Thank You and Farewell

On Friday last week I drove home from work listening to Pink Floyd on full blast in my car.  More than two decades ago I wrote a story using ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ as inspiration and hearing those lyrics again after at least a decade was a full flash back.  I love music and what it does for me, I think there will always be a soundtrack to my life.  How fabulous that I find myself in a quieter space, the music is not so loud and jarring, it is more melodic, it has a more regular beat.  The lyrics are happier and lighter and I love approaching my 40s.

I have / had a friend (back in my regular Pink Floyd listening days) who was a musician, and I remember him telling me how he really struggled to write music when he was happy.  He recently lost his wife and my heart just aches for him and I wonder if he is writing music again after all those happy years?

I guess what I am saying is that maybe just maybe part of the reason I am struggling to keep this blog going is because I am actually deep down happy and writing about it just sounds smug.  That’s not to say I lead a perfect life, but on the balance the space is happy and I am finding my inner strength and confidence and the need for this outlet is disappearing.

On Friday I also received a bill from our fertility specialist for the storage of the frozen sperm.  Do you remember over two years ago the angst I felt when I got that bill?  The real question, were we really done?  We never received the bill last year and I kept meaning to follow up and pay it, to keep that sperm (just in case), but it was never important enough and I never did it.  And so I had pretty much assumed the precious hard won sperm was discarded and I was absolutely fine with that.  And then the bill arrived (yes it is now for 2 years storage).  So I was contemplating this question again.  And it did give me pause, but no angst.  I will pay the bill and possibly not even tell them to discard it (just in case), but I think I have let it go.

The precious Hope Babes are THREE!  Can you believe it?  They are fabulous, awesome, hectic, challenging and special little people.  I love being their Mamma.  I feel like I have found my space and my voice as a Mamma and I am Home.  Does that make sense?

Thank you for travelling this journey with me.  Thank you to all those who have followed from the beginning.  Thank you for all those who supported and added strength through the infertile years.  Thank you for those who celebrated finding sperm with us. Thank you to every one of the almost 1,000 of you who were there on the day we finally got our BFP. Thank you to those who have guided me in the Mamma years.  This space has helped me grow, you have helped me enter this happy space and for that I will always remember you.

For all the love and support this space has provided me over the years I will keep it open (just in case) but most especially for those that come after I only wish this can give you some HOPE.

All my love and thanks

Juanita (Mommy-At-Last)

PS Yes I am crying great big floods of tears as I say Farewell

Posted in azoospermia, Infertility, Male Factor Infertility, Music, TTC, Twins | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Closing Chapters

I know you have read this before and are probably quite bored to tears by this discussion, but I just keep coming back to this thought.  I think this blog has run its course.  I think I am done writing.  But every time I think I can close it and walk away I come back, because I miss blogging or because it doesn’t seem like the right ending.

My darling angels have gone through another big milestone and there was a reason for it, but when I realised that I didn’t want to talk about the reason on a open forum, that I didn’t want to share my child’s personal story.  That made me stop and question, again, why do I blog.

I once blogged to share my story, so others in the same space could know they were not alone.  I blogged to let people know what I was going through and so that I was not so alone as I travelled that road.  Then I started to blog to keep a record.  And I guess that really is the main reason I still keep coming back here.  But this record is no longer only mine and it seems disingenuous to only share part of the story and so the doubt about whether to keep going…

I think this space will be closing, I just need to get it to a place where it feels like it’s time to close it.  It still feels like this story has no definitive ending.  Maybe the details on a third birthday party will be the final chapter…

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Natural Beauty

I am not even going to begin to scratch the surface of this post as I have had it swirling in my head in one form or another for months, maybe over a year, but I figure if I don’t start writing some of the swirling thoughts down I am never going to get started and in the last few days the topic keeps raising its head so it’s time to address it.

I think I have said it before I am the least girlie girl I have ever met.  That’s not to say I am masculine, I don’t think so anyway, but I do not go in for all the things so many people feel the need to do to themselves to ‘enhance’ their beauty.  I think I have only worn make up about six times in the eight and a half years I have been living back in South Africa.  And only twice since the twins were born nearly three years ago.  I don’t colour my hair, it gets cut every six months or so when it looks unhealthy or I fancy a change and it only ever sees a hairdryer if it is cold and I am about to leave the building otherwise it is wash and wear.  I am wearing less and less jewellery as time passes (thanks in part to an annoying allergy I seem to have developed even to 24carat gold?).  My face cream costs R16 a tube and lasts me about a month. I haven’t worn perfume in years (thanks in part to the terrible headache strong smells give me these days).   I don’t paint my nails (except for fancy dress parties), I have never had a facial, I have never had a manicure, I don’t have tattoos, I wear flat comfortable shoes and I am happy with me.  I guess you might say my ‘look’ (if such a thing could be called a ‘look’) is natural and practical.

That’s not to say I look in the mirror and think I look fab, most days probably not, I know I am extremely overweight, but most of the time that doesn’t bother me that much either.  But I look in the mirror and I am happy with me.  I can look in my eyes and see ME.  I don’t have to look through layers that have been pasted over me to see me.  And I am never afraid my hubby will wake up one morning and get a fright because I haven’t “put my face on” yet.  What a ridiculous thing to say… “put your face on”. 

I’m not entirely sure why but for some reason this ‘natural’ approach has become a source of pride for me, a little like how proud I am that I have NEVER eaten a McDonalds Burger.

I quite simply do not understand at all why women put themselves through so much to look nothing at all like themselves?  I don’t understand why so many spend so much time and energy to be something other than what they are.  It is foreign to me.

Someone once made some comment that one day they would have to teach my daughter how to apply makeup and quite frankly while I laughed I was appalled.  Why on earth would my gorgeous child ever need to learn how to hide herself?

And I think right there is the source of why I have become more and more firm on my ‘natural’ approach since the kids arrived.  First off I want my kids to be kids for as long as humanly possible.  And I don’t mean stunting their development, I simply mean not pushing them to become ‘grown up’. 

I know a little girl who is not yet five, she wears high heel wedge shoes most of the time.  How do you climb trees and run and jump in wedges?  She has nail varnish on her nails most of the time.  She wears makeup to kids parties. She has her ears pierced.  Her mother calls her sexy regularly.  Is anyone saying WHAT THE F#CK with me?  Why is this LITTLE girl being sexualised and grown up and worst of all not being taught how incredibly gorgeous she is just the way she is?

I think that I hold onto my natural approach so strongly in the hopes that in this way my kids will learn that I love who I am inside and out and when I spend time on myself I would rather spend that on improving the person inside.  I hope my kids will learn that we do age, getting older is part of life and when we get older we start to look different.  That the lines on my face come from experiences out in the wind and sun and from laughing with joy at my happy life, that the grey hairs come from worrying about them because I love them so much.  That my flabby and stretch marked belly is because it nurtured them while I held them closer than I will ever hold them again.  As an aside they already know that my top belly is from Sausage, where he grew and my bottom belly is from Pudding where she grew.  And this isn’t in the blaming them for my fat kind of way but as a constant celebration of the little lives that started right there.

When they are going to grow up in a world which constantly tells them to be something other than who they are, how do we teach them to love themselves for their raw natural beauty?

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Mamma… I love you

Dear Kids

It occurred to me this morning that as much as I loved being pregnant and having you little guys so close to me in my belly, it is so much better having you really in my life.  It is simply awesome getting to interact with you, watch you laugh and puzzle things out and best of all put your little arms around my neck and say “Mamma… I love you”



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Honey Bunny Long Bunny and Dummy Bunny

The kids were each given a bunny when they were tiny from my step-mom (who they now call Ganny).  She bought them each one for us to see whether they could bond to them and since then the collection has grown so that Pudding has four bunnies with pink ears and Sausage has four bunnies with blue ears.  In hindsight I guess we should have worked harder to make sure they were all the same colour in body, not just ears, but the kids never seemed to mind much and they have really attached very firmly to their bunnies.

Pudding gave up the dummy at around two months and took to her thumb, she holds her bunny in her right hand with the ear wrapped just so around her little fist and the right thumb goes into her mouth.  If she is particularly tired or sad she will stroke bunny’s ears with her left had two.  And that is how she soothes and how she goes to sleep.  Her bunnies were all called Honey Bunny.  In December we took her best looking bunny and put it aside while we were in Joburg on holiday for the wedding so that it looked good for her to hold at the wedding.  The net result was that after the wedding, that particular bunny was called Wedding Bunny and as there was never again a wedding , Wedding Bunny has never been loved again.  But for a while she was still happy with any of the other three.  Then somehow one of the bunnies ears became particularly scraggly with long bits of the satiny pink inner ear hanging off.  This bunny was called Long Bunny Honey Bunny and over the last few months Pudding has become completely inseparable from Long Bunny Honey Bunny (catchy name, easy to say hey?).  Any other bunny was completely unacceptable and getting Long Bunny (for short) washed has become quite an undertaking.  And the more Pudding has attached to Long Bunny the more she wants it constantly in her hand, which of course means the more she sucks her thumb.

Sausage on the other hand is a total an utter dummy boy.  He was the cause of many broken night’s sleep when he was tiny as I did the endless dummy runs, going to the room to give him his dummy back.  Shortly after he was given the bunnies we tied his dummy onto the ear of the bunny to make it easier for him to find his dummy in his sleep (or any other time he is hunting for it).  Awesome idea and that single step I am sure is responsible for some of the fabulous sleep that happens in our house (most of the time).  Sausage couldn’t care less which bunny you give him so long as it has a dummy on it.  So they are all called Dummy Bunny.  And the more he has bonded to Dummy Bunny the more he has started walking around with his dummy in his mouth with the bunny hangingoff it.  And recently he has even started talking with the dummy in his mouth because otherwise he has to hold the bunny which means he can’t get up to mischief with his hands.

We started off quite strict that comfort objects were only for sleep time and the bunnies lived in their cots when they were awake.  When we started school this year we started well with bunnies being tucked into bed every morning before we left for school and getting a kiss goodbye before we left.  Because they each have multiple bunnies, there was another one tucked into their school bag for their afternoon nap and the school was pretty good at only allowing bunnies (and dummy) for nap time.  But somehow as this year has progressed that have grown more and more attached and dependant on their bunnies (and dummy) and suddenly they had bunnies with them all the time.  Sausage’s talking with the dummy in his mouth drives me crackers (I hate dummies and especially hate the way kids try to talk with them in their mouths).

Then on Friday Sausage came home with a rash around his mouth.  He has had a mild one before, it seems to be from sucking his dummy too much (and please don’t tell me to keep it cleaner, you try that with a two year old who is in the sand pit and climbing trees and …).  And we said ENOUGH.

So Saturday morning Chris had a chat with Sausage who said he is a big boy now and only needs his dummy when he sleeps.  Dummy was removed from Bunny and Sausage got on with things.  Close to nap time he had a little tantrum (remember he is the small tantrum thrower) wanting his dummy and we simply reinforced that he can only have dummy for sleep time.  He got over it quite quickly and that was the end of that.  He got dummy over the weekend at sleep time only and on Sunday afternoon even managed to have his afternoon nap (although it was in the car) without his dummy!  Each night when he has got into bed he asks where his dummy is and he gets given it, because he is very clear that he cannot sleep without his dummy.  Then off to school we went yesterday with a dummy secreted away in his school bag and his bunny with no dummy on it.  We got to school and he said he was leaving his bunny in the car.  I checked with him if he was sure, and even doubled checked to make sure he understood that he wouldn’t have bunny for nap time in that case and he said “I’m a big boy I don’t need my bunny”.  So of course I quietly removed the dummy from his bag and he spent the whole day without his Dummy Bunny yesterday.  At nap time he went looking for it, then half way to his bag said “Silly Billy, I left it in the car”.  He moaned a little falling asleep, but was totally brave without his comfort objects.  Bed time he asked for the dummy again and was given it.

Of course he has had a huge fuss made of him and what a big boy he is and how proud we are of him.  And I think Pudding has been hearing this and thinking, “I want some of that attention”.

So today we get to school, Sausage’s Bunny gets left in the car again and when we get to the class their teacher makes a huge fuss of him saying wow and how proud and what a big boy etc etc.  Well Pudding promptly hands me Long Bunny and says “I’m a big girl, put Long Bunny Honey Bunny in the car, I don’t need it”.

And just like that it seems we might just be down to bunnies and dummy only at night (early still to feel too confident on this).  I cannot tell you how much reading I have done and how much time I have spent thinking about how we were going to take Sausage’s dummy away from him.  I have agonised over not wanting to remove his comfort too soon and also not allowing him to develop weird speech as a result of talking with that thing in his mouth.  And as always seems to be the case, I spent way too much time overthinking it, because when they were ready, with the right encouragement it has been okay. 

I know I know early days, we may still regress and have a million tantrums (in fact I am dying to hear how Pudding handled her day without Long Bunny), but it really feels like we have made a massive leap forward.  Once they are used to sleeping in the afternoons without the bunnies we can take the final step and see if we can get rid of them at night too, but one step at a time.

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Growing their Love of Music

I am so thrilled and excited that the kids have really entered that love of music stage.  Since the very first day they came home they have had music as a constant background to their lives.  At first it was so that they got used to background noise and learnt to sleep through anything (seems to have worked), but then it was just because Chris and I have such a passion for music ourselves.  We have a very eclectic mix of music in our collection from opera and heavy classical to pop, rap, rock, metal and everything in between.  Our collection covers ever era of music you can imagine.

All of a sudden the kids have really noticed the music.  Pudding especially will shake her little shoulders and rock her head from side to side and even tap out a drum beat if there is music on which catches her.  And as for her love of dance.  It is honestly one of the best things ever to see her moved by music.  Sausage loves to sing at the top of his voice.  They are doing djembe drumming lessons at school and are learning some of the basics about tempo and rhythm and volume, but they do seem to be stuck on LOUD. LOL.

In the last couple of weeks we have entered the AGAIN AGAIN phase of wanting to hear the same song over and over and over again.  Anyone with a kid between 2 and 10 will not be surprised that their current favourite is the Frozen song by Demi Lovato “Let it Go”.  We have shown them the You-Tube videos with the character from the movie singing it, young kids singing it and then the Demi version, which made Sausage cry because he wanted to see the ‘real singer’ (Queen Anna from the movie).  Some nights when they don’t want to go to sleep you can hear “here I stand and here I’ll stay” being belted out from their bedroom.

They have both taken to standing on top of a table and giving us a performance singing and dancing, even resorting to make their own microphones from playdough.  They tend to get a little stuck on lyrics singing the same catchy line over and over and over again, but it is total music to my ears.  Their repertoire includes “Let it Go” by Demi Lovato, “I don’t want to miss a thing” by Aerosmith (my fault as it remains one of their bedtime lullabies),  Tonight (from Annie) and “Itsie Bitsie Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” amongst the usual nursery rhymes.

In my car I have a few Disney songs (“Never have a friend like me” from Aladdin, “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid, “King of the Swingers” from the Jungle Book) and we are branching out with their own little play list which includes “Party in the USA”, “Roar”, “Hall of Fame”, “Happy”, “Beautiful”, “American Pie”, “See you Later alligator”.

So what songs can you recommend for my kids to keep building on this love of music.  I am open to anything, from any era, any genre, age appropriate, especially if it is catchy and might broaden their singing repertoire.

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On Friendship

What a great read Melissa put out there on this post on friendship.  As so often happens she speaks to what is going on in my head.  I said the other day that a couple of friends have been in my thoughts lately.  Actually friendship in general has been on my mind.

I definitely do NOT have 64 friends.  Not even remotely close.  I have 150  135 (decided to have another cull) friends on Facebook and regularly cull the people I am actually not that interested in.  But those aren’t all real friends.  Some if I am honest I am just being voyeuristic on, I am just fascinated by some aspect of their life or there is a vague curiosity about them.  I’m not sure I even need two hands to count my real friends.  And you know what… that is fine by me.  I don’t need a lot of friends.  The way life is right now I don’t have the time or the energy to be a real friend to lots of people.  I barely have the time to be a real friend to my husband who lives in my house and sleeps in my bed and who I talk to all the time, hell we even work together.  How on earth does anyone have time for 64 friends.

I keep thinking about that saying about friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

And it is so hard to know which it is.  There is that part of me that wishes I could know at the beginning of a friendship which it is, so that I could only invest in the lifetime variety, seems such a waste to have friendships that you invest so much time and love and energy into that just fade away.  But I have to keep remembering the reason and the season.  So many people have passed through my life, so many have meant so much for a time.  So many have added so much to my life and yet they have moved on.  How do you know when it is time to move on, to let go, to acknowledge that the season is over or that the reason is passed?  Does it need to be acknowledged or can it just drift away to nothing?

I went for dinner the other night with a friend.  A real deep meaningful friend.  The kind who held my hand on rough days, who I will always be there for to hold her hand (I hope she will always call on me).  The kind I keep in touch with regularly on social media and less often but still fairly frequently on the phone and nowhere often enough in person.  The best thing about catching up with a friend like this is how de-stressing it is.  How amazing it is to chat and share thoughts and get a sanity and sense check.  Someone who by the very act of talking to them you start to clarify what you really think on something and question why you believe what you do.  The kind of person who helps you know yourself better.  And it isn’t all deep and meaningful it just is what it is and its good.  Does that make any sense?

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