We Have White Skin

Today at the shops Dexter was looking around and noticing the color of other people’s skin.
There are big Indian and Nigerian communities around our area as well as Aboriginal.
He said to me “we all have white skin.” And held his arm next to mine.
I replied “we all have different colors” And showed him how his, mine and Lola’ s are different.
He seemed satisfied with that.

In the car, he brought it up again.
“Why do we all have white skin that is the same but different?”

I’m not the kind of parent who says “that’s not something we talk about.” I think kids should know. Skin color is no different to eye color or hair color.
And so I told him, it depends on our mums and dads and where is the world we’re from.

And then I told him “you know what’s even more important than skin color though? How kind you are. And how helpful you are. And how you share and look after people. And how when someone is sad -when someone is sad you give them a cuddle and love them and make them happy?  – yes honey you do – and when you’re swimming with someone and there are sharks and crocodiles all around you don’t let them be by themselves even if you swim faster? “

Yes Dexter. All those things are more important than the color of your skin.

Being Dad

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I feel for tattoodaddy.
He has told me a few times things along the lines of – they don’t even like me, they don’t listen to me, they hate me.
It’s got to be hard to be a dad.
Obviously being any parent is hard. And I understand in many a house it is the reverse of ours and the mother finds herself weeping, feeling like she doesn’t even know when her four year old actually became this child in front of her.

Lola gets up at about 7:30am. 15 minutes before we leave to drop tattoodaddy at work.
She often falls asleep in the car on the way to pick him up at 5:30pm and stays asleep. He doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with her.

Lately his time with her has become the midnight (or thereabouts) visit into our bedroom when she wakes to go the toilet and such.
They cuddle, they laugh. They talk in soft voices that walk in the edge of sleep, not wanting to shatter the quiet of the time they have together. She touches his face and curls against him. It warms my heart.
Occasionally she is too tired and won’t snuggle, needs sleep but doesn’t want it because she is over tired. He always brings her back to happy in these middle of the night moments.
That’s what that photo is. Him showing her just how ridiculous she looks by looking ridiculous too. Because who isn’t going to laugh at their dada in his Undies with his bum in the air.

This is one of the things that makes me love him so dearly. He – a lot of the time feeling like they don’t like him, will do anything to see them happy.

It must be hard to be a dad. One must take what he can get – and I’m glad of every second of it.
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Monster for my Monsters

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A little while ago I received a gorgeous package in the mail.
I am a sucker for gorgeous packages.

Oh the innuendo – maturity plus here ;)

Even better that it contained food that I am happy feeding my children – real food.
Bonuses that it is from an Australian company.

They are perfect for me because tattoodaddy starts work at 8 and that means a drive into town – I don’t like driving home to drive back in again later and sometimes my children do actually like to sleep – usually those mornings where I actually need to be somewhere -so these are perfect for the morning rush.

Below are the verdicts from the toughest of testers – my children.

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I would definitely buy this again.
Oh wait. I did:

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All views are completely my own – I received free product for review purposes.

A Shift

DLast night I had a moment.
An actual pivotal moment.
And I felt like something massive had happened. I was buzzing, wondering who I could call and tell.

I was lamenting to my friend Ben (who, by the way is fucking amazing. He is always there to listen to me bitch and moan and just continuously tells me I’m awesome. Everyone should have a friend like Ben. You ROCK Ben!) about how shitty everything is.
My car is fucked thanks to the hail.
My son isn’t learning what he wanted to be learning 8 months ago and now, has no interest in it because he has been told he can’t do it – his words, not mine.
No money.
No time.
No motivation.
The usual problems.

I was looking through pinterest (as one done when they are feeling like their children/house/life isn’t clean/pretty/organised/new enough) and I thought to myself – immediately telling Ben of course – that hold up, I’m a heaps better parent than I think I am. And I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am.

I can teach Dex to write his name. And about the dinosaurs. And about planets. And colours and why they mix together to make the colours they do and why we bleed when we fall and cut our knee and why promises are so important.

I can take them on walks and ask questions and just be with them.

I have been thinking for so long that they need daycare to learn. But really, all they need is me. A Mum who has just realised she is a lot more capable than she has ever given herself credit for.

I do not need a new car. I do not need a new lounge. I do not need to work 8 hours a week when financially, it makes no difference either way.

I  need to catch bugs with my kids. And teach them how to properly make their beds and use a potato peeler and how to swim and how to laugh wholly and cry shamelessly and love fully.

I need to be.

I know it was all I wanted as a child. My mother to spend time with us. And I know she did sometimes, but usually she was just so BUSY. I don’t remember a lot of things from my childhood with my Mum. Which makes me sad and I’m sure it makes her sad.

I don’t want my own children to be like that.
Especially not Dex. He goes to school in a year.

I know I will miss him like nothing else when he does.
And I know I’ll have wished I spent more time with him when I could.
So why not?

Don’t get me wrong – I know there will still be moments where I wish I worked full time so someone else had to deal with the butter they were throwing at each other/floor/lounges when I fell asleep during a movie we were watching after a shitty night.

BUT

Maybe I’ll remember to laugh after I’ve gone cranky a little more, too.

Poop.

So tonight we have people over for the draft (competition through our business). 5:30pm comes and it is still stinking hot – the sky feeling like it’s only 2 feet above you and the air is thick with the promise of storm and smoky from fires.

The children should be having dinner to get ready for an early bed time but tattoodaddy and I don’t feel like tackling that particular mountain (or any at that point) and they are still outside on the climbing gym in their undies, pretending they are on jet skis.

Tattoodaddy and I talk about the things we need to clean. I need to get food ready and vacuum and I just can’t be bothered.

Suddenly a Dexter sprints past us both making a whimpering sounds as if in pain, tattoodaddy and I look at each other as if “what the fuck is going on” and then we hear each step he lands is echoed by a wet sounding fart.

We look at each other again.
Simultaneously look at the floor.
Look back.
Disgust.

There is a poop trail from my back door to my toilet.

Across my carpet, through my loungeroom, over my vacuum cleaner (and you know how they have the ribbed hosing…) into the bathroom and to the toilet.
And it is definitely not solid.

I hear “I’m sorry Mummy, I just didn’t have enough time.”
Followed with “Can you come here? There’s poo everywhere…”

And he is not lying.
In the bowl. Out of the bowl.
On the seat. On the toilet paper.
On his legs. His feet.
His arms.

I look at tattoodaddy who is still standing in the loungeroom alternating between glancing around in disgust and telling Lola to stay out while she enthusiastically tells us “Dexter did a poo!”

I look at the clock.
I have to take charge.

I grab the baby wipes because they are good for EVERYTHING.
I send tattoodaddy to the shop for carpet cleaner.
I start scrubbing.
I manage to get the most of it off the carpet, clean up the toilet and the floor in the bathroom and I’ve just finished spraying the carpet.

I look around and see the mess that is still needing to be tidied.
Prepared.

I think maybe we can do it.
Usually our customers turn up right on time – they know we have children we work around.

6pm.
Door knock.
The three new customers joining in tonight have arrived a whole hour early.

Thank god I had already scrubbed the poo off the carpet.

Thankfully they were quite content to sit and play games and didn’t stress about our kids.
They acted like a frazzled woman scrubbing fantically was something they see every day and truth be told – they have just finished their HSC so they are probably used to seeing their mothers do the same thing when preparing for guests while they still sit and play games.

But anyway.

The poo.

But What If I’m Not Ready?

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School.
My beautiful four year old turns 5 in August. Not yet old enough to go to school, we are looking at a new care Centre for both of them as the fees at ours are going up in December.
Looking at one where they take their own lunch in their bag.
One where Dexter – because it will be the year before he goes to school – will spend one day a week at a local primary school. Getting used to the routine. The habits. So that when it happens it’s not so much of a shock.

But who will protect him when he’s worried about the bad witch coming to get him?
My little man who just wants to be iron man when he grows up, who loves having his nails painted and wearing lip gloss. Who loves playing with his little sister and is more than a bit sensitive.
My boy who still has accidents at night and will more than once call out for me. Who still climbs into my bed in the darkness and curls up against me.
He who frequently hugs, kisses and tells his friends he loves them.
He who is prone to meltdowns when things just get too much, or the buttons aren’t right, or the shoes are itchy or the socks tickle.

What if he gets teased?
What if he struggles to make friends?
What if they laugh when he tells them he loves them and they crush my beautiful, caring little boy and he gets afraid to say “I love you”?
What if he gets in trouble for cuddling a friend or kissing them so they’re not sad?
What if he gets told IronMan is a stupid thing to want to be – when we’ve always told him if he works really hard he could just build himself an IronMan suit.

What if he’s not ready?
What if I’m not ready?

Heads Up. You Might Not Like Parenting

Let me first start by saying I love my children with everything I am and everything I have. There is not a single cell in my body I wouldn’t give for either of them, should they need it.
Not only do I love them, but I also wholeheartedly like them which is something completely different. I like who they both are as little people.
Dex; always curious, clever, cheeky, a little shy. Good with words, loves reading, is a bit rough and loves with his whole heart. Feels emotions strongly and draws in everyone with his kindness (when he’s not being overly boisterous). He gets infatuated easily and looks up to many a person with awe and wonder. I like him for all of these qualities and more.
Dolores; a beautiful little girl who can melt the iciest heart with a little “You can have a flower?” she absolutely adores her older brother and her dedication to him is heartwarming to see. She is so generous and will share with anyone, without being asked. She is forgiving and is often the first to apologise even if it wasn’t her that started the tiff. Happy to just go along with whatever is happening, enjoys gardens, helping and playing outside. Relishes in the opportunity to bounce on the trampoline with someone. Is a snuggle bunny from way back.

I have said these things to show, not only do I love my children, I genuinely like them too.
I do not like parenting them.

In fact, a lot of the time I hate parenting them. Which isn’t something you hear very often.
Parenting is fucking hard. If you’re not their parent, you can do everything you want to do. Not care about bed time, not care about routines. Not care about their teeth or their health or their anything other than the smile you are putting on their face.
Parenting is fucking hard because you are the one putting boundaries. Raising these little people into the next doctors, teachers, artists, thinkers, parents.
You have to guide them in the right choice not always being the most fun one. Teach them about rules.
Parenting is shit because you have to say no.
I don’t enjoy parenting. I wish I could give them everything under the sun and say yes to every single question they ever asked me.
But I just can’t. That isn’t a parent.
It wouldn’t be any good for tattoodaddy and I, and ultimately, it wouldn’t be any good for them.

To be honest, it gets so hard saying no a lot that mostly, I need a break. Before I had children, you don’t think of the no’s you will have to say. You think about parks and swimming and trips away and days spent snuggled on the lounge.
And yes, these still happen a lot.
But amongst that is the cleaning and the washing and the cooking and the groceries – all things they need to get used to and participate in because that is life. And part of your role as a parent is to teach your children about life. And this part of it fucking sucks.

I need a break from my kids weekly – daycare is my saviour. Why? So I can have a break from telling them no. So they can have their whims indulged. So they can run amok all day and not be burdened by tedious chores that infiltrate their every other day. I hate telling them no. and I don’t do it excessively. I try and work fun into everything we do but there are always things they want to do and we can’t. Things they want to buy that we can’t. Places they want to go and we can’t.

Parenting fucking sucks because it is no choice but to not constantly indulge them.

Parenting is amazing on those days you can say “fuck it. Fuck the washing and the cleaning and the mopping and the groceries and everything else. We will spend all day at the beach and have icecreams and chips and fall asleep on our towels in the sand.” And I live for those days. Parenting is amazing when they come and curl up against you in the middle of the night, tucking themselves into the curve of your stomach and holding your hand. Parenting is amazing when they tell you “I love you.” Parenting is amazing when you see your children working together, helping each other, enjoying the company and loving each other.

It is all these moments that make the shittiness of parenting worth it. Ironically, it is all these moments that show you that as much as you hate the parenting you have to do sometimes, you are doing an amazing job because you are growing two beautiful human beings.bed

You’re NOT a Shit Parent if…

batLately we have had our fair share of shit days and shit nights.
Yelling and crying on both sides.
Hitting. Books thrown at me.
Muttering “This is not fair!” (and shouting it)

I went in to the bedroom after one such episode and tattoodaddy is just laying on the bed, looking blankly.

I feel for him. He doesn’t really have any Dad friends to hang out with. To have a vent too. I know this stage will pass. I know that children, just like adults have shitty days for no particular reason.

He doesn’t get to vent to someone and have them say “OHMYGOD MINE TOO. I was ready to leave them in the carpark and head straight to the bottle shop”
Because let’s face it, everyone has thought this at one point.

And so I tell him;

You’re not a shit parent if some days, you just want to walk away from it all.
It doesn’t make you a shit parent if you wonder if you are the right person for this.
It doesn’t make you a bad person if sometimes you think “why the hell did we ever do this?”

Do you know why it doesn’t make you a shit parent? Because it means you care enough to worry you’re not doing a good job. It means you care enough to worry that maybe someone else could have done a better one.
Because ultimately, we are both still here, still being parents even though sometimes (most times) it is fucking hard and it feels like you’re banging your head against a brick wall and there’s a moment when you see your kids playing together and you think SHIT maybe I got this RIGHT for once and then someone throws a block at someone’s head and there’s crying and yelling “I didn’t do it!” and you’re thinking again ohhhmmyyyygoooddddd when does it end?!

Wondering if you’re doing a good job, if you’re the right person for the job – doesn’t make you a shit parent. It means you’re a good one because you love your children enough and you care about them enough to worry they are not getting the absolute best start at life. And shit parents don’t worry about that.

We all need a break sometimes.
We need a break from them, they need a break from us.

A Letter to my Little Sister

Canon EF 135mm f2.0 L USMDear Sister,

You are currently on the other side of the world, and you’ve been there a total of a week on Thursday.

You have told me “I can’t do this.”
But you are wrong.

You are, by nature, the most stubborn person I have ever met. I have never before met someone so sure they are right. In their words, their actions, their thoughts.
I have never met someone so sure that her way is the only way for something to be done.

I have watched you do things you say you cannot do.
I have watched when you thought going to the gym was too hard, was pointless, wasn’t where you needed to be, but you did it anyway because you are stubborn and you were going to make it work, dammit.

You are helping a family raise small children.

I have never seen someone so eager to assist with parenting. To the point I have sometimes had to tell you to back off because I was actually the parent.
I have never seen someone who was not a parent connect with children so easily and understand them so well.
I have never seen children trust someone as quickly as they seem to trust you.
I have never met anyone that has the same potential to make the difference you do.

You are on the other side of the world. Where France and Scotland and England is literally a weekend trip.
You don’t know when you’ll be there again. Don’t miss out because you’re missing us.

I know that it will work because you are an amazing young woman.
My children are lucky enough to have had you help raise them for the first 4 and 2 years of their lives.
IT is time you shared your beauty, charisma, attitudes, personality with other people, should they be so fortunate.

It is time you believed in yourself.
You were made to help people’s children.
You have always wanted to do this.
You are beautiful, strong, stubborn and wonderful.
Those children need you in their lives, just for a bit.

 

I love you and I’m proud to be your sister.

 

All The Exhausteds.

I know I promised you a challenge with support and recipes and honesty.
I can support you if you want to comment or email me with something you’re struggling with.
Recipes at the moment are not on the top of my to-do list, if I am completely honest with you.

I am all different kinds of exhausted right now.
Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially.

I’m scared about what a Coalition government means for my family. My sister thoughtlessly (and I do believe that – she would never ever say it with the intention of hurting someone, she just doesn’t think sometimes) said that “The only people who are upset that Liberal got in are the people without a job.”
And she is right. I don’t have a job that can support us. Right now, Tattoodaddy does not have a job either. It is fucking hard in Coffs Harbour to find a decent job. there is virtually no opportunities that will work around mothers with young children and there is little in the way of everything else.
We discussed this and it was put to us that we “should just move”. Which might work if we had any money to move with, or a place to go where we would be guaranteed a position.

I am physically exhausted because in spite of my job situation I worked 40 hours in four days last week. A total of 46 for the fortnight. Because everyone else was away. My shifts this week are back down to 8 hours.
I fought off more than one panic attack in the work toilet because I was tired. I missed my children. No one ensured I knew what I was doing after not working there for 2 years, I was just expected to remember everything and get right back into it.

I am emotionally exhausted after receiving an assessment from an OT that says yes, it does look like Dexter has sensory issues in almost all sections. We have been given what I am told is a “sensory diet” to try and help manage him and help him deal with it.
Manage him isn’t the right words, but it’s the best I can do – maybe help him manage his world around him would be more appropriate I think.
We have an OT appointment today so that should be interesting. I’m told she is really good.

I have not been consistently going to the gym because I am just so tired all I want to do is crash. It makes me sad because I still have goals but at the same time a lot of the time I just can’t work up the effort to go. Then I’ll have to go. And smile. And talk to people. I just don’t feel like doing any of it.