Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Calling all Bright Young Things!

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Every so often in the Blogosphere, you get approached to do something and before you've finished reading the pitch you are jumping up and down, going all jazz hands all over the shop. This is one of those times!

Tricky, has been asked by 720 ABC to review the 2014 Awesome International Arts Festival for Bright Young Things! But it gets better, because I have this extra ticket here for YOUR kid to be a Bright Young Reviewer live on air, too! Kids and live radio? Yeah, we're totally gonna go there and just cross our fingers (arms, legs, eyes, whatever else is available) that none of them decide to swear. The Trickster is totally excited and his first question was "Do you think I'll get to hold the microphone?".

The Festival:
The Awesome Festival has been running since 2007 and, as the name suggests, is pretty damn awesome. It delivers a showcase of amazing and exciting contemporary art from around the world with both free and ticketed theatre, dance, music, sculpture, installation and new media.

This year's line up is brilliant and some of the events I'm really looking forward to are the Silent Disco Walking Tour (headphones, disco hits that no one else can hear and dancing - YES PLEASE!), the Imagination Playground (for ages 0-5 where they can build with massive blocks), heaps of different Robot activities and the Nursery so Bobbin can get in on the art fun, too.

Awesome aims to be super inclusive, so on top of specific programs for children with disabilities or disadvantages and their siblings, one of the things that is new this year is a navigational tool for parents with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. It will assist parents to make positive decisions for their child by outlining the themes in the shows, access to venues, potential triggers and such.

Do you have a Bright Young Thing aged 4-12? Think they'd like a sneak peek at the Awesome Festival and the opportunity to review it on 720 ABC?

We'll be reviewing Story Book (adventure art!!!), Galloping Tales (art using X-Box Kinect), Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones (shadow theatre) and Laser Beak Man (by internationally renowned artist Tim Sharp who has ASD and whose mother was told he'd never talk, go to school or be capable of love and should just be put in an institution and forgotten about!).

L-R: Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones; Story Book; Beak Man
All they need to do is review something to show me they have what it takes! They could review their dinner, a toy, a movie, a trip to the zoo, whatever they feel like and they can submit it as a drawing, painting, collage etc with a sentence or two (scribed by you if they're little) or even a short video via Instagram (FYI: I'm partial to interpretive dance). They can enter as many times as you like.

You can submit their entry before Wednesday, 24th September by:
  • Posting a picture of it on the Where's My Glow Facebook page
  • Emailing it to me glowless @ wheresmyglow.com subject: AWESOME ENTRY
  • Posting it to Instagram and tagging me @glowless (for videos too!)

I would love it so much if you would share this competition around because I truly believe it is a awesome opportunity for your Bright Young Thing.

By entering, you agree to the terms and conditions. You and your Bright Young Reviewer must be available on Saturday, 4th October between 9.45am and 2.00pm at the Perth Cultural Centre and Tuesday, 7th October for the 720 ABC live broadcast from the Perth Cultural Centre between 1pm and 3pm. This is a game of skill, winner will be chosen on merit. Winner must be between 4-12 years old and be accompanied by a parent, no correspondence will be entered in to. Entries may be reposted on Facebook or the blog. Prize is not transferable without prior written consent and cannot be taken as cash.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Finlee & Me & You

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This post was meant to go live forever ago. So instead of saying I've tried these products for a while, I can honestly say I have tried them FOR AGES and love them. Turns out there is actually an up side to being so forgetful.

We've been putting some funky baby and kids products from hip online baby shop Finlee & Me through the ringer here at Casa de Glow lately (for the last billion months - sorry Angela!). The lovely (and amazingly patient) Angela, aka the "Me" in Finlee & Me sent Tricky and Bobbin some awesome presents:

Monkey Mat

I know what you're thinking. How is this different to a normal picnic rug? Why should I spend almost $40 on a blanket? Well it's a decent size at 5'x5' (152cm x 152cm) so everyone can fit on nicely, it's water repellant and machine washable, but my favourite things about it are:
  • Weighted corners so your windy day picnic doesn't end up with you strategically placing the salad bowl on one corner, the esky on another, and cramping your space. But if it is insanely windy there are loops you can stake it to the ground through
  • It has centre loops, too, but these ones are to keep baby toys ON the mat so they don't go walk about and end up in the Kangaroo poo (which has magnetic properties to babies and their toys)
  • It all squishes down in to a cute little zip up pouch (attached so you don't lose it!) that has been clipped on to my pram since the day we got it!
Because I have it on the pram at all times, we have used it as a picnic blanket, a park rug, a table cloth (when the picnic tables were covered in bird poo), a shade for Bobbin's pram, a travel change mat and probably more things that I've already forgotten about.

You can do the monkey with the Monkey Mat at Finlee & Me in blue, orange, khaki and pink for $39.95.

Little Num Nums Natural Teether

Teething is the bane of my existence right now. Bobbin has just cut her seventh tooth and wants to gnaw on something constantly to relieve the discomfort - her dummy, her fingers, my nipple (OH DEAR GOD!), pretty much anything she can get her mitts on. I have attached this all natural teething heart to her pram, my carrier and her car seat at different times and she happily sucks and chews on it for ages. It's obvious she loves it, but this is what I love about it:
  • Dishwasher safe. Booyah. Best two words in the world
  • They are BPA, Phthalate, Lead and PVC Free. I can't pronounce some of those, but I know they're bad mmkay
  • Each comes with a box and a pram strap to stop it getting festy in the bottom of your nappy bag or lost somewhere between the bakery and the car park
  • It is not my nipple - I cannot stress the importance of this enough right now
You can wrap your chompers around the All Natural Teether at Finlee & Me in heart, car, owl and rocket shapes in multiple colours for $21.95 (I think the heart and the car are the easiest ones for babies to hold).

Portable Travel High Chair

I am a huge believer that kids should eat with adults at the family table. I'm also a huge believer in going out to eat, letting someone else cook and having someone else do the dishes! Huzzah! Now I'm no germ-o-phobe, I let my kids play in dirt and if they eat food off the floor at home I kinda just roll my eyes because I know it is pretty clean since I spend so much time with a mop in my hand. But restaurant highchairs are feral. Ever wiped one down with a wet wipe and it's come up almost black and still left bits of food spot welded to the tray? Yeah, me too. And it sits there next to the impeccably clean tables... so put your kid at the table, I say. The best bits about this highchair are:
  • It is super small when scrunched in to it's carry case - the size of a MCN or two disposable nappies
  • Uses a five point harness and hardcore stitching so it's very safe
  • Adjustable to fit many chair shapes and sizes - it even has space for fancy chair backs to go through at the top
This lives permanently in the boot of our car now and has been pulled out when there has been festy or broken highchairs, no highchairs, at friends houses and even at home when we have had other babies visiting.

You can purchase the ultimate Portable Travel High Chair at Finlee & Me in a range of funky colours and designs for $44.95. Bobbin is modeling the Coco Snow design.

Kinetic Sand

This stuff is the shiz. For a person who passionately (and quite vocally) hates the amount of sand that is tracked through her house, it is surprising that I would be singing the praises of sand as an INSIDE TOY. But if you ever play with this stuff, you'll know why. It is just amazing. Everyone who has had a play with this at our place has been memorized by it's texture and properties, even Tricky, who doesn't like sand on his hands usually. But he will quite happily play with it quietly for ages, which is great for his fine motor skills, his creativity and my ability to drink a hot cup of tea and sit down for a breather. The best bits about Kinetic Sand are:
  • It's sticks to itself not to you! You won't be sweeping it up for days
  • Won't dry out so you can use it over and over again
  • Great for sensory play
  • Anti-microbial and non toxic
  • The coolest texture ever. It's almost like magical solid liquid hybrid without the goo
I find it really therapeutic to play with this stuff, balling it up and then cutting it (yes, you can cut it!), then squishing it so it spills out of my hands. I have actually used it as a mindfulness activity - it's like a creative stress ball for me. My Aunty loves it so much that for her birthday my mum went online and bought her some... she's in her 50s! So definitely for all ages.

You can get your hands (cleanly) on Kinetic Sand at Finlee & Me from $19.95

My other fave things about the store are:
So check them out on Facebook and go buy "lovely stuff for kids". Tell Angela that Glow sent you (no seriously, after waiting months, the poor thing could do with a hello).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ending therapy. Alternatively titled: Can I do this without professional help?

Over the years I have had many different therapists who have each approached me in different ways, using various and sometimes contradictory methods.

One thing that has always been the same though, no matter who I was seeing at the time, is that on leaving a session, I've always felt worse. Without fail. Because talking about shitty things sucks big hairy balls sometimes. I would always be left with a sense that I was a complete basket case (which may be true, but let’s not rub that in) who would never ever not need help. Until I met this latest guy; let's call him Brad, because that's his name.

I've only worked with Brad for about nine months after the original therapist I was seeing through the maternity hospital reached the end of her contract. I hate changing therapists. The whole rehashing of why you’re so fucked up is painful. Old wounds that were just starting to scab over are picked at. Fresh blood drops breaking the surface, and I’m right back there when it all happened. But other than the first session, where we were both getting to know how each other operated, I’ve always left feeling OK. Not necessarily like I could take on the world, but that everything would be alright. Even after sessions that were heavy. For the first time ever I found a sense of hope.

We worked on all number of issues, but no matter what, I felt I could be myself. Which might sound stupid because, duh, aren’t you always meant to be yourself with your therapist? See, you are, but I, err, haven’t always been. Because HELPFUL. I know, I know, I’m an idiot. Previously I’ve lied to avoid the conversations I didn’t feel ready to have. Very helpful, Glow, very helpful.

Working through my all-encompassing guilt and shame after forgetting Bobbin, I was more truthful than I thought I could be, and I didn’t feel judged. I know that’s his job, but I’ve seen so many therapists that just aren’t good at it, so to have a good one at a time when I really needed it was great.

My sessions at the hospital were to last up until one year post-partum… with Bobbin turning one last month I knew our time was going to be up sooner rather than later. They don’t toss you out on the kerb if you’re in need of care, but because my sessions were maintenance and skill building for the most part rather than crisis management, it would be time to say goodbye.

Our final session was bittersweet. We decided it would be ending now, and I was happy with that, feeling that I had been part of the decision making process, that this was the right time for it to conclude. But then I started to cry just a little.

It was an uneasy feeling and I wasn’t entirely sure why I was crying. Was it because my safety net would be gone? Or that I’d miss the “debrief” that therapy allows? Would I miss Brad and this lopsided relationship we had going on where I knew nothing about him and he knew so much about how screwed up I feel sometimes yet never made me feel like a freak? The answer is probably a combination of all of that and then some.

We joked I was now sane and that he should really invest in a stamp ala The Simpsons so I could prove it to my friends. We summed up the three most important people in my life, my rocks, my happy place; I laughed that the things that make Bobbin (who came to the majority of sessions) full on now, are the exact things I love about her because they'll make her an awesome woman; marveled at Tricky's massive increase in confidence in the last six months; and swooned over MapGuy, who we always called Mr Perfect in our fortnightly meetings.

The session was much shorter than usual, or at least it felt that way. He said he’d enjoyed our time together, that he’d see my name on his calendar and smile, and I believed him. Because we always had great conversations (combined with a somewhat similar sense of humour) that would seem to go in all sorts of directions but always with an underlying theme of “Glow isn’t as crazy as she thinks she is” with a side of “Glow needs to chill out a bit”. I shook his hand and thanked him most ineloquently for everything he had done for me. The words didn’t seem enough, so, announcing it was probably breaking some rule, I gave him the quickest of hugs and walked out without looking back. Because if I’d look back I’d probably start proper, ugly crying. How do you adequately thank someone for returning a sense of hope to your life?

I don’t think I’ll be getting a new therapist any time soon, instead I'll fly solo for a while. The idea of rehashing my past isn’t attractive, and I feel like I’m in a good place right now, and if those introductory sessions aren’t handled well, it can cause a spiral down with the “I’m more fucked up than I thought, I’m going to be insane forever” thing. But don't panic, I'm still medicated for your convenience.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Letter to Bobbin - twelve months old

Dear Bobbin,

Happy birthday, you gorgeous thing, you! I cannot believe you are one year old already, where did the time go? It seems like it was only a few months ago that you came in to this world in the most gentle way.

In the last month you have gained so much confidence with walking that you don't crawl at all any more. You're picking up more and more speed every day; I blink and you're across the room trying to get something you shouldn't have. You are also very much in to climbing absolutely bloody everything you can get a knee on, leading to many heart attacks as we look up and you've pushed out the highchair and used it to climb on to the table (searching for the fruit bowl).

Strangers have been stopping us a bit lately to comment on two things: your adorable pigtails (mama is a little obsessed with them because CUTE!) and your walking... because you are only a petite little thing, the size of the average eight month old, it looks like you are way too young to be doing it.

You continue to be a feisty little firecracker. You like things done your way and are very quick to let us know when you don't like what is happening. You fling yourself to the floor, kick your legs, and scream. If you're chucking tantrums before you turn one, I'm a little worried about what the future holds. Part of the issue is that you are fiercely independent - a characteristic I love about you, but it does make it a bit hard sometimes because you will scream if someone tries to help you move a stuck toy, pick up your water bottle, anything really. Drama Queen!

You have so many words now; mum, dad, Tricky, duck, hello, yum, bye bye, no, baby, Nanna, star, woof, vroom, ta and more. You sign for milk and food because yay, you're eating now!

We were starting to get concerned that you weren't very interested in food. The doctor gave you a medicine for a minor problem with your gut it and it was amazing how all of a sudden you started eating more and more. The doctor thinks you'll grow out of the gut thing and you might even start putting on weight - though maybe you're just a little thing like your Albany Nanna and Aunty Kitty.

Some of the cute things that you do that I want to remember (cute to us, they're probably boring to other people) because they make us melt are going and laying on your pillow pet when we say it's bed time, going over to the tomato plants and pointing when we ask you where they are (you love cherry tomatoes - you suck all the goo out and then pull the skin from your mouth and throw it on the floor!), turning on Tricky's CD player so you can dance, blowing kisses, walking around the house calling out for Tricky, sitting on the back doorstep (why do you love it there so much?), go on the dogs bed and in his kennel (you love Sprocket), shaking your head and saying noooo (won't be cute for long, I'm sure) and doing gigantic nods yes - seriously, your whole upper body is involved.

One interesting little thing you do is twist your dummy around so that the fabric of the clip wraps around the teat before you put it in your mouth. The fabric is partly inside your mouth and partly on your cheek. It's an unusual little comfort routine you do most times you take the dummy. People will unwind it for you, thinking it has got caught up, but you just take it out and re-wrap it again.

Next weekend we'll have a rainbow birthday party for you. You won't remember it, but I'm hoping it will be great for the people who can remember it. You'll have your first taste of cake, icing and chocolate - well, if your cake works out.

It's been an amazing year and I've enjoyed watching you grow so much. Whenever I've felt down or anxious, I've just put everything aside and concentrated on you, your brother and your Dad. You three are my happy place. Sitting down and watching you stack blocks, bang on drums and lift every flap in every lift-the-flap book we own is better than any drug. Granted it means I don't get much work done, but you're totally worth it.

Enjoy ripping paper off presents and getting even more cuddles today than normal, my girl.

Love Mama xxx

Friday, August 22, 2014

OMG you've put on so much weight... what happened?

"Oh my god, Glow, you've put on so much weight... what happened? Oh, you probably don't want to hear that... but what happened?"

These were the EXACT words that greeted me a few weeks back when Bobbin and I shuffled off to a morning of stopping my child putting crap in her mouth at playgroup.

I'd like to say that I immediately had some witty retort but instead I just mumbled something about life being hectic and "oh Bobbin is getting too close to the heater, excuse me". She was half a room away, but it was the best exit strategy I had available, and one that I will continue to use, I'm sure.

I avoided the woman who said it for the rest of play time and even left early because AWKWARD.

When the only pants that fit you have an elastic waistband and your muffin top is now a whole fucking bakery top, it's a bit obvious you've put on weight. But I was absolutely gobsmacked that it was said (before she even said hello), and since it was only a day after the whole baby in the car incident, my already fractured confidence was further shattered. It's not like I didn't know it had happened, but kick me while I'm down, whydontcha?

I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that it's just not polite to mention that someone you haven't seen for a while is now a fatty boombah. Because a) RUDE, b) what business is it of anyones? and c) REALLY FUCKING RUDE.

I asked the followers of my Facebook page what I should do when I was going back to playgroup...

"Oh my god, you've become such a bitch! What happened?" was quite popular, as was ignoring her. I was so anxious and I played different scenarios over and over in my head all morning and even considered just never returning. But I rocked up with Exit Strategy, err, I mean Bobbin, ready to see what happened and maybe, just maybe, be an adult.

Breathe. You'll be fine.

She waved hello, with a warm, genuine smile.

I gave her a close lipped, raised eyebrow smile. You know the one. The one that says either "oh, we're friends, are we?" or "I think I have something in my teeth". I'm not super proud of myself but I was panicking a little.

After a while she made a beeline for me, and asked if I was OK because I seemed anxious.

Aw geez, don't be nice! I'm trying to be indignant and maintain a sense of superiority. That just won't work if you're not a cold bitch.

I brushed her off (I'm really not good at the whole conflict thing) and a few minutes later she came over again, expressing concern that I was so stressed that she could see it from across the room. Here I was thinking I was acting cool and aloof when in actual fact I was showing signs of being seriously unhinged.

Oh great, you're fucking lovely and concerned. How am I meant to be cranky at you now?!

So I did it. I acted like an adult.

I told her calmly and carefully why I was the Queen of Awkward. I let her know what she had said, and that it had hurt my feelings that she would rather point out my weight than talk about ANYTHING else. As soon as I said "hurt my feelings" I was kicking myself. I felt like I was seven. I had rehearsed this and used a thesaurus full of words because that totally makes me feel smarter. Insulted. Annoyed. Offended. Affronted. Antagonized. But no. Hurt fucking feelings.

She was absolutely mortified and so genuinely apologetic. She thanked me for being honest with her and you could have blown me down with a feather, you know, if I wasn't so fat. She had wanted to start a conversation on her own weight gain and that is how it popped in to her head to start it. I hadn't noticed her weight gain (which is probably indicative of my observational skills rather than any "I see inner beauty only" bullshit), but she explained to me she'd been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and promptly diagnosed me with one too.

I diagnose myself with cake. And zero self control. And poor time management. And chocolate. And binge eating.

I'm disappointed in myself for eating my feelings (and oh boy, they are delicious) and not dealing with my problems. I'm annoyed that I was so healthy this time last year - a great weight, a great BMI and a great place mentally. I lost all my baby weight then put it all back on, one Nutella croissant at a time, and at the same time went a little crazy.

I'm slowly coming back from the crazy by focusing solely on my family (and thus neglecting the blog and what feels like a billion emails), taking medication and I've even started exercising. It'll figure itself out soon. Well, it better. Otherwise I'm going to need to buy new clothes. But hey, at least I don't go around pointing out if people have gotten fat.

How would you deal with this situation?


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