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Princess’s Princess Extravaganza

My little Princess, my first baby, my little cutie pa-tootie, is now a big, grown-up five year old!

It’s been a long week, with lots of sad endings and happy beginnings. Lots of tears (mostly from me, I won’t lie) and lots (read: TONS) of cake!

We said goodbye to Kindy on Monday, which wasn’t too sad an event, since Princess is the youngest of her friends and therefore the last to “jump” into school, as they say. It amazed me the difference in her appearance between the first day at kindy (when she was not-quite-three) and the last day. She is taller, obviously, but her face has changed. I now see what she might look like as a teenager and grown up, and it’s a bit overwhelming!

On Saturday, we had her birthday party – her Princess Extravaganza!

Princess loves the Disney Princesses (and, of course, the movie Frozen) so we planned her party around that general theme.

It’s an amazingly easy theme to use, because there is so much available that fits well within the theme, without breaking the bank!

Decorations

The decorations for the party were very easy and not at all expensive. We had a central table with a cheap table cover on it. Behind the table I stuck to the wall a poster of the Princesses, and printed images of both Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Then we put balloons up to support the decorations. My intention was to make a “skirt” for the table out of crepe paper, but for some completely unknown reason, the crepe paper did NOT smell very nice at all when I opened the packaging, so I binned it!

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The tables were set with more cheap table covers, and then I placed paper Princess place mats at each setting (that I got from a local dollar store). The cups were plain pink plastic cups that I added stickers to! They just ate off plain white disposable plates, I figured there was already enough colour in there. For the food display, I got cardboard disposable Princess bowls from the same dollar store as the place mats, and served food in them. The drink was in a great drink dispenser that I found really cheap at KMart. I was pretty excited to get it for $25, even more so when I saw it for sale in a homewares store for $89.99! An identical one! I ♥ bargains!!!!

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Food

For the food, we let Princess choose her menu. She wanted: Pink Popcorn, Jelly, Cheezels, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Fairy Bread and Sausage Rolls.

For those unfamiliar with Fairy Bread, it is a New Zealand Kid’s Party institution! Basically, it’s white bread with margarine and sprinkles. A winner every time! I cut the fairy bread into star shapes and put it onto platters with “5” shaped peanut butter sandwiches.

The jelly I made in four colours, and served in small plastic containers with little spoons.

The sausage rolls were a hit, as usual – I cut them pretty small so the little kids could easily handle them.

Pink Popcorn

Princess really wanted Pink Popcorn so I searched and searched for food colouring spray but had little luck. So, I decided to attempt to make Pink Candy corn myself, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

2 Cups popcorn (remove all unpopped kernels)

1 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup Water

Food colouring

3 Tbsp Icing Sugar

Boil the sugar and water together over a high heat until it reaches 238F (or, forms a medium ball in cold water). Grease the bowl that the popcorn is in (so the mixture doesn’t stick when added). Have the icing sugar ready, so you can move quickly once the sugar/water reaches it’s desired heat. Add the food colouring just before the syrup is heated properly. Quickly pour the syrup into the popcorn, stirring immediately (right to the bottom on the bowl) and add the icing sugar straight away. The aim is the syrup and the icing sugar stick to the popcorn together and harden, forming the nice candy coating. This is much easier done if you have someone to help you (ideally another grown up because it can get very hot). One can stir while the other adds the icing sugar etc!  Leave it once coated and it will cool and harden and be just like the bought stuff!

Cake

Of course, the cake. The Pièce de résistance of the party. Princess loves her Princess Magiclip dolls, so we had the idea to make Elsa’s staircase (from Frozen, of course!) and put all of her Magiclip dolls on the cake. She had no idea that we had the two Frozen Magiclip dolls, that was my special surprise for her on party day (and boy, was she surprised! “How did you know, MUM!! I love THEM!!!”).

For the cake, it’s simply two chocolate cakes (round) stacked on top of each other, and (relatively painstakingly) we carved steps into the top cake. The top few steps are pieces of cake we took out of the lower steps! We iced it with simple blue-coloured buttercream, trying to keep the cake as dairy free as we could (so BabyGirl could eat some).

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Blue Ice Shards

To make the cake look more like an ice staircase, I made shards of blue “ice” – candy shattered to look like ice! Like the candy popcorn, this was much easier than I thought it would be!

3 3/4 Cups sugar

1 1/2 Cups Corn Syrup (I used Queen Glucose Syrup)

1 Cup Water

1 Tbsp (clear coloured) flavouring/extract – I used strawberry essence because that’s what I had in my cupboard!

Food Colouring

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook (while stirring) over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 149-154C (300-310F), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into a cold glass of water forms hard, brittle threads.

Remove from the heat and stir in the extract and the colouring, then pour into a greased, shallow pan or cookie sheet. Let it cool completely (resist the urge to poke it!) and then shatter it once it is completely cooled and solid, to resemble shattered ice. Note: don’t try to shatter it over the back of a plastic kids chair. The chair came out second best!

 

Party Activites

No party is a party without some activities! Princess was adamant she didn’t want games with clear winners and losers, so we went for activities rather than games.

We had a makeup table with some cheap eye shadow, blushers, foundation etc, and a mirror. We also had some nail polish. The kids loved it. They just went crazy, making themselves up, then making each other up! This was a real hit, the kids kept coming back to it throughout the party.

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We also had a table where kids could make their own “Princess Sofia Amulet” – a table with silver and purple stickers, purple card that I had pre-cut, and silver elastic that I also pre-cut. The kids designed, coloured and proudly wore their own amulets, I saw some kids wearing more than one!

And, the best part of the party – the Princess!

My amazing friend came all dressed up like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and she was AMAZING. Fantastic! I can’t say enough how spectacular her performance was! We hired the dress in the end, and she read to the kids, played, sang, told them stories about her friends, the other Princesses, and held court with the kids for over 45 minutes. She made the party what it was!

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All in all, this was an awesome party that I know my Princess enjoyed. Adored, even! “Mum! Belle knows my NAME” she whispered to me partway through the party!

Ah, to be five again!

 

 

 

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The Sickness Snowball Effect

Living in a house with five people, three of whom are under five, means that, inevitably, when one person gets sick, it snowballs until every person is sick.

Which would be fine, if all five people were able-bodied and capable of tending to their own needs.

Obviously this is not the case in my household.

I tell you, this has been a rough week for the Fantastic Family. In fact, this week I shall rename myself, Fantastic *cough* Mrs *achoo* T.

You know when you get such a bad cold, or tummy ache, or, heaven forbid, the actual flu, and all you want is your Mummy? Well, poos to that – what if you ARE the Mummy? And YOU want YOUR Mummy?! When does it end?!?!?!?!?!

It’s Winter. It it horrible. We apparently have the worst cold and flu season in five years. After this week, I believe it. Do I what.

This is a little over a week, in the Fantastic *cough*sneeze*achoo* Family household. Brace yourselves.

Saturday Morning

I woke up to news that my friend had spent the previous night vomiting. She was the second in our group of friends, though we had assumed the first had food poisoning. I was sympathetic to her plight. Obviously not sympathetic enough. By midday, another friend had been sick. Ruh-roh.

Saturday Evening

The stomach cramps began. The pain, the agony. If I were pregnant I would have driven myself to the labour ward, they were that strong. And, sure enough, the vomiting followed. I was up all night long – judging by the neatly arranged towels on the bathroom floor, I’m pretty sure I slept there. I can’t be certain, the night is a blur. Remember going out on a Saturday night and coming home, feeling a big “off”, wondering what you did the night before, and then sleeping it off? Yea, it was just like that. Except my “out” was the toilet room. And my sleeping it off was non existent. Because Children. And the Snowball Effect.

Sunday Morning

I rise from the dead, feeling barely worth standing. At least the vomiting eased a bit by mid morning. For me. Then BoyChild started. Bless him, he paints a sad picture when he’s sick. He slumps his shoulders, says, “Oh, Mum” in the most heartbreaking voice, then slumps to the toilet to be sick. At one point I found him standing the the corner with his head against the wall. I asked if he were alright and he replied, “Oh, Mum”.

Sunday Afternoon

Well, BoyChild seems to be keeping his toast down. Yay! So, of course, it’s BabyGirl’s turn! And, because she is so little and so vulnerable, it was just painful watching her go through it.

Monday

The tummy bug seemed to have magically skipped both Mr T and Princess, thank heavens for that! We are done! Until …

Thursday

Mr T turns to me and says, “How did your tummy bug start? I don’t feel so good …”

Friday

Ruh Roh. Mr T’s incubation period is obviously a lot longer than ours. Poor fella, he was sick as a dog that day. I just tried to keep the kids as far away as I could.

Friday Evening

I will ignore the sore throat I can feel developing, because NO MORE. It’ll pass, right.

Saturday Morning

Wrong. Wake up feeling a bit gross. Blocked nose, sore throat, the works. I figure, it’ll be a 24 hr thing, I just need to get through it. Mr T had to work all day long so I kept busy with things like housework and entertaining three preschoolers. Mostly by getting them to do housework.

Saturday Night

Ruh Roh. Fever, shakes, headache, stomach cramps, chest cough, the actual works.

Sunday Morning

How the heck could this cold be WORSE than last night?! I actually think my body was shutting down. The pain. The cold – I lit the fire at 9am and didn’t move from that spot all day. The fever. The cough. Oh, dear lordie. I called my Mum and cried that I neeeeeeeeeeeeeded her (unfortunately she lives 4.5 hours drive away and couldn’t come, though did offer some very reassuring words). I cried when BabyGirl headbutted me. I cried because I WAS SICK AND I DIDN’T WANT TO BE SICK. And, more than anything, I wanted to be the baby that day. I wanted to lie on the ground in front of the fire and moan and whine and be waited on. But, Mr T had to work and someone had to look after the kids. I tell you what, it’s hard work being a Mum, when the last thing you feel like is anyone touching you!

Sunday Afternoon

An amazing friend popped in and grabbed Princess for the evening. One down, two to go. I called my sister and her partner and said, would they mind coming over for dinner, I was NOT coping with the kids? And of course, they came. It was a hard thing to admit, that I wasn’t handling the kids at all. But sometimes you just have to set aside your pride for your sake AND the kids sake! My sister brought with her all kinds of necessities for a sick mumma (medication, hot lemon and honey drink, a magazine, chocolate …) and I was able to have a bath while they watched the kids.

Bliss.

Glad the worst is over.

Don’t be silly, Mrs T!

Monday Morning

RUH

ROH

I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I mean, I spent two very long days in very close proximity to all three kids, at least one of them was bound to catch what I had. But, all three? At the same time?!

While still not 100% myself, I spent all of yesterday dosing kids up with pamol, juggling cuddles, rationing lemonade ice blocks, playing games, charging ipads, getting laundry done, taking temperatures, re-dosing with pamol, changing tv channels …. and this carried off well into the night.

Tuesday

And here we are, on Tuesday morning. Day Four in a row of myself at home with all three kids, none of whom feel well enough to tolerate anything … at least I feel better. Better, mind. Not well. Better than Sunday. The entire night was a juggle of children in and out of our bed. I was up at 4am with BabyGirl, I moved BoyChild into his own bed at 5am and Princess needed a bath at 6am. No kindy today, no preschool. And no, Princess – we are not going out for lunch!

It’ll be a long day but we will get there. Slowly.

Princess’s big birthday bash is this coming Saturday, so I’m hoping that these illnesses will be long gone by then. The silver lining is that at least they are all sick at once and not dragging it out over weeks. *touch wood*.

And there you have it, the Sickness Snowball Effect. Can it be prevented? No, I don’t think so. But, I will be grabbing plenty of fresh fruit and veges and vitamins at the supermarket later on today, just to be sure.

Right, I need to get off the computer, BoyChild has been sitting behind me on my chair for the past five minutes, coughing and whining about playing a Thomas game on the computer, asking if it’s his turn yet?

Yes, BoyChild. It’s your turn. I need to go and disinfect my entire house.

 

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Should Cinderella Be A Sex Bomb?

My daughter thinks she is a princess. Or, at least, she plans on becoming one. She really believes it to be an achievable goal in her life. And good on her, I say.

We are fast approaching her 5th birthday and she is having a Princess Extravaganza party. You know, for a change from other years – last year she had a Princess and Pirates party, the year before it was a Pink Princess Tea Party. I’m making the most of it this year because I feel it might be the last Princess party for her.

Her party is going to be pretty big, by my standards – don’t let the “extravaganza” in the title fool you though, I pride myself on low-budget, low-cost parties – watch this blog for more about this party in the coming weeks!

Which leads me to today’s conundrum – why is Cinderella a sex bomb??

I thought a nice surprise for Princess’s party would be an actual Princess coming along. She has said to me a few times how great it would be if Cinderella, or Rapunzel, or *gasp followed by audible whisper* Elsa! came to the party. I don’t actually know any of those Princesses (“Yes, you DO know them, MUM! You saw them in the MOVIE, MUM! You DO know them!”), I searched around for an alternative. And came across an amazing friend who is dressing up and coming along to surprise Princess and her friends at her Princess Extravaganza, as an actual real Princess.

Simple, right? I’ll just hire or buy a costume. Done. Easy.

No.

Because, apparently, you can’t hire a Cinderella costume. Or a Snow White costume. Or a Rapunzel costume. I mean, you can hire one of these:

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or one of these

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or, oh look! how about this one?

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Now, I’m no prude. I’m all for fun, sexy dress ups for parties and events that call for it. I even think these outfits are cute – for the right occassion.

But, what message are we sending our girls, our little Princess-obsessed 4-and-5-year-olds, when this is the only adult option out there?

That, if you want to dress up, sexy is the only way to go? Our girls admire these Princesses, they look up to them, they want to be them. Do I want my daughter to aspire to the above images? I’m just not sure that I do. I mean, sure – when she is in her 20s and invited to a “Fairy Tale” party or something, then by all means, don the short busty dress. But there are other reasons for Princess outfits, aren’t there? Like, kids parties?

I was shocked at my own response to this situation as well – I’ve always considered myself to be liberal. Yet this really tugged at my feminist heart strings. I found myself disappointed in women. Why can’t an adult live in the same fantasy world that a 4 or 5 year old girl does? If not just for one afternoon.

Thankfully, after yelling at the computer for hours and spouting off to anyone who would listen, about “the youth of today” and “blah blah sex bomb, blah blah COME ON WOMEN!”, I was able to find a hire company who, at the back of the store, behind all the racks of short dresses and knee high boots, had a beautiful yellow Belle dress. Set aside for occasions just like this.

And, all is good in the world again.

Belle will be at the party! Shhhhh, don’t tell Princess ;)

 

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What I Say vs What My Kids Hear

My children, they don’t listen to me. Well, that’s not entirely true. They listen, they just hear a different version to what I’m saying. Selective hearing, if you will. Princess is particularly good at it, and sometimes I really wonder if I am speaking the same language as her. BoyChild is nearly as bad – his forte is replying a multiple choice question with a yes/no answer. Actually, this may well be a male trait, as my brother in law did the same thing yesterday – “Did you want peanut butter on your toast, or jam?” “Yes”. (note: that was an example of the question I ask BoyChild, not my brother in law. I’m not in the habit of making him toast. Not against it, mind. Just not something I do often).

I read somewhere recently that being ignored evokes the same internal reaction as physical pain. True or not, I see sense in this. Being ignored makes you want to blow your lid like a volcano, I tell you what. One of my most common Mum Phrases is, “What did I JUST say?”

And so, this is what I say, vs what I’m sure my kids hear me say.

Please don’t kick your brother.

Please, don’t kick your brother. But, I’m going to look away now, so sneak a quick one in before I look back again.

Someone very important is coming over shortly, lets just put away your toys.

Do you know what toys you guys haven’t played with in ages? ALL OF THEM! Lets get them out and have a toy FIESTA!!!

The baby is asleep, please do not yell.

The baby is asleep, I think a great place for your game of “who can yell the loudest” is outside her bedroom door. In fact, open the door and check she is still sleeping, that’s a great idea.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

No, you can’t have a biscuit, but if you yell and scream and kick and push and shove, you can most certainly have one.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

Please, go grab that chair and climb into the cupboard and help yourself to the biscuits. In fact, share them around.

No, you can’t have another biscuit this close to dinner time.

I am going to starve you until you just can’t bear it any more, because I really am the worst mother in the world.

It is bed time in five minutes, please settle down now.

Bed time is scrapped tonight, jump on the couch some more!

Can you please set the table?

[Nothing]

How was school today?

[Nothing]

Get your foot off your sister’s face.

Put both feet onto your sister’s face

Don’t stand on that stool. It is NOT stable.

Stand of that stool there. And, see how much you can dance before it topples. I dare ya.

Keep that door shut, I don’t want the dog to come inside. Or the baby to go outside.

Hey – you know that door there? Let’s open that. And then close it again, with the dog inside and the baby outside. Switch-arounds are FUN!

If you kids eat your veges for dinner, you can have an ice cream

FORGET DINNER! VEGES SCHMEGES!!! ICE CREAM FOR EVERYONE!!

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I might as well quit while I’m ahead. And, by “ahead”, I mean, “very, very far behind”. Perhaps I’ll have more luck talking to my husband.

I know, I laughed out loud as well.

 

 

 

 

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You Are An Awesome Mum!

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I recently met with a young mum. She is a friend of a friend, and I came to know her because she lives not far from me and is at home with her 4 month old son during the day. And, she is not happy.

I headed around there one day to introduce myself and see if she was interested in getting to know another local mum. I didn’t take my kids with me, because, well, I didn’t want to frighten the poor girl. I love my kids but they are loud. And destructive. And somewhat intimidating to some people!

It didn’t take me long talking with her to get the idea that she was miserable. You can just tell when someone isn’t overly thrilled with their life.

She is 25 and her gorgeous son is 4 months old. He is not a great feeder, not a great sleeper. She doesn’t know a lot of people with kids and, quite frankly, she feels like she is failing. Daily. Hourly, even. She is not happy with her son, and she is not happy with her life.

Now, anyone who has suffered from Post Natal Depression is probably nodding at this point and saying, “yup, been there”. And, people who haven’t suffered from PND but had a baby who didn’t sleep, didn’t feed, are probably thinking, “ohhhh yea, know that feeling” as well. Goodness knows I’ve been there. I’ve had moments where I’ve looked at my kids and thought, “just go back to where you came from, strange noisy loud baby”.

As I was walking home after meeting her, it really struck a chord with me that she felt so alone. Yet, there are mothers out there who have been in the same position. A lot of them, in fact.

How great would it be, if new mothers were handed a booklet of reassurance when their baby is born. A booklet that says, “hey – you are actually doing a great job!”.

Because sometimes, that’s what you need to hear. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you aren’t completely failing.

If I were to write such a booklet, this is what I would include:

  • You are not failing your child if you want to have an hour without them. You are not a bad mother for wanting some time away from the baby. I offered to come over one day soon and take the baby for an hour or two, and her face lit up like it was Christmas. Which was great except it was immediately followed by a shy, “No, it’s ok”. Don’t be shy about letting other people hold the baby. Give yourself a break!
  • Sometimes babies don’t sleep. And it sucks balls. “They” talk about babies who don’t sleep at night. But people don’t talk about babies who don’t sleep in the day time! Having a baby who sleeps 8 hours at night is all well and good, but if they don’t even have an hour in the day then you, the mother, can’t do anything! Even worse if they are grizzly but just will not sleep. Front packs are handy, unless the baby screams like a banshee while in one. Rocking baby swings are handy, unless your baby screams like a banshee while in one. You are still doing a great job.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. Making up bottles at 3 in the morning is hard. Babies are needy and hungry and demanding. It is hard. But stick with what you are doing. And if it really isn’t working, try something else. You haven’t failed your baby. Some people breast feed and it’s awesome. Some people bottle feed and it’s awesome. You are still doing a great job.
  • Babies aren’t born as the smiling, laughing characters that you see on tv. They actually don’t do a lot for the first few months, aside from sleep (or, not), feed (or, not), and poop. A lot. But, persevere. Once they hit that 6-8 month mark, they become awesome little people. They laugh, they play peekaboo, they do what babies “should” do. And it is fun. Make the most of it as well, you will miss it when they turn two!
  • No one expects you to have a tidy house, a well dressed baby, cooked meals every night and be well presented every day. Gosh, if I achieve even two of these in a day, I pat myself on the back and reward myself with chocolate. And, if people do expect these things of you, tell them to piss off. You are doing a great job.
  • Lastly, if you really are feeling like you are sinking, ask for help. No one (NO ONE) is going to look scathingly at you and accuse you of failure. NO ONE. If some kindly (if not a little random) neighbour with three strange children turns up on your doorstep and offers to look after your baby for a morning, take her up on the offer. If someone offers to grab you some milk while they are out, accept the offer. And ask for chocolate too. Anyone who has had kids knows what it feels like, around that four-month-mark. The thrill of a newborn has gone, the sleep deprivation has kicked in, and you are probably starting to miss your “old” life. That’s ok! Get a babysitter (if you can – I know some people don’t have that option!) and get that man of yours to take you out for dinner. And, there are people you can call. Your doctor will listen.

So, if you know a new mother who might be struggling, go and offer them some guidance. They may not take you up on the offer, but they just might. As luck would have it, the week after I met with this woman, my kids got ridiculously unwell with a passing cold so I haven’t been back to follow up on my offer (because I did NOT want to make her baby unwell!), but I will be back. Because I remember being at home, not knowing anyone nearby with small kids, looking at my crying little thing and thinking, “why is it so hard when everyone else seems to find it so easy?”.

And, if you are a new mother – it is hard. Other people don’t find it easy. You are not a failure as a parent. You are doing a great job. You are an awesome mother. You are.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tantrums: The Definitive Guide

Toddler-Tantrum

Ah, tantrums. One of the best parts of having kids. I mean, my kids certainly never throw them. This is purely from what I’ve observed of other kids.

Yea, I’m lying. Of course my kids throw the ol’ tanty. All normal kids do (she tells herself).

Tantrums come in all shapes and sizes, so I thought I would take the liberty of describing a few for you. You are most welcome.

The Leg Shaker

Ah, a personal fave. Read: not a personal fave. This one is particularly popular with the four-year-old-girl sector. It starts with a slight leg wobble, often before I’ve even finished saying ‘no’, or ‘probably not’. The whine builds up, in sync with the leg wobbling. From a slight “uhhhh” (leg shakes moderately) to a full blown “UUUHHHHHHHH”, complimented by the legs both shaking and stomping and, if we are particularly lucky, the arms join in too.

Sometimes a, “BUT MUUUUUUUUUUUU” is thrown in there for good measure.

The Terrible Twelve Months

You hear about the Terrible Twos. Why, oh-dear-lord WHY does no one talk about the Terrible Twelve Months?!

The toddler can walk, and knows what they want. But, they may not have the vocabulary to tell you what they want. So, they scream. And/or squeal. And point. And squeal. And then, for good measure, throw themselves onto the floor, spread-eagle like a reverse snow-angel, and go for it, buns blazing and limbs flaying. This one is relatively manageable, because said toddler is likely still small enough that (a) they can be lifted and removed from the situation, and (b) they can be distracted easily.

Toddler: screaming uncontrollably.

Mum: Look! Where’s Mumma? Boo! Boo!

Toddler: *giggles*

The Body Board

Ah, the Body Board. The plank. The “I’m going to make my body so incredibly stiff that you can’t move me. You can’t position me. You sure as heck can’t get me into that pram/highchair/car seat”.

Often silent – probably because all their energy goes into stiffening their body like a 2×4. Very, very difficult to maneuver. Leaving you with two choices – (a) force them to bend. (b) wait it out.

The Classic

Oh yes, the classic tantrum. The one that gives tantrums a bad name. The one that you will endure at least once in your career as a parent. Most likely when it is least convenient for you. Some really neat places for the Classic to take place – a library. A supermarket. A small boutique shop in a rich area. When you happen to be walking past someone you know. Like your ex. Or your employer.

This one is a free for all, a no-holds-barred event. There will be yelling, there will be crying, there will be grabbing. And that’s just the adult.

You might be in a toy store and it’s time to put the Thomas train down and leave. You might be, say, needing to urgently pop into the supermarket for a minute, but Child simply does not want to comply. The hypothetical scenarios are endless. But, one thing is constant – the volume. Oh, lordy, the volume. They scream. They kick. They lie on the floor and flop around like a stranded fish. Then they lash out. Then they cry. And yell some more. And wriggle from your grasp when you try to scoop them up. And, if they are that way inclined, they run away, forcing you to chase them in a way that never, ever looks graceful. I think even Usain Bolt would look silly chasing a tantrum-throwing toddler.

The best way to deal with this one? Keep calm. SO much easier said than done, this is for sure. But, do try. Do your best to remove them from the situation, ignore the looks from strangers (because, of course, Mrs McPerfect-Parent will be there, you can guarantee it. Scowling and whispering about “kids being out of control” blah blah).

Don’t try to reason with a kid pulling off the Classic. It’s wasted breath.

The Love Me Tantrum

This one is a funny one. They want to yell and scream, they are So. Very. Mad. But, at the same time, they want you to hug them and make them feel ok. Even though you are the reason they are mad. I know, I said it was a funny one.

“NO! Why can’t I have another BISCUIT??? WHY NOT MUM! WHY????? Give me a BISCUIT!”

quickly followed by,

“Mum! Give me a HUG! CUDDLE ME! I’M SO VERY MAD! MUM! I LOVE YOU!”

side bar: I should mention, I typed this particular segment with a mock frown on my face, hitting the keys with precision and force. Just saying.

The Silent

Oh. Now, this one is complicated. And difficult to decipher. They are mad. And, appear to be dealing with the injustice that has been bestowed upon them in a grown up manner. Until you realise, they are simmering. While this is by far more preferable to, say, The Classic, you can bet your bottom dollar that this is the one they save for when you are at home. In private.

Child A takes toy from Child B. Child A gets told off and asked to return toy. Child A scowls, folds their arms and huffs off in to the corner of the room. She sits, legs up and arms folded, and glares. And glares, eyes narrow and brows down. You tentatively ask her, “are you ok?” to which she replies with a stiff, jutted jaw and even narrower eyes.

Scary, I tell you what.

The Sobber

There is crying. And then there is loud, dramatic sobbing.

“Uhhhhhhhh *hic* ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhh – ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *hic*”.

And when you dare intervene, it just gets louder.

This one I try to ignore. With headphones on, if needs be.

The Teenager

Now, don’t be deceived – The Teenager tantrum is not only for teenagers. On no, parents of girls especially beware – these hit at a frighteningly early age!

“You ruined my LIFE. I HATE you. How COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? You are so UNFAIR. This isn’t FAIR”

*door slam*

I can’t wait.

The Grown Up

And, of course, because if tantrums were only limited to toddlers, that would be grossly unfair – the Grown Up tantrum. Especially for adults.

“YOU STOLE MY PARKING SPOT, YOU NO-GOOD DARN-TOOTING WEASEL!” .. or, words to that effect.

These are almost always met with a united stare of, “my dear, you are too old for this behaviour”.

 

And so you have it. Tantrums. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are there. Manage them how you best see fit, different strokes for different folks and all that – what works for one kid may not for another. And, don’t take them too seriously. Kids throw tantrums, it’s their way of communicating and learning to deal with the big bad world out there! Adults? Well, bit less sympathy for them.

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Sleep. And the Six Stages of Sleep Deprivation.

Sleep.

We know that having kids mean that we are going to lose sleep. We know this. Everyone knows this. This isn’t new information. Right?

I think the surprise comes when your kids enter the stage where they should be sleeping through the night. But, they don’t. Did they not get the memo? Do they not realise it’s night time? Can they not see the bags under Mummy’s eyes? I mean, astronauts in the International Space Station can see the bags under Mummy’s eyes, for goodness sake.

I should mention at this point that I am writing this blog under the influence. That is, under the influence of No Sleep. I had two hours of broken sleep last night. Yes, you read correctly. TWO. HOURS. Two. TWO. Sigh.

BabyGirl is not a great sleeper, let’s be honest. Actually, to be fair, she can sleep 8-10 hours if she wants. But, her 8-10 hours generally starts at midnight. Or, in last night’s case – 3am. THREE. A. M. I just can’t even.

So, after a few hours of tears, feeding, playing, me dozing in my chair as BabyGirl literally runs circles around me, and many, many false attempts to get her into bed (you know, the “I’m asleep until you put me in my cot, at which point my eyes will shoot open, I’ll flash you my cutest smile and be wide awake again” moments), she finally dropped of at 3am. I quietly carried her to her room, in pitch darkness (heaven forbid I turn on a light and wake her) and tenderly place her in her cot. I back away from the cot, begging my joints to please not squeak right now (because, in the dead of night, I seem to suddenly gain the body of an arthritic Nana), and slump out of the room. Nothing. Not a sound. Oh my goodness. Perform a mini victory dance in the hallway before going into my own room and flopping onto the bed, eyes closed before I hit the pillow.

“Mum?”

I just. What? I mean, really? How do they KNOW?! HOW DO THEY KNOW?! Literally one minute after I got into bed. ONE MINUTE.

“Mum?”

I open my eyes to find BoyChild climbing into bed with us. “Please go to sleep” I whisper to him. “YOU OK, MUM? YOU OK, DADDY?”. Sigh.

After an hour and some of being kicked in the head, pushed off the bed, slapped, kissed, cuddled, yelled at and damn near falling off the bed, I packed a huff.

“GET INTO YOUR OWN BED” I whispered through clenched teeth. No more Nice Mummy.

I think the clock said 5-something. It could have said 6. Heck, it could have said 12. I don’t know, I couldn’t comprehend anything by that stage. I dozed on and off from then.

Mr T woke me around 8:30 to say he was going. I asked him where. He replied that Princess had kindy. Oh, that’s right – Stage 1 of Sleep Deprivation – Memory Loss. Remember the days when, pre-kids, you could pull an all-nighter and sleep the next day? I don’t. We’ve got ‘sponsibilities nowadays. Grown up ‘sponsibilities. Like children.

Once Mr T came back from kindy drop off, I bundled BoyChild into the car and went to our Friday Coffee Group. I couldn’t have gotten that coffee into me any quicker. If they had a direct-to-vein-via-iv option, I’d have taken it. The morning wasn’t bad, considering. Mostly because I was comfortably in Stage 2 of Sleep Deprivation – Everything Is Hilarious. You know, when your friend drops her phone and can’t be bothered picking it up, and you laugh and laugh because she can’t be bothered picking up her phone? Right? Hilarious. Or when you think of a story but can’t formulate the words in your head, so you make up a word, then laugh and laugh because words are funny. And, to top it off, you snort while laughing, which just sets you off again. What can I say, I’m hilarious.

After I picked Princess up from kindy at midday, I came home and had lunch. I use that term loosely, because I am pretty sure I stared blankly at my cup of soup, stirring it slowly. Mr T asked me if I needed a nap. I’m not sure I replied. Stage 3 of Sleep Deprivation – Dead Tiredness.

I should say, I was very, very lucky today to have Mr T on a day off, otherwise I could never have completed Stage 4 of Sleep Deprivation – The Nap. The Glorious Nap. I slept, and I slept hard. For about an hour. Stop it.

Alas, I’ve woken deep in Stage 5 of Sleep Deprivation – Don’t TALK to me. Don’t LOOK at me. Don’t COME NEAR ME. Captain Grumpy Pants has arrived. And, to quote Alicia Keys, This Girl is on Fire. I love my kids, and I love how they have sensed my Captain Grouchballs and raised me a “let’s give Mum space”. I just adore those little dudes. The ones sitting on the other side of the living room, playing quietly.

The day is dragging, but before long it will be witching hour. The kids will have dinner, have baths and go to bed. And then, poor, sleep deprived Mumma can sit on the chair and enter Stage 6 of Sleep Deprivation – The End. The release. There may be tears, there may be giggling. I’ll tell you what – there will defo be chocolate. But, at least I would have lasted the day. And, tomorrow is another day. But, please-oh-dear-lord-PLEASE can BabyGirl go to bed before midnight tonight?! Please? Please.

“Hey! Yo! BabyGirl! You go to bed ‘fore midnight, ya’ hear?!”

She says no. With that cute smile and nose twitch. I just. Sigh.