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{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?

 

 

{Comparisons and Values}

{Ahhh Maria}

Remember when I quit the gym and said I was never going back? Yeah, well I went back. In all fairness, the quitting of the gym was warranted due to the heinous vomiting during my last pregnancy and inability to get my BP down. So on medical advice I quit (such a good saying, so official). And then I uttered a little vow to not go back because I could walk around the block and do exercise here; blah, blah, biggety blah. The truth is, I don’t want to walk around the block. It’s a long, boring walk and I always have this panic moment halfway round as there’s still so long to go and I often need to wee and one of these kids  is usually crying by then and dear God, just take me home. It’s all very stressful. Anyway, time marched on and I spat out Hendrix and stopped spewing and suddenly I felt like maybe I wanted to start doing some sort of exercise and so my lovely friend dragged me along with her and then I loved it and BOOM, I joined the gym. Again. Active wear every day for a reason!

The truth is, I love it. Now. I love it now. And so much of it has to do with the fact that for 1 to 2 hours a few times a week I get some me time. The kids like the creche and I feel happy leaving them there. It is my self care and it has become an essential part of not just my, but our routine. It has taken me all my years of motherhood to realise the importance of this. I simply could not go on; doing and being everything for the kids and spouse without filling up my own goddamn cup. Late last year I was literally being crushed by the weight of it all. I actually collapsed just after Christmas because I simply took too much on and the toll it took on me physically was not good. No sleep, breastfeeding, 3 very young children and the ins and outs of life did me in. I knew my cup was empty and I knew something had to change. So when the opportunity presented itself I grabbed it. I understand that self care often triggers guilt and you’ll always find someone who disagrees with you taking time out from your kids. But here’s the thing; no one is giving you a medal for being ‘the best mother who stays with her children 24/7 and can keep going and going like the fucking battery bunny.‘ You probably won’t even get a cuddle for that effort. Most people, who aren’t assholes, are taking no notice of the precentages of time you are spending with your children vs the time you’re not. I truly do not give two shits who thinks what regarding my time out. I used to. I would justify it by breaking down the time I spent away and how I spend nearly all my time with them etc etc. Muttering and stammering about how they are more important than me of course and I’ll make up this time spent away with this or that. Why? Why did I do that? A flippant comment here and there from someone maybe….probably. The old, well this is motherhood spiel and motherhood means you come a distant second right?  Well you know what? You’re right, this is motherhood, my motherhood. Caring for myself is part of my story. Because when I look after me, I can look after them. I am a better mother and wife and friend and daughter and sister for giving back to myself; for not putting myself second. Burn out and frustration over nothing and everything isn’t a part of my story any longer. And it feels SO good. Of course, I have to pay for my time out and that’s absolutely fine. We haven’t accessed a lot of babysitters and the like over the years but it’s now time for us to accept the help that is being laid before us. It is hard for me to say yes to help but I am learning to do it more and I am very grateful for the many people who offer support to me. Remember, unless you’re dealing with a liar, people won’t offer if they don’t want you to accept. Look for your village, they are there. And if they’re not, my village will have you.

SO….The offshoot of the gym is that yes, I’m losing weight. And whilst its lovely, it’s not what’s really important. It’s not irrelevant is just that what matters to me more is how I feel. And I feel good you guys. I feel like me again. I feel confident and strong and sure of myself. I want to do stuff again. Like be here and wash my hair. And go out with my friends and on dates with Spouse. Yes, the overwhelm is always present but my ability to cope with it and push through is developing more every day. It’s sounds a bit lame but I needed to give myself permission to look after myself before I could take that first step back into the world as Mez, not Mum. You are not valuing yourself more than your children or your partner or your family, when you finally decide to value yourself as well. Fuck comparison and people assigning you value based on those around you, love yourself sick; the people who love you will be better for it too.

Remember, it’s your story, mother or not and every day you can write a new page if you wish.