Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Well it’s no Ramsay St, but it’ll do

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Neighbours. I’ve always been a little bit sketchy on the topic. But just recently my son has fallen in love with the two kids next door. He adores them. They are a bit a older and have school, luckily or he would be over that fence calling out to them every day. No actually he does call out to them every day, but if they were home they might answer every day and be over here. It works really well. It’s not like the normal play date.  Their parents are not really my friends, he has chosen the kids. So we stay in our own homes and the kids play at one of them. I get a few things done whether they are here or there and he has a wonderful time.

It’s a rarity for me, to let him play with kids without hovering around him, checking he isn’t hitting them or smashing stuff. I am a bit of a helicopter parent, I’m not proud of it, but I would much rather prevent the fight than mend the consequences. I don’t care if he climbs fences or trees, or rides a bike down a hill, but when he is playing with other kids, especially at other peoples’ houses, I keep a close eye. Most of the time he is awesome and his vivid imagination and keen sense of humour means he has a ball playing with them. But it only takes one too many wrestles on the trampoline or one too many hits with a tennis racket for it too all come crashing down. So I talk to my friends, follow the crawler around and watch him out of the corner of my eye.

But when he is over at the neighbours, I can’t do this. I like it, but it’s weird. He’s only been allowed to stay for very short stints so far because they have been on their way out – or so they say, maybe this is their way of getting rid of  him early – but he’s there on his own nonetheless. I wonder how he does without me watching and reacting? I don’t expect too much impulse control of a child who is three and a half, and I know when the kids are here that he equally entertains them and annoys them. But they do that to each other as well and they are brother and sister.

I’m sure the novelty of the funny little boy coming over to play will wear off, and even the appeal of our trampoline will get tired, but for now they all enjoy it. For the time being, his calling out over the back fence gets answered, so it’s lovely that they can enjoy each others company at the end of the day when the activities are over and I’m trying to get some dinner ready. And generally he only cracks it when he has to come home, but then he’s my problem to deal with anyway.

And at least there is one screaming episode for the day that they do understand. The rest of them they can keep wondering what on earth is happening in this crazy house next door.

If only I was ….. again

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I was talking with some old work colleagues the other day about our favourite age to be. One of the older guys said he wishes he was 9 again, like his grandson, without a care in the world. We disagreed.

Sure it would be fun to be 9. Your whole world would consist of playing with your friends and getting everything else done for you by your parents. You are independent enough to get food and drink when you need it, walk to the shop by yourself with your buddies and hang out all day at the skate park or kicking the footy. You still like kids movies and you might even still believe in the fat bearded man. You still like your parents and fights with your mates are usually over who is the hottest in the band you love or the best player in your footy team. Life is still pretty simple.

I did agree that being 9 was far better than being 15. I don’t know about you but for me being a teenager was just a rollercoaster of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Your first kiss. Your first concert. Sleepovers at friends houses. Getting ready for parties. Meeting the boy you liked at the local park. School camps. But it was also, getting your period. Wearing bathers in front of the whole school when you felt like you were the only person to have boobs! That boy you liked kissing your friend. Your friend lying about it. Your other friend telling you about it. Everyone talking about it. Coming home from parties, drunk, vomiting, embarrassed and then hungover and having to go to work all Sunday at the icecream shop without spewing on a customer, or yourself. Pretending to really like smoking cos everyone else did. Getting caught by your parents for sneaking out/ having a party/ wagging. Not being allowed to go to your best friends sixteen birthday party because you had to go on a family holiday to Warnambool.

Yeah, there is nothing about that time that makes me want to go back and repeat it. And I had it pretty easy. I didn’t get picked on at school, and I didn’t do anything about those kids that did. For some people their teenage years were a horrible, cruel experience.

So we agreed on being in our early twenties again. Single, or madly in love. Travelling to fabulous places with little money and low expectations and loving every minute of every experience that entailed. Making life long friends at Uni, when your lunch break was spent at the pub and you discovered attributes and talents you never dared to believe you might have. Dressing up, going out and dancing until you had to take off your shoes. Not being too accountable to anyone. Living out of home. Pretending to be a grown up and then going back to your parents for some cash, or home cooked food, or internet access. Kissing someone you really liked for the first time.

I’m only in my thirties and my life has been rich and full and blessed. I wonder when my kids are teenagers and I’m on the other side of the teenage experience that I might look back and remember my beautiful baby boys who still needed cuddles and stories and laughed at me in delight, rather than embarrassment. I wonder if then I will wish I was 35 again. As I sleep in till 9 on a Sunday morning and have to wake my teenage sons up to go somewhere, can pee in private and take them both on an overseas plane trip, to somewhere that doesn’t revolve around playgrounds. Will I look back fondly on the toddler years? Hmmm I doubt it.

 

What does love look like?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

It is laughter and cuddles and stories in bed.

It is singing and dancing, even when you can’t hear that song anymore.

It is listening to that story and answering that question – again.

It is finding where the diggers are and hanging out watching them.

It is kicking the footy, or playing tennis, or soccer.

It is responding to “watch me Mum” with a smile at another flip on the trampoline.

It is telling a new story, in bed, every night.

It is feeling their pain.

It is hearing their side of the story, even if you disagree.

But it is also challenging behaviour that is not okay.

It is saying no.

It is reminding the please and thankyou’s to always make their presence felt.

It is turning off the TV.

It is making more lego, or blocks, or pretend cups of tea.

It is putting vegies on their plate, every day.

It is brushing teeth, no matter what.

It is teaching them to put dirty clothes in the basket and dishes in the sink.

It is teaching them how to play nicely with others, the joy of friendship is yet to be appreciated.

It is worrying that they will be happy.

It is biting your tongue and letting them learn.

It is catching them when they fall.

It is letting them be.

 

A little perspective

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I wanted to write a piece about being sick. About how when it was just me, being sick sucked, but I could take a day off work, rest and recover. Motherhood doesn’t cater for sick days. So this week, despite catching the horrible bug that everyone else seems to have had this winter, not much changed. My days still started at 5.30, dishes, cooking, washing, entertaining, imagining, playing all still got done. Somehow. And it sucked.

And then today I caught up with someone I haven’t seen for ages. Someone who, even when they are fighting fit, is doing it tough. She is a single Mum, with three year old twins, one who has been diagnosed with autism and another whose speech is about as clear as my eight-month-old. Tough gig.

It was really great to see her and hopefully now our Mother’s Group is reuniting for a playgroup afternoon, I will see her more often. But I found myself walking away hoping I hadn’t been patronising. Someone told me the other day that no one likes to be pitied. So I tried not to do that. But the conversation you have with someone whose situation is very different to yours has to be carefully thought through. Work? No. Husbands? No. Annoying habits of toddler? Definitely not. There is absolutely no way I can complain, even for one second, about the wild toddler running around the room, talking non-stop, cuddling his brother, asking me to help him build a farm and a house and the room we are in. Nor the fact my bub just slept for 30 mins instead of a decent sleep. Or the fact that our recent car accident and subsequent new car means we have no money at the moment. Or that I would love to go back to work next year, but I can’t afford to put two kids in day care for three days a week.

So instead, I sat on the floor and played with my toddler. I talked to her gorgeous children and to her about TV and what you do when the rain never stops and good DVD’s that my son likes. I enquired about treatment and progress. I tried to share some stories of beautiful kids I have taught with special needs and what the positives of living in oblivion of teenage angst might be like for some of them. But when the clock ticked over and we decided to leave, I happily packed up all the toys and juggled two kids, an alarm and key lock thingy and put my smiling, happy boys in the car.

My hacking cough will go away. my children will eventually sleep past 5am, and my husband might even cook dinner tonight.

Even when things get harder than they usually are, they are still not as hard as they are for some people every day.

 

My son is an addict

Monday, August 13th, 2012

My adorable three year old, is a total full blown addict. It’s got him, hook, line and sinker and I don’t know how we will ever get him to give it up. It’s his dummy and he absolutely loves it. Well, all five of them to be honest.

He has always been a bad sleeper, and even now we get up to him more than his baby brother. For a long time it was to retrieve a dummy, or two, or three. I put bedding around the edge of his cot so they wouldn’t fall out the sides. I gave him all five so at least he would find one in the night when he lost them. But I kept giving them back to him. Every night.

He used to have them when he slept during the day. Then it was in the car to have a sleep. Now it is only at night. They stay in his room during the day. But he knows they are there and occasionally he sneaks in and has a suck on one. It’s like he has to get his little fix. He had friends over the other day and they were watching a DVD. He gave him two of his great loves, the telly and his buddies to stay in his room, with his dummies because he knew they were not allowed out his room.

I said I would take them away when he was three. I bought a toy to trade for them. But I couldn’t go through with it. They are too good. Nothing rivals the dummy. He will go to sleep without any dramas when he has them, and often sleep all night with them. I’m too scared of what might happen if I try to wean him off them. I know they are bad for his teeth. I know he is too old for them. Like everything else, when we do it, it will probably be without the drama I expect. Just like the transition to a bed and out of nappies. But I still can’t bring myself to do it. And at the moment it is my greatest negotiation tool. Just the mention of them going in the bin brings instant and remarkable results.

So maybe the problem isn’t with the three year old at all. Maybe the addiction is household wide. How will we ever give them up?

Maybe I’ll just let him have them forever. Maybe then he can stay my baby boy and never become a cigarette smoking teenager. A mother can only hope I guess…

 

 

There’s no such thing as a slime monster

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Winston Churchill called it his black dog. For me that conjures up a ferocious image, something that is quite tangible and finite. But for me its much more sloppy than that. Perhaps a more appropriate description might be the slime monster, that my three year old often searches for and runs screaming from. I feel the same way. Whenever I feel it creep up and tap me on the shoulder, I shrink away in horror, surprised once again by its presence. It continues to arrive unannounced and take me by surprise. Sometimes it takes days to meander over, worm its way up and inside me and just exist. Other times it slaps me in the face and I reel back shocked that I really didn’t see it coming. It doesn’t hang around long, well not anymore, and it can’t really sink its teeth like it used to. There are too many other distractions now. With two little people relying on me, staying in bed just isn’t an option, ever, not even when that slime monster pins me down, suffocating me with its blackness. I have to shrug it off until it slinks back down around my ankles. It’s still there, slowing me down, making each step a little more labored. Some days it even bleeds right through my outside, and stains the parts inside, the parts that count. That’s when the outside feels it too. The smile doesn’t quite stick like it should, the temper frays a little further up the line, and the shoulders sink.

I analyse it endlessly. Why now? Why today? When will it pass? Will anyone notice? Do my kids sense it? Hopefully not, hopefully no one senses it and if they do, they have enough sense not to say. I fight it off with vigor. It has no place here this slime monster. Can’t you see that I don’t need you, you are no help to me anymore, not that you ever were.

I put up my armor, the toughest kind.

I laugh. I cuddle. I dance. I get wet sloppy kisses in return from my boys. They hold my feet firmly on the ground. They remind me what is real. There’s no such thing as a slime monster Mum, remember, they are just pretend.

 

And I hope so much they are right.

Beer niggles without the beer?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I used to love drinking with my mates. Going out, having a few beers, wines, bubbles, whatever and having a dance and a laugh. I still love it, I just don’t get the chance to much anymore. But what I don’t miss is the aftermath, the beer niggles. When you wake up and the night returns to you, painfully bright in fluro colours, with every embarrassing thing you did on re-run in your mind. I envy people who can’t remember anything from the night before. Unfortunately, that never happened to me. I still vividly remember, and I just blushed with embarrassment, at hiding in a cubicle at my 21st birthday, totally overwhelmed at the occasion, and furious at my uncle for offending one of my best friends.

As I get older, I’m finding myself get more reflective. And this is not particularly helpful. I read into what people say and do or how they react. Even with really good friends, that I adore spending time with, I can come away feeling guilty for not knowing something I should have. Or reacting inappropriately, or offending without intention. I’m not adverse to confrontation and I’m happy to say it how it is. But when I don’t intend to put someone offside, or comment on something without knowing the full story, I often walk away with regret. I play the incident over and over in my head. Often texting, or calling someone to check if I have offended and to apologise for being a knob. I don’t feel like this when other people say odd things to me, yet I cannot get over it, sometimes for days.

It’s wasted energy. I need to stop. I figure I either have two choices, stop talking to people, or stop worrying about not coming across as perfect. No-one is and I have never expected to be. Instead I need to laugh it off. Think it through, realise you can’t change it and move on. We cannot please everyone all of the time. People love us for our flaws as well as our nice bits. Well that’s how I feel about my mates and I’m pretty sure that’s how they feel about me. So from now I’m just going to get on with it. It ruins the fun afternoon, or dinner if you just replay the whole thing in your head.

Instead maybe I will apologise in advance, and then order a jug of beer.

Speaking fluent three-year-old is sending me around the bend

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t speak the same language as my three year old that is making me crazy. Today was a fairly typical day in my house. The only adult conversation I had in daylight hours was with the lady at Medicare, and she thought my son was a girl, so you can imagine the level of satisfaction that gave me.

Thursday is also our activity free day, and it’s school holidays, and it was raining. Cue madness.

So my day starts with my two boys in bed with me and, on reflection, the highlight of the day. My three year old hugged and told me he loved me. He has never done that before without some prompting so I was quite touched. I won’t give him the credit to say it was to prepare me for the day ahead, but if I didn’t know better I’m sure he was trying to butter me up.

The morning was fairly average, a demand for porridge, made a specific way and then the usual dance I do to get him to eat it. Warm it up, cool it down, make a honey face, race him to eat it, tell him it helps his baby brother learn to eat, bribes, threats, make something else, and eventually something gets eaten. By one of us anyway. Seriously, in the land of being three, why does every meal require the patience of Brendan Fevola’s wife and the energy and excitement of a Playschool host!

Some days I’m happy to invent games, make jokes, wait, and quietly repeat myself a hundred times. Today was not one of those days. Whether it was a combination of being bored, the start of a cold, my anxiety levels starting to drop after the painful process of replacing my written-off car, we were just both in a bad mood. Maybe in the middle of winter I can blame it on the rain. But we all know how that ends…

What do other people do when the pattern of arguing with each other and the frustration levels have peaked and it’s only 10am? How do other mums keep their cool, keep inventing games and making the most simple things like getting in their car seat when it’s pouring rain and you are the one on the outside of the car fun, when you know their is not another adult around until after the madness of dinner and bath time are finished?

Normally I get outside. Fresh air, sunshine and space fixes anything. But when it’s freezing and wet and everyone has green gremlins streaming out of their noses, it’s not really an option. Yesterday I tried it. I got soaked and we had to hide under cover at the Cricket Club for half an hour just to get back home. Today I risked it again and it paid off. There is something about a brief moment of sunshine, the presence of strangers, a swing and a fat kid on a scooter that brightens everyones day. For a couple of hours we don’t argue. He swings, runs and scoots happily, the baby sleeps and I just watch. The other adults there are tourists here on holidays so I don’t know any to chat to.

But the quiet is bliss.

Dinnertime was the same madness. Get the toddler to choose, then cook it in the hope he will eat it. Let’s just say I ate mine cold with a bub pulling my hair, and he had a sandwich. I hear myself exclaim ‘why bother’ again for another night this week. Some days seem to last forever and I feel like I am employed by the CIA to crack the code of The Toddler.  I finally had an adult conversation after bath time and honestly, sometimes they are not all they’re cracked up to be anyway.

If someone could just give me a crash course in The Language of the Three Year Old, maybe just some of the craziness would bypass me. Until then, I’ll just keep blaming it on the rain.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

One thing that I struggle to understand is people who have no idea what they would like to do for a job, or do a job they hate. Now there are many reasons why we have to stay employed when it’s not our favourite thing to do, but people who do this for decades are mad.

I’ve come to realise this even more in my current job. By god it is the hardest job I have ever done. It’s monotonous, exhausting, lonely, demanding and the pay is terrible. It’s also by far the greatest thing I have ever done in my life and a huge privilege to experience. Of course it’s motherhood and everything that goes along with it.

I’ve been back at work in between children; teaching, tutoring, writing book reviews, managing an online university subject, packing boxes in a warehouse, choreographing the school production and sometimes all at once. Recently someone offered me a fantastic job, something I would love to do and could maybe fit in with my two children next year so I am very lucky that opportunity keeps knocking for me. But for others who are stuck or unsure or scared, I feel really sad for them.

I know I can work the rest of my life and I’m not dying to get back into it, no that’s not true. I would love to be able to go back to work part time but it’s not that easy. My bub is too little for me to put him into formal daycare and all the grandparents are, (deliberately), not quite drop-in distance. So it will have to wait. But in the meantime things keep popping up and I cannot seem to say no. My first response is always say yes first and then think through the details later. I dont know why I do this. Maybe it has something to do with my over-achieving A-type personality that struggles with the concept of failure. Maybe it is because I get bored easily. Or maybe it is because I hate the thought of missing out.

I am a teacher. I have long defined myself by my career. Hell, even my wedding celebrant was the parent of a kid I taught, (God rest his soul). And when I went on leave to become a Mum I was terrified of what this loss would mean for my self worth, sanity, friendships etc. Seems to be not that much really. I didn’t miss teaching nearly as much as I thought I would. And when I got bored baby raising, I took up a new skill. I taught myself to sew, found fabulous fabric online and started making jumpsuits and t-shirts for kids. Yes I know, highly original! Still it was fun to learn something new, challenge my brain in a different way and get some feedback by selling them at markets. It was fun while it lasted, but then I got a real job and couldn’t find time to do it anymore. But I will crack out the sewing machine again soon and have another go.

Hopefully I will get to go back to work next year in some capacity. I’d love to be opening a gorgeous kids store with beautiful clothes, wooden toys, quirky artwork and furniture, but I wont be. I’d love to be paid to write by someone, anyone really, website, magazine, publisher, local rag, but that is highly unlikely. I’d like to run drama classes for preschoolers and primary kids down here on the coast. Ones that adults don’t have to join in and the kids get to laugh and be funny as much as they like, but I’ll find reasons not to do that yet either. For now I’ll keep those uni students in line with my online tutor role and keep my finger in the pie of senior English by  tutoring some boys at my old school. Oh yeah, and I’ll keep being a Mum to my beautiful boys. The pay aint great, but the perks are pretty good.

So, tell me about this Botox.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

I feel old today. No hang on, I feel old lots of days, today I look old.

I have crappy lighting in both of my bathrooms. It’s my way of living in denial that I am ageing. It’s not very often that I stand there looking at myself in the mirror anyway, but today I must have looked for longer than usual and frowning back at me were some recent arrivals.

I love the sun and own a golden retriever so I spend a bit of time outdoors and I probably don’t look after my skin as much as I should. This coupled with the fact that I have no income to speak of at the moment means my wonderfully expensive moisturiser is unlikely to be replaced this time. And as well as all that I had a massive car accident two weeks ago, so I have been frowning a little bit more than usual.

So I wonder, is it permanent? Or do I just look a bit older at the moment than normal? Is it the horrible winter weather that dries out my skin, makes my hair look flat and turns my usually reliable bronzer into a scary shade of orange? Is it being seven months into breastfeeding where everything you consume gets sucked out of you, and then some.

Who knows. What I do know is that is unlikely that a massive sleep in, facial or holiday are likely to be the solution. And more importantly, it doesn’t really matter. I encouraged a friend to celebrate a birthday that might have gone under the radar next week after reading a quote by Lisa Wilkinson. She was saying how she celebrates every single birthday in a meaningful and significant way to thank her friends for sticking around for another, and to be able to celebrate another fantastic year of her life. It’s a really nice way of looking at things.

Getting old has never bothered me. (But hey I only recently discovered I am 34 not 32 and I was honestly convinced I was! ) I’ve heard my Nana complain for as long as I can remember about how terrible it is to be old. In the next breath she tells me about the latest funeral she attended. I’m under no illusion that  it takes a strong person to age with grace, but I also believe that getting old is somewhat of a privilege. Life doesn’t really owe us anything. Some of us get lucky and some of us don’t. But rather than live with one foot in the grave, if I make it to cardigan wearing, finger pointing, setting my hair age, hopefully the one thing I will still have is a smile and sense of humour.

And for the moment, the car mats can wait for the new car while I sneak in some good face cream instead. While my three year old still likes my ‘winkles’, my bub only sees my smile and my husband is still the light of my life, the botox can wait. Until I’m 35 at least.



Create a Free Blog at Aussie Blogs. | Terms of Service | Privacy | Report Abuse | Privacy | Web Design by 4IT IT Support & Computer Repairs

Skip to toolbar