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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.

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

“open meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you know you waaaaannntttt toooooooooo”

 

 

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This Parenting Gig – It Ain’t All Bad

Today, this blog was the subject of a conversation on Facebook – a good friend of mine shared it on her page, and someone commented words to the effect of, “why are parenting blogs so negative? Why don’t people write about the good things that happen? It scares those of us who are child-free!”.

I read these comments and thought, fair call! I mean, a lot of my subject matter could quite easily be construed (especially by those who don’t have children of their own) as negative.

Now, I don’t intend it to be negative, and am very careful about not identifying my kids, therefore somehow attempting to protect them against the big bad Interweb. Another friend of mine was a keen and witty blogger about her kids, until a supposed “friend” of hers forced her to discard her blog, by making her feel horrible about “making fun of her kids”. Again, this was absolutely not her intention, but that’s how this (child-free) person read it.

So, my subject matter today – Parenting isn’t all bad. Of course it isn’t. I mean, how can it be all bad, when you have created little people who, no matter what, are completely dependant on you for their everything. This is both flattering and overwhelming. Princess often tells me she loves me, tells her brother she loves him, tells her sister she loves her, yells at them when they don’t say it back …

Children are hilarious. Freaking hilarious. Oftentimes I am literally crying with laughter because of something my kids have done. Their outlook on the world is second to none, and a lot of adults could benefit from taking a leaf out of their books. Small things, like BabyGirl calling my Stepfather by his first name, or saying “Bless you” when I sneezed. Or watching BoyChild painstakingly decide which bush to pee in while we were out today. “I’ll water this garden .. no, this garden .. no, I’ll wees in this garden .. no, this one!”. Or Princess, upon hearing that all plastic containers were 97c at The Warehouse, slipping under all the adults gathered around the stand to make sure we didn’t miss out, and then asking a staff member to please get us a basket for all our containers. And then, turning to me with a huge grin on her face and declaring, “This is SO MUCH FUN, Mum!”.

But, here’s the thing. While it’s fair to say that parenting isn’t all bad, it isn’t all good either. And, one of the main reasons I started this blog, was to allow people to see the other side of things. The side people don’t tend to talk about. That kids, no matter how awesome they seem, still throw tantrums. They are funny and clever and infuriating and awesome and cool and miserable and scary and sad and hysterically happy and hysterically upset. All within one day.

Which leads me to the question – is it worth it?

Hells yea. No hesitation.

I love being a Mum. When I think about my kids, I tear up. Like every other mum out there, I get fed up with my kids, but miss them like crazytown as soon as I’m gone. Last weekend, I worked from 11am till 6pm. After my last job I was offered a drink and some food – I declined because all I wanted to do was get home and see the kids before they went to bed. All the way home, I felt myself getting more and more excited about what I would talk to them about when I got home. I walked in the door and was greeted with loud shouts of “MUM’S HOME!!!!!”. Worth it? Hells yea.

So, if you are reading this and you don’t have kids, don’t be disheartened – the good is certainly worth it. If you do have kids, I don’t need to tell you because I’m confident you already know. And you also know, sometimes you have to laugh. Otherwise you cry.

I feel I should throw in here, tomorrow night Mr T and I are spending the night away from the kids, for the first time ever. We have lots planned, mostly centered around sleeping (shush, you dirty-minded people) but I can guarantee a lot of the evening will be spent talking about the kids, reminiscing about the kids, missing the kids.

Because, this parenting gig, it ain’t all bad at all!

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4 reasons why I love my kids

A lot of what I have written on here thus far, has been, as promised, the truth in child rearing. But, I must let it be known that, above all else, I absolutely adore my children. Sometimes when chaos reigns in our household, when we have the Five O’Clock Symphony of Screams, Mr T and I look at each other and reminisce about The Olden Days, the days BC (Before Children). But, we always ask ourselves, would we change it if we could?

Absolutely not.

Because, if we changed anything about the kids (a bigger gap between them, waited until we were 100% financially secure, stopped at one) then we wouldn’t have the children we do. They are who they are because of when they were born, the family they were born into, and we wouldn’t change that for the world. No matter how tempting it is.

So, here are just a few reasons why I absolutely and unashamedly live for my children.

  • Their personalities

They are all different and it constantly amazes me how many elements there are to each of them. Princess is bossy, she’s loud and she’s dramatic.

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But she is also sensitive and shy, afraid of the unknown and bites her lip when she gets nervous. She has eyebrows that can tell a story all on their own. It’s hard to take her seriously when she is telling some great fable about her day, because her eyebrows dominate the conversation – not because they are a mono-brow, because they are super expressive.

BoyChild is independent with a wicked sense of humour and a tendency to just slip away and get up to mischief (his nickname is The Ninja). But he is also very soft and cuddly.

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Baby Girl has always been placid and an “easy” baby. She loves faces and will smile at anyone who looks her way. But we are seeing a determined side coming through, making me fear for her older brother and sister! And the jokes she plays, then laughs and laughs at herself! She has us in stitches with laughter and she’s not yet one year old.

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You can’t put kids in a box, that’s for sure. A figurative box, I meant, of course. Although you probably shouldn’t really put them in a real box either.

  • The way they sleep.

One of the greatest piece of parenting advice I EVER got was this : after a long, tiresome day with kids, no matter what has gone wrong, go in and kiss your kids goodnight when they are asleep. And tell yourself that tomorrow is another day. Believe me, there is NO way you can be mad at a sleeping child. Their little angry-sleeping faces (because my kids are sleep-frowners, like their Daddy) just melt your heart. The crying, the whining, the bickering, is all gone when they are asleep. Replaced by peace and serenity.

Just make sure you have mastered the art of getting in and out of their room without making a sound. I’m sure we’ve all had that moment where we’ve had to stand like a statue in the middle of the room until the child finishes stirring. And, inevitably you’ve had a sudden need to sneeze and/or pee. Am I right or am I right?!

  • The things they learn and the way they see the world

There is something truly heartwarming about the innocence of a child. The comments they make, the observations, the questions. Why is a yolk not called an egg yellow? Where did you live before I was in your tummy, and was I a big kid? If today is Sunday and last year is Tuesday then why did I go to kindy on Wednesday but it’s a weekend last tomorrow?

Seeing something through the eyes of a child for the first time is truly magical. Bubbles. Ice cream. The day Princess found out there was a shop called Toy World. You can’t fake enthusiasm like that.

  • The I Love You’s and the knowledge that, above all, you are their everything.

The first time BoyChild said I love you to his Daddy, I could hear the tears in Mr T’s voice. Every night in bed, Princess says “I love you” to us. And, occasionally, she will just walk up and whisper it in my ear. It’s just a spectacular feeling. Seeing the kids after two hours at kindy and they sprint to you, screaming, “MUMMY!” as though you’ve been away for years. The way they come to you for cuddles, that there are problems only Mum can cuddle away (and, of course, ones only Daddy can cuddle away!).

There are, of course, a ga-zillion more reasons why I love my kids. I could go on and on and on and on and on. But, this is enough writing for today, all this talk about loving my kids makes me want to go and jump with them on the trampoline and let them knock me down and bounce all over me.  Any excuse to hug them, really!

My point is, having kids is annoying, it is frustrating, but by golly, it takes just ONE of these good things to happen, and it melts the bad away. They are good like that, these crazy creatures we call children.

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I’m NEVER doing that when I’M a parent

Before you have children, it’s pretty easy to fantasise about what you will and won’t do as a parent. And to believe that if you raise your children as per your specifications, they will become perfect, well-behaved little people.

The flaw in this theory? One that is grossly underestimated until you have children of your own?

They are actual people. Right from the start. They have their own personalities. Their own opinions. Gosh, their own attitudes! From a considerably younger age than we realise, as well. Dag nammit.

Here are some things that Husband and I were adamant we would do a certain way. And then didn’t. We laugh about it now. Fools, we were. FOOLS.

  • Television

Pre-kids – no television until at least three years old. Television rots the brain, leads to ADHD. The studies are there and we all know, research doesn’t lie.

Reality – Princess was 18 months when she started watching TV – BoyChild was newly-birthed and, realistically, Mummy needed Princess to be distracted from the new baby. BoyChild has always been a tv kid, his first words were Wiggles lyrics. I’m pretty sure Baby Girl thinks the TV is a member of the family, judging by the way she waves as she passes it by.

  • Soft Drinks/Milk

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Pre-kids – the children shall drink only water or milk until they are (age unspecified).

Reality – This one we actually did ok with, the first time. Princess was 2 before she drank anything other that water or milk. It was at her second birthday party and I walked in on someone feeding her Fanta straight from the bottle. When said person has their own kids, I will be waiting. BoyChild? Juice won’t kill him, right? Baby Girl seems to be on track at the moment, although she does have a tendency to sneak Daddy’s OJ when he’s distracted.

  • Dress the kids in odd clothing

Pre-kids – we all have those photos of us as 4 year olds, wearing socks and sandals. Pants up to our ears, you know the ones. I vowed NEVER to dress my kids like that. Oh, the shame.

Reality – The one thing I didn’t consider? Kids have Their. Own. Opinions. Shut the front door. I stopped buying Princess clothing that I liked about a year ago because Oh! The disappointment when she wouldn’t wear it. If it’s not a dress or skirt, she won’t wear it. But, socks with sandals is ok with her?! In ten years, when she comes crying to me in embarrassment because of the clothes she wore, I’ll happily tell her who picked them.

  • Yell

Pre-kids – You don’t need to yell. Any parenting book gives you many other options. Reason with your child. Speak softly and they will speak softly in return.

Reality – Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I just  … it just … they … ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *wipe tears from eyes*. Ok, in all seriousness, I try not to yell. Because even I can see it’s not the most effective way of communicating with the kids. But when it’s 8:45am, kindy starts at 9am and Princess decides to go BACK TO BED, voices get raised. I won’t lie.

As I write this list, I realise there are so many more I could add here. Bribery (probably one of the best tools out there. Although I prefer to call it, Coercion with Reward), ignoring the kids occasionally, tricking them into doing things, the list goes on.

My point is, you do what works for you. And for your kids. What works for one child may not work for another, even in one family – Princess LOVES reward charts, BoyChild couldn’t care less about them. At the end of the day, you do the best YOU CAN for YOUR CHILDREN. It’s so easy for people to wear their Judgey-McJudgey hats when they don’t have kids, but just remember – you get to watch them have kids one day.  And maybe, just maybe, their little SonnyBoy will be the one wearing socks with sandals. Haha.