Scary toddler

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Chublet has a doll that is based on the children’s song ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a fly’. The doll comes with all the animals that the old lady swallows (little shaped beanbag things) and you stuff them in her mouth, then shove your fingers down her throat to pull them out again. Great way to teach kids about eating disorders, but that aside, the doll is a favourite here, mostly because Chublet loves it and will happily play with it for at least 5 minutes at a time.

So the other night, Chublet pulled Old Lady out and sat down with B to play. They got all the animals out of the doll and B starts the song. ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a ?’
Chublet: Fly! (grabs fly and stuffs it in the old lady’s mouth, shoving it down her throat and into her tummy)
B: Do you know why she swallowed a fly?
Chublet: (looking her daddy straight in the eyes) She had to die.

Hmmm.

The not so organised guide to a sparkling clean bathroom

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It is with great joy that i can announce that chublet is almost toilet trained.  Much of this is thanks to her fabulous day care, who have encouraged, cleaned up and supported her over the last couple of weeks.  The number of nappies i need to change in a day has dropped dramatically and the number of accidents on the carpet at home have also decreased significantly.  All good.  However the cleaning up hasn’t finished completely.  You see, for some unexplained reason, Chublet is that rare breed of female who always, without fail, misses the toilet or potty.

I’ve watched her sit on the potty (backwards, because that’s how she insists it works), pause, then urinate ALL OVER THE BATHROOM FLOOR.  Sure, some of it gets in the potty, but at least half goes over the floor.  If she agrees to sit on the toilet, it’s reduced to about a quarter, but she still manages to miss the bowl despite sitting right on top of it.

And so it is that with each and every toilet trip for Chublet, the mop and floor cleaner come out and we clean up after her, carefully lifting her up and out of the way of the mess beforehand.

All I can do is shake my head and smile proudly at our bathroom floor that sparkles like never before.

saying goodbye

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This post has been churning around my brain for a while now.  I haven’t had the words and the emotional strength to write it.  I still don’t know if I’ll do justice to an amazing woman.

Saying goodbye to you was so wrong.  You were meant to be with us for years yet.  You were meant to meet my daughter, in person, not just through emails, and tell her stories of the mischief I got up to as a kid – mischief you so often instigated and encouraged.  You were meant to keep sending me birthday cards, always on time, always with a silly something that made me laugh.  You were meant to be there for us to visit when we could make the trek across the country.  You were meant to continue inspiring, challenging and pushing me forward in life and my career.

More than anything you were an inspiration to me.  You challenged me to really think about the decisions I made in life, in my career, in connecting to the world.  Each time we spoke (far too rarely as I know now), you questioned me in a way that made me think hard, explain myself and look deep into my soul to see why I had chosen the path I had.  Once you had done that, and heard my answers, you cheered me on, telling me you had my back, telling me I could achieve more than I believed, showing me how to be the best person I could be.  You gave me an alternate view of life, you who worked so hard at each and every job you held, you who gave to your community in so many small ways, you who continued to find joy in life, delight in little sillinesses, and explore the wide, wide world.

That you never had children of your own was a selfish pleasure for me.  You were able to give us so much of your time, your love and yourself.  You were always a part of our lives, from regular visits as small children, to increasingly infrequent phone calls, emails and visits.  Yet each time I made contact you gave me all your attention, taking time off work to spend a day with me, emailing me little thoughts and encouragement when you knew I needed it, and always showing me how special I was in your life.

I now have some of your most loved clothes sitting in my wardrobe, clothes made for you; yet fitting me perfectly.  Clothes that you wore to so many special occasions; clothes worn in treasured photographs.  These clothes still smell of you, even two months after being added to my wardrobe.  There are nights when your scent is stronger, nights when I go to sleep and dream of you.  I hope that when I wear these, I stand a little taller, walk a little stronger and go a little further, just as you always believed i could.

You are missed so much.  The world is a little less without you in it.  Your spirit will continue to encourage me to explore, challenge and contribute.

Digital parenting

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In the last couple of weeks I’ve been made aware of how often I reach for my iDevice on my days home, while supposedly entertaining Chublet. I have realised how regularly I tune out of the monotony of parenting by using the excuse of connecting with the wider world through my FaceBook, email or Pinterest habit. Chublet has contributed to this increasing realisation, both by telling me to put my phone away, but also by searching out my phone or tablet when she sees me on one or the other. I wish I could say proudly that my daughter doesn’t know how to use an iDevice, but unfortunately the only thing she hasn’t figured out yet is the password to unlock them.

I have decided to tackle both of our addictions in two ways, firstly, our budget is going to take a hit and I’m enrolling Chublet in extra organised activities on our days home. At present she does Ballet on a saturday morning, then follows that by coming to Pilates with me. That’s been it and i’ve been happy with that. But her latest developmental leap has seen her becoming much harder work to entertain and keep occupied on a day at home. She wants me to be with her and doing things, and each activity only lasts about 3 minutes before she turns destructive (painting herself, throwing / eating playdough, stickers everywhere but the paper etc). I figure if we get out of the house to an organised activity that i don’t have to plan or manage that’ll help both of us. The second method is that i’m starting to introduce a screen time timer. It’s something that i’ve been thinking about doing as she gets older to give her greater choice and responsibility with her screen time (a number of 10min tickets allocated each week and once used up all screen time finishes), so starting now, when she sits next to me with a device and as i browse through random stuff on my own device i set the timer for 10min. Once that timer goes off we both put our devices away and go and do something else.

I still get the little eyes with the ‘Just one more?’ attempt, but hopefully leading by example will help her see I mean it, and will help me remember to put the device down and out of easy reach. Who knows, less screen time temptation might just see me be bored enough to get a little more organised…

Meal planning and trying to be organised

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The one area of managing a household that I feel I generally have reasonably organised (in comparison with all other areas) is that of meal planning and food shopping. I quite enjoy cooking, and having a decent supply of fresh and pantry ingredients with which to cook. However I really struggle with the amount of food we waste, and so I do my best to meal plan and only purchase food that I am confident will be eaten. This doesn’t always work with a toddler and a husband who works stupid hours, but I do my best.

So it was that I did my sunday night plan for the week, working out what meals were being prepared, what I already had, what I needed and what i’d rescue from the freezer. It was a pretty simple list as the weather was predicted to be hot and stormy, so no big stews or complicated meals. I did the shopping and started on the meal plan. Meal One – BBQ chicken and asian style salad – easy and B and I like having leftovers for work lunch. Meal Two – left over BBQ chook and pasta, with whatever veggies need using up in the fridge.

This is where I realised I hadn’t actually been as organised and clever as I thought I was. Meal 2… Meal 2 after a 6 day trip to stay with Granny, Meal 2 after encouraging B to clean out the fridge while we were away and eat / toss items still in there. Meal 2 when there are no veggies that need using up as the fridge has been cleaned out while Chublet and I were away. Thankfully there was a can of chickpeas in the pantry and some frozen peas and corn still in the freezer. Got to love an ‘it’ll do’ meal on the second day of the week.

And this is just another reason why I’m a not so organised housewife.

Was this in the parenting handbook?

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It’s a given that your children will go through various stages of thinking you are the most embarrassing thing in the world, and it’s a given that as children they will embarrass you on multiple occasions, but how many people warn you that you will willingly do seriously crazy and embarrassing things just to get your children to co-operate.

as an example

‘Tinkle, tinkle, little wee
In the toilet, not on mummy’s knee
Do your wees and do your poos
On the toilet now you’re two,
Tinkle, tinkle, little wee,
In the toilet, not on mummy’s knee’

Yes, that is the rhyme I now sing (to the tune of twinkle twinkle obviously) in an attempt to get Chublet to sit on the toilet / potty for more than 2 seconds at a time as we begin our journey to toilet training. It is requested as soon as her bottom hits the seat, and has to be sung multiple times per toileting, accompanied by Chublet roaring with laughter. As i sang this to her, while I was also trying to interview a new babysitter the other day, I started to reminisce about the many and varied ways this small person has got me to do crazy, embarrassing and not fit for public consumption behaviour since we began our parenting journey two years ago. The list wasn’t short and I have a horrible feeling it will continue to grow.

The Not So Organised guide to bedsharing

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While it isn’t generally admitted to in polite company, I’m putting it out there that we bedshare with our toddler. It isn’t necessarily our choice, and it isn’t necessarily done in a thoughtful, organised, practised way, but it’s what happens. So here is my guide to bedsharing with a toddler.

First – have a lovely toddler bed for the toddler. Dress it in beautifully considered, carefully purchased bedlinens, with matching decor and artfully arranged soft toys (or you can dream of doing that and actually make the bed in whatever hand-me-downs you have that fit, throw whichever soft toys are this weeks favourites on the bed and leave it at that).

Second – have a really good bedtime routine where toddler is in her own bed, reading books to her soft toys and chatting to herself before going happily to sleep before 8pm each evening.

So far so good – no bedsharing, all very organised…

Third – sometime after moving into lovely toddler bed, your toddler discovers that she can climb out of bed all by herself, and once out of bed she can walk to mummy and daddy’s room all by herself.

Fourth – have toddler stand beside your bed at stupid o’clock each night and do toddler whispers (shouting) in your ear to get your attention. The alternate method here is to throw soft toys at you until you wake up.

Fifth – have toddler scream blue murder if you take her back to her room, ensuring everybody in the house, the neighbourhood and the suburb is awake and aware that you are acting in a manner that calls for immediate intervention.

Sixth – have parents admit defeat and haul toddler into their bed just so everybody can get some sleep.

Finally – have toddler repeat the above steps everynight for however long it takes for parents to skip step 5, and for step 4 to require only the barest hint of a noise at the bedside for mum to wake up just enough to haul toddler into bed, roll over and go back to sleep.

So there you have it, we bedshare unintentionally, in a highly disorganised manner, and purely in response to our overwhelming need to get some sleep so we can function through the day. I know that this is not inline with safe sleeping guidelines from SIDS. I know that this doesn’t always fit with safe bedsharing practise (although neither B nor I smoke, it is very rare that we drink more than 1 standard drink at night, and Chublet is now old enough that she can let us know if there is a problem), and it is most certainly not a method i am endorsing or recommending – just so we are clear, and nobody needs to get upset about it.

Generally bedsharing is okay, although I’d love it if Chublet was happy to sleep in her own space in the bed, instead of smothering me, her head tucked into my shoulder, her feet pushed between my legs and her hands holding tight to whichever bit of my PJs she can grab. There are some nights though, when I really, really wish we hadn’t fallen into this habit.

There are the nights where Chublet comes into our room around 2 or 3am, fully awake, running back and forth between rooms, bringing books, soft toys, dummies, games etc, turning on lights and generally wanting to play. These are the nights where it takes several hours to convince her to go back to sleep, the nights where she joins us in bed and wriggles, talks, tickles, pokes, prods and does everything possible to get us as awake as she is. These are the nights where we all end up functioning on nowhere near enough sleep the following day – but only one of us really gets to have a good afternoon sleep.

There are also the nights where Chublet has recurring nightmares. The nights where she wakes up crying at regular intervals, little cries, easily settled when in bed with us, but enough to wake us all up every 40-50min for several hours. These are the nights where I can’t get cross, where I can’t resent the lost sleep, and all I can do is remind her we’re there, and that she’s safe.

Then finally there are the nights where Chublet times her intrusions badly. The nights where we end up giggling helplessly as she sleepily gets cranky that I’ve taken too long to get her into bed. The nights followed by mornings of shared chuckles and pretend grumps. The nights that leave me both smiling and annoyed.

I’m sure that if we were more organised we’d implement a plan to either keep Chublet in her bed, or arrange our bed so that bedsharing was easier and comfier for all of us. But we continue to hope that this is just a phase that she’ll grow out of soon.  Neither B nor I operate well on not enough sleep, so we just muddle through and do what we can for now, and I mark this down as another parenting experience that shows me how little control I have over some aspects of this gig.