Monday, 24 October 2016

Timeline of a 2am spew fest

Scene: It is very early in the morning and you are lying in bed enjoying a peaceful sleep as you do every night. Next to you is the tiny figure of a child, who makes their way into your room every night for snuggles, but tonight is not like every other night as you are about to find out.

1:58am: You notice that the figure next to you is more restless than normal. This fact barely registers in your sleeping thoughts, but you do notice it through your dream.
2:00am: You are woken up by the first choking sounds of an impending spew by the body next to you. In your sleep addled state you have the presence of mind to throw the blankets off her before the spew-pocalypse begins. There is no time to do anything else after that.
2:01am: You turn on the light and see the huge task that awaits you. There is now a vomit covered child sitting on a vomit soaked mattress crying. You run to the kitchen to grab a bucket in case there is any more vomit to come, but you might as well not bother, the damage is done. You insult the small child by offering her the bucket as she no longer possesses the desire to throw up.
2:03am: You gingerly strip off the child and send her towards the bathroom to await cleaning. You figure that area is all tiles and lino so it will be easier to clean if her reassurances she doesn't feel sick anymore turn out to be all lies.
2:04am: You turn to your bed, which now resembles a scene from Dante's Inferno and begin stripping the bedclothes. You sigh as you add  this stain to the long list of pre-existing stains that your child has already kindly donated to your mattress.  The bedclothes are piled up outside the laundry along with the pyjamas.
2:06am: You grab some clean pyjamas and a towel for your child and head to the bathroom to break up the argument that has started between her and your mother, as she insists that YOU are the one who must now clean her up. You throw the clothes on the floor then remember that you forgot underpants. You dash to the bedroom, nearly breaking your next in the process on the mountain of toys on the floor that she insists is her shop. You run back to the bathroom where the argument has continued in your absence and confirm to your child that you are indeed going to be the one who cleans her up. Your mum heads off to make you a coffee. You are going to need it.
2:10am: You end up having to get into the shower with your crying child, because she has just remembered she is terrified of the shower and is refusing to enter alone. It doesn't matter that you already showered today, you're now going to have a record breaking two showers in one day.
2:16am: You have scrubbed your child from top to bottom and she is finally not crying, and no longer afraid of the shower. In fact she is now "swimming" on the shower floor and giggling, her recent stomach fireworks a distant memory. This is the point at which you realise you never grabbed a towel for yourself.
2:17am: You are now standing naked and dripping wet in your bathroom drying off your child. Both of you are shivering, but only one of you is covered by a towel and receiving a rigorous drying off. The other of you is a grown adult and has to suck it up. You quickly throw on your nightgown after a quick check to make sure you ducked the contents of her stomach earlier and curse as it sticks to your wet back. You get your child dressed quickly and send her to the lounge room where your mum has turned on the heater. There is a coffee waiting for you, but you want to complete your next task with an empty stomach.
2:24am: You have dragged all of the soiled bedding to the bathroom and commence rinsing everything off before you put them in the washing machine. This task comes complete with gagging and heaving, because of course, you are a sympathetic vomiter. This is why you needed an empty stomach. The mess compels you to ask your child exactly when they ate lettuce, because you know they hate lettuce, but you have evidence on your sheets that they have somehow consumed it today.
2:34am: Gasping for fresh air you march to the laundry with your newly rinsed pile of laundry and get it into the washing machine. You add a double scoop of laundry powder and some soaking agent with anti-bacterial stuff in it. You hope this is enough to convince your brain that these bed sheets are not horror tainted evil forever more so you can put them back on your bed tomorrow.
2:35am: Before you head to the lounge room you go back to your bedroom and throw open the window as wide as it will go. You hope this is enough to get rid of the smell.
2:36am: You finally get to sit down to a coffee. This is the point where you realise you have nowhere to sleep tonight, as your bed needs to be scrubbed down and blessed by a priest before you will lie in it again. You decide to grab the mattresses from your child's bed and the trundle bed you keep for sleepovers and drag them into the lounge room. But first, coffee.
2:50am: You watch your "sick" child dance around the lounge room with a seemingly endless source of energy. You wonder for about the millionth time since becoming a parent whether she is siphoning energy from you. It is at this point where you remember that her dad is meant to be taking her to the park tomorrow so you send him a quick message explaining that she is possibly unwell so tomorrow's excursion will need to be cancelled. You do not expect a reply because only an idiot would be awake at this time of the morning.
2:55am: You drag the mattresses into the lounge room and set your child up to sleep. You turn on the TV to get her to sit still. Your mum returns to bed, having kindly kept you company during the grossest parts, she is relieved of her duties and free to fall back into the kind of sound sleep only someone whose child has not just thrown up can have. You envy her that luxury.
3:05am: You turn off the lights and try to fall asleep to the sound of Dora the Explorer. This fails as you haven't seen this episode, so you can't resist the temptation to watch. This is why you watch the same movie every single night to go to sleep. You can't sleep through something new.
3:30am: You finally turn off the television. Neither of you are sleeping and you can't handle the excitement of Nick Jr. any more. You spend the next twenty minutes reminding your "sick" child that she is meant to be sleeping right now and stroking her back. Every time she makes a new noise you feel compelled to ask her how her stomach is feeling, just to hear her say it feels good and calm. This doesn't fill you with as much confidence as it should. You do not trust your child anymore.
4:00am: Your child is finally asleep. You think this would be your cue to sleep as well, however this is the point where you discover your daughter makes really loud noises with her mouth in her sleep. (Has she always done this?) Every new noise jolts you awake and you regret not putting a bucket on the ground next to her.
4:30am(ish): You finally fall asleep somehow, but it isn't a restful sleep. You are still paranoid there will be a repeat performance and you can feel the ground underneath the paper thin mattress you are lying on. You resign yourself to the fact that tomorrow is going to be a bad day.
6:00am: You are woken up by a bright eyed and bushy tailed child. She is feeling fabulous and wants food. You turn on the television to distract her and go back to sleep. Might as well catch some more sleep while you can.
9:00am: You are woken up by the telephone. Her father has been trying to get on to you for an hour now and wants to make sure everything is OK. You reassure him it appears to have been a one off event, but she needs to stay home today just to make sure. He informs you he is coming over today to see her, and you resign yourself to the fact that your sleep is over. Thank God for coffee.

End Scene

Saturday, 22 October 2016

October Fly on the Wall - A Walk Down Memory Lane

It is time once again for Fly on the Wall. In this series, a bunch of bloggers get together and show all of the madness you would witness were you a fly on the wall in their house. This month there are seven bloggers participating, be sure to click on all the links below to witness hilarity.

Fly on the Wall

This month seven bloggers are participating, so be sure to click on all the links below to see all the hilarity.

Baking In A Tornado            
Menopausal Mother             
Spatulas on Parade                                                              
Never Ever Give Up Hope                                     
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy             
A Little Piece of Peace                              

So this month has been pretty quiet for us, so this time I am doing something different. You see I've only been doing Fly on the Wall for about three years now, and there have been many hilarious moments that happened well before I joined this series that I haven't had a place to share elsewhere, so today's Fly on the Wall is actually a look back at some of the shenanigans that have happened before I started this blog.

I was walking past my dad one day with a bag of cotton wool in my hands.
Dad: Ooh marshmallows. Proceeds to take a ball of cotton wool and pop it into his mouth. That's not marshmallow.
Me: Yeah dad don't eat those, they won't taste too good.
Dad: Why didn't you say anything until after I put it in my mouth.
Me: I didn't think it would take you that long to realise it wasn't food.

Ben was living with me for a while back when I was about 24. One day we came home and found one of his cats had been hit by a car. I was given the task of collecting the remains off the road, so I scooped it up in a plastic bag and took the bag to Ben.
Me: Hey, you know what? You could totally make a puppet out of this.
Ben looked like he didn't know whether to laugh, cry or punch me. Luckily for me he chose to laugh.

*Now I'm not sure if this story is an overshare, but my family still love to tease me about my stupidity.*
When I was 20 I booked an appointment for my first pap smear. I was very nervous, and the doctor could tell, so she was just making small talk to try to distract me. For the record, she was looking at my medical records when this conversation happened, I just didn't realise that until after I had put my foot in my mouth.
Dr: So I see here that you smoke yes?
Me: You can tell that from a pap smear?

Nat and I were arguing about a line from the song Linger by Cranberries.
Me: I think it says do you have to pull my finger.
Nat: No, that's not what it says, it's something about linger.
Sam walks past both of us to the bathroom, then sticks her head back out of the door.
Sam: Let it linger Nat, let it linger.
Me: Did she just fart and tell you to let it linger?
Nat: I hope not.
Me: Oh wait, I think that's the lyric.

Nat: Now don't laugh at what I'm about to say OK?
Me: OK.
Nat: Breakfast cereal scares me...
Nat: You're not saying anything.
Me: I'm waiting for the rest of that sentence. It's really hard not to laugh at you right now you weirdo.

When Ben, Nat and Kim were still kids, they went to the pool together heaps one summer. Kim was always worried that Ben and Nat were going to do something to embarrass her. One day Ben decided it would be fun to scream "I'm the girl in the blue bikini's brother" as he did a belly flop into the pool, just to embarrass her. Unfortunately he hit the water before he could say the word brother, so he just ended up screaming "I'm the girl in the blue bikini!!" We still give him hell for this nearly ten years later.

Ok so today I am going to finish with a joke that Miss K told me this month.

Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Orange
Me: Orange who?
Miss K: Orange you glad I'm not a banana in a fruit bowl?

Well that's all from this side of the world, be sure to visit the other bloggers participating this month and I shall be back with more madness soon.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Teaching Good Sportsmanship Like a Jerk

One of my biggest fears in life is that my daughter is not going to be a nice person when she's all grown up. I shudder at the thought of my sweet caring little girl being an absolute jerk to someone and not giving it a second thought. Of course there is nothing I have seen yet to indicate that this is going to be the case, and I take every opportunity to teach Miss K about being considerate and thoughtful, but human nature means we're all jerks sometimes. And I was a jerk this week.

A lot of Miss K's time these days is spent preparing for school next year. Kindergarten is teaching her the education side of things, and the social side of things, but it's still my job to teach her basically everything else. I assumed that teaching children to be good sports would be included in her learning at kindergarten, but either the opportunity has never come up before, or Miss K has never shown that she needs the lesson there. She's never really shown me before this week that she needed it either, but I found out this week that she is quite happy to gloat when she beats someone, and I wasn't ok with it.

Part of this problem will have come from me. I have always encouraged a healthy interest in competition in Miss K, as I feel it is necessary to get ahead in life. But because she is only five, I let her win a lot when we compete against each other. (Except when it comes to running, she beats me fair and square when we race, I'm just too chubby and lazy to really run.) So Miss K has a confidence that she can win with ease thanks to me. Now I know that confidence is key, but too much confidence leads to arrogance, and I don't want my child to be a fat head. So I've slowly started winning more and more, just to teach her that winning isn't always guaranteed, but that just makes the wins she does get bigger in her mind. And with her new victories came gloating.

Miss K and I were bored the other night so we decided to play a few board games for an hour before bedtime. We started with Kerplunk, which I've had in our games cupboard for years now, but we've never played so I was excited to introduce her to a game I loved as a child. (We even had a Star Trek version because my big sister is a giant nerd.) I won each game, but the longer we played, the harder I had to work for my victories, as Miss K got a feel for the strategy that is Kerplunk. This is where her sense of competition was good. She was happy to lose, but she learned from her losses and used that lesson to bridge the gap between us in each new round. Eventually we got bored with having to reset the game each time so we swapped to Hungry, Hungry Dinos (Yeah, yeah I know that's not the real game, but board games are expensive OK?) Now Miss K was in her element. She loves quick fire games and beat me hands down every single round. I wasn't letting her win either, these were real losses for me. I was impressed by her performance until she started calling my dinosaurs losers.

I was shocked by her attitude, I've never gloated around her as I find that behaviour really off putting.  I tried the Mike Brady method of lecturing her on the dinosaur's feelings. (Yet another in a long list of bizarre conversations I've had to have with my daughter.) I let her know that it isn't nice to point out that someone is a loser if they don't win a game, and using words like that can hurt someone's feelings. She agreed with me and I thought the matter was settled, but she went back to calling the dinosaurs losers straight away. So Mike Brady lost round one. I decided it was time to lead by example, and this is where I became a jerk.

It's like the old lesson we used to teach our children when they learn how to bite, if they bite us, we bite back. (Of course I don't condone biting your children, please don't bite the kids.) But if you want a kid to know how something feels, you let them experience it. So I swapped the game to one where the odds were stacked in my favour; We had thumb war. (Another throwback to my own childhood and the many thumb wars I had with my big sister where she usually beat me easily.) I won the round of course, and then I proceeded to do a victory dance (which may or may not have included a song calling Miss K a loser).

Yeah, yeah, I know, I was a huge meanie. I can only imagine how many of you are burning up with rage right now, but Miss K got the point straight away. She now knew how it felt to be called a loser, and she knew how horrible it felt. Now you may think I overreacted, she was insulting a plastic moulded toy that is unable to feel emotions or even hear her words, but that wasn't the point. One day she is going to play sports with other children who do have ears and feelings that can be easily hurt, and I don't want her to be the jerk gloating over winning a stupid game when it actually matters. I reiterated how words can hurt feelings, and we talked about the correct way to behave whether you win or lose, and we finished our match by telling each other "Good game".

So while I don't officially condone calling your kids losers, or gloating around them, or deliberately beating them at games, sometimes you have to be a jerk to prove a point. Hopefully my daughter now has a better sense of humility, and will be more gracious with her wins and her losses. Or one day I'll get a huge bill from a therapist for all the damage I'm doing as I stumble through being a parent. Only time will tell.

I would love to hear about any other parents out there who have had similar ethical dilemmas that they solved by being less than perfect. Hit me up in the comments down below and let me know how much you now pay for therapy per month. I get the feeling I'm going to need to start a savings account very soon.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The hidden effects of bulimia

I am going to admit something to you guys that I have only admitted to two of my immediate family members and no one else. I've kept this little secret to myself for two reasons; one because it doesn't look too good for me, and two because it looks like I'm trying to blame my problems on my baby sister.

If any of you read my piece on R U OK day for 2016 (you can find it here) you'll know that my little sister is currently living with my mum and I while she tries to recover from bulimia, PTSD, and now suspected Fibromyalgia. Her health problems and mental problems fill up her whole life, and as an extension they fill up our lives as we live with her. While I've always had an idea how hard bulimia was to overcome, I never suspected it could affect people not suffering from it quite like it does. That's the thing about mental disorders, they are insidious and sneaky and plague you in ways you never thought possible.

Which is why yesterday I had to Google the phrase "are eating disorders contagious". You see ever since Kimberley has come to live with us, I have developed a hatred for food. I hate the way it has become an obsession for my little sister, I hate how much of her day revolves around cooking and eating food, I hate that our kitchen is always full of dirty dishes because she got peckish yet again. At first I avoided cooking because it always meant having to wash a mountain of dishes just to get enough supplies to cook something for me. This really isn't a problem around here right now because Kimberley loves cooking, so she gladly picked up the slack that I dropped. Then I spent weeks listening to Kimberley talk about all the different restaurants she's been to, the meals she's cooked, the meals she wants to cook, the meals she managed to keep down, and the ones she didn't, and I got food fatigue. I was so tired of hearing about food, of talking about food, of watching someone be consumed by food that I began to hate the very fuel that is meant to keep my body going.

I stopped just avoiding cooking and began to start avoiding eating as well. Food held no joy for me anymore, and I lost my appetite almost entirely. I still managed to organise meals for Miss K, but I stopped eating with her. I would wait until she went to bed and eat a rice cake or a bag of Doritos instead of sitting down to a proper meal. Kimberley nagged me to eat more, and this just made me angry. How dare a person who can't even manage their own relationship with food lecture me on mine. This seemed to make my own issues magnify and when Miss K went for a holiday at her dad's house for a week I stopped caring for food entirely. I lived the entire week on yogurt for breakfast and rice cakes for dinner, with ice cream for dessert. It was a throwback to a time before I had Miss K when I would eat cereal for every meal and be happy doing so. I was almost happy when Miss K's dad told me she'd spent her last night at his house throwing up, because it meant I had to give her something very light for dinner her first night back, just in case she was still sick.

It slowly dawned on me that my behaviour was becoming problematic. I began to wonder why I had such an aversion to food now, when it used to be the only good thing in my life once upon a time. (That was in my late teens when emotional eating made me balloon out to a size 20.) I've never been one to diet, and while I've not always had the healthiest relationship with food, I've certainly become smarter about it ever since Miss K came along, and usually I try my hardest to eat a balanced diet. The thing is, I don't actually believe I have an eating disorder, what I have is a whole lot of anger. I am angry at food for the hold it has on my little sister. But I can't punish food for being such a toxic subject in my house, so like the true passive aggressive I am, I avoid it entirely. Is it healthy? No. Does it solve anything? Hell no.

There isn't a lot of attention paid online to the effects eating disorders have on the people surrounding the sufferer. It is always briefly acknowledged that yes, you will struggle as you try to help the person you love, and here are some of the things you may feel, however get over it princess because here is what you now need to do to help the person with an eating disorder. There is no article called "How to survive your sister's bulimia" which would really help me right now.

Now like I said at the beginning of this, the reason I haven't admitted this to anyone is because it sounds like I am blaming Kimberley for admitting she has a problem. Do I wish Kimberley hadn't reached out to us for help? No. Not at all. I'd rather have a sister who is alive and openly struggling than a sister who died because of a secret. As much as she bugs the hell out of me on a weekly basis, the alternative is far worse. What I really hope to achieve by sharing my dirty little secret with you is showing that helping someone get through something like this is bloody hard, and you will feel like shit sometimes. This is OK, and you can't feel guilty for having your own reactions to the situation you are living. There is help out there for families, you just won't find a lot of it on the internet. You will need to go to the professionals, and I am no different. For any one out there reading this who is currently hiding their own eating disorder, please understand that reaching out for help is the best thing you can do. The people you love would much rather help you bear your burdens and feel these feelings than be kept blissfully unaware and in the dark.

As for me, this is the part where I suck it up princess. It's not my job to fight with food, and doing so is counter-productive, so I need to stop taking my anger out on food and start dealing with my feelings like an adult. Realising what my problem was has helped, so it can only go up from here. (See? Adult!) Now if you'll excuse me Miss K has just informed me she is craving pumpkin rice and tortellini, so I have to go shopping and fill my pantry up with some real food. That is one of the downsides of her spending a whole week with Italians; her love of good cooking comes home with her.

If any of you have gone through, or are currently going through something similar, please drop me a comment down below, let me know how you're coping (or not coping as the case may be). I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Cooper's Memorial

How do you pay tribute to someone who died before you had a chance to meet them? How do  you sum up a life that was only 8 weeks in the making when it ended? How do you do all of this while you're still up to your eyeballs in grief? Luckily for me I didn't have to, because I had a sister to do the hard work for me.

For any of you who are new to this website, You'll probably want to read this post before going any further with today's story, as that gives you the back story you need to understand today.

It's been six months since my miscarriage, and because I haven't mentioned it in so long, it would be so easy to say I've done my grieving, I've moved on and everything is hunky dory, but that's not exactly the truth. The hardest thing I'm dealing with right now is the fact that Miss K still doesn't really understand what happened. She knows that Cooper isn't going to come to live with us anymore, but she thinks it's because he lives at the hospital. But whenever she brings him up I let her talk about him, I never want this to feel like a subject she can't talk about, or that it's something to avoid. She needs to be able to deal with it too.

There is still a small part of me that holds on to Cooper, especially with my original due date just over a month away. So I decided it was time to finally get his memorial framed and hung.

Appreciate the fact that my bed is made. This is not my room in its natural state.

The print is the one we originally bought for Cooper's nursery before I realised I'd had the miscarriage. The writing next to it is a poem Kimberley wrote for me the day we found out.

I still love that picture, and hot air balloons still hold a special meaning for me, so much so I'm actually considering getting a tattoo of one, when I eventually get around to getting Miss K's tattoo finished.

I couldn't get a decent picture of the poem so if you would like to read it, you can find it at the bottom of this post. Kimberley sent it to me the day of my first ultrasound, and despite the fact that she is the member of our family who can always be relied upon to say the most insane, inappropriate things at the worst possible times, she really managed to capture everything I wanted to say at the time, but was too numb to do. 

For our baby in the hot air balloon xxoo

A thousand stars appear in the sky
every night as time goes by
we'll make a wish and i'll think of you
and we will be comforted through and through
because we believe that you are there
and we'll feel your presence as we stop and stare
at the beauty that is in this world
including the beautiful boy or girl
that will be watching us all the time
and you'll know a love so pure and alive
because you were here and you were real
and there was a love that we could all feel
for you and the thought that we would meet
and we'd hold your hand and tickle your feet
but god acts in mysterious ways
and we will be confused for a million days
wishing that we could see your face
and time would stop and our hearts would race
but things have changed and we feel numb
and we will be lost in time to come
but there will be one day that we will meet
at the pearly gates in the cloudy street
and we will know that it is you
and our whole family will form a cue
to hold you tight and give you love
and share the prayers we sent to god above
to keep you safe and keep you warm
and protect you from every scary storm
your heart still beats within us all
and our love for you still grows big and tall
your mum is brave and your sister is strong
and we will comfort them all year long
our hearts feel heavy and we feel blue
but you are our family and we will always love you.
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