Archive for Parenting & Pregnancy

 

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Suddenly I’m back at high school

25 June 2014

Highschool Feet

The other day, my husband and I attended an orientation for my eldest son to go to high school!!

Yup. My son turns 12 next year and he’ll be in Grade 7, the first year of junior high school.

Sigh, my baby boy is all grown up!

I sat there, in the meeting room, holding a sample student’s timetable, thinking – I remember this.

I remember excitedly pouring over my new high school timetable. Comparing it with my girlfriend’s timetable. Groaning that PE class was first thing on Monday morning. Cheering that I had art class on Friday afternoons. Such great memories!

I hope he has a great time in high school.

And I hope I don’t FREAK OUT too much!


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Hi Eleven

4 June 2014

My eldest boy turned 11.

We had a fun-filled water-fight birthday party in our backyard with 12 of his closest friends. There was a soapy bouncy castle, a pool, water guns, water pumps, water balloons, a hose, pizza and soft drinks. They had so much fun!
Callum Turns 11

It was great to see kids being kids, even though they all looked like teenagers and most were taller than me!

You know, I never imagined myself as a mother to teenagers. I always saw myself as a mum rolling out playdough shapes and making paper craft on the dinner table. But I never imagined me taking my kids to exams, standing around for hours to watch them play sport, or setting up their email accounts and teaching them about avatars and appropriate online behaviour.

This teenager thing seems to be creeping up on me rather quickly. It’ll be here in no time at all.

Most people assume that I’m filled with dread and I’m reeling in denial. They assume I’m completely freaked out – my kids are growing up so fast! I’m getting so old! I remember when he was just a baby! Time is moving so fast!

However, a bigger part of me is just over all of that. I’m past all the shock and trauma. Yes, yes, life moves fast. Stop whinging about it and enjoy the journey!

I guess for me, I’m glowing with excitement.

He’s going to high school next year! He’ll tackle new friendships, new social settings, need to work harder at his studies. He’s going to be challenged by responsibility, independence, decision making and self-discipline.

He’s doing very well so far. He’s maturing into a fine young man – and I’m so so proud of him.

Here’s to a great and exciting year ahead… for me AND my first born child!


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Offerings of Peace and Manipulation

23 May 2014

My 5 year old Liam has been going through some behavioural issues lately.

Meaning, he’s been soooo UNBELIEVABLY naughty!

Hubby and I use “time out” as our method of discipline. So Liam gets removed from the room, the activity, the meal, the snack, the computer, the TV, the toys, whatever… and he has to sit in his room to cool down, until he shows me that his behaviour has changed. He’s usually pretty good at changing his behaviour, correcting the problem and saying sorry. In fact sometimes he’s so good at it, that it borders on manipulation.

What does he do while he’s waiting to come out?

THIS.

Peace Offerings by Liam

It’s called EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL.

Can you see how his TEARS have smudged the texta lines in the second flower, and my hair?

He often draws the person who puts him into his room (ie: me) and he draws all my favourite objects, colours, love hearts, flowers, happy suns, and himself. Obviously, it’s a kind of love letter to me. But I’m sure he does this to make himself feel better and to prove that I still love him and he still loves me.

Peace Offerings by Liam

In fact he does *so* many of these drawings, that I am getting bored with them!

I now just throw away the identical and mediocre ones.

Is that bad of me? Can you believe it? I’m *this* close to being one of those mothers who say, “This love letter is not good enough! Draw me another one!”

Peace Offerings by Liam

Here you can see that his technique and penmanship is evolving. As is his access to a wider variety of drawing mediums. And his use of different fonts.

I receive about 2 or 3 of them a day. Depending on how naughty he is per day.

He just leaves them around for me to find. They get stuck on my fridge. Left on the kitchen counter. Slipped under my door. Put on my pillow. Stuffed into my shoe.

It’s adorable and all. But I actually have to force myself to ignore them… and focus on the “behavioural issue” first.

Or else he’ll think that he can be as naughty as he wants… all he has to do is draw a cute picture for me and I’ll let him off!

So when he comes to me with big, teary, dopey, sorry eyes, and he hands me the cutest and most thoughtful picture I have ever seen, drawn with my favourite colours and omg his tears… I have to force myself to give him a BLANK look and say something like, “Ok, let’s talk about your behaviour. Do you think it was a good idea to spit on your brother?!?”

It’s very difficult to NOT crack a smile.

Bitter. Sweet. Boiling temper. Melted heart. This parenting thing is so bloody tricky.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t see this blog entry and finds out how much I totally love his drawings. Or else I’ll have no chance with his behaviour!


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The Frotes vs. The Veshterbls

28 April 2014

My little 5 year old drew this the other day.

froteveshterbl

Yes it is insanely cute, on so many levels.

Firstly, the spelling. Oh my, it’s so wrong, but so… confident, creative and unaware. It makes me NOT want to correct him and NOT force him to spell like the rest of us boring adults.

Secondly, just look at the expressions on the little characters! The frazzled strawberry! The grumpy banana! The electrocuted carrot! The eye popping out of the tomato!

And thirdly, yep, noodles and sliced bread are veshterbls.


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Liam Turns 5!

15 April 2014

My little chicken turned 5 years old and we had a kind of mini festival for him – celebrating his birthday over a few weeks, with lots of different groups of family and friends.

Liam Turns 5

For all his best friends from school, we threw him a huge party in our backyard.

We put up a bouncy castle, we had snacks and lots of play time. My older boys organised and lead some simple games for the kids, like relays, egg and spoon races, “What’s the Time Mr Wolf” chasey games. I was so proud of them, it was a fun party!

I made a two tiered cake, which Liam requested to be in the theme of Disney’s Lightning McQueen. I totally stole the idea and design off the internet, so I get no points for originality!

Liam Turns 5

I made two chocolate cakes. The bottom tier was 18cms in diameter and the top tier was 10cms.

(Unfortunately – as I found out at the end – the cake recipe I used was much too dry, stogey and it just didn’t taste very nice. Boo! So I have to find myself a new chocolate cake recipe for next time, and make sure I do a bit more testing.)

Liam Turns 5

I bought some white fondant, which I dyed, rolled out and moulded to make a desert & sky scenery for the base.

The fondant was too soft for my liking. It kept sagging and my moulded figures wouldn’t hold their shape. I had to constantly keep moving the cake in and out of the fridge to keep the fondant in place. I have to find a good quality fondant next time. From a proper cake shop! And stop buying supermarket brands!

Liam Turns 5

I made a checkered flag design for the top tier. I made some stars from yellow fondant. I printed out a Disney Cars logo and super imposed my son’s name in the middle. I decorated the cake with Cars characters which made the whole cake looks so lively and happy.

The result was awesome! I was really happy with the end result and Liam just LOVED the cake!

Happy Birthday Liam, we loved making a fuss of you!


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To Stay In Luve

2 April 2014

My youngest son Liam turned five last week. As the baby in the family, he has gotten away with bad behavior for longer than anyone else. My fault, I have to admit… he is my LAST baby.

So, I have been going all “Tiger Mom meets Super Nanny” on him recently, to get him to stop his anti-social behavior. He is often sent to his room to ponder the error of his ways, and calm his red hair down.

Often, he emerges with a note he has written as a peace offering.

And this is my favorite one so far.

Scroll down to the bottom of the note, where I have translated it from Liam-speak into a human-readable form.

To Stay In Luve

“I need to remember not to kick, punch or hit my brothers. Especially, don’t say swear words. This will all help to maintain the love in our family.”

Well, he is getting the message, but obviously, I need to work with him on his spelling, letter formation, grammar an general neatness. Some lined paper wouldn’t hurt either.

Damn, I Luve that kid so much.


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This is how we row

21 March 2014

Kayaking at Moore River

I took this photo a few weeks ago. We were camping with friends in Guilderton, next to the Moore River.

We were kayaking, swimming, sand boarding, and building sand castles with friends… all day!

I took Liam out for a paddle and we sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” at the top of our lungs, to the other side of the river and back.

I just love this photo. I’m so thankful that I made the effort to reach into my bag to grab my camera and made us pose in the glaring sun.

Liam and I look so happy, so content, so utterly delighted to be alive.

Would you believe that today – 21 March – Liam turns 5 year old?

Happy birthday little buddy! We’ll be celebrating your birthday with a party next week!

(For those who have been following my blog for the last 5 years, join me for a trip down memory lane!)


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The Making of The Candy Cane Coffin

20 December 2013

It seems like my life as a parent has inadvertently turned into my life as an amateur costume designer.

Like the time I had to build a Lego man’s head for my son. Or when I helped my kids make zombie costumes for Halloween. And my most recent task of sewing up a sexy nurse costume (for myself) in 45 minutes.

Well, for my next adventure… I had to help my 10 year old son make a candy cane costume for his end-of-year school play!

Candy Cane Craft

He drew up some ideas, which were fantastic.

I helped him through some factors that we had to take into consideration. For example, we had to make sure it wasn’t too top-heavy, that he could wear it comfortably for 10 minutes, that he could run in it, that he could breathe in it, that it would stay rigid and upright etc.

Candy Cane Craft

I don’t know about you, but 10 year old boys with cutting tools make me nervous.

I showed him how to use a cutting knife, how to be safe with it, and how NOT to cut with it… then I sat back to let him work out the rest.

I believe in letting kids just get on with the task on hand, without hovering over them like pain in the ass.

I held my breath throughout his cutting process and almost passed out from the stress. Can you say JITTERY and JUMPY?!?

Candy Cane Craft

But… look at our two beautiful and identical J pieces!

Candy Cane Craft

Then I taught him how to use a hot glue gun.

Guns and glue. There were so many ways this could go wrong.

Candy Cane Craft

But again I sat back.

And I watched him glue his fingers together. Of course!

Candy Cane Craft

We moulded the sides and glued everything together.

As it took shape, I was a little horrified that our candy cane looked like a strange coffin.

Candy Cane Craft

I cut up a canvas shopping bag and stuck the handles on the inside to act as shoulder straps.

We cut arm holes and lastly a face hole.

Oh gosh, I was so proud of our creation. Even though it looked like… a coffin.

candy Cane

But, once it was painted, it looked a lot less like a coffin, thankfully.

The kid’s play was a Christmas adaptation of “The Gingerbread Man”, where my son had to run around in costume shouting “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me I’m the CANDY CANE MAN!!”

Oh boy, I had a strange mixture of pride and embarrassment as I watched him on stage.

In my primary school days, I was so shy and awkward that I would have been paralysed by embarrassment and UTTERLY MORTIFIED if my parents made me a candy cane costume and I had to be on stage, wearing it in front of people!!

But my son seemed to have NO problems with being on stage, wearing an oversized candy cane, being like a hyperactive confectionery, and speaking in a false, high pitched voice. I guess the difference is that it was all HIS idea…

So I guess I’m very pleased and proud that I have such a cool kid.


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Nothing Gets Me Going Like…

20 November 2013

Liam had his very first Disco Event. It was held after school, in the primary school hall, and it went from 4-6pm.

For weeks, he was so excited!

However, because the kid was only 4 years old, he didn’t know what a DISCO was.

Never fear my son! Mummy shall teach you all the truly important DISCO DANCE MOVES!

We practiced the classics – The Saturday Night Fever hustle! The funky chicken dance! The bus stop! The moonwalk! The twist! The swim! The mash potato! The robot!

And my personal favourite – because I am a child of the 80s and 90s – The Running Man. Oh yeah baby!

(Come on, tell me you don’t want to stand up right now and try it out, just for old time’s sake?)

Liam's Disco 2013

Anyway, when the big night of the disco finally arrived… we stepped into the big hall and he saw the kids running wild and jumping around to the loud music… he simply said, “This isn’t a disco. This sucks!”

He was so unhappy and grouchy.

He spent a whole hour clinging to my leg, drawing circles on my skirt, growling and demanding that we go home.

Liam's Disco 2013

Bah, all the other kids were having a fabulous time.

The TRAIN!

The Wriggly Jellyfish Dance!

Oooh I so wanted to get down there on the floor and boogie with them.

Liam's Disco 2013

Eventually, Liam cheered up.

Gangnam Style came on, and he dashed to the middle and did his thing.

Meh. I don’t know if Gangnam Style constitutes as a “truly important” disco dance move :P

Do you remember The Running Man?

What about the MC Hammer move? The Worm? The Macarena? The Locomotion? Bananarama Venus?

What’s YOUR best move? What’s YOUR legendary disco dance? I’m having a discussion over at my Facebook Page, join me over there!


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Mum, We’ve Lost The Plastic Poo

24 October 2013

Trashed Car

This is the backseat of my car, after I took my children to the Perth Royal Show.

The kids bought a few showbags with their pocket money and they received a lot of free goodies too.

Somewhere in there, I was guaranteed to find – two sticky eye balls, some fake vomit, plastic ants, a toy toilet and one lump of plastic poo. How lovely.

Oh ho ho. My kids bought a disgusting joke set and were enjoying the sheer pleasure of upsetting their mother.

When I saw this explosion, I laughed out loud.

It surprised me. I thought I would have groaned with despair. Or screamed with irritation.

But nope.

I was completely amused and somehow I was – strangely – happy.

It was like stumbling across the happiness of Christmas morning. Minus the fake poo.

It seemed to capture the essence of a child’s experience of a carnival. Buzzing with stories, delight, exhaustion and bliss.

People don’t say this much these days… but I think we had the best school holidays yet.


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Va-va-voom

17 October 2013

So I recently bought a little electric shaver thingy, for ladies.

It’s not very exciting. It’s just a delicate trimmer for sensitive areas like your eyebrows, legs, armpits, bikini line or any kind of face or body hair.

For when you need a trim, like NOW.

Stickers

But it came with all this extra crap, like washable cutting heads in 2 different sizes, a precision cutter, a brush, a protective cap, a little drawstring bag… I was quite annoyed with the unnecessary “accessories” … and these stickers! WTF is going on with these stickers??

I was so innocent (and stupid) that I thought – Why on earth did they include stickers, OBVIOUSLY FOR LITTLE GIRLS, in a shaving pack obviously for women with body hair issues??

I was going to toss them into the bin, but I thought my son would like them instead (he loves stickers).

So I gave them to my 4 year old and he loved them… and stuck them all over his door.

That night I put him to bed, and I walked passed his door.

I thought, What an odd selection of sticker shapes… A heart? A crown? Lips? A keyhole? A pussycat? – OH.  HANG ON A MINUTE.  SHIT! I gave my son pubic hair shaving stickers!! OMG! OMG!

The next morning, I had to convince my 4 year old that he can’t have the stickers on his door anymore.

I tried to put together a compelling case, without you know, using the words ‘Pubic Hair’ -

1) Because they are actually rubbish and rubbish needs to be in the bin.
2) Because they are pink and pink things are for girls.
3) Because they actually belonged to someone else and I have to give it back to them?
4) Because if your friends come over they will laugh at you, because you know, the stickers are pink. And like, you’re a boy?

But they all sounded like “stupid parent lies” and I knew he would not accept such statements, he’d become angry, rebellious and he’d refuse to give them up. And worse, he’d cause such a commotion that my older children will want to know what they are. Then I’ll really have some explaining to do. Good grief.

So I decided to tell this lie instead, which I knew he would accept -

5) Because the stickers were actually mine. I’ve changed my mind. I liked them so much that I want them on MY bathroom mirror where I can see them everyday and enjoy them!

Straight to the heart! What a lie!

My brilliant parental wit has saved the day!

SO NOW I HAVE PUBIC HAIR SHAVING STICKERS ON MY BATHROOM MIRROR PEOPLE!!!

OMG!!!!


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Raising An Army of Slaves

7 October 2013

(Ok so I’m totally boasting here.)

What I love about having children aged 8 and 10… is that they are now capable of doing significant jobs around the house.

And you know how I’m trying to bring up solid, reliable, well-grounded, capable gentlemen?

Well my boys can do things like vacuuming! Washing dishes! Cooking dinner! Cleaning windows! Cleaning toilets! Pulling weeds! Like – ALL OF IT – in one day! Young boys have so much energy! I just have to keep shovelling food into their mouths!

Triple Choc Brownie

The other morning was the start of the school holidays. It was 8am and I set my boys to work.

By 10am, my sons had washed the dishes, vacuumed the whole house, cleaned the toilets and made triple chocolate brownies for morning tea.

OMG people. Go get yourselves knocked up right now. You too can breed an army of mini slaves. The benefits are OUT OF THIS WORLD!

I love my boys!! I am one happy mother!!


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Going Bush

27 September 2013

This weekend, we’re going camping.

And I mean CAMPING camping.

We’re going with some friends, and we’re driving 4 hours out of the city to a “place” between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

It’s not a caravan park. It’s not an official campsite. It’s just a “little spot on the map” in the middle of the bush.

There’s no electricity, no running water, no showers, no toilets.

Just bush.

Lots of beautiful, Australian bush.

Australian Bush Sky

I told my 4 year old, “YAY we are going on a little holiday!”

And because we holidayed in Singapore a few months ago, he replied, “Oh cool! Is there going to be a swimming pool and buffet breakfast again?”

Uh. No.

It will be a very interesting trip indeed!


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Secrets of the Afterlife

26 September 2013

Last weekend, it was a wet, cold, rainy weekend. The kind where you wake up in the morning and think – Oh god, how am I going to entertain these kids today?!?!

Well, that morning, a crazy part of me thought – Oh why don’t we go to the WA Museum today?! That’s indoors. I have been meaning to catch the most recent exhibition about Ancient Egypt.

So I bundled my three kids into the car and off we went.

What was I thinking?!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

The exhibition was called, The Secrets of the Afterlife, in collaboration with the British Museum. I say “was” because this day turned out to be THE LAST day of the exhibition. I was lucky to see it!

It was a journey into the ancient Egyptian world of magic, mummies and mystery.

The artifacts were AMAZING!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

The preservation of the materials. The ritualistic decoration. The intricate beading. The craftsmanship. It was jaw-dropping.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

This is the surface of one coffin. The paintings were so detailed, clear, precise, and vibrant. I was in design heaven.

If you consider that most of these items are dated back to 1500 BC… that’s over 3000 years old!

It was completely mind boggling. And I was filled with spine-tingling awe.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

Then came the jewellery and I almost lost it. I was so excited.

The lizards symbolised the renewal of life (based on the creature’s ability to re-grow new limbs or tail). The beads on the left necklace are shaped as poppy seed heads.

These pieces are over 2000 years old. Made from gold, carnelian gemstone, glass. Gaah how beautiful!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

On the right is a heart-scarab amulet, with spells from The Book of the Dead inscribed at the base.

On the right are a collection of make-up containers. The tube-like containers are kohl eye paint holder, and the little semi-circle box is for storing cosmetics. How beautiful!

These items are dated between 1500 – 1069 BC.

Yup, so all this was very lovely, but what REALLY happened during the outing?

I wish I could say that I had a wonderful experience soaking up and appreciating history and the creativity of our ancient ancestors… but in reality, I had to RACE through the exhibition. I only had 2 seconds to look each item. I literally just stopped at each piece, went WOW, took a photo of it, took a photo of the information plate, then rushed on to the next piece. Literally. It was shameful.

Why?

Because my 4 year old was shouting things like “If these are the mummies, WHERE ARE THE DADDIES?? BWAHAHAHA!!!” over and over again.

He was knocking things over. Jumping around. Falling to the ground. Banging on the glass. Banging into other people. Shouting really loud. Licking the glass. Putting his hands over the information panels when people were trying to read them. Ripping up the brochures and sprinkling the paper all over the floor.

He was holding my hand, but jumping and pulling in all directions, so I was jerking around, and being pulled to the ground at random times. I was constantly scolding him, warning him, punishing him, and of course, trying to engage him in the exhibition to no avail.

Ooooh it was hard work. I was pretty pissed off that I couldn’t enjoy the exhibition, but really, it was my own fault! Why did I do this to myself? I was swearing inside. And shaking my head at the whole BITTERSWEET EXISTENCE OF PARENTHOOD! I was close to tears.

That is…

Until right at the end… we reached the last little nook.

I wanted to take a photo of the last exhibition piece… so I asked my kids to wait against a wall. It was actually a wall with a connected partition that created a 20cm gap. My 4 year old giggled naughtily, “Tee hee, I’m going to squeeze through this gap and I’ll see you on the other side mum!!”

(I thought what he said was quite witty and profound, since this was an exhibition about the afterlife…)

I bent down to him and said very sternly, “DO NOT put your head through that gap. You are NOT to squeeze through to the other side, do you understand?!”

He said yes.

I turned away. I was about to snap my photo, when I heard him say, “Er, help!”.

Oh god no.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

Yep. He put his head between the wall partition.

My son got his head stuck in the wall!

HIS HEAD!! STUCK IN THE FREAKING WALL!!

And yes. Since I had a camera in my hand, I took a photo of him.

Oooooooh, dear internet. Do forgive me, because I could not stop myself from laughing. I had to press my lips together and bend my head into my chest to hide my smile. It was a serious and dangerous situation for my child, yet I giggle uncontrollably. I had pangs of guilt but oh my, it was sooooooo funny.

He was saying things like, “Um, mum. I think my head is stuck. Can you help me?”

Sigh. Ok.

I put my camera away. And began to think. How to get my son’s head out?

I held his head and tried to pull him out gently. Nope, stuck.

I pressed his ears tightly against his head, then pulled. Nope. Hmm, definitely stuck.

I smooshed his temple/cheeks/face/ears together in my hands (oh god I was trying not to laugh!) and pulled a little harder… then he started to scream in pain! Good grief, now everyone was looking at us.

I asked my other boys to find an attendant for help. Maybe they could move the wall partition?

But my boys started to have an argument about WHO was going to do the asking. They were going back and forth with their bickering, while my little one cried louder and louder. I turned to them and growled, “WILL YOU STOP ARGUING!! I NEED SOME HELP AND I NEED YOU TO GO FIND SOMEONE WITH A BADGE!!”

In that moment, Liam seemed to have twisted and turned, and -POP- out came his head. He was free.

Thank goodness!!

I certainly calmed down after that. And I wasn’t so grumpy any more.

I smiled knowing that I had great photos of the exhibition (and my son with his head stuck in a wall). And that I could soak up the creativity of our ancient ancestors (and my son)… forever.


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It Also Cooks Peabrains!

19 September 2013

One day I was having a casual conversation with my 8 year old son… when he said something like…

“Well our microwave is so advanced that it can cook: rice, pasta, chicken, beef, soup, vegetables, children…”

“Say what?”

“Children. Our microwave knows how to cook children.”

“Dude. It doesn’t.”

“Ye-es. It even SAYS SO!”

So he takes me over to the microwave. He presses a few buttons and LOOK AT THAT MUM BOOYAH YOU’RE WRONG AND I’M RIGHT!!!

Microwavable Child

Turns out he just activated the CHILD LOCK.

I kept a very straight face. But inside, omg I was rolling around with laughter!!

Ironically…

A few days later, I wanted to take a photo of the “CHILD” message on the microwave … so I could write this blog post.

I tried everything, and I just COULD NOT activate the child lock. So in the end I had to call him over and sheepishly ask him to activate it!

(Hmm, is that irony? Or just good design? Or perhaps bad design?)


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Mop Head

18 September 2013

Liam Cake Pop, Sept 2013

This is Liam, at the shopping centre, about to get a haircut and showing off his SIT STILL bribe.

I prefer his hair length to be a little longer (than my other boys), and I have been trying to convince him to use a bit of gel or mousse to style it up. Ah he would look sooo cute with spiky hair! But he completely refuses to have his hair styled… and so it just looks messy and unkempt.

So we decided to just buzz-cut it all off!

Oh well. Hair grows back.


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You can lead a horse to water

4 September 2013

**I have to warn you about this post. It’s a bit long, detailed and emotional, but I really wanted to capture a snippet of all the mind-numbing crap that parents have to go through every single day!

One morning, my husband took ONE of our children out to play football, then for a trip to the hardware store, then to hang out at a café… basically, they enjoyed some rare one-on-one time together.

I was left at home with the other two kids – which is usually excellent. A change in dynamics is always good for everyone.

However, this day, there was a mountain of laundry and chores that needed to be done at home, toilets to be cleaned, floors to be vacuumed… and frankly I couldn’t be assed.

It was such a gorgeous day outside!

South Perth

I decided to go for a spontaneous outing and take my two kids to the river. I was excited!

My idea was to take scooters for my boys, so they could scoot along on the long, smooth path, while I ran alongside them. I was so proud of my decision. They get to do something outdoorsy and energetic and yes I get to run! I’m always happy when I exercise!

Then I would buy myself a takeaway coffee, and ice cream and cookies for the kids. And we’ll hang around the large playground and sand pit. The boys thought it was a great idea too.

Perfect, easy morning right?

BUT. As we arrived at the river, my big boy developed a really shitty attitude.

He was grumpy, irritable and aggressive towards his little brother. He was having a kind of passive-aggressive tantrum… and he was saying random, crabby things and not making any sense.

I was very gentle and reasonable with him, at first. Asking what’s wrong, how does he feel and why, talking about ways he can make himself feel better, maybe he needs to sit alone for a few minutes to calm down before his feelings come out in the wrong way? I suggested that he take a walk to the edge of the river by himself, look at the water and then come back, while I took the scooters out of the car.

He did not want to be at the river. He wanted to be at home playing computer games.

I lightly reminded him that we were supposed to be washing toilets at home, so JUST CHEER THE F**K UP.

(Ok I didn’t actually say that to him.)

He immediately got into a hitting fight with his little brother, pushing him out of the way, grabbing a hat and throwing it into his brother’s face, who then got poked in the eye.

Trouble Number 1.

So I had to deal with a tantruming boy (with a big long lecture and a time out) and a crying boy (with a cuddle).

South Perth

My little boy (Liam) quickly settled down, and had NO PROBLEM being cheerful again.

While my older boy moaned unpleasantly on the grass (because he was in time out), my little boy and I spelt our names out with body poses (see the L, I, A and M in the pics?) and rolled around laughing. He was so cute and funny and so UNCOMPLICATED. I guess it just comes with that age. He was just happy to hang out, chat about birds, look at simple stuff and just enjoy being alive.

Trouble Number 2.

My older boy started to shout out nasty insults and negative comments towards us about our letter spelling. I had to scold him again and gave him another warning that there would be consequences for any more unacceptable behaviour.

I figured that his mood might change once we started to burn some energy. So we started our walk and my little boy scooted off happily.

But my big boy was being very uncooperative again.

Trouble 3 and 4.

He decided that he didn’t want to be on the scooter. He wanted to walk. So he started to drag his scooter angrily across the path. It ruins the metal finish of the scooter and makes it susceptible to rust. I firmly pointed out to him NOT to drag his scooter. If he didn’t want to ride his scooter, he can put it back into the car himself. I gave him the car keys, with instructions to put it carefully into the boot of the car, then to come back to where we were standing. He refused to do that and threw my car keys into the grass.

I made him pick it up and give it to me. Which he did. I was near boiling point. I very calmly told him that he was displaying poor behaviour AGAIN, and now he was not going to have any screen time for 3 days. I gave him suggestions on how to make things better from this point on, and another warning for even more consequences if he didn’t change his behaviour.

I also reminded him that I had promised everyone ice cream and cookies, and he didn’t actually have to DO ANYTHING to earn it – EXCEPT TO BE FREAKING HAPPY!!

He calmed down a bit, but he was still in a bad-temper.

I decided to give him yet another chance.

(I was PRETTY PISSED OFF, but I just wanted to get some freaking exercise!)

It took all of my willpower to decide that *I* would scoot on *his* scooter, and he could walk. I kind of made a deal – I’ll do this for you, only if you’re going to cheer up.

After internalising it for a few minutes, he agreed.

I reached out to take the scooter from him, but he didn’t pass the scooter to me nicely. He suddenly tossed it to the ground *just* before it was near my hand. Then he ran off after his little brother, pushed his little brother roughly off his scooter onto the ground and decided that he wanted to ride the LITTLE SCOOTER NOW. WHAT THE HELL??

Trouble 5, 6 and 7!

OMG I totally lost it!

I shouted at him from across the park (yes like one of THOSE mothers!) I huffed over to him, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him off the path, into the middle of the grassy field (so no one had to listen to me yell at my kid!).

It went along the lines of “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! DIDN’T YOU LISTEN TO A WORD I WAS SAYING?? DO YOU THINK THAT PUSHING YOUR BROTHER ONTO THE GROUND WAS A GOOD THING TO DO?? WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DID THAT?!? I GAVE YOU SO MANY CHANCES TO CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOUR!!! I’VE BEEN TRYING TO BE PATIENT WITH YOU ALL MORNING AND HELPING YOU MAKE THINGS RIGHT AND YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME AND NOW I’M SHOUTING AND SCREAMING AT YOU BECAUSE I’M SO FRUSTRATED WITH YOU!!!“

And yep. I swore at him. I really wanted to wrap the scooter around his head. Instead I listed out a zillion punishments for him to enjoy over the next week.

Seriously what was up with this kid?!

I had absolutely no idea what to do now. I was FURIOUS!!

If I was at home, I would confine him to his room for the rest of the day so I didn’t have to look at him or talk to him!

But I SOOOOOO DID NOT WANT GO HOME. Because that’s what HE WANTED. WHICH MEANS HE WON RIGHT?? He gets what HE wants by behaving like a shit head to me?? NO DEAL!!

Grrrrrrrrr. The anger!

I could feel the grey hairs of stress and anxiety popping out of my skull.

Blood booooooiling in my veins. Fingernails growing into pointy claws.

AAARGH! I could not believe that we had only been out of the house for 45 minutes!

And here we were. Standing in this beautiful grassy field, over-looking the sparkling river, with the sun was blazing down on us… I was dying for a run, dying to have a good time, dying for the kids to just be happy… and I was very aware that my whole day could be totally ruined by this!

SIIIIIIIGH.

After a whole lot of deep breathing and counting to 10. I cooled down a bit thought of a way to salvage this.

I decided to skip the whole scooter and run, and head to the café to buy myself a coffee and my little boy a cookie. My big boy would just miss out. HE CAN WATCH US ENJOY OUR TREAT HA!

South Perth

Coffee and treats in hand, we gingerly sat on the edge of the river, and watched the waves roll in.

Look at that. My little boy is dancing around in the water being happy as a puppy dog, while my big boy sulks and refuses to “have fun”.

The waves calmed me down. I felt like a mad, feral monster with wild crazy hair, warts and fangs… slowly turning back into a human being.

South Perth

My little boy – bless his 4 year old heart – found a HEART SHAPED rock for me. He even washed the sand of it and told me it was “to make me happy again”. Gosh what a sweetie.

I teared a little because I was so touched by his little gesture. Kids aren’t that bad after all.

He and I went for a walk on the jetty and took photos of sea gulls, jelly fish and we even took silly pictures of ourselves. I warmed up and I dare say that I managed to find my happy spark again.

South Perth

Ha look at that! I actually look quite happy!

My big boy calmed down a lot. But he remained very sheepish and quiet. He probably realised how much trouble he was in. I felt a bit sorry for him. I had laid on the punishments real thick.

So as my little gesture to him, I broke off a piece of my cookie and handed it to him, saying, “You drive me crazy, but I still love you ok?”

And just like that he snapped back into his usual happy, easy-going self again. And the two boys played happily – joking and laughing – in the sand and water for an hour.

WHAT THE HELL was all that about??? Why are kids so psycho???

One day I know I’ll look back and laugh.

One day I’ll be surrounded by my boys, their wives, my grandchildren, we’ll be laughing over Christmas dinner, enjoying a simple meal, and glowing in each other’s company.

(At least, that’s the plan that keeps me sane!)


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No Flash!

26 August 2013

After going to visit the S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore, I sat down with my 4 year old to help him fill in his travel journal.

We lay on our tummies on the hotel room floor, facing each other with his book between us, and started to draw things we saw.

Aquarium Drawing by Liam

First, I drew a jellyfish and he drew a shark.

(The next time you write the word SHARK, you too must decorate the letters with teeth!)

Aquarium Drawing by Liam

Then I drew a dolphin and he drew a clam.

Aquarium Drawing by Liam

Then yeah, my son drew a NO FLASH sign.

Obviously he was very struck by them at the jellyfish tanks?

How funny!

Oh the things that kids remember!


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One of These Things is Not Like The Other

7 August 2013

One of these things...

So.

While on holiday.

When you’re stuck on a tour bus… which is stuck in a traffic jam…

When you gotta go. YOU GOTTA GO.

In situations like these, I thank god I have boy-children.


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My Little Chicken

6 August 2013

Do you have pet names for your kids?

Liam July 2013

For my 4 year old, I call him my Little Chicken.

And when I do, he responds with a “Bok bok!”

Haha it’s so cute.

Liam at 8 months

The name came about when he was about 8 months old. About the time when this photo was taken.

He used to sit in this funny (and brooding) kind of way.

Ok he didn’t look so much like a LIVING chicken… but more like an upright RAW chicken?! But with a big head?!

Anyway, the name stuck.

(My 10 year old and 8 would kill me if I shared their “official” pet names on my blog. So I might just have to save them for their 21st birthdays.)