Big kids need attention too.

When you have babies and toddlers, it is so easy to get caught up in their needs, what they’re doing, how much they’re not sleeping, or how often they’re waking at night. Sometimes you get so caught up in the bone wearying exhaustion that goes along with parenting that happens in the early years, that you miss other things that are going on around you.

shutterstock_54844711
Image Source

Yesterday I realised how much I’ve missed while I’ve been busy parenting twins who still wake at night. Dylan and Mahalia are beyond helpful with Harry and Zach. They play with them in the morning while I have a shower, entertain them while I clean up dinner, let me know when someone has a nappy bomb, and are generally just awesome with them.

We’ve been lax with bedtimes over the holidays, and there’s been lots of hanging out and watching movies on tv. But one on one attention from me has fallen short, and in my sleep deprived exhaustion, I’ve been grumpier than usual.

Yesterday, while eating a snack, Mahalia started crying, without seeming to know why. After lots of cuddles, she eventually calmed down, and told me she was crying because she thought she would get in trouble for getting something to eat without asking. Now, I prefer if the kids ask first before raiding the cupboard as they’re known for snacking just before lunch or dinner, but at other times it doesn’t bother me. It made me realise though that Mahalia’s hanging out for some quality time with me, without toddlers interrupting.

The afternoon was filled with tantrums that only an overtired six year old can produce. She may no longer nap during the day, and we may be taking it pretty easy these holidays, but Mahalia is still up at the crack of dawn, and I think I need to be a bit more strict with bedtime. Both Dylan and Mahalia like to read in bed after being tucked in, but from tonight I’ll be setting a time limit before lights off.

Harry and Zach go back to day care next week, so the last few weeks of the school holidays will be spent doing stuff that’s fun for the big kids so I can fill up their love tanks. Ngala is only two weeks away, so hopefully it won’t be long until everyone is sleeping through the night and I can get rid of might sleep deprived grump.

Baby Bump

Jennifer Garner is my new hero. In case you missed it, she confirmed her baby bump on Ellen recently. You can watch it here. I too have a baby bump.

Back in July, I was asked twice in two days if I was pregnant, by nurses no less. Now, I am the first to admit that I have a belly. Four kids, including twins with a combined birth weight of 6.3kgs will do that to you. 117 weeks of pregnancy and 14.06kg of babies. The only way my stomach will ever be flat again is if I have a tummy tuck. Society seems to have this expectation that women’s bodys return to their pre-pregnancy state within in months of giving birth, that having a belly must mean you’re pregnant. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish my stomach was flatter, it’s hard to keep the media’s voice of what beauty is, out of your head some days. But I’m also proud of my belly. It housed two decent sized singleton babies until they decided to make their entrance, and then ‘big for twins’ until 38 weeks and 1 day.

The expectations on how we look seem to sneak their way in without us noticing, and at such young ages. My daughter has asked me a few times why my tummy is still fat. And while she accepts my explanations on separated muscles and stretched skin, I don’t know how long it will last. Recently, she came home from school saying she wanted to be skinny because one of her friends told her that you have to be skinny to be pretty. She turns 6 at the end of this week. Six. Besides the fact that she’s a bean pole, and is pretty, I don’t want her to focus on these things. I want her to love her body because it’s healthy, because she can run and jump and dance and swim. And I want her to love doing those things because they are fun and they make her strong, fit and healthy. I want her to be proud of herself for trying, and mastering tasks she thought she couldn’t, for reading and writing and drawing. I want her to know that her beauty comes from the way she treats people, for running to get a teacher’s help when her friend fell of the monkey bars and broke her arm, for comforting her baby brothers when they are upset, for wanting to help those less fortunate than we are. I want her to believe that in a society where image seems to be everything, our image is not who we are, is not what’s important.

This will start with me. I have a baby bump that’s not going anywhere because its name is Dylan, Mahalia, Harry, and Zach. I’m learning to love my baby bump, because without it, I wouldn’t be me.

Show and tell.

A few weeks ago, Mahalia ran over her toe with the pantry door. Yep, ouch!

She handled it pretty well, I would have made a hell of a lot more noise than she did. A few tears, and ice pack, and she calmed down pretty quickly. Over the next couple of days, the skin under her toenail bruised up to a lovely shade of dark purple, and her nail loosened.

Like a kid with a scab, whenever her shoes and socks were off, she picked at that toenail, and showed it off to anyone who would look. Just quietly, I’d have preferred she didn’t show me.

Last night her toenail was loose enough that she managed to pull it off, and she was quite proud of it. I suggested she chuck it in the bin. Instead she played with it, pretended to stick it back on and pull it off again. And then she put it in a treasure box to keep it safe until Tuesday, when she plans to take it to school for news. Ahem.

No need to thank me Mrs B, no need at all.

Heart in my mouth.

This morning, on the way to school, my heart just about leapt out of my chest and splattered itself on the road. Six hours later, I think it’s still trying to escape.

Recently Mahalia has decided she wants to start BMX. Dylan started BMX a few months ago, but Mahalia wasn’t interested at the time. Since Mahalia and the boy across the road have decided that they are going to get married (young love, aww…), Mahalia has decided she wants to start BMX as her husband to be also rides. For the last few weeks, Dylan has been letting Mahalia practice riding his bike so she can get used to using hand brakes (hers only has back pedal brakes) that are required for BMX.

As we left for school this morning, Dylan let Mahalia ride his bike as he was scooting. Apart from thinking that Dylan was in a super generous mood this morning, I gave little thought to the fact that Mahalia wasn’t riding her own bike. And then we turned onto a street that slopes gently downwards, and with no footpath, the place to ride, scoot and push a pram is on the road. The hill isn’t steep, but it’s long enough that you can pick up a bit of speed as you ride down it. As Mahalia started rolling down the hill, I reminded her to use the hand brakes. It seems she’d forgotten how. As she headed for the t-intersection at the bottom of the street, instead of slowing so she could turn onto the footpath at the bottom, she seemed to be picking up speed. As I’m calling out to her to use the brakes, too far away to do anything, in my mind I could see a huge stack about to happen, with lots of grazed skin, and possibly a broken bone.

But she didn’t stack. She managed to slow the bike and come to a stop, without using the brakes. It’s the way in which she did it that had my heart trying to escape my body. Seemingly in slow motion, I watched Mahalia perform a u-turn across the street, gradually slowing as she headed back up the hill until she came to a stop. I didn’t know whether to be happy or angry. While she stopped her self from stacking, she is so bloody luck that the street is fairly quiet, and that none of the occasional cars we do see were coming down  the street, or turning into the street. Quietly, I’m impressed with the way she handled the bike, and that instead of riding out into the intersection where no cars could see her coming, she turned across a street where she was highly visible to others. But I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the rest of the way to school, imagining what could have happened if there had been cars on the road this morning.

There’s a steeper hill on the way home from school, so Mahalia gets to scoot home this afternoon while Dylan rides. And I think BMX is a long way off for Mahalia. I want to keep my heart in my chest.


13/52

Image

Image

Image

Image

A portrait of each of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.

Dylan :: Practising moves to get some airtime on the scooter is starting to pay off.
Harry :: The smiliest baby in K-town.
Mahalia :: You have your own sense of style, and a distinct lack of fear. I hope no one ever clips your wings.
Zach :: Seven months old, and already hamming it up for the camera.

I should change the tag line, I’ve missed a couple of weeks because, well, life. I’m tired of thanking the same old photos, but whenever we go anywhere, I either forget to take my camera, or I don’t use it. I find Saturday roll around, and I’m rushing around to take a couple of photos. I started this project to try and regain some of (amateur-hobbiest) photography. It seems I need to search some more.

Image

I’m back on the bandwagon, linking up with Jodie over at Practising Simplicity.

10/52

Image

Image

Image

Image

A portrait of each of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.

Dylan :: Trying to warm up post swim.
Harry :: You seem to have grown up so much in the past week.
Mahalia :: No swimmers? No worries. A dress is as good as a pair of bathers.
Zach :: Sometimes I look at you, and I swear you’ve been here before. That I’ve met you before.

Linking up (late) with Jodie.

52 button

9/52

D9:52

H9:52

Z9:52

M9:52

A portrait of each of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Dylan :: Your reading has really taken off this year, but you still much prefer your Papa to read to you.
Harry and Zach :: You started solids this weekend. We’re fans of ‘baby-led weaning’ in our house. You weren’t too sure what to do with the bits of food in front of you, but you both eventually got some into your mouth for a taste.
Mahalia :: It seems you’ve inherited your Papa’s skin, burning even with sunscreen on.

Linking up with Jodie.

52 button