Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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There's a bit of debate in my family at the moment about Halloween. I'm in the "for"column, though. Mind you, I get quite into just about any holiday or event you can think of (except New Year's Eve, totally overrated if you ask me).

I get that it's yet another American custom that has infiltrated us Aussies, along with all their crappy sit-coms, slang, wearing basketball jerseys to advertise your wankerdom etc., but c'mon!!! It's fun!! I think it's good for kids to dress up and explore the darker side of their imagination. I have a little girl who is quite sensitive to scary stuff, but has made a bit of a breakthrough lately with realising that a lot of stuff she finds scary is just people doing "play pretend".

Tonight, she is at my Aunt's dressed up as a mermaid, and handing out lollies to Frankensteins, goblins and vampires without blinking an eye, and is super keen on going trick or treating up the road with my cousin. I'm a little bit disappointed she's not here with me, but she will enjoy it more with her cousin, and they live on a lovely quiet street where nearly everyone knows each other, and she will have much more fun there. Plus, she staying over at Grandma's (who lives next door to my Aunt), so Mummy and Daddy get some long-awaited time alone!!! Maybe I need a costume of my own!! :)

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Yes - I am a sad little Twi-hard... oh! the shame...

Blog This: Challenge 23

This weeks challenge is all about your dream home. If time, money, jobs etc. were no matter, what kind of home would you have.

I remember as a teenager being obsessed with this; part of the whole "Oh God, I can't wait til I'm a real and proper grown up, in charge of my own destiny" kinda thing. I would even draw up house plans and sketch out rooms.

Well, since my fellow blogger Alliecat ( has somehow entered my brain and come up with my perfect home, I'm going to talk about the things my dream home WILL NOT contain:

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There will never be mess in my home, especially of the child-produced kind. Toys will magically transport themselves back into their lair, even if the de-limbed Barbie has to use her teeth to drag herself home. Paint will unspill from the floor and Play-Doh will un-tramp itself from the carpet.

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No unmade beds. Ever. Even when we are in them.

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Dishes. Ugh. They will NEVER pile up in the sink simply because I've run out of time. The bottom of the sink will open up whenever a dish is placed in it, and some highly technical, never-breaking-down-or-requiring-maintenace machinery will place it directly into it's slot in the dishwasher. When it's full it will turn on and never do an entire cycle before realising it didn't put powder into itself.

That's about it. I think any home that does not contain these three things is now officially my dream home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Coffee and whine...

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I visited a girlfriend who lives on the Sunshine Coast today. It was wonderful to see her, she has a little girl GG's age (they were born a week apart)and a beautiful 5mth old baby boy. We don't get to catch up so much anymore, so I had been really looking forward to it. We had the usual girly catch up, and I was in a great mood heading off on the 2 hour drive home. GG promptly fell asleep after running amok most of the day, so I had my thoughts to myself for the trip home. Always a novelty...

During the drive, and because of the positive mood my mate always puts me in, I had decided I was going to use whatever time I will be out of work for positively. I will meet my friend for her power walks along Burleigh Beach, maybe even go to a gym if I can find one that allows casual visits. I will call, visit, harass, stalk and possibly threaten bodily harm to various bank staff til I get a consolidation loan or some serious financial advice. I was feeling great, positive and charged up.

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Then hubby came home, innocently asked if I had chased up any of the job applicatons I had put in this week. Because I am already feeling guilty about losing my job, and just quietly, a bit terrified about how that will affect our fairly precarious financial position, I get all defensive and snappy. Hubby, not realising that I feel insecure already (men can't read minds, who knew??), just thinks I'm being bitchy, and we end up sniping at each other. Boom... good feelings gone. Double boom... now feel guilty for sniping at each other in front of GG. Triple boom... feel guilty for being a bitch to hubby. Quadruple boom... feel silly for allowing a situation that's not my fault to affect me like this. Boom, boom, boom.

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So! I am going to go check, stop taking out my stress and fear on others and actively choose to be positive and happy. Feel free to send donations of chocolate and liquor. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Domestic Un-Goddess

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I've had an afternoon of housework today (oh, the joy and glamour of my life!) and as I was dashing around doing the absolute minimum required, all those little tips I've absorbed from reading magazines along the lines of "Better Homes Than Yours" were running through my mind, as were my responses to them.

1. Use horizontal strokes on one side of windows and glass doors, and vertical on the other. This way you'll know which side a streak is on.
This is certainly helpful when I'm carefully stroking away, and the dog is happily huffing and puffing and pressing his nose up to the other side to see what I'm doing. Sigh.

2. Use very hot water when washing your floor, it will dry quicker.
Or, do as I once did and trip over the stupid mop bucket, burn the soles of your feet dashing for the towel cupboard to save your carpet. Grab your favourite beachtowel (dammit!) and use your now-sore feet to shuffle along to mop up the water. Only now may you consider your floors well and truly washed.

3. Deodorise carpets by sprinkling a layer of bi-carb soda over them, leave for a few hours and then vacuum up.
Just light a scented candle. That way you won't think the dog has gone rabid when you spot him foaming at the mouth 'cos he licked up all the bi-carb.

Playgroup Nazis

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I read an article today that said researchers had attested that Mums attend Playgroups to show off their parenting skills and participate in power plays over things like cloth nappies and breastfeeding. The sad thing is... I’m not surprised.

I’m lucky in that I have a lot of friends who also happen to have kids, and I have a great Mums Group who all found each other on birth month clubs. We realised a whole heap of us lived in Brisbane/Gold Coast and started meeting up. I was actually a late-comer to this group, but they kindly welcomed me with open arms and I have never felt excluded. So whilst I have a great group, oh boy have I heard some horror stories.

Like the Mum who was in tears after a session of snide comments about “how easy she must have it because she was not bothering with breastfeeding” when she had finally given up a futile and painful battle to breastfeed and was still struggling with guilt over that decision.

Geez, this really pisses me off. I kind of started talking about this in my very first post (all those long weeks ago! lol) so I won’t wax on again, but FFS people! When are we going to realise that a woman’s worst enemy isn’t discriminatory employers, lack of sleep, colic or ridiculous Government bureaucracy, it’s other bloody Mothers! If you work outside the home, fine; if you don’t, fine. If you breastfeed, great; if you don’t, or can’t, oh well. Cloth nappies, more power to ya; disposables, way to go. You get my drift. We need to band together, support each other, and stop snidely judging each other, or we’ll NEVER get bloody paid maternity leave.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Going Ga Ga

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I caught Lady GaGa's latest single 'Bad Romance' on the radio just before. For the entire intro, I thought it was one of her other ones. Am I going crazy, or does the backing track to most of her songs sound pretty much the same? Don't get me wrong, they're catchy-ass tunes, and I like pretty much all her stuff, but maybe that's because it's all pretty similar?

And kinda repetitive. What happened? Did her manger wander on up, saying "Hey Lady, your next song is due, we need to record it NOW!"

"Well, gosh manager-type-guy, I just spend all night tethering live budgies to my frock, and I still have to hang this curtain rod strung with tinsel from my nipples and paint my face like a geisha; can't we just use the music from last time?"

"OK Lady, I guess, but what about content, you know, the lyrics?"

"Geesh, what with all the cleaning up after the budgies, I've only managed about 4 lines, just play them in different combinations over and over again. By the time the video is released, everyone will be too busy trying to see whether I have a penis to concentrate on the words!"

I'm torn on the crazy outfit issue. I get that she considers her outfits 'performance art' and just as important as her music, but maybe that's because without the outfits, she's just another blonde pop chick with a catchy song? I've seen her on Rove and in a few interviews on music shows etc., and she seems kind of dull actually, and quite stilted. Is she trying to have something interesting about herself, or is she just more at home singing, and a bit shy outside of her comfort zone?

Now I know I'm not one of the cool kids, and because I'm over 30 can't possibly be expected to understand modern music, but I WAS around for David Bowie (who she cites as a major influence) and I'm pretty sure Major Tom sounded different to Let's Dance.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Break in Time

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A friend of mine's 11 year old broke her leg yesterday. She was just riding her bike, and came off when their family dog was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Just one of those things that happen to kids all the time, it's not nice, but she'll be fine.

I was round there today and have noticed a big change in my friend, her Mum. S has always said she's not a 'mumsy' mum, she's a great mum, don't get me wrong, but she's what I like to call a Lioness Mum. Fiercely protective of her kids, loves them to pieces, but not so much a 'baby-er' of her kids now that they're older. And she's raised great, smart, independent kids. A even wanted to go to school today, thigh cast and all, because she's not one to mope around, she's a doer.

I noticed today though, and last night when I was on the phone to S, this nuturing side of her come out. Her whole voice and demeanour change when she talks to A, she is hopping and fetching for her without complaint and is constantly watching her face, like she's looking for signs of pain. She's still S though, cracking jokes and seeing the humour in it, but only now she knows she'll be fine.

When I was 14 I was hit by a car, and lucky to escape with a badly broken leg. I was in external traction (metal bolts drilled into the bone and sticking out my shin!!) and in bed for like a month, then in a cast and then a walking cast for the rest of the year, and this happened in April. I think I'm only just getting now how hard that must've been for Mum. And Dad, this big, boofy bloke with huge hands, who was the only one I'd let sponge my leg, because he was able to do it so delicately I'd barely feel a thing. I guess it's not just Mums who step up when their kids need them. :)

Get well soon A.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pics from Melbourne

Okay, I have tackled the tricky beast of putting photos up on the interwebs, and edited the post below to include some pics from our weekend trip. Enjoy! :)


Well, we made it!! We are back from our weekend trip to Melbourne, and other than a nightmare trip home (more later) we had an awesome time!!

GG took to the skies like a born traveller, and was so excited to ride on a plane for the first time in her life. She even giggled all the way through bile-inducing turbulence coming in to land at Melbourne.

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Ready for takeoff!

Melbourne decided to welcome us with glorious weather, clear skies, cool air and bright sunshine. We stayed at a hotel right in the heart of St Kilda, with everything at our doorstep, so we decided to walk to Luna Park for a look. As we got there and were taking the obligatory photos, another Mum came up and gave us her son’s all-day ride pass, as they were leaving and it was only 2pm. This meant Hannah got to have some rides, and as she was below the height requirement, an adult rode free with her. I love this kind of camaraderie between Mums, it’s like we’re all part of a big club and help each other. Much nicer than Judgie McJudge-Judge sniping at each other, less of that please. And good on Luna Park for not charging a parent to ride along with a child who needs one anyway.

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Luna Park Gates

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Fly, Dumbo, fly!

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Lovely carousel

Then we did the Esplanade, picked up some gourmet pizza for dinner and went back to the room to flake and watch Flicka (GG and Mummy are horse gals!). We all fell asleep in a big pile on the one Queen bed, and slept like a little family, it was actually kinda nice.

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St Kilda Pier, The Esplanade

Sunday was the day of Zac’s 1st Birthday, and his parents Elke & Justyn put on a great party, there was fairy-bread, a swing and a sand-pit, so that was GG sorted for the day! :) It was great to catch up with our dear friends, and help them celebrate the big milestone a first birthday is!

Whilst our trip down was great, timely, great service from check-in staff and flight crew, the trip home was a real tester. We flew on a airline I won’t specify, named after a jungle predator with orange and black stripes. When we got to the airport at 5.30pm (we had to check in at 6.30 for an 8.30 flight), there was a line of people out the door. Several flights to Sydney and Perth had been delayed til late that night, and two to Sydney had been cancelled. Plus there was a television crew from one of those awful “Airline” type shows there. I’m sure they pay the airlines to cancel the flights so they can get ‘good TV’ of people having meltdowns at check-in counters. Anyway, I won’t dwell, the staff were doing their best to help, given that they didn’t actually make the call to pull the flights, but waiting three, yes three, hours in line with a tired, bored, frustrated and fed-up toddler was not my ideal end to our trip! As soon as we were on board though, she settled with a drink of milk and slept the whole way home, even through a lightening storm!

Given this kind of zeal for travelling, I’m inspired to save up for another holiday next year, maybe Asia somewhere, or New Zealand to see her Dad’s extended family. But we will probably pick another carrier. :)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Gone for the weekend

I will be offline until Monday. We are going to Melbourne for the weekend, yippee!

Every year, Hubby and I try to get away for a family-only weekend before all the hoopla of Christmas, but this year we have decided to use it to join some great friends in celebrating their son's First Birthday, and we're pretty excited. It's a long-awaited getaway, and as part of the rules, Hubby has to leave his work phone behind and I've agreed to leave the laptop (sob).

I love Melbourne, have been 3/4 times, but this time it'll be all about kids, parks and exploring the cafes of St Kilda rather than the shopping and restaurants of the previous trips.

GG is super excited about the trip, especially her very first plane trip! I will try and get some photos and learn how to upload them. The plane trip will either be great fun or a complete nightmare, fingers crossed!!


Blog This: Challenge 22

I'm doing a Blog This challenge today, this weeks topic is:

"You've got $200 USD credit at Etsy. What do you buy? Who for? Why do you love it?"

Firstly, I think to myself, “That’s not how you spell Ebay”. Then I google Etsy and find I have been living under a rock! How can there be such gorgeous things in the world without me knowing? This being techy-challenged has GOT to go; I need to live in this world.

I love all things quirky and original, with a ‘homemade’ feel. I have a long-neglected box of beads and jewellery wire, a scrapbooking desk covered with a cornucopia of beautiful embellishments and an unused sewing machine donated by my mother with a pile of gorgeous materials neatly folded next to it to attest to that love.

Unfortunately, this love remains unconsummated. I have made faltering steps towards scrapping and jewellery making, but with a little girl who delights in pretty things as much as me, it becomes more a ‘chase GG around the house trying to get the beads off her before she chokes on them’ exercise than a lovingly executed artistic endeavour. The sewing I’m working on, but feel I need lessons less I mangle any of those beautiful fabrics.

So, the internet fairies have bestowed a $200 voucher. What to buy, what to buy?

My first thought is Christmas. Then I’m paralysed by indecision. Do I buy one big present for someone special, or do I spread the wealth?

In the end I decide on:
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The Watermelon bubbles diaper bag for my sister. She’s expecting her first child and is a bag girl from waaaay back. The bubbles suit her happy personality and she loves bright colours.

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For my man, the beautiful wooden photo frame, so he can think of us when he’s at work. The timber is warm and strong, just like him. :)

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For my Mother, the lot of vintage buttons. They’re from a simpler time, a bit like her, and they are gorgeous, classy and creative, just like her. She is the one who can actually use her sewing machine, and makes beautiful clothes for GG. I know she’s looking forward to the arrival of her second grandchild, and those buttons would transform into the eyes of a favourite teddy or the decorations on an adorable t-shirt.

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For GG, Hoot the Owl knitted toy. Something soft and reassuring, and cute as the dickens. I love owls, so wise and calm, and hope he watches over her at night.

And maybe, just maybe, there might be enough left over for a little something for me. :)
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Silver linings

I dropped my hubby and a mate off at Indy today. The Indy race that is now minus the Indy cars, thanks to some stuff up or other.

I hope he's enjoying the racing (not to mention the balcony shows!) and hospitality of the corporate box. I really do, he works his cute little butt off doing two jobs AND helps where he can with GG, and deserves to have some quality bloke time. And I bet he will, because whoever it is that organises Indy (why, yes, I am a massive motorsport fan, and am clearly up on all the details), seems to have done a pretty good job of cobbling together some great car action.

Which leads me, eventually, to my point. Sometimes the things that seem to have gone wrong, turn out better than the original would of been. It made me think of GG's last birthday party, an Island Princesses and Pirates themed party where I had organised a girlfriend who is very creative and artistic to come along and do some face-painting for GG and her little friends, ranging from 1 to eleven. Well, long story short - she forgot the face paint. She had, however, had her fourth child a few weeks previous, so I'm pretty sure that's an instant 'forgiven' in anyone's book.

So... a bunch of kids, and no fun thing they'd been promised. Deep breath. For about 3 seconds there I just wanted to swear, a lot. Then, I went to a hastily assembled Plan B. I got some adults to corral the kids in a bedroom on some pretext or other, grabbed a bowl of shells I have on display, threw them in random places all over the yard. Then I grabbed all the leftover party favours, lollies, leftover Easter eggs, anything - I think I even grabbed muesli bars.

Then we told all the kids that anyone who brought back a shell got a prize and a lolly. It was awesome. Their eyes lit up, and they raced off to find their shells. Older kids helped the little ones of their own volition, which was really charming. Toddlers came to claim their prize with victory in their hearts. Much better than face-painting.

So next time things so pear-shaped, I'm going to think of it as an opportunity to experience something better, rather than an opportunity to teach my daughter some of the more colourful aspects of our language.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

So I was at our local dog park today, we have great one close by; designated off-leash,heaps of room, a river to swim in, with a footpath all the way around the big loop so kids can ride bikes and scooters and such. Though why people bring kids to a dog park and then don’t want the dogs to go near the kids is beyond me, don’t they know dogs and kids are kindred souls, both hell-bent on fun and mud puddles?

It occured to me how there are similarities between the different types of owners and their dogs and the types of parents and kids you encounter at the playground. Maybe there’s something to that whole ‘fur-kid’ phenomonon. Although I hate when people tell me their dog is their 'baby'. Oh yeah? I don't really remember being able to put my 3 month old daughter out in the backyard with a bowl of water and a squeaky toy and go out for the day.

For instance, take the woman in the designer exercise gear, wearing $400 sneakers and chatting into a mobile phone whilst studiously ignoring her yapping little shih-tzu who is jumping up on you, growling at Rottweilers and crapping all over the place. Remind you of anyone?

Or the girls, always in packs and trackie-dacked, marijuana symbol proudly emblazoned on their tie-dyed singlets, blithely puffing away on their cigarettes and casually pulling their snarling mongrels off each other.

Maybe the woman with the precious little thing, usually a poodle or a maltese, probably wearing a diamonte collar and maybe a little ribbon and jacket ensemble, who scoops up her “baby” into her arms as soon as another dog approaches and who quails at the very thought of going near the sandy beach where all the other dogs are having a ball. Nope, nothing familiar there...

And for anyone whose wondering, my dog is a happily panting Labrador, usually with 2 year old GG hauling him around by the collar and demanding he go fetch her ball. I’ll leave it up to you to decide where that puts me on the spectrum. :)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sailing dangerous waters

Someone asked me the other day what I thought about the whole Jessica Watson sailing around the world at age 16 thing. Unusually for me, I’m kinda a fence-sitter on this one. I don’t know Jessica; her sailing prowess or her emotional maturity. My first gut reaction is “It’s reckless, she’s too young”. Though I do remember thinking, “Well, what if Jesse Martin’s parents had said no to him?”

Apart from the very embarrassing container ship incident, she is by most accounts a pretty good sailor, though there has been a lot of criticism by expert sailors over her safety checklists and “amateurish” approach. She seems to be pretty mature for a 16 year old, if a bit smug for my liking, though I admire her adventurous spirit and her determination.

So I was pretty happy to reserve judgement and just hope for the best for Jessica, until I read that her father stated in an interview with 60 Minutes reported here that he would rather lose his daughter than deny her the chance to chase her dream!!! What the hell!?!?!?!??! I still don’t know what to think about Jessica, but I sure as Hell know what I think of him…

I was totally disgusted with this glib disregard for his main duty as a parent, that being keeping his daughter safe. Even from herself. Would he REALLY rather his 16 year old daughter DIE than face her pouting and huffing because Daddy said “no”. What a slap in the face to those parents who have lost a child. And I’m not just picking on Dad here, Jessica’s Mum might need a good hard look at herself too.

This sort of pandering parenting where Mums and Dads are petrified of “stifling” their “extraordinary” children by setting limits or, Heaven forfend, saying no to them is responsible for they very worst of the attributes we are currently tarring “Gen Y” with. That being those lazy, indulged, self-important, air-of-entitlement brats who think they don’t have to start at the bottom and that the world owes them. By the way, I’m pretty sure we had people like that in all generations. I’m pretty sure everyone from Caesar to Winston Churchill was complaining about those bratty teenagers. But this feels like another post, back on topic…

Sure, we need to tell our kids to believe in themselves, and that yes, they are extraordinary (even if it’s just to us). But we also need to give them a sense of reality. More importantly, we need to keep their safety our highest priority. I am so angry at this man I’ve never met for forgetting that. It makes me wonder what’s more important to him, having a daughter, or having a record-breaking daughter and interview fees. Mee-ow.

Did anyone ever consider saying “Well, Jessica, that’s some great ambition you’ve got there, and we’d love to help you. Spend a year working with a professional sailing crew, learn all you can. Then, try sailing to Fiji – if you make it without smacking into a whopping great boat, bang-up job, now try sailing to Africa...” You get my drift.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fired Up... not.

I got fired last Wednesday. I’ve always been one of those people who get incredibly nervous when you are unexpectedly called into HR, even though it’s usually something fairly innoccous. This didn’t help that fear – it proved it! So... Sacked, retrenched, let go. However you couch it, I had a job Tuesday, now I don’t. Well, actually in 2 weeks I don’t. It was only a casual admin job, but they still gave me 2 weeks notice. Which is nice of them, I certainly appreciate that I still get to earn money while I look for more work.

But isn’t it incredibly uncomfortable serving out notice periods?? It’s like breaking up with a guy and still going on dates, right? It’s partly a rejection thing, even though HR assured me how it was just a cost thing, I’m the only casual (the price I pay for working part time so I can raise my daughter), how awesome I am and what a tremendous help I’ve been. But all that did was make me think “Well, why don’t you get rid of the highly-paid so-and-so’s who’ve been making life difficult for everyone else”. And trust me, they have them. But no, I bite my often sharp-enough-to-get-me-in-trouble toungue, smile and tell them how much I’ve enjoyed my time there. Wuss.

But apart form the rejection thing, there’s the sudden drop in motivation. You didn’t want me, that’s fine, just pay me out and I’ll be on my merry little way. But please don’t expect me to gleefully sit through those 3 hour meetings that don’t actually resolve anything, and please don’t expect me to be all fired up (excuse the pun) about ABC Client’s latest decision. Also, please don’t expect me to NOT use my work computer to check and email resumes. Oh, c’mon! You can’t have a policy allowing employees to use the internet for personal use and not expect that to happen.

So now, the big decision. For a long time now I have wanted to re-train as a teacher, but current economic forces demand I work, and that we can’t afford tuition just yet. Before I had GG, I was a Exec PA type, and I could easily do that again if I wanted to work full time. But I want to work part time so I can spend more time raising my child. Because of that, I’ve dropped my ego and am happy to do any sort of admin job that is part time – which is usually pretty menial.
So do I cross my fingers and hopefully find another mind-numbing part time admin job, do I work full time just for a little while so we can afford tuition sooner and I can start chasing my dream, do I do a Teachers Aide course, cross my fingers and hopefully get work in that field until I can afford tuition, or do I think of something else? I think I need a tribal gathering of the girls, some good wine and a child-free night to mull it over!!!

I’ll keep you posted... :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Parenting and other sins

It seems just about everything we do with our children is causing them harm these days, doesn't it? Let them watch 10 minutes of Dora warbling away so you can have a shower, oops, you've stunted their IQ. Don't let them see a TV until they're 16, oh, you deprived them of so much educational opportunity! Smack them, you're a monster, don't smack them, they'll turn into little monsters themselves.

Is it just me, or have we lost our common sense? We are so desperate to "get it right", that we'll listen to anyone with an opinion, regardless of whether they have any expertise or, more importantly, any children themselves.

One of the hardest things I had to get used to when I had my Gorgeous Girl, was that loss of confidence in myself. I went from someone who was very good at my job, had clear opinions on pretty much everything, and felt capable to take on anything. Then I had GG and realised that I knew nothing. My most important job, and I had no qualifications, no experience (Irealised quickly nieces/nephews and friend's kids do not, in fact, give you a "taste" of parenthood) and no confidence in my ability. Luckily, I quickly regained my confidence that I was the best person to take care of GG, and I like to think I've done a pretty good job so far. She's certainly so delightful it makes it easy to think so.

I'm also lucky in that I have a lot of family support, and that they've respected the parenting decisions I've made, even if they haven't agreed with them. Big lucky there.

Trolling around on the internet (where I do all my important research), I noticed something... In our grandparents era, strictness was Godliness. Babies were to conform to a sleep routine, play mostly by themselves in a playpen or cot with just a few basic toys, and believe it or not, formula was seen as a scientific improvement on breastmilk. Then the pendulum seems to have swung the other way, and it was the complete opposite, feed on demand, and it better be breastmilk, sleep in a family bed, wear your baby in a sling and be at their beck and call within seconds of every whimper. Phew.

Could it be that this pendulum is still swinging, even if the arcs are getting smaller? When will we get to the middle ground, where parents feel they can make decisions about their own family and others will say "Great, glad it works for you." Obviously, some decisions are never OK - smoking when pregnant, abuse, driving drunk and getting 3 yr olds high are always going to be big no-no's, but really, is a bit of TV really so bad for kids? Will every child who has been allowed a bit of ice-cream be obese at age 30? Will a smack on a nappy-padded bottom by a loving parent really scar you for life?

I'd love to hear what you think...