Monday, 30 March 2015

App review - Mykidz app

Ok so today I'm going to do something I never thought I'd ever do. I'm going to review some one else's product. So bear with me if you will, while I review a new app which is great for parents new and old alike.

The following opinions are my own and I am not affiliated with this product or its maker at all. What you are about to read is not a sponsored post, and I have not received any gifts or money from the creators for the following review. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regime, and always remember to tip your waiter. (I figured I'd get all the boring stuff out of the way first. You're welcome.)

 The Mykidz app is in essence a list based app for parents. I've only had this app for a few weeks now, but already I'm totally hooked. I'm hoping this helps make remembering all the small important things that always escape my memory when it really matters easier.  It has separate sections for pregnancy, babies, children and teenagers, with individual lists for each stage. Now given that I am never planning on becoming pregnant or having babies again, I haven't really played with either of these sections, but the pregnancy section has a journal, a countdown calendar to the big day, a birth planner for you to write down about all the incense, spiritual music and extra pillows you want on the big day (which will all promptly be forgotten the minute those first contractions begin) and somewhere to put the list of names you're considering for your soon to be baby. There is also an all important place to write down everything you'll need in your hospital bag, which is something I really wish I'd had when I was getting ready to go into labour.

Once your baby is born, you move on to the baby section of the app, where there is a place to record feeds and nappy changes, growth and milestones, and a gallery for photographs (which will be filled with hundreds of photos of your first born, and about three of each of your subsequent children.)

When your baby is out of the baby stage and you no longer need to monitor feeds and nappy changes you move onto the child section. This is where I started my adventure with the Mykidz app. There is another place in this section for all your child's milestones and development, as well as a section for recording all their favourite stars (I've included Justin from Justin's House in Miss K's.), the names of any of their teachers, and their friends (plus friend's parents and contact details), and a section for recording gift ideas when they come to you.  I tell you if I had this app three months ago it would have saved me a lot of brain wracking when Miss K's birthday came up.  One of the questions I hate the most when my kid has a birthday coming up is "what do they want?" because I can never remember any of the three million toys she has claimed is her favourite when we go for a wander down the toy aisles. And Miss K's only suggestion when anyone asked her this year was cows.

There is even a section for recording custody visits, which already looks like it will come in handy for me, because unless I'm staring straight at the calendar I can never remember when Miss K is meant to be travelling to her Nonna's house. It even pops up with a helpful reminder on the days that access visits are meant to happen, which is incredibly helpful when you wake up thinking it's Thursday, and it happens to actually be Friday and your child is meant to be on a train in two hours.

The teen section is identical to the child section, so by the time your bundle of joy becomes a sullen grunting lump, you'll already be an expert at using this app. The list of friends and their parents of course will probably be empty by this stage because "God mum you're sooo embarrassing. Why do you need to know Lah'tay'ah's mum's name? You'll never speak to her ever." And you probably won't care who their favourite stars are, because by the time you're the parent of teenagers, every boy band looks like a pale facsimile of an awesome band you loved when you were younger and music was actually decent. But the gift section will be a godsend, especially since they now bring out a new "must have" gadget every 6 weeks, so you'll need a reliable place to keep up with the pace. You'll also probably use the teacher section as a handy guide of all the teachers you need to avoid because your darling offspring sleeps during their class instead of paying attention.

So this app has something for every parent out there. Further information can be found on their website  or their Facebook page and the app is available on Google Play as well as the App Store for any of you hipsters out there who still insist that the iPhone 64 is better than any other phone around. I'm just going to smile and nod at you while I plug my newest phone in to charge with the charger I got with my first smart phone four years ago...

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A man hater? Me?

So last month, Miss K's dad accused me of being a man hater. He told me he didn't want his daughter raised in a home where men were evil. He did this because I had spent several weeks trying to instill in him just a tiny sense of what his role as Miss K's dad is. I then got drunk and admitted several things which I have never told him in the five years that we've known each other, but that's another story entirely. But the culmination of all my actions, instead of imbuing in him a feeling of importance when it came to his role in Miss K's life instead made him see me as a man hating charlatan. So I had to sit back and ask myself, am I a man hater?

I'll admit, my relationship with men haven't been stellar over the years. For 30 years now, I've had pretty poor luck when it comes to the males in my life. As I've admitted in the past, my relationship with my dad was always terrible. He couldn't cope with me when I was growing up because I was epileptic. That was just too much for him to deal with, so he ignored me. That lack of a relationship with my dad affected me deeply, and still does to this day. Most of my boyfriends have been manifestations of dad, in some way or another. Some have his temper, others have his ingenuity, and total lack of ability to finish a project. All were manipulative. I can safely say none of them smacked me around, but if I'd continued down the same path, who's to say that wouldn't have happened one day?

Once I became pregnant, I realised I couldn't keep making terrible choices in men anymore, because someone more important than me was now watching my every step with interest. And it was my job to make sure she never makes the same mistakes I do. But it's not just my job to mold this little girl, it's also her father's. The first relationship with a male that any child ever has is their father. For fathers, this means you need to teach your girls what they should expect from their men, and you need to teach your sons how to be the men that women will want. Given how much my relationship with my dad has shaped me, I need to know that Miss K is being raised by a man who will teach her that she deserves to be respected by men, she deserves to be treated as an equal, not a trophy, and most certainly not only as a sex toy.

For the most part, I'm not worried, for now. Miss K's dad idolizes her, and in return Miss K loves her dad. For 4 years now he has fought long and hard to make sure he has a relationship with his daughter, and one day I will make sure she knows how hard he fought. Especially since every day at work I see the dads who won't fight. Who give up at the first stumbling block the mother throws at them, and I can't help but see them as weak for giving up. (To be fair, I try my hardest not to throw stumbling blocks at Miss K's dad, so I've never seen exactly what his breaking point is. For all I know it could be incredibly easy to get him to give up, but I'm not willing to find out.)

But it's not just Miss K's dad who I turn to for help in raising my child. We only see him once every two weeks, and that's too long for a little girl to go without positive male role models. Luckily for me, I am surrounded by men who love my daughter dearly, and would move heaven and earth for her. My big sister's husband has become a surrogate father for Miss K, especially since she spends three afternoons a week at his house while I'm at work. To watch those two play together warms my heart greatly. He can match her rough and tumble style of playing perfectly, and he always has her roaring with laughter. The adoration those two have for each other is so easy to see by the way their faces light up when they see each other. She gets just as excited to see him at the end of the day as his own kids do.

Then there's my little brother, who is just as devoted to Miss K, and another man she adores. He gets her quirky sense of humor, and he'll do anything to make her laugh. Then there's my best friend, who I've known for years and years now. He's a single dad with a daughter of his own, and I used to watch him interact with his little girl during his access visits, so I never had any hesitation in making him a part of Miss K's life, and she holds a special place in his heart too. Then there's my baby brother and his partner, both who can only visit from Melbourne occasionally, but when they do it's always a huge occasion for Miss K. There's also my own dad, who loves babies above everything else, so the little ones in our family always get special treatment. Dad knows Miss K desperately wants a pink car, so when we went to visit him at the car yard he works at last week, he made a special point to take us down the lot to a tiny pink car they have for sale, just so Miss K could have a play with it. My baby sister Kim's boyfriend is the blokiest guy I know, yet even he can't resist Miss K's charm, so anytime he and Kim come to visit she drags him off to play with her. It's adorable to watch this taciturn macho guy acting so awkward and timid in the presence of a 4 year old hell-cat.

After looking at all of this evidence, I've had to surmise that I cannot be a man hater. If I was, I wouldn't let any of these men have any kind of meaningful relationship with my daughter. I certainly wouldn't see any of them with the sense of reverence I do when I watch them play with Miss K. And I wouldn't recognize how important all of them are to Miss K and in turn to me. It takes a village to raise a child, and surrounded by the village that is my friends and family, I know that Miss K is well taken care of, and is learning to respect herself, love herself, and expect others to treat her in a certain way. And at the end of the day, that's all I can ask for. I am however a terrible drunk, so the lesson here is don't drunk dial your exes. It may cause you to have to do some horrible soul searching.

Peace out peeps.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

March Fly on the Wall - What the?

Welcome to March Fly on the Wall. In this series a huge group of bloggers (15 this month to be exact) get together and share anecdotes on the little things you might see in their house if you were a fly on the wall.

Fly on the Wall

Before I start I'll link you to the rest of the bloggers participating today, so that when you're finished here you can keep reading more fun stuff.           Baking In A Tornado      Spatulas on Parade         Follow me home            Menopausal Mother             Battered Hope               Just A Little Nutty                        The Momisodes        Someone Else’s Genius              The Sadder But Wiser Girl                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                Disneyland in Kentucky          Juicebox Confession                       Go Mama O

So I was yawning a lot at work a few weeks ago, which always bugs the hell out of my boss, who is an absolute health nut, and she thinks my lack of energy stems from my "unhealthy lifestyle". But I can't help that I find running around like a headless chicken exhausts me, so I just let the yawns lay where they fall. This one particular day my boss decided to give me some advice.

Julie: You know what you need to do in the mornings? You need to get up and go for a jog.
Me: Or I could do what I did this morning and lie in bed with Miss K watching Dustin Hoffman movies. 

I bought Miss K some googly eyes this month. Guess who had more fun with them?

Number 426983 of things I never thought I'd have to say to my daughter
Would you stop dancing on that pole please, people are trying to get to the dairy fridge. 

Lots of wildly inappropriate fun I might add...

This particular conversation happened whilst walking though a large shopping centre

Miss K: I like circles, they're my favourite
Me: Yeah they are cool aren't they?
Miss K: Like mummy's balls.
Me: Mummy is bored?
Miss K: No, mummy's balls outside, they're my favourite
Me: Oh yeah my balls. I have some pretty big balls don't I? They're awesome
Miss K: No, they're boring.
Me: Hey my balls aren't boring, they're awesome thank you very much. 

It wasn't until I saw an elderly woman smirking at me that I realised that without a bit of context this was a terrible conversation to be having in public. 

Needless to say Miss K was not as amused as I was.

Miss K: I'm so cute mummy.

I hear this at least ten times a day, I'm not sure why she thinks I need the constant reminder.

That doll is creepy even without the googly eyes. This is the scene that greeted me one morning on my way to the toilet.

Me: Miss K, what is daddy's name?
Miss K: Poo head (followed by raucous laughter from everyone in the room)

As a disclaimer, I promise I didn't teach Miss K to call her dad poo head, I don't think I've ever used it as an insult (because ew) so I can't even guess where she got it from, but now that she knows it's hilarious she refuses to learn his real name. In the interests of fairness I will inform you that she subsequently told her speech pathologist that my name is also poo head. 

Turns out I don't need googly eyes to have fun though.  Ten points to anyone who can correctly identify what show this quote is from.

I was brushing Miss K's hair the other day, which was incredibly knotty and sticky. This was the conversation that ensued.

Miss K: Ow mummy hurts.
Me: I know honey but your hair is really sticky. You've gotten food in your hair again haven't you?
Miss K: No! Not food in my hair.
Me: Well it's either food or snot, so which one is it?
Miss K: (proudly) It's snot.

I don't know why that's the less offensive option to her, but this is the girl who insists on showing me every nugget of nose gold she mines.

I also have Snapchat for when I want to bug people with painted pictures of myself... (Bob the Builder is actually Natalie in disguise for anyone who now thinks I have the ability to swap my facial features at will)

So Miss K is still learning to talk, a feat that has been somewhat hampered by several issues including the fact that she is tongue tied. I personally love the way she mangles the English language, so with your permission I'd like to share some of her versions of words.

Delicious - Alicious
Muffins - Nuffins
Sausages - Shaushages (I actually find that harder to say)
Fire truck - Fire...actually I'm not going to repeat what she says here, because it is wildly inappropriate, but if you can think of a word that rhymes with truck but starts with an F, you'll be able to figure it out.  We discovered this one in the middle of a packed car park at a Bunnings Family Fun Day. Perfect timing.

Well that's it from me today little flies, now buzz off and spy on the rest of the bloggers. Till next time.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

March Use Your Words - Letters to the Past

Hello everyone and welcome back.  You've made it just in time for Use Your Words 

baking in a tornado
For anyone who is unfamiliar with this series, the rules are simple. A group of bloggers get together and submit a group of random words that must be used in a blog post. In return you are given someone else's words, and you must in turn spin them into something beautiful, or at the very least coherent. I've been given the following words

bland ~ copy ~ I've lost it ~ sordid ~ magnetic ~ furthermore
and they were submitted by Jenniy at Climaxed 

Now receiving words from this particular lady is incredibly daunting, because Jenniy is a true yarn spinner, so I can only hope I do them justice. If you keep reading after my post, I'll include links to every other blogger participating today, so you can just follow the links and see more amazing writing. What more could you guys need??

This is a letter to my 15 year old self. 

Dear young Erin,

Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders and stop frowning. I know you are proud of the fact that you don't get wrinkles on your forehead whenever you scowl, but once you hit 30 that changes almost instantly. I'm here today to tell you a few secrets. I'm hoping that by giving you a heads up about some of the things you can expect over the next fifteen years I'll save us both some heartache. 

First of all, you will survive high school. I know you think that you're not going to survive the next year and a half, but you will. So read all your books, copy down everything you think matters, and just keep pushing through. The minute you walk away from that place you are allowed to forget absolutely every useless piece of information they have just spent the past six years pumping into you, so just relax, grit your teeth and play the game. It serves a purpose.

Secondly, I know right now you're madly in love with Brad, and you think this is meant to be, but you will not marry him. One day you are going to start living separate lives, and the relationship just won't survive. But don't worry, you won't regret your decision for very long. And then one day, twelve years after you two split up you'll Facebook stalk him, (don't worry about what Facebook is, just trust that it will happen and it will waste more time than anything else you've ever seen), and discover he has turned into a bland middle aged man who still plays role playing games like dungeons and dragons, and you'll realise you really did make the right decision when you left him. If it makes you feel any better, he and his new wife agree with you.

You will fall in love again. In fact you'll go on to do it several times. You'll fall madly in love with people who won't love you back, and you'll be loved by people you're just not that keen on. You'll find a man who you just can't quite quit, no matter how many times you try, but you won't marry him either. But you two will have a lot of fun. I'll spare you the sordid details right now because you're still a virgin, but trust me, it will be amazing. It will also be where you discover your love of guitar players.

You will be loved by most people you know in fact. Of course you can't please everyone, and you will learn that very late in life, but for the most part you will make very few enemies. You seem to have a magnetic personality, so people are drawn to you. You've got something to offer nearly everyone, whether it be the clown that picks them up when they are down, or the wisdom they need when they can't see the forest for the trees, so people will want to know you, and they'll want you to like them. This will feel weird when you first realise it, but just go with the flow. People are generally good, so just trust your instincts and be a nice person. But you are going to have to learn to stop letting people walk all over you. The world isn't going to end if you tell people you're not happy with them.

You are going to go crazy. Several times in fact. You will scream in your head "I've lost it" so many times and you will truly believe it every time. One day you're even going to have to hold onto a pole for grim life to stop yourself from jumping into oncoming traffic, simply because there is a little voice in your head urging you to do it. You're not schizophrenic, you'll just need help. When the time comes, ask for it before you do something stupid. You'll save yourself and your whole family a whole lotta hurt by doing this. And know that your salvation comes in the cutest package ever.

I know you don't want children now, you're too interested in travelling and you secretly think you'll be the worst mum in the world, but that will change one day. You'll meet your new niece and then your biological clock will start ticking like crazy. Then you're going to desperately want a baby of your own. Furthermore you're going to do some pretty dumb things in pursuit of this dream. You're a very determined person when you want to be, you just don't realise yet how motivated you can get. Your most desperate act will actually result in you getting what you want. But be careful what you wish for, because the strings that are attached to fulfilling this desire are long and fraught with lots of arguments. But the whole time you are going through this, you will know in your heart that it was the right decision, and one you'll make a million times over if you get the same beautiful result every time. And that is when you will be loved the hardest you have ever been loved.

So like I said, just relax. It all works out in the end, even though some days you will feel like you have the burdens of the whole world on your shoulders. You've always been a drama queen you know? Trust yourself, love yourself and be yourself. The rest will fall into place.

Much love

Older and wiser Erin.

Ok peoples, now it's your turn. Tell me what you'd love to tell your younger self, we all have nuggets of wisdom we wish we knew when we were younger.

Also, go and spread some more of your love to the rest of these awesome bloggers, they all deserve it too.            Baking In A Tornado       Spatulas on Parade  Stacy Sews and Schools       The Bergham’s Life Chronicles               Battered Hope Eileen’s Perpetually Busy          Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part-time working mom           Southern Belle Charm                  Sparkly Poetic Weirdo           Climaxed    Evil Joy Speaks                         

Sunday, 8 March 2015

An open letter to the publishers of the Mister Maker Mini Makes book

To the publishers of the Mister Maker Mini Makes book,

I recently purchased your mini makes book whilst at my local supermarket.  I had a very happy little girl with me, and I wanted to reward her for her usual sunny nature. Your book seemed to be the perfect gift, as it would keep my daughter, with her endless energy and ability to jump constantly for hours at a time, quiet, and focused.

When we finally opened the book (two weeks after we purchased it, because you can't rush these things) I discovered there was a model of Tocky's house within the book, complete with instructions on how to build this recreation of the most annoying character in the whole of the Mister Maker show. (Even the shapes aren't as irritating, and they bug the hell out of me.) My daughter and I both got very excited about the prospect of building the cuckoo house together, me because I love an excuse to get crafty with my little girl, and her because when you're three, even the simplest things in life are amazing. This is a little girl who expects a parade every time she picks her own nose, so the excitement in making a house was almost too much for her to bear. But I digress.

We started building your aforementioned model house, following the instructions carefully (because I'm just that kind of person), but it didn't take long for me to notice you had skipped quite a few steps

The offending instructions

Now I note that the instructions for building this house already have 16 steps, so I'm going to assume you skipped what you thought were some of the less vital steps in order to make this project seem simpler than it really was, and all I can say is shame on you. 

Lucky for you I am such a kind and giving person, so I have decided to amend your instructions, in order to reflect the true experience that people will have when trying to build the cuckoo house from hell. Please feel free to re-publish your book with these amended instructions, I'm sure we can come up with an arrangement for the royalties you will owe me for using my ideas. For the purposes of ease of use, I decided at the last minute not to include purchase this book as the first step of my instructions, and instead work under the assumption that people have already purchased this book before starting this project.  If my error results in an increase in this book being shoplifted because I did not specify that you must first purchase this book before undertaking in any activities in it, I am happy to do another edit.

1. Spend several years honing your paper crafting skills. It is advisable to go and meet the tibetan paper crafters for this purpose, as they have truly mastered the art of folding along the score line.
2. Optimistically start pressing out all the pre-punched dies. Curse when you tear the first one, then promise yourself you'll be more careful when you press out the second one. Fail at this. Promise the child sitting next to you that it's meant to look like that.
3. Fold in all the tabs on all the punched out shapes. Then realise you have folded them the wrong way and re-fold in the opposite way. Curse when you fold your score lines crooked in your haste to fix your original mistake. 
4. Realise you need glue to complete this project and spend the next ten minutes tearing the house apart trying to find one of the million glue sticks you have purchased over the past four years, because every time you decide to do an arty project with your child you inexplicably think you need a new glue stick just for this project.
5. Once you have found a glue stick get your child to spread glue on all the tabs.
6. Go back and reapply glue to all the tabs because you keep forgetting how bad your child is at applying glue.
7. Assemble all the pieces together carefully, restarting several times because you managed to glue your fingers while gluing the tabs, as a result of which you are now stickier than the paper you are trying to stick together, and you keep pulling everything apart everytime you move your hands.
8. Reapply the glue because all of this doing and undoing has made the glue dry whilst the pieces are apart. Curse yourself for ever thinking this was a good idea.
9. Stick all the pieces together, cursing when you stick something on crooked and tear it while trying to pull it apart to re-stick it. 
10. Turn to the book to try to read the next instruction then curse when you come back to your model and realise it has all fallen apart in the three seconds while your back was turned.
11. Stick the pieces together for the seventeenth time.
12. Give your newly assembled house a pep talk explaining that you expect it to stay stuck together this time. Watch in horror as it laughs in your face and proceeds to fall apart again.
13. Try not to lose your temper at your child, who is quickly losing interest in your fun crafty together time project and just wants to eat a chocolate biscuit now. Explain to them that you two are having fun right now and they don't need any more junk food.
14. Grit your teeth and press the flimsy pieces of card together one more time, Curse as you accidentally crease the whole thing because you forgot you are dealing with paper and not the throats of the publishers who thought this was an appropriate project for a child's activity book.
15. Admit defeat and ask your child to grab you a roll of sticky tape 
16. Start madly applying tape on every single surface of the mangled model. Ignore the fact that it now looks exactly like it would have if you'd left your three year old to do it on their own. 
17. Hand it to your child and suggest they decorate it with stickers. Stickers fix everything.
18. Remember your child has the attention span of a gold fish when they declare after putting two stickers on that they are finished. Also realise stickers don't fix everything.
19. Resolve to never speak of the incident again. Also resolve to stop buying pointless activities from evil corporations who are trying to drive a wedge between you and your child, and start putting that money into a fund for the inevitable therapy bills your child will need if they are to spend the next ten years "enjoying" these projects with you.
20. Go pour yourself a stiff drink. It's what you should have done in the first place.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

March Secret Subject Swap - Heaven and Hell on Earth

Hello my lovelies and welcome to the March Secret Subject Swap.  This is my first swap for over twelve months and I sure have  missed joining in on the fun.

Secret Subject Swap
For any of you who are unfamiliar with the premise, what happens is 14 bloggers from all around the world submit a subject for another brave blogger to write about. In return you get someone else's prompt and the pants soiling begins while you try to figure out how to do the prompt justice.  Then on an assigned day we all hit post at exactly the same time (or sleep through it if you're me, and live 12 hours ahead of the actual posting time) and then you lovely people get to enjoy the fun. 
Before I get going, I'll introduce the rest of the herd, so that when you're finished here you can go read more awesome posts. And give them all some of your love.              Baking In A Tornado    Stacy Sews and Schools        The Bergham’s Life Chronicles          Spatulas on Parade                       Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                            The Momisodes            Climaxed           Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part-time working mom                           The Lieber Family            Southern Belle Charm                   Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                   Small Talk Mama

So this month my prompt is 

If Heaven and Hell were accessible on earth and were places you were automatically transported to when you did something especially good or particularly bad-where would you go? In other words, explain your version of heaven and hell on earth and what you think would earn you a visit there.

and it was given to me by the lovely Jenn at Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Ah heaven; Nirvana, Moksha, Paradise.  Whatever you want to call it, lots of people hold a lot of reverence for a special place reserved for only the best of people.  Wouldn't it be awesome if it was a place where you could arrange for short stay visits to heaven for especially awesome deeds done now.  Instead of accruing all your good deed points for a long stay in the afterlife, exchange some of them for quick visits during your current life, and come back refreshed and knowing that you're a good person.
For me, heaven on earth would have to be a tropical location. I've always loved beaches with bleached white sand, and my visit to Champagne Island in the pacific ocean was the closest I've ever come to paradise.
Pictured: Paradise

I'm thinking that heaven would be somewhere private and secluded. Because this is a reward for me there wouldn't be lots of people around to distract me from the scenery, Of course I'd have a private staff to cater to my every whim because hey, I deserve it. I'm rocking the good deeds right now, so I've earned massages, and a cabana boy who keeps the lemon lime and bitters flowing. (And because it's heaven I won't get the furry tongue I usually get from drinking too many LLBs.)  I'll be staying in 5 star resort style luxury, sleeping on a bed that feels as soft as a cloud. The food will be worthy of serving at the finest restaurants in the world, and I'd never need to add salt or sauce to anything because the flavours would always be perfect.

Now how did I get access to my own little slice of heaven?? Well if you read the bible, the list of things you need to do to get into heaven is never ending. But I'm thinking for the day pass version things will be slightly simpler.  To get a golden ticket you'd need to do lots of simple good things, such as completing charitable deeds for the sake of doing them, and not just for the opportunity to look good to others. So every time I gave money to someone on the street (or a cigarette for the ones whose needs are more particular), or helped someone in need without expecting anything in return I'd accrue points that would be redeemable for a short stay visit to heaven.  Given that I live in an area with a very low socio-economic status I'm pretty sure it would be easy to gain enough points for several visits to heaven. There of course would be rules (because there are rules for everything) and even heaven can't get away without a little red tape, so several deeds would be exempt from gaining points. Giving money to buskers doesn't count as a good deed (even if they are terrible) because technically you're paying them for a service they have provided. And the minute you tell anyone about a good deed you did that day, you lose the points you earned for doing it. (That also has the added bonus of getting rid of the awful humblebragging we're all guilty of)  If you do a good deed only because you don't want to look like a total d-bag to anyone who is watching you, you only get half a point for doing it, as your motives aren't completely pure, and you get double points if helping causes discomfort to you (because the people running heaven love a bit of suffering).

Now the reverse of heaven is apparently hell, so it makes sense that you'd also have the opportunity to get day passes to hell. For me, my own version of hell on earth is every time Miss K gets sick.  It causes so much stress for me I start jumping every time she sneezes once cold and flu season starts. But for real hell, I'm thinking it would need to be more drastic than just dealing with a child with the sniffles.  The only thing I hate worse than sick kids is large crowds. It's one of the reasons I've never managed to live in Melbourne for very long. So as punishment for my multitude of sins, I'm thinking a short trip to hell would look like a major shopping centre on Christmas Eve. There would be massive crowds of rude and hurried people everywhere, all pushing and shoving with no apologies when they elbow me in the ribs or stomp on my toes. Now unlike the high end department stores you see these days, the shopping centre that is day stay hell won't have comfortable padded seats every 50 metres, there will only be five hard wooden benches in the entire place, so sitting down won't be easy or comfortable, forcing me to keep moving.  In order to give me a purpose while in hell, I'd be given a shopping list upon entry, and each thing can be bought in one store only, meaning I would need to spend the whole time aimlessly wandering while trying to find everything on my list. I'd also have to surrender my own shoes when I walk into hell and have to wear ill fitting thongs (flip flops for any Americans who think I'm about to start talking about wearing underwear on my feet, although that would be fitting in hell) with almost all the padding gone in them for extra discomfort. The only food I'd be able to get in hell will be chips that were cooked three hours ago and have been sitting in a bain marie going hard since being cooked, and luke-warm cola to drink. 

So how do I get to day stay hell? I'm going to say deliberate ignorance. The only thing worse than being evil is refusing to acknowledge the existence of evil, Turning a blind eye to the horrors that happen around you, refusing to be the voice for anyone who doesn't have one and denying the fact that I have the power to help someone, anyone would all be crimes worthy of an instant deportation to day stay hell. There would be no points system to earn your visit, because insta-hell would serve more like a warning than a punishment. A tap on your shoulder and a not so friendly word in your ear advising you that if you don't change your ways, this will be your ever after once you leave this world and make your way to the next. And you better believe I'd only need one warning before I changed my ways. (Not only because I hate getting mangled by strangers.) 

So there you have it. My own little slices of heaven and hell. If any of you have your own ideas of what heaven or hell on earth look like, I'd love to hear them. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The light at the end of the terrible threes tunnel

Hello again people, I'm back again, less than 12 months after my last post, so this has to be a good sign for me right?

So for anyone who has kids, you'll know what the phrase terrible threes means. It's that horrible 12 months where your child has a birthday and then all of a sudden turns into the spawn of Satan.

Ok saying all of a sudden isn't entirely accurate, the terrible threes more sneaks up on you. At first the temper tantrums your newly aged up child displays seem fairly similar to the ones you saw when they were two. Hopefully you've even gotten to the point where you recognise the first signs of a temper tantrum giving you a bit of an edge when it comes to diffusing a bad situation. However very slowly the three year old tantrum sneaks its way into your life. And this one is nothing like a two year old tantrum.

Image courtesy of
Pictured: a typical three year old temper tantrum

For one the intensity and duration of a three year old temper tantrum can be more than twice of that of a two year old. The child is just that little bit older, with just that little bit more stamina, and they use this to their advantage. They also get that rage strength that makes drunk angry people so scary, so fighting them is like wrestling with a live crocodile. But the worst thing about a three year old temper tantrum is that you can never guess what is going to set them off. It could be because you've asked them to pick up their blocks, or put on their pants, but it could be because their favourite pyjamas are in the wash and every other night time outfit you've bought them is boring. (I get the complaint that everything is boring a lot.) 

The first time you see a real three year old temper tantrum you're so caught off guard you end up giving in to your darling child just to get the screaming to stop, and hopefully save your glasses from shattering with the noise. The second time it happens, you're slightly more prepared and you try to reason with your kid. But your kid is even more prepared than you are, and now knows that you will give up eventually. This knowledge gives them the strength to out-scream you for the next thirty minutes, because they know that eventually you will break. The third time your kid throws a tantrum, you're so shell-shocked from the first two it takes all your strength to not pack your bags and run away to the circus. 

This is the point where all your helpful friends and family decide to chime in with "I told you three year olds were worse than two year olds last year..." and you'll smile grimly all the time punching them in their smug faces silently in your head while you try to wrestle your darling child out the door. You will start to read parenting advice blogs desperately trying to find the right advice to turn your newly minted devil back into the darling child they were yesterday. You'll try the naughty corner, you'll try reward systems, you'll try reverse psychology, you'll try walking away. You will curse Super Nanny each and every time one of her methods fails miserably. You'll start collecting brochures for military school just in case this isn't just the terrible threes and things get desperate. Your Google search history will become incredibly bizarre as you try to figure out if the latest tantrum is a sign you need to contact a priest, or just limit the amount of yellow food dye you're feeding your kid. You'll start looking forward to bed time more than ever because while they're asleep they look more like that beautiful child you have been raising all this time than during the day.

Life will become a mine field, and you're the brave soldier tip-toeing through it trying to figure out which patches of ground aren't going to cause a major explosion. And to make things harder, the temper tantrums aren't constant. (I know what you're thinking, how can only occasional tantrums be better than constant ones?) It's because when things start looking normal again you let your guard down. You enjoy having your sweet loving child back and begin to forget the monster that hides under their skin. You'll even bend the rules more than you would before, just because it is such a relief to have your obedient, helpful child back. But they are expecting this, and this is when they strike again. The tantrums come in waves, and the space between them can be as little as a week or as much as a month. But you never know which one it's going to be until it's too late and you're scrambling for a safety helmet in the middle of a toy storm. (trust me books hurt when being hurled by a three year old)

But one day a miracle happens. You ask your child to do something that on any other day would result in a meltdown of epic proportions, but instead of screaming and crying and telling you they don't love you anymore, they just agree to do what they are told, and wander off happily. You will nearly pass out from the shock of it all, but you don't mention it to them because you don't want to remind them they have the power to refuse this. But it happens again, and again and again. That's when you realise you've left the terrible threes behind, and you are now the parent of a beautiful four year old. That is one of the best feelings a parent can experience. 

Now I'm still the parent of a three year old for another month, and given that Miss K has always been up to 6 months behind most children her age developmentally, I don't know if that means I get an extra 6 months of terrible threes behaviour or not, (lucky me.) But I will tell you that as recently as two weeks ago, I finally managed to get her to start dressing herself, and this week she ate a slice of apple for me, something I have never been able to get her to do before. As a battle weary mum, I am happy to take both of these things as a major victory and not question things much further than that.

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