A++ would do again (a birth story)

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Ah Sundays. A day of rest – unless you’re the mother of a second born arriving to turn everyone’s lives upside down!

3am. Sunday. 17th of April. 2016.

There I was, fast asleep on the couch upstairs (because The Man was downstairs snoring like a chainsaw) and then.. I woke up to a contraction.

Shit. That was an actual contraction, not one of those fake “I think I had a contraction” contractions I’d been having for the past few weeks. Oh my god, what have I done, I remember this. This was NOT a good idea.

I was partly excited at going into labour on my own, partly terrified and partly horrified that my midwife was out of town and I had, as predicted gone into labour when she wasn’t here.

I waited to see if another one happened, holy crap it did. Holy crap I AM in labour. Waited another 6 or 7 minutes and it happened again, and then again..and then I went and woke up The Man. He got up and had a shower as you do at 4am..and then they started coming every 5 minutes instead of every 6 or 7. We decided to call Shell and have her come and join the 4am party. For funsies.

We rang the hospital too and they were happy for us to keep on keeping on at home. The contractions were still coming every 5 or 6 minutes so I got up and had a shower, then blow dried my hair, then got Shell to straighten it for me (all in between contractions).

Shell was meant to be coming over to look after Angus in case we had to go to hospital – or that was what I told her, really I just wanted someone to do my hair for me.

Hey I wanted to know my hair looked good in labour even if the rest of me didn’t!

After that I went upstairs and they fizzled out back to 7 or 8 minutes, even 10 minutes apart for the rest of the morning, and the pain was not too bad really – especially if its only painful once every 10 minutes! The midwife was still confident I wouldn’t have the baby before she got back. I just had to hold on until 2am Monday. Easy peasy.

I can’t remember when but at some point that morning Mum came and picked up Angus and took him back to her place so I could rest.

When I realised that Seachange was on Netflix, that was my day set. So Second Born, reminiscing about my childhood Sunday nights watching Seachange will forever remind me of being in labour with you.

Be thankful we didn’t call you Diver Dan.

The day went pretty quickly, or it seemed like it did. About 3pm things started to ramp up, and all of a sudden it wasn’t as fun anymore! I decided now was a really good time to re-read the ‘birth skills’ book I’d used last time with Angus. It helped! I also realised it was unlikely my midwife was going to make it to the birth. I just hoped the midwife we got at the hospital was nice.

Around 6pm things were getting quite intense and the contractions were about 4 minutes apart, with some more frequent and we debated about calling the hospital again..what if we went in and it fizzled out and we got sent home, or we went in and I was only like 2cms dilated, I would have been devastated!
We decided to call and while The Man was on the phone to the hospital I was pacing up and down the hallway and I heard him say “okay so maybe we should stay home a bit longer” when I had a bad enough contraction that I interrupted him and told him no we needed to go to the hospital – right NOW.

The trip over to Wodonga was awful, it seemed like The Man was taking the scenic route which is also the bumpiest. Why maximise time on the smooth 110kmh freeway when you can take the back streets. I expressed my displeasure. Repeatedly.

Then, instead of dropping me off at the front door of the hospital he parked the car and made me walk the interminable distance to the front door; I took many breaks in the couple of hundred metres it took to get there. It honestly felt like it took forever to get to the front door!

When we finally got inside they sent us down to a waiting room. There was this older man in there and I went to walk in and sit down but felt a bit self conscious what with being in agony and all, so turned around and hobbled out. Thankfully he must have felt sorry for me and cleared out very quickly.

Not long after our amazing midwife Megan arrived and took us down to the birth suite. Megan was the hospital midwife on duty. I knew she was going to be great right away, and I pretty well relaxed then. Even though our private midwife couldn’t make it I feel like I got super lucky to get Megan, she was terrific!

We debated about finding out how far along I was, did I want to know?? The contractions were every 3 minutes now. Nah, of course I did, my control freak mind could not cope not knowing if I was actually in active labour or not. So Megan had a gander and I was  already 6cms dilated! The man and I high fived, I’d done most of the work at home. Well, sort of!

If you been in a birthing suite before, either as a participant or spectator you know the rest of the story, and if you haven’t then trust me you don’t want to know.

We’d arrived at hospital at 6:30pm and at 8:49pm our amazing Eleanor Grace was born. And yes, that is a labour PB for me.

So here you go second born:

I am still on a massive high from your birth. It was an amazing, natural experience and exactly what I wanted. As I kept saying to The Man afterwards “I DID IT!, I DID IT”. I feel super lucky to have got the pregnancy and labour that I did. If I had to describe the experience as eBay feedback then this one was A++ would do again!!

I’ve been trying really hard to be more relaxed this time around. Of course life has to throw challenges at us, like a surprise staph infection for you and a nasty bout of mastitis for me. We both ended up back in Albury hospital on IV antibiotics when you were 9 days old.

Being positive though it was a good opportunity to compare hospital food, Wodonga has much better food than Albury. Just so you know.

Since getting home things have just got better and better. We cannot imagine life without you, really we can’t – it feels like you’ve been here forever instead of just 6 weeks. Your brother absolutely adores you, constantly asks to hold you (well just for a minute and then he tries to shove you off his lap), and if you’re unsettled he’s always going in to give you a pat and say “its orright Ollie”.

Your first bath was a total disaster, you did not like the inflatable duck bath at ALL! The midwife commented in 20 years she’d never seen a baby scream so much. But just quietly I think the water might have been a tad cold.. sorry.

Since then you’ve had baths with your Dad and your brother and you love it, and they do too.

So to there you go, my wonderful second born. You have a lovely, gentle and happy personality – I can tell already! So please don’t turn out to be a serial killer and have my words bite me in the arse.

– Mum

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The Second Born

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Yes hi, hello. I know, its been ages. Sorry (not sorry!).

I’ve been pretty busy with life, returning to work, wrangling a toddler, growing a baby and having a baby.
But here we are. I felt like I should blog about poor baby #2. The poor second child.

The baby who doesn’t get professional baby photos done, or a cute photo every week with those little cards with how many weeks old they are.

The.Poor.Much-Maligned.Second.Child.

Little do people realise that the second child has it the best. I can say that as a fact for I am a first born and I know this to be true. Second borns get to enjoy being parented by people with actual parenting experience, instead of being the subject of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It’s like getting a haircut from the fully trained hair dresser instead of the apprentice, like having heart surgery from a cardiothoracic surgeon instead of the work experience kid. You get my drift.

Experience matters.

Second borns (and probably all other children after the first borns) are far more resilient, patient and generally just less ..type A. They still get loved the same, everyone’s just more relaxed.

Anyway. We had a textbook pregnancy this time and used a private midwife so I could get measured by the same person all the time. And what do you know – no issues. Bub measured perfectly from start to finish. See, experience matters!

I had morning sickness a lot worse this time, a highlight was puking one morning in front of The man and Angus – but it thankfully went away around about 16 weeks.  We nicknamed this baby “Duckling” just like Angus was “Grape”.

Being pregnant through an Albury summer was great, despite those ridiculously hot days where people would comment “geez you must be feeling the heat today, you poor thing”, I would wave them off bravely with a “better than trying to breastfeed a newborn when its 43 degrees and you’re renovating a house and its shit so you’ve moved out and are living with your parents and their swampie chucked it in at 38 degrees and …” What were we talking about again?

Ahem. I might be holding onto some issues. See, second borns have it better.

Anyway – yes, back to this baby. I started showing earlier this time and carried differently and copped months of “oh you must be due soon”, or “whoa you’re huge” and my two absolute favourites, “when are the twins due” and “you must be having a girl because you look big from behind”.

No I did not make that last one up. And yes, it is more offensive to me now that I did in fact, have a girl. Sorry, #spoileralert.

So my huge arse and I made it up to 35 and a bit weeks and finished up work and then “rested and nested”. Just made that term up. Really I sat around, went out for coffee everyday and then in the last two weeks pulled my finger out and went nuts around the house and yard.

I pressure washed the balcony which is about to get renovated. A truly pointless exercise. And it doesn’t even look that clean. It took me two hours.

I kept up doing parkrun every weekend, because I am stubborn like that, right up to 39 weeks. And I still didn’t come last. I would have made 40 weeks but I had a six day old baby by then and y’know – #priorities.

Anyway, the firstborn is “politely” requesting that I come and assist them as soon as I can so I’d best go and attend to their needs (likely this is that the toast is cut up wrong).

EDIT: despite requesting jam, and me reminding him he doesn’t like jam, I followed instructions for delivery of toast with jam and have now just been advised that “I don’t like it”.

Until next time,

– Jen

 

We done got (sleep) schooled!

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Its been three weeks since we graduated from sleep school down in Melbourne and I’ve been procrastinating about blogging about it.

I had grand plans to do daily blogs and fill you all in on our progress but the first thing they made me do was sign a non disclosure agreement NOT to blog about it.

Way to crush a bloggers soul sleep school.

Especially since I would have had TIME to blog what with a A+ sleeping baby. Oh the irony.

So without going into TOO much detail and keeping in mind this only applies to MY baby, not your baby or your friends baby or if perhaps you don’t have a baby and are going to give a friend who does have a baby advice on raising them – then take note – this will not help you. Also – don’t do that to your friend. Just shut up and make her a cup of tea and do a load of washing.

Little man went into sleep school not sleeping well during the day and ‘just okay’ at night, that is I was still feeding him once to twice a night and he was 9 months old. I didn’t mind feeding him at night as he always went straight back to sleep afterwards and well – who doesn’t love snoozy cuddles! He was also waking about 5:30-6:00am ready to start the day. Not horrific but not great either. And yes I know – your kids, your friends kid and that kid down the street was heaps worse. Good on ya.

The days were a nightmare. He was just grizzly ALL FREAKING DAY. I’ve blogged about it heaps. He was just a grizzle guts with these brief flashes of lovely shining through. Generally in front of other people – he was a happy cute baby. But at home with Mum (and Dad) – grizzle city. It was tiring. Because I was tired. And he was grizzly and I couldn’t do anything. If I got up to make brekky or lunch he’d grizzle.  Most days I missed breakfast or lunch and sometimes on a really bad day both. It was NOT GOOD. He was also not feeding well, having half a bottle here, 3/4 of a bottle there, refusing bottles sometimes.

But because the nights weren’t too bad I kind of just thought oh well, it’ll get better. And plus I read way too many Facebook parenting pages about gentle parenting and nurturing your little monster and babies are people and not robots and you shouldn’t program them just love them and it’ll all work out in the end.

Pinky McKay put out a LOVELY post about how sleep schools are for torturing babies a week before we were due to go to sleep school. I didn’t read the article because I didn’t need to feel worse about going. So maybe the article didn’t say that. But I reckon it probably did!

I think the thing is that I always thought it would be fine if he was happy. If he just did 45 minute catnaps but was happy – that would be fine but he wasn’t happy. Mum’s know these things, he wasn’t happy.

Anyway. I knew as soon as I got there that we were going.to.be.okay. And we were. Little man did fabulously and hardly played up at all much to my consternation as I wanted him to do his typical ‘day’ sleep nightmare so I could learn how to settle him! But he didn’t really. Because once we got the feeds on track – the rest fell into place. Sure he still does the odd 45 minuter here and there – (today was NOT a good day), but for the most part his day sleeps are around 1hr20 – 1hr30 and thats a short sleep. A MASSIVE improvement.

His night feeds are nixed, the dummy is gone and he.is.HAPPY.

He is just so HAPPY now. His development has skyrocketed since we’ve been back he’s chattering away, being a lot more affectionate, crawling and pulling himself up on things. Just amazing.

And that has made ME so happy. I can make myself some brekky, a cup of coffee and wander into the lounge room and eat breakast and play with him all while he’s occupying himself  happily (read: getting up to mischief).

I don’t really wish we’d gone sooner. I think we went at a really good age. And I gave it a good shot at home for a long time. 9 months is a long time. I also wouldn’t want to go much later than that either.

But if you’re struggling and you need help – DO IT.

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– Jen

9 months old.

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I really feel like we don’t have a ‘baby’ anymore! Little man is 9 months old today.

He is really on the move. Not officially ‘crawling’ but rolling and wriggling and doing 360s!

Constantly trying to pull himself up on things, especially in the bath and is continually frustrated with life not being able to get where he wants to go.

So 8 months was hard! I would say after the newborn stage, 8 months was the hardest yet! The 8 month sleep regression is definitely a thing! But at the same time, I have that growing confidence where you know ‘it’ will pass and it has. I’m also lucky to have a great mothers group to whinge to and its nice to know I’m not alone, its normal and it gets better!!

I think the much talked about ‘separation anxiety’ has hit, but its still new enough that I find the fact he actually likes me and doesn’t want me to go anywhere endearing…I will report back in a week on that..I can see it getting old. Right now though, after 8 months I was starting to think maybe he just really didn’t like me…and now I know… HE LOVES ME!!! 

Having said that he does love lots of things. His Dad (his eyes light up when he sees The Man now), baths, baths, baths, arrowroot biscuits, wafer crackers and cruskits …he is crackers for crackers! He is on a pear ban currently as he is an addict and I am sick of cleaning up number 3s (poo explosions). He also loves chewing on my iPhone and getting his mitts on the iPad, turns out its an excellent surface for dribbling.

Next week we are off to Masada mother & baby unit to get this sleep thing sorted. Of course we’ve had a brilliant week this week, with only 1-2 night wakings but he’s been feral enough during the day to make me feel like the visit is justified. I will blog about our time there for sure.

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Thats all for now, have a great weekend.

– Jen

Argh…

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I can’t even think of a good title for this post. Argh will have to do.

I am so tired and disappointed I haven’t been keeping up to date with my blogging. But sleep will always be a priority over blogging. 

Anyway, a little update.

Obviously little man hasn’t been sleeping well. We went from 1-2 wake ups a night to… a lot. I think its his teeth, but honestly I have no idea. Its been going on for almost six weeks with no more teeth to be seen so maybe he’s just torturing me.

We are off to ‘sleep school’ down in Melbourne next week after I rang them and begged them to get us in earlier (we were in for late August). I initially think the begging didn’t work because I went with the calm/polite approach not the sobbing/wailing they probably usually get.. but last week I got a call and immediately felt relief wash over me. 

Even now, after a not so good day today with 2 x 45 minute naps and much of the ‘errrrrrrr’ noise that Crangus makes when he’s hungry/tired, I’m not too fazed, only one week til I get rescued.

What else? OH! I got a coffee machine. This may or may not be related to the above sook about lack of sleep. Who needs sleep when you have coffee on tap! It is AMAZING and has been so much fun tinkering with. So far my coffee is a step above the old JenLax™ I used to make at The LAN MIne but probably not quite braggable yet. I’ll get there – the machine can do it but the problem is with the user!

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I am all out of things to blog about…need to go to bed. But I do have a ‘song of the month’ post to do too. Stay tuned for that. Hopefully I will get back to blogging more (and finishing that pesky 50 things to blog about challenge too).

– Jen

#31 Brain dump – whats on your mind right now

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// Over 50 days (or so) I am doing Fat Mum Slim’s 50 things to blog about challenge – in no particular order.

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Today’s post is #31 – Brain dump, what’s on your mind right now.

You might have noticed I’ve missed a few ’50 things’ posts. Well tough titties, we’ve had a rough fortnight with gastro and some big sleep regression going on. But back to today’s post…

Oh what isn’t on my mind!!

Today its parenting. Sorry to bore my bike/running friends. While up with a screaming teething baby about 6 times a night for the past fortnight, last night I got thinking..

What kind of parent would I be without the Internet?

I’m not talking so much about not being able to google things, more about what I’m exposed to on ‘the socials’ (blogs, Facebook, twitter and instagram). There is so much ‘advice’ out there and I find it’s some of the gentle parenting pages especially who give me unrealistic expectations of myself!

Which leads me back to my question. Without the internet and the knowledge that things like ‘gentle parenting’ even existed what kind of parent would I be?

I thought about it and came to this stunning conclusion!

Wait for it…

I would be exactly the same only I wouldn’t feel guilty about it!

For example, although I know that stopping breastfeeding when I did was best for my health (both mental and nipple), the guilt still plagues me! A gentle parent would have perservered, and would never have stopped for ‘themselves’. So if I didn’t know all of this uber breastfeeding stuff existed then the guilt just wouldn’t be there!

Having said that I did make it to 6.5 months which I can’t really fathom after how terrible the first 6 weeks were.

But, as I reason with myself – you need to look after yourself to look after your baby.

I’ve unfollowed some of the pages and accounts because I just don’t need to read about ridiculous things like how holding your child upside down stops them having tantrums.

THIS WAS A REAL THING I READ. You know what I think happens when you hold your child upside down when they’re having a tantrum?

You get kicked in the face.

Having said that, before I lose any readers that support upside down parenting there is holding your child upside down, and then there’s lots of good advice I might not have otherwise known that is realistic! And if you are one of those people who hold your child upside down when they have a tantrum please send me a video!!

But seriously, I get so confused.

I’m hoping the whole 8 month sleep regression IS a real thing and its just that, and that in a couple of weeks it too will have passed and things will return to normal-ish.

I don’t mind getting up to feed him once a night (although I don’t honestly think he’s hungry even then) but 2-3 times a night + multiple resettling attempts is getting old fast!

In any case in 5 weeks or so we are booked into Masada in Melbourne for some help. Very much looking forward to some support. And, getting back to the point of this post I wouldn’t have known they existed if it weren’t for the internet!

Would love to hear your thoughts though! Has the internet and all the advice out there changed the way you parent?

– Jen

The grossest thing that has ever happened to me as a parent (so far)

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Babies are revolting. Sure, they are sold as these sweet smelling newborns but really…especially eight months on – they’re revolting. Especially boys. Boys are gross.

So in eight months I’ve been puked on – regularly. As a mother of a reflux baby I am actually USED to getting vomited on. Projectile, chunky, warm, dribbles – I’ve had it all. And I’m okay with that.

I’ve cleaned up lots of poo too, a few number threes and a few really big poos which made me wonder how such a small baby MAKES something so big.

But what happened this week has trumped all the spew and grossness of the past eight months.

I actually asked people on Facebook what was the grossest thing their baby had done and most of the comments involved poo.

And so does my story.

Our story takes place in the bath. And yes I know, some of your stories involve poo in the bath.

This poo however was not one or two nicely formed…logs floating around (or sinking depending on the diet of your little one).

Nope! This poo was large in volume, and well …runny.

Oh that’s disgusting you say! Disgusting!! How can you bear to write about such disgustingness!

……

It gets better.

On this particular occasion Angus had a friend in the bath. A good friend. The very best friend a baby boy can have. That’s right.

His mother.

Yes, it was I who was in the bath when little man decided to ‘release the hounds’ so to speak.

Oh the screaming (from me).

The bath toys and I will be scarred forever.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Jen

 

This too shall pass …I hope

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I love/hate that saying “this too shall pass”. In theory its a good thing to remember when its 2am and your eyeballs are hanging out of your head while trying to convince your baby it is NOT playtime it is SLEEP TIME. But it is so FREAKING UNHELPFUL. Yes, it WILL pass but right now lets be honest, its a bit shit.

Little man has been testing me for about a week now, just being generally out of sorts. Yes yes there is teething, and wonder weeks but really I think he is just being a gigantic pain in the arse at the moment. EXCEPT – EXCEPT…I can’t cry when I’m up at 2am because he is actually making me laugh. So there I am, trying desperately to keep a straight face (and usually failing) while he babbles away, stroking my hair and face then giggling at me. As soon as I put him down to sleep – the screaming/crying/sobbing starts. Pick him up and he’s a comedian. Put him down and all hell breaks loose.

So his night sleeps have gone to shit, which terrifies me a bit. I’ve always said I can cope (just) with the bad day sleeps because generally once 7pm comes I get a break! But now, I don’t know WHAT to expect! And we all know how much I love unpredictability. Apparently babies thrive on being spontaneous!

Here’s hoping this ‘passes’ VERY soon.

– Jen

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Home is wherever we are if there’s love here too

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I haven’t blogged much about the progress of our renovations for awhile because they were making me very cranky, so cranky in fact that the little man and I moved out! 

But we’re home now! And it’s fantastic. Still a little way to go, but the major work is done and its almost all downstairs anyway. The house has that ‘new house’ smell. A heady mix of the chemicals used to polish the timber floors and fresh paint. Mmm mmmm.

 

The kitchen is *almost* finished – the splash back gets installed today, and we need to replace our mdf shelving with glass in our cabinets as well as get a couple of our servo drive cabinets which you just touch to open resynched so they don’t touch the cornices when they open. I am hoping the colour of the splash back is what I wanted – so hard to pick a colour from a teeny weeny colour chart.

We have to have the painter come back and finish a cornice that the plasterer finally returned to finish on the weekend as well as touch up some skirting boards which got knocked when the flooring guys were sanding and polishing the floors. We’re pretty happy with the floor considering the new stuff had to be spliced in with the old, its difficult to tell which is old floor and new floor which is what you want!

We are going to re-tile our upstairs toilet and put in a new toilet too, but the old bathroom will stay for awhile yet. We also need to re-tile the front steps/verandah which we’ll do soon.

Speaking of tiles I am in love with the tiles I picked for the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. They’re all the same tile..but I love them. Nice and big and…well I just love them.

Downstairs we need to have some concrete replaced which needs a month to cure before the flooring guys can come back and finish off the floorboards. The tilers need to come back and silicone the laundry and ensuite and we also need doors made for the linen press and the WIR. Hopefully the plumber comes back today or Tuesday to fit off the laundry, toilet downstairs and the ensuite!

I really want downstairs finished or at least tidied up as we have a lot of ‘stuff’ to find a place for – stuff which is taking up valuable real estate upstairs which is bugging me no end. And yes, a large percentage of the stuff is Lego.

Today we’re also supposed to be having our new dining table delivered. It’s pretty big, I think it seats 10 but should fit well as we have a big space to fill perfect for it. 

Thats the ‘stuff’ part of where we are at. I am just so happy to be home. I wish the start of little man’s life hadn’t been so chaotic but I think I/we coped okay…just…maybe. Its very nice to be out the other side that’s for sure. I know in a few years time we’ll laugh about how stupid we were and we’ll tell him about how when he was a baby we lived with Nanny and Poppy for the first few months because I was worried about falling through the floor in the middle of the night.

If I get time I might put together some before and after photos. It really is quite amazing!

I’d better wrap it up as little man is doing his pre wake up routine (sort of like a backwards version of ‘the worm’) I’m watching him on the baby monitor waiting for that shriek of displeasure at finding out he was tricked into sleeping again. One point to me. 

– Jen

Baby don’t cry

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I’m just back from a fantastic week in Melbourne and feeling re-energised and ready to tackle another week of baby rearing.

Melbourne was lovely hanging out with the man, window shopping, a couple of cheeky bike rides, lots of coffee, catching up with friends and some one on one time with Rach – it was just what I needed.

The solo travelling to and from Melbourne was not so relaxing.

On the way down I left after the baby bond swim class naively thinking little man might be worn out and y’know sleep, but he whinged until just before Glenrowan (an hours drive) then BAM! he knocked it up a notch so I had to pull over at Macca’s and feed him.

Which took an HOUR.

I seriously contemplated just going home. But after I fed him I powered on (alright powered by 6 nuggets and some coke – don’t judge me) and we made it to Epping before he totally lost it and I had to pull off at a servo. Nappy change, filled up the car, another feed and gritted our teeth – well me my teeth and he his gums and we got on with it.

Needless to say I was not looking forward to driving back.

So today after stuffing him full of milk I hit the road…and little man immediately expressed his displeasure about being in the car – again. All the way from Clifton Hill to Reservoir he ranted and raved about the unfairness of being in the car…and then he fell asleep. A little bit more grumbling from time to time but mostly quiet all the way to just before Euroa!

A good feed for both of us (I acquired a pretty good lunch and decaf coffee) and then only 160kms to go! Then a few minutes later I had to stop again because oh my god, the screaming.

A cuddle and another nappy change and then only…150kms to go.

All went silent and I was carefully avoiding any potholes, the rumble strips on the edge of the freeway, not to driving over those reflectors in between lanes so I wouldn’t wake him up.

Distance to Wodonga, 99kms, then 55kms then 34kms and still silence. I felt like I was holding my breath, 20kms to go, then 10kms..then I heard a grunt and some babbling. Quick look in the rearview mirror and I saw feet wriggling. Oh god, please not now.

More babbling and wriggling and just as the 6km to go sign went past a new song came on.

‘Baby don’t cry’ by INXS. Yes I, like the rest of Australia, purchased their best of album last week. But seriously spooky! It did make me laugh though!

“Baby don’t cryyyyyyy, baby don’t cry (something something something) baby don’t cryyyyyyy, baby don’t cryy”. We drove into Albury as the song finished and he only just started to grizzle as we drove into our driveway.

What an adrenaline rush!

– Jen