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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winter tears



winter tears

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

some times the pain of losing findlay blindsides me. today i re-visited a blog that i read regularly after jacob and findlay were born. i haven’t read it for a couple of years. in the meantime this lucky woman had given birth to healthy twins. ouch my heart.

The tricky questions

Obi wan Kenobi

Most parents expect their children to ask questions which they do not know the answers to or make them feel uncomfortable. Even the most laid back parent can find themselves feeling awkward when their child asks questions about sex and how babies are made. Then there are the questions you just never thought anyone, let alone your child, would ask you.

I suppose all parents get these jaw dropping questions & how they handle them just depends how they’re feeling at the moment the question arrives.

My son Jacob asks a lot of questions. Each page of a book has at least four queries to accompany it. It’s partially that he’s exploring language and clarifying what words EXACTLY mean. It’s also that he’s adjusting how he thinks about the world & the way it appears to work.

On an average day he’ll ask things like: “What does blue container mean?” “What does red container mean?” “What does container mean?” Bang, bang, bang – just like that he’s clarified that the only difference between a red container & a blue container is mostly probably just it’s colour and that a container is something that can hold something else inside it.

Some days I have endless patience. I answer calmly. I ask him what he thinks things are. We jostle gently back & forth words, concepts, meanings & ideas.

Other days if I’m tired or having to give my attention to household chores or another child I can snap and shut down the questions. I’m not so proud of those moments. I am proud to have a little boy who asks questions and who wants to find out why, what, when & how and if. I love his beautiful brain and love the particular take he has on the world around him. He is incredibly imaginative. He changes his clothes four or five times in just a morning as he changes character. His current obsession is Star Wars & anything related to its universe. His dad & I have sat through the movies with him, answered the many questions and made sure he wasn’t scared.

Jedi Knight has a bo

Today as I was making him his bedtime bottle of goat milk he asked, “Do Jedi Knights have bos?” (bo being his word for bottle) A brief pause and then I replied, “Well, I guess when Jedi Knights were babies they probably had a breastfeed or a bo.” He was happy with this and said “Yeah, Darth Vader had breastfeeds.”

Before Star Wars Jacob was a pirate

a knight

and a lizard

(Post script: When Jacob was born I was unable to breastfeed him. The information at the time around medication I needed to take was that it was toxic for babies. Subsequently further studies have shown that in lower dosages and with the baby closely monitored through blood tests it is possible to breastfeed. My daughter, born before I was on medication, and my youngest son, born after the new information was available, were both breastfed until around their second birthday. I am a strong breastfeeding advocate but I also know that sometimes it isn’t possible for women for a variety of reasons. I talk to my children about the different ways that babies and toddlers are given milk and what the reasons for this are.)

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.”

just one kiss

just one kiss

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

when you have children sometimes it can be hard to spend time together as a couple. adult time. but this is one of the sets of times that recharge us and make us feel like us again.

the ingenious way we spend some time together is night time housework. we do dishes, fold washing, put away toys. ok, so not our best best time together but time stolen from the lives of busy parents & turned into companionship is worthwhile. & we kiss.

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…

self portrait with some nature



self portrait with some nature

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

i took this shot a little over a year ago. much has changed since then. i’m a little older. my hair is longer. i have given birth to another baby. & i have lived through some painful and challenging family stuff.

before i had children when life took a turn for the worse, i took to the town or to my bed. but depression lived out like that just isn’t an option when you’re a mum. i’ve jokingly said that my kids cramp my style but really they’re giving me style, a new style but it’s helping me to be me.

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.