Monday, April 26, 2010
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
Carly over at http://early-childhood-resources.com/ asked to do a guest post and talk about becoming a parent. Check out her site, some amazing ideas, suggestions and advice. Go on!
There are some people out there who make plans. And then they go ahead and stick to those plans and all is peachy.
Not me. It seems every time I have even entertained the idea of sticking to a plan, the Universe has given me the giant forks and basically said to me “Not on my watch Sunshine!!”
But you know what? If what I’ve got right now is an indication of plans can go awry, then that’s ok. Because with three kids, a mortgage, a Bunnings addicted husband and the odd chance to pee in peace, I feel like life is pretty sweet.
When Carly asked me to do this guest post and talk about my journey on my way to becoming a parent, I was stumped at first. My eldest is now ten, my youngest three and the middle one, eight. I can say, with all sincerity and without meaning to use a well worn pun that it’s all happened in the blink of an eye.
It seemed like one minute, we were spending every waking moment consumed with choosing the right cot and change table, and the next, neck deep in spelling bees and Justin Bieber.
And when you start that journey from single person to parent, it doesn’t matter what you’ve read, who you have spoken to and what you think you know, you will still bring that baby home from the hospital and wonder out loud “What the fuck do we do now?”
I was 23 when I first got pregnant and although the church was booked and the wedding dress purchased, we didn’t quite make it. Instead, we pulled our wedding forward and got married on the rainiest day in over 16 years. I was 5 months pregnant. We had lived together for just over a year, yet didn’t own our own house and wouldn’t anytime soon.
So, I know, there are lot of people out there, who put off having a family because they want it all to be in place. You know, the career, the house, the finances etc. I can tell you right now, if we had waited for all that, we would still be childless today.
And to be honest, it was a massive shock to our system. One minute our lives were all about doing what we wanted, when we wanted and sleeping in, the next it was about the time between feeds, mastitis and controlled crying. I remember the best bit of advice I received was, “Don’t expect much from yourself in the first 3 months”. Hell, if you make it out of your Pyjamas before dinner time, good for you. If you make it to shops and mop your floor, declare a public holiday because you are a bloody legend.
And look, our first child was textbook. Of course we didn’t know this at the time, but when number two came around with all kinds of feeding and sleeping problems, we became well aware of our previous good fortune. After Sam, our middle child had literally not slept more than 4 hours at a stretch for nearly two years, I sought help. Why did it take me that long? Pride? Exhaustion? I honestly can’t tell you, I guess, like the rest of my life, I thought I could just muddle my way through it. Turns out I couldn’t and learning a few sleeping techniques virtually saved my life and if I’m honest, my marriage. Such was our level of exhaustion.
And the baby stage is only the beginning. Next you have the toddler years. Again, the first two, once we sorted a few things out with Sam were fine. Not so with number three. Jack, often referred to as Hurricane Jack is destruction and an unbridled challenge on two legs. He is just damn hard work. There are tantrums, there is defiance and it does not matter what I do, not a great deal deters him. So that’s where I’m at right now. Finding the best strategy to outwit a three year old.
And then of course, Sam has Aspergers. We always knew Sam was a little different. But he wasn’t different in a bad way. He was incredibly well behaved and loving and just well, easy. He has a great wit and an infectious way about him. At school though, if he’s not learning his ABC’s and melting down because his hat wasn’t packed in his bag, infectious wit means jack. So we were pulled aside and after a little while, well a long while, my husband and I got over ourselves and realised the best way to help Sam was to acknowledge his condition and do our best to help him. He goes to a fantastic school that has a dedicated Special Education Unit so he can attend mainstream school and attend the unit when necessary. He also gets a full time teacher to be with him ALL DAY LONG. I’m realistic to know that life will often be a challenge for Sam, but show me a person who doesn’t face a challenge now and then.
I guess you never think for a second anything other than the norm will affect you as a family. Again, the best laid plans.....
And right now I’m not entirely sure I’ve shared any new information about parenting or taught any potential parents anything they didn’t already know. My best advice is to go with the flow, enjoy the ride and only buy stuff that can be wiped off with a chux and some gumption.