Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crazy sex worker nut mum

Life has been crazy busy (as it is with most people I know) - it's about a year since I last blogged..... News??? So today I told someone I was a prostitute. Well not quite. I inferred I might be. Why? For about 2 weeks I've been trying to get a receipt out of a large shopping centre for a client so I can claim it back from the client. After them not returning my calls, today I finally got someone and they told me "we don't do receipts. Just show the client your credit card statement and claim it back that way". I saw red. It's a legal requirement to provide a receipt and I really don't think it's my client's business to see my statement and what I spend the $ on, so in my reply I didn't want to be rude or yell, so I decided to shock. "I'm sorry but what if I was working as a prostitute and didn't want my client to know. They'd see my transactions including adult shop purchases?". It sent the people around me into fits of giggles but it achieved the result. Well sort of - as I'm yet to see the promised receipt in my inbox. When the world is crazy I think the only way to deal with it, is to have a sense of humour. Or maybe I'm the crazy one? As an example, it's amazing how crazy (and stressful) life is with a child anaphylactic to nuts. I'm the mum everyone hates - I'm the ultra crazy nut mum. I used to think people like me were massive helicopter parent attention seeking weirdos. Every nut reference triggers my thoughts. I think about it every time I read a label on a box or buy something new. If I get a call from day care I immediately think he's had a reaction. The epi pen goes EVERYWHERE!!! Last night I was reading a novel where the girl rubbed luxuriant almond oil into her face before a date and my first thought was 'but what if he's allergic to nuts?' Then I realised I'm going to have to get Mack to be vigilant in briefing girlfriends.... Or maybe I have to talk to the girls first. Oh gee. Crazy nut mum. Or what is he has a one night stand so I don't get time to brief her and she's covered in almond stuff. Hang on - he's just turned 2. Breathe..... I can put this worry on hold for 15 years. Apart from a nutty mother, life is fairly normal at Castle Chaos. Karly has joined us and we're hoping this will mean we can all settle down into a nice happy fun routine. In the last 5 months I've briefed 4 au pairs on how to help our family from the type of bread to buy, to what uniforms the kids wear, how to work the washing machine, how to use the house alarm, emergency numbers, epi pen training, where the shops are, buses to catch, the list goes on... We're all really lucky to have had some awesome young ladies help us out but now it's time to focus on spending the time with one fabulous new au pair for the longer term. We're all very excited. I haven't blogged for ages so here's an update: -Bella has moved out of failure to thrive mode and is now on the 5th percentile. Yay! - Mark's dad is very sick again - bugger - My dementia Grandma is hanging in in there at 99 - neutral - I've got a change management exam in Sydney coming up through the Change Management Institute for accreditation - Yuk! - Corporate Princess Communications and Social Advisory) is pottering along nicely - Yay! - La's 8th birthday is in a few weeks so we're in party organising mode - Busy! - I'm the basketball coach for La's Under 10 team for next semester - scary as some of you will remember I used to play professionally so I need to learn to tone down the competitive alpha thing. (I'm thinking no whiteboards and strategy for 7 and 8 yos - just tell them to be spiders and not butterflies. Gotta stop yelling out "get a foul") - neutral - Mack still loves garbage trucks. I have to read the same book about a bear that gets chucked out in the garbage every night and his favourite words are 'Be quiet Bella'. - cute - I have a heap out of hours consultation sessions (about 20 hours on Thursday and Friday nights and Saturdays) for a client booked over a 2 week period and accidentally booked over our wedding anniversary and La's birthday - when did I think this was a good idea? - bugger - Mark is enjoying his work - although he always seem way too busy and I love that Bella wants to buy him a computer for Fathers' day as 'he's always on one' - good - I did reading group at school this morning for the kindy class. I love having a career that might be busy but is flexible - yay!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nutty health

One of my greatest issues this past month has been kids and sickness. We were catapulted into this with Mack having his first anaphylactic reaction ever in response to scoffing my hidden chocolate stash of rocky road. After a mad ambulance dash, chaotic hospital stay (where there were no private rooms and the woman opposite me was charged with child endangerment), skin prick tests, action plan implementation, epi pen training, briefing for child care, and cleaning out of every trace of nuts in the house we returned to a relatively normal life again for about 2 seconds. It turns out he's allergic to nuts to the point of having an anaphylactic reaction when touching them. Perfect! Aside from Bella and Mack both coming down with colds this week, I now have a new health issue to deal with. I have two medical opinions about Bella and the official diagnosis of failure to thrive for her. Just great! She tracked along nicely on the percentile chart for weight until she was about 3yrs and then she just took a deep skydive off into the realm of a flat 0 percentile skimming under this when she’s sick. It never gets any easier. She doesn’t like any vegetables except corn or broccoli though she’s never tried most of the others, so I’m not sure how she knows that. The only meat she’ll eat is sausages, beef and lamb on a stick (cutlets). Aside from butter, salt (which she tries to plaster on everything like a snow storm) and chocolate, she refuses to try anything with flavor. Hot dogs without the bread, pasta with no sauce, sausages with no bits in them. She is, to put it nicely, a pain in the bum!! So what to feed her? If it were up to her, she’d live on pasta with butter, and I refuse to let her live on that and that alone. Now that she has been diagnosed with failure to thrive the need for her to eat a more diverse and healthy assortment of foods feels more urgent to me than it did a few month’s ago. And while I try not to vilify any food groups it would be nice if she had some other foods to fall back on, especially when she gets sick and drops below the 0 percentile. So what to do? I’m not willing to make two different meals every night. I’ve been there and done that, and I’m over it. I deconstruct a meal for her when it’s possible - for example, if I make spaghetti pasta, I’ll leave out the mince and add in butter for her. But I’m starting to think that maybe tough love is the way to go. As in, if I roast a chicken, she’s going to eat it, and if she doesn’t like it, well…tough. Of course, I wouldn’t stick a plate of anything really outrageous in front of her, like chopped liver or super spicy Indian food, but I’m kind of finished with indulging her. After almost two year’s of being nice and open-minded, I still have a kid who won’t eat anything, and I end up frustrated and angry at every meal. My heart also dives when I see her rail thin body after a bath or when getting dressed. She’s sooooo skinny it makes me cringe.. Last time we dealt with this they told us it was her adenoids and tonsils and they had to come out. We had to fatten her up for the operation and were given a special powder to add calories to her food. She could detect this supposedly flavourless stuff a mile away and we ended up stuffing her with Maccas 4 days straight before the operation. I’m tempted to do this now but it will have ramifications for the other kids…. They were obviously wrong and it makes me cranky to see her fade away….. The problem is cranky, and maybe a bit nutty, seems to be who I’ve become. I just don't have the energy to deal with this kind of stuff at the moment. This morning when Lakeisha (who just turned 7) belted her rail thin stick insect sister when Bella beat her to be first at the door I lost it. I HATE it when one kid belts another and even more so when the strong one picks on the weak one. It made me cranky, mad and upset and then when I got to work and shared how chaotic getting out the door was this morning a mum who sits opposite me told me her kids were 15 and 17 and had the same fight this morning about who got to sit in the front seat. OMG! So am I over-reacting? Where do I draw the line? How do I get more sleep? How do I find time to enjoy my kids more? How do I worry less? Is this just a never ending uphill battle that will drain me until I become a crotchety lonely older mother whose kids hate her? I think I'm going nuts.....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Holiday time...

It’s really only struck me recently that 3 kids under 6 yo, 1 x 17 year old grumpy cat, 1 x blind foster dog and a fabulous au pair constitutes a reasonably large family. We have lurched from mini issue to mini issue, and then into the fire with extended family major ailments, and then back again to the daily routine of mini issue to mini issue. It’s holiday time. We’re only one weekend into the holidays and 2 hours into the weekday and the holidays have already picked me up by my feet, swung me around their head, and flung me into a bin. The one with all the dirty nappies. It all came to a crashing halt in bed this morning when I woke up and couldn't breathe or straighten out my fingers on either hand, my limbs paralysed with anxiety. I don't know if it has to do with having 3 kids and the fatigue of getting them to this point. Sometimes it pokes through everything that I'm doing to squash it, and the room starts to spin and I feel like my heart is going to explode or crawl up and out of my throat. Those times are usually set off by little things that I have let build up over time, and suddenly I'm in the kitchen thinking about everything - and I'm suddenly overcome with the urge to chuck. Except that's one more thing I'd have to clean up. There is no reason at all whatsoever to freak out about stuff, but when you let sleep deprivation creep up on you, or certain other parts of your life start to spin out of control, those little things can seem like elephants. And then you just have to laugh at the ludicrousness of it - I mean most of it is all rather trivial and silly and you just need to get on with it. Mark has a mantra of GSD. Just 'get shit done' and I tend to agree with him but for the record and to dump everything out of my head so I can clear it, here's a list that contributed to my mini freeze this morning. I worry about Lakeisha’s friendships, Bella’s tendency to overeat and then jump around and vomit and then her not wanting to eat for days, oh and the cat racing over to eat her vomit (and the poor au pair trying not to vomit on the cat), Mack’s extreme reaction to teething and his desire to sit on Mummy’s hip 24/7 or scream his lungs out (and Mummy only has one good hip so it’s rather exhausting), the blind dog’s garbage stench farting and tendency to sneak onto my shag pile rug as it’s comfy and warm and then it starts to smell like dog, who is going to take a blind dog and what do we do with her when we are in Fiji, Mark’s dad having overnight surgery for kidney stones on the weekend, Mark’s dad being told he might have early dementia, that the good sleep fairy hates us – see email below……. what in the hell I get Mark for his birthday from the kids and I have less than 24 hopurs to decide (they want to buy him a beer T-shirt but methinks he won’t like that), the fact that I’m off to Fiji in a few week’s but I’m 10kgs overweight since my last tropical holiday so I have no clothes, the need to do some shopping for a caveman diet so I can drop off all the weight before Fiji – or at least a baby elephant portion of it, designing a holiday program for the kids so they don’t get bored, I need to send Irene’s birthday presents to Italy which I’ve bought but they've been sitting in a bag for over a week now, letting my 98 year old Grandma know she’s on the waiting list for care in Canberra and then the worry about having to deal with her possessions etc when she gets a place, extended family politics, wrapping up La Bella properly for the EOFY, one of my team being sick …………….. Right now…. I'm focusing on today, this hour, this word. I try not to think about tomorrow or the day after that because sometimes when I lift my eyes and stare straight ahead I see miles and miles of fire. Flames stretching so far that they hide the entire sky. I see waves of terrifying, oppressive heat spilling out across every inch of ground in front of me. And then panic swells in my lungs, that old familiar rush of anxiety and dread and certainty that the world is going to fall apart. So I look back down at my hands, at this word. And this word. And this one. And everything is okay. And then I smile when I think about the small things in life like Mack pulling Bella's hair, Bella's queries about real live princesses and why Prince Edward isn't a King when he's married to a Queen, or Lakeisha making up her first joke. Q) Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill? A) To get to the bottom.. Breathe............... ------------------------------- I would like to register an issue with an accommodation experience I have which has been bothering me for the last 24 hours. On Saturday night my husband and I stayed at Crowne Plaza in Canberra on a celebratory package. The package was to celebrate his birthday and his gift was a full night’s sleep (as we have 3 children under 6 that have been waking in the night – 13 month old is teething – 4 year has been sick – 6 year old wakes with the 4 yo). We live in Canberra and we stayed in the Hotel which is less than 10 minutes from our home. We are so desperate for a sleep through that this seemed like a good idea and Grandma volunteered to babysit overnight. Except that we were woken at 2.15am by the intercom denoting a possible fire evacuation. 15 minutes later this was followed by evacuation noises and then the intercom stating we could go back to sleep. In that 15 minutes we were woken and were working out what to take and where to go in case of an evacuation. It took us ages to get back to sleep. This does not constitute a sleep through and I feel like the bad sleep fairy followed us! In return we were offered a late checkout but we had family commitments and could not take up the offer. I would like to stress how disappointed we are. Especially in that the alarm procedures were rather irregular and contributed to the angst. Up until this experience the staff had been wonderful and our stay appeared to augur well. The next morning no-one really cared that we lost sleep and it was a ‘too bad – so sad’ attitude. I was told that some people were smoking in their room. I would like to make sure that you pursue fining these people or banning them from future Crowne plaza hotels and that someone somewhere empathises that our stay was in vain.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Memorable moments

The last few weeks have been hard with my nanna dying, many of us being sick and lots of little issues. There's a picture from my Nanna laying a wreath at Anzac Day a few year's ago, plus some of us commemorating her on this Anzac Day and then a cute one of Bella's angry face. Yesterday I worked a 14 hour day which is NOT ideal. My beautiful family keeps me sane in the chaos. The most memorable positive moments have been: a)Bella telling me my lovely new perfume smelled like vomit b)My step mother in law trying to offload a new granny bra onto me and then poor Kelly when I rejected it c)Bella loudly telling my Indian friend with her 5 month old baby that she had a baby at home just like hers, but ours was white and not brown d)Bella afterwards in the car asking me why my friend didn’t wash her baby e)Trying to answer questions like “How much does the sky weigh” and “why do people tease each other”? f)Lakeisha getting bullied by a little boy at the school with incident reports highlighting he was the protagonist and physically hurting her and then a few day’s later being told by the school that she wrote “x is a fuckwit’ in the sandpit. How can I possibly tell her off when her spelling is so good and she used her brain and not her fists for revenge! g)Kelly joining our team and being absolutely lovely h)Lakeisha insisting I have a flower in my hair for the school Mothers' Day event and her insisting a shark be in our mother and daughter collage i)Bella's angry face cracks me up....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Attitude disability - ponderings.

I came across the term attitude disability recently and I like it. We all know people with an attitude disability! Sometimes these can be toxic!

Having three beautiful small children and an ultra busy life working at the University and for the consultancy firm, I barely have time to remember to do my hair or match my shoes before I dive out the door every morning. I love that I met up with one of my close friends recently and she had mismatching black boots on and they were different heel levels. This is what I relate to! I love it. Her attitude was gold and her life is obviously just as chaotic as mine.

Conversations when at home or with the kids these days consist of answering questions about what animals lay eggs, and whether eggs come from cows, and then answering how yoghurt, milk and butter can all come from cows. Having these conversations are important and I simply have to prioritise my energy into these over people with an attitude disability.

Last night I had to cut another family link when people started attacking each other with stuff like “x said y was z”! I simply have no capacity for people like this who obviously have an attitude disability.

It’s sad but I’ve become quite good at creating new boundaries and cutting these people out completely. Every now again one raises it’s ugly head and I have to slash and burn. It’s quite cathartic really and means I have more time to spend on those that genuinely support those around them. It’s just sad to see how toxic one side of my family can be to each other. They thrive on other’s misfortunes and love nothing more than gossiping about each other. It’s almost like they transfer negativity onto someone else and then they feel unburdened and free.

The poor person they transfer the bad attitude crap stuff onto are usually skipping through their day, happy as can be and then BAM – they get blindsided by the attitudinally disabled. Or like me, they are groaning under the weight of trying to find accommodation for another ailing relative, juggling two jobs, organizing class rep functions, dealing with a child’s bullying issue at school, and a sick husband amongst the minutiae of daily life and then BAM – someone very close to me gets blindsided and needs support.

I don’t believe there is really an in between. People either have an attitude disability (usually toxic) or they don’t. I simply do not have time to waiver in the middle and give them the chance to prove otherwise! The complicating factor is when these people are extended family members as sometimes you just have to encounter them at mutual family members events.

They are usually the types of adults who make school yard crazy accusations. I know that this is just how some people deal with life. They can’t verbalise in any other way except to show their attitude disability has sharp teeth when things get tough for them.

Fortunately for me I’m now comfortable enough with me and I know how precious my time is so I can much more easily cut these people out of my life and call them on the behaviour as I see it. I don’t see that you can change their behaviour – but you can change your response to it and cut yourself free from having to be around them. I can also bring my children up to recognize such behaviour and be savvy enough and comfortable enough not to let these people get their claws into them.

For the last few years I’ve been avoiding most extended family functions and consolidating strong circles of support and new traditions with people of my choosing - limiting my interaction with toxic family members. I’ve had fun with this. It’s been a great strategy and I can look at the extended family shenanigans from the periphery and muse that one day – just one day they might all take a breather and actually try to build each other up and play nice – but nah I can’t see it in my lifetime!

There are a few golden shiny bright beautiful people in my extended family but the problem is the only time they can usually get together without the others it’s to discuss their last blindsiding! I’m guilty of it myself. That’s not healthy either and then it has the danger of descending into a parody.

I’ll keep plodding along with my strong support circles of my choosing including some really lovely women I went to Uni with almost 20 year’s ago, my international ‘sisters’, some golden family members and my more recent positive friendships of the last few years who always build me up, build each other up and seek to get through this crazy life keeping each other in one piece – with as much laughter and positivity as we can inject into each other (of course not literally)!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Military Mummy

I spent 10 years in the Army Reserve where I met my husband, Mark.

I wonder sometimes if the influence has been greater than I thought. I have a cold this weekend and to get through the Easter weekend in one piece and to make sure I had 'me' time I organised the roster below.

Mark was fine with no 'me' time as he regards a sleep in and doing the tax as enough relaxation. hmmm... Anyway: I wonder how many other mums organise their long weekends like this? My friend asked me if we coudl catch up and I said Saturday afternoon with the kids was the only available timeslot and she looked at me a bit weirdly - like how do you know that's the only time you have free..... Well, um, yes I KNOW. See below.

Kylie to sleep in (until 8.30)
Kylie to tackle the garage and look after La & Bella at same time (9-12.30)
Mark looks after Mack and works during his sleep time (awake time – 12.30)
Family lunch
1.30-2.30 – Mark watches all 3 kids while I do a bit more on garage
3pm-4.30pm Easter Egg hunt with the kids – Kylie to take all of them
Mark to do the tax (2.30-5pm)
5pm – Kylie to get on exercise bike while Mark looks after the kids


Mark to sleep in
Kylie to get work paperwork and baptism invitations sorted (10-12.30)
Mark has all 3 kids (10-12.30) – take them for a walk out of the house if he can or movies while I watch Mack (Mack sleeps for 2 hours)
Family lunch
Mark to do tax/buy net nanny software/sync iphone/ipads done etc (2-5)
Kylie to look after all 3 kids (2-5)
Call Atholl

Lakeisha has the birthday party at the zoo in the morning – 10 until 12ish (check time)
Mark to drop her off and work on laptop while waiting for her in the cafe (10-11.30)
Call Dad
Kylie has Mack and Bella – Kylie to try and tackle garage with the kids
Lunch – family
Kylie to get nails done/jewellery repairs/neurofen kids/pick up photos 2-4ish
Mark has kids 2-5.30ish
Kylie gets on exercise bike at 4.30pm

Mark to do RPL paperwork 10-12.30
Lunch: Family suburban walk – take prams and baby bjorn or have an Xbox party if it's bad weather
2-6 Grandma comes - yay- & looks after kids - Kylie tries to have a rest, Mark does RPL

The pics from this weekend so far are great in that they show how much Mack is adored by his sisters. The poor thing gets no space when they're around but look he pleased with himself he is for being able to walk with an aide. He refuses to crawl but seems to be almost walking. I never used to think this was really possible but he's got his own way of learning and I just have to watch and let him choose walking over crawling!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moral and medical chaos....

We’ve had an interesting last few days full of moral dilemmas, medical issues and laughter.

I realised just how different my morals are to Marks. I have always looked for the easiest way to do something and as long as it’s legal and not hurting someone – hey it’s okay! For example, I love to cheat at board games and I remember my great friend Renata and I having massive fun fights as we realised we both do it and would end up play fighting with pieces going everywhere when someone went too far. Mark used to be completely bemused by this – he just didn’t understand (and he still doesn’t understand why you’d want to cheat). You can imagine then how proud he was when I told him how I was trying to teach Lakeisha to cheat in her homework this week and she refused to do it - telling me off. She wanted to do it properly! It involved writing her 10 spelling words out 4 times on the computer but once we were through the 3rd time (which took a painstaking 40 minutes as she’s not familiar with the keyboard yet) I figured she’d practised enough, dinner time was looming and I was bored so I showed her how to copy and past the words instead. OMG! She reacted like I’d taken her favourite teddy and torn off his leg. Dinner was late that night....... And she made me delete my cheat.

Now we come to dinner...... it’s chaos at our house most nights at dinner time. We always turn off the TV and use the time to catch up on our day with everyone at the kitchen table including the baby. Last night it was simply triple chaos. Everyone had an exciting day, we were all were talking over the top of each other and even the baby wanted to chuck in his two bob’s worth. I ducked away from the table for a millisecond to get more apple juice and came back to find Mark happily eating his dinner with his super duper army issued noise cancelling headphones on! Yes – it was funny, but I was more jealous than anything. I want a pair as well.

Then after dinner our lovely interim au pair takes me aside and tells me she allowed Lakeisha to use her laptop after school and when our au pair looked Lakeisha was on Google typing in the word penis. Oh dear! Time to get special kiddy barrier software. We think it's on her radar as her 9 month old brother has discovered his new toy and is making change time hard as he won't leave his appendage alone!

Then this morning Lakeisha asked me what the rocks in my bathroom were. Intrigued I followed her in to discover she’s pulled out every single little pill in my contraceptive pills case and re-aligned them on the floor. We keep a locked medical cabinet for everything except the pill (as there is no way I’m going to forget to take it and create a 4th addition to our house). I had to very carefully question her about whether she took any and she appears to have not realised they were pills. Phew! Mark and I had a big discussion about whether I should call the poisons line but decided it was probably fine. Nevertheless I took her to school this morning to monitor her and told her teacher just in case she did take one and had a delayed reaction – the teacher who is of course male and the brother of someone I went to school with. Very embarrassing!

I dropped off Lakeisha and then dropped off Bella to pre-school. As I’m waiting for Bella to apply her sunscreen I look at the kid’s drawings and there is a statement from Keirabella with a drawing of a sad face “I don’t like it when my sister hurts me but I like it when Mummy gives me a cuddle’. Oh crap. I register Lakeisha and I (the sister in question) need to have a talk and then I curiously look at some others which were “I hate it when daddy gives me a big smack’ and “I get scared when I get smacked...”. OMG!! I know it’s awful ‘poor kids!’, but I had to smile to myself. As bad as you think you are and as chaotic as it is, there’s always someone else with bigger issues!

In the midst of all of this I had to come home early from work this week as I was falling asleep at my computer. Mack is still sick with bronchitis and not sleeping, and the school easter egg hunt seems more difficult to organise than the construction of a new building. Sigh!!