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Kids, Social Media and Privacy

In today’s day and age, social media is a massive part of our lives, with the potential to be a massively intrusive part of our lives.

Anyone who follows this blog will know, I guard my children and their privacy very closely. The reason for doing so is not because I set out to shame them or ridicule them (well, not often) but rather to protect their integrity as they grow into teenagers and adults. I don’t want my kids to have their names google-able in relation to the time they shat all through their cot and smeared it up the walls. I mean, all kids do that, but most don’t have it blasted across the deep hole that is the interweb. We certainly didn’t when we were kids.

I make sure never to print my kids names (“what? Do you mean your kids aren’t called Princess, BoyChild and BabyGirl?!”). On one occasion I inadvertently printed a picture of another child (working so hard to crop my own kids faces that I forgot to crop another kid out) and was promptly called to account on it by one of my lovely readers. And, realising my error with shock and horror (I’m pretty sure I literally said “Oh, shit!” out loud), I immediately altered the picture.

But, why not their faces, I hear you ask? Because it’s a small world, after all. Thanks, Walt. (Disney, for those of you who are sitting there thinking, “who the bloody heck is Walt?”). To print their faces would be to link them to their names.

It’s a deep hole, I tell ya, this t’interweb.

Which brings me to today. Don’t get me wrong, there have been tons upon oodles of pictures that I’ve wanted to post on here and very nearly done so. Because my kids, the little weirdos, are fricken cute. But I haven’t, because it’s just the way I’ve always done it. It’s not to say that any parent blogger who does name their kids and print pictures is a bad parent. God no! I would never, ever judge someone like that. It’s just what *I* decided to do, and how I decided to play this game.

Right. Sorry, I got momentarily distracted by the offer of pavlova. Mmmmmm. Pavlova. Where was I?

Oh! Yes! Today!

Today little BabyGirl had her preschool Christmas performance. All the millions of parents were there to watch their little cherubs sing the songs we’ve been hearing them practice for weeks. I mean, how cute. How fucking adorable they all were, lined up against the wall, in their Christmas clothes (save for the random kid wearing a Spiderman costume. There is always one) belting out random Christmas songs like there was no tomorrow.

And my baby was right there, so tiny in the line up, bopping around and singing louder than any other kid. No idea where she gets that from.

Now, it’s 2016. So, I’m sure you can imagine, the audience was a sea of cell phones. Because who wouldn’t want to capture that?

Nobody.

Just before the performance started, the head teacher announced that there was to be no filming or photography at any stage, because some parents had requested that their children not feature on social media at all.

I mean.

Look, I get it, I do. I don’t want my kids being filmed by some random and blasted all over the internet. But, I also get that these weren’t random crazy people, these were the same proud parents that I was, simply wanting to capture it for future reference. For the Grandparents who don’t get to see the kids more than once a year. For them, the only way they get to know what the kids are up to, are thanks to social media and the likes of Facetime and Skype. T’interweb. For the parent who couldn’t be there. Mr T was there because it was his day off but on any given day he might have been working.

I don’t capture these things to put on youtube for all’n’sundry to watch. I capture them to put them on Apple TV Airplay so the kids can watch themselves again and again (and again and whoops sorry ran out of battery bye).

If I were to have taken a photo today, I might have taken one of the disappointed parents, the grandparents who had to put their phones away. Granted, it meant we were all actually watching the show, god forbid. But still. I think perhaps it might have been better dealt with by asking that no one upload to social media, as opposed to no one film at all.

I’m just sad that BabyGirl has no record of her first ever performance. That might be worth a fortune one day.

For today, I guess we just have the memory.

Ok. And the two sneaky photos I took. And the 7 second video. Shhhhh. Don’t tell.

 

 

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The Hardest Part of Xmas

Christmas comes with many challenges.

What the heck do you (slash Santa) buy the kids? And, how do you even make sure it’s balanced? One kid was easy. I’m pretty sure when Princess was a baby she got a random mix of practical things and annoying toys.

Three kids are hard to shop for. Especially when two are girls and one is a boy. What do you even buy for a boy? Does anybody even know?????? The challenge isn’t so much is what you buy, but rather in how to make sure you have the same amount across all three kids. Obviously it is never going to be an exactly equal stash, but you desperately don’t want to fall into the trap of buying one kid six hundred things, and buying the other kid a book. Lest they grow up feeling less equal to their sibling.

But, it’s a blimmen snowball effect. And I already can see the same pattern emerging this year that I went through last year and the year before. It goes something like this:

Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Oh-shit-I’ve-got-so-much-stuff-for-her-and-nothing-for-the-others. Buy for BabyGirl. Buy for BoyChild. Buy for BabyGirl. Buy for BoyChild. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Prin—oh-shit-I’m-doing-it-again. Buy for BabyGirl/Boychild/BabyGirl/Boychild/BabyGirl/Boychild …. crap. Now they have more stuff. Next year we do it differently! Write lists for a start. And stick to them.

Aaaaaaaand repeat next year.

But no. That inevitable hole that I dig for myself is not the hardest part of Xmas.

The hardest part is WHERE THE HELL DO I EVEN PUT ALL THE PRESENTS??!?!?!?

I mean, when they are little, you can put them in the middle of the freakin table and they would be none the wiser come Xmas morning. But as they get older, they get smarter. And they know there are presents hidden. Little sneaks.

At the moment I have them hidden in some very creative places, if I do say so myself. I have to say, it’s hard work staying ahead of a savvy 7 year old!

At first, I had the presents at the top of the laundry linen cupboard. Until I got a towel out and was showered by Thomas trains and a (very heavy) doll. I swore, Princess came a-sniffing.

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And then, I had the GENIUS idea to use a suitcase. I know, right?! Pure genius. Until husband has to go away for work.

I’m just grabbing my suitcase from the ——-
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DON’T OPEN THE SUITCASE THAT IS EMPTY AND NOTHING IS IN THERE BUT STILL JUST DON’T OPEN IT

Smooth. They didn’t suspect a damn thing.

I transferred the stuff to another suitcase. And when that was full, into another suitcase.

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And then I think, hey – I got this xmas thing sorted. Santa ain’t got nothin’ on me.

We got Princess a bike. And BabyGirl a giant stuffed Seahorse. I know. Sigh. I’m goin to be swearing at that on Boxing Day. For now, I was cursing because where on earth do you hide a damn bicycle??????

The answer? In plain view. Kids are smart, but they also can’t see things right under their noses. I mean, anyone who has ever tried to get a kid to find their shoes can attest to that.

In the corner of our house is a shelf. In front of that shelf, there is a mattress leaning against the wall. Behind that mattress, if you were to look closely, is a brand spanking new bike.

Genius.

See? I got this Xmas shit sorted.

Now to figure out how to wrap the lot.

Methinks there will be wine for that.

 

 

2

Be the bigger person

There are two things that stick around well into adult hood, that would horrify my fourteen year old self.

Pimples.

Yea, sorry to say it, dear teenagers – you will continue to get pimples well into your 30s and beyond. I know. I KNOW. What the actual. Stupid hormones.

The second thing?

Mean girls.

You know, those girls who just made your life hell when you were at school? That made your stomach knot up when you walked into a room that they were in? They still exist well into adulthood.

Of course, they don’t always fit the same aesthetic as they did in high school – back then, the mean girls were often the “popular” kids. The pretty ones with all the friends. Nowadays, they are often the ones who were picked on by these same girls when they were are high school. They are women who, for whatever reason, thrive on drama and survive by making themselves the victim. Or, they are simply women who don’t know the effect of their behaviour.

It’s natural to meet people in life who you don’t like. It’s natural that there will be people who don’t like you. It’s part and parcel with growing up – there will always be people who, for whatever reason, don’t gel with you. And that’s okay!

I make my kids well aware that they don’t have to like everyone. But what I also make clear is that they must be nice and kind to everyone.

Which is hard to do, when someone is being less than nice to you. It’s really hard to be the bigger person, when all you want to do it bow to their level and bitch about them to everyone. It’s hard to smile and be in the same room as them, knowing that every single time they walk past you, they will whisper, at a volume only you can hear, something horridly scathing that brings you and all of your anxieties right back to your fourteen year old self at high school. That they will complain and bitch about you to anyone who will listen, whenever you are around. That, despite your best intentions, they will make you cry every time you see them. Just like in high school.

And so, how to teach your kids to be the bigger person, to walk away no matter how shit you feel, to pick your battles and be prepared to raise your hands and say, “I’m done, I’m out. Whatever battle you are fighting, you win”? That, despite your differences, you are trying your darndest to put that aside, for the sake of everyone?

By simply doing. No matter how hard it is, no matter how many tears are shed, you will be the bigger person, for the sake of your kids.

Why?

So that, when they are in their 20s, their 30s, they too have the strength to walk away from toxic situations. That they too have the strength to be nice, kind people.

Because that is what makes it all worth it.

You wanna change the world? Raise your kids to be kind, respectful and compassionate. But don’t just tell them to be that way. Show them.

– anon

 

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12 Questions About Life: Princess, BoyChild AND BabyGirl

It has been such a long time since I did these questions with the kids, and finally I sat down without enough time and patience to do so. I thought it was well time for BabyGirl to give the answers a crack, too. Such fun.

It has been nearly a year since we last did it, so it’s really cool to see how the answers have changed (and how some haven’t changed at all!). As always, previous answers are in brackets underneath the current answer for comparison.

12 Questions About Life – by Princess, 7 years, 2 months

1. What is the meaning of life? God

(Love)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

(A vet and a zookeeper)

3. What makes you most happy? Mum and Dad

(Cuddling Mum )

4. When do you feel most loved? When I get cuddles

(When kissing Mum and Dad)

5. What are you afraid of? Mice and bats and spiders

(My imagination)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Puppies and a kitten

(Puppies)

7. What is the funniest word? Poo!

(*insert strange noise*)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Tell my sister off

(Cartwheels and handstands)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Maths worksheets

(Backflips)

10. What makes you mad? When someone wants to play with me but I’m already playing with someone else

(Babygirl biting me)

11. What is the meaning of love? Love

(God)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? I would give half of the money to the people with poor lives, and with the other half I would use it to get more and more money

(Buy lots and lots of toys).

 

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild, 5 years, 8 months

1. What is the meaning of life? I don’t know

(I dunno)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

(A train)

3. What makes you most happy? Otis elevators

(Talking)

4. When do you feel most loved? When I go up to floor 10 [in a lift]

(Friends)

5. What are you afraid of? Dinosaurs

(Frozen Movie)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Skyscrapers

(A heart)

7. What is the funniest word? POOS!

(Fruit!)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Hard work at school

(Playing with trains)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Building a hard marble track at school

(Trying to get the car out of the box in the toy room because it’s stuck and I can’t get it out)

10. What makes you mad? Everybody being angry with me

(Crying)

11. What is the meaning of love? Nice people

(Hearts)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy an elevator birthday cake

(Buy trains)

 

12 Questions About Life – BabyGirl, 3 years, 5 months

1. What is the meaning of life? Popsicles

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? Twilight Sparkle

3. What makes you most happy? You! 

4. When do you feel most loved? Playing with ponies

5. What are you afraid of? Tigers

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Being a pony

7. What is the funniest word? Um … ponies? 

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Um … ponies? 

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Um … ponies? 

10. What makes you mad? When someone makes me sad

11. What is the meaning of love? Um … ponies? 

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Um … chips? 

 

Hilarious. BabyGirl likes Ponies, I’m not sure if you got that. I must remember to do this more often, it’s so much fun. I highly recommend it!

And, as always, here are the links to the previous ones, if you want to have a look back!

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Six! BoyChild, Take Three!

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Five! BoyChild, Take Two

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

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Three

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Two

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take One

 

0

Please

Please don’t be mad at me

I’m sorry that I yelled 

I’m sorry for the tantrum and the tears 

I’m still learning; I’ve never been this age before. 

Please be patient with me

I don’t always understand what you want me to do, but I’ll do my best. 

I get tired some days, hungry some days. 

I need to be able to do things by myself, I appreciate your help but I need to be independent too. 

I know you rely on me, I am obsessed with you too. 

I do hear you even though it seems like I’m not listening sometimes

I know you are listening to me even though sometimes it feels like you can’t hear me 

I’m sorry for growling, for scowling 

Please don’t tell me to go away

I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon. You and me, we are a package deal. You, me and the others. 

I’m sorry I frightened you when you didn’t know where I was. I knew where I was! 

The world is so scary!  But we are a team.

Thank you for asking me if I was ok when I looked sad. Thank you for kissing me and saying you missed me when I was away. 

Thank you for loving me. 

As the years go by, our relationship will change as we grow older. 

We’ve never been this age before. 

Please remember that I am doing my best. I know you are doing yours. 

To my child. 

To my mum. 

Thank you xx 

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Poos, Wees, Diddles and Bums

Hey, Mum!
Yes, son?

POOOOOOOOOOOOOS in my BUUUUUUUUUUM

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I mean, I get it. For a kid, poos are funny. Farts are flippen hilarious. Even adults find them funny.

I didn’t think I would ever be a mother who would find poop jokes and bum jokes annoying. Let’s be honest – I was the kid who used to sing, “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the DIDDLE”. I was hilarious.

BoyChild was a relatively late developer in discovering the hilarity that is toilet humour. Bt when he found it, boy did he find it. Everything, literally everything is a toilet joke.

In the car.

I faaaaaaaart
I fart in the caaaaaaaaar

My bum does faaaaaaaaarts

My bum farts in the caaaaaar

At the dinner table.

What was your favourite part of your day, son? 

I did a poop fart in the toilet HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Poop fart. Classic.

While visiting an Open Home with potential to buy it.

I do weeeees in the loo I do poooooos in the loo

Weeeeeeees. Poooooooos. Weeeeeeees. Pooooooos.

In my bed.

Good morning, Mum.

Morning darling

I’m going to pee on your face

Please don’t, darling. 

At home.

Hey, Mum! Come quickly to the toilet! I need you please mum QUICKLY!

*rushes to bathroom* What’s the matter? 

I did a poop and it made a big splash HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

And, my all-time favourite. The best of them all. In the supermarket.

*lifts up my top* Mum! Did you do a FART?

*blows raspberrys on my back* You DID you a fart Mum! Poo Mum! Oh mum, that’s a bit rude. Say ‘scuse me, Mum. Gosh Mum. Gross.

Here’s hoping it’s a passing phase. And here’s hoping there is a bit of a lag before BabyGirl discovers farts and bums.

At least when he’s on the computer, he seems to forget about –

Hey, Mum! Guess what’s really funny! There are POOS in comPOOter! COMPOOOOOOTER ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Never mind.

 

 

1

An open letter to my friends

 

Friendship is weird. You just pick a human you’ve met and you are like, “yep, I like this one” and you just do stuff with them

Dear friend

Thank you.

Thank you, firstly, for being my friend. Sounds lame, I know. But I just feel like it’s not said enough.

I appreciate you. I appreciate you letting me vent to you at 1am when my kids are being jerks. I appreciate you letting me vent to you at 1am when I have PMS and can’t sleep.

I appreciate you letting me vent.

Thank you for agreeing with me when I complain about stupid shit. Thank you for disagreeing with me when I’m complaining about stupid shit and being unreasonable.

To agree with me says you support me, to not be afraid to disagree says that you respect me enough to call me to account.

Thanks for sharing that post on Facebook that you knew I would find hilarious. I did. In fact, I literally lol’d. Thanks for laughing at the picture I put on your Facebook page.

Thanks for acknowledging my birthday. And pretending *wink* that I’m still 21. Thanks for acknowledging my kid’s birthdays as well. It means something to know that my kids are important to you.

Thank you for texting me and asking how my day was. Sometimes the message comes at the right time. The exact moment when I am deflating. It makes my day. Thanks also for telling me about your day. I like to know what you are up to (in a non-stalker kind of way)(kind of).

And now, about you. I think you are amazing. You are a great mother – did you know that? Things get tough, I know. And I don’t always talk to you but just know that I am thinking about you often. I see things that I know your kids would like, I see things that remind me of you, and them. It breaks my heart that I can’t see you and the kids, if I could wish one thing it would be that our kids could live side by side. Granted, not much would get done as you and I would be sitting on the couch drinking coffee wine all day long and semi-supervising our children. But it would be okay because the kids would get on wonderfully. Ha! I laughed at that as well!

I hope you aren’t lonely. I know you have other friends around you (none of whom are as amazing as me, of course)(I’m kidding)(kind of) but I worry that you aren’t as happy as you could be. I know you worry that I’m not happy, and I want you to know that I am doing okay. I laughed today over something the kids did, and it made me think of you. I hope you are laughing like a maniac too. Remember that time you laughed and slapped my knee instead of yours? You know it happened.

To my friends – I don’t expect you to answer every message I send you. I won’t be upset if you don’t respond. I know you are busy. Kids make us busy in indescribable ways. I won’t always respond either. And sometimes my answer will be “hddnfbururcbsak” because my kids ninja my phone. But when you need me, I will be there.

I’m an idiot. I have a wacky sense of humour and laugh at goats in trees. And you know that. And you are okay with that. I appreciate you appreciating my weirdness. Because deep down, you are an idiot too. Own it and move on.

Thank you for having my back. For supporting me when I needed it. Thank you for thanking me. I know it sounds silly, and I don’t act for the accolades. But sincere thank yous mean a lot.

Thank you for laughing with me, crying with me. Laughing with me when the only option is to cry. Regardless  whether we see each other daily, weekly, or every three years, when we get together it’s as though we saw each other yesterday, and I cherish that.

I cherish you.

You are an amazing friend, and I count myself lucky to have you in my life. You are a strong, beautiful woman and a fantastic mother. Your kids are damn lucky to have you as their mum. Your husband is flippen lucky to have you as his wife (well, duh).

Each and every one of you.

Thank you for being my friend.

Mrs T xx