Friday, 5 June 2015

Watch What You Say

When Kalani was born we didn't change much about the way we spoke.  We still used 'colourful' language, talked about other people, discussed Kalani and how little he was sleeping - basically nothing changed.

Then, as Kalani started to grow, we started to watch what we said a bit more.

The first big change was the swearing. Given that small children learning to talk like to copy what YOU say, this was a pretty obvious language change for us to make.  After all, nobody wants their adorable 2 year old swearing like a trooper.

The next change that we consciously made was to stop talking about Kalani as if he wasn't there.  I've often heard other parents continue to talk about their kids when those same children are listening.  "Oh, little Susie is such a good girl, but just won't eat her greens.  She's such a fussy eater".  Then, surprise, surprise, Susie never eats her greens and thinks of herself as a fussy eater for the rest of her life.   A self-fulfilling prophecy.  The same way that if you constantly tell someone that they're stupid, eventually they'll believe it.

Anyway, we thought everything was fine, and we were being mindful of what we were saying until a few weeks ago. We were sitting around having dinner and Kalani asked what a genie was.  I explained it was a kind of magician/wizardy person that lived in a bottle, and if you rub the bottle and the genie comes out then you get 3 wishes.

I'm always curious to know what goes on in Kalani's mind, so I asked him what his 3 wishes would be.  

He said that his first wish would be to have lots of money that he would give to us.


So we asked him (quietly) - "Why?  Why would you give us lots of money?"

"So you can buy the things you need" he said, "To get all the things that you can't buy now because you don't have enough money".


*tear rolls down cheek*

I told Kalani that we didn't need any more money, and we were all so happy just as we are, and then we continued to spend his wishes.. and then ours (if you're interested, Dan wished for world peace and then stuff related to surfing. I wished for Newfoundland to move down next to Australia, another kitten and a puppy).

Obviously Kalani had been listening to our many conversations about money. We've had a rough couple of months, and have spent quite a bit of time discussing how to deal with our various fiscal challenges.  And I know that we talked about everything in front of him, but I really didn't clue in to the fact that he was listening to us.  Really listening.  And I definitely didn't think that it might concern him too.  What a sin - a 5 year old who's worried about his parent's financial situation.

So now we've made a lot more changes to our conversational habits.  We're always, always, always mindful of the fact that Kalani is listening to us.  And while he might not say anything at the time, or even show that he's heard what we're talking about, he's listening.  And we should continuously watch what we say.

PS - Since I started writing this (a few months ago - procrastination is my new middle name!!), we have adopted a new puppy.  Who says that wishes don't come true?!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I'll Try Again Tomorrow

A little while ago I had a really crappy day.  You know the kind - starts off with a cold coffee and then just gets worse and worse.  The main cause was clashing heads with Kalani over everything.  Complaining, whinging, answering back, not listening to anything I was saying.  He was driving me insane.

I yelled a lot that day.  Oh my goodness I yelled a lot *sigh*  And I hate when it gets to that stage, because as soon as I start I feel awful, but I just can't stop.  That was how it all ended.  With me totally losing my shit in the car as we were driving home from the library.  I know that Kalani felt bad as well because he (for once) didn't say anything.  He just sat and took it.  And even as I was roaring at him for being such a selfish child, a little voice was saying 'Stop Stop Stop - He's ONLY 4 - STOOOOP' - but I didn't - I just kept on screaming at him as he sat there.

*sad sad sad*

I felt (and still feel) horrible.

After he went to bed that night I sat down with my laptop and an enormous glass of wine.  I caught up on emails, read some articles (nothing even remotely intellectual - 'How to increase your potassium levels' - 'How to look 20 when you're 40' etc.) and then caught up with Facebook.  As I was trolling through my news feed, there was a quote/saying that really jumped out at me...

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says 'I'll try again tomorrow'"

I think the quote was part of a mental illness awareness campaign or something, and I ignored the bit about courage.  The words that really hit me were "I'll try again tomorrow".

So I'd been a shitty parent and had an appalling day.  Tomorrow is a new day, and on that day I will try this parenting thing again.  I'll try to yell less and to listen more.  I'll try more patience and less anger.  I'll try to motivate and inspire and show him love, instead of making him afraid of me.  I'll try again.  And I'll remember that he is only 4, and 4 year old boys don't always (ever!) act like angels.

I took my decision and my shame and went up to Kalani's room, sat on his bed and watched him sleep (he may not act like an angel, but he looks like one when he's sleeping - arms thrown up over his head - abandoning himself to his dreams).  I kissed his cheek and promised him that I would try to be a better Mummy tomorrow.

Because in the end, that's all any of us can do with anything in life - just keep trying.  

So whatever kind of day you've just had - particularly if it sucked - know that while your slate doesn't necessarily get wiped clean at the end of each day, that you do get redemption of sorts at the start of each day.  You get another a chance to try again.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

2 Glasses of Wine. No Words.

For the last few weeks I've been sitting down every couple of nights, and I've tried to write.  I've got a few ideas floating around, but every time I try to put them to paper they just sound stupid.  They're either too rushed, or I can't get my point across, or I start harping on about one whingy thing or another.  And I know I'm no wordsmith, but I still want to express myself a certain way, it's just that... I can't find the words to say what's in my head.

I've tried different variations of the wine to writing ratio.  Too little wine, and there's not enough inspiration.  Too much and there's more staring into space than actual writing.  I even contemplated starting a spreadsheet to keep track of my findings, but that's just verging on crazy (Natalie!!) and would definitely qualify me as a full time procrastinator.

And it's annoying, because this is something I generally enjoy doing.  Apart from the exercise madness, this is my only 'hobby', and so I want to keep it as something that's fun, not something that I feel I need to do each week.

I used to play a game called WoW (World of Warcraft).  It was actually Dan's game (to begin with), and I just dabbled a little - dressing up characters with different clothes/hairstyles/piercings.  But then I became hooked.  Totally hooked.  And it was no longer Dan's game... it was 100% mine.  I'd get up on a Saturday morning and play - all weekend.  Dan would go out for the evening and I'd stay in and play, play, play.

*contended sigh*

It was awesome.

But then Kalani came along, and I did the 'full-time job during the day'/'full-time parent at night' juggle, and had a lot less time to do anything.  When I did play WoW it wasn't fun anymore.  A lot of the game is task based (e.g. kill 10 panthers, find 20 blue plants) and I resented spending my spare time doing more chores.  I already had a huge To Do list, my idea of fun isn't to add to it.

So I stopped playing.

It took a while to completely stop - any addiction is hard to kick.  But I don't miss it anymore... (though riding around on a dragon is pretty cool, and doesn't happen that often in real life - so maybe I do miss it a bit!).

Anyway, I'm rambling on.  I don't want this (sweeps hands around indicating general blog thing) to suffer the same fate as WoW has in my life, and so perhaps I need to be more relaxed about it.  I like writing here because, very weirdly, it makes me feel a lot more connected to all of you.  I might not see you every day... or even every year, but by doing this I really feel like we're having a catch-up.  Yes, it's slightly one-sided, but it's still a conversation, and conversation with a good friend is always fun and not something that's hard to do, or that needs to be scheduled into a weekly task list.

And so now, after writing this (points at screen), I feel happy about this (sweeps hands around indicating bloggy thing) again.  After all, we've just had a great catch up.  It's almost like we've just spent the evening together, though you were a little quiet - you should really speak up next time!  


Well I've just finished my first glass of wine.  By my reckoning it's about time for me to stare into space and dream that I live somewhere warm... with a beach... and a little puppy with floppy ears and big paws... and a big fire-breathing dragon that I can fly around on and shoot great jets of flame at evil trolls that are trying to turn puppies into zombies and ...


More wine anyone?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Saber-Tooth Tiger Survival 101

I really wanted to name this one "Survivor" (you know, after the Destiny's Child song) because after last weeks post I felt a bit of an old-song theme starting, but I realised it would look far too melodramatic.  Anyway, hum a few lines with me ...

I'm a Survivor
da da da make it
la la la la la
dum dum dee dum dum

Rightio - back to the serious stuff.

A few weeks ago I wrote about feeling lucky.  And I mentioned the ectopic thing.  And I don't want to harp on about it again and again and again, but then I thought, that I do think about that day a lot.  All the time in fact.  And it's not in some "oh poor me" way, it's just reliving some small part of the day. And I could talk about it all the time.  I don't though, I mention it on here more than in real life, but if someone does get me started then I'll just keep going until they fall asleep.

I thought it was just me.  A Liffey-ism.  Until I was in the kitchen at work talking to 2 work colleagues.  One who's just recently come back to work after being quite ill.  It turns out that they both had very similar conditions - and they started comparing stories and discussing treatments and side affects and all sorts.  I was walking away leaving them to it, when I heard one of them say "I could talk about this stuff all day".

And it made me think.  These 2 people had survived something quite scary and mean and deadly.  They were survivors.  And they were sharing their survival stories... finding the parts that they had in common and the parts that were different.  It's so strange - you'd think that after going through horrific experiences that people would want to move on and forget, and I'm sure that lots of people do have that approach, so why do some of us want to ... not dwell on it, but just keep remembering?

It could be that we're self-absorbed and just like to talk about ourselves (she says writing a blog all about herself!), but I don't think that's it.  I think we want to share our experiences because we're saying ... "We Beat Death".  And yes, that does sound overly melodramatic, but it's true.  It's kind of a big deal don't you think?

Maybe the same types of stories started when we were cave men discussing tips on how to get the better of the neighbourhood saber-tooth tiger.  Without those stories, we might not be here today.  So if you've gone through something craptastic and you want to share - I say go for it.  Don't go crazy and shout your story from the rooftops (unless that's your thing), but talk talk talk about it.  It will probably make you feel better - sharing always does.  And who knows, it might contain the one tip that keeps the human race going for another 100 000 years.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Insane In Da Membrane ...

... Insane. In Da Brain ...

Remember that song...  from the *cough* 90's?  Ahhh - loved it.

Anyway.  Have you heard of Insanity?  It's a crazy workout DVD series.  Each session is anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour long, and the main aim is to make you throw up because it's so flipping hard.

Yes, well, last year, when I turned 40, Dan gave me the Insanity DVD's for my birthday.


Yup - seriously!

I'm not really sure how he managed to do that and still lives. He has the knack though of making everything seem so happy and un-mean.  Schmoozer!

So, given that I actually did need to do some kind of exercise, I started last October.  The program is meant to take 9 weeks.  It took me 13.  It also didn't work.  I mean I did almost throw up every time I did a workout, and it made me insanely hungry, but when I finished I didn't look like the girls in the DVD.

Waste of time?

Well actually no.  Here's the thing.  I really enjoyed it.  So much so, that when I finished I felt kind of lost... until I got a hold of the next Insanity DVD workout set - a 30 minute version with the same trainer.

Anyway, the actual workout isn't the point here, it's the fact that doing exercise makes me happy.


I quite honestly NEVER thought that I'd be the type of person who did exercise because I enjoyed it.  But I do now.  If I miss a few days I get down, and I even miss the crazy trainer.  It feels like he's a part of our family (I know that Dan won't mind because I'm pretty sure he feels the same - ha ha!).

And another big upside (apart from the happy beans), is that now when someone asks me what I do for fun (which is the kind of question I HATE being asked, because before I'd mumble something about reading, eating cookies and guzzling wine), I reply ...

Going Insane!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Don't be such a Cranky Pants

A few years ago I was walking across the park just in front of our house.  It was spring, so all the snow had melted and the grass was starting to return to the greener end of the dead spectrum.  It wasn't particularly warm, and I don't think the sun was even out, but I was skipping.  Skipping across the grass feeling so SO happy.

I was on my way home from a medical checkup after the whole ectopic malarky and I was counting my blessings... again.  I felt so lucky to be alive, and realised how blessed I was just to be able to walk/skip across the park like a lunatic.

Fast forward to today.

Today I was grumpy.  For no good reason really - I was just in a grumpy mood.  Too much to do.  No time for 'play'. Snow all over the place. Anyway, this afternoon, I had to walk my cranky pants self across the park... and I remembered the feeling I had walking across that other time... 

So I might not have all the children that I'd like, and my family might live on the other side of the planet, I feel like I've turned into an old woman overnight and I constantly end the day feeling like I haven't had time to breathe until that minute because things are just too busy... but ...

I have a wonderful little family - Dan and Kalani and even our two crazy cats.  I have a child.  Millions of women don't get the chance to have one child.  Or they have so many that they can't afford to clothe and feed them (I met a lady the other day who was about to have her sixth child.... yup - you read right, SIXTH!!).

So my family lives a 31 hour plane journey away.  But at least I get to go and see them when I can, and they're all healthy and happy and not living in the middle of a civil war or a famine or ... America! 

Yes, I've just turned that awful four. zero. age (which btw is not just a frickin number... it's VERY. VERY. OLD).  At least I get to grow old. I might not be doing it very gracefully, but I am able to do it.

And yes, my life is busy. Whose isn't?  Work can be crazy and all encompassing, and there's the constant guilt that I'm not doing either of my jobs well (mother/wife and the one that I actually get paid for), but ... at least I have a job.  A job that I enjoy, and am qualified for (i.e. I'm not a surgeon driving a taxi because my new country of residence won't recognise my medical degree).

So my point is this.  I'm sure that everyone of you goes through grumpy stages like I do, and I'm sure that you don't always have good days.  You'd have to be on drugs for everything to be sunshine and roses all the time.  But... is your life really that bad?  Have you looked around you, or even looked inside you... and seen all that you do have?  I bet you've got it pretty good!

And if you can't see just how very lucky you are, then just be thankful that you don't live in north-eastern Nigeria, wondering if your town will be wiped out next.  

See - things aren't so bad after all are they!

Life. Is. Good.  

Sunday, 11 January 2015

New Years Resolutions

I don't make New Years Resolutions. I'm not sure if I ever have. Or maybe I did make one once, but then immediately broke it so decided that it's a waste of time to try again.

Anyway, I don't make New Years Resolutions, but if I did they would be:
  1. Stop drinking so much (I write this while drinking my 2nd glass of white wine for the evening).
  2. Stop being so lazy (after I finish this I will probably go to bed .... to sleep!).
  3. Be more patient with Kalani (which is not at all related to my next resolution)
  4. Be more patient with stupid people.
Okay, so maybe number 4 would never be achievable.

Who am I kidding. None of those are remotely achievable!

Happy New Year everyone. I am hoping to do this blogging thingie a little more this year. It's not a resolution, or a promise, or anything official... just a thought.  

So don't hold me to it.