My IdeaLife: toddlers

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 toddlers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toddlers. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

All I want for Christmas is ... is cheese!

Once a Christmas fire engine rolled past our holiday house running carols over its very loud PA system complete with Santa on board throwing lollies I knew it was time to "join 'em". 
Left Bottom: Even Angus was sus about this pretend Santa!


In the end there is nothing to beat when you are knocked out by beautiful christmas lights, reindeer and good will to all. Yes every year until I hear my children say the words "Mum you know Santa isn't real right?" I will struggle with the myriad of lies created to keep, let's face it, quite a complex fairy tale alive, this time last year I was struggling with these questions. BUT hearing Crash yelling in the most excited shrill every time he sees decorations or lights "Christmas!". Hearing Bang already rationalising the amount of Santas he sees everywhere with they are not the real one, they are pretend. Listening to countless renditions of Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is coming to town...and their faces on Christmas morning. Nothing beats it and I am a converted Christmas sucker lapping up every random, cheesy tradition.

So just to prove it - check this out! 



Merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful and safe holiday
and hopeful new year! xxx 


Friday, 21 June 2013

Little arms, BIG hugs.

Someone asked me today to close my eyes and imagine a place where there is love. Of course I'm sure like most people my mind flashed my hubby's face up, but I settled on the best feeling in the world...that of small arms that can't quite reach around you yet, but still surprise you with their loving strength. 

My two boys are now nearly 3 and 4 and so their little arms do reach around my neck, they can pack a punch which often lands in my stomach, they can dive on me rock and roll wrestling style with no concept that 19kg in flight causes quite a lot of pain. But when those little arms lock around my ribs and squeeze while they bury their head in my chest I just melt. 

Gone are the menacing memories of the spilt smoothie, the punch up over a ninja turtle, the refusal to eat, bathe, get dressed, go to sleep, say yes. And if they add a "whove you Marm" they could have spewed, pooed and drawn on the walls all day, and I'd still be a mess of "my gorgeous little man, I love you too". 

I never imagined finding this kind of love, I never could have pictured the experience of stroking a luminescent forehead in a way that sends it's owner to sleep, or meeting these little people that are just crashing into life with insatiable curiosity, raw emotions and ever-stretching limbs. I never imagined being asked to "sing me 'close to you' Mum" or "look at my p00!" or to be told "my wil1y goes up like magic, it's really big.... hehehee". But these are the things that have made my life. These are the things that come to mind when someone asks me about love...and I am loving every sleep-deprived, deranged and chaotic minute. 

The most comfortable sofa is seemingly me!

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



Friday, 12 April 2013

Toddlers...& not just when they're sleeping


Motherhood was a crazy shock to me - as you can probably tell from my earlier sleep-deprived blog posts. But even then (and sometimes now when I'm being smashed in the head with a plastic golf club) I had felt love that I had never experienced before and without hesitation I can say that my children make me happier than anything in this world - being a Mum is a pure privilege and a joy as you can see from the small collection of gorgeousness above.

Share a picture that captures the pure joy of your munchkins here or on twitter with the hashtag #happyril

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Why are there so many Santas Mummy? and other unanswerable Christmas questions

Man Christmas is exhausting, not because of the queues, which by the way are insane, not because of having to choose and then, in case you thought you were going to make it through alive, wrap an inordinate number of presents and not because your kids have decided that holiday time is the perfect time to start backyard UFC. Christmas is exhausting because it is the one time of year you have to lie, in a very detailed and twisted way for an extended period of time. 

Source: The Sunday Times  (Kai Wiechmann)
It is so stressful that I have already had discussions with certain relatives about whether they sign Santa or Nanna & Pop on the card, which I responded in utter desperation and confusion, 
"Aren't all the presents at this age from Santa?"

Apparently not I am told . And this conundrum leads to the next: 

"If Santa brings all the presents can some presents arrive under the tree beforehand?"

"And if they do, how did they get there?" My answer today after putting a selection of gifts out was "Santa brings some in advance". And before you think this was a question from an extremely astute three year old, I was answering to an adult. Effing hell this is complex and not at all the fun thing I thought it would be. 

How can you have a tree sit there for four weeks without any presents under it? 

If Santa only delivers on Christmas Eve the tree looks complete for all of about 6 hours when everyone is asleep and about the five minutes I know it will take a 2 and 3 year old to rip every present into a pile of paper that could fuel a small power station for a week.

So here I sit with three sleeps to go thinking I can't wait for the phase where the now blissfully ignorant Mr 2 & 3 start to go through the logistics themselves and ask questions like: 
"How is Santa in so many places at the same time?" 

Which I remember distinctly quizzing my parents about, their answer was that all the different shop Santas that you see, sometimes in one shopping trip, are not really Santa, they are his helpers...WTF! Even back then it didn't quite make sense and sparked the beginning of the end of my belief in the big red man. 

What ridiculous stupidity have you blurted out this year in the name of keeping the reindeer flying?

And more importantly what the hell are the real rules of this big fun red lie?


Monday, 29 October 2012

Two boys and a vasectomy

My old man's little fellas had a bit of augmentation last week. Not so much in the cosmetic sense...let's just say the lid is now firmly shut on our current family size of four. It is quite surreal now to think that we have taken such an extreme measure to ensure we have no more children and it might be enough to give someone pause... that is until they hear about the week we all had after the op. 


The Friday was like a trip into the twilight zone especially for my hubby, who elected for a full general for the procedure. Deadlines, meeting times, ETAs don't exist on Hospital Planet, instead an unusual and completely incomprehensible set of rules somehow maintain a steady flow of humans being cut open, sewn back up and booted out of vinyl recovery recliners all in one day. So upon rushing around like mad people to get the munchkins packed off to kindy in time to arrive at hospital by 8.30am, we were met with the strange and quite annoying reality that we could have arrived three hours later and still been there an hour earlier than the operation start time. 

But Friday was not really the issue, as thankfully punctuality and surgical skills are not mutually exclusive, it was the days that followed. Hubby was out for the count, walking around like John Wayne on the odd occasion he made it out of bed, in addition to making a meal of most of the bathroom when he tried to aim at the toilet. What was sanity-threatening was not the mess, the mayhem or Crash dragging Bang headfirst off the top of the cubby house, but the relentlessness. Not being able to say to another adult "Ok your turn, need a break" was killing me. Every nappy, spill, fight, night terror, bath, meal, wee, walk, playground, accident, smoothie, pick-up/drop-off was mine for what turned out to be seven days. 

This is the point where I say "Single parents...oh my effing god, you deserve a medal, a knighthood, a bloody huge lotto win... I don't know but something big and massively rewarding!" After two days of complete shit in the metaphorical sense and one round of real shit from one of our numerous park adventures, I was losing my mind. 

Hubby just laughed as he watched me slowly go down hill, which then made him double over in pain, which then made me laugh. It was a cycle of hilarity at someone else's expense and karma that went on for days. It was probably only fair that I suffered too given what he'd just done for us. Think about it, he had let someone cut open his crown jewels and potter around in there, endangering a lot of what makes him a man. Even Master 3 was sympathetic "Daddy can't come swimming with me cause he has a sore willy" he told the street from our front balcony.

On night six as we both fell into bed, broken in our own special ways, hubby said "who'd have thought getting the snip would be easier than looking after the munchkins by yourself", "I know" I shrilled with relief at his acknowledgement. Before our laughter could reach hysteria we had both passed out, but not before both feeling even more convinced that two little monkeys were quite enough for us and that the Snip was worth every groan and giggle it had caused. 

Has your hubby had the SNIP? 

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!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The toddler force! Darth Vader's never been so popular.


I love this ad, you've probably seen it as it played during the Superbowl. I think its success is in showing the simplicity of a child's imagination and the joy of surprising them. I'm so glad I still have this phase of my boys to look forward to. 



Bang is just reaching this stage at 3, he told me he was four yesterday and that he turned four when he had a batman cake. The thing is he's 3 and has never had a batman cake. But that's toddlers, their minds are not as logical as they may be at some stage but they are cuter and funnier than they'll ever be and it is so fun to watch and a real privilege to be a party to their machinations. 

Enjoy every minute!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Minor toddler surgery, Major Mummy meltdown

Pre and post-op, or you could say blissfully ignorant and not so.
The sun was still asleep as I woke Bang on Friday morning at 6am. Clutching his beloved blankie with one hand, and with the other warming my own, he followed me down a dark path we'd both never seen before to automatic doors into fluorescent lights. 

The nurse, used to early mornings, was alert and kind in the face of our vagueness. Bang was being brilliantly brave despite telling me the day before he didn't want to go to hospital. 

I filled out the necessary paperwork, signed that I didn't mind them deducting lots of money from my credit card if need be and we were on our way to the waiting room with TV and toys! I knew that this operation was minor and very likely to improve Bang's quality of life. His ears were blocked with fluid and had been for months since the last ear infection, and his hearing was at about 60% of where it should be. 

But there is no escaping the feeling of betrayal as you lull him into a false sense of security, with smiles and half truths. That feeling reached a crescendo as I lay him on the operating table and sang to him as a mask was forced on to his face. His eyes darted from the massive operating light back to my forced smile that existed in opposition to my arms holding his still. 

"1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive, 6,7,8,9,10 then I let him go again, why did you let him go, because he bit my finger so, which finger did he bite? this little finger on my right" floated in the space between us as his eyes went bloodshot and filled with tears moments before the anesthetic took him away. The doctor singsonged "don't worry we'll bring him back", my smile was displaced suddenly with all seriousness "You better" I almost threatened. 

Through tears I tried to understand the instructions that would have me back in the waiting room, "your shoe covers here, and your hat and gown, through the double doors, use the exit button on the right and then turn left." By the time I saw my husband through glass I was a mess, demolished at the thought of leaving him with strangers who had his small, trusting life in their hands. As I buried my face in my husbands hug all I could remember was him lying on the hard metal table, no pillow under his head and the anesthetists hand holding the mask roughly on his tilted perfect face, his body limp, unknowingly lead to a place where a surgeon would operate on him.

Half an hour later the same surgeon was in front of us with a reassuring smile, and good news. Bang's ears had been full of fluid which he drained before putting in grommets and cutting away his adenoids. Winter would be a lot more pleasant for our little man, not to mention a lot louder.

Lucky for us the surgeon was a lovely, kind man and the surgery was as minor as you can really get. It didn't make seeing him after the surgery writhing around disoriented and confused by all the drugs any easier. I wondered if his subconscious would remember his misplaced trust as he arched his back and yelled out against the world. Half an hour later he was asleep in my arms and three hours later, two more than both the other patients, he was awake and happily devouring sandwiches and a neon-coloured tub of jelly. The blood in his ear the only sign that something was amiss.

And when we asked him "Can you hear better punky?" A huge smile and a resounding "YES!" made me realise it was worth all my angst and his discomfort to get to this better place. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I hope I apply it to the larger decisions I am sure will come.... but for now I'm just happy he is back in my arms and no where near sharp metal instruments and gases that mysteriously send him unconscious and temporarily mad. 

Has your child had surgery? Were you worse off than they were?


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

One frozen nappy short of a picnic

The fåecal collection kit that will never see fåecal in it's life (also here so you won't see fåecal either!)
I was at a business lunch on Friday and luckily for me there were a few other parents there along with my long-suffering Gen-Y team. Long-suffering because I think with all the spew, poo and "I got woken up at 2 and 5am last night" stories I have single-handedly turned them all into life long DINKs, with the emphasis on the No Kids part. Unfortunately for them though with parents of toddlers at the table conversation was quick to take a turn towards smearing, screaming and the grey film of sleep deprivation again. So it was no surprise that it came to light that only last week, along with dragging my 20month old to the doctor for the umpteenth time since he joined the ranks of the nursery room at kindy, I also had in hand three frozen nappies. 

Hold the phone, even the other parents stopped at this, while one non-parent started to gag,  "Frozen?" one Dad quizzed, "next to the frozen peas?"
"Yes" I answered as I began to see how mental this all sounded, "but in double-zip-locked bags" I offered logically and of course hygienically.
"Oh well that's alright then" another Mum answered, with only a slight hint of skepticism in her eye.  

 At this point I felt compelled to try and explain why I had not one but three nappies in my freezer, next to the other food "that was also wrapped in plastic" but everyone including me was giggling so much at this point that it was hard to get the words out without ending up with wine snorting out of nostrils. In any case, not one to give up easily I stuttered out "You don't understand.....*chortle*..... the desperation ...*snigger*...all these bloody 'nothing we can do about it'  viruses incite in parents." At which point the parents at the table did nod their heads, or maybe it was just the laughter causing increased vibrations. 

Anyway they must have agreed because then the faeces sample kit was brought up by another mother and the utter ridiculousness that you have to get six in a row, without urine at which point I shrilled like a deranged lunatic just let out of the asylum only to meet some fellow inmates on the street, "and somehow get it in the container and back to the surgery fresh so they can detect anything!" Commiseration noises and rigourous nodding ensued at this point, except from the 20-somethings, one of whom had excused herself to the bathroom. "And they wonder why I turn up with frozen poo!"

"Serves them right" said another parent, "Absolutely" I agreed "and they did cop it because when I opened that bag, the smell almost knocked the GP to the ground, not even freezing was gonna stop what had obviously taken on a whole life of it's own. But she got her own back, she wouldn't use the frozen poo for testing!". "No we need a fresh one, so get it back to us as soon as possible after he's gone", she calmly stated. "No problem" person who obviously has not yet had children, because all mother's do all day is chase a toddler around with a plastic container under it's bum waiting to catch poo, just so they can then jump in the car, without taking 40 minutes getting the toddler ready to leave the house, and get immediately to the doctor's surgery." 

By the time our over-sharing was complete even us parents were exhausted and we declined coffee to get back to an existence, that for a few hours at least, would be excrement-free. 

What have u done that has made u stop & think
"It's official Motherhood has made me a complete loon"?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Danger: Toddlers! (5 injuries to expect from your children)


Other than the horror stories that you hear before you give birth, there are injuries that will occur that no one really warns you about. And a million kegals a day won't spare you unfortunately. I am a Mum to two toddlers so this list can only get more extensive I'd imagine as they get older. But for now by three you should expect these five injuries at the very least. 

1. Regular Random Bruising 
Whether it is a plastic golf club to the head or a hard plastic dinosaur tail stabbed into your leg - you are going to find yourself bruised and battered by your bundle of joy sooner rather than later. And their laughter at your screams of pain only adds to the adventure of it all. 

2. Temporary Blindness
I can't remember ever having being poked in the eye before, but Bang changed all that with his little seemingly ineffectual forefinger which he accidentally shoved in my eye. This very effective and razor sharp mini-weapon sent me racing to the bathroom to see whether my eye was bleeding or scratched, because I was in agony. All worked out well and I can still see despite not requiring hospitalisation.  

3. Broken Heart
If I heard a baby cry pre-parenthood I used to curse it's existence and that of it's obviously inept parent who would allow such out-of-control behaviour in public no less. But that all changes once you have a little munchkin of your own. Now when you hear any child cry, especially your own (which happens, by the way, whether you are Mother of the Year or not) you will have a mini-nervous breakdown. For me my heart wrenches and my stomach turns with empathy and an insane drive to comfort them. Luckily the heartbreak is equally matched by heartbursts, phew!

4. Head Butts and Fat Lips
My first fat lip was caused by a 7month old, yes they are little but boy do their heads weigh a lot and at full flight easily make an adult lip bleed. And if you are lucky enough to escape with your tooth not protruding through your cheek then you will probably end up seeing stars as they catch you on the forehead or nearly break your cheekbone. I've been lucky enough to have all three happen - although not all on the same day. 

5. Pride Impairment
When you used to control your world down to the last eyelash, you took pride in your appearance, decorum and ability. Then you meet a very small human, who, not content with near destruction of your ladybits, quickly goes on to level the whole structure of your predictable world. You are now a person who is often covered in someone's bodily fluids. Breast milk, projectile poo or spew and drool are often your new hair styling products and the grey film of sleep deprivation just adds to the makeover. Add the wirefree bras and trackies and the look is complete. But before you confuse yourself with the local vagrant, remember a homeless person wouldn't be stupid enough to trip over a slippery dip backwards or almost knock themselves out climbing up to save their infant at the local playground (remembering metal bars are placed at toddler height would have been useful). Two short years from birth, no semblance of pride left^

Every one says get plenty of sleep before you give birth - as if it is somehow cumulative by nature - and yes sleep deprivation is an ugly injury I have reserved whole posts for instead of including here. But I say before you give birth think about buying some protective clothing, bruise cream, an industrial first aid kit and a CPR poster. Oh and most important, get a therapist on speed dial!

If you just have or are about to give birth, the saying "no use crying over spilt milk" has never been more useful only the milk is more likely to be baths of poo, buckets of spew or pumpkin wall art...and ironically somewhere deep in your now newly demented soul you will love it!



^Pride other than in them of course and every first they accomplish, every sound they utter, every smile, giggle... shall I go on.....

Sunday, 8 April 2012

3 Reasons NOT to have children?

Suburban residents look on as a gypsy family move on to their nature strip!
Last night I was videoing singing and dancing blue rabbits (as you do) without a care in the world, today I am sitting on the side of a road somewhere between home and the central coast wiping spew off a distraught toddler.

I'm not sure whether this was in the part of the hand book I chose not to read or maybe we are just "special" but "what the f*^k!!!!!!!!"

Look I don't want to put anyone off having kids and I can't actually imagine my life without my two inexplicably beautiful boys but I really do now understand why some people choose not to have children. I mean really all they are saying is "I like the idea of not being spewed, shat or pissed on".

As I continue another two hours in a car that smells so putrid I'm thinking of adding some of my own bile to the floor mats, I try and laugh. Life is absurd at the best of times but just when you think you've seen it all you glance at a toddler weeing next to a footpath, a husband working his way through a packet of wipes on a car seat, a smelly but surprisingly chipper creature cooing in your lap and a concerned old sticky peak one eye on us the other on the phone book as she looks up the number for DOCS!

The old lady and her beady eyes did it - she made me laugh. Now I just hope I can stop before it turns into blubbering hysteria that signals a need for a stay in a white room that happens to have padded walls... Mmmmnn comfy.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Problem with Mortality: Jim Stynes gone at 45

On the day of Jim Stynes state funeral an edited version of this post was published in the Tele

"All those moments lost in time...like tears in rain...time to die"
BladeRunner 1982


I’m not in to watching sport, in fact when my husband turns it on, daily that is, I go kind of mental and loudly threaten a 24 hour Jane Austen marathon until he changes the channel. But tonight the not so random Fox Sports channel specifically selected to watch a dedication to AFL legend Jim Stynes sent me a different kind of crazy. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I took in the loss of an obviously great man with a rare mix of humility, drive and amazing character. My heart broke as I imagined his wife and children facing a future without what was obviously the backbone of their reality gone. And as I saw the helplessness we all share when the enemy of our time rears it’s ugly head, to cut short another young life at only 45, it was almost too much.

Last year Sarah Watt died of Cancer, a month before her, Steve Jobs, weeks before that Gavin Larkin, a few months before that my cousin, and the list goes on like a morbid game of Chinese Whispers that leaves only grief and sadness in its wake.

We are surrounded by death, a day does not go by in which we are not confronted by mortality. Whether it be a car accident, a suicide bomb or an illness, the TV beams it to us daily. Not surprising really, given over 150,000 people die each day. What is surprising though is how we manage to ignore it, mainly because it is not our own and for years and hopefully whole life times we carve a path through life without looking death squarely in the eye. We live as if immortal.

Even when my Mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer I managed to shelve the situation in the “she’ll be right” category of my brain and luckily she was. Today though my delusion is showing cracks and I don’t know whether it is maturity or just that the people threatened and dying now are peers, but my "eternal" existence is being challenged.

Jim, Steve and Sarah had children, so have I, they were happy, so am I, they were in their 40s, so am I, they were needed, so am I. There it is, the unfamiliar face of death taking someone my age, at my stage of life. It is despicable, wrong and absurd. But most of all it is insanely confronting.

It is an understatement to say I am not happy about this happening. The injustice of it is driving me quietly mad. I am sad and angry and desperate at this interruption to such brilliant existences. “It is NOT fair! this is not how it is meant to be” I scream as I try to return death back to its abstract box, miles away from me. But as I spin hopelessly in my new world without infinity, I realise I need a new way to look at this or I would be of no use to anybody.

Then I remembered what I had heard last year. When it became apparent that Steve Jobs was gravely ill, I watched his speech to Stanford graduates. It left me a blubbering mess then and compelled me to write about his life, but his words were like oxygen for those grieving his loss after he died and I so I share them again as we grieve again today for Jim Stynes:

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…”
Steve Jobs, 2005

And when Jim Stynes was asked whether he thought what was happening to him was incredibly unjust he responded: 

“Life throws up challenges, life is unfair.
When you understand that, you can get on with your life”. 
Jim Stynes, 2010



He also admitted to being too busy to get a sizable lump on his back checked despite his wife urging him to go to the Doctor. Sound familiar? “Living” does gets in the way of life and if on the day we die we want to look back without regret, listening to those that have at last faced their own mortality is key. 

So maybe instead of seeing a seething monster when death reminds us it exists, we need to see a motivator with a light shining through our material and superficial trappings to our soul and heart. A filter that tears away the unimportant and uncovers what it is we want from our very finite life. 

Unfortunately these inspirational and wise words can’t reduce the intense pain of losing someone we love or the thought of our own self ceasing. But maybe if we accepted that one day our spirit will end with one final synapse firing in our brain. Maybe then and only then would we truly learn how to live, grateful for the things that matter, and looking for ways to find inner happiness and share it with those we love.

When life gets in the way and I forget what really matters I am going to stop and remember the great ones that don’t have the chances I have, to cherish their gorgeous family and friends and to stop sometimes and just be.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam Jim Stynes

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

PARENT LOSES WILL-TO-LIVE AT INDOOR PLAY CENTRE

When I was a child-free, busy career-woman waking up to the sprinkling of rain on a weekend was kind of romantic and the perfect excuse to stay in bed longer. The worst that could happen is a picnic or BBQ would need to be moved undercover, but to be honest I wasn’t really rolling in picnic invitations. In fact most weekends I was suffering from at least a minor hangover, so really the world could have frozen over outside and as long as I had a doona I’d be happy.




Then two tenacious little wriggly things changed all that when they found their way through the perils of my uterean landscape into ovum heaven. Rain on a weekend now means only one thing and it is no longer a nice warm lie in, it in no way resembles a snuggle as you drift between hazy consciousness and la-la-land, and it causes worse brain damage than any amount of alcohol consumption. ‘IT’ is the INDOOR PLAY CENTRE.

Three simple words that in isolation are all quite innocuous, they could even be seen as quite positive, but when combined in this particular order contain the power to strike fear into the hearts of the brave, reduce the stoic to cowering messes of tears and transform the cool, calm and collected to hot, bothered and berserk.

Funnily enough the truth of this doesn’t prevent desperate parents from once again venturing into the fray at the slightest hint of rain. For some reason the last memory of play-centre insanity is overshadowed by the more recent hell raised by two trapped banshees, I mean boys, in the space formerly recognised as the home. Which, after a morning of rain, is easily mistaken for a small landfill site. And letting them loose in a ball-filled pit of despair seems like the better option to living in a tip for a day…until you arrive.

The noise itself, something akin to the screams of a thousand cats being strangled, would send any normal person running in the opposite direction, but to a parent on a rainy day, they stay the course, wildly hanging on to the hope that this time, despite blood pouring from their ears, it will be fun for all.

It really isn’t until you are through the door and you lose sight of one child in the multi-level tunnels, nets and padded shapes and the other disappears under a rainbow of germ-infested plastic balls that the horror returns and you realise the error of your ways. By then it is too late to retreat as your hell, is your children’s idea of the most fun they have ever had in their whole life.

On this particular morning I looked jealously at parents sitting at tables, relaxed with coffees, smug in the knowledge they can leave there over-four year old to fend for themselves, which is code for my child is now big enough to run into, push over, throw balls at everyone else’s children. Conversely I removed my shoes and ran around on padded vinyl, batting big kids out of the way and diverting incoming missiles as my 16 month old giggled his way through mazes and ball pits. My only consolation was knowing my hubby was currently squeezing himself through a wobbling, netted tunnel three levels above the ground in an effort to keep sight of our 2 year old, who was about to disappear into a mess of mangled bodies hurtling themselves down a 30ft slide on hessian bags.



Don't be fooled by the pretty colours and cute monkeys...this is HELL on earth.
There is always an island of respite with a sign above it stating, “under fours only”. Again a glimmer of hope returns as you drag your child towards the single level, fenced in, near empty toddler area, and almost hysterically sell-in the excitement of what is obviously the most boring area in the centre, even a dirty cup off the floor is more captivating, because god-forbid you could be allowed to relax for more than 5 seconds. Their sudden possession by the spirit of hell drawing them back to the rampaging levels of mayhem drives you back through the gate to hell again. And you watch as they head, giggling for certain injury.

We escaped this time with only a four year jumping on our 16 month old’s head from height no less, but xrays were not required, and other than the obligatory “Damien” impersonations as we try to extract our little energy balls from their extremely fun “pinball machine”, we escaped with our lives only just. But I know I left about ten years of my life in there and if I ever consider going again I require you to smack me in the head with a large shovel.


 ©2012, My IdeaLife, 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?
 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

MUMMY'S FUNKY FRIDAY: Fly through the air

Carrie clearing her head on a Trapeze near New York. Image copyright: HBO.com
It seems that Summer’s coming twice this year after a return to Winter over the last week. When the 5 days of clouds parted today I put my scarf and boots away again (I hope for the last time this year) and breathed a huge sigh of relief. The warmth reminded me again that getting out in to the fresh air is like therapy for everyone, especially couped up toddlers going stir crazy, while their Mums lose their mind.

There are a few ways to stave off rainy week insanity, one is of course to read this blog, two is spend a small fortune on a mental health professional and a third is to do something daring you normally wouldn’t do. This Funky Friday why not show Carrie Bradshaw up and fly on a Trapeze.

The Sydney Trapeze School has set up its' outdoor trapeze rig in the Brazilian Fields of Centennial Park and are there until Sunday February 19. But wait for it, they have Mums and Bubs classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:15am-12:15pm! 
The cost seems to be around the $55 mark for one session.

Nothing like hanging upside down, flying through the air and falling on your head to clear the damage a week of crying and whinging has done to you, and it may stop the kids screaming too or at least turn them into squeals of delight.

Don’t worry if you are not in Sydney there are outdoor trapeze setups all over Australia, here are some links to start you off. 



Go fly!


Monday, 14 November 2011

YOU SCREAM, I SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM...

The innocuous source of pure mayhem

I have two boys, now 2-and-a-half and 14 months, commonly known as Bang and Crash. By all accounts things are getting a little easier as Bang can now tell us off pre-tantrum so at least we know why he’s about to turn into a writhing hyena and Crash is walking about and therefore not living up to his namesake as much. (He also happens to tell us off but luckily incy wincy still works a treat on him). 
  
One way I’ve noticed to get them both going in tandem is to offer to buy them ice cream. Now you would think this would be a cause for great excitement and joy in their young minds. And yes there is some of that, but only if you purchase the ice cream in a certain way. Yesterday we did not follow the Toddler's guide to Toddlers rule on purchasing ice cream and we copped an earful as a result.


RULE No. 173: DOGS, CHIPS & SLIPPERY DIPS ARE FUN
We had just been to a park to eat Fish and Chips and watched doggies of all shapes and sizes chase balls into the water. Crash even tried to have a go and managed to nab a particularly wet Labrador’s ball. Luckily the dog didn’t mind as he was more interested in the chip buried deep in Crash’s little fist. To the dog’s dismay Crash ended up with both until I wrenched the dripping ball from his hand and apologetically returned it (always nice to mix some dog saliva with your meal).
  

To extricate the boys from the park my Husband’s standard manoeuvre is to bribe them with a smoothie. This night though he strayed from his usual and offered ice cream (mainly because he wanted gelato for himself!). Bang was so fast off a slide I may have muttered under my breath “Good one daddy” and off we went, smug in how well we mustered toddlers.


RULE No. 68: STATIONARY CARS ARE NOT FUN
It may have been over-confidence, or a lack of thought, but our grand plan of a fun afternoon quickly evaporated into duelling banshees. You see we didn’t take them in to the Ice Cream shop, I stayed with them in the car while my hubby went in. First mistake. They lasted for about 30secs before the whining started, and then some full-blown screaming ensued. I would have paid a digger driver to roll past at this point but instead I screamed “Stop screaming!” I know, I know, it makes things worse but I had silence from their shock for about another 30 seconds and I needed that silence. I was tired and disappointed that all the points we deserved for the chips and the doggies and the slippery dips suddenly didn’t count because they were in a stationary car for more than a minute.

RULE No. 235: WHITE ICE CREAM IS EVEN LESS FUN
Second mistake, hubby forgot to take his phone that I was calling to make sure he got Bang a pink ice cream. On the appearance of a white one, you’d think we had grabbed the child and broke both his arms. “I don’t want a white one, pink one, pink, No, not white one, Noooooooo” was just comprehensible as it came out all dramatic and high-pitched from a collapsed and bubbling face strewn with tears and snot.
  

I know what you’re thinking. And yes we probably should have shoved the white one into his hands and said something along the lines of “You know there are children in Africa who don’t even know what ice cream is, they’re lucky to eat dirt for lunch!” But instead I told my hubby off for not having his phone and upon assessing the mayhem he quickly turned to go and get a PINK one.

RULE No. 4: DO NOT EVER WASH MY HAIR
I can safely say we lived happily ever after (if by ‘ever after’ you mean the 15 minutes until the next meltdown), because once the pink one materialised and the car started moving the hysteria subsided. And besides it’s difficult to moan when you’re using your mouth to move ice cream off a cone on to clothes and car seats. But don’t worry we don’t always pander to their every whim, that night we got them both back by washing their hair. That is definitely a no-no in the Toddler guidebook and we knew it - AH HA HAAAAAA



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved