Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on the year gone past...

Well, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on what has happened this year (seeing as we are spending new years at home with the two kids tucked up in bed already :) ) It has been a HUGE year but I feel truly blessed by all that has happened. I am so happy with my life, with my two gorgeous kids and my wonderful husband (love you Chris :) )

The year started off with me being pregnant and early in January we made the decision to have a homebirth (with a little help from some wonderful friends) and so began our journey. We decided on a wonderful midwife and GP to guide us on our journey and in August I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, completely intervention free, at home. Her birth has probably been the most amazing, beautiful, empowering experiences of my life thus far! I hope one day we can repeat the experience (although maybe a couple more years down the track ;) )

So began our transition to life as a family as four! The first 5 weeks or so of having Esme were very, very intense and we all struggled to make the adjustment. Esme took some time to transition to life on the outside and was pretty unsettled for these first few weeks. Days of constant screaming and little sleep (not to mention the nights!) were on the cards for awhile. Even carrying her in the sling or feeding her could not ease her discomfort at times. I think I struggled the most as I had to let household tasks fall by the wayside and learn to live in a messy, disorganised house for awhile! Luckily we had a lot of support from family and friends for which I am very grateful! Jacob also struggled during this time, he was absolutely gorgeous and so gentle with his little sister but we bore the brunt of his frustrations by way of some very challenging and clingy behaviour as well as some more very unsettled nights (and his nights weren't that great before Esme was born either!) Gradually though Esme settled down and life started to return to some sort of normality. Now she is absolutely gorgeous, such a happy, smiling, active girl! Not at all a little baby anymore and definately not at all like the distressed little baby we had! She still doesn't sleep much during the day but that's ok :) She is easy to settle at night even if she does wake a few times, a quick feed and then she settles herself to sleep again. We are parenting in a very different way second time round and following our instincts more. We co-sleep, breastfeed on demand, wear her in the sling and even do some elimination communication with her! I really think this has a lot to do with the happy little girl she is becoming (along with her gentle birth). It feels so much more natural (not to mention us getting more sleep!) to follow our instincts.

Jacob has changed so much this year too! Suddenly he is a real 'little' boy! I can't believe that at this time last year he had just started walking!! Seems so long ago now. He has been going through a word explosion phase these past few months which has eased a LOT of his frustrations. He is now saying whole sentences and coming out with the cutest things. He 'gets' jokes these days and often comes out with things that he knows are quite silly like 'eat the bunnies'! And finally, after 2.5 years, I think we can say that he is sleeping through the night!!! Just shows that patience is a virtue ;) He has always been a absolutely shocking sleeper (from about 4 months to 8 months he was waking every 45 minutes at night!!) but it's nice to know that sleep does settle down eventually LOL. Jacob absolutely adores being outside and loves his bunnies and the chooks we just got!

What else to say? I started training as an ABA breastfeeding counsellor this year and have enjoyed doing more for our local group. Don't quite know when I will finish my training but I'm sure it will be sometime in the next few years LOL. I should also mention our car dramas this year! Early in the year we got a car from the auctions that Chris' dad was going to fix up for us (so we could finally get rid of the old blue Camry!) The time came when the rego for the Camry was due but we neglected to pay it because we thought the car would be finished soon. Anyway, the police decided to have a big blitz in our area so at 32 weeks pregnant I was pulled over and the plates were removed from the Camry and I had to find my own way home with Jacob. Luckily Mum could come and pick us up but sad to say that the police had no compassion whatsoever :( After this Mum and Dad offered to lend us their car which they were going to trade in in August. We ended up having a car accident in it, not a bad one but we were quite worried that the car was going to be a write-off and they wouldn't be able to trade it in. Of course, we were also a bit worried about me given that I was 34 weeks pregnant! It all ended up ok though, the car was able to be repaired and I (and Esme :) ) were fine. We had to make do without a car for a few weeks though while our new one was being fixed up, very hard to do when you are very pregnant and live in an area with hills! We got the car a couple of weeks before Esme arrived (lucky she was 9 days late!) I'm looking forward to welcoming in the new year and seeing my family grow together but also kind of sad that this year and all it's wonderful things are coming to a close.

I feel like I have learnt so much this year. My kids have taught me patience (in a big way and I feel like I have learnt to have even more patience from having two kids!!), to appreciate the smaller things in life (like Jacob pointing out bugs and other stuff that I just wouldn't normally notice!), to TAKE THINGS SLOWER, that it doesn't matter if we have a messy house, compassion, empathy but most of all unconditional LOVE.


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