My IdeaLife

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...

Monday, 15 August 2011

A very useful engine... for mental asylums

As I write my 11mth old (Crash) whimpers in his bed, as his brother (Bang) yells ‘Maarmmm’ ‘Maaarrmmm’. I sit here glued to my seat, scared that if I move I will transform into a seething, green monster that eats children that don’t sleep, or at least throws them out windows.

Before you run off and call DOCS* to have them farmed off to parents who are always calm, patient and kind, you know the ones that live in la la land, we only live in a single storey house, so at worst they’d get a broken arm. Ok so I’m not really going to throw them out a window despite having had the worst few months of my parenting life and being at the end of my proverbial tether. 

Most days the shinnanigans on the way to sleep would not bother me so much and to be fair I have been the kindest and most loving of parents at all hours over the last 48, but today I am working off all of 4 hours sleep after a second trip to Sydney Children’s Hospital in as many weeks and why, because I choose not to lock my children in a cupboard. Yes you read it right, a cupboard; a large, cozy, disease-free cupboard.

Instead I let them out in the fresh air, the beautiful, warm, fresh air, of course “fresh” in the sense it is teeming with millions of airborn viruses and bacteria. I let them go to playgrounds, I let them touch ride-on toys in shopping centres and I let them talk to other children. I therefore am destined to be dishing out anti-biotics, paracetamol, ibuprofen or more commonly a combination of all three, multiple times most nights for at least four years, apparently.

That’s right, I am on the infection train again. And it is a really useful engine but mainly for torturing children and sending parents insane. I can just see the Fat controller proudly stating it as another mother jumps in front of Percy, “Well done Thomas, you’ve driven another one to the brink, you are a really useful engine.” 
A mob try and take down Thomas Tonsilitis, they fail...
I’ve spent 18 months trying to get my boys off without us being run down by Percy but the sneaky little engines are always trailing after us and just when you think you are taking a step towards a healthy existence one of them rattles into Sodor station and picks you up again. It's enough to turn me permanently into Cranky the Crane Mummy!

Between them Bang and Crash have been on Henry hand foot and mouth three times, Emily ear infection six times, which lead to Fergus febrile convulsion and Gordon grommets giving us a whirl, Crash is currently on Thomas tonsillitis, while Bang is waiting for Neville nits to pick him up, which could happen this week according to an email from kindy, but our favourite is an untreatable ride on Fearless Freddie Flu, which we take at least once a month. And so as we don’t miss him while we’re on the other engines he leaves gooey green train tracks behind until he comes back. Thanks Freddie.

I don’t know the answer to all this misery, (masks, clean hands, tissues, actually taking carers leave?), I know they are going through hell to build an immune system but I think this post itself is testament to the extent of damage the infection train can inflict, all I hope is that in about three years time I will still have my marriage, my sanity and that my boys will be happy and well. Until then … we’ll be down the hills and round the bend with Thomas and his friends. 

Are you on the infection train? Maybe we could have a drink or twenty?


*Department of Child Services
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved. Thomas image copyright DB King

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Did you see some brain in that placenta?

I bring you again a topic close to my heart, or more accurately my head; Baby brain. It seems I am destined to suffer immeasurable vagueness and memory loss way past the time the experts say normal brain function will return, that is 6 months after birth. I’m going to take the liberty of forming an opinion based on no research whatsoever, and say you can multiple the 6 months by the number of children you have. By that calculation I should have my brain restored in around 6 weeks.

That is, if baby brain is what I am suffering from. All evidence points towards some grey matter removal so unless my brain has been eaten by Zombies or I accidentally gave birth to half a brain per baby, both very viable possibilities, I am hoping to not have a day like today again after September.

It wasn't as bad as this day from hell but how a simple grocery shop can epitomise your life would have been beyond me two years ago, but not now.

The slide downwards started in Coles funnily enough. Firstly at the cold meats counter where I kid you not the woman, although very taken with Crash, took a good 8 minutes to cut 8 slices of ham. It was like watching someone working in their sleep (maybe she was the zombie that stole my brain?)

The Coles red finger* pushed me down a little further when unbeknown I chose a checkout guy in training, again a nice person, but wanted my reassurance on every bag he packed ‘Is this too heavy Mam?’, ‘No it’s fine’ (subtext: less on the 'Mam' and more on the hurry the f**k up do you not hear this baby screaming). The final cost of the groceries again edged me a little lower as despite millions of dollars spent filming ridiculous *people holding huge red fingers while singing ‘down down prices are down’, my grocery bill has mysteriously increased by about 20%. No wonder people are putting bananas through the self-scan aisles as carrots^.

Instead I race to the car, pack my million dollar grocery haul all the while shoving very convenient healthy potato sticks into Crashes mouth to keep it otherwise occupied. I rolled into the garage at home with a big sigh of relief before loading myself up to the point where my hand was about to spontaneously drop off by the time we got to the front door. With Crash precariously balanced on one hip, I ferreted around for the keys, shuffling through the 8 or so that weren’t the front door key and then KAPOW!

My brain recalled a memory. You could say quite a key memory (pardon the really bad pun), a memory that would have best been recalled around 20 minutes earlier, (I use the word 'recall' quite liberally here as there's something about being locked out of your house with nine thousand bags of shopping and a ten month old that has a strong tendency to jog the memory). The house keys were with Mr Shu-fiks. who had two hours earlier cut me a second set that were patiently waiting for me along side the old set under the counter at the shopping centre.

I heard recently that swearing was not appreciated by all so you will have to just imagine the swear words that exited my mouth at that moment. And I’m not a big swearer, oh no that’s right I am, so think bogan-who-just-shot-himself-with-a-nail-gun-type swearing and you are about half way there. In any case Mr Shu-Fiks got a new name with the simple substitution of the letter U.

Anyway a second trip in the car for a tired and hungry baby plus a surprisingly content ten month old ended my daily woes and really were nothing a coffee, cup cake and a good collapse on the sofa couldn’t solve. But enough now with this baby brain shite - if I can remember my credit card number why on earth can't I recall picking up the keys that open the door to a building that contains shelter, warm cots and now quite a lot of expensive food? So until my brain returns it is online shopping, even with the old fruit and inflated prices, at least all I have to remember then is to be home when it arrives...oops.

"These things were sent to make for a good story try us” 


^Thank you Twitter, the source of all relevant information, specifically the hellishly informed @Mums_word
© My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.
Illustration not to be reproduced without express permission of the illustrator, contact info@myidealife.com.au for more information.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Pregnant with number two?

Losing their cot to a new baby may be the least of their worries...who really needs preparing when a second baby is coming? 


When I met Bang, my firstborn, I changed. In fact changed doesn’t really cut it – I should say I became a woman-possessed. I was terrified, sleep-deprived, euphoric and falling in love in a way I never had before, all at once. He was my delight and I was your typical first-time Mum – overawed and overwhelmed. 

So when I found out I was pregnant with my second child when my son was only 8 months old, my already very over-amped brain started to meltdown. Basically I freaked out emotionally, which initially resulted in a very tempestuous new year’s eve ‘date night’ with hubby, and ended with me plagued with guilt and panic. ‘How was I going to explain what was happening to such a young child? What affects would this have on him? He already has to deal with me working 4 days a week and now this? Will he understand how much I still love him when I’m nursing another baby?’

I searched for books that explained being a big brother, I let him feel my belly and told him a bub was growing in there, I minimized all change for him a month prior to birth. We followed all the great practical advice out there* to a tee, even down to buying him a present from the new bub.

But I still struggled, how was I going to explain to a toddler that Mummy is going away and when she comes back she’ll have a baby with her a lot of the time?

Our new baby arrived and when I came home all I could think about was seeing my eldest, my heart broke as this little person, still only a baby himself ran towards me laughing and crying in his relief at my long-awaited return. The sleep deprivation that followed, coupled with watching my toddler struggle to understand why Mummy would disappear for hours with the baby created this emotionally strung out state that I existed in for months. Marked by constant guilt about not spending enough time with either child or sadness because I missed the exclusive time I used to have with my first. All the preparation in the world was not going to help my little boy if his Mummy was a wreck.

The fact is no explanation can fully prepare a toddler for the arrival of a new baby, and worse still it is going to cause them some painful jealousy. Penelope Leach writes ‘Imagine how you'd feel, for instance, if your husband came home one day and cheerfully announced the news of a second wife to you: "I'm bringing home a new wife soon, darling, because I thought it'd be nice for you to have some company. By the way, I'll need you to be a 'big girl' and help me take care of my young bride."’^ When you think about it in that sense it is completely normal that your child will feel hurt and confused by the displacement a new baby causes. What is really surprising is it can have a similar affect on Mothers too, as was the case with me.

Luckily with more sleep and time, things have settled down for our near-instant family of four. Bang still gets cheesed off if he wants me and I’m stuck feeding or changing Crash, but I’m the one who is calmer, which in turn makes both boys more content and secure. I have got used to the idea of two children now and managed to do what all my friends said would happen, that is, find as much love for my second child as I did my first.

But it didn’t happen over night, it took about six months, and all I can think is it may have happened sooner if I had been more prepared. If I had known the extent of the upheaval a new baby would cause to everyone, not just my toddler, I may have been able to relax a little more because the chaos and turmoil that ensues is completely normal.

So although the practical tips are so worth following I think the best way to prepare your toddler is by preparing yourself. If the 3 hours sleep a night, their jealousy and your heartache are no surprise then you may fare better than I did at maintaining a calm and stable environment for your child, making for a happier transition. No mean feat really!



©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Friday, 5 August 2011

Twitopolis: speeches made at nnb2011 that weren’t on the agenda

It has been almost 7 days since Nuffnang Blogopolis occurred and I'm feeling a tad nostalgic, so I thought I would have one last hurrah to the old girl, but for those who weren't there and are sick of hearing about it, I promise this is the last post... 

The unsung heroes of a blogging conference are many and varied, but there is an incredibly difficult job that goes on behind the scenes that I would like to bring to light. That is, the words toiled over, misspelled, frantically typed in on a keypad all of two square inches, shortened and edited and reedited to fit within 140 characters. That very important job: the creation of the words in Twitter.

My obsession with Twitter is your garden variety addiction (you can read about that here). So when the three large screens started rolling tweets last week at Nuffnang Blogopolis in Melbourne I was like a junkie let loose in a Meth Lab. About 300 bloggers were tweeting incessantly, I mean listening intently to the presentations and sharing their thoughts live. It was a beautiful madness that took on a life of its own.

Seeing Twitter is less than ideal at retaining the brilliance, the hilarity, the beauty of the twitterverse I thought I’d immortalize my favourites here in no particular order:


Now this collection is SO limited so what would be amazing is if you, much more connected tweeps, shared your favourites from #nnb2011 – let’s keep the beast alive...well that is until the #blogher2011 tag takes over...


Checkout some other favourites from #nnb2011:
Here’s Nikki Parkinson’s favourites 
Here’s Donna Moritz’ top 10 retweetables

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Go away Mummy

Have flown back into the asylum that is motherhood and after two days basking in the sunlight, that is leg movement free of a cruising infant, I am surprised at how ecstatic I am to be here.

I loved my time away, no I don’t think you understand I LOVED it. I had a bath, I had not one but multiple conversations that were not punctuated with “Careful sweetie, no, stop…stop. BANG! stop hitting him on the head...” and I even got to have a dance that didn’t involve the Wiggles.

In short I got a healthy reminder of who I am as a human. Not a mother, not a wife, just a valuable individual and surprise, surprise, it made me happy! And I’m still happy, despite being exhausted and ever so slightly hung over.

My normal state is borderline miserable with bonus mental health days thrown in to keep the local psychologist busy. And despite her specifically telling me to take time for myself, basically to maintain my sanity, the two hours here and there I was getting only served to frustrate me. A shower, a tidy up, a cup of tea, and just when you've finished checking your email and drafted the first line of the blog post that will change the world, the time would abruptly end with “waaaahhhhh” (and yes the baby would be crying as well). 

Having now been given* around 53 hours in a row to myself I feel like a sumo wrestler has been lifted off my shoulders. I actually wanted to spend time with my children today, and my husband got a look in as well [very rare!]. All the while I didn’t nag, or criticise or lash out, I even did chores without a second thought. I was the me that I’d forgotten existed, the me I dreamed about being. Who knew that it was just sitting there, raring to crack a smile as soon as I got a break?

I’ve heard the saying ‘Happy wife, happy life’, I’ve listened to the wise words of so many saying “the best thing for children is a Happy Mummy”, and I’ve lamented my own elusive happiness while berating myself for not being able to just be happy and get on with it.

All I can say is if 2 days can generate this amount of joy in one grumpy mummy, go away, leave the kids with your partner, your parents, a nanny, the dog, whoever but just give yourself a break. I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t talk yourself out of it with fear or martyr complexes; go away. You deserve it, you need it and your family will thank you for it. 
 
I just hope my 2 year old doesn’t start pushing me out the door when he’s had enough,
“Go away Mummy. Go away. And come back happy” 



*Honorable mention has to go to my desperate to be living with a happy person generous husband
who pushed me to take a break, and as a result lost a weekend himself, thank you xxx
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Blogopolipsed: my ten most memorable moments

I just got back from an amazing day dedicated to all things blogging: Nuffnang's Blogopolis in Melbourne. As you can see by my archives I’ve been blogging for only five months, so I’m a rookie at all this palava, but new or seasoned, you couldn’t help but be inspired by the amazing line up of speakers. And by amazing I don’t just mean being able to present to 300 people looking down at their smart phones.

To get the full picture Bree from TheBlogStylist published notes live from the event. For a snapshot of a woman’s escape from the asylum and what freedom taught her click here. And for my Blogopolis most inspiring moments, well they’re right here.

1. Childhood 101 “blog your own race”

2. LadyMelbourne “Full time bloggers don’t live off air.”

3. Andrew Hughes “Where’s Glowless? You have the best media kit, better than some media publications” Glowless nearly passes out from modesty or lack of oxygen (was suffering a slight allergic reaction at the time) hard to tell

4. StylingYou “Make us laugh, cry, think. Give us an insight into your life”

5. “Tweets happen” Problogger

6. ProBlogger encouraging us to listen to his insightful son "make sure you tell [the world] something important" 

7. Edenland so inspiring. All I hear is “just f**king do it man” between every line. That was before she broke the microphone presumedly to have the last word
Isn't he beautiful? his son's pretty cute too
*At drinks*
8. FrillyHills “write as if you’re talking to a girlfriend you really like in your living room”
9. MagnetoBoldtoo “I'm not a biatch, I’m THE biatch”
10. One drunken exchange between two bloggers to remain anonymous.
A. You don't follow me, you know that don't you?
B. No, I'm sure I do, No...
A. You don't and you know it's fine, you follow like 1200 people and I'm not one of them, you know it sorta shits me, 1200 people and I'm not one of them
B. Sorry love, let me correc...
A. No. No. I'm not saying it so you'll follow me, I don't want you to follow me just because I said
B. No I want to follow you
A. No, don't, that's not why I said it
B. Love let me follow you *frantically searching iphone*
A. No, please don't, I don't want you to
Me. Ok there's only one way to solve this: block her
B. Yes perfect, wait just let me follow you first, then you can block my ar5e
A. Good, done, hurry up then


Love love loved my first blogger lovefest, thanks for making this rookie feel welcome! 



©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Friday, 29 July 2011

Good Mum Bad Mum Good Mum...

Sometimes when you cry I find it threatening 
Sometimes when I can’t comfort you I feel a failure

Other times I understand and am calm 
Other times I know you’re anguish is not my fault

Sometimes when I can’t stop your pain it hurts me so much I panic 
Sometimes when you need me most I want to run away 

Other times I gather you up in a cuddle and cocoon you 
Other times I know what you want even before you do

Sometimes when your tiredness turns to groans it’s easier to get angry than put you to bed
Sometimes when you’re hysterical I leave you alone because my tension makes you worse 

Other times I listen until I understand your new words 
Other times I read and play and run and jump for hours and hours

Sometimes you’ll be doing nothing wrong, and I’ll assume the worst
Sometimes you'll be talking and I'll be distracted by doing, going, achieving

Other times I'll be patient and hear every word
Other times I'll explain why, as you deserve to understand the course of your own life 


Sometimes you're innocent and I'm damaged
Sometimes I’m a two year old too and barely manage 

What I didn't know then was that birth is the least shocking part of Motherhood
All the time I love you so much it hurts and I know I fail you sometimes, but I’m working so hard at being the grown up more times so I can always be your trusted guide, your calm in the storm and the one person that will never question the validity of you. 

Dedicated to my darlings: Bang and Crash


*Bang, my 2 year old son & Crash, my 10mth old son
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The distance between us [not quite wordless wednesday]


One day sooner than I hope these little feet will be larger than mine. 

So until then I cradle him in my arms, I balance him on my legs, I catch him if he falls and encourage him to fly. 


 © My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Friday, 22 July 2011

How to cope with separation anxiety...or not really

There’s something deeply disturbing about your two year old son waking in the middle of the night crying hysterically “I want my Mamma…Mamma…my Mamma… Mamma, I want Mamma.” Especially when you are his mamma and you’re hugging him at the time. And it’s not just in a whiney annoying voice, he makes this dramatic sound that seems to plumb the depths of despair. The type of cry you’d expect from whichever child Sophie didn’t choose*.

I know this is probably ‘night terrors’ but it should be called ‘how-to-kick-an already-neurotic-mum-when-she’s-down’ terrors. Knowing this doesn’t stop me worrying. In fact a Toy Story incident has sent me into a minor panic.

We have been watching more than a bit of Toy Story 3, or as it’s more commonly known as here ‘the garbage truck one’. At bedtime we were reading the book, (because of course we have to have a book, a sticker book, the movie and every other accessory we can find) when we got to the page where Andy drives off to college and the toys look longingly after him, Bang said “Bye Mama”.
"So long Partner Mama" What the?
My heart sank. 

My head screamed “why does he think I’m going to leave him, have left him, am going away, any of the above?” 

So I went to discuss it with my hubby, mainly because my 10mth old can’t really talk yet, and he said what he always says. And I’m not exaggerating, no matter what I’m asking he has one standard answer. I could be saying “Someone emailed me today and said they’re thinking of coming over and stabbing me to death with a fork”, and he would say “Don’t worry about it, you’re probably reading too much into it”. So I explained the situation and he said “Don’t worry about it, you’re probably reading too much into it”. Funnily enough this didn't help.

So unfortunately this is not one of those posts that miraculously comes up with an amazing epiphany that gets researched by scientists and published in a famous journal and picked up by Reuters. That was last week’s post. Today I’m afraid to admit I am at a loss. I adore my eldest boy in an almost Oediphus kind a way (although if you read about Oedipus, it seems his marrying his Mum was all just a bit of a misunderstanding). Anyway Bang and I are tight, and we do spend a lot of quality time together, well at least from my perspective.

But somehow, whether it be an ever-present 10mth old stealing his books, trains and Mum; going to kindy three days a week or the one I’m trying not to think about; a sub-conscious vibe I give him because I’m selfishly starving for time to myself; he feels masses of separation anxiety at the moment. It’s probably a combination of all these factors but I hate it so much. What I want more than anything is for him to feel confident in my love as I know all too well the destructive affects of the alternative.

So Mums with more experience, less insanity or who listen to their husbands, if you have seen this and come out the other side and know it’s just a harmless phase that I shouldn’t worry about and read too much into, then please let me know. And if, like me, you are going through this I’m sorry I have no answers, just know there is another soppy mess bumbling through this emotional phase.


UPDATE: We watched Toy Story 3 again tonight for the 1374th time and during the dreaded scene he said as clear as day, "Not Mama, it's Andy" I breathed out and heartily agreed "Mama stays, she doesn't go anywhere".


*Sophie’s Choice is a movie I watched when I wasn’t a Mum and bawled incessantly throughout, for the sake of my sanity and my family’s happiness I refuse to watch it now I have children and would not recommend it to any Mums...unless maybe your children are teenagers.

©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved, Image of woody taken from the Movie Toy Story 3 and it is not intended to infer any copyright

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Phone hacking? Paaahhhh! The real reason behind the demise of News of the World

Although appearing like the machinations of a deeply disturbed and obviously deluded mind, sources revealed the real reasons The News of the World actually closed.

Revelations during recent hearings have shown that buckling pressure from a newcomer to the news arena was the truth behind the demise. The Mummy Bloggasylum Daily burst into existence only days prior to News of the World closing, such was its power and influence. With headline stories such as Offended by an Office Breast Pump and Kind, Bearded Christian Has Guitar, Story To Tell it’s no surprise this fledging publication has caused such a furore.



Rupert Murdoch is still talking about the forced demise stating only yesterday "This is the most humble day of my life…" While Nicole McInnes was gracious in her newly acquired Mogul status “I’m ecstatic at the launch of The Mummy Bloggasylum Daily, athough I had no intention of bringing down a paper of such standing, but I'm confident that at least some of those that lost jobs will find new employment within the burgeoning mobile phone industry.”
Fish globally replace News of the World with the
The Mummy Bloggasylum Daily as their wrapping of choice
Sources close to the editor have revealed that despite her public respect for the innocent caught up in the News of the World scandal, she has been heard laughing maniacally in her office. “As The Mummy Bloggasylum Daily takes the place of News of the World, as the preferred paper for fish and chip wrapping, fire starting or covering the homeless, Nicole has seemingly forgotten her humble roots”, a ‘friend’ who preferred to remain anonymous stated. Although they remain hopeful that all this fame hadn’t gone to her head, “there’s a talented writer in there…somewhere.”

HAVE YOUR SAY!
Do we live in a world where The News of the World and
The Mummy Bloggasylum Daily could have happily co-existed?


Friday, 15 July 2011

Lost in space?

Last night I had a conversation with my husband prompted by a day that can only be described as a long series of neurotic panic attacks. I had this ache in my stomach all day, and I felt as if every feeling I was having was scratched into my forehead. Of course there was no blood-dripping words appearing stigmata-like to the outside world, just the powerful mind sending a few signals awry and rendering me more than a little emotional.  

So from one grown up, apparently, to another I said: “I think I should just get.some.drugs.”
Hubby: Really? you think that would make a difference?
Me: Only if I take them with...I don't know, cooking sherry
H: That’d work. Except...you don’t cook
M: Well how can I cook when I'm oozing emotions like this, surely they'll infect the food with sadness like that girl in 'Like water for chocolate'
H: Like water for what?
M: Anyway I plan to be hovering somewhere above another planet that only works in slow motion and where everyone’s voice is two octaves lower than normal
H: what has a deep slow voice got to do with dinner?
M: Who cares about dinner when I’m going to transform into that space girl that seduces Dr. Smith in Lost in Space, you know the green one that seems permanently turned on?
H: well me for one, wait did you say 'turned on'...'permanently'? 
M: No, you must have misunderstood... 

So it was decided mainlining meds with whatever spirit I had in the cupboard was going to solve all my issues. I was going to be happy at last, all green and orgasmic. Yippee!

There was no medication involved here...none at all...

But until the correct drugs were obtained from a ‘medical practitioner’ I had to walk around oozing mush and goo and tears – it was ugly and then I had a shower; no, that was not the solution; but afterwards I looked in the mirror (for the first time in 24 hours obviously) and the answer was right in front of me, actually it was right on me blinking a warning signal from below my lip "Danger! Danger! Nicole is going to be mental today".
Humongous pus volcano fully explains near nervous breakdown

Call off the dogs (or at least the men in white suits with really large syringes)! this little discovery explained everything. I had PMS. Pre-Menstrual Stress. What a freaking euphemism it should be called Pre-menstrual ‘I’m-Going-to-Turn-Into-Someone-Best-In-an-Asylum-For-A-Day-Or-Two’, PMIGTISBIAFADOT for short. Pre-pregnancy or breastfeeding, that would be like three years ago, I always used to get a gigantic pimple a few days before my period. It was as certain as my hubby flicking to sports channels during the ad breaks of Glee, and it's regular occurrence made me feel, well, regular. Now with my trainer bra boobs these monthly blemishes are going to make me feel like the quintessential teenage 'dream'.

With sanity looming and the prospect of re-living my youth, I started mopping up my weeping wounds and got happy until I'm not again, probably in about a month...or maybe tomorrow...
 
What causes your mental health days?


© MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved. Athena remains the property of 'Lost in Space', unfortunately.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

One blind housewife

As I sit here on our dining table, lotus-style and all zen (not!), a small brown furry creature is likely working up the courage to scoot across the family room floor in search of cup cake crumbs. And I’m not talking about Bang, Crash or Boom* although you could be forgiven for thinking so.

It is with great shame that I admit this: we have a mouse. This little rodent that Bang will probably want to keep as a pet, embodies my complete failure as a homemaker or Tom our builder’s complete failure as a builder, neither of which comes as a great surprise.

What is surprising though is my reaction and the little guy’s speed. He really motors along, seemingly turbocharged by my screams. Before today I always laughed at people who were scared of mice. I had one as a pet and it was sweet, his ever-moving whiskers tickling me as he crawled around my neck and through my hair, and the only reason they were banned as pets now I’m a very tall child grown-up is they smell really, really bad. That single reason has now exploded into a thousand little reasons perfectly encapsulated in my ability to jump from comfortably seated to teetering on the sofa balancing the laptop. 

So with this sort of new found fear sparking mega-production of adrenaline you’d think I’d be brick in hand ready to squash my little Beatrix Potter friend into a meat patty, but no. Surprise number 2. – I don’t want to kill it, I don’t know whether to blame 'The Green Mile' or whether I’m just a life-loving creature at heart but all I can think is “I bet he has a little family waiting for him to bring home the bacon or in this case half a cup cake". So what to do? "What about opening the backdoors and mustering it cattle-style into the corral, that is our backyard?" I propose to my newly materialized hubby. Pretending once again that I hadn’t said anything, let alone screamed my head off, he says "Do you want me to go and buy traps?" I stared at him not knowing what to do, so he took my silence as a yes.

He returned with surprise number 3. Evidence of complete love, consideration and devotion in the form of humane traps!!!! This from a guy brought up on a farm! Actions therefore very worthy of an out-of-character show of affection and I was planning all sorts of tomfoolery when he pulled out the murderous kind as well, still hopeful I said "we can try these humane ones first and then those right?" Wrong. "I’m not risking a mouse running around while we're away, I’m putting out both."


I slumped back to my normal state of ho-hum and realized there was no point in fighting a country boy – I would just have to live in hope the little guy liked cheese more than peanut butter, the brown furry thing that is, the Beatrix potter character, the scurrying rodent, no I’m not talking about my hubby I would never refer to him as a Beatrix Potter character, I meant the mouse.



UPDATE: At last count all traps are empty, maybe the broom tunnel to the back door combined with Bang’s remote control helicopter and Thomas the tank engine worked? I hope so as the alternative is a toy story style takeover of our house in our absence yet this time the toys do poo – great! 

*Bang = our gorgeous 2 yr old, Crash = our cheeky 9 mth old, Boom = my long-suffering hubby

© MyIdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Invasion of the Boob-snatchers!

Before you think otherwise, I am a major proponent of breastfeeding – I loved it so much I got all sooky and nostalgic when my youngest decided to wean himself at 7 months. And besides there were some not-so-hidden benefits like we didn’t need to buy our baby a soccer ball, he had two AND he could eat from them – well only just (see below).
Baby gets a new flesh balloon to be swallowed by play with.
I was happy* with my new toys, as was my baby, and my husband, well he was, how would you put it? beside himself. Can you blame him? they were bigger than they’d ever been and useful too. Even my toddler found them amusing - so everyone was euphoric…that was until one day I woke up and they were gone. I am not exaggerating, D one day, trainer bra the next.

Now if I don’t wear a small crane with a hydraulic lift around every day I look like I’ve got two deflated balloons hanging down around my waist. Literally, the same wrinkles left from stretching around full blown mammary glands and the same sad droopy look, lamenting their former lofty glory defying gravity.

My hubby who is lucky if I turn up, let alone with fully inflated boobs and cleanly waxed and polished, sensitively broached the topic one night as I changed for bed, ‘What happened to your playstations? Look at them, they look like two fried eggs only not as firm.’ At this point he was laughing, that sort of schoolboy chortle you're more likely to hear directed at some poor kid in change rooms, when the other boys discover he’s still got no pubes or something. I, of course, abused him for being a dirty perv and quickly covered up, but the next day as I took in
my new pre-pubescent silhouette in private I did wonder, 'Where did they go?' and more to the point 'would they ever come back?' (without the help of Dr Plastic Fantastic that is). 
If your DD sized breasts are getting you down and you too
want to look like a pre-pubescent teenager this t-shirt will help
A few google searches later and a couple of corners I wish I hadn’t turned down, eek! I’d found my missing breasts. It seems the process of pregnancy and breastfeeding transforms the breast tissue from mainly fat to mainly mammary glands. It’s not all droop and flop – they do come back in part as gradually some fatty tissue returns and they look a little fuller than their post-weaning un-happy sack state.

Until that day my hubby is making the best of things having recovered from the initial shock. Only yesterday he said my little ones make him feel like he’s dating ‘a teenager’. I embraced this rare compliment, choosing to ignore the implication that I’m now married to a would-be cradle snatcher! Me? I am content that for my boob’s sake I have to eat chocolate and avoid the gym.


*euphemism for bloody ecstatic
© My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved, Two fried eggs t-shirt image remains the property of zazzle.com and cannot be reproduced.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Why did the 5ft Metal Chicken cross the equator?

(To meet his dwarf cousin the cow, of course)
If you can’t afford an airline ticket to America’s deep south so as to buy a five foot metal chicken then I've found something that may have you high-tailing it to my local farmers’ market.

Now before you get too excited I don’t think this item will excite enough people to crash a server, or cause someone to hack into Wikipedia but like The Bloggess’ hubby, it may make yours very happy and make him realise meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to him.

When I saw this I must have got a wild look in my eyes, as my husband’s filled with terror. Probably because he was scared I wouldn’t buy it for him. I reassured him “Don’t worry darling, I CAN buy this for your anniversary present as I only need to add a doily to it for the 8th”. His reaction was quite at odds with what I expected, so I just told him to shut up and hand me his smartphone. 

Anyway not wanting to cause a furore for the artist, let’s call her Butterfly, I’ve decided not to name the market where this exquisite expression of Butterfly’s current mental state at present resides. Those that really want to know – you know who you are, B. – re-tweet me everyday for a year and I’ll think about it. And don’t worry if you can’t afford $200, there’s always an equally art-gallery-worthy mouse (or rat? you can see it's lovely big ears in my perfectly composed shot above) for $100, although your hubby might get the wrong message with that one (‘cause he wouldn’t with the cow, the cow sends a perfectly clear message of devotion, love and bullish fantasy).


© 2011 My IdeaLife, All rights reserved

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Over the Moon or just on another planet?

When contemplating why a certain unnamed website would choose me over other potential candidates to write a guest post, I did what most women do and then instantly regret, I asked my husband. The exchange went something like:

Me: “It’s hard to describe isn’t it?”
Hubby (smirking): “Well not really…your point of difference is you walk around with a rocket up you’re butt”
Me: “You wish! I should have asked our 8mth old, his babble would’ve been more insightful.”

Welcome to my sophisticated life.
The irony of my husband’s tragic attempt at being funny and/or an r-rated porn star is that it got me thinking…no not about rear-ends but rockets. You see when I was a ‘child’ (really only six years ago) I wanted to be an astronaut. It wasn’t just the idea of flying through space, it was more the amazing feat of it; astronauts were simply superhuman. But what made my heart really long for NASA of Apollo 13 was the greatness humans can achieve when they work together towards a common goal. 

One superhuman feat surveys the moon.
 As an art director at the time, although I did achieve the advertising equivalent of spaceflight, there was no teamwork. So much so when the creative director got bored with doing nothing everyday while high, my beloved Cannes Lion^ also disappeared. Like most people’s reality, my working life was defined by people working against each other, while the one with the longest and hardest working tongue got what he wanted. So I was busy doing tongue stretches when…

I became a mother.
Look at it, such an innocuous little statement, short and simple. The truth is every time the phrase ‘became a mother’ is uttered there should be a universal sound effect like “dun dun doooouuunnnnn”, because it turns worlds upside-down, brains inside-out and bodies, well let’s just say zero-gravity would be useful. Basically being a mum requires years of superhuman feats and transforms your existence such that you may as well be blasted through space to another planet. Ok so I know that astronauts face G-forces that make it feel like a cow is sitting on their chest for 15mins, but try settling a screaming toddler for 4 hours straight on 3 hours sleep per night? I think even the wimpiest of men would prefer the cow.

The truth was I no longer needed to see the earth through a spaceship’s side window; I could see it in my son’s blue eyes. (SFX: a collective “oooaaawww”, no seriously if you saw those eyes you’d understand)

I used to NEED my career, I used to long for great heights of achievement within it and worst of all I used to think climbing the corporate ladder would make me whole. I was wrong, why, because now I’m an ambitionless, tracksuit wearing, naval gazer and happier than an ex-battery hen let loose on a free-range farm time has given me perspective.

Corporate tunnel-vision is gone and a big wide bottom life has replaced it, albeit with a long, strong tongue now only useful at parties. I’m not going to pretend I’ve had a brain transplant, and am now happy rolling in tulips with my boys and oh yes, playing with my kids too. I am still ambitious, I've just realised there’s more than one way to skin a cat*. I've also worked out that whatever I end up doing, that doing isn't the sum total of me-ness, there are other things that define me like skinning cats the weird stuff I say on twitter at 3am, (or given this post, on this blog during daylight hours *scary*).

Anyway at the moment life with my three boys; 8mths, 2 and 35yrs; and my blog beats hurtling through the atmosphere, driving a gold corvette and having a twitter handle like Astro_girl. For one thing being a Mum is unlikely to endanger my life which is a plus, (although my two year old recently practiced his new found skill for head butting on my cheekbone), and secondly I’d probably feel a little out of place in Houston with no PhD. (PhD’s in ‘how to avoid sitting in a poo bath with a toddler**’ don’t count)

At last I am over the moon.



P.S. The title of this post is a rhetorical question, although it's ok if you do answer it as I love all comments
^The advertising equivalent of an Oscar.
* Before you call the RSPCA I don’t really know many ways to skin a cat, in fact I don’t even know one way to skin a cat – this is probably my biggest issue. If I could skin a cat I may have found perspective when I was only a quarter of the way through my life but instead I am half way and all the cats I know still have their skin. The one that hacks up indescribable gunge on our side path has been asking for a skinning for months now so better get to it and I’ll at last be on my way to a happier life).
** This actually happened and I have yet to write a paper on avoidance strategies but I know it would contribute to the body of knowledge, just not the body anybody knows. 


© My IdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mummy #FAIL

The baby chokes
So Crash*, my 8 month old just choked on some bread crust that I shouldn’t have let him have and so as to save his own life he spewed all over himself, me and the floor. Now any normal person would put this incident down to experience and move on, doubtless not trying it again until the little chap could chew. Me well today I wasn’t normal.

Boom~ warned me not to give Crash the bread and I shrugged off his caution. He gave me that annoying look, you know the one your mother always gave you when you were a teenager. His face quite clearly stated, “you’ll see” as if he was this wise old man.

I secretly was a little worried when half the crust disappeared into Crash’s mouth and I tried to extract the offending piece with no luck and so the almighty spew. Boom came rushing in and kindly didn’t say ‘I told you so’ and took Crash away to clean him up as I mopped up the floors and myself.

Cloaked in chores
Dejected I raced to the laundry in search of chores to hide my shame in and found a load of washing that should have gone out an hour ago, yay! (You won’t see that very often, that is, me getting excited about washing). So off to the yard I go to dwell on my failure. I was in a deep tailspin and bracing myself for the lecture I was going to get from my “perfect” husband.


Empathy and husband in the same sentence – it’s a miracle!
But there was no lecture and then a rare moment of empathy that I was so grateful for I ended up crying while pegging up his undies. He even took some of the blame – this was mercy indeed and I knew I didn’t deserve it. Then I realized something that rarely occurs to me – maybe, just maybe, my husband really loves me????

You see my abnormality this particular day was being too hard on myself. If my hubby could forgive me, surely so could I? So I stopped and thought through why I was judging myself and I realized it was wrapped up in the pressure placed on women still to be these perfect earth mother, domestic goddess-types.

If cleanliness is next to godliness, I’m clearly destined for an eternity of flames

That’s not me, especially the domestic goddess part. To be fair being pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the last two-and-a-half years has probably exacerbated my sub-standard approach to home management, but as my Mum will tell you I’ve never been a fan.

It’s ok!
But tonight I’m done with feeling guilty for just being imperfect me. From now on my new favourite phrase is going to be: “It’s ok!” It’s ok if Bang^ wants to wear his Thomas winter PJs under his Bob the Builder summer ones and not his designer outfit to Mother’s Group. It’s ok if I don’t feel like seeing the dirt on the floor and let Crash crawl through it. It’s ok if I’d rather spend an hour on Twitter than doing something “productive”, why do we always have to be so productive? We’re not friggin’ factories! Who was it that decided incessant activity was the stuff of halos anyway?

WORLD FIRST: Mother decides not to feel guilty - is promptly ousted from village.
I’m going to relax in my failings, I’m going to rejoice in my hatred of cleaning, maybe I’ll even have a drink too many and do some swearing to add to my transgressions, but I’m going to give myself a break, I’m going to forgive myself for almost choking my baby, I’m going to let myself off lightly for not having any inclination to re-arrange the pantry, I’m going to sit here and write because that’s what makes me feel whole. I’m a bit of a #FAIL as a housewife, home economist, whatever label you want to place on it and you know what – It’s ok because I like being an un-domestic goddess (even if it means a little shaming in the village square).


P.S. This is not an overly elaborate way of saying it’s cool to be lazy either…no seriously, it’s not!
^Bang=my 2yr old. *Crash=my 9mth old. ~Boom=my 3.5 35yr old hubby
© 2011 My IdeaLife, 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