Archives for posts with tag: parenting

Restraint – The act of controlling the expression of one’s feelings – Farlex free dictionary.

In the last 7 days, I have been subjected to a lot of stress. A lot. I’m sick of restraining my feelings, sometimes you just gotta have a go, say what you want to say, and feel better. Right?

First event: The youngest child (and usually most sensible/sensitive), had a demonic outburst of anger and hatred which lasted approximately 15 hours, (one hour of declaration and 14 of withdrawal), which was directed solely at me. Luckily I had the sense and maturity to restrain myself from reacting, and carried on with life and parenting as usual – because “teenager”.

It didn’t stop me from having a couple of sleepless nights worrying about the cause of his outburst, or trying to discuss the situation with OM, (his mother), which was unfortunately the wrong move for me this time. I can’t, for all that is sensible, believe in or condone  free range parenting. I see it more as a neglectful, abject dissolution of responsibility.

But that’s just me..

I restrained myself from commenting further because what I wanted to say would have come from years of frustration, and probably not helpful in any way other than unburdening myself of said frustration!

Sometimes I struggle with the 3 way parenting model. Sometimes I struggle so hard I want to scream. Instead, I’ve spent years intensively working on trying to accept that my parenting style is not perfect, and not everyone has to adopt a similar style in order to raise children. But I have my limits!!

Second event: Fitty had been complaining of pain in his right lung, neck and shoulder for about 2 weeks. On Tuesday night, around 6pm I arrived home (from a visit with my spiritual cleanser and bestie, T), to find that his pain was increasing. I suggested, as I had been for a week, that we really should get him to a doctor. Fitty had been refusing, but his increasing pain was starting to talk him round..

By 7.30pm I was speeding him to the emergency room with a suspected collapsed lung. He was in terrible pain, hyperventilating and going into shock.

We didn’t think we had time to wait for an ambulance, so it was up to me to get him safely to the hospital… I don’t think I need to comment further on the amount of fear, anxiety and panic created by that situation?

Upon arriving at the ER, he was immediately surrounded by 3 staff, attaching all kinds of cables and monitors. His heart rate was way up, his oxygen stats way down. He was in a lot of pain. At the time, I busied myself filling out the form, and trying to stay out of the way, whilst trying to control my own hyperventilation!

It was when they wheeled him into the critical care room and rolled in the “crash cart” that I began to feel the overwhelming seriousness of the situation, and my utter helplessness!  I felt sick, fearful and ready to burst.

I restrained myself immediately, opened the curtain that separated us from the rest of the patients in the emergency room, took myself away from Fitty, into a corner near the exit and stared at the wall. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking, it would hurt too much, but I will tell you that I didn’t cry, I didn’t collapse, I just took a couple of long deep breaths and told myself to hold together. It wouldn’t do to have Fitty see me in tears, the last thing he needed was more stress! I returned to critical care and stood once again by my love’s side, with resolved strength. (I doubt he even noticed my absence.)

I have since thanked all the Gods in the universe for his safe return home to us. The staff at the hospital were able to stabilise him quickly, and although a thorough diagnosis is still not available 5 days later, Fitty’s pain is manageable and his symptoms have abated. We are waiting for further test results to determine the cause, but we both feel confident he is receiving the right treatment. He is soo much better!

Upside: Fitty gave up smoking the morning before he fell ill. He knew something wasn’t quite right. A few days later I stopped, and we are now both smoke free. (Those who follow this blog will know this isn’t our first rodeo, if fact this will be attempt number 7!) “They” say it takes an average of 7 – 10, so we’ll just keep trying until we succeed.

The teenage angst has passed, he told me he didn’t even know why he said the things he did? Well fuck son, thanks?

Seriously…  Now it’s the dog…

SIKLate last night Pooh dog was vomiting and shitting liquid waste. Listless, forlorn and sleepy, she hadn’t eaten properly and wasn’t drinking much either. It was the excessive “bowing” that clued me in to the fact it may be gastritis. I remembered reading about the behaviour having something to do with gut pain. I followed the advice I got online, and she’s doing much better today.

I guess it does you good to get smacked upside the head with a bit of “life” now and again, but I really need it to stop now.

Unrestrained,

Meg XO

*this post brought to you by “nicotine withdrawal” and “fuckoff life I’m sick of your shit”*

Have you ever been so busy and exhausted that you couldn’t afford to stop for a moment? Have you ever spent all the hours of every day with your true love? Have you started a challenging new job in the midst of  a menopausal-nightmare of hot sweats and anxiety?

Did I mention hosting two Christmas functions, my son’s 21st birthday, a 12 hour wedding shoot, and a freaking ‘Santa Photo’ job, in the midst of that?

Living. The. Dream.

Fitty’s parents always go away together for Christmas, so we plan a special Christmas on a date that suits family members (either the weekend before or after the 25th).  It’s a great plan for getting everyone together for Christmas regardless of the actual date but.. every year?

Two Christmases.

MIL and I had established the date months earlier, me forgetting at the time that the Saturday before Christmas was the very same day as 5’s 21st birthday. So we did both on the same sweltering hot day. At the time we made the date, I also wasn’t working at all back then, so had no idea what December had in store for us!

It’s typical for Fitty to book a band gig on one of our birthday’s, or a rehearsal on the day we’re supposed to visit folks. He’s got too many hobbies, and we frequently have to save him from himself when it comes to agreeing to do stuff – then spending 5 nights a week doing the stuff, and complaining bitterly that we are all doing no stuff.

That’s because you agree to do the stuff, dick!

Not content with keeping my weekday’s busy at the office,  Fitty had also agreed to photograph a wedding one Saturday in December, and taken a phone call at some stage about doing “Santa Photos” locally. When I overheard the Santa plan I immediately started shrieking at the top of my lungs about how busy we were going to be for the couple of weeks before Christmas..

“I love you,” I spy camera equipment over his shoulder, “but I fail to understand how I can so deeply and thoroughly despise you at the same time.”

I’m receiving a crash course in photography. Fitty needs a back up for the “girly bits” of the wedding, and to increase the balance and variety of the shots. Fitty insists I learn about apertures, and focus and shit. I insist I can point the camera (set on auto), and shoot – so shut up and go away.

In the end I get both a crash course, and an argument.

“If you make this too technical I will shut down and refuse. Stop talking about exposure, we covered that yesterday, and I still don’t understand so just give up okay? Why is this so heavy? Where’s the little lens you had on it yesterday? This heavy thing will break my wrist, and I’ll be drooping on the ground with it! Do you want all the pictures to be of feet?”

Was going to the wedding anyway – had no idea I’d be seeing it through the lens of a camera! Had even less idea I would throw myself into the task so thoroughly that I would forget I am a cripple and start crawling around on the beach on my knees, looking for perfect light and framing. Up and down on the sand I sprang, snapping the bridesmaid’s as they walked onto the beach, the bride, the ceremony. Never for a second imagining that I wouldn’t be able to walk for four days afterwards…

It was thoroughly good shit. I’ve never had every single guest at a wedding smile at me so winningly every time I walked by with the camera in hand.

The bride was 4’s long time childhood friend, which meant a flying visit from 4 – in which she impressed upon her father and I, how much growing up she’s done since she moved away. There was no shred of apprehension as she managed the task of “Bridesmaid and Beyond”. She was her usual dynamic-creative self, and she managed so many tasks that were exquisitely and joyfully undertaken.

In some quieter moments at home, she helped me to untangle my frustration with her father, his ability to overload his schedule, resulting in the need to ask for my help. She unpacked him in two seconds flat..

4  –  “Don’t help him.”

Me – “But then he will fail?”

4  – “Let him fail – it’s the only way he’ll learn.”

This is why I love 4, she is way more grown up than us.

With the wedding over, I spent Sunday screaming in silent agony every time I had to use my legs. Excruciating pain. (*Note to self, never knee-walk in sand again.) Wished solidly for one of those stair-chair-lift thingies to whiz me up and down the stairs because I had to wash clothes, and do the housework with two solid clumps of ouch hanging from my hips.

In the days leading up to 1st Christmas, I tidied up every loose bit of crap that wasn’t nailed down, putting away most of the clutter left from redecorating. Created a sleek looking space with clean, dust free surfaces. I was inspired by some minimalist Christmas decorations.

How to Stick Tree: See stick tree on Facebook. Think “I can do that”. Rope in help from 7. Avoid tick bites while collecting huge pile of sticks from undergrowth. Drive Pooh dog crazy with huge pile of sticks. (Pooh dog love sticks.) Move sticks upstairs to outdoor area away from dog who is screaming at sticks. Notice vine curling naturally around one of  sticks. 7 agrees this is a beautiful thing – this vine wrapping naturally around the stick. Go back into the undergrowth to find more “special vine wrapped natural renewable Christmas tree sticks” with 7. Dump 3 kilos of ugly sticks back in bush. After several minutes of listening to 7 complain about the lack of beautiful sticks with vine in her search area – find perfect stash of vine sticks. Lug sticks upstairs, tell dog she is a whiner. Tell 7 she is a whiner. Gain complete control of the project and don’t let 7 touch anything until I am ready to let her help me saw the sticks. Get a ruler? Fuck the ruler. Guess. Cut stick lengths with 7’s exceptional saw skills. Praise 7’s saw skills!  Hastily tack string in a tree shape on back of sticks after laying out in order of size. Pick up top stick and hold your breath??? When nothing breaks scream at Fitty to put some fixings on the wall to hold up your stick tree. Spend way too much time decorating the sticks. Notice how much extra space you have with no big pine tree looming out of the wall. Be grateful for your sticks. Be smug about your tree.

A few days later I walked in late one evening after picking up one of the kids from work, and 50% of the living room was full of photographic gear. Two studio lights with reflective umbrellas, two tripods (for each), two cameras on huge tripods of their own, and all the associated bags and cases.

“You’re a fucking maniac, I can’t believe you’ve done this. When am I supposed to cook and clean with all this?  What are you doing with all the bullshit and batteries on the table? If you ever do this again I swear to God…!”

Remember the Santa shoot that I was shrieking my head off about? Because ridiculous timing?

He’s taken the job. Against my advice. He’s set up in the middle of the room to work out how the Santa shoot will work. At this point in time I am so sick of him I could spontaneously burst into flame. Flame with intent.

– I go, I help, I do the freakin Santa shoot! I take the names, and the money, the orders for the pictures. I am the happiest fucking elf in the Kingdom of Santa.

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Fuck you this IS my happy face.

Fortunately for me, the Kingdom of Santa was set up in my favourite furniture shop. I have purchased whole rooms in this store! In between helping Fitty snap kids – in varying degrees of distress – being forced to sit on a bearded red man’s knee – and be flash-blinded by space lights, I managed to take several laps of the stock, finding many things to my liking. At the time, I’m thinking – the money Fitty makes from the pictures, pretty much matches the amount of money I’m willing to spend right now in the store!!  And that’s how Karma works.

1st Christmas occurred on the hottest day ever. Cheese melted! We did manage to have a lovely family day, despite the heat. I made 2 huge batches of everything, one for lunch and one for the 21st, so it worked out incredibly well in terms of catering, and provided endless fun playing  fridge Tetris with all the food!

My kid’s 21st birthday’s are celebrated in their father’s paddock with loud music blaring until morning. This is a family tradition. Fitty and I sleep on a mattress in the back of our car like all the kids do, (because drunk and really comfortable anyway).

This is the first time the Police haven’t shown up at 3am telling the kids to turn down the music. My kids like their music loud. This is why they have parties on their dad’s  property out of town. I spend every minute after midnight turning down the volume of the music myself, or nagging a kid to turn down the volume. Because I don’t want to have to visit with the Police about the noise.

I was impressed by 5’s friends, an incredible bunch of  young people, even though they look like a bunch of  new-age smelly hippy children! These were great friends with long histories – everybody laughed and had fun all night, despite the searing heat of the evening.  Apart from the need to destroy each others ear drums with loud techno-bullshit music, I have no complaints about my son’s choice of friends.

When I stuck my head out of the car window at 7am the next morning, (having passed out from drinking sheer exhaustion around 3am), the music was blaring and a few scraggly drunks were staggering around still pretending to be human. These kids were drunk and tired enough to cheer “oooiiiiiieeee” just because I had woken up. A more realistic shout of “here comes trouble” from one as I moved deliberately toward the volume control. I cut the music right down to a mystical hum and crept toward the coffee…

Fitty and I worked together irritably until social events and work responsibilities blurred together. That’s how I spent the lead up to our Christmas holidays – I was irrational and emotional when I was awake .

2nd Christmas (the 25th), was much cooler, more casual, with an air of “didn’t we do this just a week ago?” about it.

Fitty and I got drunk together into the late afternoon, (when all the kids had gone), and I realised something. “Fitty! I’m sick of your face!” I said. “For the last 8 weeks or so, I have spent almost every minute of my life either next to you at work, in the car, at the meal table, in the kitchen, with your camera’s and so on, sleeping next to you…”

He looks at me and says “get over yourself will ya?” And with that we retire to bed and eat a box of Belgian Biscuits.

Now, on the first day of 2016,  we sit on the balcony in the cool breeze watching the lake, hearing the sounds of the bush, soaking in the peace. The water is calm here.

We have had all the people we love around us constantly, helping, supporting, there’s much to be thankful for coming into the new year…

A new year which began, I might add, with Fitty awakening, poking his head straight around the doorway to observe me tapping away at the keyboard, the wild look in his eye announcing his intention to crack a really bad joke: “MORNING! I’ve only been happy for ONE minute this year!”

Wait until he reads this?

It’s gonna be a long New Year’s Day people!

 

I have to admit, there’s nothing quite like realising you have absolutely no fucking idea who you are anymore.

I think one of the best places to start to explain this is with a vague branch of “Criminal Law Science”- that of handwriting profiling or analysis.

I’ve always known something was up with my handwriting. Doing cursive or even printing required so much concentration to keep all the letters conforming to those around them.

I could start out a paragraph sloping forward with my letters, and by midway the letters would be leaning backward, or standing straight up. There was nothing wrong with my word formation, I knew which letters I wanted ahead of time, and knew how to form them, but the act of doing so was difficult and often my hand would run away with itself and create a sloppy looking text with letters that were awkwardly different from each other in style. A fat “d” followed by a pointy slash of a “y”. Circles and triangles and thick lines and elegant curvy loops.

I’ve largely ignored the problem since I learned to type in high school. (I learned to type on a manual typewriter with a ribbon, like Steven King’s Paul in “Misery”, and I’d love to be typing on one now, just for fun.)

The thrill of flinging that return arm across during the class speed-typing test!

So my point is, if I believe what the FBI says about handwriting analysis, I’m probably a criminal and most certainly have more than one personality.

I’m just too damned inconsistent to trust – lock me up – prob’s gonna go postal at some point.

At the other end of the spectrum is my suspicion that my problem is physical, caused by Magoo or an older sibling crushing my hand in an attempt to control my habit of sprinting into danger.

I once jumped out of the car, and ran full speed to the edge of the swimming hole in which my parent’s planned to take the family swimming. As a four year old non-swimmer I probably should have stopped there instead of jumping in to the deep water.

The car was still running, Magoo still undoing her seat-belt as I sunk slowly to the bottom, looking up through the crystal clear water.

Suddenly Princess appeared at the edge! Looking down at me with that same look she always had for me –

“You fucking spastic…”  she told me with her eyes, as she leaped, shaping her long elegant limb’s into a perfect safety jump and dragging me up out of the water.

Whatever the reason, my handwriting is suspect and 9 out of 10 FBI agents would shoot me on sight as a preventative measure.

For now I don’t think about that. Sometimes I imagine some random picking up a birthday card I have meticulously printed and smudged with fucking ink, thinking what a great effort some five year old has put into printing the card…

So this obviously relates back to me not really knowing who I am, right?

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about all the “Magooism’s” that have shaped my beliefs. Magoo is one of the many wonders of the world, baffling her children time and time again with her radical dives from far right into ridiculously left territory.

She is grey matter. There is no end to the convoluted logic that shapes her thinking. You cannot win. You will not win. You may as well just live with it and enjoy the good times? Luckily Magoo has the ability to laugh at herself, but only if she gets the joke, don’t even bother with sophisticated wit, she will eat you.

So Magoo believes that women her daughter’s are basically tarts who enjoy sex too much. (Women didn’t enjoy sex back in her day, they used it as commerce to get the lawn mowed and the garage cleaned out.) If you enjoy sex there must be something wrong with you, she didn’t raise any of her daughter’s to enjoy sex, and how dare we?

This from the woman who once held up seven fingers when I boldly asked her “..when was the last time you and dad had, you know….. sex?”

“7 months?” I said, incredulous that it had been that long, but then, as a young teenager, I knew their marriage was in trouble, and I considered that to be about right.

Shakes her head, “no”.

Turns out the dirty mongrel’s had been at it just seven minutes before I arrived home.

I reckon I get my honest nature from Magoo, I’ll give her that, she’s mostly very open and honest with me. (If it suits her. I’m sure you can see the enigma I grew up trying to understand?)

You can’t dress like a tart, you have to be charming and elegant and only wear colours that don’t make you look “sallow”. “Sallow” is Magoo’s favourite colour. She will tell me I look sallow all the time if I don’t stick to the colours she knows suit me.

You can’t be a slut. Only virgin’s can live a virtuous life and find a good man to marry.

Thanks to the Universe for providing me with my father, who took one look at Magoo’s stunning beauty, disregarded her inability to settle in one place, disregarded her many complexes and insecurities, and continued to disregard her until well into his later years when he finally admitted he might have paid her more attention if she hadn’t whined so damn much.

I think Magoo whined so damn much, because he always had his head stuck in a book and a haze of cigarette smoke clouding around his head – which pretty much describes who I grew up to be. “Smokehead Bookpants.”

He also had some fairly liberal views on human sexual relations. He talked about the fact that women in different cultures are sometimes brought up to value their sexuality and that the onset of menstruation was seen as an indicator of sexual maturity. Which meant that I was already “sexually mature” in some cultures, both ancient and modern.

He told me that our cultural evolution had shaped social behaviour in a way that made it difficult for a young girl to experience all the feeling’s of puberty, and observe the rules of her society at the same time. (My dad was a lot like Fitty is now, in that if you ask a question, you are going to get four hours of answer!)

My dad was brilliant, and not a month goes by when I don’t wish I could phone him and run a problem by him just one more time to hear his three point response.

  • What he would do?
  • What you will probably do?
  • What a complete dickhead would do?

It was genius, and you always knew what to do by the time he ran through his points! Of course sometimes I did what the dickhead would do… that’s why we do “teenager” isn’t it? To learn how to not dickhead?

I’m now a couple of year’s shy of my 50th birthday. Probably time to figure out that what my parents did or didn’t do, or said or didn’t say really has nothing whatsoever to do with the person I am capable of being now.

It’s amazing how many people who are around my age are having similar thoughts. Looking backwards for the answer to today’s issues or problems.

So to sum up, basically I believe that the opposing personalities of Magoo, added to the intelligent and thoughtful way Dad “adjusted” her theories, has resulted in me growing up with two complete sets of ideologies constantly asking each other “Are you for fucking real?” – As evidenced in my handwriting!

– Just your common garden variety confused person, who’d really like some more time to think about why I forgot to think for myself for around forty years, and does red really make me look sallow?

Magoo has always triumphed in our mothering misadventures. She’s the quintessential “revenge mother” who delights when a teen goes bananas in mine or my sisters’ families. She loves a minor misdemeanor, and cannot help but relish in her memoirs of a motherhood spent raking over the damage caused by her own offspring.

“Lap it up suckers, you did this to me!”

She also can’t wait for us to fall into age decline. When I turned 45 her birthday card listed the handful of abilities I was about to downgrade or downright lose: eyesight, hearing, mental and physical capabilities, etc.

Unfortunately turns out ole Magoo was right on both accounts. Every single time I say to my kids… “I can’t wait until you have children!” I hear her voice in my ear saying the exact same thing. Oh bravo Magoo, bravo!

When my eyesight began to deteriorate and my spellcheck changed every “h” word to “Huh?” and I turned the TV waay up to hear over the chewing boy, I knew she was probably always going to be right…

So I’ve put together something for the kids, so they can tell when I need all that awesome loving care I gave them when they were growing returned. I’m going to need patience, and care. Loving kind words and nutritious meals. A hearing aid and dentures. Someone to stop me from eating all the M&M’s and making myself sick..

When to worry about Mum.

She talks to herself – Most of us do! The state of being human leads us to commentate on every sight and sound, every experience we have. It’s normal to talk to ourselves, out loud or inside our heads, completely normal.

When to worry? –  When she starts to answer, and have animated conversations that impact her decisions.  “That’s the washing done, what are we going to do now?….Let’s go into town. Wear something pretty…your blue dress? That will cheer us up.”

She doesn’t know your name – Again, normal maternal confused wiring. Calling out your name is more complicated than you can even imagine! We all do it, even only children are called “Martha, George, Robert, Jesusfucking MARY-BETH!”

When to worry? – When she doesn’t know her name – I have stood, under pressure, required to fill out forms with my name, address and date of birth and have been found lacking. Worse when they want to know the exact sort of time my kids were born, like to the day even? Apparently “it was still warm, so Summer-ish?” won’t wash.

She loses faith in the circle of life – Everyone we know is divorced, all the children are grown up and leaving or have left town. It’s no wonder Mum has begun to question the meaning of everything. She is no longer the “child-bearer” or even the “child-carer”. Why bother with the endless cycles and circles of everything?

When to worry? – When she hasn’t removed the clothes from the clothesline in weeks, she just keeps adding more and more to the line. She continues to cook, but no longer shops and has to “make do”. The other night she gave you a “Cake of Soap” for dessert.

She can’t see very well – Don’t give your mother grief over this! It’s the natural decline of the cells in her body. It’s ok for her to ask you to read the small print for her, or to look for street signs. Stop being so rude about it!

When to worry – When she slams on the brakes for the Kangaroo that was a clump of grass. When she gives your kid a stock cube and thinks it’s a lolly. When she’s wearing her glasses and still paints 6 boards in trim gloss instead of wall colour… 

She’s very emotional – She’s always cried with pride when you achieved something in your life. The first time you said “Mama”, those first steps! Every precious moment of your life pressed into the folds of her memories, she only wants good things for you.

When to worry –  So disillusioned with the first 25 years of child-raising she now lurks outside the bathroom door when you clean your teeth, sobbing with pride about Dental Hygiene being the cornerstone of mental stability and success (and she taught you that!)

She’s never been interested in Politics – The progression from being an ignorant youth to becoming interested in how and why governance of your country affects you, is a normal one. It’s part of growing older and maturing. It is also good practice for the grumpy old lady she will one day become, in that it incites participation. The yelling of random slogans and  bitter insults is a crucial skill set to develop early.

When to worry – When she gets out of bed and high-fives the entire street in her nightie because the leadership challenge of her hated enemy, the Prime Minister, triumphed! When she falls asleep that night singing “We are the Champions” to herself (while gloating over all the memes she made to help spread awareness!)

*Seriously, If I should grow to be like Magoo, I expect I will deserve everything I have coming. I plan on going into old age far less vengefully, (and with a lot less jerky side to side movement of the steering wheel when I drive…)

Me and Goo - before dem babies.

Me and Goo – the old days..

My experience of growing older as a woman, mother and partner is so far one of looking backwards. Not on a daily basis, (that would be depressing), but as a way of understanding the woman I am. A woman who has somehow become all these things, seemingly while I wasn’t paying attention…

I know some of you will understand what it’s like to lose yourself completely in child raising? I can remember clearly when I found myself with free time on my hands when my youngest started school. It was like I had suddenly caught up with myself. There I was with 3 growing boys, boxes of toys, photos, piles of old clothes and baby memorabilia to prove it – but I felt like I had woken up in a life that had been slightly rewritten somehow and I hadn’t read the script.

It was like I’d lived a whole batch of years without noticing…

Only one of my babies was planned. 6 was my healing baby, the baby who came after a stillborn. Not to dwell on the experience itself, it was an obvious explanation as to how I had allowed a huge section of my life to pass in Numb Hurt. Having living and loving experiences without being fully present in them. Hence having only a shaky, cloudy recollection of  events and the feelings I was having during them. I was “coping” and coping was enough.

6 was born around 18 months after my stillborn, who was born around 15 months after my second son (5). For the record, 5 was born with Bi-lateral Hernias which required surgery at 8 weeks and Silent Reflux which required the patience of a Saint and extreme breast-feeding skills. Clearly I don’t have the patience of a Saint, and 5’s infant months are some of the most hopeless memories I have.

It’s possible probable that having had my first son as a single mother, my second scream for 8 months almost non-stop, my third pass away and my fourth require a 6 month hospital stay followed by all the dramas of being 9 weeks premature – that I was deeply depressed.

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I have all this time to think now, whilst I’m suspended in a stairwell with a paint brush in one hand, my entire “feels” history competing for attention with more banal thoughts…  thinking  I have lived all that already, and I don’t need to process it anymore…

….but on the other hand I do. Because it is, has and will always shape me, until I find the strength to understand and move beyond the anxious claws that tie me to “it”.

“It” being the belief system, the personal laws, the rules and boundaries I have set up within my family to ensure it’s “safety”.

Not surprisingly, they are a direct result of some of the experiences that frightened, or harmed me in my past or childhood.

Many of us can probably recall terrifying moments from childhood. Moments that we were completely aware that we were not safe. I have a few memories that I believe have shaped not only the overly-protective way I have raised our children, but also my perception of what is “safe” and what can happen when one assumes “safety” based on little else but blind faith.

Walking home….

When I was very young and starting school it was normal to walk to and from school. My mother thought nothing of it, and I can’t recall a time when either parent warned us about any dangers other than being careful crossing streets and not getting in cars with strangers.

By the time I was in my second year of school, my childhood friend and neighbour, Dianne and I would walk to and from school via a Nature Reserve and Park that was a pleasant and useful short cut. Both Dianne and I were free spirits and would often run laughing through the narrow winding paths between the trees and over the little bridges crossing the creek that dissected the park. Often we would stop at the play area and remove our shoes and socks placing them in our school bags. For some reason we hated our school shoes, and we would only put them back on when we got to school and a teacher noticed and made us.

One morning we reached the over-sized concrete drain-pipe which was placed in the playground along with a swing and a slide. These pipes were common in playgrounds and I guess we used to run through them, or sit in them and talk. Dianne and I used to sit in this one while we removed our shoes each day.

As we went to sit inside the pipe, we noticed a very neatly folded pile of men’s clothing, minus shoes, sitting in the middle of the pipe. A belt was neatly looped on top.

Being children, naturally we were both intrigued by the sight. We wondered about the clothing all day. Speaking often about it and deciding we would check if the clothing was still there that afternoon. It wasn’t.

Memory being what it is, I can’t say exactly how long after that event Dianne and I were chased through that same park by a naked man.

Long enough that we had forgotten about the clothes, so perhaps a few weeks?

We had been walking along, Dianne slightly ahead of me, when suddenly the sound of branches snapping in the undergrowth alerted us to the figure of a man leaping out of the bushes onto to track behind us. He began to move very quickly toward us as we both screamed and set off at a sprint away from him.

I will never know how Dianne beat me out of that Park, as I was the sprint champion at school? She was more the academic, but when she saw that guy, she became an athlete.

I can remember that his bare skin was very white, and at one point as his hand grazed my shoulder and I looked back, I remember seeing a lot of deep brown, chin-length hair obscuring his facial features. He very nearly grabbed me, causing me to falter and almost trip.

I didn’t, and two very frightened, very exhausted little girls ran home to inform my mother of the afternoon’s events. I have just now spoken to Magoo, who recalls:

“I never called the police, we just didn’t think to do that? I can remember forbidding you and Dianne from going anywhere near the park, and talking to Dianne’s mother as well.  We never took it that seriously…. we just kept you away from there.”

There was a mad naked man in the park, and it wasn’t serious?

The Sleep-over…

When I was about 13 years old I developed a friendship with a new girl at school. Kym was very pretty, but also kind of vulnerable, in a way that I couldn’t identify. She seemed so grown up and mature.

We had been friends for some time when she asked me to sleep-over at her house. Her parents were having a Birthday Party for a relative, and thought she would like to have a friend over to keep her from being bored with the adult company.

I guess I’d had a fairly sheltered up-bringing in some ways up to that point. In other ways not so much. I had witnessed my older brother’s and sister’s various dramas, (including late night verbal fights outside our house in the small hours with their partners). I’d heard some very colourful language, I’d even visited a sibling in jail by this stage, however I had never seen much of the seedier side of drinking.

My dad would drink a beer or scotch in much the same way my mum would drink tea. I never saw him “drunk” once during  my childhood years, although I’m sure my childish perception of “drunk” would have no bearing on what I witnessed and experienced that night.

I was dropped to Kym’s house by my mother in the afternoon, and we agreed I’d phone her in the morning and she would come and pick me up. Slowly as the afternoon progressed Kym’s parents made us busy helping with the food preparations and dragging seats into the backyard where the bulk of the party was to take place. The parents seemed to be nice people, steadily sipping on drinks as we all worked together. Friends and relatives began to arrive and the BBQ was lit..

– Enter Uncle Terry. Terry was in his late 30’s, a VB can in one hand and a smoke in the other as he rounded the corner of the house shouting a greeting into the crowded yard. I thought little more of him until later when Kym and I were getting a Coke out of the old bath full of ice we had filled with drinks earlier.

He seemed very friendly. He and Kym seemed to be close, and he spoke to her in a very endearing way. When she introduced me he said something about a beautiful smile and that was that. We got our drinks and left.

Later he approached us and asked me whether I smoked. I looked at Kym. Kym grinned, and before I knew it, Uncle Terry, Kym and I were headed off for a “walk” surreptitiously to have a cigarette. Terry gave us both a smoke as I begged him repeatedly not to tell my parents. They both laughed. He gave both of us sips of his beer.

I knew I was having one of those “teen experiences” where I was trying new things and being “tough”. At this point I wasn’t aware of any danger from Terry, other than in the obvious “Adult who is prepared to give child Taboo Substances” way.

I thought he was so cool….

We went back to the party. I tried to tell Kym that I wanted to just go and hang out in her bedroom for a while, and talk. I wanted to process what we had just done. We drank. We smoked. With an adult.

Terry wasn’t having any of that, he hung around us for ages! He kept wanting to go for another walk. He wanted to talk to us. A few times we went, had more cigarettes. I had begun to feel wary. I was feeling sick from the smokes, and had long ago stopped accepting sips of the beer which tasted foul to me anyway.  Terry kept hanging his arm around my shoulders, leaning drunkenly on me as we walked. I continued to shake him off.

That party got so out of hand the Police were called eventually. There were fights. There were falls, breakages and spills. The sliding glass door opening from the family room to the backyard was kicked in, by a woman having a domestic with her partner.

While all this was happening, Uncle Terry decided to shelter me from the violence. He did this by trying to kiss me and force his hands under my clothing. While Kym screamed alongside her parents at the chaos invented by drunks in her home, I was being invaded by her Uncle.

I was a tall girl, and I got away from him fairly easily. He seemed repelled by how frightened and disgusted I was by his attention. As if there was something wrong with me?

I spent the rest of the night on the inside wall beside Kym in her bed, praying for first light so I could call my mother.

I never told my mother about Uncle Terry, only about some of the other things I had seen. I felt guilty and ashamed that I had been drinking and smoking. I wasn’t sure of the territory when it came to talking to mum about what he had tried to do. I really didn’t want bad things to happen to Kym or her parents because of her Uncle.

Kym and I never talked much after that night. I went back to other friends and I honestly can’t recall what happened to Kym. Now I wonder about her and just how much she had to put up with from Uncle Terry herself?

 Let’s Celebrate?

When I was 15 my parents separated. I was midway through a Certificate in Business Studies. I had taken the business course in order to leave school after my 10th year. Long story short I ended up living with my much older sister until my course finished, at which point I decided to stay with her and look for a job. My parents both moved to different towns interstate.

Poor Magoo worried endlessly about this situation, but hell-bent on divorcing my father in the most bitter way she could, was kind of preoccupied… so at 15 years old, I’m left largely to my own devices, sharing a flat in the big city with my sister who has her own shit going on.

She had many friends, they would drop in, and slowly they became people I felt comfortable with. There was one much older man who seemed really supportive of my job search. I ran into him in the city one afternoon straight after an interview in which I thought I had a good chance. He asked me if I would like to go out and celebrate? Confused, but delighted I wondered aloud to my sister later that day about the man.

Why would he want to take me out? Why is he being so nice to me? Continually getting her reassurance that he was a good friend and just wanted to make me “feel grown up and special about the job”.

Maybe I needed the parental validation so much that I accepted purely out of need? It had been some time since I had seen my parents.

This is why I was so completely blindsided by his real intentions, as was my sister. She couldn’t have known that the other couple we met with for dinner consisted of a man around the same age as him, with a very young and beautiful 16 year old girlfriend? She couldn’t have known that these two men were secretly involved in a game of “my dick is bigger than yours” by getting dates with increasingly younger girls? How could she?

Guys like that don’t tell you these things up front. They manipulate you into situations in which you are almost powerless and then they strike!

My second night of fending off the unwanted attentions of a much older man occurred when I was just 15 years old. That’s just one year older than 7 is now!

Looking back I can see how I allowed these experiences to let fear lead my parenting choices. If not all the time, then at least a lot of the time.

I learned powerful lessons as a child. Things can be very different to what they seem, and there can be a dark end to some stories. Sometimes only a chance saves us from the endless possibilities of our own destruction.

The chance that I may have tripped and fallen that day in the park. The chance that I may have been raped at that party and again later by a so-called family friend?

It is not hard to make the mental leap between the above information and what has made me a paranoid parent. Painful as it is for my children, and sometimes for Fitty, who believes that I overcame because I am smart and strong, like our children. So why worry?

My kids weren’t allowed to walk home from anywhere. The first time 3 went to the Library by himself he was nearly 12 years old! Of course he went straight past the Library and as far as his legs and my time limit allowed, bless his free spirited heart!

I never knew that until years later. I was just happy he returned unblemished.

I guess that sums up how I feel just about every day of our kids lives since that first time I let one of them out of my sight?

I’m just happy they return unblemished.

I was chatting to Other Mother this morning on Facebook Messenger, and the subject of work came up.  I revealed to O.M. that I felt I was Not Safe For Work anymore. I was always too stressed. Too angry, too tired all the time. I had no extra energy.

I could never sleep. I would sit up all hours of the night, and struggle in the mornings. I rushed everywhere. Everything was hurried, and disorganised.

Weekends felt ruined when I had to start a shift at 4.pm on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Working nights, and days on a rotating roster often left me finishing work at 12am, to start work again the following morning at 8.00am. With so many kids in the house every other week, it was insane just trying to keep up the washing!

So I resigned. After the worst year of health I’ve ever experienced, struggling through surgery and recoveries, all the while struggling at work.  I finally Put Myself First.

Behind the scenes, Peri-Menopause had already begun to wreak havoc.

I was emotional, and would cry during the “The Ode” at work each night. We had a Soldier (2), over in Afghanistan at the time, and each time I heard that line, “They shall not grow old”, I would hold my breath, tears streaming down my face in the dark.

I was resentful.

Piles of dishes, clothes, dirty bedrooms and bathrooms. Why can nobody else in this house clean a toilet?

I would return home from work at night to Fitty idling in neutral, waiting to see which “gear” I required of him. Would I be in tears of pain? Would I be cranky and tired, grumbling about how they had “all night to wash the dishes”?

I resented everyone. Cars on the road were just ‘blocking my way’. Other shoppers were ‘ignorantly slow’. The kids and Fitty alternately brought me comfort and joy, or immense frustration and exasperation.

I had pain killers, and would only use them sparingly, as they were serious drugs. Ones the doctor has to ask nicely for from the Government. This left me struggling through the “gaps” in my pain-relief awkwardly. Pain would suddenly come upon me at work, after hours of standing on my feet, and it was almost impossible to relieve that pain at work. I needed a bath, and quiet space until the medication stepped up again. I was doing it all wrong.

I’m pretty sure my work friends who read the blog will identify strongly with what I’m saying here. I must have been incredibly hard to work with at times.

So, how have things changed?

Instead of shouting from bed at 9.00am Saturdays for everybody to “Shutthafuckup!”, I’m up every single day by 6.00am. Smiling, happy, with the kids lunches made on weekdays.

I rarely leave my house. I only go out when I really need to, barely ever for social reasons. If I do drop in on T, or meet up for lunch with friends, I try to do at least one other errand while I’m out. Efficiency and Economy are my new middle names.

I drive slowly now, never in a hurry. In fact I don’t think I’ve been in a proper “hurry” since I finished work! I’m cruisin. Usta be a road-rager, now I create it!

I used to shop on the way home from work, buying useless items spontaneously. Now I have a list, and know what I need. I have time to make sure I don’t waste food. I can plan meals, and we actually eat a lot better, healthier and far more economically.

I have time to bake. Saying “I love you” to a child by baking a warm batch of cookies for them when they get home from school. I love baking. When I’m happy, I bake.

It’s taking me time, (as I am a procrastinator of the highest order), but I am slowly re-decorating our house, and will be renovating bathrooms, the kitchen and helping Fitty build new stairs in future months. I’m excited by the work I do now.

I’ve systematically gone through every cupboard in the house making space, getting rid of junk and creating space for new junk to live.

My relationships have changed.

I’m going to be achingly honest here….

One of the most significant changes I’ve made is just being fucking quiet.

It’s a subtle thing as much as it is obvious. I no longer have to be the one talking. I listen more. I hesitate before I offer my opinion. I walk away from things I used to nag about.

All because I have spent so many hours here in this beautiful, tranquil spot, just soaking up the “relax”.

This is my medicine. This home, this family, are my healing.

This lake brings me peace.

This lake brings me peace.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned a thing or two about so far, it’s parenting. I’m learning more and more every day. Yet I still find myself day to day in a world where I’m told I know absolutely nothing.

Every day I read an article that contradicts the one I read yesterday. Everyone has an opinion, (and in my mind), the right to not only express it as they see fit, but to parent their children in their own way.

Co-sleep or Don’t-sleep?

Breastfeed in public or hide in the bathroom?

Scream or Cold War Tactics?

Most of us have had moments in parenthood, where we have turned our personal set of “Truths About Parenting” completely around!  So I try not to judge a parent as long as the parent has one or two other qualities along with their own style of parenting. (Ethics, Safety, Sobriety, Consciousness, etc)

Compromise, sometimes even with yourself, is crucial.

So is Honesty. Given a capital “H” in honour of it’s importance in my life and in my home. My kids tell me the truth. The punishment was always more severe for a liar than a confesssor.

The other quality I find necessary is Humour. That one’s a deal breaker for me. If you can’t laugh, I don’t think you ‘get’ life.

With both of those elements in mind, I have put together a few things I have learned along the way.

PRIVACY.

Does not exist. Even when nobody is home.

You are in the house alone, no need to close the door just to pee right? You feel a cool rush of air.

The dog has arrived to watch you pee. It is essential that dogs watch you pee.

PERSONAL PROPERTY.

Want some (any!) product that no one else in the house uses? Exclusively for you?

Yeah, me too….

Beard hairs in my razor. Long dark hairs on my brush. Suspiciously loose moisturiser lids. Content that shrinks overnight.

I give up on ever having anything, not even a food preference, of my very own. I could pick the most obscure food, and here in this kitchen, it would trend faster than Caitlyn Jenner’s gender reassignment!

BOUNDARIES.

Nose picking, scab showing, farting, rapping in the living room, fighting, musical instrument practice, gender shaming, germ spreading, and the un-flushable bathroom bomb.

All the things… You name it? I’ve probably seen it, been asked to squeeze it, or had to deal with it.

CARS AND MONEY.

Kids don’t have cars and money. Parents have cars and money. This requires kids to gain control of cars and money. They do this slowly and very thoughtfully.

You have always encouraged them to EXERCISE and PLAY SPORT….

YOU will be freezing your ass off at Footy all Winter and driving hundreds of kilometres every weekend. (But you will be proud and supportive and the tears will freeze to your face.)

You have always encouraged them to EARN REWARDS and WORK HARD….

YOU will be sitting in a Car Park 4-5 nights a week, for seemingly endless periods of time while “work finishes”.

YOU won’t know they bought a drum-kit with their hard-earned until you hear it for the very first time! But YOU will still be expected to pay for everything they haven’t “budgeted” for.

FAMILY DINNERS.

One of my favorite things to do, I just love to have all the kids home and seated at the table sharing a meal, banter and a laugh.

It’s afterwards that usually has me raising eyebrows around here. All of a sudden the kids (and their partners), entwining legs, fall onto the couch in food coma heaven. Fitty and I stay at the table, or stand awkwardly in the room taking in the bickering, tickle fights and love talk, not to mention the crappy TV shows we’re forced to endure!

THIS is how to behave at Family Dinners!

THIS is how to behave at Family Dinners!

COMMUNITY SHARING.

After an hour of searching for your electric beaters, your 14 year old comes home from the skate park to inform you: “Erin’s mum needed them yesterday.”

You book a movie you’ve been wanting to see for ages. Your house is always empty on Fridays nights. You look forward to getting home and watching the movie, lounge and popcorn all to yourself – you arrive home to half a football team eating sausage-sandwiches in your kitchen.

You are in your backyard, you are ripping into your kids like Satan on a Crack-Binge, and you stop just in time to see your neighbour sneak back inside her back door. Congratulations! Little Sally is not allowed to play at your house anymore.

MOTHER PRE-NUPS.

Whether you’re ready or not, your progeny will grow up and form romantic relationships. It’s important to keep your distance here and not become too involved…

I have had my heart broken a couple of times already. This was an unexpected emotional response for me, and I often wonder if it might be a good idea to draw up a Pre-Nup. To protect myself from getting hurt.

When 3 broke up with The Nut, (nearly two years ago now), I sobbed for 2 whole days. Theirs was not a perfect relationship by any definition of the word, but I loved her, she’d been part of our family for 3 whole years! I had already pictured my Grandkids, (with those huge pink gums, and Chip monk front teeth that were so pretty when she smiled).

Then 6 broke up with Goo-Goo, and my world just fell apart.

I wondered how I would cope later, What if my kids had marital issues? What if they divorce?
Aaaaargh!

I’m actually quite serious about this one, who’d have thought that those little girls would become so precious to me? So much so that I still miss The Nut, and Goo Goo, on an almost daily basis. They spent a fair bit of time here, and now they’re just GONE!

Lucky for me, 5 and The Lovely One are still going strong. They met aged 13 and 14 (respectively) in High School and are still the sweetest couple I know. She’s so good for him, I believe they will be ok because I have to. I cannot even contemplate my son’s future without her…

Miss her.

Miss her. “The Nut” and her gorgeous smile!

Who wouldn't want the undead as a daughter in-law?

Who wouldn’t want the undead as a daughter in-law? Goo-Goo is no longer an option 😦

I wonder sometimes if Fitty and I will be content here once all the children have grown and flown? Child raising began for Fitty and I a quarter century or so ago.That’s a long time to be putting the interests of others before your own. For me, I guess that’s what parenting is all about, you tend to put your own needs last on the list.

Will we spend our Golden Years just trying to fulfill the other’s needs, and neglecting our own?

We’ll probably have to watch “Embarrassing Bodies” for nostalgia… and Soapies for drama, but I reckon we’ll be ok with comedy on our own. He’s a funny fucker that Fitty!

It’s holiday time around here. Living and working in a coastal area quite popular with tourists has seen me become somewhat of an expert on tourist behaviour and stereotypes.

Each time the School Holidays start, the town swells with holiday makers, blocking up the streets, turning a 5 minute journey into at least a 20 minute one. Barging into car park spaces ahead of you in their aggressive city ways, not realising that here in the “country” we operate in a much more easy and polite fashion. They bring their ice cream dripping, sand encrusted kids into our shops, then stand in clusters at street corners effectively blocking the flow of foot-traffic, and nothing and no one is more important than them and their “holiday fun!”

getting away from it all..

getting away from it all..

Having spent many years working in the Hospitality Industry, I would see things, and be required to perform acts, particularly attributed to these tourists and their different and difficult needs and requirements. I’ve compiled a bit of a list of typical “Tourist Types”.

1. The Pack Horse.

This is the family (or couple), you see driving down the main street of town with the station wagon packed so full of gear, you actually cannot see the human inhabitants. They bring everything on their holiday.

They have a bike carrier on the back loaded with five bikes and a toddler trike, and they’re not afraid to ride 3 or 4 abreast either. Often stopping both lanes of traffic and causing mayhem on the footpaths.

Later at the beach, you see them set up a gazebo, barbecue area, beach volleyball net, wading pool, beach umbrella and a snack station for the kids.  Each family supports at least one camp supply business in their suburb.  Every gadget available is present at their campsite. They even have gadgets to support their gadgets.

Really "roughing it"

Really “roughing it”

This group want you to admire their shiny things

 

2. The Family Pack.

They arrive in a sea of sunburnt faces. There’s Mum, Dad and all the kids…. Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, cousins and anyone else they have nominated as part of the “Family”.

They have the biggest tables at the restaurant, they book out entire motels… Nothing is too much trouble for you when you are helping them out.

They generally have an outstanding family trait like thick prescription glasses, unruly curly hair or ginger & freckles. They go everywhere in a large group and have an elected “spokesperson”  do all their food and drink ordering. (Sometimes logically, but usually not.)

features

This family have been coming to this spot for Christmas/Easter/Holidays for 40 plus years and have born 4 generations of future holiday makers.  Obviously their enjoyment of the town and it’s surroundings far outweighs yours as a mere year round resident of the town!

This group want you to envy their family spirit.

 

3.The Wolf Pack.

Last but not least, the Wolf Pack. They are the group of friends who met in High School and have done everything together, ever since. They all got married the same year. Their children are mostly born in the same years. They holiday together and party together. And they always will.

That's not even her husband....

(That’s not even her husband….)

Like an episode of “Sister Wives”, it is unclear exactly which biological connections have produced which progeny, as the children hover in a cloud adjacent to the Wolf Pack. They are the Nexgen Wolf Pack and as such are an almost independent body. One mother/father is as good as any and therefore all children are cared for and by whosoever’s turn it is to do the “parenting”. This ultimately allows for the least amount of child supervision possible, and the most amount of sitting around looking cool and sipping on wine.

duck-feed-bella-pushing-stroller-0369

Toddlers of this group are at a huge advantage, as they get to really explore the world without the constraints of parenting or supervision. Their role is to wander far and as possibly wide as they can get before somebody responsible brings them back.

This group want you to adore their bonds of friendship.

 

Often my inspiration for my posts comes from something that has happened here at home, or from something talked about with friends or relatives. The inspiration for this post came from nearly being collected (in my car), by a holiday maker as he entered the car park from the exit gates as I was leaving. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t happen every single holiday.

Having spent many years in hospitality serving the above types, I will admit to being biased by my experiences somewhat, but even if I had no calendar or other device to inform me of Holiday periods? I would be able to tell by the amount of rubbish piling along the streets, the amount of times I will be cut off abruptly on the roads, and the amounts of large squabbling groups of people suddenly cleaning the shelves at the local supermarkets.

Yes, I am informed of the amount of money said tourists spend in my area, and the businesses they keep alive, but I am also informed by my own behaviour when I go on holiday. I do not litter at any time, (holidaying or not).  I have respect enough for the environment and people who live in the area to not be overly noisy or unpleasant.

I am never rude to staff in restaurants and shops. I do my best not to make unnecessary mess and ensure my children behave. I am confident that nobody spends any severe length of time trying to get around me on a footpath as I am respectful and aware of others needing passage.

Weighing all this up, I find the influx of tourists to the area severely wanting. To drive through town on a Saturday morning to find street posts and rubbish bins pushed over by the youth of the night before? To find rubbish on the beaches and all along the highways, even in remote areas? It’s unacceptable, and makes me cringe every time.

I can only hope that this coming Christmas being my first for many, many years that I won’t be looking after the tourists at work, I can hide at home and stay innocently unaware of most of the shenanigans created by them.

 

 

 

As the sun shone in through the windows of our bedroom, my eyes were drawn to the mirrored doors of our wardrobe, and the hundreds of small, perfectly round marks spotting the entire mirror. What could possibly have disturbed the dust and smudge marks I ask myself?

It’s Nerf Gun bullet marks!! Some kid has stood in our bedroom and shot hundreds of bullets at him/herself in the mirror! Kids huh?

A perverse part of me wants me to think it was Fitty, but I’m pretty sure it was 8 enjoying the freedom of shooting endless rounds of ammo with no opposition. I wonder where Fitty was while this was going on?

I was in Canberra with other family members, standing by waiting for things to either worsen or get better with my big bro. His “heart attack” was in fact his body’s response to toxic shock. His system so full of infection that his heart literally went into overdrive. Thank God there was no actual damage and no need for any repair surgery. We knew he wouldn’t survive another anesthetic. He is now doing much better and after several days of pic-line(?) antibiotics he has been transferred back home to our local hospital. It will be a long recovery for him, but he is responding  well to treatment and doctors are reasonably confident.

Back on the home front everybody is doing well.  6 has become a real teenager in the last few weeks. We don’t really know when it happened but all of a sudden, he’s kind of sullen and unfriendly. Breaks my heart to see this stage appear, as his older brother is still not quite through it, and I will struggle having two sons in “no mum’s land.” A land where Mum is mostly an idiot and is not required for much other than cooking and cleaning.

7 will be 13 toward the end of this year, and is growing up so fast she astounds us each week. I swear you can see her growing taller, one minute you’re looking down at her, the next she’s right up there near eye level with you!! And her language! Simple phrases like “yes thank you”, have been replaced with “cheers brah”? She is all of a sudden Seinfeld, all sarky and sassy at dinner, quipping so quickly at Fitty and I our heads spin. I’m fairly sure she’s headed for some major changes in the next few months.

Why oh why do our children have to grow up? Why can’t they remain those sweet little angels that haven’t yet learned that their parents aren’t perfect, and still just blindly follow along with the family rules? Is it simply so we can become our parents?

I found myself in a public bathroom the other day speaking with an older lady about “kids these days!!!” Yes. I’ve become my mother. I’m not quite as neurotic, (yet), but I’m well on the way to being the same germ phobic, anti-young generation, queen of negativity Magoo is. And I don’t know exactly when it happened. Sometime between rocking out on the dance floor with the kids, drink spilling out of my hand, and heading into the bedding department at Target to buy beige sheet sets. (My sheets used to be purple dammit!)

It’s not like our older kids aren’t absolutely wonderful people. I love them dearly and they are really great young people. I just don’t understand their need to continually text their mates while they are with us. Our parents definitely had it better with us. When we went home for a family meal, if we had a mobile phone it was attached to a massive “brick” battery in the car. It wasn’t for texting either, or internet surfing. It was simply a mobile phone. As in a phone that wasn’t stuck at home on the wall or kitchen bench.

It was Mothers Day today. Our children made me feel very special and loved today. It is particularly lovely to hear from my step daughters on Mothers Day. I am so fond of my big girls, and so proud. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have the chance to build such strong bonds with my stepdaughters.

My big boys came around today and lounged around on the couch. Inhaling the fridge contents and then moving on to play footy in the afternoon. Fitty and I decided to go and watch most of the game before I had to go to work. So glad we did. It was a close game and we had to leave when the score was 20-22, (our boys behind). So frustrating to have to work weekends sometimes!!

Work! Same old shenanigans going on there. Those of us that work, work hard, and those that don’t give us the shits. I’d love to put some of those that don’t in my shoes for a week or so. I’m sure they’d see things a little more clearly when they’ve had to struggle through the day either in pain or in confusion from taking pain killers.

My health is pretty much the same, good days and bad. I found it hard to stick with my diet whilst away. When traveling it is especially hard to avoid grains. It’s so much easier to grab a toasted sandwich on the road, or a pie. I really noticed when I got home, my abdomen was swollen and tender. I felt as though I had eaten a bucket of thistles. I am sometimes astonished now that my body is used to “clean” eating, just how much damage processed food does to me.

Forgive me for the somewhat stunted nature of this post. I have been in an un-writey mood for quite a while now, and probably will take a few lumpy posts to get back into the rythym of things. I will try to get things going regularly again, as I miss keeping in touch with you. It helps keep me in touch with me.

My last post left me feeling drained and exposed. However things happen for a reason, and I believe it was time to let some of those feelings out. For days after writing it was left feeling naked and wrenched back in time. It’s funny how writing about your life can do that to you. I’d never said that much about James, never recounted the whole story like that, and I believe it has helped me. Thank you for reading it and most especially for your comments.

Life is still rolling on here at the lake shack! There are lots of things to be grateful for, like having a partner who is patient and kind, if not a little grumpy at times. Having children who are happy and healthy, and make me laugh almost constantly. They are mostly helpful, very well behaved and respectful children. BUT…..

Our kids DO love their gadgets, and since “other mum”, (7 & 8’s mother), seems to have backed off on the war on technology, I am having a harder and harder time making sure they have a childhood.

It’s really sad for me to see a 10 and 12 year old sitting around inside all the time. I recall my childhood, my days of racing home, doing the barest minimum of homework, making a milo and grabbing a biscuit or two and bang! Straight out the front door. Being indoors was like a punishment! My siblings and I would all head to the nearest friends house, or play street cricket, anything really, great gangs of children would congregate on corners, laughing talking and playing.

In fact I can remember clearly that being made to stay indoors was a punishment.  “No playing outside for you today, you’ll have to spend the afternoon in your room.”

Nowadays their rooms are so flash they make you wish you could hang out in there. TV? Computer of your own? Mobile phone? iPad, iPod, Game console and remote control? NO WORRIES, just you sit there, eat junk food and move only your wrists and eyes for a few hours at a time…….Shouldn’t be a problem for the human race??

Are we having less children these days, or is it just that they are all locked away in their rooms enslaved to the latest game on their Playstation, or coming up with sassy status’s for their Facebook page? I think it’s a real tragedy, instead of remembering playing “Tarzan and Jane” on the creek bank as kids, (like I do),  these guys will have a string of “high scores” or cheesy photos uploaded. Their entire childhood experience will be summed up by how many ‘apps’ they have? I hate it! I really do. It makes me angry and frustrated for them.

Things have really changed in the last 10 years or so, I can tell you! My boys were always outside running around. The joy of being allowed to turn on the sprinkler and run screaming through the spray on a hot day! Running around playing hide-and-seek, Power Rangers, Batman etc. Kids have outgrown that by 6 years now, and are sitting calmly next to their mothers with their “device” in Coffee Shops around the globe. I miss the days when you got pissed of at a couple of 9 year olds running around a cafe or through a restaurant. I miss having to yell out the kitchen window to tell the kids to “keep it down out there!”

Our kids are going to get a shock in the weeks to come. Just as soon as I’m well enough after my operation in early April, we are going to be ripping out our old kitchen, and putting in a new one. Guess who our laborers are? Next we’re going to rip up the carpet on the entire top storey  and replace it with Bamboo flooring. Guess who is going to be hauling stuff up and down stairs? Then we have to renovate the two bathrooms. Wonder who will be scraping the old tiles and grout off the walls and floors?

Ha ha I’m evil, and I know it! The kids helped when we ripped out our old fireplace on the weekend…

What we did.

What we did.

Fitty sledge hammered bricks and the kids just stood around in a semi-circle until they were handed a brick to go and throw down off the balcony into a pile!! Hard work huh? Honestly Fitty and 8 did most of the hard work. 7 stood around looking concerned. Trying to ninja-blend into the wall so she wouldn’t be handed any bricks. As soon as she sees any hard work coming she disappears to do “homework” on Facebook.  7 later showed some very promising skills when she scraped all the extra brick and mortar from the floor. 6 worked consistently and slowly, but he did work.

where we threw the bricks

where we threw the bricks

I asked him and 7 to do the dishes while I vacuumed up the last of the brick dust. You could’ve sworn we’d asked 6 to dig a hole 30 miles wide the way he carried on. Aaah but hadn’t he been working his butt off all day already?

Fitty and I were in hysterics. I think in the next few months these kids are going to learn what hard work really is. Don’t you?