August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
My ten year old son and I have just finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Altogether it took us about six months. Most of the time I read aloud, but sometimes he does to practice his speaking skills. We don’t read every night; in fact sometimes we go for weeks without reading if life gets particularly busy.
Sometimes, a book is read at exactly the right time in life, and it seems that it has been written especially for us. And that has been the case with this book.
It is about a boy, Bastian, who has low self esteem. Who is called a ‘weakling’ among other names by kids from his school. The day we read that page was the same day that Samuel had been called that exact name himself. I couldn’t believe that life could be so serendipitous.
A few days later we read the scene where Atreyu leads his horse into the Swamps of Sadness, and where eventually his horse refuses to continue on. That was a time when Samuel was feeling a lot of sadness and despair. We both cried when Atreyu had to say goodbye to his horse and leave him to die. Samuel’s face was buried into his pillow.
Later on in the book, the main character enters the story and has many adventures. He transforms into a brave, strong warrior. Atreyu proves his loyalty and friendship in the final moments of the book in helping Bastian return to the ‘real world’, despite being treated badly by Bastian. Much like how our families continue to love us unconditionally, even through our own bad behaviour.
When Bastian finally returns, he can express his emotions more confidently to his father. Just as Samuel is slowly learning to do with Sol and I. He remembers his adventures in The Neverending Story and they give him confidence.
Samuel was so uplifted by the ending of the book: my wish is that it has given him hope that he can transform this way too. It is an amazing book.
August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
We try regularly to have “Family Days” – where we all squeeze into the 4wd and head off on an adventure. They don’t happen as often as I would like, simply due to the logistics of getting swimmers, towels, food, car activities, and other paraphernalia ready for seven people. Sometimes it is just too overwhelming. And some weekends we just need to hang out at home after a week of busy-ness.
But in the recent Winter school holidays we made it up to Palm Beach on a Friday and almost had the beach to ourselves. I’d found a mini cricket bat in the garage and the boys and Sol had much fun playing beach cricket. Robin kept crawling towards the waves. Zara entered her nature-spirit zone and just pranced around talking to the ocean. Lily tried to play cricket and be like the boys. I played cricket, then fed Robin and read a book. Sometimes, breastfeeding provides the excuse to do little things like that which are just for me.
August 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ve been a bit quiet on this blog as Robin as been in hospital again. His response to any virus or bug seems to be severe breathing difficulties, requiring lots of oxygen support and time.
For me, this time in hospital was the culmination, and the resolution of many factors.
Culmination: feeling stressed lately. So stressed that I was washing for a break. Of course now the guilt hits that little Robin had to experience the manifestation of my inability to organise some respite for myself.
Culmination: I have been waiting for this all Winter. Waiting for his first proper illness since whooping cough, waiting to see how bad it would get.
Culmination: Robin has been seeing a Speech Pathologist. It was extremely interesting to hear her thoughts about how he is not chewing or using his tongue properly as he eats. About how his walking, talking and eating are closely linked and that it is time to give him a definite nudge to develop in those areas. A reduction of breastfeeding was discussed, to encourage him to eat more solids and thereby learn to eat faster. I began this process, just a little, and promptly got mastitis a day before Robin became ill.
Resolution: there are so many strong emotions linked to the Children’s Hospital. After our first night in emergency having tests, Sol arrived and I took a break with two lovely friends who showed up in support. As I said goodbye and walked back through the emergency doors, the dread hit me like a punch in the stomach. That feeling was all too familiar to me: the not knowing of what had happened with Robin while I had been away, of not knowing what was to come.
I did it differently this time: I asked for help. I asked for support, and I received. It made all the difference.
I had my meltdown moment of saying I am not strong enough for this. I can’t do it this time. Thank God for friends who reply Yes, you can. Yes, you will, because it is your child. Those two friends have my undying loyalty for showing up at such a time.
Resolution: after that, well, it wasn’t so bad. Robin stabilised and we moved to a ward. I did some re thinking of my attitudes towards the nurses after some bad experiences last year. This time we had lovely nurses, mostly male. They were so sensitive and accommodating, so supportive of breastfeeding. Maybe it was because Robin was older, maybe because he didn’t have such a life threatening illness this time, or maybe that Sol could take a lot more of the ‘hospital time’, but the overall experience was as positive as such a thing can be.
I felt that some of the fear and pain from Robin’s illness last year was healed. And I am not so afraid going forward now.