Archive for the ‘family’ 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 husband is leaving me and I think my sanity might be hitching a ride.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

He’s leaving. It’s not forever, but he hasn’t left yet and I’m already petrified about how on earth I will cope.

I am becoming a surfing widow once again. He is off on the trip of a lifetime and I really hope it is that; the only trip like this he takes in his lifetime. No, not really, I actually hope he completely loves it, the waves pump and he has the best time away with some awesome mates. I absolutely want him to go.

I’m just a bit frightened about what life looks like without him for two and a half weeks. You see I am the breadwinner at the moment. Not as some people think because I am desperate to get back to work, but actually so he could resign and spend some time finding something he really loves doing. So at the moment he is the main carer for the Wild Child and The Stink. He loves it, which is great. He is awesome at it, which is even better.

I have worked often in the last four and half years, I have always done the drop off and pick up and all the looking after. Even while I’m working full time, plus a few other jobs on the side, I have done a few pick ups and drop offs and dinners and lots of all the other stuff so it’s not that I can’t actually do it all, it’s that I might need some help. And this is where the main problem lies, I’m not great at asking for help. My really-amazing-better-than-my-family-because-they-actually-help friends don’t wait for me to ask, they offer and thank god for that. But even then I feel guilty.

I feel guilty that even though I can help out my friends in return, I feel bad that they offer, when my family either can’t or don’t or say no. I know that staying home for two weeks without working wouldn’t be any easier, but it might be less stressful, and financially not much different once the trip and the child care is paid for. I’m okay with feeding them baked beans, or even sushi on the way home. I’m okay with showering every second day, washing clothes on the weekends and being a bit cranky at school. I’m even okay with him being away for my birthday and having the in-laws turn up that night. (Okay I might have drunk a bottle of wine to get through that, but it’s my birthday and I can if I want.)

I just have to view it as an adventure and take the kids on the journey with me. We can all sleep in the big king bed we finally got, we can all hang out and be feral on the weekend together. And if it doesn’t work, we can all hide from the world at home, or the beach, eating icy-poles and reading books.

So if you see me in the next few weeks and I stink, look hungry, are full up to the eyeballs on caffeine to stay awake and don’t recognise you, please don’t take personally, I’m sure the madness will only be temporary. Hopefully it will come back with my surfer boy.IMG_0836

 

 

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.

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.

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.

 

Wanted: A sense of entitlement (or actually a penis might suffice)

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Beware: This post is filled with gross generalisations and stereotypes and may offend some people.

There are many times during the day, week, month, year, that I wish I was male. I have sons too and I see how much they love their dad, the wrestling, ball kicking, barbequing, and the latest male pursuit in my house – fishing. Dad home means outside jobs get done, sport is on the telly and if the surf is on, he’s outta here catching waves. The boys both cry and I am left talking them into whatever the ‘distraction’ might be.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love surfing, even though I am absolutely useless at it, and I admire and envy the passion the men in my town have for it. My husband works really hard and is absolutely entitled to some time to himself on the weekend. I totally respect that and I encourage it. He’s much happier when there’s surf, and happier if he is out amongst it. What I struggle with is that I don’t have the same sense of entitlement that he, and most of the blokes around here have. If there is surf, they are out there, for as long and as often as they can be. On some Saturdays that might mean three surfs. It is the first time for the week they leap out of bed. They love it. The talk, the plan, the search, the swell. It is soul food. It is nourishing and essential.

So here is the problem. I need some soul food that also follows the call of nature, that relies on the wind and the tide and the swell. I need the passion to make my world stop when the surf is calling, at that moment, that beach, that two hour drive on that sunrise. Because I accept it, we all do. It’s not golf that takes all Saturday morning, or many weekends away. It’s not footy that takes all Saturday afternoon, and night, and a big recovery on the Sunday. (Although before kids it was, and I loved it!) It has more urgency and less predictability than that.

I have lots of things I adore and would stop everything to be part of. Most of them have to do with my friends, they are the best soul food there is. But I don’t run, or have a sporting commitment anymore, I don’t meet at a class or a group of a night. Instead I tutor students and attend committee meetings every few months. (Oh my god did I actually just write that sentence, when did I turn 50!) I love the beach, I love markets, I love hanging out in the city, I love live music. But none of these start building with the new swell from the west, and form the basis of all of my internet searching and text messages with mates. The don’t have the same urgency, but maybe they could. So I’m on the lookout for a sense of entitlement, a determination to get some more soul food in. My family would be fine with it, hell they would actually love it if I spent an hour or two every weekend to nourish and revive and refresh. But I need to be fine with it. I need to find the desire and the thirst and the enjoyment of knowing that I am entitled to do something else that I love, more often than every now and then.

Lucky for me, this weekend my kind of swell hits town.  A night in the city, the most gorgeous girls and lots of laughs with some drinks thrown in. The best kind of soul food a girl could ask for. Entitled – hell yeah, Nourished – absolutely.

 

 

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.

 

Feeding time at the Zoo

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

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I don’t know about you, but at my house, feeding time is endlessly entertaining. Not for me, but for anyone standing around watching the chaos that is dinner time, it is hilarious.

The problem is, I don’t see the funny side.  And I am far too embarrassed by the horrid table manners of my children to invite anyone over to share this precious time with me.

It starts with the demands for food. In my house this begins at about 4pm, the 5.30am start contributes to the whole day being much, much earlier than it should. So instead of snacks, I starve my children so they eat dinner. Sometimes it even works.

Generally by this time I have tried to pretend to give the wild child some choice about what he is eating, you know bacon and egg rice or tuna pasta. (It is gourmet in our house, let me tell you. In fact if Masterchef really wants to challenge their contestants, tell them to prepare something that the whole family will eat, in ten minutes, with a whinging baby on one hip, that is super healthy and actually interesting. Good luck.)

Dinner is presented. Bubba gives it one swipe with his hand and his bowl ends up on the floor. Wild child lies face down on the table protesting, hair goes in delicious dinner. Dog tries to lick the dinner off the floor as I catch the spilling cup of water from wild child now moving head out of dinner and into drink. So, the dog gets yelled at, the bubba pulls his bib off and gets served his dinner from the floor back in the bowl. He gets a spoon, I get a spoon, the wall cops the next two spoonfuls. Now I have my head on the table with both children laughing at me and not eating very much at all.

And then the pooing begins. Always at dinner time. Wild child runs off needing to do a poo, bubba starts concentrating, already doing a poo. I wipe one bum, change another bum, wash my hands and we attempt dinner again. Games, songs, races, bribes, threats, eventually most of it is out of the bowls, some in tummies, lots on the floor and a bit in the dog’s mouth.

Hilarious I know.  Now I just wish I could see the funny side of it. Maybe at 5 in the morning when they wake up hungry, the true comedy of this will really shine through.

Some how I doubt 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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