Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Something miraculous and slightly disturbing happened last week while Andrew was away. The boys decided to spend a lot of their time taking care of themselves, each other and me.

A bit of background.  Andrew was away for the whole week last week. The boys and I have become accustomed to this but it is still stressful. Mostly because we all know there is no one coming through the door at 6-7pm to save us from each other and ourselves.

The thing that normally puts me through the wringer is that the boys wake up so early. No matter what time I go to bed waking at 5.30am puts me in a bad mood for the day. And to make matters worse I was sick for most of the time as well.

Over the last few of Andrews trips I have been slowly trying to get the boys to need me less in the morning so that I can sleep on the lounge. But on the first morning of this trip Jack asked me if it was ok for him to take Hamish downstairs and make them both breakfast. In my sleepy and disoriantated state I said yes ...

It went extremely well. Jack made them both Weet-bix and milk and they chilled out in front of TV for an hour or so while I slept (albeit lightly) upstairs.

For the rest of the week that was our morning routine. It worked well for all of us, I got to sleep in and the boys got a less cranky sleep deprived mum.

That was just one example of the things the boys did to help me and each other some of the others were:

+ Jack changing the toilet paper role of his own back
+ Hamish feeding the dogs every night
+ Jack looking after his brother at the harmony day celebration at school
+ Hamish staying with his brother at the harmony day celebration at school
+ Both playing together for hours out on the street with the other kids. Both of them looking after each other grabbing food and drinks for each other and me.

And I could go on. The best thing was the way that they were listening to me and each other.

So what you may ask, is the slightly disturbing part. Well the thing is how much responsibility is to much? I'm not sure.  And as much as the kids were happy and I was happy after it was all over I started wondering if the want to be 'helpful' was something I had somehow forced on them? Or were they just enjoying being able to make decisions for themselves without fear of me reprimanding them.  I was all for it feeling like the whole thing was an experiment of self regulation.
We are mostly back to normal now that Andrew is back. But they are both still asking and getting more responsibilities than they were before. 

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth (where does that saying come from) and I'm happy that they are happy. I just hope that this want to 'look after' came from a happy place and not the feeling that if they didn't mummy would fall to pieces.

That being said.... I am the luckiest mummy on earth and I have the two most caring, empathetic little men I have ever met *grin* so really I should just be quiet, thank my lucky stars and sleep peacefully (albeit lightly).

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Boys and Their Toys

Last week the boys received easter letters each from their great grandparents. Inside was $10 each. Today I decided to take them to the local toy store and let them loose. The good thing about this toy store is that almost everything in it is groovy. Not a barbie/gun/disney toy in sight.

Its always interesting to see what they decide to pick. The first thing they both found were called 'Buzzing Magnets'. When you put them together they vibrate and make a buzzing sound. Both boys decided they wanted a set.

Next they both found some 'Jumping Putty'. Jack decided to get some and so did Hamish until he saw 'Blasters'. I used to love 'Blasters'. They are two hard balls covered in some kind of minor explosive powder and when you bang them together they make a loud snapping sound. In the madness I didn't think about the fact that explosive balls aren't probably the best toy for a 3 year old. But we have brought them already so now I will just have to wait for them to run out.

Of course we got home and about 5 minutes later the explosive balls were not as exciting as he thought and he was coverting the 'Jumping Putty' which is the consistency of play dough but when you throw it it bounces really high and in crazy directions.

And the lastly they both decided to buy rings. Jack got a T-Rex ring and Hamish got a lion ring.

So far the 'Jumping Magnets' are by far the favourite. Followed closely by the 'Jumping Putty'.  But we have come out on the street and the bigger boys love the 'Blasters' (which will hopefully run them out and then I don't have to worry about the whole three year old minor explosive powder thing).

I'm actually pretty impressed with what they have picked. I wonder if they would have picked these if they were faced with all the other trademarked toys and am glad that I don't have to find out (cause I'm guessing Ben 10 would win).

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Todays Haul (5) The Mini Haul

Today haul was a cheap one hence the blog. Five books for 50c deserves a post all of its own. The best part is that 3 of them are books that I remember from my childhood that didn't survive my late teen cull.

- Taronga, Victor Kelleher. Im pretty sure I have a copy of this somewhere, but its brand new and I figure you can always have more than one copy of a great book.

- The Computer Nut, Betsy Byars. I can remember reading this a lot. From what I remember it's a complete take off of Chocky by John Wyndham. Its about a girl who keeps getting these strange messages on her computer and it turns out to be messages from someone from space (I think, its been a lot of years).

- Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left, Robin Klein. The cover of this book is so familiar that I know I read it many time (during my Robin Klein phase) but for the life of me the only thing that I can vaguely remember is that the teenage sister had really cool hair.

- The Queens Nose, Dick King-Smith. The same guy that wrote 'Babe'

- The Puffin Book of Tongue Twisters, Mark Cohen.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Stress Relief

I don't feel well. Bad timing since Andrew is away for a week. Thank the gods today for our street. The kids have played between 3 houses today and I made a tent in the front yard to keep them out of the sun. And basically 5 kids have been running a muck all day. While the parents stayed inside in the cool.

This isn't a real post. I'm to tired and sick for that. But I figured how much time would I get to blog while I'm solo parenting! Plus its a pretty cool tent :)

Friday, 19 March 2010

Letting Go

A few years ago my dad and Inge met the Dalai Lama. That in itself is a story but not what I am telling you. When he met them he blessed these pieces of red string with a knot tied in them (I'm sure they have a name but I don't know what it is). They were to give to people they loved and they gave two of them to Andrew and I. 

Both dad and Inges fell off within a few months. Andrews fell off after about a year. Three years or so later and mine was still on. I think they were meant to bring you luck or peace? maybe luck and peace are really the same thing. I wondered why mine stayed on for so long.  But I was happy that it stayed with me. I would sometimes look at it and be reminded that I was lucky enough to be wearing a blessing and I felt peaceful about it.

Last tuesday I met with my shrink and on the spur of the moment I decided that maybe it was time to finish my time in therapy.  I realised that I felt calmer and more centered than I have in a very long time and so seeing a shrink suddenly didn't feel necessary. It all went well. She agreed with me that I was ready to go out into the world without her (knowing also that I could call anytime).

That afternoon I was sitting at my desk and looked at my wrist. My bracelet was gone. I was sure that it had been on that morning and remember fiddling with it as I waited to see her. I wonder, did the bracelet stay with me as long as I needed it? Or was it just a coincidence? I like to think its the first one.

I miss it and wondered about tying another piece of red string around my wrist. But it would just be string.

(Disclaimer, the picture above is not my hand *grin*)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Todays Haul (4) or the Unhaul

This picture doesn't show the colours well. The boots are fire engine red.

My neighbour came over on saturday to tell me that one of the second hand shops was having a half price sale on books. Of course I ran in and to my excitement it wasn't 1/2 price anymore all books were $1. Imagine 15 shelves of second hand books most of which were double stacked, all for $1. I was in paradise. Except for one thing. After an hour of browsing I had only found seven books, two of which I brought because I knew I would be able to resell them. I couldn't believe that out of all of those books there were so few I was interested in.

Luckily the rest of the weekend and today came up a little better. So this 'Todays Haul' post is actually after 3 days of browsing

Books -
* The Great Feminist Denial - Monica Dux and Zora Simic
* Honk if you are Jesus - Peter Goldsworthy
* Outcast, The Un-Magician - Christopher Golden et al
* The Baby Machine
* Samurai - Jason Hightman
* Charlottes Web - EB White (beautiful old copy)
* Greeneology
* Women who Dance with Wolves

Clothes and Jewelry -
* Wrap Skirt
* Super funky red suede ankle boots with medium heel
* Pink and brass cocktail ring
* 2 plastic bracelets (green and blue)
* Flowery coin pouch
* Blue flower ring
* Orange beaded bracelet

For Kids -
* 2 x blow up hippos
* 1 x mini flip book
* Crockery Cup
* Jelly Bracelets
* 4 x Torch rings
* A word/picture puzzle game

All in all a great haul and all for under $50 !! The boots were the most expensive at $15 and the torch rings were the cheapest at $1 for four.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Stylistically Challenged

This blog has always been about the bits a pieces that go on in my brain on any specific day. So it comes as no surprise to me (and shouldn't to you) that at the moment the topic that I am wanting to blog about is our (maybe) upcoming renos.

This isn't because the time is near but because this is the time for dreaming and wishing in lieu of any actual planning.

One of the issues that I am becoming keenly aware of in the dreaming process is how varied my tastes are. I'm wondering how, when you do have such varied tastes, do you pick everything from power points to the bathroom sink and make sure that it works together in a harmonious way. When does eclectic become ugly?

Take the kitchen. The part of me that likes clean and simple is dreaming of white. White bench tops, white cupboards, white shelving.  I think that, matched with our wooden floors, bits and pieces and the big wooden dining table in the middle this will give us a modern / casual feel albeit a bit borning. But then the part of me that likes to add a touch of personality gets involved and suddenly I'm loving that copper light fitting and those marine ply cupboards. And then 'argh' its messy, disorganised and nothing looks or works quiet the way I want it to. Not to mention that the part of me that wants the copper light shade must also have no idea of our budget cause it certainly doesn't cover $1200 light shades !!

But the part of me that's likes to be eclectic (let's call her Ada) doesn't like the all white idea. She thinks it looks boring and safe and its been done a million times before. Just as the part of me that likes the clean and simple ( let's call her Ethal) thinks that Adas ideas are simply over the top, over budget and altogether to much.

You see my dilemma!  I want it to be cheap, but I don't want it to look cheap. I want it to be simple, but I don't want it to be boring. I want it to be us but not the stylistically challenged us. And so it goes around and around.

Luckily this is the time for dreaming and the time for getting my ideas in order. Andrew will no doubt keep Ada in order budget wise and hopefully people like my stylistically brilliant step-mother will keep Ada's crazy ideas order while not allowing Ethals boring simplicity to take over. Somewhere in the middle is a very nice simple but eclectic home ... I hope.

So now to find a balance between wants/needs, loves/likes, simple/creative, and everything in between.  And probably no copper light shades (but I'm keeping the picture just in case).

Monday, 8 March 2010

More Thoughts About School

It's week seven of the school term and things are starting to settle in. I now know which activities/extra lessons are on which day.
Italian Class - Tuesday
Jacks News Day - Wednesday
Library - Thursday
Religion - hmm I think its Friday (out of the seven or so religions to choose from we chose Buddhism).

Jack has also started kissing me in the playground and going into class on his own. This stared two weeks ago with the bold statement
"Its ok mummy, I'll just kiss you here and go in by myself".

I am getting used to having to be out of the house by 8.45am five days a week which for a while I thought would never happen.

And the tiredness has started.

It's one of the uncomfortable side effects of Jack/kids going out being busy and stimulated yet restricted for five days in a row. Some days its fine, some days it comes out as sadness about everything (your not buttering my toast right, Hamish looked at me funny, I don't like these shorts). Other times it is coming out as anger. This is the more difficult one to cope with.

Jack is normally such an even tempered little guy.  In fact since he turned five he has become even more so. So when he decides to blow a gasket it comes as a huge surprise.  Today after speaking to me in a way that I thought wasn't cool, I told him he was not allowed to play outside with the kids in our street anymore. The result was enormous. There was a slammed door, lots of tears, some yelling at the top of his voice and even telling me that I am NOT A NICE MUMMY.

I'm a big fan of releasing your emotions and understand that as a family we all yell.  What surprised me is that I am getting better at seeing this during the yelling. Today we had this exchange.

J: Its not FAAAAIIIR, I want to go out and your not letting me, you are NOT A NICE MUMMY

Me: I understand you are frustrated at the moment sweetheart, if you could just calm down we could talk about how you are feeling.

A bit more raging and the after the storm was over and the crying headache had hit (poor little guy)

Me: I know when we are angry sometimes we yell and say things that we don't mean, would you like a cuddle
J: I'm so sorry mummy, I didn't mean it. Your such a lovely mummy. I was just really sad that I didn't get to play with my friends"

Me:  "It's ok, I know you love me and I love you even when your cranky".

And not only is the storm over but the rain has sunk into the earth and the cleanup crew is almost finished tying down the tarpaulin.

I'm wondering if these emotional outbursts are going to continue through the whole school experience? How do we deal with them? Is there anyway we can help Jack deal better? And I wonder how long my cool and calm attitude to them can last?

So these are the next lot of trials and tribulations about the change school is bringing to all of our lives.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

OK Go - This too Shall Pass

Once again I am feeling like I am behind on current pop culture thanks to Neil himself's Tweets I am passing on this very cool video. In case you are wondering YES it is the same guys from this video.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Art Installations

Its been a crazy week. Andrew has been away and work for him has been madness. The kids were both a little sick and all in all everyone has been to tired or grumpy to do much of anything. On saturday we had to go into the city with Andrew. While he got some work done the boys and I went to look at this gorgeous art installation that is in an alley way near the office. What you are looking at is about 50 empty bird cages and piped into the area is are bird calls. The boys were captivated and kept asking me who let the birds out, where are the birds and if there are no birds why can I hear them.

Then yesterday was the day that artist Spencer Tunick did his nude crowd shoot at the Sydney Opera House to celebrate Mardi Gras week. A friend and I decided to go and bare all in the name of art, self expression, or maybe just the want to have a reason to take our kit off with 5200 others on the steps of the opera house. It was freezing and so much fun. But of course for the more modest of us (me included) very challenging. I realised that I spent the first half an hour actively trying not to look down in the vain attempt to trick myself into thinking 'if I can't see I'm naked maybe no one else can'. Of course such mind games don't fool you for long and suddenly I came to the blinding reality of 'jesus I'm naked on the steps of the opera house with 5000+ other people'.

Of course I spent the rest of the day hoping not to see myself on the evening news and feeling absolutely amazed at myself for doing it in the first place.

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