/ boys

Dads Story almost a year on

Today feels like a day to return to my infrequent blog. Today I had an emotional morning during my drive to work, thinking of our first son Phoenix. As I have mentioned in the past Phoenix was still born in August 2016. I do try to think of and talk to Phoenix everyday. While I do not personally belief Phoenix’s spirit exist elsewhere I do find the process cathartic. Even still about once every 2 months I experience this intense emotional feeling, reminding me of Phoenix.
Today I had a realisation. Whilst this feeling does involve grief and sadness it is more to do with love. I enjoy sitting with this feeling and spending some special time with Phoenix. I realise the intensity of this feeling is to do with unexpressed love. As much as I think of Phoenix every day and talk to him regularly it does not replace the cuddles, kisses, tickles, etc. I get to experience with Tom and Charlie everyday. So I sit with this feeling for as long as it lasts spending quality time with my son. It is also a reminder to write this blog which is another kind of catharsis.
Coming up to Christmas is an exciting time especially with 2 little boys who might almost understand what is going on this year, but it is also a time we remember Phoenix is sadly not with us to enjoy the festive season also.
While I am here I should also reflect on the year (it has almost been that long since my last blog) with our family. One thing about having multiples (twins or more) is it is a fantastic reason to connect with your tribe. They say it takes a village to raise a child and it certainly takes that and more to raise 2 at the same time. As such we have connected with our local multiple birth association (MBSA). I have also connected with a group of dads raising multiples in Australia and internationally.
One of these dads (Si) is afflicted with the same disease as myself, being alcoholism. We are both recovering using Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps. Si also blogs a little more frequently than myself; his blog posts are often the reminder I need to work my program a little better.
I am also a premature birth contact for MBSA for new parents whose multiples have come prematurely. As multiples are much more likely to be born preterm it is fantastic that MBSA offer a support service to parents experiencing this daunting time, I am very proud to be a part of this, giving some of my experience from NICU to SCBU/SCN and coming home, a little knowledge we as a group have picked up since our time (tips, tricks, thoughts and organisations that can help), or just giving an ear to listen.
Sarah and I also bumped into our tribe completely unintentionally while we were all child free, letting our hair down and having a dance which was a great night. As the boys are getting bigger we are starting to have more nights out to ourselves and also engaging with our tribe at organised MBSA events (even if we did miss the Christmas party due to sickness)
So what has the year brought? Our babies have become toddlers – Tom is practically walking full time, much like a bull in a china shop, he will run full pelt and expect you to catch him, just better hope you are watching. Charlie is a little more cautious. He has been standing for a long time and walking assisted. He is starting to take more and more steps as he gets more confident on his feet. He will get there in his own time and probably be better for it more surefooted than his brother. It just goes to show our boys are very much their own people.
Both our boys are prestigious climbers; all efforts to contain them to the safety of a pen are fraught to fail. Both Sarah and I have both been surprised to find Tom in the dogs’ water bowl, or Charlie escaped outside through the dog door playing in the dirt with the dogs. We are on version 349 of our child pen and so long as we remember to put everything in place the boys will stay put so that Sarah and I can possible get something done or even go to the toilet when we are home alone. Unfortunately it might not be long until they overcome everything we put in their way and we may need to look at baby proofing the whole house. Although I have thought about this and is it even possible 😀 Tom and Charlie have certainly found their voices. They say Mum, Dad, Grandma, Nanna (not Nanny) Charlie will say – ta however Tom know he will get the thing anyway (cheeky). However mostly it is a beautiful chorus of their own language at the top of their lungs. Unless of course they are doing something naughty in which case it is suspicious silence.
Since introducing the boys to child care we have had every sickness under the sun. Unfortunately this also included 2 trips to the hospital; nothing too serious. It seems Tom does not cope well with bronchiolitis. The first trip we went to the Lyell McEwin and waited 3 hours only be sent home and a day later Tom and continued down hill. He was really not looking well and so we drove to the Women’s and Children’s (WCH) rather than wait again at Lyell. At WCH we were given the red carpet treatment due to Tom being born prem at WCH we were immediately escorted through to A&E without waiting in triage. We discovered Tom is responsive to Ventolin and it was decided at around midnight to admit him for observation. This also meant I would stay overnight to look after him. We continued Ventolin and monitoring Oxygen (O2) saturation and he was discharged the next day.
The second time Tom contracted bronchiolitis after confirming this at the doctor I took him straight to WCH due to our initial experience at Lyell and WCH. Again I was given the red carpet treatment in front of a room full of children. This time we caught it before the downward spiral. This allowed Tom to be monitored for the full 2 days rather than being home for one. He followed the same pattern of continuing down hill, to the point of requiring oxygen overnight (due to natural reduced breathing while sleeping).
Other sicknesses have included gastro, hand foot mouth, viral infections, cold, and flu and probably others. Unfortunately Sarah has bared the brunt of all of these always getting sick the worst and for the longest, with lasting effects.
What else has happened this year? Oh yeah Sarah and I got married so there is that 😍 It was a lovely day (luckily as the weather leading up to and the weekend after weren’t so great) with all (well most) of our favourite people. So many people came up to us and commented on how honest our ceremony and speeches were and that is just who we are as people and as a couple. Once the formalities were out of the way, we finished photos’ quite quickly then it was on to a night of dancing; right from the bridal parties entrance (good idea Sarah, even if the choice of song wasn’t my favourite 😃). Tom and Charlie were very cute in their shirts, suspenders and bow ties. Unfortunately they weren’t too keen on their Mum due to her freaky dress and makeup :frowning: so Dad was the favourite. Luckily I was able to palm them off to other men with beards when required for duties such as photos.

Oh I guess I should fill you in on the cliff hanger ending I left off my last post regarding work. So for those of you who haven’t read it briefly; I was considering leaving teaching due to my first 2 years being quite intense in my personal life dealing with it all and starting out as a new teacher felt too much. I did try looking into other work, unfortunately (or more likely fortunately) it didn’t work out. I believe I was not considered for many jobs due to being overqualified and the one job I did get didn’t exactly work out. Let’s just say it is possibly the worst call centre to work for in Adelaide (I thought I had already worked for one of the worst), it reminded me that while teaching is a tough gig at least you are somewhat appreciated for all the time and study you have put in. What I needed was a break. I was lucky that we were able to afford me to do so and the jobs I did receive in during this time filled the coffers just enough to keep us going.
I decided to go back to teaching at the start of this year. After a short stint relief teaching with plenty of work I secured initially a short term contract which has lasted to the end of this school year. I have found this school much, much more pleasant and understanding to work with. My line manager became a father to premature twin girls this year so he understands my absences and other family concerns. The deputy (now temporary principal) has been much more understanding than previous leaders I have run afoul of. Overall I find the school culture to be much more welcoming and understanding. This also could be due to my improved mental state after a short hiatus and the fact I am working a 0.8 fraction of time, but there is definitely something great going on at this school. I really hope I will get to continue on here next year but unfortunately the way the education department works I am not likely to know this for sure until next year.