The Green Eyed Monster

An issue that some of us have faced at one time or another in our lives is jealousy. For some it’s something that was dealt with as kids by reassuring parents and for others it’s a monster that gets unleashed every once in a while by our own insecurities and inadequacies.

For the past 6 years Little K was the baby in the family adored by everyone with all her quirks (and boy does she have many). All of the sudden came not only 1, but 2 little people and no amount of preparation from our side has helped her, because naturally as a kid she feels left out. A few hours into my sisters arrival, Little K refused to have anything to do with the kids nor with her aunt. She kinda sorta started resenting me too (in a mere few hours) for lavishing the little bundles with attention. By bedtime she was teary eyed and confided in Middle K that she’s jealous. No drumroll required because I knew this was to be expected. I prepared myself for that moment too and dealt with it as best I could.

It was also something that had to be addressed immediately because she’s a kid and has yet to channel her emotions. Can’t have my kid growing up and be a bitter individual because of jealousy. It may not seem like a big deal to some people but it is a huge deal to me. Things can get out of hand so easily and I wouldn’t want jealousy turn into resentment and hatred. I’ve seen too many adults on self destructive paths because of not dealing with their issues and getting over it or themselves.

This is how I handled the issue:

    I explained to her that babies need more attention because they can’t talk and tell us what they need. I told her stories of when she was a baby and how she got all the attention when she couldn’t talk.

    I cuddled and hugged her. A. Lot. I always do that with all my kids but she needed extras and I happily obliged.

    We included her in all the baby duties from diaper changes to bottle feeds and winding.

    She sang some lullabies because I got most of the words wrong. Not deliberately. I just don’t know all the words.

    My sis and the whole family also doted on her so that she can know that she is still a very important part of the family.

    I did her nails.

    We cuddled and bonded under the blankies while watching a movie on Sunday evening.

    Most importantly I reminded her that in our family we do love by the buckets. No one loves anyone more than the other unless you’re my kids then I’ll love you more than anything and anyone ever. That and the fact that nephews and nieces get a different kind of love but also a good few buckets full.

    I explained that our hearts grow bigger and can ‘make’ more love for many people and all we have to do is to make it happen. Typing this doesn’t look right but Little K understood what I meant and that’s what important. Just this evening my heart swelled with pride because she came to me saying “Mommy my heart made a lot of love for the twinsies. I can’t tell you how much but it’s a lot and I’m not jealous anymore.”

This issue settled I’m once again reminded that kids understand way more than what we give them credit for most times. It’s the sum of the little lessons that teaches our kids to become emotionally healthy and stable adults.

How do you/ have you handled the green eyed monster with your kids?


PJ Drills

This weekend I did my first PJ drill in over 6 years. Strange how it’s nothing like I remember it to be. You know little sleep, crying baby (that continues after you’ve done just about everything), feeling sorry for myself because I just don’t get to everything and having to bond with my other kids so they know that they’re loved and a husband who needs attention too. This weekend was different though. I rocked at it. What is a sleepless night or 2? Calming a crying baby was never a greater joy.

It can be that I’ve matured over the years, the fact that it wasn’t my own babies or that I just really feel for my sister. No one said motherhood is easy but being a mom of multiples takes some doing. It makes me feel like my tears I’ve shed with my single crying babies are somewhat trivial. I can honestly say that while I always felt sorry for twin (triplet/more) moms, I now have big time respect for those them. It takes some… No! REAL doing.

The twins came to visit this weekend and this aunt is loved every minute of confusion. They’re not identical but you know with babies it’s rather difficult to tell them apart at times. One thing is for certain: There is no confusion about the love I feel for them and the love for my sister and brother in law. It was this love that got me through a weekend of little sleep and a bit of a stiff neck I have right now. I helped where I could so that my sis could have a bit of a break because on top of her wound healing and being a new mom she’s a bit sick and we’re awaiting the results, praying that it’s not her kidneys giving problems again.

I changed diapers, got up when they stirred, winded them and sang lullabies to calm them when they wanted nothing to do with anyone but their mom. But mom needed to gain some strength and pampering so that she could function again. I laughed a bit because my sis whose eyebrows and hair is always done had not been able to do any of it since I did it the last time. Yep, motherhood has already changed her so much. Thankfully she’s got me and I fixed that little dilemma. After a bit of coaxing.

In comes overthinker… Did I have my kids too young? Was I a good enough baby mom? If I could go back and do things differently would I be able to cope better? These are some of the questions whirling through my mind today. The answer to all my questions is that nothing prepares you for motherhood at any age. Given the opportunity to go back I’m sure I would do it all the same anyways because my coping mechanisms just ran riot along with my hormones. Turns out that my hormones ran the show during and after pregnancy. It’s been running my life for the past few years since the “big three oh”. Aaaaand…. Obviously anyone will have more patience with a baby or kid that’s not theirs because once you’ve had enough you can always hand them back to their parents.

There is no way I coped better with the twins just because I’ve got almost fourteen years of experience as a mom. Or that I did it thrice and obviously none of my kids were the same as babies. No way I know better than my sis or any newb mom. There are so many things that I learn from new moms these days that I’m wondering where the heck these moms (please note: Not the grannies but new moms) were hiding when I had my first kid.

I coped well in my capacity of an aunt and a sister which made for pleasurable PJ drills. Sure there are differences in my mothering approach to that of my sis, but she’s their mom and will know better than me and anyone else. Obviously I know what works and doesn’t when it comes to babies. I’m an expert in my field in Jonkersville and what worked for MY babies but that’s where it ends. Do I know anything about raising teenagers? Not at all and I’m crossing that bridge as we speak. Though she has this enviable, amazing patience and calmness about her there’s no doubt that she’s out of her depth already so who am I or anyone else to tell her the ‘right’ or ‘better’ way of doing things. Sure some methods work better than others but it’s an experience for moms and babies to live through. Maternal instincts are much stronger than what many ‘experts’ give them credit for.

To all the new moms out there:

    1) Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you’re not doing things right. There is no right or wrong way to raise a baby. Unless you put the diaper on the baby’s mouth instead of their bottoms, there’s no real cause for concern yet.

    2) Even if people chide you for being a textbook mom, go ahead to the doctor or paed. It’s your child and if you want to consult a medical professional instead of taking some old folk remedies, just do it. It’s not their money you’re using, it’s your own.

    3) When people offer to help you take them up on that offer. Us sisters and some friends who knows how stressful it can be to cope really just want to help you. We won’t say you’re a bad mother and take all the credit. We’ve been there and wish that someone had enough sense to be extra sweet instead of forcing their opinions or hand us a crying baby when they feel like they can’t cope.

    4) Don’t be scared to ask for help either. You’re not expected to know everything or to just cope. Even if your cry for help is for someone to just be present in case baby wakes up while you’re washing your hair. Yes mommies you can do that. Everyone wants clean and decent hair.

    5) Lastly, when you feel like nothing is going right and you’ve lost control it’s OK. I’m sure you’re doing great. We’ve all been there. Some of us even more than you know. People tend to only share the good and not the bad or ugly.

A few of my not so proud, yet hilarious moments and (some a complete mystery)as a mom:

    1) Rocking 1st K as a baby and the horror of waking up with baby lying on the floor next to the bed.

    2) Always forgetting their bottles at home. All 3 kids! You’d think I’d have learnt with baby No. 1

    3) Forgetting Middle K on the bed as a baby and only realising that minor detail after I’ve locked up and we’re ready to drive off.

    4) Realising that no. 1 never happened. I rocked a pillow instead of the crying baby who was safely next to me in bed. I was THAT tired.

    5) I kind of just blocked out Little K and hardly remember PJ drills because ‘Keith’ did it all. I’d wake up refreshed in the morning and could hardly believe when he told me that the baby was restless al night long because I didn’t hear a thing.

    6) No. 3 is a true story and goes hand in hand with post natal depression and a complacent baby.

There are so many blunders I’ve made and I’m not up for a mother of the century award anytime soon but then again show me a mom who’s got it all figured out. Every year added to your childs life is unchartered territory so it’s best you get used to it now. It makes for some easier mothering.

What are some of the funny episodes do some of you seasoned moms remember doing and care to share?

Family Motto

Our family motto

Our family motto

Last month, seems like only yesteday (ok it was still April yesterday – how time flies!), I featured Cat from Juggling Act of Life in April Featured Blog. Being paired up with Cat in our SA Mom Blogs group has been a great experience for me and I’ve learnt a great deal from her. I especially appreciated an email from her one day when she gave me an awesome tip about adding media to my posts and pointed me in the right direction. I love experiences shared and am always open to learning from others and making the necessary improvements/adjustments if and where need be. Thank you Cat 🙂

Reading her post The Day My Boys Had Me Speechless – And Extremely Proud had me thinking about motto’s in general as well as my own family motto. What stood out for me most is when she said “For us it is always about trying, and trying your best. Not winning.”

It also got me thinking how schools and organizations have it too. My primary school’s motto was “Facta Non Verba” meaning “Deeds, Not Words” while my high school motto was “Vitae Discimus” which means “We Learn For Life”. You’d think I’m a cheat because my kids attend the same primary school so I would still know it but it’s one of those things that you remember for life. I happen to still know the school anthem (word for word too) yet I sometimes forget things I did yesterday. As I’m a firm believer that we’re never too old to learn, my high school motto is one I tell me kids a lot.

It’s no secret that I love my family but life does not always run like a well oiled machine in Jonkersville. We argue, fuss and fight at times. There are times when I honestly feel like throwing in the towel because the kids won’t listen (blame it on selective hearing) or conveniently forget to do a chore. The problem with throwing in the towel is that it leads to more washing and I have enough loads to do as it is. I’m often thrust into the referee role during fights, which I refuse to do because sibling rivalry is part of growing up and I don’t want to be accused of favouritism. What I have done is lay down some rules which I call our family motto of which love and respect are the two most important. Throw in discipline and consistency (parents, kids crave consistency) and you’ll be well on your way to some better days. Thus far it’s been the success to our family dynamic.

If you have a kid you’ll know how difficult it can be to teach kids about healthy competitions, especially how everything in life is not about winning. As adults we know that it’s not about winning (at least most of us does) but to a kid it can be a very sensitive issue. A heart wrenching feeling of failure. I’ve had to dry tears and give lots of hugs followed by (sometimes) lengthy lectures about losing. Somewhere along the line I think I may have gotten the point (being that “It’s better to have tried and lost than to never had tried at all) across as K3 seem to understand that they won’t win at everything. Or maybe it can be written down to the fact that they’d rather act “OK” and be spared a lecture. Whatever it is, I’m happy that they have adopted the “Even though we lost, we did so with pride” attitudes. Don’t you just think they’re just wise beyond their years?

With all this said, I’m proud to say that in our family we do real, we do mistakes, we do fun, we do second chances (sometimes as much as ten), we do hugs, we do forgiveness and we do love. I think making a wall hanging like the image illustrated should be one of my future DIY projects. Hmmm… DIY Diva in the making.

Another awesome post from Cat is We Hit Jackpot. She takes the most beautiful pictures and I could imagine myself in the wild. Although I don’t think I’ll get there anytime soon, I’ll live vicariously through her images.

What are your family motto’s and what works for your family?