I do love the focus and energy of coming up with something new to share with you all each week. It is always nice to be able to share the experience of Mother Hood and not feel like you are battling on alone - and I know that we all have days when it really does feel like that. I remember one particular incident when my then three year old head butted me in the eye whilst we were standing in a toilet cubicle together and it took all my strength not to start balling in eyes out (it wasn't just the head butt, I was already on the edge).
My point to all this is that sometimes we need a break and being school holidays and all, I have decided to take a week off from posting and sharing on Mother Load. I will be taking some time to spend energy on the people hanging out with me at home and coming back with renewed vigour to Mother Load in a little over a week.
I hope that you all get a chance to enjoy your family whilst the routines are not so strict and and frantic and you have a little breathing space with your family (but I guess if your anything like me, you might already be counting down the days until school goes back...).
How do you teach your children to have manners if you don't have any yourself?? This is a question that I often have to bite back before I create some kind of play ground smack down but it is also something that really pisses me off.
I am sick to death of parents complaining about their kids having an attitude or no manners or whatever it is, when they don't actually do anything about it! I know parents have a lot of stress in their lives and I am also aware of the mother guilt we already carry around with us, without adding in the judgement of others. But the thing is you can't spend energy whinging about your kid's lack of manners or the way they are behaving if you are not prepared to spend any energy on actually doing something about it.
This has happened to me a number of times but it really got me thinking about it the other day when I was at Bunnings (somewhere I certainly do not frequent - so that was unusual in itself) and I took my two year old to the playground there because he was harping on about it and I felt was only fair, since he didn't want to be at Bunnings either.
So off we went to the playground which was unusually empty - yay! I thought to myself, I can sit outside the gate and watch him, because I don't have to worry about any issues with anyone else's ferals and he can just run around without incident. Anyhoo, as I got to the kid safe gate and held it open so he could run in, another mother and their child raced in from nowhere and in through the gate. It was not like the other mother was too short to have opened the kidsafe door herself (so I don't think she was waiting camouflage style), for someone else to open it. Anyway, she trotted on in behind my feral but in front of me (as I was still holding the gate open) and she said ....... nothing. I had to bite back the "Why, you are welcome!" I mean would it kill anyone to say thank you?? I spend so much of my day teaching my kids please and thankyou (get your feet off the table, eat with your mouth closed etc) as I am sure so many other mothers do. So why is it that when the time comes to model the behaviour parents are after - it's a non event??
This free and easy attitude to manners came to mind again today with a trip my mother took to the movies with my son. She said they spent so much time waiting for people to stop fooling around and sit down in front of them, stop mucking about with their phones and basically shut the hell up that she wanted to come home for a rest and a cup of tea to get over it. Watching a movie at the movies is not the same as watching a movie at home and if you want to muck about, then wait till it comes out on DVD and do that mucking about at home. I am so sick of people and their inconsideration for others!! Which again reminded me of how uncommon manners appear to be now days and the fact that we are still teaching them to our kids.
So where are we losing out? Where is the lesson and the actually reality of manner taking place, short circuiting? It brings me back to our roles as mothers. It is our job to teach our children manners, it is our job to teach our children how to behave in relation to other people as they make their way in the world. So the next time you don't take an opportunity to teach your children how manners work - by chipping them if they are rude (don't just roll your eyes and laugh saying to others "Look I told you they had an attitude" and then not challenge their behaviour) or saying thank you the next time someone does something like hold a door open or pick something up or whatever it is for you - then don't go whining about nobody having any manners or how terrible your kids are. I don't want to hear about it.
I shall get off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening.
Anything getting on your goat lately about kids (or parents) and manners, I'd love to hear about it!
They say that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness but what about talking about yourself?? 100 years ago... in my past life (you know, before motherhood) I used to work in retail. There was this guy who worked in the department across from mine and we shall call him Wayne (because that was his name). Anyhoo, he had this really weird habit of referring to himself in the third person which I could never quite get over. For those of you who are yet to encounter this type of person I will give you a few examples of what I am talking about.
Monday morning comes and we are all heading into our respective departments for opening and Wayne and I might be walking in together so I say (as you do) "How was your weekend Wayne?" to which he would often reply "Wayne had a really great weekend." Or I might have said something like "Have you tried that new Mexican restaurant Wayne?" to which he would reply "Oh, no. Wayne doesn't like Mexican food." Now I can seriously not be the only person who thinks talking about yourself in the third person crosses the line from quirky on the way to just plain crazy? I often had to stop myself from saying "You know you are Wayne .... right?"
Now, years later after Wayne has gone off to live a wonderful life (I don't know this for sure but he probably now says things like "Wayne is very happy with how his life has turned out") I find myself thinking of him and his strange little habit. It is not because I feel like I missed out - having Wayne at the dinner table each night uttering "Wayne really likes sausages and he would also like a drink please" would do my head in. No, I think of him because as I mother I now find that talking about yourself in the third person was not totally Wayne's domain.
I now catch myself saying things like "Mummy said no!", "Because Mummy said so!" and that old classic "Mummy said get back in your bed." I do not know how or when I crossed the line from being a normal person into "Wayne's world" but it happened anyway.
It's a strange little world being a mum. Going from worrying about yourself, your future and your needs to pretty much concentrating on everyone else but you and then talking about yourself as if you are not even there!! Surely I cannot be the only person who has crossed over into "Wayne's world"!?
Lee wants to know if anyone else finds themselves talking in the third person? She always wishes you a great week and hopes you had a lovely weekend.
Due to a run in with homemade chicken nuggets (I came off a little worse) using the keyboard has been made a little more difficult so instead of starting my "From Scratch" series this week (and since school holidays start in Melbourne tomorrow) I have decided to share with you my Five Favourite Free Things to Do with Kids in Melbourne (try saying that five times fast!) these school Holidays.
1. ACMI - The Australian Centre for the Moving Image
, located at Federation Square. Screen Worlds
is a free permanent exhibition which is lots of fun for the whole family. There are heaps of things to do and touch, video games to play, things to watch and interact with and it's all FREE! There are also paid activities like workshops, movies and other great exhibitions. But you could easily entertain kids in the free area for a whole morning or afternoon (maybe longer).
2. NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), Kids Space.
Great exploring (and dare I say learning) opportunities for kids aged 1 - 8. Again lots of stuff to touch and play with. Interactive stars that follow your every move, a sea room with port holes that actually made me feel a little seasick (which was weird - cause we weren't actually moving). There are also the permanent exhibitions on in the NGV which you can take a stroll around and look at (no touchy though - which is hard for little hands). I would totally recommend going to visit the "Never ending illuminated staircase" on level 3. Spooky.
3. Birrarung Marr and Playground
, located on the north bank of the Yarra River next to Federation Square. Plenty of space for web climbing, swinging hammocks, tube slides and lots more. A chance to get outside and run (not you - the kids .... well, OK, run if you want to).
4. Melbourne Museum
, which is located at Nicholson Street, Carlton Gardens. Which is a bit of a stroll up from the city (or there is plenty of parking underneath). Whilst the Museum is not "technically Free", it's not overly expensive and it is FREE for kids. The thing I love about Museums today is that there are always lots of things to touch and interact with! So it's great for kids. There's everything from butterfly collections and dinosaurs to how the body works and what wierd and wonderful creatures are lurking deep down in the ocean! Think that long toothed fish with the light dangling in front of it from Nemo - only stranger!
5. Now this is technically two in one but I LOVE the fact that you can get a family around Melbourne for FREE!! So if you have never taken a ride with the kids on the FREE brown City Circle Tram
(here's the timetable
) or the City Tourist Shuttle buses - you are missing out on a treat!! You can get on and off as much as you want and the bus actually stops right next to each of the attractions I have in my top 5 list! Awesome! I can't actually find a link to share with you about the buses - but it stops outside all the main attractions in Melbourne (it has around 13 stops) and it is FREE! (Did I mention that?)My top 5 are not set out in any particular order or preference - but they are all FREE and we, as a family have visited each one numerous times and continue to go back. So get out there and enjoy some new (and Free) activities.
I had all these great ideas for today's post and I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you and then cyclone two year old hit!
The thing is that Spring arrived in downtown Melbourne and then in a matter of moments, it looked like it had slunk away to allow a little more winter to hog the lime light and as a result both myself and my two year old have ended up with some hideous flu that shows no signs of abating.
Anyhoo, I dragged my sorry butt around the house this morning trying to make it look as if at least one person here wasn't on a mission to trash it, as my small friend followed me around duly dragging more stuff out behind me as he went. I don't believe that he is malicious..... at least I don't think so. But when he waited until I laid down on the floor for a moment with him and then dived up and wacked me in the head with a rather heavy plastic toy, I began to re-evalute that.
It all started this morning when I noticed his older brother (who is 9) had thoughtfully left some textas on the carpet in the front room, which the two year old of course found. He decided to go with a lovely green colouring job on the floor tiles and grout and then moved onto the cream coloured mat of the pool table. I was folding laundry in the other room and foolishly thought as long as I could hear him (which I could) then he was not up to no good (which is usually the case when things go quiet).
After that I sent him outside, where I could see all his goings on with a hat he insisted on wearing. Once he started beating the dog with said hat, I knew this day was not going to pick up. So I brought him back inside, onto my newly cleaned floors not realising that he had also been enjoying some quality time in the dogs bowl and now his shoes were not only wet ... but muddy.
Now don't think for one moment I totally left him to his own devices all morning and hoped for the best ... because I didn't. I tried reading him books, to which came the reply "no thanks". I tried signing songs, playing with toys and when all else failed to capture his attention, I tried the "let's have a little lay on the floor together... we'll snuggle. How about that?." Which resulted in him trying to take me out with a ninja turtle get around vehicle ( I actually think it's bruised behind my hair line ... he's leaving marks that don't show. Should I be worried?).
In the end, I did the only thing I could think of and sent him to bed, for his midday nap (at 11ish). He wailed and cried all the way there and then .... nothing. Ahhh piece at last.
I think that's why they make them so cute.... so you don't go out into the back yard and eye of a nice soft area of soil to dig up....
I better go, I think I just heard him stir and the tapping of the keyboard will alert him to my presence......
How is life going with your two year old? Or what age is giving you grief at the moment?
In an effort to make sure that my kids have a direct line of communication with me and know that I will always do my best to be completely honest with them, I have often said that they can ask me anything. I will tell them as much as I know and I think they can handle (of course it goes without saying that I have had this conversation with the now 9 year old, not so much the two year old).
Now as you would assume with kids, lots of unexpected and uncomfortable questions are often asked. Of course you eventually expect the "where do babies come from?" to which I promptly headed off to the book store to purchase Where do I come from?, which we read and re-read together with added questions (and answers along the way). We also got the "Why is it called a penis and how come girls don't have one?", to which I answered and my husband was horrified that we should be talking about penis' and vaginas at the breakfast table. My theory is that you should tackle the topics when they come to hand (time and situation permitting) so that I can hold true to the "you can ask me anything" motto.
The thing with answering such questions honestly is that a small person can only take on so much information at a time. So even if you are brutally honest it might just go over their heads or perhaps even give them unnecessary issues about the topic. So I feel that it is always important to give age specific answers to questions and go back and revisit topics as my children get older and need more of in depth knowledge about stuff.
When we tackled the notion of where he came from (this question came up at around five), this included the proviso that the mum and dad needed to be married. Now that is not to say that babies are not born out of wedlock or that I even have a problem with that happening (which I don't - to each his own), I just didn't want to have to go to far into detail with a call from the principal later in the week because it was a bit hard to put an age limit on it all (who knows how literally kids are going to take your answers "well, I'm a boy and you're a girl so ...." ).
Anyway, he must have taken it all away and mulled it around because about six months later we were walking to school one day and he had more questions about it all - but this time relating to friends of ours, who are also a gay couple. It went something like this "So Charles and Doug are a couple right?" to which I replied the affirmative. "So they have sex then, right?". Again I answered to the affirmative. "So, which one of them will have the baby?". Ahh, a question I had not seen coming and was not prepared for. (Do they have a book at the library about that??) So then we talked about how having a baby required a man and a woman (now remember this is an age appropriate talk - so we didn't discuss how in this modern day and age it is possible to have two mothers or two fathers or just one parent or any other variant, we were just doing the basics). We continued to walk on for a bit in silence and he was obviously still working on this one because later that day we were on a car ride somewhere and he pipes up from the back. "Well, if they can't have a baby then why do they have sex?"
So, at this point I am thinking it's all good to be open to questions but you just never know what your going to get!! Having said that, at least he's getting his information from me instead of some other random primary school kid.
Have you had any "hairy" questions and how did you go with them?
Sometimes a quote just says it all. I am sure I am not alone on this one.
What do you do with a two year old who is constantly on the lookout for mischief? OK, well maybe not mischief, maybe he is just checking out the world around him and trying to find out what everything looks like, tastes like, feels like and does before he reaches the ripe old age of three. And as luck would have it those things are often accompanied by a little bit of mischief.
We had a really nice Sunday in Melbourne, weather wise and my little guy cannot get enough of getting outside. We find that he usually plays with the stuff which was put there for him to actually play with for the first few minutes and then starts investigating the stuff he's not supposed to be touching for the rest of the time. Now, I cannot claim ownership of this idea as it was suggested to me by a friend (so thanks Marg) but when I heard about it, it made me wonder why I didn't think of something so obvious myself!! But, that's how it goes sometimes, the simple ideas are often the really good ones!!
You may or may not have noticed his father in the background of this image - before he was sent on his mission to paint he spent time opening a drain cover and dropping lemons in..... just to give his Dad something to do with his Sunday.
So here it goes, a paint brush, a cup of water and a blank outside wall. Who knew something so uncomplicated could be so much fun?! He loved it and it kept him out of trouble!
Short post today, go out and enjoy the Melbourne sunshine before it's gone, again.....
I really wanted to do a post today about the joys of Spring. It was a lovely Spring day when I first thought of it, the sun was shining, my littlest guy was frolicking in the sun, flowers were blooming and I managed to get outside in Melbourne with only a three quarter sleeved shirt and no jacket!! Oh, I was so excited by the prospect of it all and then it seemed like it was over as quickly as it had begun.
So, today I walked to do the bus stop drop off and had to wear my usual two jackets just to keep the chilly wind from cutting me in half! I thought that I might still show you some of the images I had already taken on that lovely warm day and had planned on posting with a title like, 'What I love about Spring'. In the hope that it will encourage Spring weather to come on in full!! Here's hoping anyway!
I also wanted to let you know that I have decided to do something a little special with my Friday posts. I am going to start a weekly series about the joys of becoming a mother from scratch. You may perhaps be scratching your head at this point thinking, "Isn't that what you were already doing?" - and in some ways the answer would be yes. I was thinking about Motherhood the other day and how I got to be here (at this stage in my life, I mean...not as in, why are we here - the meaning of life and all that because I am really not sure on that one). Anyhoo, I have a few friends who are thinking about, or are already on the journey to Motherhood and it made me think about how I felt when I was at that point in my life. Hopeful, happy, nauseous, anxious, full of mood swings, tired and wondering what the hell I was doing!
So on Fridays I will be taking a little stroll down mummy memory lane and sharing with you from scratch all the way up to the trials and tribulations of a now two and a bit year old, and an almost ten year old. Who taught me a really valuable lesson last night.... but I will save that thought for another day.
I hope that you will join me on this journey and even pass my posts on to friends who are about to become Mums and want the facts straight from the horse's mouth, it's not all fairy bread and cute little feet padding about the house (not even close!).
I hope that you enjoy my images of Melbourne Spring (there are only a few .... I mean, I didn't get much time!).
What little person doesn't like playing with water once the weather warms up? Mind you this was his third attempt ... the first involved gumboots and the dog's water bowl.
Beautiful blossoms in our backyard.
I had to include this image of our dog Maisey because even she looked happy. Although, she wasn't thrilled about the water bowl and the gum boots.
Just a reminder too, if you don't want to miss a dose of Mother Load you can always join up and subscribe and get Mother Load delivered straight to your inbox! The subscribe box is now located at the top right hand side of the page and don't forget to confirm your subscription when it gives you the chance to so I know it's alright to send you my daily musings!
Have a wonderful weekend.