Picture
If you are a parent (and even if you're not) you have probably heard the latest carry on in the news relating to children in public. In case you have been living under a rock and missed the story I have included the link: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/02/20/06/13/sydney-shopping-centre-bans-screaming-children

In a nut shell - a shopping centre in Dee Why, NSW has put up the following sign "screaming children will not be tolerated". This sign has been put up in the food court, where play equipment for children under 5 is located. Apparently patrons of the food court have complained that they are unable to enjoy a nice quiet cup of tea, or lunch because of the screaming children. This would seem much like putting a cafe on the tarmac at the airport, choosing to go there for your lunch and then complaining about the noise of the aeroplanes.

I'm sorry, but are are you fucking kidding me!? (Sorry about the harsh language - but I think it calls for it!). If people want a quiet cuppa, then suck it up and go to a quiet cafe, somewhere else. When did children's squeals and screams of delight become something we were just "tolerating"? How do you quantify which screams are unacceptable and which ones we will just live with? What are they going to do if you're child let's out an unapproved noise? Frog march you and you're child out of the food court Gestapo style, whilst people who can now go back to their quiet cuppa's give you the greasy eyeball on the way out?

Wow, way to teach our children about tolerance and acceptance of other's quirks and foibles? What if your child has learning difficulties or a disability? Is that ok? How do they then rate who can acceptably be frog marched out and who can stay without causing a discrimination charge to be slapped on the centre management? What if the mother is quietly going insane at home with their under five and has come out into the world to try and reconnect with society - is it ok to kick them out?

Look, I am all for trying to maintain some kind of civilization and stop ferals from running the joint but harassing mothers about the decibel there children may be able to attain does not make for a better cup of tea. It just makes for a pack of arseholes who have no tolerance for parenting or children in public.

Shame on you Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre - Shame. On. You.


 
 
Picture
I predict you are going to channel your mother....
As a child there were many things my parents said to me which I promised I would never ever subject my children to, so you can only imagine my surprise at the amount of times I have stood there and my mother's voice has come out of my mouth.

Maybe it's because we feel so out of our depth with parenthood that we fall back on what we know and channel our parent's voices. Perhaps we have been so conditioned as children that we have no real choice but to automatically repeat the same phrase when confronted with the same situation. I have no answer.

I'll let you be the judge. I give you the 10 things I promised myself I would never say to my kids, but have...




1. Money doesn't grow on trees.

2. Because I said so.

3. We don't always get what we want.

4. Just because all your friends are doing it doesn't mean you have to

5. Would you like a smack?

6. There are kids in other countries who are starving and they'd love to eat the food you're turning your nose up at!

7. We should have called you "whingie" - you're very good at it.

8. Turn the TV over the News is about to start.
 
9. You are not going anywhere until you've eaten it.

10. I don't care if all your friends have one you're not getting it.

 
Got your own? I'd love to hear them - add them to the list.


Cheers,

Lee

 
 
Siblings. Sometimes they fight like mortal enemies and sometimes they fit together like two little peas in a pod.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a healthy and happy New Year with your family.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
I had a post all ready to go today and then Connecticut happened. It's hard to believe that we are so connected through the internet that it almost feels like it happened here in Australia.

I felt compelled to write a post about this absolute tragedy which has just happened to 26 innocent little souls in America because I can't talk about it. Every time I go to breach the subject with someone in person it makes me want to cry and I know if I open the floodgates - they might not close.

Every parent's worst nightmare was realised when a 20 year old lone gun man walked into a school in Connecticut and mowed down 20 innocent children and six of their teachers and care givers. It has left so many people wondering what could possess someone to commit such a horrific, senseless crime and it has left 26 families with wounds so big they will never fully heal.

As a human being you cannot help but feel affected by this tragedy but as a parent you can not help but spend a little longer hugging your own children and a little more time watching them play and sleep and take part in the great adventure of life which surrounds them and feel so very very sad for those that have lost that.  

The cyclone which is currently threatening Fiji is Cyclone Evan and I'm pretty sure it was named after our Cyclone Evan - the two and a half year old that lives in my house and is currently enjoying his afternoon nap. He has two speeds - off and full on. He sleeps like an angel but when he is awake he is full on ... it's like he is in a rush to experience life before it runs out. He wants to touch, feel, taste, say and do everything - right now. It's amazing to watch and exhausting to experience but right now it makes me feel so very sad. Those families in Connecticut just days ago had someone in their lives that affected them, whose sadness and joy and little quirky ways had an impact on their lives... and now those people are gone. They went off to school, somewhere their parents and friends and families never dreamed they would be unsafe and now they will never come home.

I have found this whole terrible terrible event so very sad and absolutely heartbreaking and even though we are more than an ocean away I feel so connected to their grief. Although it is hardly enough,  I send my deepest sympathy to those families in America who have been absolutely gutted by this tragedy so close to Christmas and I wanted to let them know that there are others in the world who grieve with and for them. My heart breaks for you in your loss.

 
 
Picture
Having my first baby felt a little like someone giving me the keys to a beautiful brand new car and saying "here, go for it", when I didn't know how to drive. In theory it looks easy enough, I mean, I had ridden in a lot of cars. I had seen lots of other people drive cars but it just didn't feel natural for me. Everything I did felt unnatural and forced. I was always worried that I wasn't doing it right, that everyone else knew what they were doing but me.

When we first brought our little guy home from the hospital I joined a Mothers Group and while this really helped in some ways in other ways it just proved to me that I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, how come their babies were sleeping better? Eating better? Doing what they were supposed to be doing? Did I have a dud baby or was I just a dud? Why didn't I know what I was doing? When was I finally going to get a handle on all things baby and just know what to do and when oh when, was I going to get a full night's sleep?? It just felt like some long drawn out torture.

Oh and don't even get me started on those people who claim they can understand what their baby is saying to them by the tone of the oooh or aahhh. It was all the same to me, everything just sounded loud and foreign. If my baby was trying to communicate with me, I obviously wasn't getting it. What was wrong with me?

I went along to one of my first mothers groups and the clinic nurse who was running it asked each mum if they only had a few dollars left what would they spend it on. Each reply was pretty much the same, "something for the baby". When it got to me, I answered the same, mostly because that's what I thought I should say but also because I had no idea. I was so tired and overwhelmed by the whole experience it almost felt like sitting the entrance exam for a cult. Did I actually have anything in common with these people? Was the fact that each one of us had just given birth to another human being the only thing that bonded us? Would someone mind holding my baby for a few minutes so I could just lie down on the floor and have a sleep?

Due to having had my head down the toilet for a great portion of the nine months I was gestating my parasite... I mean, pregnant, and the difficulty of the birth and now the lack of sleep I had come to the conclusion that I was never, ever again going to subject myself to such extreme torture. One of my best friends around three to six months in had (as had a lot of mothers, I was later to find out) decided that they would indeed be hopping on the miracle of life ride again. My friend (being an only child herself) had this feeling that she was not finished creating her family and that she definitely wanted to add to her clan. I on the other hand felt more than full up with my family load. Sorry, no room here, we're full!!

You would be surprised by the amount of people who are so very offended by this. Like it is a personal affront to them that you are happy to have an only child. I had people I had just met at outings offer to look after my child so that my husband and I could pop home to create a sibling. I even had one woman tell me how devastating it would be if I raised my son, only to lose him in some type of horrific accident as a teen and wouldn't I feel so much better if I had more than one?? "What, like a backup?" I asked incredulously. 

Anyhoo, we moved along with the whole being parents thing almost like someone being washed along in a flood and just trying to make the best of their situation. It didn't feel natural, it felt hard. And I wasn't rushing out to have another one to make other people happy or to have a "backup".... seriously are you kidding me!? I would like to say that being a mum got easier and it did, some days and then some days I just scratch my head and wonder what the hell I am doing and planning how I can run away from home.

Cheers,

Lee



 
 
Picture
When you become a parent a whole new world is opened up to you. Some of it is wondrous, some of it is disgusting and a lot of it involves you doing things you never dreamed you would ever be doing.

So for all those people who are thinking about having a baby, about to have a baby or dream one day of having a lovely little bundle of joy, I give you the 12 things I had never done before becoming a parent, so that you can feel much more prepared for what is to come than I was.

For those of you who are already parents, not only will you be fairly familiar with each thing on the list but you will more than likely have a number of things you had never done before to add to the list. Feel free to comment and add at the end, by no means is this a definitive list... I am sure as the children grow there will more things I never dreamed I would ever be doing.

Before becoming a parent I had never:

1. Been bitten
2. Held someone still so I could smell their bottom
3. Wiped someone else's nose with my fingers and wiped it on my pants (no tissues around)
4. Caught vomit in my hands so it wouldn't go on the carpet
5. Bit food into smaller pieces so I could feed it to someone else
6. Squashed someone into the washing basket so I could drag them around the house
7. Carried a screaming person out of a very public place over my shoulder
8. Stood for a long time just watching someone sleep
9. Put my fingers under someone's nose to make sure they were actually breathing and just asleep.
10. Gotten into an argument at a play centre
11. Spent so much time discussing why girls don't have a penis and where babies come from
11. Hidden the mop so it could not be used as a make shift weapon
12. Loved someone so unconditionally


Please feel free to add your own.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
This small noisy chick moved in next door with a whole bunch of kids and she is living proof that, although the miracle of childbird is amazing not all babies are beautiful. Some of them are really ugly.
On the upside the kids are loving seeing these noisy little babies poking their heads up for a feed. Kinda reminds me of our house at dinner time - only these kids aren't knocking any of the food back because it doesn't look right and they really wanted fish and chips.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Picture
I used to be a party girl. Not the kind that organises parties for others, who goes all out for a one year old birthday party, you know the kind with a fairy and /or magician, balloon animals and a seven layered cake that the birthday person is never actually going to remember. I mean the kind that used to kick up her dancing shoes in dark clubs with dark strangers and drag her sorry self home just as the rest of the world was getting up for their morning walks to collect the paper or buy milk.

I used to love those days. At the time, I mean. Not now. Now I'm out and it hits 10.30 and I think "oh is it that late already!" The old me (party girl), used to feel sad for people like me. Sad "old" people sitting at home on a Friday night. I used to say that the day "what kind of lunch meat is most suitable for a kid's lunch" becomes my topic of conversation - kill me. Sadly, I have become that person. Sad for the old me, the new me is actually OK with it and understands the significance of being in charge of another person's life and the need to create a healthy foundation which gives them the best possible start.

So as a nod to my old self who uttered phrases like "Whose up for cocktails!", "It's not late, the suns not even up yet!" and "OMG - I love this song, someone has to dance with me!" - I give you a list of the top 15 things I never ever thought I would be saying but have in fact uttered since becoming a parent.

1. How nice, being able to go to the toilet on my own.
2. Are you up to something sneaky or just doing a poo?
3. What happened to your pants?
4. Stop licking the dog.
5. I don't care, eat it anyway.
6. A Wiggles concert. That sounds like fun!
7. Is that snot or drool?
8. Get that out of your mouth!
9. Spit that into my hand, right now.
10. Why are you naked?
11. The dog is not a horse, so stop trying to ride her!
12. Get your face off the television!
13. Sure. Let's watch Toy Story, again.
14. Yes, that is a penis and no, I don't have one.
15. Put that back it's not lipstick, it's a tampon.

Got anything you never thought you'd be saying but have? Here's your place to share it, go for it!

Cheers

Lee

 
 
Picture
A number of years ago my eldest son who was then an only child and about four years of age was babysat by a friend of mine. I had to go and do something that required him not to be there (I can't remember what it was). Later that day he told me how much he had enjoyed my friend looking after him and when I asked him what it was he liked about it the most he said "it was great because she played with me."

Well, didn't that feel a bit like a slap in the face! The train of thoughts in my head went round and round questioning what kind of mother  I  was if he had enjoyed an afternoon spent with someone else much more than he did with me! I play with him all the time, I thought. But then when I really rationalised it, I realised that I probably didn't.

As a parent, you want to spend a fair amount of quality time with your kids each day, I mean, you're around each other a lot - there must be heaps of quality play time in there? But then when you look at that long list of stuff to get through, play time often scores pretty lowly on the to do list. I mean, there is all that meaningful stuff like washing, cleaning the floors, cooking... actually when you look at it like that, there isn't that much meaningful stuff on there at all but the thing is, it still has to be done.

This past week I was away visiting my mum in Fingal Bay (which is a really beautiful beach suburb close to Newcastle in New South Wales) with my two year old. Mum lives in a retirement village... how's the serenity? Well, actually it was really nice, thank you. All of the activities are pretty low key, no wild parties or anything like that and you can only drive in the village at 8km (yep, that's right 8 - that was not a typo) so traffic isn't really an issue. Mum spent most of the week focusing on doing all that boring stuff (that still has to be done) and I spent the week playing with my two year old. Wow, what a revelation! We went to the beach every morning and every afternoon, we got a visit in to the park each day, we ate ice cream and we watched the boats bob on the water and it was marvellous.

Now that we are home again all that boring stuff comes crashing back in on me like I have never been away. It's amazing how quickly you can get back into the swing of monotony. The big difference for me is that my little guy wanted to go outside today and play for a while and I usually watch him through the window while I sort washing, (or complete some other mundane job) but today I looked at his joyful little face and thought all that stuff can wait .... and it did. We jumped on the trampoline, played catch and sat down together to share a bag of chips.

All that stuff will still be there, but it can wait. After all, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they had got one more load of washing in.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
Picture
I am away from it all at the moment and yet I still carry it with me. My big guy who is 9 about to turn 10 has gone away on a school camp today. I am away on holidays myself with my 2 year old this week and I have left my husband "in charge", at home. I had his camp bag packed and ready a week ago, which made me look overly keen for him to go but really I just wanted to make sure he didn't need anything.

Almost 10 is a hard age, well hard in that it's in between. Too old to hold my hand but not too old to not want to slip into the middle of a hug I might be  having with my husband. Old enough to want more "swagger" (something he has
already asked me how he could get more of) but really too little to know what
to do with it, if he actually had it.

I love that boy more than life itself but he doesn't know it. He thinks I love his little brother more. Mostly because 2 year olds take up more time and energy. 

We had a really big fight last week, over not much really. The usual. Not wanting to make his bed, a bit of smart mouth and then being mean to his little brother. Not life changing, but still. I had to man handle him into his room just so he was out of my site because I really wanted to strangle him. Not metaphorically - literally. He had just pushed me right to the edge and then over it. I had had enough.

Later when it had all calmed down I gave him a hug and I said "I love you so much" but he didn't look convinced. I asked if he knew how much I loved him and he said no, he didn't. Maybe it goes against all mothering by letting kids in behind the curtain, but I said I didn't like him very much at the moment but I always loved him, no matter what.

He looked up at me with big confused eyes and asked - perhaps for clarification because he didn't think it seemed right. "You don't like me?" and I said "No, not much at the moment" and then I said something which really clicked for him because I could see it in his eyes
"Well, you don't like me very much right now do you?" to which he replied "No, I don't" and I said "well sometimes that's just how it is.... but I still love you. No matter what".

After all that, I've had a few calls from him this week telling me how much he misses me and because I have been so busy with the two year old tornado I didn't think about it much, until now. Now that he has gone off into the world to try something new. Without me. He only got on the bus for camp this morning and I wasn't even there for it  ....and I miss him already.

Cheers,


Lee