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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

 

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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

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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.

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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*

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