5, around 10 months.

5, around 10 months.

My gorgeous boy began to grow big, crawl around the floor, and feed a little less from me. Around this time I had a bit of a health crisis, was visiting my quadriplegic brother P and his wife to be J, and collapsed on their lounge.

The doctor was called, and I was told I should really stop feeding. 5 had stripped me of all my reserves, and I felt giddy and faint all the time. I could barely keep up with my two young boys, and I considered this pretty good advice. My sister in law J was a god send, she spent the next 2 days attending to my children, while I snored on their lounge. I really needed the rest, and she loved my boys like her own. I will never forget the help she gave me when my  children were young. She had 3 girls, and I expect she loved the different energy of my boys. I know they all love her dearly, and they share a very special bond today.

J had a lot of trouble initially getting 5 to take a bottle of formula, and seeing as I was passed out on her lounge, wasn’t getting a lot of help from me. Sometime in the afternoon of that first day he was so distraught she brought him to me and had to hold him to my breast herself, as I was so exhausted. Now that’s support! I have never known a more devoted Aunty than J. She eventually, she says, at some point in the night got 5 to take some formula in a bottle. He just got so hungry he had no choice! (I’ve had to stop writing this post to send J a message of thanks and love, re-living this time has made me aware all over again, just how much I relied upon her support and love.) If every woman had a friend or sister-in -law like J, the mothering world would be a better place.

I still fed 5 morning and night, I couldn’t take that away from him all at once, but I think we were both ready to give up the all day long demand feeding, it just took a while to convince him of that. I used to love those early morning cuddles and feeds, and I really enjoyed when he would crawl over to me at night, pull himself up on my chair and demand to be picked up for his night time cuddles and feed. He was so gorgeous with his big brown eyes, and his long eyelashes. His chubby little cheeks and rosebud mouth. He got used to having a bottle too, and would throw it around the room, usually behind the furniture, when he was finished. I suspect he was trying to hide it from me so I would be forced to feed him myself!

His reflux began to repair around the 10 month mark, and the full nights of sleep began. He who used to be and I didn’t know ourselves. We began to have a life again.

I also discovered I was expecting our third child. We were thrilled….

Let it be known to all of parenthood. Breastfeeding is NOT a foolproof method of contraception!! I should know, I was doing it 24/7 for months and I still fell pregnant!! But we were happy, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

I was right, and in the end my third son was stillborn at 25 weeks. I will elaborate on this story  in future, but for now will simply say that poor baby 5 was caught up in a whirlwind of emotion. He didn’t understand what was happening, whereas my older son, at the tender age of 5 years, was to become a brilliant support for his mummy.

He adored his younger brother by now, now that he could walk and was saying simple words. 3 was amazed at the difference in his brother, and would often remark how good it was now that the baby wasn’t crying all the time! Boy did I agree….

The boys had a great time together, and when their dad built them a sand pit in the back yard, that was the place to be. Every day they would push their little trucks around, pouring sand and building things. They rarely fought as littlies. It was only later, when 5 learned to talk properly and take 3’s toys, that things began to get curly for them.

5 was a bundle of energy, a regular little crazy man. He would often pretend he was a motor bike and roar around the house and yard making appropriate noises. He spoke with a very deep southern American accent?? I have absolutely no idea why, it was just the way he spoke. He used to crack us up frequently as one of his favorite things was to have ice  cubes in his drinks in a cup. He would ask his Auntie J, “can aaah haaave suuum aaaace?” (Can I have some ice?)

He LOVED his Auntie J so much, was always sitting on her knee or telling her a story, but one day he astounded us all when he roared up beside her, (pretending to be a motorbike again), and said in a loud voice, “J, you’re the motor for my kiss” He was 2 and a half years old for god’s sake!! I am profoundly at a loss to explain his behavior, then or now…

I still to this day do not know where this child got his language skills from. Sure he watched television, but only Playschool and Sesame Street and such. I really don’t know whether he may have absorbed the dialogue from TV shows such as”Friends”, (all those long nights of watching TV and feeding??) Whatever the case he was hilarious.

He who used to be would host music nights, and his friends would come bringing their musical instruments and microphones. Enter 5 at about 2 years old, singing his own words and melody into the mike, “well you’re my baby, and I looo-uuu-ooove you–u-00000h”. Like a 2 year old Elvis! What’s worse, is that he showed more musical talent at 2 than most of his father’s guests!

Full of fun at 2 and a half.

Full of fun at 2 and a half.

He was a magical mystery ride that kid. At 5 when he started school, he was just like his older brother, no time for kisses goodbye. Make way for me because here I come! He was loud, he was fun, and he was very confident. 5 had an imagination you just couldn’t fathom. He once told me he had ridden his motorbike up into the sky, bumped into a cloud, rode down a rainbow and that was why he didn’t come when I called him for dinner. Later on in around 2nd grade I worried about his ability to stretch the truth.

He had asked a school friend over for a play date one afternoon. Once he had been dropped off, the wide eyed child approached me excitedly and asked “do you really have a whale in your backyard?” It appeared that 5 had told him so, and the poor gullible child believed him. The fun never stopped with 5, he was always getting into trouble at school, talking in class, showing off, telling big whoppers. I never knew what was coming next.

One thing I can say about 5 is that from very early in his life, he was given what he wanted. His acid reflux made it impossible for me to ignore his cries, and I attended to him immediately every time. I have since spoken to many mothers of babies with reflux, some of them as severe as 5’s and some not so severe. We all agree that our “reflux babies” were our most “difficult” children. My sister had a daughter with reflux who is just a few months older than 5. She is very similar in her dramatic ways and her inability to be told or take “no” for an answer.

In giving in to every need my baby had. In not ever letting him cry in pain, I created a child with a sense of entitlement. A feeling that whatever he wanted at any given time, should immediately be given to him. On a positive not I also raised a very confident boy who knew his mummy loved him.

As 5 grew he became harder to handle, often fighting for more freedom than I was comfortable giving him. When he was 13 years old he broke my heart by leaving me to live with his father. I was devastated. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know how to cope. I was so worried about him, he had chosen a life style that was no good for him at all. He was smoking and drinking and running around town at night. I never knew where he was, or what he was up to. Who he was with became a nightmare, as I imagined the worst possible scenarios. His father had a different approach, and gave him more of a free range. Neither of us could control what 5 was up to. We were both powerless and yet I tried to blame He who used to be for all the problems. It wasn’t anyone’s fault it was just a teenager acting out.

13 years

13 years

Thankfully 5 had one good influence that he would actually listen to during this time. His girlfriend.

5 and The Lovely One deep in thought...

5 and The Lovely One deep in thought…

kim and jake hugging

5 shares his free time, with The Lovely One, his girlfriend of 4 years!! They met at high school and have the most adorable relationship. I often say, if I had to go out and shop for a girlfriend for my son, I would have brought this one home. She is everything a mother wants for her son. Beautiful, loyal, soft, giving, loving, funny, natural, adorable, cute, and very very cheeky! I just love a cheeky kid!

One of The Lovely One’s cheeky habits, is to take your phone or iPad while you’re not looking and take “selfies” on it. Then she sets those photos as your screensaver. You pick up your phone next time and there’s a goofy photo of The Lovely One staring back at you. She absolutely bombed Fitty’s iPad one night, putting heaps of photos on it. We don’t know how she does it, in our tiny house, it’s not like you can get away from everyone? One sneaky little girlfriend that one! We love her, and she has become such a part of our family we can’t even think about hosting a family occasion without her. Her and 3’s girlfriend the Nut are included naturally.

I often wondered how The Lovely One stuck by 5 when he was at his worst. I know that there was always another side to him. A sensitive side, a loving and playful side. And he definitely puts across the “strong, manly vibe” that maybe a young girl would look for. But I honestly thought for a long time, that she was entirely too well behaved and nice to put up with some of the “gansta” behavior 5 was exhibiting.

5 at the mixing desk. Some dubious good times?

5 at the mixing desk. Some dubious good times?

5 my darling boy, you ended up being quite ok. Having been there and done that at such an early age, you are now showing signs of becoming a very responsible, loving and reliable member of not only our family, but of your community as well. You perhaps just need to learn your limits a little better, and stop worrying your poor mother and girlfriend to death!

I have every faith that you will outgrow your need to push the limits, and that you will settle into a peaceful life. A life filled with love, for you really are made for love you know darling? Your empathy and compassion know no bounds, and you have always shown an extra sensitivity in life that tells me you are destined for something very special. Perhaps one day you will help teenagers such as you were. You would make a superb counselor, with the life experience you have had.

I love you young man, and have many hopes for your future.