Dream Big, Darling Daughter

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I was a boy mum for just over three years; my first girl I unfortunately didn’t get to parent anyway when my youngest boy was just over three years old a baby girl arrived to complete our little family. I had a lot of fears when pregnant with her and was kind of worried that she would be a tomboy and prefer more “boyish” stuff; that wouldn’t have really mattered at all, however because of the fact I finally had a little girl to buy pretty clothes and dainty things instead of the same old boy stuff. I discovered a love for the colour pink and recently for rainbows and unicorns.

 

Having a girl after two boys was a new experience from the first nappy change – where I felt at a loss to know where and how to clean. I also didn’t know about the bloody discharge that new-born baby girls can have which most of the time is normal. I found this out when my niece was born a few months before the arrival of our girl.

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I want my girl to be who she wants to be and not be discouraged because some may think she’s “just a girl” and can’t do something. Truthfully though I am a bit more protective of her than I am of her brothers. My eldest son spent the night at his Nana’s before he was even Two years old, I spent a few days in a different city from my boys when my youngest started creche just over Two years old. My girl is two and a half and I have only just recently spent the day in a different city to her, and she’s never stayed away anywhere overnight without me.

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I am watchful when she plays with her big brothers and it took a while for me to relax when they were being a bit rough in my opinion, however for the most part they are pretty caring towards her and I have only had to step him when they’ve been a bit too rough which has only been on the odd occasion.20160825_182023

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When my eldest son started school, my girl was only about 2 weeks old and I was still a bit nervous about his first day and pretty much had to guided out the classroom by his teacher. When my youngest son started school, he wanted to go into school with just his big brother; needless to say, that wasn’t happening as I was determined to go in with him for his first day, even though I already knew the classroom and his teacher.

I imagine when my girl starts school in a few years, that will be when I am the emotional at a first day of school. She already wants to go on the school bus every time she watches her brothers hop on the bus. I’m not sure I’ll be ready for her to start school as she is my last baby.

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I still can’t believe how big she’s getting and that she’ll be three years old this year, she’ll definitely be a toddler then. As a two-year-old she has been quite strong-willed, and she knows what she wants and sometimes will scream the house down if she doesn’t get her way. Her confidence and independence seem to have grown by leaps and bounds these last few months and in a way, it saddens me but I’m also proud of how she’s grown and how she’s learning to stand her ground.

She likes to boss her big brothers around and sometimes it appears that she has them wrapped around her little finger, she does try to boss her Dad and I around but doesn’t work as well as it does with the boys.

I made a mistake with my biggest boy and was quite lenient with him as he was my Rainbow baby, I now seem to be paying for that mistake, and it doesn’t help that he’s my sensitive child and my girl though soft-hearted seems a lot more confident than he her eldest brother at the same age. I guess that’s why the first is often the parenting guinea pig.

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Having two big brothers to lead the way means my girl has had to learn to stand her ground and ensure her voice is heard, at the moment she’s not doing it in a preferable way and on occasion tries it with her Dad and I which is good some of the time when we are distracted though doesn’t always get her what she wants.

Children need to grow and learn, to be well-adjusted adults – if possible. My girl may be my little princess, but I am determined that she won’t be a spoilt little princess that feels entitled to get whatever she wants.

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Dream Big, Stand Strong and Hold Fast my darling girl

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A Decade Of Marriage

January 17 2009

“…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part”wedding-day-2
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Little did I know what that would entail with Rob having epilepsy. It is said that the first year of marriage is the hardest, I’m not so sure if that applies to all marriages because it certainly hasn’t applied to our marriage. Yes, the first year was hard, as it must be when 2 different personalities make the decision to cohabit as a one. The following years didn’t seem to be any easier

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Within 3 months of marriage, Rob was admitted to hospital what felt like every second night. Due to all these hospital visits I got to know both the trade and generic names of Rob’s medication. We got to know many of the medical professionals by name. Around 6 months of marriage when I was in my first trimester with our firstborn, Rob had to go down to Wellington Hospital to have a Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS) surgically implanted. The VNS was a success as far as stopping the generalised seizures yet did little for the complex and simple partial seizures; this meant that epilepsy was still a part of our daily lives.

Later on in 2009

Epilepsy isn’t the only medical issue we’ve had to deal with during our marriage so far. When I was about 20 weeks pregnant the ultrasound showed that baby was a girl but due to cranial abnormalities was not viable for life. We had to make the difficult decision whether to proceed with the pregnancy or to medically end it, this was not an easy decision to make but we decided to carry on with pregnancy, to at least give our girl a chance to fight. I carried our baby girl Zoë to 42 weeks gestation when she had to be induced (I apparently wasn’t expected to carry her to term) Due to the cranial abnormalities and shoulder dystocia she was stillborn after a long labour.

 

Losing a child made a huge impact on our marriage. We decided to try again and about a year and a half after we lost Zoë we were blessed with our boy Jason. This labour wasn’t easy either and he ended being born via emergency c-section, he also ended up in neonates due to Jaundice. I bonded with him from the offset however Rob took a while to bond with him. Rob didn’t like the fact that Jason had to co-sleep with us but he did put up with it until I reluctantly put Jason into his bassinet to sleep.

 

Both Rob and I didn’t want Jason to be an only child and decided to have another child. Almost 2 years later Jason’s baby brother Alexander arrived and with his arrival came other issues that put a strain on our marriage. At the time I didn’t know this but with Alex I think I had minor post-natal depression. I had bonded with Jason from the start but with Alex it took a lot longer, Rob though had an instant bond with Alex. Because our bonds with the boys was different there have been times when I’ve felt Rob has been easier on Alex than on Jason which made me what to treat Jason even better.

 

 

Having just our boys was definitely an experience and we were happy with them and loved them dearly, we never forgot Zoë and wanted to try again for a girl, we would have been happy with a boy as well. For me though that desire to have a living girl was pretty strong.

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Daddy with his boys

July 20th 2016:

Our last baby arrived and she was a little girl who we named Rylee Angela, Rylee means ‘valiant’ which over the past years we have needed to be. Miss Rylee is definitely a daddy’s girl and she is also adored by her big brothers. As a new-born she lost almost 10% of her body weight and had low blood sugar, she took a long time to put on any decent weight and this was often a concern for us.

 

January 4th 2017:

Rylee was about 5 ½ months old and a pretty serious incident occurred with Rob. Due to uncontrollable seizures Rob was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Wanganui Hospital and put into an induced coma. The coma lasted for what felt like quite a few days and was scary for me when they put all the tubes in him. Even after he came out of the coma it took a while it was until January 17th that he was discharged, having him home came with a few more complications as his balance was weakened and so I had to do all the housework as well as looking after him and the kids.rob-in-hospital

About 6 months down the track Rob was back again in hospital after accidentally overdosing on his anti-convulsive medication – he had been trying to make up for those doses he had missed. Fortunately, he didn’t end up back in Intensive Care.

2017/2018

Later on, that year, or maybe it was the beginning of 2018. He made frequent flying visits to Auckland to see a myriad of specialists and had multiple tests done. After all this activity it wasn’t until about mid-October that we received an email that he was booked in for a long-needed operation, a right frontal craniotomy. From the time of the email was a mad rush to get flights booked for Rob and his mum who would be accompanying him. It was the last term of the school year for our boys which meant a pretty hectic time for them and as I was their chauffeur was a hectic time for myself.

 

The surgery was between 4-6 hours and I was dependant on getting updates from my mother-in-law and didn’t hear from her until around 7:30 pm, the surgery had been booked for 1 pm (I think) so it felt like a long time to wait for news and I was on tenterhooks whenever I had the time to think about what was happening.

A craniotomy in plain terms is a type of brain surgery, they were removing an abnormality on what was left of the benign tumour, which was the cause of the epilepsy.

Rob spent the next week and a half recovering up at Auckland hospital until he was transferred to Wanganui Hospital and admitted first to medical ward and then to AT&R (Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation) for about 2 ½ weeks as he needed daily physical and occupational therapy. There was even more weakness on his left side than had been pre-op.

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Back in Wanganui

He was finally discharged from hospital at the end of November and other than needing a crutch and having seizures on the odd occasion was doing pretty well. Not long after Christmas things turned south and on a couple of occasions couldn’t bear any weight on either of his legs, he also mentioned feeling dizzy. After the 2nd incident, where it took 3 adults to pick him up off the floor and help him from the lounge to our bedroom, I made the decision the next morning after talking to our GP’s nurse to take him up to the hospital. After seeing the triage nurse he was taken to the emergency department and was seen by multiple Doctors who finally decided he needed to have a CT scan. The CT scan was inconclusive and after talking to more medical professionals and me convincing Rob that being in hospital was the safest place for him, he was admitted again to AT&R for the weekend, mainly for observation.

Since this incident things seem to have gone back to some post-op normality. Rob has had very few seizures and hasn’t again completely lost the strength in both of his legs. We have a date for the MRI and as it is in the school holidays, I finally am able to be the one to accompany him up to Auckland. The previous times have been during school and so I had to stay home as the kids’ schedule was a busy one.

One thing about Rob is that he can be very bull-headed sometimes especially when someone tries to tell him what he can’t do or tells him what they think is best for him. This can make him a difficult patient which can put a toll on whomever is his support person as being his support person often means mediating between him and the medical professional or convincing him to take the action that’s the safest instead of what may be good for someone without Rob’s limitations.

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Through this decade of marriage, I have learnt and grown a lot. Rob is more of a practical person than myself so there’s been a considerable amount of worry on my end as I’m more of an emotional person. In my opinion that difference has been one of the things that has made our marriage interesting and frustrating at times.

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Arguments are part and parcel of finding a harmonious middle ground. In a marriage there needs to be equal amounts of give and take, there will be times when one person may need more understanding and care but turnabout is fair play so there will be times that the other person needs the understanding and care.

Even after a decade of marriage the idea of give and take is something that my husband and I are still working on. It’s hardest to do this when both us have needs at times that seem to be of equal importance.

No marriage is without its trials; Sometimes the strongest marriages are the ones that have gone through fire and come out on the other side scarred but still together. It’ll be interesting to see what the next decades in our marriage bring.

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Christmas With The Rendells

Christmas Eve night

Christmas is done and dusted; even though I had wanted a quiet one, it didn’t quite turn out that way, though there were quieter moments and we stayed in Wanganui with less travelling, these last 2 days have still been pretty busy.

Christmas Eve consisted firstly of a Doctor’s appointment for Rob – which is part and parcel of brain surgery recovery. Then we were off to my Dad’s in another part of town for an early Christmas lunch with my Dad, Granny and Siblings. There was present opening here and the boys loved building a hut in the Macrocarpa at Dad’s place and playing on the swing. Rylee had fun with her brothers and not wearing her skirt.

Jase and Rylee @Dad's

We went home for a couple of hours before we needed to be at Rob’s parent’s place for a Christmas Eve BBQ dinner with some of his side of our family. Fortunately, they live on the same street as us, so we didn’t have far to travel. The boys loved playing with their cousin and dog cousin Ella, Rylee however, wasn’t a big fan of Ella and would be terrified if she came near her. Hopefully, with time Rylee will not be so terrified of animals and be able to accept Ella like her brothers do.

After dinner was over, I could tell that Rylee was tired so left for home, we got home around 8 pm and it was time for the Christmas Eve box which entailed of new pyjamas, new books and popcorn. The boys got into their pj’s and while I dressed Rylee and did her bedtime routine the boys were watching “The Lego Batman” movie with their Dad. After Rylee was in bed, I wrapped the last of the presents. Once the boys were in bed and asleep, I put all the presents under the tree and did a “bit” of tidying up.

The Boys xmas eve

Christmas morning arrived, Miss Rylee woke up about 5:30 am followed soon after by Alex and an hour or so later Jason made his way out of bed. The kids were keen on getting into their presents, but I told them to wait until their Dad was out of bed – once he made his appearance, I said to the kids that they could open their Santa stockings and 1 or 2 presents.

While they were eating chocolate and watching Paw Patrol, I started making breakfast which consisted of Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs. I was cooking for about 10 people including my 3 kids as we were having some of Rob’s side at our place for Christmas breakfast; I don’t think I’ve ever been solely responsible for cooking for that many people before, so it was definitely a new experience, which I don’t regret but wouldn’t want to do it too often.

After breakfast, Rob’s parents took the boys back to their place, so I was able to clean up, though I didn’t get as much done as I’d expected. While I was washing 1 lot of dishes Rob was sorting out the rubbish. During this time Rylee was having a nap. After some of the dishes had been done, I went down for a nap as well and didn’t wake up until noon. Once I woke up, I got Rylee dressed and Rob and I got ready and went to his parents for a late Christmas lunch. After more presents were opened, we had a delicious lunch where my sister-in-law and I chose to sit at the kids table inside while the rest of the adults were outside on the covered porch as the weather was turning stormy. We got home between 5 and 6 pm, after I’d bathed Rylee and got her into her pyjamas and into bed, the boys stay up with their Dad to watch “Home Alone 2” while I went off to bed myself.

Boys watching movie

After those 2 days I was exhausted, Rob was tired as well – he is still recovering from the craniotomy (brain surgery). Rob did help a bit during Christmas but a lot of the responsibility was on the shoulders of his Mum and Aunty, I did my share and the BBQ at my in-law’s place was manned by Rob’s Dad and Brother. Of course, Christmas Eve lunch was undertaken by my Dad. A part of me wished I hadn’t been so involved with doing stuff but then I’m not really a person that just can sit and relax while things need to be done, though I probably could have helped more.

I was the one who bought most of the presents for the kids and family, I also wrapped those presents and some of the presents that Rob bought. Rob had help from our 7-year-old son to wrap my presents as wrapping is a bit difficult for him. Jason, on his own initiative had re-gifted some of his things and wrapped a few himself, he also made some at school with little help from myself or his Dad.

Even though Christmas was exhausting and at times stressful, there were moments that made all that worthwhile; These moments included Alex’s look when he saw that the carrots for the reindeer and the milk, biscuits and popcorn for Santa had been consumed. When the kids received certain presents the look of absolute joy on their face was priceless, I was not quick enough to capture some of those moments on my phone unfortunately.

Jason wishes it was Christmas everyday, I’m glad its not and the next event I have to plan is Alex’s 6th birthday which isn’t anywhere near as big an event as Christmas, even if it does occur a few weeks before Easter. This of course does not mean I get much of a chance to relax as the boys go back to school the beginning of February and so there will be stationary to find and buy. I will try for a couple of weeks to have some relaxing moments but truthfully, I don’t know if they’ll come to pass as, after all it’s the school holidays which means Mum works overtime.

 

Happy New Year to you all and your family from the Rendells 

Husband in Hospital: Doing Mumlife Solo

14/11/18

Sitting here writing this entry, my house is a mess because there’s so much I need to do. Miss Rylee is asleep; the boys are at school so the house is eerily quiet.  You see my husband Rob is still in hospital. He’s in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation (AT&R) ward for physical and occupational therapy. The reason he is there is because over a fortnight ago he had a right frontal craniotomy which in simple terms means he had brain surgery. The surgery was necessary due to the fact he had drug-resistant epilepsy. He flew up to Auckland, about an hour’s flight from Wanganui, with his Mum and I stayed back in Wanganui as our kids needed me. After about a week and a half in Auckland Hospital he was transferred from Auckland Hospital to Wanganui Hospital.

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There is no certainty when he will be discharged and able to come home, I don’t even know if he will definitely be home before Christmas. Hopefully he will be as the estimated time was a month in AT&R.

While he’s been in hospital I’ve had to do Mumlife solo; No I’m not a solo mum, as I know my husband will be home sometime, in the meantime I’m trying to do the best I can by myself. Fortunately, I’ve had friends and family that have been a big help. You know what though, I still only ask for help when I feel I have no other option. Last night was the first time I had been able to visit Rob without any of the kids. Last week I didn’t get a chance to as on the days Rylee was at crèche I’d kept the boys home from school as Jason, my 7 year old had fallen off the school playground and sustained a mild concussion, I was advised to keep him at home until the headaches had subsided and to make it easier on me I also kept his little brother Alex home as well.

I love my kids so much but last week I felt like I’d had enough of their fighting, whining, and general disobedience. There are days when I really can’t be bothered to do any cleaning because it feels like that’s all I’ve done. Of course this means there’s even more to do the next day. Often I find I do more housework at night as that is when I feel the loneliest and when my thoughts are the loudest.

I find it interesting how when hubby and I would have rough patches and I briefly thought about calling it quits I never actually thought about what life would be like if I had to do everything myself

After these 2 weeks I have such an admiration for people that are solo parents in a more long term situation, and those whose partners are away quite frequently and they have to do everything themselves. I’ve found it takes a lot of energy and can be quite lonely sometimes even though you’re constantly with kids. We often need adult interaction as well to try to keep us sane.

One of the good things that have come out of the surgery is that Rob hasn’t had a seizure since about 1 or 2 days post-op, his thinking also seems to be clearer. His left leg is still very weak which is why he needs physical and occupational therapy; which he is thoroughly getting.

The positive aspects do not negate the fact that I miss him like crazy; it’ll be 10 years in January since we were married and this is the longest we’ve been away from each other. With all my imaginings of what could go wrong I did not expect to feel this temporary separation so keenly and I’m glad I didn’t lose him forever, even though there have been hard moments during our marriage in the end he’s my best friend, my soul mate and the one person I like to annoy the most. I think I would be completely lost without him.

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Our kids absolutely adore their Dad and Jason was asking the other day “when will Dad be home?” and it hurt that I couldn’t give him a definitive answer.

The first time I took Miss Rylee to see her Dad it took a while before she’d even just give him a high five. 20181114_131033When I took the boys the first time, Jason couldn’t get close enough to his Dad on the bed, Alex seemed to take everything in his stride and if I didn’t know better I would have thought he didn’t care too much that his Dad was at least back in town and a lot more accessible. Alex’s current behaviour is not exactly desirable and I think that is how he’s reacting to his Dad not being home.20181116_095110-01

Right now, I’m just praying and hoping that Rob’s rehab is speedy and he can return home before Christmas

Rendells Rock Raro

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We headed off on a tropical adventure for the wedding of family, travelling with kids was definitely an adventure, especially when one of the kids is a 2 year old toddler. I had time on my hands to read, more time than I realised I would; I had forgotten how quickly I can get through a book when I have the time, which in real life I don’t normally have. I also had plenty of time to write so this blog post may be more of a short novel, so sorry in advance.

Day One

We started off driving by car to Palmerston North to catch our flight to Auckland. This flight was a first for Alex and Rylee who had never been in plane before. Jason was a baby when he had his first plane ride so didn’t remember that adventure.

Once we arrived in Auckland we had to walk from the Domestic Terminal to International Terminal, when we arrived at the International Terminal we checked our luggage in and grapped something to eat. We also met up with some of the Aussie and Auckland Family.

Boys on tablets

It felt like the flight to Rarotonga took ages to even take off. Fortunately for the boys at least there were movies on the plane they could watch, Rylee wasn’t really interested in the screen and did not like the headphones.

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Midway through the flight to Rarotonga, Dinner arrived and the kids were happy with their meals. I had the Lamb curry and it was actually quite nice. It’s funny how I had expected Plane food to be on the same level as Hospital food but was definitely nowhere near as bad.

The boys travelled very well especially with having screentime available. As Alex was sitting next to  window by his grandparents and we were in the middle aisle I actually did not know much of what he was doing. Jason was between his Dad and Rylee and I noticed he would either watch a movie on the plane screen or he would be playing games on his tablet.

Rylee did not like takeoff or landing at all, when she was at her best – behavior wise was – it was when she was asleep or eating. Other times she was extremely noisy, squealing a lot and taking off her seatbelt. I did watch Moana on this flight because it didn’t matter to me if I did have to pause the movie at times to deal with Rylee.

We finally arrived in Rarotonga, again it felt like eternity before we actually got through customs, when we finally did Alex decided he needed to go toilet and Jason decided to go off with some of our group while Rob, Rylee and I waited for Alex for finish his business. When Alex had finished and we got out of the airport I was so relieved to see my Mother-In-Law waiting for us. The first transfer bus had already gone with Jason and other family. The next bus arrived and as it drove along I wondered sometimes if we would even make it to the resort; after a while I noticed that the smells of Rarotonga are definitely different to New Zealand. It was night when we arrived and so I was unable to actually see much on the bus ride.

We settled into our Villa at the Edgewater resort. The boys had their own room and Rylee had a bed in our room, we also shared the villa with my brother-in-law, his fiancee and their little girl.

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Day Two

A tropical breakfast was provided at the Resort restaurant and this consisted of choices of cereal, toast, fruit, muffins, juice and coffee. I stuck to what I knew and kept to muesli and toast – with a coffee as well. The boys had muesli and toast and Rylee had coco pops. Hubby had a lot of fruit with yoghurt and a coffee. The kids also drank a lot of juice, which was good as bottled water was expensive, and you needed to stay hydrated as it was hot.

Jase at Brekkie

We spent a lot of time swiming in the pool or at the beach. Jason loved the beach, Alex loved the pool and Rylee wasn’t too keen on either. The sea water was so clear that I actually tried my hand at snorkling and saw a few schools of fish.

 

Dinner this night was at the restaurant at the resort which had kids meals for under $10 and the proper meals were decent sized, I decided to go with the pork ribs which were very tender and I think they import New Zealand meat. The restaurant is also near the beach and the boys loved climbing the rocks, Rylee enjoyed exploring the restaurant and did a disappearing act on me – that girl is very quick for someone so little.

 

Day Three

Another Tropical breakfast and then we spent a lot of time swimming or in our villa where as Rylee had not had much sleep the night before I stayed while she napped and the boys went swimming with their Aunty, Uncle and cousins. Rylee slept for a few hours and when she woke I took her to the pool for a swim but she wasn’t very keen, the water was very cold in the pool and I guess she wasn’t used to the cold water so whenever I had her in the pool we didn’t stay in for long.

Rylee sleeping

Dinner was homemade burgers at other family’s villa which was just across the way from us and the boys loved trying to climb the coconut tree – there are so many coconut trees at the resort. The boys’ uncle opened a coconut which was the entertainment for the evening and when we tried the coconut it was unlike anything I’ve had in New Zealand. The fact that I liked it – and to be honest, I’m not normally a huge fruit fan – says how tasty it was. Though maybe its more correct to classify coconut as a nut and not a fruit, maybe.

Coconut breaking

Day Four

Another tropical breakfast and I again did not try anything different from what I knew. This day was also spent swimming and snorkeling and this time the tide was not as strong and I wanted to go out further however because I was with the boys and Alex wanted my attention I had to come back to shore. We again split our time between the pool and the beach.

The evening was a very laid back evening as we just had pizza from another restaurant at the resort, this restaurant is also along the main road near the resort. The pizzas were massive and the taste I found a bit unusual though still a bit tasty, it was probably the cheese which I didn’t really like, though still ate the pizza which is more than I can say about Alex who definitely did not like the pizza’s and Jason would have had more if we’d let him, he has such a big appetite.

The kids finally went to bed at a decent hour with hardly any arguments, even Miss Rylee went down quietly. I think she was tired enough to actually sleep but not over-tired that she fought sleep.

Our villa was not far from the beach and at night we could hear the crashing of the waves which some may find relaxing though I wasn’t too keen on the noise. I love the sound of rain on the roof and it did rain most nights we were there, it didn’t rain much during the day though there was often a nice breeze blowing.

 

Day Five

Today was the wedding of my husband’s cousin. We had a pretty cruisy morning and after lunch we all got ready for the wedding, the boys had wanted to wear the clothes for the wedding earlier in the day but I knew they wouldn’t keep them clean. While I was getting ready I had Rylee with me and trying to get ready with a toddler underfoot is not easy, she even was able to grab my NEW foundation and put some of it on. The ceremony was near the beach under coconut trees and the kids loved playing in the sand, it was a beautiful and simple wedding with such a gorgeous backdrop.

After the ceremony, Rylee and I came back to the villa with my Mother-in-Law and future sister-in-law with the 2 little girls and we had a couple glasses of wine while the boys were with their Dad, Uncles and Grandfather.

 

The wedding reception was in an Umu and was very casual, the tables were beautifully laid out and had available on the tables a container of Cook Island Lager, which was not too sweet and though different very nice. After those glasses of wine I’d had and a glass of lager, I knew I had passed my limit and was reminded why I don’t really drink. I’m not a big fan of being out of control and try to be composed, alcohol takes that away, or tries to anyway. I don’t think I was truly out of control but I knew I was in no state to take the boys over to the kids coconut club so Rob had to do it. My mother-in-law was sitting next to me and helped with Rylee and she was the one that took Rylee back to the villa to get her into her pyjamas and into bed.

 

I didn’t eat much of the main meal though I really liked the potatoes and sour cream. I had 2 servings of dessert though didn’t quite finish the 2nd serving and once I felt a bit composed was able to collect the boys and take them back to the villa and make sure they got ready for bed.

 

Day Six

Recovering from the night before didn’t need much more than a couple cups of coffee and a decent breakfast – which again was muesli. After breakfast the boys went to the kids club and Rylee and I went for a walk along the road which as she was in an umbrella stroller was not a smooth walk. The side of the road is not exactly paved and there were many rocks or holes that we had to go over. It was along this walk that I really felt the heat. While at the resort we had an ocean breeze that for the most part made the heat bearable. I cut our walk short because the heat was unbearable and returned to our air-conditioned villa to cool down and because Rylee had fallen asleep on our walk.

I finally got to go for a swim by myself as Rob took charge of Rylee and the boys were at the pool with their grandfather. It was at this time I realised that the idea of alone time was not as fun as I expected, I couldn’t really enjoy my swim as I wanted someone to talk to.

Day Seven

The day before we flew back to New Zealand, I was sitting on the bed in our villa while Rylee had a much needed nap and a lot of my thoughts were turned towards the fact we were leaving early the next morning and I needed to make sure that everything was packed and ready to go by the evening. I thought about keeping Rylee in her pyjamas and not to bother changing her; I ended up getting her dressed as she was awake early enough for me to dress her.

Its amusing how even on a tropical island my mind was still not relaxed and even though the people of Rarotonga may operate on “Island Time” that’s not my cup o’ tea. I need to have a plan, even if the plan doesn’t end up working out as expected.

Dinner on the last night was getting takeaway from the resort restaurant, the kids and I had exactly what we’d had for lunch earlier however I didn’t have to wait for our food for as long as I did when we had it at the restaurant. Rylee went to bed pretty early but I let the boys stay to watch some of a Harry Potter movie as they were with their Uncle who lives in Christchurch and so don’t get to see often.

 

Day Eight

Departure day; awake early to finish packing and make sure everyone is ready to meet our transfer bus at the resort lobby. There was less of a line to check in at the Raro airport and less time to get through customs. I got in a bit of shopping at the airport shops and eventually boarded the plane. Even though some of the kids had had breakfast early, I was glad for the breakfast that was served on the flight. This flight was a lot more stressful than the flight to Rarotonga as Rylee spent a lot of the flight squealing, she did sleep a little at the beginning and end of the flight. The cabin crew were pretty cool and let me know I could take her to the back of the plane and look out the window, they also gave her an activity pack and interacted with her. Rylee made the flight feel a lot longer than it actually was and I would have been glad when we arrived however we still had to get through customs and the walk to the domestic terminal and check in our luggage there.Rob and Rylee sleeping on plane

Trying to getting the umbrella stroller back felt stressful as it hadn’t come off with everything else and we had to talk to airport staff to work out where it was, we finally got it and I was able to put Rylee in the stroller instead of carrying her.

 

Between flights we did get McDonalds for lunch which all the kids ate, and it was something familiar so didn’t have to think too much about what to order..

The flight from Auckland to Palmerston North felt very quick and the cabin crew friendly, this plane was smaller than the International and less passengers, as it was also during the day we could look out the window and see the country below us; I hadn’t realised how rectangle the fields on New Zealand are and it looks like they were just rolled out.

We arrived in Palmerston North without a hitch and it was quite windy when we got outside the airport it made me miss Rarotonga already. I finally felt able to breathe when we were in the car on the way home.

I was so exhausted and relieved when we finally got home that I just used the Pizza Hut app to order dinner as I was too tired to even talk to anybody. It was an early bedtime for the kids and I, though I think Rob stayed up.

I loved the beauty of Rarotonga, it is a refreshing place to be and the people are friendly. Rarotonga is nice as a holiday destination but there is no place like home, and I was keen to get back to New Zealand and back to real life.

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Separation Anxiety Opened My Eyes

Separation Anxiety is something a lot of parents have to deal with, its a part of children coming to realise their own identities as people.

When my daughter Rylee was a new baby she was content enough to be held by other people, as she got a bit older that contentment was no longer as strong and she was not as willing to be held by males who weren’t her Dad or brothers. As she got a bit more older and aware of her surroundings she was again content with people she knew and the odd person who she wasn’t as familiar to her. Most times I was in close proximity which may have given her a sense of safety around people, I also think she was at an age where she had a sense of a persons temperament.

The Separation Anxiety seems to have risen again as the last couple of days she has been quite clingy. Even when dropping her off at creche where she has been going for a few weeks. I don’t know if its because of her age or because we have been planning a big holiday and the excitement around her may be a cause as at 26 months she wouldn’t understand what is going on.

Rylee is my third child that I’ve had the chance to parent through the terrible two’s, however that hasn’t made it any easier or  helped it go smoothly. Maybe its because she’s my girl and I’m more protective of her than I was of the boys, in those times when tears are streaming down her cheek when I’ve had to leave her at creche makes me feel horrible; there is a part of me that knows she will be fine as I trust her teachers – that doesn’t make it any easier. Once I’ve been informed that shes fine and back to her cheery self, my own anxiety lessens.20180714_103148

I never thought I’d be so protective of my girl as I want her to grow up to be a strong confidant woman, that will try anything. I still have this overwhelming need to protect her. I have discovered that there is a fine line between protecting her and allowing her to have a tiny taste of independence.

I was a boy Mum for almost 5 years before my girl came along. Just as I want my boys to try their best at what they do I also believe that girls should be given the option to try anything and shouldn’t be discouraged because of their gender.

All children should be encouraged to have a growth mindset which adds yet on to can’t. They should be allowed to discover their own limitations and not defined by someone else, who may have the best of intentions or not.

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When children are infants their encouragement often comes in the form of scaffolding where assistance is provided when needed. Children need to be given a chance to at least try something and not have someone do it for them after only one attempt, this may make it easier in the short term, but does not lead to a growth in confidence which their own successful attempts can provide.

If we as parents always make things too easy for them what does this mean in how they turn out as adults. If we try to solve all their problems, how will they learn about real consequences and learn how to solve their own problems when possible.

We don’t want to wrap our kids in cotton wool but we also don’t want them to constantly feel like their efforts are not enough and have a feeling of discouragement. Encouragement is a key necessity for growing well-rounded people, we all need encouragement sometimes and especially as children.

Mum’s Need Superpowers

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The expression “Supermum” is such a well-used compliment, if superpowers were real I’d probably want superspeed.

Things have been pretty hectic lately as Hubby’s health has been sporadic and there have been a few days when he’s been unable to help much in the mornings, so I’m the one responsible for getting 3 kids ready in the morning. The boys are 5 and 7 so are able to pretty much get dressed themselves as well as brush their own teeth – with a few reminders. It has been in these times I wished I had superpowers, more specifically Super speed. I think as a mum super speed would be the handiest superpower. Super speed would assist in completing everything that needs to be done and also help a Mum to see to her own needs, which is important as well.

Lately, I’ve come to realise that I’m someone who more often than not puts myself last on the list of priorities, so neglect my own needs. I’ve also found that I will at times work myself until I almost collapse, I sometimes don’t even eat until my stomach is screaming at me for food, yet I always make sure the kids are fed.

Now that my little girl is down to 1 nap I have less time to get things down without her underfoot “helping”. She seems to be quite clingy lately – at home anyway. She likes to play with the toys I’ve just tidied up so unintentionally makes cleaning take longer. Or she like to have cuddles when I’m busy. Kids are young for such a short time so I like to give them as much of my time that’s possible.

Super speed would be a huge help in our household as not just because my husband has epilepsy but also because due to a medical mishap when he had his first surgery as a kid he is partially paralysed. This means that things he can do sometimes take longer which means he can get less done in a day. The few times that he’s in charge of the kids means he has to make them the priority which means that housework sometimes gets put to the wayside.

Here in New Zealand spring has arrived, and this means the gardens need weeding and lawns need mowing, this is another time when super speed would be an advantage, another thing I sometimes wish I had was eyes in the back of my head especially with a toddler in the house. Rylee is quick and can get into mischief as soon as my back is turned it seems.

The house chore I’ve been putting off lately is moping the floors as there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to mop. Moping needs to be done while kids are not around; or at least occupied either playing outside or in their rooms.

There are quite a few T.V. shows and movies involving characters with superpowers and watching these programmes, I understand why they have such an appeal to a wide audience.

While finishing this my toddler needed to sit on my lap which is not an uncommon occurrence – with superspeed I could have typed this out faster as long as my mind could keep up.