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Rick Astley is the answer

Rick Astley is the answer.

Driving to school this morning it was my duty as the only adult to answer “who’s there?” to the repeated ‘knock knock’ questions.

Giggles come very easily at these jokes but after 8.7 minutes they can wear just a bit thin.

Here’s an example to give you an idea of how (un) funny they can be:

5: Knock knock
Me: Who’s there?
5: Me
Me: Me who?
5: It’s me Mum!

Haaahaaaaaaaaaaa….

Ummmmmm no small child, that is not at all funny and not even in the general vicinity of being a knock knock joke. But like any sane parent I belly laughed and knew that I was in normal parent knock knock hell.

When I’ve had enough or just want to combat knock knock jokes/Pokemon trading cards chatter I just say “Mummy’s turn” and blast them with an awesome educational song from the 80’s.

Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ full bore with dance moves.

Man, I rocked that 3 minute drive.

I pulled up in the kiss and drop zone, pumped that all the bad knock knock jokes had left my mind, gave smooches and got ready to start the day.

Living life one 80’s song and one knock knock joke at a time

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Nailing this whole ‘Mum’ thing

Totally nailing this whole mum thing.

My 7 year old birthday girl asked me to make pancakes this morning as a nice way to start her day.

Note that she DIDN’T actually ask.

“Mum, can you please make me some pancakes that not only look and taste good, but are springy to touch and don’t look like baked Kettle Chips?”

She only said ‘pancakes’.

I think I answered the brief.

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How much I love backchat

I’m going through a bit of a hard time with back chat at the moment.

Not my own back chat which is clearly hilarious and witty; I’m talking my three kids taking turns in the fun game of “Who can piss Mumma off the most with back chat.” Current score board; Maclean 299, Molly 412 and Memphis 247. Even the Husband has decided to join in the game with a low non podium standing score of 87.

Back chat is a constant source of mummy having to take anger management issue classes in my mind. These classes take place in a field of sunny flowers and have Adam Levine ( = leave pass) from Maroon 5 talking to me in a strangely effected French accent. I pretend I have no issues in anger or his nudity and he leaves his ridiculously hot model wife and we run off into the sunset.

Anger issues = gone.

I digress…I’m not sure if it’s my age or parenting style, but I do believe children should be pretty well behaved and not be the future stars of Most Wanted TV shows…sure the notoriety of having a famous child would have its benefits, but I would prefer their fame and fortune to come from winning either an Academy Award or a Gold Medal at the 2028 Olympics. Both of these talents would ensure I get to be the inappropriate old lecherous mother they take to their celebrity filled events.

Again I digress.

I’m not sure if it’s just their age or if in fact I’m suddenly faltering with my parenting in the discipline arena. Simple and harsh demands like “brush your teeth, eat your dinner, come inside, do your homework” are constantly met with moans and little quips that make me feel all hot and flushy. I find myself having the strange desire to back chat the 8, 6 or 5 year old back chatters which really doesn’t help matters. My maturity level tends to decrease with each comment and I have to sometimes remind myself that I’m actually the parent.

I know things will only get worse once the kids learn the art of argument and their hormones (both theirs and mine) kick in. I know that day will come and I’ll look back at these days with a wistful sigh and a longing for more of the things I complain about now.

In the whole scheme of things, my children are absolute little Rock Stars who are amazing 90% of the time. To be honest, I should be grateful that the other 10% allows me to have a nude French speaking lead singer help me with my anger issues. That’s a win right there and a pretty good reason to go and start an argument with them.

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The Social Media Mums

After an extensive survey of other mothers (read 1 at gymnastics, 1 at school, 2 phone calls and myself) I’ve discovered a majority of us do the “perfect mother get rid of crap in background” photos on social media.

The gymnastics mum doesn’t go to too much effort; she simply moves her kids around to the cleanest area of the house for a photo – “I don’t want anyone thinking my house isn’t clean!” Which really works for her as I thought she was a complete nerd. Turns out she’s actually a normal mother of four girls (kill me now) with the same control freak issues as the rest of us.

School mum made me laugh, she chuckled and said “oh God, I don’t take photos inside my house, I just move the little buggers outside for photos” which is cool as it makes her look like the fun outdoorsy mum.

The two phone calls were interesting as well. One mother just takes photos of wherever her kids are at the time. Of course it does help that her youngest is normally doing something absurdly crazy in the photo to distract you from anything in the background. This is the mum friend who is a rainbow coloured magical unicorn and everything is always neat anyway.

My final mum responder (see, I’m sounding official) said she just doesn’t take photos of her kids. “I can’t be bothered” and before you judge her for being an a-hole, she has four kids and loves them to death. I think non-photo taking mum has got it going on…There’s no evidence anywhere that she’s not Martha Stewart and her kids always look crazy neat.

I’m more into angles myself…if the kids are at the dining/craft/drawing table, I just take the photo towards the side that has the least amount of crap in it. On some days, this just means lying on the ground and taking it from that angle as there’s just no other option. On other days I just take a photo of the ocean…

Today I took a ‘real morning’ photo and a ‘BS photo’ ten minutes later. The first one is the bomb shell of my kids getting ready that I ordinarily wouldn’t post. The second one is one I’d consider posting – kids look neat (molly has a hat on to hide that her hair isn’t done) and there’s no junk in the background as I’ve quickly thrown in the corner of the room.

Which one would you rather see?

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The Pocket Money Dilemma

How do you roll in regards to pocket money for your kids? I’ve heard many different arguments about the concept and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

I’ve heard many differing opinions; there’s the ‘children should be doing chores to learn responsibility without being bribed’ opinion, the ‘children should learn that money only comes from hard work and responsibility’ line, and my least favourite only comes from crazy people – give kids money just for being kids. I find the last opinion fundamentally flawed, if getting money came from just being cute and doing jackpoo I’d be a freaking non-working gazillionaire.

I’m not a tight arse, but honestly I’ve only tried combining the first two. Our kids have their regular chores I expect them to do simply because they should and if they want something extra they have to earn it. I’ve noticed the commitment level of earning pocket money is directly related to what they’re saving for – if it’s for something they’re desperate to buy, the manic fervour to ‘get it done’ is amazing to witness.

My sports mad 8 year old has been saving money for an AFL sports game. This app is $9.99 so I told him that it’s worth two weeks of extra chores @ $5 per week. I might sound like the proverbial fish’s bum, but I still believe kids should understand the concept of savings… and I also thought it would be fun to have a slave for a fortnight.

Every morning at 6:30am I’ve woken to the dulcet tones of clanging glasses from said slave unpacking the dishwasher. Then the list of chores starts:

“Mac, can you listen while your sister reads to you?
Mac, be a doll and help your sister find her shoes would you?
Can you please take your sisters down to brush their teeth?
Do this, do that blah blah blah… ”

Any resistance is met with a

“Hey buddy, did you want me to download that game on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning?”

Resistance = goneski.

You may judge me for this, but today was my last day of taking advantage of my eldest. He came in at 6:25 to ask whether I wanted to keep the smiling face sticker on the spoon (questions like this are normal) or should he take it off? To be honest, he really didn’t care about the sticker, he only showed me in case I forgot that he was a hard worker and today was in fact payday. Mac also wanted to remind me that the girls hadn’t done anything extra so they shouldn’t get pocket money. After witnessing lazy SOB’s in my old workplace get paid for doing sweet FA, I completely agree with him.

So there you have it. I’ll be downloading a hard earned game this afternoon for my son, and the girls will be out of their mind with jealousy. Hopefully they’ll understand the lesson here and appreciate that all things come to those who get off their bums and earn it.

Do you have a pocket money policy in your house?

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The Olympics with kids

Watching the Olympics with your children is really very special.

The M’s are now 8, 6 and 5 and old enough to understand the basic concept of the Olympics. Their school has been teaching them about Rio, Adam and I teach them about participation and from each other they learn about the savagery of competition.

The first gold medal for Australia was Mack Horton, and he probably heard our screams in Rio from our lounge room. We were all prepped, pumped and ready for the start, going through each competitor lane by lane. Channel 7 showed some highlights of Mack and we all agreed that he looked like a young and spunky (ok, the spunky bit was my contribution) Clark Kent. Without his glasses that made him Superman so we were ready…

You could feel the shivers of anticipation from the kids and then the race started… it was the most impassioned cheer squad ever with us all hollering

“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
WOOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
COOOOOOMMMMMMEOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! OOOOOOOHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMYYYYYGOOOOOOODNESSSSSSS! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!! AUUUUSSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE AUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE AUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE
OIEOIEOIE!YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES HE’S GOT IT HE’S GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO, WE FORGOT THE GREEN AND GOLD POM POMS!!!!”

And he won by an Australian fingertip. Oh my Goodness, I haven’t heard the kids scream in such a crazy way for anything. Adam was standing, I nearly fell off the couch and the breathless giggles from the kids is something I’ll never forget

When Mack – we don’t even need to say his surname now he won the first Gold – stood up on the podium to receive his medal we were ready for the national anthem. Memphis nearly had a heart attack at the start as she couldn’t believe the Australian Anthem is the same as her school song (I’m grateful she’s gorgeous!) We all belt out the song and feel ridiculously proud and emotional to be Australian. Exhausted, we get ready to watch the next race.

It’s an emotional tsunami as a parent to witness your kids watching the Olympics. To look at the Olympics through their eyes has made the event even more special; I believe they’re learning inspiration and joy simply from watching the world come together to celebrate. They’re seeing the beauty in people from all nations, they learn that hard work and commitment is rewarded, that not everyone can win but if you give it your absolute damn best it’s amazing – and most importantly – they learn the best thing a kid can learn; and that’s pride. Pride in yourself and pride in your country.

And as a parent, I’m as proud as proud can be.

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Talking on the phone

Talking on the phone is incredibly difficult when you have kids.

As a contractor I work from home 90% of the time. Of course this gives me the flexibility of doing school drop off and pick up so I do acknowledge I am blessed to be able to do so. That said, clients don’t give two proverbial poo’s that I have spawn so I need to keep them quiet when I’m on the phone…and that simple proposition is incredibly difficult.

I’ve trained my kids with the “What do we do when Mum’s on the phone?” question and the answer by all three is “we keep quiet”. When they answer that question in triplicate I foolishly believe them and invariably answer the call. This always turns into a stressful situation – trying to focus on my client’s needs while covering the speaker with my hand to ‘shssssssssh’ my kids. The quiet only ever lasts for 5 seconds and then the farcical stage whispering starts;

”Muuuuuum, Molly/Mac/Memphis just stuck her tongue out at me, Muuuuuuuuuum, I’m being quiet but can we go to the park when you stop talking? Muuuum, can i have some fruit please? Have a treat? ooooooh, she did a pop off YUCK I’m dying etc…”

Honestly, their version of stage whispering is like Donald Trump speaking – at once both ridiculous and anger inducing.

I have friends that hide in pantry cupboards, put their heads out of car windows (car parked obviously, we’re not law breakers) apply gaffa tape , bribe, make crazy facial expressions, lock kids inside the house while they’re standing in the rain, cajole, fake sickness and threaten just to be able to talk on a damned phone.

There’s an enormous difference when you’re talking to other parents on the phone. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a sentence interspersed with;

“STOP IT!

NO!

BE QUIET – MUM’S ON THE PHONE!

WIPE YOUR BUM/FLUSH THE TOILET/WASH YOUR HANDS

ALRIGHT, THAT’S IT – NO PLAYDATE/TREAT/FOOTBALL/GYMNASTICS/IPAD/BREATHING FOR THE NEXT WEEK!”

You can say all of this while maintaining a meaningful conversation about wine and your constant almost desperate need for it…especially when you’re on the phone.

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School Days

I absolutely adore my three children, Maclean 8, Molly 6 and Memphis 5, but today I lost my shit.

They are smart, gorgeous and generally great kids but I believe they have a competition each morning to see who can mess with me the most. Maclean has always had breakfast by the time I walk into the kitchen…the spilt milk and crumbs (equating to a full weet-bix) on the floor tend to give it away. Molly takes a deep breath and sighs before saying “I don’t know” to the ‘what would you like for breakfast’ question. Her shoulders literally slump when she answers as she wants me to know it’s an incredibly hard decision and her life will end should I rush her.

Memphis sits in front of the pantry pulling out various breakfast cereals. This morning she waited until after I’d put three weet-bix in the bowl before deciding she wanted toast. Molly was still standing with shoulders slumped, sighing “I don’t know.” I count to three and give her the option of toast or toast. “Cereal” is her decision until I move the existing bowl of weet-bix in front of her. “ummmm, no, it’s alright I’ll have toast”

Breathe…

It’s only 7am and we have another hour and eight minutes until it’s “get in the car now” time. Cursing under my breath I realise that I forgot to iron their damn uniforms. By the way, I believe I’m pretty amazing at swearing like a drunk sailor inside my head when the kids are around. Sometimes I even amaze myself with the crap I can say for my own amusement. If I even uttered one full sentence of potty head words out loud, DOCS would come calling.

Everyone has finished breakfast so I yell out from the study/ironing/junk room (in a calm voice) “Guys, go brush your teeth and grab some undies on the way back upstairs” “Maclean, make sure you put the toothpaste on Mem’s toothbrush for her this morning please” The amount of resistance with this one chore literally has the same effect of ants crawling over my eyeballs. I go downstairs to the constant sounds of “MUM! Maclean just spat toothpaste near me in the sink” “MUM! Memphis isn’t brushing her teeth” “MUM! Molly is doing a poo while she’s supposed to be brushing her teeth” Seriously, how hard is it for three kids to brush their teeth?

I’ll skip the next 33 minutes as it consists of nagging, in head expletives, loss of socks, fights over socks, forgotten undies downstairs, hair brushing, crying over hair brushing, packing lunches, fighting over lunch boxes, water bottles getting knocked over and more in head expletives.
We finally manage to get into the car (on time, WAHOO!) and Maclean can’t find his hat, Memphis has forgotten her tie, and Molly is trying to get the neighbours dog into the car so she too can witness the joy of the Coble household.

“No… just f%(@#NG no”

I race back inside and ransack the house for Maclean’s hat and Memphis’s school tie (it’s more like a little bow thingy) which should always sit on the end of the ironing board so we can’t lose it. I look for 7.2 minutes throwing the whole on time to school thing to the crapper. Expletive, expletive, expletive in my head and a few illegible mumbles out loud. I put the dog in the front seat (with a belt on – I’ve watched RBT and know it’s illegal for Lexi to not be securely fastened so she’s not a staffy missile), Maclean THEN remembers he left his hat at school and I’m sorry Memphis, but you’re not wearing a tie today. Molly didn’t wear one last Thursday so it’s only fair you look like the scruffy Coble kid this week to even things up a bit

I drive the kids to school and do the ‘kiss and drop” with Maclean asking “Mum, where’s my hat?” I sincerely am grateful that kid is handsome. I kiss the kids goodbye and hear the school song which signifies assembly has well and truly started. I watch some of the more organised parents leave the school. You know the ones, the smug parent with their kids with the perfect braids, and the mothers look like they’re on their way to a catalogue shoot. I bet these mums have spent the morning making their kids a whole lunch box of five different paleo/ preservative/gluten/dairy/nut free foods. After the lunchbox was filled they would have taken photos of their kids for facebook to show the world perfection. By the way, the more perfect the family photo posts, the less normal I think you are.

I turn to see a mother of four pull up behind me, I smile and all of a sudden feel some love. Across the road are another two mums I sometimes chat to. One of them has to go home because her child forgot his school bag and apparently he needs essentials like food and water at school. I love that my morning is normal and that other parents think their kids are a-holes as well.

I phone Adam (hot husband) who’s been on nightshift to let the expletives out. He does the husband, “Oh, that’s no good” and then chuckles. I too have a chuckle and go home to get some work done. It’s only another six hours till I see my little cherubs again and I genuinely can’t wait.

I hope I’m organised tomorrow.