Saturday, 24 October 2015

October Fly on the Wall

Hello again people, it's time again for this month's edition of Fly on the Wall, the post where I share all the crazy, funny things that happen in my house, that you would all see if you were flies on my wall, and let me tell you right now is a good time to be a fly on my wall, because Miss K is all of a sudden terrified of spiders, so we're having to kill every single money spider or daddy long legs on sight. You really don't appreciate how good a job these guys do until you have to eradicate every single one who dares to show their face to a screechy four year old.

Fly on the Wall
Before I jump into all of the fun I'll share the list of the rest of the bloggers participating this month. Today we have 14 brave bloggers all baring their crazies for your enjoyment, so be sure to visit them all.            Baking In A Tornado       Spatulas on Parade          Follow me home             Menopausal Mother               Never Ever Give Up Hope                          The Momisodes          Someone Else’s Genius Eileen’s Perpetually Busy                  Cluttered Genius            Southern Belle Charm                          Go Mama O                       Dinosaur Superhero Mommy            Nichole Mom of 8

I wanted to try a fishtail braid in Miss K's hair, after discovering that they are apparently stupidly easy to do. Of course anyone who says a fishtail braid is easy to do has never tried to do one on a squirmy four year old.

The look I was going for.

It took me half an hour to achieve something similar to the image above (sorry no pictures, Miss K had had enough of sitting down by the time we were finished.) and I was pretty proud of myself, even if I do say so. Miss K of course, not so impressed, told me that the final product was in fact not worth the amount of time she had to spend sitting still, and that she never wanted another fishtail braid put in her hair again. True to her word, every time I suggest giving her a fish tail, she politely declines and runs away. 

Me (to mum)
You're turning into a grumpy old man in your old age.

Sam: I know dad looks old, he looks really old. He looks like an 80 year old man 
Me: With the bones of an 80 year old woman to match. 
(My dad is actually in his 60's, he's just not aging well, plus he has osteoporosis AND arthritis, so he's a very frail man. He actually broke his ribs bending over the hood of a car once.)

Me: Miss K if you're going to pick your nose in the toilet could you please not wipe your boogers on the walls?
Miss K: No! 

Miss K's arachnophobia is actually beginning to impact on her everyday life. I have to go with her to the toilet every trip and inspect for spiders before she can go. Of course since I am such a sympathetic mother, I never do anything that could potentially scar her for life...

Miss K: There are no spiders in here?
Me: Nope, no spiders. Now all you need to worry about are the snakes in the toilet.
Miss K: Mum, no!

I sometimes feel bad that Miss K is an only child, so in order to show her what having a brother or sister would be like, I love to play a nice rousing game of "I'm not touching you" where I sit my finger as close to her eye as possible without touching her, then just keep repeating "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you." until she cracks it at me. It helps to pass the time.

I was trying to encourage Miss K one day for doing a good job, so I told her she was number one. She promptly responded with "No mum, I'm number four." At least she has low expectations of herself. 

We were having our fence replaced earlier this month, and I was having a much needed sleep in on the day. Miss K got out of bed and was stealing a lolly from the kitchen when mum came in. The following is the conversation they had.
Mum: Miss K, someone stole our fence! What are we going to do?
Miss K: Oh no! Don't worry, I'll go back to bed and eat my lolly and you go to the lounge room.

One night I was lying in bed dozing off when I could hear movement from Miss K's bedroom. I thought she was just shifting around in her sleep until I heard her call out for me. I jumped up and ran to her room terrified she'd wet the bed. Upon entry I found her standing next to her bed without any pants on, instead they were in a ball on the ground. She looked up at me and said "Mum, where are my pants?" I asked her why she took them off, and she looked at me like I was crazy. I then noticed the lounge room light was on, so I thought mum must be up. I went in to talk to her and the room was empty. I asked Miss K if she'd turned the light on, and again she looked at me like I was crazy. So either we have a playful ghost in our house who enjoys pantsing sleeping children, and wasting electricity, or my daughter has just discovered the joys of sleepwalking...

Miss K and I watched a video of a man getting arrested at a McDonalds in the next town over. I was telling my big sister Sam about it the next day when this happened.
Me: We saw a bad guy being arrested at McDonalds didn't we?
Miss K: Yeah, it was my dad...
It wasn't, and I'm not sure where she got that idea from, but she didn't seem entirely concerned by the fact either way.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

October Use Your Words - Ever After Part 2

Welcome again to another episode of Use Your Words. Today 15 bloggers are participating in this challenge. For anyone unfamiliar with Use Your Words, what happens is we all give 4 - 6 words or phrases for another blogger to use. In return we are given another set of words or phrases that we have to turn into a story. Below is the list of bloggers participating. Be sure to visit them all and enjoy all the fun we have around here.                         Baking In A Tornado          Spatulas on Parade                              The Momisodes                   Sparkly Poetic Weirdo            Southern Belle Charm                         Rena’s World Confessions of a part time working mom                  Never Ever Give Up Hope           Someone Else’s Genius            Climaxed                         Dinosaur Superhero Mommy       The Bergham Chronicles    

Today my words are Fall ~ Drawing ~ Stripes ~ Kitchen ~ Mirror ~ Sheer and they were submitted by the enviably talented Minette from Southern Belle Charm.

So as promised last month, today's post is a continuation of the story written for the last Use Your Words. The story so far is linked below

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

He had sat on the bed in shock for five minutes after the door slammed behind her. He was still trying to figure out what the heck had just happened. As far as he had known, it was just a normal evening, and then world war three had unfolded in his own bedroom. He stared at the carpet where her clothes had just been lying and contemplated going back to bed. He really didn't need another complicated woman in his life, the last three had been enough. But try as he might, he couldn't bring himself to lie down and pull the covers over himself again. Snuggling down into his quilt with its blue and white stripes didn't seem appealing now he was alone. There was also the fact that she was now wandering the streets alone in the dark to deal with. "Damn it" he growled to himself as he reached for his jeans. He threw his clothes on as quickly as he could and rushed out the door.

He got to the end of his driveway before the thought occurred to him that he had no idea where she actually was by now. Without thinking he turned right and started walking down the footpath. He figured she'd probably look for some form of public transport, however at this time of night there would be little hope of finding anything other than empty streets. As he walked, his mind wandered to the times they had spent together over the past few months. An image of her dancing around his kitchen to an old favourite of his from his teenage years brought a smile to his face.  She always knew how to make him laugh. The thought that she may never want to clown around with him again made his stomach churn and he quickened his pace, more intent than ever to find her and sort everything out.

He wandered the streets looking for her for what seemed like forever. He was about to give in and assume she had found the only taxi driving these streets that night, when he realised he knew where she was. He knew she loved the houses in the rich area of town, she always suggested they go for drives there on the evenings when they could find nothing better to do. She loved the perfectly manicured front lawns leading up to the showy front doors with their mirror glass decorations. It only made sense she would seek out something beautiful to look at to cheer herself up. He set off towards the upper class area, and sure enough in the first block of houses he found her crumpled underneath a tree crying. His heart broke as he watched her, not sure if he should be witnessing something so personal as a woman in such pain, so he stood frozen in his tracks until the crying died down. He then realised he must look like a total creep right now watching a woman cry under a tree, and decided he needed to speak to her. He walked towards her and when he reached her he cleared his throat, so she would know he was standing there.

"Hi there" he said tentatively, drawing back a step when she recoiled at the sound of his voice. "You know, it's not a good idea for pretty young ladies to be walking the streets at night" He watched her intently as she wiped her eyes.  "There is a nice warm bed waiting back at my place, and just enough room in it for one crazy girl." "Only one?" she replied wiping her nose on the back of her sleeve. "Because right now I'm pretty sure I've got enough crazy for about three of us." He smiled at her words and replied "Yeah, but that's part of the reason I love you." The words were out of his mouth before he even realised what he was saying, and the look of surprise on both their faces told that neither of them were expecting it. She cleared her throat after a few seconds of silence then said "so you love the crazy ones then? Good to know." She gave him a wry smile and stood up as he sighed with relief. He held his hand out to her and she grabbed on to him tightly. They started the walk back to his house in silence.

Once they were back home he walked to the kitchen and turned on the kettle. "After all of that excitement I need a chamomile" he said without turning around. She stood at the window playing with his sheer curtains, a distracted look on her face. "I'm sorry." she said eventually. "For making you look for me and everything." "It doesn't matter now" he said walking over and pulling her to him, "you're back now and it's finished with." The kettle began to whistle behind him and he turned back to making his drink. They sat together at the dining table, enjoying the peace that had descended over them now that the fight was over. Once he had finished his drink they went back to his room and climbed back into bed, their arms reaching for each other instinctively in the dark. She lay next to him, listening to him breathe, and once she was sure he was asleep she whispered "I love you too", before rolling over to fall asleep herself.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Almost almost famous

So one day, many many years ago, (or three years ago for anyone who always needs specifics) I wrote this post about what I had originally wanted for this website. I complained that the blog was three months old, and that people needed to start recognising my obvious talents already. Well three years have passed since I started this home away from home, and while many things have changed over that time, the change I hadn't even seen coming has been my attitude towards getting noticed. Which made a series of events which happened this week, and my reaction to said events all the more surprising. Allow me to elaborate.

So on Monday morning I was enjoying a peaceful coffee with mum, Miss K was safely dumped on handed over to the capable staff at her kindergarten for the day and I was enjoying the unseasonably warm day (I loves me an El Nino weather pattern.) My phone pinged to let me know I had received an email, so I reached over to it and opened my email app. Had I realised what awaited me at the other end of that notification sound, I would have put my phone on the floor and taken to it with a well placed foot. (OK not really, I can't survive without my phone)

I had received an email from a gentleman advising he wanted to discuss my blog for ABC 7:30 and asking for my mobile number. Now normally I don't hand my phone number out willy nilly to total strangers, but I was feeling good in my warm spot on the couch, so I figured what was the harm. At the time I didn't really pay attention to where he was from, because ABC 7:30 made no sense to me, so I just assumed it was another website I'd just not heard about. I've never really had my finger on the pulse of what's popular. The next thing I knew, I had a voicemail message telling me that he wanted to interview me for the 7:30 Report on channel ABC. For any of my wonderful non-Australian readers (and for any Aussies who don't really watch ABC because art shows and documentaries are not your cup of tea) the 7:30 Report is a national current affairs program which runs nightly on TV. Despite the fact that I stopped watching ABC when they swapped most of their kids programs to a dedicated second channel, I still recognised the name of the program when he mentioned it in the message, and immediately began to freak out. Mum saw the slack jawed look on my face as I hung up my phone, and immediately began to think I'd just received a message that someone was dead. So when I told her what the message really was, her face mirrored mine. If we were at a carnival I'm sure people would have started dropping balls in our mouth in order to try to win a poorly made stuffed animal. (I'll just leave that mental image right there for you.)

Eventually I got over my initial shock and called the guy back. We ended up chatting for about twenty minutes about this blog, and the blogging culture in Australia as a whole. At the end of the interview he told me he wanted to interview me on camera for a report they were going to run on mum blogs in Australia, and while I thought his report was probably several years too late, given the mum blogging craze really reached its peak quite some time ago I agreed to allow him to send a crew over to my house. We ended our conversation and then reality hit me. At some stage during the week (I didn't get proper confirmation of dates or times until the next day) a crew were going to descend on my house, filled with its mountain of rubbish we haven't gotten around to taking to the rubbish tip yet, and mail piles full of letters dating back possibly two years, inhabited by a slightly overweight single mum with terrible teeth, and expect to film something that Australians would actually want to watch. I don't know if there is a person in the world capable of that level of magic. They wanted to film me and Miss K interacting as part of some action shots as well, and the thought crossed my mind to just make her do the entire interview on my behalf, given she is never at a loss for words, and she knows she is the most fabulous person in the world, but I figured they probably wouldn't think that idea was as awesome as I did. So I set about panicking.

I spent the next three days trying to clean the house, while trying not to laugh, cry and throw up all at the same time. I called family members, I went to my blogging friends, I even got on Google trying to find something to calm my ever increasing nerves. I made note of the fact that you shouldn't wear red, black or white on television, as none of those colours are flattering apparently. I also found out that you should wear blue because it's the best colour for creating a healthy looking complexion. This caused a new panic for me because I own a total of one blue t-shirt and it is covered in permanent ink. Not exactly the image I wanted to convey as a blogger/mum who has her shit together in her own mind but nowhere else. Thanks to Google I also discovered there is no diet or exercise plan that helps you lose the equivalent of a small child from your behind in three days (thanks scientists).  I was contacted by the producer who was actually going to be running the circus, and I'm sure he immediately regretted contacting me when the barrage of questions came, especially the one where I admitted that I do not actually own a single item of make up at all. (I am sure that by admitting that fact on such a public forum I am now going to lose my female card any day now.) He did his best to reassure me, and was kind enough not to laugh at my increasing mania.

The day before the interview, I was taking a short break cleaning up the many piles of junk which have accumulated on any and all available surfaces, when another email came through. Before I even opened it, I sensed that I already knew what it was going to be, and sure enough, it was from the original producer who I had spoken to on Monday, telling me that unfortunately they had to pull the story because there were issues with another part of it. I sat for a second waiting for the disappointment to come, but all I could feel was relief. I was relieved that I could stop cleaning, I was relieved that I didn't have to feel ashamed because I don't wear makeup, I was relieved I didn't have to worry about exactly how fat I would look on a wide screen television, and I was relieved I wasn't going to be famous. (OK I wasn't really expecting two minutes of screen time on one current affairs show to really be my ticket to the big league, but fifteen seconds of fame is still fifteen seconds of fame.)

It has occurred to me over the three years that I have been the proud owner of Searching for Sanity that what I originally thought I wanted with the fame, the recognition and the book deal, isn't actually what I want at all. What I really want is what I have right now. A forum to place all the crazy stuff that floats around in my head, and a handful of loyal (if very quiet) readers who have found this place, liked the look of all the madness, and just made themselves at home on my lumpy couch.  With fame and/or recognition comes expectations, and expectations mean work. I am just too lazy for all of that stuff, and that isn't about to change. I like that to you guys I am just words on a page, and the occasional weird picture. I like that my mum is still my biggest fan, and I can always tell when she's visited my site because it shows up in my stats that someone googled the blog name, despite the fact that if she just typed the first three letters into the address line up the top it would come straight up. So for now, and possibly forever I will remain almost famous, but as long as I have this place and you guys, that is the best thing to be, so thank you.

I know a lot of my blogger friends and possibly some of you who don't have your own websites have actually gotten past the scheduling part of getting onto TV, and have actually managed to get their mugs onto the screen, so if any of you have stories of your fifteen minutes of fame, I'd love to hear them. Let me live vicariously through you guys please, I promise I'll totally be your biggest fan.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

5 Things to Expect when your Children become independent

So today I want to talk to you guys about a tough subject, and one not a lot of parents really think about until it's too late and you're right in the thick of this new phase in your life as a parent; what to expect when your child starts asserting their own independence. No parent ever wants to admit that one day they will no longer be needed for absolutely every one of their child's many, many needs. And while we all spend many hours moaning that we can't wait for our little ones to grow up just a little bit more, easing our work load just a tiny bit, the second that day comes, we all freak out with the realization we are one day closer to being just another character in their lives instead of the hero of their story. So today I'm here to arm all you parents out there, and let you know what is coming in the days, months and years ahead of you, and hopefully better prepare you for that inevitable day.

Mess will become your new normal
Children are messy by nature. They just don't appreciate the value of a tidy room, and they act accordingly. So while they can't wait to learn to pour their own drinks, or make their own sandwiches, the process that comes with learning these skills will actually increase your work load more than if you'd just done everything yourself. The temptation to take over and prevent the messes from happening in the first place will be overwhelming, especially at first. You're going to need to bite your tongue hard and accept that this is all part of growing up. The beautiful thing about children is they always want to be helpful, so one way to combat the mess before it begins is allow them to help you clean up while they are still young. Miss K can wipe a surface like no one I know, mainly because since she was old enough to wield a cloth, that has been her job to do when I'm doing dishes. It kept her out of my hair while I was elbow deep in steaming hot water, and meant I had the cleanest cupboard doors in town. And while it hasn't prevented my bench tops from being covered with jam, butter and cordial (usually all at the same time) I know I can tell her to clean up her mess, and it will happen. 

There will be frustration
This counts both for you and your child. You will cringe the first time you watch them awkwardly try to hold both a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste at the same time and get the two to meet in the middle, and they will be confused why this isn't as easy as you make it look when you prepare their toothbrush every other night. What you both need to keep in mind while watching kids learn is that they have been watching you effortlessly do everything for the past three to four years, without knowing that once upon a time you were just as awkward and uncoordinated as they are now. I can honestly say I don't remember learning how to brush my own teeth (except that it used to drive my dad nuts that all of us kids would squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube), and yet it is a skill I can do in my sleep (an essential skill for all parents I'm sure.) It helps in these circumstances to tell your kids you're good at what you do because you practiced every single day. Tell them that you sucked once upon a time too, but it gets easier. Then step back and give them the chance to practice for themselves. Of course you will most probably have to step in every now and again when their stress levels hit critical levels, but it's important to let kids experience frustration. It is part of the learning process, and makes the mastery of a new skill all the more rewarding.

Don't expect perfection
Sometimes good enough is all you're going to get from your children, and you need to learn that this is OK. While it is important to teach your kids to strive to be better, you can't expect this to come straight away. There has to be a lot of mediocre before you can be good at something, and it is vital that you don't show disappointment when your kids version of a job well done doesn't match your own. This can teach your children that they are failures straight away, and sap them of their motivation to keep trying. This of course does not mean you can't point out mistakes when they happen, it is after all your job as parent to educate your children. But you need to also point out that you recognize that your child tried their best when they do, even if it's not the same as your best. That will come with time and patience.

Learn to lose control
This is the hardest thing for any parent to do. It is our first instinct to protect our kids from all the horrible things in the world, including themselves. You're going to want to step in and keep doing everything for your child every single time you see them trying to take a step away from needing you, and I'll admit even I fail at this one still. It's a learning process for both of you, and you're both going to make mistakes along the way. But you're only hurting your child by not letting them fail something for themselves. Our biggest job as parents are forming a strong, independent and capable person that we will one day release into the wild to fend for themselves. Without all of the struggles they are going to go through over the coming years, they can't possibly reach their full potential once their lives are placed fully into their own hands. Just remember all of this pain, all of this frustration and all of this mess is ultimately for their own good, and yours too. 

You will feel sad, and this is OK
If the sight of your child putting their own dirty clothes in the laundry basked has you wanting to reach for the tissues, don't feel ashamed. It is totally normal to mourn the loss of your sweet innocent baby, as long as you also take a moment to rejoice in the new grown up child that has taken their place. I can't help but feel a little bit hurt every time Miss K tells me "No mum, I do it" as if all the help I have given her over the past four and a half years wasn't good enough. But when I do feel hurt, I just remind myself that this has been the ultimate goal all along. I know that one day I will be replaced as The One Who Does Everything  and to be honest I'm not sure what I am going to do once that day comes, and while that thought scares the absolute bejeezus out of me, that's OK too. In the meantime I promise I will continue to complain every time Miss K asks me to do a simple task for her that I have watched her do a million times before, cry a little bit to myself every time I see her growing up right before my eyes, and act like the day I become obsolete is not approaching faster every day, because I am nothing if not consistent. 

So consider yourselves educated on what is about to happen to your darling little ones. For any of my readers who have already been through any of this, especially any parents whose children have gone so far as to actually grow up and become totally independent adults, please feel free to leave a comment below and share anything I have missed. Given that I am still in the early years of Miss K's path to independence, I know that there is still so much I have to learn, so any education you guys can give is always appreciated. 
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