How Skateboarding Saved My Life Sparkle

I am scared to share this. Not because I am embarassed, not because I think it is something that should be hidden away. Yet, I still do it. I hide it away.

I hide that I am struggling with mental health issues. Or, at least I never really bring it up anywhere. It feels safer not to. But I also feel like a coward sometimes.

I am scared, because I fear people’s judgement of me. I fear that friends will back away from us. I fear that potential future employers will exclude my applications. I even fear that friends and acquaintainces will treat me with pity. I don’t need pity.

I have an illness that will never go away. But I have learned to deal with it. Just like a person with diabetes deals with her illness.

I have learned to manage my ups and downs to a degree where I am totally able to live a good life – and one day I might even be a good wife. For now I just concentrate on being a loving mum, a caring girlfriend, a good student, a decent friend – and I am trying to have as much fun along the way as I can. And I can do this. I am doing this.

With a little help from my old faithful.

Skateboarding has a special place in my heart and here is why…

You see, almost eight years ago I was in a dark, dark place in my mind. It was so dark that I had to go to hospital for several months to see the light again.

The doctors prescribed me different drugs, I got therapy sessions, did yoga and mindfullness, came on a healthy diet and was allowed to rest and heal. It was all a combination that slowly, slowly brought me back to life. But one thing that really made a difference to me, and still does, was my skateboard.

I will never forget when my doctor ordered me to go skating each and every day. I thought she was kidding. She was not. She had seen what skating did to me. She had witnessed how getting out there in the streets made me happier. How I had a tiny bit more sparkle in my eyes when I returned.

I needed fresh air and I needed exercise. And I needed to feel free. Skateboarding gave me all these things – and more. It also provided me with a social setting where there was no judgement. Some of the friends I have made through skating has proven to be the most genuine ones out there. In fact, it was one of these friends who picked me up from the hospital when I got released back then. On his skateboard, but of course. To this day, he is still one of my most loyal friends/supporters. Even if we haven’t really seen each other for almost a decade.

It matters.

Skateboarding helped me through my darkest of darkest times. Yet, it also showed me the way to a happy place. A place where I regained my confidence and hope for the future. A place where I learned to focus on myself in a positive perspective.

A place where I keep returning to and it never fails me.

So when I take Abby skateboarding it is not only for her sake. Then again, indirectly it is – because it helps me to be a better parent.

And hey, all that deep sh*t being said, what it often really comes down to – it’s fun! We have fun together – pretty much the best medicine you can get.

I would choose a skatepark over a playground any day. Or even over being a gymnastics-, swimming- and soccer-mom.

Sitting on the sideline for footy or cricket can give me serious anxiety. It is stressful with the little sisters around and I get so socially awkward when hanging out around the other parents there.

Skateparks are different. I feel at home and relaxed. Even with three little ratbags in tow the skateparks around Brisbane are truly helping me feel more at home in Australia.

Oh, just for the record – no, I am not a very good skater. I started way too late. But I love it and it still heals me on dark days and makes me even happier on the good ones.

Just like writing makes me happy. I have actually missed writing in here, but I have been stuck on something to write about.

Once again, skateboarding got me going.

If you are following my Instagram (if not, go do it, ay!) you have probably noticed that Abby has fallen head over heals in love with skateboarding lately. So if my writing urge keeps up I will try and do a little something about her skating journey and generally how kids’ skateboarding is done (right) here in The Sunshine State.

Until then…

Skate or die!

Or do whatever gives you positive energy. Do it! Seriously❤️

Sunday Scribbling

The photo has nothing to do with my writing what so ever, I just like it.

Writing for the sake of writing. That is my new thing in the evening after all the kids finally have gone to sleep. Writing about anything, everything or mainly nothing in particular.

Being the good girl I am, I do it because I was told to by my professor in one of my two courses at the university this semester; Creative Writing – expecting to get a “good job” sticker someday soon.

I have never had any writing education or training after I finished high school half a lifetime ago, so I think it is about time to get some tools and some direction.

The first lecture debunked a bunch of myths about writing that I actually feel like I have been restrained by. And then it set the forthcoming direction for us:

Write, write a lot. Read, read a lot.

Easy. In theory.

Time is not always on a parent of three small kids’ side. But hey, tonight I have already read two entire books before 8 pm. That they included pictures, a grumpy princess and turtles that celebrate brithdays is immaterial.

Our professor wants us to write at least a full page of whatever, by hand, for each tutorial. By hand, guys. She warned us that we would probably get sore hands and underarms, since no-one is used to hand writing anymore. She’s probably right. My hand is yet to be fatigued. One advantage of being 15 years older than most other students, maybe. The “forced” writing is good, though. It works. The words get out and down on paper. Words that I had no idea was in there, somewhere in my mind. It almost feels like therapy.

Self help writing. It’s actually a thing. I have used it before, but that’s a whole other story which I might share with you one day – if(when) I find the courage.

For now, I will keep on writing. Another day. It’s time to go to bed and do some reading (for two minutes before I fall asleep) instead.

Good night❤️

We’ve Got a School Child

Abby started school today. Real school. Big school, as she calls it. Wow!…I thought I was cool about it. I wasn’t. Not at all. I freakin’ cried when I left the classroom. What?! Obviously it was partly due to the fact that my first born all of a sudden has grown up and starts school – and that I lay awake half the night reminiscing all of our fun times together at home and out and about the past 5.5 years (somehow all the tantrums and conflicts had already faded).

However, it knocked me over that it wasn’t what I had expected. I had prepared for one thing in my mind and I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready for the chaos. It seemed extemely chaotic in the room and, more importantly, I wasn’t prepared for not knowing anybody.

Before Christmas Abby went to prep orientation on two different days. Days where she spent two hours in the prep-room with other future prep-kids while us parents (read.mums) were hanging out together in the yard. It was actually really nice. After those two days I had a great feeling in my stomach and in my heart – this was going to be good. Good for Abby and good for me. You see, Abby connected with some really nice kids, who she already started calling her friends – kids who had mums who I also connected with. Say what?!! Ever since Abby was a baby everyone has been saying “just wait ’til she starts school, that’s when you’re going to get a great network of friends amongst the other parents”. Yeah, I have always been a bit sceptical about this, since finding new friends amongst my kids’ friends’ parents have been a bit up hill so far. However, during those orientation days I actually felt like it was going to happen. It didn’t feel awkward, it just felt pretty nice and natural to hang out with these other mums. That, my friends, means a lot to someone who gets minor anxiety everytime I have to get near anything parent-related.

So, back to today. Abby started prep and in amongst all the chaos there were no familiar faces. No kids or adults we knew. All the kids who she connected with during orientation have gone into the other class. Auch!

She somehow felt the same as me, I’m sure. She started crying and didn’t want to let go of me. I hadn’t expected her to react like that at all, but I cannot blame her. She expected to walk into a room of familiar faces and there were none. Thankfully, a teachers aid who she had met during orientation came and helped her settle. And at least I didn’t cry until we had left the room. Geez. I used to be so tuff.

But hey, I know she’ll be fine. I know she’ll make friends in her class in no time. But I still think it sucks that she’s not in the class with the kids with the mums that I like – buhuuu! (I know, I know…there probably are some really nice parents amongst this new group as well, it was just so calming to know that I had already crossed the awkward “hi, so…yeah, I’m Abby’s mum – which kid is yours? Where abouts do you live”-part).

Phew! Okay, now that it’s out of my system (thanks for listening), I’ll try to enjoy the first day in a loooong time with only one child around. And I cannot wait to pick up my Abby in 4 hours – I’m sure she’ll be all smiles – and so will I❤️

New Year, New Me

2019 will be the year! The year of change! The year of new beginnings! The year of shit loads of healthy stuff! The year of no sugar, no TV, no alcohol, no, no, no!

…it sure will. Not for me, though. 2019 have started out pretty much where 2018 took off and it’s quite okay, really.

However, I have gotten a renewed energy boost for getting myself back into the good ol’ blogging game.

As most of you probably know, we went to Denmark to celebrate Christmas and New Years. We spent 6 weeks there and only got back to Australia one week ago. I might get back to that later on, since the trip moved something in me that our prior trips haven’t done in the same way. Anyway, getting back has been a bit tuff. We have been very jetlagged and tired, especially Abby has been restless and bored, the tantrums have escalated and settling back into our Aussie life has taken time – not completely there yet. And speaking of restless, I have had a hard time this past week. It’s like there’s SO much to do – practically – that my mind goes into an understimulated state, where I get ridicoulesly restless and frustrated. Even bored, even though there’s heaps to do. All of the mixed emotions about being back here doesn’t do much to help on the matter.

So, here I am. Blogging. Because it relaxes my mind. I need to relax my mind these days. If only I was one of those people who actually relaxes by doing the laundry and cleaning the house – I’ve heard they are out there somewhere. For real life! – Ohh mayn, I’d be the most relaxed woman south of Darwin. Unfortunately that’s not the case. But hey, fortunately Josh is pretty good at the laundry duties and my blogging game is ON. Again. Ahhhh…bliss!

Ohh, and let me not forget to wish you all a very Happy New Year – thank you so much for reading my lil’ blog❤️P.S. Here’s a random photo of me and the girls ready for a bike trip – because it makes me happy.

BUT IT WAS JUST A ROUTINE CHECK…

“There’s a chance Lulu might be deaf”

…those were the words Josh told me on the phone yesterday. I was at uni, about to go into a seminar, and Josh had taken Lulu to the hospital to get her hearing tested. A test that we thought would simply be a matter of routine. Something more to check off. Been there done that. No issue. I expected to hear nothing but good news from that conversation. I was not prepared for the opposite.

All sorts of worst-case-scenarios invaded my mind in a milisecond. Followed by a bit of disbelief. My perfect baby. Surely she can’t be deaf. Or…

Then I put it all aside and went into my seminar. For two hours I engaged in discussions about the evil of the media society and laughed a bit about this week’s golden comment; “I know some of you in here haven’t tried to vote yet”.

In that moment the contrast to my life outside the class room was ridiculous.

As the seminar ended and I got on my bike to ride home my mind and body gave in. Tears started filling up my eyes and thoughts like “what if she never gets to hear music?” popped up in my head. I just wanted to go home. I just needed to be with my baby.

Ohh, the emotions when I finally got to cuddle her. I cried a little. And cuddled her even more. She was happy as always and it comforted me a bit. Even if she can’t hear us she definitely still enjoys life.

Then I started googling. Because I needed to know more. Just in case. I learned that 1 in 1000 babies has hearing problems. I learned that deaf babies can get cochlear implants and potentially learn to hear and speak. I also learned that it’s relatively normal that the hearing tests fails due to liquid in the babies ears from the birth or from a cold. Lulu has already had several colds and is currently getting over one. So maybe that’s just it. Liquid in her ears causing the test to fail. But we don’t know.

We have another test scheduled in two weeks. Until then we’re living with the hope that it was simply a faulty test – but the doubt is there too. Of course.

Should the next test give us another negative result we will manage and as Josh said:

“Well, then we just have to learn sign-language”

And luckily there are really good treatment possibilities should we have to cross that bridge later on. But for now we stay in limbo, enjoy our perfect baby and make some random loud noises around her once in a while in hope she reacts.

❤️

Bloody Bad News on a Rainy Tuesday

This morning I went to get the test results from my glucose tolerance test I had done last week and the results came back with some rather depressing news. As I was sitting in the waiting room at my GP I had a weird feeling in my stomach and it wasn’t (only) baby movements I could feel. I was nervous. I kinda thought “naaaah, it’s gonna be alright” – but at the same time there was this doubt and the “what if?”-feeling lurking in there too. The unpleasant feeling when you think you are in for some bad news very soon.

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And I was right. As I got in to see my GP she told me that I do have gestational diabetes – and that it is pretty severe this time.

Somehow, I think I have known, since I had the test done a week ago. I felt really bad during and after the test – extremely weak and off. It just didn’t feel right, and obviously it wasn’t. Then today I got my suspicions confirmed.

When I was pregnant with Billie I did test positive for gestational diabetes, however, my test results were on the borderline and it was very easy for me to control it via my diet and, luckily, neither Billie nor I had any complications caused by it.

This time the test results are differently serious. My numbers are further off the recommended scale – and she even told me that I am in the risk group of developing type 2 diabetes following the pregnancy. Honestly, I felt like crying. Of course I knew I was in the risk group of developing GB, since I did have it in my previous pregnancy. But I also did not have it in my first pregnancy and I really hoped that it wouldn’t come back this time around, especially since my blood tests up until now have been fine and neither my old GP or midwife were concerned about it.

Now, I guess I just have to deal with it. It’s here and there’s no way around it. I will be going into the hospital later this week and join their GB-program. They will monitor me pretty closely and I will have to check my blood sugar several times a day, so that I can be sure that I do maintain a steady blood sugar level all day everyday up until the birth in May. I really hope that I will be able to control it via my diet, as I did during my last pregnancy, which means no more pasta and rice – and no more ice cream. Thank God, summer is over.

So, I have to get back up on my healthy horse and kick off the bit of guilt that I have build up inside me today…because, did I have one too many ice creams lately?

Ohh, and besides the whole diabetes thing I also have severe iron deficiency. No wonder I have been feeling a bit tired lately. Hopefully, the iron supplement will fix that issue relatively fast and together with a steady, healthy blood sugar level it will get my energy level back to normal (as normal as it can get when you’re 28 weeks pregnant) soon. That will be very much appreciated.

For now, I will hang out with my kids on the lounge until dinnertime. We’re having salad. And meat.

Love M.

ABBY & BILLIE ARE TWO PERFECT LITTLE BOYS

“Your kids are absolutely perfect. I love it how wild and energetic they are. They are exactly how I imagined my children would be – if I have had boys

Abby in her usual gymnastics leo tard

So yeah, those were the exact words of a fellow mom at gymnastics today. She herself has two girls around Abby and Billie’s age, but for some reason she thinks my girls are particularly awesome – had they been boys.

I could not help but laugh. I thanked her, of course, and then I did tell her that they are both, indeed, girls. In the same breath I did say some shit like ‘no worries, we’re used to people confusing them with boys, maybe because we don’t always dress them in pink‘ and ‘the little one is called Billie, which does confuse people sometimes’

For some reason I feel like I have to make up excuses for people not being able to get my kids’ gender right.

The other mom, who I usually refer to as The Hippie Mom, is actually pretty cool. Like, she has this hippie kinda vibe about her, hence the nickname – and I mean that in a very positive way. She’s pretty relaxed and she’s very loving towards her children – not a given around here, but that’s a whole other, controversial story I might get into someday, if I’m brave.

The Hippie Mom got a bit embarrased, but said that she loves it when people challenge stereotyping. Cool! What puzzles me is that she doesn’t seem to do it herself. If she really dreamt of having two wild boys – why can’t she have two wild girls. Fair enough, her children might not be wild from nature. That’s fine. Maybe they wouldn’t be if they had been boys, neither.

The Hippie Mom’s comeback was strong: “Ohh, yeah I do see now that Abby is wearing pink socks.”

And we aaaaaaaaaaall know:

Pink = a girl

No pink = most definitely a boy

Jup.

Actually, I take what she said as a compliment. I love that my children are wild and energetic and make a good impression on people. But I find it a bit sad that their behaviour is somewhat sought after – if they were boys.

I believe that, at least in general and especially here in Australia (over Denmark), girls get treated just a little bit different. They get put into pretty little pink outfits. They get told it’s dangerous to climb high. They get told to be careful when they run wild. They get given just a tiny bit less freedom to move than boys. And if the boys are being wild and crazy ‘they are just being boys’ – if a girl acts the same way, it’s not really acceptable or ‘she should have been a boy’. That last sentence annoys me to the moon and and the stars and beyond. No, she should not have been a boy. Not unless she feels uncomfortable with the gender she has been born with. She’s a girl. And girls can be wild. Just like boys can be sensitive and play with dolls.

I guess my point is, one thing doesn’t have to rule out the other. Being a girl or a boy should not dictate how or what you play. Or how you are acting at gymnastics.

At gymnastics our girls are quite cheeky. Especially Abby is in her element there. She makes jokes with the teacher – who calls her crazy – and she is all over the place. The girl’s got energy and that energy needs to get out somehow. She’s also pretty loud. And she never wants her hair up. But most days she wears the most girly-girly little leo tard known to man. However, as soon as she rocks up in a more neutral outfit people completely forgets and thinks she’s a boy again – mainly due to how she behaves, I think.

I think she’s perfect, just the way she is. So is her sister.

Sometimes they are wild. Sometimes they are calm. Sometimes they wear pink. Sometimes they wear grey. They are always girls.

I truly hope that they will stay true to themselves, and not cave in too much to what society tells them about being “real” girls. Not now and not in 10-20-30 years.

Maybe our two rascals will even inspire The Hippie Mom and her girls to be less worried about how girls are “supposed” to look and act. That would be awesome.

Love M.