MY REMEDY FOR SCHOOL HOLIDAY BOREDOM

I promised myself that these school holidays, I would try really hard not to use Uncle TV to babysit my children. As much as the kids love him and I love that he is part of our lives and offers free babysitting at a drop of a hat, I wanted to give them experiences that didn’t involve technology or send me broke.

I had a plan to do loads of arts and crafts; rock painting, slime making, water painting, drawing, craft making with recycled materials. It was supposed to last a week. It kept them occupied for three days. During that time, the squabbling was kept to a minimum but without a backup plan for activities, they were at risk of boredom. We all know bored kids equals broken things, fighting and nagging.

So what did I do?

I took them for a big walk to a nearby oval and let them run off their leashes until they came back panting and tired. They enjoyed the fresh air and freedom. Two weary and satisfied children, one content parent and a good night’s sleep. Nine days left.

I created Project Weed Annihilation. The side court was chock-full of overgrown weeds, so I set them to work weeding. They thought it was fun (suckers!). Two tired and happy children, one grateful parent and a weed-free court. Eight days left.

I persuaded them to role-play ‘Cleaning Crew’. It involved cleaning the entire house and lasted several days. It was epic. They weren’t impressed with that game. Two grumpy children, one ecstatic parent and a cleaned house. Six days left.

I strongly encouraged them to play ‘Shopping at the Supermarket’. It involved making a grocery list and buying said groceries. This got me on the sh*tlist. Two angry children, one tired parent and groceries no one helped me carry. Five days left.

My husband took pity on our situation and suggested we do an overnight stay in a country town a couple of hours away. The catch? We would take public transport and walk EVERYWHERE. Anyone who knows me understands that I am ill-equipped for walking. Something about chaffing thighs, itchy sweating and sore feet just doesn’t appeal to me.

It took four bloody hours, three trains and a bus ride to get to our destination! We walked for hours on end! The only thing I was looking forward to was getting to the hotel and resting my tired feet. It was a pity that when I booked the place, I hadn’t realised it was a drive-in motel inn in the middle of bumfudge nowhere. We had to walk the Great Plains and trek Mount Everest to find solace in a hovel.

My germaphobe alert beacon was in full distress mode. The shower had black mould infestation, there was hair on the bathroom floor, towels had suspect stains, dust infiltrated all living spaces, and the beds left an itchy sensation. There was no way I was even bothering with their complimentary communal gym, sauna and spa. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Highlights were an overpriced tram ride, eating from a kebab food truck for lunch and McDonald’s for dinner, and a walk through a beautiful park. The kids saw many interesting sights like a giant skeleton head, a British tram cafe, and statues. Two exhausted and satisfied children, two wiped out parents and experiences for the memory bank. We’re in the home stretch now.

It’s important to give children valuable experiences to create memories, provide learning experiences and develop an understanding of the world around them.

We asked Henry, the train/tram enthusiast, what his favourite part of the trip was.

His answer? The motel.


Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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THE LIEBSTER AWARD

The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community. A great idea in promoting your own blog and others. Originally it was given out to blogs with less than 2000 readers but this has slowly lowed as the reward has gained popularity. It is now only 200 readers or less. It’s really an arbitrary number. If you like helping other blogs out go ahead and do it regardless of its size.

I would like to thank Rivergirl at River’s World for the nomination. This lovely lady was one of the first few people who started commenting on my blog posts, reaching out and forming a connection. In doing so, she gave me a boost of confidence. Instead of typing up a response and then deleting comments, I began pressing the enter button. Ok, enough of my mushiness!

River’s World is full of funny gifs, witty remarks, and good humour. Her posts are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Go check out River’s World and have a laugh!

Rivergirl’s impossibly hard questions for me:

1.  You’re a pigeon newly arrived in Hollywood. Who do you poop on first?

So many people, not enough poop to go around. It’s too hard to choose just one person.

2.  Donald Trump has been impeached. Mike Pence has been trampled to death at a gay pride parade. Nancy Pelosi has resigned her position and run off to Tahiti with a member of BTS. You’ve been chosen to be the next President of the United States. What’s your first executive order?

Wow. Just wow.

Such power could do serious damage if wielded poorly and I’m not sure I’d be the best commander of anything. I either make grand, life-impacting decisions without in-depth thought or struggle to choose between ham or salami sandwiches.

So… if the United States was unfortunate enough to have me as President, my first order would have to be a ban on salami sandwiches. You know… to make life choices easier for everyone.

3.  The Brussels Sprout is a much maligned ( and extremely gassy ) cruciferous vegetable. You run a PR firm and have just been hired to tweak it’s image. Go!

Scientists have discovered that eating twenty brussel sprouts a day will form sufficient gaseous fuel to allow humans the ability of self-propelled flight. You wanna fly? Eat those darn sprouts.

4.  Your lifelong dream of being a stripper has come true. What’s your stage name?

Candy Crusher (I was addicted to Candy Crush at one stage).

5.  Your cruise ship is sinking and you’ve scrambled onto a life raft only to realize it’s overloaded. What… or who… do you push overboard?  A case of craft beer, your significant other, the oars, a beloved pet wombat, or the ship’s navigator ?

*Note – if you say beer or wombat, you are dead to me*

This is an easy one. I’ll need sustenance in the form of wombat and beer. I’ll need oars to bat down those circling sharks. The significant other could come in handy for keeping insanity at bay, fishing and other survival needs. I’d push overboard the navigator because of you know… the best indicator of the future is the past.

Now for the nominees:

1. Seetha from 3 Little Birds. Seetha is a writer, a poet, a mother and an amazing, compassionate and supportive woman. Her work is emotive, empowering and insightful.

2. Kerry from Stories of Then. Kerry is an accomplished author with stories published in several anthologies, Ink Dreams and Heart of a Child. She offers valuable writing-related tips and advice.

3. Janea from My Dream Is To Tell Stories. Janea is the author of Searching for Fire, writer of poetry, short stories and writing-related topics.

4. Nathan from Nathaniel Fiction. Nathan is a new author, who has just released his book, Voices in the Dark. Part of the novel is free to read online.

5. Iain Saunders writes about mindfulness, life and business skills.

I recommend you check out the above bloggers and show them your support!

Post these rules:

1. Acknowledge the blog which nominated you.
2. Answer the questions your nominator asked.
3. Nominate two to six other bloggers who might appreciate the boost.
4. Ask them several unique questions.
5. Let them know you have nominated them.

And answer these questions:

1. It’s your first day at a new job, you’re in the lunchroom about to get your delicious leftover casserole, labelled with your name. Only problem is your new supervisor is sitting there eating it. What do you do?

2. Your phone is ringing. It’s a very important phone call that you must answer as callback is not an option. You’re stuck on a public toilet, surrounded by people in other cubicles. What would you do?

3. You’ve got two bags of rubbish and your bin is full. Your neighbour is prickly and doesn’t like other people putting their rubbish into her bin. You sneak out in the middle of the night to dump your rubbish anyway. As you lift the lid, your neighbour shines her torch on you. What’s your excuse?

4. You’re on a deserted island. A crate washes ashore. Inside you find the one thing that would make your life more bearable. What’s inside?

5. You’re on a reality TV show and to win you have to eat three of the following: bull’s testicle, monkey’s brain, fish eyes, bull’s penis, maggot cheese or soft-boiled fetal duck. What’s the lucky three?

While I would love to hear your responses, there is absolutely no pressure to participate. I am just happy to have you as part of my online community and this nomination is my way to recognise and help support your blog.

Thank you to everyone who likes, shares, comments and follows my blog.

xx Kathy

SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

Hello everyone! I’ve postponed last week’s blog post to thank Jenny Furse for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I am humbled and heartened that you thought of me for this award. It is a privilege to share the journey of motherhood, self-discovery and life with you and the blogging community.

Please check out Jenny’s wonderful blog: http://progressinbloom.com

The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity and joy through their creative blogs.

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  2. List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  3. Answer the 11 Questions the blogger asked you.
  4. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  5. Ask the Nominees 11 new questions.

Jenny’s Questions:

1. How long have you been blogging for and why did you start?
I began journalling to practice mindfulness and promote good mental health. I found upon reading back on them that most of my entries were funny snippets involving the children and their antics. I wanted to share those experiences with others and so my blog was born seven months ago.

2. What makes a blog article worth sticking around for— one you truly enjoy reading?
I love reading uplifting, inspirational or humourous work. The best articles are the ones that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside or have you snorting your coffee accidentally from laughter.

3. What is your favorite thing about Fall?
Escaping from the sweltering heat of an Australian summer.

4. What is your go-to drink?
My life elixir comes in the form of a daily mochachino.

5. What favorite treat really hits the sweet spot for you?
Either a tiramisu or a cream sponge cake.

6. Tell me about a favorite date or share a great date night idea.
Anything with a comfy bed and a sleep-in will do just fine. Even a long nap will suffice.

7. Do you have a favorite family tradition?
The children like to make my husband’s birthday cake. It’s super cute, ultra messy and loads of fun.

8. What book(s) are you reading right now?
Red Dust by Fleur McDonald, who is an Australian author that writes about strong women who overcome adversity. Most of her books are based in the setting of an Australian outback and farming.

9. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Make lemonade with the lemons life gives you. Smile, laugh, and don’t be afraid of what people think of you. Believe in yourself.

10. Do you have a secret or hidden talent?
I love to sing (so long as there are no witnesses). According to my seven-year-old, I’m no Katy Perry, but I’m OK.

11. What is one way you served or blessed someone else recently?
I am about to embark on volunteer work at the local neighbourhood community centre, helping disadvantaged people with learning basic computer skills and literacy. I’m looking forward to the experience and hope to make a small difference where I can.

My Nominees:

1. Rivergirl at River’s World. I love humour and Rivergirl has it in spades with her funny gifs and witty posts about her hometown Maine, husband’s antics and visiting wildlife. She is a lovely human being.

2. Stephen and Fionnuala at Fractured Faith Blog. Stephen is a published author of The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles – Skelly’s Square. He blogs about writing, his family, and many other topics. He too is another lovely human being.

3. Phoebe at Phoebe MD: Medicine & Poetry. Phoebe blogs about a range of health & wellness topics as well as poetry. I love that she has created the Pendants for a Cause to help the hurricane victims in the Bahamas and Children’s Heart Project. Please support these worthy causes.

4. Patrice at Mom Life With P. Patrice blogs about the challenges of motherhood, promotes positivity, and offers tips and advice.

5. Pallavi at Curating Thoughts. Pallavi writes thoughtful posts on motherhood and poems in a category she calls Mom Jam (wish I had thought of that!).

My Questions for Nominees:

1. When did you start blogging and why?
2. What are three words that best describe you?
3. Where is your favourite place to visit?
4. What is your favourite food?
5. What is your favourite movie?
6. If you could share a meal with any 2 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
7. What is one thing you would never do again?
8. If you had to lose one of the five senses (touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste), which would you choose?
9. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
10. Who is your role model? The person that you look up to the most? Why?
11. What are you grateful for?

I would like to thank everyone who reads, shares, comments, likes and follows my posts at KN J Tales and Snippets.

STRANGER DIRECTIONS

Ever had to tuck away the pride, steal some courage, and ask a random stranger for directions? Only to find yourself lost because you didn’t ask enough questions before dashing off, worried about inconveniencing and interrupting someone? Or the person giving the directions gave you general descriptions like ‘turn left at that store with the red door’ or ‘two lefts and a right’, and you were too embarrassed to admit you needed more information?

I suffered from this very same problem while at a shopping food court. Sometimes you gotta push aside those feelings of disquiet, and ask more than one question to get your answer.


The woman takes a bite from her fried chicken parcel. She closes her eyes momentarily as though she’s savouring the taste sensation that’s exploding in her mouth. There is a look of satisfaction on her face as she picks up a napkin to swipe at the crumbs that peppers her lips. I can only imagine the gratifying crunch as she takes the next mouthful. I’m frozen, mid fork to mouth, captivated by the food porn playing in front of me. She looks like she’s having a foodgasm. I want one! Heck, I want two!

I look down at my pitiful meal. Six lumpy, doughy and dry gyozas sit on some wilted lettuce. Not even a soy sauce drowning can rescue these mediocre dumplings. Food envy. That’s what I’m feeling. How can I eat these now? I throw down my fork in disgust. Maybe if I hadn’t witness the ecstasy flitting across the woman’s face, these concrete blocks would be churning my insides now.

A moment later, I find myself standing in front of the woman, propelled forward in a trance-like state, chicken on the mind. Like a weirdo, I say nothing for a good few seconds before pointing at the oversized fried chicken fillet in the blue cardboard packet in her hands.

The woman stops eating, swallows her food and looks at me with a mixture of confusion and curiosity. “Can I help you?”

Nodding like a dashboard toy, I breathe out, “Can you tell me where you got that please?”

She stares at me, not sure what to make of my strange behaviour. “Um, it’s at the entrance as you walk in. Near the newsagent.”

“Uh huh. Front entrance. Got it,” I reply, nodding in understanding.

Armed with one tiny morsel of information, I drag the family in search of the entrance that would lead to scrumptious chicken delight. We traverse through the weekend crowd and reach our destination, only to find a boutique toy store instead.

“Which entrance did she say?” queries Gary. “Did you get the name of the store?”

“Mum! I’m tired. I wanna go home!” whinges Mandy, leaning on Henry’s pram like a limp rag doll.

“Uh, I think it was something like… Hot Chicken? Hot Spice?” I reply. I can’t believe I didn’t even get the name! I can’t believe I didn’t ask which entrance! Why didn’t I ask more questions? I should have gotten a map! Why was I so stupefied?

After twenty minutes of circling around, I’m sweaty, frustrated and hangry. The kids and Gary are giving me death glares, and I keep promising to leave soon. Eventually, a Henry tantrum forces me to give up, admit defeat and turn for home.

It’s been a few weeks since I first glanced at the holy grail of the almighty chicken. Occasionally, I find myself wondering about that elusive crumbed goodness. It could have been the best thing since sliced bread, but I’ll never know.


Note: The above post was written a while ago. After some Magellan-type exploration, searching high and low, I eventually discovered the true location of my deepest desire.

The verdict? Let’s just say that some things are better left to your imagination because the reality is far less impressive.


Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

LIVE WITHOUT A NET

I am a control freak. It’s a coping mechanism, a safety behaviour, an intolerance of the uncertainty, that makes me want to take charge of all situations to ease my anxiety over not having control of the unknown. These vicious cogs of anxiety have me worrying over hypothetical situations, ruminating and overanalyzing interactions, and avoiding any circumstances that may induce negative feelings. Unchecked over the years, my brain has learnt that to eliminate the symptoms of anxiety, I must either avoid anxiety-producing situations or have complete control. You can imagine how tiring being me is, can’t you?

Part of my personal growth has been working on breaking the negative internal dialogue through graded exposure; small steps to challenge my fears. With that in mind, I left the organising of my father’s birthday dinner to my younger brother. I had relayed my wishes for an early dinner for the kids, and he already knew of Gary’s dietary restrictions, so it was simply a matter of booking a restaurant. There was no need for the control freak to loom her ugly head. What could go wrong?


We’re ten minutes late.

“Ugh, they’re late,” I groan as we enter the Korean BBQ restaurant. It’s a helluva lot warmer than standing outside in the cold.

“You have a booking Ma’am?” asks the waiter, standing at the entrance.

“Yes, it’s under Andy,” I reply, stamping my frozen feet to elicit some warmth.

“I can’t see anything under that name Ma’am,” informs the waiter. “Are you sure you have a booking?”

I call my brother and let him sort it out. The waiter walks to his podium, checks his book and shakes his head. He returns and hands back my phone. “Sorry Ma’am.”

I stare at him in confusion as I put the phone to my ear. “Hey Sis, sorry they got the date wrong. I’ll find another place and text you the details.”

So I bundle the family back into the car and wait for his text. Breathe. No big deal. Happens to all of us (not me). It’s still early, and the kids have yet to show signs of the dreaded hangry. Hungry and overtired kids make any outing a nightmare.

“Why didn’t I bring snacks?” I wonder. “This is exactly why I should always have snacks on me, like a vending machine.”

I’m only mildly anxious at this point. At least we are warm in the car.

Meet at Japanese Teppanyaki.

We head to the new restaurant and luckily it’s only ten minutes away. The detour has delayed dinner by a smidgen. It’s raining cats and dogs by the time we’re parked. We make a dash for the front door. The wind is fierce and icily cold. I get to the entrance of the restaurant, Henry weighing heavy in my arms, to find the doors unmoving. I peer into the restaurant to find the lights off and not a single employee in sight.

“Why did you leave the car? It’s freezing,” Andy stutters, shivering from the cold as he reaches the door.

“What are you talking about? Why is this place closed?!” I yell, frustrated at the turn of events.

We rush over to the nearby gazebo and take cover from the unrelenting rain. Gary has been tasked with the job of getting our jackets, an umbrella, the kid’s water bottles and Henry’s baby bag. I’m in anxious terrain now.

“It’s not open until six p.m. I thought I told you,” Andy replies, looking sheepish. “Sorry about the booking.”

“No you did not tell me, otherwise we would be in the car!”

“Relax,” Gary returns with our things and tries to calm me as I continue my rant, “we only have to wait ten minutes until it’s open.”

Eventually, we’re inside and dinner ensues. The cook is wearing a red toque and samurai-print robe, his belt fitted with several knives, and pepper and salt grinders. He performs a myriad of cooking tricks. Instead of looking entralled with his performance, Mandy just looks bored. She doesn’t even bat an eyelid when the salt grinder is flicked into the cook’s torque hat.

“Want to see fire?” the cook asks, looking at everyone for their approval. He lights the oil with some water and a whoosh of fire shoots up into the air.

Henry jerks back in fear before crying uncontrollably and screaming out “I’m scared! I don’t want the fire!”

For the remainder of the meal, Henry clings to me like a koala baby to its mum, while I desperately try to coax him into eating some overpriced meat. Mandy is slumped over her meal, tired and uninterested. It’s like she’s seven going on fifteen-years-old.

“Who wants to catch some egg?” the cook asks, holding some omelette on his spatula.

My brother and his girlfriend catch their egg on the first attempt. They make it look easy. I decide to step out of my comfort zone and agree to participate.

The first attempt has the egg flying past my face and landing on the floor. Ok, so if at first you don’t succeed, you try again. The second shot lands next to my mouth and falls off. I am so close that the cook insists on another go. The third bounces off my left eye and drops unceremoniously onto my plate. The cook gives up. He’s probably never had anyone as unco as me. In all honesty, I think it’s in my best interest to stop. I only have two eyes and my left eye is tearing up, ready to shut up shop. I gave it a go (three, to be precise) and that’s all that matters.

We end the night with a bill of over five hundred dollars and a drive-thru to KFC for a top up.


What did I learn from this experience? While there were some anxiety-producing moments, I think I coped rather well. The outcome of unforeseen events wasn’t catastrophic; we found another place (although more expensive), the kids were fed (eventually) and went to bed a little later than usual, and no one was worse off for standing in the cold. I climbed a step towards my goal of breaking the cycle of anxiety. Overall, a good achievement for me.

Does that mean I’ll let my brother book another family function? Of course not.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY REPEATING

What makes a parent embarrassing to a child? How do you know when you’ve entered lame territory? Are there signs, like increased rate of facepalms and eye rolls? Or do you just reach an age where you lose your sensibilities and become an ‘at risk’ embarrassing parent? I’d like to know because if my children requests that I walk three metres behind them, I’ll have failed. So far, I’m still in the ‘cool beans’ category, but only barely. I’m hanging on by a thread, but I have hope because I’m nowhere near as embarrassing as my folks. They have set the example for parental embarrassment.

My mother will:
– shamelessly haggle for a dollar discount (every dollar counts!)
– blatantly inspect and tastes unpaid fruit from stands (how else will she know if the fruit is sweet?)
– brazenly elbow and push to get in front of any line (as she waits for no-one)
– pay with a bag full of small coins, taking time to count each one (because all vendors need small change)
– refuse to put cooked rice or food in the fridge (why wouldn’t you want to save on fridge space and what’s Listeria?)
– show up unannounced and leave us a jug of her unwanted tangelos and oranges (there’s irrefutable evidence left, sticky counters and floors)

My dad will:
– forgo a shower for some wet toweling (you don’t ever want to accidentally use his towel!)
– multitask like a pro with eating and talking (just don’t sit directly in front of him)
– double park (because it’s the council’s fault that there aren’t more car parks)
– shout out ‘Hey’ and do an octopus wave to get a waiter’s attention (imagine how much extra flavouring his meals must get!)
– bring out his karaoke machine with any visitor (because everyone needs to hear those vocals!)
– FaceTime or WhatsApp his family members constantly (because obviously they’re interested in an update every half hour)

So you see, I know embarrassing. I understand what it means to have embarrassing parents. I mean, who else has had their dad talk about his penile problems to their future in-laws on the first meeting? Who’s had to make excuses so friends don’t come over because their dad has six fish tanks and sometimes walks around in his boxers that he mistakes as acceptable summer wear? Even the grandkids are saying how embarrassing they are!

***

Gary is attempting to move my mum’s car from our driveway. The deafening wail of car alarm can be heard.

“Oh that’s your dad’s car alarm. Tell Gary to press the car key button twice,” my mum dismisses.

I go outside to tell Gary her instructions. He looks frustrated and furiously punching both buttons. The alarm is so loud that I have to yell in his ear. The neighbours have started to come out to witness the commotion. We can’t get the alarm to stop. My mum shows up, and she starts pressing the buttons in the same way. Nothing. By now, we’re just standing there covering our ears. Eventually, my dad comes out with the kids. My dad smacks the car key against the door a few times and swears a ton before the alarm cuts off.

“Easy. That’s how you do it,” my dad exclaims with triumph. He leans into the car and rummages around.

“It happens every time I try to get in the car. It’s so annoying!” my mum complains.

I can only stare in wide-eyed amazement. Is he for real? He practically had to kick down the door. This aftermarket car alarm is probably going to explode. I take a step back. I peek around to see the neighbours shaking their heads and returning to their abodes.

My dad pulls out a black foam block and passes it over to me. “Here, I got you a foam cushion for your car seat so you can see over the steering wheel.”

“Dad, I do not need a cushion. My seats can be adjusted,” I tell him, rolling my eyes in the process.

“You want the back massager for your seat?” he offers, pointing to the monstrosity attached to his car seat.

“Uh no.” Seriously?! Who gets a back massage while driving?

“How about next time, we’ll come to visit you?” I mutter. “On second thought, how about we always come to visit you from now on.”

***

I wonder if history will repeat itself. Will I be my own brand of embarrassing to the kids when I’m older? Nah, no one can top my parents in the embarrassing department.
 

 

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

HOW TO SURVIVE TODDLERHOOD

I love my children. LOTS. But sometimes, I wish I could find a really good hidey hole and not come out for a while. Children, especially toddlers are great at testing your limits. They like to push your buttons, incessantly, until your eye starts twitching, your mouth flattens into a hard grimace, and you explode like a nuclear bomb. Every parent or carer will have their own horror stories and tips for how to survive toddlerhood and/or parenthood. I’m no expert, but I have observed some interesting character traits.

They are fickle pickles.
Henry: “Mummy, close the window!”
Me: (closes the window)
Henry: “NO! NO! I said open the window!”
Me: (deep sigh, opens the window)
Henry: “I want it closed!!”
Me: “Make up your mind!” (closes the window)
Henry: (cue meltdown)

They have the memory of an elephant so don’t make promises unless you are going to deliver.
Henry: (pointing at a car ride-on) “Mummy, can I go on that?”
Me: “Sure, maybe on our way home.”
An hour passes.
Me: (arms overloaded with groceries, veering away from promised ride-on)
Henry: (pulling towards ride-on) “Mummy! Mummy, there is the car!”
Me: “Ugh, do you really want to go? How about we go home and do something fun?”
Henry: “NO! NO! You said so!”

They are the world’s best procrastinators.
Henry: (sitting on the toilet at five a.m.) “I have to take my time. I feel a poo in my bottom.”
Me: (every few minutes) “Are you done?”
Henry: “Not yet, I’m just waiting.”
Me: (frozen like a corpse on the cold hard floors after waiting for thirty minutes).

They become extremely thirsty at bedtime.
Henry: “Mummy, I need water!”
Me: “Here, now go to bed.”
Repeat cycle at least thirty times. EVERY NIGHT.

They like to push boundaries and limits, of the sanity kind.
Henry: “Beep, beep, beep!”
Mandy: “Henry, stop saying that. It’s annoying!”
Henry: “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!”
Mandy: “Stop it!”
Henry: “BEEEEEEP!!!! BEEEEPP!!!! BEEEEPP!!”
Me: “Just ignore him, Mandy. He will get bored and stop himself.”
Henry: (continues for another ten solid minutes)
Mandy: (breaks down crying)
Me: (whispering) “Soon. It will stop soon.”

What have I learnt so far? Toddlers are unpredictable and volatile. They are prone to indecisiveness and stubbornness. Passing strangers will comment on how angelic they look until they see the switch flipped, and the tantrum-throwing, fist-bashing, leg-thrashing devil in disguise rears its screaming self.

Based on my n=2 parenting experiment, I can offer the below suggestions:

  1. Tea is an old acquaintance but coffee is your best friend. Just don’t expect to drink it hot or warm.
  2. Perfect your eye roll. You’ll need it at all stages of parenthood, so better practice now.
  3. Pretend not to hear the screeching and crying. It will morph into whingeing, bartering and begging later on. If you work on your craft, instead of pretending, you’ll eventually just not hear it.
  4. Ignore that inner voice telling you that people witnessing your child’s meltdown are judging you. Of course, they are. Jeez, that inner voice could be more helpful by telling you something you didn’t already know!
  5. Bribe with TV or snacks if you must but make sure it’s on your terms and used sparingly. Like nasal decongestants overuse can lead to loss in effect and the dreaded rebound. You do not want to invite that misery.
  6. Become a counting expert. It’s not hard. You only need to count to three.
  7. Expect tantrums. They WILL have one, at home and in public. It is NOT a reflection on you or your parenting.
  8. Don’t compare your child to other children. They are all different and special in their own way. You might even get a runner, like mine.
  9. Do what works for you and your child. Remember to laugh. Remind yourself it’s short-lived. Accept that the struggle is real and that you are not alone.
  10. Whatever you do, never ever give in to a toddler tantrum. Once you do, they WILL own your ass. Trust me, my bottom can attest to this.

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