Sunday, January 31, 2010

Having it over rated!!

After having an in depth conversation with my bestie Meegs about our roles as wives and woman I came to the conclusion that as a woman I really don't want to "have it all." Now I realise this particular blog entry may get the feminists up in arms and that's okay discussion is healthy as long as it stays friendly :-) My personal opinion is that this modern version of aggressive womanhood has not really done a whole lot help the advancement of woman, we still have to work harder then a man to achieve the same kind of status or perks in the work place.. because as woman we are still seen as the weaker sex and need to prove ourselves worthy of the same position as a male the burning of bra's certainly didn't change that all it did was make our boobs hang low. Now I am not by any means an expert on any sort of feminism culture or history so please don't start slinging mud at me or my blog this is just my opinion, thoughts and feeling you don't have to agree. But I kinda feel like some aspects of the feminist movement have made things a little harder on woman, the demands of a stay at home mother are incredibly tough in this role mothers are: teachers, care givers, comforters, cooks, cleaners, gardeners, entertainment providers, makers of craft activities etc etc we shape and mold the life and minds of our children..who are adults in the making this is a huge responsibility, and in my opinion one that is not given enough validation or recognition. However this is seen by many as not enough and that a career outside the home is also required to make our role as woman complete. So we strive so hard to have it all.

Having it all is an expression I have heard used a lot in lots of different contexts. As woman we seem to think we can "have it all" the career, the kids, run a home as well as social commitments. Well I don't want to have it all at least not the worldly view or ideals of what having it all entails. I watch my Darling husband struggle to spread his time equally with a demanding job, 4 children, a wife, social commitments and church obligations and it is not easy. Not all commitments are able to be honored and someone or something often misses out. I want to be the type of mother who makes promises to her children and keeps them not having to change their schedule around as other things arise which seem to take importance over their needs. No career path, job offer or social commitment will ever come before the needs of my children and husband. I want to be the type of friend who doesn't cancel on her buddies because of "work" and I want to be the type of Christian who can come before God with an open heart and a clear mind not all weighed down with more responsibility and "stuff" in my life that I don't need to complete me as a woman.

Sure as a working mum we can out source the house work and ironing have a cleaning person come do the house chores and hire a nanny or stick the children in childcare if we choose to go to work but then that's cheating in my books we really aren't having it all, we are paying people to have it for us. I don't believe children who are in childcare full time receive the love, attention or benefits that children who are at home with their parent/s do, and if the government got off their arses and realised how much work actually goes into raising children and made some sort of financial contribution to household incomes then perhaps more mums who want to stay home but are not able to due to loss of income could do so. When I had my eldest child there was no option for me I was a single mum and had to work to support my child so she was put into childcare full time and I worked spending little time with her in the mornings as we prepared for the work day and evenings we were both tired and it was dinner, bath and bed. Malinda turned out to have a hearing problem and developmental delays but these went unnoticed by a busy and tired working mum and childcare centre staff not equipped at detecting such things.

Call me old fashioned or even stupid but I still want my husband to open the door for me, to defend me in a fight, help me kill spiders when they come any where near me, and treat me like a princess. That's not to say I don't have opinions on things and I am certainly not backwards in coming forwards to express those ( as you can see) but I also have no problem submitting to the authority God has placed on my husbands shoulders as a man, leader and head of our house, NO I am NOT a doormat but a supportive partner. David and I partner in our married life parenting our tribe as a team, however the running of the house is my responsibility just as the role of financial provider for our family is David's. While I want and need my husbands support in my various undertakings I don't want him to be a doormat either, support is one thing but I want my man to be a man. I am not interested in having a partner who has no back bone and no opinions of his own. Belittling, swearing at or gossiping salaciously about our men doesn't make us stronger woman, I think it makes you weaker, is disrespectful and low class. Working things out as a team however and maintaining a healthy respect for each others contributions to the marriage/relationship and loving our similarities and differences I feel is a more reasonable approach to married life.

I am happy and content spending my days breastfeeding my daughter, singing songs and doing craft with my children, giving the house a tidy through (some days better then others) and making yummy meals for us as a family at the end of the day.These are the things that fulfill me as a woman and are my version of having it all. Yes I like some quiet me time and sometimes the hours till bedtime get counted down from about 10am but it is certainly not the end of the world if I don't always get that time on my own or if the kids refuse to go to bed when I think they should... however it would be the end of the world if I had to miss out on watching the loves of my life grow and develop into awesome young people and then adults for the sake of a career that someone else thought I should have.

School holiday fun...who needs money!!

So school holidays have officially ended with term 1 starting up tomorrow. Usually I am very happy to see the end of the holidays with 6 weeks on my own with 4 children it is usually a difficult time in trying to keep them all entertained and happy. In the past I have dragged them round all over then place in an attempt to keep the masses happy... children's shows, the movies, shopping trips, special lunches and dvd hiring, not much time had been spent really playing at home or at a park as this is seen as boring. But this year with the expense of Christmas for 4 children plus 3 family birthdays in January and the returning of school for one child and the starting of school for another our cash resources have been a little light and so trips out and about have not happened much these school holidays.
Now here's the kicker...the children actually didn't mind it!!! I am left pondering if my shelling out loads of cash in the past to keep them tribe happy on holidays was a big waste of money hhmmmm.

This year we have had some great family fun just hanging out at home. Spending very minimal amounts of money yet the children have had a blast. One afternoon was spent blowing soap bubbles which was awesome. It was amazing to hear the shrieks and giggles as the 2 older children blew bubbles and Mikey (almost 2) ran around trying to catch them ( also eat them and pop them) I was very surprised at how long they actually spent doing this as in the past outside activity's usually lose their appeal within 5 minutes, but this went on for nearly 2 hours.

We have had several visits to Ballam park and also to our local parks, we are very fortunate as where we live there are 3 different parks all with about 5 to 7 minutes walk from our house. On one of our Ballam park trips we met up with Megan and her 3 boys for a play and some morning tea. It was an awesome morning not to hot and as usual the children all got on beautifully. After the park my 4 cherubs and I walked up to Karingal Hub and we were treated to a free Ninja Turtles concert/show which was a huge hit with the 2 boys but not so popular with Malinda who is 10 and so NOT into Ninja Turtles.

We have also been a bit more social in our hosting skills and have had several friends around for morning tea and of course playing!! One morning was spent with Jo and her 3 little ladies Molly, Lucy and Ruby. Peter and Molly are betrothed and very in love so they always relish time spent together. This visit started out as a morning tea catch up be we ended up eating hot chippies in the park and having an awesome time on the swings and sea saws near our place it was a wonderful day.

We have spent time with my gorgeous Goddaughter Iris who I got to babysit one day...this is a rare treat as Miss Iris is usually very attached to her mummy so I felt honoured that she was so excited about coming to have a play for the day at my house. She enjoyed spending time with my children, lunch, trying out Mikey's cot and also a bubble bath at the end of the day, I really loved having her for the day.
So apart from park trips the kids have enjoyed using up a bucket of chalk on the this can get a little aggro as Mikey loves to scribble and draw anywhere...including over the "awesome designs" of the 5 and 10 year old so directing him away from their art work and into a space for his own was a bit tricky and in the end the older 2 children realised it n unreachable goal to shoo him away and allowed their work to be enhanced by Mikey's creativity. Again this was a very cheap activity and one that the kiddies did every couple of days with great joy and enthusiasm.... our driveway remains covered in chalked up hopscotches and the beautiful creations my cherubs came up with. (Just a tid bit...watching my very uncoordinated 5 year old try and hopscotch was a highlight of my was hilarious but I kept the giggles in, in an attempt to continue to encourage him to be active and not glued to the t.v) As you can see the children got on really well together had lots of fun playing/drawing with the chalk. It really warmed my heart to watch them all play together at home and actually enjoy and want to spend time together...for those of you who have kids we all know that some times this isn't the case especially with Malinda who likes lots of personal space..and Peter likes to right up in that space can often be a source of friction.

We also celebrated Peter's 5th birthday whilst on school holidays and he enjoyed a visit from his buddy Seth and my bestie Meegs, Nanny L dropped in and we had cake when Hubby got home from work. Again we were fairly low key with this some time at home and a homemade chocolate cake. Malinda and Peter spent the morning drawing together and having birthday cuddles it was awesome and very touching to again see them getting on so well. Malinda and Peter also enjoyed having sleep overs at Uncle Adam and Aunty Pam's place (my big brother and his wife) spending time with their cousins and also had their cousins sleep over at our house. Which makes for crowded, loud delicious fun!! Over all I would have to say this has been the best school holidays yet and whilst I am very excited for my 2 eldest cherubs to be starting school this week I will miss them loads.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My 31st and best birthday ever!!!

I have to say that this has probably been one of if not the most memorable birthday I have had in ages. A huge part of the thanks goes to my best friends Megan and Sue who kicked off my birthday celebrations a couple days before the actual day with a surprise ambush to the beauty salon where I was treated to a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, was awesome!!!

Saturday night I decided to have a few friends around for some Chinese food and of course a selection of vampire movies to watch. We decided to dress up for the occasion given that we are all vampire addicts some dressed in goth and others got right into the mood complete with fake blood and fangs!!

The best dressed on the night had to be Sue who put on a black wig covered herself in bite marks and blood and came as a fang banger from the True Blood book and t.v series, she looked freaking awesome!! 2nd place went to Kat who looked absolutely sensational in her Goth get up, Kat you are so gorgeous girl!

It was a fantastic night complete with "blood" drinking...which was really vodka and raspberry..but in the spirit of fun and make believe....

We all enjoyed a fantastic Chinese meal (which hubby shouted for us) and I had also made some red and chocolate cupcakes for after the meal which we
re super yummy if I do say so myself.

All in all I would have to say I had a fantastic night I got some fabulous presents including The lovely bones book and lots of Lindt chocolate which is my favorite. The girls insisted on singing happy birthday to me (how embarrassing) and then it was Twilight time. Followed by an episode of True blood for the 2 remaining die hard vampire fans hehehe.

Since we were still partying at Midnight and the clocked had ticked over to my official birthday Hubby thought I could have one of my birthday presents which was the first season of The Big Bang Theory on DVD SO COOL!!!

The night was heaps and heaps of fun, filled with lots of laughter, friendship, chocolate and vampires.I could not of asked for a better birthday present then being able to spend time with my good friends stuffing our faces and watching vampire movies. Thanks heaps to Megan, Sue, Sarah, Kat and Sascha, you all helped to make my 31st birthday special and loads of fun I will never forget it. Also a big thanks to hubby who footed the bill for the evening and helped with the preparation and clean up, I love you.

Sunday morning I was treated to brunch at Vada cafe with David and the kids some more pressies from the family and a visit to my mum's who had baked a sensationally yummy cake for me... a work of art really and I am so bummed I didn't have my camera but it was a huge choc banana cake covered in fresh cream chopped banana's and crushed flake bad for the diet YES but oh so yummy!!! Thanks mum. I have completed the day with some wondering through the shops and some family time at home. Thank you again to everyone for your birthday messages,calls and sms and for helping to make this the best birthday ever, I feel loved, blessed and very spoilt.

My birthday surprise from my besties

My awesome besties have been conspiring behind my back!!! But in a good way. Early on in the week I was told by Megan that I would be expecting a surprise on Friday. I was a bit nervous as I don't usually like surprises... I am to much of a control freak and need to know what is going on hee hee, but I did my best not to hound my 2 besties as to what was going husband was also "in" on the plan so I did try to get some information out of him but it didn't happen either.

On Friday afternoon Megan showed up at my house with a cooked dinner for that night as I would be to busy to cook tea for my family.I was then loaded into the car and driven to Langwarrin shops where there is a beauty shop. Megan then revealed to me that she and Sue had booked me in for an afternoon of total self indulgence, complete with a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure. Sue and Megan both watched my 4 cherubs while I was at the beauty salon. This was such an awesome start to my birthday it was such a treat to be able to have some me time without the children to relax and unwind. The massage and facial were amazing, and a first for me as I had never had them done professionally before. I was told by the masseur "gee your tense" well duh I thought!! I have 4 children and it's school olidays ofcourse I am tense!

After the massage and facial I was treated to my first ever manicure and pedicure... now to be honest I wasn't sure I was going to like a stranger touching my feet but it was SO relaxing. I got my fingers and toe nails painted as well sparkly pink, they look very cute!!! The lady who took care of me for the afternoon was lovely, so friendly and very good at her job. I came away from my first beauty salon experience very relaxed and re-freshed it was the best gift and such a surprise.

Thank you so much to my best buddys Sue and Meegs for a wonderful wonderful birthday surprise. I felt very special and loved. You 2 are the best friends a girl could ever have. Oh and I am very sorry that both the baby's pooed while you were babysitting!!
Feeling great in this pic after the beauty treatment was over!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Peter's 5th Birthday

Yesterday was Peter's 5th birthday...this was a huge achievement because there were a few moments the past 12 months that have had his father and I questioning weather he would actually make this next birthday. LOL. He had a great day despite a small setback in the afternoon. I was awoken at about 6:30am by a little hand shaking me saying "its me the birthday boy mum"sooo cute! Daddy had been up earlier with Peter and given him one of his birthday presents to try stem off the impatience as he waited for the rest of the family to wake so we could enjoy his present opening together. Once Olivia had been boobed we (minus daddy who went to work early) sat together and oohhed and ahhed as Peter opened his presents. Since he is starting school this year a few of his gifts were based around that including a Ben 10 lunch box from Daddy and Mummy and some very cool handcuffs he also received a hot wheels car from his sister, a Bakugan ( Japanese animated series he is obsessed with) t-shirt some colouring in pictures of batman and a Harry Potter study set. Nana Margaret and Grandpa Norm had been very organised and sent presents for Peter to open on his birthday before they had left for their trip so he also got some books and a money box which adds up the total as you put money into it. After a phone call from Nana M and then Nanny L we headed off for a walk and a promised birthday milkshake for morning tea. When we got home we tided up and decorated a cake for a BBQ we were planning in the afternoon with some friends from church and Nanny L. Uncle Adam gave a phone call which Peter was very happy about and is looking forward to celebrating his birthday with his cousins on Saturday at Uncle Adam and Aunty Pam's house. Unfortunately the big BBQ turned into a much smaller gathering as one of the children was not feeling well which prevented the whole Beer family from attending however Meegs was good enough to bring Master Seth around (Peter's good buddy and Olivia's betrothed) to wish Peter a happy birthday and enjoy some meat balls and sing happy birthday, which made Peter (and mummy) very happy! Nanny L arrived with a very cool Ben 10 school bag and Ben 10 drink bottle (big hit) as well as some chocolate (bigger hit) we enjoyed the cake and some time together, he thought himself very grown up getting messages on the computer and he loved hearing from you Peter has had an awesome birthday thanks everyone for your messages for him on Facebook xox

Monday, January 18, 2010

Postnatal depression: my journey out of the fog

Postnatal depression is a very real illness and more then just the baby blues that most Mummy's experience on around day 3/4 post delivery of their bundle. For me (and please note I am not an expert just sharing my personal experience)... post natal depression hit hard and fast when Olivia (bubba number 4) was around 2 weeks old. However this was not my first dance with this disease and I was far better equipped this time round to notice the warning signs and know that things were going down hill for me.

After I had given birth to Peter (bub number 2) I knew I wasn't "right" but ignored the feelings of inadequacy, the constant tears and also the occasional thought of wanting to hurt myself. I ignored this for 12 months putting on a happy face for friends and family replying "yes things are great" "yes of course I am SO happy with my life" etc etc, my amazing husband however was not fooled at all and had been "keeping an eye on me" I became increasingly resentful of his asking me almost daily "Are you okay?" "Of course I am OK" I would reply but was thinking NO I am so NOT okay I am tired and confused and irrational, but I felt I could not tell him or anyone this for fear of judgement. When your in that dark state of mind stupid thoughts take over "I can't admit I need help "they" will take my kids away" etc etc. My persistent husband however would not be dissuaded and eventually got me to admit that I needed help, this occurred after two pretty traumatic events for both of us, We had put the kids to bed one night and I had gone to clean up the kitchen Iam not sure how it happened but the next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor with a kitchen knife in my hand with the very real intention of cutting myself, Hubby found me and talked me back to some sort of normal head space but I still refused to acknowledge I had a problem this was very closely followed by (I think only days later) a massive meltdown in the supermarket (hey if your gonna totally wig out you should do it publicly) when I could not decide what packet of biscuits to buy, every decision had become an overwhelming emotional strain even simple things like Tim tams or mint slice bickys this decision resulted in my having the first of many panic attacks and my husband wrapping his arms around me and stating "I think its time we went to the doctors OK".
I fell in love with him all over again when he said that one word that meant so much WE, Hubby let me know in that simple sentence I was not alone and that he loved me and we would work through this together. I went to see my doctor, spewed out all I had been thinking and feeling in a sobbing messy way and my G.P was amazing he listened and with gentle understanding he announced he thought I had untreated post natal depression, breaking into fresh sobs I readily agreed and we started on a plan for my recovery which included medication, exercising, a mood diary where I would right down an honest number between 1 and 10 of how I was feeling that day and a plan to review in a week. The weekly visits continued then went to monthly etc etc. The medication kicked in and I began to feel much more in control of myself and my feelings.
I would say mid-way through the healing/recovery process I fell pregnant with Mikey and came off the medication very quickly as it was a new medication and not enough was known about it to know if it was safe to use in pregnancy it was a shit of a time going cold turkey but I hung in there and the withdrawal effects wore off. I had a wonderful pregnancy and birth with Mikey but things became tough quickly when he became sick would not breastfeed and lost a lot of weight, he was diagnosed with hypo Tonia which means he had low muscle tone and was very floppy he tired out quickly and was put through a battery of blood and urine tests to determine the cause and treatment of his muscle problems. I know I had PND we were so focused on getting Mikey to gain weight and getting him healthy that I was able to hide it well from almost everyone...our lactation consultant was a very clever lady and I wasn't able to hide much of my emotional "stuff" from her, however our lives were so full of doctor appointments for Mikey that I let it go unchecked even after saying I had seen a doctor, one week our schedule looked like this:Monday paediatrician, Tuesday morning MCHN for weight check Tues afternoon Lactation consultant visit, Wednesday GP for check up ,Thursday blood tests, Friday Mikey admitted to hospital because he had a cold...if he got a cold or sniffles he would get so sick a cold developed into a bad chest infection within 24 hours because he was not strong enough to even cough up the Flem etc etc and so it went. I think its safe to say I had post natal depression during this time but didn't have the time nor did I think I was important enough at the time to do anything about it.

4 months after Michael was born and I was very unexpectedly pregnant again. This is hard to admit but I was devastated how on earth could I look after another baby? I could hardly look after myself and we were dealing with a sickly baby already who was only just starting to fatten up and strengthen up? I was recovering from having my appendix removed and was devastated over having to give up breastfeeding as my milk had completely dried up whilst I was in hospital despite pumping and medication. I was very depressed and spent most of my 4th pregnancy angry at myself, my husband, God and the unborn baby in my belly. Thankfully I had an amazing support team around me who had decided early on that in no way was I going to get away with hiding any emotional issues that arose, my husband accompanied me to every doctor and mid-wife appointment and when I wanted to say nothing about past depression issues he was my voice and would help get me talking. My labor and delivery with Olivia was a beautiful experience...which I guess sounds strange but I feel God truly blessed those moments of her arrival, I delivered her myself standing up which was very empowering and really cemented in my mind that there was nothing this baby and I could not get through.

Despite the awesomeness of her arrival it was only weeks before those damn intrusive thoughts and sleep deprivation crept feeding off of the other. Thoughts of hurting myself came quickly impulses to cut myself, dig at my skin or rip at my hair...(gee I sound like a real nut don't I?) These were impulses that I could not always resist nor could I hide. I thank God that I never had a thought about harming Olivia or one of the other children, I have read and seen many woman who have not been so fortunate and have done things or had thoughts about doing things to their children that will forever change how they look at themselves in the mirror. With the encouragement and support of my husband my mother and my friends Megan and Sarah I booked in to see the doctor (GP) a shrink and got myself on a waiting list to go spend some time with the Hillview mother and baby unit in Rosebud. Doing these things was a huge stepping stone for me but they really changed my life, I could admit I had depression and found that even talking about it wasn't as scary as I thought. I discovered that at the playgroup I attended 2 other mothers there were working through recovery with PND and I would not of known this had I not talked about going to Rosebud and my experiences there..which by the way were just wonderful and very very helpful for myself and our family.

After my week at Rosebud and a change in medication my moods thoughts and actions all came under control. As I continue to work through the recovery/healing process I have been astounded by the support that is out there for mums and I wish that I had had the courage to speak up after I had Peter, things would probably never have gotten so out of control of I had. The stigma seems to have lifted (in my experience anyways) and I was offered a variety if help including home visits from support people in the community, MCHN home visits and even a cleaner came a few times to help me keep on top of the house work with 4 children. It has been such a blessing. Now you all may be wondering why on earth would I choose to blog about this, I guess that as the fog continues to lift from my head I can see that there is nothing to be ashamed of in admitting you need help and no need to keep quiet about it, I think the shameful thing was to keep it to myself allowing myself husband and children to suffer along with me. I also wanted to be able to publicly acknowledge what awesome resources there are out there for woman suffering with depression, and also wanted everyone to know what a fantastic supportive awesomely wonderful husband I have without whom I don't think I would of been able to bounce back as well as I have.

Am I all healed up and better now...nope not fully but I know it is a process and that it will take time I also know that as long as we mothers continue to talk about it and not feel as though we have to put on a fake smile and act as though all is right with the world when we are really falling apart that awareness of PND and depression in woman in general will continue to lose its unfair and unnecessary stigma . I know from my personal experience having woman in my life who have gone through similar situations enabled me to be comfortable in moving forward toward healing and greater understanding of the things that cause PND.

See Panda for more information on PND.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Things I refuse to apologise for :

I refuse to apologise for breastfeeding in public, My boobs , my baby if you don't like it look away or stare and pull faces but either way deal with it.

Loving my God passionately, for what other response can I possibly have for the creator of the world, the forgiver of my sins and lover of my soul.

I refuse to apologise for wanting time away from my 4 children,I love them all more then anything else but occasionally I need to be away from them so that I can recharge my batteries and come back to them more refreshed and relaxed mummy.

I refuse to apologise for talking when I go to the movies with Sue, it helps our process of what we are seeing and its fun, I paid for my ticket just like you so suck it up.

For wanting my children to succeed in life, in their personal choices and in their career paths I want the best for my children and I refuse to apologise for it.

Eating the last Tim Tam in the packet, if its left there it becomes fair game..regardless of whose it may be.

I refuse to apologise for using/needing anti depressants to help regulate and stabilise my moods, my last 2 pregnancy's and immediate time after child birth were horrendous emotionally for me and I refuse to apologise for needing various types of help including medication to get through it.

For asserting my right to have a say as to who influences my children, whether friend or relative if your not going to contribute positively to my children's lives bugger off you don't get a say.

For asking my brother and sister in law a hundred questions about their growing bubby in the belly and the pregnancy, I am very excited for them and their family and want to be involved and give my support so I will continue to bother you with questions and smother the bump with love, deal with it cause I am not sorry.

I refuse to apologise for protecting my family with the ferociousness of a lioness do not mess with my kids, Hubby or extended family or you will feel my wrath...okay so I am not that tough but I will fight for the well being of my family at all costs.

For having a long shower, I am a busy Mum of 4 kids and don't actually get to shower everyday so when I do I am going to make it count, deal with it hippy cause I am SO not sorry.

I am not going to apologise for having an opinion that might be different to yours, you might be right but I HAVE the right to disagree with you anyway.

Embarrassing my 10 year old by singing as we walk through the shopping centre, as a parent I feel it very important to cause some minimal social discomfort for my kids and singing loudly and at inappropriate times is just plain fun fun fun!!!

Whilst I am sure there are many things I should apologise for I am not going to at this point that's another topic for another blog post, for now I just wanted to say that some of these are on this list for fun but others are very important to me and my refusal to apologise for these things does not come out of petulance or a disdain for those around me but more of an awareness of what is important to me what I am truely passionate about and what I will defend not matter what. My Family My God and my right to choose whats best for me.

Have a great weeknd bloggers.

School of thought....or is that thoughts on schooling

I spent the morning with Sarah Mc today and our conversation led me to do some deeper thinking...(LOOK OUT) on schooling for the children. Sarah and a group of her friends are planning to home school or unschool, I must confess myself a bit ignorant to this concept previously but after chatting it through with Sars I can see why people would home school and some of the benefits it has as apposed to sending your child to be educated outside the home.

Whilst I have absolutely NO desire to home school I am a big big fan of education in all its forms. At home we spend a lot of time with our children reading books, learning colours, numbers and letters, this is never forced on them though and usually we do it when the kids have expressed an interest in things...for example Mikey who is almost 2 loves books and counting last week he was flipping through his book so I sat down next to him and we counted the leaves, the teddy's and kittens in his book he loved doing this and can count to 10 already..however if he had gotten up and walked away from his book when I sat with him I would not of chased him around the house saying "count Mikey count" lol. It was explained to me that this is child led learning and I guess maybe I must have some inner hippy lying dormant since I have been naturally doing this child led learning stuff with all the children.

Malinda who is 10 attends Naranga which is a school for children who have intellectual disability's and whilst I hate to put a label on her or anyone for that matter the truth of the matter is that she does have some very real learning problems and delays for her age.Even though she expresses an interest in doing/learning certain things the way her brain is wired makes some concepts almost impossible for her to grasp and understand, this can be very frustrating for her and the older she gets the more aware she is that she cannot understand and do everything that other children her age can. At her school she learns reading, writing and maths but she is also taught life skills, cooking and how to use money, her lessons are tailored to her capability's and centred around her needs. I love this about her school because she is taught at a level that she can understand at and can grow and make progress, which is a huge boost to her self confidence and helps in the learning process...she is also in a class of 8 students so she receives lots of one on one attention, something that I also feel is vital for her continued growth.

We are currently in the process of organising Peter for the start of his schooling years, he will attend Langwarrin Park Primary after some debate between parents we settled on this school for him. We feel that Peter will have a great time at school as he is the type of child who constantly needs new challenges and does not take long to master skills. He is very intelligent (his fathers genes) and we feel that sending him to be educated outside of the home in a structured environment will be the best way for him to learn and fulfill his potential.Peter gets bored easily because he masters things quickly (something that frustrates mummy) and when he is bored he can become naughty and sometimes completely intolerable with his demands...but I realise he is not doing this because he is a "bad" kid he simply wants to learn and do new things, sending him to school will (we he parents feel) provide more opportunity's for him to experience different types of learning through a variety of avenues including excursions, incursions, art, music and the use of different technology's.

Now I realise that these avenues can also be done by home schooling but as I said I have no desire to home school my children and believe that it is every parents personal choice as to how they want to educate their children...for me I think that as long as the child is actually being educated and learning then the "HOW" it is being done is really not so important, I would not of said this 12 months ago but now that I have been EDUCATED a little on home schooling/ or unschooling I think that if you have the time passion and determination to do so that it is a great way for you to educate your child. As I previously said I am passionate about education (in whatever shape it takes) and believe it to be a very important part of life.., at 31 years old I still love to learn new things and develop new skills and I enjoy sharing this with and encouraging this in all my children. David and I both try to spend time with each of the children doing things that they love, at the moment this takes the form of drawing, both Malinda and Peter are into drawing so we have hired books from the library that show them how to draw a variety of different things and help them to expand on their skills as mini artists...and a much as having sheets of paper all about the house is driving me nuts at the moment it is awesome for us to watch the kids get so much enjoyment out of doing something the both love. Not only are they learning about drawing but they are also learning shapes, colours and structures ..without even knowing it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All about Peter Philip boy!

So today was Peters last day at 4 year old kinder *hold in tears Mumma hold in tears*
Wow I cannot believe that in just 6 days my "baby boy" will be turning
5. Time goes way to fast he starts "big school" as he calls it (preps) in a few weeks and then time will really fly. Since today is Peter's last day at kinder and really it begins a new season in his life I thought I would share a few random facts and some fun things about my boy.

Peter was a honeymoon baby... yep married 6 weeks and I was pregnant

He didn't have a name for almost 2 days cause hubby and I could not agree on a first name...Peter was chosen for his second name and in the end we said bugger it lets call him Peter.

Peter was the most ugly baby born ever seriously he looked like an alien when he came out and had big red swollen lips... he settled down after a couple days and continues to be a very handsome little man.

Peter could do sign language before he could talk...and still occasionally uses it now

Peter has already chosen his wife and tells me on a weekly bases that he is going to marry Molly Pierce... they even had a pretend wedding...thankfully Molly loves Peter right back so no broken hearts just yet.

He has been able to add and subtract since he was 3 and can count to 10 in

He loves all of the arts, music, singing, painting, craft of every sort ,playing musical instruments and dancing. He especially likes Elvis and desperately tries to imitate his hip swivel moves

Peter is a wild mixture of loving and caring one minute and an absolute terror in another minute..often wonder if he has multiple personality disorder cause the switch between good and horrid happens very quick some times.

He loves going to church and is as much a christian as a 4 year old can be.

He makes up his own songs...this can be very sweet or totally hilarious

Peter has beautiful blue eyes.

Peter self toilet trained much to mumma and daddy's delight

He was totally devastated 2 years ago (when he was 3) that he didn't get a Dora explorer make up table for Christmas.. he cried for hours on Christmas day that year.

He turns 5 on the 20th of Jan. Peter is a challenge at times he can be cheeky and even an out and out brat, but he is also loving, very compassionate, funny, gentle, sweet, kind, a good friend and an awesome big brother. He gives the best cuddles and our family is very very blessed to have him in it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stop bitching and contribute positively please!

After the past few weeks of facebook status update and comment watching I have been shocked, appalled and at times totally disgusted by some of the things woman have been saying to other woman. Referring to each other as " bitches, weirdo, stupid, fucked, ignorant, intolerant, gross, wrong and freak" just to name a few. Some ladies have gone so low as to stoop to attacking innocent children,its way out of hand.

Personal attacks seem to be a common everyday occurrence at the moment and I am left wondering where has the respect gone? With no topic seeming to be off limits the past few weeks I have sat and watched as friends, acquaintances and even people I don't know come under fire for their personal choices. The criticism, judgement and plain nastiness that has been spewed forth has been nothing short of unbelievable.

Breastfeeding, parenting choices, schooling possibilities, formula feeding, community groups and activities and religious choices all coming under fire. I don't know about you but woman I have had about enough. Now I am not a prude by any means and I myself am guilty of telling someone to fuck off on facebook a couple weeks ago ( this person was attacking my 2 year old Goddaughter and being a tool) but still there was probably a better way to handle the situation.

Woman of the Internet lets get over ourselves and realise we NEED each other. The majority of us are mothers ..I am a mummy of 4 and know that there is no way I could parent my cherubs on my own. I am glad to have a place like facebook where I can put a status update asking a wide variety of people for suggestions or advice on things... for example my littlest bub is teething and I had asked for some advice on alternatives to drugs given they don't seem to be working, and the response was great, but when I see nasty and ignorant comment after comment it really gets me down.

How can we spew forth this venom to each other and possibly think it is acceptable?
If we were teenage girls this would come under the label of cyber bullying and I think it needs to stop. Today I read over 43 comments on a friend/acquaintances status update where she was ripped to shreds for doing something that is perfectly natural and acceptable to her, she was not causing physical harm to anyone or to herself yet she was criticised, judged and put down by several other woman because of her personal choice! Personal choices MUST be respected, even if not agreed upon. We all have the right to choose what works best for us in our family and personal lives and to put someone down for their choice just isn't right. I really think we need to break down the walls of intolerance we have been building around ourselves and work together to gain a greater understanding of what each others values and beliefs are....I think lots of us will be surprised at just how similar we are.

Like I said before we need each other, parenting, working and just being a female in an often male dominated world is hard enough work on its own without attacking each other and making life tougher. If you see something you don't agree with how about saying that's your choice I don't agree with it but I respect you and your right to choose?? Or sticking to that oldie but goodie that our mum's used to say to us... if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all!! That's not to say we cannot express our opinions of course we should but that doesn't have to come in the form of personal attacks. I think we all could be a little more accepting of each others differences and if we see something we don't understand rather then attack it,( or fear it) ask that person about it. I am sure if it means anything of value to them they will be happy to explain it and as previously said you may be surprised at how similar your views are to that of others you may have judged to harshly or quickly in the past.

I love that in Facebook I can connect with such a diverse and wide range of people and am getting to know some beautiful families who parent in very different ways to me (NOTE not wrong just different) I am re establishing past connections with high school friends who have moved into differing and similar areas in life as myself I am friends with hippies, born again Christians,artists, gays and lesbians, people older and younger then myself and academics and I love the wide range of information I get to sift through everyday as I get a small glimpse into The Loves of Other Peoples Lives.

Cloth nappy days are happy days

There here, there here, there here,they have arrived!!!!

What am I talking about you ask excitedly???

Mikey's new Baby Beehinds Cloth Nappy's!!!! YAY!

Now I realise you may be thinking now why would she be excited over that? Well here are a few reasons Number 1: I will be saving $15 a week (actually $30 in total since both bubba's are now full time cloth nappiers) and who wouldn't love that. Number 2: Knowing I am contributing a little less to the land fill is awesome..(so does this mean I can take longer showers? you know all things being environmentally equal as such, save the land fill but use up the water?)...calm down hippies I am jokin! number 3: they are just so darn cute!!
Seriously after converting to cloth for Miss Ladybug mid last year( and knocking my nappy bill in half in the process) I began to see the many benefits of cloth nappies.
Especially with the modern style BBH'S which go on just like a disposable. My buddy Sarah Mc converted me to cloth for the Bug and it has been awesome, having two children in nappies is bloody expensive costing us around $30 a week. So with some encouragement for Sarah Mc...whom for some reason I want to refer to as Macca's LOL Could be that it is almost 2am on Sunday morning when I am drafting this and my mind is fuzzy...anyways where was I?....right with encouragement from Sarah I switched out Miss Ladybug to cloth and it has been simple to do, so I bought Mikey-boy 2 cloth nappy's to see whether I would have the stomach to put an 21 month old in cloth nappy's (seriously his poop is revoltingly gross!!!) but it turns out I can handle poop better then I thought, I am constantly amazed at what I can deal with as a mummy. So after placing an order for 6 more super cute cloth nappies for Mikey they arrived this week YAY!! I am so excited to be switching him over to cloth full time now. My pre-washes are done the nappy's dried and today we went cloth all day for the first time ever with both the baby's...and what do you think happened within 6 minutes of me putting Mikey into his awesome new orange nappy...yep he did a MASSIVE poop in it!! GGrrrr.. oh well I guess when its all said and done that's what nappy's are for and so he got put into his purple one instead.
I am also extremely pleased with myself as I have "turned" my best buddy Meegs into a convert to and she has put her littlest man Drew (whom I refer to as Schmoo... cause it just fits him he is so cute you wanna smoosh him with cuddles) into cloth as well. woo hoo. Our two boys look so cute in their furry minkee nappy's little monkey butts.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Breastfeeding Blues/Boobs of awesomeness

I am wondering today if there is such a thing as the "breast feeding blues"? Miss Olivia is the first child out of 4 whom I have fully breastfed till she was 6 months old and we introduced solids. I attempted to feed Mikey (3rd baby out of 4) but with little success with him having Hypotonia (low muscle tone) it was impossible for him to suck heartily at the breast and my supply dwindled down I pumped for 4 months and borrowed my friend Sarah's boobs for a feed but as post natal depression and a feelings of inadequacy and detachment set in as I felt like I was feeding a pump not a baby I gave up in despair and switched to formula,(NOTE in those 4 months I also had my appendix removed and wasn't able to feed Mikey for 3 days which did not help the supply situation even with pumping and medications)

Today however as I sat and marveled at the cleverness of my boobs and Gods design for woman as Miss Livvy drank away I also had a feeling of sadnes
s wash over me knowing that Livvy will be turning one in a couple months and that as she grows older her dependence on me for her nutritional and comfort needs will lessen as she moves into eating more solids and drinking water and juice. While my plan is at the moment to continue to feed her till she is 18 months then re assess her and me at the time to see if we continue til she is two, I also know that plans change and can never really be set in stone.

The more I thought about it the angrier I got, when I was pregnant with Malinda (child number 1) I was told by my mother,... (whom at the time was the most important person in my life as I was 19 and a single mum to be) that breastfeeding was to difficult and that I would be much better off at my age just formula feeding. She continued to tell me this throughout the pregnancy and added how hard it was for her trying to breastfeed and how much trouble she had with attempting to feed my brothers and I and that I was setting myself up for failure. I being naive and young believed her and never gave it a go with my daughter, in fact I became terrified of the idea of breastfeeding and even repulsed by the sight of it becoming physically sick if someone would feed their child in front of me gagging involuntary. NO I am not joking ask Sarah Mc who can verify this. I got married and fell pregnant almost right away and again did not even attempt to feed Peter who went straight on to a bottle after being born. Then my good friend Sarah had her baby Iris and I watched at first in horror but then in admiration as she breastfed her daughter without a hitch it seemed so natural and even beautiful that when I fell pregnant with baby number 3 Mikey I thought well if Sarah can do it so can I LOL!!! Whilst my experience with feeding Mikey for those 4 months was not a great one (heehee I just remembered once feeding Mikey on the breast at my mothers place and her giving me a light blanket to cover up with which always makes me laugh given she was present for all 4 of my children's births and saw a whole lot more then my boobies) I came away from it feeling more comfortable with who I was as a woman and confident I had given it my best shot and at least had the experience of breastfeeding as Mikey was going to be my last child HAHAHA.
But as you all know at the end of those 4 months I became pregnant again with Olivia. I had a horrible pregnancy emotionally with Liv I was so not ready to have another child at all let alone so quickly after Mikey being born but here she was on the way. I decided that I was going to breastfeed and was so annoyed by a family member when I was told why would I bother after all the difficulties I had with Mikey GGGRRR!!! Ignoring the comments and criticisms I was determined I was going to make it work and my husband and I thought it would really help bond Olivia and I once she was born given I was having such trouble bonding throughout the pregnancy. Olivia was born and on the breast within 15 minutes of being on the outside LOL Actually she came out with her mouth open almost looking for the boob, and she has remained there ever since and not one issue has arisen since I began feeding her 9 months ago, I have fallen in love with breastfeeding and as previously stated marvel at the awesomeness of my breasts and the fact they sustained my daughter for her first 6 months completely on their own. But again the sadness, she is the last child I will breastfeed, nope no more surprises hubby had the snip and I am sad, angry and feel completely ripped off for not having the support and encouragement to feed my other children. While I am grateful for formula especially in Mikeys case where I felt I just could not do it anymore, there really is no comparison in terms of bottle feeding vs holding your baby snugly across your chest and watching as she nurses from your body.

My 3 other children are all happy healthy and content little monkeys however I do feel like I let them down and should of sought out more information for myself like I have now that I have been feeding Livvy, rather then taking the word of one person who had had a bad experience. Hence the boobie blues question.

Also wanna say a huge THANKS to Meegs, Sarah Mc and Sazz whose long term breastfeeding efforts inspire my boobs to greatness LOL Meaning I think you are all amazing mums who are continuing to give your babies/toddlers the very best start and I hope I can follow in your footsteps. Also Thanks to God for his wonderful creation of the female body and for boobies.

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