Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hello teacher?

Lately we have been watching home movies of us, mainly when Sparrow was young.

It struck me the other day how different I am now. Watching those movies you would swear that I was a pretty cruisy mum, who played on the floor with her toddler, who said "whoops" if he dropped something - and if he was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing - he got a lesson as to why not to do it, not just "don't do that", "stop it", "get away from her".

I'm afraid that the more children I had as time went by, the less I taught. The more angry I became. Less tolerant of mess, instead of "whoops" it's now usually "oh FFS why did you do that!?"

This is not the mother I want to be. It's not fair my children suffer through my bad moods because I'm tired. It's not their fault I'm sick. It's not their fault that we are moving so I'm stressed out up to my freakin eyeballs.

None of what makes me a shitty mum has to do with them. Yes they may do the wrong things, but unless I teach instead of just telling them off - how will they learn?

I can't really control their behaviour, as much as the control freak inside of me would love to. But I can control my reactions to their behaviour.

Thank you universe in advance for giving me a fresh start tomorrow - and the next day if necessary.

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life - for me.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My daily struggle

I've noticed from being online that not many people actually admit to having struggles with their children.  Its like if you admit that you are struggling, then you're a crap mother and your children should be taken away from you or something.

So I'm going to admit it.  I am struggling.  I'm not struggling because I'm depressed, I'm struggling because I feel I can't meet the needs of my children.  I don't know what people think of me when they see me out with all the kids.  Do they think I'm stupid for having them so close together?  Brave?  A bit of a tart who keeps getting knocked up?

Some days I long for my uncomplicated, stress free life before children.  I say to Elf Man "why the HELL did we have children?"  Children (I thought) were supposed to bring joy to your life, fill your life in a way that nothing else can - at the moment, my life is just full of stress.  I know I have to do something about my mindset, but its so hard when day after day - everything is just shit.

Sparrow and The Baby are pretty ok really.  I know I lose my temper at Sparrow, with his incessant whinging for things.  He asks over and over and over for the same thing, even if I have already told him "yes, in a minute" because I'm stuck doing something else for one of the younger ones.  He waves the playstation controller in front of my face at all moments of the day, even when feeding The Baby because he wants me to play to get him through a level.  He yells to get my attention, even if I have previously answered his question.  Its incredibly frustrating, and he's not even a big issue out of my day when it comes to major frustration and stress.

The Baby is pretty cruisy.  Eats, sleeps (sometimes) and generally a happy baby, except when Speedy is around.

Speedy.  Oh what can I say.  My near 2 year old is a major bully.  She attacks everyone.  She throws things at everyone.  She takes toys from other kids and runs away with a big shit-eating grin on her face because she knows she's just made someone upset and that makes her happy.  I call her my monster.  Which, isn't really that fantastic, but if you were to meet her - you would probably think the same.  You would probably think that Elf Man and I are doing a hideous job at raising these kids - because she is just mean to her siblings.  Every time I put The Baby down on the floor to play with toys, along comes Speedy to hassle her.  And by hassle her I mean pushing her so she falls over, pinching her arm, tapping her on the head really hard, poking her in the eye, head butting her, putting boxes on her head so she can't see anything, or if she is on the bed - she puts the covers over her head and presses down.  All this could happen in the time its taken me to get off the floor with a dirty nappy to put it in the bin.  Then she's just as mean with her older siblings.  She throws things at them, she hit Sparrow in the head with something the other day, cracked him a good one so then he was bawling.  She is very mean to Coo, and Coo is so highly strung, she stands there and screams/wails/screeches until we do something about it.  I'm at a loss on how to handle her behaviour.  Taking her away from the situation doesn't work, she'll come straight back and do it again.  Put her in the corner for a time out, and kneel down and explain that we don't push Coo into the dishwasher or kitchen cupboard - she'll come straight out and do it again.  Smack her - she'll still go and do it again.  I'm hoping this phase will stop soon and she's just working out her place in the family, because I can't handle too much more of this behaviour.

Then the Coo.  Highly strung as previously mentioned.  She wails/screeches.  Its a horrible noise, and I know its one of my triggers for my anger because it pierces through my head and gives me an instant headache.  And she does it every day.  Sometimes all day.  It could be something like Speedy is standing in her way, she doesn't think to go around Speedy, she'll just stand there and screech.  Then when you ask her to put it into words, she'll cry that she can't get through.  We don't know how to make her think "hey, Speedy is in my way, I'll go around her" so again, I'm hoping this phase will end soon too.

Sometimes I want to walk out the door on a bad day.  Sometimes I don't think I'm handling things very well and maybe someone else could do a better job.  Sometimes I think I should get stoned so things like the stuff mentioned above doesn't stress me out.  I just want things to be easy - everything is so fucking hard.  Changing nappies is hard because of tantrums.  Getting dressed is hard because of tantrums.  Getting in the car is hard.  Getting out of the car is hard.  Everything - is a struggle.

I thought having 4 kids 4 years and under would be hard but I thought I was able to handle it.  I know its going to get better, but just at this very moment in time - its a struggle.  Its a struggle to find the joy in my children because every day I'm breaking up fights, or asking them to stop jumping on the couch/bed/table.  I'm having to ask them to just sit down and eat their dinner.  Or in Speedy's case tonight, get your foot out of your brother's dinner.  It is a madhouse.  Mostly I'm just sick of seeing my children hurt each other.  Every time they hurt their sibling, it hurts me.  I didn't want my kids to be hurt by their siblings the way that my sister hurt me.  I didn't want to raise a bully, but it appears I have one.

And I dunno what the hell to do about that.

P.s. I should probably mention that I'm sick with a cold, have a cough, am extremely tired and a little cranky.  So please don't call DOCS just yet, I'm just having a whinge.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An early death

And I don't mean to those stinkin' spiders around 'ere.

Sparrow and I were having a lovely cuddle today.

I said to him:  "Sparrow, will you cuddle me even when you are a big boy"

Sparrow: "yes mum"

I said: "So you will cuddle me even when you are 27?"

Sparrow:  "No"

I said: "why not?!"

Sparrow: "Because you'll be dead".

So if anyone goes looking for me in the next 22 years, don't be surprised if you can't find me......

He's a crack up this one.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Please universe....

....look upon my family with kind eyes tomorrow.  Please let these people coming back for another inspection love our place as much as they did the first time and actually sign a contract of sale.

And please give these people the ability to look beyond the messy floors, the sticky windows and walls with scuff marks.  I haven't had the chance to get that much done today as I would have liked (huge headache, whingy kids, they make another mess as soon as I've cleaned one up...) but I've done my best.  I still have the bathroom to clean and would love to get some windows cleaned - but its 9.30pm, and The Baby is still awake, Sparrow is still awake, so I've probably got no chance of getting it all done.  Not to mention get stuff together for escaping to Selina's in the morning, and shower... another midnight bedtime I would imagine.

Wish us luck - cross your fingers and toes for us!!!  Even though we have a prospective buyer who is trying to raise more money before signing a contract - we would really like a sale now - not in a few months time!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The moment of pure fear

I hate to admit it, but I am absolutely, positively terrified of spiders.  I'm the girl you would find on a chair in an office if one dropped on to the floor.  Even if I think they are dead, I still don't want to get close to them, just in case they miraculously come back to life.  By the way, my fear is not just limited to spiders, I hate snakes, cockroaches, cane toads (extreme fear this one) and mice.  Basically anything that jumps or moves quickly, I hate it.

So tonight, after rocking The Baby to sleep, I started folding up my washing that was on the bed.

Picked up one of Coo's t-shirts, looked at The Baby, mused to myself how cute she was asleep, and then noticed the big friggin spider coming close to my hand.  I did a silent "eeeeek" - couldn't wake The Baby - and threw it on the bed.  Heart pounding now, I was at a loss what to do.  Couldn't scream and get Elf Man's attention (even though it wouldn't have helped, he was in with Speedy getting her to sleep on the opposite side of the unit).  So I picked up my phone (quickly because the spider was now in the washing basket and my phone was directly under it) and sent a text message to him.

Didn't hear his phone go off with the message tone so it mustn't of been switched on.  Fuck.  Spider now moving across basket towards the edge to go on bed, towards sleeping baby.

Racking my brains, I phoned the house phone.  Sparrow answered.  Told me that I couldn't speak to mummy or Daddy because they were in the bedrooms getting The Baby and Speedy to sleep.  I told him that I WAS mummy - get daddy!  He repeated that he couldn't get mummy on the phone, she was busy with The Baby.  I said as sternly as I could "Sparrow - this IS mummy!!!  GET DADDY.  Go into the bedroom and get him to come to our bedroom, please".. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

I heard him go into the hallway and into the other bedroom, meanwhile my spider is moving down onto the mattress.  Complete freak out.  I grabbed one of Elf Man's shirts and tried to flick him off the bed.  Off went the shirt, on stayed the spider.  Fuck!!  Spider started moving towards baby, I'm standing in the corner paralysed by fear and waiting for Elf Man to get on the bloody phone.  I heard Sparrow saying it was Kaleb on the phone or something - and then Elf Man answered.  I'm not sure what he thought when he heard my voice trying to force out the words that I needed help.  I should probably mention that Elf Man isn't great with spiders either and has a bit of a girly scream from time to time if they are of a fair size.  Thankfully, he came to the rescue, fly swatter in hand.

Spider dead.  Baby safe.  I need a valium, and probably new undies.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Baby watching

I hate to admit it, but I haven't been watching my babies for a long time. I don't mean that I haven't been taking care of them and that someone else has been doing it, I mean that when I rock my babies to sleep, I've been on my phone on the net or playing a game.

Tonight whilst feeding my 7 month old, she was doing a crazy dance whilst feeding and started searching for something at the side of her. I was like - what the heck are you doin kid - then she passed me my phone. My 7 month old passed me my phone. That's, well, sad really.

So while I rocked her to sleep tonight I watched her. So much peace. So much trust that I had hold of her and wouldn't hurt her. So much love.

Damn she's cute.

Which is a good thing really since she is awake again and I'm back on rocking duties....

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The benefits of a Village

Back when my mum was raising us, she didn't have a lot of help around her.  My family moved around a lot so they didn't have family around to help out, she never used child care of anything like that - and she didn't really have a lot of friends.  Of course she had bigger age gaps than I do (my brother is 7 years older than me, my sister is 4.5 years older than me), but still, she did it all on her own.  She didn't appear to need a Village to help her raise her children.

I'm proud to say that I have a Village helping me.  It doesn't make me a weaker mum, it makes me a stronger, more capable mum.  From my friends who let me vent about my frustrating days, or just make me a cuppa and pick up one of my crying kids - it all helps.  It all makes a difference in my life.  Or my aunty and uncle who live around the corner, I swear, they are just like another set of parents.  I see my uncle more than I see my dad thats for sure.  They are awesome with my kids as well, and are always there to give me a break from them - my aunty is all too willing to take all 4 of them away for 2 hours to give me a break, and I do cherish those times!  Just the ability to have a cup of coffee in peace.  Or go to the loo in peace.  Or watch what I want to on the tv.  Its incredible how you appreciate the little things after you have 4 noisy things running around all day.

I also use a child care for Sparrow and Coo for Wednesdays and Fridays.  I know a lot of mothers out there think its pretty bad to use child care when you don't work, but I love the fact that my kids are getting exposure to stuff that I wouldn't know how to do - I'm not a child care worker, I have no experience in early childhood, and the stuff they come home with - I just wouldn't have thought of it.  So I definitely count that as part of my Village.

After my last post I spent 2 hours on the phone to my sister.  I vented and raged and it felt great just to hear someone say "I know exactly what you mean, mine are the same".  Its hard being a stay at home mum, sometimes you feel so isolated and like your kids are the only ones that act like this.  Its nice to have reassurance that other kids are like yours, and most of the things they are going through are just classic phases of childhood.  And more importantly - you're not alone suffering through it.

I really don't know how my mum did it alone - because I would be so lost without my Village.  I just hope I can create a similar Village in Queensland.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A very bad day (includes swearing)

When I first started this blog, I wasn't sure what direction that I was going to take it in. If I was going to be one of those blogs that sprouted off about things I was passionate about so everyone could read my opinion, or if I would make it like a daily diary of my life type of thing.  I don't think I want to sprout off my opinions.  I mean really - who cares what I think about home birth, breastfeeding, formula, vaccinations, or any of the other subjects out there bound to cause arguments on forums.  Would my opinion really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Fuck no and I wouldn't expect it to.  So I'm not going there.

A daily diary?  Well, with all days being like groundhog day, I wouldn't imagine it would be an enthralling read for anyone.  That's assuming people actually read this....

So I think this blog is just going to be about me.  About my growth as a parent - and a reflection of my "lightbulb" moments that I have from time to time.  But with the good, comes the bad.  I'm also going to be open and honest about my bad days, because does anyone really say how shit their day was?  Its like its a taboo subject, my word, for the love of God, never admit that sometimes you have days where you can quite honestly kick your children in the shins for being shit heads!  (ok, so not in the shins, but you get my point......)

Today, was one of those totally fucked up days that you wish you had been totally stoned and oblivious to the shit falling down around you.  From my wake up at 3am and then back to sleep by 5am and up again by 6am - it was quite honestly - fucked up.

All the kids had their whingy pants on.  I know people around me know about my "fucked up Thursday" thing I've got goin' on, we always seem to have a rougher day on Thursday than any other day of the week.  So to start off by being so bloody tired, sick with a stupid head cold and cough AND a raging headache, I knew this was going to be bad.

And bad it was.  Everywhere I turned today there was a whingy child, or two.  Even when I had company, I had both Speedy and Coo wanting to sit on my lap at the same time.  When the company left, I tried feeding The Baby, and a fight broke out between Speedy and Coo beside me, screaming, wailing, hair pulling - the works!  It was just ridiculous that all day this shit had been happening.  Sparrow belted Speedy across the back several times in the sandpit after she had knocked over his sand castle.  I was furious!  So even though I was rocking the baby to sleep (and she was nearly asleep) I had to put her down, dash outside, grab Sparrow and chuck him in his room.  I was so furious that I didn't trust myself to speak to him, or not hit him, so I hid him from my sight.  He then stayed in his room for the next hour, because I was just so angry with him.  Usually he hits her only once, but to hit her several times, it was horrible to see.

So that was a major part of my crap day.  Lots of whinging.  Lots of bad behaviour.  Speedy is one of those kids that you have to keep your eye on, she likes to play in the toilet (even if pee and poo is in there, and it quite often is since Sparrow forgets to flush most of the time after he goes), she likes to play in the cat litter (usually used), she climbs on everything, gets into everything, throws stuff around the room (today it was the pencils from the container, we have heaps of them and it was done several times even though I was telling her not to do it!), she is just a really full on child.  Add her tantrums to that, and you have one child that demands your attention at all times of the day.  And its just impossible to give her that with 3 other children, all demanding your attention as well.

Today I was stretched to my limit and I admit that I didn't cope very well.  I yelled.  At times I screamed at them.  I spoke in a very low, very slow tone at my most furious because I felt like I wanted to rip their heads off.  It was frustrating, and infuriating - and I absolutely hate that I wanted to walk out at one stage.  Just get up and walk, and keep on walking.

These days don't happen all the time - which is good - cos they suck balls.

Let's hope tomorrow will be better, cos fuck me, I don't think it can get worse.

P.s.  Happy birthday to my SIL Janine.  See you soon lovely.

P.s.s.  I'm really really bad with dates, the worst person ever - so I totally forgot about my friend Selina's gorgeous baby girl, Adele, turning 6 months yesterday.  That makes 6 months exclusively breastfeeding for my beautiful friend.  And she is thriving on her mumma's milk - and I'm very proud of you, my awesome friend!

Here is a pic of the gorgeous baby girl and The (skinny - thrivin' on my skim milk, no full cream here!) Baby just hangin' out.....

So cheers to you Selina, you freakin' rock.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The trouble with parenting

I reckon (and this is just my personal opinion and this is my blog so I'm gonna say it) that the trouble with parenting is that you always think you are doing a (scuse the language) fucked up job.  Everyone has an opinion on what you are doing, and of course its wrong - no matter what you are currently doing.  Everyone else knows how to do it better than you do.  Of course they do.  Even authors who have never met your kids seem to know exactly how to get them to go to sleep.  What they don't usually tell you is how to get them to stay the fuck asleep.

Elf Man and I are troubled.  We have no idea why our children don't seem to like sleep as much as we do.  I mean, maybe its because we average 4 hours sleep a night, and have done for nearly 5 years now (except for one random night when all 3 kids slept through before we had The Baby) that we seem to crave more sleep than they do, but really - sleep is fucking awesome!  Our children just don't seem to agree though.  We've tried so many things, the soft approach, the stern approach, the leaving approach, the sitting at the door not moving a fucking muscle approach - nothing works.

Sometimes I think my house is possessed by this evil little spirit who pokes and prods at my children until they wake up in the middle of the night - just to torture us.

So it comes to this - is it our parenting?  It has to be really doesn't it, for all 3 big kids to have issues with sleep?  Not just sleep either - they hardly ever eat their dinner.  The only things that Sparrow is guaranteed to eat is pizza, spaghetti and pasta with cheese.  Not exactly the healthiest of meals on any level, and I refuse to just make those three meals so he will eat.  Coo won't eat, just plays with her food.  Likes to cut it into little pieces and not eat a single crumb.  Speedy likes to push it off her plate or get up and run around the place, all while Elf Man and I are trying to keep some sort of order at the dinner table.  Wine helps with calming the temper I must admit.  But still - how embarrassing if we ever go out to a restaurant and our children do this?  People would think that we have no authority or power over our children.

So is it that?  Is it a power struggle between parent and child?  Is it that they aren't hungry/too hungry/overtired - a combination of all three?  Should we move dinner to just the children eating at 5pm and Elf Man and I eating at a later time?  Should we forget about a "family dinner" like we had as children with our families, and just see our kids for who they are - kids that don't like to eat when the adults are eating, and eat on their own schedule of time, and not necessarily in conjunction with our schedule?

Tonight all the kids were playing up (again, with the exception of The Baby, she eats quite well for a 7 month old and of course she can't run around, and even if she could, she's in a high chair and can't climb yet) so Elf Man and I put them in for an early bath, and then bed without their usual cup of milk.  I put Speedy and Coo to bed, which is something I never do, its Elf Man's job to do.  They were asleep by 7pm.  Speedy usually goes to bed at 7pm, and is asleep by 8pm.  It took 15 minutes for me to put them down instead of Elf Man, they muck up for him and can take up to an hour each child to get to sleep.  So is that the way it should be done?  Is that the secret?  Do I have to put them down to sleep because they see me as the meaner parent?  Am I more strict than Elf Man?

Or should we try controlled crying.... a gate so they can't get out....drugging them to reset their body clock.... we don't know.  That's our answer.  We. Don't. Know.  We have no idea what to do.

So that's my trouble with parenting - not only are we always wrong, but there is all this advice out there and we STILL don't know what to do. Everyone fails to mention that parenting is a high pressure job, cos if you fuck up, you'll end up with a kid who has massive issues and of course, blames their parents for their dysfunctional life. There is a huge pressure to "do well" at this job, however, there isn't any on the job training, and I'll be fucked if I can find where the manual is, but it didn't come attached to any of them at birth, and I'm not going to have another one to see if that one pops out with one!