My IdeaLife: children

My Kingdom for a Kiss Upon Her Shoulder

It's been 18 years since his blood warmed our hearts and his, but his voice remains and still inspires...Read more...

The love of your life

Is it a man, is it a career, no it's superbaby!...Read more...

A lifetime of beauty in a song

Middle East (the band not the place) have somehow condensed the human experience into this soulful song: Blood...Read more...

Superwomen have it all by NOT doing it all

Superwoman really don't exist, it's more like Insanitywoman, so stop pretending and start outsourcing...Read more...

Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Five years of Fun... gone in a heartbeat!

It seems like only yesterday I was lying in bed begging my husband to unwind a painfully cramped foot nearly every night...At the same time my frowned upon but life-long love of tummy sleeping also came suddenly to a non-negotiable end, replaced with the unbearable side sleeping position, that five years on I now love. 

But all the woes of being heavily pregnant melted away upon first seeing my perfectly-formed firstborn through a 3D ultrasound and recognising my father's and my distinctive nose recreated again (poor thing!). That feeling of wonder and ignorant joy will always be with me, and is easily recalled despite the five years of exhaustion that followed this new human's arrival into the world. 

He was the sort of baby strangers were drawn to with his ocean blue eyes staring intently back at them, drawing in information from the start. Now he is a little man, as thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent as he was as a baby, but with a hardcore Lego habit and energy that could light a city. 


Happy fifth birthday M - the first huge love of my life xxxx

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Baby vs Career? Really?

This is a thought that occurs to me pretty much every day. Stay at home Mum, working Mum, stay at home Mum, working Mum. Which is best for my two gorgeous mini-people? 

Me on maternity leave...not sure why my hubby just spat out his coffee...
It is a massive conundrum that I have not ever been able to solve in my mind even after a couple of guilt-ridden posts on Mamamia when I first returned to work, both with about 500 "helpful" comments from other women. So when Gumtree did this infographic (below), about it I thought it time to revisit this modern day non-decision. 

I don't think I will ever be entirely comfortable with my full-time work choice, but I can say my two boys seem happy, well-adjusted and I dare say they are in no doubt of how much I adore them.  

I have come to believe that wholly defining your life by your children is quite unhealthy for all involved, especially the kids. So I am glad to have something else. Of course it doesn't need to be work that fills that gap, I think the trick is ensuring it is not solely your children, that's too much of a burden for them to carry.  

For me it is work and I do love my job, the challenge and the personal development that is required to work successfully with others even makes me a better Mum. Some call it selfish but knowing what looking after yourself mentally and physically, individually means for you is a responsibility that must be taken seriously to actually be a good parent. So whatever that is for you, and it is different for everyone, you owe it to your children to make sure you do look after yourself. 

So stay at home or go to work, the choice is only one each individual Mum can make and whatever that choice is, as long as your children are loved well and they know it, I think you are making the right decision. 



Gumtree infographic baby versus career
Gumtree infographic baby versus career is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Happiness is love. fullstop

I just read about the longest-running longitudinal study into human development. The Harvard Grant Study started in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard graduates for 68 years. And it is one of those crazy moments where you watch someone else's life flash before you, but more than crazy it is absolute gold. It is like finding proof of God, when with that amount of data is collected, over that period of time, the findings prove that if the men had a warm relationship with their mother and a happy marriage, their lives were not only happier and healthier but also more financially successfully. It basically shoots "the nature vs nurture" argument squarely in the head too. 


Wow! just wow! 

Wow because I am a Mum to two toddler boys, wow because I know a man that didn't get on with his Mum and wow, I suddenly feel really terrified. 

I know this is all a good thing, because I am determined to love my boys and maintain a warm relationship with them, but life doesn't always work that way and people sometimes get it wrong. 

The good news for Mums struggling with their relationships with their sons is this though, the study also found that happiness can be found later in life, by things like finding the right spouse, a health scare or finding a new community, like three examples from the study did. 

Christopher Croke wrote in The Australian, "The journeys of the Grant Study men show that most people's lives are more authentically stories of growth and change than they are tales of demographic or genetic destiny."

Scott Stossel wrote in The Atlantic"Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”

It seems apt to end hAPpyRIL with that final note. Loving others is the most powerful and fulfilling thing we can do in this life. 

Love your family, love your friends, love the humans you've never met, 
but most of all LOVE your children. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Children make me happy...

Today's post comes from someone that needs little introduction as she is awesome, both for her work as a child behaviour consultant and for the what she shares on social media and her blog Easypeasykids. I was lucky enough to connect with Nathalie in person when I was down in Melbourne for a blogging conference and we had a gorgeous day making each other laugh in between the occasional tweet and instagramming of toes. Her post today is exactly like her: wholehearted, LOL funny and inspirational all at once. Enjoy. 

What makes me happy?

Children make me happy, and I have the great fortune to work with them everyday. The
world through their eyes brings happiness to the simplest of moments. They make me
laugh out loud, help me see the bigger picture and they show me that a happy moment
can be anything that makes them feel good inside.


These are the moments that they have shared with me that make them happy. It really is
the simple things.

Mr 5 “When I wipe my own bottom and don’t get poo on my back”

Miss 4 “When mummy blows raspberries on my tummy”

Mr 7 “Having pop off competitions with my brother”

Miss 8 “When I read a hard word on my own”

Mr 9 “Playing footy with my mates especially went it’s muddy”

Miss 6 “Snuggling on the couch with dad watching TV”

Mr 8 “Every time my mum says I love you”

Miss 5 “When my mummy reads to me”

Mr 6 “Digging for worms”

Miss 6 “When mum says I can jump in a puddle”

Mr 10 “When dad plays minecraft with me, he’s not very good but I don’t care he’s with
me and we laugh at how bad he is”

Miss 3 “Kisses on my nose”

Mr 4 “When mummy chases me like a big monster”

Miss 9 “Being with my dad, he makes up not very good jokes but that makes them even
funnier”

Mr 11 “Mum’s hugs although I’m older now, her hug makes me feel on top of the world’

Miss 7 “Singing in the car with mum, we pretend we are Divas. I’m not sure what a Diva
is but it must be something great because mum loves doing it and it is so much fun”

So keep looking for those happy simple moments, they are there. Make your kids laugh;
a child’s laughter is the tonic we sometimes need to get through the next hurdle. Ask
your child what makes them happy; you may be surprised at the simplicity of their
answer.


Nathalie Brown x



Monday, 17 December 2012

What would you say to the parents in Connecticut?

I don't know what you would say but I am at a point where I would have to scream simply "what the f*ck?!". There is no normal explanation for this. "Some people are mentally disturbed" no longer cuts it when 20 six and seven year olds are the chosen target. This is not just a tipping point for the USA, it is a question for the world, especially the virtual world. There is something that we are missing when we hear of teenagers doing these things. 


The only thing I can remember that is worse than what has happened in Connecticut, is what happened to poor James Bulger, a 2 year old in the UK, lured away from his Mum by two ten year olds to be t0rtured and murd3red slowly. Two ten years olds now in their 20s with hidden identities for their protection so they can live their lives in freedom. Huh!? What are we doing wrong? Are we too busy to notice we are raising psych0paths? Are we too lazy to keep them off video games that make murd3r seem like fun? What are we not teaching them about the value of life that they take it away from people so small and innocent and in no way capable of causing any form of pain to them, that would warrant these kind of vind!ctive and cowardly att@cks? And worst of all when we find out through some horrific situation that involves innocent people losing their happy existences, that these young people are actually psych0paths, why do we as a society find it necessary to protect them from normal people who feel that maybe it's not cool to have obvious s0ciopaths living freely in society? 

I am so mad, there is no way around it, I am furious. I am livid with his mother for teaching him to sh00t and having semi-@ut0matic weap0ns just hanging around, for knowing instinctively that he was not right and doing nothing about it. I am horrified that somehow a bunch of morons have lobbied to allow people to freely own these weap0ns. I am incensed that he and his mother* are gone so we can't make them live with the consequences of their choices or grab them and shake them until we find out why, Why, WHY?????
From top right (clockwise): Noah Pozner, Emilie Parker, Dylan Hockley, Grace McDonnell, Victoria Soto, 27, Mary Sherlach, 56, Lauren Russeau, 30, James Mattioli and Olivia Engel, Jesse Lewis and Ana M. Marquez-Greene
Every beautiful smiling face I've seen on TV that I know now is no longer, looks like any of our family photos. The innocent unbridled joy of life still mostly unchallenged. I don't know what to say to those left behind without their beautiful little cheeky monkeys. There is no sense, nor hope I can find in this. It is a horror beyond any movie and over 40 people are not acting as they try to face something not even the most w@rped movie makers could think up. I suppose the only comfort is so many are grieving with you, not as deeply of course, but we are here too, feeling it hard and hating a world where this can happen. Something has to change, please, something has to come from these beautiful young things cut down so unfairly and far too soon. 



RIP
Charlotte Bacon, age 6
Daniel Barden, age 7
Olivia Engel, age 6
Josephine Gay, age 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, age 6
Dylan Hockley, age 6
Madeleine F Hsu, age 6
Catherine Hubbard, age 6
Chase Kowalski , age 7
Jesse Lewis, age 6
James Mattioli, age 6
Grace McDonnell, age 7
Emilie Parker, age 6
Jack Pinto, age 6
Noah Pozner, age 6
Caroline Previdi, age 6
Jessica Rekos, age 6
Avielle Richman, age 6
Benjamin Wheeler, age 6
Allison Wyatt, age 6

Rachel Davino, age 29
Dawn Hochsprung, age 47
Anne Marie Murphy, age 52
Lauren Rousseau, age 30
Mary Sherlach, age 56
Victoria Soto, age 27

*One mother's account of living with a mentally ill son sheds new light on what this man may have been putting her through and raises great points about the potential root cause and its solution. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

UPDATE: The Burden of True Love: Dedicated to Marina Krim in her unthinkable loss

I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with death of late. It is quite disturbing and not really conducive to a light and smiling existence. Instead I have strange visions of myself being injured or worse one of my beautiful boys. I try to tell myself that living in fear of death is a waste of life and I know it is, I can feel it is, but now I have so much to lose, so much to miss in the growth of my two little toddler boys into young men and god permitting, adults. I watched Shadowlands tonight, and I knew I shouldn't but it is a beautiful story and a true one. Non-fiction is always more magnetic to me but unfortunately usually contains the real tragedy of the absurdity of our lives.

my idealife banksy

C.S. Lewis although a committed Christian and successful author had never really fallen in love. His life was perfectly balanced, clinical and in control. Until he met Joy quite late in life. Her massive IQ and wit derailed his limited existence and he fell hard and passionately in love with her. But by some strange fate it turned out she had cancer and died only four years after they were married. His life was turned upside down and back the front and was taken completely out of his hands. In spite of this he recognises that the happiness she brought was worth the pain. I love the part where he says to her on her deathbed "I love you Joy, you make me so happy, I never knew I could feel such happiness... you are the truest person I know." 

What is more devastating than their love cut far too short is Joy having to leave her boys, when still only boys very much still in need of their Mum, behind alone, without her. As a Mum I find this almost unbearable to watch let alone imagine for my own boys. 


I know that people somehow survive this kind of loss, the pain, although never completely gone, reduces and life crowds in to distract you. But I buckle in two at the thought, I don't seem to be made of the stuff that those that continue are. I feel like my insides are custard, probably soft and malleable through never having been through anything even close to this harrowing. 

I only wish that my fears will work to drive my enjoyment of the moments I am having this second, when my boys still love cuddles and kisses, and say things like "You are my true love" or yell with glee, "Mummy, Mummy" on my arrival home from work, running at me with arms splayed ready to be easily swung in the air, my face buried in their soft necks breathing in their innocence before bursting a raspberry onto their perfect skin, and drinking in the erupting giggles that this all imbues. 

Like C.S. Lewis, my nightmares will probably never cease, but if the worst were to happen and I end up broken by grief I hope I remember they were worth the pain, every precious second knowing them is better than a pain-free existence never having looked into their eyes of joy and wonder, and realising they are the joy and wonder of my life. 



Sending Kevin and Marina Krim the strength no Mother can imagine having,
as you face the most terrible of losses x

Monday, 13 August 2012

The JOY of Toddlers...huh?!

There is a time in space right now that is so beautiful. Our youngest little man is about to turn two and his world is changing as he starts to make those around him understand who he is and what he feels and wants. He's always been cheeky and wilful but add words to the mix and his huge spirit really belies his mini 4 foot body. 



One thing, along with that priceless look of pride as he accomplishes another word, is his joy.  Lately when he gets something right or Brum saves a kitten, he puts both his little arms straight in the air, almost squashing his ears, fists tight shut, back swayed and yells "Hooray, Hooray". It takes all my self-control not to grab him and smother him with kisses. Instead I join him in his celebration of his wondrous and giggle-filled life, and bathe in the fizzing exuberance before me. 

What a privilege to be my boys' Mum, to get the chance to know them and watch them grow from speechless, sleepy babies to little people with distinct personalities and a unique life before them. A very wise woman asked me last week "What is my idealife?", at the time I thought it would be one with a lot more choices, but with every minute of wide-eyed discovery I see in Bang and Crash's eyes, I realise there is nothing more ideal than knowing and being with these two little people and their Dad. They are my idealife. 

Kachow!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

POSITION VACANT: One Housewife


As the lovely Andrea from Fox in Flats-infamy highlighted last week on Twitter I am returning to work in January after 15 months Maternity Leave, and wait for it...fulltime. I know collective gasp from many including me sometimes. But despite a bit of a go, I am being sacked from my role as Domestic Goddess (actually my job title was Domestic Avoidess but no point in getting caught up in semantics).

This lack of natural ability in grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, tidying etcetera has caused the constant hum of guilt to overshadow my time as a Stay-at-home-Mum. Who knew that housewife and Mother were synonymous! I didn't and nothing really prepared me for the expectation that if you are not working out of the house, you are working in it.

Don't get me wrong, everyone has to contribute so it stands to reason that who ever is at home, Mum or Dad, gets lumped with the home management. Problem for me is I have always viewed housework with particular disdain. Probably because society places no value on a well-run home. Who nowadays really cares if there are a few crumbs on the ground or toys are not neatly put away. As long as nobody is sitting around in 3 day old food or worse then you are doing ok as far as I'm concerned.

But it runs deeper than just lack of acknowledgement. When I was a child I remember feeling so confused and hurt by the fact that my brother never had to do the things that were expected of me, like sewing, ironing or cooking. My constant question "Why do I have to do it, when he doesn't?" was usually met with “Because I said so”, which to my mind translated to “There is no logic or reason behind this unfairness”. The reality was when I was growing up girls were still expected to learn and know things about managing a home and at most, boys were taught how to mow the lawn, change a tyre, but most importantly how to sit on the couch, watch sport while drinks and snacks magically materialising next to them, usually courtesy of the nearest female.

This injustice and my determination to overcome it rendered me slightly crap as a "housewife". Luckily my husband has no such hang ups about chores. He doesn't question his validity as he hangs out the washing, he doesn't associate stacking the dishwasher with discrimination and he certainly does not feel like he's giving up on fulfilling his potential by changing the bed sheets. Unfortunately I do, albeit in a subtle way. But as I look back at my 15 months 'off', I can see clearly that for some reason being a housewife makes me feel like a failure in a way work outside of the house never has. It is not logical, in fact it is the opposite as what could be more rewarding than working for the benefit of the people you love the most in the world?

But there you have it, I prefer the paid work to the house work.

Luckily, as I hand one of the household reigns back to my hubby, I can take comfort in the fact that 'Housewife' and 'Mother' are two different roles. Just because I am no longer at home with my children, does not mean I am no longer 'Mum'. In fact with the extra help we are getting I may find I get some more 'play' time with them, rather than yelling at them from the laundry to stop trying to impale themselves from a great height on to Lego towers.

If I stayed home and continued to feel anxious about my missing-Goddess, and the relationship that has with my Mother-role, then I would not be doing them the huge favour some assume. A Mother feeling like a failure around 24/7 is far more dangerous than a confident, secure one who is away for 38 hours a week, I’m sure.

Now to the task of securing contentment… hmmmm… maybe I’ll go and fold some clothes.

Is housework your mental disorder too?


©MyIdeaLife, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 22 December 2011

FAT MEN, PRESSIES & LIES. I Love Christmas!

One photo I won't be showing the boys!
One thing that seems to roll out as a big concern every year is how commercialised Christmas has become. I used to be a raving looney, I mean born-again Christian, and so I remember that originally Christmas was a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but like many today, the Son of God is more likely to pop up throughout the year as a phrase I prefer to my other favourite “For eff’s sake!” 

So being such a disrespectful, blaspheming pagan, should I stop celebrating Christmas? Probably, but instead I am doing the opposite. In fact I am throwing myself into buying gifts, like the demon, that probably is possessing me as we speak. 

I have fallen hook, line and sinker for Santa and his reindeer, there will be a carrot left out for Rudolf, and some sort of stiff drink for the fat man himself. I am going to lie to my children about a whole lot of things and forget to mention a whole lot of other details, like how the chimney is blocked AND about a quarter of the size of the man that is going to come down it with a huge bag full of presents, including a trampoline. I am going to wheel out another implausible explanation I remember being told, when my 2yo inevitably asks me why he’s seen more than one Santa in one day, that is “they are his helpers”. (I didn’t fall for that one Mum and Dad, as much as I didn’t buy the sanitary napkin being described as a foot band-aid either, the adhesive would stick to the wound, hello?!) 

Anyway my point, if I ever get to it, is does it really matter that Christmas is commercialised? Isn’t it just marketing people taking advantage of us needing only the smallest excuse to buy the people we love presents? Giving and receiving and unwrapping and eating lots and playing games and talking about fake fat people that live in the North Pole making toys all year, do we really want to stop all that because it is not based wholly on the original meaning of Christmas? In any case if we are to become up-in-arms shouldn't it be because Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are both equally as fantastical as each other? At the end of the day, or year in this case, the only truth is these are the things we like to do and yes retail does benefit, but we do too.

And why not? We work hard all year so we deserve a bit of unadulterated, meaningless fun. And before you judge me as a vacuous party girl, consuming through life, I think there is meaning at Christmas. It may not be religious, it may not be based on anything that can or can’t be proven but it is a time to give to those you love, to those that have less than you, and to yourself.

Of course we need to be cautious with our spending and not over do it, I would never advocate giving beyond your means, and it shouldn’t be about dollar amounts in any case. It is truly the thought that counts, that is unless you are a complete scrooge, you know who you are. 

And I know that spending time with my husband and me will always bring more joy to the boys than anything I could buy, but I am addicted to their smiles, I'm in love with their laughter and I dream about their happiness. So if I get to give them both time and presents then BONUS! I have the means and so judge me if you like, because I am a big lying, spending Christmas sucker. 

On Christmas day I'll probably be passed out next to a fat man in a red suit (aka Dadda), all that toy-making (trips to various shopping centres) and flying around the world (fighting for car spaces), delivering pressies (wrapping, sneaking, wrapping, tying and more wrapping) and eating cake (cooking, ordering, preparing) catches up with you, you know! 

Merry Christmas everyone! (& apologies to all my gorgeous Christian friends!)
Where will you end up this Christmas?
 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Motherhood Unearthed


As I write nearly three billion Google searches have happened, 98 million tweets posted and 210 billion emails sent and that’s just today. We are living in an age of information, it is everywhere and for most it is easily accessible, that is, until we reach the topic of childbirth.

Traditionally mystery has shrouded this rite of passage, so to speak, but in a time when we are exposed to the sex videos of try-hard celebrities, gruesome crime photos or graphic footage of surgeries, surely the details surrounding childbirth are mild in comparison?

I have given birth twice and I went to the antenatal classes the first time, I watched the video of the screaming woman, but I still had no idea of what I was in store for. I knew there would be pain, I knew my options for drugs or not and I had been told by lots of well-meaning mothers “make sure you get lots of sleep before the baby comes.” That was about it.

Now is when I could choose to fill the gap with some gory details to help prepare any blissfully, waddling first-timers, but a couple of things have given me pause.

Firstly when I asked newly pregnant twitter friend Emily Jade O'Keefe what advice she’d like, she said ‘Only share the good please, I’ll find out the bad’. Secondly pre-baby I vaguely recall hearing some advice but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other. It made me wonder is childbirth and being a new Mum inexplicable to footloose, childfree women?

But what finally sealed the sealed section on childbirth for me was the fact that women are classic worriers, pregnant women are on the anxiety-ridden, hormone roller coaster and new mothers are often near to being committed. So if we were to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me drugs, would it help or just send them over the edge?

So I’m not going to explain to you what an ice-filled condom is for, or what happens to your empty belly soon after giving birth, my friend is right – you’ll find that out soon enough.

But there is one thing I wish I’d known: that my life would be turned inside out and upside down and that during the tumultuous and emotional change you have to be kind to yourself. Becoming a mother is one of life’s biggest changes. You’ve probably heard this one by Raphael-Leff (1994) from me before but I love it, they say new Mums are “plunged into a state of inner disequilibrium and external upheaval quite unlike any other encountered in adult life”.

I made the mistake of expecting that I would be an automatic natural earth mother, because understanding and knowing how to rear a child was in both my X chromosomes, wasn’t it? The previous generation didn’t really help as even more was expected in their day, difference being they were often already managing the home so adding children to the mix was tough but not as life-changing. Going from corporate meetings and making decisions on million dollar campaigns up to 60 hours a week to being housebound, while providing food from the stove and my body, and all within a clean environment was like expecting my husband to converse with me during a football match.

The remarkable thing is how remarkable humans are. You adapt and you change and you see the world in a whole new light, one that is broader, deeper and very rewarding. So if nobody has really explained the details of childbirth or been able to articulate what you’ll feel when you first arrive home with a gurgling, wholly dependent, little poo-and-spew ball, then don’t worry – just remember as you get shoved into the deep end of this particularly choppy sea, be kind, be understanding and give yourself a lot of leeway to be as mental as is fitting to one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face.


P.S. And before the birth cook as many meals as your freezer can store while having your favourite takeaways on fast dial, the last place you want to be is near an open flame on 3 hours sleep.

Inspired by the heavily pregnant Emily Jade O'Keefe, Motherhood Unearthed first appeared on KleenexMums and later on Emily's blog Emily Everywhere

©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Toddlers at 30,000ft: just flying "high"

Flying with children, especially very young children, is always a source of some anxiety for parents. Such was the case on Thursday when we woke at 5.30am to ensure we were on our early, but short flight to Melbourne.

All was going ok with the only casualty so far being the Virgin Lounge floor and a few very serious Lounge patrons (I love the looks I get when Bang or Crash make Pro Hart’s carpet ads look amateur, mainly because pre-child I was fantastic at delivering them too, karma).

Anyway things started to turn ugly when all the planes behind and in front of ours started boarding – the space next to ours…empty, the only clue to the delay was the ever-changing departure time. Three amendments later we were called and then seamlessly aboard, phew!

Things just kept getting better, takeoff was a breeze with a bottle shoved in Crash and cloud-spotting with Bang, I was feeling very smug and stupidly proud of my brave boys. Other than their desire to climb all over the aircraft once the seatbelt sign was turned off, we were coping pretty well. Then Crash passed out which was perfection.

Even the pressurised water bottles that turned into one metre high fountains at 20,000 feet weren’t going to dampen my spirits.

But then we looked away from the ocean, that is my 2 year old, for only a second. As my hubby and I were patting ourselves on the back for a race well run, a huge wave hit in the form of the seatbelt sign flashing on. We still didn’t see the magnitude until it was too late, but the simple and unavoidable act of strapping Bang back into his seat unleashed a screaming tsunami. No amount of “listen for the wheels!”, “ooooo look a digger, did you see the digger!?” and so on could stop the deranged song he intended on entertaining the whole plane with until we hit the ground.

I went into this adrenaline-filled state, eyes darting around frantically looking for distractions, my mind-spinning thinking of calming things to say, all in an overly animated voice that when I think back sounded like Giggle and Hoot on speed.

We got some respite as we taxied towards the gate as there were planes and trucks to be wondered at. But the hysteria that was sitting just below the surface was triggered again when we had to leave the window full of big planes to watch for the baggage carousal. At this point I almost forgot I had another child. Refreshed by his nap he just quietly looked on slightly bemused as his big brother writhed around lunatic-like. When it was my turn to take Bang for a walk to calm him down while we waited for the straight-jacket, I mean pram to come out of oversized baggage, I spotted a cherry picker and with insane hope and excitement headed towards the beeping equipment. My dreams of a screech-free world were quickly shattered by even more intense screams and I found myself sort of insanely walking in circles towards the cherry picker and away again as I tried to decipher the reactions and tear-filled shrieks.

This is when I started to laugh, which of course didn’t help my poor exhausted boy, but I couldn’t help it. It was so insane it was funny, and the picture of me doing circles with a toddler that had lost his nut just tipped me over the edge.

The pram arrived and we strapped our inconsolable little man in there and left him to cry until the hire car arrived and then ten short minutes later as we drove, all shattered in our own way, Bang passed out. His exhaustion demon was quiet for the first time in an hour and beautifully replaced with the angelic peace of sleep.

We can’t wait for the flight home. 


If flying with toddlers your armory should include:
A bottle or dummy for infants or lollipop for toddlers during takoffs and landings - A laptop or iPad with Toy Story DVD on pause - Small toys, favourite books and sticker books - A fun way to explain why we all have to put our seatbelts on - Snacks - Water bottles that don’t have pop-up straws - An imagination that would rival the writers of Shrek - An off-the-wall sense of humour - Did I miss anything flying parents?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Holding on


I was about 30m away, my joyous 2 year old son, Bang, was running across a field, one he always heads for after we’ve been to the playground adjacent. He was not alone, he was with his Grandmother, but he’d picked up speed and was heading for the car, I yelled for him to wait as I began running. But before I could get to him he had passed through the railings and was on the road. I yelled again.

My story has a happy ending, because as he ran across the road, there were no cars. On the same day another family of a nine year old boy was not so lucky. Like me, his mother shouted “Stop, wait” but ignoring or not hearing her he ran across the road without seeing the bus that would end his life. This lovely boy was running to return a toy his younger sister had mistakenly taken from the Doctor’s surgery they were just at.

As I read about witnesses describing the mother’s screams my heart broke for her. Every time I think of her and so many other parents who have had to some how live through such a tragedy the agony pushes tears from my eyes.

I can only imagine how broken and lost she is feeling today and for so many days into the future. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Ever since I became a mother I have these visions of horrendous things happening, like cars losing control and hitting the pram as we cross the road or them falling awkwardly at the local playground the second you look away. Despite these harrowing daydreams, I assume sent to heighten my protective instincts, I still don’t really grasp that by some wicked chance, I could be that mother screaming to fight against a reality too traumatic to grasp.

As I watched Bang not even glancing sideways as he ran across the carpark lane to the car, I got a little glimpse into the fragility of our contented lives. Even though I have drummed road safety in so hard that Bang told me off the other day for standing on the road behind our car, these things can still happen. He knows not to go on the road, but in a moment of thoughtlessness there he was. I suppose that’s why they call it an accident, you just don’t see it coming.

Nonetheless it is a timely reminder for me to be extra vigilant. And to pay tribute to the beautiful children who’s lives have been tragically cut short I’ll be holding on to my boys’ hands so tightly and trying to remember as I get distracted by a screaming toddler or a friend or a phone call, to never take my eyes off them.



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Monday, 6 June 2011

Catching fireflies

What a day. The sun’s shining, the birds are singing, the A380s are flying overhead (I live in the inner west) so I grabbed Crash* and threw a rug on the lawn and we surveyed our sparkling surrounds. In between eating grass my 8 month old soaked in the scenes. He’s been trapped indoors by rain for about a week and he couldn’t really contain his joy at finding there was a world outside his colourful rubber mat and the table he’s been systematically pulling himself up on and then falling off.



Watching him with the sun warming my face I got nostalgic, as you do (ok, only if you’re an emotionally-unhinged, hormone-filled nutbag). All these moments from my past and my childhood were flashing through my mind as senses. The smell of the grass, the feel of the winter sun cutting through chilly air, the sound of lorikeets had me galloping through a winter paddock bareback, walking on a sandy beach picking mussels with my Dad, hiding behind a neighbours fence in the dark playing spotlight and jogging through icy night air as my eyelashes froze.

Millions of moments, one half-life (hopefully!) and gone in a flash. There are 6.9 billion humans on earth all having thoughts, moments, times worth remembering and recounting. It’s overwhelming what we’re missing, what we don’t see or understand. It’s humbling and at the same time it’s beautiful to think of the vast preciousness of so many human lives.

I wish we could do justice to every moment of a life, even to just our own, but we can't and we don’t and then before we can think the word ‘regret’ the time has passed. As I look into Crash’s hopeful eyes filled with wonderment I see myself there too, and billions of others. We were all once 8 months old, full of innocence, and despite mine “growing up” and taking in 39 more years of ups and downs, they are still in essence a child’s eyes looking for joy in simple things, craving unconditional love, and innocently curious about everyone and everything.

Right now I focus back on us. Crash is talking in his own little language and he’s yet to learn that sometimes you have to hide your feelings. So his joy, his curiosity, his frustration all come out in gorgeous open facial expressions, sighs, giggles, snaps and bubbles.

And me well I'm breathing in the moments, loving being alive. Today's one is gone now as he’s having his afternoon nap, growing centimeters as he sleeps, and I am writing, desperately writing, trying to capture the light of a firefly in my hands.



*Crash is my 8 month old boy, read more at my About page
 © 2011, My IdeaLife, All rights reserved

Saturday, 14 May 2011

How long is a piece of balloon string? and more importantly what colour?

My first baby boy turned two yesterday. TWO! I can't believe it's been two whole years since I met first met him, coughing and spluttering after being dragged into being. What a blur of love, tears, awe, wonderment and it seems balloon ribbon choices. It's with shame I admit I spent at least 3 minutes discussing the balloon ribbon colour with a long suffering, yet very patient, party warehouse employee. You see we threw my boy a bit of a do today and being who I am I wanted everything to be just so. 

The balloon ribbon conundrum basically went something like: 
LS Employee: Do you want to match the ribbon colour to the balloon?
Me: Errrr(pause length not commensurate with level of decision)rrrrrrrrr - matching... no wait, make that contrasting....actually no...can I do both?
LS Employee: Sure, we'll just choose the ribbon randomnly
Me: Sorry, I know this is a little tragic, but do most people choose matching ribbon?
LS Employee: No no it's probably more common but contrasting is often chosen (pause) but most people do choose one or the other. 
Me: Ok
LS Employee: One last question do you want metallic or matte ribbon?
Me(certain this time): Matte
LS Employee: Ok so will send you an email conf..
Me: Sorry, sorry I know this is probably very annoying and I can't believe I'm worried about the bloody balloon ribbon, I mean it's a two year old's party...
LS Employee: Don't worry I have a two year old too, I understand
Me: So I'm not being completely mental? 
LS Employee: No, no I know how you feel
Me: Thanks, well I think I'll go back to the contrasting ribbon only
LS Employee:  Ok done. 
Me: So yellow with blue, blue with red...
LS Employee: Yes that's right. 

The poor girl was obviously the consummate customer service person because in the face of my obvious neurosis she was completely lovely. Maybe she felt pity for me because despite her sharing motherhood of a two year old with me, she's never caught herself mulling over ribbon colour, let alone needing to specify what colour should go with what. I don't know - she was just nice in the face of my insanity. 


Anyway the balloons looked great, (needless to say they would have looked great with matching ribbon also). My son had a great time, and was still singing happy birthday to you before bed tonight. The kids played nicely for the majority of the time, there was only one poo incident and the cake was the most popular attraction of the day (in fact possibly worthy of it's own post). Even my hubby looked happy despite whinging about the cost of the event for weeks*.

As soon as the last guests left I of course took to my bed, well not straight away as had to put two other little worn out humans to bed first, I think it all was too much for me. 'It' of course, being the balloon ribbon choice. LOL.

Has anyone else taken the finer details of a party,
their child won't even remember, a little far?


*It only cost too much because of the gift (a Thomas play table and set) that my hubby actually chose - go figure!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Breastfeeding Pains

“There is nothing sadder than finding yourself overwhelmingly homesick for a place which
doesn’t exist anymore”

@The Bloggess
Twitter, April 10, 2011


I've been planning to wean my nearly seven month old for a few weeks now and keep putting it off. The sterilising, finding the right size teat, creating cool boiled water, knowing the formula tastes like wet cardboard, were thoughts that kept him quickly and simply shoved on the boob.

Last night, suddenly and without warning he refused to nurse. He pushed me away and screamed from around 10.30pm on and off for four hours, as I desperately tried to feed what I perceived was a hungry baby. Eventually at 3am and with lots of rocking he calmed enough to pass out and I promptly followed suit.

At 7am I thought 'he’s been twelve hours without a feed he’ll be starving and he’ll have a great feed'. No such luck, my literally painful situation was not going to be relieved by him, no way, no how. So an hour later he gulps down 240mls of formula no problem. With only moments to spare I hook myself up to the milking machine. Spontaneously explosion averted I relax for a second until my toddler wanders over and points at the rhythmic whirring thingy, 'mama w'dhat?' he giggles, 'Max' turn'. Hubby reading the situation redirects his attentions elsewhere and with one hand on the pump and the other on the phone I call the doctor.

On the way to the doctor I have visions ranging from a simple sore throat or a tooth to a rare digestive disorder. I also have that hope that seems to always get dashed, that maybe, just maybe a member of the medical profession will know what is going on and be able to solve it. No such luck, they can't find the reason and just say it may be this or that but he looks healthy so relax.

Whatever the reason I’m struggling to cope with this on only three hours sleep. Not withstanding the pain cold turkey weaning causes, I was emotionally shocked by the rejection and sudden change in how my baby’s existence was going to be sustained. I found myself listening to the voices in my head – plenty of babies survive on formula, I had formula, but maybe that explains everything? what about that study on brain size, am I stunting his potential? Would I have been the amazing successful form of me if I had been breastfed? what about how fat formula makes babies, will I make him obese? what about viruses? he’ll probably get sick all the time; no matter I’ll keep trying him on the breast and we can go back to plan A: a nice slow and steady progression to the bottle when I'm ready.

These thoughts were all very interesting but completely irrelevant as whatever plans I had, the little guy had his own ideas. Albeit less neurotically informed, they were no less determined in their desired outcome: no boob thank you.

So I sat staring at him (rather than Twitter for iPhone), as he guzzled down his fourth huge bottle in twenty-four hours and tears filled my eyes. All the conflicting arguments and old wives tales faded in light of the sadness that my, most likely last, little baby had just taken a big step away from me towards his independence. I know it’s so tiny compared to what I am to expect in the future, but it’s a hint of the pain I’m sure I’ll feel at those larger milestones (I imagine instead of quiet tears at those points their maybe louder whaling-type goings on).

My sadness is amplified as I’ve been wishing the time away, complaining about the sleep-deprivation and my lack of time to myself. I know I will feel some relief when I get used to the idea but for now I lament that it is the end of an era. The unexplainable feeling of growing your baby with your body alone, is now just a memory. Such a quick moment in time, now gone forever.

I’ve been adamant for about a year that I would only ever have two children. But now for the first time I understand all my friends who just keep getting pregnant. Who wouldn't want to stop time and relive a beautiful memory? 

All I know is that now I am a Mum to two beautiful boys - time is my best friend and my worst enemy. There are days I long for my baby to be a toddler and then there are days like today where I would sell my soul to stop time and hold my bub in my arms forever. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The love of your life


Mark Latham is not a man I ever, ever thought I would agree with on anything. For those reading who aren’t Australian he was our opposition leader for a short time until his various public meltdowns and alleged king hit saw him unceremoniously dumped from his role. 

Like another ousted leader, he keeps popping up in the media and is likewise usually ranting some sort of subjective, under-researched nonsense. But this week he said something on radio^ that I have to admit I related to; ‘...having children is the great loving experience of any lifetime’. This was shocking to me as not only did I agree with him, it now seemed we may have somehow been cosmically linked *horror!* because the day before I had started a post called ‘The love of your life’, of course about my boys.

Luckily Mark Latham wasn’t my inspiration, it was my eldest son, a mere 22 months on this earth, looking up at me and saying for the first time ‘whove you’ as I kissed him nigh-night on Sunday. Shocked and emotional I responded ‘Love you too’ while trying to hold back tears.

I felt my heart in my throat as I closed his door - I wanted to run back in and explain to him in vivid and intense detail how much I loved him, how even when I was tired and grumpy I loved him, even when I had to say no to him I loved him, even when I was away from him he’s always on my mind. But I exercised some self-control and instead started typing, sparing him but not you - sorry!

It got me thinking...despite my normal sleep-deprived tendency to have a good old complain, my boys are the loves of my life. In the many years prior to motherhood I spent an inordinate amount of time analysing, speculating and bumbling about looking for the ‘love of my life’. I also bored quite a few people senseless with endless ramblings that could have as easily been solved by pulling the petals off a daisy. And I mistakenly thought that my wedding was the final chapter in that quest.

I had no idea that there was a love in existence that so dwarfed the love between two adults. (I would have achieved a lot more if I had - damn you ignorance!) A love so huge it throws the whole equilibrium of your existence into turmoil. You start having wierd visions during everyday events. Crossing the road becomes a mini horror movie in your mind as you play out what an out of control car could do to the pram. When you see amazement, joy or fear in your childrens eyes you find yourself wiping tears from your face. You start putting yourself so badly last you sometimes forget to eat and your husband is lucky to get a sideways glance let alone some affection (don't even start me on intimacy!). It is literally mental, well initially anyway, and it’s as beautiful as it is torturous.

This unique and huge love has made me realise that there is so much in the world we don’t understand when we think we do. Mr Latham has copped a lot of flack for his comments about people who have chosen not to have kids. Someone saying publicly that they think child-free people struggle with empathy probably does deserve most of it. But as I read one emotionally-charged critique from a non-parent* it took me back to when I hadn’t had children and I remember thinking that all this hype surrounding the love you feel for your children was definitely over-rated and I honestly thought I would prefer a puppy. I was ignorant, not in a general sense I was just ignorant of what it felt like to be a parent and worse still, I didn’t know it. This didn’t make me any less valid, triumphant, empathetic or human, it just made me ignorant of what it was like to be a parent.

The simple fact is parenthood is inexplicable to non-parents. Parents don’t rave on about their kids to be hurtful or exclusive or to make people who haven’t had kids feel bad, we just say this stuff because we are so overwhelmed and amazed we can’t help gushing and carrying on about it from sunrise to sunset. It is an all-consuming, life changing experience. You want to tell the world. Unfortunately parents forget that there are a lot of people out there who just think we are mad, smug, stupid (see Baby Brain) and intentionally trying to make child-free people envy us. We get so wrapped up in our whirlwind we almost expect that everyone will understand and not only that, we want everyone we love to experience it too. *Squirm*

So If you’re not pregnant and sick of people raving on about the greatness of parenthood, be happy that you will do and experience things that parents will have to forgo because of kids. Like me now dreaming about one day resuming regular ablution habits, let alone the round the world trips I wish I could take#.

But if you are pregnant with your first now, just know you're about to be swept off your feet in every which way that is possible. And despite maybe missing out on a promotion at work or a trip to an amazing travel destination, you won’t regret a second of it once you’ve met ‘the one’.

Can you believe this is a viral promo for maternity bras?
I don't care I love it and invite you to write what you would tell your pre-baby self.



*One response to Mark Latham's comments by Janine Toms on Mamamia.com
^The full transcript of Mark Latham’s interview at ABC Radio National
#I’m turning down free travel as we speak because caring for two under two in a hotel room would likely see me stabbing myself with a pen and certainly see me so exhausted it simply wouldn’t be worth it.