Bedtime Bliss

Recently, I integrated something a little new into our bedtime routine.

Confession: The ‘something a little new’ part is actually a ‘creating a new routine’, full stop.

We used to have an extraordinary amount of excuses, bickering and crying at bedtime.

It would end with me completely losing it – and yelling – and when I say yelling, I really mean yelling! I sounded more like a fishwife or an army drill instructor than a loving Mum.

Last year, in order to combat this, I set a nightly Alarm on my iPhone, that goes off when it is bedtime.  The kids understood that once this alarm went off, there were no excuses.  It was time for bed.

This worked for a while.  It was a bit exciting! The kids would race to be the one who was first to find and swipe my iPhone to turn off the alarm, and they would all then dutifully trundle off to bed.

But ever so slowly, the bedtime boundaries once again began to get a bit blurry.

The excuses, arguments and crying about bedtime began to start again.

There was the usual ‘I need to go to the toilet’, ‘I need a drink’, ‘I’m scared’ excuses, as well as many other, more ridiculous reasons for not going to bed.

So on the odd occasion, I let one, or more, of the kids fall asleep on the couch in front of Disney Channnel or Disney Junior, just because after my day at work, and all the rest that happens after I get home, I am just too tired to argue about bedtime and it can be easier to carry them to their beds once they have nodded off.

Suddenly, before I knew it,  around about 4 out of the 7 nights in a week one or more the kids were falling asleep in front of the TV.  Sometimes I would even fall asleep on my own bed before they did!

Having a good look at my life and the lack of quality time that I spend with my kids, I came to the conclusion that lazily allowing this to become the norm instead of something that happens on the odd occasion really isn’t going to earn me the mother of the year award any time soon.

So I decided I needed to make a major change in the way bedtime is run in our household.

My kids need to have rules and boundaries about bedtime, they need to feel loved, and they need to have some relaxing one-on-one time with Mum.

So now, each kid gets a special ‘one on one’ story, talk and cuddle time.

In talk and cuddle time, I ask the kids to tell me what was the ‘worst thing’ about the day.

Then I ask them to tell me what what was the ‘best thing’ about the day.

It is amazing just how much the kids tell you when you ask these two questions.

The answers that they give you regarding the ‘worst thing‘ about their day can give you a deeper insight into their feelings and fears that they may not otherwise have shared. For Miss O (who has recently turned 10) it is a great opportunity to talk a bit more about problems that she is having, and on more than one occasion she has cried and poured her little heart out.

Getting them to tell you the ‘best thing‘ about their day helps them to get into the habit of being thankful for the good things they have in life, whether big or small.  It also helps to end the night on a light and positive note, so that they are thinking about pleasant things before they go to sleep.

How do I know I will try my best to stick to my new routine?  That it won’t fall by the wayside?

Because on the very first night, Mr S, gave me a wonderful answer about his ‘best thing‘ of the day.

What was his answer?

“When you loved me”.

That was all.

The best part of his day was when I made him feel special and loved.

And you know what?

That was the best part of my day too.

This is what I am thankful for today.

Linking Up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday. Pop over to Kate’s page to see why others are thankful today.

Thankful Thursday: Only Seems Like Yesterday

On Saturday, Mr S (my first little man), will turn 6 years old.  How did this happen?  It only seems like yesterday that I found out that I was pregnant.  We were pretty convinced we would be having a sister for Miss O.

It only seems like yesterday that we were shocked, scared and a little bit delighted to find out that we were going to be having a boy.  ( I am so glad I found out before hand so I had a couple of months to adjust!).

It only seems like yesterday that we booked the cesarean in.

It only seems like yesterday that I went into labour early and drove myself to the hospital in the middle of the night.  (Yes, you read that right. And believe me, 30 minutes is a long time to be behind the wheel when you are having contractions – but gripping the steering wheel did help a little).

It only seems like yesterday that the doctor on duty unsuccessfully tried to convince me for an hour and a half that I could still go for a natural birth despite my previous ceasarean. [Despite the fact there was no way he was going to fit!]

It only seems like yesterday that I waited in hospital for what seemed like half the night so they could get the staff in to perform the ceasarean.

It only seems like yesterday  that they finally did the epidural and wheeled me into surgery.

It only seems like yesterday that they opened me up and pulled out my screaming, red, squishy nosed, frog mouthed man.  [It really was traumatic to see because Miss O looked like an angel when she was born. Apparently his nosed was squished because he had been pressed up against my pelvis so long. Or something like that.]

It only seems like yesterday that I held him close to my breast and fed him for the first time.

It only seems like yesterday that I cried alone in the hospital after they freaked me out by pointing out his stryder, his long, thin stature, his heart murmur, the little hernia on his tummy, his lower than normal oxygen levels, the unusual creases on his hands, and asked me if there was any history of genetic disorders in the family.

It only seems like yesterday we got the all clear and I was able to bring him home from the hospital.

It only seems like yesterday I realised his nose was not so squished any more.

It only seems like yesterday that at 6 months we realised there was something not quite right with the way he was developing.

It only seems like yesterday that we took him to the pediatrician, scared  of what we would find out.

It only seems like yesterday Mr S turned One.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S became a big brother to Mr J.

It only seems like yesterday that we discovered Mr S has hypertonia (low muscle tone), motor planning deficits, as well as other undiagnosed problems.

It only seems like yesterday that we embarked on months of fortnightly physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S turned 2.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S was fully toilet trained and began to sleep through the night, with no accidents.

It seems like only yesterday that Mr S started attending weekly ‘Early Intervention’ lessons.

It seemed like only yesterday we were told that Mr S needed to be tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It only seems like yesterday that the results of the ‘Autism Test’ , said that he was NOT on the Autism Spectrum, despite the ‘markers’ apparent in his day to day behaviour and despite what his early intervention teachers said.

It only seems like yesterday, that the pediatrician scratched her head, and said she just doesn’t know what is wrong with Mr S, and lightheartedly referred to it as “Mr S Syndrome”.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S started Prep and learned how to put on his socks.

It only seems like yesterday  that Mr S brought home his first report card and I was so proud because it had C’s for every subject.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S started year 1.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S finally stopped screaming blue murder, and fighting me to the death, each time he has a shower.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S learned how to hold the face washer over his eyes, so that I can wash his hair and wash out the soap without him screaming and fighting.

It only seems like yesterday that Mr S read his first beginner reader to me.

Today, I look at my boy and I am thankful.  

6 years have gone by in a flash but what a journey this 6 years has been. It has been filled with laughter and happiness and it has been fraught with worry and tears.

I look at my beautiful boy.

I have watched him grow.

I have watched him overcome.

Determined. 
He has learned that “I can’t” is not accepted in this house.

He has learned that “I will try” is better.

He has learned that trying again and again until you succeed is awesome.

Each day he works hard to acheive, despite the limitations of his body. Despite the fact that his muscles fatigue quickly.  Despite the fact that his flapping distracts him when he tries to concentrate.  Depsite the fact that he can’t stay still.

I look at my beautiful boy.

Sensitive and Loving.  Generous and Giving.  Sharing. Understanding.

And just dash of cheekiness with his sense of humour.

Of couse, we still have meltdowns.  There are still days it all goes wrong.

But the good days are out-weighing the bad days.

He throws his arms around me every day and says “I love you Mum”.

And I am thankful, that I have this beautiful, precious soul, in my life.

Linking Up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday. Pop over and visit Kate to see why others are thankful.

Thankful Thursday: Memories of Your First Day

Today, I am thankful for motherhood. Every day my Children make me thankful in so many ways.

The day my first child (Miss O) was born, was the most awesome, scary, inspiring, terrifying, enjoyable, precious moments of my entire life.

I decided putting the memories of this day into a Haiku would be great way to Participate in the Thankful Thursday Haiku Challenge with the lovely Kate from ‘Kate Says Stuff’.

Hope you like it!

 Memories of Your First Day

Your Hand Rests in Mine

So Delicate And So Small

My Angel, Divine

~

Your Eyes Bright and Blue

Staring Intently At Me

As I Stare At You

~

Your Head on My Breast

I Hold You Close to My Heart

Pure Love, I am Blessed

~

Sweet Babe, Precious Girl

I have been waiting for you

Welcome to My World

~

So Thankful, I Vow

I Will Love You, Keep You Safe

I Won’t Let You Down

Let me know what you think.

Also don’t forget to pop over to Kate Says Stuff to see what other people are thankful about.

Thankful Thursday: Cairns, Tropical Paradise

I live in Cairns and many of my friends and acquaintances that live in other places often tell me how lucky I am to be living in a place that is widely considered to be a Tropical Paradise.

I don’t deny it.  I am lucky.

I briefly lived in Melbourne for a couple of years because I wanted to experience something different.  But while I was there in the mostly-cold and the long commute to work (and morning sickness on the train – not fun) I longed for the warmth of home.

So when Miss O was less than two, we returned to Cairns.

The first reason was because I wanted to be closer to my family.  I wanted Miss O to know her Grandparents, her Aunt and Cousins.

The second reason – the breaking point  – was a child in Cranbourne being attacked in their own front yard. This horrified me.  Now I am not naive – I know that there are bad or opportunistic people everywhere – even Cairns – but I longed to be able to raise Miss O in a somewhat safer, more laid back environment.

So with the generous help of my mother and grandfather, I packed up all of our belongings and paid the $2000 for a removalist to moved all of our stuff back up to Cairns.  (And I don’t usually regret it unless I want to go to the shops at 2am and long for the 24 hour Coles and 24 hour Kmart that was so conveniently situated 5 minutes from my old home).

Since moving back to Cairns 8 years ago, I have put on 20 kilos (ugggh too scary too admit! Future post alert – new goal to lose 20 kilos) , produced 2 extra niblets, and have worked full time almost the entire time.  I don’t often get to spend a lot of quality time with my brood, something that I moan about a lot.

On Tuesday I took my brood down to the Cairns Esplanade so that Miss O could ride her new bicycle, and the boys could ride their scooters, before having a swim in the Free Esplanade Lagoon.

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We enjoyed the sun, the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings and I felt truly free, although I did whinge a bit about having to pay $1.00 per hour in the parking meter to park the car nearby.

Since then, over the last couple of days, I have been reading about Eden visiting Niger on behalf of World Vision.

Reading her posts, looking at the pictures, particularly the one she posted tonight about Zenouba the Starfish, makes me feel very sad, and very selfish.

Here I am, moaning about something as insignificant as paying $1.00 for the privilege of parking my car close to beautiful leisure facilities that I get to enjoy with my children for FREE, when in other parts of the world children like Zenouba go hungry and thirsty every day.

So Yeah, I feel very lucky.   And very thankful.

Thankful that I live in a part of the world that is free from oppression.  Thankful that my children have food on the table every night, and access to food and water, a loving home, a roof over their head, and luxuries like bicycles, scooters, music lessons, leisure activities and so much more.

And thankful that people like Eden, are brave enough to go to somewhere like Niger and tell us how it really is, so we can be thankful for what we have and make us aware of the things in our world that  really are important.

Linking Up With The Lovely Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday.