We Don’t Do “Girl” Things

I was recently told by a little four year old that I cannot like Batman – I’m a girl.
After explaining to her that there are no such things as girl things and boy things there are just things and I’m a girl and I do like Batman, she quickly decided she liked Batman too.

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If we did “girl” things, look at the cuteness we’d miss out on.

The kids have toys they’re given that are assumed to be gender exclusive like ninja turtles and doll houses.
They share and don’t care about it.
Dex loves the doll house.
Lola loves the train set.

Dex has hot pink lunch box containers.
Lola loves Batman.

i’m not piercing Lola’s ears either.
Because I’m not going to do Dex’s unless he asks, why would I do hers?

It frustrates me that my kids are constantly coming home telling me what’s girl things and boy things and I have to constantly tell them that it’s just things.
All of it is just things.

It reminds me of a picture I’ve seen that is your to choose a gender appropriate toy for a child.
It said “do you operate it with your genitals?”
Yes: not a toy for children
No: boy or girl.

The Constant In His Life

Life is all over the shop at the moment.
Lots of hours at work, being cared for by his aunty and by friends and a new childcare a couple days a week were he hasn’t quite found his footing yet.

Sensory_Toy_Hunter_Hedgehog-2_1024x1024This little guy has been Dexter’s constant.
His sounding board.
When he doesn’t quite know what’s going on or why, or how he feels, this little guy gets a squeeze and his world is centred again.
We were given this to review from Bumpy Land after chatting to her about my fears of Dexter having sensory processing issues.

I expect it to help a little bit.
I did not know how much it would actually help.
Dex has started recognising when he’s upset, uncentred and just not feeling all together and asks for Maxxy (which he has named his Hunter Hedgehog) and you can see him visibly unwind. It is amazing.

We also won some pendants from the facebook page and I am not obligated to review these at all but they have helped as well and I wanted to mention them.

Lola has this one:
SONY DSCAnd Dex has the red one of these:skullpendant_1024x1024These have been fantastic for out and about.
My two have always been fidgeters.
As far as I know, Lola has no sensory issues beyond being an almost 3 year old that has to touch everything. Which is horrid on grocery runs etc as the kids get bored easily.
Cue these guys, which can be rubbed, chewed, put on and off, and when they slide their teeth over them they make a slight squeaking noise.
Suprisingly nothing irritating, but the kids are overjoyed they can make such a noise.
I notice the difference if I don’t have these when we go shopping within about 5 minutes of the grocery trip.
I’m buying more so they can have different colours and styles.

Last thing that comes along on our trips is this:

hairytangle_1024x1024The tangle toy is great because it can be stretched out at pictured, it can be squished into a little ball and pretty much everything in between. It is a puzzle so all the little individual parts come apart, but only Dex has been strong enough to actually pull it apart – Lola hasn’t and I haven’t had an issue with her.
These hang out in my bag for those times when you were just popping in somewhere and it became a longer wait than you expected – usually I pick Pat up from work and these come out when the kids are becoming restless.

I don’t know how I did everything without these before.
It just seems now that I was making it unnecessarily hard on myself.

Jules who runs Bumpy Land literally lives this stuff.
She knows what you’re going through and she knows what you need.
it’s why she opened the store.
Not only that she is a WAHM and I love nothing more than supporting the little guys.

*As stated we received a tangle toy for each child and a Hunter Hedgehog for Dexter. All opinions stated are my own

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.

Am I Old?

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I often find myself wondering if I’m old.
Wondering if others at not quite 26 find themselves looking at wrinkles on their forehead.
If others at not quite 26 have knees that get sore when it’s cold.
If others at not quite 26 worry too much about jobs and debts and cleaning and all that other monotonous shit that makes itself seem so fucking important.

It was on one of these days when I was glancing in my rear view mirror at Dex, caught sight of my wrinkles as I squinted and frowned – they look so deep!
Dex suddenly said to me “Mummy, I’m four – am I old?”

To which I replied “of course not! You’re very young – you’re only four and some people live to be one hundred and four even! “

But what does that mean Mummy?

“It means that to someone who is one hundred and four, Mummy even seems very young and that means we have a lot of years left and a lot of living to do.”

And it was that simple.
I’m not old.
I have a lot of living left to do.
I think sometimes we need to treat ourselves to the gentleness with which we treat our children.
We would never close them off to a possibility such as living to the longest and fullest as possible – why limit ourselves?

I have a lot more living to do.

And some wrinkle cream to buy.

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

How To Make Friends (As a Grownup)

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Does anyone remember how fucking easy it was to make friends when you were little?
Play on the playground long enough and surely someone would come along who wanted to play mermaids with you or eat cupcakes or make mudpies or whatever the hell your little minds could come up with.

Those were the days. Sure enough, it’s tough being a kid. there is bitchiness and it is heartbreaking but usually short lived and even if you only have a few friends, a few friends is all you need.

Making friends as an adult is fucking hard.
It is even harder as a parent I am willing to bet.
and by friends, I mean proper friends. Friends who know what is going on in your life and at least some of your goals and hopes and dreams. Someone you can message in the middle of the night or drop in on unexpected.Someone around whom you can totally be yourself.
Not someone you only chat about your children with – that’s the tricky part. I have heaps of acquaintances who know what is going on in the lives of my children, but not me.

I figured out the trick though.

Be yourself.
Sounds corny right?
We have people over ever Saturday night for Magic the Gathering – people who we met through our store.
At first, it was strictly business. People who have nowhere to play, won’t buy things to play with.
For some people it we will always remain strictly business because like it or not, I’m a little awkward, I have a strange sense of humour and I probably swear too much.
There are those, though who have responded in kind with the same sense of humour, or one I can relate too, those who find my awkwardness hilarious. Those who share the same interests. Those who like me for me,who I can be myself around.
For a couple of these people, it is wonderful that they children around the age of our children.
These people have become friends of tattoodaddy’s as well and for him to have friends who are full time fathers is really important.
I think sometimes he thinks our kids are so terribly behaved because he never sees other children in their own homes.

And so – I reached out. I said “Hey, we should catch up some time so we can meet your wife and children” And he thought that would be a great idea.
We went to their house and had a BBQ. Our children played together. We shared a mutual chuckle when children had dummy spits because we had been through it too.
And we made friends.

It was nowhere near as hard as I remember it being. Just took a little bit of putting myself outside my comfort zone.

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.

I Refuse to Smuggle Veggies.

I refuse to smuggle veggies.
I do not hide what my children eat from them.

There are a couple of reasons 1. being – I don’t like lying to them (and yes that does mean I struggle with Santa!) and the main reason:

Healthy, happy children make healthy, happy adults.
Children who know what they are eating and why means they will form better habits now that will carry them through their teens and into their adult life.

They aren’t stupid. They see you putting fuel in your car. They know your car needs fuel to go.
I tell them that food is your fuel. For the body to do what it’s meant to do – things they love doing; running, jumping, playing – the fuel they put in their bodies needs to be good fuel.

I tell them about sometimes foods; foods that we might like to eat a lot of but they don’t help our bodies work very well – we can get sick if we eat too much and there is no fun in being sick.

I involve them in what we do in the kitchen. They cut veggies, they choose fruits, we go to the markets of a Sunday and they try different things and pick things they like. We try new things. We don’t always like them and that’s okay.

I understand they aren’t always going to like it and that’s fine. I also understand that to encourage my children to eat new things that are good for them, I also may have to eat things I don’t like. Which is why I gagged down a piece of tomato so my son would eat it and realise he likes it.
when we don’t like something, we’ll try it a different way – tomatoes in bruschetta instead of just sliced up.

I trust him to make good decisions. When he chooses something that is a sometimes food we talk about it. Usually he rethinks his decision and makes a healthier choice.
sometimes he doesn’t and that’s okay.

We still have treats, we still have sometimes foods.
We still have meltdowns about not wanting to eat our veggies and that is expected. But the thing is most of the time, they DO end up eating them. And they know they are eating them.
they KNOW what a balanced meal is, without even having to learn it. They are living it in the kitchen with me, cutting up the foods, picking different things.

Why would I take away from them the empowering knowledge of how to look after themselves? Knowing that making a good choice makes them feel good?

I don’t think children are given enough credit. They know when the feel good and when they don’t. They are the perfect example of what our bodies are designed to do.
Why would we want to take that away from them?

I refuse to smuggle veggies because I refuse to insult my child by suggesting he isn’t capable of making a good decision for his body.

And Lola, well – she knows no different. She would eat a cucumber or two a day if I let her.

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Sanity Saver – Out and About With Young Children

 

 

My children are generally pretty great when it comes to going out. They can sit through waiting for their babycino and their banana bread. They can even sit through the 5 or so minutes after that. But ask them to wait any longer, or wait for a main meal is a bit much.
and I understand that. I get bored. I read a magazine. I play on my phone. I cannot expect a level of attention for them that I don’t hold for myself.

So after we’ve sat down and had a chat about how our day is going, or what is happening after our pit stop, these babies come out.

They are especially great for when you are catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in ages and want to have a conversation that isn’t constantly interrupted by you getting up to chase bored children around.

This was $14 for each one, from K-Mart.

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You could add whatever you wanted. I chose some little colouring pages that come with textas, pencils, stickers, a book for said stickers and the pencils to be used in. I got them matching pencil cases because a) that was all K-Mart had and b) there are no arguments about colour this way.

Clearly named of course as to deter fighting.

 

How do you keep your kids distracted/entertainedl while you’re out?

ANON POST – The Heartache And Struggle of Making a Baby

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I am in the middle of the most agonising wait I have ever experienced.
Last week (9am Wednesday to be precise or about 167 hours ago), I was artificially inseminated. I have one more week until my period is due or about 168 hours. Do you realise how slow a week is when you’re anxious, scared, excited and just a little emotional? No wonder I feel like I’m about 3 words away from tears.

I tried to look for some blogs about IUI (inter-uterine insemination) but of course, if you’re thinking fertility treatment the first thought is IVF and there seems to be a lot of support and information about that, but not much on IUI. I’m feeling like I’m sitting on an island watching all the boats sail just out of reach.

I don’t feel particularly well either. It was quite sudden that I didn’t feel too good, but I’m too scared to go to the doctor because I know she will do a pregnancy test and I know it’s too early for a positive result, so then I will be heartbroken that not only am I not pregnant, but I spent $1200 to get pregnant and it didn’t work. I also know that feeling tired, a bit faint or dizzy and a headache are symptoms of stress not just pregnancy. I know that gastro has been going through my workplace so maybe the slight nausea I have had since the day before yesterday when I skip a meal might just be that. I know my sore breast is a symptom of PMS.

But knowing all of that doesn’t stop me wondering and hoping.

Following a miscarriage about 8 months ago, I have been wound tighter than Joan Rivers’ face. We have been trying naturally for 15 months. In our 16 month we got some help. We understood that because of our specific issues, we have a chance of not needing to go for IVF but what if it doesn’t work?

We have eaten herbs, we have followed the doctor’s advice, I’ve had acupuncture, I’ve meditated, I’ve prayed and of course, we have shagged and shagged and just for a bit of a change, we shagged some more. We’ve shagged daily, every second day, or every third day, depending what the doctor told us each month and with only the one success that ended in heartbreak.

We were told at a fertility seminar that naturally, a woman has only 1-2% chance each month of getting pregnant, this simply makes me wonder how the human race has survived this long. It also shows me that I am not alone despite how alone I feel.
I feel this huge ball of emotions that I cannot describe. I normally have a pretty good handle on identifying my emotions but this has me floored. Undergoing fertility treatment has left me feeling like I need to be sitting under my desk with a blanket over me rocking my teddy bear to sleep.
I worry if we made the right decision. I worry if we’ll be good parents. I worry what will happen if we have a miscarriage. I worry that if it does work it’ll be unfair on my brother-in-law’s fiancé since the due date is about 2 weeks before their wedding. I worry that we will have wasted money if it doesn’t work.

Relax they say. HA! Have you ever tried to relax when you’re hanging in limbo and can’t wrestle control back from fate when you’re used to always knowing where you’re going and forging your own path when in doubt? IUI isn’t something I can relax about, in fact it just makes me want to cross my knees because although it didn’t hurt or anything like that, it was exactly what one would describe as comfortable (imagine a pap smear going for about 20 minutes for an idea of your comfort level).

For what I read, IUI appeared to be better than IVF as a starting point but I don’t know if I can handle going through this wait again (it’s now 168 hours ago with only about 167 to go…).