Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next - Franklin P Jones

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Karma is a bitch and she lives to serve it cold

I wish Nic was here - she would laugh and laugh at how fate has played out for that woman

See this is what happened - a long time ago in a galaxy far away there was a parenting forum (always a bad idea) and then there was a smaller forum to the side where a number of people connected and yes, discussed issues and posts from the main forum.  Was is wrong?  Not any more wrong or different from person a emailing person b in an office to rant about what person c had said or done.  Not the best behaviour, but not uncommon or necessarily even negative.

But then that woman got the guilts and decided to confess all to the reigning queen of horror on the main forum and as a result the users on the side forum were outed and flamed.  Which in the end was a good thing, because at that point I said 'screw you, I'm going home' and in best Cartman style left parenting forums for good.

Fast forward a million years and that woman is in the news for having a twin die in a home birth tragedy.  I feel very bad and angry for that dead baby but I don't feel bad for the mother at all.  She chose not to listen to doctors, professionals and, according to her testimony at the inquest, her unregistered midwife, and went ahead with a home birth.  Which directly led to the death of her child.

All this because when she had child two a doctor manipulated her physically to dislodge the placenta and she developed PTSD and developed  a fear of hospitals.  Instead of looking for a sympathetic OB who could help her overcome her negative experience, she  went forth with a series of home births.  Now she doesn't get stressed by the dislodgement of placenta's, she eats them.

I would think that the loss of a baby would well outweigh the discomfort of having a doctor remove a placenta, but given the modern view of midwifery - that a life is not the ultimate goal of home birth, I rather think that woman will be relishing her martyrdom right now.  She will feel powerful and comfortable in being the one who controlled her decisions (and therefore the outcome).  She probably doesn't even feel a twinge of doubt about 'hiring' Lisa Barrett who is already being investigated for a number of baby deaths in home birth situations.  In fact Ms Barrett has precided over the fatal births of 5 babies now - at which point is she a serial killer?  And if you are a mother who knows every detail about those fatalities and you choose to use her?  What kind of mother uses a serial killer to assist in the birth of her baby?

Me? I think she should be charged with gross negligence and her kids removed before they develop allergies to the nut milk that she prefers over formula (and that is another story).

Nic, I hope you are somewhere laughing your arse off.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day One - the diet from hell

I am calling it the diet from hell because even though I am not hungry at all right now, by 8PM I will be eyeing up the kids as a food product.  The first few weeks of a diet are sheer hell as you are trying to retrain your stomach into not needing all that food.  I know at the end of the day its the mind that makes the real difference  - but training the stomach to be happy with smaller portions and no snacks is terrible.

Wont be giving up Friday night drinks though!  Well maybe sometimes, but not this Friday.  I have plans to drink Ingrids Moet!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Christmas to forget

So how was it for me? Hmmm was it the dead possum on the back lawn that somehow spontaneously appeared there on Christmas morning,which required some quick thinking to appease distraught children with stories of Santa’s sleigh knocking it out of a tree on the way in? Was it the hideous PMT that turned me into a psychopath who threatened to bin the daughters Christmas presents if she didn’t make her bed right then and there? Was it when I burst into tears when we realized that we had completely incinerated the carefully glazed ham on an overheated BBQ? Or were the carcogengically destroyed roast veggies killed by the same BBQ?

It was not my favourite Christmas day. I really missed having family around and although Janice and Kelly were really sweet and I enjoyed having them around for a late revolting lunch, I really did miss having Kieran and Melinda there. Christmas never feels right when it is just us. Even Beeb’s lamented at our orphan status – her friends are surrounded at Christmas time with family and she was feeling quite lost and more than a little bored.

I had calmed down by boxing day and actually started to chill out a bit and once the Christmas tree was gone it was relief all around. I love Christmas trees but before Christmas they remind me of a night out – you know a young girl with sparkling eyes, glossy lips and shiny new heels bursting with anticipation and excitement – but by Boxing Day the same tree looks like a really bad hangover – the gloss has gone, it tends to tilt alarmingly and it constantly reminds you that the big night didn’t quite live up to expectations.

I didn’t leave the house for four days. I was in a self imposed detention centre and I didn’t even want to go as far as the rubbish bins. I was happy hiding on the couch watching recorded tv series and eating left over trifle.

Today Alex and Bee came to the office, and I had the following questions from the delightful 5 year old.

Do you have Club Penguin on your computer?

Can you swing around in your chair whenever you want to?

Does Daddy work here too?

Am still loving the small delicious boy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ah, said the boy

Oh Mummy, said the boy.

I have asked and asked Santa for a train set and all he gave me was this silly card game and a balloon. I have been trying to be so good. Why doesn’t Santa love me?

Well, said the Mummy

The Santa at the party tonight was not the real Santa. The present you got was from the after school care centre and not Santa at all. But you know what, I have been in contact with the real Santa and I know you are going to get super cool presents for Christmas

Oh, said the boy

Will it be a trainset? I have been asking for a trainset for a hundred years

Perhaps, said the Mummy

You have been a good boy and I am sure Santa has things under control. Do you want to dry your tears and we can play with the play dough that your sister got from the centre as her present

Look, said the boy

This is a cat. See his legs – one two three four and this is his head. I am giving him wings because he is a super hero cat and can fly and save people when they are falling off the roof. Do you want wings on your cat?

Yes, said the Mummy

My cat needs wings

Mummy? Asked the boy

Can you sing me the long song?

Yes, said the Mummy

You are my sunshine, my sunshine baby
You make me happy, you’re my best boy
You’re the best boy in the whole world
And I love you more every day
I love you deeper than the blue ocean
I love you higher than the stars
I love you further away than Jupiter,
Venus, Pluto and Mars

You are my baby, baby Alexander
You know I love you, you’re my best boy
You’re the best boy in the whole world
And I love you more every day

Ah, said the boy

That’s my favourite song in the world

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nourish your body & your soul

Well today I am not going to spout any feel good hippie hugging eat lots of unprocessed food palaver – I am going to talk about nourishing your mind and body with great chocolate and better wine. As we know, all good things should be in moderation; too much of a good thing can be bad for you. And this is true if we are talking about things like bread or pasta (dreaded carbohydrates) but the same can never be applied to wine and chocolate.

For Kelvin, chocolate is essential to his wellbeing. It is mind altering, mood shifting and comforting when you are under pressure. You can try to savour it by letting it sit on your tongue and slowly melt or you can crunch it quickly and let the sticky richness swell in your mouth before swallowing. It is nirvana to the fragile and battered soul.

I have this memory etched in my brain; it is of one perfect afternoon years ago now. I was living in my flash Khandallah house (see below) in Wellington. It really was a funky beautiful house and I do miss it on occasion – but back to that perfect afternoon.  It was a Saturday in summer – and summer in Wellington is not like summer here; often the wind can be cool and the temperatures can hover around 23 – 25 and get down to 15ish at night. On this day, the sun was shining through to big plate glass windows into my lounge room. I had a brand new lounge set (still have it, much battered, tattered and torn by feral kids now) and my housework was complete. My house was tidy, I had the stereo playing Jewel, I had a trashy romance novel to read and I had a wine cellar. Oh yes, a wine cellar. Not only that; it had wine in it.

So here I am 2PM on a Sat afternoon, nowhere to be nobody to entertain but myself and a lovely cold glass of sav blanc in my hand. I remember sitting on the couch, looking out of the window and just thinking how blissfully happy I was just then in that moment. I don’t even think that it lasted long – at some point Kelvin would have asked me where something was, my brother would have walked in and sniggered at my listening choices and I would have had to get off my bum and traipse down to the cellar for another bottle – but those few brief moments were truly bliss for the busy soul.

These days I love the social aspect of wine; I love sitting with good friends and talking, laughing and generally solving the worlds problems. People truly underestimate the value of a how cathartic good girlfriends can be. We need to know that other people understand how hard our busy lives are and how challenging parenthood really is. It has taken me years to find my groove here, and I have to say I am loving everything right now.

Life is never perfect is it? Bee is filled with angst and self doubt, Alex is a delicious soul who isn’t learning as fast as some of his peers and Kelvin has spent most of the past four years lurching from one stressful work crisis to another and inevitably taking some of the angst out on his family. But when you can sit outside on a summer evening and laugh like a loon with good friends whilst your kids did what you did as a child (eg PLAY instead of being glued to the television) then life is more than bearable; its bloody good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Simplicity is the key

Can I just start off by saying that I struggle to keep things simple at times; for some reason my brain loves to wallow in the deep end of the ocean rather than keeping a birds eye over view. I have this dream of having a larger house than I do now, and having it look beautiful with lots of space, clean lines and a fabulous combination of neutral colours and rich textures with homey touches that will ensure it doesn’t look like a hotel. And I have a passion for storage. When most people get the Ikea catalogue I am sure that they spend hours looking at lounges and beds and maybe tables. Me? I wallow in the section on storage – be it the wardrobes, the different boxes and containers for the Expedit shelving or even the canisters for the kitchen. I love it.

But the reason I love looking at storage is that it is they key for making something look simple when it is, in fact crammed full of all the stuff I cant bear to get rid of or secretly hiding my latest passion for ink pads, or coloured markers or, heaven forbid, handbags. You see I want it to look simple but I want it to actually be complicated. When I got through my wardrobe and send garden bags of clothing to Vinnies, I am not doing it to simplify my wardrobe – I am doing it so I can fit more stuff in the space I create. When I buy something, if I can get two for the price of one, I get the two – even though I might only actually need the one.

This leads to all sorts of strife with Kelvin. He is a master of simplicity. In fact when he is stressed, he finds clutter and mess inherently distressing. He cant stand the kids toy boxes to be filled to the brim and he will periodically decimate them in a vain effort to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ that crowds our house. The big book case in our playroom is filled to capacity with my scrapbooking stuff. There are boxes of paper, cartons of pens, inks, stamps, tapes, glues, paints, punches – I could go on for hours. And what I find comforting and delicious, he sees simply as clutter. It’s a battle neither of us can win, so we compromise and I agree to keep the clutter tidy and he agrees to squint his eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Yesterday I had an online meeting at work with the providers of our new CRM system and a massive project that my Director and I are going to do is to document our business processes. The guy from the CRM was explaining how we should start off with a very simple big picture view; a concept that Mark and I both struggled with initially – wanting to ignore the simplified picture in favour of delving into the detail – finding the bottlenecks, obstructions and redundancies in what we do and wanting to fix them. The CRM guy kept having to gently bring us back to the concept of starting off with the simple stuff. Getting us to recognise that unless we truly understood and respected the big picture that we would be Neo taking the red pill and falling into the Matrix but with a zero chance of getting out again. The Simple View will be our ship in the Matrix, the trusty vehicle to keep us on the right path whilst we are out there in the detail.

The only thing that concerns me is that my bosses name is Mr Smith….

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Believe in yourself

Sigh, another American feel-good statement. I would kind of love a “have a good whinge about somebody who has really pissed you off” title so I could rant about Australia Post. And boy, I could rant for hours on that one.

You know (and some people would never believe this of me) but when I moved to Australia I would never ever have complained about receiving bad service. It’s not that I thought that I deserved to be treated like pond scum by people who stand behind a plastic counter in a Post Shop, but that my cultural reference was to not complain. I have never sent food back to a restaurant kitchen; inherently I will not eat it and just quietly pay for it and leave. Oh, I would never go back and I would be happy to tell my friends and acquaintances that the food was shite but I would never actually tell the restaurant themselves. Somehow I thought it was rude to do so.

Australia has been an eye awakening experience I must say. Not that the average Aussie is a whinger – but they are simply not afraid at pointing out injustices and when something is wrong. I remember my first real experience was in the mall at Castle Hill. I was shopping with my MIL for a dress to wear to Kelvin’s brothers wedding. Brianna was a baby and there was one pathetic lift working. We were standing there for some time and a couple of other people arrived after us.

When the lift came I had to maneuver the pram to get into the doors and before I could do so this couple walked in ahead of us and took the space. An Aussie woman went right off her nut at them – telling them in no uncertain terms that we had been waiting longer than all of them and they could jolly well just get out of the lift and let us in first. The first couple were shamed into leaving the lift and I was shocked and eternally grateful for the actions of this complete stranger. See, I would never had said anything. I would have waited to the lift had gone and told my MIL that I was annoyed etc, but would never have had the gumption to challenge the idiots who took my space in the first place.

Kelvin learned the lesson faster than me too – I remember him coming home from Big W a number of years ago where he had been queuing for some time in the ‘express -less than 5 items aisle’. A guy from the back of the queue quite loudly demanded to go to the front of the queue because he had only two items to buy. K turned around and held up the packet of Huggies and baby wipes he was carrying and said “Well I only have two items to buy as well. And all the people in this line have less than five items. You can wait your turn.” It’s funny how proud we were of him saying this!

Now I work to overcome my natural inclination to avoid conflict and make a point of getting angry. If I have rung Australia Post and they tell me that I can transfer my PO BOX to another branch and it will only cost me $20 if I get a letter of authority etc etc and then I go to my branch, queue for 25 minutes only to be told that ‘Oh no, you cant do that at all – you need to cancel your box here, pay a cancellation fee and then physically go to the new store and open an account. Oh and they don’t have any post office boxes there anyway’ I am incandescent with rage. That was me. Incandescent with white hot rage. And don’t even ask me to tell you how I reacted when the smiggle pen and pencil they had on ‘special’ wouldn’t scan properly and I had to point out that the special was $2 cheaper than what the POS machine was saying. Just don’t ask.

You know, in a funny way I have covered the ‘Believe in yourself’ thing haven’t I? By learning to stand up to bad behaviour, to feel empowered to challenge injustice and just plain bad customer service I have accepted once and for all that my opinion and experience as a customer / recipient counts for something and that I deserve to be heard.

How funny is that?