Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cool activities for two year olds

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As guest bloggers today, we, the twins, have devised our own guide to enjoying a lazy saturday at home. Sometimes Mum and Dad are just, well, boring, and we find ourselves needing to make our own fun. We have included our favourite past times, some old classics and some new discoveries that will keep your toddlers entertained for hours! Enjoy, my little brothers in crime.

1. Walk round with a bucket on your head. Try it! It’s great! Especially good is the acoustic and sensory pleasures of bumping into brick walls on purpose.

2. Finger painting with poo! It’s totally old school but a guaranteed hit. Once the fun is over (ie Mum has discovered you), you can relive the happy memories by simply sniffing your fingers, which will retain poo under the nails for days to come.

3. Try a little home (re)decorating. Our tip for how to spruce up your outdoor area is to completely strip the garden of all flowers and place them artfully over your outdoor dining table. Here is a photo of our efforts of a few weeks ago.

4. Gardening! It’s one of our favourite ways to spice up a mundane weekend. Here’s how to get the most out of your gardening experience. First, break the door of the compost bin. Get that good stuff out and throw it around a bit. Hide in the shrubbery (as seen below) and trample on all the plants while trying to find your way out. Once you’ve completed these tasks, find a bush that has something on it that looks like you might be able to eat it, and eat all of them. You’ll feel really sick later, but seeing as we toddlers cannot link cause and effect, what matters is the here and now. Later will take care of itself.

 

5. Get your gear off. We thought about posting a photo of this, but well, y’know…the internet, kids, nakedness….the three just don’t go together. But seriously brothers, get those pants off! There is nothing quite as exhilarating as running free and free ballin’ it round the backyard. Note: It’s also pretty interesting because you discover that your bottom and willy can make stuff.

6. Right, drains. They are the toddler’s best friend! You can pretty much fit anything down there, and if it doesn’t fit you can always break it so it does. Scour the whole back yard and stuff everything you find in the drains. An added bonus of this activity is that eventually, you’ll also get what’s called overflow, which means your work in the drains is done and you can now enjoy the resulting swimming pond and mud lake you’ve created.

7. We often find that throwing stuff over the fence can be quite satisfying. Unless you are on a corner block, or you live out bush, you may have three fences to choose from, the back and each side. Choose the one with the cranky neighbour, it makes it extra fun for when your Mum and Dad have to try and get your stuff back. Mind you, a warning brothers, if your Mum has had it with this game, you may actually lose your stuff forever, which kind of sucks. Again though, we don’t think things through so enjoy the moment.

8. One of our favourite games at the moment is what we like to call round and round. It’s actually pretty simple. Run round and round. And round, and round, and round and round. You can throw in a bit of spinning round and round but that often results in us falling over, so take care brothers, this game can get risky if you don’t know what you’re doing.

9. Chase birds. It’s awesome.

10.  When outside antics have run their course, there is always TV. But make sure that you watch the same episode of the same show at least 50 times per day. Your parents will LOVE it.

Letter to X

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Dear X,

It isn’t fair. Your life was laid out for you even before you were born. You never had any say in it, and now you are blamed daily for not being able to change it. You rage and rage trying to change something and the only thing that happens is that you get sent further and further away from the wind you are chasing. You keep getting told to change your behaviour but you don’t know to what. You keep getting barked at and pecked at and harangued for your hair, your rolled up sleeves, your wrong shoes, your no pen and your unfinished homework. You never ever get credit for the little things you did that took all your strength to do.

If I could take you home, I’d make you eat a good breakfast. Every day. I’d touch you safely, kindly and gently every five minutes. I’d read to you, even if you are 14 years old and you say it’s gay. I’d make you eat a good dinner with vegetables and then I’d make you go for a walk with me round the streets as the sun sets. I’d stroke your hair as you fall asleep, tell you that you are safe and make sure you stay there all night long. I’d cry out of sheer frustration, but I’d never quit. I’d ban Facebook, Twitter, chat rooms and webcam, I’d give you a phone with no data allowance and I’d make you earn your own money. I’d insist on perfect school attendance and I’d celebrate a D if the last result was an E. I’d teach you to ignore bullies and be better than them. I’d smile at you and use a gentle voice, but my will for your would be iron strong. If anyone would come at you, I would defend you. I’d protect you, but make you face up to your mistakes. I’d advocate relentlessly on your behalf, but make you accept any consequences due to you. I would make you study and travel and say no to boys who are not worthy of you. I’d make you read the paper and watch the news. I’d ask your opinion and listen when you give it.

It isn’t fair.

Parenting 101: Second Edition

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I thought it was time for a review of parenting dos and don’ts, given the calibre of gob smacking, heart breaking parenting classics that have come rollicking through my door in the past little while. I wrote a while back about some parenting basics that we should all really have a handle on. That post was written with my tongue in my cheek and my sense of humour well and truly at the keyboard. This one may be a little more terse. Tonight I write out of pure righteous anger.

1. Don’t text your daughter and call her a slut. In fact, don’t ever call anyone a slut. No such person exists. But really and truly, call your own daughter a slut, and then come over here so I can shake some fucking sense into you.

2. If your son is failing school, has extremely low intelligence, no social skills and hasn’t the faintest idea how to pull himself out of the total black hole of disadvantage that is his life, and if there are lots of people trying to help him, LET THEM!

3. Protect your daughters. At all costs. Keep bad people away from them.

4. If bad people get to your daughters, tell her it wasn’t her fault and for crying out loud get her some help.

5. If your kid is cutting themselves, don’t tell them they’re stupid and just trying to get attention. They are demonstrating to you that they have no problem solving skills, and that there is nobody they feel they can talk to. Please don’t get angry at them or ground them. Is it so hard to just listen?

6. If your kid attends school for 30 days out of the year, this is a bad thing. This means they have no education. This may also mean that they cannot read and write. This is very difficult to correct. You have a chance to get your kid educated for free. Take it.

7. If your daughter is in grade 12, weeks from the end game, and is genuinely trying to study hard, stop asking her to babysit, clean the house, drive her brother to footy and help cook the dinner. Give her a break already.

8. If your 13 year old daughter is sexually active, somewhere along the line she missed a message about her value. And FYI, take her to the damn doctor.

9. Please just do stuff together. Please? Just a walk, a cup of tea, a game of cards. Please just do something different, one small thing just from today onwards.

10. Your kid has gold inside them. Even if they are a completely obnoxious little shit most of the time. There’s gold in there.

*Disclaimer*

I know, I know, I am not the perfect parent either. Why, just today in fact I embarrassed myself by screaming like a banshee when twin 2 streaked across the day care car park as I ran in pursuit, other twin dragged along behind in my panic. I managed to trip my own son over on the bitumen in my attempts to keep him from being flattened by a car. Looked like a dick in the process too. Believe me I know. We fail. But I just had to rant. Forgive me.

Winning, working and worrying

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The cliche about life being a roller coaster could not be more true for me this year. One week I am black as black in my head, crying whilst reading bedtime stories to my boys, laying awake at night sleepless, imagining running away forever, even imagining what it would feel like to scratch myself up (at the darkest moments). The next week, that would be this week, I am seriously considering nominating myself for mother of the year (Delusions of grandeur see? Bipolar Disorder! See Mental Illness and Parenting). I can’t explain it, maybe it is that cycle of life stuff, hopefully nothing more sinister.

This week I have handled all tantrums with a) humour, b) tactical ignoring or c) mindfulness. I parented like a BOSS. I didn’t shout once. I didn’t worry about them not eating. I didn’t worry about mess. I feel like that elusive kind of mother I keep trying to be. I’ve touched, stroked, patted, snuggled and cuddled as often as I could. I’ve made a real effort to be there, when I am there. My husband and I took a night, turned off the TV, lay on the couch and just talked for a couple of hours. It was truly refreshing. My rejuvenation may also have had something to do with the fact that I did actually escape for two nights to Sydney with a girlfriend last week.  We shopped, drank wine, talked and generally just enjoyed going out with one small handbag and no kids.

I also started working full time this term. That’s up from 4 days per week all of this year. Of course this brings up the mother guilt that we females often have to deal with but males never seem to. It’s not ever really considered whether my husband should or should not work, but for some reason there is always a question as to whether I should. My husband is encouraging and proud of my work, but he did admit that there was a part of him that wanted me to want to stay at home more. He gives and takes as much as I do when it comes to getting kids ready and to and from day care during the working week. In every respect we are equal partners in chaos. But that question always comes up, possibly more in my mind than his even. People very frequently say to me that they don’t know how I do it, that is, work and raise twins plus one. My response is usually that I couldn’t (do it) if I didn’t work. I worry every single day and half the hours of the day that my kids need me and I am not there. I worry about the number of hours I am way from them in the day. I worry that I’ll regret working. Of course I worry.

At almost 40, I know myself very well. I know what I need to keep my life balanced and I know when it is tipping off in one direction. Work is an important part of my mental health. It gives me so much satisfaction, I can’t imagine not doing it. Getting away is also so important. Giving ourselves those little treats and refusing to entertain guilty thoughts such as I am putting my own needs before those of my kids. Well of course. What my kids need first and foremost, is a stable base. That means firstly, that their mother and father are healthy and whole individuals. Secondly it means that their mother and father are a secure unit together. If those two things are on shaky ground, then everything’s on shaky ground. Taking time to put myself first, taking time to put my relationship with my husband first has a very direct benefit to my kids.