Hide and Seek Toddler Style

So, lately the boys have been wanting to play hide and seek a lot but our house is tiny. Like, 80 square metre tiny! And there are really only so many places this mum can hide. Still the game manages to play out like this every single time.

‘Mum! Muuuuum! Play hide and seek with us!’

Children run off to hide. I count to 10 and wander around the house saying all the places I am looking that I know they aren’t and avoiding the one place they always are. I mean always. It’s like Groundhog Day over and over and over again. Finley (the little one) is always in the linen closet and jumps out within 10 seconds of my saying ‘Ready or not here I come!’. Boom, out pops the 2 year old gleefully announcing ‘Here I am!’ followed by giggling from under the duvet on my bed (doona for you foreign folk).

Next up is my turn to hide. The three year old counts to 10 like he is in a speed counting race and I have about 3 seconds to hide behind a door. About 15 seconds post ready or not the 3 year old is crying.

Mummy is GONE! She’s gone invisible!

Followed closely by wailing and tears. Yes, real tears. Wet tears. Seriously, 15 seconds. I then have to giggle or bang the wall or something to show him I am not invisible and I am just hiding.

Then we repeat.

Linen closet, duvet, tears, repeat. Linen closet, duvet, tears, repeat.

Please tell me I am not the only one!

What games do you play in your house and how do they play out?

I think we need a new game.

The 5 Chores Impossible To Do Efficiently with Small Children

On the weekends I always have to catch up on all the housework including the endless piles of washing that need to be washed, dried and then the worst part – folded. I hate folding washing with a passion, for me it is one of the most tedious aspects of housekeeping and I always end up with massive piles that get dumped on the bed and grow into an insurmountable pile that some refer to as Mount Washmore. But what is worse than humongous piles of washing that you need to fold? Trying to fold it with little helpers.

You all know what I am talking about. The mini ‘helpers’ that continually unfold the washing that has been folded, that think it is there to be tossed up in the air like confetti, that grab it and put it on their head and run around squealing and that ‘help’ to put it away while dropping it all down the hallway floor like a trail of crumbs.

Like this:

Cleaning-Low

Don’t you just love your mini helpers that make what used to once be easy efficient household chores into the battle of the century?

Here are the other 4 household chores on my list that are impossible to do efficiently with young children …

1. Unload/load the dishwasher

Trying to stop them standing on the lid and tipping the whole thing over is the first challenge, then it’s a race to get all the sharp knives out before they stab: A. Themselves; or B. Their brother/sister/dog/you. Then come the small hands passing you the breakables quicker than you can put them away while simultaneously trying to ‘load’ the dishwasher with dirty dishes before it is properly unloaded and slamming the door shut while the drawers are still out sending the whole lot crashing into the back. I deem this chore perfect for husbands who get home before you or once said child/children are in bed.

2. Vacuuming

Ah, vacuuming. The preparation of clearing all the floors in order to vacuum that the mini me’s deem the perfect opportunity to dump their whole box of Lego/blocks on the floor and spread them around for good measure. Or open the vacuum cleaner and tip the contents of the vacuum bag all the way down the hallway. Or yell ‘my turn!’ over and over while trying to take the handle off you. Or if you are reeeeeally lucky they are scared of the sound of the vacuum and cry great huge sobs the whole time screaming ‘TURN IT OFF! NOOOOO!’. I only know this because I have the child who does that at Nana’s but at home he loves the vacuum cleaner. Strange child. Unfortunately this is one chore usually unsuitable for post bedtime and so you just have to suck it up and endure it. And then they usually tip a whole bag of chips out on the floor straight afterwards anyway, so really, why bother?

4. Make the bed

Usually they see this as the perfect opportunity to either jump on the bed or hide under all the blankets and play peek-a-boo.

5. Bake

How many times have you had to try and clean up spilt sugar or flour, fished broken egg shells out of the mix or better yet, had to clean up broken eggs off the floor that they took great pride in smashing while you had your back turned? Or they stand at the oven screaming they want a cookie and don’t understand that they need to actually cook and then they need to cool down before they are able to be eaten? Then you spend the next 40 minutes with an inconsolable child trying to explain this to them while they think you are the meanest mummy in the whole wide world trying to hold out on them and not let them have a cookie (that probably has broken egg shells and an extra helping of sugar/flour/baking powder in it anyway).

Yep, thought so.

What would you add to this list? And what is your least favourite chore?

Joining the #IBOT party over at EssentiallyJess today. A big welcome to anyone visiting for the first time!

Two Year Olds 

tractor_1

Usually I like to take some time to think up a catchy blog title but anyone with children usually understand what a simple exasperated ‘Two Year Olds’ probably intones and it is usually followed by commiserating looks and murmurs and recollections of the terrible twos.

Finley was 2 in December and having a full blown tantrum has started to become an epic event. All at once funny, embarrassing and infuriating. Cohen wasn’t really a tantrum thrower, he was far more relaxed and had a limited vocabulary at this age, so in hindsight I see how spoilt I was the first time around.

Finley is making up for that in bucket loads.

So, yesterday I decided to stop at the beach on the way to pick up Cohen from kindergarten. Some lovely sea air and a walk was a nice easy way to tire out my youngest child who had already refused his nap. Our local beach is two minutes down the road from us and there are three car parking areas – a middle car park by the surf club and a car park at either end of the beach by the boatsheds on each side. Since it was on my way I decided to stop in the middle car park and give him the run around towards our boatshed at the other end. The whole time he made a beeline for that boatshed and our tractor (as pictured above) because honestly, what little boy doesn’t want to play on a tractor all day? After some convincing and going up and down a set of stairs 3 4 times we went back to the car and drove to collect Cohen. This is where it started to get interesting.

‘Do you want to go to the beach boys or go home?’

Chorus from the backseat ‘BEACH!’

Ok then, they both agree. Brilliant. Challenge #1: Getting them to agree to said destination/activity complete.

Since Finn had spent the entire time at the beach wanting to go to the boatshed I decided to just go straight there and park on the beach right outside. Makes sense right? Of course it does! Why walk 15 minutes to the boatshed when you can park right in front of it? So I pull up.

Tears. Instant. ‘No want this beach! Other beach! No want this one!’

‘Finley, this is the same beach. You wanted to go to the boatshed’

‘No want it!! No! Other park mummy! No want this one! No want this beach!’

‘Finley, don’t be silly. We are at the beach. You love the beach! Look, the tractor!’

I drag him out of the carseat kicking and screaming (seriously, kicking and screaming). What two year old doesn’t like the beach?!

Plonk. Face down in the sand. Muffled sobs and ‘No want this beach!’ omit from child. Get out second child who is happy as larry to be at the beach and wants to get running to play on the rocks further down. I decide to take the ‘leave them and hope they follow’ approach. Get about 10 metres down the beach. Child has not followed and is wailing louder. Turn and go back.

Now, this is the time to note that there were other people in these boatsheds watching with great amusement. They know my husband so I am pretty sure this will get around and become a great joke. One of the guys actually came down and offered me some chocolate bars for the boys, trying to help (bless him) and commented that F was a feisty one. Yep. So I was very conscious of the fact that we were actually the main show brightening up their quiet afternoon.

After 10 minutes of this I decided, right, that’s it! He wanted to go home and so while going home is usually the punishment, at this point it was giving in. Two can play this game. So I hefted him up under my arm like a football and carried him down the beach. By this point, people were making no attempt to hide their entertainment and were openly standing at the doors of their boatsheds watching the show with big grins on their faces. I kid you not. So I carry him down the beach still crying and say ‘I know Finn! Why don’t you jump in this puddle! You love puddles!’ and put him down.

PLONK. Face down in puddle. ‘No want puddle! No want it!!’

So now I have a soaking wet sand covered child screaming instead of just a screaming child. Great. He then gets up and stalks back to the car where he then lies flat on the sand like a plank, face down in silent protest.

At this point with echoes of laughter (not mine) I decide that it is time to go home. Fighting with a stubborn two year old for 30 minutes in front of an audience is not my cup of tea and in the end his ability to remain stubborn bet out my ability to fight him. And I was by then in desperate need of a coffee. A strong one.

And all because I parked in the wrong place.

Two year olds!

What irrational moments has your child had lately or what is one that stands out as memorable?

Linking up with EssentiallyJess and doing IBOT for the first time. Thanks for popping by!

A Tale of Chaos and that Darn Lunch Box ..

For some reason getting up at 5am to be at work by 7am is far easier than having a day off and doing kindy drop off by 8.30am. I hate kindy drop off with a vengeance. In fact, I hate everything about getting ready for kindy. I can meet a deadline on an important job at work with less stress than I can prepare a ‘school house’ lunch box. Seriously.

Since when did putting together a kindy/school lunch box become so complicated?

Since I had the fussiest child on earth.

Does anyone else add fruit to a school lunch box for show knowing full well that said child will not touch, let alone eat it? No? Let’s be honest here! I have to do batches of stewed apples on weekends to disguise into weetbix in order to get fruit in these boys. C has always had a strange phobia of touching some textures of foods (namely fruit and vegetables – convenient?) so disguising has become part of my repertoire. School house lunches on the other hand are a bit of a nightmare for me with a child who only really likes white foods. Bread (plain, no butter or any other spread/filling must go anywhere near it), rolls (as above), biscuits (must be baked to avoid any ‘may contain peanuts’ warnings which is fine but means many a late night panic of baking before a kindy day and then there is the big question of how many biscuits are acceptable a day when it is all they will probably eat?), chips (plain, usually come home untouched and soggy). I then find myself topping up with things that look good but will be uneaten for the most part (sweetcorn fritters, potatoes cubed and seasoned, even pizza!). Why I go to so much effort when I know he won’t touch them is beyond me (ok, maybe because I hope that one day he might try it and surprise me but mostly because I can’t exactly send him off with three slices of plain bread and 5 biscuits).

This does not go unnoticed by the kindy teachers who have approached me with concern at how little he eats. So stress #1 leads to stress #2 – drop off. For some unknown reason I can never get them out the door in time. The juggling act of getting them up, dressed, fed and out the door just continually turns to chaos. Then juggling two children into the building and dragging the kicking and screaming two year old out of the sand pit and back out the door while the three year old is standing there saying ‘Ok mum, BYE now’ in a ‘please hurry up you are cramping my style’ tone of voice, is just the icing on the cake. And yet all the other mums (and dads) look so relaxed while I feel like I have run a marathon. I come home literally exhausted and it’s not even 9am.

Am I the only one out there or is this a universal problem that we are all just good at disguising?

Child Driven Addictions

I need to cut down my coffee intake. And my wine intake.

I never thought I would say these words. Not when they are not in conjunction with A. Trying to conceive; B. Undergoing an IVF cycle; and C. Pregnancy.

Now those who know me, know that those few words are a monumental thing for me to be saying. I have known I need to cut back. But knowing and acting on that knowledge are two different things entirely!

So why now?

I feel like crap. This child running towards the ocean is the catalyst for my newly discovered wine addiction. I need down time. I need to recover my sanity on a daily basis. He is full on x 100. But he is hilarious and lovable and crazy and just plain adorable but boy, he is hard work! As you can see from this photo, a trip to the beach is not a relaxing stroll, it is a battle of wills. Finn just wants to go swimming and Hayden and I spend our time chasing him to stop him diving in. One of these days I am just going to let him dive in. Maybe if it’s cold he won’t be so keen! What this photo portrays is what we saw for the entire time we were at the beach on Sunday. Water. Run.

WATER! Must get in there NOW!

So where does the need to cut back come from? Surely I just outlined why I need them and you probably fail to see why I would want to cut back!

In short, I feel like crap.

Without doubt, mums across the world can relate to this! We put so much energy into our children that we neglect ourselves. Our physical health, our mental health, our hobbies, ourselves. Where does mother stop and woman we were or want to be begin? I overstimulate myself with caffeine and then wake up feeling (possibly) more tired from wine (not to mention my expanding waistline!). Step one in helping myself is probably to cut back on these things. Four five coffees is probably tipping the scales on healthy! Of course, healthier food, a good multi vitamin and exercise probably wouldn’t hurt either!

And with that, I am going to go and make my third coffee of the morning at 8.30am. We’ll start tomorrow!

Do you have a child driven addiction you need to get a handle on?

The Daily Grind

I touched on the fact that I am a working mum in my last post. There are pros and cons to this. Pros – hot coffees, time out, adult company. Cons – missing the boys, lack of time. Not sure that I would say I am busier than a SAHM because as we all know, chasing after a toddler or two or three or more (more!) is bloody hard work! But heck, I am exhausted nonetheless with a baby toddler who has decided that when mum and dad come home it means it is party time. Sleep? Pfft! No, he wants to stay up and play. I put him to bed and he cries screams. This is not the sort of cry that you can leave, so up he gets where he will cuddle you on the couch for all of about 20 seconds before he is attempting to run around the room in a sleeping bag and he has yet to give in to the urge, despite the fact that sleeping bags and running don’t really go together.

So my daily schedule goes something like this –

4.45am – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

5am – Get up. Discover one (or both) boys in my bed. Husband on the couch having been pushed out of bed to make room for the boys (one of which has really restless legs and loves to kick you).

6.15am – Leave the house to head down and drop the boys at my mother-in-laws (very lucky that they are looked after by Nana and Grandad while we are working)

6.30am – Commute to work

7am – Arrive at work. Turn on coffee machine, Turn on everything else (I work in a printing place – there is a lot to turn on!)

7.30am – Start work.

4.30pm – End of work day (work day includes 3 blissful coffees and a half hour lunch break plus a full day of listening to men acting like boys). Walk to the train station 20 minutes away.

5pm – Train 20 minutes home.

5.45pm – Pick up boys.

6pm – Walk in the door at home. Evening chaos ensues.

7.30pm – Boys bedtimes. Supposed to be. Cohen goes to bed. Finley cries. Finley gets out of bed.

8pm – 9pm dependent – dinner at last! Finely proceeds to steal food off our plates. Dinner consists of telling Finley that it is MY dinner. To which we get a resounding NO and hand dipped into our food.

After dinner (who knows what time things happen from here on in!) – tidy up, load dishwasher. Finley cries because you have left the room and he can’t follow because he will try and climb in the dishwasher and one day it will fall over on top of him.

After that – attempt to cuddle squirming monkey to sleep. Finley is no longer Finley but has now morphed into a little so and so who is overtired and refusing to go to sleep.

After cuddles fail. This usually happens (note removal of sleeping bag)

Image

Sometime later between 9.30pm and midnight – I go to bed. And then we do it alllll over again the next day!

What does your day consist of?

Starting Again!

Getting back into blogging is a daunting prospect. First of all, there is the fact that I had a clear topic before and an evolving story, a challenge, a journey. And I wasn’t so tired. My life is one crazy day after another these days. My brain is slightly fried and dare I say it, a bit boyed out! Not that boyed is a word, but it should be! I live with them, I work with them. I grew up with females so males are not really something I was accustomed to being around on a daily basis. Not counting all the boys at school of which I stalked a lot! Don’t tell my husband.

On second thought, he already knows.

I grew up with my mum, my Nana, my aunty, a few female boarders here and there and my poor grandad. Then my mum got married and I gained a step sister and a step dad. Three females against one! For some reason when I moved out of home I thought moving in with all guys would be awesome! Why? I don’t know! Silly young girl. We had ants on the bench daily from the guys not pulling their weight in the cleaning department, but really, how many 20 year old males do you know that clean?! They also set up a grandstand in the lounge for the sports they lived to watch and there may have been a few, um, untraditional things being cooked on the stove top *cough cough*. I had nothing to do with that though! Naive young woman I was. No one cooked (other than the subtly hinted at other grassy item) and I quite literally lived on two minute noodles. I kid you not! I was given a box (I’m talking one of those big boxes that the supermarket are supplied with) for my 20th birthday of chicken two minute noodles and I lived on those for months. The upside was that I was a skinny wee thing who still thought she was fat (and I would so adore to go back in time and slap her around the face and tell her to start flaunting it and stop hiding her figure under baggy clothes!). The downside was that it wasn’t exactly nutritious and more than a bit boring!

Little did I know that moving in with all guys in a flat at the age of 19 would be the trend for the rest of my life! For 12 years I have worked with all guys (4 to be precise plus technicians who are also male), then I continued to flat with all guys for 4 years (why?!) and then I had a son. And another one. And a cat and dog that are both (you guessed it!) male. I am quite literally surrounded by BOYS. And people wonder why I am addicted to coffee! I am the girliest of all girly girls. I got notes written for me to get me out of PE thanks to a mum who knew precisely how I felt and who, ironically, grew up on a farm! I did enjoy the great outdoors where sport was not involved and then I am really not sure what happened … I grew up into a girly girl girl girl. Outdoors was for sunbathing! Not exploring. And now I have two sons who want me to let them play in the mud which usually involves me having to get in the mud to remove them from the mud while they are covered in mud which ends up with me covered in mud. And then I inevitably need a third coffee of the day by 10am. Scratch that, make it a wine!

So perhaps this blog will be about learning to be a mum to boys. To embracing a boys world. On top of this I am a working mum. A wife. A coffee lover. A motherless daughter.A woman who has overcome infertility, experienced the ups and downs of not being able to conceive, who has endured IVF and experienced miracles.

Welcome to the next chapter!