Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness Week šŸ˜

This week marks the annual Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness week….

If you are a regular follower of My Party of 5 Blog, you would know that my son was diagnosed last year with Tourette’s Syndrome. Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder where a person has both involuntary motor and vocal tics. There is no cure.  Some people grow out of it and some people unfortunately don’t and with age it can improve.  And while there are prescribed medications to help reduce the severity of the tics, there is nothing on the market that suppresses the tics completely. 

It’s been a long road to get to where we are today. It took 2 years for my son to be diagnosed and now 6 months down the track, we are still learning more and more about the condition. Each week sees a new tic and the art of patience and understanding has been learnt to its full potential by everyone who comes in contact with our boy. 

I’m writing this blog to help spread the word on a disorder that lacks knowledge and understanding. Growing up whenever Tourette’s was mentioned, the first thing you thought of were the people who shout obscene language at any given time. Thank you to movies, that is how Tourette’s is portrayed. Although some people with Tourette’s do have those kinds of vocal tics, it’s actually not as common as you think. The swearing part of Tourette’s is a substrand of the disorder, along with repeating what people say and repeating one self over and over again. It’s also a spectrum disorder so can range from mild to severe cases.

My 10 year old son Bailey, has a mild to moderate case. On his good days he can be very mild with the odd tic evident here and there but on a bad day he can constantly tic both motor and vocal all day. This has a lot to do with how tired he is, how fatigued his body is, if something is causing him to feel anxious or if something exciting is approaching.  Also a person with Tourette’s Syndrome usually always is diagnosed with one or more other disorders and for Bay he was diagnosed with Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder before he was diagnosed with Tourette’s. 

For a child or adult for that matter to live with Tourette’s Syndrome means they are living on an ever lasting roller coaster with many ups, downs and spinning twirls….and so are their families.  

When I stop and think about my boy, he brings me tears and goosebumps at how amazing he is. He gets on with life every day just like you and I do. He puts on a brave face and takes on what this world throws at him and turns it into success. He is a bright boy (particularly with maths) and does well at school, he plays percussion in the school band and he is a fantastic footballer, basketballer and athlete. 

He has this tremendous ability to be able to contain his tics and anxious and OCD behaviour at school, but this is quickly unleashed once he is back in his safe place…our home. But as his mum I can handle that. As long as he is doing well at school, maintaining friends and is happy, I can handle the rest! And between seeing a child psychologist monthly, attending group Tourette’s therapy sessions monthly, visiting a naturopath regularly and taking a variety of natural medications, all of this is assisting with allowing Bay to be the best he can be!

My son has Tourette’s Syndrome. He will tap everything in sight, shout out when you least expect it, repeat himself over and over again, repeat movie lines, tic for the majority of a snuggle but at the end of the day this brave young man is normal….just with tics!

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The Final Piece of the Puzzle!

Since my first born was a toddler I knew there was something different about him. His behaviour was always so challenging and he couldn’t handle his routine being changed. He would have melt down after melt down over the smallest of things and most days felt like I was living with a time bomb waiting to explode. For a long time I thought he was on the Autism Spectrum, but as he grew older his social skills never challenged him and he always fitted into wherever we went.

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He has always been the kind of child who could hold it together and be the best child imaginable at school or when visiting at other people’s places, but the minute he entered his safe environment which is his home or seeing us as his parents, he would lose his shit! As year after year has passed, we have spent so much time and effort into parenting our son by being strict, consistent, establishing rules and routines and I stress for a child like my son – consistent!

I never felt the need to seek help because his schooling was never affected and we were handling him fine. But then two years ago he developed a motor tic. After a visit to our GP, who wanted to investigate it as a ‘muscular’ problem, we spent 6 months taking him to a physiotherapist and chiropractor, but it was not getting any better and in that time he developed a vocal tic as well. It was at this point I knew it was time to seek advice from a paediatrician.

On our first visit, he was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD and we were told that in some cases a child’s anxiety can be so bad that it can cause a ‘nervous’ tic and it will go away within a few months. From there we went to a child psychologist to work on his anxiety and OCD issues, which was really good as we had a fantastic therapist, but I still felt like I wasn’t being heard! By this stage my son had presented with tics for 12 months and they weren’t getting any better only worse.

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Thankfully at one of our therapy appointments, just after we returned from our holiday to America, Bailey’s tics were so bad that our therapist finally thought what I’d been thinking for a while – his tics were more than anxiety related! She suggested that we needed to take Bay to a neurologist. The push for this was even more important when his tics were becoming more noticeable at school and starting to affect his school work. At this point our paediatrician was still convinced that the tics were anxiety related but agreed to refer Bay to a neurologist…this was back in February and last week was finally our appointment!

It was a loooong 8 months of waiting. As each month went by and even with therapy, Bay’s tics were going no where. They were constantly changing and the intensity of them was being heightened by fatigue, anxiety and excitement. When his tics first started I did a lot of research about tics and tic disorders and as time went by I was convinced that my son had Tourette Syndrome. Everything fitted with what he was doing and it was this article that I discovered, that had truly convinced me.

Then finally last week on Tuesday October 13th at midday, after being assessed by a neurologist and going over his history, the final piece to the puzzle of my boy who we’ve been trying to solve for many years was answered – Bailey has Tourette Syndrome. Although it deeply saddens me, I was more relieved that we walked away with an answer to his problems, I would have been more angry if we were told to come back for a reassessment in 6 months!

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We left the hospital that day feeling positive that we knew what we were dealing with now and after 2 years of going back and forth to specialist appointments, our son finally has some understanding of what is wrong with him. I went into robot mode for a few days and just did what I had to do. Contacted the school, had meetings with his teacher and deputy, organised therapy for the rest of this year and it wasn’t until I was running one morning that it really hit me. As I was pounding the pavement all that kept going through my mind was “shit, I can’t believe my son has Tourette’s!” But I kept telling myself he will be fine and we’ve got this!

Most days none of us think twice about it all and we just do, as we’ve been dealing with it for so long, but some days are harder than others. Just recently Bay has had moments himself where he’s struggling with it all and has asked if we can rip the tics out of him…these moments break my heart into a million pieces;( I never show him how much it pains me to see him like this, I just be there to hold and comfort him and tell him he is stronger than any child I know and that he will get through this.

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We have consciously made sure we have kept the communication very open with Bailey so he knows exactly what he is dealing with and we’ve also told Sienna everything so she has a better understand too. This has been the best thing and has really bought us even closer together as a family. I’m just so proud of how our children are handling this situation – so brave, so mature! This is something that we will live with possibly forever and it is up to us to provide Bay with whatever we have too, to make life easier while living with Tourette syndrome.

This diagnosis doesn’t change anything, he’s still our beautiful boy, he’s still a typical 9-year-old boy that annoys the crap out of his sisters and drives me to run a lot of kilometres each week, but I love him to death and wouldn’t have it any other way. He is and will always be bright and this was evident at his parent-teacher interview last week. Imagine being in class all day, trying not to tic and still having to pay attention and complete school work – I couldn’t imagine! And I’m so happy that he has his sport to release all that built up anxiety and energy. He is currently doing sprint training twice a week and is thriving!

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Where to from here…
We started therapy last week at the Kooky Kid Clinic which is where we will be going fortnightly for one on one appointments and monthly for Tourette Syndrome group sessions, with other children and parents who live our life. We have been taking Bay to a naturopath this past month and at this stage we are trying to do everything natural before we think it’s time for any medication….we’ll know when the time is right for this! Our aim is to have Bay leading his normal life and be happy in his own skin. Happiness and confidence goes such a long way and this is all we want for him.

This whole experience has shown me how strong we really are as a team. We only have our children’s best interest at heart and we weren’t going to give up until we got an answer. We really hate that our son has to live with this challenge everyday of his life, but we know that he will come out a stronger and better person with amazing empathy in the end. It’s not the end of the world as there is always people way worse off than you!

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Like always, we relish in the highs and hold on during the lows and when we see our boy struggling with his tics, we will make sure that we are there for him. As his mum, I promise to always be there to catch him when he’s falling – although he would squash me now as he is a giant lol!

Time is of the Essence!

Like sand through the hour-glass…

Does anyone else feel like your days are always under the pump with each second, minute and hour all so precious, in order for your day to be orchestrated just right, so everything you need to get done in a day actually gets done! I know that’s exactly my life. I spend my day clock watching, asking myself ‘what’s the time?!?’. Time for work, time for school, time for appointments, time for training, time for the kids sport, time for my run, time for a function, time to prepare meals, time to pick up kids – there are days where I feel like I don’t have time to breathe! I feel like I’m constantly just behind that sand in the hour-glass and the moments where I feel like I’m in front, some hurdle is put in my way and I’m back behind it again.

From the minute I wake to the minute I sleep at night, each hour is almost planned out with something that has to be done. Time is constantly of the essence and once I reach the end of each school term I feel mostly exhausted from all the planning and organising that is put in to our life staying on track or should I say on time! This thing called time is going so bloody fast! How is it already less than 3 months to Christmas!!!!

With the craziness of what this year has been and how fast it’s gone, I made a promise to myself that these last school holidays would not be about time and I’m happy to say this promise was kept! We had the best two weeks – the September school holidays are always my favourite! Each day was fun, slow-paced, no timelines, just get ready when we want, leave when we want and go home when we want! It was bliss! It was the time the kids and I really needed. We even managed some time as a family with Kane! We covered almost everything – theme parks, playgrounds, movies, shopping, baking, swimming, the beach and lots of relaxing! The kids were happy, well-behavedĀ and got along so nicely!

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School holidays is such precious time for us now that both Saturday and Sundays are consumed by the kid’s sport through the winter months of the year! Thank goodness sport breaks for the holidays. Now that we are down to only 4 days of sport a week and our Sundays are finally free, we can cruise a little on the weekends and it leaves more time to hang together and socialise with family and friends – that’s what life is about!

After a dreadful third term, I was determined to start this term being the most positive I could be, hoping that would set the vibe for the term. It did start off much better than last term and I’ve been on time to everything so far, but as each day went by this week and the anticipation of getting back into routine with a child who suffers anxiety, the week became hard. I live in hope that this will settle a lot quicker than last term though. But for now, on days where the going is getting tough, I will look back at all the beautiful photos that captured our awesome holiday together!

Time is really of the essence for me now. The coming weeks are so precious as this is the last term that I will have a child home with me. With my baby starting prep next year, this will be my 10th and final year of having a side kick on my days off….whatever will I do?!?! I’m so use to stopping and starting jobs, having someone to ‘help’ me with my chores. I’m so use to having someone to chat with (whetherĀ I’m in the mood or not heheheheh), all I know is that it’s going to be extremely quiet!!!!! So as the time gets closer to being on my own, I will be relishing in my time with my baby girl and hoping that this time passes by steadily!

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Here’s to an awesome final school term….bring on summer and the festive season!!!!

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Time to Shine!

I love writing a blog that has a happy ending and this one does šŸ˜‰……

Almost three years ago when my middle baby started prep she was shy, quiet, reserved and suffered separation anxiety. Sienna (aka Sie Sie) was the little girl who never caused any harm, never caused any commotion and was the one who would always be the peace keeper to make everyone else happy. She was the little girl who was too shy to talk to strangers. She was the little girl who hid behind my leg if someone tried to engage in a conversation. She was the little girl who would be pushed around in the toddler area of a play ground but would never make waves and would go to another area to play. She’s always been bright but lacked confidence in her own ability, and her chance to shine was always crippled by that. But that was then…..

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Over the past few years while she’s been at school, she has been so very lucky to have the most amazing educators who have not only nurtured her learning, but have never given up on her when it comes to her being confident. From prep to now (end of grade 2), her walls that she has built so strong around her, have been chipped away and knocked down bit by bit, layer by layer. I’m so happy to now say that my daughter who I’ve always worried about where all of this would end up, is on top of her world! She now oozes with confidence, challenges herself at school with new concepts and tasks and is reaping the rewards.

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Only a few weeks ago Sie Sie received an award for moving up 6 levels in her reading just in a couple of months. To say I’m proud is an understatement. I knew she had it in her, but she has always lacked confidence with her reading, but now this boost has paved the way for her. Living with a brother that is very confident (almost too confident) has to be hard when you’re battling a lack of confidence yourself and it sure doesn’t help when her little 4-year-old sister corrects her and answers questions for her all the time.

I think it’s safe to say Sienna has found her voice in her home and in her school life. She is no longer the girl who hides behind us, nor is she the girl who is shy and softly spoken. She is funny, charismatic, fearless and very mature. She stands up for herself and is very caring for her peers who struggle with things that other children take for granted. She is CONFIDENT in her own skin.

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This has also been evident with her sporting achievements this year. Sienna started playing basketball at the beginning of this year when she was only 6 and a half. After one match of playing in under 8s, she was asked to play in the under 10 mixed division. She had such a wonderful first season and was asked to play in the under 11 girls this season. This also followed with receiving a place in the under 12 girls rep team, but due to only being 7 and not even playing for a year yet, we thought it would be best to wait for rep basketball until she is a little older. We get so much enjoyment out of watching her shine in her chosen sport and her infectious smiles and giggles on court are beautiful. This girl has come so far it makes my heart beat with pride!

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So to all the mummas out there who worry about their quiet achieves who lack confidence, be patient and try not to worry. This experience for me has shown me that all children develop in their own way and in their own time. The solution to this is TIME. Children shine when they are ready to let down their walls of security. For some it’s easier thanĀ others. All we can do is encourage and support them and be there to celebrate their success. This year sure has been my daughter’s time to shine and what a wonderful feeling it’s been for us all! All I can say, there is hope for my littlest girl yet lol!

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A Complete 360….

You often hear “if only time stood still!” I’ve been thinking that so much of late. As each week passes this year, I am getting closer and closer to having my last baby go to school. The shear thought of this makes me feel sick to my core. I still remember that feeling when Bailey and Sienna started school, but I always had another child to keep me busy so I didn’t have time to really feel those raw emotions. 10 years of having babies, watching them grow and develop into little preppies and once Mia starts prep next year, my life will bring a whole new world!

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Last week I saw a snapshot of what my life will be like next year when I drop all three kids off at school. For the first time since before I became a mum, I dropped Mia at mum’s placeĀ for some much needed nanny and Mia time (requested by both parties) and then went to the shops. I met up with a girlfriend, we shopped, had morning tea and ended my expedition with an hour massage. 5 hours to myself on a school day – unheard of – and obviously it’s going to be like this everyday!!! I’m not going to lie – I had a great day, but was bursting for Mimi cuddles by the time I picked her up!

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Mia was such hard work last year. There were times when I questioned – how will I ever get through to her going to Prep and still be sane?!?! But since returning from our trip to the States, turning 4 and starting preschool, she has matured so much and her smart and funny character is the highlight of my day. We have so much fun together and our conversations are amazing. She is my mini me, my shadow, the one who I can turn to when the two older ones come home cranky from a big day at school…I think I’ll be spending a lot of time talking to our dog Sonny next year lol!

There will be a lot of adjusting to begin with, but I know I will learn to enjoy time to myself again. I can’t believe my life has almost done a full 360!!! I will go from “mum this and mum that” to silence. Pushing a pram or holding a little hand to strolling through the shops and leaving without indigestion from shoving my lunch down, before needing to go home for day time naps. My time will be able to be spent a lot more effectively fitting in many more jobs as I’ll be able to be a lot more efficient – it’ll be weird finishing a job without stopping 10 times lol!

I’ve already starting putting a few things in place that’ll I’ll be working on from next year. It’s amazing how many options you’re faced with once you’ve been granted time. I was only saying to one of my friends last week – “how can anyone be bored in life – the options are endless!!!!” Some of my options are: studying my masters, starting a fashion blog, relief teaching in my kid’s school, planning our next trip to the States, moving house and of course working on my next running adventure!! I don’t think I’ll ever find myself lost in the silence of all my children at school!

It’s been a long 10 years with the constant health issues all three kids have presented with, but the light at the end if this tunnel is getting brighter as each year passes which is fantastic!! We are getting to such a great place in our lives with the kids. They all so independent and helpful now, I actually get to spend more quality time with them as the cores around the house are now done by everyone! Yesterday was a classic example of this…before we went to basketball everyone was given a part of the house to tidy up and within 5 mins the house was spotless. The girls also cleaned out the car yesterday while Bay did his project and I pottered around doing other chores…a complete 360!!!!

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Looking back over the years I’ve been lucky enough to be at home with my babies, they will always go down as the greatest years of my life. They haven’t been perfect. They have been hard at times and full of hurdles that together as a party of 5 we have jumped hand in hand together. But one thing is for sure, I’ve loved every moment and will always miss this time for the rest of my life.

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My aim has always been to start each day fresh and always put one foot forward in front of the other. Some days this has been simple and other days this has been a drag. But I can honestly say with each step forward I’ve definitely climbed a huge mountain and as I look back at the mountain I’ve climbed, I’m very proud of what has been accomplished. I now will look forward to the new phase of my life and can’t wait to experience the ‘older’ years with my babies!

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Have Courage….Be Kind!

This week has been a week to reflect on life and what it has to offer. It’s been a week of devastating news left right and centre and with celebrating the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, the title of this blog couldn’t be more fitting!

As I sat and watched my childhood favourite story Cinderella on Wednesday with my little girl and mum, the moral and values of this story are ones that every human should be exposed to…have courage, be kind! If only we all did this more readily. It made me stop and reflect as a parent – am I showing my own children this?!? I think I do? Do I use these words?!? Not enough. And it’s my job as their mother, to not only model this behaviour, but emerge them in this language.

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I find myself using the words brave and nice a lot, but my new words now will be courageous and kind. If only every child knew what this looked like and felt like, I believe there would be less crime and hatred in this world. I believe if we were more kind to each other, this would create a ripple effect and filter through as a common denominator. I believe in pay it forward…be kind to someone, that person would be kind to someone else….

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You only have to read some of the awful things that are evident on social media to realise how much hatred is in this world. The biggest one that sticks in my mind lately is the lady that received an anonymous letter from some of her “Facebook friends” letting her know that they were sick of seeing pictures of her baby daughter in their newsfeed?!? What the!!! Who does that? This is an example of 1. No self-control, 2. No tolerance, 3. Too much time to waste and 3. It’s down right mean!!!! The good old saying ‘if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything’ needs to be applied a lot more these days.

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If we were more kind to each other, then just maybe the word “bullying” would start to vanish from the school yard and instead children would have their minds more free to be courageous! Courageous – ?!?! Never give up, strive for your best, have a go even when the odds are against you! Too often you see people just give up these days! When the going gets tough so often you see people just throw their hands up in the air and say “whatever!” ?!?! When and how did this become such a common behaviour?!?!

Anzac Day, is one of those times of the year where you hear non stop courageous stories of the brave men and women who fought for our country to allow us the life we have today…they never gave up! This is also evident in the many men and women who bravely take on a position in any of our defence forces to this day! It was so nice to march with our children for the first time on Anzac Day this year. They proudly wore their grandfather’s medals and asked many questions along the way. If this is one way to help them strive to be their best and learn about being courageous, then it’s definitely worth it.

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I’m so lucky to have seen many people in my life who have been courageous and display courage everyday of their life. For me at the moment, knowing someone who is fighting a health battle with courage are the ones that I hold with the up most respect. My nana will always be one of the most courageous people I’ve met. Watching her and how she handled having Parkinson’s disease, without complaints, but still being able to enjoy the small things in life right up until she was unable to, this makes me want to be the best I can be and never give up!

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Have courage…be kind! It starts from us as parents. We need to believe these words before we can teach our children to do so. If Cinderella can love and live happily ever after, after the tragedies she endured, then I think it’s fair to say we can all try to be more kind and courageous! Cinderella may be a fictional character, but I’m sure we all know a Cinderella…for me it’s my beloved nana!

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Whatever Will I Do?!?!

From the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed at night, my day is full of busyness and endless parenting responsibilities. I feed kids, prepare them for school, fill out forms for school, make and take them to appointments. I take them to school, pick them up from school, help them with homework, cook dinner, make sure the house is clean, grocery shop, wash our clothes, get them to their extra curricular activities and teach two days a week! Each day is different with the intension of the same outcome – making sure we’re happy!

I love my life, I really do. Some days are hard, some days are simple, some days I wouldn’t want to repeat, but I truly feel blessed for what I have! I’m so use to running around like a chook with its head cut off. I’m so use to having someone hanging off me or calling out mum for the 100th time that day. There are moments where I get so tired I just want 5 minutes of peace and I do get that – at night from 7.30 when all kids are asleep that is my time of peace! And of course every kilometre I run helps me to regain and regather my thoughts to start my day. I’m so use to going and going and going I find it hard to STOP!

Then when I get the chance to stop and do something for myself, I flounder. I sit, think and wonder “what are the kids doing?!?” I wander around looking at things the kids would like. As I write this blog I’m on MY OWN on a plane to Melbourne for two hours, where I will spend the next 48 hours without one of my children in the same state as I let alone next to me. Whatever will I do?!? Mums always wish for this time and I don’t know about you but when I’m given it, I struggle to be without my children. After a day at work I can’t wait to get home to the kids!!

It’s been a while since I went away by myself, but this time I feel different and I think it’s because the kids are all that bit older. Normally I start to feel anxious the day before and the morning of leaving them. In the past I’ve almost talked myself out of doing this type of thing and it’s always my husband saying “just go and enjoy yourself!” Well there was no anxiety this time and for the first time ever I was just excited!!!!…..

I’m now back on the plane and I must say although we’ve had a fabulous weekend, I’m extremely excited to have my babies wrap their arms around me. I’ve missed their sweet little kisses and I love yous. I’ve missed the way they make me laugh and our insightful conversations. I know they’ve been loved and nurtured by their father all weekend, but I have wondered…”I wonder what the girl’s hair looks like?!?” lol!

This weekend has been a huge confidence booster for me when it comes to taking time out for myself. I never felt selfish and I didn’t feel less about myself as a mother. We are allowed to have these moments and not feel guilty and what a moment it was! The main reason for this weekend was to see Dirty Dancing. It was our birthday present from mum and dad – the best birthday present ever! The show was unbelievably amazing. Just like the movie – music, lines, costumes and all. And Johnny…well lets just say we had Hungry Eyes for him!

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After the show we went to the crown casino and ate the most amazing buffet. 2 hours of food, chatting and laughing – what more could a girl want and with the most amazing women…my mum, sisters and aunty. No one had any luck on the gambling side, but that’s ok:)!

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This morning we were up and out early so we could head back into the city to compete in the Run for Kids 5.4km race. I’ve been running for 3 and a half years now and this was my first official event. My aim was to run 5k in sub 24 minutes. This was no easy feat as I battled hundreds and hundreds of people, prams, scooters, bottle neck hills and drink stations, but to my excitement I reached 5km in 23.56 and ran the total course of 5.4km in 24.42…what a thrill!!!! This run also brought home how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children. Many people competed in this event today to honour their loved ones. It was quite emotional seeing photos and dates printed on their shirts in remembrance of their babies.

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Our last stop for the day was the always famous Queen Victoria Markets. I must say they aren’t as good as they use to be and I only walked away with a bracelet and something for the kids…my favourite part was my corn on the cob:/ Next Melbourne trip WILL involve a lot more shopping:)

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Melbourne is a great place to visit and we were able to see quite a bit of the city this weekend. I’ve been many times, but it’s always great to see new places and try new things. And of course the main reason we go is to see my beautiful sister and her family. It’s always great to see them as it’s been quite a while since we have! And to top the weekend off the weather was amazing! Cold mornings and nights but sun shining days!

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As I’m half an hour off landing I will enjoy this last moment of time to myself. It has been nice to sleep more peacefully, toilet and shower without anyone barging in, finish a conversation and eat without getting indigestion. It’s been a full on start to this year and this weekend is something I’ve needed to recoup and move forward. I’m all of that now and with only 2 weeks until school holidays I’m ready – lets do this babies and then we have 2 weeks together!

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Mumma Duck and her Three Little Helpful Ducklings!

Who can believe two weeks of school is done and dusted already!!! If this is any indication of how fast the year is going to go, we’ll be putting up the Christmas tree before we know it!!!

How is the hustle and bustle of the school term going for you so far?

Now that we have the first full week under our belts, we are full steam ahead with school and even sport starting as well! From next week we will have something on every day between work, sport and Bailey’s therapy…did someone say holiday?!? What holiday? Feels like 6 months ago we were OS – take me back PLEASE!!!!

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20150208-190451.jpg But what would life be if our children didn’t engage in extra curricular activities?!? I know the answer to that lol but it’s so vital for their development and wouldn’t have it any other way!

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20150208-190620.jpg Now that the kids are another year older and our lives are busier than ever, my expectations of them this year has risen to a whole new level! I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about giving the kids chores and teaching them to be more responsible. While this worked for a while, with Sienna in prep that year, it proved to be too hard and she was completely exhausted and Bay spent his time asking why do I if Sienna doesn’t?!? Cutting them some slack, I stipulated one rule – “no jobs, means no pocket-money, but when I ask you to do something you do it without backchat or arguing!” (This has been a rule since they were toddling anyway)! This has worked well for the past couple of years, but I’ve now upped the anti!!!

During our 7 weeks holiday together, they were constantly reminded and warned how things would be this year. With Mia starting preschool and having them all going somewhere the days I work, means less for my mum to help out with and more for us to be responsible for. We’ve negotiated 5 jobs each with the kids and Mia has 2 jobs and so far our routine is working well. If the jobs have been done well without constant reminders, Bailey and Sienna receive $5 a week and Mia receives a gold coin!

Bailey’s Jobs:

*make your bed

*get clothes ready for school

*take washing off the line

*give the dog water

*take the bins out

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*make your bed

*get clothes ready for school

*check the mail

*feed the dog

*set the table

20150208-190858.jpg Mia’s Job’s: *make your bed

*empty the bins

20150208-191005.jpg Each job helps me immensely in the running of the house from day-to-day, week to week, especially on my work days! And of course the rule of do what I ask without arguing is an everlasting rule for everyone!! I’m really proud of how we work as a team. We always discuss with the kids how important it is for us to work together for our busy life to be. The kids are managing their jobs really well and even doing most of them without being reminded!

I often take the time to look around and watch the day unfold, particularly our morning routine and it’s great to see my little ducklings being so helpful and following in the footsteps of their mumma duck!

I’m really seeing my hard work as a parent pay off as of late and it’s really worth putting in the effort! I know its early days yet and as the term goes by and the kids become tired and more busy, it’s not going to be all roses. But like I always do each and everyday of my parenting life, I will enjoy the highs and hold on tight and not give up on the lows!
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Untying of the Knot!

The time has arrived. After being home for the past 4 years and tied to either myself or my mum’sĀ apron string, Mia’s knot has been untied and she is now officially a preschooler!

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This moment has been discussed and prepared for over the past few months and although we knew it had to happen, it always leaves me with an empty and sad feeling. The thought of Mia being in the care of someone unfamiliar to her and the fact that she is my baby and the last one to enter the world of education, was always going to leave me feeling an overwhelming sense of emotions.

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For the past 4 years, it’s been mum and I nurturing and caring for Mia. We’ve been the ones to teach her numbers, colours and shapes. We have been the ones to encourage her to be independent, give her cuddles and kisses when she is sick, reassure her when she is scared. We’ve read millions of books, sung a trillion of songs and been there to wipe her tears when she’s fallen or become overwhelmed by her fears. We have, WE have!!!

For me this isn’t the end of this road. I’m still lucky enough for Mia to go to preschool the two days I work and spend the rest of the week at home doing what we love to do best – hang out together!! But for my mum, this is the end of the road for her baby caring days. For 14 years mum has looked after each grandchild, one by one until they reach their preschool age…Mia is the last grandchild to do this! What a huge end of an era. My sisters and I were so blessed to have our mother by our side until we went to school…our children have also been blessed to have their nanny for the same time! I thank my mother from the bottom of my heart for being there for my children while I’ve worked. Mum has spent my part-time working days nurturing and educating my children just as I would. It’s been so comforting while my babies have been little to know they’ve had the next best thing to their mumma when I haven’t been there…nanny you are one in a million!!

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And so Mia’s first week of preschool is over and done with already and she’s about to start her second week! She did a lot better than I thought she would do and am very proud of her. There were tears upon drop off and she was scared and apprehensive particularly on the first day, but on her second day she was an active participant in her class. She is currently experiencing separation anxiety like her big sister, but she is letting herself embrace the life of a preschooler a lot sooner than Sienna did.

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Having already gone through separation anxiety with Sienna, I’m not as worried this time. I know from experience that Mia will settle. It just takes time. I know that she has an awesome teacher and staff at her centre that nurture her and make her feel safe which makes me feel better. I’m certainly riding the karma train as I did this to my mum lol! Turning 4 next month is a big step in a little person’s life! Since coming back from America, we’ve seen a huge shift in Mia’s confidence and independence and she has already been telling me that she is 4 now lol! But she’s still young and innocent. She still has meltdowns when she is extremely tired, is as stubborn as a mule and has her own Mia idiosyncrasies, but she’s socially engaging and developing like she should which makes me one happy mumma!

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So with the new school year officially starting on Tuesday, the knot for everyone will be untied. Apart from me working 3 days last week, the kids have been by my side for 7 weeks. Bay is keen to go back to school but my little separation anxiety baby is already telling me she is going to miss me! I know how she feels, it was hard to leave them last week, especially after our amazing holiday!! But everyone is ready. All books are covered, bags are packed, uniforms have been tried on and ready to go. This year will be a year where we stand on our two feet and not rely on mum as much. This will be a new challenge for everyone. But we WILL make it work – provided we work together as a party of 5! It really is the year of untying of many knots….!!

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Here’s to a fantastic school year!!!

The Start of a New Era…

9 years. That’s 468 weeks, 3287 days and 78 888 hours that have passed and in that time we have had a child sleeping in our cot. Friday night was the last time that our 14-year-old cot (originally it was my nephews) was to be slept in at our home.

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It’s been a long time coming and was something that I planned on doing last year, but something always got in the way – it was probably mostly me not letting go of my baby making days. I’ve loved every minute of having my 3 babies. From pregnancy to birthing to brest feeding and beyond, I would do it all over again in a heart beat! When I said goodnight to Mia for the last time in her cot, my heart broke a little. I love my life that we lead now and where we are at, but a part of me will always want just one more….

When I was younger and watching my sister and people older than I having babies, I couldn’t wait for that part of my life to start!! I still remember the day Kane and I decided to start a family – absolute joy and excitement! I wasn’t scared or apprehensive at all. I just wanted to be a mum. Now 9 years, a miscarriage and 3 beautiful babies later, the door to having babies is officially closed (and padlocked as my husband would say lol) now that our cot has been dismantled and given away for good!

Our baby days have been full of sloppy kisses, gorgeous giggles and an endless amount of milestones. We’ve had many ups and downs with the kid’s health, but it teaches you so many things in life and for me becoming a mum has made me a better person. It’s taught me how to love unconditionally, it’s improved my patience (most of the time), it’s built me a stronger character to handle things that I wouldn’t in the past! It’s put pressure on our marriage at times, but together we always work past this and end up stronger!

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I’ve been spending some time while on holidays, looking through photos from when the kids were all little and babies. My gosh they’ve grown. They’ve developed not only physically and mentally, but they have become independent and have opinions (that aren’t always needed to be heard lol), they are really starting to enter the next phase in life!

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Yesterday morning was ‘D’ day!! Kane picked up the girls bunks that I ordered through the week after work on Friday, so there was no turning back. Plus the timing couldn’t be more prefect. Bailey needs his own space desperately and the girls are so happy to be sharing. And Mia, she has no remorse about saying goodbye to her cot lol! She has spent the last 4 weeks while we were away sleeping in a bed so she is so happy to be finally sleeping in her big girl bed!

I’m really happy so far with how their rooms are looking. I still have along way to go to having them finished and exactly right, but we’ll get there. This year is about decluttering my life of things that don’t serve a purpose to me or us anymore. But there are some things I’ll never be able to let go of – that’s what special boxes are for:)

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I’m not going to let myself be sad that my baby days are over. Instead I’m going to embrace the phase of our life that we are at and always look back at my baby days as some of the best days of my life. I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to experience pregnancy, natural birthing and brest feeding 3 times in my life time and will always be grateful for that.

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Now to really put my big girl pants on tomorrow and be ready to send my baby girl to pre school for the very first time…..;(