Monday, June 24, 2013

7 Biggest Lies We Tell Our Kids

Lie # 1: Maybe later

In our house this isn’t so much a lie as a stalling tactic. Ok, maybe it’s a small lie. It’s utilised in situations where you need to let the child think they have gotten their way without actually letting them have their way.
Typically used in situations of intense public scrutiny such as in the middle of the shops or during a school assembly, you can always argue about the definition of the word ‘maybe’ in the privacy of your own home later.

Lie # 2: When you’re older

Sometimes this isn’t actually a lie, like when you use it to answer questions such as ‘when can I drive Daddy’s new car’ and ‘when can I get a tattoo’. When it becomes a bit of a fib is when you know perfectly well the child can do it right now, you just can’t be arsed letting them.
Like when they ask to push the trolley at the supermarket at 4.45pm on a Saturday or when they want to try rollerblading.

Lie # 3: Of course it’s chicken

Your lie might be ‘of course there’s no vegetables’ or ‘of course it’s fish’ but regardless, most families have a stock standard lie to feed their fussy kids at mealtimes. In our house, it so happens that ‘chicken’ is the only meat my kids eat. Or think they eat…

I grew up eating ‘chicken of the sea’ and I was in double digits before I figured that one out, so it seems only fair that I am passing on this teeny tiny falsie.

Lie # 4: That’s the rules and I don’t make the rules

Talk about passing the buck! The good thing about having other people of authority in your kid’s life (day care, school, police etc) is that you can attribute to them a bunch of rules they know nothing about.
I’m not referring to real-life rules like wearing seat belts and having hair tied up at school, I mean the ‘rules’ like ‘you can’t wear your pyjamas to day care or they won’t let you in’ or ‘if you don’t do your homework the police will want to know why.’

Lie # 5: I think we lost that/it must be at Grandma’s house

This is a gentle lie to cover up the fact that you have tossed the item in question into the bin. Things like weird glitter glue, crappy Happy Meal toys, obnoxiously loud toys and half dried out play-do… plead ignorance.
What? You’ve lost your vuvuzela? I’m not sure hon, I think we lost that.

Lie # 6: That’s only for grown ups

Sure it is. Control of the TV remote, that block of chocolate you have hidden behind the cushion, and the litre of choc milk hidden in the fridge . Sorry, that’s for grown-ups.
If they protest, simply refer them to Lie  #4.

Lie # 7: I don’t know

Let’s face it, as parents there are times when we do know, but we can’t be bothered explaining it to them. Why do boys have a willy and girls have a vagina? Why can I see the moon during the day? Why do babies like to eat their boogies?
And the big ones: how do babies come out of your tummy? And how do they get in there.

Speaking as something who has told the truth with regard to the above questions and now must live with the consequences, let me just say, that sometimes it is better to lie.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different


This is my kitchen/family room.

It was my first attempt at using the panoramic function on my new camera. I probably could have chosen a slightly more inspiring topic, but let's face it, this is my life.

I didn't clean or tidy before I took this photo because I didn't think I was going to publish it online. But this is pretty typical. Unfortunately.

Does it look like your place?

Is your fridge covered with shopping lists, notes from school, art work, reminders and mismatched magnets?

Is your bench space covered with plastic toys, more art projects, food remnants, unpaid bills and general junk?

Is your sink full?

Do you have a small child trying to find food even though you just fed her?

At the far edge of the photo, on the kitchen table is my computer. That is where I am right now, and the view from where I sit hasn't changed much from yesterday when I took this photo.

I have put the Vegemite away since yesterday but everything else is pretty much untouched

This is where Relentless lives.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Secrets Hidden in my Underwear

'Can I help you with the washing, Mum?' the Bombshell asked me this morning.

I looked at her, trying to memorise this moment, knowing with 100% certainly that in a few years conversations like this won't take place (unless it is quickly followed with a demand for money).

'Of course, sweetie,' I told her.

I dumped onto the floor a huge pile of underwear, singlet tops and skirts all rolled into a dress. I feel like a tramp when I head downstairs, all my worldly possessions rolled into a bundle that is flung across my shoulder. If tramps used flowered blue swags, that is.

As I zipped my bras into a lingerie bag, the Bombshell grabbed handfuls of my undies and shoved them into the washing machine.

She stopped and held up a pair of knickers. When pregnant with Baldy I started favouring a more generous cut of underwear, and I just never bothered going back. It looked as though she had unrolled a doona cover.

'Your bottom is a size [insert suitably curvy size here]' she announced at the top of her lungs.

'Shhhhh,' I hissed at her. My husband has chosen this exact moment to walk past the laundry.

'Why Mum?' she asked, puzzled.

'A real woman never reveals her size,' I told her. 'It's just not an important part of being a woman,' I finished lamely. Anyone with a passing glance at my rear end would know that I am no size 6.

She shrugged and pulled out a crop top which I had started wearing under my nightee when breastfeeding babies, and (again) just never bothered to stop wearing.

'What's this? Is this a bra? It should go in the bra bag,' she said trying to pull it out of the machine, causing an avalanche of ginormous knickers to come cascading out.

'That's not a bra, it's a crop top. There's no hooks,' I explained.

Huffing, she stood up and walked off, leaving my underwear all over the laundry floor.

'Whatever,' she said. 'I'm too young to understand these things.'

Monday, June 3, 2013

Nothing To Leave But My Stories

My husband and I are in the process of updating our wills.

It’s one of those things you don’t like to think about, but it’s a necessary evil. You kind of hope you never need them, like dentists. And The Biggest Loser.

The last time we wrote our wills I toddled off to the post office and bought two pro formas for about two bucks. I spent a lot of time talking about random items I owned, none of which were worth anything, and which the recipients probably wouldn’t thank me for anyway. We had two kids, and hadn’t yet whacked a chunk extra on the mortgage to pay for the renos. I took it to mothers’ group and made some of my friends sign it. I think. It could still be unsigned and undated somewhere.

Now we have three kids and the mortgage is so big that I can safely say we probably own the letterbox and carport. The bank owns the rest. But if something happened to us, the bank would quickly own it all, because neither of us had enough life insurance to pay off the house, and the three kids would wind up living in the car.

So we have been dealing with the life insurance companies to make sure that if something happened to either or both of us, we could keep the house. And I have made an appointment with some actual real-life lawyers to get our wills sorted.

They sent me a pro forma to fill out prior to the meeting. They wanted to know if I had any specific items I wanted to give. You know, like antique jewellery, first edition books and Van Gogh paintings.

So I wandered around the house and had a look. No Van Goghs. The oldest jewellery I own belonged to my grandmother, and was bright yellow plastic beads that are now in the dress-up box. Most of the books I own are from the op-shop.

I have a lot of things I value, but nothing of value to give.

The one thing I want to make sure my children have, are my stories. But you cannot gift words.

I want to make sure they know who I was. But you cannot pass on history.

I need to ensure that the girls understand how much I adore them. But you can’t put love in a box to be unpacked by an executor.

So I guess it is lucky then, that I have this blog. All in one place: my stories, myself and my love.  And the best thing is they don’t need to wait until I am dead to have it. And it is constantly growing and changing (albeit slowly, I am bogged down in university assignments at the moment which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately).

Then there was the small question of what to do with my diaries.

I kept a diary from the early literal recordings of an eight year old ‘went to school and had sausages for tea’ to the salacious and loquacious ramblings of a love-struck, experimental teenager to the angry rants and scandals of my early 20s. They’re full of secrets, few of them mine.

What do you do with diaries? I’m thinking of leaving them with my sister until Baldy Baby is an appropriate age (say, 35) and then she can hand them over. I wonder if the kids would even bother trying to decipher them, or whether they would just be tossed in the corner as a relic of a past life?

What do you want to leave to your children?

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