Thursday, 21 November 2013

1 step back = 2 steps forward

"Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward."

How many times have I heard this in my life?
Countless times, from all directions.

How many times have I experienced it, in every aspect of life?
Countless times, in many ways.

How many times have I accepted it, and believed that going back will help me go forward?
Never. I always dig my heels and and get dragged there, kicking and screaming.

And yet, I always do manage to get that one step ahead again. However, especially those times when I dig my heels in, I make it there with broken shoes and bloodied feet.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I can look back and say "Well, I shouldn't have done that, I'm not going to make that mistake again."
Until the next time. 
That's life.

Today we went out for dinner as a family, the local Italian place had recently reopened after being remodelled and Hubby and I thought it would be a nice treat for the kids. Bear (Mr 1-and-a-half) had just had his shots today so we thought he'd enjoy a treat, while Happy-Helper (Miss 4) had been super helpful all afternoon and Cuddle-Bird (Miss 7) had had a rough day with bullies at school.

Big. Mistake.

The girls quite decisively decided what they wanted to order, and insisted on ordering it themselves. Bear happily sat in his high chair and slammed his, and my, forks on the table over and over laughing like a little lunatic. And the waiter completely ignored Hubby, opting instead to talk to my cleavage.

The entree arrived and little Bear decided he didn't want any of it after the first bite of bread. Happy-Helper wanted some cheese and olives that she picked at then kept getting out of her chair to try to offer it to Cuddle-Bird instead. Cuddle-Bird piled as much as she could on her plate and then proceeded to smoosh huge portions into her mouth with her hands. 

Hubby and I were hissing at them all to "sit down!" and  "use your manners!".

I'd just started getting to eat my plate of entree after being Bear's drink holder for around 5 mins as he sucked juice through his straw and dribbled it all down his front after each mouthful, when Happy-Helper decided she needed to announce for the whole restaurant to hear: "I'm pooping!".

To the bathroom we go! Hi ho hi ho!

Our meals we being brought out as we got back to the table. Happy-Helper took one look at the rough cut chips she had in front of her and decided Nope! (to be fair she HAD ordered chips and these were closer to potato wedges). Bear's mashed potato (that the waiter knew was for a toddler) had a thick layer of coarse ground black pepper over the top of it. And Cuddle-Bird's baby octopus was mostly olive oil and pepper covered lettuce.

I'm fairly certain Hubby's meal wasn't particularly great, even if he didn't complain at all about it. And my $33 lamb rack was little more than a couple of uncut lamb cutlets.

Bear ended up eating a few of Happy-Helper's potato-wedge-chips, Hubby scraped off the top layer of potato off the mash for Cuddle-bird to eat since she had mostly peppered lettuce while Happy-Helper tore apart the rest of her potato-wedge-chips and piled them up on her plate.

Looking at Cuddle-Bird she was staring at people around us while they ate, with an octopus hanging out of her mouth. Happy-Helper was asking for ice cream and Bear was tearing up his napkin.

Over it.

I told everyone we were leaving with a look that bore no arguments.

Packed up the family, paid the $120 bill and left. I was furious. Both at the restaurant and at the kids for their behavior.

As we got closer to the car Happy-Helper remembered the cicada shell I'd found and picked up for her on the way to dinner and happily asked if we could make it a house.

I shrugged her off with an ambiguous "maybe tomorrow" and proceeded to Mum-nag at them for their rudeness, lack of manners and not eating their food.

Strike 1.

Silence from the backseat.
"Straight to bathroom, teeth brushed and pjs on then bed!" And they knew they did the wrong thing and that I was mad.

We got home and as I walked to the front door I saw the tree out the front was covered in cicada shells.

And I forgot how mad I was at them, and I started to collect them, telling the kids to get stuff to make them a house.
They excitedly started gathering bark and sticks, Cuddle-Bird knocking Bear over headfirst into the garden in the process.

Strike 2.

We found a suitable cardboard box and set ourselves up on the floor to start building the cicada shells a house. Cuddle-Bird started to get huffy and protested that she only had two cicada shells.

As Happy-Helper and I were putting sticks through the cardboard Cuddle-Bird decided to snatch one of Happy-Helper's from her lap, crushing it and causing Happy-Helper to burst into tears.

Strike 3.

Hubby stepped in and Cuddle-Bird was not allowed to help make the house anymore.

Once we were done making it I decided to have a little sit-down chat to both girls.

Cuddle-Bird couldn't tell me WHY she had chose to act that way while we were out, or WHY she had to snatch and destroy her sister's cicada shell.

However what she DID tell me was enough for me to know why. And to forgive her and try to offer ways to help her.

And sometimes that's enough.

Going home early, without dessert didn't change her behavior, getting mad at her didn't change it, and talking to her and listening and asking her about unrelated things like her friends and school didn't change it.

But it did change how I saw it. Which is the most important lesson in this blog tonight.

All I saw was her acting out, I didn't see why, and asking her why was getting me nowhere.

But after our sit down chat, with cuddles and kisses and tickles, I think we got somewhere. My Cuddle-Bird isn't trying to be bad, she isn't trying to be mean. She's hurting and lonely.

And we made a cool house for the cicada shells.
And we made a cool house for the cicada shells.
And once I saw that, I wondered why I'd been getting mad at her all the time, when she has clearly been suffering like this for a while.
I'd just been too wrapped up in being the parent that acted on the behavior to take a step back and just TALK to my kids about what's bothering them and causing them to act that way.

I stepped backwards today as a parent.

And, in doing so, I went forward two steps in the eyes of my kids.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A bucketlist to improve your life

A list of things to do before you die that will make your life much more enjoyable. I'm sure there's many many things we could add to this, comment your ideas below on things to add to our bucketlist.

  1. Stop worrying about debt.
    Everyone has debt in some way, shape or form. Most governments and countries debt number in the billions. Owing a couple of thousand $$ on your credit card is nothing in the long run. Worrying never solved anything, if debt is such an issue to you, work hard at paying it off, and don't borrow more than you can pay back in a month.

  1. Forgive your ex-lovers.
    You loved them once, they made you happy. Even if everything ended badly, they once meant enough to you for you to want to be around them. Forgive them for cheating on you, or for hurting you, or for leaving you. Holding onto the anger and disappointment will only hurt you, not them.

  1. Stop trying to control your outcome.
    The world happens around you, and it doesn't care about your plans. If you want to succeed, then, you have to be flexible enough to accomplish your goals regardless of what life throws at you. In fact, when you plan too much, one tiny bump in the road will destroy all of your plans.
    Go with the flow. Preparing exactly what you're going to do and say ahead of time very rarely works out. The universe doesn't often fall into place so easily.
    Stop fighting with yourself. Stop fighting the universe and the natural flow of things. Stop resisting and pushing against reality.

  1. Look in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally.
    If you're happy with yourself and love yourself, it will matter less if someone else doesn't like you. You'll find most bullies and hateful people are very unhappy with themselves.

  1. Leave the job you hate.
    You spend around 70% of your life working. (Yes, I made that number up.) Get a job you like, a job you enjoy. No one wants to get up everyday and go somewhere they hate. You should enjoy your job, whether you're a teacher or a painter or a scientist, if you can't enjoy your job, then you're doing the wrong one.

  1. Find your purpose and live it wholeheartedly.
    No I don't mean spend your whole life wondering what about what big thing god has in store for you. If you’ve got a dream and your heart still beats with it, even though nothing seems to be happening, keep at it and don’t let go. Other times, you may feel it right to step away for a while and come back when it calls you again or circumstances shift.
    Find something in life that makes you WANT to get out of bed and GO each day. Find that thing that gives you a reason to live, and LIVE IT!

  1. Adopt a furry friend.
    Research has shown that pet ownership has many physical, mental, emotional and social benefits. Pet owners are generally healthier and happier than non-pet owners. They have lower blood pressure and cholesterol; are less depressed; feel less lonely than non-pet owners; and actually find it easier to get to know people. To top this off rescue pets are amazing. Very few things can come close to making you feel as awesome as adopting a new family member from a shelter and saving them from possibly being put down.

  1. Don't feel guilty for holiday weight-gain.
    Holidays are holidays. Good food, good company, busy days and you tend to eat more and work out less. Most people do. It's nothing to feel guilty about. Just enjoy yourself over the holidays and get back on track with your weight loss journey afterwards.

  1. Travel to the place you keep thinking about.
    If there's one place you can't get off your mind, the stunning fashion of New York, the romance of Paris, the misty hills of Ireland, go there! If there is one trip you make in your lifetime, let it be to that place that fascinates you so much you can't stop thinking about going there.

  1. Try something that scares you.
     Science has proven that doing something that scares you will make you more productive, prepare you for new and unexpected changes, help you push your boundaries in the future, and make it easier to harness your creativity.
    Swim with sharks, go to the snake room at the zoo, watch a scary movie, skydive, try something new, ask for help; just step out of your comfort zone a little.

  1. Be open to change.
    "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the fortune." - John F. Kennedy
    When you get used to something, when it’s always been there and you count on it always being there, it’s often very uncomfortable when it changes. The longer something is a certain way, the more people expect, and want, it to remain the same. They become content and sometimes even complacent.
    But things usually change for a reason. Life is always changing. The more easily you can adapt, the more successful, happy, and appreciated you will be.
  1. Let go of your past.
    No one can live until they let go of the past. Whether you're remembering how great or how horrible your life once was, holding on to that will stop you fully living and enjoying your future.
    Let’s face it: we all dwell on the past from time to time. That’s okay—we’re human beings with emotions. As we live life and experience it to its fullest, it’s only natural that we sometimes cling onto what once was. But, when our desire to cling to the past affects our future, we begin a potentially unhealthy and seemingly endless battle with anchors that can hold us down and sink us.

  1.  Stop trying to change people.
     People are exactly who they are, and despite your opinion, they will continue to live this way. How many times have people gotten into relationships with the thought “I can make them into a better person; I can save them”? How well does this work out? I bet more often than not, this blew up in their faces. Implementing change within ourselves is hard enough and trying to change the way someone else behaves is even harder.     

    14. Change Yourself.
     So why not try thinking the other way around? Focus on the positive and attract positive people and situations. Think about placing positive meanings on your spouse’s behavior. Instead of finding fault, try accepting that this is the way he or she is.
    Accept people for who they are, and enjoy the differences that make everyone unique.  

Friday, 15 November 2013

This should be important to everyone

All too often we hear of children being bullied, and increasingly often we hear about kids harming or killing themselves as a result.

Today's blog is about a name that is big in Australia right now. 

Chloe was a typical 15yr old. She loved taking selfies, talking about boys and make-up. She never got the chance to grow up and do all those things that people should experience in life - love, marriage, children, a job. She had aspirations to become a hairdresser or a beautician and always took immaculate care of her appearance.

Chloe lost her mother to breast cancer in 2006 and, as if that wasn't hard enough, Chloe was abused, tortured and assaulted for years at school and online, by her peers.

These children will get off lightly, because, in the eyes of the law, while what they did was morally wrong, it was not illegal.

 Taken from The Mercury:

"We could not believe that the girl we knew as so happy, confident and compassionate could be seen as otherwise by anyone else. We were horrified," said Chloe's oldest sister, Cassie Whitehill, 30.In the days before the tragedy Chloe caught the bus into town after school, as she did every weekday.
Ms Whitehill said two people were waiting for Chloe at the bus mall.
She was king-hit from behind, kicked, and the assault filmed on a phone camera by the attacker's accomplice.
Ms Whitehill said the video was posted on Facebook that night. It has since been removed.
Two days after the attack, Chloe was found in her room after taking her own life.
"I got a phone call and it was a big, massive shock. No one saw it coming. I saw her a couple of days before and she was her usual, happy self," Ms Whitehill said.
The assault and video were reported to police on Monday.
Chloe's family is distraught and in shock.
"She was a bright, intelligent girl. Always happy and confident and never really let anything, that we knew of, worry her," Ms Whitehill said. 
She moved schools in the middle of last year after being bullied at her previous school.
"She was getting picked on for absolutely horrible things, like not having a mother ... it was awful," Ms Whitehill said.
"We saw the principal and spoke to him about it. He said he would look into it, and keep an eye out. But the bullying kept happening.
"We knew it was an issue at the new school but thought it wasn't as bad as at her previous school."
Ms Whitehill said the bullying took a number of forms.
"There was physical bullying. She was assaulted ... obviously there was name calling, mental stuff and the cyber bullying was the big one."
Ms Whitehill said she was shocked to discover that although bullying is illegal, there are no formal anti-bullying laws in any Australian state except Victoria.
"I have made a promise to myself and Chloe that I will make these laws recognised in every Australian state and territory," she said.
"It may not bring her back but it may save the life of another victim of bullying one day and her suicide will have not been in vain."

Unfortunately, Chloe was not the first, and will not be the last person who has been affected by bullying to the extent of taking their own life.

In a time when we have children feeling like they have no other choice but to take their own lives, something is wrong. In a time when people are getting away with making each other feel so badly that THIS is the action they take to make it stop, humanity needs a wake up call.

I was bullied in school, high school and primary school, and teachers didn't have the power to stop it then, and they have even less power now.

My eldest daughter is 7 years old, and she's just starting to get picked on and bullied, and her school does nothing. Parents need to pay attention and put a stop to their children's behavior, schools need to treat all reports of bullying seriously, and police need to be called and also treat it seriously.

It's not a matter of kids being kids. It's not something that is going to make them stronger or better people.

Bullying kills. Bullies are murderers.

Say NO to bullying.

 Chloe's sister has started a petition to change the laws so our children are better protected against bullies.

Sign it here.

Want to see Chloe's story?

See it here.

If you are feeling distressed, talk to someone you trust or call one of the following free 24/7 crisis support services

Ø Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Ø Lifeline: 13 11 14

Ø Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Ø Online & telephone counseling for young people is available via or call 1800 650 890


*Pictures from Chloe's Law facebook page.*

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The home rental market

Moving house is stressful.
It's even worse when you're looking for a place to move to, with a time limit.

Application after application is filed and you just don't hear back, or they go with someone else, or for some reason they don't want YOU in their house.
And the real estate agent treats you like a second rate citizen because you're trying to rent, rather than buy. They don't return your calls, they don't help you, they don't work with you.

It's hard, it's stressful, you have to be out of your current place because your lease expires, for your new job, for whatever reason, so you're packing and hoping that SOMEONE will accept your application.

You start out applying for the nice places, the places you want to live in, the decent areas, and then you lower your standards to the smaller places, the cheaper places, the rougher areas; and still you don't hear back.

It's beyond a joke.

To real estate agents and home owners out there, how you treat your renters will reflect on your business. I already have a list of agencies that I will NOT be purchasing a home through when I settle on an area, because they treat me so badly now when I'm trying to rent.

To renters and people looking for a home out there, do not accept that you are a second rate citizen. Do not put up with being treated badly by the real estate and owners.

They are not only working for the owners, they are working for You as well.

And don't take anything less than the best for yourself and your family.

Best Wishes;  Ushinatta Koneko.

*Image from google images.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Being a parent is the hardest, most frustrating, most expensive, most stressful blessing you can ever have in life.

No parent's journey is the same. No parent has an easier time or harder time of it than any other.
Just as all our children are unique, all parents are unique as well.

I often hear parent's of special needs kids ask for special treatment, from friends, the government, schools. Regardless of what exactly makes their child different from the others around them, be it Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome or anything else, everyone always wants to point out how HARD it is for them as a parent and how EASY it is for the parents who don't have to struggle every day with meltdowns and changing the nappy on their 15 year old.

It's not easy for any parent. Not the parent with one perfectly healthy child, not the parent with 3 down syndrome children, not the mother to a stillborn, not the mother to the aborted or the miscarried. You're all parents, trying to do the best you can.

Everyone has struggles. No one's experience is the same.

Your child may have struggles now with meltdowns, and they may have them their whole lives. But you know, some adults are only now getting the diagnosis and help your children have had since they were small. Imagine how THEIR parents must have felt. They didn't have "oh it's Aspergers" to fall back on, as far as society was concerned, their child was a terror and they were bad parents.

You might complain that people looked at you askew in the shopping centre because your child had a meltdown, or wandered off. And people you know rally to your defense saying that they understand, your child is different, they're special needs, it's ok.
Parents from past generations, and even now in some parts of the world, don't have that. All they have is society telling them that they have failed at the most important task they have ever undertaken, being a parent.

At least you have it easier than them.

You may have to pay out extra money for that wheelchair, or those surgeries, or treatments or therapists. But at least you CAN get that wheelchair, and the surgeries and treatments and therapists. We have Social Security or Centrelink or Disability payments to help you, we have free services all around with volunteers to give you help and advice. A lot of places around the world don't have that. A lot of children needlessly die each year, because they don't get the treatment they need.

At least you have it easier than them.

Now stop pitying yourself for being stuck with the lifetime of misery and financial burden that is your special needs child, and think about how amazing it is that your child can still laugh and love and breathe. There are so many parents in the world who'd give ANYTHING to have their child breathe, once... again... still.

Being a parent is hard, when you have a special needs kid, we get it. But it's still wonderful and the best thing that can ever happen to you.

Being a parent is hard when you have a healthy, perfectly functioning child.
They have attitude and personality. They wander off in stores or at home or at school and you can't breathe until you find them again.

It's hard when your perfectly "normal" child decides to throw a tantrum in the middle of the store, or wanders off and gets lost and everyone looks at you askew, like you're a bad parent. And it's not like you have the excuse of "oh he's autistic", that would be too easy, no your child has their own personality and wants and is very loudly expressing them as he flails and kicks on the supermarket floor or runs off to inspect that toy you passed. And all you feel is that you must have gone wrong somewhere, you're a failure parent. I mean, it's SO easy because your child is 'normal', why can't you do it?

And you're at the end of your rope and the kids are driving you insane and an old lady tells you, "enjoy it while you can" and you scoff to yourself, and complain to your friends.

It's hard when as a parent, all you want to do is enjoy your time with your kids, special needs or not, and all you see around you is bills, and work and cleaning and cooking and they're fighting or they're screaming or they're hiding or they're shaving the dog or they're pouring soap on the floor or they're painting the walls with their nappy or they're throwing their food on the floor or they're jumping on their beds or  or or or...

And suddenly they're gone.

They've grown up and moved out, you could finally afford that care facility, or they're just gone...RIP Angels...

And you wonder, where did the time go? And you turn into one of those old ladies in the supermarket that you used to hate. Who looked at you askew for getting upset at your child having a tantrum.
You remember when that was YOUR child, and you miss their little quirks and personalities, and you wish you'd just lightened up and bought them that toy.

And you turn into one of those old ladies, who you complained about quietly to your friends, who tells you to slow down, to enjoy it while you can.

It's hard when you're a parent, and you have to let go of your baby, when they move out, or move on. And you no longer have the best, most important part of your life around anymore.

We get it, us parents. We GET that it's hard. And all our kids are special.

Stop judging each other as we all try our best to do the best thing by the best part of our lives.

Being a parent is the hardest, most expensive, most frustrating blessing you can have in life. Cherish it, because it's gone too fast.


As a parent of 'normal' children, meaning that my kids don't have a solid diagnosis, Miss 7 has a potential ADHD diagnosis, a potential PTSD diagnosis, and has affection issues. Miss 4 has apparently an issue with how her brain works that means she can't learn to talk the same way everyone else does.
But without a diagnosis that society will forever define them by, we get no extra assistance.

It's hard. It's VERY hard. I have days where I don't get out of bed because it's so overwhelming for me.

I'm not saying that it's worse for me. I'm not saying that it's better for you.

I'm just saying that until parents start seeing their children, it's never going to get easier.. Until parents stop caring about the diagnosis.

In the eyes of the public, when my kids misbehave, I'm a bad parent. In the eyes of those who know me, we're coping very well with Miss 7's PTSD or ADHD or w/e.

But until parents can look at each other with understanding and offer assistance, instead of playing their kids against each other in some twisted version of "my kid is smarter/sicker/harder to love than your kid", then society is always going to see what it wants to see.