My Big Boy Turns THREE!

From this:

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To this:

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How did that even happen?! My gorgeous wee man turned 3 on Friday. We had a fabulous day out with him visiting our local museum and the token trip to McDonalds for a Happy Meal before him and I caught the train home so he could go on the ‘big train’ for the very first time. We then had a very small gathering on Sunday to celebrate. This kid amazes me every day. He has had a slower start than most on the speech front and is currently on the waiting list for speech therapy. This has been a source of some stress for me as I worry about him not fitting in with other kids and falling behind on his milestones. When it’s your first child it is so so soo hard not to compare them to other kids their age and I am incredibly guilty of doing this. Cohen isn’t like his little brother who is boy through and through, rough and tumble and tough and BOY. He on the other hand, is a sensitive and sweet wee man, somewhat of an old soul, very caring and loving and affectionate. He started kindy a few weeks ago and has come in leaps and bounds in speech and confidence ever since and I just adore having little conversations with him now, he has started developing a passion for reading and I just couldn’t be any prouder of how far he has come and the rate to which he is getting there.

What’s the old adage? Good things take time.

That they do.

Child Driven Addictions

I need to cut down my coffee intake. And my wine intake.

I never thought I would say these words. Not when they are not in conjunction with A. Trying to conceive; B. Undergoing an IVF cycle; and C. Pregnancy.

Now those who know me, know that those few words are a monumental thing for me to be saying. I have known I need to cut back. But knowing and acting on that knowledge are two different things entirely!

So why now?

I feel like crap. This child running towards the ocean is the catalyst for my newly discovered wine addiction. I need down time. I need to recover my sanity on a daily basis. He is full on x 100. But he is hilarious and lovable and crazy and just plain adorable but boy, he is hard work! As you can see from this photo, a trip to the beach is not a relaxing stroll, it is a battle of wills. Finn just wants to go swimming and Hayden and I spend our time chasing him to stop him diving in. One of these days I am just going to let him dive in. Maybe if it’s cold he won’t be so keen! What this photo portrays is what we saw for the entire time we were at the beach on Sunday. Water. Run.

WATER! Must get in there NOW!

So where does the need to cut back come from? Surely I just outlined why I need them and you probably fail to see why I would want to cut back!

In short, I feel like crap.

Without doubt, mums across the world can relate to this! We put so much energy into our children that we neglect ourselves. Our physical health, our mental health, our hobbies, ourselves. Where does mother stop and woman we were or want to be begin? I overstimulate myself with caffeine and then wake up feeling (possibly) more tired from wine (not to mention my expanding waistline!). Step one in helping myself is probably to cut back on these things. Four five coffees is probably tipping the scales on healthy! Of course, healthier food, a good multi vitamin and exercise probably wouldn’t hurt either!

And with that, I am going to go and make my third coffee of the morning at 8.30am. We’ll start tomorrow!

Do you have a child driven addiction you need to get a handle on?

Make Your Bed and Lie In It – Introduction

I am going to start intermittently sharing my mums book in parts with you all. It inspires me to read, hopefully it may inspire some of you along the way and reveal why she was such an amazing lady. It may not be a movie but I’m pretty sure she would be feeling pretty chuffed regardless!

INTRODUCTION

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR LIFE

When you see life as a truly precious commodity, you don’t want to let it just drift by. Making the most of time, your gifts and your blessings is essential. Even if you live to be eighty, you want it to have been a grand existence, no matter how it started or what obstacles you encountered on the way. And if you don’t have that long, it’s even more important to use and enjoy your time to the fullest.

By integrating the wisdoms of this book (and others like it) into your life, whether you falter a little or a lot, you have a strength of spirit and purpose that enables you to harness a real dream of a life from the universe.

There will be glorious lilting moments, softer contentments, warm satisfactions; there will also be mistakes and hiccups and sadnesses; all of them making up the story of your life. To have a story to tell, and giving the people in your world the chance to tell a story about you, is better than ending up with vague memories (on your part) or vague platitudes (on theirs.)

You:  “Oh, it was just a life. I wish I’d done a bit more with it, actually. I had/never had the opportunities. Too late now, I guess.”

And them: “Oh, she was a nice enough lady. Two lovely cats. She worked hard for thirty years but I’m not actually sure what she did there. ”

(Or, worse: “her? She was a cow.”)

No, this is what you want. You want to be able to say you have very few regrets; that you accepted your gift of life with a big thank-you, undid the satin bow and carefully removed the paper and used what was in the box with reverence and panache. And you had a great time along the way!

And you want someone else to say: “Yeah, she was really cool. She did this/that and she made a real difference, in fact I can’t imagine life without her. And she was always so kind and funny, but sharp. Totally switched on. We loved her. We’ll miss her.” (Or better still: “They should make a movie of her life.” Well, we can but dream!)

“LIFE IS A PRETTY PRECIOUS AND WONDERFUL THING. YOU CAN’T SIT DOWN AND LET IT LAP AROUND YOU …YOU HAVE TO PLUNGE INTO IT; YOU HAVE TO DIVE THROUGH! AND YOU CAN’T SAVE IT, YOU CAN’T STORE IT UP; YOU CAN’T HORDE IT IN A VAULT. YOU’VE GOT TO TASTE IT; YOU’VE GOT TO USE IT. THE MORE YOU USE, THE MORE YOU HAVE…THAT’S THE MIRACLE OF IT!”

KYLE SAMUEL CRICHTON

Insomnia, toddler style

Three year old’s are crafty little buggers. Unlike a baby who will cry when they wake up in the night, a three year old will get themselves up, open the door and sneak around the house, often unseen and unheard. Last night for example. Again, he sneaks in and gets my iPhone. I think I am actually going to have to hide it from him a little more stringently, these kids are way too technologically advanced and smart for their own good! I am constantly amazed by just how easily he finds his way around my phone. Daily I have a new ringtone and message tones, it’s like a lucky dip, you just never know what you’re gonna get! Downside is I also get a timer going off in the early hours of the morning (designed to give you a heart attack) or alarms being switched off so you don’t get up in time, much like the other morning when Finley was the one keeping us awake all night. Clearly I need to get stricter with the access he has to my phone and not just leave it lying around where it finds its way into little hands.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Last night. I went to bed and Hayden stayed up as he wasn’t tired. This often happens and then he falls asleep on the couch and never even makes it to bed. I sensed Cohen come in around midnight and it wasn’t until I got whacked in the head with said phone at 1am that I realised what the sneaky little tyke was up to. He hadn’t been allowed my phone that evening (amid tears and tantrums) so he had obviously decided to do sleuth styles to get the opportunity to play on it. Obviously I took it off him and told him to go back to bed. Off he trots and I went back to sleep. Wake up lying on my phone. Look at the time – 2.09am. Think I better go get the husband to bed. Go in the lounge and there sits my son on the couch happily watching cartoons! Sneaky little bugger hadn’t gone back to bed at all but gone into the lounge and switched on the TV coercing Hayden to go to his cartoons channel (who in his defence claimed that Cohen was so awake that he thought it must be morning). For at least 2 hours he had been up and about doing his own thing unbeknownst to us! Someone is going to be a very tired little boy today.

Anyone else have themselves one of these?

Finding My Bliss

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My mum was a big believer in having a passion. A love. A bliss.

Before she died she wrote a book called ‘Make Your Bed and Lie In It’. She had written many books in her lifetime but this was written in the years after her breast cancer was discovered and she lovingly had it printed and bound for the all the women in her life. My strongest memory of this book was having just started working at the printing company that 13 years on I still work at. Part of my job is to bind and when she came home with this book that she was so proud of, I proceeded to tell her that the coil on it was too small. I was 19 and thought I knew it all and for some reason, I just couldn’t let it go. It really upset her and to this day I still feel absolutely terrible for making a big deal over something so minor when it was something so important to her and something that she had put her heart and soul into. Isn’t it funny the things that we remember? I get teary just thinking about it now and how naive I was to only be worried about something as silly as a binding coil that made it hard to turn pages when she had spent months pouring her heart into writing it.

The reason I share this story with you is that I want to do her proud and I want to share with the world her wisdom and writings. I truly believe that in doing so it will be a healing and learning experience for me and it will be a tribute to the beautiful talented woman she was. And because I have yet to find my own bliss.

Once upon a time I was a writer. I guess you could say I still am in some respects but after her death I stopped many of the things I loved to do. I once was a painter. A poet. An aspiring novelist. Then she died. I lost myself in other distractions. First came my new boyfriend. Then came a proposal. A trip to Europe. Wedding planning. A wedding. A first home. The prospect and excitement of starting a family. Infertility. IVF. A long awaited pregnancy. A baby boy. A surprise pregnancy. Another baby boy.

But who am I now? Other than mother and wife. A year and a half on and I feel the strongest desire to find my own bliss.

She wrote:

Too many people feel they need to ask, 

What has the world given me?

But they should be asking,

What have I given the world;

And if you have given generously of yourself,

If you have contributed things of value and beauty,

You shouldn’t need to question how fulfilling your life has been.

You will be blessed with riches.

Since the birth of the idea to start writing a new blog I have evolved in my original plan of writing a more ‘traditional’ mummy blog to writing from the heart, whatever that may be about. To collaborating with my mum to create and write something a little different. I will of course write about motherhood and my boys but it will also be a blog about discovering who I am after all this time and finding my ‘bliss’. Perhaps a chance to pour out my own heart and soul the way that she did in writing her book. To grieve. To remember.

Maybe it will also help you to find yours.

One of those nights

All mums have had them. Those nights where you get barely any sleep (to give you an idea I just wrote barely bearly and then thought it looked a bit odd but then, that’s how scrambled my brain is this morning). You know how they always tell you when you have your first child that the second won’t be so easy? They gleefully rub their hands together and say how lucky you are to have such a placid wee soul and how lovely it must be to have a baby who sleeps and doesn’t really do tantrums but ‘the next one probably won’t be so easy! Mark my words!’ This said with the slight manic giggle of someone who has multiple children who are driving them quite literally insane and can’t wait for someone else to join the club. Well, I am joining the club! Because my second is a Hayden baby. What is a Hayden baby you ask? Well, my husband is named Hayden and he was a nightmare child. He cried till he could walk and when he could walk he ran. And he didn’t sleep. Sleep is overrated. And he was just a tad hyper (ok, maybe a lot hyper). It’s a running joke in the family that at least we didn’t get a Hayden baby! Hmph. I love to remind him of this now that we have our very own Hayden baby!

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This child. Finley. Butter wouldn’t melt right? Don’t be fooled!

He started off more of a Cohen baby, nice and settled, slept well, slept through, breastfed no problem … it’s only in the last 6 months that we have come to realise that this little man is going to keep us on our toes and turn us grey (ok, so I MAY already have a few grey hairs but I swear he is making me go greyer) and he will turn me into a coffee addict in no time at all! Oh, wait. Make that a wine addict. Actually, any kind of alcohol will do.

Take last night for example (and the night before, and the night before that). He has decided that he rather enjoys cuddles in mummy and daddy’s bed at night. Not just at the beginning of the night, but in the middle of the night, early morning, he’s really not fussy! What child wouldn’t love snuggles in the night. Why sleep in your own cot when you can cry hysterically and climb into bed with mummy and be cuddled to sleep! He shares a room with his brother so I am limited to what I can do about it as I can’t really leave an hysterically crying baby when I have another child in the room trying to sleep. So up he gets and into my bed to be cuddled to sleep. Basically, he gets exactly what he wanted. The little tyke is playing us. The trouble is, he’s winning!

So, 10pm just as I was drifting off to sleep. Grizzle. Silence (don’t move just in case he senses it). Grizzle. Wah. Wah. Waaaah. WAHHHHH! Crap. So up I get, bring him in and cuddle him to sleep. Get up, put him back to bed. 5 minutes later. Wah. WAH. Up again, bring him back to bed. Hayden gets up and goes to the couch to sleep (keep in mind we both have work today!). This time it’s not so easy to get him to sleep. We have grizzles and wriggles and kicking and squirming and crying for an hour or so. FINALLY, we both fall asleep and I transfer him back to bed about 2am. Back to my bed. Blissful sleep at last. Feel like someone is watching me. Open my eyes to a small person standing next to my head. ‘Hello mummy, what are you doing?’. Cohen. 3.30am. Drag him into our bed. Vaguely sense that he has got back up and grabbed my phone and come back to bed with it. Hear his game start up (he has puzzles on my phone that he is suddenly obsessed with). Too tired to care. Go back to sleep. Wake up. Panic. Realise said child with phone has turned off the alarms! Launch out of bed and realise that I forgot to put pillowcases on our pillows two days ago. What?! Who does that? And how did I not even notice?!

I’m now at work. Second coffee in hand. About to get a third. Probably had about 3 hours broken sleep last night to go with my 4 hours the night before. He’s lucky he’s cute! And he’s lucky we have a coffee machine at work. My workmates aren’t lucky because I will probably be cranky and snappy and they will probably get the brunt of it. Lucky we have a coffee machine at work. And a bar upstairs.

The Daily Grind

I touched on the fact that I am a working mum in my last post. There are pros and cons to this. Pros – hot coffees, time out, adult company. Cons – missing the boys, lack of time. Not sure that I would say I am busier than a SAHM because as we all know, chasing after a toddler or two or three or more (more!) is bloody hard work! But heck, I am exhausted nonetheless with a baby toddler who has decided that when mum and dad come home it means it is party time. Sleep? Pfft! No, he wants to stay up and play. I put him to bed and he cries screams. This is not the sort of cry that you can leave, so up he gets where he will cuddle you on the couch for all of about 20 seconds before he is attempting to run around the room in a sleeping bag and he has yet to give in to the urge, despite the fact that sleeping bags and running don’t really go together.

So my daily schedule goes something like this –

4.45am – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

5am – Get up. Discover one (or both) boys in my bed. Husband on the couch having been pushed out of bed to make room for the boys (one of which has really restless legs and loves to kick you).

6.15am – Leave the house to head down and drop the boys at my mother-in-laws (very lucky that they are looked after by Nana and Grandad while we are working)

6.30am – Commute to work

7am – Arrive at work. Turn on coffee machine, Turn on everything else (I work in a printing place – there is a lot to turn on!)

7.30am – Start work.

4.30pm – End of work day (work day includes 3 blissful coffees and a half hour lunch break plus a full day of listening to men acting like boys). Walk to the train station 20 minutes away.

5pm – Train 20 minutes home.

5.45pm – Pick up boys.

6pm – Walk in the door at home. Evening chaos ensues.

7.30pm – Boys bedtimes. Supposed to be. Cohen goes to bed. Finley cries. Finley gets out of bed.

8pm – 9pm dependent – dinner at last! Finely proceeds to steal food off our plates. Dinner consists of telling Finley that it is MY dinner. To which we get a resounding NO and hand dipped into our food.

After dinner (who knows what time things happen from here on in!) – tidy up, load dishwasher. Finley cries because you have left the room and he can’t follow because he will try and climb in the dishwasher and one day it will fall over on top of him.

After that – attempt to cuddle squirming monkey to sleep. Finley is no longer Finley but has now morphed into a little so and so who is overtired and refusing to go to sleep.

After cuddles fail. This usually happens (note removal of sleeping bag)

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Sometime later between 9.30pm and midnight – I go to bed. And then we do it alllll over again the next day!

What does your day consist of?