Friday, July 23, 2010

A few things about parenting that the experts don't teach us...

You can read all the parenting books, scour all the magazines, search every parenting website on the net, but there are some things that the experts don't teach us.

This is the beginning of a list of things about raising children that I have learnt in my (so far) three and a half years of parenting...

  1. Kiss your sleep-ins good bye. Not even on Sunday will you get the chance to hit snooze and roll over, in fact you might as well throw out the alarm clock as you will never need  it again (or at least until the kids are teenagers). Each morning you will either be jolted awake by a baby screaming for a feed or trampled on as the kids climb over you all giggles and farts when the sun is just barely rising.
  2. Just because you're all up early doesn't mean you will get anywhere on time. There is always a last minute clothing change or someone forgot to pack the nappies, or the 3 year old decides they need to poo just when you're about ready to leave and you end up standing there in the bathroom telling them to "squeeze" it out faster!
  3. When the odd chance comes around when the parents finally have a quiet night to themselves, when the kids are sound asleep and there is nothing on the box. You can both go to bed and agree that there is only one thing on your minds - SLEEP!
  4. All the parenting books tell you what items to pack for your baby when you go on outings. They all forget to mention that you should also pack a spare set of clothes for yourself!
  5. Young kids seem to have a fascination with sauce. Don't scrunch up your face when they ask to put tomato sauce on their cauliflower, just go with it, add sauce to everything and you'll be amazed at what your child will eat!
  6. Remember that carpet bag that Mary Poppins had? This is what your handbag will become, you'll be amazed at the things you will find at the bottom of it. What was once a nice little storage for you purse and lippy is now home to spare dummies, a plastic dinosaur and an odd sock. I suggest that you allocate a special pocket in your handbag just for your keys. If you just throw them in anywhere than you'll never find them again. 
  7. In the world of parenting, one would be forgiven for thinking that silence is golden. But think again, unless the kids are sleeping, silence is never a good sign. If you EVER experience silence than you should go and see what those little gremlins children are up to. You are likely to find poo smeared on the walls, or your red lippy rubbed into the carpet!
  8. We all know that we  need to watch our language around the little ones, but you can guarantee that the one time you slip up and that four-letter word comes tumbling out your mouth, will be the one time that your darling is around to hear it - than repeat it a thousand times to family, friends and strangers.
  9. When you become a parent you lose the right to claim anything as yours. Everything is shared and you will never be alone again, don't bother closing the toilet door, they will find you!
  10. Parenting can be a tough gig, we get that, but, when you have kids, it doesn't matter how tough your day was, they always give you a reason to smile!
...I'm sure I'll have much more to add to this list as time goes by. What can you add?

Monday, June 28, 2010

There's a Pterodactyl in our bathroom!

Oh what a day!

Firstly let me explain that I have two sick sons. Baby of 1 year has a cold and is also cutting a tooth, he is sooky, clingy and eating little food but breastfeeding around the clock! My other son of 3 years has had a fever, loss of appetite and has been just generally unwell. As you can imagine I got little sleep last night. 

It started when the baby had a bout of diarrhoea in the middle of the night, then, if I wasn't breastfeeding the baby than I was tending to the 3 year old by getting him a cup of water, taking him to the toilet, giving him cuddles and just being there when he would say "mama" in a whiny voice while half asleep, he would need just a gentle touch to his head or shoulder, which was enough to reassure him that I was still around and he would fall promptly back to sleep. 
When morning came, it was no better. Even though the children were ill it didn't affect their sleeping times and we were up at 6am. The children woke sick and cranky, they were lethargic and the little one had yellow boogers bubbling at the ends of his nostrils. My Husband decided that it was in my best interest (for the sake of my sanity and my life) that he should stay home from work to give me a hand, he explained that he would have to go to the work site to drop off some tools and he would be right back.

While hubby was gone I managed to get the baby a bit of toast, and I got the 3 year old dressed. Surprisingly I also managed to do the dishes while the baby hovered at my legs (wiping snot on my knees!). I went into the lounge room to breastfeed the baby. I looked at my other son who was slumpt on one of those foam fold-out children's lounges (actually, it was brand new for my baby sons first birthday a week ago). He sat there quietly with a sullen look on his face, dozing in and out of sleep, he didn't want breakfast and I asked him how he was feeling. Suddenly he looked at me with all this worry on his face but before he could finish the sentence "I'm going to vomit" it was pouring out of him, all down his front and all over the baby's new lounge. He started crying and I tried to reassure him that it was okay, I told him he could have a shower and I would get him clean clothes. I unlatched the baby, he screamed and screamed, I had just interrupted his feed, it's only the worst thing you can do to a baby!
Thankfully hubby arrived home at just the right time and we all managed to get showered and dressed, with the three year old announcing that he "felt much better now"! It was a beautiful winter's day with a clear sky and warm sun, so we decided to get out of the house for some fresh air, so we got in the car to go to the park. Just when everyone's all buckled in, the 3 year old vomits again. We all get out of the car, 3 year old showers again and exclaims that he "really feels better now" and begs us to go to the park. Hubby and I exchange one of those 'what do you think' glances and we say "okay". So the kids are back in the car, husband ready at the wheel and I say, "ooh I'll just grab my handbag" I turn to run inside but run smack into the door, the locked door, and guess where my house keys were, that's right, they were in my handbag, on the other side of the locked door! We were now locked out of the house.

Furious, hubby and I walk around the house hoping desperately that there is a window left ajar, no luck. 

Hubby takes hammer and puts it through en-suite window.

After cleaning up the glass, we take the window frame out and put it in the car to get fixed while we go to the park, we secure the window with the curtain and some heavy items at the bottom to weigh it down so it doesn't flap around in the breeze.

Right, ready to go, again! Thank fully we have a great time in the sun at the park, we have lunch and decide to head home before it gets cool. By the time we are home, baby is demanding another breast feed, I take position on the lounge, and watch hubby walk by with the newly fixed window in tow, not seconds later I hear hubby's voice echoing from the en-suite "Honey! There's a giant bird in our bathroom"!
"What"? "How giant"? I ask.
"ITS FREAKING PTERODACTYL" Hubby shouts. If it was anyone else I would probably have been in fits of laughter, but my hubby is no exaggerator and I find myself suddenly concerned. He urges me to come and have a look and so I do. I approached the en-suite door with caution, I peered in "Shit" I exclaimed, I was mortified, seriously I mean "shit" there was shit everywhere, all over the floor, all around the bath tub ledge, all over the WHITE bath towels! I wanted to cry, and then I saw the culprit, the Purple swamphen
How in the world does a bird that size get into a bathroom window? We were freaking out. It had claws that were as big as hubbys hands, they would rip you to shreds. Somehow, hubby manages to shoo the bird back out the window. Clean-up was NOT fun. Tooth brushes were thrown away, the tiles were scrubbed bare, the vanities were heavily disinfected and the towels are currently soaking in the washing machine (but I'm considering throwing them too). 

So let me just re-cap my day for you, it all started just after midnight with a poo explosion from the baby, then I continued to get in and out of bed for drinks, toilet trips, and cuddles. Daybreak brought with it a whole load of vomit x2 (and a whole load of washing). By midday we got in and out of the car 3 times, locked ourselves out of the house and now had a smashed en-suite window to deal with. Not to mention the constant flow of yellow snot bubbling from my baby's nose every 10 minutes! By the afternoon, just when I thought I had my fair share of cleaning up bodily secretions I then had to deal with a pterodactyl size bird who left a pterodactyl size mess all over our bathroom, giant green gooey bird shit, everywhere!

Could be day be any more bizarre? Now I'm exhausted and heading off to bed, hopefully the fumes from the disinfectant (we used an excessive amount) are strong enough to knock me out so I get a decent nights shut eye, and with any luck I'll wake in the morning to find it was just all a freakish nightmare.... pft I wish!

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm no domestic goddess!

Okay, I think I should give up the "Domestic Goddess" title. I'm certainly no goddess when it comes to house work. A domestic goddess would have a sparkling clean home, and know all the tricks of the trade for getting out difficult stains, making the home smell nice and having the softest bath towels and the most clean crisp sheets. Not me, I'm a stay at home Mum (not stay at home maid) who figures since I'm home most often I'll pick up most of the house hold chores, it seems only fair since I'm here anyway, and hubby goes off to work hard for a living. 
Anyway, one of my responsibilities is to do the laundry, this includes sorting, washing, hanging, ironing and sewing on buttons etc. My only request is that the clothes be placed in the laundry basket, not left on the floor for me to collect, and I like all pockets emptied before hand. Now a domestic goddess would probably check the pockets herself, not me, I loath it. Ew! I hate the thought of putting my hand into a pocket not knowing what I'll find in there. There is nothing worse when a family member has had a cold and you pull from the pocket a bunch of scrunched up snotty tissues! Besides have you noticed how many pockets are on a pair of pants these days, there's front pockets, back pockets, coin pockets, half-way-down-to-your-knees pockets. It would take me all day to do a load of jeans and trousers! So everyone is told to check their pockets or else I claim all valuable items including toys and cash.

I always know when someone has left something in their pockets, the ting, ting, ting sound coming from the washing machine is a dead give away, my ears have become finely tuned and I can tell the difference between coins, toys, and work site scrap like screws and nails. The worst thing though is a quiet machine, just when you think everything is okay, you find your clothes covered in tiny bits of tissue, or paper receipts.  

The other day I discovered something new. The washing machine stopped, I opened up the lid and a lovely aroma floated out, there's nothing like the smell of fresh clean laundry. But my senses told me that something wasn't quite right. The laundry smelt fresh, a little too fresh, instead of the usual floral scent, it smelt more like mint, yes, minty fresh. I had used a new fabric softener that day so I checked the label 'Jasmine Fresh', hmm, nope this didn't smell like jasmine. I proceeded to take the laundry from the machine. "What's that blue stuff"? I saw little bits of blue through out the washing, I sniffed it, minty, I touched it, sticky! CHEWING GUM!!! ARGH!!!
I had bright blue chewing gum all over the jeans. I didn't have to search for the culprit, since I rarely have chewing gum and the kids are too young, there was only one other person who could take the blame. I decided there was no point in ranting and raving. I guess I learnt my lesson and from now on I'm checking the pockets, I wont stick my hand in there but I'll give them a squeeze from the outside. But don't worry, the offender will also learn a lesson, I might also put my sewing skills to use......and sew those dam pockets closed! ;-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Home Schooling, what can I offer?

My Son will be four before the year ends, which means the year after next he will be able to start school. My husband and I have often talked about our children's education. We live in a semi-rural area and there is a small local public school not too far from us. There is also a number of private schools to choose from, however we have not made any decisions as yet. 
I often think about the day my boy starts school. He is a very friendly kid, and enjoys being around other children, he is clever and learns well. But I do fear the school years. I fear the influence of other children, I fear peer pressure, I fear drugs and alcohol, I fear sex, I fear bullying, I fear violence and I fear that his learning ability will be compromised due to the lack of one-on-one attention that he will NOT receive. 
Whenever we hear of bad publicity about kids and school, my husband and I make jokes about how we will be home educating the kids. Honestly though, I had never really considered Home Education as a real option, the first thing I think of when it comes to schooling is 'public or private', but a fellow blogger has challenged my thinking.

In the blog, written by Woman Uncensored titled The space in between home schooling and public schooling a mother revels her plans to home school her daughter. The mother sounds a little nervous by the prospect, but is willing to give it her best shot. I was quite interested as I had not really given much thought to Home Schooling before, so, I left this comment;

Hmm, this is obviously something that works for you. I like the idea, but I'm not exactly sure of how it all works. My son is very social, he attends pre-school twice a week, we are on holidays at the moment and he can't wait to get back. I was wondering about how you would go about social interactions for your kids? If I home schooled my son I'm afraid my son would miss out on valuable time alone with peers of his own age and interest,just time for free play (not including any sports groups or other scheduled activity) and I think its something he would need everyday. What do you think of this? Also I wanted to know why you prefer not to send your child to school. What happens when they grow up and have to be in an institutional world anyway, like college/ university or in a work institution? I guess I don't really understand it all, but I'm open to learning, I'll have to do some investigating, thanks for challenging my thoughts!
I was hoping for a little reply back from Woman Uncensored but I wasn't too hopeful as she has thousands of followers and I thought my comment would be lost amongst the others. 
The following morning I hopped on the computer, chewing mouthfuls of toast and looking at the clock waiting for the kids to rise I thought I'd log into facebook. Boy was I surprised when there in my news feed I noticed that Woman Uncensored (who has a page on facebook) had posted my question to her wall asking for others to reply with their answers! I nearly choked on my toast! Heaps of people had added their replys, at last check today there was over 50 replies on the facebook page and another dozen or so on the blog page! Incredible, such an overwhelming response! 

I was blown away to see so many parents in support of Home education. In regards to socialisation, it seems this is the main concern when the topic of home education is discussed. Many of the women claimed to have much time with family and friends who have children which their children can interact with. Many of the mothers also said they preferred that their children played with kids of varying ages as it enhances the child's social skills, rather than with kids that were only the same age as theirs.
I read over all the comments, and decided to do my own research, it turns out that home education is not just for weirdos and hippies.

Previously, when I pictured myself home schooling my children, I imagined chaos. Kids running crazy, paintings hanging from the clothes line, and me in a corner trying to figure out the darn maths problems so I could actually teach them to the children. Just as I have fears about "normal" schooling, I have fears about Home schooling too. I fear that my son will miss the chance to engage with his peers without me hovering nearby, I fear that my son will be "sheltered" from the real world, and mostly, I fear that taking responsibility for my sons education means that if my son is not intelligent than it will be my fault. 
It turns out though, that these fears can be easily forgotten once you explore the concepts around home schooling. Kids can get plenty of social time within clubs that they join, not to mention by just playing with the kids in the street. Most importantly there are many "Home schooling groups" that you can meet up with at a local park or community centre. When you really think about it, there is not much social time at school anyway, social time usually consists of 20 minutes recess and a hours lunch break. In regards to the "real world" well I think that kids live in the real world before school. School is not the real world, at school you are 1 kid in a class of 30, learning a curriculum inside a class room. Where's the real world connection there? Children learn well by seeing and doing. Imagine the places you could go, the sights they could see, yes school offers excursions, but they are limited. Now about those maths problems, the good news is that you are not in it alone, each state provides plenty of resources for all those tricky questions.

So what exactly did I discover in my research? Well not much to be honest. I learnt that Home Education is legal in all States of Australia. I learnt that children must be registered for schooling between the ages of 6 and 15, whether it be in home school or "normal" school. There is not much of an argument about which is better or worse. Basically it's personal preference. So in that case, what can I offer my children in a home schooling environment? Well, I can offer a learning environment that is not limited to a class room and a desk, an environment that is free from distractions by other peers. I can offer education that is not limited to the mean knowledge of the children in the classroom, I can offer one-on-one interaction, I can offer spontaneous learning experiences and I can offer so much more, anything really! 

Home Schooling is not just about the kids either. It's about me too,  I have nothing to lose by Home Schooling my children, but I get the feeling that I will have  a lot to gain, mainly the continuum of quality time with my children, a deeper level of bonding and perhaps a certain level of respect. 

Suddenly, Home Schooling/Education makes more sense. When the time comes for us to choose a school environment it looks like the options are no longer limited to public schooling or private schooling, home schooling has been added to the list....and I have to admit, I'm swaying closer to it! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Big knickers!

Recently, when I received a wedding invitation in the mail I got pretty excited. I skimmed over all the usual details, date, time, venue, but my eyes stopped when I came to the dress code. 'Glamorous'. Hmm, I was puzzled. Is this something new? I'm used to dress codes such as 'formal', 'semi formal', 'informal', 'smart casual', etc. I've never come across 'glamorous' before. Gee, am I that out of touch? Whatever, I'll figure it out, the confusion disappears and excitement takes over as I realise that I have the chance to get all dressed up, or as in this case I get to get all glamed up.... Little did I realise that this would prove to be a bit of a challenge!

Being a mum of two, I cannot just take off on a whim and hit every dress store within a 50km radius. A shopping trip takes much organisation. Firstly I decide I will shop when the 3 year old son is at pre-school, then I am only left with one child. But, I cannot shop without the help of another adult because what will I do with the baby while I try on clothes, the pram wont fit in the change room cubicle. So who better than to rely on other than my own mum. Besides being great help, my mum is brutally honest, which is fully appreciated. Okay, all organised, in the week leading up to the wedding we hit the local plaza. (Yes, we left it to the last minute, to take full advantage of all weight loss).

We hit the stores first thing in the morning. Like most girls in this situation, I had some preferences in regards to colour, style and length, most importantly I had to be able to breast feed in the frock. We went from store to store trying on everything that fitted into my ideals. Nothing seemed quite right, so I dropped some of the less important preferences such as colour and tried on more items even though they weren't my favourite colour. A few hours later I still hadn't come close to finding anything that I really liked. Nothing was in my favour, anything I really liked didn't have my size left, and I was struggling to figure out which size I was because size 12 fit well but didn't contain my bust (breastfeeding!) but when I tried the next size up it would look saggy in places. I tried to keep a cheery disposition as one by one all my preferences disappeared. It even got to the point where I didn't care if I couldn't breastfeed in the dress, I'd find a private spot where I could strip off down to the waist, and bare my breast with confidence to feed my little infant. So, with no choice in the matter, I tried on everything. Ew, god it was scarey. All the satin frocks showed every lump and bump, I'd lost some weight but clearly not enough! I went home that day, exhausted, fat and empty handed!

The next day we hit the shops again, this time with the three year old in tow and not so much excitement as the day before.....but it didn't matter because I had a plan!
Control - top - panties!
Yes, thats right, these panties were going to save the day. My first mission for the day was to buy a pair.
I had a look in the underwear department and found something that seemed to be promising, better than 'control-top-panties', these were called 'shapewear'. Shape wear comes in a range of designs (see them here), and they all promise to "instantly reduce your dress size". I decieded to try the full body suit, which looked like a one-piece cossie, and the 'high waist bottom shape brief'. I tried the cossie type on first, it was firm, fit just like a swimsuit would, didn't really do much for me though. So I went to try on the brief, the material was much thicker, tighter, I wondered if I could get it on.
I slipped one leg in, then the other and proceeded to pull them up. When the waist band was just above my knee things started to get tricky. I tried to tug the pants up by pulling up on the left side then the right, then the left again. I was struggling to get a good grip, my knees where pinned together, the elastic was so damed tight, I pulled and pulled and managed to get the waist band to my hips. I let go of the waist band to gain composure (and wipe the sweat off my brow). Ow ow ouch! The bloody thing was cutting off all blood circulation to my legs, it was going to bruise! I grabbed on to both side of the panties and tried to shake myself into them, "urgh" I grunted aloud! I felt like a human pillow, shaking myself into the pillow case! My three year old son pokes his head under the cubicle door, "What you doing mum?" The pants had made it to my waist line, but they needed to get up high, right under my breasts. I had folds of flesh hanging over them, I proceeded to "tuck" myself into these darn pants. My sons head retracted "My mum has a fat tummy" he announces to my mum, clearly loud enough for the rest of the change room patrons to hear, as well as anyone who may be walking by outside! Finally the panties are on. Oooh, I like these. I really do look slimmer, smoother, and flatter! They are comfy, I move around, dance a little, sit and stand again, the panties don't budge. Surprisingly once they are in the right spot they are very comfy, not tight at all. I was definitely a size smaller (if it wasn't the panties than it was from all the sweating I just did trying to get the things on!). These were a must have. I took the panties off, much easier then getting them on, I simply popped out like a muffin from a silicon tray. All I can say is thank god for the button up crutch, because there is no way you could get these on and off more than once in a day! After this purchase everything fell into place, I found a nice dress, bought myself some modern jewellery, and dug out a pair of sexy black heels that I wore once before to my graduation. I scrubbed up okay, pretty glam actually, all thanks to my 'shapewear', see, I bet you thought big knickers were just for grannies, uh uh, this mummy wears them with pride! ; )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Apparently my nipple is now a teething ring!

I knew it! I just knew it! It was only a matter of time before he decided to relieve a bit of his teething pain on my freaking nipple! I was so afraid of this happening, his second tooth is trying to cut through, and of course the best relief is to gnaw down on something! It happened just the way I imagined it (check out my blog "What if he takes a bite" Friday January 22 2010). Okay so maybe thats a little over exaggerated! This is how it happened....

Normal feeding position, right breast, baby taking nice big gulps. Suddenly he just bites me! "Ow"! I yelp. Baby, startled, immediately lets go, I check my nipple throughly making sure its all still there, "Phew"! The pain was quick and sharp, over before it began, but it left a tingling sensation almost like pins-and-needles. Not 15 minutes later baby is grizzling, then I realise that he didn't finish his feed! "Dam it"! He latches back on, I watch him cautiously "Don't bite me" I warn. I think to myself as I watch him drink, his jaw moves up and down, its a strong  jaw, I once heard that a baby's jaw is so strong it could break your finger if you put it in there, mainly because they don't know their own strength, hmm I wonder how much truth is in this? Thank god he only has one tooth. What will happen when he has them top and bottom? I suddenly have visions of myself, on the bed, crawling on hands and knees searching between the sheets for my missing nipple. Because thats when it would happen, in the dark during a night feed when he can catch me unexpected! I've gotta protect my girls!

My breast feeding days are numbered, Its nearly time to put away the big jugs!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Milk in the pantry, coffee in the fridge

When, oh when will I get a decent nights sleep? I'm a real walking, talking zombie. At 7 months olds my son still wakes twice each night to breast feed. I wake in the morning with eye lids that weigh about 10kg! I even have headaches from the moment I wake up! Who the hell gets headaches in the morning??? In the morning you should feel refreshed, revitalized, ready to make the most out of a new day. My head just doesn't work properly with lack of sleep, I walk from room to room forgetting why I went there in the first place, I can't commit to a conversation because I can never remember what I was about to say! It's now at the point where I have to make lists each day of what I'm doing or else nothing gets done! I'm losing my mind - literally!
Sometimes I wake during the night, startled, one breast still hanging out since the baby's last feed, "Shit! The baby! wheres the baby?" I feel around the bed, "Phew" somehow the baby made it back into the cot. I look at the red blurry numbers on the clock, 4:15am, "Dam it" in two hours the day starts, my head hits the pillow, seriously, it HITS the pillow and I'm asleep. Two seconds later, I hear "goo, gaa" and a few other babbling sounds coming from the cot in the corner, the sounds of a baby ready to play, I glance at the red blurry numbers  6:27am "No, It can't be, but my head only just hit the pillow"! My legs flop to the floor, I walk heavily to the corner and look over the side rail of the cot, "Aw" I sigh, my little baby, big blue eyes sparkling with life and energy, a huge gummy smile from ear to ear just beaming at me, his legs kick about, and his arms flap with excitement. My heart flutters. Suddenly, I remember something! This is why we do this to ourselves, the sleepless nights, the leaky nipples, the milk in the pantry and the coffee in the fridge. It's all worth it for that little gummy smile, and those little chubby arms reaching out every time they see you.