Never Judge a Book by its Cover!

8 years ago when I gave birth to my beautiful ‘big’ baby boy and I became a mum for the very first time, I was calm, relaxed, the happiest I’d ever felt. I didn’t have a care in the world as my baby boy was such an amazing baby who fed and slept so peacefully…little did we know the ride we were in for!

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Meet our baby boy…his name is Bailey, he is 8 years old and on Tuesday he was formally diagnosed with anxiety! I know some of you that know Bailey would be thinking really?? I guess you can never judge a book by its cover!

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Anxiety…this word is tossed around so frequently now. It worries me that so many people in this world suffer mental health disorders and as someone who doesn’t, I’m sad for them as it stops them from enjoying some of the most precious things in life and leaves them feeling like they constantly have a monkey on their back!

Since the age of 18 months, Bailey has always been hard work. As a special education teacher, like my mother would say ‘you know too much’, I have always thought Bailey presented with a lot of ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) tendencies. He has always had major meltdowns when things don’t go his way, he doesn’t cope well with sudden change, he obsesses over particularly things, he can be highly emotional and sensitive, he worries over specific things, he’s sensitive to certain materials, he needs time to process information, but has never had any issues socially.

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By the time he reached school age I knew it was going to be the crossroads of knowing whether to take him to a paediatrician or not. I held off taking it any further as he has never struggled in any area at school. He has always fitted in well and been the best behaved child. He has the ability to keep it together when he has to and loses his s$&t when he gets home.

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I feel for parents who don’t have the necessary skills to cope with children who present with challenging behaviours. I am so grateful for my experience that I’ve gained from teaching, this has helped me immensely over the years. I remember having many days where I felt so alone and trapped in a bubble. Even though I knew what I was dealing with and how to deal with it, it’s so different when the shoe is on the other foot. Being a teacher to children with special needs is one thing, but being the mother is a whole new ball game!

Life with Bailey leaves us leading such a rollercoaster ride, there are so many ups and downs in our days. We always start each day fresh and we know the type of day it’s going to be right from the moment he wakes up. He can go days and be fantastic and then it only takes a late night, lack of sleep or a virus and he tires so quickly that he loses his ability to rationalise situations. He then becomes very oppositional and loses all inhibitions at his worst.

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Our recent hurdle we’ve hit, which is what lead us to taking things further and seeing a paediatrician, is Bailey has developed a nervous twitch or what is called a tic. He has both a motor and vocal tic which can be so severe at times it’s quite distressing to see. I knew straight away this had taken his anxiety to a new level and felt that it was time to get him the help that he needed. This all started in conjunction with getting lost at the Ekka’s baby animal petting zoo last August. Over time things have manifested and spiralled to this point.

When I walked through the paediatrician’s door on Tuesday I thought to myself…”8 years it’s taken, I was wondering how long it would take to get here!” I went in with my 4 pages of notes (not a teacher at all lol) and felt so at ease about everything as the doctor we saw was amazing. I highly recommend Dr Anita Cohn at the Mater Hospital. She was very informative and straight to the point. She spoke about treatments and what would be best for Bailey.

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Our plan for the near future is to get Bay the help he needs to deal with his anxiety. In terms of his tics, at this stage we are treating the underlying issue or the cause of them (anxiety) therefore Bay will start seeing a child psychologist in two weeks time. This will be an ongoing thing until we resolve some issues. We are back to our paediatrician in march for a review!

It’s been such a long road to get to this point in time. It’s been a huge learning curve for everyone who is involved in Bailey’s life on a daily basis. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing, loving and influential people who no one has ever made Bay feel less about himself.

Admitting there is something wrong with your child isn’t easy and then taking the next step to get help can sometimes be just as hard. But I urge anyone of you who is reading this post, if you know that your little person may need help, do everyone a favour and ask. We are our children’s advocate and it’s up to us to make sure our babies, who we carried and nurtured into this world, are equipped with the skills to cope in this big bad world!

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My advice for anyone who is living the same life…enjoy the highs and hold on tight during the lows….remember with a low there always comes a high. Be consistent, follow through and always talk through a situation once your child has calmed down. Reassure them they are loved and ok. Encourage them to try new thing and provide challenges for them. Don’t stress, keep calm as they feed off whatever mood you’re in. Be there to pick up the pieces and give them that hug that they so desire once the anxiety goes from verbal diarrhea to a sobbing mess.

In saying all of this, we as parents are only human – we have moments where our tiredness gets the better of us, we may feel sick or hormonal! I’m the first to admit I’m not parent of year and make my fair share of mistakes. Everything is easier said then done, but it really does make a difference when we are on our game and so worth it for a positive outcome. Running has definitely helped me keep me on my game!

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It’s been very difficult to see Bailey hit the level of anxiety he has. But like anything that has been thrown our way, together my husband and I shed tears when he’s not looking, debrief with each other every day and work together as a team in order to help Bay become the best person he can be!

Anxiety aside, my son is amazing! He is funny, caring, lovable, smart and very empathetic. He gives the best cuddles and always comes and says good morning to me before he starts the day. He is never shy to cuddle me in front of his friends and always seeks me out to tell me anything exciting that has happened or things that are worrying him. He is so good at sport! This is what he lives for and it’s great to seem him thrive at what he loves. He is a gentle giant that everyone loves to love!

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We will get through this…this will not define my baby boy. This is a bump in his road that will make him stronger and more resilient. But for now I will keep being his mum to the best of my ability and be there to celebrate the awesome stuff and pick up the pieces when the train derails!

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20141113-135328.jpgWe are so proud to be Bailey’s parents and would do anything to help our boy – all we want is for our children to be happy!

 

 

 

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Shopping….Toddler Style!

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It’s been so long now since I shopped without a child, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like!!!

Shopping pre-children:
Those were the days when I would rock up at Garden City and leisurely take my time to find a carpark and I wouldn’t care where I parked as long as I found one. I’d fix my clothes up so they were nice and neat, have a quick look at my hair in the mirror and then I’d be slowly on my way to the opening doors. As I walked through the doors I would grin to myself and ask “where to first!”

I would then go from store to store seeking out the things I was looking for, pouncing on any bargain I could find. I would go through every rack if necessary and sometimes spend up to half an hour in one store! I’d have a chat to people in the que and strike up a conversation with the sales assistant as I had all the time in the world! I would take a breather after a couple of hours and have a nice quiet bite to eat and drink and once I’d finished, I continue on my shopping way until I’d gone to every conceivable shop that may have what I was looking for…oh that’s right most times I didn’t go for a purpose I’d go just because I could and LOVED it so much!!!!!!

My how life changes once you become a mum! At first when I only had one child things didn’t change much at all, the only difference was I was pushing a pram and had to stop at a parent’s room to feed and change every couple of hours. But then your baby grows and doesn’t want to be pushed in a pram all day and then learns to talk and tells you exactly what their thoughts are about shopping! Then one child turns into two and in my case three and the only time shopping is at all appealing is when it’s done on the internet! But as challenging as taking kids to the shops can be sometimes, I’ve never stopped going shopping, I just make it really routined and quick!

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Oh how my head is in a different space at the shops now! Before a shopping trip I now have everything down pat. A list of what I want to buy, before I leave I’ve already thought about where I’m going to park and in which order I will get around. I make sure I have plenty of food and drinks for the kids and my phone is charged!!!! I try and get there as early as I can so I know I won’t spend long finding a car park and once I’m through the doors of the shopping centre, I’m like a greyhound who’s been let out of the cage! People must look at me and think – Geeze what’s the rush! Ummm the fact that I only have a small window of opportunity until all hell could break loose!!! I’m a women on a mission and mission it is trying to squeeze a pram into a clothes shop and dodge all the rides that seem to be every five metres!!!!!! I generally always know now what I want so very little time is spent in one store and because I need to be home by 12 to put Mia down for her nap so she is awake for school pick up, it leaves very little time for a pit stop!

Mia and I ventured to Garden City this morning to start Mother’s Day Shopping. I don’t often go to big shopping centres anymore as we have lots of little ones around our area that are sufficient and only go to big ones when I need something specific. As I ‘tried’ to browse a few shops while passing food, pulling little sticky fingers away from pretty dresses, answering “soon” for the tenth time after being asked “Mia hope out mummy!”, telling Mia the scary man would come if she kept screaming out to me (mean I know but it works lol), I suddenly started thinking how shopping has gone from a leisure activity to a chore lol!

But I seriously wouldn’t have it any other way! Now that it’s just Mia and I who venture to the shops while Bay and Sie are at school, we are in a good routine. I always make Mia stay in her pram or trolley for as long as I can which is about one to one and half hours depending on how much food I’ve brought and once I’m finished I always let her walk for the last part and if there is a little playground and she’s been awesome, she gets a 15 min play. I bring food from home for small shops and when I need to get a heap of things done at the bigger shopping centres I take a lollipop for her:) and grocery shopping days she gets her two cherrios and is always allowed a coin to put in the dog at the end – god bless that dog at woolies:)….it’s the small things in a toddler’s life that go a long way!

Shopping with a toddler or kids in general can be taxing but like anything, if a routine is established with set rules and consistency is applied, it can be quite a pleasurable experience. I only try and go to the shops once a week and I make sure I choose times that I know they’ll be less tired. Although shopping on your own is by far easier, I love that I have someone to chat to while I’m shopping and when the day comes when I have them all in school and I’m left to the freedom of browsing on my own, I’m sure I’ll love it, but have many times when my heart breaks a little that they aren’t there by my side…..because by then I would have been shopping with at least one or two children in tow (except for school holidays) for 10 years!!!!!!

Shopping with a toddler doesn’t do my head in, homework with a 7 year old on the other hand…a topic for a future blog post!

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My partner in crime:)

A Mother’s Guilt….

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Why is it, that a mother spends so much of her time feeling guilty? It’s like the minute we gave birth, a pit in the bottom of our belly wasn’t filled properly and that’s where our guilt is stored. I can’t shake the feeling of guilt this week!

As you all know my precious baby girl…who will always be my baby girl to me, started school this week. It seriously only feels like yesterday that I birthed her 10 pound 2 baby body. Where has the time gone? It just doesn’t seem right that she is already off to school! When my first baby started school, he was completely ready and to be honest so was I! Bailey and Sienna are so different. Bailey has always been quite challenging and demanding where Sienna has always been my carefree sweet little pea that has been my shining light on a dark dim day! And my third baby…a lot like her brother lol!

I’ve been questioning myself…why? I’ve done this before it should be easier!! But instead of being ok with Sienna starting school, I feel guilty that she has grown up so quickly and I feel like it’s my fault, because when Sienna was 2 and a half we had our third baby and life has been like a rollercoaster since! Bailey was lucky and had me to himself for 2 and a half years before Sienna was born and Mia will now have me to herself for three years before she goes to school…what time has Sienna had with me on her own? She was fortunate enough to have a month with me on her own before Mia was born! A month!!! And in that month I was diagnosed with a heart condition and rushed in to have our baby as we didn’t know what was going to happen!

So this week I can’t help but feel guilty for my precious middle baby. All these things have gone through my head…she didn’t ask to have a baby sister! It’s not fair she hasn’t had the time with me the other two have! She’s been lost in the process of us having a third baby!!! I know it’s crazy and I shouldn’t be thinking like this, but I just can’t help it!!! Sienna has always been so soft and gentle. She was the little girl in the playground getting pushed over and the precious little poppet who always needed to know where her mummy was and the touch of her mummies hand mad everything just super! She holds her own at home with family, but is so different from my two February babies – who I love more than life itself as well, but geesh lol!!!!

Sienna has always pulled at the heart strings. She is my emotional little bunny that cries and gets her feelings hurt quite easily and suffers separation anxiety! I am extremely proud of how she is handling prep though;) It was only twelve months ago, when I dropped her off at preschool two days a week, that she would scream for me when I left. It broke my heart, but I had to walk away as I knew she would adjust…eventually! And that she did. She has grown and matured so much over the past year. She still has a few tears when I drop her off at prep and throughout her day, but is becoming so brave and holds herself together which makes it so much easier for me to turn away and leave once I can see she is happy….I know this is pay back as I did the same thing to my mother lol…but that makes it worse because I know exactly how she feels! Her little “I missed you today mummy” will eventually pass with TIME and thankfully she has the most sweetest teacher who we all adore!

Every child is different and losing each child to their schooling years also feels different! For Bailey and I, him going to school was the best thing for our relationship and that has stayed as strong as ever, but I really miss my Sie Sie girl…and so does her baby sister! And once Mia starts prep, I would have been home with the kids for 10 years so I’m guessing I’ll be celebrating lol…but really I’ll be mourning the loss of not having anymore babies at home!

I think I’ll always have a guilty feeling when it comes to my Sie Sie girl, my middle child, my thumb sucker, my June 30th baby! But I will make sure I spend forever making it up to her, not that she even notices and this is the thing…WE as mothers spend our time agonising over things and feeling guilty when our precious little gems really couldn’t give a hoot…arrrr! lol…oh the joys of being a mum!

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Dear Sienna,
I love you baby girl! From the minute you entered this world and were placed on my chest we formed a mother/daughter bond like no other. You are my shining star when it’s too dark to find my way and you sure know how to make me laugh. From a baby to a toddler you were such a good little poppet that never did any wrong by anyone. Your amazing smile lights up the room and you’ve always been so beautiful with your ringlet blonde hair and olive complexion. We are so proud of how far you’ve come and can’t wait to be apart of all your special occasions along the way! Be brave baby girl, once you settle and show your confidence, you have the potential to achieve anything you want!
Love Mummy…xoxoxo!

To all my fellow mummies who have had a child start kindy or prep this year be strong everything takes TIME!

RIP Daniel Morcombe….

I’m sure there wasn’t one person in Australia today who didn’t stop for a second to pay their respects to Daniel Morcombe and his family.

9 years ago a happy family who were enjoying life and the festivities that bring us at this time of year, had their hearts ripped out, torn apart and then stood on! The day their son went missing…..A son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew and friend. Gone. 9 long pain staking years of searching, hoping, grieving. And today the Morcombe family can finally lay their beautiful boy to rest.

As I watched Daniel’s ceremony along with many other millions of Australians, my heart sank each and every time Daniel’s parents, Denise and Bruce Morcombe’s grief stricken faces were in view of the television screen. The braveness of Bruce when he read his piece and the sorrow that overtook Denise’s face as she shook her head at the thought of having to say a final goodbye to her little boy. As a tear dropped from my eye, my daughter asked me are you crying mummy? I put my arms out and there we sat hugging so tightly, appreciating what we have. When you are having a bad day, you only have to think of the Morcombes and that sure puts things into perspective!

I can’t even begin to imagine how they must feel now and over the past 9 years. Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. It’s gut wrenching enough when children are taken from this earth by car accidents or terminal illnesses, but the way Daniel was taken…..how, as a parent, do you pick yourself up and recover from that!? Denise and Bruce Morcombe are such an inspiration and through their grief and pain have always showed their strength, courage and dignity when dealing with the media….what wonderful people, no wonder Daniel was known for being so mature, loving and thoughtful!

When I woke up this morning one of the first things I thought of was Daniel and his family and how they were feeling. As a mum, if I was Denise, I would give anything to hold my boy one last time. I would tell him how much I loved him and how proud of him I was. I would tell him to be brave and to try not be scared….I took the opportunity this morning to spend the extra time with my babies in bed. One by one I held them tight and gave them several sweet little kisses on their beautiful little faces. I told each of them I loved them and then squeezed them extra tight!

Sadly no one knows what’s around the corner. Daniel’s story is one that has impacted on Australia as a nation and although for the Morcombe family their story didn’t conclude with a happy ending, they sure have made it their job to bring such great awareness of child safety and stranger danger. In this situation they could have curled up in a ball and stopped living, but they chose to take the positive path and made sure Daniel’s legacy will always live on and that I am sure will happen!

So to all the mums and dads out there, make sure you give your little ones an extra big cuddle and kiss before bed tonight. Don’t sweat the small things and remember to stop and listen to your children when they want to talk to you! Life is so precious and way too short. I appreciate everyday that I am here on this earth being a mum to my three angels and I sincerely hope the Morcombe family can find peace now that their son has been laid to rest….RIP Daniel Morcombe – you will forever be in the hearts of many Australians near and far!

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18 Months Ago…….

Exactly 18 months ago a beautiful little chubby baby girl was placed in my arms. She was our miracle, a true angel who literally saved my life! We’ve had many ups and downs with our Mia bear, from silent reflux, a turned eye, glue ear, chronic middle ear infections to croup! But despite all of this, she is growing into a funny, affectionate, playful little lady who we absolutely adore the ground she walks on!

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It blows me away how fast time has gone and that my youngest born is already 18 months old! This age can be so trying at times and for our spirited child as we call her, a lot of the time lol, but it’s also a beautiful age. They are still so pure and innocent with really not a care in the world! They laugh at themselves and don’t care what they look like or wear. All they want is your undivided attention and affection and they are as happy as a pig in mud!

Mia has never been a fan of the camera, which is sad really because she is the most adorable thing and has a smile that makes your heart melt! But the photos I do capture of her, really depict the little lady she is becoming!

The Funny Mia:
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The Adventurous Mia:
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The Serious Mia:
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The Cheeky Mia:
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The Affectionate Mia:
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The Cranky Mia:
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The Peaceful Mia:
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The Mischievous Mia:
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The Drifter Mia:
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The Adorable Mia:
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These photos really depict a day in the life of our little Miss Mia (aka Mimi). She displays each and every one of these emotions on a daily basis, which makes the day very interesting for us! She really has left her baby days behind her and is in full steam toddler mode. Her talking is so cute and new words are added to her collection of vocab everyday….my favourite “ove you!” She is just one of the kids now and what they do she must do or at least have a go! She really lights up our lives and just like 18 months ago, at the end of the day she still needs to borrow her head on my chest to feel happy, warm, loved and comforted!

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Mia Natalie Trew….18 months today!

Quality Time….One at a time!

It’s been over 6 years since I was pregnant with my first born baby. That pregnancy was my favourite. Not only was it my easiest, but I had the time to relish in everything that comes with being pregnant. I could put my feet up and lie down whenever I wanted to, sit and enjoy the movements of my growing baby, shop in peace for baby items, enjoy time with my husband and sleep as much as I wanted to!!!! Then after my first baby was born it was so lovely spending all my time bonding with my little man. He went everywhere with me and it was just beautiful being able to share this time together and me be there for every waking moment and milestone that he achieved! I would take a billion photos of him everyday and had his first year scrapbooking album completed by the time his first birthday rolled around. First children are the lucky ones really because they not only get a large quantity of time that is purely revolved around them, they certainly get the most quality time spent with them!

Since having my first baby I have gone onto having two more children and nothing is like having your first baby. Now you can’t only dedicate your time and effort into one child, you have to share yourself around. Although one child is easy, it’s nice to have more than one. Giving my first born a sibling/(s) was so important to me as I grew up with two sisters and I couldn’t imagine life without them. Even though once you have more than one child you give up that one on one time with your children, you then get to enjoy watching your children interact and form a sibling relationship. Things change, but I think for the better. I love being a mum of three. It’s certainly fair from a walk in the park, but I love a challenge….apparently lol! One thing I make sure though, is that each of my children get to spend one on one time with my husband or myself. It was our choice to have children and to keep adding to our family, so I believe that every child deserves some individual attention every now and again.

We spend most of our time together as a family of 5, but there are times when we do things with one child at a time depending on the activity. Recently our eldest learnt how to ride his bike without training wheels, so once or twice a week Bailey and I go for a bike ride. We have so much fun and I can focus on just him and his new found love of bike riding. Bailey also plays football and my husband is the assistant coach, so going to training twice a week with dad on his own without his little sisters has been cool for him. In the past I would take him to swimming lessons at 5pm while my husband had the girls at home and when Bailey achieves something special, one of us take him out for ice-cream or to the shops to buy him a little something!

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I keep a closer eye on my middle child. I’ve already written a blog about middle child syndrome and that it does exist in our house. We have been blessed with a fairly easy going middle child in Sienna, but being a four year old she can be emotional at times and feels the pinch of having an older brother who is always achieving and a baby sister who is a toddler therefore needs lots of attention! I feel the worst for Sienna. She will miss out on the most quantity of time with me. She has had me to herself for a whole big total of 5 weeks! Bailey got me for 2 and a half years and my baby will have me for 3 years to herself after this year. I feel I have a lot to make up to Sienna. Like with Bailey we take her out and treat her if she achieves something special. Her time with us on her own is when Mia has a day sleep and Bailey is at school. Often we’ll just cuddle on the lounge or read a book together. On the weekend I took her out to dinner and ice-cream as Bailey had spent all day with his best friend and we missed out on going to the Ekka as my husband had to work all day. Not once did that little girl complain and taking her out was so worth the happiness that covered her beautiful little face!

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Mia being the youngest and our baby, has lots of moments in time where she gets to have one of us all to herself! Often I’ll take her out with me while Kane has the older two or vice versa. And while she is 18 months now, she was breast fed for 15 months, therefore she had lots of me to herself and those moments were the most precious! Just recently I had a week off work while she was sick and was able to spend two whole days with her while Bay and Sie were at school….we had a ball together and was an insight into how life will be once Sienna starts prep next year!

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I love going on family outings all of us together. They are the moments I live for during the week, when you’re not having the best week, you know the weekend will make up for it…spending time as a family. But I also think that it’s vital that each of our children can have our full undivided attention every once in a while. I’d hate to think that one of them or all of them felt like they were never being heard or fussed over. I try my hardest as a mother to make sure when we are altogether that my attention is evenly shared, but there are days when I feel like its not enough, which is why I feel so much more content when I’m able to spend quality time, one at a time with each of my precious babies!

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Teacher By Profession….Mother For Life!

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I’ve been a teacher for almost 11 years now…longer than I’ve been a mum! Before I had children of my own, my life was teaching and my children per say were my students! Pre-children I loved being a teacher! I would go to the ends of the earth to create a unit of work or innovating activity for my students to gain a learning experience from! I would spend my days being not only a teacher but a surrogate parent to some, nurse, psychologist and the like! I planned excursions, camps, multicultural events, coached netball and made many a phone call to parents regarding their child’s well being!

Then I became a mum. My love of teaching never left me, but something did change and that is the way I think now! I’m not for one second trying to imply teachers who are mums are better than teachers who aren’t, but since becoming a mum, I look at things differently now and am quite a different teacher than I use to be! Pre-children I was such a control freak really when I think about it, but it worked and I always got the best results out of my students academically and behaviourally! I would ring a parent or refer a student for a problem and it didn’t affect me as bad as it does it does now!

For the past few years I’ve been teaching in special Ed or behaviour positions so I’ve found myself in many situations where my heart has ached for a child…I’ve become such a softy and even though I’ve always been an empathetic person, now I’m a mum my empathy has changed if that makes sense?? I always think now imagine if that was my child or me receiving the phone call! I tread so lighting around parents now and how I approach a subject as the child in discussion is their baby just like I have babies!

Being a teacher can be a good thing and a bad thing when you are a mum! We have a good knowledge of so many areas that can benefit our own children, but then we know too much about other things and the worst thing a teaching mum does is diagnose their own child! We spend so much of our time hoping and praying that our children aren’t going to struggle at school, when provided we allow a safe and supportive environment from the day they were born, we sometimes just have to realise we don’t always have control over this!

Then that day finally arrives for your own child to start school and your professional role has to take a back seat while your mummy role takes precedent! It was weird at first being a school mum. You feel as the ‘teacher’s’ child, they should always be the best role model and doing the best in the class! I soon let all those feelings go because I didn’t want to put my child under anymore pressure than what kids are already under these days!

My son is in grade one now and up until last month I haven’t been in the position that I as a teacher have had to corner a parent during drop off or pick up! It was those handful of words that you dread to hear from your child’s teacher….”I need to speak with you!” I’ve been waiting for this moment though. You see my son Bailey has always presented a lot of behaviours on the spectrum and although he is perfect at school and leaves those behaviours and melt downs for home, I’ve been waiting for the call to let me know those behaviours have been presenting at school.

Of course I expected the worst and any experience of being a teacher didn’t matter at all, as this time I was the mum being delivered the information. Thankfully it wasn’t anything relating to his behaviour. This one moment that a teacher took to speak to me though has led to a chain of events. She was concerned about his hearing and understanding what she was saying, we had a meeting with Bailey about this and things improved a little. I then took him to my GP to see if he needed an auditory processing assessment done, he noticed Bailey’s ears are full of fluid again and after having a hearing test, we found out that Bailey has a complete blocked ear and one that isn’t very flash! A trip then to our ENT ended in us now having to wait to see if the fluid will drain otherwise he will end up with his fourth set of grommets!

My poor boy has obviously been sitting in class and not hearing things as clearly as he should. The mum in me wants to hug him tight and wrap him up in cotton wool, but the teacher in me is working hard to make sure he is in a learning environment that can cater to his needs at the moment! Thankfully Bailey goes to a wonderful school with a very supportive admin and his teacher is just fantastic! This situation has highlighted even more to me how important a teacher is in our children’s lives and more importantly how important it is a parent and teacher work together!

We have been through so much with Bailey and even though my professional job deals with children like Bailey all the time, nothing prepares you for when things happen to your own child and the shoes on the other foot. I am so
proud of his achievements so far and as I read his first report card yesterday it brought a tear to my eye how awesome our son really is! I am a teacher by profession, but I’m a mother for life and I try everyday to make sure I distinguish between the two roles as best as I possibly can!

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End of an Era:(

The time has come. I knew it was approaching. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I knew it would be a sad day………….

6 years ago, when I became a mum for the first time, I took to breastfeeding like a duck to water. I always hoped to breastfeed, but I also had an open mind that it may not work or I may not be suited to it, but I was! I loved everything about it. The bond I shared with each of my babies was one like no other and the fact that I was providing all of their vitamins, minerals and nutrients was always a great feeling. It was the one thing that only I could do with my babies and I feel so blessed that I was able to experience that with each of my children!

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One of my first breast feeds with Mia!

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. The first couple of weeks of painful attachments, grazing, bleeding, cracks and blocked milk ducks. The first few days when your milk comes in and you suddenly wake up to these human watermelons that start from under your armpits! The night feeds and wishing and praying for more than three hours sleep at a time! Or the times when you feed, settle and put down and within a blink of an eye you were having to turn around and do it all over again. But I wouldn’t have traded that for one minute. That is the reality of breastfeeding!

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Such precious memories…..drunk on milk!

I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, but also believe that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. It can be one of those controversial issues, but at the end of the day, as long as a baby is being fed adequately for their age then there shouldn’t be any controversy….breast or bottle, it’s all food! You see so often women left feeling guilty over not being able to, not giving it a go longer or even attempting it! Breastfeeding doesn’t define you as a parent, it’s one small factor in the whole big picture! And please don’t get me started on breast is best for health….3 breastfed babies, 3 out of 3 chronic middle ear infections…..where was the benefits of my breast milk while this was happening??? But again I wouldn’t change anything!

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Sleep is always a good option after a belly full of milk!

I never put a time constraint on how long I would breastfeed for. My only goal was to get them to 6 months and on solids and then I went with the flow and let them dictate what they wanted. 3 children, a boy and two girls and all such different feeders! Bailey self weaned at 7 and a half months, Sienna I stopped at 13 months and my last baby, which brought me to writing this blog, Mia who had her last feed 3 days ago at 15 months!

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My last baby to be fed….Miss independent just finished at 15 months:(

I knew the day that signified the end of breastfeeding forever was always going to be an emotional one. It’s reality that I am never going to have a newborn again and experience all that goes with it. It only feels like yesterday I was experiencing it all for the first time, now 3 children and 4000 plus breastfeeds later, that part of my life is over:(….it really is the end of an era!

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