Monday, November 14, 2016

Five

Our family of four has become five. Little Theodore has arrived, and he is a darling. It's funny isn't it? You wonder how a little person is going to fit, and change things, and then they arrive, and you realise that they are completely necessary and essential, and they just belong.

His arrival was different. But surprisingly ok. I've had a few dramas along this pregnancy, and a few times wondered if we would have to have a Caesarean. So even though it was surprising and unexpected when I was told I would need an emergency cesarean... It was also kind of not.

For whatever reason, little Ted was never quite comfortable about being born. There was meconium in my waters when they broke, the doctor did an internal to discover I was only 2-3cm dilated. They popped a heart monitor clip on his head, and we watched his heart rate plummet a couple of times every time I had a contraction, and that was it. Suddenly it didn't seem to matter at all how he was delivered.

So we were rushed to theatre and it was a bit surreal and terrifying, and all that I could think of was a healthy baby. But then he arrived, and he was healthy and whole and perfect. He looked so grumpy in the bright lights, and sat beside me cuddled in his daddy's arms looking very unhappy with the fact that he had been disturbed. 



The rest of it was a bit of a blur, and I must say I would very much rather have a natural birth than a cesarean. But he needed it. So really, I couldn't ask for more. 

His brother and sister are being wonderfully affectionate and loving towards him, albeit in a smothering way, but there has been no jealousy, for which I am so grateful. So far, we are all doing ok, and a beautiful essential addition has been made to our family.

Friday, September 9, 2016

All of the feelings

I have a confession to make. I am 34 weeks pregnant. And I feel done. I am starting to get uncomfortable, cranky, and I have very little patience, and my body is getting that late-pregnancy-heaviness, and I am so tired. 

I feel so incredibly sorry for this little one in my tummy. Because it feels like this poor baby has nobody in the world who is excited about its arrival. I know mostly it's probably just a third baby thing, it's hard for Shane or I to get that same level of excitement, when you just know what's coming, you know how how tired you're going to be, and you know how hard it is. It's also especially hard to get excited when you spend so much of your time shouting at two other tiny humans, and ferrying them to and from kindy, and school, and ballet, and swimming, and trying to take care of all of their physical and emotional needs, and making sure they are going to cope with another tiny human joining their family. But oh, I feel guilty.

I just feel like this was a really, really poor choice on my part. Not because of this baby. Oh no. This baby I have no doubt is an amazing little human who deserves to be born, and has so much value and worth. But, surely it deserves a better mother?

I was going through the folding soup residing on my bedroom floor today, thinking "you're about to add another persons laundry to this mess you stupid woman!" My house just cannot be clean. I want to nest and make sure I have clothes and a cot and stuff for a baby, but I'm too busy half-assing all my regular housework. And sleep? Oh lord, sleep!? My kids sleeping habits are worse now than they used to be when they were babies! I was so strong at night with them when they were little, and would make sure they always slept on their own beds, and I had babies who slept for twelve hours straight. Yet somehow they've turned into big kids who are scared of bugs and monsters and wolves and they come and sleep in my bed in the middle of night and I have awful tantrums at 2am, because I just simply cannot anymore, when I never did that to a baby. What is wrong with me? And how on earth are we going to cope with a baby on top of this? I'm never going to sleep again!

I should have stopped with the two I had and concentrated on being a better parent to them, rather than try to start over screwing up yet another tiny human. Like seriously, my kids are intense. They are crazy attached to me, and get separation anxiety, and get so aggressive, and have their own social/emotional issues and they are hard work, and what was I thinking adding a baby to their already chaotic lives? 

Haven't we already got enough on our plates? My poor husband is studying, and working, and trying to be a good dad, and provide for us. He is working so hard to try and get us ahead financially. He works so hard at uni, and gets 100% on exams and 19/20 on assignments because he is amazing, and I'm supposed to be studying too. But it takes its toll, on all of us as it is, and instead we are going to add to the stress and financial pressure, and am I sure this was a good idea?

I was trying so hard to be fit and healthy throughout this pregnancy. But now I have cancelled my gym membership because I just couldn't anymore, and one hour at the gym would see me in pain, out of commission for the next day with my stupid pelvis. And I didn't get gestational diabetes, which was great, but now I'm packing on the weight like there's no tomorrow, and eating all of the food, because I just don't care anymore. So I'm probably right on track to have another enormously huge baby. And, do I have to have another baby? Giving birth really flipping hurts! And I'm only just remembering that now?

I am just far, far too selfish to be a mother.

Last night when Georgie woke up, I tried to resettle her into her bed (unsuccessfully) and I was praying that God would be her comforter and strength, and that she could just rest secure in his love. I was praying that His perfect love would drive out the fear that consumed her, that He would help her to have peace in Him, and trust in Him. That she would know she is not alone, and that she has value. That He would help her with her fears, and that they would have no place in her life.

And God went.... Hello!!!

And I was like... Oh. Yeah. Right. 

So yeah, there's that.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

To the teacher of my small, anxious child...

Dear Teacher,

Hi. I am the Mother of one of your students. I know you have many. And they are all so important. But this is my child. And she matters to me. For her, school is hard. I understand, I do, that the demands placed on students and teachers to perform, are incredibly taxing, and so many children find starting school hard. But she is mine, and she matters to me.

And she is precious. You don't know, how could you? Who would expect you to? But she is. She is a darling little girl, she is kind, and she dances around the house. She cares about her brother, and she loves babies, and she tries so hard to be helpful. She loves to do jobs around the house, and be useful. She is loving, and she is loved. She has so many people who love her so much. And she is mine, and she matters to me.

I know that she is not perfect. I understand that she can be hard work. That her little introverted ways make her a little more work than your average bear, and I know she doesn't put herself out there. I know she is a huge drama queen, and I know that she gets tired, and lazy, and unmotivated and that she sometimes just doesn't want to, and I can see how that would make your job much harder. But if you can only look, see her, and try to unlock her, she would give you everything she had.

We are not perfect parents. We shout, and lose our temper, and our kids watch too many screens, and read too few books. Maybe we should have been more present, more focused, had her writing her name and knowing her alphabet, and reciting numbers, before she came to you. I can tell you of at least a thousand mistakes I made. But we loved her, love her. In our own imperfect way. And her Daddy read her 'The Chronicles Of Narnia' tonight before bed, just after he played a game with her on the iPad. She loves Enid Blyton, and knows Silky, and Moonface, and The Saucepan Man, as well as Nemo, and Elsa, and Cinderella. She helps cook in the kitchen, and loves to measure ingredients, as well as eat McDonald's. We do our best.

But, this morning she cried. Cried and cried. Because she didn't want to go to school. She thinks nobody likes her. She wakes up at night sometimes, anxious about school. She comes home, exhausted and worn out from working hard, and trying all day long. I know some mornings, you probably see an emotional, difficult little girl who requires more effort than you can give. But she is trying, so hard. Please see her. It doesn't have to take much. But please, please, see her. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

You must understand, that for the first 5 years of her life. I was there. I was always there. Even on the bad days, even when I was the cause of the bad days. I was still there. To have to not be there for six hours a day, five days a week. Is hard. Because now, I don't know. I don't know how her days are going. How she is coping. I get told she is coping, but the child who comes home tells me she isn't, and behaves in a way that leads me to believe she isn't. There is much trust required here. And it's hard to trust, as a parent, when you don't really seem to see a teacher understanding your child. When you watch your loving child who is so responsive when she feels valued, just struggle. When school mornings at home are getting worse, rather than easier.

I know you can't make friends for her. I know that so much of that is just something she has to work out for herself. And we are trying to give her the tools to help her. I know you can't make her understand reading and writing all at once. That some children take time, and just are not ready.  But if you just look. See her. Pay attention. It will reinforce the belief that she matters. And it will help. Please see my child. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tired

Hey there. It's been a while. And I have news. Hopefully, come October, our family will grow to five instead of four. And oh Lordy, I'm just so tired. I am excited, I was so excited. But in the last 6 weeks or so, ever since the morning sickness and tiredness hit, I've been too weary to feel much excitement.

I feel terrible, but to be honest it feels more like I've gotten on a roller coaster, and I'm mentally preparing for the ride because I know the earth is going to fall out from underneath us soon. It's difficult, when you know how much hard can be involved in a new baby, when you remember how much life gets disrupted, and when you are more aware than ever of just what can go wrong, and what you stand to lose if things do go wrong.

But I think I'm also forgetting the joy. The joy of the new little person, who is so fearfully and wonderfully made. My little people are growing up, and even though oftentimes I feel like I am mentally bashing my head against a brick wall, mothering them, I am realising I really like this age of independence, and quirky hilarity. Getting to know these tiny humans we've raised is so much greater than I imagined. But I also like the joy and wonder and sweetness of a newborn, and I am grateful to get the chance to do that again. Gotta make sure I don't let the fear cancel out the joy.

I am really hoping the second trimester energy will hit soon, and I will start to feel a little less knackered. Honestly, I've felt like a very crap mum these holidays. I've tried to do, but it is embarrassing how much Netflix my kids have watched in the last few days. I've been very much in bare minimum mode. My house is in a right state, and I am at the point where the folding isn't even on my radar. I hate it. But I am hoping that come next week with school and kindy starting back, I can play catch up a little. Because at least, for a few hours a day my poor kids will get stimulation that doesn't rely on me or television. 

I know, I'm growing a human, and am allowed to be tired. And I can probably count on two hands the number of nights in the last five years that I've had a full, uninterrupted night sleep. But I also know just how checked out I have been, mentally. I'm not present, I'm on my phone. And I hate that. And I only have myself to blame. I want so much to parent, and love the way God intended me to. I need to be so much more disciplined. We are always our own biggest problems aren't we?

Anyway, I should be sleeping now. But I just wanted to check in. Keep a record. Get the thoughts out. That's where it is at the moment!



Friday, March 4, 2016

To my sister....

My sister is having a baby! Soon. I am praying like mad for a great birth and a healthy baby and so many good things. I have a very strong belief that she will be an excellent mother. And I want to write her a little something...


Dear Liz, 

I love you. Very much. I just know you're going to be a great mum. And I just want to tell you. Even though this will be one of the hardest things you will ever do, it's also going to be one of the best.

Nothing teaches you about giving, like mothering. You constantly, constantly put another persons needs above your own. When you have a tiny human who will not stop crying and you don't know what to do, you will love them, and you will put their need to be rocked and cuddled over your own need for sleep. When you have a tiny human who makes you angrier and more frustrated and exhausted than you thought possible, you will somehow swallow your anger, and treat them with love and compassion because that is what your child needs. You will give, until you can't possibly give anymore, until all your give is used up. And then you will give some more.

It is the most tiring, exhausting, thankless, rewarding, beautiful job in the world.

Nothing in the world will make you feel more connected to, and grateful to your saviour. You will understand, and cherish Gods love for you more and more.

You are going to judge yourself so harshly. You will hear voices that tell you you are doing everything wrong, and that you're screwing this kid up for life. Don't believe them. You are exactly the person God created to be this child's mother, and there is nobody in the world who is capable of doing it better than you.

I love you, so much. I have such faith in you. God bless you.

Love, your sister

Friday, February 5, 2016

Minefield


Mostly, I go ok. Ish. But last night we didn't have a good nights sleep. So we are tired. And weary. It has been a week of firsts and new and change, and I just don't wanna anymore.

You think motherhood is babies, and reading stories, and talking to kids about flowers and animals, and yeah you know there will be rough stuff, like having to talk about sex, and hard friendship stuff, and toilet training, and sleepless nights. It's cuddles in bed, inhaling childish loveliness. But sometimes, you have tiny humans who are actively fighting against you. You have tiny humans who are irritating, and don't appreciate the fact that you've tried. You don't think about the day to day life hard, about having to put food on the table every night, or standing in a toilet cubicle in a restroom while a little person does number two and you nearly want to gag at the stench of it, you're just so desperate for it to be over, so you can get out of that tiny, smelly, prison. You don't think about how irritating it is to have to pull over and fix car seat belts, or retrieve lost water bottles, or do school drop offs in the pouring rain.

It's a series of curveballs. Some people, they thrive on spontaneity and the unknown. They relish change and rise to meet new challenges. I avoid them. And motherhood is so many curveballs. All the time. Baby. Teeth. Toilet training. Sleep. Food. Tantrums. Kindy. School. Friendships. Education. Am I making the right choice here? Have I prepared you well enough for this? They shouldn't be watching so much television. No TV in the mornings before school. Here is an iPad, just be quiet for 5 minutes. Don't scream at your brother. Stop hurting the dog. For the love of God, why did you throw dirt at your sister just after she got dressed into her school uniform?

It's just hard. 

And then. You hear the garbage truck trundle down the street, and there are no tiny people to tell "look it's the rubbish bin man!" and they don't rush to the window to watch the garbage truck empty the bin, because they aren't there. And pretty soon, even when it's school holidays, they won't rush to watch the bin being emptied, because they will have grown up. And, and, and.....

You want them to grow up, and it's so nice to have some space. But what if they aren't coping? What if you don't cope? How do you learn to be a person again, when all you've been is a mother? And a tiny human is sitting, scared, fighting back the tears at her desk in school, trying to be brave. And you walk away. You have to walk away. Even though every fibre of your being tells you not to. You know this is necessary. So you smile and wave and chirp "Have a great day!" while you drag another tiny human shouting "I don't want to leave the playground, I don't like you mum!"

Oh it's just so many contradictions, and ALL of the feelings. I think it's time for a coffee. And today, cake.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Just something I want to remember...

My sister is pregnant, and having a baby soon. Today, we had a baby shower for her. This morning, when I was getting ready to go, Charlie asked Shane "will Aunty Lizzie keep her clothes on when she has a shower?" Shane, confused asked "what do you mean" and Charlie replied "when she has the baby shower with the ladies, will she keep her clothes on in the shower?"

That boy does make us laugh!
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