Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Learning to Love the Child You've Got

I was cringing as I wrote the title of this blog sounds so harsh!

No matter how much parents tell themselves that they're content with the child they've been given and have no expectations, sometimes disappointment still rears its ugly head.  Even if you are happy and putting no pressure on your child to be a certain way, other people and their concerns and opinions threaten to derail your contentment.

I have no secret desire for Rory to be gifted or advanced in certain areas. I just want him to be average. Average is good. But when it became apparent that he was a bit behind in some areas, people told me I should be concerned.

He walked at 16 months. This is in the range of normal, but I had a barrage of people - some older mums with grandkids, and some first-time mums, like me - express concern that he wasn't walking before age one. WHAT?!? I thought kids walking before the age of one were in the minority.

He has a speech delay. We had a few sessions with a speech pathologist earlier in the year and she's confident he's just a late talker, and that he'll start talking properly around age three. When I tell people that he has trouble with his speech, they assume he's mute. That couldn't be further from the truth (come to my house if you don't believe me). The only time Rory is quiet is when he's asleep or in an unfamiliar environment and he gets a bit shy. He chatters away all the time, just not in English. His vocabulary is limited for his age, but, praise be to God, he has started stringing words together and widening his vocabulary.

He's also been a bit nervous about climbing. At times I've shuddered about this, because I struggled so much with this sort of thing as a child, and was teased mercilessly about it in kindergarten and primary school. I don't want him to take after me in this area and face the bullying I faced. So, I don't want to be unsympathetic about his fears and push him too hard, but I still want to expose him to lots of opportunities to practise.

Being the first grandchild and nephew on both sides of the family means there have been a lot of high (and unrealistic) expectations placed upon Rory's little shoulders. He (plus me and Duncan) have had to listen to comments like, " When are you going to walk/talk?" and, "Why can't he catch that ball/climb that big rock etc. because so-and-so's kid is doing it?"  There's a lot of blame placed on parents these days if their children are below par in others' expectations, and I'm trying to learn to ignore it. It shows people's ignorance more than anything if they assume kids' weaker areas are always the result of 'bad parenting'. But, at the same time, it does bring out defensiveness in me, which I'm trying to learn to get over.

That is one of the big challenges in parenting...learning to love the child you've been given, the gift from God. Not the one who you hoped would be smarter, more social, more winsome, or more physically able, but learning to love them with all of their little quirks and interests, and walking beside them on the way.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: 30 Weeks

The latest photo of me and my basketball.

Even the maternity clothes are starting to get too small!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Quote of the Day

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
- Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


For me, an essential thing in a friendship is a shared sense of humour, or at least an understanding and appreciation of each other's humour.

I find it very difficult (read: impossible) to be friends with someone who:
  • Is too serious and flashes me weird or condescending looks for laughing at something they don't find funny.
  • Laughs at everything, like nothing is sacred.
  • Thinks I'm being funny and laughs at me when I'm being serious.
  • Has a crude sense of humour (racist, sexist etc.).
  • Has a sarcastic sense of humour.

A true friend is one who I can laugh with so hard, no sound comes out.

A fellow weirdo is what I need.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

You're only given a little spark of madness.  You mustn't lose it.
- Robin Williams

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Funny


1.  Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

2.  A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

3.  If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives.  Then you'll be afraid to cough.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Diary of an Incubator: The Battle Plan

Having had postnatal depression with Rory, there is a 50-70% chance I'll get it again with this baby.

But while I'm at higher risk, my doctor has also told me I'm at lower risk as well, because I'll know the warning signs and where to get help.

I've been encouraged by my doctor and various friends to think about what to do in advance.  I need a 'battle plan', a way to fight PND and put boundaries in place to protect myself.  The sad thing is that family and friends are sometimes the ones I need protecting from.  Not ALL of them - but some don't seem to understand.

Here are some things we've put in place to protect me from pressures and expectations as we adjust to being a family of four:
  • Have the baby in Albany.  Part of the reasoning for this was that we know less people down there.  Less people = less visitors at the hospital.  When Rory was finally delivered by emergency c-section, I hadn't slept in 24 hours.  Then I couldn't sleep from the adrenaline high from having just had a baby.  Then it was the calling and texting everybody.  Feeds took an hour and a half.  Then I was hooked up to an electronic pump because my milk didn't come in until Day 5.  Even when Rory was asleep, I couldn't rest because I was either (a) like a cow on a milking machine, (b) in discomfort from my c-section, or (c) dealing with staff coming in all the time, banging doors (I know it's their job, I just wished they'd go away).  With visitors on top of that it was all too much.
  • Put on my Facebook status that we are very grateful for people's messages of support etc., but ask them please not to call.  The last thing I want to deal with when I'm too sleep-deprived to construct a sentence properly is people calling to have a chat.  They're welcome to email, but it may take me a fair while to get back to them.
  • Step down from the ladies' fellowship deacon position at church (this will happen in August) and the secretary position for our tennis club (I did this in April).  Say no to everything else.  You'd think some people would have more sense than to ask a pregnant lady or new mum to start doing more stuff, but some people are a bit thick it seems.
  • Not do anything, go anywhere, see anyone unless I want to.  I don't want to sit inside, feeling trapped inside my own house, but nor do I want to be pressured by other people.  I realise now I have Rory to consider, so we'll probably have to go out a bit otherwise he'll go stir crazy.  However, I did get really cross at Duncan for wanting to go visit his relatives after the baby's born.  "Oh, but Auntie So-and-So will want to see the baby."   I don't give a rat's about what Auntie So-and-So wants.  Some people have not made A SCRAP OF EFFORT to visit us on either farm we've lived on and keep expecting us to go to them.  NO WAY!
  •  Say no to visitors, unless they're the helpful, encouraging kind.  I don't want anyone staying with us who thinks they're here for a holiday, or is offended by breastfeeding.
  • Get outside for some fresh air, even if it's just to sit on the verandah and watch Rory and the dogs play in the garden.

Last week, a whole range of emotions from when Rory was little came flooding back.
What if my mum goes from being the great help she is now to how she was when Rory was born?
What if I end up surrounded by unhelpful people?
What if I can't juggle spending time with both Rory and the baby?

I was panic-stricken, but then I realised that many of these fears are unfounded and God will be there right with me. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

5 Favourite Bruce Springsteen Songs

I love road trips by myself. They don't happen very often, so I really appreciate the time to listen to music I want to listen to (there is only so much of The Wiggles I can stand). I can listen to my Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits CD without Duncan rolling his eyes at me (I think I was born in the wrong decade).

Here are my five favourites:

1. Brilliant Disguise
2. Dancing in the Dark
3. Streets of Philadelphia
4. Born to Run
5. Hungry Heart

Which are yours?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Pendulum: Gratitude in all Seasons

I'll admit that grumbling is a sin I've perfected.  Before I became a parent, I thought that parents (particularly mums) whinged about their kids and the trials of parenting far too much.  My Facebook feed was full of it.  For heaven's sake, I thought, just be grateful you have kids at all.  So many people can't.

But now I'm in a different stage of life, I can fully relate.  It's very tempting to use Facebook to have one big whinge.

I hear a lot of childless people telling parents to be grateful for the family they have and the circumstances they find themselves in.  This is true!  I should be more grateful for my little family than I am at times.

But these rebukes have also irked me.  Not just because I was being corrected about my attitude, but because THEIR attitude was also wrong.  I think some single people assume that being married and having children will cure all of their problems.  That they'll no longer experience loneliness.  That they'll be happier and more fulfilled.

I've wanted to say to some single people, "DON'T covet my life."  Not because my life is always terrible, but because what they're seeing is not reality.  They're often seeing what they want to see.  But I haven't said anything because I feared it may sound cruel.

I can see it now in hindsight, that there is also much to be thankful for about singleness - time to spend with other loved ones, time to enjoy a career, more time to yourself, less restrictions when it comes to serving at church....

Some married people with kids need to be told to be thankful, but some single people also need to be told to be thankful and not to covet.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, July 03, 2015

Birthday Long Weekend

Although my birthday does fall on or around the WA Day long weekend each year, there really is no such thing as a long weekend for me.  Not only are mothering duties 24/7, but my birthday is always slap bang in the middle of seeding.  I'm lucky to see my husband much, let alone do anything to celebrate.

But this year I did have a delightful visit from our friends Sarah and Craig and their two boys, who came down from Perth to spend four nights at our place.  It was so nice to see them!  Rory had a ball playing with Wesley, who's nine months older.  The two little fellows get along so well.

Here are some photos that we took between us:

Three little fellows pretending they're in a 'boat' at the local Rose Maze.

Craig feeling on top of the world at the playground.

Starting tennis early.

Getting to sit in a header.

There wasn't enough room in there for everyone.

My beautiful boy.



Thursday, July 02, 2015

New Wellies

I decided to buy myself a pair of wellies with my birthday money this first pair since I was a kid.

They have already been well-christened out on the farm.

Rory likes them because they have 'baas' on them.