Chaos and Recovery

April 27, 2013 § 2 Comments

Here in the Heartman household, we have just had two weeks of school holidays.

How I would love to report that every morning I had a leisurely lie in, while the children organised their own breakfasts and got dressed. I would get up, do a few morning jobs followed by some crafting or writing while the children all engaged in self directed imaginative play/activities.

Then, a healthy lunch followed by an outing to the park, pool or skate ramp. An early dinner, tired kids to bed early, leaving me with another two hours to blog/sew and watch TV.

The above is my desired school holiday rhythm. I’m sure you can guess that the reality is very different with five children aged 13 to 1. (Actually I think the reality came pretty close once, when I only had two or three kids! Maybe that is why I am clinging to this ideal.)

There is only one word to adequately describe the past two weeks: chaos!

I may have occasionally slept late, leaving kids to watch TV or play their devices. My 9am or later arrival into the lounge would be greeted by starving children whining for food. I stuffed up our household budget for the first week, leaving us with diet staples of potatoes, bread and cheese, and no family outings.

The girls (6 and 3) play very well, but in large sized games that involve the entire lounge room floor and ALL of the toys. Mister 9 does not play well and likes to tell me repeatedly how bored he is and how he wants a ‘difficult’ life, as in before TV or electricity. When I tell him that he is a kid and should be able to create his own fun, he slinks off to him room to play nintendo.

By the end of the first week we had two bed mattresses on the lounge room floor (due to restless sleepers or my laziness about actually taking them to a dark bedroom at night), toys and clothes everywhere else, and permanently messy kitchen. Oh, and one sick child.

Week Two: took the girls to the ballet, four kids to a concert, had a cousin over for a sleepover, offloaded Mister 13 to a friends for two days, and Lily to her Nana’s. And when I finally had less kids, I promptly got a cold/flu, as did Robin. The state of the house was too depressing, and I was too tired, so I escaped to my mum’s for 24hours with Robin to rest and be pampered.

I can’t live this way anymore! Never before have I fantasised so strongly about selling all our possessions and heading off into the sunset (again!).

I’m big on serendipity, and I happened across a blog yesterday, www.planningwithkids.com. It is exactly what the title suggests, and very straight forward, very organised. Totally different to anything I am usually attracted to, but completely relevant and needed for right now.

A midwife once told me that mothers of large families generally fall into two parenting/household organisation styles: a whatever goes, happy chaos; or a militant, highly organised system style. I used to be the former, though I like to think of myself as quite organised. Increasingly, I can see the attraction and need for a bit more of the latter.

Life feels overwhelming and purposeless when I feel trapped by our ‘stuff’ and by the rigid routines of school etc…. This blog confession is the first step of my recovery. I am putting it out there, making myself accountable for bringing some practical organisation to this family. Hopefully it will create more time and freedom for my creative self to soar.

Apples and Angels

April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

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The days shorten as summer slips into Autumn. Time shifts, and different activities take over each day.

We’ve been for our last swim for the season, and I’ve dug out the winter clothes from storage. And a few weeks ago, befitting the autumn harvest time, we went apple picking. A group of us from the Playgroup went to Bilpin for the day.

Standing in the apple paddocks, just being, was healing and rejuvenating. The physical space made way for some mental space. Zara cleaned out the raspberry patch and picked two bags full of apples. We came home with a car full of red apples, green apples and apple jam.

Since then I have made apple cake, apple crumble and stewed apple to have with custard. I have to use up the mountain of apples I purchased before they spoil, as hubby thinks I bought too much!

And on to angels…. fleece angel mobiles, for some friends of an acquaintance. I haven’t done much crafting this year, but I am slowly easing into some new projects which I will share very soon. I have to be careful not to expect too much of myself, so I take it slow. But these mobiles are lovely for newborns to gaze at, with the ethereal, light angels that float on air.

 

The Gift of Robin

April 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

I can’t write a post about the challenges Robin has brought with him to our lives without addressing the positive.

And the positives are like a golden goblet, overflowing with everlasting life-giving water that brings richness to the soul.

His arrival has brought our family to a new level of unity and harmony. I remember after Robin was born, feeling so much bliss, feeling I was funnelling love down to my family.

Even his illness and the challenges we have faced contain gifts. His illness taught me how strong I am; how strong I can be. There is so much that Robin and I have been through as Mother and Child, such a depth of trust and love and intimacy between us that it brings tears to my eyes.

He has helped me to let go of fear; to go for the things I want. Because of his illness and the limitations it has brought to my life personally, I am now blogging, editing a magazine and doing professional editing work alongside my crafty pursuits. All of a sudden my life contains lots of things I am passionate about and that makes me happy.

The dust from Robin’s first year of life is still settling here in the Heartman House. We are still in ‘survival’. But I can’t go a day without giving thanks for this little boy and all he has brought to my life.

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Into my Fear

April 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

Photo by William Price

Photo by William Price

Two weeks ago Robin was in hospital again. He ate some grass off the floor at home and choked on it. He stopped breathing and we had to call an ambulance.

When we got to hospital I had to ask the nurses for some food or juice because I felt I was going to pass out after the huge, overpowering adrenaline rush I experienced at home, when I thought we were going to have to start CPR on our baby. The good news is that a couple of hours later he brought up the offending piece of grass then re-swallowed it like any other food, and that was that.

Back to the pond analogy: the hospital incident is the stone that plops into the still water; the ripples that keep surfacing over time represent the effect of it all on me.

I can’t help but wish I was stronger in some way, or less sensitive; or that events of the past year don’t have such power over me. Like dragon’s claws, snatching after me as I travel through life.

Two days before the choking incident Robin finally began to crawl, and my life became immeasurably easier since he no longer needed to be permanently attached to my body. Now…. how can I let him crawl around freely anymore? I’m back to square one with worry about him.

In my private moments, I feel terror. It doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t just about one thing. It’s everything…. which is what I cannot control in life.

At 7am on a Tuesday morning I lie in bed, terrified of getting up, of the thought that at 9.30am I need to be at Playgroup ready to greet all the arriving children. I could run Playgroup in my sleep. It is a sanctuary for me, always uplifting and filled with supportive mums. And yet I am overwhelmed because I am expected to be there.

Last year, after Robin’s illness, I dropped everything. No commitments except for the school run, for nearly six months. It was great. It helped. It worked. But I don’t think I can do that right now. And I don’t want to. I want to be stronger, more evolved or something.

Postscript: Robin will be seeing a speech therapist because it seems apparent that all is not right with his throat or gag reflex. What baby would eat grass?! I spend a few minutes a couple of times a day feeling my feelings and trying to let it all go into a balloon that floats off into the sky (it’s a Louise L. Hay technique). 

 

 

 

 

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