Random Acts of Poo-mess

You have a few coffees, it’s natural, it’s going to happen. You’re aware that it will and you plan accordingly.

I know my kid is only 3 but the instant urge he has to take a crap right then and there is still a bit beyond me.
Yesterday in the supermarket. I’ve got a full trolley.
Alfie: “mum, poo’s coming out my bum.”
Me: “ok, let’s pay the lady and get you to a toilet.”
Alfie; “it’s coming out now. RIGHT NOW MUM. I can feel it!”
We abandon the trolley. The poo was coming out. I throw the Paw Patrol undies in the bin. I shouldn’t have waited. It wasn’t his fault. I just assumed he could hold it for 2 minutes and 48 seconds longer. 
He couldn’t.
Today in the main street of Yarraville. Alfie starts riding his bike standing up.
Alfie: “mum. I need to do a poo.”
Me: “ok, let’s find a toilet. The pub’s open.”
As I rush towards the pub carrying his bike I turn around to see him doing a poo in a shopfront with a garden. I pick it up with a doggy bag and turf it in the bin. Let us never speak of this again.
I think I’m becoming a lot more patient as a parent. I can deal with things easier as they happen, I’m  crap when it comes to planning. 
And that’s how I had a rad weekend. 
We had our first open for inspection at our Yarraville house. Loads of attractive bearded men and chicks with patterned socks checking out our goods while we peeked at the house traffic from 50 metres down the street in the pissing rain. The three of us held hands while Cheef Dog weed on the neighbour’s fence.
I was an anxious mess before it happened. The inspection was planned. There was lead up. There needed to be a result. There was waiting. Someone recently told me that having an open for inspection was like holding a massive party and not knowing if anyone would turn up. 
Once it was over Alfie and I headed to the NGV with mates to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. Today a random massive bike ride lead to hot chips in the park watching sprinklers turn on and off in places where ‘ginger turtles’ live. Splendid, rancho relaxo stuff.
Reg finishes up at work this week. That’s a big milestone. Hopefully we lease out our Yarraville house this week. Another big milestone. Then we settle at our Trentham house on the seventh of November and from there… golly, who knows?  We don’t even have daycare let alone an inside toilet.
So in the meantime, I’m liking the ‘winging it’ theories of life at the moment. Going with the flow seems to be the only way we can get a grip on this tree-change. 
I’m not saying that if you need to take a crap, just drop your dacks and do it in a shop front, but there’s something to say about not over-thinking the big things in life and just letting them happen. Even if it is a poo.
Have a most excellent week.
Ali xx

Shits and Piddles

We are toilet training. This is epic. I’m so inpatient; I thought learning to wee out a doodle would be easy. Isn’t it like a hose, you can aim? As I don’t have one myself, I just assumed that wee and doodle and aiming would all come together in three days.

Why three days? A friend of a friend told me that her son was toilet trained in three days. Was he 23? Three days. Snort.
My son is almost three. And I know he is super close to learning how to use a toilet, or at least know when he needs to go.

So how do you train a kid to use a potty? I have no answers for you here, but this is what I’ve learnt so far:
1.       If you smell a pop off, a poo is on the horizon. Dacks off and get potty ready.
2.       Nude aint rude, it’s so very good. Let the kid run and watch their wee go everywhere.
3.       Hold onto those old cloth nappies. Accidents and I mean LOTS of accidents, happen. I hope you have floorboards and a good mop, oh and a dog that doesn’t eat poo.
4.       Rewards are winners. We used stickers for wees, miniThomas trains for poo. I let my son put the stickers on the potty so it looks like a trophy.
5.       Undies with your kid’s favourite TV or cinematic characters rule the roost. There is no way my son is going to want to piss on Lightning McQueen’s face.
6.       Be super positive. Dance hard when a wee makes it in the potty. Let your kid press the button on the toilet. Tell your kid that the poo and wee is going to the ocean to swim with all the rad fishies and crocodiles and really cool happy sharks (don’t tell them that if they are shit-scared of fishies and crocs and sharks though).
7.       Poo is exciting not scary. My son loves looking at his afterwards. Yep, it’s gross, but I would rather my kid be excited about taking a crap than holding it in, terrified it’s going to eat him alive.
8.      Let your kid watch you go to the toilet. It’s creepy, but it’s been creepy these last few years hasn’t it– remember that kid was in your tummy. You haven’t had a private moment for almost three years, what’s a crap in front of your kid once a day in the scheme of things. Make sure you smile when you do it.
9.       If you find a poo on the floor… whoops, clean it up, highlight the potty  is nearby if your kid needs it, but let them know that once daddy did something similar and he hasn’t done it again because he’s a big boy. Poo on the floor happens to the best of us, let’s not dwell.
10.   And finally, when you are out in the world with your kid wearing undies, take them to the nearest toilet/gutter/tree/bush/garden the SECOND they say… “mummy, I need to wee”. You don’t have any longer than a second, that wee is coming out now. Run. Carry a towel with you.

So accidents have happened this summer, my son has taken a crap in the display cubby at Bunnings, weed on the card stand in the post office, pooed in his Lightning McQueen undies so massively that I just chucked them in the park bin, and told every person he meets that wee comes out of his doodle.

It’s ok. We are not quite there yet, but it’s on the horizon. We are so close, I can LITERALLY smell it.

This article first appeared in the Autumn issue of BubbaWest Magazine.

Vision vs Reality: Holidays with kids

This afternoon while walking my pooch Cheef Dog, I witnessed a hero.

This man was reversing his Nissan Patrol complete with trailer and massive boat into his garage off a main road.

Not only was he owning this stressful situation, he was using all four of his reversing mirrors while his two dogs barked and scratched at the fence, his reverse beeper sound went off every half second, traffic had come to a standstill, a cyclist leaned on his bike obstructed by the trailer, and here I was standing there awkwardly while my dog ran his bum along the patch of turf and bindis on the nature strip, watching in awe. And during this whole time, the man’s wife was shouting directions from the rear of the garage.

“Straighten her up, ya trombone.”
“No the other right, ya peanut.”
“Use your mirrors.”
“Do you want me to do it? I’ve got to get dinner on.”
“Just leave it there and fix it in the morning.”
“I’ve got to call nan.”
“To your left, left, LEFT. Oh no, your right”

And so on. Then he parked the boat trailer.

Then the man got out of the car, went and checked it’s position and said to me: “She’s not perfect, but she’s straight enough.”

I didn’t know if he was talking about his boat or his wife.

Either way, it got me to thinking about the short little holiday my son and I went on over the weekend. Holidays with kids, they’re never really holidays are they?

Here’s my weekend in a chart:

VISION:
Taking my son to see a lighthouse. Together we would hold hands and experience the nostalgia of an iconic historical architectural emblem. We would take a picture perfect selfie and ride our bikes slowly back down the hill and stop by the ice cream parlour on the way home for a treat.

REALITY:
We arrive at the beach house we are staying at, which is STUNNING. My son notices the TV and says “Turn it on mum” (note the absence of manners). I tell him “no, we are going to see the lighthouse, hop on your bike”. He says, “later, not now, mum. Turn it on.” I get a packed lunch ready while he chucks a tantrum.
Finally on the bike he rides really fast ahead of me, so I have to chase him up a hill in thongs. I noticed he has crapped his dacks, but he doesn’t care he is distracted by the lighthouse. He races towards it and runs through a wedding which is taking place underneath, poo appearing on his thigh.
I’m out of breath when I arrive at the lighthouse to find my kid clawing at the door, beside himself with tears. “Make it open, mum. Make it open. I want to see the lighthouse.”
The lighthouse is closed, the wedding guests are staring at me and my crap-dacked kid. I tell him there’s a pterodactyl (who knew that word started with a ‘p’) laying eggs at the lookout to get him away  from the beautiful wedding scene.
Arrive at the look out, ready for our beautiful selfie moment. The view is breathtaking. I go to show my son, but he is two busy playing with a broken wench thing. I ask him to look up at the view to see the boats and the yachts and the water and the sky and all the pretty things. He says “go away, not now, busy mum.”
He doesn’t even look. Not once. The wench is ‘broken’ he must fix it. We spend a long time playing with it. A long time.
We ride past the ice cream parlour on the way home because the poo has reached his ankle and I had forgotten a nappy/spare jocks/spare shorts/wipes/money.

VISION:
My beautiful blonde boy playing on the beach, building perfect sandcastles and Instagram-worthy moats while I relax with my Lena Dunham book on a flat, clean beach towel, skinny in a two piece bikini. No sunburn.

REALITY:
My son squealing with absolute fear from the huge flock of seagulls which are trying to eat his cupcake. They crowd in so fucking thick, I’m terrified they’re going to grab him and fly away with him clenched in their claws. I shoo them away, running after the birds flicking them with my hand towel (I packed the wrong beach towel from the beach house) feeling my thighs wobble in my 1990s-esque one piece complete with ‘Totally’ written in fluro font across the chest. My son somehow in all of this decides to take off his shorts, and he doesn’t wear another pair for the rest of the holiday.

There’s so many visions vs reality scenarios I could take you through (steam train ride = kid falling asleep in the cabin for most of the trip, Alfie telling the man at the IGA counter that the six pack of beer I had was “mum’s way of dealing with it”, or explaining to the fish and chip shop lady that “mum gives me chips all the time”, or asking the bikie who chased after us to give us Alfie’s forgotten thongs if he was a pirate), but you would be bored.

In saying that though, without a kid on holiday with me, I reckon I’d be bored too. Whilst there’s heaps more stress, anxiety, unsure feelings and frustrations, I kind of relate to the boat reversing man today, if holidays were as perfect as you planned, they’d be boring. If he cracked that trailer reverse in one go without anyone looking, no dogs barking, no wife directing him while live tweeting, well that would be just plain pointless.

So to the boat reversing man, you’re my hero. I hope I’m like you and cool as a cucumber next weekend when it comes to reversing our four wheeler next to the crooked beach caravan while my kid throws toys at me from the back seat.

I look forward to it already.

Parents: It’s Time We Grew Up

My son is now 2.5 and he’s freakin’ hilarious. He is now speaking in sentences (or fluent tongue) and the things that come out of his mouth are great, especially for someone like me who has not quite reached a mature level when it comes to childish humour.

How do parents NOT crack up and whack their thighs in hysterical laughter when their kid says something like: “Mum, I want to take my bum off and sit it on your head and watch the poo.”

Chewed my cheeks. Closed my eyes. Thought about Jimmy Giggle. Did not laugh out loud.

Seriously. How does he say that with a serious face and how do I respond with a serious face? I know I shouldn’t laugh at him because that will only encourage him to say it again: In a dentist waiting room. To an elderly stranger, who has a giant bum. Seriously.

Last week he told me his fingers looked like doodles and didn’t stop staring at them for days. He poured water on his hands from the watering can just so he could watch his fingers wee. He told the lady at Baker’s Delight about his doodle fingers and she laughed. I walked out empty handed. I refused to buy finger buns that day.

Bit my tongue. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Focused on my pelvic floor. Did not laugh out loud,

Heading to the zoo is a joy, purely for the social commentary on animal life coming from my son:
“Mum, why doesn’t that elephant have a doodle? The other one does? And so does daddy.”
“Mum, is daddy a lion?”
“Mum, can we eat the hippo poo?”
“Mum, can I go inside the elephant?”
“Mum, I’m licking the window so the hippo can see the baby snake in my tummy.”
Pinched my arm. Held my breath. Thought about the washing. Did not laugh out loud.
It’s so much fun watching my son discover all these natural delights. But what’s funnier is the absolute refreshing perspective he brings to everyday life and how hilarious I am with dealing with these moments where I actually have to behave like a grown up.

When I explained to my son why I didn’t have a doodle (he asked me if it had fallen off when I sneezed), he gently put his hand on my knee and, staring me straight in the eyes, he said, “Mummy, it will be alright. We can ask Santa for one when he takes my dummies. He’s bringing me a big parcel, he can bring you a big doodle just like daddy’s.”

My strong blank stare focusing above his head and the tears rolling down my cheeks as I bit the inside of my mouth to hold back the huge giggle was too much for him to handle.

“Mummy, don’t cry. You can have my doodle. I don’t need it coz I can wee out my eyes like you.”

Who is Ali Webb?

When she’s not parenting her two-and-a-half year old son Alfie, Ali tries to figure out the difference between Gordon and Thomas and why the producers would create two trains the same colour. But colour is Ali’s thing. She loves to live a colourful life filled with running (after her kid, not for exercise), writing, hunting for vintage treasures, whipping up a macrame or broccoli-shaped cushion and composing raps in her mind about Milo and Sunshine Pine. Ali is a nutcase. Support her on this journey.

This article first appeared in the December issue of Bubba West Magazine.


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.