Showing posts from May, 2010

School yard competition

Thanks to my dear Melbourne reader Beck who passed on this gem from The Age newspaper.  Cathy Lette on school yard competitive parenting.  Brilliant.

I have to say that when my first child started school, I always felt that I was back in high school.  A whole bunch of females forming groups.  One of the groups were known as the 'barbie' group.  Not because of their love of BBQ's but because of their love of plastic surgery, hairdressers, make-up, high heels and short skirts.  They were pretty entertaining.

One of them said to me "oh dear, it was such a busy afternoon, I didn't even have time to put on my make-up before school pick-up".  Here's me holding baby no 4, with two grumpy toddlers in tow... um ... let me see ... what could I say?  Perhaps, "Well, I'm lucky to be dressed" or "at least I remembered to take my slippers o…

Weekend musings

Rowan and I are Jack Johnson fans.  I think he's described as writing 'soft rock' which sounds kind of pathetic.  But he does have nice, guitar-strumming, I live by the beach type music.  I remember listening to it with Rowan on a two-day, child-free holiday to the Hunter Valley in 2005 (a distant memory - the last time we went away on our own).

We both read an article yesterday in Saturday's Good Weekend magazine about Jack Johnson.  I was envious of the ease of his life.  Living in a beach shack, beautiful wife, three kids, writing a love song every now and then, making stacks of money.  Rowan said 'he's just so laid back'.  What a life!

I thought we could do that.  I'd happily leave the craziness of inner city Sydney life behind.  When we lived in the city, near the uni,  people would say 'how great - you can go out for coffee all the time'.  I think we went out about twice in two years - taking five small children to a cafe is just a teeny, …

Books for 7/8 year old boys

Just answering a question from a previous post about books for older boys,  I'll give a few suggestions of books for boys who have just got the hang the of reading independently (about 7 to 8 years old).

'Zac Power' books are good for boys who have just started to read independently - lots of pictures, not too many words on a page. 'Tashi' by Anna Feinberg
'Selby the talking dog' series by Duncan Ball (Sydney writer) were very popular (and continue to be) in our house.  There are are 14 of these books.  Loved by the girls too.'Geronimo Stilton'Any by Andy Griffiths, but 'The Cat on the Mat is Flat' is good for Year 2 kids.Roald Dahl books are brilliant - 'George's Marvellous Medicine' is a good one to start with - not too long and gives you a feel for the Dahl craziness.  Or Charlie of course, especially if they've seen the movie.'Captain Underpants' are very popular for boys in the Year 2 set.  You might want to read …

Books for 12 yo (plus) boys

Just thought I'd share a few books that Aidan (12 in two days time!) has been enjoying.

This series started about 10 years ago but books are still coming out in the series.  The series is about a teenage spy called Alex Rider who works for a British intelligence agency.  By Anthony Horowitz.  Aidan has really enjoyed them, I've read one and quite liked it.

The other series Aidan is very excited about is a new series called "The Phoenix Files" by Sydney writer Chris Morphew.  I'm always keen to encourage local writers so I'm happy that Aidan is into this series.  There are two books already out in the series ('Arrival' and 'Contact') and a new one due out in August called 'Mutation'.  Chris Morphew is a Christian but these are not Christian books.  They are science fiction books set against the backdrop of 100 days until the world ends.

Chris Morphew also says that he loved the 'Animorphs' series when he was younger and Aidan h…

Why being a mum is not like a huggies ad

You know the ads.  Romantic music, misty images, Mum whirling around cute, gurgling, smiley baby,  Dad laughing as he changes the nappy, Mum kisses cute, clean naked bottom ...
All fun and games.  Except it's not ACTUALLY like that.  
1.  When you change a nappy it (a) often holds poo which smells, (b) if you have a boy, they wee all over you/everything in the surrounding area and (c) you are not going to kiss that bottom because of (a).
2.  When you change a nappy it has often leaked all over the clothes/bedding/Grandma's lap by the time you get to it - I can guarantee that you are not laughing and smiling at that point.
3.  Babies cry (often, a lot and usually at midnight, 1am, 2.13 am, 3.05 am and 5.23 am)
4.  You are very tired because of point 3 - a nappy change is not going to make you laugh.  Seinfeld, maybe, but even that might be pushing it because you're usually asleep if you actually sit down for more than two minutes.
5.  If you have more than one child, you don'…

Parenting talks

I've spent some time this week preparing a talk for a group of Anglican minister's wives on parenting.

I think part of the reason I've been asked to give the talk is that I'm a minister's daughter and I'm married to a minister (thoroughbred or something like that!).

So even though I feel quite honoured to be asked and have enjoyed working on it, it is ironic that I have had a pretty ordinary week actually parenting my own kids.

What a deflating week.  It is hard to realise that a lot of the difficult dynamics in the household are related to my own inability to be patient or a lack of willingness on my part to listen well.

Sometimes it does feel like a lot rests on my shoulders as the mum.

Weariness ...

Mother's Day

I got myself into a bit of trouble on the weekend when I said that I didn't feel that Mother's Day did all that much for me.  I had no idea that Mother's Day was a big 'thing' for people.  I now know that it is.

My Mum's birthday is always near the day so we used to celebrate her birthday more and so Mother's Day was not a big deal.  Perhaps it's also not a big deal for me because I feel like my family love me and appreciate me.  Rowan helps constantly (we wouldn't survive otherwise).  I'm wondering if I have some kind of 'celebration deficiency' - I'm happy enough without lots of presents and cards.

 So lessons learnt this week:  Mother's Day is a big deal and I'm perhaps slightly mad!

And here's a poem by my 9yo for me:

My Mum
I love my mum so much, She's the one that stands out, Like a Gold star in the sky. She's awesome and kind, And absolutly pretty, No mater what. Even if she's busy, And doesn't notice me, I do…

"You know this is what happens when you get older"

Thanks so much to James, the optometrist,  for his pearls of affirming wisdom!!

PS to Adjusting to change (badly!)

Just a postscript to yesterday's post.

When I was feeling particularly overwhelmed I found it hard to initiate conversations with people who I didn't know.  This is not usually something I struggle with so it was a bit strange for me.

I was chatting to a friend who helped me a lot with this.  She simply said "Jenny, stop worrying.  Those people will still be there when you get your energy back".

It was simple and it took the pressure off.

And as the weeks went by I just talked to a new person when I felt I could and it got easier.  I think making small aims (like:  "I'm just going to chat to someone new for a few minutes" rather than "I might invite her over for morning tea" which is what I'd normally do!) helped.

Still a work-in-progress I have to say.

Adjusting to change (badly!)

I'm into week three of the school term and I haven't felt as exhausted as I did during first term.  I had many nights in March when I went to bed at 8pm and I never go to bed before 11.

I've been reflecting on why I found the first term of school difficult this year.

I have been waiting for 2010 for such a long time.  First year with four kids at school and my youngest at preschool 2 days a week.  I had such hopes and dreams.  Finish my uni course.  Stare at a wall.  Maybe watch a DVD during the day.

So many possibilities and hopes that this became a loaded year.  Such expectations!

And then  I just crashed.  I felt so weary.  It was like 12 years of mothering just collapsed on top of me because I finally had a bit of breathing space.

So suddenly I didn't want to do anything.  I didn't want to talk to the new Kindy mums at school.  I found uni a struggle.  I found church a struggle .  I found picking up the kids from school draining.

For a while I thought that ma…

Monday morning

Monday morning is a relatively quiet weekday morning in our house.

But by 10.30 am this morning I was stuffed.  Up at 6 to go to the gym, back home at 7.15am, one child to choir, two grumpy children to get fed and dressed, three to get through music practice, cross-country permission notes to sign, two loads of washing, clean up from breakfast, eat my own breakfast, find lost Epi-pen, unpack dishwasher, rediscover lost library books, brush the girls' hair, get myself dressed, ask (once again) if all teeth had been brushed (of course, no, they hadn't), walk to school (very slowly with a 3yo who kept insisting that her dress-up/clip-on earrings be put back on every time they fell off), arrive after bell (always), walk home (v. slowly, negotiating with the small terrorist),  hang out washing, drive to music shop (spend ridiculous amount of money - always) for trumpet music, drive back to playgroup and by 10.30 I'm having a cup of tea.

Phew ... and that was an easy morning!

how quickly things change!

I went to a house warming on Monday and a friend posted this photo of me with my daughter on facebook.

Bizarre - I had my crooked teeth on Monday.  Now I just have gaps.  I'm certainly not smiling so enthusiastically anymore!

Just putting the photo here for posterity.

And by the way, that's the back of the crazy 3 yo in front of me.  I think her hair is indicative of her state of being at the moment!