Anxiety, Epilepsy and Kids

Anxiety, Epilepsy and Kids

Epilepsy mindmapAnxiety plays an underlying role in my life, when it does affect me it can seem serious, most of the time I can manage it and not allow it to affect my daily life. The epilepsy that affects my husband Rob can be a daily occurrence especially during the night, medication is helping him to live but the quality could be better, the only option he has left is surgical which is what is hopefully in the works.

The other week Rob went up to Auckland for a consultation with a Neurosurgeon. Due to the limited availability of flights he had to fly up the day before. That night I was missing him which is weird as when he’s been away for longer I normally wouldn’t miss him until the next day or so. During the day the possibility of him having neurosurgery had me feeling torn between being with him away from our kids or being with our kids but not by his side.

Anxiety mindmap

I was playing the “what if” game in my head which allowed anxiety to rear its ugly head. Having a husband who has a serious medical condition makes keeping the anxiety under control a bit harder, as there are more situations to worry about – especially when you have young kids; there are times when both parties need me to be there and because I can’t be in 2 places at once I have to be there for the party that needs me the most.

 

Rob seems to have a gift for minimalising big issues and exaggerating the smaller issues, whereas I’m the opposite, there are times when small issues are important in the grander scheme of things and there are times when bigger issues need to work themselves out and there’s nothing you can do about them, so it doesn’t pay to worry. However because of anxiety sometime worry is just part and parcel of the situation; for me there’s the anxious side and then there’s the rational side. In some cases the rational side can suppress the anxiety, and at other times it is anxiety that suppresses all rationality.

With everything Rob has to deal with, what with the epilepsy, medication and physical limitations I’m glad to know that anxiety isn’t on his plate – other than trying to help me through the anxiety I sometimes have to deal with. He does try to help but sometimes the only thing that gets me though it is time. Anxiety is not something I can just get over, and it feels very real. I’m thankful for the support of family and friends as they play a big part in my fight with anxiety. Rob doesn’t really understand how hard it is to fight anxiety sometimes, just as I don’t know what it’s like to have epilepsy

It’s the same throughout humanity; unless we are dealing with exactly what someone else is dealing with – or dealt with we will never completely understand what that person’s going through. People deal with their stuff in different ways, and if someone is having a hard time with something that someone else might find inconsequential then that person needs support not judgment.

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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

“He’s a Mummy’s Boy” – not a bad thing

“He’s a Mummy’s Boy” – not a bad thing

Jason and Mummy

Jason has been called a “Mummy’s boy” by various people and because of the stigma attached to it its come across as a negative thing – but you know what – he comes across that way because he has a big heart so is sensitive when it comes to feelings. He’s not the type of boy who is adventurous. He’s very caring towards those younger than him especially his little cousin, his sister and even his friends sisters.

Here in New Zealand it seems that boys are only meant to be the rough and tumble adventurous type, he does like rough play but only to a certain degree. He also is a great reader and sometimes prefers to just sit and read. He likes to play sport but isn’t a fan of heights or is very cautious about trying new things.

Some people think that he’s “soft” because when he was little out of necessity we co-slept. Honestly though it was what he needed at the time. Jason isn’t 6 for a few more months but he can ride a two-wheeler by himself, he has had sleepovers at a friends place and was quite happy about it and didn’t want to come home.

I think what makes it harder on him is that his little brother is very adventurous and throws caution out the window; Alex never needed to co-sleep and just goes with the flow when it comes to change, he’s willing to try anything. However he doesn’t have the empathy that Jason has – and that’s okay as well. I’ve never had to worry too much about Alex but he does do my head in a bit as he is very determined and teaching him to apologise has been a huge task.

Jason loves cuddles and if I had to say what his love language was I would say its probably physical touch and quality time. Jason seems to prefer small but close friendship circles, he’s a friendly boy but when he was at kindy he pretty much just played with the same few boys whereas Alex’s friendships are more vast.

Some might say that Alex isn’t as emphatic as Jason because he’s younger but I disagree. The brothers just have different personalities and thats a good thing. If this world was made up of people that were exactly the same it would be pretty boring.

Just because someone may not fit the label we give them doesn’t give us a right to make assumptions. Yes Jason may be a “mummy’s boy” because of his empathy, his sensitivity and his closeness to me – he’s also a lot like his dad in his sense of humor and love of sports. Its fine if boys are sensitive it’ll mean they’ll grow up to be great Dads.

Jason and Rylee

Kids and their friends

Kids and their friends

In this day and age there are so many playgroups, music groups that we can get our kids involved in. We try to socialise our kids from a very young age which can be a good thing as long as there are no rigid expectations. We love our kids to make friends and sometimes as parents we try to choose those friends for them; even from a young age kids will decide who their friends are.

Who kids decide to befriend is determined on a kid by kid basis; for example when my eldest boy was at Kindy he played with pretty much the same 3 boys, he was friendly with others but those three were his Kindy besties and they all had a similar look, he also didn’t regard any girls as his friends. My youngest boy however has chosen friends both boys and girls and he will be happy to play with kids older than him.

I have a friend who’s daughter is about a week older than my girl and she also has 2 big brothers. We’ve been trying to get these 2 to be best friends but I’m not sure how well it will work out; the first coffee/playdate resulted in my girl crying whenever the other little girl made a cry sound, it was happening so often that it actually became a bit funny.

Before the age of 3 my youngest boy appeared to not care much about friendships and was quite happy to play by himself – he still is but he also likes to talk about his friends and not that he has close friends I’ve not heard a peep about his imaginary friend.

When my eldest boy started school the best thing about it he said was that one of his Kindy besties was in the same class. I actually stopped asking him who he played with as it was always the same answer, yet with my youngest it is sometimes the same answer but sometimes it is different.

I think its good for kids to socialise but in the end who they are friends with is up to them. When my kids reach their tweens/teens my opinion about that might change. However If we give them a strong and positive foundation to start off then hopefully they will make good choices about friends in those years.

 

The Middle Child

The Middle Child

alex-2
Alex

Alex lost his place as baby of the family when our daughter came along 7 months ago; if that wasn’t difficult enough his Dad who he has a great bond with was in hospital for 2 weeks at the beginning of the year and though he is out of hospital he is still not quite and will be heading to Auckland Hospital next week for observations and tests; its a 6 or so hour drive from where we live and so visiting will be very difficult so won’t happen. Which in a way may be a good thing as Alex didn’t like seeing his Dad in the hospital – he saw him after the tubes were taken out.

Rob’s balance is still not great and sometimes finds it difficult to even carry a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the living room. This means that the rough-housing that normally goes on between those 2 has been put on hold.

Alex’s big brother Jason has been busy with school and is involved in activities outside of school as well so I think Alex has been feeling a bit left out especially when his baby sister takes up more of my time. I try to spend quality time with Alex when I can  but things are definitely different now.alex-age-3

Normally Alex is a friendly and helpful little boy but he has been having moments where he’s defiant and aggressive, maybe part of it is his age – after all he will be 4 in a few weeks I think a lot of it has to do more with all the changes he’s had to deal with.

Alex is the type of kid that will try anything he is determined and seems to have very little fear. I have found that I can’t waiver at all with him and compromise is not possible. If he’s given an inch he will take a mile. This type of attitude will be good when he’s a teenager as maybe he will be less likely to give in to peer pressure – right now though hes a bit of a trial, though hopefully it will get better as he learns more self-control.alex