Archive for Parenting & Pregnancy
My 8 year old and I had a massive fight the other day.
Basically everyone in the family had lots of jobs to do… so I gave him instructions for his tasks a little at the time, not to overload him.
But he kept ignoring them or forgetting them, he kept getting distracted, thinking it might be better to do something else first, staring into space, annoying his brothers, picking fights with his brothers, wanting to trade tasks with his brothers, getting upset because his brothers had less jobs to do (because they were actually *doing* their jobs, thus had less jobs to do)… and I kept trying to gently get him back on track, gave him reminders, encouragements, incentives, helping him visualise his rewards or punishments, warnings about possible consequences… but he just got worse and worse.
And my temper escalated and escalated until I TOTALLY lost my shit and gave him the biggest and crankiest ear bashing ever… and he was grounded for all eternity. It all ended with something like this, “I’M IN SUCH A FOUL MOOD THAT I DON’T WANT TO EVEN BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOU. I’M SO ANGRY THAT I NEED TO LOCK MYSELF UP IN THE BATHROOM AND CRY. SO YOU CAN JUST LIE ON YOUR BLOODY BED UNTIL NEXT WEEK!!!”
I did lock myself in the bathroom and cry.
Thankfully my husband came home and sorted everything out.
Later that night, (I was still grumpy at my son) he came up to me quietly, gave me a quick hug and said that he was sorry for upsetting me, and that he went to the shops with dad and bought a Sorry Bug for me.
He quickly left (as instructed by his father) to go to bed and I was left with the stupid Sorry Bug.
Upon slow inspection… siiiiigh my heart melted.
Why do they drive us so insane?!
And why do they have to be so darn beautiful and easy to love?!
I crept into his room, snuggled into bed with him and had a cuddle. I said sorry for shouting at him and he promised that he would to concentrate more on his instructions next time.
(So we made up, but he has still lost all his screen and computer time for a week, I’ve confiscated his football cards for a week, and no playdates for a week!)
I am exhausted. I keep wondering if the problem is that I am not strict enough on him BEFORE he gets out of hand, and then it is too late. Or if I am too strict on him, and that’s WHY he gets out of hand, as an act of rebellion. Or if the problem is that he is just deliberately drawing a hell fire of negative attention down upon himself – just to get the attention of his mum and dad back on him, and away from the other boys. He is the middle child, after all, as I was.
I’m sure that I will never really know the answer to this question – and probably, neither will he.
Sigh, I love my kids so much that it drives me crazy.
I have not been cycling for a few weeks now. It’s driving me a bit crazy, but with my mummy duties and my work piling up, lots of family and social activities on the weekend, my children’s sporting commitments… it’s been tricky for me to find 3-4 hours for myself. I’m not complaining though, because…
I’ve dived head first into running!
It’s just so easy to put my kids on bikes and go to the park.
I run while they ride. They think it’s a game. Or a race.
Sometimes they like to run WITH me. Which is a bit humiliating for me, because both my 10 and 8 year old can run faster than me.
My 4 year old also likes to scoot alongside me, shouting “RUN FASTER MUUUM!!!”. On the downhill paths, he purposely scoots faster and ahead of me, lifting up one leg like a ballerina and gives me the cheekiest smiles. It’s so cute. Like I have my own cheerleader who keeps up with me. Who happens to be 4 year old.
Right now I can go the distance of 2km, running only, with no stops. Not very much, but hey, it was better than when I started at 200m!
I like to keep my older kids updated on how far and long I can run before I “crash and burn”… and each time it’s a little bit further and longer. On one hand I do this to show off (I have to tell somebody ok!) and on the other hand, I want them to understand that if they want to see results, all they have to do is practice a little bit, day by day.
I think they get it. They are very sweet and kind towards me and give me lots of encouragement.
I also tell them that one day we’ll ALL run a marathon together, and they like that idea a lot.
But not as much as I do :)
On Mother’s Day morning, my kid’s football club holds an annual Mothers and Kids football match.
Yes that’s right! I had to play Australian Rules Football on Sunday morning! Other mothers get breakfast in bed! Hot waffles with maple syrup! A bunch of flowers and a foot massage! Hmph.
The truth was, I actually wanted to sneak out at 6am and go for a long (and indulgent) 60km bike ride as my Mothers Day treat.
But my kids *really* wanted me to play football with all the other mums.
I told them I was a bit nervous. I don’t like to make a fool of myself. But they were so kind, they said I was pretty good (for a Mum) and that I was really coordinated and I might be the best mum on the field. Oh they are such nice boys.
As they pleaded with me, I could see how much it meant to them. So I said yes.
So on Sunday morning, we arrived at 8:30am and the whole football field was covered with kids, dads, grandparents, dogs, picnic chairs… and nervous looking mums like me.
The coach briefed everyone on what was going to happen – which was that the kids were going to have a half hour warm up session, practicing their skills to an even higher level… while us Mums stood around in the cold, getting colder, and even more nervous.
These are the kids – all boys in this team. Like a little army. Uniforms, numbers, disciplined. They have boots with studs to stop them slipping on the wet grass. The coach was giving them an inspirational talk about how they were going to be fair, play for the team, be good sports – and grind the opposition into the ground!
And us mums?
We all stood motionless in the cool morning sun like dazed, disorganized lambs to the slaughter, watching a massively superior army assemble.
The coach was finally done winding the kids up into a blood thirst, and they took to the field. They were so excited!
They were full of bursting energy – writhing and jumping around, hustling here and there, literally falling over themselves to get into play position. They were like hungry puppy dogs.
As we all found our positions on the field, I looked around and saw that there were… close to 30 kids on the field. Each kid was partnered with their mum – as the opposition – so there were like 60 people on the field playing at once! (I think there is only supposed to be 36 players on the field at one time.)
And the funniest thing about this was – you don’t often see players from opposite teams holding hands… but there was some of that! How cute!
The sirens sounded and the first quarter started – I decided that I would try my best.
My biggest worry was … my fingernails. Haha I didn’t awnt to break a nail! I’m serious! Australian Rules Football is a contact sport, and my nails are quite long and I didn’t want to jab some poor kid in the eye! So I was very conscious NOT to push my hands and fingers towards a bunch of kids to snatch up the ball.
My second biggest worry was that… several times, the ball bounced towards me on the ground, I would stoop down quickly to try to grab it. But from the corner of my eyes, I could see 8 kids RUNNING, no they were freaking CHARGING towards me at top speed trying to grab to the ball from all directions. Just imaging a flock of scavenging seagulls descending to fight over a dropped hamburger. That’s how mad it was. There were kids everywhere! And I realised in that split second that some kid (or two) might crash their heads into my head and smash my teeth out. So. I decided to NOT lean down for the ball anymore.
THEN there was one time the ball bounced towards an empty corner of the field and that I was the closest person to the ball… so I SPRINTED for it. But some really fast kid ran up behind me, and of course I tried to nudge him out of the way, so I could get the ball. I pretty much bumped him off his feet and he tumbled and rolled to the ground. I thought, “Oops was that illegal??” And I felt so bad about it, that I stopped to check on the kid that I knocked over… he was fine, but I didn’t see this OTHER kid running into my path, and our feet got tangled and he tripped me over! Bah. So, my motherly instincts got in the way of winning.
After that, I basically didn’t “go for the ball” anymore because I was afraid of hurting myself, or someone else. Haha I’m such a girl. My husband says that this is the exact reason why girls are not very good at rough contact sports – they are too intelligent to get themselves into a position that might smash their teeth out.
But, an amazing thing happened. The mums were winning! Our lack of talent and experience was outweighed by the simple fact that we were bigger (taller) than our sons. We could reach the ball higher, and kick it further. Yay!
And so the game continued, with us mums getting slightly better, and the boys getting more and more tired. Nobody got seriously hurt, although a few mums did lose their dignity.
I tell you what. It was fuuuuun.
In fact, it was so much fun that I think I might start playing with my boys in the park now.
This is my 8yo and I at the end of the game.
Ahh, we had a fantastic time and we were glowing with happiness :)
(And just for the record, Australian Rules Football strongly encourages girls to play in the same teams as the boys… there are a few girls in our club… and they are very good!)
I had gleeful and messy fun while helping out at the kindergarten today.
The kids were stamping the letters ‘S’ and ‘A’ in a sequential pattern.
In neon yellow paint, no less.
My 4yo (who can read) laughed, because everyone was stamping “ASS”.
He kept shouting out, “Hey did you know we’re writing about YOUR ASS hahaha!!”
I tried to keep a straight face and whispered “Shhh, keep your voice down Liam! No one thinks that’s a problem, so just don’t tell them!!”
“But mum, we’re stamping our ASSES HAHA!!”
Sigh. My kid is hilarious.
As for the neon paint… thought I would be stuck with radioactive-looking, glowing hands all day, but thankfully it all washed off my skin perfectly.
My big boys (aged 10 and 8) have recently taken up Australian Football and they are now OBSESSED with it.
It’s great to see them so enthusiastic and passionate about the game, but er, I’m just not a footy fan.
I have a very, VERY low interest in the game. (Except I don’t mind watching all the beefy, hot guys playing on TV).
The other evening, I took them both to the sports store and spent a small fortune on football boots, footy jerseys, footy shorts, footy socks and mouth guards. Times TWO of course.
They came home, pawing excitedly through all their new STUFF. They both sat on the floor and discussed football teams, best players, the difference between a Lyrebird and a Match football, like excited teenagers… and I had no idea what they were on about. Zero.
It was the first time I felt so disconnected from them. And it was by choice.
It felt strange. Because I was ok about it.
It felt strange, because this was *possibly* the beginning of me letting go. Accepting that they are growing up, they have their own interests… and that I don’t really need to be a part of it.
It’s a weird thought.
That night, I crept over to the pile of stuff and took a peek at the footy boots.
I opened up the two boxes and saw them laying side by side – brand new, clean, unsoiled, fresh and exciting – and I missed my little babies already.
So my youngest son turned 4 years old recently… and he now knows how to ride a proper pedal bike, with no training wheels!!
He was so sooo proud, excited and terrified!!
And me? I was proud, excited and terrified too!!
My husband kept insisting that he was ready. But I could hardly believe it. I kept thinking… Isn’t he a bit young to do this? I don’t think he’s ready for this?! He’s my last child and HE’S JUST A BABY FOR GODS SAKE!!
But he did it. And he was great at it :)
Sooo… the most embarrassing thing about this BIG EVENT… was that er… *THE MOMENT* actually happened over 2 weeks ago… and I didn’t record *THE MOMENT* on any picture taking device. My bad. Big, big bad.
I think for my first son, I recorded video and took photos of the “first time he rode with two wheels”. For my second son, I took lots of photos. But my third? None. For two weeks.
*Oh the shame!*
A huge Three-Child-Parenting-Fail right there!
(In my defense, I don’t walk or run in the park with my iphone anymore. So I don’t have my camera handy when these things happen :P)
Friends came over to spend the afternoon with us, and they brought a big packet of yummy cheesy corn chips.
I emptied the packet into a large plastic mixing bowl that I quickly grabbed from the cupboard, and I put it in the middle of the table for five or so adults to share.
Then, one of my kids runs in, sees the corn chips, reaches in to grab one and as he does so, he blurts out:
“HEY MUM, DID Y’KNOW THIS IS MY VOMIT BOWL?!”
He grabs a handful of chips and runs off to play with the other kids…. leaving all the adults in silence.
So I’m left to explain exactly why he said that. Thanks buddy!
And of course, the answer is obvious.
Just three days before, that same boy had been ill with a tummy virus, and I had quickly grabbed the same bowl from the same cupboard for him to throw up into when he shouted… “MUUUUM I’M GOING TO VOMIT!!”.
And boy, did he throw up!
Despite my reassurances that it had been thoroughly washed and sterilised, people were very slow to eat the corn chips.
And everything would have been just fine if kids weren’t so honest!
Look what my husband and I made on the weekend – a Minecraft Grass Block cake!
We threw a kid’s party for my 8 year old son… and his favourite thing in the world (at the moment) is Minecraft, so the whole party was in a Minecraft theme.
If you’re not too sure what Minecraft is… it’s the latest game craze for children between 6 – 12 years old (or bigger kids headed more towards 35 years old). It’s a computer game that lets you build things out of blocks. You have to mine for resources (wood, metals, rock or animal skins) and you can build structures and things, unlimited by your own imagination. It’s quite cool.
My boys have discovered things like… how obsidian is formed, that glass is made by adding heat to sand, you have to melt metal ore in order to shape it into things.
Anyway, it has inspired a plethora of children’s cake designs, which is highly fascinating in itself, check it out on Google Images. So I decided to have a go at my own design.
When I announced to my husband that I was going to make a Minecraft cake…he instantly became way too interested in the design and implementation plan. Soon he wanted to be a part of it too and I was not happy, because I ALREADY HAD A PLAN.
We locked our creative horns again, like when we made a Lego Head Mask for my son.
After a few days of brain clashes and artistic skirmishes, the fact that we were running out of time forced us to reluctantly work as a team.
He was in charge of the construction of the cake. I was in charge of decorating it.
I had planned to bake only 2 cakes, to join together, so the grass slab would be rectangular, rather than a cube.
But my husband wanted to make 4 cakes, so it would BE a cube. Which is a closer representation of the actual grass block in the game. Whatever!
4 FREAKING MUDCAKES? GAH I was very opposed to the sheer wastage of ingredients.
But of course, part of our “working together deal” was that I would ZIP MY MOUTH SHUT on these matters :P
12 free ranged eggs were used in the making of these cakes, 1L of sunflower oil and omg don’t even ask me how much dark chocolate we used.
We made them one by one. Over 2 days and 2 nights.
My husband glued the 4 cakes together with jam, then he trimmed the sides of the block to make them straight.
Unfortunately the sheer density and weight of the cakes compressed the whole block down, so in the end the dimensions were not exactly a square cube.
I was going to mention that he could just trim more off the sides to make the dimensions correct, but you know, I was MOUTH-ZIPPED-SHUT. Anyway, that would have thrown my decorating dimensions out.
He mixed the cake off-cuts with chocolate frosting and “cement rendered” the sides to make them nicely flat.
My husband is superb at handyman stuff like carpentry, tiling, brick laying, using grout, plastering, rendering… so is was very entertaining to watch him solve “baking” problems with “handyman” solutions.
On the other hand, I have very poor handyman building skills, but I make up for it with my wicked art, craft, design and cooking skillz yo (I like to think).
Suffice to say, we had a lot of hilarious banter going back and forth late at night.
For the decoration, I bought a 1L tub of premixed, ready to roll fondant ($24) in a pale green.
Prior to this, I had already tried and tested a tiling technique, where I would mix 5 different shades of green fondant, roll them out, cut them into squares, arrange them in a random pattern, then lay them on the cake like bathroom tiles. But that was sooooo fiddly, as the fondant was too soft to work with, so the squares were too wonky and the result looked awful.
After a lot of careful measurements, I rolled out the fondant and drew up a grid using a cutting knife.
I cut the edges off in a random cube pattern.
And cut a faint grid pattern over the top.
My husband frosted the cake with chocolate frosting, and I lay my fondant carefully over the top.
I was not particularly happy with the fondant. It was too soft and elastic for what I wanted. If I tried to add more icing sugar, it just got too crumbly and brittle. So I just had to go with it. The biggest problem was that the sheer weight of the fondant crushed down the sharp edges of the cake, so instead of the fondant folding neatly over the edge, it all just smooshed down in an unsightly sag. CRAPP!
I also wasn’t happy with the way my cuts in the fondant had stretched at the edges of the cake, leaving big gapping grooves. But whatever, it still looked ok.
I bought some green and yellow food colouring and mixed a palette of 5 shades of green.
And yes, I hand painted all the green squares!
When I was halfway through the painting, I looked up at the clock and saw that it was 11:57pm. I burst out laughing – I WAS NOW ONE OF THOSE CRAZY PARENTS, who stay up till midnight making birthday cakes for my children haha!!
The painting bit was quite easy. It only took me 30 minutes to do. And it was the fun part.
When it was completed, thought it looked great. I was really proud of our work. My husband was right about making it a cube shape. And yes, I told him so.
However, if I were to be really picky, I think the variations of the shades of green were too different, and I could have made them look a lot closer to the computer game. If I had more time!
Behold! This was the result!
We decorated the bottom with crumbled chocolate biscuits and broken kitkats.
It looked awesome! My children LOVED IT!
Everyone oooh and ahhhed over it.
And it tasted delicious too.
We had 12 boys at the party. We set up a huge bouncy castle and slide in our backyard, we turned on the sprinklers, set up a paddle pool at the bottom of the slide, we gave the boys water balloons to throw at each other. It was a great party!
However, 12 boys only ate ONE QUARTER of the cake! What were we going to do with the rest of it?!
Thankfully, my husband cut the remaining cake into huge slabs and gave them away to the parents who came to pick up their kids. Phew!
Minecraft Jelly Cups
In addition to the cake and a table full of party food, I also made Minecraft Jelly Cups – yes my own creation!
Instead of a plain old jelly cup, I put chocolate “dirt” under the green jelly and buried chocolate blocks in the dirt, so the person eating could kind of “mine” for their treat.
Anyway, I have always wanted to make CHOCOLATE BISCUIT DIRT… and this seemed like a good opportunity as any!
I whizzed up a packet of chocolate biscuits and chocolate Oreos in my food processor.
Then I threw in some chocolate chips and mixed away.
I filled up some jelly cups with my chocolate dirt.
I made 2 packets of lime green jelly. Popped it into the fridge over night. Then I cut them into rough cube shapes.
I worked out that if the jelly sat on the biscuit dirt base for too long, it would soften dirt and make it go soggy and slushy.
So I had to wait until I was just about to serve it, spoon all the jelly on top, decorate it with a mini flake chocolate, then serve.
The kids thought it was so cool to eat dirt and find bits of chocolate buried in the dirt.
So it was another success!
ANYWAY. The result of all this… is that my other big biggest boy turns 10 years old tomorrow. We are going to have a party for him and his friends in a few weeks time, and HE WANTS EXACTLY THE SAME MINECRAFT THEME FOR HIS PARTY.
Another Minecraft cake? For real? My husband and I looked at each other and shared an quiet chuckle. Because we both *actually* want to do it again, correct our mistakes, fine tune our technique, and do it better next time.
Bring it on :)
My little Liam turns 4 years old this week… and aaah just look at his cheeky grin and his beautiful bright eyes!
If I were to compare all three of my kids at the age of 4, Liam is by far the brightest, most eloquent, and most academically advanced. His teacher told me that he has the learning capability and focus of a 5 year old. He can read simple sentences, he can spell basic words using his knowledge of phonics, can count to 50 unassisted, and can do basic addition and subtraction. Yep, he’s a smart kid.
But what I’m more proud of… is that Liam loves to learn things. Academic things. He likes to talk about maths and spelling questions for fun.
He’s also very confident. He knows what he likes, and he prefers things to be a certain way. He’s particular and a bit precious.
When Liam is by himself – with just me or my husband – he is a wonderful little boy.
He is so warm, polite, sweet, considerate, and funny (really funny!). He’s fun to talk to and actually listens to what you are trying to teach him and he asks really good questions. He’s gorgeously affectionate (more so than his other brothers) and dishes out the sweetest comments and cuddles ever.
He is a *joy* to hang around with. Even my own mum and dad can’t contain their delight when he and I go to visit them, they are completely enamoured by him. His personality just seems to brighten up the room, and everyone’s lives :)
However, on the other hand…
When he is with his brothers…. Liam is really naughty.
He constantly seeks attention, he always ALWAYS teases and provokes his brothers, he’s really loud and shouty, he wants to be where the action is, he wants to be the centre of attention, he has very little regard for their things (or anyone’s things!), he smashes stuff up, he draws on furniture (and walls, carpet, bed sheets!), he terrorises everyone in the house :(
Every afternoon (after school from 3 – 5pm) if Liam is roaming around the house – bored, with nothing to do – my house turns into a war zone. Everyone ends up in tears, including me. No matter how hard I try to organise the afternoon, it always ends up as a disaster.
For example, one time I tried to get my oldest boy (who is very responsible and nurturing) and Liam to put together afternoon tea as a sort of teaching/learning activity… this gave my middle boy an opportunity to start his homework on the dining table. All they had to do was get some fruit, veges and simple biscuits on 3 plates with 3 cups of water.
I left the room for 5 minutes and in that time, Liam had slammed the cupboard door on his older brother’s fingers (on purpose, because he “didn’t like the way he was humming and wouldn’t shut up”) and then he got a cup of water for his other brother and poured it all over his homework and lap because he didn’t say thank you properly. The older boys were screaming with pain and anger. So I put Liam in his room, he screams at me and calls me a stupid idiot and he trashes his room, bangs on the door and and throws things at the glass window – shouting “I’m going to break this window and glass is going to go everywhere and it’s going to be all your fault MUM!”
And this is only 15 minutes after I pick the kids up from school and return home!! Can you imagine this happening EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?!?! The kids turns into a monster whenever he’s with his brothers – it’s crazy!
Let’s just say that – for a few weeks – I cried a lot.
HOW have I been managing it? Immediately after school, I have to stick Liam in front of the tv, or get him to play in his room by himself. He loves his tv shows, especially Playschool. And he loves playing by himself, especially when inspired by an old set of toys that I have hidden away and brought out on rotation. Or if he’s given an activity that he hasn’t done in a while. Basically, Liam is confined in a small, quiet space for 1 hour – for his own safety!
This has been happening for a few months now and it works for us. Phew.
I believe this bad behaviour is simply related to “being a 3 year old boy” and the surges of testosterone that young boys experience at different points in their lives. I recall my middle boy was also very naughty, tantrumy and very prone to throwing objects at doors…. and look at him now, he’s a a lovely and mild-mannered 8 year old boy. There is hope beyond BEING 3!
I’m sure of it!
And so here’s to a wonderful new year of BEING 4, my gorgeous little Liam!
The other day I walked into my 3 year old’s bedroom and I saw this peeking out from under his beside his bed:
A Chinese takeaway container, with a little DIY ecosystem. UH OH.
I gave myself a facepalm and wondered what poor creature my son had tortured this time.
Turns out that he caught a green caterpillar.
He gathered some vegetable leaves from the garden… he found a bit of wood for it to climb on, a bit of bark for a “caterpillar bed” and he also found some “caterpillar toys” (a rock and a gum nut) which I thought was very sweet of him.
When I inspected the container, I saw that the caterpillar had eaten 2 bok choy leaves and 1 small lettuce leaf.
How did the story go again?
However my son had sealed the container, it was a very hot day and the caterpillar looked really sluggish.
I thought that it had died and stuck itself on the lid.
I scolded my 3 year old and gave him a lecture about not capturing creatures in airtight containers, NOT keeping creatures in the house and certainly NOT keeping them under his bed.
I growled at him and said we will have to bury it in the garden tomorrow afternoon.
However the next day, I found the caterpillar like this!
Whoa it’s a chrysalis!
Sigh, so now I feel all OBLIGED to keep the darn thing and give him a lesson about life cycles or something.
And guess what? My son is really excited to see the butterfly, all brightly coloured and with a big smiley face, just like in the book.
But I suspect that this caterpillar is just going to be a grey moth.
And I also suspect that I’m going to “have” to release it back into the wild, where it will no doubt lay eggs on my bok choy. Cycle of life indeed!
Look what I caught my almost-4 year old boy writing the other day!
Liam wrote “SEAN IS A POO” but when he heard me coming, he quickly changed it to “POP”.
And when I questioned him, he was all –
“Did you know that being a POP is a good thing? Like. Being a bubble? A happy, floaty bubble?”
I maintained a disapproving look on my face, as I grabbed my camera and took a snap of his writing and his guilty face.
My mother always told me a story… about how her family was so poor that they couldn’t afford toys.
How she and her sisters would bundle up an old towel and pretend it was a baby. How sticks would become dolls. How they played with old tin cans, bits of rope and rocks.
She often tells that story with much fondness.
And that’s what came to mind when my 3 year old showed me this…
He made himself a paper iphone.
Yeah he had to MAKE ONE, because I refuse to buy my children ipods, iphones or ipads.
Haha aren’t I the meanest mum in the world? *cackles*
Anyway, this activity was picked up by my older two children. They began to “upgrade” Liam’s phone, by sticky taping other pages on top of the paper iphone to represent the different apps – games, maps, notes etc. In the end it even came with a stylus!
Ah it was so clever. And creative!
I was secretly so proud.
And I wondered if they would ever look back at this and have the same kind of nostalgic fondness.
We’re pretty serious about The Making of Christmas Cards in our house.
And by “we” I mean “me”.
Usually I think of the card concept (Watercolour stars? Christmas tree cut-outs? Paper snow flakes? Satin ribbon patterns?) and then I instruct the kids on what THEY can do to help ME make the cards.
This year, I gave the Art Direction responsibility to my 9 year old son.
His idea: Oil pastel Christmas illustrations drawn by a preschooler.
I told him it was a great idea and that he had my approval to make it happen.
Little did I know, my 9 year old used this as an excuse to become an oppressive creative dictator.
He stood over and harassed my 3 year old into drawing these illustrations. I’m not exactly sure of the extent of the oppression, but to his credit (and my 3yo), the pictures turned out fabulous!
(It did make me ponder over my own behaviour – surely I’m NOT THAT BAD when I’m instructing my children on our art projects haha!!)
Anyway, I scanned in the drawings, cleaned them up a little in photoshop, I turned them into back-and-front printable cards, then I printed them out… and this was the result!
I was so proud of my boys… I think!
Despite the rough couple of weeks we’ve had as a family, life has to go on.
So in the midst of all the funeral preparations… my 3.5 year old had his first Pre-Kindergarten Christmas Concert.
The event was held outdoors at the Kindergarten, in the playground, under the trees, in the late afternoon, just before sunset.
Ahhh it was so beautiful, with the pinkish sunlight caught in the trees, casting a golden glow over everyone, I couldn’t help but tear up.
The event was full of happy families sitting on rugs, lots of smiling children, big swaying trees… and the outdoor clearing was surrounded by playground equipment, a chicken coop, cockatoos, budgies and rabbits! It was really lovely.
The theme of the concert was an “Aussie Outback Christmas”.
Liam played the part of a swag man. He had a hat strung with corks and a checkered shirt. He was sooooo cute.
There were other kids dressed up as kangaroos, cockatoos, gumnut babies, jars of Vegemites, angels, and there was a Santa Claus in a hawaiian shirt driving a cardboard Holden Ute. They all sung various Christmas songs and they all had a lot of fun.
After the concert, Liam ran up to us to present us with a pillow that he made.
He painted a picture of himself and a cat! (We don’t have a cat, but he loves cats!)
We stayed for a shared picnic (everyone brought a plate of food to share), then sat on our picnic rug to enjoy some family time together.
The whole event was so homey, warm, accepting and loving.
There was such a lovely atmosphere in the air… that I just wanted to sit quietly, slowly soak up all the goodness into my bones… and to remember how precious life is.
These last few weeks, my irritation towards my children have reached a record high.
This is what I’m talking about.
My kids are now playing with toy guns.
It’s the latest craze to sweep over my boys… and it annoys the crap out of me!
I have these lofty ideals that kids can and should be exposed to a wide diversity of subjects like… arts, cultures, languages, music, history, cinematography…. and I want them to learn about insects and sea creatures, discover how clouds and volcanoes are formed, engage with puzzles, crosswords, and imagination games.
Yet here they are… running around like crazy wild animals, shooting foam bullets at each other! Bah!
And they are having fun! EXHILARATING fun! How dare they!
There used to be a time when I had control over what my children played with. I confiscated every gun, sword, stick and light sabre in the house – and righteously declared that this was a NO-WEAPON HOME.
In fact, there were no computer games, or electronic gaming devices, or anything that I considered to be “pointless, time wasting activities”. I was pretty strict and I remained pretty solid with my house rules. I stuck to my guns, you could say.
So after YEARS (like 8 years?) of being incredibly uptight and bad-tempered about what my boys chose to play with… it finally happened.
Sigh, I decided that I just have to CHILL THE HELL OUT about some things.
Now I just sit back and watch them run around in the park with their friends, shouting, shooting, jumping, rolling, commando crawling, hiding, crouching, sneaking, working in teams, attacking and defending bases.
I do a lot of sighing. And rolling of my eyes.
But I’m a much happier person this way.
And so are they!
Whenever I try to take a photo of my children, I say: SMI-ILE!
But what I get in return are horrible, teethy snarls you’d find at a dentist’s cavity inspection. And the sound effects too!!
I always end up shouting… “Smile normally! Close your mouth! Stop twisting your face like that! Can you spit that out? Don’t show so much of your gums! I said SMILE for god’s sake, not show me your tonsils.”
Then I sigh, put my camera away and wonder why I even bothered.
Please tell me it’s not just me.
Lately, Liam has perfected this super-cute crooked smile as his go-to smile (top left).
I love it. He looks like a teddy bear.
(And it matches my husband’s crooked smile.)
My little monkey is 3 years and 8 months.
As I write this, it is 8.30pm. Exactly one hour ago, Liam was running through the house in his underwear, stomping through the hallways, singing in this loud, crazy, high-pitched voice, and I was chasing him around, shouting “WILL YOU STOP MAKING THAT NOISE!!!!!”, waving his pajamas at him, and trying to get him to brush his teeth. He drives me CRAZY!! Every night, before bedtime.
It was so bad that I threatened to locked him outside with the spiders :P
He’s sleeping sweetly and quietly in the next room as I type this. I can hear him gently tossing around in bed. I’m looking at these pictures, wishing he was here so I can cuddle him. I’m tempted to sneak into his room, as I often do, and just watch him as he sleeps, because he is so beautiful.
(Same goes for my two other boys.)
And in the morning…
They will all drive me insane.
All over again.