My Big Kid

As we slowly muddle through our eighth and final week of summer holidays it’s safe to say that my big girl and I have just about had enough of one another’s company. Still lots of cuddles and laughs and nice moments, but there is an overall feeling of rubbing each other the wrong way. Sharp words and clipped tones, pushing each other’s buttons.

I’ve been so looking forward to her starting school next week – big school, long days, school uniform. Plus her Grandparents are arriving that night, so it’s been a day we’re all looking forward to. I’ve been that focused on it as an end point, or a starting point, that I’ve given little thought to what it actually means. My little girl, my big girl, starting school. It’s a process that, now it’s begun, can’t be undone. The days and weeks and years will pass, and she will grow and learn and change. And she will experience so much, without me. Which is scary!

Life is full of these milestones, and at the end of it it’s these milestones that form your memories and shape your identity. I hope we’re doing the right thing by her. Montessori school, life in Hong Kong, having a helper, new siblings arriving. All milestones that will shape the person she becomes and a totally different childhood to the one I had (yet with some striking similarities). I wonder how she’ll reflect on her life, on these early years. I know she won’t remember the times I snapped at her (or maybe she will recall them fondly, as we do with our own Mum) but I hope the other times, the happy times, add up to happy memories.

I have so many fears for her – I hope she likes her teachers, I hope she makes friends. I hope her bossiness and dominance don’t ostracise her. I hope she finds someone who understands her, like I understand her.

And I know, equally, she has to forge her own path. She will make mistakes, and she will rub people the wrong way at times, and people will hurt her feelings and she will cry. And I can only be here for her at the end of the day with open arms and ears and always a heart full of love. There’s only so much I can protect her, and that’s okay.

This morning I was reminded of the little girl I used to nanny, Olivia – I started working with her on her first day of Kindergarten. She was so little, and so similar to my Heike in so many ways. A tree climber, a nature lover, interested in science with an inquisitive mind and not afraid to play with the boys. Usually playing some kind of imaginative game with a like minded little boy, and not My Little Pony and friendship bracelets with the girls. Her Mum told me they attended her high school orientation this week. Time is cruel – there isn’t enough of it.

So this week I am reminded to watch my tongue, to pay attention, to read a few extra stories at bed time and to make the most of those short twenty minutes at night when it’s just she and I, and she wants a cuddle and to talk about her day, her friends, her birthday. Because before I know it she will be twelve and no longer interested. And I know I will look back on this time with a tear in my eye and an ache in my heart.

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Isn’t she lovely?!

Thoughts with all the Mums who have kids starting school this Autumn… Also – woohoo, they’re going back to school!

Ruby

I’m sure many of you have correctly assumed that my extended absence from blogging has something to do with the arrival of our little girl. Yes, Ruby Elizabeth was born on 4/8/16 at 3.53pm. She is absolutely perfect (naturally) and I can’t quite believe our luck. We are just lucky, lucky, lucky to have these three beautiful children in our lives.

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After championing the ECV I had to turn her, we had a bit of a stressful week afterwards. On the Monday after the procedure I had a bit of a weird CTG (fetal monitoring) where baby was very sleepy and they made me stay for ages, drink juice to wake her up, then her heart rate went through the roof and the midwives wanted to get the OB on the phone. At this point I honestly just wanted her out. I would have consented to a C section after all that just to have her safe. I was slightly hysterical but they reassured me it looked okay and booked in to see me again on the Friday.

Friday rolled around after much anxiety and the CTG was exactly the same. It was probably fine but it rang alarm bells with me when I’d never had that experience before and it was only happening now, after turning her. I went in to see my OB afterwards and I’m not sure if she was picking up on my slight hysteria/paranoia or she was genuinely concerned herself, but she suggested bringing her out a week or so early just to be safe. I was 100% for it, especially after hearing (and reading…damn you google!) so many stories about babies lost in the last few weeks of pregnancy. And so my induction was booked for the following Thursday, Ruby’s birthday.

I actually had a whole lot of other stress in the lead up due to my OB questioning her growth and ordering some scans but I am keen to just forget it all now frankly! Thank goodness she is here.

And what a beauty she is…

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This time around, I have experienced that elusive, rare newborn experience. The newborn who sleeps all the time. I know it won’t last but I am so very grateful she has eased me into this transition to Mum-Of-Three.

Two weeks old today, we have just started to get some more awake time. We’ve all enjoyed crowding around her playmat, cooing at her and enjoying her strained, confused expressions that will soon become smiles. I can already see how it happens, the baby of the family, adored by all and quickly becoming a bit spoilt. But what point is there to life if you can’t spoil your babies?! If there’s anything this third baby has taught me, it’s that life is fragile and precious and we have to embrace it while we’re here.

It’s amazing the love you feel for your children as a mother, so completely unique for each child and yet equally powerful each time.

So far, for me, the jump from two to three kids has been exponentially easier than the jump from one to two. Those who know me can attest that I’m very relaxed and it’s already chaos in my house, so maybe that’s why? Walter is also a much less complicated two year old than Heike was, so although we’ve had some push back (constantly wanting the TV, meltdowns over wanting toast or a smoothie) he has adjusted fine so far. If anything his sister is trickier – one minute wanting to help, the next minute extremely jealous – and let’s face it, after 8 weeks of school holidays she¬†desperately¬†needs some structure and routine in her life.

What’s also nice is that the big two have each other. Even though at least 50% of the time they are trying to kill each other… They are still partners in crime and ultimately not that bothered if my attention isn’t on them.

Oh, and I live in Hong Kong now, with a helper! So, there’s that. Which if I’m honest is probably the single biggest difference. My friend joked that now I can have a fourth, which honestly would be so much easier here. However after spending half of my 20s pregnant I am determined my 30s will be pregnancy free. Wine! Exercise! Nice clothes! Sushi! It’s all about me. We have our Ruby, and there’s only so much luck one person can have. I’m not looking to push mine.

So, welcome to Ruby, our sweet baby girl, our precious little gem. She is so very loved!

Z