The Splendorous, Christmasius Giftorium

Although I am really most adverse to using the C word this early in the year, for it verily fills me with overwhelm and adds a veritable amount of ‘stuff’ to my To Do List, I shall make an exception for the moment.

Mostly because I had the most splendiforous opportunity to attend the opening of the Myer Giftorium at Myer (obviously) in the Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne. Level Six to be precise,which is also where Santa generally makes his Magical Kingdom at a slightly more reasonable time of the year, although still far too early for Christmas in my opinion.

Look, I know Santa has his damned list, but so do I, and my list simply does not cater for Christmas so early in the year.

Anyhoo, most delighted was I, mostly, to be presented with an opportunity to actually leave the house and go out in public – or, at least a public that wasn’t school and/or grocery shopping related, that I managed to spill my coffee all over myself and was forced to shower well before my routine allows for.

As a result, I was partially dressed during the Breakfast Festival, and ended up with yogurt on one of the few clean tops I had, and the one that I had chosen for the outing. Worse, it was a flavour of yogurt I dislike, so was not able to lick it off my top myself. Thankfully, I didn’t notice it for some time, by which stage I was able to flake it off, and cover it with the final layer of clothing I opted for for the day.

Good old Melbourne and its crazy, unpredictable, and capricious weather.

Dumped Dropped the kids off at school and made my way into the venue via public transport, which is always an experience. A friend of mine catches the tram daily and updates me from time to time about the deliciously gorgeous men she encounters on her travels. I, instead, get the males who prefer to pick their noses in public. Such is the diversity of our lives … *sigh*

Anyhoo, This event was the official launch and opening of the MYER Christmas Giftorium, which isn’t just ‘more shops’ but has been set up in such a way as to provide a one stop area for all your Christmas needs. Including designated areas for kids’ stuff, magic stuff, stuff for Miracle Mums, Dapper Dads, Groovy Grams and, well, lots of stuff.

Toys and tech stuff for big kids and small, stocking fillers – and stockings – practical gifts, fun gifts, really, really nice gifts!, and lots more. It is, for want of a better description, a very good selection of store sections and suitable ideas for gifts, all located in one area. You could, I guess depending on whom you are required to purchase for, head in, wander around one floor, and gather all you need.

MC-03

INCLUDING all your Christmas stuff like things to decorate the tree with, or even a tree should you so require one.

There is also a certified Giftician who is able to assist you with the selection and purchasing of gifts. There is a Same Day Elf Delivery Service, also, which means i fyou live and work within a 2km radius of either Myer Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Perth you will have your gifts delivered by a fleet of uniformed elves.

How cool is that!?

The concept is designed to provide not just a shopping day, but an experience, complete with entertainers and more.MG-01

What with being all special and shit, we got to go home with a gift or two; a personalised Little Miss (well, I got a Little Miss, there are also Mr Mens available) framed poster, and a colour-customised Sodastream Drink Maker – both of which were delivered with a smile :)

The customised Mr Men/Little Miss  framed posters are only available at the Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane stores, and the world first Sodastream PLAY will be showcased in the Melbourne store, and offer customers to customise their Drink Maker, too. T’was fun.

I was presented with a Little Miss Hug, which is far more like me, although many did assume I would just be receiving the Little Miss Trouble or Little Miss Naughty. I can’t imagine what put that thought in their heads …

MG-04

A Christmas-themed lolly buffet was set up for our perusal and tasting, and, unlike some bloggers who did the whole “Can I have two bags, because I have two kids?” – which, really, is like saying “Can I have one for my sister?” and what you really mean is “I want two because I like lollies, but don’t want to look greedy” – I just got the one bag to fill with lollies. My intention was honourable; I intended to go home, brag about my day to my kids, and randomly throw a lolly or two between them and watch them fight for it.

I’m fun like that.

(As it turns out, they buggered off, and Grumpy Pants and I ate them all, which was much more fun!)

MG-05

Best of all, I got to catch up with some of my bloggy buddies, whom I rarely get to see outside of the cyber world.

What with being an official media event, it was not difficult to distinguish the journalists from the bloggers.

The bloggers *ahem* where the ones who called the entertainers over to say not “can we have a picture with you?”, but rather “can you take our photo?”

Typical!

MC-02

Me with Renee from Bra Queen, Heather from Inspiring Mums, Tracey from Melbourne Mamma, and Christie from Kids Business

It was a great day (and big thank you to Kids Business for inviting me along :))

Official launch celebrations of the Giftorium will take place on Saturday the 8th of November, 2014 with activities in all Myer stores across Australia and you can find out more about the Myer Giftorium and all it offers at http://www.myer.com.au/shop/mystore/gifts/shop-the-giftorium

And I promise I’ll try to limit my Christmas talk until a more appropriate time of the year …

Merci, Cafeteria Luis

Now I’m back on line and relatively up to date (hahahahaha – no, not really .. some random keeps adding to my damned To Do List when I’m not looking … I suspect it may be Brian the Brain … anyhoo …) I just wanted to take a moment to say a Thank You.

During my nearly three-month Internet void, I was able to meet slightly  more than the bare minimum of my work requirements, commitments and other because of a wonderful business, a delightful little French cafe along Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds, called Cafeteria Luis.

(Sounds like Cafeteria Willy, hahahahahhaha, like doodle, according to my six-year-old. Well, of course it does … *sigh*)

Not only do they make a frigging awesome coffee – among the best in that strip which hosts something like 4 million other cafes and coffee shops – they also have THE BEST croque monsieur ever.

Their brioche is frigging awesome too … and these three things, and their WiFi, were what sustained me for this time I was without connection.

Mostly, however, on top of their awesome coffee, fab food, and WiFi, their service and tolerance of me taking up a seat at their tables for hours on end was just … well, I can’t thank them enough for putting up with me and bringing me sustenance.

Service got to the point where I wandered in one day, only to find all “my” tables were overtaken, so I ordered my latte and meal and sat outside. It was more than a little chilly and I, of course, had forgotten my jacket.

*sigh*

The owner – THE OWNER – came out, told me the tables inside were now free, carried in my coffee and set me up at a table that provided the most quiet and opportunity to work in peace. In the process, he spilt my coffee and, despite my protests, went and made me a new one.

All the staff are lovely and many speak with accents as delicious as the food.

So to you, Cafeteria Luis, I say “merci”. Many, many, many mercis.

It is appreciated x

Family Day plus One

A visit from a friend of Monkey Boy’s turned into a weekend long stay which basically afforded just a touch more oestrogen in the household, and having something like little to no effect on the testosterone that wafts though the house like so many of the farts delivered by testosterone fuelled persons who live in the house.

Essentially, I had a girl about to watch Muriel’s Wedding (my all time favourite movie ever) with. Although this didn’t stop boy-type people from sitting on the couch with us and asking dumb questions and bagging ABBA songs so much that one was nearly defenestrated.

Boy type person, not ABBA song.

So it was that she tagged along with us on our no-where-near-often-enough Family Day.

A day trip to Hanging Rock, which would have had us there sooner,except for the fact that teenagers like sleep and they deigned to grace us with their presence just before lunchtime. Which was nice of them, really.

Mostly, we chose that place as by the time they got their shit together it was a bit late to head off to some of our other, usual places.

Still, it was a great day and fulfilled my great need for some sort of fun, physical activity, given the school holidays tend to deprive me of my semi-regular morning walks and most of my energy is put into getting children to do stuff. Like, you know … move …

A picnic was also organised for the afternoon, and by the time we got there, with much surliness from the tweenager, who is doing fabulous work at practising being a teenager, the relentless chatter, with alternate tantrums over who-knows-what from the six year old and, well, teenagers being all teenagery, I was well and truly ready to lose them at some point.Loading

It was close at times, but I think they followed their own scent back to the car and climbed in before we could take off. I also think they managed to wipe out half the native flora and fauna with their scent, just quietly. All in all, we had fun, climbed stuff, took a billionty and seven photos and head off home, delivering friend to her house just before bedtime, and in the hope that her parents still remembered her.

I did worry that they may have thought we’d kidnapped her for a while there.  

If The Dress Fits

Although still devoid of that pair of shoes I was looking for a week ago have not yet been acquired, and, in the process of not finding them, my friend accidentally called me a “‘ho” then proceeded to suggest that “if the shoe fits” … and ..

Wait a minute!

think it was an accident!

Anyway, the point is obviously the shoe – or shoes as the case may be – did not fit, therefore it is highly unlikely I am a ho.

So, humph!

Tonight was the pre-awards cocktail party for the AusMumpreneur awards, for which I was asked along as VIP and Awards Judge.

T’was, indeed, a very special thing to be a part of and I wanted to look nice for my appearance. I even had a dress picked out, although it was really designed for someone approximately 7-foot, 9 inches tall and just a teensy bit long for my whopping 5-foot, 2-inches. A bit of racing around, asking for help (eeep!) and it was adequately re-lengthened so that the risk of my ending up, face down in the dirt, legs akimbo, bottom hem of the dress relocated somewhere up around my earlobes was significantly reduced.

Although no guarantees …

I donned my frock, did the very careful descent down the stairs and queried the family … “Does this look okay?”

To which they all, facing the television, eyes fixed, backs of heads in my direction, stated “Yep”.

*sigh*

I stood in front of them, much to their chagrin, and demanded that someone take a photo so I could at least see for myself (no full length mirrors in this house – really must do something about that) … with much effort and complaining, Monkey Boy obliged.

Stating, for added effect “You look like Queen of the Damned” which, from him, could very well have been highly complimentary.

amp-01-tile

After mingling, networking, dripping food down my front, having half a glass of iced water tipped down my cleavage (it was deliberate, an attempt by a fellow guest to prevent the food I’d just dropped on my frock from staining), posing for a few shots and channelling my inner Angelina Jolie (that photo is on Instagram – *sigh*) I managed to successfully navigate the night with approximately zero bum-flashing, face-to-floor kind of action.

This, indeed, was a feat in itself and I am most proud of this achievement.

Huge thanks to Peace and Katy for not only allowing me, but asking me to be a part of this auspicious occasion and apologies for anything I may or may not have done. Possibly for saying ‘fuck’ a few too many times.

It was a great night, and there is some great talent among the business owners who were also there, especially those that had actually been nominated for the Awards!

(Am also considering wearing the frock for the school morning mayhem, just so the kids remember I am somewhat akin to the Queen of the Damned, if not THE Queen of the Damned and they actually do what they’re supposed to do without my killing them. Or worse, yelling a lot!)

Reading English Good, Fuckit

It is a little know fact, because I don’t really feel the need to go on about it, although I realise that is a little contradictory right now … I’m just trying to set the scene … work with me here, okay?

Anyhoo, it is a little known fact that I volunteer some of my Spare Time (HA!) to work with children whom require additional assistance with their reading. To bring them up to “standard” or “average” or “what’s expected” or whatever.

Loving reading and devouring words like others devour chocolate I am constantly intrigued and absorbed in how they learn to read, how they decipher the words, how the interpret things, and even how they form the sounds, particularly those children for whom English is their second language.

Reading is something that is not a problem in my household, with my kids. Unless, of course, you count the first year of school and the absolute utter resistance to doing the evening reader, despite reading being something we do and have done with all three kids since the day they were born, every single night.

That, and that we often have to go in at very late hours and say “Turn the bloody light off and go to sleep!”

I never thought I’d ever tell my kids to stop reading, but there you go.

Anyhoo, fascinated and all the rest of it I am with the whole process of reading and the various hurdles-cum-milestone the kids face and how they overcome them. LOVE it.

Relatively speaking, it does make reading with my youngest, a native-English speaker and with considerable exposure to books (also: see above comment in relation to first year of school and the reader book) somewhat easier.

Whilst resistant at times, and I mostly put this down to Because He Can Be and just a normal part of development for a f/6 year old, he does well and has recently gone up a level in his school reader books.

This has given him a bit of a motivational kick, and, being a higher level book, has introduced him to the need to decipher words he has not yet encountered in previous reader books.

Words like “what” and “why” and “fence” and such like.

The fence was a bit of a hurdle (pardon the pun) but he frowned in concentration, and looked at it and made the “fffffff” sound, and looked at it some more, and said “fffff” again, frowned a little more and said “fuck”.

Not in an “I’m seriously pissed off with this” kind of way.

More in a “the word starts with the ‘f’ sound and there is a c in there which makes a ‘k’ sound, so all I can work out with my developing brain is ‘fuck'” kind of way.

It made sense to me.

However, it was the sheer innocence of the situation that saw me explode with mirth.

Whilst not hesitating at other times to calmly walk up to me and say “My brudders just said ‘fuck'”, this time, he covered his mouth in shock, and looked at me, wide eyed and horrified.

“I didn’t know I said that, Mum. I didn’t know I said that noise!”

Unfortunately, this caused some level of asphyxia as the levels of mirth I was already experiencing went up a notch or twenty seven.

Tempted to send him off to school with is new word, I didn’t really have time for the principal’s office so I helped him with a few tips about letter sounds and pronunciation.

I’m good like that.

Celebrity Chefs and the Problem with Dieticians

Just a warning … I have my Cranky Pants on.

My They’ve Crawled Right Up My Vagina Cranky Pants.

My I’m So Angry Right Now I’m Shaking Cranky Pants.

Cos I’m frigging furious (although, if I stop and think about it, I still have no idea why this makes me so angry, but it does. Passionately so. Possibly because I Give A Fuck about my community and the people I live with and around, as opposed to just making money out of sprouting some bullshit.)

Oh, and before I carry on, my pants are also my Could Contain Many Swears Cranky Pants.

Have I mentioned how angry I am?

Celebrity Chefs

You see, some ‘celebrity’ of the ‘chef’ variety, whom I refuse to name or link to, because I don’t want to inadvertently send the misinformation to someone who reads it, thinks it’s right and follows it – I have morals and ethics and don’t want to inadvertently put the life of anyone else in danger … anyhoo, some celebrity chef has up and not only vehemently promoted the Paleo diet as being THE thing that will set this country right, but has also vehemently and dangerously (in my opinion) slandered the work of the Heart Foundation and various others.

You know the Paleo Diet, right? The one that cavemen used to follow some lots of millions of years ago, which is why they had no issue with obesity or anything.

It couldn’t possibly have been their environment, levels of activity, way of living or anything else like that that may have contributed to their weight.

I don’t mean to bag it entirely; the concept behind it is not all bad. It is essentially getting back to the basics of lean meats, lots of vegies … a good mix of proteins, carbs and fats.

It includes such recipes as Fried Fish Sticks, casseroles and both Banana Choc Chip Pancakes and Choc Raspberry Hamantaschen.

I’m fairly sure the cavemen had access to this kind of vocabulary, along with the ingredients to make such things. Ingredients like frozen raspberries and tinned coconut milk.

It’s the tinned stuff that I love … given the history of evolution and all, with the Bronze Age happening some 5300 or more years ago (3300 BC) and the Iron happening roughly 200 years after that, and still well over 4000 years ago, and no real reference to a Tin Age. Although, given the way a vast majority of our current population eat, I’m fairly confident we could refer to this current age as the tin age.

Casserole dishes were just lying around, next to the freezers (for storing your frozen berries) and I don’t even know what Hamantaschen is, back in the good old caveman days of 30,000 BC.

I’m being narky now. Sorry. It’s the sand in my vagina making me cranky.

Oh, and the fact that celebrity chefs are using their status to promote really, really unhealthy ideals which is essentially Yet Another Fad that will soon make way for something else just as bad. I also really abhor the discreditation of organisations such as the Heart Foundation, and of dieticians in general.

To be fair, it’s really only one chef. There are others that are doing awesome things, like Jamie Oliver and his food revolution. He’s a good bloke. My only issue with him is he is still catering to those who have a vague idea of how to cook, not those who are relatively clueless – and it’s all about the food. But still, AWESOMENESS!

Also, again, the idea and the reasoning behind a Paleo-style eating plan is not all bad. It’s what the weight loss industry and a billionty others whom have jumped on this bandwagon that have twisted the idea and made it something that it actually isn’t, cashing in on it and preying on the desires of the population that make me cross.

The main issue is, chefs – celebrity or otherwise – are neither nutritionists nor dieticians. They DO cover quite a bit of nutrition when they’re doing their apprenticeship. Ironically, the nutrition elements they cover are those that are recommended by the dieticians that this particular chef is dissing.

(Also, ironically, the basic gist of the Paloe eating plan (as opposed to the much promoted Paleo Diets) is pretty close to that which dieticians and organisations like the Heart Foundation promote. Heh.)

They touch on nutrition, absolutely, and they need to. Their focus however is on the look, taste and texture of food. They put their souls into providing a meal that you will remember and they work damned hard, under a lot of pressure to create something awesome.

They aren’t about how ‘good’ the meal is from a nutritional or weight perspective, but on the enjoyment and sensory experience of the meal.

Nutrition, whilst important to them, is secondary to the end goal.

They spend slightly less time (even more so now, because the whole cookery course is being dumbed down considerably and that, too, is making me cross, but is for another post) completing their course than a dietician does but cover an entirely different element of food than a dietician does.

Chefs, whilst working with food, are not terribly well educated in the physiological, biological, cellular, or metabolic aspects of food. They touch on digestion, because they do need to be aware of allergies and intolerances and things, but don’t have very detailed understanding of it. Enough to know how not to kill someone or cause them pain, but generally speaking, not a lot beyond that.

Essentially – the celebrity status of a chef, or any other profession if you think about it, is merely a platform from which one can influence the masses under the guise of having some level of credibility in that field.

I have absolutely no doubt this dude is a great chef, for all the things that a chef stands for. What I do doubt is his deep understanding of the body’s physiology and metabolism when it comes to nutrition. He is, at the risk of simplifying it, merely sprouting his own agenda, his own beliefs (which he is MORE than entitled to, I’m not challenging or having a go at his own, personal lifestyle choices – if it works for him, and it makes him feel good, then go for it, I say!) from a position of relative power.

Dieticians

Dieticians, on the other hand, do a LOT of research into how food and nutrition works in and on the body. Many also learn to cook, or have a greater understanding of cooking and preparation of foods than many of we mere mortals do, but at a completely different level and from a completely perspective. They are not about touching on the senses as a priority (although are greatly understanding of the need for food to look and taste good etc), and are more about how efficient and beneficial the food you consume is to your body, how it is metabolised and stored, how it affects your health and wellbeing and all those sorts of things.

Personally, I believe food and it’s consumption affects your health and wellbeing from a multitude of factors; not merely how good it tastes, nor merely from the perspective of what it does in and to your body. I see it as a multifactoral contributor that is also reliant and/or dependant on other factors and circumstances. But more on that another time …

The Problem with Dieticians

With all their knowledge and understanding of how food works in and on the body, and the consequent effects of this on the health of the body (and, in some cases, mind) they tend to be a little removed from reality. Although with the best of intentions, and a desire to improve health and wellbeing, and reduce the incidence of diet related diseases, recommendations and suggestions can often be difficult to meet in the real world, of busy lives and everything else going on in our lives.

This, in my opinion, isn’t the biggest problem with dieticians, although it is one worth mentioning. No, the main problem is that dieticians have been sticking to the same recommendations, with a few minor alterations over the decades, reflecting changes that constantly occur in society, for quite some time. A long time. Possibly since the days of the cavemen.

And therein lies the problem. Where is the marketing potential in a non-fad?

The recommendations are based on long-term ways of life, not on a quick fix, a rapid weight loss (because it’s ALL about your weight and not how you feel, nor what you are comfortably capable of doing), vanity, money, sales, looking good, more sales and more money and moving onto the next quick-fix, short-term, lets make lots of sales kind of ideal.

Where is the sexy in “live your life like this for long term health and happiness”? What’s fun about that?

People don’t want to hear about how things will take years to achieve by simply making them a part of your lifestyle. They want it NOW, damnit! NOW!

The consequences of the “NOW, damit!”, especially long-term, are of no consequence to them – so long as they can lose weight by next Tuesday, they’ll be fine.

That they could live a lifestyle, including eating plans as recommended by people who have a fundamental understanding of how food affects the body from a nutritional perspective, that would prevent them from getting to this state that they feel they need to address RIGHT NOW is lost in the morass of marketing and advertising, and celebrities giving you their opinion because they have some books to sell.

Dieticians and those who promote long-term, lifestyle kinds of ways of living don’t have the marketing power behind them, sadly, to make a difference.

Seriously, who would buy the book that touted “Five years to the most perfect you!”? – which would, if it were genuine, undoubtedly include all the aspects that contributed to a healthy you, not just the food element, and also include the multitude of ways that food affects your health and wellbeing – and ALL the elements of your health and wellbeing.

Before I sign off …

If anyone wants to get on the bandwagon about weight or fat acceptance or blah, go back and re-read. This is NOT a post about being overweight, or diets or anything like that.

It is NOT suggesting being ‘fat’ is ‘bad’ or condemning anyone for their lifestyle choices.

It is a post about manipulation of industries, of opportunism. It is about taking something that is fundamentally sensible and taking it to a level that is ridiculous and dangerous and opening itself to ridicule. Yes, I had a go at tinned produce for a Paleo diet, because whilst the “Paleo way of living” has been essentially raped and turned into a money making, short-term, scheme and nothing more than a fad diet … whilst it is a lifestyle for many, it – along with numerous other lifestyle choices – has been bastardised to become nothing more than a quick fix ‘diet’ insofar as the broader population is concerned.

It is the ‘diets’ and not the lifestyles that are made public, thus it discredits not only the basics of the concept, it gives a false idea of what everything is.

There, I feel much better now I’ve got that off my chest …

Routine Excitement and Anxiety

It’s Back to School Day!

And I, for one, am very excited about being able to get back into a routine of sorts.

HA!

No, really, I am. Although, I am profoundly aware that my ‘routine’ often comes with a side of chaos, supe rsized, and a plethora of planning problems. Not that I have a problem with planning. Planning has more of a problem with me.

Also, Godzilla had to be at school two hours before usual school starting time, so he may head off on a very long bus trip and school camp.

With much excitement and anxiety last night, he emerged from his bedroom some three times, triple checking everything, worrying about setting his alarm, worrying about not waking up when his alarm goes off and all the other sorts of worrying, and being over excited, that kids do on the night before they go away on school camp for a week.

As a result, and despite my limited sleep the previous few nights and consequent fatigue, I woke every hour. Excited, anxious or what, I have no idea. The point was, I had bugger all sleep.

Except I was very much asleep when a nose was pushed firmly against mine at some hour that clearly displayed nighttime when one looked out a window.

I opened my eyes, startled, to the piercing blue eyes a mere centimetre and a half from mine. Although, really, being that close, I was unable to adequately decipher if they were actually the blue eyeballs of my offspring, or some weird, blurry smear of something blue.

That may also have been contributed to by my not yet being awake.

“I made your coffee,” he tells me, very much awake and – urgh! – cheerful for the, what … 6.04a.m. that the clock alerted me to.

Getting up out of bed, or, technically, rolling over and somehow managing to remain upright as my feet landed on the floor beside the bed, I struggled into a pair of pyjama bottoms, staggered down the stairs, and successfully got coffee into a mug. Ditto the milk.

Getting coffee into my mouth was a bit of an issue, but I managed eventually.

After a mouthful or seven, I peered at the clock, still featuring a slight blur around the numbers, and uttered something along the lines of my not actually being required to be up quite then.

Excitement, however, was rife in the child-whose-parentage-I-was-dubious-of (neither his father/my husband and I have a remote like of mornings) and he was consecutively bouncing and pacing and making me feel somewhat queasy in a sea-sick kind of way and I had to place my hand on his head and push down firmly so he’d stop before I threw up on him.

I managed to delay our leaving so we could stay at home for the half hour we would otherwise have been waiting at school, in the car, in the cold. We are still the first people there, and still have to wait around, lining up, lining bags up and getting all organised for some 45 minutes before I can wave the bus farewell, race home and commence my ‘proper’ school morning routine.

This went as per normal, and although I had great plans for a bit of a kip at some point during the day, I was far too excited, eleven-year-old-boy-going-to-camp-excited, to get stuck back into my work.

So I did.

I’m also quite liking easing back into the routine being down one child. I just worry I’ll forget about him entirely next week, what with being able to establish myself this week without him.

Hmmmm.

The Busy Weekend

As the school holidays, busy as they were, were drawing to a close, and my mind wafted about trying to grasp the necessities of Back To School, it was stop in its amblings by the realisation that the weekend was, indeed, extraordinarily busy.

Not only had the last two weeks (or, more technically, two months) afforded us with an array of birthdays and other celebrations, some familial and others not, the weekend promised even more celebration … birthday, wedding, birthday, birthday, school camp, get organised for school.

Post traumatically distressed by the No Internet Debacle of 2014 and my polar interactions with a variety of Telstra personnel, I was also subdued by the Overwhelm of Catching Up, the attempts to manage the variety of thoughts worming through my brain, now the ideas had an outlet to bloom, calming an Anxious/Excited child for his week long school camp, interstate, and the need for a pair of shoes for the wedding we were invited to, I also agreed to contribute the cake for one of the birthdays occurring over the weekend.

Chippie, still determined that his tantrums are going to get him what he wants also threw a few of those in there, until I literally gave up and just lie on the floor and refused to do anything.

(Although, I was still in need of shoes. Damnit!)

Grumpy’s work, in typical fashion, resulted in him not being home even close to the hour he suggested he may be, instead ringing to tell me he was some four hours away.

It was all going well on Friday, really.

Well enough to have me wanting to embrace the Foetal Position with relish. Not, obviously, the relish one would use as a spread on bread, but the other kind of relish. Not a chutney either.

The cake was in the midst of being iced when a flurry of teenagers – is that the collective noun for teenagers? Perhaps a “whiff of teenagers” or a “gangle of teenagers” or a “fucking shut up of teenagers”? – descended upon the house and planted themselves firmly in front of the TV.

I still had no shoes. I had escaped the house at one point, and the only size of shoe that I liked was the only size shoe they didn’t have.

So I simply gave up again.

By Friday evening, I was relatively exhausted and taking each event as it came, carefully dealing with each thing as required. Generally, this is about 35 things at any one time anyway. So I think I did okay.

Managing to get most of the camp bag packed on Friday, the cake mostly completed, a frock chosen and still no new shoes, meant I could go into Saturday with a relative calm. Relative calm, incidentally, means crazy chaos, as opposed to Absolute Fucking Mayhem.

Dipping strawberries into two kinds of chocolate ganache – HA, white chocolate, you will never defeat me again! – Monkey Boy receives a phone call requesting his presence at the impending birthday party a good hour before originally scheduled. This, apparently, meant I was required to complete the cake an hour before I had even started it and what the hell was I doing, can’t I just hurry up and can we leave now. Urgh!

Cake and child delivered to teenage birthday party, rush home, rush up street to purchase squishy things for inside of shoes I did have, rush home, shower, don’t wear the frock or shoes I had decided to wear, do hair and makeup, don frock, rip hole in tights when putting them on, say ‘shit fucking buggery fuck’ several times as we are now pushing Running Late, find some other tights, yell at kids about their attire, have many, many words to them about their attendance at wedding, ponder the fact that six-year-old has determined “wedding cake is boring” and wonder if it is because it has the word “wedding” attached to it or if he has just decided everything is boring and has no verbal filter, and do the 1.5 hour drive to arrive at wedding early.

Phew.

Sit through lovely ceremony, go for coffee, play on playground for several hours, head to reception, enjoy that, then embark upon the looooong drive home which sees us in bed at 12.30a.m.

Not content with already being busy enough, the weekend also decided to implement Daylight Savings, so the 12.30 immediately turned into 1.30a.m. and I enjoyed a broken, four hour sleep.

Muddling around, I organised Chippie for a party he’d been invited to, went to collect Monkey Boy who had wandered off to someone else’s house, located him, and arrived home just in time to head off for another party.

Just established at big person’s party when have to collect Chippie, whom, by this stage is so tired he is having meltdowns over just about everything, but mostly over getting the thing that he asked for and got.

*sigh*

I teetered on the edge, myself, being so tired and sleep deprived. I easily could have gone into meltdown as I tried to subdue, verbally and physically, my tantrumming offspring. Fortunately, the fatigue had placed me in a state of numbness, so I was able to address the situation with a creepy kind of calm.

Home, bed, out of bed to check that we had everything organised for school camp, back to bed, and another, fitful night’s sleep, worried I wouldn’t wake in time to take Godzilla to camp – he was already anxious/excited enough, I wasn’t sure I could cope if I added to it.

What To Say When Someone Is Annoying You

The ebbing and flowing of the moods and atmosphere within the home of the school holidays … ah, it does make for interesting times.

It’s not that my kids squabble and argue any more with each other than when it’s not school holidays, just they’re around more so it seems like it’s more.

They have their moments of being awesome and other moments when they are, quite frankly, right little fuckers.

Sometimes, when they have exhausted all other “boring” activities (none of which are actually boring) they like to see how much they can annoy me and how long it takes for me to lose it.

I think they also take bets on what it is I’m going to do, say or throw.

In the kitchen this evening, with Monkey Boy and Chippie, the eldest and the youngest, Monkey Boy was basically having trouble controlling his mouth. Not only would he not shut up, but he added the benefits of being extraordinarily rude and talking absolute gibberish and shit at the same time.

“Oh, FUUUUUUUUU…..” I started.

“Cheeses Christ!” yelled Chippie, interrupting my tirade before I even had the opportunity to properly start.

“Yes?” answers Monkey Boy. “And, actually, it’s Jesus, not Cheeses.”

Never let it be said that he lacks delusions of grandeur.

“Cheeses Christ,” Chippie yells again, clearly annoyed at Monkey Boy and his latest interruption.

“It’s what you say,” he says, turning to me. “When someone is annoying you, you tell them ‘Cheeses Christ’ and then they stop.”

Well.

That’s good to know.

I may use that next time I’m up the street and someone annoys me. No, really, I’m now intrigued to see how well it works.

If you do try it, you’ll let me know how it goes, right?

How I Ruined My Son’s Life

During the first couple of months of this parenting thing, I realised just how much I was doing ‘wrong’.

If I’m technically correct, I think I screwed my oldest son up for life, what with inadvertently dropping his IQ by a substantial number of points just during his birth – an emergency C-section, and it has well been shoved down our throats about how C-section kids are well below par when it comes to the intelligence stakes.

From there, it all went downhill … supplementing with formula, not co-sleeping nor babywearing with him, all kinds of horrendous bad parenting.

With my second son, however … well, not only was he, too, a C-section, but he was an elective caesarean!

*gasp whilst clutching at pearls*

Yes, I had chosen this mode of delivery for him, thus setting him up for a life of stupidity and untold emotional disorders for life.

Of course, some may also argue that the option of having a healthy child brought into the world versus having a child remain in your womb until it passed on, decayed, made it’s way out your vagina as some sort of rotting mass, taking your life along with it as it emerges as not really a ‘choice’, per se.

I’m one of those people; I opted for Child Brought Into The World Alive & Without Significant Trauma, and so that I could also Keep My Life.

I know. Crazy, huh.

Anyhoo, it was a ‘choice’ I made, but one that, allegedly, makes for Stupid Child With Emotional Issues.

I thought that’s when I had ruined his life. Also the fact that, due to a number of prevailing circumstances, I was required to supplement his breast feed with the occasional formula feeds, I probably added to the Life Ruining I was already doing for him.

Over the last eleven years, there have no doubt been any given number of things I have done or said that have led him into a Life Or Ruin. I lost count when he was about four days old, and, again, I’m fairly sure it all went downhill from there.

Either way, I think I stopped feeling guilty and worrying about every little thing before he was born, because that just made me suicidal and depressed. Literally.

I did all I could with what I had, and did my very best under whatever circumstances I faced each and every day.

It is all I have and all I can do.

But never in my wildest dreams did I think I could ruin his life like I did the other day.

I mean, I was horrible enough what with not providing them with Internet the second we had moved into this new house. That was bad enough. That I was incapable of getting it sooner than we got it, due to circumstances well beyond my control and despite my best efforts was also leaning well into the Bad Parenting side of things.

But this latest thing I did … this horribleness I inflicted on him today … I’m not sure I can forgive even myself.

You see, he had been on electronic devices a lot the last few days. I suggested he (well, all three of them) go for a bike ride, or go to the playground across the road, or just get the fuck out of the fucking house and get some fresh air and stop fucking annoying me.

Reluctantly, they did.

And immediately upon their return, Godzilla (whom, in hindsight had returned some 28 minutes before I had told him he could return home) was in my face, asking about playing Minecraft.

On repeat.

Incessantly.

And that … that is when I did the thing I can barely even speak.

I said … OMG, I can’t believe I said it …

I said “No.”

I know, right?!

Grumpy returned home not long after, flicked on the TV and sat to have some quiet time.

Godzilla promptly collapsed – yes, collapsed, so distraught was he – into Grumpy’s lap and sobbed.

“Why is she ruining my life?” he asked of his father. “Why won’t she just let me live my life the way I want to?”

I can’t honestly say I know what Grumpy’s response was, but I did hear quite a loud laugh.

He pulled me aside later that night to have words to me about my abhorrent behaviour and even worse mothering.

And here I was thinking I had done it all wrong years ago. That was nothing compared to what I’m doing now.