Archive for the ‘boys’ Category

Seven things everyone needs to know about children, whether you have them or not.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I’ve only got two children and neither has made their fifth birthday yet.  But it turns out that while their behaviour may be bizarre, frustrating and hilarious, often all before 6am, it is absolutely normal. And so it made me think what these little tyrants might look like from outer space. Or to my self-absorbed, recently single, corporate baby brother.

 

They do not sleep when required.

The thing about sleep is that it affects every single part of your life. And when you are not getting any, it feels like hell. You are cranky, short-tempered, frustrated, tired, miserable. You know when you’ve had a big night and you feel a bit scratchy the next day. Well it’s like that. All the time, except without the fun party night and embarrassing photos to go with it. And instead of heading off to work to hide in an office or behind a desk, or just have a sleep in or a lie on the couch, you remain at the coalface, deep in the trenches, fending off thrown food, responding to ridiculous demands and having to complete mundane tasks like putting a complex Lego Police Headquarters together with Peppa-freaking-Pig in the background. Sorry, still raw. So aliens/ helpful uncles if you see a parent lying face down on the floor of the playroom letting their children draw a treasure map on their brand new jeans, don’t judge, just pass them a pillow.

 

Children can survive without eating anything other than biscuits for a long, long time.

Parents of small terrorists, tonight after you cook dinner, put it in the blender, throw in some cold water, splatter it all over the table and on the floor and then throw half of it in the bin. Because at least this way you have saved yourself the angst of attempting to feed it to whichever child is on a hunger strike. And it’s not just the cooking, it’s the shopping. Okay let’s rephrase that, shopping with more than one small child in a busy supermarket should be an Olympic Sport, or at the very least a Reality TV show. Seriously if one hasn’t escaped the trolley, or stolen food, or hidden under the shelves, or climbed the shelves, they are hollering at the top of their lungs for whatever garbage food I have said no to. Then you get it in the car, out of the car, in the fridge, off the floor, out from behind the couch and then you cook it. So when they push it away without even a sniff dear alien/uncle, that is why I have turned around and am yelling into the freezer; unlike my children, the food doesn’t have feelings.

 

Everything is a weapon.

I have boys so perhaps this feature is more pertinent to the House of Penis that I live in. Everything that is mobile can be used as a weapon. Seriously, pretend you are Brick from Anchorman and just start naming random objects around you right now. Yes, yes and yes, they are all weapons. The cushions from the couch, weapon and trampoline. Plastic spoon from the yoghurt. Yes. Yoghurt. Yes. Bowl the yoghurt is in. Yes. Not to mention the sporting equipment, Lego, and the latest beautiful wooden toys. All effective weapons. Sometimes everyone is in on the battle that has taken over the yard. Sometimes it is just one crazy toddler desperately seeking revenge with the washing basket. Sometimes it is a bike, thrown across a playground in fury, but I try not to do that too often! So when you buy gifts, look carefully at it and ask yourself, not whether this could be used as a weapon, but just how much damage it might do.

 

When small children who are not toilet trained don’t have a nappy on, they shit.

You would think as parents we would know this. And yet the amount of times a kid without a nappy on has left some chocolate nuggets on my carpet, in the bath, on the deck is beyond belief – and the kid doesn’t always live here. Sometimes they shit their pants because they are too busy doing something else. Sometimes they leave one floating in the pool. And you know what the worst part is, they cannot clean it up. So the red-faced parent is left to almost vomit on themselves as they clean shit out of the carpet/ the undies/ the shopping trolley/ the bath/ the public pool. Hell the last camping trip even had one smeared all across the jumping pillow. Yep parents you are now rethinking the bare-foot jump you had on that last holiday and aliens/baby brother; yes they actually are that gross.

 

They cry.

All. The. Time. Sometimes it is for good reason. But mostly it is for the exact opposite of the reason they were crying five minutes ago. And man are they loud. They cry to get in the bath, then cry to get their hair washed and then cry again to get out of the bath. They cry because they are hungry, and because the sandwich is made incorrectly, and because it is on the wrong plate, or in the wrong shape on the right plate, or because it has fallen apart when they picked it up. And now because they threw it on the floor and the dog ate it. They cry because they are tired, and then they cry because they have to go to bed. Seriously half the time they don’t know why they are crying and I’m just too tired to figure it out. If you see them crying, I know they are annoying you, but at least you can leave the room, or house, or country. Me I’m still trying to figure out how to sneak into the bathroom with either of them noticing.

 

They are freaking hilarious.

This is perhaps the most annoying and misunderstood feature of the creature we call small children. Now it is no secret because parents have been spending every second of their offspring’s first years telling everyone who has no choice but to listen that their kid is funny. In reality, only your own kid is funny. Oh and that kid who did a commercial for a health care company many years ago. Or the one in the toilet cubicle next to yours offering a running commentary on everyone’s wee.  But in your own simple world of cleaning up, entertaining, organising and parenting, the one innocent comment that makes you giggle with delight is bliss. They can crack you up, and when they do, they are absolutely delighted. It might hiding in their bed during the day telling you they are trying to get some patience, or ripping out some excellent air guitar to The Boss when they thought no one was watching, or just farting on their brother with a nude bum. It makes you laugh so hard you wet your pants, again. And you don’t actually have to understand this one, but just nod with us when it is the only story we have to tell at the latest family catch up.

They love.

You might see this from above, you might hear it talked about, you might even read some ridiculous soppy post about it on Facebook, but only cos it’s the kid’s birthday. But it’s true. They love. It is fierce and furious and feels like it will last forever. It comes in cuddles and sloppy full kisses on the mouth. It comes in the sheer delight on their faces when they see you. It comes in beautiful artwork from daycare with some cheesy pun. It comes in a midnight cuddle in bed. And when they are old enough and realise how much it makes your heart melt, it even comes out of their little mouths. It is harder to see, but you sure know when you’ve got it.

 

My kids have superpowers and I’m not a fan

Monday, October 7th, 2013

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There is no doubt that any ordinary kid, toddler in particular has the capacity to send their sane parents completely bat-shit crazy!

Mine had a head start, but still, they have achieved outstanding success.

Part of the problem are the superpowers that my children possess. Now I know this might sound like a good thing, and I’m sure that their friends will also love these as they get older, but at the moment they are killing me.

The Wild Child has, for a long time, harnessed the Stay Awake Forever super power. He has been the master of sleep deprivation since he was born; mine, his and his dad’s. He can not only stay awake for hours past what is normal, but he can wake us up repeatedly and still be up before bird fart. If he surfs when he is older, his mates will love that he can stay up late and then he will be the first up doing the surf check. He is a freak.

As for The Stink, well his super powers are only now becoming apparent. This child who for a long time went to bed without any of the high drama of his older brother, has developed a power of his own. The power of Night Vision and Motion Detection. We now have to be in his room until he falls asleep. And like some kind of predator watching his prey, at the first sign of any movement, his little head snaps up and the call of ‘MuuuuuM!’ is released. And we start the process again. I’ve tried playing dead, but I just fall asleep.

Between the two of them they are developing new super powers daily. One minute they can turn themselves into Food Missiles, the next they develop Extend-a-limb where any precious/ spillable/ breakable/ expensive item can be swiped off and smashed into a million pieces. The Tornado is an ongoing super power that gets improved daily as they can swiftly turn anything tidy into a giant mess in a heartbeat. Not to mention The Humiliator, Actually that could be their Super Hero identity! My least favourite is The Siren. This is where at any particular moment that I need to listen to an important conversation, news on the radio, or just wait in a queue, The Siren starts. Mostly this is The Stink doing his best impersonation of a car alarm. And even his cuteness doesn’t make that sound okay.

God knows what they will develop as they get older. Being surrounded by teenage boys at my school, I have a fair idea of the noise, dirt and smell that is my future as the mother of boys.

I’m just going to have to work harder on my super power. Invisibility.

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Just a little tiny ray of sunshine

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

I have a bit to do with Gen Y these days. And my oh my they are a funny bunch, but I’m starting to feel sorry for them. It seems as though every time I tap into some kind of media, even my favourite weekend newspaper magazine kind, the pages are splashed with notions of happiness. We are obsessed with happiness, finding it, keeping it, having it, sharing it, seeking it, being grateful for it.

And in the competitive nature of social media and the constantly checked in world we live in, it actually leads to far more unhappiness than we are prepared for.

Life is lots of things. It is monotonous, repetitive and boring. It is surprising, uncontrollable and delightful. It is devastating, cruel and unfair. And sometimes it is deliciously happy. The beauty of that moment of sparkling joy is its brevity. It is the contrast and the unexpected nature of the blissful moment that fulfils its promise. To stop, mid conversation, walk or chore to feel yourself fill to the brim with happiness is pure delight. Today for me it was in the middle of a kids rock concert, (okay so it was my town’s version of the Wiggles), as I watched my two, totally different little boys love the moment, I did too. I was there on my own, quietly sitting and watching them dance their hearts out. As they chased each other around and made sure they knew where their brother was, and where I was, and just lapped it up, I smiled.

For that moment, I completely appreciated my two healthy, wild, confident, unique children. I loved their energy. I loved their smiles. I loved being in a room filled with people doing something good for parents who had experienced the never-ending nightmare of losing a child to SIDS. And the funny guys on stage were the closest thing I’ve been to a rock concert for a while, so that wasn’t too bad either.I guess I bothered to notice it, or recognise that this was happiness, and that is a big deal for me.

Life is really busy at the moment. Really, really busy. Im back working full time, plus three other part time jobs and while my husband is doing a fabulous job at home looking after the boys, I feel completely stretched every minute of the day. Exhaustion makes happiness a little more elusive, but maybe it also makes it sweeter when it appears. So today was a nice surprise and it made me realise, no, remember, to just lower my expectations and keep my eyes out for the moments. We get caught up with making every thing perfect and I am terrible at just focusing on the negatives. In a long day with two little people, there are lots of moments of tension or frustration. Working full time amplifies these as I immediately regret any negative interaction with my kids, berating myself for wasting what little time I have with them in an argument.

But that’s parenting. Some days are revolting, or so they seem. When you actually think through the day, half an hour, or three separate ten minutes are revolting and the rest is pretty good. This is the bit that is worthy of my attention, not all the bad stuff. And that’s what I’m trying to remember. We don’t have to be ‘happy’ all of the time, but we do have to spend all of the time bothering to notice when we are ‘happy’.

Now if I can get that tattooed on my body somewhere, I can really start embracing the Gen Y mentality.

Yes neighbours I am the crazy woman yelling at my kids.

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I just a read a post from someone else’s beautiful blog about her daughters happily playing outside on their organic farm, and then the sun shined through the clouds. And then I threw up on myself a little bit.

You see even if I lived on an organic farm, my two boys would not inspire that kind of post.

Instead you get this one.

My wild child turned feral today. Completely. Out. Of. Control. Feral. Wild animal thrashing about, screaming like his leg had been chopped off, punching into his brother, throwing stones at the new car, kick the dog, throw the train set kind of feral. And all because I said no.

I believe in boundaries. I believe in consequences. I believe in teaching kids limits. Well at least I did until I witnessed the complete maniac my four old turned into on a fairly ordinary Sunday afternoon. He was not allowed to go over the neighbours house. He had asked to go over this morning, and their Dad said no. So we told him he wasn’t allowed. Response, go anyway.

I don’t do defiant well. Ask any kid I’ve ever taught. I see red, quickly and fiercely. At the moment defiance is flavour of the behaviour month in our place. If he doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t. Hence today. Complete meltdown. Eventually we got him in the car where he calmed down and channelled some kind of freak angel child for the next hour at the park. Lucky for him.

And then afternoon comes. My folks turn up. Rare occurance, but not enough of a novelty to save the humiliation for another time. Seems they aren’t special enough to turn on the charm for anymore. So this afternoon when he is told that his Dad’s rule of not playing at their house for the week, comes into effect, the meltdown is repeated. Of course by now, Dad is off surfing and I get to invoke my most common role as most un-fun parent. I say no. He goes over. I return him to our house. He loses it. He loses it so bad, I nearly cry, and every single strategy I have is completely disregarded. Put in his room= throws toys at the wall, put in time out in the drive way= throws stones at the new car, cuddle him = kicks me, put in the pram to go to the park = starts laying into his brother. And all the while, the neighbours are pulling back curtains and locking their doors everywhere. Especially the ones whose house he was trying to go to.

My parents are at a complete loss. He is mental. My dad even tells him off. Takes no notice. My Mum tries some nice calm primary teacher talk, too busy screaming to care. So all I have left is throw him in the car, still screaming, well by now, both of us are because I am embarrassed, furious and terrified of what is happening to my little boy. The guy across the road just stares at me as I drive past wondering what kind of psycho he lives across the road from. I fight back tears and take my new car for a spin round the block. (Don’t even ask me what colour it is, because I have no freaking idea.) It works. He stops, I calm down. And then we pull in the driveway and the kid next door is out the front again. I talk him through walking inside without being completely mental again.

To face the horrified faces of my parents. It is worse that they see him for the absolute worst behaviour he has ever displayed in his life? He is not the golden grand-child anyway, but now he might be lucky if he gets a christmas present. Or can they at least see his naughtiness and not just my whinging aside as overreactions. Maybe now the fancy cafe they’ve booked for Father’s Day next Sunday might not have as much pressure attached to it. My Mum, the primary school teacher, cannot think of one possible strategy that might work, instead just citing the most mental kid she teaches in Grade 2.

We get to the park. He is fine, good even. Me, well let’s just say thank god there is a bottle of white wine in the fridge.

And at least it was my parents, the in-laws don’t need any more ammunition.

Maybe this full time work caper isn’t such a bad option after all.

What full time work feels like now

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

 

It’s been three weeks since I have been back full time at a paid job. I have never stopped working full time, my other job just got longer and I stopped getting paid for a while. Now I am back in my old job. A job I used to love, but often found overwhelming, stressful and demanding. How time can change your view on things.

I still love this job, and I’m lucky to have had lots of really great moments over the last three weeks where I have been reminded of why teaching is awesome. Each day is different; you work with like-minded, but differently experienced people which means interesting and funny conversations. The boys I teach are pretty great. They are willing to share something of themselves, they are keen to know a little bit about you, and they give most things a really good go. My first week back provided two of the best lessons I have ever taught in my whole teaching career. I learnt more about those young men in 50 minutes that perhaps some of their teachers who have taught them all year know about them. They were willing to share stuff about themselves that their classmates later said they never knew, and they had been at school together for five years. It made me remember that each of these boys I teach have a pretty important story to tell, we just have to ask.

And it made me realise how important my job is as a parent.

And therein lies the complexity of this topsy-turvy time. My husband is home for three days with the wild and child and the stink, and on these days I can breeze out of the house on time, get a coffee and get to work nice and early like I did every day, once upon a time. As my mind flashes to my little boys at home, I can smile knowing they are doing something fun with their dad. It’s like every day has become the weekend for them. Holes get dug, Lego gets built, the shed is open, and there are tools out and about.

But on those other two days when neither of us are there, the stink is sick, the babysitter (mum) is too sick to mind them and the mad rush is on to get them out of the house, then back home and dinner cooked in minutes while they are tired and hungry, it’s a bit more difficult. The saving grace at the moment is my beautiful life-saving friend who has my boys with her. I know they are happy, loved, playing and fed. Once the new day-care opens its get a bit harder again, but at least then, every day will be a work day for me as my husband stays home permanently. Maybe then the shift will be easier. I hope so, because it’s about then that my other three jobs kick in to gear.

It makes me realise that this teaching gig aint that hard. Even with kids who would rather be anywhere that in that classroom reading a book. Even when meetings drag on, forty essays need to be marked by tomorrow and the baby has been up all night and I’ve got two hours of tutoring after school. It’s a nice shift for a while. It’s nice to feel like you know what you are doing and that at the start of the day you know which battle you will fight that day.

I miss my boys a lot. I think about them whenever I look at a clock and wonder what they will be doing. When I’m tired and it’s only lunchtime. But I remember that I’m just as tired when I’m at home. And anyway it’s my husband’s turn to get a crack at that life for a while. I’ve been able to juggle it all for four years and spend the majority of my time with my boys. Now it’s turn to run a house and be primary parent, and it’s my turn to walk in
the door tired after a day at work and have my boys run to greet me.

Well it’s not quite that much of a swap yet, but we are getting there.

Take that mother guilt

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I went back to work today. My first day of full time work in my old workplace for five whole weeks.

And I loved it!

For the first time since I have had my boys I walked back into my old school, that I love, and did not feel one ounce of guilt. Well, that is not entirely true, for a brief moment as I walked across the yard saying hi to people I haven’t worked with for ages, I felt a bit guilty that I didn’t feel guilty. How’s that for good old Mother Guilt.

Most of it was because my Wild Child and The Stink were home with their beloved Dad. They had swimming lessons this morning and the sun was out, so no matter what, it would be a pretty fun day. And part of it was that this was my husband’s idea. His work is an absolute debacle, so before we went on our trip he suggested we try this out for a bit and he could work part time for a few weeks. It might be the future normal in our house so it is an absolute luxury to be able to try out the switch before it might become a long term thing. And the final part was that I miss teaching, not fill in, chat to the kids and do some other work up the front teaching, but real create a lesson, build relationships and see some learning happen teaching. (The other 25 periods I can still much around on the net.)

I got to leave my house without too much crazy rushing, I even had time to do my hair, put a tiny bit of make-up on and get a coffee on the way. I got to have many, many conversations with adults I admire and some who make me laugh in a dangerous way with my wobbly pelvic floor. I got to talk about ideas and improvements and skirmishes and solutions. Someone even asked my advice, and a few hugged me in a way that made me wonder what exactly those year 10 boys had in store for me. I got to remember that this was a job filled with great people and with mostly great kids and that it was something I was okay at.

Sure, it was one day and I was a long way from the politics and kids swinging from the rafters that teaching is filled with. But it was also different. Different for me, different for my boys at home, and at this stage, most importantly it was different for my husband. I walked in the door to a happy house, everyone was a winner.

Now for tomorrow when my husband leaves at 7am and I wrangle the kids out the door dressed and fed and packed not much later to a wonderful friend for daycare. Only problem is The Stink hasn’t been there before and given he cries when we arrive at anyone else’s house because he thinks I am going to leave him there and never have, tomorrow will have a double dose of guilt. As I peel the barnacle off my leg and leave him screaming with a stranger, work might not have quite the same pleasure.

But that’s okay, at least I can talk to someone about it. And I might even get to have a cup of tea while I’m at it.

 

And the next adventure begins.

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

We made it home. More importantly, we made it all the way up to our favourite place on the coast, and all the way back.

The 5 o’clock start pretty much everyday was harrowing. It meant early bed times, grumpy, dark, cold mornings and some long days. But the rest of it was pretty good. Beaches in winter that are actually appealing, a birthday, lots of visits to lighthouses, some of the most stunning houses I have ever seen, let alone stayed in, markets, yummy food, excellent coffee, terrible coffee and playgrounds. So many playgrounds.

We all got along pretty well, most of the time. Which in some ways is surprising as it was by far the longest time my husband and I had spent together  since we travelled overseas many, many years ago. We fought and got frustrated by the lack of sleep and an overwhelming lack of time to do what we really wanted. It never ceases to amaze me that being up at 5am doesn’t give you more hours in the day to do things, it just creates more time you feel rushed and trying to get somewhere before its lunch time or sleep time or dinner time.

And while we were both on duty and pretty much shared the cooking, the packing up, the looking after kids, the coming up with what to do today I still found it hard to relinquish control. I would still keep us on schedule a bit so the kids got to have a sleep or a rest and not go too mental. I still tried to limit the treats and increase the vegies. But now we are home there a few new questions to figure out. And our jobs are on the top of the list.

We have loved so many places on that coast and seriously considered heading up there, and we haven’t totally ruled it out yet. But we are still waiting on a few things we have to make decisions about. The stress of my husbands job was the reason for the trip. We had to get out of here for his own mental health. The situation hasn’t improved since we have returned and so after the reality of being home with two little boys for two months, he is now a bit more knowledgeable about what he might really be signing up for. So we are trying to decide who goes back to work full time, and who works part time and looks after the kids.

It is a fortunate decision to have to make really. I can work, I like working, I have the options of lots of employment open to me. Many people do not have any choice about what their work looks like. But we do, and we are feeling the weight of it. The boys would love to have their Dad home. They can build cubbies, ride bikes, cut down trees and go to the tip. There wouldn’t be any dance classes, or toddler gym, or visits to the shops. But it might mean they don’t really see their friends very often. I’m not sure my husband would happily ring up my friends and invite them and their kids over for the play during the week. I’m not really sure what dinner would look like, or the washing for that matter. But it would sort itself out eventually. Wouldn’t it?

So we are having a crack at it. A trial run, for five weeks. I am heading back to my old job, to teach bigger boys, some of which actually listen to me! I get to have lunch, adult conversations, use my brains and do a job I love. It is an interesting experiment to say the least. I am worried about relinquishing control over the household. I have spent the last four years making all the decisions at home and feeling like I have done a lot of the parenting too, at least the daily grind of parenting. I am worried that the job I love might not actually be that appealing, when the best job in the world is the one I have given up. I am worried that it might just reveal how shoddy my parenting is, when they have their dad home with them full time.

There will be lots of awesome things about this social experiment. And lots of questions, and lots of changes. It will be their Dad who has to orient them into their new child care place, and finally appreciate how heart breaking it is to peel a child off your leg and run out the door. It will be me who gets to exercise after spending all day at work (one can hope) and walk in the door to the madness that is dinner hour. It will be me who gets greeted at the door at the end of the day with hugs and kisses and the excited patter of footsteps down the hall.

I don’t really know what it will be like, but it will be interesting to see. And maybe then we can really decide if this is a long term change, or just an extended holiday for both of us.

It’s finally making sense

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Today my wild child turned 4. He had the absolute best day ever. We all did. In fact it is not even 8 oclock at night and the reason I have time to sit and reflect and write and wonder is because all of the boys are asleep already, including my husband.

This in itself isn’t that unusual, but the feeling of space I have because we had such a great day is a little more abnormal. Sometimes I have time to myself at night, if I got enough work done that day, then I can just watch TV and let the day wash over me. Often there are feelings of regret, of negativity, of messing something up, or ruining what could have been fun, or my kids craziness getting the better of me.

Today we all hung out together. Yes there was still a two hour burst of surfing in the middle, and it wasn’t me, but mostly we were all together all day. And we were in it, really in it. Still answering phones, this time to birthday messages, still trying to write material for a publisher, still taking photos, but this time we weren’t faking it on Facebook, it really was great fun. It felt like a birthday. But more than than, today it felt like a holiday.

With no friends and family around to make the special day into an event, as we normally would, it meant the buck stopped with us. The present of a first-bike was a bit of a winner. He rode it in his jammies, to the shop and back, around the kitchen table, around the outside of the house, to the pub for dinner. Non-stop. And he even asked if he could have it sleep in his bedroom with him. Tick. He is totally obsessed with lighthouses, we amazingly found lighthouse Lego, we made a lighthouse cake, not too fancy, after all no-one else was going to eat this one, and we took him up to the lighthouse. At night. With the light on. (It was actually 5.30 but its pitch black here so it was perfect.) Tick. And he got to go to a special place with playgrounds and mini golf and animals and milkshakes. Tick.

He missed his buddies coming over for cake, as we usually do at home. And we missed the catch up with everyone. But honestly after the last family birthday we threw, when the birthday baby just cried, my balloons just popped, the kids cried over the pinata and my Mum landed a ripper insult on me, loudly in front of my mates, today just seemed a bit more appealing. There were no tears, no fights, no up late cleaning and cooking and wrapping and preparing and stressing and weather watching. We were all home, together, the sun shone, the cake was a hit and his brother and Mum and Dad were enough.

I think this is the whole point of the trip. In fact I know it is. And that makes me smile.

When your baby jumps out of the pram at the zoo and lands head first on their face on the concrete and other fun travelling with kids moments.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Kids are funny creatures. They have to be, because I swear if they didn’t make me laugh as much as they do, I would leave them screaming in the pram somewhere public and just keep walking.

My kids are mad. And taking them out of their comfort zone does not make them any less crazy. In fact new places seem to just draw the crazy out even more. It’s like they sense an unfamiliar place and just let loose. A new supermarket, what a great place to test how fast I can run down the aisles. A funky cafe, the perfect place to try out my cow dying sound at the top of my lungs. A new house, there may be hidden toys here somewhere so I must leap out of bed at 5am and search the place until I find them.

Being on holidays means lots of time to do fun things. It also means a lot of driving, unpacking, packing, walking, getting lost, cleaning, working and making decisions. So let’s re-phrase, being in another place with two small children means all of these things, just a little bit more complicated than usual. And in between there are lots of fun things to do, some are fun, some are fun for a while before the wild child loses his shit over something massive like the tiny bit of icy-pole left on the stick falling off the stick, and some are more embarrassing than singing Abba with the police band in front of 1500 boys that you teach! (Yep I can tick that off the bucket list)

Sometimes it’s just about the timing.

Like the Taronga Zoo, awesome fun, for me. I loved it. I didn’t love paying a ridiculous amount for the slowest train in the world to take me 5 meters down the road, just so I could avoid a full-blown public meltdown from my spoilt child. And it was the bloody train that was our undoing. I just wanted to go see the Lions. My chubba bubba did not. He was done. So done that he would not sit in the pram, or walk, or get carried. So just to get quickly to the next animal I sat him in the pram with no straps. Bad idea. Happily family shot of us all looking and smiling and pointing at the animals is quickly replaced with a screaming baby who lept out of the pram, landed on his face on the concrete, and scored an egg on his head that looks like something that belongs on a baboons bum.

Or the trip to Circular Quay. Bus ride remarkably normal. Well other than the most vigilant bus driver marching down the bus demanding people stamp their tickets. Or the strange old lady who proceeded to tell the rest of the passengers that I was the dead spit of Samantha from Bewitched and trying to make me do the nose twitch. Or the wild child proclaiming to the ferry that he needed to do a poo, and on the return, sharing proudly that it was “massive”. No it was his obnoxious yelling for another ice-cream that did it, and then the running. Just running around and up and down and over anything he could find as Japanese tourists videoed him running and his brother laughing hysterically on their phones. Hell they are probably on Youtube, with me in the background wishing there was something stronger than coffee in my cup.

It was probably too much to ask for the wild child to sit for one more minute in the pram, and the chubba bubba not to do his best most-annoying-sound-in-the-world-as-per-dumb-and-dumber sound in a cool cafe. Having Martin Sacks bail me up to ogle in impressed horror at the size of my montrous pram had used up the last five minutes my kids have of behaving in a kind of normal way. That was it, my son wanted my attention and instead of asking nicely as I was trying to get him to do, he reached up out of the pram and slapped my face. Cue mortification. Yep Sacksy was watching, the coffee man gently lent over and said if you say sorry to your mum I’ll get you a coffee, and the baby was doing his best sqwarking piglet impression.

And the coffee was terrible.

So if you want to know all the good stuff, the laughter and fun and time spent together. The amazing achievement of my hyper wild child walking all the way to the Byron Bay lighthouse, or standing up on his dad’s surfboard and catching a wave with the biggest smile on his face. Or the obsession my bub has for his Dad or the pure joy of his first shower, then check Instagram and Facebook. But if you really want to know what it’s like travelling around with two small crazy little people, then this blog is for you.

Just don’t read it if your thinking of doing the same.

Life’s little luxuries

Friday, May 24th, 2013

I’m not sure how much thought I had given the day to day reality of being on the road with two mad little boys for many weeks. I knew most of the crappy stuff that bores me to tears, but that I have to do every day, over and over would not go away. I knew that there would never be enough sleep. I knew that some days would still feel really long, until those mad hours when I need to have three sets of hands and the serenity of a buddhist monk to get through all the demands without too much chaos.

So none of these things have surprised me. Sure, being awake before the sun every single day kills me. The dishes do get spread between two of us a bit, (but seriously the dishes my husband makes on his own still feels like I am doing the same amount as at home!), and I will get better at arriving in a new place at 4 in the afternoon and finding the absolute quickest meal I can buy from the supermarket and make it before the wailing begins.

But there are some things I have learnt. They are not the answers to the meaning of life, but for the moment they make my world go around.

  • Takeaway places for quick dinners don’t open till 6 in lots of small towns, and only about three days a week. Therefore always carry baked beans and bread.
  • I love my giant sink at home where I can hide lots of dirty dishes and do one lot a day.
  • Some days our only plans are eating oysters and surfing the Mal.
  • It is the people that make places great. Sure the scenery is stunning in lots of the places we have stopped, the sand whiter and softer than I have ever seen in some places and the air warmer. But if the people are weird, or rude, or annoying, or unfriendly, the place is less appealing. One place we loved, everyone seemed odd. We couldn’t put our finger on it, but they all had heaps of kids, wore matching trackies and both parents were at the park, and they lived there. And then on the Sunday morning, the kids were dressed nicer, the park emptied out and the penny didn’t drop until I heard one kid start crying about having to go to Church. Yep this was a Christian town. Not offensive at all, just a bit different to what we were used to. No wonder the long haired wild child kept getting mistaken for a girl.
  • A coffee addiction is a wonderful thing. Most days it is the only conversation I have with another adult. It is a reason to get out of the house early in the morning and forces me to walk the streets of wherever we are.
  • When it is carrying on outside like the 50 year storm has arrived and continues for three days, a roof over your head that is not made of canvas is wonderful.
  • Not having TV means I sleep more, know what time it is less and have very little idea about what is happening in the rest of the world.
  • A good playground can make or break a holiday.
  • So can a good backyard.
  • If an extra hundred bucks for the week buys you a pretty bloody good view, it is money well spent.
  • If my phone says 6 something when that first little voice calls out, then I’ve had a ripper sleep in.
  • It’s better when there is surf. Sure you’re on duty more, but your husband is an awful lot happier.
  • My children will be each other’s best friends. The way they make each other laugh gives me goosebumps.
  • Even in these places that I feel like I could never leave, I don’t actually think I could really stay. I would miss everyone at home too much.

It has been wonderful so far. And we haven’t even got to the best part yet. I have just been offered a huge new writing opportunity that I am pounding my way through and my husband’s work keeps rearing its ugly head every couple of days. The weather has been warm mostly, but horrible for the last few days and our two favourite places are a few more hours up the coast. But we are spending lots of time together. The boys have both of us, lots of the time and we get to wake up almost every day with no plans, lots of ambition and two crazy kids to manouver around.

There are a few truths we are facing too, but for now the warmth of an open fire, the stunning view out the window and the wild child’s current obsession with chasing dinosaurs is keeping the shine on the trip.

Miss you all xx



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