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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Movies According To Princess (Age: 4)

Madam Princess has some awesome interpretations of .. well, everything in the world around her. And I have a particular fondness for the way she describes things – her use of words, and the way she sees things is so different to the way I see things (and, to be fair, the way most other people see things!) that I thought it time I record some of these.

Princess isn’t a big movie person, she didn’t see her first movie in it’s entirety until very recently. But, she knows what she likes …

and knows what she doesn’t.

Here are some movie plots explained, according to Princess. In case you were wondering.

Frozen

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It’s about Ahhhhhhhna and Elsa. They are sisters. Even Andrew at kindy likes Frozen. Elsa freezes Ahhhhna’s heart. Hans tries to cut Elsa. Kristoff is Ahhhhhna’s best prince. Sbent is a reindeer. Olaf is a snowman, he has a nose from a carrot and it’s SO funny! I like Frozen. It’s my favourite movie actually.

Monsters University

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Monsters Anniversity is with Sullivan and Mike-Wizowskee. They are monsters. They are scarers. Sullivan and all of the monsters try to be scarers. They are at anniversity and they are all monsters! I like Monsters Anniversity. It’s actually my favourite movie.

The Lion King

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The Lion King is about that .. um .. little tiger’s Dad is dead. That’s he isn’t alive anymore. He wants to be king. I like The Lion King. It’s not my favourite movie because it’s sad but I like it, it’s my favourite movie actually.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

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Charmy-is-a-bowl-of-meetballs is about .. I don’t know. Meatballs. I like it. Let’s watch that movie. Please?

The Little Mermaid

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This is about Ariel. She has got a mermaid tail and she flashes and the witch comes. I love this movie. I want to be a mermaid. No, I want to be Elsa.

Tangled

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This movie is about Rapunzel and she has long hair and a purple dress. And a tiara. And she hits Flynn with a frying pan. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. I want hair like Rapunzel.

Planes

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Planes is about Busty. I don’t know what happens in this movie, me and dad left the movie.

The Pirate Fairy

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It’s about Tinkerbell and Serena. They see a pirate. I want to watch Charmy-is-a-bowl-of-meetballs.

The Smurfs

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I don’t like the Sweerfs.

 

And, there you have it. Now you know what movies are worth watching, and which aren’t! Or, you don’t. Never mind – you’re going to have to watch them yourself!

 

 

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How Will My Children Remember Me?

I often wonder what my children are going to be like when they reach adulthood and venture into the big, bad world. What are they going to be like as people?

And, what are they going to remember of me and their father, and of their childhood? I’m not necessarily talking in the instance of my not being here, because, obviously, I’m hoping (and assuming) that I will be around for years and years and years (and years) to come.

What do I remember of my parents, and my childhood? I am one of four children, and I know from conversations with my sisters that key events that I remember from my childhood differ from events that my sisters remember. Different children, different childhoods, even within one family. For example, one of my fondest memories of my mum is watching her turn cartwheels across the entire lawn, laughing and laughing along the way. I’ve mentioned this before and at least one sister had no idea what I was talking about.

Which leads to the question, How will my children remember me? And, perhaps more importantly, how do I want my children to remember me?

  • Firstly, and most importantly, I want my kids to remember the love in this house. Mr T and I have always made the point of telling our kids that we love them, no matter what. This has never come into question, no matter how angry we are about things they have done. We might not like what they are doing, but us loving them and caring for them and being there for them should never come into question. Princess tells me she loves me regularly, and I never get tired of hearing it. If we tell BoyChild we love him, he replies, “Love you too, dude”. Bless him!
  • I want my kids to remember the fun and the laughter. Mr T and I love to laugh, we both share a silly sense of humour, and I hope the kids pick this up and take it with them. The playtimes we share as a family – after bath time when the kids run around and we play “boo” or hide and seek, and we all end up laughing and laughing. I want them to remember the times like today when we were out at the doctors and got caught in a sudden downpour. Princess was walking alongside the younger kids in the pram and it very suddenly started raining. Rather than get upset, we laughed. We ran, we jumped in puddles, it was a really nice moment in what was otherwise a very stressful day. I made a big deal about getting the kids into the car before we all melted, they all laughed and laughed as I hustled them into their car seats, and then we laughed some more because my glasses were so wet I couldn’t see who was who! On a day like today, I hope that they remember times like that, not the yelling or the growling or the bossing.
  • I hope that my kids remember my fashion sense, the makeup I (very rarely) wear, the perfume I choose.
  • I would love my kids to remember my love of baking – the cakes we make together. I remember this from my childhood with such fond memories. And, my cooking. I would be quite pleased if they consider me to have been a halfway decent cook throughout their childhood! And, maybe when they come across a dish in their 20s, they can suddenly recall me making it years earlier. And, perhaps, call me for the recipe, just as I have done with my own mother many times before!
  • I want my kids to remember me being in their lives. Taking them to classes, driving them around, being active in their lives. Being their mum.

And, of course, the flipside. I hope my kids don’t look back in thirty years and think of their mum as a grumpy person, a screaming banshee. Because, I’m not ashamed to say it, I am those things some days. But, how people perceive you is so much dependent on how you perceive yourself. So, I am working on not being a grumpy person, a screaming banshee! The way I figure it, my kids are going to remember, in all essence, the person they see me to be. If I want them to remember me for all those things I mentioned, I need to be all those things mentioned.

Take the time to play with your children, laugh with your children, let them make mess sometimes, love them, hug and kiss them, provide for them and treat them like they are the most awesome creatures around. And, it will all pay off when they are Proper Grown Ups and they turn to you and say that you, in fact, are the most awesome creature around. I can’t wait!

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Going Dairy Free

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Last week was Allergy Awareness week in New Zealand and, for the first time, this actually meant something to me. Because, as I have mentioned before, our little BabyGirl is allergic to all products that contain cow’s milk. So, I thought it apt that I write a little about our experiences with this, dealing with her reactions and adapting our family to suit her and her needs.

Now, I am well aware that there are far worse allergies out there. I know a child who has an allergy and/or intolerance to most everything. But, dairy products play a larger part in our diet than I ever considered it to. I mean, I’ve never been a milk drinker. So, when I was told, “no dairy”, I thought, easy. Nope.

  • How did we learn that she is allergic?

We were somewhat lucky (?!) in that BabyGirl had some relatively severe reactions very young, which meant that by the time she was starting on solids, they were able to test her pretty early on. When she was 3 months old, I decided to go swimming and left the little baby with her Daddy and a bottle of formula. Half an hour after she guzzled the entire 180ml of formula, she started vomiting. And vomiting. And, vomiting. We ended up in the emergency department at the hospital, with the little pet bringing up bile then collapsing on to me. Heartbreaking. At first, they put it down to “probably a tummy bug” and we went home in the morning.

However, a week later and Mr T and I went out for our anniversary, leaving the kids with my sister. Upon our return, the vomiting started again, and back to the hospital we went. This time they said she was clearly allergic to something in the formula, but they had no idea what.

Skip forward two months and we gingerly started giving her solid food. After a meal of custard and egg, she started wretching and screaming. And then, when BabyGirl was 7 months old, Mr T fed her some ice cream and her face flared up instantly, exactly where the ice cream had touched her skin. Bright red. We took her to the doctor that week and they did a full blood test to see exactly what we were dealing with. Frankly, we were pretty happy the day we got the phone call to say, definitely cow’s milk, because it is so much easier to manage something when you know what something is!

  • Adjusting to the Change

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The biggest challenge when we were told that BabyGirl couldn’t eat dairy any more, was figuring out what had dairy in it, and what didn’t. These days, there are a lot of people who don’t eat dairy products, or who are gluten free, and product packaging reflects this. A lot of things clearly state what allergens are or might be in the product. I was advised to drop dairy from my diet as well initially as I was breastfeeding her and, while I have slowly reintroduced it for myself, it made things easier in the beginning to cut it completely for me as well. The first few times I went to the supermarket, I was there for hours. Reading every. single. label. But, months down the track, I now know a lot of foods that are “safe” for her. Some surprised me, too! Oreos, for example. They are cookies and cream, yet contain no dairy. Some products are dairy free in one brand but not in another.

I found snack food the hardest. Easy, quick foods for a little baby adjusting to solid foods were hard to come by. She couldn’t eat a lot of the rice cake-type things because they are too hard, and she couldn’t eat certain fruits and veges for the same reason. Things like fresh pasta (ravioli, etc) were my “go to” foods with the other kids, yet I couldn’t give them to BabyGirl. But, I learnt.

Another big thing that I learnt the hard way? Parties. Going to a birthday party for another little kid. When a baby is one, they want to eat what other people are eating! They want cake too! I have started making dairy free cakes and cookies when I know we have a party to go to, so I take my own little baggie with her own cake and cookies. Also, we go to a music group once a week and the kids get morning tea afterwards. Again, I take my own little baggie and that’s what BabyGirl eats.

  • Reactions and Out Growing the Allergy

We have been advised by the Pediatrician that she *should* outgrow this allergy by the age of three. It was her birthday at the beginning of this month, and though I endeavored to make the food as dairy-free as I could, a couple of dairy items got by. And, within an hour or two of her party, she had an itchy, horrible rash on her chest. That was a shock to us, as months without dairy had lulled us into the false sense that her allergy was waning. Though it is tempting to “test” her and see what reaction she might have, it only takes remembering that little dot in the hospital barely able to hold herself up due to so much vomiting, to remind us that she is not ready.

  • Educating the other kids .. and other people

Having a three year old and a four year old in the house makes suddenly banning certain foods a challenge and somewhat unfair, but again, we adapted and they learned to as well. We rarely have ice cream now, and when we do, we make sure there is sorbet for BabyGirl. The older kids have yoghurt, BabyGirl has soy yoghurt. I am learning some really great recipes for the kids to help with – last week we made dairy free chocolate chip cookies (I found dairy free chocolate chips!) which were nicer than other ones I’ve made! The kids have learned not to feed BabyGirl anything without checking with me first, and they are really good about it.

A lot of people assume it’s a lactose intolerance, or, even, my imagination. Which is funny – why would someone deliberately limit their child’s intake of nutritious food? That’s just silly. I tend to ignore these comments – believe me,Ā I hardly have the time to conjure up false allergies for my children!

 

So, basically, it is what it is. Given the choice, obviously, we would prefer BabyGirl not have these allergies but she does and so we deal with it. I’ve learned a lot about products, I’m a lot more conscious about my shopping and I lived without dairy for a few months and was actually ok with it. Hopefully she outgrows this in the next few years – very few adults have food allergies so we are looking forward to that day. If it doesn’t come, that’s ok too!

And, here is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I mentioned, because they are awesome šŸ™‚ And, egg free as well, if you have an egg free child!

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Margarine

1/2 C Sugar

1/2 C Brown Sugar

1/4 C Soy Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 tsp Salt

2 1/4 C Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

Chocolate Chips (Dairy Free)

Cream the margarine and sugars until fluffy. Slowly add the soy milk and vanilla and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and add them into the creamed mixture. Add the chocolate chips. Roll onto a baking tray in small balls, bake in a preheated oven (180C) until they are slightly browned (about 8 mins). They will be quite soft when they come out but this makes them super chewy later on!

Verdict

100% awesomely magical cookies! Pow!

 

She’s Dairy Free, but she’s still pretty amazing!

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They Really Ought to Have Prepared Me For This

Parenting is a surprise, that’s for sure. A lot of it is discussed freely, yet still comes as an utter shock surprise when it actually happens. And, I’m not talking about the stuff – the sleepless nights, the endless laundry *eyes Mt Foldmore beside me*, the chaos and the tantrums. Oh, no. I’m talking about the emotional things that happen when you have kids. The “my god I can’t believe my Mum is crying, I’m never doing that. OMG Shame, Mum.” moments that take you (and your reactions) by surprise.

I was in no way prepared for my reactions when certain milestones were reached. Not me. No. I don’t cry at the drop of a hat. C’mon, people. I’m tough.

Plot twist: I’m not. I’m a wimp. A wuss. I find myself welling up at the most ridiculous times, as well as those predictable moments.

No one prepared me for this!

Here are a few times when you will cry. And it may surprise you. You will. If you don’t, then you have no soul. Just kidding. You will cry.

  • The first time your baby outgrows their teeny newborn clothes. And then every time you hold said newborn clothes. For eternity.

Babies grow. We all know this. But they grow FAST. And, before you know it, your tiny little button will be stretching out of her stretch-and-grow. And then you will have forgotten just how tiny she was. And, when she is two, even more so. And, when she is five. Ten. Thirteen. Twenty six. Forty. *tear*

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  • The first time your child pushes you away when you swoop in for a kiss

I mean, I am their mother! It is my fundamental right to be able to kiss my children whenever I want. How dare my three year old son tell me, “no kiss, Mum”. Or, my four year old girl say, “Not today, Mum. I’m busy” *heart slowly breaks*

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  • When they do something ridiculously simple yet so pride-inducing that you feel yourself standing taller and pointing out the everyone in sight, that they are your child

At school, there was a piece of rubbish. The teacher asked, who would put it into the bin. And PRINCESS raised her hand and did it. Even though it wasn’t her rubbish. Now, this is behaviour that I simply expect from my children, yet for her to do it brought me to tears. Just. So. Proud. *chest puffs*

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  • When they begin to do things independent of you

Your kids will always rely on you in some way, shape or form. But, sad as it is to admit, they won’t rely on you the same way when they are ten, as they did when they were two, say. They just won’t. It’ll be different. Doesn’t mean they won’t still want Mum-Hugs every now and again. I hope. *hiccup*

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  • Whenever your child is ill, and you are helpless to stop it

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Nothing beats this feeling. When your child is crying, hurt and unwell and you can do no more than cuddle them and comfort them. I assumed that this would get easier when they were old enough to vocalise what was wrong, but with that comes the ability to ask, “why does it hurt?”. I find myself choking up everytime I have a sick child on me, sobbing and in pain. Their vulnerability just rips your heart out. Plus, I’m their MUM, I should be able to fix the world. Sigh.

  • When they face crushing disappointment

I think it’s fair to say, when your child hurts, you hurt. Watching a kid say to yours, “You aren’t my friend”. Or, realising that all their friends got invites to a party except your child. And, having them ask you, “why didn’t I get one?”. I will never forget the look on Princess’s face when, as a tiny dot of 18 months, a big kid told her she wasn’t allowed to be sitting where she was, eating her marshmallow. That look of sheer dismay. *sob*

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  • Their first day at school

Now, this one is a funny one. Firstly, Princess isn’t actually at school yet, so I’ve yet to experience it. But, it’s not looking good for me thus far. Her school does 10 school visits before she starts. We waited and waited for the letter from the school confirming the date she would start. We were very excited! I opened the letter, read it in my head, then turned to her and said, “The letter says, ‘Princess will start her school visits on … ‘ “. And then I trailed off. “When, Mum? When?! Why did you stop??”. I couldn’t answer her, because I was crying. I knew this day was coming, I knew all about it. I cried reading the damn letter. The LETTER. Sigh.

She had her first school visit this past Wednesday and I was very brave. That is, until she was sitting on the mat with all the other kids, arms folded and listening to the teachers. And then I remembered. I remembered her as a tiny baby. I remembered that incident on the steps with the marshmallow. I remembered her first steps, her first words. And I looked at that big kid sitting on the mat, oblivious to my even being there. And, I cried. I stood there and hoped that no one would talk to me, lest I bawl in front of a room of school kids and their parents. I just .. she’s just … *nope*.

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THEY REALLY OUGHT TO HAVE PREPARED ME FOR THIS.

Rest assured, I have three months to get used to the idea. And, my kids are all still preschoolers – I’m sure, without a doubt, that I will cry a heck of a lot more in coming years. First day of high school. First boyfriend/girlfriend. Don’t even get me started on weddings, grandchildren ..Ā  STOP IT.

And that is that. I need a tissue. And a cuddle. I think I might call my mum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. An interesting phenomenon. I mean, I think we all have ideas of what we expect to happen on mother’s day.

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And then we have what actually happens on Mother’s Day!

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But, how much of Mother’s Day is based upon our expectations of the day, versus what we can realistically expect to happen?

Let me explain – I would LOVE to wake up casually around, say, ten am. Wake up naturally (as in, not being woken up). I would come out into a miraculously clean house and sit down to a splendid brunch of fruit, bacon and eggs, french toast, eggs benedict, the works. My kids would shower me with love and affection, and gifts of everything I ever wanted but never actually vocalised to anyone. After opening my gifts, we would go out somewhere lovely for the afternoon and then return home to a home cooked meal. No housework, no responsibility for the day.

Hang on – reading back, it seems that my dream for Mother’s Day is .. to NOT be a Mother for a day! But .. I love being a Mother. Don’t I? Colour me confused.

Here is what happened on my Mother’s Day.

I woke up at 9am. NINE AM. That is an insane sleep in in this house. How did I wake? Mr T calling me from work (he was at work from 4am), concerned that I hadn’t replied yet to the “Happy Mother’s Day” text he had sent at 7:30! Now, I’m not sure why my kids slept in this morning. I’ve no clue. Frankly, I don’t care. I had the longest sleep in I’d had for a loooooooong time, Mother’s Day or not!

After we got out of bed, I decided to do nothing but enjoy my kids. No housework. We sat in our pjs and played on the floor. We somehow managed to be back in bed at around 11:30am! We had a really, really nice morning with no bickering, no fighting, no yelling. Just, being. I cooked myself bacon and eggs for breakfast, just because (bearing in mind that Mr T was still at work). Princess had made a Mother’s Day card at kindy so I sat her down with a pen and taught her how to write, “Happy Mothers Day” inside it.

Then, I gathered the kids on the couch and filmed a tre adorable video of them saying, “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, I LOVE YOU” to post on the Facebook pages of their three Grandmothers.

Mr T got home at midday and surprised me with a bag of M&Ms (my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE THING EVER). That is a win right there.

Feeling particularly spoiled (don’t be jealous of my M&Ms please), I dressed the kids, said goodbye to my husband (who was off to bed, having worked half the night) and took them into town. My kids, they took me out for ice cream. Sure, I don’t eat ice cream, but I had a great time sitting with them as they devoured their kiddie-cones. We did a bit of shopping and then we went to the supermarket to buy ingredients for me to cook MY ideal meal for dinner. Oh, did I mention that I really wanted new gumboots as my Mother’s Day gift? Well, I found what I wanted in the supermarket, of all places. So, I got them.

My cousin was coming for dinner so I did a quick tidy up when we got home (as in, shifted the house from “complete devastation” to “mild mess”) and then started on dinner. When Mr T awoke from his nap, I thanked him for the gumboots he had “bought” me that afternoon, and handed him the card Princess picked out earlier in the week and asked him to complete it for me. He got the kids to write in the card then sealed the envelope and handed it back to me with the gumboots.

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“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed. “You guys are so KIND!” I gushed. “Best Mother’s Day EVER!”. The kids giggled and kissed me and told me they loved me.

Served my ideal dinner (chicken and bacon salad with blue cheese om nom nom) and had a cheeky glass or two of my favourite cider.

Did the usual bathtime/bedtime chaotic routine with the kids, then settled in with my cousin and husband to watch our wedding video (that she had kindly been editing for us). I went to bed a happy Mother.

So, my Mother’s Day was a really, really nice day. Why? Because I made sure it would be. I didn’t sit around and wait for my husband and kids to make my day amazing, and then sit in despair because they aren’t mind readers and can’t tell exactly what I would want to do. Also, I didn’t stop being a MOTHER. Mr T surprised me in a way he knew would work (again, don’t be jealous of my M&Ms. Actually, it’s wasted energy, someone ate them all)(plot twist: it was me). And, the kids cuddled and kissed me and said they loved me. And, didn’t bicker much (I’m ignoring the moment when we went out for ice cream and Princess got BoyChild in a headlock because she wanted to press the lift button and he pressed it …).

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, people!

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I’m a Mum. Please Don’t Say That To Me.

There are things that need to be said, and there are things that don’t. As adults, by and large we learn tact and the ability to keep quiet or subtle about things. Some people miss this chunk during their education of being a Grown Up. Kids? Sure, they have zero filter when it comes to saying what they think – Princess once announced very loudly at the supermarket that “that lady has a big baby in her tummy” while pointing to a clearly not pregnant (thought rather large) lady. However, I think some adults, whether entirely unaware or just genuinely not nice people, could take a leaf from the Filter Book.

There are a lot of things that people say to Mothers, and while some are well meaning or good intentioned, they hurt. Or sting. Or make us feel less confident. Or ruin our day. Yes – when you have had very little sleep, you are fighting the willpower of a 4 year old and juggling the well being of two other kids, a simple comment can make us cry.

Here are a few comments that people need not say to people in general, but more specifically, mothers. Who are doing their best, probably.

  • “Control your children!” or “People these days have no control” or “Would your child just be quiet“.

No. Just, no. I mean sure, there are situations when kids are running amok, and going crazy, and loud. But, sometimes it is not for lack of trying to control them on our part. Sometimes, crazy as it may seem, we lose control. Who knows what has happened that day – perhaps they have been awake since 5am (along with us) and perhaps they have been particularly feisty that day, and perhaps we are just not in the mood. Please don’t remind us that, for that particular moment, we have lost control of these little people we apparently own. You might as well slap us and call us a failure. Chances are we are fully aware that our kids are going crazy. Chances are we justĀ intend on getting the two things that we must get from the supermarket, then getting the heck out of there. Chances are, we are already on the brink of tears. Consider the peripheral of the situation before judging/glaring/commenting.

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  • “Oh, you have a boy and girl, your family is perfect” or “Two girls? You must want to try for a boy?” or “Four kids? Wow. Was that deliberate?”

No. NO! My family is perfect now. Perfect for us. Two boys and one girl. My best friend’s family is perfect for her. Two boys. I grew up in a family of four girls. Yes, it was deliberate that my parents have four kids! Perfect for me is not perfect for you. Or you. Or that guy over there with three cats. Also, you may not know the situation. Maybe someone has one child because they suffer from Secondary Infertility (it’s a thing!) and cannot get pregnant again, despite years of trying. Maybe someone really likes boys and loves the fact they have three. C’mon.

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  • Continually talk about “mum” stuff. Only Mum stuff. Breeze past general topics like current events. Or, worse, talk down to someone because they are a stay at home mum, implying that they “probably aren’t interested”.

Here’s a novel thought. There was a time once where we didn’t have kids. What!? You crazy. No, I mean it. I survived in the Real World for TWENTY SEVEN YEARS before I had my first child. I was a bank teller, an airline check in agent, a manager. Sure, I’ve decided not to return to work but that doesn’t mean I hung my brain at the door the day my daughter was born and left it there to gather dust. I still watch the news every night (albeit at 10:30pm once the kids are asleep), I check the internet every day. It’s true, I may know a fair amount about Frozen and Princess Sofia and Mike the Knight, but I also am interested in current events. I like to know what is going on in my country and abroad. I am still a FUNCTIONING ADULT. When we get together, us mums, we talk about poop and school and behaviour and food but we also talk about politics and topical news items and things unrelated to the home or the children. I’m a Mum, I’m not a moron.

  • “Hasn’t your son walked yet?” or “Isn’t she talking” or “My son was a bit slow – he is toilet trained now at 2. Oh, is your son not?

This is one that other parents are well guilty of. The comparisons. The “yets”. This one is particularly frustrating for me as our son is a late talker, so we practically got convinced by those around us that he was either autistic or suffering neurologically. If he was, that would be ok, but my point is that he isn’t. He talks fine, he just does it quietly. I took BabyGirl out last week and she was walking around – another mother was looking at her and forcing her own child to stand. She said to me, “I can’t make my child walk, she should be, yours is much younger”. But, it turns out mineĀ isn’t younger, merely smaller. Chill out, lady. You don’t see many kids starting school who don’t walk/go to the toilet/talk. Relax and let your kids do things in their own time. And don’t press it with other mums. All kids are different, for goodness sake.

  • “You are going back to work?” or “You’re NOT going back to work?” or “Your child is in daycare?” or “Your child ISN’T in daycare?”

Different strokes for different folks. Some people need to work. Some people choose to work. Some people don’t need to work. Some people can’t work. Some people choose not to. Just, different. Not better or worse, different.

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  • “You aren’t married? Can’t you tie him down” or “Have you convinced him to marry you yet” or, to the father, “Why won’t you marry her already?”

This one really bites my bottom. The assumption that all unmarried women with kids are sitting there, gazing out the window on a rainy day, chin on fist, hoping/wishing/praying that today, oh I hope today, he comes home and asks me to marry him! Oh, I hope, I hope! Sheesh. Here’s a crazy thought – sometimes, it’s the woman who doesn’t want to get married. Perhaps she would rather the kids be older. Or perhaps she can see the money better spent elsewhere. PerhapsĀ he has asked, time and time again, but she says not right now. Or maybe not. Maybe they are both happy being de facto. Mr T and I were together for 8 years before we got married. We had three kids. We got married when it felt right for us, and it was the best timing. We couldn’t be happier for it. My friend got married when she was pregnant with her first. It was the best timing for them, and they couldn’t be happier for it.

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I think the general pattern here is the same – what works for you mightn’t work for your friend. What works for your friend mightn’t work for that lady over there. And, consider the peripheral situation. I say that a rude comment can ruin a day? Well, a lovely comment can make a week.I still remember the day I was shopping, the kids were whining, I was gritting my teeth and a lady came over, placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “you are doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work”. I nearly cried. In a good way. I will never forget her, even though she has probably long forgotten me. Consider that next time you find yourself commenting to a mother about their situation. Be remembered for being lovely, not for being a cow!