Sunday, 30 October 2011

If its not working - change.

Things haven't been fantastic lately in our little chicken coop.  The kids have been driving me insane with all their demands, and I've been feeling so overwhelmed with everything.  I'm sure most people don't think that having 4 kids under 5 is hard, but let me tell you - it is.  I feel like I can never meet everyone's needs, and everyone needs me at the same time, and its awful having to pick and choose between your children and upset one (or two) of the others.  I know it will get better, once The Baby gets better at sleeping during the day and doesn't need so much of me.  I'm not sure how long she will need 2 hourly feeds during the day, or have 20 minute cat naps, but I'm hoping that she will work out soon that sleep is bloody fantastic, and she really should do more of it.

Speedy is awfully needy (haha speedy is needy) at the moment.  Plus she has quite the temper on her, and lets fly at anything and everything.  The Coo has an awful screeching thing going on, whenever something is being done to her, or someone is taking something off her, instead of talking like we know she can - she screeches.  Its an ear piercing, blood curdling, mind numbing screech.  And it drives me up the wall.  She was doing well with toilet training, with the exception of one thing - she would never poo in the toilet or potty.  Poo had to be done in her undies, 2 - 4 times a day.  Another thing to drive me crazy.

Sparrow loves playing games - computer games, playstation games, explorer games - but drives me up the wall when he is playing the playstation and he wants me to get through a level for him because its too difficult for him.  I just don't have enough of me to go around, which is funny to say, considering I'm the size of a house.

So I've made some changes, some that some people won't understand, and some will think I'm crazy - but I'm coming to realise that other people's opinions shouldn't matter to me, unless they are in exactly the same position I am.

So my changes.  I've put Coo back in nappies.  I just couldn't do it any more, couldn't change her undies several times a day, and it was something that had to be changed then and there, and she had fantastic timing, usually it was when I was rocking The Baby to sleep or feeding etc.  So, she's back in nappies.

And nappies - all the girls are now in disposables.  I was finding it so hard to keep up with the washing for the girls in cloth, plus all our clothes.  Less work for me will hopefully help me not be so overwhelmed.  I hate that it is so much landfill, but I think I need a few months break to find my groove again.

Also, I've packed most toys away, so I don't have so many to clean up and the house never looks like a bomb has hit it (except for my bedroom at the moment with all the washing waiting to be folded)

My "size of a house" problem.  I've decided to try and wean myself off junk food, because to be honest, I'm not good at following diets.  I always say "thats it, no more junk food" and then I have an absolute shit of a day, and Elf Man gets me stuff on his way home to drown my sorrows.  So I'm working on changes there too.  This week, I didn't buy chocolate.  Next week I won't buy lollies.  The next week I won't buy chips.  The next week I won't buy sweet biscuits.  And then the next week, I won't buy maccas/take away.

I'm a work in progress at the moment - but I'm hoping by taking little steps - I'll get to find myself (....and my waist.....?)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A fab weekend

This weekend was pretty darn good.  I know Elf Man wouldn't agree with me cos he had the cranks on for most of it, but I think it was a good weekend for the rest of us.

Yesterday we spent most of the day at the park because they had a kids event on, with jumping castles and all sorts of goodies.  We met up with some friends, and it was just so lovely to be out in the sunshine and out of the house!

Here's my favourite pic from the day:

And the funniest:

Speedy loves that ice cream!!

Today we just hung around at home, but we actually got things done that we have been wanting to do, I cut Sparrow's hair finally - I've only been at him for ages to let me because it was totally out of control.



I think my favourite part of the day was tonight after I came out from putting The Baby down for the night, Sparrow and I started taking pictures of ourselves.  Some of them are beyond hysterically funny, and we were both cracking up.  I can't remember if we have ever done that before - the cracking up part.

I can't believe that only a week after going offline how different I feel.  I think I was getting so emotionally involved with things online, so empathetic towards people who are going through some really rough shit, that I had no empathy left for my children, I was completely drained and had nothing left to give them after giving it all to people online.  I didn't realise how overwhelmed by everything I was - the house was a mess because I wasted so much time online. Now the house is still a bit of a mess, but day by day, I can feel it getting just that little bit better, and I don't feel so down any more.  I feel happy.  I am happy.

I'm dealing with tantrums better.  Sometimes I have to stop after handling a situation completely different than how I would have dealt with it a week ago and just go - woah - so THAT'S how I was always supposed to do that.  Its amazing how much improvement I have made in my parenting abilities just by...being here.

I'm happy to keep being "here" for just a little bit longer.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

6 years today

Today marks 6 years of marriage for Elf Man and myself.  It doesn't seem that long ago really that I was nervously awaiting the arrival of some random guy I met on ICQ at my house.  I remember when he got out of the car, I didn't really know how to hug him because he was so tall!!  My soon-to-be-ex-husband was only 5 foot 4, Elf Man is 6 foot 7, so I was a little intimidated by his height.

He came inside, we shared some beers (classy chick that I am), some pizza and listened to some tunes in my bedroom.  I thought that he was pretty cool because he liked all my music - and I do have some random albums in my collection.  We agreed on a lot of stuff.  We talked a lot, we sort of slipped together like two pieces of a puzzle - and unlike every other relationship - I couldn't think of any reason of why we should break up.

So after a year (and a bit!) we got married.

Of course we don't look like that any more, bit more wearier, a bit more grey, and both about 20kg heavier.

So 2006 was great.  We bought a house.

Inherited two kittens, Jagger and Kruger.

Bought a puppy - Pepper.

Fell pregnant with Sparrow, but didn't find out until after a huge drunken session with workmates.  That's my excuse on his not-so-bright days.

Bought another puppy, Keenan.

Looking back on it now, our first year of marriage was huge.  Then of course, 2007 was the year of our first child, 2008 the year of our second child, 2009 the year of our third child (plus the sale of our home, and our move to tassie), 2010 was the year of buying another house, and 2011 for our final child.

We've had a lot packed into our 6 years of married life, and I wouldn't change a second of it.  We've had our ups and downs, but I'm glad I've found a person who respects me, trusts me, and not only loves me - but likes who I am as a person, even if I'm not sure exactly who I am.

And I feel the same way about him.

Happy anniversary my love.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The desire to do better

I dunno what it is, but I've always had a desire to do better the next time if I stuffed up (stuffed up by my own definition that is).

I didn't get my VBAC so I wanted a VBA2C.  I needed to do better than to "fail" at something.  Failure in my own head that is, if Coo wasn't born by c-section she probably wouldn't be here today.  I failed at breastfeeding with Sparrow, Coo and Speedy so wanted to do better this time.  I'm not sure where my drive to do better comes from, but wherever I get it from, I'm very appreciative because I think it makes me strive to be a better person.  A complete pain in the arse as well I'm sure, right Elf Man?

Anyway, today I lost my cool at Speedy.  Not completely unusual, she is a toddler, and just a little bit frustrating at the moment.  She wants to do so much on her own, but just doesn't have the ability yet.  We were making biscuits and I lost my temper because she didn't cut out the biscuit properly so I couldn't put it on the tray, but she wouldn't let me help.  Now, its probably because I'm sleep deprived, but I told her off, which then caused a huge crying tantrum from her, which then caused me to yell more because I didn't want her to wake The Baby, so she cried louder and eventually even I shed a few tears in frustration - I was trying to do something fun with my kids and it all seemed so difficult!  Why can't things just be easy!

So putting her down for her nap, I was stroking her silky curls and was going over the incident in my mind.  What I should have done was give her a little bit of dough of her own (not a huge chunk like the others had) and a few cookie cutters to play with on her own, and then did the rest with the bigger kids.  Instead of getting upset with her for being loud and (eventually) waking The Baby, I should have walked away from the bench and given her a cuddle in the bedroom and calmed her down.

Being offline is giving me the ability to think about situations differently - and if I'm not happy - do it better.  I wouldn't have thought about this all last week, I just went on doing the same thing, day in and day out - and it wasn't getting better.  Because I couldn't think of how to do it better.  Spending just these last few days with the kids have me thinking more clearly about how to handle a situation differently because I'm more connected with them. I may not be thinking it at the time, but today's incident shows that I have changed, even just that little bit from being offline.

After our biscuits were made - and I didn't have any baking powder so they didn't turn out quite right - they still looked good!

Then I made a cubby house with the kids, that they spent approximately 10 minutes in, and had a few fights in, so we abandoned that idea.  We ended up going to the park, grabbing maccas for lunch (not healthy but meh, I'm not perfect, I've said that before) and grabbing Elf Man on his lunch break and enjoying a picnic lunch at the park with the kids.  It was pretty good, it was the first time in a long time that I've taken the kids to the park, and played with them.  Sure I took them to the park before, but I always had my phone to check out facebook or one of the forums, just so I didn't miss the goss.  But I missed a lot more than that by not playing.

Happy kids....

A pondering baby....

A few accidents...

My kids growing up before my eyes....

I've realised that Ferris was right - life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.  I've missed a lot already. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


I've been doing a lot of thinking lately - well, since I've been off Facebook and my forums, what else is there to do!  Today I realised how absent I have been as a mother.  Sure, physically I've been here, but I've not really BEEN here.  So today, I went through and tossed out all our plastic toys that play pretty tunes and have nice flashing lights. I no longer will let my children be entertained by something that runs on batteries (minds out of the gutter girls!) but instead - I will get down there on the floor and play with them.

So today, I read a book to Speedy.  Sounds like a nice, normal thing to do yes?  I can count on my fingers how many times I have done it.  I should be ashamed of myself.  When Sparrow was around 14 months old, I spent 3 hours reading to him, because he wanted me to.  I read to him until my throat was sore and my voice was nearly completely gone.  I didn't have anything better to do than to entertain him, so I played with him, instead of watching from afar and being completely detached from him.

So I read a book to Speedy.  Then another book.  That same book 3 times.  She really likes green sheep it turns out.  Then I played blocks with her.  And later in the day I played with the trains with her.  And it didn't kill me, I wasn't bored out of my brain, I was actually having fun.  And she was happy.

Why is it so hard to let ourselves go and just be kids again with our kids?  Why do we have children if not to play with them?  Why not be a "play at home mum" instead of a "stay at home mum"?

I think we spend so much of our own childhood trying to act older than we are, then we reach adulthood and we have to be so mature and responsible - that we forget how to be kids again.  And then because we forget what its like, our children become annoying, or naughty - because we can't see the fun in what they are doing.  So today I let Speedy put sand in the dog bowl.  She was having fun, and in the grand scheme of things - was it hard to put the sand back into the sand pit once she was done?  Did the dog care if there were some grains of sand mixed in with her dinner?  I doubt it, judging by the way she hoovered it down - I doubt she even chews it half the time.

So tomorrow I'll be playing more, and helping my little nerd burgers use their imagination with their non-flashy, non-music playing toys.  Maybe we'll build a castle, or a cave.

Or maybe, just maybe, we'll build some fantastic childhood memories for them.  After all, my children don't care if my dishes are done by 10am, or if my washing is up to date - but they do care if mummy reads them "Where is the green sheep".  Be it once, twice, or even three times.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A change in the wind

Today we found out that the people who came with a ridiculous offer to buy our house have accepted our counter-offer.  Its still way under what we would like to get, and we will return to Queensland with absolutely nothing to show for being down here.  We've lost... ooh I'd hate to think about the figure, but its definitely over $50,000.  My sister told me today that "it was a very expensive lesson to learn".  Lesson?  I'm not sure what she meant really.  Let us look at what we have done down here.....

My gorgeous nanna got to meet my family (well except for The Baby) before she died in 2010.  I got to see her and laugh at her sense of humour before she died.  She was so funny!  Kept on saying that she wanted to get up and run out of there, not seeming to notice the fact that she had had a stroke and couldn't move half of her body - she was a stubborn one!  Before that I hadn't seen her in 20 years.  So because we came down here, I got the privilege of seeing her again.

I had two beautiful births.  Not a home birth, but the next best thing.  Independent birth centre births.  With lovely midwives.  Had I stayed in Queensland, I'm pretty sure I would have had a 3rd and 4th c-section instead of the chance for a supportive (and successful!) VBA2C.

I got to experience a 24 hour kmart.  Seriously - its one of my most favourite things down here.  Especially the time when we were buzzing my hair and the damn thing broke half way through.....and the freaks there late at night are well worth the trip.

I met lots of beautiful people, and as previously mentioned, have fantastic friends down here.

I've learnt that my dad will always be just the way he is, even if he's not the father I want him to be.  And that its ok.  I can't force him to be anything more than what he is, but I can change my attitude towards it.  I'm at peace with our relationship, quite a difference from the 21 year old who rang him, drunk as anything and called him the "c" word and told him he was "the worst father in the world".  Coming down here has changed my perspective on our relationship.  I would never have had that chance if we stayed in Queensland.

We appreciate our family more.  I now appreciate my in-laws, they may not say all the right things, or do all the right things, but I know they love my family.  And I appreciate that more than ever now after not having that in our life for 2 years.

I've learnt to appreciate Queensland weather.  Enough said.

So all in all, my sister may see it as an expensive "lesson" but I see it as a life changing event.  How I see myself and others has changed - for the better.

And I think that is pretty priceless.

Friday, 14 October 2011

The addict in me

I'm an addict.  Not to anything remotely exciting or anything worthy of juicy gossip unfortunately.

I was a smoker once.  Smoked for 8 years, then went cold turkey and quit.  It was hard but I did it.  I then replaced that habit with another habit - eating.  Now to no surprise, I'm overweight.  I got addicted to buying nappies.  I still have to fight against that all the time.  I also buy carriers - a lot.

I'm an addict to the online world.  Facebook in particular.

So I'm quitting the online world.  I've already left a forum, and now I'm about to deactivate my facebook profile. Not because anyone has hurt me, or pissed me off - because I'm addicted to it.  I'm tired of my children having access to only a part of me - they deserve all of me.  They deserve a mum who spends all of her time with them, with her full focus on them because their childhood is going so quickly.  Sparrow is nearly 5 - so will be going to school next year full time, and I think I was a better mum when he was a baby because my whole focus was on him.  I wasn't part of a forum, and I didn't have a facebook profile.  The only thing I did online at that time was see what was on tv that week, or buy things on ebay.

So my focus is going to be on them for a change.  I'm going to listen more, and talk less.  I'm going to hug more.  Instead of pushing them away from me, I'm going to embrace them.  I am going to be one of those mums who sit down with their kids and read books to them during the day, not just before bed.  I'm going to sing songs with them, play playdoh with them, play hide and seek with them - I'm going to make them my new addiction.

I want to know them, not just what their favourite colour is (Sparrow's is orange btw, Coo's is green) but actually know them.  Instead of looking over them or trying to see through them - I'm going to look at them.
I'm not sure how long my self ban will last - might be one week, one month - I'm not sure yet.  I'll be back when I feel the time is right.

It's going to be hard - but I'm going to try my very best.  Everything I do is for them.  Just as it should be.

p.s. this obviously doesn't include my blogging activities when all the children are in bed at night ;)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The return of the worm

Book worm that is.

I used to be an avid reader in my younger years.  I loved books, the more books the better.  I loved to get lost in the writing, escape to another world and away from my own life (I think this happened more often after my parents divorced).  I remember when I was around 12, I would get home earlier than my sister from school, so I would hide under her bed and read her copy of "Forever" by Judy Blume - she had forbidden me to read it, and of course because it was forbidden, I loved it even more.  I had to hide under her bed just in case I was so absorbed in the writing that I didn't hear her come in - didn't want to get busted reading it after all.

I haven't read much these last few years, and I really miss it.  I do feel its part of who I am - not just "mummy" (or as Coo says - "mumma" or as Speedy says "Marrrr-meeee") but part of being Mel.

Some days I struggle to remember what I was like before I had kids.  Seriously, with all this constant sleep deprivation over the last 4 years, I'm lucky to remember my name most days.  But I do remember loving books.

Maybe one day I'll actually have the time to read something that isn't on a computer screen, and find that "Mel the Book worm" chick again......cos I think I miss her.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

More than words.....

Somewhere between my failed first engagement at 17 and failed first marriage at 26 (not to the same person!) I lost the ability to be comfortable with saying "I love you" to someone.  I never invested as much of myself in relationships after that one at 17, he broke my heart and it took me 10 years to be able to listen to a particular Bon Jovi song without bursting into tears.

Even when I met up with Elf Man, he would tell me so many times that he loved me, and I told him to stop because it made me so uncomfortable!  Most women beg their husbands to tell them that he loves them, and I tell my husband not to say it at all.

So this in turn, has caused a problem with me in expressing it to my children that I do love them.  Does it matter that I can't be comfortable with telling them I love them?  Surely they know that I do love them, I mean, they are fed, clothed, and I haven't kicked any of them out of the house for longer than 10 minutes yet......

I just hate saying the words, and I hate that I hate that.  I feel like a fraud when Sparrow says it to me, and I say it back to him, because I know he's waiting to hear it.  I want to say it when I feel totally overwhelmed and could just smoosh the heck out of them cos they are being really cute - not when they are sucking up because they know they've just done something really naughty and mumma's gonna be pissed!

So - I thought since I can't say it, I'll blog it.  Kids - mummy is pretty useless at things like this, but if something ever happens to me, please read this post.

Sparrow - my only boy.  As the first child he gets to bear the brunt of all our parenting screw ups.  And he's still a pretty cool kid regardless of everything we did "wrong".  He's affectionate, sometimes too much (ie, please don't pat my boobs, they are not kittens).  He's funny - has the ability to come out with the funniest one liners, many I share on facebook.  He is smart - sometimes has "arse" attached to it as well.  He's pretty cute considering he looks more like me than his father.  He's quirky - he hides when people sing happy birthday.  He's pretty darn cool and I'm super proud of him (most of the time).  So Sparrow - I love you.

Coo - my first girl.  Love her for being here on this earth because I didn't think she was going to be, and blessing us with being part of our family.  She has amazing eyes.  She is my miracle child, my healer.  Quirky as well, loves music and dancing, and makes me laugh every day.  Coo - I love you.

Speedy - my second girl.  My first child born vaginally, and my closure on my self-doubt on whether I could push a baby out.  She (unfortunately for her!) looks like me, and is quite different in looks to the others.  She is so so cute in personality, but also a bit of a brute.  She can turn around and smack her siblings, then make you laugh at something irresistibly cute.  I think this is her survival method.  She's one crazy dancer, she knows how to shake her booty!  A lover of all things musical, and "door-wa" (dora).  Speedy - I love you.

The Baby - gave me a beautiful birth.  Was a champ at breastfeeding so healed that part of me.  Loves cuddles.  Is super cute (if I do say so myself!).  The Baby - I love you.

So to my nerd burgers/monkeyfarts/chickens - whatever nickname I decide to go with at the time - mummy loves you, never doubt it - even if she has a hard time saying it.  Its my issue - please don't make it yours.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friends vs Family

I have great friends down here in Tassie.  Fantastic friends. Every time I get together with them they make me feel great, there isn't any judgement, no bringing me down - its just awesome. (well, not including the unfortunate incident yesterday when a girl said people who had home births were irresponsible - in front of my best friend who has had 3 home births - helloooo awkward!!)

And in two months - I'm leaving them.  To be closer to my family.  I miss my mum, my brother and his wife, my sister - and my nephews and niece.  My support network.  My children will get to spend time with their nanny, their uncles and aunties, their grandparents.  And that's a good thing, that is one of the biggest reasons for moving back there, so our children will get to know their extended family.

But I know that I'm going to miss my friends.  I'm worried that I'll get to Brisbane and then not have any friends like the ones I have down here.  I have a best friend down here.  I have friends that are like sisters to me.  I have friends who are part of my family now because they are Speedy's godparents.

It scares me that we're going up there and I'll be even more lonely up there than I am down here because even though family means the world to me - I need friends to keep me sane.  Is it right to choose one over the other? I wish I could have both - in the same place, at the same time.

After all - I don't think my mum would ever have a few drinks with me, or have a nice long chat about home birth ;)