Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Mallen Child

Mallen Streak: A decrease or absence of melanin in hair (poliosis), particularly in one area, giving rise to a "Mallen Streak".
Child: A person between birth and full growth; a boy or girl.
Mallen Child: A person between birth and full growth who, through their shenanigans, cause their caregiver to go prematurely grey.
I have this child. She's amazing. When people ask me what she's like, I say she's full on but a lot fun. A handful, but good value. Because she is.

She is feisty. Smart. Strong willed. Adventurous. A leader, and completely and utterly fearless.

Which translates to her being a skilled talker, which I can handle and find advantageous (except when she is arguing with me), and a climber with skills waaaaay above her years... which I cannot.

She is my Mallen Child. She is sending me grey with worry and stress. No seriously. I have a streak of grey hair - a Mallen Streak, on the left side of my head.

I *thought* I had a climber when Tricks was little. Ha. HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! How wrong I was. Because Bobbin has taught me what a true climber is.

She flies to the top of play equipment in seconds, and has done since she was about 18 months old. She sees a play house and within the blink of an eye, she's somehow on the roof of it. That window ledge? No problem, up she gets without anything to help her reach. She'll be sitting on a bookshelf if you stop paying attention. The middle trapeze on the swing set? Climbs up the edge and shimmies across. Then half the time she jumps down - from things two and three times her height. My heart is in my mouth the entire time, but if you try to help you're met with screams of "I do it myself!". So she does. And I get greyer and greyer.

Then the other day, when I thought I'd seen it all, I was schooled in what a Mallen Child really is.

I was on the toilet, no doubt luxuriating in the fact that neither child had followed me in, when Tricky called out to me.

"Mum, Bobbin did a wee on the car"

What? On the car? He must be mistaken. Not that she'd done a wee, because my previously 95% toilet trained toddler has decided that she no longer wants to be toilet trained and is back to weeing everywhere (but that's another story, and another Mallen Streak). Maybe he meant a toy car? A dinky car? A remote control car that would now be sodden and not working? My brain rattled off the scenarios as I made my way outside to where they'd been playing before I'd answered nature's call.

And there she was...


She'd stripped off, climbed on to the bonnet, done a wee, then climbed up the windscreen on to the roof of the car. Where she was pretending to be a puppy dog, wagging her knicker-less bottom around and woofing.

Kill me.

As I moved toward her, she'd move closer the edge. She was out of reach despite standing on tip toes with my hand outstretched to her the whole time. If I backed away, she'd settle in the middle of the roof, somewhat safer. The only thing to do was to talk her down. We were like a police negotiator and a tiny terrorist.

Not thinking anyone would believe me, I turned my phone on to record and shoved it in my top. It recorded me talking her down for two minutes. Not a long time... unless your butt naked child is on the roof of a car, in which case it might has well have been five fucking hours.

Send help.

Now a Mallen Child is not a bad thing. If I was trying to make this a bad thing I wouldn't have given it such a cool name. Mallen Streaks are kinda cool... think Rogue from X Men, Anna from Frozen, Lily from The Munsters, and Sweeney Todd from the Demon Barber of Fleet Street... OK maybe not the last one.

But on the whole, the Mallen Child is like the Mallen Streak: funky and a little badass in the best way possible. People dye chunks of their hair different colours to replicate the look, so it must be cool (says the woman who does this). My own real Mallen Streak wasn't discovered initially because I cover my false Mallen Streaks with whichever colour happens to float my boat that month. I was unknowingly covering the grey with pinks, purples and blues. It wasn't until the blonde started to grow out that this streak of silver was visible.

So I'm embracing my Mallen Streak, and I'm embracing my Mallen Child... because if I hold her tight enough, maybe she won't climb anything else and move on to being the Heart Attack Child.

Do you have a Mallen Child?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

8 things that broke these school holidays

It's the last few days of the school holidays here in the west and parents everywhere are rejoicing.

I'm normally a fan of the holidays and having my kids home. I get to pretend to be a teacher or a Playschool presenter (dream job!), or whatever, and get messy with glitter and all that fun shit. As a bonus the kids quite like it, too.

I say normally though, because these holidays have kicked my butt. A few weeks ago I was officially counting down until school began. Only two weeks! With a public holiday in the mix! You can do this, they can smell fear, just grab the paper plates and pipe cleaners, you can do it!

Things that were broken these school holidays:

  1. the LG tablet screen when the Trickster accidentally dropped it - though shattered is probably a better descriptor.
  2. a doll's bed - because Bobbin pretends she's a doll and uses it despite it being weight rated for a rag doll.
  3. a remote control car Christmas present - one bloody day after Christmas
  4. the sound barrier when my kids screamed at each other for 1000th that day - oh dear gawd, the screams! 
  5. the dog's bowl after being run over by Bobbin's scooter.
  6. Bobbin's scooter - the dog bowl incident had no survivors.
  7. my headphones as they were unceremoniously yanked from my phone by a small person who is not allowed to touch either phone or headphones.
  8. my spirit, my resolve, my faith in myself as a parent - see item 4 and others for details.

There were probably more things, but I've either erased them from my memory in order to protect my psyche and prevent me from rocking in the corner, or there was just so much fighting and screaming that my brain shut down and didn't register them in the first place.

Seriously, where did my gorgeous kids go? The picking, the fighting, the hitting, the body slamming!!! Where did they even learn that move?! One minute they'll be playing lovely together and the next they are at each others throats, trying for blood. Is it an age thing? I bloody hope so, because it's fucking exhausting refereeing tiny anarchists.

Yet now, a few days out, and I'm all sad panda because the holidays are almost over and I will miss Tricks so much when he isn't around! Contradiction much?

Do you love or loathe school holidays?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Easy DIY Rocket Packs

My gorgeous little nephew turned one yesterday. ONE! *Insert OMG how does time move so fast sentiments here*

On the weekend he's having his first birthday party and it's SPACE themed. If you know me at all, you'll know I love a themed party! So what could I do when my kids were invited to an out of this world shin dig? DIY Rocket Packs! BOOYAH!

A quick glympse at Pinterest (collating the best bits from a few different styles) and I knocked up these bad boys in an afternoon.

You'll need:

  • two empty soft drink bottles (thanks to that shape, everyone can tell ours are from Coke)
  • gaffa tape (ours was silver)
  • silver spray paint
  • red, orange and yellow felt
  • scissors
  • marker
  • hot glue gun

  1. Spray your empty, dry bottles with paint - I put mine on sticks and stuck them in the garden so I could spray the whole thing without touching it. Leave it to dry for as long as the instructions on the paint say... don't take it off early or you'll get silver all over you. ASK ME HOW I KNOW!
  2. While the paint is drying, figure out what shape you want your flames to be and draw a rough outline on the felt with a marker. Leave a tab at the end so that you can easily glue it to the bottom of the rocket later.
  3. Cut out the first shape and use it as a template for the next. Keep going until you have the three layers (or two, up to you!).
  4. Using a hot glue gun (and not burning off your fingerprints like I did), glue the layers of flame together. I went right to the tip of each flame because I know my kids would pick them apart if they were loose.
  5. When your bottles are dry, tape them together using your gaffa tape. If you can't find silver tape, do this step before you spray them so that you don't have to do it all again.
  6. When everything is dry, place more hot glue on the tab and push it in to the neck of the bottle, pressing down firmly until the glue sets. 
  7. To create straps, pull out two lengths of gaffa tape and fold each in half length ways so that they are now silver strips, and thread them through the gap where you secured the bottles together. If it doesn't fit through, add another piece of tape. To secure them on to the kids you can either tie the strips together in a knot, or use a small piece of tape to fasten them all together, much like a four point harness. This worked best for my robust lot. 

It's that easy! And you can sing the Mr Maker theme song the whole time like I did, if you want!

If you can't be bothered with all the felt and burning of fingers, then you could easily substitute crepe paper, or even draw a flame on cardboard and let your kids colour it in.

My two zoomed around the yard and went for giant space walks (on the trampoline) for about an hour before I pulled the plug and said they had to keep them in one piece so we could wear them to the party! At which point they cried and I yelled, and it was bath time and OMG don't be so ungrateful I just made you a kickass jet pack. Kids, hey? 

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Recovered Aquaphobe

Tricky vs Water has been an ongoing saga around these parts, and if you've been around for a while you'd know he had a full blown phobia of water on his face or head - it's not that he just didn't like it, he was terrified. But I'm ecstatic to say he has now overcome it. Insert jazz hands, pom poms, confetti and a lazer light show here.

I have had a heap of people ask what we did to help him through, so I thought I'd share our successes (and many failures) with you here. All kids are different, which is really freakin' frustrating when you're looking for answers because dammit sometimes an easy solution would be awesome. But this is what we tried and the end results, seen in the video below (a #mumbrag video if ever there was!!), mean we couldn't be more proud of our guy. 

Hair Washing 

THEN: Hair washing was a nightmare for everyone involved. Going on hours of research (i.e. the articles popping up all over the web about "I stopped washing my hair three years ago and it's never been healthier"), I figured that skipping hair washing wouldn't be such a bad thing for a while. It's not like he was playing in mud every day.

Hair and Face Wash fails:
  • Asking him to lean his head back - as soon as the water would touch him, he'd instinctively coil inward making the water go straight over his face and eyes resulting in a meltdown
  • Letting him do it himself - big fat nope. He'd quite happily lather the shampoo but rinsing it out himself was not happening.
  • Letting him choose a special shampoo - made no difference at all! 
  • Using every single contraption made for "tearless" hairwashing. Nope, nope, nope. The the fancy hats, the rings, you name it. Tried it. Didn't work for him. 
  • Yelling. Yeah, not proud of myself, but I'll admit that I did it in a moment (or two or three or four...) of pure frustration. Surprise, surprise, this didn't work.
Hair and Face Wash wins:
  • Playfully splashing or tipping water on the back of his head no where near his face. 
  • Using a progressively wetter wash cloth to wash his face - we started out as a bit of a "spit and polish" family and over time progressed to damp cloths then wet cloths as he could tolerate it. 
  • Covering his eyes with a wash cloth himself - holding it himself gave him a feeling of control that he was desperate for. I would still need to be really careful with where I was pouring water, but his fear diminished massively. 
  • Laying on the laundry bench and hanging his head in to the sink - it hurt his neck a little, but he would keep his head completely back in the position 
  • Laying in a very shallow bath, his head resting on an old two litre bottle as a cushion - like the laundry sink, he'd leave his head right back and the water wouldn't touch his face
  • Letting him wash my hair
  • Reward chart - this was only brought in at the very end when he was already comfortable with getting his hair washed but still needed a little encouragement to let me do it daily after swimming lessons when he was stinking of chlorine! It would not have worked earlier because no amount of stickers can calm a phobia. Not even holographic dinosaur ones. 
NOW: We can wash Tricky's face and hair without any issues. He still doesn't like water in his eyes (does anyone?), but now that he isn't scared, he will calmly hold his head back until everything is finished. If any drips down his face he'll brush away or ask for a cloth if there is a lot. Champion.


THEN: Tricks would happily paddle in a wading pool without dramas, and run along the shoreline in a sheltered cove, but getting wet above waist level happened for the FIRST time ever in January last year! We were so proud. 

Swim Wins:
  • GOGGLES - I went straight to a "good" brand of goggles rather than buying something cheap that would let water in. I wanted these babies to be water tight or he'd never trust another pair. I went with Zoggs and so far, so good. 
  • Floaties - we got a proper floatie for his back but just some cheapie ones for his arms, and he liked the security of them, even if he was only in waist deep water.
  • No splashing - this meant we could only swim when there weren't very many people around
  • Small swimming lesson group with friends - I gave Tricky the choice of participating in his school swimming lessons or not, and he chose to do it. Peer pressure, not wanting to be left out? I'm not sure, but it helped him enormously to have people he knew around. His first swimming lesson had me in tears I was so happy to see him trying so hard. 
  • PRAISE - we let Tricks know at every opportunity that he was doing a good job, and that all we wanted was for him to try but he could stop at any time. This meant that sometimes he was being lavished with praise for going in waist deep - because for him, it was a mammoth achievement so we treated it as such. He needed lots of encouragement and thrived on turning around to see a thumbs up or a wave from me sitting by the pool. 
  • Acknowledging his fear - letting Tricky share his feelings without fear of ridicule was really important to us and I think it definitely helped. He knew he was not going to get in trouble and we made sure we never said he was being silly/naughty/misbehaving when he was too terrified to get in the water. 
Swim Fails:
  • Assuming that because he swum so confidently three weeks ago, that he'd be right back in to it at the same level (he needs a little warm up after a few weeks off)
  • Big groups of people he doesn't know well 
  • Slides with water sprays
  • Forgetting goggles - ASK ME HOW I KNOW!
NOW: This dude just amazes me. He put his face in the water for the first time in November last year and now he appears to have grown gills and is diving under the water at every opportunity and bloody loving it. He is still cautious, which definitely isn't a bad thing, and even mentioned to his swim instructor that he was scared when they were simulating falling in a pool so they could get to the edge, but he's come so far in two months... just look:

Building his confidence around water has been so important to us, not just because washing the hair of a terrified child is exhausting, but his for his enjoyment and for his safety in such a water mad country. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Conversations with my Personal Trainer

When I joined the gym six months ago (whaaat? it's been six months?) I picked a deal that got me three Personal Training sessions. I was pumped. I was ready. I was scared shitless, but I was gonna do this. I was all Lletyon Hewitt backward salute C'MOOOOONNNNNN.

I had ONE session and then my trainer went on holiday, then never answered his phone. No worries, I'll ask at the counter... four times over the following four months and all I got was a "Yep, we'll look in to that" but nothing ever happened. Were they re-asking the same guy? Did they approach another trainer? I have no clue. But I still didn't know how to use any of the machiney things without killing myself because I hadn't had that session yet.

On January 1st I was in such a bad mood I was all "I MUST GO TO THE GYM NOW BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE" and I did a pump class. I sucked at it, but I did it. On the way out I stopped by the desk to ask again for my training sessions and introduction - and one of my most favourite people in the world and one of the reasons I joined that gym, was working reception. I opened my mouth to ask her if she could look in to it... and I started bawling my eyes out.

A bit of the ol' "talk to you later" excuses and apologies and I made a hasty exit.

Before I even stepped foot inside my house, she'd messaged MapGuy checking if I was OK. He let her know I was just having one of those whole shitty at the world days (months) and that I was a bit pissed I still hadn't had my training sessions.

Nekminnit... Hello, new trainer calling me up for an appointment. I guess it is all down to who you know. But it totally shouldn't be, I've bloody paid for this introduction, it shouldn't take me having a little breakdown at reception in front of a mate to get shit done.

Anywho, I've had two sessions now and I'm booking in for more. The whole #GlowGetsFit is still happening... s l o w l y. V e r y   s l o w l y. So slow, that I'm fatter and less fit now that when I started, but hey, it's all about trying again and not eating so many Freddo Frogs, right?

Here's some of the shit that gets said both out loud and in my head during the 45 minutes we spend together... it's making me realise it was probably why the first trainer never called me back.

PT: Can you circle the areas you'd like to improve?
Me: *circles the whole body*
PT: Right *stares at me*
Me: I'm not making this easy, am I?

PT: What goal would you like to achieve from Personal Training?
Me: Um, to like, be fit and stuff? To be able to open jars without help, maybe?
PT: So do you want to gain muscle? Or lose weight? Or increase your stamina? What?
Me: Yes.
PT: I gave you three options.
Me: Yes.

PT: Do you have any injuries that I need to know about before we start?
Me: How long do we have? Chronic pain disorder, lax ligaments, oh yeah, and this one time I BROKE MY BACK.

Me: Does PT stand for Pain Time?
PT: No, five more.

Me: Does it stand for Pectoral Tension?
PT: Really? Four more, don't stop.

Me: Does running errands count as cardio?
PT: No, keep going.
Me: What about running after my kids?
PT: *eye roll*

Me: Is it meant to hurt this much?
PT: You've had kids, that hurts more doesn't it?
Me: Technically, but at the end of that pain I got a baby, at the end of this I just get sweaty and smelly.

PT: I like your Ninja Turtles shirt, that's cool.
Me: Thanks! I wear it to keep up the guise of "cool mum".
PT: *raises eyebrow*

Me: OK, close to puking.
PT: Please don't puke, I don't want to have to clean it up.
Me: Gotcha. Stopping before puking.

Me: Does it have to be arm day? I couldn't pick up my burger after last weeks session... oh, wait, now I see the point of arm day.
PT: You don't stop talking, do you?
Me: I talk shit when I'm nervous.
PT:  I noticed. Six more. 

PT: You OK? 
Me: My head is pounding and it's getting dark in here
PT: Yeah, time to stop. Best to pull back before you pass out.

Me: See you next week?
PT: Yep, good work today.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...