#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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229 – a little variety would be nice thanks

Today I collected my Grandad to take him to see Nana in the hospital, and I had my littlest lad in tow because he came down with a fever last night and is not feeling great.

We took Grandad to have a speedy haircut and then went to a corner deli/cafe thingy to have lunch before we headed to the hospital. It was loud as those places are – coffee machines clanging, people chatting, doors banging and general white noise. My Grandad is deaf in one ear and wears a hearing aid in the other one so I have be QUITE loud for him to hear me. He was happily munching away on his ham, cheese and tomato panini – ‘There’s something in here I don’t recognise Kathleen what is it?’ (Did I mention he has macular degeneration and can’t see anything except for with his peripheral vision?). ‘THAT’S PESTO GRANDAD – IT’S BASIL AND STUFF’. After determining that Basil was a herb grown in the garden he seemed to like it. The little lad had a fizzy orange drink that he didn’t touch (and poured down in to the foot rest later in the car) and  a bucket of hot chips (which he didn’t eat and fed to the chickens at Mums place later).

I explained to Grandad that we would drop him off at the entrance of the hospital and go and park, he could go up to Nana and have some quality time, and then me and the little lad would join him but I didn’t think we would be long because he was feeling so tired. I said ‘WE’LL GO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT GRANDAD’. Really loud because he couldn’t hear me. Grandad answered me in the rare silence that sometimes falls in one of those places;

‘It’s alright Kathleen, I won’t want to stay long, we are married in name only really now with your Nana being ill – although the last 20 years or so were pretty awful too’. Cue stunned silence from those around us.

Master 4 pipes up – I didn’t know he was listening – ‘You know Grandad you can marry boys too, so why don’t you not be married to great Nana any more and marry one of your friends?’. Too quietly for Grandad to hear – but not so for the tables who had tuned in on either side. I’m sure I heard a very posh lady snort.

But – actually the point of mentioning the cafe was the food thing. Because it is mere days before pay-day we are down to the last of our supplies, which equals no organised food prep for me and my special gut. So I was starving when we got there and thought fuck it, I’ll get whatever they’ve got that’s gf with my coffee. My delicious/so hard to give up/the only thing that is getting me out of bed coffee.

I scanned the food case and it was depressingly familiar. The only gluten-free option (nicely wrapped and on the top tray so no food crumbs could be getting on  it – can’t complain about that aspect of it) was…

You guessed it – Orange and almond friands! These consistently are the only options at most cafes that don’t pride themselves on being paleo or ‘clean’. It’s a little sad. Orange and almond friands or flourless chocolate cake. Always a sweet option. Don’t get me wrong – I love that is even an option – but why does it always have to be sweet? Dear Cafe owners – feel free to experiment.

Having successfully been off sugar for the last few weeks I was reluctant – but did I mention starving? So I bought one and tried to have it with my coffee. It was too sweet and gave me an instant gut ache. Oh well. I stole a few hot chips and we went on our way.

The littlest lad is not well poor kid, he’s in bed now with me sitting on the floor, the room lit up with a blue glow from my lappytoppy and every now and then he rolls over pathetically and asks for water. Not fair to feel crappy when you’re only little and can’t really and truly appreciate having to stay in your bed all day.

Nana Betty’s funeral is tomorrow, and Mum is back to look after her folks again. My life will start to gain some semblance of normality and I just might get back to work – that is if the bugger hasn’t passed his lurgy on to me!

On a – literally – lighter note; have you noticed it’s getting dark later and later? Spring is right around the corner! Yay!

166 – default position

Are you the default too? Do you know what I mean?

Example; This weekend there was an event that the grumpy Dutchman and I had planned to go to together. We were quite excited about going out together for the first time in a long time. I had my outfit all planned out and everything (totes most important bit) and I had practised in my head saying ‘No I’m not pregnant, just not drinking’ and sneaking out for coffee as I got more tired (because I am a Nana and past 9pm is waaaaaay late for me). But our babysitters (The GD’s folks) couldn’t do it for us in the end and we couldn’t afford both a babysitter and the gig. (you feel my pain I know you do). Sad face.

Should have been the end of it right? Stink buzz we can’t go out. Damned kids ruining our social lives all the time.

But somehow…. The GD went to the gig anyway. Because the fact that WE couldn’t get a babysitter didn’t mean that WE didn’t have to stay home apparently. Somehow all it meant was that I couldn’t go out because I needed to be at home with the little Dutchmen. And that sucks balls. Now, the GD will justify his attending the event to you if you ask him about it by saying that he had volunteered to be the pizza boy for the bands so he needed to go. Which, you know, is bullshit because pizza places have their own delivery boys to do that for them…

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And to add insult to injury I had to cook dinner for the children too, and like, parent them and shit. Grumpy mockingbirdgrrl.

It reminds me of when the kids were babies and I was the ‘default holder of the babies’. I distinctly remember this one time needing to go to the toilet when holding baby – so I handed baby to the GD and went to the bathroom – the GD followed me to the bathroom and stood there while I weed and waited to hand baby back. I realise that I had the boobs – you couldn’t miss them I was like a dairy cow – but I also needed to not hold babies for a few hours a day and this wasn’t really a thing. I think too that this is the norm for most Mums.

Don’t get me wrong – It’s not like the GD doesn’t do ‘his fair share’. And ‘his fair share’ is such a bullshit term because he parents his children. He does it well and he does it more than me during the week because I work longer hours usually. It’s not an issue of equality at all in our house. But I still don’t like being the default.

I been mithering on it since Saturday night. I was SO looking forward to going out, and I was SO disappointed that I didn’t get to go but that he did. Right now the most social I get is boot camp. Between family on the weekends and work in the evenings and it getting darker earlier I feel quite hemmed in. I need a movie date or something. A reason to wear some of my fabulous shoes ha ha

Anyway. Now that I’ve had a whinge I can get over it.

Which will be good news to all the boys in the house!

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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Day 101 – Last trip up the hill

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Today I went with Mum on a road trip up the hill to Kerikeri and back again. She has been trying to get my grandparents house cleared out for them, they have finally sold it and Mum is the one who has been sorting it all out for them. She has the onerous and emotional task of going though all their stuff, deciding what they might still want and what goes in the rubbish or to the charities. So on her last day trip today me and the lads went with her to try to help. We drove three hours each way and the lads were really good. They were patient and funny and kept us entertained all the way. We went to a cafe in Kerikeri called ‘Santeez’ that was gluten and wheat free (said so on the sign outside) and had a yummy lunch. I had a real coffee with real milk. On road trips the rules don’t matter.

Mostly my job was to sit and say what to chuck and what to keep so Mum could just power though. We threw out 11 rubbish bags of an old ladies collected pieces of paper. We hadn’t noticed how hard it was getting for Nana to remember things. Little tiny pieces of paper in all of the drawers with lists and facts on them that she was trying to remember. The family; the daughters and their children and their children – all the names and birth dates. On multiple pieces of paper. Mum has found identical lists of phone numbers – copied in duplicate up to 50 times. Every single letter she had received, every bill, every receipt, every lotto ticket. Mum found SO many combs. I found a drawer entirely dedicated to empty glasses cases. And this is after Mum has been going week after week to clear stuff out.

Anyway. I thought I would have more feelings about the building itself. But it turns out no not really. Nana and Grandad never really imprinted on it. In the twenty+ years they lived there they just occupied it really, and without them there I had no feelings for the space. It still smelled the same, it still ‘felt’ the same. But it is just a building. The people are what matter. The people are who you miss. I took my camera because I wanted to get some pics of the empty house but it was simply to document the process.

It’s funny, when Mum and I have been going through the photo albums we have found endless images of the house and it’s gardens. Her gardens were beautiful but my Nana was/is a terrible photographer. The photos are mainly blurry or composed badly or completely fucking random. But I kinda love that about them. She repeated the act of photographing her surroundings, shooting film after film, getting them developed and then patiently sliding the images in to photo album after photo album. It’s the same bloody photograph over and over again. There’s a million reasons why Nana might have needed to take these photos. Some more obvious than others. Repetition in order to prove existence. As if she needed reminding. And here I was today walking the same path. Taking the same photos. Although mine are in focus.

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89 – cluck cluck cluck

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I’ve been sitting here tonight daydreaming about going to Christchurch in a little under a fortnight, and snuggling my new baby niece. She’ll be nearly three months by the time I get to meet her but she’ll still have some of that ‘fresh out of the wrapper’ loveliness that newborns have.

And this is where I get a little panicky ripple up my spine. Because it wasn’t so long ago that I was really motherfuckingly clucky. Like really. Like I had just this minute popped out the second one (it was almost a ‘pop’ it only took three excruciating hours) and I was talking about a third. And I had always imagined me with four teenagers round my kitchen table so ‘just one more babe’ didn’t seem too unreasonable. A girl. I have two boys, now it’s time for the girl.

Everytime I brought up the issue the grumpy Dutchman got pale and said ‘Really?’ gesturing around our rubbish dump house, that had previously – pre kids – been so immaculate. He can’t for the life of him understand why I would want to bring another sleep sucking, money sucking and life force sucking creature in to our finally-sorting-itself-out little family. Just when our youngest is SO close to starting primary school, thus ridding us of our $400 + fortnightly bill. He doesn’t ‘get’ my want of lots of teenagers (his least favourite age group) and he is terrified of the thought of having a daughter (cave man dad=protection and female innocence ideas all cramming to the front of his brain when he thinks of ‘pink’ offspring, no amount of ‘babe she’ll be my daughter and therefore pretty badass’ consoles him).

In the past four years I have come to terms with this and am eventually getting to the point where I agree with him. To an extent. It makes no sense to get preggers while Deaning for one thing. I can’t take time off from my girls, the inconsistency of pastoral care will fuck the balance and I have finally gotten all 270 of them working pretty well as a cohort. But the bit that has turned my mind the most is my foodtard-ness actually.

I really enjoyed being pregnant. I know that sounds weird but I really liked not having to fake a waist. I really like ‘dressing the belly’, and playing with tight clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear (picture a skin tight leopard print baby bump and bright red lips). I had heaps of energy, my skin cleared up and people were really lovely to me. I had the perfect excuse to eat literally ALL the time and it was also a really good reason to sit on my ass if I felt like it. The GD thought it was really sexy. But the first 12 weeks weren’t great. I was one of the lucky ones (who don’t throw up)  but just felt a bit ‘meh’ the whole time. I have heard horror stories since and I know in comparison it totally didn’t suck that bad. Well my first trimester turned me into a horrible bitch and only junk food made me happy. All the delicious, calorie laden, deep-fried junk food that I am not allowed to eat now.

If I got pregnant tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to eat mountains of cheesy pasta, really good deep fried fish and chips, Lasagna, Hamburgers – all the gluten-y, dairy filled goodness that I craved. I would have to make do with ‘mymite’ and avocado on toast, oak baked beans and other ‘safe’ stuff for my tummy. Bleurgh.

The thought of being pregnant now is a little scary to be honest. I know I would still enjoy the pregnant thing, I fucking LOVE newborns and I am like a dairy cow when it comes to breastfeeding – I made enough milk to feed all the babies on the street believe me – but now I’m older and my gut is broken. I wouldn’t be able to veg out on junk food. I am scared that my old age would mean dropping the ‘baby weight’ wouldn’t be so easy in my late thirties. That’s vain but it’s real. Also – it’d be another big gap between the kinder. Two in primary school and a newborn.

Knowing my luck I’d probably get another boy too. (you know I love my boys right? good)

So I have to suck up all the goodness and ‘fresh out of the oven’ smell I can from other people’s newborns. I can’t breastfeed them – that’s creepy – but I can make delicious food for their Mums. I can snuggle. I also have a kitten who I call Baby. Ha ha.

If I woke up tomorrow pregnant I wouldn’t be devastated. I’d be surprised – it is a week night after all – but I’d be ok. Don’t ask the GD what he thinks though.

Day 81

Satisfying day. I got jobs done, saw family and managed to fold all of the laundry on the laundry couch! It is amazing to see the rest of the couch. The animals keep coming up and looking at it, sniffing it and then sidling up to it suspiciously – they see it so rarely. The lads immediately took to leaping off the top of the couch on to the floor or each-other. Only one of them bled. And it wasn’t for long.

After lazing in bed until 8am (8AM!) I got up and fed all of the children and fur-kids. Eventually fed myself and threw myself in the car to head up the hill to see my grandies. I can’t take the three Dutchmen with me at the moment because both are in a delicate state, so I left them at home ‘cleaning’ which I think mostly amounted to a marathon Lego session on the Music lounge floor.

Nana has dementia and since Christmas has been in care, currently in a nursing home with lovely staff and fellows oldies. Grandad moved in next door so he could be near her and visit but had a fall a couple of weeks ago, and then because of a brain bleed has had to have neurosurgery. He is in recovery and is doing very well but will need to move in with Mum when he has finished rehabilitation. Poor Mum and her man have been basically taking care of the two of them by themselves since before Christmas – Mum’s sisters do try to help but they don’t live in the same city so they are mostly moral support. Anyway – long story short I head up the hill to see them twice a week to try to give Mum the day off where I can.

I love going to see them – I used to drive the boys up to see them every school holidays – because they were up north it was harder to get to them regularly. This way they are only 40 mins away so I can hang with my fave oldies whenever I like in theory. Nana is funny. She has built quite a comfortable world in her head, based on actual events, twisted all out of reality and all stories end with people adoring her, or apologising to her for perceived slights, or recognising her essential ‘right-ness’. She has had some very bad moments, and has said terrible things (to poor Mum mostly) which is difficult for people to deal with but she is ok with me. We have always been each-others favourite person. I am prepared for her to not be alright with me and when she is I don’t take it personally because I can see she isn’t in control anymore. It’s mostly like visiting a toddler now.

Grandad on the other hand is a totally different man but in a good way – he finally gets to talk! Nana always did the talking for him or over him, and it is really cool to hang with him and have him so chatty. He has always been a voracious reader and I knew he KNEW stuff but he lost his sight about ten years ago and got depressed. The one good thing that has come out of this whole thing is that Grandad will get to have his own opinion for the rest of his life now. And he will be with people who can encourage him to learn new stuff again and open new doors for him technologically – My mum and her man are techy geeks.

So, a satisfying morning hanging with my oldies in their respective situations, assuring Nana that yes indeed Grandad is still alive and yes that’s where I was going next, Talking to Grandad about how we both really like Hospital food and ordering his meals for the next day. Eventually I had to jump back in my car and head home to see what state the house was in – The GD’s parents came around for dinner tonight and we needed the house CLEAN.

We did the mad as massive clean. I folded washing like a BOSS. I dusted shit like organised people do. I hung up dresses and ironed and got ‘work clothes’ sorted for the week. It was amazing. The GD vacuumed, and did dishes and helped the lads tidy up their toys. Then I made a delicious and healthy dinner for the in-laws and the kids ate it all! It was a miracle. Spicy fish fillets, steamed asian greens and homecut fries (parsnip, potatoes and kumara). Delish.

AND THEN. As if I am not awesome enough – I baked pizza wheels for Master 7’s lunches, and another batch of bliss balls. Fucking homemaker queen.

In other news, the re-introduced dairy has caused the skin on my face to get red and peel off all over the place. I am SO pretty right now. Dairy is definitely a no go.

Day 76 – quiet time and slowing down

I’m writing this with a kitten purring, asleep in the crotch of my slouch pants – my legs are crossed in front of me, I am sitting on my bed and it isn’t even 8 yet. The house is deathly quiet and there are no Dutchmen – grumpy or otherwise to be seen (or heard). You’d think I’d be blissful but I’m kinda bored and a little bit antsy.

The GD kindly took the lads out to a family thing and didn’t insist I come too because he could see how shattered I was. The plan was for me to go to bed and sleep while they were gone. Now I am glad I didn’t go – because staying out this late would have fucked me up in my current state – but I am twiddling my thumbs a bit at this stage. I had hoped to take the dog out for a run; I don’t like to run without him – being of the female persuasion and it still being essentially a man’s world after dark on the mean streets of malbert – but it will be too late now once they get back.

I had every intention of getting in to bed and indeed actually put the top half of my jammies on, but as I was pottering and getting ready for a snooze it occurred to me that I needed to iron my shirt (I know Mum! I ironed! voluntarily!) and so I did, then I thought I had better check my work email because I was home before 5 and I usually have stuff to sort still, which lead to some more computery work stuff, which then led to fucking round on clickbait sites, which led to checking my trademe auctions and then back to work stuff and then I made some appointments to see parents/students/teachers and then back to Facebook.

Then I looked up and realised I had lost 3 hours. The lads still aren’t home and I haven’t eaten and now I have that Mum thing where I tried to relax but instead I did stuff because the kids weren’t here to distract me and now I feel anxious because I didn’t relax and I know they are going to be back soon. And I’m also kinda bored. Because by now I’d be fighting them off to try to do all the aforementioned stuff and I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

How fucked up is that? Where you actually get gifted time to relax and you have forgotten how to do it. The GD won’t bother again if he knows that I waste such a precious resource. Must. Try. To Relax.

A tutor once said to me that if I was ‘any more relaxed I would be asleep’. This was in reference to watching me teach a class – she was marking me – on my second practicum and I was so scared that I was afraid I was going to vomit on the poor wee year 9’s in front of me. Yet this tutor thought I looked so relaxed and calm. I have discovered over the years that my bodies natural defence mechanism to potentially high drama situations is to slow right down. It’s like I am the sloth in the friendship group. When everyone else is losing their shit over what Tracey said to Shirley I am the one on the back still edging my way down the branch to go eat bugs off the floor or whatever it is sloths do.

It happens with other stuff too. When I was, ahem, younger and at Art school I may have tried a few things that I certainly wouldn’t advocate now as a grown up responsible mother of two and professional. Mum you needn’t keep reading at this point it’s very boring. Anyway, when I was MUCH younger and stupid-er I found that speed and other ‘wake you up and make you go faster’ drugs were completely wasted on me – instead of actually speeding up and becoming the life of the party like those other ‘normal’ folks around me I would promptly fall asleep. It got to the point where at parties someone unsuspecting would offer me something and everyone around me would chorus ‘don’t bother, it’s a waste of money!’. It was a much better idea to feed me tequila and point me to a hip hop bar where I would become convinced I was actually a REALLY fucking good dancer and starring in my own hoochie girl video. The Gd still holds fond memories of my (terrible) white girl dancing. Oh yeah baby.

The point I think I am trying to make is that when I was young I could go to sleep. Just like that. Even when under the influence of ‘awake’ tools. I could leave my own birthday party to go to bed well before my guests were over it. When I was a small child I would regularly put myself to bed before my parents had a chance to and I have mentioned before that I am an early bird not a night owl.

So it is even more frustrating that, given the very unusual time to myself just to sleep, I find myself awake and doing stuff. I wonder if this is something that the Mindfulness course tomorrow night can help with. I must remember to get a journal for that tomorrow in my lunch break. Oh and also, I need to get dry spaghetti and marshmallows for the peer supporters on the way to school for their team building stuff. Now I’m just thinking out loud.

Dr Libby Weaver called it ‘Rushing Womans syndrome’ and when I have the time I am going to read that book and find out how to fix it.

Day 72 – Vaginal weightlifting

Did you know vaginal weightlifting was a thing? Neither did I. Huh. But according to Buzzfeed – that wonderful source of all things interesting and completely useless at the same time – it is a thing. The video is hilarious. Google it. Don’t worry – you don’t actually see any vaginas.

Anyways, It is a me-and-my-littlest-lad date night because the GD and Master 7 are on a class trip. We are watching Tom and Jerry and had pizza for dinner. He had a delicious cheesey Pepperoni one and I had a GF, cheese-less one. Not really mind-blowing but at least it had anchovies – mmmmmmmm. Salty fish goodness.

The four-year old is usually WAY asleep by now but he’s not. This might have something to do with the easter bunny that I let him ‘choose’ for dessert, and then eat. I was impressed that when it got too much he put the leftover – about half – in the fridge. He’s only four and he has better will power than me.

Another friday, another weekend thank goodness. I need to get in some quality kitten cuddle time – and lying around doing nothing time.

Go check out that video – might be the next fitness craze! ha ha

Day 68 – Eight years and counting.

Eight years ago today, I married the grumpy Dutchman.

We had a wee passenger on board – I was 5.5 months pregnant and you can imagine the havoc this caused when I had to tell my dressmaker and get a whole new dress designed. And yes, I walked down the ‘aisle’ barefoot and pregnant.

But aside from not being able to get happily drunk at my own wedding, being preggers had its one advantage. I can never forget how long we have married – no matter how fuzzy my brain – I simply go to my eldest boy’s next birthday and I know. He is currently 7.75 years which means that we must have been married for 8 years. That’s aaaaaages man. It feels like it took nearly that long to get used to calling him ‘my husband’. Weird.

And I know it’s a cliché but I married my best friend. My super sexy, grumpy, Dutch best friend. Sure, he forgot our very first wedding anniversary. He forgets my B’day every year (and it’s weird because it’s the same day every time). Up until last year he had to ring me every time he needed to know the lads birthdays. But he remembers other stuff. He remembers to tell me to stop talking when I’m body shaming myself. He tells my thighs and tummy to ignore me and that he loves them. He sees past my ‘I’m going to be good and not have carbs for dinner’ as the bullshit that it is – carbs aren’t ‘bad’ or ‘good’ they are just food – and feeds it to me anyway because I want it. He didn’t run away when I got pretty awkward to take anywhere that there was food and he puts up with all that shit.

He changed all the nappies when the lads were young and did all the baths with our eldest when I was irrationally afraid to do it. He cooks more than me and he usually remembers to do veges without nagging.

But. He gets naked where and when he feels like it and I find little ‘puddles’ of his clothes all over the house. He leaves his empty beer bottles EVERYWHERE. I find them in the bathroom, the lounge, the front porch, the shower. He falls asleep in random spots around the house and it is increasingly rare that we wake up in the same bed. (last night he slept on the couch with the kitten to ‘settle him in’ and don’t ask how often he sleeps with the dog). He is a night owl and I am an early bird. He doesn’t understand my thing for shoes. He has a weird thing for fake guns. He can’t remember a single password or work modern technology beyond a very basic functionality. For the first 6 or 7 years of our relationship he rang his Mum every time he got a bill, thankfully I trained him out of that….

You know the best thing though? He’s mine and I am his. And for now that is still exciting, and comfortable and the most ‘right’ thing I can think of.