Thursday, 2 April 2015

Enjoying being a Mum

After working so much over the last few weeks I spent this week doing things with and for my kids. It made me feel amazing. It made me feel like I was connecting with them again. Working and having time away from your kids isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The last few weeks have really had an impact on the kids so I’m glad I could make it up to them.
I was called into work on Monday and told them I couldn’t come in. Walking to kindy Lisa asked me if I could be the parent helper today so after changing the home readers in Hannah’s class I packed lunches for Kevin and I and headed back to kindy.
It was fabulous to see Lisa in action with her friends. It was so lovely to see the way her friends responded to her. She is such a lovely girl. She is smart and kind and so helpful to others. I was so proud to just watch her.
Kevin of course participated in all the activities. He is so ready for kindy now even with almost two years to go until he can start. He fitted in really well and the kids from pre-kindy last year already knew him and invited him to play their games and to sit with them to eat his lunch.
I tried to observe Lisa and not play with her too much. It was so much fun playing with the hoola hoops with the kids, playing in the sandpit, helping a boy make this really cool kayak and paddle, playing in home corner, making train tracks and playing with blocks.
Here are some dodgy photos taken on my phone of our little day together. I was very mindful of taking photographs of other children. I was also conscious of not having my phone out because I wanted my time to be all about Lisa. She thought it was the best thing ever that I came to her kindy for the day. I can’t wait to go again next term.

Calling Grandpuff in Geneva because that’s what normal 4 year olds do. I can’t believe she even remembered that’s where he was this week.

If you get the chance to spend a day at your kids’ kindy please do. You will love it and they will remember it for a long time.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Sometimes OK is enough

I have had one of those mornings. You know the ones. The ones where nothing really goes wrong but nothing really goes right either. I even got up early to make the rush of the morning less stressful, to make more time to get more things done.

I’ve started doing supply teaching this year and I’ve been getting quite a bit of work. I’m thoroughly enjoying being back in the classroom. I like the interaction with the kids. I enjoy teaching and helping and I just enjoy a lunch time where I don’t have to listen to kids arguing or demanding vegemite not peanut butter. I like that I get to go to the toilet when I need to and not when it fits around my two kids who are at home during the day. I like the adult conversation at lunch time.

Monday I worked so I started the week a little behind schedule and that has had a knock on effect to the rest of the household. Hollie had a break down or two about stuffing up her viola playing and then about not getting her story draft written to a standard she thought acceptable. I had not made it a priority to sit down with her and help her with these to issues over the past few days as my priorities were elsewhere. Note that I didn’t say I don’t have time because clearly I do have time if I choose not to do something else. Everyone has time. I’m a mother of 5. I know about having time and commitments. I really felt like I had let Hollie down even though I know it is her responsibility to get these jobs done before today. Hollie went to school upset. I went on with my day upset.

Kevin was throwing a tantrum because I’d opened the can of dog food for him. He didn’t want to go to school because we’d upset him. On the way to school his shoe fell off and the tantrum started again. I didn’t have the patience for him. Again, I felt like I’d let him down.

As we were leaving for school Lisa couldn’t find her shoes. These were left in Daddy’s car yesterday when he picked up Lisa from kindy as I was at an appointment. This was a small issue but turned into a big one because she cried and I didn’t have the patience to deal with the tantrum because we were already running late to buy a new school uniform and take Hannah to the library at school so I told Lisa to get into the pram. Yes, a four year old in a pram! Our rule is you aren’t allowed to go to school with no shoes on. The librarian made Lisa cry when she made comment about Lisa’s lack of shoes because she knows our rules too. If only I’d taken the time to let her find new shoes this wouldn’t have happened. Again, I felt like I’d let her down.

After buying the uniforms and taking Hannah to the library to borrow a book I went to her classroom to see if the teacher wanted help with changing the readers because they weren’t done yesterday.  This is usually my job in Hannah’s class because no other parent does it. Yesterday I didn’t do it partly because I had to drop Hollie at her first day of the maths/science academy she was accepted into and then dropped Lisa and a friend’s daughter at kindy and partly because I was still trying to catch up on house work from being at work on Monday and I had a group of ladies coming over at 10am. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty about not changing the readers but I can’t help it. I love seeing kids learning. I love books and know how important reading is. I also know that essentially this is the actual teacher’s job but I also know it takes at least half an hour to do and I don’t know where she is going to find that time. This time not only did I feel as though I’d let Hannah down but her whole class and her teacher as well.

I know all of this is not really anything but I feel like I’m not doing anything well at the moment. I feel like I’m merely doing life OK. I’m not doing it better than OK. I’m stretched thin in all directions. When I got to playgroup all tired and worn out I just cried. I didn’t want to cry in front of my friends but I just felt like I was doing a terrible job of everything. After a hug from my friend I felt a lot better though. We are all Mums and we all have bad days/bad weeks. When I got home I text my husband and told him I needed a hug. When I told him what the matter was (that I felt like I was doing life OK not great. I wasn’t being a great Mum I was being an OK Mum. I wasn’t being a great housewife I was being on OK one. I wasn’t being a great worker I was being an OK one) he told me being OK is OK. That’s why it’s called OK. He made me laugh and I know he is right. I can’t be amazing all the time. Sometimes OK is enough. Tomorrow will be a better day. I hope.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

What you shouldn’t do when toilet training

Now you think I would know how to do it after training 4 kids. You would think after lecturing people, yes I do believe I lecture people in regard to toilet training, I would know what not to do. Well, I’m here to tell you with baby number 5 I have broken almost every one of my toilet training rules.

I had a friend today say I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I should be ok with the fact that at almost 2 he’s going to the toilet at home. Oh, believe me I am very happy about that. I’m not happy that I am too scared this time to let him go without nappies to the shops, playgroup, friends’ houses, in the car, anywhere. Why is that?

Since forever I have lectured my friends and their friends and told them, “Don’t put them back in nappies. You just send them backwards.” I know. I’ve seen it in my friend’s kids. I know what I’m doing is stupid and has long term consequences. I know it is only prolonging the whole terrible experience that is toilet training. Trust me. I KNOW.

I’ve had kids wee in their sibling’s classroom. I’ve had wee on the floor in the supermarket. I’ve had accidents on carpets at playgroup and on the couch at home. I’ve had wee in the carseat and the pram. I’ve dealt with this for basically 5.5 years. What is wrong with me this time?

My friend today said, “It’s not like he’s going to go to kindy wearing a nappy.” I know. I know I shouldn’t let this get to me. I guess it will eat away at me until I can finally bite the bullet and do this properly. The way I have told everyone else to toilet train their kids.  I also know without a doubt this is my problem and not his. I know he is capable of going in public without wetting and I know even if he does it’s not the end of the world. I know the problem. I’m lazy.

This has been my whole argument over the years regarding other people not toilet training their kids early like I have. It comes down to what’s important and right now it is not important enough for me to make him go to the toilet in public and deal with the accidents so I’m being lazy. Yes, I’m being lazy. I know I am and it is not something I like to associate with myself. I am being lazy because I know he can do it. He’s been going to the toilet or potty for more than 6 months now. I guess I have to get myself in the mindset to toilet train him for the public.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Having a VBAC

Are you thinking of having a VBAC?
What is a VBAC? Why would I post about having a VBAC?
Recently I have been asked by two of my friends to give them some information on my experiences having a VBAC? I thought there might be quite a few ladies out there who want some first hand information. So what is a VBAC? Vaginal Birth After Caesarean.
I have had 3 VBACs. Every birth after a caesarean is called a VBAC. My first was a natural delivery, my second was an emergency caesarean and my last 3 were VBACS. Yes, I’m one of those crazy people who have a thousand kids. My first VBAC I researched and researched. I lived in a rural community and was not permitted to have the VBAC in the local hospital. The Royal Flying Doctors could only guarantee they would be there in 4 hours and if there was a rupture of the scar tissue that is not soon enough. I believe I was very lucky to have a doctor who was from Africa. He had delivered thousands of babies, yes, thousands, I’m not making that up. He had delivered many VBACs in very unsavoury conditions. His belief was that in Australia with our class of surgeons even our GPs and our sterile environments that everyone should be delivering vaginally after a caesarean if it was medically possible. I was lucky that he told me what a ruptured scar felt like, as much as a man can tell a woman anything about labour, and was able to put my mind at rest. He had delivered quite a number of babies in Africa in slums and villages where the scar had ruptured and both mother and child had survived. He did tell me though that the more babies I had after the caesarean the more chances I had of the scar rupturing.
I am not basing my whole belief about VBACs on his words but he did give me confidence to make a go of a VBAC. In my research I found that the Australian heart rate norms, those that they use to see if the baby is in distress or in danger, is quite a bit outside of the World Health Organisation (WHO) acceptable rates meaning in Australia we are more conservative variations of foetal heart rate. Why are they so concerned about foetal heart rate? It gives an indication if the scar has ruptured and if the baby is in distress.
I found that the greater the amount of medical intervention the greater the risk of caesarean and repeat caesarean. In most instances woman naturally have a period in their labour where their labour stalls for a short time. Some woman the length is longer but more often than not this period will occur at the same time every labour. For me it was 5 cm. Some women stalled at 8 etc, etc. Women who chose to only be monitored intermittently had a higher chance of having a successful VBAC compared to those who were hooked up to machines the whole time. The studies surmised two reasons for this. Firstly, the labouring woman wasn’t free to move about and thus the labour was stalled because the woman was more often on a bed or sitting in a chair and not moving around the birthing room. Secondly, hospital staff saw any increase or decrease in heart rate or contraction intensity and were quick to insist on another caesarean.
According to medical teams I spoke to the longer you are in labour the greater the risk of a rupture to the scar. In my first VBAC I was very aware of my long labours. My waters had broken with Hollie (my first) at 12am and I started having contractions 6 mins apart from then, slowly increasing in frequency until she was born at 4pm that day. That is a long time to be in labour with contractions that strong and that close together. I knew I had long labours so I didn’t tell the hospital when they admitted me how long I had been in labour. I was in labour for 18 hours before Hannah, my first VBAC, was born.
2009 03 19 HGK & AGK cuddle
Hannah, the first VBAC
During Hannah’s labour I arrived at the hospital and all the 6 birth suites were full. I had to pace outside in the corridor while they cleaned a room for me. I was lucky in a sense because they left us be. I asked not to be continuously monitored and they were fine with that. At 5 cm they let me in the bath, which technically I wasn’t supposed to do but in my first labour it was something that calmed me down. They would come in regularly and check on me and put the monitors on my belly. I was able to walk around and operate like any normal labour. I also asked not to have a canula in because when I labour I like to grab things and I didn’t want the needle thing shoving into my hand as I gripped. I know people are thinking how many risks I was taking but I remember when I had my caesarean that the surgeon said she could get a baby out 30 seconds after the anaesthetics were administered. To me that means baby will survive. Hannah was born in the sack and it was probably the most rewarding birth I have had. She was born 7 minutes before midnight, I cut her cord and hugged her and hugged her because we had done it. Against all the risks and all the people who put doubt in my mind, we did it. Her poor Dad didn’t get to hug her on her birth day. She’s the only one of his kids that he didn’t but there wasn’t much time left in that day and the day was all for us.
2009 03 19 HGK & KPK (2)
This is probably one of my favourite photos ever. The is just the proudest and most wonderful Dad. I am a very lucky wife.

2010 12 31 Mummy's first cuddle (3)
Lovely Lisa, my 2nd VBAC.
When I had Lisa, my 2nd VBAC, I was in my rural community and because I’d had my scar tested with Hannah’s birth I was able to deliver Lisa in the local hospital, however I had to agree to be constantly hooked up to machines or they wouldn’t allow me to birth there. Lisa was 15 days late. Yes, 15 days! Can you imagine how I felt for those last 15 days? All of my children have been late except my caesarean. She was three weeks early. Lisa was due on the 16th of December and the doctors were going to induce me on Christmas Eve and I said, “Do you want to spend your Christmas here with me or at home with your family?” They decided that at home was the best option so I was monitored every day for 1-1.5hours. I really didn’t want them to break my waters or to intervene in any way. All the research I had read said that was a bad idea. In the end they ended up breaking my waters, which did nothing, and eventually they put the oxytocin drip in me. Normally they don’t do that for VBACs but they believed they had a greater control over that than anything else and they could turn the drip off if they needed to. The drip worked straight away and I started having contractions. It wasn’t very pleasant because I was hooked up to all the monitors and the clip off the baby’s head came off about 40 mins before she was born and the second clip didn’t clip on so the doc had to go up there again to stick the clip on. Not fun at that time of the labour. In the end it was a fabulous labour because it was so quick. Over and done with in 2.5 hours. I felt like I could run around the block after that.
If you want a VBAC I say go for it. If you think, like I did, the recovery after a natural birth is a lot easier give a VBAC a go. Post natal depression increases with caesareans. A VBAC give you the chance to be less dependent on people. When I had Jessica and the nurses said to me not to pick up anything heavier than the baby, I thought, “ Which one?” Hollie was still a baby at the time. She was 13 months old. I had to pick her up when she needed me. If you think you can have a natural birth do some research. I admit it was very difficult to find a balanced or an alternative view. Most of what comes up in google searches are by American doctors who seem so scared of the worst possible thing happening. I know I would have not forgiven myself if something terrible had happened to Hannah but I also knew I had enough facts to do it and do it with confidence.

2012 08 29 KJK (1)
Kevin, my 3rd VBAC
I wrote out a birth plan specifying under what conditions I would have another caesarean and at what points I would have medical intervention. This is something I encourage any one thinking about having a VBAC do. If nothing else it clarifies in your mind what you believe and what you want.
Do some research and if you have any more questions please let me know how I can help.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Toilet Training

There are a few things about parenting that I am a firm believer in and it would take a lot, and I mean a lot, to persuade me to alter my view. One of the issues is toilet training. This is a hugely controversial issue. It seems that most people don’t hold my view and I’m ok with that. I stand from the point of having toilet trained 4 kids and am about to attempt to train the 5th. I therefore feel I have at least some basis for my viewpoint.

So what is your view Amity? My view on toilet training is easier the younger you do it the easier it is. What? How can that be? I don’t view toilet training as a difficult thing. It is an essential part of parenting. My opponents, if that’s a word in parenting, advocate toilet training when a child is ready. Normally people feel like a child is “ready” when they are around 3.5 years old (from my 7 years of being involved in playgroups and music programs and chatting with many, many parents over these days). My belief is that parents have missed the first signs of being ready. My son is 15 months old and he is currently showing signs of being ready to toilet train. Are you serious? Yes I am. My second daughter was completely toilet trained by 15 months and dry through the night by about 19 months. I can’t actually remember when it was because she just did it but it was just after my third daughter was born.

How can I tell that Kevin, aged 15 months, is ready for toilet training? There are many signs but here are a few of the most common.

He is very curious about any of us going to the toilet. He comes into the toilet and watches. I know that some of you are cringing right now but I have pretty much had an open door policy on the toilet because otherwise I would never get to go or there would be huge tantrums and break downs outside the toilet door.

Kevin has started to pull his nappy off. Luckily I have not had him pull it off when it has been soiled. He has pulled it off many times though when the nappy has been full of wee. When he is wearing modern cloth nappies (MCN) he will pull them off as soon as he has done a wee.

He comes to me as soon as he’s done a number 2 in his nappy. In the last few days if I don’t jump up straight away to change him he will toddle off and get the packet of wipes and bring those back to me. He is showing signs that he doesn’t like the sensation in his nappy. Probably a month ago he started to pull at the crotch of his nappy when he thought his nappy was full. He wasn’t walking at all at this stage so I wasn’t prepared to toilet train him then because I wanted him to be able to make his way to the toilet.

I think a large part of the problem with parents saying their children aren’t ready is that they are missing all the signs. I know with Hannah, number 3 child, I missed the window. She used to come to me when she was about 15 months with a nappy in her hand and she would say, “Pappy, pappy” and she was wanting me to change her nappy. I was pregnant with number 4 at the time and I was so ill with morning sickness I couldn’t face toilet training her at that time so I would just change the nappy. She was my most difficult to toilet train when we started at 18 months. She is a very determine young lady though and I think part of her problem was someone was telling her to do something and she wanted to be the one making the decisions about her self and her body. Once I stopped talking to her about going to the toilet and ignoring her she decided to go by herself.

I think another problems parents in the Western world face is the propaganda the nappy companies have dished out over the last 15 years. Of course they want parents to toilet train their children later because it means more money in their pockets. In 3rd world countries children are toilet trained at a very young age. They begin the process very early on. I know in China they start as soon as the baby is born and they will make a noise while the baby is toileting. This then creates a Pavlov’s Dog response when the noise is made later on. It stands to reason. These people don’t have the money or the time to have kids in nappies.

Look out for the signs and you will see how easy it is to toilet train your toddler.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


I am extremely lucky to have such a wonderful husband. He makes my heart all warm and fuzzy just thinking about him. Am I being serious? Hell yes. Does he frustrate the *beep* out of me? Hell yes. Why am I so lucky then?

When I see those beautiful old couples walking along holding hands I know that will be us. How do I know? I don't know, I just know. People say you can never know what the future holds and that is absolutely true but if he is alive I know he will be taking my hand as we walk along. I know he will walk next to the road to protect me. When we first started going out I thought it was a strange thing that he did that. His dad does that to his wife an any woman he walks next to. It is so special that there are men in this world like them. I know that my husband will be the one to annoy me by pinching the excess skin at my elbows. He knows how much it annoys me but at the same time he knows that he is the only one who gets away with doing it and yes, he loves that. 

We have been through a lot. We have five children and God knows that takes its toll. We have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage. We have endured a long distance relationship from time to time as the situation dictates was necessary. We have had rough patches. I mean who doesn't? 

I would say we are perfectly suited for each other even though in most respects we are complete opposites. My flaws are his strengths and if you know Mr Knight you know he doesn't have too many flaws. Hahaha. Seriously, we work well together. 

I have this find hope that everyone can be as happy as I am. Find someone who compliments them as well as we do. Find someone who brings out the best I'm them. I know I am so lucky. I know what I have isn't easy to come by. I know what I have is special and that's why I know when I'm old and grey with leathery skin and droopy bits everywhere that he will still hold my hand and love me for who I am and what we have together. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013


Ever wondered whether you married the right person? This week I've attended the Stampin' Up! convention. I've travelled by train each morning to the convention centre in Brisbane and I've watched these mothers rush to work (I've overheard them talk of their children because essentially I'm a sticky beak) and I've felt very blessed to be able to be the one who stays home with the kids and have a husband who actually wants this lifestyle for his family.
I have realised how tough these women have it. On the first morning of the convention I left home at 6:50am and didn't get home until 7pm. The kids were already in bed when I got home. I'd seen them briefly in the morning before I left. That was really tough for me. I missed them so much. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderfully inspiring and fun time at convention and I didn't think of them that often but it broke my heart to see so little of them all day and I wonder how hard it is for working mothers to only see their kids at those horribly rushed times of the day.
I am fortunate we bought a house which we could afford to pay off on one wage. I don't have to work unless I want to or it fits in with the lifestyle we want for our family.
Kevin and I are massively different. Gosh, who knew. We are polar opposites in so many ways but when it comes to what we want for our family and what we believe is best for them we are so similar. I married someone with my family belief system and I am truly grateful for that. I know I married the right man for me. My heart still swells and skips a beat when I see him and didn't expect to.
For everything you have done for us this week, my love, I am grateful. For what you do day in day out to support our family I am eternally grateful. I'm glad it is you who leaves the house each day to miss out on the kids lives and earn the money. Thank you.