Monday, July 02, 2012

Birthday and Family Fun

On Friday we spent a lovely few hours with good friends of ours.  Chelsea, Joseph and Tiegan took themselves out with M for a walk to town, whilst Callum, Taisia and I put the world to rights, drank copious amounts of tea, and ate cake.

Very nice.

Saturday was a special day for the Pollard household as Callum turned 7.

A whole 7 years have passed since his arrival. I can't quite believe it.

I think back and can so clearly remember the precious home-birth experience that enabled our post-birth relationship to begin.  This time it had been a planned home-birth.  I felt ready.  I felt organised.  I felt capable.  I had everything I felt I needed and more.

The contractions became steady and regular, the pain became more severe, and that 'this is it' feeling kicked in.  Midwives were contacted and we waited, expecting things to happen quite quickly as they had 3 times before.

10 minutes after that initial contact, the phone rang.

We were told that we couldn't have a home-birth as there was a shortage of midwives.  We were told that I would have to travel to the hospital.  Previous birth experiences showed that there was a strong possibility that I wouldn't get there on time - we were living about a 40 minute drive away (on a clear traffic day), and we weren't prepared for a hospital birth.  The midwife on the phone put in a call for an ambulance to be sent - just in case.

I rang my parents and explained that I needed them to sit with the children whilst I went to hospital.  My dear mum thought that something was wrong as she knew we were very fierce pro-home birthers since the experience with Tiegan, and precious time was wasted trying to explain that all was ok.  Fortunately my parents were only a short drive away so were at our home within 15 minutes.  Whilst waiting for them we had tried to get organised.  I had already packed a hospital bag, just in case of problems.  I remember smiling at the thought of there being a problem.  A problem of a far lesser degree than I had expected the need for the bag to be.

My parents arrived and we were just about to walk out of the door when the phone rang again.  A female voice told me that it was ok, I could birth at home after all.  One of the mama's at the hospital had given birth and that had freed up a midwife for me.

I remember being ever so grateful.

I remember thanking that mama in my head and wishing her well with her new baby.

We were told that an on-call midwife was on the way from a nearby town, and the hospital one would be with us very soon.

Things were back on track.  

Then, almost immediately,  I remember a rather painful contraction, the kind that make you stop for breath and scrunch up your face.  I remember my stomach tightening, feeling as if it may burst, and then a trickle of liquid running down my leg.  I remember a mass of wet stuff on the living room floor.

For a moment, just for a moment, I felt a slight panic.  I knew that once my waters broke (or in the case of Joseph and Tiegan, once they were broken), the likelihood would be that baby would follow rather quickly.

I rushed upstairs - well, as quickly as a due to birth any minute mama can rush - feeling the need for the safety of my bed.  My husband followed, knowing that things were happening and there wasn't much time.  I tried to find a comfy position whilst my husband looked out of the window on midwife alert.  Our property was difficult to find and I felt the need to push.

I shouted at myself in my head.  This is it.  This is down to me.  Only I can do this.  It's going to happen.  Just let it be.

Suddenly I felt an amazing wave of calm.  My husband checked for signs of the baby and the head was showing.  At that moment the hospital rang to ask if anyone had arrived yet.  No, they hadn't.  Neither of the two midwives, nor the promised ambulance crew.  Instructions were passed via the phone but I didn't take in what was being said.  I just listened to my body, listened to what my baby wanted and needed me to do, and most importantly I remained calm and focused.

Callum was born within 10 minutes of me laying on that bed.

As I held him on my chest, cord still pulsating and attached, with just my husband by my side, I felt that amazing wave again - this time of strength and empowerment.  I felt awesome.  I felt like I could take on the world and win.  I felt as if I could do anything.


The news was shared and a short while later a midwife arrived to check us both over.  The ambulance that never arrived was cancelled - thank goodness there wasn't an emergency.

It really didn't matter.  We were both ok.  I had a precious little bundle whose eyes I could lose myself in, whose skin I could stroke gently and smell, whose wispy hair I could feel brush gently against my cheek.  The world stopped whilst I held my little one in my arms and we started on our journey of love, trust, and friendship together.  I whispered thoughts of the future, spoke of the sort of promises that only a mama can make, and softly murmured dreams.

7 years later and Callum is still pure joy to be around.  He is easy to please, relishing in the simple things in life.  He loves spending time at home, with his family, but equally enjoys going out and about and spending time with friends.  He is well-liked by many that meet him and he makes new friends with ease.

His favourite place to visit is Dartmoor and he requests to visit daily.  He is clearly a boy after my own heart.

He is kind-hearted, a lover of animals ("I want to be an animal rescuer when I grow up"), and a generous offerer of hugs.  He tells me he loves me numerous times a day.  We have a playful repetitive convo that is stated often...

Me:  "I love you"

Callum:  "I love you more"

Me:  "I love you much more than that"

Callum:  "I love you as much as the last number and you're a big fat cheater!"

He ALWAYS goes on to say "You know I'm only kidding about the big fat cheater bit don't you?  But I do love you the last number."  He really can't bear the thought of ever hurting my feelings.

I love that.

Sometimes he starts off the conversation and our roles are reversed - it's precious things like this that make fabulous smile-evoking memories for the future isn't it?

I've had a real trip down memory lane looking through old photographs...

Callum aged just 7 hours old.
With a young Tiegan

One of the very first smiles

Cuter than cute.

Callum, I love you. 

Moving on.

Callum was asked what he wanted for his birthday.  There was only one reply -  "SKYLANDERS" 

For those of you that don't know, Skylanders is played via a game console.  For us that means playing it on the X-Box, but you can get it on other platforms such as the Wii and Playstation 3.  I really hate that we have been sucked into the whole thing as it is usually something I would very much avoid.

When we saw it advertised (at Christmas time), Callum immediately thought it looked awesome.  Actually, I did too.  It was a innovative concept - you physically have characters to place on a 'portal' whilst controlling these same characters on the screen via the remote.  If you change a character on the portal, it changes on the screen as you play.  I can see why a young lad would think that was awesome.  I can see why I became infected by his thinking it was awesome.


The actual game is great.  It is fun, colourful, and challenging.  To pass through the levels you have to tap into your problem-solving skills and figure out how to solve various puzzles.  In two player mode, there is the necessity of learning how to work together as a team.  I like this.  I like the fact that two siblings or friends can play alongside each other and not have to compete and 'beat' one another.  They can celebrate winning as a team, together.  It makes a refreshing change not have a you versus me mentality and it certainly lessens the conflict and rivalry between the players in the same room.

What is not so great is that it is (of course), one almighty commercial rip-off.  As each character unlocks a part of the game, you can't actually say you've completed the game in its entirety until all sections of the game have been unlocked - erm, see the problem?  Had I have known this, I wouldn't have bought the game.  Had I have known how addicted to passionate about the game my little man would become, I wouldn't have bought the game.  Had I have known that it was going to cost us an absolute fortune to keep building up the character collection, I wouldn't have bought the game.

But, on the upside, Callum does love it.  This in turn means that he is progressing well with his reading skills without even trying.  He figures that he needs to be able to read well in order to learn more about the characters, their strengths, and unusual names for example.  He also feels he needs to read so he can read the instructions on the screen.  The interest he has developed has led to him finding out how to navigate the internet in search of hints and tips on how to play, and he really enjoys watching YouTube videos filmed by fans of the game.  This has then progressed onto him wanting to make videos to share with others.  He has been busily planning what he wants to show in the video, deciding if he would like to talk in it or not, and how long it should be etc etc.

Who says that video games aren't educational eh?

Callum's birthday was spent buying Skylander characters and playing the game when we got home - with big smiles on faces.  We had asked him if he wanted to go out somewhere nice for the day, or if he wanted to spend the day with friends, but he really wanted to just stay home and play with his new characters.  That was ok.  I can understand the desperation to play with the new characters even if I can't really understand the draw of the game.  We spent the morning shopping, the afternoon playing on the X-Box, and the evening munching yummy party food.

Of course there was also a cake involved.  Not a home made one this time (bad bad mummy moment, oh the guilt!), but one the little man chose for himself.  He also chose to decorate it with marshmallows and cherries...

Our Sunday started off rather lazily.  The weather really couldn't make up it's mind what it wanted to do - rain, sun, rain, sun, drizzle, cloudy, get the idea.  I really felt like going out.  I really felt the need for freedom, exploration, fresh air, and family joy.  It had been a great week, busy (just how I like it), with lots of friends (just how I like it), but I strangely felt the need to just expand my wings and feel free.

We asked for suggestions from the children about where to go and Dartmoor was at the top of their lists.  Not a problem!  We jumped in the car, bought food for a picnic along the way, and headed for the hills, with the rain battering down on our windscreen.

I'm not going to say much about our day, other than it was breathtakingly amazing.  I'm going to let the photographs tell their own story, you guys can make your own mind up about how much we enjoyed it.  I will say that the rain stopped.

We walked - a lot...

and waved big sticks around behind our mama's back *groan*...

We climbed...

and danced on tables...

We rested a little (and hitched a ride from others lots)...

We admired such beauty, such such glorious beauty...

and we smiled, many times over...

We also had a thoughtful moment or two...

as well as a funny face or two...

We also took a moment to admire the flowers...

and we even managed a rendition of if you are happy and you know it clap your hands...

Alongside all of this we also had close encounters with ponies, looked for animal tracks and habitats, and talking about the historic hut circles.

Do you think we enjoyed our Sunday?

Our Monday hasn't been quite so exhilarating.  It should have been our group day but with the weather being as it was (raining) the beach and play park didn't seem to be so appealing.  Many people contacted me in the morning to cancel, so I called the meeting off.  Instead we had a day at home, which is just as well as it turns out.  I had some of my usual migraine symptoms - watery and heavy eyes, but fortunately no painful headache or sickness.  I was worried about having to drive to pick up husband from work though as it wouldn't be safe with the visuals, so I took myself off this afternoon to rest upstairs alone.  This meant the children had to fend for themselves - poor things.

Chelsea had visited the library in the morning so her afternoon was sorted reading the books she had borrowed.  Tiegan read a lot too, curling herself up on the sofa along with Taisia, both of them snuggled and warm.  Joseph practised his guitar, which is proving to be wonderful for his dyspraxia manipulation, read the newspaper, watched the news, went on the internet and thought about how he could earn some money.  Callum read books too, drew pictures, built various buildings and objects out of the play bricks, played on the X-Box, and talked to the animals.  Oh, he also started the countdown to his 8th birthday ....


  1. Happy happy birthday, Callum! Please ask my girl about Skylanders next time you see her - maybe we can lend you some of ours? We missed you today and hope to see you soon, all of you! xxx

  2. What a beautiful, happy and confident family you have Julia. God bless you all x You did make me feel rather broody with that beautiful birthing story! I must resist. I must resist! :) xxx