Saturday, May 31, 2008

This blog is becoming a bit of a personal diary, but...

Oh well, I guess I must just be going through a stage of wanting to jot down what's going on in my life... So here are some more disjointed thoughts and occurences...

Bryn's Quirks...
Two things Bryn is doing at the moment that make me smile... Firstly, in recent days, he's taking to lugging his Cars back pack (which he calls his Tars Pack Pack) everywhere he goes... It started on Wednesday when he took it to BaBs, which he does each Wednesday, because I like to pack it with activities with him so he doesn't dissolve into a screaming pile of boredom (which he ususally does after two hours anyway - both he and I are HANGING out for him to get a spot in the creche across the hallway during BaBs, next term hopefully!)... Anyway, on Thursday, when our house was overrun with friends for my All Things Indian morning tea, I think Bryn realised that while the kids could, and were, getting into all his other toys, he had no access to the stuff in the pack pack, so it became his security blanket... Then on Friday morning, he was quietly watching Playschool when the young thingy thing came into our house to do the house inspection, and the next thing Dave and I knew, Bryn had retrieved his pack pack from his shelves. So, I'm going to concluded he assumed she was here to play with his toys again... It's kind of cute, and also it shows his ability to adapt, and it has prevented him from losing his cool over people touching his stuff (something he'd done on other occassions), he's found a way to keep something just for him, while sharing his other stuff without losing his cool. Pretty clever, I think!

The other thing he does that never fails to crack a smile on my face is when I ask him to do something or come to me, and he goes, "Hangnong..." rofl... Not only is the word "hangNong" too cute for words, but it's the fact that he's pick up on this thing I do, just trying to finish a though or a sentence before being reefed away into someone else's experinece...

Seminaring...
I have this dream that I will write books, fiction and non-fiction, and also I'll go on a seminar circuit and talk to people about personal power and choice etc. So, I did this talk at BaBs about attachment theory, but also about the biological drive for attachment and bonding and how science in now discovering what intuitive practice has previously assumed - that babies are sensient from before birth (from the third trimester, in fact, they are able to store experiences as memories)...

I probably babbled way too much, and was probably trying to fit too much information into too short a time, and I'm sure I was not telling most of the listeners anything new, and yet I know that for one or two people it was new and hopefully useful information, and they did get something out of what I said... It felt really good to be able to talk about something I'm so passionate about, something I've been studying for nearly a decade now... Oh, and I can highly recommend Robin Grille's latest book - Heart to Heart Parenting: Nurturing your child's emotional intelligence from conception to school age... It's available at Dymocks in paperback for $35 at the moment...

Writing...
I've been in a bit of a slump with regard to my writing this past month (since my laptop decided to belly up), it's a source of stress to me, and to be completely honest, I feel like I've lost my story a bit, or lost the enthusiasm for it. But then mum sent me a book called "A Passion for Narrative" yesterday, and it's really helped to get those juices flowing a bit, and also to support my personal writing habits - which don't sit too well with the academic process of writing, and have caused me to feel somewhat useless and unco-ordinated as a writer...

Pregnancy...
I'm 20 weeks now, and this week I've felt the baby moving several times every single day. It's both reassuring and weird... I know that bubs can now hear my voice and it's making me feel very self-conscious about what I do with my voice. I tend to want to yell far to much at the kids when they annoy me, and unfortunately, I let them annoy me a lot. I try to be a lot more Zen about the whole parenting gig, but to be honest, I AM already being a lot more Zen about it than I was, even 6 months ago, and that was more Zen than 6 months before that... So, part of me is wondering if this isn't just about as good as I get??? I managed to get some really nice clothes for Leo this last week (on layby, as I'm particularly cash poor atm). Some stuff from PureBaby and Tiny Tribe that I'm really, really happy with. Maybe I'm a clothes snob, I don't know, but the most nearly all of the infant stuff at Target and such like shops turns me off, boys stuff that is, there is some cute girls stuff, and just yesterday I discovered some way cute organic stuff there (in the girls section, because boys obviously aren't into environmental awareness, don't you know - might have to layby if there is anything left next fortnight)... Also found Bryn a GORGEOUS fluro striped hoodie (in the girls section) which he and I immediately fell in love with - gosh I wish I could upload pics from my camera to Dave's computer and show you guys!...

Birthday season...
Has begun! Luey's birthday is in three and a half weeks, Erik's in five weeks and Bryn's in 10 weeks - though the way Bryn is talking you'd think his birthday was next week. Bryn has already told me that for his birthday he'll be having a Bob the Builder Cake (totally his idea) and he's inviting, Archie and Jennifer, Ariane and Hugo, Liam and Sienna and Jayne, and Erik and Luey can come too... Meanwhile, I've booked the big boys' joint party at the local indoor sports centre for the 6th of July (Erik's birthday) and now I've just got to hope and pray that all their wishlist of friends won't be going away for holidays when the party is on... This is the big party year because next year I'll be focused on Leo's first birthday...

One thing in, one thing out rule...
I was introduced to this idea yesterday while watching Oprah (no, honestly, I DON'T watch Oprah as much as my blog might imply, but anyway...)... O had some party planner guy on her show, and was, at one point, talking about some of the "rules" he sets for himself to keep his life in order and, for him, happy and flowing. One thing he said that has started the cogs chugging for me, is the idea that in his wardrobe, if he buys a new suit, he gives an old suit to someone who needs it more. Thereby not simply accumulating masses of the same thing. I imagine, though he didn't go into it, that this means he feels there is an "ideal" number of every item he actually needs, and so he sticks to that number. Like maybe a limit of four suits, 8 shirts, etc... This has blossomed in my imagination because I have a terrible habit of acumulating more clothing than I need or even want, but I always seem to think, "Well, I might want to wear that again one day"... Maybe if I set myself a strict numbers rule for clothing items I could force myself to think twice before buying new items, particularly because I do tend to wear the same three pair of pants, two skirt, and five tops over and over, only ever occassionally wearing one or two other items, and the rest just clutters up my wardrobe...

And maybe this could work in other areas of my life too...

Well, that about sums it up for this blog, hope to have something more interesting for people to read next time...

Monday, May 26, 2008

The definition of brave...

Hmmm, what a funny thought, that a woman who chooses to homebirth should be a brave woman... I read this today, that is, someone being told they must be brave for having a homebirth, and it made me laugh - at first - because, having had three hospital births (none of which were particularly "bad"), I would say I needed to be much braver then than I've needed to be this time around...

With my first birth, I knew very little about anything pregnancy and birth related and I fully trusted the hospital staff to take care of all that was needed to safely see my baby in my arms. I started begging for an induction when I was 10 days past my EDD, and was granted one four days later. When the massive pains of the induced labour hit, I soldiered on for two hours then asked for gas and sucked it like no tomorrow for a further two hours because saying I was ready for an epidural (kind of like, "Waiter, we're ready for coffees now...")... I was advised to try the pethidine before the gas, and even though I LOATHE needles beyond description I allowed myself to be administered with a peth shot. It did bugger all, didn't even hit the sides, LOL. I guess I was lucky actually because it really makes some women feel out of it, but didn't have that affect on me at all... So, after 1/2 hour of waiting (impatiently) I had an epidural inserted. This led to partial pain relief of the right side of my belly from just below my boob down to my hip... Anyway, the epidural, and resulting inactivity (I was actually quite active, getting up on my knees and turning side to side every now and then without assistance) led to two hours of active pushing (after two hours of resisting the strong urge to push), before they tried to vacuum extract Erik. The vacuum sucked, actually it DIDN'T suck, and that's what sucked about the vacuum... So, the registrar (who I thought was some sort head obstetrician, pmsl) perform a L A R G E episiotomy and extracted my DS with low forceps, while I thought to myself, FINALLY, thank god that's over!!!

By the tiem I had Luey two years later, I was quite a bit better informed and wanted much less interference, but I still acquiesced to the blood tests, Strep B, GCT and pee tests every appointment. I begged for an induction early, thinking he would be bigger than Erik and I might end up with a c/s thanks to how much intervention was need to get Erik out... Had ARM, then Luey canonballed out of me two hours later after 30 minutes of active labour...

By the time I had Bryn, I was determined to have "none of that medical crap", and this is where the bravery comes in... First I had to stare down the OB who insisted I should have some kind of testing, AT LEAST the 20 week scan (because I wasn't having the NT scan), then I had to convince my midwife I didn't need to pee in a cup at EVERY appointment, then I had to convince the hospital my baby wasn't going to die if I went over 41 or 42 weeks, and that it was ok for me to go home again after some spurious labour at 41+4... Bryn finally arrive made his way at 41+5, but not without me having to stand a lot of ground in the nine months leading up to his birth...

I think I was much braver having Bryn in hospital than I ever need to be to have Leo at home...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Period...

Bugger, just lost a big post, stupid keyboard!!!

Ok, so starting again...

I want to talk about monthly bleeding, LOL, yes I see some of you skulking away right now, I understand! Really I do! For most of our society periods are something to loathe, something that is painful and inconvenient, something for the major sanitary products producers to spend millions on making less of a "problem" and more comfortable to endure...

That is one way our society views the humble, or mighty - depending on how you experience it -, period.

Other pockets of society view the monthly (or so) bleed as something to be honoured and revered, a time to connect spiritually with the woman's place in the circle, or should that be cycle, of life. Bleeding every few weeks is a great sign of fertility (except for those women for which it is not because they, unfortunately, don't ovulate)...

Two very different views on these times of bleeding. One where bleeding is an act of war from a woman's body, betraying the woman with hormones and smells and bodily fluids, the other where it is a gift from the gods that enables women to do the godly act of growing new life within themselves...

There is a third view, or making I'm just going to create a third view right now, because the other two just don't sit well with me, hahaha... But honestly, I don't think I'm alone in this view...

Looking at bleeding historically, we find that women never had regular bleeds the way we experience them these days. Yes, women did have periods, but they were very irregular and only really occurred maybe a couple of dozen times in their lifetime. Today this is often put down to poor nutrition, but I'd like to argue that point, LOL (because I'm me)...

If women were so poorly nourished, how did humanity even survive all these centuries? Sure women didn't live as long as we do now, but could it be that we are outliving our natural lifespan? I mean, the world's population has literally exploded in the past hundred years or so and we're now accusing ourselves of raping this lifesustaining planet we inhabit (but that's another blog, hahaha, let's get back to this one)...

I'd say, for the sake of this argument, that women ate LESS than we do these days, and worked a hell of a lot harder than we do, physically. They had greater muscle mass versus fat ration. They also had more children than we do now. Breastfeeding actually worked as a nature child spacer for them, a natural contraceptive because they didn't eat all the hormone and chemical laidened foods we gorge ourselves on these days.

Women, I believe, used to live a LOT closer to nature than we do these days, and it was NATURAL for them not to bleed very often at all.

I've done some maths... I started having very regular bleeds at the age of 12.5 (June of 1984), and so next month is my 24 year anniversary of my first bleed. In those twenty four years I've missed 59 bleeds due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, and I've had 204 bleeds in total. I'm completely certain I've ALREADY had more bleeds in the past 24 years than a woman might have had in their entire lifetime 70 or 80 years ago... And that is with having four children and breastfeeding for 9 years solid (12 years, in total, if I don't overlap them)...

So, my view is that bleeding is a natural part of life, but bleeding every month, for years on end, is not how nature intended it. There are vegans and raw foodists who beleive that a healthy woman's body doesn't bleed as a matter of course, that sex stimulates ovulation that will result in a bleed if the egg isn't fertilised, but that it is more a sign of our very unnatural eating habits that we bleed far more often than any other mammal on the planet, even though our gestation time is longer (and there we should bleed less often if we followed the same patterns as other mammals)...

Siritually, for me personally, bleeding regularly every month that I'm not pregnant or feeding a newborn (non-solids consuming baby), is a reminder that I'm NOT living as closely to the earth as I probably should be, and I'm not having as many children as I'm built to have. It is a time to remember to better my relationship with natural and the universe, not a time to celebrate the status quo...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just a bit of a general update...

It occurred to me last night that while many of you readers out there (of my blog that is) know me elsewhere and might generally be aware of the happenings in my day to day life, a few of you only know me through this blog, and so it might be time to do a little update on my life atm...

Baby Stuff...

~ We found out last Monday that our baby is a boy :). Yes, after all that effort and hoping and whatnot, we still managed to conceive a boy. I still believe in all the good that a-gender does, btw, not blaming them at all... In fact, I've just decided that Dave's girl sperm must be slightly "special" and swim in circles, and so even though there were probably only about a million boy sperm in the vicinity of the egg at the time of ovulation (instead of the billion that might otherwise be there without a-gender intervention), these boy sperm made a bee line for the egg, while the girl sperm happily swam in circles oblivious to the "action" taking place just millimetres away...

~ It's fair to say I'm a little upset about not having a girl this time (or ever), but let me make this point absolutely clear... I'M ESTATIC TO BE HAVING A BABY BOY!!! I'm just really sad that I'll never have a daughter to do all the stuff that will now be kept locked up in my heart...

~ Our baby's name is Leo Ari Dal *Surname*, not the name I'd decided on for a boy, but Dave was having difficulty with the name I had decided on, and so these names were picked out of my "it has to come from this list of names" list...

Study...

~ What can I say, all my writing mojo has gone AWOL. My laptop decided it couldn't work without any free memory space (what's with that), and right now I'm too poor to affod the $200 it's gong to cost me to get memory freed up so I can do something about archiving all my photos (which are taking up all my free memory space)...

~ I've decided to do my degree part time next semester to give me another six months to finish the thesis - tbh, I can see myself taking an extra year. I totally underestimated how much work this writing gig was going to be - what do you expect from a rank amateur, really? - there is so much I still don't know about characterisation and plot that it could probably fill an encyclopedia...

Family life...

~ We're all hobbling along... Dave is still only working part-part time, and keeps talking about getting another job. Deadline after deadline fall by the wayside and recently he turned down an offer for more work in the job he's doing atm, on priniciple - the principle being that his boss should be employed someone dedicated for admin and not trying to save money by getting his grapho to do admin work... While I get it on a principle basis and admire Dave for being principled, principles won't pay the bills or put food on the table...

~ Erik's stealing has been "diagnosed" as an attachment issue he has with me (primarily) which is creating anxiety for him - read more in the previous blog entry...

~ Luey continues to struggle with intense emotions, usually emotions related to feeling that other people don't like him or don't want to play with him (at school). It's funny, whenever Dave drops him off at school, or I pick him up, he seems to be happily playing with the other kids. He seems quite accepted and kids often call out to him in a friendly manner, "Hi Luey!"... And yet, he often tells us no one likes him or talks to him, or that he's had a bad day. If other children admire a hat he's wearing or something else he has, he takes that as a criticism. He hates focused attention on himself, and yet he also seems to crave it... Peculiar child.

~ Bryn, a lot has been happening with Bryn. For one thing, he has a "green fairy" who stalks him and who he really doesn't like, and is constantly getting me to tell to "Go Away, Green Fairy!!!" He first saw the green fairy outside the living room window one night, and since then it pesters him every few days... He's also had a few night terrors - two nights ago, he won't up on the couch screaming, and ran to the far corner of the dining area and hid behind a chair for a few minutes before coming to me for a hug... He wakes, usually 3-4 times a night, with a wail, and then I reassure him and he goes right back to sleep.

Bryn got new winter shoes yesterday - dunlop volleys in navy with little diamond shapes on them in red, orange, green, blue and yellow! He loves then and alternatively calls them his "Happy shoes" or his "Stomping shoes" (stomping is also a happy term, nothing to do with anger)...

Bryn has started chucking almighty tantrums in the last month - total screamers. Sometimes I can "bring him back" by singing nursery rhymes and songs to him (he has loved this method of calming down since babyhood), which involves me starting the first line of a song, and him saying no, no, no, until we've almost exhausted the repetoire, and then when he's fairly calmed down, he'll tell me which song he wants to hear and I'll sing that a couple of times and he'll tell me another and so on... Other times (only abotu twice, now) he just has to keep screaming till he done screaming because nothing will calm him down...

Bryn is back to sleeping in our bed full time. Which in and of itself is not a big deal, though it might become a big deal in October. He pretty much started doing this as soon as I got pregnant, like he just *knew* - as kids often do...

Summary...

There are a lot of stresses atm, I guess, and some days I'm feeling totally overwhelmed and other days it's all ok, just part of life. I've made my kids sound like they're all emotionally disturbed, rofl, but honestly, mostly they're happy and just kids... Having a fourth will be fun in a lot of ways. The boys all (mostly) get along really well, and are all very happy to be having a little brother, so I think Leo will probably slip into the litter quite easily. Dave will get more work or another job, and I will finish my degree, so really, it is all good... I just have to remember that on days when I feel like I'm walking on quick sand!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"I wouldn't go so far as to call it an attachment disorder..."

These were the words that came out of the mouth of the specialist Paed. I took Erik to see today...

How funny, me, the attachment parenting mum, hearing these words used to describe her first born...

Now before everyone jumps to mine or Erik's defense, I need to say, I agreed with everything the Paed. said. The 45 minute appointment we were meant to have, ended up being 1.5 hours long. He didn't rush it at all. First he talked to me about why I was there (while Erik played in another room), then he brought Erik in and had a chat with him about school and what he liked about school, and didn't like, and what his teacher was like, and what his friends were like and so on... Then he did some measurements of height and weight, and palpated Erik's stomach, and listened to his heart, and tested his BP, and then he sent him back out to play and we talked some more.

He noted that Erik is very intelligent, very sensitive, a visual thinker (all things I already know). He also said that from the little he spoke with Erik, he did note some anxiety, but that it was child level anxiety, not adult level (so Erik wasn't anxious about world events, but rather about personal events)... He said Erik was quite mature for his age, but that the maturity was patchy, intellectual, but not emotional, and that emotionally he was still very innocent (which he noted was a lovely thing to see in a child)...

Having spoken a lot with me about Erik's toddler and child behaviour and some of the circumstances Erik experienced when he was younger (leading up to the stealing and lying), he said that Erik fit the profile of a particular form of anxiety that usually occurs in sensitive children who have experienced a primary carer (usually a mother or father) who has suffered depression (I had bad PND in the wake of Luey's birth), and also experienced a trauma - which for Erik would most likely be the time he witnessed me having a seizure (complete with biting my tongue and bleeding) and being carted away in an ambulance. Because I was in Bendigo at the time, and was flown down to Melbourne, he didn't get to see me until the day after. The Paed. doesn't know this, but he was still being breastfed at the time...

So, basically these sensitive kids who have had their relationship with their primary carer disturbed by depression and then a trauma, take on a role of needing to care for the carer, of being on guard for their relationship being at risk again. They basically live with the anxiety that they will be seperated from their carer and to stem that anxiety they will engage in a socially challenging behaviour, such as stealing food - it gives them a sense of control, I guess (my words, not the Paed's)...

There is no quick or clear solution to this problem. The Paed. has said to combat the social insecurity that Erik feels (where he will bend over backwards to be socially accepted but also finds it difficult to know how to maintain social relationships) we need to get him into a social club or some sort, a community group like scouts, or a church youth group (we don't do church, so not an option), or something like that... As well as this, we need to get him into some form of sport - he suggested tae kwon do because it also teaches self-discipline, healthy living, and gets the kids to do stuff like recite poetry - so is somewhat spiritual as well...

WRT food, he said we should start to really structure all meals and snacks in our house, set rules like always sitting at the table, using a plate, not watching tv, everyone eating together at the same time, etc. This will help him to see food as something other than a passtime anxiety placator or boredom killer...

WRT stealing, he said to remain very firm on the fact that stealing, even from the food stores at home is just not ok, but not to punish him for doing it - just to keep putting the message out that it's not ok, and also to keep keeping temptation out of his way as much as we can (which we do already)...

We're seeing him in another three months times...

If we feel Erik needs more support, he is willing to do some counselling, but he said the kind of counselling would not be cognitive behavioural in nature, but more psycho-analytical, and so it might not lead to a change in behaviour but might help Erik to understand why he behaves the way he does...

This Paed. was so so nice, and said his son is a lot like Erik in many ways, and he seemed to genuinely like Erik (most adults do, actually)... It was good to talk to someone who just didn't fob me off as overreacting to "normal boy behaviour", instead he agreed that Erik's issues are probably too subtle (he is very highly functioning) for "outsiders" to recognise as issues at all, and that it would be something only parents who see the child every day would pick up on - as well as professionals who have encounters kids like Erik before...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Epiphany...

Well, I LOVE the musical Annie (such a dag, I am), and of course, I couldn't let today go by without posting this vid... Those who know the meaning behind my chosen baby names will also see another layer to this song, LOL... Oh and youtube have some fantastic soundtrack versions of this song, but I felt this quiet movie version was most heartfelt...

He carries the Nason fainting gene...

Had an incident this morning where Bryn pitched a Poke-ball at Luey and split his lip (Luey kind of had it coming, for having been pushing Bryn around, but was obviously in a lot of distress)... So, I get a wet flannel for him to press against his barely bleeding lip and he has that on for about 15 minutes and then is standing in front of the fire place, and suddenly he falls forward and lands on his face on the floor.

At first I thought he'd tripped over his own foot, but then looking at the position of his arms down by his side as he lay on the floor bawling, I realised he hadn't even attempted to break his fall, so he must have passed out...

Like the wonderfully compassionate mumma that I am, I burst out laughing...

Yes, that's right - shame on me...

The thing is, I recognised that he'd inherited the "post cut involuntary shock" syndrome that has affect my dad and myself all our lives. It's completely involuntary and has nothing to do with being afraid of the sight of our own blood (though mum always seems to think it's about that, LOL), because it's happened to me when I didn't even know I'd cut myself and was bleeding, and I don't pass out every month during menses, if you know what I mean...

Poor bugger, I had to get his dad, because I couldn't wipe the grin of my face...

I told him, it's ok, because it happens to grandad Michael and to mum sometimes too, and it's just our body making sure we don't bleed to death (from major arterial damage like a split lip, or forcing an earring through a nearly closed hole, as happened to me once)...

I'll have to let the school know that this can happen now, because there is a danger that he might get a small cut or graze and have this delayed reaction and pitching down a flight of stairs...

Isn't it fantastic which genes nature decides to pass on to our off-spring???

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When Chemists give advice about something they obviously know nothing about...

Had to change a $50 today to take a cab home with the boys after several delays. Decided to take the opportunity to pick up some slippery elm caps at the chemist to see if that might help with my pregnancy reflux.

Get the head chemist (some old codger in a green chemist jacket, hmmm, on second thoughts, maybe the great jacket actually meant he was a TRAINEE chemist, you know, under equal opportunity and all that jazz). Ask for the slippery elm, and he goes and gets if for me, and proceeds to tell me to take it between meals, and before bed for three months and then I should be able to slowly wean from it. I pointed out it was for pregnancy reflux (as he obviously just thought I was FAT), and asked if I wouldn't need to take it throughout... Well, that changed things a little, and then he says...

"You know, Blackmores makes a great pill, the morning after pill, it's similar to slippery elm and is good for morning sickness too"...

Oh yeah, the MORNING AFTER PILL will CURE morning sickness and pregnancy related reflux - but perhaps not the way I'd like it too...

I replied, "I'm a bit beyond that stage now..." and then proceeded to pretend I was giggling about something cute Bryn was doing so as not to offend the poor guy...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good to have that cleared up...

Bryn is standing by the kitchen gate this evening watching Dave serve up dinner and singing, "Me, me, me, me, me, me, me..." - you get the idea...

So, Dave turns to Bryn and says, "Is it all about you, Buddha?"

To which Bryn gleefully replies, "Yes, it's ALL about me..."

Good to know, LOL...

What are we giving our children permission to do?

Another question stemming from that Oprah show I saw the other day...

Demi Moore said that if she had any regrets with regard to her mothering, it was that she wished she'd showed her daughters her weakness; that is that she'd allowed her daughters to see her being upset, and at odds with the world, and then see her sorting it out. She said that what we model for our children in our own lives is what we give our children permission to do. So, for her, it was that she felt she hadn't given her daughters permission to be less than strong and capable at every turn, and in doing so, she'd set them up to believe they had to achieve the impossible.

So, ok, I quite liked this, because I believe strongly in emotional honestly with my children. They have seen me cry and be afraid, and feel lonely and then they've seen be come out the other side and be ok. I agree with Demi that this is kind of important. If to our kids we're always coping, and always at the top of our game, then anything short of that in their own lives would be failure, right...

But of course, there is a flip side, and I'm always willing to look at the flip side...

What do I do that gives my children permission to be selfish, nasty, hypocritical and generally all those things we hope our kids won't be...

Right now, I'm doing one of those things, I'm telling my youngest I'll be "right there" and then proceeding to keep typing, even though he's been patient for 20 minutes already... So, I'd better go...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Do you love life?

Was watching Oprah yesterday (as am prone to do when virtually computerless - 1 hour a day just doesn't count for me, lol)...

She was doing a mother's day show, with Maria Shriver (sp?) aka Mrs Terminator interviewing Demi Moore (not one of my favourite people, though I guess I like her a little more after seeing that interview, but generally in the past she's struck me a bit of a cold fish), on mothering, and what it is - for her - to be a mother, and how her relationship with her own mother impacted on how she is as a mother for her own children.

There was also an interview with Vanessa Williams and her mother, about their relationship and how that has affected VW in her approach to parenting.

Of course, I saw paralells between both these actor's relationships with their mothers and my relationship with my own mother, and with my children as well...

Someone, I think VW's mum, said the greatest gift you can give your child is modelling for them a love of life.

This got me thinking.

I'm generally a glass half full person myself, BUT is that the same as having a love of life? Do I love life? I'm not sure that I do, and that got me thinking about what it is that makes a person love life... Doing what you love in life is apparently key to loving life.

I've always maintained that I will do what I love in life. To a degree I do do what I love. I love to think, and write, and do those things (I'm doing that right now, actually, and loving every moment of it)... That said, so much of my day is not about doing what I love.

Essentially, I'm a very lazy person. In order to do what I loved throughout my day, I would not really be able to have a husband, and household and children. The school run (well, hardly a run, much more a shuffle) take a mass of time and energy out of my day - I dread it to be honest, and if I could get someone else to do it I certainly would.

I've often thought, I would have done well to be a greek philosopher. At least to be the image of one that is popularly portrayed. Sitting around or in a large pool of warm water, eating foods delivered on platters and turning over the great questions of life with other people. Yes, now THAT would be loving life, in my opinion...

That does bare a slight resemblance to my life WHEN I have a computer. I sit around this virtual pool of water, often with a snack of some form, or at least a cup of coffee, and discuss the big questions in life; Are those new bonds suits really worth the money? Are people who vaccinate their children deluding themselves? Is our society too consumed with consumerism and do I even have a right to comment on this considering my own consumption habits?

I have this pretence in my own mind that writing a book would make me happy, but in all honesty it makes me anxious... I believe that having children will make my love life, but honestly, for the most part, it's all a lot of hard work that distracts me from my first love - kneading ideas and trying to form them into palatable round cakes or cookies that others will drool over...

That said, I would be miserable without my dh and my kids and this degree I'm doing, so therein lies a bit of a quandry...

How do find more love for the life I'm actually living, instead of lusting after some mythical existence that would actually rob me of all the things I've worked pretty damn hard to achieve already?

How do I show my kids that I do sorta, kinda already love this life that has me feeling so many conflicted feelings in reality?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Lying, stealing, and broken computers...

Dear me, it's been a long time since I blogged and this is mainly because the things I have to blog about are not necessarily things I want to have to think about too much...

In the Weekend Australian Magasine last weekend there was an article titled, "Why children lie, and why it might be a good sign" - or something like that, I'm far to self-involved at the moment to go rifled through Dave's study to find the exact title.

Now Dave doesn't usually by The Australian, as he's a confirmed The Age reader. However, lying is something we deal with a lot in our house, and so he thought it might be a helpful read.

In a way it was helpful.

It wasn't really about small kids, though it started with small kids, and with how, in our society these days, there is a tendency to want to put an innocent face on lying in 3 and 4 year olds. We want to say, "The child doesn't understand what lying is, or that it is harmful."

It's funny, I've often said to other parents of small children who lie that what the child is doing is creating the reality they WOULD LIKE to have. Ok, so while this might be true for a child who hasn't developed "Theory of Mind", it can't said to be true for a child who is quite obviously using lying as a tool to gain the outcome they desire (a child with theory of mind).

Erik showed very early signs of theory of mind. He was only about 18 months of age. He managed to convince Dave and I, who were in another room, that he was stuck somehow and needed us to come and free him. The goal of this exercise was to get us to come spend time with him in the bedroom, when we'd previously been engaged in a conversation in the loungeroom and had dismissed previous attempts to draw us into the bedroom.

I was THRILLED to see Erik had started to develop theory of mind so early. It was a strong sign that he was indeed very intelligent, which was something I had hoped for my child...

Well, the Weekend Australian Magasine concurs. Children who lie convincingly and early, who are able to concoct tales to back up their lie, are indeed intelligent...

HMMPH!

Ok, so the article went on to say that if lying is not dealt with immediately and the child is still relying on lying at the age of 6 or 7, to manipulate their environment, then chances are, they've formed a long term habit that might be very difficult to break.

Well, isn't that delightful. Our nearly NINE year old is still lying every day, several times a day.

So, WHY do kids lie... Because...

- they want to avoid punishment.

- they want to have an easy relationship with their parents, which means making their parents feel good about them and their choices.

These seemed to be the main reasons. One deceptive, and one altruistic (in the child's mind).

The article said that research had shown that teens typically lie about around 15 topic, ranging from who they spend their free time with, to using drugs and driving in cars with drunken friends...

It seems to be completely irrelevant what the child's socio-economic or cultural or religious background is. Bored children and overscheduled children lie as much as each other...

Once differentiator seemed to be that children of parents who tried to "understand" the child's need to lie, and so let it go, "because all kids do this stuff", were MORE likely to lie than children of parents who set boundaries and enforced those boundaries. About three times more likely. So, the article said having a few firm rules that were consistently enforced was better than just accepting that children will break rules, so why have them.

They said that children don't mind arguing with their parents as much as their parents mind it. About 46% of mothers believe arguing is detrimental to the relationship, whereas only 23% of teens believe this. Teens who argue with their parents are MORE LIKELY to be telling the truth than those who do not argue (and are therefore more likely to just be telling the parents what they want to hear)...

Bugger, bugger, bugger... This parenting gig is soooooo hard!

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Ok, so how does all this relate to me? Well, we've been struggling for years with the Erik stealing (mostly food stuffs) and then lying to cover up the stealing. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING we do or say seems to have any sort of impact. I'll just add here, to save face, that Luey and Bryn don't seem to have this issue at all... Therefore I'm inclined to believe that it isn't actually something we DONE or NOT DONE to/with Erik... I won't buy that we're just incompetent parents... But it does FEEL like we are a lot of the time.

Erik doesn't lie or steal at school, at least not that the teachers are aware of (but again, he's is a very convincing liar, and it's usually only my instinct that tells me he's lying, not anything outrageous that he tries to tell me, or any other evidence I have)...

We've taken him to the Behavioural clinic at the RCH, and they seem to think he's a lovely little boy (not that he isn't) who is charming, socially well adjusted and bright. Oh, and we're doing a good job with him. Last week's appointment with the school counsellor pretty much showed us that she feels the same way...

So, essentially, we're making a mountain out of a molehill.

Yet every day he steals and lies here at home. He ate all of Bryn's breakfast on Wednesday, and also stole $3.20 from my purse to spend on lollies at school (even though he is black banned from the canteen for doing exactly that), he was going to see if his teacher could lift the ban...

I've got an appointment with a specialist paed. the week after next to see if he steals because he has anxiety - and I'm going to ask them to check blood sugar and thyroid because he mostly only (about 99%) steals food - so I'm wondering if there is a biological impetus for this...

My instinct says, don't let this go. But the professionals are saying, hey, it's normal, it's all good...

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On top of all that, my laptop has had a tanty and packed up shop. I know what the problem is, but because it's going to cost at least $200 to fix it, I can't even look at getting it fixed for another 2.5 weeks. I'm sneaking time on Dave's computer (he knows I'm on here, but I have to limit the time I'm on here because his computer is in the study and poor Bryn isn't really allowed in here.

I'm a little depressed atm. Partially because I'm not dealing with the stuff with Erik very well, and I feel this space developing between us (mostly because I feel so angry and hurt). Partially because I'm addicted to the net, and not having free access is depressing me.

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We got a last minute appt. with RCH to analyse Erik's allergies - thanks to a cancellation... This should have been a 10 month wait, minimum, and ended up only being about 1 month, so very happy with that!

And lo and behold! Erik doesn't seem to be allergic to peanuts afterall!!! They tested him twice (the lady doing the testing said he was the best patient she'd had in 6 months, no squirming or crying) for it, but only the mildest mildest reaction, which they said is nothing basically. We have a program for slowly reintroducing peanuts over a 6 day period, just to be sure though.

Turns out he IS allergic to dust mites and two kinds of grasses. So, where we previously haven't been treating him for shortness of breath when running around at school - because we just thought he was being a silly bugger and running past the pont of reason, we now have to make sure he takes some ventolin when that happens in future because he is probably reacting to the grasses on the oval (where he runs around the most)...

So no epipen, but he has to have ventolin...

We have to go back to RCH in three weeks time if the peanuts were not successfully reintroduced.

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Pregnancy wise, I'm coming up to 17 weeks on Saturday. I have a midwife appointment next Wednesday morning. My big scan is the following Monday, so if bubs feels like being co-operative then I might be put out of my misery on that day...

Teenagers and the failing parent...