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Odd Socks.

Today came the day I dread – the time when I can no longer ignore the ever-increasing pile of odd socks in my bedroom.

Now, I don’t always store them in my bedroom. Sometimes they live in the laundry. Other times they live in the corner of the living room. It’s as though moving the pile is equal to sorting it. It’s not, by the way.

How do odd socks even happen? I mean, I understand the theory. They are socks, so not huge items of clothing. So one would expect, oh, I don’t know – two or three to be odd and without a pair. But please. This many?

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I mean, honestly. If I were a more-prone-to-paranoia person, I might suspect that someone is coming into my house and deliberately removing just-one-sock from each pair. That sure would be an awesome prank to play on someone. P.S. please don’t ever do that to me.

Ironically, when Princess had an “odd sock” day last year at school, I couldn’t for the life of me find an odd pair.

I’ve tried a few different approaches to minimising the odd sock debacle.

I’ve deliberately purchased packs of identical socks. This certainly reduces the odd socks, though not by much.

I’ve even gone out and purchased new socks for the kids, vowing that this time I will ensure that they are washed and dried together and will not, ever, end up in the odd sock pile.

They always do.

And then you have the packs of socks that come together. The “cousins”, if you will. They are similar enough though clearly not pairs. I fail to grasp how I can end up with three socks from the same family, every single one having lost it’s partner. How ….?????

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Or, the same coloured socks. Again, similar enough to trick the eye into thinking they are a pair, but different enough that it is blatantly obvious when in public that your socks don’t match.

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I give you, the purple ombre effect. None of these match.

Mr T wears workboots to work and therefore has matching thick, woolen socks.

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I asked him once while sorting the socks, just how fussy he was when it came to pairing.

“Doesn’t matter” he said. “Pair them however you like” he said.

And then had to gall to grumble after work the next day about mis-matched socks. Granted I’d paired a blue woolen sock with a black ankle sock. My bad. Sorry ’bout that, husband.

And so you have it, my odd sock pile of today.

And, the lovely few who found their pair. Yay them, I say. I won’t lie – when I create a match, I applaud a little. I have been known to talk to the socks while sorting as well. A bit like a Blind Date presenter. True story.

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Naw, look how lovely they look.

Why don’t I just get rid of all these mismatched socks, I hear you ask? I’ve considered it, believe me. I liken it to hanging up the phone mid-phone call, I think – when you hang up, what if the very next thing said, fixed the conversation? What if, in this case, the instant I throw out these socks, I discover their pairs, therefore re-starting the never ending cycle of odd socks??

And that is that. New pairs safely back in their respective drawers. And 103 odd socks, 3 odd mittens and 1 odd bootie, back in the box. Ready for another day. Far, far away.

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12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Four. BoyChild, Take One.

It’s been a while since I did the “12 questions” bit, so I thought I would do it again today. There have been some changes to Princesses answers since she last did it (9 months ago). And there more depth to some of her answers, reflecting the fact that she is, much to my dismay, g.r.o.w.i.n.g u.p.

*cries*

It is also the first time BoyChild has shown an interest in answering the questions. He is in the wonderful phase of copying everything (read: EVERYTHING) his sister does. In some circumstances (like this one), awesome. Sometimes, not so awesome. But, I have to say, some of his answers in this, I freakin love.

And so here you have it (I have linked to previous posts if you want to read back on other answers, and I also have Princess’s last answers in brackets)

12 Questions About Life – by Princess. 5 years, 5 months.

1. What is the meaning of life? Astronauts

(I don’t know)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? Doctor or Teacher

(A Princess)

3. What makes you most happy? Mummy

(Tickling)

4. When do you feel most loved? With Daddy

(Love hearts)

5. What are you afraid of? The Dark

(Dragons)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Another American Girl Doll. If you wish on a star it really does come true.

(For an Elsa book)

7. What is the funniest word? Lila

(Bleurgh)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Put the DVD into the DVD player

(Play in the sandpit)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Paint my nails

(Writing my full name)

10. What makes you mad? Stomping

(When I stomp my feet STOMP STOMP)

11. What is the meaning of love? Stars. It truly is.

(True Love)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy an Elsa Doll.

(Buy an Elsa dress)

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild. 3 years, 11 months. 

1. What is the meaning of life? Elevators

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? Cool kid

3. What makes you most happy? People

4. When do you feel most loved? Stars

5. What are you afraid of? No

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? No thanks

7. What is the funniest word? Funny

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Open doors

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Going backwards

10. What makes you mad? Doing poos

11. What is the meaning of love? Cool

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy lemonade

 

http://havekidstheysaid.com/2014/03/25/12-questions-about-life-princess-take-three/

http://havekidstheysaid.com/2014/03/25/12-questions-about-life-princess-take-two/

http://havekidstheysaid.com/2014/03/25/12-questions-about-life-princess-take-one/

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Why Taylor Swift is no role model for my daughters

Princess is 5-and-a-half and is suddenly “into” pop culture. Gone are the Barbie movies and You Tube videos about baking cupcakes. Welcome to the world of One Direction, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift. I shouldn’t be surprised, I was probably more or less the same age when I became infatuated with the likes of Boyzone, The BackStreet Boys, Westlife (you know, back when boy bands were real boy bands!). I’m just not ready to listen to my 5 year old and her friends singing loudly, “It’s all about the BASS ’bout the BASS no TROUBLE”

I wouldn’t ever have pegged myself as someone to veto music that my children like, and (for now) I’m not going to. However, there are some things that I don’t like about some pop stars. Perhaps it’s my feminist mother coming through, I’m not sure.

Here’s the thing about Taylor Swift.

She is, what, 25? And she is very well known for writing her own songs, and for dating a lot of guys. Now, once again, I’m not against that per say. I’m not afraid to admit to my children that, since I was 16, the longest I’ve been single is about three months. I’m ok with that, because I have never felt like I needed a boyfriend.

The thing that irks me about Taylor Swift, is the way she regards her boyfriends. Mostly, after they have broken up. One of her first songs to gain public attention was about a boy she had a crush on (she was 15-ish). The song is about this guy (who she names in the song) and his girlfriend. And how *she* would like to be his girlfriend. But she can’t be. Because he has one who he, it seems, is perfectly happy with.

I will never encourage my children (daughters and sons) to pursue someone who is currently in a relationship. You should never be the reason a couple break up. EVER. Yes, couples have problems. But I will tell my kids until I am blue in the face, steer well clear until the relationship is over. I mean, how did this guy’s girlfriend feel, when a song was written about how she shouldn’t be with her boyfriend?

Sigh.

And then Taylor Swift went on to publicly date star after star after star. Which is fine, she is young. But I do not like her need to sing about these men once the relationships turn sour. Because that is another major lesson I would absolutely love to push on to my children – do not be bitter when a relationship ends. Even if it ends in a messy heap of heartbreak, count your losses, cry about it and walk away with your head held high. For me, singing about things that went wrong in a relationship equates to spreading malicious rumours about them after the break up. Something that we discourage our kids from doing.

Now, I understand that she is a country singer first and foremost, and signing about their life woes is what country singers do, but considering her main fan base is pre-teen – teenage girls, I really hope she realises just how influential she is.

I have to say, at this point, that I do really like her song ‘Shake It Off’. I like that she clearly has no issue making fun of herself, and I give her full credit for her song writing abilities. But then I heard Blank Space.

Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I got a blank space baby
And I’ll write your name

I don’t know about you, but this isn’t quite the role model I want my daughters looking up to.

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What’s in a name?

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My good friend is pregnant (yay!) and I asked her the other day, had they thought of any names? She sighed and said, “do you have any idea how hard it is to name a person? You are naming them forever!”.

Oh, I know it alright.

The New Zealand Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages has just this week released it’s annual list of Baby Names – the Top 100 names in NZ in 2014. I really love reading these lists, even though there are no (read: NO) more babies coming along in this family. It’s fun to see how some names climb, others fall off completely, and how the influences of pop culture and social media reflect on the name choices.

I also secretly love reading the comments on articles about baby names. People generally sit in one of two categories – there are the people who desperately don’t want their children’s names to appear in the Top 10, and there are those who do. Oh wait, there is a third category – those who don’t care either way. I fall into that category, for what it’s worth.

We didn’t consider the baby names list when naming our three, and, coincidentally, both Princess and BoyChild’s names were 25th on their respective lists. BabyGirl’s name wasn’t on the list at all, which was no surprise since we tailored the spelling from a name we liked the sound of.

You WHAT????? You made up your child’s name?????

Yes, we did. And we love it. But more on that later.

Before I had kids, I always had ideas about what I would name my future offspring. There are a few things that come into the decision that you don’t factor until you are actually on the spot, naming the child.

#1 – you need to agree with the baby’s father. This is a biggie. Not only do you have to find a name that you like, you have to find a name that they like. I was devastated that Mr T wouldn’t even consider the name Oscar. Heartbroken. He said I only wanted to name a baby Oscar so I could hold the baby and say, “I’d like to thank the Academy …”. Okay, I did want to do that. But still, think how cute it would have been!

#2 – you need to consider how the name might effect them through their life. While a lot of people say that the names of today aren’t going to work as adult names (“You’ve never heard of a lawyer called Poppy” etc), I disagree. The Piper’s and Poppy’s and Harper’s of today aren’t such unusual names, so there will come a point when they are all 30-somethings and will be as “common” as Jack and Elizabeth. And probably more so than Mary or Prue.

#3 – You need to factor in spelling and pronunciation. Are they going to be spelling their name for the rest of their life? Are they going to have it said incorrectly for ever? Now, here’s a funny story. My name, though not uncommon, has a slightly different spelling than what most people expect. Mr T’s name is not a common name in NZ (though very common in the UK). I swore, nay vowed, that I wouldn’t give my kids names that they had to constantly spell. And we honoured this with Princess (although, people do still get it wrong sometimes). I hereby apologise to BoyChild and BabyGirl. They will be spelling their names for eternity. I’m very, very sorry about that, kids. On the plus side, Princess has her pick of personalised items in stores, her name is always there. She is, in fact, the only family member to be so lucky. Again, sorry kids.

#4 – Please, PLEASE, look at the initials of their names. Patricia Isabelle Gilbert is a lovely name. PIG is not. Bernard Unwin McGinty? BUM. And, consider the way it is said as well. We all know the urban myth of the man named Wayne Kerr. Or Jack Hunt. Don’t make your kid that person!

#5 – yell the name. 100 times in a row. How does it feel? Because once that child is two, you will be saying it a LOT.

When we were pregnant with Princess, we had a list of 5 names (the majority of which were unisex names). The name she ended up with was not on our top 5. And she wouldn’t suit any other name. Her name suits her to a T.

With BoyChild, it was 600,000,000% harder coming up with a name. We just couldn’t find one we liked. Boys names are perculiar – with girl’s names there are the classic, the unique, and the names-in-the-middle. With boys, there only seems to be really-common, classic and old fashioned (Jack, Edward) or really “you named your kid what?” . We named him (the name that was our “boy” name when having Princess), and then regretted the decision and looked into changing his name. But then, it kind of just “fitted” him. So he kept it. And, again, he has grown into it.

We didn’t find out what we were having with BabyGirl, but right from the start of the pregnancy we had her “girl” name picked. We heard it on TV and, like I said, tailored the spelling to fit us. We made it phonetic, so it is said exactly how it is written. People still constantly get it wrong, but we also get so many compliments about her name. It really is a beautiful name. And, funnily enough, we never did decide on a boys name for her. Lucky she was a girl!

And so, back to the Top 100 list. Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will have 4 other kids with the same name in their class. There were 133 other girls born in NZ in 2009 with Princess’s name, and I have only ever met two kids the same age as her with her name. However, there were 5 Mikayla’s in her kindy class (all spelled differently) – this name doesn’t even feature near the Top 10.

Names are a bit like witches hats, they rise in popularity and sink again, as people move towards or away from them. They rise in popularity until every second person seems to have that name, and then people stop using it. Obviously some people take the piss a little bit (I’m looking at you, Tallulah-does-the-hula-from-Hawaii’s parents), which is why we are lucky to live in a country who put some limitations on naming rights!

The way I figure, if you like the name, your other half likes the name, your kid will fit the name.

And so, to my dear friend, I say – go with what you like. Trust your instincts! And name your child, Elsa Katniss Rapunzel Fantastic Mrs T.

You are welcome.

http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Births-Deaths-and-Marriages-Most-Popular-Male-and-Female-First-Names?OpenDocument

The full lists, if you are interested :)

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Taking care of yourself #miniblog

Just a #miniblog today – this image floated past me on Facebook and I couldn’t let it go by without reposting it.

I freakin love it.

So apt. What use are we to our kids if we are falling apart at the seams?

This time of year is balls. We are tired. We are over-Christmased. It’s the new year. We have no money. We are probably feeling overweight, overindulged and overtired.

So, all you parents out there – take time out for YOU.

You deserve it, and so do your kids.

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What is Parenting?

Often I find myself in situations completely bizarre or foreign, and think to myself, so this is parenting. And so I decided to compile a list. Just, ya know, FYI.

Parenting is (including but not limited to) the following:

  • Amazing, fascinating, experiencing new and challenging things
  • Constantly learning – about yourself, about your children, and about the world around you
  • A new perspective on life
  • Fun
  • Hilarious
  • Devastating
  • Frustrating
  • Confusing
  • Leading you to question everything you know about everything
  • Leaning over a cot at 1am, getting cramp in every muscle in your body, while quietly hoping and praying that the dear creature sleeping under your resting arm is actually asleep and will remain so long enough for you to ninja-sneak out of the room
  • Sitting upright on an armchair with a spewing toddler at 1am, 2am, 3:30am, 4am, 5am …
  • Never having a clean house
  • Finding a shoe in your bed
  • Finding a tin of salmon in your bath
  • Finding your car keys in the pantry
  • Never being able to find the remote
  • Playing “hairdresser” aka “slap me in the head with a hairbrush”
  • Playing “make overs” aka “draw all over me with permanent marker”
  • Learning to literally do twelve things at once
  • Peeing in 2 seconds flat
  • Losing all personal space
  • Operating on two hours of sleep. Not very well, albeit, but operating nonetheless.
  • Mastering the “quickie”
  • Learning new things about your other half. Some good. Some, ahem, different.
  • New found appreciation for your parents. And wishing there was a “go back” button so you can not terrorise them as your minions are terrorising you.
  • Learning about every cartoon character, you tube video and new toy out there. And justifying why none of them need to be in your house. And then buying each and every one of them.
  • Standing your ground. No matter how hard you want to laugh. Or cry.
  • Not swearing in front of your kids. Because they are sponges. And then you have to punish them for swearing. Even if they swear perfectly in context.
  • Learning to identify substances on and around your children without the need to taste the substance.
  • Making the mistake only ONCE, of “is this chocolate? Let me just … nope. Nope. NOPE. Not chocolate”.
  • Saying things you never imagined would ever pass through your lips. “Don’t lick that”. “Put your willy away”. “Get off your brother’s face”. “Please do NOT climb out there!”. “Get out of the fridge!”.
  • Finding different ways to keep busy. And fun. And crazy. And affordable. Like food colouring in the bath. Or the sprinkler under the trampoline.
  • Answering the same inane question again and again and again and again and again. And then reverting to the phrase you swore you would never use. “Because I said so.”
  • Sounding just like your mother.
  • Having to make new friends.
  • Learning to introduce yourself to people, by name, because the woman you have been talking to for months only knows you as Princess’s Mother.
  • Being known, first and foremost, as [your child’s name]’s Mother.
  • Discussing the finer details of pooping, vomiting, snotty noses and no end to gross topics, as readily as current events.
  • Who am I kidding? Considerably more readily than current events.
  • Staying up until midnight, even though your kids went to sleep at 9pm. Because they might wake up again. And besides, being awake when they aren’t is awesome.
  • Drinking coffee while walking around the house, dressing three kids, making beds, packing lunches and checking facebook.
  • Finding a 3/4 full cup of coffee next to the bathroom sink that evening.
  • Drinking it before realising it is (obviously) freezing cold.
  • Dressing your kids in ridiculous outfits, just because you can.
  • Trying to convince your child that their outfit is ridiculous, because you know that you will get the blame in years to come, when they look back on the photos.
  • Laughing at things your kids do.
  • Crying about things your kids do
  • Loving your kids so freakin much that it draws you to tears even thinking about them.
  • Appreciating just how lucky you are to have the good fortune to have been able to become a parent to these special, horrible, lovely, sweet, naughty little ratbags darlings.

And then, doing it all again tomorrow.

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How to Christmas when you don’t feel like Christmasing

This Christmas, I received some devastating news – that a close relative had passed away. One of the hardest obstacles in parenting is having to parent when you absolutely do not feel like parenting. And on Christmas day, this is even more so. I learned a lot this Christmas, on how to enjoy something and put on a brave face when all you want to do is crumble. The lesson on how to be a pillar when all you want to be is the floor.

Our Christmas Day started out like all others, so much fun and excitement! I was awake at 6am, waiting for the sound of Princess’s bedroom door opening and her feet scurrying up the hallway and into the lounge. She woke at 6:30, ran down the hallway and screamed, “OH MY GOSH MUM AND DAD AND BOYCHILD AND BABYGIRL GET UP SANTA HAS BEEN OH MY GOSH SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE”.

BoyChild, bless him, crawled into bed next to Mr T and called out, “Princess! Go back to sleep!”.

Princess wasn’t having it, and so within ten minutes we were all in the living room, Mr T and I sleepily sipping coffee while watching chaos ensue.

Lot’s of “OH WOW” and “OH MY GOODNESS” and “OHHHHHHHH COOOOOL”. It was a fantastic, special time!

Sure enough, by 8:00am, all the presents were open and the kids were happily playing in their respective corners. Mr T went back to bed due to having a mild case of ManFlu and I sat down to relax.

And then the phone rang.

Losing a loved one on any day is a shock. Losing a loved one on Christmas day is something else altogether. The conversation was along the lines of, “I hope you are having a lovely Christmas, however … “. I hung up the phone and went into our bedroom and cried. I cried so much that poor Mr T had no idea what was wrong. I got it out eventually, and we just held each other and I cried some more. Thank heavens the kids were too engrossed in their new toys to follow me into the bedroom.

I got up and had a shower, all of my Christmas energy drained from me in an instant. Why did I have a shower? I don’t know if you realise, but a shower is an ideal place to cry. When you have kids, you don’t want to cry too much in front of them, because it can be quite distressing. So I shower when I need a really good cry.

When I got out of the shower, I sat on my bed and gathered myself. This was, first and foremost, Christmas Day for the kids, and we needed to make sure the kids would still get their day.

We told Princess what had happened, because she would no doubt have caught on to the mood of the day anyway. She is very matter-of-fact about death, she talks about it freely and often refers to her “old, old nana” (her great-nan) who passed away a few years ago. She says, quite simply, that when people die, they become stars. I love that description.

As family gathered at our house (as we had planned anyway), there was a mixed mood of sombre tones and Christmas celebrations.

There were parts throughout the day where even us grown-ups would get caught up in the fun celebration and forget, momentarily, the cloud that was hanging above us. And then we would remember, and the walls would crumble once more. Planning a funeral on Christmas Day is not something I ever want to be a part of, and I have the utmost sympathies for my family members who had that responsibility.

And so we went on. We gave the kids the Christmas we had been building up towards for weeks and weeks, while carrying a heavy weight of grief on the inside.

Once the kids were tucked happily into bed that night, cuddling their new toys, tummies filled up with great food and, more realistically, lots upon lots of lollies and chocolate (I’m pretty confident that that is ALL BoyChild ate) and dreaming of their wonderful day, I sat down and let it all become me.

I put my feet up, I sat with a cup of tea, and I reflected. I didn’t cry, but I just sat.

I’m off to the funeral in a few days, so I’ve got the next few days to keep myself busy with the post-Christmas clean up. The house is nearly back to it’s normal chaotic state (as opposed to the mega chaos of Christmas Day) and the kids are getting back into their regular routine. And still, as with each passing day, I find myself forgetting once more and getting on with the day. And then, remembering, and finding myself getting overwhelmed with the emotion of it.

Princess and BoyChild say they had an awesome Christmas Day, which is heart warming. And I hope their next Christmas is just as grand. Even though, from hereon in, Christmas Day will, for our family, always be a double edged sword.