with general excitement and joy than the people who greet me. They are much more likely to sing the titanic theme than the Frozen song “Let it Go”, so you’re lucky there as it’s ALL I hear at the moment (to clarify: listening to Celine and lucky is not something I have ever uttered in a sentence before).

You are also less likely to be related to the people who approach you, or be questioned about the cause for their gynaecological symptoms (yep, that does happen. It’s a glamorous life I lead as a country GP. Please call me if you need anything, unless you have a cold. I can’t cure that yet). Not being related to the entire region by approximately 2 degrees of separation is a good thing as it will save all the denial about Christmas not being all that far away and how I haven’t bought gifts for ANY of them. Do you think I should take my husband at his word and buy something small? How small is small? I want to save money, but not appear grinchy. I’m looking for any advice or gift suggestions, maybe you could put me on to your PA.

If I had a PA, I may not have gone to kinder orientation today with my fly down, realizing only as I went through hair and makeup (some may call it the hairdresser, for a well overdue cut & colour, but don’t crush my dreams. Let’s call it an underwear scene). Deeply awkward.

 

Kate Winslet, Esquire Magazine
Kate Winslet, Esquire Magazine. Clearly not in need of my styling advice

Speaking of scenes, I’m going to apologise for not signing up to be an extra. I heard you needed football or ballroom dancing skills and I don’t even watch “Strictly come dancing “ “Survivor Ballroom” or “The Great Australian Dance-off” or whatever the latest celebrity version is. I’m more of a chair-dancing specialist, with expertise in spinning to “Frozen” songs barefoot, so if that skill is ever needed, just give me a call and I can clear my schedule. I also look average in a footy jumper and can’t kick so was assuming that might limit my starring role somewhat.

I’m pumped Liam Hemsworth was seen in Kmart here yesterday. He seems like a good type of guy, although I did have to google him (It’s been a long time since I’ve been out to the movies, and my movie knowledge is limited to Frozen and Dragon Training). Could you ask him if he was the lovely person who returned my iPhone there after I got distracted by Christmas craft ideas that I’ll never complete? I’m sure he just forgot to enter his number in the contacts, so maybe you could just forward it on. I’m not really available for dating at the moment, what with being married and all, but I have some friends who are prepared to help him socialize locally.

afterlight

One last request before I leave you to the sunshine, can you give me a 5 min synopsis of the movie? That’ll keep me going until I get to the movies or remove the book from my great pile of unread gems when the kids move out of home in about 18 years. Oh, and before I forget, mind the snakes, take a hay fever tablet, wear sunscreen and don’t mention the weather here, it’s a drought.

Love,

The other Kate

For more info on the film, see http://www.dressmakermovie.com.au