Friday, October 17, 2014
**This post is about religion - I want to give you a heads up that we are non-religious - not anti religious and this post is not meant to offend anyone, I have very strong beliefs that each person should be free to choose their own religious beliefs and I would never force any of my own beliefs on anyone else, your life and your decisions are your own. If you are deeply religious, I respect that and I hope that I do not offend you in any way***
My husband and I were brought up as Catholics and both attended private Catholic schools. My experience of school was a good one, though both of us now don't really have any religious affiliation. The boys were not baptised (to my Mum's great chagrin) and both of us don't really believe in what we were brought up to believe. That is not to say that I have anything against anyone who is religious - many people find great comfort in their religion and I have great respect for that.
Melbourne is diverse culturally, it is one of the things that I love very much about my town but as a generalisation, religion is not a huge deal in many people's lives. This may sound very trite considering the world climate but most people would be more offended if you professed no affiliation to an Australian Rules football team than to no affiliation to a religion. It is not a perfect place but I love it and I am happy to bring my boys up in a place (mostly) of tolerance.
So, how does this relate to schools? We have been discussing where we would send the boys to school for a while. The area that we live in don't have great public schools so we always knew that we would want to go down the path of a private school. As I had a good experience with my Catholic school, I didn't really have any objection to them attending one and there were a few around who accepted kids that hadn't been baptised. It would be difficult though so we discussed whether we wanted them to be baptised. My feelings were not strong either way but JourneyMan's were very strongly against as he believes that our children are perfect and it is offensive to him to think that they were born with 'original sin'. So after much discussion, we decided not to baptise them, indeed I think it would be very hypocritical to baptise them just so that they could attend a particular type of school and not because we believe strongly in the sacrament.
Most private schools around our area are affiliated to a particular religion and though most of them practise an open policy in attendance for non-religious (or people from other religions), preference is given to children of their own religion - which is fair enough. For me, the biggest concern that I would have in sending our boys to a religious school is that they are born from IVF and indeed from a donor and I worry that they will be told that they are 'wrong' in some way. Now, I know many deeply religious people, my Mum and Dad are (were) and JourneyMan's Mum and Dad are too - these beautiful, wonderful people have never made any comment in any way that suggests that they think anything of these precious boys other than they are the true miracle that they are but what of others? Wouldn't it stand to reason that if there were people who were strictly involved in the church and believe that IVF and donor children are 'wrong' in some way would be sending their kids to a religious school? I know that I can't protect them from what people say all their lives but I can't willingly put them into a situation where this may occur. My Mum thinks I am very silly - of all the people she knows, none of them would ever even conceive of saying anything like this but I have done my research about Catholic opinion and the Church only sanctions GIFT (gamete intrafollopian transfer) - which the boys were not.
So, I did make calls to many schools and talked to many people about our situation - including religious schools and I have to say that these were wonderful, wonderful people. They were happy to answer my questions and available to have discussions about our pretty unique situation. There were definitely a couple of religious schools that I would feel very comfortable sending the boys to, they were truly, truly wonderful. Even though we were still (at the time) 2 years away from JBB going, we were mostly too late in getting his name down. However, the school that won our hearts was a non-religious one that is not too far away. It is pretty expensive but we have decided that we would rather sacrifice a few things and get them to go to this school because it blew us away. We are on the waiting list - we will only know mid-next year whether JBB will be able to attend in 2016. He will be attending a public kindergarten next year and then will go on to the new school (which goes from prep to year 12).
It strange to think that my little JBB, who such a short time ago was a tiny baby in my arms will soon be going to school. It is such a cliche but they really do grow up so fast. Just on JBB, it is a funny thing that people assume that he is already in school. He is sooooo tall. When he turned 4, we measured him as usual and I laughingly discovered that he is in the 90th percentile of height for a 5 year old, he absolutely towers over all of the kids at his daycare and I think that one of these days he is going to tower over me and I am not a short person.
Monday, September 15, 2014
So, I realised yesterday that I had written 3 posts in 2014 - slack, very slack and it is super important for me to actually keep this updated as it has been a valuable record and one that I hope I can share with the boys in the future. Plus, I find it hugely helpful to clear my thoughts - it has always been a great way of clearing my thoughts out.
As my birthday is a time of reflection - I thought I would do a bit of a retrospective. I chose 7 years because JourneyMan and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last week - thank you my darling for 7 wonderful years.
So, last month, I turned 43 and I am blown away by how time is flittering by so quickly. I literally can't believe that I am 43. I feel like it was yesterday that I turned 40 but then I feel like it was only a week ago that I turned 30!! I am generally happy with my age and the last seven years of birthdays really shows just how much can change in that time.
2007 - We were on our honeymoon when I turned 36. In Thailand, of course - though our love affair with Thailand started before we met. Journeyman went on a trip with his cousins and friends in his younger years and my bestie and I had spent an awesome 5 weeks exploring Cambodia and Thailand. My bestie and I loved Bangkok so much that we changed our trip to spend more time there. On the day that I turned 37, Journeyman woke me with a festival of presents and he had hired a motorbike which we then spent hours exploring the island of Koh Samui. He had gotten one of the local artists to paint a picture of me from a photo from my hen's night. I was kind of uncomfortable with it at the time because I thought 'who has portraits of themselves on a wall?!?!' but I found it recently in the move and I like it - it captures a very happy moment of me and I think I might have to get it framed and put up in the new house - probably upstairs because not many people but the family go up there. We already knew at this point that we would need to do IVF so we hadn't broken the bank on the wedding and honeymoon and I remember thinking that I might be pregnant by the end of the year. Oh younger, super positive self, you were so naive!!
2008 - Fast forward through some of the most difficult months of my life. I turned 37 in 2008. On the day of my birthday, I got my period, heralding the dashed hopes of the 4th IVF cycle with my own eggs. We had a combined dinner for my Mum and I at a restaurant. I remember sobbing as I got ready. I had called my mum and told her that I didn't want to go - she told me I would feel better if I came. I know people tip toed around me at this time, they didn't know what to say - to be ravaged by so much grief, I think it is very hard for the loved ones to watch. It was a tough, tough year our first year of marriage but I think that we were extremely lucky that we turned toward each other rather than away, it definitely made us stronger. We were in the hospital having an egg pick up and a sperm biopsy on our anniversary and then after recovering (and to speed up the 2 week wait) we went away to the snow for the weekend - JourneyMan had never seen snow before - we had a lovely anniversary celebration, toboganning, laughing and believing it was possible I could be pregnant. Then those hopes were dashed on the day of my birthday and we ended up watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics at my brother's house, I was wracked with period cramps and my heart hurt from the disappointment of another failed cycle - I thought to myself - would I even have kids by the next time the Olympics came?
2009 - 38th Birthday - For my 38th Birthday, JourneyMan and I had a long weekend away to Daylesford to rest and recuperate from a failed cycle (originally was booked to ease the 2ww waiting torture) - it was our last cycle using my own eggs, cancelled due to the fact that I had only one large follicle and I ovulated before even pick up. The money that was returned to us for this failed cycle was instrumental in being able to afford the cycle in Thailand. For my birthday we went to the mineral springs and floated around the mineral pools for a few hours, had a yummy lunch and sat in front of the fire that night. We spent the weekend discussing the cycle in Thailand that would be coming in December, we were still in the early stages of planning. We had discussed what our child was going to be like and I remember realising that the child would not have my genes - at the time, it was a grief process - thinking that I would never see myself in them, that they wouldn't inherit any of the good (or bad) things from me. It is funny looking back on my thoughts of that time, I have absolutely no care factor about that stuff now. They are my beautiful boys and the only thing that I wish for them is happiness and health - I don't give a fat rat's if they don't inherit anything from me - they are perfect as they are - two quite different and amazing souls. I've changed significantly in my thoughts over the years, I am not the person that I was when I was 38. As an interesting aside to this, I reviewed my posts from August 2009 and happened upon one posted a complete year before my JBB was born - called 'Calculating Hope' - it is strange to see a version on myself writing before JBB entered my life. Only 12 months later, JBB was born and my life changed irrevocably. It is quite amazing.
2010 - 39th Birthday - I had my 39th birthday 2 weeks before JBB was born. I turned 39 knowing that my dream of a child was about to come true. For my 39th birthday, I didn't really care about my birthday that much because I knew that the greatest gift of all was coming my way in a few short weeks. I remember going out to dinner for my Mum's and mine's birthday to a dumpling place and I felt so sick that I haven't been able to have dumplings since then!! My Dad was still alive and there was a great difficulty getting him to the venue because he wasn't walking that well. He got to meet my wonderful JBB though, they had a super cute relationship. This has to be a favourite birthday - I was so happy knowing that JBB was coming and my birthday couldn't mean anything less to me, I was only concerned with a new birthday coming up.
2011 - 40th Birthday - On the actual weekend of my 40th birthday, JourneyMan had booked us in for a nice overnight stay in a hotel where we would mainly get lots and lots of sleep and wander along the river and have dinner and things. No such chance, JBB got sick, my Mum didn't wan't to take him and I didn't really want to leave him either so he came with us and I was up pretty much all night, he was so sick, poor thing. JourneyMan then went to the football the next day so I was on my own caring for the little mite. We did have a party the following weekend, big 4-0 consisted of a combined party for JBB's 1st birthday and my birthday - really the only way that I was going to have a party was to combine it with JBB. The party was mainly geared toward JBB and it was delightful to get a face painter and balloon animal girl there to keep the kids entertained. It was my first real foray into making and decorating cakes - I made 75 cupcakes in the shape of a number 1 for JBB and they were all decorated as flowers or with lollies - stuff like that. We were just starting to plan the October cycle taking the whole family to Thailand to see if we would get lucky a second time.
2012 - 41st Birthday - My birthday was a few weeks before I left for Thailand to try our luck with the final embryos from the Oct 2011 cycle. From my birthday 2011 to my birthday 2012, it was a pretty tough time. The October 2011 cycle was negative and at the same time I found out about that I accidentally found out that my sister was accidentally pregnant. I was thrown for a big loop. I had gone into the Oct 2011 cycle super confidently, I mean we got pregnant with JBB on the first go, why wouldn't it happen again? Who the heck knows but it didn't and I had some dark days - I felt that people didn't really understand why but I think that the main reason was that I wasn't doing it for myself - I was actually doing it more for JBB - I wanted a sibling for him so that they would always have each other. Anyhoo. After the failed cycle, we decided that I would go on my own for a FET in the December and a few weeks before going for that cycle - JBB got seriously ill with Kawasaki disease. These were some of the toughest days of my life and I really don't know why I even ended up going to the cycle in December but hindsight is 20/20. Not long after I found out that the December cycle didn't work, we found out that the cancer in my Dad had spread significantly. I just felt all out of hope. By the time, my birthday came around in August, I was feeling more hopeful, I'd had some good talks to my Dad and my nephew was born and holding made me realise how much I wanted another baby - I just don't think I was ready before that. JBB's 2nd birthday party was the last outing that my Dad had. My bestie and I left for Thailand 4 days later and when I went in to see my Dad, I had no idea that it would be the last time that I saw him. Not the most affectionate man, he put both of his hands on the side of my face, said 'good luck' and 'goodbye'. I came out of there crying and it was the last time that I saw him alive.
2013 - 42nd Birthday - This birthday was not very notable or noticed. I know that Boo2 was only 3 months old but I literally cannot remember very much of what we did. It was only notable to me because Boo2 was 3 months old, we were in amongst that first part of the baby's life and basically all consumed by it. I noticed that at this time in 2013, I realised that our IF journey was over. There would be no more cycles, no more trips to Thailand just to cycle (though there will be plenty more to ensure that the boys grow up knowing some of their heritage).
2014 - 43rd Birthday- This year has been lovely. I am well ensconced in being a mother and whilst the kids birthday's are hugely important to me, mine are fading into the background, which is okay but sometimes, some me time would be nice. JourneyMan had planned for us to go to Gold Class and we were booked in but then Boo2 started vomiting and so it was cancelled. We did it a few weeks later and it was just lovely. On my actual birthday, my Mum, sisters and auntie took me out to lunch at a cafe, which was absolutely wonderful.
JourneyMan and I had our seventh wedding anniversary on the 29th of July. A week or so before our anniversary - we took the boys up for a day to the snow at Mount Donna Buang - it was one of the most fun days ever and it was very reminiscent of our first wedding anniversary when JourneyMan and I went to the snow - it was the first time that he had seen snow. We were in the midst of our 4th IVF cycle (4 in one year, foof, how did we do it!!) and when we were tobogganing, we were still hopeful that I was finally pregnant. Fast forward to this year and after seven years of marriage, we took our two gorgeous boys to the snow and watched them discover it for themselves. We had goes on the toboggan's together, though JBB wanted to go by himself (which we let him do after he had a few goes) but Boo2 was getting teeth and wasn't hugely happy - we have vowed to go again next year to experience it all over again.
It is hard to believe that all of this time has whizzed by. Most of the people's blogs that I followed are now predominantly inactive - I think everyone has gotten their dream and gotten busy with their lives. We sure have too but I think of you all and I will you all the best with your lives and your dreams and I hope that you are all going super well!!
It is hard to believe that all of this time has whizzed by. Most of the people's blogs that I followed are now predominantly inactive - I think everyone has gotten their dream and gotten busy with their lives. We sure have too but I think of you all and I will you all the best with your lives and your dreams and I hope that you are all going super well!!
Monday, August 4, 2014
I am sure that many of you (certainly if you are in Australia) have heard what has happened to 'Gammy'. For those that don't - Gammy was born to a Thai surrogate, using Australian eggs and sperm to create the embryo. Four months into the pregnancy it was discovered that the boy twin had down's syndrome. The Australian couple asked the surrogate to abort the child but she refused on religious grounds. The Australian couple took the healthy girl but left the little down's syndrome boy, Gammy, with the Thai surrogate who is looking after him. It hit the news media last week what had happened because Gammy is sick with a lung infection and is in desperate need of heart surgery. In response, the Thai government has basically locked down all surrogacy for internationals - leaving in limbo many couples that have a surrogate baby in progress. A charity campaign was also set up and at latest count, they have raised AU$210K for Gammy.
There is not much about this story that doesn't make me sick. For one, I don't know how any parent could leave their own baby - full stop. However, to leave their own critically ill child to a woman who is very poor and cannot afford to medically or financially support the child is beyond belief. We have some of the best medical care in Australia and yet your leave your biological child in an extremely poor country with a woman who has no responsibility to care for your child (there are some that suggest that the surrogate assumed responsibility when she refused the abortion but at the end of the day, isn't this still your biological child?).
I have a hard time understanding how it is okay to leave a down's syndrome baby and take the healthy twin with you - how do you justify this in your mind? Also, how short sighted is this? Didn't they realise that it would mean that they are lying to their child for their whole life, that they will be afraid constantly of the child finding out, that they have deprived their daughter of a sibling, that they have deprived themselves of another child? Many people have commented that this situation is just the same as the 95% (not verified) of down's syndrome babies that are aborted in Australia but I find both situations an anathema to me. We did have the blood tests for down's syndrome for both babies (at the request of our OB and not us) but we had already agreed that we wouldn't abort the baby - they were our babies, full stop.
There is an element of selfishness here that is abhorrent. Basically, they have put their own needs ahead of their daughters. Anyone who has seen siblings together know how precious the bond is, I can't comment on twins because I don't have them but I imagine this bond is much, much greater. Will this child grow up feeling like something is missing? Will she find out and how will she feel towards her parents? These questions are haunting to me. I am haunted about the questions that my boys may have for us one day too.
Unfortunately, some of the comments that these articles have been getting have been disturbing to me and made me assess our own situation again. There were the usual 'this just goes to show that if you can't have kids, it is meant to be' - discounting the many, many, many biological kids that are abused by their parents but whatever. I also know that I was meant to be a mother - since having JBB, I have felt at peace with who I am and what I mean to them. Many people have been very harsh on the Australian couple for taking advantage of the Thai surrogate and it has made me think - did we take advantage of a poorer woman for our own gain? I hope not. She had told us originally that the first cycle would paid for her university education and the second cycle helped her with a deposit for a house. I hope that this is true but I cannot put a price on what she gave us - it is priceless. I still remember her walking towards me in the clinic, I had wondered previously whether I remembered what she looked like but when I saw her, she looked like JBB and she walked into my arms and we both cried. I cried with gratitude for the enormous gift that she had given us - I thank her in my mind every day.
In a post I wrote a couple of months before we went to Thailand for the first cycle - I wrote:
"I didn’t bring up the donor eggs in Thailand proposition with JourneyMan until after our fifth failed IVF cycle because I didn’t think that he would be willing to consider this option. He totally surprised me and was supportive right from the word go. I found a ex-pat Aussie woman who had had the procedure done and went back and forth with her about all of my questions. I have asked myself many times why I would rather go to Thailand and pay for the donor cycle rather than advertise in Australia. I am strangely comforted by the fact that it is a business transaction (but also disturbed that this comforts me). When thinking of my sister-in-law being the donor, my thoughts went to a situation where one of her children needed a kidney transplant and because my child would be a match, they would have to do it because ‘they owed’ my sister-in-law’s child. Very complicated. I know that there are complications this way as the child will have little opportunity to find anything out about their biological mother, morally – I feel it is in a strange zone but if the Thai woman is willing to donate her eggs, then I am willing to give her money for it. I once asked JourneyMan what he thought about the moral issues of us paying to use someone else’s egg and he said ‘the child is going to be completely loved – isn’t that the most important thing?’ – I say YES!"
A pretty simplistic view in hindsight and I guess that you could say that we took advantage of the Thai donor. I hope that we haven't. I hope that she is living a wonderful life because we helped provide that opportunity for her. I hope that she thinks well of us and does not resent us. I take some comfort in the fact that she came back for a second cycle - she knew what she was getting herself into that time and she still came back, surely you wouldn't if you had a terrible experience.
The Australian government has some culpability here. Why is there not commercial surrogacy in Australia? Why is there not commerical donor egg agreements in this country? Then there could be proper regulatory requirements to protect the donor, the surrogate, the parents and most especially, the children.
The piece of hope that I have gained from this story is that people have been so generous. The target for Gammy was originally $50K but they have exceeded that 4 times over. Gammy is now in a private clinic in Bangkok hopefully getting the best medical care possible. I would adopt Gammy in a heartbeat, as so many others have stated but I know that even though Gammy's mum is not hers biologically, she loves her son with all her heart. I know this, because I am in exactly the same situation. I couldn't love my boys any more, end of the story - they are my life, my light, my reason for every day.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
JourneyMan has a job that means he doesn’t get home until after the kids have had their dinner, bath and are tucked up in bed. So, he gets up in the morning and does the morning routine and spends time with them then. I find doing all of the night time routine on my own taxing sometimes. Not so much physically but more so because I have the same conversations over and over again. JBB, eat your dinner (and repeat 5-7 times), Boo2 sit down in the high chair (and repeat 5-7 times), JBB hop out of the bath, please (and repeat 5-7 times), Boo2, don’t take your nappy off (and repeat 5-7 times), JBB, put on your pj’s (and repeat 5-7 times).
I was with some girlfriends last week and we were discussing our routines. One of them does the morning getting the kids ready and they employ a nanny in the afternoons a couple of times a week to pick the kids up from school / daycare, play with them, give them their dinner and get them ready for bed. Another friend (who is an entrepreneur and has started up her own very successful business since her kids were born) was intrigued and thought that she could that most nights a week. The group of girlfriends are all very successful women. Most have careers, beautiful children, loving husbands and beautiful houses. Every one of them has their own struggles though – whether big or small, they all struggle.
I was genuinely intrigued by the thought of having some help to get the kids ready for bed but then I thought of some other things. Like when I taught JBB how to peel carrots (previous to this, he didn’t like to eat them) and he said to me at the dinner table ‘Thank you for teaching me to peeling the carrots, Mum, I really like it’. Or the time when I bought a new bathmat and the excitement that it brought to the bath time routine was crazy. Boo2 felt it with his feet and started flashdancing on it like no tomorrow, laughing delightedly (while nude of course). JBB immediately started running every part of his body over the bathmat and saying ‘I love it, Mum’. For days afterwards, every person that came through the house was treated to being told about our new bath mat and how great it is (the best $10 ever spent!!). I also thought about the time, I accidentally put Boo2 in the bath with his socks on – JBB laughed till he cried and Boo2 started to scream and clap because of all the laughing - the memory of their happy faces still brings a smile to my face. Or when we read a book that ends with ‘I love you Mum’ and JBB puts his arms around me and says ‘I love YOU Mum’. Or even last night when I was reading JBB his bedtime story, I dropped the book on to my face and he laughed and laughed (and then had to tell JourneyMan about it with the first opportunity that he had).
I don’t judge or begrudge any woman who is trying to make her life easier through getting help. I have stacks of help and still struggle to take care of the kids, work, keep a nice house, cook nutritious meals, stay to a budget, exercise, eat right and do all of the millions of things that a woman is expected to do these days. Life can be super exhausting and there is so much going on all the time that sometimes the drudgery of the night time routine seems to be something I would like to escape from. Then we get a new bath mat and I remember the mantra that I loved in my IF days – ‘take the happiness where you can get it’. And I wonder, what if I missed those laughing, touching moments? There are plenty of moments when you are a parent that can be tough and even mind numbingly repetitive but to take away those, I might also also take away those times when you get a new bath mat and all hell breaks loose.
Monday, May 12, 2014
It’s been a long time between posts – and it is a very, very busy life here.
First things first – my beautiful Boo2 has turned 1. My goodness where did that year go. When I think back to the days before he was born – I was so fearful, Boo2 had stopped moving as much and I was constantly worried. I remember Anzac day last year was horrible, I was cramping badly all day, I felt super sick and he wasn’t moving very much – I was desperately worried. Fast forward a year later and our Anzac Day was spent on a family holiday to the Gold Coast where Boo2 took his first steps. Our lives have changed immeasurably since he came into it.
To My Darling Boo2:
Happy Birthday my big 1 year old. You were tiny when you came into our lives but you have gone from strength to strength. You smiled so early – months earlier than you were supposed to and you haven’t stopped smiling since. You are a happy and engaging fellow, who loves to laugh and play games. You started walking on our Easter holiday to the Gold Coast and there has been no stopping you ever since. You call your Dad and I both ‘Da’ and there is no greater joy in my day when I see you and your face lights up and you say ‘Da’ and crawl (now walk) to me as fast as you can. You gave me a beautiful present for Mother’s Day yesterday, you said ‘Mum’ super clearly for the first time – well the smile still hasn’t left my face. You are super cheeky, you love to climb up on things and when I notice and say ‘Tiny!!!! ‘ (one of your nicknames), you give me a big grin and a hearty laugh!!
You have had your challenges over your first year. Firstly, there was the bout of bronchiolitis, then there were the ultrasounds because your hips weren’t developing properly, then we found out that you had pretty bad eczema and there were more trips to the doctor. Then there was the trip in the ambulance to hospital when we found out that you were allergic to egg and, of course, now we know that you are also allergic to peanuts. It has been a massive learning curve for all of Apart from that
Exploring is your favourite thing to do, along with just being able to do what everyone else does. Indeed within a couple of weeks of taking your first steps, you are now running. You are super social and love people, especially all of our immediate family. You love your Nanna’s especially as they both take such beautiful care of you each week. You love music and singing and you can’t contain your delight when we sing songs.
Your brother is super special to you and the feeling is reciprocated in spades. You love to mimic what he is doing and after you walked to me, you were the person that you wanted to walk to the most. You have a special laugh of joy when you first see him when you wake up in the morning or from a nap. He loves you so much and is a super great brother to you. Sometimes he gets a little jealous but for the most part, you are his favourite person. You are a bit of a Daddy’s boy and for a bit you only wanted to go to Daddy
The day you came into our lives, Tiny, was like when the sun hits your body for the first time after a long winter – and you have been shining for us ever since. You make me laugh, you are a joy and you are so special to me. I love you my darling – thank you for coming into our lives. Love Mummy.
In other news – I have to give a bit of a bullet list because so much has happened:
- We sold our old two bedroom unit for a good price
- We bought a new amazing family home that we hope we will never have to move from – it is a gorgeous two storey house with a lovely outdoor area and most beautiful garden
- We spent our Christmas holidays at my Bestie’s new house by the beach while they were in Las Vegas getting married
- We celebrated my Bestie’s Australian wedding with her – it was a lovely day
- We moved into our new house in February – it was a hard move but thankfully we hope we won’t have to move again. We are just now really only starting to settle in to the house – though there is still heaps to do!!
- My sister is pregnant with her 2nd baby (a girl – yay!!) and she is due in July
- We had Boo2's 1st birthday party at the new house on the weekend - it was immediate family only but there was still around 26people - it was a really nice party
- We are hoping to travel to Thailand in October for our first trip there (since our honeymoon) that we won’t be having a cycle
That’s about it for the moment but it has been soooooo hectic – I have many, many posts in my head – I hope to start posting regularly again soon.
Monday, November 4, 2013
I have a 3 year old and a six month old now – I have to pinch myself to believe that we made it through the wilderness and now have the two most gorgeous kids on the planet. I am not exaggerating either – let me tell you, the Thai people are a beautiful looking people and mix up the Thai genes with my husbands anglo genes and you get some divinely gorgeous looking kids. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, they are lovely on the inside. JBB is a wonderful kid and a fabulous big brother. He takes his time to warm into a situation but once he knows you, you feel like you are standing in the sunshine of his smile and that is an awesome place to be. Boo2 is a happy little fellow, even in the middle of the night, his ear splitting smile of greeting is enough to melt away any tired grumpiness that you might have. He loves to give strangers a smile and I tell you, this kid never stops moving, it is a work out just to hold him – his legs and arms are going ninety to the dozen!
That being said, I am very conscious that we very deliberately brought these two boys into the world. I know that any parent (barring an accident, of course) has deliberately brought their children into the world and I am sure that they feel the weight of responsibility too, I am not saying that they don’t, I am just saying that for me, it is generally in the forefront of my mind. For the most part, I think that this is a great thing. The feeling of responsibility makes me look at everything, weigh things up to see what the best option is for the boys and then make a decision with this in the front of my mind. This is good because usually I am a very ‘bull at a gate’ kind of person.
Sometimes the weight of responsibility to honour these boys’ existence weighs very heavily on me. I feel like I am a terrible parent if I impatient or short with them or even if things haven’t turned out right, then I feel like I am failing them. This is all about my perfection stuff though and I have to talk myself down quite a bit of the time. I try to keep in mind that these can be teaching opportunities. If I am short with JBB, I try to make sure that I sit down and explain to him what has happened and of course, apologise. None of us go through life with everything going exactly as plan to, staying on an even keel emotionally and everyone being super nice to us. I am hoping that I am helping to teach JBB how to cope with his emotions as best as possible. Very early on, JourneyMan and I instituted a ‘hitty bag’ – if JBB gets angry or frustrated, we encourage him to pound on the hitty bag to channel his emotions into it (we both try to do the same thing!!). Generally, it helps to get him laughing again after awhile and all the frustrations out too which is great!!
It is also easy to become ‘mummy bear’ whenever something happens that upsets JBB. His language skill is excellent now and he can tell me what’s going on at day care which can be really great but also can make my blood boil. A few weekends ago, I was joking that JourneyMan had been ‘mean’ to me and JBB asked what ‘mean’ meant. I told him that ‘mean’ was when someone said or did something that made you feel bad. The next week at day care, he told me that there was a ‘meanie car boy’ there. I asked what he meant and he said that there was a boy who didn’t want to play with him (and then he pointed him out to me). The ‘mummy bear’ in mean wanted to go up to that little boy and shout at him for hurting my JBB but thankfully cooler heads prevailed and I said to JBB ‘I really love the fact that you want to play with everyone but some people aren’t like that and they just want to play with certain people, that’s okay because you have heaps of other friends that you can play with’. We talked about his feelings and I think I was able to make him feel better. The issue with Boo2 too that I have are about whether I am giving him all the attention that he needs or am I more apt to let him cry a bit longer than I did JBB because of everything I know more now. Sometimes, it is beyond my control (ie. pooh is spreading from one place to another and JBB needs a change ASAP, Boo2 is crying and I have to leave him until the pooh is changed). Sometimes I worry that I am stuffing him up because he doesn't get attention straight away.
The hardest thing that I find is that I am forever unsure of what I am telling or doing to them ie. I am always asking myself ‘am I helping or f&*%ing him up?’ – I really hope I am helping!!
How do you guys feel about the responsibility, have you got any good techniques to pass on?