Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When sickness strikes

Our house has been struck with bug after bug the past couple of weeks. From tonsillitis, to colds, to gastro, the poor boys have been hit hard. There has been a significant amount of vomit, lots of high temps and tears, and of course, as many mummy cuddles as I can give.

I always wonder whether the fact they were premature and have always been on the very low end of the growth charts means they are more susceptible to illness, or if it means it takes them longer to recover.

Yesterday little Roc took himself to off to bed at 3pm. For the night. He didn't properly wake up until 7am this morning. He wasn't even hungry when he eventually woke. I hauled him to the doctor, still in pyjamas, and then he slept again from 9.30am until midday. And then at 4.30pm, it was all too much, and he took himself off again to bed. After a very animated reading of The Grinch he was fast asleep by 5pm.

For a child who usually doesn't stop talking, or moving, from the second he wakes until the second he sleeps, it has been very disconcerting.

Only the day before, Hamish was feverish, sleepy and unwell with tummy pain. If you follow me on instragram, you'll know that last week they both fell asleep on the waiting room floor of the doctor's surgery while we were waiting to be called. Once we were in the doctor's little room, Hamish vomited all over him, while Rocky fell asleep in the patient's chair - completely upright.

I've been trying to nourish their bodies and souls with restorative broths, vitamin fuelled juices and plenty of mama cuddles.

Poor little bears. I hope it ends soon. As much as I sometimes wish for peace and quiet, I'd take their noise and chaos any day over this awful illness and the disturbing quiet that accompanies it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This is how we Montessori

The boys go to a Montessori kindergarten. T and I consciously chose Montessori; it's not close to our home, it's in the opposite direction to our workplaces, and it's not a typical "long" daycare. 

The reasons we chose it are simple, really. We believe in the underlying principles. That children thrive when they are busy, when they feel useful, when they're learning practical skills, and when they can do things at their own pace.

I like that every activity can be extended upon, depending on their interest, ability and learning level. I like that you can incorporate it easily at home. I like that you don't have to buy special things or set up special spaces.

I like the way children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own work, and for putting it away when they're finished. I like that they can choose what they want to work on and independently get on with it. 

I'm no expert and I'm most certainly no purist, but I try to support what they're learning at kindy by incorporating Montessori principles at home too.

This is how we Montessori :)

Learning shapes, colours, letters, sounds and words. This activity also incorporates fine motor skills.
Roc's favourite is the pentagon, although lately he's started asking for dodecahedrons (weirdo!). These cards are simply hand drawn with markers, laminated, and matched with coloured match sticks from the craft shop.
Shelling peas. Fine motor skills. Food familiarisation. And helping out with dinner preparation. This activity can be extended to a mathematic one - counting, grouping, addition, subtraction, etc.
Baking. Measuring. Pouring. Stirring. And cooking. Learning how to provide nourishment and where food comes from. So important.
This gorgeous activity is wonderful. It addresses fine motor skills as well as maths. We can count, add, subtract, group, make patterns, and all sorts of other things.
Kids love drawing. Setting up a station gives them a place to work, a place to put away, and a place to take responsibility for keeping tidy. The pen holders help with grouping, colour recognition, and so on.
Pouring. Fine motor skills. Hours of fun.
Building, counting, colour grouping, shape grouping, much imagination.
Exploring nature. Making shapes. Collecting. 
And listening to the sea. A wonderful jumping off point for all sorts of stories, imagining and lessons.
Another home-made activity. Number recognition. Counting. Colour matching. Simple maths.

A nature treasure hunt. So much fun. And great Show & Tell.
A designated space for reading and relaxing. 
Pegging. At this age, this activity is primarily about motor function. Grasping the pegs, pinching them open, then putting them around the edge of the plate takes some concentration! As they develop, this activity can be extended on to include colour blocking, pattern forming, counting, addition and subtraction.
Simple toys that aren't automated. I don't think that toys that have lots of buttons teach kids anything except how to press a button! Everything in its place, and returned to where it belongs.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mother's Day

Being a mama is the greatest privilege. I adore my boys. They complete my life.

I've been very blessed in this journey. I've never wished it away. I've never regretted it. I've never felt scared, or lost, or paralysed by fear.

Some days, of course, are harder than others, of course they are. But many, many days are blissful. Millions of moments are pure joy. On the whole, I haven't found motherhood hard, or horrible, or relentless, or thankless.

It's hard to admit this out loud sometimes. I'm always so conscious that everyone's experience is different. Everyone's experience is their own. And many many mothers suffer terribly from PND, anxiety, and lack of support.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Every day I am grateful.

Thank you my darling boys for making me a mama.

I love this photo. T caught us mid-just-doing-what-we-do.

This is a snapshot of my life. Of my love. Of my loves.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Side by side. Hand in hand. Brothers in arms. I hope they always are.

My Hame. Running up and down the skate bowl. King of the Castle.

Roc. A speed demon on anything with wheels. This one has no fear.
As ever, linking up with Jodi's 52 project. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Slowing down

I wrote the below post a few weeks ago, but I didn't publish it because things seemed to calm down and get better. And it did. For a while. But this week has been a bit of a tough one, for all the same reasons.

What it has proved to me is that my instincts were right. We do need to slow down, calm down, and guide gently. Because when we did it, it worked.

I needed this reminder for myself.

Lately, I am overcome with an almost suffocating feeling that I - that WE - need to slow down.

We are busy people, like everyone, these days. We juggle parenting, playing, working, kindy, chores, tasks, meetings, classes, obligations, appointments, shopping, cooking, sleeping (or not), responsibilities and more. A lot of it is simultaneous. And parenting is so all-encompassing isn't it? It takes all your energy, all your love, all your patience, all your strength, and all your resolve to raise tiny humans the best way you can.

I'm exhausted. We all are. T's work is relentless, the hours inhumane, his days never-ending. I don't know how he does it. And now he has to travel away regularly for the next who-knows-how-long.

I am shouting too much, hurrying too much, trying to do too many things at the same time, and doing none of them well. I have a constant low level of panic - just there - just below the surface. And when it decides to rear its head, it's invariably in the middle of the night, in those long dark hours when the house is breathing its gentle sighs of sleep.

Our tempers are frayed, our patience well and truly tested, our souls hurting. We are drained.

Hamish needs us. We need to slow down for his sake. We need to be patient and kind. We need to not rush him. He has to trust that we'll give him the time and the space to do things in his own time without feeling like we're pushing him.

Rocky needs it too. His mind is like mine. It runs at a million miles and hour and I can literally see him spinning out of control before my eyes. He is having more tantrums, he is manic and hyper, and his usually benign quirks are fast becoming more problematic and more obvious as he tries desperately to control his environment.

They are waking at night again. They have started fighting meal times and bed time. Running away at the shops, and at parks.  Fighting with each other, and with us.

Weekends have become endurance events. I have been willing bedtime to arrive. Dreading going out. Feeling overwhelmed by the huge number of domestic tasks on the to-do list and too tired to do anything about it.

Yesterday morning, as we were late - again - for kindy drop off and work, trying desperately to convince the boys to eat. FASTER!, get dressed, PLEASE!, STOP SCREAMING!, clean your teeth, QUICKLY! get in the car, NOW! NOW!, I realised how bad it had become.

They were showing me, in the only way a three year old knows, how much they desperately need me to slow down. They simply stopped cooperating. They froze. They refused. They were defiant. There was screaming. Oh, the screaming. There were tantrums. There were tears. From all of us.

It was awful.

And unnecessary. So uneccesary.

It's like they're somehow overloaded and exhausted at the same time. Spinning out of control and unable to do anything about it.

I feel sick in the heart. I am their mother. I am the adult. I need to fix this.

And I will. Softly, gently, and with love. It is the only acceptable way.

Last weekend, we went to the Maleny Dairies. It was a wonderful day out. The boys fed baby animals - calfs and kids, rolled down grassy hills, ran until they could run no more, ate a picnic lunch beneath an ancient tree, and slept on the way home. It was a heart-lifting day. Soul quenching. And just what we needed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Hame. Taking flight. Full of concentration.

Roc. That laugh. I love that they have these moments just between them. Brothers in arms.
As ever, playing along with Jodi's 52 project.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2013"
Hame. Poised ready for take-off. I'm so proud of this tiny human for learning to balance on his bike. It's harder for him, but he doesn't give up. He's my superstar.

Roc. At the 'pirate park'. Insistent upon wearing a pirate costume. And why wouldn't you?

Capturing them on camera is getting harder, so this week I snapped while they were engrossed in playing. I love these pics.

As ever, playing along with Jodi.