Dear parents: You need to put your phone down and watch your child’s swimming lesson.

 

phoney

Teachers bring it up in meetings, coordinators brainstorm ideas on changing the culture at the pool, and, yes, kids get upset.

This week one of our teachers came out of his shift and told us that he almost cried during a lesson, because a little boy in his class swam the length of the pool, looked up at his Dad for praise, and said:

‘Why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

His Dad was so engrossed in his phone that he didn’t hear his son call out to him. This particular boy had put in so much effort. He had listened well to the teacher, he had tried his hardest, and he just wanted his Dad to be proud of him.

Sadly, we see it all day every day.

I teach classes and see parents/grandparents/caregivers/whoever completely missing out on the effort that their children are putting in to this lesson, the comedy they bring to the classes with their imaginative ideas, the competitive streak that suddenly appears when a child realises they can do something and do it well.

You could walk into any learn-to-swim environment, and I bet you will see a row of parents sitting on their phones.

As an instructor I can tell you that overall, lessons are great fun, and we get so much out of them. We get to see children change, develop, grow. We get to hear about their days, we get to help them through what can sometimes be a frightening experience, and we see progression.

That progression can be huge; it can be a child finally trusting themselves (and us) enough to let go. It can be a child mastering bilateral breathing. It can be a child perfecting a streamline kick. It can be a child putting their eyes in the water, it can even be minuscule (in appearance), e.g. tucking a chin in further towards their chest; but that could have taken weeks, if not months to happen.

How are you going to see those accomplishments if you are on your phone or ipad, or reading a paper?

How are you going to know that your child IS benefiting from the lessons if you are not watching? Do you see how much they have to take in and do all at once?

Honestly, I get sad as a teacher. I am a little disappointed when ‘Michael’, after months of encouragement and gentle guidance, finally trusts me enough to push off from the edge and paddle out to me, only to see that his caregiver hasn’t noticed. They are not even looking our way.

That’s me, feeling sad, as an adult.

Imagine how ‘Michael’ feels.

I do get it, I know that sometimes it is unavoidable. I know that work can reach us any and everywhere, and while your child is in a safe environment, being watched by another adult, it is convenient to get those final emails done. It’s finally ok to book that appointment online, without your small person trying to talk to you or show you something.

It’s just that, they usually are trying to show you something.

I work for an ever-expanding company, and at the co-ordinators meeting this week, an item on the agenda was: HOW do we get parents to put their phones down?

We discussed banning them (not very realistic)

We discussed posters (will you see them?)

We discussed talking to parents and gently encouraging them to watch

We discussed creating an app where you can watch your children swim (in real-time)

We even discussed offering free wifi and changing the password to “please get off your phone and watch me swim”.

Then the following day, our amazing teacher told us about the boy in his class, whose Dad didn’t realise his son was calling out for him.

‘why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

Please just try it. You will be amazed how much you get out of it, and I’ll bet you your child will work their absolute hardest.

©notsogreatcatsby2018

Big thanks to K N for the pic.

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Can you ever just be ‘whelmed’?

(How I squashed my ‘overwhelm’ and started the best day with a stolen avocado)

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Last week I hit a wall.. and then I fell down, hit the ground and rolled until I reached the edge and free-fell off that, too.

Basically there was a lot of feeling low and out of control.

It was shit.

Baby was getting 5 teeth at once (because why not), he was also in ‘leap 8’ (aka a clingy AF phase in his development aka some sort of baby-life crisis), I had a court application to produce against our old real estate managers, and daycare was closed on my one kid-free day.

I was done.

I said: ‘I’m done’.

I said ‘I’m done’ a lot. So obvs my partner went out twice that week and left me alone with the offspring, and I broke.

There was a lot of yelling and some tears.. then a lot of stone-cold silence, before, finally, a decision was made:

I’m going to have to claim some life back.

On Monday I went to the gym and then we had a huge playdate with a friend (read: nate had a playdate while I offloaded all my anger to a friend).

On Tuesday we had swimming, gym, and then I went to the cinema (like a grown up) with the same friend, and with no children. Also cake.

On wednesday I swam, and then had yet another huge playdate (talk) with another friend.

On Thursday kid 1 had daycare, kid 2 went to creche while I swam, and then we shopped. Babykid even slept while I spent about 40 minutes in a glorious shop filled with stationery, browsing and taking my time with their sale.

And then there was today. Lovely, lovely today.

Ryan took the kids to daycare while I made smashed avo on toast.

The avo used may or may not have been procured by my 3 year old while we visited Australia Zoo.

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There’s a baby in that avo tree

The kangaroo-petting area  of Aussie Zoo may or may not be home to many great avocado trees.

I may or may not have had one of Steve Irwin’s avos for breakfast today.

Then a friend came over for a coffee and she completely convinced Ryan I needed some money for a new swimming costume. (Okay but I really did, because mine did NOT keep things in place while I swam backstroke).

After a lot of discussion and browsing, we found the most beautiful costume in a moment that genuinely resembled finding ‘the’ dress.

‘You guys, I think we’ve got it’
‘Really? Can we see?!’
‘What do you think?’
‘Yes! That’s it! That’s the one!’ (Cue tears and dancing etc etc)*

 

After our swim I went and got my nails done with a friend from work. (Also got a bit laughed at by the lady doing my nails because I haven’t had them done before and I was being socially awkward but whatever.)

Then I picked the babiest one up and we had the cutest baby playdate with cute baby cuddles and baby hide and seek..

And then it was now and I am so chilled and content that I feel like I am completely in the middle of being ‘whelmed’.

It is so bloody hard to accept that we need to take some time for ourselves. It is so hard to accept that we can’t actually always do it all and put everyone else first and not stop and breathe and replenish.

I’ve really just had 5 beautiful, indulgent days.. but my kids haven’t suffered for it at all. I’m happy and so are they.. Ryan is happy cos I’m not a raging stresshead. The boys have had big plays, and are pretty oblivious to anything else..

But I know it’s not just me that feels too guilty to ask for this stuff. I mean, I  definitely don’t need all this indulgence every week; I certainly don’t need weekly nail appointments, and I definitely need to study, rather than go to the cinema; but I also need a break every now and then before I spontaneously combust, explode and freefall, taking everyone around me along for the ride.

I’m off to eat some coconut icecream now. Hope you get some time for you.

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*reaction may be slightly exaggerated

 

THE ‘C’ WORD

THE ‘C’ WORD.

(Customers)

ENTITLEMENT.

One single word with multiple mental connotations. Perhaps for you this word brings to mind an opinion (or five) of a specific generation. Perhaps other stereotypical views are summoned; such as opinions on genders, races, cultures. Perhaps you adamantly believe in the existence of entitled behaviour in those around you…

But do you see it in yourself?

We live in an age of abundance. Years ago, with limited establishments, consumers had limited options. If you particularly wanted something, you ordered it, paid for, and received it. Your purchase was a treat, and delivered to you as advertised.

In recent years, this routine has changed, drastically. Customers are increasingly demanding, sometimes requesting extensive menu changes, and sometimes going off-menu completely. If the staff do not bend over backwards to comply: customers leave a bad review on Trip Advisor, or the company’s social media.

Sometimes the staff actually do provide the customer with exactly what they ordered, but the customer will still complain, out of some misguided hope that they will receive money off, because they do not understand what they actually ordered, or perhaps because they just like to complain.

‘BUT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!’ I HEAR YOU CRY.

Except, they aren’t. They really, really aren’t.

CUSTOMERS HAVE RIGHTS, AND THEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE.

‘What are consumer guarantees?

When a consumer buys goods or services, the ACL provides that they have guaranteed rights including that:

• the supplier has the right to sell the goods; • the goods are of acceptable quality; • the goods match their description; • the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier; • repairs and spare parts for the goods are reasonably available; • the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and • the services are completed within a reasonable time where there is no agreed date.’

SOURCE: HTTP://CONSUMERLAW.GOV.AU/FILES/2015/06/ACL_FRAMEWORK_OVERVIEW.PDF

As seen above, this does not mean that customers may dictate the business hours of an organisation to the organisation.

This does not mean that customers have the right to imagine utterly nonsensical adaptations are feasible, and threaten legal action if they are not made possible.

This does not mean that staff may be spoken to or treated in a demeaning manner, they may not be abused or assaulted; they may not be disrespected.

This does not mean that one customer may be put out and disadvantaged for the sake of another.

This does not mean that laws may be broken, in order to satisfy the all-holy consumer.

If this is all sounding extreme, I would like to direct your attention to just a few anecdotes I have had the privilege of compiling in recent months. These are taken from what can best be described as a ‘support group’ for those in the hospitality industry:

customer article 4customer article 3customer article 1

customer article 21customer article 19

Did we somehow, as a society, wrongly decide that ‘servers’ are in-fact ‘servants’? Did we somehow forget to adapt with society as a whole, and therefore forget to acknowledge that working in the service industry does not mean ‘taking the easy way out’? Did we progress in such a way as to make food preparation a commodity available to the majority, but not acknowledge that those catering to those needs are doing so as a chosen profession?

Many (if not most) of the people serving you in cafes, restaurants, cocktail bars etc. are highly trained in their profession. Many also have degrees and qualifications outside of the hospitality industry, but enjoy their roles within it, and remain in them for this reason.

We are no longer in an age where having food prepared for you is a sign of vast wealth and power, so why do some people maintain the mentality that those doing so should be grateful for the opportunity; and suffer mistreatment and poor manners as a consequence?

Perhaps you are not of the entitled mentality; but I am willing to bet you know someone that is. Perhaps you could show them this article, and encourage them to review their behaviour.

Perhaps we, as a society, could take a step in the right direction, and remember our manners with the barista and the wait staff; just as we do when we interact with other paid professionals.

Perhaps we could all make a more conscious effort to be grateful. Grateful for being in such a privileged position that we can pay for something and have it provided to us.

Perhaps we could take some responsibility if what we have our hearts set on is not on the menu.

If we continue to demand the unrealistic, if we continue to demand services for free, if we continue to underpay and under value the hospitality industry as a whole: it will not survive.

‘YOU CANNOT DEMAND A SERVICE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DEGRADING THOSE WHO PROVIDE IT FOR YOU’.

-thempress

©CatOwens2017

Sorry for the silence

20170403_115437_002.jpgWell, hello strangers!

The past few months have been hectic in my household. The big kid turned 3, we moved house, the baby started daycare for one day (read: morning) a week, and Ryan’s business is crazy busy.

Ryan works Mon-Sat and I work on the Sunday. Add a toddler and a baby into the mix, and we were left with a tiny tiny window for house viewings, packing, moving and unpacking.

For some reason, renting a house on the Sunshine Coast is a very last-minute procedure, which makes something already incredibly stressful that much worse.

In general, if we apply any more than two weeks in advance, we are told the house is ready to go and they really need someone in ASAP. That means you have to search, view and apply for houses with just enough time to be approved and get your life together before your lease expires.

Fun fun fun.

I am still 4 assignments away from finishing my cert IV in writing and editing, as, without fail, each week something will pop up that needs my attention a tiny bit more than the course. I actually set myself a personal deadline of January.. then end of Jan. Then definitely by the end of March.

Then it was now; May 11th.. and I am aiming for ‘before my course expires’.

On a more positive note, the blog I wrote: ‘ten things your child’s swimming instructor wants you to know’ was shared by Austswim and subsequently picked up a lot of site traffic. Like, a silly lot. That gave me a bit of a reality check about what I could and should be accomplishing; along with a healthy dose of fear.

Will I ever actually be able to match those numbers with another post? Did I just have my one hit wonder and totally forget to cash in on it? Was that all just random luck?

I am positive about it, regardless of those thoughts, though. Having so many beautiful responses and knowing that I struck a chord with other swimming instructors around the world gave me a wonderful sense of belonging that I will never forget.

So! Any and all positive thoughts are welcome (especially as the baby seems to have gastro, and the washing machine has finally called it a day). Hopefully tomorrow will be THE day I get my student brain back in.. or my thinking cap back on, or my creative juices flowing again.

Thanks for bearing with me. I’ve attached a photo of the baby as a shameless incentive to bring you back again 🙊.

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Ten things your child’s swimming instructor wants you to know

Knowing how to swim competently could save your child’s life. For this reason, swimming lessons are not only beneficial for physical strength and development, but should also be seen as providing a vital lifesaving skill that everybody should possess.

Swimming instructors take their time to get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and try their hardest to bring out the best in their students; but in order to help them do so, here are ten things swimming instructors would like you to remember:

1) Children learn at their own pace

Some kids will swim like dolphins from the get-go, but others will take longer. They may need to build up a relationship with their instructor before they can physically progress, they may need to get to know the pool and their classmates, or their little bodies may take time to develop the strength needed to propell them forwards.

It’s all progress, it’s all development; it’s all important. Try not to compare your child to others, they are trying their best!

2) We all learn differently

Similar to learning at their own pace, children also learn in their own ways. Some respond well to gentle teaching methods, some excel under stricter guidance.

While we try our very best to teach in the best way for your child, sometimes they will be suited to a different instructor. You are more than welcome to talk to us, or to the coordinators about what (or who) will best suit your child.

3) Let them play!

Outside of lessons, the very best thing you can do for your child’s progression is to enjoy water together! Don’t worry about their technique, teach them that swimming can be fun and they will WANT to improve. Do reinforce the usual rules, though, such as staying out of the water until you are already in.

4) Your children really want you to be proud of them

Sometimes it can be frustrating to see your child’s progress plateau, or to see others catch on quicker, but as mentioned above: there can be so many developmental reasons behind this. They do want to do well, they do love your praise, and they do check to see that you are watching.

Sometimes we will see an improvement in their technique or their body positioning, and we will try to make a big deal out of it. It may be miniscule; but it may also signal a complete change in their ability.

5) We all have bad days

Sometimes your child will be tired, uncooperative, grumpy; human. We understand. Give us a heads-up if you can, and remember that we all have bad days. Generally speaking, the best way to handle this is to persist with the lesson. If your child climbs out early, they may expect the same result in future; when they aren’t having a bad day and they just want to do something different.

They may not accomplish the most on that bad day, but seeing the lesson through will set a precedent for the future.

6) Being on time is important

While this one is easier said than done, and we know lateness is sometimes unavoidable, arriving with enough time to get your child used to their surroundings before they are plonked in the water really does make the world of difference.

Children have no real concept of time, but they are incredibly in tune with their parents. If you are rushed and anxious, the chances are that anxiety will come with them into the pool.

If you do happen to be late, we understand; a deep breath may ease that transition into the lesson.

7) It’s best to stay committed

Physical activity and group sports are fantastic for your children; but swimming is also a vital survival skill. Maintaining your commitment to lessons is the best way to develop your child’s strength and capability in and around water.

8) Children pay more attention than we realise

This one is especially relevant for make-up classes. Routine is important to children, but sometimes life gets in the way of that. If your child has a lesson with a new teacher, try to be excited for them! Explain it in a way that will make them feel good about this change, and the chances are they will love it. If they don’t, remember it’s just one lesson, and the same rule applies about sticking it out until the end.

9) You can talk to us!

While we know the job; you know the child. Feel free to talk to us or one of the coordinators about any past experiences/injuries/illnessess/bad days that you may think are relevant.

That being said; we do deal with A LOT of children, so your faith and trust in us and our methods goes a long way.

10) We really do love your kids

Even when they are challenging. In fact, sometimes those challenges make the rewards that bit sweeter. Your children are strong, clever, funny, and the reason we are in this profession.

We genuinely enjoy our time with them; working out their personalities and watching them grow. We are so proud when a child masters a new skill or overcomes a fear; so thank you for trusting us to do so!

©CatOwens2017

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©notsogreatcatsby.wordpress.com

©CatOwens2017

‘Typical new mum, always on her arse’

So, early last night something happened that took me so completely by surprise that I have been thinking about it and dwelling on it ever since. I didn’t even mention it to Ryan because it pulled me so far inside my own head I had no idea how to verbalise it.

Yesterday evening Ryan and I stopped to get a takeaway on the way home from the beach.. Ryan wandered off with the toddler to watch the rain while we waited, and B started fussing for a feed. I looked around for somewhere to sit; mostly because B is around 11kgs and standing up to feed him is slightly less easy now, but also because I had a voice in the back of my head telling me that to stand and feed him would draw attention to us, and I could be perceived as someone that feeds in public just to be looked at.

Then it happened.

Two bogans (like the Aussie equivalent of chavs, for any English readers) walked past, and one said: ‘typical new mum, always on her arse’ and the other burst out laughing.

My initial thought was ‘meh, Bogan’.

Then I wondered if I would have responded had I been less tired or in a bad mood.

Then I wondered if he had a broken relationship and a kid he never saw, because he treated the mother that way.

Then I thought about my day, and how much of it I’d spent ‘sat on my arse’.

So for you, dear bogan; this is how my Wednesday went:

Get woken up by baby at 5am, try to convince him to lie down and go back to sleep

Put him on the floor for a play while I struggle to wake up

Pull him back into bed and try to convince him to lie down and go back to sleep

Give up and get up

Unload dishwasher, grind coffee, reload dishwasher, make breakfast

(Stopping to move crawling and standing baby away from danger 49ish times)..

Give kids toast, with a cooled boiled egg for baby, finish making coffee

Load washing machine and turn on laundry

Sit down to eat breakfast, get back up immediately because the boiled egg has somehow offended the baby and he is livid

Clean baby up and put him down to play

Sit back down

Get up to get the toddler a knife and fork because he ‘needs’ them for his toast

Drink cold coffee & eat cold breakfast one handed because baby now hates playing and is offended by toys

Clean high chair and toddler’s breakfast mess (one handed)

Shower (with baby)

Sit down to feed baby

Get up to hang laundry (one handed)

Go upstairs and get everybody dressed for the gym

Make it downstairs and remember to brush toddler’s teeth (go back upstairs)

Drive to gym and answer call about extending my Sunday shift while setting up the pram

Drop kids at creche, do yoga, collect kids, head home

Sit down to feed baby

Get changed and meet friend for coffee

Put kids in cafe playpen, sit down

Stand up for baby/toddler dramas, sit down

Repeat 73ish times

Bribe toddler to sit down with a cookie

Drink a bit of coffee

Sit down to feed baby

Walk around until baby falls asleep on me, take toddler to another play area and sit with baby still asleep on me

Head home, meet partner & remember we promised to take toddler to the beach

get ready for the beach

Stop for a beer at the rsl (bribe toddler to sit with juice) sit down and continually pass baby between us so we can have our half pint without him smacking the glass from our hands

Play on the beach

Head home

Stop off and order takeaway because the toddler is overtired and we have no chance of cooking before meltdown

Sit down outside to feed baby, overhear bogan say ‘typical new mum, always sitting on her arse’

Think about this while giving baby dinner, eating dinner on my feet, cleaning up toys, cleaning up baby-dinner, vacuuming, showering, cleaning kitchen, folding laundry, dressing baby for bed and then sitting down to feed baby/write this.

I sat down four times to drive, four times to feed the baby, once to hold the baby while he slept and attempted to sit another 397 times, but because of the kids they actually were more like squats than actual ‘sits’.

Yep. Typical new mum. Always on her arse.

I expected more from you.

Taking a detour from a parenting blog to have a political rant. (Sorry not sorry.)

Sick of it today.

I absolutely lost my temper today. I singled out a few ‘friends’ and had a rant. This too was meant to be a rant on facebook, but I had too much to say.

Yes, he is the president, yes atrocities are happening all over this messed up world, yes myself and those on my friends list are lucky, privileged, relatively safe.

Does that mean those who care should remain silent?

‘My only hope is that our resistance is inexorable and his tenure as brief as possible. What’s not to fear? Climate disaster, human rights violations, the dismantling of the constitution, the dissolution of America as we know it, nuclear war. Whatever happens in the US will affect the entire world, so there’s no escaping its reach.’- protestor, France.

Because it’s not my president I shouldn’t stand in solidarity?

Does that mean that no one has a right to say this is fucked up?

Does that mean we should deal with it and carry on as if all is fine, and if women, muslims, black people, disabled people, gay people, mexicans etc etc lose what rights they have in America, then such is life, suck it up?

Let me be clear: men, women, children, humans, animals have rights. Living beings deserve to have rights.

Honestly I just expected so much more from those questioning this.

There is plenty in this world I am against and plenty more I am petrified of. When you say that these people protesting shouldn’t be protesting because Hillary is also a crook, you are missing the point.

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To me it’s the same as telling people not to ‘harp on about saving the whales, as cows are also slaughtered, and you’re not defending them’.

Firstly, are you sure? People constantly throw that argument at the vegan Sea Shepherd crew, without educating themselves first. (For example.) Are you sure these people haven’t been protesting wars, defending the rights of refugees, voting in the election? Are you sure these people have not stood up for their beliefs so far?

You may not see events such as https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/more-than-30000-ahmadiyya-muslims-from-across-the-world-meet-in-the-uk-to-reject-isis-and-islamic-a7191306.html%3Famp?client=ms-android-hms-vf-au publicised, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

Secondly, and more importantly, are you really suggesting that we must protest EVERYTHING, we must defend EVERYONE and EVERYTHING or defend NOTHING?

These protests are not about wanting a female president, or because white men are the enemy, or because those attending only care about themselves: these protests are happening because a vile cretin defeated another vile cretin and now has the most powerful position in the world, and people are scared.

‘President-Elect Donald Trump said the issue of marriage equality in the U.S. is settled Supreme Court law and he’s “fine with that,” yet pledged to support overturning the 1973 high court decision that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion.’ –        DallasNews.com

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I cannot tell you that Obama was amazing, personally there were many occasions his policies made me sick, but if we don’t stand up now against this sexist, abusive, controlling, delusional, lying, entitled piece of shit I think it will be too late.

It probably already is, anyway, but I know which side of history I want to be on.

You know what I keep coming back to? The documented murders of innocent black men by police officers. The publicised murders. The ones that even a black president couldn’t prevent.

What will happen with a sexist white supremacist in charge? Or do we already know?

‘democracy has “the chance to be greatly diminished in our country,” Oster went on to say, adding: “Seeing Mr. Trump ask the audience to raise their hand and give an oath… things like this are not very welcome to someone who survived the Holocaust.”’

US Democratic status downgraded:

http://usuncut.com/news/united-states-just-officially-demoted-full-democracy-flawed-democracy/

Here’s How Trump’s Anti-Abortion Rule Will Affect Women Worldwide https://www.buzzfeed.com/jinamoore/trump-just-slapped-an-anti-abortion-rule-on-foreign-aid?utm_term=.zyynr8LgNM#.zyynr8LgNM

The rights of rapists over children concieved by an act of rape in the US:

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2016/11/17/health/parental-rights-rapists-explainer/index.html?client=ms-android-hms-vf-au

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to

Paul Ryan:

http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/20/1436004/-Paul-Ryan-opposed-abortion-rights-for-women-impregnated-by-rapists-during-failed-2012-VP-bid

Paul Ryan:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ryan

The misconception around US funding abortions overseas (spoiler: they never were)

No, Trump Didn’t Ban US Funds From Paying For Overseas Abortions https://www.buzzfeed.com/jinamoore/no-the-us-government-does-not-pay-for-abortions-abroad?utm_term=.vivYX04kNm#.vivYX04kNm

Why we still need feminism:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5837366

Why we all need the marches:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1665917393419232&id=114517875225866

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

When you get sick of proving you’re healthy.

It was my birthday this weekend. Today, actually.

We planned on a breakfast the day before (daycare could have the toddler while we had some still-hot food), then a visit to the bank and some grown-up chores before I had a dentist appointment.

All was lovely and well; my beautiful family had surprised me with a bank transfer and I bought myself a skirt and dress with some of it.
Fast forward to the dentist. They noticed a tiny rash on my ankles, and throughout my appointment got more and more concerned that it was something sinister. Eventually they convinced me that I had to see a doctor asap to rule out meningococcal, and for the babiest one’s safety I agreed.

Below the dentist is a doctor’s surgery. It being 3.30 on a Friday afternoon I thought I’d save time and just visit him, rather than trying to get in to see my usual GP. I was rushed off for blood tests, and on our way back to the GP Ryan made a joke about him sending me off so he could have time to search Web MD.

You know how you can sneeze, search Web MD for possible causes and suddenly you’ve self-diagnosed the bubonic plague?

One excessively long consultation later and I was being sent to A&E, with an explanatory fax and note for the staff.

The Doctor had convinced himself I had an infection on my heart, and due to an existing murmur I was obviously going to die unless I got it seen to immediately.
Possibly. Worst case scenario; but ‘if you don’t get it checked out right away I will panic all weekend’.

It was now almost 5pm, we still had to get back to daycare, we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and we’d all had enough.

We got N, I tried my luck finding someone to watch him (last minute on a Friday night), gave up and headed to A&E.

Both kids were exhausted, Ryan was pissed off but trying to be supportive and I just caved. I cried the whole way there. Not because I was frightened, but because I am so fucking tired of worst case scenarios.

I was born with a serious heart condition, I recieved amazing care from Great Ormond Street Hospital, I have regular check ups, and have been ‘exceeding expectations’ ever since the op. I am greatful, and appreciate that medical staff have to be cautious, but sometimes I just have enough.

I get sick of proving that I am okay.

I’ve had chest pains (that turned out to be anxiety related), but that diagnosis was reached after a lot of anxiety-inducing tests. ‘To be safe’.

I’ve had a (still mysterious) numbness in one of my hands that had me at A&E for hours, ruling out life-threatening blood clots, ‘to be safe’.

I had an extremely stressful labour with N. Because of fear my heart wouldn’t cope, I was given one ‘highly recommended’ Epidural, instrumental birth and zero water to drink ‘to be safe’. The water decision was made once I had had the paralyzing injection, because of a miscommunication and a fear of excess fluid damaging my heart immediately after the birth. My pulse dropped into the low 40s, twice, and I came very close to losing consciousness both times.

I couldn’t get water for myself, due to the Epidural, and medical staff refused it. Safety, safety safety.

I need drugs for piercings, tattoos, and the dentist, just in case.

I know it’s irrational. I know I am incredibly lucky to have such attention and care given, no room for error. I know that these people have my life in their hands and they have to be cautious, but last night I had reached my limit.

A&E on a friday night, with two exhausted children and two seriously hungry adults, sat in a waiting room infront of a poor Heroin addict that was desperate for help, and in very close proximity to some fairly frequent vomit was not how I’d planned on my weekend beginning.

So now it’s my birthday. I have chosen to stay on the couch with the babiest one, while N and Ryan shop for tools, and I’m having a public rant, in the hopes of cleansing, mentally.

I am incredibly lucky, I get it. I’m just tired.

and now for something different

I don’t really understand this week, so I gave up thinking about it.

N’s daycare days got shifted around as we are flying to Melbourne for a wedding tomorrow, the weather has been all over the place, and I’m just generally disorientated. My brain feels like cotton wool and I have been procrastinating on top of avoiding, above some old fashioned ignoring.

On Monday I put N into daycare and went to the local shopping centre. While I was there I bumped into someone I knew, out with 3 (beautiful) kids under 4. I made an offhand comment about her bravery (as it takes a lot of mental preparation for me to go anywhere with my 2 without backup). A random lady then took it upon herself to talk over us, looking at baby B, then to me, firmly saying ‘there’s really no issue if you actually train them while they’re little’.

I’m sorry but, what?

Who are you and why are you talking over us? Have you met my kid? Do you have any idea how old he is? Are you seriously suggesting that small children are obedient and well behaved as long as you ‘actually train them’?

(Let me just add here that I may have already been fairly sensitive after a night of no sleep)

I looked at her, with fairly solid ‘f-off’ eyes, and went: ‘HAHAHAH!’ before resuming my conversation.

The younger chick she was with started saying something along the lines of ‘I don’t even try it, either, (kid’s name) just runs off’, and I tried to forget her existence.

I’m a bit over it, to be honest.

I know there are times my opinion is disagreed with (just ask my darling partner), but I’d like to think I don’t just blurt it out at people that haven’t asked for it whatsoever? Like, at least I’m involved in the conversation first, right?

Right?

Anyway, I have 5 assessments to do (again, procrastinating on top of avoiding, above some old fashioned ignoring) and one is to write a poem, so I channelled my inner rage and made it rhyme a bit, and the result is below, so please enjoy.

Or don’t, whatever; it’s your life.

 

I didn’t ask for your advice (but you gave it anyway)

I was talking with an acquaintance, unaware of your existence

When you threw in some parenting tips

I did not request your input on how I should parent my kids.

Please do not tell me how to ‘train’ him; to ‘eliminate resistance’

You’ve never met my child

(he wasn’t there, and he’s not a dog)

I think toddlers push their boundaries; it’s not always about persistence.

.

I understand that you were trying to help

Probably

Somewhere, deep down

But you were speaking out of turn

My only response was to frown.

.

I didn’t request a lecture, while waiting for the doctor

On the reasons we vaccinate

All the dangers, the potential horror

The hope to eliminate

.

I had told you we were there for that

Yet you took it upon yourself

To impart your impeccable wisdom

And ramble about ‘pack health’

.

I understand that you were trying to help

Probably

Deep down inside

But you were offensive and unnecessary

I was polite – I felt obliged.

 .

When you repeatedly tell us

To do it ‘this way’ or ‘that’

To not spoil, to not pander;

To not immediately react

.

You assume we want the same outcome you had

You ignore the pitfalls; the bad.

.

There are so many reasons we differ

Many variables at play;

The economy, research

even weather

Could be among the reasons for change.

.

I understand that you’re trying to help

Probably

Deep down

But I can see those outcomes

I’m avoiding them

I’m allowed.

 .

Perhaps we do know better now

Perhaps our children are different

‘They turned out fine’ is not justification,

and it’s subjective; your opinion

.

Perhaps we see the dangers now

Perhaps we are just belligerent

.

And perhaps you really are blind to fault

To mistakes made long ago

Or perhaps you are in fact quite perfect

And it is I that refuses to know

.

I do understand; you’re just trying to help

Probably

Deep down

But at some point we must make our own mistakes

You made yours

It’s our turn now.

So, so.

I have an idea that I should write a blog post at least once every two weeks, probably so that I don’t lose momentum and grind to a halt; but this week it is so, so hard.

Last Friday I took a bit of a ‘mental health day’. The day before, Ryan had taken a day off work (for basically the first time ever), N was at daycare, and we went to Brisbane for the day.

It was a shitshow.

We went for breakfast (again, something we never ever do) and Nate basically ate a teaspoon of vegemite, before smearing whatever was left all over himself. He then got too distracted by the play area and forgot to let us know he needed the toilet, and he left for daycare, post-clothes change and mid-tantrum.

We eventually made it to Brissy, against the will of our four-month old, and then my phone rang.

N had vomited all over the floor, and told daycare that he had been to the doctor.

He had.. two months before.

For his brother’s check-up.

I then had to explain that we were well over an hour away, he had not been unwell, and perhaps it was the teaspoon of vegemite he managed to eat for breakfast.

We did what we had to do in Brissy and came straight back.

So, on Friday I woke up feeling totally disheartened and unmotivated. I went for a walk, followed by a coffee and another walk with a friend, and a complete day of ignoring my study/blog/responsibilities/life.

Fast forward a week and I have been super productive.. I have been accepted to work as a story reviewer and submitted my first two reviews, I studied a bit, agreed to a good, regular swim teaching shift beginning next month, exercised twice and covered a swim teaching shift (my first since bub came along – both kids and Ryan survived), so surely writing a blog will be easy, right?

The problem is, I am so, so torn.

I am torn between focussing on my immediate world, or the entire world.

I am torn between looking for positivity, and seeing negativity.

I am torn between understanding, and outrage.

I am torn between acceptance and defiance.

I am torn between feeling as though now is the time to speak out, or feeling as though now is the time to listen.

To really, really listen.

I also feel as though if I actually began to explain my feelings about the US election, I would never stop. It would spread into everything, and I would probably manage to offend many, many people.

I don’t think we need any more division. I know I definitely don’t.

So I’m sorry for the non-post. For the words with no direction. For the non-explanation and the not-very-interesting; I just needed to fulfil a personal promise.

Be kind. Be kinder than you have to be.. to everyone, and to yourself.

I think we all need it.