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Look How Far We Have Come

Well, what do you know – it’s been exactly two years since I started this blog. Well, that’s what Facebook tells me, and we all know that Facebook never lies.

Two years. I can’t believe it – in some ways it feels as though I started only yesterday, in other ways it feels like I’ve been doing this for years. I started this blog because Princess was such a funny little thing, coming out with such crazy sayings and the most random of behaviours, it seemed almost a crime not to document it. Even if only for when they are teenagers, if nothing else!

Add to that the chaos of the two smaller children and I had a recipe for hilarity, drama and losing my mind slowly.

Two years. Look how far we have come.

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The kids are all so much older (two years is a lot when you are a kid!) and I drink so much more alcohol.

Just kidding.

Not really.

A friend asked me the other day why I hadn’t written in a while. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Princess has grown up a lot. Her funny quips and “isms” have been replaced by scowls and declarations that we have ruined her life.

Ok, it’s not all bad – in fact, we’ve just had a rare afternoon of peace, just the two of us. Sitting side by side, her drawing a picture and me working (read: mindlessly perusing social media). We chatted like … well, like normal people. It’s days like this that make me so absolutely proud of the person we have grown, and excited to see the woman she is yet to become. She is about to start Year 2 at school and over these holidays she has developed amazingly – her reading ability surprises me daily and her drawing skills are far superior to mine!

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BoyChild is nearly 5 and, like his sister, has come so far in the past year. He is very much a boy – we get a lot of fart jokes and fascinating stories about trains. But he is still the most sensitive of the lot, and still lets me cuddle him. Long live THAT.

For a kid who barely spoke when I started this blog, a few weeks ago he overheard us correcting Princess for mispronouncing hospital, “hos-ti-ble”. He listened as we taught Princess the correct way to say it, then suddenly blurted out, “HOSPITAL!” with pride oozing from him.

“It’s hos-PI-tal” he repeated. Again. And again. Like with Princess, I just found myself welling up with pride. And excitement to see how he grows and develops once he starts school.

In two weeks.

*brb I’m just going to have a cry*

BabyGirl. Freakin BabyGirl. I just can’t even. I said it when I started the blog, that I suspected she might be the one to watch. I knew even then, when she was not even one year old, that she was a fire cracker. Her humour, her vocabulary, her utter naughtiness and her giggle that just seems so artificial that you can’t help but smile. Her absolute freakin adorableness.

She starts preschool soon and while I’m excited about the time alone (where I will, no doubt, wander aimlessly wondering what I ever did pre:kids), I will miss my baby. She’s more or less toilet trained during the day now, and I am more than ready to bid nappies a fond farewell, thanks very much. She will proudly tell all and sundry that she can “wees on the toilet JUST like MUM”.

The kids collectively? They drive me mad. Well, that’s not new though, is it?

They bicker, oh my do they bicker. All siblings fight, I know. I grew up in a family of four girls, one of whom was what my mum described as “fist happy” (plot twist: it was me). So, I get it.

Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

And so here we are. Two years later. A lot has changed, and we’ve grown so much, as individuals and as a family. Can’t wait to see what the next two years bring.

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Look how far we have come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Things I’ll miss

This is the last week of the school holidays. It has been six weeks of … I wanna say fun?

I mean, of course I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having my children around, hanging off me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

However, there are some things I really am going to miss.

The way my kids play so happily together, all the time.

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They are so good at negotiating, they never bicker. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to say, “stop being so darn polite to each other, you little angels”.

The movies we have watched

I’m not sure if once-a-day-for-three-weeks-straight is really enough time to reallyy grasp the true genius that is the One Direction This Is Us documentary movie. I really will miss having this on every day. I mean, on one occasion it was turned off before it finished – what if the ending changed that one time?!

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Of course, a day wouldn’t be complete without a movie to counter the depth and realism of the One Direction movie, which is why we felt compelled to watch Barbie – The Princess and The Popstar every day also. Oh, the drama. Oh, the feels. Oh, the dance moves and high end animation.

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The Housework

I am certainly going to miss the housework when the kids go back to school. I mean, how will I ever fill my time, when I’m not doing three loads of washing a day, because apparently we need to change our clothes to match the movie that happens to be on (see: above). And the toys. The Toys. I love picking up beads from the floor. And I love it even more if I get to pick up the same beads an hour later.

The Endless Requests 

I’m pretty confident the reason we have children is because we feel our life to be lacking without constant requests for food, water, toys, games, clothing.

All. The. Time.

I mean, the very last thing I want to do on any given day, is sit down long enough to finish a cup of coffee. Or, answer an email. And I absolutely don’t want to make an important work-related phone call without being interrupted at least eight times. More than anything, I appreciate the fact that, when I moved my phone call outside, the kids followed me.

I am, after all, their very reason for breathing.

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The Lego

I love Lego. It encourages creativity. And builds fine motor skills. And it’s fun.  I will miss standing on it once school starts back. I will miss it being in my bed. I will miss it being in the washing machine.

The noise

Silence is over rated, really. I think it’s fair to mention here, I’m sure the neighbours will miss the noise as well. They might deny it, but I know they love it. They love the expressions of emotion, the not-at-all-over-dramatic cries, the mum-is-about-to-lose-her-shit warning sirens. They love it. I know they do.

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Of course, when all is said and done, I wi

I will

I will mis

*ahem*

I will miss my ki

I will miss my

come on, you can say it

I. Will. Miss. My. Kids.

At least BabyGirl will still be with me. UNTIL MAY. Let’s take a moment to digest that.

And I will be able to drown my missing-my-kids sorrows with help from my other child.

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2

The Boy in the Pink Togs

Today we went to the pool. When we got to the pool, there was a boy there, wearing a pink swimsuit.

Princess loudly exclaimed, “THAT’S SILLY! PINK IS A GIRL COLOUR!”

I was horrified and scolded her immediately. Because, there is no such thing as “boy” anything and “girl” anything, right? The feminist in me (I blame my mother) gets stabby at the mere mention that boys can’t wear pink, or girls can’t wear blue.

I should mention at this point, that the boy in the pink togs was, in fact, my son. Let me explain.

Last week it was a scorching hot day, and we walked for approximately 2000 steps (courtesy of my new-xmas-present-FitBit) in the horrific heat to go for a swim in the local outdoor pool. When we arrived, I realised that I had left BoyChild’s togs at home. ALL THE WAY AT HOME.

There was no way we were going back, and there was no way the kids were going to tolerate not swimming. So, I dug and rummaged through our swimming bag and found for him, a pink rash vest (that I’d brought along in the hopes that BabyGirl might want a little more coverage that her silly little toys allowed – she didn’t) and some blue swim nappy pants (spares, should we have a Code Brown while swimming. We didn’t).

Now, I didn’t think that BoyChild would accept this swimwear. I didn’t think he would, because there is very much “his” things in our house, and “the girl’s” things. Not because we have girl things and boy things, but more because his sisters hate to share (looking at you, Princess).  Back in October, BoyChild’s preschool had a “Dress in Pink” day to acknowledge Breast Cancer research. No matter how much persuading I did, there was no way he was wearing pink that day. Nope. No way, jose.

But, he did wear the pink togs. I don’t know why, but I didn’t question it – I was just relieved the issue was over.

And so, I bring you to today. We decided to go to the indoor Aquatic Centre, and the kids put their togs on. BoyChild bypassed his regular red top and blue shorts, opting for the pink top and blue swim nappy once again. I asked him, are you sure that is what you are going to wear?

“Yup, Mum. These are my togs for today. I like them”.

Well, there you go then.

And so off we go. And we get to the pool, and my own daughter is the one to laugh and point at him. I suspect it was as much sibling jabbing as anything else, but nevertheless is was not ok.

To be perfectly honest, I was very much en guard at the pool today. I was closely watching how the other people reacted to BoyChild and his pink swimming top. I was on edge, nearly willing someone to make a comment, so I could delve into an unhinged rant about gender and children.

I don’t want my kids to grow up with preconceived ideas about gender, and what they are and aren’t allowed to do. I realise that it’s an uphill battle, given the colour of the aisles in department stores and the packaging that every toy, drink or random other product comes in.

So, what can we do to make sure they know that they can choose whatever colour they want?

Dress your girls in blue, but offer them in pink as well.

Dress your boys in pink, but offer them blue as well.

If you kid wants to wear green, so be it. If you kid wants to wear flannel pyjamas, a tutu, gumboots and a sailor hat, so be it.

No one made a comment at the pool today. Perhaps people saw him, went home and mentioned to someone that they’d seen a boy in pink togs today. All I know is, I went swimming with a four year old boy, who had a great time in the pool, and probably didn’t give a second thought to what he was wearing.

Long may it last.

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‘Twas the night before Xmas

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Mum and Dad settled with their cups of tea

Prepared to “help Santa” put presents under the tree

But wait, what’s that sound? What’s that noise that I hear?

I sense that a child is creeping quite near

“Go to bed” Mummy said with a slight sense of fear

As Daddy, he dashed and he covered with care

All of the presents all over the floor

The paper and tape and the toys! “Close the door!”

He whispered with panic to Mummy, “They’ll see!”

“Back to BED!” Mummy said as she scooped up all three

Of the children and sent them all back to their beds

“Sleep well, see you Christmas” she kissed their sweet heads

“If you don’t go to sleep, well then Santa won’t come

And no Santa, no Christmas, no presents, no fun!”

She sighed as she crept back out of their door

Tripping silently over a toy on the floor

And once more the silence was all through the place

The cupboard of presents had run out of space

With a creek and a tremor Mummy opened the door

And the noisiest present, it fell to the floor!

“What’s that” Mummy heard and she froze on the spot

“Go to BED” she said, “Or Santa WON’T STOP”

Once again with the ritual, the kiss and the smile

Though through clenched teeth – this was taking a while!

Mum’s tea had gone cold, she was no longer happy

Dad’s patience was thin, he was no happy chappy

Midnight came and went, and the kids would not sleep

Every time “Santa” came, the kids, they would creep

Back out to the lounge, to see all the fuss

And then marched back to bed, “Oh for goodness sake JUST

GO TO SLEEP so Santa can COME” scowled Dad

“I’M TIRED AND GROUCHY AND GETTING QUITE MAD!

If you DON’T go to SLEEP, no Christmas will be

I’ll cancel it, stop it, it’s late, don’t you see!

Santa won’t come if you DON’T GO TO BED!”

It’s three in the morning, Mum rested her head

on the floor by the tree, where the presents should be.

At quarter past four, Dad stormed off to bed

With two kids in tow, who were just off their heads

with excitement and thrill, but no Christmas awaits

For naughty little children, who only frustrate

their Mummy and Daddy who just want to be

Santa and put presents under the tree!

Five thirty am and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Three sleeping children and one sleeping man

All piled in the one bed, all legs, arms and hands

And then it is morning, and out the kids run

And squeal with delight and clapping and fun!

“Santa came!” they scream as they wake up their parents

“But how …?” queries Dad, “it doesn’t make sense?”

But when the kids slept with the Dad snuggled in

Mummy crept out and got working again

With the presents and stockings and flour on the floor

From Santa’s big feet as he walked through the door

Of the chimney, the carrots the reindeer left messy

Because the one hour sleep, the tears and the stressing

Feel worth it to know that, for at least one more year

The kids still believe in Santa and his reindeer.

And the relief that it’s over, and Mummy can nap

And have some of her special drink (which I wish was on tap)

And now we approach that same night again

I’ve made it quite clear that it WON’T be the same

That Santa will NOT come if kids do not sleep

All the presents will go onto the rubbish heap

So here is to Christmas and all that we do

As parents, as Santa, and his reindeer too

And here is to kids who sleep all through the night

I’m holding my breath but a Mum, she can dream, right?

 

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Dear Santa

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Ah, letters to Santa.

Dear Sata

I wood like

Sume Now tis

a hyena costoom

hyena faspat

sume Hebas

a LeopRd gerey

Sume Now sHoes

a kid Kare

Sume wahzes

Sume Fapat

Sume t-tesers

Sume toos

I’m so glad that Santa has the amazing ability to decipher the Santa letter of a 6 year old.

We’ve had to remind Princess that Santa doesn’t get children exactly what is on the list. Because, sometimes Santa knows that children want things, when they don’t even know they might want them! Like socks! Oh, Santa. He’s so clever.

Not to mention the fact that sometimes, no matter how hard Santa tries, he just can’t find a hyena costoom (costume). Santa is very proud of herself  himself that she he was able to locate a LeopRd gerey (leopard jersey), on sale no less. And, even better, some Now sHoes (new shoes) at the Salvation Army store for 50c.

Sadly for Princess, there is no way in hell that she would be getting a Kid Kare (kid car) anytime soon. But, Santa has fulfilled a significant part of the list, including the now tis (new tights), t-tesers (t-shirts) and even some toos (toys).

All in all, I have to give it to Princess this year, her list was pretty good. No specific toys mentioned that can only be purchased online for hundreds of dollars, like last year.

BoyChild’s list? A little shorter.

New trains

Coming from a kid who has over 30 trains.

And, BabyGirl?

ELSA! SOFIA! ELSA! I LIKE ANNA! ELSA! TRAINS!

“YOU can’t have trains! I’m having trains!”

TRAINS TRAINS TRAINS TRAINS

Gotcha.

Just for shits and giggles, what do I want for Xmas? Well, since you asked …

Dear Santa

This year, I would like the following, in no particular order:

  1. An hour with no one talking to me/touching me/looking at me
  2. New fancy shoes. Or, superglue to fix my current ones.
  3. A day when I don’t have to parent or adult or cook or clean/  or launder or wash or change a nappy.
  4. A massage.
  5. Something pretty. I mean, really pretty. Not a drawing.
  6. Happy kids, with no bickering or squealing.
  7. A hefty addition to my bank account balance.
  8. Cider. On tap, preferably.
  9. The Chelsea Winter cookbook. Any one of them, I’m not fussy.
  10. Some nice food. That I don’t have to prepare. Or share.
  11. A surprise. A genuine surprise. Any of the above will do.

 

Look, I love Christmas, and what I truly want is everyone to be safe, happy, content and doing what they want to be doing, with whom they want to be sharing the day.

Anything more is just gravy.

Oh! 13. Gravy.

1

Please Don’t Judge Me

In today’s day and age, with social media so common, and a viral post just a click away, it is easy to be caught up in what a parent “should” be doing, how a parent “should” be behaving.

Of course, things happen that effect our behaviour. And, it’s hard to understand someone’s behaviour without first understanding the factors that might be contributing to this behaviour.

Especially so at this time of year – money is tight, Christmas is coming, school is finishing. There is a lot of stress about.

Before you judge that parent in the supermarket, or at the park, perhaps first consider what might be happening in their peripheral.

Please don’t judge that mother sitting at the park with her face glued to her cellphone. This is literally the only time her kids haven’t been touching and/or nagging her all day, and she desperately has emails to send for her part time job, and money to transfer for bills due that day. Or, perhaps by taking her kids to the playground, this allows her to finally lose herself in some “me time”, after having been up since 6am on two hours sleep.

Please don’t judge the mother grappling with a clearly overtired toddler in the supermarket. Yes, the child is tired. Yes, the mother might have found a better time to shop. But the reality is, this is the only chance she has to buy the essentials for dinner that day, and breakfast the following day, because she is a single mother and doesn’t have anyone to watch her kids at night so she can grocery shop. Nor does she want to, for that matter. Because she actually appreciates sitting down with a cup of tea when the kids are in bed.

Please don’t judge the parent who feeds her child sugar-laden treat snack in her lunchbox for school. This morning, this mother had five school lunches to make and it is a day shy of pay day. This mother rustled through her entire pantry trying to find enough food to bulk out five lunch boxes. She knows that the food she put in there falls short of being nutritious but reasoned that, in this rare circumstance, any food was better than no food.

Please don’t judge the mother in the cafe with her son, who is wearing his pyjamas despite it being 11am. She has been at the afterhours doctors with him since 7am and is only in that cafe because they xray clinic doesn’t open for another hour.

Please don’t judge the parent who is about to explode at her kids, who really are just being cute. Because, to her, they aren’t “being cute”, it’s been going on for hours and quite frankly, she has had enough. Even cute wears thin eventually.

The thing is, we don’t know that the woman in the dairy is on the brink of tears, because her husband of seven years has just told her he is leaving. We don’t know that the lady sitting alone in the park has just found out her father has passed away. We don’t know that the “helicopter” parent who won’t let her kids do school swimming, lost her younger brother in a drowning accident when they were kids.

We also don’t know that maybe, she’s just having a really bad day.

Women are notoriously good at hiding their feelings. Please don’t judge us for that.

Next time you feel that judgement coming on, consider the subject. Smile at her. Pat her reassuringly on the shoulder and tell her she’s doing ok. Ask her if she is doing ok.

You don’t know, but you probably will make her day.

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2

Adult Colouring. It’s not for me.

A few weeks ago I went away for a weekend by myself, to catch up with friends and go to an engagement party. Yup – two whole nights away. Without kids. By myself.

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Literally the first time away from all three kids. Which, of course, meant the first time Mr T was home alone with all three kids. Naturally, they were excited. “We gonna have a partyyyyyy” exclaimed BoyChild with glee as they took me to the airport. Glad to know I’ll be missed.

After they dropped me at the door, I went in, checked in and discovered that my flight was delayed by an hour. That was fine by me – time to sit and have no one talk to me. Until you have kids you have no idea how valuable and exciting that is.

After a good solid minute of sitting by myself, I got antsy and decided to have a look around the shops. A brief visit into the lolly shop and seven free fudge samples later (I thought I better leave before they make me buy something – in my defense, the sign says “free fudge samples” with no limit imposed, so ….) I went into the bookstore. As I was perusing the magazine racks and deciding what tacky, cheap magazine I should buy for the flight, I saw the giant stand of Adult Colouring books.

And I had a great idea.

Instead of reading trashy magazines, what if I coloured on my flight? With titles like “Daydream Colouring” and “Calm colouring for dreams”, how could I not feel relaxed and calm at the end? It’s colouring, but for grown ups. Wow. Neat. Practically meditation. Yoga for my fingers.

I bought a little, purse sized book and a pack of coloured pencils, and proudly put them into my bag. They were my prized possessions, neatly tucked away in my handbag until I was on the flight. I was excited, I won’t lie.

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As we were finally boarding the flight, the boarding staff mentioned that there was “extreme” weather at our destination, so to expect some bumps.

That’s ok. I’ve flown in turbulence before. How bad can it be?

Bad.

Within a few minutes of the flight I was clutching my seat (and, at one point, the knee of the kind elderly gentleman beside me) and imagining what Mr T and the kids would be like without me as I plummet to my untimely demise on this here flight. And then smiling ironically, imagining them describing me in the media as a calm person, obvious by the colouring book and pencils neatly stowed in my handbag.

After a decent half hour of what I swear was the plane dropping from the sky at a million knots, I decided it was time to start colouring. Because, it would make me calm. I needed calm.

Now, I ask of you – have you tried to colour in small, intricate details while flying in a small aircraft falling from the sky at a great speed? No? Well, I have. And it is not easy. In fact, it sucks. I kept going over the lines, and dropping my pencils. My peacock was looking ridiculous. In fact, during one moment of particular concentration, the plane dipped and I might or might not have said, out loud, “oh come ON!”. Again, apologies to the man beside me.

After a while (truth – it was probably only ten minutes) I decided to put the book and pencils away. Call it a day, so to speak.

The next day, I proudly showed anyone and everyone my colouring book. I mean, to be honest, I had to take the pencils and book out of my handbag any time I wanted to use my wallet, but as I placed it on every table and counter top, I felt as though I was just oozing calm and day dream-ness. “She’s so calm” people were thinking. I know they were.

I didn’t take it to the engagement party, however. Time and place, Mrs T. Time and place.

The next morning, I was ready to head home. Ready? Well, I was heading home. As I boarded my flight (onto a much bigger plane, on a considerably calmer day), I was brimming with excitement about spending the next hour deep in the calm and deeply immersed in my colouring book.

After a smooth take off, I brought out my book and pencils and started on another picture. I was doing great and … dammit Pilot! I swear, he was watching me and bumping the plane as soon as my pencil was precariously perched above the paper. Deliberately. Wait, this colouring book is meant to calm me, not delve me into paranoia!

I gave it a good go, I did. I tried.

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And I learned a valuable lesson.

I am not a colouring book, calm, daydreaming kind of person. I should have known. I’m not a yoga person, or a tai chi person.

I’m a crazy, chaotic person. I love my crazy kids, and my crazy chaotic life. I think I’ll stick to my usual calming down routine – trash telly and the internet. That’s how we roll in 2015.

And, to win extra points with the kids – I had an extra special, super great present especially for Princess when I got home.

A really neat, awesomely cool colouring book and some pencils. AND I even started a couple of the pictures just for her.

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Because I’m “the best mummy EVER!”.

I’ll take that.