My how things have changed!

I saw one of those quotes that had been doing the rounds on Facebook the other day.  An oldie but a goodie.

kid eats dirt quote

I should mention up front I have 3 kids, and boy oh boy is the third time around a WORLD apart from the first time!

Like a lot other first timers, my husband and I had no clues when our daughter was born.   To try and get prepared, I had magazines and books galore.  I read ‘Up the Duff’ (as you do), and then went on to ‘Baby Love’ as my bible when my little girl was born.   I stressed about all sorts of things.  Was she getting enough milk?  Was she eating enough? Was she too hot, too cold, God forbid, sick?  And why oh God why, won’t she sleep!

She never slept so we’d CONSTANTLY be rocking her in the damn pram every night, spend hours walking around the streets with her, rock her in our arms, whatever worked (not much did).  We were SOOOOOO tired!  I remember going to our first Mum’s group meeting when Holly was 3-4 weeks old and saying how astounded I was at the complete sleep deprivation, we just had no clues how hard that would be!  And breastfeeding!  My God, I won’t even go there.  I persevered but it seriously almost killed me and I think maimed me for life (how jealous I was of those people who found it so easy – lucky, lucky sods!).  Daughter number two on the other hand never saw the light of day.  She’d sleep, wake, feed, brief 5 minute play, straight back to bed. No fuss, no rocking, people probably didn’t think she existed in those first few months – brilliant!  Can’t do that with number 3.  He gets carted about everywhere at all times of the day.  He just has to fit in a sleep when he can.  I also tried breastfeeding him for the first month, sadly same old issues appeared so instead of beating myself up about it, and battling for months, I stopped.  I was wracked with guilt for the first month or so, and then the blissfulness of what it meant for me set it.  Right decision.

So contrast that first year with Holly to my first year with Felix and i’ve definitely learned a few things along the way.  Felix was a wee whoopsie daisy moment – he’s wonderful, wouldn’t want to be without him and I love him to bits, but he wasn’t exactly planned!  So the first month there was quite a few expletives wondering how I was going to cope with three at my “advanced maternal age” (Gee, thanks for that, like I didn’t realise).

My husband was recently telling a new father to be at his work how Felix gets cold milk.  Remember constantly asking in cafes for a jug of hot water to warm the bottle?  None of that. Felix never knew any different and he appears to be absolutely fine : )  He also looks pretty grubby most the time.  I’ve given up on washing his knees (and my floors obviously) so it appears like he hasn’t had a bath for a week.  There’s no changing his clothes 3 times a day and dressing him up to go to the supermarket either.  He’s lucky if he gets pants.

Other gems I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing are the dog cleaning the high chair.  Brilliant.  Licks it all clean, sometimes even cleans Felix.  Can you imagine doing that with number 1 child?  No way. I also have got into the habit when I am trying to do something of watching him from my kitchen as he plays out the front of the house on the concrete patio thing, edging his way down the fence to the front gate (he’s safe, he can’t get out) in plain view of the main street.  Like the dog, who you have to drag in from getting pats at the front fence, he just loves it out there.  And it’s easier there than constantly fetching him from the stairs, his next favourite pastime (we cleverly got rid of all our baby stuff after baby number 2 so we managed to find one old gate, but haven’t got around to getting another for the damn stairs yet – it’s on the list).  Anyway, i’ve had a few people stop and look concerned – where is that baby’s terrible mother they are no doubt thinking.  Except the other day one guy stopped and said, he’s not your first is he?  I have 5 kids, whatever works.  Yup.  I’m with you.

Facebook is fun to watch some of the classic first time parent questions come through.  Detailed, graphic, panic stricken questions.  Ah the memories! Don’t get me wrong though.  I’m no expert just a little battle hardened. Saw this post today from Scary Mommy (love Scary Mommy!  It means there are others out there that are not perfect parents too – phew!) ‘10 Differences Between Novice Moms & Pro Moms‘.  Classic.  My point exactly.  My favourite is number 2. Ha ha!

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Morning Mama

This morning my beautiful 2 year old woke me very early by gently stroking my arm and quietly, sweetly saying “morning Mama”

I picked her up, gave her a cuddle and pulled her into bed with me  3…2…1…
AAAARRRGGHH!!! MY BLANKIE!!! GET IT!!! WHERE IS IT!!!!!!!
This lasted some time, and through some excellent negotiation (fog horn in the ear) I got up to get it for her.  It wasn’t until I returned that I noticed my husband had been awake for the entire episode reading highlights from last nights cricket – that is of course presuming he slept at all having gone to bed doing the same thing.
I muttered something rather unbecoming and promptly took myself to the beach
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We leave Christchurch today, just me and our 3 girls while my husband stays behind for a further week catching up with friends and heading to his annual boys weekend which may have something to do with why he was greeted with the bird from me this morning
Not much compares to a stroll on the beach, to fill the senses, clear the head and get a short sharp reality check, no one can deny Sydney’s beaches are utterly stunning, but I have always missed Christchurch’s beaches, despite the grey sand, cold water and rather persistent, rather chilly coastal breeze, you are allowed to take your dog there and throw a stick for hours, that has to be the greatest leveller I know.
That and riding a miniature horse
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We have been pretty spoilt on this trip so far. The food has been amazing and we have been so lucky with the weather.  The wedding we attended was flawless with possibly the kindest, warmest bunch of people I have ever met… and the prettiest little flower girl in the land.
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Off to Wellington now for lots of coffees, fishing with Granddad and some bush trekking (these kids need to be hiked up and down a few mountains)
Speaking of coffee, the cafe I am in has this poster..
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It’s still pretty tough in Christchurch, they are all such heroes for just getting on with it after the earthquakes, and making sure the people around you are ‘all right’ is high on the agenda..
All the tags have been taken except one, it reads “you’re awesome at ………….”
I’m pretty sure I will remember something my cricket mad husband with selective hearing is awesome at by the time I finish this coffee.

How rare is a weekend away without kids? Very.

For our 15th wedding anniversary, we managed a quick trip away on our own.  Sans kids, no kids, without kids  – woohoo!  Since number three kid made an appearance last year, i’d forgotten what that feels like.

We managed to farm out the kids, two to friends and the baby and dog to my long suffering sister.

I always find getting ready to go the hardest part – no different this time.  Morning was madness.  Dropped off my baby boy, big kisses and cuddles and prayers we wouldn’t crash and never see him again.  Luckily girls had gone night before.  Airport was caotic, when is it not.  Running late, we were almost at the end of the line only to be faced with a family of 4 with carseats, prams, portacot, suitcases (you know the drill) in one lane, a couple arguing over something in another (they weren’t going anywhere in a hurry you could tell) and would you believe it the petit demur looking women in front of us with a instrument case turned out to be part of a band – the whole 8 of them turning up loaded with a trolley of instruments and bags.  Argghhh!!  We finally made it on and off we went to Tassie.  Hobart.  First time.  Could not wait.

Hobart it turns out is lovely!  I was expecting a lot of green because everyone says it reminds them of NZ, but no, not much green at all.  Very Aussie with lots of gum trees, and the dry tan landscape going for miles but with lots of hills and sparkling water.  Very pretty.

We headed straight for Salamanca markets, had a wander and had a very nice lunch at Smolt (highly recommend!).  Then up the stairs to Battery Point – gorgeous old houses, lots of history hiding there I bet and then off to our lovely, ‘what the hell we’ll splash out’, hotel.  That night we decided just to go out to the bars together – who ever does that anymore?  In our house it’s one goes out the other stays home or the rare going out together is for an actual occasion to justify the babysitting cost.   Certainly never to just pop out to the pub together!

We had a ball.  Actually talked.  Drank too much.  Praised ourselves for having such gorgeous kids, and woke up the next morning with a hangover.  Success.

Trip to Peppermint Bay and around the point was on the agenda the next day, having already visited the farmers market.  Wonderful food!  My husband was in love with the ‘wild caught Rabbit pie’, best apple juice I think I’ve ever had and boy was it hot!  Stylish and yummy fish and chips on the wharf pretty much wrapped up our trip in the city, with a final stop in Richmond for some wine – stunning old stone house and lovely owners at Pooleys vineyard.

Didn’t make it to Mona, sacrelige I know!  We’ll just have to go back.

Thank you Hobart.  You were a star.

 

 

 

 

Manners maketh the teachers pet

I’m sure there were better speeches prepared for children heading back to school, but ours was basically, remember your manners.
I don’t know how everyone else feels about this but I’m quite the fan of manners and to be fair it’s not an easy task teaching said manners when there are fewer and fewer kids practicing them.  Fortunately a few years ago we stumbled across a box of books going free outside a house in Seddon in Melbourne’s inner west (while visiting Sedonia, ah lovely Sedonia)
in it we found this 80s beauty…
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Hell yeah! we said, just what we are after to tame our terrors. But to be honest, it really is brilliant, the kids adore it and it covers some excellent points.
Sure the technique for eating soup is asking a bit much for a four year old but everything else is gold, and it’s Disney!  who can argue with that!
“A thank you makes it understood that what he’s done makes you feel good”
did I mention it rhymes? genius.
so while I shout
‘who left their bike on the driveway!!!!”
The book reads far more effectively
“leave your bike in the rain and it will never be the same…”
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It encourages kids to play to win without being a sore loser, how it’s easier to be liked if you smile a little and try to join in, to not make fun of people who look different to you and other basics that sometimes we expect without an explaination.
The book also talks about stranger danger, it was straight forward and clear.  I asked the girls if they needed me to clarify and they said nope! they have it covered… and to be honest, I’m happy they know not to get into a car with a stranger because Mickey said it, most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other so I would have elaborated and given them nightmares for months. It explains a stranger, what to avoid, it was spot on.
Telling lies, playing fair, offering seats to older people, answering the phone, keeping your room tidy and loads more – it’s good. really good
Because you know what, you get serious brownie points in this world with manners (especially with brand new teachers), Mums can’t resist a kid with beautiful manners, polite kids are remembered and you want your kid to be remembered – it takes a village as they say.
Obviously leading by example is the first step, but this is a great tool, why aren’t there hundreds of these books floating around? where is the modern version?
My kids still need some work but we have a big round of high fives when they make a big effort to share when they would rather not, or help out a new kid that feels left out, and they feel pretty darn proud of themselves.
As I see it, manners helps build respect and confidence, pretty important stuff right?
Now I just wish I could track down an 80’s Disney toilet training book.