Living with Mackenzie (part three)
Although we went on trips and made sure Mackenzie experienced the world, some of our best memories are of just living with our baby girl. Being a normal family and sometimes for minutes at a time forgetting we would lose her.
At home we enjoyed a simple life. Kenzie wasn’t the greatest of sleepers which we think is partially because she wasn’t moving much (she didn’t work off the energy her food gave her) and also because really she was still just a normal baby. So at night she slept in two hour blocks. I woke up every two hours to feed her which was hard at times but I enjoyed every second. Really we were lucky because boy could my baby feed!! Our little porker! She was breast fed almost exclusively up until we lost her and each feeding session took no longer than 5 minutes. She fed on one boob and was done, often falling straight asleep.
She was so in love with the boob that she would coo as it was approaching. It was my favourite sound in the world. During these moments only the two of us existed. She would sometimes look up at me with love in her eyes but more often than not she had a very serious face which should her concentration and determination, see photo below.
Kenzie usually woke each morning between 4am and 5am. Because I spent a lot of the night up and down with her Jonny would get up with her for the first two hours while I slept. He describes his mornings like this:
It would happen the same way almost every morning. Anywhere between about 4:30 and 5:30, a poke in the ribs, and that two-word sentence that would signal my shift had started. Two words that would drag me from my slumber, and wearily to my feet and to Mackenzie's side to move her to the living room.
With a groan, I would take Mackenzie to her bouncer and orient her toward Sesame Street playing on ABC iview. This would usually give me enough time to make a coffee, and gulp down breakfast all the while trying to wake up, and find the energy to entertain her for long enough for Rachael to get some much-needed sleep.
After a short while, Mackenzie would wear tired of Sesame Street, and begin to grumble. With this, it was now time for The Wiggles to shine. Now over the years, I've heard many parents complain about having to listen to The Wiggles, but let me tell you, they are angels from heaven. Mackenzie and I would watch, listen, dance, and obviously sing along to our favourite songs for ages. She loved the colours, the characters, and the songs.
Eventually, if I was lucky, I would see her eyelids grow heavy, and I would play either 'The lion sleeps tonight', or 'Hit me baby one more time' on repeat while I bounced her rhythmically until she'd drift off to sleep.
If I couldn't get her to sleep, it would inevitably end with me handing a crying Mackenzie to a sleepy Rachael with another dreaded two-word sentence "Feed this".
At the time, I was aware these mornings wouldn't last forever, but I don't think I could have imagined how fondly I'd look back on them.
Once he had done his two hours I would wake up and he would go back to bed for two hours. Usually Kenzie was ready for a nap by the time I had woken up so after a quick feed she would lay on my chest and sleep while I watched Offspring or some other show on Netflix.
Around 8:30am Kenzie would be up from her nap which meant dress up time! I got SO much enjoyment in dressing her. Honestly if baby stylist was a job I would change careers in a second (is it??). So we would sing, dance, I would dress her in outfits and we would do a photo shoot. Kenzie seemed to love it and girl knew where the camera was!
By 9 or 10am the whole household was up. Jonny and I would take turns to get ready. Every morning without fail I would be standing in the shower and would look up to see Kenzies head popping around the corner of the bathroom door as ‘she’ sung Britney Spears ‘..baby one more time’. I still look up now as I shower hoping to see her.
Once we were dressed we were ready for an adventure. Often we would travel to Centennial Park for a walk around and lunch. Kenzie would sleep, watch the trees or listen to the Wiggles as we walked. Sometimes we would take her to the gym for a PT session. We would take it in turns to play with her as the other did squats. Other days we headed off on an adventure like to the zoo or the aquarium otherwise we would catch up with a friend or go to Bondi Junction to get her some new photo shoot outfits.
By 5pm we were often home and ready for our night time routine.
From 5-6pm Mackenzie often went into her sensorium! That is the fancy word for our bedroom which Jonny took pride in setting up each night for Kenzie’s entertainment. He collected lights for her. Anything to give her senses a treat. We had a projector which projected YouTube sensory baby clips, an octopus that shone stars on the walls, another projector which shone planets on the walls and finally a set of speakers which had music and lights that danced to the beat. Often when her grandparents were visiting we left them in the sensorium with her, giving them some along time and special memories.
At 6pm she was usually done with the sensorium and it was shower time which she loved! Jonny would stand in the shower and hold her while I washed her. Each night he sung her favourite songs as the water ran. Her favourites for the shower were Prince Ali from Aladdin, the Muppet Show opener and Old Macdonald. In each song I was allowed to jump in at certain times to provide backup singing but the main attraction was Jonny. Old Macdonald was a favourite because I would pick the animals and Jonny would act them out. I loved picking the most obscure ones I could think of but whoa the man has skills! You should hear his unicorn.
Drying and changing was my thing while Jonny finished in the shower. Although more often than not my parents were staying with us and they did drying and changing time. Mum would finish with a wicked baby massage with oils and Dad was responsible for entertainment.
Next up in the procession was food and her night time songs. She would have a feed while I played her our special song as Jonny heated up dinner. During this time we didn’t care about cooking. That was just time away from her so we often just had food delivered from Youfoodz or kind friends.
She would bounce in her bouncer while we ate, then I would put her on my chest for her nightly sleep as Jonny and I watched tele. Yes if she was a normal baby she probably would have been in her cot at this time with a monitor on her but since we had limited time with her I NEVER wanted her in another room. She liked being on me and I liked her on me.
Around 10pm Jonny and I would head to bed. Jonny would get himself ready for bed while I stayed on the couch with Kenzie staring at her. Then when he was ready he would scoop her off my chest. He absolutely loved the challenge of picking her up and keeping her asleep. She would sometimes stir and sometimes it was impossible to wake her. The cuteness was unreal.
Jonny would change her and get her into her sleep suit while I rushed to get ready for bed. Kenzie’s sleep suit was called her ‘flight suit’ by Jonny. Once she was in it they would go on a ‘booby hunt’. Jonny would hit play on the song ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins and he would fly Kenzie around the house searching for the booby. This would give me enough time to get ready, into bed and into the feeding position. At that time Kenzie caught sight of the booby and with Jonny’s assistance she would came in for ‘landing’.
There is never a dull moment with Jonny and Kenzie loved every second!
After food we would give her a cuddle and then put her in her bassinet which was next to our bed. With a few rocks she generally went straight to sleep. Another fun, successful day.
I love that despite the longing and pain I still smile when writing about our days with her.