Critters

Parenthood really is a gift, that  keeps on giving.

Long after they had stopped bringing me worms or snails, the boys began to share other creatures with me.

Alien creatures.

Like these :

Yes, Head lice.

Head starting to itch? Yes? Good, so is mine.

Hard to explain the feeling when you discover your child has nits.

It’s also difficult to mask the disgusted look your face will twist into.

I will never forget an hour before I was leaving for a girls weekend, having to wrestle nits as large as mice from the scalp of CM.

Although desperate to disappear into a vat of wine, I chirruped merrily while defeating the beasts, watching CM’s eyes grow and hearing him say:

“Wow, mummy, THAT’s a BIG ONE”

I swear, I could see that one flicking the V’s at me, while it disappeared down the plug hole…

Shudder.

But it’s just another parenting rite of passage.

It doesn’t mean you or your child is dirty, but I do think you have to act.

(Insert pause to reflect on families who consider nits natural,and refuse to do anything).

At the boys school there are regular nit checks (my friend K, I LOVE YOU) ,and as they both have short hair, it’s been well over a year since I last faced them.

I admit it, I had got a little slack over the lice routine.

And then just when I really don’t need the aggro, after BW having a tiredness related meltdown, there they were.

Smiling and waving.

Nasty little creatures*.

So, here are my tips for conquering the beasts.

Tools of the trade

1. Headrin Once 15min spray

I try to avoid using chemicals on the boys where I can, but sometimes, needs must. This spray is great. It doesn’t have a strong smell, it’s quick and very easy to use. It works by smothering the critters and contains a chemical that penetrates and kills the eggs. Which stops the cycle starting again.

3. Tea tree Oil

Readily available and inexpensive, I add a splash to the boys’ regular shampoo. It pongs, yes, but that’s the point. The beasts hate it and are unlikely to return.

2.Lice Breaker comb (Nit ease)

Mmm, ease isn’t a word I’d use. It is a brilliant comb as each tooth has a spiral so catches even the smallest beast. However, it is metal and sharp and particularly for a child with sensory issues (BW) it can be a bit harsh. However, BW tells me that most combs hurt anyway, so there you go. Use after shampooing, add loads of conditioner (white) and comb away. There may* be squealing (*probably, almost definitely).

So there we are. An introduction into nits.

Next week. Worms.

JUST KIDDING!

Do you have any tips on treating head lice?

*Not what I actually said, but you get the idea.

Disclaimer: This is purely what we do in our house. I have not been paid to promote or endorse these products in any way.

I’m A Little Bit Country…

Do you consider yourself a country or a town mouse?

I ‘d like to think of myself as more of an urban rat, but let’s face it, I’m a mother in suburbia.

Country living isn’t for me. Yes, I look at friends making tree changes with wonder, jealously gasping at the houses and the land.

But I know myself well enough to understand it would kill me to move to the sticks.

And yet, in spite of my need to be a little bit rock and roll (in my dreams), it turns out, I am a little bit country too.

After the Murray Man last week we decided to extend the road trip and explore the Grampians

I could feel the tension of the previous few weeks leaving me as we left the scorching plains of South Australia and moved into the cooler, greener, lusher landscape.

And the mountains.

Oh, my thing. I love beaches, but nothing tops (ha!) a beautiful mountain set against an unending sky.

We stayed in a caravan park at the foot of the hills, near  Halls Gap.

My twitter buddy Andrew had recommended some walks he enjoyed as a child, so first up was the Wonderland Walk – a canyon walk from wonderland car park to The Pinnacle.

It was an energetic walk and the kids did well to manage it. They loved spotting skinks (102 counted), lizards and wild flowers.

No idea, but very pretty

CM enjoying the rest

BW bringing up the rear through a very narrow part of the walk

The Pinnacle

All in the walk took about 3 hours and I would definitely recommend it. You’ll need good shoes and plenty of water. It’s definitely not suitable for strollers.

Although I wasn’t overly impressed with the place we were staying. The kids thought it was heaven. And as we all know, happy kids = happy parents.

CM and V busy recording their day

The boys first wild kangaroo

BW getting excited over the fire

Toasting marshmallows

CM eating a delicious s’more

Sparklers for the last night of the holiday

We had to leave our accommodation by 10 which meant we still had time to explore Halls Gap before our return to Melbourne.

We knew we wanted to return to Mackenzie Falls, where we had stopped briefly the day before, but J had also been given another spot to check out in Halls Gap. The Venus Baths.

A short walk from the centre of Halls Gap, through the car park and behind the tennis court is a track leading to a Botanical Garden. It was beautiful, and made even more special by the fact that it was tended solely by volunteers from the town.

Halls Gap Botanical Gardens

After about 10 minutes, we found the pools. There is usually more water, but nothing could stop the kids stripped to their undies and experimenting with bin bags to see who could slip fastest down the rocks.

Slipping and a sliding

Quite what the family next to us made of these loud, urchin children clad in bin bags, I’ll never know.

After a quick picnic lunch at MacKenzie Falls where we were dive bombed by kookaburra (too fast for my camera), we embarked on the descent to the bottom of the falls.

Mackenzie Falls

Crossing the river

The kids loved crossing the white water to get a closer look at the falls while their chicken licken mothers recorded their bravery on camera.

And then we had to the walk BACK UP! Oh my thighs…

The Grampians were majestic. I think we picked a great time to go as there was lots of spring flowers and it wasn’t too hot for the kids to enjoy the walks.

Being only 3 hours from Melbourne I’m definitely going back!

Have you visited the Grampians? Any suggestions for things to do on our return visit? Or  for country Victoria?

Not The Cucumber!

Car journeys lasting longer than an hour, when the boys were small, used to be my definition of hell.

As we pulled away from home last week, I looked at them in the back, surrounded by enough electronic devices to stock a small JB-HiFi, and remembered the bum and mind-numbing journeys of my childhood. I tried to tell them, but they just looked at me with pity while inserting their earphones. Sigh.

Judge away, but the peace these electronic devices brings cannot be underestimated. Once we are sure it’s safe (i.e. no eavesdroppers) TS and I have some of our best chats.

But best of all is gazing out of the window, watching the breathtaking Australian scenery go by, the rhythmic sound of tyres over tarmac lulling me to sleep.

Obviously, this tranquillity never lasts.

Pulling over to change drivers, I marvelled again at the scenery, chanting my usual “Can you believe we live here?” mantra.

(Which frankly, TS is bored with hearing.)

I readied the camera.

TS announced he needed a pee.

Expecting him to dodge behind a tree I took aim with the lens.

Bad move.

Here was a man in need of some communing with nature.

He peed next to me.

Face pressed against the car window, CM exclaimed “Urgh…look at the mess he’s making!” (He is his father’s son after all).

Racing back to the car, narrowly avoiding the piss pool spreading out on the dusty ground, I lamented again my existence as the lone female in the House of Trouser.

(TS was to the left of me as this was taken)

Another 2 hours passed. The boys eyes were now fully rectangular and they were whingeing intermittently…”how much further?”, “can I have a snack?” etc.

I returned to window-gazing hoping the peaceful landscape would help me drown out the moaning.

We began to pass signs about fruit flies…What the what the?

And then we saw the road block.

For confiscating fruit and vegetables.

I tried to banter with the “fruit officer” as I handed over our apples and bananas.

Unsmiling, she barked: “Do I need to search the rest of the vehicle?”

I was borderline hysterical with giggles as I said no.

AND THEN  I spotted another contraband item.

TS could not have sounded more English as he exclaimed:

“NOT THE CUCUMBER FOR THE GIN!!!!”

The fruit officer’s face was a picture.

Poms on the road, eh?

Do you love or loathe road trips?

Scream If You Want To Go Faster…

As you know, I’m not a thrill-seeker, in spite of once doing this and this.

But, I like to think that there are still some adrenalin-inducing pleasures still out there that I might one day enjoy.

And then I remember. I am a mother and a dipstick. And this week was a hell of a ride.

Monday. A trip to our hot lovely pediatrician. We were awaiting EEG results to see if BW could stop taking his epilepsy meds. I was very nervous.

Good News! Results all clear, so we can begin weaning him off the meds. After 9 years. Scary stuff.

Then Paed wanted to discuss meds for ADHD. I wrote about our dilemma here.

Cue more feelings of nausea, but once meeting was over, I was OK.

Tuesday and Wednesday were reasonably calm. If by calm you mean shouting “teeth” and “shoes” 20 million times before and after school. Not to mention the great “Battle of the Homework”. Not to mention dealing with the fall out from a poorly executed blog post…

The White Knuckle Ride didn’t really gather speed until Thursday when BW’s counsellor had to cancel their appointment at the last minute due to ill-health.

Poor BW. It was too much. A 4 hour melt down (I am not exaggerating) ensued. He wanted me, he didn’t want me. He wanted to speak to counsellor, He was never seeing her again. He wanted to be wrapped, he wanted to be left alone.

All this with me trying to cook dinner, reassure CM and not drown myself in vat of gin.

By 8pm the ride had slowed. My beautiful boy was back and my blood pressure returned to normal. Ish.

Friday, Friday, got to get down on Friday. Right?

Coffee plans with a girlfriend and then lunch with a tweep, in the city.

Just what I needed.

Friday  dawns. I’m so on it.

Half way through doing the lunch boxes I ask BW to get his bike ready for  school. He has Bike Ed on Fridays.

“Mum, the bikes are locked together”.

“Where’s the key?”

Yes, where is the effing key?

Oh.

No, he hasn’t.

The sound of the F-bomb being dropped by TS at the end of the phone confirmed my worst fears.

It was now 9.55am. School starts at 9.

Shouting  “TEETH”, “SHOES”  and trying to finish the lunch boxes I start to attack the bike lock with a pair of pliers. (FYI, I have added bolt-cutters to my Christmas List) BW has tapped into last night’s melt down and is preparing to unleash the sequel.

“I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL WITHOUT MY BIKE”. Don’t blame you dude.

My heart is pounding. My knuckles are white trying to get the bastard lock undone.

Shouting down the phone at TS “to get his arse back here pronto”, I try to convince BW that it will all be sorted. I hope.

We finally stomp off to school, BW and I muttering under our breath about TS.

I am exhausted.

(TS dropped key off and crisis was averted, but we both felt terrible for the adult cock ups that caused BW so much stress)

Do you ever feel like you are on a theme park ride?

Mother

How do you feel safe when the person you are supposed to trust the most, you trust the least?

How do you love yourself when the one person who is meant to love you unconditionally, can’t?

How do you cope when the person you share your secrets and fears with, tells others?

How do you feel when you discover that not every child is thrashed for stealing hundreds and thousands from the cooking cupboard?

How do you feel when you see hatred in her eyes?

How do you feel when you try to explain to those around you that you have chosen to separate yourself from her?

How do you explain to your children that you chose not to have her in your life?

How do you cope with the loss and grief that you feel, still?

Who Do You Think You Are?

It’s happening again.

Activities I have been looking forward to, suddenly loom like insurmountable obstacles, to be avoided at all costs.

The Black Dog is whispering in my ear.

“Who do you think you are?”

“What makes you think you can do this?”

“Is anyone really interested in anything you have to say?”

I swear I can hear the fucker laughing at me.

I can’t breathe.

Trying to ignore him, I realise the voice is coming from inside my own head.

Fuck.

My brain, conditioned over so many years, is playing its favourite tricks.

You are not good enough.

“She may as well stop coming to ballet you know, she’s getting too tall”

“It’s a shame really, her sister is so pretty”

“Why do you have to look like him?”

“You can’t do that”

“Depression  lies” a good friend told me.

It probably does.

But she’s still here. The tall, gawky girl, who sometimes talks too much and too loudly, scared of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Still trying to find out whether or not she’s good enough.

Today is World Mental Health Day – raising public awareness of mental health issues. Depression affects 350 million people worldwide.

It’s time to end the stigma.

Rainbows and Unicorns

The holidays are over (I can hear the cheers reverberating around the neighbourhood) and my boys are going back to school.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved, but I confess to feeling a little sad too.

PANIC YE NOT, IT IS STILL ME WRITING THIS BLOG!

It hasn’t suddenly become all rainbows and unicorns.

There have been some spectacular meltdowns this holiday (including a brawl at a public swimming pool). Not to mention an “interesting” counselling session where Boy Wonder implied I beat him regularly. OH MY GOD! (yes, tears were shed and gin was had).

However, the more challenging situations have been managed differently and some of the time, the new strategies have worked.

(The Saint definitely noticed the lack of tearful phone calls made at 9.30am asking “when are you coming home?”.)

I also had a secret aim. To say ‘yes’ more than I said ‘no’. I’m not saying I achieved this 100% of the time, but  I am not Wonder Woman (yet. Another secret aim).

So while we may not have completed all of the activities on the boys list, I think judging by these photos, fun was had.

How were your holidays?

Notes To My 16 year old Self.

Yesterday I came across this photograph…

(YEEGADS!)

Inspired by this Dear Me – A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self I wondered what  I would say to the girl in this picture.

  1. Darling, a pair of tweezers would be a great investment right now.
  2.  Horizontal stripes? Brave.
  3. Permed hair really isn’t you.
  4. Don’t let any boy put you down for being funny or tall. They are intimidated by you. And they are dicks.
  5. Lisa Hayward* who made you feel shit all those times at school, will one day turn around and tell you she envies your life. (Yes, I promise, this will actually happen)
  6. That guy you obsessed over and who embarrassed you in front of your friends at the disco, is now a balding, overweight git (probably).
  7. Don’t let anyone talk you out of doing Psychology at Uni. PLEASE.
  8. Sex gets better with age (I am not lying).
  9. You will meet the perfect man. He may not be the man you dreamt of, but he will be perfect for you. He will make you laugh every.bloody.day. He will adore you. Even when you are being a bitch.
  10. Her not loving you is not your fault. Don’t let it define you.
  11. Getting pissed at a work do is NEVER a good idea.
  12. You will get married and have children (she doth protest too much). You will do everything in your power to ensure history does not repeat itself.
  13. Giving birth feels like you are pushing out a sack of spuds. It fucking hurts, but you will be amazing.
  14. You will face more heartache and challenges than one person should ever have to go through, but you won’t believe how strong you can be.
  15. Eating what you like, when you like, and not putting on weight will not last forever. Trust me.
  16. Don’t worry about what people think about you. Seriously. This is a problem.
  17. Blue and green should never be seen without a colour in between.
  18. Try not to wear your heart on your sleeve ALL THE TIME. There are some fuckers out there who like to stomp on it.
  19. Grab every opportunity with both hands and don’t bloody let go.
  20. Be strong, be brave, be fearless. BE HAPPY.

*name changed to protect the biatch.

Helping Myself

Sometimes, when the black dog is hanging around, it’s hard to keep going.

Lost in the fog, I stop smelling the roses and focus on getting through the day, one sluggish step at a time.

This blog is going to help me on those dark days, by enabling me to look back on moments like these pictured above.

A reminder of who I am, who I love and who loves me.

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

So cute!

He looks cute, doesn’t he? (the rabbit, not Cheeky Monkey, who is TOTALLY cute).

His name is Billy and he was CM’s surprise 8th birthday present. He arrived with his brother, Night, who was Boy Wonder’s surprise 11th birthday present.

Billy was a lot smaller than his brother and brought out the maternal instinct in all of us. Aaahhh, we thought.

Until this:

BunnyLove

“Look Mum, Night is giving Billy a piggy back”.

“Um, oh, yes. ” EEEEEKKKK!!!

The Saint panicked.

“Check they are definitely two males” he yelled down the phone “We don’t want any bloody babies!” (we don’t? oh yes, of course we don’t – sigh).So that was how I came to know what a rabbit’s penis looks like (a string of pink spaghetti since you ask).

The boys (helpfully assisted by Boy Wonder’s sex education classes in the UK) soon cottoned on to what Billy was actually trying to do.

I hoped it was a phase.

I called the pet shop where we bought the bunnies. “It’s a domination thing, it will pass.” the owner said.

That was a month ago.

Not an hour goes by without a bored looking Night being mounted by his younger, smaller brother.Billy has the stamina of yes, a duracell bunny, and is so over excited he doesn’t even care which way round Night is.

(One morning Night was sporting a fetching ‘Something About Mary’ quiff. Ew.)

Spring has sprung and all that, but my kids are not watching any more bunny porn. Especially incestuous bunny porn.

TS and I stood over the cage one morning discussing  the possibility of getting Billy ‘done’.

The boys asked what ‘done’ was. In my best nonchalant voice I explained it as a small operation that would mean Billy would stop what he was doing.

Both boys stared at me in horror.

“YOU’RE GOING TO CUT HIS WILLY OFF?” they screamed.

For extra drama they had unconsciously moved their hands to cover their own precious jewels.

“Er, no.” I replied, looking to the The Saint for help, who by now had gone pale. I tried to explain but the words wouldn’t come.

It’s clearly a sensitive subject in the House of Trouser.

So, dear readers, bunny balls. Should they stay or should they go?