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.

A thousand and forty one nights

So today, I’ve agreed to go on a brief last minute business trip, against my better judgement. An overnight to Brisbane for a presentation.

I can remember the feeling of the walls closing in when jman was born, when I looked ahead and thought about breastfeeding, about life in general, and thought “crap! I’m trapped. I’m really really trapped”. He needs me every two hours. Get me a paper bag to breathe into.

Somehow, as the blob turns into a small person, and the small person turns into a bigger person, as I adjusted to this new version of myself, the “trap” became what I wanted to do. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, or wanting to be. Mostly. Like any mother I had the Thelma and louise meets disappear to a five star hotel alone without notice fantasy, yep, but mostly,I wanted to be there for him. Mostly, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Tonight, after a thousand and forty one nights, I will be somewhere else. 36 hours apart…the longest separation we have had in nearly three years.

Parenting, where you have to go from separate to embedded and intertwined, wrapped together, and somehow, over time, get back to being separate people. Separate but bound. Tied. Linked. It’s like a personality decathlon for the parent. And I suspect, with this bring our first night apart, this is only about the fourth event.

I’ll be thinking of you, jman. I will also quite enjoy the king sized bed.

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We made it

Well. Not a lot of posting lately.

See, I took the new job. Back in October.

I hated the new job in October.

I hated it quite a lot in November.

I thought about going back to my old job in December.

No longer could I work from home 2 days a week (down to 1). No longer could I knock off at whenever teaching was finished, because I was on a learning curve as steep as a roller coaster.No longer could I leave work, drop into the shops and pick up dinner supplies, and pick up at daycare by 4:30.

There were a lot of reasons not to like the new job. Won’t go into them here, just in case.

Then we had a break over Christmas.

Then the extra money from the new job allowed us to buy our apartment we’d been renting for 5 years.

Then things weren’t as financially stretched as they once were, even with a mortgage.

Then my abject terror at not knowing ANYTHING changed to occasional nervous wobbles, and finally to a combination of mostly confidence and a bit of “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Then i quite enjoyed getting the ferry to work.

Then i occasionally enjoyed the intellectual challenge, and the ability to effect change in the new role.

And today, today my first exam ran. For 3,500 people  in many worldwide locations. And it went ok.

We made it. And I feel like, well, if I am not quite over the hump, then I’m at least nearing the top of it. All of pick ups, hub in boots. Most of the dinners. Hub in boots. For a while i worked 9-5 in the office then 9pm-12 am at home. Then I realised this was unsustainable and mixed it up, sometimes working 9-6 in the office and 8-10 at home. I ran a discussion board 24/7 for 13 weeks. Somehow. With a toddler climbing on my shoulders, draping himself around my neck, yelling in my ear for me to sit down and build block towers.

And sometimes I built.

And sometimes I couldn’t build.

And then, as my confidence / comfort grew, sometimes I’d just go “stuff it I’m not coming in”. I’m hosting teleconferences in my lounge room in my tracky dacks. And sometimes I knock off at 4. And today, we can get off the express train. Sure, I have to get on a different train, developing new material for the next offering, but still.

It has been hard. It has been challenging. It has been tiring. It has put pressure on all of us. But I’ve done it all once now. In education, the first time through is always the worst. I have made a huge change. A huge change. I have got this household a significant payrise. I have jumped off a pretty safe ship to a crazy one. But I’ve lifted my game, learnt 3000 new things, and opened up my horizons. I think. Big time.

Pause, breathe, and repeat.

We made it.

Once upon a time, I didn’t pause long to celebrate achieved goals, and instead went great, where’s the next goal. So I was in a state of perpetual wanting, always in motion, never still and satisfied.

I hope I’ve learnt from back then. I hope I have learnt to stop. This is a stopping point. We drank a bottle of veuve tonight. This weekend hub in boots is off to a car rally all weekend. A fitting reward for the extra work. I’m going to rebond with the jman. Take it slow. Enjoy an actual weekend. something I haven’t had since february. Smell those roses.

We made it.

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.

Hello. Tap tap. Is this thing on?

Yes I’ve been kind of absent. Blame the new job. I’ll do the backstory. Very soon. I hope, how are you all? How is life? I haven’t even been blog lurking. I’ve missed so much.

I just thought I’d pop on and quickly share a little parenting moment.

Jman is 2.5 now. As of last Monday. We have Thursdays together, when I work from home.

This week, I felt like he was deliberately pushing my buttons (probably because he was deliberately pushing my buttons). I hate it when I try to do something “nice mum”, like giving him an empty porridge tin & putting some mung beans in it to make a noise, and he buggers it up by opening it up and spilling it everywhere and shoving mung beans down the back of the couch. Really really annoying. I lost my cool at him. I hate it when I do that. Then it cycled up into a “if we had a big house and a yard he could do messy things, and he’s missing out because he’s an apartment kid…” And on it goes. (More on this later, too. We have lots of news).

But I stopped myself. He was so so upset that I’d swept up the mung beans and binned them. I stopped. I got down on his level and looked him in the eye, and empathised. Ok. So he wanted something different out of this than I did. Ok.

We agreed to go and get the messy mat together. We agreed not to spill mung beans everywhere. Then we got more beans, and lots of different containers.

And for two hours, I kid you not, two HOURS, he sat there. He tipped, he ran them through his fingers, he clogged up one funnel so we made another, he got fine motor practice by dropping the beans one by one into the funnel, he talked about “empty” and “full” (scary bright brain, this kid).

And naturally, eventually, mung beans went everywhere. But he’d done his “play work”. And I’d done my empathising and extended his play / self directed learning. And we were way overdue to vacuum anyway.

It was awesome.

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Let them eat cake

Birthday last week.

Late night working in old job, came home day after my birthday and Jman heard me and insisted on getting up. So we shared a piece of my birthday cake. After 9pm. I’m an awesome parent.

Anyhow, first mouthful, he gets this weird look on his face, and spits it out. But he’s still not really breathing normally. “Bub, are you ok?” Blank look. “Bubby?” And he sort of looks at me, but doesn’t look at me.

I thump him between his shoulder blades, but not much changes. I get him to drink some milk, then some water, then to chew and swallow a tiny piece of bread to check his throat was not obstructed. He has it, but he doesn’t really chew normally. It was odd.

I kept saying to hub-in-boots “he’s not going to bed til I’m sure he’s right”. And he wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t quite right either.

Then he moved from sitting next to me, to lying on me, and his head started lolling to one side and his eyes rolling backwards in his head. Just buggered and falling asleep? He was a bit yellow. His lips were white. I kept holding him. “Bubby. Buuuuubby. Are you ok?” He looks at me but doesn’t look at me. He’s there, but he’s not there.

“He’s not going to bed”. We gave him more water. What was going on?

The weirdness continued for. 20-30 minutes. It was weird, but not crazy. He didn’t really talk at all, or move much. But he did shift position, and he did make some eye contact occasionally. “He’s just really tired” hub in boots said.

“Don’t care, he’s not going to bed”.

Then 20-30 minutes in, PING! he sits up, bright eyed, and started singing, talking, and moving around the room. It took another 30 minutes for me to unpack the experience and realise. Seizure?

I start my new job tomorrow. So I was really looking forward to our day with our Friday nanny so I could have some serious time out. And Friday, he projectile vomited all over the carpet and speaker when she arrived. Like a fire hose. So she left. And I cleaned carpet. Then took him to the doctor.

The doctor suggested we see our paediatrician, but adopt a watch and wait strategy on it. I agreed.

Then I got home and realised, this wasn’t episode number 2, where episode 1 had a clear cause. This was episode 3. There was a very similar episode on the plane going on holidays in July. He didn’t want to be strapped in and was going nuts as the plane came into land, and the same laying down eyes rolling thing occurred. We dismissed it as an over due nap, but at the time I did say “it’s the same face he pulled that time we got the ambo.” . I put it down to my hyper vigilance after the stopping breathing event a few weeks before. And I dismissed it.

i was very upset Friday, thinking it might be epilepsy, or worse, thinking of kids that have giant seizures and end up with brain damage, medication, your basic catastrophising parent. Luckily, I had a rare night out booked Friday (and Saturday!), with “mums group gone wild”. It started with bollinger and ended with a bad pub band, dancing, and very little sleep. A good antidote to a rough week.

I’ve spoken to the new boss about participating In the appointment via speaker phone if we could fit it in. And she has told me to go to the appointment. So tomorrow morning, we are off for a chat. I hope a chat is all that is viewed as necessary.

The new referral to the paediatrician mentions my sub chorionic haematoma during pregnancy. I just pray none of that crazy journey through haemorrhages and bed rest  resulted in faulty wiring in a little growing brain. Because the mummy guilt from that, it could kill me.

so monday= paediatrician! then new scary job (and the Penski file). Big day.