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Sunday, 3 July 2011

My Life Coach

With the imminent arrival of our little “Petal” looming it has become clear to me just how “unlittle” our Little Butterfly is. With her very short practical “preschool” haircut, sporting self chosen lime green winter pjs she looks every part the “Miss Independent” she thinks she is. Upon waking one very wet and windy World’s End morning she established herself on our bed next to her favourite parent demanding cereal (without milk) and juice from her mum. She brought supplies with her too, her “puzzle and paint bag.” She had emptied onto the bed her felt tip pens and colouring books and was busily colouring in and chatting to her favourite parent who was buried somewhere under a mountain of duvets and snoring quietly.
I stood quietly at the door listening to her natter away oblivious to the fact that she was getting no response from her favourite parent. Then it dawned on me, this wasn't baby talk any more, these were coherent sentences that made perfect sense and expressed her intentions or made her point. She was explaining exactly what she was doing and why with confidence and allowing for the odd grammatical error or mispronunciation there was no misunderstanding her intention. I have always been fascinated by the little growths and improvements to the Butterfly’s ability to communicate vocally. I think I’ve always judged her maturity and growth on how well she communicates with words. The Mauritian on the other hand judges her growth by her motor skills and her creativity.

Then she started “Kindy” and suddenly everything changed again, now we are having conversations about all sorts of things, including why she isn’t ready for bed or a bath. Now we also have to come up with logical reason why she can’t go to certain places, “it's raining” doesn’t work because we can put our raincoats on. She’s at the stage where she wants to do everything herself and she will stubbornly refuse help or advice while trying to put her pants on back to front or her shoes on the wrong feet. I am all for her trying until she gets it right or admit she needs help, but I cannot watch her struggle. At first I was always interfering and getting yelled at so now when she insists “I can do it I can do it!” I retreat gracefully telling her to call if she needs help. There are days when she gives in within minutes and comes looking for me to help her, there are other days when she ends up screaming with frustration but still stubbornly refuses any help. Then there are the times when it all just falls into place and she gets it right, those are the times she’ll come charging down the passage shouting “Look mummy I did it I did it!” Ah yes the simple pleasures of life, the sheer delight at managing to button up her pyjama top correctly all by herself. Would that life remained so simple! Along with the pride I feel that she got it right there is also for me, a sense of achievement that despite the many frustrated or abortive attempts before the triumph I was able to keep my distance and let her work it out for herself. That is the hardest part watching your child struggle with elementary tasks and not help; it’s taken me a long time to learn that. But now I’ve got the hang of it I am watching the Mauritian struggle with the same concept and I know that no matter how many times I tell him to just leave her to try he won’t. Like me he keeps wondering why she won’t let him help her especially because he wants to and he’ll do anything for her and like me he’s going to have to figure out that it’s all a part of her growing up and we can’t stop it. Like me he’s going to have to learn to back away gracefully and watch from the sidelines poised and ready to help only when asked. My telling him how to handle the situation only makes him feel like I doubt his abilities as a parent even though I’m only trying to help. Yet another lesson learnt!

I have come to the realisation that you spend your childhood absorbing life lessons and skills, your teenage years trying not to learn anything remotely akin to grown up behaviour and maturity and your twenties thinking you’ve learned all there is to learn about life. Then you have children of your own and suddenly you’re tumbling through a kaleidoscope of life lessons that throws you’re view of yourself, those around you and life into complete disarray. You begin to see things from completely different angles, the most telling of which is the view of the world through the eyes of your child. The world is a beautiful and fascinating place filled with simple joys and pleasures, colours are bright, sounds are intense, laughter and fun are priority and learning is a by product that you take in your stride and use it later when you need it. There’s no analysing the whys or how’s, things just are, the lack of logic makes things more interesting and the truth is the way things are not the way one wants it to seem.

On Tuesday our Butterfly turned four, her birth and those first sleepless screaming months a distant memory. Her baby years are over now, she skimmed over the toddler years with aplomb and has landed gracefully into the childhood years grabbing it head on and going full speed. All the Mauritian and I can do is hang on tight and enjoy the ride proudly sitting on the sidelines and learning along with her.

Friday, 1 July 2011

"Post Date" The Blue's and the Remedies

Forty weeks three days and still pregnant, the next two weeks or, hopefully, less will be the longest of my life. It seems that our little Petal is boycotting delivery due to the typical freezing end of the world winter. No amount of coxing, begging, pleading, demanding or even singing has made a difference. Even the Butterfly and her favourite parent have had a go at trying to convince her out. The Mauritian even went so far as to give a running commentary one Sunday night about how to build a fire and how warm and comfy it made the whole house. The Petal responded by kicking me in the ribs and head banging my bladder instead. Of course with the prospect of being overdue comes all the recommendations and remedy suggestions for this malady know as overdueness. There are of course the most common ones like; sex, long walks or castor oil! Then there are the herbal remedies like Raspberry leaf tea or black or blue cohosh, even nettles was suggested. Someone told me to jump on a trampoline; another suggested a tractor ride across a paddock or run up a flight of stairs. Then there is that famous pregnancy book and its author’s weird ideas; “...try singing Happy birthday.” But my favourite remedy so far comes from a friend we lovingly call “Beast,” who during our weekly text said “Drink a bottle of coke, hold your breath and jump up and down, it might work!” If laughter was a remedy I would have gone into labour there and then.

I have always had a suspicion that the Petal would be overdue, I’m guessing because the Butterfly was also born “post” date. I always hoped she would be born before the Butterfly’s birthday and not after. But right from the start I was of the opinion that it’ll happen when it happens and I was prepared to wait it out because the longer the baby is in utero the better for them in so many ways. Then, at around thirty eight and bit weeks I decided one wet cold Monday night to attempt a belly flop on our front lawn. I mean that literarily, I somehow managed to trip over my feet and landed belly button first on our front lawn. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. In hindsight though I am very glad our porch light was out and that it was cold and there was no one around to see, I must have looked a sight I’m convinced I see-sawed back and forth on my belly once or twice too. I know you’re trying not to giggle, go ahead; the pictures in your head can’t be any worse then what’s in mine. Anyway after making sure there was no external or internal damage and after reassuring myself, my husband and my Butterfly that both myself and the Petal were fine I retired to the bathroom for a shower and some alone time to gather myself together.

I don’t think I’ve succeeded this time! Since the fall I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck and completely unable to relax. Before the fall the Petals head had moved into the pelvic area preparing to engage, when I fell the one sensation I clearly remember was of her moving up. I confirmed this when I saw my midwife that week, she was unconcerned and tried to convince me it would have no bearing on the delivery date. I’m not so sure! So now, since that “fateful” Monday night I have been on edge and wanting things to be over with, every twinge or cramp brings me up short wondering what it was and why. Then every time it’s nothing I’m disappointed and upset. I’m waking up in the early hours of the morning and just lying there waiting for something to happen. Every time I have to go to see the midwife or the obstetrician I find it such a chore and hope she makes her appearance before the next appointment. Of course so far nothing has gone my way! I think my midwife was sorry she asked how I was yesterday because I told her in much detail. It went something like this: “I am constantly dropping things yet I can’t bend over to pick things up off the floor. I can’t see my feet or reach them to put my socks on or scrub them so I have cold dirty feet. My arms have shrunk so I battle to reach the kitchen counter or the stove. I have to get into a comfortable sleeping position as soon as I get into bed because once I’m there it is impossible to move without asking for help, and the Mauritian is no help when he’s asleep. I can’t sit on the sofa anymore because I can’t get up without pulling some stomach muscle so I sit on our exercise ball, even when we have guests. Nothing fits anymore except for my pjs, but I can’t take the Butterfly to “Kindy” in them now can I. My belly reaches my destination before me and the Butterfly gets mad when she can’t just jump in my lap and cuddle before bed. I’m growing weary of all these appointments, I’ve rearranged the nursery far too many times to count and I keep packing and unpacking my hospital bag. So yeah, I’m all good thanks it’s just that right now I would willingly trade the discomfort, uncertainty, appointments and waiting for freezing midnight feeds, sleep deprivation and a screaming new born!”

So hurry up Petal or as your God Father says: “Wake up now sunshine is on your face, you need no more than the light of day... the time is now...the world is waiting come and play”