I keep saying it, but it’s been hectic lately. I can’t imagine why though….
When I say hectic, it’s not like it’s insane, but just that around-the-clock nature and needing to be a regular feeding station for little OT seems to suck the day away before I’ve even realised. Oh that and having to go to bed super early like a toddler to try and deal with overnight feeds- it’s cut my day down, as I’ve always been a night owl with my work and productivity.
So I need to say sorry I haven’t been around much! I was thinking I’d be all over this stuff third time around and I’d be getting posts out like nobody’s business. Because babies only eat and sleep, right? Riiiight? Well, they kinda do, but the eating sessions can take up to an hour round these parts with all the fussing and mucking about and general boob dysfunction. Yep, it’s happened again. Third time’s a charm. But we’ve got a groove cracking now, which is much better than the cracked state of my nips early in the piece. They’re like seriously scarred.
Anyways, hopefully I’ll get back on track soon. But in the meantime, I thought I’d tell the tale of Mr. OT’s arrival. Probably more self-serving than anything else. I love me a birth story. I love them even more when it’s not me pushing out a watermelon from my nether regions. Do you like birth stories? Are you all voyeuristic like me? There’s a good chance that I’m just a total creep. I’m ok with that.
It has been a hectic last few weeks. Hectic! Adjusting to this new life of ours, dealing with nasty random viruses, and keeping said infected germ factories (aka: the girls) away from the baby, watching an ever-growing list of things to do steadily grow, downing wines. You name it, we’re dealing with it!
When things get hectic, plans tend to go by the wayside. Some of us handle this ok and roll with the punches, others, like yours truly, tend to get in a flap about it. I *may* be a teeny, tiny bit anal about my routines, and about marking my to-do list off.
So it got me thinking. What makes some of us rollers, and others flappers? What’s your style? Those terms sound rather crass, don’t they? Totes my style.
Think about these questions- how would you respond?
1.The house looks like a bomb has gone off. In fact it probably has- a bomb of toys, detonated by tiny hands throwing crap all over the shop. Your friend rings (or texts. Because who rings these days?!) and says “what’s up? How bout I pop around in 20 mins?” Do you:
(a) Respond- ‘sure thing, you’ll just have to navigate the maze of toys on the ground’ and just put the kettle on in preparation?
(b) Get really annoyed that you’ve been given 20 minutes notice, pace the house for 10 of those minutes muttering under your breath, panic and start throwing toys in a cupboard (that will most likely burst open smacking said friend in the face as they walk by. Penance for giving 20 mins notice in your mind), while responding ‘sure thing. Can’t wait to see you! xoxo’ (because even though you want to throttle them, kisses and hugs are mandatory to end a text).
(c) Just not respond. If you pretend the message never came through, then it didn’t, right?
2.You’ve got an appointment you have to get to in 15 minutes. You’ve prepped, you’ve sorted the troops out. You’re on top of this shiz! Then one of your cherubs decides to spill vegemite toast (because we ALL eat vegemite, right? And it’s Murphy’s Law that something so heinous would stain a shirt just before you have to leave) all over themselves and then the other has a toileting accident. AT THE SAME TIME. It’s kismet. And if you’re cherub free- let’s pretend you spilled something on yourself. We’ll save the toileting accidents to protect your modesty. What do you do?
(a) Laugh it off. No biggie. You’ll get there when you get there, these things happen.
(b) Stand motionless, paralysed by frustration. Noticing a twitch in your eye, you think you may be having a mini stroke. Curse Murphy for such a shitty law, panic about missing the appointment, and the chain of events that results from rushing and being late. That’s it, the whole day is ruined now.
(c) Pretend these things didn’t occur. Throw new clothes at one, hide the vegemite stain on the other. Smile and nod people, smile and nod.
3. You’ve budgeted to within an inch of your life. You know what bills come in when, your money is sorted. Feeling rather chuffed with yourself, you feel like it’s all covered and heck, at this rate you might be able to take the family on a holiday! To a caravan park an hour up the road, but hey, it’s still a getaway, right? Then you get an unexpected bill in the mail… in the form of a speeding fine from your delightful partner. Do you:
(a) Chip your partner for not following the road rules, but reassure that it’s all ok. It will work out somehow, and you’ll just have to budget a bit tighter for a few weeks. The caravan park will still be there.
(b) Begin plucking your eyelashes out, because it’s less painful than dealing with your reckless partner. Your voice quivers with rage, whilst simultaneously panicking about where the hell this money is going to come from, given the money tree out the back ain’t producing the goods. Curse Murphy’s Law once more and you’re convinced that Murphy is specifically out to get YOU.
(c) Shove it to the bottom of the bill pile, down a shot of whatever alcohol is close by and deal with it when it’s due.
If you find yourself gravitating toward (b) then welcome to flapperworld. I’m right there with you. Though of course we’re not that flap-extreme. Much. Cursing Murphy’s Law is mandatory though. Flappers need advance notice for everything. They need a notebook and a pen for obsessive list-writing. They are the planners, the organisers, the sorter-outerers. It’s a word. For real. Spontaneity, while it sounds awesome, really isn’t their shtick. When that routine is thrown, even the slightest, the flap begins. And the melodrama. And the mountains out of molehills shit.
If you’re more of an (a) person, you’re a roller of the highest calibre. Nothing phases you. Breaking a sweat isn’t in your vocab. Shit happens, and you’re ok with shit happening. You shake it off, shake it off (ooh ooh… yeah try getting that song out of your head now…), and rolling with the punches ain’t no thang. People rocking up at the last minute? Come on in! Stuff going haywire? Not a worry.
And what about the (c)’s? Classic avoider. Like kids do when they’re really little- ‘if I close my eyes it’s not really happening, right?’ It’s akin to being a flapper on Valium. Rather than getting upset, they just block it out. Put fingers in the ears and go all ‘la la la la laaaaa’. While it feels nice in the short term to avoid shit, long term it is a big ouchie. The shit doesn’t go away, and that ick feeling in the pit of an avoider’s stomach doesn’t go away.
So ideally, we all want to be rollers. How do we get to divine roller status, without having to listen to Cat Stevens or spend a weekend in Nimbin? It’s not easy. My flapper self still struggles with rolling. Things I would say to a friend (but of course I can’t do for myself. You know, like the best kind of advice….) that might help would be to just chill out, relax, prioritise- what really matters? Is it a big deal worth flapping about? And what if you did just let it happen? Let that friend come over, or clean up the kids and run a bit late? Is the world going to end? Will your friend disown you because Toys R Us vomited in your lounge room? Will you be condemned because you’re 10 minutes late for your appointment (let’s face it, you’ll be like 20 mins late at least… but hey if you say 10 minutes you don’t feel as bad so let’s roll with that)? Challenge the flap- things might actually turn out better if you roll, you know? Or it might go to shit, but let’s not worry about that right now.
I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to have our shit together, and to be ordered, and to present a nice, ‘together’ us, that we often end up in a flap about stuff we don’t need to flap about. Friends don’t care if the house has exploded in toys and crumbs (unless it’s like from an episode of Hoarders), appointments normally run late anyways, it’ll alllll work out. Kids have been sent to test our flapability, I’m sure of it. They are like heat-seeking missiles when it comes to mess, and tardiness, and delays.
We can roll. They’ll roll when we do. And in the meantime there’s wine. There’s always wine.
How about you? Are you a roller or a flapper? Or just avoid the whole shebang?
Can you imagine living each and every day having to lug a giant weight chained to you? It might be sitting on your shoulders, making it impossible to stand properly. Or sitting on your chest, making it impossible to breathe clearly. Or maybe chained to your leg, making it impossible to move. It’d suck balls, right? Well often that’s what it feels like each and every day for people dealing with mental health issues.
Only we can’t see those heavy burdens that they carry. They look like they’re walking fine, talking fine. They might smile and chat, laugh and hug. But those heavy weights are there, and they can be suffocating.
Isn’t it funny that in 2015 we’re still so in the dark about many things? Many simple, basic things. One of those things is mental health. We’ve come so far, but yet still so far away from a cohesive understanding, and decent support for mental health issues. We still think of it as some weird, taboo thing, something many try to sweep under the rug, or discount as ‘not really being a thing’.
I’ve been banging on a lot about kids friendship lately, but you know this stuff doesn’t just stop at childhood. It becomes something that happens throughout life really, doesn’t it? We make friends, we grow close, shit happens, sometimes we pull through, sometimes we change and grow apart. It’s never really easy to deal with.
For most of us, we love having friends. You know, those like-minded people who just ‘get’ us, who we can talk to about things and make a dick of ourselves around and it’s ok.
As adults, sometimes it can be even harder to make and maintain friendships than when we’re kids. Because there’s so much stuff going on. Moving, changing jobs, going in different directions, family and kids taking over time, and everything else in between.
In adulthood though, we need friends more than ever. To help when the going gets tough, and provide support to deal with… life. And selective hearing exhibited by children and partners. Holy shit, that is a killer. Social connectedness has been proven time and time again to be uber important in overall happiness and wellbeing.
Following last week’s vomit of sadness at watching my biggest little lady wander around a party trying to find some acceptance, I put on my big girl pants (AKA ate my body weight in ice cream and chocolate and cuddled her to within an inch of her life) and looked at what we could actually do to turn things around for me her.
While we need to let our cherubs sort this stuff out for themselves sometimes, we’ve also got to be able to skill them up to handle it. Create a little bag of friendship tricks if you will. And given the main trick in my bag is wine as a social lubricant, I’m thinking I might need to go and revisit some ideas to help her out a bit better.
I think sometimes we feel like this stuff should just organically ‘happen’. Like a flower that just blooms all by itself in the sun. Or a rainbow unicorn that flies through the air. No? You don’t see them in the air? Shit. Could be just me sorry.
My first born cherub is all things sugar and spice. Truly. Not even biased. She has always been that little lass who sees the best in everything and everyone, she loves every.single.person that she meets. She will run up to people she’s met once and embrace them with the most loving, warm cuddle. She loves to be snuggled and takes such good care of others around her. Sure, she can be whingy, whiny and catty at times, but generally, she’s this warm bundle of love and is one of the happiest, most positive kids I’ve ever met. How she came from me is anyone’s guess.
The flip side to having such an emotionally attuned and soft child is seeing how others treat her. She never wants to upset anyone, and so often won’t stand up for herself. She’ll go with the flow, and do what others want to keep the peace, or to be included. One of my biggest fears for her starting school was handing her over to life- giving her over to the harsh realities of many a girl squabble and not being there to help her put the smack down on.
Yesterday I saw firsthand some of the things my lass is being subjected to. And man, that’s hard to take.
I recently received this email* and felt compelled to respond.
Dear Dr. Sash,
I recently returned from a conference, feeling pumped and oddly much calmer and less shouty than usual, having had my very first time away from my cherubs. My husband on the other hand was just about in the foetal position, having dealt with 2 days of incessant whinging, whining and fighting. Strange coincidence, no? Anyways, upon my return it came to light that my youngest cherub decided to help herself to a five-finger discount of a pink bracelet whilst walking through the shops on the way to get some lunch. She had a little handbag with her, and by the time my husband had even become aware of what happened, they were home where she was unloading her loot. Sheesh. The kid is 3 and a half for crying out loud. Is this normal, or is this the beginning of a Winona Ryder-esque klepto life?
Feeling more shouty already Mum.
*NB This email may or may not have been written by me. To me. The cherub may or may not have been my firecracker Miss SP.
Well, feeling more shouty already Mum, I can understand your pain. Hashtag facepalm. Stealing is an issue that can crop up with kids from time to time, and often as parents we get a bit panicked about it all.
One thing we need to factor in is their age, when working out the best plan of attack. Little ones who are uhhhh, let’s say about 3.5 years old like exhibit A above, often are still in that phase where their little brains are all about ‘gimme gimme gimme’. It’s lack of impulse control at its best. They want, they take. There’s no conception of the higher moral ground of taking something that’s not theirs, or understanding there has to be a financial exchange. They are starting to get the idea that you can’t take other people’s stuff- but things in a shop can seem like fair game to them. No one is holding it, it’s just sitting there, right?
Before you ask- no. This is not a post about old grannies in some messed up sci-fi fantasy show with a weird twist at the end. Though it might be marginally more exciting if it were. Sorry about that.
You know the grey zone? That weird place where you’re not exactly miserable and unhappy, but you know you’re not feeling particularly #blessed and zesty for life? It’s this zone in the middle of it all, where you can exist, and you can have some fun, but it’s like you’re operating at 75% and not 100%.
Much along the same lines as other gems such as carbolinia and no-aphobia, I’m sure the grey zone is a totes legit thing. And it can really suck. I’m so grey right now, this post is even boring. Again. Sorry about that.
It’s that thing where you can be chugging along, comfortable in your ways, not really minding the grey zone and then BAM! It hits you. You’re greyed out. Not happy…. Not sad…. Not anything really. It’s a full attack of the meh’s.
Have you ever seen a little kid’s athletics carnival? It’s the best. BEST. When the littlies go running- there’s no strategy, there’s no designated lanes- it’s just run like the wind and laugh your head off at the end. They run into each other’s lanes, and don’t really pay attention to what other people are doing. They just run. Run where they like, and they have FUN.
Then somehow we forget about the fun part. We start looking at what others are doing. We are given a set lane and we stick to it, watch out if we deviate from the path. And shit gets serious. Like warming up, wearing the right shoes, doing that weird jiggly jump thing at the start of the race before you get in the start position (I’m sure it has a purpose. It just looks a little wanky, you know?).
I am super guilty of this. I’m forever looking at what others are doing, and before I know it, I’m running their race. Huffing and puffing trying to keep up, or accidentally bumping into their lane because I’m not looking at where I’m going. I don’t give up though. Because I’m insanely stubborn. To a fault. Eeep.