Tag: challenge

How do I turn this damn thing off?

It’s been quite a while since I posted last, unless you count my response to some trolling. Mel has been gently requesting that I write something, and gently reminding me that “it’s supposed to be our joint blog but I do all the work.” Code for “I really want you to blog, now, yesterday, last week even.” My usual response is along the lines of “I’ll blog when I’ve got something to write about.”

It seems that time has come for me to get off my blessed assurance and crack to it. It does take quite some effort for me to write, while words seem to flow freely from between my lips, getting them out of my fingers is a whole other story. Feelings of inadequacy and the overwhelming sense that it needs to be perfect usually prevent much from happening. Let it be know, it’s something I’m working on, and most likely always will.

Lately, something has been happening in our home. Something that I’m not proud of, and I am trying to change it. I’ve been losing my cool with our eldest son, Lucas. For a while there, it was almost as though if he coughed, I would tell him off, yell, send him to his room or, dare I say is, give him a smack. I’ve only ever smacked him on the backside.

Am I proud of it? No.

Did I grow up with the same kind of discipline from my parents? Yes.

Do I hate them for it? Not at all.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m happy about getting my butt smacked, because lets face it, no one really is as a kid. You hate it. Dad and I were having a talk about discipline once, and he mentioned that when we were smacked as kids, it was more frustration on their part than anything. And it is absolutely true. There are only so many times you can politely ask someone to put their shoes away before you start to sound like a broken record. And trust me, both Mel and I try not to sweat the small stuff, but take it from me, that shit adds up. Real fast!

Everyone has their own opinions on parenting, and it’s all well and good to have opinions, however, what might work for your family and circumstances might be completely the opposite for another. Is it OK to lose your cool at your child? No, I don’t think it is. Have I done it? Yes. Very recently in fact. I did it such a monumental fashion that I’m sure the neighbours were filling out father of the year nominations for me. Did it make me feel better? Not one little bit. I actually felt worse.

It was weeks and weeks of pent up frustration that all boiled to the surface in one spectacular explosion of a verbal tirade. One that ultimately says a heck of a lot more about my attitude towards Lucas in particular, than it does about his actual behavior. The end result? ‘Daddy, can I take a truck to bed?’

It all kind of hit me. What kind of role model was I setting for him? Blaming my son, who is 5, for my lack of self control. It just started to sit wrong with me. I won’t lie to you, he is sometimes not an easy kid to look after. He is highly impulsive, doesn’t listen, does whatever he pleases, regardless of what we ask him, and some days, he just will not stop talking. It has a tendency to wear you thin after a while.

As most of you are well aware, I do a bit of reading, not as regular as I would like. After some talk about leadership with one of my business mentors, I came to a simple solution. If I want to lead my team to victory, I first need to lead my house. And to lead my house, I need to lead myself. Real leadership comes from leading yourself and others will naturally follow you. Not by telling people what to do. That defines a boss, and not someone that I aspire to be like.

What does this all have to do with parenting? Well, my young padawan, parenting is just another form of leadership. While you might not be directly engaged in ‘parenting’ (ie, 1 on 1 time with your child), everything you do, in and out of the home is parenting. Its 24/7, 100% on all the time. It’s hardly a job, it’s life. Whether we like it or not. Once the kids are in bed and you put your feeit up for the evening, crack a stubbie and snap off a couple of rows of dairy milk, yup, you’re still parenting.

Recently, I came to the realisation that I just didn’t want to be like that any more. Not just for my own sake, but absolutely for Lucas’s sake. He

deserves better than that.
So I have started to make a committed effort to lead myself better. To be the kind of father my boys look up to, and aim to be like. To be the kind of man that if we ever have a daughter, I would be happy for her to marry.

It hasn’t been easy, some days are harder than others. The things I do are pretty simple though. I usually stop what I’m doing, take a few breaths, remind myself that it isn’t his fault, he’s just a kid and he is wired a little different than most, and really, does it matter in the grand scheme of things?
He’s got a great personality. Loving, caring, zest for life and can find wonder in the smallest of things (a dead jumping spider for example), so I reckon that it’s a damn good start.

As parents, our kids will always do as they see us do, not what we say. We need to make sure our actions match our words so that we don’t create confusion in developing minds.

I’m by no means a perfect father, nor do I ever think I will be. I am however committed to improvement.

I’d love to hear what tips and strategies you guys use to keep calm during those stressful parenting moments!

Cheers,
Chris

 

 

ADHD: What it’s like in our household.

I honestly don’t know where to start with this post.. as trying to navigate from start to finish is a slightly overwhelming task for me. So to give this blog a bit of context I’ll explain to you some ADHD facts as quoted from the Royal Children’s Hospital website.

Lucas was a bubbly baby, with a big personality.

‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. The three most common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. It can impact upon children’s learning and social skills, and also family functioning. Every 3-5 in 100 children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD and it is far more common in boys than girls.’

When Lucas was born he was the perfect newborn. He slept, he ate and he barely made a fuss. It wasn’t until solids were introduced where I noticed that something was a bit off. He was very sensitive to textures, and I’d spend more time cleaning up his vomit than actually feeding him. So to make it easier for everyone (mostly me), he practically ate the same food just to ensure that it stayed down. Can you believe that even today he can vomit caused by a certain texture? Not that long ago, he threw up on himself because he had berry seeds in his smoothie.

Just before his first birthday I introduced him to Gymbaroo, which is a program specifically designed to educate parents on child’s development. At Gymbaroo there is gym equipment for your children to move, climb and develop their strength. There is also a play mat area where each week the educator discusses topics of children development. This includes balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, speech, auditory, visual processing and body awareness. I noticed that Lucas didn’t flourish like the rest children, and he was always ‘that’ child. You know.. the one who squeals, snatches, unable to participate and is so disruptive. In the end it was just too stressful to continue, and we had even won a term which we barely attended because in the end I’d be turning red with frustration.

Taking Lucas to parks, playgrounds, play centers and birthday parties were and still continue to be a stressful event. When he was around two/three years old he was terrorizing another child, trying to snatch their bike away. On my way to sort out the issue, the mother grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed ‘NO’ in his face. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Have you heard of the fight or flight response, well I am neither of these. I freeze! Always!

Another incident occurred in a doctors surgery, where I was trying to calm him down and he just wouldn’t listen to reason. The doctor picked him up by the ankle and held him upside down. Again, I froze, looking dumbfounded. Looking back it at it, I should have approached the mum and addressed the doctor about their behavior. Because, lets face it, we are the adults and we need the control.

Our biggest issue to date with Lucas is his impulsivity. Last year, when I was heavily pregnant with Flynn, Lucas went on a walkabout. We have a tall Colorbond fence, and Lucas decided to open it and take our pets for a walk. After an hour of searching for him, we knew we had to contact the police. There is a massive golf course that runs through our suburb and my fear was that he would decide to go for a swim and likely drown. Once the police arrived, they had a helicopter on standby in case it was needed. Thankfully I always ensure that our pets are tagged and this is how he was located. A lady called me to say that not only did she have our dogs but also our son who invited himself in for a cold drink of water. He was having a grand old time.

It wasn’t until Kindergarten where someone else noticed his behavior. During his first term of school, his teacher suggested I take him to a pediatrician just to ensure that everything was okay. Eight months later, due to a very long wait list, he was finally assessed. It only took 45 minutes to diagnose him with ADHD. But we weren’t really given much, except to attend a seminar on positive parenting. When we were approaching the final week of Kindergarten , we spoke with the school on how his behavior could improve as he was scoring as a below average. Chris and I learned that WA does not have funding to support children who have ADHD. Soon, hopefully within the next two years, we will be relocating back to the eastern states.

There is still room, lots of room, for improvement from our part. We try so hard, but our own ignorance and frustrations taint our ability to be patient with him. It’s a big learning curve for us, and we try hard to ensure that he is on the right track. He does not consume processed or refined sugars and he eats a mostly plant based diet. We supplement magnesium to help him control his behavior. We try and give him a structured day so he knows what to expect, we give him small goals to complete so he feels accomplished and has something to work towards. We try to avoid negative words like don’t, didn’t, isn’t and wasn’t. Most important of all though is that we tell him we love him.

 

Much love

Melanie xoxo

 

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Making a Baby

Making a Baby – Guest Blogger Lanni Cordwell

Lion Fox & Co would like to welcome with open arms Instagrammer Lanni Cordwell, otherwise known as @mumandmila. She is 38 years old and has been married to her husband John for 6 wonderful years. Her beautiful Mila was born 6 months ago, which required plenty of anticipation and planning. Lanni explains in her blog that love, marriage and children is generally the sequence of a relationship however falling pregnant was not an easy task for Lanni and her husband John. This is her story..

Making a Baby

I have always dreamt of having children, even from a very young age. I was an au pair then a nanny abroad for 10 years in the USA since I was 18 years old. Being around children was always a part of my life. 2 years into my marriage we decided it was time to start a family. I was going to be 33 years of age and I was ready. I was very excited and scared especially when I was very close to the 35 years old older woman bracket. I knew it would be harder but boy was it a lot harder. It was not easy but I was determined and I wanted to be prepared. I read up on when was the best time of the month, what positions, even down to the time of day. I went on Elevit, took multivitamins. I brought boxes after boxes of ovulation tracking kits. I downloaded and purchased tracking apps. It was months and months of using the kits and apps, tracking my cycle and a whole lot of sex.  We even had morning sex for a whole week because I read somewhere it was peak timing for sperm. I also laid in bed afterwards for 30 minutes with my legs up in the air making sure no sperm would escape. But nothing. Pregnancy test, after pregnancy test it all read negative, all just with one line present. I felt defeated. John was tired but I could see the look on his face. He felt bad. He knew I was hurting, even though I told him I was fine. It will happen I said to reassure him, but I was saying it to reassure myself. I had faith. But he knew, he knew I was tearing up inside.

After years of trying (2 years have passed now) and constant questioning from family, friends and strangers we went to our doctors to discuss what we could do.  He referred us to a fertility clinic called Fertility North and told us to book an appointment. We went to our first appointment and both of us were nervous to meet our doctor, Dr Vince. Lovely man Dr Vince Chapple was very nice and very straight forward which we loved, putting us at ease. After Running through our history and telling him that we haven’t used birth control since we got married, Dr Vince said that getting pregnant was easy, but the fact was we had been trying for the last 4 years and had been unsuccessful. It was the most heart wrenching thing to hear. I had so many thoughts going through my head, how could this happen? But I was meant to have kids, was it because I waited too long to have kids? What was wrong with me? My head was racing. I had so many questions. I always had that perception that having babies was such an easy thing. I mean 18 year olds were having them, my mother had 4 kids. Both my sisters had 2 kids. How hard could it be? The question of what was wrong with me kept creeping back. John and I both blamed ourselves and we both were feeling down.

As we sat there, both of us fighting back tears Dr Vince explained the process of what’s next? He said there were to be tests, lots of tests that we had to go through. He explained that it was a very expensive process, not just the IVF process itself but all the testing as well if we decided to go ahead with everything. There was no question, we wanted to have kids so we agreed and we got started. There were consent forms to fill out, finance appointment, a counselling session and numerous nursing appointments.  Then the testing started for both John and I. Lots of test, blood tests for both of us, lots of blood, urine tests, semen testing. John had to do his business in a cup. It seemed endless but finally the results came in. There was bad news and good news. First the bad news. John had a very low sperm count and that the percentage of uncorrupted sperm (basically good swimmers) was very low. I had endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside of it. The main symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility. That explains the very painful period pains I have always experienced. Good news was that endometriosis can be removed through surgery and we could work with a low sperm count.

First step I had to have surgery and get my endometriosis removed. Done. Next John was told to go on Melevit (male elevit). He had weekly test to check on his swimmers. He said it was very awkward, knowing what he had to do and that people knew what he was doing. Months of being on Eelevit worked. His count had increased by 300%. Great we were on our way! Nope, more tests. I had blood tests every other day to check my estrogen levels. They had to be high enough to get my body right for the harvesting of my eggs. This took a few months because my levels just didn’t seem to get high enough. I had to go back on the pill to increase my levels. How weird to be going back on the pill when we were trying to have a baby! So more waiting, more extra stress. We got through it though. We had to stay positive, we had our eyes on the end game. Finally the pills took affect and my body was ready after being on it for a month.

Next step, egg cultivation. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole process. I had to do daily injections to grow my eggs. This was a no go zone for John. He hated needles. Luckily I was ok with them. I had to inject myself at exactly the same time every day for 12 days. Then came the ultrasound to check on the growth of the eggs (follicle tracking). They had grown to a good size and I had 10 eggs in each ovary. The eggs were at final maturation and needed a trigger (final injection) to get them ready for collection. I was booked in for my egg extraction surgery. It was a day surgery, under general anaesthetic. Every follicle is drained and flushed. No stone left unturned. While my eggs were getting extracted, John needed to give his sperm so the process of fertilising the eggs could commence. They told us fertilisation was complex and dynamic. In simple terms, there was no guarantees. They were to call us on our results. More waiting, more worrying.

We received the phone call the next day, we had 6 embryos that were successful, and one was of an A+ status that was ready to go. Pure joy, tears of happiness, looks of love. We were so close. The day was finally here. We made the appointment for the insemination. All the hard work, all the doctor appointments, all the tests, all the needles, all the tears, all the heart break, all the road blocks and all the fees, oh my gosh the fees! it had finally led us to this moment. The day that would change our lives forever.