Aiden – life with five year old you

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Today you turn five, which makes two five year old boys in our house and boy is that intense! You have grown up so much in the past year and in a few short months you will be off to school, an adventure I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy. You are endlessly curious and ask thousands of questions (literally!) which sometimes drives us bonkers but we love that you love to learn. You like to know how things work, are enthusiastic about everything you do and rarely sit still for more than 30 seconds.

Even though you can be reserved when around new people, you’re incredibly sociable and thrive on being with others – a true extrovert. You’re loud, boisterous, affectionate, friendly, stubborn and creative. You don’t believe there is ever a situation in which you could be considered wrong. You have a fierce imagination and tell wild tales of shark attacks, car chases and grand adventures.

You love having a baby sister and are so good at being gentle and quiet with her, although you do like to give her a vigorous head rub every now and then! You and Max are great friends, you and Charlie like to fight it our for who is the most stubborn ;-)

Most of all, you worship your Daddy. You shadow him, asking questions and watching him intently, like you’re trying to memorise everything.

Happy 5th Birthday Aiden, I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

Farewell Fourth Trimester

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So much for “I’ll be posting regularly now”! Apparently I have baby amnesia – I completely forgot how damn near impossible it is to get shit done when there’s a baby in the house ;-) This week marks the end of my “fourth trimester”, otherwise known as my baby has been on the outside for a whole three months now. I must admit, all in all, it’s been a fairly good three months.

The Good

Overall, Maisie is generally a happy baby. If she cries it’s because she needs something and once that need has been met, she’s good. She can be generally irritable in those early hours of the evening (you know, the hours where all children band together to make their parents lives a living hell) but if I’m holding her that almost always fixes the problem. She tends to drift off to sleep quite easily (especially if she is in the sling!) throughout the day and – I almost feel bad telling people this one – but I am not sleep deprived in the slightest because she sleeps BRILLIANTLY at night. Like, all night. Before you decide to hate me, I’m pretty sure I know why she sleeps so well at night – I breastfeed and we co-sleep. So she spends the entire night in bed with us and wakes every few hours to feed. This means that while I’m being woken every few hours, I’m only awake for a total of about 30 seconds to help her latch on and then we both go back to sleep.

The Bad

While sleep is a complete non-issue now, Maisie did spend the first 5 nights of her life screaming. Non-stop. All night. Then we took her to see our chiropractor and that night she was fine. And has been fine ever since. It was like magic. She has also had problems gaining weight because she didn’t take to breastfeeding as easily as Charlie and Max did, which caught me by surprise. I’ve never had a single problem breastfeeding (aside from one bout of mastitis when my milk came in with Max) so I just assumed it would be just as easy this time around. So, of course, it wasn’t. She had a weak suck and just could not attach well, no matter how many times I tried to reposition her. We saw a lactation consultant who suggested I change the position I feed her in (which helped) but I think most of all she needed time and practice – over the last couple of weeks we’ve finally hit our stride and she’s having good weight gains. It was stressful but I’m incredibly glad I stuck with it. While she does sleep very well, she will not sleep on her own – her naps during the day happen either in the sling, in my arms or on my chest. I’m happy to do it and I know she won’t need to sleep near me forever but it would be nice to be able to use that time to do other things once in awhile!

The Ugly

Maisie hates the car. HATES the car. She screams hysterically every time I put her in her car seat, like someone is back there pulling out her fingernails one by one. And I have tried EVERYTHING and nothing helps. She is marginally less traumatised if Charlie is sitting next to her, keeping her company and putting the dummy back in every 3 seconds but it’s only a very slight improvement. Again, time seems to be the key with this one – just recently I’ve been able to make short 10 minute trips without her losing it (as long as she isn’t hungry or tired). I actually think I’d give up some of the sleep I’m getting at night if she could tolerate the car better – it’s awful.

I’m working on getting Maisie’s birth story down for a post but it seems like every time I sit down to type she wakes up! I’ll get there eventually ;-)

Her favourite place in the world

Her favourite place in the world

37 weeks

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This week marks the official “Your baby is now full term and could come any day now” time of pregnancy and while I’d like to think that’s a possibility, in reality I probably still have 3 weeks to go. At least. But things are good and we’re just enjoying this time to ourselves and our older kids before we add to the madness :-)

At 35 weeks we had maternity photos taken by the very talented Ainslie at Wild Spirit Photography and they’re too good not to share! Ainslie has been taking photos of my family since I was pregnant with Max, I adore her work. Here is a small selection of our maternity session – enjoy :-)

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Charlie – life with eight year old you

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Last week you turned eight – a number that doesn’t sound quite so old until you inform me that in 5 years you’ll be a teenager (WHAT?! I don’t remember signing up for that!). 5 years ago you were three years old and a bumblebee for your birthday. You had just recently acquired a sibling. Your dad and I were still together. Oh how much can change in just 5 years.

We are just starting to catch glimpses of an attitude, something I’m guessing will be far more prominent when you are actually a teenager. A few episodes of stomping up the stairs and door slamming. But I know we still have a few ‘little girl’ years left yet because you still sleep with a stuffed unicorn and your baby doll and tell me at least once a day that I am “the best mum in the whole universe”. And you’ve yet to utter the words “I hate you!” – I know they’re coming eventually but I’m glad we’ve gotten eight years in without hearing them so far.

You want to be a vet when you grow up and are very pleased that we got our first pet this year, George the cat. You are currently obsessed with loom bands and you love art and craft, god forbid any of us throw out an empty toilet roll. You are nearly always drawing or painting or making something out of egg cartons and pipe cleaners. The mess drives me mental but I love how creative you are.

I cannot even begin to describe just how excited you are about the new baby. You are desperately hoping for a baby sister but I think you’ll be just as happy with another brother – the fact that there is a baby at all is the best part for you. Recently I was explaining to you and Max that I would need your help to do some extra things to get ready in the mornings when the baby came. “It’s ok Mum” you replied “I can hold the baby while you get ready”.

My brand new eight year old – you are smart, creative, funny, beautiful and ever so logical. How blessed I am that you chose me.

Happy birthday Charlie Bear x

31 weeks

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Today marks 31 weeks of pregnancy, this tiny human is nearly done! The first couple of weeks of my third trimester were a little concerning – I was hospitalised for a significant bleed and once that settled down an ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid was low. After another ultrasound with a specialist I was deemed on the ‘very low’ end of the normal spectrum but still within the spectrum nonetheless and thankfully the last three weeks have been uneventful.

We don’t know the sex of this baby (something Phil is not particularly impressed about). I didn’t find out the sex with Charlie or Max and this pregnancy is no different – I like it to be a surprise. However I didn’t anticipate just how many ultrasounds I would be having this time around (five so far and probably a couple more before I’m done) and that has made it  much harder to stick to my “I don’t want to know” stance. Especially when the specialist felt the need to inform me that she DID in fact know whether my unborn child was male or female. Oh so tempting. But I resisted – I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. I’m just going to repeat this over and over during my next scan ;-)

I am quickly running out of ‘regular’ clothes that I can still squeeze into but have recently discovered the joys of maternity underwear (SO worth the investment!). I don’t even care that Phil insists on referring to them as my ‘granny undies’, those things are damn comfortable!

This morning Charlie voiced her concern that I would be having the baby in winter (apparently this has just occurred to her). We had the following conversation, much to my amusement:

Charlie: But you’ll be so cold having the baby in winter!

Me: What are you talking about? Why will I be so much colder just because I’m having a baby?

Charlie: *thinks for a minute* I suppose…well, we don’t know what time the baby will be born yet do we?

Me: Charlie, I’m having the baby in a hospital – the hospital is heated. Trust me, I won’t be cold.

Charlie: Oh! Well ok then.

Me: It’s not like I’m giving birth in a barn.

Charlie: I know a baby who WAS born in a barn….Jesus!

Me: Well I’m not giving birth to Jesus, my baby will be born in a hospital. Where it’s warm.

So I have started thinking that perhaps we should actually prepare for this baby, you know, SOON. Given that it’s arrival is approximately 9 weeks away and all. We bought a cot a few months back because it was on sale at Ikea for $40 and a friend of mine gave me her change table and portacot. That was officially the sum total of our baby belongings – can’t half tell it’s the fourth child huh? ;-) So I recently purchased some adorable onesies and am researching car seats. I am in that comfortable frame of mind where I know just how little babies actually need. Somewhere to sleep, something to wear and a comfy sling to be carried around in and we’re all set.

Apart from the killer heartburn, the ridiculous amount of time it takes for me to put on ‘proper shoes’ and the fact that the baby is now strong enough that it’s ‘stretching’ can actually cause me pain, I’m still ok with this being pregnant thing. I think it helps that I can still see my toes (just) – once the toes disappear all bets are off!

Three words I hate

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When I was growing up, I never entertained the thought that I would still cringe on hearing the words ‘back to school’. Parents love it when their kids go back to school – right? Right? Yeah, not this parent. I hate it when my kids are at school. I hate the school routine, I hate having to be there at 8:30am and 3:00pm Monday to Friday every. single. week. I hate making school lunches. I hate homework. Homework is the worst – I did it for 12 years myself and now I have to do MORE? What kind of hell is this??

School is all about routine and I have never been big on routine. I don’t like having to be certain places at certain times (shockingly, I’m not particularly punctual) and I like having the freedom to do things on a whim. One might say this is difficult to do when one has children and I would tend to agree – but it’s not impossible. A few years ago I woke up one Wednesday morning and just thought “I have to get out of here”. So I packed the kids up, rang Charlie’s school to let them know she wouldn’t be in for the rest of the week and drove us all down the coast for three days. Things like this are infinitely harder when you have children in school and I so wish I’d discovered natural learning/homeschooling many years ago so we could have avoided the traditional schooling environment all together. To have that freedom and because I don’t believe school is the best place for my children to learn.

We’re in a peculiar situation in that some of our children will attend traditional schooling while some are homeschooled. Charlie and Max are enrolled in a private school, Aiden starts prep next year (most likely at a public school) and this baby I’m currently working on, plus any others, will be homeschooled by me – I’m yet to figure out exactly how that’s going to work. Unfortunately, the freedom we will have by homeschooling our younger children will have to be balanced by the school routines of the older children – it will be interesting for sure. But hey, our family dynamic is nothing if not interesting :-)

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 ;-)