Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lessons from Ethan

I've been thinking for a while about writing something down about my first two years with my boy.

I've been putting it off because I want it to be just right. To be able to portray my love and joy I have for and in Ethan.

But I struggle to find the right way to describe how he has changed my life, challenged me and made me grow because of him. In a completely different way to Izzy.

Ethan screamed for about eighty percent of a big part of his first year. 

He didn't sleep for very long too. He would only fall asleep while feeding, and if he woke, which he did frequently, I had to be the one to settle him. 

For most of his first eighteen months he would wake between four and nine times during the night crying.

He ended up in our bed a lot of the time, and I didn't sleep much at all.

I would sometimes wonder at what point in sleep deprivation that someone would just collapse from exhaustion. It sounds dramatic even as I type it, but I had a birth so difficult that I should no longer give birth naturally, I fed Ethan myself every couple of hours until he started solids, and didn't sleep for longer than two or three hours at a time.

The worst part was seeing his pain. He seemed miserable and inconsolable at times. He wouldn't even like being held by his dad.

I found out at around the same time he seemed to be getting happier that he had had reflux. A condition that causes pain in babies, especially after they eat. It was why he couldn't sleep for long, why he threw up so often, why he needed so much comfort and didn't like to be laid down.

I'd had no idea.

When he'd been screaming all day I would wish so hard that he was just as I thought, a "difficult" baby, and not really in pain. But he had been. And I'd been too sleep deprived to think that there was something wrong past the need for attention or being a grumpy child.

As difficult as this was for all of us as a family, a lot of good has come from it.

Through all of the lack of sleep, screaming and thinking I was an awful mum, I learned that I adore my son. 

Why else would I be able to bring myself to feed and then silently creep out of his room for the fifth time during one night?

He, my beautiful son, is the reason I was able to try again and again to help him be happy after more than a year.

I adore him. 

I am not me without him in my life.

He has taught me to love in a way I never knew I could. With complete selflessness.

He has taught me to celebrate the things that do happen, not mourn over the missed, lost or unattainable.

I celebrate with him as he shows the happy, confident and unique child that was just wanting to be, but was just too tired and sick.

I appreciate him so much more for the hard times we've been through. Together. We were both there in the dark when he was in pain and I was helpless. We were both in pain.

We came through it because of each other. And my heart is full.

He has taught me so much. 

It has been unbelievably hard. When I look back I know that I didn't think I could do it. I know that there are many other people in much harder situations, but for me, this has been my defining moment. The challenge I didn't think I could face; but someone wiser, who knows me better than I do, knew differently. That this would make me a better mum, more appreciative, loving, confident, patient and strong.

And I am absolutely in love with my boy.

Oh, he really is my favourite little boy.

Friday, 17 August 2012

My girl

I adore you.

I love that you're super girly, with a a large amount of explorer thrown in.

I love your fascination for nearly everything. 

I love your silliness.

I love how wonderful, caring and sweet a big sister you are.

I love that you have always told me everything. Including what not to do.

 I love that you fall asleep anywhere.

I love that you do your own thing, that you're unique, and independent.

I love that you like to be like your mummy, that you still love to have a spritz of perfume or a coat of nail varnish.

I am completely in love with the little girl you are. Independent, sweet, maternal, beautiful, kind, bossy, silly and absolutely you.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

This week...

I fell in love with my children all over again.

Of course I love them always with everything I have. But I fell in love all over again while I just watched them.

I didn't do much this week. I didn't clean, blog, check facebook, organise, take on house projects or any of the other things that usually take up my time. Instead I watched my children discover how things work.

I watched as all of their aunties and uncles and grandma and grandpa showed their love of my children. How much my children love being around them, and how when it was time to go, I was glad when they cried because I knew they didn't want this experience to end. And of course I noticed that their relatives really enjoyed playing with them. That they often had as much fun as Izzy and Ethan.

And I fell in love with our cottage.

Not because it was particularly beautiful, well decorated or modern. Because in fact, every time the toilet flushed a very loud whooshing noise would go through most rooms in the house, and wake people. And when anyone used the downstairs toilet everyone could hear what they did and how long for, because the door was that thin. And it smelled like old people when we arrived.

I loved it because it was where we spend mornings together eating without hair or make up done and in pajamas. It's where we had nerf gun fights.

It's where we laughed at Ethan mimicking his uncles so perfectly. Where we had no set bed time and where I felt like I wasn't so responsible, not just a mum. 

And I felt like I was newly married again. Stealing kisses on the sofa, sitting on knees, chatting whenever we wanted. Spending as much time as I wanted with the man I love. And occasionally pinching is bum when no one was looking. 

I spent more time with my favourite people this week than I have in the last five years. I saw my sisters-in-laws with their husbands; my brothers. They are lucky men, and I am blessed to have brothers with such great partners who I would have chosen to be friends and now get to have as family.

I have learned to slow down. That a day is not judged by how many items I get done on my to-do list. But by time spent not doing "things", but creating memories. 

That my children are magnificent. They are silly, curious, funny and good - inherently good.

And that I am the luckiest person to have such a wonderful family.