Monday, September 29, 2014

I don't want your Buns, or your Anaconda

At the risk of sounding old, or if not old then like an over concerned parent, what is with the excessive sexualizing of (most, not all) music today? Seriously, it is everywhere. I can't listen to mainstream radio without having to change between stations at least once while driving with the kids in the car.

Case in point - Anaconda. Unless you've been hibernating then you'll probably know the song I'm talking about. I can't decide what is worse, the video clip or the lyrics - D*ck bigger than a tower, I ain't talking about Eiffel's - yep, this is what's reaching the top 20 charts. The video clip is 
like a train wreck you can't look away from. Unless you're in our house. Then it would be a moot point as it wouldn't even be on at all. 

There's a love hate relationship building between 'New Thang' & I. It's catchy, I like it, but I hate the lyrics too & the message it's portraying, even if our kids may not understand what it means at their ages. Insinuating sex on the first date 'cos he's a player; bounce that ass so fast to make it clap (inspired from the Anaconda video clip perhaps?). 

My name ain't Santa, but she sittin' on my lap, yo........No.

No where is safe these days, despite our intentions at home the older kids still know the lyrics to songs that we don't give any attention to. I'm under no illusions that as our kids get older we can't continue to monitor the overtly sexual film clips with the barely there skimpy outfits & women fawning all over men, who ignore everything about them except their ass or breasts. Video clip shows would be more aptly named 'GaGa goes bondage' or 'Minaj-a-trios'. The greater majority of the content is soft porn any way so why not have the title match the content. 

What message is this sending to boys? That a woman (or, I hate to say it, a girl) is only worth your time of day if she has a DD cup, or a tight perky ass that can jiggle better than Homer Simpson's belly? What thoughts are young girls taking away - that they should dress in a provocative, flirty way to be noticed? Because a personality doesn't rate above a bra size. This isn't helped any with clothing stores pretty much reinforcing that message with the range of girls summer clothes available. Ass cheek skimming shorts, midriff baring tops, skirts barely long enough to cover their underwear.

What happened? When I was younger it was all about East 17, Take That & Girlfriend. Baggy pants, hats with over sized flowers & wearing overalls with one side un-hooked. No ass cheeks bouncing higher than a kid in a bouncy castle. When a midriff meant an inch of exposed skin, not breasts all but bare save a scrap of faux leather to cover the nipple.

Is it just me being to prudish? Should I have more faith in Ben & Rianan to know that what they {would be} watching or listening to is an excessive & purely hyped up manufactured image, based around unrealistic appearances, depicted to be lacking in morals & propped up with sex appeal. 

Because I'm watching these video clips & seeing all to clearly how it would be easy for unhealthy & distorted body image issues to develop, unrealistic expectations surrounding relationships & sexual behaviour begin to form. To feed their self worth from their appearance, rather than 'who' they are. 

Will the values & morals of our parenting withstand & override the manufactured glitz & glamour, the grinding dance moves & lusty looks the media keeps churning out?     

What do you think, are we being to protective by not allowing them to watch the overtly sexual video clips or listen to them either? What do you allow when it comes to mainstream music that potentially crosses the line from entertainment to inappropriate for children of a certain age? What is that age to you?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In no particular order...

Even though it's not yet 'officially' the school holidays, I felt my next post still needed to be a photo-mentary - especially following on from the last post warning you all of the visual overload that was imminent. 

I wasn't quite prepared with having the camera handy all the time, especially for some of the 'busier' moments, so a few parts of our weekend are left out. I'm considering this weekend that leads into the school holidays a trial run. 

I present to you our last 48 hours... 

Sneaky banana thief forgot to remove the evidence.

Big brothers = 24/7 entertainment.


 3:45pm Friday afternoon - The first coffee of the (unofficial) school holidays.

The aftermath of Rianan's indoor hopscotch.

Torture objects. 

 minus two who had already abandoned the table. 
(& unfolded washing)

Sunday morning.

Saturday night.

Will aka Mr Threenager

It doesn't fly, but that's probably a good thing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

fourteen day do over

Our last school holidays kinda sucked. Back then, when we were all stuck inside the house with no fresh air or fresh company, I blogged that the next school holidays would be here soon enough, when the sun would be shining, no one will be sick & we could make the most of getting our feet in the grass & the sun on our faces.

It has been ten weeks since that statement, & you know what that means - the next round of school holidays are upon us. Yay. No, seriously, that is a very enthusiastic "Yay" - complete with happy smiles & invisible pom poms.

I've written lists of everything I want to squeeze in during the next fourteen days. Friends to catch up with (visits that are long overdue), beaches to visit, forests to explore, bike rides to go on, trips to our local oval to kick around the soccer ball - because five onto one is completely fair & ridiculously fun. We have recipes to follow, board games to play, movie days (or afternoons) where we get to stuff our faces with popcorn. Museums to revisit, city gardens to explore, playgrounds to climb, picnics to eat, friends to sleep over & water balloon fights to have.

And you're coming along with us.

Well not really, I don't have enough room in my car to take you all. But you can come along through my camera.  I have my photographer hat at the ready, my bucket is filled with motivation & inspiration, my shutter button happy fingers ready for capturing snapshots & memories. I'll be sharing them here, a visual narration of our ventures. 

Hold onto your hats, we're going to be busy.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breaking the fairytale

Four days ago Ben lost another tooth, one of his premolars. While he was excited to lose another tooth, especially as it was a simple & near bloodless self extraction, he wasn't as excited after the event as he has been in the past. In point, one crucial childhood folklore wasn't even mentioned once the tooth was put safely away so it could be easily scooped up & put under his pillow come bedtime.

Fast forward to yesterday when I realized that small, oddly shaped, scrap of eraser was Ben's tooth - still sitting behind the fruit bowl on the bench. Even now it is sitting there. He has not once mentioned the tooth fairy all this time.

I'm a little bit devastated & a whole heap in denial. Surely Ben still believes? 

**Little eyes look away now...
The Santa talk is more intimidating than the puberty or the birds & the bees talk. (I mean with all the children we've had, our kids know at least the basics for each of their ages.)  But coming clean about who is responsible for all those gold coins, chocolate eggs & over flowing stockings is daunting & mournful. It's also another step towards recognizing & acknowledging Ben is definitely leaving behind his childhood & beginning to enter a new stage of awareness. 

We haven't officially had the 'Talk' yet, holding off because I didn't want to launch into shattering the illusion prematurely, if he (we) had just purely forgotten each night to leave the little bicuspid for the life sized, blonde haired, spectacle wearing tooth fairy. Honestly, I don't even know where to start when breaking the news that it's all a fabrication. All my mind imagines is the resulting broken heart, snuffing out the last sparkles of childhood magic. Because it doesn't just stop with the tooth fairy, no that is just the beginning. After confessing we are her imposter, we stomp on the illusion of the big eared, fluffy, cotton ball tailed, chocolate coma inducing bunny. Before wiping out all wonder & innocence with the declaration that the jolly fellow is all parental fraud. Albeit inspired from Saint Nicholas, which gives us back a little bit of credit. 

Nope, I just can't do it yet.

I can still easily recall all the anticipation & excitement I felt the night before Easter or Christmas. Imagining an over sized bunny jumping silently from house to house, straining to hear the bells of a sleigh before drifting off to sleep, of waking up in the middle of the night to my Christmas stocking resting at the end of my bed, feeling very full & heavy when nudged with my toes. I just can't break that illusion with our own children yet. 

I know it's coming, if it isn't here already. I would much rather our children, when the time comes for each of them individually (& they will be expected to play along with the myth for many years to come yet) that they find out what the deal is from us, rather than by friends, or cousins in my own personal experience. I want them to hold on to the magic of belief just a little bit longer, because it feels like once that is gone their childhood is over. 

Always looking for a silver lining, we still get at least ten more years of creating magic & manifesting the illusion for our younger minions. My days masquerading as the tooth fairy are far from over yet. I have hidden away every single tooth lost so far, though I haven't gone as far as to separate them according to which minion they sprouted from. I have no idea what to do with all these teeth, at the end of it all I'll have a purse full of one hundred & twenty (120!) teeth. Seriously. Multiple Google sources inform me that children loose twenty teeth by the time they reach twelve or thirteen years of age. Multiply that by at least six minions...What on earth am I going to do with one hundred & twenty pearly whites? The first step will be getting a bigger purse - I'm guessing something like a duffel bag should be sufficient. Just another quirk to being a large family, you need an entire wardrobe to hold (& hide) all their baby teeth, the corner of a small draw just won't cut it.

I guess I could make a (plaque) mosaic wall art...a necklace is just to damn grotesque. Or maybe I'll just keep them all hidden away.

**Towards the conclusion of this post, it was confirmed, as best as possible while other siblings were still present, that the tooth fairy is still expected to collect Ben's tooth. She just had a week long holiday, because even the tooth fairy gets a holiday every year. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I have monsters in my house. In the form of two little boys, specifically Blake & Will.

I have no idea what happened last night, for once I was actually asleep for most of it, what I do know is that the four year old & three year old who went to bed last night are not the same two that have woken up this morning. One minute they are thick as thieves together, then literally the next minute their alliance has turned & it's a no holds barred contest to see who can annoy the other the most. Then when they aren't terrorizing each other, they are terrorizing me.

Getting ready this morning & they became two little tornadoes. Just remembering now makes me want to pull my hair out all over again. It all started innocently enough chasing each other around the large dining area with their blankets, seeing who can step on the others blanket while keeping their own safe from the fast feet of each other. Next thing Will bursts into tears, screams out a blood curdling war cry & tries to snatch up all of Blake's blanket in his pudgy little arms & run off with it. Of course he forgot to hold on to his own blanket during all this, unintentionally leaving it abandoned on the floor as he took his ill thought out revenge. Blake seeing his own blanket high tailing it down the hall way, scoops up Will's & proceeds to tease Will even further by flapping around all two meters of fleecy warmth as best as his skinny arms can. Similar to a matador taunting a bull with a red flag. Torn between wanting to deposit Blake's blanket somewhere obscure at the other end of the house, likely behind the door of Clay's unoccupied bedroom where everything gets hidden by Will, & wanting to rescue his own blankie sent Will into a fast declining tail spin. Seeing Blake with his still banana-fied hands all over Will's blanket was just too much for his newly graduated three year old self.  At this point I had to abandon the sandwich making & recess packing I was in the middle of to intervene before minion war five thousand & nine broke out.

A temporary truce was called, blankets were restored to their rightful owner & attentions were thoroughly absorbed in a perfectly timed episode of Peppa Pig. For all of five minutes. I heard the closing tunes of the sanity saving cartoon & prayed that they had calmed down enough to remain absorbed in whatever was coming up next on ABC Kids so I could finish getting the older three organised for school & Clay changed out of his Bonds body suit & soggy nappy. No dice. Within ten seconds of Peppa Pig disappearing from our TV screen the monsters were at it again, this time as a team. Their target: Clay's overflowing wooden basket of toys. The aim: to stimulate an environment akin to a hail storm of squeaky, chiming, rattling, crinkly infant toys. Status: mission accomplished. Though I did have my own success in ensuring that they tidied up their mess, if with my ever present supervision. (I know from many previous events that the moment I was to turn my back was the moment they would turn their actions from putting toys back into the basket to throwing them at each other.) At least this time the house was filled with giggles instead of cries.

We got through the rest of the morning with more hi-jinks on a lower scale. I knew then it is going to be one of those days. One where I go from one room to the other trying to keep on top of their interpretation of fun, or trying to keep them from each other. These days don't happen all the time, but they do happen. At least now I've experienced enough of these days & now know not to swim against the tide, rather freestyle along side it as best I can until the rip has passed & I can get us all back to shore & into bed.

All was well until the drive home from a morning visit to a McDonald's playground, which was a success - they got to run, Clay got to watch their antics & I gratefully had my caffeine hot & in peace. Again it never lasts long on days like this, in fact it lasted until the drive home. Blake & Will sit next to each other in the third row in the car, just to help set the mental image. Cue torment. Will kept looking at Blake. Yep, this was enough to turn Blake into a devastated bucket of salty tears. Blake retaliated with his own form of torment by informing Will that they would not be watching 'Wreck it Ralph' (the current movie on continuous loop) once we got home. The world was ending as Will knew it. At this point I informed the both of them that there would be no movies or TV when we got home, instead they could ride their bikes outside while I organize their lunch. The result was double devastation, entirely expected. Like I mentioned above, nothing ever lasts long on a topsy-turvy day & their dual devastation was no exception. Tears were forgotten the moment 'the buggie song' as Blake calls it, or officially known as 'Blackout' (by some female singer) came on the radio. Thank god for small & often easily distracted attention spans.

We arrived home with no further outbursts or brotherly torment. I'll take that as another win for the day. It's all about the small mercies.

Lunch has been eaten, with many giggles & supervision, milk has been drunk & two little bodies have been tucked into bed for a nap.

I have low expectations for the remaining daylight hours. My to do list has been drastically edited. No longer will I be washing windows, sweeping outside & folding washing (I am both over joyed & distressed over this, because I know the folding pile isn't going any where but up). Instead my tasks for the day include this blog, my lunch, then hopefully an hour of reading before Will comes back from the land of nod (I had typed 'comes back to consciousness' there, but it sounded bad, really bad. Like he had been put intentionally into a state of unconsciousness, which I assure you was not the case. Hence the edit) Then all that will remain of my desired achievements to announce today a success is to collect the three older minions from school, keep everyone alive & safe from Blake & Will, cook dinner, organize baths & showers, then bedtimes.

I can do this.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Momnesia ~ the barest bones of a memory

It happened again. It's not the first time & I'm sure it won't be the last time either.

I forgot my PIN number, right in the middle of paying for my items. As hard as I tried, I just could not remember those important four digits I've used several times every day for the last seven odd years.

After the EFTPOS machine beeped & informed that there was an incorrect PIN entered, for the second time, I admitted memory defeat. The last thing I needed was to lock myself out of my bankcard at the first of many shops I needed to visit that day. As quietly as possible I muttered to the shop assistant that I had forgotten my PIN & would need to call my husband for him to remind me of those four essential digits that had escaped me. Imaginably, after this confession, she was thinking 'who on earth forgets their PIN number' or, 'it's probably a stolen card', while smiling politely at me as I bumbled my bankcard back into my purse & tried to make a hasty exit - as hasty as one can while supporting a baby in a sling who is squirming around trying to grab anything in reach, including other customers. As I temporarily walked away from the counter maybe she wasn't thinking of anything but her next break time & it is my own embarrassment filling the void of her unheard speculations. Either way I was blushing & flustered.

Sudden thoughts of early onset amnesia plagued me as I walked back to the car for my phone. (Funny how my thinker couldn't recall a simple code, but could easily recall many instances over the last few years where my memory just packed up & left. Ironic.)  Wondering when is baby brain more than a superficial forgetfulness & the beginnings of something more serious. My thought processes can be a tad dramatic sometimes, running away with a worst case scenario before I've even had a chance to think rationally. It's quite common for several possibilities, where there is a tragic end, to flash before my eyes at the beginning of any health related incident. Blake has bruises all over his legs, my mind jumps ten steps ahead & is suddenly convinced he has leukemia. Will develops a persistent & constant cough, this means he must have whopping cough & is going to infect Clay who is not yet fully immunised. Jack screams as though he's dying after falling off his bike, immediately my mind relays all the horrible bone breaking, skin shredded injuries he'll have. I like to think I'm not the only one who does this, that it is a parenthood induced condition. Hands up who else has a mind that fills with numerous potential nightmares when it comes to something horrible happening to your children...Or when they just fall off their bike. I love these little minions something fierce & would do anything to protect them, so if that means my brain is always preparing for the worst possible scenario, then bring on the gray hairs.

I digress, back to the shop assistant. She thoughtfully put my bag of unpaid goods aside & patiently served the next person while I made a hasty walk back to the car, fruitlessly unable to remember those damn four numbers. It seems under pressure I can remember all my past PIN numbers, Doug's PIN numbers, phone numbers from childhood friends twenty years ago & the due dates of our minions (which none of them arrived on, so are essentially useless numbers, only holding a sentimental value.) But I could not recall four numbers I use every day. Even cell memory was no help, my fingers couldn't do the walking (or the recalling) this time.

Getting Doug on the phone, I awkwardly ask him what my PIN number is. He says "Oh what, ****, that one?"
Even as he says the numbers out loud & I repeat them back to him there is no strike of familiarity. No flash of recognition. Clearly there is little hope for me. My memory, or lack there of, is on it's final legs, or on it's final cells. I blame the kids. They are all reasonably smart which they obviously, & figuratively, sucked my brain dry got from me. From Doug they got his sense of humour, which he still has in abundance. Unfair. You need your wits about you in this house & I'm at a clear disadvantage.

The precarious & inconsistent working state of my memory has long been a source of humour (or exasperation) between us, especially since Blake's pregnancy & has only spiralled downward with each positive pregnancy test there after. One of Doug's excuses reasons against having a seventh child is because he fears for the thin strands of cognizance remaining. Apparently the hiatus my memory took during our last pregnancy was at best amusing & at worse perturbing. Sadly I have no argument, even I was aware of just how ditzy & off with the fairies I was. Heck my forgetful state during Clay's pregnancy even exasperated me, at least on the rare occasions where I remembered what it was like not to feel the fuzzy & cotton wool filled haze of pregnancy brain. 

With Clay now six months old, I think this is as good as it's going to get any time soon. Especially with remembering everything going on with the minions. If it doesn't get written on the calendar, who has what excursion, on what day; who needs to be where at what time; doctor appointments for whom & when; what bills are due when, then there is every chance I will forget. Even written down isn't a fail-safe guarantee. Geez they're lucky I can remember their birth dates & most of the time, their names.

Maybe it's time I tattoo my PIN on my palm. It may not be subtle, but my memory needs all the help it can get these days. Plus I'm not sure I could handle admitting I've forgotten my PIN again to Doug & get away without a teasing.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Cookbook junkie I may be, Foodie I am not.

I have a confession.

I am enamored with cookbooks & the anticipation of cooking. I would love to say I am a Foodie, passionate about passion fruit, organic quinoa, farmer fresh vegetables, grass fed beef & free range chickens. Loading photo after photo on social media sites of home cooked meals made from scratch (not a jar or sachet in sight. Boasting hand made passatta & home ground almond meal) that would leave Maggie Beer in awe. But that would not be true or accurate. I love the thought of lavishly presenting our family with a feast of dishes every evening, reminiscent of any rustic Jamie Oliver three course spread. I even have three Jamie Oliver cookbooks in my collection of paperback heaven to help me fulfill this dream. But my lofty ideals fall short more often that not. I can cook, I can cook well. I just can't reach the state of perfection & full-bellied nirvana I fantasise of. While Foodie I am not, family chef I am.

The only prerequisite any cookbook that fills my shelves must meet is the recipes cannot exceed more than half a dozen steps & all ingredients can be sourced at any major grocery store. I don't have time to spend mincing prawns, combining with spices (that can only be found in a small specialized delicatessen that does not bode well for a time restrained mum with at least three little minions in tow who would love nothing more than to touch everything in the lovingly presented displays & shelves filled with exotic food stuffs.) Then spooning the delectable but fiddly prawn mix onto wanton wrappers, before they dry out & stick to my fingers making wrapping them up a task in advanced origami. Then to steam, no more than two at a time, in a bamboo steamer. Not to forget there is still two side dishes to slave through yet. At this stage in our lives we need not so much five star gourmet, but five step gourmet. 'Good food fast', 'Midweek Mains', 'Fast, fresh, simple', '30 minute meals' are just some of the tittles that match our current culinary conditions.

Cookbooks are the only books I still buy in non-digital form. It's well known that I am an avid reader, staying up until the late hours reading e-book after fictional e-book. But when it comes to recipes & food inspiration it must be on a glossy page, not a touch screen. Plus, trying to wake up the tablet touch screen with food covered hands is always an inconvenience. It's so much easier to glance at an oil splattered, flour doused, well loved cookbook. 

Every week on a Monday night I sit down with a small hoard of cookbooks & magazines to plan our dinners for the week. Don't get too carried away, I only pick two or three meals from the taste bud taunting pages, the remaining four dinners are assigned from frequent rotation meals I can cook with my eyes closed (or on the minions) & my arms occupied with a six month old baby. Lasagne's, Stir-fry's, Roasts, Pasta dishes, Meat & Veg.

With the meals decided, the shopping list written out, & the shopping ordered, my motivation & inspiration levels are high, amped up from perusing pages of delicious, mouth watering dishes. Then the lead up to dinner time arrives, coinciding with the disappearance of my motivation & time. Instead of the dukkah crusted chicken breast served on a bed of wilted greens & char-grilled vegetables I was dreaming of the earlier, plates are served up with grilled chicken breast sans dukkah. The vegetables are not so much char grilled, but steamed. & the wilted greens, they are the end of the week at the back of the fridge, unless I remember they are there & throw them in a stir fry.

Serving up our meals on rustic wooden chopping boards or large funky hand painted platters goes out the window (the idea, not the food). Serving up from gorgeous fancy tableware only results in mine & Doug's food going cold as we spend ten minutes dishing up for the minions. Requests for more of this, less of that & none of those coming from every chair. Or if we let them serve their own dinner they are more successful in turning the table into a scene not unlike a Pro Heart inspired commercial, with less food on their plates & more food on the table. If I needed any more reasons that center piece dishes served up in the middle of our table is just not a good idea right now, the fact that every meal see's our dishwasher loaded to capacity is just another strike against banquet style platters. The less I have to wash by hand the better. So for now, while the kids are young, the serving platters remain in the cupboards & dinner is dished straight from stove top to plate to table. Fast. Simple. 

Don't get me wrong, I love cooking, I enjoy baking. There is a huge sense of satisfaction obtained from the kids claiming "These are the best cookies ever Mum!" or the feeling of fulfillment when every morsel is devoured. But at the moment, often it feels like more of a chore, lacking the sense of comfort & joy I used to get. At the end of the day with the clock ticking down, I just want to get in the kitchen, get dinner cooked & serve a meal that is nutritious, tasty & pleasant to seven individual taste buds. This goes for snacks too. Every week I plan to bake cookies & muffins, but every morning sees that planned baking time eaten up with something else that is not baking, & often not important. I've been waiting for the motivation to come back, but it needs a little nudge along.

In the event of procrastination, take action. Tomorrow, I bake! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Everything, nothing & a birthday

I've been struggling to write this week. Two posts were started, kinda got halfway, then shoved back to the drafts folder. Just not flowin'.

I was rambling on about food, I'm not going to go into details because it may re-appear one day. So it remains relegated to the background, it seems I'm always waffling (ha, see what I did there? Boom tish.) on about food here. I figure you're all probably thinking "Yeah, we get it already." 

Then there was some thoughts about body image, largely because there is so much of it on the net at the moment, particularly around the comments from one stupid arsed male. Doubt his personal training business is going to take off any time soon. Everyone else already has it covered, so much better than I ever could articulate via keyboard. Plus I'm not a mainstream popular blogger, so it felt as if I was just echoing their sentiments. We'll just leave it as he is a douche & all mother's are beautiful exactly as they are, five minutes after giving birth or five years. Rounding up on a quote from Milena Katz "It would be better to concentrate on self worth. What you are like as a mother is more important than how you look in a size 10 top." 

Inspiration crept up when I was thinking back & comparing how I felt being a first time mum (like a fish out of water) to this time round being a sixth time mum. How I took on the words & advice of 'experts' from parenting magazines (& supermarket aisles, baby books & child & youth health nurses at the local community center) as Gospel & near drove myself cuckoo. But I wasn't entirely sure what point I was trying to make, or if I was just letting my own past insecurities out of the closet. For now that closet door can stay shut on that post.

So that was my week of introspection that ran around in what head space was available & not absorbed with other generic minion raising thoughts. Beyond that our life has been normal - full of food, noise, social lives & washing.

In exciting news, Will turned three. 

This happy, vivacious, adorable, cheeky, milo-moustached minion has graduated from the terrible two's & is now stretching his wings in the terrifying three's. Or terrific three's, depending on his erratic three year old moods & whether he's allowed another bowl of yogurt or not.

This little guy is so happy he walks around with a grin on his face 98% of the time. He makes my teeth hurt with his sweetness & my heart burst with love, wonder & pride. We created this awesome little guy, helped him grow from a squishy faced little newborn to a trike riding, slippery dipping, running, jumping, climbing, car br'mming little boy. No longer a baby, now a fully fledged little boy.

Where did the time go. 


** Yes, there is only two candles on Will's third birthday cake. No excuse other than not only do we get confused with their names, but also the candles required on their cakes. Another perk of being in a large family - the parents don't even know how to count candles let alone kids.