Motherhood Changes But Always Has Challenges

Today I realised that motherhood constantly has it’s challenges. I realised this after conversations with a mother struggling with her teenagers and also a mother struggling with the choices of her adult child.

Right now this toddlerhood / baby stuff seems hard and all consuming but I see that motherhood always going to be challenging just in a different way.  Interestingly both of these mothers said that they didn’t envy me with my “very busy” toddler to chase and couldn’t imagine doing it again.  However the thought of being where they are now horrifies me!

Just one of those lightbulb moments that motherhood sometimes sends my way!  Here’s to the challenges of today and forever.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

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A Christmas Tree for Us

Last weekend we went on a family adventure to select a Christmas Tree for us to have in our home to celebrate this joyous season.  Andrew is away on a study trip for the start of December so we needed to tree search in November.

We were undecided about a live Christmas tree that has used lots of energy to grow and then be chopped down to wilt and drop needles in our lounge room and are not in favour of bringing more plastic into the house.

Thus we decided to explore the option of a Wollemi pine.  It is one of the world’s oldest and rarest trees and is slow growing so suited for a pot.

While shopping Eva asked if she could have a Christmas tree in her room so in the end we bought a small Wollemi pine for Eva’s room and then came home and decorated it as a family. We are all very proud of it and happy with this as our current solution for our (my) Christmas tree dilemma.

Hugo’s Lovely Carpet

Just as before we have enjoyed choosing a rug for Hugo’s room. It is a beautiful Sea Green/Blue. 

This rug was purchased from Carpets for Communities. This rug is made by women in Cambodia who are being empowered by this work and it is made with off cuts from the t-shirt industry and old rice bags.  It has social justice and environmental benefits!

Hugo’s is a large floor rug however there are lots of different sizes and colour combination options.  What we love most is the feel of the comfy t-shirt material.

This is the family who made Hugo’s rug.  It is lovely to know who put their love into the hard work of creating this beautiful floor covering.

Working on a rug (not Hugo's obviously)

Hugo’s Eight Month Birthday

Eight feels scarily close to 12 months doesn’t it?  This month has been a real wonder month for our Hugo with lots of changes.

Hugo is showing us that he is super ready to move however his mama is horrified at the thought.  He can shuffle around on his front and back and does a funny caterpillar like commando crawl. Since last week he can get himself onto all fours and rock back and forth. Oh dear.

Poor Hugo had a bad cold for about 10 days, his first real illness. He was really miserable with a snuffly/running nose and a cough.  Sleep was a bit challenging and lots of extra cuddles were required.  Overall though we realised how relaxed we were compared to Eva’s illnesses at the same age not just as second time parents but with a baby with healthy lungs!

Hugo moved into a room of his own this month, into a big cot from his cosy bassinet in our room.  I miss his snoring/sleeping noises and it certainly hasn’t made him sleep any better!  Oh well at least he has more space.

With much gusto Hugo started eating solid foods this month.  We are using an Baby Led Weaning (BLW) approach where purees are skipped altogether and Hugo starts with pieces of softened food.  He is loving it and has especially enjoyed sucking the juices out of  a piece of steak!  We waited to start until he was 6 months corrected and showing interest in the food going into our mouths.

 

 

 

Hugo is now extra fascinated when he finds something new to play with.  I love watching him check it out and especially love watching him move objects back and forward to check for noise.  Like his sister he loves different textures to explore.

Thankfully Hugo’s reflux has improved dramatically this month which I have noticed with the reduced washing of bibs, clean up towels and clothes!  Having said that he had a particularly bad day yesterday out of the blue.  One of the nice things about dressing up to go out without children is wearing clothes with no bodily fluids on them!

Hugo was weighed for his birthday and we found that he gained 690g in two months to be 7.365kg.  Yeah for Hugo and breastmilk.  He is tracking nicely on the graph which is always a relaxing visit to the nurse.

I wonder what the next month holds in store for him as he goes through even more developmental changes.  Will he be moving some more?  How much will he eat by then?  These months seem to go so quickly I’m glad that I have given myself  a way to reflect on the changes.

Seven Years Ago Today

Seven years ago today Andrew and I begun married life with our wedding celebration alongside family and friends.

We are out to dinner for some child-free, non-interrupted conversation to reflect on our marriage and make plans for growing in our love for each other and our precious little people.

We thank God for the joys and the challenges that he has provided in our married life to strengthen our bond together.

Last Week Was Hard

The days and nights from the evening of the 6th until bedtime on Eva’s Birthday (11th) found my brian working overtime processing the events of three years ago.  I thought that it would get better with each successive year and it did but it was still hard.

The dates and times of the labour of Eva 3 years ago were still at the forefront of my mind all week.

In the quiet moments I reflected on what stage of labour I was in, who had visited me, which room I was in.  I reflected on the fact that I was so nervous about the baby’s survival that I didn’t want to name her Eva in case my favourite name was given to a child who didn’t make it.

I hope that next year I can enjoy more of her birthday joy instead of feeling anxious the whole day about how awful her birth day was for me. And guilty for what a hard journey she endured for being born so early.

I have learnt from my counselling that although I am grateful for the good outcome from the birth of Eva I can allow myself to be disappointed and saddened by her entry into the world.

I was blessed to have a very supportive husband who understood my anxiety and helped out in lots of ways including lots of hugs for me and being the fun parent for Eva.  Our plan is for Andrew to always be at home for the children’s birthday to make it a special day for them.  I look forward to spending that day with joy in my heart next year.

Being the parent of a premature baby doesn’t end at the discharge from hospital or the achievement of developmental goals it is always going to be part of my mothering.

There’s so much to look forward to in parenting Eva this coming year that I know that her next birthday will bring me more joy.

World Prematurity Day 2011

Last year we had just one premature baby to celebrate now we have two!

Eva Charlotte born at 25 weeks

Hugo Robert born at 33 weeks

 We were so challenged by their early appearances and are now so grateful for their amazing health and spirit.

Eva 3 and Hugo 7 months

Please say a prayer for all babies and families currently in hospital following a premature birth, especially for Charlotte.

Eva’s Third Year In Pictures

We have breathed a sigh of relief as Eva has made it to 3!  Some days this year have been challenging and some have been magical. It goes with the toddlerhood territory.

From a cute toddler to a little girl, this year has seen so many changes. Of course to us the changes are fluid as we see them every day.  It’s not until we take time to stop and reflect to see how much she is learning and embracing new concepts all the time.

Eva has graciously (mostly) welcomed her baby brother into the family although it has been hard for her to have less dedicated attention.  Overall she does enjoy showering him with love although jealousy does rear it’s ugly head some days.

Eva’s language and comprehension is where the most obvious changes have occurred.  From having a list of 20 words at her second birthday and us willing her to talk.  To now, where there is no silence during her waking hours only constant chattering!

The air is constantly full of questions these days.  She is unsatisfied that we don’t know what the man is doing in his front yard/why the car is parked there etc.  Shouldn’t we know everything?

Her memory is scary.  How does she know that that is the shop that we bought a ball at months ago and haven’t driven past since??  Nothing escapes her it seems.

Eva still loves to climb, explore and of course riding a tricycle is her favourite new skill in recent months.  The tricycle was a skill that crept up on us seeing as we don’t have one at home. Just something she picked up from various other play spaces and then suddenly she could do it.

This year we have discovered that Eva has several food sensitivities that affect her behaviour, digestive system and skin.  The change in her has been amazing and it has meant that we like being with her all the time when her behaviour is under control.  The good news is that she will most likely grow out of them.

Speaking of growing this year hasn’t seen her do much of that!  Eva is growing in height but as always her weight is lingering behind.  It’s not from a lack of trying to feed her or from a lack of eating.  She’s just tall and thin!

Watching her play develop to include other children and imaginary play has been fascinating. I love that she can now tell me stories and can join in with other people’s games.

We have enjoyed watching her fine motor skills improve with a range of art now adorning our walls.  Stickers and markers are favourite art tools although with an easel now in residence and warmer weather I’m sure that paint will become even more popular.

Since Hugo’s arrival Eva has had an increased awareness of her hospitalisation.  She looks through the photo album of Eva’s Story (her 105 days in hospital) and watches videos of herself.  She pauses at the canvas in our hallway of her on Day 2.  All this leads to talking about various attachments that she had.  I am fascinated to know how much subconscious memory she has of this traumatic time in her life.

Lately Eva has been saying her own “Dear God” prayer after we say one as she is going to bed.  It really touches our hearts now that she can verbalise her thanks for the little things that we do on a day to day basis.  Sometimes to us it was an insignificant part of the day but it’s that moment which she remembers to thank God for.

Above all we are just so proud of our little girl who keeps us on our toes and loves life.  God has blessed us with a beautiful daughter.

11/11/11 – Eva’s Third Birthday

 

Well it’s 11.11pm on the 11/11/11 and we’ve spent the day celebrating our gorgeous Eva turning three years old.

What a special age this is with excitement of today and the joy of her knowing that it is a special day just for her.

We had a wonderful day with Daddy home from work and family coming to celebrate our beautiful Eva.

Hugo’s World of Food Expands

Hugo has begun to explore food with the tastes of carrot, parsnip (both home grown), cauliflower (Gran grown) and beans.

We are excited about this new journey of infant self feeding known as baby-led weaning.  Hugo attacked his first foods with gusto.  He competently broke of pieces and then spat them back out after a little gagging.

What is baby-led weaning?

“Baby-led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods that allows babies to feed themselves – there’s no spoon feeding and no purees.  The baby sits with the family at mealtimes and joins in when they are ready, feeding themselves first with their fingers and later with cutlery.

Baby-led weaning:

  •  allows babies to explore taste, texture, colour and smell
  • encourages independence and confidence
  • helps to develop their hand-eye coordination and chewing skills
  • makes picky eating and mealtime battles less likely

All healthy babies can begin to feed themselves from about six months. They just need to be given the opportunity.”  www rapleyweaning.com

The main reason we like this way of introducing solid foods is that mealtimes at this stage are for play and learning – he will still be getting all his nourishment from breastmilk.  The baby has control over their intake all the adults do is offer suitable options.

We are excited about this new journey and are prepared for the beginning of lots of mess at mealtimes.