Out of Balance

MONDAY
It begins, as things often do, with breakfast.

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Here is my bowl and spoon. I have utilised these most excellent tools to consume my breakfast every day for as long as I can remember (excluding sleepovers, of course). Yes, read that twice – as long as I can remember. This bowl, this spoon, my entire life. Yup.

Monday morning, we were running so late for school. It was a breakfast or bust situation. I knew I was visiting a close friend immediately after drop off, so I slapped a lid on my bowl (yes, it has a lid) and packed all the essentials into a bag. After depositing Orion in class, I zipped around to my friend’s place and ate breakfast at her dining table. All was well.

TUESDAY.
My bowl is GONE. After some frantic searching and some under-the-breath swearing, I realise I left it behind at my friend’s house. I eat breakfast out of an imposter, with a spoon that is intended for ice cream. I got in contact with Niki asap and she assured me my treasures were safe.

However, the world was not safe. Gale force winds had rolled in late Monday night and they were here to stay. As I drove to the supermarket, I spotted my 90 year old grandparents literally being blown down the street. I pulled over, manhandled them into my car and drove them home. My nana admitted she had been frightened. The wind had actually blown her, at a run, down the street and Grandad had been hard pressed to catch her. She offered me jelly beans out of gratitude. I take the container, intending to offer them to Piper in the back. Instead of reaching carefully behind me, a muscle in my arm goes twang and I catapult the jelly beans over my shoulder. Piper’s face is suffused with confusion as jelly beans rain down around her, pelting her face and body and clattering across the car seat and all over the floor. I stare at Nana, speechless. She takes the empty container out of my nerveless fingers and tells me to keep the jelly beans. Devoid of options, I tell Piper to eat whatever she can reach and go about my business.

As I pack the groceries into the boot of my car some time later, the ridiculous wind blows the lid of the boot shut, onto the back of my head. The protruding hook on the lip of the boot, which latches into the ass-end of my car, stabs me with mother nature’s fury. THERE WAS BLOOD, people. Mother nature tried to kill me in the Aldi car park. I make it home, windblown but alive.

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As I unpack the groceries, a large bottle of cranberry juice leaps from my hands and explodes all over the floor. There is no option but to mop. None. I grab the steam mop, do my best, and then race down to Orion’s school for my weekly reading session with the kids. None of them notice my feverish expression, but are all impressed by Piper’s decision to attend the session disguised as Michaelangelo.

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WEDNESDAY
Piper wakes up at 2am and she is snotty. My bowl is still missing and the world is clearly out of alignment as a result. My head hurts, but I take Piper to dancing anyway, then off to the shops to buy the mother’s day presents. I have an epic low sugar episode in Cotton On and shot my raw sugar like a boss, in spite of my hands trembling so badly that I can barely find my own face. Piper is SO HUNGRY MUMMY the entire trip, until I cave and buy her maccas. This is really just an excuse for me to have loaded fries, because I have my period and I require ALL THE BACON and ALL THE FAKE CHEESE. It’s delicious, and completely warranted of all the capital letters I just used, because bacon makes everything better.

As I am picking up Orion from school, a fight breaks out between a few older students. Their parents stand around watching (say what? You heard me) and I drag Piper, Orion and his bff Riley out of the way whilst Riley’s most excellent Dad Glen puts on his Dad voice and breaks the scuffle up. The entire scene is bizarre and surreal.

THURSDAY
Piper wakes at 5.30am demanding medicine, lollies and to sleep in my bed. Tired, hormonal me knows this is a bad idea but, given she’s never, ever, EVER asked to sleep in my bed before and the breakfast-bowl karma is hunting me, I give in. I fetch her medicine and lollies, in that order, and then place her beside me in bed. She proceeds to put her fingers in my eyesandearsandmouthandnose until I crack the shits and roll over to face the other direction. She realises she’s done wrong and attempts to spoon me. I am won over by the cutest, tiniest spoon in the world and begin to thaw until she starts pulling my hair and kicking me in the butt. Conversation as follows:
“What are you doing?! You should be sleeping.”
“Your hair so pretty, mummy.”
“Thank you but it’s sleeping time.”
“I want breakfast, mummy.”
“It’s not breakfast time, it’s sleeping time!”
“I so hungry, mummy.”
Famine day two, apparently.

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The day continues. Mum visits, Glen and I report yesterday’s weird fight to the school, there’s tea, caramel slice and papercraft. Piper’s snottiness seems miraculously cured. We take Orion to his swimming lesson and he asks me to stand OUTSIDE the change room while he gets dressed. Say what? The day culminates in an epic showdown  between Orion and Piper over Super Mario 3d World, as Orion refuses to pop Piper’s bubble (literally) and she responds by screaming “pop my bubble” over and over until it blends into a cacophony of incoherent shrieking. I turn the games and the television off. There is RAGE. (not mine.) There are TEARS. (also not mine.) Then, as if someone has flicked a switch, they ask if they can help me cook the dinner. I… what? But there they are, washing their hands and lining up their stools by the bench, and happily co-operating over burritos and ground nutmeg. ‘Kay.

FRIDAY
At this point in time my sleep-deprived mind realises that unless I want Bruce Willis knocking on my door to delcare Armageddon in all his grease-stained glory, something needs to be done. My breakfast bowl needs to be returned to her rightful place, before it is too late. As a diabetic discworld fan I’m well acquainted with Death, but the rest of the Horsemen I can happily live without. (sorry guys, nothing personal.)

I send my friend a message asking if I can swing by and pick up my bowl on the way to Piper’s swimming lesson. She doesn’t answer, but I can’t take any more bizarre days, so I drop by anyway and knock on her door, smiling like a lunatic when she actually answers it. We compare crazy, whatthehellisgoingon weeks, and I GET MY BOWL AND SPOON BACK.

So there you have it. The equilibrium of the universe has been restored. You can all stop panicking and Bruce Willis can take a shower. The Four Horsemen can go back to playing chess or whatever else it is they do when they’re not gallavanting around the countryside infecting my child with random diseases, making her endlessly hungry (and throwing food at her that she can’t reach), trying to decapitate me with the boot of my own car and causing random fights to erupt outside Chemist Warehouse.

Although, to be fair, all that wind did dry my washing nicely. Silver lining, right?

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Camping and Kids

When I was a kid, we camped a lot. I have done it enough times to know the basics and I’ll be honest here, it’s not really my thing. Not because I need somewhere to plug in my hairdryer or store my eyelash curler – because that’s so not me – but because I am pretty much an introvert.

My idea of a perfect holiday? Somewhere without lots of people, without annoying activities, where there is lovely scenery that I can see when I look out through the window, while I sit around in my comfy pants, drink tea and do craft all day. I don’t have to cook, or clean, or go anywhere, or do anything other than write by the cozy fire in my cliche oversized jumper. There’s an outside world, but it’s – well, it’s outside. Where I am not.

Introvert, much?

Anyway, recently (last weekend) we took the kids and went camping. No showers for a few days, a tent, some friends, a fire. That sort of thing. Which, to be fair, I wasn’t super enthused about because A) read above about my idea of a good holiday and B) winter is rapidly bearing down on us and I am one of those people who feel the cold.

Marshy was super excited, though, and he did an excellent job of building the kids up. He bought them home a torch each a couple of nights before we left and their faces exploded with joy. I let them pick a scarf each out of my wardrobe (and I have a scarf collection, believe you me) and we made a show of learning how to wear our beanies and gloves. We talked about sleeping all together in the tent, and how maybe we’d be lucky enough to see some animals.

Nobody mentioned bugs, outside toilets and angry sinuses, but I let that go, because their innocence in the face of adventure was too good. And hey, maybe they’re extroverts, right? I told myself not to be a party pooper, packed a little tub of crafty things just in case and put it in my hand luggage.

On the first day we stopped at a little roadside diner for lunch. The moment we opened Piper’s door, she started screaming “The Kangaroos will get me, the kangaroos will get me,” over and over again hysterically. We took her out of the car, demonstrated that there were no animals at the cafe, soothed her and promised ice cream.

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It was cold, but they seemed fine. I wore almost everything I had bought with me at once (not joking) but the kids ran, and played, and were generally free range. They explored, and got dirty. Toasted marshmallows on the fire and decided they were better raw. Jumped into sleeping bags and curled up together on the big air bed. The first night, Piper asked to go home to her own bed (she’s notorious for sleeping NOWHERE excpet for her own bed) but Orion takes his job as big brother very seriously and he soothed her, cuddled her, joked with her until she relaxed and they both went to sleep. Second night, they both went down easily, because they knew they had each other.

On the way home, Orion was carsick in the first half an hour, then slept the rest of the way. Piper took her shoes off and had us all choking on her three-day cheesefeet extravaganza, then tipped her drink bottle all through the car seat and soaked herself. A quick stop at a macca’s for lunch saw me raiding the boot for a completely new set of clothes, whilst fending off the umbrella and a small assortment of bags that kept trying to leap out. When we got home, I treated myself to one of the longest and most amazing showers I have ever had, ever. Marshy and the kids leapt into the bath and marvelled at how brown the water was once they were finished.

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And you know, at the end of the day, camping still isn’t my thing. But they loved it. For the kids, it was an Adventure. An exhausting, freezing, dirty adventure but an adventure nonetheless. Since we’ve been home this week, they’ve been telling everyone they see about how they slept in a tent. How they went walking at night with their torches, looking for animals. How I made potatoes with ham and cheese and COOKED THEM IN THE FIRE. And yes, they shout that last part. Well, Orion shouts everything, but he shouts the last part more, and he waves his arms as he’s shouting it.

So was I grumpy the entire time? No. Mostly in the mornings, when I’m grumpy anyway, because I am not a morning person. And, whilst we have already established that I am not in love with camping, nor do I completely despise it. I totally love the idea of camping more than, say, having my teeth extracted. Or eating a rice dinner with toothpicks. Or having to empty the sink after a pan has been soaking overnight and the water looks like something out of a Resident Evil movie. See? I’m awesome at this!

Jokes aside, and yes it’s cliche, but the joy on the kids’ faces made it totally worth it. One hundred per cent, absolutely, completely worth it.

Getting Cosy With Being Me

You know, it’s going to sound weird, but it’s taken me an awfully long time to learn how to be myself. In fact, I’m still learning every day.  I grew through my childhood and formative years with the notion that happiness comes from making other people happy. Before anyone starts to wonder and waggle fingers – no, nobody out there was preaching that to me – this is the opinion I formulated based upon my own observations and interactions with people.

But seriously, think about it for a second. As a child, if you eat all your dinner, Mummy is happy. If you colour inside the lines, the teacher is happy. If you remember to wear that hideous jumper Nana knitted you and smile at the same time, Nana is happy. You might not have been hungry, or you may have preferred your drawing messy, and you hate that fucking jumper, but you did all those things because it made them happy.

Now I’m a teenager. I say ‘me’ because I don’t want to race around putting words in others mouths, so let’s pretend I’ve gone back in time. You want to get good grades in the right subjects (English, Math, History, Computers etc) to “keep all the doors open for the future.” You want to look for a good career. You want to be responsible, and get a job, and save your cash for the future. Except maybe I didn’t like maths, and preferred art, but dropped it because the teachers said it was unimportant. Maybe the doors that were open were ones I’d have preferred closed. Maybe I didn’t want to be a doctor, or a lawyer – but an author and an artist. Maybe, to me, instead of ‘responsible’ I would have preferred ‘self esteem’ and ‘turning a dream into reality’.

I got jobs and was fired from them for a variety of reasons. Including, but not limited to:
* Too loud
* Too honest (not joking)
* “Nobody is that cheerful in real life”
* Refusing to follow a script for conversations with clients because my nonchalant attitude freaked my employer out
* Refusing to put up with my boss putting his hand up my skirt (“Is it really as bad as you think? Maybe he’s just friendly?”)
*Demanding to eat lunch at some point during an eight hour shift (apparently this made me “unsuited to the industry”)
* A flawed personality, resulting in my being too bubbly

The list goes on – I won’t bore you. Eventually I fell in love and got pregnant, married and so sick I had to quit my job (not necessarily in that order but close enough to) and I left the world of other people’s fucked up views with less self esteem than I started with.

And here we are, today, an adult. I have a wonderful, excellent, often confused by my actions but supportive nonetheless husband. Thanks luscious, I wouldn’t be me without you. I have two gorgeous, intelligent, sassy children who try their best to run my life and have a 50/50 success rate based upon their cuteness factor and my tea intake during the given moment.

But, and let’s say about August last year, I realised I was unhappy. Not with my life, per se, but as me. I didn’t know who me was. I didn’t know how to tell people what I wanted, where I wanted to go, or even something as simple as what I wanted to wear. I had formed my life, my personal mine-and-nobody-else’s-life, around what I thought everyone else thought I should be doing.

To be fair, I tried a couple of times to turn against the tide of advice but I just didn’t know how, where, why. I just didn’t. And when everyone is telling you that life works like ABCD, it’s pretty hard to explain why you prefer QSIP, especially when you cannot explain why.

So with the realisation of unhappy came the inevitable tide of emotions. Fear, anger, resentment, panic – all directed inwards, of course. I would wake up every morning, and look myself in the mirror, and say: “Why can’t you just be normal?” But I wasn’t.

BUT I WAS.

I am me. What I like, what I want, how I dress and the fact I prefer Pikachu to Prada – those things are all me. And it was time. Time to stop being someone else, and focus on allowing myself to come out and play.

Sounds simple but it sucked. So badly. I had developed a mild anxiety while pregnant with Piper because hormones and whilst it had rarely troubled me since then, it chose that precise moment to come clamouring in and snuggle me on the couch. Yes, I was sitting on the couch and yes, I remember the exact moment I went OHSHITMYLIFE.

I spent the weeks, months, hours since trying to rebuild myself. I battled with the anxiety silently – because when I mentioned it to a couple of people, they got all confused and asked me what I had to worry about. I tried to keep on plucking my eyebrows and wearing my big girl panties and blah blah blah and it just sucked.

But I missed the thing. The big thing. The main thing. The thing of ALL THINGS.

I was reluctant to be me.

And you know how I worked it out? I got so far down into shitsville, so piled up under anxiety and insomnia and the incredible racing of my brain that I physically couldn’t pretend to be anyone else any more. Yup. I started being me because it was too hard to PRETEND.

Except I didn’t know I was pretending until I stopped. Irony, much?

I started wearing my Pikachu in a Link outfit tank when I dropped Orion to school, because zero fucks, and guess what? The kids loved it. One asked if he could hug me because he loved Pikachu so much.

I confessed to my friends at dancing that I couldn’t be bothered waxing my pubes anymore, and that I really didn’t care if they saw my furry shorts poking out under my actual shorts, and guess what? They laughed. They. Didn’t. Care.

I told people that I wanted to work from home, running my own business. I didn’t want to be a journalist, or a data entry-ist, or a day care mum, or a cleaner. I want to be an artist and an author because that’s what my soul has been singing since I was old enough to listen. And you know what? My husband encouraged me to study and to follow those dreams.

I admitted I didn’t want to go back to university because nobody actually teaches exactly what I want to learn. Care to guess? I researched online, found what I wanted to learn, wrote my own syllabus, and began my own study using free resources.

I shared with a friend that I loved to write and we giggled over coffee and ideas and he asked me for a sample of my work and you know what? I gave it to him as a first draft and HE LIKED IT. (For the record, I never EVER give out first draft work to other people to read because it might suck.)

I lost my shit and ranted about the grittier points of a particular anxiety experience on a forum to a bunch of beautiful strangers, and you know what? They rallied. They reached out, and supported me, and empathised, and shared their own experiences. It was a massive, huge, incredible turning point that deserves (and will get) a post by itself. But not one person laughed at me. Not one.

I stopped dying my hair and discovered I liked the silver ones at the front.

I stopped caring if my clothes were trendy, rather than comfortable, and wear what I like when I like.

I started saying no.

I started smiling more.

I started laughing more.

The list goes on, and on, and on. The gist of it was, when there was nothing left to lose – in fact, almost nothing left at all – the person I thought I should have been evaporated, and the person underneath said “oh shit, well, okay then, you asked for it.”

And here we are.

Now, there’s not sunshine and rainbows and lollipops every day. I still have my anxiety and there are things which trigger it, many of which I don’t understand. I am still diabetic, which pretty much makes life annoyingly complex, and I still have to get out of bed at 6.45am every fucking weekday – oh and probably on weekends, because Orion’s an early riser.

I have spent many nights shouting at my support crew (internally of course, because RUDE) because I know they are correct, and their being correct makes me do something I am scared of. In fact, the best piece of advice a dear friend and mentor gave me was “If it scares you and makes you uncomfortable, then you should probably do it.” I set myself the challenge where instead of shying away from those situations as I would in the past, to dig in my heels, assess, and progress. And do it. And keep doing it.

That load I carried, the one that dragged me and tumbled and flustered me – is gone. I am loud, and bubbly, and cheerful, and too honest. I have no filter between my brain and my mouth. Sometimes I swear in the middle of the classroom by accident and all the kids laugh and the teacher tried to frown when really she’s laughing too. I eat more cake (even though that means an injection) and drink tea, and I like to make art and write things. I like Pikachu, and unicorns, and video games. I carry a planner around because I am hopelessly disorganised. I am a little (a lot) OCD and a terrible perfectionist. My nose has a bump in it, I have bruises from my insulin injections and I have a wonky tooth. I am unco-ordinated, graceless and probably a little hairy. And I am happy with all of these things. Every single one.

I am madly in love with my husband. I don’t always know how to tell him, or show him, but baby if you are reading this I LOVE YOU. Even your farts. Okay, maybe not your farts, but your bum is pretty cool.

I think my kids rock. They do. They are cute and funny and irritating and independent. They do stupid shit, and then incredibly creative things. Orion takes everything you say literally. LITERALLY. Yup. Piper’s a diva and a snuggler and I wouldn’t have either of them any other way, not even when they’re driving me mad. Especially when they’re driving me mad.

The me that I am now, the me that I see in the morning when I look in the mirror says: “You are your own kind of normal and that is pretty rad.”

Zero fucks, people. Zero fucks.

MY FACE

The Path Less Travelled

It’s funny how life often gets in the way of my best laid plans. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew what my life was supposed to be like. I had it all mapped out for years, how I wanted it to look, where I needed it to go and how I intended for it to be. And can you believe, it turned out completely different?! The cheek!

Younger Me would not like Present Me. Younger Me accepts no excuses. She would look at the undulating pathway of my life and issue Present Me a severe tongue lashing for failing to carry out the plan to the letter. For allowing myself to be distracted, for making the wrong choices, for accepting the wrong advice. For wasting all. That. Time. Younger Me is basically a bitch, but it’s okay, because she lacks the softer side that experience and maturity brings.

Present Me has learnt a great many lessons over the years, the foremost of which is that no matter what you plan, life has this annoying way of happening to you. And it keeps happening, particularly when you allude to ‘the plan’ and try to reroute things so that you get back onto your imaginary track.

This is all lovely I suppose, but what is the point? The point is, it’s never too late to come up with a NEW plan. Or, because Life might be listening, a general, totally flexible, not at all plan-like aim for the future.

I have spent a great deal of time (years, actually) looking back and punishing myself for wasting all that time, and I can promise you I didn’t get a damned thing out of it. Well, not true – I have some white hairs and consumed many litres of chocolate ice cream – but not in a happy way. Late last year I decided that I didn’t need any more white hairs (why are they so weird and squiggly?!) so I set myself on a new path.

First order of business was to study. This was a fairly nerve-wracking decision for me, and involved facing a lot of baggage. But I am nothing if not a believer in the old adage “where there’s a will there’s a way,” and so I set about getting my shit together.

And I am doing it. (Studying, not shitting) It was a bit of a rocky road and my daily schedule is intense, but I am doing it. I am learning and growing and hopefully setting myself up to change my life. Ambiguous, no? All the details wouldn’t fit into one little itty bitty post, so I guess I’ll have to tell the story in a few installments. Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride!

Stay tuned.

Baking Biscuits

I was seized by the unquenchable desire to bake on Monday. I’d had plans for the day that were swiftly thwarted when Orion woke up ill and and a late afternoon doctor’s appointment left my morning suddenly free.

I’d been shuffling through my recipes (which are an exceptionally well organised collection of randomly sized, loose bits of paper that I shove into a free section of my bookshelf) when a recipe for Anzac biscuits literally fell out. It’s a sign, right, when that happens? Well for whatever the reason, I decided that biscuits were in order and off to the kitchen I went.

As soon as they were out of the oven, I did what comes naturally – grabbed a steaming hot bikkie and juggled it for a minute or so until it was cool enough (sorta) to jam in my mouth.

My vision immediately clouded. My kitchen disappeared and instead, I sat at my grandmother’s kitchen table, cheerfully debating the merits of chewy biscuits vs crunchy ones. Neither of us would give ground, and Grandpa chuckled quietly as he picked the crunchiest biscuit on the plate and carefully pushed it across the table towards me. I ate while Grandma shook her head and dunked her decidedly chewy biscuit in her tea a couple of times. The smell of baked goods permeates the room, embedding itself in the walls, the linen, my heart.

Grandma would have hated my attempt at Anzacs. They’re teeth breakingly hard. Tiny golden rocks on my tray. She would have scolded me, and dunked that biscuit in her tea until it was almost soggy enough to come apart. And we would have laughed, whilst I stubbornly ate mine how it was, because I like them crunchy. Although I will admit, I feared for the longevity of my teeth on these. Whatever their faults, the flavour was there, the memories were there – and unexpected, I might add – the heart was there. And the traditional tongue-burning of that first biscuit? Yup, that was there too.

Winging It

Parenting Orion is like trying to parent a hurricane – he’s loud, leaves a trail of debris in his wake and if you look away for even a moment, he will destroy your house. His love is fierce, his hugs will throw you on the floor and everything about him is loud, wild and a little bit chaotic. From the day of his birth, Orion has challenged every notion I ever had about being a parent and building a family. About ten weeks ago, I began to notice his behaviour changing – he’d been having the odd tantrum here and there, a few temper displays and an occasional outburst – but all of a sudden I was living with an angry little boy. He yelled. He hit, kicked, pushed, snatched and was generally unpleasant to be around.

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I tried to work out the problem and failed miserably. Six weeks slipped by, each one more difficult than the last. One Friday night I’d had enough, and told Marshy that after the weekend was over, I was taking him to see a doctor. My sweet little boy had gone, and I wanted to know why, and what I could do to help him. After a quick breakfast that Sunday morning, we all piled into the car and drove an hour and a bit to a fancy restaurant for my uncle’s 60th birthday party. While we were there, Orion made several nasty visits to the restaurant’s facilities and even hung over the balcony railing a few times because he thought he might vomit. Marshy and I looked at each other, scratching our heads. I finally said: “What did he eat for breakfast?” The answer was yogurt. Orion loves yogurt. He eats it every day and that morning, in an effort to put off the inevitable tantrum, daddy had let him eat it straight out of the tub. In that moment, the little light bulb went off over both our heads, and almost in unison we said “He’s lactose intolerant.”

And he is. After putting Orion on a strict lactose free diet for a week and seeing massive improvement, I accidentally bought him a hot chocolate at the shops. He was terribly ill and had an awful, epic meltdown before bed that night. After getting back onto the lactose free track the next day and sticking to it ever since, he’s a completely different human being. Still chaos incarnate, mind you, but the sweet, mischievous kind. Nobody is more relieved than I am – except perhaps Orion’s tummy.

Piper, on the other hand, could not be more opposite to her brother if she tried. My little unicorn is shy, retiring, and happy to spend her entire day sitting on your lap. If she makes a mess, she does it very carefully, one piece at a time, and packs it up afterwards. She plays quietly, thinks before she speaks and eats neatly. Don’t let this fool you into thinking this makes her a pushover – Piper’s also strong willed and is not afraid to voice her opinions. Orion is full of fire and energy and spends a great deal of time charging forward, and if Piper doesn’t want to follow she simply won’t. Despite both being strong personalities, they get on very well for the most part. For the rest, mummy or daddy step in and try to help them sort out a reasonable compromise.

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A week ago Piper decided she didn’t want to nap any more. This was a big shock, because previously she was sleeping for two hours a day. Last Tuesday I put her to bed as usual, but she just didn’t sleep. I watched her through the baby monitor, happily sitting up in bed, singing and playing with her toys. After 45 minutes I realised it wasn’t going to happen. I pulled her out thinking she’d be tired later, but she was TOTALLY FINE. The next day, whilst I was getting her out of the car I said “Time to lie down and have a sleep in your bed.” She promptly slipped her arms back into the seatbelts, crossed them over her chest and said “No seeps Mummy.” Try as I might, she had herself barricaded into the car seat and repeated “No seeps!” over and over again until I finally said “Okay, okay, no sleep.” At which point, she smiled, uncrossed her arms and got out of the car.

I’ve offered every day since, but she refuses. I’ve learnt over the years that sometimes the best way to parent is to trust your little one’s judgement, so I’ve let her play instead. In some ways, life is easier – no rushing home to be there for nap time because she refuses to sleep anywhere other than in her own bed, and no more worrying about scheduling appointments around sleeps. In other ways, things are more complicated – that two hour window of forced home time was the space I had allocated myself for working, and quite literally overnight it has disappeared. Last week was a complete nightmare. Eventually I just gave up, fitted a few things in where I could and decided to try again this week. I’ve come up with a few strategies to try, but it’s going to be a new phase of winging it as we go forward.

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But I guess that’s what being a parent is all about, isn’t it? Winging it, I mean. My time and my heart are both theirs, and I have never been happier than being their mother. That soppy talk aside, I do spend a great deal of time with raised eyebrows, scratching my head in confusion as I try to work out why they’re running up the hallway squealing and waving a popped balloon (or other random item) above their heads.

How about you? Have any radical lifestyle changes come your way lately? Are you winging it too?

Getting Organised

According to certain people in my life *cough* my husband *cough* I am famously and dependably disorganised. I won’t make too much of a comment on the matter, suffice to say that after I had Orion (five years ago now? No way!), there was a spate of double and triple bookings, forgotten birthday presents and ohshit moments which spanned more than six months. My solution to this was to write everything down.

I strated with a wall calendar, which is cute but doesn’t really cut it. Mostly because my dearest hunk of man meat refuses to look at it. We graduated to using our phone calendars, which are synced to show events across both of our phones. This made a little bit more of a difference and worked well enough until Piper came along, and suddenly there were all these extra things to do, and we were right back to double bookings, late nights baking cakes for that barbeque lunch I thought was actually next week, and forgetting the birthday presents. And the easter eggs. And the christmas presents. Again.

I went back to using a paper desk diary late last year and suddenly a great deal of my problems were solved. I’m pretty fussy about my diaries, so when it came to choosing my diary for this year, I searched high and low before settling on this one from Kikki K:

Old-Diary Old-Diary-2

Cute hey? This is from earlier in the year, when I actually wrote stuff in it. Anyway, when I started trying to set up some work from home, I added a second desk diary to my computer desk so that I could track all my work. I bought the same diary, in a smaller version, with a weekly layout. Fast forward to last week, when I decided it was time to choose next year’s diary. When I mentioned this to the love of my life, he laughingly pointed out that I’m still awfully disorganised. He’s kind of right: I am always late, always. (That kind of comes with the territory with little kids though.) I still double book myself, and still forget things. Why? Few reasons.

One, because I have things written in my personal diary, my work diary, my wall calendar and my phone diary, but nothing is written in any one singular place. I basically write the event on whichever medium is closest to hand, get distracted by something shiny, and flit off.

Two, because I have my personal diary on the kitchen bench, my work diary on the computer desk and my wall calendar on the wall (duh) – meaning none of these are actually with me when I leave the house. Which leaves only my phone, and, well, refer reason one.

Three, because my life looks like this:
* personal diary
* work diary
* wall calendar
* diabetic diary
* To-Do list
* Shopping List
* Meal Planner
* Budget and expenses tracker
* Notepad (for lots of things to be written)
* Post-It Notes (for reminders that I stick to the back of my phone, or all around the house as necessary, in a vain attempt to Not Forget Things)

pile

This picture is actually minus the wall calendar and the phone, but you get the idea. I have, in my attempts to be organised, started writing things in so many places it’s almost worse. So I went to Kikki K again, and I took a close friend who also loves stationary and understood my dilemma. We spent well over an hour handling every single diary option in the store and harrassing the poor woman behind the counter, searching for the solution. And the solution was this:

Diary Inside

A planner. They sell a bunch of different types and sizes, this is the large. Naturally I had to pick the only planner in the entire store which was an online only exclusive, so after making my decision I had to come home and order it online and wait an agonising three days for it to arrive – but nevertheless, I now have it. Which means attempting to condense my pile of chaos into one singular volume. More visuals?

Comparison

So much better! The planner itself wasn’t cheap but when I added up the cost of everything I was already using, I realised I was easily spending double the money I spent on the planner. I also, during my online research, discovered the world of decorated planners. Someone warned me on Facebook that I’d be kissing my credit card goodbye if I got into planner decorating, but not so! I am already a lifelong stationary addict. I have drawers full of stickers, post-its, embellishments and other crafty crap with no outlet. I mean, I make birthday cards, but this is different stuff. I also have a heap of stuff I bought for scrapbooking years ago and never used. As I inhaled Pinterest, staring at the beautiful pictures of what people had done with their planners, I realised I already had all the things I needed to make my planner extraordinary too. And what better way to use up all of that stuff, right?

It’s done. It’s a done deal. I’ve heard the siren song of my people, and I have leapt into the water without a backwards glance. It’s love and washi tape and stickers and squeeeeeeeee!

I mean organisation. And responsibility. Totally. Ahem.

My requirements are a little different than the planner’s standard provision, so I had to customise it pretty heavily. In fact, the weekly calendar and the to do list are pretty much the only standard sections that survived. I also couldn’t wait until next year to start using it (are you surprised? It’s got WATERMELONS on it!) so I took to my current diary with a stanley knife and removed all the pages between here and December (when the planner’s inserts begin), hole punched them and stuck them into the ring binder. I also did the same for my smaller work diary, and slipped that into a different section for my diabetes journal. The planner fits in my handbag, so it now goes everywhere with me, thus eliminating (hopefully) all the logistical issues I’ve been experiencing thus far. I have been busted clutching it to my chest a few times and swaying dreamily.

So I’m using it. Using, building, designing, dreaming, customising, learning and loving it! Oh and organising. Yeah, organising. Stay tuned for much, much more planner love to come. I’m really excited to share the journey of this ordinary planner’s transition into something unique and special!