Showing posts from May, 2011

'But how do you afford 5 kids?'

I was asked the question recently by a first-time mum, "But how do you afford 5 kids?".

I actually didn't know what to say.  In the end I cobbled together an answer -  'well, we've never had a lot of money', 'we don't go on fancy holidays', 'they go to public schools', 'live in a three bedroom house', 'we eat a lot of mince'.  I was a bit hopeless.  I suspect it is a question that others would like to ask too.

So I've been thinking.  How do we afford our kids?  I don't actually know - I do know that we have trusted in God to look after us and we've never been hungry or homeless (except for one week in 2006 ... story for another day!). But we've made it this far and for some of the years we had no income when Rowan was studying and for most of the time we've had one income.  We've always worked hard to live within the limits of the income that we have.  It's often tight financially, but I don'…

The strange times when housework brings joy

After the week we've just had, I am finding much joy in cleaning my house, doing the washing, shopping for meals ahead of time - sometimes housework actually gives me joy!

This week has been one of those 'I hope we don't have too many of these' weeks.  Our 10 yo has been on crutches after fracturing her ankle playing netball and our 9 yo was terribly unwell with the flu (at one point Scarlet Fever was suggested - scary).  I've never seen her so unwell.  She basically didn't leave the lounge for five days - hardly said a word, rarely ate.  It was so strange when she joined us at the dinner table and was part of the conversation.  Against this backdrop we fitted in a two hour visit to the hospital for the fracture clinic (cast now off thankfully).  Plus a 3000 word uni assignment handed in on Monday and busy week at work for me (the NSS and then a library open day).

So I'm very thankful to my incredible, sacrificial husband who rearranged his life so I could …

Stay-at-home-mum Joke

A man arrives home from a hard day at work to find the house in chaos.  The sink's full of dirty dishes, there's damp laundry sitting in the washing machine, the baby's running around crying with a full nappy and the toddler is tossing CDs off the back deck.

His wife is nowhere in sight.  Frantically, fearing something disastrous has happened, he searches the house, and eventually finds her sitting up in bed in her nightie, calmly eating chocolates and watching The Bold and the Beautiful.

'What happened?' he gasps.

The wife turns down the volume with the remote and says, 'You know how you always ask me what I do all day?  Well, today I didn't do it.'

From A pressure cooker saved my life by Juanita Phillips, 2010.

Feathers for Phoebe: big day in library land tomorrow

Big day tomorrow for children's librarian's across Australia.

We're celebrating National Simultaneous Storytime with the book 'Feathers for Phoebe' by Rod Clement.  It tells the story of a small grey bird Phoebe who wants to be noticed so goes to her glamourous friend Zelda for help.  Zelda offers many new crests, wings and tails to make Phoebe beautiful but Phoebe ends up so dressed up that she can't actually fly.

It's a story of learning contentment with who you are and what you look like - it's a lovely little story.

The children's team that I'm involved with at work are going to act out the story with puppets and props - should be a riot.  We're looking forward to a fun morning.

Boys and reading

Over at his blog Trevor Cairney has reviewed a new book by Pam Allyn called 'Best Books for Boys'.  I'm really interested in this topic because it's the No. 1 question I get asked at work by parents looking for books for their sons.  I'll be getting this book and having a read.

Check out some of my old posts about boys, reading and book recommendations.

Help! Thumb sucking - what am I going to do?

My 4 year old sucks her thumb and it makes her very happy.  And since it makes her happy it makes the whole family happy.  However, her teeth aren't happy.  And she's getting too old for it.

So what to do?  I have no idea.  Some of the other kids had dummies.  They were easy to get rid of.  But this is my first thumb sucker.

Would love suggestions and I'll tell you how we go.

Children's picture book recommendation

'When Grandpa Sang' came across my path a few months ago.  I love seeing great books written by Australian authors and I'm keen to support good writing.

Written by Margaret Just (from Adelaide) it tells the story of a Grandpa who wants to sing and loves to sing, but is really quite bad at it (even the people in the church find him hard to listen to).  He has singing lessons, learns to sing and everyone loves listening to him.

This book has beautifully hand drawn, colourful illustrations with repetitive text that is great for pre readers.

You can actually read the whole book here and you can order your own copy from the website.  I'm thinking of getting a few for my present box.

Mother guilt

So my youngest doesn't want to go to preschool.  This has been a constant refrain for the past few weeks.  She goes on the days that I'm working and studying.  Do I feel guilty?  Absolutely.  I just want to keep her at home - even though in reality that's an insane idea because by 10am she'd be driving me mad!

As Rowan pointed out, the other kids went to preschool three days a week when they were her age.  I don't remember feeling bad about it then.

I think it's that there is no option.  That even if she's feeling bad and sad about friends/teachers/whatever, I don't have the option of just hanging out with her at home.  I'm committed to work.

It's interesting because once she's at school I won't feel quite the same - she has to go to school, so there's not the same feeling of preschool being an added extra.

I do like working, but I feel sooo torn.  My kids have made me a softie but actually I like it.  It keeps me constantly asses…

A spirited child

In March my little boy wrote a birthday message for me.  I was quite teary reading it.  He has been a challenging child to manage since he was about 3 and so we've had a pretty intense, hard relationship.

For about two years I felt very overwhelmed by him.  He was very demanding - would fall apart about pretty much everything not going the way he wanted it to.  I basically withdrew from committing myself to any regular activities for two years because he would usually have a meltdown, cry and I'd have to leave.   Walking to school and back most days involved him crying at some point because he didn't want to go back and forth (fair enough, it's pretty tiring!).  And I've only just recently realised that I wouldn't do grocery shopping in the day - would wait until the evenings to dash out to the supermarket.  It was a lot of public humiliation for me with a lot of long tantrums and sadness at home.  I felt like a deep failure as a mother - and I'm sure that…

Hmm - mother's day - not all it's cracked up to be

So much is promised for mums on Mother's Day.  A blissful sleep in.  Gorgeous children collaborating with humour and joy to serving you breakfast in bed.  Beautiful gifts purchased thoughtfully from an expensive department store.

OR ... it could look like this:

Friday:  Tears at breakfast because we couldn't find enough $5 notes around the house to pay for my presents at the Mother's Day stall.  The 4 year old did use her own money (apparently she knows what a $5 note looks like - this was news to me) and went happily off to the preschool mother's day stall.  I suggested that the Tupperware measuring set looked good, but she went STRAIGHT for the cellophane wrapped pink bubble bath.  Handed over her money and happily stuffed it in her bag.

She spent the whole walk home in the afternoon pestering me about when she could open her present and I gave up suggesting it was actually meant for me, her mother.

So she opened it up and kept it for herself.

The big day arrives:  I…

Times when renting makes me sad

For 90% of the time I'm happy enough with renting.  It's a roof over our heads and a much bigger roof than if we had bought our own place.  The other 10% of the time I get a bit panicky - mostly about the future and that's crazy because God will provide - he always has and I don't doubt that he will continue to do so.

But the thing that made me sad over the Easter weekend was how much my kids loved staying with friends who had dogs.  We have a cat but not a dog because it's harder to apply successfully for a rental property in Sydney if you have a pet. And you tend to get a lot more attached to dogs than cats (well, our cat anyway - who isn't all that interested in us).

My 10 year old whispered to me after being away for 24 hours - 'Mum I get to spend four days with dogs - I feel so happy'.  She's told me before that her future husband will be interrogated about his willingness to have a dog.  I'm warning her future beaus - be prepared!

And my …