Tag: life lessons

{From the Vault} We can’t control everything and I’m OK with that.

I wrote this post in 2014 and it sat in my drafts folder until now – the Little Mister was 2 years old. The first sentence kind of makes me laugh because I know it wasn’t always that easy (still isn’t!), but I still agree that we need to shake off the pressure we are made to feel because we can’t control everything. Life is messy. Kids will do what they will do – they’re their own crazy little people. Especially toddlers! We can provide them with the best environment to grow and thrive but sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan. That doesn’t mean we’ve done a bad job x

I know I’m nuts, but I really do love the unpredictability of having a small child. It’s not for everyone, but I love that when I wake up in the morning I have no idea what the day may bring. I can make plans, but they might be abandoned. I can have no plans, but suddenly something unexpected (and hopefully pleasant but not always) comes along. It can be frustrating and even boring at times – not to mention exhausting – but somehow this stay at home mum life seems to suit me. Just like any paid job I’ve ever had, there are drawbacks and there are absolute perks.

Again, with me still sounding like an absolute nutjob, I really do find it liberating when plans go awry. It’s like the universe is giving me permission to just throw my hands up in the air and say, “Oh, f*ck it! You want me to just go with the flow, universe? I’ll show you how to go with the f*cking flow!”

I think I really do embody my blog’s title. I like to think that if I am unprepared for the situations life throws at me, at least I can be awesome at it 😉

I don’t always succeed (cue crying and eating a pile of hot chips the size of my head), but it’s my life’s motto these days. It’s what gets me through.

I’ll put up a fight when something goes off track (sometimes you do need that fire inside you), but I think I also know that there are occasions when I just need to step back and realise I’m so not in control of everything and that’s just gonna have to be OK for now.

May as well laugh about it (if appropriate – in most cases it is) and think of it as blog material!

I feel like in this day and age, new parents are told they can control everything. In fact, not only can we supposedly control everything, we are told we’d better bloody be in charge of everything or else we’re going to be judged! We’re told we can control everything from the way our pregnancy plays out, to how we give birth, to breastfeeding perfectly (something not all of us can do), making our babies sleep perfectly for 12 hours straight, to how smart our child is going to be and what their interests will be.

We’re told that if we do all of the ‘right’ things, we can totally achieve the desired outcome.

*cough* BULLSH-T *cough*

There are parents out there who can do everything ‘right’ and still face challenges a lot of us wouldn’t even be able to fathom. There are parents who don’t do anything right and yet, somehow against all odds, their children survive and succeed! Explain that, control freaks! Explain that!

We can give ourselves and our children all the best opportunities possible, but at the end of the day there are so many factors that can be out of our hands.

I feel like as parents, we need to refuse to buy into this controlling mentality and to be careful not to use it as a tool to make other people feel inadequate. There’s a difference between friendly advice that may or may not work, and judging someone: “Oh, life is harder for them because they didn’t do x, y or z”.

There is a difference between giving our children security, boundaries and discipline, and simply micromanaging every step they take until they have no confidence left to try something on their own and figure out that it’s OK to make mistakes or do something wrong and that they’re strong enough to recover and move on.

We get the hand we’re dealt and the only thing we can really control is how we respond. Sometimes that’s fucking hard to do, but it can be kind of empowering to figure out how to go with the flow and do our best with what we have. And if we’re really lucky we might have a really amazing support network around us to help make it easier. Let’s be that for each other.

{From the Vault} Just wait until you have kids! Said no Kez ever.

I just found this post in my drafts folder – dated October, 2013 (the Little Mister was almost 2). I think it’s still relevant now – especially as I’ve experienced quite the journey with secondary infertility. I have occasionally heard the words, “At least you only have one child. I have (insert plural number here). Just wait until you experience it!” as a way of telling me that I have it easier and have no idea. Sure, I probably do have it easier in some ways – I definitely have it easier than someone who wants so badly to become a parent but cannot. But I’d also argue that the challenges I have faced have not been a cup of tea or a picnic or a walk in the park either. I know I wouldn’t wish my challenges on somebody else, that’s for sure. Both myself and every other parent/person have had our own journeys and they’re both likely to be as unique and as valid as each other’s. Someone will always seem to have it better than us and some will always have it tougher than us. It’s not up to us to judge what that’s like for them and whether they’re suffering enough. It’s not a competition. I try to keep myself in check about this all the time…  

Fellow (erm…probably female) parents…do you remember being pregnant for the first time? Do you remember feeling bone weary tired and uncomfortable sometimes (or all the time for those less lucky?). Do you remember the late pregnancy insomnia? The aching and the need for some kind of body pillow arrangement that your partner dare not disturb? Do you remember those times you told someone about how tired you were and that someone had kids and that someone kept saying, “Pfft. You just wait until you have the baby. Then you’ll know the meaning of tired.”

You know, with that tone that says clearly, “Ha! This person has no idea!” followed by an evil laugh because you know they’re secretly enjoying the idea of you suffering in the near future.

Remember every time you opened your mouth and someone would say, “Oh you just wait…”

“Oh, that’s nothing. You just wait until you have the baby…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re crawling…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re walking…”

“Oh, you just wait until the teething…”

“Oh, Terrible Twos? There’s Terrible Threes…”

“You just wait until you have two kids! Oh, you have two? Well, that’s nothing compared to three!”

You know what I mean. Some of you might even have a person you know in mind when you read this.

Look, these things are fine in the context of a positive conversation between friends/family members, but what I’m referring to is those who have quite the case of the snarks. That person who is competitive or condescending.

I can’t promise I won’t ever say any of the above things at some occasion (in the right moment hopefully with the right person at the right time with the right tone), but I can promise that I will never do it with the intention of making someone feel like their experiences are less valid because they’re not parenting a child yet. Or ever. I also sincerely apologise if I’ve ever unintentionally p*ssed someone off.

I’ve just never understood that attitude.

I mean, what’s their point? So they’re further ahead in the parenting game and always will be. That’s fine. Good for them. If they have any useful advice or humourous anecdotes we can relate to and feel better about, that’s really great. But what’s the point in bringing us down while we’re learning?

When you’re f*cking tired, you’re f*cking tired. When you’re struggling, you’re struggling. When you’re juggling, you’re freakin’ juggling.

When you love a child or care about children, that experience is real. Even if it’s not your own child.

I look back on my life BC (Before Child) and I think about the times I was bone tired. Did I take some freedoms for granted? Absolutely!! But were my experiences valid, real and necessary to enjoy/live through before having a child? Abso-f*cking-lutely! Imagine if we all spent our whole life leading up to having children, stopping ourselves and saying, “Oh, this pales in comparison to when I will have children.”

That would be ridiculous, yeah?

I remember staying up all night frantically finishing university assignments, feeling like my whole future rested on the success of my studies. The pressure, the stress, the late night panicked phone calls from fellow students about group assignments. I would spend weeks in a daze, just wondering when the hell I would rest and then when “holidays” arrived they were spent worrying about the rest of my life (the part that had been neglected).

I remember the stress I’ve been through when terrible events have happened. The constant juggling – family, friends, university, work, self care, my relationship, etc. Having to say no to things. Having to feel like trying to find the right balance is a nightmare. Realising you can’t please everyone.

All of those things were real. Doing it tough when my husband lost his job – not having disposable income. That was real. Just like it’s real when a baby comes along and it costs a lot to keep them in nappies and formula and god knows what else.

And what about those who cannot, or choose not to, have children? Are we smug parents saying that none of their life is valid or complicated or real? F*ck off!

We’re all in different stages of life, making our own different decisions. All of us deserve respect for where we are. We all have our paths to follow, new things to learn. All in due time.

I feel sorry for those who will try to convince us that life is going to be horrible when pregnant or when we have children. Sure, there are some crazy times to be had (my path wasn’t exactly ‘glowing’), but those crazy times are for everyone to experience for the first time themselves (if they ever do). For all of those times, there are so many other blessings that make parenthood worth it.

Having a child has really made me learn a lot about how deep your love can be. It’s this pure, unconditional kind of love I didn’t know you could feel before I had a child. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t know what love was beforehand. I’m just experiencing a new kind of love. When some parents say, “You can’t know what love is until you have a child”, I do get what they’re saying, but that’s not a very nice thing to say around people who don’t have a child!! They do know what love is. Sure, they might not share the experience of having your own child but that doesn’t mean that someone without children doesn’t know what unconditional love is. Or what it’s like to care for someone who will test you constantly.

We’re all running our own races, facing our own challenges. All of our journeys are just as important and as challenging as someone else’s.

Inside the brain of a parent who wants to run away to the circus.

Seriously. Right now I am feeling the fatigue of being the parent to a 4 year old who is testing boundaries and going through big life changes which bring about new anxieties. This can often mean some acting out or regressive behaviours. I am a pretty compassionate being, a fairly patient parent and of course I love the little ratbag to pieces, but I’d be lying if I said that right now I am not considering googling the nearest touring circuses to see if they’d like a new clown (I can do the ‘bumbling idiot’ routine quite well when I’m tired – I’d be an asset). I figure a circus would be less crazy, right?

It’s not very often that I feel so utterly over it. It takes a lot for me to crack and feel utterly helpless and burnt out while my child goes through a challenging new phase. But when I do, there are some very recognisable thoughts that appear in my scattered head!

I have realised that there are stages I go through whenever something tough, of the parenting variety, pops up and punches me in the throat.

Denial

Denial that it’s happening. No. It’s just a one off bad night (or insert other challenges here). Oh, two? Just two. Oh, maybe it’s just a rough week…there are many plausible explanations that this could be a fairly isolated incident…right?

Anger/frustration

OH FFS. Are we STILL dealing with this? Aargh. Will this never end? I AM SO DAMN TIRED. Get your act together, kid! I don’t even feel like I know you right now! I love you lots and lots and lots, but right now I am not sure I’m liking you and that is killing me!

(of course I don’t say it to him – I just scream it inside my head when he’s not looking)

Bargaining

I know I can make this better. I just know I can. Here’s every reward chart ever. Here’s me googling solutions at 2am. Here’s me begging and hoping and fighting the reality that it’s just a phase and that the only way is through. THROUGH? AS IF. I can totally get around this. I can fix this. Just give me a damn moment to fix this! WHERE IS MY SANITY?!

Acceptance

OK. So now I’ve had my little melt down during the bargaining stage, I have had some time to review. I have decided that I can in fact CTFD (Calm The Fuck Down) and perhaps accept that it is what it is, and fighting it is just going to turn me into a crazy lady. I can only do my best and it turns out that ‘through’ may really be the only choice I have.

It’s amazing how life never lets you think you’ve actually nailed the whole parenting thing.

Here are some of the things I’ve been learning about THOSE times:

  •  It’s not always the parent who is to blame. It’s important to be kind to yourself. Sometimes it’s just a developmental phase. Sometimes it’s just something you and your smallish child need to be educated on – it’s all new and unknown for both of you! There’s no other way but to learn on the job! It’s OK to feel like you have no bloody idea what you’re doing, because um…NO HANDBOOK. Seriously. Where’s my freakin’ handbook?
  • It’s also not always the child who is fully to blame. When they’re not themselves or their behaviours are driving you bonkers, it is important to remember that they’re usually going through something too. While it might not excuse certain things they do (depending on their age), it’s important to remember that this one phase does not define them as a human being. Or at least it doesn’t have to. I try really hard (it can take a LOT of effort when we’re at the end of our tether) to separate the child from the behaviour (gotta love a popular parenting cliché). I have been trying to find ways to bond with the Little Mister, rediscover all the best parts of him (there are many) and to help build his confidence.
  • Reaching out to supportive mummy/daddy people in your life is priceless. If there’s someone in your life who has kids the same age as your kids, or has vivid memories/nightmares of having kids the same age as yours, they are an amazingly reassuring resource to tap into. For me, it’s often my mum, close friends and my mothers’ group. I can think that the craziest WTF moments with the Little Mister are isolated to just him, but as soon as I reach out, I often realise that there are like 5 other mums going through the exact same thing at the exact same time (or who remember all too well) and if I’d never shared my parenting woes (or been privy to theirs), I would never have known! Nothing takes a weight off your shoulders like knowing you’re all in the trenches together.
  • Recruit an awesome team who all have your kid’s best interests at heart. Assault that bastard phase together. Show that you’re a tight, caring unit. Get your spouse, your child’s carers/teachers, the grandies, the family doctor (if applicable) all on board. A united front – a do no harm, show lots of love, but take no shit type thing – can do wonders.
  • This phase will not last forever. A reality check is good. I ask myself questions like, “Will this two weeks of crap right now really matter in 10 years?” Hell, I’m sure I’ll have bigger problems then, but that’s not the point of the exercise haha. You know what I mean. It’s like when you’re toilet training and you think your kid will never nail it but then you realise that it would be highly unlikely that your kid will be attending high school in nappies and you feel a teensy bit better.

I feel hopeful that we’re kicking the fucking fours in the goolies (for now anyway). It’s been a rough couple of weeks for everyone. It’s been good to regroup and strategise. Honestly, I’ll never know if it’s my superb parenting (BAHAHA) or whether the phase was coming to a more peaceful place on its own anyway, but I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

You know…until the next time it rears its ugly head!

So, tell me. Anything you’re going through at the moment? Want to get through this together? x

The evolution of my relationship with make-up.

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I have spent most of the past two weeks make up free. Partly because I really didn’t get out much, partly laziness and also because towards the end of that period, I realised that my foundation had run out. I couldn’t tell because some of it was stuck up the insides of the bottle and I couldn’t see through it, to determine that I was running low. Damn, lying bottle of foundation.

My skin has been dry. Not flaky dry, but just parched. The pores on my nose have seen better days. God, I’m attractive.

Now, this has been a slightly dire situation, but I’ve found that the 31 year old me has handled it quite well. I got to thinking about how the teenaged/early 20s me would have dealt with this. And the answer is that she wouldn’t have. She would have been like, “Damn, Future Kez! You is cray cray! Never leave home again, you old woman! Your life is over! O.V.A.H.”

I realised that in the past couple of weeks, I have quite happily (probably) terrorised the local neighbourhood supermarket staff, one pharmacist, the Little Mister’s day care staff, and you know…all the people of Periscope (@KezUnprepared if you’re on there) with my bare faced antics. I have also lived in hoodies and slouchy pants (or worn gym stuff WITHOUT GOING ANYWHERE NEAR THE GYM). While, this does slightly concern me (especially the gym wear thing), I am kind of celebrating that at the age of 31 I have finally realised that I am OK no matter what is on my face/body (or isn’t)! Do I feel like a slob? Yeah…kinda. But is this new mindset still somehow a win? Definitely.

Gosh, the more I type, the more sexy I seem.

Of course, today I found an opportunity to get back to that all important self-care. I had a little post pay day spree. I bought new foundation, 2 kinds of BB cream (still looking for The One), some primer, pore strips, liquid eye liner (always waterproof) and some hydrating cream. Go me! I am excited to get back into the ritual of caring for my skin. I think that’s what’s so different from the teen/20s me. Now, it’s about maintenance and care. It’s about carving out those precious few moments each day to look after myself. It’s as much about the process of applying the stuff to my face as it is about what I might look like at the end of it.

20-something year old Kez (and earlier) was all about hiding. I had to hide all of my flaws. I had to make sure no-one found out what was underneath the make up! I would insist on applying it before I went for a swim, before I walked the dog down the street, and even…don’t judge…a subtle layer of foundation before a sporting activity. Definitely before a quick run to the local supermarket. If for some reason I could not wear make up one day, I would either stay in or walk very quickly with my head down, anxiety coursing through my veins until I was safely out of sight of the masses who would surely think I was a hideous beast.

“Oh, look at that creature! WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IN PUBLIC? RUN!!!!!”

Ironically, my skin was beautiful throughout my 20s and I just didn’t appreciate it. It went to bed caked with make up ALL THE TIME. Yet it rarely dried out. It was flawless due to my religious use of the pill. Of course there were no wrinkles and very little sun damage (a topic for another time). I was also super skinny up until my late 20s and could wear ANYTHING. 20s me – what an ungrateful bitch!

31 year old me doesn’t have time for that shit. 31 year old me has too much other stuff to worry about. Like keeping my kid alive and worrying about whether I’m regular or not.

OLD.

Of course I do still have days when I scare myself as I look in the mirror. Days when I feel fat and frumpy. Times when I see what I’m wearing and think, “Geez. Get it together, woman!”

I am only human. Also, I do like to make myself pretty. I’m not about to ‘let myself go’ any time soon.

At some point, though, I must have finally come to the realisation that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t look completely polished all the time – the plain faced me is still kind of awesome.

What a relief!

And that new self confidence is thing #139374 that I like about getting older 🙂

What do you like about getting older? What is your relationship with make up like?

All ‘growed’ up.

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I don’t know where the time has gone. I really don’t. But the Little Mister is hurtling towards 4 years old at a frightening rate. Just the other day he ticked over 3 years and 8 months old. It sounds SO much older than 3 and a half. SO MUCH OLDER. It has been a fun age (mostly). He’s getting so much more of a sense of independence and his confidence has been growing. This has made things a little bit easier for his parents too!

He can sit still for longer (he’s going to his first ever movie at the cinema on the weekend – so exciting) and the little tedious tasks I have to help him with daily are slowly decreasing in number as he starts to want to ‘do them all by myself’. It’s just a joy watching his imagination in action and even though he has no sense of an ‘indoor voice’, it’s always great fun seeing what gems he will come out with. It’s like getting a glimpse inside his brain. I love wondering what is going on in there each day. Watching him tick. His sense of humour is still as wicked as ever.

I really want him to feel confident and empowered as he develops and it’s so heart warming to see him take pride in the decisions he has made for himself. Especially when being his age must be frustrating – bloody grown ups always giving ultimatums (i.e. “It’s this healthy snack or nothing else before dinner!”) and telling you where to be and when! The boundaries and discipline are so important but I think it’s also essential that he grows up knowing how to back himself (and that his parents support and love him too).

I’ve been trying to build this up in him in little ways since forever and it has been so rewarding! Lately it’s been extra fun…

Choosing his own hair style.

The Little Mister has always been really good with getting his hair cut, but before his most recent one came around, he kept voicing his objection. He didn’t want his hair cut. He liked it the way it was, even though it was always getting in his eyes and was very shaggy and almost mullet-y. So I put it off for a while, hoping he’d come around on his own. I didn’t want him screaming in the chair.

One night, I said, “How about we look at some pictures on my iPad [the magical iPad] and you can choose a hair style that you would like?”

He loved the idea of using the iPad for something so grown up, but he also loved the idea of picking his own hair cut. Suddenly he felt like he was a part of the process and he really embraced ownership over it. Suddenly he didn’t mind the idea of visiting the local barber. Of course, I very subtly redirected him from a couple of styles, but most of the latest hair styles for boys are quite similar and his hair grows like crazy anyway so no real harm done if it didn’t quite work out.

He chose this one:

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image source

We got to the barber’s and he was so excited. He kept asking when we’d show the lady the picture and tell her what he wanted. I decided with her that we would forego the razored side part and make it a little bit more subtle, but ultimately the Little Mister’s decision was going to be put into action.

He was so happy. He has wild hair so we went to the supermarket together and he ‘helped’ me to pick out his very own spray bottle (like the hair dresser had) and a little tub of styling wax for special occasions. He talked about it non stop. His hair would be the real deal! I wanted to take a couple of photos of him when we got home and he posed like a mini Zoolander – so proud of himself. I must admit, he looked very grown up. Disturbingly so.

It’s growing out a bit funny (as I suspected it might), but I am so glad he loved making his own decisions. I swear he walked a bit taller that day.

Helping with home decor. 

I needed to change out our bar stools. We had two bulky ones with badly shredded fabric (it was like some kind of plastic made to look like a soft leather – I promise they were beautiful when we bought them even if I’m not describing them well at all). They’d been fairly fancy and classy when we’d bought them 7 years ago, but they were no longer looking so healthy and I’ve been on a mission to add colour and life to our home. Time for a revamp. I’d found some stools I liked on a furniture store’s website and I knew I’d have to take the Little Mister on a 2 hour round drive to get them. I needed him on board with this mission! Often, making him feel included makes all the difference in his behaviour.

I showed him the online picture of the range – all different colours. I asked him which colours he’d like to see in our house (I was buying four). He said yellow and green (sure I’d already decided I liked those colours too – great minds and all that haha). It’s a long story about how we finally got what we wanted (gotta love people who tell you one thing on the phone and then you drive forever based on that information and then they say they don’t have half of the things you asked them to put on hold so you have to go to another of their stores even further out of your way because you can’t waste the day now can you), but the main thing is that we did. The Little Mister was SO good and I treated the day like it was an adventure – I was sneaking in some life lessons – by example – about adapting gracefully when things don’t work our way (and teaching myself too haha). Look, sometimes he’s a PITA to shop with but other days he’s the best little adventure buddy. He was wonderful about it all and when we got home with our goods, he was so excited. He couldn’t wait to show his dad and he loves climbing up on them and watching me in the kitchen while I wash dishes or cook something. It’s hard to explain but I can just see the sense of pride and ownership beaming out of him whenever he climbs up or talks about them. He takes special care with them. It’s so lovely.

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Here’s what they look like (complete with bad quality phone/Instagram pic and dirty floor)!

Meal prep and cooking. 

I like letting him cook with me. Tonight we’re making mini pizzas together – his choice of toppings. Other times, I let him play with left over pastry dough while he sits on the other side of the kitchen counter. He likes to feel like he’s played a part in what we’re doing. He loves to grab his little step stool and join me when there’s something to be mixed or added to a bowl. It’s not always efficient or tidy, but seeing him so excited to help makes it worth it.

It’s such a pleasure watching him grow. It’s moments like I’ve just described that make me feel like maybe, just MAYBE I won’t totally screw him up (every parent’s deepest fear). Gosh, I love that kid.

What fun things have you done with your pint sized people lately? Tell me about the last time they made your heart burst! x

Trip of a lifetime: One year later.

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Exactly one year ago, my family took a very important trip. We went to South Korea. We also couldn’t help but add Singapore and Japan to the list (which were AMAZING), but let’s face it. Korea was where it was at on a very personal level.

If you’re new to the blog, let me quickly catch you up. My brother and I were adopted from South Korea when we were only a handful of months old. We’ve been raised as Aussies and until 2014, we’d never been back to Korea before. The opportunity came up (after years of talking about it) because everyone in the family was free to do it at the same time in June 2014. We just had to seize the moment and book that shit in!

We travelled for a month. Myself, Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister (who was 2 and a half), my brother and my/our parents (adoptive but I prefer to call them my ‘real’ parents because they are).

Looking back on the experience a year later, I have so many mixed feelings! Some of my memories are just amazing. I feel so much pride that we undertook such a crazy journey – especially with a 2 year old in tow. We ate some amazing food, we soaked up the culture. We lived out of suitcases. We just threw ourselves into it and got as much out of the experience as we possibly could.

I feel grateful. I am so glad I had that experience. On a personal level, it really cleared some things up for me. I’ve never had a desire to find my biological family. I mean, never say never, but up until now my feelings have not changed. Going to Korea really made me feel comfortable with this. The language barriers, the cultural differences (travelling with a child really highlighted this). Being reunited with your birth family would be an enormous undertaking. It wouldn’t be that easy. And that’s if your biological relatives even wanted to meet you (there’s a lot of shame). I don’t think I am missing enough in my gorgeous life to be willing to go through so much. I am at peace with that. Really, deeply peaceful about it.

This trip changed my life. I wondered if I’d feel a strange resentment towards the country that gave me up and made me look ‘different’ from a lot of my Aussie peers (a great source of curiosity for the ignorant). Would I want to back pedal and claim no likeness to the Korean people? Would I feel so culture shocked that it traumatised me? Would I feel ugly if I compared myself to their beauty standards (they’re big on plastic surgery and the K-pop image)? Where the hell would that leave me after spending my childhood feeling inferior to my white friends (luckily I’m well over that now)?

Turns out, I realised I own my identity as an individual. A unique person who has an amazing story of my own to tell. I got to go to this strange (to me) and wonderful country and I got to sit on both sides of the fence, so to speak. I realised I’m different everywhere I go! And I’m so stoked with that! I’m just me. I’m not a culture. I am not a race. I’ve never felt more ownership over who I am in my life. That trip made me stronger. I will be eternally grateful for it. It changed who I am because it didn’t change who I am. How’s that for confusing? But do you know what I mean? Realising that visiting Korea wasn’t going to unravel me or throw my identity into chaos and confusion, was so…oh I don’t know the word. It was positively powerful.

There are some tough memories of course. The weird, overwhelming sadness I felt at times. Shit had happened to me in this country. It led me to an amazing life, but shit happened. Shit I’d always wondered about and felt sensitive about (rejection issues anyone?). While I’ve worked hard for a lot of my adult years to understand myself better and to grow through these feelings, visiting there unexpectedly (who was I kidding?) opened up some wounds again. I felt very tender. Add the fatigue and stress of wrangling a 2 year old – probably leaving me a bit more vulnerable – and there were some feelings/moments that still feel very raw to this day. I hope that rawness fades over time.

Sometimes I even think, who the eff did we think we were trying this kind of trip with a small child?!! The things we did! The stress we were under daily! The fast pace of the holiday! Even the child free me would find it a huge task! It really wasn’t the kind of trip you would normally plan, with a toddler in mind. At least not something I (a big chicken) would normally plan! But we just had to do it. We couldn’t waste time. No-one wanted any regrets. This was the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful that our beautiful Little Mister got to share it with me. With us. How very special.

A lot of fun was had. Some days I just walked around in awe. I couldn’t believe I was able to have such an amazing experience. I wanted to absorb everything I was seeing. Oh, if eyes were cameras, dammit!

So a year on, I feel a bit jealous of the travelling me of 2014 (certainly doesn’t help that my parents went to New York without me – the injustice!!), but I feel happy to be home too. Feeling more settled than I have in a long time.

Hashtag f*cking blessed.

Peace out xo

No dummy.

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So it happened. Yesterday morning. He coughed and it fell in the toilet. And that was that.

Yep. After months of wondering when the right time would be to tackle the Little Mister’s giving up of the dummy/pacifier/binky/soother (whatever you know it as), fate sorted it out for me quick smart.

The Little Mister is 3 years and 4 months old(ish). He has had a dummy for sleep time for most of his life. Until he got all of his teeth (May last year), he had one whenever he really needed one because it helped soothe his gums somehow. He hasn’t regularly had a dummy when we’re out and about since he was maybe just turned 2, I think (he had a setback when we travelled overseas and he felt a bit out of his comfort zone mid 2014).

I remember worrying so much when a nosy, opinionated check out operator judged me for giving him one. The poor kid was only 18 months old or so. Now I look back and realise I shouldn’t have given a rats what she thought. So he looked older than he was. Big deal. I knew the truth and I knew what he needed. I cringe when I think of myself feeling so damn self conscious overseas. My poor kid looked almost 4 years old, but he was 2 and a half. None of the kids in Korea his age had them. Truth is, he didn’t normally have one in public at home anymore either. But he was insecure and anxious without it – the dummy gave him security, soothed him and helped him to handle our crazy trip so well. I should have just been proud of him. Realised that it was an issue for later, back on home soil.

I feel embarrassed that I cared so much what others (strangers might I add) thought. I don’t know why, but people have a real bee in their bonnets about dummies. Seriously? For the Little Mister it was just as effective as a teething toy. It was his teething toy. It worked so much better than any Sophie the Giraffe or whatever other trendy things are on the market (and might be working really well for a lot of other children). He didn’t want the frozen teething rings, the special chewable toys. That worked for him. What’s the difference? Why is it OK for kids to chew on frozen finger foods and teething rings, but not to have a dummy in their gobs? It’s the weirdest double standard.

When he started to talk, I would tell him I couldn’t understand him if he had his dummy in his mouth. We started gently to tell him that dummies are for babies (which has backfired occasionally in public when he’s felt the need to tell other toddlers – just for the record I know he’s been such a hypocrite and I am not judging anyone – especially after our own experiences haha). We created a routine where he wouldn’t get breakfast or any snacks until he’d given up his dummy for the day (he is highly motivated by food haha). Baby steps.

When he started day care earlier this year, I sent him without his security items. He only goes once a week so a skipped nap isn’t an issue. I just wanted him to not get used to it there. He knows going to “school” (as he calls it) is a big kid thing to do, so I started him the way we plan to continue. I figured that if he absolutely freaked about not having those things, the staff could call me or I could revise my plan later. Turns out, he’s been just fine (although he doesn’t sleep he has quiet time). Yes.

Over the last couple of years, I flirted with the idea of going cold turkey. Of wondering when it was time to force the issue. But my gut just said it wasn’t time yet. He wasn’t ready. It’s kind of like toilet training has been for us. I was waiting for the signs that he was ready.

I have so rarely seen primary school aged children using dummies and other than in documentaries about strange and unusual addictions, I have never seen an adult who couldn’t kick the habit! Which gives great hope, doesn’t it?

So, back to yesterday…

I got him out of bed and guided him to the toilet. He had handed me his little security blankie (which I will let him have forever because CUTE) and he stood at the ready for his morning wees.

*cough*

*plop*

Uh oh…

Let’s just say that dummy was never going near my child’s mouth again!! EW.

It was also his last one. A long while ago, I had decided that I would not be purchasing any more. Once he ran out and had broken or lost all of them, that would be it. I never predicted it would all end when he’d drop one in the loo!

So. I had a choice. Run out and buy a new one before nap time or see how he reacted when I rinsed it and put it in the bin in front of him. I chose the latter. He was a little bit sad…until breakfast time. He is at that stage where he understands that if you have no more of something, that’s it. When we’ve run out of his favourite snack, he can’t have it that day. When he wants something, if we do not have it or cannot find it, he understands. So I figured we had that on our side, at least.

He did suggest to me that we buy some more, but I told him that if we did that, then there would be none left at the shops for all of the babies who needed them (we don’t have a younger sibling for him to blame the milestone on haha).

That morning I found the Sesame Street episode called ‘Goodbye Pacifier’ on YouTube. I showed it to him and explained that Elmo called his dummy a ‘binky’ (an American slang term – wish there was an Aussie equivalent for kids to watch – if there is then let me know!) and that even his hero Elmo (who also taught him about toilet training haha) has given up his dummy and said goodbye to it. He liked the song, ‘Bye Bye Binky‘ (also on YouTube).
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFnnG8Ap01g]

I felt cautiously optimistic. I was flying by the seat of my pants. Awesomely unprepared if you will! I had always envisioned myself spending weeks preparing him for this moment. Research, a big picture plan all laid out by me. As if! I should have known he’d get a cold, then cough it into the toilet when I was least expecting haha.

Nap time arrived and I was nervous but played it totally cool. I put him to bed and he was sad, but accepting. He cried with heartbreaking little whimpers, but he knew it was time. He knew I believed in him and I told him that it was OK to cry and be a little bit sad (gotta validate those feelings – it’s a big deal), but I knew he was ready because he was such a big boy. I told him I’d be back later and I left the room. I then had to sit on my hands as I watched him on the baby monitor. He whimpered but he never needed me – so brave.

He didn’t sleep (I really didn’t expect him to) but he played in his bed and sang ‘Bye bye binky’ to himself – oh the cuteness!

I’d put a call out to Mr Unprepared to bring something home as a reward. He headed to the shops where he’d found a Thomas the Tank Engine collectible set. The little trains cost $2 each and there was a special display/carrying case for them. Perfect. He could keep it in his room as a visual reminder of what he was achieving. Much like when I gave up mine as a toddler, in order to get myself some really cool glow worms (remember them?!).

Last night I was nervous. He got to bed and a couple of times he told me he wanted his dummy back. I gently reminded him that his dummy was yucky and had to go in the bin. I read him a couple of stories and then told him that if he was a really good boy and was able to be quiet and go to sleep, he’d get a new little train in the morning. HE DIDN’T CRY. NOT EVEN A WHIMPER. I was so impressed. He was a bit tired (from skipping his nap earlier on) and fell asleep in record time. No dummy! I thought, no doubt he’ll wake in the middle of the night, reach for it and be too disorientated to think rationally. I pictured him screaming for it and me stuck in the doorway of his room shooshing him in a soothing tone for hours.

But…he slept right through – no worries!! I thought, maybe when he wakes for the morning just before 7am, he’ll yell out for it. NOPE. He just waited for me to get him like usual. I THINK I’LL KEEP HIM.

It seemed too good to be true (and might still be – understandably – he’s kicking a lifelong habit haha), but then he napped today. No tears. No begging. He did absent mindedly look for it for a second when I came to get him up, but all was good. My Little Mister gets it and I am so glad he was ready.

So much of parenting is about following your gut feeling. Don’t let anyone bully you or shame you for your decisions when it comes to petty things like dummies. Do what is best for your child and they’ll show you when they’re ready for something. Also, no amount of planning can guarantee something will go smoothly. There is nothing wrong with trial and error. Nothing wrong with changing your mind in order to protect the process and nurture your child.

I’ve at least learnt that much in 3 years 🙂

What are your thoughts? How have you done it? Do you feel the pressure from others? Or simply wish me luck for tonight!!! x

When the universe laughs at your plans.

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I was on a high today. Everything felt smooth and easy. My internet was still here when I woke up in the morning. I slept through Mr Unprepared leaving for work really early (usually a difficult thing for me). The Little Mister was being positively angelic (despite weirdly not going to sleep until 10pm the night before). We had plenty of time to play and be together. We sat outside and the sun was shining. A nice little trip to the new corner store first thing. I got some baking done – healthy stuff you can be smug about. I had the slow cooker going and dinner was going to be right on time, instead of some horrific rushed thing during witching hour. I even enjoyed playing around with my blog a little. I felt like I was making up for the past week, where I’d felt distracted and rushed and stressed and guilty for not being able to be as present with the Little Mister as I’d have liked.

Let’s face it. I was feeling like I was nailing life.

So when Mr Unprepared called to tell me his bike had a flat tyre, I wasn’t fussed. I’d have just enough time to drive down the road and get him – save him an extra half hour of walking along the road with his bike. Why not. It would be a little adventure for the Little Mister and we’d be back in time for our slow cooked meal. I’d feel like the best wife ever. Still nailing it. Go Kez.

That was until I drove past the point where I thought I’d see my husband waiting for me and he wasn’t there. So I went a bit further. Might as well save him a little more walking distance. If I didn’t see him then, it would be easy and quick to double back again. Do a quick u-turn and all would be well.

So…I went to do that u-turn down a little residential street.

BANG. WTF WAS THAT???

My car was not coping. I pulled up quickly and got out of the car with a sinking feeling. I knew I’d done something. And there it was. A flat tyre. I’d done a good job of it too. Turned out that as I was turning, that simple little kerb I thought I was gently nudging over was not so simple. There was a big concrete guard for a drain. A sharp, evil looking thing. I hadn’t seen it. It was in just the wrong spot. I thought about how much tyres cost and I wanted to roll my eyes so hard. Bloody hell.

I called Mr Unprepared and broke the news to him. He’d have to walk his bike (with the annoying flat tyre) back to where I was. The rescuee would have to become the rescuer! I had a pretty well equipped car with a brand new spare tyre and a jack in the back. I just needed a hand.

My mind flashed back to leaving the house with the Little Mister. I had said, “Don’t worry about shoes – we will just be making a quick trip to get Daddy. We won’t even be getting out of the car.” I never say that. I always get the shoes anyway, because my mind says, “What if…”

Not today! HA HA HA.

At this point, I realised I had two choices. I could be mad that a stressful few weeks wasn’t letting up and indulge in the drama, or I could laugh my arse off. I mean, what are the odds? My husband calls me about a flat tyre on his bike and I get a flat tyre trying to rescue him. I mean, come on! It was kind of hilarious how ridiculous it was.

All was well in the end. My parents did need to come out (they live close) because the tools that came with the car’s emergency kit were quite crap and the wheel nuts were on super tight, but Mr Unprepared was able to change the tyre fairly easily and get us home eventually. My slow cooking meal was not wrecked (despite my belief that surely it would be). We had a pleasant evening. Everyone was OK, despite it all.

Tomorrow I will have to call the tyre place and it’s going to sting having to replace the two front tyres (especially when one of them is still just fine), but thankfully it’s a day when the Little Mister is in childcare. Sure, I’m supposed to start work for my parents, but at least they are very understanding. I’m sure I can work the afternoon instead or something. Everyone will pitch in where possible to somehow make it all work. I’d say having support like that is a win.

I can’t help but find my sense of humour. The universe will always laugh at our best laid plans. May as laugh with it!! We joked that I was so excited to have the internet back that I needed to do something drastic, so I’d have something new to blog about. I can’t help but see these kinds of mishaps as blogging material! There’s a positive!

I also can’t help but feel that we still had a really good day. Because we laughed about it and looked after each other. And because shit happens, but it’s all about how we react to it. Today I chose happiness. We did good. I’m grateful.

As a friend said on twitter, we aren’t called the Unprepareds for nothing! x

Reflection on the year that was.

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I want 2015 to be as peaceful as this photo makes me feel x

Look, I am a total New Year nerd. As much as I work on self improvement and celebrating moments all year round, I just cannot resist the allure of December turning into January. I get to use a new diary (whatever’s the cutest at Typo – yay) and everything feels like a fresh start. When I discovered these questions over at Maxabella Loves (and some great answers from Kelly over at A Life Less Frantic) I couldn’t resist. The perfect way to spend a little quiet time (lucky me) on a NYE morning.

Here goes!

1. What word do you think best summed up 2014?

Brave. It probably wasn’t very outwardly noticeable to others, but for me it was a big theme. I started to speak up in small ways and to become more assertive. I learnt to be brave enough to say ‘no’ and brave enough to say ‘yes’. I became braver in sharing more of myself and my life on my blog. I stopped censoring so much. I did things that had scared me all my life and I triumphed. I think perhaps this explains my obsession with Sara Bareille’s song which is obviously called Brave.

2. What did you do for the first time this year?

I visited the place I was born. I had so many unresolved feelings about being adopted. Feelings I probably didn’t even fully realise were unresolved until I got there. Stuff that made me sad. Stuff about my decision to not search for biological parents. Stuff that weighed on me. Which brings me to the next question…

3. What is one thing that happened that will have lasting consequences?

Being in Busan, South Korea (where I was born) was HUGE. I finally know what the people of my birth country are like. I know so much more about their customs, their food, their way of living. I also know about the language barriers. The cultural differences between Korea and Australia – as well as some similarities. I see a little of what could have been and I am glad for what has been. Korea is no longer some weird mythical far away place I have to put on every form ever (which still pisses me off haha). I realise more fully that my identity is MINE. It is not defined by where I was born or where I’ve grown up – that is just a part of it. I am ME from wherever I am from and I am OK with that 🙂 This has brought me so much peace (after 30 years). I cannot begin to tell you. HUGE.

4. Was there anything you wish you’d done differently? Why? How?

I wish I had been less affected by the drama of other people. I wish I had been able to practice maintaining my own inner peace. While I am a very compassionate person, some things just shouldn’t be my battle.

5. Do you have a favourite moment from the year? What made it special?

Oh. So. Many. A vast collection of moments that showed me how much I love the Little Mister – any time my heart burst. No better feeling. While there were many mixed feelings about visiting Korea, I am SO glad we went there (and Japan and Singapore). I am glad we travelled. I am glad we had those experiences. Once in a lifetime stuff. A big highlight of the year. Sorry to keep bringing it up haha.

6. What lessons has 2014 taught you about yourself? About others?

I’ve learnt that I am inspired easily. If I have a tough time, I have the drive and determination to turn it around. I rarely just sit there and give up or wallow. I see obstacles and mentally challenging times as a call to action. I realise now that this is a strength of mine, whereas I think I always took this attitude for granted. I’ve learnt that there are people in this world who are ‘dumpers’ and ‘drainers’ and that it’s entirely up to me how I choose to react (or not react) to such treatment. Take it personally or realise that person is being an a**hole and move on? I think I know what I’d rather do. It’s a work in progress!!

7. How will the lessons from this past year change the way you approach the new year?

I just want to keep building on my personal strength and courage that I have found in the last year or two. I want to be less ruffled by things that do not matter. I want to beat my anxiety.

8. What do you most want to do in 2015?

Keep blogging, have a happy healthy family, watch the Little Mister grow. Chase whatever wonderful opportunities come my way. I love that I don’t know what those are yet. I want to say yes more but I want to say no more. It’s all about getting them in the right balance 🙂

9. What do you most want to change about yourself? The world?

*best beauty pageant voice* I want peace. Peace for the world. More compassion. I want for us to all become less self absorbed and more mindful of others. What we do/say/write affects other people. While we shouldn’t worry too much about what others might think of us when we make the best decisions for ourselves, we should be considerate and kind. A lot more considerate. Remember our manners. There’s a difference between being honest and being an a**hole about it.

10. What one word do you hope will sum up what you hope to achieve in 2015?

You could probably sense this, but my key word will be ‘peace’. Peace in my mind, peace in my family, peace in my community, peace in the world.

PEACE OUT.

OMG ‘peace’ is a weird looking word. I think I have officially typed it too many times – ever have that happen? Haha.

If you want to answer these questions too, please let me know where i can find them – or you can leave your answers in the comments 🙂 I don’t care if they’re super long x

Inspiration: Stuff I’ve needed to read.

I hope everyone has had a merry Christmas. I had a great day filled with love, thoughtful gifts (plus a selfie stick hahaha) and wonderful people, but I admit that I am feeling a little flat in the aftermath (in the interest of keeping it real – the lead up was emotionally trying for many reasons as it can be for many people at this time of year). I’ve been searching for some quotes to give me a bit of an inspirational hit because I need to find my energy and enthusiasm again!

I hope that these quotes inspire you too…
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I need to remember that doing the same thing over and over and wondering why it feels like crap each time is not the answer. Life is constantly giving us chances to learn and grow and change – we need to take them.

There is some stuff that I don’t plan on repeating.

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Sooooo much easier said than done. But I shall keep on trying.

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There are people in life who replenish us and make us feel full of life and energy and those who…well, those who don’t. I want to be a fountain. I want to surround myself with other fountains. I want my legacy to be that I gave and I energised and I made people feel better for being around me. I want to be more selective about who I ‘put myself out there’ for. I can’t let myself become an empty vessel trying to please the ‘wrong’ people. Self care is important too.

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Ain’t that the truth. I want to be beautiful 😉

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Yep. We are grown up people and we have the power to lead our lives the way that is best for us. Sometimes it can be easy to forget.

And I am feeling a tiny bit better. Hope all is well with you. I want to jump into 2015 with a great attitude and make it a kick arse year if ever there was one.

x