The furore from packing up a home in the UK and bringing the twins out to Sydney, Australia to ‘settle’ into a new life here is slowly beginning to calm.
I still can’t believe I have now been in Sydney for six months and I am only now finding it in me to jump start my brain into putting fingers to a keyboard, and attempting to compose a sentence with some viable English and syntax, which I pray still manifest somewhere in my fuzzy sleep deprived grey matter. If only I were as witty as Oscar Wilde, or wrote like Jane Austen, I could compensate with pretty, slick and witty sentences. But alas, I am not, and I hope sense can be made of my jibbersish nonetheless.
The first few weeks were not calm. They have been wonderful, though a mixture of excitement and overwhelming change all at once, but anything but calm. And how could they be? We have moved from the other side of the world and slowly transitioning from a four bedroom detached house with countryside on your doorstep, to an apartment with a huge city on your doorstep. We have grown as a family, literally, by introducing baby Cassie into our lives, which has also introduced some behaviours from Bonnie and Isla, and trying to manage these from underneath a nursing newborn has broken me on several occasions.
Trying to find our ‘new normal’ in a brand new country takes time. A lot of time, we are still trying to find our way. When you have two little toddlers at the same age, demanding the same things, becoming unsettled at the same time, trying to adjust them to a new time zone, it’s overwhelming and a lot for a little one to contend with. My focus has been on Bonnie and Isla, how they’ve been feeling and how they are adjusting to our new setting. And of course, a huge part of my focus has been settling a little newborn into our lives, or at least trying my very best.
Being 34 weeks pregnant on the day I flew out to Sydney with Bonnie and Isla, and then all that was to follow; with the arrival of Cassie; trying to settle into a new country; general newborn madness; leaving my beloved friends and family; stepping away from a job I adored; not being at home for my dad when he underwent some major heart surgery (and nearly losing him during his recovery); on reflection of all of this I can confirm that we are exceptionally crazy.
It has been the toughest six months of my life (even tougher than the first six months with newborn twins), but that confirms for me that if I can still adore this country in spite of all the craziness, then things can only get easier, and we couldn’t have made a better decision.
In such a beautiful country with so much to do for little ones, it’s hard to miss my small hometown of Ballymena. My heart yearns for my family, friends and the humour of those people, which overrides the lack of things to do. But I can’t help myself from realising how well catered to family life is in Australia. How accessible most things are with brood in tow.
One thing which stood out to me was the fact that cinemas have ‘parent(s) and bub’ sessions. Basically, sessions run each day throughout the week where mum’s (or dad’s) can bring their baby to the cinema, there’s a crying room incase the little one needs some time out to be consoled, but the bottom line is that mothers aren’t stopped from doing all the leisurely things we took for granted before kids arrived. I find this especially important for first time mum’s, there’s an element of inclusion. We can still go to the cinema with a baby in tow, if we really want to, and not be banished to parks, coffee shops and mum’s and tots groups. It’s those little things that matter (not to mention that a few cinemas serve bubbles, wine, beer and cheese boards).
–exploring a sensory mural. They’ve been advised that there will be plenty of murals to explore in Belfast when we make a trip back home…
Most parks are designed to enable inclusion for all children of age, size and ability. Bonnie and Isla’s favourite park is designed specifically for the inclusion of children with special needs. There’s also a cafe right beside it which is a social enterprise, it helps to train adults with learning disabilities for the world of work, something very similar to my job in the UK, and something very close to my heart.
I won’t underplay or overplay it, but having three children so close in age and also so young in age is extremely challenging. Sometimes I feel as though I have more meltdowns and throw more tantrums that my two two years olds. It hasn’t been easy for me to find my own feet when I never get a chance to eat a warm meal or drink a hot cup of tea. I can just about manage taking all three girls out myself (masterfully planned around nap times and meal times). But when I do there is so much choice, I’m not bound to an apartment, we have an endless amount of things to do and lots of time to continue to explore with my ‘little women’.