Monday, September 22, 2014

To my future sixteen year old

To my future sixteen year old Bombshell,

Today you are only seven, and I am still the centre of your world, but it won’t be long until you are sixteen and hate my guts. You will tell me I don’t understand you and that I never do anything for you.

With this in mind I am writing you this letter today, to let you know you were always loved, and are still loved.

The other night you left this note for the Fairies.

We’ll discuss your shocking hand writing and spelling another time, but when I saw it, I knew I had a small window where you still believe in Fairies (or are you just humouring me?), and I wanted to do something special for you.

So today, while you were at school and I should have been working, I went to the garden store. I spent time talking with the experts about seeds and bulbs, and came away with a special pot, some gladioli bulbs and a totally awesome ‘rubber duck’ watering can.

Then I dug up part of the garden to get some fresh dirt (carefully neatening it so you couldn’t tell I’d been digging), planted your bulbs, decorated it with this authentic Fairy toadstool, and hid it in the cupboard in a classy nappy box.

Then I wrote this:
We need your help! The Garden Fairies have been trying to grow this year's Peace Flower but they need the help of a Human Child to make it grow. We need the flowers for the Fairy Migration, they contain a special spell to unit the fairy tribes. Please love and nurture the flowers as they grow. Water them (we have left you a special gift). Most importantly - sprinkle them with a few grains of the Magical Peace Dust every week. We left a vial of Peace Dust in your care. Be careful - it can be very powerful. Thankyou for being the Chosen One. From Florinda the Peace Fairy.

Tonight while you are sleeping I will leave the note in the Fairy Letterbox and place the special pot and watering can by the front door. When you ask to check the letterbox tomorrow morning (like you have been all week), I will shrug my shoulders and pretend to be distracted and warn you that the Fairies are very busy and you shouldn’t expect an adventure just because you want one.

Then I will walk away and busy myself making lunches or putting the dishes away, and when you call me excitedly I will feign surprise, and all the time I will be restraining the urge to grab you and hold you and cover your joyful little face with kisses.

I can’t wait to see your face when the first bulb appears above the soil, and though it may be months before we see a flower, I will enjoy watching you sprinkle the Magical Peace Dust, like clockwork, every week. Because now you have an adventure and a mission, you will be focussed and determined.

And I know that when you are sixteen and hate me, or thirteen or eighteen, you will still be focussed and determined, although much of your energy will probably go into making me miserable. But when that day happens - and I don’t want it to, but it will - I will tell you to find this story and read it. And you’ll hate it and complain, but eventually you will, and you will be reading these words: I love you. 
And I will do anything for you.

Even pretend to be a fairy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travelling with Kids: Why It Doesn't Need to be Hell on Wheels [Mamadoo]

See what I did there, with the 'wheels' pun? Funny, I know. A lot funnier than travelling with kids can be.

The Mamas at Mamadoo asked me for my top tips when travelling with kids, which you can find here. Seriously, with school holidays approaching, can you afford NOT to read it, just in case I mentioned the single, gem of advice that can make your holiday easier?

In all seriousness (and I can be, when the wine runs out) if you are planning a car trip these holidays, make sure you check your children's car seats before you leave. Check the straps are at the right height, and aren't twisted, have a professional look the connections over if you're not sure. But leave all the popcorn and cracker crumbs - it will save you having to make snacks for the journey.

Read: Shannon's Top Six Tips to Survive Travelling with Kids.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Don't Find You Inspiring (Sorry About That) [Mamadoo]

Recently I wrote a post about why I will never use the ‘D’ word in front of my children. Readers really responded to it, and used words like ‘inspiring’, and my husband, bless his warped man-view of the world, recently bought me a Women’s Fitness magazine, presumably to support me in my journey back to a healthier place.

Despite the concentrated ‘fitspo’ attitude running throughout the magazine, I found nothing inspiring in those pages. I saw a lot of thin women, or women trying to be thin, but none of their stories made me do anything different, because – quite simply – none of those women were me.

Fitspo (look it up, it’s now a real word) is short for fitspiration, which isn’t actually a real word either. It’s about being inspired to get fit by looking at women in their gym clothes or underwear, who take selfies of their lean and muscular bodies.

If I look at an attractive women in her underwear, probably the last thing I am thinking about is picking up a pair of dumb-bells or jumping on a treadmill, but maybe that’s just me...

to read the rest of the article click here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Would Your Kids Have Called the Cops?

There were three kids in the car, happily engrossed in a Scooby DVD. For once they weren’t fighting so when I pulled up in front of the bread shop and there was an empty space right out the front, I decided to leave them all in car while I ducked in to buy a loaf of bread.

It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t a dodgy neighbourhood. The bakery was practically deserted and I was served immediately. I could see them for every second I was in the shop. It was a judgement call – I left the kids alone in the car. 

But less than a minute later when I climbed back in, the Bombshell lazily commented to me: ‘You really shouldn’t leave kids alone in the car.’

My heart raced and I became instantly paranoid.

‘Did someone tell you that?’ I asked, looking around for the Today Tonight camera crew.

Instead the Bombshell pointed to a big yellow tag sticking out the side of the Baby’s carseat. ‘No, it says right here. It’s got a big cross and everything.’

Bloody schools, teaching kids to read.

I relaxed a bit and told her ‘you’re right, but if I was concerned about your safety I never would have left you alone, if it was hot, say, or we were in a not-nice neighbourhood where someone might take the car.’

It was the Bombshell’s turn to look around in paranoia.

‘I would hit anyone who wanted to take the car,’ she said bravely.

The Mop spoke up: ‘someone could have stolen us?’ she asked.

‘… or the car,’ her big sister told her helpfully.

‘A policeman would arrest you and lock you up for 99 years,’ the Mop told me, shaking her head sadly.

I sighed. ‘Well, please don’t tell any policemen that I left you alone for less than a minute.’

‘We won’t,’ said the Bombshell. ‘We don’t know any policemen.’

‘So,’ I asked. ‘You would have dobbed on me if you knew a policeman even if it meant I would get locked up for 99 years?’

There was a pause in the back seat as they put their heads together and reached a consensus.

‘No,’ decided the Mop. ‘We won’t dob because we love you.’

Yet for some reason, I’m still not convinced…

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Mamas and the Papas [Mamadoo]

As you may know, I recently got a gig writing hilarious posts for the Aussie shopping site Mamadoo (well I think they're hilarious, especially after four hours sleep).

And not only do I get cold hard cash (which is nice, because mostly I just get paid in 'likes' and 'I saw your blog yesterday, pretty funny' sort of thing), I get to write about things would I couldn't - or wouldn't - on Relentless.

Who would have thought there were off-topic topics on Relentless?

But I was recently asked to write a post for Dads, which is funny in itself, since I'm not a Dad. So I asked some friends who were, and not only did I get the beautiful Failure is an Option from my mate Glenn, but I also wrote Tips for First Time Dads which is full of gems from people who actually know what they are talking about. And you don't have to be a first-timer (or a Dad) to get something from it.

And so, in anticipation of Father's Day here in Australia this Sunday and in honour of all the dads in our lives (and in my case, my hubby Phill, father-in-law Terry and father Mike) I say 'here's to you, guys. Love your work!'.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Unwanted Help in the Mornings

For the past eleven weeks I have been getting up at some ungodly hour, turning on the DVD player and throwing myself around the room in an ungainly fashion. Some people call this exercise. I call it painful.

I don’t like getting up early and watching lycra clad Michelle Bridges telling me to ‘suck it up’ as her pumped up assistants drip sweat from their rock hard bodies. But I like what it has done for my health and waist line, so I am persisting.

I get up at the very very very small hours, so I can do it in private, because let’s be honest, most things that make you sweat when it’s dark outside should be done in private. Unfortunately, Baldy Baby (now two and a half) has the nasty habit of also waking at ungodly hours, which means I often have an audience as I wobble and groan my way through burpees and squats.

She is very supportive and as such, likes to get involved.

Often this means climbing on my back when I am doing a plank and yelling ‘giddup’, or when she is feeling more sedate, waiting for me to lie down to do sit ups or stretches and using my tummy as a pillow, her little head going up and down as I huff and puff.

Some days I am lucky and she takes herself off to the playroom to watch Dora. She will regularly come out to check I am still there, cocking her head when she sees me upside down in a downward dog. ‘Orright mum?’ she’ll ask, concerned about the colour of my face.

‘I’m alright, thanks Sweetie,’ I’ll reply.

When the DVD is over and I turn off the TV I will sometimes collapse back onto the floor, watching the fan circle overhead (yes, even in the middle of winter). She will lie down on the carpet next to me and put her head on my arm. We will lie there together in silence (except for my heavy breathing).

Then she will lean over and kiss my sweaty face. ‘I love you mummy’ she will say, before licking her lips and grimacing.

‘Yuk’, she will say, and disappear back into the playroom.
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