Her fight to Shine

Our acupuncture journey started on November 22, 2016. At 5 minutes to 11 we pulled up to beautiful white house with a cherry blossom tree in the front and a white dog barking at us in the window. As I unbuckled Koa out of her carseat she flopped into my arms with weakness. Koa-Rae had just crossed her second year of life and she was anything but lively. She seemed helpless. Somedays, it was like she was physically in the room but wasn’t fully living. There was no engagement, no motivation, no light about her. At this point she looked the sickest she’s ever looked and I was running out of options.

It wasn’t antibiotics she needed, she wasn’t ill. It was that spark. That spark I knew she had deep inside her that was missing. She needed something else for help. She needed some kind of rekindling. My baby needed healing.

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It was then I got introduced to Heiwa Acunpuncture Clinic by a very close friend of mine. I had my own doubts with acupuncture just because I knew nothing about it. There would’ve been no way I would have ever thought about approaching anything holistic, if it wasn’t for a friend educating me about the benefits. So here I am trying to do the same for who ever is reading this.

It was a late night, Kyle was away for football and I was six months pregnant with Knixon. I had just put my Rae of Sunshine to sleep in her bed when I had decided to send a message to Heiwa Clinic on Facebook.

Her name was Lyndsey Hori-Johnson and I could quickly tell that she had a passion to help. We confirmed the first appointment and I could tell she was eager to meet Koa-Rae and start her treatments.

As Koa flopped into my arms, we walked towards the side of the house where we saw Lyndsey smiling towards us at the sliding glass door of her office. She sat us down and asked me what was going on. We discussed Koa:

– Medical history – her squint eye, her eczema, her hyper mobility
– Diet – eats everything and anything, loved yogurt, she didn’t drink any milk since breastmilk, and a bit of cow’s milk just only in her porridge, she loved her fruit especially bananas, pears and oranges. She loved her cream cheese, peanut butter, and hummus sandwiches and pasta. She did eat eggs and veggies here and there. She ate, and ate, and ate with no pause button. As her parents we thought she had an amazing appetite.
– Immunisations –  she had all her immunisations up to date
– Sleep patterns – woke up every night at 3am and stayed awake until about 5am. She had two naps throughout the day for about 1-1.30 hours each.

I also voiced my own motherly concerns of Koa-Rae:

  1. She was two and didn’t speak or make any type of sound at all, unless she was crying, and even her cry sounded weak.
  2. She only crawled, didn’t walk, or even care to climb up on the sides of the sofa.
  3. There was no type of interaction, eye contact or engagement with anyone else than me or her father.
  4. When she became ill, she became really ill and it took a long time to recover
  5. She seemed too weak to cry or get angry or scream

As Lyndsey sat there and listened to all my concerns she calmly said, “Right let’s move her qi and drain her phlegm.” If you could only imagine what my face looked like. Surely she was speaking a different language? I had no clue what she meant, but she just went right ahead and started to insert her needles into Koa.

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Acupuncture. What even is it? According to the Heiwa Clinic:

Chinese medicine principles have been developed and refined for over 3000 years. Chinese medicine calls vital energy Qi (said like chee). One of the key concepts in Chinese medicine is the theory of Qi. Qi is understood to be distributed throughout the body in a network of channels (meridians) akin to the network of blood vessels. These channels are linked to organs. Different channels and organs may be deficient or in excess in relation to how much Qi flows through them. These imbalances cause signs and symptoms. Each individual has his or her own set of imbalances, and these vary from day to day.

Acupuncture uses needles to manipulate the flow of energy or blood, to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes. Fine needles are inserted into specific points to regulate the flow of Qi in channels around the body to improve physical health and general well-being. In recent years medical scientists have discovered myofascial pathways that follow the channels. The concept of Qi itself may overlap with developing knowledge of how cells in the body communicate. The body id treated as a whole in Chinese Medicine.

While modern science is just starting to discover a more expansive view of acupuncture, there has long been cultural recognition for the approach. Modern medicine focuses the attention on the symptom primarily in the physical body and treats the signs which are present. Chinese medicine focuses on the whole body and looks for the root cause of the symptom.

As Koa was squirming in my arms, she pricked the needles in for a few seconds and then took them out. Koa was crying, drooling, and her face was covered in green snot. First treatment done. See ya next week.

Lyndsey’s diagnostic of Koa:

  • Grey pale face
  • Puffy limbs
  • Eczema,
  • rough patches of skin
  • Vacant eyes
  • Thick Nasal discharge
  • Dribbling
  • Placid child
  • Thick ear wax
  • Lingering cough
  • Phlegm in stool, can be foul smelling (glistening stool)
  • Unable to walk

Koa’s treatments started weekly with the main focus of removing the excessive phlegm from her channels and body. (read Cause and Effect for more info on excessive phlegm). Lyndsey also spoke to us about altering her diet if we wanted to see quicker results. She insisted on keeping her away from dairy; one of the main causes of phlegm and inflammation of eczema. She then went ahead and also told us to try and stay away from those bananas, oranges, and possibly gluten if we can. With the reason, that these types of food can also assist the phlegm build up in her tiny little body. Keep in mind, these types of food aren’t at all bad for you, but in Koa-Rae’s case they were slowing down her immune system even more so, at the time of her being really ill.

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Making these types of changes when Koa was just getting settled with really good eating habits wasn’t easy. Koa-Rae ate and enjoyed most of these foods, but if I wanted my baby girl to get better it was my responsibility to make these changes. I mean what would be the worse that could happen? That she would miss these foods? That I would have to get creative with snacks and meals? There were so many other things she could eat. I was determined to do my part to help her healing process. So not only did I keep these foods out her diet, but I was motivated to keep them out of our diet as well. If we didn’t have these types of food in our cupboards we wouldn’t be tempted to give them to her out of a convenience. Therefore, not only we were already anti-animal in our fridge, but now we became a dairy free and gluten free house as well.

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We started our acupuncture journey at the end of November and it was now New Year’s Eve coming into 2017. It was the day we had always hoped for but never saw coming. It was a little bit passed her bedtime and I was only a month away from becoming a mother of two. It was the day Koa stood up in the corner part of our sofa and took her very first steps on her own. I was overjoyed that I did not even know how to even react. My baby had finally found her feet. I remember sitting there while she kept crawling to the corner sofa then pulling herself up and walking towards me, laughing the whole way. We did it! Koa-Rae, you and I did it together.

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After two years of asking for some kind of support and help from her paediatrician (NHS) and receiving so much as ‘your child has a duplicated chromosome and global delay she will walk on her own terms’ to only receiving five acupuncture treatments and a little bit of advice on a diet, Koa-Rae found strength in her legs. Some can call it a coincidence. Some can say she had hypermobilty. But as her mom I can say, Koa-Rae was slowly finding that light within her again and there was no stopping her now.

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Acupuncture was the start of our holistic ways. Lyndsey had helped us open the door to a whole new way of looking at life. I sit here now, nearly 2 years later thinking about what Koa would be like without our encounter with Lyndsey and without acupuncture. To this day I am still convinced it was vaccines that have hindered her (read Cause and Effect ). I compare it to a lottery, most are not effected by it, then there might be a handful of reprecussions, and then that one, that one who lives that unexplainable life changing event that only a few will understand.

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I knew there was something inside of Koa fighting to shine through. She is now the most healthiest looking Koa she has ever been, with her smile lighting up every room she walks into. As her mother, I thought it was my responsibility to help her be the best she can be. I brought her into this world, I want the best for her and I will do anything it takes. However, I was over here thinking that she was the one who needed a little guidance but at that time I was naive to the idea that it was Koa who was guiding me.

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Xx

Sign, Squeal, Mumble,

The Bennett Babes

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She was Simply a Mother

  

We had recently visited my father and grandfather in the Philippines over summer. I had been once before when I was eighteen but I was that young, naive, little girl who kept her skinny little bum in a rattan rocking chair, that happened to be in the only room with air conditioning, while watching MTV music videos all day long. All I can recall from that visit was Rhianna had on while dancing in puddles of water under her “Umbrella ella ay ay ay”. However, this time around I am closer to my thirties and have two young children. My life went from watching music videos to watching children.

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As a mother, I find it natural to be drawn to other mothers and babies while observing the interaction between them. Walking around the malls and streets of the rural areas we saw many families. We saw parents, grandparents, we saw babies, we saw toddlers, and some teens. However, what we didn’t see much of, or even at all, was pushchairs, strollers or body wraps. Children were either being held or they were walking; and when I say ‘they were walking’, I mean they were walking close by their elders. Whether it was their father or mother, grandmother or older brother, the child was always near them. I cannot remember hearing any temper tantrums or screaming. I found myself looking around in awe and feeling at peace. A motherly peace.

How? How do they do that? No tantrums? No running off? No anxiety oozing from the mother? No sweaty pits from the stressed out father? My first thought was: Were the children scared of them? Did they discipline them another way that I was not able see?

I had to ask my Dad what the secret was? He simply responded, “They just tell the little ones to ‘come, stay here.’ Or, ‘don’t do that’,” but Dad, come on that seems a bit unrealistic. However, when we kept discussing the topic I realised that he was just trying to explain a way of simply parenting, or shall I say parenting at it’s simplest form.

Here, in our first world country, us parents get sucked into purchasing baby items that we become brainwashed into thinking, it will make this parenting thing a bit easier. From baby rockers rocking our babies to sleep, to prepackaged baby food puree in jars and then strapping our children onto leads so they can’t run off. Why do we feel the need to purchase items that take away from what us mothers are meant to be enjoying?

Our babies love to be cuddled, held, and rocked to sleep in our arms. This is okay. Why do we convince ourselves that this means we are spoiling our baby? Why do we feel the need to put them in a rocker for most of the time and have those precious moments be taken away from us? Is it because our laundry is so important that it needs to be washed, when we have enough clothes in our closet anyways? Or maybe we feel the need to tidy up the place, just to tear it apart again? I understand times can get hard and we are tired, the baby is crying and we think the best thing to do is put our baby down. For the both of us. However, in the first few months of birth all that baby needs is us. We are his comfort. We have all the baby’s needs in us. Why are we looking for more ‘convenient’ ways to be the ‘perfect’ mother when its right there in the mirror?

20171017_142052806842811Prepackaged foods. Don’t get me started. I cannot fathom the fact that we as parents think it is okay to be feeding our babies, who’s tiny little bodies are so new, these prepackaged puree. Not only have they been sitting on the store shelf for days but they are just disgusting. It’s just not right, but we do it anyways because it’s convenient. Is it because we feel like we don’t have the time to make purees ourself? Or to even try sitting with them and watching them explore solid food for themselves. Actually sit and play with them. 

Child leads or leashes some would call them. Can we get anymore demeaning? Who even invented these? Again, is it convenient to use these as well? So we don’t have to bother getting on our knees, down to the child’s level for eye contact in order to explain why they should stay close by? I witnessed the other day at the park, a little boy run behind his mother and nearly strangle himself on his backpack lead. Not to mention a father who picked up his little boy by the lead because he wasn’t listening. Why is it so hard to let our children knowenhanced-buzz-32458-1367729541-17 that we trust them? Is it really because we don’t trust ourself? “Hold my hand and lets walk together.” I know sometimes this is easier said than done, but things take time. Be persistent and these little things will make them respect us a whole lot quicker and make things so much easier in the long run. What are we in a rush to do that we think we have to attach a child to a lead?

“Trust children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must trust ourselves and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” – John Holt

That’s enough of my critique rant, but Where has our society gone wrong? We are always looking for the best thing to do as a mother, but we are looking in all the wrong places. We are searching online, in the doctor’s office, or in the nearest baby store. However, the only place we need to look is: in ourself.

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Trust. Respect. Safety. Guidance. Happiness.

Trust ourself as a mother. Listen to our gut feeling. Trust that we know what to actually do. Because we do, trust me. Trust our baby. They know what they want and what makes them happy. Love and attention. We can never spoil them with too much love. There’s no such thing. Love is free. How we, as a society, have taken that for granted. Trust that our baby knows us better than we know ourselves. If she is crying for our attention, maybe it’s that time when we just need to slow down our ‘busy’ life to breath and enjoy the love our baby wants to give us and vice versa. At any age, as baby, toddler, child, or teen, listen to them. All they want is our attention and how we underestimate how far attention will get us. We as adults need to remember that, attention is what we desire for as well.

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa

Respect motherhood. Remember that we were given such an opportunity to guide these little people into good people. Give them the best that we can. Respect their little bodies. Food feeds the soul. We all have different taste buds, different sized tummies and maybe sometimes we just aren’t hungry. The same goes for our babies. Respect our children enough to not just be on behaviour patrol but to take the time and be silly with them.

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Safety. The feeling of being safe. I am having trouble explaining this one because is there any such thing in our society anymore? When we are born we all have one thing in common, vulnerability.  When we feel safe, we tend to act with more confidence. We take more risks, ask more questions and then grow.

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Guidance. Where we sometimes need to hold back from saving them before they make a mistake. Simply letting them make that mistake and be there to cheer them on, or cuddle them if it all goes wrong. We are here to hold their hand, not to drag them along through our experiences or expectations. 

“The more risks you allow your child to take, the better they learn to look after themselves” – Ronald Dahl

Happiness. Once we can overcome the thought of being an adult, a behaviour patrol officer, or a supermom, we will all soon find happiness again. Not only as a family but as an individual. When children are happy they cannot hide it, they laugh from the core of their bellies. What a joy it would to be able to find that happiness in us again. We just need to stop rushing around figuring out what the best thing is for us and our child, when the best thing is just: to slow down.

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Now, I am not perfect. I cannot stress enough that I am continuing to grow each and every day. I can admit based on my experiences of motherhood so far, I have had my ups and downs and still riding the roller coaster. When I found out my little Koa-Rae was a superhuman I started taking this parent thing serious. With all her doctor’s appointments, was getting wrapped in what I needed to do rather than what felt right. In some twisted way, I think Koa had to push me into this extreme ‘strict’ parenting nonsense in order for me realise that all I needed to do, to smoothly sail, was just follow my own instincts. Knixon and Koa-Rae are here in my world to teach me how to be a child again. To not take life so seriously. To laugh when I am happy, cry when I’m in pain and scream when I am angry. They constantly remind me to simply just be, rather than trying to always achieve.

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Back to the Philippines, maybe it is a third world country and maybe some of the families don’t know how it is to have these ‘amazing’ baby gadgets. However, is convenience really adding value to our lives or is it taking away the pure bliss of just living?

Xx,

Sign, Squeal, Mumble,

The Bennett Babes

We absolutely loved our experience in the Philippines. Even though there are beautiful beaches and luxury hotels out there, we stayed with family for the core part of our visit and were lucky enough to be shown some of the rural areas of the country.

Just to warn you all, I tried to use a GoPro on our journey, however I thought I was being clever and didn’t test it out before using it. So some of the film is not what I expected it to be, but I feel like we still were able to captured moments in photos. So enjoy!

The amazing baby carrier I used for our traveling is from Integra Baby Carrier

We also stayed at two hotels due to how far the airport was from where my father and grandfather lived. The night we arrived we slept over at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila and the night before we departed we stayed at The Hyatt. They both were really nice and definitely can recommend if staying in Manila.

Her Silent Voice

If someone asked you to shave your head for no reason would you do it? What about for a dare? How about for a charity? Maybe For some extra money?

Why does there have to be a reason for it? We treat it like such a drastic change, or see it as part of an illness, or a cry for help. I get it, hair is a woman’s crown. The bigger the better, the shinier, the longer, the bouncier, the most colourful, that makes you the most beautiful. But does that reflect us on the inside?

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I loved my dreads. I had them for about a year now. I met the most amazing person that I will probably ever encounter, @dread_pixie , the goddess who actually installed my dreads. However, I came to a point in my life where I didn’t feel like I was getting my message across. It was not only a message I am trying to show to the world but also a message to myself. The dreads helped my journey of feeling comfortable being in my own skin, more natural and becoming less concerned about other’s perception. However, in a time where the most important people in my life were falling out with me, all in the same week, I was starting to feel like my voice wasn’t being heard. 

No one was listening to me, not even myself. I was receiving a lot of negative opinions, lies and lack of respect and it was time to take myself out of all situations and reflect. During this reflection, I began to feel some sort of need of stripping myself down. I felt ready to strip down my outer world and focus on my inner world. I wanted a fresh start and push myself to rely on my voice rather than being bothered with how I came across because of what I look like. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable and have no choice but to let my inner beauty shine through.

This is not a cry for help, this is not a cry for attention, this is simply an action of spontaneity, something we as adults find hard to do.

Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life? That feeling of emptiness?

This is the feeling not being our true self. When we rely on lies and false identity of oneself we not only tend to fill it up with things, behaviours, people etc., but on top of that we lose the ability to connect with others in a meaningful way. We might recognise this better as being ‘fake’. Now I am not talking about lip fillers, botox, or breast implantations, I am talking about love, safety, trust and respect.

I stripped my physical self down in order to let my inner self rise. I did this for myself. My true self.

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“If only our eyes saw souls instead of our bodies,

how very different our ideals of beauty would be”

I’ve also taken the leap and started vlogging, so check out my first little intro video and watch my hair transition. Subscribe here and enjoy watching us on our little journey!

Falling Back Together

I was in the B&Q parking lot with Koa in the backseat, my head was down in my hands and I started to feel tears welling up in my eyes. I was having a breakdown. The night before, Kyle and I had a massive argument. Tension had been high since the day we found out we were moving and we had finally hit our boiling point.

Why is moving so stressful?

Why is moving with two young children so stressful?

Why are we so hard on each other and ourselves?

Let’s rewind three months back to February:

The New Place

We held no expectations in finding a new house so soon. We went house hunting within the first few weeks of finding out we were moving. Never been in the area, we had absolutely no clue where to even start looking. Which area is safe but not too expensive; which area is close to Kyle’s work, big enough for the four of us and had a backyard. We had no clue but the only way to learn was to start somewhere. I started to book in some viewings of new houses and make our way around the city. In a week that felt like a never-ending road trip, while juggling the girls’ nap times, meal times and burst of energy times, we somehow got lucky to book a viewing at home that stole our hearts. We had no clue what the area was like, where the closest market was, the closest General Practitioner, the closest nursery for Koa or even the closest place where I would be able to cheeky sneak away and get my nails done, but this was the house. We started the mortgage process.

Hotel Visiting

Time was passing, no word from the mortgage. We were now going over our month’s notice, Kyle was still commuting and we were still visiting him in the hotel over weekends. Things started to drag and we were getting anxious. We were taking everything day by day. Days without dad, days with him, chaotic days, smooth days, tv days, and adventures days, junk-food-snack days and healthy-good meal days. Everyday seemed to be a bit different but we had no choice but to go with the flow.

Days without Dad when the girls and I stayed at home, Koa was able to sleep in her own room, we had a routine and I was comfortable enough to take the two girls out on my own for either our dog walks, food shopping trips or just a stroll down the street for fresh air.

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Days away with Dad in the hotel, the girls slept in the bed with us and we were eating out all the time. The girls would get anxious in the hotel because I didn’t know if I felt safe enough to bring them out on my own to explore while dad was at football. I felt myself using the iPad more often than none as a life saviour. 

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The idea of being at home benefitted the girls, they had more structure in our chaotic lifestyle. I knew my way around and the girls had their own toys, books, bed etc.

The idea of being in the hotel with Kyle, I had an extra pair of hands, I didn’t have any cleaning or cooking and no laundry, but I had girls who wanted to run free and wild. With broken sleep, I wasn’t sure which situation was better? Our life was a beautiful mess.

Our Diet

Our diet for 3 months was based on eating whatever was 1. Easy  2. Whatever the girls liked or wanted and 3. a quick clean up. Being vegan I do like to make sure we a good amount of vegetables and fruits. However, having a really good hearty healthy meal comes along with eating all together at the dinner table. Healthy meal coincides with healthy family time and at the minute we were lacking healthy family time, so our healthy meals switched over to hurry meals. I was investing in frozen foods, pasta, and black beans with Mexican rice (which is actually Koa’s favourite so I didn’t feel half as bad).  When we went to visit Dad on the weekends we were ordering takeaway or eating out. Even though I love finding new places to eat and I love not cleaning up, our diet was a disaster and nutrition always reflects attitudes and well-being. We all were starting to feel horrible and worn down.

Downsizing

The moment we processed the mortgage, I was quick to take a look around our own house and filter out what we didn’t need anymore. We were downsizing to three bedrooms and less room for storage, this was our choice. Which meant we needed to get rid of all unnecessary things that just wouldn’t fit in our new place. The sofa, the guest bed, the dining table, and any things that were just useless to our day-to-day life. We had things that were still left in packages from our last move stuffed in our garage. Things we were holding onto that had your good old sentimental value and things we just haven’t even touched in the last six months. Just pointless things that were taking up space. We were getting rid of clutter and filtering out our needs from want. We took things to the charity, we opened our house to neighbors, friends, or whoever wanted to take things we didn’t need, we even set up an appointment for the Salvation Army to pick up the bigger pieces of furniture. We were starting over.

Moving Week

Even though we had until the 24th of April to move out, we chose to book the removal van on the 19th. Kyle had a game on the weekend and a game on the 24th, so the move had to be done the week before our end of tenancy date. We started packing on the Sunday, Kyle had training on the Monday and Tuesday and was off on the Wednesday to help me finish the packing for the move out on the Thursday. We had a total of 3 days to pack up everything in our house. He still had training and I still had motherhood. We had no extra pair of hands or eyes but luckily managed to get Koa’s nursery to take her for one more day, while I did some damage with the packing with the little one. This is where the giving-most-away helped our situation, we didn’t really have much to pack, it was just the doing of one person packing and two little rascals running around. It wasn’t ideal, but we it to get done and we somehow managed it. We were finally off on our new adventure.

Unpacking

Where do we even start? Luckily, it was a gorgeous day outside because I actually had locked the girls and myself outside on the balcony for an hour and a half. The movers had all the doors opened while moving our things in. There were boxes everywhere and the tile guy was not only still tiling our bathroom floors when we arrived, he had tools in every single bathroom. Not to mention that the carpenter was here the day before and had left piles and piles of dust all throughout the house. After sleeping in the car for nearly two hours, the girls just wanted to have a run around and this was not the safest enviroment. So there we were on the balcony overlooking this gorgeous view with only a few snack in the backpack, we sat and watched home videos on my phone. This was the beginning.

The Girls

Moving into a new place, saying both girls were a bit out of whack was an understatement. Even though the past few months were a bit chaotic being with dad and without dad, in a hotel and then in their own beds, I naively thought we were now on the downwards spiral to settling down.  However, with a new room and new surroundings, Koa was waking up in the middle of the night and jumping into our bed which inevitably would wake Knixon. We would catch ourselves awake at two in the morning sitting in bed watching Dora The Explorer. We were running low on sleep and trying to get the house sorted at the same time. Boxes still scattered around the house and organising needed to be doing. One of us needed to keep the girls busy while the other unpacked. Settling in was beginning to look impossible.

The Arguing

We both just wanted everything to run smoothly. He had the football life, needing to focus on his well-being, his physical form, and his mental state. He had his dad life wanting to be with the girls tucking them in every night. But instead he caught himself trying to rebuild his relationship with them. Being here and there and not always around, they would be shy with him at first, then by the time they warmed up to him again, he was gone. As kids who are constantly developing, their likes an dislikes were always changing. Traveling all the time, he was finding it tough to keep up with their personalities and sometimes his tiredness would creep up on him and would become understandably frustrated.  He was starting to feel isolated.

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I, on the other hand had the mother life. The waking up sorting out breakfast life. The food shopping, dog walking, laundry life. The dispersing attention and energy to my little ones life. The making sure they were fed, slept and clothed life. The unlimited breastfeeding, unnecessary worrying and stop everything to build Lego’s life. I would catch myself getting so stressed out about making the right food for the girls or making sure I could get on with my daily duties that I would sometimes forget to just relax and hang out with them. Be a kid with them. I would be lying if I said it was easy. I was holding myself together for the sake of the kids, taking one day at a time and falling dead asleep 8o’clock at night on the dot. I had no more head space for anything else but the kids.

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By the time we moved into our beautiful new home stress levels were high. Kyle and I had been living two different lives for the past two and half months. He was training, playing and traveling and I was living the mom life, juggling the needs of a toddler, a one year old, and a pup. As a couple we just weren’t showing any appreciation to one another. We weren’t seeing eye to eye on almost if not everything, whether it be which cupboard the pots were going into, which bathmats should we purchase, or what do you want for dinner?, everything became an argument. We were not only running low on sleep but also patience.

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We were holding a lot on our shoulders. We were managing to get things done individually in order to bring the family together in the long run. We were trying to sort out our life so it would benefit our future but we forgetting to live for the moment. We weren’t communicating. We weren’t sharing our days and most importantly we weren’t showing any love to each other. We went from being a couple to being a partnership. This was hard.

So there I was in the B&Q parking lot with Koa in the back seat, my head was down in my hands and I started to feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I was having a breakdown. The night before, Kyle and I had an argument. Tension had been high since the day we found out we were moving and we had finally hit our boiling point. Not only did we just have a massive argument, even worse it was in front of the kids. I pushed myself into a place where I found myself yelling and he pushed himself into a place of not caring. As a couple we hit another rock bottom and again there was no doubt we had to pick ourselves back up.

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Together we no doubt always have each others backs. We are allowed to have two different opinions as long as we saw the bigger picture. We can agree to disagree, but when it comes to arguing in front of the kids, that’s when I knew something had to be done and we needed to change our attitudes. This move had gotten the best of us and we were taking it out on each other. We drifted apart and needed to find away to rekindle fast.

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We were both in the same boat. We both wanted the best for our family. We both wanted this move and we both wanted the family to be together.

How did we get to this point?

It’s the lack of control when we got to a position where things were out of our hands.

It’s the absolute mind fuck when we become comfortable in our lives and then something called CHANGE comes along.

It’s the expectation of having things ‘perfect’.

It’s expectation.

It was our ego.

After our blow up and an hour of separation, we came back together and talked. We talked and cried and talked some more and then laughed. No one is perfect. No couple is perfect, no parent is perfect and no partner is perfect. We all have our own life, own views, and our own experiences evolve our outlook on life. This is all okay.  We are trying to do the best that we can. No matter how stressful a situation between Kyle and I escalates, we always seem to get through it. We seem to be able to put ourself in the other’s shoes and see other side. Sometimes we won’t understand it, sometimes we will. But we will always work through it. Energy is so precious and it’s not worth wasting it on a situation you know you will be able to get through.

This move got the best of us but it was only time that would become our saviour. It was only time that would be able to help us settle in our new house and not only begin to share new family memories but also work on being a couple again. We are now laughing a lot more, sleeping a bit more, and eating more home cooked meals. We have not only agreed on most of our newly bought furniture but we have agreed on our next family holiday. Even though we have just move finally began to settle into the house, I am sure all four of us need a bit of fresh air.

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Who ever said being a Bennett Babe was simple?

Xx

Squeal, Sign Mumble,

The Bennett Babes

Shock to the System

6.40am was the time I opened my eyes and looked at my phone. I got up and peeped into Koa-Rae’s room. Still fast asleep. Knixon was happily running around in our room and with my husband gone for the weekend, I took this opportunity to take a quick rinse in the shower.

We then went into Koa’s room saw her little eyes open and glazed. I knew she wasn’t herself. As I lifted her top half of her body up to see if she could sit, she vomited all over herself. It was that yellow stuff, bile. (Due to the lack of appetite she had the night before.) As I cleaned her up in the bath, and dressed her again, I knew it was going to be a lazy day.

We all headed downstairs. Because we are in the middle of moving and just gave away our sofa, I only had a leg poof (or what we let our dog lay on) for Koa to rest on. I sorted out the room so she could lay and watch her favourite movies and Knixon could let her relax in peace. Today was going to be a day I let all house chores go and just be with my two little girls. With my coffee in my hand, Koa sucking her thumb ready to fall asleep again, and Knixon in my lap playing with Lego’s, today was going to a good day.

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9.45am Knixon was ready for her morning nap. Before feeding her, I put out 5ml of Calpol ready on the side and checked Koa’s temperature: 37.5^C. I found this fairly odd even though it said it was a normal temperature, Koa was red in her cheeks and weak in her body but thought little of it at the time. As I fed Knixon to sleep in my arms, I decided to go up put her down in her room. Turning the corner back into the living room I called to Koa, ‘Koa you alright babe?’ As I looked up she was making what sounded like pushing noises, her body was jerking, her eyes and lips were twitching and her poor little face went pale blue.

In my head, I heard a voice saying ‘it will be okay let her ride it out and let her know you’re here for her’. I put my hand on her heart and starting singing ‘We’re going on a trip in our favourite rocket ship, Zooming through the sky,’ the little Einstein’s theme song. I kept singing it over and over to what felt like a lifetime but in reality was just the longest 5 minutes of my life. When I thought she was finished and she let go of the tension in her body slowly. I grabbed her quick and squeezed her tight in my arms. She was floppy and not very conscious. Her eyes now pried shut and her body felt like a ton of bricks. I called my husband… crying sat down in the corner of the living room with Koa I my arms ‘what do I do?’. Quickly got off the phone with him and called the ambulance. Five minutes later an ambulance arrived.

Knixon still sleeping upstairs and Koa now laid on her side on the sofa poof, still unconscious. They quickly squeezed a sugar gel into her mouth and asked me to explain what happened. Ten minutes later, I was getting my stuff ready grabbed Knixon and off in the ambulance we went.

Koa was now sitting propped up on the stretcher, still a little out of it but was nosey enough to have look around the ambulance. The medics explained to me she had a 39.4 temperature and with a high temperature like that her body will send signals to the medulla oblongata telling it to cool the body down. Now with a toddler being a toddler her brain not yet functioning as fast as an adult brain her body went into shock trying to take control her temperature. Koa had a febrile seizure.

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With it being the first seizure it was necessary to go to the hospital to do some tests in order to fully understand the convulsion.

What is the cause of the fever?

Where is the virus?

Will she have another one in the next few hours?

For first time Febrile Seizures

What to look for: A fever that quickly escalates

What do to:

  • Cold towels on forehead/ body
  • Calpol
  • Undress your mini
  • Chamomile oil on body

During convulsion

  • Remove anything out-of-the-way that could hurt your little mini I.e pillows, blankets, Toys
  • Do not grab or move your mini
  • Do not stick anything in his/her mouth like water or food
  • If your mini is breathing normally let him/her run the seizure through if it’s less than 5 mins
  • If it’s lasting more than 5 mins call the ambulance

After Convulsion

  • Take all clothes and blankets off of baby
  • Lay your mini flat on his/her side no pillows needed
  • Call ambulance
  • Your mini might be in a deep sleep after seizure this is okay as long as she/he is breathing normally
  • Once he/she is fully conscious offer water and anything with sugar (cookies) to raise his/her blood sugar
  • I was told that having a seizure is like having a really hard workout, your body is tired and after the workout your body shakes because the muscles are in shock.
  • So it is normal if your mini’s walk is weak and stumbles a few times or cant lift up his/her arms

All the results came back negative and the Doctor didn’t know where the virus was or what was causing the fever? So they then assumed it was just the initial start of scarlet fever or chickenpox due to an outbreak in her nursery. However, four days later we have no signs of either. To top it off, after spending a full day at the hospital on Friday in utter shock and concern about my Rae of Sunshine the notes we were sent back home with, refer to Koa as a ‘he’.

I am so grateful the medics came to help my Rae of Sunshine and myself. They gave me answers off the bat and were extremely comforting. However, any mom can feel the frustration when I say I was in a right state all day worrying about my baby and the doctor who was coming in and testing her throughout the day didn’t even know if Koa-Rae was a boy or girl. Needless to say it was a mentally draining few days, both girls are alive and healthy, they both might have a bit of a runny nose and cough but they are alive.

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Like I’ve said before there’s nothing that can prepare you for this situation. Koa has had her fair share of fevers and viruses and I couldn’t tell you why this one was different to the rest. As her mother I would like to think, in general, this is the healthiest and strongest Koa has ever been in her life, however it only just means this could actually happen to anyone at anytime.

I am only learning as I go and taking everyday as it comes. I am sharing my experience and if anyone has had similar experiences feel free to share anything that would might help other moms or dads.

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Xx,

Squeal, Sign, Mumble,

The Bennett Babes

Struggling to Digest

Two and a half years back who knew we were going to become Portsmouth locals. Koa was just seven months old when we made the big move down to the south of England. I remember the day Koa and I drove that long journey to the sunny south to meet Kyle at the new place we would temporarily call home. Oakley was in the boot and the moving truck not too far behind us. We found a nice cosy four bed house to settle in near the harbour of Langstone. Not only did we have a town centre with the convenient food shops, clothing shops, coffee shops, and our doctors, but we also had beautiful nature walk for Oakley just right outside on our doorstep. Not to mention the seaside and the train station not far away either. It was the perfect place for us as a young family to start our new journey.

Portsmouth is where Kyle and I have lived together the longest as a couple. It became a place where we had nobody to lean on but each other. It was just him and me, me and him. Where I began to become his biggest fan and his worst nightmare. Where we became each other’s teachers and competitors. It’s where we nearly fell apart, fell back together, fell apart again and then stronger back together. Where we learned how to be patient, how to communicate, and how to work as one. It was where we began our journey of parenting.

Portsmouth is where Koa-Rae showed us her superhuman trait.
Where she taught us how to fight for what we thought was right. It is where she opened the pathway for us to start our vegan journey as a family. img_0704Where she introduced us to acupuncture and craniosacral therapy, showing us a whole new world of healing. It is where she started laughing, walking, dancing, and signing all for the fist time. Where she taught us to put our ego aside and let go of the things we cannot control. Where she showed us that there are people out there who do actually do things with love. Where she has touched other people’s lives, as well as letting those special people touch ours. It is where she started her journey as a big sister.

Portsmouth is where Knixon entered our life. Where my journey of becoming a mother of two had begun. It is where she taught me to always go with my motherly instinct. Where she went from a baby to a toddler in less than 7 months. It is where she crawled, walked, ran, laughed, jumped, babbled, kissed, smiled, and signed all for the first time. It is where she became the little sister with the big personality.

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Portsmouth is where we had a handful of strangers turn into friends. Where we were known on a first name basis by the ladies in Waitrose. Tesco. Southsea Coffee Co., the baristas at Starbucks and even Walter, the sweet man who washes our car. It is where Kyle’s football mates became more like soul mates. Where these soul mates came into our lives and then in the blink of an eye they were gone again.

It was where we all started to become comfortable enough to build relationships.

“The only thing constant in this world is change.” – India Arie

We are making the move to Bristol and for some reason it has been extremely hard for me to digest. It is only when you become a parent you begin to realise that the most amazing souls that will cross paths into your life are not only the ones who touch your heart, but those who have touched your child’s heart as well. Koa-Rae’s acupuncture therapist who believed in her and saw the little light inside of her that just needed a bit of nurturing and igniting. Her Portage Supporter who was the very first person ever to build a relationship where Koa has been excited to see walk through our door and gave Koa the confidence to trust outsiders. Last but not least, Koa’s nursery teacher who was the one that gave me the confidence to trust outsiders; who has taken Koa under her wing and saw the god in her. These are the most beautiful souls I have ever met and I call them Koa’s Angels. It is hard for me to digest the thought of not ever seeing these people again. Even though the reason we had met was because of their occupation, we had built a relationship based on the amount of love that is shared with Koa-Rae. It has been hard for me to digest that we going to be leaving those who have made a massive impact on our life as a family.

I, inevitably, had a mini break down when I had a full week of telling these amazing souls that we were moving on. As an adventure seeker myself, why was I finding myself in tears with the thought of moving again. Why was I so caught up? It was the thought of Koa not having a voice and us making her give up these relationships she had made. The fear of not being able to find people who will share the same amount of love like these do. I was having trouble with the thought of taking away what might possibly have been the best for her.  However, it was when Kyle offered me the option to stay in Portsmouth with the girls, and he was willing to travel, that it hit me like a bag of bricks.

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. – Charles Kettering

It’s when you have a child like Koa-Rae you cannot help but watch how she attracts the most beautiful souls. Not everyone connects with her, not everyone understands her, not everyone has the patience to find out what makes her smile but this is how she is able to attract those beautiful people. We are so grateful for her angel’s here at Portsmouth for helping us get on our feet and give us the confidence and the knowledge to prepare us for our new journey in Bristol. If there isn’t change, we aren’t able to grow. If we don’t grow, then we aren’t really living.

As we close our chapter here in Portsmouth we are still finding ourselves exploring new places we haven’t even seen in this amazing city. We are embracing everyday here with the people we have made relationships with and visiting our favorite spots, however we are now making the move to Bristol with open minds and open hearts. It will be inspiring to see how the girls adapt to this change. How they start to develop new relationships with new people. It will be exciting to see where their minds will take them when they start to explore new places. We are excited to see who steps into our pathway, what lessons will be taught and what accomplishments will be met. Most importantly we are excited to be on the sidelines again cheering on our favorite football player, our hero, Kyle Bennett. Here is to embracing this new experiences and trusting the magic of new beginnings.

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I will leave you with a poem written by a football mate that turned into one of my soul mates:

written by Jade Samuel

Xx,

Squeal, Sign, Mumble,

The Bennett Babes

Twin Flames

It’s not your typical love story. But we aren’t your typical type of people. He was living in Yorkshire, England. I was living in San Diego, California. He was on his brother’s stag do (bachelor party). I was just on a spur of the moment weekend in Vegas. We both ended up at the same pool party. At the same time. He wasn’t meant to be out partying that day and I wasn’t meant to be at that pool. He was the only single fella in the group and I was way out of my comfort zone. He was the one hiding in the back corner of the cabana and I was the one who approached him. He was the one who told me he was going to marry me (without even asking for my name) and I was the one who laughed in his face.


We are from two different countries, with a mirrored family dynamic. Caucasian single independent mother who happens to wear glasses and an ethnic sarcastic father who loves the women. Divorced. From his mom same dad, he has an older brother. From my mom same dad, I have an older sister. (Both were in the process of getting married that same year with no kids at the time). From his dad, he has two half sisters. From my dad, I have two step sisters. From his mom different dad, he has a younger brother. From my mom different dad, I have a younger brother. (With extra siblings on the side but then it starts to get a bit complicated) Not to mention we both have one grandparent in our life at the moment, who happens to be on the paternal side. His Grandad and my Lolo. We have the same birth day, the 9th, nineteen months apart. We both are the middle child. The wild child.

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A few days after finding out we were pregnant

We have came to an agreement that prior to meeting that we were both somewhat on a downwards spiral. I was a preschool teacher by day, bar maid at night and babysitter on the side. Scraping day by day trying to get by. He was a professional football player who was gambling away his extras. We both were lost as to where we stood in our own life. Considering we were 5,480 miles away from each other, for some reason, it was no question to either one of us that after six months of meeting I was making the move to England. That moment was the moment the earth beneath my feet started to shift.

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Our first night out together in Shrewsbury, England

Two months later I fell pregnant with our first baby girl. We then were pronounced Mr. & Mrs. Bennett. By the time I had applied and received my UK visa, I was six months pregnant flying back to my husband in England. Within one year of meeting we moved in together, fell pregnant, bought a house and got married. This was us.

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This photo was taken in Dubai. (Not our wedding)

We weren’t a perfect relationship by any means. We both had our pasts haunting us. However, we were bringing out each other’s deepest desires, needs, and fears. We were testing each other, but at the same time testing our self. We are not only each other’s best friends and lovers but we are also each other’s teachers.

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My hubby and I trying to work together to Kayak in San Diego, CA.

Together, we are now on this journey called, ‘parenthood’. Where there are two different minds, thoughts and opinions on how to raise our babies. Where we invest all of our time and energy in these beautiful little humans, that we forget to breathe and remember how much we care about each other.

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A few days after becoming a family of four

The journey where now our dinners consist of at least one child crying and the other needing a nappy change in the midst of a spoonful of food. Where we have that odd occasion, every six months and go out as a couple, get too excited and get completely smashed. (This is if we are even lucky to find a babysitter.) Where the one of us keeps pestering the other for a cinema date night, but then ends up on the sofa watching Moana with the girls. Where we aim to spend some one on one time with each other while the girls are in bed but then snooze away in mid-sentence.

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Lounging by the pool in Portugal, our first family of four holiday

We don’t always see eye to eye about how to comfort the kids, but our morals are the same. We think as one, but also have disagreements. We see both sides of the argument, but always believe in our original opinion. We both started out as carnivores, but grew to be vegans (at our own individual pace). Everything we do, we do it together. We make mistakes but we keep our minds open, constantly learning and supporting each other.

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Supporting Daddy at the game he wasn’t involved in.

Parenthood, is the ultimate challenge of juggling the happiness between the babies, the happiness within yourself, and the happiness with your significant other. It is still hard for me to find a balance. However, we both have learned that communication is key to locking this family tight. We will have our time again to be that couple to go out to eat, have a glass of wine, and where we can actually taste the food in front of us. We will have our time to travel and explore the world hand in hand without traveling with an extra suitcase full of nappies. We will have that time.

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Portugal

However right now, we both know and understand that while we are at our youngest, healthiest and most energetic, our time now is spent with two of the most important humans in our life. We both know that this is best time of our lives.  

Xx

Sign, Squeal, Mumble,

The Bennett Babes