Saturday, 18 November 2017

'That' Kid: Part One

A boy I knew died recently.
He took his own life.
He was 17.
He was that kid.
The kid you tell your own kids not to hang around.
The kid I told my son not to hang around.
The kid everyone's parents told their kids not to hang around.
That kid took his own life.
He was 17.

My son is 17.
He knew that kid. He had been friends with him since the first day of high school. They, and a couple of other boys, were thrust together as a part of the unmotivated, unengaged, academically uninterested, and unconventional learners of the year level - those who had difficult backgrounds, social and emotional troubles, the educationally 'lazy', young thugs and potential future criminal masterminds. At 13, these kids had quite an array of labels already superglued to their foreheads, my young lad included.

We had had meetings at the school regarding my son's relationship with some of these kids, particularly that kid, and often discussed the need for my son to be surrounded by more motivated and positive influences. "Yes. Yes of course", flapped the token lip service of the school. At home, we reminded our son to stay away from that kid. Nothing good will come of hanging around that kid and kids like him. My boy disagreed. That kid was a good kid. He just did dumb things without thinking. In my eyes, and I think in my own words, that bloody kid can do his freaking dumb things without thinking alone.

A call came in the very early hours of one hot summer morning. That kid and my son had done some dumb things and were in some deep, deep, shit. This was my boy's first really dumb thing (that I knew about) but apparently that other kid was already an expert of really dumb things and on first-name-basis with the local law enforcement. His mother, a tired-looking woman with red eyes, messy hair, and roughly pulled on mismatched clothes passed me towards that boy. She said nothing to him. Didn't even look at him. They walked in silence through the brightly lit police station.

"Yep. Could pick them", I remember thinking, shaking my head in my judgy snobbery. 

Then it was my turn. I caught a glimpse of a tired-looking woman with red eyes, messy hair, and roughly pulled on mismatched clothes reflected in the glass doors as I walked towards my boy. I said nothing to him. Didn't even look at him. We walked in silence through the brightly lit police station.

Unfortunately, the dumb things with that kid were not a once-off event. But my son soon learned that he was lucky - extremely lucky - that his family was able to help him. He changed schools, completed specialised programs, and his parents could at the time manage the financial burdens that popped up due to his stupid fuckery poor choices. For that kid and his mother, however, their options were limited.

Over time, my son and that kid grew apart and that kid kept on doing dumb things, his tired-looking mother always waiting on the other side of the revolving door of remand centres and psychological counselling. Nothing worked. And it seemed inevitable that as soon as that bandaid solution wore off, that kid would be back in trouble once more. He was that kid after all.

As the other kids around him grew up, started to think about their futures, understood consequences of their actions, that kid continued to do what was expected of him - to fuck up again. And again. And again. Another bandaid solution, another revolving door of custody, courtrooms and care, another fuck up. Bandaid. Custody. Court. Care. Fuckery. Bandaid.

That kid drifted from friends. His mum was his only ally and provider of the unconditional love a mother has for her son.

A few months ago, h
is mum died. That kid was alone.

A short time later, that kid took his own life. Alone.

It kills me.

It has shaken me more than I could imagine.

That poor kid.

That bandaided, recurrent bad kid who had been put in the too-hard-basket for most of his life. 

I can't help but feel responsible for his death. My son knew this would happen. He saw it coming. He feels responsible. In protecting my son and preventing him from being friends with that kid, I feel I have contributed to his death. Years ago, I judged, I scorned, I swore my fucking head off because this boy - that kid - coerced my son to be part of his dumb shit. In reality, I know he didn't. My child made his own dumb decision to join in. In reality, and regrettably in hindsight, that kid and his mother had been let down by the legal system, the mental health system, the educational system, the community.

I don't want my son to be that kid.

My heart has broken for that lost and lonely boy.

For all those lost and lonely kids.


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Slinging Monkey Muck

Just shhhh. Shhh. It's my turn to talk. Some things running through my angry mind are a-brewing in light of the recent Gorilla shot dead news articles...
Image: Reuters/
I am sad that a great big ol' gorilla was killed.
I am sad for the zoo keepers who had to make that decision to kill the gorilla.I am sad that for a few long minutes, these zoo keepers had to decide whether the gorilla posed a real threat to a child, enough to warrant its death, or to take a chance & tranquilise the animal and hope for the best. I'm sure this was heartbreaking for all involved.
I am sad that these 'murderers' (as they've been called) will have to live with this decision. I hope they can feel relief that a human being was saved by their choice.
Was the gorilla protecting the kid? I don't know. Only the gorilla knows. And as the gorilla has no speech nor the capacity to wear pants & walk the streets of our cities, we will never know its intentions. Why can't they walk our streets? Why are they locked in an (apparent) secure enclosure with high walls, fences and a moat? Because they are deemed potentially dangerous animals if they feel threatened or stressed. This may have been one of those moments. We don't know for sure.
I am sad for the cheeky monkey who fell in the pit. He will be scared of primates for the rest of his life. On the plus side, he most definitely has learned that the burnt hand is the best teacher. That's the silver lining I will hold.
I am sad for the mother of this child. I am sad she has been labelled 'negligent' & may face charges for the death of the gorilla. I am sad that she has to face a barrage of nasty, cruel & insensitive mother-slagging. I am sad she will forever be known as the slack mum who, because of her 'inability' to watch one of her children in a public place, had a gorilla killed.
I am sad that the family's history, states of mind, criminal backgrounds, etc, have become part of this media-fuelled condemnation.
I am sad that for those long 10 minutes, this mum may have been thinking that her out-of-reach child's screams will be the last thing she was to hear from her boy. And there was nothing she could do about it.
I am sad that this 'animal' tragedy & potential 'human' tragedy has gained more sensation than in other areas of the world where innocent lives (such as the gorilla's, but I'm meaning mostly human casualties) are taken daily. But those negligent mums shouldn't even be letting those kids be in such a harsh and dangerous environment in the first place. Yes, sarcasm.
I am concerned that a zoo enclosure can be breached so easily by a 4 year old with no apparent military or ninja background. I am gobsmacked that this is not the headline instead.
I am disturbed by the amount of people who appear to have forgotten how easy it is to lose a child the minutes you walk into Kmart. How, in the blink of an eye, these miniature Houdini's can disappear from their stroller and camouflage themselves under a clothes rack in seconds, just because you turned to look at your other child who is distracted by the toys on display, while another child is trying to tell you something oh-so-important about a My Little Pony she must have. Unless you have all children on leashes, or your private live-in nanny in tow, or have 6 pairs of eyes looking at each kid plus any potential danger that could manifest, this is pretty freaking tricky. I know. I have taken my then 14 year old, 12 year old hearing impaired kid, 4 year old twins & 2 year old shopping & have only seen three of them at any given time. And I don't think I'm negligent, or someone who doesn't deserve to be a mum. Or someone who deserves to be called out on that. But I know that when I visit a zoo, I'm not thinking 'what if my kid climbs into an enclosure if I take my eye off him for a moment?' Walking into a zoo, I feel that the absence of 'Enter At Own Risk' or 'View Animals At Your Own Peril' signs, or a Zoo Visitor Indemnity Form and Accidental Animal Attack Waiver to be presented at entry assures me that my family & I are safe, and that the animals are safe from my animals, too.
This situation was a terrible situation with what could've been a very different outcome.
As a final hurrah for #Mommitment in the month of May, I will not make this mum feel any worse than she already probably does. This could have happened to any mum. Seriously. Unless, of course, you and your children are perfectly perfect.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Qs & As of Mothering Mediocrity & My Mommitment Commitment

During the month of May, I've jumped on the Mommitment train. If you don't know what this is, the Mommitment Facebook Page describe it as a 'movement bringing moms together by asking for a commitment to try and show compassion and support instead of judgement and shame.' We mums give ourselves a hard enough time. We don't need to be brought down by Ms Sancto Judgy McJudge, and we certainly shouldn't be putting down anyone else, either. We need to cut ourselves a break. No matter who we are, where we are from, and however many creatures you have had burst forth from your chest cavity (or your girly bits for that matter) we are all bound by motherhood. There's no one size fits all. There's no perfect mother. Let's stop the school yard judgements, start recognising the unique parenting styles we all have and bask in the awesomeness of our own little creations. After all, we were blessed with the fertile ability to procreate - a 'luxury' not every woman can attain - so let's have each other's backs. It takes a village, people. Simples.

With five kids, I've had my share of criticisms and mothering eyebrow-raising moments. Sometimes, I've lacked effective parenting foresight. My five kids are unique. They have been raised by the same parents exhibiting the same love, rules, morals, values, affection, and expectations, and despite this I have five very, very different individuals. So very different that on many occasions, I question whether I am their biological mother.

One thing I have realised from sharing on my Cut My Milk Facebook page, is that I am far from being alone in this mothering gig, especially on my crappiest of days where I'm ready to run away to join a circus in the Bahamas (or Greenland - I'm not fussed, as long as I'm alone) or prepared to wear prison orange. Mothers like to hear that other mothers have hard days, t
hat they have kids who can be freaking asshats over tiny first-world bullshittery, and who can find guiltless submission to a day's worth of Maccas because the thought of preparing meals for fussy eaters and cleaning up again and again and again is too much to cope with. 

So I thought I'd answer a few questions about my mediocre mothering awesomeness. If you'd like to - and I'd really, really love you to - answer the same questions and send them on to little ol' me to share on this blog. As they say, sharing is caring, and your mothering adventures could help another mum somewhere in the world.

Something we all love to share (and read) are birth stories. These are sometimes epic tales of torture and horror and one-upmanship... Yeah, you think that was bad? I was in labour for 72 hours without drugs and birthed my 5kg child through my nose.

How many kids do you have and at what age did you have them? 
What were their birth weight(s)?
How did you have them? Natural? At home? Drugs, drugs & more drugs? C-section? 
Some days, I have five too many kids. Some days. 

I had my son Campbell when I was 28 and my husband was 26. I was given birth dates anywhere between Christmas Eve 1999 and the 13th of January 2000. On the 4th of January, I was told he was 'a little tacker', that he was sitting up high in my belly and that I would probably meet him in two weeks time. With a few exhausted tears and a 'fuck that shit', I left the doctor's and waddled to the shopping centre. My waters broke an hour later, and after three more days, heaps of drugs, antibiotics, a broken venteuse, forceps, a crowd of obstetric students staring at a massive head tearing up my clunge, an unexpected 9lbs14oz, 57cm long, three month old-looking baby boy clawed his way out. I discharged myself out the very next morning without even knowing how to bathe my baby, and needless to say, we didn't go back to that hospital.

I was 30 when I had Ella in 2001. She was a pretty straight forward, drugs-a-plenty delivery, despite being sunny-side up and tearing me from chin to the back of my neck (you wanted that imagery, right?). She was a dainty 9lb1oz. I had uncontrollable fanny farting when the nurse stitched me up, her head mere centimetres from the action. You wanted to hear that also, didn't you? They say they've seen it all, but nurses still don't get paid enough.

Lily & Grace, Day 1.
No kisses for Lily.
My IVF long-shot twins were delivered by elective cesarean at 36 weeks. I was 37 years old. I measured 57 weeks pregnant. I felt 57 weeks pregnant. I was the guinea pig for an anaesthetist who was doing her first epidural. I hate this girl with a passion. Grace was yanked out first and a minute later Lily was out. They were 6lb and 6lb1oz. They spent their first two weeks in a Special Care Nursery & I couldn't kiss them without a mask on for the first few days as I had the flu. Swine Flu was the Disease du Jour & all precautions were taken. No, I just had the arse-end of a lurgy.

2kg of cheeks
Scarlett was a surprise. A wonderful scary surprise, and off the back of a miscarriage shortly before she was conceived. I was told that because of her thick nuchal fold (an ultrasound marker for Down Syndrome) and because I was over 40, the chances of having a child with Down Syndrome was quite high. I continued the pregnancy. Obviously. In 2012, a perfectly healthy, perfectly enormous 10lb12oz baby Scarlett was born by cesarean. My tubes were tied. Tight.

What is one thing you would have done differently as a mum?
I would have taught them how to do chores from birth. Now I feel I'm teaching old dogs new tricks, and they won't do tricks for free. You've made a rod for your back, I can hear my Grandma call from beyond the grave. Shaddup Grandma.

How are you and your own mum similar?
My Mum & Me. 
I never wanted to admit it while she was alive, but I've noticed a few things that I do that I could see in my mum. The way she would stand in the kitchen (I now live in the same house I grew up in. It's not as cool as it sounds) and would lean over the bench with her head resting on one hand, and nodded and uh-huh-ed to conversations she wasn't really listening to ~ that's me. The way she rocked the Silent Treatment when she was pissed with Dad ~ me with my husband. The way she'd let her kids speak the way they did to her, chastise her over stupidly intolerant things, and get away with murder ~ me again. The way she'd do any thing and at any time for her kids ~ sort of me. 

What behaviour/quality/habit/quirk of yours would you love to see in your own children when they grow up?
I hope they develop their own sense of humour and sarcasm and I think they're already on their way to achieving these. I'd love them to want to learn, have the drive to succeed in anything they truly want in life, but with the understanding that nothing is set in stone, paths can be changed and these experiences are what shape us. I want them to have the same passion for learning as I do. I'm starting to see some of these things in them.

What behaviour/quality/habit/quirk of yours would you not want to see you kid(s) inherit from you?
Good God. How long is this blog post going to be? Where do I start?
I don't want them to experience depression and anxiety as I have. Unfortunately, it's starting to show in my teenagers. I don't want them to be stress-heads. I want them to be able to control their emotions, particularly anger (which is a by-product of anxiety for me). I don't want them to inherit my seriously poor housekeeping (again, already showing - monkey see, monkey do), my terrible management of all things financial, and what feels like a permanent 'KICK ME' sign attached to my back.

What advice would you give a soon-to-be mum about motherhood (assuming she wants your freaking advice)?
Of course, mums-to-be want unsolicited parenting advice! I could fill a toilet with all the parenting advice I've been given about how to raise babies, raise teens, raise husbands, and my personal favourites of all the things I'm doing wrong as a mother. You want my advice? You know what you should do? Listen to all the advice these well-meaning-heart-of-gold parents give you. Nod politely. Agree if you have to. Then do what you want to do, need to do and can do. Being a mum is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Stick with your own beliefs, your own experiences, your own upbringing and don't be afraid to ask (the right people) for help and advice when you need it. There are very few things you can do to stuff this up. Feed, clean, clothe, love, keep them safe and healthy and keep yourself safe and healthy. Know your own body and stress levels. If you suspect you're not coping or have unusual or out-of-character thoughts, don't be too proud or too scared to get help. Postnatal Depression and Post Partum Psychosis are very real and very dangerous. They fuck you up. Trust me. I know. Get help.

Dry shampoo will be your best friend.

I learned by the fifth baby this handy dandy gem - don't be a martyr. Don't sacrifice yourself and your needs as a human. If you have a husband or partner, have them help with night feeds, nappy changes, and let you have rest. Rest doesn't have to mean 'sleep' -although that's a bonus - but time away from Groundhog Day is important. And I think it's only fair that both of you are just as sleep deprived as each other. Neither one of you has the 'more important job' to do the next day.
Great advice from

What advice would you have liked to have received before you became a mum?
Get sleep. Tell your own mum that you now really, really, really understand why she did what she did, and appreciate the sacrifices she may have made. I want to tell my mum so badly that I understand the heartbreak and pain I must have caused her on many thoughtless occasions, and that if my child did anything like that to me I would be devastated. Well, they have and I was.

Breast is not always best. 

You don't have to like being a mum every second of every muthafucking day. You don't have to take on board every piece of advice and opinions. Like the adage goes: Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one. 

Were you an insta-mum? Did motherhood come naturally to you? What did/do you find difficult about being a mum? What do you think is the best thing about motherhood?
Hell no! But I wanted this baby (my first) so badly, I was fixated on all the wonderful mothers in TVLand who found motherhood an easy and precious gift. I had been a primary school teacher and a teacher of the deaf and thought - no, believed - that if I could handle classrooms of kids and kids who couldn't hear, then becoming a mum would be a piece of piss. No. It wasn't. I hated his crying. I hated breast feeding. I hated my husband for going to work every day. I hated myself. I hated what I'd become. I hated all the mums at mother's group who gushed and gooed at their babies and loved every minute of being a mum. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't know what this small creature wanted, I didn't ask for help, I didn't want people to know I felt like I was failing. I'd never failed anything before. None of my friends had babies at that point and I felt hopeless, useless and alone. I wanted someone to take my baby away from me but I didn't want anyone to touch him. 

The best thing about motherhood? I know this sounds cliché, but you really would take a bullet for your kids. You feel their pains. You want to be there for them through anything, but you know you need to let them make their own mistakes and experiences. It's pretty awesome knowing you created these weirdos. I don't always feel I'd do this, coz some days I just want to throw them into next week, but I'm fairly sure I would take a bullet for them. I think I would. I want to get a tattoo of their names all up my arm. Doesn't that count as devotion? 

So how about you?
Would you like to share your mothering thoughts on here? Add them to the comments below. They don't have to be long winded like mine...

Let's spread the motherloving love around the world.

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Stay-At-Home Dad and why you're so damn hot.

Yes. I said it. I think this newish breed of dad is so damn sexy. But don't stress, ladies - my plus-sized booty and I are not looking to take your man. To me, and from afar, he epitomises sexiness and oozes attractiveness. You lucky, lucky bitches.
Mr Cut My Milk

I don't want you to think I'm putting down my husband. Absolutely not. He's a suit-wearing-7am-to-6pm- go-to-work-daddy. An exhausted-when-he-gets-home-daddy. He's sexy in his own right. He is the breadwinner, the hard-worker, my co-pilot, my best friend. Watching him comfort his daughter after she's fallen and grazed her knee, and kissing her owie away, melts my hard icy cold heart. 

But, the sexy stay at home dad (SSAHD) is hawt.

Why do we mums love you so? 

Because you get it. 

I mean - YOU really get IT.

You know what it’s like to wipe a wall clean only to have it covered in whatthefuck stickiness and snot the next minute. You know how it feels to have swept, mopped, vacuumed, ironed, folded, and tidied only to have it all turn to shit in an hour. You know what it's like to clean the toilet to discover (& normally just before a guest shows) wee dribbles from seat to floor, boogers on the flush button and poo on the ceiling. 
You know how long it can take to have a stubbornly independent 3 year old try to dress herself in a tutu, gumboots and a Collingwood Football Club beanie when you needed to be out the door 10 minutes ago. You know the frustration of having a 2 year old who will only eat yellow food smothered in tomato sauce and sandwiches cut in triangles with the crust cut off and served on his Paw Patrol plate. You know of the illogical and impossible 4 year old who wants her chocolate flavoured but pink coloured milk cut into small pieces and served in a glass slipper. Cut my milk, dammit. 

You know that superheroes get boo-boos that need kissing. You wipe the sad tears, the frustrated tears, embarrassed tears, and angry tears from grotty cheeks. You know that a messy house can also be a lived-in well-loved home. You get that parenthood is hard. That it can drive you batshit crazy on the best of days, that some days are too hard to get up off the couch, and the TV is the best babysitter and only the TV understands you. You get the conflicting emotions of wanting to strangle your child into next week and wanting to hold them so tightly that your heart could burst with love and pride, all in the space of 10 minutes.

You understand the exhaustion and the boredom, the quick meals and the battle-pickings.

You are the pioneers of your kind. 

You are part of a new generation of parents who challenge the traditional gender stereotypes of our parents' time. It would not have been an option for my dad to be a SAHD in the 70s and 80s. Women (typically) stayed home, raised children and kept the house. Men went to work, earned money and fixed the house. My dad worked, travelled for work (or so we thought - see my post about my dad in Preoccupied), mowed the lawn, fixed shit around the house, drank copious amounts of beer in longneck bottles, and watched a shitload of footy. I actually can't remember many daddy-daughter moments of fathering awesomeness. But that didn't really matter. His job was to bring home the bacon and mum's job was to cook it.

And, just like the mum who chose for whatever reason to return to full time work, SSAHDs cop their fair share of unsolicited and unwelcome opinions. Whatever you choose to do, someone will always want to tell you what they think (or gossip about it to friends over a skinny decaf latte in the playground – parenthood, it’s just like high school only crunchy

#Mr Mom Tumbler
It will be assumed that:
  • you lost your job
  • you can’t get a job
  • your wife has a better job
  • your wife is your boss
  • you just want to play all day
  • you watch sport replays all day
  • you lie on the couch all day
  • your wife doesn’t want to stay at home with the kids
  • you have no idea what you’re doing
and to add further insult to injury, have a look at Josh Bogle's list of 10 Insults I Hear As A Stay-At-Home-Dad for for more.

You’ll be under scrutiny and be given advice whether you like it or not. Obviously, being a man, you can take the jokes and the 'light-hearted' criticisms relating to your kid’s public meltdown because you wouldn’t get THAT banana, or that you made a sandwich of white bread and processed meat, or you let your child climb the tree, and that it’s cute that you’re trying to multi-task reading a shopping list while babysitting. Naaww, look at that adorable man trying!

For whatever reason you became a SSAHD, Good.On.You. You don't need to answer to anyone (except your wife if you didn't bring in the washing before it rained, dammit). There is nothing sexier than a man who can change a shitty nappy, bear hug their kid when the bell goes at school, think to take the washing off the line when it’s about to rain (did I already mention that??), and nod in sympathetic agreement and genuine concern when a fellow stay-at-homer, laments about the perpetual parenting nightmare you can't wake from, and that nothing can sway you from thinking you’re Bill Murray reliving Groundhog Day until you get it right. Reliving Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. No wonder you are crush-able. Loves kids, tick. Cleans, tick. Cooks, tick. Listens to and validates your feelings, tickitty fucking tick.

I can imagine how hard, and yet how rewarding it could be to be the primary carer of your children while fighting the fading gender stereotype of what a dad should be doing. What a dad should be doing is simply that – be a dad the best way you can. Stay at home and embrace it. Go to work and embrace that. Be there for your kids as much as you can. Show an interest. Be a role model. Spend less money and more time on your kids. Be emotionally there. Rock the shit out of this parenting gig. Your kids will look back on these moments with love in their hearts. Don't ever feel you are failing as a provider. You are providing so much more than you'll ever realise.

Personally, I think you SSAHDs have a tougher gig than us SAHMs. I don't mean that I think you can't do the SSAHD job. I mean that, in some cases, some of you might feel isolated. Isolated from other men, from other mums, your own circle of friends, the adult conversation, from the working world. I think you may feel 'de-masculinated' to some degree while learning to be comfortable with the role reversal of your wife as the breadwinner, maybe in the eyes of old-school dads such as your own dad and grandparents. I don't know. I may be waaaay off. 

But what I do know is this:

  • You are doing an awesome job.
  • You are a provider.
  • You are no less of a man. In fact, in my eyes, you are more of a man.
  • You are teaching your children incredibly good values as a parent.
  • You are highly skilled. You have taken on the roles of chef, nurse, psychologist, ring master, umpire, chauffeur, hairdresser, educator, lion tamer, beautician. Put that on your resume.
  • Don’t neglect yourself. Don’t forget the man behind the dad. Do your thang, whatever that thang might be. You deserve it. You’ve earned it. Find it.
  • Do not tolerate being thought of as the ‘babysitter’.
  • You don't have to get it right all of the time.
  • You don't have to enjoy it all of the time.
  • You are so damn attractive.

Stay-At-Home-Mums are not perfect. Some of us pretend to be. Some may genuinely believe they are. We get dragged down by similar insecurities, the sanctomums and toxicity of the school yard. So sit down at the kiddie table, pour yourself another cup of invisible tea, nibble a chocolate cake of mud, let her do your hair, and dance to the music from Frozen for the 196th time. In doing that, you're already doing it better than me. I salute you.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Chronicles of a Very Very Hangry Woman - Week One

Day One
I'm ready. Let's do this.
One chocolate-ishly flavoured Very Low Calorie Diet shake.
One mighty big glass of water with sugar-free low-kilojoule soft drink fizzafied in the Soda Stream. Yes. I'm allowed to have this kid of cheater's water. True.

All I can think about is food. It's only been a couple of hours, but I'm grieving for the loss of breakfast in my life. Breaky is was my favourite meal of the day and I would eat it for lunch and dinner and supper and brunch and afternoon tea if I could. I'm a big (literally & metaphorically) kid and love Coco Pops and Chex and Froot Loops, yet I wouldn't have them all that often. Right now I want them. Oh how I want them. 

I've kept myself busy with the school run, swimming lesson for Me-Big-Girl Scarlett and other kid-related activities. I have a headache brewing and can't wait for lunch - another VLCD shake & a cup of salad veggies.

Oh my God I'm hungry. I have shaky hands and my head is thumping. I do a stir-fry for the family's dinner and a stir-fried cup of veggies for me and wash it down with another VLCD shake. I find I automatically reach for bits and pieces of food to pop in my mouth as I cook, but resist. Yay me. I can do this.

Day Two
I've woken up with a headache again. 

There are Froot Loops strewn across the kitchen bench. Nope. I won't eat them. A VLCD shake with one - no, let's go two - teaspoons of coffee in it. The caffeine can battle it out with the Panadol while I take my 2 year old to music playgroup. That'll help.

I make lunches for my kids. Usually it's a slice of ham on the bread and one or two in my mouth, a slice of cheese on this one, a slice of cheese with ham in my mouth. Crusts off and in my gob, too. So much mindless eating that I'm super-conscious of today. But I'm proud to say I resisted.

I want chocolate.

I watch my youngest partially eat her sushi for lunch. I'd normally finish it for her. Today, I pour the milk from a bowl of cereal I hadn't cleaned away onto the sushi and make sure it gets binned.

I thought I was doing really well until I cooked chicken parmigiana for the clan. The smell. The sauce. The dripping melted cheese. Holy hell on a fork.

See this?

This is the left-over parma sauce and melted cheese with a bit of baked potato.

Normally, I'd have cleaned that pan. With my tongue. 
But I didn't.

As my kids tell me how yummy dinner is, I tell my husband how freaking hard it has been cooking dinner tonight and just how much will-power and resistance it has taken for me to make it, smell it, and watch them eat it. "I love you the way you are," he said. "But you want to do this so you have to deal with it." Bastard. He's lucky he said the first part.

Day Three
The headache's still there, but it's quietened down a bit allowing for the noise of the stomach growls to be heard instead.

I'm feeling good and positive this morning. I think I'll make up some positive affirmations to wallpaper the house with. Maybe. I escape the lunch-making torture this morning by ordering The Wondertwins their school lunches via the canteen app. I want to eliminate any temptation today.

Then came dinner. This >>>>

But not for me. Not a fry. Not even the rejected pickle from Scarlett's burger. Just a nice cup of steamed veggies, the shake, and a cup of hot Vegemite water. Yes. You heard right. Vegemite. And it wasn't that bad, either.

My headache's back in full swing. I feel light-headed. I'm shaky and I have a loud ringing in my ears which is giving me the shits. 

Am I skinny yet?

Day Four
I realised this morning that I didn't take my usual antihistamine last night to keep the itchies away. So far, for about 10 years, no one has actually pin-pointed why I need to pop antihistamines, but the need has been acknowledged. I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing it was something in my crappy diet that I'm not having now while I freakin' starve. Maybe I had an allergy to food after all. 

Yep, headachy again. Ears ringing again. Hungry. Again. 

Mega - I'm talking embarrassingly epic - tantrum in the carpark outside my girls' ballet class this morning. I can't tolerate annoying, whiney, sooky, defiant, uncooperative little turds on my best days, let alone when I'm non-caffeinated, hangry and having sugar and Coke withdrawals. Not pretty. This is when I would normally reach for a Macca's coffee frappe with it's full cream milk and lashings of whipped cream topped with deliciously rich chocolate fudge sauce to calm me down and restore my balance. Nope. Not this time. I had to stew in my own juices (crap - why does anger get to have a foodie idiom but I can't angry-eat?)

I was surprised that by dinner time I didn't feel all that hungry. But I realised, as I got things ready to make Grace's favourite chicken quesadillas, just how mindful I have been in the past four long long days. I'm actually noticing just how much I ate without thinking about eating. It was so automatic. So tonight, as the smells of roast chicken begged for me to eat it's skin while shredding it for the meal, I asked Timbo (the hubby) to step up and do it for me. I can't be trusted. Or maybe I can, but I want to eliminate the possibility of being weak anyway.

Eyes on the prize, Lisa. Eyes on the prize.

Day Five
I am so so so so fucking hungry this morning.
I will not give in to Froot Loop cravings.
I will not make butter and vegemite with a bit of toast.
I love my diet shake.
I love my diet shake.
I love my diet shake.
Fuck I'm hungry.

I started hypnotherapy for mind-shifting for weight loss today. It turns out one of the loveliest people I have met in the school yard this year is a hypnotherapist. I thought I'd give it a go. It's probably the only thing I haven't tried before for weight loss. I had a one hour session booked, starting at 11am.

I cried. I laughed. I listened. I remembered. I went to my 'happy place' which was not of me drunk at an island bar with Bradley Cooper and not a child in sight. For a change. 

My mind had me sit on the warm soft sand at the beach, just watching and listening to the waves crash in on the sand bar, and a seagull occasionally squawking in the distance. The water was so clear and blue. I saw my reflection in a mirror and changed its appearance to how I want to see myself in the near future. I was smiling. 

At 2:30pm, we finished for the day. 

I can't begin to tell you just how amazing I felt after that. Just awesome. 


Day Six
I'm still riding the hypno-ride from yesterday.
I feel great. Headaches are gone! Huzzah!
Being around my perpetually hungry family (not much difference between satisfying 5 year olds going through growth spurts than a 15 year old boy who eats like Zac Efron in the movie 17 Again) wasn't much of a problem today. I still have to remind myself not to lick a spoon of Nutella from the jar ('d that get in there anyway?) or nibble the bits of food from the kids' plates, but I'm stepping away empty handed. Today, I'm rocking this shit.

Could murder a bottle of Moscato, though.

Day Seven
Week One down and what have I learned?

  • I haven't had an antihistamine in four days for itchy skin.
  • My skin is starting to look a bit better. 
  • My boobs aren't resting on a table of stomach already.
  • I am considerably less bloated.
  • I'm not tired. In fact, I was so tired all the time before I started this.
  • My tummy still growls (oh how it growls) but instead of reaching for some Reese's Pieces in all their delicious crunchy peanut buttery evilness I've been grabbing a stick of celery and a glass of water. WTF??
  • I'm smiling more already.

Week Two is coming and I'm gonna crank that shit up to eleven. Bring it on!

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