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
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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.   

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

I guess the beginning of this post is a bit of a rant, I wrote the draft to this when I was a bit emotional and recently found it in a journal I was using earlier this year.

Parenting

 

Why is it that some males seem to have difficulty processing anger, I’m sure its not the case for every males but I have read al lot about how the percentage is higher amongst males when it comes to anger management issues; some dad’s have a expectation of their young sons to be able to manage their tantrums better by telling them to “harden up” or “take a concrete pill” this doesn’t make much sense to me  as children are young and haven’t had time to learn to manage their emotions and it is up to the adults to teach them and I believe the best way to do that is to show them; and the best way to show them is by adults managing their emotions in a less destructive manner.

Children are more likely to pay attention to a person’s actions than their words; it’s a case of parents “practicing what they preach” Parents are human so are not likely to get it right all the time but when we do slip up then that is the time when we need to apologise to the child/ren for our behavior and try our best not to repeat it. As no-one is perfect us as parents shouldn’t expect our children to manage their emotions any better than we would. To have those expectations is living with double standards; just like it took time to learn to walk learning to manage emotions takes time and won’t happen overnight.

Parental Example

 

As a teenager I know I was anything but tidy but now as a mum I expect my children to try and keep their room clean. I give their room a decent clean every few months to show them what it should look like when it’s tidy. I tell them that if they put away their toys after they’ve finished playing it wouldn’t be as big a job as they think.

There are days when I feel like I tell my kids over a hundred times to clean their room and put away their toys when they’ve finished playing. I frustrating as the repetitiveness of it all, I can only trust that eventually it will sink in and that putting away their toys will become a habit. Habits aren’t formed overnight and breaking habits can take longer.

My boys are Four and Six years old, so it’s been a short while that I’ve expected them to put their toys away after they’ve finished playing. With my Four year old I don’t expect him to be able to make his bed well but I do expect him to at least try. I do have more expectations of my Six year old because I know what he is capable of – he’s pretty good at making his bed but often needs to be reminded.

At kindy they were/are expected to help tidy up and I have those same expectations at home. My Four year old helped his Dad put together our new chairs – but I wonder if it was more a tactic to delay his bedtime than a genuine wanting to help.Positive Parenting

As I was writing this I found it interesting how it flowed from a rant to talking about expectations of our children but the key point is that as parents we need to show our children how to behave through our own behavior.

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

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.

alex-2

 

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.

When Childhood Is A Struggle

When Childhood Is A Struggle

Coming from a broken family my childhood was anything but carefree, there were some fun times and carefree times but it wasn’t a constant. As a child I guess I felt confused about why my parents fought, I mean at the time I probably thought that only children fight, it was just a part of having siblings. Now as a parent myself I understand that everyone argues; sometimes it means that love has gone but other times it’s just a clash of differing expectations/opinions. When differing personalities are joined, there are sure to be disagreements just as there would be in area of life.

As a mother I try my best to give my children a stress-free childhood however due to situations beyond my control I’m not sure how feasible it is for my children to have a completely stress-free childhood. I love my children beyond the beyonds and would give my life to protect them; unfortunately life itself is not carefree. With my husband, their dad, having epilepsy they are learning about compassion for others and that not everyone is “normal”. For my kids living with someone who has epilepsy will give them an experience of people with epilepsy more than what their peers may experience.

I myself have to deal with anxiety issues and try my best to protect my children when the anxiety overwhelms me as I want my children to be children as long as possible. I don’t want my children to grow up too fast as I did. It’s not fair on children to put adult problems on their little shoulders, for our littlies to worry about us adults when being a child in the 21st century can be difficult enough

Children that grow up in households that are far from stress-free may grow in ways that other children with easier lives may not. Though of course this is all relative, having a stressful childhood can also have detrimental effects on some children, I think a lot is determined on the personality of the child and whether that child can break through the negativity that he/she has had to live with. Some children may build “walls” to protect themselves and never know to break through, yet others may build “walls” but eventually allow the “walls” to weaken.

Everyone has different experiences as children and often that may determine how we are as adults, then again there are times when adults need to adapt to the world around them and if they can’t, they may find that life is more stressful than life is for others.