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There are three things that all children need in their lives (aside from the obvious food, water and shelter) and they are;

1. To be safe
2. To be loved
3. To be happy

How we work it at our house is to aim for the top two and if we hit number three, to be happy, that's a bonus. It is not an accident that I have put these points together in that order of preferance - it is essential that it runs in that particular order.  Not having a strong grasp on what they are aiming for and in what order, often sees parents flailing about in parenthood wondering why things aren't happening the way they are supposed to and what went wrong.

Now don't get my wrong. I am not saying that my kids are perfect ... because they certainly are not! (See my previous post Sometimes I don't like my kids very much) What I am saying is that sometimes parents get it arse about and I find it very frustrating to witness.  

I was talking to a friend on the phone a while ago and she was talking about a friend of hers, "oh, she's having a lot of problems with discipline and her daughter. It's really hard for her, she's a single mum and she doesn't know when to put her foot down sometimes. I mean she wants to be her daughter's friend, she doesn't want her not to like her, of course." Now, please don't take this as a rant about single mums (because it certainly is NOT) but come on! Here is where I had to stop myself from really going off. The thing is, you don't carry a child for nine months and then give birth to them because you need more friends, grow up. If you need more friends get off your arse and go out and meet them!

The job of a parent is to mould their kids into decent human beings who contribute to society. If I have to see one more teenage kid going on, on TV about how they hate everyone and they just don't like being told what to do, I think my head might explode. Here's a secret, nobody likes being told what to do. Nobody likes having to go by the rules... but here's the really important part, that's how society functions. Otherwise we might as well be living in the outback with a kill or be killed mentality, everyone for themselves folks, run for your lives!! 

Seriously, if I have to listen to one more parent whining about how their kids won't listen or won't go to bed or won't get on the school bus or whatever it is, I may have to punch them. At the end of the day, you are the parent and if you aren't running the show ... then who is?? I am certainly not saying that kids aren't going to challenge your authority, that's their job. Of course there going to give it a run.

What I am talking about are those crap kids (and their ilk) on 'World's strictest parents'. Contrary to what the parent's state each week, they did not wake up one day and find an uncontrollable jerk living in their house -  those parents have been moulding them into that jerk for years. By making choices for their child to be happy because they haven't wanted to get them off side - "oh no, my child may not like me". (Whatever, some days you don't like them very much either). They have often chosen the easiest way out (at the time), the route that left them feeling most popular. I might point out that the easiest way does not appear so easy when your child becomes a teenager who feels entitled to be happy doing whatever they want, when they want, with whoever they want and you can go and get stuffed while they're at it.   

I often say to my child, it is my job to make sure that he is safe and it is very important for him to know that he is loved - but I will always choose those two over him being happy. I am certainly not saying that as a parent I do not feel fulfilled unless my child is unhappy, that's not it at all. What I am saying is that if they are happy as a by product of being safe and being loved then that's great but I will never give in to just making them happy at the expense of being safe and loved. If that means making the hard or unpopular calls sometimes then, so be it.

The really exciting thing about this method of parenting is that when your children reach adulthood you will want to become friends with them because they are the type of decent human being you would like to hang out with.  

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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He looks so little in the plane chair.
The joy of having kids is that you just never know how things will turn out. A perfect example of this happened to our family last  weekend. We flew up to Sydney from Melbourne to attend a friend's 50th Birthday Party and also to see our family. My biggest concern was plane travel with a two year old as you never know how successful that's  going to be. We have only flown once with him on a plane and it was not an experience I wanted to relive, so I was a little worried about it.

Being just over 2, he now gets his own seat and what a joy that was. He was so very excited by this, that the flight was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. We made it to Sydney, we  were visiting friends and family and all was good. Yay!! ..... not so fast.

Now, you see the main issue here is that Evan, our 2 year old, is allergic to peanuts. We are aware of this and take the necessary precautions but we always wondered where it came from and how come he was the only one in the family with any allergies (at all). Anyhoo, Drew our 9 year old ate a walnut and chocolate chip cookie - which wasn't an issue, as we have never had to worry about him and allergies. I mean getting all the way to 9 with no issues we thought we were pretty much home and hosed. Not so, his lips started to swell, he complained about feeling itchy and a stomach ache. So I gave him a little bit of antihistamine just in case. We were driving along in the car soon after this took place and I thought maybe he had just been rough housing too much on the lawn at our friends house with the other kids. I turned around to look at him and his nose had started to swell, as well as his lips and his face had started to turn red. That's when I started to panic. It's a fine line - trying to contain your own panic because you are freaking out and not causing any extra panic to your child. Luckily we pulled off the freeway and signs started to appear for a hospital I didn't even know was there! Thank God it was.

We raced into emergency past all the people who had been waiting for who knows how long and were taken straight in (whilst receiving the hairy eyeball from said people who were still waiting). By this stage he had started to swell further, hives were now appearing all over his body and he was the colour of a cooked lobster. They hooked him up to some machines, gave him a shot of adrenaline, checked his heart rate, blood pressure and what not. After further medications it all seemed to calm down but they had to keep him in overnight for observation and my husband volunteered to stay and sleep on the comfy recliner chair, next to the hospital bed.

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Hooked up and having everything checked.
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Feeling better but still swollen.
So, now we are back home in Melbourne again after what was a very full on experience. Drew has to go for further testing to make sure it was the walnut and to check if he has any other allergies we didn't know about until now. We have been trained up on the EpiPen and are putting all necessary precautions in place and he is fine. It's hard to believe that we had to go through that with the child we thought had no allergy issues and also that people pay good money for swelling in their lips like!

I guess my biggest take home tip is (and know that I have no medical degree) test your child at home with small amounts of different types of nuts so you really know it's not an issue before they go out somewhere and get offered walnut bread or whatever and you are not prepared for it. Luckily for us we already had the antihistamine on us because of Evan's  allergies.

Scary stuff and it's never what you expect with kids.
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This is what he looks like without the swelling (just in case you didn't know)
Hope your weekend was a little less eventful than ours!

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Hello there,

Having a baby is hard work and anyone that tells you any different is lying to your face and is not your friend. Being pregnant is also hard - not for all people (and those people I would like to punch) but it certainly was for me. I spent nine months vomiting, with severe headaches, massive mood swings, oily hair and a massive set of bazoombas I had to rest on the table when we went out to give my back a break. 

Having said that there are wonderful moments in between and this is my favourite photograph of one of those moments, so I wanted to share it with you. I have this picture on my bedside table and I look at it every night before I go to bed and it makes me smile. Not because I look so tired and warn out (and I do - why wouldn't I, it was bloody hard work!) but because of that little head the size of a grape fruit resting on my shoulder. What an amazing thing! And when my little guy, who is now two came up to me the other day and rested his head against me like that because he was upset, I thought to myself how wonderful it is to be held by someone who loves you unconditionally and who can make you feel better just by wrapping you up in their arms. I would have to say, that's one of the best bits.

Have an amazing weekend.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Yes I know, with a blog title like that this post could very well have been about the process of labour itself...  but it's not. What I wanted to talk about today was how hard to push your kids. Where do you draw the line between helping them too much and not helping them enough? How hard do you push them to achieve??

Whilst watching some of the London Olympic highlights I noticed one of our Aussie female swimmers crying her little eyes out because she had not won gold. The point is she trained hard, she was selected for the Olympic team, which is an amazing achievement in itself! Then she got to the London Olympics competed and won silver. Nothing to be sniffed at I would have thought but she looked heartbroken.

It got me thinking about how much pressure these kids must be under to achieve. We tell our kids to go out there and do their best. To give it everything they've got and she did. Her behaviour would indicate that she had failed and she had won silver.

So how hard should we push our kids?? If you've ever seen the show toddlers and tiara's you'll know what it looks like to cross the line. Some of those parents look like they are living vicariously through their children's wins. If you get a chance watch the Tom Hanks video I have linked to this post for you. This is a joke but unfortunately it is based heavily on others reality. Which is very, very sad.
Anyhoo, back to reality and how hard to push your kids.

I have a friend who once complained (well alright more than once but who wouldn't?)  to me about driving her son around to ice hockey matches, training and other ice hockey related crap. Then she said "I shouldn't complain, what if he turns out to be great at this?! Do you think Ian Thorpe's mum complained about driving him to swimming practice at 4am most mornings and look at him!" On thinking about it... she probably did. Complain, I mean. It is a lot to give of yourself to take such a big chunk out of your life to help someone else achieve their dreams. And how many kids don't actually make it in their chosen sport or activity anyway?? My friend's son went on to other things and never did achieve anything of national recognition in ice hockey. But is that the only reason we do it??  What are the reasons to push?? Because they might be great at it? Because they love it? Because you want them to get out and participate? Because everyone else in the family did it or does it? Because you wanted to do it but you weren't good enough??

You've probably seen that ad on TV where mum's from all over the world are waking their children up really early to drag them to some type of training for a variety of different sports. Then you see the child grown, competing in the Olympics and their mother crying in the stands watching them. Whilst this is a nice ad and it even gets me a little misty whilst thinking perhaps I should be pushing my kids a little harder at something, I'm just not sure what. What is it we are trying to achieve by pushing our kids to achieve?? Where do we draw the line and how hard do we push them to get there? 

I don't have an answer but it's certainly something to think about.

Cheers,

Lee