Opinions, Expectations and Reality

Opinions, Expectations and Reality

Just before Easter weekend, my youngest boy started school. Before he started I didn’t want him to be expected to have the academic ability that his big brother did when he started school. I let the teacher know that the brothers are different in their abilities.

Alex and Jase award

What I have figured out is that I myself had unknowingly but those expectations on my son even though I’m well aware of their differences.

This has made me think how sometimes as mum’s we compare our children to other children of similar ages and somehow expect them to have the same strengths or are achieving certain milestones at the same time.

If my boys are different in their abilities why would non-related children be the same; yes, sometimes children do progress the same as their peers but more often than not they progress at their own pace. While one child may be chatting up a storm yet they’re not mobile another may be running around yet have limited vocabulary and both situations are fine.

My husband and I love all our kids and are proud of any achievements they make even if it’s a small one compared to the achievements of one of their siblings.

Alex and JaseThere is only 20 months difference between the boys and sometimes that can seem to be a small gap, however the differences in their abilities are immense.

My eldest son Jason is definitely an academic with a strong flair for sports, whereas his brother Alex excels more at puzzles and patterns. Jason is an avid reader and though he is just over 6 and half years old can read books aimed for 8/9 year olds, Alex is slowly getting there in reading, he prefers more to be read to than to read himself.

Jason has a large appetite and always seems to be hungry. His meals can be almost as big as his Dad’s, yet he’s as skinny as a rake. Alex has a smaller appetite but is a bit more solid even though he is also very active; these differences kind of show that appearances are not always what they seem.

In this day and age with Social Media having such a strong presence it’s easy to make snap judgments about some-one else’s parenting practices. It’s very easy to voice our opinions but that doesn’t always mean we should. What we see on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook is merely a glimpse into a person’s live and very rarely tells the whole story.

As parents we are allowed to bring up our children how we feel is best – irrespective of the opinions of others. If we are truly putting our children in obvious danger then yes in those situations someone should speak up. Though if the reason is just because they do something different to how you do things does not make them bad parents.  For example, if a mum always gives their children nutritious home-cooked meals and another mum may allow their children to have fast-food a few nights a week does make either mum wrong, it makes them different and that they are doing the best they can in this thing called parenting life.Childhood is a journey

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Mum Guilt: Sometimes Leads To Over-Reacting and That is Okay

Mum Guilt: Sometimes Leads To Over-Reacting and That is Okay

I haven’t written anything for a while as we had at the time seemed a serious incident where my 20 month old daughter got under her Dad’s feet and he accidently tripped over her, which ended up with me taking her up to the hospital with what turned out to be a Greenstick Fracture to her tibia and fibula in her right leg. Fortunately she was seen almost straight away and was examined and taken in for an x-ray (which she did not like) and a back splint/half cast was put on her leg. She had this on for a week to allow for the swelling to go down. A couple of days after the first back splint was put on it somehow came off which of course meant a frantic morning getting the boys ready and off to school/kindy and then getting her up to the hospital for another back splint.

Rylee pre cast

This all happened a few days before my youngest boy was having his party for his 5th birthday so while prepping for the party I also had to keep an eye on my girl to my sure she was happy and not too mobile. My niece who is a few months older surprisingly was very caring towards Rylee and would often bring her toys or her water bottle. Rylee being a 20 month old toddler wouldn’t stay in one place but on that day didn’t try anything too adventurous.

Hubby felt terrible about the incident and how at the time I said to myself that this would never have happened on my watch. I felt guilty for leaving her with her Dad while I popped down the round to get dinner. The thing is, it was an accident and I shouldn’t have felt guilty because the truth is it could have happened even if I had been there.

While at the hospital I started second-guessing ever leaving ever leaving our girl at home with her Dad in charge. The boys are of an age where for the most part they can entertain themselves so I don’t worry about them as much; though being boys they could still get into mischief.

I didn’t realize how protective of our girl I am – I hadn’t planned to be as I’ve always wanted her to grow up into a strong woman who will stand up for herself if need be and someone who’s not afraid to try anything. A young woman who won’t allow anyone’s opinion to determine what she is or isn’t able to do.

She’s such a bubbly happy little girl and really suits her name, which means ‘Valiant’ and is something I want her to be, somehow though I’m more protective of her than I am of her brothers. Maybe it’s her age and her being so petite I want to protect her more. All I know is after this accident I felt like I would be hesitant to leave her with her Dad in charge; this has not really been the case as a couple weeks down the track now I’ve had to leave her with him but most of the time she’s asleep.

Rylee Pink cast

If I hadn’t left her with him that would have been a bit OTT as he loves her just as much as I do and he felt bad about the whole accident. I think that part of my reaction is that I feel like the responsibility for our children rests more on me, however they are OUR children and we are equally responsible.

Social Awkwardness With A Smile

Social Awkwardness With A Smile

Birthday party

Birthday Party Season for my kids has started and its made me think about my reaction to social situations.

As a kid, social situations seemed easier as I had my mum as a buffer. These days however there are times when I feel like I have to work at being social – especially when the kids are socially adept like their Dad, even my 19 month old daughter seems to have little issue. When Jason was little it sometimes took a while for him to warm up to new people, at Kindy he would mainly play with the same 3 kids. Alex seems to fit in anywhere and has a diverse range of friends.

Looking back to when I was a teenager I was socially awkward and felt out of place; being friendly was never an issue yet making close friends seemed to be. I felt like I was the square peg trying to fit in a round hole, I felt like I was one the edge of my “friends” group and never really a part of the group. Of course it could have been all in my imagination because of low self-esteem, like I was never good enough to fit anywhere.

social awkwardness

Being a mum means that I’m in social settings where I feel out of my comfort zone and there are times when I want to flee from that surrounding – especially when I’m in one of my negative moods. Sometimes it feels within me that I’m meant to act a certain way – yet don’t know what that way is.

 

I’ve always wanted my kids to thrive when it comes to life and that includes socially as well, so from babyhood would take them along to playgroups, music groups etc; even if I didn’t really want to be a part of it myself. It felt like a sacrifice which I’m finding is part of being a parent.

The boys especially seem to make friends easily and Jason will often ask to have a playdate at one friends’ place or another. If I myself feel comfortable around the other kid’s mum I don’t have any problem especially if I don’t need to be there. Yet if I’m unsure about the other kid’s mum I’m a bit hesitant to allow a playdate to occur.

I know I make mistakes socially, say things I shouldn’t or do things I shouldn’t. I will often beat myself up emotionally over what I deem or what I think the other parent things is faux pas in the social setting. Even if I feel like I have a god relationship with another person there will be times when I doubt whether the friendship is real or superficial. I know a lot of this comes from my struggle with self-esteem and often will try to bring myself back to a more positive frame of mind; however it doesn’t always work and the negative thoughts seem to cement themselves.

Most of the time I don’t allow this to bother me, there have been times though that I’ve allowed those thoughts to bother me, I just hope that none of my children ever have this issue.

Reflecting on Words of Condolence

Reflecting on Words of Condolence

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I have unfortunately lost a few loved ones in my life and one thing I found interesting is the words of consolation that people use. I found that when people were trying to console me after my daughter Zoë was stillborn most likely have been well-meaning but some things weren’t exactly helpful for Rob and I; these things were said maybe out of not knowing exactly what to say which is understandable.

Some of the phrases used were:

  • “She’s with Jesus” – Honestly that didn’t help at the time it was said as I just wanted her with me and it felt unfair that Jesus got to be with my firstborn child when I couldn’t. I believe it now, but in that time of raw and numbing grief all it seemed to do was increase my anger at God.

 

  • “You will have another child” – While for Rob and I this was true the people that said it didn’t really know that for sure. What if we had been like some couples who couldn’t have more children, this particular phrase could have been really hurtful. Another reason this wasn’t exactly helpful was the fact that another child could not/would not replace the baby we had lost.

 

  • “She wasn’t meant to be” – This was said when after she died and when informed some people about what the diagnosis was (one of the reasons we told few people when we knew). This phrase probably upset me the most; if “she wasn’t meant to be” then why did I get pregnant with her in the first place, “if she wasn’t meant to be” then why did I carry her to term when I wasn’t expected to and I ended up needing to be induced.

 

I’m sure that for the most part when these phrases were used they were said with the best of intentions; however even if something is said with the best of intentions it doesn’t always mean it will be helpful. For example when I’m in my darkest of moods I can get upset with someone simply saying “I’m Sorry”. Grief can make a person illogical and take offense at the smallest of things.stages of grief

There are times when the phrase “I can only imagine how you must feel” is used. Truthfully when it comes to losing a child no-one can truly imagine and I wouldn’t want anyone to know what it feels like to lose a child. Even when you’ve lost a child you can’t truly imagine what another person is going through, even if it’s a similar situation their reactions could be different to what your reactions were and everyone acts differently.

I can remember times I’ve said that losing Zoë was like losing a part of myself, yet I have never lost a limb or the use of one in reality don’t know what it’s actually like. I guess I use that phrase to try and get across the awfulness of losing a child – so it’s more a metaphor than a fact.

One more thing that used to get to me after any of my losses was when people would say “they were there for me” It got to a point where I would shrug it off as something people feel they have to say – even subconsciously – the reason being was if I did need someone, I must have asked the wrong people as the ones I asked never seemed to have the time for me or wouldn’t get back to me when they could. This experience unfortunately made we weary about calling on people when I needed someone.

There’s something I also noticed about going through the loss of a loved one is that it’s not just in the first week or so you need support but also in the following weeks after the numbness of grief has passed and reality hits – that’s my experience anyway as there were times when I felt left alone in my grief and didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.

These are only my reflections on looking back over my past experiences so doesn’t necessarily mean I feel alone now.

Have a great day

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Faking It Until You Make It

Faking It Until You Make It

Jason- birth
Jason at Birth

After we lost Zoë I really desired to have another girl; one I could actually get to parent. About 10 months after we lost her, we found out I was pregnant and were very excited. The 20 week ultrasound was when we found out that baby was a boy – I was upset at the time as I wanted a girl so much that I thought that this baby was a girl. Jason has such a big heart and can be very empathetic for a 6 1/2 year old and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Alex - Birth
Alex a few days old

When we decided to have another baby I wasn’t concerned about the gender for certain reasons;

  • If baby was a boy we already had a lot of boy stuff and didn’t need to worry about clothes and whatnot, I was already experiencing life as boy’s mum.
  • It would just be the icing on the cake, the cherry on top to have a girl and I would finally have the girl I wanted.

At 20 weeks we found out baby was a boy and when he arrived, Alex was a pretty easy baby, he hardly cried and was sleeping through at 5 weeks (I think). When Alex reached the terrible two’s he was no longer as cruisy – it was like he’d finally found his voice.

Rylee - Birth
Rylee a few days old

After a few years we decided to try for one more baby and this time that desire for a girl was at the forefront – even Jason said baby was a girl. We found out at the 20 week ultrasound that baby was indeed our long-awaited girl and that she was perfectly forming and there were no concerns.

With this information you would have thought I’d be over the moon, but you know what I only was for a short time; it was a feeling of apathy, maybe there was a part of me that feared getting excited in case something happened and we lost her. I remember feeling guilty I wasn’t more excited and tried the old adage “Fake it until you make it”.

When she was finally here and breathing – even then I still had a sense of anxiety until she smiled when she was only a few days old and that’s when my love for her just exploded.

I still have moments of regret that I wasn’t excited when I was pregnant with her, but it was also a difficult pregnancy as I had constant Braxton hicks from around 15 weeks gestation; didn’t find out until 34 weeks that I had an Irritable uterus. I had been so determined to enjoy my last pregnancy; however that was not to be.

During my pregnancy with Zoë the bond was there from the get-go, which is one of the reasons her loss hit me so hard. With Jason I was super excited and even though I can’t remember if the bond was there from the beginning but I do know it was there from the moment he was born.

The 3rd trimester was a bit rough when I was pregnant with Alex and when he was born I didn’t have a bond with him – however my husband did.

Just because we may not enjoy a pregnancy or the bond with our child is not instantaneous this does not mean we are bad mums. It may have taken a year or so for me to feel a bond with Alex but eventually it did happen.

A key thing to remember is that if we feel we are struggling and want to give up; then asking for help is the best thing to do. In my opinion it takes a strong person to ask for help when we need it, I know as mums we sometimes we think that someone may think we are not good mums if we struggle so we try to be what society expects of us, we need to try and let go of others expectation and do the best thing for us and for our children – Mums you are important as well.

Zoe - scan
Zoe’s Scan
42 Weeks Of Love

42 Weeks Of Love

zoes-footprints

I’ve had some people in the past ask me why I carried on with my pregnancy with Zoë-Jean when the prognosis was so dire – “she wasn’t viable for life”. The reason being I wanted to give her a fighting chance and hoping the medical professionals were wrong.

There’s a song by Mark Shultz called “What It Means To Be Loved” and it’s the first few verses and chorus that describes a similar situation to the one we had with Zoë and one of the reasons we were determined to carry on with the pregnancy knowing what the medical professionals expected the outcome to be; unfortunately the medical professionals were partially right – she didn’t live, however my pregnancy progressed longer than they expected.

It felt like every time I met with my midwife after the 20 week scan diagnosis she would say “I probably wouldn’t carry to term; as this was my first pregnancy it was a hard-hitting thing to hear –however I kept on holding on to hope; some medical professionals thought I was in denial about the situation – I wasn’t, I just couldn’t give up on my daughter, no matter what anyone else said. Those words were one of the reasons very few people knew about the possible outcome; we didn’t want or need any more negativity.

At 42 weeks gestation I needed to be induced as contrary to what the medical professionals had expected she wasn’t making her arrival and she still had a heartbeat in utero; the first induction did not take and so I had a sleepless night at the hospital waiting until they could try again to induce me in the morning.

The next morning I was again induced and also had my waters broken around 10am but nothing really happened until about 2 hours later, even then things still progressed slowly – I vaguely remember my midwife telling me to try and get some sleep, I also remember my husband needing to go back home as he forgot his phone and me thinking (or saying?) I don’t give a f*** about his phone.

Later on that evening her head was finally out and her heartbeat while low was still beating, that’s when things turned sour. She was stuck and first the obstetrician tried to turn her into a better position however it wasn’t until the midwife had a try that she was able to be turned however by that time it was too late and having her stuck for 22 minutes meant that when she was finally born – it was into the arms of Jesus.

If it wasn’t for hope and trust in God the outcome may have been exactly as the medical professionals had expected; however thanks for my love for her to fight and for God’s love for me in giving me the strength to hold on in my doubt I was at least able to have her for 42 weeks – even if it was In Utero.

 

 

4 Days of Christmas

4 Days of Christmas

gingerbread men

As a child Christmas always seemed so much fun and easy and now as a parent there are times when it feels complicated. As a child we were mainly in 1 or maybe 2 places; Now there are times when it’s 3 or more events.

 

Christmas Eve Eve

 

Today we had an early Christmas do at our place with some of my husband’s family to downsize the pile of presents that would be taken up to the lodge where we would be spending Christmas, especially considering there were a couple of large presents that would of taken up a bit of room in the vehicles.

Before family came round I went with my Mother-In-Law to do some last minute Christmas food shopping, it wasn’t too busy at the supermarket as we went there around 9am, if we’d left it later it probably would have been crazy busy.

 

After the family had left I made some gingerbread biscuits to eat over Christmas – because of how tired I was and because my boys insisted on talking to me while I was putting the ingredients together my attention was divided and the dough wasn’t as it should have been and took longer to come together.

I then got the boys to pack their bag, partially pack mine and Rylee’s bag before I could go to bed. Hubby was going to pack his bag in the morning.

 

Christmas Eve

Today was another busy day, after the kids got up and had breakfast, were dressed and Hubby was up and dressed we went to McDonalds for an early Christmas lunch with my Dad and siblings; we went to McDonalds as we only had a couple of hours before we needed to leave for the lodge where we would spend Christmas with some of my husband’s side of the family.

After we had finished at McDonalds we all went back to our place to open more presents which again couldn’t be taken up to the lodge or be opened at McDonalds as a couple for the kids were a bit large; as my Dad was putting together my four year old son’s new wagon my In-Law’s turned up, as Alex (4 year old) was travelling with them up to the lodge to allow me to put down the back seats in my car so there was more room to fill.

The journey up to the lodge felt long and arduous as I had to stop once for a carsick child, there was also a traffic accident which held us up and went got caught behind a caravan or 2. We finally reached the lodge so Hubby and I unpacked the car with help from my Brother-In-Law and I set up the room we would be staying in – I did need help from my Sister-In-Law to put up the porta-cot.

After dinner the kids opened their Christmas eve box – which included new pj’s and a book each they got ready for bed had a book read to them, Alex (4 years old) and Rylee (17 months old) went to bed. Jason (6 years old) got to stay up a little bit longer to play the new board game and then went to bed. Presents were then set up and “Santa” filled up the stockings.

Adults then socialised, as it was nearing midnight I headed for bed, the older generation had gone to bed earlier and my husband came to bed not long after and the rest I have no idea.Sleepy Rylee

Christmas Day

Today I woke around 6am as Rylee decided it was time to wake up, Alex was awake about half an hour later and then an hour later Jason got up. I got the kids breakfast and made myself a coffee, after breakfast the boysJason Present

went and got dressed and I dressed Rylee. It was hard for Alex to wait to open presents until all the adults were up but they all did. Seeing the look of excitement on my boys’ faces made the early morning worth it. After presents had been opened and the adults had cleared the paper and packaging away it was time for a breather – my B.I.L and his partner took their daughter and Alex up to the mountain, Jason read one of his new books, Some of the males put up the new BBQ and my M.I.L and her sister started preparing lunch.

Christmas Day

Lunch this year was at a decent hour and again was very filling; however Rylee didn’t eat much as she didn’t have a nap earlier so was over-tired.  I felt the same but managed to push on through – Christmas with young children can be hectic and tiring.

After lunch Rylee finally had a nap and the other kids played with their new toys while the adults’ tidied up and then rested, we had a pretty simple dinner of leftovers and cooked sausages – I think.

 

Boxing Day

Another early morning, as it seems that Rylee is a morning person. As soon as I get up I start packing our bags and then get the kids breakfast, a first breakfast of cereal; while they are getting dressed I strip the beds and try to have the room in the same way it was when we arrived. After this was done it was time for second breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs and tomatoes. After second breakfast we packed the car as I wanted to get back home before lunch.

We set off home with Alex going with his Uncle and Papa (Grandfather) and leaving just before us. We arrived home just after 11am and unpacked the car, I then went down the road to get Alex and dropped my B.I.L at the motorbike races that happen on boxing day; I contacted my Nana to let her know we were back and around 1pm get an invite to go to where they were staying for tea. Rylee refused to have a nap that afternoon so by dinnertime was so over-tired she didn’t eat much except when it came to pudding.

It ended up being a late night for the kids as we didn’t get home until around 8pm, as soon as we got home the boys got ready for bed and I got Rylee ready and the boys went to bed after a story and I put Rylee in her cot to sleep.

Boys on Bikes

 

Conclusion

This was a snippet of how our Christmas played out this year, a lot more happened but if I wrote about every single thing that happened it would be quite a novel. I hope you all had a great Christmas and look forward to what the New Year will bring.