Friday, December 11, 2015

Sometimes, I can be a jerk

I was in Spotlight yesterday morning to get bits and pieces for a Christmas present I have been sewing.  I missed my bus so thought I would wander on in. 

Actually, I'm lying. 

The truth is I missed my bus BECAUSE I was in Spotlight. I had about 12 minutes til the next bus came and my stop is out the front of Spotlight so I figured the perfect way to spend 12 minutes is grabbing the 2 items I needed and heading out.  

Next thing I know, 42 minutes have passed and if I don't kick it into high gear and get to the register, I will be missing a second bus home! 

I love Spotlight and try to limit my trips there as it is a time vacuum for me.  I think I could spend hours there quite happily. Perhaps even have a little nap on one of their display beds. Snack on some sour peach hearts. Have a cold beverage from the fridge near the registers.  See - I have it all planned.  

During my time there yesterday, the entire 42 minutes I have was there, somewhere in the store there was a young girl throwing a tantrum.  She cried and yelled the entire time!!  It was the kind of yelling you could hear wherever you were in the store. 

At first I felt sorry for the mother.  Most parents have had the pleasure of dealing with a toddler and understand they aren't known for their ability to listen to reason. They just react and they don't care whether they have an audience or not.

I crossed paths with the mother and the *cough cough* darling child. The little girl was on the floor shrieking. Her mother tried to continue her shopping paying her no attention.  Perhaps she had lost the gift of hearing with such a raucous going on in such close proximity to her. There was also a grandmother there too, and in my sympathetic moment I felt glad that the mother had another person there for moral support. 

About 10 minutes passed and the tantrum had not let up even the tiniest bit. I could hear it clear as day from the other side of the store.  My thoughts turned from sympathy to:

"Wow! That kid is STILL going! Isn't she tired out yet? I need that kind of energy.  Just think of all the projects I could get done. Although it would cost a fortune, and it's already dangerous enough for my bank account that I am here in Spotlight for these few minutes.....damn it!! I think I have missed my bus. Oh well, will just get the next one in half an hour - yay, more browsing time."

As I moved on to another aisle, the screaming continued.  Another woman in the same aisle shook her head and muttered something disapproving.  Determined to at least appear non-judgemental, I just smiled back.  

A little more time passed and I again crossed paths with the mother and her child (demon). This time she was lying on the floor being dragged as she clung to her mothers leg as her mother tried to go about her business.  It was at this point that I began to really question her as a parent. I am embarrassed to admit that in that moment, a wave of superiority washed over me as I mentally patted myself on the back for never having had to drag my child across the floor in any shop as they screamed and cried.  This lady obviously didn't know how to handle her child and needed to take control of this situation as it was ruining the sanctuary that is Spotlight. 

Another shopper and I made eye contact and she rolled her eyes as a means of expressing her disapproval for the mother's handling of her child.  I nodded in silent agreement and she said;

"My goodness, so much for shopping in peace!"

Now, I don't think that Spotlight promises peaceful shopping anywhere as part of their advertising campaign, but this woman clearly felt her shopping experience had been destroyed.  

More than half an hour had passed by this point and with the tantrum still in full swing, I came to the conclusion that this mother clearly has no idea what she is doing and that her daughter must just be a spoilt brat who is used to getting her own way. 

As luck would have it, as I joined the long queue up at the registers, the screamer and her mother joined the line behind me.  What a treat for my ear drums that was! I could see the mother was actively ignoring the tantrum going on right next to her, and knowing this was her method of dealing with the situation, I looked down my nose and observed that this method clearly wasn't working and anyone with half a brain would have clued on to this and tried something else by now. 

Now I try to be very honest in my blogs, partly because I want this to be a true record of my life, and partly because I want people to see me as someone who is very much human and flawed.  I don't feel the need to have it all together at this point in my life because I'm not a finished product yet, I'm a work in progress. But yesterday, I was a judgemental jerk to a fellow mother (not out loud, but in my head) and I climbed up on my high horse and rode it proudly. 

But how quickly I was knocked down! 

As we waited in line, the little girl stopped crying and screaming and all that was left was a small whimper. I turned to see if the tantrum had stopped or if I had in fact gone deaf.  What I saw made me ashamed of myself. The mother bent down and calmly said;

"Are you finished now? I hope you can see that behaving in that way will not get you what you want.  Now let's finish up and head off home for lunch."

The little girl nodded and they quietly finished paying and left. 

I realised here that this mother knew what she was doing. Her own sense of pride took a beating no doubt, but her priority was not the opinion of her fellow shoppers, it was training her daughter to learn the correct way to behave and that negative behaviour will not get you anywhere.  She had obviously set a standard and she stuck to her guns.  

It seemed like a lose/lose scenario as if she gave in when the tantrum kicked off, she would look like a push over parent who indulged her child. On the other hand, by not giving attention to her daughter's tantrum, she was seen as a parent who had zero control of her child. 

It may be lose/lose now, but in the years to come I hope people pat her on the back for raising a child who isn't rude, entitled, and spoilt.  I hope they can see the work she put in training her daughter well.  It's the road less travelled these days, and generally the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason - it's damn hard! 

I wish I actually told her how well I think she handled that teaching moment, but more so I'm grateful for the teaching moment for myself on not being so quick to judge. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Seeing what is there

Today is the birthday of the man I have loved for over 11 years. He makes me laugh daily, tells me I'm beautiful daily, shows gratitude to me daily, and bugs me only sometimes 😉

He has many gifts, one being his ability to understand many things. He doesn't just understand though, he can articulate and explain in a way that makes him a wonderful teacher.

After waking to watch a 2am All Black game, he was happy they won, but obviously tired. He still willingly agreed to teach my youth Sunday School class for me.  He can come up with a WAY better lesson than I can with very little notice.

A question was asked by one of the youth in the class. She was wondering why Jewish people didn't recognise Jesus Christ as the Saviour. 

Anthony explained that they were looking for someone to save them. A deliverer.  Perhaps someone who would free them with the grandeur of Moses freeing the people from Egypt.  

But Christ came into the world in the most humble of circumstances.  He was known as the carpenters son. He wasn't a great political leader who could offer them the freedom they sought.  He preached "turn the other cheek".  They didn't recognise His greatness.

Anthony's words made me think.  We miss greatness all the time.  In those around us, in our loved ones.  Their greatness can be missed when we see their flaws, their simply being human.    I miss greatness in the people I love most when I see the negative more than the positive.  Or when I scold rather than speak with kindness and patience.  I miss greatness all the time. 

I see greatness in my husband.  There is no grandeur, and he doesn't like a lot of public recognition, but he is great.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Well done Mr Bush....well done.

Anthony is the sort of guy who doesn't like to be the centre of attention.  He doesn't like a big fuss.  

Well Sweetheart, tough luck! Brace yourself because....IT'S FUSS TIME!!!

These last 10 weeks have been pretty exhausting in the Bush household.  We have been both looking forward to and dreading this time for some time now.  For a while now, Anthony has been studying his Secondary Teaching degree.   This is no small feat, as Anthony is also the sole financial provider in our home.  It's a choice we made years ago, and one we continue to make now, but it doesn't come without its own blessings and challenges. Studying whilst working to provide for your family, whilst raising two sons, and being a wonderful husband has been one heck of a juggling act.

 Now, aside from the obvious delight it is being married to me, it also comes with the challenges of my health issues.  This has meant that many times throughout our marriage, Anthony has had to be both Mum AND Dad.  He has not once complained.  When it comes to being a father, he is amazingly 'hands-on'.  I hear some fathers refer to caring for their children as 'helping out' their wife.  Anthony doesn't agree with this and simply refers to it as 'being a parent'.  But during the last few years, he has had both our share of parenting at times, as well as working and studying.  He's pretty awesome like that.  

At the end of a teaching degree, there is a ten week unpaid internship that is like the final hurdle.  There are shorter and less demanding teaching pracs earlier on in the degree, but ten weeks whilst still studying, and being a parent, and trying to make a living has been something we were nervously anticipating.  Me not being able to drive made this even more challenging - perfect timing as always.
But tomorrow is the final day of that ten weeks.  

Anthony has an incredible gift for teaching.  I have known this for a long time now and knew that Anthony would do an amazing job on his Internship.  The challenge would be the logistics in juggling it.  There was a mixture of excitement and nerves as to how our little family would manage.  Now I think I speak for both of us when I say it has been exhausting (the dark circles under our eyes will bear witness to that).  The thing is, it has also been a really uniting thing to be working together for something that we all believe in.  Our family has had a common, unified goal for the past ten weeks.  It has been in our thoughts, our discussions, and our prayers.  We have all tried to do our part to make it work, and it has.  It's almost unbelievable that it's over.

I can't express enough how proud I am of the man I love.  He has worked hard for years and now that he is at the finish line, I am so excited for him to be able to share his talents with the students he works with.  It is something that comes so naturally to him.  It is where he shines.  

Congratulations my sweetheart - feel the weight lifted xxx

Friday, August 14, 2015

May I ask you a few questions....

I spent a few minutes asking the boys some questions so they could look back on it in years to come and get a glimpse into what they were like at their current ages.  I wrote down their responses word for word.  Here are some of their answers. 


1. How old are you? 7
2. What's the best thing about being 7? I get to play.....and it's my favourite.....and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
3. What is the bad side of being 7? It makes me sometimes be rude and naughty.  Like saying I'm the boss and not Mum and Dad.
4. What is your favourite movie right now and why? Romeo and Juliet.  I love it because it's about love and there is a secret wedding. 
5. Are there any special ladies in your life? Yes - all of them!! And I quote: yes - I love them all. 
(Carter randomly throws "and I quote" into his normal conversation).


1. How old are you? 9
2. What's the best thing about being 9? You just feel like you are going to be in high school soon.
3. What is the bad side of being 9? You are going to get a beard soon and beards are gross.
4. What is your favourite movie right now and why? Maze Runner because it's really intense.
5. Are there any special ladies in your life? Yes - you Mum....and Daddy.

(That last response shows a glimpse into Tony's quick sense of humour.  He is getting to the age where he is great company to just chat to and hang out with).

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why reading is bad for my sleep

I love to read.  Sometimes I get busy with life and forget that I love to read, but then I open a new book and the familiar feeling comes back to me and I remember why I stay up late when the house is asleep to read 'just to the end of this chapter' knowing perfectly well that this chapter will turn into another....and then another. 

I am currently reading The Book Thief.  I refuse to watch the movie until I have read the book.  I like to create the characters in my mind, and then if the movie differs, I can still watch knowing my imagination got it right, not some movie director.  When I watch a movie first, my imagination is limited to what I saw on the screen.

I'm not far from the end of The Book Thief and I'm a little sad at the thought of finishing. It's always a little depressing, like saying goodbye to a friend in some weird way.  And then there is the unsettling feeling that I may not find a book as good as this one.  I always do, but it concerns me for a moment there. 

This particular book is set in Nazi Germany.  I have a bit of a fascination with the goings-on of this time.  It's plays on my mind long after I close my book shut for the night.  I am left with confusion and questions.

How can people do this to one another? 

How was this allowed to happen?

Why didn't more people step up and band together to stop the monstrosity? 

I couldn't have just watched on.  Surely I would have done something, or said something.  At least I hope I would.

Isn't someone who watches on as such evil acts take place not much better than the one who commits them?

I feel some weird kind of anger at the people in my imagination that they watched on as their neighbours, old friends, acquaintances were treated worse than animals.  I can't explain it, but I'm frustrated with their cowardice.  I couldn't have stood by watching this go on.

But what could I have done?

If I spoke up, wouldn't I have been at risk?  That doesn't matter, I could feel good about risking my life by standing up for the right.

My thoughts don't stop here though.

What if by speaking up my family are put in harms way? What if it meant my children would be made to suffer? I can't risk my children's lives.  If it meant I was keeping my children safe then perhaps I am better off keeping quiet.......

And it's too late.  I realise I am one of them.  And I'm strangely disappointed in myself because I thought I was different, but my moment of pause and justification shows that I am no different. I was angry at them, but maybe I am one of them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hot damn

In the past few weeks, I have been blessed with a new baby nephew, and 2 baby nieces.  Two of my sisters and my sister-in-law all gave birth fairly close together and our family is growing.  Well, our extended family is growing, our own little family of four is going to remain a family of four. 

A few years back when we received the "no more children for you" news, I was pretty shocked and disappointed.  We decided that down the track, adoption could be an option.  

Now that we are down that track, I can tell you I have zero desire to have another baby.  I love babies, really I do, but I remember hearing that when you are done with having babies you will just 'know' and I now know how that feels.  I look at a baby and it makes me all warm and fuzzy, but I do not want one of my own anymore.  My baby is seven.  I am out of that phase and my body is perfectly happy getting to stay horizontal for 8 hours a night. 

When I say my baby is seven, he is actually seven going on seventeen with his interest in girls at the moment.  We have had to have a after an embarrassing experience last week. 

Anthony had a full week out every day from early in the morning til late afternoon, and Tony was at a friends house so Tarts and I went on a little 'date'.  Seeing as I can't drive STILL, we took a bus and train to Yoghurtland, and then a train and bus home.  On the bus on the way home he sat on a seat away from me and had a girl with her mum near him.  The girl looked about 13.  
He calls across the bus to me whilst pointing at the girl:

"HEY MUM!! Look at her - SHE'S HOT!!!

I tried to ignore him but he continued to yell out to me and just to make sure there was no doubt as to who he was referring to, he had his hand above her head pointing a finger down at her and called out;

"Mum! Look at this girl, she is definitely hot!"

I couldn't save the situation.  The damage was done and there was nothing I could do about it.  So when our stop came up next (thankfully), I hopped off the bus quick smart.  I explained to Carter that what he said wasn't very polite and then I asked if he even knew what 'hot' meant.  He paused to think then said;

"It means pretty.....and sexy."

Well colour me gob smacked.  Whilst a very accurate description, it wasn't exactly what I want to hear from my seven year old. I suggested that in future, he stick with 'pretty' if he sees a girl he likes.

Well a few days have passed and wherever we go, Carter is on the look out for girls. He points out 'pretty' girls to me constantly.  In Timezone, in Coles, in church, at MacDonalds, on the bus.....pretty much anywhere.  

Just yesterday we were lining up at McDonalds to get a drink, and the girl who served us obviously caught his attention as he tapped me on the leg and announced;

"Hey Mum, that girl is pretty.  I think she is really pretty and I think I'm in love!  Ooh, just look at her!  She is HOT!  I mean pretty, she is pretty mum."

I'm glad he has taken my words to heart but holy moly, he is only seven and already we are having to deal with this kind of stuff.  Thankfully Tony is taking things a little slower and although he has an emerging interest in girls, he is taking it at a more reasonable pace. 

Look out ladies, Carter is on the lookout! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Public transport activist

I was waiting at the bus stop a few weeks back when an older gentle man approached the stop to look at the bus schedule.  Actually 'gentleman' might not be the right term, as he looked rather rough and ready but had a kind smile.  I smiled back and told him the next bus should be there any minute as it hadn't come yet but was due to arrive a couple of minutes ago.  

Somehow, we got chatting.  He was gruff, but a nice fellow.  It was plain to see he had seen his share of tough times, some self inflicted and some not, but I found him endearing. 

After mentioning he had six daughters who he didn't hear from very much, and that those daughters had three different mothers but that he was single after all that, he left me with one piece of advice. 

He stated very matter-of-faculty;

"Trust me, do not get married."

I chuckled a little and said his advice has come a bit late. He nodded knowingly and said;

"Ahhh, a newlywed huh?"

I smiled and informed him we have been married ten years now and have two beautiful sons. He commented on my age and then told me that ten years is something he never managed. He then asked me what was our secret. 

I found that weirdly uncomfortable.  Being asked by someone so much older than me for marriage advice.  I actually don't know what I said at all.  But I have found myself thinking about this exchange since.  

I am incredibly happily married, and I am more aware than ever that that is a rare thing.  Our relationship is very real.  We have our 'off' days, and our days when one of us is doing a lot more than the other because the other hasn't got much to give that day. 

 We fight.  Not crazy screaming matches, but we certainly don't always see eye to eye, and that's ok.  I can recall about six weeks ago we argued over math.  Like actual math, which neither of us are particularly good at.  It's funny to me now because it's so ridiculous, but I also know it wasn't about  math really, it was about one of us not feeling listened to and the other not feeling understood.  And that is why it's ok that we fight sometimes, because we are able to sort things through and get to the bottom of it without it being scarring.  In fact, we seem to end up stronger somehow.

My main 'secret' is that Anthony is my best friend in every way possible.  He is my favourite person to spend time with and he truly loves me, the me who is daggy and in my pj's at three in the afternoon.  He loves the real me. How can you not be happy with that! 

I feel as though I have marriage the way it was intended to be - a joy, a support, a challenge a very small percent of the time, and a safe place to grow.  Perhaps that's why my bus buddy couldn't give his recommendation to matrimony, he hasn't yet found what I feel so lucky to have.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My name is Earl

Anthony and I went through a phase where we loved the show "My Name is Earl".  We watched every episode.  For those who aren't overly familiar with the show, Earl is a low-life who through a weird set of occurrences adopts the belief that if he does good things, good things will happen, but if he does bad things, bad things will happen to him.  His belief in Karma leads him to making a list of all the bad things he has done in his life and he sets out trying to make up for all of them. 

Earl and I share a couple of things in common. Firstly, karma has come back to bite him in the bum.  My previous blog post demonstrates how karma has taken care of me recently also.  Secondly, Earl cannot for the life of him take a photo with his eyes open.  Throughout the series, he tries, but it never happens. 

Over the past few years, I have realised I have the exact same problem!  Upon becoming aware of my inability to keep my eyes open at the right moment, despite everyone around me in the photo being able to do it, I have since earned the nick-name Earl when referring to photographs of me.  

I have had a quick look to provide evidence of this problem, and as you will see, this has been an issue since birth for me.

(This may look like a typical baby-sleeping-photo, but there is a good chance I was actually wide awake and the curse had already begun manifesting itself already)

(My baptism - not being particularly reverent or anything, just bad timing.  Note the rest of the people in the photo with me all seem to have their eyes open)





And these are just the few I have close by. But it seems I have passed on the curse to my children too.  

I'm just trying to be a better person. My name is Earl. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rats, ladders, and karma....oh my!

We have pet rats.  I know some people are repulsed by the little critters, but they are great little starter pets. I had pet rats growing up and they are very social and intelligent.  We got two boys and Tony named his Corey, and Carter named his Ambrose. You can train pet rats to do tricks, although so far we have only worked on coming when their name is called.  This trick has come in handy lately, but more on that later.

You know how sometimes seeing someone trip over is feel bad and concerned for them, but it's funny at the same time? Well YouTube has made laughing at others misfortune much easier and makes me look less like a jerk as it's not in public where I can be judged for laughing at others.  

However, KARMA is still judging me and last week took matters into her own hands.

Anthony showed me this silly little video and the first time I watched it, I chuckled.  But I watched it a couple more time and it had me cracking up. You have to see it a couple if times to appreciate it, and to appreciate my plight.

Fast forward a few days and Tony's rat Corey was missing. I went to feed them just after lunch and he was gone.  He has the amazing ability to escape from his cage no matter what I do. He squeezes through the bars, then when I get new mesh to cover the bars, he chews through it, then I get stronger mesh and he chews through the cable ties holding the mesh on. He generally just runs around the garage/rumpus room and there isn't far he can go so it hasn't been a big drama. 

But this time, I called out to him like I usually do and he didn't come running out to me from his assortment of hiding places. 

Tony was due home in an hour so I got to searching. Finally I had the idea to check the roof.  I didn't think it was likely, but what if he had climbed up the walls and got into the roof? We have a little man hole at the end of our hall so in the name of motherly-duty, I braced myself to go break the barrier between our home and whatever lies up in our roof - whether it be just dust and cobwebs or a whole colony of cockroaches I had no idea. 

I dragged our ladder from the shed and made it into a 'M' shape as I wanted two steady foot platforms instead of one.  I was all set and ready to go and stepped into the centre step of my ladder and quickly learned my ladder was not properly locked into place as it shut right on both my shins.  I couldn't move as my legs  were  trapped inside the closed ladder whilst I was still up off the ground. Aside from the pain, all I could think about was that stupid YouTube video and how ironic is was that I was laughing at that poor fellow injuring himself after not locking his ladder in place, and here I was trapped in a ladder for the exact same reason. 

I managed to get one of my shoes off and with some effort I pryed it out of the ladder. Aside from some nice matching bruises, I'm otherwise unscathed. 

I psyched myself up to brave the ladder again and after checking (and re-checking) the ladder positioning, up I went.  I called out to Corey and after a few minutes, a little face peered down at me. Our one trick paid off!

Our rats are safe and sound (for now) and I have received a healthy dose of humility.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Not the marrying kind

The weather on the coast was wild last week.  We lost power for five days (and subsequently most the food in our freezer and fridge), and the boys got an extra week of holidays due to the storm damage.  

When we realised the power would likely be out for a while, we bailed and headed down to Sydney to Anthony's parents place.  

On the way down, we had a chat with the boys about their Aunty's wedding, which was happening in a few days time.  The conversation turned to what kind of person they wanted to marry.  Specifically what qualities they were looking for. 

Carter piped up first and said;

"I want to marry someone who likes rugby and knows how to play rugby.  Maybe even a rugby coach."

Aside from being weird, it's a pretty narrow list of specifications.  

Tony chimed in with;

"I want to marry someone who can cook and make the foods I like.  Oh, and someone who can clean."

This just made me think Tony wants a maid, not a spouse.  But then, he thought a bit harder and felt the need to add to his list. He said;

"Also, and no offence Mum, but maybe someone know.....less broken bones.  And no seizures.  So then they can do more stuff."

I couldn't hold in my laughter.  

Sure son, no offence taken....none at all !!

Friday, April 10, 2015

In the trenches

My boys have lots of cousins being born this year.  Five to be exact - unless anyone wants to announce something to increase that figure.  

Earlier this week, I took Carter to his six monthly paediatrician appointment.  Carter has a lot of appointments.  He had three this week and that is fairly typical for him.  This appointment his doctor asked whether we wanted to do further genetic testing by referring Carter to a geneticist.  He has had genetic screening done to help determine the cause of his developmental issues, but this test only screens for the more common genetic conditions and came up with nothing.  

The therapies and treatment will likely stay the same, but it would be good to know we have done all we can to find answers.  The doctor also pointed out it is worth checking to see if there is a genetic cause for any future children we may have.  

I quickly explained we aren't planning any more children as we have been advised my spine isn't stable enough and it would  mean a very difficult life for our family.  We are okay with this and although it wasn't what we planned a decade ago, we feel blessed to have Tony and Carter.

Later that afternoon, I realised we are past the 'young children' phase of life now.  We don't have babies or toddlers and won't again.  Our 'baby' is seven years old.  It hit me a little hard as I came to the realisation we are in a different stage of parenting now.  

I know each parenting stage will come with it's own challenges and learning curves, but now that we don't have babies or toddlers in our house, I feel like we have climbed out of the trenches.  That was what parenting young children felt like - being in the trenches.  You are exhausted, unshowered, covered in food or bodily fluids, and trying to survive.  It's rough! 

But there is also this weird comraddery that unites you with other parents of little ones.  You just 'get' each other.  You make eye contact in the supermarket, or the park, or the doctors waiting room, and with mutually glazed eyes and matching dark circles and 'Mum pony tails', you know you are battling the same war.  The fight against laundry and dishes in the quest for sleep. 

But there is also so much joy.  Amongst the hardship, you are making and raising people! That's pretty awesome.  The very idea that we create and mold little versions of ourselves is crazy when you think about it. Little people who love and adore you and place you on a ridiculously high pedestal until they get old enough to see that you are indeed only human.  We are in this stage now - they now know we are capable of mistakes.  We aren't their whole world anymore, we share their hearts with teachers and friends etc.

I love that we can tuck our boys in now and know we probably won't hear from them for a good eight hours because they sleep through the night.  I love that we can leave the house without a half hour of preparation.  I love not having to buy nappies (not wipes though, I can't see me ever not buying wipes - they are a multi-purpose wonder).  A part of me will miss the baby and toddler stage that is now a part of our past, because it is witnessing a miracle grow and develop right before your eyes.  The intense blend of love and exhaustion is a unique experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

But we are past that now.  We are sticking our head up out of the trenches and seeing what the world of parenting has in store for us next.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cats and dogs call a truce

My children fight.  Daily.   

They fight over anything, and some days  it feels like everything. 
Who got the bigger half of a Zooper Dooper. Who gets to sit in the preferred car seat.  Who is playing with which wrestler.  It goes on and on.  

Siblings are 'safe' to fight with I guess.  I remember feeling this way with my five siblings.  They can't suddenly decide not to be your sibling anymore.  So we feel all our feelings out in the open and it ends up spewing all over those we love most.  It's not ideal, but it happens.  

Because our boys fight like cats and dogs, I treasure the moments they get along.  I treasure them, but I dare not vocalise how nice it is to see them getting along so well, as the second those words pass my lips, it's like I cursed them both and it all falls apart into fighting again.  

They fought a lot over the weekend, and thankfully Monday rolled around and they had to go back to school because I got sick of refereeing their little dramas.  We try to teach them to resolve things themselves as much as possible, but we need a third child so their vote doesn't always end in one vs one with us needing to make the final call.

This afternoon, Tony mentioned something small, that was actually a 'big something'.  We almost could have missed it.  He said he left his hat at his friends house that morning and that his friend would bring it to school tomorrow.  

That could have been it.  But thankfully we asked a follow up question.  

Seeing as their school has the "no hat, no play" rule, I asked Tony what he did at lunch then with no hat.  He said Carter was nice and gave him his hat to use for the day.  I could see it wasn't a big deal to him.  I asked;

"What about Carter?  If you had his hat, what did he do?"

And Tony shrugged his shoulders and replied;

"Oh he probably just played handball under the covered play area."

Carter came down the hallway right then so we asked what he did at lunch time and who he played with seeing as he couldn't play in his normal area without a hat.  

He said matter-of-factly;

"I had to stay under cover so I didn't really play with anyone."

 He didn't seem to mind, but I saw Tony's face drop when he realised that Carter giving up his hat for Tony meant Carter was giving up his play time with his friends, but that he did it willingly for Tony.  Tony had just assumed he had still been able to play with his friends, but when he learned what had really happened, he sat next to Carter and have him a hug and thanked him.  

They have spent the rest of the afternoon playing perfectly together.  I know it could have been missed, and that they will probably go back to fighting again tomorrow, but I'm so glad that for an afternoon they can see each other the way we always hope they can. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Where were child services?

Whilst my boys are at school each day, I think of them multiple times every hour.  I hope they are having fun, trying their best, being kind to others, listening to their teachers, and putting their darn banana peels into the bin instead of back into their lunch boxes. It's like putting your hand into a box of slugs.  

Every so often, I get a call from the school.  I have their number programmed  into my phone so when I see it, a little bit of panic washes over me for a second.  

What could this be about?

I hope the boys are ok.

Is one of them sick?

What in heavens has Carter been up to this time? 

Now generally speaking, the last one is just me jumping to conclusions.  GENERALLY. 

Let's go back about two weeks ago.  I get a call from Carter's teacher informing me he was out of sorts that day and that during reading time, he said he was sick. She said she didn't think I would have sent him to school unwell and that she saw him running around the playground earlier on and he seemed fine, but she wanted to check just to be sure. 

I told her no, he wasn't sick, just the king of avoidance and that he can be very creative if needs be.  She then started laughing and told me just how creative he had been.  

After the "I'm sick" routine failed, old Tarts tried "I'm tired" instead.  To make his story more believable, he decided some extra detail was necessary.  Apparently he said;

"I'm so tired.  I'm just really, really tired because I didn't have ANY sleep. I was up ALL night getting smacks so I'm very tired now!"

With his teacher laughing on the other end of the phone, I sat with my eyes shut shaking my head, not in disbelief - because it did sound like something Carter would say, but more that we have a child that can make accusations like this and no one bats an eye lid.  I'm hoping our time at school with Tony has shown we are not child-beaters who keep our children up ALL night for a good 'ol smacking.

It either says something about us, or a whole lot about Carter.  Either way, I have no doubt there is a great deal more humiliation in our future. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just a follow up

I mentioned this a little while ago while I was undergoing tests, but as a follow up - I have Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I was diagnosed and started medication in January.

After a few scans and tests, my neurologist found scarring on my brain consistent with epilepsy.  

It's both good and bad. Good because I suspected epilepsy anyway, and it's good to have some answers after all this time. 

But, bad because I now cannot drive until I am 6 months seizure free whilst on medication.  Every seizure I have means I have to start at day one again which gets pretty frustrating.  The longest I have made it is 8 days.

My seizures have also had an effect on my memory.  I really started to notice it late last year, but even now, sometimes things happen that I don't recall, but the only answer is that I did it, but just don't remember.  

It's incredibly inconvenient being a mother and not being able to drive. It's frustrating losing another piece of independence.  It's tough not being able to remember things when I have always relied on a good memory.  

It's also incredibly humbling to have people close to me offer to help.  People who help get our children to school, take me grocery shopping, and allow for the adjustment it has been on our family.  I don't ever wish for challenges, but they do show me time and time again how blessed I am to have such incredible people in my life.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mr. Tarts turns seven

Our boys have such differing natures.  Carter likes the spotlight, and Tony likes the peace and quiet.  They just came that way.  We love the dynamic they bring to our family with their individuality.  

Today, is our big baby's special day.  He is 7 years old.  He has been counting down to this day for quite some time now and it's finally here (thank goodness). 

Anyone who knows Carter will know what a character he is.  He feels emotion to the highest degree.  Perhaps it's part of his disability, or perhaps it's just who he is - I don't know.  If he wants to give you a kiss, he doesn't just give you a peck on the cheek, he throws his arms around your neck and really plants one on you - teeth and all.  If he is sad, it isn't just a few rolling tears, it's a soap opera.  

Days with Carter are both hard, and full of joy.  He hasn't had it easy from the get-go.  Nothing comes easy for him.  Watching other children learn to hold a pencil, colour in, write their name, or dress themselves is like us in Australia learning English.  It takes some effort, but being immersed in it makes makes it seem almost natural.  For Carter, it's like learning a foreign language.  A different language each time he needs to learn a new skill.  It's hard work and it's constant. 

But his enthusiasm for life means he doesn't give up.  He keeps on working.  We have tantrums, and we have great success.  I know any parent of a child with special needs will understand this. 

There are some gifts that do seem just ingrained in Carter though.  He never had to learn these things. He is incredibly generous.  He will share everything he has, even if it means forcing it on you.  He loves to help if it means making someone else's life easier.  He has a compassionate nature that is far beyond his years.  And my favourite, he simply loves people.  He loves to talk to people at the train station, at the supermarket, in the doctors waiting room, people serving us at the cash register, and our personal favourite - telemarketers!  He genuinely enjoys getting to know someone.

I am already a life-time's worth of proud of our spunky little dude, but can't wait to see what's ahead for him.  

Happy Birthday Mr. Tarts

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Those four letter words

Two weeks ago, Carter discovered some rather 'colourful' language and shared said discovery at a very inappropriate moment.  

Parenting is an embarrassing experience.  It's wonderful, but it's utterly humiliating at times.  My logical side knows children come with their own little personalities and quirks, but they are also an extension of their parents in many ways and so when something embarrassing happens, I feel that humiliation 100%.  

Carter is a music lover and enjoys watching his favourite songs on YouTube at times.  Lately, it's been watching old Wiggles songs.  Two years ago he was a big Wiggles fan but that had tapered off.  He recently stumbled upon a Wiggles clip and it unleashed the floodgates of Wiggles videos into our house yet again.  Unfortunately, there are some weirdos out there who think it's amusing to make up Wiggles videos and adding in a variety of swear words - words we thus far haven't heard from our children's mouths. 

Go back a fortnight and we were at church.  It was all finished and it was time to go home. As we were getting ready to head off to the car, Carter expressed he wanted to keep playing with the other children and ran off.  Anthony followed him into the crowded foyer and managed to grab hold of his hand and told him it was time to go. Carter turned around and yelled out:

"Let go of me, you d***!"

Did I mention the foyer was crowded??
When pressed as to where he had heard such a word, Carter though about it and said:

"Ummmm.... I think it was Jesus."

Now I have my concerns at times about how Carter will do academically and what his future holds, but then I see how clever and crafty he is on his feet and a wave of pride washes over me.  
I just wish it wasn't over his lying about where he heard such inappropriate language and placing the blame on Jesus!

We finally got it out of him that he heard it on a Wiggles video on YouTube.  He also followed this up with two other 'new' words that same day.  Between trying to stifle shocked giggles, Anthony and I were appalled! 

Thankfully such language has died down, but I have been waiting for the moment when his crankiness and impulsivity gets the better of him and he lets one slip out again.  

But, his love of police shows may have solved our problems. I watched an episode of Police Ten 7 with Carter as he loves police shows.  In this particular episode, three separate people were arrested for verbally assaulting the police officers.  Carter picked up that the 'bleeps' meant swearing and asked if they were arrested for swearing. I very slowly nodded and told him;

" Yes!  Yes!  They were arrested for swearing.  You are very lucky that no one called the police when you swore or that could happen to you.  I hope you won't be saying those words again."

Carter got a very serious look on his face and said;

"I won't say swear words again.  I will keep the peace cos I dont wanna go to the slammer!"

Thank you TV!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A decade with my doofus

Ten years ago, Anthony and I were days away from getting married. There were lots of last minute details to attend to, and family who had travelled to spend time with.  It was all so exciting and surreal.  I was absolutely anticipating our "big day", but I was even more looking forward to a life with my best friend.  

During our engagement, we didn't really go out a whole lot.  Partly due to the fact we both worked full-time, but also we were just happy spending time at each other's houses, talking, playing cards, and of course eating.  This time gave me a good indication as to what married life would be like for us; just finding joy and contentment in being near each other.  

Right now, I am lying on our bed and Anthony is in the lounge room.  We have a wall between us as I type, but I feel complete because I know he is near me. Not to sound all "Jerry Maguire", but Anthony absolutely completes me.  I didn't NEED a man to complete me, it wasn't that sort of thing.  But Anthony is so much a part of me now that I don't feel like me without him.  

During our ten years of marriage, we have seen quite a few marriages break down.  It confirms to me even more that life doesn't always go as planned.  Things happen that strain relationships and weigh us down.  It's almost easy sometimes to see how it happens, but for us we have been blessed in that our struggles have brought us together and not divided us. In fact, I would actually go as far as to say we are not strong in spite of our trials, I believe we are strong because of those trials. 

I don't necessarily think we have endured more than anyone else, but I know we have faced our own dark moments.  We have had nearly non-stop health struggles with both myself and Carter.  I was reminded a few days ago that on our honeymoon I was so severely sun burnt I couldn't even have a sheet touch me.  I also had a nasty ear infection that left me vomiting a couple of days.  That should have been Anthony's warning sign of what was to come!  

The thing is, he has never once made me feel like I am a burden to him, or to 'us'.  He takes it all in his stride and gives me a feeling of security that I know he will be beside me in whatever comes.  

I don't believe people, or even marriage, are perfect, but in some strange way, I believe love in itself CAN be perfect. 

When we are tired and cranky and snappy, I know we still love each other.  

When we are crazy busy and like passing ships at times, I know we still love each other and that even though we aren't in each other's presence, we are in each other's thoughts and hearts.  

When Anthony achieves something wonderful, I feel like it's happened to me.

On those occasions when we do have a fight, I still know underneath whatever is bugging us, everything is stable and fine and I am very loved.

We have seen each other ill, exhausted, unkept, unshowered and still see something beautiful.

We randomly come home from the shops with the others' favourite treat just to bring a smile.  

We both have quirks that drive the other nuts and push all the right buttons, but we still love each other.

These are the realities of marriage, and I have found in marriage you can experience a perfect type of love, and that's pretty incredible.  I know it's not a lifetime, but we are a decade in and I have never been happier thanks to my sweetheart, my best friend, my doofus, and my heart.

Happy 10th Anniversary my sweetheart.

I got a good one! 

(Big thank you to Tim Coulson for his time and talent)