Children are gross

Now before you start attacking me for saying such a horrible thing, just hear me out! Of course children aren’t gross. Not all the time anyway. But they can be. Really gross.

I don’t know about your children, but mine definitely have had their gross moments. Fortunately, the level of grossness has definitely decreased as they have grown. This is a big relief, but also very annoying. Just when you get the handle on dealing with gross, they don’t do it as much – their timing sucks.

And with gross, timing is everything. And its usually bad timing.

Take my younger daughter just a short while ago. I bring work home (a rare occurance). I am tasked with completing an urgent telephone interview for an editorial I’m writing, and I’m on deadline. I know nothing about the prospective interviewee, other than their name and number.

Just about a minute before I’m scheduled to call the prospective interviewee, Erin proceeds to vomit all over the lounge floor. This then causes my older daughter, Megan to shriek and run outside saying “I can’t handle this.”

As a mother, though, you’re required to ‘handle this’. It’s in the fine print of the Parenting Deal. Subclause 1.3.6.ii or something like that. It reads…

 “Mothers and/or Fathers shall clean up vomit, poop, snot, and assorted bodily fluids immediately after they are expelled and without fuss. No retching allowed. Calm behaviour essential, and parental concern non-negotiable.”

Bet you didn’t spot THAT clause.

You do get immune after a while. No matter how much you are warned beforehand, those early poops for example, are pretty challenging. Not forgettting the first carrot-coloured poop after they start on solids. I’m warning you now though, the worst are the active and hungry toddler’s post-dried apricot poops. Not pleasant. ESPECIALLY if they are at the stage that they will get up and run the minute the nappy is off the bum. Apricot coloured, foul smelling, poop goop everywhere.

You learn to cope over the years, you truly do. Nobody teaches you this stuff, mind you, you just learn. Like how to handle a mountain of snot on your pillow when a little one comes in for an early morning cuddle in the middle of winter, with a blossoming cold, and proceeds to sneeze. Everywhere.

You also have to learn how to deal with the double whammy gross out, which happens when you have two kids at the same time. Let me give you an example. Child 1 is in the bath. You’re undressing Child 2 to get her into the bath too. You hadn’t noticed that Child2 had filled the nappy until the contents drop out during the undressing phase. It goes everywhere. Child 1 notices immediately, and proceeds to puke in the bath.

At this point, they are both screaming, and everything in the bathrooms smells of  poop, vomit or both. There is only one option for the parent at this stage.

Laugh.

Yep, that’s it. Laugh. There’s nothing else for it at that moment. Sure, you’ll have to follow the rule of Subclause 1.3.6.ii, and clean up  the poop, the vomit, the  kids and the bathroom, but you are allowed to have a laugh first.

It may be a painful, agonised laugh, but remember this… Your children will grow up one day, become parents themselves and they too will have to deal with Subclause 1.3.6.ii.  Revenge is sweet.

May the gross be with you, but not on you.

Have glue gun, will craft

Something happened to my genetic code while I was in utero. Somehow, I ‘m missing a particular bit of DNA that the rest of the family seems to share – I call it the Crafting Gene.  I don’t have it.

My mother paints, sews, mosaics and has recently started scrapbooking. My older sister embroiders with ribbons, knits and sews. My younger sister too can sew, make and bake up a storm. My father is amazing with stained glass. This delicate, fragile art follows on from him having built half our house with his own hands.  My various cousins, aunts, uncles and other assorted relatives can also do crafty things.

I can’t. No sew, no bake, no make….

Cherry topper costume with glue-gunned hat

This is a bit of a disadvantage when your kids are small. Crafting, you see, turns out to be incredibly useful in the mommy stakes. Not only can you share your skills with the children – Making Your Own Entertainment its called – but you also can Help With Activities. From helping out in kindy class (that’s nursery school to the non-Aussies reading this) to making stuff for the props and costumes in ballet class.

In kindy, I was relegated to the Cutting Out Corner, tasked with snipping out shapes while other crafty mothers did Exciting Stuff with fabric, needles and paint. At ballet, too, I was sent to the Cant Help Corner and even had to pay another mummy to sew Megan’s first ballet costume for me.

However, much to my joy, that very same ballet costume provided me with my one and only crafting claim to fame. I learned how to use a glue gun. As part of the costume that I paid someone else to sew, we were asked to make a hat. The hat was the finishing touch to the Cherrytopper costume, and it was not something the other sewing mummy could help with. FYI – Cherrytoppers are the little elf things that make biscuits in a fairytale land. The ballet teacher, sensing my nervousness, introduced me to the hot glue gun.

Hey presto – I could Make Stuff. I stuck all sorts of things onto the basket frame that formed the base of the Cherrytopper hat, and have never looked back. In fact, just last week, the glue gun came out as I had to make a duck costume – preferably with wings.

Erin's duck costume

Glue gun + felt + feathers = duck wings!

No problem for this Nearly Crafty Mum! Got some yellow felt and a packet of yellow feathers from the craft shop, dusted off the glue gun – and within ten minutes flat, Erin had duck wings – and tail feathers to match!

Here are my top glue gun tips:

  1. Its called a hot glue gun for a reason. The hot stuff is at the pointy end and dripping bits can scald.
  2. You can glue almost anything.
  3. You cannot, however, glue the soles of your favourite shoes back on, and nor can you reattach bits of broken Barbie doll furniture
  4. Can’t be used for hemming clothes. Unfortunately.
  5. Switch it off when you’re finished.
  6. Remember where you’ve stored the  spare glue sticks that fit in the gun, as it saves looking for them half way through a duck wing. 
  7. Don’t work on top of your favourite table cloth. Put newspaper down first.
  8. Glue is really sticky
  9. Peeling off the dried glue from your fingers can be fun, provided you remembered tip #1.
  10. Don’t leave anything you don’t want glued anywhere near the glue gun, especially if you forget tip#5.

Do you craft? Just to make me feel better, please share your crafting disasters. I can’t cope with your success stories!

For other fun activities to do at home, read Caryn’s article on Encouraging Creativity.

Woman, Wife, Mother

Have you ever had a day when you’ve just had enough? Enough kids, enough work, enough husband, enough washing, just enough everything. I know I have, and I’m pretty sure most of you know exactly what I mean.

So what do we do about it?

Options we’ve all tried probably including curling up under the duvet and having a cry, having a mommy temper tantrum, getting a case of the sorries, or my favourite – picking a fight someone, preferably the husband! While this may relieve the stress for a while, it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.

While I don’t have all the answers, I do have something we should all think about. Ourselves.  Yes  – I said it – we need to think about ourselves.

I believe that many people get so caught up in the day to day travails of life – fetching and carrying kids, dealing with work stress, deciding what to cook for dinner, what have you – that we fail to consider our own needs.

You see – before we were wives, before we were mothers – we were women. And we forget to take care of that element of ourselves. We were women first. Individuals who lived a life independently of others. We need stuff that’s just for us – time to be ourselves – possibly even a little bit selfish, just for a moment.  And I truly believe that those times that are just for us, ultimately make us better mothers, wives and generally more pleasant to be around!

Fortunately, in today’s society, there are lots of ways to do this. Join a gym, take up a hobby, be part of a club, do something just for yourself. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either – or take a lot of time!

Like many families these days, we’re on a tight budget. I can’t afford to join a gym or go to a yoga class. But I have developed some little ways to have those few moments to myself – and they don’t cost a cent!

My favourite way to have time out is generally on a weekend morning. My girls are old enough to wake themselves up and can even sort our their own breakfast. On weekends, they are allowed to get up – WITHOUT waking me – and switch on the telly. A treat for them (as telly is pretty limited in our house). And then, when they are fully occupied with the goggle box – I get my treat.

I have a bath. Preferably with bubbles. With the door shut. And everyone in the house knows – this is MY time. It may be for twenty minutes, it may be for a hour. But my moment of peace and quiet is in that time. I ignore the yells, fights and yowling kitties. I ignore the TV show that may not be of my choosing. I ignore the sound of milk splashed onto the floor. I have time out.

My next favourite escape is an even smaller moment. The ladies in my office simply do not understand why I get up an hour before I wake my children during the week. My reason is simple – I get to do the lunchboxes, have my shower and – this is the critical bit – have a cup of tea in peace and quiet BEFORE the kids wake up!  I treasure those moments – generally the silly gossip guru is on the telly, and I listen to trash TV stories about Paris Hilton or Charlie Sheen or what have you (most of the time it just goes over my head!) and I have my tea. While it’s still hot. And then, when the tea is gone, I wake the girls.

I treasure those moments. They may be small, but they’re mine. And they remind me that I’m still me. More than just a mom, more than just a wife. Me.

I’d love to hear about your little moments – perhaps you can inspire me to take a few more!