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English: mom and baby

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To all you special Mommoes out there, you maybe wondering why I have not been posting recently? Well I have but I have been building my new blog Castle For Keeps. It’s focus being not only on Mommyhood but also education, discipline, parenting, crafts, healthy meals and many more family focused topics. SO please pop across and add yourself to the RSS feed there or subscribe as I’ll be posting from there from now on.

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A young mother consults with a doctor over the...

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“I’m glad we chose to hospitalise your girls as if we’d left this till the weekend, it could have been fatal.” These are not words that any parent plans to hear.

When I woke up that morning I knew my twins had been battling fevers of 39oC for the past few days, the doctor had instructed us on how to manage the fevers and ensure they kept eating something and how to kept their liquid intake up. I had been trapped at home with sick children for 5 days and had my Tuesday all planned – we needed food and my foster child’s social worker had insisted on us going to visit so I had every minute from 6am planned. Besides the one twin had been perfectly fine the day before, running around with the boys and fighting with her sister we knew she was on the mend.

All that changed when I went to see why she wasn’t out of bed yet. There she sat angelically paging through a book. “Come on girly, it’s up time.” I playfully scooped her up and plopped her on the floor, only to see to my horror her legs collapse under her. Thinking she was playing I stood her up again. Instantly my entire being drained of all feeling, empty with shock and fear I watched her try hold her body on wobbly legs that kept wanting to buckle. Once she managed to slightly walk she hobbled with knees bend holding herself up on furniture.

From there the day spiralled downwards, yes we still managed to get some food in the house and the forms signed with the social worker but by lunch time we were in a paediatricians rooms trying to decide what to do with the girls. As typical as life is by this time she was walking fine and the other’s fever had dropped. The paediatrician had one bed booked in the hospital, should he try find another for the other twin? Maybe they should go home and wait it out? Eventually fearing it may lead to meningitis he decided to treat them in hospital.

Even then the day seemed to be chaotically normal – everything just flowed, nothing seemed to seriously wrong, we were just being precautious. Besides the girls were smiling. Eventually the girls had had blood samples taken and were on drips. By 9pm dad and the kids had come and gone and I was desperate to sleep. Sleep didn’t however begin to hover till 11pm.

At 11:30pm I was being woken by the nurse to say a doctor needed to see me.  There sat the paediatrician, at midnight – wanting to speak with me. He had charts of numbers, long words and a thick file in front of him. My girls had only been here a few hours.  Suddenly I was very alone, very small and very empty. Not much made sense at that hour but I did hear that the virus had attacked their bone marrow, their white blood count was low, there was something wrong with their livers and that had we waited till the weekend they may have died.  That was not something I’d planned to hear on this average Tuesday.

Heading back to my sleeper couch bed, sleep eluded me for most of the night. Imagine. Imagine, imagine….. no, I wasn’t thinking that my girls may never have learned to read or that they may never have known about the world wars or that they may never have been able to recite the parts of an insects body or that they would never have had the opportunity to work out an algebraic problem. Imagine, imagine…  they had never had the chance to climb a mountain, or see a baby bird in a nest, we had never been able to look at another flower together again or dance crazy around the lounge, imagine we were never able to share another picnic tea reading poetry or they had never had the chance to snuggle on my lap to listen to just one more story. We would never again have run down a sand dune together, eyes shut, arms out flying into the unknown.

Small, alone and empty I lay there.  By God’s grace my special girls have been given another chance. Another chance to be alive. Another chance to truly live. So, no, Monday won’t see us “doing school” we’ll be baking heart shaped biscuits, take out their glass tea set and then read poetry whilst sitting in the garden watching the butterflies dance and listening to the birds share their song.

Being Mom Redefined

A mother holds up her child.

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When I stepped into maternity leave with our first child I boldly claimed I knew what Being Mom was all about: Discipline, education and preparing a child for their future and their place in the world. I valued outstanding report cards, first team positions and social recognition. Being Mom was something that required time spent developing a child into all you saw they were meant to become.

Today however Being Mom entailed watching my 9 year old son skip properly for the first time. To see the concentration etched upon his face. Then as he suddenly surprised himself by skipping with two feet together his face broke into pure glee but as he reached the 7th skip the rope tangled around his feet and he almost went flying and together we laughed and laughed. Turning around my five year old son tugged at my sleeve, “Mommy, look I build all the numbers.” There using maths cards he’d discovered that 55 was not merely a 5 and a 5 but rather a 50 and a 5. He proudly bounced around the kitchen as he pointed out all the different number he had built. My 14 year old then bounded into the kitchen begging us to listen to the piano piece she’s figured out all on her own. There with cords and notes floating around us I settled down with my 5 year old and he began reading one of his first sentences. So far today has been good.

The afternoon hurried past in a mixture of music and art lessons. One son played the xylophone for the first time whilst the other painted the most exquisite clay birds he had made – never mind he can’t stand touching paint. The three year old twins discovered that dice have dots representing numbers and that by throwing it alternatively and moving chess pieces around you can create the most glorious game – to which I still see no patterns or rules, but the screaks of delight confirmed that none were required.

Insisting on candles for dinner, making their carrot pieces and potatoes into mice upon their plates and arguing over who was to pray first was what Being Mom was all about today.

No one came first, or won a prize. I didn’t settle a business deal or even make any great meals but Being Mom today has allowed me to tuck in and kiss 5 little people goodnight with a heart so full and proud that I may as well have conquered the world.

Mommy on Leave

reading

Image by madelinetosh via Flickr

It never occurred to me that Mommy could take leave. Well not till my hubby presented me with a gift of a trip to visit a friend for 5 days. I was to leave the next week and travel by bus and spend the weekend lazing on the beach and drinking red wine. It took me a while to absorb and accept this gift and then a bit longer to stop worrying about the logistics. Hubby had it all sorted.

With much trepidation and apprehension I set off on my first lone venture. The trip there was long and a 2 hour wait for a tire to be repaired didn’t help. But I read a novel – cover to cover! My mind however had still not truly left home. What were the children doing now? Was granny coping? Did they like the gifts I had left for them to open each morning? And the faces they were busy building: adding the hair one day, eyes the next and so on until they were to add the smile the day I would return – was this working? Did they understand how long I would be gone for? Was my sweet, gentle hearted, middle boy ok? I had left my stuffed hedgehog in his care. Hope that cuddly comfort would help him sleep at night….

However somewhere between arriving at my friend after 9pm and chatting till well after 1am I shed a few layers of Mommyhood. Just for a while I could stop thinking about other people and what we’d have for breakfast. Just for a while I could not worry about my 3yr old’s fever my hubby had reported earlier in the evening. Just for a while I could sit and think about nothing but me.

As the days faded into swimming pools, ice-cream, beaches, red wine and late nights, flickers of: “wish my boy could see this” or “the kids would so love this beach” flashed across my mind – on the whole however I was entirely self indulgent and self absorbed. One could therefore concluded that for the first time in a decade this Mommy was officially on leave.

“Party On Mommy”

It’s 1:25pm and the party starts at 2pm. I still need to find my children let alone get them dressed, ready and spick and span for a Bob the Builder party starting in 35 minutes. Why does this always happen? I’ve known for two weeks that today at 2pm we had to be there, yet once again here we are trying to get ready – no wait I still haven’t found anyone to get ready.

Right one childwas playing rugby, another picking flowers and the other two were in the mulberry tree. (During which time they seemed to have lost most of their clothing) Note to self: Find missing clothes in the garden before it gets dark….   Right the eldest is going to a friend he’s got a jersey, forget the shoes – check – he can start locking the house and garage and strapping the others in the car. Surely he should be able to take the car out by now. Oh yes he’s still only 9, but maybe we should measure his legs sometime soon… focus – Mommy –  focus we have a party to get to.

Ok the twins are also going to play at friends – “No you can’t wear my 30 year old ballet tu-tu to go climb trees!” After we’ve searched through the entire wardrobe for an item of clothing a 3 year old and I can agree on I give up and turn once more to the dress up box. Fine, she can wear the frilly red dress marked 18-24 months. No it doesn’t button up but it does cover her pants – well enough to be with girls for the afternoon.

The present aaah… yes I did buy it, I was really organised I bought it last week… but… where did I put it? hhmmm A card!!!!

Breath … in …. out…. “Right someone make a card PLEASE.”

Ok almost there! “Girls go get in the car – no wait let’s brush your hair and aaaah – look at me … mulberry everywhere.” After much protesting their faces are fine, maybe no one will look at their feet!

Suddenly my 5 year old appears – “Mom I need the loo.” Oh my I’d forgotten all about him – the one going to the party! What a joke. He’s covered in mulberry, his legs are so muddied that they are actually brown and here he sits like a lord on the loo whilst the clock ticks!

Slowly I take a cloth and wipe his grubby face – at least they’ll know who he is when he arrives. (Even if the don’t recognise his legs.)

At this point an image floats into my mind. One long forgotten – an image of arriving at a friends party when I was probably 5. The entire day had been spent sitting around waiting to go to the party. We had bathed and washed our hair. Our hair then was brushed and had pretty clips and bobbles adoring it.  I had my favourite dress on. It was long and pink and had a petticoat and when I spun it twirled. The gift was wrapped beautifully and the purchased card sat perfectly in place. As we arrived I felt like a princess floating into a royal ball. How our mommies did it I’ll never know.

As I finally herd my mottly crew into the car and lock the house I think that at least once we arrive I can sit down and enjoy my desperately deserved cup of tea.  It’s then that I notice that although the kids are dressed – albeit nothing like royalty – and are all strapped in the car, my 5 year old clutching his proudly home created card – that Mommy doesn’t have a clue as to whether she brushed her hair or looked in a mirror herself and she definitely has no shoes.

Just a day in the life of Mommy.

Rain falling

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As I look around my kitchen this morning I shudder to what any stranger walking in would think. As I turn around I see play dough, orange skins, dirty dishes, workbooks, my laptop balanced on a corner flickering information on making paper from a mulberry tree – hmm interesting info but don’t think we’ll get to do that today… or ever… I see pencils and magnets scattering the floor, papers strewn across the kitchen table and three of our 5 little people scrambling on and under the table.

As I tune into the noise I hear “Mom I need an orange, Mom my sister has my crayon, Mom she drew on my page, Mom this mulberry paper is so cool, Mom I need  you to help me do this work….”  It’s raining outside – has been for the last 3 days and it’s predicted to rain for the next two. Suddenly I’m feeling overwhelmed and as the rain falls outside “I can’t do this” soaks through my skin. 

Yesterday I was sick in bed with a tummy bug so today everyone really needs me! We tried reading books earlier but the energy levels were through the roof. We’ve done some book work, we’ve done our maths and I’m not up to doing crafts today – I don’t feel like being Mommy right now! No, I’m not Super Mom. I’m just a mommy and right now I just want to escape! 

Pitter,patter, splash it’s still raining. I look outside and see my seedlings I bought at the garden show desperate to be planted. Pitter, patter, splash a good Mommy would never let her kids get soaked in the rain! Pitter, patter, splash they would all need to stay inside safe and warm.

Changing from my warm clothes into shorts I grab my raincoat, not taking time to find shoes I dash out into the garden. As an after thought I yell back, “It’s wet out here no one is to follow me!” As I work the soil with rain pelting down my back, my feet and hands covered in fresh, wet soil I hear the cries and chaos resonating inside the house. I see a face poke out into the rain and quickly send them trotting back indoors. Out here I am free to reconnect with the earth, my thoughts, God and life. 

As the last tomatoes and peppers are planted I know with satisfaction I have at least one job well done today. As the rain continues to pour onto these new seedlings they are receiving better nourishment than any tap water will ever give them. Cold and ready to return indoors I take one quick trip around the house to see my son’s new baby pigeons – that hatched while I was sick in bed yesterday. I’m just in time to see the mommy rearrange her feathers and an ugly chick wiggle his way back under her warm protection. So special.

Wet and now freezing yet rejuvenated and revitalised I can return to my orange peels and “Mom, Mom,Mom…” knowing that even if we spend the rest of the day watching movies I have at least got one job done well and I am content to just be Mommy and let the day go on as it pleases.

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