Monthly Archives: April 2014

Doing words for April

So I guess this is a bit of a cheat post… New at this whole blogging game, I find myself very good at writing blog posts in my head, not to good at making the time to get them down on paper (or its electronic equivalent).

Also I found my last post quite onerous to write (emotionally) and then I proof read it about 4 times as I wasn’t too sure it was exactly what I wanted to post- was it in-keeping enough with my other posts, was I just having a bad day and would look back at it and worry I was being too negative? Etc etc etc. So I thought something lighter and fluffier was in order.

I have discovered (and started following) a couple of new blogs recently and I must admit that while I find them entertaining and fun to read (and often quite inspiring in many ways) they do leave me feeling slightly inadequate as many of them add new posts daily, sometimes several times a day.

I must confess, I’ve been a little disappointed that in my blog’s shortish history I have so far received only ONE comment. (Not counting about a million spam messages- I never even knew blogs were spammable- but evidently they are. Very much so.) I’ve assumed a lack of comments means a lack of readers, (although surely I should be able to see how many people are visiting my site… Technoparesis strikes again.) I took a look back at my First Post, where I pondered why I decided to start a blog in the first place…. “I’m not doing this primarily to win readers, or earn money, or educate people”. It’s true, I’m not doing it to acquire a following or make a living (FYI those blogs that post daily are generally run by people who are blogging to make a living, which makes me feel slightly better about the paucity of my posts).

Anyway, to gain more readers you’re apparently supposed to post shorter posts more often, I suspect mine are a bit prosaic. Again, care factor- well, clearly not zero, but minimal. I can vouch for the fact that the more often a blog posts something, the more likely I am to keep following it (to a point, if they’re rubbish posts I lose interest).

And so as a bit of a filler while I created actual ones from my mental ones, here is a list of my present participles (or doing words) for April. (Sincere apologies for not crediting this to its original source, but I didn’t note it down and now I can’t find the blog I got the idea from in the first place. If they find out, maybe my second genuine comment will materialise, albeit an accusation of plagiarism.)

  • Admiring- Master L’s endless energy reserves
  • Bookmarking- Quilting & crafty sites
  • Buying- new winter wardrobe staples post last spring’s weight-loss and in anticipation of the NZ weather
  • Considering- buying a sewing machine
  • Cooking- healthier dinners this week after the excesses of Easter
  • Deciding- whether to go back to my old hairdresser one more time before we move
  • Drinking- Lipton Green Tea with Jasmine
  • Enjoying- my days off this week- no work and no kids
  • Feeling- Tired. Constantly.
  • Following- a link I saw on FB this morning- 4 scarves 16 ways– well, trying to!
  • Getting- frustrated with the dog’s constant stopping to sniff around this morning on our run
  • Hoping- for an uninterrupted and lengthy night’s sleep
  • Knowing- my sister needs to ditch her loser boyfriend
  • Liking- everyone’s comments on the photo I posted of our Year 7 high-school class play
  • Looking- for a new preschool, new swimming school, new nanny, new house!
  • Loving- everything about autumn in Sydney- cooler days, winter duvet, autumn leaves
  • Making- dinner out of what’s in the cupboard and freezer wherever possible
  • Marvelling- that Master L broke out into “You are my sunshine” unprompted on the way home. Word perfect. And I’ve never even sung it to him….
  • Needing- to pack for Friday’s trip to NZ
  • Noticing- how much I love my job- is this just because I’m leaving?
  • Opening- our Wiggle order that arrived this morning- new running stuff, yes!
  • Playing- outside more now that it’s cooler
  • Pondering- when best to try for baby number 3
  • Reading- Spot’s Fun Week. Over and over and over again
  • Smelling- of Estee Lauder Emerald Dream for the last time (I ran out this morning)
  • Thinking- of ways to use up the 5 different types of rice in the pantry before we move
  • Waiting- for someone to buy the stuff we have listed on Gumtree
  • Wanting- More sleep
  • Watching- Puberty Blues Season 2 (streamed from the internet as Mr L hates it)
  • Wearing- Layers (usually leggings, long singlet, t shirt)
  • Wishing- we didn’t have to leave our nanny & preschool
  • Wondering- how my “taking stock” session will go this week

A History Lesson

.. and I’ve seen it before

.. and I’ll see it again

.. yes I’ve seen it before

.. just little bits of history repeating

I’m turning into my parents.  Actually, make that past tense. I used to think this was something to be proud of but now, more and more, I feel as though I’m channeling the worst of each of them.

My father- short tempered, socially awkward, he’s a strange combination of obsessive compulsive and procrastinator/non-finisher extraordinaire. He seems unable to see projects through till the end (what he does, he does perfectly but doesn’t finish anything which makes all that perfection kind of pointless).

My mother- much more submissive although hardly short of an opinion herself, can be incredibly judgmental but just when you think it’s really time to stand up and say something- she doesn’t.

Both of them are fairly low energy but compensate for that with high-ish ambition, which means they’ve been reasonably successful I suppose, by conventional standards.  Neither one expresses emotion particularly well, in fact sometimes I wonder if they feel much emotion, but that’s probably a bit harsh. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to wear their heart on their sleeve the whole time, but sometimes the no-nonsense, unsentimental approach wears a little thin.

I was always conscious of the fact that I might be “turning into my mother” and it never really bothered me that much, whether that was because of denial or just resignation, I’m not quite sure. But since having children (more precisely, since Master L has become a toddler) I hear the worst lines from each of my parents coming out of my mouth. Like my father, I find myself letting relatively minor irritations take over my mood, instead of just putting them aside and getting on with the relatively straight-forward business of being cheerful. Worst of all, I look at my beautiful two year old boy with (I think) the same feelings of awe and wonder that my parents regarded me with but, like them, I struggle to say the words “I love you”.

Today was a particularly trying day for various reasons. It’s preschool holidays and Master L seems to be in the throes of the terrible twos and I found myself shouting at him before 7am and wishing the day over by mid-morning. At one point I thought “I only have to get through today and then I’m at work for the rest of the week” and then immediately thought “these are your children, what sort of attitude is that?!”. At several stages throughout the day I said to myself “right, deep breath, let’s change this and make today a happy day” and we did manage to end up better than we started (amazingly). But several things really struck me that, after a whole two and a half years of parenting, I do the same way my parents did and I’m really not happy about them:

  1. Losing my temper– when I think about my childhood and the relationship I had with my parents, I’d sum up the day-to-day interaction with my father as “treading on eggshells”. He was volatile, unpredictable and short-tempered. He would fly into a rage at the drop of a hat, he’d shout at us, he’d smack us (hard) and we seemed to live in the perpetual and fearful shadow of trying not to upset him. Don’t get me wrong, he was also loving, involved, affectionate and fun, but it was always a bit of an unknown. And when Dad was in a “bad mood”, you braced yourself for an unhappy day of lying low and jumping every time a door slammed. I now find my buttons being pushed too easily by Master L’s toddler whims, tantrums and inconsistencies. I shout at him all too easily, the frustration when he doesn’t do what I tell him (AGAIN) bubbles up inside me and the only way to vent it seems to be to shout at him or worse, smack him (which I have so far managed not to do apart from on a couple of occasions). I need to find a way to deal with this. Shouting at a two-year old achieves nothing. It doesn’t make him do what I want him to do and it just makes me more angry. One of two things will happen to him- either he’ll become wary and afraid of his volatile mother, as I was of my father, or he’ll become indifferent and ignore me completely.
  2. Distance– I mentioned my parents were low-energy. I am well aware of this and try not to be the same. To a point I’m successful. I will say, “Right, let’s go and do something” and get us out of the house to find some entertainment without too much effort. But when we’re at home, I lack the energy to keep going. I can’t play all day, constantly traipsing out to the cubby house, following Master L around, playing trains or dancing or getting down on my hands and knees to entertain him. I try not to, but I find myself thinking about my own agenda, tidying up, getting dinner, sending that email, checking my phone. Every now and then I do sit down with them, on the floor, and just do nothing, let them climb over me, read books, drink imaginary cups of tea, listen to Master L’s trucks go beeeeep beeeeep beeeeep….. But sometimes I just feel like I’m faking it. I remember trying to constantly cajole my Mum to “come and play, Mum!” but now I notice it when my parents interact with my kids. It’s not that they don’t try, they just don’t have the enthusiasm to pull it off convincingly. This is in stark contrast to Mr L and his parents, all high-energy people whose energy seems to know no bounds when it comes to pretty much anything- toddler-related or not.
  3. And then there’s emotional distance– if I remember my Dad as the volatile, unpredictable one, it was my Mum who we went to for comfort, for warmth, for love, it was Mum who was “the favourite”…. Yet I could tell you the two specific times she said “I love you” to me. And one was written down. And in fact, I think she said “We love you”, not “I love you”. It was about 8 months before I said “I love you” to Master L. And even then I felt stupid doing it. At 10 months, I don’t think I’ve said it to Miss L yet. And I have never said it to the kids in front of anyone else. I always envied friends who would end their phone conversations with their parents with “Love you, Mum!”. Not that saying it every single time you speak to someone is necessarily what I’d consider appropriate, but it’s better than never saying it at all! I’ve started to notice friends’ children (older than mine) saying “I love you” to their parents and I wonder when Master L will say it to me. Although, if I don’t say it to him, I figure I’ll be waiting a long time! For the last week or so I’ve tried to get into the habit of saying it when I put him to bed, and gradually it’s feeling less awkward…  I mean, seriously, how screwed up is that???

 

So on the positive side, I guess being aware of these things is surely part of the battle? I mean, I have insight, right?? Now all I need to do is figure out how to do something about it….