Your reminder for today.

I haven’t written in awhile.I almost didn’t want to do this anymore.  

What can I say, sometimes you just lose your sparkle and passion.

In our lives we often hit small roadblocks, we don’t get that promotion, our heart gets broken, we get sick, we lose a friend. 

Someone may challenge us… Or make us feel bloody unsure of ourselves. Usually it never bothers me, sometimes it does.

I lost my sparkle for awhile and I didn’t have faith in myself.  

But then I realised that, hey, it’s all good sister, you’re alright, you can dust yourself off and be okay again. You just have to trust in yourself. 

If you’re having one of those days, or weeks, or months, I’m here to tell you today that you matter, that you’re worthy, that you’re valued, and you need to believe it to be true. It’s the first step.

Have a little faith, you’ll feel like yourself again soon, and you’ll be stronger for it.  You’re an appreciated mother, wife, partner, lover, sister and friend.  You matter to the people who are close to you.

You’re worthy and important.  Don’t forget it, and if you do, it’s ok, you’ll get there, and you’ll feel all sparkly again.  Honest.

Goodbye… for now 

I love to write. It’s who I am and it’s in my blood.  

I haven’t written much lately, and I guess while I got my head around things, I haven’t had the desire to.

From the time I was a little girl, I would write about Lipsmackers and the cutest boys in Year 3. I would tear through notebook after notebook writing about little insignificant moments that I could document forever. When I was a teenager, they became more full of angst and moments that were the end of the world, like not having a date to the Year 12 ball. Then it was parties and hot guys.  I would write about everything. As a 26 year old, I really did start writing about the end of the world, our fertility journey and failed IVF cycles. It became more significant then.  

I got the courage to share my stories last year, my mum, my sister, my husband read what I would write and told me that I could, possibly share my stories with others. So I shared. I wanted mums to know they weren’t alone in the world of parenting, it’s messy and it’s awesome, and it’s crazy and it’s so, so wonderful.
Lately, though, it hasn’t been as fun as it was before. Admitting my inner most demons comes at a price, because not everyone is ok with it. What came from that was my anxiety began to rear its ugly head again and some days I would feel like I’ve made this huge mistake. Then the next day I’m fine.  
So while I work some things out for myself and learn to basically, chill the fuck out again it’s goodbye……. for now. Maybe I’ll finish my book… who knows? I wanted to say thanks to everyone for your support and kindness. I hope I’ve bought you a few smiles and maybe some tears because I know I’ve shed a few writing some. I’ve loved sharing my life with you all and I appreciated every comment, private message and moment of clarity you’ve all given me.
So thanks, from the bottom of my heart. Hopefully this will only be temporary and I’ll feel comfortable sharing again… But for now… I have toddlers (Pokemon) to catch. And they run fast!

Peace out.

Reflections on the Second Year

Last year, I wrote a very similar blog looking back on the first year or my son’s lives, which you can find here.  It’s a great way for me to look back and see how much has changed and how far we have come.  One thing that’s different, straight off the bat… We are getting sleep! 

This time, two years ago, we had just scheduled a C-Section in 5 days time for 34 weeks and 4 days due to preeclampsia.  I remember feeling scared and excited because we had a date.  There had been a few issues; liver function, super high blood pressure and restricted growth of twin two.  It was at the point where they decided it was time to blow the whistle.  Get em out.  

That night, my waters broke.  It’s like my sons knew I now had a plan and of course they turned it upside down.  Nothing so far had gone by the book even before conception so why would this be the start?  When I hit the ‘call’ button, the nurse simply mopped the floor and put me to bed, like I’d just spilt my drink.  I didn’t sleep at all that night, and when I called my husband he was firstly surprise I hadn’t told him the night before and then it sunk in: ‘you’re going to be a Dad today.’

4pm that afternoon, a whole 15 hours after I lost my waters there you were. 

I can’t believe you guys are two.  The past year has been a journey and a half of parenting and love and joy.  Watching you grow and discover the world around you and working out you can make people laugh and make me cry.  The nights are definitely longer and the days are shorter and they go by so quickly, which causes a dull ache in my heart.

We didn’t know what love was, until we had you.  I didn’t know who I was until I had you.  This amazing journey has just begun, and even though I try to teach you things, it’s actually you two that are teaching me.  Every damn day.  I look at you every morning and wonder what I did to get so lucky and how the hell will I fumble through parenting today.

It’s been perfection… Every part of it, even the hard bits.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  One thing I will say that hasn’t improved of course is that you still don’t eat food really.  I’m cool with that now.  Weetbix and bread can actually be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Plus the dogs are well fed.

Thankyou for giving me two years of parenting joy.  Happy birthday my sons.
  

Toddler Rearing 101

I’m gonna say it.  We’re all thinking it.  Toddlers are egocentric mini dictators.  They run the household.  They’re moodier than Britney Spears circa 2007 with the whole head shaving thing.  Your day can be ruined if the cup is the wrong colour.  Nobody wins.

In all honesty though, dictatorship aside, I really love this age.  They have their own personalities and have full conversations with me and they are pretty adorable.  I could hug them all day.  But with twin toddlers, I do feel a little outnumbered, so I’ve come up with some expert strategies to cope with your toddler’s flamboyant behaviour.

  • You’re kid won’t eat what you put in front of them.  Stop fighting it.  Instead, let them eat the 2 day old Tiny Teddies off the floor.  Bonus, it saves time on sweeping which you weren’t going to do anyway.
  • Your toddler throws a tantrum at the waterpark because you ask him if he wants to go in the water.  Hello?  That’s why we came to the waterpark in the first place.  Now, in this situation, just grin and bear it while everyone stares at you.  When people stop ogling, slip your kid a sweet to silence them.
  • No, he doesn’t want the red cup.  He wants the orange one.  Buy a few items of every toy and piece of Tupperware you own in the exact same colour, so you won’t have to deal with this problem.  You may send yourself into debt, but at least if you have four orange cups, one is sure to not be in the dishwasher.
  • Your little human wants to play with your phone.  He isn’t gentle with it, and you have a date with Pinterest.  Pretend it’s ringing.  Answer it and in a serious voice, explain to your toddler that his father will bring him a treat if he stops grabbing your phone.  When your husband gets home with nothing, at least he looks like the bad guy and not you.
  • He wants to play on the trampoline but won’t wear his hat outside.  Put him in his pram or highchair right next to the trampoline.  Put your own hat on and jump on it yourself.  It’s a great workout and your toddler is sure to get the point after a minute or two.
  • Occasionally, you are finding your little darling will drop a swear word in front of your inlaws.  Blame their son for his colourful language, when you know full well who said ‘oh shit’ when she dropped her keys this morning.
  • Your toddler is on a tirade of destruction and will not listen to anything you say.  You need three things in this situation.  A bottle of wine, a packet of Tim Tams and a cupboard you can sit in.  If the mum is hiding while the toddler is having a meltdown, did it actually happen?

I hope you enjoyed today’s parental advice.  No experts that I know of have suggested or tested these out, just as an FYI and using any of them in real life may not give you any form of desired parenting skills whatsoever.

But it’s okay to dream isn’t it?

Come to my house.  Bring the wine.  We’re in this together. 

 

My Life as a Kidney Kid Parent

It all started at my 32 week scan when the sonographer mentioned that one of our unborn son’s kidneys didn’t look quite right.  At this stage, I wasn’t too concerned, “there’s plenty of people living with one kidney” I thought.  My Obstetrician called me the next day saying to come in and see her and from that phone call I knew we were going to be heading to King Edward Hospital.  So, after a few ultrasounds and steroid injections to help develop his lungs, the decision was made to get him out so he could have the best chance at life.

My husband and I were warned there was a chance that he may not survive delivery.  As soon as they got him out, he started to cry and it was then I knew he was going to have the will to live.  Kai was moved to the special care nursery where all sorts of monitors were hooked up to him, an IV line, a nasal gastric tube and he was also having bloods drawn 3 times a day (to monitor kidney function). An ultrasound was performed on his kidneys to see what was wrong which showed that they were a lot smaller than normal and instead of being made up of normal tissue they were made up of cysts.  The Renal Team from PMH met with us and said all they could do is monitor his kidneys and hope that they would have enough function to be able to support him.  If they did not, unfortunately there was nothing they could do, as he was far too small for dialysis. Sadly, babies that are born with this type of kidney disease generally do not survive very long after birth.  Kai has beaten the odds so far, although inevitably he will need a transplant.

After 7 weeks we were allowed to come home, with a truckload of medications and special formula.  Kai started off having weekly blood tests which have now stretched out to monthly.  He has daily medications and also a weekly injection to stop him from becoming aneamic which my husband and I give to him.

It is stressful being a kidney parent.

I am always anxious after a blood test expecting that dreaded phone call to say his function is on the decline, making sure he is always hydrated and he is kept cool (kidney function is affected by heat and dehydration amongst other things) and panic when he has the slightest temp.  So far he is doing well enough just to stay away from dialysis. When he reaches 10kg and if his kidneys have completely failed, I am hoping to give him one of mine.  It won’t be a cure but will give him some quality of life until it fails and he needs another one, sadly donor kidneys don’t last forever.

Such a big miracle in such a little boy, I will love you always and forever my little Kai.

For more information regarding children and adults living with chronic kidney disease, or to make donation to this charity, please visit Kidney Health Australia.

 

 

 

 

How holidays have changed

Before we had the boys, whenever my husband and I would take holidays, we would be what is known as ‘Lobby Bar’ people.  We would haunt around the hotel bars, drinking whisky and cocktails before we went out for dinner.  Usually, the staff would know us by name, and probably the first street we lived on as well.  Maybe, they also knew our entire medical history.  I don’t know, but we would be there a lot.

The past week we took the boys to Melbourne and it was awesome.  They are just that little bit older, which means they can tell us what they want and when they want it (NOW).  Also, they can walk a lot longer, they’re more interested in things in general and they delight every bloody person they meet.  Then there’s the hugging thing.  At 20 months, they hug each other, all the time.  It is probably the most adorable thing I have ever seen since someone posted photos of a puppy sitting in a bowl of cake mix.

With all of the good stuff, comes general frustrations that parenting toddlers encompasses.  For example, it takes them so long to do anything.  They want to walk, but they have to smell every flower along the way and point out the colour of everything they see.  Yes, I know, we CAN learn a lot from toddlers about appreciating the simple things in life, I get that, totally, but when it takes half an hour to walk 20 metres it can be just a little bit tiresome.  Aside from this there are the tantrums, the not being able to take them into restaurants thing because they will most likely scream ‘ORANGE’ for half an hour, and then there’s the naptime issue and just all the shit you have to pack with you to go anywhere.  Somebody has a bowel movement at an inconvenient time and one twin decided he didn’t actually want to sleep this trip.  Nah, stuff it, I’ll just keep everyone awake instead.

You see, holidays are different now.  They revolve around two little people who are our whole entire worlds.  Our days are planned around their sleep.  Our nights end at 7pm when they are in bed.  Our day starts at 6am.  The activities we do are totally and completely around the boys, the park, the aquarium, the zoo.  We were very fortunate to get an evening out and it was nice, being able to enjoy each other’s company again.  I miss that.

Going away as a family is pretty bloody awesome, and I love it with every part of my soul.  BUT, I do miss just having some time completely to ourselves, no agenda, just doing whatever we want.  It doesn’t mean I enjoy trips away any less, but just that there’s a small part of me that misses the old us.  I can feel guilty about this, or I can just roll with it.  Yes, I love being with my children, but some days I just want to pee alone and drink cider with my lunch.

When we read books about parenting, it’s not in the rules that we have to love it every day, all the time and it’s okay to miss our lives beforehand sometimes too.  It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a parent, absolutely not, even the mum who seems to have it altogether probably cries in the cupboard once in a while with a packet of Tim Tams.  It’s fine to feel these feelings, they are so normal.  Even if you feel so blessed to be a parent and thank God every day because you had a miscarriage or a few rounds of IVF doesn’t mean you have to love it every day either.

Hopefully one day we will have a couple nights just the two of us again, hanging out some lobby bar and making friends with the staff there.  I can just picture it now.  Drinking our wine, showing everyone within a 20 metre radius pictures of our adorable twins (you WILL look at them, and you WILL love them, goddamit).  Then I’ll probably collapse in a heap of tears because I miss them so bloody much.  Then I’ll look at all the videos of them and smile about how they are the best things ever.  You see, being a parent means we never ever are the same, after all, and it’s for the best reason in the world.

  

 
 

The Sometimes Mum

Do you remember what it was like before you had children?  Do you remember what parenting goals you set yourself when you were expecting?  I had these grand ideas of how I would raise my boys in my head, I guess, based on what I saw other people do with their kids, and just stuff I thought was right or wrong.  ‘I will breastfeed for 18 months.  No dummies after one, nutritious, home cooked food every day, made with love.  No tantrums, ever.  Time out chair.  No tv.  Oh, and my twin boys will be the best fed, most well behaved, smartest kids in all the land.  ALL THE LAND, I tell you.  This parenting stuff, it looks super duper easy.’

Ha!  What a naive little bitch I was.  I didn’t have a fucking clue.  But who does?

Pretty quickly, when my milk supply dropped, I would sometimes bottle feed, and I would sometimes breastfeed.  Sometimes.  Cue my actual parenting style.  I’m the Sometimes Mum.

Sometimes, I will feed my children healthy nutritious home cooked food that they don’t eat.  Sometimes, it’s just Tiny Teddies because, well, at least it’s something right?

Sometimes, I will let them have a dummy during the day, and sometimes I won’t.  Depends on what side of the bed they wake up.

Sometimes, I let them run freely at the park and sometimes I will follow them around.

Sometimes, I do housework when they nap, and sometimes I watch Netflix.

Sometimes I’ll cosleep and sometimes I’ll let them cry in their cot for a few minutes.

Sometimes I did baby led weaning and sometimes I would whip some sloppy shit up for them.

Sometimes I will make it out of the house, and sometimes it won’t happen as much as I want it to.

Sometimes I will give them positive verbal reinforcement, and sometimes I’ll bribe them with donuts at the shop.  

Sometimes I love being at home with my boys, but sometimes I find it a bit overwhelming.

What I’ve learned is there really isn’t a right and wrong when it comes to parenting.  What works for Jane’s kids down the road might not work for your household, and that’s cool.  Doesn’t mean Jane’s wrong.

Let’s stop the mummy shaming ok?  

And it’s totally ok to be a Sometimes Mum, because a lot of times, we are just doing what we can to survive.