Mum-mum-mum

…I do so hope this is Zulu’s first word. Alpha went with dad-dad-da – it’s only fair I get one, right? Right?

Anyway.

It’s Mother’s Day – the annual day of carnations, soggy toast in bed and “sleep-ins”. I thought I’d share some great posts about it that I’ve found in my travels because I’m planning on being far too busy relaxing to write anything.

Firstly – and most importantly – not everyone celebrates on Mother’s Day. For some, it it like Hallmark Valentine’s Day when you’re single – it hurts every year and always will. This beautiful post from The Peacock Quill puts it far more eloquently than I can.

Along a similar line is Perfection Pending with this post. I really love that this challenges mums to keep an eye on their expectations.

Just to lighten things a little – here’s an older post from Illustrated With Crappy Pictures. It’s all true. All of it. Although I’d kind of like the trinkets too. 🙂

Then there’s this post from The Ugly Volvo – all she wants for Mother’s Day is for her husband to experience labor. I particularly love that the focus isn’t on punishing her husband – it’s simply about helping him fully comprehend what she’s been through.

Another favourite blog of mine is Cake Wrecks. This page is very often hysterically funny, and this post about Mother’s Day cakes is no exception. For the record, it’s not always a great idea to read this page while you’re eating…

And finally, a very special post from one of my new favourite blogs, The Honest Toddler. I just so happened to be chopping onions when I read it. Darn things made me tear up.*

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. Enjoy your day today, regardless of how/if you celebrate!

* No onions were harmed in the writing of this blog.

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Getting Crafty

The other day I told you about watching Finding Nemo with Alpha.  In the end I resolved to stick with shows like Peppa Pig and Play School.  Play School is Alpha’s current obsession, and I can’t say I’m upset.  I love Play School for so many reasons – one of them being that I watched it as a little girl.  It’s a locally-produced show using Australian talent (mostly drawn from Home and Away, it seems).  It’s all focused on early childhood learning – everything is done deliberately.  There’s plenty of singing and dancing, and it’s a great way to discover new books to read.

All of those things are great.  The main thing I love about Play School is that it isn’t perfect.  Sometimes the singing is a little out of time.  Sometimes the costumes they make for themselves out of newspaper fall apart.  It is very obvious to an adult that it is done in close to one take.  I love that.  I’d much rather they focus their time on what they present, rather than how.  Sometimes things get a little weird (like the episode they sang Tom Jones’ “What’s New, Pussycat?”), but I haven’t seen a single episode that I object to.  I’m very much looking forward to the Play School concert that I have tickets to in October.

Another element that is far from perfect is the craft activities they do.  Some days they look like one big Pinterest Fail.  They don’t paint things completely – or they go way outside the lines.  The colours don’t match.  Patterns are out of whack.  Edges are far from straight and some things fall apart almost immediately.

I love it.

Why?  It’s achievable.  I can do that.  Pretty much anyone can do that.

I’m from a ridiculously creative family (seriously, half my family have works in galleries). Me? Not as talented. I’m not totally hapless, but I’m pretty average when it comes to the creative side of things. I watch home improvement shows and read craft magazines and know what I make will never wind up looking the same. So it’s an enormous relief to see the professionals making stuff that I’ve got half a shot of replicating.

I’ve come to realise that craft doesn’t have to be perfect or even complicated to enthral a toddler.

Seriously.

I recently stuck some pom-poms on a cardboard roll. Alpha instantly announced it was his rocket and has been carrying it around proudly for a month.

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The Rocket – clearly my son has an impressive imagination.

After realising this, I’m trying to challenge myself to do more craft at home with the boys. To keep myself accountable, I’m going to try and post about one no-talent-required craft project a week. I can almost guarantee they won’t be perfect. The aim is to keep them uncomplicated and achievable – just like Play School. I hope you enjoy them as much as I intend to.

Here’s today’s craft activity to kick us off.

How to go on a day trip with kids and a head cold in 31 easy steps

1. Do not leave the house with your kids for two days while they have colds. Decide you are leaving the house the following day no matter what happens.

2. Wake up feeling like death warmed up. Look in the mirror and discover you only look marginally better. Remember your determination to leave the house. Groan inwardly.

3. Realise you can’t manage a third day at home with the kids as you observe your toddler emptying all the toys into the floor and bounce off the roof. Decide against making any plans before you’ve had panadol, breakfast and coffee.

4. As the fog around your brain slowly dissipates, reluctantly decide against sharing your germs with your mothers’ group. Arrange to have lunch with your brother at the bookstore he works at so you can buy a christening present.

5. Place baby in his cot and turn Play School on for toddler so you can shower in desperate hope that you’ll feel human afterwards. Leave bathroom door open so you can hear any interactions. Call toddler’s name occasionally to check for response. Realise this feels oddly similar to playing Marco Polo in the pool.

6. Finish shower and realise you still feel sub-human. Go to check on baby and discover toddler in cot with baby. Try not to think about how he got there. Get kids dressed and sit down on couch to finish watching Play School with toddler.

7. Discover baby has fallen asleep in your arms. Place in cot. Make yourself a second cup of coffee while you wait for him to wake up. Make mental note to take some painkillers with you for your next dose. Thoroughly enjoy hot cup of coffee. Pack nappy bag for your trip.

8. Feed screaming baby when he wakes. Place baby on ground and wipe puke off shoulder. Remind toddler babies are not for jumping on.

9. Gather children and belongings and head to door. Pause when you smell something suspicious. Change toddler’s nappy. Decide the only thing good about a head cold is the greatly diminished sense of smell.

10. Repeat step nine with baby.

11. Leave house. Catch train to your destination with no mishaps. Observe on the way that you’ve dressed your boys in the same colours for the fourth day in a row.

12. Meet your brother in the cafe attached to the bookshop. Hand him the baby after he orders lunch. Begin spooning orange vegie mush into baby’s mouth. Sigh as baby’s flailing hand catches the loaded spoon and sends a fine spray of orange vegie mush across the wall.

13. Smile in relief when your coffee and lunches arrive. Watch in abject horror as your baby swipes the burger patty off your brother’s plate. Retrieve it from the floor. Swap lunches with your brother. Take baby back and hold on lap while you alternate bites your your lunch and spoons into his mouth.

14. Turn to discover toddler has spilled half a milkshake in his lap. Stuff a handful of serviettes over the carnage and pretend nothing has happened. Strongly encourage toddler to eat his lunch. Finish lunch and say goodbye to your brother.

15. Move to children’s section of store. Release your toddler into the small enclosed play area while you browse. Leave disgruntled baby in bottom of the pram to make room for your bag and books in the main seat. Finish and inform toddler you need to go and pay so that he can play in the big playground.

16. Be lulled into a false sense of security when he instantly complies with your direction. Make it halfway towards the counter before he suddenly bolts across the store. Sprint Jog haggard lay while pushing your overloaded pram after your nimble child.

17. Ditch the pram at a counter and ask the staff to watch it while you chase your toddler around the shelves of bibles. Catch your nimble child and escort him bag to the pram.

18. Wrestle your shrieking banshee-octopus beloved firstborn son into the pram while standing in front of a display of books on parenting. Add two to your purchases once your toddler is safely restrained. Move to the counter and buy the books.

19. Observe the baby has fallen asleep. Release toddler into play area and sink into seat. Realise instantly this is a mistake as you are now exhausted.

20. Look over to see your child standing motionless, slightly bent, with a look of sheer concentration on his face. Retrieve your stinky offspring and relocate to the change room.

21. Wrestle toddler onto change table and change his nappy. Hear sudden screams from the bottom of the pram – realise the dulcet tones of your oldest has woken his slumbering brother.

22. Replace screaming toddler with screaming baby. Finish changing baby and replace in pram. Turn and discover toddler is drenched to the waist after playing with taps. Return toddler to pram. Reassure yourself your hearing will return shortly. Pick baby out of pram to stop him screaming for a drink. Place bags in bottom of pram. Leave bathroom.

23. Decide once back in the store to place baby in ergo for safe transport. Retrieve ergo from bottom of the pram, emptying half a litre of water from your water bottle on to the floor as you do. Strap the ergo on whilst holding baby. (I have no idea how I managed that)

24. Notify staff of water on the floor. Return to cafe and order coffee. Sit and feed baby. Bribe toddler with iPad. Realise as you drink your coffee that this is the second you’ve had since you went out…and you had two at home. Two and two equals four…yes? No? Not enough? You’re not sure anymore.

25. Leave for train. Realise your head is pounding in time with your feet. Search your bag for the painkillers you reminded yourself to bring. Discover that you didn’t put them in. Find full bottle of children’s nurofen. Calculate volume needed for adult dosage of 400mg (there are some advantages to being a nurse). Decide a headache is better than 20mL of sickly sweet medication.

26. Get on train. Encourage toddler to close his eyes and rest. Display no surprise when he refuses. Keep eyes open for remainder of trip.

27. Get off train and head for home via supermarket to pick up a few items. Glance down and realise your toddler’s eye are barely open. Race around and get the bare essentials (lemsip and chocolate), pleading with your child to stay awake for another five minutes.

28. Make it home before he falls asleep (latest trick – getting him to wriggle his toes). Lug all belongings upstairs. Put Play School on for kids.

29. Sit rocking slightly in corner with lemsip, chocolate, a blanket and your glitter bottle until it’s time to make dinner.

30. Plan to take tomorrow off sick.

31. Remember you’re a stay-at-home-mum. Laugh wildly.

Today’s Zero to Hero post was inspired by the prompt “two plus two equals four: yes or no?” I didn’t know what to write about.

Until I counted my coffee intake for the day.

Glitter Bottles

And now for something completely different…

Today’s Zero to Hero task is to write a post inspired by another blogger. I’ve selected Crumbs Off The Table as my inspiration today.  Most of the posts I’ve read on her blog have fantastic ideas of fun things to do, like this.  I wanted in, so I went looking for something fun to do.

I stumbled upon this fantastic idea – glitter bottles.  I’ve read of people using them as an alternative to doing ‘time outs’ for their kids.  Always keen for new options to help my boys learn to behave, I pretty much leapt on this.

I took Alpha shopping to buy the supplies we needed. Turns out it’s not a brilliant idea to take a toddler with an umbrella into a craft store. We made it out more or less unscathed after Alpha picked the colours he wanted in his bottle (blue glitter glue and purple fine glitter). I also found an appropriate sized bottle. For the record, 16.9 ounces is pretty much 500mL – I really don’t understand the imperial system.

I then decided to wait until the perfect moment to create my Alpha’s glitter bottle. Naturally this turned out to be after 11pm on the last Sunday of the school holidays. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much I could do to get myself in trouble. I’m pretty sure the glitter will wash out of the sink eventually. Check out the link above for the full instructions. I’d only add a couple of hints – rinse the bottle thoroughly after washing with soapy water, and put a piece of paper towel under the bottle while you pour in the glitter.

The results are completely mesmerising. I put the bottle on the window will in front of me while I washed up (I do my best housework after 10pm) and it was so ridiculously calming. I’m not actually sure I want to surrender it to Alpha now.

So there you go. I suspect we’ll need the bottle tomorrow when Daddy is back at work and it’s only me on deck. Would it be weird to say I’m looking forward to my toddler getting in trouble? Is it okay if I put myself in time out so I can watch the glitter bottle?

I have a suspicion I’ll be making a few more of these…