Sir Wrecks-A-Lot

Life got a bit chaotic. I found a dinosaur sticker, covered in dog hair and random fluffy bits (perhaps a feather), stuck to my bum. I found said sticker at around 3pm on my way to a radio studio. I had been at work for almost seven hours with a skanky T-Rex stuck to my big butt. It did not lie. I was tired. Life was chaotic.

So last weekend I overpacked the Trunkie and headed off to my folk’s house in country Victoria. The plan was to palm The Kid off to my mum while I peeled off my face and buried my sunken sockets into a pillow.
Alfie LOVES going to Granny and Pa’s house. Their house has ALL the things: a massive yard, lawn, rocks, a fireplace, a worm farm, a passionfruit vine, an orange tree and a trailer. Sometimes the trailer is filled with horse poo for the garden. But most of all, and the absolute highlight of the trip to Granny and Pa’s, is the dollhouse.

My mum built my three story dollhouse when she was pregnant with my younger brother. She thought it would keep me focused while she was busy with my little newborn baby brother. It’s painted mission brown and cream, the colours of the early eighties, and stands over a metre tall. It’s deluxe. I played with my dollhouse right through to my early teens, redecorating the whole three stories, putting floral fabric on the walls and corduroy down for carpet. It was super plush even for my Sylvanian Families.

When we arrived at Granny and Pa’s house Alfie ran into the spare bedroom where the dollhouse sits, pulling open its doors and sweeping all its contents onto the floor in one swift arm movement. I bit my tongue seeing all the teeny tiny porcelain cups and saucers being thrown across the floor, then swept up by my son’s chunky club hands only to be placed in the back of a plastic cement mixer truck. I felt the tension fill me to my brow as Alfie shook the cement mixer, allowing the porcelain set along with two Sylvanian Family baby bear cubs and a makeshift washing machine made out of an old Keen’s Mustard tin, clash against each other creating a big nostalgic milkshake of doom. Then he tipped the contents out and walked over the precious items, not even feeling the teeny tiny bear cub in its teeny tiny handmade gingham playsuit squishing between his toes.

He was on a mission. I could see it in his eyes. He was in T-Wrecks mode. He was looking to smash up a storm.

He grabbed two trucks, one in each club and drove them through the plastic windows, bulldozing the baby bear cub’s parents over and tearing through the corduroy carpet, knocking over the tiny vase of dried flowers, the miniature sink with teeny tiny taps and ripping the makeshift books off the tiny shelves.

‘Evacuate, evacuate’ I cried. I was too late, the dollhouse was on its side, its contents spilling onto the floor. I stood and stared at the scene like I was seeing Janet Leigh hanging out the bathtub in Psycho. 

I was devastated. My mum rubbed my back.

Alfie was already off and running. Apparently Pa was burying a dead rabbit under the passionfruit vine (apparently it helps them grow big and strong – country style blood and bone).

I spent the next hour resetting the dollhouse, putting everything back in its place, the way it should be. The babies were put in their cots, ma and pa bear were sitting in the loungeroom watching an eighties-esque TV (Alfie asked me what that was) in front of their cellophane paper fireplace. The three story house became warm and friendly. I felt relaxed again. I closed the big doors with a big satin bow. Sigh.

I went outside to play with Alfie who was building jumps for his trucks and digging holes in the garden. He was filthy, like he had been eating soil and drinking from the hose. The house had been turned inside out with a trail of destruction, like Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs, behind him.

Before we left the country to head back to Melbourne, I untied the bow of the dollhouse and took one more look inside. Everything looked just right, except, lying in the corner of the bathroom, next to the makeshift toilet made out of a matchbox with a circular hole cut in it, was a T-Rex sticker, similar to the one I found on my bum a few days earlier. I put it on the toilet. It felt right. Big butts don’t lie.

Pants for grots

My son’s a grot. He’s outside all the time, loves to eat with his whole face, sit in puddles and has had a runny nose for about two months. It’s totally cool. I think we all wish we could be grots most days. So this got me thinking; if I was a grot, what would I wear? Stretchy pants, absolutely. Pants I could high kick in, pretend to karate kick-n-sweep, jumping pants, climbing pants, scratch and sniff pants, and pass out in the hallway on my face pants.

So I decided to make some Pants for Grots for Alfie. Here they are. They cost me $4 each to make (thanks to a ripper sale at Spotlight) – the price of a cup of coffee. They took thirty minutes to cut, sew and elasticise and presto, here they are! 
And here’s how I made them:
  • Grab a pair of your grot’s current jeans. 
  • Measure the length and add an inch on the top and on the bottom. 
  • Trace out a big letter ‘U’, like a harem pant. 
  • Sew the sides of the U together, turn over the top of the pants an inch for the elastic, and same for the bottom of each leg. 
  • Measure the elastic around your kid’s waist and ankles.
  • Cut the elastic and weave it with a mega safety pin through each folded cuff.
  • Cut off all the loose threads, turn inside out and WHAM… Pants for Grots.
I’m hoping the elastic waist is going to be ace when it comes to toilet training. However, let’s start with the basics… trying to get my kid to wear pants in the first place!

Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina

It’s a famous line in the Kindergarten Cop flick
You know the one, where the little boy’s so slick
When he states to Arnie, in the classic one liner
That ‘boys have a penis, and girls a vagina’.
It’s stuck with me for all of these years
A line that’s shouted with peers and beers
But now with my two-year-old boy in tow
He thinks it’s something that everyone must know.
While standing in a very long bank queue
My son (who is also fascinated with poo)
Went up to a stranger, and pointed at his dacks
And shouted ‘doodle?’followed by sniggers and cracks.
The man looked at me, unsure what to do
I explained that my son had just turned two
That he was curious about the thing in his nappy
But talking about it seemed to make him happy.
The tantrums themselves are awkward enough
But how in the hell are you meant to handle this stuff?
There’s a time and a place for this chat, to be frank
But it’s not the time, nor the place when we are in a bank.
It’s no different at all when we go to the zoo
Where there are plenty of doodles and a whole lot of poo
We explore all the gardens and eat picnic feasts
But it all gets exciting when we check out the beasts.
Just last week, we watched the elephants play
My son glued to the fence on this rainy day
Then a male elephant weed and boy it was a hit
And on top of that he took a massive shit.
Oh the squeals of delights, from my son and other boys
Who were all lined up, attracted by the noise
The other parents and I all rolled our eyes
I was thankful that the excitement was no surprise.
In my household filled with blokey gents
Where it’s rare if anyone is wearing pants
I feel left out because I’m ‘missing a tail’
But at the end of the day, I’m proud to be female.

This ode first appeared on BubbaWest.

Missing Person

I want to let you in on a little secret. Actually, it’s a pretty big secret, because I feel a little embarrassed about it. But it’s not a ‘do-not-tell-anyone’ secret like the time I got so hideously drunk off five beers and spewed in front of my son, or a ‘please-don’t-judge-me’ secret like the time I used a tea-towel  tied up with a ribbon as a nappy and took my son to Coles’ to buy nappies (I was totally and ashamedly out), or a ‘what’s-wrong-with-me-medically’ secret where I laughed so hard I weed my pants a little moment.  No this is a secret that I want to tell you because I don’t think I should feel embarrassed about it. So instead, I want to share this secret so other people can say: “Yo, Ali… I’m in exactly the same boat. Let’s be mates and freaking rule this world.”

This Sunday, I am, as in ME, I am heading to sunny Queensland ON MY OWN for three days for a work trip. This means, TWO NIGHTS + THREE DAYS, WITHOUT MY SON.

So what, you say. Well, it’s a big freaking WHAT for me. Since my son was born in April 2013, over two years ago, I have not spent one night away from him. Ever. My husband has, heaps of times. But me, no. That kid comes on every road trip, plane trip, car trip, supermarket trip, stack-n-trip with me.

Go on. Have a crack. Have a giggle. Sigh away. Shake your head. Tsk me. Pray for me. Pity me. Cradle me.

I am fully aware of this fact. I see my friends parents take their kids for days, overnight, while they go on dates, party, head out on girls’ weekends. It’s so awesome that they get to do this regularly, as their parents live nearby.

It’s not so easy for my hubby and I, who don’t have family in close vicinity and our work shifts sometimes mean that we pass like ships in the night.

It’s actually not a huge problem for me though (apart from not wanting to admit it to all these cool cat mums who get regular weekends away with their favourite grown up people). I adore hanging out with my kid, we do everything together and we have travelled and experienced so much together already. I mean, just this week my son did a POO IN THE TOILET. This was so exciting for both of us, I would have hated to have missed it. Just tonight he asked if he could brush my hair, and he did, and it was lovely. Imagine if I missed that moment.

So come Sunday, I will be getting on that plane, on my own. My first plane trip without a kid in over two years. I might read a book. Actually, I’m just going to sit. Sit really still. So still that the air host will need to check my pulse.

When I arrive at the hotel with the pool, I’m not going to rearrange the furniture to fit in a port-a-cot or move display items to a cupboard or request a high chair from reception. I’m going to lay face down on that king sized bed and laugh so fucking loud people will think there’s a party in my room.

Of course I’m going to miss my son, my pooch and my hubster. I’m totally going to miss seeing that toddler poo in the toilet. I’m going to miss the 5.15am wake up call with a truck shoved in my eye socket. I’m fully going to miss Jimmy Giggle. I’m going to miss the word ‘no’, the alfalfa sprout-looking hair that won’t sit down on the top of my kid’s head, carrying the balance bike/doll pusher/scooter/twin baby dolls/tonka truck/dinosaur back home from the park. I might even miss the child lock on our cutlery drawer. I will totally miss my hairy husband.

But it’s only for a couple of days (of bliss, sorry work). 

I somehow have a feeling someone’s going to miss me even more.

Mum vs Wife

Sometimes I talk to my husband through my child. It really annoys me when I do it, but I still do it. It’s not funny, it’s condescending, but I can’t help it. Perhaps it makes me feel better. For example:
“Hey Alfie, why don’t we ask dad to pick up all the crusts on the floor?”
“Let’s see if dad can take you to the park so that mum can have a sleep on her face.”
“Why don’t you go into mum and dads room and wake up your father and show him how you have worked out how to squeal like a pinched pig?”
“Why don’t we ask dad to change your stinky nappy?”
“Let’s leave the wet washing on the floor and see if dad will hang it out.”
It’s not as if my husband doesn’t do anything. He does. Some weeks he parents more than me, some weeks I parent more than him. It all depends on our crazy work shifts. So I don’t know why I turn into a condescending brat using my son as a force field. Have I forgotten how to talk to my husband?
Now we are parents we seem so much more connected. We were connected before, but it’s different now. We still have the occasional fight – mainly about food management or domestic duties – but we get over a fight so much quicker now. We both know how to cheer up our son if he is sad, we have even busted out synchronised dances without a rehearsal. This is how connected we are.
But then there are things about our relationship that seem so disconnected. The other day I had a wax, not because I wanted to impress the old hubby, but because our son had swimming lessons later that week. I wear pyjamas now just in case I have to get up during the night. Sometimes I put these on within ten minutes of arriving home from work. I pull my bra off through my sleeve in front of my husband while giving him the low-down on my day. And yesterday I pointed to the aeroplane in the sky, forcing him to look.
Who am I now? When did I start wearing my husband’s socks to work? Why are farts now so ridiculously funny? Why did I just send my hubby a text saying ‘Alfie took a crap on the abacus’ rather than ‘You’re a spunk’?
It’s so bloody difficult finding the balance between being a wife and a mum, some days the roles just overlap. Some days they are so far removed from each other that it all becomes confusing and other days it just gels. What I do know is that in our little family we all seem to have a connection during the highs and the lows, even if it is laughing at farts, laughing at me or just doing a plain old robot dance in the kitchen while arguing through gritted teeth.  All in all, it gives us something to giggle about when we sit down for tea in our pj’s.

This post first appeared on Bubba West.

Poos and wees

We’ve been thinking about toilet training. Our son isn’t ready, I don’t think, but perhaps over summer he will be? We have bought a potty and like everything plastic introduced into our house, this one has caused a whole lot of excitement.
Alfie has been pouring cups of water into the potty and both he and the dog drink out of it. The potty gets dragged across the floor and shown to anyone who comes over for a visit. No one else is allowed to sit on the potty. No one is allowed to touch it either. God forbid.
The potty has caused so much excitement that my son keeps taking my hand and showing it to me in the bathroom. He has no idea what to do with it, but he likes looking at it and showing me how to take the lid off it and drink out of it. Sigh.
We’ve been using the words ‘poos and wees’ in our house for a while now. Ever since we discovered that Alfie liked to poo behind the curtain. When we see him heading in that direction we ask him if he is going to do poos, usually his raised brow, red fierce face, hunched back and clenched hands leaning on the wall say it all.
When my husband or I go to the toilet it’s a huge ceremony. Alfie always wants to watch and wave bye-bye to the poo. It’s always so exciting to press the flush button and to see how the toilet paper goes around on the holder.
Some mornings after a poo ceremony, it’s really hard to move on from this farewell display to go to the office and take on serious meetings about serious stuff. Sometimes during serious discussions at work I might get a call from my husband who will explain to me the ins and outs of a new poo dance that Alfie has devised or a story about the fascination with the toilet. It can be very hard to switch back to writing documents and speaking with managers.
Prior to the last few months, I had never been to the toilet in front of my husband. It was the one thing I held onto. My one last piece of dignity. Since the fascination with all things bathroom has kicked in, I’m now showering while my dog, son and husband clean teeth, do wees, play with the potty, fix the toilet roll holder, close and open and close the toilet lid, pull the towel off the rail, look in the toilet, throw things in the bath, talk about poos… the list goes on. I can’t even do that secret wee in the shower that no one ever admits to.
So now that I go to the toilet with an audience, what dignity remains? I have no idea about this toilet training thing apart from the many discussions I have had with my husband about putting down the lid. I still continue to lie to my husband that I have diarrhoea and I shut the door of the bathroom and secretly play Tetris on my phone. My husband recently said that I should go and see a doctor as I had been sick in the tummy for some time. I think my private time is almost up.
I would love to know where you go from here. Once your kid grows up, can you revive any sense of mystery about yourself? Will there ever be a time where no one knows that you’ve done a poo?

Until that time arrives, I’m making the most of my toilet time at work.

This post first appeared on Bubba West.

Dental teeth

I am trying to teach my son to be gentle.
Last Sunday we went to the Farmer’s Market in Willy for some fresh fruit and grub. The centrally located petting zoo looked like the perfect spot for my kid to test out his gentle patting skills.
We have been here before, quite a few times actually, and the petting zoo owner recognised us saying: “This time, please don’t let your kid open the guinea pig gate. My babies get anxious when they run free.”
We got our little cup of animal seed and instantly my son poured this into his gumboot. He was so disappointed; he pulled off his gumboot and started eating the seeds. The minute he did this all the petted animals came sprinting over to him licking their lips (beaks).
Baby lambs, chickens, bunny rabbits and some tiny furry thing, perhaps a rat, came running at my son pecking him in every location trying to find a grain. My poor son. I reached down and grabbed him and realised he was laughing hysterically. He was enjoying being wrestled by farm creatures, rolling around in their shit with a mouthful of seed.
So I let him go and boy did he squeal. He chased after the animals, running them around in circles like a sheep dog, scarring the bejesus out of them, clapping like a mad man, all the while I’m shouting ‘gentle Alfie, gentle’. It was so joyful to watch, I was able to relax with another mum while our kids ran riot.
Then Alfie started getting rough. He is so obsessed with holes lately, that he realised the hole in the gate allowed him to reach the clasp. So he unlocked the gate. The hole in the pole along the side of the zoo fence allowed him to reach the fence peg. So he pulled the fence peg out and the side fell off. And the hole in the lamb’s backside was wear the poo came out. So he chased after the lamb, catching the poo.
Then he saw the teeny tiny baby guinea pig come out of a tunnel hole.
I went to grab him with his pooey hands and he saw me coming for him with my ‘time to go home’ face. He grabbed the baby guinea pig before I could reach him and held the animal close to his chest and ran to the corner with his back to me. I feared for an ‘Of Mice and Men’ moment where my son’s undying love for tiny furry animals would come to a sweet end. I released his grip by tickling him and the guinea pig coughed and ran back into his hole, scared forever more. My son eyed the hole off.
It was time to go. One near death experience was enough for this mum. Those poor, poor animals.
We got home and Cheef Dog was happily waiting for us at the side gate. He came running inside and Alfie ran after him, squealing and shouting ‘mumma, mumma’ (he calls the dog ‘mumma’ – let’s not go into this). Cheef Dog sprinted to the couch and I caught Alfie just before he got there. Alfie reached out his hand and firmly patted Cheef Dog across his back saying ‘dental teeth’ which I will take as ‘gentle Cheef’ over and over again.
‘Dental teeth, dental. Dental teeth, dental.’
Perhaps the petting zoo has helped him to get this gentle thing down pat?

This post first appeared on Bubba West.