thought overload

Posts tagged ‘Parenting’

The Princess no more?

The Princess is growing up.

Gone are the days of tutus accompanying bikini tops.

Gone are the dolls and dress ups.

Gone are the times when she would throw herself across my lap and promptly ask, ‘ Can you tickle me, Mum?’, with hand outstretched.

Gone are the headbands.

No ‘frou frou’ for this girl. It’s no frills all the way now accompanied with cries of, ‘I’m too old for that now, Mum’.

Last night, however, a small glimpse of the little girl reappeared. My little pig-tail wearing, bunny slippered girl in the pink satin pajamas poked her head out for, what I believe will be, the last time.

The Princess had decided to give up her rather large room for  her sister and new niece, to accommodate everything needed for a three-month old baby ( did I really have that much stuff?). With the room exchange finally complete, and with several wrong turns followed by ‘Oh my God! That’s not my room anymore!’, night came and, there was a sudden realisation that set in. I watched The Princess avoid the ‘new room’ at all costs. Fussing and fiddling with her bed time routine led to mock-sleeping on the couch.

Finally, a whisper in my ear, ‘Mum, will you sleep with me tonight? I don’t like my curtains’.

I got my little girl back, even if just for one more night.

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The haves and the have-nots

When I’m feeling down and stressed out about the chaotic life I live, I like to take a quiet moment (which, I tell you, is a rare find in this home) and focus on what I have. It’s a simple enough exercise, but in the midst of overwhelming feelings, hard to see.

It’s a bit like talking yourself into feeling happy, reigniting you inner drive and finding the joy. Focusing on the ‘haves’ rather than the ‘have-nots’. Putting things in perspective. A pep talk to yourself.

Sounding familiar? Then read on.

When I was in high school, managing the stress of study, peer pressure, puberty and all the other fun stuff thrown at you, we were taught to write a list. Two columns with two headings: positives on one side, negatives on the other. The negatives were then broken down into two lists: two headings; things I can change and things I cannot change. The challenge was to come up with ideas for dealing with the things that could be changed and how to manage the things that could not.

A cathartic exercise and a very valuable lesson. In the end, what you have is a plan. Your own words staring back at you, showing you all the good things in your life. Outlining the bad things, the things that weigh you down and rob you of your lightness and how to get it back. What you are left with, effectively, is a self-help guide.  A mind map works equally well. A diary is also a fantastic tool to help get those feelings out and reflect upon. I still have diaries written by my fourteen year old self and now and then I get them out and have a bit of a giggle at how the issues I was facing then are now  a distant memory. I was able to share them with two friends when we met up for a reunion after 25 years. That, let me say, was an incredible experience with a backdrop of  laughter, reflection, good coffee and bakery treats.

25 years is a lot to catch up on!

Today, I try to visualise these things. When my mind is spinning and I can’t get to sleep. When I’m having a roller coaster week and I can’t get off the ride. When I feel overwhelmed,I steal my moment and tune out. I could be washing dishes and doing it, much to the frustrated cries of  ‘Mum’s not listening to me again Dad’. I’m not there. My body is automatically performing manual tasks, but my mind is elsewhere. I am thinking of how blessed I am to have healthy children. Sometimes, I just think I how lucky I am  to have children, when so many cannot. I am thinking of how lucky I am that we have food to eat, when some do not. We have laughter in this home, when so many do not. Actually, even that we have a home,  no matter its chaotic state at times, we have a home and I am thankful. Then I am dealing with all the negatives, the stress factors. I have made this choice. I have chosen to be where I am and I can find a way to manage it. Some things cannot be changed and how I deal with them, well, that is also a choice too. Strength can be mustered.

‘Muuuuuuum!’

I return. Snapped out of the trance like a cold splash of water when you’re sleepy. I smile. It’s a knowing smile that is often met with looks of puzzlement from my family. Somehow, I can tackle another day.

Yep, I'm lucky alright!

What do you do?

Coming home

Returning to blogging is like coming home. A place where you are welcome, people like you and, are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

The last two months have been a whirlwind of new experiences, change and like being a preschool child doing a puzzle; trying to make all the pieces fit.

I finally realised that sometimes, well, they just don’t. There are many pieces of my life that just do not belong anywhere and like a puzzle with missing pieces, unfinished. Nagging at me with its unrequited completion. I don’t know what to do about that but I will tell you this. Today, I am fine with that.

Since this little human has come into my life, I am experiencing things in a different light. A new perspective.

It’s like therapy for the heart and mind. The question arises in every conversation; how has becoming a grandmother  affected  me? How has it made me feel? Has it challenged the way I look at myself; as a woman?  A mother?  A partner?

Honestly?

Look for yourself!

How do you argue with this?

The becoming is not a choice. I have embraced it. So, it seems, has everyone else.

Can I hear you say...proud?

Forgive me WordPress, for I have sinned…

It has been 38 days since my last confession.

There have been drastic changes here at Chez Vix, the biggest one is the return of two family members. My daughter and new

granddaughter have moved in with us. They came for a visit and decided not to leave and I am overjoyed.

I like being a ‘hands on’ Nanna although, it presents a new set of challenges. We also decided to move The Princess to high

school as we felt she had outgrown primary and she is doing much better, more challenged and in her own words ‘it’s fun’.

I have just started a new semester at Uni and in a moment of what I can only call ‘unhinged’, decided that I would tackle two units. There are others doing three. I would like to fast track my degree but I fear I would end in a blathering mess, so for now, two will suffice.

How are you all out there? How are you managing the stress in your life? A lovely blogging friend of mine wrote a great post that I think you should check out:

Maturestudenthanginginthere   What colour is your parachute?

 

My motivation right here!

 

Overwhelmed in more ways than one

Oh, hello blog, this is what you look like…I remember you!

I have been thoroughly overwhelmed of late. University assignments, children going back to school and now the rain. Again.

It has been raining non-stop since Monday and looks like it is set in until Wednesday next week. We have had storm warning after storm warning and looks like there will be extreme weather events in the next few days. Welcome to South East Queensland, bring your gumboots and wet weather gear! There have been news broadcasts of people attempting to drive through flood waters, tourists playing tennis on flooded tennis courts and children rescued from raging torrents.

Here at Chez Vix, we are safe and away from the flash flooding. Roads are closed all around us and the poor neighbours had a tree split in half and squash their car. It’s wet, wild and woolly.  Fun times. The gloominess is getting to me, I do not do well with this weather.

Here are my top stress-busters , mental notes and conversations  for this week:

  1. Get out of your pyjamas and force yourself to take the children to school. Brush your hair.
  2. Smile and say hello to everyone, even though you look like a wet, absent-minded crazy woman who just got out of her pyjamas.
  3.  Get out the slow cooker and serve dumplings with everything. Satisfied bellies in wet weather = peace and quiet.
  4. Dumplings are a new food group, you can put anything in them. Left over ricotta is a winner, ask The Princess, she doesn’t like dumplings but ate these ones.
  5. Keep one room tidy. Pick a room, clean and tidy it and retreat there when you feel overwhelmed.
  6. Do not think about the electricity bill as you are shoving another load of washing in the tumble dryer. Just get the washing done.
  7. Star eating breakfast for once in your life. In fact, start eating properly. Crackers and fruit are not a nutritious diet.
  8. Drink more water than coffee.
  9. Do not think of looming deadlines for assignments and massive reference lists piling up. Do not even think about the Case Study for next Semester. Just keep plugging away daily and worry about the 5000 word count when you finish. Cull is a lovely word, short is not.
  10. The children will have everything they need for school by next week and so will you. The term ‘catch-up’ was coined for a reason.
  11. Playing Uno with Master 6 is a study break NOT procrastination.
  12. The clutter on the bench and piles of paperwork will find a home after your assignments are finished.
  13. The back to school expenses are astronomical but don’t the children look lovely in their new school uniforms and shoes? We can grocery shop next week ( see #4: Dumplings are a new food group).
  14. Laugh. Keys locked in the car and holding a torch in the rain for hubby ( while in your pyjamas) at 1am so he can break in  IS funny. No one saw you. Only crazy people are up at that time. And shift workers and people who are shift workers and have locked their keys in the car. And you.
  15. It’s  amusing, not sad, that there are still Christmas decorations laying around the house.
  16. Do not lament about children leaving home – they come back.
  17. Make pancakes for breakfast this weekend. Bieber loves pancakes and his girlfriend just broke up with him.
  18. Realise that you should have done Bachelor of Education Primary with all the extra schoolwork help for The Princess. Could have got a credit on that alone.
  19. Rejoice that you have dodged Homeschooling  once again.
  20. Do not feel bad when you have been caught repeating yourself, or forgetting conversations with Red. It evens out the times when he has ignored you and dismissed your words.
  21. Hearing ‘I love you’ or ‘Mum, we can’t take you anywhere’ or ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’ cancels out all the bad stuff. I do try. Sometimes I get it right. Other times I break things and spill food on my clothes.
  22. When Bieber says ‘Wow Mum, we’ve been having all the foods I like’, smile. It’s golden.
  23. Stop watching late night TV. Laying in bed, staring at the ceiling is more entertaining.
  24. Remember to take your phone off silent before bedtime. Alarms will not wake you up with no sound.
  25. Plan to do one nice thing for everyone in the family each week so that they feel special, including myself.

It is Australia Day tomorrow and while most of the festivities have been cancelled due to rain, I have planned an indoor BBQ. The children have the day off school and I plan to spend it with them.

I was a tad disappointed that Denise or Bruce Morcombe didn’t receive Australian of the Year 2012 after everything they have been through and their tireless energy and support for other parents of missing children. Congratulations to Geoffrey Rush, another great Queenslander and a fan-bloody-tastic speech. I wonder who wrote it.

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussies. Stay safe and dry to all my fellow Queenslanders.

English: The Flag of Australia flying over Pea...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

The story of the Chicken Tooth

One day, FOTH (father of the house) decided he would play a joke on The Princess. I had chopped chicken for dinner and came across this bit of goodness-knows-what. Before I could discard it, FOTH picked it up and called for The Princess,

“Look what Mum found in the chicken. A chicken tooth.”

The Princess: No way Dad, you’re joking.

FOTH: No, seriously, it is. They are very rare you know.

The Princess: I don’t believe you.

FOTH: Go and ask Jim. He’ll tell you.

Jim is one of our neighbours and has a wicked sense of humour. He is forever telling the children jokes, engaging them with his magic tricks and giving them lateral thinking exercises. His magic, disappearing, elbow, coin trick is the best I have seen.

Off trots The Princess at 6pm, pyjama-clad and carefully holding, in the palm of her hand… the Chicken Tooth. Jim, of course, has no warning of what is unfolding but the FOTH has unquestionable confidence in Jim’s ability to keep the story going.

Meanwhile, I turn to my husband and give him the ‘evil chicken’ stare. I know this is not going to end well.

The Princess returns, flustered from running excitedly across the street. I feel terrible but say nothing under strict instructions from FOTH.

FOTH: So, what did Jim say?

The Princess: (breathless) OMG, he said that it’s really rare and might be worth some money.

FOTH:  Really? Hmmm. Wow.

The Princess: Oh, and he wants to know where you got the chicken because he wants to go there. Chicken Teeth are rare you know Dad.

FOTH: I told you.

The Princess: Where DID you get that chicken from?

FOTH  tells The Princess about the organic chicken sold at the butcher near the local supermarket and off she trots again across the road. This time she returns even more animated. It turns out that Jim’s wife has chimed in, asking if Jim can take her to the butcher right this minute. The Princess is sure she’s got something special now. I can’t bear it any more. I know I have to say something. I go to speak then,

“I’m going to sell this on Ebay, Mum can you take a photo for me?” and there she is, sitting at the computer trying to find out if there is anything else like what she has. Oh for the love of….

Me: Princess, Dad is joking. It’s not a chicken tooth. It’s just a gristly bit in the meat honey. Look, here are some more.

The Princess: Awwwwwwwww.  You’re bums. You’re all bums.

At least she said that with a smile.

The Chicken Tooth that was almost listed on Ebay

Rainy days reconsidered

I have always dreaded rainy days. They make me miserable and I feel trapped. The January floods of 2011 even gave me  a reason to fear them.

Today, rainy days have been given a facelift via my children who are complete and utter nutters and my family as a whole, who are extremely supportive. I’m so very grateful and proud.

I set up my laptop this afternoon in the family area, among all the chaos and noise, to get a bird’s-eye view of the hilarity that was unfolding. My line of sight directed to the upstairs hallway and storage cupboard . The dress-ups are located in there. Rather than pull the box out, The Princess stepped inside and all I could see was a hand extending from the open door to Master 6, who was attempting to don all manner of clothing items. Considering the day’s entertainment began with Master 6 in nothing but boxer shorts, a pink maiden’s headdress and a fake beard, I knew it was going to be a cracker of a day. I watched him as he looked down at me giggling uncontrollably, looking like a fractured fairytale version of one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs. He attempted to drag the rest of the princess costume over his head, losing the beard and the headdress. It was like watching a butterfly emerging from a cocoon on video, except with someone continually pressing reverse, fast forward and pause. There was dancing and singing  including a final fashion parade. The Princess wearing a left over witches costume from Halloween and Master 6 as The Princess, complete with ‘fake boobs’ he described as really ‘soft and squishy’. No gender stereotyping here thank you very much. The Princess then chased Master 6 through the house demanding that he give her back her boobs (socks). I am so very glad that no neighbours decided to visit at that time, although I did notice there was a bag of cookies left by the front door from the elderly next-door neighbour who did not knock. Oh dear, I figure, he’s lived next door to us for this long that nothing should surprise him.

English: Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingre...

(Image via Wikipedia) A bit like these...only...gone.

The ‘bag’ of cookies turned out to be several bags of home-made cookies; peanut butter, chocolate chip, jam drops, almond/coffee and Anzacs. I would have taken a photo of this lot sitting on the couch eating from their individual bags but the cookies didn’t last long enough. The memory is also sweeter in my mind. I looked at Master 6 incredulously who had almost devoured his bag while in full Princess regalia and he said, ‘What’s so funny?’ Indeed.

Bieber managed to appear at the most opportune time – he smelled food. The Princess and her father made Potato Scallops for lunch as I read out a recipe I found online, switching back and forth between it and study. They were really good and much appreciated on this dismal day. I even got ice cream in a waffle cone. I don’t know, some days the food just appears at my desk.Bieber made me a coffee before he disappeared back upstairs to his land of ’12 year old boy’.

Master 6, finally de-Princessed, decided he would sit on top of me and not next to me. I love a 6 years old’s lack of spatial awareness which is still developing and will one day make sure he doesn’t sit ANYWHERE near me. The boy looked rather Dr Octagonapusish attached to wires and metal which I realised was actually earphones and Bieber’s mobile phone. This, and the fact he was riveted to a show on TV meant he sat on me. The phone? Probably a bribe from Bieber to get peace and quiet.

Red has been away visiting his girlfriend all weekend up in North Queensland. On his arrival he did text me. Did I really not text back ALL weekend? Yep. Terrible mother. This is the text I received from his this evening:

Umm well seeing you don’t even miss me I have decided to join the monastery up here…You and the rest of the family will always be in my mind. But I seek enlightenment now…’

The Princess intercepted this text and came downstairs to tell me that Red was not coming back, he’d joined a monastery. Huh? This is my text back to Red:

‘I thought that I would practise being a NAM (new age mother) where my progeny are free to spread their wings without my constant over-shadowing. That, and the fact that my iPhone is not my own (read: The Princess monopolises it). I got your message that you are safe and that’s all that matters to me. The knowledge of where you are is enough to satisfy even my most outrageous parenting concerns. The Princess filtered your text before I read it thus: Red isn’t coming home, he’s joined the monastery. Good luck with that. Your lovely mother xxx

This is the text I got back (from the girlfriend):

‘I love you mummy xxx Also, I kept your son safe from the scaries 🙂

Not from the scaries here though. I love these.

The Queensland summer provides plenty of these shots

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