0

Do Not Open Until 25 December

Christmas is 9 sleeps away, and the courier parcels are arriving at our house like crazy town. The other day I had two separate companies pull up at the same time. They raced each other up the path, it was awesome.

A large amount of what is coming is either (a) online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, (b) online shopping for me disguised as online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, and (c) my usual work stuff that really isn’t particularly interesting at all.

And, then there is the presents. The Actual Presents, sent from various friends, family, Grandparents, Secret Santas and the like.

Now bears the questions – do you open the presents as they arrive, or do you wait until Christmas??

For me and my presents, I wait. And the reason I wait is because I don’t get to open many presents on Christmas day, so it’s fun. Now, I use the term “wait” loosely because let’s be honest, I have zero will power and 9 days is a loooooooong time to wait. But I will try, gosh darnit I’ll try.

But, for the kids. Do I make them wait, or allow them a couple of sneaky early pressies?

Reasons to Wait

  • The are intended to be opened on Christmas Day, so they should be opened on Christmas Day
  • It makes it all the more special to wait
  • It teaches them that they can’t have what they want, when they want it. They must wait.
  • It serves as a valuable bribery tool

Reasons to Let Them Let Rip (the wrapping paper, that is) 

  • It makes Christmas last for aaaaaaaages
  • It allows us to treasure each present separately, rather than them getting lost amidst the chaos of Christmas Day
  • It shuts them the heck up. School holidays, yo.

Like I said, many of our presents come from Grandparents and friends who live far away from us. We aren’t going to see them on Christmas Day (*sad face*) and by letting the kids open the presents early, we are able to give those presents sole focus. This is particularly special when they are gifts that require concentration and loads of little parts. If the kids opened them with all their other Christmas Day loot, it won’t be the same.

At the end of the day, whether or not the kids should be opening their presents before Christmas Day is entirely up to the parent. I’m a read-the-end-of-the-book-before-im-halfway-through kinda person, so you can probably guess where my preference lies. But, that being said, there is still a healthy-ish pile of gifts under our tree, stubbornly waiting for Christmas Day.

img_5427

Even my Secret Santa gift. Sitting there. Taunting me.

“open meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you know you waaaaannntttt toooooooooo”

 

 

0

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.

 

 

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

 

0

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

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Nobody said it was easy, this parenting gig.

But nobody said it would be this hard.

Nobody told you how tired you would be.

I mean, they talk about newborns not sleeping. But nobody mentions that kids don’t miraculously start sleeping well on their 1st birthday. Some do. But many don’t. Some do, and then stop again when night terrors/bad dreams/toilet training kicks in.

When a child is unwell, they don’t sleep well. When three children are unwell, they don’t sleep well but do so in a seemingly coordinated roster system so that they are never all asleep at the same time.

Which, in part, means that mum and dad don’t sleep.

Nobody talks about how the tiredness goes beyond anything coffee can fix. That you get tired to your very core. Your entire everything is tired.

Nobody tells you that you might not like your child every day. That there will be days when you look at your child and want to scream at them, “GO AWAY! I DO NOT LIKE YOU!”. Nobody tells you that, when pushed to your very limit, you might actually utter those words to your child. And nobody talks of the guilt that sits with you for days, weeks, years.

Nobody tells you the despair you will feel when your child is sick or confused or upset and no body around seems to care. When your child is scared and crying and gets told, “Stop being silly”. And all you want to do is scream “HE’S NOT BEING SILLY. HE IS AFRAID AND NEEDS SUPPORT RIGHT NOW. I. NEED. SUPPORT. RIGHT. NOW”.

Because nobody tells you how isolating parenting can be. How, when your child is throwing the tantrum to end all tantrums, there is no body there who can take the child into their arms and magically calm them down. That you sit there and look around, hoping that this child’s real parent will show up soon and take over the show.

Nobody tells you that there will be times that you just want to cry. And there will be times when all you can do is sit in your car and cry. There will be times when you yell and stomp and scream and then wonder why your kids yell and stomp and scream. And you know that the best thing is to keep calm and collected. But you also realise this as you are yelling and stomping and screaming.

Nobody tells you how magical it feels to stand in the pantry and scoff a chocolate bar. One you don’t have to share.

Nobody tells you how much fucking laundry you will do.

But.

Nobody can describe how it feels when you see your child achieve something. Nobody tells you how much your entire everything, that same everything that is exhausted beyond repair, will melt into a puddle of proud tears when your child gets a certificate at school, or reads you a story, or writes you a book.

Nobody tells you how it feels when you return from a weekend away and the kids scream and holler and clap and exclaim with glee when they see you, running towards you and hugging you in the best of all hugs. Nobody tells you that, less than an hour later, you’ll be missing that time that you went away.

Nobody tells you how much you will laugh. How crazy you will feel. How you will view the world from a different angle.

Nobody says how valuable the important people in your life are. The people who are actually there for you when you need them. The people who you are there for as well. And that these people pop up in unexpected places, and the people you think you can rely on, aren’t always such.

And.

Nobody asks you whether, if given the chance, you would go back and change things. Not have kids. Do things differently.

Because the answer is no. Without hesitation. With 100% certainty. No.

Nobody tells you how much these crazy little critters will suck you in, completely encompassing your heart and soul and mind and body and everything. That same everything.

Nobody said it was going to be easy.

But everyone will tell you it’s worth it.

untitled-1-9

 

0

F*** It

The first time your child swears, you think that surely you misheard. I mean, yes, it was clear. And yes, the context was dead on. But where on earth could my cherub have learned such language?

And then, you giggle. Because although it’s wrong and bad and naughty and all that stuff we say to make ourselves seem like legit, on-the-level parents, it’s still f***ing funny.

BabyGirl picked up a bowl of chips the other day, and realised it was empty.

“Oh, bugger. All the chips are gone” she mumbled.

And then the dog ran through the room. “F*** it, dog, you nearly spilled my drink!”

I don’t swear in front of my children. I certainly don’t say it enough for them to pick it up.

It must be their dad.

Or their preschool.

Oh! Maybe it’s the neighbour.

It’s everyone but me, that’s for damn sure.

Wait.

I didn’t.

Oh.

Goddammit, it’s occurred to me that maybe I say f***ing swearwords more than I bloody realise. Bugger it.

Kids. Sponges.

Swearing doesn’t have the stigma it used to, that’s for sure. I distinctly remember my sister telling me, when she was 13 and I was 11, that when I got to high school, I would learn that dick isn’t even a swear word. When she said it, I gasped, whispered, “don’t let mum hear you say that word!” and looked around furiously for mum to appear at the door in a way that Mums tend to do (it’s a sixth sense, you just know when your kids are misbehaving). My uber cool, 13 year old sister rolled her eyes at me. Children.

And then I went to high school and, well, I’ll be damned. Dick wasn’t a swear word.

And today, I say the occasional “shit” or “feck” in front of my mum, and she doesn’t seem too phased by it.

But that’s enough about me – back to my darling children.

I don’t know who taught them to swear, but shit, when I find that person, I will give them the Mum Glare to end all Mum Glares.

Because it’s not me, that’s for f***ing certain.

*shines parenting halo*

face

 

 

0

The Birds & The Bees

“Mummy? Where do babies come from?”

Honestly, the first time Princess asked me this question, I lost the plot. I have always had an open and honest approach to parenting, and always vowed that I would answer questions with accuracy and the correct terms. Don’t get me wrong – I, of course, would keep it age-appropriate and divulge information on a very much need-to-know basis.

And so, when I was asked, “Mummy? Where do babies come from?”, I disappointed myself by losing the plot in a fit of giggles. Literally.

The conversation went like this:

Mummy? Where do babies come from?

He he he he he. *chortle* well you see there is a man and he *giggle* and the lady *tee hee hee* and then *snigger* and *blush*.

I know. I’m shaking my head at myself. Honestly, Mrs T.

Anyway, I think we got there, and I think Princess has enough information to satisfy her curiosity. Which, by the way, is very little information indeed. A man has sperm, a lady has eggs (but not the kind you have for tea)(and much smaller) and the sperm mixes with the egg to make a baby that grows in Mummy’s tummy. Boom. Baby.

BoyChild has never asked and, to be honest, I don’t know if he ever will. He has his “diddle” and his sisters have “bagymas” and that’s about as far as his fascination/curiosity goes. He’s far more interested with Minecraft.

When I was a child (precocious second child of four), I don’t remember there ever being a time when I didn’t know about The Birds and the Bees. My mum has no clue how I ever found out, and was horrified to hear 4-year-old me explaining to my 6-year-old sister how “men park their limos into ladies garages” and “men put their snakes into ladies bushes”.

I can’t even. My poor mother.

And that brings us to a pleasant Wintery evening a few nights back. The older two kids were in bed and Mr T was away on business. I was pottering around the kitchen while BabyGirl played happily in the living room.

“Mumma!” she called to me. “Mumma! Come see Anna (from Frozen) give da man a ’tiss”

I just. I can’t even.

13624636_10154313821917292_100291973_n

Action Man!

Now, I don’t know about you, but that looks like more than a ’tiss to me. A front bottom ’tiss, perhaps.

I won’t lie. I laughed. I left the room and laughed and laughed and cried and wiped my eyes and took the photo and sent it to my husband and a friend and then my sister and I laughed and I cried and I laughed some more. Then I took a breather and started all over again.

Smooth parenting there, Mrs T. Top notch.

And then, holy heck, the commentary.

“Oh hello Anna, you are my best fwend”

“I know that but I bery, bery tired”

I die.

I am 99.8% confident that BabyGirl has not witnessed this occuring in real life. And I am certain that it was completely innocent play. And I am 600% glad that her older sister was not around when it happened. And I am 1,000,000% sure that I probably shouldn’t have laughed so hard.

But, kids. They have this awesome innocence about them – she was playing a game and, I like to think, happened upon a scenario that mimicked adult behaviour, not deliberately but rather by accident. And, I like to think, by not telling her it was naughty or yukky, she left that game thinking of it no differently than if she were sitting the dolls in the toy car, hooning around the kitchen with two My Little Ponys in the back.

I can chalk this up on my list of Parenting: Expectation v. Reality. Not how I thought I would react, but not entirely, completely terrible. I hope.

And now, I brace myself for the day BabyGirl starts explaining to her big sister about men and their limousines …