Monday, December 17, 2012

Nine things you didn't know

Nine things you didn't know ....

1. I am a Mills and Boon reader - yes I am, I love the cheesy storylines where the 24 yr old orphan virgin secretary is offered the chance of a lifetime to pretend to be her billionaire Greek Tycoons mystery fiancée. She falls in love, he is in denial at first but the succumbs to her innocent charm, they have a fight/accident/pregnancy and fall out with each other until they discover they can't live without each other. Cue Epilogue where they gaze adoringly at their twin babies as the sun sets.
All in under 2 hrs which is the average time I get in the bath on a Sunday night.
(side note - when I buy a M&B I pretend it's for my Nanna so they don't think I really read them)

2. I am afraid of snakes. Like,  terrified of them. As in - we don't go anywhere off the concrete from Spring to Autumn. I know many are protected species but I don't believe that applies to any that come into my vision. I have never actually come across one but when I do it should consider its 'protected' status nullified.

3. I cry at lots of things. Tears are never far away. News reports, sad or happy movies, watching my kids, it doesn't take much for the hot prickles to start and my eyes well up. It used to bother me, now I am just accepting that my emotions run close to the surface. The downside is, a crappy day at work can have me teary even when I'm trying to have a professional facade.

4.The Vicar Of Dibley is required viewing in our house. It is one show that can make The Man I Married and I both giggle like toddlers. I understand it is irreverent and silly British humour, I think that is exactly why we love it. And Dawn French ROCKS. Yes she does.

5. I don't like chocolate. I really don't. I don't like the feel of it on my tongue. I could happily go for 40 years without another piece of chocolate. Cheese, biscuits, wine and antipasto platter I will fight you to the death for but chocolate you can have. I know.. not normal right?

6. I've had two real boyfriends in my entire life and I married one of them. When I say I don't really understand much about one night stands, I'm not joking. I have no clue. Not one. This means all and any worldliness I may portray is either a big fat fake or I read about it in a book. Probably a Mills and Boon.

7. When I'm swimming in a pool at night I'm pretty sure there are sharks in the dark water. Just saying.

8. I play a stupid game on Facebook called Castleville - when I say stupid I mean awesome and by play I mean that sometimes I need to get up at 3 am to harvest my crops so they don't wither before morning because they have a very short cyber life. I have a cool little Kingdom and I am mistress of my land. TMIM thinks I'm a bit crazy but thats only because I have more castle than him. 

 9. I don't really consider myself a blogger. Which is weird because by the looks of it, I am, in fact, a blogger! But some people take their blogging wayyyyyyy more seriously than me so I think I'm more like a fringe blogger. I doubt I am ever going to get too serious with my blogging so if any of you are waiting for daily posting, don't hold your breath. The only thing I can guarantee  to do daily is pee.

So tell me.. what's your little secret? What don't I know about you?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook

There are really no words to express my horror and distress at yesterdays terrible news.
Twenty tender hearts taken from this world and with them six brave teachers who tried so hard to protect them.
I can't imagine the hurt and anguish for these families right now.

There is no pretty little picture for you today, no cute quote. I won't use this situation to push my views on gun control, the existance of God or homeschooling.

Hug your kids, tell them you love them. Don't leave them with an angry word.
We truly never know when the last time will be the last time


Thursday, December 6, 2012

inner voices

Do you listen to your inner voice?
Yesterday one of my favorite facebook pages  had this awesome image in its timeline.

and it got me thinking.
I don't think we listen to ourselves enough.

It seems like every other person on the planet knows better than us, in parenting, in work/life balance, in how to eat properly, exercise right, in how to educate our children, in how to be successful in business and relationships.. in everything. There are 3000 self-help books for every category listed about and another 7000+ e-books if the paper version isn't enough.

Lately there has been 'stuff' in my world and even though my inner voice was telling me to be wary, everyone around me was telling me otherwise. Telling me I was overly cautious, paranoid, looking for excuses...
and then my inner voice was proven true.

Why can't we raise our babies, have relationships and go through menopause without three bookshelves full of Positive parenting, Positive relationships, Embracing the 'new' you and Welcome to womanhood hardcovers written by people with NO MORE QUALIFICATIONS than you or me?
I'm all for asking questions and sharing stories but it would be nice if the entire publishing world wasn't heart-set on convincing us that we are all useless blithering idiots without a clue unless we have volumes 1-8 of 'How to parent your 21st century child'

It's time, my lovely readers that we stop reading other peoples opinions, and we start listening to our own. Parenting by our own compass, building our relationships without the help of Dr Phil (not dissing Phil, I'm sure he's a nice man but he is not my husband nor am I his wife so what works in his house is not relevant in mine).
It's time to stop trying to win friends and influence people through a series of standard steps and actually being discerning about who we make friends with. I don't want to be friends with someone who only wants me as another notch on their "facebook follower" belt.

I am wondering how we can teach our kids to trust their inner voice if we don't trust our own?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

PND awareness week - beyond the first scene

It's like the first few minutes of the movie Twister, when the little girls Daddy is swept away in a tornado trying to protect his family.  I fast forward through this scene because I can't bear it. The screams, the grief on their faces, the silence that follows. I know what happens. I don't want to see it again. "Twister" is one of my all time favourite movies, but the first 7 minutes I NEVER want to watch ever again

This week is PND Awareness Week.

You know I am no stranger to this storyline. I have laid my heart bare here and here and here.
BUT...  I really have to be in the mood to write about my sad days. If I'm having a good day/week/month, I loathe taking my heart and mind back to those days. They feel like they belong to someone else, like a movie I once watched and can only remember sketchy details, but I know it all worked out okay in the end.

Mostly I choose to fast forward through the early scenes. I allow myself to not re-watch the unwatchable. I allow myself some grace.

My time with Post Natal Depression ( aka Post Partum Depression, PPD or PND ) started probably well before our first little blessing arrived. I was so young, inexperienced, overwhelmed and totally without the support systems that a young mother needed. My parents lived over 2 hours away at first, and then 13 hours away. My sister and brother were a full days drive away. We moved interstate when J-man was just 2 weeks old. Crazy.

Another 3 years and 2 more babies and there I was mothering 3 under 4, still with PND sitting on my shoulders like a dead weight. I was hyper-parenting. trying to anticipate and roadblock every for-seeable danger to my children. I was wrecked but could not rest. I had trouble allowing anyone else to take over my vigil and I was so, so, so tired.
And yet, no-one around me seemed to think it was depression.
I wasn't crying all the time.
I hadn't let the house or myself go.
On the contrary.. the house was scrubbed to with an inch of its life and I exercised with determination and purpose. The children were spotless  To others I was simply controlling, fussy, angry, a princess. I KNOW close family members rolled their eyes and were less than kind in their discussions of how controlling and anxious I was in my parenting.

If only I could have shown them the real me.

The 4 am me. The one who paced in the kitchen chanting the CPR drill for infants and toddlers so many times it is forever etched on my heart.
If only I could have let them see the 2am me who sat in a ball crying in the shower so that no-one could hear.
If only I could have told them that the 3 am me was so sure that something awful was going to happen to one of these babies, that she already knew the music that would play, the clothing they'd wear, the special toys that would be included in that childs' coffin.
The 5 am me was very good at telling Lisa what a completely crappy mother she was, that they would be so much better if she just walked away. Everybody, EVERYBODY seemed to be able to do this so much better than her.

The fact is, I was an expert in faking it during daylight hours. In acting like I had my crap together. In evading tricky questions and making excuses for crazy stuff.

It took 6 years for me to finally be myself in front of my new doctor. She was the mother of 5 kids and didn't try to tell me that I was just tired. She believed me. She listened.

And with her help, some medication and many sessions of tear-heavy therapy I finally saw a trickle of light. And that light has just kept getting brighter and stronger and warmer and more lovely.

I have rambled on here but I have two important points to share. 

The first point is that depression does not always look like the Hollywood stereotype. Just because I looked like I was okay on the surface didn't mean I was okay inside. Just because someone is cheerful and capable at mothers group, doesn't mean she isn't literally rocking in the corner behind her front door. Or intensely angry, or sad inside.

We need to step away from the stereotype of what Post Natal Depression looks like and start to open our eyes. We need to learn as a society to recognise and act on emotional crisis. We need to open our ears to subtle but very distinct requests for help. Not all depressed parents are suicidal, or are harming their babies. Not all depressed parents have unwashed hair, messy houses or dazed glazed-over eyes. In fact I believe that many of us, still got on with the business of parenting even while feeling like absolute crap. Many of us would have denied that anything was wrong because it was just another admission of failure. 

The second point - There really can be light at the end of the tunnel. We went on (under medical guidance) to have a fourth baby, depression free and spent her baby years gazing in wonder and saying "wow this is what other people had with their kids. This is how it was supposed to be". 
I am soooooooo lucky to have experienced a baby depression-free and the freedom and lifting of my heart is beyond words. I am blessed beyond measure and I can't really express the healing she has brought into my heart and home.

If you feel like you are not coping ( in whatever way that is... you know in your heart if you are really not coping) please seek help.

Post-natal depression takes many forms. This week is PND Awareness Week.
If you, or someone you know think they are suffering in silence, please be reassured that you are not alone and that help is available.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not all Lucky Jars are lucky

It is school fete season here and that means that every week if not more often we are barraged with requests for cakes and cookies, handmade craft items, white elephants stall stuff, plants, second hand books and uniforms and requests that we all man the stalls for face painting, hair decorating and popcorn/fairyfloss/ice slushies. Volunteers are required to police the jumping castle and the slippery pole competition. Kids are also urged to enter the "Make your own scarecrow competion" and the "Kids Craft and Baking competitions". And in your spare time, we'd love you to visit all the other stalls and spend basquillions on the other crap that other parents begrudgingly provided.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 

Today we had to take in goods for the Tombola Hampers (our grade was supposed to provide nibbles and jarred olives etc for antipasto/entertaining hampers .. our teacher said we could bring wine, I said "Over My Dead Body!")

Last week they had to take in Lucky Jars.
I don't know when this started but basically you get an empty jar, fill it with something and take it to school. These are then randomly bought at $2 a pop - over the years we have sent jars filled with

-crafty bits and pieces like pompoms, chennille bendy sticks, beads etc,
-hair ties and ribbons and a couple of pretty clips,
-little notepad, pen, pencil and eraser,
-matchbox style cars
-a teddy bear squished in so his little face peaked out,
-pretzels or chocolate peanuts... you get the idea?

 So I'm driving Miss 8 to school and she starts talking about Lucky jars ..
I ask what she took last week bacause I was at work and The Man I Married organized it.
She said daddy gave her the jar of musk sherbet boiled Lollies in the top if the cupboard

 .. The half eaten jar of Lollies that none of us like and have been sitting there for about 9 months.

 I asked if he put them in a smaller jar so it wasn't quite so obviously used  - nope just in the same opened half empty jar -

.... Omg words fail me !!!! Can never go back into the school again.

If you attend a fete and you get a lucky jar half full of pink lollies that taste like medicine I'm sorry. Truly sorry.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ladies Long Lunch

I went to our schools "Ladies Long Lunch" last weekend.. it was a Saturday lunch with plenty of wine, good food and socialising.. it made me realise how VERY out of the social loop I am.

There are the usual movers and shakers in our parenting community,

Those who excel at all things Committee. 
I am not one of them.

There is the "Fab" set, with more money than they know how to spend and an extraordinary interest in toenail extensions and the correct height of wedge heels for summer dresses.
I am not one of them.

There are the parents of the 'Accelerated Learners" who are here to wave their 'Don't hate us because our kids are so talented we can't even converse with them, but you should hear them play piano' flag. 
I am sooooooo not one of them.

Across the hall is the Social Good set, smelling faintly of patchouli and sweaty unshaved armpits. They carefully avert their eyes when the hors d'Oeuvres ( pronounced 'horses doovers' in our house cos we're classy like that!) come around to express their profound horror at the extravagant food provisions... although they were the first ones scoring a few bottles of wine for their table and calling the dessert waiter back for seconds at the end of the meal. 
I am not one of them.

At the back of the hall is the Sporty Spice Girls, in heart-stoppingly short dresses that only a Mum who does serious hours at the gym can wear. They brought their own low-carb drinks and enjoyed their side salad lettuce leaves immensely. 
I am not one of them. 

There is the Popular group.. so much like high school, the women with the cute cashed-up husbands, who have known each other since kindergarten. They know each other in a way that makes me jealous and cringe at the same time. They own the room like it is theirs.. well actually it is.. their old kindergarten room. 
Sigh , I am not one of them.

The rest of the room was taken up with Mum's like me, awkwardly glancing around the room, wondering how we can blend in with the Grade One art exhibition until it is time to go home. 

We filled in the spaces between sporty and Social , between popular and committee. I nodded and finger waved at many, politely smiled as I ducked past groups of comfortable women. 
I wondered where my pack was.. where the F*ck is the "Awkward, Didn't grow up in this town and I'll get to the gym sometime next year" group" My peeps.. WHERE ARE YOU???

 My friend and I wandered home (no invitation to after function canapes at the movin' and groovin's house). We breathed. It was okay, I don't need to be a spice girl. My hubby doesn't have to define my worth. 

The social structure of the school yard has not changed much since I left school, except I no longer desire to be part of the group. I'm actually really ok with being out here on my own (except in social situations as described above).

Although I do like the sound of toenail extensions.

** To those who have checked on me over the past couple of weeks thankyou!!! I am okay, trying to burn the candle at both ends and learning to balance my enthusiasm for my work with my desire to be a present and focused mother and wife..I am getting better at saying "no" and setting boundaries xx**

Friday, October 19, 2012

New beginnings

Hello everyone !!!

We arrived back on Aussie soil on Saturday after a truly blissful week away from reality. The kids were fine and Nanna and Pop did an awesome job keeping the home fires burning without burning the home down !!! Our welcome home was gorgeous, although I am going to be honest and say the HAPPIEST to see us was the two dogs, they were over the top, back flipping, hooley dooley, don't ever leave us again, yippy-yappy excited!

Since arriving home life has taken on a craziness that is great in a stressful "OMG what was I thinking" kind of way. I have finally commenced nursing in an acute ward, and have had my first three shifts this week - 1st on Monday, then Tuesday Overnight and again yesterday afternoon. Finally I am using those skills I have worked so hard to learn...  I am also experiencing brand new situations and thinking "ARRGGGHHHH what do I do???" The whole shift is like being on an adrenaline rush of hyperalertness, coupled with absolute certainty that I have forgotton something crucial.
I love the challenge even though I am also terrified by it, I am told the worry will ease as I gain experience. In the meantime, each shift leaves me exhausted as I try to rearrange my brain into some kind of normal thinking pattern.
Luckily the house is very, very quiet while the kids are at school so I can just BE in my own thoughts.

However, something new is brewing on the horizon and I am a wee bit excited... next week is my J-man's very last week at school. If you've been reading this blog for a while you will know that his schooling has been Bloody. Hard. Work. (If you're new here, read this for a little background).

From very early on I have said to each teacher "If we can just get him to the end of Year 12 and he still likes himself I'll be happy"... And as I type this with actual tears on my cheeks, I am realising that we have achieved exactly that.
The end is merely days away, and he has grown into a gorgeous, self assured, kind, giving adult who likes himself and doesn't feel the need to change to suit anyone else. He doesn't apologise for his quirkiness, he is aware of it but just assumes that others will accept him and go with it.. and mostly they do! He has friends around the world on his XBox live (best thing he has ever had access to .BEST thing ever!) He has solid friends here in our town. He has a set of core values that he sticks to unwaveringly and he assumes the best of every person until proven otherwise.

I have no idea what the future holds for him, whether the career path will eventuate. I don't know when, if or how he will form romantic relationships, build friendships with others, earn money or live fully independantly.

I do know he likes himself. I know he is a good person. I know you couldn't get a more loyal friend than him. I know he doesn't play mind games or offer anything he hasn't got. He's straight down the line & honest to a fault.

We got to the end of Year 12 and he still likes himself. I am happy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest Post - My Perfect Holiday

While I am away with The Man I Married enjoying the most divinely relaxing holiday ever,
Lovely Caroline from Present Imperfection has so generously offered to guest-blog for me......

My Perfect Holiday
If you asked most parents what their idea of a perfect holiday would be, it would probably feature a beach, a pool and plenty of kids clubs, or perhaps a child-free break in a luxurious hotel.
When you have a child with Asperger’s kids clubs aren’t really an option. Generally the staff are young and probably don’t have much experience with a child with special needs. Boy Wonder sometimes finds new environments stressful, so we have avoided them.
The best holidays for Boy Wonder have been camping or renting the same beach house in Whitstable, Kent which the boys loved so much they thought it was theirs! Familiar surroundings mean fewer melt downs as BW knows what to expect.

Now we have moved to Australia the perfect holiday means adventure. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing wonder in the boys’ eyes when they are exposed to a new and exciting experience.
Swimming with the whale sharks in Western Australia is high on my ‘to do’ list. Both the boys were born in water and have always loved swimming and the sea. From a young age Boy Wonder has had a fascination for sea creatures, specifically, whales and sharks.  So this would be perfect.
I have no idea whether they would freak out totally and hate me forever, but either way it would be an unforgettable experience!
There will be plenty of time to enjoy beaches and cocktails with my husband, but it’s the idea of adventurous holidays with my boys that fill me with excitement now.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?

Caroline's bio :
Hi I am Caroline (@mrsceeeceee on twitter). I am pom on an adventure in Melbourne. I love it here, but it is very far. I am here with The Saint, the love of my life and my two boys. Boy Wonder is 11 and has Asperger's Syndrome. Cheeky Monkey is 8 and very cheeky. Together we are muddling through the challenges of being expats and having a unique person in our family. Read my blog

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Leaving my life behind

In my wild imagination I am a party animal but the truth is any kind of party is enough to have me crippled with insecurities about my self worth, my acceptance within my social group and my ability to 'fit in' without making a complete dill of myself .

So way back in June when I celebrated my 40th birthday, it was in very low key fashion. A nice meal out with family, minimal fuss. Breathing room. 

The Man I Married celebrated his 40th last year with a fairly impressive party so as mine rolled around I'm quite sure he was scrambling to find a way to celebrate with me, to find a present and to let me know that even though we are polar opposites in almost every way, he still is my steady, my constant and my sure thing.
So he booked a holiday.
For just him and I. 
To Phuket.
For seven days.

Seven days without any responsibilities of 4 kids, of housekeeping, of nursing. Seven days of not having to cook, of staying in a gorgeous resort and being treated like a princess. Seven days of just him and I.. it's been so long since we could just BE with each other.

Oh! Spot on my man. Perfectly chosen.

My parents are coming to stay and hold down the fort. The pantry cupboard is full, instructions for "which child goes where" written, and teens have been pinned down to a "For this week whatever Nanna and Pop say goes" agreement.
Our passports are pristine clean and craving their first smudgy stamp. Currency has been converted, immunisation shots given. Emails notifying everyone that we are taking leave of our senses for week are ready to send. Our bags are packed (lightly because TMIM has plans for purchasing every single bargain at the Phuket night market)

Tomorrow night we fly out.

I may or may not pop in and update... but don't hold your breath guys... there's just so much nothing I have to do while we are away.

Want a little teaser? -
check it out 

The Marriott - Phuket


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Sleepover

There is something about other people's kids that makes me want to smack them... LOL .. no seriously!

Miss 8 had a sleepover last night. with a lovely little princess from school. She's very nice, but the eldest of two, and I get the feeling that money is not an object in their house. Parents are also uber-cool, positive parenting, calmly ignoring their child's tantrum while they sip their Skinny Soy Chai Latte. By comparison my kids have been raised on the set of My Name Is Earl.

When kids come to play at my house, I'm old fashioned in that I expect them play, at our house, with the toys that we have, with each other. 
In the past 18 hours I have been asked if we can "go to the pool, have some chips, go to the lolly shop, have some money to spend at K-mart, have some chocolate,use the paints to make a mural, have some fizzy drink, go to the movies, have some chocolate...." This kid has already seen every movie on the planet, poo-pooed our barbie doll collection, has 'way betterer' pencils and textas and doesn't like playing in cubby houses.

In the end I took them to the local YMCA heated pools so they could swim and get rid of some energy. Even there S-O kid was unimpressed that they couldn't have the whole large lap pool to themselves (how inconvenient of the Aqua-aerobics class and swim squad to take up half the pool). She asked me to buy her new goggles as her own pair were too stretchy (??). She didn't like the temperature of the therapy pool, the toddler pool is for babies only, and ..... arrggghhhhhh

The evening was long, the night was longer.. they stayed awake until  1 am, until I was making death threats and giving them the evil eyeball stare from the doorway. Miss 8 knew I meant business. The S-O Kid just giggled and ignored me. Eventually with me sitting at the end of the mattresses with my hands in the small of their backs so they couldn't move, they went to sleep.

They were awake at 6.30am giggling and at my doorway asking for breakfast. WTH?? Miss 8 usually has to be forced to eat breakfast somewhere around 10am during the holidays. I do not make anything before I have had at least one cup of coffee.

They have played this morning ... after I banned the TV.. so far my favourite comments have been "Sarah.. don't you even have an I-pod ?"
"I don't eat cereal for breakfast, unless Mum is feeling lazy"
"Can we have some chocolate, can we have some fizzy drink, can we have some chips????"

Here's what I've discovered - other people's kids don't know the "Counting to 3" rule. In our house I count to 3 and you'd better be running in the opposite direction on '3' or all backsides are mine!
In  S-O Kid's house they count to 10. TEN!! What is that about? So I'm counting to 3 and my kids have scrambled, but S-O Kid is still jumping on the couch and trying to body slam the cat. 
"Why Aren't You Running?" I ask.. "I usually wait til '8'...." 

How do you handle sleepovers from hell? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the weight of the world

I am not a small girl.

I was when I was a teenager but time, life and lifestyle have crept up and I am no longer what you might call slim. Or trim. Or Svelte,
or even average.

I have a sizable arse and I am curvy.

I know I have weight to lose, but I am also not obsessed by it. I will make it a priority when it is time to be a priority. I am not obese, or in danger, just comfortably plump.
Which is fine and dandy until....

Until I see ........x
Then my weight is very important ( but of course not in a bad way)
Then my weight is an issue (but only mentioned in nice sentences such as "gosh what have you been doing because you've lost weight...")
Except I haven't. I'm the same weight as I was last time we saw each other...

In my life time I have eaten and drunk to excess. I have also starved myself, binged, regretted, used stupid pharmacueticals, denied myself nutrition,  weighed myself, weighed myself weighed myself.....

I fully realise I am a good 20 kilos heavier than I was when I got married. I have also carried and delivered 4 babies and escorted them through childhood, done several rounds of IVF and wreaked havoc on my hormone balance.

I realise my clothes don't fit as well as they did, that I am not trim and terrific. I am aware that I am not a trophy wife.
But I am a good wife, a loyal and giving wife.

It has that many years for me to accept that at 5 ft, I am never going to look like a supermodel. It's taken many therapy sessions to accept that it's ok to be on the curvy side, and making myself crazy over kilojoule counting makes me a very unpleasant wife and mother.

It has taken even longer for me to realise that other peoples issues with my body weight is actually, their problem. That I am great, and people would be happy to be my friend. That my husband (also not svelte) has never ever measured my worth by my waist measurement.
My kids love me regardless
My husband loves me regardless

I'm not saying that I have an excuse for not taking care of myself, but there is a fine line between taking care and obsessing, and I don't walk that line well. I currently about walk an hour a day. We eat moderate meals but I don't measure kilojoules. I don't want my girls to buy into the "your weight is everything" bullshit mantra. I want them to appreciate good food, recognise and accept the difference between replete and FULL and to understand that food and weight are not the enemy. I want them to get to know themselves and like themselves without a focus on their waist line measurement. I want them to know that the number on the scales IN NO WAY defines your worth as a human being.

I am the same person on the inside at 70 kgs as at 50 kgs. I am just as worthy, special and interesting.
But right now I like myself.
And that is a huge achievement.

Atre you battling outside voices or are the voices in your head? How do you step away from others expectations and just 'be okay with yourself'?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not Wordless Wednesday - blossoming

I tried for Wordless Wednesday, I really did, but I am not a "keep your mouth shut" kinda girl.
I took a photo of my bowl of Coco-pops. Not very exciting. I photographed the dog, the cat, the sink, the chair.. nothing exciting. Nothing.

Then I peeked out the window to the beautiful little blossom tree out the front. It's very first spring in our garden, so pretty with perfect white angel blossoms dancing on it's tender branches.

It is generally accepted in our home that I am not allowed to talk to it. 
So I photographed it silently .. wordlessly.....

It's so lovely, and a real, actual, proper plant.

There is a reason I can't talk to it ..... 

 from the Button Bliss files -

I swear I can kill a cactus, a daisy, a geranium.

In the back of my garden there is one tall bushy plant. It sprung from nowhere and I gave it a wide berth, not wanting it to know I knew it was there. It is green and has lots of leaves, and has picked centre stage along the back wall, amongst tragic looking wilting violets.

I started to talk to the plant. Just a little comment here and there. 
"Hello, are you sure you're in the right place??" 
I have watered gently when I didn't think it was looking. I have shooed away the cat, who has lots of other places to dig!!

Imagine my excitement when a couple of weeks ago, a lovely head of flowers emerged at the top of the bush. There were five buds, tightly closed. What colour would they be? 
Sarah and I inspected our new pride and joy for bugs, grubs and other critters who might endanger it. The next morning, after the kids went to school, I wandered out to say hello. There were five beautiful purple flowers, open and happy on my plant. How green are my thumbs right now !! 


A friend came for a visit, her small children eager to play with Sarah. There we sat, in the early evening, my friend Jo and I, with a glass of wine. I positioned my friend so she had the best view of my gorgeous gardening phenomenon, and I enjoyed the silence that came as she observed and admired it's magnificence.
Then she said- "When are you going to pull that out?"
WWHHAATTT ??? Why would I pull out the only dear plant that has stuck by me?

"Ummm, Lisa, You do know it's a weed - don't you ??"


"Oh yeah, sure, well, yes I thought, well no actually, but, but, but it's pretty."

The conversation ended abruptly and we moved on to other topics, but I confess my gaze returned again and again to my poor little weed flowers.

I still thought they looked pretty and they certainly were the most loved weeds in Wangaratta.
I let the plant stay til the flowers finished (I didn't let them seed). I thought anything that has managed to live and flower in my backyard deserves to wave it's flowers proudly.

Hope all the flowers in your garden are happy and waving, even the dandelions!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My Name is Teddy and I love to garden.

 A Lot!

My mummy planted a beautiful vine yesterday. She found one with long tendrils to wind around the trunk of a tree. She was so happy. I knew then that gardening was fun!

This morning, very early, I thought I would have a little go at gardening.
I looked at mummy's vine, newly planted in the ground

I pulled a little bit, just to adjust the leaves.
Bits shook.
I like that!

I pulled really hard and poooffffr out it came.
I was so proud!

I think I should show Mummy... I will drag it down the backyard.

For some reason Mummy was not happy with me. Maybe it was because I tried to drag the root ball
through the doggy-door.

Mummy says I'm not allowed to garden anymore.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guilt v's Regret

My last post was a tiny glimpse of life 12 yrs ago in our home. Many have read it and sent messages, comments and love. I have appreciated every person who took the time to give me a cyber hug.  Because you accept that this snapshot is not the total sum of me, I feel safe enough to keep sharing.

A recurring theme in those messages was Guilt.

I shouldn't feel guilty, please don't feel bad, don't have regrets....

So I thought I would give you my little take on this.. it's okay if you disagree, it's okay if you comment and share your opinion (kindly). This is something I have battled with for years, tried to wrestle into something I can sleep next to (metaphorically).

There is a difference between feeling guilty and feeling regret.

Guilty means "I did this on purpose" . Guilty means "I chose this".

I do not feel guilty. I wanted this family and these babies very much and so badly wanted them to have happy, healthy childhoods and beyond. I would never have chosen for them to see their mother like this, to break their tender hearts like that. I didn't choose the anxiety, the uncertainty, the crippling fear, the nightmares, the long tear drenched days, the senseless arguments with The Man I Married.  I didn't choose it and I don't feel guilty for it.

But I have regrets. I wish it were different. I wish I had found help earlier. I wish I had insisted that all wasn't okay the first time I saw the Doctor who sent me away with a condescending smirk. I wish I was older and more aware of myself when I had my children. I wish I could once and for all settle the heart of my beautiful girl. I regret those things.
And that is okay.

The first glimmer of regret was the first glimmer of strength to make tomorrow different.
The first time I realised that doctor was a complete tool who didn't listen to me was the first time I realised that the Doctor isn't all-knowing God.
Those fights with The Man I Married will be forever why I love him. He stood by me through all my 'crazy'. He held on when I wanted to let go. He stepped up as Daddy and Mummy when I was too lost to be either.

I'm stronger than I've ever been, more balanced than I could have dreamt of. I have thought long and hard about what is important and what gets to stay in our world. 
Guilt does not get to stay.

Regrets.. well, to me, they are the seashells on the shoreline.. empty and no longer used, but a reminder of what came before.

Stock Photos: Murex Ramousus. Image: 43633
                                 Photographer Roim | Agency: 

If you are struggling, if you feel the same way as I did. If you know something isn't right and need a starting place , contact Beyond Blue , speak to your doctor or Child Clinic Nurse. Speak to your best friend, your Mother In Law, speak to me at -
Please speak to someone. I promise you that this can be different, better, easier. I will hold your hand xxx


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PPD and Depression - Glimpses of that place

A bit of a dark post .. if you are looking for a laugh this is not the post to read... xxx
Depression in general and Post Natal Depression in particular is a truly personal and individual condition. I have been asked what PND feels like and I can only give you a glimpse of my own experience. This is by no means a blanket description for all PND


Even now she asks for a hug. Even now I can see it on her face. She is still prepared for a knock back. Prepared for me to run, to hide, to be busy, to be distant.
All the hugs in the past 14 years have not healed that deeply ingrained uncertainty. She is not sure of me.

I cannot change the way it was. I will wish forever that it had been different.


Glimpses of that place:

I'm sitting on the kitchen bench cross legged so you can't touch me.
Little chubby fingers reaching up, huge eyes and an uncertain smile. You know I don't want you near me but you don't know why. You do a little dance and I watch. Inner thoughts urge me to smile. To encourage. To give you a glimmer of softness. But I can't. I cannot make my mouth curve. I can't look you in the eyes.
Your big brother is watching Play School and your baby sister is sleeping. You have me all to yourself and yet...
I'm hiding, head in my hands, whispering "Please go away. Please go away."
It's not your fault little girl.
None of this is your fault.
My heart is rock heavy and I am so deeply numb that I cannot feel anything for you. Nothing. A blank wall.
I know you deserve better.
You are such a good little girl. You try so hard to please me, to reach me. So perfect.
I am a terrible, shitty mother!  How can I be this way.
Looking at you reminds me of how crappy a job I am doing. Reminds me that I don't deserve you. That you don't deserve this. That you would be better off with another Mummy who doesn't feel this way.
And yet you still stand there, little arms raised up.
" I hug Mummy?" you ask.


She says she cannot remember how it was. But her heart remembers. I know it does.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I went out last night with some friends to a trivia night.
Man, some of those players take Trivia VERY seriously. (As In -> lining up your lucky troll toys along the table and using your lucky pencil <- kinda serious).
These are the kind of people who "whoop whoop" and high five each other with the announcement of every correct answer. These people can and do challenge the judge if they disagree with an answer. 
We were placed on a table with some of the above.
They were less than impressed with our enthusiasm at the appearance of the drinks waiter.
They did not appreciate our relaxed attitude towards the questions.

They really didn't appreciate our lack of sport knowledge.

They were quite horrified by our inability to name 20 songs by the opening bars.

Worst, worst, worst of all was our excitement at coming last and winning free cheesburgers and a sundae from McDonalds ..."Guys it's a free cheeseburger. Free! Cheeseburger! F.R.E.E"

I doubt we will be saved a spot on that table at next year's Trivia night.
That's OK, we'll be at the bar.

Are you a Trivia Night Guru... are you holding up the bar or kissing your Troll Toy between each round?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pink Pegs

Most days I pass as quite normal.
Most days I manage to keep my own aspie tendancies under control.
But then I get run-down. Sick or tired, or simply sick and tired.
Today I feel a bit crappy.
My eyes are gritty and swollen. Every sound seems to be echoing down a mine shaft to my ears. My throat is sore and my brain seems to have been replaced with very fine cotton wool.

On those days, maintaining normal is harder.
Those are "pink peg" days.

I hate hanging clothes on the line.
Not because of the effort or because its cold outside. Not because I'm sick of doing it or because there is a never ending pile of washing in need of hanging.
I hate hanging washing because it is nearly impossible to make it look neat and uniform.
I am quite happy to hang 20 cloth nappies (diapers).. -  5 to each line, evenly spaced little white flags in the breeze.
I will hang towels, although I dislike when they are different sizes and colours, but I absolutely hate-hate-hate the hotchpotch mix of clothes from large adult size down to small 8 yr old, mismatched socks, different school uniforms, girly pink alongside grunge green............
There is no order to the line. No system and no rhythm.
Even more frustrating, it is impossible to buy cloths pegs all the same colour ( unless they are wooden which is not good as they rot in the Victorian winter)

On days like today, to feel calm and bring some very small degree of order, I pick out all the pink pegs.

If I have to I can dedicate a quadrant of the line to a colour, pink pegs, white pegs, yellow pegs and purple pegs.

I cannot figure out where teen boy gets his Aspergers from .

Monday, August 13, 2012

And then they grow.......

My big boy went on his first Army cadet camp this weekend. (its actually called a bivowack bivawac bivowac Bivawac but clearly I can't spell that word so we are going to call it a camp).
He is a (very) late starter in Army cadets, but all he wants to do is join the Army and the Army don't see his potential yet, they see a young teenage boy with Aspergers who needs some life experience.
So he has joined the Cadets and plans to use the 20 months he can legally be in them as a spring board for the full time Regular Army,
( in answer to your questions -
                                                  *yes he still has Aspergers, it doesn't go away when they become adults                                        *yes I'm terrified about the Army but have you ever tried to steer an Asperger person away from their chosen topic of interest? Impossible
                                                 *Yes we could have let him apply for the Army and not mentioned Aspergers.. in hindsight that may have been a better plan, but we believe in being honest and proud of ALL he is, not just the "socially acceptable" bits )

So he went on camp on Friday evening, so handsome in all his army gear ........... squeeee...

Do you remember when your kid was a newborn and they gave you their very first real smile. Do you remember the ache of love that came with that moment, when you felt like your heart was squeezing itself inside out. Those feelings come thick and fast in the first few years as that tiny blob of newborn becomes a little person, toddling and talking and hugging and blowing kisses. The first few years are exciting with so much change and so many new experiences.

I know as my kids have got older I thought that most of those "heartsqueeze" moments were over.
And yet here I am again, looking at this ADULT who is so cute and ready for whatever happens and I can't believe he's mine.

He had a great time at camp, came home exhausted but happy, ready for the next one in a couple of weeks.

That's my boy


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

put simply

School assignment aspergers style

He is doing an unit on the current WorkSafe ads. He has chosen the ad with the young girl in the bakery.

The questions are simple.

Who is this ad aimed at?
His answer - "idiots with no common sense"
I re-read the question and tell him the teacher wants reference to gender and age group.
He re-writes his answer- " 18yrs  female idiots with no common sense"

Will this ad have an impact on your work practices?
His answer - "no because I'm not an idiot,  also I don't have a job in a bakery" 

How does this ad get your attention?
His answer- "screaming, blood and the thought of fingers in your bread"

Do you think television advertising is an effective way of reaching the target audience?
His answer - "yes because practically no-one listens to radio these days and you can't show blood on radio, plus if you go into a bakery to buy bread and heard that ad playing in the shop, you probably wouldn't want your bread anymore".

I explain that the teacher is expecting a bit more. He tells me that this is how he operates. Straight to the point. And what's the point in making up sentences to say the same thing three times in a paragraph.
I try to explain that the point would be the teachers have asked for at least 1 paragraph on each point.
He tells me he will place a space between them and 'voila' it's a paragraph albeit a short one.

I am tired.
He knows this.
He says "Don't worry mum, the teachers know how I work. If they want to know more they'll ask me" .

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Crickets chirping

I have written blog posts over and over, then deleted, I can't seem to get my thoughts out. I have lost the groove.
I was silent while I completed my studies and then... the silence has stretched on like a long summer twilight.. crickets chirping in the background. I know some readers are waiting for me to speak.. but everything I write seems trite or without purpose. 
There is life occurring in my world.
I go to work at a lovely little nursing home... but I can't talk about anything that happens there to the public.
I am in the midst of parenting 3 teens... but so often their stories aren't for sharing, at least not by me.
I am parenting my newly turned 8 yr old daughter, and she is lovely, and yet I am cautioned at every turn against putting details of her life on my blog in case the 'bad people' on the net find her.
I am 21 years deep into a growing relationship with The Man I Married and although I share the funny stuff, often it is a grunted "hey" as we pass in the hallway or an exchange of the essential information as I walk out the door to work, just as he's getting home. We are stuck in the cycle of "getting on with it" and time to gaze into each others eyes seems a very distant memory.
Friendships, precious friendships have come and some have gone, as I slowly gain trust in my own right to choose who I spend time with, and as I recognise that, with friends, there really are people who come into our lives sometimes for a reason, or a season, but not necessarily for a lifetime. I have also had to swallow the bitter pill of realising that for some others I was a season or reason friend and they have chosen to let me go. That's ok, but it hurts.

So where does that leave me.. well, hanging in freefall, not sure of where I will land.
I am not unhappy in life, but I aware I am at an intersection. Life is good but I need to make some clear choices in who I place my energy and loyalties with. I need to choose wisely and fearlessly.

I laugh alot, and I am ridiculously cheerful.... on the outside. I can make you laugh, people think I am strong and very opinionated, and sure of myself.
It's all a big fat act.
Inside I am that awkward girl in grade 8 who doesn't really fit in with any of the groups at school. Not pretty, not sporty, not wild.
Nope I am the girl with braces, who hangs on the fringe of the group, who goes to school sick to the stomach worrying that her friends will not be her friends today, that the geeky boy who said he wanted to "go with" her yesterday will have changed his mind and who doesn't want to do well in class because that will make her even more awkward ( did I mention being Dux in primary school -this is not the way to be popular.. must avoid appearing smart in high school classes- no-one likes the smart kid ). I'm the girl who goes along with the group no matter what they are doing, who skips class because the other girls are. Yes, I was caught smoking in the girls toilet.. not because I was smoking, but I was holding it for someone else.. who skipped out when they heard the teacher coming.
And here I am 22 years later, going to work wondering if my co-workers will be nice today, do they like me, am I too opinionated? I feel awkward at school functions... hell, I feel awkward in the school carpark. I'm too short, too dumpy, unfashionable and unstylish.I forget to wear makeup, I forget to change out of my home clothes. I don't wear my husbands earning capacity as a badge of honour. My kids are not perfect and I've never attended a Positive Parenting Class. I don't fit in.
I'm trying really hard to find me, to be me, but it seems old habits die hard.. I'm still just trying to be accepted by the group.
So I've said too much, written too much, do I hit delete?... no, not this time.
This is me.
I'm wondering if all the people out there who appear to have their act together are really just acting? Are you being honest or are you acting... maybe we can make our own group. I'd fit in to that. xxx

Monday, June 11, 2012

Crazy people

I've completed my first week of my final nursing clinical placement. All I am legally allowed to tell you is it is exciting and scary but I am consolidating my learned theory with practical hands-on experience.
(Translation - Hooley Dooley you guys, this is cool, and finally I am doing what all this learning has been leading to... Patients are great, teaching nurses are wonderful and I think I might have learned more in 5 days than I learned in 6 months in the classroom :-)
I also work weekends at a sweet little nursing home which is THE PLACE to go if you need to go into a nursing home. We have a house cat who is allowed to choose whose bed she'd like to snuggle on at night, the Head nurse brings her Labrador dog to work for all her shifts and every birthday is celebrated with cake and singing. 
This means I have worked 9 days straight and my kids are starting to wonder if I am imaginary.
Today is my only day off before I go back to work/placement for another 6 days, and OMG, I was looking forward to a sleep in.

Which didn't happen.

At 6am the phone rang asking if I could possibly work another shift today.
I said "No, I really need a day off. Just one day"
"No worries" was the reply, "so sorry to have woken you".
And I stumbled back to bed.
Here is the conversation I had with myself....

"It's ok to say "no", you aren't superwoman.. go back to sleep...
But it is a public holiday, who will they get in?  
They will get whoever they would have rung before I started working there. I hope they know it's the queens birthday celebration and Gwen will be queen. Her hair was washed and ready to be set for today. 
She needs more shampoo, I need to note that on my next shift on Saturday.... Saturday 
Saturday... Lani plays netball on Saturday, I wonder what time... I'll have to ask her. But if I'm at work, Jason will have to take her. He hates that. He'll have to take Sarah.
Sarah's tooth fell out last night.. oh bugger!! The tooth fairy! No, it's OK, Jason said he would do the tooth fairy thing on his way to bed. Bed
Bed. Yes, I'm in bed, stop thinking Lisa, stop thinking Lisa.. go back to sleep, please go back to sleep, stop thinking. ... 
Where's the dog? she's usually here. Oh, there she is on my feet.
The kitten isn't here though, I haven't noticed her during the night, I hope she wasn't accidentally left outside, she can't figure out the cat door yet. She'll be cold. We are crappy pet owners. She probably thinks so too. If she can think...
I wonder how cats think. If they think in sentences. Which would be pretty cool if we ever found, like if in 200 yrs we advance so much in technology that we can understand the language of animals and it turns out they are far better scientists than we could hope to be and cure cancer. That would be lovely. Although probably they just want to tell us they actually hate fish.
Maybe that's why the kitten won't eat that new cat food I bought. 8 tins of cat food the cat won't eat. Such a waste of grocery money. I could have bought milk with that. 
We need milk. I hope there's enough for my coffee. I wish the kids would tell me when we've run out of milk... how hard can it be ?
LISA , shut up and go to sleep. go back to sleep. You have one morning to sleep in and you're wasting it. Shh head shhh head... 
shhhhhhhh  shhhhh sounds like a seashell, shore, shell, shhhopping, shhuffllee, shhhhit I need to sleep. I need a sleeping pill.
ARRGGHH the pill,I forgot to take my pill, damn!! that means I'll get my period this week while on placement, great timing you idiot, why would you forget that?? Why!!  
All this thinking.
Lisa !
You need to stop. 
This is what crazy people do. Especially since it is a lucid conversation. 
If you just named one half of the conversation you'd be split personality, like in The Simpsons with good Bart and bad Bart sitting on Bart's shoulders. Except I'm not a Simpson. Because I'm not yellow. Unless I have jaundice. Which I totally don't. 
Except sometimes in a bad light or if I was wearing white.
I look crappy in white. That's why my wedding dress wasn't white. LOL.....LMAO.... yep, sure, that's why your dress wasn't white. Whose idea was the white wedding dress anyway??? It's not a great colour. Not many people can wear white without looking nauseous.
Maybe I should ring work back and tell them I'll come in. I feel bad I said no. I feel bad. But the kids have barely seen me. I need a day at home. I need to sleep. I need to start that final case study. I need to blog.
OMG my blog, how long since I blogged? I hope it's still there, I have nothing to say though. I'm so tired. And so awake. Awake and tired 
Tired and Awake. That could be a song. I should write a song. I could totally write a song. If I could rhyme, which I could if there wasn't so much else going on... but I won't write it down now, I'll just keep my song to myself for now, then WOW everyone one day with my talent.

At some point here I think I actually dozed off and dreamt about cardboard wine casks lined up at the Olympics for the sharp shooters to aim at. They were un-impressd. It made Australia seem bogan-ish. I tended to agree.

I got up at 7 am. It's so much easier to pretend you aren't crazy when you have a cup of coffee in your hand. Black coffee. because we had no milk. I need to go buy milk.....