Without a doubt, for me, one of the most challenging things about having a larger family is trying to meet the needs of the relatively vast age span. Stroppy teenagers, tantruming toddlers and a six month old who just wonâ€™t be convinced of the merits of sleep, no matter how hard I try, can lead to a very cranky mammy. Sometimes I find myself in a sleep deprived stupor, unable to correctly link the name to the child and so revert to my motherâ€™s tactic of listing through all our names in the hope someone will come. I have been known to say â€œyou with the curly hairâ€ when Iâ€™m trying to get one particular childâ€™s attention or just â€œyouâ€ after a particularly bad night. Itâ€™s easy to see why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture!
I remember shortly after my daughterâ€™s birth, 14 years and 9 months ago ( but whoâ€™s counting) when the mother of my neighbour came to have a look at my precious little bundle who, like her six month old brother now, could not be convinced of the joys of sleep. In addition to this, my daughter (who had colic) could cry, and cry and cry. As I loaded my little pink bundle into the car, my neighbourâ€™s mother said to me â€œenjoy these days, these are the easiestâ€. I thought she was quite obviously off her rocker. Now my bundle of pink stands three inches taller than me and I canâ€™t quite believe that 14 years and 9 months (but whoâ€™s counting) have passed since she came into my life. My now teenager, brings a whole different set of challenges and not just the obvious ones of mood swings and door slamming, but the balancing act of trying to be her mum and protecting her and guiding her while trying to let go a little, to let her find her own way and to continue to become the wonderful young woman that she is growing to be.
These days I think my neighbourâ€™s mother was right. They were the easiest years. Difficult when youâ€™re coping with constant feeding and nappy changes and sleepless nights but the time goes so quickly â€“ too quickly. So when my toddler throws a wobbler because he canâ€™t find his magic wand and my baby gets up for the umpteenth feed during the night I try to remind myself of the mantra â€“ this too shall pass â€¦â€¦â€¦..but hopefully not too quickly…..
ðŸ˜Š -Jen â€ª#â€Žmamatudeâ€¬