Monthly Archives: November 2010

Raging

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I’ve just spent 600 dollars. Yep 600 happy ones.

What did I get for it? Sweet diddly squat. Nichts. Nada. Niet.

Why would I do such a thing? I mean, why not spend $600 on a sorely needed new wardrobe (the clothes, not the space in which to hang them)? Or some sorely needed new computer software to help me in my creative pursuits? Or on delicious, delightful, divine trees for my garden? Or on a few nights away? Or on books, books and more books? Or on stationery, or on cooking classes, or on haberdashery that I will never use or movies I’ll never watch or diamond encrusted knuckle-dusters to beat the living daylights out of the stupid old bat who cost me the 600 bucks in the first goddamn place?!

Why? Because of one ridiculous moment and the gross overreaction of a dumbass, that’s why.

Common scenario – leaving the shops (too late) with a car full of groceries. Blossom screaming her head off for some arbitrary reason (as babies do) and Little Lion roaring back at her with wild accusations that she (at 7 months old and with an acre of car between them) had stolen his water, had touched his hair, had hurt his hammer and had, God forbid, smiled at him. In the melee, Mother was heading rapidly toward a melt down.

We stopped at the traffic lights. I turned around to give LL one of my best in my saved-for-special-occasions angry voice. He was lamenting the loss of his water bottle and I spotted it, just beside his car seat. I reached with my Go-Go-Gadget arm (does anyone else still refer to him?). I twisted and stretched and…

BUMP – the car stopped again, rather curiously.

Next thing, a crazy fat old bat starts peeling herself out of the car in front of me, gesticulating wildly.

I open my door to escape the screeching only to be struck by:

“YOU HIT ME! YOU HIT ME! NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? YOU HIT ME! WE’LL HAVE TO PULL OVER ! GO STRAIGHT THROUGH THE LIGHTS! STRAIGHT! DON’T YOU DARE DRIVE OFF, DO YOU HEAR ME?! OH! OH! WE HAVE TO PULL OVER! YOU… I… OH! WHAT’S THE DAMAGE? WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?”

Sweet fucking lordy lord, the woman was insane.  And the ‘damage’ was two pin-prick scratches off her bumper that I cannot guarantee were not made by flying fucking rocks a few goddamn light years ago. The thought to just drive off would not have normally crossed my mind, but since she suggested it…

Bloody conscience needs to learn to shut the fuck up. If I’d have driven off I would not only have saved myself the $600 excess, but the 15 minute ordeal of listening to her have a bloody coronary.

“Oh, I never. I’ll have to call my husband. I don’t know what to do. What are we supposed to do? Shall I call the police? Oh, this has never happened. I’m panicking…” No shit, lady. You ever had screaming kids and melting ice-cream in the back of your car? Give me the pen and I’ll give you all the bloody details you need to commit highway robbery of the first degree.

And to cap it all, the moment I slammed my door on the hysterical woman, the kids stopped their screeching and Little Lion, in his most convivial tone said, “Bye bye Lady!” and waved cheerily through the window.

Just peachy.

Shamelessly Floggin’ Friday

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This is a sponsored post, Q&A style. It is sponsored by me, for me, to flog my wares for my ginormous multi-national network that turns over roughly 4.75 cents per year (GFCs and years of maternity leave not withstanding). So if you don’t want to know, go elsewhere on Lori’s Flog Yo Blog Friday list at the RRSAHM. If you’re intrigued, read on. You never know, you too could stand to earn 4.75 cents every year for your efforts…

Q: What are you flogging?

A: Books, books, and books; speeches, workshops and clinics (of the inspirational, motivational, revelational kind) and me, as a package of creativity and wow.

Q: Why are you flogging?

A: For a few reasons:

1. CHARITY – With Christmas around the corner and that list of people who are just impossible to buy for because the either have everything, know everything or are excited by nothing only growing, you cannot go wrong with a gift that gives twice. Order a copy of Wobbles – An Olympic Story and $10 will go to your choice of either MS Australia, ME/CFS Support Association QLDThe Inspire Network/Reach Out, or The Developing Foundation – Team Ashton. It’s a gift that they will not have (I can almost guarantee it), they will not know the story (I can almost guarantee it) and it will surprise them (I guarantee this one). And if worst comes to worst and they happen to end up thinking the book is crap (because they are just wired to hate everything regardless of how great it really is), you can rest in the knowledge that it was not a complete waste of money and effort. Someone will benefit.

2. TRANSITION TRAUMA – Toddlers have a hard enough time with the day-to-day challenges of asserting their independence, being misunderstood, having boundaries placed on their deepest heart’s desires to eat cat poo, climb roof tops, empty knife drawers and paint on walls, let alone coping with the major upheavals that often come their way – new siblings that steal mummy away, being abandoned at daycare, suddenly having to control when they poo and wee, being given an ocean of bed with the freedom to get out at will, but being expected to lie down and just look at all the freedom! It can all get a bit much, really.

So I have devised a series of personalised books to help toddlers prepare for  these transitions to “big-kid-hood” before the shock hits them. The books use your photos, so your toddler can recognise all the players, they emphasise the positive changes that your brave hero toddler makes, they map out the what, where, how and why these changes have to be made and they reinforce the love you have for your big little one at these exiting junctures… all in simple, rhythmic stories that toddlers love.

Find out more and order your Toddler Transitions Story here.

3. RESONANCE AND CONNECTIVITY – Sometimes all it takes is one sentence from a stranger to turn on a lightbulb. Sometimes it’s just hearing somebody else put heart and soul out there to make you feel less alone. Sometimes one person’s example is the rocket up the backside you’ve been waiting for. And for that reason, I speak, I write, I run workshops for high schools, I give swim clinics, I put myself and my journey out there in any way that I can so that maybe, just maybe, somebody will breathe easier, feel more hopeful, leave inspired and energised. So, if you know an organisation, a high school, a swimming club that you think could do with a little shot in the arm, a different perspective, a new story, let me know and check out my creds here – I rule!

Q: Are you done flogging already? I’m over reading…

A: Yeah, yeah. For now, anyway.

Q: PS – do you like flogging like this?

A: No, but someone’s gotta do it.

Q: PPS – Get yourself a publicist.

A: You know one that doesn’t charge more than 4.75 cents per year?

Taking the sting out of the garden

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We have been working hard to get rid of the chaotic weed heap in the centre of the yard. Sounds so simple, huh?

I’ve transplanted the 489 spontaneous tomato plants hidden among the thistles, nettles, rampant nasturtium and all manner of clover, dandelion, fire weed and nightshade. Mr D has constructed the first of three compost bays and I have shovelled a mountain and a half of grass clippings…

But all this takes inordinate lengths of time because of one little apprentice determined to help and another little apprentice determined to be carried AT ALL TIMES! The upshot: I work with a baby strapped to the back until we are both too hot and sweaty to breathe and Little Lion sets the pace – think snail.

So a few weeks ago, we were all out back pottering away at our various tasks, LL shouting from time to time for Mummy to “look! bug!” or “dig! hole!” or “my! bucket!”, Blossom casually sucking on an Ergo strap. Naturally, LL gravitated toward the centre of our activity and wanted to pull out some weeds too. At this point, daddy felt it was time for a lesson:

“Look. This is Stinging Nettle. Don’t touch. It will hurt you. Ouch!”

Little Lion crouched beside his father, hands on knees, nodding as he listened with his grave little face contemplating what daddy said. “Ting Net. Ouch,” he said, pointing.

“That’s right. Don’t touch. It’s ouch.”

A gleam sparked in LL’s eye. He reached out his hand and looked to his father to check his reaction. Mr D’s eyes widened in warning, “No, don’t touch. Stinging Nettle will hurt you…”

The Lion giggled. This was a great game.

“No…”

And he did. Grabbed a hand full. Mouth shot open. Horrified eyes searched for the garden for his mother – how could Daddy have betrayed him so? And he screamed…

I did what any mother would do – knelt to the ground and stretched my arms wide ready to receive my distressed boy. And he did what any distressed boy would do – ran for the comforting arms of his mother.

Only trouble was the enormous patch of Singing Nettle between him and me. That’s right, the patch that he (for some incomprehensible reason) did not swerve wildly and carefully tip-toe around to avoid. He ran straight through the thick of it. Right up to his bare little waist with his bare little legs brushing against those leaves of fire time and time and time again.

His face said it all – “Mum and Dad are in cahoots and they’ve got it in for me.”

The welts eventually faded, but the emotional scars remain. All you have to do is say “Singing Nettle” and you can see the grey clouds shadow his face. “Ouch,” he will solemnly reply without so much as a glance in your direction.  And that damned weed patch has lived to fight another day… week… ok, month or two.

We’ll get it one day.

We really will.

Riding the wagon

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I’m not a bandwagon kind of girl. I just don’t like jumping on if the wagon is already crowded with people yipping and yaying about how great the ride is. That’s why I’ve only read one Harry Potter book (to placate my students, which didn’t really work because I told them what I thought of it) and it’s why I don’t do vampire romances, iPhones and doggy day spas (ok, maybe that last one is because I don’t have a dog yet, but even if I did and when I do, it won’t be going to no day spa!).

Yet, here I am, about to start week three of the Couch to 5k program, complete with podcasts. Why? Because of darned mummy bloggers yipping and yaying about the bestest way to burn the jubbly bits and get a bit of yee-ha into the psyche.

And bugger me if it really isn’t the best way to get rid of jubbly bits and instill a bit of yee-ha! It rocks my world (although this is not hard given the most thrilling me-time I have is a toilet break when both kids are asleep and I can purge without locking the Lion in with me lest he taste-test his sister’s forehead in my absence).

It’s the perfect exercise for someone with an out-of-control inner taskmaster like me. Yeah, you know the voice that says, “You’re not going fast enough! I don’t care if you think you’re having a heart attack, keep going you pussy! Stop? No way! Only soft, fat losers stop! If you’re not about to spew you’re wasting your time…” and all that jazz. It’s a voice that reigned supreme for a Very Long Time and it has not taken retirement terribly well. On occasions it can be heard shouting, “10pm?! You’re stopping the house work at 10pm?! Like Hell you are! Get that mop out, you pathetic excuse for a housekeeper…”.

So for me, the super calm voice that says, “It’s time for your first running interval… go,” and then, in no time, returns with, “OK, you can slow down to your brisk walking pace now,” is like a benevolent angel giving me permission to enjoy myself. Enjoyment, that is, provided I avoid the following:

1) Taking my regular (and I use this term in the loosest way possible) walking route only to realise that road works have rendered the sidewalk completely impassable. It forced me to tiptoe through the ankle-deep slurry and stones that passing cars hurtled at alarming speeds, yes, in the middle of the bloody road! And did I mention that it was a main road during the 5pm home-time rush? No?

2) Finding a new route to avoid being pole-axed by a semi, but realising that every single time the voice says to run on this new route, I am going sharply up-hill. I’m not fit enough for that shit yet! And did I mention the teeming rain in my eyes? I swear the natives thought I was in serious training for something a whole lot bigger than jubbly bits and yee-ha.

3) Searching for another new route only to find myself completely and hopelessly lost in suburbia. When the session ended I was still lost, finally resorted to jumping a fence, trespassing through a school, traversing a water-logged football oval and, upon reaching the main road (yes, there I was again!) it still took me 20 minutes to get home.

4) Accidentally pressing a button on my mp3 player mid-way through a session with no idea where I was up to and finding myself listening to Week 3’s track. I had to scroll back through the music, trying to guess roughly where I was up to all while walking briskly and slowly melting in the scorching sun. It took 5 minutes to find a sound that seemed vaguely familiar, but as it turned out, I was wrong and ended up repeating a whole lot of the session.

5) Grossly overestimating the capacity of my bra and how much The Blossom had had for breakfast. The juggernauts initiated a rather large let-down that positively shone through my purple t-shirt, dazzling the oncoming traffic (yes, I went back to main road highland dancing for fear of never making it out of suburbia – lucky drivers).

6) Rolling my ankle and swearing loudly (very loudly due to the false concept of volume you get when you have music blaring in your ears) in front of the husband and two young sons of a girl I am trying to groom for friendship. I have yet to hear what he reported when he got home, but I dare say my attempts to regain poise, dignity and charm were met with little approval:

“OH, HI CAPTAIN! (Yep, I couldn’t remember is name off-hand and ‘captain’ was the best my pathetic brain could muster. What happened to ‘mate’, ‘guys’ or just leaving it at ‘hi’?) JUST OUT FOR A RUN. (No shit, Sherlock) YOU BOYS GOING FOR A WALK THEN? (No, dip-shit, they’re sailing) WELL, BEST BE GOING… (God, let me die now)”  Ah well, at least I finished week two.

So, with one mishap per run and still loving it, I am looking forward to the next installment of the C 2 5k bandwagon ride. Before you know it, I’ll be romancing vampires, tweeting from my iPhone and pampering my pooch. Look out world!

It’s Blog Floggin’ time with Lori’s Random Ramblings of a Stay At Home Mum!

Wine and gossip glue

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Pray tell: is there anything better in all the world than wine and gossip? I mean a delicious, suck-it-down-and-beg-for-more kind of wine and scandalous, if-you-dare-repeat-any-of-this-I-will-deny-and-destroy-you kind of gossip. It’s what bonding is all about, is it not? That is how relationships are made (ok, and destroyed perhaps, but I’m focusing on the building bit atm, orrite?).

This epiphany struck me on the weekend when my sister came to visit. She’s been away for a few months, she lives in another city, and we’ve been… well… we’ve been drifting for a while. But on Saturday we opened a bottle of wine, Mr D and Mr D-in-something-like-law drank beer (because they are boys) and we talked. And talked. And talked. Waaaaaaay past bedtime, through a late night booby call and into the not-quite-morning-hours-but-close-enough-to-be-scary time.

And we caught up. On everything. Not by actually telling everything, but you know the osmosis takes place as you drink – you talk about the parents and in-laws, you rant about the bloody water sheeting across your yard from the neighbour’s broken downpipe, you fantasise about life without kids and you warn of life with kids, you recommend books and tell stories of drunk cousins pashing strangers, you analyse the psychological baggage of those who shit you to tears and you make plans for triathlons and diets and wild parties that you know will never eventuate because you’re took drunk to be serious. By the end you somehow know everything else that was left unsaid. Yep, it was one of those nights that cements a friendship, however far it may have drifted, and I’ve decided I need more of those.

You see, last week I told the NDM that I had a piss-poor attempt at a posse. That was, in fact, a lie. I have no posse. I suck at friendship and I blame this on the fact that I didn’t get stuck into the wine and gossip until way late due to a mild obsession with swimming up and down a pool really fast.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I made plenty of friends in the chlorine – it’s kind of hard not to bond when you share the intense ups and downs you get at 4am in a mid-winter pool. But what I didn’t realise at the time was that it is the wine and gossip that really seals things. Life after swimming takes you in all kinds of diverging directions and those friendships die natural deaths because the chlorine glue doesn’t exist any more… unless you had the chance to guzzle and gossip.

This combination bridges all lifestyles, all occupations, all moods and temperaments, seasons, distances and dreams. It transcends common interests and creates memories that, when everything else in your lives have gone asunder, remain powerful enough to hold you to ransom. And that’s the kind of glue I need because, as I said, I suck at friendship.

It’s not that I’m a complete bitch, though some would argue otherwise. I’m a good listener, sympathiser, co-conspirator. I am generous and generally tolerant, though sleep deprivation is taking it’s toll. I can be crude, philosophical and, well you’ve seen my blog, I’m downright hilarious, no? What? You’re not laughing?

But I don’t do regular phone calls, I don’t remember birthdays, I don’t like shopping, exercising or going to the toilet in packs and I’ll only do coffee if it fits in with my kids’ nap times. With this list, I’m destined never to have a posse and I’m cool with the whole lone she-wolf thing.

But, if you are ever around, I’m always free for some wine and gossip and who knows what may grow?

Pig in mud

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We moved into our beautiful home in December last year and yesterday I felt the need to do a stock take of all that we’ve done to the place so far. That’s right, you can’t move into a beautiful home and not do stuff to it. That would be, I don’t know, relaxing or something.

The reason for the stock take is that I have been feeling like I’m not making headway on much. You know what it’s like when you start a million things that never get quite finished because there is playdoh to squish, nursery rhymes to sing, crayon to scrub off walls, banana to scrape from the cracks in the floorboards… all the regular stuff. It took me four hours to send a 5-sentence email the other day! So while Blossom had her morning nap, Little Lion and I went out into the sunshine to check the perimeter.

We really have been doing plenty, but it’s all that stuff that makes you feel like you’re actually going backwards, courtesy of the mud and general look of destruction about the place. Cutting down trees… lots of trees, underground mains, three-phase power, stormwater. Yep, our place has been trench-city for some time, but we covered the trenches in a few weeks ago, we let them settle and watered them in, we topped them up and last weekend we threw a bit of grass seed around (too feed the pigeons, it would seem). With this weather, thunk I, it should all be sprouting in no time and those muddy scars will be gone for good.

And not before time, too. You see, Little Lion had a bit of a run in with one of those bare earth patches last week. Literally. He had his gumboots on (because making contact with the ground with bare feet is just not on!) and phone in hand when it suddenlt occurred to him that he had something of the utmost urgency to report to Daddy. He turned with a flourish and charged with all his little legs could muster, only to find one of those damned boots was firmly embedded in the dirt. The poor little mite hit the ground with such a splat he was chewing on grit for days.

Consequently, he has developed a mud phobia and all my attempts to teach him the joys of barefoot outdoor exploration and general grubbiness have been sent right back to lesson one. So on our stock-take perimeter check I was thrilled to find he was quite happy to tip-toe through the dewey grass! Sadly, a breakthrough that was not to last.

Because then we came to the mud. He asked to be carried. I granted the request and boldy went on, praising the joys of squishing mud between one’s toes when the earth disappeared beneath me and I, with my screaming toddler, was knee-deep in sludge and sinking.

It took a good minute of struggle to extract myself (shorts still in place) from the bog – Bear Grills eat your heart out! I could only be grateful that I had chosen the bootless option otherwise I may have been forced to dive in after them.

Every attempt to make light of the fact I was covered to my pits in brown goo was entirely lost on the Little Lion. There is no way he will ever touch the stuff again. I’m sure of it. Not even the opportunity to hose me down gave him any joy. He stood and wailed and was certain I needed a doctor. The day was spent reliving the ordeal and checking to see that all the mud was cleared from my toes.

And this little piggy was so much looking forward to mudpies with my leaf litter tea…

We’re flogging with Lori today! Enjoy!

Blossom Bubbles

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My Blossom started on real food this week, though what is ‘real’ about rice cereal (aka cardboard flakes enriched with iron to ensure little systems get well constipated) I don’t know. But that’s what she started with ’cause that what you’re s’posed to do ’cause the book said and if the book said it must be true ’cause it’s smarter than me, right?

So we started with a teaspoon or two and I thought, to make a celebration of the occasion, I’d serve it in a shot glass. I must say, leaning over the kitchen bench, breast bared and nipple being squeezed for all it’s worth, I did reconsider my choice. Have you tried aiming freshly squeezed boob juice into a shot glass lately? Little Lion thought Mummy had gone quite silly indeed!

Now, when LL started on solid food, his take on rice cereal was this:

 

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Conclusion

 

So I was not expecting much joy with Blossom’s first attempt, but she was very accommodating. It helped that she had

a gleeful audience. LL was beside himself!

“Oh no! Vom!” he’d squeal.

“No, that ‘s not vom. She’s just trying to swallow her breakfast but it’s coming out!”

And’s she’d take another spoon full and blow those bubbles at her brother like it was the best game ever invented. And it is, for now. But it’s only a matter of time before The Lion starts to blow his Weet-Bix back at her!