A real-life friend has started blogging for the first time, and I was about to encourage her saying that I have been blogging for a long time and found it a blessing, but then wondered how easily a real-life friend in the know might find my blog. So, all light-hearted, I googled my full name and the word "blog". Nada. Then I googled "Alice Neil blog" and found stuff, including the link above to a site I've never heard of, called "GOMI" which appears to stand for "Get Off My Internet" - in other words a place for gossiping and bitching about people who are on the internet, I assume. Ugh.
I started out with amused curiosity, but just, ugh. I have no idea how many total strangers are keeping up with my personal life whenever I post here, but it's not a nice feeling to see a bunch of total strangers discussing what they do or don't like about you (on a much deeper level than that - I'm generalising) in a forum. And knowing as I write this that some of YOU are them, and there are probably many more people not in that conversation who share their opinions and still read my blog with the fascination of a car wreck.
The worst thing is, even though I am very transparent and open in my writing, and so there shouldn't be much room for error - these people have a lot of stuff wrong bout pretty much everything they are talking about! If true, those things would be cause for concern, but it bothers me that apparently I have given these impressions here about my parenting, my kids, my motives, and my choices, so what if everyone thinks these things are true of me as well?!
There are a few, "She said..." about things I never did say (because they aren't even accurate!", and everyone is on about my choice to unschool, and then a ton of ignorance about the perils of unschooling. Do I really give the impression at my blogs that my kids run wild? We have never officially unschooled - been using curriculum from 2009 (Arthur was 4.5) until 2016, so I can't think what they're on about. We do unschool in part. So what? The neighbours never called social services - what the?! Uggghhhh.... I can't even be bothered to explain AGAIN about all the whys and wherefores, not that there's any need really, but yeah...
Also. I do not write much about my older kids because I do not have any time to blog. BUT, when a new life is in the works, a) YES, it is exciting, and b) I want ALL of my children to have had their pregnancies journalled. I write less and less each pregnancy, it seems, in terms of number of blog entries, because I can't find the time, but what I DO write, I have to FORCE time to do it. And I do it because I have a huge guilt-trip about needing to have the details blogged for memory's sake. I know I will forget it, and I don't want to. I don't want any of my kids growing up and wondering why there's nothing much to detail what my pregnancy was like with them, when there's a ton of detail about all their brothers' and sisters' pregnancies. So I do it. I love rejoicing in new life. It's so exciting that I have to share it. The time is squeezed out to get to write about family life and the older children's milestones. It's both infuriating and hilarious to me that people think I don't think much of my older children (and how sad it is that I only care much about them when they're little) based on the "evidence" that I don't mention them much in my blogs, only the little ones. Seriously, delusional people??
I am hurt by what I read, but I kind of laugh about it as well because oh how little people actually know of my life, my heart, my thoughts, my family. I thought because I blog really openly, that I'm like a book and readers must know me pretty well (weird and not always comfortable thought!). But I guess *I* know me really well, since I'm living the actual life of "me", and when I write I only write bits and pieces of my life, and because my brain knows the rest of it, I don't really think about the bits that are missed in my writing, or the effect the overall view might have as I have written it.
I write for me, not you. I love my children. I love all of them exactly the same, every age, both genders, all personalities and abilities and individual difficulties. They all know I love them dearly. None are struggling with abnormal issues or neglected in any way. We are not conventional in our schooling and we are not wildly social as a family. We do see other families, the kids do learn how to behave in public, and I am sad that I have in the past had a lot of flack for struggling with children who - as it turns out - are on the autistic spectrum, not just wild and out of control, and the result of me having too many kids to handle properly. Now that I have younger kids who do not have those same behaviour patterns, I am less self-depreciating over my ability to parent and do it well. Now that I have learned that not all children can learn on "schedule" - but guess what?! They DO learn eventually, just like the encouraging mamas assured me! - I am not so anxious about that.
Dear readers: I do not "care more about getting pregnant and being pregnant than the actual kid it creates". Has it not possibly occurred to you that I write about pregnancy to the extreme (and pretty much no other aspects of my life) because, ohhh, I don't know - this is a PREGNANCY journal? One that I started so that I could write about all things pregnancy, on purpose? And that I have an actual life outside of the blog?"! This is a snapshot of a part of my life. Would have thought that would be obvious, but whatever.
Also, what the heck about not having sex for 2 years due to vaginismus at the beginning of our marriage?!?!! Where do these people get this stuff?!! Housebound with M.E. people. Chronic fatiiiiigue. Get your facts straight, they make a difference.
If your husband calls me "mad Alice", stop reading my blog. I mean actually just go away.
I'm SO READY for making my blogs password-protected now. Never wanted that before, because I like people to be able to find me and read about the joys of things I hold dear. Also I have a lot of sweet readers who I don't know, but would not be able to give them a password to read because apparently who can be trusted with my vulnerability? Ugh.
In other news, I'm so sorry I haven't updated since Rosie was born. This must be good evidence that I don't care for her as much as my other babies because I used to blog about *their* early months, hey? Poor little neglected baby.
She is darling, smiley, contented and lovely. She is 5 months and almost-three weeks old, breastfeeding as I type this, rolling and laughing and delighting in all her siblings all day long. She is my rolliest, chubbiest baby with the best cheeks ever, and dark hair growing in beautifully. She started sitting without support this week, three day after Matthew's 10th birthday.
We are all doing well - kids are happy and growing like crazy, loving our not-so-new home and enjoying their own interests and each other. Neil has a long commute and is tired, and I hate that for him. He's so involved and helpful all the same and I love him. I am healthier, I think, than I was after Elijah and Lydia. No anxiety breakdown this time (so very grateful!), and my hormones feel way better balanced than they have after the last THREE babies before Rosalie. I don't know why, but who cares! ;) My periods came back at 3 months and I have just finished my 3rd so far. I am not charting, not temping, very aware of when I ovulate (super obvious signs leading up to it + pain on the day) and vaguely aware that only a few days pass from ovulation to period. I am busy enjoying my life, enjoying my children, doing the mummy thing, soaking up my babies at their fleeting precious stages, and enjoying my husband. ;) I turned 40 in February and for the first time I have no expectations or hopes or plans. Sometimes I hope for more babies yet. But I no longer plan on it, and I no longer expect it. In a way, I am MAYBE expecting my cycles to even out to normal again and to possibly conceive again. I know the risk of miscarriage goes WAY up after the age of 40 and I have no plans in mind of how anything will be from now on. So far I could have potentially conceived a couple of times, but with the short luteal phase I wouldn't get pregnant anyway, and I'm not expecting that to change any time soon.
Breastfeeding is going great. Elijah self-weaned when Rosalie was born, though he has asked twice since to try (once just today, actually, totally out of the blue!) and I have let him. He turned 4 last month. Three of his brothers were older when they self-weaned though. :) Lydia still nurses as often as I'll let her during the day, and not at all at night, ever. Rosie nurses on demand, day and night and I'm sure she will do for some time to come. I am loving it.
I can't think of what else. I wish I had time to update regularly, and post a ton of photos, but life is more important, you know? *sigh* A blog is a very narrow view of what I am actually like as a person. If you take it as the full picture, that's pretty narrow-minded. Ironically what they called me.
Anyway. Here is Rosalie at 3 weeks old. :)
At 2 months old - Arthur was holding her and she was fussing, and this is what happened! So precious! They all love her so much. :) (eta: He is not making that face because he is a) unhappy, b) unloved, c) overwhelmed with the burden of too many siblings. He was making his stillest face while wanting to be looking at the camera (his chin was resting on her head when I arrived with the camera) so that he didn't risk waking her. He would laugh and roll his eyes if you suggested to him that he has too many siblings, and by the way my eldest children are already hoping "so very much" for another baby, "hopefully a girl" and according to Matthew, "hopefully TWINS!!". Not neglected.)
Rosie at 3 months old - her hair did not fall out! Only the girls have done this - all 6 of my boys lost their newborn hair, isn't that odd?!
My little girls - Lydia at 2.5 and Rosie at 4 months old. Lydia had chosen both their outfits herself from their drawers and been totally insistent on them! She did a great job! :)
This photo was taken a couple of days ago, of Rosie sitting unsupported for the first time (5.5 months):
And finally, here's a photo that I took of us on one of our family outings last month, at the woods. We rounded a bend and the pathway and the light looked so beautiful that I insisted everyone set up for a quick photo! I set the camera timer and put it on the front of the pushchair, and took one shot, and this is it. :) All my loves together. I love it so much.
I don't know when I'll be back, and I may yet make this a private blog. I'm too tired to think about it for now. Thanks so very much for all the lovely comments asking how we're doing, and I'm sorry it has taken this long for any sort of an update. You are lovely! xxx