Reducing my carbon footprint: The period undies!

A few weeks ago I posted an article about the tampon tax, where I blasted our government for daring to continue to tax women for an uncontrollable bodily function. I was pretty scathing in the article, and ended up discussing different options to using pads or tampons, not out of any sense of suggestion but to highlight the lengths women would have to go through to not be taxed by the government. And although I was pretty critical, it actually did get me thinking about my carbon footprint, and what more I could be doing to reduce my own personal environmental footprint. So I thought, “Screw it, I’m going to get me some period undies!”

How to begin? Search the internet of course. I was quite dismayed at first then when I typed in “menstrual underwear” into my search engine, that the third top search result was a website for mens underwear.

tefiti

 

But not to be disheartened I continued my search. There were actually quite a few websites dedicated to this increasingly popular trend. Unfortunately all of them had one thing in common: the price. Most pairs of undies looked to set me back at least on average $30 each. Sigh. But as it was pay week I decided to go through with a purchase, telling myself that in the long run it would be worth it. Hopefully.

I settled on ModiBody, an Australian company where the price tag wasn’t too outrageous. The website described at least 6 various types of styles to choose from with varying levels of protection within each category. However, I immediately discovered how popular these undergarments must be, as when I went to purchase on my chosen pairs they were sold out. So I had to go with a slightly different style to what I was after, black and medium absorbency. $99 later (for 3 pairs. I know, ouch) I waited 3 weeks for them to arrive by mail, hoping against hope that they would fit me ok (internet measurements can be tricky at the best of times, and I’m also in denial about my waist size at the moment). Annoyingly, two things that I ordered from America on the same day still managed to get delivered to me at least a week ahead of my Sydney dispatched order.

tefiti

Finally receiving the package, I unwrapped them in great anticipation, inspecting them for quality and durability (and size). They fit well enough, and were just as comfortable as any other pair I own (and in some cases, more so). The lining was thick and reminded me of the cloth nappies I’d been using for Stormy those first two years of his life. But would they work?

New undies in hand, I merely had to wait for “P week” to arrive. Luckily my first day happened to be a weekend, so I didn’t have to deal with the stress of going to work and freaking out about having any unfortunate accidents. I did however still worry about the actual act of just bleeding into my underwear. Was I going to feel “wet” all day? Will it just stop working after a while and just run out the sides? What about the smell? Won’t I smell? But as the day progressed I started to feel better about it. Firstly, no there were no leaks. The underwear was quite absorbent and there was never any danger of it running out the sides. There was a slight wet feeling, but no more so than if I were just wearing a pad (I should probably note at the point that I have never in my life used a tampon. I just don’t like the idea of them and have been quite afraid of toxic shock syndrome, so I’ve just never bothered. Each to their own I suppose). Secondly, why would I smell any different? Even if I were wearing a pad, the blood is still just sitting in there. Ok so the difference is that you have the opportunity to change pads throughout the day, where I was aiming to just wear the same pair of undies the whole day through. But the absorbency of the lining (according to their website) is actually designed to eliminate odours, and did so quite well.

As the week went on I become more comfortable and confident. They were also convenient to wear on the last few straggling days, where I wasn’t getting a full period but just annoying discharge. The type of discharge that I would still need to waste wearing a pad for in order to not soil my undies.

It’s been two months now and both times I’ve felt that the underwear have done their job. I may not have got my money’s worth just yet (one pack of off brand pads cost me less than $20 and can usually last me for up to 3 months), but I’m happy to say it was money well spent. The price unfortunately may be the down side, putting most people off who just may not be able to afford to shell out that much in one month. Plus you really do need at least 3 pairs to get you through your cycle even if you’re going to do a wash in the middle.

On the down side is longevity. The website does states that the quality of the underwear can last anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Not quite long enough to be worth the money spent in my opinion. And when you’re done with them where do they go? Landfill again? I’m hoping there’s some sort of recycling exchange program in place.

One thing I also can’t attest for is the heaviness of a period. I’m lucky enough that after having my son, and with the use of the contraceptive pill, my endometriosis symptoms have calmed down quite a lot, and I no longer have massively heavy bleeds. Whether someone who bleeds extremely heavily would be game to try them I’m not sure. The website does have options to purchase undies specifically designed for heavy bleeders, but you would have to trust your own body I think on that one.

Would I recommend them? Sure, they’ve been good for me so far. Would I shame you if you didn’t try them? Of course not, and nobody every should! Do what you got to do. One thing I do know for sure though, I’m still not game to try the menstrual cup yet.

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The Parenting Paradox

There really isn’t anything like a good SMBC cartoon to give you a laugh.

SMBC

God damn Zach Weinersmith (if that is your real name) you definitely know exactly what it’s like.

Have you ever had those moments where you just question everything you’ve ever done? What am I saying, of course you have! This is your life now. Every second of every day I doubt myself, or question myself, or second guess myself. I call it the Parenting Paradox. The never ending questions I have about raising Stormaggedon, and how well I’m doing, circle around me at every moment. Do I give him enough attention? Am I providing enough physical contact so as to make him feel secure. Or am I hugging him too much, thereby taking away his sense of dependence. Do I do too much for him, or by giving him his freedoms will he develop anxiety? Is he watching too much TV, and will he develop ADHD from it? Am I helping him build a strong character by saying no when he wants to sleep in my bed, or am I contributing to his eventual abandonment issues? Should I praise him more or will that fill him with a sense of over achievement and entitlement? Am I raising him right, or am I just screwing up at every turn?!

Inevitably, my view of the future is of a son who never speaks to me, has either developed severe mental health issues or has turned into a psychopath, has dude-bro entitlement issues, and will think of no one but himself. And that’s even without the normal every day fears like “what happens if he starts taking drugs” or “he might choke on a grape and die!”.

Yes, I am a nervous wreck, and will frequently indulge in the “worst case scenario” game. Anyone else who is just in the slightest exactly like me will understand just how exhausting living our lives like this can be. But live this life we do. And as exhausting as it is, will still manage to function. We still manage to claw our way through the day, making mistakes, making up for them, getting terrifyingly mad at ourselves for the way we acted or behaved when dealing with our children, finding the courage to forgive ourselves, then doing it all again the next day, and every day, day after day, for years to come.

So it may come as no surprise that when I come across things like this on the internet that I get a little mad:

airport baby

And no, not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not judging this woman, but judging why this photo was taken and shared in the first place. This particular image was attached to an article, where the mother in the photo described having to defend herself to the world after the picture went viral, with a caption attached to it: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”- Albert Einstein.

At first glance you could say that it was normal to jump to the conclusion that she had no interest in her child and would have much rather been looking at her phone than looking after her baby. But take a moment to think about what the story behind the photo may be, and you realise not everything is as straight forward as it seems.

The photo was taken at Colorado airport in 2016 after a major computer malfunction. Hundreds of passengers were stranded. The women in this picture had been told at first her flight was delayed, then cancelled, then re-scheduled, then re-scheduled again, and so on and so on. In total she spent up to 20 hours at the airport, just sitting and waiting not receiving any help from anyone. She was alone and exhausted. She had been carrying her baby in her arms for hours. The baby was 2 months old, so how heavy do you think that would be? Six maybe seven kilos? I’m sure we all know what it’s like to carry a baby around for hours on end. What at first seems as light as a feather quickly turns into a lead weight as your arms begin to tire. So spare a thought for the exhausted mum who decided it would be a good idea just to let her baby stretch out on the ground as she texted her family to let them know what was going on. In the meantime some creep decided to invade her privacy and the privacy of her child by taking a picture of them without her permission, then splashes it all over the internet for the world to see with some stupid high-and-mighty quote THAT EINSTEIN NEVER EVEN SAID!

Holy crap it is exhausting being a parent. Not only do you have all those doubting, nagging thoughts of your own to contend with, but now you have to be on your guard every second of every day just in case some jackass with a smart phone decides to record you at your worst possible moments. Did this person even think for one second “Maybe I should go over there and see if she needs or wants help”? Obviously not. It was far easier for them to just take a picture and smugly post about how “this generation today doesn’t know how to interact with each other thanks to technology”, doing so ironically with their smart phone and social media platform.

You know how a picture can paint a thousand words? Perhaps try to remember that the next time you see the split second snapshot of a moment, you should think about what the story behind it is first before jumping to conclusions.

 

Just Say Yes

Three simple words. Just say yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Just three little letters. Say it in your head. Yes. Now say it out loud. Yes. Sounds good doesn’t it. Yes. Kind of makes you feel great. Yes. Saying yes can lead to nice things.

Can I have an ice cream? Yes.

Can I have the day off? Yes.

Can I go see that movie? Yes.

Already you feel like you’re having a great day, right?

Now let’s look at it from another point of view, what happens if you start to say no every time.

Can I have an ice cream? No.

Can I have the day off? No.

Can I go see that movie? No.

You’re feeling kind of shitty now aren’t you. Like saying no is taking away all your fun. Like someone else gets to dictate to you how you spend your time or live your life. Doesn’t feel great does it.

Will you marry me? Yes!

Will our country allow us to get married? No.

Ah-ha! We’ve reached the true meaning behind that cleverly disguised opening paragraph! Well played Truthmummy, well played.

You’ve probably guessed it, but I am a Yes voter. I have in fact already voted yes, and my vote is well on its way to the ABS headquarters. That is if no one has opened my vote and thrown it away! (Before we go any further, FYI, no one at Australia Post is doing that. Not only are voter fraud and mail tampering two extremely serious criminal offences, but I’m pretty sure Australia Post have policy and procedures, and checks and balances in place to prevent such a thing from happening. So seriously, don’t even let this ridiculous conspiracy cross your mind.)

But what you may not have guessed was that many years ago I would have been a no voter. Growing up Catholic, it’s no surprise that I was exposed to the argument that being gay was somehow “against God’s plan”. So for longer that I would care to admit, I too believed that there was something inherently “wrong” or “unnatural” about wanting to be with someone of the same sex. However, after a time I just grew up and changed my mind. I read things, I listened to people, and formed very close friendships with people who identified as queer. I saw love. True, beautiful, natural, normal love that shouldn’t require a label, and shouldn’t need the approval of others. 

I’ve said previously about how it’s important to accept that as adults we grow and mature, and therefore can and should form new and different opinions. Just because you believed something when you were 13 does not dictate that you should still believe in it when you turn 30. Otherwise we’d all still believe in Santa Claus.

And that’s why I decided to write this. Because I’m not just preaching to the choir, or yelling into my bubble, or screaming into the void. If I was able to change my mind years ago, maybe it’s not too late for others to change theirs. So please read to the end, and if you do I promise there will be cookies!*

*ok, not really, I can’t back that up.

So far I’ve seen a lot of craziness from both sides of the debate, but I’d specifically like to address the (mostly insane) main arguments with some of my own answers.

“It’s just a piece of paper!”

If it’s just a piece of paper, then what’s the big deal then? Why do some people get to have “just a piece of paper” and others don’t? Are you scared their piece of paper is going to look prettier than yours? Are you jealous that yours is just on plain paper and theirs is going to be covered in rainbows and glitter? Because you know that’s exactly what’s going to happen as soon as SSM is legalised. Births, Deaths and Marriages will release a limited edition marriage certificate, and you won’t be able to get one!…Oh my God, I just worked out what the Gay Agenda is!

“We don’t need to amend the marriage act. We just need to strengthen the laws surrounding de facto relationships.”

So what you’re saying is you’d rather strengthen the rights of straight people who can’t be bothered to get married over the rights of gay people who we’re not allowing to get married? Uh huh.

“If we let gay people marry, what will that lead to next? Siblings? Animals? Children? Objects? The world will go mad!”

Oh boy, where to start? Firstly, no, the world will not go mad. Not withstanding the precedent set by every other country that has legalised gay marriage where NONE of these things have happened, but that all of these suggestions are in fact illegal. Being gay is not.

“But being gay USED to be illegal.”

Look, I don’t really know anything about the history of the decriminalisation of homosexuality nor anything about the legal precedents of such a thing. All that I do know is that a bunch of people got together and decided, “Actually, two people who love each other regardless of their gender isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe we need to change the law”. And so we did. Not that hard was it?

“But it could lead to paedophilia being legalised!”

NO IT WON’T, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!? Sorry for yelling, but there is literally no sane argument to counter that kind of ridiculous statement.

“I don’t know, if we legalise SSM, maybe we’ll start to feel comfortable in accepting these other types of relationships as well”

Sigh, ok, let’s talk about these “relationships”. Firstly to define a relationship you need what is called CONSENT. Without CONSENT it’s not a relationship. Take children for example. Children by the very definition of what a child is under the law cannot consent. They cannot sign documents. They cannot make legal decisions (like vote for example). That will never change. Animals are the same, they cannot consent. Anyone who wants to argue this by pointing out that parrots can talk and some monkeys can use sign language, seriously what’s wrong with you? Objects cannot consent. They’re objects. No, no just don’t go there. No.

“Ha! What about siblings. They can consent! We could be living in an incestuous nightmare!”

Sorry to break this to you, but have you actually read the Marriage Act 1961? Section 23(2) states:

(2) Marriages of parties within a prohibited relationship are marriages

(a) between a person and an ancestor or descendant of the person; or

(b) between a brother and a sister (whether of the whole blood or the half-blood)

Basically this means that you can’t marry someone by direct decent. What it DOESN’T say is anything about relations through non-decent. Meaning you could marry your first cousin if you so desired. (Why would we want to marry our cousins? Because they’re beautiful!) But it doesn’t stop there. Aunts and nephews, and uncles and nieces can marry under our current law. Can anyone imagine going up to their mum and being like “You know I really dig Uncle John. So guess what? I’m going to be your Daughter-Sister!” Ew, ew, fucking ew. But it’s legal!

“I got a text message from the Yes side telling me to vote yes. My privacy has been so invaded!”

Unlike the privacy of those who the entire country has been asked to vote on whether they should be allowed to get married? By the way, if you’ve ever done one of those Facebook surveys about what Disney Princess/Harry Potter house/Game of Thrones Sex position are you, played an online game app, or ever signed up to a loyalty card, then guess what? Your privacy isn’t so private.

“A child needs a mother and a father!”

This argument is frankly a slap in the face of any person who is already the product of a same sex relationship. Let’s not forget that gay couples can still have children through surrogacy or adoption. Changing the marriage act isn’t going to affect that, but merely strengthen the rights of those families. It is also a slap in the face of any person who was raised by a single parent. And it is most definitely a slap in the face of any person who grew up in a troubled or broken household where one or both of their parents were abusive, but stayed together out of some sense of obligation.

“Won’t somebody think of the children!”

Yes, why won’t somebody think of the children? The children who are currently copping abuse from people who are bullying them for being gay. The children who are being physically attacked for being trans. The children whose government is telling them that their parents aren’t allowed to get married. The children who don’t feel safe to walk the streets. The children who can’t look at social media or anything on the internet because they come face to face with the violent vitriol of people disrespecting their lives. The children who are so depressed, or despise themselves so much that they feel the only way out is it end their lives. You’re right, why WON’T we think of these children?

“I don’t feel safe giving my opinion because when I tell people I’m voting no they’re really mean to me!”

Oh no, people are bullying you for your opinions and lifestyle choices, and you don’t feel safe!? Really, I can’t IMAGINE how that must feel!

Alright so a lot of my commentary may seem a little derisive. It’s hard not to be when I keep seeing these ridiculous lines of attack on people. And that’s exactly what they are: attacks. This isn’t a respectful debate. To debate something, you should have equal weight to both arguments. When one side has spent years holding most of the power, dictating laws, turning their backs on people suffering, and allowing people to feel somehow inferior to the rest of us, then you’re not debating. You’re dictating. You’re dictating to people that they’re not worthy as the same rights as the rest of us.

Everything that I’ve seen advertised on TV so far from the No side seems to be various scare tactics: our children won’t know what gender they are, it’ll destroy the sanctity of marriage, the church will lose their religious freedom, where will this all possibly lead to? Is it time to crack open each other’s skulls and feast on the goo inside? (Ok, probably not that last one).

All I’ve seen from the Yes side is one simple statement: Let’s allow gay people to get married.

So let’s do that. Let gay people get married. Vote yes. It’s the right thing to do.

 

Expectations vs Reality

Why do we have expectations? Why do we put that pressure on ourselves? It’s silly really, thinking that something will turn out one way, or work a particular way, and decide that NO OTHER WAY IS AT ALL POSSIBLE. That’s a very silly way of living life. Especially living life with a toddler.

Take for example my well intentioned idea of trying to keep my house neat and ordered.

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See those beautiful shelves. Each with its own darling little toy box. Each toy box filled with a specific grouping of toys. One holds the wooden toys. One holds all the cars and trucks and trains. One holds the stuffed animals. I was well into that idea of minimalistic play. Your child will focus and play with one or two things at a time. An ordered mind, free from chaos. It will help them to develop patience, fine motor skills, focus, a quieter and more thoughtful attitude, and the ability to have a larger and longer attention span.

Now look at my well intentioned idea.

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 That was taken the first day after the shelves were put in place, so rather it was just a reaction. More than likely Stormaggedon probably just thought “Oo, what are those? I’m going to pull everything out because I can!” It’s not that bad anymore. But now those boxes are no longer sorted. Usually it’s just “Let’s take this off the floor and shove it somewhere out of sight”. Perhaps one day I’ll go back to ordering it again. Perhaps not.

So silly me thought I could try again a little while later with a children’s table.

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Look at it. Pristine. Simple. Beautiful. I thought, “He can eat his food here from now on and feel like a big person. Perhaps that will help with his fussiness” (lol, see previous post “Dinner. Again. Why”). And then I thought “He will sit here quietly for craft time, creating lovely pictures, using pencils and crowns, and sometimes paint! Maybe even use his playdough”


Hahahahahaha! You idiot.

Ok, admittedly the table got better use after time, and he does eat there, and he does do his creative craft there. That’s fine.

Yet, I keep having these expectations on how life will be and get completely floored by reactions I did not expect.

We recently took a trip to Townsville to visit my in-laws. It was Stormaggedon’s first plane ride. Leading up to the trip, my first and only worry was how he would be on the flight. We planned to not hang around the airport for too long, we came equipped with an iPad loaded with movies that he could sit and watch. We packed some of his favourite toys and books, and prayed he wouldn’t ask for others once we got to the other end. We brought water and snacks and hoped his ears wouldn’t bother him. I hoped against hope that he wouldn’t get motion sick. Finally the day arrived. He was a little troublesome having to line up and wait for boarding (honestly what’s the point of flying with a small child if the airline decided to not bother with “Any families travelling with small children can now board first”). But once we were on board, he loved it. He loved taking off. He loved sitting next to the window seat. He loved the flight. He loved being able to just watch his movie on his iPad. Everything was perfect, it couldn’t have gone better. Then we got to his grandparent’s house, and something happened that I completed did not expect or plan for. He wanted to go home. Immediately. “Can we go now?” was the question we were faced with for two days straight. “We have to go home now!”

“I want to go home now!”

“I don’t want to be here anymore!”

Oh god, we planned to be here for 5 days. What have we done?! Two and a half days later of tantrums and tears he finally settled in. But I still laugh about it, a month later, thinking that we never even planned for what would happen if he didn’t want to be there when we got there. Suddenly that trip to New Zealand I’m planning for the beginning of next year doesn’t look so wonderful after all.

My advice: never expect anything. The reality will always be the opposite. You live in topsy-turvy land now. Just go with the flow, and try not to spend too much time colour coding your toys.

 

Down with the Tampon Tax

I know that this discussion is a little after the fact, but I’ve been sitting on a number of articles for a while now and feel like I need to go back to this one for a bit of re-examination. For those who missed it in June this year the senate voted against amending the GST which proposed to remove the tax from feminine sanitary items such as tampons and pads. This obviously angered quite a lot of people, considering there is no GST applied to things such as condoms, lubricants, and incontinence pads. The backlash of this decision involved a large section of the population accusing the gentry that runs our government of purposefully taxing women for something out of their control. I myself agreed that this was deliberate discrimination against people with uteruses (uteri?).

But being me, I didn’t really participate in many conversations about it, as I don’t particularly like to comment on controversial issues (says the women with her own opinionated blog). However, I couldn’t go past one particular thread on a friend’s page on Facebook discussing the argument. The post highlighted that the choice to use disposable one-use-only items were in fact a luxury, and that there are more environmentally friendly options out there that we should be actively embracing. Most responses to this idea, including my own, were people reacting with “You’re just claiming women are acting entitled” to “So we’re just ruining the environment now”.

So I decided to look at the argument with those two points in mind. One being that women are acting entitled about being taxed on items that the government have deemed luxury. The second that women are just not being conscientious enough about protecting the environment better. As a parent, and a mother specifically, I’m sure you’re all familiar with that never-ending guilt about everything we do, and every decision we make. Piling on “Don’t forget about the environment” is just another layer of guilt we deal with on a daily basis. The many kilometres we drive chewing up petrol to take our precious cargo to this event, or that play date, or that sporting thing, or this dance recital, because screw having to use public transport to do that shit. The many, many disposable nappies we used going off to landfill to pollute the earth for thousands of years because we’re just far too lazy and inconsiderate to bother with cloth nappies. The pre-packed foods and snacks covered with three different types of plastic that will eventually end up in the ocean choking all the turtles to death, because we’re far too busy and important to bother cooking all of our food from scratch. We’ve all been there right.

As for the acting entitled part of the argument, I know that women used to make their own “rags”. With the invention of the tampon and sanitary pad, suddenly our lives became so much easier. It was wonderful. And now we’re acting entitled? When did this opinion creep in? Is this how the debate was handled on the parliament floor? With mostly men debating the issue, did they just decide that we’re being too entitled and not environmentally conscious enough? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got, and ended up formulating the following response, which should be read in the context as being directed to our lovely parliamentarians (note: it has been edited slightly to remove personal references, and to make more contextual sense).

First, where I am supposed to get these reusable sanitary pads from? Because for someone who has been menstruating for more than 20 years (holy crap, I never thought about it in those terms before), I really don’t ever recall seeing these products readily for sale. Is there an aisle in Big W or Kmart? Does Coles stock them next to the Libra products? If you know where I can get them, please direct me to them, I’ll be all for it. However if they’re NOT readily available are you perhaps suggesting I make them myself? Ok, sure, I get that women “back in the old days” used to do that all the time. How many should I make? What fabric should I use, because I’m assuming absorbency will be a factor? Let’s say I need to change 5 times a day on average for 5 days. That’s 25 right? As a mother, and almost full time worker I have to do all the things important in raising a human, cooking, cleaning, going to work, then attempting to be at least a little social, and at the end of the day still pay my husband some attention. When should I be making these items? With what time exactly? Oh, yes I can hear you say that plenty of other women find the time to make clothes from scratch. You should see the women in my playgroup, they’re amazing! But forgive me for not meeting the standard of “Stuff I should be able to do” with the time available to me.

Moving away from actually making these items, how do you suggest I clean them? Should I just throw them in the wash with the regular clothes? Would you find it appealing that my used cloths are swirling around with your crisp white business shirts? Or even just your regular clothes. Clothes you’d probably prefer to not have blood stains on. If not, should I just do a separate wash for them? Forgive me, but an entire wash cycle for 25 pieces of cloth seems a bit much. You know wasting all that water, putting more strain on the environment. The environment I’ve been destroying each month with my disposable waste right? To save on water maybe I should wash them by hand in the laundry sink instead? Scrub them to get all that blood off. By the way, do you have any idea how hard blood is to get out of fabric? Have you ever had to try and do that? Are you in Fight Club? I know you’re not supposed to talk about it, but if you are I assume you would know. But if you haven’t found your local fight club yet, I’m going to assume you have no idea. Also, do you have any idea how different period blood is to say, blood that comes from a cut on the arm. Have you heard of endometrial lining? Do you know how dark and sticky that is? Have you heard of endometriosis, the fertility disease? It’s what I have. It’s shit. Did you know that period blood for someone with endometriosis is very much like a new born baby’s meconium? It’s black and sticky and painful to pass (that’s right, the cervix is SUCH a lovely thing). I guess I can just scrub that all off by hand right? Did I mention before how I was time poor?

But ok, there are other products out there like the menstrual cup. So I’m just supposed to walk out of the cubical at work and clean it out in the sink, in front of other colleagues who may happen to come in at the time. Oh, I should be more embracing of my period and we just need to be accepting of it and not treat it as some dirty taboo subject. Oh, ok I’ll just go back and erase 20 years of social conditioning then. Or what about when I’m out at the shops with my son. Stormaggedon opened the cubical door on me the other week when I was trying to go to the toilet. I cried out to him to wait and shut the door. In turn, he chucked a tantrum right there on the public bathroom floor. And now I’m supposed to deal with that with a cup full of blood in my hands. Fine, maybe not the cup then. Hey, what about those amazing period pants. How great are they? Oh wait, they cost $30 a pair. Sure, perhaps I could afford to get a few. But I’m slightly more well off than the average person, so it’s not really realistic option for quite a large number of women I know.

Now let’s say that I do decide to choose one of the above options. Am I still going to be charged GST for them, or will you finally let me off the hook? Because in the end I shouldn’t have to jump through all those hoops to avoid a tax placed on me just because I have a vagina.

And lastly, landfill. Do you have any idea how much anxiety I suffer over the environment? Constantly. I have started having panic attacks, something I have never suffered from before, because I’m horrified about landfill, the destruction of our environment, and global warming. Telling women we’re just contributing to this landfill because we haven’t made more of an effort is just plain horrible.

So I have a suggestion. All the men who have female partners, raise your hand. Now keep your hand up if you’re willing to do the following: Help your partner make and sew her own menstrual cloths. Be ok with said menstrual cloths being placed in the wash with the regular clothes, or be happy to help your partner scrub them by hand every month. Or help your partner to clean and sanitise her menstrual cups. And most especially help change attitudes at work and social situations if women have little accidents where things get stained because said precautions weren’t as effective as they hoped they would be. Stop treating periods as taboo, something that is considered dirty, or needs to be hidden. Stop shaming women for their natural bodily functions. Still got your hands raised? Good, now we can talk about whether the tax can stay.

 

And today I hate myself.

This post will not be funny or witty. It will not contain hilarious references and, apart from the naming convention of Stormaggedon for my son, will not in any way link back to Doctor Who. I am too tired and angry for such things. This week I have once again slid into the mire of hopelessness when it comes to my parenting ability. I have screamed and yelled and generally been fed up. Telling myself over and over again that I am the only one doing this, that everyone around me is coping, and that I am a failure. Why should I try? Why should I even bother? I keep reading these, what I’m hoping are, over embellished articles from celebrity mums cooing about how their children are their world. One particular article describes how bub climbs into bed with mum and dad every night at 3am and they “wake up laughing every morning”. Really? Do you really? How? Please literally tell me how. Because when I go to bed, I want that bed to be my sanctuary from the world, for me, for sleep, and for the occasional sex I get to have with my husband when I’m not too overwhelmed from the previous events of the day. How exactly am I able to achieve any of that with a toddler in the bed? I read these articles and once again feel hopeless, that somehow I’m doing something wrong. That I’m not appreciating what I have nearly enough. Perhaps I should just love harder? Squeeze every ounce of love out of me to elicit some sort of reaction, only to be faced with nothing. Only to be left feeling empty and alone. Perhaps I should start from the beginning.

It started innocently enough. Stormy was eating breakfast, then sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose was dropping some of his cereal on the floor. Today I decided “Stormaggedon needs to learn some responsibility, he needs to understand that I’m not going to clean up his mess every time he makes one. I’m going to ask him to clean this up”.

Me sitting there ever so proud of myself for what a responsible parent I’m being. There I am about to take the first step into teaching my son some further life skills, I could already feel the figurative pats on the back. Stormy had other ideas however. Mainly to completely look through me when I asked him to clean up his mess and wander off towards the living room to where his toys were. Stormy had just had his third birthday and received the entire collection of Marvel Avengers characters (well I say entire, I really mean four of them – Hulk, Ironman, War Machine and Captain America). In hindsight he was probably just excited to play with them.

So I started out calmly at first.

“Stormy, please come and clean up the mess in the dining room”. No response.

I repeated myself numerous times, “You can play with your toys in a minute”.

“This will only take a second”.

“There’s only three pieces of cereal on the floor. Just three. You’ll be done in no time”

By now he’s completely turned his back on me, and even simply stated “No”.

I try a sterner tactic, “Come on now, you need to clean up after yourself”.

“Stormy, I will take the toys away”.

“I’m serious, I will take the toys away until you clean it up”.

“Come pick up your cereal!”

By this point he still hasn’t budged, so away the toys go, placed in a box in another room, to much loud protesting.

“Well you can get them back once you clean up your mess!” My voice is definitely raised now. Stormy has started crying and yelling back at me that he won’t clean up his mess, “…because I don’t want to!”

I express to him that he won’t get his Avengers back until he does. The clever little so and so announces to me that he didn’t like his Avengers anyway, and starts playing with different toys instead. By this point I’m quite angry, and start yelling that I will take all of his toys away until he cleans the cereal off the floor. Away the toys go, chucked into the same box of the Avengers. Stormy is now jumping up and down screaming at me.

I’ve had enough, and drag him back to the dining room, I point to the floor and almost scream, “Pick it up, that’s all you have to do! Pick it up and put it on the table or in your bowl! You make the mess you clean it up, simple as that!”

By now Stormy has had enough and begins to shove me, screaming at me, “You have to go! You have to go now. Go away and don’t come back! I don’t like you!”

That’s when I snap. I throw my hand up in the air and just let loose, “FINE THEN, MUMMY WILL GO BACK TO WORK FULL TIME, SO THAT WAY I WON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH YOU ANYMORE!”

I turn on my heel and storm up the stairs, slamming the child proof gate behind me. I can hear Stormy run over the couch bawling his eyes out. I throw myself down on the bed in a similar fashion.

“You are the worst parent, the worse person ever! What is wrong with you? What is wrong!?” I say to myself through streaming tears. Stormy has stopped crying, no doubt because he is vigorously sucking his thumb, as he does often for comfort.

“That’s right, such your thumb. Just like a baby. Another thing I’m failing at. Go on, make your teeth all crooked and not be able to talk properly when you’re older. Prove to everyone what a failure I am at parenting you” I say to myself. I keep hearing all the nagging voices of “well meaning” friends and acquaintances telling me all the things he does wrong and how it will affect him growing up. “He’ll get bullied, he’ll have no friends, people will think he’s weird, he’ll never grow out of it if you don’t stop him now, you want him to be independent right?”

Around and around it goes. I am the worst I am the worst I am the worst.

 

Twenty minutes go by. The house seems still. I draw in my breath and let it out in one long hiss to attempt to calm myself and plod back downstairs. There’s Stormy lying on the couch, just staring at the ceiling. He looks over at me and says sweetly, “Mummy are you not angry anymore?”

Calmly, I reply measuredly back, “I will no longer be angry if you come over here and clean up your mess”.

Stormy practically leaps into action, grabbing each piece of cereal and rushes over to the bin. He looks at me and practically beams. I grab him and hug him tight, telling him thank you, that wasn’t so hard and that I love him. We sit on the couch and read stories. He snuggles into me crooning “Aww Mummy!”

I sit back and smile, but think to myself, “You have just emotionally blackmailed him into doing your bidding. You are a terrible, terrible person. What. The fuck. Is wrong with you?”

I hate myself for the rest of the day and continue to hate myself.

 

My problem is my worst fear is Stormy will grow up to hate and resent me. I’ve known too many older women through work and extra-curricular activities that tell me their sons hate them, and they hate them back. Good riddance to the little scumbags they would say. It kills me deep inside to know there are people that feel that way about their children. What if the same thing happens with me and Stormy? I feel that I react in such a way because I am already there, living out that possible life 20-30 years in the future, and I’m expressing those feelings now.

“Why bother trying when this is the inevitable outcome?” I think to myself. I’m so scared of it happening, yet I think I’m just participating in a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wake up and tell myself every morning that I’m going to stay calm and happy and not yell, and almost every day I fail at that expectation. By bedtime I’m so fed up with having to put up with his tantrums and attitudes that I’m glad to see him off to bed. For those few small hours I have to myself before my own bedtime I can finally be happy. Then I creep into his room to check on him before I go to sleep myself and I look at how beautiful and peaceful he is, and I hate myself even further for failing him as a mother. I continue to hate myself when I fall asleep. It’s no wonder I have no energy when I get up again the next day.

 

Why can’t there be detox or rehab for parenting? Somewhere to go and learn how to be a good mum again. Maybe a week long spa to relax and rejuvenate yourself. But there’s nothing. There’s just day after day of trying and trying again. Your childless friends will tell you to just be grateful, and your parent friends will try and sympathise, attempting to cull your anxieties by explaining that they’ve gone through the same thing. Yet you remain unconvinced, longing over the photos of happy times splashed all over Facebook by your many friends. You look at those faces and can’t possibly believe that anyone is as bad or worse than you. So you remind yourself that the internet is merely a lie. And you write this blog not for you, but for the others out there are doing exactly the same thing, and beating themselves up with thoughts of worthlessness and hatred. So to those people I say, you are not alone. Perhaps, like me, you feel alone, but remember you’re not. Chin up, tomorrow is another day. And perhaps tomorrow I will finally make it through without the yelling. Hopefully.

Coping with tantrums

It’s not an unfamiliar scene. You’re walking through the shops and you see some poor parent unable to cope with the epic meltdown of their child which of course just so happens to be in the most public part possible of the shop.

You cringe a little and give them a knowing awkward smile. “Yeah, I feel you. I hope you’re ok” the smile says. Then you walk off secretly shaking your head thinking “Pfft, how can they let their child behave like that.” Yeah, let. LET. Ha!

Then of course you get home only to be met with screams from your own child and you dreadfully remember “Oh yeah…”

Tantrums are the absolute worst, so I’ve come up with a few methods on how to cope.

Let’s go through some of the methods I’ve tried:

The Distraction technique: This one actually works quite well, but only if you hit them with it before a tantrum takes off. Example:

Me: “No you can’t just have biscuits for breakfast”.

Stormy: “But I WANT biscuits for-“.

Me: (picks up banana and says quite loudly and quickly) “Hey, the Hulk really wants to eat this banana! Would you like a banana!? Then you can be like the Hulk!”.

Stormy: “Huh. Hulk eats bananas!?” Problem solved.

The Calm technique: Stay calm. Very calm. Use a calm and soothing voice. Don’t raise your voice. You’re not a yelling person. Be matter of fact. Be simply. Be clear. Do not resort to yelling. Yelling only reinforces bad behaviour and does nothing to correct it.

The Yelling technique: Bah, the calm technique is stupid. Who doesn’t like having a good yell? Your child might be throwing something they shouldn’t after you’ve told them three times not to. Now you raise your voice and start yelling at them about what they did was wrong, and that they’re being naughty or bad. Usually ends with them just screaming back at you how they want to be bad, because they are a bad boy. Example. Stormy: “I WANT to be bad, because I AM a bad BAD boy!!!” Helpful tip, try not to laugh.

The Over Nurturing technique: They’ve done something naughty so you attempt to shower them with love instead to make them feel overwhelmed with security and comfort. Grab them and hug them tight, and whisper to them calmly and clearly what they did was wrong and why it wasn’t acceptable, and how they should act appropriately in the future, but most importantly that you still love them. This technique is usually used after the Yelling technique because you feel like you’re the world’s worst person.

The Pleading technique: Tends to be used after you’ve tried a combination of the first few and you’re at your wits end, or just getting plain desperate. Mostly used in public. “Please darling, other people are judging Mummy!”

The Bribery technique: Is usually used hand in hand with the pleading technique. “If you promise to be good I’ll let you have ice cream for dinner.” Hey, it’s not like they were going to eat dinner anyway.

The I’ll go away forever! technique: Your child is usually the one to start this argument with the screamed remark of “YOU HAVE TO GO NOW!”. My usual response: “That’s fine, I’ll go away forever then. Would you like that?”….yeah, I’m a terrible, terrible person.

The Do Nothing technique: Literally exactly that. Because 9 times out of 10, everything you’ve tried never ever works, and you just have to ride it out like a storm. So sit back, go quiet, ignore and do nothing to acknowledge your child and eventually they’ll just scream themselves out. Tends to be most effective if you’re at home, and you have a child gate on the kitchen, where you can stand with a cup of tea whilst hiding behind the pantry door.

So have I missed any? What techniques have you tried? What worked? Did any work? Seriously, I’m asking HAS ANYTHING ANYONE EVER TRIED WORKED!?

Discipline

The smell of rebellion. The stench of revolt. The reek of insubordination. The whiff of resistance. The pong of dissent. The funk of mutiny in action! Discipline discipline for children who aren’t listening for midgets who are fidgeting and whispering in history their chattering and chittering their nattering and twittering is tempered with the smattering of discipline!

Wait, wait, wait, wait. Sorry… they’re just the lyrics of The Smell of Rebellion from the musical Matilda (which by the way if you haven’t yet seen or heard, then you need to get on it now because it is AMAZING!). Ok, so I seem to be cheating on my word count there a little. Let me take a second to compose myself- MINCHIN IS A GENIUS! ….ahem.

Stormaggedon turns 3 next month, so we’ve well and truly entered the discipline phase of his journey to becoming a functioning person. I mean obviously he’s been disciplined before, in small ways, and I’ve always pulled him up on any unacceptable behaviour from quite early on. But it’s only now that he’s truly starting to comprehend action and consequences, and the correlation between the two.

Sooooo, anyone got any ideas? Because, holy crap nothing works! I keep thinking of me from about 10 years ago, let’s call her Bitchy-Judgemental-Doesn’t-Know-Anything-About-Anything Face, where I would watch parents in public with their children and think to myself “Why don’t they do X with their child. That should totally solve the problem”. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa! I know, what an idiot!

Ok, I’ll admit that there were a lot of opinions that I held when I was younger about parenting children that I do still hold today, and I have managed to put a lot of those opinions into practise. And I’ll admit, some worked and some didn’t. And so some of my opinions changed. That’s called growing. I’ve spoken before about how opinions you’ve held in the past don’t necessarily have to be the same opinions you have today. You have the right to change your mind. But let’s start with the fact that yes, I still believe that a number of parents out there are either unwilling or unable to discipline their children. There does seem to be a bit of entitlement going on. Those stupid Marvel Discs from Woolworths for example. How many parents did we see writing angry letters to Woolworths claiming how upset their children were because they couldn’t collect all the discs because they “deliberately” made some of them rare. How outraged they were that their poor precious children couldn’t cope with the fact that their collection will now be incomplete, and as such they will DEFINITELY boycott Woolworths FOREVER!

Sigh, first of all, no you won’t. That’s just silly. If you’re going to boycott Woolworths, at least make it for a valid reason. Like the fact they keep calling themselves the “Fresh food people”, and yet every time you buy a capsicum from them, and cut into it THE SAME DAY, it’s always furry and mouldy on the inside! (breath in red, breath out pink, breach in red, breath out pink) Secondly, maybe try the old tried and true method of “There are children starving in Africa, you can live without the Black Panther disc”. Blaming Woolworths is not going to solve the problem of poor behaviour, and in my opinion will only enforce it.

However, I’ve found regardless of how you’ve prepared your child on how to behave I’ve realised one thing: No matter what you do they will all react the same. Basically, children are jerks regardless of what you do.

So how do we discipline them then? Well, saying no and sticking to the no is a good start. Let’s all practise saying it together. No. Doesn’t that feel good? Pretend your child is your boss. Now again, NO. Oh yeah, feels good doesn’t it. Just a strong, firm and stern No.

Make threats you will actually follow through with. “If you don’t stop fighting in the back I’m going to turn this car around and we won’t go on our holiday!” No you’re not. We all know you want that holiday as much as your kids do, plus you’ve spent all that money to pay for it. Try “If you don’t stop, we won’t go to that favourite place, or the movie we promised, or no dessert after dinner”. Also don’t try “We will never go on holiday again” – again an empty threat, one that they will soon work out you don’t mean.

Don’t send them to their room, all their good stuff is in there. Perhaps send them outside, the fresh air and sunshine should do them good. Unless of course the bad behaviour started out in the fresh air and sunshine. Then I’m really stumped.

Set clear boundaries that they can understand and easily comply with. Take a toy away and tell them they won’t get it back until they stop doing X, or apologise and mean it, or they do three nice things without asking.    

Tell them their behaviour is unacceptable, or disrespectful, or rude. But actually tell them what they did that was wrong and explain it to them. I have a clear memory of having a reward star sticker chart at home when I was about 6 years old. I had to earn a certain number of stars by the end of two weeks, and then I would get a reward. But if I was naughty I would get crosses and then wouldn’t get the reward. One particular outing we came home and my mum gave me 7 crosses. To this day I still don’t know what I did wrong. She didn’t tell me, she just said she was disappointed with how I behaved and crossed away on my chart. Seriously Mum, what they hell did I do!? So, if you explain to your child what was wrong, and why it was wrong you can give them the opportunity to change their behaviour. Instead of just being plain confused 27 years later.

Accept that sometimes no matter what you do, they will just continue with their poor behaviour. Point is, be there to guide and try your hardest.

But most importantly, don’t let them steal your horses, no, don’t let them throw them away, no! If you find your way through they’ll be waiting for you singing neigh, neigh, n- wait, hold on. Sorry, that was Smell of Rebellion again.

Anyway, happy disciplining everyone!

PS. If anyone has a spare $89, I do have a spare no. 42 Hulk disc that I’m willing to sell.

 

The worst kind of parent. *Eyeroll*

Urgh! Urgh, urgh, urgh. Everything about this article – urgh.

So if you hadn’t heard about this ridiculous story here it is in a nutshell.

Slightly famous and well off fashion designer is mother to an Instagram star 3 year old. Mother decides daughter should go on a playdate, and obviously provides her with “show shoes” that cost over 300 pounds (in excess of $500 Australian dollars). She packs into her little fashionista daughter’s backpack a less expensive pair of play shoes. Because why wouldn’t you. Three year old doesn’t understand the concept of getting out of her “show shoes” (oh let’s face it, “Show OFF Shoes”) and into her play shoes immediately once she is at her friend’s house. Mother of play date friend child fails to realise the requirement for swapping shoes (seriously, how does she not know this? Doesn’t EVERYONE send their children to a friend’s house with fancy shoes for prancing around prettily in, then change into everyday ruin-able shoes? Duh). Really expensive shoes inevitable get RUINED! Ie. Slightly scuffed on the toes. Slightly famous and well off fashion designer mother is SHOCKED AND MORTIFIED that her daughter has come home in such as state. Reacts in the only reasonable way, and sends insistent letter to now ex-friend demanding the full cost for replacement of shoes. Mother of clearly DESTRUCTIVE AND BAD INFLUENCE child seems perplexed and amused, and immediately does the only reasonable thing in return: posts the letter online, which immediately goes viral.

Enter infamous wanker, Piers Morgan.

Piers Morgan has a talk show and therefore has a platform he is allowed to sprout any opinion he likes from. Naturally. Piers Morgan insists Slightly famous and well off fashion designer mother is WORST KIND OF PARENT EVER! (actual quote)

Ok, let’s take a moment here, because I have a lot of opinions. Where to begin…

Firstly, one of the arguments Fashion Mother (I really can’t be bothered posting her name. If you want to know it, please read the attached article) claimed for sending the letter was something along the lines of “If you sent your child somewhere and expected them to be safe and they came back injured you would expect the person who was responsible for them to pay for damages”. Ok, I completely agree with that. If you expect your child to be safe somewhere, but the adult in charge decided “Let’s go for a drive and you kids can sit loose in the back of my ute tray”, and then they got hurt, yes I would totally expect you to be held accountable and responsible, and pay for any associated medical bills. This is a little different. Your child’s shoes were scuffed.

Additionally, I would also expect that if my child went somewhere and their possessions they had on them were damaged, I would expect maybe depending on the situation that you as the responsible adult in charge would kindly offer to pay, fix, or replace them. Within reason, of course.

But these were $500 shoes. Let’s use a little bit of common sense here. Maybe, if you’re worried about a ridiculously priced pair of shoes (that incidentally your daughter will probably not be able to wear in the next 6 months anyway) are going to get damaged, here’s a thought, MAYBE DON’T LET HER WEAR THEM OUT! And if you are going to let a 3 YEAR OLD wear such ridiculously expensive shoes, you’re going to need to not care when they inevitably get damaged. Because she’s 3. I guarantee they’re going to get damaged.

Secondly, if you child is only bringing a pair of shoes for “show” and not to wear, then that’s not a playdate, that’s a fashion contest. And that’s the bullshit “my child is better than your child” parental competing that I hate and slammed in one of my previous blogs. Don’t do it. You’re being a dick.

With that out the way, let’s get back to *spews slightly* Piers Morgan. Ok, I agree this woman is being an entitled dick. Her reaction can probably be described as, well, stupid. But DO NOT call her “the worst kind of parent”. Let’s get things into perspective. The worst kind of parent will probably do the following:

          Hate their child

          Not provide their child with adequate food or water

          Verbally, physically and/or sexually abuse their child

          Deliberately starve their child to death

          Deliberately murder their child

          Provide their child as an object for horrible abuse to others

Working for the Courts, I have seen cases of the above examples pass my desk on more occasions than I would care to remember. I will not go into further detail as they are horrific, and not worth mentioning here. But I assure you Mr Morgan the parents involved in these types of cases ARE the worst kind of parent.

Fashion Mother may be instilling in her daughter a sense of entitlement and materialistic happiness. That’s probably a bit of a dick thing to do. But do you say the same of Kim Kardashian? Because let’s face it, both of her kids are probably in the same boat. But because Fashion Mother is nowhere near as wealthy as the Kardashians, that makes her somehow less entitled to provide her daughter with ridiculously expensive possessions? She did say it herself, her daughter is fed and clothed (albeit extravagantly), there is a roof over her head, and she is clearly loved. Isn’t that everything a parent is supposed to do. Ok, the attitude is a little terrible, but is that really anyone’s business?

So sorry Piers, once again, you’re very wrong on this one. Try again maybe? Actually, don’t.    

Dinner. Again. WHY!?

Remember a while ago I posted a blog entitled “Dinner is a Battlefield”? (If you’re curious you can find it here). I made that cute reference to Pat Benatar. We had a bit of a laugh at how frustrating life was. And then miraculously just after I posted that article Stormaggedon decided that dinner was actually a really great thing, and eventually devoured everything we put in front of him, like the future destroyer of worlds that he is. I walked away from that episode admonishing myself for being so anxious over the situation, dusted my hands off and thought well deservedly “I’m so glad that’s all behind us now!” Ha ha, ha haha, hahahaha HA HAHA HA HAAAA!… yeah. Guess what. It’s SO not over.

I’m not quite sure, but since when did I have to start hiding food inside other less insidious looking food? And by insidious I of course mean any vegetable every grown. It started out innocuously enough. A carrot every now and then. Then broccoli. Well that’s not surprising now is it. Just mush it together, or put it in a pie. Or yoghurt. Seriously. Then other foods had to start being hidden. Surprising ones. Potatoes for instance. Since when did we have to hide potatoes? And WHAT do you hide it in!? Potatoes is usually the stuff you hide OTHER vegetables in, not the other way around! Capsicum was soon off the list too. “But you love capsicum!” I would cry. It was so cute, handing him a raw strip that he would much down whilst saying “yum, capicum” (So adorable, not be able to say the S). Now all of a sudden it was poison. Poison I say! Or rather he says. Ok, not so much say, but you get the idea. Look, that’s fine, let try to some old favourites that we haven’t re-visited for a while. Avocado? Nope. Sweet potato? Nope. Celery? Nope. Ok, let’s leave off the vegetables for a while. Why don’t we try something different. Tuna bake, pasta, four bean mix, scrambled eggs, bakes beans, toast. No, no, no, no, NO, NO!!!

Deep breath. Alright let’s have a conversation. Yes, communication with your child is key. It makes them feel like they have a say. Some power over the situation. Don’t give them too many choices, just engage them in the conversation. That way they’ll think they’ll be exuding more power than they actually are. This is bound to work. But of course, the not-quite-three-year-old logic kicks in.

Me: “Stormy, dinner is ready.”

Mr S: “I don’t like that food”

Me: “Try it first.”

Mr S: “Can I have some food please?”

Me: “That’s food there. On your plate. Try it.”

Mr S: “Can I have something else?”

Me: “No, that’s dinner there. Please eat it.”

Mr S: “I would like some food on my plate”

Me: “That IS food. Please eat”

Mr S: “I don’t like this food”

Me: “Well that’s all the food you’re getting”

Mr S: “I would like something else”

Me:  (Siiiiiiiiigh) “Well what WOULD you like then”

Mr S: “Mmmm, something else”

Me: “I understand that, but you have to tell me specifically what you want”

Mr S: “Some food”

Me: “Stormy, that IS food”

Mr S: “Mmmm, no thanks” (pushes bowl away)

Me: (trying not to get even more frustrated than I am) “Stormy, you have to eat that because there’s nothing else”

Mr S: “No thanks” (wanders away from table).

Well, at least he’s polite about it. This cyclical conversation goes on for a while. Every night. I am now a mixed bag of emotions including rage, frustration, and holding in my laughter. He never once raises his voice or loses his cool, which makes it even more frustrating. His outright politeness fills me at the same time with a sense of swelling pride and Hulk like rage. Even more frustratingly, in one moment he’ll be refusing to eat the sumptuous meal placed in front of him, and then is quite content to eat crumbs off the floor that I haven’t swept up since lunch time. Floor food. FLOOR FOOD! Perhaps I should just dump his dinner on the floor to make it more appetizing! Is that what you want!? Ok, kind of lost my cool there, time for a new plan…

Some have said that perhaps I’m bending too much to his will, giving him too many choices. Faced with a hungry child before bedtime, I know I’m making it worse by giving in and providing him with a different meal, but at the same time I value sleep more than whether I’m spoiling him for choices. And as I said before, I believe that providing him with a place in the decision making helps him to feel more engaged and in control. So I try another tactic and put it onto him. Next time, before the dinner making starts I ask him what he would like for dinner. One particular evening he excitedly yells back “Cous cous, cous cous! I want cous cous!” Alright then, cous cous it is. “Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!” He marches through the house chanting cous cous over and over again. Not quite sure where he got this sudden enthusiasm for cous cous from, but whatever I’ll go with it.

I lovingly make the cous cous, and over a half hour period he excitedly keeps up his marching and chanting. The moment comes, and I reverentially place this dish down in front of him declaring “Cous cous!”, with the expectation that he will immediately jump in and devour every bite. He pauses as he takes the dish in, then looks up at me with a blank face. “No thanks”, as he politely pushes the bowl away and walks away from the table……HULK. SMASH!

This has now kept up for the last month and half. Even the other tactics that used to work have now failed. Smothering the food with tomato sauce, apple sauce or mayonnaise. Dumping a bucket load of cheese on top. Even cheese is now off the menu! I used to be able to distract him by piling his toys onto his tray while shovelling the food in his mouth before he noticed. And yes, I’m aware that one of my tips for parenting was to keep toys away from the table because children should know and understand the difference between play time and dinner time. Blah blah blah, yeah, I want to murder Past Me too. She was an idiot. I know that I should just take this with a grain of salt, it’s yet another phase that he will soon grow out of. If anything, I should look back over my previous posts and remember that this too shall pass, just like my worries of everything else.

But like all those other times, this is the moment where it is happening, and the future seems so very far away. I have no advice or thoughts on how this will get better, excepting just to “Give it time” (mumble mumble grrr).

Now excuse me while I go and make a spectacular, healthy, and delicious feast which will almost certainly be refused in the politest of ways.