Friday, April 24, 2009

Tagged not once but twice

Ok so I have been Mummy Meme tagged twice now so I guess I had better get my act together and do it - I should be preparing my presentation for a conference but well here goes....

Sooo 5 things I love about being a mummy......

1. I loved being pregnant - yeah I know Kath and a few others are now shouting "b***h" at their computer screens. I was one of the lucky ones, a couple of weeks of nausea, no vomiting or any of that stuff...and that was pregnancy was a real joy for me, I loved feeling my babies moving around and growing inside of me and both of my boys had hiccups in utero that would cause to pause momentarily feeling like I had accidentally sat on a washing machine at full spin and not noticed, only to release the vibrations were coming from the inside!!

2. Of course it wasn't part of the plan that I would have 2 babies with only 15 months separating them!! However it was perfect - sure it was tough early on but then they were old enough to be instant buddies and into the same thing. I got to be the mum on the sideline when both the boys were playing on the same soccer team and yes you would be shocked to know - I am a noisy soccer mum!! I can't help it, I get so excited, that I can't help but cheer. Being a mum, I love that I get to watch my boys become part of a team, learn new skills and see that look of pride when they master a new skill or kick that most unlikely goal.

3. Unlike some I was fortunate to be in the position where I didn't work much when my babies were young. I was lucky enough to pick up about 15 hours a week in which time hubby was home with the boys. It was sanity escape time and time spent with adults - woohoo; and great bonding time for Dad and his boys. So since I wasn't working I got to do all those mummy things like walking to the playground and just letting them play, kindergym, playgroup, play dates at the houses of the mum's I met in those pre-birth classes. I had so much time with them to just "be", to see them and watch them grow and develop and those memories will truly last a life time.

4. One of my most favourite parts of being a mum is never having to grow up! As I tell the boys, I might have to grow old but I don't have to grow up! I often get told by sons that "you know you are sooo immature". Granted I often earn that title by throwing cold water over the top of the shower at them, or lobbing a soft toy on to their beds while they are in it and then bolting down stairs again before they can get me back!! I love that playing pranks on them and getting pranked by them keeps such a sense of fun and laughter in my life.

5.The love the priviledge of spending time with these gorgeous young men that are now on the verge of adulthood! I so enjoy who they are becoming and look on a little in sheer wonder at the fact that I gave birth to two guys who are so amazing and that they turned out the way they did inspite of my parenting. I love the lessons they have taught me. I love that through them I recognise that different people have different talents and success for each person is different. I love that they have taught me not to compare, not to lament what is not or what might be, but to live for now and love for now, and make sure you tell each other you love each other, every day!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The trip of a lifetime

Well I have been a little slack about keeping the blog updated - been a bit busy of late - conference in my home town - more on that later - and of course getting everything organised for my trip of a lifetime!!!

Next Wednesday I am off, leaving on a jet plane to head to California to attend the Cochlear Americas Celebration. But perhaps most exciting of all, I am getting to meet Dee.

It is a long and complicated story, often times people think we are all just a little strange when we tell it. In fact someone asked just recently who Dee was on my facebook page and she replied it was kind of complicated we were part of a gang but a really nice friendly gang hahahaha

Back in 1998 Karen B & I started CI Circle. We started it so that parents could get information about cochlear implants for their children but without being judged by others for considering this option. When it started we had 8 people, now we have over 1700 members!

When CI Circle got too big we missed the "chats" the original 8 had so we set up a group on our respective computer email programs and nicknamed ourselves "the gang". Over the last 11 years we have been corresponding with each other sharing stories, good days, bad days and everything in between.

In fact in April of 1998 we put together a little book with a page about our families and photos and one child of the families designed a cover for us and everything, then we had it printed and bound, so we could all "meet" from our different parts of the world.

In August of 2002, Mike, Dee's son was in Australia for a study tour, so we flew him to SA and he attended a Parents of the Hearing Impaired of SA (PHISA) camp with us. It was brilliant meeting Mike and having him come on camp with us and then stay a few days with us. A was pretty stoked to have Mike in the house so there were two people with implants staying at our place.

Up until now Mike's mum, Dee, and I have never met. Then early this year this amazing lady made me the most generous offer. She was using her frequent flyer points to fly me to the conference so that I could stay with her and then do some sightseeing with her in her hometown as well! I am still pinching myself at the generosity she has shown me and I am just about busting with excitement that we are going to meet in a matter of days now!

Then I get an invitation for a garden tea party, and read on to find out I am the guest of honour, yep I am serious! Her workmates are experts at planning these things so they have taken it on so Dee and I can just sit and enjoy ourselves in her garden and she can introduce me to the family and friends that are special to her. I have never been the guest of honour at a garden tea party before - it is quite overwhelming.

So on Wednesday I hit the skies for my flight to the otherside of the world (14 & 1/2 hours for one of the flights!!) I haven't left yet and already it is the trip of a lifetime. I can't wait to see what awaits when I get there. To meet Dee and her family/friends, to meet some of the CI Circle families whose emails I read quite regularly on the circle, to see Rachel again - it seems so long ago since she was here with us in December last year. It is going to be a jam packed week over there and I am so excited I am like the child waiting for Christmas....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The sublime moments

Just a quick note of one of those sublime moments that caught me today.

A was complaining of a sore back so I made him an appointment with the physiotherapist. It is one of those clinics that unless you have ongoing care issues, or a burning desire to see the same person every time, you can just get an appointment with whoever. Since A wanted an appointment today we took the latter option.

So there he is, all 6'4" of him stretched out on the bed, with his face shoved down inside one of those donut type pillows they use. The physiotherapist was a lovely young Indian girl who still had an accent in her speech. She started asking A questions about where it hurt and what it felt like when she did this or that. I sat there having a moment to really ponder just how far we have come. There is A face down, answering all these questions, with her accented speech. No other cues for him but auditory listening to her speaking. What a wonderful gift the cochlear implant has been for him, and how different might his life been if this technology was not available to him?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fine Cusine reigns supreme

Well hot on the heels of the beautiful cream puffs came tea cake with an apple & cinnamon topping - oh and get this, Master B baked it last 2 lessons on Friday, so we headed home with warm tea cake to have with our after school drinks! Ah yeah, doesn't get much better than that.

This week I believe it is cup cakes and some fun decorating them. I'm not sure who is more suprised us or Master B at his cullinary efforts. He has become quite the chef and what is so exciting is seeing his self-confidence soar and having that sense of satisfaction of a job well done when he looks at the products he has baked each week - truly awesome.

Interestingly Mr "I hate art" found a book we got him years ago about how to draw Manga figures. He found it on the weekend and decided to have a go - granted he should have been doing his science practical write up, but hey at least he found a creative way to avoid doing it.

And not a bad first attempt either I might add!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Check out these masterpieces

Yeah ok I know the blog title is lessons learned from A - but well sometimes it gets a bit too much about A, case in point, my previous post!!

So today's post is all about the gorgeous Master B. I have mentioned before he is at that age where he really has no clue as to what he wants to do in terms of future study or career options. So he has tried to choose as many different elective subjects this year to expose him to different options.

One subject this semester is Food Studies - well I have come to love Fridays because that is when the food comes home.

Week 1 we are greeted with still warm date scones, fresh from the oven.
Week 2 they made the pastry early in the week and froze it, and come Friday hey presto 4 yummy pasties with the best pastry on them.
Week 3 more pastry early in the week, then a beautiful apple and cinnamon pie with puff pastry actually made by hand, not out of the packet in the freezer.

But this week, week 4 - the little beauties in the photo - cream puffs. B and his class mates made their puffs early in the week and froze them and then today he filled them slices of strawberry and fresh whipped cream and then finished them off by drizzling melted chocolate all over them.

The cream puffs were magnificent, they were dessert tonight! He was so proud of them, as he should be, he did an outstanding job. In fact all of the things he has brought home and have all been great quality, and he seems to be enjoying this subject too - who knows perhaps a career in hospitality beckons???? Either way, it won't go to waste, great way to impress the girls by whipping them up a few divine cream puffs : - )

Well done, mate - you are a legend and your cream puffs are simply masterpieces!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interesting times

Well its been awhile since I blogged - life gets crazy and then it is "well should I really blog that or not?" - always a tough call

The boys have been back at school 3 weeks and it has been "interesting times".

A is doing the International Baccelaureate program which means he is getting plenty of work to do and because he is such a damn perfectionist makes life harder for himself particulary with his inescapable talent of not being able to see the wood for the trees! So it usually is at certain moments that mum or dad need to intervene to circumvent the impending melt down. Just the equivalent of a "stop - take a breath, what are you trying to do?" and then he works with whichever one of us it happens to be to get some logic and rational thought happening and then he is on his way.

For the first time ever A & B both have the same teacher for English this year, and this teacher has never had either of them before. Well we didn't even make it to the end of week 1 when the teacher asked if she could speak to me a moment. She went on tell me she accidentally called B by A's name and the response she got went something like "oh I'm dumb and stupid, don't even waste your time on me" - oh yeah baby just kick me in the guts and jam that knife in and out of my chest a few times.... I thought my knees might crumple actually but I did hold it together enough to thank her for letting me know....

I guess we kind of know where it has come from but it didn't make it any easier. New year, new classes and B has been split off from many of his friends, (although does have friends in his class) and I might say it is in all their best interests for this to be the case! Plus they are now having more choice of subject and that means different class groups too. So B is still settling into the classroom dynamic of the new year and finding his feet.

Whilst this is going on A has been doing the IB stuff and doing a personal leadership course (hmm yeah promised a blog on that one didn't I? Back on my to do list!) So I guess he was getting a fair degree of the spotlight....UGH...

So hubby and I spent time individually telling him how proud we were of him, recognising his love is music, his brother's academia - and that doesn't make either one of them better than the other, just different. I pulled A aside and shared with him the comment and how B must be feeling and told him that B was going to get showered in praise and attention for awhile. It didn't mean we loved A any less or that we were not interested or proud of what he was doing/achieving we just needed B to feel like he was in the spotlight for awhile.

Here is the real kicker though - you think you have done this deafness/special needs kid thing and are coming through ok and something like this happens and knocks you for six! Have I neglected the one with normal hearing, is that why he doesn't feel like he is valued, or that A is somehow more worthy than him?

My logical brain knows how much we have done for him to have special time away from A with either hubby or myself. My logical brain also knows that we share our love and praise and pride with both boys equally.

Equally my brain knows my brother growing up always believed that I, the younger and also more academic of the two of us, was more loved than he was! Funny thing is Dad shared with me when I was older as proud as he was of my achievements, he was kind of more proud of my brother because he had to work harder to do well at school - go figure! I also know other families where kids are jealous of each other, think one child is more loved than they are and these are families without deaf kids! It is just part of family life, sibling dynamics and all that stuff.

It still freaks me out though how my first reaction is that of parental guilt! That somehow we haven't made things equal or made B feel special or that A's deafness has overwhelmed things to B's detriment. Why is that? Why do we feel like it must be our fault or that we should have done something differently or that we have simply buggered things up again? I wish I knew, then maybe I might have shaken that pit of my stomach feeling of despair that haunted me for days after this happened.

I guess at the end of the day we can only do what we can do. B has started taking two lots of guitar lessons, that is his passion. He is there right now and will be coming home soon. He is also doing food studies at school and is actually a pretty darn good cook. Right now the apple pie he made at school is finishing off its last minute baking in the oven so we can have it after dinner tonight when he gets home. I would have praised him for his efforts anyways but by the smell of apple and cinnamon permeating my house, I don't think I will be the only one. If only we could capture those special little moments and replay them to our loved little ones when they get down on themselves and need some reassurance about just how talented they are.

But alas instead we just have stumble along this parenting trip trying our best to try to get it right most of the time - and not to take so much of it personally
: - ) Maternal guilt, comes with the uterus doesn't it???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wise Old Sage

Yeah that title got your attention didn't it??

Funny thing is those words came from A, not me! This week we went to have coffee with a teacher A had several years ago at his old school. We try to catch up with this guy several times a year for a coffee and catch up on life. That year was one of profound impacts on both parties. He made a profound impact on A by making A responsible for dealing with social issues like friendships, recognising that friendships take work and that he had to meet people half way. A, too made a profound impact on this teacher, and he still talks regularly about him to people he meets.

After spending a couple of hours together with him, A and I were travelling home and talking in the car. We talked about how his teacher joked and teased him about an upcoming peer mentoring program he is doing (that is another blog coming). At one point during coffee, his teacher said something along the lines of "hmm you thought you would get away with the social stuff with me didn't you, that I would just fix it, but you were wrong" to which A responded "yep that was a turning poing"

hellllooooo my 16 year old comes out with "yep that was a turning point" - how the heck did I raise a child that is so self-aware that he can see a "turning point" in his life when he is now 16 and he was about 12 at the time of the "turning point"!!! That alone messes with my head.

Then on the way home he talked about that some more and then went on to talk about leadership and mentoring. He told me that he seems to have "become the "go-to guy, the wise old sage kind of" with his school friends and peers. It seems his friends or their girlfriends seek his counsel at times of difficulty or relationship issues. I suggested perhaps it is because he is very logical and rational in his thought processes so they know he will give them good advice.

I have said since he was very young that he is what I call "an old soul, someone who has been here before" - he has always had a maturity beyond his years and a way of looking at the world that is quite unique and beyond his level of life experience - WISE OLD SAGE indeed : - )