Friday, December 31, 2010

Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality (My review)

In the last year or so, I have become increasingly interested by the 'study' of pornography and the effect is has on those who use it. I think it began when I joined a facebook group called "Stop adult magazines being sold at convenience stores". This lead to me doing my own research on the subject and becoming incredibly disheartened with what I learned.

I heard about a documentary about porn, entitled The Price of Pleasure. I was interested to see it but I learned it included clips of hardcore pornography (surprisingly enough!) so I decided I didn't want to watch it. Instead I was pointed towards a book by Gail Dines, called Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality. Gail Dines has studied pornography for several decades, and also founded

So, for starters, it took me awhile to track down the book, and I every time I was in a bookstore and asked if they had it, I got strange looks. ("We're not that kind of bookstore!"Haha.) I found it online and started reading it. It was absolutely fascinating to me, but at time very confronting and uncomfortable.

Gail Dines recounts the history of pornography in our culture, starting with pornographic magazines like Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler, and shows how they have lead into the mainstreaming of porn today. She provides information about the billion dollar porn industry, and the economics behind it. She also dedicates certain chapters to racism in pornography, and to child pornography.

The majority of the book is about 'gonzo' porn. Gonzo porn is a particular genre of porn that is based on violent, humiliating, body punishing acts done by men to women. The very intention is to cause the woman as much pain as possible, to dehumanize and degrade her as much as possible- all while remembering that she loves and enjoys it. Apparently. I won't go into any more detail about this other than to say it could be quite upsetting.

Gonzo porn is becoming very prevalent, and according to Gail Dines, if you googled "porn", you will get a lot of this. Perhaps you see how this could potentially be a problem as even primary school aged boys are exposed to these kind of acts online as their first experience of what sex is, with nothing to compare it to. And statistics say 92% of children 8-16 has come across porn online, accidentally or not.

Another large segment of the book was devoted to how porn has become normalised and a part of our lives without us realizing. Fashions are inspired by porn and pornographic brands are on everything from bed sheets to pencil cases.

Gail Dines has done a fantastic job and this book is very informative as well as logical. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, and especially anyone who thinks porn is harmless.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who wears the pants?

So awhile back I was blogging about a book I have been reading, called The Depression Cure, which is about adopting a lifestyle that is conducive to health and well-being, through diet, activity etc. The author compares modern day living, in the age of sedentary lifestyles, convenience and instant gratification with the very different way of life of hunter gatherers from the past.

Despite having easier, more luxurious lives nowadays in some ways (at least physically), many people are struggling with depression. Before though, despite having physically demanding lives involving finding water, hunting for food and doing what is necessary to survive, depression was very rare, if not completely unheard of. Based on the authors' studies, this is still true today with the Amish, and other hunter-gatherer tribes who still live a simpler lifestyle.

Anyway, so getting back to the point, which isn't actually about depression today. This just got me thinking.

I was thinking about how in some ways, although there are medical, technological and other excellent advancements, humans were designed to live a different lifestyle to the one that many of us do. Compare being outside, getting some sunshine and searching and hunting for food to sitting in an office ALL DAY, and not going outside. Or else being with your family and friends always, as compared to lonely people, all isolated inside their houses, disconnected in reality but trying to socialise via facebook. (I bet there are plenty of Mums out there who know what I'm saying, righhht?) What I am saying is what you have most likely already come to- that in a lot of ways, the way we live life now is kind of backwards. We are inactive, isolated, eat an excess of junk food that is of no real use to us, and let's not get started on preservatives and additives and the way our food is grown...seeing as how it's a big subject on which my knowledge is very limited! Feel free to share though.

So this was my thinking: We were designed to live in a certain way and take on certain roles so we could function at optimum capacity.

I had an epiphany today. It was pretty simple I guess, but I was thinking of what qualities I found attractive in men. Now this might be just me, but I don't think so- I like masculinity. Strong, tough, manly men. And then it occurred to me- of course I do! It's simple biology. If I am a woman looking for a suitable mate, then surely I will be attracted to someone who I will be able to successfully reproduce and ensure the continuation of our species, one who exudes masculinity. Makes sense.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Gender roles in the 21st century are a lot more flexible. In a way, anyone can do whatever they want. Women have a lot more opportunities for careers outside the home, rather than being solely the nurturer. In building a career women often take on more "male" characteristics. We want our men to be more sensitive and understanding. (I'd probably settle for even listening when I talk but meh.) We want them to plan more romantic evenings of their own accord and consider our feelings all the time. Women are becoming more like men, and men are becoming more like women.

So what do you think about men and women? Is it good to evolve, or just natural? How do you think this impacts on relationships? Do you think this is liberating or inhibiting?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to maximise your gym experience!

Some people can find it quite intimidating walking into the gym for the first time, with all the buff guys grunting and throwing weights around, and lots of other fit looking people there who seemingly know what to do and how to use all the equipment. Today my advice is to anyone who would like a refresher on gym etiquette, or "How to not look stupid in front of other gym members".

- pee before using the treadmill. This is logical on several levels.

-rearrange your breast pads after vigorous exercise (breast-feeding mothers, that is), otherwise you may have a wet boob patch to deal with. NB If you do find yourself in this situation, consider dumping the contents of your water bottle on your top and exclaiming "OOPS" really loudly.

- bring music to distract you during cardio. Staring at the time on cardio machines makes me suddenly feel tired and ready to finish.

- hop on a cardio machine next to a friend. A little competition can be motivating for both of you, and push you to keep going a little longer than you otherwise would have.


-wear shorts while running unless you enjoy chafing.

- engage someone in an intense cardio workout in conversation. You may wave, or give them the nod, or say hi. At most you may say "Have a good day" as you leave.

-leave your towel in the kitchen between gym visits, where it will take on the aroma of sweet, baked goods and chicken. You will not appreciate this during a 6 AM workout.

-try to reach for a fitball positioned up high with dumbbells already in your hands. It is quite likely that you will knock the fitball, causing it to hit a fellow gym member in the face, and their frightening personal trainer will make eye contact. Eep!

-run so fast on the treadmill that you vomit into your towel, particularly when someone you know is on the treadmill behind you.

If you can follow these basic guidelines, people are less likely to point and laugh at you when you enter the gym.

Disclaimer: I cannot take responsibility for people who laugh at you anyway. Good luck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Muscle up to lose weight!

Hey all. I just wanted to share a really informative article on the benefits of strength training. I love strength training, and I find it much more enjoyable than cardio! I have cut and pasted it below in case there are any problems with the link.

INCREASING your lean muscle mass can help speed up your body’s fat-burning ability and could be your key to permanent weight loss. By Linda Drummond

Evidence continues to accumulate on the benefits of adding some type of resistance or strength training to your workouts. With benefits that spread across the health spectrum, researchers now believe strength training can play a vital role in long-term weight loss. 

Miriam Nelson, author of Strong Women Stay Slim (Bantam Books) and a researcher at Tufts University in the US, found that women who followed a weight-loss diet combined with weight-training exercises lost 44 per cent more fat than women who only followed the diet.

“Researchers have discovered something disturbing: when women diet, at least 25 to 30 per cent of the weight they shed isn’t fat, but water, muscle, bone and other lean tissue,” Nelson says.
But strength training can help us to lose excess fat rather than vital tissue.

Muscle up
Melbourne-based exercise physiologist Trent Malcolm says: “People on low-kilojoule crash diets slow their metabolic rate and their lean muscle mass will deteriorate. Losing weight on these low-kilojoule diets can also exaggerate the sagging and softness of the skin when it’s not filled out with lean muscle mass.”

Kerry Warnholtz says she’s noticed a huge difference since she started weight training with a program devised by Ideal Bodies Online in July 2008.

“Your strength and energy increases and, after about six weeks, you start to see some muscle definition and lose body fat.”

Malcolm says metabolism is, for the most part, determined by our body’s lean muscle mass. “One kilogram of muscle will burn about 627 to 1465 kilojoules per day, while 1kg of fat only burns about 20 to 40 kilojoules per day.”

So it makes sense to try to not only preserve lean muscle mass, but increase it.

“It takes a while for your metabolism to kick in, but when it does it’s like a freight train,” says Warnholtz, who lost more than 15kg and reshaped her body to become leaner at 40 than she was at 20. Now that she’s reached her ideal weight, Warnholtz says her metabolism works well. Even after indulging, she says it’s easy to get back on track again.

After the age of 20, our lean muscle mass starts to deteriorate. Without training we can lose between 2.2 and 3.2kg of lean muscle every 10 years. Without lean muscle, our skin can sag and the texture appear less defined. You don’t need to build large muscles. As little as 1.4kg of lean muscle can increase your resting metabolism by about seven per cent.

Whether you want to build or maintain your lean muscle mass, it’s important to train smart, Malcolm says. Spot-training isn’t effective. You need to work large muscle groups with moderate weight to see success. “The most important thing is the intensity,” Malcolm says. “Use as much energy as possible with multiple body parts. Toning is more about losing body fat than building muscles.”

Body benefits
Michael Cunico, New South Wales fitness manager at Fitness First, says we need to move beyond the number on the scales and think about the change in clothing size and other benefits of developing lean muscle mass.

“Strength training doesn’t need any equipment; simple body-weight training can be extremely beneficial in building lean muscle,” Cunico says.

During any workout you burn fat, but with strength training you elevate your metabolism and continue to burn fat for up to 39 hours afterwards. So if you do some form of strength training every second day, you can knock your metabolism into high gear.

Strength training can also help create stronger bones, prevent injuries, increase balance, flexibility and mobility, and it has mental health benefits too.
Find a strength-training program that suits you. Perform some body-weight exercises after your walk (try squats, lunges, tricep dips, push-ups and the plank), take up Pilates, hit the gym for a circuit or Pump class, or ask an exercise physiologist to help you devise a plan.

Myths dismissed
• Women who lift weights get bulky muscles. Genetics has a role in building muscles, says Trent Malcolm. “Females don’t have the levels of hormones required for significant muscle mass.”
• When I stop training my muscles will turn to fat. Fat and muscle are different tissues, Malcolm says. “When you stop training muscles, they will reduce in size and tone. So keep working them.”
• To build lean muscle, use small weights and do lots of repetitions. “Low-intensity training and isolating muscles won’t burn fat,” says Malcom. “Increase the intensity and use moderately heavy weights.”

Caitlin's clever counsel regarding the purchasing and wearing of granny panties

(Seeing as how I am an expert on the subject....)

This piece of underwear can get you through unfortunate bloating phases during the month, those post-ice cream binge mornings, and many other fun events where you would prefer not being asked "how far along" you are. (I am an expert on all of the above.) From my experience, it can also get you through the first decade after having children...yes, my oldest is four.

Tip #1. Granny panties, or as I fondly call them, "sucky-inny undies", cos that's what they do, need to be made of binding material. This is a given.

Tip #2. They need to go a lot higher up your torso than regular undies, just a few cm below your bra.. If they are made of a binding material but only go a few cm higher than regular undies, you will get the tell tale bulge that says "I tried to hide my bulge and I failed". Been there.

Tip #3. Be aware of clothing choices that may reveal granny panties, e.g. should you bend over and your shirt rides up at the back. This is a rather embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

Tip #4. For toilet breaks, I recommend press studs down there. That, or a disabled toilet with a LOT of space for wriggling, and preferably no audience.

Tip #5. While we are on the subject of press studs, you may feel more secure wearing some tiny undies underneath, for the occasions where you make a sudden move, actually make that any move, and you hear "Pop Pop Pop" and realize it is more breezy at this wedding/work function/church service than you had anticipated.

That is all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why are we depressed?

Living in the 21st century, our lives are very different to generations of the past. We have so many modern conveniences and luxuries that in many ways our lives could be considered easier now. We live in comfortable homes and have limitless options available to us. So why is it that so many of us are taking antidepressant medication?

I am a young woman who has found myself in a similar circumstance. I am very blessed to have a wonderful loving husband and three beautiful, if not insane, children. So why have I been depressed?

I have started reading a very interesting book called The Depression Cure, by Stephen S Ilardi. He is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas and has treated many patients for depression using what he refers to as TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change). I find the more I read of this book, the more I am nodding in agreeance at his logical advice.

Dr/Professor Ilardi makes the following point-that while the risk of depression is increasing in western countries, depression occurs significantly less in developing countries, and that among the Amish, and in some tribes who still live a hunter-gatherer type lifestyle, depression is almost non-existent. He attributes this to the fact that the human body was not designed to live the sedentary, fast paced lifestyle we have become accustomed to now, and that the way that humans used to live before industrialisation was an 'antidepressant' lifestyle. It included the six factors he discusses in his book as helping to cure depression.

This made perfect sense to me. Think about the way we live now, driving everywhere and watching TV, sitting in front of computers, and having access to junk food all the time. Or, in circumstances where husbands and wives are both required to work to achieve financial stability. If you were living in a tribe, you would be on your feet walking around looking for food to hunt to keep you alive. We wouldn't spend so much time alone, and isolated from each other by technology.

The six elements Ilardi referred to are:

- Dietary omega 3 fatty acids (very important in brain structure and function, eaten in abundance by former generations, and significantly less by us)
-Engaging activity
- Physical exercise (consider a modern sedentary lifestyle and compare it to hunter/gatherer lifestyle)
-Sunlight exposure
-Social support

Think about it- if you are a very new mother, for example, chances are you won't be involved in much of any of these. Time for cooking nutritious meals and exercise and sleep is out of your control often enough. And I know there have definitely been some days earlier this year after I had my third child I would realise I literally had not walked outside, even to the letterbox, in days. Combine that with little sleep and nothing to do apart from child care duties, of course I was going to lose it!

Exercise is what saves me. On weekday mornings, I go to the gym around 530 in the morning and lift weights or run. It completely lifts my mood and energises me for the rest of the day.

I would definitely recommend this book to anybody, whether they have struggled with depression, or want to prevent it....or really, anyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The joy of puking for 9 months

I was recently pondering the possibility that I could be pregnant with baby #4. Me feelings could be summed up as follows: AAAAARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Fortunately for myself (and everyone who has to live with me) that was not the case.

I do hope to have another baby one day, but not for a couple of years when I don't already have three pre-school age children, and hopefully when we are rich enough to experiment with possible cures for morning sickness, e.g. acupuncture, expensive anti-nausea medication, or a nanny....a the very least, sufficient funds to cover my daily requirements of hot chips.
(This was our plan for the last two- to have a little more money, and that didn't happen, so, fingers crossed for next time!!)

I am waffling. My point is, as I contemplated the world crashing down around me, having three kids destroying the house for the next nine months while I lie on the couch in the foetal position, or with my head over the toilet, crying about how miserable pregnancy is and how incredibly annoyed I am that I have to pay for food I will no doubt vomit up anyway, I remembered last time I was faced this this situation.

I lived in Perth and had literally just finished becoming a qualified personal trainer, maybe a week or two before. I was pretty sure almost immediately that I was pregnant and was merely waiting it out until I could actually check. I was doing a bunch of errands at Joondalup shopping centre and I was pushing around a trolley with Jack and Isabel playing and screaming and crying and jumping in and out, all frazzled and dishevelled, and we entered the pharmacy where I found a pregnancy test. I remember the overwhelming embarrassment I felt walking to the front counter as people turned to look at all the racket coming from my kids while I attempted to threaten or distract them, and then placing the box on the counter while I deliberately avoided the saleslady's gaze. Ohhhhh the humiliation. Young out of control mum with psycho kids buying a pregnancy test, don't you just feel sympathy hearing about it? It's like, Oh, the crazy cat lady is getting another cat, cool.

At some point I took the test, it was positive, and i don't even remember any of this or telling my husband or anything, you see this is how frequently I get knocked up, I can't even separate different pregnancies any more! We also moved two hours away to a smaller town (city? It feels like a small town) halfway through the pregnancy so that wasn't all that much fun. I got huge, like with the other pregnancies, so I was very used to questions about if I had my dates right, and was I sure it wasn't twins. My favourite was at the gym, this guy said to me,"Not long to go now, huh?" I was three and a half months pregnant. SIX months left. At the end of my pregnancy, I recall someone walking past me saying WOW.

Now I have my baby, Sophia Adele. She is almost one now, standing up by herself and trying to walk. Eep! I am absolutely in love with her. I love all my children, of course, but Sophia is still little enough that I am her favourite person, and that feels very, very nice. She smiles and laughs and buries her face in my chest and puts her arms around my neck tightly. Plus she is very cute (says her Mum). But it does make it worth it to go through all the ickiness of pregnancy and then have a beautiful child. LUCKILY.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This one's a serious one.

WARNING: This post contains some disturbing material involving children.

Last week I read about an extremely tragic event in Connecticut. This happened three years ago. I think most people would agree that this is an absolutely horrific thing to happen, and so very sad for the father left behind.

Following is a segment from the article that was particularly poignant.

Petit said he cried at the verdict, "thinking of the tremendous loss."
"Michaela was an 11-year-old little girl tortured and killed in her own bedroom, surrounded by stuffed animals."

Some of you might be wondering why exactly I am writing about this.

You might know a song called "Love the way you lie" by Eminem and Rihanna. The lyrics can be found here Here is part of it. "If she's ever tries to f---ing leave again I'ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire".

This does not promote respect for women, or equality between the sexes. It depicts men as having power in relationships, and using violence against women to keep it. Women have the very important role of being punching bags.

Rihanna herself was famously beaten up by her former boyfriend Chris Brown. This was quite a big deal. Photos of her bruised face circulated and the particular attack was described as being quite vicious, including Rihanna being bitten. I have tried to fathom how a young woman who has actually been the victim of violence could then participate in a song eroticising the very same thing. The most obvious point I considered was that maybe it was not supposed to be glamourising domestic violence, but just creating awareness of an important issue. HOWEVER- that theory doesn't actually hold up.

Things I learned from this song.
- Domestic violence makes for a more passionate, intense relationship.
- If a man loves a woman very much, he will want to kill her for leaving.
- Women enjoy being abused (see lyrics like "...stand here and watch me burn, it's alright because I like the way it hurts", or even the title of the song)

Even if it this song really was about creating awareness of domestic violence, the message would still most likely go right over the heads of the performers' young fans. Here are some comments from the youtube music video page (with over 200 million hits).

surething6996: awesome kick ass song love the way eminem is so passionate in this song
1990ravetoxic: wow very nice,,,I love the story,,,,and the song of course..the singers...very nice... perfect...
la8dyc: megins right hook......i have done that....then had the best sex ever...
MrFROHOE: i never thought people burning a live could look so sexy, but...DAMN!

Violence against women is still a very real problem in the world, even in (especially in?) western cultures. As I read about the Petit family in the paper, I felt sick at the thought that many young people love and celebrate this music, but it is not unheard of for men to tie girls to their beds and burn their houses down.

I am disgusted by the evidence I see around me of men who hate women. But what I really don't understand is when women participate in their own exploitation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If I was a rich girl

Remember how when you were younger and in love, and you had this romantic notion that you didn't need anything else as long as you could just be together? That money wasn't important, and the only thing that really mattered was your love?

This is a rumour spread by poor people to make themselves feel better. I know this because I am a poor person who spreads rumours like this to make myself feel better.

I remember sitting on the old, torn couch at my husband's place, The Boys House, when we were seriously considering getting married, as we did the sums to work out how we could balance full-time university, part time jobs, and Centrelink allowances. I thought, 'Wow, Centrelink! We're rich!' HA. So naive. We were married and found a rental unit in Scarborough that were among the few that we could afford. We actually have a lot of fond memories of living there, across the road from the beach, sleeping on our mattress with our blanket. My husband loved that he could check the surf from our bed, and decide if it was worth it or not. (It usually was.) We would go for early morning dips and walk around Scarborough at night. We loved the feel of the area, kind of old, but with the beach vibe, despite some "scumminess", which came in the form of our neighbours. They spent their days drinking, not wearing shirts and having noisy, violent fights, with at least one involving a woman being beaten. The police visited often. At this point early on in our marriage money was very tight. (Still is!) I would spend $40 a week on groceries.

Back to that idea of "all we need is each other"- when you can't afford decent shampoo or to get your hair done or you legs waxed, you can begin to question some of these things! Financial hardship can be quite a strain. Last time I went to get some waxing done, my beauty therapist said, "It's been awhile, it's been four months!" And I said "Yes, it feels like four months..." based on scary high levels of hairiness I had been exhibiting.

This week our family car died. It is the sixth car we have had as a married couple, and we have not yet been married for six whole years. This is because we have only been able to spend a very small amount of money on a car, so we buy a bomb, then soon enough it requires thousands of dollars of work which we can't afford, or it gets a yellow sticker, or it dies. How much easier (or less complicated) would life be if we were wealthier? I wouldn't be leaving the car at the gym because it won't open and we couldn't afford to replace the central locking system. I wouldn't spend so much time pushing 3 kids around in a pram meant for two. And our car wouldn't break down late at night on a completely dark country road in the middle of nowhere when I have about $2 credit on my phone. Actually, if I was rich, I would have enough phone credit. Maybe my husband would have a pair of pants without a sizeable hole in the crotch (he calls these his "air conditioned pants"), or I could afford clothing that fits and was not previously thrown away by someone else.

After this last week of car trouble, my frustration has nearly reached boiling point. I have, however, started looking at the situation from a different perspective however. While it seems natural to say "Why me???" or wonder when thinks are going to start going right, I have tried to stop seeing the glaringly obvious negative, and start seeing some potential positives.

The other night when my car broke down, I honestly had to laugh, it just seemed so ridiculous, and also somewhat like an urban legend. I was thinking about how I was driving, singing along to The Fray (my husband hates them soooo much, haha) and the radio just cut out. I was concerned, but hoped maybe it was just an electrical problem (because that's so much better). Then I started to wonder, 'Are the lights always this dim?' And that's when I thought, 'Oh dear, my battery is going to die...please let me make it to my destination FIRST and not on this quiet scary dark part of Gnangara road!' Very soon after, my lights went off and it was pitch black, and I swerved off the road because I literally could not see. I am getting to my point now. It occurred to me that while I was aware only of the difficulties my family had been facing, I hadn't been paying attention to the blessings and the good things we have. When my lights went out and I swerved, things could have ended very differently. Maybe the blessing here was that while inconvenienced, I was perfectly safe. I imagine if I had been seriously hurt, I would have wished and prayed for these circumstances which I did find myself in.

As for being poor, I am pretty tired of it. I think I am an expert and having achieved expert level status I should be allowed to move up. But if the alternative to this would have been to delay getting married, or having children, and finding full-time work so we would be a double income family, I would still choose this. All my happiness comes from my family. They make my life worth living. For them, I will continue to endure life as a hairy badly groomed 25 year old. Still waiting to see if I have any long-lost wealthy ninety year old relatives though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day Care vs Mummy

Last night I went to a presentation for the parents of toddlers at our day care centre.They talked about the activities they did with the children and the different stages of development etc. I have to say, I am glad they are doing such a fantastic job with my children (on Fridays) and it looked like all the things they do are a lot of fun. It's nice to know your kids are having a great time while in someone else's care.

I went home and discussed it with my husband, and I felt a twinge of emotion as I admitted to him that I thought the Day Care workers were doing a better job than I actually was. My lovely husband reassured me that I am a great mother, and reminded me of some pertinent facts about the day care workers- that this is a paying job for them, it is from 9-5, and they can go home after and have time out and get a full nights sleep. All valid points, yes, but I still sometimes feel guilty. I feel like I have been eager to be a mother FOREVER, and I assumed I would be a natural the whole job. Now here I am, day after day, wondering- what do I do? Is it my job to entertain them? Or, is it to provide them a safe, entertaining environment? Should I just be playing with them, or encouraging them to play alone? Is it a little bit of everything?And where is the compromise between never-ending housework and errands and never-ending parenting? (And yes, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section, I am not above asking for help!)

Generally each day has a similar routine- each day is broken up by meals, breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, bedtime routine. (I use the word routine loosely- it is not set in stone.) Between meals there is kindy, naptime for baby, errands or outings, playtime at home and all the regular housework and cooking. And let's not forget that it's not unheard of from them to be up some time in the morning starting with a 5, and not unusual for me to threaten to, and follow through with, locking their bedroom door with a 'lock' fashioned out of two old BankWest ties at about 9pm.

Today I decided I was going to try to involve the kids in everything that I needed to do. We had our breakfast and we read for a bit, and played a little. Then I decided to cook our dinner in the morning, so I cut up all the vegetables etc so the kids could join in making our quiche for dinner. Then we made brownies together. There was a minor incident with an egg, as Isabel said "It got out." Translation- the 'egg' got out of the eggshell (after she dropped it on the floor). In the afternoon I tried to recruit Isabel to help me vacuum but she lost interest pretty quick. How is it at 2 she has already clicked certain things are chores and therefore not cool anymore....?

I know that I do want to encourage independence in my children, and taking responsibility, which means allowing them to try things, and do things themselves while I supervise and quietly cringe at the mess involved. I could tidy the playroom myself in less than five minutes but I insist on making them pack away their own toys, even though it takes a lot longer and is actually harder work for me, guiding everyone onto their next step. I do think helping them develop these skills will pay off in the long run.

So, I guess today was a success. My house has been vacuumed, dinner is already taken care of, I have spent time with my kids involving them in my activities and also completed all of our errands. But surely success is more than 'the house is vaguely tidy and my errands got done'. I want to enjoy my kids more, and to have more fun with them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Moments & the facebook status experiment

A few weeks ago my husband suggested I have a tendency to be negative. I responded that while sometimes I complain too much and can be negative, it is not as bad as he makes it out to be. So we did a little experiment. The "Facebook Status Experiment". He pulled out a notepad and a pen, and started to make a tally of how many of my status updates were positive, or negative.

e.g. Friday. "Whenever I leave the room, baby starts the search for me in the kitchen. Hmm..."
My husband says, "Negative." And marks it off.
"What??? That's just me joking around. You just don't get my awesome sense of humour."

"Public Holiday style big breakfast...Bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, nom nom!"
"Positive." (I should think so!! Mmmm...bacon...)

" experiencing the difficulties associated with being loved too much! My baby follows me EVERYWHERE, i can never distract her for a minute. I guess she has picked up on my awesomeness!"
"What are you talking about!! That isn't negative! I'm just joking around! You so don't understand my awesomeness!"

From there on, I started skipping updates I thought he would unfairly judge as negative. (Cheating...perhaps.) According to his tally the list came out pretty even. So I am trying to be aware of being overly negative. But give me a break, I have three kids under five, and....yeah that's pretty much it.

So here's to sharing some positivity!

Yesterday was Friday. Friday is the day of the week I most look forward to because my two oldest children go to daycare, and I stay home with baby and try to rest, do errands, catch up on housework and have general Caitlin time. Imagine me and baby standing on the driveway waving bye bye to the rest of the family, and as they drive away, me saying to baby,"PARTY TIME!" and squealing and swirling around excitedly.

Then comes time for my sacred Friday ritual.

I plonk baby in her high chair, fire up the stove top, and sing really loud to music by Bon Jovi ("If you were in theeeese ar-rmmmms"), Beyonce, Wolfmother, Glee cast (anything that is fun to sing really loud) while I make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and baby laughs at my moves. Next I eat my yummy pancakes while watching The Office (and I turn it REALLY loud because nobody will stop me). Then I have a long luxurious shower and wash my hair while baby sits in her high chair in the bathroom with me to keep her happy. As soon as she is ready for a morning nap, I put her down, and then collapse into my own bed which is so lovely and cool and comfy and I spread out like a starfish since I don't have to share with anyone. Sighhhh...I sleep until baby wakes up, and generally save any chores until I think uh oh, kids will be home soon! After such a lovely day, I am then feeling awake and revived, and I am delighted to see them, and I love to play with them and hear all about their day.

I am reminded of a quote by M. Russell Ballard that seems applicable to me.
"Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction."

I think after having a little break, or some time in there to enjoy my baby one on one, as she crawls all over me, laughing and trying to suck on my face, I can be aware of those moments. It's times like these when I am cuddling my baby girl and I know she loves me so very much that I realize I am having one of those moments.

And who can resist that face?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Britney's back! See the resemblance?

So as anyone who has seen my fb page knows, yesterday my 4 year old son cut off all of my daughter's long hair. This was during "nap time". I don't usually put them down for naps anymore, I gave up nearly a year ago, but we had had a really hectic morning out and about and they had been whingeing and crying and saying they were tired, so I did. While they were quiet, I thought, Oh, maybe they are asleep now (it WAS nap time, wasn't it??). However. Then I was greeted at my bedroom door with Isabel, or should I say the boy version of Isabel. I was completely gobsmacked. I'm pretty sure what I saw then looked a lot like those Britney shaving her head photos.

Of course this is not the first time Isabel has displayed "Britney-esque" traits- a few months back my brother and sister in law nicknamed her Britney after she kept forgetting to wear knickers. I think this is different though.

Today I took her to the hairdresser to get it 'fixed', or neatened up at least. I wasn't expecting much, I knew it would be very short. The hairdresser was also kind of abrupt with me and gave me dirty looks that I interpreted as possibly meaning "You irresponsible neglectful parent". In the past that would have really bothered me but now I am confident enough in my abilities to not care so much about what other people think.

Now I have a pretty girl who might very easily be confused for a boy. Lots of headbands, clips, skirts and pink I think! Although I will say she is pulling off the pixie crop look much better than I ever could.

Jack was very apologetic, he said "Mummy I promise I will never do that again." (Ya think??) He also asked me if I was still upset, and proceeded to sing me a song to make me feel better. Who could be mad at that? Despite the likelihood of being judged by strangers, the hats I will now be buying and the pile of hair I found in a drawer, I think my kids are awesome. Spirited. Even right now, I can't help but be amused as Jack tells Isabel, "You've got boy hair. Isabel, you've got boy hair."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lynx Stynx!!

Here is one example. Lynx deodorant (aka Axe in the US) perpetuates the idea that a woman's worth is completely based on her sex appeal (yeah I know, that's no different from a lot of advertising) and that a woman's function is purely to satisfy men's sexual cravings. This is an idea that is used a lot in advertising, but I think here it clearly crosses the line. Check out their air stewardesses ad here, one of their shower gel ads here, the 'girls look hot wet' one here. There are HEAPS of these, I have just selected a few.

Not to mention their website. Ugh. As you enter the site, you select your own girl in a bikini, possibly covered in mud, or possibly even two together. If you think this is objectifying women, it goes a step further. The girls have no heads. All that we see of these girls are their torsos. They have been broken down only to particular body parts- sexual ones, reinforcing that the most important features a woman can possess are her breasts, her butt, you get the idea.

Now a new development, recently Lynx has made a getaway accommodation just for men called the Lynx Lodge, basically a brothel where guys can go be serviced by sexy women.

You get the point that I am not a fan of Lynx.

So here is where it gets tricky. Lynx is owned by the company Unilever. They have many other brands, including Dove (remember the campaign for real beauty? Hypocritical much?), Continental (as in soup), OMO, Surf, Flora, Sunsilk,and many more.

If I want to stop giving my money to a company that is getting rich from sexist and degrading attitudes towards women, then I don't buy any of their products.

HOWEVER... A few weeks ago I was doing the grocery shopping, and having decided not to buy Lynx deodorant anymore, I looked around for what I could buy for my husband. Rexona is also a unilever product, so that was out. (As well as Dove and Impulse, but I wasn't considering them for my husband.) Brut is also out (read Melinda Tankard Reist's article about Brut here). What about Mitchum? Check out this interesting website. Cross Mitchum off the list.

So here is a list of deodorants I have on my boycott list: Lynx, Rexona, Dove, Impulse, Brut, Mitchum. And this is JUST deodorant.

Now what the hell is left!?

Do I be stubborn, and refuse to fund messages I strongly disagree with? Do I forget about boycotting all together? Do I write letters to the companies in question? Or do I make a compromise?

I don't have all the answers yet, I am leaning towards a combination of all of the above. I will note buy Lynx, because Lynx in particular disgusts me. I intend to write to Unilever about this. But I also think I may have to make some kind of compromise so I don't make my life ridiculously hard...but I haven't figured out how I can do that yet. In the mean time, wish me luck doing my weekly grocery shop as I stand in front of the deodorant section for about ten minutes.

Battle of the boycott!

Hello there!

Sorry, it's been awhile. It's been one of those months with little sleep. However, my baby does have three teeth now, so, worth it? I'm sure you have all been frantically checking for new posts and getting very disappointed...all three of you followers, haha.

Well, writing this blog is kind of therapeutic for me, so never mind. Here's something that has been on my mind this week.

There are some things that I feel very strongly about, I suppose they would fall under the category of 'Women's issues'. Anyone who has seen my facebook page or even read this blog before is probably well aware of that. One of the biggest issues for me has been described as the 'pornification' of our culture. I think the word pornification is pretty self explanatory, but to explain it further I would say it is about the mainstreaming of pornography, or porn culture, or perpetuating an ideology where women are purely objects to be used by men. That is a basic definition of what I'm referring to, and if I go any more into it right now I will start getting really angry and typing really fast while clenching my jaw...whew.

I believe that I can make a difference to this problem, as we all can. Maybe just a small difference, but at least stir up some change. I can do this (and have several times) by speaking out where appropriate, writing letters to those who promote these ideals or those who are responsible for regulating particular industries, and boycotting certain companies and refusing to buy their products.

No, I don't believe that a huge corporation will be severely stung by my withholding my money. I do believe that maybe if many people do the same thing, or the companies are concerned that others will do the same, they may be pressured to reassess their advertising strategy (or whatever is the problem). I know many companies make products supposedly to meet customer demand, therefore if I don't purchase products made by sleazy companies, I am not proving them right. They can't turn around and say, See? Our product is selling really well, so obviously there is a demand for it, or obviously nobody is offended by our style of advertising.

More than these small things, this is a matter of integrity for me. I feel uneasy about giving my money to corporations who glamourise or promote ideas that are just wrong. Think about it, if I buy products from one of those companies, I am directly helping them grow and prosper. This does not sit well with me.

I might have to give some examples of dodgy companies/promotions, but I think that will make this post way too long so maybe next time...

So here is where things become blurry for me. Do I boycott everything that I deem to be offensive? How much trouble should I go to to boycott these products? Can or should I be more sensible while still being able to be comfortable with myself?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Please, please, please, let me get what I want...sleep!

When you have a new baby, you expect to be up for long periods during the night, and having broken sleep, and being exhausted in general. Then (hopefully) after several months, things get better in the sleep department, and your baby will maybe 'sleep through' and you will get more sleep, even if it is broken sleep.

Many new mums will tell you sleep deprivation is very effective torture. I completely agree. It is amazing how messed up your head can be when you have been days without real sleep, and how logical you can be after catching up. Logical according to my standards, not my husband's, which are very very incredibly high.

I often have found after having a new baby, that I would be surprised at how well I could cope on so little sleep- for a few days. Then I would lose it. Then, I would once again surprise myself at how well I was coping without sleep (except for that meltdown, of course) and I continue doing okay, not as good as normal, of course, but okay, until the next meltdown....and the cycle continues.

I think the reason that between 'episodes' I maintained a vague level of normalcy is because after having a baby you fully expect to get very little sleep, and that you will sleep at any opportunity you can, prioritizing it over housework or cooking. But when I don't have any reason to expect to be sleep deprived, it hits me so much harder.

So fast forward to the present day, and I now have three children. None of them are newborn babies anymore, and they all at one point mastered sleeping through the night, and even at some stages sleeping right through the night, from about 7-7 (woohoo!) So how is it that I get no sleep anymore?

My husband has been away for almost a week, and I am soooooo relieved he comes back early tomorrow morning. With my husband home, there is someone to share kid duty with during the night- and when I say share, taking turns pretending to be asleep and getting elbowed by the other saying, "Your turn!" With my husband away, I have been solely responsible for our kids, who on a typical night wake up twice each. You do the math. So on any given night, I have been up six times. And let's not forget the extra fun stuff, like a teething baby, or a vomiting toddler who refuses to use a bucket and left a trail from one end of the house to the other, oh yeah, and that big one who wets his bed about every second night, sometimes twice in one night.

The alarm goes off and I scrunch up my face and think "Seriously??? Time to wake up? I didn't get any sleep yet!" Then I wake up and see a giant pile of extra washing, covered in vomit and pee and remember all the things I have to do that day before I can go back to bed again that night.

I love my bed. It is my happy place. I have become one of those people who collapses into bed at the end of the day and makes an audible noise, an internal sigh signifying both frustration and relief, like an old person. I have fallen asleep at the movies (like my Mum!!)

Oh yes, and somewhere in there I am supposed to find extra energy for working out, housework, being energetic with my kids and something to stimulate my mind and wake it up from its zombie like state.

I'm so looking forward to my husband coming home! But if he walks in and says "I'm SO tired..." I may just throw one of those children who is still awake at him.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Helping or hurting, kids?!?

I decided when my kids were younger that I was going to train them up to be responsible for packing away their own toys, tidying up after themselves, etc. This is more difficult than you would think! The number of times I could have tidied up a room with toys scattered in less than 2 minutes, and instead have spent ten minutes supervising the kids doing this same job...But I keep telling myself that one day not too far from now, I will be glad I did it. And every now and then, I am pleasantly surprised by Isabel packing away the duplo without even being asked. I think my heart might just burst with pride (almost).

Sometimes they do other "helpful" things, that make me unsure about whether I should tear my hair out or say, "Good job, sweetheart!" Things like Jack deciding to pull out all his clothes and re-organize them (why oh I do I even bother folding?). Or Isabel taking towels out from the linen cupboard to lay them down in puddles outside, as she says to herself, "Cleanin' up da mess..."

Yesterday the kids decided the floor needed a wash. The floor had in fact been mopped two days previously, and was pretty clean. They got sponges out of the sink (one of which appeared to have been soaking in dirty water) and started 'mopping' the floor with them. Imagine lots and lots of drops followed by puddles of dirty water on my nice clean floor. I tried to explain to Jack he needed to wring out the sponge first to get rid of the extra water before cleaning the floor but as 4 year olds often do, he (loudly) voiced his opposing thoughts. So here is Mummy facing a dilemma. Do I still encourage helping, or do I save myself from a big clean-up job? While all this is going on, Isabel was outside quietly scrubbing the bricks with a sponge.

As for cleaning the bathroom, everyone wants to be the one to spray the windex on the mirror, and basically everywhere, regardless if we have already finished. I guess it could be worse. Rather than spraying cleaning product on the bath they could be scribbling on it with crayons- oh wait, they've already done that.

So it seems my whole reason for housework is children. Each time I clean up a particular mess, I have left my kids unsupervised long enough to make another awful mess. Then I go to fix that one, and they make another mess, and so on, and so on...

In the evening my husband comes home and walks into our trashed house, much the same as it looked in the morning when he left. He knows now, though, from experience of the head-biteage variety, that the appropriate response is to smile and say, " The house looks good..."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rant rant rant...

I hadn't watched music videos since I was a teenager, and even then I had to admit they seemed overly sexual. Earlier this year, I joined my local gym. There are several TV sets mounted on the wall. One of them is always set to the music video channel, and while using cardio machines you can't help but get bored and look around, and check out what is on the different TVs. I have been stunned with what is shown and possibly even more stunned at the fact that nobody appeared to have a problem with this. It seems like just anything goes, as long as it is under the premise of "music video".

What I am seeing is softcore pornography. I see many ideals promoted that I strongly disagree with.

In music videos, women are scantily clad . They dance, grind and gyrate in a sexual way (is there another way??), they are submissive to men and appear happy to be used for sex. And they do all this while still looking glamourous, thin and hot.

If I am to take as gospel what I have learned from music videos then it is this:
  • Casual sex/hook up sex is glamourous and everyone does it.
  • A woman's place on earth is to please men sexually.
  • Women are submissive to men- and women LOVE this. They always seem to be happy, right?
  • Gang rape is hot, and also what women want.
  • Sex is meaningless and should be detached.
  • Being thin and hot comes above all else.
As a young woman who has spent enough time obsessing about her appearance, I know better than to take in what is being put out there. But I'm not immune. I too can be a little sucked in. 'If only I looked that hot, my life would be perfect.' Luckily I do know better most of the time.

Too bad for the adolescents who don't.

Check this trailer out. It looks very interesting.
WARNING: It is confronting, please be aware.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Is it reasonable to expect that while trying to take my first shower in two days, after my children have all been put down to nap, I should be interrupted by screaming and head blood?

No, you say? Tell it to my kids.

P.S. Isabel has so many facial injuries right now she is starting to look like a picasso.

P.P.S. I'm about to give someone else facial injuries.

P.P.S.S. I'm hungry and there is no good food in my house : (

Friday, July 30, 2010

You are unique, just like everybody else!

That was then.

This is now!

NOW I actually have a desire for real health, despite what my weight or dress size is, or how I look. I am done wasting my time feeling not good enough. This doesn't mean I am giving in to my appetite, and "letting myself go". It means I am going to start being kind to myself. This includes:

  • Aiming to do 1-2 sessions of strength training (weights) a week (I actually quite enjoy this)
  • Challenging myself by starting to run! I have never been able to just run without stopping before, and two weeks ago I started, I pushed myself, and now I am able to run 4km in 27 minutes (not that fast but not the point). The point is I am trying to improve my cardiovascular fitness in a new way. I would like to do this twice a week.
  • Going to bed earlier, getting enough sleep.
  • Having a balanced diet. I am not ruling out food groups or counting calories, I am just trying to be sensible.
  • Contemplating putting my scales away...this is hard...but seriously contemplating. This way my happiness does not depend on a number on a scale.
  • Reminding myself that I am beautiful just the way my Heavenly Father intended me to be. He gave me a functional body to house my spirit and I should be striving for health so I can look after that body. This doesn't mean that I don't care about my appearance any more and I can just become obese- my body, properly taken care of, should be of a healthy weight.
  • And of course, the most important (saved for last)- remembering that what I look like is not even the point! Yes, I am a 25 year old girl who is not going to rid herself of vanity completely, but I am a worthwhile human being, regardless of my appearance! I have a lot to offer and a lot to accomplish.
I am still someone who will be always striving for growth and improvement, and I have a lot still to learn. However, now I will not be wasting my time and energy on negative thoughts or things that will pull me down. I have to spend my energy on things that are of more my family!

Speaking of my family, I am going to stop modeling a poor self image that my children will start to become aware of. I will start to demonstrate healthy self esteem, and teach them that they are special and unique. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. Every one of us has immeasurable value.

"I just want to aim for health...once I lose 12 kg."

Yes, I said that. And I said it in all seriousness. Once I have lost enough weight and look perfect, then I'll stop obsessing about my body and my looks and appearance, because then I will such a healthy body image.


I remember thinking I was fat in Year 7. I don't know what that was about, but I weighed at most 35 kg, and as a child I was actually this odd looking skinny kid.

Around the time I started high school, there was a whole lot of fuss in the media about "shrinking celebrities". Think Lara Flynn Boyle, Helen Hunt, Jennifer Aniston, Calista Flockhart etc slimming down quite noticeably. The idea was that their bodies were so petite that their figure was like that of a pre-pubescent boy, with their head like a lollipop at the top of a stick. While all this was going on, I was beginning puberty and my body was changing. So it was then that I started to notice different shapes, and decide what was fat, and what was skinny. I am not saying that all the celebrities shown in the media are completely responsible for my unhealthy attitudes towards my body, but I do think it was relevant considering the timing for me.

Since then, I have grown up and taken more control over my body- my eating habits, my exercise regime. I completed a course in personal training that was more for my own interest than a desire to work as a personal trainer. I have had three children in three and a half years, so think...gain lots of weight, slowly lose it, get pregnant again, gain lots of weight, slowly lose it, get pregnant get the idea. Pregnancy, breast feeding and spending my time caring for my children has resulted in a lot of frustration and stress and time spent thinking about my body and what exactly is wrong with it. I would feel so guilty if I missed a work out or ate junk food, and I would let these things weigh me down and ruin my day. I have put so much energy into thinking that my life would be perfect, and I would be perfect, if I could just be skinny. Being skinny= happiness.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Porn and love heart stamps

So, when I started writing this blog I thought it would be a fun way to blow off some steam about motherhood and have a laugh aboutsome of the strange things my kids get up to. Lately I've been thinking a lot about some bigger things, bigger even than children always coming into my bed, and bigger than weet bix removal.

I have been thinking about all the pornographic images and media we are faced with day after day, and how tired I am having to see it, and having to try and hide it from my children, who are 4, 2.5 and 6 months. I have been getting angry and wondering what I could actually do about it. So, after a lot of research, a lot of thinking, and conversations with anyone willing to listen, I got my first practical advice here. So tonight I wrote some letters. Below is one of them- each of them is much the same, but adapted to the recipient.

Dear Mr Murray,

My husband and I moved to Bunbury almost a year ago. My husband is David, former Manager at the local branch of BankWest. You may remember meeting him briefly. We received a letter from you in May, as our representative in State Parliament, where you said if we wished to express our views on any matter, you would be pleased to hear from us. I would like to take you up on this offer.

As a young mother of three pre-school age children, I have made and will continue to make many efforts to teach them to treat all people with compassion and respect. I want them to be able to reach their potential-for them to become educated, develop their talents and to be moral people. However, I find that by merely taking them out of our house they are exposed to the onslaught of pornographic images and media that I keep from them in my own home. I cannot take them with me into the supermarket, petrol station, newsagency or video store without them being around “soft porn”.

The damaging effects of so-called soft porn are well documented. How can I teach my son to respect women, and my daughters that they are worthy of respect, when the idea that a woman’s purpose for existing is to satisfy mens sexual appetites is normalized and even endorsed by being displayed in supermarkets, easily accessible to anyone who wants to see it (and also to those who do not).

Perhaps you are familiar with this letter below.

"To the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General Censorship Ministers".

I am writing to ask you if you support the suggestions made in this letter, and how you plan to respond. I hope you will give this issue some serious consideration. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this letter any further.

Kind regards,


8th July 2010

So that is my letter. I will email where an email address is provided, but I have printed out three similar copies to send to different leaders of parliament. Upon putting them in envelopes I realized the only stamps I have are promotional Valentine's Day themed ones, so my angry letters about evil porn will have pretty swirly love hearts and flowers. But I'm okay with that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Master Chef, anyone?

So I found out this morning that while I was sleeping this morning, and Dave was getting up to get ready for work, Jack and Isabel were making a cake.

They put in caster sugar, brown sugar, vanilla essence, and get this- there was no self raising flour so they used plain flour plus baking powder. (I think they were trying to make chocolate chip cookies but we didn't have chocolate chips.) My kids are so cool! When Dave came out he unlocked the fridge for them so they could use butter, eggs, etc. I found the cake in the oven later, and surprise, it actually looks like a cake! In a few minutes we are going to ice it, and then try it....and be back with the verdict.

Jack told me today that Daddy helped him with the eggs, and followed with, "Daddy knows how to cook now! I teached him!" and high fived me. So I'm not going to tell him that Daddy cooks better than Mummy. I like having his respect.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hi, Poisons Information Centre? It's me again.

Recent conversation between me and a friend:

Friend: I take a nap in the afternoons.

Me: How do you manage that, with the kids?

Friend: I’ll put on a DVD for them, and they’ll sit there and watch.

Me: (Stunned silence)

You mean that they’ll actually stay there watching the TV and not go off and do anything else?

Friend: Yes…..

My point here is, I could never leave my children unattended, even with an activity, and trust them not to destroy something. They have a gift.

My children can be politely described as “high energy” kids, which really means they are Destructo-children. Turn your back for a minute, be prepared to find that they have covered their face and the mirror in shaving cream, smashed some bowls, made a poo mural or gotten into the cooking chocolate. Like mother, like kids I guess. The cooking chocolate, not the other stuff. I swear I don't have a complete set of ANYTHING in my kitchen cupboard anymore.

I know what you are thinking- supervise them, woman! I promise I do. It's on those rare occasions when I try to do housework, or think they are occupied and turn my back. The thing is, you can’t watch them every second. Especially not when there are three (all running in separate directions...)

You'd think you'd be safe with them strapped into their car seats, right? All you have to do is go inside and grab something you forgot and come right back. Imagine on returning to the car, you find the kids have put coins in the CD player slot- for the second time. And all while your precious New Moon soundtrack was inside, not even 2 weeks old! Sob!

A frequent occasion for mischief will be when I sit down to breast feed Sophia. Jack will take the opportunity to empty out all the clothes from his drawers, or scribble on the wall. And sometimes, I actually have to go the toilet- but as many of you Mums know, that in no way guarantees you a break.

Add to the list coming out of bed during the night to "paint" with hot pink nail polish on Grandma and Poppy's leather couch, or while I was on hold to Centrelink, scribbling with a black permanent marker all over my parents piano. I remember my horrified screaming response to that one.

Or even sneakier, they will go down for a nap, and when I’m convinced they’re asleep, I will try to sleep too. Big mistake. That’s when Jack does his best work. Once he managed to open up, and proceed to fall out of his bedroom window. Another time when Jack was meant to be sleeping, he snuck out of his room and into his sister's room, climbed up her shelves, and found a box on top with baby products including a bottle of Dettol, that he drank. Luckily he came and told me about the "spicy medicine" he found. That is not the only time I've had to call the Poisons Information centre.

DVDs have been snapped in half, bathrooms have been flooded, my make up brushes have been used for gardening. I do find it quite entertaining how they try and mimic Mummy and Daddy, with toothpaste hair gel and shaving. One of my personal favourites, although damn annoying to clean up, was when they confused sun cream with nappy rash cream. Gold.

I have learned a lot along the way. Now, there is a lock on the kitchen pantry, and one on the fridge. The kitchen cupboards have locks, as do their toy cupboards in the playroom. The DVD cupboard has a lock, anything dangerous to ingest is at the very top shelf in the locked pantry, and there is nothing in their bedroom aside from their beds. I have also given up even trying to have a nap EVER. The problem is, I had most of this baby-proof stuff before, and they know how to work around it. I am exhausted. Plan B= Stop reproducing?

Monday, May 31, 2010

I have nothing to wear....

It has been 5 months since I gave birth to my third child Sophia. I put on the most weight with her and am losing it very slow in fact the numbers on the scale are currently staying the same... So this creates a dilemma. On the one hand, I was fully prepared to be patient and wait it out, and then get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, some of which I bought just before getting pregnant and have never even worn (including a trenchcoat)! It seemed pointless to buy new clothes that I would hopefully only be wearing for a few months, until I was back to my regular size.

However, here I am, 5 months later, with 12 kg still to go. I think by the time I lose the weight it will be the wrong season to wear all those new clothes I never got to wear! And the clothes I am wearing now look really hideous. My jeans are all wrinkly and kind of baggy, most of my shirts don't comfortably fit over my bust, and my maternity clothes are too big. Plus, all of the shirts that I squeezed into while pregnant are now very stretched- so most of the time I look like a hobo. This bothers me.

Trying to get dressed up for church or to go out somewhere nice is the WORST. I can't just wear jeans and a top, I have to actually reach into my wardrobe and pull out a top and a bottom that vaguely match, or in which the styles work together. And chances are, my maternity bra made out of the most beautiful grandma-style lace you have ever been forced to wear, will be sticking out the top by about 3 cm. And shoes! Why buy shoes to go with certain styles of clothing when you have basically been pregnant for the last 5 years and stopped noticing clothes that aren't sack shaped?

Did I mention I am also poor. As if I'm going to spend money on clothes when I keep planning on losing weight, like any day now.

Please feel free to share your hints and secrets of dressing after pregnancy, because after three times I still haven't figured it out!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chocolate is always the answer

I am an extreme chocolate lover. And not in the all-women-love-chocolate way. I mean that I don’t see the point in eating junk food that isn’t chocolate, because why should I waste calories that would be better spent on chocolate? I bake chocolate desserts as stress management. My family now knows that if I warn them something is rich, then they should seriously reconsider a large serve. My Mum asked me to make a cake for a family members birthday, and followed with, ”But something edible.” I also quite enjoy the taste of chocolate dipped in melted chocolate…

There could potentially be several problems to accompany my craving for chocolate, but one I am often faced with is finding an appropriate hiding place for it. When my husband Dave and I had been married for a couple of weeks, I hid the chocolate at the very top of the cupboard. I forgot that as he is 6”4 that it was right in his eyeline. I have not made that mistake since! Now, however, the biggest culprits are my children.

I can’t really blame them, I guess it is just in their genetic makeup. Plus, I probably ate it all through my pregnancy, and the breast milk they had as infants was probably choc milk. Yet I must say I am often kind of impressed (and irritated) with their sneakiness.

When Jack was a small toddler, I had baked triple chocolate muffins and left them on the kitchen bench top while they cooled. While I was out of the room, to my annoyance, he stole SEVEN. When I confronted him, he said, ”But they’re so tasty.” He continued in this pattern of behaviour, as on another occasion, each muffin had a bite taken out of it. He couldn’t just destroy one?? No, he had to taste each of them.

He soon taught his sister Isabel to be his accomplice. I recall the times I would think, “It is really quiet- what are the kids up to?” I would go and find them, in the kitchen. Jack would be in the cupboard standing on a chair while Isabel would be by the cupboard as ‘lookout’. This did help them learn teamwork though.

More recently, I have found a trail of Ferrero Rocher wrappers on the ground and regretted leaving them on my study desk. If I have chocolate, I have learned to mask the sound of unwrapping the foil, and keep my mouth away from them so they can’t smell it on my breath.

Yesterday when Jack found my family block of Top Deck and ate nearly half, it suddenly occurred to me- what an excellent excuse to buy another block. And I have to say, with that cheeky smile he flashes when he’s been caught, as if to say “Oops! But lucky I’m cute!” he has probably earned what he stole anyway.

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