Teething pains and growing up.

Look what I found sitting in my drafts folder. Two weeks later I can post this. Alexis is much more settled as is William. I’d say drafting this helped me. I might as well post it.

Did I do the wrong thing taking the bottles and the dummies off Alexis? I don’t think so. I’ve seen such wonderful progress with her development since she gave them the flick. In particular her speech has greatly benefited. She can now say “fff” sounds, such as fire, feelings and Josephine. It’s so great that she can now say, “that hurts my feelings,” clearly. The first time she said it I quite literally jumped for joy and clapped my hands with excitement. She used to get so frustrated when people didn’t know what “you hurt my peelings” or “I wuv my pamily” meant.

The increase in speech proficiency has certainly boosted her self-esteem, as has the ego boost from being big enough to not need bottles or dummies anymore. Having this milestone achieved before her birthday so we could celebrate with her family and friends in a “big girl” party worked a treat.

I am so glad for her and I am so glad to be washing up less bottles and dummies and not having to search her room for them. I’m glad it’s over and done with and I’m thankful that it all happened quickly and without a huge amount of stress.

So what’s the problem?

Well to get her to sleep without the dummy those first few nights either Corey or myself stayed in her room with her until she fell asleep. It was only supposed to be for a few nights, just as a novelty until she learned she could fall asleep without her precious dummy. That’s not such a drama is it?

Except, with William being overtired, teething and dealing with minor separation anxiety from me putting him in daycare two days a week, I do not have the ability to devote the hour it can take for Alexis to fall asleep to lying beside her bed. My husband was doing it – and doing it well – but he has grown increasingly frustrated with her over the last week. It has only been a week since I took her dummy away, I might add. Lets not lose sight of that. However, hubby is the sort of man who needs his space, which I can certainly understand, so being clinged to be a three year old who should be capable of falling asleep on her own is equivalent to torture for him. That’s a little sad but we all have our limits.

It’s less than a month until GAMSAT and the tension in this house is pretty high. I try not to let it get to me. I try not to let the kids pick up on my stress but they’re incredibly perceptive. Alexis’ birthday is at an extremely inconvenient time. I feel guilty for feeling that. This rain rain rain rain rain is at an incredibly inconvenient time. William teething well that’s incredibly inconvenient too. I keep telling myself that getting this all over and done with now should help with the last few weeks but it’s hard to believe.

All I know is at the moment Alexis won’t sleep, William won’t sleep, I’m desperate for sleep, Corey wants little other than sleep. It’s hard not to get discouraged when so much is stacked against me. At this stage I am not prepared. If the test was tomorrow I would fail. There is still time to prepare but it will be a hard slog.

I am dealing with lies at the moment. Trying not to let them consume me. Lies, masquerading very carefully as truth, taunting, “this is too hard. You can’t do this. Give up. Just give up and walk away. Don’t even try. You’re going to embarrass yourself. Not only are you not going to get in but you are going to fail so badly that they you are going to be the laughing stock of the year.” Little voices niggle, “they will hold your paper up to everybody and go, ‘check this out, this is the worst score we ever had’. Best to give up now while your dignity is in tact. Wait one year, It will be easier when the kids are older. You’re just a burden on your husband now. See how angry he is, he must really resent you. You’re failing as a wife and mother chasing this dream that you’re not even good enough to achieve. You will never be good enough.” The lies can go back from whence they came.

I’m no stranger to lies. I remember something my pastor said once, “the enemy will attack you with lies but you don’t have to invite him in and say, ‘ hi, welcome, would you like a cup of tea?'”

What is true in this situation? Well, I have done GAMSAT before. I sat it in 2007 and I did fairly well. Googling the cut-offs for that 2008 a few months ago, I realised that if I had applied straight out of uni with that score I actually would have got in. So I could have actually gone straight through and already finished my intern year. That hurts a bit. Yet it’s important to look at what I have gained in that time.

I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. I have kind friends, a caring church family, gorgeous nieces, a truly kick-ass automobile and six years of “life experience”. I have unfortunately forgotten much of the science and exam-taking skills I had six years ago, meaning that in many ways GAMSAT will be much harder this year. I am finding the humanities practice questions much easier though and I am convinced that socially and ethically and emotionally I am in a much better position to deal with the demands of med school once I do get in than I would have five years ago. (Six years ago I still had a year of undergrad to finish before I could start.)

Once I get in… I just have to get in…

I’ve done GAMSAT before. It was one of the hardest exams I had ever sat and yet, now I allow myself to remember, I walked out surprised at how easy it actually was. I am finding the practice questions easy but concerned about time constraints. Especially with not being allowed calculators or rulers or food or getting up to pee… I never did any practice tests six years ago. I was busy helping my sister plan her wedding so I could hurry up and plan my own.

Six years ago I sat GAMSAT simply because I registered a month before Corey proposed. When he proposed it did change everything, for a season, but seeing as my parents had already paid my fees, we all decided I would sit the test anyway. Just for fun(!) Just because I could. Just in case I changed my mind. Just to see what it was like. I didn’t prepare, as I didn’t have to. I had no pressure. I walked in with no agenda other than to satisfy my own curiosity and I enjoyed it. I did actually find it fun. When the results came through I was so proud and happy that I had done well. My friends who were desperate to get in hated me for a little while because I beat them for nothing. It felt good to know that I had conquered it.

It was supposed to be like that this year. Financially, it is better for my family if I wait until Alexis is in school before I start, so realistically, this year was just supposed to be a practice run for me. Yet I didn’t want to waste the money on registering to not put my whole self into it, not again. The more I started studying the more I wanted to keep studying, not to pass the exam but because I love studying. This means I don’t want to wait til 2015 to start, I want to get in first go (2014). I allowed myself to get excited and to dream big and now I cannot wait to start.

It’s exciting to be feeling so passionately about this but it’s a little frightening. By allowing myself to feel excited I open myself up to potential disappointment and failure. I can use this nervous energy to make sure I am well prepared but I don’t want to turn into a study monster. I have responsibilities that can’t be ignored. Children to care for, a husband to care for and myself to care for too. More than ever I realise the importance of looking after myself.

The truth of the matter is that GAMSAT is designed to test you. It’s as much a test of stamina and a psychological battle as it is an intellectual test. Probably more psychological than intellectual actually. That’s because those who can’t handle the pressure of the test can’t handle the pressure of med school let alone the responsibility of being in charge of someone’s life…

That’s the scary part! The goal is not pass gamsat. The goal is not get into med school or even finish med school. The dream is to be a doctor. All these things are steps on the way and honestly I don’t have what it takes to be a doctor at this moment in time. I can only hope that as I strive and hang tough through the challenges on the way that I will become a stronger person, equipped for whatever is thrown at me. With God on my side and two young children determined to toughen me up, it’s definitely possible.