Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt II

For some time, although my mental health & general outlook has been more positive than the beginning of this year, I have been feeling utterly exhausted. Physically and mentally. I kept putting this down to three children ’cause let’s face it that’s a full-on proposition but in the back of mind I had a nagging feeling something wasn’t quite right.

Cue a blood test. The results showed that my thyroid isn’t working as it should thanks to medication I was on a while back. Added to that I have lower than usual haemaglobin. Both these issues are now being dealt to with some medication and diet.

The mental exhaustion is something else. It’s a kind of listlessness. Being a stay-at-home parent can be sheer drudgery at times. It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of “when the kids are all at school I’ll be creative again” & “it’s not fair J has a much better time at work than I do”.  Doing lots of cleaning doesn’t help this outlook.  Actively engaging with the pre-schoolers and at Playcentre does help. Giving myself some time away from it all does too.

An aunt of mine is fond of telling me that she was always blaming her husband and her children for why grand events weren’t happening in her life. That her family were holding her back from achieving. She said once she realised that she stood in her own way she got a lot more done.

I am trying to take that advice, to watch who and how I blame others. I have been a procrastinator since I can remember. Nothing to do with three children. Nothing to do with J. My biggest threat is myself. A little doubting voice that says what if I try and fail is the thing that has held me back but if I never sit down, put the work into it there will never be anything much to show for it.

Some photographs, a few poems, almost 60,000 tweets. And four beautiful children.

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A very bookish Christmas

Molly’s first ever advent calendar

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

I seem to have lost a little of my Grinch now & am feeling a bit more in the spirit of Christmas. Helped in part I think by having some time alone to shop for presents.

A few weeks back I had taken myself to our local op shop to buy stocking fillers. My children’s stockings are huge, handmade by a family friend for each child at their first Christmas. On a limited budget second hand was the sensible option, plus it fulfilled my new shopping ethos: local, handmade or recycled.

Today I had something else in mind so I headed to Next Page Please, our local independent children’s bookshop. I didn’t have any specific titles I wanted but Maria, who owns the shop, is full of bookish information & happy to share suggestions for different age groups & interests. This makes it an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

For Molly I selected: A Colin Thiele boxed set which includes two classics – Storm Boy and Magpie Island. I also chose Utterly me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Childs. Whacky kids & animals are high in Molly’s areas of interest.

Jacob, who is almost four, is keen on the tools of early literacy and fantasy play so I chose I spy with my little eye by Edward Gibbs, & Taming the sun: four Mãori myths by Gavin Bishop. I love Bishop’s illustrations, his renditions of our indigenous mythology & I’m sure Jacob will too.

Pete is a transporter, everywhere he goes he likes to have a trolley, a pushchair, a wheelbarrow or a car. He’s two years old so the illustrations are as important as the textual story. I think that Bruiser by Gavin Bishop & My 1st car was red by Peter Schössow will be just perfect.

There are also some second hand books for the stockings. These were found at our op shop & the local Sunday markets. I heard it in the playground by Allan Arlberg, These Islands: NZ verse collected by Gwenyth Jones & The Wednesday Wizard by Sherryl Jordan for Molly. Real life nightmares edited by Pat Edwards for Jacob (who also enjoy scary tales). For Pete who sometimes struggles with sleep I found a lovely copy of Mem Fox’s book Time for Bed.

James, my husband, will also be getting a book. I won his present from @FlyAirNZ on Twitter! It’s a hardback, colour book of the Artwork from the Tintin movie, signed by the creative team including our own Richard Taylor from WETA Workshop. I know he will love pouring over this alone & with Jacob who is a new Tintin fan.

I did sneak in a couple of gifts for myself today from a secondhand stall at the markets. James is insisting that I wrap them. So two summer dresses and two pairs of shoes will be waiting for me on Christmas Day. I’m sure that someone else in the family will buy me a book or two. *hint, hint*

If the heavy rain that’s been drenching Auckland this last week doesn’t stop  we’ll spend the days following the 25th recovering from over-eating & enjoying our new books.

I hope you have a happy, bookish Christmas too.

flesh & blood

flesh

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

the last 10 days have been intense for my three children. we’ve had our usual school / playcentre routines playing louder & louder as we approached the end of term / end of year. added to that we’ve had a birthday party to attend, a christmas party to organise & attend, 10 days of swimming lessons in a row plus six days of swimming at school. throw in 2 tummy bugs & 2 ear infection & 3 farewells & really it’s been fun but probably a bit much.

all three children were in bed & asleep at 6.30 tonight (most unusual) but at 9pm my youngest was up & about for an hour and then my middle son woke having wet the bed. sheets changed, him showered & changed & comforted & back in bed by 11pm.

i hadn’t felt like a good parent today – too much shouting & flapping about, not enough smiles & cuddles but two things redeemed those feelings – a shared swim with my middle boy & the round of comforting & re-settling with both boys.

I do love them & know how to care for them, I just need to love & care for myself somewhere in all of this.

homeward



homeward

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

we’ve returned from a family holiday. i’m tempted to re-name these events as circuses. seems more appropriate nomclemature.

although overall i would say that the kids & i had fun we also had: 3 cases of the ‘flu, teething, a wasp sting, a granny her broke her foot stepping in a rabbit hole & a mama who doesn’t drive. challenging to say the least when you’re almost an hour’s drive from supplies.

i love my children & i love the family place we holiday at so i wouldn’t miss it for the world.

we also had shared meals, toilet training, learning to read & chatting up a storm.

and then the days go by…

four beautiful ones



three

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

we’ve reached the end of the decade. looking bad it’s easy to dwell on the low points – there’s been a few and they’ve been mighty tough – but i’d like to concentrate on what was good & what continues to bring me hope & joy.

some highlights: april 27, 2004 – birth of my daughter molly, 27 january 2008 – j & i were married at cheltenham beach in devonport, 8 february 2008 – our twin boys jacob & findlay were born and 24 september 2009 our youngest son pete was born.

findlay’s funeral on february 15, 2008 & a year later the memorial comemoration for our beautiful wee boy helped to remind us how loved he was and we all are. without our family & friends we would not be the family that we are and that we continue to strive to be.

if the decade ahead holds as much joy as this one has i will be a lucky woman.

seven wonderful things about today

flat out

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

my mother orchestrated a deliciously long sleep-in for me

my daughter was angelic almost all day

the sun shone & the sky was blue

i could enjoy my family

our dog is recovering well from major knee surgery

i discovered (& enjoyed) a new band on the radio – the school of seven bells

my husband was loving, sexy & kind

transitions

chiaroscuro

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

it’s been a while since i have been able to set aside some time for writing and peaceful thinking but being assigned to bed rest seems like it might be the right moment.

our little family has been in transition lately. firstly, over the christmas holidays we moved house for the third time in less than two years. (sigh). a move that although a little sad is also positive. we have shacked up with my mum in the medium term, hopefully so we can save some money and pay off some accumulated debts.

then of course we have had the first anniversary of jacob and findlay’s birth. a celebration and a memorial. some laughter and some tears. sounds cliche but for us it was true. i am so proud to see my little son growing, walking, learning about books and language. i also mourn my little boy who died and wonder how life would be different if he had been here with us.

now my eldest child (daughter) is making tracks to school. she turns five on april 27 and has had two school visits. she has gone from saying “mum i don’t want to start school until i am 50″ to being a kid who can’t wait for Tuesday morning which is visiting day. she is so ripe for greater learning it’s exhilirating, we merely follow in her wake.

and then the bed rest… i am almost 12 weeks pregnant but have had some bleeding. it’s not major, heavy or full of pain but it causes some anxiety. i had a scan this week which showed the baby’s heart beating and movement. so far, so good. i am off to see the midwife at the end of this week and will try to stay off my feet in the meantime. i am want to be excited but need to hold on to my heart for now.

storm clouds II

storm clouds II

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

today one of the scariest things that can happen to a parent happened to me. my four year old daughter (accompanied by a three year old friend) went missing from our home. Initially we (the parents and one grandparent) searched the house and garden, then the nearby neighbourhood, then we got in cars and searched further afield. our neighbours and friends climbed on the bikes and into the cars to join the search. no luck.

the girls, one blonde and one brunette, were clothed in their swimming togs and in bare feet. My daughter knows our area very well on foot. The other lass was visiting from England.

the suburb we live in is considered a very safe neighbourhood. I was hoping, hoping, hoping that the girls had just wandered off. I was terrified that someone had put them in their car and stolen them.

after more than half an hour of missing children my mother called the police. within minutes the sound of sirens and a police helicopter rang out across the suburb. there is not much to chill a mother’s veins than those two sounds whilst knowing it is her child they are searching for.

another half hour and the girls were returned to us in a police car. they had walked more than two kilometres, crossed a pedestrian bridge and many many roads to another suburb close by. the police helicopter had spotted them entering a house (of their accord). the woman in that house rang the police. she is the mother of one of my daughter’s friends. bless her.

the girls arrived home safe. with big smiles on their faces. riding in a police car is exciting, after all.

as they arrived two mothers wept with relief. the storm clouds had passed.