life

The Origin of the Child Leash

Seems to be quite the hot topic with a lot of parents. To leash, or not to leash. Fuck’s sake, some kids I see running wild could also use a matching mussel, perhaps Hello Kitty will bring out a range for Christmas this year. One can only hope.

In all seriousness, I am not a fan of the leash. I don’t even really like to tether the dog, but have no choice as she isn’t quite as up on the English language as our 4 year old human.

After reading some rant today on Facebook about a child of a leash I got to thinking about the lighter side of child abuse. One of the posts was carrying on about some old lady pulling a kid along like it was a resentful pug unwilling to take a bath. Disgusting to say the least. Another post started raving on about how we have not needed leashes for children in the past, so why all of a sudden do we need them now.

Hold that thought….. Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the origin of theLouis15 child leash?……

If not then never mind, I did all the work for you. Turns out there is actually some kind of circa 1990 style HTML homage to the history of restraining your toddlers. From what I have determined, this whole leash business started early in the 17th century, perhaps late 16th century. (Although this website makes note of telling us they have found no evidence in the 16th century yet).

Take a look at this baby. It is a painting of a young Louis XV with a child leash on. I highly doubt the leash is of any consequence that young Louis pictured here would turn out to be
known as Louis the Beloved, but perhaps being restricted to a one meter radius around his caregiver  fostered a sense of empathy.

Hell, good enough for the French, good enough for… ummm…. Just don’t bind your child folks, it isn’t a dog.

Oh yeah, after almost a year without so much as a whisper on the blog, I am back. 🙂

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Stickin’ it to The Man

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was feeling about my current work situation. Suffice to say, I was/am well over it.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to apply for enrolment back into University. It has been many years since I have studied, so this was a big decision. Not to mention the financial aspect, we will all have to tighten the belt just a little bit.

I handed in my resignation today. Feels so good. See, I lost my passion for my line of work some time ago. To be honest, I really don’t see any value in it anymore other than the money. Hence, a change in direction was required.

In two weeks time I begin my journey to become a High School teacher for English and History. Pretty excited I must say. Teaching is something I had always considered, but have never had the balls to jump in the deep end and get on with it. The time has come.

That’s it for now. My apologies to you all as I have been busy with real life, I have not been giving much love to the blog over the last few weeks. Stay tuned for more. 🙂

Bed Time – Scurge of the Toddler World

A question for the ages. How do you get your toddler to go to sleep?

To be honest, if I had THE answer, I’d be a millionaire by now. As most, if not all parents out there will know, getting your little one to bed can be quite a task. They can be a manipulative bunch, and will try anything to stall, or avoid going to bed at any cost. At least ours does.

Can you blame him though? He does not want to miss all the fun of dishwashing and bad TV, if only I could explain that is what we really do when he sleeps. Nothing too exciting.

We have been battling with this issue for a long, long time. Our Google search history is dominated by it. We had just about given up on tricks and tips for bed time, and moved to the more generally accepted method of, just fucking deal with it.

This was working for a while, to be honest, he was only up out of bed two or three times before finally crashing out. I think at that point, he had worked out that we had an answer for every excuse in his playbook. Then it all changed, something new, that we couldn’t really deny him had become a reason to get out of bed.

He is now potty trained.

I was so happy when he was finally potty trained, what an ordeal. Denis the Menace had other ideas, a bed time plot ticking over in his three year old brain. It would rely on our meagre understanding of his bladder control, and our empathy for him and his decision not to wet the bed. A perfect idea. And it worked.gotosleep

For the last few months he has been in and out of bed every ten minutes for three to four hours. GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

This change in toddler bed time strategy required action. We had had enough. But really, what could be done?

Here is the checklist we started running through

1. Go to the toilet before bed.
2. Go to the toilet before bed. (he always needs to go twice)
3. While he is on the toilet, get his drink (water) for bed.
4. Move the plastic blanket of toys accumulated on his bed from the previous night.
5. Allow him to choose ONE toy for bed. Ok, sometimes two, if he has been good.
6. Offer a bedtime story. (we take turns)
7. Put him to bed.
8. Sit on the couch, wait for five minutes until the first toilet break.
9. Sit on the couch, wait for the second toilet break.
10. Try to enjoy some adult time while constantly looking at the dog to make a move, indicating he was up, again…

Suffice to say, I have never been a fan of ten step programs, and this one was not working. At all.

Back to Google….

Once again, we turned to the internet. We spent our time trolling through different approaches that we hadn’t already tried. Keeping in mind you have to take these with a grain of salt, and try to apply bits and pieces that fit for you. Well, that is our approach anyway.

She found it!

My partner’s love affair with Pinterest had paid off, again. I got home from work one day and she proposed an idea, we both agreed it just may work. He is at a stage where he will understand the concept, fingers crossed he sticks by the new rule.

That Saturday morning, we began phase one of our scheme. We would have some art and craft time. With a twist.

We all worked on a card, a very special card which is now known as ‘The Bed Time Pass’. We all took turns adorning it with colourful pictures, stickers and whatever else we could find in the box. It was really great family time to boot.

He loved it, albeit still not fully aware of its purpose. We both sat with him after it was finished and explained how it worked.

‘This is your bedtime pass, if you jump out of bed you need to hand it over to us. It can only be used once a night.’

To be honest, the first night was a fucking nightmare.

He was in shock. He was allowed out once, then he came out again. Met with no contact, just a held hand and a directive back to his bed. Every time, for about three hours. ‘Stick with it, we have to give it time’ we kept telling ourselves.

Then, the magic started to happen.

The second night, there was a little drama, but nothing major. From there on in, it has been working a treat.

He now saves it, holds on to it, ‘in case’ he needs to come out. The game has been flipped on its head. He no longer comes out of bed every ten minutes, he understands he is ALLOWED to come out of bed, ONCE. So, that is indeed what he does. No requirement to tell him it needs to be a good reason, he worked that out for himself.

Back to quiet nights, for now. Maybe we can get some reading done. I haven’t finished a book in months.

No doubt this will not last forever. But for now at least, i owe my sanity to ‘The Bed Time Pass’.

How do you get your kids to bed? I am sure we would all love to hear some ideas, please feel free to share. 🙂

Am I a Murderer?

Odd thing to have to ask yourself isn’t it? Am i a murderer?

It’s a question i have asked myself many times over. It’s a question that nearly drove me to madness. It’s a question that i still can’t answer.

Once again, the ever inspirational blog, A Momma’s View, has prompted me to rant.

I left a my home, my state, my friends, my now so-called friends, my job, my life. Why? For many reasons. But there is one that gets to me.

Am i a murderer?

To be honest, some people look / looked at me like i am / was. It is a strange look, a hollow look. Like the blood has left all the layers of skin on their face, like they are a shell. The eye’s seem to be void of colour to me. They can talk, but i read between the lines.

“You asshole, you killed him.”

Perhaps it is just the guilt.

A man i considered my best friend for a time, my mentor. A man 30 years my senior, will now no longer talk to me. He thinks i am a murderer.

For those unsure as to where this all came about, here is an old post about it.

Honestly, it is starting to get to me again. The dreams are making a return. Which does not bother me that much, but bothers my partner. She does not know what to do sometimes when i am thrashing, sweating, screaming in a sleep so deep she can’t wake me from it. My bigger fear there is my little boy seeing that.

No doubt one day, i will have to explain it to him. I dread that day, what i will say plagues my mind.

I am ok though. Am i a murderer? Well, no, i’m not.

Am i responsible for his death? Well, no, but at least in part i am. It was my idea.

He was a better man than me. Sometimes i wish it was me. Honestly, i had a childhood of surfing, and being a stronger swimmer than him was all that mattered in the end.

It is such a hard thing to describe, the look. For your sake, i hope you never have to experience it.

Personalised Picture Book for Kids

Our little guy loves books. Which is great, as so do we. We have always read to him, and these days he is more likely to pick a book rather than TV for entertainment.book8

For Christmas last year, the wife managed to find something pretty special. Not sure how or where she stumbled upon it, but we ended up getting him a personalised picture book called ‘The Boy Who Lost His Name‘. Good old interwebs, can find anything these days.

This book is amazing, you order it online and enter your child’s name, and a special message for the inside cover if you like. They will then print off the story about a boy or girl book3‘looking’ for their name. Your child’s name. I think it is a really great idea. I will also say that i am pleased with the quality of the printing, very nice.

We also ended up buying one for a friends little girl too. She has one of those names you are unlikely to find printed on anything. I thought it was a great gift idea.

Just thought i would share our find, if you are into this kind of thing. Makes a great gift i think, and with the customised message too, something that they can hold onto for a long time. 🙂

book4 book7 book6

Fight Club – What I have learnt without having a full blown personality complex

Something has changed in me. I am still unsure what it is exactly, or to what ends it will take me. One thing is for sure, life isn’t the same anymore.

For those that have read my post about some sad events in my life, i guess this is all to be expected. I am a Business Analyst by trade. Or at least, i was… Now i am simply showing up to work pretending to be one.

I have had enough. I really don’t care anymore. I think my current mood is akin to that of the protagonist in Fight Club. See, i seemingly had it all, a well paying job, a happy family, enough freedom to do as i pleased, within reason.

Then all that happened. I took six months off from work and the world. I drank a lot, i smoked a lot. You know what, i also LIVED a lot. If you put aside the alcohol abuse, i had a really great time spending time with my loved ones and getting more engaged with my life, and theirs, ours even.

Then i started a new job, my current one. Once again, i am a BA. But i am no longer the young, motivated, innovative person i once was. I have lost my passion for it. It isn’t like i am not capable, i just don’t care. I see no value in what i am doing, it gives me no satisfaction to be working again.

Don’t get me wrong, i am not about to stage a claim for a disability pension by any means. I intend to work.

I had an interview over my lunch break. At a supermarket of all things. Doing their invoices and crap, mind numbing data entry. You know what, i would rather do that. The interviewers were almost scared of me. After i explained to them that i have not worked with such a bunch of snobby, rich wankers in my life, they laughed. I explained i was fully aware i’d be taking a huge pay cut, but i am happy with that.

It means no late night phone calls, no trips away, no wearing a fucking tie to work.

I crunched some numbers recently, and realised that i don’t need this job. I don’t need to sit in an office making money for my boss so she can pay off her second tennis court.

Fuck it. I’m out. My life is more important to me than tangible assets and money. I was once a dread locked hippy with nothing more than a backpack. What the fuck am i doing wearing a tie?!?!?!

Yes, i’m ranting. I apologise. But really, i ask myself now, what is more important.

I have my answer. What is yours?

My Dad moment for the day

This morning started how it generally does. Get up, let the dog out, have a coffee and a smoke, go back to bed, cuddle the missus, get up, second coffee and smoke, let the dog out again, feed the bird, toddler wakes up, feed him, get dressed for work.

Today, while putting my tie on in the mirror, our toddler wanders over.

“why aren’t you putting pretties on your face dad?.

“well, Im a boy, so i don’t put pretties on my face, but Mum does.”

Shit…. what have i just said to him?! I thought. Both my partner and I think it is important to teach him that it is ok for people to be different, and do things other people don’t. I realised i may have just contradicted myself in that moment.

I respond quickly. “But some boys wear pretties, you can wear them too if you like. But i don’t like to.”

“oh, ok.” And he toddles off about his business. Waving his ‘wand’ (a stick from the backyard) yelling some Harry Potter spell at the dog.

Well, thought I’d add this. I felt like it was my good dad moment for the day. 🙂

Life, changed in one moment

This post is likely one of the reasons i began this blog. I was, and am still not sure how to go about writing this. Or, if i should write anything at all. However, i just read a post on Cristian Mihai‘s blog. http://cristianmihai.net/2014/10/07/over-the-edge/, and i have been inspired to at least attempt to get out what i need to.

Success

A little over a year ago, i had seemingly had life worked out. I had a great job, paying my well into the six figure mark. I had flexible hours of work and could come and go as i pleased. I could do what i liked, when i liked.

Prior to landing this job, the previous five or so years of my life were spent travelling the world and my country enjoying myself. Sure, life had its ups and downs, but, i was at a point where i finally thought i had my life sorted out.

The day that all changed

We often hear about horror stories in the news, in books, from other people. But we never think for a moment that something terrible could happen, at any point. Well, for me, something did happen. Something that would send my life into a downward spiral of nightmares, lost friends, alcohol abuse and losing my job.

So, it was a colleagues 30th birthday. The plan was to go camping in the beautiful Northern Territory wilderness. He went out a few days before with his family, wife, two kids and his mother. Myself, along with 8 other work colleagues would join in the festivities that weekend.

The day began like you would imagine. Breakfast, a few beers, pack the cars and go. All smiles and good times, we were all going to relax and soak up some much needed time out of the city.

We arrived at the camp site, unpack and told a few stories of the day so far. Everyone in high spirits, kids running around, adults all parked in their favourite camp chairs in anticipation of a long afternoon.

Moments I will never forget

It was hot, tropical summer hot. The kind of dank, wet filth that goes along with being that close to the equator. Fuck it, i thought i would go have a swim to get the dirt off me and freshen up. I was not born in the NT, i knew no better.

My friend followed me down to the river. “Mate, you cant swim in there”… “Why, it’s hot, i need to cool off”.

He had actually talked me out of it at this point. With warnings of crocodiles and their feeding habits. Apparently at that time of the day, they are out and looking for an unsuspecting victim.

I will never know why, but i was walking back to the camp. “You coming in then?”. I turned around, he had decided to jump in. Well, that was all the encouragement i needed, off came my shirt and in i went.

We were in for no more than 20 seconds. I hear a, “Oh FUCK!’… i look up to see a wake of water heading toward us at a blinding speed. It was a crocodile.

He had already started swimming back to the bank at that point. I turned and swam for my life too. I passed him.

I got back to knee deep water and turned, he was not next to me. I looked back to see an image that will now be burned into my mind for the rest of my life. A little more than an arms reach away, there he was…. Inside the beasts mouth. It started turning him around, his hand up in air.

He looked at me, that moment lasted a year. He just looked at me, he knew it was too late. It was almost a, “go mate, im fucked already” look. Then, he went under. That was the last time i was to ever see him. Gone. Not even a ripple in the water, just, gone.

That Night

Due to the remote location, and the situation, we all had to stay at the site. After our friend was just eaten alive, perhaps by fault of mine. I will never forget my friends 4 year old daughter asking me, “where is he?, why are you so sad?”…. Man…. This was like a fucking bad dream, only it was real, very real.

News crews, police and rescue services were all there. Gunshots all night as they hunted down the killer. At one point, we all had to give statements to a detective, as there was a good chance by that stage they wouldn’t find a body…….

They eventually found him, just so you know.

Aftermath

I can’t tell you how i feel about it all, even now. Some of the people out there that day still blame me, and don’t talk with me. And i don’t blame them for it either. For a long time, i blamed me too.

I quit my job, i left the state, never to return. To add to this story, 3 weeks after this event, my mother was diagnosed with final stage lung cancer. She passed away 2 months after. But that is a story for another time.

I don’t know if i will ever be ok again. Not like i was before anyway. Life is different now. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this. I have been all the way to the edge, in darker corners than i’d care to comment on.

However, life must go on. I still cry sometimes when i think about it. I still dream about it, although my partner says that is finally getting better. I guess what im trying to say is, we all get down some times. However, it is important to look forward as much as possible. If you dwell on the past for too long it will become your prison.

For anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD; you are not alone.