It happens every year. Yet it still shocks me. The apocalypse is almost upon us. Also known as “omg-the-shops-are-closed-for-an-entire-day-we-must-buy-all-the-things”. It is seriously the WORST feeling to wake up on Christmas Eve, and realise you have to bloody get to the shops to pick up something you forgot, isn’t it? You sit there meticulously trying to plan your time, so that you hit the optimal window of exhaustion/changeover of crazies/apocalyptic lull, and you write out a detailed list. Maps are included of shops needed to be entered, and times are given for precision.
You feel smug in your planning, thinking that you’ve cracked this Chriscray shit, you’ll be in and out like a ninja.And then you get there. Oh.em.gee. There is NO SUCH THING as an optimal window during this madness. You slap yourself upside your head, wondering why you just didn’t get up at 3:30am and go, like all the normal clever people do. Sleep is for the week, bitch. There’s a line of cars 10 deep vying for 1 carpark. People are dodging the traffic with arms loaded. You spy dodgy reindeer ears hanging off cars and resist the urge to gag.
We’re winding down to the end of fuzzies (it might come back in some form next year. We’ll see….). And you know, I love that people love to do fuzzies. I love that they try to do something nice to brighten other’s days. Because really, isn’t that what we should do as a basic human function? Sadly, it’s not the case for some.
There’s been a lot of intense shit going down in the past week. Our minds are spinning and our hearts are aching. And for the most part, these tough times pull us together. We see the best in ourselves and we put others first. But unfortunately there’s a small minority that try to fuck that up. They set out to incite derision and hatred. Do they stop to think of the human being on the other side that they’re running down/abusing/hurling hatred toward? Clearly not.
Seems a little ridic to go from the frivolity of Christmas yesterday to something so heavy today, but there’s many with a lot on our minds, given recent events, and wondering what might lie ahead for those people involved in the Sydney siege. Something on my mind a lot is the fear of the surviving hostages and their loved ones developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s a term a lot of us have heard of, but aren’t too sure of what it entails exactly. So today I’m unpacking it in normal terms. Not the usual wanky psych stuff. Hopefully you’ll never need to really ever know about PTSD, but unfortunately it is something that happens. And not just to war veterans, or victims of crime. It can impact children, adults, the elderly, via a range of incidents.
…… is a double-decker-skyscraper-for- Cinderella-and-Belle-and-Ariel-and-some-wigs-and-a-Spiderman web-shooter-and -a new-Elsa-doll-and-a-Frozen-book-and-a-swimming-pool-and-a-new-castle-for-my-other-parents-Lauren-and-Harold…..
I think it’s safe to say we’re all in a bit of shock right now. What has gone on in Sydney is heavy. I mean, there’s lots of heavy stuff going on all over the world, but something so brazen, so full on, happening right here. Right now. I was only in Sydney a couple of short months ago, wandering through those same places with my little ladies. It doesn’t seem real.
As with anything of this magnitude, it is alllllll over the media. On every platform. Some of us cope ok with this, in fact we relish the fact we can keep up in such an immediate manner. For others, it can be a bit much. As adults, we tend to be able to switch off for the most part, but what about children who might have seen something on TV? Or heard something on the radio? Little ones process things in a much different manner to us, they’re still in that black and white, concrete stage of understanding the world.
Of course we all know the most important thing to do for young ones is to try and minimise attention to traumatic events. Try to keep the TV off, or have them occupied in other activities. But in this technological day and age, sometimes it’s not always possible. TV’s on in the windows, other children seeing things and talking. So what can we do to manage any fears and trauma that may arise from exposure to such events?
Talk as openly as age appropriate. Allow children to get their fears out. No need for details but something as simple as ‘yes something pretty bad has happened, but the Police have been right onto it and are there to protect us’
Normalise all feelings. Yes, it’s ok to be concerned, to feel worried. But they are ok, you are ok and we will get through.
Show children ways to calm their bodies down if they are getting physically worked up. Calm breathing (or milkshake breathing), muscular relaxation. This helps distract them from being fixated on the traumatic events, and also physically reduces stress levels
Reframe their thoughts. If they’re fixated on ‘baddies’ and ‘people coming to get them’, help them to reframe to ‘there are so many more good, kind, helpful people around and I have lots of people around me who will look after me’.
For little ones, let them draw. Drawing really can help process many feelings that they struggle with. Playing in sand also is a wonderful way for them to work through any issues they may be experiencing.
Just focus on little steps at a time, if they are scared to go outside. Bring them to the here and now. Step outside and feel the warm sun on our faces. Walk to the letterbox, walk to the end of the street. Slowly build them up
Reduce the amount of ‘what if’s’ which they may worry about. Talk instead about ‘what we know’.
Modelling calm behaviour. Our kids look to us on how to cope in such situations.
Unfortunately trauma happens. And not just on our TV’s. When trauma happens, it’s like our brains hit ‘pause’ to cope, and sometimes if we don’t process properly our brains will keep showing flashes and getting caught in a loop. We need to rewind, review and then allow the video (our brain) to keep playing. Same with children.
There’s been some great tips shared by Jo Lamble, and Dr. Justin Coulson, via Sunrise and the Daily Telegraph respectively. And as always, if your child’s anxieties are over and above what you feel is age appropriate, chat with your GP to seek extra support.
Here’s hoping these tips are some you’ll never have to use with your children. xx
You’re standing in the corner at a party. Nervously shuffling your feet and avoiding eye contact. There’s some people on the other side of the room that look pretty cool. But they look too cool for you. Chatting away effortlessly. Stylish, suave, not a stain on their left shoulder. Do they even know your name? You tug at a strand of hair, chew at your lip and awkwardly muster up the courage to walk over there……… and then you realise you’re a grown adult and this is insane. So instead you down shots, slap yourself upside your head and go home to watch Sex and the City and pretend you live a parallel life to those gals. Or if you’re feeling particularly bitter, maybe watch Carrie. No judgments on your mental state here.
…… and have no freaking clue how to sort that shit out.
Here we are again. Back for another round of Thursday tidbits. You’re either really keen, or really desperate for something to read. Either way, hope this is helpful!
It’s been a whole process over the last few weeks- learning about how the mind works (essentially it’s pretty fucked up sometimes and likes to screw with us. But it can be pretty clever at times also), learning that the way we feel is due to how we think about things, not due to external factors. And that the body, the mind and our actions all combine to result in all sorts of things, like anxiety, depression etc. We’ve gained an understanding of the ABC’s and our thinking errors, and that underneath all that shit are core beliefs; locked away deep inside that little chest at the bottom of the ocean (also known as our subconscious. But that can sound a bit wanky, can’t it?).
There’s a new brand of crazy in town; the second child. Bugger this middle child shit, second children are sweeping the nation. With their crazed antics. Turning parents’ hair grey. Fraying nerves left, right and centre. All with a cheeky grin and a sass mouth.
In honour of my littlest lady (because, we ALL know we have to be equal with all our children. I don’t want to be chipped for featuring one not the other, you know), I’ve been conducting some market research into the second child. And by market research, I mean whinging to all and sundry “holy shit! My kid is CRAZY! So completely different to her big sister” and then receiving knowing nods, sympathetic eyes, gentle pats on the shoulder and a “yep, my second is a crazed nutter too”. Solidarity. #fistpump So by my really super duper, extensively and scientifically validated market research I have come to a conclusion. There is a syndrome for children that come after the firstborn. I’ve aptly named it “second child syndrome”. Oh yeah, I’m all edgy with my naming of said syndrome.
*NB: It must be noted that this syndrome only applies to our own offspring. It doesn’t apply to us in our own sibset. Oh no no. Because we are awesome and we don’t succumb to stereotypes. Also covering my ass for any second children out there reading this and thinking ‘wtf’.
Seeing as how I’m totally stuck in Grinchmas town, it would seem a tad hypocritical for me to talk about cheer at Christmas time. More hypocritical than me purchasing a damned Elf on the Shelf, I hear you ask? Hmmm, good point. But we are in the fuzzies zone today, and it’s all about making others feel good. I could make you feel good with my tales of dysfunction, but the lovely Jo from You Had Us At Hello has come to my rescue, with some great tips to keep yourself feeling the fuzzies at this insane time of the year. Jo is all about spreading the love, and she’s got some awesome anti-Grinchmas ideas. If I took a leaf out of her book I may be only mildly Grinchy…..
Would you hate me if I said I can’t stand Christmas?
Yeah, I kinda hate me too.
But it’s a game of charades I can no longer keep up. Actually, I don’t think I ever hid it. So in essence I suck at charades. But Christmas drives me mad. The over-production, the insane crazy shops, ugly Christmas shirts. No wait, I kinda dig the tackiness of them. It’s like totes hipster, right? If so, I’m in. The pressure. THE PRESSURE. To hold the perfect day. To be creating amazing food and have this spectacular house. Decorated to the hilt, courtesy of Woman’s Weekly (monthly, whatevs) Christmas Special. To have amazing special, never-to-be-recreated-again moments with all the family. And the obligation to have to spend the whole day with said extended family. Great if one has an awesome family. Not so great if it’s a little nutty. Then it’s more akin to being locked in a panic room with a twitchy skunk. I am deep into Grinchmas town.