Max – life with 5 year old you

 

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Wow. Five.

Was it really five years ago that you joined our family? I still remember my first thought when the doctor handed you to me – “He’s smaller than Charlie was”, followed immediately by “Wow, look how big his ears are!”. In my defense I was very tired. I was also a little surprised to have a son – and I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about that. I mainly grew up in a house of girls and I already had a daughter – how was I supposed to know what to do with a boy? Of course, I soon sorted it out and you have given me more joy than I ever could have imagined.

At five, you have just started school. Although I did not handle your first day particularly well, you were a star. You love school, something I most certainly did not see coming. You’re outgoing and make friends easily, happy to chat to just about anyone about anything. You love cars and planes and pirates and dragons, all the traditional ‘boy’ activities, but you also love to be read to and will spend hours playing ‘Mama and Baby’ with Charlie. You are always ever so happy except for when you are tired – then you are absolutely impossible to deal with and I would gladly trade you for an angry wombat.

You are very excited about the new baby and enjoy talking to my tummy, telling it all sorts of things. Surprisingly, you are hoping for a girl but I have a sneaking suspicion this is because Charlie is desperate for a sister and you want her to get what she wants. You’re just that kinda guy.

Enjoy five Maxi, it suits you.

20 Weeks(ish)

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This week marks the 20th week (ie. the halfway mark) of my pregnancy….or thereabouts anyway. I always end up with one due date according to ‘my’ dates for the first half of pregnancies and then I have my 19 week ultrasound and they change my due date to what they think based on the size of the baby. This bothered me immensely with Charlie and Max as it felt like it added time to an already lengthy process. This time around it didn’t so much as I have come to realise that this baby will come whenever it is ready to do so, regardless of when I would like that to be. I have also resigned myself to the fact that this means I will more than likely go past my expected due date, as I did with Charlie and Max – in theory I am okay with this. I may feel differently when I am the size of a small country, my back aches the moment I get out of bed in the morning and I haven’t glimpsed my feet in months.

I don’t really do pregnancy well. I can vividly remember one of my friends (who had recently given birth to her first) saying to me when I was a few months along with Charlie “You’re going to be one of those really glamorous pregnant women who just gets this cute bump aren’t you?”. And I remember thinking to myself, quite smugly, why yes I believe I am. HA. I think they call that karma. The first 20 weeks were fine – I suffered from morning sickness but nothing too severe and I put on a fairly small amount of weight. Most of the time you couldn’t even tell I was pregnant yet and my due date was pushed out by 8 days as the baby was considered ‘small’ on my ultrasound. Turns out I was just getting started – I put on a total of 25kg in Charlie’s pregnancy and ‘cute’ is not the term I would have used to describe my bump. Monstrous, maybe. I get really big with my babies – I put on 5kg less in my pregnancy with Max but I still had people asking if I was sure there was only one in there. To be fair I do have rather large babies, but I still seem to put on quite a bit of extra weight regardless of how I look after myself. That’s just how I do pregnancy.

While there is something nice about doing this for the third time around and knowing what is coming and understanding the whole process quite well – there have been a few differences this time. For starters, I’ve had the worst morning sickness I’ve ever experienced (it was bad for me – I wasn’t vomiting up to 10 times a day like one of my poor friends). My back has started bothering me already which came as a surprise as usually that doesn’t start until much later – I’ve also developed sciatic pain which has had me referred to the physio. I’m unsure as to whether to attribute some of the differences I’ve experienced this time around to the fact that this baby has a different father or to the fact that I’m no longer doing this in my teens/early twenties like I did the first two times. Or just the fact that this will be number three.

To be honest I’ve only just recently been able to get excited about this baby. It wasn’t exactly planned so the timing could have been better and I pretty much felt like shit up until a few weeks ago. But mostly I’ve just been terrified that I’m going miscarry. I know it’s not logical but in my mind I’ve already had two perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies and surely I’m not lucky enough to have that happen a third time? Miscarriage is so common and I’ve never had one, surely it can’t stay that way? I’ve struggled to become attached to this baby because I was so convinced that I was going to lose it. But in the last week or so it’s started moving – a lot. I had felt movements before but always very sporadically. Now it’s strong and I can feel it moving several times a day and now it feels real.

We told the kids that the baby can hear now and they talk to it all the time – they say hello and good bye and wish it good night and I can’t help but smile at the thought that this baby is going to be oh so loved.

 

 

First Day

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Today my baby (at least for a few more months) started prep. He was super excited, very happy to be there and there were no tears in sight. I was not nearly so well behaved. We arrived outside the classroom where his teacher had very thoughtfully done up little packages for all the parents including some tissues, a teabag and one of those poems about how you’ve raised your child for the past 5 years and now it’s time to pass the torch to them etc – I quickly shoved ours into Phil’s hands and focused very hard on pinning Max’s name badge to his oversized shirt. Phil, completely oblivious, was trying to show me the note – “Look at this, you got a teabag! Look at what it says.” “I’m not reading it now!” I snapped in reply. Max was practically bouncing up and down, asking repeatedly when we’d be able to go inside.

This is where I would like to point out that it is a really bad idea to have to send your youngest child to their first day of school whilst you are pregnant. Avoid this at all costs. What would have already been a somewhat difficult day for me has been magnified a thousand percent by my pregnancy. I am an emotional time bomb and I promised myself that I absolutely would NOT lose my shit in front of Max. I don’t want to freak him out. I don’t want to freak all the normal parents out. Must control self.

We are finally permitted inside and go through the routine of putting all his stuff away and locating his desk. Max promptly sits himself in front of a puzzle and goes to work. I am so thankful that he is happy to be here because if he was upset there is no way I’d be able to hold back the tears which are threatening to fall at any moment. He is my baby, my youngest, and I am acutely aware that this will be my last very first day of school (I will be homeschooling this new baby and any future children).

I decide I’ve pretty much reached my limit of holding on to this facade of being a totally-got-it-all-together parent and it’s time to say goodbye and get the hell out of there. I hug Max, tell him I will see him this afternoon and make for the exit quick smart. The tears are flowing already and I’m trying desperately to not reach the ‘sobbing hysterically’ stage. We’re about three steps out the door when the teacher aide races out after us, waving a form I forgot to fill out. I turn around and she smiles sympathetically saying “Oh, you’re having a moment.” A moment? Ok sure, let’s call it that. I fill out the forgotten form and we are finally free to go. Phil very wisely says nothing, just rubbing my back as I cry pretty much the entire way back to the car. Just when I think I’ve got myself together, the mere thought of that stupid poem (which I haven’t even read yet) or something equally insignificant will set me off again. This is beyond ridiculous and I know it but I can’t seem to stop. Over two hours later and I think I’m almost fit to be seen in public (as long as I keep that damn note with it’s teabag away from me).

This pregnancy has played with my emotions and moods like I have never experienced before. I have always been a sook when it comes to my kids but Charlie’s first day of school was NOTHING like this. I guess it’s because I’m old this time around ;-)

It’s been awhile…

I’m back! To be honest, I didn’t know if I would be. This blog thing isn’t quite what I expected it to be, and by that I mean I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be interested in it let alone read it. But read it, they did – and I got some lovely comments and encouragement from my friends and well meaning strangers but I also got quite a few not-so-lovely (and some downright nasty) comments. This surprised me because really, who cares what I have to say? I will never really understand what people get from writing nasty comments to others online (and some of these people actually know me in real life). I wasn’t expecting a negative reaction and it upset me for awhile. Then I read some posts from other bloggers I like to follow and realised - that’s just part of having a blog. There are people out there who will always try to bring you down because they are miserable with themselves and need everyone else to be miserable too. Once I stumbled across this fact, I pulled myself together and decided to continue on – because this is something I really enjoy. So I am sure I will continue to receive those bitchy comments but I have procured a thicker skin and at the end of the day, guess what? I don’t publish the nasty shit people say so nobody reads it anyway.

Since I posted last LOTS and LOTS of stuff has happened – good and bad. We’re still struggling with an overload of negative crap in our lives but here’s a snapshot of all the good things that have happened in the last four months…

We found out we are expecting a baby!

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Phil turned 30!

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Aiden turned 4!

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And we finally got a nice Christmas photo where everyone is happy

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Christmas was wonderful (even if I was still in the throes of the morning sickness from hell) and we had a very quiet New Years in. My New Years ‘resolution’ (I use that term very lightly as I stopped making resolutions years ago when I realised that they NEVER happen) is to stop letting the bad stuff get to me quite so much and to be very grateful and thankful for what we do have. Over the last few months I have been stressed out of my mind and I need to R-E-L-A-X…I’m making a human here y’know? ;-)

Busy Times

Things are a bit hectic in our bubble at the moment. We made the decision some months ago that we would move house when our current lease ended towards the end of the year – the area we live in is ridiculously expensive and no longer all that suitable for us. Luckily we had decided to go that way because a few weeks ago the owners of our house thought that this would be a brilliant time to sell said house and would we mind vacating…you know, like NOW? Oh ok…..um, sure. We found a new house (many thanks to my parentals) and literally have 2 and a half weeks to get our shit together and get out. I’m so on top of things that I booked our removalists and carpet cleaners for the week BEFORE we move – clever huh? Luckily I realised before it was too late and re-booked everything for the right dates *phew*.

On top of the joy that is moving, I thought now would be a great time to start a second job. Also, Phil thought he might like to change jobs too. Charlie is changing schools, Max is starting school (which is another freak out in itself) – everything is happening all at once and while I’m happy with the direction we’re going in I’ll be a whole lot happier once we are THERE. Thank god it’s school holidays, one less thing to worry about for the next 2 weeks ;-)

Also, every man and his dog is having a birthday in the next 2 months. Seriously. (Not serious at all – we are not going to any dog’s birthday parties. That would be ridiculous).

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Fathers Day

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It’s a little overdue but hey, better late than never.

I didn’t actually get to spend Fathers Day with my dad as he works in Papua New Guinea and isn’t due back until the end of the month. However, he was most definitely in our thoughts on the day and I wanted to take the time to put into words just how great my dad is.

My dad has the best sense of humour, taught me how to rollerblade and thought it would be a brilliant idea to place my newborn daughter in a giant bread roll*. But the thing that stands out the most is the fact that he would quite literally do anything for us, his daughters. And that’s a pretty special thing to have.

When I went to him at 18 years old and told him I was pregnant, his first response? Congratulations. Followed by offering us a place to live. And boy does he treasure his grandchildren. He misses lots of events, working away, but he is always home for their birthdays.

Charlie’s class made a special Fathers Day card at school and she decided that she wanted to give hers to her Poppy – to me, that alone speaks volumes about how much he means to my kids.

To the best Dad/Poppy any of us could ever ask for – Happy (belated) Fathers Day. Love you.

*I was so not kidding about the baby in the bread roll thing – here is Charlie at 1 month old…in a bread roll.

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Update

So it’s been pretty quiet on the ol’ blogging front lately. For those of you who are interested (in my mind you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see what I have to say – indulge me) here’s the lowdown on what’s been going on around here.

I went back to work. About a month ago now, I managed to score a job in retail which means no more working nights (which I love) but it also means I’m working in retail (which I don’t love so much). But at the end of the day the instability in Phil’s industry has left us with zero financial stability and me being a stay at home mum is just not feasible for us at the moment. I find this incredibly frustrating. Mostly I am frustrated at myself for creating a life where it’s not possible for me to raise my children the way I would like to. I can’t help but think I’ve made some really poor decisions in the past to have us end up in the position we’re in today.

The past few months have just been….exhausting. You know those times when life just isn’t going your way and everything that can go wrong does go wrong? And you hold it together by thinking things will get better, they just HAVE to? It’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to wonder whether things will actually get better or if this is just the way things are now. If this is just the way life is going to go for us. I bloody hope not because it is SHIT.

We have had endless trouble with jobs and cars and debt and ex-spouses. It has literally been one thing after another just not going in our favour. And I just want to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and pack up my little family and just get the hell out of here and hope that things magically fix themselves while we’re gone. Obviously that’s not going to happen so we’re just soldiering on and still hanging on to that little thread of hope that things will improve. One day. Soon. Because they have to, right? Because everybody knows that that’s the way life works…..you have your ups and your downs but the thing that makes the downs bearable is knowing that there is an up coming your way.

I will add that it’s not all negative – our children are happy and healthy and our family unit is stronger than ever. For this, I am grateful. It’s pretty much the only thing we’ve got going for us at the moment.

 

A note to mothers of baby boys

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I often think that parenting books should contain more ‘real world’ advice. Instead of listing the age where your child should be achieving certain milestones, they should mention things like “at some point, your beloved baby will do what is called a poo explosion. This will result in said baby and all available surfaces being covered in liquid poo. You had better hope it is summer so you can just take that mess outside and hose it down”.

Some of you may already know this. If you grew up with brothers then I’m guessing you probably do. I grew up in a predominantly female household* with two sisters and was blissfully unaware about this information until very recently – little boys pee EVERYWHERE. And I don’t just mean, they’ll pee on a tree when they’re playing outside instead of going to the toilet. They do that too (in our house we call this a ‘grass wee’) but that I can handle. What I can’t handle is that when they’re going to the toilet, they pee everywhere. 

When Max first started toilet training I taught him to sit down to pee. Being a single mother at the time I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do but it wasn’t like I could show him how to do it standing up and he wasn’t quite tall enough to reach anyway – it just seemed like the easier option at the time. I figured he’d learn to do it standing up eventually (preferably before he went to school and the other boys made fun of him). Sure enough he learnt pretty quickly. Unfortunately, once he got the hang of the standing up bit we ran into a new problem.

Now, clearly, I don’t have a penis. But it doesn’t strike me as something that would be that difficult to aim. Surely it’s just a point-and-shoot kind of thing?? Apparently not. Apparently it’s a point-and-hope-for-the-best kind of thing. And then you get situations where Max is saying, “Aiden! Let’s play wee swords!” (pictured above). Um, what? I have no idea where he got that from but it doesn’t sound like a game I’m going to enjoy. Or when I asked Aiden why his wee didn’t go in the toilet and he replied “Because I was going round and round in circles!”. Uh huh of course you were. This resulted in both boys being warned that if they continue to pee on the floor and toilet surrounds rather than IN the actual toilet, they will be getting a crash course in how to clean a toilet.

I wish someone had warned me about this particular joy when they handed me my newborn son. So I could have handed him back and requested another girl instead. I’m kidding! But if Phil and I have children they had better be girls :-P

* I do actually have a brother, but he is 13 years younger than me and was only 4 when I moved out of home so we hardly grew up together – and I was most definitely not witness to him peeing around the toilet instead of in it

The most overused word in the English language

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Mum. My kids would say it approximately 6491 times a day. I don’t keep count or anything but I’m pretty sure that’s a fairly accurate number. Some days it doesn’t bother me, but other days? Drives me up the freaking wall. My favourite is when they say “Mum?” and I say “Yes?” and then…nothing. They’re just saying it for funsies now. Trying to see just. how. far. they can push before I finally snap Britney-style, shave my head and start attacking people with an umbrella.

Max went through a phase when he was younger where every time we were in the car the following would happen -

Max: Mum?

Me: Yes?

Silence……

30 seconds later

Max: Mum?

Me: Yes, Max?

Silence….

And this would repeat over and over until we got to our destination. EVERY SINGLE TIME. And if I just didn’t answer him it would change to -

Max: Mum?

Silence…

Max: Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, MUM!!!!!

Better, right? No. So I just had to keep on answering and keep on having him sit there giggling, thinking he was just hilarious, while I wondered how much money I could get if I sold him on eBay. Thankfully that little phase moved along it’s merry way.

Dad just doesn’t get the same kind of workout. Yes, that’s probably because in most cases kids spend more time with mum than dad, but they could at least step it up a notch on weekends or something. When we have Aiden on the weekend even he will call me mum from time to time which means there’s three of them, just mum-ing away – even when it’s completely unnecessary! I could be sitting right next to them, looking them in the eye and they will still start every sentence with “Mum….”.

Oh and you know what else can be added to the list of overused words? LOL. It’s only supposed to be used when something actually makes you LAUGH OUT LOUD, not for things you find mildly amusing. And it should never ever be spoken out loud. Just in case you were wondering.

Food Wars

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This is so me. Over the past couple of years I have had several people close to me who have completely overhauled their diets. Usually because of a combination of wanting to lose weight and feel better, but I also have a friend who was breastfeeding an infant with food allergies and consequently their entire household is now gluten, dairy and sugar free. I admire these people for their achievements because for the past few months I have been thinking that we should really start eating healthier…and yet I am not really any closer to that goal than I was when the thought first started forming. Why? A few reasons – partly because ‘healthy’ food is ridiculously expensive and we don’t have a whole lot of cash floating about, partly because we have at least one child who is an incredibly fussy eater, but mostly because ‘eating healthy’ is so damn confusing!

Clean eating, eating for your blood type, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, paleo, organic….the list goes on and on. Do we eliminate some food groups entirely (I’m looking at you gluten) or should we just eat everything in moderation? Low fat or full fat dairy? Cow’s milk or another alternative? Is soy good or bad? Because I hear equal amounts of information for both arguments on that one. We all know now that organic produce and meat is better for us but holy shit is it expensive!

I recently jumped on to the I Quit Sugar bandwagon (thank you Instagram for that one) and announced to Phil that we would be eliminating all sugar from our diet. Once we had the money to restock our pantry with almonds, chia seeds, quinoa and buckwheat flour that is. I received Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar book for Mother’s Day and read the entire thing immediately. It really makes a lot of sense and I appreciate that she’s done a whole lot of research and I have tried one of the recipes (bacon and egg cupcakes – yum!). But to be perfectly honest, the thought of quitting sugar soon kind of sent us into a massive sugar binge where we bought a stupid amount of junk to have ‘just one last time’ before we quit sugar for good. Not the point, I’m sure.

We can’t afford to overhaul our entire pantry right now and I am missing certain kitchen tools which would allow me to make certain things – like a mixer that actually does it’s job (not the piece of junk I got from Kmart which kind of stirs the ingredients for a bit then goes ‘yep, that’ll do – the lumps add character right?’) and a blender. Plus Max would no doubt starve if I stopped letting him eat Pink Lady apples (very high sugar content – natural sugar, but sugar nonetheless).

For now we will just have to settle for what we can manage which is cutting down on processed food, buying produce from the local fruit and veg shop (I’m just telling myself it’s organic, it’s probably not) and never buying apple juice again – did you know it has as much sugar as coke does?! Good lord.