Tag Archives: mothers

Packing a Playground Punch

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Playground Etiquette 101

Lesson One – Supervise your kids.

Lesson Two – Lesson One does not mean leaving a box of hot chips on the bench seat for your toddler to share with the birds while you disappear for a coffee with your girlfriend, all the while assuming that your 4-year-old will be looking after said toddler and his bird poo chips.

Lesson Three – If it is essential that you remain well away from the playground perimeter so as not to spill your coffee on unsuspecting children during your engrossing and animated conversation with your girlfriend, at least sit on your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair with your face in the general direction of the playground in case your toddler should pace the fence line crying, “Mummy… Mummy…” and not find you. You wouldn’t want to be accused of neglecting your toddler.

Lesson Four – It is important that you maintain eye contact with the park and, specifically, your children during your coffee gossip session in case your elder child should punch (yes, punch, not hit or shove or push, but closed-fist punch) an unsuspecting toddler whose father is standing close by, supervising (see Lessons One and Two).

Lesson Five – When father of unsuspecting toddler ROARS (as a Lion should) at your child, attend to the situation immediately. Do not wait for unsuspecting toddler’s father to dish out the reprimand and swift lesson in social graces then scan the horizon far and wide while shouting, “WHO OWNS THIS KID?” No amount of “Oh my God, I’m so sorry, what happened?…” will make up for your lack of presence.

Lesson Six – Whisking your 4-year-old away from the playground to momentarily stand by your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair while you adjust your bling, take another sip of your coffee, titter with your girlfriend and flick your 18 shades of bottle blond to stylishly surround your designer knock-off sunglasses is not taking disciplinary action (as torturous as watching your personal grooming routine may be for a 4-year-old… or anyone, for that matter).

Lesson Seven – Sending your 4-year-old back to the playground with a soccer ball to kick around the equipment is also not discipline, even if you shout after him, “And see what your brother is whingeing about”. Said brother is still plaintively calling for his mother between bites of bird poo chip. He needs his mother. That would be you, Miss Glamour-Puss.

Lesson Eight – If you should decide, despite this course in Playground Etiquette, that you will continue to use public playgrounds as free daycare, other parents as free (and unwitting) babysitters, and local wildlife as custodians of your children’s less-than-nutritious afternoon tea, then at least ensure that any conflict of the above nature does not take place in full view of the unsuspecting toddler’s mother lest she trawl the net for “How to make a Voodoo Doll” that very afternoon. (Yes, that would explain the stabbing pains in your eyes, your 18 shades of bottle blond loss and the mysterious collapse of your all-singing-all-dancing picnic chair atop your designer knock-off sunglasses. Go figure.)

Lesson Nine – Remember, always, that it is people like YOU who destroy the sisterhood of motherhood. It is people like YOU whose toddlers approach breastfeeding strangers to show their pretty flower to, because their mother is too busy being… somewhere else entirely. And it is people like YOU who will, one day when you are old and crotchety with blue hair and bent back from those years of carrying too much bling, be left by your children in a fenced area with all manner of ‘fun’ activities to occupy you while your children go off and… well… just go off.

Lesson Ten – If you are in doubt about the slight variations to Playground Etiquette that may apply to indoor settings such as shopping centre play areas, doctor’s waiting room activity centres, cheap-and-nasty burger outlet playlands and the like, please complete Playground Etiquette 102 next week. In the meantime, say the following prayer for forgiveness:

“I, Miss Glamour-Puss, have been so busy farting higher than my arse (my grandmother taught me that saying – it’s great isn’t it?!) that I have not realised that my accessories baggage… children need more than entertainment; they actually need my attention. I promise to make eye contact with them from time to time… regularly and I promise to handledeal withtolerate… nurture them every week… day. I will do this begrudgingly… willingly and with love. Amen. (PS: can I have another picnic chair and knock off sunnies too? Ta.)

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Plagiarism and Thanks

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I’d just like to start by saying a huge THANK YOU! to Curious George. In times of crisis, he comes through every time. He is the only one and I love him for it.

Secondly, I’d like to thank whoever wrote the following story that I am unashamedly plagiarising. It came to me in one of those emails, so I am sure it’s an oldie (I am always the last to get such viruses) but it still makes me laugh.

If anybody knows who wrote it (especially those in the US, because it’s a ‘mommy’ story), please let me know so I can send them the enormous pile of comment love I have stored on my desktop perchance I find the wonderful woman. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you rock!

Enjoy!

THE WASHCLOTH 

I was due for an appointment with the gynaecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor’s office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn’t have any time to spare.

 As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn’t going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pyjamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I’m sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

I was a little surprised when the doctor said, “My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven’t we?” I didn’t respond.

After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal … Some shopping, cleaning, cooking.

After school when my 6 year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, “Mommy, where’s my washcloth?”  I told her to get another one from the cupboard.

She replied, “No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it.” 

NEVER EVER GOING BACK TO THAT DOCTOR. EVER.

It’s Flog Yo Blog Friday! Hop over to RRSAHM, grab a cuppa and enjoy the reading list!

And so it begins

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There is only one way to sum up my day on Monday – 3pm nip. No, that is not a typo. I did NOT mean to say 3pm nap. I meant 3pm nip. In fact, it may well have been a double shot… I can’t be sure. And no, I was not guest DJ-ing on my local radio station, though if I was, the double shot would probably have been an ACDC coupling of “Problem Child” and “Highway to Hell”, or maybe Rage Against the Machine “Know Your Enemy” and “Take the Power Back”, but alas, it was a double shot of Dr Smirnoff’s rescue remedy.

“What?” I hear you cry. “What could drive a warm, responsible, earth-mother goddess to drink at 3 in the afternoon?!”

A 2-year-old, I tell you. A 2-year-old.

I didn’t believe it  was possible. I thought “The Terrible Twos” was a scare-campaign, kind of like Y2K, hysteria perpetuated by mothers looking for something to blame for their children not being perfect minature adults like their outfits and hair-dos suggest they should be.

 Humble pie, people. I’m eating it by the trailer-load.

It began at 5.30am with a warm bottle of milk designed to put him back to sleep. It had the opposite effect of quelling his hunger and sparking him to life. I managed to convince myself that the shouts of “MUUUUUM! MUM! MUM-MUM-MUM!” coming from his room were part of my tortured dreams for a full 10 minutes before I caved in and dragged my sorry self out of bed.

The 5.30 start progressed to a 5.50am tantrum – NO NAPPY! NO-NO-NO! – followed by a 15 minute battle to get a jumper on him, a pair of track suit pants and his slippers. Why do I bother?

This was followed by 40 minutes of raging because I refused to grant his request for George Monkey, even when he brought the DVD to me with a sweet “Preeeeze Mummy”. I don’t know. Is it unreasonable for a mother not to want her 2-year-old in front of Curious George at 6 in the morning? Stupid, perhaps, I mean I was clearly asking for a fight on that one, but surely a line has to be drawn…

Anyway, all attempts to distract him with breakfast failed – No chair. No Weet Bix. No Toast. No no no no no. Tanie? Preeze Mummy, Tanie? Again, is it unreasonable for a mother to want her child to eat something slightly more sustaining and with a slightly less laxative effect than sultanas for breakfast? So I compromised and put the sultanas in his Weet Bix.

Well, wasn’t that the red rag… For those of you unfamiliar with the extraordinary properties of Weet Bix, when thrown around the room and not cleaned up within 75 seconds of hitting any kind of surface, Weet Bix mush dries like cement. In fact, I am considering using it next time I am in need of some cement render. Fortunately, LL was courteous enough to go around picking the sultanas out of the globules of hardening brown slop to compliment the cold spaghetti he had dragged out of the fridge and up-ended on the floor. A nutritious breakfast after all.

It was at this point in our morning’s kitchen redecoration that Blossom woke, demanding to be fed. And it was at this point that LL decided it was imperative that he climb to the very top of my head using only my hair as leverage. Blossom, unable to feed with her brother’s overwhelming presence became increasingly frantic and I lost the last handle I had on my morning’s composure. “Oh, just go away…” I blurted.

That’s right, folks. I said it. And yep, it was repeated back to me ALL FREAKING DAY!

I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my attempts to go the beach with a girlfriend and her daughter (of course forgetting Blossom’s hat on only the sunniest day since February), or LL’s 20-minute cat nap in the car at 9am, throwing all hope of a decent afternoon nap out the window, or his sudden fragility in the coffee shop where we tried to hold a civilised conversation. Nor will I detail Blossom’s increasing fussiness at not having a single peaceful moment to suck to her heart’s content, or LL’s refusal to eat when in said coffee shop and his demands for lunch about 10 minutes after we arrived at the beach, his dissatisfaction at what I had packed and his wails for Chippies when he saw those damned golden arches on the drive home. It was then that I finally gave in to his whim. I needed comfort. NOW!

So we drove through. Him a juice and chips, me a Big Mac with no meat patties and a vanilla thick shake . Yes, you read right. No meat. I know, I know – it’s a lettuce and pickle roll, but I’m vegetarian, so I get the sugar bun with the plastic cheese and the mysteriously enticing sauce and then throw a veg burger on it when I get home. At least, that was the intention until LL pushed a chair to the bench where I had carefully place my burger-to-be out of harm’s way.

It was something about the little shreds of lettuce fluttering through the air before they hit the floor, the way the pickles stuck to the cupboard doors, the way the bun perfectly complimented the strands of cold spaghetti and the splattering of cemented Weet Bix that just did it for me. I cried over spilled burger-to-be, and when LL asked with grave concern, “You arite, Mummy? You arite?” I wanted to scream, “What the fuck do you think!?”

Instead I tried getting him sorted for bed time. This was met with the kind of reception you might expect: “NO no no no no… Run run, Mummy. Run run!”

From past experience, I know this is LL code for “I’m not going to settle down until I have done a monumental poo and that monumental poo is not going to happen unless I am given ample space to move and ample solitude to bear down in private.” So I sent him out the back door with a flourish and settled into the armchair in Blossom’s room to give her the first bit of quiet attention she had had all day. It was not long lived.

She suckled, she drifted, he crashed through the door, trailing and ungodly stench. I held my ground and composure.

“Poo-ey Mummy!”

“Mmm-hmm,” I said quietly,”We’ll finish boobie and then we’ll change your nappy.”

To which LL demonstratively sat down, rubbed his backside from right to left and grinned, “Squish!”

The conversation repeated, to which LL shouted, “NO!” and ripped the velcro tabs of his nappy open and did a delicate little squat to ensure the nappy dropped all the way to the floor. I practically dropped Blossom, whipped the nappy over his shit-covered backside and dragged him to his room amid violent protests (from both of them).

Bed time brought a battle over where to sleep – No cot. No cot. NO COT! – and by 3.07pm, when I had finally managed to get Blossom to bed and The Lion to sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room, I went to the kitchen.

I sat on the floor with my burger-to-be lettuce and cold spaghetti and a glass filled liberally with Dr Smirnoff. Neat. On ice.

And I damned well deserved it.

A Tale of Two Babies – Part 1

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This whole birthday thing has made be nostalgic. I’m also sick and illness does a misty-eyed Mumma Nadz make. So I’m going to share a story. A story of plans made, intentions dashed, illusions shattered and second chances. Part 1 goes like this:

(A word of warning for readers who have not yet ventured down the baby path: This post contains graphic information that may turn you off all together. The writer recommends that you defer your decisions until you have read Part 2 of The Story where things get a whole lot nicer.)

I have mentioned before that I was a swimmer. A swimmer who competed at Olympic level. This is not a badge of honour I wear proudly, but a fact I mention here to put my approach to childbirth into some kind of context. Pain? I had been to the extreme of it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Endurance? I had found my limit and gone beyond it, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Emotions? I had seen the most exquisite highs and blackest lows, willingly, twice a day for the best part of my life. Lack of control? Check. Physical mayhem? Check. Facing the unknown? Check. Check. Check.

Childbirth did not scare me. It was going to be like a really long Step Test, a VO2Max set, a ‘Hell Week’ squashed into one day. I would breathe, like I had done in training millions of times. I would be pushed to the point of delirium and convulsion and I would just keep going like I had done in training millions of times. I watched the videos. I read the magazines. I studies the photographs of watermelon-sized heads pushing through cherry-sized vaginas accompanied by shit and blood and lumpy, white goop. And I had made peace with the thought that I was going to disgrace myself in front of a team of doctors and midwives and my darling Mr D. I was going to have a baby.

Instinct had told me that a birth plan was a stupid idea and my obstetrician had confirmed the hunch. “It becomes nothing more than a list of the things that didn’t happen or a list of the things that stressed you out.” So I had no plan. Only intentions and rough strategies and a clear picture of how it would all go down… No, that’s not a plan, okay?!

Sally MacLeland ran the final of the 100m Hurdles at the Beijing games. Mr D and I stayed up to watch it. She exclaimed in breathless wonder “Are you serious?!” in her post-race interview and The Lion popped his sack. Within 10 minutes the contractions started and from that point on they were so strong I couldn’t talk or stand and breathing was the concerted effort I had anticipated in the latter stages. And they were regular at 5 mins apart. And they didn’t go away completely between them.

“I think I’m having this baby soon,” I said to Mr D and he called the hospital, we went in for a check and they sent me home with some Panadine (that did squat) and the recommendation that I rest up and call back when contractions got to 3 minutes apart.

I did everything right. I spent hours in the bath. I tried walking around the back yard, squatting every five minutes to moan a mantra and breathe. I nibbled on jelly and sipped on cool soups for a second or two in the less intense moments. And I did this all day and well into the next night. A very, very long Step Test training session.

When the contractions hit 3-minutely and my moaning pitch escalated to the distressed moo-ing of a cow, we called the hospital and went in. By midnight they had examined me and declared,

“Congratulations, Nadine, you are four and a half centimeters dilated!”

“Four and a what?! I’ve been… AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH…whooo… whooo… whooo… mmm… mmm… mmm… for 24 hours and I’m not even half-way there?!”

It seems the Lion was back-to-back, back-to-front being the way the little suckers should come out. He was jammed in there like a little champagne cork and he wasn’t budging until he either voluntarily turned around or the doctor got the scissors and cut him out of his packaging. I was no longer part of my body. I needed sleep so badly I wanted to die. They encouragingly told me that I could be doing this for another 24 hours and Mr D came to the fore.

“This is the good advice we said we’d take” and I, incapable of holding myself above the water in the bath, let alone coherent speech, said, “Don… car… nee… slee… nee… slee… nee… slee…. i…i…i…IIIIIII-YAAAAHHHHHHHHH ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… ngggrrr…!”

Epidural. “Whoomp-whoomp-whoomp” of the Little Lion’s heart. Fogginess. My leg fell out of bed at one point and I had to call to Mr D to put it back. Another 8 hours and I was ‘allowed’ to push. But push what where? I couldn’t feel anything, so I pretended. And, it seems I pretended good. In fact, I pretended so good that I catapulted my placenta into the doctor’s chest so hard it splattered his crisp, white business shirt and he fumbled it like a muddy football.

32 hours later and The Little Lion stared at his father for 10 minutes while Mr D cried like a baby. I laughed the hysterical laugh of a drunkard, every single one of my intentions laying shattered on the floor. And we’ve been laughing and crying and laughing again ever since!

Olympics? Piece of cake.

Happy Birth-ing-day

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My favourite café is attached to the organic grocery store near my home. I just love the feeling of relaxed warmth it exudes and I always leave feeling completely energised and inspired to live a ‘connected’ life. Of course, life has a way of eroding that feeling, but I always know I can go back for a top up with a flat white (decaf, of course).

The other day I dropped The Lion off at his one-day-a-week-adventure-at-family-day-care (which he LOVES!) and I stopped in at The Cornerstone. Blossom was complaining loudly that “Two hours between drinks is plenty, thank you!” so I had to get my boobs out somewhere, right?

As I ambled in, I noticed a girl I have met on a few occasions. You know how it is – you’re friendly but not quite a friend; she’s the friend-of-a-friend and you’d love to befriend her but you don’t quite know how to bridge the middle-man?

Anyway, she was there talking with a group of women seated at one of the tables. They were having a raucous laugh and, at a quick glance, I could tell they were all ‘school mums’. I’m still a couple of years off graduating to that rank, so I made the immediate decision not to intrude into what appeared to be the inner sanctum.

But Blossom breaks down all barriers. As I was ordering my decaf, one of the women said “Speak of the Devil! She’s gorgeous! I want another one just like that!” to which friend-of-friend turned, recognised and greeted me with a warm ‘hello’. Inner sanctum reached without graduation. Blossom rules!

These friends were marking one of the women’s “birthing-day”. Her daughter was turning 12 and they were celebrating that incredible rite of passage that all mothers have to go through. And I thought that was pretty great, so I tried it last week end when my Little Lion celebrated his second year.

It was beautiful to just ponder how clever I am, to have a glass of wine and congratulate myself (and Mr D, of course) on our parenting. Whether good or bad, we always try to come from a place of what is best for our kids and, having done two years of that, it was really nice to pat ourselves on the back. I’ve been to the Olympics and trust me, raising kids is bloody hard!

It also reminded me how, on her birthday, my mother always sent her mother a bunch of flowers to say “thanks for having me”. My sister, being naturally sentimental and always the thoughtful one, carried on the tradition. It often made me feel like I was being selfish for not saying “thanks” in the same way on my birthday.

But now, in becoming a mother, I have realised that it’s not about getting a “thanks for the effort” on your child’s birthday. It’s about remembering the incredible gift we have been given as women; the privilege, the effort and strength inherent in becoming parents.

We get so engrossed in making the birthday a magical time for our little ones, a time to show them how glad we are that they came into our lives, that we forget the role we, as parents played in that event.

So, when your little charges next mark another year of growth and development, take some time to celebrate the miracle of motherhood, the journey of fatherhood and that stupendous moment when that little being entered the world and took their first breath.

Just think – YOU DID THAT!

My Mother’s High-cut Briefs

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I know – gasp, horror, applause – two posts in two days! Don’t get used to it, it’s just that I don’t trust the kids to sleep long enough to give me a good chance at shut-eye, so I’ve chosen to write instead. About a momentous occasion.

I have a clear memory from my youth… I have a few actually, and most of them are in my memoir, Wobbles – An Olympic Story (cracking read, check it out, etc.). This clear memory of my mother getting dressed after her morning swim does not appear in Wobbles (really, a cracking read, check it out, buy one, etc… ok, it’s getting lame), and I don’t exactly dwell on it, but it came to me the other night after my bed-time shower – bed-time is the only time when I can shower without the threat of kiddie invasion, in case you were wondering.

Mum used to pull her high-cut briefs right up over her belly button and I always wondered about that particular manoeuver. I could only imagine how uncomfortable it must be to have your underwear riding around your pits. Surely she was just asking for an atomic wedgie, or worse, a wedgie of the front bum kind. I never did ask about it – I figured choices relating to underwear were pretty personal and I knew how annoying it was to hear her thoughts on my Anal Floss. So, the discussion of the High-Cut Brief was never had.

The other night, after my invasion-free shower, I allowed myself the displeasure of a Naked Once Over in the mirror. This is a ritual I only ever indulge in when I am feeling particularly secure on all other fronts. I by-passed the back fat and the breasts that are beginning to invade what once was a waist-line (the absence of a waist-line was duly noted). As I scanned down, turning this way and that to inspect the hail damage and wondering whether insurance would pay for it to be repaired, it occurred to me that the sagging, overhanging, post-baby-belly skin – ok, ok, so there may be a bit of fat in it, but that’s beside the point – IT IS NEVER GOING AWAY!

Never. Ever.

The finality shocked me. Until now I have been living in the fantasy that when I am finished having children, I will shape up and be bikini gorgeous in no time, just like everyone else! But there it sagged, mocking my delusions. I tensed my stomach muscles and the sag was only accentuated. I sucked my stomach in and the sag grew an inch. The baby pouch, the spare tyre, the wobbly-bulbous-stretchy-sack-of-motherhood remained like a bouncing badge of honour.

It was an epiphanous moment (if that is even a word). I took hold of my undies and hoisted them skyward until they rested atop the baby paunch and squished it just a little. It turned the obvious ridge into a tapered surface. Not exactly washboard, but no longer pendulous. Granted, I looked hideous with my dacks jacked up to my midriff, but at least the high-cut brief was not an admission of defeat like the full brief is. Yes, I was slightly disgusted to have to look at my hips in all the lumpy-padded glory which has hitherto been disguised by my hipster boy-legs, but jeans can put those bumps into their place, so I got over it.

Hideous or not, I have decided to give my mother’s high-cuts a go. I mean, it’s not as though I’m trying to impress anybody with my clothes off anymore. These days it’s more about culinary prowess than va-va-voom anyway, and the very thought of wearing the Anal Floss of my youth is enough to send me into convulsions. So, if the high-cut holds me in without slipping into my atomic chasm, I will gladly admit that mother was right. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Beware the Parrot

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I feel like crap today. Not that it has any baring on today’s post, I just thought I’d mention it on the off-chance I get some sympathy. We try whatever we can…

No, today I thought I’d tell a cautionary tale that came from one of my husband’s work colleagues.

He told my husband about their recent trip up north – a family of four on a road trip.

Mum in the passenger seat adjudicates the battle raging between their six-year-old son and his three-year-old brother. Dad at the wheel decides it’s time for a circuit breaker, so pulls up at the next MacDonald’s drive thru (notice the shortened use of the word through – a pet hate of mine that at any moment can bring forth a tirade about how the public arena of all places should remain txt spk free, that children need to learn that these are not words, but abbreviations of words to be used in appropriate situations only… and don’t start me on improper use of the apostrophe in public signage and advertising!).

So, dad pulls up at Maccas. He orders a large Quater-pounder meal for himself, a wrap of some description for his wife who will not give in to the burger temptation, though she will steal a fist-full of fries, so he orders an extra small fries to make up the shortfall. Finally, two Happy Meals for the kids and they squeal with delight.

Dad drives on to the next window where an anxious teen takes his money without making eye contact. In the back seat, the six-year-old is trying to explain that there is one toy in the happy meal each week, so they don’t get to choose. It’ll be a surprise. The three-year-old can hardly bear the suspense.

Dad moves on to the next window where he can watch the bedlam going on behind the crowded counter. It’s a miracle that people get what they ask for most of the time. He’s only had to go back for a swap once and he is sure that was because his son’s friend had changed his mind eighteen times. A flustered but cheery young girl hands him their bags and wishes them a nice trip and they pull away, the kids bursting in the back.

Mum doles out the food and silence descends as the boys take possession of their little boxes. Rummaging. Rummaging. Rummaging…

And the toddler finds his toy, pulls it out and exclaims, “FUCK ME!”

Mum looks across at dad’s stricken expression. “Well, I wonder where he got that from.”

Beware the parrot. They hear all.