So Something Exciting Happened Tonight…

 

I am currently looking after the two girls from next door tonight while my neighbour rushes her husband to the hospital, his war wound? He managed to drill a hole through his finger. My son rushed back from their house, the two girls in tow, told me the story and I let them in and trotted next door. After I barged in there and found him squeezing his finger with a tonne of blood soaked tissues while his wife was in the process of getting the whole tissue box I got down to business! I went and got their first aid box out from the top of their pantry, grabbed a bandage and began wrapping it tightly over the top of the tissues while she searched frantically for the car keys. Then they were off to emergency! But this got me thinking, why was I so quick in this situation, but I sucked when it came to my own son?

A few months ago my son got a tool box for his birthday, he absolutely adored it! One of the prized and treasured tools inside this precious tool box was a Stanley knife. One day he asked if he could use it to cut a huge piece of cardboard left over from a flat pack outdoor table. I said,

“Yes, but be careful. Cut away from yourself.”

Now before I go any further I want to tell you why (in my defence, not that is it a good one) I walked away from him while he was using it. My step dad had a Stanley knife and for years, from the age of 9, my brother and I used that rusty old thing for all sorts – carving our initials in trees, cutting back the plastic on the brake cables on our bikes, cutting ropes down to size while making our dangerous, structurally unsound cubbies, also cutting windows into our own large boxes. We were creative and unsupervised and you name it, we probably used it for that purpose, and we never cut ourselves with it, not once, not even a scratch. I assumed my son, who has always been quite handy with every tool he ever picked up, would be ok to use it.

So my son was outside cutting the box when after a couple of minutes I heard him yell,

“Muuuuuum, I cut myself!”

I ran out there not knowing what I was going to see. There were drops of blood on the cardboard and on the brick paving, and when I saw his arm and hand I saw a stream of blood, still dripping from his finger tips. I tried to get a good look at it but I was just so distracted and panicked by all the blood that was coming out and that horrendous feeling in my tummy and that creepy feeling the back of my legs under my bum. It looked bad, real bad because I couldn’t see the cut at all, the blood was coming out too fast. Luckily, my friend who is a carer knocked on my door at that moment, I urgently yelled out,

“I need a bit of help hun!!”

She rushed in, saw his arm and quickly tied it off with a clean tea towel. It stopped the bleeding. I then thanked her so, so much and rushed off to the nearest walk in clinic. The cut was only half a centimetre long, but it required a local anaesthetic and two stitches. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I had let him screw around with that Stanley knife! The guilt I felt was the worst I had ever felt in my life. And I deserved that horrible feeling.

Needless to say I have hidden that Stanley knife (in the bin which got picked up months ago) but it made me wonder and worry. I have had countless encounters with people who I have had to administer first aid to. My brother took every pill in the house one day so I had to keep him alert on the drive while rushing him to our nearest doctors clinic in the country, the longest five minute drive of my life, with all of the pill packets, for medical help and to wait for an ambulance. Another incident I recall was where a friend slashed her wrist in front of me. It was the same thing – first aid box, gauze, a bandage, and straight to the hospital. I was fast, clear headed, focused, yet I had a major brain fart and froze up when my OWN CHILD had much more of a minor cut by far! I was like a dear in the headlights and I was a fumbling mess! Why? I will probably never know. Maybe it was because he was my own flesh and blood. I can only speculate.

Tired Children With A Degree In Energy Assault And Word Weaponry

Yesterday we went to the beach and that was a lot of fun, but like any trip out like this it tires them out, yesterday was no exception! As you may well know a tired child is a grumpy, emotional wreck, they get riled up about lots of little things, this could be natures payback for when Mummy is tired 90% of the time.

So we had to step out again in the afternoon to get ingredients for dinner, upon arriving there Master 10 was complaining that he didn’t want to be there, can he stay in the car, his socks were itchy, he wanted to go home, he needed to go to the toilet, he had tears welling up in his eyes towards the end of the barrage of questions and complaints. Yep, he was tired, and it was the first clue that this was the start of a fun shopping trip.

We got inside the shopping centre and Master 2 decided he wanted to walk, but not with us. He kept running off to look at anything and everything so I gave him his warnings and on the third I picked him up and carried him the rest of the way. He spent that two minute walk to the supermarket kicking his legs and screaming.

When we got to the trolley bay I thought I would give him one more chance, I put him down and warned him that if he runs away that he would have to sit in the trolley. He responded with “Otay.” I then wrestled with the trolleys, trying to find one which doesn’t veer off in any direction but forward. I found a half suitable trolley and we all headed in. Again, Master 2 was running off and on his third warning I picked him up and told him he was going into the trolley for running away. I then proceeded to wrestle with him for another minute while trying to get him into the seat, legs spread, feet on the sides of the trolley, more screaming, I just desperately wanted his legs to go into the damn holes at the front!! Master 7 and 10 then grabbed a leg each and pulled them through. I held this wiggly screaming mess down as I fumbled with the safety strap and belted him in so he wouldn’t fall (or jump) out. I didn’t think it was possible for him to scream any louder than he already had been on the way there, but he certainly had some reserves left, and he used them all up over the next five minutes. Some strangers looked and laughed, others avoided looking in our direction. This display of crazy was the first I had encountered from this child, and I just had to keep walking so we could get our shit and go home!

Towards the end of the shopping trip Master 7 took off. I just turned around and he was gone! I told Master 10 to go and find him, he returned and said he looked in the lolly section but he wasn’t there, I told him to go look through all of the aisles. When they both returned I told Master 7 that he knew the rules, they can walk away but they have to stay in my aisle. He was now not allowed to get a lolly at the end of the shop today. He looked at me, his face read, tears in his eyes and yelled with a passion I hadn’t seen from him before, the words

“I HATE YOU!!”

I was taken aback! It must have looked like I got a slap in the face because that just blew my mind! This was the first time any of my children had ever said that, or anything even close, to me! I thought I still had at least four years to go before I would hear it and I was totally unprepared for it. I paused for a minute and said,

“You know you’re not supposed to run off so that’s your problem buddy! You know how it goes.”

As I ran down the last couple of aisles with that phrase running through my mind I thought back through the day. At the beach I spent all of my time watching Master 2, making sure this vulnerable little toddler didn’t get taken by the waves, and watching Master 10, making sure the little dare devil wasn’t taking any huge risks with the waves. Master 7 would just sit in one spot and wait, or he would run away from the big ones. And the whole shopping trip had been mostly all about Master 2’s tantrums and a little bit about Master 10’s emotional questions and complaints and I realised, almost all of my attention had been on the other two children, Mr Middle Child may as well have been invisible, I gathered he was acting out because he was tired and he wasn’t getting the attention he needed, a double whammy for him!!

When we got home I explained to him that saying “I hate you” is not a nice thing to say, especially to family, that I understand he was very tired and feeling left out but his words still hurt my feelings. He nodded, gave me a cuddle and said,

“I’m really sorry Mum, I wont do it again.”

So we ate dinner and I sent the children to bed early – Billy Badass included. Hopefully they get a good nights sleep, and I will continue to live by the mantra ‘Tomorrow is a new day’.

Being A Cleaner – All That Glitters Is Not Gold

As much as I would love to be a full time SAHM, unfortunately our finances wont permit it, so because I didn’t graduate high school, learn any new workforce skills, go to university or even take any short classes, and because I simply don’t have time to do any of those things at this time, I clean the homes of families who can afford my services a couple of times a week to tie up the loose ends.

I actually find cleaning another persons home very therapeutic, especially the first time I go to some ones house to clean. When I get there it is dusty, a little bit untidy and in desperate need of a refresher. The lady who needs her home cleaned often has other things planned for that day, probably for two reasons, the first being they simply don’t want to get in my way, the second being when they come back, their home smells and looks wonderful! When I leave everything is clean, shiny and spotless. I LOVE getting that “Thank you so much, every thing is PERFECT!” Text message or phone call and it inspires me to do more. I will clean inside your cupboards, I will scrub your grout, I will clean your window tracks. I will clean the crap out of your home!! And all because you appreciate the hard work I put into it, that alone makes the sweat which ran down my back and into my bum crack totally worth it!

The fact of the matter is, every now and then I will get a ‘boss lady’ type who seems nice on the initial meeting before the first clean, then when I get there to clean on the first day, I find the bitch switch is on and I think,

“This is not the shit I signed up for!”

One lady in particular comes to mind. She was a full time stock rep for  dental companies. She had two teenage children living at home, one who was drinking a beer when I got there one day and lied about her age when I asked how old she was. Turns out she was 14, and she came with a smart mouth. This home looked like it had already been cleaned when I got there, so there was no challenge, no satisfaction upon leaving her house, and definitely, no “Thank You” note upon my return, only more requests, which I filled diligently due to my perfectionist nature.

One day this woman told me I needed to do a better job on the cleaning, and I am usually very open to this, I like to do a good job and if there is something extra someone would like me to do on my visits I will try to get it done, time permitting. When I asked her if there was anything in particular she would like me to work on she huffed and said “Everything.” That was the day I knew I wasn’t going to do my very best, in fact, at that very moment, as I smiled my widest smile behind gritted teeth and said,

“I will make your house sparkle today Honey!”

I had a mental image of throwing glitter up into the air, in every room of the house, into every corner, onto every surface, onto every carpet and rug and stomping it in, into every wardrobe – but leaving the money on the bench, because I finally just achieved that good ‘satisfaction’ feeling, and that feeling was priceless. This sparkly herpes of the craft world (because once you have it you can’t get rid of it) was going to be the bane of her existence for years to come and as I hid in one of the darkest corners of my mind from this dickhead for a few seconds, I giggled, and then straightened my face and walked away with my cleaning bucket. Her home did not get a spit shine that day, it got a basic clean. But that moment in my mind, while watching with fascination as the sparkly glitter fell I thought,

“This must be what crazy feels like.”

It was a good place to be in that moment.

A couple of weeks later I found a lump in my boob which had to be removed, and while they were at it they would tuck in a bulging hernia on my belly button meaning I wouldn’t be allowed to clean for 6 weeks. She fired me because I told her I wouldn’t be coming in during that time despite her putting in her best effort to persuade me to come in anyway. I’m not usually relieved when someone no longer requires my services, but this time I was.

Since then I have had a couple of ladies be a tad disrespectful, meeting these kinds of people comes with the job, and I have let those clients go because at the end of the day I want to do a good job and assholes are not what I would call an inspiring bunch of people. It is liberating but it also creates a win-win situation for both my client and I. I do love my job, and it will stay that way.

Looking Like The Perfect parent

 

I am one of those artistic, creative mums who is disorganised and dishevelled 90% of the time. I don’t have any routines in place and I struggle to find a balance in the home between cleaning, sewing, working and spending time with the children. I do however, look longingly at the parents who look as though they can do it all. All their children are nicely dressed with pigtails, plats and spiked hair and the mums themselves look relaxed and in control, they seem to know all the right things to say, they cook elaborate meals for their family, they have a mortgage with nice things in their neat and tidy home, beautiful gardens, they work, they play and I have to say, looking at my mismatched pieces of furniture in my rental, my budget for my fortnightly pays which don’t go very far, my piles of ‘stuff to be sorted’, texta on the walls, being an uninspired cook in the kitchen, my children with fold lines on their shirts and brushed but unstyled hair, I’m a little jealous!

It makes me wonder why I am the way I am. I think the problem lies at my core, I’m not an especially patient person and while most people take comfort in them, I don’t like routines as I like to feel inspired before I tackle something, routines do not allow for that. It means I have to wait, and by the time I get around to it I don’t feel like doing it any more and it becomes ‘just another job’ on the to do list. It’s a feeling similar to that of being my own star in the Groundhog day movie. I think the next reason is probably because I’m a perfectionist, I like to go that extra mile to make my projects and duties special, they have to be just right but that means I put a lot of extra effort into the things I am doing, and this means extra time needs to be taken to achieve satisfaction.

In the grand scheme of things maybe being disorganised isn’t so bad, my children are happy, well mannered individuals with their own thoughts an opinions, I don’t pretend to be awesome at anything in particular, in fact I will have a laugh with my friends about how disorganised I am and I love this as these are true friendships which are hard to find. I am an open book. I love how the people in my life can take me as I am and still love me for all my ‘flaws’. I may not be rich money wise but my family and I are rich in spirit, and at the end of the day I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

 

The Magical (And Slightly Terrifying) World Of Toddler Shows

 

As I sit with my toddler and watch Yo Gabba Gabba, Teletubbies and The Night Garden with him I look at the characters and wonder…

“What the hell are those things?!”

As they dance around, teaching children about situations and how to handle them I realise I can’t even define them. Visually, they don’t represent an animal or a human in any way. Yes we had “Gumby” as a child but that show made no mistake, it was just plain abstract and weird, the soundtrack included. I grew up with Sesame Street where you could say,

“That’s a fairy, that’s a vampire, that’s a bird, that’s a woolly mammoth…”

So as I watch the fat teddies with human faces, the dolls which talk but their mouths don’t move, and the green monster with the extra long arms I look at them and wonder, are these weird looking things supposed to make small children comfortable about looking under their bed at night, and not worry about what may be lurking in their closet? Because honestly, if I saw something like that hanging around outside my window at night, or saw them in my room doing their thing, or if I came across one of them in a dark alley, I would without a shadow of a doubt… shit my pants.

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.