Friday, June 29, 2012

Bad mother stuff I do

I am not sure if it's because I've been in a bit of a funny state nearly the entire time I've been a parent or whether I am just not cut out for this mother-of-small-people gig (see here), but it has been brought to my attention that there are some things that I sometimes do that I shouldn't. These include:

  • playing games with my kids but forgetting to let them win
  • not making time to go along with some pretend game
  • not listening long enough when they are telling me something
  • not getting excited about something they are obviously excited about
  • saying "maybe later" to them when I actually mean "NO, not ever in a million years".

Of course, I am not guilty of all of these things ALL THE TIME but yes, there are times when I am just "not in their world".

However, lately, I have been spending less time with them due to insane work commitments and it has made me appreciate them more and want to be further immersed in their world. I'm finding our cooking and craft sessions can actually be lots of fun. Barnstormer often comes out with amusing comments, many of which I will never remember, but she loves to pepper her conversation, wherever possible, with four and five-syllable words she has overheard. She does this with perfect pronunciation and everything is used in the right context.
I'm also spending much more time reading stories to them at night and it no longer seems like the last chore during nutcase hour. In fact nutcase hour seems to be morphing into quite a pleasant "dinner time/bath time/bed time" situation. Storytime is now an enjoyable activity and I am amazed at their memories when we select books we haven't read in a year. How does Barnstormer remember the names that I made up of the background characters? How does Hammerhead remember the text word-for-word on the pages that have been ripped out by Mr Nobody?

I've even gone to the supreme effort of MAKING UP STORIES out of my head about two fictional characters, who may or may not be based on Hammerhead and Barnstormer, and a magical far away tree that may or may not be based on The Magic Faraway Tree. I'm now finding that through this medium I can weave in little life lessons (some may call it brainwashing) about improving their behaviour.
Hammerhead and Barnstormer visit Moonface and the Land of Gnomes
Of course, the fact that HM has  somehow become a recent addict of Home and Away is helping with this. While once in a rush to get the kids asleep so we could watch the ABC news together, I'm now stretching things out a bit more to avoid seeing Alf and Roo arguing about someone else's business in the diner while another murder is committed in what surely must be Australia's crime capital, that sleepy tourist spot of Summer Bay. It's an evil town where a disproportionate number of high school students live in caravans with no responsible adult ...

Stone the flippin' crows: Did you know that the gorgeous Marcus Graham is now on Home and Away? Flamin' heck.
Actually, it's almost got me hooked too. 

I seem to have wandered off topic here so I'll wind it up. My message was simply that I have learned to appreciate the little people a little better now that I have truly acknowledged the depressing fog that has been present. I'm not going to feel guilty about the times that I was not in their world as I know that there have also been MANY, MANY quality times where I have been in their world. For now, I am  focused on staying in their world and enjoying all the things that bring them joy. I love to watch Hammerhead's grin turn to that massive smile as we conjure up yet another magic potion out of lizard poo and ladybird's wee just before bedtime.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

One month birthday - Party time.

Ok, just the shortest of posts as one has 500 million hours of (paid) work backlogged.

It's been one month since I started this blog. Thanks to everyone who has shared their insights or commented on anything. I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel. I also have to say that I am hoping to keep Insane Jane advertising free and product free. It is not a source of income for me--it is a form of therapy. Although, I have to admit I was almost swayed when a certain mining magnate emailed me yesterday. The dear thing wanted to give me a $billion if I wrote something nice about her parenting skills.

Mother of the Year 2012

And just while we're on that topic, has anyone else been hearing all the debate about the "rise of the mommy bloggers"? Gosh, that phrase makes me laugh. I have this vision of a group of transformer-type metallic women with a couple of kids strapped on their backs and in-built laptops at the front, furiously typing about the merits of cloth nappies vs disposables as they rise from some murky underground nursery-cave. A bit like those tripod things in War of the Worlds. {Cue music from Psycho shower scene}.

Tom Cruise: OH MY GOD, it's the mommy bloggers!
They've been buried here all this time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living with a depressed person

I'm reposting this. I wrote it months ago when not feeling too flash and then took it down in case certain people who may be reading became unnecessarily concerned. But I think I just want to put it out there in the ether again. I thought it would just go into the archive around the date it was written, but Blogger just sticks it up like a new post!

Here goes:

Ok, the following post is a little morbid and I don't want to alarm some of you out there but I just wanted to write it down. I'll probably delete it later on so read it now or weep forever :)

On the weekend I read a heartbreaking article in the Australian Magazine about author Matthew Reilly and his life since his wife died last year. I also found myself watching Australian Story last night which featured Diana Bliss and significant others talking of her life before her untimely death a few months ago. It occurred to me that the stories were very similar and that both of these women were very loved with lives that were seemingly perfect from the outside. What drives them to the point where they just cannot bear it anymore? I do not know.

I'm not going around focusing on depressed people, I just happened to stumble on both of these stories, and they piqued my interest in seeing if I could get some insight into this illness. I don't feel suicidal AT ALL but am mildly petrified of waking up one day and having my brain making a rather bad decision for me. I do not understand how I can think something one day and then the very next day I am shocked at the thought. So I always say sleep on it.

Highly positive HM has been put through the wringer a few times now. He's endured two post-natal depressions and about three grief-related depression periods. It does not get any easier for him each time. In fact it gets harder. The only thing he can do is remember that a depressed person in the real grip of it does not know what they are saying. They are irrational. Someone once told him that You cannot rationalise irrational behaviour. This is very true.

The kids know it too. They feed off their depressed mother's moods and when that person is not there in the capacity they should be, they push harder and harder for the love and attention which often makes me more depressed. It can be a vicious circle.

It doesn't matter how much I ignore the little peeps I know that they will turn around and love me at any given moment and I feel such guilt about the times I have not been there for them.

We discussed how we could avoid another bout of depression. We tried to think of EVERYTHING. But really there is nothing that can truly keep it at bay and often you are kidding yourself--it's kind of like cheating in a pilot's exam. You might pass the exam but you could die flying a plane.

I know this post is a bit morose and not in the usual sarcastic, rambling vein but I just thought I would share how hard it is for the people who have to live with a depressed person. It's a bit of a thank you to them.

I am feeling pretty good by the way and the only way is up. This is despite the long-haired Barnstormer giving herself a somewhat dramatic haircut during one of our craft sessions this morning. While I was horrified at the time, I've since realised it's kind of cute to have two half lengths down the sides. At the risk of ripping off Crappy Pictures it looks like this:

I only took my eyes off her for a minute and the damage was done ...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun for the whole family

Ok, first of all I believe there is NO SUCH THING in the entire world that can be described as 'fun for the whole family'. Whenever I see that advertised I know that someone is going to miss out. At this point I believe it's usually me. All of our holidays as a family (and I use the term holiday loosely) have involved (for me) more work than I would normally have to do at home. I know it won't always be this way, but while they are little that's the way it is.

We have a weekender coming up as we must travel to a surf break between Geraldton (Gero) and Dongara (Dongers) in a few weeks. It's part of the Surf Tour that The Surfer has been doing for two years now. It sees us make several trips down south and further north each year, sometimes three weekends in a row. Although I look forward to these missions as a break in routine, I am always reminded of previous trips and how much 'mum work' is involved. The boys usually have an eat-sleep-surf mentality on these trips.

Mum work: There is the packing and this usually starts two days beforehand. It's not just clothes and toiletries for five people, it's toys, books, nappies, dvds, (yes we need a moment's peace here and there), food, linen, towels, wet weather gear, beach gear (yes even in July) and first aid. There is always some minor injury. ALWAYS.

I pack every item of clothing the little people own. Even then I still need to do a hand wash somewhere. I usually pack my own bag in the last five minutes I have spare, and even though I think I am packing all the right things, I am horrified when we arrive at our destination with absolutely nothing appropriate to wear. Why don't I own a tracksuit? What makes me think that four Alannah Hill skirts will be required on a trip to Gero? Why don't I learn from previous trips that this method of packing does not work?
The car trip starts off well. The 'are we nearly there's?' usually take about 30 minutes to kick in. Despite the healthy fruit snacks I cut up we always end up eating crappy, oversalted chips from some servo stuck in 1979. Barnstormer will always nod off which sounds like a good thing but in the long run, isn't. Hammerhead will not participate in the enforced toilet stop but will then desperately need to go within five minutes of starting the car again, which can make HM get just a bit shirty. HM may also get a little vocal on the drive, particularly if we get stuck behind a convoy of grey nomads and their caravans. This is highly likely on the Gero trip. Many of his 'shed' words are used and the kids see this as an opportunity to join in. The shed words are then used in many more situations for the duration of the trip.

If we are staying at a friend's or relative's abode, I take photos of every room before anyone else is allowed inside, to ensure that when we leave it will look exactly the same. I am meticulous about this.

In a couple of weeks we head to Dongara where we have a lovely beachfront cabin. I am really looking forward to this and think I will be the most relaxed I have ever been on these surf missions. The clean-up is minimal so it should be fun. And hopefully the weather will be nice. Anyway, I'm going to pack my bag well in advance this time and make sure that I have appropriate clothing.

So now, tell me about your family trip. Make me feel normal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sick boy

Just a quick post tonight as tomorrow it is heads down, hard slog on the books.

Hammerhead has a bad cough+cold and we kept him home from kindy today. In an ironic twist he begged us to let him go and even tried to pretend he did not have a cough. I wished I had videoed this moment as I am sure there will come a time (at least by Year 2) where he will NOT want to go to school and he will be bunging on the cough like he's a packet-a-day smoker of Winnie reds.

Hammerhead? Hammerhead? Anyone? Bueller?

As a result of Hammerhead's day off, Barnstormer bunged on a cough of her own to avoid her 'school'. So then HM decided he better stay home to look after the kids while I get some work done. Suddenly we were ALL en route to the Wild Fig. Love that place--me partaking in a hot chocolate of course, and the kids eating muffins on the high lounges. HM and I got to sit in front of the fire too. I feel like we own that couch and give people the hairy eyeball should they dare be sitting on it when we arrive. I then sit right next to them and encourage the children to be at their loudest and most obnoxious in the hope that the trespassers will leave. Just kidding. I usually sit at least two tables away before I start this.
Walked around Star Swamp after that as it looked most inviting and it was particularly sunny at the time. It became particularly horrid when we were about half way around and began to pour dramatically. We all got caught in the rain and hovered around the side of a large tree trunk waiting for it to pass. Of all the jackets he owns, Hammerhead had on the only one without a hood. Bad mother--taking sick child out and getting him drenched in the cold. And I still have not purchased that family size umbrella. I wonder if Alannah Hill does family size?

Monday, June 18, 2012


Ok, the weekend is over. Thank goodness. Much as I love quality family time, it usually involves the house being in a perpetual state of mess. I seem to be able to tolerate mess a whole lot better that I used to. In fact, I can quite comfortably lounge around in it without feeling the need to straighten a floor rug or get the vacuum cleaner out when someone eats a toasted sandwich in the lounge room. I can even withstand a box of lego scattered all over the floor that someone has long since stopped playing with. Gone are the days where I would sweep the floor ten times and have the house looking spotless JUST IN CASE there was a random drop-in. Actually, that was never really the reason, the reason was I just simply could not stand to see mess and disarray. Could.Not.Stand.It. I had an anxious feeling that something bad would happen.

Ten years ago this sort of thing would have almost sent me over the edge. A phonecall would have been made.
It began in the late nineties and continued through to the early noughties. I went through an obsessive period where I couldn't handle a jumper being thrown casually over a lounge. I could not EVER stand to see one dirty cup near a sink. I had to wash it. The sink had to be clear of all dirty dishes ALWAYS. I hated when people moved my books in my book case. I had them in alphabetical order. I would break out in a sweat if someone turned over a corner of a floor mat, and I would have to sit and fight with myself not to get up and turn it back. I had to touch wood every time I thought of something bad happening--to the point where I nearly had a serious accident trying to touch wood while driving. I couldn't stand to see one item of washing in the washing basket. I would go and hunt down enough dirty towels, sheets and socks to justify a wash. I could not handle a dirty mark on a shirt. I would not even attempt to sponge it off, it would have to be machine washed or dry cleaned. I couldn't handle a wet bath mat. It had to be dry every single moment and if it wasn't it would have to be put on the line until it was. I could not stand to see a crooked picture. I couldn't walk on cracks in the footpath. All of the cups had to have the handles facing the same way in the cupboard. My wardrobe--which was a pole suspended from the roof--was colour coded. It was like a rainbow of colour.

Most people just thought I was neat. They had no idea of the anxiety behind it. I had a friend who would come over and challenge the neatness by randomly upending rug corners and making my pictures crooked when I was out of the room. I once made all of my girlfriends help me clean the apartment after a cocktail soiree before we headed off into the night. There was absolutely no way I could come home to mess. It wasn't just at home either, if I went to someone's house and they had a sink full of dishes, I would get up and do them and I would take great enjoyment in this act. You people know who you are and it will never happen again.

This obsessive period ended, somewhat abruptly, when Hammerhead was born. We came home from the hospital with our darling boy and I spent three hours cleaning the house. I was trying to prove that I could keep a clean house and a baby at the same time. I should have been cuddling the baby. I should have at least been attempting to sleep. I then spent the next few days changing my shirt every single time I got spewed on. Hammerhead was a serious vomiter. I soon ran out of clothes and it was winter which meant that drying the washed clothes was virtually impossible in the timeframe I needed them. I became extremely upset and anxious about this and very depressed. I needed help.

My wonderful obstetrician and the extremely patient HM steered me in the right direction. I embarked on a course of cognitive behaviour therapy over a period of twelve months, directed by a fantastic psych. She did such a number on me that I now simply ignore mess and even help create it. Now, I don't care if people come over and I haven't vacuumed. I don't care if there are dishes in the sink overnight or, heaven forbid, when people visit. I don't care if the baskets of unfolded washing are in full view. Actually I DO CARE, I just don't have the compulsion to worry about it or worse, get up and sort it right then and there.

I am not completely cured either. I still have remnants of the old behaviours. For instance, HM cannot stand the way the kitchen table is constantly being wiped down--sometimes I lift up his cereal bowl while he is mid-spoonful to do this. I also don't think he comprehends my need to whip off the kids clothes the minute they dirty them and put clean ones on. He endures movie after movie where I sit there constantly spotting continuity errors rather than focusing on the plot of the movie we are watching. He does not understand how this makes me almost as excited as he gets when watching an AFL grand final with his team in it.

I also have a new set of compulsions that have replaced the old ones. Now OCD means Obsessive Computer Disorder. My folders and documents are always neat and ordered. My desktop is clean. It is something that I can control and that no-one else can touch! I am a squeaky-clean geek.

I still dream of a real world of clean surfaces and spotless floors. But it's never going to happen in our house. At least not for another 20 years. And I have realised that I can live with that. I think.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writer's block

I have writer's block. I can't think of anything at all to write about without whinging and I am personally sick of reading whingy stuff on Facebook and literally everywhere. I've reread some of my earlier posts. I am such a whinger.

Watched Packed to the Rafters last night and aside from last week's episode, I haven't tuned in much this year. I was mildly horrified to see that Julie Rafter is now blogging. Vintage Mum I think she calls herself. And--quel horreur!--there's a Daddo in the cast. Oh the mainstream-ness of it all. And why do the Rafters have to be so clich├ęd? Dave Rafter will be tweeting about the next episode of Q and A at this pace.

[daverafter: @QandA: Loving Tony Jones' tie tonight. #paisley #slick]

Anyway, I digress. I really can't think of much to say. I've got too much work on and still suffering from SAD. A black crow keeps wandering down our path. I don't like this omen.

The alleged storm of the century last night caused a large tree branch to fall down in the back yard. The kidlets were most fascinated in the lead up to the storm and were hoping there would be some ugliness the next day. "When is it going to get ugly?" asked Barnstormer last night. Hammerhead wanted candles on. At that stage the power wasn't even out. It was as exciting as a trip to the zoo for them.

This was all of us in our bedroom this morning though:

That's me on the left with morning hair.
Thank god for gas stoves and hot water systems during a power blackout. It was nice to be able to have my hot cup of caffeine-free cereal beverage coffee replacement (?) and a shower, even if it was in the dark. HM made me a latte yesterday. It was delish and I savoured every drop. But I don't need them every day.

Ok, on with today's work. As I had anticipated, the publishing company I am dealing with IS way behind schedule (surprise!) so the pressure is somewhat relieved on the current workload. Although, completed projects mean money so it's still on with the show.

Procrastinating with the work stuff even further, I googled Insane Jane just to see what came up and was flabbergasted when I stumbled upon this: AN ENTRY IN THE URBAN DICTIONARY
And all this time I thought it was just a random rhyming adjective. No wonder I am whingy.

I wish I could hibernate during winter. Dear blog, I promise not to post again until I can think of something positive to write about.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More on the anniversary

The Nigella-cake was downgraded to a carrot and coconut cake due to a lack of chocolate and cocoa in the pantry. Hammerhead and Barnstormer were heavily involved in the production and the recipe was severely meddled with. The sugar was meant to be creamed with the eggs and oil but Barnstormer--a sugar freak--quickly added it to the dry ingredients instead. Hammerhead's contribution to the meddling was an extra egg and also MORE coconut. We persevered and cooked it anyway. It was not the disaster I was anticipating and everyone enjoyed it.

It was about this time that I thought we should at least have a toast. And I mean a real toast not some lime and soda toast. It's been four weeks since I have partaken and as I have mentioned before, this has not been that difficult, but right at that point, after a long day with the troops inside, I wanted nothing more than a celebratory wine.

As if he could read my mind, HM made some fluff about needing something out of the car (at a time when it was pissing down and nasty). He soon returned with the most beautiful bottle of cab merlot.

And we sat and had two exquisite glasses of wine and many toasts to us.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our Anniversary

Today is our anniversary. Or one of our anniversaries. Today we are celebrating 6 years of not being married. But this is the second time around for us so it's technically 9.75 years. We used to celebrate the anniversary of the day we first met--even though we did not get together until quite some number of years after that--so then we celebrated the day we first got together, the day we got back together, and then it all got too complicated with the various dates. Today, June 10, is the one we officially call "Our Anniversary".

Every year in the days leading up to June 10 we talk about what fabulous things we should do on our anniversary--and sometimes we even do them. My plans are usually about reliving the past. Going on a barhop to places that aren't there anymore. Going on a weekender to the country (sans kidlets). Handsome Man (who I shall now refer to as HM) sees that these ideas are not feasible and we usually settle for dinner at a restaurant that is within a two-minute walk from our house. Thankfully we have a few to choose from.

Today, I woke up with a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on top of the usual. I do not enjoy winter. It makes me even more depressed than normal. I think the only times that I 'enjoy' winter are when I am down south with a glass of red wine and a log fire. I dream of a lifestyle where I can live six months here, six months there and just experience spring all the time.

I can't escape the weather. Our house is full of sliding glass doors and large windows with no curtains. The weather is everywhere we look. It may as well be raining and windy inside the house. I cannot begin to imagine how people cope with snow and blizzards and REAL cold.

Whinging about the weather, however, now stops here with this post. We will ride it out. We will remember we do not live in Norway. We will make a Nigella-style rich, moist, juicy, firm, luscious chocolate anniversary cake. We will ignore the endless whirr of the clothes dryer in the laundry. We will possibly send HM down to the shop for anniversary supplies--he doesn't mind the rain, besides it's an opportunity for the requisite surf check. It's a win-win situation.

We we will enjoy the moment. 
We will have a toast to our anniversary.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Random drop-ins

Why does the random and not-so-random drop-in always happen at the worst possible moment?

This morning The Surfer's mother dropped his surfboards off. Today is not normally the day I would expect her to drop in with these but anyway she rolls up right in the middle of BREAKFAST GONE BESERK.

It's ugly. There is a stream of porridge running from the microwave to the rubbish bin. Hammerhead is refusing to eat anything at all and is calling everyone a poo head. Barnstormer wants to be carried in the middle of all the nonsense, despite being nearly 4 and over 16 kilos. I am dressed in HM's very ugly black hoodie and some most unsightly old pyjama pants--which are on back to front. HM is dressed in what I like to call "homeless man chic" which is basically anything on the floor on his side of the bed but layers and layers of the stuff. He gets very cold and can be known to have on four or five layers of clothing.

The radio is on really loud to drown out the whining of the toddlers. I am at the sink with back to everyone. I am telling Hammerhead that he is the biggest poo head in the world. And there she is, The Surfer's mother, quietly wandering into the mayhem bearing boards and a wetsuit.

HM offers her a cup of tea but she knows better and says she is in a hurry. None-the-less she stays for about as long as it takes to drink two cups of tea while I stand between the kids who are trying to wrestle on the table. She doesn't seem to care at all that Barnstormer calls her bumhead and keeps trying to offer her some teaspoons of scrambled eggs, as in forcibly tries to feed her. Maybe she enjoys watching the chaos.

The other not-so-random drop-in is Father-in-law. Even though most of his visits are timed to get away from an episode of Bold and Beautiful, he almost always turns up when the kids are watching television. He thinks that this is what they do ALL DAY.

Why does no-one randomly drop in when I have just cleaned the house? (There is usually a 25 minute window of opportunity before it is messed up again.) Why does F-i-l never turn up when we are knee deep into my highly organised creative painting sessions? Why does the neighbour come over at nutcase hour and want to explain all the things that we need to look after while they are away.

Why does no-one randomly drop in when we are having our most enjoyable co-operative cooking sessions? (Ones that don't involve flour). Or when we are all madly dancing to the theme song from Doctor Who? WHY?

You may be able to tell that I haven't had the best of days.

Toddlers - can't eat them, can't throw them back

I am not totally fond of the toddler stage. Maybe it's because I had my kids very close together. I have a double serving of an entree I cannot send back to the kitchen. I think even if I only had one I would still struggle with the toddler phase. I jsut don't seem to know how to communicate in toddler-speak.

I am not one of those mum-type mums. I am not one of those people that would say that being a mum was the best thing they ever did. I am not a mum who wants to meet up with other mums in the park and do mum things. I never did the mums-walking-with-prams-together thing. I never joined a mother's group. I didn't relish the mother-of-toddlers role as much as some mums do. Don't get me wrong, I love my little people to death but I think I am more suited to being a worker than at home ALL DAY with two mischievous toddlers.

These are not my kids but this is the sort of thing they would do. 
Not that I would ever leave a bucket of white paint around.

I have tried to enjoy this phase by coming up with all sorts of activities. And we do have some incredibly good times. They can make me laugh till I am crying. I do painting, craft and outdoor stuff with them as much as the next mum.

But I often get frustrated with some of their extra curricular activities.

I have minimal time for Hammerhead's somewhat inventive party tricks. When is he going to work out that covering everything in the bedroom with a thick layer of powder is not going to make me laugh? Why, when we are cooking, does he grate the empty eggshells and throw them into my cake mix? Why does he pour all of my expensive (and now extremely precious) hair products down the plug hole? Why does he draw all over himself in black texta when there is a whiteboard right next to him? Why does he put his battery-operated toys into the front-loading washing machine? Which reminds me WHY DID WE EVER PURCHASE A FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINE WHILE WE HAVE TODDLERS? (sorry that's another post entirely)

I thought this stuff would have stopped by now. I thought he would do this stuff once, find out it is not funny, be heavily involved in the clean-up and then it would never happen again. WRONG. No end of threats or punishments or lack of special treats has changed any of this. He thinks it is extremely hilarious stuff every time. Cracks himself up.

There are too many things to go into with Barnstormer. She is way too clever. She is far, far more intelligent now than I will ever be. However, despite knowing how to download and print out a set of pictorial instructions for her zhu zhu pet using my iPhone and question why Julia Gillard is rarely seen with Tim Mathieson, she still does not understand that when the ice-cream carton is empty, a full new icecream container will not magically appear in its place. She might even scream the house down about this.

Together Hammerhead and Barnstormer are capable of some crazy stuff. Barnstormer is the more sensible but can easily be led astray. Last week we made pizza. We do this often. I like to make the dough from scratch. The kids love to roll it out on the table once it's risen, but when my back is turned, as is often the case with the layout of our kitchen, no end of mayhem can eventuate. One minute they are busily rolling their dough and kneading it into creative shapes. The next minute, as I slice up the pineapple on the bench, all of the flour is tipped onto the table and the floor by Hammerhead and he is rubbing his hair in it. Not to be outdone, Barnstormer has rolled her crayons up inside her dough and is using this new invention to draw flowers on the table. I always wish I had taken photos or even a video (like this one) but am far too angry at the time.

When I was nearly five butter wouldn't melt in my mouth. I was mummy's princess. I rarely had a hair out of place and could start humming the orchestral movements of Swan Lake at any given moment. Mum was most proud. And mums BACK IN THOSE DAYS weren't complaining about toddlers. Mum had two younger ones besides me and she wasn't sitting around blogging to vent her frustrations. Mums back then were not whinging to anyone who would listen about how hard it is to have a shower without some small person telling you to get out of the way of the water. They didn't even have microwaves or dishwashers or disposable nappies. Not once have I ever heard my mum say "You kids used to drive me INSANE when you were little. It was a crazy time in my life". Nope. I think even now (that they are grandparents) they look and think what the hell are you complaining about? Actually, that's not true. My mum knows what mischief my little elves are capable of ...

And those people that say teenagers are horrid, do they not remember the toddler phase? We have a teenager and I would rather have five just like him--even teenage girls--in exchange for a double whammy of the 3-5 year old phase. At least they know that NO means NO.

So darling Hammerhead, aka Mr Mischief, turns 5 in less than three weeks. I cannot realistically expect that the party tricks are going to cease. We think it might be another year away.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monster face

Today, despite the rain, I woke up feeling almost normal--whatever that is. I even got creative before kindy and this is what Hammerhead would have found in his lunchbox.

I wish I could have seen his face. He just adores gherkin. Give him a bowl of gherkins and a bowl of marshmallows, he will eat all of the gherkins. He would pass the marshmallow test for sure. He simply does not like them. He does not like them, Sam I am. He does not like green eggs and ham.

Feeling like mother-of-the-year, I skipped out of the house pleased that I had both kids sorted and into the car on time. My euphoria was short lived. Feeling like bad mother-of-the-year, I realised I was the only kindy mum who didn't seem to have a massive umbrella that could comfortably shelter a small African nation. I didn't have an umbrella AT ALL. And worse--Hammerhead wasn't even in a raincoat. I even saw some child in a PERSONALISED raincoat.

Ok, so now I am home trying to work (but blogging instead!). I've had some positive work comments recently. I always feel better hearing those. I just sometimes wish I had a job where aside from paying me the client would send me thank you gifts. Nothing much, just a little memento like a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or something like that. My travel agent friend gets all sorts of stuff like that. Free dinner, cases of expensive wine, free weekenders. I guess I need to get a new bunch of clients with products I like.

Me: Guess what {client} sent me the other day?
Travel Agent friend: Ooh what?
Me: A free copy of their strategic plan on metropolitan groundwater systems, hot off the press.
Travel Agent friend: You are so lucky. All I ever get are bottles of Piper Hiedsieck or a weekend at The Legian.
Me: Ah, you're in the wrong industry my friend. Next week I am expecting a couple of free editions of a 350 page academic text on architectural projections. It even has a whole chapter on the discontinuity of continuity.
Travel Agent friend: It's just not fair.

I must stop talking about alcohol. I'm still "dry". It's going ok and the benefits of not drinking are more numerous than I once thought. It's dawned on me that I now have at least a spare half an hour a day as I no longer am trawling liquor stores looking for that increasingly elusive New Zealand Montana Sauv Blanc 2-for-1 deal. Or those very hard to find heavily-oaked chardonnays that HM still thinks are in fashion.

It's just occurred to me that my burst of creativity this morning is going to mean that I will have to create a different monster face sandwich every day. Got any lunchbox tips?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's only the beginning

I just started this blog in case you're wondering why there's not much here. Originally my intention was to document my madness and imperfect parenting but I am a self-confessed and autodidactic geek. All of a sudden I am registering a new domain name, adding widgets, gadgets and favicons. I want to know all the tricks and layout wizardry I can use. It has unleashed my inner nerd. I guess one good thing is that I am extremely fast at this stuff. I can whip up a post in minutes. So it's not interfering at all with my work load. Rather it's enhancing it.

I don't even care for making money out of the blog--well not at this stage. I am using it as a kind of therapy.

Maybe I am just missing my coffees.
As you can see this post was shamelessly checking my skills for linking to other posts and uploading pics.

Insane work decisions

I don't know if it's the black dog or lack of coffee but I am making some almost unworkable work decisions. I'm currently writing an educational series for a publishing company over east. I've never written for them before but they are big and pay well. I'm supposed to have three of the six books ready by the end of June. END.OF.JUNE. I'm about a third of the way through one book and keep telling myself that once I've done one book, the others will follow on very quickly. At the rate I am going, even if I were to work for every possible waking hour left in the month, I will only have one book done.

If this isn't bad enough, I just accepted a contract for a government department to edit some strategic plans by END.OF.JUNE. I hate to say no to jobs as I know they may never contact me again. I also need my editing fix. My day is no good until I've corrected grammar somewhere.

I guess I am hoping that the publishing company is running behind schedule--like my old publishing company always was. And that the government department won't be ready to send me their stuff, which is almost a dead cert from past experience. Any grammatical errors in any of my posts are intentional.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Goodbye alcohol and caffeine ... for now

I've given up my wine and long macs. It's been three weeks exactly.

I had a bit of a crisis point just over three weeks ago. A very good friend died nearly two months ago--a most beautiful human being--and the black dog bolted down the well worn path. It was the third such friend I have lost to cancer. Am I jinxed? At this rate I am losing a fantastic friend once a decade.

I hit a very bad patch and so it was back to the GP for new directions after a lovely chat with a nice man on the Mental Health Emergency Line. GP enquired as to my alcohol and caffeine intake. Now I am no Hunter S. Thompson but I have to admit, my 'daily' glass of wine around nutcase hour was turning into two glasses, sometimes three. I knew this wasn't good but it seemed to taste nice.

Then it was coffee first thing in the morning. HM is barista extraordinaire and usually makes at least three full strength long macs before I am even out of pyjamas. This is often followed by a trip to a cafe with Barnstormer and Hammerhead for more. We like cafes.

Anyway, the irony is that you go to the GP depressed and they then tell you that you have to quit coffee and plonk. So you leave the GP even more depressed than ever!

Strangely, it has been very easy to give it all up. I think the fact that it is winter is helping. I do miss the little rituals that HM and I used to have but I am soldiering on, with clarity. Now I am hoping that weight will just magically fall off! I need to lose ten kilos at least. I am pretty certain I look exactly like that poor girl in the papers on the weekend where everybody had to judge whether she was fat or not. I almost have her height and definitely have her weight. So I am 'average'. This is one instance where I want to be below average. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On the up

Today was a great day. HM suggested early on in the morning that I go for a walk to get the paper. While this suggestion may sound horribly sexist in a Tony Abbott "make me a sandwich" kind of way, it was a gesture of caring as he knows that I must exercise in order to stay sane and am also very unmotivated to do so. The last thing I would be thinking at that time is about getting out for a walk. I am thinking about putting a load of washing on, making the bed, having a shower, getting the house a bit tidy in case there is a random drop-in, making a batch of scones for said random drop-in, and of course my neverending task, sitting down to some work once the kids are sorted.

I never feel I can just up and go somewhere like HM so often does ... off for a surf or a walk or whatever he feels like. It's not that he says I can't go, it's just that I feel I must be here to make sure all is ok. And also because I know that the kids will want to come with me and there will be a scene. Which I would have caused.

So I decided to go for the solo walk and block out all other distractions. Just me, my iPod and the fresh sea air.

And of course Hammerhead and Barnstormer are in for the "solo" trip. There are demands of a change of clothes, shoes and socks,  matching hair clips, not those ones, these ones and on it went. Half an hour later we are ready to depart for my "solo" walk to the servo! We leave the house only to find HM has also decided to come on our mission. So it turns into a family outing. The sort of outing I often dread. Where the kids will run off, often in different directions. Where I will end up carrying their shoes, their jumpers and the things they find on the beach. HM never has to worry about this. He can even walk ahead unencumbered.

Anyway, the family outing turned out to be not so bad. Down the road to the beach and then up to the servo. Basically a ten minute walk. A couple of lemonade icy poles and everyone's happy. The obligatory play on the beach and two hours later we have staggered up our huge hill and are home. So tired, little Barnstormer falls asleep on my lap and I forget to get everyone some lunch. Everyone sorts themselves out and a computer-related visit from Father-in-law caps off the early afternoon (there's always a random drop-in). The day is characterised by endless Foxtel movies, cups of tea that never get finished and the weekend papers sprawled everywhere.

A trip to the shops turns out to be a social event for which I wish I had have prepared a little better. I manage to go solo, however, I am caught in the clothes I slept in with only a dash of lipstick by every school mum I know, which at this early point is not that many. I am even accosted by The Surfer himself who is inspecting the trolley for snacks. He is with his friends and they are trying to find some kind of juice smoothie that has spirulina in it. Ugh. Horrid flashbacks of an earlier time of depression circa 1996 come to mind. Vile bottle-green tablets that smelt of the sea in a not very good way.

I run into our neighbour. She recounts this horrendous story that her in-laws had to endure on a flight back to England. She apologises for their new dog. The one that yaps all night and keeps HM awake so that he is cross in the morning. I mention nothing of this and act surprised when she tells me they have a new dog. Their new dog needs more attention and care than a new baby. They have had to get a custom made box thing and put the dog in their bedroom so that it sleeps at night. It can't settle unless it can see them at all times. WTF? Why would you purchase a puppy like this? She is complaining about the vet bills. I am not a pet person.

So I am at the car putting shopping bags in and The Surfer can't decide whether he should come home in the car with me or come home in half an hour via streetboard when the sun goes down - the rule of the house. He is asking me what he should do. Honestly, as if it makes any difference to me? In the end, it is decided that he should stay out but only after he has offered to go back into the shop to purchase me a spirulina smoothie. I later find out that this was a tactic to purchase other goods and am given less change than I was expecting. But really it was what I was expecting.

Dinner was delightful and restaurant quality. Tasmanian salmon and prawn spaghetti with lime, EVOO, parsley and garlic. And the left over lemon delicious that my ultra-gourmet friend whipped up. Kids in bed before 8 after another rendition of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Why do they always ask me the same questions during the story?

Ok, it's obvious that no work is going to get done tonight. I have had a good day though and felt happy and relaxed. I don't even think I snapped at anyone.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The first post

Well, I always said I didn't have time to be a mummy blogger. I don't really have the time to even be a mummy. But I've been realising I need to write. I've also been inspired by the plethora of good quality inappropriate blogs out there. I don't know how often I'll get to write and I don't even know what I will focus on. I live with a surfer, am a mummy of two and stepmum of a teenager who I love as my own. I work from home (at all hours!) so I can ferry the darlings here and there. But mostly I make the man drive them around.

Other things about me in no particular order:
  • I didn't think I would have kids but I ended up sneaking in there just before the biological time bomb went off. I am glad I did. I love the little peeps.
  • I have hypermobility and also Ehlers Danlos syndrome. I can do crazy things with my fingers but it's not all fun and games.
  • I am not very good with toddlers, better with older kids.
  • My kids have just ended the toddler phase (see above!) Aged 4 and 5. Most people think they are twins. They are called Barnstormer (a wise girl of 4) and Hammerhead (my big boy of 5). They have a big brother known as The Surfer (boy 15). He is famous to many people. He is my fake son and I love him like my own.
  • My man, who I shall call Handsome Man (HM for short), is 11 years older than me and I love him as much now as I did at the beginning. I cherish the fact that my kids have him for a father. We have known each other for more than 25 years.
  • I get on really well with The Surfer's mother. It's all good.
  • I do a load of washing every single day. Sometimes more. It's like how some people can't do anything until they have a coffee or a cigarette. I can't be calm until the washing is on.
  • I like things to be clean and tidy.
  • My house usually looks like we have just been burgled by people searching for something specific.
  • I have learned to live with mess. But I still hate it.
  • I am on Pristiq ... for now. I am usually happy but the black dog follows me around and really barks a lot. I struggle with it. It has been appearing since at least 1998 but I could even say it was around in 1983.
  • I have written over 100 educational books that are sold nationally and internationally. 
  • I was crap at breastfeeding.
  • My life has had a number of very distinct and different stages that ususally last around ten years. I am hoping my current stage lasts longer.
  • My best friends are the girls I've known since school. My best friend forever has known me since Year One.
  • Thanks for stopping by to my girl-cave on the web.