Children, Coffee, and Trust

Children, Coffee, and Trust

Childhood memories

Where do kids get their energy – they must siphon them off their parents. If I had even half the energy my boys do I’d probably not be so exhausted at the end of the day.

This week Jason has had a cycling programme at school entailed periods over 4 days of riding his bike learning about road safety and other bike safety tips. On the first day he bought his bike home after school and would ride it around our yard. On the second day because he had a touch game after school he left his bike locked up at school; his game of touch was a bit tough that day. On the third day he was having a playdate at his best friend’s house and as his friend’s step-mum was picking them up he again had to leave his bike locked up at school; his best friend lives on a farm and the boys did a lot of running around. On the fourth and final day of the programme he bought his bike home and rode it around our yard. Even with all the energy he would have been using on some nights he seemed to struggle to go to sleep at his normal bedtime.

He seems to always have the energy to ride his bike for a long time or to play outside; however when it comes to tidying his room  he seems to get tired a lot of quicker even if its only be a few minutes of tidying up.

Maybe they have all this energy because generally speaking children do not have the worries that parents do. I remember when I was a kid and I couldn’t wait to grow up but now there are times when I wish I could be a kid again to have their carefree life; I guess that why coffee is such a blessing (I’m not a fan of energy drinks) I can drink a few cups of coffee a day especially when I feel low on energy – which seems to be every day.

With all the energy my kids use, I’m glad they drink a lot of water to keep themselves hydrated – especially on hot days. Talking about hot days makes me think of cold days and how my boys don’t seem to feel it as much as I do; on days when I’m wearing multiple layers they are happy in a tee and shorts. It could be a kiwi thing but Jason at least seems to have an aversion to wearing shoes. On school days he will put them on but once he gets to his classroom they come off and majority of the time don’t seem to go back on.

I don’t know if it’s just me but it seems that some of the children today seem to be growing up faster than my generation did. With this growth it seems that respect is being put to the wayside; some kids these days seem to treat adults as contemporaries instead of adults – That’s not always a bad thing however it could lead to children trusting people that they shouldn’t.

I’m very particular about who looks after my children and where they have playdates. Even with Jason who is 6, I won’t just leave him at birthday parties unless I know the parents or at least feel comfortable with them. It’s not about the adults themselves its more about the fact I’m a bit over-protective and would blame myself if anything happened to any of my kids. Rylee is almost 16 months old and the only time I’ve left her with anyone was when Rob was in hospital or it was their Nana looking after them.

There may be some parents who are not so particular about who looks after their children, and there are times when I wish I could be like that, sometimes the reason I might not ask a certain person to look after them is not a reflection on the person, but rather that I don’t know how my kids would behave.

Anyway that’s it for now.

 

Coffee

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Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: How about both?

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: How about both?

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Abortion is such a controversial subject it seems that we only have 2 choices; we are either Pro-choice or Pro-life – almost like there is no other option.

Some people are pro-choice and some are pro-life but for me I am both – I am pro-choice for life, all lives. This has a lot to do with how my own experiences have shaped my views on the subject. Before my pregnancy with Zoë I would have said I was Pro-life all the way; however my view expanded when we got the grim prognosis at the 20 week ultrasound. My daughter had cranial abnormalities and was diagnosed as not viable for life. With this prognosis there may be some people that might end the pregnancy and they might have hardcore pro-lifers calling them murderers because of that choice. For me the choice was not an easy one however I decided to carry on with the pregnancy. It was a choice I made with much internalizing and discussion with my husband. Not everyone given the choice might make that decision and that might be the right decision for them

I knew within myself I wanted to give her a fighting chance at life and if she didn’t live – it would not be by my choice,  if I didn’t at least try to give her the chance I might carry around with me a burden of guilt and feel like I killed my daughter.  Yes, I could have decided to terminate the pregnancy as the medical professionals were right and if she’d survived being born it wouldn’t have been much of a life and it would be heart-wrenching for us as parents and terminating the pregnancy might have saved us the heartache.   The medical professionals didn’t expect me to even carry Zoë to term yet at 42 weeks I had to be induced and she still kept on fighting though it ended up being a losing battle. If I had terminated the pregnancy I wouldn’t have the memories I have of her In Utero, those memories of her movements I still treasure even though it got to be pretty uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have been able to say I’ve had 1 vaginal birth.

There are the rare occasions where I wonder if I made the right choice, I also wonder if I made the right choice in not choosing to have a c-section. If I had terminated the pregnancy I might have had many moments of regret and doubt.

One of my happiest moments was hearing the heartbeat of my babies, until then the pregnancy didn’t feel real even if I had morning sickness and I don’t know how I would have felt if I had miscarried any of my babies, maybe if I had miscarried Zoë in the first trimester that loss wouldn’t have been as great as was felt when she was still-born and then again, it might have been worse – I don’t know. Every situation is different and every person reacts differently

Purple Butterfly

I guess that’s the thing about abortion, it’s not exactly a clear-cut subject; it’s never absolutely wrong or absolutely right. In my opinion there needs to be a bit more empathy and less judgment when we hear about someone having an abortion as even if we are told a reason, there may be more to the story and unless we’ve been in a similar situation we have absolutely no idea what the person may be going through. There may be those who abortion is the only medical option or logical option and just like many issues that we come across today, everyone has different views and I believe it’s not acceptable to force those views on others.

One of my favourite quotes is from Dr Seuss’  Horton Hears A Who – “A person’s a person, no matter how small” Both the unborn baby and the mother are important and what affects one has the possibility of affecting the other. If a woman is pressured to go through with a pregnancy that she doesn’t want or if it puts her life at risk then that could lead to pre-natal/post-natal depression or maternal death. No matter where someone may stand on the issue of abortion everyone is entitled to their own views. I could not have an abortion but now after what I went through I have a bit of empathy and understanding for those that choose that option, we need to love the person even if we don’t agree with their particular views.

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One, Two or Many – Not Our Place to Say

One, Two or Many – Not Our Place to Say

I hadn’t planned to post anything for a few weeks as we are moving house and I thought I would be too busy with packing and unpacking to get to the blog, however I hadn’t taken into consideration the effect a nice warm relaxing bath has on my thoughts.

This particular bath got me thinking about how many people have views on the make-up of a family; concerning gender and numbers. One day, before I had even met my husband, I was with friends and we were discussing when we have children how many we would have, I said I would like a boy and a girl and that was all, I know now that that’s what is called a “pigeon pair”.Family-Neigh-Partner-PAGE-HEADER

Some parents may be perfectly happy having just 1 child, a “pigeon pair” or they may be happy with multiple children of the same gender. It really isn’t anyone’s place to make anything of it – especially if they haven’t a close relationship with the parents. Over the years I’ve read many posts online that have mentioned the comments people have received when other people find out that are having another of the same gender when they already have 2 or more of that gender.

After losing Zoë and finding out I was again pregnant – I really wanted another girl and I was quite upset when I found out we were having a boy and was almost in tears at the ultrasound. On the one hand I was happy he was healthy and that there were no concerns, on the other I wanted a girl.

When I was pregnant with Alex, it wasn’t such a big deal about the gender; if baby was a boy then I already had all the clothes and if baby was a girl then that would have been even more special.

About 2 ½ years after Alex was born I was pregnant again and this time it was a bit of a surprise. We knew that this pregnancy would be our last and so was hoping to finally have a baby girl that we could parent. Along came our happy baby girl Rylee and I couldn’t have been happier. Then came the first nappy change and I felt flummoxed – “what do I do, where do I clean”. I was so used to changing my boys’ nappies that it felt alien to change my daughter’s. How could I not know what to do, after all she was the same gender as myself yet I still felt at a loss. If she had been another boy I would have known what to do and just got on with it and not feel like a new mum.

Now when she is almost 15 months old I feel a lot more confident yet I’m not sure what she’ll be like when she is 2 years old. As a baby she’s pretty easy-going and I’m hoping she’ll stay like that as she gets older. As I feel more confident with my boys I’m grateful for those with multiple daughters as they have more experience in dealing with the different ages and possible scenarios relating to girls.

When it comes to the boys, Rob has got a great relationship with them, but I think its our youngest son that he’s closer to. Alex is the one Rob bonded with instantly and is like him in his attitude to try anything whereas Jason is a lot like Rob when it comes to sense of humour; however he seems to have inherited the empathy that’s a strong part of my personality.

It’s a good thing that we had another boy as Alex is the one Rob understands more and Alex is definitely closer to his Dad than he is to me. It actually looks like Rylee may be a Daddy’s girlJ. So even if we hadn’t of had Rylee, Rob and I still would have had a child each that we understood better than the other.

It doesn’t matter the make-up of a family unit, how many children they have or the gender of the children. What does matter is that the children are loved and are never told or felt that they are disappointments. Some children may take it to heart if they are told or overhear that they were not wanted as they were the wrong gender. Even though at first I was disappointed Jason was Jason and not a girl. He and I have a strong bond and I wouldn’t want him to be anyone but himself. I’m happy I have a girl I get to parent; however I still would not trade my boys for her and vice versa.

me and my family families are all different

The Reader & The Artist: A Tale Of Two Brothers

The Reader & The Artist: A Tale Of Two Brothers

One of the many things I enjoy about being a mother is appreciating not just the similarities but also the differences in my children especially as they get older. Especially seeing how my 2 sons are growing, my baby girl has only just had her first birthday so her interests seem to be chewing on things, making a mess and following her brothers around.

Jason reading

Jason is very empathetic, sensitive and annoyingly enough has his dad’s sense of humor. He also seems to have inherited my love for books. He is an avid reader and though he’s only had his sixth birthday a few months ago is capable of reading at about an 8 year old level. Because of his reading capabilities I have trouble finding appropriate books for his age and skill level, as some books that are written for children at least 8 years old have content that is not suitable for a 6 year old.

A few months ago now I asked him if he wanted to read Cory Jane’s book “Winging It” not expecting anything – however he read it with only a little bit of difficulty. The books I have found best for to test his reading limits are non-fiction books about some of his favorite topics – especially books that are rugby related as Jason does not only love reading he also loves rugby and can retain simple player stats that I find difficult. When it comes to specific information his mind is like a steel trap; yet when it comes to instruction from his dad or I, it seems that his mind is like a sieve.

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Alex likes to copy his big brother and often will show an interest in what Jason likes, yet there are some things that he doesn’t like to the same extent. Alex enjoys doing puzzles and is quite good at them; he’s not so good at looking after the pieces. At 18 months old Alex was able to complete puzzles that 2 year olds would find difficult. Alex is also the type of boy who likes to try new things and when he was around 3 years old accompanied his Uncle on a hunt, he sometimes seems to have no fear. Alex can also be very strong-willed (aka stubborn) and if he doesn’t want to do something then sometimes as parents we need to have a stronger will and not back down.

The hardest thing for Alex is when he wants a book that Jason has yet is nowhere the reading capability of Jason and I’m not keen on reading a chapter book to Alex.

Another way in which my boys are different is that Jason likes to write and Alex likes to draw; Alex also likes to be read to and a lot of the time it’s his big brother that reads to him.

The boys can sit through a whole movie if it’s something they want to watch. Alex however finds certain movies not as scary as Jason finds them. They love being outdoors riding their bikes and scooters though it seems that Jason does enjoy it more, though is hesitant about trying new things.

The boys are 20 months apart and come from the same gene pool yet their personalities and interest can be vastly different which is why my hope for Alex when he starts school is that he will not be compared to his big brother and there be a expectation that his abilities be at the same level as Jason’s were when he started school.

I am sure that whatever my children do in their life they will excel at different things and that is okay. If my boys had the same personalities and interest there would be little opportunity to grow as parent. As it is in their differences where some of the growth comes.

Without Family, Life is Mission: Impossible

Without Family, Life is Mission: Impossible

Family 3Life has felt so hard lately but it would have been Mission: Impossible without the help and support of family and friends, with some of those friends being just as important as family.  Family doesn’t need to be defined by those that are related ever by blood or marriage but family can also be friends who are by your side through thick and thin.

Whatever the definition, family plays an important role in all our lives. Family gives us a sense of belonging; they can be a refuge and a support system. Children need a sense of belonging to help them to grow.

Without knowing where we belong, how can we feel secure in going forward on our life journey and know we have roots to secure us. In my opinion if children are deprived of a sense of belonging from a young age then there is a possibility they will look for it elsewhere and it may be in places or with people they may not be good for them.

Family 4One of the places I have found family outside of my relatives is at church. The tells about how we are brothers and sisters in Christ; there are times when that is true however as it is with people there are times when that idea is just that and though people may call each other sister/brother it is superficial or disingenuous, this happens when it is religious rhetoric and not heartfelt. Words unless lived are just words and often family in church needs to come from the heart and not from the head. Some people may not truly understand the meaning of family and so say or act the part but when it comes down to the core of things and they need to give of themselves there is hesitation or resistance.

Life isn’t easy and relationships do take work because if they didn’t relationships/friendships wouldn’t grow. Family in many cases allows us to grow and at times is a safety net for us to venture out knowing someone’s there to help us or to “catch” us if we fall.

If we have no Family around that’s when friends can fill that place, even if we have Family however if they are not there for us is another time when having friends is great. Sometimes Family can put unattainable expectations on family and in those cases sometimes letting family go is the best thing for us. Family shouldn’t be the ones to drag each other down but to embrace no matter what; there will be those times when family members might need to dissuade us from a decision that is detrimental but in the end the choice is ours and it is great when family are there to pick us up.

 

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Riding The Storm – Until the Sun Comes Out

Riding The Storm – Until the Sun Comes Out

wedding-dayRob and I have been married for almost 9 years and in that time there has been many medical dramas because of the epilepsy that Rob was diagnosed with at age 6. Well last week we had another medical incident; it was serious enough that an ambulance had to be called. Rob having seizures has sometimes been a part of our daily routine and normally I know how to deal with it and stay calm at the same time; however last week was something I don’t think I’ve had to deal with in all the time we’ve been married and I actually went into panic mode.

In the days leading up to the incident, Rob had realized that he had missed a dose or 2 of his medication and would try to make up for it which would have been fine with most of the medication he’s on but one particular one just increased the level in his system and the level rose to a dangerous level. The amount of this medication in his system put him in an almost comatose state and it took the medical personnel about 6 hours to have him more alert and responsive.

On this day I felt torn between being with my husband or being there for our younger children who were at home, fortunately a friend who lives in our vicinity was passing by and when she saw the ambulance she came in and took over with the children as I was in no state to make decisions. My sister-in-law had arrived earlier and taken over with dealing with Rob and was the one who told me to call the ambulance. She was also willing to pick up our eldest boy from school if need be and had taken the initiative to phone the school to let our boy know that she was picking him up. Though by school pick-up time I was in a calmer state and able to pick him up myself while my friend looked after the younger two kids at her place.

engagement-dayEpilepsy has made life hard for Rob, because unless you see him have a full-on seizure or know about the epilepsy you wouldn’t know it affects him, this has led to some well-meaning but misplaced comments. I’ve had people comment asking why he can’t work “as they know people who have epilepsy and work” more often than not these people don’t realize the extent of the epilepsy.  In Rob’s case it’s not something you can understand by reading a text book or comparing it to others, as very few people in New Zealand have it as bad as him. We’ve even had some medical personnel try to treat him like any other epileptic which has not helped. Rob seems to know more about his condition than most doctors he has come across.

In my opinion, one of the hardest things for him is the fact that for the meantime having a job/career is not on the cards for him and that out of necessity he is required to rely on others for transportation. There are times when I can’t leave our kids with him as he’s in no state to watch them and be responsible for them and when that happens he feels hurt; not being able to leave them with him can also be an inconvenience for me yet that it is sometimes the way things play out. Rob probably feels at times that he’s not living up to society’s expectation of men and that makes it hard on him as well.

There have been times when people have made snap judgments concerning his intelligence because his speech can seem slow due to a stroke on the operating table at age 11. However he is very intelligent and if someone actually had a proper conversation with him they would come to that realisation.

Many married couples have their rough patches and sometimes it feels like we go through more than most; and if I’m honest there are times when I feel like ending our marriage but then those storms past and the sun comes out (until the next storm). It’s the good times and loving moments that make it worthwhile because no matter how bad things seem at times I often just have to ride the storm and hold on until the sun comes out which can be easier said than done, but I choose everyday to hold on and wait for the storm to pass as it always does

.Tara & Rob

Words Matter – Let Positivity Reign

Words Matter – Let Positivity Reign

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Compliments have always been difficult for me to accept especially in my teen years when my self-esteem was very low. If someone complimented me I would shrug it off or actually disagree with the compliment. It got to a point that I would get compliments that seemed to come from a person with an ulterior motive that I myself would seldom compliment others for fear they would think it came with an ulterior motive.

Even today accepting compliments is still a working progress in my life; not just accepting compliments but also gratitude from complimenting someone. I can be my own worst enemy and second-guess myself by worrying about what someone else’s opinion of me. I don’t know if the second-guessing comes from low self-esteem, anxiety or a mixture of both.

Some of my late night musings have been along the lines of maybe if you don’t accept a compliment or you try to downplay it, you possibly could hurt the other person’s feelings and make them feel like you’re ungrateful and you actually make them feel bad. When you accept a compliment in a gracious manner you are allowing positivity to spread and encourage compliments to be given – not just to you but to others as well. Complimenting someone without an ulterior motive should be readily given and received. If no-one gave compliments then that would allow negativity to run rampant.

Compliments should come without strings or expectations; I suppose that unfortunately there are people out there that compliment with ulterior motives but I would hope that it’s not the norm and that the majority of people give honest and true compliments. What would the world come to if we always put ourselves first and that there were strings attached to every word and deed?

A compliment has the power to lift someone up when they feel down, compliments can be a way of letting someone know that they matter, that what they do is noticed and appreciated.

Actions do sometimes speak louder than words; yet even better are when both are in correlation with each other without an ulterior motive being present, maybe complimenting someone brings a blessing to the giver but that shouldn’t be the reason the compliment is given in the first place and that blessing should just be the cherry on top.

Selfless words and deeds need to abound in everyday life and allow them to be an example to future generations, to counteract the rise of bullying we need to fill the “buckets” of those around us with positive words and actions.

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