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BoyChild Turns FOUR!!

My little baby boy is getting bigger. He’s not really a little baby boy anymore, is he? Sigh.

Saturday was Valentines Day. What romantic plans did Mr T and I have on this such romantic evening? We were putting together a Lego railway station. I know, right? Slow down there. Get a room! But seriously, I said to dear hubby, this is probably our Valentines Days for the next 14ish years. That’ll learn us for having a baby the day after! And then, one day, I’ll be all prepped to help get ready for BoyChild’s birthday and he will turn to me and say, “Mum. I don’t want anything this year”. And I will cry. True story.

As mentioned in my last post, BoyChild was particularly excited about his birthday this year, because he had chosen and invited his own friends to his party. So, I planned the ideal party for him – a picnic at the local park, including a nice swim in the paddling pool, then a play in the playground. Great plan, Mrs T. Great plan.

Except for one minor issue.

February is the thick of summer here. So why, on that particular day, it decided to be freezing cold and raining, I have no idea. But COME ON.

We went down to the park anyway, hoping and praying that the rain would suddenly disappear. And, as soon as we arrived, BoyChild stripped off his clothes and ran to the playground, happily giggling about his party. And that was that. I said to Mr T, there is no way we can go home now, even if we wanted to!

BoyChild wasn’t interested in wearing his clothes (despite the chilly temperature) but he relented and let me put his togs on him.

And, you know what? The party was perfect. I was worried beforehand about not having anything planned for this kids – I needn’t have worried. Because of the weather, no one else was there so we had the entire playground to ourselves. And, unbeknownst to me, they had put in a new playground just that week. We barely saw BoyChild the entire time, he loved it that much.

For food, I ordered five scoops of hot chips. They went so quickly, my darling mother went back to the chip shop for another 5 scoops! Which also went equally as fast. We had lemonade, juice and cake.

Such a simple party, and one very, very happy big dude.

And, believe it or not, the rain held off, only really raining literally as we were loading the cars to come home. BoyChild and his sisters and cousins even managed an (albeit brief) swim in the pool before coming home.

Happy Birthday to my special monkey man xx love you, dude!

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What I Say vs What My Kids Hear

My children, they don’t listen to me. Well, that’s not entirely true. They listen, they just hear a different version to what I’m saying. Selective hearing, if you will. Princess is particularly good at it, and sometimes I really wonder if I am speaking the same language as her. BoyChild is nearly as bad – his forte is replying a multiple choice question with a yes/no answer. Actually, this may well be a male trait, as my brother in law did the same thing yesterday – “Did you want peanut butter on your toast, or jam?” “Yes”. (note: that was an example of the question I ask BoyChild, not my brother in law. I’m not in the habit of making him toast. Not against it, mind. Just not something I do often).

I read somewhere recently that being ignored evokes the same internal reaction as physical pain. True or not, I see sense in this. Being ignored makes you want to blow your lid like a volcano, I tell you what. One of my most common Mum Phrases is, “What did I JUST say?”

And so, this is what I say, vs what I’m sure my kids hear me say.

Please don’t kick your brother.

Please, don’t kick your brother. But, I’m going to look away now, so sneak a quick one in before I look back again.

Someone very important is coming over shortly, lets just put away your toys.

Do you know what toys you guys haven’t played with in ages? ALL OF THEM! Lets get them out and have a toy FIESTA!!!

The baby is asleep, please do not yell.

The baby is asleep, I think a great place for your game of “who can yell the loudest” is outside her bedroom door. In fact, open the door and check she is still sleeping, that’s a great idea.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

No, you can’t have a biscuit, but if you yell and scream and kick and push and shove, you can most certainly have one.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

Please, go grab that chair and climb into the cupboard and help yourself to the biscuits. In fact, share them around.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

I am going to starve you until you just can’t bear it any more, because I really am the worst mother in the world.

It is bed time in five minutes, please settle down now.

Bed time is scrapped tonight, jump on the couch some more!

Can you please set the table?

[Nothing]

How was school today?

[Nothing]

Get your foot off your sister’s face.

Put both feet onto your sister’s face

Don’t stand on that stool. It is NOT stable.

Stand of that stool there. And, see how much you can dance before it topples. I dare ya.

Keep that door shut, I don’t want the dog to come inside. Or the baby to go outside.

Hey – you know that door there? Let’s open that. And then close it again, with the dog inside and the baby outside. Switch-arounds are FUN!

If you kids eat your veges for dinner, you can have an ice cream

FORGET DINNER! VEGES SCHMEGES!!! ICE CREAM FOR EVERYONE!!

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I might as well quit while I’m ahead. And, by “ahead”, I mean, “very, very far behind”. Perhaps I’ll have more luck talking to my husband.

I know, I laughed out loud as well.

 

 

 

 

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You Are An Awesome Mum!

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I recently met with a young mum. She is a friend of a friend, and I came to know her because she lives not far from me and is at home with her 4 month old son during the day. And, she is not happy.

I headed around there one day to introduce myself and see if she was interested in getting to know another local mum. I didn’t take my kids with me, because, well, I didn’t want to frighten the poor girl. I love my kids but they are loud. And destructive. And somewhat intimidating to some people!

It didn’t take me long talking with her to get the idea that she was miserable. You can just tell when someone isn’t overly thrilled with their life.

She is 25 and her gorgeous son is 4 months old. He is not a great feeder, not a great sleeper. She doesn’t know a lot of people with kids and, quite frankly, she feels like she is failing. Daily. Hourly, even. She is not happy with her son, and she is not happy with her life.

Now, anyone who has suffered from Post Natal Depression is probably nodding at this point and saying, “yup, been there”. And, people who haven’t suffered from PND but had a baby who didn’t sleep, didn’t feed, are probably thinking, “ohhhh yea, know that feeling” as well. Goodness knows I’ve been there. I’ve had moments where I’ve looked at my kids and thought, “just go back to where you came from, strange noisy loud baby”.

As I was walking home after meeting her, it really struck a chord with me that she felt so alone. Yet, there are mothers out there who have been in the same position. A lot of them, in fact.

How great would it be, if new mothers were handed a booklet of reassurance when their baby is born. A booklet that says, “hey – you are actually doing a great job!”.

Because sometimes, that’s what you need to hear. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you aren’t completely failing.

If I were to write such a booklet, this is what I would include:

  • You are not failing your child if you want to have an hour without them. You are not a bad mother for wanting some time away from the baby. I offered to come over one day soon and take the baby for an hour or two, and her face lit up like it was Christmas. Which was great except it was immediately followed by a shy, “No, it’s ok”. Don’t be shy about letting other people hold the baby. Give yourself a break!
  • Sometimes babies don’t sleep. And it sucks balls. “They” talk about babies who don’t sleep at night. But people don’t talk about babies who don’t sleep in the day time! Having a baby who sleeps 8 hours at night is all well and good, but if they don’t even have an hour in the day then you, the mother, can’t do anything! Even worse if they are grizzly but just will not sleep. Front packs are handy, unless the baby screams like a banshee while in one. Rocking baby swings are handy, unless your baby screams like a banshee while in one. You are still doing a great job.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. Making up bottles at 3 in the morning is hard. Babies are needy and hungry and demanding. It is hard. But stick with what you are doing. And if it really isn’t working, try something else. You haven’t failed your baby. Some people breast feed and it’s awesome. Some people bottle feed and it’s awesome. You are still doing a great job.
  • Babies aren’t born as the smiling, laughing characters that you see on tv. They actually don’t do a lot for the first few months, aside from sleep (or, not), feed (or, not), and poop. A lot. But, persevere. Once they hit that 6-8 month mark, they become awesome little people. They laugh, they play peekaboo, they do what babies “should” do. And it is fun. Make the most of it as well, you will miss it when they turn two!
  • No one expects you to have a tidy house, a well dressed baby, cooked meals every night and be well presented every day. Gosh, if I achieve even two of these in a day, I pat myself on the back and reward myself with chocolate. And, if people do expect these things of you, tell them to piss off. You are doing a great job.
  • Lastly, if you really are feeling like you are sinking, ask for help. No one (NO ONE) is going to look scathingly at you and accuse you of failure. NO ONE. If some kindly (if not a little random) neighbour with three strange children turns up on your doorstep and offers to look after your baby for a morning, take her up on the offer. If someone offers to grab you some milk while they are out, accept the offer. And ask for chocolate too. Anyone who has had kids knows what it feels like, around that four-month-mark. The thrill of a newborn has gone, the sleep deprivation has kicked in, and you are probably starting to miss your “old” life. That’s ok! Get a babysitter (if you can – I know some people don’t have that option!) and get that man of yours to take you out for dinner. And, there are people you can call. Your doctor will listen.

So, if you know a new mother who might be struggling, go and offer them some guidance. They may not take you up on the offer, but they just might. As luck would have it, the week after I met with this woman, my kids got ridiculously unwell with a passing cold so I haven’t been back to follow up on my offer (because I did NOT want to make her baby unwell!), but I will be back. Because I remember being at home, not knowing anyone nearby with small kids, looking at my crying little thing and thinking, “why is it so hard when everyone else seems to find it so easy?”.

And, if you are a new mother – it is hard. Other people don’t find it easy. You are not a failure as a parent. You are doing a great job. You are an awesome mother. You are.

 

 

 

 

 

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This Shop is Shut … Or, Is It?

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I have three beautiful babies and, while I love them dearly, I am sure that this baby-making shop is shut. Pretty sure. Mostly sure. I think. Yes, no, definitely no more babies. Probably. No, definitely. Absolutely. I think …

When do you really know that you’ve had enough kids? That, you are done with breeding. Done with it all. When do you stop looking at baby clothes and feel that yearning for another child? Does that ever happen?

I am one of four kids. I always wanted four kids. I was determined. And, funnily enough, Mr T is one of three kids, and was adamant he wanted to have three. It was a point of contention between us. Until, that is, I had three kids.

There are a few reasons why I decided that three was a good number for us.

1. My health during pregnancy

This was a major swaying point for me. In fact, this was the major swaying point. I suffered a lot through my pregnancy with BabyGirl, with things ranging from chronic morning sickness, pre-term labour, irritable uterus, SPD, heart palpatations .. the list was pretty extensive. Note: this was just for one pregnancy. My ailments for the other two were completely different (though, no less thorough) lists. If giving birth were all it took, I could have a million babies, but those pregnancies are not fun, for me or my family.

2. The cost of children

Children are expensive. No kidding, right? But, really. It’s hard to factor in costs like extra curricular activities when you are looking at your beautiful baby but it doesn’t take long before you are looking for activities for them. And, they are NOT cheap. Around here, most things cost around the $100 mark per term. Multiply that by three kidss and it starts to get expensive. Bear in mind, as well, that my three are all still pre-schoolers. I know it’s going to get more expensive as they get older.

3. Time spent with children

I honestly don’t know how people with lots of kids do it. I have no idea how my own mother did it. How the heck do you balance the needs of more children that you have hands spare? I find it such a battle each day, making sure that each of the three kids has time with Mum, time with Dad, time alone, etc. Some days, it simply doesn’t happen. I ran into a friend recently who had just had her third child, and she said to me her biggest battle was helping one child at the expense of another. Which is very accurate – often, you have to ask at least one child to wait while you deal to the other one (or two). I know, it’s character building for them, etc, but it still feels unfair.

On a side note – isn’t it funny, take one kid out of the situation and things go SO much smoother? Anyone with three kids will agree with me – it doesn’t matter which child you remove, two kids are 100% easier to juggle! True story.

4. Parental age

We aren’t getting any younger, let’s be honest. Let’s enjoy the kids that we do have, while we are young(ish).

This is why I don’t want any more kids. In fact, I told my mother with great pride last week, that I was looking at newborn baby clothes and not feeling that familiar clucky twang for the first time. I realised that I didn’t want another baby. I have my babies, and I am looking forward to watching them grow up.

But …

My friend had a baby today. On my baby’s first birthday. And I sat down and reminisced about my labour. And bringing our third little baby home. And how little she was. And I looked at photos. And ….

Ruh-Roh.

There it is again. Maybe, just maybe? Perhaps four is a nice number? Even numbers and all that?

Stop it. No. I’m done. The shop is SHUT. I enquired about “the snip” for Mr T yesterday. He still needs a bit of convincing.

A year ago, I was 110% certain that we were DONE-BURGER. Today, 80%. Ask me again in a few months. No, don’t. Because I am done. Or, am I?

Oh dear. Perhaps I will never know.

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Sigh.