the day i watched my mother fall in love

I remember the day that I told my mom that I was pregnant with Morgan-Lee; her face said it all. It was Thursday the 5th of March 2009, the day before my 23rd birthday. I was 22, engaged but still living at home with her, and she was disappointed. I don’t hold that against her; I think I was a little disappointed in myself as well. The news of my pregnancy received mixed reactions from our families; a lot of family members on my side thought I had thrown my life away, and there was both happiness and disappointment on the husband’s side. But all-in-all, everyone accepted the fact that we were going to have a baby.

Tuesday the 5th of May 2009. That was the day that I saw our daughter for the first time. The husband couldn’t come with me as he was travelling for work, so my mom dutifully accompanied me to the gynae, who also happened to be her gynae, and who delivered my brother back in 1992! It was the first of many trips up to Ladysmith some 200km odd away, as the doctor had decided to move, and as I wasn’t on medical aid, his offer of free consultations had to be taken up!

"Meeting" Morgan-Lee for the first time on the 5th of May 2009

“Meeting” Morgan-Lee for the first time on the 5th of May 2009

I remember sitting in his rooms, waiting nervously, so excited yet so scared at the same time. I’d already had a DNC in 2004 at the age of 17; what if something was wrong this time around? I remember lying down on the bed, and then looking to the sonogram. And I watched with big wide eyes, as this little ‘thing’ appeared on the screen, darting from one side to the next, with even the doctor exclaiming how active it was. I then looked over at my mom, who had her mouth slightly open, her eyes glistening. I even remember her gasping quietly. I watched her silently watch this little thing bounce around inside of me, her baby girl now about to have her own baby, and I watched her fall in love. It was a pure, unscripted moment in time, one that I will cherish forever. When my mom saw her first grandchild for the very first time, I knew that my baby was going to be the most loved and wanted child in the world, all from the look on her face.

It was quite a remarkable thing to witness; watching my mom fall in love.

And I’m so grateful and blessed that I did.

G

 

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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

i don’t have a perfect child

Technically, no one has a perfect child. And I have always been the first to tell people that M-L isn’t perfect. Maybe I’m in the wrong. Because according to the parents of her now former crèche, L and I let her get away with anything and we don’t discipline her her, and are letting her run wild. I cannot even explain how this has infuriated me.

This whole situation started, well actually was brought to my attention 2 Sunday’s before Christmas, by not only a dear friend but also a fellow mom at M-L’s crèche. M-L had spent 3 days at her house as she is/was best friends with her son, and the crèche had closed for the year and we both thought that it would be great for the kids to spend some time together outside of school. Well the complaints about M-L started after the first day, primarily about her not listening and being very stubborn. Please take note that the nanny that my friend had only just recently hired is actually a chef by profession, and as far as I know, doesn’t really have any actual childcare experience. Apparently “nanny” just couldn’t handle M-L and was absolutely exhausted and had a bad headache by the end of the first day, all because of M-L, my 5 year old daughter. The second day was pretty much the same, and apparently on the last day, the Friday she was a little better. Anyway, I thought everything was fine, and even received an offer for M-L to go back to her friends house on the following Monday! Sunday came around, and I received a message from my friend, stating that M-L had destroyed her son’s trampoline, and she couldn’t believe how destructive she was and now that’s R2.5k wasted and she’s going to have to buy another trampoline. I was obviously shocked; M-L has been naughty in the past and has broken things, but how does a 5 year old destroy a trampoline? It later emerged that it was just the protective rubber stuff on the bars of the trampoline, and that the entire trampoline didn’t have to be replaced. What also wasn’t discussed, is that this trampoline is also an outdoor trampoline, thus the UV rays will degrade it. One just has to look at my neighbour’s trampoline for proof of that!

It ended up being a good 30-45mins of messaging, and it emerged that my friend believed that M-L has some underlying issues that L and I either don’t see, or are refusing to acknowledge. My friend pretty much said that we as M-L’s parents refuse to see that she isn’t perfect, and let her get away with whatever she wants. All of the other parents at the crèche see it, AND the teachers and principal. I was flabbergasted. It then emerged that M-L and her “issues” have been discussed with not only my friend, but with several other parents. Her “issues” have yet to be discussed with L and I, her parents. Anyway, I did manage to sort things out with my friend, only after L had gotten involved and actually made things worse (gotta love him for trying, and for standing up for M-L and I) and we ended the chat with her telling us the we were always welcome at her house, and with me thanking her for bringing these issues to my attention, and that I was going to be looking into them. I also said that for now, M-L wouldn’t go to her house without me, just to prevent anything from happening. All was well.

Monday the 29th of Decemeber, I received a text from my friend in the evening, ending our friendship completely, and her telling me never to contact her ever again. It was a serious WTF moment. Earlier that day, I had emailed the principal of M-L’s crèche, pretty much demanding answers as to why my daughter was discussed with every other parent at her school, except with me or L. When I texted my friend back asking what on earth had happened (we had had contact before the 29th; we sent each other lovely messages on Christmas Day) she reiterated all of the points that she had made 2 Sunday’s prior, saying that she didn’t need the load of rude and hurtful messages that were sent to her by L and I, when all she was trying to do was help. I was stunned. I never once sent her a rude or hurtful message. Every single one of my messages were polite and in the spirit of saving our friendship. L’s messages may have been abrupt and to the point, but hardly rude and hurtful. Plus we’d sorted all of this out, and now a week later she decides to end it all, again?! In the interim, she had unfriended and blocked me on Facebook. The unfriending hurt; the blocking felt like I’d fallen off a 100ft swing and had landed flat on my back, totally and utterly winded. Well the principal denied contacting my friend after I’d sent her the email, as I did ask, purely because I had mentioned names in my email to her. The principal also never actually answered my main question, which was why had M-L been discussed with everyone except L or/and I, her parents? The principal denied that M-L wasn’t ready for Grade R (big school) and stated that she was a lovely, wonderful, delightful child in her school. I then asked why did she, as the principal got frustrated when I queried with her some months back when M-L had hurt my friend’s child, but my friend had told me about it instead of me being told about the incident by someone in her school, ie: her, a teacher, a nanny etc. “Oh I wish she hadn’t told you as we dealt with it.” That was the principal’s response. I don’t care how small an issue a teacher thinks it may be; as M-L’s parents we need to know about these things! And especially seeing as this wasn’t a once off incident; M-L has apparently been disruptive, destructive, stubborn, doesn’t listen and can show bullying tendencies. None of which we as her parents we aware of, because the crèche that I entrusted her to, where she spent 85-90% of her time, didn’t feel it necessary to bring up these issues with us. On my last day of work last week Wednesday (New Years Eve) I replied to the principal’s response, saying that she hadn’t addressed or answered the issue at hand, and that we do require urgent feedback, as we want to send M-L to a child psychologist for an assessment and chat. To date I haven’t received a response.

It’s also been bugging me, well not so much bugging me, but I’ve been curious as to why I hadn’t seen the principal’s Facebook posts for the past week. I checked a short while earlier, and she too has unfriended me. Talk about taking the cowardly way out. Her unfriending me honestly doesn’t faze me that much, as she’s always pleading for fundraising etc at the crèche, but is always off on holidays and overseas trips and family weekends away blah blah blah but still. Instead of admitting that there is a serious lack of communication at her school, and that quite honestly her teachers doesn’t really give a damn, she’s chosen to run away from it, because hey, M-L isn’t going there this year.

I am not trying to remove mine and L’s responsibility as M-L’s parents here. We could have also been more perceptive, and instead of being so wrapped up in our own lives paid more attention to M-L. But honestly in the evenings and on the weekends, apart from ‘normal’ 5 year old behaviour, she was nowhere as ‘bad’ as the awful stories that I’ve heard in the past 3 weeks. At the end of the day, she is our daughter, and as much as I refer to her as my princess, she isn’t one, and I know that. But I also can’t believe that this little 5 year old girl is 100% responsible for the destruction of a trampoline, especially when she is not the only child to have used it in recent months. This little boy always has friends over and his trampoline is frequently used. Yes, she maybe did pull the rubber/foam protection stuff off of the bars, but I liken that to pulling the paper wrap off of crayons, like we’ve all done at one stage, and which M-L does as well! I am not saying that her behaviour was right, all I’m saying is that she’s 5 years old. She’s learning everyday about the consequences of her choices and decisions, and these holidays she has been grounded 3 times. Ok, only for 1-2 days at a time, but again, she’s only 5! Yes, we have also noticed her lack of listening skills, and we also believe that she may have some deep seated issue that references back to my car accident last July, of which she was a passenger. It was a very scary thing for a then 4 year old to have experienced. Then there’s the fact that in a month or so she’s getting 2 siblings! That’s gotta be hardcore for any child, especially a sensitive little 5 year old who has had mommy and daddy all to herself for so long, and now the house is full of baby things, and I have this huge tummy, and and and. I think sending her for a chat with the child psychologist will only do her good and if it comes back that she’s a happy, well adjusted 5 year old, then my friend, and that cliched, cliquey crèche can go and shove it. And if it comes back that there are some issues that we need to tackle, then I will forever be grateful to my friend for raising her concerns with me, even though it cost us our friendship, but the school can still go and suck it as they didn’t feel the need to discuss our child with us.

And no, the twins will not be attending that excuse for a crèche in 2016!

Happy new year everyone!

G

spoilt

I think that I should blog every year about how much I don’t care about my birthday. Maybe then, every birthday would rock as much as my birthday did this year 🙂

The idea

The idea

A few weeks back, I posted a picture to Facebook of a clock that I’d seen on Twitter, and as I have a ‘thing’ for clocks, and the fact that this clock so aptly described me, I tagged my mom so that she could get a laugh out of it.

Mom, you won my birthday this year.

The big surprise that I almost ruined? This. (see below)

My clock

My clock

Well, I squeaked. I squealed. I had a grin so big across my face, I think I out-smiled the Cheshire cat.

We then walked around the flea market for another 2 hours or so, but all I could think of was my awesome clock, and how pretty darn cool my birthday has been this year.

And as much as I detest surprises…

This one was most definitely worth being surprised with 🙂

G