Sunday, 30 December 2012

Never Mind...

When Alex wets his pants and starts to get upset, I say "Never mind!"

When Alex falls over and grazes his knee and starts to cry, I say "Never mind!"

When Alex drops his yoghurt all over my clean floor and rug, and I start to get upset, he says, "Never Mind Mum!"

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Time for Christmas...

Christmas Day was a different pace here this year.

There was time to sleep in.....  well...  past 8am anyway.

Time for a leisurely late breakfast...just the four of us.

Time to open gifts one at a time and appreciate them, play with them.

Noticing the time passing and enjoying each other's company.

There were (almost) no fights or tears today. Possibly because the kids didn't hear the word "No" much today.

Chocolate was eaten throughout the day.

Lunch and dinner was leftovers from the big family get together yesterday.

And then even more chocolate was eaten.

Today was nice.

Just what Christmas is supposed to be.


Friday, 21 December 2012

The joy of giving...

Our Family Activity Advent Calendar has been doing OK in it's inaugural year. We've forgotten to look at the activity a few times and totally ditched some when we simply ran out of time. But there was one particular task that I was very keen to add and made sure we didn't miss.

  I love the idea of the kids donating something of their own before Christmas. Partly to make room for new gifts received, but more importantly to recognise that there are other families with a lot less than us and its nice to give for the sake of giving.

My mum often talks to the kids about the "Smith kids" who are from the Smith Family (charity). Megan and Alex think that the kids on the Smith Family ads are real kids who don't have toys and clothes like they do. I know it's not entirely true, but it has given a very real face to a difficult to understand topic.

So when we pulled out today's advent calendar card and it said donate a toy and book, Megan got really excited. She chose her book and toy carefully and wanted to find more and more to give. I really didn't want her to give away the 'Meg and Mog' book because I had searched the Internet especially for it when we first had Megan. But it was her choice and I think she chose it because she likes the story and wanted the Smith kids to enjoy it too.

Alex didn't really understand so just randomly chose a book and toy, but I hope he remember it for next year when he may understand a bit more.

So the gifts are boxed, ready to pass onto the Smith family charity (I'll make a point of donating to them so that I can say they items DID go to the Smith Family!)

And I'm looking forward to keeping this tradition up for years to come.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Going Overboard...

I'm about to be controversial...hold onto your hats...

The consumerism and "I want, I want" mentality of kids is our fault...us....parents.

Do kids really need 10 birthday presents? NO.

Do kids know if you have spent the same amount of money on one and not the other? NO.

It's our own sense of fairness and keeping up with the Jones' that leads us to buying more, doing more.

Mike and I were racking our brains for types of food to include in Alex's Dinosaur Birthday Party last weekend. We thought for weeks about how to make a dinosaur birthday cake. But this was us trying to make everything perfect, not Alex demanding a party with strict design and food guidelines!

Would he have been happy with a plain round (even store-bought) cake... No doubt. The fact that it had a candle on it and it was for HIS party was all that mattered.

And Christmas.... Ahhh Christmas....

The time of year where parents feel they have to give their kids the biggest and best of everything.

We had planned to make a cubby house for the kids this Christmas, but time and money got away from us. But hubby then decided that we had to spend the money that was for the cubby on the kids anyway.  HOLD UP!!!

The kids didn't know they were getting the cubby house, they didn't know how much it was going to cost, they will not notice amongst their other gifts that they are missing out. They are getting plenty already...no need to go out and buy more, simply to assuage our guilt over not being able to provide one particular thing.

Alex would be happy with a $1 bubble wand from Kmart and Megan would love a packet of new hair clips or nail polish.

So why do we feel the need to have to get them expensive, fandangled super-toys?

Parent guilt... That's why! (OK, and possibly some really good company marketing strategies!)

Lots of big gifts under the tree looks great. A mountain of wrapping paper ripped from presents on christmas morning makes us feel good.

But it leads to the one trait of kids that I can't stand.....greed.

And our little boy displayed exactly that on the morning of his party when he said...

"Where's my next present??"

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Why do boys need to touch their willies...?

Seriously....all the time?????????

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Long-Awaited Dinosaur Party

The Dinosaur Party finally arrived!

I had a hard time giving Alex his birthday presents today, since his actual birthday is more than 2 weeks away. But he is still at an age where he doesn't realise that today isn't his birthdate, despite being able to recite his birthday as "at Christmas Eve". And we are having family over for Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, so it would be confusing for the little guy to get birthday and Christmas presents on the same day.

The theme has been discussed and planned for close to 6 months and since Alex kept changing his mind about what he wanted, we picked something from his list that we thought would be easy enough to organise.

However, we didn't take into account the busy and expensive time of year, so some of the things we wanted to do were just not possible (head over to my Dinosaur Party Pinterest board to see all the lovely things that endless money and time would have provided!)

But all in all, Alex was happy and that's all the matters!!



The Stegosaurus cake was a hit with old and young- for decoration and taste, and I love sharing that the cake inside is a 79c packet mix from Safeway! Alex's first choice of Stegosaurus colour was pink, then purple, then green, then orange. We went with orange (even though the photo looks peachy-pink).

We have lots of fun planning food around the party theme and this time was no different!

 
 
I really loved the Dinosaur outfit I made for Alex, even though he wasn't as impressed. Today was the only day ever that he didn't feel like roaring like a dinosaur!! Oh well, he can wear it around the house!
 
And the effort we went to to make these guys was a waste, coz they weren't used in the way we had planned and weren't quite as impressive as the look here (plus Mr T-Rex got eaten by the dogs)

In the end, we had 2 kids hyped up on sugar which is always a sign of a good party. Everyone was well fed, had fun and is now completely tuckered out!

No more party planning for a while... except that Christmas Eve dinner... and Megan is making requests for her "number 5 birthday" already...

Oh well, at least Pinterest takes the hard work out of finidng ideas!!








Saturday, 1 December 2012

Family Activity Advent Calendar....


I love the lead up to Christmas. The excitement, the waiting...it all adds to the fun. So I love the idea of advent calendars that count down to Christmas Day.

The kids have their first chocolate advent calendar this year and I found on Pinterest a cool "activity advent calender" that I added to my Christmas Pinterest Board, so I thought I'd have a go at making one (in fact I think I like mine better!),

 
Once I finally got all the materials and got going, it was great fun! And choosing the activites was cool too. The Pinterest page had some ideas that we used and we came up with a few of our own as well. We strategically placed the activities in the calendar so that busy days weren't made busier with tasks and those that needed a bit more time and effort were done on the weekends. I even made a few spares so that we can change things around next year.


Here are the activities we have used this year...
  1. Decorate the Christmas tree
  2. Hang lights on the house
  3. Colour a Christmas picture
  4. Listen to a Chrostmas CD
  5. Make Christmas Cards
  6. Make a new Christmas decoration
  7. Write a letter to Santa
  8. Sing a Christmas Song to someone
  9. Take photos for Christmas cards
  10. Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes
  11. Read a Christmas Story
  12. Wrap presents
  13. Choose a toy and book to donate (this is my favourite
  14. Cut out paper snowflakes
  15. Have a sleepover in front of the tree
  16. Make Gingerbread men
  17. Draw and Christmas Picture
  18. Take a gift to your teacher
  19. Drive around and look at Christmas Lights
  20. Go and visit Santa Clause (at the shops)
  21. Make reindeer food (I love doing this with the kids at school)
  22. Watch a Christmas movie & eat popcorn
  23. Make a treat and take it to a friend
  24. Read the "Night before Christmas"
SPARES: visit the Myer Christmas Windows, make a stained glass window (another favourite that I do at school!)
 
I'm really looking forward to doing each of these activities with the kids and hope it helps build the excitement towards the big day!
 

Friday, 30 November 2012

Movie night...

We've been doing movie night for about 2 months now, and this is something I needed to blog about coz its one of the things that I really want to remember.

Channel 7 have been kindly showing great kids movies at 6:30pm every Saturday night. Perfect timing for our little ones. The movies usually finish at about 8:30 (sometimes 9pm for a longer movie or one with more ads!) so the kids think they are staying up REALLY late!

We've had special movie food-popcorn and a milkshake. The kids think its fantastic and hey, if you can't have junk food at the movies, when can you, right?

So far there has been lots of Disney Pixar films shown, which are my favourite. We've seen the likes of Toy Story 1, 2 & 3, the Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up and loads more. Hopefully they will start to head into Christmas movies now that we are almost in December.

Luckily we have a good stash of kids DVDs so if anything undesirable is scheduled, we can change things up and the kids will be none the wiser. (I have my fingers crossed for the Tinkerbell series soon...I love them!)

I know this new tradition won't last forever, in fact it will probably only last until Channel 7 realised there is something better to show than old cartoons!

But for now it's lovely to snuggle on the couch, in our PJs and watch some awesome animated movies.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Big Kids..

There are many signs of becomming a big kid...some momentous, some not so...

Alex knows he is a big kid now because he does wee and poo in the toilet.

Megan knows she's a big kid becuase she no longer needs the straps on the back of her thongs!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Recent events...

Here are some recent events at our place...

Lego is still a winner, though the interest is waning. We have only pulled out a few handfuls from Mike's massive stash, but that hasn't stopped the odd Lego man appearing under furniture and usually under my foot!

We painted some cardboard yesterday to create some cool dinoasurs for Alex's Dinosaur Party in a few weeks. Alex's interest was held for about 15 minutes, Megan's was much longer. Surprise, surprise!
 
 
These are our completed Dinosaurs, except Mr T-Rex is now extinct because the dogs chewed him up. Not happy Jan!!!!



Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer Chocolate Crackles have been a hit too. Mike made these for work, but we got to eat some...and there are ingredients left over. SCORE!!!!!


Toilet training with Alex has been going really well. Amazingly so. And apparently it's ok to let little boys have a wee in the garden. I'm not quite sure, but it has made much less washing for me coz he doesn't have to race inside, so I'll put up with it.....for now.
 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Different versions of the same child...

Why is it that the Version of the child that we know is so different from the version they show everyone else?

What is it about parents that seem to bring out the worst in their child?

Of course we also get the absolute best bits as well, but there seems to be distinct personas that are brought out in certain situations.

As a teacher, I often get to see the good version. Perfect angels in the classroom get labelled as horrors by their parents. Why is that?

Recently at Alex's creche there was an "altercation" with another child and Alex was hurt. Immediately I asked if Alex did anything to the other child and the staff almost laughed at me. "Not Alex!" one said with a chuckle.

Really?? Don't they know my son and how nasty he can be? I guess he doesn't show that version of himself at crèche.

Here's my theory on the unconscious dialogue that goes through kids heads...

About the teacher:
"I think I know my teacher pretty well, I've tested out all the boundaries, but just in case, I'll do what I'm told and be good." (Of course there are always exceptions to this theory- in fact I can name several!!)

At home:
"I'm comfortable with Mum/Dad, they will love me no matter what so I can throw that tantrum and they will still love me tomorrow"

Makes sense right?

But I also know those kids who don't have a good home life and I really can't be sure if Mum/dad will love them no matter what. What about them?

They push the boundaries a bit further at school, and are generally a bit harder to deal with but most teachers can find a way around them. What is it that makes them want to be good for their teacher?

I can't figure that one out.

Thankfully Alex IS part of the "Mum/Dad will love me tomorrow not matter what he does" group, but I'm still crossing my fingers that he continues to only lets his inner demon out at home!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Little White Lies...

*****Spoiler Alert**** 
Don't read this to your kids
 (as if I really think you do anyway!!!!!)


Why are little white lies ok?

Is it because we want our kids to hang onto that childhood innocence as long as possible?

"Santa Claus, fairies and dragons are all real"

Or is it because we want to save ourselves some sanity?

"When you press the walk button at the lights, it takes ten seconds for the lights to change. If you keep pressing it, it still takes ten seconds from the last time you pressed it"

"When the ice cream truck plays music, it means they are out of ice cream!"

I'm sure there are more sanity saving little white lies out there....please share some of yours. I'm sure I'll need them one day!!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It begins again...

I thought of a few titles for this post that weren't exactly savoury. "#1s for Number 2" was the one that made me chuckle a little too much!

The fact of the matter is that we took the plunge and took Alex's nappy off...not just for nudey time, but hopefully for good.

He has been interested in the toilet on and off for a few months. He has been to the toilet successfully a few times as well, but never more than once. He has even been grabbing himself through the nappy, and when asked "Do you need to go to the toilet?" his reply was always "No!" coz it was too late.

But since there was a stretch of days ahead of us where Alex would be mainly at home or at the Grandparents, we thought "Let's go for it!". The nappy came off and the undies went on. He seemed to know what he had to do and when and he loved running around with his little jocks on and no shorts. (That was his bonus for wearing undies - and my laziness... if he had any accidents, I only had to wash undies and not pants as well!)

Overall, I would class day one as a success especially by the fact that he didn't want the nappy back on at bedtime. But we can only deal with one thing at a time, and night toilet training can wait a little while.

But as we learned the hard way with Child #1*, toilet training is not as easy as all the toilet-train-your-child-in-two-days gurus make out.

So we will wait and see.....with fingers crossed...and toes...and eyes....!

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * 

*If you aren't up to speed on the looooooong saga with Child #1, see here and here!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Pocket Money...

We've started giving the kids pocket money...and so far so good!

I've also heard different ideas when it comes to pocket money.
  1. Do jobs around the house to earn a certain amount. If you don't do your jobs, you don't get any money.
  2. Do jobs around the house simply because you are part of the family and it is expected that everyone helps out. Get money regardless of doing those jobs.
There are aspects out of both of these methods that I like. I think kids understand the idea that if I don't do my bit, I don't get the other bit. This teaches the valuable life lesson of GETTING A JOB!But I also really like the concept of doing things for the good of the family. It's the whole intrinsic/extrinsic motivator issue from my uni days!!

So we have kind of combined the two.

The kids HAVE TO keep their rooms tidy by:
  • putting shoes and toys put away
  • keeping their bed tidy, eg, doona pulled up= making their bed, and pj's put away
and they both get $1 each weekend.

Not part of the deal and things they have to do regardless of pocket money are:
  • setting the table at dinner time
  • taking own plates/cups to the sink after a meal
  • taking own clothes to the washing baskets
  • taking creche/kinder bags to their rooms
I wondered if it was a bit too early for pocket money, for Alex especially. But Megan is very good at remembering what she has to do and Alex tends to follow her lead. The simple reminder of pocket money is enough to get them doing those few things to make my life a tad easier.

They bought a bag of lollies each on the first pay day, and a toy on the next (thank heavens for Kmart's $1 toy range!). Neither like the idea of saving this week's money to use next week, but that is fine.

I think we can stick to $1 until they start to realise there is such thing as $2 and notes!!

Losing Robbie...

For those familiar with our family, you'll know who Robbie is and how important he is. For those new around here, he is a blanky-type toy belonging to Alex. Robbie is there when Alex feels sick, sad, and almost everything in between!


Robbie can get quite gross after being dragged around so much.
Read here and here for my thoughts on that!

As is normal for an almost 3 yr old, Robbie gets dropped as soon as something more interesting takes Alex's fancy. Which means we find Robbie in all manner of places.

And sometimes, Alex deliberately hides Robbie in weird places...coz it's fun. The only problem is that he forgets where that weird place is and we spend hours and hours (seriously!!) looking for him.

The other night we couldn't find Robbie again, even after looking in cupboards, under couches and in the fridge (yes, we've found him there before!) So Alex went to bed without him, without much of a fuss I might add.

We did find him the next day, hidden at the very back under Alex's bed. Heaven knows how he got there.

The new rule is he must always stay in Alex's room and is only for bed time. So we might be at the stage where he doesn't need his bunny-blanket-thing as much as he used to.

One more indicator that my baby is no longer a baby, and he is well on his way to becomming a a bone-fide boy!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Gushing...

We FINALLY received Megan's kinder photos yesterday, and I thought I'd share, coz they are just SOOOOOOOOOO beautiful! (and surprisingly not too pricey!)


If you look closely, you can see that she is writing her name...CUTE!!

I was undecided about sending her for photos in her boring Kinder t-shirt, that was no doubt smudged with playdough, paint and fruit. But I figured This is what she is like at 3yr old kinder and that's what I want the photographer to capture.






And now presenting, my absolute favourite photo of them all.......





Friday, 2 November 2012

A family past-time...

My family on my Dad's side has always played cards. My Nana, the Matriarch at almost 90, is the family teacher and has passed her love onto her four boys, her ten grandchildren and now onto the next generation. She always says, "I teach them the games and then they beat me at them!"



We know a variety of games, and some are much more skilled than others. But whenever we get together with a bit of spare time (which is almost never!), the cards invariably come out.

When I was playing Gin Rummy with Nana a few weeks ago, the kids wanted to join in. At four and almost three years of age, pretty much everything in my small repertoirre was beyond them.

So we taught them SNAP! It was a very slow, deliberately leading game, but the kids loved the competition of it and Alex's attention was captured for at least 8 or 9 minutes!!!

From my point of view, the games were always for fun, although getting loads of draw fours in Uno can start to increase my blood pressure! And if things ever got too intense, Nana would always come out with her trade mark line of "We're not playing for sheep stations". It's become a family joke now!

I'm hoping that the kids' interest will stick around long enough to teach them a few more basic games, along with teaching them the important lesson of losing gracefully!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Having a 'boy look'..........

I think it's genetic. Some kind of chromosomal thing.

"I can't find it" he says
"Did you look for it?" I reply
"No, I can't find it!" he says again...as if it is reasonable to surmise that the reason he can't find it is because he hasn't looked for it!

I know he's only two, but when his dad does the same thing, I conclude its one of those boy things!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Our Vegie Patch...


Anything that starts with a trip to Bunnings and jumping in puddles, has to be awesome!!!

Our vegie patch has been a bit hit and miss so far, but now that we know what grows well, what takes too long and what we don't eat, we are wiser gardeners!

Megan has loved going and picking lettuce anytime I've needed it. And Alex has dragged us over the broccolli heads almost every day telling us "It's growing!". So instead of just doing it all myself, I thought I'd better let the kids join in.

I've read in so many places that a good way to get kids to eat vegies is to get them to grow them, so that was the plan. The kids have been great with watering the plants whenever they think of it...usually with a scoop of water from the dog bowl, though!

Alex helped with the seeds, which was perfect for his micro-second attention span, and Megan helped plant out the seedlings.
Rockmelon seeds...I think!

3-4 week old seedlings from seeds we scooped out of a capsicum and a pumpkin, in my awesome lidded seed raisers
(They are old supermarket-bought salad containers!!)

Megan seems a bit more knowledgable in the whole gardening caper, either because she is interested or because she is that little a bit older. Whatever the reason, she is a great help!
In go the broccoli seedlings

Currently we are growing... capsicum, tomatoes, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, oregano, corriander, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, spinach, zuccini, cucumber, celery, watermelon, rockmelon, pumpkin, cauliflower, cabbage, spring onions and mushrooms. I've got my heart set on a few fruit trees as well. I don't think we will actually grow enough to cut out fruit/vegie purchases completely, but surely it will help a bit, and it's fun!
 
And in a few months, we will get more of these!!


Friday, 12 October 2012

Just being there...


As I sit writing this, I am sitting on my almost 3 yr old's bed, waiting for him to fall asleep.

It's been a long, long while since we had to sit with Alex as he fell asleep. Even though its kind of a pain, it's also nice to just sit and watch my youngest child as he drifts off to the land of nod.

As a baby, he would cry as soon as we put him down. We could rock him to sleep and the moment his body hit the cot, he would wake. We tried patting, controlled crying, singing, music, you name it. The only thing that would send Alex off to sleep was sitting in the room with him, not talking, just being there. Sometimes it took 5mins for him to fall asleep, sometimes more than an hour!

As this became a habit, we tried moving closer to the door each night, until eventually we just had to tuck him in, stand at the door, count to 10 and then he was happy for us to leave.

But tonight was different.

Tonight, Alex smashed Megan's fingers in the door and saw how upset she got and how much her fingers swelled up. Tonight, he bit Mike and really got growled at. Tonight, he accidentally dropped a glass and it shattered all over the floor.

Tonight, he was in a very fragile frame of mind.

Tonight he needed mum again... just to sit. Not talk, just be there.
 

And tonight, I am more than happy to be where he needs me.
 
 
 
 

Guilt...

I'm pretty sure my trusty Parenting Manual (haha!) didn't have a chapter on guilt. It didn't talk about how it creeps up on you and sticks around much longer than it should!

It's funny how guilt works. Feeling guilty for the things I don't do, rather then the things I do do. For example... I don't feel guilty for making the kids eat vegetables, or cleaning up after themselves, or getting them to use their manners when talking to others.

But I do feel guilty for NOT taking them to a park on a nice day, and NOT buying them that toy that they just can't live without, and the lastest is NOT continuing with swimming lessons.

When push came to shove, we just couldn't manage $300 for a term's worth of 30min lessons. The kids grumbled for about 5mins and then got over it. Pity I can't, and guilt wont let me.

What if they go swimming over the Summer and get into trouble. Swimming lessons maybe, possibly, might have helped.

Swimming is such an integral part of the Austrlaian Lifestyle, I don't want them to miss out on their "culture" (or the closest our family has to one).

Swimming is something that I love and the kids do too, so we could do it all together.

Now, nothing is stopping me from taking them to the local pool or the beach and swimming with them myself...

....it's just that GUILT is that little voice in my head telling me I'm such a bad parent for canelling their lessons!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Family photos...

Every now and again I try to get a nice family photo. It rarely works...or more accurately, I'm rarely happy with them.

I did plan on going to a park to take them today, but it was too cold and I chickened out. However we I took some at home instead and they have turned out alright.

 
I love the greenery behind us...but I would have liked it to be a bit further away so it had that nice blurry effect. Oh well, next time!!
 
Think Alex was getting sick of smiling by now!


I think I've picked out which ones will be printed and put into frames.


And then the kids needed to have their picture taken by themselves, so I got these gems as well!

 

 
 
 
 
This is my favourite!

A different kind of reading...

 
I loved talking books as a kid. I loved listening for the chime to know when to turn the page! (The stories were good too!)
 
The ones I used to have were on cassette tape and things have moved on from there. I'm sure they will be available to download to iPods and MP3 players, if they aren't already.
 
Though we have had a few of these book/CD packs for a while, we have never really encouraged the kids to enjoy them, until today.
 
Since Alex has been having long afternoon sleeps, Megan has been using this time as quiet time. And to jazz this time up a bit (and keep her entertained for longer), Mike pulled out his old CD walkman and we hooked up some old computer speakers to it...and voila!
 
 
Megan sat and listened to Disney princess, Toy Story and Sesame St stories for more than an hour, in her room with her door closed (so it didn't wake Alex..and we didn't disturb her **wink, wink**)
 
It also rekindled my own love of reading along with the CD, so I sat and read a few with Megan as well!
 
 
 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Slow Poke...

As a kid I was always the slowest to eat...unless my Nana was staying for dinner. She always took ages longer than everyone!

Megan is taking after both of us and is ALWAYS at least 10 minutes after everyone to finish.

We have tried to encourage the kids to stay at the table until everyone had finished. But it's so hard to keep a two year old sitting at the dinner table, when he is finished and his sister is too busy talking to eat her meal.

Kids and secrets...

Kids and secrets... The short response is....they aren't compatible!

Monday is my birthday and Mike took the kids shopping yesterday for my gift. He must have said to them that they can't tell mum what they bought...it was a secret.

I think it took Alex all of about an hour to let the first cat out of the bag. He was playing and then out of the blue....

Alex: Mum it's a surpise...
Me: What is?
Alex: Your book..it's a surprise!

WHOOPS!!!

Megan spoiled the second today. She was playing with a felt board and felt figures at a party. We were talking about how there were two people and there was two of all the party things which worked out well. There were also two presents, one of which she said...

"This one is earrings, Mum."

Luckily I had suggested each of these gifts so they weren't a HUGE surprise, but I'm guessing Mike will be shopping by himself next year!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Boys and guns....

What is it about boys and guns? What is the attraction?

Alex copies other boys- running around with his hands in the shape of a gun saying "pew, pew" -that's his gun noise-it's kind of cute! (and, yes I know I'm generalising about boys, but MY boy is insterested in guns and shooting but MY girl is not)

We've always had a blanket rule of no guns in our house for all kids, even pretend guns. But I don't know if that is just adding to the allure of them.

Alex sat and watched a little bit of 'Star Wars' with us the other night and was excited to watch them 'pew pew'ing'. I'm sure part of the excitemnt came from the illicitness of it. Then he pulled out a pretend light saber and started 'szhhhh'ing around (it's hard to spell the light saber sound!!!)

I'm sure we are all desensitised to violence because of how much we see on TV and in video games. Is that why our society is very much "shoot first, talk later"?

I read once that we should let our kids play heros and villains because it lets them play out the good guy/bad guy fantasy.

 But does that include using guns?

Is it too much to ask to keep my little boy as innocent as possible for as long as possible?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Purely Egotistical...

A friend commented on how much she looked forward to each installment of this blog, which got me thinking.... Who else does? Who out there reads about Megan and Alex?

I write for the fun of it, and for Megan and Alex to look back on sometime in the future, but that doesn't mean that I don't get a kick out of knowing that others may enjoy reading what I have written.

So, I ask a few minutes of your time to comment below on your reading habits. Just so that I might have a bit of an idea on who sees my little patch of internet!

Do you come often (that sounds like a cheap pick up line!!)? Are you a long time reader, an occasional viewer or new visitor?

Do you subscribe via email? Visit from my Facebook links? Pop in just randomly?

Please leave a comment below to let me know :) You can click on the drop down menu and select 'Anonymous' if you aren't in the internet world yourself. Or comment on the Facebook link.

Also please feel free to subscribe via email with the link on the top right of the page. If you do subscribe, can you please let me know coz I dont have any idea of how many people do!!!

For those new to 'M&A's World', and those who may not have noticed, I've added some new pages at the top. The regular posts come under 'Their World' and some info on the family comes under 'Me' and 'Them'.

You can also view previous posts from the Archive link on the side panel and check out some of my favourite Blogs from the links on the side as well.

The lovely Bel at a mums reality had given me some insight into another Blog host, but I think I'll stay here... for a little while longer anyway :)


PLEASE COMMENT!!!!!!!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Twins...

I always wanted to have twins. It runs in our family and the urban legend was that it skips a generation. My dad and his brother are twins and my mum has twin brothers. Since MY brother and I aren't twins, we thought the legend could be true and my brother and I could have twins in our families, but neither of us did.

I always thought having twins would be the best way to get my family. I only ever wanted two kids, and if you got that through one pregnancy then awesome. But, I had such great pregnancies that it was never that much of a loss for me.

As it turns out, I think I could pass my two cherubs off as twins ath the age they are now... to those who don't know them, of course.



They are similar in size and are alike enough to pass as fraternal twins. We often get people saying "Oh, they're twins- a boy and a girl!". We used to got through the spiel of saying "No, she is 18 months older, but she's just little." but now we don't bother. We just give an ambiguous smile and walk away.

So for now (until Alex overtakes Megan), I have my twin family and the urban legend can be called true... sort of...

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Alex's arrival...

I feel that to document the kids well, I should have started at the start. So I thought that I'd write about Alex's birth... mainly so that I don't forget the details later on (I've already forgotten some parts!)

Alex was due on December 17th, 2009. After Megan arrived one week late, I was convinced we would have a Christmas baby and I did everything I could to get him to come earlier. We fiddled with dates during scans, I even tried to adjust the due date on my pregnancy card to trick the nurses into scheduling my induction (if it came to that) early. Didn't work :(

His due date came and went and as Christmas loomed closer I got sadder. I didn't want my little boy to have to share his birthday with everyone else on the 25th. That wasn't fair. I guess that was the first "Life isn't fair" lesson for Alex!

We arrived at the hospital at 6am ish on the 24th, ready to be induced. I'd never reached this point with Megan, she came of her own accord. But as I've come to know Alex in the following years, he rarely does anything unless forced to!

Waiting for the doctor, in the lovely NEW birthing suite, which would be our room for the whole time.
The doctor came to do his checks at about 8am (so why did we have to get there at 6??). His internal examination REALLY hurt and I even saw the nurses wince at my reaction. He put the drug drip in my hand in such a funny position that I could not get my hand and arm comfortable for the rest of the day. I'd never had a drip before so I didn't know what to expect.

Then we waited..... and waited.... and waited..... The nurses kept popping in to check on me and they could clearly tell by my face that nothing was happening. So each time they came in, they upped the dose of the oxytocin (I think that was it). My arm felt funny but I attributed that to the stupid position of the canula and I had no other drip experience to compare it to.

This continued for hours.... the nurses would come in, I'd tell them my arm felt funny, they'd up the dose of the drugs, we'd chat for a bit, then they'd leave.

Eventually one of the nurses really looked closely at my arm and realised that it had puffed right up. I thought I might have been allergic to the canula or the drugs but the nurse worked out that my arm had been filling with the oxytocin and it was going into the tissue rather than the vein...hence no labour.

They decided that it would take too long to get the doctor to come back to reinsert the canula, and I really didn't want Dr.-Rough-&-Can't-Put-A-Bloody-Drip-In-Properly to come back so I was happy for the nurse to fix it all.

Then everything happened VERY QUICKLY after that. I'm not sure if the drugs stored in my arms finally soaked in or the massively high dose of drugs still pouring in from the drip got things started. But something was working and the contractions hit with a vengence.

I asked for pain killers again but after the nurse checked me out, she said I was ready to push and the drugs wouldn't kick in in time.

HANG ON  A MINUTE....READY TO PUSH??? Megan's labour lasted for 12 hours. The drugs had only just started to work, how could I be ready to push already????? And then I felt the urge to push and ignored everything else!

Alex was born reletively quickly after that. No tearing or episiotomy needed this time round, which is surprising considering I didn't have as much time to stretch and get ready for his birth.

He arrived at 3:20pm on Friday, December 24th, 2009. He was 7lbs 4oz (3.28kg) and 50cm long. His labour officially lasted 2 hours.

A few hours later I had a funny feeling inside and went to the loo. Out came a HUGE blood clot and I freaked out. I thought it was part of the placenta that had got left behind...surely that's not good??? I got Mike to call the nurse in and she reassured me, just a clot of blood. Perhaps the huge dose of oxytocin cleaned out my uterus in one go rather than slowly over a few days like normal.

So we spent the whole Christmas period in hopsital, from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.We were lucky enough to get Christmas lunch the next day and actually spending Christmas in hospital was rather nice and relaxed! Santa even visited at some point during the night and left Alex a little present...not sure how the nurses knew how many gifts to buy!

Alex's labour and birth was a bit more dramatic than I would have hoped, but it's a good story to tell!


This is how I remember it all happening. I'm sure parts are wrong and I've probably missed bits too. As my memory fills in the blanks, I'll come back and update/edit this story!

How she arrived...

I feel that to document the kids well, I should have started at the start. So I thought that I'd write about Megan's birth... mainly so that I don't forget the details later on (I've already forgotten some parts!)

Megan was due on June 20th, 2008. My work made us take 6 weeks of maternity leave before the due date, but I had varicose veins in my right leg (still do) and was a bit over working, so I got the doctor to write a letter stating that I needed to finish a week early. In hindsight I should have stuck it out, because I didn't realise how bored I'd get at home.

My due date came and went, despite trying all the home remedies to kick start labour from 38 weeks onwards. The doctor would not even discuss induction until the due date and would book it in any earlier than 7 days over.

GRRR, grumble, whinge, whine... I was sick of being pregnant, I wanted my baby out... yesterday!!

We continued with trying to get labour started at home and thought we had succeeded on the Wednesday night, a day and a half before the sceduled induction. Pains and pressure had me convinced labour had started, but it kept stopping and starting at irregular intevals. We called the hospital but since everything was irregular, I was told to stay home.

By Thursday night, things had started to be a bit more regular so we made another call to the hospital. They told us to come in and they'd check me out. So the moment we'd been waiting for had arrived...or so we thought!!

The nurses did all of their contraction labour checks with the belt-y thingy, but apparently I was in false labour. Since my induction was booked in for the following morning, they gave us the option of going home or staying the night and giving me a sleeping tablet so I was rested for the following day. Mike and I decided to stay.

The pain started at what I have worked out to be about 4am. Painful enough to get me out of bed and walk around a bit, but then the sleeping tablet must have still been in my system, coz I went back to sleep straight away. I think this happend twice again... the details are fuzzy already and the sleeping tablet worked really well!

The nurses came to wake me at about 6am to get started for the induction. I told them about the pain and they did their checks and told me I was already 4cm dilated. The doctor decided not to give me the induction drugs, but still broke my waters. This was supposed to get things moving... but it didn't much :(

My labour progressed very slowly. I had regular contractions that increased in intensity but everything moved at a snails' pace. I was exhausted and it hurt so I asked for an epidural. I really hadn't wanted one previously, but I was just so tired and so over being pregnant that I thought feeling nothing was a great idea!

The nurses convenced me to have the gas first. This helped for a while before I needed to move onto the pethedine injection. I honestly don't think this did anything apart from making me space out and feel super sleepy between contractions. The nurses told Mike to go and have a break at one point and I was so angry... why did he deserve a rest... I didn't get one?

I remember the transition phase, I needed the blinds closed and wanted everyone to SHUT THE HELL UP! I didn't know it at the time, but the nurses explained all the phases afterwards :) When it was time to push, I made loads of noise that I'm sure was completely unnecessary. Pushing lasted an hour and a half. Mike saw Megan's head crowning. This really surprised me coz I thought that would gross him out (I don't think I could look...eeewwww).

When Megan was born, the doctor said her umbilical cord was quite short. I'm convinced she was bungy jumping her way out which is why everything took so long- she'd get half way then bounce right back! I still remember the smell of her, all bloody and covered in gunk! If any of the kids hurt themselves now and there is lots of blood, I'm instantly transported back 4 years to that hospital room.

Megan arrived on Friday, the 27th June 2008 at 4:15pm, 1 week overdue. She was 6lbs 14oz (3.11kg) and about 48cm long. He labour was officially 12 hours long.

Note the blue hands and feet... I thought she'd have bad circulation like me, but luckily not.


I needed a few stitches coz I had an episiotomy to get the bouncy child out. Apart from super soreness and total exhaustion, I was great! Mike left to call and text everyone and I hung around in the grotty, bloody room with my new baby on my chest.

Mike took so long and I really needed a shower, so I had to leave my hours old baby with the nurses while I cleaned up. I felt so much better aftetr that shower. When I came out, the nurses had moved all our stuff out of the birthing room and into our ward room, Megan included! I was a bit unnerved to come out of the shower and find my baby gone already! But when they showed me to the room, Mike was there with her, so I didn't totally freak out.

Visitors piled in over the next few days. Mike stayed for the whole time on a horrible fold out couch. I was happy to have the nurses take Megan to the nursery so I could sleep, but always felt lost without her and went to get her after a few hours. We stayed in hospital for 3 days and part of me wanted to stay in the security of the hospital, with nurses only a button push away.

But eventually we went home and then whirlwind of having a new baby begun...



This is how I remember it all happening. I'm sure parts are wrong and I've probably missed bits too. As my memory fills in the blanks, I'll come back and update/edit this story!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Girlie time...

 
This week, I got to take Megan to the movies for the first time. We have held off until now coz I really didn't think she'd sit still well enough for even a kids film. But with only one seat change, and minimal talking, she did really well.

There were lots of questions and loads of preparing from me...lots of seats, have to be quiet, big screen, loud noises/music, etc. I've found that giving the kids a heads up in these new situations means they know what to expect to some extent.

We went to see the latest Tinkerbell movie, which I LOVED!! (I have a bit of a soft spot for Tink!) Megan loves Tink too, but I think the big winner for her was the snacks. She requested popcorn...where she got the idea from I don't know, TV I suppose.


And when she saw the size of the box she was over the moon. A "special drink" (lemonade) to top it all off and she was sold on the whole experience!!

Not sure if Alex would be as co-operative, but Megan and I will be back to the cinemas again...soon I hope!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Speech worries... UPDATED

I've thought that being a mum has made me a better teacher and being a teacher has made me a better mum. But lately I've had to question this.

We think Alex is developing a stutter. He really struggles to say the first word of almost all sentences, regardless of what sound/letter it is. He gets frustrated with himself and has started whispering when he can't get the words out. Usually this helps but he can't go through life whispering to everyone!

My wonderful Maternal-Child Health Nurse put us onto the local medical centre that has speech pathology, but Alex wont be seen until at least January- where he will be screened, and if he needs therapy, another wait until June-ish.

Being a teacher, I know the early signs of lots of different problems, and recently working with special needs children has given me access to Speech Pathologists and Psychologists and knowing some of the signs they look out for. I know that early intevention is the best senario for almost all difficulties in children, but am I seeing things that aren't really there? Are we jumping to conclusions? Do I know too much about the area and making things bigger than what they are?

I'm not sure I am. And since my mum and the staff at his Day Care have noticed his struggles as well, it makes me think I'm not making it up.

My other worry is that if there is a problem that can be helped with therapy, do I really want to wait until June (9ish months away) to begin working on it?

We have a list of private Speech Pathologists as well, but our health insurance doesn't cover Speech Therapy. So this option will be pricey, and money is not free-flowing at the moment...if ever!! But if it will help Alex in the long term, then I'm all for doing it.

All I really want is an assessment and for a professional in the field to say "Yes, we need to do something about this" or "No, wait to see if he will grow out of it".

And of course, the private Speechies are all busy and I had to leave messages and wait for them to return my calls. So for now...we wait.....

...I think I've said in previous posts....I'm not good at waiting.......


****UPDATE*****
I spoke to a Speech Pathologist yesterday who put my mind at ease. She said due to Alex's age it's best to wait a few months to see what happens. Apparently if he is going to grow out of the stutter, then it's best to wait and see if he does. This suits the timeline we were given in the public system, so we might stay there. And trying to get an almost 3yr old to sit still for an assessment and then therapy is not realistic.

They don't know why some kids grow out of it and some don't, but it is commonly girls who do. This doesn't surprise me, when everything you hear says girls have better language skills earlier than boys.

She said that if we are super worried about it, we can still start earlier. I think if we did go privately, I'd definately see this Speech Pathologist. She was prepared to talk to me for 10minutes about it all and convince me NOT to pay $120 for her assessment. That to me says she's there for the interest of the child, not her business.

So we wait.....

Sunday, 23 September 2012

It's holidays.....

I love school holidays because....

  • Even though the kids still get up at 6:30am EVERY MORNING, we don't have to get dressed or eat brekkie in a hurry coz we probably aren't going anywhere.
  • When they do get up at 6:30am EVERY MORNING and ask to turn the TV on, it means a sleep in for us.
  • When Megan asks where are we going today, I usually get to answer "nowhere" and that's a good thing.
  • We can have picnics outside on weekdays, just coz.
  • Our enormous list of things to do, actually gets done! Well...mostly...
  • The kids get to be kids and play outside (only really true for these and occasionally the Easter holidays...the others are usually too wet or too hot)
  • Megan calls these days Family Time days :)
  • I get to appreciate time with my family
  • and by the end of the holidays....I get to appreciate my job!!!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Water safety...

Megan and Alex have had swimming lesson since they were babies. I love swimming so I thought it important to pass this love as early as I could, as well as the essential need for water safey as well.

We have changed swimming centers along the way, and are now thinking about changing again.

Currently they go to a centre that soley deals with swimming lessons. The instructors are great but I still have misgivings.

Firstly, the lessons are about $15 each for a half hour session. $30-ish for 30 mins in a lot when you work it out over the year. $300 per term, more then $1200 for 20 hours of lessons over the year.

The kids are in a group together, which makes things easier for us, but the group has 4 kids in in. So for the 30 minute session, they only get about 5-7minutes of one-on-one time with the teacher.

The teacher is great and the kids love her, but I don't see huge improvements in their skills to be worth the money, apart from them both being confident (too confident at times) in the water by themselves.

So our idea is to go to the local swimming pool and teach the kids ourselves. We would pay the entry fee and then we can stay for hours. The entry fee for all 4 of us to swim all day is considerably cheaper than their current lesson fees. 

The skills that were being taught during their lessons had almost no equipment, so we could manage that ourselves. Even though there are loads of things both kids can now do, I don't feel that they would be able to save themselves if they were in trouble in the water. That would be a huge focus for me.

Two big questions remain....would the kids be as co-operative for us as they are with their current teacher, and would we actually go each week when we aren't committed to already paid fees?

No Second-Hand Shame...

When I first found out I was pregnant, a huge shopping expedition was planned. We chose all our baby furniture and accessories. We didn't think twice about buying it all new. 

We didn't spend thousands on a bedroom suite like others I knew, but it was all new. The only thing  that we borrowed was the bassinette, mainly because it was the one my mum used for me and it had sentimental value. I would never have considered going to a second hand shop for anything for my baby.

Even second time around with Alex, most of his baby clothes and wraps were new because the boy stuff was just differnt from girls and so cute!

I don't know when the shift happened. I don't know where or how my views on second hand stuff changed. But changed it has.

As I have said in previous posts, Megan is smaller than one of her Mother's Group friends and gets some beautiful clothes and shoes passed on to her. Alex also gets clothes, jackets, and runners passed along from the older boys in our group, and they both get bits and pieces passed along from their older cousins.

The clothes aren't always the style or colour I would usually choose, but since they are free and the kids need them, I'm not complaining! Kids clothes are expensive and they grow out of them so quickly, the clothes are usually in great condition.

Some I pass right along to younger boys or girls in the group or even to the Salvos, but since the kids need clothes to play and get messy in for crèche, even the most loved clothes usually go straight into the cupboard.

I'm thankful for the time and money that's been saved from getting things second hand. We usually package a size or season of clothes up and pass them on to each other during our weekly Mother's Groups, so it is usually delivered to our door!

It's like a mini-Christmas opening the bags up...wondering what I will find this time!

And it is so lovely to see the clothes I have bought, sadly packaged up when my kids outgrew it and
passed on, getting another life on the younger kids.
I'm glad my pride has allowed us to


Friday, 14 September 2012

I hate playing...


I hate playing...I wont win mother if the year award now, my secret is out.

I realise this is a bad thing...I'm a terrible mother. I know how important imaginative play is. I encourage my kids to do it often...as long as I don't have to join in!

I can't sit for longer than a few minutes building towers or saying "brmm, bmm" as I drive a car along a felt road. My attention span for puppet shows is about 60 seconds and I cringe at being the shopkeeper. I am happy to eat the pretend cake, but ask me to help cook it and I'm outta there!

Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with my kids. I could WATCH them doing all those things for hours. I'll make suggestions and "ohh and ahh" in all the right places, taste creative culinary delights and watch when my attention is demanded...I just don't want to join in.

I'm not all bad...I don't think. There are great things I do with and for the kids. We sing all the time, I collect cereal boxes and bottle tops for constructions, I push swings, read books and even ocassionally (very occasionally) I'll jump on the trampoline. I know the things they'll need for when they start school so I introduce those things slowly.

I'm a great facilitator, not a great participant. Guess I need to work on that to put Mother Of The Year back in my sights!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Spring...!!

I happily waved goodbye to Winter yesterday, and welcome Spring with open arms today. I didn't have high hopes for the warm weather, but was pleasantly surprised.

With sunshine and warm days, I can legitamately kick the kids outside and say "Stay out there and get fresh air."

They happily potter around, pull out EVERY outside toy from the toy box and then play with the same 2 or 3 they always do. Then of course, they leave all those toys scattered around the garden, to be sneakily carried away by our plastic-loving dogs to quietly chew and ruin under a bush!

Sunshine also lends itself to picnics and lazing around, both of which I suggest at every glimpse of blue sky. Today was no exception :)

Here are some selfies (self-portraits) we took at lunchtime today, under the lovely Spring sky.

Look at that Sun glare...Proof!!!

Except this time the glare chopped my head off!

Got him!!!!!!!

So beautiful...

Always a character....that rubber face should get him into Showbiz!
Mucking around :)


Really like this one....

What are the chances of another day like this for Father's Day tomorrow???!!!??!!?!?!?!?!
 

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