Friday, 28 August 2015

What Parenting Means

So the other week while working at a craft stall with a good friend of mine, we had a heavily pregnant woman come and sit down at our table to make a card. Some gentle probing later we discovered she was about a week away from popping. We decided this was a perfect time to terrorise the poor woman by telling her exactly what being a parent meant, right when it's too late for her to back out. Of course it was all in good fun, and we didn't reveal any of the real horrible truths (we like to leave some mystery for new mums). But it has been on my mind a bit since that weekend. The word parent is universal, and while customs and traditions can vary from person to person, there are some things that stay the same no matter whether you live in an igloo in Antarctica (do people really do this?) or a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. So as a handy guide for anyone who is thinking of being a parent, or for those of you who are already parents, and just want a reminder of why you're not going back for a second (or third) I present the following.

  1. Putting yourself last. Forever, and ever, and ever.
  2. Never getting to blow out the candles on another birthday cake. And forget about unwrapping your own presents. That job now belongs to your children.
  3. Being woken up by a tennis racket to the face (seriously)
  4. Acting like you know exactly what you're doing, despite the fact that inside your head you're screaming as loud as the baby is right now.
  5. Boring all of your friends with all of the super adorable things your little one did in the few hours since you last spoke to them.
  6. Using your clothes as a tissue or napkin for someone else.
  7. Catching vomit in your hands.
  8. Eating baby foods to find out exactly why your darling one is spitting it out. (Hint, it's because it tastes like butt. You'll find this out the hard way.)
  9. Having someone new to blame any time you break wind in company. (This one only works until they learn to speak.)
  10. Having your heart explode with pride and love every time they do something new. It never gets old.
  11. Having a deep seated hatred for toys that need batteries to work.
  12. Watching the same movie twice in one day because it's their absolute favourite and they'll scream the house down if you don't let them watch it again.
  13. Ice cold feet pressed into your back when they sneak in to sleep with you at 3 in the morning. 
  14. Waking up to a little person sitting on your head, because they're hungry and you're being boring by sleeping right now.
  15. Discovering that toy makers hate you, I mean really hate you, by making you build every darn thing you ever buy for your child. It seriously took me over an hour to put Miss K's bouncer together when she was a baby. I'm not a stupid person, but that thing needed an engineering degree just to assemble four parts. And don't even get me started on her bike.
  16. Spending the day convinced that you have given birth to the spawn of Satan, only to forget every horrible thing they did that day the minute you see them sleeping like an angel.
  17. Feeling like the worst person in the world every time you have to discipline them. 
  18. Spending the first four years of their life complaining that they are so needy, only to realise that was only temporary, then spending the next few years panicking that one day your kids aren't going to need you any more. 
  19. Feeling like your heart is going to break in half every time you see them growing up right before your eyes.
  20. Being someone's super hero, simply because you were able to fix a slightly broken toy.
  21. Hating yourself the minute they realise you aren't a super hero, and are in fact (gasp) human.
  22. Being a policeman, chef, maid, clown, magician, chauffeur, referee, cheerleader, hostage negotiator, and anything else you need to be just to keep your house running.
  23. Looking at every other parent you ever see and wondering how they can possibly have it all together like that. (Little hint, they don't, they're just as confused as you are.)
  24. Hour upon hour spent worrying about things that once upon a time you never though worth your time. 
  25. Lying awake at night convinced that today was the day you screwed up your child. 
  26. Finding yourself singing the theme song to your child's latest favourite TV show, while in public.
  27. Apologizing to a million strangers because your child walks like a drunk old man, and keeps crashing into everyone they find.
  28. Feeling mortified the first time your child swears. Bonus horror if it happens in public. 
  29. Months spent carrying your sleeping child to the toilet because if you have to wash one more pee soaked sheet you are going to lose your mind.
  30. Discovering exactly how fierce you can truly be the first time someone hurts your precious little one. You're normally a placid person, but right now you could cut a b***h.
  31. Feeling a mixture of pride and revulsion the first time you realise babies are capable of farting like full grown men after a meal of baked beans.
  32. Endless games of "What is that mysterious smudge on my new shirt?"
  33. Dancing like a one legged man in a butt kicking contest all around your living room because it makes your child squeal with laughter.
  34. Feeling like you've lost a part of yourself the first time they spend a night away from home.
  35. Rediscovering the joy of jumping out at someone as they come around a corner. This one never gets old with kids around.
  36. The joy of hearing your kid tell you that you're the best mum/dad in the world. 
  37. Bony elbows, knees, backsides, all in your internal organs. You wouldn't believe something that chubby and squishable is really able to inflict immense pain with one well placed limb.
  38. Being able to heal all boo-boos with a kiss.
  39. Having to wait until your child has been kissed, cuddled and questioned before any adult will speak to you ever again. 
And finally...

  40.  Loving someone, and being loved more fiercely than you ever thought possible.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Product Review - Magnetricks

Hello again my lovely readers, I am back again to share more joy with the people. This post is actually a long time in the making, mainly because I tried really, really hard to get professional looking pictures, but given that I am *not* a photographer, and my biggest skill is basic editing in Photoshop, it took me forever to get anything even remotely good enough to do this post justice.

Now today I am going to do a very rare product review. As you guys know, I don't do a lot of these, because I don't want this blog to become a giant billboard. But every now and again an offer comes along that I cannot pass up, because I really feel it is a great product that needs to be shared. This is one such product. I was recently contacted by an amazing woman who has started her own business despite being a single mum to TWO kids under the age of five. I'm not sure if she's a genius or slightly mad, either way the products she sells are amazing, and I am honoured to have been asked to share them with you.

So today I am reviewing a product called Magnetricks. Michelle started making magnetic routine charts and reward charts for her children as a way to help maintain a proper routine etc, and was soon encouraged by friends and family to start marketing them for other mums and teachers trying to find a less wasteful way to manage the day to day routines.

So we were given two sets of magnets to check out and review, one was a reward chart in the shape of a race track (because thanks to Mario Kart Miss K is racing car crazy right now), and the other was a set of magnetic shapes, designed to teach children about shapes and geometry, as well as being heaps of fun.

I decided to use the reward chart in an attempt to get Miss K to start listening more. We're having a real struggle with her ignoring direct requests, or even using sass towards adults telling her to do her chores. I wanted to squash any feelings of entitlement she was developing, as we don't work that way in this house, all good things are earned, and one way to earn in this house is by being respectful. So the day the magnets arrived, Miss K and I sat down and I explained that every day that she showed that she could listen to all of the adults who care for her during the week, she'd get a new race car for her track. By the end of the 8 days she had managed to gain all of her 8 cars, and as a reward I took her for her first trip to the library. She was so excited to get to go and see all the books, and we even borrowed her very first book.

So the reward chart was a total success. I've tried reward charts in the past with minimal success, so I wasn't sure if we'd have much luck this time around, but she really responded to the magnetic cars, and the fact that I'd let her race each new car around the track when she earned it was always a treat. The colours are lovely and vibrant, so very pleasing to the eye, and they were a good size for little hands. I was also able to put the yet to be earned magnets higher on the fridge so she could still see them, and see how close she was to earning all of her cars, so that was a good incentive too. The beautiful thing about using magnets is that the reward chart is completely reusable. If I wanted to I could go back and do another week of concentrated listening, or I can use any of the other 8 options that come with the reward chart. It even includes two blank magnets so you can come up with your own behaviour you want to practice. The only issue I can see with that is that the pictures on the magnets are printed on glossy paper, so the blank is a one time use only, as any markers you draw on it with will not come off, and trying to clean the magnets will destroy the printed image. However I think you could make it reusable by covering it with clear contact, or another type of plastic/acetate adhered to the top of it, so that's always a good option.  The Magnetricks website even includes a post which helps you to get the most out of your reward charts, with handy tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of any effort to teach a new behaviour, or correct an old bad habit.

Just some of the behaviors you may wish to modify as a stressed parent.

The other magnetic product we had to play with was the shapes. This set came with 43 magnets in 7 different shapes and various sizes to play with. Miss K and I both had a lot of fun playing with these magnets and trying to come up with different pictures we could build using the shapes.

These are great for encouraging imaginative play, and I was amazed at the different pictures Miss K was able to come up with on her own once she got started. She made shooting stars and people and a tree, and together we built a robot and a train. The magnets have gotten plenty of use over the past few weeks, and I love that she's got something to occupy herself while I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner or cleaning up, (on the odd occasions when that actually happens,) so it keeps her out of my hair right when I need it. The other thing I liked about these was that the magnets stacked on top of each other well, and were easy to separate when you wanted to build a new picture, making the possible combinations endless.

A train, complete with gigantic smoke stack.

The images are printed on thin magnets, which I thought would make them less likely to stick onto metal, but the magnet is surprisingly strong for something so slim, so you don't need to worry about them ending up all over the floor like other magnets for kids I've seen in the past. The other good thing about them being so thin is they ship flat, so postage is cheaper, and apparently they are less likely to cause harm if swallowed by small children. Of course given the risk, you do need to supervise small children when they are playing with these magnets just to make sure that doesn't happen.

I *think* this one is a robot. 

All in all I am super impressed with these magnets. They are so bright and cheerful, fun to play with and very easy to use. They were shipped to me very quickly, (which is always a good thing) and the available range is pretty big. Aside from the reward charts and shapes there are routine magnets, vocabulary magnets, communication aide magnets, and some just for fun sets (including Minecraft characters for any of you Minecraft nuts out there.)

So if you or anyone you know is in the market for a fun, educational toy for your kids, or something designed to make your life run a little bit smoother, then head on over to the Magnetricks website now and check out their awesome range. 

Now because I live in Australia, I don't actually have to disclose when I receive goods in return for a blog post, usually because it is implied, however in the interests of transparency, I will say that I received these magnets in return for reviewing them on my blog. The opinions I have given are all my own. The fact that these magnets are freakin' awesome just made my job even easier.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

August Fly on the Wall

Welcome to another fly on the wall. This post is all the weird, crazy and funny things you'd hear if you were a fly on one of my walls this month.  On a side note we found our very first blowfly in the house this week, a sure sign that summer is finally on the way. Now is the time to invest in fly spray shares on the stock market. Below is a list of all of the blogs who are participating in the fun today, be sure to visit them all and enjoy all the madness.     Baking In A Tornado      Menopausal Mother        Never Ever Give Up Hope          Just A Little Nutty                    The Momisodes   Someone Else’s Genius             Sanity Waiting to Happen    Southern Belle Charm     Juicebox Confession                  Go Mama O              Dinosaur Superhero Mommy   

Mum: If I have a heart attack in my bed, after you call the paramedics, can you hide the empty chip packets? (comes out of her room holding two handfuls of bags)
Me: Aww mum is that your version of the porn stash?
Mum: It really is.

Miss K requested a new Spiderman themed toothpaste the other day when we were shopping for a new toothbrush. This paired nicely with her new Dora the Explorer toothbrush, but I digress.  It turns out she wasn't the only one who could get excited about licensed oral hygiene products...
Mum: Wow! Spiderman toothpaste!
Me: I know! It sparkles too!
Mum: That is so awesome!
Me: I know. What else could a little girl want in a toothpaste?

Sam: I dreamed the other night that Jason went into space, and when I woke up I was convinced that it had happened. I sat there arguing with myself for five minutes that he couldn't have gone to space, because there were no photographs of the event. In the end I had to ask him if he'd gone into outer space.

Miss K and I were on one of our regular trips to the supermarket to buy essentials, and she was in a great old mood, chatting away about everything and anything, when we walked past a rather heavy set woman. It was clearly a woman, and I could tell from a mile away, but that didn't stop Miss K from saying very loudly as we passed her "look, another man!" I learned I can speed walk like a pro that day.

Another day, on another trip to the supermarket we bumped into one of our neighbours. We started with the obligatory small talk you make when you meet up with someone you only vaguely know when Miss K started talking to the neighbour, and informed her that she was Miss K's best friend. She then went on a giant rant about how good friends they were, despite the fact that she has never actually met this neighbour before.

Mum: The big boss came in today, and she said straight away "Now I can't remember everyone's names, so you'll have to tell me who you all are." I said "I'm Lyn" and she asked "which one?" (there are currently two Lyns who work in mum's team) and all I could say was "the old one?" It turns out she just wanted my surname.

Me: He's going to the Italian Australian Club.
Mum: Did you say he's going to the Chinese shadow puppet?

So Miss K thinks she has both mum and I figured out. She asked me for a chocolate, and I said no, because it was too close to dinner time. Undeterred, she then snuck the chocolate over to where mum was sitting, and started to open it next to her saying "Shhh, don't tell mum."

Miss K loves performing concerts for us. If she's feeling particularly generous she'll even take requests for songs from the audience. One day I asked her to sing a song about grandma's mustache. The lyrics went:

Granny has a mustache,
Granny has a mustache,
Granny has a mustache,
And she is nice.

Me: Come on Miss K, time to get ready for kinder
Miss K: (lays on the floor) I'm dead.
Something tells me she wasn't in the mood for kindergarten that day...

Me: Miss K go to the toilet.
Miss K: No!
Me: Go to the toilet now or I'll give you a wedgie.
Miss K: Nooo!
Me: Well what's it going to be, toilet or wedgie?
Miss K: Wedgie.

Sam: I said something today that I never though I would have to say thanks to your daughter.
Me: Oh yes?
Sam: Yes you can be a monkey, don't put that watch down your pants...
The sad thing is I understood exactly what she was talking about.

Miss K had a nightmare last weekend, and after calming her down and giving her a small drink to get her back into bed she ended up in bed with me. She tried every trick in the book to get to stay up even longer including this one...
Miss K: Mum my heart is broken.
Me: Your heart is broken? That's terrible! Should I kiss it better?
Miss K: No.
Me: What about a hug? Would a hug fix it?
Miss K: No.
Me: So what fixes a broken heart then?
Miss K: Bananas.
If only it was always that easy.

She then informed  me the next day that her heart was "beeping"

Saturday, 15 August 2015

August Use Your Words - The Second Meeting

Welcome again my lovely audience, it's time again for another Use Your Words. this month seventeen brave bloggers have signed up to challenge their skills as writers. How this works for any newbies around here is participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now

Below is a list of all of the bloggers participating today. Please be sure to visit them all to enjoy the rest of the brilliant work that goes into this challenge. 

So today my words are: extravagance ~ silver ~ moonshine ~ hope ~ flaming ~ dice and they were submitted by the incredible Jenniy over at Climaxed.

So today's story is a continuation from my last Use Your Words, which you can read here if you want to start from the beginning.

He took a deep breath. and stared at his reflection in the mirror. The man staring back at him from the highly polished silver glass looked calm and confident, but inside his head all he could hear was screaming. He thought he'd already overcome the hardest obstacles so far, but each new hurdle seemed higher than the last.

Putting the ad in the newspaper hadn't been his idea. His best friend and the person whom he was staying with when he spotted the mysterious beauty across the garden fence was the one with the bright idea. He had resisted it at first, but in the end in order to shut his friend up he finally sent the ad in the day he left to go back home. He knew that was the cowards way out, but if her reaction wasn't all he could hope for, at least this way he wouldn't have to see her ever again. Standing on the platform waiting for her to arrive had been absolute torture. He was certain he stood out like a neon sign standing still with nothing but a green coffee mug in his hand, however all the worry and nerves hadn't been for nothing, and she had shown up. 

Their first meeting had gone well. He'd managed to make her laugh, and her easy, friendly manner had calmed his nerves almost instantly. It had gone so well they'd arranged a proper date for the next evening. That of course had sent him into a wild panic as he spent the next two days trying to figure out the perfect night out for the two of them. Every idea he came up with felt cliched or too much like he was trying too hard. It was so important that this evening went perfectly, as a way of thanking her for taking a gamble on him. She'd rolled the dice when she came to the station to meet him, and he didn't want her to regret her decision.  In the end he'd settled on a dinner at a restaurant nearby, that had good online reviews, followed by a stroll by the river. Being the weekend there would be people everywhere, so she wouldn't feel nervous being alone with him. 

Taking another deep breath he applied his cologne, inhaling its rich, woody scent. It was the one extravagance he allowed himself, rationalizing that the cost of the tiny bottle was far outweighed by the attention he got from people when he wore it. "Women love a man who smells good" he thought to himself, as he often did when applying it. "Not that it's ever gotten me more than the occasional compliment" he grumbled under his breath. He felt like he'd always been unlucky in love, which was part of the reason he'd been so resistant to placing an ad in the newspaper to begin with. Too often he'd been passed over for the guy with the flashier car, the more impressive job, or the slick suit. It had made him cynical and guarded, completely unwilling to put his heart on the line as quickly as others. But there was something different about this woman. something that almost made him want to throw caution to the wind and risk everything.

Smoothing down his dark hair he stepped away from the mirror and walked towards the front door. He felt sicker than the time he and his friends in high school had tried one of their father's moonshine. He'd been laid out with that hangover for two days, much to the chagrin of his parents at the time. He decided that this was definitely a worse feeling than that weekend. He reached for the door handle and pulled open the door. Standing on the other side was his date, her hand poised to knock on the door. Her head snapped up as the door opened and her face flushed a flaming shade of red.
"I was just coming to pick you up" he smiled at her.
"I know, I couldn't wait" she replied wincing, the red now spreading down her neck. The sight of her pale skin blushing made him smile even wider. He held his arm out to her and looked into her eyes. "Shall we?" He asked motioning towards his car. Nervously she took his arm and allowed him to lead her down the path. How the rest of the evening would turn out neither of them knew, but the possibilities were both endless and exciting. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

August Secret Subject Swap: Perfect?

Hello again my lovelies, I am back for another month of Secret Subject Swap. Today sixteen brave bloggers are writing posts on subjects given to them by another blogger. I don't think I've ever been in a secret subject swap this large, so there's lots of great stuff here for you guys to read. I know that reading everyone else's posts is going to take up a great portion of my Saturday, so I'm excited to finally say I have plans this weekend!

So before I get into my subject I'll link you to everyone else who is participating in the swap today. Be sure to hop over to the other bloggers too, and share some of your lovely love around.                          Baking In A Tornado                                          The Momisodes                    The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                 Stacy Sews and Schools                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                  Spatulas on Parade                        Southern Belle Charm                               Never Ever Give Up Hope                                 Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                    Silence of the Mom                      Someone Else’s Genius              Confessions of a part-time working mom                The Angrivated Mom           More Than Cheese and Beer                           Climaxed

So today my post is For the first time ever, everything is going right today. While it's wonderful it's a bit scary. Do you want more perfect days or do you want your normal life back? and it was submitted by the wonderful Karen over at Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

So anyone who knows me knows how hectic life around here gets. With juggling work, kindergarten, my own scrapbooking business, speech therapy appointments, visitation schedules, and everything in between, I barely have a minute to scratch myself. It's why I so often fall asleep in front of the computer of an evening. I shouldn't complain, but it gets old real fast. I've learned a few cheats over the years to make life a little easier, which usually involve throwing some electronic device in Miss K's general direction just to get five minutes of peace and quiet to get a job done, or five minutes more sleep, but I have things more or less under control. which is what made yesterday's bad day worse. First of all Miss K spent the whole day giving me sass, arguing back at me, and getting under my feet. Any request for assistance from me prompted running and screaming from her as if I was asking her to donate a kidney for me. To make things worse we ended up late to our speech therapy appointment thanks to her antics, which threw me out for the rest of the day. By the time I got to my night time class I was absolutely fried, and I still had to teach a scrapbook layout to my workshop ladies.

Usually spending two hours comparing our battle scars from the past week leaves us all refreshed and ready to fight the good fight the next day, but I couldn't help but still feel unsatisfied with my lot in life as I drove home late last night. I sat in my car in the dark driveway for five minutes too exhausted to get out and start unloading all my tools from the back seat. I looked up at the sky, which was void of sparkly lights for some reason, and searched the black until I found a solitary star winking at me. "I just wish life was easier" I said out loud before letting out a large sigh and hauling my tired behind out of the car. I ignored the boxes in the back seat, figuring I'd get them tomorrow and dragged my feet towards the door. After completing my normal night time routine I went to bed early and fell fast asleep.

When I woke up this morning the sun was streaming through a slit in my curtain. This alone was odd, because I'm usually woken up by Miss K pulling my covers off me at 4:30 in the morning demanding a drink and a banana. Once I got my bearings I pulled myself out of bed and went over to Miss K's room, worried she was sick. Instead of finding a mayhem of toys or books all over the floor, I was greeted by the sight of a spotless room, with Miss K in the corner stacking her books into their shelves according to size. "You OK kiddo?" I asked her. "Yes mummy, just cleaning my room thank you" came the reply. I shook my head, wondering if maybe the exhaustion was beginning to mess with my mind, and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. The mess of coffee powder and sugar that had coated the bench the night before was missing, as was the pile of clean dishes that had been drying on the rack for three days now. "Miss K has grandma been cleaning this morning?" I called out. "No mummy, that was me." she called back. I wandered into the lounge room to find a similar scene of tidiness that hadn't been there the night before. "You cleaned the whole house?" I asked incredulously. Hearing noise from the kitchen I turned to find Miss K preparing herself some breakfast. "You want me to do that for you?" I asked hopefully "No thanks" she replied and continued on pouring milk on her cereal. At a loss for words, I decided to tell a joke. "Knock, knock" I said with a grin. "Not now mum, I'm a little busy" Miss K said as she walked past me carefully balancing her bowl in one hand and a cup of juice in the other. She sat down in her little blue chair, and I waited for the inevitable request to push her seat in. Instead she did a weird little jump in her seat and managed to pull herself closer to the table unassisted.

The rest of the day passed in the same way. Miss K refused my offer to play a game of Mario Kart with her, something she usually jumps at the chance to do, and instead decided to rearrange her sock drawer. She declined my suggestion to pull out the kinetic sand, instead sorting through her toy chest and throwing out all her old unwanted toys. I was so bored I decided to drape a blanket on myself and pretend to be a ghost. This was only met with a dirty look from my suddenly mature 4 year old. Gone were the requests to follow her to the toilet for no particular reason, gone were the spontaneous games of tag, gone was the cheeky sass I got on a constant basis. I was horrified to realise my little girl had morphed into a middle aged woman, right in front of my eyes. This thought caused something in my head to snap and I screamed in the middle of the quietest dinner I'd had in a long time. "What in the ever loving hell is going on? Where is my baby and who are you?" "You said you wanted life to be easier. This is what you wanted" Miss K said in between mouthfuls of mashed potato (a dish I'd never been able to get her to eat before now) "Well I changed my mind" I cried. "I want my old life back. I want the mess, and the arguing, and the laughing, and the fun. Easy is boring" With this I ran to my bedroom and buried my head in my pillow. I know it was incredibly childish of me, but this day had been so horrible, I didn't know what else to do.

I lay in silence for a few seconds, until I felt something pull the blankets off me, and the shock of the cold air jolted me out of my sleep. Miss K jumped on my back and yelled "Wake up mummy I'm thirsty." I reached for my phone and checked the time, 4:30 in the morning. "I want a banana and a drink please mummy" Miss K said as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and before she could repeat herself I grabbed her up in the biggest bear hug of her life. "Never, ever, ever change Miss K, got it?" I cried burying my head in her tiny shoulder. "Ok mummy. Can I have a drink now?" she asked. I jumped out of bed, relieved that everything was as it was meant to be, and last night's dream was only that. As I poured Miss K's drink, the little voice came from my bedroom. "Don't forget my banana mum." "Some things never change" I said to myself smiling. "And thank God for that."
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