Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wanderings, ramblings, slightly nonsensical

I remember the tween/teen years and being so preoccupied wondering about other peoples lives. How they seemed to be having such fun, lots of friends and being happy.  Watching them live their lives, comparing it to my own. Ugh. I really would love to go back in time and smack myself up the head.
I just didn't have the confidence then. The feeling of pride and joy in my own life and following my path, instead of trying to jump along behind others.

Well, screw that. 33 years is a damn long time to feel confident and stand tall. I don't want to drag it on further. I don't want to watch others take a leap of faith, while I watch and feel a tinge of jealously mixed with a scowl. That is what is was back then. Instead of seeing others make their own path and saying, wow, good for them, I would feel it wasn't fair. Why can't I do that.
Pretty easy answer I have for that, now.

You can.

You don't have to be or act a certain way to be mature. And besides, mature is just a perception. Add a few drinks and even so called mature people are trying to do the macarena with their high heels kicked off.

The more I ponder, the more I feel this is a not very swift process. And I'm ok with that. I'm quite happy with getting to where I am now. I'm trying hard to not think too much about the past. It's done now, no changing. But I will remember it, and remind myself of it when need be.

I imagine I will finally get there around 70, when I have earned the right to say exactly what I want to whomever is near me.
Maybe a bit of a mixture between Nan from the Catherine Tate show and Dor from Gavin and Stacey.

Between now and then I am sure it will be quite liberating. And fun.

Monday, 5 November 2012

There is no such thing as "The Talk"

I have friends who became parents as teenagers, and others who had their first at 40 and older. There are pros and cons to any age, and after meeting many parents I strongly feel no one is ever 100% ready and knows it all. How could you?

No matter our age, when it comes to parenting we are always learning. Some things we are confident with, others we fumble through. I know at times Hub and I have been thrown a hardball, and whispered to each other out of earshot of the kids "What the F*%! do we do here?!"

Our latest whispers were about our eldest son. Our guinea pig baby. He is heading to high school next year and lots of changes are happening. He is still young in some ways, yet becoming more mature in others.
I am seeing this time so differently from when I was younger. Watching my son I see this next journey going forwards a little, then back a bit, then forward again, then back. This is quite painful, for Hub and I, but also for our son. Hard on us as we have been through it and know the angst, uncertainty, questions. Wanting to help him as much as we can get through it.
Hard for him as he is the one who has so many changes, questions, feelings and yep, hormones!

Hub and I have always been open and honest with questions our children ask. We also try to answer them in a way that is child friendly. We always use correct names for body parts. This has always been important to me. Silly names for penis, vagina, testicles, breasts etc can make a child feel shame, add embarrassment and make discussing them more difficult.
I want them to be knowledgeable about what their body parts are, how they work and why. I want my boys and girls to be educated about both the female and male bodies.

The learning starts very young. And as they get older they throw a question here and there. You have a little chat, and that is enough. Other times they won't settle for a sentence or two, and they keep talking and asking questions. At times when I am answering a question I just know that the answer I am giving is going to lead to more questions, you can see it in the way they are looking back at you. Seeing their minds tick over.

There is no such thing as 'The Talk' and it only makes it harder by calling it such. In truth it us hundreds of little talks. Some may be just one question, answered, then followed by "So what's for tea?"
Some are one question that leads to more, and a discussion, and others can be a few hours worth. Often these talks are conducted while doing an activity.
Those who know me know I hate stereotyping when it comes to boys and girls. So it's quite a big deal when I say that for most boys, talking about their bodies, puberty, sex etc is easier when conducting an activity. Shooting hoops, hiking, bike riding, cooking, and a favourite here, doing the dishes.
Going out one on one so you can chat in the car is also a great one.
Here is the kicker. Keeping calm and not showing if you are freaked out. Some people are great at being calm and are not embarrassed or nervous about taking to their children about anything.  This is wonderful.
I am getting there, but it is taking a lot of work. I know by the time our last child is asking bigger questions I won't blink an eye. The older children paving the way for the younger ones.

By keeping calm, and showing your child their questions, thoughts and feelings are important, they will then feel confident and assured they can keep coming to you. Open dialogue is very important. With some children, they can close right up if a parent freaks out and shows signs of stress. I know for some parents this can be hard. How our parents talked with us about puberty and our bodies makes a big impact on us, and how we are with our own children.
Some of us were just given a book to read. No questions, just, here, read this.
We can make things better for our own children though. With courage and the will to help them through how we wanted to.
It can help to think back to how we felt, and try to remember what we feel could have helped us. Be that for our own kids.
It's not all easy though, life never is all the time. And telling our children that we are doing our best shows them we care, and even if we don't have all the answers, we will help them find them.

This is where all the talking, being as honest as you can, all through their childhood pays off. They have grown up coming to you and talking about what is important to them. It is all bog stuff to children. We need to listen to it all and let them come to us. When their questions get tougher, and more complicated, they feel safe coming to us, as they have done all along.

Children need us to be their parent. To be a soft place to fall if they need. To help them through this journey and let them know it will be ok. We know it will, they don't yet.

I'll let you know how we fare on the other side in a few years time. Fingers crossed!


Friday, 13 July 2012

18 years in the making.

As I get older, I get more comfy with me and just how important people are in my life who really care and still want to be part of my life. Those who mind don't matter, and all that. It is true. People who matter, don't mind. They embrace and love you just as you are.

Hub is certainly one of them. To read about all that we both like and are passionate about, some would just not be able to figure out how the heck we could still be together after 18 years. We just click. It is really the only explanation I can give. I often hear about couples who have been together forever, and they always get asked How did you make it together. Mostly the reply is hard work, with some saying, don't go to bed angry, as well as we always had our own hobbies, and on and on.
While I do agree that they all do make a difference, I also feel that for some of it, it's is just how things work out as you get older. We are so different now to 5, 10, 18 years ago, but we still have something there. I can't explain it as well as I can feel it. I love how we work. I love how so often we can just look at the other person, start saying a sentence, and before we have finished the other person knows exactly what we are going to say, and what we mean.

We have also come to a point in our relationship that we have ironed out a lot of crap and stuff that just does not matter. We have been through much more than most couples ever endure in there whole lifetime together, and a lot of that was in the first 10 years.
Something kept pulling us back, and we'd get through.
We have learnt what we need as a couple, and also as individuals.
There is nothing more I want to hear about than motor bikes, and nothing more Hub wants to hear about than pregnancies, birth, breastfeeding, babies and where that all is politically and amongst mothers I am supporting. (Yes, sarcasm there)
But what I know we do like, is that we both have things that while they might not be overally important to us, our partner has such passion for them.

As we added each baby to our family, I feel we grew closer also. It would seem we grew closer due to the way others saw us. from baby number four onwards, each time it was "Oh wow, are you crazy?! Don't you have a TV?! Haven't you been fixed yet?!"  Hmm yes charming.
But we would just smile at each other, smile at the children and know that we were in this together.
It's always nice to be crazy with someone else.

This is one area that I feel strongly about. Having 'all those children' is not always songs and strolls through the mountains. It can be bloody hard work. And what makes work easier is when the team work together. This is how I feel about Hub and I. We were reminded recently about how many others see us. They tell us that we make it look easy. And when I thought about it more, that is how organised chaos is meant to look. The people in the background running around, doing this and that, coming together to quickly chat about what's happening, what needs doing, what are you doing, etc

But, in a nutshell, no, It is NOT easy. It is hard work. It is sacrifice, and then more sacrifice on top. Doing more than the other person at times, and doing jobs you'd rather not do. It is going without so something else can happen. Working out ways to make money and meals stretch. Doing the budget despite hating it. Doing whatever needs doing regardless of whether you have a penis or vagina.

I know there are families who would never run their house how we do. I know men who would never change a nappy, do washing or cook a meal. I know women who would never chop and stack wood before getting the fire on, or fix the toilet or maintain the car.
And that is ok. We are all different. Our families are all different and need different things.
Our family needs parents who can jump in whenever something needs doing, regardless of what it is. I like how we work, and how it makes us stronger together and as individuals.

For me the added bonus is our children seeing their parents do jobs around the house with no gender stereotyping. They have sat with their Dad and made bracelets and necklaces, as well as moved a couple of tonnes of wood with me while chatting about legos, of course!

We have a lot of fun and happiness amongst the crazy too, or else there wouldn't be 7 munchkins.
We are crazy, fun, weird, eclectic, head turning and most of all, happy.

For whatever reason, through it all, something inside has kept us together. I have no clue how it works for others. I have no clue why other couples separate or stay together.
I only know for us, there is a chemistry there that has been constant. A skip of our hearts for each other.
I have often said that no one else would get us, or be crazy with us. We are quite a pair, and I am so glad we found each other.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I blame the kids

So easy to do hey?
No time, can't lose the baby weight, house a mess, spew on my shoulder for 12 years, hmm last shower?
Last time I blogged? ;)

So what's new?
Busy is the word at the moment, basically. I've opened this blog a few times over the last couple of months, but get side tracked so easily. Someone needs a drink, someone needs to be tucked into bed, again, someone 'forgot' their homework due tomorrow and needs help, someone looked at someone else and war has broken out, someone always needs something. But hey, that's my job right?

I said to apwool recently, I don't what the heck is going on, but it feels like I have less time now that the kids are in school. It's crazy. I'll come home, have breakfast, do some washing, cleaning up, play with the girls, feed bubs amongst it all, and then bam, it's 2:45 and time to get ready for pick up.
Where are my hours in the day with 4 less children? All the time I was going to have, to do, I dunno, stuff!

I must admit it's kind of fun too though. The 3 little girls and I have some fun times. We go out sometimes and 'do lunch' at our 'our cafe' as the 4 year old calls it.
We can pop out and get shopping. But, and it's hard to believe I'm sure, it's actually harder with just 3. They are such monkeys, with so much energy in one spot! With the others I at least have a couple helping get the shopping and a couple keeping an eye on the tornadoes.

The kids are still loving school. This makes me feel better. I don't know many parents who are 100% convinved every thing they do for or about their kids is right.
So much is done with some doubt, of should we shouldn't we, should they?!
The longer the kids are in school, and the longer they still remain happy and eager to go makes me feel this is the right path for now.
They do have great teachers, and it is a fantastic little school.

Miss 7 has been seeing a speech therapist for her tongue thrust and it is going really well. She needs help with a few sounds, but is coming along brilliantly.
She is a lovely woman and has gone above and beyond to help her and us.

The 'Baby' is now 6 months old. Damn time going so fast. She is such a lovely baby. I could hold her all day if the others didn't want things. Like food, water, blah, blah.
She smiles and laughs so much and is just a delight.
I have no idea how, but we seem to have very little size zero clothes. She has been in them for a while now, but has worn out at least 3 all in ones, as they were from the 2 monkeys before her.
What better reason to get her some new things, just for her.
I can still carry her on my front, but not for much longer. I'll need to jog the memory on some back carries with my wrap!

We have had a few birthdays lately too. Our eldest turned 12. Seriously don't go there. It is both amazing, and wow! for me to think about. I know people bang on about it, but I remember so clearly his birth day. His smiles, giggles as a baby, riding a bike for the first time. You get what I mean. And here he is, 12 years on this earth. 12 years of being the guinea pig baby, which he continues to be. I feel at my  most, best, greatest, worst and everything amongst, with him. He paves the way for the others.
I am not the same parent with him as I am with our last, and really that is how it should be, and it's ok.
I've learnt what is really important along the years, and babes.
I am very proud of our son and while sometimes I want to grab him and say WTF were you thinking?! more often I am cheering him and thinking how awesome he is.
He has decided to go to high school next year, which had me with many sleepless nights thinking about which one for him to go to.
Together we went to 7 open nights and school tours, and thankfully in the end we both liked the same one. It was important to us that he see them all and get a feel for just how different they can be.
Apparently his classmates said Hub and I were 'cool' because he got a say in which school, where their parents all told them where they were going.
So another big change!

Our number 3 son turned 6. His birthday is always bittersweet for me. His birth was the most gentle of all the kids, which I am very grateful for. I can't think of his birth without thinking about his Nevus and what a huge change swept through our family that day. The blur of the first few days of all the normal new babyness, amongst the overwhelming feelings, worry about his health, scared that he was ok.
Those first weeks were so intense. And what a journey we have been on, what he has been on!
Now 6 years later, he is such a happy, cheeky boy.
He has also had another surgery this year, at Easter.  His scar line that is through his scalp was re done to be thinner, and it turned out really well. He also had more Nevus removed from beside his eye, and his eye lifted a bit so he can see better again.
Hi is such a trooper, taking it in his stride and truly being so brave.

Number 2 son turned 10 in March, and had a huge pool party. He told me he invited about 16. Imagine the fun we ended up having with 25!
He is such an old man, this man child of ours. Hub calls him the man child as he is huge, basically. At only ten he is already nearly my height of 5ft 6. He is gentle, kind and loving. He will definitely be a gentle giant, like his Dad.
In all seriousness, any girl who tries to hurt him, I will hurt them.
He adores little kids, and especially our baby. Every morning he comes in our room to say good morning. And every day after school he gives her a cuddle and says that he missed her. Such a sweetie.
He has his moments though, let's not make it all gooey. It's few and far between I must say though.

Hub and I also had our birthdays. The big 33, haha! It's quite funny really, 33. There is NO denying you are in your thirties now.

Hub and I also celebrated 18 years of being together. Wow! Children one through to six had a sleepover at the grandparents house, and were thoroughly spoilt by the way. Hub and I had just bubs and 30 hours to go wild! Not really, haha  We did have a good time. We were able to go shopping and get much needed jackets for us both, have a lovely meal at our favourite pub and also visit my Nanna for lunch.
It was much needed. Our last day out together was many years ago. Back then we couldn't even blame all those kids!
We will be making sure the next time is not as long away. I do love our family, but it's sure nice having time with each other, being able to hold a conversation with no interruptions.

What's next. The house, ugh. Don't go there. With the rain and cold weather not much clearing can be done. But, we are still working on getting paperwork and planning stuff done. I'd rather scoop my eyeballs out and boil them to be honest. It's such a pain in the arse.
I know I will be grateful when it's all done and we are in, but it feels sooooooo far away.

Now for some venting. It's about crap on facebook. Of course!
I've noticed lately quite a lot of homeschooling memes. Some are cute and funny, but some are just frigging rude. One saying outrght how schooled kids are always planning for 'real life' all through their schooling. Oh but homeschooled kids are living ;real life' and how happy they are.
So the 5 odd years my kids were homeschooled they were in the real world, but now they are in school they are not?
I know, don't take it personally. Whatevs. But you know what. I don't know anyone who has kids in school that was ever so rude about home ed kids. Some things that are said are mostly from ignorance, and lack of understanding.
I find it insulting, and a lack of maturity to find home edders talking so poorly of school. Not all schools are the same. Not all home edders are the same.
I'm in a unique situation of being a trained teacher, and have done the school thing and the home ed thing. It serves no child to have them see or hear one being based by the other. One is not 'better' then the other. Not every family can afford to home school. And sadly, not every child should be in a school they are stuck in and not doing well.

I have heard with my own ears a woman talk so poorly of ALL schooling it made me feel sad for her. She was so set in her 'facts' that all children should be learning out of school, she could not see past the end of her own nose. She didn't seem to care about children from a family that was struggling, a single parent family, or even a child who shock horror, went to school, liked it and went on to do exactly what they wanted.
Life is not that black and white. We can't forget, and I tell people constantly this, school is only part of a child's real life. There is so much out there for them to learn and discover and create out of school.

Home Ed can be fantastic. I really enjoyed being with the kids, going out during the day, activities, camps and chatting with other Mums.
If it is a possibility for you, or if you are already doing it, brilliant!
It really is a fortunate position to be in, if your child needs it.

A student teacher recently asked my son about home school. We discussed it in the car as a family. My second son said they are just different, great stuff and not so great about both. We talked about pros and cons and had a pretty good discussion about both. I liked hearing their point of view.
I liked that their answers were different too. Reminding me that each child needs and sees things from their own point of view.

It does not help anyone to bag anything as a whole, especially if that anything is a child.
We all do the best we can for our children. Some are breast fed, some are in disposables, some have solids at 5 months, some sleep in the family bed, some go to the local school, some to a prviate school, some school at home, some unschool.
All are loved.

I have more rants. Mostly all parent related actually, but I'll save them. Too much in one post is not good.

On a happy note! Hub swears bub just said Dadda when he walked in the door and said hello to her. Meh, time will tell.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Some I like, some I don't. The last 6 months have been quite full on. AND, kids wanting to give school a go, new baby, trying to get the planning stage of the new house off the ground. I'm tired just thinking about it.

School has been going for a month now. It's, ummmm, interesting. ok let's just say I am having a much harder time handling it, than the kids. It's hard to let go of something that has been your domain for several years. Let go of being the one to plan and write up the kids syllabus, sit with them, be there through the day to discuss their work.

They are all liking it so far, which is the one thing I am focusing on. It is after all, about them. Damn kids, growing up to be just how you want them to be. Speaking their mind, determined, strong, wanting to give new things a go.

So what we have, is 3 little girls home with their Mumma. Oh what fun that is! No seriously it IS fun, but it is also tiring. I haven't had 3 little ones with me since I had my first 3. Miss 2 is so smitten with her baby sister. She loves her, wants to kiss her, squeeze her, lay on her, share biscuits with her. I have never had to work so hard to protect one of my babes.

I miss the kids a lot during the day. It was busier, louder and more crazy when all 7 were here, but I still miss it.
Life changes whether we want it to or not. I am not ready for so many changes that have happened, and are soon to happen. I have to just hold on and hope for the best at times. Hope that our decisions will turn out ok. Hope that we have the strength to see if something is not working and change or tweak it.

Growing up still sucks, at 32.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Nevus Camp and Conference

Back in October 2010 I posted about the Nevus Camp and Conference. A camp and conference for families and children who have a Nevus, or are touched by someone with a Nevus. In our case it is our gorgeous, cheeky 5 year old son.

Well it is that time again when we start to fund raise to make this even happen, especially for the children. It is a brilliant camp and the children have so much fun together. They get to talk birthmarks and everything that goes with it.
The parents get to laugh and cry with each other about their journey. We ask each other questions, compare notes and talk about life in general.

Here is a pic of a few of us trying to get all the kids in one pic. Such happy, beautiful children.

I really cannot express what a wonderful event this is. As a parent it is so wonderful knowing other parents, chatting to them and just makes this aspect of my life that bit less lonely. Other parents who understand the tears, frustration, countless hospital visits, the beautiful person that is our child, a child who is so much more than a birth mark and dots all over their body.

All the parents and members of Nevus Australia are raising money in their own ways to make this next camp happen.
It is being organised for Melbourne, from October 4th until the 7th.
As I learn about what is happening in each state I will post here so people can spread the word and help us raise enough money.

So if you are able to please donate, even a few dollars, it truly all adds up! Visit the Nevus Australia website to donate and learn more.

Here is a pic of our gorgeous boy with his grown up Nevus buddy who he met for the first time at the last camp. It was so wonderful to meet Andrew and his wife, and hear him talk about his life and journey into adulthood with Nevus and everything that comes with it. Andrew is an inspiration and I am so glad us and so many families met him.

I would also like to add a big thank you to all the people who donated for the last camp. It happened because of you! We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

Here's to the 2012 Nevus Camp and Conference!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Sweet, Hand Made gifts for my Squishy

These two gorgeous felt creatures were made by the mother of one of the big boys friends. She makes all animals and creatures and they are just divine.
So far they have been a huge hit with Miss 3 and Miss 2. They love playing with them in the dollhouse. Mrs Mouse and Mrs Rabbit can talk, didn't you know!
I love them, and am hoping she can teach me one day, when I have spare time, ha!

These crochet Mary Janes. Oh my! They are just adorable. A dear friend of ours, Indi, hand made them lovingly. I look at them and think how cute they are on her little feet. Then I can't help but know she will grow out of them. Damn babies!

I do so love hand made gifts. I am amazed, inspired, in awe and a tad jealous too with such gorgeous hand made gifts. I would so love to be able to create beautiful things for others.
One day. Did you just squeal April? Yes, one day we will sit together and I will actually get beyond two rows of a beanie :)