It’s been a long day. I’m madly rushing trying to tidy the house, do the washing, unpack from work, get all the things done. And there’s this little noise buzzing around. It’s incessant. At first I brush it off, thinking I can block it out, there’s just too many things to do today. But it continues. Louder and louder it seemingly gets. Like that pesky mosquito that comes buzzing by your ear. You want to ignore it, but that sound is so grating and ick, instead you want to spend your time trying to squash the crap out of the mosquito.
This sound is much louder than any mosquito though. And it drags on. And on. And ON. I’m trying to give myself a pep talk to rise above it all.
“Ignore it lady. Shake it off. But not Taylor Swift style. Damn, now I have that shit song stuck in my head….”
But it gets louder. It’s following me everywhere I go. Not even a bit of Tay Tay can get me out of this one.
“Muuuuuuuuuuuuum. I waaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnt thhhhhhhhhhe bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne. Itsnotfaiiiiiiiiiiiiiir”
Whining. From that little cherub that you spawned. That seemingly gorgeous face and angelic eyes spewing forth this painful, grating monologue of angst. Over nothing. From the wrong coloured plate, to siblings getting first turn, to not having the right shoes, to having to brush teeth (JUST BRUSH THEM FOR FUCKS SAKE. YOU WILL THANK ME ONE DAY).
It’s a killer, right?
I try really hard to move past whining. And I know what ‘the books’ say to do. But it can be really tough some days.
This year has been a hard slog. Not gonna lie. I have work piling up and I feel like life is a perpetual hamster wheel of stress. Same stress, different day. It seems like as we get older we scream at life to slow down, only it doesn’t listen to us and likes to speed up instead. Bastard.
Even when the work is piling up though, and we feel overwhelmed, sometimes we have to just STOP and take a breath, and look at what’s around us. Right here, right now. Last year, each Monday I’d have my fuzzies- taking the time to appreciate something, or try to do something nice for others. Just taking that fuzzy moment- to say something nice or to do something nice selfishly makes us feel good too. And helps others. We’re like freakin’ Mother Theresa’s when we fuzzy up.
I’ve needed to get out of my head, and I’ve got a couple of cherubs who need their Mama to be with them, even for a part of the day, so we’ve been out and exploring what’s in our own backyard.
Have you ever just gone out to find different places where you live? It’s like discovering hidden treasure sometimes. Or realising you have stashed a chocolate at the back of the fridge and totally forgotten about it until now. Winning. You forget about the mundane, about your own issues, and you appreciate what’s around you. A genuine fuzzy right there.
I think we’re pretty lucky here in South East Queesnland. We’ve got everything at our fingertips. Brisvegas is like a country town that had some steroids. Truly. It’s still got a fairly low key vibe, chilled, but with the perks of a capital city. And now with H&M. My life is complete.
There’s lots of places that Brisbane is known for- Southbank, Roma St. Parklands, Kangaroo Point. Allll the pretty. But sometimes they can get a bit nutso, so it’s good to find some more hidden gems around the place. I get fuzzy when I’m not packed in like a sardine.
To the east of us we have the super cute Shorncliffe. It’s like driving into a quaint little town, it feels so removed from a capital city. Beautiful water, a little mini beach area and a pretty darn cool playground. Because, what place is complete without a playground? It’s now our goal to find places with playgrounds. Pubs, cafes, you name it. Keeps us all happy. Moora Park was where we stopped off for a bit. Because. Free fun. I’m alllll about the free fun.
Can I let you in on a secret? Aside from having to pop a watermelon sized baby out of my vajayjay soon enough, my big fear is breastfeeding. It’s not been a success for me over the years. At.all.
We talk a lot of breastfeeding shaming that goes on, but I can tell you there’s almost an equal amount of bottle feeding shame that one endures. Because apparently when you bottle feed your child, you’re practically murdering them. They’re going to grow up to be illiterate sociopaths via the bottle. Think of the children! Shove a boob in their mouth for crying out loud!
I did. I really, really did. And I could not feed my children fully. With my first, she was premmie, and didn’t have a sucking reflex developed. It was a hard slog. I tried it all- with every lactation consultant under the sun helping. I vividly remember one day sitting in the feeding room of the special care nursery- one boob stuck to a pump, the other one being squeezed to within an inch of it’s life by a nurse- trying desperately to get milk supply happening.
We had a new chapter in our household last week. One that sends many a parent running for the hills. Or at least me. Right now. Sans wine. Man I miss that stuff.
“Hey Mummy and Daddy. Guess what? I’ve got a boyfriend”
Say wha?? It’s that toe-curling moment you freak out about as a parent. When those words are uttered from your cherubs mouth.
I may have nearly snorted my tea. My husband may have snapped his head around in shock a little too quickly that required a heat pack. He’s getting on, the poor sod. Just No. Not now. Please. NOT NOW. I NEED LEAD IN TIME. AND WINE.
“Who-is-this-boyfriend-when-did-this-happen-what??” were the jumble of words that flowed from us in unison.
“It’s a secret” she giggled.
“From who?” we questioned
I had to bite my lip to stifle a giggle. And also a sigh of relief. Boyfriends that don’t know they’re boyfriends are a-ok in my book for a 5 year old. Can we keep it like that until uhhhhh… let’s say, 30? That will be good for Mum and Dad. Thanks.
But like our scare with ‘the talk’, the time is soon going to come where we need to talk boyfriends (or girlfriends. We don’t discriminate around these parts!). And it’s better out in the open, right? Maybe? Kinda? Or we just don’t let it happen. EVAH.
On this Wellness Wednesday I’m taking a different tact. Rather than flood you with psych stuff, I’m taking pictures. Each month I play with a bunch of lovely bloggers and we all take a bunch of pictures, 10 to be exact, and then link through to each other. Hence the name 10 on 10. It’s a nice idea. And it forces me to go and do stuff on the weekend, because pictures of my backyard or my insane dog every month might get a bit tiresome to look at.
I am notoriously bad at taking time out and chilling. I know, shocking, right?! But basically, I feel like I need to be working, or cooking, or cleaning, or doing other ridic shit all.the.time. And if I stop and chill- then I’m lazy. I should probably go and talk to someone about that…..
But this weekend just gone we had a long weekend. And I actually stopped. And I chilled. And I hung out with my crew. My work took a backseat. As did the cooking and cleaning. Just don’t look at my floors and we’re cool, k? Feeling nauseous as all heck probably helped force me to stop, but let’s not talk about that part.
I realised that I need to stop more often. We need me to stop more often. I’ve talked about us Mamas putting ourselves first before, but yet I still keep pushing myself and not stopping. So how’s that for a wellness message? Just fucking stop for a minute. Please. Don’t get stressed about stuff that isn’t going to fall apart if you take some time out.
Now, I should probably quit chattering and start showing some pictures, huh?
This weekend, I was feeling saucy. As saucy as a beached whale pregnant lady can feel that is. We were chilled and having fun and I thought we should try something a bit different. So we took the girls out to putt putt. Yes, we are mildly insane.
Just when you thought I was done with monsters, eh? Here’s the last one in our series. A wily little fucker that can come in a few forms for little ones. We normally associate eating monsters with teenage girls, but you know the eating monster can hit even our younger cherubs.
In what ways can the eating monster screw with our kids? Well we have the more well-known eating issue of refusing to eat, in its extreme version we know it as anorexia. With the eating monster, refusal to eat can lie on a spectrum, from your garden variety pain-in-the-ass “No! I’m not eating that!” to a full control over what they put in their mouth. Anorexia can actually happen in children as young as 7 or 8. At that age it seems to have a bit to do with the sad monster or the worry monster (with obsessive compulsive features), and is hard to diagnose. The refusal eating monster also needs to be distinguished from the sensory eating monster. Some kids just will.not.eat certain things because of the way it feels to them, or the sensation of eating it. And some kids will not eat due to the worry monster leaving them with a fear of choking, or possible trauma around food.
So, looks like another bambino is joining our crew. We’re pretty rad, I can understand why this little one busted through and wanted in. But. THREE.
In a quest to prepare for life being ‘outnumbered’ (Eeek! Gasp!), I of course turned to Google. Like any rational person does. Because. Oracle of knowledge on EVERYTHING and all. And do you know what I found?
Fear. I found fear.
All I could read about was ‘how much three is a big change’ and ‘three will ruin your life’ and ‘three makes for the unhappiest parents’ and ‘three outnumber you’ and ‘you’ll be stressed’ ‘you’ll be miserable’, ‘you’ll struggle’ ‘you don’t have enough hands’. Well, I’m feeling pumped now. You?
So, nearly halfway through popping my cherry in the school system (as a parent), and it’s been a real eye opener. I realised the other day that this time last year I was madly in the throes of comparing schools, going to interviews, praying to whoever would listen that Miss DP would respond to the questions asked with some form of a response that remotely matched the idea being asked of her. She has a knack of responding to questions with random facts that have nothing to do with anything. See previous post here explaining said phenomena. #kidlife
You might be in the same position this year. Or choosing the right school could be upon you before you know it. Not to alarm you, but somehow you blink your eyes and your kid is five and heading to school and talking about boyfriends and girlfriends and you just want to bury your head in the sand. Or into a large glass of vino. How does it happen so fast? Is it the vast amounts of vino consumed to cope in those early years? Or is it that kids have this way of setting time to warp speed? I’m thinking a little of column A, a little of column B.
Anyways, if you’re wondering how the heck to select the school that you feel is going to be the right fit for your cherub, here’s a couple of ideas:
The School Vibe
I know, sounds a bit wanky right? But each school has a vibe. And a reputation to go with that vibe. You know your child better than anyone else, and it’s all about fitting your child to that school. How does the school feel when you walk in? Inviting? Busy? Is it a big school, or a smaller one? That’s something to consider against your child’s personality. They may thrive better in a smaller environment. How does your child respond when you go to the school interview? Does the staff seem cohesive and happy? This is a biggie. Happy staff= happy kids. Do the students seem friendly as you wander around? It has to feel right for you, and for your child. You’re both going to be spending a lot of time in that place!
Health and Safety
How’s it looking to you? The amenities up to scratch? Safety and wellbeing are of course a no brainer, but some schools might focus on it a bit more than others. Check out playgrounds and their policies on health and safety. Are the classrooms and school grounds clean and tidy? Particularly in this day and age when allergies are so huge, it’s important to make sure that there are clear plans in place and that things are tidy and clean. Check to see if the school utilises a commercial cleaner, like AMC Cleaning (http://www.amcclean.com.au/ their website has some good info on just what goes on in maintaining classrooms ), and how they maintain their procedures. Because, if your cherubs are anything like mine, chewing on manky shit is their forte, and if floors aren’t clean, they’ll find grubby crap on it and make a beeline for their mouths like a heat-seeking germ missile. I gave up after they started sharing food with our dog.
What does the school stand for? Do they have a focus on social and emotional wellbeing? Now, I might be a bit bias here, but really, social emotional wellbeing is so integral to successful learning. Research has shown time and time again that you can have all the academics in the world, but if you don’t have social emotional wellbeing intact, then the academics go out the window. Check at your interview- what do they do for social emotional learning? Do they run programs in the school? What does the school consider to be an important focus for them? Are they an academic super house? Do they have a large arts culture? You need to look at what is going to work best for you and your cherub, and see where the best fit is.
All schools now have to operate from the National Curriculum, or ACARA- we love a good acronym, right? But there’s different ways to get that curriculum across. Look at the way your child learns- and consider what is going to work out best for you. Some kids are more visual learners, some more verbal. Some require a little more repetition, some can handle a faster pace. While every school needs to differentiate, some might be a better fit for your child than others. Ask around- talk to other parents from different school communities, to see how the curriculum is run there. Is there access to technology? Is there a learning support team if your child struggles? And social emotional learning is now part of the curriculum- it’s known as a general capability.
What is on offer for the children at that particular school? Do they run other activities, like music, dance, drama? Is that even important to you? Extra-curriculars are a big part of a lot of schools nowadays. Some parents think it’s the best, others don’t want any extra pressure on their kids. It’s really about whatever is going to work best for you and your child.
And a final word. I really truly believe that a child will thrive anywhere provided they have the right supports and care around them. Sometimes even the ‘worst’ schools can actually turn out to be the best. However, there is no harm in doing a bit of hunting around and giving our kids a leg up where we can. It’s got to be the right fit for you, and for your child. For us, we had a school down the road that would have been super convenient, but it just didn’t feel right for Miss DP. So we do travel a little further at the moment, but it’s been worth it. It will all work out, and your cherub will be refusing to tuck their school shirt in before you can reach for the glass of vino. Good luck!
How were your school years? Did you feel you were in the right place for you?
We’re getting to the end of our Monster Series. We’ve seen enough of these suckers to last us a while now I think, yes? This one critter today though is a particularly tough one, and tends to recruit all the other monsters we’ve discussed previously. That’s how sneaky this bastard is. Please meet the Learning Monster.
Ahhhh the old Silly Monster. A crowd favourite with kids, an arch nemesis of parents and adults alike. What is the silly monster? Is it what happens to Mummy when she’s had one too many wines and thinks that singing karaoke and staying out partying until 5am is a good idea? Not quite. That’s a monster of a different kind I think (hello alco monster, I hope to meet you again in a matter of months….).
For kids, the Silly Monster represents that little part of us that can get a little too active sometimes. At the wrong time. Not understanding personal boundaries, not picking up those subtle cues that people might be getting a bit put out. Getting so excited our little brains get a bit scrambled and we can’t really put our impulse control or regulation skills into place. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, but the act of putting it into practice can get short-circuited by this Silly Monster. Sometimes the Silly Monster is just a by-product of excitement, or over-tiredness, or sometimes it can be a symptom of something bigger. Anxiety, ASD, ADHD can all feature the Silly Monster.