The day Santa was Busted: Should I Exchange or give him the gift anyway?

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Santa was nearly busted in our house yesterday. After realizing I was officially flying by the seat of my Christmas pants, 9 days out and only having  purchased a money tin and some slime, panic officially set in.

My husband arrived home early for the first time in months so I jumped into the car and raced to the shops to at least get the main presents for my two boys. I managed to chuck a few other things in the trolley and set off home again. Proud of my fruitful and sneaky shopping venture I walked through the font door with a smugness ( because nothing  can be sneaky when you have 3 children, if i’m caught in the shower alone I am glared at like I have cheated on them).

I warned my husband not to let the kids go to the car as the haul was in the back seat. Not quite sure why I said that as they wouldn’t normally go to the car alone anyway. But there’s a first day for everything! An hour later after discovering the front passenger door wide open my stomach dropped to the floor. One of the kids had been into the car, and I knew immediately it was my eldest, sneakiest son who had been snooping. I knew he would have seen the lot. After some questioning he admitted to ‘just seeing the nerf guns’- so obviously he had also seen the two scooters from Santa right next to the guns too. My heart sank. The boys had only the day before asked Santa for the scooters and here I was with 2 in the back seat. I was so upset thinking he had uncovered the secret at the age of 6. I nearly cried.

So here I am  9 days out wondering what to do. Obviously I have to now say that Santa wasn’t bringing scooters because he noticed mummy had bought them but I’m faced with one of those motherly moments where you know you should teach your child a life lesson. Should I return the scooter that he saw and getting something else? or continue to give it to him on Christmas Day knowing he will not be surprised? I just don’t know what to do with this one…should I teach him a lesson or is the lesson going to be about letting him spoil his own surprise?

I have spoken to a few different people but everyone had a different opinion on what was the best thing to do.

So What would you experienced mummies do?

 

 

a little bit of mindfulness in between the madness 

  
I used to spend a fair bit of time drafting my posts – but 3 children down and I rarely find time to change toilet rolls these days so my new idea is to just scrap the planning and write… Mistakes and everything. Won’t make for the most exciting read you’ve ever had but who knows-Maybe I’ll begin managing more then 1 post a year again.

On Saturday I escaped my house, the kids and my husband and went to the beach. At first I couldn’t get out quick enough. After a months of no sleep, a busy husband and feeling very much like I was responsible for everything and everyone in our house  i needed to get away, if only for a couple of hours. I was exhausted and sat on the sand with coffee in hand. The sun was on my face and sound of the water was all I could hear, it had always been so calming for me. I sat quietly – wanting to enjoy every bit of the ‘no- fighting’ ‘no-crying’ ‘no – whinging’ that wasn’t going on. After an hour or so my desperate need to get away had dissolved into the sand beneath me and I was filled with intense gratitude. After a year of trying to force myself to be ‘mindful’ and to enjoy practicing ‘mindfulness- despite hating the voice of the silly man on the app that was recommended to me, it all suddenly clicked into place.

All it took was some time away, some mindfulness, to again appreciate what I have around me. 

Aside from taking the photo i was able to sit for 2 hours without looking at a screen. I’m starting to believe our need to have constant contact with our phones and a life that isn’t ours or isn’t lived out in front of us maybe the catalyst for us all feeling the need to lead ‘better lives’ to eat ‘better food’, that being a mum and beingaverage isn’t  enough. When since should you feel like a lazy ass because you’re not running a ‘mummy business?… I’m flat out just trying to keep the children alive let alone sewing vintage bibs and screen printing owls onto organic monochrome jumpsuits in the 2 spare minutes I have for the day. 
I took this picture to remind me of this feeling next time I feel like escaping….to remind me to turn it all off and to just face the sun and enjoy being average. 

and then there were these two…………………

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I love teaching. I could probably count on one hand the times I have woken in the morning and not wanted to go to school, five of these times would have been as a result of repulsive adult behaviour, not that of the students.

I have found that children make the best colleagues in the world. They turn up each day with a clean, new slate. They don’t harbour resentment from the day before when you lost your temper, they sing to you when it is your birthday, and they are never shy of a hug when you are feeling down. They are honest. If you have worn the same shoes 3 days in a row, they will want to know why. If you haven’t washed your hair in a while, they will notice when you finally do and if you are a bitch- they will let you know. If you are absent- they miss you like crazy and in Term 4 when it is time for them to leave, they will remember the time spent with you years after you have forgotten them. It often scares me to think that in reality my students will spend more waking hours with me, than they will with their own parents. In a year they become my family, and above all they become ‘my children’.

Someday’s under the sea of paper work and red tape, you forget that what you are doing matters to someone. You may not have realised it, but as a teacher you make someone’s day ‘every’ day.

This past month Two students have reminded me that I am human. When I doubted my ability, they confirmed it for me. When I thought things were hopeless and that teaching was just getting too hard, they have reminded me it is all worth it. I just wanted to share their stories.

After only seven weeks into the school term, my teaching partner and I were confronted with a rather tricky case of bullying. This young lady was terrified of telling us in case she experienced any backlash but eventually she came forward and we helped her as best as we could. Today in the mad rush just after the school bell she handed me this beautiful letter. To be honest I am not sure what to be more excited about- the gorgeous message or the fact it had full stops, capitals AND paragraphs!!

To Mrs R

Thankyou for being a great teacher yesterday. You and Mr A did an awesome job.

I now feel very comfortable and know to come to one of you when a problem at school pops up out of nowhere.

Thankyou for asking me if I was ok yesterday. i know I can trust the year 6 teachers 100%. Thank you so much for everything. I look forward to spending the year with you guys.

Love Ellie xx

On a sadder note, last month I received the devastating news  that one of my previous students from Adelaide had passed away suddenly at aged 18.  On hearing the news, my heart just ached as it hasn’t quite done before. I didn’t have my own children when I taught her, but knew that after three years in my class that she had become like my own. After three years of sharing everyday with this gorgeous girl, it was incomprehensible that something had taken her away from a life that she hadn’t yet lived and was fighting so hard to keep. Her smile was contagious and not since have I met more gentle, loving and compassionate soul. As a Catholic, I have always believed that we go somewhere else after death and have always sought comfort from this belief,  but I must admit that on hearing this news that my beliefs were challenged significantly. I can swallow the heaven stuff when it comes to the those who have lived a good life, but for the first time this explanation was just not good enough. it made no sense that a young life could be here one day talking to a good friend of mine (The fabulous Ms Ellem) in the shopping centre, remembering the fun time she she spent with us in year 6 and then be gone forever a short few days later. For days after I couldn’t get this young girl out of my thoughts. If I felt like this as her teacher, how the hell would you go on as her mother. Being interstate, I couldn’t attend her funeral and feel a great deal of guilt about this, but while searching my email for some old units of work I found these emails she had written to me in the years after I had moved away. Writing was never her strength but she certainly made up for this in personality. Just as she always could in life, she brought a smile to my face again in death. (love how she spelt report!)

Subject: Re: Jaymie report
Date: Wed, 5 May 2010 16:14:42 -0700

heeyy what have you been up i love high school so much i have made heaps of friends i am doing good are you still teaching  whaen are you coming back down
 
love you
Jaymie xxx

and this one……………………………..

Subject: Jaymie report
>
> Dear Mrs B,
>
> I got my report on the 24th of june and mum and dad were so proud of
> me and i hope you are to. 

I got
 religion c with my effort being good
english c with my effort being good and writing satisfactory
maths c with my effort being good
society and environment b with effort being outstanding
 science b with my effort being outstanding 

design and technology c with my effort being satisfactory

 health c with my effort being good

the arts c with my effort being satisfactory
 
 music c with my effort being good

 italian c with my effort being satisfactory

p.e c with my effort being satisfactory
I am so proud of my reprot
 Love Jaymie

What am I thinking….I could never leave this job.

New Year, New job and the Glass-Uterus Effect

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Tomorrow is my first day at a new school. Since arriving in Queensland 6 years ago I have been extremely lucky to have remained employed at the same wonderful school, conveniently located ten minutes from home. I remember my first day six years ago. Having just moved from a really tough school in the dry, northern suburbs of Adelaide I arrived at what looked like a tropical holiday resort. With a golf club across the road, the Surfers Paradise skyline in the background and a lake right in the middle of the school oval.  I remembered thinking, ‘we’re definitely not in Elizabeth’ any more, closely followed up with ‘I probably won’t need to worry about my car being stolen while it’s parked out there’.

During my time there I have welcomed my two beautiful boys, and to be honest it has become more of a social outing than a job. Amongst the staff are teachers who have become great friends, and in some instances I have taught all siblings from the same family. For a school that was only ever meant to be a temporary stop gap while we figured out if we wanted to stay on the Gold Coast, It turns out to be the longest stint I have had in any one setting. My second home.

I am so sad to leave, but so excited to move forward. After a lot of thought my decision was confirmed last week while watching my friends prepare to go back to the classroom full time. At my school it was full time for me or nothing. That is the problem with teaching, it is often all in or nothing.

After applying for jobs close to home and being honest about my plans to have more children, I was met with ‘In light of what we discussed, there won’t be any suitable positions for next year’ and I totally get it. Being that I am on contract, I am a liability in a classroom. Having a class is like taking guardianship of 30 little lives for a the whole year- not just for two or three terms until I dare decide to have a child in the middle of a school year. Before I  hear gasps of ‘discrimination’ it is so not like that. If you are permanent then you have a rite of return as a part time teacher. As a contract staff member I was lucky to have been looked after as long as I have been between having my children. To be fair, If it hadn’t been for stopping to have babies I would have had a permanent position here in Queensland as well as in Adelaide. They call it the glass ceiling effect- a woman’s inability to progress as far as a male in the same work place, and it is alive and kicking in the teaching profession. I just call it the ‘glass uterus effect’. Our progression is severely affected by our biological requirement to stop and have children, and lets face it, that is just tough shit! You can’t have years off and expect to be the boss when you get back!

So I’ve gone further a field for a 3 day classroom position (job share), and I couldn’t be more excited. Rather than dreading the return to full time work and leaving the boys, I can have my class…and eat it too (oops…cake).  Yes it is half hour away, and yes it’s not as pretty as where I was, but it is the best option for my young family at this moment in our short time together.

Teachers out there will appreciate the lack of ownership and achievement you feel when you don’t have your own class. We didn’t get into this profession to teach 12 lessons of back to back library lessons for prep children. On most days this involves getting them safely to the library without losing one or all of them as they cross the yard like a flock of sheep, sending at least three with sore fingers to the sick bay, a poo in the pants, having my feet rubbed (not so bad) and at least 3 comments about why I’m wearing the same clothes as last week.   (FYI you kids are just seeing me at the start of my washing cycle)

So tomorrow I meet my teaching partner and see what will be my new ‘home’ for a while. For some strange reason, what would have made me sick with anxiety once upon a time, is now so exciting! Maybe it’s called growing up.

Wish me luck 🙂

Have I become one of ‘Those’ Mums?

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Today I broke up with my four year old’s swimming teacher. Well, in actual fact she broke up with me and I am still furious about it.  This was such a shock as there have been many times in my life where I have not been able to hold my tongue when confronted with rude people. Look, admittedly I do have an extremely low tolerance for stupidity and even less tolerance for unnecessary rudeness or bad attitudes from complete strangers. I, like many others can also appreciate a bit of rudeness where rudeness is warranted. I am usually the first to throw out a few colourful f-bombs or go for in for the kill when I feel something to be unjust like my pet hate of people pushing in, but this lady or should I say Sergeant (I know this as she reminded me 99 times ‘I am ex-military you know’) really takes the cake. For the first time or maybe the second in recent years, I said NOTHING. I remained cheerful as I gritted my teeth. I tried to ignore the hot burning sensation of fury as I hurriedly dressed my son to leave, knowing he would be listening to every word to coming pouring from my mouth. I walked out in shock and at that point I was still unsure what to do.

Anyway between her outright rudeness, pretending she didn’t receive text messages or emails, talking to the children like ‘dogs’ or sorry ‘soldiers’, her ridiculous logic regarding make-up lessons and her insistence on me joining Facebook in order to communicate with her on any level, enough was enough. Today after my son continued to cry through her lesson she responded with ‘I can refund your money if your’re not happy, I have a waiting list and plenty of clients’. Excuse me crazy lady but isn’t this your job? You are getting paid a decent hourly rate to help children overcome a fear of water, not to create one!

In a way I am proud of the pleasant way in which I responded to her behaviour today. I contained my shock and simply sent an email accepting her offer to cancel our lessons if we weren’t happy, but then a part of me is feeling as though I have let my self down. Perhaps I should have told the truth in my cancellation email and told her exactly why we were cancelling.  There’s always a part of me that needs to fight the fight, but lately much of me says ‘ Is it really worth it?’. I know I would’ve walked away feeling like crap.

Later today, while researching other swim schools in the area I had a horrible thought that maybe I had just become one of ‘those mums’. The mums who fight for their children so hard that they become the habitual school hoppers, the soccer club leavers or the dance school deserters. Maybe I should have put up with her rudeness and returned the following week? Maybe my child should get used to being petrified and scared to death of another adult? Maybe it will build resilience? My heart tells me I did the right thing but my mind is still playing out the argument I should have had. He is only 4. I was disgusted that I had watched him in tears today as ‘she’ tried to blame his fear on ‘behaviour’ rather than that she was a cold, harsh nut case who needed to calm down a bit. We are not trying to qualify for the Olympics over here.My son had no fear of swimming until this lady took over the lessons a few weeks back. Fill in the blanks lady..I mean ‘sergeant’.

As a teacher, I am a huge advocate for challenging the comfort zones of a child, so would hope that I have been able to separate what is helping and what is hindering. I continually preach about the disabling consequences of parents rescuing children and making life ‘breezy’ with no hurdles to jump and removing fears to conquer. This type of ‘helicopter parenting’ results in generations of children who can’t solve a simple problem like finding a pencil, and generations who can’t apply for a job without mum and dad holding their hand at the interview (true story).

But alas, as the evening draws to close and  I finish writing this blog, I receive a rude reply from her saying only ‘money will be in your account in three working days’. There I was this afternoon constructing a polite and cheerful email to ensure our agreement ended on a positive note. What a waste of time. Just goes to prove that regardless of how much I have learnt to control my own behaviour, some people are just Assholes!

Surely someone else has gone through this,  or am I just one of those mums?

Third Time Lucky or Three’s a crowd?

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So those of you with children will be familiar with the mad battle that us 20 to 40 something’s have from time to time. Life is going smoothly, the kids are getting older and dare I say ‘easier’. The baby bags are getting smaller and at times can be forgotten altogether . No more looking down at my hands at the supermarket and realising there’s actual poo on them, and no more frantically searching for somewhere to expose my underwear, floppy belly,breasts and nipples to strangers whilst trying to convince myself  that it is totally normal to do so in order to feed my child.    ( which I still have not achieved and sorry guys I will just never be a’ just yank it out,’ type of gal ‘)

The nights are beginning to feel like nights again- full of sleep and guilt free red wines. Then there’s me. I am standing at the station waiting for the train…one is headed to ‘Normal Town’ where bodies have returned to a semi-human looking state after housing two big boys and then the  brain is beginning to turn back towards ‘worky’ type things rather than the big issues in life. Like When will Playschool tour Brisbane again? and Did you know that the new cafe down the street has a kids play area ? #serenity #newhome #myshout.

I can finally start to sit down with my child-less friends for at least one sip of coffee before running off mid sentence to capture a pint sized escapee who becomes an expert at locating the nearest $2 shopping centre ride. Within minutes of seeing your weary bottom hit the chair the toddler radar is alerted to the next colourful target. (This months $2 mechanical miracle ride is the Peppa Pig’s rotating rocket, conveniently located right outside the coffee shop.)

Then there is the other train…roaring into the station at full steam ahead, it’s the train back to what I affectionately like to call ‘Crazy Town’. Yep, that’s right the one where you and your husband discuss ‘trying for a third baby’. I mean what a great idea! Life is good, life is calm, let’s go muck it all up, rewind ourselves a few years and head  back to crazy town! Are we nuts? There are days where I think, I can’t even handle the two I have, why would I add to this madness? It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t even do food shopping without my chicken being hurled from the trolley at passers by and my watermelon being poked to death by little fingers…..well actually this was last week (boys and shops huh!)

Though it seems everyone has an opinion on the matter. Having two beautiful boys, people just love  telling us how we should be trying for a girl. Yes if I am honest, despite being a huge lover of boys, with two beautiful baby boys already of course I would love a girl to finish our family. Admittedly I  wouldn’t know what to do upon opening a nappy with no willy in it, but am up for the challenge. However, we go into this decision knowing that due to family history the odds are stacked and a third boy will be our  cherry on top. We go into this decision trying for a third healthy baby, and not for a girl. When this baby business started we just wanted three humans in our life….so lets not get picky.

Then there are those from 3 sibling families who say the dynamics were a nightmare. Three’s a crowd they say, ‘there’s always one left out’ or ‘there’s always a weird one with three’ . We get it. Three means new car, new house and no holidays until 2099, but  I just don’t feel finished at 2. Maybe it’s because I myself am from a two child family. Maybe it’s because I feel like my brother was my best friend, and with just two of us, when he’s not there, I have no one. Maybe because I loved the chaos that would occur in the morning at my best friends house with four kids running around. I am sure she got sick of constantly sharing a room with her sisters, or getting hand me downs, but I am also sure she is grateful today for those memories. Or maybe it is because even at my age, I still hate being alone.

So the next  train to crazy town is fast approaching the station, and I am pretty sure we will hop on and see where it takes us.

(NB- for friends and family this train will not be leaving until after Christmas due to mummy’s appreciation of wine during the festive season)

Oh and I almost forgot, If you are one of three and are sitting there thinking, “What is she on about?, there wasn’t a weird one in our house” then it was probably you.

 

 

Cheers to Friday and Hairy Big Toes

As it is Fun Friday I wanted to celebrate like the working people do, I thought I would give you the Top 9 comments from my second day back at work. I have started doing a few relief days here and there, which I am absolutely loving. Just enough to remember I am human and that the empty parking space between my ears was previously occupied by brains and qualifications, but few enough to realize my heart is home with my boys, Larry Emdur and Ready, Steady, Cook.

So here they are Drum Roll…………………………………….

  1. She’s copying my turtle.
  1. I can’t see. (Thought she couldn’t see the board, but actually no…she really couldn’t see, the downside of the supply teacher…not knowing the children)
  1. ‘Josh farted”

(Yes, thank you so much Josh. I had already discovered this after walking    straight into it. Really felt like it was in my mouth, like only a child’s fart can be. What the hell do these little humans eat?)

  1. ‘Can I go to the toilet?’

‘No, you just had lunch’.

‘But I’m busting.

‘Okay, go quickly’. (I really wonder what I expect from children when I say       silly things like ‘Go quickly’. Do I want them to push harder? Or just run to the toilet quicker?)

  1. Child returns from the toilet ten minutes later. ‘You took a very long time Jack, where have you been?

‘It was a poo, not a wee’. (enough said Jack…won’t ask that again)

  1. Nicolas tried to wee on me. (What is it with little boys and mucking around in the toilet? Actually come to think of it, men continue to do this well into their thirties)
  1. Are you married?
  1. Do you want to come to my birthday party? It’s on Sunday, there will be lots of other old people there, but you can’t have cake because my mum has already made it and it won’t be big enough.
  1. Your big toe is hairy. (My personal favourite)

This is why I adore working with our little people. Never a dull moment, honest, raw and innocent. You cry with them, you laugh with them and then you catch headlice from them. If you’re feeling fat, they’ll confirm it for you, If you think you’re funny, they’ll change your mind, If you’re feeling sad they’ll rub your back and hug your leg.

I love Year One!

Have A Great Weekend :0

NB: It isn’t really my toe in the picture, but I was quite horrified to find when searching google for ‘hairy toe images’ an actual link for ‘ The best hairy toe websites’ ????????

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