Saturday, 18 June 2016

June Fly on the Wall

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

Fly on the Wall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Yes I send my child for visitations while sick

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

After the miscarriage - one month on

I'm back again people, I thought I'd discuss where I've been since my miscarriage, it's not something I've spoken about much since my original post which you can find here if you want to know what the hell I'm talking about.  I can't promise I'm not going to swear today. In real life I swear enough to make a wharfie blush. I try my hardest to keep my language PG around here just because I'm really not sure who is reading this stuff, but I'm giving myself permission today to break my own rules, so if you're easily offended by bad language, now is a good time to click away from here.

The thing that has surprised me the most about the past month is just how bloody long it is taking for me to get over everything. I honestly thought I'd be moving on by now, and that all of this would be a distant memory, but it still hasn't happened yet and I'm starting to really get pissed off at exactly how human I am right now. That anger and frustration is starting to spill out of me now, and I find myself exploding over things that never used to upset me. Little quirks I had before I lost the baby are starting to get bigger too. I've always hated crowds, but these days anything more than three people in a room is a crowd. It makes it hard to have people visit, because while I love all of my family (they really are the only ones who visit me anyway) twenty minutes into coffee and chatting I'm ready to hide in my bedroom until they disappear. I've contemplated playing dead a few times until it becomes so awkward they just leave, but I really don't need to give people more reasons to want to lock me in the loony bin right about now.

My way of coping with my feelings has been to pile item after item onto my to do list, until I am now drowning in stuff that has to get done. I've taken on a business partnership to go with the diploma of management I'm studying, and I've also determined that now is the perfect time to learn how to do calligraphy, how to market a business, how to draw, and how to train a dog. I've scheduled all kinds of work for this blog as well, but I'm now at the point where I'm so overwhelmed nothing gets done. I sit here staring at my computer screen and worrying that I will never get through everything I've put on myself that it has almost become a self prophecy of failure. My family keep telling me to take some time off and just relax but it feels almost physically impossible for me to do that right now. I think I'm terrified if I have nothing to think about I'll start thinking about the baby and I just can't keep dwelling on that right now. I'm sick and tired of being sad, but there are days where it seems that's all I know how to be.

I think the thing that is making it hardest right now is that my body is now totally back to normal. (That's code for I got my period for anyone who can't understand subtext) and while I knew this day was coming, it still came as a shock to the system when it actually arrived. The doctors words came flooding back to me where he told me my cycle would start up again and then I could theoretically try to have another baby straight away if that was what I desired. I sat there hating my body for being so eager to get back to normal when my brain still can't wrap itself around what's going on right now. To be perfectly honest I do not desire to try again right now, and I'd love it if my ovaries and uterus could be sympathetic to this fact and give me a little extra time before getting back into the swing of things. I'm still not entirely convinced sewing my legs shut is a bad idea right now, and I'm half way through a bet with the baby's father who believed I'd be ready to "get back on the horse" two months after the miscarriage. I very kindly told him I'd put money on the fact that we will never ride that horse together again, and in fact I may never ride another horse at all. (I need to work on my metaphors I think, this one is getting creepy.) I then took great relish in deleting him from my life (my phone) and I now feel safe in the knowledge that he can never contact me ever again to discuss horses or anything else for that matter. Removing him was a huge step for me, and something I've not been able to do in the past, so that was a cathartic step to say the least.

I'm still not entirely ready to even discuss the fact that I've had a miscarriage with people who don't already know, although I did try to force this by discussing it with a substitute teacher at Miss K's kindergarten (she asked how many kids I have, I didn't just walk up to her and say hey, my baby died, just FYI), but her response was disappointing to say the least. She trotted out the old "well at least you still have your oldest daughter, you must be grateful for her even if you never have another child" line, as if Miss K was a consolation prize. I could have gotten angry at her poor choice of words at the time, but for all I know that could have been her mantra once upon a time, so I chose to let it slide and walk away quietly. And that's the thing. You never know what anyone is going to say if you tell them. I know a woman who was told she deserved to lose her baby, which is a huge fear of mine, so it's easier just keeping silent and not letting anyone know this is why I have permanent resting bitch face right now.

I can feel myself slipping, and yesterday was the first day I was able to admit out loud that I am not coping right now. This is about the point where I would normally go straight to the doctors office and get them to put me back on drugs, but I don't want to do that this time. I want to get through this on my own, without relying on chemicals to prop me up. I know exactly what I need to do, but theory and practise are always two completely different things. First I need to stop beating myself up for being slow on the uptake. I have forgotten the effort it takes to complete simple tasks when you're battling grief and depression, so instead of celebrating the fact that I was able to do the dishes for the first time in two months last week instead I berated myself for being too exhausted to do any other housework for the rest of the day. Instead of feeling proud of myself for hand writing an ad for the business I criticised my work and then hated myself for being inept at using photo editing software. That's the weird thing about grieving. Instead of saying I'm sad and angry because my baby died, I say I'm sad and angry because I suck at life and I can't do anything right. It's easier to focus on the tiny little details I mess up instead of looking at the huge and very sad bigger picture.

The next thing I need to do is take some time off for myself. So yesterday Miss K and I went to Maccas and ate junk food instead of going shopping for healthy food, and by the time this post goes live, we will be skipping school and kindergarten and on our way to the Melbourne Museum to look at the dinosaurs. Then we're going to eat pancakes at one of my favourite restaurants in the city just because it's been years since I've been there. It's also been years since I've wagged from school or work just for the hell of it, so I'm hoping this wild rule breaking spree is enough to lift me up even just a little bit right now.

I'm also closing my contact me page here on the blog for a little while, and giving myself permission to only post what I want for a few weeks. It may mean that there are longer breaks where I'm not here at all, but I promise I'll still be here at least once a month for the Fly on the Wall, so you'll still get to see all the crazy stuff we get up to when I'm not here. I'm hoping that by loosening the reins on my own life a little I might actually be able to start enjoying it again. I still desperately want to find the joy in every single day, but it's harder to do that when I'm tied to a to do list that never ends.

Well that's it from my little part of the world, coincidentally if you see any news articles about a dinosaur exhibit being totally destroyed at the museum this week, please know that I had absolutely nothing to do with it, it was all the five year old's fault.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Review - Hoffman Academy

Hello again lovely peoples, I have decided to take a break from procrastinating today to discuss an awesome website that Miss K and I have had been given opportunity to review. Today I will be discussing the Hoffman Academy.

Anyone who knows me knows I love music. I listen to music all the time, and when I get the chance, I love to play piano. I took lessons when I was a kid, but had to stop for some reason, but the love of playing stayed with me, so when my big sister Sam was gifted an upright piano and she had no room for it at her house I gladly begged mum to let us store it here for her, simply so that I had an excuse to play. I've slowly been teaching Miss K to play, but given I don't have a lot of theory practise under my belt it is a very slow process. So when The Hoffman Academy contacted me and asked if we would review their online lessons I jumped at the chance.

There are two elements to the piano lessons given at Hoffman Academy. The first one is video lessons, which are available for free on their website. The second element is the work books, which are available for purchase at $19 USD per unit, or $85 USD if you purchase all of the units at once, which is a savings of $29! We were given a copy of the first unit workbook, and we have been going through it slowly while watching the videos.

All of the lessons are given by Joseph Hoffman who teaches the "Hoffman method" of piano playing. The videos are definitely aimed at children, with the language used very simple and explanations broken down to a level where children would be able to understand them. For us this was perfect given the student is five years old, however it may be a bit insulting for adults who are trying to learn to play through this website. That being said I don't think anyone should be deterred from trying Hoffman Academy regardless of their age. There is even a fun puppet show at the end of each video, something Miss K looks forward to as a reward for accomplishing another lesson.

The thing I loved about the Hoffman Academy piano lessons was that it made learning the piano both fun and easy for Miss K. Everything was broken down in a way that I find impossible to do, so she picked up new lessons quicker than she ever did with me. It also did away with a lot of the frustration both of us felt when I was handling her lessons on my own. Because she could see results a lot quicker she didn't lose confidence in her abilities when she did make a mistake, and was more willing to give it another go, something I could never get her to do, so Hoffman for the win there.

Hoffman Academy has made learning the piano easy and affordable. The fact that she was able to sit at the piano with my tablet open in front of her has made me happy because I don't have to leave the house, and she can pick it up whenever she wants and try another lesson, so if we're stuck inside on a rainy day (which means all the time right now, thanks very much winter.) then instead of getting in my hair she sits at the piano and works her way through another lesson, and I get to sit in my dressing gown with my unbrushed hair and not worry that the piano teacher thinks I'm a lazy parent. And given that each unit comprises of up to twenty lessons you are certainly getting value for money.

For further information, including looking up Mr Hoffman's impressive resume, check out the Hoffman Academy here. You can watch the videos without needing to purchase the workbooks, but they certainly do add to the learning experience and help reinforce the information given in the videos.

Well that's all from me today, I'm off to enjoy the rare tiny bit of sunshine we're getting here today, it's made even more special by the fact that I had to scrape frost off my car this morning and drive to kindergarten in 0 degree weather. Have I mentioned that I hate winter lately?

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the first unit of lessons in return for this review. All opinions given here are entirely my own *

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