Cheapskate

My daughter wails, “Muuuuum, I don’t like silverbeet,” as she stares in horror at her dinner plate.

“Nobody does, sweetheart,” I tell her, as I avoid her icy glare, “but we eat it anyway.”

She pouts at me, “Is this going to last forever?”

“Yep.”

“This” is our new frugal menu. I’ve decided that we spend far too much money on convenience foods, fruit and vegetable that go to waste and junk. So now, we use everything in the veggie bin, make our own cookies, cakes and muesli bars, and the only breakfast cereal I’ll buy is weetbix and rolled oats. Beans, lentils and pearl barley have become staples like they should be. Cheap cuts and offal are on the shopping list. Milk is bought in powdered form and made at home for a fraction of the cost. Fast food has been eradicated and replaced with freezer meals that I made ahead specially for the nights when I just can’t get my shit together.

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It was actually pretty damn tasty – leftovers for my lunch tomorrow.

For the most part, the kids have embraced it. The truth is, they whined about the food I gave them no matter how fried and cheesy it was. I could have offered them a slab of chocolate for dinner and they would have found something to bitch about. But now, the whining has lessened, because there are no other options available and they know it.

They were reluctant about trying the sheep hearts that I found for a dollar each, but quickly decided that it was quite tasty (and fun to pretend that they were zombies eating human heart). The next evening, they both chose to add chopped up heart to their homemade pizzas. Girl-child rediscovered her love for liver, while boy-child finally decided that beans were indeed the musical fruit that I had promised them to be.

That’s how you win children over, it’s not through persistence like they tell you in parenting guides, it’s with zombies and farts.

 

 

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Super-mums: Liars or Drug Fiends?

Some days, I love being a mum. I love hanging out with my kids, teaching them things and answering their endless questions. Being a parent is a unique experience, no one does it the same way. Every child is different and watching them grow and evolve in to little members of society is like watching beautiful flowers blossom and blah blah blah………. you know how mummy blogs are meant to go. “I’m a super-mum, I wore my babies until they were big enough to permanently kink my spine; I breastfed my children until they were 13 years old; only organic vegetables plucked from the Earth under a new moon goes into my homemade baby food – which, buy the way, you can purchase from my website at $23 per serve.”

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What you can’t see is that the two girls are in tears, Dad’s about to step in dog shit, and Mum’s wishing she was home alone with a cocktail.

I was a super-mum last week. Last week was an A-grade parenting extravaganza. Today, they’re driving me crazy. They’re no different than usual, but I’m PMSing hard, and everything they do seems to be designed to torture me. Boy-child speaks painfully slow, but what he’s telling me is clearly important to him, so I have to patiently sit and wait and resist the urge to hurry him up. Trying to get him to follow instructions is an exercise in futility. If I tell him to go and get dressed, he’ll disappear for 20 minutes to do various other crucial tasks that are not getting dressed, such as pulling faces in the mirror or reloading his Nerf guns. It takes him 4 trips to his bedroom and back just to retrieve a pair of pants. On the way out the door, he needs to go to the toilet even though he just went, then he’ll ask if he can give the rats a treat, then the cats. Then he needs to tell me something really import that he saw on YouTube about Minecraft.

Girl-child is like a puppy with periodic rabies. She’s overflowing with love and adoration, and would probably be down to play fetch until she collapsed if I were to suggest it. She talks to the animals in an insanely high pitched squeak that seems to be at a frequency that can pass effortlessly through walls and my skull. It’s become such an ingrained habit, that she often doesn’t register that she’s doing it, and seconds after being asked to stop, she’s doing it again. Sometimes, she’s a dragon. She speaks in Dragonesse and starts roaring, hissing, trumpeting and walking on all fours. This is usually a sign that she is  about to lose her ability to regulate her actions, not to be naughty, but just out of sheer unbridled excitement.

Every now and then, without warning , she goes apoplectic. She throws things, tells me she hates me, my house, and everything in it. She stomps around and inevitably,  hurts herself, setting off Screaming Banshee mode. Then she goes to her room, and after a couple of minutes of tearing the linen off her bed and doing her best angry diva impression ,  she starts calling for me, apologizes then tells me why everything is my fault. These tantrums can take a few minutes, or last several hours.

I envy the mothers who can just sit back and smile serenely as the chaos washes over them. They must be on some hella good drugs. Why aren’t those bitches sharing?

Aquatic Absurdity

It seems I’m getting more insane as I get older, which is awesome because it means I’m probably going to be one of those old ladies who just don’t give a fuck. You know the ones, they’re eccentric, flamboyant, opinionated, unapologetic, and dress like they’re heading to the Rio Carnival. I’m picturing a cross between Granny Clampett and Dennis Rodman. Obviously, there are downsides too, but one day I’ll be too bat-shit crazy to notice. So there’s something to look forward to.

One of my new neuroses is in regards to swimming pools. I love swimming laps by myself with lots of space; I can zone out and focus entirely on the movements (and keeping my tits contained within my swimsuit). So I didn’t think there would be any issue with signing up my Aspie Girl-Child to swimming lessons, and following them up with a play in the pools. Except, I soon found that I quickly become overwhelmed and have panic attacks that leave me on edge for the rest of the day. After much analysing, I think I’ve worked out what it is that bothers me.

It’s every-fucking-thing.

The pools are indoors (it’s still too cold for outdoor swimming), and the building is loud with air-conditioning, pumps and echos. I find that I can’t hear well and this makes me on edge when people are speaking to me. Even though the space is enormous, the sound makes me feel like it’s closing in on me. When people get too close to me, or block me, it compounds the claustrophobia. Also, I have to wear my glasses to keep an eye on my kidlet because I can’t wear contacts. This makes me feel self-conscious because swimming in glasses is fucking weird. If I want to swim properly, I have to take my glasses off, but then I can’t see jack-shit. This means I can’t watch the Girl-Child and because I can’t see her face, I can’t tell if her squeals are happy squeals or ‘I’m about to lose my shit’ squeals. So much of working with her is recognising the subtle changes in her expression. I worry about her panicking or lashing out at someone while she’s out of my reach.

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All of this sounds justifiable to me, but I know that it is irrational for several reasons:

  • Mr. Flatmate comes with us, stays by her and is a strong swimmer;
  • about 6 months ago, we all went swimming together at a different indoor pools before and I was confident enough in Girl-Child’s abilities that I was able to leave her swimming alone while I went on the hydro-slide;
  • and what the shit is with this sound overload? I don’t think I had that before. It’s like my brain short-circuits and I lose the ability to think coherently. It’s new, it’s scary, and it’s stupid.

It’s the school holidays at the moment, so much to my relief, swimming lessons are on two-week break. Mr. Flatmate has suggested taking the kids to the pool several times, but every time he mentions it, I can feel the anxiety rising. I feel terrible, because I know how much they love going, but it fills me with so much dread. We’ll go back when lessons start again and I will make a conscious effort to have more faith in Girl-Child’s swimming abilities, and in Mr. Flatmate’s ability to keep her safe. My goal is to enjoy the Summertime at the pool and the beach with my babies, instead of being a shrieking Helicopter-mum putting the kibosh on their fun.

NO SUDDEN MOVEMENTS!

My doctor tells me I have high blood pressure. I think most women would have high blood pressure around Dr. Hottie, but apparently mine is high even when it’s taken by a nurse so I’ll let him have this one. Okay, maybe I’m a little high-strung, but my life is pretty stressful.  You’d be high-strung too if you walked a mile in my shoes. Actually, walking at least a mile in my shoes is what I should be doing,  but that’s just one more thing on my neverending list of “shit I should be doing”. The same list that is causing me stress and giving me high blood pressure. So I’m going to cross that off the list to reduce my stress. I feel better already.

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I don’t know what this thing is, but I think I know how it feels.

Today was not the greatest day.  I had a panic attack, complete with tears and difficulty breathing, after being startled by Mr Flatmate; a bit of an extreme reaction to a harmless “boo!”. This threw me off for the day and I couldn’t quite get my groove back.  I got a large unexpected bill in the mail, which is never fun. Then, not long after noticing my deepening under-eye wrinkles, I got a call from the school summoning me to the principals office, which you know is very rarely good news.

So I’ve decided to quit the world. I don’t like it anymore so I’m leaving. If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, binge-watching Adventure Time and pretending to be catatonic. Join me if you like, but bring chocolate and cuddles.

Fake it ’til Something in Your Head Ruptures

I don’t know why I do these things to myself. During the good times I think I forget how fucked up I am and certain things seem like good ideas. I’ve taken a extra job cleaning motel units. I’m suppose to be studying. I’ve picked up a small third job doing a little online admin. I have let a slightly insane friend with benefits become a slightly insane boarder with benefits (mmmm, benefits…). I’m learning Spanish. I’m trying to keep up with my beading and tutorial writing (which is impossible in such a noisy household). On top of all of this I’m still trying to function as a mother.

It’s really little wonder that I can be occasionally found sitting on the floor of a cold shower rocking back and forth while muttering to myself about questionable life choices.

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This guy gets it.

 

I think I’m doing okay though, at least externally. My children are alive and well even if I am yelling at them too much lately. My pets are healthy and I believe that I’ve gotten control of the flea situation. I can’t afford to be a drug addict, but my bills are paid and there’s food on the table. My house isn’t nearly as clean as I would like, but it’s not a complete hovel. I haven’t yet eviserated anyone or stuck my head in the oven. Overall, I’m faking functionality quite well, and that’s the main thing, right?

Relaxing in the Inferno

I keep telling people I don’t like Summer but today I realised that that is not quite accurate. I love Summer. What I don’t like is having to do stuff during Summer. Summer Days are made of ice-blocks, laying down, reading books, napping and some sitting. Those other days when it is scorching hot and I have to do stuff (such as working, cleaning, shopping, parenting) those are not Summer Days, those are Inferno Glimpses. During Inferno Glimpses, I am sweaty, irritable and probably whiny. I’ll say “Fuck it’s hot,” approximately 500 times and consider shaving my head.

Blessedly, today was a Summer Day, and it was glorious. Not a cloud in the sky, not a job to be done. Well, I did do some housework or I would have burst a blood vessel, but mostly I ignored things that could be put off until tomorrow. I read, I watched children playing, I took my school work out in to the sun and feel asleep on it. I even managed to get a slight tan on my legs which haven’t seen the sun for several years. I know tanning isn’t the greatest idea, especially in New Zealand, but my legs really were looking frighteningly corpse-like, and some melatonin is needed to hide the many bruises that I’m accumulating from work and general clumsiness.

Another thing that I love about Summer Days, is dinner preparation. I whip up a couple of salads in the morning, chuck them in the fridge and that’s most of the work done for a few days. Cook a handful of drumsticks in the evening and you’re done.

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A beautiful Summer garden. It’s enough to make you want to tear your sinuses from your skull.

 

The down side of course, is Summer allergies. They’re not affecting me too badly so far this year, just a bit of an itchy nose, but my poor son… He’s sneezing, itching his skin and eyes, and his nose is pouring. Phenergan doesn’t seem to be doing an awful lot to help him and it’s making him miserable.  Today he was having his own Inferno Glimpse and I saw a  scary little of myself in his temperament.  If tomorrow is just as brutal, it might be time for a doctor visit for something a little more heavy duty. Like a deep-sea diving suit.

Homecoming of the Snail and the Jedi

It’s the first school holidays since our little family unraveled, and I’ve got to say, I am so proud of us. The kids are handling everything fabulously, and the adults are remaining civilized and communicative. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that we’re possibly more functional than we were before.

The kidlets have spent the first week with Dad, which has been an excellent opportunity for them to bond, and for Dad to practice his parenting routine. Our former system of parenting involved him spending most of his waking hours working, and me staying at home, cleaning, organising and keeping the children alive.  Dad could choose to be involved in the more interesting elements of parenting, but remained unschooled in the more mundane, but essential bits, like feeding them and using that special glare to stop them from killing each other.  He’s working his system out, and it must be going quite well, because I just spoke to them on the phone and they’re still alive, although it did sound like they may have been crushing something in a bench vice. Sometimes it’s best not to ask questions.

It’s also been a great chance for me to catch up on some inner peace. It’s so nice to be able to come home from work to that blessed silence. No demands or complaints, I can just do things in my own time. I do miss them though. I miss their cuddles and how weird they are. Eavesdropping on their bizarre conversations and their surprisingly wise insights. They come home tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

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