Friday, 2 February 2018

The best chapter

I've been getting that 'look' from elderly ladies lately.

I'll be in the supermarket, probably with both kids. They are full of beans (or free countdown fruit for kids, more accurately) and I just want to whizz through and get the shop done. I'm in some sort of harried rush, multitasking with the list, the kids and the bags.

I walk past an elderly lady in the aisle and she will look at us. And I can see her eyes soften and her face go into a half smile. Sometimes she will say nothing, and sometimes she will make a passing comment about 'oh they are lovely' or 'oh it goes so fast.'

It is never the middle aged women. I have thought about this and think it's because the early years of chaos are still too close in memory. Or perhaps they have young grandkids of their own, so don't need to get gooey over mine.

But the elderly ladies, oh they are far enough away from this stage to miss it, to feel wistful, to take time to engage with us.

In that moment I feel what I am  calling pre-emptive nostalgia. I can be sentimental at the best of times, but sometimes I am sentimental in the moment that is happening right now, because I know I will miss it when it's gone.

Perhaps it's because my last baby is now 18 months and I've joined the ranks of women who have gone before me- women who have finished having kids. Women who will no longer hold their own  new babies in their arms.

And something in me yearns for more, for time to stop (I'll call that thing hormones.) Yet all of me knows that time is moving, my kids are growing and this is a good thing.

So I feel that nostalgia too. The elderly lady glances at me, and I feel it in the pit of my stomach. Her wistful smile makes me wistful too, but also thankful. My kids are full on and I want to get the shop finished, but in that moment, those 5 seconds, I hold onto that whispering feeling of nostalgia and thankfulness, then I let it go and step back into the chaos.

"Someday when the pages of my life end, I know these years will be one of the most beautiful chapters"

Friday, 17 November 2017

World Prematurity Day- nearly 4 years on

Today is world prematurity day.

The first photo of Ada, born at 30 weeks

Day like this one, as well as miscarriage awareness, always make me stop and pause. A lot can, and did, happen in the past 5 years, and while I am forever changed by the miscarriages and Ada's premature birth, they are now distant enough from me to no longer be a source of pain. Instead my experiences are a tool to help others.

Ada at a week or two old

To mothers who are having miscarriages, and especially before having any live children, I understand. You never know if you'll actually have a child, or if this pain will fade. I can tell you time is a healer, and this won't define you forever.

Ada at around 5 months old

To mothers who have had a child born early, or have been thrown into a medical world they didn't see coming for their baby- you don't know what the future holds, or how you will get through. I understand. I can tell you that you and your baby are stronger than you imagine.

I can't tell you how your story will end- it's different for all of us. All I can tell is my story, and pray it will give you comfort in a sea of uncertainty.

Ada at around 9 months old

From two lost babies, to a daughter born at 30 weeks, a year of tube feeding, and an extremely stressful and high risk second pregnancy- through all the dark and hurt and storms, we are through the other side. These events have left indelible scars on my heart, but also a compassion and empathy like I would have never known otherwise.

Ada at 1
We have Ada who is almost 4 and thriving. Hunter is 1 and full of life. If I could send one message to myself on that day of the first miscarriage it would be 'It will be ok. You will get through this.'

Ada at 2
Today on world prematurity day I think of all the parents and babies currently in the hospital, I think of all the parents who are about to be thrown into this world and don't know it. 

Today we celebrate all the children who once were premmies and now are growing, strong, loud, fun, wild and kind- all those things a tiny baby holds within them but you can't see at the time. 

Today I give Ada an extra big hug, and I celebrate her journey and the girl she has become.

Ada now at 3
Find out more about World Prematurity Day here.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Finding our family's rhythm

Life has lost it's rhythm lately and instead has turned to speedy rushing with sudden stops and starts. 

I've been feeling a bit lost, afloat, this year, trying to make family life work for us in a way that is not just rushing through life.

Our weeks have no consistency, which is mainly down to my work as a freelance NZSL interpreter and now, caker. The hours are flux and changing, which I knew when I got into both professions, but now with kids it is too hard to sustain.

Some weeks are rushed, 7am drop offs and 6pm pick ups, rushed pasta dinners, baking late into the evening. Other weeks we are at home, kids screaming at me, wishing I could get anything done around the house without a cling on, wishing I had a few hours escape at work. 

We live at both extremes with no middle ground.

Weekends are supposed to be restful, but for us are at best, busy. Saturdays are taken up with food shopping  and social plans that either Matt or I or the kids have. Sundays are busy with church, sometimes later on work, and fortnightly family get togethers. We often feel more tired after the weekends than before. There is rarely time to sit, to relax, to spend time in our home doing nothing much.

It is hard, because like most modern women, I want to do it all! I want to be a attentive fun mother, have a clean house, cook nourishing food for my kids, enjoy my time at work, to be a good friend, spend quality time with my husband and have a little down time to myself. One of the biggest challenges facing me and my friends, I believe, is understanding balance and limits and learning to push back when it all gets a bit too crazy.

So I am attempting to take control, to wrangle some routine into our messy lives. 

Currently Ada is in daycare 3 days a week regardless of what work I do (she loves it) but Hunter is only in care when I am interpreting. Next year I am sending them both to daycare 3 days a week. I will only be working on those 3 days (with occasional exceptions). 

This means we will have two weekdays a week, every week, me and the kids to spend time together, to go to playdates, to laze around the house (my idea of heaven).

If it's a daycare day and I have no interpreting or cakes booked then perhaps I WILL HAVE TIME ALONE TO MYSELF *this is almost too hard to fathom and extremely exciting*

Having kids changed everything, and I feel like I am still barely finding my footing as a mother. Taking back control and having more consistency may or may not work- but it's worth a shot.

I would love to hear any other ideas for making life with young kids slightly less crazy!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Dear Hunter, at 10 months

Dear Hunter

From the very beginning you have been so different to your sister, and you have shown us that you are well and truly your own person.

In the early days I wrote a post about how you were an easy baby, and the transition to two kids had been easier than I expected. I now realise that this is because you couldn't move yet!

Since about 6 months you have been on the go and you are full on in your exploration. You are constantly moving. You have no sense of danger and although our lounge/dining is baby proofed, you wear many bruises on your head at all times. You are clingy and and like to check that I am near- you climb on me and cry and need to be held, but then you want to get down, and then back up again, and then down and on it goes.

We were at the Plunket office the other day and the Plunket nurse said to me, as you tried to destroy everything in your reach, 'I'm tired just looking at you!'

You wake between 1-6 times a night (it's luck of the draw!) but usually 2 or 3, needing a full breastfeed and a cuddle. During the day you need to be fed all your meals (can't forget morning tea!) and you are constantly scavenging for food. I often find you with odd things in your mouth and have seen interesting things come out *ahem* the other end.

I treasure our sleepy cuddles as I feed you before bed. It's the only time you are still (and even then you are sometimes not.) You look up at me with a half smile and all the weariness of the day, of mothering a full on boy like you, it all fades. It wasn't so long ago you were my snuggly newborn and these feeds remind me of that.

You smile when you see me, and when I return from work you leap into my arms. You climb on your sister to give her grabby-hugs and giggle and smile at her with your adoring eyes. In the middle of the night you reach out for your Dad and his warm cuddles too as he rocks you back to sleep.

It was only a year ago I was heavily pregnant with you, with no idea what the future might bring. And now here you are, fully present and part of our family.

You are tiring and trouble and mischief.

You are life and loud and joy.

You are my lovely boy.

Mummy xx

Sunday, 16 April 2017


When two people love each other, they share their joy, multiply their hope

(words from a poem I wrote for our wedding.)

Those early days after a first baby is born are a pivotal point in a marriage. You turn from facing inwards towards each other, and open up the circle, to look down at another. You stare and are consumed by this new being, and by the time, weeks or months later, when you finally look up at each other again, everything is different. Months, years go by, and you add in another child, or two, and you are stretched further from each other as you welcome in more new life.

They share their pain, divide their sorrow

We became parents in a rush, in a way we weren't expecting. In the midst of chaos you were calmness. I finally got to see you as a father, and days after our first was born, I wrote this

"He is so in love with her, a sweet, caring, gentle love you've never seen from him before. His face lights up when he sees her, he is enamoured with his daughter. He holds you when you cry, showers you while you still have a catheter in and are not strong enough to stand, stays home to look after you in bed and bring you toast and tea.... He really is your knight."

They walk alongside each other as they travel through life

Since then I have seen you parent in many ways- exhausted, wiping snot, poo, vomit. Rocking babies, quieting tantrums, playing hide and seek. Coming home from a day at work, and resetting yourself in a matter of moments, ready for the kids to climb on you, grab at you, need you.

When two people love each other, and hand in hand they vow their love, their is no tighter bond and none can break, weaken or fray it

When we finally get time together, it is not like before. Not long languid evenings, or mornings to chat and eat. Not weekends with nothing to do but drink coffee and garden and snuggle.

No, now our moments are snippets. We look at each other wearily once the kids are in bed and the chores are done's you. It's still you, the man I married. 

When two people love each other, they give all they have to the other, and step out into the beginning of their days

Through the pregnancies and fears, through the births and unknown, through the weariness and tears, the long nights and broken sleep, the monotony and relentlessness, toddler songs, dirty hands, baby slobber and wriggling nappy changes, through days at the park, days sick in bed, the summers the winters, the warmth and the cold, there you are.

Before we were interlocked closely, only looking at each other. Now we are stretched, pulled, as we look at our children. Our hands are still interlocked and the ups and downs of life try to pull us apart. In those moments I feel your hands grip mine tightly. You are not letting go. Neither am I.

They rest in each others arms, and that love is their home

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