Archive for the ‘boys’ Category

A new kaleidoscope of memories

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Memories have funny triggers.

It can be a smell, song, place, view or experience. The same place can have lots of different memories depending on the experience, the company and even the weather. This trip has already been such a wonderful chance to reminisce in many places I have been before and loved.

Sydney is a bit of a mix for me. A few good ones, but most of them tinged with bitter after taste as I remember the moments I loved, and then the moments that followed.

I have been here many times and today I visited it again, but for everyone else with me, it was their first time. That bridge still takes your breath away as it peeps out from around the corner. And the Opera House is, well, stunning, for everyone, every time. Even my bub pointed and oohed in appreciation. Which is a big deal, because it isn’t a truck!

And that was about where the admiration and sightseeing ended. Because I have never been to this city with two small, wild, boys. And as my husband said today, I’d like to come back here one day – without these two monsters. It was ambitious, sure, but most of this adventure is, and we’re in it together so we might as well give it a crack. The pubs are beautiful and old and appealing, the bakeries extraordinary with their windows lined with delicacies, and the shops unusual and expensive. But all were merely admired from afar. After finally restraining the wild child we wandered The Rocks and wished and wondered. But we were happy to keep walking, we had to be, we had no choice. After a bus ride and a ferry ride it was probably to be expected that the wild child was going to unleash. And in all honesty, Circular Quay was far less offensive than either of those confined spaces, (in which he was amazing well behaved!) I’m not sure whether it is better to be publicly humiliated with a screaming, demanding three year old, (while trying to restrain the 17 month old octopus we travel with), in a place where you do not know a soul, or somewhere you know lots of people and you might get a sympathetic smile from someone you kind of know. I am positive I will have more opportunities to reflect on this in the coming weeks.

It was lovely to see my husband impressed with the beauty of this big city. It was lovely to feel warm and slow and out of place. It was lovely to be here as a family. I don’t know if this is a memory my kids will ever own, but it is one for me. It will fill up more space than some of the other more unpleasant ones I have. But not all. As I walked through The Rocks today I did point out the corner I had the pleasure of seeing Jon Stevens, very up close, playing a gig, and a pub I drank in with dear friends while away at a work conference. I remember seeing fireworks off that bridge one New Years, and catching the Manly ferry on my own and missing my friends. I’ve missed planes out of Sydney, danced in gay clubs for the first time in Oxford St and walked the zoo solo with a roll of black and white film in my camera.

There are many other heart-pumping memories of Sydney filled with the stink of fear and embarrassment and shame and betrayal. A months worth, and then some. But today the beauty of this city was overwhelming and the company stunning. If I’m going to be embarrassed by anyone, then my wild child is the one person I pick. Especially with a chubba bub there to chase after and my husband to hold my hand.

 

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When 5am becomes a sleep in

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

I have many reservations about writing this piece. I fully appreciate how self-indulgent this whinge might be. But given that one of the main purposes of this blog is therapy for me, then it is a must. Especially as I am now hundreds of kilometers from my wonderful friends who normally listen to this kind of rubbish.

There should be another word for travelling with children. Holiday is far too misleading. And like everything with small people, it’s still wonderful, it just takes a sling shot back into reality to realise what you really signed up for. I do love travelling, maybe even a bit more than holidaying. I have more often than not, spent my time away visiting places, people, indulging in local food and culture and rubber necking. I do love lying by a pool, but I also like the feeling of going to a few places in one trip, plus it gives you and your partner something to talk about!

This adventure is most certainly travelling. It is planning, exploring, investigating, visiting and doing. It is not relaxing, in any way. In fact, it is tiring. But that’s okay, (like I said, bad problem to have being on the road for a couple of months with your kids!) I just need to readjust my headspace a bit. I need to remind myself that this was never intended to be a book reading, beach lying, sun-baking, coffee shop experiencing trip. This was always going to be, and absolutely should be, about playgrounds, takeaway coffee, surfing, kid friendly beaches and fun stuff to do. It is intended to be a change of scene, not life. And at their age, I do think it should be all about the kids, and the surf.

It took me a few days to stop being pissed off that I had still not eaten a meal sitting down, or not cooked one for that matter. That I still had to do loads of washing, constantly negotiate with a wild child and baby proof surroundings. And I am still adjusting to the ridiculous wake up time of somewhere between 4 and 5 every day. This hurts. And as I have said before, not only at that stupid, dark, many-hours-till-sunrise hour, but all day. In fact, I got to meet someone I’d hoped I’d never meet. Some of my friends know him well; that bastard Anxiety. I would find myself short of breath, panicking and this feeling of dread would creep up when I remembered that even when I went to bed tonight, (at 7.30), this would still happen tomorrow. I would worry one of us would be in the car again the next morning, driving them hours up the highway hoping they go back to sleep again. I would worry about being in a camp park with two small children screaming well before dawn. I would worry about what it means for their development all this lack of sleep, or their behaviour by the afternoon, especially when the wild child will not even have a rest during the day.

But now I am becoming accepting of it. Sure, I can’t write very often because I am in  bed at night when they are. And yes there are a few more fights, and even some tears from me, when I get a bit too overwhelmed by it all. But the positives are that at least there was no-one at the hospital at 7am the other morning when we had to take Gordo in with chronic tonsilitis. And that we get to see the sunrise. And that where we are at the moment there are no neighbours. And that unlike one of my dearest friends who has put up with this for months, my kids might cut it out when we get somewhere and they don’t have to share a room.

So now I have my head around it, my body clock around it and can keep myself awake for an extra few minutes to write this, it isn’t so bad. The days are wonderful. We have sun, surf, lots to do, and really we have each other, which is the whole point of this anyway. There could be much, much worse things than waking up to the sound of your two boys laughing at each other, even if it is the middle of the night. And we didn’t need to travel up the coast to find that out, but it sure is a nice way to do it.

Our topsy turvy adventure

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

We are finally on the road. We have packed up most of our life, organised it into tubs and bags and packed it into the trailer and the car, a few times already, and left what we know our life to be at home for a couple of months. We have decided to spend some time together, really close together, like in a car all together and then in a tent all together or a tiny house or apartment or cabin all together. I’m not sure if it is the best or worst decision we have ever made, but we had to make it and so we are away.

My husband has been absolutely miserable at work for a long time and while quitting isn’t really an immediate option, nor  is the solution to fixing the problems really that close, we decided to take some leave. I have lots of jobs at the moment, most of which I can still do on the road, so while I am not locked into teaching terms, we figured it was now or never.

The coast calls both of us pretty strongly. We both absolutely love the beach and everything about that lifestyle, well except winter by the coast with two small boys, so we are chasing the sun and the waves and letting our hearts guide us where we would like to be. It’s not a permanent change, but hopefully the impact will be long lasting. I have dreams and goals and career opportunities a plenty, but my husband is a bit stuck at the moment and as he feels like the one who is the breadwinner, then he really needs to find something more satisfying than the current situation. That’s not to say we are looking for a new place to live or even a career change for him, but time away brings perspective and at the moment he has absolute tunnel vision.

We have travelled this coast both together and separately many times, but never with two small, bundle-of-energy boys. We know the pubs, the surf spots, the amazing places to hike to and fish from and we even got engaged in one of these stunning spots many moons ago. But this time it is different. This time it is still about exploring, but it is also about finding fun things to do together, working out how to spend some apart so we don’t all get too crazy, and of course finding the playground in between.

Some things about our life will stay the same. We will still cook every day and do dishes and washing and clean up mess, but we get to do it together. We get to do it in a time that suits us all and hopefully we get to do it in a way that shares it rather than dreads it. The early mornings will stay ridiculously early, no doubt, the surf will still determine the days plan and the weather will dramatically affect the kind of day we are having. But there are lots of things that will hopefully shift a little, and maybe a lot. We get to parent equally and together, which means some times I might even get to be the fun parent. We get to really miss our wonderful friends and family and make more of an effort to catch up, keep in contact and be there for. We get to appreciate where we live and discover amazing new places along the way. We get to find joy in the little things, like really good coffee, or the laughter of our boys playing together in their shared room in the morning, even though it is still dark outside, or the magic an ocean can have on everyone’s moods. I might get to surf a little bit, walk a lot and actually talk to my husband. And hopefully he gets to figure out what might make him a bit happier, or just work out how he can fit more surfing into his days at home.

We are extremely lucky to be able to just leave our lives behind for a bit and indulge in some family time. We know that and have to remember to appreciate that, even when the bubba is still spewing in his bed, the wild child is cracking it in the car and the weather turns to shit keeping us all locked in doors. And it doesn’t really matter what we do or where we do it, but that we get to do it all together for what I’m sure will seem like quite a long time.

So here’s to our adventure, the ups and downs and windy bits where we throw up on ourselves in between. I hope you might get to enjoy some of it with us on the way.

 

I don’t usually cry in doctor’s reception areas, but today I did. Twice.

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

I had an epic day yesterday. I got to work with a childhood hero, doing a dream job for Penguin books. I ran a workshop with English teachers on Melina Marchetta’s books and it went really well. I missed my boys, but I loved being back in my old skin for a day.  So you would think I might be a bit untouchable today. It wasn’t the case.

In my household, we are coming off a week of the boys taking it in turns to get sick. Unexplained vomiting, four trips to the doctors later and mixed reports, nightmares, bed hopping, sore throats, and something I can’t even put here in words, equals everyone being a bit worn down. Add to that preparing for the trip of a lifetime and I suppose the warning bells should have sounded before it went as pear shaped as it did.

The wild child refuses medicine. I even bribed him with a new toy last week to take Panadol to get his temp down, but he immediately threw it up, then looked over to me through his tears, checking he would still get the toy. So four days of complaining of a sore throat that we have both had was it for me. I took him in. And I knew medicine was never going to be the answer.

At the risk of making a gross understatement, he doesn’t like the doctors much. About as much as the bubba likes strangers. So put us in a room with two doctors, both about 22, and try and look into the very sore throat. I swear I would have had more success wrestling two baby goats onto a bicycle than I did trying to hold, calm, assist and actually help the doctor look in his mouth. Then another doctor also has to have a look and by now both kids are screaming their heads off and trying to sit on my lap simultaneously.

Then the words came;” Well you look like you have your hands full.” And that was all it took. No actually the next sentence was the clincher, “You are doing such a good job.”

I resisted punching all three of them and instead burst into tears. I don’t know what it is about those words but they press buttons for me. They might be sympathetic and just grateful it isn’t them, but I interpret this as “you have absolutely no control over these little monsters and you look like you are losing your mind.” I rarely do have control, and at that point my mind was kicking back on a beach somewhere, gone, way out of  my reach. So I burst into tears. Me, the wild child, the bubba all bawling, all for different reasons, All inconsolable.

And then we head to the treatment room for the inevitable needle in the bum.

Well if I wasn’t already crying, tricking my son into lying on his tummy with my phone, then lying to him and then pinning him down, with the baby on the floor also screaming was sure to do it.  Watching that massive needle go in, knowing exactly what that feels like and hurting for him was awful. And then the bloody receptionist was so nice, she carried my crying, squirming bubba, because while I can carry them both to the car, getting the keys out and them in is a whole other ball game.

And then 20 minutes later we do it again, this time at my doctor and this time in a much bigger, busier waiting room, with people I knew. We had bought a Lego treat for getting the needle, but of course in true almost-four-year-old style, the Lego needed to be opened and assembled instantly, and the little brother who is pushing him and didn’t get a needle, is touching the precious new toy. So the wild child pushes the wobbly bubba over. He smacks his head, screams, I remove the Lego, threaten to bin it and try and get him to sit on a seat as a time out. Bahahaha why would that work? It is public, people have nothing to do except look at you, and everyone has the pleasure of my Parenting 101: How to respond to hurting your sibling in public.

What do I do? I start crying, or keep crying to be honest.

Why? I was mortified. Humiliated. Frustrated. Alone. Judged. And I felt like a tennis ball with razor blades had taken up residence in my throat.

So I walked outside. Left my stuff, took the baby and went out the front. Amazingly the screaming wild child follows and sits down when I ask him to. He looks at me, sees that I am crying, reaches up and gives me a cuddle. Well at least there is some element of empathy in him, even when he is sick, angry and has a very sore bum cheek. We return, with a tenuous grip on my sanity and this time this receptionist also comes over to see if I am okay. How do you reply to that? Yeah thanks, I just cry a lot in doctor’s surgeries when my kids are going bananas.

It’s almost enough to get me through the news that I have a virus, (so the public exhibition was a total waste of time, not to mention money), then that my grumpy, bubba who has just stopped vomiting, has a burst ear drum. Poor little mite! That might explain a week of crying. And with any luck it might mean he starts to feel better, just in time for the trip.

So we hop in the car and we come home. I can’t face any more public humiliation today. Let the penicillin kick in for the wild child and the bubba’s ear release the pressure it’s built up. And maybe even let my crazy brain just settle back down.

I need a rest, before we go back for round two tomorrow.

 

 

 

Overreaction much!

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

I am an overreactor. According to my husband I am also one of the world’s greatest exaggerators, but I just don’t know where he gets that from!

It has become clear to me that small children exist in two states: happily occupied with toys, food, tv, books, a tree, play equipment etc or wildly screaming, thrashing about and throwing objects/ arms and legs/ food. And they move from one state to the next instantaneously. Often there is no warning about the change in state, just a very public display and a fair dose of shame to follow it.

Now I wouldn’t say I embarrass easily. I am happy to do the worst dancing deliberately on a serious, lollipop sucking dancefloor, I laugh loudly, swear inappropriately and argue passionately. But when my wild child does the split personality thing, in public and directed at other people, I get embarrassed.

And then I overreact.

So today, (that one is for you Kate O), we are doing Toy Library duty. We have the usual conversation in the car on the way there about other people will also come, some will stay and others will just borrow stuff, the toys are not yours, but you can play with them all as long as you share, yadayada. He’s heard it all before, I’ve said it all before, I know he gets it. And yet when a smaller boy arrives and dares to get in the car that the wild child had decided was exclusively for him, he turns on the meanest voice he has and tells him to “get out of my car now!”.

Cue embarrassed mother, scared child. I know the kids mother and she is lovely and she just ignored it. I didn’t. I couldn’t. There is nothing about me as a person or as a mother that says I don’t need to react to that situation. I know some people would actively ignore that (bahaha that is a very funny parenting phrase), but I think that warrants a response from me. So I turn on my “I’m not very happy that you have publicly embarrassed us both” voice and tell him not to use the mean voice, and to apologise. Yeah, not going to happen. Instead he spits it, bawling, trying to scratch me and yelling that is his car. I carry him outside for a bit of alone time, tantrum continues. Now I ignore. I tried to force him to apologise, then threaten him he will sit in the car (the real car not the toy one) if he doesn’t, and then tell him I am not going to come and look at what he has made until he apologises. He does say sorry eventually, I go look at the pile of sand (!!) and for the rest of the session I keep making excuses for that ridiculous behaviour. The child’s mother says things like, its really hard when they have picked a toy they have chosen, and the other mother says her son has been chucking some rippers too.

I don’t like making excuses for this kind of stuff that is unacceptable and yet I hear myself saying, he was really sick on Tuesday maybe it is the after effect of that, then he needs to do a poo so that becomes another excuse. (I don’t know about your kids but he is always really weird and naughty just before he does a poo!)

Yes it is probably all really normal. Yes you can’t really control your kids much of the time. Yes you need to call them on behaviour that is unnacceptable. But did I just make it worse? Am I modelling the mean voice too often? Is it true that they really are out of sorts at the half year of their age, more unncoordinated, more teary, less patient? I don’t know. But I leave feeling crappy that he was mean to a boy, I feel crappy that I asked him to say sorry and he yelled and screamed before he did, I feel crappy that both of those other mothers would have probably handled the whole situation better and that is why neither of their kids were the ones exhibiting the split personality of mine.

Maybe he did learn a lesson today but it was totally the wrong one. And as the teacher, I have to wear that. At least it wont be too long before I have a chance to get it right…

 

Not such Great Expectations

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

I very good friend of mine has a strategy that if you don’t have very high expectations then you can’t get disappointed.

It doesn’t work for me. I have very high expectations, of everyone, including myself, all of the time. Sure there are disappointments, but that’s life. You deal with it and you move on. Or in the case of me the scorpio, you deal with it, move on and then never ever forget! I have high expectations of what I can achieve in a day, of how much help my husband can be, of how fantastic our weekend should be, of having a healthy diet etc. And there is my kids.

My expectations vary from day to hour to situation to minute. Sometimes I aim for getting in and out of the supermarket without having to do the “I’m very mad with you, but don’t want these strangers to know” whisper. Other times I just want to be able to go for a walk without having to stop every minute. And sometimes I just want dinner to stay on the table and some of it go into bellies rather than on the floor. Praise; no. Enjoyable family time; no. Full tummies; yep I’ll settle for that every time.

So what on earth made me think that my wild child would able to do some modelling. Maybe just that, I thought he could so some modelling. He has done a little bit before, both of these times were one session for under an hour. He was great, loved it and far exceeded my expectations. This time they want him to do lots of sessions with lots of clothes on and off each time. No props, no entertainment, just smiling for the camera in a hot studio wearing hoodies and coats. So typical to the wild child’s form, he absolutely stuns me. He loves it, smiles, laughs, even gives one of the girls taking the pics a kiss! Next time is a location shoot, its pouring rain and cold and yet somehow he turns it on for the camera, gets changed, poses, laughs, follows instructions, remarkable. But then he has to go back to the studio and do some more, and he doesn’t love it. He is uncooperative, difficult, naughty, demanding because he is obviously bored. By now my expectations are so low, I just want him to stop running around and stand on the spot for a second to get the pic. It’s not going to happen. But to be fair to him, we are all probably expecting too much. They have  no one entertaining him, the chubba bubba is crawling into the shot, up on the swinging chairs, down the hall, the staff are making idle threats about getting another model, as if he cares!

So what do you do? Perservere with it and hope they can pull some tricks out of the bag to get him back on track?  Bribe him with something he really wants? Pull out of it even though you are only about half way through the gig? (Even though when I agreed I had no idea this was the deal!)  My expectations are probably still way too high to expect a nearly four year old, busy, inquisitive little boy to dress up and smile for the cameras. I wonder what else I will expect of him that is way beyond him because he is the oldest? At the moment we are trying to get his manners in operation 100% of the time. We expect him to eat his dinner at the table. We expect him to tell us when he needs to go to the toilet and we expect him to play nicely with his brothers and his friends.

Meanwhile his little brother has just started walking. At the same age, the wild child was feeding himself, making a bit of sense with his words and running, but because, for the moment, he is the baby, then very little is expected of him, as it should be at 16 months of age. Will being the firstborn mean the wild child always has higher expectations on him? Will these mean that he will achieve much higher than his brother? Or will the pressure to try and be and do more than he can be negative? And will the lower expectations mean my chubba bubba is happier because far less is expected of him? Or will he be lazy and rely on others to always do it for him? Or will my expectations make absolutely no difference to these strong willed, determined, fearless little boys?

Ultimately my expectations of them do not matter. But perhaps what does are the expectations they will eventually have for themselves. And for that I am grateful that neither of them are scorpios!

 

What if who we are isn’t quite enough?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Most of the time I love being the mother of sons.

Well maybe not today as the wild child hid under the clothing racks in Witchery and then started licking the mirror after he was asked to stand still. Or when I put the cheeky bubba down and they both preceded to wrestle on the floor in fits of laughter.

I know that the energy, the risk taking, the boundary pushing and all the wrestling can seem like hard work now when they are little and pretty much uncontrollable. But as a teacher of teenage boys, I know that this energy, the desire to be and do rather than analyse and doubt can be so positive. I particularly like the immediacy of boys, their innate ability to live in the moment. Often this is frustrating, and as an English teacher, can have negative effects. Some days you long for the perfectionism of some girls, their desire to improve and the work ethic they employ to get the best results. But usually the ability to move on, get over it, laugh at themselves is refreshing and makes it easy and pleasant to be in their company. Boys can forget quickly, they can make the same mistakes over and over and over, wear the consequences and get on with it. My wild child is a bit like this, but he is not quite four, so there is a long road ahead to the grunting years of secondary school.

Yesterday he surprised me. His teacher at daycare told me how she loved how he speaks up for another little boy who is shy and younger than the others. She described my wild child with such tenderness, telling me how he sweetly looks after this other little boy, only a tiny bit littler than him, that I had to look away. It made my heart melt.

Recently, the experiences of two young men have made me question just how much boys, or any child for that matter, are self determined, and how much impact parents can really have. These two young men are in strife. They have massive drug addictions, mental health issues, are engaging in criminal behaviour and are at risk of hurting themselves and others. They come from families that love them, with both parents still happily together and with the best intentions for their sons in the forefront of their busy lives. These parents have done the best with their kids, and yet this is the situation they are now facing. Both talk candidly about the trouble their sons are in, and when you look into their faces as they share their stories, the pain in their hearts is palpable. They know they have made mistakes, as have their sons, but at the moment the consequences are much more difficult for their parents.

These men both have had some difficulty in their lives, but so do a lot of teenage boys and they don’t all turn out like this. So you wonder what went wrong. Do we get a chance as parents to map out their journey, or are we merely observers? Is it our job to know which friends are going to do more harm than good and very carefully steer them in a different direction without making that friendship even more appealing? Is it enough to teach our boys to communicate effectively? Reflect carefully? And know how to reach out to those who will always be there if things do get out of hand? We will make mistakes, as they will, and we have to teach humility with our own examples. But we also have to make them accountable for their behaviour.

And maybe just hope with everything you have that our beautiful boys will continue to surprise us, in the best possible ways.

 

When the easy baby becomes the hard one

Monday, March 18th, 2013

My cruisy, cuddly baby boy is growing up. Just a little every day until one day you look at him and you think, you are just not that little baby any more. You remember what the wild child was doing at his age and how much older he seemed then. With the first one, you are desperate for all of those milestones, not for the sense of achievement, but just to know what the next stage will be like. But with the second you try and keep them babies for as long as you can.

At fifteen months my bubba still isn’t walking. His brother was running by this stage. And I think that made him seem older. He could stand up while drinking and eating, he no longer had a bottle at all, he ate what we ate, he had a few more words and he was getting wilder. For the bubba, he is changing. He now chases his brother round in a fury and when he gets him he tackles him. They both squeal in delight at this, until someone gets hurt. He throws his head back hard, whenever he doesn’t get what he wants, he throws bowls of food and he is refusing to go to sleep by himself.

Sure he still loves being held and cuddles into you when he has his blankie. He crawls so fast he doesn’t need to walk yet and you know pretty clearly what he wants with all the noise and the gestures. But now he is the one to watch. He is the one crawling up and down the aisles at a christening, or screaming in the supermarket. He is the one that you have to pin down to get clothes on, or dont bother and just get really good at putting nappies on standing up. He now steals toys, knocks over towers his brother has built and wacks the dog in the head for attention. And he is the one who is obsessed with his Dad.

You forget how they change from gorgeous little chubby babies into toddlers with personalities. It is lovely to watch and wonder which of this behaviour will stay and determine the kind of person he will become. You laugh at his antics, and laugh that he loves an audience. You try and teach him to be gentle or watch him quickly find out what consequences are. You watch him discover and realise and delight. You watch as the rock pools become fascinating, the table become something to climb on, and his brother become a constant source of entertainment. You watch them play and interact and inevitably fight. And you remember all of this change that the first went through.

And then you reconsider what it might be like if there was another trailing along, not too far behind. Maybe my husband is right.

Just dont tell him yet.

 

Welcome to the world of kinder.

Friday, January 25th, 2013

 

So the wild child is off to kinder. Although when you are three they don’t really call it kinder, but it’s much easier than saying 3 year old activity group all the time.

He starts next week and he’s very excited. Now he has done lots of activities in the past, even a few without me. But for some reason this one feels a bit different and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is because kinder is the first educational experience he has been involved in. The first one where it is accepted, expected and possibly even helpful, for him to be compared with the other children.

It is the first one that really matters if he doesn’t fit in.

I’m not too sad about the fact he is growing up and starting kinder. I know for many parents this must be a little bit challenging. Although I dare say, the majority of us are very happy to have Friday mornings organized with an activity for the rest of the year.

It is more about how my wild, cheeky, busy little boy will respond to this new environment. There are expectations and rules and standards to be met. There are times and places for different behavior. There are many other children who will be far better behaved than him and I’m not sure how this will affect him. Or me.

You see the orientation meeting didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Look, he wasn’t the child that spewed during the play session, but he certainly made his mark. As we arrived, I sat down to chat to a couple of other Mums that I sort of know. They both have sons; their sons are buddies. So the wild child ran off to where they were playing, keen to be part of it and make some new friends. However, within minutes he had run into one of the boys and bumped him over. I think this was his weird, little boy way of trying to be part of the group. How I wish he could have just said hi! These Mums were really cool about it, as perhaps most Mums of sons are.

Anyway, we played, I chatted, he ran, and climbed and ran some more. The one positive was, he loved the place. The other positive was another little boy ran with him and he was much littler. This time the wild child ran beside and not into him. Thank God. And everyone commented on how much energy he has. Not in a particularly positive way I might add.

So I just don’t know how he will go this year. I don’t know whether he will make friends using his words, or by playing games, or laughing at their antics or copying the clever things they do. I don’t know whether he will get into trouble for not listening, or sharing, or staying still, or fighting. I don’t know if he will find other children who don’t like him and who wont let him play. I don’t know if he will drive the teachers mad. I don’t know if he will cry when I say goodbye.

But I suppose that is part of the adventure of being a parent, and being a kid.

I do know that he will grow and learn and change. I do know that he will make clever things. I do know that he will learn to follow the rules, even if it is because he finds out what the consequences are when he doesn’t. I do know that he will surprise me.

So even though I am scared that he won’t fit in, or that he will be really naughty and the teachers wont like him very much. Or that I will have some awkward conversations with these teachers about some choice words he has used, or other words he hasn’t used to sort out disputes with other children. The thing that worries me the most is that he won’t have fun there.  I worry that he won’t make friends, laugh, play and come home filled with even more energy and stories of some real friends! I worry that kinder wont be somewhere that he feels like he belongs.

And perhaps what scares me the most, is that if that is case, this time I can’t fix it.

What if all the Mums were Dads?

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

How different would the world we live in look, if all the Mums staying at home bringing up their kids, were Dads doing the same?

I watch my husband on weekends when he gets to hang out with the boys and I realise how much better he is at this parenting business than me. He is patient for one. Now, thankfully, he also loses it on the fifteenth request for the three year old to get his shoes on, or dodging the fourth piece of toast that gets flung from the hand of the one year old. But I probably would have started the count down on the third request and given up on the toast all together.

He loves being outside. Just like the wild child and the crazy baby, he happily spends hours outside, all day even. He builds and fixes and makes and mends. I water the plants and bring the washing in and play with the boys, but if I had my choice, I would much rather lie on the trampoline reading a book.

So I wonder, what would our kids be like if most of the primary carers were Dad’s? Now I know these ideas don’t fit every dad, but they do apply to some.

Would kids happily live on meat and fruit? Potentially not even being able to recognise a zucchini or capsicum?

Would they roll around and wrestle and sort it out themselves, without the high pitch female voice telling them to stop?

Would they wear really badly matching clothes? Who would care if they did? Or like in my house in summer, would just shorts suffice?

Would they happily watch any kind of sport on the telly, just as long as it had men competing?

Would hair ever get washed with anything stronger than water?

Would parks be filled with men hanging out with their kids, chasing and running and throwing balls and riding skateboards? This is a picture I love. I just wonder how many extra kids might have a plaster cast on an arm or leg.

Would kids learn to put dishes in the dishwasher and clothes in the basket? Or would this all happen on one afternoon a week when the mess gets too much? How much more fun could you have if you only had to clean up once a week!

Would prams become obsolete as men just carry their kids around, on shoulders, backs, upside down, with one hand?

It is a world I love the look of. Happy, busy, outside kids. Few hanging out in cafes or shops, instead going to the hardware store or taking the take away coffee to the look out to climb and jump and play in the dirt. Kids might learn to fish or ride bikes earlier or throw balls higher.

But then maybe this is all so appealing to me because I have boys and I know that boys need awesome men around them to grow into awesome men themselves. Maybe I just wish for a world where there is more part time of everything for everyone. I don’t know but I’d like to see how it goes for a while.

 

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