Truett

Truett turns 10!

It’s birthday season again, my second favourite time of the year! And we’re kicking it off in style with Truett turning 10.

10, you guys!! This is legit big kid territory now, we’re talking double digits.

I look at this boy all grown up and I’m already starting to feel emotional because he was this tiny baby whom I held to sleep on my chest. And now he’s 10!! Two days ago, he just headed off to his first overnight camp away from me and I missed him more than I thought I would. I mean, for some perspective, there’s less time between now and him leaving for NS than the time I already had with him.

Admittedly, I haven’t really thought much about how it’s going to be like when the kids are all grown up. There could have been some level of denial there because I actively don’t want to think about it seeing how it makes me all teary but I’m here now and okay, it’s not so bad.

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Truett at 10 is such a joy to have around. He’s thoughtful and considerate and witty and just a really fun, easygoing boy.

I like spending time with this kid so much.

For one thing, it’s so easy having a 10 year old in the house. When Truett wakes up, he fixes his own breakfast, eats it and gets himself ready for the day. Some days, he helps to prepare breakfast for his siblings and even nags at them to finish their food.

Watching Truett in big brother mode is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. It’s executed with a mixture of resignation + unbridled exasperation, and in these moments, I feel like we’re developing a real and lasting bond.

Exasperation aside, he really is an incredible big brother, possibly the best one there is. He watches to make sure their fingers don’t get caught in elevator doors, gives them a boost when they need to climb up the bed, and reluctantly offers to share the last bottle of Yakult with them. Sometimes, the babies will ask him to join them in their baby games and he does it with way more enthusiasm than even I could muster on my best day. While he was away at camp, the 3 small kids were constantly asking me “WHERE IS KOR KOR TRUETT?? I MISS HIM SO MUCH, MAKE HIM COME HOME NOW!

He hardly ever gets mad at stuff. He gets bummed when he has his privileges taken away for behavioural infractions but even then, he doesn’t brood or sulk. He just retreats to his room to read his favourite Calvin and Hobbes comic as a temporary distraction. I totally get that. Calvin and Hobbes saw me through some really rough moments as a kid too.

You know how when you talk to your kids, you’re always consciously relating to them as your baby? We’re starting to transit to relating to them as grown up, thoughtful individuals who can hold their own and contribute their perspective, which is remarkably refreshing.

When Truett was an infant, all he needed was for me to hold him and kiss his chubby cheeks and give him milk and clean his poopy diapers. I kind of miss Truett as an infant, he was so squishy and munchable and I spent so many hours inhaling his face.  These days, I still plant kisses on his muscular jawline but the rest of it, he’s like “eww mom, don’t be weird.”

Although he still holds my hand and it’s not because he needs to. He hasn’t needed to hold my hand for several years now but sometimes as we walk, he’ll slip his hand into mine for a few brief moments. Or he’ll casually drape my arm across his shoulders and it always makes me smile.

Happy birthday, Tru! You’re the best kid a mom could ever ask for.

travel

A week in Melbourne

So we finally did it – we brought all 5 of our little ones on an adventure to Melbourne.

When I was planning this, I told the husband that it was nuts to even attempt it and he was like, “yeah it’s definitely nuts but it’s going to be so fun!” and the man has a point. In deciding if one should attempt something crazy in life, always consider how fun the endeavour would be and in this case, totally worth it level of fun.

If there’s one place to attempt a first trip with 5 kids, Melbourne would be it. It’s incredibly kid friendly and everything was very seamless and fuss free.

After a red eye flight in to the city (the two babies slept almost the entire way there), we picked up a minivan from the airport and drove to our Airbnb in Docklands. So far, so good.

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We spent our 6 days in Melbourne doing a lot of this.

Feeding sheep.

Feeding deer.

Holding a bag of food near the deer and making him wait because we know how important it is to take photos of food before eating it.

Walking next to what appears to be the hind legs of a deer.

Feeding camels.

Feeding guinea pigs.

Patting bunnies.

Patting crocodiles. Yeah, no, there’s no way this baby is patting the crocodile even though it’s clearly not a real crocodile. She was all “haha, I’m just going to pretend to want to touch it and then run away because eww so gross.

Patting more bunnies.

Okay why in the world is bunny fur so ridiculously soft?? These kids could pat bunnies all day.

And also just casually standing around looking all dapper next to bunnies; so dapper, in fact, that the dude at the back was shocked like “I had no idea one could look this dapper standing next to a bunny.

Talking to sheep.

Learning to count sheep.

Having to explain to the alpacas why the hay was all gone.

The alpacas weren’t pleased. They were like “there are three of us against the three of you and I like our odds” and the boys were smart enough to make a hasty retreat after a quick discussion. They know not to take on annoyed alpacas unless you’re prepared to get spit in the face. Nobody pfffttss like an alpaca pfffttsss, I mean, these guys know how to make their displeasure known.

Although alpacas are so adorable. Look at that fluffy, cuddly face. I’d risk getting spit on any day.

And this little fawn? It was totally giving me bambi eyes the whole time and I might have thought about bringing it home.

Looking at the kids having so much fun with all the animals was such a treat, and for a brief moment, I considered it. Maybe having a different life, one with wide open spaces and farm animals and bundles of hay and little bunnies. I told the husband about it and as the words were coming out of my mouth, I started to laugh because who am I kidding? I wouldn’t last a week as a farm girl.

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Apart from spending time with all the animals at the farm and the zoo and the parks, we also sat on our favourite steam train, dear old Puffing Billy.

This little daredevil baby loved having her head dangle out of the window as the train was rumbling down the tracks. For days after that, she was still talking about how “Hayley sit train and put the head outside SO FUN!!

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There were also some tree climbing adventures, some museum adventures, some penguin adventures, some playground action adventures, and a little bit of walking around the city but mom this is so boring adventures.

All in all, this trip went as well as we could have hoped, which is to say, very well indeed.

And my most favourite part of all was having a whole week just doing fun stuff together with all these babies and watching them love on each other.

from around here

36 is where it’s at

36 years and this is the best birthday I’ve ever had.

So there’s the part where I’m 36 and I feel like I’m supposed to be bummed about being on the wrong side of 30, but if anything, this feels like the right side of 30.

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The night before, the kids were delivering me very specific instructions on what I was supposed to do on my birthday. “You’re not allowed to get up early, you need to sleep in and we’ll make you breakfast in bed ok?

I already liked what I was hearing because sleeping in is one of my very special skills. “That sounds exactly like my kind of morning, tell me more!!” I said.

You can place your breakfast order tonight and the rest of it will be a surprise!” they told me excitedly.

I did as they instructed and slept in till it felt like almost too much. Haha, kidding, there’s no such thing as too much sleep but there was a lot of loud whispering and shushing and commotion outside so I decided to get up and skip right to part 2 of my surprise. Which was a welcome party with full on red carpet treatment for someone still in her pyjamas. They popped confetti and yelled “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMM!!” before presenting me with breakfast and handmade cards and flowers and group hugged me with all the enthusiasm in the world.

The rest of the day was just as perfect – had lunch with my folks, got more hugs from my babies (so many hugs!!), ate cake, and then we capped off the night with Bruno Mars and like 7,000 other people.

The kids asked me what I wished for on my birthday and I thought really hard but I couldn’t think of a single thing because I look around me and it’s all here. Everything that I’ve ever wanted in my life is here.

I know, I’ve really lucked out big time.

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I’ve really enjoyed being in my 30s. I don’t know why people talk about 30s like it’s somehow inferior to being a 20-something.

I’ll tell you right now, 20s are overrated. A lot of my 20s was spent figuring out who I was and trying so hard to get comfortable in my own skin.

You’re the only one who can be you, so don’t try to be anyone else,” they said, and I tried to embrace it because it all sounds very empowering in theory but for many years, I could never shake off the feeling that maybe being just me wasn’t the best thing to be. I mean, how could it when this other person seemed to be having a much better life? Or look at that person who’s smarter and wittier and more beautiful and generally more awesome. I couldn’t see how the best version of me would be better than a knock off version of someone else. I felt unsure about a lot of things a lot of the time.

It took a long time and a lot of work but sometime in my 30s, I finally got to a place where I’m happy being just me, and I can’t tell you how liberating that feels.

There’s also the part about just being better at stuff in your 30s. After making all the mistakes I’ve made and spending all those years learning the things that life makes you learn, I now get to spend less time being afraid that I’m not doing it right or not being good enough.

I’m really liking how 36 looks; I think I’m going to just soak it in for a bit.