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.

The Sensitive Ones

If you read my last blog you will remember I babysat two girls for a friend for 12 hours while she was at work, one of the girls, although I don’t like to play favourites, I have a real soft spot for because she just seems so vulnerable.

This little girl, Miss 8, with the wild curly hair, the pleading eyes and the warm, compassionate, cuddly, sensitive but also boisterous nature reminds me very much of Master 7.

Her sister, Miss 10, has Asperger’s Syndrome, and she needs a lot of medical treatment and physiotherapy as when she got sick with the flu a year and a half ago something horrific happened. All of her muscles wasted away so she needs a lot of help balancing and doing every day things inside and outside of the home, her parents also spend extra time working with her at home to help her to regain her strength so that when she is older she is independent, this time needs to be spent with her now, and she is making great strides in her progress thanks to her parents dedication. This wouldn’t leave a lot of personal time for Miss 8, and while her parents do their very best to make sure she gets included and has some personal time spent with just her and one other parent as often as they can, she simply cannot be their number one priority at the moment. An adult can understand this, but to an 8 year old this would be confusing.

I can’t help but take her under my wing, and she has really taken to me too. She spent most of the day with me yesterday, while I cleaned and looked after the other kids. She is also an animal lover so she absolutely loved helping me tip out the bowl with the tadpoles inside and giving them fresh water. I really enjoyed her company.

She did struggle with the other children yesterday, because Master 7 is not into any girl things and doesn’t like to get wet under the sprinklers, and because Miss 10 is Master 10s girlfriend and they were spending most of their time chatting on the trampoline she really took it to heart that no one was spending time with her, I consider this a symptom of her day to day life.

Before she left she said she had a really good day with me and asked if I could look after them all of the time. I had to explain to her that I could only do it once in a while because I work, but I would take them as often as I possibly can. I just hope I helped to make her day a good one and that she felt like she got a personal day with another caring adult.

Drawing The Battle Lines – Boys And Girls

I agreed to look after my friends two girls today while she was at work and having them around changes tho whole dynamic! Master 10 is walking around being all surly and bossy. Master 7 is having trouble co-operating, he is frustrated as he likes rules, he has a lot of them and girls like to challenge them by asking a lot of questions and Master 2 is loving the water fights outside and being adored by the girls! He’s just going with the flow. There has had to be quite a bit of adjustment on both sides as they all try to figure out how they all tick together.

I am noticing that with the girls that they have a lot of temper tantrums. Miss 8 flies into a rage, cries and runs away, and Miss 10 stands there with her arms crossed and passively aggressively talks to “herself” about how and why the situation sucks. A far cry from my boys who get into a punch up which I have to break up and sending them into different rooms to cool off, then they’re friends again after saying sorry to one another. Girls seem to seethe and harbour for a lot longer.

Honestly I have idea how to mediate right now! With the boys I can talk to them about an incident and they take it in their stride, the girls are more intent on being the victim in the situation. I’m just down to ignoring the behaviour I don’t like at this point as I don’t like to argue, it goes nowhere, we all seem to be able to come to an understanding.

With this said, however I know that everyone is different, really it just comes down to personality and what the group dynamic is. I’m hoping this will remain as relaxed and happy as it has been for the most part for the rest of this 12 hour stint. I may blog later on the progress, and by that point the tone may have changed quite a bit!

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’.

Living In The Shadow Of Bipolar Disorder

Life at home for me and my brother when we were younger was different to other kids, but I didn’t know it yet. My Mum had undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder and so she was either over-medicated with Valium for agitation and anxiety and would sleep or be completely out of it all the time. She would become addicted to this medication. Or she would be un-medicated and all over the shop, swinging from anger to pure hopelessness and helplessness. She would also swing from overly controlling to neglectful at the drop of the hat. If we did something naughty the belt would come out and she would unleash a torrent of anger. One thing I am grateful for is the fact that children are very resilient.

My brother and I would spend a lot of time out of the house, at parks, at shops, we would spend time around other friends, we made some wonderful memories and got to experience life to the fullest while out and about, exploring, mastering our outdoor environment and going on our little missions and adventures.

As I got older I realised things were not right. Mum would go on her anti-depressants, she would be ok for a while, but then she would end up having to come off them because they made her feel like, and I quote,

“Throwing rocks through all the windows and screaming.”

My brother would run away from home at least twice a year and sleep in abandoned cars at the rubbish dump or on top of the school lockers. I was an angry teen at home but I was so out of touch with the way I felt, I didn’t know why I was so angry and spiteful. At school I was horribly bullied because all my life I learned I wasn’t allowed to behave the way I wanted to, I had to do what I was told and agree with everything others said and doing that at school makes you a target because you are seen as weak. I look back now and realise it was because I felt like I was a burden and therefore I didn’t feel like I had the right to be who I was.

In 2007 my brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. He was spending his fortnightly pay within two days on polo shirts, expensive colognes, DVD’s, expensive lunches, he would sit down with a bunch of strangers at a pub and shout them drinks, and then he would run out of petrol, not be able to get to his job, and then he was fired. It was a vicious cycle which endured for years. He had at one point been homeless and before that he always bouncing from house to house because his housemates couldn’t deal with him.

One day my Mum of all people suggested he may have Bipolar. So off I went to the doctors with him for support and added my two cents worth as to why he may have it. After a psych appointment it was confirmed, he has Bipolar Disorder – Type 1, the most savage of them all, with rapid cycle and mixed moods. It was this diagnosis which sent Mum back to the doctor and psych, and it was confirmed, she has type 2 Bipolar.

Looking back I think my Dad may have had Bipolar as well. I would sometimes wake up at night and hear him sobbing, and when I tried to comfort him he would push me away. The last time I saw him I was 6 years old, then we moved to another state, we had a couple of phone conversations, then I never heard from him again. My brother rang me last year and told me he died from lung cancer, I was so sad that I never got back in contact with him again but there’s nothing you can do about that when they’re dead, I just had to move on.

For whatever reason, I seem to have so far escaped this curse but I carry around a bit of ‘survivor guilt’. My brother has recently lost his marriage, his house which he and his wife bought, he doesn’t get to see his son as much as he would like because she has moved on, she is happy and she now lives 4 hours away. He is now living with my Mum and our Step Dad who don’t really get along like a house on fire, in fact, I thing my brother sometimes wants to set the house on fire when they argue. He is on Government Payments. He can’t get a job yet because he is rapid cycling at the moment despite being on medication, and there is no way he will be able to hold onto a job at this time. I can’t bring up any painful memories otherwise he breaks down, shuts off and pushes me out of his life for a couple of years.

My Mum can’t remember anything in between 1990-2003, she has lost a lot of her precious memories during the most crucial and formative years of our lives due to her long depression cycles. I know she mourns for the parent she could have been, wanted to be, but just couldn’t do it in her undiagnosed state, and for that I feel truly sympathetic towards her. I know if she could go back and change it all she would. I imagine she has times where she cries and begs God to take her back in time so she can fix everything. This is why I could never resent her or hold a grudge against her, she was truly helpless, more so than us when we were children.

And here I am, my husband and I have been together for nearly 11 years now, married for almost 6 years. We have three beautiful, well adjusted boys. We don’t take drugs, we don’t drink, we don’t bash each other, we have been doing the same jobs for the duration of our relationship, we have a very loving relationship. We’re not perfect but we work well together. All five of us. I try so hard to change the cycle of neglect and abuse for my children, and I am so proud that I think I may be achieving that! But the guilt remains and I don’t know why. I love to help my Mum and Brother, encourage them, I love to love them! They are my family. Watching them fail is hard, and watching them rebuild themselves again is met with mixed feelings of pride but also uncertainty.

I guess I just wish so much happiness for them, and I guess that because I am so happy with my life at the moment, how things have gone right for me so far that I wonder, “Why it am I so lucky? What did I do to deserve it?”

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.

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.