Archive for the ‘Being a Parent’ Category

Pyroluria

March 18, 2015

Possum is 8 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 6 years 8 months

Little Princess is 4 years 2 months

Well, it has been quite a time around these parts. 

Sadly, although I was becoming mobile in my last post (in August!), I still had a number of months of incapacitating pain ahead.  In January it looked like I was finally experiencing the carrot of remission from the pain.  (Really, any condition that is accompanied by words like “remission” and “mortality” are not things I want to have too much to do with.)

Instead of the hoped for 10 year window, I had less than two months of freedom from near continuous joint pain.  On the up side, although it is rather, um, unpleasant, I do have movement now.

But really, that is just the tip of the crazy iceberg.

Poor Bandicoot has spent his life with gut pains.  The doctors have done various tests over time, but found nothing.  One day I said to him, “You don’t talk about the pains in your tummy any more – have they gone away?”  He turned to me and said, “The doctors think I make it up, so I will just have to put up with it.  There is no point in me telling anyone.”  Doesn’t that just break a Mumma’s heart?

So when I discovered a naturopath who had helped some friends with similar issues, I figured I had nothing to lose.

The truth is, I am a bit on the fence with natural medicine.  This was all a big leap of faith for me.  However, she is a former biochemist and pharmacist, so I felt she would take the science seriously.

The good news is that Bandicoot was suffering from a parasite.  It was diagnosable with a standard test (ordered through my doctor, *ahem*) and relatively easily treated.  He hasn’t had the pains since.  I cannot imagine how much better that must make him feel.

The down side is that he was also diagnosed with pyroluria (or pyrrole, or krypropyrrole or, well, there are another couple of older names, too), which is a metabolic disorder.  Possum and I have also been subsequently diagnosed.

This is managed by a restricted diet and supplements of the nutrients our bodies are not metabolising from food.  Apparently we will all be new people.

I can’t wait.

Because right now, I am an exhausted wreck.  Some of the dietary changes did not agree with us and we had family wide “failure to thrive” – as good as it sounds.  It looks like it will take a lot of tweaking to find what works for us.  And in the meantime my life is food.  Every meal, every snack requires thought and recipe searching.  Do you know how often growing kids eat??

There is, of course, some kind of humour in this.  I learnt to cook as a preschooler.  (Not that we were called “preschoolers” back then.)  I read recipes for inspiration, but I really don’t know when the last time was that I actually followed one to cook.  I don’t like being that boxed in.  But now that my pantry is filling with all sorts of things I have never used before (chia, sorghum…) and so many of our staples have disappeared (tomatoes, ham), it seems I need a recipe to pour a glass of water.

I am so glad we decided to use a packaged curriculum this year to cut down on planning and recording time for me, although we had thought we would use that time for some other projects we had planned, not trying to work out what is for dinner.

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St Joseph, Pray for Us

June 12, 2013

Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Tonight I have started a novena to St Joseph.  We are trying to work out what to do about our home – extend? How? Move? Where?  We have been looking for homes and losing lots of sleep.  It is all so confusing and there are so many other decisions intermingled with this one.  It is so different to be moving a family than when it was just us.

Mum Heart

May 25, 2013

I am currently sitting on a train to a neighbouring city.  Alone.  Well, not exactly alone – there are a good many strangers with me – enough, in fact that I am sitting in a stairwell as there are no seats left.

My heart is full of trepidation.  I am heading to the Mum Heart conference , which, as you can guess by the name, is the Aussie Mom Heart .  The conference should be good.  The agenda looks good.  I am concerned I will be hungry (what???) But I think that is more my mind finding something silly to focus on to avoid the anxiety eating me alive.

I have met some of the attendees online, but, as far as I know, not IRL.  They are people like me – Mums, Christians, homeschoolers.  Some know each other and have Ben doing this for a while, some, like me, not.  It is supposed to be pleasant and happy and all of that.  But then, I am not much of a people person – not in real life.  Although, much to my horror, I have found in recent times I have turned into one of those people who chats to store people, telemarketers and more… who leaves door to door sales people walking backwards down the drive to try and get away.  Eek.

And then there is the big issue.  Tonight is my first night away from the kids.  Ever.  Well, since they have existed, anyway. 

It might be a slight exaggeration.  When Little Princess graced us with her (early) presence, my waters broke almost 24 hours before labour started.  That meant that I did get a night in hospital without kids then.  Full of anxiety and anticipation and probably, really, in labour.  And I pined for the boys.  I didn’t sleep that night because I missed my little Bandicoot snuggling me.

Tonight I have booked a queen size bed in a hotel room all to myself.  My plan is to sleep lying down, IN bed.  Not on the lounge.  Not with my head on the nightstand.  Not hanging off the side.  Actually in the bed.  The though excites me and scares me.  It seems so selfish to be excited about it.

And once more I’ll probably not sleep because I am pining for my family.

Or worse, I’ll like it.  I might even remember what it was like before DH and I were married.

Trepidation.

Going Out

February 2, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

 

DH and I are going out tonight.  Once every two months, my siblings have a standing dinner date.  We never get to go.

However, this month, when the reminder went out, it was swiftly followed by an offer of babysitting from my sister’s pretty-much grown up kids.  Wow.

So tonight we are going out.

It is such a strange experience.  Our kids never get babysat.  We have been out without them, I think, maybe seven times since Possum was born.  Maybe not that many.

It occurred to me, late this afternoon, that in order for me to go out for dinner, I had to make dinner for the family.  It is much the same as when I get a “night off” during the week (to run off and shop on my own – usually for groceries or kids’ clothes or school stuff.)

(Oh, okay, to be fair, I would be allowed to do other things, according to DH, but I don’t get away often enough for that to happen.  It is always the essentials.)

So, after getting dinner ready, I went and got changed.  I put on my nice skirt (wash and wear, of course) and dug out my nice sandals (flat, but I can’t run as fast in these as in other shoes I own) and then looked into the wardrobe.  So.  Not a T-shirt then.  Hmm.  Interesting.  Eventually I remembered going out with some of the girls for dinner about 2 or 3 years ago and the top I wore.  Yup.  It was still hanging there all forlorn.  I am not sure it quite believes it is getting another outing.

Then I looked in the mirror.  Something was missing.  What was it?  Oh yeah.  Make-up!

I rummaged in three different drawers before finding my make-up bag.  To be fair, I knew which draw it was supposed to be in, but obviously the kids have other ideas.

I looked inside.  Foundation was too hard.  Even powder was too hard.  I felt like a teenager.  Okay.  Eyeliner.  First eye, good.  Second eye, um.  Not supposed to be on my cheek, I don’t think.  Second try was better.  Eye shadow.  Right-e-o.  I know you aren’t supposed to keep this stuff, but my newest is from our wedding.  In 2003.  Maybe the colours have come back into fashion again.  I am not going near the mascara after the eyeliner.

My lipstick is the same vintage, but it is a nice colour.  The blush even older.  Hang on – lip liner.  I KNOW that I have matching lip liner, now where is it?  Eventually I manage to retrieve it from the kids’ basket of coloured pencils.  Hmmm.

Okay, make-up done.  Another rummage and I manage to find some jewellery.  My friend Sam-O bought me a lovely set of owls a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, one of the earrings has been residing under our bed for a while (recently retrieved, yay!) and the filigree of the pendant owl’s body upsets Bandicoot.  Good opportunity to wear them tonight.  (I love them).

IMG_7288

There.  Done.  Even mildly respectable.

Bandicoot has begged me to cover him with lipstick kisses and Possum has assured me that there is funny stuff around my eyes.

Gosh, I hope I remember how to eat with cutlery.

IMG_7290 Bandicoot showing off his lipstick kisses xxx

Read to Your Children!

January 23, 2013

Possum is 6 years and 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years and 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

I have a confession to make.  I don’t read to my kids all that much.  It is a terrible thing to say, considering I am a complete bibliophile and a homeschooler.  But I don’t.

Oh, they get read to, lots.  But I don’t do it anywhere near as much as I would like.

Things have happened along the way to make this habit develop.  Firstly, when Possum was an itty-bitty thing, we heard of the advantages of having Daddy read to kids.  Apparently it has a lot to do with the timbre of the voice assisting in their language development or something.  At any rate, DH does bedtime stories.  It grew into a routine that they all loved.  (I loved it, too, because it was one of the few moments of the day or night that I had to myself.  I say “had” because I now sit in for stories.)

The other thing that happened was that not long after I started to recover my sanity and enjoy being a Mum to Possum, I became pregnant with Bandicoot.  And likewise with Little Princess.  I don’t do pregnancy well.  I spend a lot of time utterly, utterly exhausted (as in can hardly stumble to the loo, let alone look after myself, a family, a job, a house or anything else).  If I tried to read to the kids during these times, much as when I have a little Little One, I would fall asleep during the story.  Hmm.

So it was, that when ever someone would offer to help out I would beg them to read and read and read to the kids.

But it wasn’t me.

It isn’t that I don’t like, or even didn’t like doing it.  In fact I LOVE it.  The problem is that now, the kids just don’t see any point in snuggly up with me for a story.  Not even with bribery (Seriously.  We have a reward chart.)  What is the point?  They get their stories elsewhere.

So I feel guilty that I don’t read to them enough.  I feel sad that I can’t get them to enjoy it.  There are so many books I would love to share with them, but it doesn’t happen.  (In fact, there is a particular book that I loved as a child.  I searched high and low and eventually got a second hand copy of it.  I am sure that they would love it, but DH hates it.  He read it to them once, declared it a pretty awful story and it has remained on the bookshelf since.)  There are so many fantastic curricula for little kids that are completely literature based.  But oh so out of my reach.

Alas!

Who knows, it may change.  Bandicoot lets me read to him sometimes.  Not every day, but sometimes.  Sometimes, Possum even comes by to listen, but not close enough that I am supposed to know that is what he is doing.  Little Princess still likes me read to her, and it seems she will only be challenged by older siblings, not younger. 

Maybe I’ll end up with one out of three.

Wanna See Something Funny?

December 3, 2012

After yesterday’s parenting fiasco, this is great timing.

I decided to visit Busted Halo’s Advent Calendar.  This is from today’s entry:

Today’s word is patience … you have to wait in a calm way … you have to show patience. — Zac Efron & Elmo

MICROCHALLENGE: Today, start your practice in patience by taking a breath any time you find yourself having to wait.

 

Hmmm.  Has somebody been watching me?

Hit in the Face with a Fish–Part II

December 3, 2012

Possum is 6 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

 

Of course, it isn’t just my sister who needs God’s guiding hand at the moment.  I am struggling terribly, as some of my recent posts will tell, with my role ministering to my little people.

So, this morning, when I was investigating Busted Halo, I stumbled across this article <link to cool article>.

I particularly got to this line:

My friends’ lives were transformed, not by their aimless wanderings, but by something spiritually nomadic. It was the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice they learned as they labored hours cleaning, serving and walking among the lost and forgotten souls of 5th Street in L.A.

‘Aha, aha,’ I thought.  I get it.  It is hard, it is dirty, it is relentless.  It is self-sacrificing and it hurts.  BUT – and here is the kicker – it NEEDS TO BE DONE.  Not only that, it needs to be done BY ME.

Yup.  I wanted to be a Mum.  All I have wanted since I was a preschooler was to be a Mum.  Anything else was, in my opinion, filler.  God had me wait until I was – well, a little over 21 (lol!), which I hated.  But maybe this is why.

Maybe my kids need me.  Just me.  No one else to be their Mum.

Maybe no one else can do it, at least not like me.

Maybe it is okay that I struggle, that I spend nights sitting up crying over my failure, crying on the lap of my Saviour.  Maybe it is okay that sometimes I need to walk away.

Because you know what?  I AM labouring in ministry. 

And there is God, waiting for me in the acceptance of responsibility and sacrifice as I labour cleaning, serving and walking amongst His little ones.

Is That Normal?

December 2, 2012

Is that how other people do it?

Possum is 6 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 4 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

My back is to the wall with my kids’ behaviour right now.  My husband and I try our best to use Grace Based Discipline with our kids, despite neither of us having been raised like that (and despite all the discouragement we receive. Like the compulsory parenting course our Church sent us on…)  It is very hard, we often fail, but we keep on trying.

Today as I, once more, discussed Possum’s appalling behaviour in Church with him, I outlined what happened in my family when I was a similar age.

By the time we were school age, we were expected to sit quietly in Church, joining in with a growing number of hymns, prayers and responses.  We had no books, no toys, no drawing activities and definitely no snacks.  If Mum or Dad had to speak to us, even once, during Mass, we were done for.

This he listened to and took in, petulantly.  It was the next bit that got him.  I went on to describe what being “in trouble” entailed.

Of course, first off there was the smack when we got home.  I don’t remember that much, but I remember the fear of it.  My parents used fear a lot, too, so I think, quite probably, once you were properly afraid they didn’t actually smack as much.  Or maybe I’ve blocked it out.

Then there was the penance.  There were no snacks or treats.  You would just get your plain lunch and plain dinner.  There were no fun and games and often access to toys was restricted.  I told Possum no TV, but we hardly watched TV anyway.

He asked me a lot about it.  He was incredulous.  He was horrified.  Fancy being in trouble ALL DAY.  Yes, fancy.

“Really?”  he asked in disbelief.  “Is that normal?  Do other people do that?”

I re-iterated the kind of offence that this was for.  I explained that for “big trouble” this could go on for days.  Then I told him about the punishment I hated the most.

Ostracism.

“If you were really in trouble, then you weren’t allowed to talk to your brothers and sisters and they weren’t allowed to talk to you.”

No, really, my parents had a firm grip.  There would be no mutiny in our household.

My parents had eight children and they could not afford insubordination, so we were broken.  We never considered ourselves a unit.  Maybe that is why we have so many problems acting like one now.

I have to say, Possum’s question has thrown me for a loop.

  • “Is that normal?”

Firstly, how is my little boy socially aware enough to ask that?

  • “Is that normal?”

Well, no.  Probably not.  Sure, everything was much stricter then.  Or maybe it WAS normal.  I never thought to ask.  It would only have landed me in more trouble, anyway.

But is has made me think:

  • “Is this what we want for our kids?”

Really, I don’t think so.

I was an adult before I realised there was an unconditional component to my parents’ love for me.  I absolutely believed that love was earned.

My childhood and adolescence was lonely and fear-filled.  Oh, I was happy a lot, too – most of it, in fact, but very, very lonely.

And I am still deathly afraid of getting into trouble or raising someone’s ire.  Just yesterday I was in tears because a misunderstanding meant that I was late meeting DH and the boys in a shopping centre.  I was so frightened of the disapproval (DH) and the the harsh words (Possum) that could come my way.  (They didn’t.)

I believe my spirit was broken.  Unlike some of my more defiant siblings (who have grown defiant and aggressive), my survival technique has been to NOT fix it.  I am non-confrontational and worn and any self-expression or rebellion is though subversion <link to that really cool post I didn’t write…>

That isn’t what we want for our kids.

Yes, I want kids who behave in Church, kids who attend to what is going on, kids who participate.  Polite, considerate, well-behaved kids.

I also want kids who have a healthy sense of self.  Kids who not only give respect, but expect to be treated with respect.  Kids who do not live in fear.  Kids who grow into functional, loving adults.  Kids who value the special bond they have to each other.  Kids who are whole.

Is THAT normal?

I don’t know, but it is what I want.  And that is why I try to practise Grace Based Discipline.

 

END NOTE:  It is important to add that I understand my parents’ situation.  There was an understanding of how to best raise children that was different to what we now believe.  I am also sure that had they not been so desperate – they never intended to have so many children, but that is a different story about abused medical authority – or had they realised how the family until may later suffer, things would have been very different, regardless of the norms of society.

Beaten and Disheartened…

December 2, 2012

Possum is 6 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 4 months

Little Princess is 1 year 11 months (23 months)

 

Today, my kids have beaten me.  I could take no more.  I left.

Church is often tough.  Possum will only sit on the floor and not join in.  Bandicoot begs for food.  Little Princess cries if I don’t hold her.  That is on a good day.

Today was not a good day.

Let’s just say that they were bad.  In fairness to Bandicoot, I really think he has some issues and only realises half of it.  Still there is that half.

I lost it.  After spending the whole service chasing and chastising, both inside and outside the Church, I went and hid around the back of the building and cried during morning tea.

And then it got worse.

Today was “Live Sparks” day.  Live Sparks is our Church’s equivalent to Sunday School.  The whole family attends together, including parents and, well, one year olds.  It is rather dry in its presentation, although I do not understand why.  The elements are there – song, sign language, story, craft, prayer…, but still it is tough going.  We are only a small Church and today there were a total of three families.  No where to hide.

Possum and I sat outside and had a discussion about appropriate Church behaviour and why we do it, even if it is dull (for the third time today.)  He was terribly contrite, so we went back inside to join Live Sparks.  No sooner were we there and he was lying on the floor sucking his thumb, complaining loudly how boring it was.

I was ropable.

And that was just Possum.

It went on and on… the three of them, each in their own way: angry protest, exuberant disobedience, demanding attachment.  It was worse than The Island of Perpetual Tickling (IPT).

I had to get away.

Thank goodness DH understood.

 

 

Apart from the desperate, undisciplined, inconsiderate nature of my children, the events have raised some interesting points for me to consider:

  • How do I WANT to raise my children?
  • Why can’t I discipline them?
  • The overwhelming constancy of homeschooling.
  • My kids really are spunky.

Not all of this is a bad thing, although today certainly was.

Rambunctious

October 9, 2012
Possum is 6 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 3 months

Little Princess is 21 months (1 year 9 months)

DH is old enough to know better
ram·bunc·tious/ramˈbəNGkSHəs/

Adjective:  Uncontrollably exuberant; boisterous.

Synonyms:  boisterous – rumbustious – noisy – rowdy

 

With thanks to dictionary.com