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{12 Seconds..}


I’m in the pantry.

1,2,3…breathe, breathe, breathe.

The toddler has dumped an entire tub of yoghurt on the baby. It’s everywhere. Everywhere. They are dragging themselves through it. Joyfully spreading their fingers out, further pushing the white gunk around. Addison is standing at the door begging for the iPad. But each channel gleefully splashed the story last night of how bad screen time is for kids. How badly Australian parents are handling their children’s usage. Shame, parents, shame. But maybe just now, to stop the screaming. Just for a moment.

4,5,6….stop, stop, stop.

The boys are screaming now. All morning, screaming. At each other, at me, at nothing; and everything. We went out. I missed my Gym class and Phoenix broke free of my grip; hurtling towards a BMW in the car park. Stopped only by a nice lady who took pity on my toddler son and decided he should live another day. I apologise profusely, thanking her. “It gets easier.” she tells me. I nod. My smile is tight. Today is not the day it gets easier. We are home. The house is trashed; the washing lays waiting, staring at me, demanding I keep up. Why can’t you keep up? The washing, the house…appearances? I have a list of things to do, errands to run. Nothing gets done. The kids need me. “What do you do all day?” That’s what they ask. Lazy Mums who stay at home.

7,8,9….Knock, knock, knock.

I’m just so tired. The baby woke every couple of hours. I wish I could sleep. Maybe in here, just for a second. You have to come out of here eventually. They need you. They all need you. And they’re yours. You should be out there managing this. This is your job. Why aren’t you doing your job? Why aren’t you thankful for this moment? For every moment. Live in the moment. Not this one, I can’t. I just need another second to breathe. To realise we need groceries. And I haven’t finished planning Smushy’s party. And you haven’t been to the shops for presents yet Merrill. And at some point you have to get out of this space and back into theirs. Addison is knocking louder now; the sound reverberates in my head, pushing the thoughts aside. She is jostling for space in my mind, in my moment.

10, 11, 12….breathe, breathe, breathe.

They are all at the door now, waiting. Quiet. They have fallen silent as they realise I am not there. You are their world and they need you. You can do this. You are not alone, you are fallible, it’s OK and so are you. One more second. Open the door. I am here, here I am. I love you. I love you. I love you. I am sorry. You need me. I am here.

“I missed you Mummy.”

12 seconds.

“I missed you too baby.”

Close the door. I am ok. We are ok.

Tomorrow is a new day. And this is a new moment.


{Year One…}

Dearest Baby Hendrix or Hegga as Phoenix calls you,

On the eve of your first birthday I have so many feelings. Shocked at the time gone so quickly, overwhelmingly happy that you chose us to be yours, exhausted from the madness of my life and maybe a little surprised knowing that we made it through one whole year with 3 kids under 5 and came out the other side still standing and honestly, stronger. (I’m also grappling with my love/hate relationship for Tom Cruise as Risky Business plays in the background. So charming yet so insanely manic. Dude looks like he’s about to eat you when he smiles but then he’s in so many great 80’s movies. It’s a difficult situation and really adding to my emotional state.)

You weren’t planned but you arrived anyway. A faint but ever present second pink line on the tests I took one after the other. Though I knew I wanted 3, I certainly never thought I’d have 2 boys with only 18 months between them. The guilt over what Phoenix may miss out on crept in early; encircling my thoughts and keeping me awake as I promised myself he wouldn’t be lost in between the bookends of his big sister and you. (And of course, he hasn’t. Such is his nature, that he wouldn’t allow you to forget he’s there.)  It wasn’t an easy pregnancy and I’m still working through some of the emotions attached to the HG and what it did to my body and soul. Again with the guilt as I folded into myself; the ever present nausea and violent vomiting sucking the life out of me. But Hendrix, I’d do it all over again, just for you. And then suddenly you were here and you were so tiny and you looked just like your daddy. We all loved you straight away. Your big sister and brother claimed you as one of their own and you just slotted right into our world.  And as time passed, it would seem you had been here before; such was the way you looked straight into our hearts and souls. Everyone calls you an old soul and I have to agree; you are so calm and knowing. But seriously, how did you end up with blue eyes and blonde hair?

I’m sorry that you didn’t always get tummy time and that I couldn’t read you stories for hours like I did with Smushy. I’m sorry that I had to sometimes rush you through the day as we catered to the needs and activities of your sister and brother. I’m sorry that you didn’t get to nap uninterrupted in your cot and that Phoenix sometimes sat on your head. I’m sorry that some days were so chaotic and loud and I lost my shit and cried. But know this; you are so loved and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You are our sunshine, little friend and we adore you.

I never understood before, why my parents and sisters still refer to me as the baby. And I hated it, oh how I hated it. But I know why now. Because even though you are one, I still think you are actually only a newborn. I was just pregnant and you were just born…right?  You are and forever will be my baby. And I know you’ll get to about 14 and hate it. You’ll twist and turn and try to thrash your way out of that position and I promise I’ll do my best to step back and let you be. But I can’t promise I wont still try to sniff you hair and kiss your cheeks; the same way I do to all 3 of you now.

So Hendrix, my littlest love, I wish for you a lifetime of happiness, laughter and love.

Happy Birthday; here’s to many, many more.

{Shark Thongs and Letterboxes}

I know that everyone bangs on about the afternoons being the hardest part of the day with kids and don’t get me wrong, it is indeed insanity between the hours of 4-7pm and often beyond when you’re dealing with several of the under 5 crew. I generally crack open a can or 4 of Diet Coke round 4.30pm and spend the next couple of hours alternating between thanking the sweet lawd Jeebus that I’m done having kids and yelling military style orders regarding pajamas and teeth brushing.

But alas no, for me right now it’s the mornings. They are doing my head in. I’m an organised person mostly; I have routines….I love routines; but our mornings are a goddamn firestorm of level 5 hell.

In the bizarro world, I imagine they could be like this…

After a full nights sleep, I wake an hour before all children and my alarm doesn’t wake the children because I don’t need one. Such is my rested state, that I awake naturally, by the soft light of the rising sun. I get dressed into fresh active wear and apply make up after washing and moisturising my rested, now dewy skin. I then drink hot fresh coffee and eat a nutritious, yet delicious breakfast of fruit and yoghurt. No one sticks their hand into my yoghurt because no one else is awake. I prepare breakfast and await my family to awake. Once waking calmly and peacefully, we all eat breakfast together. Spouse departs without rushing. The children get dressed and occupy themselves with imaginative, but quiet play whilst I tidy up and prepare for the day. We then calmly depart the house for whatever adventures await. The TV has not been switched on.

Right, so now let me give you a rundown of my morning as it actually occurred today.

4am. Addison and Hendrix wake up and start having a party in their room. Smushy is tickling the baby and talking in her microphone voice. I roll over and practically shove Spouse out of bed demanding he deals with it as I’ve been up at 1am and 3am already. He gets up and returns with the baby. This displease me greatly as the baby just ate at 3am. And 1am, and 11pm before that. Everyone settles back down until 6am when I am woken by Phoenix whispering in my ear loudly, ‘MUMMY I HAVE DONE A VERY BIG POO’. He needn’t have told me, I can smell it. Turns out Smushy is in the bed too and they are now having a fight because he touched her with his big toe. I gather my wits and roll out of bed looking for pants as it’s freezing and I only have a singlet and undies on due to the human heaters I sleep with. I locate my house pants and carry Phoenix off to get sorted. He’s going to kindy so I dress him and spend 10 minutes trying to convince him he cannot wear his shark thongs as it is in fact freezing bloody cold. The baby soon lets me know he’s awake by screaming the song of his people in full volume. Spouse is running late but agrees to drop off Phoenix early. Addison is demanding to go to Pre school  despite not being 100% clear of asthma. She is also demanding porridge and for some stupid reason I decide to lecture her on manners at this time. Focus, Merrill, focus. Scoop up baby and tickle him back to happiness which pleases us both immensely and send Spouse and Phoenix on their way. Sort out Madam’s porridge and the baby. Start to breathe normally again. Walk into bedroom and see Spouse has left his phone here. Farken. Pick up phone and realise I probably can’t chase after the car at this point. Have ingenious idea! I ring Kindy and tell one of the teachers what’s happened and could she please let Spouse know. 5 minutes later Spouse zooms onto lawn and beeps. I carry phone and baby out and pass phone over. At which point, as he is now heinously late, he reverses at speed, directly into our letterbox, knocking it clean over. Looks at me. Yells, ‘I”M LATE!!!!” And proceeds to drive off. I stand there whimpering about my little Micra until a voice emerges from behind me, ‘Mummy, can I PLEASE go to Pre- School today.’ Hey, she used her manners!

You can’t make this shit up.

I dunno. I mean I suppose I could try to wake earlier than the kids but I’m not sure I fancy a 3am wake up. Even for hot coffee. I understand that a calm morning probably preceeds a calm day but the c word isn’t really part of my vocab these days. We do manic really well; even with all the kids taking fish oil.

Do tell, are your mornings cray, or am I alone in my AM mania?