Twas the night before Christmas 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our flatsNot a creature was sleeping, despite hours of pats

We’d run out of loo paper, and coffee beans too

The presents were wrapped, though we’d lost quite a few

The children were jumping all Over their beds**

While reruns of Disney films danced in their heads
When what to my wondering eyes should appear

A carrot, a cookie and a big mug of beer

And though a kilo of prawns made me feel a bit sick,

I knew in a moment I must be Saint Nick .

I was dressed all in chaos from my head to my toes

When the empty threats started, and my temper arose

“I’m calling santa! He won’t be coming!”

I gesticulated wildly, sent them all running

On potty , on teeth, on bath, on no sweets!

On veggies, no soft drinks, and no tiny feets!

To the top of my game! And To the instructions?

Quick! To the bubbles, before the destruction!

I drank and I ate and I built and I slept

I watched bad Christmas carols, I almost wept

I had a round face, I felt a bit smelly

I’d cooked , and for trifle I had made the jelly

I was jolly and plump, from too many work parties

So I plonked on the lounge, and ate all the smarties

And I heard me exclaim, ‘ere I faded from sight

Christmas Eve, to parents, is a bloody long night.#

Footnotes:

** we only have one child. But my husband was also jumping on the bed

# this is almost an entirely truthful & accurate depiction of our Xmas eve.
Merry Christmas.

Behaviour matching

I recently read this great post on life as a rambling redhead, about pairing your child’s bad behaviour with wine, but I just can’t agree with the wine choices. How do you pair wines with your child’s less and desirable behaviour?

When navigating such a complex parenting decision, I feel it is best to talk through scenarios we may encounter in the every day life of a toddler, then pair these with the appropriate drinks. Food and wine matching is all very well, but that won’t help you when the food is sliding down the lounge room wall now, will it?

  1. Epic threenager meltdowns of the nuclear variety coupled with sweet ramblings

In this situation, your toddler has meltdowns on their meltdowns. So much so that you think some kind of brain damage has either already happened, or will inevitably follow. This is then closely coupled with sitting quietly on the couch with a butter-wouldn’t-melt -in-his-mouth expression, patting your arm and saying “I love you mummy”.

Combination behaviours require a combination wine.

What better wine to pair with this demon wrapped up in a conundrum than a Grenache Shiraz mouvedre? The GSM, as is affectionately known, has vanilla tones from the Grenache to mimic your child’s sweet moments, the punch of the gutsy shiraz (because you know you want to) and it is all held together with a fuzzy blanket of mouvedre. Second glass in you’ll move from rocking back and forth in a fetal position to watching him sleep, lovingly. Mummy’s little helper indeed

2. Come on, mum!

Hey mum! You’re my playmate! Let’s do a puzzle! Watch me! Watch me do this lame thing again and again just to get your undivided attention during your working from home day! Look! Ok let’s run! Ok we’re in a car park and……go! And, paint! And paint and paint! And…

No wine can do 11 hours of this justice. Crack a beer.

3. What did you forget?

Oh thanks mister childcare worker! J-man didn’t feel like his nap today? Cool! That’s good sweetie, that you’re so good at decisions for your own welfare! Aren’t you advanced? I don’t feel like wearing pants, but you don’t see me rocking up to the office in my cottontails, do ya? No, no!

But thanks! Thanks for letting my child assert himself. Its great I now get to spend 3 hours with a psychotic stick wielding banshee. Good choices!

After you’ve lifted his sleeping face out of the mashed potato and peas and popped him into his bed at 7pm, I’d recommend you both drink champagne. Served as cold as a working mother at drop off

4. Throw me under a bus

For any illness involving staying in the house more than 3 days, add a scotch to the following suggestion.

In case of vomit, I’d recommend white spirits. Something like a Moscow Mule with its cheeky vodka afterglow, then cleansing freshness of lime and the stomach soothing ginger for the illness you will inevitably catch. Rinse, and repeat.

In case of amazing quantities of snot, I’d recommend a pinot grigio. This light young Italian adds a fresh cut through which means you’ll be able to sniff your glass out as you dig through the used tissue pile. Very handy. Plus, being fresh and light, it is quite easy to swill. Swilling is important.

In case of anything festy, aka hand foot & mouth, school sores (Impetigo), nits or anything unidentifiable and itchy, it is quite hard to recommend a suitable drink. I think something as close to a disinfectant as possible, so gin or vodka must necessarily be involved. It is also possible to have medicinal vodka whilst showering, or, to drink whilst sitting on the toilet lid bathing your festy child and applying mind altering chemicals to their “festiness”. If nits are involved, one of those cocktails you set alight could be a good thing. Flame has amazing healing powers.

5. Oh my god please tell me he’s asleep.

Again, hate to tell you lady, wine aint gonna cut it.

What this requires, after a bedtime that has involved two different kinds of water, a special cup, a special car, milk, warmer milk, bread, spilling a drink, snoring and waking himself up, the phone ringing JUST AS HE WAS DRIFTING OFF TO SLEEP, requests for the ipad, and repeated call outs just when you thought it was safe…..what this requires is LOTS and LOTS of chocolate. And crappy TV. And Chocolate. And a GIANT cup of tea. Did I mention chocolate?

6. Drinks to save for a terrible, no good very bad day

  • Dark ales such as Guinness. These are handy when the weight of your failure as a parent must be presented in beverage form.
  • That bottle of unidentified sweet crap involving the word “Crème” that has been at the back of your booze shelf since 1984. It should be a weird colour. Save it for homicidal rages.
  • Any kind of infused vodka (eg chilli, gold leaf, other random flavours). I’ve heard these are very handy for the post hospital visit come down. You get a bigger glass if you arrived in an ambulance, and you can pour doubles if there was something embedded in someone.

Under no circumstances should you condone the consumption of sauvignon blanc, or cask wine. I mean, you’re a parent now, right? Someone needs to set an example.

CBF

So like anything parenting, there’s a lot of methods of toilet training out there. The 3 day potty training method, timed potty stops, the follow their lead method. Most of the books assure us it’s all about timing. If they’re ready, it will be easy, if they’re not, it will be an epic waterfall of bodily fluids at completely inappropriate times / locations, possibly involving walls being painted with poo*.

I’d like to propose a new method. The CBF’d method. The CBF, or Can’t Be F()$*^d method, starts whenever your nearest mum pal has their same age child reliably toilet trained. At this point, you think, we can do this, and commit to toilet training wholesale, going out and buying copious quantities of cute appealing underwear, a nice comfy potty, a seat and steps to go on the big toilet, and a lot of washing powder. You’ve got this, you think.

You declare it “pants off Friday”. Fridays will forever be known as pants off Friday in your house. You carefully select a day when both parents are on leave from work, and the schedule and reliability of bowel movements are both delightfully open ended.

The first day, he wears the potty as a hat. You encourage, and make the potty fun. You get spectator shy dad to demonstrate how it’s done, allowing him to share in the joy that is the accompanied visit to the loo.

The second day, a wee on the potty. There is great rejoicing and the giving of marshmallows. everyone shouts ” hooray!”. Your toddler takes to weeing off the corner of the first floor verandah, onto the driveway below, thankfully missing unsuspecting passers by. “We’re Just watering the plants,” you smile and wave to them. ” hooray, I did a wee on the verandah” your toddler announces. Hooray! You say, as you move the potty onto the verandah to avoid embarrassing incidents with the neighbours. There is more giving of marshmallows.

The third day, pants off Sunday, you’ve carefully discussed poos in the potty. You’ve smiled and been very positive through minor accidents. You go out and buy a thomas the tank engine potty book, complete with stickers. This is the big day, you’re thinking.

And sure enough, without warning, he runs gracefully to the potty and whips out a giant turd. I say whips out, because, just like a soft serve ice cream, he does it standing up, with perfect aim. It’s amazing . You gently coax him into sitting next time. Everyone stands around to inspect the poo. The presence of blueberries is noted. It is tipped and flushed with great ceremony and applause. And duly hand out marshmallows.

To your surprise, he never misses, has perfect aim, and only once or twice wees in a non designated toileting location.

The next day, radiant with confidence, you bring in the underwear.

The underwear does not go well. The underwear, wet or not, feels like a nappy. So it is wee’d upon. You smile, nod, and say “hey, accidents happen! Help me clean it up!” Feeling a little like a dog trainer rubbing his nose in it. And we all smile, and clean it up.

Then we get changed.

Then we all smile, and clean it up.

Then we get changed.

Then we all grit our teeth so it looks like a smile.

Then we get changed.

Then your knees are red from kneeling and scrubbing carpet. And you’ve run out of rag towels and start using the good ones. But tomorrow! Tomorrow it will click!

“Nappy ONNNNN!!!!!” He declares in the morning. Apparently he is fearing type 2 diabetes due to marshmallow intake. He can’t take the cleaning. A truce is declared.

CBF’d, you think, reading the thomas potty book again, thinking gordon looks like a raving homosexual. Not that there’s anything worn with that, just sayin. You pack the potty everywhere you go, but your heart’s not in it.

Two days later, you’re back at work.
“Underpants! I want racing car underpants! No no the RED ONES!!! The red ones!!!! I want to sit on the potttttyyyyyy!!!!!!!”

The split second morning schedule is screwed. Because, seriously, he is one step away from a prune eating old bloke with a giant newspaper on the dunny. It takes HOURS.” We have to go now!” “I’m sitting on the potty!”

It’s time for an upgrade. You ditch the marshmallows. Roll out the lolly snakes. In an ornamental jar. And stand, eating them late at night, as you stuff clothes into the washing machine.
“What do you want for breakfast?”
“SNAKES!”
“Snakes are not a breakfast food. Snakes are for when you go on the potty. For poos on the potty.”
“Snakes!”

You leave then house. He’s wearing a nappy and eating snakes.

And you? You CBF’d. Just like weaning, it will probably happen before his 18th birthday.

“Don’t send mixed messages!” The books say. “Never look back!” The books say, like somehow nappies are a biblical Lot’s wife and you’ll all turn into a pillar of salt if you venture back into this now forbidden territory.

“Screw that” you say. I finished work at 1am and I don’t fancy a turdburger before work, strapping him in to the snuggest most spill proof nappy possible.

“We’ve reassessed, and the timing is not right” you declare, you well read bastion of bowel research.

But, really, the thought of going out like your elderly mother, aware of every toilet within 10 nanoseconds in an already insanely busy life just fills you with dread and makes you look for a paper bag to breathe into. And honestly? Toilet training?

You just CBF’d.

* yes. This actually happened. To our Friday nanny. Yes. It was jman.

Why Gen Y don’t have Choose Your Own Adventure books

So. I’m back at teaching. Week 3 done. Can’t believe it. The semester is flying by.

Despite me thinking this would be the I just can’t do this point, teaching across three campuses, teaching a third year unit and running a post grad unit, it’s been ok. The structure of a timetable is a welcome change, and there isn’t nothing like the impetus of a couple of hundred people sitting in a room waiting for you at 9am to get you out of the door on time.

I am busy. I am unable to look up from my desk or find time to pee busy. But it’s ok. It’s not as personally consuming as parenting busy. It’s hard, but the care factor isn’t quite what it used to be. I’m not as invested in it, and surprisingly I think that mostly this leads to me making faster better decisions.

Jman is settling into family daycare. He still cries on drop off at least half the time. I don’t cry on drop off anymore. That’s a welcome change.

I need to write a post about 19 months ( I missed the 18 month one).
I need to write a post about stupid first. Like first time he went missing. Yesterday. First time he drew on furniture. Today.

But first, Now that I am back in their faces each and every day, I need to write a post about why Gen Y does not have choose your own adventure books.

Choose your Own Adventure books were the ultimate re-read. You could read them thirty times over, and get a different story, based on the choices you made in the flow chart of the story.

Here’s Gen Y’s choose your own adventure: version 1.0:

You walk into a lecture theatre late, after having failed the prerequisite unit three times. You’re chatting on your mobile. Do you
A) hang up and apologise, explaining your nan is in hospital (turn to p.17)
B) continue the conversation, walking in front of the projection screens, wave to your friends, then noisily take a seat (turn to p. 19)
C) go home, you’re never going to pass an essay subject anyway (turn to p.21)

Page 17You’re so glad your nan is ok. You text 17 people about it and update your Facebook status. Your BFF lol’d about some of the things nan had said to the doctor. The lecturer asks have you done the work for this week. You say
A) no, it seemed kind of difficult, could you just summarise the big issues for me? (turn to p.28)
B) no, your favourite cafe had run out of soy chai latte mix and you just couldn’t think straight (turn to p.35)
C) I tried google, but got distracted by a video of a cat playing the bongoes (actually, just give up)
D) yes of course. I’m going to have 63 careers in my lifespan so I need to be on top of things (turn to last page, rock star )

Page 19

This lecture seems to lack direct relevance to you acquiring your next iPhone. You decide, instead, you’re going to do this subject the easy way. Do you
A) look up the special considerations policy, because rather than use your powers for good, you’ll get through it the back way (turn to appeals on p.50)
B) sign up to an internet paper mill during the lecture, that will complete your next assignment for $150 (can easy pay that with a day shift at the call centre… Turn to p.55) or
C) trust that everything will be fine because, seriously, the universe loves you (turn to sense of entitlement, p.58)

Page 58

Page 58 just has “SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT: the universe owes me and I’m AWESOME” written across the page in 50 point comic sans font.

The end.

Mother of invention #16: pram face

Have you ever noticed when you take your little angel out in the stroller or pram, they zone out? Ever try to engage with a pram faced toddler? It’s like they think you’re the hired help with no right to interact with the main man. The squealing bundle of movement that wouldn’t leave you alone is reduced to a zen like calm after a few short blocks, a couple of birds and a few cars whizzing by.

Parents, wouldn’t it be nice if you could summon pram face whenever you liked? Well now, thanks to the baby shopping network, you can.

Find yourself with a toddler standing on a shopping centre change table covered in poo, kissing himself in the mirror whilst simultaneously dropping the wipes into the sink?^^ A single spray of Pram face mist will leave him blissed out, lying down cooperatively and compliant within seconds.

Trying to visit grandma in hospital with a complete nutcase of a child, who tries to swipe her dinner, run down the corridor, and make friends with people with infectious disease?^^ A single wafting mist of Pram face will have him quietly holding his sippy cup, sitting on the bed watching Peppa Pig.

Trying to dress a boa constrictor who is hanging upside down from a light fitting, throwing toast and trying to poke you in the eye^^? Pram face will fix it.

Tired of being used as a human gymnasium, dying to sip just one cup of tea from beginning to end? A little dab of Pram face concentrate behind the ears and you’ll be leafing though a magazine whilst watching Oprah in no time.

How about those car seat wobblies? The arched back, the tears, the head shaking, the complete and utter refusal to cooperate with being strapped in? You’ll see the car face soon enough, but in the meantime, you need Pram face.

Recommended doses are not more than three squirts a day, so choose your pram face moments wisely. Available In peppermint, lavender and cheap wine scent, with a super economy sized pack just out, and a free purse pack with every purchase.

Pram face. You know you want to.

Get yours today.

^^ this really happened