Tag Archives: babies

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: We Don’t All Make It Out Alive

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My heart breaks for the family of Florence Leung of New Westminister, Canada. She was a woman, a human being in her own right, as well as a mother and a wife. Like me, she has battled postnatal depression, unlike me, she didn’t make it out alive. On Wednesday her lifeless body was found.

Last June Allison Goldstein made headlines in the US for her suicide. She was 32, just like I was when I had my first child, bubbly, beautiful, and well liked. She seemed to have it all on the surface. but below the surface postnatal depression pulled her down.

In 2010 an investigation was launched into Joanne Bingley in the UK. She had postnatal depression and sadly left her family home as her husband and baby slept and then laydown in front of an oncoming train. She loved her baby but felt like she couldn’t cope. Joanne had begged health care professionals for help but they wouldn’t listen. The result was that a little girl will never get to know the love of her mother.

These are just a few cases that made headlines, but they are unfortunately not isolated cases. Suicide is one of the leading causes of postnatal maternal death. I was nearly one of these women. Raging hormones, lack of support, complications with feeding, and exhaustion can provide a deadly cocktail for mothers. And yet women are still frequently dismissed when they ask for help.

Health professionals are supposed to be vigilant for signs of depression and not coping but mothers often report being treated like hysterical first time mothers when they ask for help. And science backs them up. Studies have shown again and again that males going in with the same symptoms as females are more frequently referred for further testing and given medication, whilst women are simply sent home. Mothers are on the absolute bottom rung despite the media releases from the health professionals declaring that they should be at the top.
I was on the receiving end of this dismissive attitude, I thank my lucky stars that someone finally listened otherwise I’d be another statistic. I doubt I’d even make it as a news report. Simply dead and ignored.

My daughter came at 35 weeks. She attached fine to the breast but was a slow feeder. She’d take up to two hours to feed. Then I’d change her nappy, try to put her down to sleep, she’d shriek in pain so I’d hold her upright in my arms so that she wouldn’t explode with acidic vomit. She’d sleep in my arms for forty minutes and the we’d start the process all over again. Day and night. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I’d cry often. My legs would buckle underneath me at random moments. I’d vomit up bile. I was exhausted and my body was failing me. I told the community nurse I was exhausted. She told me to just put the baby down and stop overreacting to every little sound. I told my GP at the time that I couldn’t cope. She said babies like to suck and a breast was better than a dummy. She said it couldn’t be as bad as I said otherwise I wouldn’t be able to smile or function. I felt like I was going crazy. I hurt. I couldn’t keep going. I wanted to kill myself so that my daughter could have a mother that people would help. And I would have done just that if things hadn’t changed.

My regular GP wasn’t available for my daughter’s four month check-up. I had to see a new GP. She diagnosed my daughter with reflux and hip dysplasia, both conditions were quite severe and had been missed by the hospital, community nurses, and my previous GP. Referrals to specialists were given. With medication for reflux my daughter was able to sleep better. Which meant I could too. She also needed two ooperation for her hip dysplasia, three months in a spica cast and several more in a brace. That GP improved my daughter’s quality of life and saved my mine. I doubt that I could have gone on another week the way it had been.

When my boys were born people said, just call, don’t get yourself into a tizzy like you did last time. But whenever I called they were too busy. And they were too busy the next day or the next. And then they’d show up and help with my daughter but I still had the twins, born at 32 weeks, to take care of and dinner to make.It was a slap in the face. A tokenistic gesture of help given not when I needed it and not in a way that allowed me to get any sleep.

As for my guardian angel of a GP, my boys had been in the NICU I was in their system. I had to go back to them for the twins’ checkups. I didn’t have time to also see my GP. When the social worker would pass she’d ask how I was, I’d say exhausted, she’d laugh. During check-ups I’d mention to the pediatrician that the boys weren’t sleeping well and I was having trouble taking care of them and their 2 year old sister. I was told that was life with premi twins, just deal with it.
Again by four months I was ready to end my life. And then my boys got bronchiolitis and ended up in hospital. In the emergency room I just cried and cried because I was exhausted and desperately worried about my babies and it was a catastrophic combination. I felt utterly alone. The emergency nurses were fantastic. They told me that they rarely got to have babies in there so would have no shortage of nurses who would want a cuddle. The nurses woke me to breastfeed then whisked my boys off to be cuddled. Nurses were coming from other departments on their break to get a cuddle with my boys. I got four hours of broken sleep that night. I wouldn’t have had much more than that all up in the past four months.

And then we had to go up to the children’s ward. I lost my beautiful angels of mercy who had come to help me in emergency.

They had strict rules in the children’s ward. Most of them resulted in the nurses not being able to help. So I juggled my two babies on my own and stared out the window and thought about how I’d jump out if I could actually open it. I decided that when my husband visited I would excuse myself to go to the bathroom, walk outside, then walk into traffic so that I could finally die. I was in so much pain, physical and emotional, that I just wanted it to end.

Luckily the pediatrician who had treated my daughter for reflux was the doctor on the ward. He took one look at me and knew I was not myself. He spoke reassuringly to me that there were options and that he was calling the social worker and that they would help. I was too tired not to believe him.

The social worker came. She said there were things that she could do to help but she also wanted to refer me to a hospital psychiatrist. He was there within twenty minutes. It became apparent that I was a patient along with my boys and that I was the more serious case. It was determined that I needed intensive support. Once the boys were well enough the three of us were transported to a psychiatric hospital with a mother and baby unit. And that’s why I’m still alive now.

If health professionals had continued to minimise my cries for help then I would be dead. I wouldn’t be typing this up on my phone next to my 5 year old daughter. She lies next to me sleeping peacefully as I type this because she was scared so came in for some mummy hugs. Last night it was my youngest child, he may only be younger than his twin brother by a minute but he’s still the youngest. He was scared and wanted to watch Yo Gabba Gabba. It was 3 am so I said no and he had an epic meltdown which I tried to soothe as quietly as I could lest he wake his siblings. The night before it was my middle child, all he wanted was for me to hold his hand whilst he dropped back off to sleep. If I hadn’t made it, my kids would have missed out. And to be honest, my death was only avoided by half an hour.

I owe a great debt to both those doctors, but they shouldn’t be so few and so far between. It’s about time health professionals stopped paying lip service to the notion that they’ll be vigilant of mothers struggles and actually were. How many more avoidable suicides must we mourn?

My book Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks will be out in December. It deals with my time in the psychiatric hospital aan what I have learned. If it stops one more mother from killing herself then it is worth it. You’re not alone. I’m here, I made it through and so can you.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Buy my memoir Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks here.

Honker Honker #scrub

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To the gentleman who so sweetly honked at me and screamed, “nice arse,” as I walked to the shops today,

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Firstly I’d like to say thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to compliment me. You no doubt were in a rush to chug some VB cans followed by crushing them on your forehead so did not have time to stop and speak to me in a more lengthy manner. I am just sure from the brief insight I got into your vocab that we would be the firmest of friends. I am of course flattered that you did look upon my visage and find it both pleasing and provocative. I do have a fantastic rump and it is always lovely to have a compliment applied directly to my rear. I certainly had gone to the extra effort of pulling my unbrushed hair up into a mum-bun, so it was nice that it didn’t go unnoticed. And right back at you, your shaved head with a rats tail is a visual treat that I don’t oft get since I moved to the city. It did make me sick for my childhood home in the country. Ah memories, thanks so much for that.

Secondly, it would be a lie if I said I didn’t feel that deep personal connection, that drove you to honk at me, too. Gosh, before I even turned to hear your dulcet tone float from your mouth unto my happy ears I could feel your presence. The thrumm of your engine filled myself, and no doubt the whole street, with excitement. Why my flesh was covered with goose bumps and the hairs on the back of my neck did  stand on attention before you even honked. I felt it too. There is a bond between you and I. My panties nearly ran screaming from my body with your first toot, and then on your second, well I’m surprised they didn’t simply errupt into flames.

Thirdly, I hope you don’t think me rude for not responding to your compliment. You unfortunately drove off so quickly, and with such a loud screech of burning rubber, that I could not respond at the time.

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You were to quick for my frail girly brain to respond. I must admit that the loud screech did scatter my silly brain because my fragile lady nerves were in tatters. Afterwards I did of course consider giving chase to your vehicle so I could tell you about all the feelings burning inside me, but it would not become a lady to chase men on the streets, despite this being true love and all. Plus, I had to buy tampons.

Which leads me to fourthly. Alas, our love is not to be. Unfortunately I’m married with three kids. Hush, don’t apologise. How were you to know that your soul mate had already taken another lover and bore his children? I had left hastily after washing up bottles and had thoughtlessly left my wedding ring on the kitchen bench. There is no way you could have known another man had already stamped his ownership upon me. And obviously it’s my own damned impatient fault for not waiting for you to drive into my life. Damn me and my wandering eye. I should have waited. But again, my silly girl brain could think of nothing else but having babies after I turned thirty. So please, forgive me, but we can never be. If I were but single I’m ardently sure that it would be on like Donkey Kong, but alas, I am not. We must resist our urges and maintain a distance. Don’t honk me again because I do not know if I could resist your seductive charms a second time. My children need me, please don’t tear my family apart.

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Farewell forever

Your soul mate

Robin

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Happy Mother’s Day, You’re Not Good Enough

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So it’s Mother’s Day and you thought breakfast in bed and some chocolates were in order? Wrong. Let’s sling some hate your way. No you can’t have a day where your family says thanks, you have to have a day where other people flame you, because that’s the Ozzie way. So let me start on all the ways myself and my fellow mothers suck and deserve to be persecuted. Please note this is all done tongue in cheek… or is it. We suck!

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If you’re a stay at home mum, I’m sorry but you’re lazy, and everyone hates you, especially working mums. Because apparently you do nothing all day, because mothers with full time jobs can keep their kids happy, healthy, and functioning, all whilst working full time… As they of course are doing it all we can only assume that their children are roaming the streets. Because it would be a tad hypocritical for a working mother to tell a stay at home mother that they don’t do as much as them if in fact whilst they’re at work they are paying someone to look after their kids, because that would imply looking after kids is WORK!

Working mums, sorry everybody hates you too. You selfishly work and neglect your children. You should be charging into Primary School every lunchtime so that your ten year old can suckle at your teat. Clearly you are a lesbian, feminist, child hating, man hating destroyer of society. You should be getting pleasure from being a woman and doing woman’s work. You are a burden on society because you insisting on working means we need far too much childcare and you have contributed to the destruction of traditional family values. Why not put on devil horns and be done with it.

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Do you work from home like me and have flexible hours? Well you’re the most hated of the lot. You suck. You’re not a real stay at home mum because you actually want to get work done at times, and you’re not a real working mum because seriously you just sit in PJs until noon. You quite simply are the worst of all worlds. You work too much to be able to properly look after your children but you don’t work enough to be wonder woman. Some woman have it all, you have nothing. You bitches!

Do you breastfeed? You are a stuck up bitch who lords your mammary glands over everyone else. You only breastfeed because you want to show other woman that you’re better than them. In fact you probably wouldn’t care if your baby starved. You depraved nipple possessing heathen. Stop being so stuck up, we know you have boobs, we get it. Why do you have to prove it by feeding your child? What kind of sicko feeds their child?

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Do you formula feed? Wow, why did you even have children? You must hate them. You don’t want to breastfeed so much that your bitter little nip nips won’t even express a drop of precious golden milk just as God intended. Why don’t you just feed your child heroine because that’s what formula is!?! Stop acting like it is some sort of scientifically created nourishment that will help you feed your hungry child. It’s toxic garbage.

Do you mix feed? What the hell is wrong with you? Are you pro feeding or something? You just care that a child is happy, healthy and fed? Pick a side you sicko! You’re as bad as mothers who work from home with flexible hours. You’re not enough of anything. For shame.

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Do you make updates about how proud you are of your children? Well stop. Nobody wants to read about the good things in your life. In fact you must only be writing good things because you are a closet child hater. You’re covering your arse. Bastard. I cannot believe you are so twisted that you think your friends would actually want to take joy in the things that make you happy. As if friends care about your happiness. Next tell me about how happy you are with your exercise regime. As if I take joy in your joy. Taking joy in other people’s achievements is weird. We must all be miserable and bitter.

Do you make updates asking questions or asking for support during difficult times? If you were a good mum then you would know the answers. You’re just a drama queen looking for people to give you sympathy. How dare you want sympathy on a hard day? How dare you expect your friends to love and support you? You’re a mother, you don’t deserve love and respect and support anymore.

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Do you exercise? Yes? Well isn’t that nice for you. Your children must be running the streets injecting heroine into their eyeballs whilst you do that. There is no possible way for you to do that if you are looking after your children properly. If you love your children you will be spending time with them, not taking thirty minutes a day to exercise.

Do you exercise? No? You disgust me and are an embarrassment to your children. Not only that, you are a terrible influence on your kids. Your disgustingly unhealthy lifestyle is rubbing off on your children. They are going to become sedentary and just sit watching TV all day. Because that’s what you do, if you’re not exercising you must be just sitting on your butt doing nothing. If you loved your children you would be exercising and demonstrating a positive lifestyle to them.

Are you a single mum? You’ve ruined your children’s lives because you haven’t provided them with a stable home, because a stable home isn’t about love and support it’s about how many parents are in the house.

Are you part of a couple or married? You intolerant, fake, human being. Your smugness sickens me. Your kids will be jerks because you think you’re better than everyone else because you have a traditional home life.

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Are you a lesbian mum? See – Are you a single mum? You and your wonton ways will be the ruin of our society, the ruin.

Did you have a vaginal birth. Ewww. Your sons will hate vag now so will be gay and your daughter will love it so will be lesbians.

Did you have a C section. Wow, too posh to push, I don’t care about your health conditions and how you and your baby/babies could die, or you could be permanently incontinent. You posh bitch.

And now for the latest round of shaming that I never even dreamed was possible, courtesy of Facebook. Did you keep your child in your belly for long enough. Here’s the status update chaining its way around.

In honor of Mother’s day, post the name, birthday, due date, and weight of your child(ren). Then post in comments so your fellow mothers can post onto their wall.

Name: 
Birthday: 
Due Date: 
Weight: 

If you are before your due date, in particular if you are more than three weeks beforehand (37 weeks is full terms so you are still okay and your fanwah is functional from 37-39 weeks, I guess, not perfect just okay, don’t get too proud of your nethers), you have a sucky vagina. If you are late with big babies, you’re a lazy chocolate eating beast who poisoned your child in the womb. If you had it on the due date, you’re anal. Good luck with that.

 

So just let it be known, whatever kind of mamma you are, you suck. So no happy Mother’s Day to you. You suck, and society hates you and guess what, so do other mums. So have a Sucky Mother’s Day, ya bitch!

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Although, just a little side note away from the general humour of this piece, if you have friends who come from abusive backgrounds, perhaps you shouldn’t be raving on about Mother’s Day to them. It’s a little like pouring salt in their wounds because they don’t have a lovely mamma like you to celebrate, and they’re probably quite sad about that. So maybe show them some love too. Compassion.

Impractical Parenting: DO expect me to fall all over myself because you’re A Parent

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Not happy Jan!

Happy fucking Mothers Day! Compassion, where is it? Seriously, I am getting very tired of all these articles about how mothers expect people to fall all over themselves just because they’re a parent. Well, let me give it to you quite simply. SHOW SOME COMPASSION! I’m a mother, I have a three year old daughter and one year old twin boys and I can assure you that I do not want people to “fall all over themselves” just because I am a parent. And here’s another little secret, none of my parent friends want you to either. However, we would all like a little bit of decency and respect shown to us. Is courtesy so hard? I show people courtesy, regardless of if they are single, married, young, old whatever, I expect a little common courtesy in return. So how about we all just operate on an understanding that everybody has shit to do, everybody had issues, and let’s just make this world a better place, not a worse one, for other people. Maybe try that out of vogue thing called “Random Acts of Kindness.” I’d like to just operate under the system of – Be Nice To One Another.

But if you are so uptight that doing anything that is not 100% your way is so foreign to you that you think of it as a complete affront to your sensibilities, how about I give you a few ideas on how to respect and accommodate your parent friends without “having to fall all over yourself.” (If anyone else read that same article that has me so steamed, you probably also read the one putting down Stay At Home Mothers, I’ll be ranting about that one when I get a chance too. Seriously, just be nice people. Everybody is doing it tough.)

  1. If you are crossing a footpath and are perfectly able bodied, you can step up on the gutter… MUCH HARDER FOR PEOPLE WITH PRAMS! So perhaps make that ultimate sacrifice and step up and allow people with prams, infirm and people in wheel chairs to use the dips in the guttering that provide ramps, which they actually need. Shocking I know. The idea of stepping an inch to the side. I do it naturally when I use a crossing sans-pram, step up, and don’t even consider it falling all over myself to accommodate people who need the ramp in the guttering. Maybe try and see if you can do such a thing without it ruining your life.
  2. Don’t whine to people with young children about how hard it is for you to visit them because they live x far away and they should visit you. Let’s even forget the fact that it is way easier for one or two adults to get in a car and drive somewhere than it is for someone to load three kids, a pram and a couple of porta-cots. Because honestly, the fact that it is way easier for someone who considers compassion to be a foreign concept really won’t care about ease anyway. So let me appeal to your logic, you ask for a fifty-fifty split in going to each other’s places, go right ahead but do expect to live up to fifty-fifty in every single other area of the friendship. You call fifty percent of the time, you arrange things fifty percent of the time, and you do fifty percent of everything. If you don’t have the compassion to be able to literally travel the extra mile when it is easier for you, I doubt you have the compassion to give fifty-fifty in other areas either. So take your pick. Step up in your friendship or step up in your travel.
  3. Don’t tell mothers that you didn’t decide to have children so why should you have to tolerate them. FUCK OFF! That’s what you deserve to have said to you. Over and over again. Unfortunately, your parents did decide to have a child, and it was you, you who apparently wishes that no children could be seen or heard… which translate to, no children exist. Go off and live in a forest away from all. Adults were children once, if you want to interact with adults, well, they have to get through their childhood first. Nobody is asking a child hater to look after their child, or even spend time with them. You’re not the kind of person we want influencing our kids’ minds. But yes, kids will be breathing your same oxygen on the footpath. They’ll even be there on the train when you are, they’ll be serving you coffee at Maccas, and heaven forbid, babies, who cannot use words to communicate their disdain for you, will cry in your ear space. So really, show some tolerance or move to the mountains. Here’s another hot tip, people will burp, fart and sneeze in your air space too. Even if you choose not to emit gasses others will. So really, you should just go live a life of hermitude. Sorry that we humans and our tiny offspring piss you off so much, hopefully you’ll find enlightenment when you’re on your own away from our filthy populace.

I could go on but I said a few and I think I have vented my spleen enough. Seriously over this whole, put everyone down and don’t show any compassion to people thing that is popular today. It is like people have worked out that racism and homophobia is not okay but instead of putting their hatred aside and realizing it is toxic they have simply lumped it onto mothers. On behalf of all mothers, We’ve got enough shit, go peddle your hate elsewhere.

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My boys looking guilty because they dared exist when there are people out there who didn’t want children… they also fart in your general direction.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: I Didn’t Know I Had Postnatal Depression

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This week I’ll try to do a Confessions of a Mad Mooer post each day in honour of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. My Confessions of a Mad Mooer posts deal with my journey through Postnatal Depression and the first post was here – https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/confessions-of-a-mad-mooer-hi-im-a-mad-mooer/ But that wasn’t the first time I was diagnosed with PND.

The first time I was diagnosed with PND was 9 months after my beautiful daughter was born. I couldn’t have been more in love with her. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Every tear shredded my heart and I wanted nothing more than to protect her. Sure I was exhausted,  she had reflux which wasn’t diagnosed until late and she was also diagnosed with hip dysplasia late, but who wouldn’t be in those circumstances. I had a baby in a cast from ankle to armpit and severe reflux at the same time. It wasn’t easy. I was exhausted,  I was teary, I was suicidal. But hey I loved my baby and this was a trying circumstance so how could I possibly have Postnatal Depression? Women with Postnatal Depression all hate their babies right? They think they smell weird and will not hold them? Wrong. Sure there are some women who fit into that perfect stereotypical box but many women do not. Many women are DEPRESSED postnatally not utterly disconnected or psychotic. They love their kids, they just have zero resilience left. They put that beautiful baby to bed and then lie on the kitchen floor sobbing uncontrollably until the baby wakes again or they vomit. They can’t sleep for fear something will happen to their baby. They can’t unwind because everything they do they are sure is somehow wrong and ruining that little baby’s life. That baby that they love more than anything. Essentially it is exactly the same as the fears all mothers have but times that by ten and never ever switch it off, not even for a cup of tea. Women with PND are just like every other mother, just more so. We’re not scary, we don’t need to feel ashamed,  we need compassion and support. And even if you previously thought you couldn’t understand us, you really can because we’re just like you.

The medical profession has recently separated Postnatal Depression into two categories,  Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis. The later deals with those more extreme cases such as the rejection of the baby upfront, all the way up to those murder suicide cases that break everyone’s hearts. I have a theory that in years to come it will be split again to add a third category,  Postnatal Anxiety. Because I think that gives a more understandable definition. Mothers are anxious creatures to begin with, us women with PND just tend to excel at it.  Hi5s all around,  we won at something… even though it’s nail biting,  stomach churning and hair pulling…

Hug a mother today and tell her that she’s doing an amazing job.

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Any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.

https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 

Impractical Parenting: the triple nappy change

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As someone with no qualifications as a paediatrician, paediatric nurse, early childhood teacher etc I thought I’d share my expert tip on how to handle a triple nappy change. I’ve got a two year old and four month old twins so this is a regular occurrence in my home.

Step1: get twin a, open nappy, stick baby’s foot in poo, when jingling the baby awkwardly in an attempt to clean foot smear poo all over change table, mop up poo, get weeed on whilst distracted by poo, place baby on playmate to avoid baby getting further soaked again, have baby pee again, quickly put on nappy and move onto play mat with twin b, finish dressing.

Step 2: change twin b next to twin a on play mat as all other surfaces are urine and poop soaked, open nappy, twin a sticks hand in twin b’s nappy, clean off twin a’s hand, whilst cleaning twin a twin b is to power spew all over himself and twin a, as changing clothes of both twins 2 year old to rip off nappy, remind 2 year old to use pottie if they need to wee, 2 year old to tell you it’s ok they can just wee on the ground and crouch and urinate on ground.

Step 3: put nappy on 2 year old, 2 year old immediately does massive poo, chase 2 year old around the house whilst they scream, “no poo, no nappy change,” eventually subdue two year old terrorist and change nappy whilst you contemplate how the poo has managed to defy time, space, gravity and sanity.

Step 4: drink soothing cup of tea whilst developing an eye twitch and thinking about newspapering your whole house.

Can’t wait to share with you how “best” to deal with three kids crying at once…