A Generous Heart

Sometimes life with toddlers can be beyond frustrating. Then, sometimes, they can do something that makes all of the frustration melt away.

Pickles came into the kitchen where I was feeding Pords. He was dragging a sleeping bag overflowing with an assortment of items.

And he was looking exceptionally pleased with himself.

“What have you got in there, Mr Pickles?” I asked, trying not to sound too concerned.

“Things that I don’t play with anymore.” He replied. “To give away to people who don’t have lots of stuff.”

I was astonished. When I had suggested this activity a few weeks ago, he had been rather vehemently opposed. He’d obviously been mulling it over.

“That’s a wonderful idea. I’m very proud of you.” I told him. “Let’s see what you’ve got in there.”

He emptied the contents onto the kitchen floor. I was mildly alarmed to see some of his very favourite toys. I wondered if his newfound generosity was indeed this self-sacrificing, or if he didn’t quite understand the concept. Then he started talking about each item.

“This is for Pords because she likes it. This one is for Nanny. She likes green” And on it went, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, acquaintances. None of the recipients could be considered in the category of “people who don’t have lots of stuff.” Nonetheless, he had clearly put a lot of thought into it and his heart was in the right place.

Then he held out Blueberry Muffin, his favourite teddy bear since birth. “BBM is for you Mummy, because you’ve been sick.”

He could have asked for anything then and it would have been his. If only he could find some way of bottling up that moment, his teenage self could have secured his first car.*

I’m recording it here so that I remember, despite all of the frustrations to come, that this little person has a big, beautiful, generous heart.

*If this post still exists when Pickles is of blog reading age, this in no way entitles him to a car. Gorgeousness of the moment notwithstanding.

Happy Diaries
Little Hearts, Big Love

Cranky Pants

When I was getting dressed today
By some unlucky chance,
Instead of choosing my blue jeans
I chose my cranky pants.

Perhaps I woke and got out
On the wrong side of the bed.
Or maybe it was lack of sleep
That muddled up my head.

Whatever was the reason,
Those pants messed up my day.
Every noise annoyed me,
Everyone got in my way.

The cranky pants were much too tight,
Too itchy and too hot.
They even made it hard to walk,
And so I stomped a lot.

I’m sorry that I snapped at you,
Like some old crocodile.
I can’t help but be snappy
With my pants cut in this style.

But don’t you worry dear one,
No need to fret and pout.
After this bad-tempered day,
I’m throwing those pants out.

And so tomorrow I’ll be back
Full of smiles! Unless…
Let’s just hope that I don’t find
That spotty grumpy dress.

Prose for Thought
A Bit Of Everything

To My Niece on Starting School

You started school last week
It doesn’t seem quite right.
Surely you’re a baby still –
Weren’t you born last night?

And yet so much has happened.
You’ve learned and you have grown.
And now you’re ready to explore
The big world on your own.

And the big wide world is lucky.
You surely are a star.
You don’t need to change at all
They’ll love you as you are.

And yet you will keep changing;
A bit more everyday.
Your shine will grow still brighter,
Through laughter, work, and play.

You’ll dazzle them with star shine
You’ll set the world alight.
Your time at school will be a joy
Because you shine so bright.

And though the day will come (too soon!)
When your school days will cease.
You’ll always be a shining star
My darling little niece.


The Reason I Haven’t Been Blogging Much…

*This post contains some unpleasant content about morning sickness. You have been warned.


Everything feels like it’s sinking. I feel like I have not slept a wink. Moving seems impossible. But the nausea has begun.

I wait until everyone is in the kitchen and then, quietly as possible, dash to the bathroom.
I lean over the sink. Frothy water, then burning yellow, then I rest my head on the cool sink.


Lunch preparation for the kids. I clench my teeth. Get through it. Get through it. Set them down to eat and then run back to the bathroom. I hope they don’t hear.


My husband comes in the door. I immediately go and lie down. Everything aches. We have dinner and I throw it up almost immediately. I lie back on my side, nursing a cup of ice and chewing it slowly.

Hooray!! I’m pregnant again!! Honestly, I’m more excited than I can say. We always wanted to have three children close together. It’s a dream come true.

I am also very aware that people have unspeakable heartbreak around pregnancy; either because of issues with fertility, or pregnancy loss. I understand that it may be hard for some people to read about someone complaining about any element of pregnancy.

These facts do not negate the physically, psychologically, and emotionally draining reality of persistent morning sickness.

Before I was pregnant with Pickles, my doctor told me that it was going to be tough for me to get pregnant. I had had surgery to remove aggressive endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. She told me to try for six months and then we could start with fertility treatment. I cried on the phone to an old friend.

The next week I woke up vomiting and couldn’t stop. I had to prop myself over a beanbag with a bowl beneath my head because I didn’t have the energy to hold myself off. I told my friend that I had the worst gastro of my life to add to my woes. She said maybe I was pregnant.

I had heard of people feeling sick in early pregnancy but nothing like this. This couldn’t be pregnancy. I went to the doctor the next morning and had tests. She called me that afternoon, stunned. I was pregnant. I was over the moon. The sickness, she assured me, wouldn’t last.

But last it did.

For someone with bad morning sickness, the social taboo of not telling people you’re pregnant before 12 weeks is basically meaningless. Anyone who spent any time with me, including everyone I worked with, knew almost immediately. I was vomiting 20-30 times a day. If I was this sick for any other reason, it would be ludicrous for me to be coming in to work.

But morning sickness isn’t something you take time off for. You graciously accept the congratulations of your colleagues while trying not to throw up on their shoes. It’s such a good sign, the baby will be strong. Tough pregnancies mean happy babies. It means the baby will be smart. It will all be worth it in the end. You’ll forget about it all the moment the baby arrives.
And the earnest but excruciating. Just have some dry crackers. Have you tried ginger? What about some lemonade? You should only eat one colour at each meal. Every day a new home remedy, on and on through the weeks and months.

Yet, I was extremely lucky in the circumstances. My baby was planned and dearly wanted. I had (have) a beyond-supportive partner who cleaned up more vomit than he would ever care to recall, and retained his good humour even when the only conversation I would have with him for days at a time was asking him to do research to find somewhere that would put me into an induced coma for the remainder of the pregnancy. I had a wonderful workplace that bent over backwards to make sure I was as comfortable as possible and allowed me to leave early whenever I needed to. I also had the means to afford medication that helped enough for me to be able to function.

I thought a lot about the women who were going through this without these mitigating factors. I spent time reading online forums where women talked about having abortions because the morning sickness was just too horrendous. One woman wrote that she was considering stepping in front of a bus. Others had commented that they too had considered suicide. I wasn’t at that point mentally, but I knew exactly why they would be considering those things.

Before pregnancy, I had never known anyone to have suffered from really bad morning sickness. That made the whole experience more isolating. Now I know lots. Some with vomiting, some with constant nausea that pursues them all day long, day after day for months on end, others suffer in different ways.

The thing that strikes me is how often these debilitating complaints are dismissed as minor inconveniences. Women, myself included, are even told it is all in our heads. Well, to anyone reading this who suffers morning sickness, it’s ok to admit that pregnancy is not all sunshine and rainbows. It doesn’t mean you love the baby less. It has no bearing on your ability to be a good mother.

Find someone to talk to who doesn’t just want to talk about the joy and wonder of pregnancy but it happy to listen to you say that some days you really hate it. Find someone who can help around the house. Talk to your doctor about things that might actually help you.

And for what it’s worth, for me it meant that the actual labour was by far the least arduous part of the whole experience and the sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn was a walk in the park – I wasn’t vomiting, life was good.

For those who have morning sickness and little people to look after, I have no clue. I’ll get back to you when I figure it out.

And for anyone who knows someone with morning sickness, please, please don’t tell them that it’s mind over matter. If you aren’t happy to just listen, or can’t offer practical assistance, just avoid the subject altogether.


A Bit Of Everything