no please don’t cry… again…

I’m tired. No. I’m exhausted. I’m so exhausted that I’m tired. I don’t even remember what a full night’s sleep is, let alone half a night’s sleep.

Maddie has always been the better sleeper, niggling once at about 2am or so, but then settling very quickly after I give her her bottle. Alex has always been my little terrorist; on a good night he wakes 3-4 times, a bad night sees him not sleeping at all. But for the past 3 nights, Maddie has been even worse than him.

Alex has this terrible habit of shrieking at 2am; I’m talking straight-through-your-eardrum kinda shriek. Most mornings I can get to him before he starts shrieking, so that I can take him through to the lounge, where I fight with him to settle for anywhere up to an hour, and then he usually either lies quietly on my chest, or passes out. But he really battles to settle down, and most of the time I put him into the cot that we’ve got in the lounge, and I curl up on the couch. Somehow Maddie has cottoned onto this, and whilst she doesn’t shriek like Alex, she has woken up 4 times each night for the past 3 nights. So where I usually just have 1 baby to try and settle, there’s me in the lounge with both of them, rocking and bouncing, trying to stop them from pushing themselves out of my arms, and also trying not to lose it completely.

This morning was no different; I ended up in the lounge with Alex at about 3am, after finally getting Maddie settled for the 2nd time. I sat with Alex for about 30mins, but he had no intention of falling asleep in my arms. At about 4am, I put him into the cot in the lounge with a juice bottle, and he lay down drinking it. I then curled up on the couch and waited. At about 5am I woke up, almost in a panic. Maddie was niggling in the bedroom. Now I do generally know which niggle I can ignore, and which I need to tend to ASAP; this niggle however had me a bit lost. I lay on the couch and waited… and waited… and waited. After about 5mins or so she stopped, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then I almost smacked myself for almost waking Alex up, as he had fallen asleep in the cot by the couch. And all I could think of when I was listening to Maddie niggle?

Please don’t cry again. Please don’t wake up. Please please please. I don’t actually know if I can deal with it.

At 5am this morning I was fighting back tears; big, fat, wet tears, at the thought of having to raise my exhausted body off of the couch, to go and see to Maddie. Maddie has slept through once in almost 13 months; Alex never has. In the last 7 years my sleeping pattern has deteriorated to the point where I wake at anything, but the past 2 years have been pretty awful; basically my pregnancy with the twins and the subsequent months. What sounds like bliss to me? A night alone; just me and a huge comfy bed. Will that ever happen? Not in the foreseeable future!

Now some will see me as ungrateful, a bad mom, whatever. Think what you want. I love my children (not that I have anything to justify to anyone but anyway…) with all that I am, and even though I don’t know if I could have handled getting up to see to Maddie this morning if she needed me to, I know that I would have. Because I’m her mommy. And we do what seems like the impossible sometimes, because it’s ingrained in our souls, in our beings as mommy’s.

My life - Alex, Morgan-Lee & Maddie (picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography)

My life – Alex, Morgan-Lee & Maddie (picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography)

No, parenting isn’t all unicorn parties and sparkles. It’s an exhausting, frustrating, depressing, anger inducing journey, that has sob-fest tendencies, with a sideline of wine by the bucket load. But parenting is also getting to that point where you feel that you just cannot do it anymore, and something so simple as a hug, or a kiss on your forehead reminds you why you haven’t thrown the towel in just yet. A stick figure drawing (the 10th for the month) of the family, all smiling and holding hands. Sticky fingers asking you to share a biscuit. Learning how to clap hands, stand up and give a kiss.

An unexpected “I love you mommy”.

Listening to your son say “oh dear” when he throws his bottle out of the cot, because that’s what you do. (say oh dear, not throw his bottle out of the cot!)

Playing “ta” with your youngest, because she thinks it’s the best thing ever, and feeling so proud, because she ACTUALLY understands the concept.

Knowing that these 3 little people are from me, are a part of me.

Always.

G

Alex & Maddie - picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography

Alex & Maddie – picture courtesy of Krystal Temlett Photography

Advertisements

on being a mom of 3, whilst holding onto the last tendrils of my sanity

I’ve been a mom to 3 kidlets for almost 13 months now. THIRTEEN MONTHS. 2 of those kidlets are the same age. Yeah, it’s been fun.

I’ve learnt quite a bit in the past few months, and I’d like to share those ‘learnings’ with you…

  1. Cars do indeed go on fumes. They don’t go for long, but they do go.
  2. If a poop has the slightest chance of escaping the nappy, it will. All over you.
  3. Dog food doesn’t hurt. It’s actually a great laxative. See point 2.
  4. Running into the shops for bread and milk wearing your old gym pants, a t-shirt covered in puke (I think that’s what it was) with greasy hair means that every cool person from high school will be there. At the same shop. At the same time.
  5. Sleeping in until 05h30 feels like a vacation.
  6. There is no chance of peeing in solitude. Even the 6 year old will find you.
  7. Showers consist of the 6 year old sitting on the toilet watching you whilst singing, all whilst you stick your head out every few minutes because you’re convinced that the 1 twin is killing the other twin and you’re listening out for the blood curdling screams.
  8. You regularly talk to yourself, so that you can have at least 1 adult conversation a day.
  9. You discover that, whilst you are indeed a sleep-deprived mombie, you are somehow able to (semi)function on 2 hours sleep. For 3 days in a row.
  10. Your love life consists of a kiss (which is more of a clashing of lips) before dissolving into your bed. See point 11.
  11. You very quickly learn that babies have an insanely accurate telepathic ability, which alerts them to when you do indeed plan on dissolving into your bed.
  12. You discover that certain antibiotics do indeed taste terrible. Especially when you’re spitting out the vomited version.
  13. The 6 year old WILL decide to tell you about their day (even though you did ask in the car on the way home) right at the very moment that both babies decide to quieten down, and you decide to attempt to watch MasterChef Australia. See point 11.
  14. You become very grateful for PVR. See point 13.
  15. Your sanity becomes highly questionable, and you’re the one doing the questioning.
  16. Gratefulness for those wee early hours is a new thing, because that is sometimes the only alone time there is. For about 3.8 seconds. Then it’s playtime. At 5am.
  17. Toasted sarmies become a very regular, VERY delicious meal. Mostly for supper.
  18. Date night is a dream come true, for the sole purpose of being able to sleep for 1.5 hours at the cinema, uninterrupted.
  19. Bath time becomes a firm favourite, as with all 3 kids in the bath splashing up a storm (sigh), you can finally catch up on the day. Until one kidlet screams blue murder. Which normally occurs within the first 3mins.
  20. As you reflect back on the crazy, exhausting, emotionally draining, financially draining, exhilarating, frustrating, tearful, laughter inducing time, you very quickly realise that you wouldn’t trade a single second.
  21. Well maybe that second 2 nights ago, when I got kicked in the boob during a nappy change. Again. I think I’d change that.

G

Picture courtesy of my mommy

Picture courtesy of my mommy

2016; the year of maybe, just maybe

I’m not what you would call a positive person. I say realist; the husband says pessimist. Potato potaato. I rarely get my hopes up for anything, as life has unfortunately given me too many letdowns, or should I say, I have had too many letdowns in my life. But 2016 is proving to be putting up a little more of a fight.

The husband and I started the year on a bit of a high; 2015 ended up with us having a little bit of spare cash, our family life was relatively stable, and work was well, work. But then a week in 2016, things got a little better. Work wise the husband is happy, stable and secure, I was able to buy “big school” uniforms without breaking the bank, and everything just seemed to be falling into place. Fast forward to the last week of the new month, and things have just continued on the up and up.

The husband is doing so well at work; he’s so happy and he’s finally being realised for the hard worker that he is. I knew that it was only a matter of time, but those first few months were trying, both financially and emotionally. The big girl is LOVING school; in fact on her second day she promptly informed me on the way to school that I must no longer walk in with her, as she knows where her classroom is. Cue my broken heart bouncing all over the floor. I’ve applied for a position at our head office, and whilst they haven’t even started shortlisting candidates yet, I just have a good feeling about it. We were contacted on Wednesday regarding an invoicing issue from the gearbox repairs that we did on our car back in October, and they’re refunding us a portion of our payment today. Yet another month has come and almost gone, and we’re still standing. And not just standing, smiling. Laughing. Happy. Not just surviving. We’re still living each and every day as if we were struggling as badly as we were, as who knows how long this could/will last.

I just find it absolutely amazing that 2.5 months ago, I didn’t know how I was putting food in my children’s tummies, or petrol in the car. I have some amazing guardian angels in my life; friends and family, both near and far (like, internationally far) who rallied around me, and gave me not only emotional support, but financial support, enough to see us through the month. Enough to pick up my spirits, and carry on fighting the fight. To those beautiful souls who helped out my family in our time of dire need, I will never be able to thank-you enough for what you did for us. And not just from the financial side of things. Your messages, scriptures and words of hope, love and support comforted me in some of my darkest hours.

2016 has so far proven itself to be a very interesting year; I have learnt who my true family members are, and not all of them are blood related. I have learnt that I am a good mom, even though I stumble through it most days, my children love me and I love them with all that I am. I have learnt that even though the husband and I are at each other’s throats at least twice a month, we love each other so deeply, and 12.5 years into it, we’re still learning about each other, learning what makes each of us tick. I have learnt that you cannot expect change, from someone who simply refuses to see their flaws and make the necessary changes, even though they are making the exact same mistake, for the 15th time. I have learnt that I need to take a step back, even if it means watching that person fall and crash, purely because they have refused to listen to reason. I have learnt that I am stronger than I ever knew I was, both physically and emotionally. I have learnt that I don’t have to be strong all of the time, that it’s ok to lose my cool over the fact that the babies are crying AGAIN and I still haven’t showered and we have to leave the house in 5 minutes. I have learnt that I am not supermom, I am just mom. And that is enough.

2016, I have a feeling about you. Dare I say a good feeling, but a feeling nonetheless.

Bring it.

G

on acting up

This year has certainly been long and draining. It has also been wonderful and exciting. But I think this year has definitely taken its toll on my eldest, Morgan-Lee.

I don’t know if it’s had anything to do with her turning 6 in October, but seriously, since her birthday, the negative shift in her behaviour, has become worrying, alarming even. She all of a sudden is pushing boundaries, and I mean big time. Her latest thing, is to just run up to strangers in the shops, and at school and give them a big hug and say hello. It completely freaks me out! I know why she’s doing it; she’s craving attention, as her baby brother and sister are constantly attracting attention from strangers, but the difference, is that I’m not seeking out the attention for the twins; it just happens.

Both my mom and I have spoken to her about it; she has to stop it, and as much as we haven’t had a bad situation arise out of it (yet) it’s not on. Not only is she getting into other peoples’ spaces, all it takes is for me to lose concentration for a split second, and she could be gone. Also, I don’t want her hugging strange people! In all honestly, I absolutely hate it when strangers stop me and oooh and aaah over the twins. Ok, I don’t mind that so much; it’s the touching that gets to me. Touching their feet, or their hands, or the worst, their faces. I don’t know where peoples’ hands have been; the twins were in hospital last week and Alex is still being monitored, and has to go for blood tests next week, and then in another 2 weeks after that! But I digress…

Last week Monday, as I was rushing the twins off to hospital, I was frantically trying to arrange for someone to fetch Morgan-Lee from school. The husband was stuck at work, my step-dad was out as well, and so I asked my brother. He fetched her for me, and took her back to his place, as he needed to finish up some stuff. He phoned me that night, and asked if I’d spoken to Morgan-Lee. I said no; I was waiting for the husband and her to arrive at the hospital. He then told me that she had done something to his and his girlfriend’s 3 kittens; they were lethargic, and the one was barely responsive. They thought that she might have sprayed air freshener into their faces! Air freshener! When the husband and Morgan-Lee got to the hospital, I left him with the babies, and went outside with her (kids under 12 aren’t allowed in the ward) and confronted her about what on earth had happened. Oh she knew that she had done wrong, and admitted to locking one of the cats in a cage, and then spraying all 3 of them in the face with air freshener. Guys it was so bad, that the one little cat almost died; they had to rush him off to get antibiotics, as he was bleeding from the nose! I felt flipping awful, and I was just in utter shock that she would do something like that. We are an animal loving family; crikey our dogs have full reign of our home, from sleeping inside at night, to sleeping on the couches, our beds, and pretty much the run of the house. We have rabbits hopping around outside, koi fish, marine fish, hedgehogs and even a rescued Indian Mynah bird! We love animals, and Morgan-Lee has always been surrounded by animals. I just couldn’t believe that she was capable of something like that, but as she was the only one at my brother’s house, and the fact that she admitted doing what she did, just flabbergasted me.

Then last night… I had just finished putting the twins down, and as I walked back into the lounge, I caught her taking her chair, and stomping it down on my 11 year old Fox Terrier. I stopped dead; I couldn’t believe what I had just seen! She froze as well; she knew what she had done was wrong! So then why did she do it! The child isn’t stupid; she clearly knows right from wrong, and I do understand that children push boundaries as that is how they learn, but hurting animals? Deliberately hurting animals? I lost it. I did. What really upset me, is not so much the fact that she intentionally wanted to hurt my dog; what upset me was that she knew it was wrong. She knew! I marched her into the bathroom, and where her father normally smacks her on her bum through her clothes, I pulled her pants down, and smacked her bare bum. 2 sharp smacks, all the while listening to her apologise profusely; “I’m sorry mommy! I won’t hurt Sprocket again!”

It broke my heart to smack her, and I have only ever twice smacked her on her bare bum (last night included) but as I was sitting in the lounge trying to calm down from what had just happened, instant regret and guilt washed over me. I don’t want to smack my child; I don’t want to punish her. I don’t want to hurt her. I just don’t want her going out and DELIBERATELY hurting animals! For goodness sake; I rescued a baby bird 2 Friday’s ago that fell out of the nest, whereas the people around me wanted to wring its neck! It was still so young, that we’ve been spoon feeding it etc. That’s how much we love animals! And I just don’t understand that out of every way a child can misbehave and act out, she has chosen to do so by hurting animals.

Her ears lately are just there for decoration; she is continually running off in shops, and is in her own world when walking in a parking lot. I love her so much that my heart hurts, and I am so scared of what the world will do to her, if she doesn’t wake up! Yes, she’s *only* 6, but if I don’t crack down with the discipline now, when she’s *only* 14, what then?

She came through to the lounge about 45mins after she had fallen asleep last night, and came and cuddled with me on the couch. I held and rocked her, and I apologised for smacking her. She looked me in the eyes and said, “it’s ok mommy”. No, no it isn’t ok, and I told her that. I told her that she is a wonderful little girl, but that I’m so disappointed in her behaviour. I’m not disappointed in her, only in her behaviour. I told her that I hate smacking her, that I don’t want to smack her, but that she really needs to work on her behaviour. She held me tight, and whispered in my ear… “I love you mommy. Forever.”

My heart.

I just need to find a solution to her acting up and attention seeking, as unfortunately, the majority of the attention that she’s getting is negative, and that is not right.

But the other culprit of this situation? Me, her mother. I cannot blame her entirely for her behaviour. This year has drained me, physically, emotionally and mentally. The majority of my time is always on the twins, and I can understand her acting out, to a point. To have had me completely to herself, for almost 5.5 years, to now have to share me with 2 other children, that’s got to have done a number on her psyche. And the even crazier thing? She is so gentle, and patient, and loving with her brother and sister. You’d think I’d find her pinching them, pushing them over, bullying them, but no. She happily shares her toys, gets down on the floor with them, and entertains them when I’m in the shower.

So where have I gone wrong? Where have I, as a parent, failed my eldest daughter? I am so grateful for the 3 weeks of leave that I’ve taken just before Christmas, because even though we won’t be going out much, it will give me the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with her, focus on her, give her the attention that she is so obviously craving.

I feel like the world’s biggest failure as a mother typing this post, because as much as she is at an age where she is accountable for her actions, I am too. And I’ve let her down.

I only hope that it’s not too late for me to get her back on the right path.

G

on saying i love you

I was watching The Goldberg’s last week, and the episode was rather interesting. The mother had bribed her daughter with various fashion items to get her to tell her father that she loved him. The reason behind her bribery, was that she told everyone all day every day, that she loved them, whereas her husband and daughter very rarely (if ever) said it. It ended up with the father and daughter having a massive blow-out, and screaming I LOVE YOU at each other, but more in a I-say-it-better-than-you kind of way. At the end of the episode, the mother apologised to the daughter, and the daughter explained to her that even though she doesn’t tell her father that she loves him, he knows that she does. The father happened to be outside her bedroom door, and he smiled and walked away.

This resonated with me, as I’m in quite a similar situation.

My mom and I at my 21st in 2007

My mom and I at my 21st in 2007

I love my mom and dad with everything that I have; they’re my parents and they’ve only ever wanted the best for me. But my relationship with my mom is different to my relationship with my dad, naturally. My dad and I always say I love you, or we whatsapp it, or voice note it or whatever. But we say it. My mom and I, not so much. I don’t know why. It feels, weird in a sense. But what we do have, is gazillions. It’s like millions and billions, but gazillions 😉 That for us sums up our relationship. I know that my mom loves me, and I can’t even describe how much I love her. But we don’t say it. And that’s ok. I would drop everything right now if my mom needed me, and I know that my mom would do the same for me. She doesn’t drive, but I know that she’d run and wouldn’t stop if I needed her.

So I don’t need “I love you”.

I have gazillions.

G