#devilchildren

We all love a good morning routine right? We rise quietly, bleary-eyed but excited about the potential of a new day, stumble out in to the rising sun and greet the songbirds as they sing in the new dawn.

Ha ha fucking ha.

Today I am lucky I got to school before the first bell – as it was it was lucky I didn’t run over the girls as they lined up for assembly as I sped in to the grounds much MUCH later than I intended to be on this bloody Monday morning.

I get up in the morning in a good mood. Pretty much every day without fail. It’s one of my most annoying habits. But I have spawned offspring that do not. And the GD has his own ‘routine’ that may or may not involve the rest of us depending on whether he has decided that he is in a terrific hurry that morning or not.

On days that I don’t boot-camp or run – more frequent in my old age than I’d readily admit – I get up and feed the pets, put the coffee on and I go through and wake the rest of the house. The 6 yr old gets up immediately with me and I/we make him breakfast; I go through multiple times to the bedroom and remind the 9 yr old that he needs to get up, all the while finding their clothes and shoes for the day and ‘laying them out’ for them like they are fucking little princes or some shit. The 6 yr old clings like a limpet and will often follow me through the house with his cereal or toast in hand all the while leaving a trail of food for the dog to follow. The dog loves him for this – who doesn’t appreciate a second breakfast?

Once they are up and getting dressed I make their lunches and put a piece of toast in for me. (I haven’t had coffee yet – I like to have my coffee WITH my breakfast). Then, before I get to my toast I find something that the 9 yr old will deign to eat – he is very anti breakfast – and help the 6 yr old get dressed because apparently he ‘can’t’ by himself.

Then I find my toast – if I’m not there to witness it pop my toaster flings it high in the air and it can land anywhere – and sit down to have breakfast and my first cup of coffee with the 9 yr old (who is often in the other room sulking because I haven’t found him the right tee shirt/ shorts/ shoes and he won’t eat with the food I have made on pain of death).

Then just as I am finishing up and getting ready to shower the GD will come through and announce he is getting in the shower. This is the beginning of the end.

You see, the GD’s routine consists roughly of getting up, making coffee/pouring his cup and going outside with it to have a cigarette (which actually means staring at his phone for twenty minutes), then if no one is nagging him to do otherwise (read: me asking him to either feed the animals or children etc) he comes inside and goes and sits on the toilet for half an hour (he’s staring on his phone there too), then he comes in and showers, dresses and comes in to the kitchen to announce that he’s in a terrible hurry because the motorway is ‘crazy’ and he doesn’t want to be late. Then he just leaves. Just like that, He fucking leaves with no fighting and no one screaming about their shoes or anything – it’s a fucking miracle.

Naturally at all points in his routine I am doing my damnedest to disrupt his happy little meandering, and this all comes off as me badgering him because if I can get in the shower first it will dramatically change the morning for all.

If I can get in the shower first then the GD has nothing to do while he waits so he can in fact, make sure the little Dutchmen have their shoes on, their school bags packed and are not killing each-other as they wait for me to be ready to take them to school. On these mornings we leave much closer to 7.30, have a pleasant ride to school, and I get to school before eight am with my waking morning sunshine-y ass intact.

But mostly lately, even on days that I boot camp because usually the routine starts the same way once I get home (only we’re now 45 mins behind so that’s fun) we have the shitshow that was this morning. ONCE everyone else is ready to go, and the GD is out of the shower and walking out the door – because he’s going to be so late remember?, Then it is finally my turn to start getting ready.

Now, it should be relatively simple in fact for this to happen, I shower, I get dressed, we get in the car and leave. Simple.

But as it turns out, once the #devilchildren are ready to go to school they can’t actually be trusted alone together because that’s when they go in to full hellion mode. I can bargain with them, bribe them, threaten them – or even, in an attempt to be positive, remind them of ‘that one time they played nicely together while they waited and then we all drove to school together cheerfully and it was wonderful?’ but to no avail.

Today the water wasn’t even running before the screaming started. The youngest child has a shriek that is piercing no matter how far away you are and I feel it physically. I can’t ablute with the door shut – too dangerous to not be within earshot – so it was but a matter of seconds before I had both of them in the bathroom with me listing the others crimes and trying to drown the other out with sheer volume. Banished separately – one to their (shared) room with the other to the lounge didn’t work because one’s toys were in the others time out zone and he swiftly set about breaking as many as them as possible much to the horror of his offsider who started screaming profanities that would have made a pirate blush.

Cut to me standing naked in the lounge (in full view of any neighbour who wanted to be put off their breakfast) pointing dramatically down the hallway and shouting that ‘EVERYONE IS FUCKING WALKING TO SCHOOL AND I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR YOU TO GET THERE!’.

I finally showered with the 6 yr old sobbing piteously outside the glass, the 9 yr old in his bed refusing to come out (blankets over his head and blinds drawn – shades of his teen years I fear) all the while cursing my beloveds name.

We all sulked on the way to school. No mindless chatter about whatever is in the 6 yr olds head (I’ll give you a clue – it’s usually poo) or any deeper (more worrying) questions from the 9 yr old like ‘WHY did the Americans vote in Trump and does this mean all the black people are going to be shot now?’ for example.

I drove to school feeling guilty for getting so mad and hoping that they wouldn’t have a shite day at school as a result of our bloody awful morning.*

There are ways to mitigate this madness. If I break the ‘no screens before school’ rule they will stare like zombies at their chosen screen while I shower and dress and get myself in the car – but as soon as I turn the screens off so begins the 20 minute meltdown over putting a pair of shoes on because the flickering blue lights have taken away their ability to determine between a reasonable request i.e. put your shoes on and get in the car and that tantamount to pain and torture and endless suffering.

Some mornings I get home from boot camp and run to the shower while no one is looking and issue instructions from inside my watery haven. Those are good mornings.

And if I have to be fair, and godamnit the GD reads this so I have to be, some mornings he has fed one of the children by the time I get back and might have started a lunchbox or two before he sees me and skedaddles. To be fair he goes in the opposite direction of the kids school so dropping them off doesn’t make sense. But I’m not in the mood to be fair and it’s not that part that fucks with me.

It’s the way he just GOES. ‘Oops I’m going to be late!’ he sings out gaily and runs out the door. As if somehow me being late to work every single fucking day isn’t as bad as if he was ten minutes later. Don’t forget that I stop on the way with the kids too, and although I basically slow down, kiss them and drop them off, more often that not lately I have to get out and walk them in because they are so tired and sad about mornings (normal end of term stuff). This adds a good fifteen minutes to an already to-long routine.

I know this is end of term stuff and everyone is exhausted. And I know that some people will be reading this and thinking WHY don’t they make their lunches the night before, and foster more independence in their children to make their own breakfasts and all that happy helpful shit that I would mutter under my breath too. And I do mutter that shit under my breath at me. But tbh at the moment I am hanging out until JUST AFTER my kids have hit their pillows before I collapse in to mine. Our routines go to hell when we’re tired and that’s just the sucky, sticky reality of it.

Just the freedom of being able to leave when I’m ready like that. The miracle of it. I’m always reminded of this bit by Michael Mcintyre about Leaving the House.

Little do the #littledutchmen know that I have plans to ride my bike to my new job next year. I wonder if that means the GD will be dropping them off and I can just leave when I’m ready? Huh.

*They had a great day and all of the mornings dramas were forgotten in minutes as soon as they saw their friends of course, it was just Mummy who thought about it all day and felt like shite. Happy lads upon afternoon pick up. Because I knew you were wondering.

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255 – Mama bears unite

I’m watching a nature doco about polar bears with the smallest child. The mother polar bear is trying to secure a meal for her cubs by stalking a nearby sea lion. She tells the cubs to stay on the ice and sets off stealthily to get the seal. She lowers herself backwards in to the water so as not to make a splash – something unusual says the narrator – she is an intelligent and cunning predator. She emerges far enough away to sight the sea lion and plan her attack. She sinks below the surface and heads towards her sleeping target. It has no idea it is about to be the evening meal.

Meanwhile her cubs have gotten restless. They are wrestling in the background. One of them realises that Mum is out of sight and starts to follow – disobeying Mums orders to stay put. Soon both babies are following Mum. Mum sinks below the surface and they panic. Both stumble clumsily in to the water after her.

The sea lion is alerted by the noise and dives in to the water getting away without much effort. Mum emerges baffled at exactly the right spot to find no sea lion. You can see her swearing in polar bear as she looks around and realises her kids have fucked it up for her. Again.

I have a lot of empathy for Mama bear today.

We started off ok. Mum+Son run around the neighbourhood in the grey dawn light. Chocolate smoothies for everyone on our return – yay! The GD went to work (sucks to be working on the weekend poor him) and I resolved to do some house work with the two lads in tow. Oh how naive I am. You’d think I would know by now – after all I have known these kids all their lives. We had a hell of a day.

I decided to deal with the mountains of washing that had piled up around the house like driftwood after a particularly violent storm. Mostly to avoid the dishes to be honest. I took the computer away from the lads and banned them from torturing the fur children and they settled in to LEGO land heaven. For about half an hour. The rest of the day was the reason that Mummy wants to drink.

One of my children makes noise ALL OF THE TIME. While I am writing this he is sitting on the couch supposedly watching the Polar bear documentary but actually he is just making noise. Humming and wriggling and throwing things and kicking and singing and just generally making FUCKING NOISE ALL DAY. He has followed me around making noise at me all day. Add to this his brothers unerring talent of winding him up and you get short sharp tearful fights as well.

More than once I have shouted. I have tried bribing them with a walk to get ice-cream – which of course they tried to claim when the job was not even vaguely attempted let alone finished. I have made grand sweeping threats ‘If you don’t do this I will lock you out the back until your father gets home’ ‘You will NEVER be allowed to have friends over again’ ‘DO YOU WANT TO GO LIVE AT THE NAUGHTY BOYS HOME?’. They know such a place doesn’t exist.

They don’t fear me. All day we battled.

And I folded washing, I hung washing up to dry, I sorted the ‘special’ pile in my room (you know – where you put your favourites that you have on high rotation?). I even sorted out two bags of clothes and bags and sunnies to go and live somewhere else. I folded and sorted and folded and sorted. And I shouted and bribed and cuddled and wiped tears off faces and inspected war wounds.

I had to stop writing because the youngest was leaping on and off the couch (after being asked multiple times not to of course) and he had banged his shin quite badly on the edge fo the couch. Cue many tears.

I actually can’t wait for work tomorrow.

That’s a lie but I am having fantasies of running away for the weekend. I would even take the grumpy Dutchman with me if he promised to put away his LEGO the first time he was asked and left me to go to the toilet in peace.

198 – I’m not dead

Yes, it’s been ten days since my last post – partly because I’ve been avoiding you and partly because it’s been school holidays and I just kinda let everything slide…

So, how to begin – to catch you up or just fill in the gaps? Well you don’t need the minutiae of my days and frankly they are only interesting to me and mine – you know what school holidays with bored kids are like – you swing from moments of hysterical joy (oh my god the zoo for the third time I’m SO EXCITED! We have zoo passes – they are seriously the best xmas gift ever) to moments of pure hell (OH MY GOD WHY ARE WE AT THE ZOO AGAIN?!). The kids are randomly best friends and mortal enemies and those of us that normally work but have the pleasure of being at home with our little cherubs begin to remember and appreciate why we work in the first place.

The middle of the year holidays are extra special in our house because of all the birthdays. Mine, my Stepdad’s, my Mums and my eldest son (Mum and T are on the same day). This means that the grumpy Dutchman is extra grumpy and stressed because of the gift buying, the family time is extra intense and at some point I have to plan and run a birthday event for the child. Also this time round the Aussie Dutchies are here so it’s been cool to meet my youngest niece and hang with them briefly. Suffice to say that though I don’t tend to feel ‘rested’ at the end of the winter break.

Anyway – why have I been avoiding you? Did you notice that? Well. You know how I’m a stubborn biatch and I have been struggling with the sugar and shite? But really proud that I had managed to not drink? Sooooooo. This is awkward.

I’m just gonna come out and say it. I had a glass of wine (or two) on my birthday. Because it was MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY damnit and I was feeling old. I know. I know. But the plan that I had to go to a beach with the GD and the dog to watch the sunset didn’t pan out because I spent so long on the motorway driving home from dropping the lads off to be babysat. And there is less sugar in red wine that birthday cake. And all sorts of other bloody justifications. And because wine is so damned good.

I spent all day thinking about it. Swinging wildly between NO because I didn’t want to break my record and YES because it’s MY BIRTHDAY. I chose yes.

It was very nice to be out with the GD on an actual date (thanks Mum) just hanging out with each-other. We managed to not talk about the kids for ages. I was managing to keep the GD interested in me and not the bookshelf behind me (only just). So I had a grown up glass of wine and it was lovely.

And then I woke up in the morning and felt terrible. Not only did I have a headache from the wine that I’m not used to but I just felt so disappointed that I had broken the record. That I had let it go after 7 months of abstaining. And how was I going to blog about it!? The horror. I whinged to the GD and my bff and both told me to pull my head in; reminded me that I’m not an alcoholic and that the not-drinking was self imposed (that I’d broken every other self-imposed rule) and that I was a grown up who could celebrate her birthday like a bloody grown up. That was me told. So I stayed in bed watching Grace and Frankie until lunchtime (the kids were at Mums after all) and tried to get over myself.

I still feel a wee bit disappointed. I won’t be able to proudly boast ‘not for the whole YEAR’ now and sit back all smug when people look AMAZED at my fortitude but I am learning to live with it. Ha ha what a dick.

The holidays have been great though for family time and outdoorsy pursuits. I had a good go at being sugar-free for the first week and was dealing with the headaches and loading up on lots of veges like a good girl but tbh we knew that was going to go out the window for my birthday didn’t we? Am back on that wagon now though. As of tomorrow. I promise. Obvs no more wine too. I managed to go to school and get some much-needed marking done in between hanging with lads, and I have been getting my 10 – 12,000 steps in most days.

I still don’t feel that prepared for school though. I have that sick feeling in my stomach thinking about it. But that’s normal right? The plan is to food shop tomorrow for all the good stuff. To plan my lessons for the first three days of the week and to pack my lunches so I’m prepared for the sugar cravings.

Well laid plans. Here are some holiday pics,

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Do the steps on your fitbit still count if they are the steps you take to the kitchen to get more snacks?

Does your dog lie on the floor at your feet looking at you while doing the most evil dog farts you have ever smelled? My dog does. Half an hour ago he woke himself up with a really loud one and ran out of the room embarrassed. He slunk back in when he thought I wasn’t watching and is now happily farting away in his sleep again in front of the heater. It wouldn’t be so bad if his ass wasn’t on my foot.

I am so tired as the end of term approaches and I am eating badly as a result. Drinking (too much) coffee. Being awful to the kids. Feeling guilty about that. You know the drill.

The good news is that we have 8 days until school holidays.

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158 – Nearly halfway through the year.

At the end of this month it will have been six months through my year of restrictions and I would say that I have, honestly, managed to keep it together for maybe four months but am not in any way able to claim to have been sticking to my self-imposed rules for the six months. I think part of the problem is that I am an all-or-nothing type of gal.

I have stated this before but it tends to be something that I can’t avoid. I am not a fan of in-betweens, compromises, half-assed solutions, or the same shit every day. So I get going all great-guns, get excited and jump on my challenge and go ‘THAT IS IT I AM NEVER GOING TO LET SUGAR/DAIRY/COFFEE/ANYTHING GOOD PASS MY LIPS AGAIN DAMNIT. HEAR ME WORLD. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

And I convince myself that it is the best thing I can be doing (I’m very persuasive and also easily convinced by a smooth talker – the perfect combination to be lead astray by my-self) and tell anyone who will listen about why I’m doing, why it’s the best thing I can be doing ‘It’s not fucking rocket science man – it IS the right thing to do you know?’ and three months later and SO FUCKING BORED with the sound of my own proselytizing that I will catch and kill an Easter bunny just for his stash. And then the wheels are off baby – because if I’m going off the rails it better be worth it right?

So I am eating dairy, the occasional salad (ooooh yeah raw greens mmm), crunchy scratchy, apples – you name it – I’m a bad bitch rebel with no limits. yeah. And what it comes down to is that I did start the year off doing this for the right reasons, and I felt better – you remember I had more energy? and felt good pretty much every day and all of that stuff.

The seriously de-motivating bit is the complete lack of change in my skin, still red-faced and flakey, raw and prone to breakouts (and no weight loss whatsoever but I am trying not to think about that and I’m on the downhill to 40 so apparently that happens). Doesn’t seem fair really. It’s enough to drive a grrl back to drink.

Interestingly, aside from Gluten which I will never eat knowingly again, Alcohol is the only other one that I haven’t touched. That is becoming a personal point of pride. And actually – once you get past the first 7 days it ain’t no big thang. I am looking forward to my new year Cider date with Yas, and a good catch up over a glass of red (I might be salivating a teeny tiny bit) with my grrls one night, but I don’t miss hangovers, I don’t miss the anxiety from wondering if calling my sisters bosses wife a racist at dinner went too far (it did but she was and I’m not sorry) and I know that if I had kept the wine up I wouldn’t even have managed the 3.5 months of sugar-free-ness because hangovers.

I haven’t written for four days because I got my period. TMI. Whatevers you can handle it. But the reason I bring it up is because for the first part of the year I haven’t noticed them as big deals, I might be a bitch for a couple of days but I don’t remember particularly (you’d have to ask the GD and the little Dutchmen if that’s accurate of course). However this time though I had a low week.

A whole week of second-guessing myself, feeling like a whale, hatin’ on my legs, I was grumpier than the grumpy Dutchman (and that’s a feat) and I have had terrible bloating and pain since friday. Over-sharing too. That must be a side effect. And do you eat everything in sight when you are PMS-ing? I do. It’s like I’m loading up in order to, um, shed the excess. I am sure it was better without the sugar and coffee. I am sure I was nicer to my boys. And I know that I haven’t felt so unsure of myself in months. Maybe since last year.

So what to do about it? I don’t fucking know. I’m still ruminating on it. I’ll get back you when I have a plan.

107 – Home again, Home again

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Ahhhhh Home. I flew in this afternoon and the GD picked me up before we collected the lads. You know that lovely feeling of coming home to see your fam, walking in to a clean house, the familiar smells and fur children all lined up ready to greet you and purr/wag themselves silly?

Nah. Not so much. The house smells like a mixture of farts and vomit. It looks like a fucking tornado hit it, and the fur children were only interested in me as long as it took for me to nag the GD to feed them. The wee lads were pleased to see me though ‘What did you bring us Mum?’ and the poor grumpy Dutchman who WAS pleased to see me was greeted with me saying ‘WHY did you bring the van for fucks sake?’ (I don’t like sitting in the dogs spot). Poor man was rushing to get to me on time from work and did not get the grateful wife he expected. The Bitch is baaaaaack!

The poor buggers had a rough week. I arrived in Chch on Sunday night and I got a phone call on Monday from the GD to say that he had left work and was on his way to Daycare to collect Master 4. He wasn’t well and couldn’t stay. This led to a really grumpy Dutchman because he was missing work to take him home. Updates through the next 24 hours revealed that he was contagious – the GD soon caught the lurgy and then both of them had the throw ups. Poor Master 7 was so bored at home with them both. And I was in Chch completely unable to help….

Oh dear how sad! I had a wonderful week of baby snuggles and leisurely walks with the dog Dave. My sister really just needed me as a pair of extra hands – the first time her husband has gone away for work since their daughter was born – and I was very glad to help. Is there anything more snuggly than a teeny weeny baby? Variously sucking her thumb, a bottle or my arm in our cuddles she was a lovely little pink bundle (baby girls get dressed in SO MUCH PINK) and we had many a lovely chat – me chatting obvs and her just sort of gurgling and exclaiming. She is my sister’s first baby and she is still in that mode where she can’t do anything when the baby is awake. I am a very willing baby holder.

I flew down with the intention of using my time down there to withdraw from all the naughties I had picked up again over Easter. Sugar, Dairy, Coffee, Crunchy and Raw. Along with them I had taken with me – Itchy, Flakey, Achey and Redface.

But you know what? Withdrawal didn’t happen. I fell in to the ‘new baby survival’ habits that my sister was already in – grabbing a snack of whatever you could whenever you could, ‘treating myself’ to coffee when exhausted and wanting a pick me up, I ate her entire supply of apples. I am not meant to eat Apples. I was out of control man. And the more I told myself that I had a handle on it and could stop anytime – the more I couldn’t. I even found myself eating chocolate in the car on the way home from doing a food shop for her. In secret. I don’t eat food in secret! I normally roll around in my food shame in public! All out there and ridiculous for all the world to judge. Bizarre behaviour.

And all those side effects of my damaged guts that I was getting a handle on have started to rear their ugly heads again; Fucked up skin, exhaustion (when doing absolutely nothing!), bloating, headaches and feeling like shite warmed up. You know that not very ‘clean’ feeling you get inside when you don’t eat enough veges? I used to get it flatting – I’d be jonesing for some broccoli after too many days of two-minute noodles and beer. That’s pretty rock and roll eh? Craving broccoli? That’s me baby – I get all excited about leafy greens.

Anyway. I had a lovely time in Chch. I didn’t blog because I spent my evenings cuddling my wee niece or sleeping ha ha. But I am very pleased to be back as the bosom of the family again. I have had some lovely cuddles with my big boys this evening and they were actually pleased to see me too – not just the pressies ha ha.

Moving forward my plan is to do a really good food shop, clean the house and get my shit prepped for school to start on Monday. I need a clear space in my head and my house to get back on track. Start as I mean to go on – Term two will be the start of something good.

Here are some pics from my wanderings round Christchurch – mostly nature and shit – if you’re in to that;

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96 – The day before the day it begins. Again.

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I’m standing in the ditch. My shoes are ruined. My nails are broken and torn but I am determined to get the fucking wheels back on the wagon. The family is nearby but not talking to me. There was a short-lived moment where they LOVED me but I put paid to that with my wild mood swings and Tourette’s like outbursts.

Ok. The wagon doesn’t exist. My nails are immaculate as ever – natch. But it’s true that I have been a crazy unpredictable mamabear all weekend. Sorry I mean four days. Mostly I have been lovely. A little bit sweary but that’s normal. And I have been funny – I am funny. I made the GD laugh all weekend, a mean feat on a good day – I even made my Nana, in a psych ward because she’s so miserable – laugh when I called her anorexic. …Maybe that’s not a great example. But I have been ‘mostly’ nice and mostly funny and a little bit sweary.

It’s the lows that were scary. The bits where I crawled back in to bed in the middle of the day just to get some quiet Mummy time. The bits where I shouted at the top of my lungs that the boys were ‘hereby banned from our room FOREVER!’ and they just blithely carried on jumping on me and the book I wasn’t reading. (They aren’t scared of me. Really – why aren’t they scared of me?) The bit where I made a playlist of rock and roll hits and Snoop dogg especially for the boys one minute and then just wanted to listen to Frozen on repeat. That was a pretty low moment. FYI Frozen is now officially uncool in our house and when I was singing along the lads had me voted off the island.

It turned out that in a sick twist of fate the very same weekend I decided to give myself carte blanche to mindfully  ‘enjoy easter with my family’ I was, unknowingly premenstrual (and before you scoff ‘how could you not know?’ I have never kept track of this shit – I have too much to do alright? It always takes me by surprise and just seems to have it’s own schedule, one minute I’m happily floating along no worries and the next I am doubled over in pain and eating whole boxes of neurofen like they are lollies). I thought I could handle just one egg.

Just one little chocolate egg to celebrate the end of term and stuff. But I couldn’t handle that jandal. One little egg turned into convincing the grumpy Dutchman that he wanted to share his egg stash with me on Friday night. The next thing you know I’ve got my mum sharing her egg from the lads with me. Waiting until the kids went to bed so I could eat the secret creme egg I had hidden in the car. All I could think about all day was that creme egg sitting all by its lonesome in the glove box. All day.

Add to that coffee. FUCK I LOVE COFFEE. I couldn’t have hot cross buns without coffee could I? Sacrilege. I found some decent GF hot cross buns. So I have been having hot cross buns with butter on them with coffee. Coffee in an ‘UNT’ mug for the win. Ahhhhhhh coffee my old friend.

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In terms of activities and stuff we have had a lovely weekend. I went paddle-boarding for the first time. Talk about blissing out. It was AMAZE. I NEED to go again. We (the four of us) spent quality time with the wider fam. We took the lads to the Easter show. We were lucky to get out alive. I only suggest it every year to see the farm animals but this year the poor piglets and lambs had a trapped wild-eyed look about them and I couldn’t enjoy their wooly wonderful snuffly-ness. The boys wanted to ride stuff and win stuff, the GD wanted to eat stuff and the rest of Auckland was jammed in there with us trying to do the same thing. Every time we put the boys in the car they tried this new thing they have where they each try to imitate a peacock in heat at the top of their lungs. Master 7 thinks it makes him sound like an electric guitar. It doesn’t. Weirdly this didn’t make me or the GD want to leave them on the side of the road – we laughed – but then, this makes sense because I was FUCKING HIGH ON ALL THE SUGAR.

And now I am not. I have however got a slow burn on thanks to this ginger loaf I am ‘finishing off’ before tomorrow. It’s keeping the edge off.

So. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the withdrawal again. Tomorrow I will start ‘crowding out’ the sugar cravings again with all the cooked veges. I will go back to rice milk in my smoothies. My hot drink of choice will once again be a green tea every couple of days. No more raw food. No more crunchy food. No more self harming with food. More quality time with my children outside. More running with the dogs. More reading of the books I have bought and never read.

I apologise in advance if my blog posts go to a dark place in the next few weeks.

Day 88 – did you miss me?

Sure you did, all of you out there in ‘actually has a social life land’. You didn’t miss me at all with your fancy parties, and restaurants, and glamorous fast paced lives. I’m sure you were waiting by your ‘pooters for my next thrilling installment ha ha

As I write this Master 4 is sitting next to me crunching on a foul blue lollipop LOUDLY and staring glass eyed at the minions giving a 21 fart gun salute. Cue much hilarity. Did I mention that he is naked from the waist down but does have a whistle around his neck that he blows at random and eye-watering intervals. Everything this kid does is LOUD. And right in my ear.

The reason for the middle of the day nakedness and mindless lolly eating is of course ‘The Great Gladstone Gala’ which we attended this morning. Master 7 has been building up his excitement ever since he came home with the cake boxes for me to fill to Wednesday, along with an instruction to make two batches of Bliss Balls and as many Jolly Jars as I can source jars for. No opt-in for this activity mind you – more like an implied ‘opt out and be ashamed of yourself and your lack of community spirit’. Last year I broke myself getting the cupcakes, bliss balls and Jolly Jars made. I don’t know how the other working parents do it and look so stress free with it. I can do it but it’s a stretch with my job on top.

This year I thought ‘Fuck this shit I don’t have time’ and have suffered racked with guilt ever since. And not – as I clarified to my grrls last night over (their) wine and my soda water – guilt or shame that the other parents at school will think I am useless and not contributing, but more that Master 7 is super proud of my bliss balls and cupcake making ability and really wanted to show it off. I didn’t want to let him down. As it turned out, after I talked to him yesterday morning (with 2 hours left to go before the baking had to be in) he didn’t care at all if I made anything to contribute – he cared more that I had money for him to spend at the Gala. And so, money being tight this week, I didn’t buy ingredients and gave the cash to the lads as spending money. Very happy little Dutchmen.

Ten dollars each can go a long way when you are a kid and will eat anything. Both boys bought candy floss as soon as we arrived. They then spent the next 20 mins getting as sticky as humanly possible and wiping as much of it on me as they could. Once hosed down we went for a wander and I tried to encourage them to spend their remaining dollars on rides or experiences. No – all up they bought shaved ice, cupcakes, Jolly Jars, one turtle, one green sword, one entry to Lego land where Master 4 declared it boring almost immediately, one entry to the boot camp bouncy castle which was over in 3 minutes and Master 4 managed to make $5 back playing money golf (you putt the balls on to the various notes stuck to the ground – his was a rebound and very impressive). Then Master 4 went to the toilet, couldn’t figure out his suspenders (very stylish) and ended up peeing all over himself. ‘It’s even in my shoes mum’. Sad face. So we walked home, he stripped – ‘Not my tee-shirt mum, my willy wasn’t pointing up so it’s dry’ and settled in to eat the entire contents of his Jolly Jar all at once and glaze out in front of the TV.

We have a birthday party to go to this afternoon too – I have totally given up on healthy food for them today and will just have to deal with the come down later…

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Last night I met a woman who told me – or at least the group of women that were there – that having coeliacs didn’t necessarily mean eating gluten-free, for like, forever. That her Mum had coeliacs and she didn’t all the time. That it was a choice and that some people didn’t get a reaction so it was okay. Aside from immediately wanting to punch her in the face and shout ‘YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS DANGEROUS’ she seemed ok. But here’s the thing, she was a Naturopath. And although I know that the grumpy Dutchman thinks that natural medicine is the biggest swindle there is, I do not and think it has its place and usefulness. But for someone who presumably is listened to seriously by people who are very unwell and looking for answers, to have her saying with some authority that ‘a little bit of gluten is ok’ is scary. It was a weird situation anyway because it was a farewell ‘drinks’ for one of my close friends who is heading overseas to ‘Art’ for three months, and we all knew each other really well, except for this stranger. Luckily my friend saw me about to ‘school’ this poor idiot woman and diverted me by mentioning the Bachelor NZ – something guaranteed to get me ranting. (seriously – a whole lot of women lined up for a man to ‘choose’ them like a meal in a fucking food court? get out of here with that misogynist dark ages bullshit. Seriously.)

But it has been happening more and more lately. People saying to me that maybe I should just ‘like, eat normal and just like, be normal, because it’s seems so hard?’. And granted this is usually in response to me having a rough day and drooling at them with their pie/wine/chocolate biscuit but I don’t find it very supportive or helpful. What I said last night to my grrls, who love me and want to support me but also want to fix me so I can be normal with them, is that I have made this choice to feel better. That before I felt like shit every day. And now I sometimes have days where it is shit but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And if I’m honest with myself, the ‘sometimes shit’ days this year come from me breaking my own rules. That I know I will be gluten-free forever, and probably dairy and sugar, but that the rest of the restrictions will ease up and I can gain some normality back. That yes, once again I will be able to enjoy both the smell and taste of my morning coffee, and that in the evenings if I so desire I will again have the joy of a glass of red wine with my dinner. But that for now, I have to be gentle, ease up on the toxins, and try to give my gut a rest.

It’s a choice I have made and so far I have gotten up every day for 88 days and made that choice. I didn’t choose to have coeliacs but I can choose to live a long and healthy life in spite of it. I can choose to not get bowel or stomach cancer by adhering to a strict gluten free diet for the rest of my life. I can choose to be able to absorb all the nutrients and good stuff I need from my food by healing and supporting the villi in my gut and for now that means being very careful with what I eat. And the next person that tells me that I could eat a ‘little bit of gluten no harm’ is gonna hear about it.

Day 80 – secret groups and pissing off strangers.

After the IQS program ends you get this ‘special invitation’ to join the graduates facebook page (it’s a secret group) and I did of course – who turns down a special invitation to join a secret group?! Well I may have made my first enemy on the page. As I write this I am waiting to see the little (1) to turn up on my facebook tab telling me I have had a response to my comment. It’s a slightly sick feeling.

What happened was that a woman posted that her checkout person had exclaimed loudly and made quite a big deal over her food shop – being that it was mostly fresh fruit and vege and dairy and meat (no packaged food). The checkout lady told her that she hardly ever saw that any more and that it was so nice to see someone shopping healthy. The woman who posted described herself as feeling ‘proud and a little sad’. Proud because she was providing her family with healthy, nutritious food, and sad because ‘wasn’t it sad that people were too uneducated or too reliant on convenience foods these days’. Remember this is after only 8 weeks of ‘being educated’ herself – freely admitted. I let it go.

And let it go and let it go until about 5 other people had posted about their pious and gold star worthy shopping, most of them adding little patronising comments about ‘other people’ who ‘didn’t bother’ cooking from scratch, ‘didn’t understand’ how fresh produce was simply better for you or were just too lazy.

So I wrote this; Fresh produce costs more – the simple fact is that most people would like to feed their families fresh fruit and vege and dairy but that their budget doesn’t allow it. When you are trying to keep tummies full and a roof over your head you do what you can. My husband and I both earn enough to be able to buy fresh as well but a lot of people don’t. I don’t think its ever ok to assume people just ‘don’t know’ or can’t be bothered – they may not have the means.

And it brings me to something that I have been finding distinctly uncomfortable about the newly ‘cool’ JERF movement. I think that we all know that if you can get fresh fruit and veges, meat and dairy for your family this is good thing. And I also know that the grumpy Dutchman and I spend more money every fortnight on food for the four of us than on anything else – and it is a lot of money. Way more than we’ve ever paid before and it seems to go up and up all the time. It’s gotten so that I try not to take the GD with me food shopping because he’s never dealt well with the spending of the money on the food ‘But, but, but’ he splutters ‘we are just going to eat it all! And then have to buy MORE! It’s such a waste of money!’. (He’s never dealt well with the spending of any money on anything mind you).

And we both work full time jobs. And we are lucky to be well paid in those jobs (in as much as teachers and house painters are well paid). But not minimum wage and not unreliable or seasonal work. So we have wiggle room when food shopping that includes fresh produce and less packaged foods as works with my special needs and our taste.

But, there are people that simply can’t afford to do this. They need to keep their families fed, and they need to keep them full so they do the best that they can and buy food that is going to do the job. There are people who are time poor because they work multiple jobs or a solo parenting or have a really good social life and they want food that it quick and easy and does the job. There are people that grow their own produce and buy their dairy and meat at specific places so when they go to the stupidmarket all they are buying is all the other stuff – the toilet paper and the crackers and the chocolate biscuits. There are people who do whatever the hell they want and it’s none of my fucking business. Or yours.

And this is my point. It’s none of my fucking business what you buy at the stupidmarket. It’s none of my business what you feed your kids. And it’s none of my business why you do it. I have no right to look in your trolley and you have no right to look in mine. No judging full stop. And it makes me so uncomfortable because it just seems to be another stick to beat people with. ‘Oh look at that person, she’s obvs far too thick to feed her kids healthy food – she needs ‘educating’. As one of my girls said to me the other day ‘Miss I know the sandwiches in the cafe have salad in them BUT I can get wedges and a coke for half the price at the shop up the road’. Because what teenage girl doesn’t love wedges? I was a particular fan of mashed potato, white bread sandwiches with a lot of butter as a teen. Mmmm. White carbs. No judging – this is a safe place.

As I write this I am remembering getting annoyed with someone on the coeliacs page for only wanting to know about junk food when I was trying to give ‘helpful’ advice about ‘real food’ snacks. I will own this food snobbery and learn from it and try to bite it back when I am tempted next time.

I realise that my ‘journey’ is about this stuff (ha ha I can just about feel the GD cringe as I write journey – he hates that shit), and that I am obsessed with what food will be ‘good for me’ because I am trying to heal my gut, and that I’m gonna write about this stuff BUT I am going to try to be aware of not wanking on like a sanctimonious prick about it.  Because food snobbery is gross. And I let my kids eat all sorts of shit that I can’t be proud of. (you can’t fight Dutch grandies when it comes to treat foods believe me – I had to learn to let it go before one of us got cut).

So far no notification. Maybe I haven’t pissed off some random stranger in a far far land by implying that she is naieve and snobby? Or maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t care what I have to say.

Day 75 – Bootcamp bitches ain’t nothing to fuck with

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Yeah boyeee. I’m old(ish) and using Wutang references. That’s just how I roll. But it’s ok because we all went out in the cyclone this morning and boxed our asses off before the sun came up. We are hard core y’all. Sure, it wasn’t very cyclone-y. More like Damp and Humid with a wee bit of wind. But add boxing to the mix and you’ve got some hot sweaty ladies. We just needed the rocky sound track to top it off ha ha. Have you boxed? It is seriously fun. I highly recommend it – there is something very cathartic about beating something up. I will take boxing over Yoga any day. Sorry Adrenal glands – I like it hard and fast ha ha

AND Guess what?!? The I Quit Sugar program includes Dark Chocolate this week! Oh my goodness. It is meant to be an ingredient in a recipe for ‘sort of cherry ripe bites’ (the sort of is because you use raspberry instead of cherries) but I confess I have cracked the pack already. Nice and easy grrl. There needs to be some left for the actual baking.

Auckland seems to have gotten away with much less damage than predicted from Cyclone Pam thank goodness. There were some homes without power and I have def seen trees down and other minor damage in my travels, but nothing compared to the devastation caused in Vanuatu for the people there. My thoughts are with the folks there who have lost family and friends and I will be looking for a way to send some sort of practical help to them over the next few days.

Peace out yo.