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It always gets better

A month has gone by; a month of Miss Sunshine being unwell, hospitalization for a few days and gradual recovery. And once again, I am amazed by my daughter’s strength and resilience; that even in her suffering she is able to enjoy life, smile, laugh and play when I find it hard just to see her unwell. I must admit that this time it’s been harder than before, probably because it was so unexpected. I just figured we were dealing with her usual manageable symptoms so I had not even thought of a possible hospital admission.

But today, I want to focus on the bright side. The fact that Miss S has bounced back and even managed to go to school today. The fact that little by little she’s getting to experience her small joys- being with her cousins, going to play areas and just having fun.

The fact that we had almost a whole month together, mostly indoors, with nothing to do but just be. It was claustrophobic some of the time, maybe restrictive but we were together; no pressures, no schedules; only focusing on her recovery.

I appreciate the fact that I am practicing letting go, there’s nothing more I can do to protect her, I have to let her live her life fully and just do the best I can to minimize her symptoms when she falls sick.

I am so grateful that we are back to living our lives fully because it has reduced the frustration and overwhelming feelings that I was experiencing when all I was focusing on was her being unwell. I know as a result of the helplessness I felt seeing her suffering once again, I had so much pent up frustration which unfortunately resulted in a number of outbursts once we were back home when she was getting better. And I appreciate that I can now forgive myself for the outbursts and I am finding ways to react in such unexpected stressful situations. Another reason I’m grateful that we’re back to our normal routines is because the time together became our ‘normal’ so Miss S became so used to our time together, that she became clingy and irritable when I was even away from her for a few minutes when she needed me. And this separation anxiety was a bad trigger for us in the past week. But today has been refreshing, her having her morning at school- which she had missed so much- and myself at work.

The main reason I am grateful is that despite everything, I have Miss Sunshine. I have a happy, healthy, loving, bubbly, bright, funny, strong willed and fulfilled little girl. Nothing beats having her. Storms will come and they will pass. We’ll take whatever life throws at us. I have her and she has me, and that’s what I’m focusing on,

My precious Sunshine, I love you and will always love you the mostest and the bestest.

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You Are Enough

Exceptional post 🙂

The Daily Post

I recently told a friend of mine — a single mom who works in the healthcare industry — that she should write a blog about her amazing life. Her response to me was, “It’d be the most boring blog in the world. I’m nothing special.” That’s a direct quote. Nothing special? She’s raising three kids on her own, works in an ER in a massive city hospital, speaks three languages, and she studied opera in college. If she’s not special, I don’t know who is.

Her response really surprised me, and it reminded me of someone from my past who was the flip side of the self-confidence coin.

In my early 20s, I was taking a class with an outrageously flamboyant teacher. She found her life so interesting and loved telling us wild stories of the minutiae of her day. She could probably tell a story about boiling water and make it…

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My Breaking Point

Another week has started off with Miss Sunshine and I both home- her unwell and myself taking care of her. And I go through the same process I go through each time she’s unwell- panic, sadness, fear- and my life stops. I should be used to this by now. I should have learnt that a minor sickness is normal, that all children fall sick, I should, but I haven’t. This is the one thing I’m not able to be rational about, despite spending my days helping people to be rational and realistic. Yet, I’m unable to.

This is a result of her experiences in infancy, from her 1st week into this world she was in and out of hospital with many common childhood symptoms like fevers, vomiting, dehydration and abdominal issues, which on their own would have been nothing to worry about, but for her ended up in a number of hospital admissions without any confirmed diagnoses. And when at 7 weeks old, she was found to have a number of allergies that led to her symptoms, I thought the battle was over because we had found the root of the problems. But despite elimination of every allergen from my diet (as she was still breastfeeding), she still kept falling sick and needing hospital admission. Miss S has a great paediatrician who was determined to find out the cause of her symptoms and I remember during her last admission, he carried out so many tests, consulted with other doctors abroad and eventually told us that they could not find anything.  I remember that day, we went home with a still sick Sunshine because the hospital was traumatizing her so much and there was nothing they could do apart from manage the symptoms, which we could do at home. And that point is when my trauma began. I stopped working for a while, and spent my mornings and nights watching Miss S, making sure she was breathing, making sure she was ok. I couldn’t understand why she had to suffer so much, I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t get a solution and I knew what true helplessness was. S has been a blessing, such a joy and loving person and it didn’t make sense to me why she had to suffer so much.

So, thank God, even without a diagnosis, Miss S recovered and the incidences of her symptoms almost disappeared. I went back to working a few days a week but would still drop everything when she was unwell. This has always been important to me because she falls sick so suddenly and unexpectedly so it’s important to help her as soon as she does. But she grew up, allergies disappeared and she was able to tolerate dairy and eggs. And I was able to relax somewhat, to stop being on the watch and just let her be. But now what happens is that when she falls sick, I automatically go back to a year or two ago, and the fear returns. And of course no one understands why I’m so afraid. I’m a psychologist, so I do, I’m still traumatized and haven’t moved past that time.

This year, when I knew we were in a calmer period of her life, she was diagnosed with asthma. And I was so angry, I remember crying for days. Not because of asthma per se. But because since she was born, she’s been limited, it’s always been her food, what she can do and can’t do. She’s spent so much time in hospital, so many unpleasant experiences and then here was one other thing added. So once again, more limitation, more protection which would be impossible for her to understand. All I wanted was for her to finally have a normal experience of being a child without lists of dos and don’ts.

Eventually I accepted it, I had to, otherwise I would also unintentionally depress her. And she started school in May, went for 2 days and had her 1st major asthmatic attack on the 2nd night. She ended up being home till the next week recovering and by end of the next week was hesitant about going back to school. I wondered why as she’d enjoyed her two days there but did’t push her to go. A few days later when she was sick again I understood why she’d refused to go, she was already probably feeling irritable and under the weather as a result of the incubating infection. The next few weeks were like that, few days well, some more days sick and when she was well she didn’t want school to come up. And I understood why, most of that half term, she was already unwell, and it feels awful to be sick. Also, her only school experience was now associated with being sick.

Anyway, this September she was back in school and she’s such a fighter she’s been handling school even with numerous infections and asthma- related symptoms. Even when she misses days due to sickness, she’s been able to recover them as she only does 3 days a week. However, even though she’s a tough little fighter, I guess I’m not. I thought I was handing it well, taking it a day at a time- taking her to school when she’s well, taking her back to the hospital when she’s not, taking time out to take care of her when she’s sick. But the truth- I’m broken. Yes, children get sick, really sick and yes, parents handle it. But right now, watching her sleeping I know that I’m breaking inside for her and I cannot focus on anything else but her and having her well. I know that’s impossible as there will always be flu and infections but I hate the tight rope- the waiting for the next time, the worrying, the monitoring, the numerous medications she has to take. I hate that at 3 years old, she knows the names of medicines I had no idea of till she was born. I hate that simple small symptoms like these can take over and cloud everything at times like these. But mostly, I hate that when my little girl is the one suffering, I can’t be stronger and have more faith, and yet she acts and plays like nothing is wrong.

But this is my humanity.

By the time she gets up, I’ll be stronger once again, for her. And I just have to accept that not everyone can understand why I have to stop everything to take care of her when she’s sick. It looks minor, but to me it’s the most major thing as she’s my world.

I love you so much Sunshine. In a perfect world, I would give you a perfect, 100% healthy life with zero time spent in hospital and medication. But this is an imperfect world so I’ll give you my almost perfect love and attention instead.

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Liebstar Award!

The past few days have been so busy I’m feeling blogging withdrawal symptoms from not blogging. 😦

But before I post anything, I want to respond to these questions following my Liebster Award nomination by wordsandotherarts. https://donnamcmillen300.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/liebster-award-part-2.

Once again, thank you so much for nominating me 🙂

1. Where would you like to go on your dream vacation? Definitely Switzerland

2. What is your preferred genre of music? Soft classic rock and neo soul

3. What is your favorite meal? Chicken and chapati

4. What happened during the happiest day that you can remember? I’ve many to choose from but the one that stands out is the 1st time Miss Sunshine said, “I love you so much in the whole world” her version of my telling her “I love you more than anything in the whole world.” Nothing beats the joy in my heart that night.

5. What do you do for fun? Read a lot, write, listen to music and dance with Miss S, zumba, bake, knit sometimes, watch series, play with Miss S, swim…endless list.

6. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? At first I started this blog as a continuation of my journals for Miss S, so she’d be able to have a record of her early life. And it was also an outlet for me as I love writing. Now I hope to make a difference in other parents’ lives by sharing my experiences.

7. If a genie came to you and said “Your wish is my command!” you would wish for . . .? A life of travel (I’ve got the travel bug from little Miss S who already has a list of places she wants to go.)

8. What was/is your favorite subject in school? English and Maths

9. Besides blogging, what is your favorite hobby? Reading, reading, reading and music is the icing on the cake

10. Do you prefer to read books or magazines? Books

11. What’s the last thing you think about before you go to… Miss S

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Liebster Award, part 2

Thank you so much for nominating me. Will nominate others and answer the questions as well

Words & Other Arts

Liebster logo for WordPress

My nominees for the Liebster Award:

http://www.spontaneouswhimsy.com

https://raisingmisssunshine.wordpress.com

http://www.writingohmy.com

https://simplemessagesinalifeseye.wordpress.com

http://www.jpeschel1.com

and

http://www.inastitchquilting.com

According to Suzanne’s post, the nominees for this award are asked to answer a series of questions. Here are your questions, if you choose to answer them:

1.Where would you like to go on your dream vacation?

2. What is your preferred genre of music?

3. What is your favorite meal?

4. What happened during the happiest day that you can remember?

5. What do you do for fun?

6. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

7. If a genie came to you and said “Your wish is my command!” you would wish for . . .?

8. What was/is your favorite subject in school?

9. Besides blogging, what is your favorite hobby?

10. Do you prefer to read books or magazines?

11. What’s the last thing you think about before you go to…

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She’s taking the driver’s seat

Picture 673

Following a post I read today, loved and re-blogged (The Uninfluenced Mummy by lovelifeandlunacy), I’m challenging myself this weekend to let my little preschooler take the lead. That post was a breath of fresh air reminding me how the need to keep up with the Joneses doesn’t stop even in parenting. That’s probably why parents tend to keep comparing sleeping- through- the- night stories, who’s toilet trained before whom, which child has a bigger, better birthday party, who has a well behaved child and who has a constantly tantruming toddler…and it’s so subtle, we probably don’t even know it’s happening.

And couldn’t that be where most of the parenting frustrations come from? The need to be the best, when all the little ones want is us and our best. All they want is quality time playing and being attentive to them. They do not need to be spruced in their best outfits, posing for pretty pictures, being rushed from activity to activity just to give them the best. Whose benefit is it for? Us or them?

I want Miss Sunshine to have the best of the world but more than that I want her to have the best of me and the best of life through her experiences. So that means, relaxing a little bit and letting her take the lead. Following her cues. Letting her be…letting go. Yes, I’m her mama, I may be older and somewhat wiser, but in the long run she is and will always be the expert of herself. That doesn’t mean letting go of the big decisions; it just means I want to try and live like a child in a way, and Miss S is the best person who can teach me that. It’s time to stop, smell the roses and water her trees… stop, look at the butterflies with wonder…stop and notice every little thing we pass on the road as we walk…stop and just let things be without having a plan for every little thing…stop and question whatever seizes my imagination in this great big world…stop, giggle and sing at the top of my voice.

I’m following you Miss S…lead the way. This will be the start of more Yes and less No

Uninfluenced mummy…thank you!

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Happy 1st Day of School – Signs and a Prayer

Counting down to 1st day of school…

Happy Family Blog

Yesterday was the first day of school for us and Bailey was so excited. It is amazing how staying at the same small preschool makes it so much easier and less nerve wrecking for all of us.

I saw this prayer on Facebook, while I don’t know the source I had to share it. Brought tears to my eyes.

I found an adorable sign for back to school click hereto see it and download one too.

Did your kids go back to school yet? If so how did they first day go? What are your first day traditions?

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The Uninfluenced Mummy.

Challenge to all us mamas out there 🙂

love,life and lunacy

I like to think that I’m not one of those mums who are easily influenced by other parents’ and their ways of parenting. Just because I like to think that though doesn’t mean it is true.

We are just over half way through the six week holidays now and I must say i’m quite impressed with myself. For the last 2-3 years I have stressed myself out no end trying to do amazing things with my children that they will love and talk about for days on end, spent money on days out that you would like to think the kids would be so grateful for; how bloody silly of me!

You see, this year I have refused to allow the chit chat of other parents on social media affect my day to day plans with my kiddies, I haven’t stressed myself out or put pressure on myself to do…

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Taming of the Toddler (Credit to L.R. Knost)

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“So parents, here’s the scoop on tantrums:
They’re your fault.

Okay, okay, so maybe my toddlerhood contributes to them a teensy-weensy bit, but seriously…

You with the obsession with brushing teeth and bedtimes and matching clothes, enough already! Does it ever even occur to you that there’s another person (Yes, I am an actual separate person from you. Remember that whole cutting of the umbilical cord thing?) Who might have an opinion about what goes in my mouth or when I’m tired or not or what I want to wear? And you, the one who thinks carrots and kale are food. Really? You have all kinds of opinions about what tastes good and what doesn’t, but I’m not allowed to have any? And don’t even get me started on the rush-rush, hurry-up craziness that has me being snatched up in the middle of my most fantastic block tower ever and strapped into a torture device (Btw, where’s your car seat?!?) and dragged from one place to another right through snack time. I can’t have an agenda? Don’t my interests mean anything?

Okay, so maybe I don’t know everything yet, but how am I going to learn if you just force these issues instead of communicating with me about things? That whole learning by osmosis thing (a.k.a. passive learning) didn’t work for you in college, and it won’t work with me, either.

You keep going on and on and ooooon about wanting me to listen. “Why won’t you listen?” “If you’d listen for once!” “Would you just listen to me?!?” I’ve got three words for you…
Two. Way. Street. Maybe instead of that whole failed learning by osmosis experiment you keep trying (You do know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, right? Okay, okay, just checking!) You could read the research and find out that I learn by active engagement (two-way conversation!) and imitation. Yep, that’s right. I learn from what you do, not just what you say.

So here’s the deal… Want me to learn to listen? Then listen to me. Listen and respond to my cries when I’m a baby. Listen and reply to my babbling attempts at talking when I’m a toddler. Listen to my whining and respond patiently when I’m a preschooler. (I know it’s annoying, but whining is my last step, kind of like your ‘last nerve’ you complain I’m stomping on, before I have a meltdown. It’s my last-ditch effort to hold on to the tiny bit of self-control I’ve learned so far in my short life!) Listen and actually pay attention (a.k.a eye contact!) to my endless stories about snails when I’m in middle childhood and to my endless complaints and dramas when I’m in my teen years.

Want me to learn respect? Then show me respect. Show me that you respect my personal space by explaining the things you’re doing to me like changing my diaper or strapping me into a car seat. Show me that you respect others by not talking about them behind their backs (Yes, I can and do hear you!) or yelling at them on the road. Show me that you respect my opinions by asking for them and accommodating them when you can. (I know you won’t always be able to, but the times you do will help me to accept the times you can’t.)

Want me to learn compassion? Then show me compassion. Respond kindly and gently when I’m upset or angry or just out-of-sorts. Stay close when my emotions overwhelm me and I have a meltdown moment. (I need your presence and compassion the most when I seem to deserve it or even want it the least!) And model compassion by treating others kindly in front of me.

Want me to learn self-control? (This is a big one!) Then show me self-control. Take a parental time-out when you get tired or overwhelmed or angry so I learn how to handle those big emotions. Count to ten and take some deep breaths instead of yelling or hitting. And pace yourself in this big world. I need to learn that it’s okay to take care of myself and not feel like I have to fill every moment with plans and schedules and agendas. I’ll learn that from watching you choose wisely from the many opportunities and pressures life will offer.

Okay, so to wrap this up. My tantrums don’t just come out of nowhere. They are the result of tiredness, hunger, frustration, anger, etc. You can prevent them, or at least minimize them, by keeping me fed and rested, by paying attention to my preferences, interests, and attempts to communicate, and by communicating kindly and patiently with me about upcoming changes or things I might not like. And keep in mind, I’m always watching and absorbing everything that goes on around me, so make sure you’re living what you want me to learn! “

Excerpt (The Taming of the Toddler) from Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood by L. R. Knost