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...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Is Facebook going bad or moving forward?

As you can probably tell from my smattering of posts about Facebook on every social media network I’m a bit taken with the new Timeline feature. It is so fun and you can read my full rave over at JustB

Status updates 2007-style 
One of the cool things I didn’t talk about though was the hilarity of rediscovering your early posts through Timeline. You remember when the status header always had “Nicole is…”? Which was quite limiting if you were fussy about your grammar (not that I was or am, as you can probably tell). Anyway when I saw these scintillating updates I couldn’t stop laughing. My excuse is Social Media was so in its infancy and we didn’t really know what we were doing, ok so maybe some of you did, but as you can see by the below I had no idea!



Is Facebook trying to own our identities? 
The other side I didn’t really cover was the concerns people have raised about privacy. The good news about Timeline is all your posts come over with their current privacy status, so if you have only ever shared photos with friends, or even a specific set of friends that won’t suddenly change. So the only real issue is that posts from your past are now accessible to you and those they were originally shared with, that is unless you go in and remove them, delete them or change their privacy state, all things you can do.

Nobodies more interesting than Celebrities? What? 
In this age though where sharing is being turned into a source of entertainment, nobodies are replacing celebrities who formerly were the only ones that walked that hallowed ground. The new Facebook changes take advantage of this phenomenon and just bring it up to speed with tools like Twitter and Instagram. People like to be followed and now you can select content from your timeline to make public and then offer yourself up to be subscribed to. That way strangers who subscribe to you can receive your public updates in their news feeds.

The Social Media age 
For many this is great news as it gives one access to a greater audience if that’s what you’re after. The down side is the widening of the potential to make social errors, especially ones that may lead a young person in to harm’s way. But that is the case across many other social media tools already including the very controversial Google+ which insists you use your real name! The answer is the world is changing and we need to keep step with it and educate our children on the amazing potential social networks offer while drilling in to them the dangers and the rules that will ensure their safety.

Facebook Timeline goes live on October 1, but you can try it now by following the instructions here

What do you think? Is Facebook going bad or moving forward?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Crashed and burned: what is it with firemen?

Remember when you used to get really excited when the fire brigade showed up just because you got to perve at all the firemen? It was especially fun at work so you could giggle like a schoolgirl with your similarly deviant colleagues. For me it only seems like yesterday…wait a minute it was only yesterday! Standing in a fire station yesterday with my two year old in my arms I found myself being very friendly with a hot fireman who was kind enough to be showing my son his engine. Now I wouldn’t call it flirting, because people who flirt know what they are doing. What I was doing...well I don’t think there is a word for that. 
Ok ok, so he didn't really have his shirt off, and alright, this wasn't really the one I was
talking to but this does make sense of my foot in mouth situation I think...yes?
Photo: Mosman Daily, Firefighters Calendar 2011
I was just trying to start a conversation that went deeper than “oh look there’s the hose!” with a person that looked as though he had avoided deep conversations successfully since 1995. It went something like:

N: I was a surf lifesaver for a couple of seasons, doing surfboat rowing and I found it really confr…
Hot fireman: Oh yeah, where at?
N: Coogee
Hot fireman: What year?
N: 2002/3 I think…only problem was when I had to treat someone for the first time I completely freaked out
Hot fireman: Did you row in the firsts?
N: No, I came from still water so was still learning in B crew…so I didn’t get my glove on fully and all I could think of was ‘shit I have her blood on me, her blood is on my hand, shiiiiit!’
Hot fireman: was Bec in your crew?
N: Yes she was. So what I’m trying to say is you must be a certain type of person to be a fireman, you know, you have to be so, so, so… Brrrraaaave…


S I L E N C E (that seemed to go on forever)

At this point my brain caught up to my mouth but it was too late, my gushing “Brrraaaave” had exited my mouth and was floating between this stranger and I. I realised I had sounded like a teenage groupie, why did I say ‘brave’? I couldn’t think of the word, which I think should have been selfless, as my mind went blank, probably due to our house and my body being plagued with viruses. All I knew was I had to end my stuttering somehow. And in my defence, they are in fact, brave.

Despite my idiocy and Bang’s intense desire to leave, probably because even at 2 he could see I was going down hill fast, the hot fireman only paused slightly, obviously also a bit shocked at the use of the word and responded graciously: “Well we do a lot of training”.

Phew, awkward moment passed. I managed to salvage some form of self-respect and joked about how my training had only managed to educate me on every disease I could catch from someone’s blood. BUT With Bang yelling “Mama! Mama! I want go home! That way Mama, that way!” I made my escape but not before my “friendliness” earned Bang a Fire Brigade showbag and a sincere invite to come back again soon. Hmmmm “Maybe he likes women telling him he’s brave?...Who cares!” I panicked, “get out of here before your foot gets amputated by your teeth.” Bye Mr brave Fireman.



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Monday, 19 September 2011

Make it go away Mummy

This past week has been surreal, in fact if I think about it this past year has. Something changed though last Wednesday when my son was diagnosed with pneumonia. I can’t yet put my finger on it but I suppose this post is a way to help me do that.

I feel a bit broken to be totally honest, just watching this little human that just happens to be the centre of my universe, cry out in agony while I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it or fix it, is soul destroying. And watching his eyes, that have seen only two years of this world, staring at me, questioning why they are in pain. It is the closest thing to hell on earth.


I can’t imagine what parents who have kids that are seriously ill have to go through, if this is what it feels like when your child has something that modern medicine can fix. I think it’s the helplessness that's the killer. I want to run out and study medicine, but I know that wouldn’t solve everything and would probably reveal how little we actually do know. Basically I need to be Samantha Stevens, when the pain hits I just wiggle my nose.

Witches aside for a moment, this got me thinking about resilience. Our children are going to face pain, and lots of it, and most of the time all we will be able to do is sit by and provide comfort and support. So how does one prepare to be useless in the face of your children’s biggest crises? How do you stop shutting down inside to cope with our own pain at having to watch our angels get attacked and have to fight for themselves?

Unfortunately I have no idea, lately if I don’t run around keeping busy, staying numb, I basically want to scream, “Why does he keep getting sick? Is it my fault? What can I do differently? Surely there is something that can be done?” Our doctors have answered these questions for me and they go something like “He’s in the normal spectrum of illness frequency for his age, it is not your fault, if he didn’t get these infections now he would get them at school, no his diet is good, he’s active and you are using probiotics and supplements and washing his hands, no there’s nothing more than antibiotics if it’s bacterial, immunisation against some real nasties but mostly it’s viral and he will just get over it in 7-10 days, summer is better”. This doesn’t stop my incredulous reaction when after maximum of two weeks good health another feral virus mows my boy down. It also doesn’t stop me blaming myself for pretty much the whole sorry situation.

All I know is I am tired and sad and feeling incredibly sorry for him and myself. I want to take the pain away, I want to wrap him in my arms and shield him from this torturous world. He, of course, is managing having one of the most serious respiratory conditions around like a champion, and other than needing a little more sleep and cuddles, is being his normal cheeky and charming little self.

If only I could be so brave and strong…but maybe screaming when you feel helpless is the best reaction. Aurora, Emma’s mother in Terms of Endearment is her and my hero, and she’s screaming, as is perfectly appropriate when you are watching someone you love more than life itself work through pain.




So if you don’t see me here as often, it’s cause I’m off somewhere helplessly screaming loudly or more often, quietly on the inside.


How do you handle it (or not) when your child is in pain?


©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

RU OK? Day: A shadow at the door

My hubby tells me no-one wants to hear about negative things on a blog, “there is enough negativity out there” he surmises. He would be right too, there is, but I wouldn’t be being honest if I didn’t share my dark days with you as much as those where the sun shines in.

In my late teens after a dishonest and quite mean-spirited boy broke my heart, my idealistic and bright outlook changed. Not content to just see me sad he set out to destroy all semblance of confidence and pride I had. I think he did it to make himself feel like a big, strong man in a desperate attempt to cover the fact he was hurting as much as I was.

I don’t know if I was clinically depressed but I turned from being a thin, vivacious and cute 15 year old to a chubby, sad and awkward girl in under two years. And the sadness I couldn’t seem to bounce back from, threw a shadow over everything. It took advantage of the small negatives already imprinted on my brain and then drove them into deep rivers of blackness that flooded out all the positive patterns that used to co-exist alongside them.

Even my triumphs were stained grey with illogical assumptions. And thoughts spill into behaviour, where you look for evidence to prove your inner beliefs of worthlessness. It is warped, it is powerful and although it only exists in your mind it is very real and sometimes fatally destructive. And that is why contrary evidence is so important in these types of cases. A kind word, an honest ‘how are you?’ or an unconditional acceptance can go along way to challenging this kind of blackness.

I was lucky, my life took a new turn when I went overseas and I was able to rediscover my former vibrant self. I was also extremely fortunate to never have considered suicide, but so many others are not so. Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24 years and claims more Australian lives each year than car accidents. Maybe without supportive friends, a rowing crew and an ever-present black journal I may have been amongst them.

So tomorrow why not take a deep breath, be brave and ask someone the question; Are you ok? And if you do, maybe, just maybe, that kindness may challenge their negative point of view of the world if only for an hour. But if you catch them at a particularly dark moment it may give them that crucial reason they're desperately looking for to hang around. 


RU Ok ? Day is September 15 – asking could change a life.


Need help now - click here or call Lifeline on 13 11 14
or 
Suicide Call Back Service on1300 659 467
Planning a conversation - click here

©MyIdeaLife, 2011 Original sketch by Nicole McInnes, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Hello my name is Nicole and it's been 6 hours since my last...Garbage Truck sighting...

Who's the nutter with the stop sign?
Today I found myself doing something I would never have imagined 2 years ago. After having a grown-up meeting with a colleague to talk about my return to work next year, I stopped to stare at a digger. Not content with just witnessing its mechanical genius myself I pulled out my iPhone and started videoing it in action.

This surreptitious manoeuvre not surprisingly caught the eye of the workman who started yelling at me – at first I thought they were flirting, (the wishful thought of a deluded mind), so I yelled back “It’s for my son” and when he answered “he’ll get more of a kick out of it if he sees you in it” I realised the guy was asking whether I wanted to be in the shot. Relieved at my mistake, no really, I handed over my iPhone like an excited teenage girl and started giggling in front of a moving digger.

You see garbage trucks, diggers, dump trucks, tankers, fire engines, excavators, road graders, street sweepers, cranes, cement mixers, grocery trucks, ambulances, big rigs, b-doubles and police cars are now the coolest things in the world. I have been brainwashed by my two year old and I can’t let one pass now without saying “Whoa look!” which can be embarrassing if you are not in the company of two boys under 2.5.

This obsession saw me; run with a double pram about a kilometre to see a fire engine parked in the distance (we got there!), get stroppy when we couldn’t stop to photograph an excavator because we were going to block traffic and get illogically excited about travelling (very slowly) on arguably the busiest, most truck-ridden road in Sydney. And now we can add stopping road works to my repertoire just so as to rush home and share the big digger I saw with my fascinated little boy who undoubtedly will say, “Woooow, look at that!”.
My day is complete, not to mention my life. 

Do you hear a little voice from your backseat say
"Look! Garbage truck! Quick Mummy chase it!"?


©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11: In their shoes


© DailyMail.co.uk
I saw this picture and thought it was 9/11, it is not, but as I looked at the shoes I immediately felt sad for the thousands that had lost their lives on that fateful day ten years ago. The 2977 people who died had picked out shoes too, maybe with the help of their partner or maybe to spite them. They may have had their children with them, and asked them to stop jumping off the couch in the store. They had thought about the colour, the stitching, the material and the price, what they didn’t know was they were buying the shoes they would die in. 

And that decision to buy those shoes that day, like so many other every day rationalisations, was nowhere in their mind as many came to grips with the inescapable situation they were in. Instead we read of text messages of love and gratitude to partners, parents and children. We hear of stories of life-threatening heroism. We see pictures of sadness, trauma, destruction. Those every day dramas that happily rocked their worlds the day before, the weeks before were dwarfed into insignificance when faced with the end. 

As we look back on days like today I can’t help but feel foolish and a little ashamed, as they probably would too if they were lucky enough to be onlookers rather than victims. I literally spent 20 minutes deciding where to park today. I spent at least 2 hours this week feeling sorry for myself, and I told my husband off for picking up our two-year-old during a night terror instead of comforting him in his cot. I’m not saying that my feelings and decisions are stupid and wrong, I just wish when the small stuff happens that annoys us, the stuff we heap importance on, or that doesn’t make sense to our way of thinking,that we would see it for what it is: insignificant in the long term. 

Instead I wish I knew that if I was about to die I wouldn’t remember that my husband consistently put the whites in with the darks or that he doesn't always put the seat up. What probably would cross my mind would be "I wish I’d said ‘I love you’ more, I wish I’d been kinder and more understanding, I wish I'd spent more time with my kids, and I wish I’d been truer to myself". 

Days like today are precious because they remind us of the reality of our mortality, they give us perspective and inspire us to make more of the life we still have as we remember those that weren’t given that chance. We should stare at this disaster, we should soak in the pictures of grief and loss, we should try to fathom the feelings that would compel people to leap to their sure death and we should cry for them and for ourselves, especially if we are not truly living the life we have. In the end, when all is said and done, no one will remember our shoes, including us. 

As you watch the horror again, don't look away, stare at their faces and pay them tribute by celebrating the life you've been given today and hopefully tomorrow too.


©MyIdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved. Images remain the copyright of their original source.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it" CB Kelland

My Dad is one of those men who don’t speak much and I’m not sure whether that is why he is so popular or whether it is the easy confidence he exudes, but to know him is to love him. And who was I to buck a trend? The truth is I absolutely idolised him as a child in a way only a daughter can. 

My poor mother was so excited to be having a girl (I have one older brother), someone she could pass on feminine knowledge and ways to, but I turned out a terrible tomboy and was often found under the car with Dad as he showed me how to change the oil or the like. If I wasn’t holding the makeshift electric light over the engine of the car, or passing him a wrench, I was standing on a wooden crate in Dad’s workshop watching him build whatever contraption was needed for that day’s project.

And if you saw this place, inconspicuously hidden under the front verandah, you’d understand why. It was literally a man cave in an epic way with every type of tool you could think of. With the twin wheel grinder and industrial sized clamp front and centre, there were draws of screws, washers, nuts and bolts; every type of spanner, wrench, hammer; and every kind of scrap material from flyscreen to soft lead sheets used to make fishing sinkers of varying sizes. We didn’t need Bunnings in those days, all we had to do was go to Dad’s workshop and whatever you needed was there.

Mum was not a fan of the workshop, it was organised chaos and more than a little bit dirty. And those are two of Mum’s mortal enemies. But I’d venture to say the workshop was just another thing that took him away from her. He was a shift worker for his contracting business and if he wasn’t working, he was fishing, playing his double bass in a ‘70s nightclub or in his dark workshop. I used to long for him to come home as there was definitely not enough Dad time for any of us, especially Mum.

So today, in a time when Mothers still play the primary role in the life of their children I wondered whether it was fair that Father’s got a day, “shouldn’t they just get an hour, it’s good enough for the earth”, I half-seriously considered. Then I thought of my Dad and how he had taught me what electricity is, how to change a tyre, how to hammer a nail so it didn’t bend, the nature of different metals, how to saw wood so the teeth don’t get caught and how to make useful things from whatever we had lying around. And I realised his ever-present patience and generosity to spend hours teaching me things that in the end inspired me to complete a degree in Industrial Design, deserved to be celebrated for longer than an hour.

Even now as I watch him with my two boys I see the same patience and imagination he shared with me, revealing itself again, and like many before them, they can’t get enough of him (only last week Crash, who’s only 11 months old, cried when I took him from his Pop!). 



So despite him being around less when I was young and being much more reserved in the way he showed his love, I knew I was loved and accepted as just me, and not just accepted but adored and empowered. Thanks Dad, Happy Father’s Day.


Why does your Dad deserve to be spoilt all day long on Father’s Day?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Thursday, 1 September 2011

the sense of change

Words can't really express...

I’d be lying if I said today felt like the first day of Spring, in truth the feeling started in Sydney about a week ago. That incessant chill in the air seemed to leave overnight like an unwanted spirit that had been making the hairs on our neck stand on end for months. 

But it’s more than just the warmth, it’s the smells and something more that’s hard to describe. Like a glitch in the Matrix, barely perceivable but nonetheless definitive in its altered state. This unexplainable feeling of change always makes me nostalgic. 

This time it brought back a wash of memories that seem always to be punctuated by a child’s laughter. At first I thought it was my boys as their giggles are ever-present, but it is a girl’s voice I hear and so I can only assume it is mine. Somewhere on the surface of my brain my own delights must be etched and as the seasons change it is triggered again as if it were only yesterday.

Like the birthday party where Mum made me a Maypole cake and made miniature dresses for the 2” dolls that held the ribbons. Doing backflips into the pool with all the kids in the neighbourhood over. Eating watermelon in the backyard so you could make as much mess as you like. Walking on the shore with Dad and collecting mussels. Climbing trees with my brother, who was always so much higher than me. Or the party where I had my first kiss. Dreamy. 

So the seasons change again and now I watch two new humans giggle and run and explode into the air outside because it’s warm and thick and full of fun they are yet to have. Fun I hope that will carve out memories in their minds. For when the seasons change again and it’s their turn to look back, I hope they do it with a smile.

Do the seasons changing shift your equilibrium?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Steve Jobs and following your heart R.I.P

I was meant to write here yesterday but my content got nicked by The Daily Telegraph. So here's the embarrassing back story instead.
Do you like the professional shot?
Note the strategically placed sunglasses and perfectly coiffed hair! 
I don’t know whether a man half way around the world knows that, in part due to his life’s work, a woman he doesn’t know from Adam is crying because he is off the planet inspirational and she's just heard he is gravely ill.

Sitting minding my own business in a library courtyard on Sunday I was unknowingly about to be rocked to the core, just by clicking play on Steve Jobs’ 15 minute speech to Stanford graduates in 2005. Despite being someone who can’t sit still without a tweet or two every few minutes, I was mesmerised from the start. A lady sitting next to me was also I realised, after she asked me whom I was listening to. "Steve Jobs", I replied, suddenly overwhelmed. “What a nutter!” I thought, “bursting in to tears in front of a stranger!” She was lovely and offered me a tissue. How embarrassing, but really when faced with words such as these below, probably the most logical reaction.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

This man had already made my life more beautiful and more effective and now he was telling me to follow my heart. Should I have expected anything less? And then I find this out because he is close to the end of an all too short and brilliant life. I wanted to rage against the gods, “why him, why take him when there are lesser men who you could take”, but he has an answer for that too.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.” Steve Jobs

And this...
“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. 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


So I dried my eyes and started to write about this man that I don’t know. And I took his advice literally and with my heart in my throat, I summoned the courage he talked of and sent the finished product off to a major newspaper. And the next day as I was telling myself I had lost nothing by sending it, except maybe a little pride, I read an email asking me for a photo of myself and that my story was to be published the next day!

I will cry again for this man I’m sure, his life’s work has been a part of my life for 17 years and his absence will be felt acutely. But today I am just thankful, not only for him giving me my favourite products in the world but for inspiring me to have faith in myself and be brave. 
He is truly the architect of our lives and our futures.

If you met Steve Jobs, what would you say to him?


© My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thinking The Thinker can NOT be male

Have you ever heard the insightful statement ‘I think you’re over thinking it’? If so, did a female say it? No, she didn’t, did she. It was more likely some brain-starved male attempting to cover up the fact he didn’t hear a word a poor girl just said to him. [Bitter much, Nicole!?] Sorry, but hubby (Boom) says this to me at least once a week and I.don’t.like.it. 



I don’t like it because it’s really the total opposite of anything close to being helpful. And it’s usually said when you’re already feeling unsure or vulnerable or anxious or as is the case with me, all three.

Here's a typical scenario:
Me: What do you think of this post?
Boom: It’s alright. Where’s the tv remote?
M: Is it too obtuse, crude, personal or boring, or all of the above?
B: No, it’s fine. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Did the kids have it this afternoon?
M: Can you give me a little more detail?
B: The tv remote. You know. White. Buttons.
M: Forget the remote. What do you mean ‘it’s alright’? Do you think the ending could be better?
B: No, it’s fine…stop over thinking it.
M: [pause, breathe] Stop.over thinking.it?
B: Yeah, just post it and move on….then you can help me find the tv remote.
M: [let the tirade begin] Do you think that if I didn’t think, my posts would be better? Have you ever thought that maybe when you crack a smile at one of them it’s because I may have spent a lot of time over-thinking it? And do you think that if I thought my life would be much improved by a lack of thinking I would be able to just simply think less? There is no switch you know. 
B: [no response for fear of being stabbed with a crayon or more likely because he just found the remote in his pocket] 

My husband did stop to explain, probably in an attempt to put out the fire that had exploded from my head, "I'm just trying to say, don’t second guess yourself, trust your instincts and just do it”. I wish he would just say that in the first place and spare everyone feeling a little burned.

The truth is this over-thinking statement pushes my buttons, in a bad way that is, because:
1. I know I am over-thinking it because at the time I'm not trusting my own instincts;
2. Him pointing it out makes me question myself even more and
3. I am quite jealous of people who do, trust their own instincts that is. You know the ones that don’t ponder for hours the ten million potential iterations of outcomes that could result from this one action, or if they do they are so at ease with life that they don’t mind what outcome eventuates. They just think 'what will be will be and I’ve done the best I can' and then move on in a light skipping-type way, while probably humming a ditty.


Boom is one of these people, although his skipping is a little un-coordinated. He is a doer rather than a thinker and while I’m building a flowchart in my head, he’s opened the box and getting on with it without any regard for the instructions.

So, is over-thinking over-rated or 
is it reserved for the fewer but greater outcomes? 
Would we be better off with less neural activity? 


P.S. If you can’t already tell I am trialling not thinking as I write this post. So, if you don’t like it you’re welcome to tell my hubby off for telling me not to think.
P.P.S. But maybe this post represents over-thinking perfectly. Dwelling on over-thinking enough to write about it probably represents an unhealthy exercise in over-thinking (now my brain is starting to hurt). I’m going to try to stop thinking.
P.P.P.S. It didn’t work, still thinking but can stop writing.
P.P.P.P.S. Failed there too. Still here. Ok so the first and second P.S. were, how do you say, full of shit really, I've over-thought the crap out of this post for a day...as you can see over-thinking is over-rated! Arrrgggghhhh!  
©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

WARNING: Oral effectiveness could lead to marriage

People scattering as you walk down the street? Babies crying as you approach? Dates ending suddenly because their cat just called to say it was stuck in a tree? You may have unwittingly joined a growing movement in Australia, a movement that slowly but surely turns you from a normal, social being to a walking, talking human repellent spray.

That movement is tooth decay. And such is its momentum it can be blamed for almost everything from the breakdown of peace talks in the middle east to the ongoing popularity of the quarter acre block. But the real tragedy can be seen in its effect on marriage rates which have been in steady decline now for decades* (see ad below for detailed proof), and with 11 million teeth per year falling under decay's smelly spell is it any wonder?

The good news is, it's not all bad news. If you'd like to stop clearing the room of everything but your dog, here are ten easy steps to get you there:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day
2. Floss daily
3. Use a fluoride toothpaste
4. Maintain a sensible diet
5. Minimise your intake of caffeine and soft drinks
6. Drink fluoridated tap water
7. Use an antiseptic mouthwash as directed
8. Use sugarfree chewing gum
9. Don't ignore early signs of problems
10. Visit your dentist once every 6 months

And for true oral effectiveness, use Colgate twice a day and this could be you!

COLGATE


Not surprisingly, this post is not sponsored by Colgate, although they were kind enough to invite me to their Bloggers Brunch in Sydney, where I met THE one and only 'Mrs Marsh' and learnt of this modern craze (tooth decay that is, not marriage), and how to fight against it.


*Crude Marriage Rate,1989-2009 Australian Bureau of Statistics
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Thursday, 18 August 2011

My Nutty Buddy

When I was young-er I dreamed of meeting “the one”. I met lots of guys some I thought had potential oneness, some I knew did not, (sorry Mr Fireman I used you for your body, there I said it) but after being married now for six years it was only last week I realised how much ‘the one’ my husband really was. It was a typical day in our romantic hothouse; the boys were asleep, I was on twitter and my hubby (Boom) was watching FoxSports. As you've probably guessed I am a big fan of many of the sports channels on cable, I especially like the one that shows Ultimate Fight something or other. Those scantily-clad guys rolling around in a cage, kicking and punching each other, well the only thing that beats that for me is when a rugby league player 'accidentally' puts his hand into another man's butt area. Ok so I'm not being totally honest, in fact I can't contain the truth any longer...
I HATE HATE HATE sport watching with a passion.
I especially lose my nut, so to speak, when sportsmen behave like vacuous neanderthals. But then a program with the word 'Science" in the title came on and I was forced to reconsider. What I saw made me look up from an intriguing and intelligent twitter exchange I was having with someone witty and engaging, probably slightly famous and I found I couldn't look away. Boom who is normally in a trance state when sport is on, moved... and then he made a sound...and then he looked at me and smiled.
I don't know whether it was my husband's re-animation or the target placement which shocked me more, but the NuttyBuddy had us both mesmerised. In fact Boom was noticeably excited, being an ex-cricketer and he started speaking:
Boom: "that's amazing" 
Me: *chortles* 
B: "No seriously, you don't understand, the amount of times I could've used that on the pitch." 
M: *snorts* 
B: "Look at that! I can't believe it, I wish I had that on the day Brett Lee was bowling" 
M: "Didn't he hit you in the sternum?" 
B: "Well that's not the point, imagine the confidence you'd have" 
M: "Yeah you could stand there bat flailing about as you did pelvic thrusts at him, goading him as such" 
B: "If you'd ever been hit in the balls, let alone by a cricket ball at 120km/h then you would get this" 
M: "Go on Brett, hit me, hit me in the nuts" 
B: "Shut up, I need to see this" 
M: "C'mon Bretty give me all you got, I'll take ya. Booyah! see boys of steel baby" 
B: (reanimation reversal seems to have started) *grunts* 
M: (as an attempt to re-engage) "Gives new meaning to shining the ball though doesn't it..." 
B: "Look at that! wow" 
It takes all kinds of nuts...apparently
At this point I do look and think 'Wow', but not at the NuttyBuddy on TV, at my nutty buddy and I marvel that we found each other and somehow despite our differences, that are vast and numerous, we ended up together. And if our deeply romantic and passionate love ever fails, we'll always have the NuttyBuddy to bring us back together. It seems it really is "protecting the boys".
What do you and your partner have in common? 
(I bet it's not the Nutty Buddy...but it might be now!)
As you've probably guessed this is not a sponsored post although probably should be. 
© My IdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved, The NuttyBuddy® is a registered trademark of Nutty Buddy Inc. Read more nuttybuddy.com 

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