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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Christmas Past

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,”

A visit from St Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

I’m thinking of our first ever family Christmas with all three children and us all together. Christmas 2010.

Shiny happy

golden boy

gorgeous girl

I am so blessed to have these children with me & to have family to share a Christmas feast. Yes I am.

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.

look how they wave to you

look how they wave to you

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

time has been marching on: two children’s birthdays, a school term, some holidays, a house move. more school, more playcentre. some illness.

i find companionship in online spaces – twitter & facebook. i find companionship in the community closer to home – at playcentre.

i struggle with my mood disorder. i try to learn more about myself and strategies for parenting well & unwell.

and all the happy people & i feel like i’m in that stevie smith poem & one day i’ll say to you: ” Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.”

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.

weary

through a glass darkly

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

it’s only wednesday but i feel so weary. some of it a good, achiveved happy things weary, some of it more a no please no more of this kind of weary.

pete remains a child who doesn’t sleep well in the night. he’s in with me once i go to bed and he usually wakes between 4 & 6 x a night. luckily for all of us he has a winning charachter so the days go by in a sleep deprived but mostly happy way.

jacob is growing up fast, 3 in february. his speech & language are still blurry after a long time with undiagnosed glue ear but there’s been a lot of progress since his grommet operation in september. he also loves playcentre and wants to be there every day.

molly is a lean streak these days. taller & taller. lots of friends & enjoyment at school and with family. she is loving her bicycle and rides well without assistance. gymnastics & art continue to give her pleasure also.

james and i have been saddened this week with some deaths: a friend’s brother died today after a long battle with HIV, a colleague died last thursday after many years of living with cancer and another friend’s father died also on thursday but in australia, also from cancer. all three men have had long illnesses through which they were loved & supported by their families. i’m glad they could leave the pain & illness and now we will care for those left behind.

ka kite ano

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