Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going to get my head shrunk

"So...Tell me about your fazzzher?"

So the insomnia thing has culminated in me being put on what's called a "mental health plan".  

This, ironically, is making me very anxious indeed.  A psychologist; wow.  I must be nuttier than I thought.  Either that, or I've woken up in Hollywood. 

It all feels very 'first-world problems'.  It's just not "on" not to be able to cope with things you'd normally be expected to cope with!!   I mean: gee, I have a 3 year old and I work.  We're in a bit of a financial pickle because of our new house and bills and stuff.  Hubby's got his own work stresses.  Big fucking whoop, it's not like I have 6 kids and am a single mum or anything.  I don't think what I'm going through is much.  I should be able to get my act together.

Frankly, it's embarrassing.

But my body has told me it's had enough, in no uncertain terms.  It's saying "something's wrong" and I'm frightened of the terror it unleashed on me the last few weeks.

So I'm going to go ahead with the suggested counselling visits because, for starters, it's free, and secondly I am concerned about how lovely the Stilnox has been these last several nights; and what happens when I don't take it?  If I can never sleep again, without drugs, what the hell do I do about that?

Maybe the shrink can suggest some other coping mechanisms (I think they call it cognitive behavioural therapy)

It's all a bit scary.

If I start talking about getting a little dog that fits into my handbag, alert the authorities will you?

And maybe a little cyber-hug wouldn't go astray?   Thanks guys.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Manifesto of the 30-plus Rock concert goer...

1.  Thou shalt not worry about what to wear.  You'll inevitably get it wrong, but don't worry.
Fuck all those 16 year olds in the perfect combination of ripped white jeans and artfully placed, layered band singlets and leather cuffs.  You do not have these items in your wardrobe anymore for a reason.  The reason is because you're no longer on Centrelink benefits.  Just go with a dark jean and some sort of black top, and survey the crowd cooly with the refreshing absence of teenage angst.  You'll find they're envying you, possibly because you wore a jacket and they're dying of hypothermia.

2.  Thou shalt remember your pedigree.You were around when Motley Crue began, unlike many of those surrounding you, who were but twinkles in their parents' eyes.  Not only that,  but you've seen so, so much more... starting with the history-making Guns N' Roses at Calder park when you were 17.
You've seen Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Faith No More, Kiss - three times.  You went to the very first Alternative Nation, the first Big Day Out.   You remember when security was permitted to take water bottles, not just give you a cup to pour it in.  When sniffer dogs didn't exist.  And when there was no water at all to be found sometimes, except from the fire-trucks who were hosing down fainting teenagers.

3. Thou shalt not drink (much).. or maybe wait till afterConcerts used to be about drinking.  That was when a) drinks were actually allowed inside venues, and b) a drink didn't cost the price of the average small car.
These days, when weighing up between an $8 shot of sparkling "wine" (term used loosely) and missing out of 3/4 of the concert by lining up with three hundred others, one wisely chooses to enjoy the music sober.  And that's cool.

4.  Thou shalt actually watch the concert.It's an extraordinarry notion, in this age of smart-phones, in-built video devices and all number of secret recording devices, that you could actually go to an event and WATCH THE SHOW.
Well, if every second person around you has their eye glued to a screen, and the wash of scenery in the darkness before you is lit by camera phones, rather than the flickering of bic lighters, you know what?... more fool them.

Maybe one day they'll wish they actually watched it, rather than had some footage to upload to youtube afterwards.

My final word to my fellow veterans?

5. Rock on.

It's your god-given right.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear body....

It's time you and me had a talk.

For starters, what the FRIKKING hell is up with waking up at 12.30am every morning and not allowing me to get back to sleep?  I know we've got good books to read right now but seriously.  I'd much prefer 8 hours thanks very much.

Didn't you get the memo?  Sleep deprivation is so 2008, maybe 2009 (okay, some part of 2010 too).  But now we have a 3.5 year old who sleeps through the night, this is just unfair.

And let's not even start on the panic attacks.  What the hell are you panicking about?  We're safe, we're fine, we're all good... we're lying in a safe comfy bed, counting sheep.   No need for the hysterics.

I do thank you for the kilo and a half you've shed since you decided to up and wigg out on me, that's kind of cool.  But it's hard to enjoy your skinny jeans while halucinating and nodding out during the day, and dark eye bags don't complement a whole lot of outfits.

On the balance of things, I'd rather a rest and my love handles back.  Ta very much.

So now we've been prescribed Stilnox.  All good, but Body... you didn't think this through, very much, did you?  It says on the packet "Do not consume with alcohol."   You stupid peanut.  No alcohol.   No.  Alcohol.   Slap yourself on the bloody forehead would you.

I'm going to give you one more chance, Body.  Pull your bloody socks up.

Let me get some sleep tonight.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Grab your backpack... let's spend!

What's the collective noun for a group of over-excited, be-ribboned and ever-so-slightly psychotic 3 year old girls in party dresses? 

A "Dora".

At least that's how I shall now refer to them.  ( as in, "We went to a playcentre on the weekend, you should have seen the absolute Dora of kids there.")

Yes, we braved the concert circuit for the first time, going to see "Dora the Explorer LIVE!" at a local arts centre.

Having been forewarned of the aggressive marketing of 'goodies' at these events by a mum who came home $100 out of pocket from the Wiggles, I went in with a strategy firmly in place.  

"Don't ask mummy for any treats,"  I said to the immensely excited Little Red in the backseat as we parked.  "Or balloons," I hastily added as I saw another little chap emerge from the centre with one.  "If you're a good girl, we'll get an ice-cream after the show."  "Okay mummy," she promised.

Immensely satisfied with myself, we paraded in the doors.  What a paragon of forward-parenting I was!!  Only to discover there were actually no lollies on offer, and much more than just balloons.

There were DORA SHOWBAGS.  $30 each.  And every kid... I joke not, was clutching one.  The pleading began immediately.

"Mummy, I want like the girl has," my pouting princess cried.  "I really really want.  Pwwwwesssee.  PWeeeese mummy!"  I hadn't veoted bags.  Only treats and balloons.  Loop-hole!   Dammit.

"No darling, it's too much moneys."  (30 bucks for a few pencils and stickers in a plastic carry bag?  Are you freaking kidding me?) .  "Remember, we're going to get an icecream afterwards?"  But everything I said fell on deaf ears.

There were still a good 20 minutes until the show started and piggytailed toddlers everywhere were "exploring" their goodie bags with glee; Princess peer pressure at it's finest (and don't those merchandisers know it).   

Little Red's tantrum built to a epic-proportion crescendo, the type which even polite parents have to stare at.  Mummy wasn't budging though.  I won't get sucked into this marketing hype!   I'm too savvy for that.   Ridiculous!

Then she pulls out the big guns.  Dropping her adorable little lip, she sits down on her bottom in the middle of the floor, party frock all askew showing her undies, droops her head dejectedly and says in a small voice, "I don't want to go to see Dora any more."

Hear that?  That's the sound of my heart breaking into a million tiny pieces, and my will simultaneously with it.  FUCK.  I can't spoil her day over a stupid $30.   I bought the damn bag: angels sang, and the sun lit up and shone once more.

In the words of Swiper the fox... "Oh, Man".

Funnily enough, that showbag has actually been worth it's money, with every cheap plastic object pored over a million times since the show. 

Sometimes this parenting thing is crazy hard.  How hard is it to know when something is really, really important to them, when hundreds of really, really important things are asked for every day, refused and forgotten about moments later?  Sometimes their important things are not your important things.  Sometimes their important things come in packages you least expect - plastic, disposable ones.

This, apparently was one of the important things... and I thank my lucky stars I did buy it, because we ended up having a super day.   A memory-making day.

When have you given in to The Drop Lip?  Do you think I did the right thing?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

That gorgeous moment....when they're finally asleep

Oh god I love my little Red. 

But I love her so much more when she's asleep.

Some days I have absolutely no idea how I made it until the end of the day.  I have no idea how someone with two kids make it to the end of their day.  If I had 6 kids, I think I'd probably need Matt Damon to swing in and help me, guns blazing, and shirt torn, and muscles a'sweating, to get to the end of my day.  Hats off to mums of multiples.  Seriously.

Sometimes I think I just have a particularly irksome kid.

There is nothing that I say that is right.  "Why don't you put your leg in this way, sweetheart," I suggest.  "NO, I DO IT!!!!!!!!!!" she says, sticking her foot in the underpants back the front.
"Okay," I say.   And she'll wear them that way the rest of the day.

"Dolly's going to the hairdressers!" I say brightly.  "NO! She's going to the DOCTOR'S. Silly."

"Ooookkkay.  Silly me"

"This is a circle Mummy,"  "Um.  It's more like, a triangle baby".  "IT'S A CIRCLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"



I knew I was stupid but until I had a 3 year old, I didn't realise, exactly how stupid.  (Guess this is good training for teenagehood. )

But now, as I go in to tuck her in... her red hair - that everyone told me since birth would "change", and yet is still as radiant as a summer sunset...that gorgeous hair strewn across her cheek in wet tendrils she won't let me dry.  Face flushed with the tiredness of a long spring day, her little eyelids heavy on the pillow.  A little leg sticking out from the doona, with a tiny sock, I have to adjust so it stays on.

This little miracle transforms in the night.

One day she will be the woman I can't believe came from me. 

I only hope one day she remembers some of this, this love, and thinks me worthy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seduction fail

Sex in a long-term relationship.  My assertion is it's either fraught, virtually non-existant or midly narcotic.  Add in trying to concieve while you have a child already, both working and both exhausted, and it's near on ridiculous... in an I-have-to-laugh-this-is-so-unsexy fashion.

One of the most hilarious aspects I've found is actually having to ask.  Since (excuse my generalisation) it's usually the woman who's tracking her cycle, this duty falls on her - and with a tiny 12-36 hour window to work in, time for subtleties fly out the window.

It's painful.  It's embarrassing.  But it just has to be done.

So here's a short list of the ways I've tried to ahem "seduce" The Tradie over the past months when the clock's gone "ding!".  

1. "Wanna Make Luuuuurve?" : yes, with deliberate Fabio impersonation. (I know, it was an attempt at levity)  I personally wouldn't recommend this method, unless your partner has a penchant for hairy chests, or old men in trenchcoats.

2. "We have to have sex tonight" : Wow, nothing like clean-your-teeth instructions to get that pulse racing.
3. "Let's have sex!" (with hand-clap and bubbly smile):  Yes, it came across as psychotic as it sounds.
4.  "Want to cuddle?":  Only once.  I nearly threw up in my mouth a little even as I said it.
5.  Tried sidling up on the couch and just holding hands suggestively.  I got "You want to watch Underbelly?".  Blokes don't do subtle.
6.  "You got 10 minutes?":  Hey, at least I didn't say five.
7.  My latest attempt, inspired by the movie:  "It's Date Night!"  (groan)

There's just no dignified way to do it.  At all.  For the millionth time I'm very glad I'm not a man.  How do you... ehm, "suggest" nookie to your significant other?  Or are you still in that touch-and-fall-in bed-naturally stage?  (I hate you.)

NB:  I know the above are lame, BUT, in my defense at least I haven't used that favourite of the fertility forums - "Baby Dancing" - a scary euphemism that reminds me of that dancing baby off Ally McBeal.  *shudder*

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The one I should have written on Father's Day.

I know, I know.  I'm a bit late.  But better late than never, hey?

This is my hubby.  He's a pretty simple bloke.  I love that.  I spent years mucking around with swarmy dickheads who did my head in with games; the only game The Tradie plays regularly would be the ones on his PS2.

He's reliable, trustworthy and a super dad.

Tradie wasn't ready to be a dad.  Little Red was what you might call a "happy surprise".  Well, happy for me.  Quite devestating to him.  At the time.  Although we were happily - albeit newly - married, the baby wasn't in the short-term plan just yet.

But he came around, and how.  A part of my metal-loving, guitar-playing, rough and ready, VB drinking lad is a pure, little boy full of wonder and he absolutely delights in his daughter.  She is the great love of his life, and watching them together can often bring a tear to my eye.

It's not been all roses with us.  There's an anger (at himself and the world), impatience and darkness I sometimes feel I can't reach; tantrums that frighten, edges a little too rough.    Maybe I've done something to smooth them a little over the years.... I hope so.   But what I see, and have always seen, is that core of innate 'goodness', that desperation to do the right thing, boundless generosity and the solid values that make me certain we'll grow old together.  He's might be a 'teenage dirtbag' (as the words to one of our favourite old songs went) - but he's my teenage dirtbag.

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong;
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

- Ben Folds "The Luckiest"

Monday, September 5, 2011

Unplugged mama vs. the Screen generation

We watch our four-year-olds frolicking outside, and chat about a fellow playgroup mum's studies.  She's lamenting how many books she has to buy.

"I bet by the time they're at high school they won't even have books," I postulate, gesturing towards our kids.  "It'll all be screens.  They'll just pop along to school with their I-Paddy thingies."

"It's already like that!" says another mum, overhearing.

"No!"  We all exclaim.

"Yes! I know a school where the whole class hires IPads, basically a hire-to-buy system, and there's no books.  They have a Wi Fi signal or something."

We're all amazed.  The future it seems, is already here.....

But my four-year-old could have told me that.  Although the only "screen" she has access to is a television, if anyone in her radius has an IPhone, an IPad, a Kindle, a Nintendo DS, basically anything with a screen, she's onto it in five seconds flat, poking and playing with a dexterity and sophistication that amazes me.

How do they learn this?  I think it's something hardwired in them; our children, born with a mouse in hand.

And you know, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.  I'm delaying the "Screen" thing for as long as I can, but I look forward to the day Little Red can explain to her mum exactly how to download and edit video from the camera; or songs onto my yet-unused MP-3 player.  Or how to play The Sims that's been gathering dust since DH and I gave up on it 6 years ago, or help me figure out which SLR camera to buy.   We can swap novels from our ebook readers, and Skype each other on school camps.

I think it'll be nice to learn something new; and I can tell her how retro and "cool" real books are (were?).

There's another big advantage of this bookless generation, no... two.   Less backaches from carrying heavy school satchels... and, inexpensive textbook downloads for mum. Booyeah :)

Are your kids "plugged in"?  What screens do they have and what are your rules of engagement regarding screen-time?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Working class man

I've always had a bit of a "thing" for tradies. 

Sorry, but I must reference Jimmy Barnes here.  Not the bloated Barnes of now, but the young, buff, slightly dangerous one who sang "Working Class Man"; in front of a field of burning sugar cane, his long hair dripping with sweat, sweat glistening off his slim yet toned pecs in his white t-shirt with the sleeves cut off.

Excuse me while I take a minute. (breathe in)


There's one lyric in particular which always gets me from that song, to this day, and I don't know WHY it evokes such a strong emotional reaction, it just does.

"And he loved a little woman;
One day he'll make his wife...
Saving all the overtime
For the one love of his life."

Now this is incredibly curious, because not only have I never needed a bloke's "overtime" in my entire life, I've usually earned close to twice as much as any guy I've ever been with.  Far from being a helpless little woman.

And yet part of me (that part below the belly button... heh) finds the whole thing *waves hand over the above* incredibly sexy.

It's probably why I'm a serial tradie-dater (and marrier, come to that); and I'm not alone.  Lots of my college-educated girlfriends are exactly the same.  Maybe it's just that coming home to the honest simplicity of someone who can unplug your drain or screw your cabinets together - metaphorically of course - is refreshing.  After all, someone has to understand the intructions from Ikea.

The only problem really, is a difference in energy levels.  Blokes who work hard all day, understandably, want to come home and veg on the couch.  Preferably with a beer.  I swear some days if Jennifer Hawkins sashayed past wearing a thong bikini my husband would ask her to please move out of the way because he's trying to watch Tosh.0.

After sitting in an office all day, I'm exactly the opposite.  I crave some physicality.  Some summer nights, I'd love to go for a family walk after dinner.   On weekends I'd like to go to the park, or ride bikes, horseriding.  Dancing.  Or dammit, even climb a rock wall or two.  But instead I morph into Homer Simpson's sidekick, watching tv beside him.

Anyone else in the same boat?  What does your hubby do and do your energy levels match?