Friday, January 30, 2015

And just like that, off they went.

And, just like that, off they went. With hopes, and dreams, giant uniforms, and even bigger backpacks. 

Not a tear in sight. From any of us. Even me. 

They were ready. So ready. I'm not sure I was. Is any mama ever? But off they went. With smiles,  (drawn out) hugs, a wave, and a million "bye-bye mama, love you mamas". 

And afterwards, they greeted me with shining eyes, tales of wonder and learning, and "we had the bestest most fun day ever mummy!"

My darling boys, I am in awe of you.

Hame - you hilarious, kooky little boy. You march to the beat of your own drum. Hame-time is a new adjective in our house. You just want to make people laugh. And I adore you, my cuddly, squishy, darling, baby boy.

Roc, oh, my clever, artistic, sensitive soul. You are so diligent and hard-working. You are selfless and sacrifice your own needs to make others happy. Your kind heart is humbling. 

You are best mates. Twins. Brothers. Forever. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A big life change

Change is imminent.

It's exciting. Slightly overwhelming too, but full of promise and potential.

My babies start school in six months. My chest constricts when I think about it. I know they're ready; they're such eager learners, inquisitive, clever, creative and capable. They're ready. But am I?

In many ways, yes, of course I am. It's not like it's come out of the blue. I've had 4.5 years to prepare for it.

But no, no! I'm not ready. They are so little. They're tiny little dots who still wear size 2 clothes.  Next year is the first of 13 years of full-time schooling, the start of the reality that they'll spend more awake hours with peers and educators than with me. I hope I've prepared them well, instilled values and morals, taught them right from wrong, and how to practise gratitude.

We've spent a long time contemplating schools, and we are utterly smitten with one in particular. It's just right; small but perfectly formed.

We're still waiting to hear if they'll be offered places there, and we have everything crossed.

And if they do, then our lives will be changing. We will need to move, which means selling our beautiful home. This will hurt our hearts, but it offers exciting opportunities. We'll be moving to an inner-city urban area. Dense, populated, full of energy and verve.  We are urban people, so the thought of living smack bang in the middle of it is intoxicating.

We'll be moving back to where we bought our first home together, where we lived when we were newly married, before we moved to London, and to where we returned; before we started our family. We've always missed it, but for some reason, or another, thought we needed to move to do just that.

Funny how life brings you back to where you started.

Here's hoping.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The day I took the toys away

Parenting is many things, and one of those is 'tough'. Tough choices, tough decisions, and even tough love, sometimes.

My boys, unsurprisingly, are everything to me. They are wonderful, and kind, and funny, and clever, and joyous. They are spirited, and rambunctious, and precocious. Lately, though, the spiritedness has given way to outbursts, tantrums, demands, a lack of gratitude, a sense of entitlement, an expectation of more, more and more, and a host of other challenging behaviours.

The Day I Took The Toys Away began much like most days lately. Too early, and with a wail. Tuesdays are particularly fraught. It's the first day of kindy for the week, it's the only day of the week I have to be at my desk by 9am, and the 45 minute commute between the two makes it practically impossible on even the very best of days.

The breakfast battle was lost (or won, depending on which side you play for), and tearing them away from the TV to get dressed was becoming impossible. (Wow, I am actually shaking my head at precisely how many bad parenting decisions are even in that sentence - clearly, we were in need of some help).

Eventually, after far too much shouting, two reluctant and recalcitrant four year olds finally returned to their bedroom, which is where all hell broke loose.

Not content with the first, second or even fifth outfit chosen, one twin did everything within his stubborn power to remain firmly UNdressed. The second was screaming blue murder and quickly descended into the mother of all tantrums because - get this - his blanket was not on his bed in his precisely required location.

Trying to calmly explain that I was "going to be late for work. Again!!" only seemed to fuel the fire.

Chaos ensued. Actually, it was worse. It felt like the apocalypse.

So I did what I'm sure all mothers do at some point somewhere along the journey. I lost it. I became as stubborn, angry and emotional as they were. I slammed doors, yelled, swore, and cried.

They fought everything as though their lives depended on it, and I fought back. In my head, I was trying to assert some control and authority. In reality, I was doing exactly the opposite. I finally wrestled them into the car only to have somehow misplaced the keys. I howled (just like a four year old, funnily enough).

I phoned my mum who could barely understand me through the tears. I yelled some more and then all went quiet. My boys were pale and exhausted. They were silent the rest of the way to kindy and I was crushed by guilt. Crushed. I've never felt anything like it. I couldn't stop crying, and wanted to just hold them tight and never let them go.

By the time I eventually arrived at work, more than an hour (and one missed meeting) late, I had resolved to make a positive change. For all of us. No more shitty mama.

I had to face some hard truths about myself, too. I'm not as patient as I should be. Calm isn't the first word that comes to mind when you meet me. I am quick to laugh, quick to chat, quick to hug, quick to shout (and shriek). I am NOT a morning person. There are practical things I should have been doing to make mornings more pleasant.

In some ways, children are like an ugly mirror, don't you think? Every less than ideal personality trait that you've learned to moderate is mirrored back at you - raw and uncensored - in their behaviour. There's no denying some of the fault lies right here.

T and I exchanged emails and both agreed that something radical had to happen. Something swift and short and sharp to rudely interrupt the tempo that had slowly crept up and completely sideswiped us. We had had enough. Enough tears, enough tantrums, enough torture. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

So that's how it began - the day I took the toys away.

I left work early, went home, and calmly packed away all of the toys, the ipads, and the remote controls.

I took away all their toys.

Yes, all of them.

They are packed away; out of sight and out of reach.

I sat them down and talked to them about acceptable behaviours in our family and in our house. What we expect from them, from each other, and for each other. I explained how their recent behaviour had not been kind, or respectful, or fair.

I told them we had decided to take their toys away for a while because we wanted to spend time with each other rather than with things.  To us, it was clear that too many toys, too much tv (and ipad time) were the catalyst for meltdowns and bad behaviour.

They took it surprisingly well.

Two days later Hamish said to me "Mama, except for my Bid Wed Car and my snug and my Thomathes, I can't eben wemember my udder toys." Roc said, "I know mama, we can give our toys to the chrildren that don't have any toys."

If that's not a warning sign that they had too much stuff, I don't know what is.

Four weeks later, they have some of their toys back. The ones they love and play with often. The ones they learn from, stretch their imaginations with, enjoy. Wooden trains and track. Dress up costumes. Steering wheels. Lego. A cuddly teddy. A globe. The rest, I can only presume, have been forgotten. They haven't been asked for once.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

18/52: Instagram killed the blog

Between a broken lens, a photo program slower than I have the patience for, and instagram, this poor space has been very neglected.

So, after a long hiatus, here is 18/52.

Roc: bracing against the breeze after an impromptu dip in the river

Hame: there's nothing better than a bubble bath
Joining in with Jodi

Monday, March 10, 2014


"A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Hame. Way too late at night for this shizz, buster.
Roc. Obsessed with a phonetics app.
Today was a tough one. We all needed a little break.

Joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity

Thursday, February 20, 2014


We've come a long way on this journey to creating a calm home. Where we value space and time over stuff and being busy.

But it's an ongoing job. It's become a daily habit, in fact. Every day, something leaves this house. Usually more than one thing finds a new home.

There's no finish line, no "aha! we're done" moment. It's addictive though. These days, I fantasise about clearer spaces and a clearer mind. About getting rid of as much as possible. About - finally - properly dealing with our storage cupboards and garage.

With children, especially, there is stuff. So much stuff. I have no idea where it comes from; I can only assume it tiptoes in - under a cloak of darkness, a veil of silence - because I know we didn't buy it!

Despite stripping the house of all the boys' toys (that's a post for another day!), today, I look around and can't help but feel there is still so far to go, so instead I'm going to celebrate our progress so far.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


A portrait of my boys once a week, every week, in 2014"

The past couple of weeks have been a bit confronting, and I haven't been as present as I'd like. Too much time worrying about unknowns, and not enough time paying attention to the solid, concrete beauty beneath my feet and in front of my eyes.

So, from a very small pool of photos, these prove there were some moments of sunshine and silliness.

Hame. The family comedian. Always.
Roc. His giggle is infectious.
Entertaining themselves quietly in the morning sunshine while I watch unseen, from my bed. They knew I was unwell and kept themselves busy.