Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I'm often told I should start a blog just for the funny things Olive says. Perhaps it is because I have forgotten what my older two were like at this age, but I'm sure Oli is the funniest kid we've had. She is a wise old soul and has been here before, I am sure. There is a certain 'knowing' that radiates from her. She is like an adult in a tiny person's body. This post is purely to give an insight into Life With Olive.

Recently Olive had a sleep over at her Pop's house. She was a very big girl and was very good for Pop, and thoroughly enjoyed her special time with him. When he dropped her home, he told me he'd finally figured out what she'd been giving him...I cracked up. I'd forgotten to warn him that she likes to pick her nose and shove her hand at you saying, 'here yah! Have it!', heavily demanding you take the booger from between her fingers. Revolting little mite she is!

I've mentioned before about Olive making friends when we're out and announcing her arrival whenever we get somewhere by loudly proclaiming, 'hello!'. Most shop keepers find this utterly amusing, as well as most passersby.
Recently I went to the dairy to grab a few baking things and Oli came for the ride. There is a lovely Chinese man who owns the dairy and my Aunty also works there. Of course, Olive got doted on by the both of them and Olive was eyeing up the ice cream as Choy, the owner, scooped one up for other customers. As soon as I'd politely declined my Auntys offer to buy the kids an ice cream, Choy came over with a vanilla ice cream on a cone for Oli....that was it. She was his best friend. The entire way home, she repeated over and over - 'hanks Choy! hanks Choy!'.
Once home, she showed off to the big kids that she had an ice cream and they didn't. While Meisha tried to hide the fact that she was more than a tad pissed off, Olive continuously knocked on the door of the room Meisha was in and whenever Meisha looked, Olive would take a biiiig lick of her ice cream and announce, 'ICE CREAM!'. Needless to say, Meisha was not impressed!

Speaking of when we are out, Olive has decided to no longer call Eddie Daddy, but to call him by his name. So often when we are out, she makes him look like my boyfriend lol. Sits in her buggy, calling, 'Hi Mum! Hi Eddie!' and just the other day she even made another transition when she called, 'Ed!!'. It makes me laugh every time.

She is at that terrible in between stage - the one where she is old enough to be naughty, but too young to really understand,' NO'. She has taken to climbing the fireplace, the tables, the TV table, chairs....ugh, my nerves!
Distraction seems to be the key, though she can also be a determined little blighter. On the odd night her bedtime is later than the big kids, she runs into the room and speeds up to Meisha's face, saying 'hi Moo, hi Moo' (we call her Meisha-Moo).  Tonight she was doing it so I sat in the doorway to block her entrance. She proceeded to full on head charge me, ramming at them, trying to get through my legs.

Olive has a scream to rival a banshees. I think because we are all so loud and talk over the top of each other (terrible trait, I get it from my Father's side :P), she has learnt to do the same. As soon as we all start having a conversation, Olive will start demanding something - anything!- at the top of her lungs. Failing that, she will just sing her go-to song: 'why, why, why, why whyyyyyy'. Thanks for teaching her that one, Grandma.

This daughter of mine is going to have a shoe fetish when she is older, I'm telling you now! She is forever eyeing up people's kicks. She chose her own pair of Puma's one day at the shoe shop, by walking into the shop, grabbing that pair of shoes, demanding 'on' to the salesgirl, and then announcing, 'bye!' once on. I'd like to say she has style but she actually doesn't. She loves traipsing around in different shoes, different sizes. Doesn't bother her if one has a heel or if they are two left feet gumboots, or if they are 10 sizes too big. She just. Loves. Shoes.

Being the beginning of December, we have started to bring out Christmas Decorations. We have a large ornament/contraption thingy which is a scenery of a snowy mountain with lights and train tracks and all that jazz. There are two little train tracks on which two little trains go around and around to Christmas songs. Little Miss has take it upon herself to stand and watch, dance for a moment or two, clap in delight and then promptly take each train off, claiming the thing is broken 'Boken, mum! Boken!' I am dreading putting the tree up.

The other day, Olive wandered around chiming, 'can't can't can't'...only her pronounciation was way off and she was rhyming it with 'runt' instead of 'aunt'.

She tries to sit on the small Barbie furniture, the couch and bike, horse and what have you. The sheer determination of trying again and again without frustration, when the tiny piece keeps buckling astounds me! Size doesn't fit in anywhere for her.

Olive likes to greet people she likes with, 'hey buddy'. After she farts or burps she says 'pardy me!'.
When we go to get in the car, Olive will run and say 'fwont!' copying Jax and Meish, even though she is never allowed in the front and I doubt has any idea what it means!

Some of these things exasperate me (especially the climbing!) but she gets away with it all most of the time. I am probably making a rod for my own back and all of that, but this kid does all of these funny things with such charisma and humour that it is hard to not see the pleasure in it.

Fingers crossed it doesn't turn out to bite me in the bum!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

People can always pinpoint the exact moment they found out News. Good news, bad news - it is often highlighted by our surroundings and events to make the moment memorable. The way our bodies absorb everything happening around us, when in the actual moment, we often feel as though we are wading through thick mud...things are blurry at the edges and you don't often take note of any of the finer details, until much much later when you can tell your story.

Tonight, Dad and I were telling our stories about when Olive was born. He was looking after my two big kids, and they were all excitedly waiting for The Phonecall. Except, when he got The Phonecall, it wasn't quite the one he expected and he then had to break the news to my brave big babies that there was something 'wrong' with their sister. (I use the term wrong in this context because at the time, we had no clue as to what it was with Olive and Mum, being the messenger telling Dad, truly thought we might still lose Olive. For the record, I hate the reference 'something wrong' to be used with my little girl. She was born perfect and just the way she was supposed to be.)

It feels like so long ago that our Moment happened. Olive is such a crazy full on toddler now, it is easy to push aside the fears we had in the beginning and the stress of the uknown taking it's toll on us and our families. With her 6 monthly dermatologist appointment approaching, it gives me a chance to reflect on her last few visits from birth - how determined I was to get her that first appointment, and how relaxed I feel about them now.

I will never forget after Olives birth and knowing there was something wrong when she didn't cry. I will never forget the overwhelming sense of empty arms I had in recovery, when the two previous times I'd been in there, I'd had a brand new baby to cuddle, and this time, my child was off without me and needed help to breathe.  I will never forget being wheeled into SCBU and seeing all these tiny baby's and then my big fat 8lb14oz baby lying on her own, not being held and I didn't care one ounce about her marks, I just wanted to know why she was not being cradled as both my other babies were, constantly, from their birth. *I have come back to edit this part as I didn't convey what I meant correctly about her being on her own. As I was wheeled into recovery after the birth, Olive was rushed off to SCBU. Both Eddie and my Mum went with her, and were with her the entire time. Eddie held Olive's hand as she lay in the weird box in SCBU (apologies, I don't know what it is called!). Olive was never alone, but in my head at the time (which you must understand was in shock from not only the drama of her birth, but also the routine shock of caesarean and the drugs that go with it etc.), *I* was supposed to hold her. She was supposed to be on my chest, she was supposed to be having her first breast feed, she was supposed to be recognising that I was her Mother....so in MY head, she was alone, though in reality her amazing and doting Father never left her sweet little side.

I will never forget the big point of NOT ringing my friends, because I just didn't know what to say. With Meisha and Jaxon, I rang my good friends from recovery and in the ward....with Olive, I only rang one friend and it wasn't until well after her birth. I just didn't know how to tell anyone, because I had no answers.

And I will never forget, ever, how that one friend responded and how all of my friends, both old and new, have been so amazingly accepting and supportive, and outright wonderful in this beautiful journey with my darling baby. I never could have imagined my life being the way it is, being taught such wonderful and valuable lessons from such small people. My children are my life and I thank each and every one of you for sharing this with us, and for being such a wonderful and supportive part of our lives.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Same, same

New Zealand's population is 4.433 million.

Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus affects 1 in 500,000.

According to those figures, there should be just a handful of people in our country living with this condition.
So what are the chances then, of meeting another person, with a CMN in the same location as Olive (a bathing trunk nevus), before she is 2 years old?

Personally, I think it's pretty damn awesome and incredible.

On Saturday, Olive and I got to meet a new friend. Her name is Haley, she is 19 and she has a nevus like Olive. And she only lives in Hamilton (For those who aren't familiar with NZ, that is only about a 2 hour drive from where we are in Auckland).

I think the meeting had much more significance for Haley and I, considering Olive is barely even aware that she HAS a back, let alone that the skin there is different to everyone else! She was content with rifling through Haley's wallet the entire time, and emptying what she could. She did try a few times to get me to pocket Haley's phone but I wasn't willing to be an accomplice.

This was also Haley's first time meeting another person with CMN, and I can only imagine how odd/cool/emotional that may have been for her. We discussed lots of different things, and both agreed that it is wise to hold off on the New Zealand Nevus charity. There isn't a lot of interest and momentum just yet in NZ for an association or foundation of its sort, so we figured we would wait a bit longer and see what happens. For now, we will piggyback on Nevus Support Australia, and Eddie and I still hope to attend the 2015 conference, though we are not sure yet how achievable that is.

 Through our chats, I learnt a lot about her journey and what her parents had been through when she was a baby and young child. She has overcome some huge hurdles in her life, and is an amazing person. Full of positivity and has a real 'Get On With It' attitude. I hope for her to become a good friend, and would love for her to be around for Olive to see someone else who KNOWS what it's like to be a little different, but is beautiful and happy and enjoying life.

Unfortunately, we both totally forgot to get a photo of them together! We will have to do it next time. For now, I want to thank Nevus Outreach and Nevus Support Australia for connecting Haley and I so we were both able to meet. Eddie and I never imagined we would meet another person as special as our wee girl so quickly after her birth.

I think the most touching part came just before Haley left. Olive often lifts our shirts and tickles our tummy's saying 'tittle, tittle!'. She sat next to Haley, and lifted her shirt. Just as she went to tickle her, she noticed her skin and went 'oh!'. Haley lifted Olive's shirt as well and said, 'look - same, same'.

Olive looked at both, grinned and said, 'same, same!'

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Parenting young children can often feel mundane and a heck of a lot like Groundhog Day. Along the way, there are lots of rewards - when your newborn smiles, or giggles, when your toddler walks or cuddles into you; when your kid gets an excellent report and you beam with pride. The rewards are actually neverending, they are all of their own definition but ultimately it comes down to pride. Tonight I had a conversation with my Dad and told him a story. He said one of the most rewarding things as a parent, is when your child grows into an adult and supports you - in an emotional sense.

Today, my 6 year old did that for me.

At school pick up today, a good friend of my middle baby, Meisha, was playing with Olive. The girls all love Olive and cuddle her when ever they can. Today Oli had shorts on, and this little girl announced, 'she has a hairy spot on her leg!'. It took me absolutely by surprise. I forget that other people aren't used to it....and this was just a satellite! While my brain jumped through what to say, my dear beautiful Meisha replied with such busting pride, 'yeah! That's her nevus. She has lots. She has a biiiiig one on her back. And more on her arms. And those on her legs. They're her special spots!'. The little girl looked a bit stumped for a moment and then smiled, and carried on playing with Olive.

It is hard to explain to somebody who hasn't lived this, but I will try. Though we are absolutely at peace with Olive's nevus and we are used to it, there are still times when I am hyper aware of it, and of people looking and what they may be thinking. Like when I have to remove her top in the mall carpark because she tipped water all down it. Or when she does that rigid plank thing toddlers do when you try to pick them up and her top rides right up.
I realised tonight that on these occasions I get a little flustered and tend to work a bit quicker, perhaps to avoid people staring. I shouldn't be doing this, I know, but I suppose I am still not used to having to answer questions so I brace myself and almost expect someone to say something....nobody ever has. It is a complete over-protection act on my part, and today Meisha showed me how I need to react to people questioning the differences our baby has.

My kids drive me nuts. Absolutely bonkers! But I couldn't be more proud of them. All 3 of them are incredible little people and if I might say so myself, I think Eddie and I are doing a pretty bloody OK job.

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Power of Speech

At 18 months, Olive is a little Chatterbox. She can say plenty of words and every day see's her add at least one new one to her vocabulary. Some of these include bumbums (started as her word for gumboots and has graduated to cover all shoes), Moomoo (her sister, Meisha), Lily (her doting cousin), cracker (this is also a generalised one, and simply means she is hungry!), happy, nice, Daddy, Mummy......she gives most words and names a go, and a lot are recognisable, though some are a bit harder to figure out!

Hand in hand with her developing language comes her understanding of her surroundings. So we are starting on teaching her about her anatomy. So far she can point out her eyes, ears, mouth, hands, nose, hair, feet....and amongst these, she has learnt nevus! Or as Olive says, Meemis! If you ask her, 'Olive, where is your nevus?', she will respond by stroking one thigh (the hair is very thick there, but very soft) and grinning, saying, 'Meemis! Niiiice!' and then finding the same on the other thigh.
It really is the sweetest thing, and she quite likes the feel of it, which makes my heart swell.

Every parent is proud when their child learns something new - especially in these preschool years when their interpretation of what they learn can be quite amusing. We all love asking Olive to say or do things, and she loves the attention.
This particular thing she has learnt, that her nevus is 'nice', is something she came to on her own. We just taught her it was called her nevus, and because it was hard for her to see it, we showed her how to feel it. She thought it felt nice straight away. I love that. It is the most beautiful thing to me, seeing my gorgeous 18 month old daughter, who is different to the average person, so completely accepting of her difference. And loving it. I sincerely hope she always feels this way.

Speaking of love, I put my baby to bed last night.
'Night bubba,' I said. 'See you in the morning. Sweet dreams, love you'.
And I went to walk out.

A little voice quietly said, "lulloo Mum'.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Oh, to live in the life of  a 16 month old. To spend your day carting things from one room to another, trying your luck every 5 minutes to see if Mum may have forgotten to put the safety catch on the rubbish door (apparently there's a treasure trove in there!) and getting into the fridge as quick as you can to pinch the tomato sauce, have a quick lick on the top of the bottle before running away giggling maniacally. Throw in strategically placing pillows on the ground as a lever onto the couch, turning the TV off every time your siblings have it on, and walking into a room then suddenly side stepping like you are against an imaginary wall, and you have my Olive.

She is the funniest little character. I am always saying that to people. Everybody says how charming she is, and how crazy. She makes people fall in love with the beautiful and innocent way she says 'hi!' or 'Huyyow!!' to every passing person. Women sit and cluck over her and give her high fives and kisses (yes I have had to get over that one a little, when she is constantly asking 'mah?' for a kiss - Olive's interpretation of 'mwah!'). Old men stop and comment on her gorgeous locks. She demands a greeting from all the school Mums and at the supermarket she tries to tickle the checkout girls (yeah, that one made me turn a bit red).

The thing I love the most about all of the attention, is that it is for Olive, for who she is. Nobody can see her nevus. They don't feel sorry for her because she may look different. There is no sympathy there. Just pure adoration for a wonderful and charismatic baby girl. I am so incredibly proud of my darling daughter. She makes our world spin.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lucky lucky white horse

I know they say it's not wise to count your chicken's before they hatch, but I have come to the realisation that we are so incredibly LUCKY with Olive.

She is 15 months now, and so far, we have had no issues with her nevus.  I'd like to say I have my fingers crossed as I make this statement, but you know what? We have already had the big lesson that 'what will be, will be' so I think that applies now as well.

I was so worried that we would have these other sideline issues that are known with CMN - overheating, itchiness,  NCM, tearing, to mention a few. I was terrified of the day she got chicken pox because I could just imagine the pox being so brutal on her delicate skin. But none of this has come into play!

This kid bounces off walls - literally. She is like an old drunk the way she toddles around with her pigeon toes pointing inwards, fat toes (they overlap!) gripping the ground....she is even attempting running! Though she seems to have her mother's genes (or lack of) for that particular sport...she too collapses after just a short while.
But the point is, she tries, and she falls and she bangs her back on the corners of walls and tables and benches. She donks her head on tables and bunks and bookshelves.
But we haven't ever had any issues with it damaging the nevus skin! Obviously as she get's older this may occur, on school playgrounds and the like. But for now, we have been absolutely able to let Olive be a normal healthy toddler. Because she is!

She is talking up a storm, she tells people to 'hang on!' and says 'buhbye' at the most appropriate times. I had to take her for a blood test yesterday and as they were trying to find her vein she decided that was enough so promptly squirmed her way out of my arms declaring, 'buhbye! buhbye!'.

There is never a dull moment in our house with this tiny little comedian lurking. We have all (re)discovered the joy of BOO - leaping out at her from beyond doorways and staircases, terrifying the little mite into fits of giggles.

If you are hungry, you will be sure to find a cracker or bickie stash in a multitude of hiding places - the toy box, Olive's car seat, her wooden cart, and apparently Mum's bag contains toast crusts in the side pocket.

The latest game is Ta. Olive gives you something, kindly saying Ta as she does. She then demands it back - 'TA!'. Give it back to her, she smiles. Then insists, no no, you have it - 'ta!'. If you say no, the 'ta' gets more insistent, as do the pushes, until you suddenly realise there is no getting out of this 'game' now...quick! Distract her with crackers!!

She has also learnt (quite quickly in my opinion!) that the rustling sound, it normally means treats...so when she hears the rustling of a packet, little feet come running with that all-too-insistent 'TA!!'.

Yes, I know she is JUST 15 months and we more than likely have lots of the discomforts and 'problems' of CMN in our future, but the lack of it from her birth until now has made it so much easier for us to enjoy our baby and get to know HER, and not her nevus.

She is an old soul, my girl, and she has been given to us (all, not just Eddie and I) to teach a multitude of lessons, the main one - Enjoy Your Children <3

Saturday, 8 June 2013

I had forgotten what a fun age this is - the second year. The first is incredible - the changes from birth to 1 year are amazing. And then baby becomes a toddler and the fun increases. Olive is now 14 months old, and still very very much a baby but ohhh what a funny little person she is.

She has just taught herself to walk! Great achievement! Earliest of all my kids, and she takes great delight in stumbling around the house in what appears to be a drunk stupor. Her little bambi legs seem far too little to hold that belly up!

But somehow she manages it, and she is awfully proud of herself. She likes nothing more than seeing people's reactions when they first see her walk - Pop, Aunty, Grandma. Once she see's them go, 'hey! oh my god! yay yay!' she takes it as her cue to show off, and does so by toddling faster until she collapses in a tiny squishy heap.

Lots of new words are coming out of her mouth as well. Shopping takes twice as long these days because Olive yells 'hi babe!' at every passerby. Other shoppers relish in this wonderful little girl who looks far too little to talk like that!

Olive is the dictator in our house, marching around and bossing everyone about. You can often hear her calling somebody - 'MUUUUUUUM!! DADDDDDYYYYYY!! MEEEMEEEE!! (Meisha) DAKDDDDYYY (Jaxy, lol)'.

She charms the pants off most people, and has friends everywhere she goes. Although the other day was a new experience. I went to an appointment for myself and had to take Olive. She had just woken up so was a tad cranky. After screeching for a good 10 minutes and chucking any toys we had the audacity to give her, I gave her my wallet to play with (figured taking the cards out one by one would consume a good chunk of time).
She promptly pulled all the innards out, and then continued to screech. So I let her out of the pram...she was quiet! We got on with the appointment. What a good girl she was!

And then I realised she had found the woman's wallet. And pulled EVERYTHING out. The money, the cards, receipts EVERYTHING.

I don't think she charmed that particular person.....

Along with all the charming, and uncharming is her grizzles. She has been working hard and popped out a third tooth! A fourth is on it's way, and it may explain the temps and runny nose, as well as condensed grumpiness that we have all experienced with little Miss today.

Fingers crossed it passes soon anyway -  on Wednesday we have our next 6-monthly check with Olive's dermatologist. I don't feel there are any changes, but it is reassuring to check in with a professional and make sure everything with her looks OK.

This little girl lights up all of our lives. I love seeing the love her big brother and sister have for her. I was talking with Jaxon the other night about feelings and I asked what makes him happy at home. His answer?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

So the first year is over. Done and dusted, now we move into toddlerhood. The first year was a big roller coaster of emotions - shock, grief, overwhelming happiness, worry, fun, pride - not to mention tiredness (sleeeep child, sleeep!!).
I feel well settled now, in my role as Olive's Mum and as the carer of this wonderful owner of such an intriguing rare illness. Sometimes I feel as if we are so at peace with it, that we maybe even forget to check it as often as we should (bad mum!).
We are so used to seeing it, on her nakey bum or back, that when I see a 'clear' baby back it seems as though something is missing, lol.

Olive is progressing and developing right on par with others her age and we have no concerns whatsoever at the moment that there is anything going on 'inside' that shouldn't be.

She is a blimmin fast crawler, chasing her brother and sister up and down the hall, or racing to Mum or Dad for a quick snuggle before racing away again.
Clever bunny has even started letting go of furniture and taking some steps across the room. It does help if she has a focus - Mummy, Daddy, chocolate...yes, she has discovered the joy that is chocolate. She will sniff it out and squeal and carry on until she is allowed a minute taste.

Her vocabulary is growing each day, and she loves to announce to her siblings 'BAAA' when I ask if she wants a bath.

She has finally grown a tooth, and surprised us all when the top one appeared the other day as well. So she is now also the proud owner of two half teeth, which she clamps together and taps them on anything she can, to make a noise. Such a wee sweetheart though, she won't bite if your fingers are near - just gently puts her jaw together and then smiles broadly to show you how proud she is of her newly acquired chompers.

Along with the new teeth though, has come a few night wakings - they must be giving her grief, and all she wants is cuddles. I'm down with that.

We are all absolutely loving this age and stage - still very much our baby but a very interactive one. Giggling, talking, clapping, waving, laughing at her own jokes (namely, pulling my hair, or saying goodbye to Aunty and then Aunty drives back up - this is hilarious apparently!).

So there isn't much to report on a medical front, but any chance to brag about and show off my beautiful third love.

This is her having a blast with her Daddy at our wedding.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

And then she turned One.

This was my first glimpse at my daughter. This shot, is what Mum and my midwife saw and what Eddie and I had no idea about. We had absolutely no clue as to what the year that followed this would be like.....

But here we are. The baby is One Year Old. A whole 12 months. She has been out now longer than she was in for. And she is rapidly approaching toddlerhood and leaving babyhood behind.

This past year has been one of the most important of my life. Of course, I have grown and matured and changed with each child, but with having Olive I have realised who and what, is important in my life, and in my children's. I have cemented some very firm friendships that I am so incredibly thankful for.

And the support for my baby? Eddie and I couldn't ask for more. Everyone is incredible. Olive already knows she is well loved - you can tell in the way we wander around the shops and she charms everyone she can by permanently fixing a goofy smile to her chubby wee face. And in the way she hasn't yet learnt to clap, like most babies, yet she can say Aunty and Happy on cue.

Though she has all the support she will ever need, she also likes to be independant and she has a wonderfully feisty and determined streak - OK, it might be hard for Mummy to deal with that part right now when trying to make her sleep but it will only serve her well when she is older.

I am so immensely proud of my sweet girl. I have always wanted to show her to the world, to show how clever we are that we made such an  amazing and beautiful tiny human being. You know what though? We are REALLY clever....we made three of them ;-)

Happy 1st birthday our beautiful baby Olive. Love Mum, Dad, Jaxon and Meisha xoxo


Monday, 18 March 2013

With all babies/children you have a load of Firsts. First smile, first laugh, first food, first time they crawl, first time they sit, first tooth, first steps, etc etc. I thought with Olive being my third child I was somewhat seasoned to these Firsts (the good and bad ones!) and could still enjoy them all as I know (oh, too well!) they don't last.
But the other night, I had a different First. It may not be a big deal to anyone else, but it marked another wee step in our journey with our Nevus Bub.

We went for a swim at night with the kids, and seeing as the hotel had just cleaned the pool, it was packed. I think most guests had the same idea as us!
Kids had a ball, and though the pool was thermally heated, we still got a little cold so I got Olive out and wrapped a towel around myself. Mothers Instinct had me automatically go to take off Olive's wet and cold swimsuit to wrap a towel around her tiny body.

And for a split second, I halted.

I have never hesitated before to fulfill any of my children's needs for the sake of others, from breastfeeding them in public, to stripping them nudey in a beach carpark....but for different reasons, this time I paused in my actions. I realised people would look, and perhaps ask, or perhaps be intrigued, or disgusted (yes, we all know there are THESE kinds of people in the world, no matter how much you sugar coat it). And for that very small fraction of time, I considered whipping Olive up in the towel, wet swimsuit and all, and taking her back to our room.

But I am starting as I mean to carry on with my girl. She must be proud of her body, and never ashamed. Never hiding it (like her mother hides all her stretchmarks!), and never letting it stop her from doing anything - whether that be getting changed in a public changing room, or entering a swimsuit competition. She is beautiful, she is strong, and she is proud. Even  at 11 months old. This is my baby.

So I thought, F**k them.
And I took my baby's togs off, and wrapped her safely and warmly in her nice dry towel and we went back to our room, just like I did with my older two when they were her age.

This may not sound like a big deal to a lot of you, and in the scheme of things, it isn't.
But for me, as Olive's mama, it was another step.

Oh, and she frickin LOVED the swimming - apparently it is hilarious when Mummy goes underwater and jumps up saying BOO!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

When Olive was born, and she wasn't breathing, and I hadn't even met her, I didn't care about these 'spots' on her body. I didn't care about this giant nevus on her body. I didn't care about anything, other than the fact that I knew my baby was alive, and was going to be 'OK'.

Once we were home, we settled quickly into our new wee family and it wasn't until she was a week or two old, that the enormity of her condition set in.
Eddie and I researched on the internet this condition our beautiful baby had. We spent about two days crying at EVERYTHING. Every comment, every picture, every story, every medical detail we pored over.
Through our research, we stumbled across a Facebook group which is a support group formed specifically for nevus owners or their parents/family.

We came across scary pics of tissue expanders, and beautiful photo's of other children with nevus'. Questions asked by other members, and wee stories told. As overwhelming as this all was, there was one point and it was as simple as that - the ONE story, which completely shaped our attitude towards how we wanted to deal with, and raise, this special girl of ours.

The story was about Audrey. She is 17 years old and lives in Texas. She has a BTN and a ton of satellites. She is BEAUTIFUL. And I mean that. She is an absolutley beautiful person. Inside, and out. Her strong attitude and confident demeanour is one to be admired, from all of us - not just nevus owners!
I have befriended her Mum on FB, and she has been an amazing source of advice and confidence boosters in our journey so far.

Anyway, the story her Mum told was one of Audrey at kindergarten. Her top had ridden up some at the back, and her wee kindy friend asked 'what's that?' of her nevus. Her mum, automatically protective (who of us aren't? ;-) ), jumped in with, 'that's Audrey's birthmark'. Audrey, proud as punch of her nevus, corrected Mum - 'No! That's my nevus!' and proceeded to show her friend her nevus.

Her friend then spent much of the duration of their kindy session stroking Audrey's nevus.

This was the sweetest, most comforting story I could have read at the time. Both Eddie and I, tears streaming down our faces, giggled and said 'I want Oli to be like Audrey!'.

This story was such a defining moment for us, as to exactly how we wanted to raise our Olive, and our attitude towards her and her body.

Recently, there was a disagreement on the site, from different parents about whether they had light hearted stories to tell new Nevus Parents. Whilst some most certainly did, others didn't, and they really couldn't see the lighter side of the situation, mostly due to horrible experiences - bad surgeries, or other kids bullying and saying heart breaking things to their children. Kids can be really mean :(

I found this quite an eye opener, and realised something about me, Eddie and our families.

We have not once been ashamed of her. Not ever. I don't want to hide her. I don't want her to ever feel like she has to hide herself. A lot of you who met Olive when she was born will remember how forward I was with showing you her nevus, and a lot of you also probably felt a bit uncomfortable. The Peacekeeper part of me wants to apologise for this, but I am not going to. I had to do this, because if she is going to strive to be as confident and strong a young woman as someone like Audrey, she needs all the support of everyone who loves her. And this means being completely open about her condition.
She is amazing. I have never once wanted to change her. She was born this way for a reason, and she will be a big teacher in her life. She already is.