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

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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.

Night-time Adventure

Night-time Adventure

It’s funny how when our children get worryingly sick, that’s when our eyes are opened to the extent of love we have for them, especially for the ones that constantly seem to push our limits.

Last night I ended up taking my 4 year old son Alex up to the hospital as his temp was a bit high, he was lethargic and had a loss of appetite. Alex is the only one of my kids I’ve never really worried about; even when at a week and a half old he had to go back into hospital as he was Jaundice. At that time I was more concerned about being away from my eldest boy who was 20 months old.Alex at WAM

Alex is normally a chatty, energetic boy and last night he was far from that, fortunately he doesn’t stay down for very long and this morning even though he still has a high temp he’s back to his chatty self. He’s still not very hungry but I’m just glad to have my chatty boy back. Thinking over last night’s “adventure” made me realize how much I love my youngest son, I knew I loved him but he’s the one the pushes my buttons the most, the one who can really test my patience, so never fully realised how much I love him.

I find it interesting looking back over the time when Alex was a baby I can see the signs of P.N.D but it never really clicked with me at the time – it was pretty mild. It took over a year or so to bond with him and he was a lot easier as a baby than Jason. Alex was “sleeping through the night” by about 5 weeks old. Even when he did wake he didn’t make a noise so I wouldn’t know he had woken up until I went and checked on him. Yet even though he was a easy baby I felt like it was a chore to care for him, now I feel a tad bit guilty about that, though it wasn’t an intentional feeling.

When my eldest boy Jason was a baby, I always seemed to worry about him – the slightest cold had me taking him up to the hospital and with my daughter Rylee I’m always a little bit more cautious

 

when it comes to her health. Jason has never really been sick other than the Jaundice as a baby, chicken pox and a mild case of bronchitis. Rylee has never been sick though I think because she’s so dainty I don’t want her getting sick as she doesn’t have the “padding” her brothers did when they were babies.

3 kids

I love all my kids equally but differently as they are different people, sometimes it can take a while to bond with your child; that is okay just keep pushing through, and if you need help it’s always out there through friends, family, church, and other groups. Parenting is not easy and we all need help sometimes, we shouldn’t hesitate to ask, especially when it comes to the physical and mental health of the parent or child.

Children are children – Let It Go

Children are children – Let It Go

My eldest boy had an anti-bullying awareness day at his school and was asked to wear either a pink OR loud shirt, I ended up buying him a bright orange shirt as there was little chance he would wear pink.

I have tried to explain to my boys that there are no “boy” or “girl” colours – they are just colours; however Jason has a very set idea on what is ok for him to wear, he won’t even wear the dark purple jeans he has. He said that the other kids would laugh if he wore them.

In my opinion we should let our kids wear what they want without parental judgment, especially towards boys. There seems to still be a bit of double standards going on when it comes to what our children wear, their favourite colour or how they play.

It seems to be more acceptable for girls to play with trucks, cars and so on yet not so acceptable if our boys want to play with dolls or pretend to be a disney princess. Its like when our girls play with car, trucks and the sort they are being toughened, however if our boys play with what is deemed “girls toys” then they are sometimes labelled “sissies”.

Children are just children and why should we put on them expectations that they don’t understand. In doing a bit of surfing on the net I found that pink didn’t become a “girls colour until after the 1920’s, before that it was more popular as a “boys colour”.

I remember as a child one of my favourite toys was a yellow dump truck whereas my little sister preferred to play with dolls – I didn’t mind playing dolls with her as to me it was more about just playing with my sister.

I can’t remember the last time Jason played with a doll, mind you he loves to carry his baby sister around. He’s very sensitive and very empathetic, he’s not a boy that likes to try new things straight off the bat and is cautious. My youngest son who’s 4 doesn’t mind what he wears and is a boy who will give anything a go, seems to have no fear and has no problem playing with dolls or dressing up.

What a child likes has more to do with their personality than their gender, as adults I believe that we should let them keep their innocence as long as possible we should try our best not to allow our own preferences to affect their choices. If a boy wants to dress like “Elsa” then let them and try not to analyse their reasoning – after all children are children they don’t reason like we do, they just want to have fun.

 

Happy and Active

Happy and Active

Alex had his before school check the other day, he was weighed and measured and then came the BMI chart (I think that’s what it is called). Anyway apparently he reached the “overweight” line for his height and weight. I honestly think that chart is absurd, my boy is very active hardly has Junk food and eats less than his almost 6 year old brother does and his brother looks quite skinny in my opinion.Jase and Alex

 

Their Dad was 6 ft by age 12 and Alex will most likely follow in his footsteps, Alex was 8 pd 15 oz when he was born and wasn’t on solids until he was around 8 months or so.

 

That chart could cause an anxious mother to be even more anxious in this day and age where social media is so prevalent and everyone can share their own views on things and when Google is an available source of “information” it is so easy to second guess yourself. I believe that if a child is happy and active –  at least some of the time. There should be no concern about a child’s weight unless their health is obviously in trouble due to being “overweight” or “underweight”

My 10 month old daughter is on the “9th percentile” yet she eats a quite a decent amount of food and has been commando crawling since she was 6 1/2 months old. She was 8 pd 5 oz when she was born so I was more concerned about her being so little as I was use to her brothers being at least in the “50th percentile” as her eldest brother was smaller than her at birth. The plunket nurse though was unconcerned as her body was in proportion.

All children are different and that chart doesn’t take into account a child’s activity or metabolism. Children may also seem stocky before a growth spurt and then just shoot up and be tall and skinny.

Alex weighs only a little bit less than his big brother but his brother is taller, a time may come when Alex is the taller one or is at least the same height as him.

I do think that chart is absurd but i’m sure it has helped some children, the thing to do about that chart is to take the information but to then look at the child themselves, and in many cases to trust that parental instinct. A chart alone cannot tell you if you’re child is doing well or not. There may be some cases where medical or nutritional advice is needed or whether further observations are necessary but in the end a parent knows their child the best. If a parent feels worried then to put their minds at ease it’s a positive thing to get a professionals opinion. I believe that it’s not a waste of time to take our child to see a doctor if we feel at all concerned even if it turns out nothing is wrong.

As long as a child is happy and as healthy as possible then parents you are doing a great job. After all you know whats best for your child not another parent.

 

 

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

It seems that in the News and on Social Media lately there is a lot of talk around bullying and how big a problem it is, especially with social media being a major bullying outlet. This has made me think even more about as parents what sort of example we are setting for our children.

I’m sure that no-one wants their child to be bullied or even more so to be a bully. Children are like monkeys and often its a case of children doing what we do not what we say – Monkey See, Monkey Do.

When we talk about the way other mum’s parent is it with respect even if we disagree or is it in judgement because they don’t parent how WE think they should. In an earlier blog  I wrote stopping these mum wars – this is a good idea not just because as mums we should be supporting each other but because we won’t to set a good example for how our children should treat others even when disagreements arise.

strong-people-dont-put-others-down-they-lift-them-up

If we put down another mum because they don’t cut their grapes for their kids like we do. Maybe it’s showing our kids that when someone does something different to us then that person is in the wrong.

I remember being told “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you” this is complete and utter crock. I have found that bones do eventually heal however hurtful words can stick around for a long time and can have a major impact on a person’s self-esteem. I still remember having hurtful things said to me when I was younger and this is one of the reasons I struggle with self-esteem issues.

Childhood bullying actually has a long-lasting effect and according to some statistics is a reason why youth suicide is so high. Social media plays such a major role in the world today that bullying has taken on a new face and sometimes is unrecognisable.

I believe that as parents we should respect other parents and not insist that they shouldn’t do something because that’s not our way.

Mum shaming is bullying through and through. Unless a child is OBVIOUSLY being neglected or abused then we need to keep our opinions to ourselves, making suggestions is good as long as we don’t insist that our way is the ONLY way to do things.

Hope