Raising Sons – A Mothers Fear

Being a mother of three boys has brought me a lot of joy. Boys seem to be more about getting out there, exploring and mastering their world on a physical level with a the kind of bold I have only seen in a couple of girls. They approach challenges and obstacles with a sense of confidence and resilience and are never too afraid to try it again, even with a broken arm in a cast! They are little warriors, carrying their blades inside their shirt on their backs, they are loyal soldiers fighting for their world against aliens from another world in their console games, they are their favourite Fast And Furious characters as they run their matchbox cars down a hand made ramp in the kitchen, they are champion gymnasts as they do their flips on the trampoline, they are good guys or bad guys as they play cops and robbers with their NERF guns, they are MMA fighters as they spar each other at their local martial arts centre. They put their all into what they are doing at the time, filling a role as they play. Boys are simply amazing. So why am I afraid for them?

We live in a world now where things are different from when I was a child. We all had that violent neighbourhood boy, that boy who’s parents had split and the parent they now lived with was never home or didn’t care. He would act out in the most horrendous ways. That boy who was never taught how to respect another person, that boy who was never taught any manners, that boy who didn’t know how to control his anger. That boy who was not taught self worth. That boy who at his core just wanted someone to give him love and boundaries at the same time, but never got it because he was that kid was “damaged goods” and so you weren’t allowed to play with him anymore. That boy who went to prison in his late teens because he stabbed someone at a pub. When I was young there weren’t many of those boys around, they lived out a lonely existence or only had one friend who was in the same situation, and when we came across them we were usually in a larger group, all we had to worry about was the strange adult in the car who might stop and entice us to come closer. These days, we have to worry about “that boy” because he is many, and they are absolutely everywhere, and they are hanging out in a group at a park near you.

My oldest son is 10 and by most definitions he is ready to start walking to school on his own, walk to his friends houses on his own and ride his bike to the park to play on the jumps, he is ready to meet his friends at different parks and houses. Yes, he can look both ways before crossing the road and knows not to talk to adults who approach him which is all we needed to be able to do to access freedom. We as a society are armed with information on how your child can protect themselves from “the white van man” but there is little information on how to stop your child from being harassed by a group of older teens, and that is probably because there is no way to do it. These boys are looking for a fight, and smaller kids are no exception.

I wonder what the world has in store for my boys when they can drive a car, when they can go to the pub or night clubs, when they can go to parties, it is the violence of this day which scares me. All I can do is teach them to walk away from a fight they don’t have to engage in, but arm them with skills in case they are cornered.

In the grand scheme of things I am looking forward to them beginning their life of fun and teenage shenanigans, that is what being a teen is all about! I made some fantastic memories as a teen and young adult, I want them to have that and I refuse to take that away from them. I am doing my best as a Mum to teach them to be street smart. My Husband grew up in the rough part of Birmingham so he is giving them some fantastic advice, I just worry about them going into a world which I don’t know much about anymore, and which no longer makes sense to me. There will be a time where I just have to sit back and watch as their life happens before my very eyes.

It wont matter if they are 10 or 40, my heart will always say “Be safe little ones, be safe.”

Go The *BLEEP* To Sleep!

Being the mother of three boys holds individual triumphs and challenges for each child. My oldest child is a social butterfly, he loves being around friends, it is the main thing which makes him really happy, but he doesn’t do well at school. I suspect he has ADD but trying to get him diagnosed in Australia is like trying to run through a maze while you are blind!

My Middle child is imaginative, creative and super intelligent, which makes him manipulative, god help anyone who gets in the way of what he wants when he goes after a dream when he is older! He had a speech delay up until the age of five which was very challenging, and it was really sad seeing him get frustrated when others couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell them. His speech is perfect now, in fact he makes up for lost time being the most chatty child in the family, asking endless questions which I often have to look up on Google to answer. While these are/were some pretty big challenges, there was one day in time which changed everything. While trying to make my youngest have a day time nap, he climbed over the top of his cot and ran out laughing, taunting us even. We were flabbergasted! How the hell did a one year old do that?! But it was also terrifying as it was such a long drop down so we immediately took the side rail off and turned his cot into a big boy bed, since then, nothing compares to what my youngest child has brought to the table! My youngest child JUST. DOESN’T. SLEEP.

So here is the hilarious part. My oldest two were quite happy to climb into bed at the same time every night with their teddy and bottle and fall asleep, it was pretty easy and I have to admit, I thought I was the shit, ready and willing to pass on my expertise to anyone in earshot who had trouble getting their kids to bed at night. I thought the trick was simply putting them to bed at exactly 7pm. My youngest, however, is different. He wont sleep during the day unless I drive him around for half an hour, and when I put him to bed at 8pm, the same as the other boys, he spends three to four hours getting up, coming out of his bedroom and running away when we try to catch him to put him back into bed. It is just so much fun for him! And to make matters worse, he is up at the crack of dawn, recharged and ready for action, and once again, I am running around after him, one eye open and the other half closed, bags and mascara under my eyes, hair all over the place, dragging my feet as I tell him not to climb on the coffee table, and not smash his cars against the wall of our rental, and not bang on the pots and pans this morning PLEASE!!

Now I have tried desperately, many things to implement bed time. I have tried setting up a routine – bath, book and bed, but it was a catch 22. If I read him 20 books before bed it wouldn’t be enough, but if I read one or two books to him he would spend the next few hours chasing me around with yet another book. I chose to read him two books for the routine, this went on for three months before I gave in and let him watch Teletubbies on my laptop at night. This worked for a little while, but he was soon up and about again, looking for trouble.

I tried the whole Super Nanny method for another three months, you know, the first time they get up, you tell them it’s time for bed, take them by their hand and lead them back to it, then after that you keep getting up and just taking them back to bed with no eye contact, no reaction and no words. No dice.

I have tried changing his diet to only natural foods. Absolutely nothing changed, if anything he got more cheeky and had more energy.

I have now just resigned to the fact that he is a night owl. His Daddy is a night owl who has trouble sleeping at night and is often up until 3am, sleeps until 8am and he is perfectly fine when he wakes up which is mind boggling to me, someone who needs at least 8 hours sleep at night, and if I don’t get it, I wake up feeling a little… stabby. He helps with him but he gets frustrated as he too wants time to himself at night. I know that feeling.

So how am I keeping my sanity? I just keep telling myself it will get better with time. He is only two years old, but he is smart. It brings to mind a saying, “The smarter they are, the harder they are to train.” With this in mind, all I can say is FANTASTIC. I can’t wait for toilet training. It is going to be AWESOME.

Spring Cleaning My kids Rooms – Oh The Humanity!

Every time I decide it’s time to spring clean my kids rooms I must have a plan in place, they must be out of the room and totally, 100% enthralled in something else. Why? Let me fill you in!

If you have ever tried to work with a child (hahaha) while planning to throw away all the broken crap they’ve hoarded over the years you will know that everything is precious. That Manny The Fix It Guy saw which has no batteries and doesn’t work even if you replace them… Precious. That scrap of paper with a few rainbows, stick figures and colourful scribbles on it… Awesome. That bunch of boxes that were glued together at school which was supposed to be a train but looks more like a badly designed cottage… Special. Even that cheap ass wind up figurine they got from Maccas from the Bee movie which has over time has lost all its arms and legs… Apparently that’s a keeper. It has been so long since they played with any of those things that even I don’t remember what is it, where the hell it came from or even that they had it in the first place, but they’ll throw it across their room in an attempt to find the toy they really want to play with and without even a second glimpse.

At the end of it all you come out of their room with sweat on your forehead, stains in your under arms on your shirt and just when you weren’t expecting it, adding insult to injury, another drop of sweat runs down into your butt crack. You’re haunted by mental images of all the broken, non-functional, non educational, pointless, useless toys they still have in there. You’re silently seething with secret plans to go in later to hunt down every last one of those fucking things and THROWING THEM AWAY! Or even easier, burning the house down! Insert crazy, maniacal laughter here.

So how do I make this job easier and less haunty? Put them in front of the babysitter – the Xbox, proceed to tip out every box of toys onto the ground in the middle of their room and then go on a keep, ditch, sort, and put away rampage!! I must then sneak the bin bag outside through the front door while they are distracted. When I have finished wiping down all the walls, bed frames, windows and window tracks and book cases, and I finish off with a good vacuum, then I go and get the kids. Luckily they love a fresh, clean, sterile room. Little do they know is that I have thrown out 50% of all their crap.

And that, my friends, is how I manage the spring clean in my kids rooms. It is so much easier. My children have a clean, easier to tidy and organise room and I still have my sanity at the end of it all.

Hello I’m Jenny Ghost!

I have decided to get started on a blog about my crazy family politics, according to statistics 80% of families are dysfunctional, we certainly fit into this bracket well.

So what is it about me that is so crazy and dysfunctional? I am a SAHM and I have had three boys,  I desperately wanted a girl in the mix but I didn’t have one and now it’s too expensive to feed any more people the way these boys are chomping down on anything not tied down in the fridge or pantry. So how do I cope with this? I make pretty girls things on my sewing machine. Blankets and burp cloths, if it’s pink, frilly, pretty, I will buy that fabric and turn it into something feminine, then sell it! Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, they are so much fun! I do, however, long for pink ponies, rainbows and butterflies in a bedroom instead of black, greasy finger prints from fixing the bike, I long for a little girl to apply my lipstick in a Ronald McDonald style before eating it and then smearing it on the wall, I long for a little girl to wear the pretty princess dress and then get mud on it, I long for a little girl to get glitter in my carpet which will never come out, oh damn it, I just would have loved some pink around here!

And what is this crazy family dynamics I have with other family members? I have a mother and a brother with Bi-Polar Disorder, and my step dad has had to adapt in an amazing way to cope with both of them who are already funny as hell with the things they do!

So this is just a couple of aspects of my crazy life! I hope I have enthralled you enough to subscribe!