Posts Tagged "parenting"
I said to Milo “Santa can understand anything to do with kids so when you write to him don’t worry about checking the spelling with me, just go nuts. He’ll work it out.” This goes against his grain, he’s a perfectionist and not really a winging-it kinda guy. But he gave it a go. This is the totally awesome result:
Hello Santa, how are you today?
Please can you give me an old hero factory box for Christmas, and a bike, and the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I don’t know what else.
Good luck, Santa. Bye.
PS And I forgot the Fire Dragon from Lego Ninjago. Bye.
Posted 11/27/11 @ 4:18 PM
Iggy hung out in the office the other day. When he left he said ‘I don’t like how all those girls always laugh at me.” I said “They just think you’re really cute and cool.”
He rolled his eyes and muttered “They don’t know anything about my life.”
So R Patz.
Posted 11/9/11 @ 4:00 PM
Let this give hope to remarrying single mums everywhere…
Posted 11/8/11 @ 4:03 PM
Iggy: bringing back the handwritten thank you card.
Posted 8/27/11 @ 5:06 PM
Is this too much sharing? I’m not sure but it did make me laugh and by the time the boys are old enough to hate me for the blurt, I’m fairly sure the internet will have gone the way of the Sony Discman and this blog will ancient history, so…
Child X (struck with a tummy bug): This is the WORST day of my life.
Child X (incredulously): Every time I do a fart, a bit of poo comes out. Wouldn’t that be the worst day of YOUR life?
Posted 6/25/11 @ 5:39 PM
Apparently one of Iggy’s uncles said to him a few weeks ago ‘Hey Ig, Jimmy Barnes called. He says he wants his hair back.’ After that every time I looked at his head I kept hearing a little voice in my head singing ‘doo-doo-doo-do-do-do-do-do… Sa-tur-day night… doo-doo-doo-do-do-do-do-do…’ AD INFINITUM. So the other day I took to it with scissors.
Yesterday the Baby Daddy picked them up from school to go to his place for the night and I got a text:
‘Are you putting Iggy in a school for the mentally disadvantaged or something? Oh I get it! He’s been asked to audition as a mushroom in some weird Steiner play!’
Posted 5/27/11 @ 12:00 PM
Married couples think that keeping the romance alive when you have young children is tough. To which, as a single mother, I can only harrumph. “Harrumph,” I say. “Try maintaining the romance with someone new and not biologically obliged to be there. Who you may sometimeshave to wear make-up for. That’s tough.” In general everyone agrees that the regular need for eyeliner makes my situation much harder. So I win! But… not really.
Let’s be clear here: by romance, I’m not talking about dinners and flowers and calling to say ‘I love you’ for no apparent reason. I’m talking about sex. Which, when you’re trying to fit it between soccer runs and ballet recitals and school drop-offs, is probably less ‘romantic’ and more ‘necessary inconvenience’. Interestingly – if you still feel like getting some even when your eyeballs are falling out of their sockets from utter exhaustion – sex is usually easier to come by as a single parent than a married one, because you have every-Thursday-night-and-every-second-weekend without any kids in the house. You can swing from the chandeliers if you’re so inclined. That just doesn’t happen in a two-parent home (the kid-free house, not the chandeliers, although if you do happen to be married and partial to chandelier-swinging, props to you). Even if you manage to set them up on the sofa in front of Toy Story 3 with the bottle you haven’t let them have for six months but are now giving in to out of sheer desperation while you disappear for four-and-a-half minutes, there’s nothing that’s more of a mood killer than hearing the words “Mummy, I’m fiiiinished!” at a pivotal moment. (My friends, let’s call them J and J, have found a solution to this problem. They send their kids out into the backyard with iceblocks whenever they need action. The children may be practically diabetic, but as a couple they are sat-is-fied.)
However, while finding the time for sex may not be the issue, getting back on the horse, so to speak, comes with its own challenges. A ‘friend’ of mine, realising that first-time knicker removal with a New Guy was imminent, found herself in the bathroom calling her Old Guy to ask whether her vagina felt absolutely, definitely the same to him after she’d had their children as before. Call it paranoia, but if there was any possibility of a sausage-in-the-Harbour-Tunnel analogy when New Guy reported back to his friends the next day (he was young and dumb and decidedly temporary, after all), she wanted to at least be prepared. The ‘friend’ learned that, thankfully, her bits were exactly the same pre- and post-babies, and also that Old Guy didn’t consider this appropriate shared-parenting communication.
Even when you get past the terrifying first time, trying to have a relationship when you’re somebody’s mother is a situation that’s rife with awkwardness. This is real life, not Jerry Maguire. New Guy is not going to propose just because your impossibly cute kid just told him that the human head weighs eight pounds. (If he did I hope you’d find it a little bit off-putting.) Once, my boys and I accidentally bumped into someone I’d started seeing. New Guy introduced himself. Milo, who was three at the time but very sensitive to these things, gave him the stink eye and declared “My mummy and daddy love each other. They made me together out of love. They hug and kiss all the time.” Awkward. Luckily, we have bribes. Of course you don’t want New Guy to have to buy your children’s love blah-blah, and yes, children are smart and they will see straight through it. But it’s because they’re so smart that they know if ever there’s a time to pull out the good behaviour and angle for a Lego Hogwarts or enough FurReals to fill a petting zoo, this is it. Make everyone’s lives easier and give in. Use gifts to buy enough nice-child time for them to get used to and (hopefully) grow to like him, pressies or no pressies, and as a bonus, he’ll go weeks thinking having kids around is a breeze. It’s the parental version of Bait ’n’ Switch.
Of course, it’s not the boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl situation you were used to before you became a mum. Now it’s more, boy-meets-girl, girl-gets-a-babysitter, boy-installs-a-booster-seat-in-his-car. It’s still a happy ending, just a little bit… tweaked. Which brings me to your body. It’s tweaked too. Well, at least mine and anyone who’s not Gisele’s isn’t. This is the thing most newly single mums obsess about the most, because it’s one thing to show your deflated boobs to the man whose babies you nourished to get them, but quite another to show someone else. Here’s the thing though: no dude cares if your boobs are two centimetres lower than when you were 23. Just like the last time you were single, they’re still just stoked that you’re letting him near them. (You thought men may have evolved while you were off the market? Silly you.) Stop angsting about it. Buy a dimmer for the bedroom light switch and a My Fit bra – better than surgery in every way – and move on. Best you get some iceblocks while you’re at it.
Posted 4/21/11 @ 2:51 PM
The main issue I have with being the mother of boys is all the willy-talk. I was under the assumption that the obsession began somewhere around puberty. I was wrong.
A few months ago we were rinsing off under the shower at the beach when Iggy, struggling to pull off wet boardies that were sticking to his skin, whined loudly “Mama, my penis is waaay too big for these boardies.” I think we can tell the sort of guy he’s going to grow up to be.
Then I caught him a couple of weeks ago standing in the bath soaping up in a sort of air-guitar stance and singing “I’m washin’ my doooodle, I’m washin’ my doooodle, oh yeah!’
I left him to it.
But the real corker came the other day when, out of the blue in the car, Milo casually mentioned that “the Easter Show coming soon makes me feel so nice in my penis.”
Posted 4/9/11 @ 7:02 AM
Once upon a time (i.e yesterday) on a chilly autumn day, a little dude ranch who were playing in the sand decided to pull of their t-shirts and go for a swim in their pants. Their mothers (who really should have known better) thought the whole thing was so spontaneous! so cute! so funny! …until they started the slow, whinge-filled walk home in the rain with four tired, shivering boys wearing soaking wet trackies and shorts. That’s what’s called a great day turning real bad real fast.
Posted 3/20/11 @ 5:06 PM
Sometimes I think being a child of a working mum would suck, like when I come home so tired the only game I can play is ‘surgery’, where they pretend to give me a general and operate on me and it takes a really, really long time for the anaesthetic to wear off. Other times - like today, when Milo got to come to my work with his best mate Harper and have a monster food fight while I stood on the side cheering them on for a ‘Bad Kids’ shoot I was styling for the next SHOP 4 Kids - I think it would be kind of awesome to be my spawn.
Posted 3/16/11 @ 7:17 PM
Don’t freak out,” says my mother down the phone, so of course it’s the first thing I do. She’s at home looking after the boys, but she’s not completely hysterical so I know they’re not hurt. Have they drawn all over my favourite Indian bedspread? Burnt the house down? Oh my God, I think, it’s the dog, she’s gone and lost the bloody puppy. She’s never liked it.
“Milo cut Iggy’s hair…” she starts tentatively. My scream can be heard around the entire building.
Once I stop convulsing long enough for my vision to focus, she emails me a photo. My heart drops to a position somewhere around my knees, which are weak. I actually cry. I’m aware that this is a ridiculous, melodramatic reaction to a child’s haircut. But you have to understand, it was really, really good hair. Honey-toned, perfect beachy waves down to his shoulders, with sun-bleached, natural balayage… It was the sort of hair grown-up women spend thousands of dollars to barely get close to. I mean, sure, it hung in his eyes in a way that I’m not completely sure wasn’t detrimental to his Lego-building… And, yes, it did turn into a nest of dreadlocks every night that took an unhealthy amount of industrial-strength detangler to remove… And, okay, there was a part of me that got annoyed at having to stand behind him whenever he had a go on those laughing clowns and motion silently to the carnie that he probably wouldn’t be into the plastic tiara prize… And, yeah, it had been disturbing me a bit lately that he’d developed this sort of Bieber-ish hair flick at three years old and that, when he got mad with a decision I’d made, the worst thing he could think of to say was, “Your hair is not beautiful, mummy!” But it was worth it.
All worth it. Because it was really good hair. And now it’s gone. I stare at the picture on my phone in stunned disbelief.
It’s a short-fringed mullet, cut straight across the forehead to a couple of centimetres behind his ears. There are three very clear massive chunks taken out of what’s left of the rest of it. They did it with craft scissors. I know immediately that there’s nothing we can do. We shave it off.
This is a clear case of pride cometh before a fall. My own hairdresser, the venerable Renya Xydis, herself the mother of two boys, had long warned me about kids hair. “Little boys shouldn’t be taught to be vain about their looks,” she’d say wisely. “Shave it off until high school. No nits.” But I could never bring myself to do it. (FYI, we haven’t had a case of nits in our house ever since I started putting a dab of rosemary essential oil behind their ears each morning. That was two years ago and my kids go to Steiner, so that’s saying something. Also comes with the added bonus of having them smell ever so faintly of delicious roast lamb.)
Maybe it’s a youngest child thing. I remember a friend telling me when I was pregnant the second time that the connection with your firstborn is powerful and intense, like a marriage, but your relationship with the second is sweeter and almost romantic, more like a love affair. It’s true. And you definitely want them to stay babies for longer. Iggy had never had a haircut, except for a fringe that I’d just spent the year desperately trying to grow out. “Just a few more months,” I’d think every time it fell in his eyes. “We’re on the home stretch now.” [Insert bitter grunt here.] And I held firm, even when my nanna tutted scornfully every time she glimpsed Iggy’s little head dripping wet from the heat over the Christmas holidays. “He wouldn’t be sweating like that if he had a short-back-and-sides,” she’d say. And I’d spend the rest of trip circling him protectively, because everyone knows you can never trust an 80-year-old when there are
long-haired boys and poultry scissors around. All for nothing.
I ask Milo why he did it. He shrugs nonchalantly. “I thought his hair looked ugly,” he says, pronouncing it ugg-ell-y, and I’m appalled that a child of mine would have such bad taste in coiffure. Thinking back though, I can hardly blame him. A month or so earlier I’d given up on my attempt to shape Mi’s locks into an Ashton-Kutcher-in-That-’70s-Show shaggy pageboy (don’t say it, I already know what you’re thinking, and, yes, I loathe myself) and taken him to get a mohawk. It looked awesome. Later on that night, though, I heard Iggy in their bedroom saying “Mummy made you get a haircut but she likes my hair Just. Like. This,” shaking it around like a three-and-a-half-feet-tall Wella woman. He does love himself, Iggy. I guess Milo just decided to get his own back. Tou-frigging-ché.
It’s been a month or so now and I can’t say I’ve adjusted. He’s so… normal-looking. And I’m really missing that little-boy-sweaty-head smell. But Ig? He’s loving himself and his new haircut sick. Hair will come and go, but some things will never change.
Column originally published in SHOP 4 Kids, 2010
Posted 3/16/11 @ 12:00 PM
We have Charlie visiting. Charlie is five. Her mother is a fashion designer and her father is a graphic designer who owns a magazine that sells in Colette in Paris. Charlie is always, obviously, impeccably dressed. On this particular day she stomps into my house, decked out in black skinny jeans, brown knee-high boots, a brown plaid shirt and black blazer. She looks like the lovechild of Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan. But she’s clearly unhappy. Has her Barbie doll’s head fallen off? Did she lose her pocket money? Ah, no…“Juzzy, I don’t like my outfit,” she wails. “It has no colour in it. I look like my daddy…” That last line is given an especially grief-stricken emphasis before a dramatic pause:
“I need some jewellery!”
In my world, a fashion crisis is nothing to be sneezed at, so I hurriedly find a box of costume jewellery and let Charlie loose on the accessories. Apparently what the ensemble was missing was a pair of shoulder-skimming, diamanté clip-on earrings. I step back and nod approvingly. “That works backwell with the plaid.” Charlie appraises herself in the mirror and couldn’t agree more. Bobby-dazzlers in place, she skips off happily, earlobes stretching ever further towards the ground, to play on the swings.
Given that I have sons – and we all know that men don’t usually embrace fashion until they, a) start dating a girl who is way out of their league, or b) turn 55 and find themselves newly single, in which case it’s all about the three buttons undone and a pair of last decade’s jeans – I found this exchange amazing. Aside from Milo having a preference for ‘up pants’ (shorts) over ‘down pants’ (jeans), and Iggy’s love of all-day pyjama wear, my sons couldn’t care less what I put them in. They’ve definitely never had their day ruined by an outfit they’re not ‘feeling’. God, I want a daughter.
But Milo has been watching and all this is about to change. Charlie, you see, is ridiculously pretty and charismatic, the Madonna of her kindy class. Milo is suddenly desperate to impress her with his sartorial prowess.
“I don’t like my outfit either,” he pouts. I don’t think he actually knows whatan ‘outfit’ is, but I go with it.
“Would you like to get changed?” I ask.
But he’s already looking through the jewellery box. He takes his time: I think he knows he only has one shot to get this right, and I’m fairly sure that, faced with a small child’s weight in plastic Diva bangles and hippie anklets, he knows he’s well out of his depth. He chooses a sparkly necklace and puts it on nervously. I’m dubious but don’t want to force my own taste on him, if this is his thing. He goes outside.
Twenty three seconds later he’s back, miserable. “Charlie doesn’t like my outfit. She says it doesn’t go,” he says.
Full of shame that I didn’t save my four-year-old from the unsurprising humiliation, I remove the guilty necklace and tie a more masculine bandana around his head. Then I watch him – the world’s smallest, most demoralised gang member – run back to style-queen Charlie in her knee-high boots and chandelier earrings, and think, no wonder most men have no style: we take all the good bits for ourselves. Suddenly, I’m a bit off girls. Who wants a child who knows more about fashion than you do? What could I bring to the relationship?
But later on that night I’m getting ready to go to a fancy dress party. Theme: Eighties Prom. I’m wearing a vintage white frock with a full skirt and masses of tulle. Charlie gasps when I walk into the room: I feel like Olivia Newton-John at the end of Grease. “Oh Juzzy!” she gushes. “You look absolutely so really beautiful in that dress.” Milo turns away from Diego to glance at my frock. Then he laughs so hard some snot comes out of his nose.
Maybe I do want a girl…
POSTSCRIPT: Since this story was originally published in SHOP 4 Kids, 2008, Milo has given up his attempts to accessorise, and Charlie (pictured above, back when the column story was written) is now in Year 3 and has only gotten cooler. Check out her antics at chookyrose.blogspot.com.
Posted 3/15/11 @ 8:01 AM
Iggy: I love you, Mummy.
Me: I love you more.
Ig: No, I love you more.
Me: I love you more than chocolate.
Ig: I love you more than chocolate too.
Me: I love you more than ice-cream cake.
Ig: (pause) I love you and ice-cream cake the same. So did Darth Vader put me into your tummy using the Force?
Posted 3/14/11 @ 6:34 PM
Posted 3/10/11 @ 10:34 AM
When Milo was first born I took a photo of his face against the same blanket every day - the idea was that I’d use the daily pics to make a flipbook of him through his first year. I forgot all about the project after the fifth day. But someone less flaky than me had the same idea and actually created a site that sends you a reminder to take a pic with your webcam each day, which you then upload for them to create into an animated sequence for you. How cool. Only for babies and kids though, those adult shots they show on the site are a bit freaksville I reckon.
To the after school care worker who called me at work at 3.30 today to say that my six year old ‘wasn’t there’ - even though they were supposed to pick him up half an hour earlier - only to call me back after the worst ten minutes of my life to nonchalantly reveal that he was just in the bathroom during roll call, I just wanted to say…
Posted 2/21/11 @ 8:40 PM