Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My beautiful son

This is my son Harry. Yes, he is wearing a military uniform, and I will get to explaining that in a moment. But let me first tell you why this child takes my breath away.

When he was first born, he weighed 5lb 8 oz. That is very tiny, for a baby born at term. This tiny, wailing little grub burst out of my VJ and into my life. I took one look at him and panicked. He looked so fragile. Man, what if he stops breathing? What if I accidentally drop him? How long will it be before he looks at me accusingly and starts howling?

I had a university degree so I thought I could handle any situation with my razor-sharp intellect. I waited in my hospital room for the midwife to give me the manual on the baby. You get a new appliance, you read the manual, right? Ha. Haha. Hahahaha. For the first 3 months of his life, I kept trying to diagnose whether he was "in a routine". I did this by drawing graphs that showed the time of day and what he was doing, and for how long. Cross-hatched was feeding. Stripes was sleeping. Little crosses meant crying. Spots meant playing. I waited for him to become predictable. What I was really waiting for was my time back. I wanted my life back.

Harry was hungry, so hungry! I breastfed him. I was breastfeeing him 8 or more times a day. He filled out and became more like the baby on the diaper packet, which put my mind at ease. As a new mom I learned some very important lessons. My first lesson was the skill of taking a nap at any time, or else face extreme sleep deprivation. Insomnia? We no longer DO insomnia. We cover our head with a pillow and we switch our brain OFF.

Next, I mastered the art of folding up a stroller with one shake of my wrist, while holding the baby on my other hip. Bus is coming? Need to hurry? Transform your stroller umbrella! Transformers really are 'more than meets the eye'.

Another important lesson was, babies like it when you sing to them. They do not tell you you are 'pitchy'. You can use your voice to soothe, to love, to excite, to entertain. All of this communication with no words at all! Heck, I should have just rolled up my degree and used it to smoke a joint.

By 12 months it was clear that Harry had not only survived being born to such an idiot, but had grown into a healthy, very active little boy. He was left-handed, with blue eyes and curly hair. (This was an incredible thrill for me, as I have straight hair.) The essential nature of Harry is a cheerful, courageous, sunny-natured, active, social boy who loves to give things a try. All of these qualities were noticeable in him at 12 months. They are all still right there today!

One thing about Harry that has changed over time is that he used to be rather highly-strung when he was younger. Whenever he got sick and vomited, he would sob, "Help me, help me, Im dying". If he was excited about something, he would talk in an incredibly piercing voice, louder and louder, until you just couldnt bear it any more. He still is a highly-strung person and ironically he suffers from insomnia (Ha. Haha. Hahahahaha!). But he manages his other highly-strung tendencies
so I dont often notice them any more. He is a sensitive person, and luckily for us, he is also sensitive to other people. He is caring, kind, and generous, almost to a fault.

Why does Harry take my breath away? Well, let's take today for example. Right now he's at Cadets. He is part of an Australian Army Cadet Corps. Tonite they are learning how to improvize a flotation device in water by using their uniform to trap air. They learn a lot of skills such as first aid, bushcraft, survival skills, and leadership. Occasionally they get to use guns, but only on the Army rifle range. (Guns are strictly controlled in Australia). He says he would like to be in the army one day, but combat's not his thing (except on his PC). Engineering is more up his alley.

Harry started the day at 6.30am. At his request we both got up early and I helped him revise some wrong answers from his last maths test. Does he have a test coming up? No. But Harry worked hard to get into the Extension class, and he plans to stay there. If getting up at 6.30am is what it takes, that's what Harry will do. No grumbles whatsoever.

After the math revision, we used the internet to figure out a nutritional analysis for the sushi rolls he made in Food Technology yesterday. Harry chose to make sushi for his assessment. Did he already know how to make sushi? No. Has he had cooking lessons? No, not really. Harry just wanted to be able to make sushi, so he asked me to look up a recipe, then he spent Sunday afternoon making sushi for the family. He tells me his teacher was impressed. She ought to be!

He did his chores. He walked to school. He went to classes. He played tennis. He walked home. Because I was teaching downstairs, I didn't get to hear about his day yet, but Im sure there will be tales about who he hung out with, and possibly how he got the better of Will the Bully. It's an ongoing saga...

Harry is the best thing that ever happened to me. (Aside from my other son, and my husband, of course!). He's a wonderful boy and he makes me SO proud. I hope I have been a good mom and not made too many mistakes.

By the way, he is 13. Impressive young man, huh?


  1. What a wonderful young man- you are definitely a proud mama!!! :)

  2. You have so much to be proud of - and clearly you've done a terrific job.

    Congrats. As an amatuer mom myself, I certainly appreciate that first year "you gotta be kidding me" time...

  3. You most certainly do have a beacoup of wonderful qualities in your wonderful young man. Nicely done Momma!

    And I don't find 5 lbs and change to be small for a full term baby - our youngest was two weeks early and she caught up like gangbusters. [thank goodness - but now I can't slow her down.

  4. He sounds like a wonderful child :) How old is he?
    That's all any of us can do, Hope that we are being a good mother and not making to many mistakes... that is my hope everyday :)

    Oh, and "Heck, I should have just rolled up my degree and used it to smoke a joint." That was great!

  5. He is beautiful!

    The reason they don't give us a heads up on what this is all about, is because they don't want to scare us off from having children. It's a good thing the desire to reproduce is so strongly entrenched in our cores, or a thinking girl would think twice and likely miss out on having an amazing family.

  6. Awww, you are all so kind! Thank you :-) Im not sure I deserve full credit for him. It could all be genetic... I feel surprised, like I found him in a cabbage patch or something. But I will modestly accept some responsibility for how he turned out. (Tina he is 13.)
    BTW, his stated aims are "to have a good job that I like, to make a contribution to my country, and to be a great husband and dad"
    If anyone has a daughter looking for a decent man, you could send her to Australia on exchange when she is older ;-)