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.

A letter to harry and Zach: 12 months.

Dear Harry and Zach,

12 months.

A year.

A whole year you’ve been here. It feels like it’s passed in a blink of any eye, yet I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime in the past twelve months. I knew from having Dylan, that when you have a child, your heart grows immeasurably. I knew from having Mahalia that when you have another child, your heart grows again. I was not prepared for how much my heart would grow, the depth of my love that came with your arrival.

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I was terrified while I was pregnant with the two of you. Caring for one baby is hard, how the hell was I going to manage two? But here we are, we’ve survived our first year together, with more laughs than with tears. The past year has not only been about discovering you, watching you learn and grow, but I’ve discovered myself too, I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin.

Who you are and what you do:

Favourite food: For both of you, it’s weetbix, spaghetti bolognaise and yoghurt (but not together).
Least favourite food: Harry – porridge, Zach – I don’t think I’ve seen you turn your nose up at anything yet.
Song: ‘Three little fishies’.
Doing: Waving, clapping, crawling and pulling up on furniture. You’re both so close to cruising.
Saying: Mama, Dada and buba.
Sleeping: Sometimes.
Teeth: Harry – two all the way through, and cutting another two, Zach – one all the way through, two have just come through your gums, and one more cutting.
Favourite toys: Zach – blocks and musical instruments, Harry – anything Zach has in his hands.
Favourite activity: bath time.
Who makes you laugh: each other.
Favourite person: each other.

We’ve had so much fun this past year. You bring joy to so many lives, and all who meet you adore you . It’s amazing see ing the bond between the two of you. You have such different personalities, Harry you are still so relaxed about everything, whereas Zach you are constantly on the go and trying new things, yet there seems to be an invisible thread that always draws you back together. You crawl around the house together, you crawl over each other in the bath, explore each other’s faces, try and cheer each other up, and make the other one laugh. You are so incredibly lucky to have each other, and we are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.

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Happy birthday my babies, and thank you for picking me to be your mama. xx

A Letter to Harry and Zach: Nine Months

My boys, you have now been outside my belly longer than you were in it. Yesterday you were nine months old; you were inside me for 38 weeks and one day, and a week ago, you ad been out for just as long. My pregnancy with you seemed so long, yet your time earth side seems like it’s been much shorter. It is bittersweet, the thought that I will never feel babies growing inside me again, flipping and kicking (I am so done by the way, this baby-making shop is definitely closed for business). But I love having you on the outside, seeing your personalities grow and develop, watching you taking in the world around you.

The move into separate cots has been a success, and we’ve been able to gently teach you to self-settle. Most of the time you now pop off to sleep without any help from me. You really seem to have got the hang of sleeping in the last few weeks, and I’m now having to wake you in the afternoon to pick Dylan and Mahalia up from school. As tiring as it is, I don’t mind the times I do have to help you to sleep because I know it won’t be long until it’s the last time I rock one of my babies to sleep, and I won’t know when it is the last time.

This past month has brought some big changes in your development. Zach, you still seem to be doing everything first, and Harry, you seem more than happy to sit back while Zach masters a new skill, and shows you how. You are both now saying mum and bub, with he occasional dad thrown in. You talk to each other, you make each other laugh, and you try make the rest of us laugh too. The way you interact with each other is so beautiful to see, it’s like there is an invisible thread tying you together. You are definitely individuals, but the bond you share is impossible to miss.

After weeks of unsettled nights, Zach,your first tooth seems to finally have cut through the gum. I think your first is still a few weeks away yet Harry, although your gum does seem to be swelling a bit. Crawling is still a way off, but we have backwards shuffling going on. I’m in no hurry for you to grow up and be properly on the move. This weekend will see you Papa and I lowering your cot bases. Zach, you are trying so hard to pull up to standing, and I know it won’t be long until you have it mastered. Harry, you still seem so chilled, but there a few things that get you so excited – the bath, other people’s ears, and socks. I have never seen any other baby get so much joy out of sticking fingers in ears, or waving socks way above their heads. You make me laugh every day.

This first year of your lives seems to be passing so quickly. Next week you start day care so I can go back to uni. I’m torn. I can’t wait to go back to studying, but I don’t feel ready to leave you yet. If only we could pause these moments in time, suspend them, spend as long as we want in them, before moving on. I know you’ll will do fine at day care, you’ll always have a buddy with you, but I will miss you so much. I will miss you, and our days together, learning about each other, teaching each other. I will miss you.

Love always, Mama.


A Letter to Harry and Zach: Eight months

Dear Harry and Zach,

I know I say it every month, but I can’t believe that another one has passed already. I really wish tie would slow down just for a bit. With you being my last babies, I am really trying to take the time to enjoy and appreciate your babyhood before its gone. I try to drink in your smells, try to commit them to memory, but already they are changing, and more often than not you smell of weetbix these days. Your baby days are passing in a flurry of school runs, laundry and grocery shopping, things that can’t be put off in a family of six, the way they could be when your older siblings we young.

You’ve really got the hang of this eating thing in the past month. The needs of the family mean that we are combining baby led weaning with spoon feeding. We’d never get to school on time if I let you feed yourselves in the morning. There doesn’t seem to be anything you don’t like so far, at you steadily chunking up without the need to top you up with expressed milk anymore.

This past weekend we finally bit the bullet and moved you into separate cots. I think you’ve been ready for it for a while, but I wasn’t quite there yet. You’d always slept so well together, but you’d started to wake each other up due to the lack of room and rolling into each other. You are still in the same room, but I miss seeing you sleeping next to each other, usually touching some part of your body to the other’s. Separate cots also means gently teaching you to self settle rather than patting you to sleep. We are seeing improvements already, with you needing me less and less to calm you to sleep, and you falling asleep with needing my help faster each day. Your day sleeps seem to be stretching out too.

We’re entering into our last month at home together. June brings your transition into day care in preparation for my return to studying in July. I feel so conflicted about it. I am ready to go back, I love studying, and I am passionate about my chosen field, but I don’t feel ready to leave you yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel ready. I’m sure you’ll be fine, you adapt to new situations, and new people so easily. We can navigate our new pathway together, just don’t stop needing me just yet.

I love you more than you could ever know, my smiling, laughing, funny boys.
Always.
Mama xx

 

8months

 

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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.

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

A letter to Harry and Zach: Seven Months

My two little men,

I can’t believe you’ve been earth side for seven months, you’ll be walking and talking before I know it. I’m not ready for my last babies to grow up. I am very much enjoying the age you are now, I wish we could pause here for a few months before getting on with the growing and developing. Your personalities are really starting to show through, and you are interacting with your people and your world with joy and wonder.

We had a visit from your Granddad from Sydney a few weeks ago. I was worried that you may be wary of him, having not seen him since you were a week old. But you took to him straight away, enjoying hanging out with him during his brief visit. We are often stopped when out in public (I can’t believe how often we are stopped!) as twins are like magnets to people who would otherwise walk straight by you. They all comment on how happy you are, how blue your eyes are, and how lucky I am. And I am.

Your eyes are still blue, and I think it’s a safe bet to say that they will stay blue. When Dylan was a baby, I desperately wanted a blue eyed boy, but Dylan’s started changing from blue to brown at six months, and were completely brown by the time he was one. I was pretty happy when Mahalia’s eyes stayed blue and there is no hint of yours changing colour. Brown eyes are meant to be the dominant gene, but it seems that my recessive blue eye gene – which could only have come from my Dad’s side of the family, but none of his living relatives have blue eyes – coupled with your Papa’s blue eye gene, has won out over my brown eye gene. My wish for a blue-eyed boy came true. Four kids, and only one has the same colour eyes as me.

You’ve been eating food other than milk for a month now. I had grand plans of Baby Led Weaning being the way you were introduced food. We had great success with BLW with your sister, but you two have had other ideas. While you’ll happy eat food out of my hands, you have no interest in picking food up yourselves. So we’re pureeing and you hoover mush off a spoon, bouncing in anticipation as you wait for the next spoonful. We still offer you finger foods, and I hope that it won’t be long until you’re picking food up and feeding yourselves.

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Zach, you are by far, the messier of the two eaters. Bouncing up and down, and turning your head as the spoon nears your mouth, and then you start chewing just before you take the spoon in your mouth. Even Harry blowing raspberries with a mouthful of food can’t compete with your mess making abilities.

This past month has seen the two of you become my first toe chewers and thumb suckers. You are fast moving towards being able to sit unaided, and you are starting to practice crawling positions during awake times, not just in your cot. You love having stories read to you, and listening to stories being read to Dylan and Mahalia. Playing aeroplanes and horsey rides have you grinning and laughing. You are such happy babies.

I’ve mentioned before that Harry, you are my chilled little dude, while Zachy G Bear is quicker to become upset. These parts of your personalities have developed even more. Zach, while you may be quicker to cry, you are also quicker to laugh, and vocalise non stop during play time. Harry, you struggle to get a word in edgewise. Zach, you are also the first to try out and practice new milestones, while Harry, your happy to do something new once or twice, then go back to chewing on your Sophie, smiling at me whenever I look your way. You are starting to interact with each other more and more, chatting to each other in your cot when you wake at the same time, reaching out and touching each other, and stealing the other’s toy whenever you get the chance. even at such a young age, the bond you two share is so obvious to see, and I hope the bond stays just as strong your whole lives.

The people that stop us on the street and in the shops are right. I am so lucky to be blessed with you. So lucky.

Love Mama

 

 

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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.

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