Archive for November, 2011

Embracing the holiday spirit.

November 30, 2011

No, I don’t mean ‘holiday’ as in trees covered with tinsel, I mean it as in ‘vacation.’ A time away from your normal life, where things somehow feel much more decadent. Chances are your whole immediate family are with you – no one has to work. Your two year old daughter wakes up at 5:30, comes into your bed where you have – ohmyamazinggod – tv in bed. She snuggles in under the blankets and learns about the glory of a good duvet and some tv. Your son feeds ducks out the patio door. And squirrels.

This place is so good because it’s clutter free, the days are yours to do with as you will, and it’s The Awesome. I suspect the level of awesome directly corresponds with the level of Suck when you return home, particularly for those of you in the workforce.

Well, screw it, I say. I don’t want our holiday to end. And to that extent, I declare every day Holiday Day. Because, let’s be objective about this, why shouldn’t it be? I no longer work. I have no set timetable to keep to, especially now that naps are pretty much a thing of the past. THE WORLD IS MY MOTHERFLIPPING OYSTER.

Yes, I am changing nappies time two (sigh, maybe a year from now there will be no more nappies….at least on these kids), layering myself and said children up like we are about to embark on an arctic hike every time we leave the house, and toiling with remembering vitamins and teeth brushing. But, hey, we had to do those things on holiday, too.

Living the spirit of the holiday means just relaxing more. Because, yes, I DID just order Domino’s at 3:30 pm on a Tuesday. Because, yes, we CAN drive forty minutes to go check out a semi-local museum that happens to be free. (Free things accelerate the holiday experience, which is odd as most holidays are not free.) Because, shitfire, if we want to stay in pajamas till ten and brush our teeth after lunch WE CAN.

None of this is new to any of you, I bet. But I sometimes feel like stressy urge to have everything figured out, amazing days planned, morning routines done by 9 am. This holiday stuff means I have worn fleece trousers every second this week that I have not been in public. It also means we have watched the twenty minute Corduroy movie seventeen times today, and no tv at all yesterday (but lots and lots of Christmas music!). And it’s all okay.

I can enjoy life because at this point I am lucky enough to not be a slave to work schedule, and PLUS I am hanging out with two year olds so it is now my job to do all the fun shit I want to do which might be seen as slightly creepy if I did it without children present.

So.

I’ll have to stop now. Our pizza will be here soon.

YUM. Life is delicious.

Away, home.

November 29, 2011

Been away, hence the lack of updates. Will write soon, but until then let it be said my little two year olds ROCK adult waterslides that make their mothers scream like, well, two year olds.

The Stand.

November 19, 2011

Have you read The Stand? You know how quickly that supervirus passes from person to person?

Well, that’s the reason I won’t be inviting you over. To save your life.

(We are all alive. At this point both mums are sick, both little ones are kicking our collective ass.

‘Helicopter! Mummy sit on couch! *bite* Bike! Horse!’ It appears to make no sense because it doesn’t. From where we are sitting, they appear to have superhuman energy.)

Swimming! Splashing! FUN!

November 17, 2011

‘You’re pretty good at swimming, innit?’

How do you reply to this? Because I’m pretty sure I can’t say:

Yes, I’m better than you. But I have to admit I LOVE the way you swim. You know how Pheobe on Friends runs? That’s the way you swim. Childlike and carefree and weird.

It’s charming.

Instead I laugh in a self-depracating way and say, ‘I guess,’ before this guy embarks on a swimming related conversation. (If I want to reenter the heterosexual lifestyle I am now pretty well convinced it would be easy to do so from the swimming pool. This is two nights in a row I’ve had a friendly, albeit weird or drunk, man hit on me.)

This guy is weird, though. As I entered the locker room, all I could hear was insane splashing and lots of ‘You can do it! Go on!’ Don’t forget the heavy breathing, either. I groaned inwardly as it sounded like a family of five was swimming and it’s only a tiny pool.

So I peeked around the corner – nope, just this one guy. Freakishly bashing his arms into the water, stopping every five feet to huff and puff and/or egg himself on, swerving from side to side.

When I was in the pool with him, I noticed that he kept trying to swim underwater while repeatedly touching the bottom of the pool – presumeably to make sure of where he was, since he didn’t open his eyes. This also explains the wild careening from side to side.

And while I sound like I’m mocking him, I’m not. I meant what I said: I was quite taken with his swimming. It was joyful. He was having fun.

And surely that’s all that matters.

Dream number one.

November 16, 2011

I’ve wondered what the kids dream about since they were very young babies and Coconut would uncontrollably laugh in her sleep. Well, yesterday I had my very first (exciting!) experience of knowing what was in one of their dreams.

My beeping watch woke the kids from The Longest Nap Ever. Well, it woke Snort. I went into their room and was sitting on the floor with Snort, when suddenly Coconut sat up looking VERY dazed and confused.

She kept looking around the room like she was trying to locate something, or figure out where the hell she was or something. Snort and I exchanged amused glances.

Then she starts going, ‘Castle? Castle? CASTLE?’

Her hair is all curls exploding everywhere and she’s still half asleep.

‘Caaaastle?’

‘Were you dreaming you were in a castle?’ I asked.

‘Yes. Castle. Where is castle? Coconut sad.’

‘I’m sorry you’re sad. You were dreaming you were in a castle, and now you’re in your room.’ I had to go on, I couldn’t resist. ‘Wre you bouncing in the castle?’ (Thinking of bouncy castles/bounce houses/moonwalks/whatever you call them in your life.)

‘Yes.’ Big pause. She looks more awake now. ‘SWIMMING.;

‘You were swimming in a castle?’

‘Yes.’

Wow. What an excellent dream.

Say it with me: WTF.

November 15, 2011

This beautiful new computer gifted to us by David? HAS STOPPED WORKING. WTF. It completely freezes when you try to open it in normal mode, and the only option is to turn it off with the power button. I know that’s a terrible thing to do; an ex-boyfriend who happens to be a massive geek told me that was the equivalent of kicking a computer in the balls. Well, let me say right now that in my effort to make this fucking thing work I’ve kicked it in the balls a lot.

Apologies for any typos. This is on in safe mode, which is a highly ungratifying way to write. Or live.

What do I do? Seriously? If I close it down safely in safe mode, it simply freezes when I turn it back on after entering my passworkd.

The ONLY way it completely opens, and even then with some difficulty, is safe mode. We have neither the time nor money to find a place that fixes this shit. Is there something I can do, O Wise Internet People? I’ll be able to check comments on my phone, so let me know.

I have two blog posts I want to write, so will write them now and schedule them to post for the next couple of days in case the next time I try to turn on the computer it won’t even open in safe mode.

Apologies for typos in those entries, too.

Sigh.

Help?

Not the twenty questions of your childhood, but the twenty questions of mine.

November 14, 2011

I don’t know what got me thinking about it, but I keep going to Amazon to look at a book called Adult Children of Alcoholics. It is what led me to googling an organisation called Al-Anon, which led me to reading about Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families Anonymous (now that shit is a mouthful!). I bought the Alcoholics Anonymous book in a charity shop yesterday, and reading it makes me feel squicky. The concept of not being able to change as a human being without surrendering to god? I’m not down with it.

Nevertheless, I am interested in how this aspect of my childhood has impacted on me. I found a list of twenty questions Al-Anon uses to help people determine if they could benefit from meetings. This list is what has captured me. I think of myself, my sister. Anyway. Look:

Do people in authority tend to frighten you?

No.

Do you find yourself constantly seeking the approval of others?

As a child, I suppose I did. I was more crushed when my volleyball coach (at age 9) ignored me than when the other kids did. I wanted approval, but specifically from those I felt had a right to give it – teachers, my parents, etc.

Do you see yourself as a victim or look at the world from the perspective of a victim?

No. But I have done on occasion; it’s made things more bearable. Like when I came out to my mother and the world cracked open? I liked being the victim there.

Do you consider the needs of others to the point of neglecting your own wants or needs?

Ha – I’d say I am the opposite of this. I spent so many years cowering in my locked bedroom that once I broke out, I wasn’t about to be pushed back into (my own) silence and other people’s demands, yelling, punishments.

Saying that, though, I DO or have done this with my parents.

Do you ever have relationships with people who need to be taken care of or need you to rescue them?

My first girlfriend was a huge mess. She threatened to kill herself if I left her, so I proposed (wtf). Yes, I obviously came to and got out of there. Other early relationships with partners….uh, I like strong people. But have always been in relationships with strong people (excepting my first girlfriend, who I think I dated just because she was a girl) who are outsiders in some way.

I know working as a counsellor, my least favourite client were ones that mirrored one of the mental illnesses my father had. I think I rebel at being drawn back into those early childhood situations.

I am a survivor.

Do you judge yourself harshly, especially when things do not turn out perfectly?

Yes, a thousand times YES. Perhaps I have mellowed in the last decade of marriage, therapy, motherhood, but it’s still there.

Do you find you have difficulty having fun?

When I was young, yes. I had a lot of fun with myself – and spent virtually all of my time alone, living in a world of my own imagining. I enjoyed that. But with other children? I didn’t know how to play or make friends. Camp changed that for me, ironically once I was in a position of helping other children learn to play. I suppose I was really nurturing myself during those years.

Now I embrace fun in whatever shape it comes in.

Do you feel you are basically different from other ‘normal’ people?

Always, always, as a child. I felt smarter, more alone, but always different. I largely think that was due to my sexuality, though of course my home life didn’t exactly offer me a chance to learn a healthy way to relate to people.

Now I feel different, but in a good way. A way I am proud of.

Do you have a tendency to be super responsible or super irresponsible?

Yes. Both. At the same time.

Do you have difficulty having intimate relationships?

This was the story of my life pre-TMD. Every relationship was wrong in some way, mainly the way I related to it. I got into them for the wrong reasons, I stayed in them for the wrong reasons, I treated the other person poorly.

Thinking I was broken in some way, thinking I’d never find someone I could be happy with, was a defining feature of my life.

Maybe one day I’ll write about how that changed.

Do you have a tendency to isolate yourself from others, especially when things are not going well?

I don’t know. I have a lot to say about this. I’ll skip it for now.

When others disapprove of you, do you feel a need to change their minds?

Yes, I think. With my mother, yes. With crazy people online, yes. Okay, okay, maybe with most people, though this is at odds with how I see myself. Because, after all, why does it matter if someone thinks I’m shit when I know I’m NOT shit? I don’t know, but it does.

Have you ever been in a relationship with an alcoholic, addict, or other compulsive behaviour?

No. Not that I know of.

Do angry people tend to frighten you?

My father, yes.

Other people….thinking specifically about my mother, or peers….um, I guess I don’t react in a way that could classically be interpretted as ‘fear,’ though I have a definite response. I’ll say no, though. My counselling training extensively covered being in relationship with people who were angry (at you, or angry in the same room as you) and I am genuinely okay with it.

Mostly.

Do you enjoy being on the edge or enjoy taking risks?

Feck. Yes? No? I’d never bungee jump or parachute my ass down from 5,000 feet. But ‘on the edge?’ Depending on your definition, yes. I feel more alive in crisis, more capable, more defined.

Is it easier to give into the demands of other than stand up for yourself?

I’ve always teetered back and forth on this. As a young child, I rebelled against strict eating rules in our house by smuggling food up to my room, eating, and hiding the evidence. I don’t say this was a healthy thing to do, but I think it does illuminate that I wanted to stand up for myself.

As a teen, I got into some pretty raging scream fests with my mom. I think this is normal.

I got power over my father by refusing to talk to him or see him for years.

And now, well, it depends on the situation. Some things I don’t bother with, some things I SHOULD bother with but don’t, some things I DO bother with. I would imagine most people could say this.

Do you have difficulty in telling others your feelings?

I did. Prior to training as a therapist, prior to being in therapy myself, prior to meeting the amazing TMD.

I have evolved into someone who is very open, very in touch and able to name and express her emotions, someone who is okay letting other people know how I’m feeling (when appropriate, folks, I’m not socially freaky).

Do you tend to hold on to relationships, even when they become one-sided or very painful?

Yes.

Do you tend to lock yourself into a course of action, even when it appears the outcome will not be as you planned?

Now, NO. In the past, yes and no – I struggled very much with being flexible on certain things. Though I did it, it pained me and caused me a lot of angst. When younger? I don’t know. I don’t feel I had much control over anything as a child, except the worlds I created.

Do you feel you spend a lot of time cleaning up after problems others have created?

Now? No. I purposely don’t do it (again, speaking in generalities). As a child? I don’t know. I often ignored my surroundings, or just observed them in a clinical way. Again, perhaps I’ll blog about this soon.

I wonder how very different my answers would be if I hadn’t undergone intense personal growth, much of it in the context of my training course (which was therapeutic in itself, as well as required I attend intense therapy on a one-to-one basis). I wonder about my sister.

I wonder.

There’s this one picture I want to show you….

November 13, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog. About the blog I used to have before I started this one (and the one before that!). I know some of you followed me here from there, and I imagine there are a lot of differences. For one, I nO loNGer TypE liKe thIs. The backgrounds are not blinding pink, the writing not cursive. Those things are inevitable when you begin blogging when the internet is born, because if you’re my age you were a teenager when that happened.

But there were other things there, too. Real names, pictures with heads and faces. I miss those things.

I debate switching over again. Unlike some people, though, I’ve never been a blog hopper. I’ve been attracted to the idea to starting many blogs, and may have started the odd one or two that fell to the wayside while the number of entries was still in the single digits. The exception to this was a nice little babywearing blog…..which, of course, has now joined all the others on the scrap heap.

I remember feeling confused when I realised many people classed blogging as their job. Some were mothers who needed to still feel like they had a piece of themselves, something to contribute, as they (like me) were trapped in the mindless, wonderful world of childrearing. For a handful, they made a lot of money from blogging.

For me, well, it’s not for me. Not at a place where I want to just have a dumping ground, an old fashioned diary, a place to record some memories or work out some of my mental bullshit. I don’t want to have to write on a timetable, with sanitized topics, to hunt for sponsors. I don’t want the joy of being me to become an obligation. I’m not sure it would, but for now, this is my place. My Place.

And I’m not an anonymous sort of person.

I know a lot of bloggers are witty and fabulous and funny and smart – and I’m always confused when they say how painfully shy they are in real life. Don’t get me wrong. I know the pure pleasure of being truly yourself – which is something the internet does afford those of us who choose to use it in that way. In the 1990s I regularly used primative chatrooms called Talkers. These were places for the geeks, for the misfits, for the wonderful few who knew how to literally teleport into little black screens, adopt a name befitting your personality, and make genuine friends. Perhaps fall in love.

I did a little of both.

But I’m not that blogger. While I may feel insecure and cautious with the best of them, I am really comfortable talking. If I’m somewhere and a new person shows up who looks a bit left out, I always make a point to reach out to that person. It’s how I met Aussie, actually. I love telling stories, I love making people laugh, I become bigger and more grandiose and shinier when I am with other people. When I am with MY people.

And I’ve always been painfully honest online, in whatever form ‘online’ has been. My online persona matches my ‘real’ persona, or at least I think it’s a pretty damn close representation. I talk about poop in real life. I dance in my underwear with (my!) children. I overshare, etc etc.

As a counsellor, I’m also a pretty good listener. And that counselling bit? Well, that’s the reason this blog started. Simply because my other blog was so big, so public, that I was very easy to find online. And I wanted to talk about therapy, oh, I did. It was my love. I still love it. Except I’m not practicing as a therapist at the minute – though perhaps that will come back into my life as I more fully integrate motherhood into my roles – and that makes it difficult to remember why I wanted to be anonymous online.

I’m friends with many people from here and twitter on facebook. I’m shit at replying to emails, I fully recognize and admit that – and apologize to those of you who have waited weeks or months to hear from me. I have trouble leaving comments on other blogs from my phone. But I am here. Many of you have seen my face, know my children’s real names, and two of you have MET my children!

One of you named her child after me. More of you have sent amazing and thoughtful gifts for my children or myself.

The thing is, you know me. So what do I do? Somehow reread and erase past entries about therapy? I think it’d be impossible for anyone who has read any part of this – well, pre-pregnancy, at least – to not understand that I work with other people for a living. With their pains and fears and hopes and pasts and presents. I like it. It’s part of who I am.

So do I acknowledge that and be more me anyway? I don’t know. I feel like going more public is a choice that accompanies a decision to not work as a therapist. Though I also have deep mixed feelings about how much ‘self’ to share with clients – would the world really collapse if they had outside proof I was really human? Of course not.

So, for now, we stick to headless pictures and cute pseudonyms. I don’t link to my blog on facebook, family and old friends don’t know I’m here, I’ve carved this space for myself. I don’t quite know how to integrate the spaces, but I suspect that’s because I don’t quite know how I’m going to move forward in life.

And I’m mostly okay with that.

Cloth…washcloths.

November 12, 2011

So, we failed at cloth diapers. Too many horrific rashes, too much of Coconut walking weird as a result, too much nappy changing times two. I also wrote extensively on Twitter awhile back about wanting to switch to family cloth (ie cloth reuseable wipes rather than toilet paper). I never did that. Another ‘fail.’

But we do extensively use cloth. Here’s how.

We are washcloth people. We have a big tub of washcloths in all colours in the kitchen. These are used for wiping counters, wiping the table after meals, washing dishes, washing the floor, etc. Multi-purpose cloths, if you will. I suspect we are saving a lot of trees and a lot of money by doing this!

We have another basket of fluffy cloths/small cloths in the lounge/dining room. We use these for wiping hands and faces post meals, or whenever is needed, really. Again, they get the food grime off nicely and there are no nasty chemicals going on either kids’ skin.

We have – you guessed it – a stack of all blue washcloths in the bathroom (see what we did with the colour coding there?). These are for bathroom-related chores – washing the floor, sink, toilet, bath, etc. As of late, this pile doesn’t see much action because I’m a slovenly whore.

Our final foray into cloth? FLYlady’s purple cloths. Like many people, her multiple emails that appear to be trying to sell products used to annoy me. Until I caved and bought the purple cloths. These things are AMAZING. Using only water, they are fab at cleaning mirrors and the tv screen in seconds flat. They are also pretty good on windows. And they are THE BEST on cars! No lie. A bucket of hot water (sometimes changed halfway through) and ONE cloth and the car sparkles in less time than you would believe. A short enough period of time that other twin parents could also consider cleaning their car once a year, like we do.

I think that’s it on the washcloth front. How do you use cloth in your home? Or green cleaning? I’m always looking for cost effective, EASY, quick ways to improve our lives in little ways.

For Christy. (AKA how do you get plugged in to your local home ed community?)

November 11, 2011

I’m no expert when it comes to home ed. My kids are only two. That being said, here are my ideas for finding out what’s going on near you!

Yahoo Groups seem to be a hotbed of home edding stuff – at least in this country. My local area has two, a general one and one for ‘early years’ (aka before official school age, which is four here). Most people seem to be signed up for other neighboring areas, as events are often cross posted. These groups largely seem to be a way for parents to communicate with other parents (though the odd young person chimes in!) about local events, bumps in the road, good ideas, etc.

Check out local or national organisations. Don’t want to say too much about which ones I’m interested in, as it’ll give away my location!, but these often host their own discussion groups (again, yahoo!), message boards, websites, etc. Some will send out lists with local home ed contacts. A side benefit is that once you pay an annual fee (if required, and usually small), you get a nifty membership card that comes with some serious discounts at national attractions (museums, craft shops, and on and on….).

Google. Yo. It’s how I found out that the city we want to move to has a dedicated home education page run by local families with shitloads of information. It’s also how I found out that the city my father-in-law will hopefully be moving to once we occupy his house actually has a home education community centre.

Books. Oh, we are doing our reading and research. And it’s making us feel very spectacular about the choices we are making, though I still have moments where I wonder if this is the right thing to do. But various books often list organisations and events in the back.

Big ol’ shindigs. Our country has some summer home ed get togethers – camping for a week with workshops, etc. You can also find big ol’ shindigs on twitter. Keywords to look for are: home education, home school/homeschool (I don’t like this terminology, as we are purposely NOT doing school, but whatever!), waldorf, steiner, montessori, unschooling. Please let me know of any other major ones I may have missed.

Anyway, hopefully this helps my (superstar internet friend) Christy, or some of the others of you that are thinking about starting to home educate.


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