Friday, January 28, 2011

Things I know-as a SAHM

I read another one of those "Stay at home Mums are wasting their brains" articles (why why WHY do I click on them??). The idea that using your brain in a non-academic way is somehow letting it rot away is insulting. I keep lots of info in my brain that, while not PHD material, it's still important to my day to day.

-I know that all my kids birthdays, birth weights, time of birth and day of the week they were born on.
-When I make a salad Tannah likes snow peas, baby spinach, carrot and cucumber. Willow eats snow peas and carrots and Harper eats cucumber, carrot and snow peas. Tans is the only one who likes feta and Harper hates cheese.
-When the kids play Yo Gabba Gabba Willow is Toodee, Tannah if Foofa and Harper gets to be "baby Plex". I'm Muno-they make me be the big red dildo.
-I know how long to cook a roast on based on weight
-I know the invented names of a whole heap of the kids stuffed toys. And they may be subject to change.
-I can remember shopping lists in my head and know what is in my freezer when I'm at the supermarket.
-I can recite whole parts of Toy Story 2 and know all the words the entire Justine Clarke albums.
-I know how to negotiate with fighting children and deal with extreme demands.


I'm sure there is lots of other "useless" Mother Things I Know out there. Anyone feel like sharing?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

!!OMG CHOCOLATE SUNDAE!!

I was always one of the bigger kids. Even when I was so "fat" at a size 14 all my friends seemed to be a 10. I've never in my adult life been under a 14-in fact it's only when I have been on particularly punishing diets that I've been there. I'm usually a 16-18. I'm now an 18-20.

This means that I have been a dieter.

Because fat is so gross right? And it's just what you do if you want to *cue scary violins* LIVE past 40. You don't love yourself as a person and can't possibly be happy or ever get laid unless you fit into that bikini sans wobbly bits unless you are striving for that morally superior health goal of the elusive "goal weight".

That's what we are taught by media, by society, by ill informed health professionals. That is the culture we are surrounded by. It is the culture I was raised in.

It was all about the looks for me initially. I grew up on Queensland's Gold Coast where swimwear and singlet tops (read BINGO WINGS) are the local uniform. I was SO conscious of my weight in high school and that I was one of the bigger kids, even though teens can have a pretty skewed idea of what FAT is. I was mooed at at called a fatty fat fat and an ugly fat mole and all that. So I started being cautious about "fatty" food and exercise as a method of control. It wasn't until I got older that I learned the moral highground of I'm going to be *trumpets please* HEALTHY. And being healthy means thin. By only eating weird and wonderful low fat this and that as well as daily walking I dropped a heap of weight. And I could be proud of the fact that I was so awesome and full of willpower that I could be this way.

I became scared of "unhealthy" food.

This fear has been around until recently.

You see all of the diet information and all of the super crunchy organic eaters make one item of food seem like poison. That it will make you fat or kill you eventually. That by eating well CONSTANTLY is the only way to be healthy and remain at an acceptable (read fuckable)weight. It has caused me a lot of guilt and shame over the years that I'm either making myself fat or ruining my childrens health forever with the odd donut or such.

Let me tell you an epiphany I had over a chocolate sundae.

The other week I was craving a chocolate sundae of the "Mc" variety. I have been committed to a more Health At Every Size approach and looking after my health regardless with no focus on weight. I was STILL unable to shake the ingrained idea that I had to eat well AT ALL TIMES lest my health would be at stake. So I was resisting eating the poison sundae because all of my "good work" would be ruined (diet talk) and I would have to be "good" the next day.

Then it hit me.

It's just a chocolate sundae. Just soft serve and fudge topping. Not poison or a black mark on a score card. Not a nuclear bomb to my health, not a bad example to my kids or a moral failing.

Just a motherfucking chocolate sundae.


This was a huge step for me to be able to start to undo a lifetime of diet culture.


The sundae was awesome by the way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We Play! Volcanoes

We Play



Tannah has been talking about volcanoes since seeing this Playmobil set and talking about how AWESOME an exploding dinosaur set would be.

I decided to do ye olde baking soda and vinegar experiment in the back yard sandpit and knock her socks off.

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Find a tube shaped container and put in some baking soda and at the suggestion of Kate some red paint and handwash for dramatic effect.

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Get the kids to make a volcano and put the cylinder in the top.

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Pour in vinegar in front of riveted audience

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Ka-pow! Science and play at work!

We're playing along with Childhood 101's WE PLAY! Go and check out the other great play ideas.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unschool Monday- Television

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(girls watching a movie at my parents house)


One of the big topics in the unschooling world (particularly radical unschooling)is TV.
Do you watch some? None? Self-regulated? Commercial? Just DVD's? Only "educational"? Lots of everything? None of the above?

I must admit I've done a pretty big turnaround in the last 12 months.

We were TV free for quite some time, and it was fine. We all were perfectly capable of entertaining ourselves without the box. But when we went to places where a TV was on it was hard to get the kids to do anything else except park themselves in front of the TV and watch any old thing that was on.

Then we had a portable DVD player that I just pulled out whenever it suited (me mainly) and we enjoyed movies only. It was very restricted and choice of content was very limited. There was a lot of fighting over how much was watched. Kids wanting more Vs parents wanting less.

Now we have a TV, granted it's not a huge flat screen with surround sound but it does the job. We have access to all of the free stations including all the digital ones and we have a DVD player attached to that. I would say that we watch a fair bit of telly. Lots of different content. Sometimes it's the Toy Story series over and over and other times it David Attenborough or Masterchef. We all use the TV to wind down or enjoy stories. We all learn things. There is very little fighting when it comes to how much and when we watch.

The big difference is fear.

I was so scared of all of the "irreparable damage" that was being done to my children's brains from watching television that it made me anxious. Taking the fear out of the equation makes me able to look at the TV more objectively and see it for what it is-an entertainment device.

I certainly am still involved in guidance when it comes to content and time spent but it's more flexible than the simple "no" that I used to give. I might say "you have been watching for a few hours, do you want me to set up some craft?" or similar instead of "you have been watching for too long-I'm switching it off". It probably doesn't surprise anyone that most times the craft (or similar) wins. I still have a few straight out no's when it comes to content-such as Disney Princess crap or MTV-but I think they are flat out inappropriate at this time. Most other content is up for negotiation and we can make family decisions.

I do think that TV is a very personal issue and my views are just that. MY views. I really hate the "you need to deschool more" attitude to some families that have chosen not to use TV. Keep your mind open and do what you feel works best for your family.

The Owlet Mama herself is blogging about technology as well today! Get over to Unschool Monday and check it out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simple pleasures

We've had a hugely busy week and I guess one of the most simple and wonderful pleasures of all is family and friends who you love to spend time with.

Here are some others

-Breastfeeding a toddler.

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Not what everyone would call a pleasure but I feel really happy that I'm going to have made (and exceeded with the older 2) my goal of 2 years.

-Discovering an awesome podcast.

The Humans Being unschooling podcast is definitely worth a listen to anyone who is interested in the topic. The blog and website are great too.

-Being a guest blogger on a great website

Visit Natural Parents Network


I wrote an article about Attachment Parenting with older children earlier this month which was featured over at Natural Parents Network. I love that site and love being a part of it.

Sleep-ins

I got one today and now I'm on the computer! What a relaxing Sunday morning!

Hope your day is full of simple pleasures too

Friday, January 21, 2011

Things I know

-mess is almost always easier to clean up than it looks
-the yumminess of a perfectly poached egg cannot be denied
-kids + big swim at the pool = early bedtime
-sometimes it is hard for me to keep my impatience at Tannah's disinterest in learning to read in check
-fresh strawberries from the garden are difficult to share!
-Moeder Kip makes amazing and comfy clothes!
-watching your last baby leave their babyhood behind is both exciting and a bit sad
-catching up with friends while kids play happily together is just about my favorite thing.
-there are so many fun activities out there-choosing which ones to do is hard!


What do you know this week?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Unschool Monday-Free to learn

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If I was in the other 97% of the population that sends their children to school I'd be in all the last minute preparation for Tannah to start prep. There would be uniforms purchased, books covered and everything labeled. There would be much excitement.

But we're so very excited about NOT doing all that.

It feels so exciting to have all this freedom, all of this unlimited time and space and things to do without being hindered by a curriculum or school hours. All of this LIFE to learn from.

I trust that my children will learn-how can they not with all of their unlimited potential and choice and so many resources. I trust in my abilities as a Mother and as a supporter and aide to their learning. Unschooling is not something we are trying to see if it works out. This is our life.

Free to live and free to learn. It's so exciting.

I'm joining in with Owlet for Unschool Monday.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Simple pleasures-the home education community

Last night we went to a celebration at the property of a home educating family. This family are very involved in the local home ed community and there were lots of other families there who are as well. We only went for a couple of hours (the mosquitoes! We are all covered in bites this morning despite using repellent)but I really enjoyed the time we spent there.

It's nice to feel part of something. To see faces I may not have seen in months and to catch up and chat. To see lots of Dads there as well. To see the girls delight in other kids who's company they enjoy. And because the property we went to is huge and the party outdoors I loved watching kids climbing trees, bouncing together on the big trampolines and having heaps of space to stretch out and play without parents interfering. Not to mention watching some of the older kids doing fire twirling, juggling and parkour !

I loved talking to a woman with adult children who had never been to school and hearing her stories of when they were little and how she never regretted not sending them. I loved talking to a woman who has children a few years older than mine who learned to read at different ages but who are very capable now. I loved seeing all the teens and their friendships with each other as well as their relationships with their parents. I loved watching the big kids make room and help out the younger kids. I loved watching my kids try out new things and make new friends.

Community is so important. I think a lot of home educating families can forget this. It's nice to have a place to go to feel at home and for your kids to be the normal ones for a change :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

In case you need me to tell you..

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I have been inspired by Born This Way and this post at Nerdy Apple Blossom to write this post.

Willow,

You are 3 and a half and I love you so much. You are kind, fair, affectionate and clever. You love your Jesse doll and sing to her all the time. You also love Barbie dolls, Yo Gabba Gabba and doing drawing. Your favorite food is avocado. You absolutely want nothing to do with stereotypical "girly" hair and clothes though you love to dance in ballet gear. You have also mentioned a quite a few times that when you grow up you are going to marry a woman.

Now I don't know if what you are saying now is the same as what you are going to do when you are older (at 3 Tannah wanted to be a stingray when she grew up)but, just in case you need me to tell you, it doesn't matter one little bit to me who you marry, or if you get married at all.

I hope that if you do marry a woman the laws will allow you to do so and that, should you so choose, being a mother will be accessible to you as well. But the sex of your partner is of no importance to me.

Your happiness is.

I just wanted to put it out there, just in case you ever need me to tell you, that I love YOU no matter your likes and dislikes, your sense of style or your sexual preference amongst other things. I never want you to feel judged or like you are disappointing me in any way. Be you and do what makes you happy. That is all I can ask for.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Overwhelmed

Unless you avoid media and social contact you will have heard about the QLD floods happening at the moment.

I'm finding the whole thing overwhelming. So I can't even begin to fathom for a moment how it is affecting those living in flood affected areas.

This was going to be my first post back after my blog holiday, it was going to be about our trip. Our trip to Queensland.

I keep looking at images of destruction by the floods of places we actually drove through on the Gateway motorway not 2 weeks ago, images of areas that are only 45 minutes drive from my parents place and where I grew up and images of suburbs where people I went to school with live. Something about knowing this part of town intimately makes it seem so much more real and horrifying. I'm worrying about victims I actually know and hoping that my family are not directly affected.

The website to donate to the flood appeal is HERE

Hoping all those in Queensland are staying safe and getting the help they need.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking on the bright side...

Here is a story about how to look on the bright side.

We flew into the Gold Coast on Christmas eve, that in itself could have been problematic, but sometimes when it rains, it pours.

The night before we flew out Willow woke up and was all distressed, we couldn't figure out why. Until she did the biggest projectile vomit over her Dad. It kind of wrecked the smug organized feeling I had. The next morning she seemed a bit unwell but there was no more spew so I packed an extra change on clothes and we pressed on.

Melbourne International Airport. Christmas Eve. Friday. 3:30pm. To say it was a little busy would be an understatement.

Willow starts getting hotter and more unwell. I keep telling myself that it will all be over in a couple of hours and she will be tucked up in bed at my Mum's place while we play Santa. Bags get checked and we go to our gate to wait for our flight.

I look at the departure time on the board. Why does our flight time seem to be an hour after the original time? Ah, delayed. Perfect.

I decide that Willow is going to have some paracetamol so she can at least be comfortable. Walk to airport pharmacy and buy some. Pay crazy amount and dose sick, hot, Willow up. Kids start asking for food. Try to find something resembling food that does not cost a weeks wage in food court. Fail and buy crap.

Get back to gate. Flight delayed another half an hour. Notice flight before ours has been cancelled due to bad weather and the one before that was diverted to another airport an hour away. Mild panic starts to set in. Am feeding Willow a constant stream of homeopathics and feeling clever for having a copy of Toy Story 2 on my phone.

Get on the plane! Which is not being diverted! Tannah happily doing activities from the go-bag I made, Willow in a feverish sleep and Harper still wacthing movie on iPhone. I'm drinking a hard drink to steady my nerves. Start to relax.

Willow wakes and is busting for the toilet. I rush her in and she is so frightened of the airplane toilet that she lets her bladder go....all over my legs and feet. Get cleaned up and back to my seat. Notice the weather starting to look dodgy and the plane starting to bump around. Remember cancelled flights DUE TO BAD WEATHER. hold onto seat with white knuckles and try to look cool and reassure kids all is fine.

Commence descent. Try to strap Harper back into her seatblet on my lap. She's not so keen on this idea and makes her feelings known, to the whole plane.

Land! Safely!

Kiss parents and feel intense relief at this whole horrible trip being over....except the bags are delayed due to cancelled, diverted and rushed into the airport flights. And Willow is looking terrible and Harper is well over it. Take Tannah off to the toilet, she's still happy and insists on skipping to the loo (haha), feel my calf muscle go *twang!!* and start limping. Finally collect bags and head home.

Tuck all the kids into bed and arrange presents under the tree. Collapse into bed.

I'm so grateful!

All I could think about was how lucky we were that it wasn't our flight that was cancelled, or diverted. And I was pretty happy the plane didn't crash! We got all our bags-none were lost or broken in the mania. Willow picked up on xmas day. She was only sick for a couple of days and her worst day was the one at the airport.

These things have made it possible for us to have the best xmas! We have had such a lovely time with my family and friends. We have even managed a trip to Australia Zoo to see Bindi. I'm listening to my kids outside right now playing with my Dad in a paddling pool and thinking how blessed I really am.

Now for the flight home in a few days....
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