Sunday Blues and My Empathy Super Heroes

I have been a bit down this weekend. Especially today I basically just wanted to go back to bed. I have had no energy and everything has been a struggle. It might sound relatively normal for a mum with a teething baby, but for me it is an alarm bell I have to take seriously. If not, things can get a lot worse – I am planning on writing more about my mental health, but it takes time and curage, so for now I’ll just tell you my little Sunday story. It’s actually a feel good one, if you stay ’til the end 🙂

Mummy is just gonna paint a wall

Luckily Josh caught me before I really fell – he took the girls and sent me to bed in the airconditioned bedroom. A nap and a cool down (it’s bloody hot here atm.) gave me enough energy to go and paint the bathroom. As you do, right? Maybe not your average stress-down activity, but when I struggle in my mind it helps me to focus on a specific hands-on task. This bathroom has been a running project for weeks now. Stressful in itself.

I sweated and painted for four hours.

Meanwhile I could hear the girls play together in the garden. Play. Not fight.

Then, at one point I could hear screaming from the living room. Billie fell down the stairs and bled from her lip. Apparently Abby “accidentally” pushed her. Well, I went out to save, what I thought was, the sinking ship. While I gave Billie a cuddle, Abby came over and said sorry, gave her a kiss and they shook hands (that’s Billie’s thing these days) and hugged each other. Then all was good and they went outside to play happily together again.

Wait, what just happened?

A little later Abby came and slit a drawing under the bathroom door. She made it to make me feel better. You see, when I don’t feel good we let the girls know that mummy is tired or maybe even a bit sad. Then they accept that I need a break and they, somehow, get extra loving and caring towards me – but also towards each other. It’s like some kind of “family above all”- thing is happening.

My Emphatic Super Heroes

While I was wrapping up my painting I could hear the girls talking to Josh:

“Mummy has painted a lot today. I think she’s trying to make us proud of her. I am proud of her, but she doesn’t need to paint so much. I am always proud of her”

Oh, my heart!

I am so proud of them. They often drive me nuts, but their intuition of when they need to step up is (almost always) spot on. It becomes so obvious that they do have loads of empathy hiding underneath their cheeky, rascal surfaces.

The Flower Dilemma

Actually Abby is in quite a dilemma due to her emphatic nature. It can be hard to have loads of empathy and be an aspiring scientist at the same time, I tell ya.

So, Abby wants to find out if flowers have feelings (don’t ask). Josh set an experiement idea up for her: get two similar flowers. Plant them in similar pots, place them next to each other and give them exactly the same amount of water. Then, one flower you keep telling how much you love and the other you keep telling how much you hate. Then, if flowers do have feelings, the loved one will flourish and the hated one will die. Logic.

Abby gets the idea and really wants to try the experiment. However, she is very worried about doing the experiement in case flowers actually DO have feelings – because she doesn’t want to make any flowers sad. Oh dear.

Mummy, are you okay?

At dinner Billie said to me: “now mummy, you don’t have to paint anymore” and gave me a kiss and a cuddle. I think it was her way of saying “mummy, are you okay? I hope you are feeling better.

And I do feel better. Exhausted, but better. Fingers crossed for a good nights sleep. Ready for the Monday rush in the morning.

Oh, and I actually do have to paint some more. The little sucker of a bathroom needs another coat. Exciting when that’s going to happen.

❤️

WHEN LIFE GOES ON

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As I described in my last post My Brother Was Not Okay, we recently went through a tragic episode in our life as we lost my oldest brother to suicide.

In the days and weeks following the sad event everything was obviously very scarred from it. But what about now, as we have gotten a bit of distance from it both time wise and physically, hanging out on the other side of the world?!

Life does go on. It kinda has to, I guess. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my brother in some way or the other and I also miss my family tremendously. It has been especially hard lately because my dad turned 75 two weeks ago and our entire family was gathered at my parents’ house over that weekend – I really, really would have loved to be there. The major downside of living so far away is missing out on those special days and with all that has happened in our family lately it just seemed as the only right place to be that weekend.

However, the everyday life and even the not-so everyday life has crept up on us Down Under. Having small children forces one to just keep on going, even when it is harder than tough. It can be a good thing.

Sickness Galore

After we got back to Australia we have literally not experienced a single week without any sickness in our family. Whether it would be forever lasting colds, gastro, influenza, constipation, crazy coughs, ear pain or even a trip to the hospital. We’ve been there, done that. It has been draaaaaining. Geez, it has been so draining. Sick children is absolutely no fun, and combined with sick parents it is just a bummer. Besides watching our children in pain, the worst is by far the sleep deprivation. The two adults living on these premises are both very dependent on their sleep, I can tell you. The two children don’t seem to give a sh*t about that, though. I guess them being sick, give them some sort of excuse for keeping us up all night, but unless my tired brain chooses to forget it, I will get them back in their teens, that’s for sure 🙂

Spring Came Along

One of the absolute best things about living in Australia? By far the weather. Ohh, I love, love, love the sun and the warmth we get so much of here 7-8 months a year. Maybe I appreciate it so much because I come from Denmark, the country where the sun pretty much goes into hibernation 8 months a year.

As soon as we hit September on the calendar the change of season means business and spring starts showing off.

The days are now getting longer, the air is getting warmer, and it is soon time to pack the heaters and the extra rugs away. Yay!

I am getting SO excited for summer, sun & beach days. We have jumped the gun and gotten a couple of days with sand between our toes (and in Billie’s mouth) already. It feels gooooooood and we are more than ready for more. Bring it on, summer.

And Ladies & Gentlemen, We Have a Poo!

I sure did expect that I would write a lot of shit in this little blog of mine, but I didn’t actually think I would literally write about shit – human shit aka. poo.

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(TRANSLATION of Josh’s artsy toilet chart: Lort = poo, prut = fart, tis = wee)

The above mentioned constipation was caused by a fear of toilets. Yep, that’s a thing. At least that was my conclusion as Abby stopped wearing a nappy, and at the same time she pretty much stopped doing poos during the day – mind you, she normally does several, the little poo machine – so this mumma put two and two non-excisting poos together and figured this was the reason for her waking up screaming in the middle of the night. Night after night.

So, as you now know, we do cherish just a little bit of sleep around here and because we actually really hate it when our children are in pain, we decided to put her back into her nappy most of the day. And just like that, the poo machine was back in function – and the constipation and nigthly awakenings stopped.

Until one morning where she, out of nowhere, went to the toilet and did her poo. Just like that. No pressure. No bribe. No persuasion. She was just ready and it turns out she will not start uni wearing a nappy. Hurray!

Normal is the New Black

So here we are, Abby is finally out of her nappies, Billie is doing her baby thing – growing, learning, getting cuter by the day – Josh is half way through his semester at uni, I try to get to yoga frequently so I can one day reach my toes again, and later today Josh’s sister Sarah is coming down to stay the night. The footy semi-finals are on. I go for the Storm, because I like Melbourne and I don’t actually care about footy. Hey, I might even take advantage of the lovely weather today and go and mow the lawns. Someone has to do it.

Life goes on – and that isn’t too bad, after all.

Have a lovely weekend everyone ❤

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I GUESS WE CAN’T AVOID THE DOWNS AMONG THE UPS

The observant Scandiroo reader might have noticed a lag of posts from me lately. To be honest, I have struggled to find something to write about. You see, when I started this little blog of mine I wished to make it essentially about positive things going on in my life. You know, happy little stories about love and laughter and silly kiddo incidents. I think I was scared, that I would otherwise be perceived as a whinger and a pessimist. Which I’m really not. Really. At least not when I’ve been fed and had my beautysleep.

However, it turns out that life isn’t always filled with rainbows and beach days. Sometimes the picture perfect family life is swopped for constant power battles with an almost three-year-old, bickering with Josh, and back pain from dealing with the giant, little Billie Maja. Worst of all, with all that comes a level of stress I’ve never experienced before in my life. It might sound weird to some. I mean, what do I do all day, right?!

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Well, some days I basically do nothing else than trying to keep my offspring alive. Most days I even manage to have some fun with them, and on the goody good days I also do some washing. It is pretty basic, but it can also be very exhausting both physically and mentally. True story.

We had Abby in pre-school for three days for a couple of months, and it was great. She started making a lot more friends there, so she was suddenly happy to go in the mornings. I had enough time off with Billie to give her the attention she needs, and to get a little bit of stuff done in and out of the house too. Basically, it was just the right amount of time to suit our family. Now, due to bureaucracy and regulations we’re back to only two days a week. And it really tax my mental health. Actually, it has eaten into the whole family’s surplus of mental resources and we’ve been close to going into red figures all around. It’s like we’ve just been lacking that tiny bit of extra energy that could make such a positive difference in our every day life. Everybody has just been tired, grumpy and emotional on-and-off for the past month or two.

Fair to say, Josh’s busy life and my lack of a life (without kids, that is) is not the best combo in the world.

Hands down, I have never missed my mum and dad as much as I do right now. When they were here over Christmas they were true superheroes, and helped out in every possible way. We never needed to stress about a dirty house or a late dinner during those days, and there was always someone who would climb trees with Abby in the garden when she was going a bit crazy in the house.

Obviously I miss all that practical help now, but actually, lacking their company is the worst. I can kinda deal with the cleaning and the food preparation, but to see Abby cry because she misses them, just breaks my heart. On the tough days, it’s the main reason why everything gets a little bit harder than hard. Even though we have some lovely people in our life down here, the persons that love us the most are just too far away, too often. Booohooooo!

On the more positive note, we will travel to Denmark and see my family and friends relatively soon. To say that I am excited would be the understatement of the year. I can’t wait to go home. It’s been a year since I went last. The longest I’ve ever been away. Too long…

And hey – we’ve also had lots of fun times lately. Including a holiday weekend to Port Macquarie and the Ironman Australia, a family wedding, friends visiting and lots of outdoor adventures in the awesome autumn weather.

On the even more positive note – today Josh stayed home from uni. Partly because he slept in, but mainly because he wanted to give me a much needed break from the girls. Ahhhhhhhh! He took Abby to pre-school and has gone to Wollongong to hang out with Billie for some hours. They do need a bit of daddy/daughter-time and I do need a bit of me-time. All good. I might even kick myself in the butt and go to yoga later. Who knows, tomorrow I might even be on top of the world and sparkling with positive energy again 🙂

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I’ve Given Myself A Challenge

It’s so easy to climb into a bucket of self-pity and hide when life gets though and the days are more about survival than anything else. I should know, since I’ve pretty much lived half my life inside that bucket. With my very fragile mind, I am extremely vulnerable as soon as things start to get a bit challenging. Especially when I don’t get enough sleep and autumn is knocking on our door, all I wanna do is hide from everyone and don’t deal with life, pretty much.

Back in the days, I would probably do just that: Hide. Fortunately, that’s just not an option anymore. I have to get up. I have to change nappies. I have to play with LEGO. I have to kiss it better. I have to negotiate nap-times. I have to make dinner. I have to get through the day. I really just have to deal with life…And I’m so thankful for that. It keeps me out of the bucket. However, I can still dip my feet into it once in a while and sometimes be very tempted to jump to the bottom of it and stay there.

But you know what? I’m not given in to temptation and it’s time to get rid of that damn bucket together with the far-fetched analogy of it. From now on I’ll do my best to be pro-active instead of inactive.

This morning Abby woke me up just after 7 am. Normally I would hate getting out of bed, especially after yet another night of interrupted sleep, due to Billie’s coughing and waking up constantly. Today was different. Maybe it’s because of the daylight savings, or maybe I just felt energized because I’m ready to stop feeling sorry for myself. I’m ready to get my energy back!

So, I went for a run in the rain. It was absolutely amazing. The run itself was nothing to write about – so I’ll keep that to a minimum – but the whole experience was great. Feeling the rain in my face as I ran along the deserted beach, listening to the sound of the waves  that drowned the music from my ear-plugs, and getting my pulse close to maximum – right there in that moment: I felt alive.

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I took that feeling home with me, and even now, while I’m sitting here writing this, I have it in my body and my mind. The energy I gained from those 45 minutes of exercise lasts all day, and the endorphins it created makes it a bit easier to tackle the day’s challenging tasks, and that’s why I love it. Well, together with the fact that it makes me feel better about myself, it burns fat, builds muscles, and it gets me back in shape, but I hope you get the point of the bigger picture here: exercise is the best freaking energy supplement and happy pill on the market.

Here we go – I’ve given myself a challenge:

This April I intend to run at least 5 kilometers at least three times a week.

For some this might seem like a lot of exercise, while others might think it’s nothing at all. Right now, it suits my shape and it’s also realistic to get it done time wise – a very important factor to think into the plan when having a family.

My favourite running route is approximately 5.5 km long, but I can easily adjust the length by running along the beach, it’s very hilly, and has some beautiful views of the beach and the mountains, so it gives me plenty of challenge running wise and simultaneously feeds my mind with lots of impressions. Perfect.

Her is the route and – not so impressing – data from my run today:

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In 4 weeks we will go up to Port Maquarie to support a friend of ours who is competing in Ironman Australia up there. I have enormous amounts of respect for him, and knowing how disciplined he has to be with his training until the race is a big inspiration for me. I still have a little dream of finishing an Ironman race myself one day, but for now, I’ll keep it realistic and if I’ve completed my own little personal challenge once I cheer him on, it will be a tiny victory for this mummy.

I got this!

 

Abby Makes Me So F***ing Proud

It’s probably not why you think, though.
Okay. Okay. Okay. I miiiiiiight get my proud mummy-face on every time she does something awesome, like hits the tennis ball perfectly with her little Wilson racket(it’s so ridiculously cool that thing) or ride her skateboard like a baby pro. Even when she climbs the mountain side at the beach without any fear what so ever. Ohh, and by the way she can also swim by herself now. No biggie.

She’s a little adventurer and is fairly advanced physically. Two things that I, admittedly, do cherish quite a lot. However, there is absolutely no doubt that I would love her just the same if she had had poor balance and couldn’t climb a fallen tree.

No, what REALLY makes me proud of our little girl is that she’s got the biggest and most caring heart and soul ever seen in such a tiny body. We have made a human being loaded with empathy. How rad is that?

Two of the last three weekends I’ve been ridiculously sick. You know, stomach bug sickness, of the kind where you lay on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m. thinking you most definitely is dying. Nothing is supposed to be that awful and painful and disgusting. One night I even had Josh call an ambulance, when I REALLY thought I was dying. My hole body was literally cramping. That’s what happens just before you die, right?!! Well, it turned out I had just been hyperventilating for too long, due to all the vomiting, and that, apparently, causes the body to cramp. So yeah, I survived. Twice.

The following days I was very weak and tired, and that’s when Abby stepped her empathy game right up. It’s nothing new that she does these things, but this time I really noticed it and appreciated it. I might even have shed an emotional tear in there in my sickbed, when she came in and did nothing but look at me and kiss my hand. Kisses make everything better.

Sadly, kisses aren’t enough to cure real sickness, so she also brought me cucumber and biscuits and plenty of water. I could even have some from her drink bottle if I liked. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. What makes it special is the look on her face in those situations. There is no doubt in the world, that it hurts her deep inside to witness someone else in pain. It makes her feel terrible and she will do anything to help and “make it aaaaaaaall better”.

Also, her ability to switch from a terrorizing toddler to a caring and helpful little girl, as soon as she realizes someone else is not okay, is amazing to witness – and every time it happens, I get confirmed that, despite her tantrums and crazy fits, she is pretty much emotionally on track. Such a relief.

During the week, I have daily been met with a “Good morning, are you better, mummy?” Today I could finally tell her, that I’m back to normal. That made her very happy…

Now, the above is just one tiny example of all the times where this little person over floats with care and emotions for other people.

After my parents left for Denmark, I was an emotional wreck and I could and would not hide from Abby, that I was very sad. Abby was also sad those days, but she assured me, that it would all be okay, and we would soon fly to mormor’s house on a big aeroplane.

She also gets very upset, when she can hear the neighbour boy cry, or any other child cry, for that matter. She wants to help them out, because “no-one is supposed to be sad”.

Today, Josh had a migraine. Abby went and found the thermometer all by herself and gave it to him, because that’s what you need, when you’re sick, right? “For your fever, daddy. It will make you better.”

The list could go on and on, but I think my point is clear by now; Abby is an awesome human being and I could not be any more proud of her for it.

Maybe it’s natural for children to have and show this amount of empathy. Maybe it’s the surrounding environment that ruins it on their journey towards grown-up-ness. If so – shame on the environment.
I know it is not a matter of course for grown-ups to have so much empathy, none-the-less to show it and put it into action like Abby does. I, for sure, don’t consider myself to be very good a showing empathy, but I do try my best to break down my emotional barriers, and even I, at the age of 33, is learning to be a better person these days. And Abby’s the best teacher I could get!

So yeah, we’ll worry about learning to count to 10 later. For the time being we focus on the important things around here. Such as showing empathy – and getting those 10.000 hours of tennis practice in the book.