Friday, 16 September 2016

Bye, bye baby

August 1, 2016

I watch you squeal and race, commando crawling across the floorboards in record speed. I try to join you on my hands and knees but you're far too fast for me. You smile and chuckle at my poor attempts at chasing you.

My baby girl, 10 months today. I feel like it's just going too fast, like we're on a freight train that's picking up speed. Everything is flashing past me and I can't quite see the beautiful scenery. Life right now is so busy with not just one, but three precious children.

You seem to be such a part of me, you come along for the ride wherever I may be.  There are the school pick ups when you're strapped into your car seat sitting quietly while Issy and Fin scream for help with trapped seat beat buckles. Then there's the energetic bike rides around the block with your brother Fin, while you cling to me like a koala in your baby carrier backpack. We go out to parks, libraries, friend's homes, school, church, preschool and shops yet you never complain much; you take it all in. People love to hold you, to smile at you and rest you on their hip.

The day seems to flash by in snapshots of laughter, mess, house cleaning, school routines, sibling fights, food feeding and nappy changing. You just carry on amongst the busyness, exploring tupperware drawers in the kitchen or sorting through the box of hair accessories. You don't stay still for long; you crawl from room to room inspecting anything that gets inbetween you and your destination.

Often, when I'm cooking dinner, I'll feel a little tug on my pant leg and sure enough you've come to me for a comfort cuddle. "Hello my little love," I say ."I love you my Lucy Lu." It's in these moments I feel the freight train has slowed down to stop at a station. You snuggle in, resting your head on my shoulder and begin sucking your right thumb. Your eyes begin to flutter with the heaviness of sleep. I kiss the top of your little head, lips brushing against your soft, fuzzy hair and inhale your baby milky scent. I relish the quiet I can have with you amidst the chaos.

When it's time to have a nap, I breastfeed you into a semi-sleep and slowly lower you into the cot.

"Shh, Shh," I say as I pat your back. "I'm still here Lu Lu." You protest to lying alone in your cot and sometimes you'll refuse to sleep at all. Yet you mostly end up dreaming deeply in a haze of milky fog.

It's due to the busyness of our day that I indulge you in night time snuggles. It's cold and you're my little, hot water bottle. So when the clock strikes 3am, or anytime really, I pick you up from your cot to breastfeed you then and then it's breastmilk and sleepy snuggles until sunrise.

I love looking at your precious face in the morning when I first wake - your button nose snuffling and the squeals of delight dancing out from your cherry mouth. You hear your Daddy out in the lounge room with the other kids and you thrash your arms in excitement. Each day is an adventure, you're sure to learn something new and we'll all delight in you.

It won't be long before you're on your feet, running along and scrambling up onto the furniture. Your cooes and babbles will form words that flow from your heart shaped lips. A toddler you will then be. It already feels like I'm saying," bye, bye baby" far too soon.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Life as a family of five

April 2016:

Life is hectic, crazy, fun, and tiring right now. I'm often in limbo with my feelings towards this time of our life as a family. I want to click pause, to soak in the beautiful newborn snuggles, angelic smiles and silky smooth skin of my six month old Lucy. I'd also like to hit pause on my son Fin and daughter Issy's adoration for their mum & Dad. They say the sweetest things right now about how much they love us. For example, Fin said to me the other day, "Mum I love you so much mum, you're so handsome, you're so sweet. I like you." And Issy was being so caring tonight when I wasn't feeling well. She got me her doona and draped it over my limp body that lay on the lounge. She found me the teddy I had as a child growing up and then wrote me a letter saying that she was so happy God gave me to her. What a sweetheart!!

Yet, there are also some things I can't wait to speed up and say goodbye to permanently! I really don't like Lucy's constant sleeping needs right now. It's so restrictive! It's hard enough when its just you and the baby but when it's the baby, myself, a school child, a preschool and my husband things get tricky. We spend many days in and out of the car, rushing here and there trying to get things done before she needs her next sleep. On the weekend, the rest of the family wants to enjoy outings and I want to join them - however it's becoming more and more difficult. Lucy isn't as keen to sleep out these days. So when we are out it can be stressful trying to be apart of something and yet trying to settle her if she's tired (sometimes to no avail). Fin is also a handful around other kids at the moment. He's struggling with learning how to socialise properly. He currently has a preference for destroying the games of other kids, poking people in the back, getting up close to their face and saying "bum" and "poo" over and over again! He has been labeled "naughty" at preschool by his peers which stabs at my heart. He truly is a sweetheart one on one and I find him so easy to be home with. However, in social situations he just gets over excited and often out of control. Issy is a beauty and I truly don't want her to grow up in most ways as I'm dreading any pre-teen behaviour but I'm looking forward to perhaps more emotional regulation - it's something we need to work on with her.

Having three kids is also tough on marriage. Luke and I rarely share the same bedroom these days as Lucy wakes up so frequenlty and won't go back to sleep easily in the early hours so I take her into the single bed in her room. Fin also wakes every night and jumps into our bed. I was having terrible night's sleep and Fin and Lucy were waking one another so this has made things easier. I feel like we're living like housemates at the moment  but I know it's only for a time - another one I'm hoping to fast forward.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Welcome to the world Lucinda Eve

We have a baby girl! I wrote this post over a month ago and forgot to post it. So here it is...

Our beautiful little girl, Lucinda Eve, arrived ten & a half weeks ago, 11 days overdue. We are totally smitten with her. Life has been busy since - hence why I'm only writing now!

I was induced on October 1 and she was born that evening at 10.51pm. I feel really happy with how it all went, despite being very anxious that day. I was so ecstatic to finally meet her.

The last five and a half weeks have been a blur but I've loved seeing her grow so much already. I'm especially loving her big smiles towards everyone in our family.

Before I start writing about the present, I want to share what happened in the lead up to and the birth of Lucinda.

It was a huge time going overdue by 11 days. The days were filled with much hope, yet also increasing anxiety as we waited for a definite sign of labour. I had plenty of braxton hicks contractions - they would take my breathe away and I'd have to breathe through them. Yet they never came more frequent than five minutes apart for an hour. It would happen most evenings and I'd think, this is it!! Then nothing...I went for long walks (probably increased my fitness at least!), meditated with my own birth music play list, spent waaay too much time Googling about induction methods - I tried pretty much everything apart from Castor oil. I really enjoyed the increase in curries and I think my husband enjoyed other aspects of inductions methods - ha!  I visited the hospital on two occasions to have baby's heart rate monitored just as a precaution, and had two extra visits to the obstetrician for a cervix stretch and sweep. Yet still no baby!!

I prayed and prayed that it would happen naturally, yet while walking one evening I felt a sense that God was saying I was to be induced, i just needed to roll with it and trust him that this is for the best. "No!" I debated back. "I don't want this. But, I will choose to trust you Lord as you know what is best."

Waiting for baby at 40 weeks 
Thursday came and it was THE day. I had contractions on and off all night. I had also had the worst sleep due to Fin having nightmares and constantly coming into our room throughout the night. I woke up anxious and exhausted. The day dragged on and it felt surreal that we'd have a baby by that evening or at least the next day. My neighbour tried to chat to me over the fence and I could hardly breathe! I felt consumed by thoughts of the impending labour. Thankfully as the time crept closer to 3PM - when we had to leave - i felt less fear and felt more faith-filled. Waiting was the hardest part. Once we dropped the kids off to their grandparents and headed towards the hospital I felt a sense of determination and strength.

We arrived at 4PM and waited around the delivery suite in a dingy waiting room which we shared with another pregnant woman who was refusing to drink any water. Thankfully (for her) she had her entire family - partner, mum, dad, daughter, sister there to support her in giving up cordial and soft drink for just an hour.

Having another foetal heart rate monitoring session
Eventually a midwife rescued us and i was hooked up to a monitor and waited around until my obstetrician came to insert the Cervidil gel. This was a little different as it was something she could tape to my cervix and pull out once labour was established. It lowers the risk of over stimulation of the uterus. At first I felt hot, flushed in the face and my heart was racing thanks to the hormones rushing into my system. My contractions increased eventually and I knew it wouldn't be long. I was asked to head up to the postnatal ward anyway.

When I got up my left leg was numb as though I'd pinched a nerve. It was most likely my sciatica nerve was compressed from laying in a funny position. It was so painful. I lost the feeling in my left foot and had shooting pain down my leg. My lower back on my left side was aching like someone had hammered me there - but no, it was just my baby girl's heading sitting on this huge nerve.

I was unable to stand or walk around much with this pain so once I was taken to the Antenatal Ward  I lay on the bed in agony and timed the contractions which were becoming closer. I had a lovely midwife look after me and observe me as my contractions became stronger. "I don't think you'll be in this ward for long!" she had said. I encouraged Luke to go and buy some dinner for himself and a charger for our phones as we had left the charger at home. Once he left I rang my mum and spoke to her for 20 minutes, distracting myself from the pain. Once I hung up from her it was all happening. I rang Luke and told him to hurry back.

The midwife observed me to see whether she would need to take out the Cervidil tape. I was 4-5cm dilated.  Luke was back and I was feeling more intense pain down below, in my backside and lower back. I was quickly hooked up to some IV antibiotics as I was GBS positive and then they helped me into a wheelchair to take me to the delivery suite. I could hardly sit and kept squirming and breathing through the contractions which were around every 3 minutes.

Once in the delivery suit I tried to walk around a little and to get Luke to press into the acupressure points on my back but i was in too much pain with my leg so I just opted to rest on my knees and lean over the back of the bed. I was moaning and breathing/whining through the pain.  The midwife said she was going to call my obstetrician to come in. I took this as a sign that baby would be delivered soon and felt a sense of relief - the end was in sight! However, my ob said she wouldn't come! Ummm, that's why I'm paying her right?! I demanded that the midwife call her back and ask her to come.  She did and thankfully the obstetrician listened.

Once she arrived 10 minutes later, she checked my cervix and it was still in a posterior position and needed to move out of the way a little. She broke my waters to try and help speed things up. I began having huge, powerful contractions and sometimes a long break in between then maybe two on top of   another. It was a little unpredictable and I started to feel desperate. "Is the baby coming yet? Can you see her head?" I asked over and over. Embarrassingly, there was no babies' head, just my bowel being completely emptied during each contraction! Argh, the humility!! I then felt a lot of pressure on my lower back and pelvis. I felt like I was going to snap or break. Perhaps this was because of the baby's posterior position or maybe she was turning into the canal. It hurt so bad, I didn't remember this feeling during my son's birth. I was whimpering and wondering how much longer. I kept waiting for the big urge to push when my body would take over but it never came...instead I felt the crazy "ring of fire" sensation as baby's head pushed further down into the canal. I felt like I was on fire downstairs and tearing from one end to the other. I felt like I needed some counter pressure and asked if someone could put their hand there of apply pressure but I don't think anyone heard me or knew what I meant. It didn't matter in the end as soon enough out came her head and then with the next contraction her body. She was here! I turned around carefully as it was a short umbilical cord I was told and my beautiful girl was passed to me, into my arms.

Lucinda Eve!

I fell instantly in love! I wrapped my arms around her  warm, red and slimy little body. I couldn't believe she was finally here. My heart felt so full of joy as I looked into her deep blue eyes and she greeted me with the most beautiful little meowing cry. She had pooped on her way out and my legs and saggy stomach were drizzled with a thick, tar-like ooze. But I couldn't care less. I embraced the mess. The flood of blood, the slimy poop, the slithering placenta being delivered from my uterus. The pin-prick sensation of being stitched back to "normal". I didn't tear too bad after all, despite the pain. Most of all, I embraced this incredibly beautiful little girl. I had envisioned my daughter almost 12 months ago and now here she was. A gift God promised to me was now a reality.

Lucinda at one day old 
Lucinda was wide-eyed and alert. She took to breastfeeding straight away and enjoyed cuddles with Luke afterwards. I had a shower and we headed up to the Postnatal Ward. It was around 2am by now and I felt thankful that sleep would probably come quickly. Yet my Lucy girl was not so sleepy and I was on too much of an adrenalin high to rest! I kept her next to my side all night , snuggling her and kissing her forehead. She fed very regularly that first night and seemed desperate for milk! She must have fed every 1-2 hours and slept only 15 minutes. I felt slightly worried that this may continue. However, once my milk came in on the third day Lucy seemed much more settled and satisfied and began sleeping longer than 30 minutes. Thank goodness!

Resting with my baby Lucinda at home 
I left hospital after two nights and felt very excited to be bringing our little girl home to our family. A family of five now - wow. I spent the next week sleeping and resting quite a bit which was wonderful. My amazing hubby held the fort and cared completely for the other two kids. I found it hard at first with the healing of the stitches, continued pain in my varicose veins and bleeding. I also was struggling with getting Lucy to sleep in her bassinet. She loved sleeping on me or next to me in the bed which was lovely but not ideal with two other children to look after.

Such a happy girl at around 6 weeks 
However, after 6 weeks postpartum things improved significantly. Lucinda began sleeping a lot better during the day, nights were still quite good (just waking 1-2 times) and she was just melting my heart with her never ending smiles! She smiled from very early on - literally just a couple of days old and smiled more and more each day.

Tummy time with her siblings 
Now at ten and a half weeks she is an absolute delight and a very easy, settled and happy baby. Life at home is busy but she seems to just take it all in. She appears to be a very social little girl and loves chatting now with little oohs, la's and other throaty noises that sound like the beginning of a laugh. She gets so excited when we come and lift her out of her bassinet, her arms and legs flying about, kicking and waving. She loves the kids too, and seems to recognise them. She especially loves Issy's singing voice and I think she's getting use to Fin always being about 2 cm from her face.

Big smiles from my cute little girl 
Lucinda is great at self-settling which is wonderful when I need to also look after the other two. I also enjoy carrying her in the baby carrier when we're out and about. She sleeps so well in there. She'll stare up at my face until she slowly nods off in a dreamy, mummy-love haze. So sweet.

SO happy to have our little girl in our family. We love her so much. Lucinda Eve you are a blessing and I'm so smitten with you.

Family of five! 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Waiting for baby to arrive at 40 weeks

Today is D-day - the due date. The date date that's marked in my diary and calendar as baby's arrival date. The date that i've been counting down the weeks to. The date that I've spoken aloud hundreds of times when my friend, family member, work colleague, local shop owner asks, "What date are you due?"

Our beautiful baby at 20 weeks. It feels like we've
been waiting so long to meet you! 
Now the day has arrived and there's still no baby is sight! This is of course not unusual. Only around 5 percent of babies are born on their due date. I know it's an estimation but this entire pregnancy I have felt like this bub would come early. Perhaps because I'm measuring to date unlike my previous children and that this baby is also measuring larger than my other babies. However, it seems the baby is quite happy just to stay comfortably squished inside of me belly a little longer.

With every twitch and tightening  I get quite excited but each time after a couple of hours of early labour signs like intense back pain and strong braxton hicks coming in regular intervals it all fades away. It's a strange thing when you're wishing for pain to come. I had one strong contraction in my back last night and I said aloud, "Bring it on!" But then my body did not much else.

My obstetrician happens to be away today and she told me I was not to have the baby today so I think she must have spoken deeply into my subconscious!

Our entire family is very excited about meeting baby soon. Issy has been drawing little pictures of her and the baby in her diary,  writing little notes such as, "I love the baby." Fin has been constantly asking to look at my tummy and wanting to kiss the baby. He asked yesterday, "Is that the baby's breastmilk?" pointing at one breast. I replied, yes and pointed out that there were two breasts for breast milk. He replied by saying, "You have breastmilk, I don't have breastmilk, Daddy doesn't have breastmilk and Issy doesn't. One day when I grow up to be a girl I'll have breastmilk." Ha-ha. He's such a funny boy.

They have both been very loving to me and caring. They understand I can't chase them at the moment and that I'm a little more tired that usual. Of course Fin doesn't always get it that I can't carry him when he's tired but if he hasn't hit his wall he's fairly cooperative.

Luke took the kids out this morning and returned with a beautiful bunch of flowers to celebrate 40weeks of pregnancy. I was really touched. He has been so supportive and loving. I feel so thankful that I've married such a beautiful man. I really couldn't ask for a better dad to my kids. He plays with them non-stop when he gets home from work amidst doing jobs around the yard and house. He makes up the best games with them too. Despite the rain yesterday he entertained them for hours with an assortment of made up games.

Issy & I at her 6th birthday party.
I'm 38 weeks here. 
Speaking of yesterday, it was a special day as it was just our family hanging out all day with no other plans. Could have been a nightmare in the rain but we all just took it easy. I really enjoyed making cards with Issy for her friends and playing Sylvanian Families with her. I could tell that she really appreciated it. So often I'm too busy or distracted to spend large chunks of time playing but yesterday it was just perfect. The previous day I was also able to spend some great time with Fin as he rode his bike around the block and in the bush across the road. I've really cherished some special time with both my children before the baby arrives and takes up a lot more of my attention. We also went on a little adventure yesterday. Heading into the bush where there was a recent fire and exploring around a look-out. Already little flannel flowers were bursting from their burnt and charred seed pods, a beautiful reflection of life amidst ruins of charcoal. We then had some arvo tea at a little bakery and raced through the rain. Simple things bring such beauty to life.

This pregnancy has been so different to my previous pregnancy with Fin. I was so stressed with house renovations and Luke was busy most weekends working at the house and during the week he had stepped up to manage his department at work. It was full-on for both of us. I also had a lot of heart rhythm problems in the third trimester (this time it was mainly in the first) which were probably exasperated by stress. Our relationship was also a little strained due to the intensity of renovating, financial pressure, working and parenting a defiant, spirited two-year-old and trying to hold it all together. When Fin was born we also moved back into the newly renovated house two weeks later. It was crazy!! So this time it feels so different. I feel a lot more connected with Luke and the children. Luke and I have also been able to enjoy a couple of dates which have been nice too! It helps to have finished work four weeks ago and to just be able to focus on family and the baby. So nice :)

I feel so happy to soon welcome this new little life into our family. I love my family so much and to me there's nothing better than spending time all together. Sure, things will change with a baby. We're currently at a stage where it's pretty easy to go and enjoy a big day out together. However, it will come again. This babe will come along for the wild ride. I'm sure it will grow to be fairly resilient and use to noise, travel and chaos! Our home is certainly not a quiet one and life can be quite busy at times.

So, when you're ready baby, we are here waiting for you.

We love you so, so much and are incredibly excited to soon hold you and love you.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Baby number three and me.

The last post I wrote was way back in January! It was centred on whether we should have a third child or not. At the time I wrote that I was actually pregnant with my third but had only just found out when it came to publishing the post on my blog.

So yes we decided to take the plunge and have baby number three! I'm so happy with our decision (so far  - haha) and I'm really looking forward to meeting our child. I look at my own two children and find it incredible that the one growing within me will also grow up, have their own personality, their own distinct look, likes/dislikes. I wonder who this baby will be...

It's been good to reach this dreamy state after a difficult first trimester of pregnancy. My heart rhythm was playing up very early on and my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) issues were quite intense. I also has nausea and a stomach bug during this time. It was also the time by daugher Issy started Kindy. It was all so overwhelming with a new routine, heart palpitations and a constant sea sickness feeling.

Thank goodness it didn't last!! I still have a few issues here and there with my health but I've been able to mainly enjoy the second trimester and just get on with life - as you do with baby number three!  My tummy is growing day by day and baby is having lots of fun kicking and playing within my tum. We found out the sex of the baby but we're keeping it hush hush. So far just one tiny smile which may have turned into a slip up!

One thing that has really helped me feel more positive about this stage in life is a boost in my career. I had been struggling with deciding to have a baby because I worried about not progressing in my work and also feeling like I wasn't achieving much. I'm not a career woman as such but I'm someone who loves to achieve, reach goals and have purpose beyond life in the home. I get miserable very quickly if I'm not achieving anything which can be a bit of a problem at times! I had quit my small business venture in November last year and started working just one day a week in my Dad's business. However, I wasn't really feeling very challenged in my role and back in March this year I started to feel myself sliding into depression again. Thankfully, I was the offered a contract for a new job via a friend. This job was in public relations / media publicity - a field I hadn't really worked in since I had children. The thought of this job excited me and overwhelmed me. It was just for 5 weeks, three days a week so I thought why not? It ended up being a massive five weeks but I'm so happy I made the decision to go for it. I've now had the contract extended and I've been hired by the company that originally arranged the contract. I have had a much-needed boost in confidence and have achieved things I didn't imagine I would be able to do. I can also work from home and just on the two days I have my son in day care. It's worked out so well.

I've also been able to conquer many of my fears that were anxiety related. With each fear I conquered I felt able to take another step forward in conquering another. It's just small things that most people would have no problems with at all, but for me they were big, overwhelming fears that were previously controlling my life. I feel like I've finally been able to get a grip of the anxiety that's controlled me too much in the past. In doing this I feel more confident as a mum, a wife and a pregnant woman. I feel stronger inside myself which is so important when things will soon be hectic with a new born baby.

I also feel like I can look forward to having a "break" when baby arrives. I will be ready for no work by then - I'm already starting to feel that way as I become more pregnant and tired.

This year has brought some lovely surprises and changes. It has taken me a little while to get use to the school routine but I do love having a little bit of structure to the day even though it's within such a tight time frame of 9am - 2.55pm each day. My big girl Issy is doing so well at school and I'm so proud of how she's made friends, and really wants to learn! Such a relief after a not-so-good experience at preschool.

Well, it's getting late and I still need to fold washing at 9pm. Sigh. It will only get busier but I feel ready to embrace it a little more now days. x

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Am I ready for a third child?

"Oh the pigeon pair!" the elderly lady said to me, admiring my two young children. "You can stop right there now. Your family is complete."

Complete? Is it really? How do I know? 

A family of four is so....nice. A mum, dad, one boy and one girl. It's a little too neat perhaps?

I clearly remember discussing the subject of children with my husband-to-be on our one year anniversary of "going out." He had asked me how many kids I wanted and I was a little stumped at first.  I was just 21 and I hadn't thought much about being a mum. I just thought about myself, really. I thought about my career prospects, future travel plans and hopefully marriage. Being a mum was something far, far off in the distant future (although it ended up being only three years later!)

After a little bit of thought I answered that I'd like no more than three children. I had come from a family of four and it was always hectic, noisy and stressful. I wanted a little less of that. And him? 10. Yes, 10 children. Which later, thankfully, dropped to five children after much discussion. Can you tell he's from a Catholic family? Every sperm is NOT sacred in my books!

We never did come to a firm agreement on the number of children we'd like to have. Once we married I just hoped it would sort itself out. we are today, two children later. My husband would love at least another two more and I'm adamant that one more would be enough. But even one more is a massive thing for me. It had led me to ask myself, am I ready for a third child? 

There's a lot to consider.

So, to help me decide, I've put together a list of the positive and negatives to help me (and maybe you) work this one out. 

Negatives of having three children:

1. It costs more - emotionally & financially

2. We will need to go through the baby stage again. Sleepless nights, leaking boobs, slouchy female bits, and poo avalanches.

3. We may need to buy a new car or tightly squeeze into your current model.

4. According to research (which is based on a survey of 7,164 U.S mothers) transitioning from two to three children is overwhelming as parents become outnumbered. But we're bigger aren't we?

5. Nearly every body tells me that two was easy and three is a real stretch on your physical/emotional/mental/financial resources. Three is not just a crowd, it's a circus.

6. More clothes washing. Enough said.

7. There will be a middle children who may be vulnerable to middle child syndrome. The children will either need to all play together or one will be left out. Maybe four children then?

9. We will miss out on all the "family deals" aimed at two parents and two children.

10. We will be replacing both of us and adding another human to this already overpopulated earth (that one is courtesy of Dick Smith).

11. More children to drive around to various friends' houses and after school activities once they grow up. Many parents with children from around the age of 12 to 17 tell me they are part time taxi drivers for their children.

12. Less "me time". I don't get much of this anyway but at least I get time to myself at night and the occasional day out by myself. This will all end while the baby is young.

13. I will be putting my career prospects on hold yet again. I've working in various part-time and casual roles since having children but I haven't progressed or found a job I particularly love.

14. I will have to go through pregnancy, birth and the dreaded postpartum period again. In the past two pregnancies this has included battling a daily heart arrhythmia during and after pregnancy, postpartum thyroiditis, and a long and unpredictable labour. Then there's the good old changes to your body: spider veins, droopy bits here and there, and leaky plumbing. Oh the joys!

Positives of having three children:

1. Two just doesn't seem to cut it. There feels like there's someone missing and that we aren't a big enough family yet.

2. With more children, surely one of them will take care of me and save me from going into a nursing home when i'm old! (Please!)

3. The more the merrier (so the saying goes). More beautiful little people to love and get to know. One of the most wonderful things about being a parent is discovering your child's unique personality and nurturing their character. It's also about accepting the things you can't change but still guiding them in the right direction. It's a privilege.

4. My kids are now a little older (they will be at least 3 and 6 if we have another baby) and will be able to help out and possibly not be so jealous. It's a bit different compared to 3 under 3!

5. Although there are many hard things about the baby stage, there are also so many wonderful things about little squishy toes, soft baby hair, button noses and sweet milk cries. Feeling clucky yet?

6. Three is a crowd  and with five of us in total it would be like our own little party/circus/club/team.

7. I grew up in a family of four, my husband in a family of seven. Although there were some negatives in growing up in a big family, there's now a lot more positives since we've become adults. When we all get together at Christmas, birthdays etc we really enjoy each other's company and our family have become our closest friends. We love that the kids have lots of aunties, uncles and cousins. Family gatherings are busy, loud and fun!

8. When I'm old and grey I would find so much pleasure in knowing that I have a family that will continue growing. I would love to one day have a home full of my children, grandchildren and even their children celebrating Christmas or birthdays together.

9. Two children may seem like enough for now but how about in ten years? Twenty or thirty? Will I ever wish I had more? Will the family seem too small when we are all adults sitting around a table for dinner?

10. Children are blessings! They bring great purpose to our lives, they bring more fun, more wonderful memories and more challenges which we can grow and learn from.

I was able to list a number of negatives but I think they are all outweighed with the fact that one beautiful, little life could possibly be created and enjoyed. New life is a miracle!

Raising kids and bringing them into this world is tough but there will come a time when they are adults that we can count them as friends (i hope!)

So how about you? Did you make a decision to stop at a certain number of children? Why? Maybe it wasn't a choice and you would have loved more. Sometimes we just need to count our blessings whether they be 1, 2, 3, 4 or more.

I wonder how many I'll be counting...

Monday, 1 December 2014

Choosing to be a present parent

I wrote this one a little while back & forgot to hit 'publish'. I hope it inspires you to spend some more precious time with your child and be fully present....

"Mum, mum, look at me!" my daughter squeals from outside on the back deck.

"Mum!" she calls out again. "You're not looking." 

I look up briefly from my phone to see her attempt a hand stand which looks more like a frog hopping.

"That's great," I respond in my mono-tone, disinterested voice. I am busy. I am replying to a message on my phone. I am writing a grocery list. I am cooking my breakfast and I am trying to find the hair brush. 

I miss the moment. I've missed many moments. 

The other night I was putting my daughter Isabella to bed when I noticed myself rushing. I just wanted to get it over with so I could eat my dinner and relax. I was in the middle of telling her a bed-time story when my eyes locked with hers. Her deep ocean blue eyes, similar to my own, were peering out from her long, dark lashes. Her eyes were full of anticipation and enchantment at my little story.  My heart melted. She adores this time with me. As I looked at her, I felt a little voice within me say, that it won't be long before she grows up. It won't be long before she's a teenager and these times will just be a precious memory. I need to embrace these moments, not rush them. 

I looked at my daughter, her golden syrup coloured hair fanned out over her pink, checkered pillow. Her plump, pink cheeks and innocent smile. 

I stopped rushing and slowed down. I lay down beside her on my tummy, looked her in the eyes and continued my story. 

This time, I soaked it all in. I wanted to remember this moment. I wanted to remember the way we stayed "up late" having a little chat once the story was over. How she wanted me to be with her and share conversation with her.

After I said a little prayer for her and got up to leave she said, "Mum, can you just lay here with me for awhile?"

I hesitated. I didn't want her needing me right beside her as she falls asleep. Then, I figured, why not? I don't think she'll want me snuggling with her she's 14! 

I laid back down and draped by arm over her little body and snuggled in next to her.

"You know, when you were a baby I got to cuddle you all the time," I said softy.

"I wish I could be baby again," she replied in a whisper.

I laid there, cradling her in my arms, and thinking how she was still so young. She's only four years of age. In just four years she's had to go from a tiny, dependable baby to a little girl where much is expected of her. Sometimes I see that struggle within her, the fight for independence and yet a need for me to still be beside her.

I watched her little, round moon face as her eyes flickered up at mine. She was trying to hold my gaze but her eyelids were slowly becoming heavier. I could feel her body start to relax as her hands went limp next to mine and her breathing became steadier.

It didn't take long for her to fall asleep, perhaps five minutes. It was five minutes I was so happy to have spent right beside her and not rushing about the kitchen or replying to emails. Those things can wait. Time is ticking and my little girl is growing up more and more each day. I want to choose to stop racing through the day and embrace the moment, to be undistracted and present. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

We are here

Hello! It's been awhile. I wrote this post back in May and have only now had the chance to finish it (how crazy is that?!)  so you will notice a time lapse. Enjoy reading!

May 2014

I cannot believe we are heading towards the end of autumn. Where has the year gone? I love Autumn time but now that we've started with the coughs and colds I am thinking of ditching it as my favourite season.

Well, life right now is...hectic and fantastic. I want to share a little of it with you. If details about my kids' lives bore you then you might want to skim read. Today's post is a little bit of record keeping so I can remember these precious details in years to come.

The two of them

I love this stage of life where both kids are reaching a stage of being a little more independent.

Isabella is 4 and Fin is 1, turning two next month. I've happily said goodbye to breastfeeding (and my breastfeeding boobies although that is a little more upsetting), gigantic strollers, overloaded nappy bags, spoon feeding (mostly), and being the number one entertainer since they can "play" together.  Playing is usually short-lived happiness. It involves Isabella making up the game, telling Fin what to do and getting angry at him when he doesn't follow her instructions.

Today, they just started laying into each other, hitting and slapping, laughing and crying. They don't know if they're having fun or torturing each other. Although they fight frequently they absolutely, undoubtedly love one another to smithereens.

Fin went missing the other day. We were just in the front yard and he walked off around the backyard. I couldn't find him anywhere after looking for five hours five minutes.  It did feel like forever. We have no fences or gates so he could have wondered off anywhere. Isabella was so worried that she started bawling, "I miss fin. I want him back. I love him!" She was saying exactly what I was feeling but I had remain calm. We eventually found him hiding under the house. He thought it was hilarious. He has become quite good at disappearing quickly and hiding in obscure places. Such a cheeky boy.

Isabella has also asked on numerous occasions if she can marry Fin to which I answered no. She has recently told me with all of her four-year-old stubbornness that she will marry him anyway. Good luck with that. Fin will also get quite lost when Isabella is at preschool. He will constantly ask about her, "where's Iz?" It does really bring joy to my heart to see them love each other so much. Yes, they fight but they are two little buddies with similar personalities. I didn't think it was possible but I have two cheeky, strong-willed, sensitive, persistent and active children. Fun times ahead.

Finlay aged 23 months.

Fin is a little ball of energy with a growing toddler's defiance. I love him to pieces. He is super cute and very affectionate. He is still very much a mummy's boy. He loves cuddles and still whinges to sit on my hip while I cook dinner. He also enjoys hanging onto my legs and following me around. He was sick last week with croup and i spent a few hours in the night cradling him and stroking his soft, blonde hair. I love that he feels so safe in my arms.

When he's not cuddling me he's usually wrestling daddy (Luke) or trying to annoy Isabella by poking her or taking her toys. He loves to get reactions at the moment but doesn't fully comprehend the consequences.

His favourite games are throwing or kicking the ball. He can dribble the soccer ball better than most kindy kids. He's phenomenal. Must take after his soccer-star dad. He also enjoys his little plastic animal figurines, riding his little pink trike (thanks to having an older sister), looking at books, watching Peppa Pig on TV, drawing and throwing the pencils everywhere, hiding, running around the house like crazy.

In the last month he has started putting words together and is now forming short sentences. A recent favourite was when he told me, "I wuv you mummy." He still speaks a lot of babble, non-stop talking really, but it's starting to slow make more sense.

Finny-boy is going through an assertive stage at the moment where he is getting very interested in pushing for what he wants. He loves to throw tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants but seems to move on pretty quickly after his emotional outbursts. He is still very easily distracted and diverted from whatever is causing the tantrum. However, changing his nappy, getting him dressed and strapping him into his car seat usually causes some trouble! Thank goodness he makes up for it with going to bed fairly easy and sleeping though the night...unless he loses his dummy.

So far, I feel like little Fin is going to be a strong-willed (but not too stubborn) little boy who has a big heart. He's very affectionate, caring and emotional yet he's also strong, tough and active. I can imagine him being the young man all the ladies will love! Though, he's my little man for a little while yet!

Isabella aged 4 and a half years old

Isabella is one amazing girl. She has an incredible mix of personality. She's stubborn yet sensitive, strong-willed yet caring, very silly and cheeky yet also a deep thinker. She loves to spend her time playing imaginary games (babies, fairies, princesses, mums and dads, big sister/little sister, scenes from the movie Frozen and school time). She loves to involve me in almost every game whether I am busy or not. I seem to always have a part to play such as "the mum who just does the washing up."

Issy (Isabella) also loves drawing detailed scenes of her friends and family, chasing her brother Fin around the house, dressing up, playing with her baby dolly and caring for it, dancing (especially Irish style dancing), painting, riding her bike or scooter and, yes can't forget TV! She's quite obsessed with the movie Frozen (which little girl isn't?) and regularly sings the songs around the house.

At the moment she's been asking a lot of questions trying to make sense of of the world around her. She asks a lot about going to school next year and about different little conflicts with friends (let's hope this doesn't increase!) and random questions like, "Where do babies come out from?" The answer to which she was quite shocked. She's also been asking a lot of questions about God, what he looks like and what he does. At some stage I asked her how big she thought God was. Her answer: "I think I am just a little bit bigger than God."I laughed at this and wondered how God must look in her mind - perhaps a midget? Or perhaps she just sees herself as "bigger" than most people.

We're working on teaching her that it's important to learn and listen to others. Although she sometimes tells me, "I already know everything!" She's extremely strong willed and sometimes it scares me! But I hope and pray, if directed in the right way, she will be able to use her strength for good. Thankfully, her strength is also balanced out by a beautiful sensitive spirit. She cares greatly for her brother Fin and doesn't like seeing him sad. On the occasion I put Fin into "time out" she will follow me around trying to advocate for him to come out of time out. Future lawyer perhaps?

As mentioned at the start, I began writing this post in May. It's now July! I often fill my of spare time with working in my family's business or cleaning around the house. However, it's important to snatch up those little sppockets of time, even just for ten minutes, to write and reflect. Like just now, writing while the kids are playing in a cubby house made of sheets and chairs. It's an achievement that feels a lot better than putting on another load of washing.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Our summer holiday

Once again, it has been awhile since I've written. I thought I'd share a little about our family holiday that we had in January, after I recovered from my post Christmas hangover. We stayed at Lake Conjola which is near Mollymook Beach - one of our favourite places on the coast. The water is so incredibly clean, sparkly and transparent blue.  There is also a plethora of funky vegan/gluten-friendly/super food cafes throughout the area which I LOVE. Our favourite cafe to hang at was Pilgrams in Milton where I am in complete heaven with a lentil burger & a dandelion latte. There is also the endless number of eclectic vintage shops and beautiful hand-made clothing and jewelry stores. I am in heaven!

We got to spend a 10 days here this summer, which is the longest holiday we've had together as a family of four. I was a little nervous about how the kids would cope being away from home that long and also whether it would really be much of a break for us. However, with my hubby's family staying near by and the kids kept entertained by all the beach has to offer, we really enjoyed it! We were able to get out for a date one day and also had a couple of boys nights/girls nights with those in the family. I wouldn't say we rested but we had fun. There's not much lazing about on the sand reading a book when you have two very active kids to chase after! Yet, we were able to switch off from work commitments and tight routines to mentally recover from the year just been.

So, here's a few happy snaps from our holiday for you to enjoy. I also want to know whether you enjoyed your holiday with kids this year? Do you actually feel like you get a chance to rest and enjoy it? I hope so! x

Isabella popping her head up while the rest of her body was buried underneath the sand.

Family love on Mollymook Beach

Isabella swimming in Lake Conjola. Such a water baby!

Finlay looking admiringly at Pa who is taking him on his first boat trip.

Luke, Fin & Issy taking a walk on the Lake Conjola boardwalk
My little man & I
Finlay enjoying the sand & surf - he also loves the water!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Post-Christmas hang over

It's that time of year again. The post-Christmas hangover. No, not the alcoholic type hangover, it’s the emotional and physical hangover that catches up with you on the day after Boxing Day. The day when you realise you don't have to quickly rush out to the shops for another roll of sticky tape, or wrap another present or make some ridiculous Christmas dessert or have an over the phone counselling session with a family member who is on the edge of a Christmas breakdown.

After going and going for weeks on end, it’s very easy to just crash. That's what I did post-Christmas. I spent the day after Boxing Day drawing pretty flowers and birds on a piece of paper. I put myself into a day of "me therapy." I ended up being in some weird, trance-like state drawing for about three hours that day. Did I mention I am a terrible drawer? But who cares? It just felt so good to do something creative and just sit still.

It also seems to be on this day each year that everyone gets all reflective and starts talking about what they'll do differently next year. Each year without fail, my husband and I usually discuss how next year we'll make it “simpler”, you know, just have a barbeque and no presents. Yet, 12 months later this discussion is always completely forgotten as we get caught up in the commericalised  frenzy, the spirit of Christmas once more. Oh the joy!

Also on this day after Boxing Day, there is usually a phone call from various family members who debrief about different stressful incidents over Christmas and how they would also do things differently. Those words "simpler" and "less stressful" come up again. But as always it's forgotten. Just as women are wired to not fully remember the pain of labour, western civilisation must be wired to forget about what really goes on at Christmas until we hit December again the following year. We soon begin to race like frenzied rats around the shops, buying plastic presents and Christmas decorations made in China; we indulge in buying copious amounts of food we would never usually eat and then we emotionally invest everything into this one day once again.

Often, my husband and I walk away from Christmas gatherings and realise we didn’t get a chance to catch up with family members and distant relatives. This is partially because we have children to chase after but mainly because once the food is prepared, cooked, everything cleaned and presents exchanged, it’s time to go home again.  

Right now, you may be thinking I am a little bah humbug-ish. The truth is I do love Christmas time despite all of its flaws. I love the chance to reflect on the birth of Jesus, sing carols that are centuries old, visit the Christmas lights with the kids, and watch their eyes light up at their presents on Christmas day. I even love meeting up with various family members at Christmas. Although Christmas Day is usually hectic and tiring, I love it because it’s tradition. It’s what we’ve done as a family for my entire life and it’s gives me a sense of belonging.

My little family enjoyed visiting the Christmas lights

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Is there anything you vow to change about Christmas and never do? Or have you made some significant changes that have worked? I’d love to hear about it.