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,

IMG_2441  IMG_2404  IMG_2388  IMG_2219  IMG_2761  IMG_2446  IMG_2318  IMG_2331  IMG_2458

151 – Long weekend-ness

My Laptop is fixed! Actually it is replaced, something had gone well and truly awry inside my old beastie and the IT guys couldn’t bring it back from the dead this time – it turns out they are not, in fact, miracle workers. But they could give me a looks-just-like-the-old-one-but-has-newer-programs-on-it one so that’s cool.

I’ve actually had it back for a few days but my brain has been so full of stuff, and I have had so much on that I took advantage of the hiatus until I could figure out what to write about – and I’m not even sure I have but I have more energy today being that it is Sunday and we still have one more day off! Long live the Queen!

On Thursday I went on a PD course called ‘Trauma Sensitive Practice in Schools’ and fuck it was excellent. It was one of those things where I walked in and wasn’t sure if I was meant to be there or not. I sat at a table by myself at the back (rebel without a cause) and was soon joined by four guidance counsellors. Shit! I thought – do I need to have a psychology degree to understand this day?! But it turned out that no, there were a bunch of other Deans there too and it was SUCH a good day.

It was really heavy going though, the australian woman who presented – Beth Guy – had been a nurse, then a teacher and is now a Psychologist who travels and work with schools. It sounds like she does a lot with indigenous communities in Australia who probably have the highest population of traumatised children in the country to be fair. And what she talked about was fascinating. It was the science behind the brain stuff – what happens in the brain in development – as early as pre-birth – when a child experiences Trauma. Trauma being defined as anything from neglect to physical, sexual or psychological abuse. This woman had worked with pre-verbal children (0 to 2 yrs) who were already showing signs of trying to protect themselves from this abuse – or survive the neglect. Fucking hell. Thankfully the course wasn’t centred on the horrors that humanity inflicts upon its children however; more understanding how to make your classroom/school a safe place for these kids to be when they are trying to navigate the everyday business of surviving school without being triggered. And wow there is so much that these kids can’t control – so much that is wired beyond their power – that could set them off in to a total Freeze/Fight/Flee situation. But there is also so much that we can do to help them relax enough to actually remember what is being said in class and action what we ask them to do. I left so inspired but so weighed down with it. I really wanted wine so I didn’t have to think about my girls and what they live with every day.

So I impulse-bought boots. Makes sense huh? You feel me.

Then I spent all night awake with this new information in my head. And the guilt from the boots – and niggling doubt that they were really ‘me’. In the morning I skipped boot-camp because of exhaustion and then later Friday afternoon I took the not-me-but-still-very-gorgeous-boots back. It was for the best.

I love a good long weekend though. Friend and family catch ups, time for slobbing about, time for school work (I have a whole day of report writing and assessment stuff tomorrow), and just catching up on vital alone time.

That’s if you ever get to be alone. I don’t know about other mothers but I appear to have created two little shadows and it doesn’t matter where I take myself to have alone time – they turn up moments later. At the moment one of my shadows is dressed like a tiger 24 seven so he’s pretty hard to miss (He was a hit at the zoo yesterday). I have tried leaving them happily watching TV and going to the other end of the house to read or colour in (don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it baby) and within moments I have a little audience of two joining in on whatever I am doing. Until recently we had no light in the loo so had to have ‘quiet time’ with the door open if one wanted to see what one was, ahem, doing. This meant a visitor EVERY time I was abluting to ask me to read to them, where their socks were, what they could eat etc. We got the light fixed so I thought I could have alone time with the door closed. Turns out the hint was not received.

And with the rain the entire house has cabin fever. The grumpy Dutchman is EXTRA grumpy – not helped by the fact that he had to go ona rescue mission in our ceiling last night because the Kitten was stuck in the wall! Crawling on his belly in a space no higher than half a metre, through MASSIVE spider webs, in his pyjama pants, when all he wants to do is sleep. I was standing in the lounge helpfully shouting instructions at him through the ceiling. I think I heard grumpy muttering. Then to top it all off – the kitten so wasn’t that grateful. He sauntered over to me at the ceiling cavity, scratched my face all up being dragged out and slinked off slinkily. Cats. We are merely their house servants.

Tomorrow we are taking the lads – all three of them, fur-child as well – to the wild west for a runaround in the coastal air. They need to be run long and hard to get their energy out. Then the GD is taking the two human lads to the Museum so I can figure out how to write ‘Your daughter is a delight but she doesn’t nothing in class but take selfies and text her boyfriend you don’t know about’ 120 times.

I can’t report anything good about my food intake so I won’t go in to it. Lying by omission while I slurp tea with real milk and eat leftover ‘entertaining’ cake from my dad’s visit today. Living on the edge.

Day 32 – A pinch and a punch

For the first of the month. My boys do not know the ‘pinch and a punch’ game – we don’t want to give them any more reasons to hit each-other. It didn’t stop them today – they don’t need a reason to mortally wound each-other. They flew around the house punching, kicking, spitting, poking, eyeballing, crying, teasing, blaming, each-other ALL DAY. I’m especially fond of the ‘[insert name here] is an idiot’ song. I know all the words now. It’s not hard; you sing ‘[insert name here is an idiot]’ over and over and over again. This is why Mummy drinks. Except she doesn’t this year – and besides they started at 7am.

The reason for their cabin fever? The grumpy Dutchman and I were cleaning the house. A proper vacuum under the beds, lift the ornaments to dust under them, change the portraits of the boys to the latest ones and sort out the wardrobe, clean out. And we didn’t get it through all of it yet. Do you have an ‘Office’ in your house? We do. But in ours is the stroller we haven’t used in two years, clothes we haven’t worn in longer than that, every piece of paper the boys ever drew, painted or dribbled on and you can’t see the desk for the bills, books and general detritus that we don’t know where else to put. The office is the last room left to conquer. We have resolved to tackle it this week but I am not hopeful.

We also did a food shop, got new curtains for the lounge and then the GD hung them, I made Pork and Fennel Meatballs and pasta thanks to the IQS program (DELICIOUS) and baked ‘Coco-nutty breakfast muffins’ (also part of the menu plan). And I managed to squeeze in a breakfast date with one of my best gals.

Am completely and utterly fucked. Exhausted. Shattered. Knackered. Bone tired. This is why our house is normally a pig sty – it’s too damn tiring to be a clean and tidy household! Not when you have a four year old who delights in making as much mess as possible in as short a time as possible. He just followed us around today waiting until a room was immaculate so that he could fuck it up. Ash on the freshly vacuumed carpet, cushions on the floor, folded washing looks like a tornado hit it, the GD scrubbed the bathroom and he went in moments later and flooded it.

So our house will be clean for about 3 days at the outside (he’ll be at daycare during the day so he has less hours to screw with us). If you  don’t see it during this time then you’ll just have to take my word for it.