Are my devices dictating my days?

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It’s nearly 10 at night, my boys have been interrupting my sleep most nights lately and I’m tired…. But I’m also trying to sort something through in my head and I’ve found this to be a really good way of doing that… So here goes.

Today I spent 3 hours at a shopping centre.

My 4 year old was at Kindy today, and my friend and I decided to do the grocery shop in tandem. 2 grown ups, 2 kids, possibly easier than each doing our own separately. Definitely more fun.

As often happens with us, we got distracted. Shopped a lot, spoiled our kids, had a cup of tea and shared a muffin, and finally got around to food shopping while causing the average shopper to look over at us and frown..”why are these two grown woman laughing and having such a good time at Coles?”
Which we thought was quite hilarious but I’ve been thinking about it all day….

Why?

Well, today I went grocery shopping, spent time with a friend, and my baby and had a great time. Nothing too crazy about it…. So why isn’t every day like that?

My name is Tanya and I AM AN ADDICT

Not a substance, not alcohol or even smokes…. Im a technology junkie….
It must stop.

Today I was in the moment. Even though I did get a bit frustrated as the hours (did I mention it took 3.) ticked by. That was only because I knew poor Taj was going to be lucky to catch an hours sleep. Mostly I was just happy to be there, at that time, with those three people.

Stay with me….

When I’m at home, it can be quite different. I must admit my devices are my go to thing, when I’m frustrated with the kids, I pick up my phone and txt a friend. Could it wait until I next see them for coffee and a chat? Absolutely. Does it? No….

When the kids are having lunch (yes I’m ashamed of this one ) I more often than not, grab my 5 minutes quiet time with a cup of tea and my iPad. I play a game of words with friends or draw something, I catch up on some adult goss and ogle some inspirational cakes on facebook and then get back to the mummy and housewifery and cake making jobs I have to get to.

Am I saying I’m a bad Mum? No I’m not. I still feel confident that I am a good mum to my boys. Am I as good a mum as I can be? No. Am I a present Mum…. Not all the time no… And thats where things are going to change.

My husband and I were in the lounge room the other day. Our 1 year old was up past his bedtime (again) and I was waiting for him to burn out before giving him a breastfeed (yes… Still… But thats a whole other blog) and try him back in bed. So it’s 8 o’clock or later… I’m playing scramble with friends on my iPad. And Mr T is throwing a balloon around the room. Am I paying him attention… No not really (8 o’clock, surely that’s me time right?) and Taj walks up and hits me square in the face with a balloon. And my husband says “yeah I agree Taj, your little brother iPad is getting more attention than you tonight. ”

I HATE to admit this. But he was (a little bit) right. Sure it was late and I was tired and frustrated, but does that give me the right to not be present? How many funny things do I miss my 1 year old do, how many conversations have not been had with my 4 year old, or have I missed hearing him have with his brother (or a batman action figure for that matter) or not had with my husband (only during ad breaks of course)

If being present makes grocery shopping fun, does it make cleaning the toy room fun? Am I going to get all spoon full of sugar happy with the kids in the morning when I’ve packed my phone, iPod and iPad away?

I’m not saying I never spend time with the kids. I do. Lots of it, we still make things, and cook together, jump outside, play cubby houses, but maybe we don’t do that enough, maybe those times when I sneak off for a cuppa and ”my fix’ something really magic would have happened with the 3 of us and I missed it. MAYBE and heres the kicker, maybe, I can be the person that makes people frown and say “why is that grown woman having so much fun” all the time. Because life is pretty fun, and having friends, and kids and (most the time) a husband is pretty great, and if we weren’t rushing around trying to get things done, or trying to get “me time” or whatever other reasons we have for not being entirely present with those who we love the most, we’d find that
THIS MOMENT, RIGHT HERE, WITH THESE PEOPLE IS ALL THAT MATTERS…

Sometimes it’s hard to judge ourselves as mothers. It’s a tough gig and sometimes you take whatever help you can get. I have a friend in qld who I really only talk to on my devices. Our friendship would not exist now without reconnecting on Facebook and chatting on words with friends and realising we have similar values and beliefs. There were days when I was getting used to being a mother of two where those conversations were a lifeline.
Now, though, the devices have become a lifeline… And I’m not evening sinking.
I have some really good stuff going on at the moment. My life is good, My kid are fantastic and I want to be present for them.

So it’s time to ease up on the technology…. Less iPad and iPod and More I paint, I play-doh, I play and I pretend.

Im not saying my devices are evil… Maybe just that excessive consumption may be harmful to your health.

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Back from Bali

Well I had planned on blogging each day that we were in Bali. If you don’t keep track you always seem to forget the little things.  However I had also anticipated that my six month old would sleep!!  What with all the the sun and swimming. Since the latter never happened nor did the former!

We left for Bali on the 17th of October. This was the second time for Jon, Jayden and I. First time with two kids. And the first holiday with Jon’s Mum. Both the kids flew pretty well – it’s roughly 3 hours flight from Perth. Taj slept for a little and Jayden entertained himself with his iPod, watching a few cartoons and playing some games. Before we knew it we were getting whisked off by two porters carrying our luggage and off to find a van big enough to fit all of us, our luggage and the stroller!

It’s so strange having the kids in the car with no car seat and SO much more work! Taj is fidgety at the best of times so having him on your lap with so much to look at out the windows is a pain in the bum!  I love the feeling you get when you land in Bali. It’s only 3 hours away and it truly is a different world. Talk about a culture shock.  Children riding mopeds in horrendous traffic. Babies jammed in between parents on mopeds. Side by side markets selling the exact same items, massive KFC’s in the middle of a closed down row of shops… Just bizarre really!

I forgot how fond the Balinese are of children. Every Taxi driver, waitress and shop attendant made an effort to talk to the boys. Many of them asking Taj “Where you from?”  I couldn’t tell you if they really did expect him to answer or not? The Taxi was about 30 minutes to Nusa Dua. We’d never stayed in Nusa Dua before and I was really looking forward to seeing it for myself. The pictures looked like Paradise and it did not disappoint.  We waited in the lobby to get checked in and the boys were presented with a little stuffed toy each. We had a beautiful welcome drink and then headed up to our two bedroom apartment.

We were so keen to get in the pool I actually forgot to take pictures of the apartment when we arrived and it ended up pretty messy afterwards so I have no pictures; but it was a lovely large 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, self contained apartment with a large balcony.

We had a quick look around, dumped the suitcases and dashed off to check out the swimming pool. All the way through the plane ride, customs and the taxi ride, Jayden had been asking to go for a swim so we didn’t make him wait much longer.

Taj’s first holiday and also first time in a swimming pool

The pool was a nice big two tiered lagoon style pool. With little island of palm trees which helped separate it up and made it easy to find your own little patch to play around in.

Jayden had a really great time swimming with his Daddy and showing off. He really got his confidence up in the last few days and was swimming with his vest quite a long way unsupported by us.

The first night for dinner we were tired and didn’t feel like venturing far. The hotel had Chinese themed buffet dinner so we tried that … It was nothing to rave about and quite expensive really. Jayden ordered a hot dog from the menu. What came out was a horrible sausage on a crunchy bread roll filled with salad. Nothing like the menu picture but he did eat the sausage and chips.

Then there was some entertainment as a band came around and sang in a Chinese style. They asked for our request and we requested Twinkle twinkle little star (for the kids) and Pretty Woman which they did and it was very sweet. Jon got up and tried to play the double bass and Jayden was dancing away on my lap.

We got a little fright when we got the bill though, it was nearly $100 which is expensive for Bali really.

The Buffet breakfast was pretty good and Jayden enjoyed his fair share of Waffles and Eggs. After Breakfast it was usually a swim while Taj napped in the pram. One day we went down the street to a few markets on the road. I bought some sunglasses and dresses but nothing major. Nusa Dua really is much more relaxing than the Kuta/Legian area. I found the market stall owners in Nusa Dua very friendly and perhaps the prices are slightly steeper than in Kuta but it’s worth it if you ask me.

One day (don’t ask me which one … I was pretty sleep deprived) we took a blue cab to Tanjung Benoa and got a glass bottom boat over to turtle island. Jon, Jay and I had done this trip last time we were in Bali and this time probably wasn’t quite as good. The boat driver didn’t stop for very long to look at the fish which was really the reason I had wanted to do it. Jayden loved seeing the big turtles though and even got in with the bats!! He was very upset with me for telling him that they were too scary for me and there was no way I was getting in there!

We ate most nights at Bali Collections which had a really nice atmosphere, tasty, very reasonably priced food. We would feed 3 adults and a kids meal, all with drinks for around $40.  We pack a spray bottle and fill it with drinking water to cool us down in the heat. One day we were having lunch at one of the Prada restaurants at Collections and Jayden turned around and shot a waitress square in the face with the water! Luckily she thought it was quite funny. A few times the waitresses took Taj for a little walk so we could quickly wolf down the last of a meal. What I wouldn’t give for an uninterrupted meal sometimes! One morning after a 6am wake up Jayden was really hungry so Jon took him to breakfast on his own. When my mother-in-law Bernice, Taj and I headed down we ran into them heading back up to get ready for a swim. Jon took Taj with him and on day 5 I got my first enjoyable breakfast! It’s the little things!

Most of the time really was spent around the pool. Sometimes with a well-timed-in-between-breastfeeds-cocktail. It must be the heat but those cocktails really go to my head, and I find it hard to justify the $10 per drink that they charge at the hotels.

We did head down to the beach club one day towards the end. It honestly looks like a postcard.

Jayden, Bernice and I indulged with a gelato while Taj had a nap with Jon at the bar listening to Bob Marley. The pizza there was actually really good and the water cool and refreshing compared to the bath water temperature of the hotel swimming pool.

Jon and I were both able to grab 2 hours each and sneak off to the Spa for a pamper session. Foot bath, body scrub and body massage. It was really relaxing and enjoyable at the time but god my shoulder blade hurt the next day. Not sure if it was her or just from rocking my 8 kilo baby 2 hrs a day but I could barely move my arm the next day. After the body scrub you got coated in yoghurt and then hopped into a gorgeous bamboo flow shower to clean off. It was quite hilarious hearing Jon talking to a honeymooning couple we met in the pool, explaining to them how after the massage they coat you in MAYONNAISE!!!

Traveling with 2 kids one of which is 6 months old never seemed like it would be an easy task and I think we did do pretty well. The first night trying to convince Taj to sleep in the portacot was definitely the hardest, having to tag-team Jon at 2 am because I was exhausted. Closely followed by 10:30pm flight being delayed until 11:15 with no seats to be found in the part of the airport we were. I’m so glad I chose to be cheeky and lie Jayden down in a cafe’s booth (at the price of two coffees – thanks Bernice!) So he got a little rest, they both slept on the plane home as well so it wasn’t a complete nightmare.

I was really sad to leave Bali this time around, and now all we have to do is work out where we should stay in March!!

Well this blog has taken me all day to write, in between coffee with a friend, 3 loads of washing and general kids stuff. Now I’m off to tidy up before the hubby gets home! Until next time …

Fruit

Getting my son Jay to eat has always been a battle. The day he realized that sandwiches existed it’s been difficult to feed him anything else.

He’s 3 and a half and his dinners are generally pasta. Lasagna, bolognaise, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, cheese and vegetable ravioli etc. He does like curried sausages and a creamy thai chicken I make, butter chicken all with rice but put a piece of broccoli on his plate and he will refuse it. Pea in his dinner – he’ll gag!

He ABSOLUTELY refuses fruit. He hasn’t eating anything apart from 1 banana when he was 18 months old or so. It’s not that I don’t eat fruit. I do all the time! Originally it was a textural sort if thing I thought he’d outgrow, but it’s still well and truly present.

I manage to make his dinners healthy with “hidden veg”. My lasagna has roasted pumpkin pieces and grated sweet potato, zucchini, carrot and mushroom through the sauce. Pureed sweet potato makes cheesy mac nice and orange, and my spinach and ricotta cannelloni has a rich hidden veg sauce.

He is much harder to fool with fruit! I have tried fruit kebabs, frozen pureed fruit icy poles, pureed apple containers (one or 2 mouthfuls might have gotten in when he was around 1), dipping pieces in yoghurt or dips … I’ve tried bribing him, forcing him (only once or twice) and leaving it lying around to see if he’ll just pick it up… NOTHING

When Taj was born I had high hopes of using him to set a good example to Jayden and it appears to be working!

When I feed Taj I always tell Jayden what he’s eating. Vegetables or fruit and that’s why Taj is growing big and strong. Sometimes I ask Jayden if he wants some but other times I just tell Taj how lucky he is to get such yummy dinners.

Today Jayden was playing with his stuffed spiderman like a baby. Spiderman got very sad, and I was told he needed some “noodles and vegetables.” Jayden set up a high chair and got a spoon and bowl. I had been intending to heat up Jayden’s dinner of Spag Bol to share with Taj but instead I put some pureed Banana, Pear and Mango I had in the fridge in a baby bowl. Spiderman had a taste, Mummy had a taste … Then Jayden sat down and tasted… 5 minutes later he was asking for more. He could see how excited I was and he got really excited too. He ended up eating the whole lot 1/2 a cup or so I guess.

I told him how proud I was. He told me that he is going to grow big and strong now – then we called his Daddy. “I ate fruit!!!”

To so many people that wouldn’t be worth talking about I’m sure. But I try to celebrate all of his achievements and for us, this was quite a good one!

Our “Wiggly” day

There are a few things that I love about the innocence of childhood.

I love their lack of inhibitions. Sense of humour. Abundance of energy.

I love their reasoning too. When my son was about 2 and a half.  He asked to watch Mickey Mouse on TV. I said “no, it’s too early.” He went into his toy room and dug out his toy hammer. Over the banging he shouted ‘Mummy, is this a bit noisy?’ I said that it was and he came back with “Maybe, Mickey Mouse, would make the noisy go away?”  I let him watch it… I couldn’t argue with that reasoning.

I also love the simplicity of the things they love…

Enter “The Wiggles” For those of you who don’t know the Wiggles (if that’s possible) They are 4 Aussie blokes with a background in early childhood development and music. One day they decided to put the two together and create some decent music for kids. A little while later they each donned coloured skivvies and The Wiggles as we know them were born.

I’ve been a big fan of The Wiggles since my sister was 2 and started watching them. Lets face it, the songs are catchy and the characters are cute…. and Anthony (The blue wiggle) gets more and more gorgeous as he gets older.

When my son Jayden was 1 his Nana bought him some Play School and Wiggles DVD’s and he was hooked.

Being a very musical baby he would dance and sing along to every song. The songs definitely had education value and instilled different values. Healthy Eating, Sharing, Friendship etc.

I’m not saying I ALWAYS loved them. There were days when I just could not listen to the same DVD again, but lucky for me they had quite a big back catalogue by the time my kids were watching so I could rotate them around.

When Jay was 17 months old my Husband bought us a ticket to England (return – he does actually love me) so we could go with my Mum to visit our family. As luck would have it, The Dorothy the Dinosaur show was touring the UK so I bought tickets to see her in Torquay. Jayden, his Mum, his Nana and his Great-Grandma all went. We had an absolutely brilliant time, and it was a real bonding moment for the 4 generations of family to enjoy something like this together. The pure delight on his little face when Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus and Wags the Dog were on stage was just beautiful. He danced to the songs, and asked desperately if he could give Dorothy a cuddle. The show was beautiful, there were no double entendres, it was purely about the kids. As it should be.

They were a huge part of his world as he was growing up. If I asked him for the purple pen when he was learning his colours, not a lot would happen, but if I said to him “Which ones like Jeff?” I’d have purple in my hand in a flash. He could find the one Wiggles card in the News Agency and knew the difference between Greg and Sam the Yellow Wiggle who replaced Greg when he got sick.

When Jayden was 2 years old The Wiggles toured Perth, we went to see them and again my little Wiggle had a fantastic time. When he was 2 and a half we went to visit Jayden’s Nana in Queensland and took a trip to Dreamworld. In a little space at the back of the Theme Park, Jayden found his own personal slice of heaven. He stood at the gate where the Big Red Car ride was yet to open for 20 minutes. He refused to move! We were the first on the ride that day that takes you through the Wiggles House. The Wiggles talk to you via the TV screen, All the characters are seen and you get a photo of you driving and singing in the Big Red Car… That look on his face is why I love being a Mummy. He was beside himself with excitement and joy.  He also met all the characters and had his photo taken with them. He hugged Dorothy (finally) and Henry the Octopus, had a good old chat with Captain Feathersword, and sat down on a bench for a cuddle with Wags the Dog.

This year the Wiggles have been together 20 years and yesterday I went to my first Wiggles concert with both my boys.

Jayden and I had made a birthday sign for them the day before and picked Dorothy some roses that morning. Jayden’s sign even got pointed out by The Wiggles and Sam came out to collect the roses and told Jayden how great he looked in his Murray shirt.

"Look at that fantastic sign out there!"

So I’d just like to say Happy Birthday to the Wiggles. I’m constantly impressed with their ability to interact and captivate such a young audience. Some of my favourite times I’ve spent with my beautiful boy has had a Wiggly flavour to it. We had a great time cutting out Wiggles pictures to stick on our birthday sign. We love doing the activities in The Wiggles magazines together and there is always a Wiggles CD in our car. Thanks for being such great entertainers Wiggles and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to doing it all over again in a year or so with Bubba Taj.