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.

Daring to Tri

Since I stopped work to have the boys, setting and achieving personal goals has been hard.

And I don’t mean finally emptying the laundry basket or single-handedly building the Death Star out of match sticks.

When you work, there are tasks to master, recognition for a job well done and a sense of purpose.

In parent-land it’s groundhog day most of the time. Same chores, different days. No pay rise, no ‘well done!’.

It was my choice to stop work and on the whole I’m glad I did. I need to be there to advocate for BW and he needs me to be around.

A few years ago, a tragic event shattered our family. I put on weight. A LOT of weight. I stopped caring.

One day, I realised the need to be a healthy role model for the boys.

Running became my new jam. It didn’t help me lose weight initially, but mentally it was what I needed.

I had a new goal. Times to be beaten.

Personal Bests to accumulate.

Being a novice and all, I didn’t do it properly, so got injured and had to think of other forms of exercise.

Surprisingly for a lazy cow I actually like being outdoors. Gyms bore me senseless.

I love swimming so switching to triathlon seemed the obvious choice.

In tri, you are running your own race (nothing like watching all the elite athletes sprint past you in a half marathon to make you feel like a snail).

Competitors come in all ages and shapes. And there are lots of women competing too.

I entered a few sprint triathlon (400m swim, 10km bike, 3km run), but naturally it wasn’t enough of a challenge.

So six months after we arrived in Melbourne, I signed up for The Murray Man.

The only long course (2km swim, 80km cycle, 20km run) triathlon in South Australia.

I knew I’d be among the slowest, but I didn’t care.

To finish would be a massive achievement.

Then this happened. I was devastated.

All that hard work. For nothing.

Luckily, I have a knack for picking crazy friends.

S and J were originally coming along to cheer me on, but decided to form a team with me.

I was doing the swim, J was doing the cycle and S was doing the run.

The swim may not seem a big deal, but I HATE open water swimming.

Oooo, the glamour!

I am TERRIFIED.

Of everything that might be in the water.

I get  seasick when it’s choppy and I don’t like being out of my depth.

As my mate Kim would say I am that “sooky lala”.

But I did it and knocked 14 minutes off the time I expected. Barring a migraine from looking at the sun, I felt amazing.

S & J both came under their estimated times.

We came 3rd in our category with a time of 5 hours 41 seconds.

I thought I would feel sad that I hadn’t had the chance to do the race solo, but being part of a team was fantastic.

Team Anglo-Viking

The most fun you can have without drinking.

And for a gin queen, that is saying something.

Do you like to set yourself challenges? I’d love to hear from you!

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?

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?

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?

The Boy Who Broke My Heart

(image source)

(image source)

Our eyes locked and I knew my heart was yours.

I loved you so much, I wanted to be your perfect love. Quickly I became scared and depressed, worrying I couldn’t be what you need to be.

A year passed. I got better. The sun began to shine more.

Then you got sick. Every few weeks we would make high-speed journeys under blue lights with me clinging to your hand, willing you to be OK.

On the darkest night of my life I watched as the room filled with white coats. They worked frantically to resuscitate you. Pressed against the hospital room wall, I made promises to god, the devil and everyone else I could think of.

The cracks in my heart started to appear.

It should have been me on that bed, not you.

More time passed. The illness was managed, our lives became calmer, more settled.

Except something was wrong. I couldn’t pin-point what, but you were changing.

We talked, we saw counsellors, we tried therapy.

It became harder to reach you.

Of course, I knew the truth deep down. I didn’t want to hear it. I still don’t.

I denied, I raged, I blamed myself.

I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t leave when you needed me so much.

So now I stand and watch as you rage. Spitting venom and anger. Throwing threats at me to self-harm or to hurt the others you love.

I stand and take it, feeling my heart splinter inside me.

I have to stay. I have to change. I must help you understand yourself and make other understand you, because I am the one who knows you best.

You are the boy who broke my heart without ever meaning to.

And I am your mum.

The Interview

 

(Source: gamerboat.com via Caroline on Pinterest)

Tomorrow I have a job interview.

I haven’t had an interview this century in 12 years!

After 5 straight rejection letters the prospect of a face to face interview has thrown me.

I’ve been sussed out on the phone, twice.

“Our client wants to see some examples of your work”

“Oh”

Silence.

My confidence dips. They have seen my resume, but clearly they want to know what the fuck I’ve been doing for the past 12 years.

After watching the boys setting up an execution centre for their teddies this afternoon,  I am not sure I want to take them to the interview as evidence.

The past 12 years have been filled with feeding, clothing, soothing, cuddling, organising, negotiating, ambulance-riding, medicating, toilet training, and puke clearing. With little recognition from my employers.

“But, mum, you haven’t got a job” . “Daddy has a job”.

Thanks guys!

I thought I’d ask my current employers about my strengths.

Cheeky Monkey has already said that I am the “Best wiper ever”, but has expanded his list to include: cricket batting, running and making Anzac biscuits.

Boy Wonder said shouting and making things fun. Oh.

I think they cancel each other out.

Back in the day I was lucky. With the last job I travelled to Paris and Florence. It was an exciting time. I thought I’d miss it, but I didn’t.

Now I do want something more. I want to feel passionate and excited about something more than Skylanders and Lego. ( I am a consummate actress)

The trouble is I’ve forgotten what I’m good at. I think the time has come to find out.

Wish me luck!

(FYI the job will not entail selling babies, just to be clear)

Happy Holidays!

These past few weeks of term, I have been counting down the days.

Boy Wonder has had enough, Cheeky Boy has had enough.

I cannot make another bloody packed lunch. I just can’t.

The last week of term, I’m all “WOOP! WOOP! Holidays! No School run! NO homework! Yay!” Like some Californian fresher about to go on Spring Break.

Then the reality sinks in.

SHIT!

Two weeks of entertaining my children. Two weeks of attempting to stop them from killing themselves/each other.

How quickly I forget.

I need to learn the negotiation skills of a UN advisor. STAT.

Seriously, though, it has got easier as the boys have got older. They appreciate the need for downtime, especially as terms are so much longer here.

I am learning to understand there is a fine line between down time and unorganised chaos. Boy Wonder still needs some structure and routine.

Otherwise the lunatics will seriously overtake this asylum.

The success of the Food Project has given me ideas for the holidays.

So I asked the boys to choose 5 activities each they would like to do over the break.

Boy Wonder

  • swimming
  • nature walk/bike ride
  • cooking
  • go out for dinner as a family
  • bowling

Cheeky Boy

  • baseball
  •  BBQ
  • Aquarium
  • Go to the MCG
  • have a rest

Loving their lists! There were a few I had already pencilled in and nearly all of them are kind on the pocket!

I also had a flick through this bad boy:

I know it’s a bit gender specific, but it’s loaded with ideas, information and history.I bought it for The Saint when we had Boy Wonder. (There is a Girl’s version)

So far I’ve picked out ‘How to make invisible ink’, ‘How to make a battery’, and ‘How to make Water bombs’ for starters.

Hopefully there will be a balance between rest, play and giving me some time out. ( and enough good/bad weather options).

I’ll report back!

How are your holiday plans shaping up?