So… How’re You Doing?

Hey there!

Nice to meet you at last ….

Unfortunately you’ve come at a time when, well, there’s actually nobody home. As in I’ve moved most of my stuff out and gone to a new place.

A place I call ‘Home’.

It’s over at The Introvert Parent

Call on in, have a coffee and a chat. Stay a while. Sign up to the newsletter or find us on Facebook, we’d love to have you join the family :)

Rach
xxooxx

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Filed under General Musings

Silver Linings

Just a ‘musey’ moment – forgive me :)

Silver Linings

If I wasn’t sick;
I could dance with my husband and play with my kids
I could run up mountains and have sword-fights with sticks,

I could sit in the sun and swim in the sea
I could go for long walks down the road after tea

I could do any job and we’d be mortgage free
(and yes, hubby could have that big flat screen TV)

I’d do ballet and cycling and I’d garden all weekend
I wouldn’t care about Facebook and who I’d like to befriend.

I wouldn’t care how I looked (I never did much before)
I just would’ve made a brief effort before flying out the door.

BUT

If I wasn’t sick;
I wouldn’t appreciate life like I do
The people I’ve met and the sweetest things too

Like flowers on roses, or the warmth of a brick
and my girls’ ballet stickers on my walking stick

My friends would be strangers, my family estranged
My kids would be second to career and fame

I wouldn’t dye my hair, wear nice clothes or lipstick
(things you do to detract from the ol’ walking stick)

I wasn’t a looker, but I sure am now!
I didn’t plan this for my life, but what the hell

I have four wonderful kids, a hubby I adore
Who in the world could ever want more?

As the bloods come back and counts start to get low
I feel healthier in my soul than most others I know

Sure I can’t run, or walk down the beach
But I can write and dream and see and teach.

I have a chance to do something great with my time
If I wasn’t sick and if my life was mine,
I bet I wouldn’t be writing this rhyme …..

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The Fortunate Son

I have come to a realisation.

There is no easy way of saying this, so I am just going to lay it on the table.

Master C is spoilt.

Seriously.

He is only 4 years younger than his oldest sister, so he is seen by his siblings as ‘the baby who can’.

He can be picked up, carted around, fed, changed and generally treated like a baby by his mothering siblings, but he can also jump on the trampoline, play prince and princesses, dance like Happy Feet, sing like Bon Jovi and kick a football.

He is the child who lives without fear and crashes the hardest. We have cleaned up more blood from him in his 3.5 years than from the rest of the family combined and multiplied by 12.

He also has the lowest tolerance for anything less than perfect. It took us a few months to work out that the screams being emanated by this small child were not screams of pain, but screams of frustration. (Have I mentioned that we have very understanding neighbours?)

And he knows how to cuss. In context. He uses phrases that we don’t, so Lord only knows where he gets it from.

The last of four, he really did spend his first year in agony, spending a good part of it in hospital undergoing horrific tests and coping with various infections. This first year involved surgeries, syringes, antibiotics and more painkillers than the most seasoned pre-surgery candidate.

He is the tugger of heart strings and puller of ultimate Hollywood’s, except for when he is really hurt – then he hardly utters a whimper….

But he is also the child who cries because “I missed mum”, gives the best hugs, endless kisses and always says ‘I love you’. He shares his treats, gets Mr M’s foot stool for him and has the most contagious giggle.

Yes he may not be toilet trained (it’s in progress), he may meltdown at the slightest sign of assertive authority (other than his), and yes he may ask to be fed occasionally, but he is also so delightful that none of it matters.

Compared to the rest of the family he has it sweet, and we have created more than a few rods for our back by allowing him more freedoms than his sisters had.

No way is he in bed by 7 pm, as for dressing himself and making his bed by age 3? I don’t think so – he has a hard enough job putting his dummy and ‘phoofy’ down between TV times!

But here’s the thing, these are rods that no-one seems to mind. It is all just a part of life with Master C.

Prior to him we didn’t have the time to indulge our kids in their early years and our house had to operate like a boot camp for us all to survive. But now it doesn’t. And we are still managing to bring up a really good kid, despite the indulgences.

Yes he may be spoilt, but he is not spoiled. He has made us cry more than the other kids combined, but he has also made us laugh more times as well.

We are privileged to have him and he is a fortunate son ….. no matter what his cries of aggravation to the contrary may say.

See ya!

Rachael

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Filed under From the Coalface, General Musings

Today, I am a Turtle

Today I am entrenched so far away from the world that I might as well be a turtle.

In fact I am so far into my shell that I am not entirely sure that my head is not up my arse. All I know is that it is peaceful here and I don’t want to come out. But I have to.

I can not let this feeling take a hold because once it does all hell will break loose and that is not fair on those who are already pulling far more than their own weight to keep us sane.

How did this happen?

For three and a half years I have managed to keep up spirits. To look ahead. To appreciate every single moment of every single day. To realize just how lucky I am.

I have fought every step of the way, starting with fighting for my independence, then fighting for my husband, fighting for my kids, for our house, for a future and latterly fighting my own body.

This last fight is one that I am starting to think that I am loosing and the worst of it is that I don’t know why or what I can do to – if not stop it, then manage it.

I have had a couple of MRI’s that show nothing. Nada. Zip.

I should be happy.

Everyone says stuff like  – “at least you haven’t got MS/cancer/Mad Cow” (the latter is still under suspicion) “don’t put yourself in a box”, ‘you don’t want to be categorized’… and my personal favorite ‘while there is nothing definitive there is always a chance that you’ll get better’.

Fuck off.

Try dealing with legs that don’t work properly, arms that twitch so violently that jars fly across the room and smash, senses that get so overwhelmed that a truck passing on the road nearly makes you pass out. Don’t talk to me about stress related illness. My kid comes home from school and I get so excited for her that my body goes into a spaz.

Natural sleep is a distant memory and I now tear muscles just by bending over. In the weekend I tore a muscle in my arm by holding the ladder for Mr M as he was painting the barge boards of our house.

I have started getting recurring blisters in my mouth and on my tongue and I have 5, no wait, 6 and a half cysts on my jaw. I also have lumps in my neck. Yes they hurt. So does every part of me that is used for more than a few minutes.

Usually my flares last for a few days, the last flare has gone on for four weeks and counting. In the last month I have gone through 200 ibuprophen capsules and just as many paracetamol.

My prescribed muscle relaxants are not working as well as they once did, but they are highly addictive, so before I give myself permission to get addicted to them I need to know that this is the best course of treatment or management. I can’t do that without a diagnosis.

I have a wonderful support crew and loads of things in place for when days are really bad. This is far more than many New Zealanders have at the moment. Especially in Christchurch – God you are so brave down there, I feel like such a poser when I think of what you have been going through.

With all that is going on and a family to help raise I do not have the luxury of being depressed about my condition and I will not give in to it but by God it is becoming hard work. So I think I’ll just stay in my shell a while longer and hope with all my heart that the demons find another home.

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Filed under At Random

Today I Am Angry

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Today I am angry.

Angry at the lack of response from organizations.

Angry at the lack of support available for people – especially by those organizations that are PAID to provide that support.

Angry that some organisations compare letting children eat meat, encouraging them to drink milk, or declining immunisation to child abuse.

But most of all I am just filled with pure anger at a society and individuals that seem to be completely incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions.

My anger has been festering for a while, but this story and its background has made it boil over.

What a fucked up mess.

The mother says that she was screaming for help for years because she couldn’t cope and no-one did anything. So of course she ‘snapped’ or whatever you want to call it. What load of shit.

We have all been under pressure – some of us have been to the edge of where she is BUT (and that is a mighty big BUT) who in their right mind does not know the difference between discipline and torture. What parent that truly loves their child hits them with a machete, a broom or even a stick? Who tears their kid’s hair out?

Forget ‘loves’ even, what human in their right mind does that to another human? Who would do that to a stranger? Or their worst enemy?

Who in their right mind sees the fear in their child’s eyes and DOESN’T stop? Who lives on it and gets encouraged to keep going by it?

For those who are at this point – how can you be so self centred that it is better to beat the shit out of your child and mutilate them than walk away and go somewhere else leaving them alone? Surely that would be the lesser of two evils?

Yes the authorities should have done something and yes they made the wrong call – but for Christ’s sake blaming them for the torture that YOU performed is no different to the employee that tells their boss that they are going to beat the crap out of another employee, then proceeding to do it with complete impunity because ‘they was warned’.

As I said. Fucked up.

Meanwhile the conservatives bleat on about the liberal do-gooders, the liberal do-gooders bleat on about poverty, conservatives and the rights of women. And we ALL get blamed. Thing is, we do feel more responsible and more guilt than these murdering, torturing defective mothers ever will.

While we are at it – what is the definition of poverty?

I know that it is a massive subject, but I have been to a few places over the last 12 months that from the outside would qualify as ‘poverty’ homes. The houses are plain old weatherboard state houses. There is little to no heating. There is nothing of value in them (except of course for the kids). The beds are mattresses on the floor, the table is the floor. You get the idea right?

A poor home, a family struggling with not even enough income to buy the youngest a $50 cot off Trade Me or a spare bottle for the milk, they can’t afford the petrol to take the sick kids to the doctor ……

Except here’s the thing, let’s do the unthinkable and look a little closer.

These places are also invariably dark because someone has the curtains drawn 24/7. Dirty, because no-one has bothered to clean-up or vacuum – I would hazard a guess and say, ever. The back yard is a dirt patch fenced by corrugated iron that houses three dogs who roam freely. Of course the kids do not get a look at getting outside while the dogs are there – and even if they did the dog shit, rubbish and stench can not be good for them, but then staying indoors may be even more unhealthy.

The rooms are sooo full of stale and in some cases fresh dope smoke that casual visitors are in danger of getting high just by opening the door. There is broken furniture at the disused front door, and burnt out speakers and other shit on the front lawn. Broken beer bottles litter the path to the side door.

Then you find out that the family earns a few thousand less than yours in a year.

WTF???!!!

Poverty is not the issue.

Lifestyle is the issue.

Laziness is the issue.

Priorities are the issue.

Life choices are the issue.

Of course it is logical – These ingrates need to stop spending money on shit. Open the fucking curtains, have a wash, stop relying on hand outs…. Yes I said it…. Hand Outs and for the life of me I can not see why the hell three dogs have more right to sunshine than three kids?

This is NOT a movie script – Boy was a delightful and heart wrenching movie that was also just pathetic in places, but like Once Were Warriors – it is a movie that is based on a reality that some seem to aspire to.

But life has taught me that you can not impart your logic on someone else. They have the right to live their lives on their terms just as you do. Which is fine, each to their own – BUT don’t you dare try to blame me or anyone else for your decisions or scream when your kids get pulled out from underneath your stench and offered a better future.

You do not have the right to torture your kids. I don’t care who you are, who says you do or who tries to make excuses for you. Hang, the US have invaded countries for less cruel ‘acts of culture’ than this.

Anyone who gets appalled by this or is sickened by our child abuse stats and wants to do something – I mean REALLY do something – READ THE GREEN PAPER put out by the government and add your piece. It is YOUR chance to do something far more useful than marching down a street, wearing a white ribbon or liking a Facebook Page.

(Oh and when you read it, don’t focus on ‘how will this affect me’. Focus on how it will help others – that is what YOU can do to make a difference)

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Filed under At Random, General Musings

“Cause for 24 years we’ve been trying to get our hands on Webb-Ellis”

photo courtesy of The Telegraph

“….’cause for 24 years we’ve been trying to get our hands on Webb-Ellis”
Miles Davis

OK, it is Sunday October 16th 2011 and Mr M and I are recovering from watching the ill-fated Welsh playing France and are filled with apprehension about the AB’s Australia semi-final tonight.

Of course by the time that you read this you will know the outcome and the World Champions of Rugby Union will have been crowned for another 4 years. Whether we win or lose tonight the Black flags will have been put away for another 4 years, as will the white Steinlager cans, Hayley Westenra will once again be a Kiwi and Telecom can get back to doing , well, whatever Telecom do…….

But what does this have to do with parenting?

To be honest not much; except that during this World Cup I have seen a side of New Zealand that I have not seen in a long time. A country united not just in an ‘us against the world’ sense, but in a this is ‘our place, welcome’ sense. Forget all the spats of the NZRU vs the IRB, Addidas vs Rebel Sport, a Queenstown bouncer vs Mike Tindall or how much it has all cost, taking a drive around the country and seeing all the flags, the banners and decked out vehicles makes a person really proud to be a Kiwi. Win or lose we have done ourselves proud as a nation in a way that not even winning the America’s Cup a second time can equal.

Despite being a total rugby head in my younger years, I – like many New Zealanders – was a bit ho-hum about the cup. After all, the rules had changed, John Kirwan, Michael Jones, Zinny, Buck and even Mark Ellis had stopped playing. I couldn’t see the attraction of SBW, Dan Carter was too attached to his heat pump and life in general had taken over. Adding to this was the fact that we don’t have SKY – I know, shock horror – so hadn’t watched a game since it stopped being shown on free to air TV.

Even as the Opening Ceremony approached and the PR hype began to get frantic we were largely unaffected. We had too much else on and the constant bickering in the media was getting annoying.

Then the World Cup started impacting on our life.

Miss D started coming home from day-care in cut off track-pants covered in mud from head to toe, with legs covered in grass burns and proudly declaring that she was going to be an All Black. Miss B got to meet the three poor guys designated to face the throng at the Waipukurau grounds and even Master C began spotting All Black flags from 100 metres away. I thought that I should probably start taking an interest – at least so I could answer Miss L’s constant barrage of questions about the games and players.

It was only out of a sense of ‘duty’ that we watched the opening ceremony and first game. It was the first game that Mr M and I had watched from our own home in the nearly 10 years we have been married and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it all felt. A few games later we beat the French, Weepu took the reins and SBW smiled.

Suddenly it was game on! We found ourselves watching games that the All Blacks weren’t even playing in and cheering for the Irish and Welsh just as loudly as we did for the AB’s.

The calling card for the RWC is ‘world in union’ and by Jove, no matter what the outcome, NZ has done itself proud by putting on a darn good show without losing any of our unique personality. Whether it is despite trauma of the last 12 months or because of it I am not sure, but I do know one thing; we have become closer as a nation and shown a side of ourselves that our children will remember and be inspired to build on over the years ahead.

See ya!

Rach

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Filed under From the Coalface

Christchurch Earthquake

Some of you may be aware that in New Zealand we have had another massive earthquake.

It is the third destructive one in 6 months to be centered around the Christchurch/Canterbury area. The first two, although sizable and damaging, did not cause loss of life.

We have not been so fortunate this time around.

This second earthquake was 6.3 on the Richter Scale, not huge. But at a depth of 5km it was so shallow and caused so much damage that it is being described as one of the most destructive in the world.

The death toll on the news today is 163, with police suggesting that it could peak at around 220.

I watched as the world was shocked by the Haiti earthquake, I saw Japan rebuild after their one in the 90′s and the Boxing Day earthquake and subsequent tsunami kind of washed over me, even as we watched the events of 9/11 unfold it was with a type of morbid fascination. Yes I was as shocked as the rest of the world, but like the majority of people I gave to the donation box, said a wee prayer for the survivors and went about my day.

I thought that this would be the same.

It’s not.

Why does my heart feel like it is breaking a little more every time I see footage on the news?

I am nowhere near it, hang, I don’t even live in the same island. I have internet work colleagues that are based there and a few forum acquaintances, but other than that if anyone should be able to switch off and get back to normality it’s me.

But I can’t. And neither can the majority of us in this little country. Over a week later it still feels disrespectful to post about anything that involves normal life.

We live on the ring of fire. Earthquakes are a natural part of our everyday lives, on average we get around 340 a year, that’s nearly one a day. Last year I felt maybe 5.

When they happen we used to laugh them off – “Oh, that was a biggie – everyone OK, ha ha” It was rare that we even bothered to move our butts off the seat that we were sitting in!

Now it is as if we are all on high alert – one of the least likely places to get an earthquake of this magnitude was Canterbury. At least that is what our belief was.

Napier had had a biggie back in 1931, Rotorua, Taupo and the Eastern Bay of Plenty are all well known areas where the stability of the ground could be a cause for concern. Let’s not mention the volcanoes of Auckland!

But Christchurch? No way.

But now they have three major events and we are struck dumb. If it can happen in Christchurch then it can happen anywhere in our land. Talk about a wake up call.

This disaster has affected us all, we jump a little more at a truck rattling past in the middle of the night; instead of just thinking about it, we actually go and replenish our cans of fruit, baked beans, spaghetti and supplies of bottled water.

We jump under the table or doorway at a 4 pointer.

But we will relax and things will return to normal eventually for us.

For the people of Christchurch this is like one of those nightmares that just keep recurring, each time a little worse than before. For them this will never be completely over as it is etched into their souls.

This is not just a case of being hurt by a product, person or freak weather incident. No-one can explain why, how or tell them if they should stay. The very land that they trusted to live, work and breathe on has let them down.

How do you walk down the road without feeling like it might disappear under you feet?

How do you live under a roof without feeling like it might fall on you?

How do you explain to your kids that you have no home to go back to because the ground ate it?

How do you fully recover from that?

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Filed under General Musings