Four weeks ago I started work. From full-time mum to full-time employee and part-time mum. The decision to return to work was purely economical…apparently you can’t pay for things with old receipts and a Medicare Card – crazy world we live in. So I was offered a job and I took it. And I feel like ever since that day I have seen nothing but posts on facey and insty that are all about listening to your heart and doing what you love and life’s to short so follow your dream…I think those sentiments are all wonderful however they do not pay the bills. See if I truly was to choose a career path that would give me ultimate fulfillment and fill my heart with joy I would be a writer or a renovator. I write this blog and I really love it – I don’t make money from it and that’s ok. Would I like to be paid to write – ahhhh yes please! In the meantime I will continue to write and won’t give up my day job. As for renovating – if someone wants to donate about $400K to me in the hope that I flip a house for profit and can give them back some interest then please contact me now. Seriously though it is nice to think that we could all just chuck in our day jobs and follow our dreams but if we all do that then who does the jobs that people rarely dream about? Since starting work I have had my world turned upside down. I am away from my little boss all day and only see her for a couple of hours at night. This makes her a bit of a terror – they say children crave attention and it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad as long as they get it they consider it a win. It also makes me exhausted and short on patience – which I am in fairly short supply of most days. The up shot of this is that we will be able to save some pennies and will be able to visit people we love and spend time with them. That makes it all worthwhile. So I guess in a sense we are following our dream and doing what we love in that we are going to stash some cash and then take a trip – make some memories, take lots of selfies – repeat. And if I can smuggle my laptop or tablet into our suitcase I might even be able to indulge my passion….and write about it.
Last week our little boss turned five…wow. It feels like only a few short months ago that I first started writing about the delights of visiting the obstetrician as an over 40 first timer and here we are five über fast years later. Many things have changed during this time and I have noticed that having to wait around for Little Boss to do whatever the hell she pleases has made me slow down a notch. There is no greater frustration than trying to get a child into a car or into a bath or out of a bath or dressed or undressed or into bed….you catch my drift….so you either get crazy mad or you just let it happen organically and either continually turn up late with crazy eyes or get out of bed wayyyyy earlier than usual just so all you have to worry about is motivating a fiver. I am working on just letting it happen and slowing down a bit and I like her to think she can go at her own pace. That is unless it’s pissing down and she’s taking “just one more” run around my folks lawn while I wait for her to get in the car – this will cause me to crack out the old “you’ve got five seconds….5….4….3….” we never usually get to 1 and I don’t know what is meant to happen if we do…
Anyways so last Sunday we were having the family round for a get together to celebrate her big five and I needed to get some hot-dog buns so I legged it to the shopping centre and grabbed enough rolls for a half day Bunnings Sausage Sizzle and began my fast strut back to the car….which came to a standstill when I hit the travelator and got stuck behind a lady with a trolley. See once you have positioned your trolley its locked in and doesn’t move til you get off at the end….so this lovely lady turned to me and said “sorry, I’ve blocked you in” not at all I assured her. Then while I was “blocked in” by her trolley I found out that she is 80 years old, loves living at the village across the road and feels that once you get past a certain age people – in general – are very nice to you. Which, she said, was lovely. I remarked to her that we seem to use up all our nice on the very young and the very old and had nothing left for those pesky in between years but wouldn’t it be so pleasant if kindness was commonly used in all age groups. I felt really uplifted by my encounter with this lady. We parted ways at the exit and I wished her a happy Sunday before strutting to the car to get the buns home. I have been thinking about our meeting on the travelator and have been trying to up my kindness quota…..don’t get me wrong, lots of things still push my buttons but I am working on it. I have a long way to go before I am Zen Master of my domain, for now though, if I can minimise the amount of times I mutter “for fuck sake” under my breath I will consider it a small win.
So Louann Brizendine from the University of California came up with some research that suggests that, on average, women speak three times the amount of words per day than men. Now I do love a bit of data and I am married to a man who would definitely reduce the amount of words spoken by man to about a quarter of what was found to be the magic number of 7000 words per man, per day. This leads me to wonder if the original data that Louann collected may have been skewed by mums. How many mums were in there? Sneakily pushing that average up with repeated phrases like…”have you flushed the toilet” “have you washed your hands” “are you listening to me” “eat your breakfast, lunch, dinner” or my most recent favourite “no, not just one more minute, get in the bathroom and brush your teeth” I may as well record that one and just keep pressing play.
I consider myself to be a fairly resilient person. I can usually weather the storm. I am also in complete awe and amazement at how this almost five-year old can persist in the face of adversity. We have entered a phase of the “just one mores” just one more chocolate, minute, TV show, game, drawing, book, thing to tell me – this one is almost always in the resistance period before bed. To be perfectly honest she doesn’t go to sleep til 8.30-9pm and is up again at 7am so I am all out of my just one mores and I am ready to disappear into a world of Netflix. Mr B Badger blames me – I am quite stubborn, headstrong and I will negotiate and influence to get my own way. My mother just laughs and says “oh yeah, I remember those days” Me – well I just get sick of the sound of my own voice and will happily not talk at all once she goes to sleep. It’s not great socially but I feel that I have used up my 20000 words for the day by repeating myself ad nauseam in trying to negotiate with someone who has wayyyyy more staying power than me. Sometimes, if I am not up to the challenge, I just go with it. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure in a cup or a cone? Want your mattress on the floor cause the bed is too itchy? Move outta the way and let me make it happen. On these days my average word count would be quite manly….and then there are the pi days where I just go on and on and on repeating the same request/instruction/warning of pending injury all day long. At some point during the day I remember that I need to fight the battles worth fighting. I was recently reminded of this when, at bedtime, I was told she had “just one more thing” to tell me. OK just one more. “Mama, tomorrow, I want to have 10 hours where you just let me do what I want and you can’t say no to anything, okay?” so I said “okay, no go to sleep and get some rest. You’ve got a big day tomorrow” fortunately for me she has little concept of time.
Last week Little Boss started school. I naively thought that raising a child and being a stay at home mum would make the sands of time slip a little slower through the hourglass…man was I wrong. These have easily been the fastest five of my 45 years.
So we have the uniform ready to go, the bag packed and everything labelled. All I have left to do is get her ready and pack her lunch…how hard can it be?
We have one of those fancy Bento style lunch boxes that has multiple little areas for food and it looks super cool so I set about filling up those little areas with a wrap, carrot sticks raspberries, cheese, chicken and grapes. I don’t have an ice brick to keep it all cool but I did freeze a yogurt pouch so that should do the trick. I am winning at parenting. Off she goes. No tears, from either of us. Fast forward to pick up and I say “what did you get up to today?” and her first response above anything else is “my yogurt exploded in my lunch bag and it went EVERYWHERE!” I said that was no good and that we would get her an ice brick for next week so it didn’t happen again. The next comment about the day was “the teacher told me that I had to keep some of my fruit so I had something to eat at fruit break” Now the theory behind the Bento Box is small portions that provide variety and it turns out that this is not suitable for Prep. I feel just a teensy bit shit that the top of mind memories from my childs first day at school were about my rookie lunchbox fails. Not only did I fail at lunchboxing but I also didn’t put a braid in her hair OR a ribbon which was very disappointing for her. To be fair I am still waiting for her hair to thicken up and one hit of static has her looking like a dandelion seed so braids are just not going to happen.
This week I feel as though I have redeemed myself – the exploding yogurt and the subsequent smell are still fresh in my nose – we have a new lunch box and an ice brick. Today lunch is a sandwich, grapes, strawberries, popcorn and crackers. There is a plait in her hair and a ribbon that I don’t expect to see this afternoon. I congratulate myself even more by turning up early….which I will never do again. When I got home I was having a look at Facebook and as if by magic a post appeared about school lunch boxes. Some parent in South Australia has been put on notice for sending chocolate cake to school with their child…shut the front gate. As I read through the comments I spotted one that made me laugh out loud…one parent got a note home saying that a Vegemite sandwich was not a green light food as Vegemite contains too much salt. While I don’t expect to see a note in Little Boss’ lunch bag, if I did I am pretty sure I would not be outraged enough to post it on facebook. To be honest I know Vegemite is salty and not the best choice and I would love to be able to load up my kids lunch box with awesome healthy options BUT I have always believed that fed is best and if the only thing she will eat is a plain wrap with no filling or a Vegemite sanga then that’s what will be in her bag. These are things my parents never had to concern themselves with….I got Vegemite on white and it got squashed in my bag and I ate it alongside my pals who had either Vegemite or Peanut Butter or, if they were really fancy, Devon and tomato sauce.
Hopefully today I get to hear about some friendships made, some books read and games played…the stars have aligned in the lunch and grooming galaxy so here’s hoping the rest of the days go well.
Okay so my threenager is heading towards her fourth birthday and, up until a couple of days ago, still wearing nappies. I have tried many times since she turned two to get her using the toilet or the potty without any success. I have had reward charts, incentive schemes, reading while sitting, turning on the tap, telling not asking, special seat on the toilet, three different types of potty (all chosen by her), multiple underwear options, modern cloth nappies blah blah blah. I’ve read books, blogs, forums and websites all offering up suggestions, opinions and judgement in healthy proportions. I consider myself to be a person capable of solving problems and developing alternative solutions yet here I am getting owned by a threenager. It finally hit me last week when she lay on the bathroom floor with a nappy containing a package only blueberries and grapes can deliver and told me we were “playing babies” oh dear.
Two days later little miss starts pre-school. So I take her along and inform the room leader that she is not toilet trained and I have supplied her pull ups in her bag. I feel fairly confident that a bit of peer input might help her to see that “playing babies” is actually for real babies or dolls.
So six hours later I pick her up and she is not wearing her nappy….and hadn’t done since about 10am. Her “teacher” asks if she wants to do a wee before she goes home to which she squeals “yes” and runs off to the bathroom. I am unusually lost for words. I knew that if she saw what the other kids were doing it would inspire her to do the same….unfortunately the other kids don’t come home with us so despite my supportive comments she was in the cupboard digging out a nappy for me to put her in about an hour later. I refused and reinforced the pre-school, big girl, you’re awesome message but after a solid hour of sobbing and snot exploding screaming – I relented. Yes I know….she owned me. But you know what – I’m tired. Sometimes I have the energy for the battle ahead and then other times I am just done….yep I’m human.
Now we’re on day two of no nappies since tomorrow is another pre-school day. So far our wee counts are one in the potty four in the pants on day one and today we have one in the potty and two in the pants so far….I have period pain that is so bad if it weren’t for the drugs I would be rocking in the foetal position so it will take all my power to persevere with wee watch today. Oh how I wish I had persevered back when she was two….she’s always been willful and independent but is definitely a tougher nut to crack as she heads closer to four. Wish me luck….this won’t be the only battle of wills that she and I will engage in – this is just the battle du jour. And I don’t think my mum has stopped rubbing her hands with glee since our little miss arrived….
Little Boss is three and a bit. Up until recently we have been able to talk in whatever manner we have wanted and have not had to worry about what we say or who we say it about. And then IT happened. I had my niece – technically she’s my second cousin but her mum is like my big sister so let’s just say niece – over to stay for a couple of days and she was helping little boss colour in some Hello Kitty. I was taking full advantage of the distraction by catching up on chores – yewwww! Anyhoo Mr B Badger yells out from the bathroom for a towel and in my moment of frustration I mutter “ohhh farken hell”. As I walk back to the bathroom with the towel I see my nieces face – eyes wide in shock/amazement and hands over mouth to prevent laughter. So I drop off the towel to the lord of the living room and I return to see what had happened…turns out that my multi-tasking little dynamo got my tone and the pronunciation spot on as she coloured Hello Kitty with one hand and held her forehead with the other while repeating after me. This seemed to spark an increase in the amount of phrase mimicry with “you’ve got to be joking” a new hit and when asked “would you like a ” the response is mostly “ahh maybe that’s a no” complete with eye rolling…not sure where that came from but I do know that I don’t like it, despite it being pretty funny the first time….
in 42 very quick days our wee baby girl will turn three. and a whole lot of stuff has changed in that time but the one thing that still remains is….nappies. clearly it is bothering me more than anyone else because I am the changer of all nappies, the wiper of the bum, the person that has – on more than one occasion – put my finger in the back of a nappy to see if it’s mine with the offending odor only to find that it is also now my finger that smells as well. so I’ve read books and blogs and web sites and articles and spoken to other mums and the advice ranges from she’ll do it when she’s ready to just take away the nappies and she’ll have to use the toilet….or wee and poo on my mums bamboo flooring – not my preferred option. we tried last week – I had days of not much planned so we could stay at home and give it a red-hot go. we have the toilet all set up, she picked the pink seat for the toilet, we made a chart to show progress with stickers, she picked underpants and we had a chat about being a big girl and nappies vs toilet…so after many attempts and lots of wiping and flushing and washing of hands at approximately 3 pm she declared “I don’t think I am ready to use the toilet yet mummy, can I have my nappies for a bit longer please?” so while the experts may disagree I did what she requested and pulled on another nappy….but today she said she needed to go to the toilet – nothing happened, despite my initial excitement – but it’s a start, right?
I blame disposable nappies. their absorbency is ridiculous. I’m sure if you were on a tight budget you could get away with using less nappies simply due to their ability to stay drier for longer. I wanted to use the modern cloth nappies and after getting my mum to bring them home from the US for me we found that after a very short time our very hot-blooded bundle of joy was suffering from heat rash from wearing them….disappointed doesn’t explain how I felt. Mr B Badger was less upset as it was he who wore the mustard coloured goodness that leaked out of one of my earlier attempts at putting them on.
I’m certain that if the children of today had to walk around with half a wet bath towel between their legs held up by a pair of plastic pants they’d be trained a whole lot earlier than they seem to be. I can’t help but think that the nappy is her remaining tie to me and that in giving that up she won’t have that extra bit of one on one time that for her is probably still quite fun but for me can sometimes resemble mud wrestling gone horribly wrong.
anyhoo I will persevere and she’ll get there eventually – or I’ll just have to start buying the adult diapers once she gets too big for Huggies….
so up until recently I had thought the terrible twos would consume my days and nights for at least another couple of years….that was until one of my mummy friends mentioned the term “threenager” and it all fell into place. this is now my life….dealing with a toddler who behaves just like she is about to hit 13, not 3. when you hear your baby utter the words “I want the i view app” or “there’s no network connection” you are probably dealing with a threenager. I am struggling to find a comparison to what my threenager is experiencing and my own childhood…my mum has always told me that I was “good as gold” until my brother came along only two months after my second birthday when I decided to unleash hell on the household. so we’ve always put my tantrums, fierce independence and demand for attention down to my baby brother. turns out this may not truly have been the case….maybe I was just starting the transition from terrible two to threenager. either way I am missing my mum like crazy right now as she visits my baby brother and his gorgeous family in the US but I am also a little bit glad that she can’t see what’s occurring in my world as this might cause her to rub her hands with glee while watching me go through the same treatment she would have experienced – at my hands – some 40 plus years ago. if knowledge really is power then why do I feel like I am NOT the one holding that power?? we have so many avenues of information available to us that I think we’re just making it harder for ourselves – oh no my threenager’s not listening to me I better hit Dr Google and see if she could have a problem – how about she’s just ignoring me…or the options I am giving her haven’t yet reached her desired choice of beverage….or maybe she’s just that engrossed in the 24 piece jigsaw puzzle challenge I set for her that she can’t handle anything more right now. I know sometimes, after a day that has had more arguments than minutes, Mr B Badger will come home and observe the goings on and will remark “so you just let her do whatever she wants?” and the reality is that sometimes – within reason – yes, I do let her do whatever she wants…because sometimes I get sick of my own voice. so if you put on your tracky daks and one leg is quite noticeably longer than the other it could be due to the threenager swinging off them while singing ring-a-ring-a-rosy while I hung out the washing. or if my parents return from their vay-cay to find their vege patch decimated of all life it could be blamed on the parrots OR it could be the threenagers desire to do the “weeding”. either way these are fights I do not have the will to fight so I chuck another Ristretto pod in the coffee machine and watch while my very willful and independent child weeds and digs and identifies worms and bugs and generally just messes shit up….it’s okay, we have a couple of months before we have to do the work on getting it all back together before the parentals return home….or we could resort to having the threenager take them on a tour when they get back to show Poppy all the great gardening shes done….
as we approach our daughters second birthday we ponder what would be the most awesome present for her….a little trampoline, maybe, or perhaps some musical instruments. I have been closely monitoring her activity of late to try to get some clues as to what might take her fancy and it turns out that what I need to find is a shop that sells empty boxes and bags. clearly with all the advances in technology little has changed in over 40 years in the wants of a two-year old – my father will attest to that. as a toddler, after opening the many presents I had received and no doubt my parents had saved hard for, I ended up playing in an empty beer carton. upon watching this I bet my folks wished they had a full carton to help them ease the pain of buying me toys only to find they could have wrapped up a carton instead. anyhoo, so yesterday I spent the rainy day just hanging out in my tracky daks, hiding under various blankets and watching little boss walk around the house with a variety of objects on her head….a washing basket, an Ikea shopping bag and her empty toy box – she up-ended it to get the toys out and then put it on her head. so I thought I would try to get some other activities happening…. “would you like to do a puzzle?” “no” “would you like to play with the doll house?” “no” “let’s go outside and do some painting” “no”….and on and on it goes. so I say “what would you like to do?” and I get a blanket thrust in front of me and told “hide”….turns out its me that gets bored, not her. I am the one that would like to mix things up a little, maybe a bit of reading, some dancing and the occasional bang on the tambourine…
so I am left to ponder what life would be like if we cleared out all the plastic toys and just left the blocks, books, puzzles and introduced some boxes and buckets and a few cushions and blankets….and in writing that it sounds just peachy to me. no more batteries or toys that haunt you while you try to sleep. maybe it’s us that want the cool new talking teddy and while we expect to get a reaction of joy from our children we are disappointed to find that what they really want is a pair of tongs, two cups of dry pasta and a bucket. we should be freaking thrilled that they want to play with stuff found at home – sure it makes a mess and there is a slight risk of choking on dry pasta – but the upside is they are learning, experimenting and using their imagination – no talking teddy can give you that. so I think this birthday we might go a bit Montessori and just get some baskets and trays with different activities on them – I know I will have a fight on my hands cause no one loves a gadget more than Mr B Badger.com – well, maybe his sister – so I will have to make a good argument for my case but, hey, at least if we do end up getting her some overpriced, battery operated latest and greatest it should come in a nice box that will keep her entertained for hours.
hello again, hello….
it’s been so long since i have visited barrybadger.com that I forgot my password! anyhoo I would like to put my lack of posting down to my super hectic life but really I’ve just been feeling knackered. who knew that this mum stuff could take it out of you like it does hey?? so I returned to the world of paid work for a short stint which was lovely and challenging at the same time, lovely because it was paid and challenging because I had to leave the comfort of my pyjama clad, peppa pig watching world…my feet were not that happy to be back in shoes again and I certainly haven’t missed the daily grind of sitting still in traffic for up to 90 minutes each way. it was nice to catch up with some old colleagues and to meet some new ones and just as I was getting to know them better it was over….I had completed the task they hired me for and they didn’t need me for anything else….so it’s back to singing wiggles tunes and playing dress-ups for me and my – shock horror – almost two-year old. I look at pictures of her when she was a wee baby and I don’t even remember her looking like that. It’s as if I remember the day she was born and then nothing until how she looks now. I actually held a friends baby last week and felt so clumsy like I had never held a baby before and yet it wasn’t that long ago that our baby was just that tiny…but like everyone keeps telling me – make the most of it because before you know it she’ll be at school. well I am doing my best to make the most of it…I am even enjoying the tears and tantrums that come with being told no – this is probably not what they meant but hey I do find it a little amusing that the roller coaster of emotion passes so quick. I think my mother is secretly rubbing her hands with glee that we are entering the notorious “terrible two” stage of development…apparently I threw some spectacular tantrums during this phase of my life, however I remind my parents that if my brother had not spoiled it all for me by coming along and being all chubby and cute then I might have reacted differently. since we only have the one child she gets to throw out as many demands as we allow….and as her mother I allow a whole lot less than say, her grandmothers, who get run ragged by a pint-sized dynamo that would put the energizer bunny to shame. last week my MIL was home so it was her turn to get the treatment and all I heard was “room trishy, bookoo trishy, outside trishy, sit trishy, wiggles trishy, dance trishy and can’t catch me trishy” pretty sure she slept well that night. today my mum popped in to pick up an esky while my dad revved the car out front…little boss got all excited and told her “room gramma” when my mum told her that she had to go the lip dropped and the tears flowed as she ran to me and put her tearful head on my shoulder. so her heartbroken “gramma” went out and got poppy to come in for a quick play…ahhh that’s better, tears dry up and the world of little boss is well again…it was a win-win for me…I was onto my second wiggles dvd so welcomed the opportunity to turn that off – and hide it – and hoover the floors without worrying if little boss was choking on the power cord…how life has changed!
this picture was taken on monday during the destruction of a friend of a friends house…you know when you go somewhere and all the things are nice so you worry about having to replace them in the likely event that your dynamo will seek and destroy? well that is this house. fortunately the owners of this ridiculously awesome abode are equally as awesome and wont send me the bill for cleaning the carrots out of the skimmer box of their pool or mind collecting their rock collection a second time….