Saturday, 27 August 2016

Why abstinence based education is harmful at any age

So today I have a ranty post for you guys, and I'd love to hear opinions that aren't mine at the end of this, so pay close attention lovely peoples.

For a bit of a background before I get into the nitty gritty, NAPCAN (or the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) are holding their annual child protection week from 4th to 10th September. As a part of the lead up to this week, and as a new initiative brought into schools, daycare centres and kindergartens, all children are being given lots of lectures about safety and healthy living at the moment. In Miss K's kindergarten in the last week alone they have used this as an excuse to discuss healthy foods, anatomy and exercise. They will also be holding various conversations about protective behaviour etc. One thing they have already discussed is acceptable physical contact, but I'm not impressed with the way they have handled this.

On Wednesday afternoon when all us parents went in to pick up our darling monsters, the head teacher informed us all that they had had to have a discussion about appropriate physical contact between the kids while at kindergarten. They had put in a total ban on hugging and kissing, and the kids saying I love you to each other.  This isn't the part I really had a problem with, I know that a zero contact policy is usually the norm at schools and kindergartens, so while bringing problems of its own, it is to be expected. It was when she told us that they had also informed the kids of the acceptable people to hug and kiss outside of kindergarten that I had an issue. Now I'm not sure if she was only giving us the abridged version for the sake of not holding us up too long, however when it was explained to us, she informed that the list of acceptable people to hug, kiss, and give admissions of love to outside of kindergarten consisted of parents, grandparents and siblings. That was the entire list she gave to us. Later on at home when I questioned Miss K about this, she repeated that list back to me, however given she has proven time and time again that she doesn't have the most reliable memory, she may have only been going off the abridged version that we were given at pick up. But even if that wasn't the complete list, that is what Miss K has taken from their conversation and I am mad as hell about this.

Number one, while I appreciate that they are madly trying to cram as much education about protective behaviours into a tiny window of space, with an audience not known for its attention span, it's not their damn job to dictate what my child does outside of kindergarten. I am the one who makes the rules outside of those four walls, and I do not appreciate anyone coming in and thinking they know better than me about what is best for my child. This new protective behaviours education is meant to be aimed at the parents, and not the children, so lecture me by all means, but don't do it through my child.

Number two, if that was the complete list of acceptable people to hug, go to hell. In my family alone there are eight aunts and uncles and five cousins which were excluded from that list. Then there are the family friends who we love to give affection too. Then there are the ladies at the supermarket who are always up for a hug and a chat. By making any kind of list of acceptable people to give physical affection too, they make this a shameful act, which it isn't. It is an innocent show of love and friendship given by an incredibly friendly child, and to place limits on it changes it into something dirty which I refuse to allow to happen. This isn't like the list of people Miss K isn't allowed to swear in front of, this isn't something we have to hide. Physical affection is an actual biological need. Multiple studies have shown the importance of affection and physical contact to the human brain and body, and to limit it runs the risk of harm.

I already put zero tolerance physical contact rules right up there next to abstinence based sexual education programs, and this just cements my convictions. By teaching kids the best way to be safe is to not do something, you do them a disservice. You ignore a young person's natural inclination towards curiosity and experimentation, and you fail to keep them safe. By teaching abstinence of any form, you fail to teach children to know their own limits and the limits of the people around them. You fail to teach them self preservation, because it assumes that for the rest of their life, everyone is just going to comply to the rules they were taught, which never ever actually happens. You also fail to teach them about consent which is one of the biggest lesson we can teach our kids before we let them out into the big wide world. In the short term abstinence looks like the safest option, but we have seen time and time again that it is the most dangerous thing to learn.

The only silver lining I can see out of all of this is that it forced me to have a conversation with Miss K about consent. We sat down at home and I explained to her that people were allowed to not want physical affection, and that she has to accept their wishes, I also let her know that she was allowed to refuse physical contact, and that it was her right to have her refusal accepted. This is the lesson she was meant to learn that day, not that hugs are dirty and must be stopped. I'm sure I'll need to have this conversation again and again, especially as she gets older and I begin preparing her for a world where rape apologists exist, but for now it is simply about being allowed to say no to a hug.

I would love to know what you think. Am I overreacting in my anger at the kindergarten? Do you think they botched their attempts? Do you agree with them? Let me know down below in the comments.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

August Fly on the Wall

Welcome to another installment of Fly on the Wall. For any newcomers here, today we are giving you a glimpse of what you would see if you were a fly on the wall. There are ten bloggers joining in the fun today, so be sure to visit them all and enjoy the fun.

Fly on the Wall

Baking In A Tornado                   
Menopausal Mother                           
Spatulas on Parade                                                                
Never Ever Give Up Hope                                     
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                             
Southern Belle Charm                   
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy               
Molly Ritterbeck                                     
Go Mama O                                          

One day mum and I were sitting in the lounge room when our dog Chase started barking.
Mum: Your bloody dog barks like an esky.
Me: Do you mean husky?
Mum:..... yep.

Miss K trying to do a magic trick
Abra and dabra!

My niece bought a new wig based on the hairstyle of her favourite anime holograph (yeah I don't get it either.) She showed it to mum and mum tried it on.
Mum: This is awesome. I'm now granime!

My sister Nat is getting ready to get her first tattoo! She's decided on her childhood nickname Natimuk written in mum's handwriting. We were discussing it on the phone one day.

Nat: I'll need to get mum to rewrite it as I've only got it in pen and I think the tattooists need it in Sharpie.
Me: Well it should be ok. I'm pretty sure they trace over the design on tracing paper. And with yours they'll need to reverse it like a stamp otherwise it will go on backwards.
Nat: Yeah I don't want that, what would it be if they didn't reverse it?
Me: Kumitan
Nat: Yeah, that's not my name.
Me: It is now Kumitan.

Mum and I were watching an ad on television which featured Stephen Hawking.
Stephen told a random joke and mum and I laughed.

Me: He's funny. He should do stand up, I'd watch that.
Mum then proceeded to laugh for thirty seconds before I even realised what I'd said.

Several days later we were watching the same ad and mum started laughing.
Mum: Do you know what I was about to say?
Me: He should do standup?
Mum: No, he has an American accent, but he was born in England. I couldn't understand why.
Me: *facepalm*


This last week has been a massive week for Miss K and I, first of all I enrolled her into her first year of primary school for next year. I got so caught up in making sure the paperwork was all correct and that I had all the miscellaneous pages the school had asked for that I totally didn't realise what I'd just done until I was walking to my car. It was probably a good thing as it meant I didn't ugly cry in front of the vice principal and the lovely ladies at the reception area.

Then as if I wasn't already feeling fragile enough, Miss K lost her first tooth today! We've been monitoring the progress of her two bottom teeth for weeks now, and I thought the left one was going to be the first to go until today when I checked and noticed her right tooth was almost as wobbly. I told her to go get an apple from the kitchen and take a couple of bites to see if we couldn't get them out. Once she'd had a couple of bites I took a look expecting the left tooth to be missing, but it was the right tooth that had fallen out. We still can't get the left tooth to budge and she won't let me pull it out for her so we continue to wait. As of writing this she has the tooth tucked under her pillow waiting for a gift from the tooth fairy.


Now if you'll excuse me I'll be sitting in the corner denying that my little girl is growing up right in front of me.


Friday, 12 August 2016

This is what happens when you give me 3 days notice

So for anyone who read my last post you might think that was enough insanity for this week. Sadly there is no such thing as enough insanity in our household, so allow me to show you yet another moment that had me wanting to tear my hair out. 

Do I have any people in my audience who work for the Department of Education?? No need to out yourselves, especially after the rant I'm about to go on, but can this be passed on to the higher ups somewhere pretty please? I'm asking, no I'm begging you guys to stop organising dress up days at schools and kindergartens.

For anyone out there who thinks I'm just being a grinch right now, clearly you have never had the panic of being told THREE DAYS before a dress up event that your child is required to come to school/kindergarten this week dressed up as something from some random theme that there is no way in hell you have anything that relates to in your dress up box. Admittedly our dress up box is one fairy dress because Miss K really isn't into dressing up much, and she rarely wears the one costume she does own. She's just as happy putting on a pair of my shoes and pretending to be me. But when the theme of your dress up day is "Australian" it is difficult to put a national spin on a fairy dress. Short of teaming it with a pair of thongs (flip flops Americans, I know.) and a bottle of VB beer and going as a bogan fairy, I really struggled to come up with an idea. (For any non-Australians who don't know what a bogan is, please feel free to Google it.)

For any of you who aren't from Australia, you definitely have no idea what the heck I'm panicking about, so allow me to fill you in. Here in Australia we are about to celebrate book week starting on 20th August. I know this is about three months after you guys do, but we're always about a step behind so it's all good. This year the theme was Australian books/illustrators. I'm all for highlighting the local talent we have around here, especially for authors whose works I have enjoyed in the past like John Marsden, Paul Jennings, Andy Griffiths, and the wonderful Melina Mallos whose latest book I reviewed a few months ago. So for me that part was a big plus. The giant steaming bag of poop however was that I didn't find out until Monday of this week that we had to dress up on Thursday, and it had to fit the theme of book week. If I was any more fiscal than I actually am this wouldn't be a problem, I could just run down to the local shopping centre and find a costume. However given it is currently my off pay week, and any money I do have I've selfishly decided needs to be spent on food, this was not an option.

Luckily for me, this isn't my first rodeo. I have been given minimal notice of special occasions more than once by our kindergarten, despite the fact that we have a Facebook page and they have our email addresses so they can send out newsletters, so I know what it means to rush around like a headless chicken just so my child isn't left out of the fun. First I had to Google Australian children's books for inspiration and discovered to my joy that two of my favourite kids books are actually by Australians, Where is the Green Sheep and The Very Cranky Bear. My first thought was she could go as the green sheep, and just stay home and have a nap. (For any of you who haven't read Where is the Green Sheep and do not get my reference, please go out and find yourself a copy, it is a great book for kids, and it is so easy to read Miss K reads it to me nowadays.) But in the end I decided that would be too mean so we decided to dress Miss K up as the very cranky bear. I was able to do this with thanks to an empty egg carton, an old headband I had lying around and some icy pole sticks and toothpicks. It wasn't pretty by any means, and if Martha Stewart was grading me I'd get a C for effort and an F for enthusiasm. There is photographic evidence, just because this will look excellent on her photo board at her 21st, but that doesn't mean I can't share it now with you guys. I call this photos "This is what happens when you give me 3 days notice."

That's her best cranky bear face. Either that or she's impersonating the hunchback of Notre Dame, I really can't tell. 

Of course you look at the grin on her face in that picture and you realise she loves her costume, so I guess I can call it a win. What that photo does not show is the fact that one minute after the picture was taken the headpiece broke, so she ended up going to kindergarten with a bear nose. So my C for effort changed to an F.

The kindergarten very kindly told us that we didn't have to follow the theme if it was too hard. The only problem is they did it on Wednesday night after I had already spent an hour making this thing and I had no other alternative anyway so we went with cranky bear followed closely by her stressed and very cranky mum. I like to team with the theme you know. (Hats off to any Kath and Kim fans who read that in Kath's voice just now.)

So this is why I'm begging the powers that be to please stop making dress up days a part of the curriculum. You probably think you're doing something nice for the kids, breaking up the monotony that is learning, and giving them fun memories to carry on into their adulthood. What you don't see is the stressed out parents behind the scenes madly trying to figure out how to turn an old beer box and three empty tin cans into a cowboy outfit. We put enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect parents without you guys adding to that pressure by increasing our workload with all of these "fun" extra activities. 

Well that's all from me for now, there will definitely be more insanity to come soon, as I have so many more reasons to pull my hair out right now I'll be as bald as Bruce Willis before you know it. Is anyone interested in doing a reboot of GI Jane anytime soon because I'm sure I'll be a shoe-in for the lead. You'll even get my best crazy eyed stare for free. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

My child is an imaginary friend killer

So today I have to discuss my strangest parenting moment to date. This is so strange Google wasn't even able to help me. I'm sharing my story today in the hopes that if anyone else has come upon this problem you can come find me, bring me whiskey and we'll discuss how weird our children are together.  For any of you who follow me on Twitter, you may already know what I'm about to discuss because I mentioned it this morning, so you can just sit back while I fill you in on the rest of the story that I couldn't fit into 140 characters.

Miss K made some imaginary friends recently Mario and Baby Mario. These
friends have been named after Mario Kart for two reasons, 1. Miss K is absolutely nuts about Mario Kart on the Wii and 2. She is terrible at coming up for names for her toys and imaginary friends. I was first introduced to Mario and Baby Mario one night as I was getting Miss K ready for bed. She simply informed me that they were very tired and were also ready for bed. This was all fine, I probably made some small comment about them putting their pyjamas on and going to the toilet before bedtime (I don't like cleaning up wet mattresses during the night, not even imaginary ones).

Mario and Baby Mario made several guest appearances with us during the next few weeks, sometimes they'd show up while we were playing, or they'd accompany us to kindergarten, the usual imaginary friend stuff. I was never asked to lay extra places for them at dinner time, and they never asked for biscuits or snacks when Miss K was eating, so I have to commend them on their excellent manners.

One day while I was brushing Miss K's hair getting ready for kindergarten she started throwing one of her daily "I don't need my hair brushed today mum, I'm happy looking like a hobo" tantrums. Everything was going swimmingly until she started yelling at no one to STOP LOOKING AT HER!!!! I asked her who she was yelling at and she told me Mario and Baby Mario were staring at her while she cried. This has always been one of Miss K's buttons, and she's never liked having an audience when she is having a bad moment. We usually combat this by getting Miss K to remove herself from the audience until she is calmed down and ready to act reasonably. Unfortunately given the audience this time was all in Miss K's head, I had no solution at the ready, other than to tell her it's not nice to yell at her friends just because she's having a bad moment. I gave the usual lecture about treating our friends nicely, while wondering to myself that if Miss K is the one who controls the actions of her imaginary friends, why not just stop them from staring at her, or don't imagine them staring at her in the first place.

But today things took a turn for the bizarre. We had a bad morning today. Miss K was feeling tired and grumpy, she didn't want to put her own shoes on, she didn't want to carry her bag to the car, and she tried (unsuccessfully) to slam the door in my face when we were leaving the house. She rushed ahead of me to the car, and tried to open the door. Usually I unlock the door by remote so that she can run to the car and get in while I'm locking up, just to save time, but given her behaviour at the time I decided she needed a lesson in patience and controlling her temper, so I didn't unlock the door until I got to the car. This just resulted in Miss K getting embarrassed when the door didn't open immediately for her, and we got the fifth tantrum of the day. This tantrum included her throwing invisible things around as well as the usual stomping and other fun kid stuff I get to witness that no one else believes me when I say my kid does these things. I didn't pay much attention to the throwing at the time, but when we finally got into the car she informed me that her friends were dead. Clue the light bulb going off above my head as I realise her imaginary throwing was her chucking Mario and Baby Mario onto the road. When I asked her why she killed her friends she told me it was because she was sad. Cue the obligatory lecture about treating friends nicely when we're dealing with tough emotions and the extra lecture about if she isn't nice to her friends they won't stick around just to be abused. This again was weird because I'm still aware we're talking about figments of her imagination.

The big thing about Miss K killing her imaginary friends and then telling me about it was she was implying their deaths were my fault because I was the one who had embarrassed her by not opening her door, and by always ruining her life in general. Given I am not that easily manipulated her plan to make me feel bad for pulling her into line failed, but to add insult to injury I then used my super magic powers to bring her imaginary friends back to life, at which time I claimed them as my own imaginary friends, because people don't like hanging around with anyone who kills them, imaginary or not. So now, not only has she lost two friends, she has to hear about me bragging about all the awesome fun we have together that she is no longer privy to.

What gets me the most about all of this is that Google was totally unable to help me sort through everything I'm dealing with right now. 99% of the posts on imaginary friends told me that either my daughter has schizophrenia or she is possessed by demonic spirits. I highly doubt the first one, and considering I already call her my little hell beast I'm not totally surprised by the second one, but am still ruling it out as an explanation given how quick she was to dispose of them in the most Looney Tunes way possible. Is it just an unspoken rule of parenting that we're not meant to discuss when our children straight up murder the figments of their imagination? Are there underground support groups for mums who have had to hide imaginary bodies or field questions from imaginary police officers about the whereabouts of these suddenly missing imaginary friends? Are there imaginary milk cartons out there with photos of these people? Can I call the imaginary crime stoppers and report my daughter for this?

I've spoken to Miss K's dad about today's events and his only response has been to tell me she is most definitely my daughter, and to congratulate me for making new friends for myself. So no help whatsoever. He couldn't even give me the number of a good imaginary lawyer just in case we end up going to trial. I can't be held as an accessory to an imaginary crime, what will the neighbours think?

So I guess the purpose of today's post is to give other parents who are dealing with their children killing off their imaginary friends a different place to land that isn't going to tell them their child is possessed or mentally unstable. Can I offer you a solution to your problem? Probably not. I can't promise that my solution is really effective as I'm still waiting for the therapy bills to start piling up and that could take years, so consider this a work in progress. If any of you have come upon the same problem and solved it differently to me I'd love to know what you did and if it worked. Did they make new imaginary friends? Did they also kill these imaginary friends? Did they end up in imaginary jail with a cellmate called Big Daddy? Do I need to start daytime drinking?

Well that's all from my crazy corner of the world for now, I'm sure Miss K and I will be back to make you all feel better about your own families very soon.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

July Fly on the Wall

Welcome to another instalment of Fly on the Wall. This is by far my favourite time of the month. I get to share little stories and tid-bits you'd hear if you were a fly on the wall. Today I am joined by 8 other bloggers who are all sharing their innermost crazy. Be sure to buzz around and visit all of them.

Fly on the Wall

I'm going to warn you now that there is a lot  of toilet humor in today's post. I try to keep things as clean as possible around here, however sometimes life has a way of keeping things in the gutter when I'm around. If you are easily offended I'd look away now.

Mum: I think I'm hungry.
Me: Well let me know when you're sure.
Mum: Why? Are you going to do something about it?
Me: No, I'm just really invested in this story.

My little sister Kim is staying with us at the moment, and my favourite thing to do with her is turn everything she says into an innuendo. It bugs the hell out of her, but it's not my fault she's so filthy.

Me: I remember that pie I made that had the cod in it, I was pretty proud of that fish pie.
Kim: Oh I remember that. I loved eating your fish pie.
My cue to fall on the floor laughing.
Kim: Oh shut up.

Kim: Mum do you want your meat separated
My cue to fall on the floor laughing
Kim: Stop it. I'm just trying to figure out if mum wants her pork loins in twos.
I have to rush to the toilet to prevent having an accident on my couch.
Kim: I hate you.

Mum walked in to the room and started smacking me in the back of the head.
Me: Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
Mum: Oh sorry I'm just like Pavlov's dog. Whenever I see you I have to hit you.
Kim: Mum, it's not nice to call her Pavlov's dog.
Me: No, mum is Pavlov's dog. And for future reference it's called a Pavlovian response mum.
Kim: I know all about the pavlova response, I work in childcare.

Me: I'm a diverse person.
Mum: I thought you were about to say you're a diabetic.

Me: Mum do you have regrets?
Mum: I have a few, too few to mention.
Me: No, I'm being serious. Thanks a lot Frank Sinatra, I'm going to punch you in the nads when I next see you.

Me: Miss K have you eaten your dinner yet?
Miss K: I don't like it. I want a different dinner.
Me: Well this isn't a restaurant. You eat what I put in front of you or you go hungry.
Miss K: Well let's pretend this is a restaurant then and you make me something else.
Me: If this is a restaurant it's a soup kitchen, where you get what you're given or go hungry.
Miss K: I don't like this restaurant.

Mum: You're getting more and more anti-social as you get older.
Me: Yep I know. I love it.
Mum: I don't.
Me: When you think about it, I've spent fourteen years speaking on the phone to people I don't know or don't like.
Mum: I'm your mum.
Me: FOURTEEN YEARS MUM!

Miss K came up while I was surfing the web and started randomly mashing at my keyboard.
Me: Don't you even think about it miss.
Miss K: I'm going to think about it.

Earlier this month one of my dad's sons from his first marriage became a grandfather for the first time. This makes my dad a great-grandpa and me a great-aunt. This news disturbed me because I feel at 32 I'm way too young for this crap. However it does make for great conversations with the family.

Me: I found out today that dad is a great-grandpa.
Ben: Whose kid had kids?
Me: One of [older brothers] kids, not sure if it was [nephew 1] or [nephew 2].
Ben: That's crazy.
Me: Tell me about it. That makes you a great-uncle, and yet still so mediocre.
Ben: That's the pot calling the kettle black.

Me: This is freakin' weird.
Mum: What?
Me: I'm a great-aunt.
Mum: (laughs) Meh, you're ok...

Here is another in the wonderful series of Minecraft conversations which sound weird without context.

Eliza: I have a head. Where did that come from? Mum where are you, I have a head.

Miss K has been sick on and off with various viruses these past two months, but one night she woke up with weird swelling in her chin. I rushed her straight to our after hours medical service where we were prescribed antibiotics for an infection which had caused her glands to swell up like a balloon.

Dr: Now one of the side effects of this antibiotic is diarrhoea.
Me: Did you hear that Miss K? This medicine may give you runny poos.
Miss K: Runny poos in my neck?
I don't think the doctor appreciated that I laughed so hard at Miss K's shock.

Sadly for us, that visit to the doctor wasn't the end of the saga, and after going to my own GP for a second opinion we were told to rush to the local hospital as the swelling was an indication Miss K was forming an abscess in her neck. Miss K ended up spending three nights in hospital on IV antibiotics, and I spent three nights sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the ward next to her. but she took all of the poking, prodding and needles like an absolute trooper and on the fourth day we were finally allowed to go home. She's still on antibiotics for the time being, as there is still some swelling in her neck, but we've hopefully avoided surgery as long as her recovery continues as well as it has.

Conversation in a public toilet.
Miss K: Mum I did poos and wees.
Me: (Very aware that there is another person in the stalls with us) Yes I know you did now hurry up and finish.
Miss K: But there were lots of them.
Me: That's great. Are you done yet?
Cue the toilet next to us flushing and a woman comes out laughing.
Woman: It's ok, I have kids too.
Me: The conversations you have once you're a parent.

We had a federal election in Australia this month, and my sister Natalie decided to vote for the first time.
Nat: I have no idea who any of these people are or what they want. I remember watching some political show at dad's once and they kept talking about a cabinet, but they never once showed a picture of it. I couldn't understand what was so amazing about a stupid cabinet that they felt the need to discuss it for so long. What is this cabinet?
Me: It's the group of politicians which make up parliament. And you are one the people deciding who runs our country for the next few years.  I worry about you sometimes.

Natalie was temporarily promoted to room leader at the daycare centre she works at this month, but the promotion did not come without issues, and one of her co-workers quit suddenly, saying that she couldn't work with Natalie because she stressed her out, and now she was constipated.

Nat: I don't understand what her problem is, I looked at the roster and I only spent 3 hours and 20 minutes a day with her.
Me: Well apparently that's long enough for you to constipate someone.
Nat: Yeah. You better not spend more time than that with me otherwise you'll start having problems too.

Luckily for Natalie her bosses were able to see the humor in the situation, but Nat now has the reputation of constipating those who work around her.

Well that's it from our crazy part of the world, be sure to visit all the other bloggers joining in today, and I'll be back to share more fun again soon.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

June Fly on the Wall

Welcome to another month's instalment of Fly on the wall. Today nine bloggers have joined up to share some of the things you'd see if you were a fly on the wall in their home.

Fly on the Wall

Below is a list of all the bloggers involved today, be sure to visit them all and share the love.

Juicebox Confession                               
Menopausal Mother                                    
Spatulas on Parade                               
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                                       
Southern Belle Charm                                            

Mum and I share drink making duties at home, alternating it so if one of us made the last round, the next round is made by the other one. One night it was my turn to make the drinks but I'd gotten side tracked looking at something on the internet. Mum found a bell on the table and started ringing it.
Me: Crap, it's my turn isn't it?
Mum: That's not what I meant, I was just about to say visiting hours were over, get out.

Nat complained to me several times during the month that she was feeling nauseous every single day. I gave her sympathy every single day until we had this conversation.
Nat: You know how I've been feeling sick for the last few days?
Me: Yeah
Nat: Well I figured out what was going on. Every night I make myself a ham sandwich for lunch, and then I was putting them ON TOP of the fridge until the next morning.
Me: Well no wonder you were getting sick you idiot. Hang on, I have to tell mum so she can laugh at you...

While helping Miss K get dressed
Me: I'm not sure this shirt is going to fit you. Nah it fits, but you might gape a bit at the front, those buttons are not forgiving at all. Welcome to the wonderful world of women's shirts kiddo.
Miss K (looks around) This is just your bedroom mum.

Me: Gee Miss K hates it when I turn Sesame Street into a dystopian society.
Mum: I can't understand why.

I was watching Jonathan Creek one weekend because I absolutely love that show and rarely get time to watch it. It's normally a fairly tame show, but I managed to find the one episode with two sex scenes in it on a day when Miss K was watching with me. It came to the first kissing scene and I began contemplating whether or not to just miss out and change the channel when Miss K piped up.

Miss K: They're kissing.
Me: I know. Ewww, she'll get boy germs.
Miss K: No she won't.
Me: Why not?
Miss K: Because boys don't have germs.
Me: YES THEY BLOODY DO!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe she's on to me already. I honestly thought I had another year or so before I had to worry about this.

Kim and I were discussing television.
Kim: I love the food network, it's my favourite....party.
Me:...
Kim: I couldn't think of the word.
Me: Channel?
Kim: Oh yeah.

Miss K and I took the day off from our responsibilities on Wednesday and went to Melbourne for the day. We took a trip to the Melbourne Museum to see the dinosaur exhibit, but also stuck our head in on the human body exhibit because Miss K is obsessed with how the body works. There was even a display which explained digestion, with very graphic examples of everything from a plate of whole food, all the way down to a lump of poo at the end and a button which made fart noises. On the way home Miss K made a friend with another passenger on the train and we were discussing our trip to the museum with him.

Me: We saw all kinds of animals and insects at the museum today didn't we?
Miss K: Yeah, and a poo.
Me: Well yes, we saw that too.

The only photo I took in the whole museum. She freaked out when I showed her because it looks like the dinosaur is getting ready to eat her head.


Before we headed home we stopped in at the Pancake Parlour because I cannot go through Melbourne without going there at least once. Miss K had never been before so I was excited to introduce her to the most amazing pancakes in the world, however she only picked at hers and preferred to eat the ice cream on top instead. Recently we've been having issues with food and her, so I asked her if we needed to add pancakes to her list of no no foods.

Me: Do you not like pancakes anymore?
Miss K: No, I love pancakes.
Me: Did you just not like the ones they make at the restaurant?
Miss K: Yeah they were yucky. Your pancakes are the best.

So I'll be sure to add that to my Yelp review whenever I get around to it.

So I wrote in my last post that I was sending Miss K to her father's house this weekend despite her having a cold, but she decided I needed one more go of dealing with a sick child and vomited in the train on the way to handover the next morning. We were literally five minutes away from our stop at the time too, so I had to figure out whether it was more important to clean her up or find the conductor and let him know there was a slight mess on one of his seats (we caught most of it on our clothes, lucky us.) I decided Miss K needed cleaning up and went to the toilet only to find it already occupied by someone who spent ages in there, so we didn't even have time to clean up before we ran out of the train to make it to handover. But you'll be pleased to know I rang Miss K's dad while we were still on the train and told him to run to a clothing store to pick up clean clothes for Miss K, and I spoke to the staff at the station to let them know to get a message to the conductor on the train we had just left. I then took the next train home again smelling slightly sour, and ran straight to our local clothing store to replace the jumper I had left in the rubbish bin outside the train station. The joys of parenting.

Well that's all from me, I'm off to enjoy a child free weekend, and my enjoy I mean harass Miss K's dad with constant texts making sure she's getting better. He's been forewarned that this was happening so I have full permission to make a total pain in the ass of myself.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Yes I send my child for visitations while sick

Ah winter, the worst of all seasons. You bring with you frost on my car, numb fingers and noses, and all manner of nasty viruses, each one which will slowly convince you that this is the bug that will finally kill you.

Miss K is sick at the moment with a particularly nasty virus in her chest. I had it for three weeks, mum's on week two at the moment and Miss K is on day three. She currently sounds like a sixty year old man who has smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for the past forty years every time she coughs. I have an arsenal of pain killers and cough medicines in my pantry and every four hours I dutifully dole out the next dose of vile medicine much to her disgust. I'm sure she is convinced that my various treatments are going to kill her before the virus does.

But come tomorrow morning all of this stops. I dose my daughter up one last time, then I bundle her into a train and hand her over to her father for four days, during which time it officially becomes his duty to be chief snot remover and poison dispenser. Even before I was a single mother with my own custody agreement in place, this always seemed like the normal thing to do. You have a visitation scheduled, it happens unless a body part is falling off, and even then if it can be sewn back on in time the visit should still be able to happen. But my time working for a lawyer taught me that this isn't actually the case a lot of the time, and it doesn't seem right.

Now there is always a back story to every relationship, so I'm not saying that  my way is the only right way and everyone else who does this differently is an idiot, but I wonder what the mothers who do keep kids home sick from a custody visit are saying when they make this decision. Are you saying that there is no one in the world who could possibly care for your ailing child better than you can? Are you saying the father is totally inept at caring for house plants, let alone children and this virus is far too much of a challenge for him to be able to get right? Are you saying you secretly have Florence Nightingale syndrome and the highlight of your parenting career is the times your child is ill and you spend your nights sleepless and your days full of temperature taking and dosing up your children?

Miss K's dad can be a total screw up, a fact which I gently remind him of at any chance I get. But by withholding our child from visiting him simply because she is sick, I would be telling him loud and clear; "You are not good enough."and that is simply not a message I care to send to him or our daughter. I want her to know that when the chips are down he will be there for her, and that message needs to be sent from day one. Whether it be a virus or a bastard ex, she needs to know that her dad will be there for her no matter what.  On the other hand he needs to learn exactly what it means to be there for her when she needs it. He needs to get used to comforting her, wiping away her tears and making her feel better. Unless he has practise at doing this there is no way in hell he will ever be good at it. Now I'm not saying he sucks at it now, he is a very devoted dad who does everything in his power to love and care for our daughter. But as she gets older her needs change. Once upon a time all of her boo-boos could be kissed away but that's not the case so much. As parents we both need to be present for all of the changes otherwise we get left behind and stop being effective at our job.

As the primary caregiver I am the chief snot wiper and boo-boo kisser, and that is how it has been for over five years now. I've lost count of how many colds I have weathered, how many times I've caught vomit in my hands (or on my shirt) and how many cups of vile tasting medicine I have given over the past five years, nor do I care to count them. They are all just threads that make up the fabric of my life as Miss K's parent. But I am not her only parent, and because of this I am happy to step aside every now and again and let her dad take the reins for a few days and see what it means caring for someone who has half his genes. (Side note, they are the ones responsible for her total lack of inside voice). But because I am still mum, even when she's not in the same town as me I'll still be worried sick and totally unable to sleep this weekend, but that just goes with the territory.
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