Archives for posts with tag: stepmother

Restraint – The act of controlling the expression of one’s feelings – Farlex free dictionary.

In the last 7 days, I have been subjected to a lot of stress. A lot. I’m sick of restraining my feelings, sometimes you just gotta have a go, say what you want to say, and feel better. Right?

First event: The youngest child (and usually most sensible/sensitive), had a demonic outburst of anger and hatred which lasted approximately 15 hours, (one hour of declaration and 14 of withdrawal), which was directed solely at me. Luckily I had the sense and maturity to restrain myself from reacting, and carried on with life and parenting as usual – because “teenager”.

It didn’t stop me from having a couple of sleepless nights worrying about the cause of his outburst, or trying to discuss the situation with OM, (his mother), which was unfortunately the wrong move for me this time. I can’t, for all that is sensible, believe in or condone  free range parenting. I see it more as a neglectful, abject dissolution of responsibility.

But that’s just me..

I restrained myself from commenting further because what I wanted to say would have come from years of frustration, and probably not helpful in any way other than unburdening myself of said frustration!

Sometimes I struggle with the 3 way parenting model. Sometimes I struggle so hard I want to scream. Instead, I’ve spent years intensively working on trying to accept that my parenting style is not perfect, and not everyone has to adopt a similar style in order to raise children. But I have my limits!!

Second event: Fitty had been complaining of pain in his right lung, neck and shoulder for about 2 weeks. On Tuesday night, around 6pm I arrived home (from a visit with my spiritual cleanser and bestie, T), to find that his pain was increasing. I suggested, as I had been for a week, that we really should get him to a doctor. Fitty had been refusing, but his increasing pain was starting to talk him round..

By 7.30pm I was speeding him to the emergency room with a suspected collapsed lung. He was in terrible pain, hyperventilating and going into shock.

We didn’t think we had time to wait for an ambulance, so it was up to me to get him safely to the hospital… I don’t think I need to comment further on the amount of fear, anxiety and panic created by that situation?

Upon arriving at the ER, he was immediately surrounded by 3 staff, attaching all kinds of cables and monitors. His heart rate was way up, his oxygen stats way down. He was in a lot of pain. At the time, I busied myself filling out the form, and trying to stay out of the way, whilst trying to control my own hyperventilation!

It was when they wheeled him into the critical care room and rolled in the “crash cart” that I began to feel the overwhelming seriousness of the situation, and my utter helplessness!  I felt sick, fearful and ready to burst.

I restrained myself immediately, opened the curtain that separated us from the rest of the patients in the emergency room, took myself away from Fitty, into a corner near the exit and stared at the wall. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking, it would hurt too much, but I will tell you that I didn’t cry, I didn’t collapse, I just took a couple of long deep breaths and told myself to hold together. It wouldn’t do to have Fitty see me in tears, the last thing he needed was more stress! I returned to critical care and stood once again by my love’s side, with resolved strength. (I doubt he even noticed my absence.)

I have since thanked all the Gods in the universe for his safe return home to us. The staff at the hospital were able to stabilise him quickly, and although a thorough diagnosis is still not available 5 days later, Fitty’s pain is manageable and his symptoms have abated. We are waiting for further test results to determine the cause, but we both feel confident he is receiving the right treatment. He is soo much better!

Upside: Fitty gave up smoking the morning before he fell ill. He knew something wasn’t quite right. A few days later I stopped, and we are now both smoke free. (Those who follow this blog will know this isn’t our first rodeo, if fact this will be attempt number 7!) “They” say it takes an average of 7 – 10, so we’ll just keep trying until we succeed.

The teenage angst has passed, he told me he didn’t even know why he said the things he did? Well fuck son, thanks?

Seriously…  Now it’s the dog…

SIKLate last night Pooh dog was vomiting and shitting liquid waste. Listless, forlorn and sleepy, she hadn’t eaten properly and wasn’t drinking much either. It was the excessive “bowing” that clued me in to the fact it may be gastritis. I remembered reading about the behaviour having something to do with gut pain. I followed the advice I got online, and she’s doing much better today.

I guess it does you good to get smacked upside the head with a bit of “life” now and again, but I really need it to stop now.


Meg XO

*this post brought to you by “nicotine withdrawal” and “fuckoff life I’m sick of your shit”*


Other-Mother recently commented on Facebook about having the best of both worlds. A week with her children, and a week without in which she can explore her own pursuits.

I agreed and said something along the lines of, “me too, but it takes me a while to get used to the silence when they leave!” <sad face>

The opposite is true upon their return. And this is where Fitty and I are most different.

The younger two arrive around dinner time on Tuesday nights, whereas 6 is still at his Dad’s until Wednesday. This schedule change occurred when 8 started swimming on Tuesdays. It works well because it gives us a night with 7 and 8 upon arrival, and a night with just 6 the following week. Confused yet?

Tuesday nights are usually fairly quiet. The kids arrive, we eat and settle into the evening comfortably. We catch up on all the various news for the last week, and they settle in. They’re off to school early the next day so the transition is quite calm for me.

Not so Wednesday.

Wednesday I notice all the extra things that are laying around that come with the arrival of 7 and 8. School notes, bobby-pins, hair elastics, wet towels, over-excited dog,  box of Playstation and games, breakfast dishes and toast crumbs. Just to name a few…

The bus pick-up in the afternoon is where the fun really starts. I head up a little past the time 7 and 8’s bus arrives, just to keep them wondering if I’ll show. (They usually dawdle for the first few hundred feet.) This also relieves a bit of the wait for 6’s bus which arrives 15 mins later.

From the second 6’s bus pulls up, the level of excitement builds to crushing levels. I am excited as I haven’t seen him for a week, 7 and 8 are excited because he’s their big brother, and idol. Pooh is excited for all of the above reasons. She begins to try and get out of the window as soon as his bus comes into view. (Even when the window is closed!)

The noise level in the car is so over the top! Everyone is talking at once. The dog is licking everyone, standing on their laps in order to poke her head out of the window and tell everyone the kids are home!

I LOVE it. I absolutely throw myself into the noise and roll all around in it. Sometimes it gets a little much, but it’s useless to try and control it. It’s a short drive. I can handle it.

We arrive home. EXPLODE out of the car.

The after school poop dilemma begins – 3 children. 2 bathrooms.

Someone “Shotguns!” a toilet. Someone else “Shotguns!” the other. Another squirms. Wait, there is a bonus! They are the first to discover what luscious home-baked treat awaits. (Someone has a new oven after 8 years of  Turbo life!)



Seriously – the adventures that damn Turbo oven and I had. (In a kitchen that is embarrassed to call itself so….) BIG <sad face> Another day, another post…

Back to after-school shenanigans, in-jokes and why Fitty and I differ?

Yesterday, it was requested that I make “Magoo’s Famous Lemon Shortbread“. A sublime treat that appears at Christmas (by donation from Magoo), and was only recently mastered by the youngest of her daughter’s.

7 is known as the “Floor Queen and Mistress of Eating Icky Things”- When Pooh was a very young Puppy, I cooked her own special “Pooh Food”. 7 stepped right up and tasted it after noting it smelled delicious! (Eeew – pet mince.)She will pick anything up of the floor and eat it, quoting the 10 second rule.  So yesterday, when I dropped a piece of shortbread on the floor while transferring pieces into the bikkie-tin, I jokingly called out –

“Sooo 7…… I guess you’ll want this Floor Shortbread?”

Prompting an over-exagerrated, ear splitting shriek-

“NOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooorghhhh!!!!” AND a very fast run into the kitchen from 8!

(Now to say that 8 “loves his food” would be a massive understatement. He LIVES for his food. He is going to be a CHEF when he grows up. He can hear the crackle of a chip packet or chocolate wrapper opening from a distance of over 3km’s. Straight after breakfast, he wants to know when lunch is..?)

We all collapsed into uncontrollable laughter. Several times throughout the afternoon, wherever a negative answer was required, we took turns screaming,

“NOOOOOOOOooooooooo!” and falling about laughing.

See, we created yet another ‘Family In-Joke’ right there! This one will probably last for years…

Fitty arrives home in the midst of our laughing and screaming. We’re watching You Tube, and laughing our heads off at “Conversations with my 2 year old.” Check it out, it’s uber funny!

So rather than roll into our gaiety he stands back and does those little nose puff laughs. It’s not funny enough for him to fully engage in a snort or a snigger.

Increasingly stressed by our antics, (we’ve had a fairly good time and are a little over-excited.) I can see he’s not quite on the same page, but he’s trying.

He logs onto his computer, turns his back on us until dinner time.

At dinner 7 loses her shit big-time. She can barely breathe while she crows with laughter. I forget what it was that got her going, (at 13 it’s shamefully easy to set her off) but once she got going, it was infectious!! She hooted, warbled, snorted and literally squealed, prompting 6 to start flapping his arms like a bird. This just made her worse.

You know you truly love a kid when you can look at her with her mouth wide open, peas and beans mashed into her braces, and feel an overwhelming sense of affection.

Fitty was trying to control us, but in the end it was just too funny. We pretty much all had tears in our eyes by the end of dinner from laughing.

The kids doing the dishes was a disaster. 7 was drunk with delirium, couldn’t focus and couldn’t settle into the task, prompting Fitty to go into “OVERLORD” state. He stood at the kitchen and yelled until all was serious! What a downer! (But a necessary one I guess.)

I was still enjoying the madness, but left the room lest I snigger and start the whole process over. I’ll admit to standing at the door, making faces at him – going all “Dad” on the kids.

Fitty will be fully into it by tonight. It takes him a couple of days to get back into the noise, the fun, the energy of having teenagers around, whereas I’m straight into it from the first moment.

After the dishes were done, we all sat down to play “The MOST Inappropriate Card Game” I’ve ever seen. I refuse to name it because you will judge me if I do. But I’ll hint to the extent of telling you that it involves using phrases (that probably never should be said out loud in front of a 12 year old), to match with sentences containing blanks. The funniest sentence wins the point.

We had downloaded the game before dinner and cut all the pieces out ready for later. The game also had 3 sheets of RULES.

If 4 had been home we KNOW we would have had to not only “play by the RULES“, but also sit still and silent whilst she read them out aloud to us before beginning the game!

4 is the “Family Game Nazi” so called for her strict adherence to rules, regulations and seating plans which must be taken seriously!

Last night when we sat down to play, the rules lay untouched and face down. Totally ignored. (It was a straight forward game.) Somebody said something to the effect of –

“Pretty glad 4 isn’t here for this”…

Which had us all rolling around laughing yet again. (Sorry 4, you know we love you.)

We settled down again, began playing, and 7 said in a creepy voice

This family has waaay too many in-jokes!”

blog june 26

I have been in hospital, and was just browsing through my reader catching up on my favorite girls, Patty, Laurie and Joey’s latest posts, when I noticed Joey had been awarded a “Shine On” Award from a fellow blogger. Knowing she deserved this honour, I continued reading excitedly, and then stopped cold when I realized she was nominating ME. Fancy that?

I don’t know exactly how these things work, but I think I’m meant to nominate this award onwards as well!

I’m supposed to nominate my favorite 15 bloggers and answer a few questions, so here we go:


Life on the Bike and other Fab Things


Bucket List Publications


The Top 10 of Anything and Everything

About The Children LLC’s Blog

Simple Pleasures

Eye Dancers

Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

Cristian Mihai

Lilacs and Linens

John Mitchell


Well that’s 15 of my favorite bloggers right there. A very varied bunch if I may say so, designed to tickle any fancy I may be needing at various times of my day or week. All of them inspiring, funny, creative and awesome.
Now for these questions:
1. How did you choose names for your children?
For my eldest son I chose the names Elliot James. I was entranced as a teen by the movie E.T. and the way he would say “Ell-i-yot”.
I would sometimes talk to my belly, as I guessed he was a boy early on, and call him Ell-i-yot in the same way.
My second son was named Jacob Patrick. I loved the story of the Biblical Jacob, who was born holding the heel of his older brother, his twin, Esau. Patrick after my eldest brother.
My final son was named Dale Micheal. Dale after a lady I met in hospital whilst having him, who struck me as a most kind soul, and Micheal after a dying friend.
I had a wee son between Jacob and Dale, all through the early pregnancy we called him Jimmy, unfortunately we lost him at 25 weeks. We would have celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday.
It’s weird, but I knew all my kids were boys, almost as soon as the pregnancy began. I never found out until they were born for sure, but I always KNEW. I had all the blue stuff ready and only with Jacob did I falter close to my due date and put a couple of pink things in the drawers just in case.
2.  What are your moral guidelines or what is your religious faith?
I believe in being a good person, doing the right thing.
I believe in “God” whoever or whatever God may be. I have faith based not on any organized religion, but on my inner feelings of peace and love. The “oneness” I feel directly after I ask for guidance, help or relief.
I believe in Hope. I would never have gotten through the last 20 years without it.
I believe in fidelity and love, loyalty and passion.
I believe that I am finally with my soul mate, my intended love, and will stick steadfastly to him until I draw my last breath.
Soulmates. Fitty and I.

Soulmates. Fitty and I.

I believe in humanity. I believe we aren’t all bad. I believe in trying to maintain this planet and keep it “clean” for future generations.
I believe in parenting to the fullest extent of our abilities. We are not here to be our children’s “friends” but to provide a clear moral and ethical blueprint for them to choose their path in life.
I believe in rules and regulations, I follow laws. I believe in authority and the wisdom of elders.
A wealth of wisdom. Four generations in one photo!

A wealth of wisdom. Four generations in one photo!

3.  What do you do in your free time?
I actually have quite a lot of “free” time now that I am an ill person. I have always loved to read, and have now, at the insistence of my partner, added writing to that pastime.
I love the beach, summer, and living by the water. I am endlessly fascinated by nature, and will just sit quietly and observe my beautiful surroundings for hours.
I don’t have much time for television, but love a good movie.
creating a "shot" for Fitty in our front yard, the lake.

creating a “shot” for Fitty in our front yard, the lake.

Beach cricket, a favorite pastime for the whole family

Beach cricket, a favorite pastime for the whole family

again in the front yard playing up to the camera with our dear departed friend, Razor the dog.

again in the front yard playing up to the camera with our dear departed friend, Razor the dog.

Taking a dip at the beach at the end of our road, a secret spot for locals. 4 and 7, back a few years..

Taking a dip at the beach at the end of our road, a secret spot for locals. 4 and 7, back a few years..

4.  What song, television show, film speaks to you, and why?
All time favorite artist without a doubt, is David Bowie. As a teenager he was my hero. I don’t really have a favorite song of his, they are ALL AWESOME! I think he is one of the coolest people ever born, I really do.
The next best thing is Queen for me. I just love Queen’s music, the majestic “Bohemian Rhapsody”and “My Best Friend”, are my all time feel good songs.
I love romantic comedies, but enjoy a good tense thriller just as much. All depends on the mood I’m in.
I’ll never forget watching “Flying High” with my little brother, and laughing so much my stomach hurt the next day. I suppose that was the movie that began my love affair with film.
Like my friend Joey, from Joeyfullystated I just love “Friends”.  You simply cannot go past “Friends” as a TV show. My babies were being born as this show began it’s life, and I would sit and feed and watch and laugh. Later, the mutual love of this show was a real help in developing a bond with one of my beautiful step daughters. (She was at a difficult age, and the shared laughs went a long way in breaking the ice.)
4 and I playing dress ups for the camera

4 and I playing dress ups for the camera

5. What is your favorite animal and why?
When I was a young child, I never wanted a puppy, kitten, bird or fish as a pet. I would ask Magoo, (my mother, so named for her driving abilities and style), for a pet Chimpanzee. I don’t know whether it was because of Tarzan and “Cheetah” or because of the chimps I would frequently see on TV dressed in little dresses or nappies. I can’t remember when the obsession started, but it did.
I was somewhat turned off them at age  7 or 8 when my parents took me to Taronga Zoo and I saw the many chimps in the enclosure throwing pooh at each other, and the watching crowd. I remember thinking that my monkey would never do that, and besides, it would be wearing an adorable little nappy and dress anyway.
I never got my monkey of course, but to this day I am fascinated by the mimicry these animals make of humans. I am always chuffed when I see a monkey, and will watch or read anything about them, anywhere.
I’m also rather partial to dogs. My little doggie Pooh is a part of our family, and is my best friend. She doesn’t know she’s a “pet”, so I won’t tell her if you don’t?
Now you know a little more about me. I wrangled a bit in my head over whether to “name” my kids, but figured it couldn’t do too much harm? Others do.
I’m getting back on my blogging horse, slowly but surely you’ll be hearing more from me. I just had a terrible week after busting loose at the Wedding last weekend. I want to share a few more of my fave photos with you as well. Catch you soon.

True Love

True Love

Spectacular, stunning, beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, how else can I describe this beautiful girl. Our Bride V was a most exquisite sight coming down her grassy aisle to meet her handsome Groom. Was there a dry eye in sight, probably, but I couldn’t tell from the water threatening to spill from my own eyes as I watched this procession of beauty approach the destination at which they would become forever joined.

Tribute was fairly paid to the fact that V and 2 were already a well established family, and also to the fact that they presented with extraordinary strength. After all 2 has been to Afghanistan with the Australian Army, and our gal V has waited faithfully and passionately for the chance to wed her man, patiently keeping the home fires burning for their two adorable children.

It isn’t often that someone so young inspires in me the kind of praise that V deserves. I really do respect the way she lives, the patience with which she raises her children, and the calmness she has shown in the face of the various challenges thrown her way. I just have to say she is one of the most impressive young women I have ever had the good luck to meet, and I get to be her, wait for it, “Step-mother-in-Law”, for all the days left of my life.

The whole Wedding Day was beautiful. The week had been rainy and cold, but the clouds broke and the sun shone for our two, just in time to make the afternoon so warm and perfect, which was lucky as all our dresses were strappy or strapless. We really  couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. The wind blew our hair around a bit, but also stirred up a nice cool breeze for the boys in their three piece suits.

The Reception was lovely. Mouth watering canapes kept on coming and the entree and mains were delicious. Lots of fun was had by all of us, and there were many tears throughout the speech of the Bride’s sister. (I actually thought our eldest girl, 1 might need a drip to replace some liquid as she cried so much during her brother’s speech.) It must be hard being the eldest child and watching your little brother being so grown up and responsible.

gorgeous babies, down the aisle.

gorgeous babies, down the aisle
kids at wedding
8 and 1 followed by 4 and 7

7 and 8

7 looked so grown up

vick and wally

Stunning V never a more beautiful bride

I was so proud of our brood, they all had such a wonderful night, dancing and laughing together. Fitty snapped photos most of the night, and the kids and I partied on the dance floor. (Yes I took lots of pain killers for the opportunity to live a little normally for once.) I wasn’t alone as Fitty’s poor sister had come down with a bug and was feeling miserable.

No problems, everybody happy and only one or two cases of illness. I feel a little rushed writing this and would like to say so much more, but I really need to get to work, and I have lots of things to organize this week. Another trip to the local surgeon, as I have had a minor setback, and may need a little operation while waiting for my big operations! So typical of my life right now, I”m not even going to tell you how I feel about that!

I also need to finish my tributes to our children. I am exactly half way through and up to number 5, which I can promise will be a very entertaining and dramatic read.

Also now that the Wedding is behind us, the next big thing will be our kitchen renovation. I have only been waiting for about 5 years, so that will be most exciting…..If it EVER HAPPENS!

5and the lovely one, the nut and 3. 7 next to 6 and I, and 8 squatting in front. Nearly all of us!

5and the lovely one, the nut and 3. 7 next to 6 and I, and 8 squatting in front. Nearly all of us!

Oh yes I do! From the moment I saw her chubby little face and her thick head of glossy black hair. She was so adorable, like a little fat doll. She grew more and more doll like every day, such a perfect little face, her features so tiny and skin so porcelain! I used to just stare into her face. Everyone was enamored with little 4. She was just that kind of baby, the kind that got attention wherever she went.

like a baby doll

Just like a baby doll

I used to look after her and her brother (2) quite a bit. Each week on Wednesday they would arrive for the whole day, giving their mother a break and giving 3 a couple of playmates for the day. 4 was the shyest little thing too, her face would press into my shoulder whenever anyone spoke to her. She wanted to be carried around a lot, and of course who could deny her that?

4 spoke in the most timid, soft voice, you really had to strain to hear her, and when she did speak loud enough, I often needed 2 to translate. One word I knew just from sheer repetition, and that word was “wa-wa”. This meant she wanted a drink of water, and believe me, this toddler could drink some water. All day long, “wa-wa, shanku?” I was so in love with her, and so proud whenever we went to town. We would often walk down to town the four of us, just for something to do. We’d have a juice at the coffee shop, and meet up with friends. I simply loved to show her off! She was so shy she would never venture away from my knee, whereas 2 and 3 would try to run amok whenever they had a chance.

After many months of coming to my house on a weekly basis without her parents, she began to relax a bit and would play rough games with the boys, but they were always pretty careful with her, as I said, she was tiny, and looked like a china doll! They were so afraid they’d hurt her.

I’ll never forget looking after that little girl, something about her really struck me. I was pregnant with 5 by then, and I longed for a little girl just like her! We formed a precious bond then, one that came in very handy for me later in our lives, when things weren’t quite so easy for us.

1 and 2, with tiny 4 in front.

1 and 2, with tiny 4 in front.

I lost contact with both Fitty and his ex wife around the time when their marriage split up, and for various reasons, we all went our separate ways. Our very close friendship had ended. (Little did I realize then what the future would hold?)

After years of heartbreak and loss, Fitty went on to have 2 more children with his 2nd partner, 7 and 8’s mum. Whom ironically I have also known since she was about 8 years old, (being the daughter of one of my partner’s friends.) Small towns….

Fitty and I would occasionally see each other around, but it was awkward, things had changed and we were no longer the people we were in our first partnership’s having our young families together. I rarely saw his children, but when I did they were withdrawn and shy. It hurt me to have no contact with them. Especially little 4 who I was so fond of.

Fast forward several years, and Fitty and I  (both single and not looking for love at all!) ran into each other on a rather random night out. We kept seeing each other out at various venues, until finally, we became partners. Things moved very slowly for us as we both prioritized our children. Weekends were for the kids, and late week-nights were for us. We went back and forth for years, spending nights at each others houses until finally, I had only 6 left at home, and we decided to move in together. It made sense. I was sick of driving back and forth and so was Fitty.

Stunning at 14/15

Stunning at 14/15

At the same time a 14 year old 4, was struggling with her relationships at home with her mother, and had decided to move in with Fitty too! I talked to her about whether she’d prefer if I didn’t move in, and she said she was fine. I’m fairly sure now, that she wasn’t fine with my moving in at the time, as she was a little distant and cold for a time. Slowly she began to thaw, and I expect the fact that I never pushed her helped a lot. I just sat back and waited for her to come to certain realizations, and she did!

I was rewarded with a most wonderful friend and stepdaughter. Together we shopped and gossiped, watched endless SATC and Friends re-runs, snuggled on the couch with cups of tea. Dreamed and talked of our pasts, futures and other interesting things…We got to know each other all over again, and I just know that bond I made with her as a baby and toddler was what made it so easy for me to get through the tough times we had. I simply loved this girl, and nothing was ever going to change that.

photogenic 4

photogenic 4

4 is a very crafty girl. Her attention to detail and artistic skill are amazing. She creates wonderful things, from personalized Birthday cards for every family member, to pretty drawings, bags and clothing. She is a talented dress-maker, her major work for her Higher School Certificate blew my mind with it’s creativity and excellence. She’s a girlie girl, (finally!), and is always dressed impeccably and styled beyond mere mortal status. I fail to see how anyone could be so beautiful without magic! She loves to dress up, and her father loves to photograph her, she is a natural photographic model. Actually, all our kids are, they all seem to be naturals in front of the camera.

I know that one day I will see her name on a label. I just need to be patient and wait until she has done all the things she wants to do first. I  am hoping all roads will lead her back to her incredible talent. You just can’t ignore talent like that!

4 I love you dearly, you are the closest thing I have to my own daughter, while being my very best friend. I am so proud of the way you have handled yourself since you left us. You’ve come a long way from the girl who was too afraid to answer the phone! Look at you now, Managing a Menswear Shop! I bet you have to answer the phone all day long?

I will always be here for you, no matter what you need. You can count on me. I love you my darling girl.

A cupcake for my cupcake?

A cupcake for my cupcake?

My first born child, how can I possibly express in words the difference he made to my life, the joy and love that he brought to me. I’m going to try, and I know I will probably sob my way through the writing of this post.

such a smiley little fellow

such a smiley little fellow

I had an uneventful pregnancy, (my only one without some kind of complication), and 3 was born early in the morning of Father’s Day 1990. (A bit of irony there as it took nearly 17 years for 3’s biological father to accept him.) My father considered this a gift to him, and crowed about the Maternity ward telling anyone that would listen about his amazing Grandson. They became very close, the two of them, and I was always feeling left out, when 3 smiled for the first time, it was at my Dad. Dad taught him his first tricks, like blowing raspberries to all and sundry. He loved this trick and for a while it was all he would do. We lived with my Dad for about 6 months and then ventured out into the world on our own.

It was around this time that my oldest brother had a car accident and became a quadriplegic. He had spent some time in rehabilitation and was looking to come home to live. He had recently separated from his first wife. He was in a very depressed state.

I wasn’t married, I was single and living in a big house with my baby who was about 12 months old, I decided he could come and live with us. My brother P, didn’t want to live with either of my parents, who had both remarried and P would have been an awkward addition to their households, where he was a sort of natural addition to ours.

I spent the next 15 months or so exhausted. Looking after both my son and a newly injured quad was no easy thing. For a start 3 was very active and intelligent and was into everything! Then there was setting up all P’s routines with home-care nurses and additional help around the house to cope with the extra washing, cleaning and sterilizing work. Everything changed for me and my little boy that year. I had to set an alarm to wake up every four hours to turn my brother in his bed, to avoid him getting bed sores. I had to be a pillar of strength for him, he thought his life was over and I had to talk him into living again.

I don’t know what I would have done without 3. He was such a special child. He has always been and always will be my greatest protector. I can remember countless times that gentle little boy would come and put his tiny arms around my neck, and say, “are you ok mummy?” He also gave me the focus I needed to stay aware and happy and not get sucked into depression. It would have been easy in those days, caring for my quad brother who talked about killing himself daily…

He also gave P something to laugh about. He, being a Virgo, was a little perfectionist and would always make sure P’s things were “square”. He would line up the things P was using from biggest to smallest, that kind of thing. He also learned to hop into the wheelchair when P wasn’t using it and became quite proficient at wheeling around the house. It was hysterical to watch this tiny kid pushing himself about in it.

P also had a tool with a pincher on the end, it was about 3 feet long and was designed to help P to pick things up that were out of his reach. In those days I would keep treats like lollies on top of the fridge. Guess who learned to use the pincher tool to get them down?

We lived with “Uncle P” until 3 was nearly 3 years old and he was enjoying his life again. He had begun to paint beautiful pictures, by weaving a paintbrush through his fingers. He is a very talented artist, (gets it from Magoo, who paints magnificently). He also began to play guitar again, with a slide, making it easier. Having limited use of his arms and hands made all the difference to my brother. He went on to marry again and his life is turning out ok.

Enter “F”, my other children’s father. He was 13 years older than me and remains today one of my best friends. He and I always had a great friendship, we just weren’t right together as a couple. He had already been married once, and had 4 truly wonderful children to his first wife. I became a step-mother to his 4 kids as a young mother myself. They were great kids, and I still remain friends with them today, especially the two girls, who are now in their late 20’s. I still have never met closer siblings. They are a truly close family and are each others best friends.

F was a typical Aussie bloke. Spent more time at the pub and the footy than at home with me and all the kids. (I guess this was the reason we split 3 babies, and 10 years later.)

How cute is he? 3 years old.

How cute is he? 3 years old.

3 was a typical big brother, taught the boys all the things he should, how to ride the one pedalled, no brakes bike. How to raid the fridge without mum finding out. How to drive me up the wall fighting over toy trucks in the sand pit, but at the same time was very responsible and protective of them. However I will never forget when I brought 5 home from the hospital. He had severe reflux and would scream constantly. He only ever slept for 10-20 minutes at a time and would awaken screaming, wanting to feed again to stop the pain from his refluxing tummy. He must have found some comfort in swallowing milk, as I became nothing but a feeding unit for about 8 months.

I was up at the clothes line one day hanging out nappies and heard 5 start screaming again, awakening from a 5 minute nap. 3 walked up to me as I sat on the ground, tears starting to pour out of my eyes. “Mummy, can I tell you something?”

“Sure honey, what is it?”

“Well you won’t get angry with me will you?”

“No, I don’t think so. What is it you want to tell me?”

“It’s just that, umm, I hate my new baby brother, all he does is cry. Can’t we just take him back to the hospital and get a new one?”

Just what I needed to hear. There was nothing wrong with his 4 year old logic. This one is not working out, can we replace him?

He always made me laugh when I thought I never would again. We made it through 5’s infancy. God knows how, but we did, I don’t think 3 ever really forgave 5 for it though…

He learned that year to do everything for himself. He learned to get his own breakfast, to tie his own shoes, to dress himself properly and to amuse himself. He was a funny little thing, very independent. I remember getting up one morning around 2am to pace the floor with 5. I found 3 sitting in the lounge room watching an old Dracula movie on TV, a lemonade in one hand and the biscuit barrel between his legs. He said he couldn’t sleep!

On his first day of school I eagerly anticipated getting him ready. 5 was older then and a much easier baby to deal with. I awoke that morning at 6am excited and wanting to go wake 3 up to begin getting him ready. There he was sitting at the table eating his breakfast. His entire uniform on, shoes and socks and everthing. He had made himself a sandwich and had wrapped it up ready for his lunch box!

He was only 5 years old, and was already showing me that he could cut me some slack. I felt so cheated. But I realized he had to learn to cope so much during those months with 5’s reflux, that he truly thought he was doing the right thing. I think he just didn’t want me fussing. He still hates it when I fuss over him…

Grandma Ruby and #1. I love this photo.

Grandma Ruby and #1. I love this photo.

Loves a good dress up!

Loves a good dress up!

I thought today I would begin to tell you about the kids. I’ll start with #1.

1 is very, very beautiful. She was born in my 20th year, and I first met her on holiday with her Mum and Dad, who brought her up to Queensland, where I was living, to stay with my then boyfriend and myself. She was the cutest little bub, all smiles and cheeky grins, with the most beautiful sparkly eyes.

I spent a lot of time with 1 during the early years of her life, her mum and I were very good friends, and after I fell pregnant with 3, and moved back home, 1’s mum was an incredible support to me. I really valued her as a mother, she was so soft and gentle with her babies. A good role model.

As 1 grew, she was a constant source of amusement to me. She would say the funniest things. I’ll never forget one time she was asked by my Dad, “What will you be when you grow up?” She was about 3 at the time and answered, “BIG!”

A good answer I thought! And she’s not big, she’s a tiny wee thing, probably doesn’t eat enough, but as her sister is a similar build, (as is her mother), I don’t worry too much. She works too hard. She is the one who is always first through the door and last to leave, and does a superb job. (I know this as she worked with Fitty’s sister for a while, who gave her such a glowing report!)

It’s astonishing how much some young people will forfeit for their work, while others are just skimming along doing the minimum. Poor #1 was always anemic in those days, running around with black circles under her eyes, and when we did see her, she was always offering to help. Such a kind and helpful girl, but I could see that all she really needed was to stop and sleep for a few hours, or days even!

She has grown up a lot since then, has met a lovely young man, and moved interstate. She is further away from us now, but we still see her whenever she can get time off. She will go out of her way to travel up for birthdays and special occasions, often flying home the same day, just so she can be here, to attend a function or party.

I really think this girl is going to go a long way. She is determined and tenacious, and has stuck out many a situation, which has in turn rewarded her. She recently secured a promotion she has been after for a while now, and Fitty and I are almost bursting at the seams with pride. Her life will now be filled with wonderful opportunities as she travels the world for her job. All that ambition and hard work has paid off. Yet she is still the most helpful of all our children. I guess being the oldest is a position that holds such responsibility! She has worked hard to try and ensure relationships within the family are good, and worries when any one of us is troubled. She’s the go-to girl when a function needs organizing, and we would be a muddle without her back stage organization.

Cheers to you #1, having you in my life is such a support, I know how caring you are, and I know I can count of you to be there for your brothers and sisters. I love you. Spread that great attitude you have around the world and know that in one little town, right down here at the bottom of the world you have the deepest admiration from me.